Friday, January 21, 2011

Elvira - Mistress of the Dark (and Pain for the PS3)

Las Saturday night around 2:00 AM or so I was flipping through the channels and I happened across Elvira, Mistress of the Dark hosting "Elvira's Movie Macabre".  Does anyone else remember Elvira? She looked pretty much the exact same as I remember her from 25-30 years ago. I'd never seen the movie she was hosting - the Werewolf of Washington - but it starred Dean Stockwell (from Quantum Leap and more recently Battlestar Galactica) as a White House press secretary who gets bitten by a werewolf in Hungary and then brings some good old fashioned wolfman terror back with him to D.C.. Classic B-grade horror flick with a bit of political/social satire mixed in for good measure (it was released in 1973 in the middle of the Watergate scandal).

The movie was so bad it was good. It reminded me of how much I used to enjoy watching these old, and often cheesy, horror flicks. And I liked Elvira's periodic comic relief during the movie too - so I decided to start catching the show. But anyway what's the gaming angle here?  While wandering around her website I came across this video that informed me she was a downloadable character in a downloadable PS3 game called Pain.

Seemed an oddly dated choice for a playable character and the game itself is a bit off the beaten path too. I quite enjoyed a somewhat similar concept on a level in Trials HD for the 360 and of course I am always looking for a good sign from the cosmos telling me try a game completely out of the blue so I downloaded Pain, along with the Elvira playable character of course, and gave it a go.

The main part of the game is called PAINDEMONIUM where you basically launch yourself with a giant adjustable slingshot into a downtown city (or other downloadable environments) and try to wreak as much havok as you can by smashing your body into various objects, people, and animals for points. You can strike various poses in the sky for style points or to squeeze through tight spaces and you can also grab things to either hang/swing from them or to throw them at other things. Normal movement after you launch is determined by the Havok physics engine, but you can control your direction somewhat in mid-air and you get something called "OOCH" that let's you muscle your body one direction or without having to hit anything. The ooch meter refills after a few seconds as long as you keep moving. Once per turn if you shake the controller it powers up "Super Ooch", its stronger cousin. Once your momentem has stopped, your ooch is spent, and your limp body has come to a hault following whatever mayhem you have wrought a timer starts and if you don't move in 15 seconds that turn is over. At that point you have to hope a car runs over you and drags you down the street or a giant doughnut rolls into you and knocks you into a crate full of explosives - both of which are distinct possibilities - and if you can get some motion again the timer starts over.

I found the dialogue and sound effects to be pretty amusing too. Sophomoric humor to be sure but it worked for me. Oh and there are a lot of other downloadable characters too - I've got my eye on you George Takei - Ohhh my!

And that's about the size of it. Yeah, not the most cerebral game in the world but for a $10 downloadable game I find it pretty entertaining. And it is actually quite amazing how much various destructive content the guys at Idol Minds included in this thing. There are other oddball levels and features too that like 1) MIME TOSS - you have to grab a mime in mid-air and fling him into panes of glass to see how quickly you can smash them all, 2) FUN WITH EXPLOSIVES - where you try to cause as many explosions in 3 launches as possible, 3) PAIN BOWLING - bowling except you are the bowling ball and things are exploding around you to screw up your throw, and 4) SPANK THE MONKEY where monkeys keep popping up everywhere and you have to nail them as fast as you can.

There are several other modules you can buy if you like although I won't be doing that. There is an online and local multiplayer mode too, but I already feel like I've written way too much about this brainless little game which I am little embarrassed to admit I enjoy for some brief quick hit fun.

Oh plus I dig the theme song which I can only assume is entitled Pain. The only lyrics are "P-A-I-N, P-A-I-N PAIN!". [Updated 5/9/2011] I just found the song for download HERE.

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Fallguy40 said...

I loves me some downloadable games, but I haven't tried this one yet. With the PS+ plan, I'm now a little cautious about buying games since I might end up with it for free. I hope they offer Pain one of these days.

I did buy one the other day called TV Show King because they had it on sale for $0.99. I figure at that price you can't go wrong.

Elvira is an odd choice for a playable character. George Takei too for that matter.

MadPlanet said...

Yeah, odd choices. The oddity of it drew me in a little which I'm sure was their goal on those selections. They also offer David Hasslehoff. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a game for 99 cents if it doesn't have to offers you a whole lot of enjoyment to justify that micropurchase. If I didn't already have so many unplayed retail games to hit I would buy PS+ too. I find that I often enjoy the simpler downloadable games more than the full-blown retail games simply because I can enjoy them for a little while and move without having to dump 20-30 hours into it.

gnome said...

An excellent post, that reminded me just how much I enjoy the stuff Elvira does. Oh, yes, and those horror adventure games too.

MadPlanet said...

Thanks Gnome. Glad you enjoyed it. Speaking of horror adventure, for such a self-professed Infocom fan I am hesitant to admit that I have never played Lurking Horror even though I've owned it for years. Might be time for me to finally give that one a go.