Discovering Far Cry (four years late)

Off the back of a friend's recommendation, Ryan finally - nearly four years after it first appeared - has got hold of the original Far Cry...

Four years old. Under five quid. Has it ever been bettered?

I know it’s hard to believe, but until last Saturday I was probably the only PC-owning human being in the world that hadn’t played Far Cry. In fact, I haven’t purchased a FPS since the heady days of Goldeneye on the N64 (my rant about the genre can be found here in the dusty archives of this very site). But after a friend’s recommendation, and the sudden realisation that the game can now be picked up for a measly five quid, I finally decided to give Far Cry a go.

Graphically, Far Cry’s still a bit of looker, despite being nearly four years old, the depiction of a sun-soaked paradise, replete with parrots, tropical fish and loads of blue sea is so crisp and colourful I almost expected Judith Chalmers to appear. Sadly, she didn’t – but an army of stereotypical army hardmen did, all yelling eighties movie oaths such as ‘you want a piece of me?’ and ‘your ass is grass’.

It was at this precise moment that I remembered the big reason why I stopped buying first person shooters – I’m absolutely useless at them.

As soon as the first crack of gunfire zips over my head, my co-ordination goes out of the window. I return fire pathetically, the bullets missing their targets by miles and hitting some innocent crates instead.

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My ammo spent without murdering a single enemy, I initiate Operation Leg It, which, for a brief period, works remarkably well; I run down the beach, hurl myself into the sea like a coward and swim off for the nearest island. I follow my on-screen compass to a waiting jeep, which I steal with my trusty F key. Sadly, my driving skills are as appalling as my shooting prowess, and I find myself driving round in circles, bouncing off trees while being shot at by a gathering throng of shouty bad guys.

But then, just when all seems lost, I finally get the vehicle pointing in the right direction (i.e. away from the bad guys) and I set off down a path at top speed. For a moment I think I’m on a roll – I’m running over villains and sending them flying over my windscreen – but then I hit a tree and my conveyance lies smoking and knackered. To make matters worse, two jeeps full of soldiers appear on the horizon, and an enemy gunboat heads in from my right.

Suddenly, I seize the moment and unleash my inner Rambo. I shoot through the windshield of the nearest jeep, killing the driver. I leap into the vehicle, and using the machine-gun mounted atop, I shower my foes with round after round of hot lead. Horrifyingly, every shot misses its target.

In desperation, I fling myself into the sea and swim for all I’m worth, bullets hitting the water all around me. I follow my compass and swim in the direction of a huge, shadowy vessel, and disappear through a hole in its hull.

Despite my utter incompetence and lack of skill, I’ve made it past the first stage.

I am exhausted. I am elated. First person shooters, why did we ever part?

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Far Cry is available on PC for just £4.99. It is, according to Simon, unprintably brilliant. Hurray.