Saturday, August 18, 2012

Videogaming's Most Perfect Crime(s)

In the world of videogames, you get away with one hell of a lot of random wanton mayhem. You can break into houses and steal things right in front of the homeowners. You can smash pots for money; heck, you can smash anything for money, up to and including the prostitute you just had sex with. You can play punt-the-bystander-for-distance. The thing is, though, a lot of these acts of mayhem come with some sort of punishment- or at least a stated punishment, which might just end up being an excuse to commit more mayhem. You get the authorities to come to fight you, or more and stronger authorities.

Which leads to the question: what act of mayhem results in the least consequences and sees you make the cleanest possible getaway? What is the videogame world's most perfect crime of all time?

I submit E.V.O.: The Search For Eden, for the Super NES, for two candidates back-to-back. Spoiler alerts from here on in if you had any intention of soon playing an obscure 16-bit game nobody really cared about even when it came out.

In E.V.O., you play a creature selected by Gaia to work your way through various evolutionary time periods with the goal of eventually reaching Eden. You start out as a fish in the time before life first made its way onto land. Along the way, you kill other creatures in order to gain 'evolution points', which you then use to evolve in various ways. You eventually become an amphibian, a reptile, a bird, a mammal, and by the end there's every chance you'll have evolved into the game's highest lifeform, which is of course a human being. At the end of a time period, Gaia sets up what the game calls a "Time-Trans", which is basically a magic door you step through to get to the next time period, because you don't have 65 million years to wait around. (This is how you ultimately survive the meteor that kills the dinosaurs. You go through the door and skip right past it.)

So that's the basics for you.

The most perfect crime in videogame history comes at the close of the Ice Age. The game refers to this as 65-36 million BC; let's go with the close of this age and say 36 million BC. It is, as with all things, a murder, in this case of the Yeti. Skip to 2:30 in this video for the act and watch the rest of the way through.

Okay, now, granted, he came after you first, but let's recap. First, you killed the Yeti. That was required. But then you ate him right in front of his grieving son. Then you went and killed the Yeti's wife, who was standing right there while you killed her husband. Then you ate the wife in front of the kid and left him in hysterics, screaming for daddy and mommy. And then you make your getaway... which comes in the form of Gaia with the Time-Trans, which drops you in the age of Early Man, 33 million years later in 3 million BC. (At bare minimum, you might be at the start, 26 million BC, which is still 10 million years, but given that you can evolve into a human, let's skew late.) There may officially be no statute of limitations on murder, but I think it's safe to say that if your getaway vehicle allows you to vanish from the face of the Earth and then reappear 33 million years in the future with the direct and sentient assistance of the very spirit of the planet, you're going to get away with it.

Meanwhile, look what you've left the kid to explain to the Ice Age animal police. (Let us assume there are Ice Age animal police.) 'Sir! Sir! A shapeshifting animal killed and ate daddy, then killed and ate mommy, and then a magic door appeared and he traveled 33 million years into the future and the door disappeared YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!' What the hell do you do with that?

As it turns out, once you get to the age of Early Man, there's actually an answer. After you get to Early Man, you go to the Cave of Monkey Human, which the world map places in what is now Brazil. Skip to 2:00 into the following video, and you'll find yourself, as a human with an axe, in- of all the things- a Yeti burial ground.

That is one determined grieving Yeti kid. He is hell-bent on making the time-traveling shapeshifting daddy mommy eater pay. He has shouted his grief to a descendant 33 million years into the future. But, of course, you've since turned into a human with an axe, so a burial ground priest is only going to result in more food before you flee to the next stage down in Argentina.

When you get there, you see a desolate region populated by birds who also tell you a tale of woe that stems from something else you did in the Ice Age. Namely, what you did in that first 2:30 you skipped in the first video. They had a castle in the clouds out in northern Africa and you broke it all to hell. They do nothing but walk around and mourn what "some strange force" did, but having no child that can scream through time to warn them of you, they are utterly unaware that the guy with the axe is the time-traveling shapeshifting castle-crashing destroyer of worlds. They are little more than free food.

So what's this about you killing a prostitute in Grand Theft Auto?

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