Bear in mind that all reviews are subjective, reflective of the author's opinions. This one is no different. You may not agree with those opinions, and that is fine by me. I am not here to tell you what to think. I am actually making the pretentious assumption that you are able to think for yourself. Unlike the creator of Harpooned.
Harpooned puts you in complete control of a Japanese whaling ship chasing down and harpooning whales 'for science'. Each stage of the game gives you a briefing, some garbled nonsense that sets the stage for the killing. Every single line of this briefing is moralistic, politically distorted propaganda that is written to cause the most revulsion in you. It's manipulative, it's one sided and it's disguised as something that could sound funny, if you're willing to just go along with it.
After the briefing, you're let loose in arctic waters, where you have to avoid icebergs (they cause damage, see?) while using your auto-firing harpoon to whittle down whales' health, then collect the pieces of meat left after the whale literally explodes. Why does it explode? It probably looked more revulsive that way. You get bonuses such as 'scientific' for collecting long 'chains' of meat, or 'super scientific' for killing rare whales, 'species' bonus for killing off the same type of whales in a row, and other moralistic garbage that's designed to cause you to laugh at the absurdity of the Japanese.
At the end of a stage, you dock with the mother ship and deliver your unwholesome chunks of bloody meat, which are then tallied as cat food and burgers, before going on to the next stage. Ok, let's stop right there. By this time you're either in complete agreement with what this game has to say, and you think it's a funny way of spreading the word. Good for you. Or maybe you're in complete agreement with what the game has to say, yet find the delivery disgusting. Good for you. Perhaps you're like me, and see that this game is trying to manipulate you into thinking a certain way, by presenting one sided 'facts', cramming its moralistic point of view down your throat and trying to get you to swallow it more easily by masking it as black humour. Do you like being told what to think? That's up to you, but I, personally, abhor it.
Back to the game. If you don't care, one way or the other, about what the developer wanted you to think, do you have a game on your hands that's fun and playable? Well, even though a new element is introduced now and then, such as activists you shouldn't shoot down (you'll lose $500. Yeah, I know...), the fact remains that the only way to actually lose this game is if you deliberately kill yourself. You can certainly get a low score by doing what I did ' killing every activist in sight for being moralist scum. But you still won't lose the game. Why not? Because obviously the developer wanted you to reach the end of the game, so you could see the 'consequences' of your actions and get that final moral statement slammed down your interior.
Sure, you can play this as a regular game and try to get a high score by following the rules laid out for you by the designer. If you don't have a problem being told what to do anyway, this might be just for you. However, even if you do, the fact remains that this game offers no challenge. You could probably play through it blindfolded, if you cared to. Then you wouldn't have to read those overbearing briefings either.
Technically, the game works. Graphics are clear enough, though animations are pretty stiff. Sometimes you crash with whales that you can't see because they're surfacing, but it's a minor quibble. Sound is nothing special, but neither does it get on your nerves. Controls are simple and responsive, and holding down the 'fire' button gets you auto-fire. All fine there.
Conclusively, in my subjective opinion, this is a mediocre game that tries to tell you what you should think about Japanese whaling, by presenting you with one sided, moralistic 'facts' about the subject and trying to make you laugh about it. Whether you think laughing about the subject is distasteful, or you think being told how you should think is distasteful, I urge you to research your own facts and form your own opinions, rather than being influenced by this game. If you completely agree with what the game states and the way it goes about to say it, then go on and play it and take comfort in knowing that there are people who think like you do.
Playability 4 / 6
Idea 2 / 6
Technical Implementation 4 / 6
Game Graphics 3 / 6
Game Musics 3 / 6
Game Extras 1 / 6
Overall Rating 1 / 6
"Harpooned - Japanese Cetacean Research Simulator" is a bitter comment on the Japanese practice to kill hundreds of whales every year for "scientific" reasons. The game is quite cynical and bloody and while it's fun to play on the one hand, you might start thinking about whaling on the other hand. You play the role of a Japanese whaling boat and it's your task to kill as many whales as possible (of course for scientific reasons). But be careful to... (read more)
CWF Crew rating:
(0 of 6)