Megaton Rainfall is the most epic video game ever made!
Now I know what you're thinking: "Dusty, isn't that a bit hyperbolic?" No, no it isn't.
The game opens with you in a long rippling tunnel. A deep voice with floating subtitles informs you that it is the creator of the universe and you ... are no longer human. Your ejected from the tunnel, out of a metal cube, and into near Earth orbit. Your limbs and body are now composed of transparent purple energy and the vacuum of space does you no harm. The creator speaks to you out of the cube informing you he's going to grant you the power of super sonic flight. He does and runs you through a quick flight tutorial THAT HAS YOU FLYING FROM SPACE TO EARTH AND BACK SEVERAL TIMES. When you finish flight training the god cube gives you the Megaton Blast which lets you fire energy bolts and that he'd love to explain what's going on but aliens are invading Earth and you have to stop them. Then he splits into three cubes which zip away in different directions at ludicrous speed.
In the city aliens are in fact invading in giant chrome war tripods with heat rays. Luckily, they also made sure make the weak points bullseye red. And here is the core game play mechanic. You are invincible, the aliens and the city are not. You and the aliens have tremendous destructive power. Your health bar is the number of human deaths caused by the aliens and yourself. That's right, if you aren't careful and just spam plasma bolts willy-nilly you'll destroy the city way faster than the aliens ever could. And the aliens seem to know this because they stay evasive until they want to charge an attack. As you destroy war machines different ones with different attack patterns and gimmicks will arrive until you finally blow up the mother ship and get a Xeno-Sphere. After saving the city and getting the sphere you get called to some random, uninhabited location by the Creator who's got more super powers for you. This pattern will hold for most of the games nine missions. Powers include stuff like the Gigaton Blast, Time Stop, and Super Luminal Flight. Fight aliens, fly around, get powers, wash, rinse, repeat.
So what makes the game so EPIC?
Firstly, You are playing as some mash up of Goku, Superman, and Dr. Manhattan fighting off an extraterrestrial force of staggering scale. There are around two dozen enemy types, each with their own gimmick. Some look very much like flying saucers, others look like giant flying mechanical worms, others are giant spinning flower death rays. All of these are destructible and all of them must be destroyed. Your least powerful shot carries enough energy to knock down a medium sized building and your best is equivalent to a nuke. I accidentally destroyed the Taj Mahal. This game is ridiculously cinematic.
Second, the game lets you fly arbitrarily fast. The speed scales with altitude, with your character able to reach anywhere on the planet in around a minute. Even near the ground you can go screaming past sky scrapers at five hundred mph pursuing foes from one end of a city to another. Did I mention that this game can be played with a mouse and keyboard or VR headset. It looks pretty spectacular at in both but the VR experience of flying into the clouds, Earth orbit, the outer solar system, interstellar space, intergalactic, all in a matter of minutes is almost indescribable. And, yes, you read that right. This game has the largest map ever created in the history of video games: OUR ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!! Yes, it's 99.99999999999999999999% barren procedurally generated stars and planets with little to nothing to distinguish it, but I'd argue it has that in common with the real universe. The larger universe exists as a back drop for the entirely optional side quest of finding the Xeno Spheres not already in alien control.
Third, the plot reads like a Sam Hugh's story. The creator made our universe in the hopes that new, strange minds would evolve. He's seeking some kind of mathematical insight into the nature of the multiverse which he believes is composed of a huge stack of nested simulated universes. For whatever reason humans are the top candidate for solving this equation and the E.T. are feeling a bit threaten by our status. The end of the game actually manages to make the rest of the game look paltry in scale but I won't spoil it more than that.
Fourth, the excellent soundtrack. Varied, expansive, and wholly in line with the tone of the game; the soundtrack is small but entirely right for what it's attempting to do. The sound design in general is good though that's mostly limited to explosions, screaming, whooshing, and the various sounds that alien technology makes when it is about to destroy something.
So, does Megaton Rainfall have any flaws?
Oh, yes, many. The graphics look good as a gestalt but if you focus on any individual element flaws become apparent, buildings with odd dimensions, rivers that start and end nowhere, people that look like they came out of a PS 1 game, bizarre shifting clouds, wild flowers growing at the bottom of a blast crater you just made, the list goes on. It's also pretty short. You can beat the game completely in two to four hours. I think it has a great deal of replay value but most of the negative reviews focus on the short length relative to price and I have to admit that it is a valid point at sixteen dollars as of the time of this writing. It's also not easy. Timing and positioning are key, the controls are finicky, and the game really doesn't give you that much leeway with civilian casualties. This is a skill based game with a rather high ceiling and there was at least one mission that I beat my head against. Protip: use the time stop when you are overwhelmed. Could have shaved an hour off my play time if I'd figured that out sooner.
I said at the start that this is the most epic game ever and I stand by that. It isn't the best, nor the funnest, nor even particularly polished. It is expansive and perhaps somewhat empty as a result. It excels at the big picture. If it's not obvious I'd highly recommend it as the only game I know of that will let you stand on the sun and blow up a sierpinski tetrahedron larger than the moon. Find it on Steam here. Trailer here, sound track here.
IRON NODER THE THIRTEENTH