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Catechumen thrown to lions

Readers thumbs down for Christian game

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Are Christian games better than secular shoot'-em-ups?

The Christian game Catechumen did not overly impress members of our forum (registration or guest access required), nor our readers who dutifully downloaded it at their own expense. Thanks to Andy Bird for this analysis:

Oh my God! (blasphemic pun intended) I almost feel sorry for these people. That was the most embarrassing thing I have ever played....

Lets us start at the beginning..... I do not normally rush out and download any old game that pops along but as a theologian by trade (well, theologian turned IT consultant but let's not quibble) I had a certain professional curiosity regarding your article about a so called Christian game.

To start with things were looking good - left the download over night (I love NTL) and fired it up in the morning. Nice splash screen. Looking quite professional. Graphics menu? Was expecting some software only driver aka wolfstein3d but no there is a DX driver but resolution support only goes up to 1024/780. First warning sings of what was to come. Then into the game..

Well actually Wolfstein is about the right mark. It feels like you are playing Doom with slightly better texturing and rendering. The thing is so fast when you move the character around this guy must be on some Roman derivative of speed. If I was to start a game along these line the obvious thing to do would be to buy into the Unreal Engine which would have suited the atmosphere they are trying to create a treat. It would also have given the user a greater control over their environment.

Which leads to the biggest let down in the game - the user interface. Now in American terms - THIS SUCKS. You would think that after all we humans have learned about interacting with 3d environments (Half Life, System Shock, Thief, Deus Ex) this would be quite easy to implement. Apparently not. To pick up a key YOU WALK OVER IT!!! Good grief, manic miner or what. No fancy interaction with the environment, no animated hand that reaches out and picks up an object. Nothing. To open a door do you select a suitable key activate it? Nope. You walk into the door - Doom style. Arhhh. This is really poor.

The interaction with other characters is shocking. The 1st two Roman guards you meet just stand there and repeat at random 'what are you looking at', badly. Mind you the lip sync is good but apart from that they look like statues.

When you meet an Angel (as you do) in the 1st 30 seconds of the game he gives you a sword, the graphical representation of which is appalling. The game goes down hill from this point.

"Graphically it's as good as anything in the secular market," said Clare. "It's very playable without the violence." - err I think not. Maybe 3 years ago the 1st claim would have stood up. The latter would not have stood up against some BBC games.

"A downside for some gamers out there might be that Newsday's titles don't feature any gaming stereotypes. These include "fourteen-year-old Japanese girls with huge bosoms," says Clare." Unfortunately, this whole game is a stereotype (well parody would be more accurate) from beginning to the end of the demo and would be better realised as a mod to any of the games mentioned above created in some talented kids bedroom not a realistic attempt at entering the gaming market. As to the theological/historical angle I was looking for to redeem it that all disappeared with the entry of the Angel and the talk of possessed Roman soldiers.

Marks out of 10? 2/10 for the cheek of it..... Hang on a minute..... I have just found the following on their website - "£39.95 Inc-Vat + £2.50 P&P UK Only" ..... Make that 1/10

Good work that man. Even the Christians are non-plussed, Byron Hummel included:

Hey Concerning Are Christian games better than secular shoot'em ups? no so far they aren't. I'm Christian myself and I still think the suck. I checked out that demo and its pretty gay, and the whole bit about the games causing the school thing is BS. Apparently they didn't hear about the study that was just completed that said computer and video games do not cause kids to be violent.

Are you sure you mean gay? Well said about kids and computer games. It's a point taken further by Kevin J.Hatch:

I just had to post a comment about this one: "Derek Clare is of the opinion that Doom played a big part in the Columbine tragedy." Every time I see that reference I'm remembered of the day when it happened and when I first heard the list of games, including Doom, that said those kids played.

Problem is almost all of the games, including Doom, were obsolete by YEARS at the time of the incident. The last couple years haven't seen a lot of innovation, but back then every new major release changed the face of PC gaming forever. Of all the gamers I knew then, none of them would be caught dead playing old stuff like that. Every title listed was obviously picked for it's "evil-like" connotation. It just so happened that at the time the newer, more popular games had more friendly names.

So while the media latched onto Doom and the like, I still don't believe any of those kids played Doom anytime near the event, if they even played those specific games at all.

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