Marlow Briggs EP6: Marlow Briggs and the Whip of Weapon Upgrade

By Shamus
on Aug 10, 2014
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

66 comments


Link (YouTube)

This episode is two days late because YouTube upload was broken. So that was a great way to waste hours and hours of Josh’s time by making him re-encode and upload a huge video file when the problem wasn’t even on his end. Thanks YouTube!

This game is a poster child for the Quiet Time problem. It looks kind of amusing, but just watching it for an hour is exhausting. It’s a complete sensory overload of flashing lights and roaring explosions and particle effects and flying bodies and spinning platforms. If it wasn’t for moments like the brief block-pushing stuff this would quickly get intolerable. It might not be that bad for those of you watching the game twenty minutes at a time through our show, but I just watched Josh play for an hour and then watched this episode prior to writing this post, and my eyes and ears are sore. I can’t imagine actually playing the game for a couple of hours at a time.

Since none of us have played the game before, and since the story is a hyperactive stream of incongruous destruction, we have no idea where we are. Each week is a mystery. “Will we reach the end this week? Or are we just wrapping up the first act?” No idea!

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From the Archives:

  1. Dragomok says:

    After you start linking to Errant Signal, TotalBiscuit links to Errant Signal. After you introduce us to Super Bunny Hop, TotalBiscuit links to Super Bunny Hop.

    Coincidence?

  2. Ithilanor says:

    So I’m not sure if this is on Shamus or the game designers…but did he say that Montezuma‘s Revenge has a Mayan theme? Good old Mayincatec strikes again.

    • Janus says:

      I support this comment.
      Even though posting a link to tvtropes makes you an evil, evil person…
      Also, I believe I do remember an advertisement for the game praising its “Mayan Theme”, so probably not on Shamus but the games’ marketing.

    • Tizzy says:

      Somehow, this doesn’t disturb me nearly as much as you renaming the series “Treasures on Montezuma” into “Montezuma’s revenge”.

      Makes it sound a LOT less appealing…

  3. Mr Mister says:

    Josh doesn’t take out that helicopter. a giant scorpion jumps into the blades destroying it.

  4. The Rocketeer says:

    Oh God! Crossover idea: Burning Rangers versus Marlow Briggs. Can you keep up with the Sacred Warrior’s infernal rampage?

    And yeah, these twenty-minute snatches of complete insanity might be just the perfect dose of Marlow Briggs. Although cutting the last episode without knowing where that block ended up was killing me!

  5. Izicata says:

    Apparently you can switch between weapon forms with the D-Pad. You know, in case you want to go back to using the skythe or tonfas instead of the bladewhip.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    A whipscythe?Dear god,its a whipscythe!Now you guys have to continue this to unlock the last ridiculous weapon.

    Also,Josh,have you tried opening other spells,or are they locked until some other cutscene?

  7. tomvw says:

    I think I know what game Chris is taking about, it’s Matt Hazard or something like that. Never played it, but I remember the bad reviews it got.

    • Otters34 says:

      EAT LEAD: The Return of MATT HAZARD!!!!

      It’s actually a pretty enjoyable, competent and lightly-humorous third-person shooter. Not as crazy as Mahlow here, but with some nice moments and funny digs at the whole ‘gaming icon’ thing. One problem is that it’s squarely in the “real is brown/gray” age, and that takes some of the fun and light-heartedness out of it.

      It’s about Matt Hazard, an old, veteran FPS hero with a charmingly lunk-head persona, sort of like Serious Sam if he was somebody’s avuncular uncle, and his efforts to not get killed off to make way for a new main character. His managers take a dim view of that and send some broad stereotypes of various video game archetypes after him, along with several warehouses-worth of staple video game goons, including some spare Nazis from old Wolfenstein.

      Not a must-have by any stretch, but a refreshing take on the ‘hunted man strikes against his oppressors along with some mission-control lady’ genre.

      • If it’s the one I’m thinking about, I could barely get through the first chapter. I played it on the 360, so FPS on a console, WHEEEEE!

        Okay, Glorious PC Master Race snark aside, the controls really were awful, and the tongue-in-cheek “I’m a vidya game hero making my career comeback in a VIDYA GAME!” would’ve been funnier if the game itself hadn’t been so blah. Whereas Half Life 2 was a celebration of shooter mechanics, this one was taking the worst and plainest tropes of the genre and trying to cover it up with one-liners about breaking the fourth wall.

        If it had been as ridiculously over-the-top as Serious Sam, I would’ve loved it. But that would’ve required an actually fun game to go along with the conceit behind why I was playing it, and that just wasn’t there.

        • Otters34 says:

          My experiences with it were very short(mostly watching somebody else play it). It’s entirely probable that, along with my own more lax attitude towards such old-fashioned and corrupt notions as integral quality of the entertainment package made the experience better for me.

          And I’m likely much younger than you, PS238Principal, so the “Behold, dear player, this figure knows they inhabit a video game” stuff was new and interesting. Smaller frames of reference can do some weird things.

          • I’m not calling you out or anything, if that’s what you’re thinking. I just thought it wasn’t a good game. I did see what it was trying to do, but I don’t think it succeeded. I think “Last Action Hero” with Ahnold did a better job of what this game was trying to do.

            I’m not sure what it is about your entertainment tastes you think I’m attacking, here.

            • Otters34 says:

              Sorry PS238! Not my intention at all to sound defensive(which I did anyway, it seems, so…yay?). And it’s been years since I played it, so I was unsure if I was just seeing things through a nostalgia filter(yeah, 2009 nostalgia) since you brought up and outlined problems I simply didn’t remember existing.

              Unlike Mahlow, here, whose problems and greatness alike are nothing if not memorable.

  8. Alrenous says:

    I wonder if there’s a market mismatch.

    Perhaps you’re not supposed to play the CoD campaign or Marlow Briggs for an hour. Instead it’s for those who play games in short bursts, like twenty minutes while waiting for friends to arrive before you go out, and similar otherwise-boring fragments of time. For this use, having quiet moments would be detrimental, as it’s possible to start a shard of time in a quiet moment and then not reach the end before you have to stop. If you picked it up because you wanted to hack/shoot some dudes, it would fail you.

    CoD’s length also works better for this. If you have to play the game in snatches, it’s nice if the plot wraps up before you forget the first parts.

    Notably, this demographic typically posts neither analyses nor comments about their games online.

    It’s also possible this demographic doesn’t play CoD or Marlow, sinking this spitballing session.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Just because we don’t play it, doesn’t mean we can’t discuss it.
      I think you have a very valid point. The coherent narrative arcs may be designed around checkpoint length units. Like you say, if the game is consumed in small widely spaced bites, then any complex overarching non-generic plot line would be lost on the audience. This could be a sound justification for NOT deviating from genere tropes.

      Of course, it’s also possible that even a stuttered play through would be better in a game which had some narrative value… If you can’t remember the plot, you won’t mind that it hangs together or not. And then, if you’re someone who cares about that kind of thing, it won’t kill the game for you. I somehow doubt that it’s so much harder to make a game based on a sensible interesting plot than a ludicrously Saturday-morning-cartoonish one.

  9. KremlinLaptop says:

    Thanks a lot Rutskarn! I hadn’t even considered the use of VR as a form of soft-torture and now I can’t stop thinking about it!

    At first I was thinking of just that, using a VR headset helmet thing with noise cancelling headphones to induce nausea and disorientation for hours on end. That’s pretty shitty and mean on it’s own, but the potential for psychological torture is far greater.

    What’s your biggest fear? Spiders, rats, snakes? Ever tightening spaces? Oh look, now you’re sliding down a pipeline with spiders crawling all over it with filthy father rushing by you and the pipeline is getting more and more narrow until finally you come to a stop as it’s so narrow that you’re now stuck. And you hear the skittering of hairy arachnid legs as they come crawling down the pipeline, the faint light from the end of the tunnel illuminating their shadowy eight-legged outlines. Thousands of them.

    And you do that for hours on end during a day. Different things! Until all your fears are dialed into a T … and it’s not torture because it’s just a simulation. Not a scratch on you!

    That idea is just disturbing as all get-out and I hadn’t even considered it. Weirdly I did suggest to a friend that VR headsets could be used for exposure therapy and even help with PTSD sorta things.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “and it’s not torture because it’s just a simulation. Not a scratch on you!”

      Im pretty sure that psychological torture(sleep deprivation for example)is still considered torture,and is against the convention.

      • Tizzy says:

        It is very much torture, but it is: (1) harder to prove; (2) not taken as seriously. Because public opinions have yet to move beyond the “torture means physical pain” idea, many governments feel comfortable using this loophole. They will even go on the record as saying “we do not torture”.

    • Joakim Karlen says:

      It wouldn’t really work, though. You could just close your eyes.

      • The Rocketeer says:

        “Are you watching in there?!”
        “Uh, y-yeah!”
        “Well, you’d better be!”
        “Yes, its, uh, awful.”
        “Yeah, those things give me headaches…”
        “Zzzzz…”

        • KremlinLaptop says:

          Hah, amusing as that is … well between having such a thing strapped to the head for a long time and the noise, etc, I would figure at some point you would have your eyes open.

          And then if you really want to insure it I’m sure there’s any number of ways to insure a person keeps their eyes open. Fairly sure, but I’m definitely not going to google, “how to force someone to keep their eyes open” just because I think I might be a happier human without that bit of knowledge (also ten bucks says most of the results are of college students pulling all-nighters).

          • The Rocketeer says:

            If you hold someone’s eyes open, Clockwork Orange style, they will go blind unless someone manually hydrates their eyes constantly. We know this, because in the shooting of A Clockwork Orange, they actually did use that freakish device to hold actor Malcolm McDowell’s eyes open, and that guy hydrating them with a dropper every few seconds was a doctor actually doing that for real, and McDowell did actually go partly blind because the beartrap scratched his cornea, and that’s no way to treat an eyeball.

            So basically, if you’re going to force someone’s eyes open, you can go ahead and toss the doofy Oculus Rift; you’re already set for the long haul.

            • Aitch says:

              Nowadays it would be possible to create something that could automatically lubricate the eyes. The real trick is having the surface tension of the artificial tears just right to prevent blurriness without the necessity of blinking.

              Of course, if we’re talking about torture here, why not just surgically remove the eyelids and fit modified diving goggles with appropriately shaped lenses that could have tears pumped through them? Have the eye muscles paralyzed from moving past the point of the VR’s field of view, etc.

      • Aitch says:

        Although imagine something akin to the Ludovico technique being modernized.

        Full VR goggles, noise cancelling headphones, cochlear implants, pharmaceuticals delivered via intracranial and intrathecal pump, the ear’s vestibular canals drained of endolymph and filled with something like a ferromagnetic fluid that can be directly controlled, a bodysuit covered in nanotubes to be pumped through with fluid to mimic temperature changes on any scale, able to create mechanical oscillations of delicate and complex frequencies across the body to mimic sensations, fMRI to custom tailor the program in real time, a veritable Nasa command center of doctors, scientists, engineers, all working towards the goal of taking a person on a trip… and it would all be a crude prototype of a baseline model compared to what they could do in the next iteration.

        The souls of Dante’s Inferno never had it so good.

        • The Rocketeer says:

          Of course, if that can be used for torture, it can also be used for vacations to the Kingdom of Chocolate Boobs.

          • KremlinLaptop says:

            At first I was all for the magical Kingdom of Chocolate Boobs … but then I got to thinking about it!

            You touch ’em too much? All your chocolate boobs melt! You eat ’em? Well that’s just cannibalism, my friend (and I only know one person who likes both boobs AND cannibalism).

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        See,the thing about that is that when you are torturing someone,you dont care how comfortable they are.So you can either hold their eyes open(like in the clockwork orange),or if you really dont care for their physical wellbeing,cut off their eyelids.Then all you have to do is drip some saline from time to time to make sure they dont go blind before they watch the whole thing.

        • KremlinLaptop says:

          The thing is that the ‘good guys’ who do torture still have a bit of PR to maintain. That’s why…

          “We used the thumbscrews until he started tellin’ names or his fingers fell off.” Isn’t that good, but…

          “We kept him in a brightly lit room and pumped Justin Bieber at an outrageous volume until he started talking,” is still sort of acceptable. As long as you don’t start cuttin’ bits off of folks I think most people aren’t going to be that outraged by VR being used for this.

  10. lucky7 says:

    When you see a giant bug-YOU MUST WHIP IT!

  11. Radio Silence says:

    So, Rutskarn, would you say Marlow was too Briggs for your puns?

    Also, the helicopter kill at around 12:30, it looks like one of the big scorpions leaps into it’s rotor from atop the temple ruins and that’s what actually kills it.

    Because orange helicopters pretty much exist to be denied avionics insurance.

  12. Cuthalion says:

    This is one of the funniest episodes I’ve seen you do. (Although I think I only actually watched the Skyrim season and a handful of bonus shows.)

  13. @Rutskarn & Shamus

    You guys should colab on a mini-webcomic series called: Mookademy
    Or similar.

    You both had some hilarious small “stories” on how the mooks train/work on the Indefenestrable 3 (sp?).

    So why not make a small webcomic series about that, see where that leads to.

    Maybe it could be two main characters, one in a teacher role another in a student role. With the student being the reader anchor (couldn’t find a better job ended up at Mookademy?) and act as some voice of reason (but goes along with stuff anyway)

    Or maybe two “bros” one insane and constantly being “Hell yeah let’s do this!” and hopped up on caffeine and the other (viewer anchor) being “Dude, what’s wrong with you?”.

    Shamus would be able to sneak in his “You OK buddy?” too I’m sure, and I’m sure Rutskarn is brimming with dialog ideas.

    I guess from the point of view the heroes would actually be the antagonists in this case, question is should the heroes (that the mooks has to face) be true heroes or incompetent ones (so the Mooks has to covertly help the heroes along to their dismay?)

    Also, why isn’t this a movie already?

  14. mhoff12358 says:

    So, the two skeletons in cages blocking Marlow Briggs’ path were Conquista/doors/?
    Eehhhhhh?

  15. Corpital says:

    This game after Skyrim is like eating a piece of bread and then using some habaneros as palate cleanser: a good idea.

  16. Tizzy says:

    Ugh, that repeated bug stomping…

  17. thebob288 says:

    So I just wanted to mention that it wasn’t josh that killed that helicopter it was a flying scorpion making shamus’s comment that the helicopters can’t possible win valid. As proof http://tinypic.com/r/29c4bp0/8

  18. Thearpox says:

    The reason the enemies fight each other, is because they are allied to different Mayan gods, and different Mayan gods apparently do not like each other. At least to me, that seems like a deliberate design decision.

  19. Jamas Enright says:

    According to HowLongToBeat, this game is about six hours long. Josh time not given.
    http://www.howlongtobeat.com/game.php?id=13723

  20. Evilmrhenry says:

    You can tell how far along you are by the upgrades. So far, you’ve gotten 3 of the 4 weapons.

  21. bloodsquirrel says:

    This game is serious Briggsness.

  22. Steve C says:

    Josh started talking about the Berenstein Bears. They never existed. It’s always been the Berenstain Bears. It is a twilight zone problem though since *everyone* remembers differently.

  23. Grudgeal says:

    Clearly, the book should be by Dr. Seuss. It could be called “One mook, Two Mook, Red Mook, Dead Mook.”

  24. WILL says:

    The game is only ~5 hours long, and it has a fun ending.

    You haven’t reached the crazy part of this game just yet.

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