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About the Story
Your boss, The Bull, the most dangerous gangster in New Orleans, has a job for you. Rescue your kidnapped lover--officially The Bull’s lover, but unofficially yours--before dawn. Slaughter everyone who stands in your way, including other gangsters, cops, and the Triad, as you slink across the underbelly of New Orleans.
This game is completely off the rails. It started out as weird, segued to somewhat offensive, and then just took off into a bizarre void that somehow improved it.
The main character in this game is perhaps the most despicable MC in any Choice of Games entry I've played. You are a 'headcrusher', a violent enforcer for a local mob boss, and you're famous for torturing and killing people with a jagged, rusty knife. You are in love with your boss's wife and have been given a suicide mission to rescue her within 6 hours.
Now, I have no problem with aggressive protagonists. I've enjoyed taking over Alaska with a robot horde in Choice of Robots and being a slaughtering warrior hero for the Gods in Champion of the Gods.
But both of those games motivated the evil or violence. Before I played NOLA is Burning, I started compiling a list of what I think works and doesn't in Choicescript games, and having a motive for violence is one of them.
This game just kind of throws you out there. I don't know, it didn't really work for me.
Each chapter is a different step on your way to your final confrontation. You pass through an area with friends who practice Vodou, the turf of an Asian gang led by 'The Dragon', the local police precinct, and a strip club.
The game heavily uses slang, such as 'juice' for money and 'large' for (I think?) lump sums of $10,000 each. It uses phrases like 'Let's blow this popsicle stand' and 'hip to my jive'.
No other Choicescript game treats its main character so bad. You're constantly being betrayed or degraded or having body parts deeply injured or removed or having weird stuff shoved down your throat.
It's last few chapters took all this bizarre confusion and made it almost sublimely ridiculous. I had the honor of (Spoiler - click to show)losing my right arm, being possess by a Vodou loa and gaining a bionic bone-shooting arm, confronting the mob boss who was naked and wearing a baby's bonnet in a bathtub full of money before being lured by him into a room filled with robotic spiders.
The only game I've ever seen that can compare with the circus this puts on is Bolivia By Night, which has a memorable segment where you drive an armored hottub that is powered by a DVD from a South American knockoff of the Olsen Twins.
Ooh, boy. I told myself I'd never rate a Choice of Games article below four stars because 1. I love choice of games titles, 2. I wrote one and know how it feels to spend months or years of your life on these things, and 3. they've all gone through a lengthy review process and are generally polished.
So I'm just going to go through my rating system blindly and see where I end up.
+Polish. This game felt completely smooth mechanics-wise. No problems here, no typos.
+Descriptiveness. It had it in spades, often to my regret.
+Emotional impact. Yes, again by the above.
-Interactivity. I felt like the stats were confusing and didn't add up quite right.
+Would I play again? From seeing some others' comments, there's parts I definitely would want to see.
So 4 stars. You know, I almost gave it a point for interactivity anyway because I felt like I had real agency, but I honestly can't recommend this game to people in general, which is what I believe a 5 star review represents. I did not enjoy this game in the sense that its scenes filled me with delight. But as a critic I find it fascinating. I would recommend it to people who are into seeing the weird corners of company back catalogs and other obscure things.
The writer is definitely talented, they just use that talent in ways that give me discomfort, much like the opening scene of this game where I had to chug a bottle of Pepto Bismol after waking up in a dumpster.
I received a review copy of this game.
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