The Ugly Monster
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The Ugly Monster

Playing Every Game in the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

PEGBRJE: Drake and Elephant Hunter Hunter

Pixels to the rescue!

Definitely going to fall down there, it definitely looks safe.

Drake is an adventuring action platformer created by Gawain, an indie dev who also goes by DarkGriffin and operates out of the United States. Players will pilot the pixelated hero Drake, a dragonoid with a sword and fire breath ready to take back his village from invaders.

Players will run through various levels across different biomes, defeating evildoers and rescuing people from captivity while trying to clear out the region and move on to the next. Each area is covered in different platforms to jump across, giving that retro feeling as the camera scrolls to the next area to continue onward.

Drake can double jump to make platforming a bit easier, and his sword is powerful enough to hack through enemies and restraints alike. His special is his fire breath, which incinerates the first person hit by the ability. It can even be aimed ‘downwards’ (it’s a diagonal) to turn it in to a flamethrower, burning through multiple enemies at once. This is limited, as indicated by the number of charges displayed at the top, but more charges can be found while exploring the region or after defeating enemies.

It’s not just the graphical style and presentation that makes Drake feel nostalgic. It’s also in its focus on secrets and hidden objectives. Each region will have a rescued villager outline a new quest to move onwards, such as breathing new life in to chicks with fire. Other quests are not explained explicitly. Those are meant to be secrets that can be uncovered as the game goes on. There is no true ‘direction’ outside of finishing each region, so players can take as long as they need to explore and find all of the hidden goodies.

If you are in the market for a retro adventure platformer, Drake does a fantastic job in bottling that essence. Retro adventures aren’t for everyone, but those that enjoy them will no doubt thrive in Drake.

Gifs are the best.

Elephant Hunter Hunter is an arcade tactical railshooter made by indie dev ‘balmut’ of the United Kingdom. Players are transported in to the future where hunters attack herds of happy elephants for sport and profit. This does not really sound like the future until it you’re informed that the renowned hunter hired to protect these elephants is a dog with a laser sniper and a slew of tech. So yeah, future.

Each level puts the player in the African continent preparing to save elephants from hunters, with a possible debrief from an official before starting. The general screen will contain five numbers highlighted to indicate if certain special abilities are ready. The core of the game, however, will be spent in the ‘Sniper’ mode, which is triggered by the space bar. This zooms the camera/scope in and displays a crosshair, letting players fire at hunters with a one-shot-one-kill mentality.

The crosshair lags a bit behind the mouse placement, giving that sense of a real person trying to move the scope as fast as a mouse can move. Once a shot is fired, it begins to recharge. The player cannot fire again until it is complete. If a hunter was killed, the ‘hunter’ bar in the sniper scope UI will lower slightly to indicate progress. Clear out every hunter, and victory in that region is yours.

Where things start to get heated is when the hunters start getting creative. They’ll begin to send in hovercrafts, jeeps, and airdrops to protect themselves from the dog’s laser sniper. This is where the five abilities come in to play, which can be unlocked in the upgrades. These can include missile-launched shields, pheromones to induce rage in the elephants so they beat the heck out of hunters, increased ammo recharge rate, and even air balloons to take out crates.

Getting these upgrades requires players to perform well in each mission, as each reward is an upgrade point in the form of a dog treat. These rewards are determined by how many hunters were slain, how many elephants were lost, and the total score. There are up to three upgrade points for grabs. Missions are repeatable, so do not fret if you accidentally shot an elephant. But I definitely didn’t experience that.

Elephant Hunter Hunter is an oddly thrilling yet cathartic game. It fits right in with its arcade brethren as a fun way to shoot some bad guys doing bad stuff. It can feel a bit wonky at first. The difficulty can ramp up quick if you speed through the early levels. But the satisfaction you’ll get from taking out hunters cannot be denied. If you are looking for that old-time arcade feeling, you can’t go wrong with EHH.

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Jacob Vorstenbosch

Jacob Vorstenbosch

Just a Game Dev who decided to take on the monumental task of giving an overview of all 59 pages in the bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. We keep going.

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