Meat Puppet

a game by Playmates
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 6/10, based on 3 reviews
User Rating: 6.0/10 - 1 vote
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Playmates is courting the Crusader: No Remorse crowd with Meat Puppet, an impressive 3/4-overhead shragfest with a delightfully twisted feel. Playing as Lotos Abstraction, a party girl forced to turn assassin, you set out to terminate the leaders of six diabolical corporations. An Aeon Flux look-alike. Lotos is decked out in slick body armor and blasts away with a killer gun that you aim by sweeping a cursor anywhere onscreen. MP's six huge 3D levels are packed with some ot the creepiest enemies ever to grace a game--tor instance, the level set in a genetics corporation features toddlers that hunt you down with cleavers. Beautifully detailed graphics bring all the eeriness to life. MP's charm lies in its macabre yet humorous sensibility, but there's plenty of adrenaline-choked action to keep you bustin' chops, too. If intense Crusader-style mayhem sounds like a recipe for fun, Meat Puppet's side of beef in the meat locker.

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PC Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Arriving hot on the heels of MDK (Playmates' other outstanding action game), Meat Puppet is destined to carve out a following with its slick design and gripping gameplay.

Subdue the Intruder

While Meat Puppet bears more than a passing resemblance to the Crusader series, a slew of differences separate it, beginning with the compelling story line and Blade Runner-esque mood.

Set in a grim corporate-controlled future, MP drops you into the shoes of the ultra-cool Lotos Abstraction, a "party girl" forced into the assassination game after the mysterious Martinet lined Lotos's intestines with explosives that leave her with a simple choice: obey or detonate.

As Martinet's puppet, she's ordered into six embassies--vast buildings crammed with nightmarish creatures and tricky traps--to terminate the leader of each. A digital ghost named Du-maine provides needed assistance via comlink as you cause carnage from a 3/4-overhead view.

The fun of MP comes more from exploring rich environments and unraveling the plot than from hot-n-heavy combat. There's plenty of intense action, no doubt about it, but unlike Crusader, Meat Puppet melds story, action, and atmosphere for a more mellow but equally fun mix.

Pulling Strings

On the control side, Lotos moves with Aeon Flux-like grace and class, executing acrobatic moves like backflips and packing huge heat like rockets and flamethrowers. The mouse-oriented control isn't very intuitive, but practice smoothes many of the edges. The absence of basics like a crouching move, keyboard-based shooting, and joystick/gamepad support rank as real problems, though.

MP's graphics easily earn the game's Mature rating. Lotos faces everything from goopy globs that slither from the sewers to cleaver-packing toddlers, and they all erupt into mounds of gore when shot, torched, or otherwise annihilated. But MP's most impressive visual achievement is the vast, fully 3D levels, which drip with exhaustive detail and a macabre ambiance.

The sounds pull their weight with perfectly themed industrial tunes and engaging effects like Lotos's sigh of frustration when you attempt the impossible. Some sounds go over the top, though--the drone of background chanting in the ITMP embassy is truly irritating.

Aeon Who?

The control hitches aside, MP's polished presentation, sheer originality, and quality game-play just sizzle. You won't want to miss out on cutting the strings loose from this puppet.

ProTips:

  • If a horde of cleaverpacking kids surrounds you, shoot one and the whole bunch will scatter and give you some breathing room.
  • To defeat the first boss, Jonathan Guilt, first immobilize his decapitated body by pumping a steady barrage of rockets into it until it's destroyed......then maintain a healthy distance between Lotos and Guilt's head--if it gets in close, its attacks are devastating. Use machine-gun bursts to slowly destroy the head while keeping it away from you.
  • Use the backflip and roll moves when you need to zip through a crowded situation without taking much damage.
  • When you first get your armor upgrade in ITMP, shoot open these outlets and stand in the sparks to keep the armor's power charged. The armor will vanish when your energy meter has been depleted.

Overview/Storyline

"I command. You obey. Everybody gets what they deserve." Meet Lotos Abstraction, a beautiful woman with a big gun living in a post-holocaust 21st century. Unfortunately she has been taken hostage by an entity known only as "Martinet." Now she is being forced to infiltrate six "Embassies," the control centers for the world's most powerful corporations, and destroy the leader of each. If she fails to obey Martinet, the gel sacks filled with highly toxic chemicals implanted in her body will detonate. Lotos' destiny looks to be as grim as the futuristic world in which she lives. Along the way she must also try to discover why her memory is gone, who the Martinet is, and what his plans really are.

As Lotos travels through the game she is accompanied by Dumaine, who talks to her through an electronic implant in her hand. Dumaine is also being held hostage by the Martinet and technically he is supposed to tell the Martinet when each of the assassinations is complete. However, he also seeks the answers to his imprisonment and will help Lotos to discover the identity of the Martinet in order to win his freedom.

Gameplay/Controls/Interface

The basic plot of Meat Puppet is interesting enough, but this game has way too many problems. The world you have to explore is huge and overall is well done, but each level of the game has a time limit. While the time limit does add some tension, it makes the complexity of the environment pointless -- you just do not have time to explore if you want to succeed.

Even worse are the game's controls. Neither of the default control settings for the game is even remotely usable, and while you can edit the control settings (in a separate program) there is no setting that makes the game playable. Any control setup requires an awkward combination of keyboard and mouse commands to perform even basic functions, and complex commands such as shooting while running are impossible.

Lotos also seems to be incapable of figuring out how to avoid even the smallest obstacle. Getting her to walk where you want is more often than not an exercise in frustration. You will spend a lot of time running in circles, bumping into obstacles, and accidentally falling off ledges. The jump command is particularly annoying -- in many areas it is practically impossible to jump where you need to be.

Graphics

The graphics are Meat Puppet's one saving grace. The environment is beautifully detailed and the character animations are smooth -- the rich variety of the environment invites the player to explore. The game also provides crisp display at resolutions up to 1024x768 (although a top-of-the-line system is needed to play at that resolution).

The graphics for each embassy are unique and designed to match the area's overall theme. For example, the Eugenics clinic is littered with embryos floating in tanks and other medical paraphernalia. But the color scheme used through many areas of the game is a uniform gray. While this does add to the forbidding atmosphere, it makes some of the areas sterile.

Audio

Meat Puppet's sound effects are poorly done and repetitive. After hearing "Subdue the intruder -- she must be contained" for the hundredth or so time, I was ready to scream. The voiceovers for Lotos and Dumaine would have been okay, but the writers apparently wanted to get in as many four-letter words as possible. Even the music is awful -- there are only a few different tunes, and they are usually short and loop endlessly.

System Requirements

Pentium 100 or faster, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, DirectX compatible video and sound card

Bottom Line

Meat Puppet is one of the most disappointing games we have seen in a long time. With its intriguing background plot and eye-catching graphics it could have been a great game, but the lack of usable player controls makes it a mediocre shooter that can be more frustrating than fun. Also the overabundance of swearing makes Meat Puppet inappropriate for children or easily-offended adults.

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