Game Miser – Episode 2: Daikatana

Coop Dojo brings you its second iteration of the Game Miser.

 This week we’re changing things up.  Normally us misers want to find cheap (aka FREE) GOOD games worth your valuable time.  Today, however, our recommendation is neither free nor quality –-- let us explain…

We believe even the most jaded misers out secretly have moments of goodness.  You may take liberty raiding a buddy’s fridge when they’re not looking or spend a bit too long checking ThePirateBay for something you missed, but deep down you WANT Tiny Tim to get better.  So how you can as a gamer play games on the dirt-cheap while still feeling like a good person?

We proudly present the Humble Bundle

Many gamers already know this, but every few weeks gamers have a chance of purchasing a series of games (of varying level of quality) at a price of their choosing (within reason) and part of the proceeds go to quality charities like the Red Cross or Child’s Play.

Astute gamers are already aware of the history of this gaming disaster.  Daikatana was the brainchild of John Romero – co-founder of Wolfenstein and Doom powerhouse, id Software. For the geeks, he’s the severed head you have to blow up at the end of Doom 2.  The story goes that a rift emerged while developing Quake; Romero believed the game would be awesomer with a time travel theme like Chrono Trigger or Ocarina of Time and id Software believed John should just shut up and get back to work.

So after Quake, Mr. Romero took his ball and resigned, opening a new studio, Ion Storm.  Their first game was the completely forgettable Dominion: Storm Over Gift 3 (seriously, we never heard of it) which stumbled to the finish line late and over budget on the same as the StarCraft demo surfaced – good luck. So Ion Storm went back to the drawing board only to then focus all of its efforts on the greatest gaming trainwreck ever, Daikatana.

The game was meant to be a time traveling epic saga with game changing AI as 2 NPCs would help you battle corrupt corporations and attempt to set right once what was once set wrong.  You’d play as Hiro Miyamoto (get it, like you’re a hero and you share Nintendo’s Shigero Miyamoto’s name) apparently modeled after John himself as you save the world.  John Romero even boasted the game would be done in 7 months in time for Christmas in 1997. This, of course, didn’t happen.

The game took YEARS to complete namely due to an inexperienced dev team at Ion Storm and Romero’s efforts to keep his game up to date with PC advancements – mainly the release of the Quake 2 engine that he opted to incorporate suddenly into Daikatana effectively scraping months of existing work. Hype was at a fever pitch too with Time magazine claiming that “Everything…John Romero touches turns to gore and gold” and the horrendous marketing campaign summarized by this embarrassing slogan: “John Romero’s about to make you his bitch.”  Finally, in 2000, 3 years after the original launch date, Romero released Daikatana to the public who, by the way, was now thoroughly enjoying Half-Life.

GameTrailers.com ranks it the 2nd most disappointing game of the decade.  Quite simply it’s horrible.  At the time of its launch its graphics were subpar compared to the other recent titles like Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament.  The AI companions, which were meant to be a point of pride, were mindless drones frequently getting stuck running against obstacles (hilariously they were simply dropped from the later N64 port sparing gamers of hours of frustration) and Romero bizarrely made the game too hard.  Funny trivia, after critics tore this game and consequently Romero’s hopes and dreams to pieces, John posted a fake news story of his murder including a fake photo of his corpse in a morgue with a gunshot to the head.  Really, it’s a hilarious joke, not a narcissist’s misguided cry for help – we all just didn’t understand at the time apparently.

But, Game Misers like us need to see this one.  This is a gaming milestone.  Yes, it is perhaps the biggest video game trainwreck ever (thankfully Duke Nukem is off the hook as Gearbox’s final product wasn’t that bad, just dated).  You need to experience Daikatana, with its frontloaded cutscene heavy storyline, lazy opening levels, and the godawful AI you have to contend with for almost the entire game. Just remember, Half-Life was out by now.  A year later Halo 1 would blow us away with one of the greatest opening levels ever as you try to save the precious few from the doomed Pillar of Autumn.  Here, you get to fight bugs and crawl through a sewer for the first few hours.

But, Game Misers like us need to see this one.  This is a gaming milestone.  Yes, it is perhaps the biggest video game trainwreck ever (thankfully Duke Nukem is off the hook as Gearbox’s final product wasn’t that bad, just dated).  You need to experience Daikatana, with its frontloaded cutscene heavy storyline, lazy opening levels, and the godawful AI you have to contend with for almost the entire game. Just remember, Half-Life was out by now.  A year later Halo 1 would blow us away with one of the greatest opening levels ever as you try to save the precious few from the doomed Pillar of Autumn.  Here, you get to fight bugs and crawl through a sewer for the first few hours.

Wanna share? A Winner is You!

    Related Post