Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Zebra Trooper: Wall Street Intervention

Okay, this is beginning to get silly. Just one year after the release of Fighting Zepplin Clerics, the award-winning strategy game in which rival theologians do battle in the skies over a mythical medieval Europe, France's premier indie studio, Pantalon Rouge, returns with yet another bizarre and brilliant concoction in Zebra Trooper: Wall Street Intervention.

Imagine this: it's August 1929, and the Wall Street Crash, one of the most devestating events in global financial history, is just two months away. When it comes, it will send the western world into a deep recession, the most notorious result of which will be the Second World War. If only someone were able to intervene!

Well, help is at hand, in the form of the legendary Zebra Force Combat Patrol, a team of time-travelling commandos from the year 2253. It turns out that the Wall Street Crash was the pivotal event in human history; it sent us off down a path of misery and destruction that was to culminate in something called the "Szymanowski Shit Loop," whereby the entire history of Homo sapiens, from roughly 180,000BC to 2255AD, repeats indefinitely, but with everything omitted apart from the bad bits: the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Black Death, the Holocaust etc. And the Zebras represent our last chance to turn the tide.

The player assumes the role of Pzilpop Demitard, the Zebras' courageous leader, at the moment he completes his time jump to 1929. Unfortunately, his genes have been disrupted by the journey, transforming him into a bunch of seedless grapes. But just as it seems that all is lost, an elderly rabbi named Josiah Goldman eats one of the grapes, and by some miracle Demitard is able to take control of his body.

Consequently, the player has to proceed through the whole game in the role of a time commando controlling an ailing old man; the health system works a bit like the one in Assassin's Creed, in that when Demitard takes damage he becomes "desynchronised," and in order to recover he must eat more grapes. However, there are only 23 grapes to begin with, and they are never replenished, even when you start a new game. Additionally, Demitard must do his best not to offend the rabbi's sensibilities, so he must avoid eating non-kosher food, working on the Sabbath and owning a strip club.

The game's early stages involve the infiltration of the stock exchange: stealth-based team coordination in a Rainbow Six style. But after level three, the action switches to a spreadsheet format, and continues in that vein for roughly 26 hours.

1 comment:

  1. I heard the game gets pretty psychedelic around halfway through, featuring clues in the real world which can only be seen whilst wearing a pair of special glasses that come with the game. As the game progresses the clues are in harder to reach places such as the inside of a missile silo, the underside of the president's desk in the oval office and written on the players own appendix. And if you've already had your appendix removed you better hope you kept it in a jar and didn't pickle it (making the clue impossible to read).