So I was lying in bed last night, slightly drunk as is my wont on a Saturday night, and just couldn’t get to sleep. After tossing and turning (in the insomniac sense, not the Pee-Wee Herman actor Paul Reubens sense) I decided to have a play on my phone. On the homepage for the provider I’m with, was showing a download for the Watchmen game. Now, I’ve been saying for ages that although I’m behind the film, Watchmen is probably the least game-orientated comic book ever. There’s no way you can condense the themes and structure into a game without disrespecting the source. I mean how can you even attempt to even begin to come up with the game concept. Well, if you were really unoriginal, I suppose a Streets Of Rage rip off with the Watchmen characters in.
After swearing out loud at the sheer audacity at the game and upsetting my neighbours, in my drunken stupor I decided to have a go at the game. Kind of for the same reasons that Mary Whitehouse used to watch offensive telly programmes, to get really wound up. And you know what? It’s a Streets Of Rage rip off with the Watchmen characters in.
Surprisingly, its not that bad a game. As far as mobile games go the graphics are excellent, and even using the fiddly controls of my phone with my big clumsy hands the response works well. I have to say that I got quite caught up with playing it and completely forgot that I was having sleeping issues.
You control both the Nite-Owl II and the Comedian, taking in 1960’s New York and Vietnam with the relevant character, with the other Watchmen characters popping up throughout the game in cameos of sorts. Punching and shooting the enemies who range from Big Figure and his cronies to the Vietnamese (which if I was giving the makers of the game the benefit of the doubt, would say was an excellent satire on the Comedian and his values, but I’m not, so it just seems racist).
Although there are a few Watchmen-like details (particularly the Nixon 4 More Years poster in the background) and setting the game in the Crimebusters (now in the film known as the Watchmen) era of costumed heroes does show a passing knowledge of the book, there are a few issues I have. Mainly that, even though the Comedian would use knives and guns to dish out justice, I have a hard time believing Nite-Owl would pick up a gun and just start shooting enemies. No matter how pissed off he was.
Overall, if the game was based around another story with other characters, I would say this was an enjoyable way to pass the time. But since it’s based on the most revered comic book of all time, it just feels wrong. This is the sort of thing that’ll make Alan Moore totally loose his shit.
The game earns two stars if you love Watchmen, four if you don’t.