Super Columbine Massacre RPG

WARNING: This game may be offensive to some people, included in the review are pictures of said possibly offensive game. You have been warned. Images are in the spoilers to help those with slow connections.

Super Columbine Massacre RPG is exactly what the title says, an rpg based on the shooting in Columbine High School. As many people will tell you the subject matter is horrible but that's not the point of this review, I wanted to see how it held up as a game. As an RPG it plays like (to name something as recent as possible) Final Fantasy X (to name something older it plays almost exactly like Final Fantasy Mystic Quest). It's turn based and you can see all the enemies when you're not in a battle letting you pick and chose your fights carefully. The inventory system will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played an RPG before which makes the game fairly easy to get used to.

Combat

Combat as mentioned is turn based and plays like every other turn based RPG in existence. The problem though is 99% of the enemies in the first half of the game are too weak to kill you. I almost lost to a jock type enemy in the parking lot near the start of the game but after that I leveled up quickly and between my high HP and defense no other enemies really posed a threat. Even when they appeared in numbers a quick spray from Dylan's Tec-9 and a few shotgun blasts would wipe out the group.

The flaw though is how repetitive it is. There are something like 10 or so types of student and maybe 6 types of adults and after a while you'll find that you're killing your 20th jock with the same attacks. The enemies also have an extremely limited set of attacks. Later on when you get to Hell the combat doesn't get much better as the enemies are pulled straight from Doom. On one hand it made me feel nostalgic, on the other this was blatant plagiarism.

Graphics

Now let's talk graphics, bearing in mind this was made on RPG maker 2003 so set your expectations accordingly. There are some really low resolution pictures of items and backgrounds but given the low expectations they visuals do an adequate job. The game uses actual pictures of the high school though there can never been enough to stop being repetitive. You'll kill the same preppy girl in the same hallway at least 10 times and it gets old fast.

Story

Now the story (I assume some parts are fictional since the player characters talk to each other while nobody else is in the room) which is of course based on a real event that rocked everyone's world in a horrible way. Since this was literally the reason the game was made (to better help people understand why it happened) it's very well done and gives you an unparalleled glimpse into the minds of two kids pushed past their breaking point. At times you might actually feel bad for them having been considered the outcasts at school, sitting alone at lunch wishing someone would notice them. I can recall feeling that way, hating the kids for it, except as my criminal record shows I haven't hurt anyone in my life (or committed a crime for much that matter). The story does have a surprising twist when the boys kill themselves and go to Hell. This part was thankfully added because the part at the school can be finished in an afternoon. I never actually finished this part because it is really hard and if you mess up once you're screwed for the rest of the game. Due to the hellish difficulty of that part I can sadly not tell you how it ends.

Conclusion

As a game it gets too dull too fast, even hell gets boring when you find yourself killing the same enemies time after time. The game needed variety more than anything else and I do feel it could've been polished a bit more in the combat system. It's worth a try if nothing else since it is free and even playing a little will help you better understand the tragic events that took place. It's probably not something you'll finish though, if the difficulty doesn't get you killing the 100th preppy kid will.

Good review done in a responsible and non-inflammatory manner.

Kudos.

Saviordd1:
Good review done in a responsible and non-inflammatory manner.

Kudos.

Thank you, I knew this review would involve some careful wording. Actually cleared this review with Marter before writing it because I knew I'd be walking a very fine line where a single wrong word can lead to horrible consequences.

Haven't actually played the game but I remember reading about it a while back and always thought that the idea of going to Hell would lessen the point somewhat, going all fantasy RPG detracting away from the central issue.

anonymity88:
Haven't actually played the game but I remember reading about it a while back and always thought that the idea of going to Hell would lessen the point somewhat, going all fantasy RPG detracting away from the central issue.

Yeah it does but the seriousness of the first half is really driven home with cutscenes (which are unskippable) and a photo montage showing the aftermath of the actual shooting. It's horrific to witness but really drives home the point of the game.

edit: just noticed I said "drive home" twice, in my defense it was new years eve and I was finishing off a bottle of wine.

I have actually seen the documentary on the game "Playing Columbine" (I saw it on Netflix Instant, not a bad film, really), and I have played the game once. It was a game that has a deeper meaning to it, but it's nihilistic nature (and it's text - The speech made my eyes hurt because the font is so weird) was incredibly difficult to sit through.

I'm not saying it's bad because of it's oppressive nature: It's supposed to be, surely, to convey an idea of what might have been going on in the shooter's heads, and while it isn't the best, I see nobody trying to make a game that touches on the subject that isn't pandering or self indulgent or what have you, and that's kind of where the game works.

I won't judge anybody that can play it and be fine with it, nor will I judge anybody who plays it and hates it. It's a very different sort of game (A case where like The Walking Dead, maybe), it's more an experience then it is a game. That's not to say it's anything like Walking Dead, just that you experience it more than you play it, really. It's broken up by very small "Gameplay" segments to call it a game the same way I press "Play" on a remote to watch a movie, but you aren't really having fun with it, and perhaps in Danny Ledonne's case, it works on that level.

I have nothing negative to say about the review itself, nor can I say anything about the game, I died playing through Hell as well. It is a game that exists, and very little can be said about it than that. To give it a rating is to miss the point of it, it's not like everything you've ever seen, nor is it like a lot of tasteless mods (That's game mods, not moderators), it is what it is.

shogunblade:
I have actually seen the documentary on the game "Playing Columbine" (I saw it on Netflix Instant, not a bad film, really), and I have played the game once. It was a game that has a deeper meaning to it, but it's nihilistic nature (and it's text - The speech made my eyes hurt because the font is so weird) was incredibly difficult to sit through.

I'm not saying it's bad because of it's oppressive nature: It's supposed to be, surely, to convey an idea of what might have been going on in the shooter's heads, and while it isn't the best, I see nobody trying to make a game that touches on the subject that isn't pandering or self indulgent or what have you, and that's kind of where the game works.

I won't judge anybody that can play it and be fine with it, nor will I judge anybody who plays it and hates it. It's a very different sort of game (A case where like The Walking Dead, maybe), it's more an experience then it is a game. That's not to say it's anything like Walking Dead, just that you experience it more than you play it, really. It's broken up by very small "Gameplay" segments to call it a game the same way I press "Play" on a remote to watch a movie, but you aren't really having fun with it, and perhaps in Danny Ledonne's case, it works on that level.

I have nothing negative to say about the review itself, nor can I say anything about the game, I died playing through Hell as well. It is a game that exists, and very little can be said about it than that. To give it a rating is to miss the point of it, it's not like everything you've ever seen, nor is it like a lot of tasteless mods (That's game mods, not moderators), it is what it is.

Going into this I knew the whole concept of school shootings in games had been talked about to death (like when I alerted Mr Tito to http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/108065-Inside-the-Sick-Mind-of-a-School-Shooter-Mod). With the subject matter done in over 800 comments that meant there wasn't really anything I could say on the subject that hadn't been said 20+ times. Knowing all that I decided to go where at least 90% of the Escapist wouldn't and that was into the game to see how it actually played. I haven't played the Walking Dead but from what you said I assume the gameplay parts in Columbine are a bit longer (you can murder everyone in the gym which is a fairly sizeable number of kids without a cutscene).

I do fully agree with calling it more of an experience than a game though that makes the Hell part even more out of place than it already was.

 

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