Adv: Gish [by Chronic Logic]
Game Review: Gish
Release: May 04, 2004
System Requirements: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, 1000 mhz+ Processor, 32 MB Video
In preparing for the
2004 Independent Games Festival, I had to play a lot of games to get a
feel for what was at the festival. In so doing I had the opportunity to
play Gish, and it was at that moment that I realized that 2004 was going to be a
banner year for Indie games. I'll make no secret of it and state it
clearly at the front of this review. Gish is one of the best games to come
out in a very long time and instead of reading this review you should be heading
over to the Chronic
Logic website and plunking down the $20 to buy the game right now.
For those silly enough to keep reading let's talk a little about Gish.
is a ball of tar. Normally a ball of tar doesn't pose much threat, but
take his girlfriend away and you end up with one bad mother you don't want to
mess with. Gish's basic abilities lead you to being able to do many
different things in the game and help to provide the many challenges that are
present throughout the levels. For example, as a ball of tar Gish can be
slick or sticky. By becoming slick, Gish is able to compress his tar into
small places and slip his way through the sewer in pursuit of those who have
taken his love captive. Becoming sticky allows you to grab onto walls,
ceilings, platforms, enemies and just about anything else that you can think of.
Instead of just jumping onto your enemies and squashing them into a bloody pulp,
which is an option, you can become stick, then moving with them through them up
into the air towards a block that will lead them to their demise. Being
sticky also allows you to climb walls to new areas, or use the ceiling to avoid
In and of themselves, those abilities are only a portion of what you will run
into while playing the game. The basis of Gish is the physics and that is
where the game play takes a turn that is so fun and different that it is
absolutely impossible to describe it in writing. Objects in the game react
of course due to their physical interactions with other objects. However,
in Gish all those interactions are heavily based on physics. Instead of
having having a suspended platform that just tilts and moves based on where you
are standing on it, you have a plat form that if you jump too high off of and
land too hard on, will actually break away from its support and fall. That
doesn't but start to explain how physics works in the game, but it gives you a
little idea of what you are up against. (the real thing you need to do
here is play the game...just do it! :)
Alright so where was I...
Back when I was in junior high and high school there was a big buzz about Super
Mario Bros. During lunch breaks everyone would get together and talk about
where the secrets could be found. Upon finding out about warp zones and
invisible bricks that launched vines into hidden cloud bonus levels I knew I was
hooked. It was really at that point that games took a big step beyond
games like River Raid and Pac-Man. Those who knew the secrets and found
them were king. Even after time passed there were still secrets to be
found like the so-called negative levels in SMB.
Times have changed since then and as we've moved to 3D gaming, that feeling of
knowing where the hidden treasures in a game are has really vanished with the 2D
world. With Gish set in the 2D world, Chronic Logic has gone a great ways
towards reviving that great feeling behind finding things on each level that you
wouldn't have expected to be there.
Each level in the game has secrets that can be found. What's more, at the
end of each level during your points wrap-up, you'll be shown how many of the
secrets you actually found. This is really cool as it provides the player
a lot of fun in replaying the levels while they try to find each of the hidden
areas on each level. However, as cool as that is, they are nothing
compared to the "Warp Zones."
level set has a warp zone hidden somewhere in it. The knowledge of the
Warp Zones is prized information, and even in the forums on the
Chronic Logic website
only some of the Warp Zones have been discovered. What is extra cool about
these warp zones is that instead of playing through them like a normal Gish
level, they actually transport Gish into pseudo-representations of games of
yesterday, such as Super Mario Bros. or Pitfall.
Beyond the ultimate thrill of finding the Warp Zones, Gish also provides end
bosses and 'ride' levels in each of the 5 board sets. The end bosses
provide a challenge, but it is the 'ride' levels that really show off how the
physics behind Gish make the game so cool. Using objects like a Mine Cart
(which btw is playable in the demo) or moving platforms, you start the level by
putting your ride into motion, and then you must use your momentum and good
sense to survive the rest of the ride. Difficult to explain, but truly
wonderful to play.
So for whatever reason you have read the review all the way to this point.
I really don't know why, maybe you needed something to do while downloading the
demo and the gameplay trailer. If that is the case that look forward to a
truly singular experience that is the best that gaming has to offer, and that
statement doesn't limit this game to just the indie world. For those who
aren't downloading the game at this moment, all I can say is get to it, you
won't be sorry, this is the gaming experience of a lifetime.
The graphics of Gish were one of the most notable changes since we played the
early beta version that we
It just goes to show how good a game can look without it even being "3D."
In Gish there are a lot of effects that are used to show off the ball of tar.
There are multiple light sources on the levels which shine off of Gish in a very
nice fashion that makes it all the more believable that you are controlling an
actually ball of shiny tar. In addition the different light sources are
used in conjunction with the many breakable bricks on levels and moving items to
cast light streams across the boards in a way that makes things look more
interesting. The parallax scrolling backgrounds are also a nice piece that
add depth to the overall presentation. Of course all of those things say
nothing at all about all the well-drawn characters in the game, first of all
being Gish, who with mostly eyes and teeth present one of the memorable
characters in recent history.
I really didn't get into the first sound track, but that doesn't speak anything
about its quality, which was quite high. In fact all the sound tracks are
of stellar quality and in my opinion only get better as the game moves onto
levels deeper in the bowels of the sewer. In addition the sound effects
added in will help you feel some of those splats that you make with your ball of
The one area I ran into a little trouble with was in controlling the character.
Gish is controlled using four different buttons on your controller, which can be
confusing for those just starting out, and perhaps even a detractor for those
who only play the demo. Controlling Gish is much more art than science.
Since the game is based entirely on physics every action you make has a
reaction. Those who are expected to stop moving when they stop pressing a
specific direction or who expect to quickly turn around and shift their momentum
in the opposite direction will find that there is definitely a learning curve
required to complete these steps accurately. This is not to say that the
Game Control is difficult. It does take some learning, but how often have
you ever had to control a ball of tar in a video game previous to this one?
The reality is that much of the charm in Gish is learning how to put his
abilities to their best use.
Anyone who has played this game will find themselves trying desperately to
explain what the game is like, using other games to try to explain it and
realizing that they are failing by so doing. Gish is a one of a kind game
that must be seen and played to be understood and appreciated. It is quite
unlike anything you've ever played before and clearly one of the most original
games created in recent history.
As mentioned previously, Gish, much like Charlie II, has brought back a lot of
the fun that we used to have in gaming. Instead of just having more than
50 different levels to play between several different modes and versus games
that honestly are good enough that you could play them for hours all by
themselves, Chronic Logic has gone to great lengths to provide players with many
hours of fun as they attempt to uncover secrets hidden throughout the game and
the ever cooler warp zones. The number of hours you can spend playing this
game and the quality of that time make the price a steal!
Working for Game Tunnel I see a lot of games pass through my computer.
However there are precious few that I try to press visitors to my house to play.
Gish has been one that I talk everyone into playing when they come by and I've
not yet seen anyone who didn't instantly think it was one of the most fun games
they've played. Who would have ever thought that controlling a bar of tar
would be such a cool experience? Though getting through some of the more
difficult levels in the game can be challenging and perhaps even a little
frustrating at times, there is so much fun to be had in the game that it turns
even failures into a good experience.
Without a doubt Gish is one of the best games that has come out in a long time
and it easily becomes the first game of 2004 that we award a 10 to. The
award is well earned as Gish is a game that you cannot go wrong with. In
fact the only negative I really see in the game was that the demo doesn't really
give you a glimpse of how good the game really is. I would strongly
recommend that you check out the game play video as it shows a better glimpse
into the world of Gish...and what a wonderful world it is!
June 5th 2004Reviewer:
Russell CarrollScore: Related Link: Download Gish Now!Hits:
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