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The Slacker's Guide - Real Heroes Don't Need Vertebrae: Gish

by Chris Barylick
April 7th, 2006

Every so often, something in video games completely breaks from the mainstream. This may be a complete overhaul of a familiar title, a new way to play a game, or be the introduction of unconventional elements. Chronic Logic's Gish may best fit into the third category if it were to be pinned down.

Completely different from anything you've seen or played, Gish takes the idea of a heroic odd man out and raises it to the next level. The player, as Gish, becomes a mobile, sentient tar ball that must venture to rescue its beloved Brea from her mysterious kidnapper.


Chronic Logic's "Gish".

It's the character that makes things interesting. Despite the classic side-scrolling context, Gish is unlike anything you've ever played before. The protagonist, which has no set body structure, can literally become anything between a liquid and a solid, increasing its density when necessary and sliding between spaces as the situation demands.

Combine this with a strange wall climbing ability (the character extends spikes from its body that help adhere to a wall - from there, move as you ordinarily would, except up sheer surfaces and across ceilings) and "density attack" (land on top of an enemy and increase your density to crush them) and you have a character unlike anything you may have used in a video game.

An original graphic style can carry a game a long way and Gish features about the most original, disturbing, and interesting look I've seen in a long time. Strange, almost cell-shaded 3D graphics and near-stark surfaces catch the eye while bright colors grab your attention where necessary. Enemies look as if they've been stitched together and achieve an almost grotesque effect, while the hero flashes evil grins throughout his movements. Chronic Logic has also added multiple levels, customizable controls, player versus player mode and additional game styles to keep things interesting.

Gish is available for a US$19.95 shareware registration fee and is a 14.4 megabyte download through mofunzone.com. The program expands to occupy 40.5 megabytes when expanded and requires a Mac running Mac OS X 10.1 or later, 256 megabytes of RAM and a graphics card with at least 32 megabytes of VRAM (an NVIDIA GeForce or ATI Radeon) to run.

Chronic Logic has done its homework with this title and completely broken from the mundane in their effort, which has recently been updated to version 1.43 to repair bugs in the game's sixth level. They've done well and I look forward to seeing what else they can bring to the table over the course of 2006.

That wraps it up for this week. As always, if you see anything new, cool or useful in the Mac universe,

.

Chris Barylick covers games for The Mac Observer, and has written for Inside Mac Games, MacGamer, UPI, the Washington Post, and other publications.

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