Shamus Plays

Shamus Plays: Champions Online, Part 6

Shamus Young | 18 Aug 2010 09:00
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I fly out and dig the soldiers out of the piles of snow just outside of base.

"Mister Zombie" is just the sort of thing I was talking about when I mentioned slapstick goofball writing.

The quest works like this: There are piles of snow. You click on them and wait for the progress bar to fill, after which you'll either get a zombie or rescue a soldier. The odds of getting a soldier seems to be about 1 in 3. Fighting zombies is kind of time consuming and annoying because of the way the game clears your target when they go down and then begins regenerating their health. You have to defeat them, then stand there for a few seconds and wait for them to fall down, then re-target them and hit them a few more times to finish them off, after which you get such phenomenally low XP that it's not even remotely worth it.

All of this makes a strong incentive for the player to simply hit & run the snow piles, activating them and then jumping to the next one without even looking to see what pops up. You can clear the mission in about thirty seconds, or you can spend several minutes fighting worthless zombies. This setup isn't a terrible crime, but it's disappointing when a game punishes you for playing your character and rewards you for acting in ways that don't make sense.

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Ravenspeaker must have a world-class case of the goosebumps. Beside him is Lt. Fisher, who hangs around base coughing and asking superheroes to do his job.

Defying all expectations, the writers managed to not name the mountie "Dudley."

Next up, Lt. Fisher hands me a bag of wriggling zombie parts. They need to be "ritually cleansed" to dispel the magic on them. Ravenspeaker set up a summoning circle to the south where you can take zombie parts to cleanse them. For some unfathomable reason, Ravenspeaker placed this circle outside of base. Ravenspeaker is about five feet away and staring into space, but apparently he's still too busy to make another summoning circle inside of base so that mortals can use it without needing to fight armies of terrorists and zombies to reach the thing.

Disgusted with Ravenspeaker's laziness, apathy, and lack of pants, I take the bag of zombie bits and fly to the summoning circle.

Before I can use the summoning circle, I have to defeat Mr. Zombie:

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Wait. You "live" to kill superheroes? An odd assertion for someone named Mr. Zombie. And does fighting superheroes come up all that often? And while we're at it: Why are you even talking in the first place?!?

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Now it's time to fight a zombie wearing a tuxedo and a top hat in the Canadian wilderness. Who is named Mr. Zombie. And who talks. I make a slight whimpering sound as I sustain 500 points of self-esteem damage.

So I give Mr. Zombie a few pops in the face. Then a few more. Then a lot more. Then I look up and notice I've chipped off about 10% his total health. My self-healing powers allow me to keep up with him, but knocking this zombie apart is apparently a long-term project.

Eventually I manage to bring him down. Afterward, I have to run around and do little magical arm-waving gestures around the summoning circle. Then a spirit wolf appears. Then I speak with him, and he nods his head to cleanse the zombie bits.

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