Now that the studios have closed, many people have lost their jobs and The Saboteur incoming; it’s finally time to look back on our precious memories of Pandemic. Well the ones that matter anyway. You see, in my opinion, before the reign of EA terror hit the Pandemic studio block, it was a golden age for the Pandemonians. They have made some brilliant, original, quirky and funny titles like no other, and it’s not entirely their fault. Management issues, the wrath of EA and so forth, whatever the problem may be, lets take a good look back on the golden years of Pandemic,
Destroy all Humans!
Hot damn. It was the middle of the PS2’s long lifespan, and it was the time for awesomeness. Call of Duty was taking its baby steps, Bethesda didn’t know what a console was and the Halo developers were spinning in their chair. This was when original titles started sprouting up like weeds, and we finally had one that allowed us to kill ourselves. The quirky and loveable title took players into the body of Crypto; some sort of weird alien thing. He is sent from Planet something to harvest all of our brain tubes. He does this by jamming electromagnetic fields up your anal cavity… what a charming fellow.
Packed with some hilarious moments, one in which the characters talk about our lame their own voice acting is, and some daft fun gameplay mechanics and this is truly a game to set your teeth into. Ignore the 3rd one and maybe pass on the second, this is one of Pandemic’s crown jewels.
Well this is where I started to follow the Pandemionians. Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, set players on a wacky, over the top tour of Korea. It had some loveable characters and Matthias Nilson, the Swedish equivalent of Chuck Norris. You could jack cars, jack tanks, jack copters, call in copters, buy air-strikes, storm enemy bases, capture targets, blow up stuff, blow up stuff and tactical nuke a Chinese businessman. It was wicked fun and maybe even better than GTA at some point. Try and buy the first one whenever you can.
The second one however, was not such a lovely affair. It was packed full of bugs, shaky gameplay and a awful ‘feel’ to it. The wackiness was gone and it felt way too forced. It didn’t sell well, and is considered one of the things that led to the downfall of the studio.
Star Wars Battlefront
Whereas previous Star Wars games just placed you in the role of a random character in a sequence ‘never seen in the movies’, this one revolutionized things. Whichever bright sod came up with this deserves the Noble Prize for sheer awesomeness. Instead of a generic take on the films, we were treated to seeing it through the soldiers eyes. It was a third person shooter, not a star wars game, it just so happened to take in the rich lore of the Star Wars universe. It was brilliant, classic and sleek. But later on, I’m starting to see a trend here, they decided it needed a sequel.
Battlefront II is a standout in the Star Wars video-game universe. It has everything from Battlefront and then some. You can play as Jedi or Sith, pilot space ships, destroy giant starfighters from the inside or outside, it had everything. It was a masterpiece. It was too bad that future titles landed on the handheld and not on the next-gen consoles. The third one was supposed to be developed by Free Radical… but we all know how that went down.
I don’t know what to expect from this title. I’ve seen Pandemic innovate and succeed without failure, but I have my doubts. The visual impact this game has, every time you do something the colour returns to Nazi-infested Paris, is quite original. I’m just not that sure that it can do Pandemic justice. I still hope it’ll be a true testament to what Pandemic was and could’ve been, I even hope it sells well. Lets just hope they don’t pull a ‘Haze’ on us, even after they’ve stopped working.
Whatever the factor was in Pandemic’s closure, you gotta admit, they’ve had more than just a thing or two to do with the entire gaming industry and gaming today.