There are a couple of people in the world that I literally can not imagine my life without. A few months ago, one of these people told me that he was taking me to see a film. I was okay with this, despite having no prior knowledge of the film in question. He told me it would be fantastic, and I chose to believe him. That film was Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, and he was right: it was utterly magnificent.
Alongside the film, they released a game that we’ve been playing over the last couple of weeks. It’s a simple enough game, and, beautifully, it puts me in mind of all those lovely little beat-em-ups I enjoyed so much as a kid.
Does anybody remember Double Dragon? Now there was simplicity at its best. One button punched, the other kicked and both together did a flying kick. All of this on a scrolling 2D landscape? Sounds like heaven to me. Yes, the film adaptation was little more than a joke, but you can’t really hold that against Double Dragon, can you?
Golden Axe was another one that I devoted a healthy chunk of my life to. I played the dwarf, with the axe and the lightning special attack. I don’t know why, especially not now, but he just seemed much tougher than the alternatives, and I wasn’t really into playing female characters at the time, since they were always built weaker. It seems to be an accepted paradigm that your female characters will always be weaker than the male ones. The fantasy elements of Golden Axe held quite the draw for me.
That was nothing though. No game held my complete devotion like Streets Of Rage. I still come back to it now, to take Axel everywhere from boat to skyscraper. I used to love throwing people from that outside elevator on level seven. I still do. My love affair for Streets Of Rage extended as far as the second game, but the robot with the extendable arms and old man face very much turns me off the third one.
Scott Pilgrim has that old Streets Of Rage magic, but with good old RPG style stat boosts and level ups. Everything from the soundtrack to throwing weapons takes me back to my childhood and, for a writer, that’s where all imagination lives. Even if it is a game of repetitively beating the crap out of anything and everything, that’s enough for me.
It’s anger management in its purest form, and I love it.