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Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter

by Tin Tim

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Original Thread: A Magical Space Adventure With Henry Rollins - Mace Griffin: Bounty Hunter



You know what's cool? Space! Don't try to act like it isn't, because you know damn well that it is. Space has aliens, lasers, spaceships, funky planets, and lots of rocks floating in an endless void. If you don't think that's cool, then you should see a doctor because you're broken. But you know what's also pretty cool? Bounty hunters! Gruff people that live a life on the edge, always on the hunt for some perp and the money on its head. Shooting guns, getting in fights, drinking in shoddy dive bars, being the strong arm of the law, that's the good life! Now, if you are at least a little bit like me, you probably think that it would be sweet to combine those two cool things, right? Boy, do I have good news for you!

Somewhere around the year 2000, Warthog Games had the same idea. They wanted to make an open world game about being a bounty hunter in space. At some point, they seriously described it as "GTA in Space!" The game was supposed to have a reputation system to represent your standing in the galaxy, and catching bounties would make you climb up the ranks. There was also some kind of plot that the player would get roped into along the way. And to sweeten the deal, your character had a big Mexican hat, a popped collar, a slick visor, and a small cape over half of its torso. The ultimate space cowboy outfit, if you ask me. But for some reason that didn't work out, and the game was redesigned. Kind of a shame, because the initial idea was rad as hell.

Anyway, what the game ended up being was a mediocre FPS, that wasn't very successful after its release for Playstation 2 and Xbox in 2003. A year later, the promised PC port came out, and the planned Gamecube version was quietly canned somewhere in between. Oh, the cool cowboy outfit was also scrapped, because the developers wanted to make the main character more accessible or something like that. They also enlisted Henry Rollins as the voice actor, and he has the acting talent of a brick in this game. The main selling point was the seamless and fluid transition between space and foot combat, and it's also the only thing that makes this game stand out a bit. Space combat plays a pretty big role, and is honestly fun and well executed for the most part. But on the other hand, the game has a bunch of problems, questionable design choices, wonky mechanics, and the PC version comes with its own list of bugs and glitches. Also, the PC version has lots of signs of being a shoddy port!

Yeah, I enjoy this game, but I'm also honest enough to say that it's not that good overall. However, it still has its moments, and a lot of the elements are neat and deserve to be seen. It just falls short when you look at the bigger picture. Still, I think we'll have a fun ride with this! At the very least, we can chuckle at Rollins trying to portrait a hard boiled space bounty hunter.

The background for our story begins 400 years into the future. Having pioneered warp drive technology, mankind has fully explored the Solar System, along with terra forming a number of its planets. Beyond this, a number of neighboring systems have also been chartered. Most contain nothing but lifeless rock, but two of these systems, Dela and Hasali, prove to be rich in resources and life forms. For the first time humans make contact with a number of alien life forms, some of whom get mad at over-zealous colonialists who corrupt and exploit the native species. But 400 years later, the human colonists have become fully integrated with the indigenous life forms. The political and commercial power-bases are established back on earth, but have branches that span all three systems, and employ members of all races. The dominant races are Human, Jaldari, and Valleakan. And with the three systems now fully colonized, the big corporations look out for virgin territory.

The Tannan Corporation, the largest conglomerate, launches a series of probes through a prototype light gate, and the Vagner system is discovered. The stampede into the Vagner system has much in common with the North American land rush, but this time instead of homesteaders and prospectors, it's huge conglomerates battling over land and mining rights, with smuggling cartels and pirate clans fighting over whatever's left. It's a new frontier where rules don't exist and everyone's out to make a fast buck. To counter crime, a police force known as Enforcers are established, and sponsored by the major corporations to protect their interests, on the condition that they will also protect law abiding traders and settlers. This motion comes from the political body called the High Senate, who also put in place an elite military service called the Rangers, whose job is to monitor the Enforcers and tackle some of the more serious criminals.

We'll be following one such Ranger, named Mace Griffin. What starts off as a normal search and rescue mission, quickly goes south and leads to the loss of his whole unit. But to make matters even worse, Mace is blamed for the whole thing and sentenced to ten years in prison. After his release, he has changed, and so did the galaxy. The Rangers were discredited and eventually disbanded, and the Guild of Bounty Hunters rose in their place. Since the Enforcers were hopelessly overwhelmed with the task of keeping the Vagner system safe, the Guild now does was the Rangers used to do. Though, the Guild is much less concerned with upholding the law or monitoring the Enforcers, and mainly looks out for profit. Mace is out for revenge for being framed, and joining the Guild is his only way to get started. But while he tracks down the pieces of his past, he slowly stumbles into something larger, and much more sinister.

Since the PC version is a shoddy port, I have very little control over the internal audio settings. There are only two sliders, one for the music, and one for everything else. This is kind of a problem, because the internal mix is also terrible. Dialog is often pretty quiet, while other sounds just spike the hell out, and there are no subs in this game. I'm doing my best to fix that with editing, but there are lots of cases where I just can't do anything about it. Like, when somebody is talking and suddenly a noise spike comes from out of nowhere. The intro in the first proper episode is a pretty good representation of what I mean. This is just fyi, and I'm honestly doing what I can to counter it. I thought about adding subs myself, but I already put a lot of time into the videos. Making subs on top of that, would likely either kill my motivation, or make the updates come at a snail's pace. Sorry, not gonna happen. Though, if there is a particularly bad case, I may jump over my shadow and do it for that part. We'll see!

This game has a pretty standard orchestral soundtrack. Don't get me wrong, it isn't bad, but it's just bland and you probably heard similar tracks before. That's why I decided to turn it off, and replace it by music of my own choice! I'm going to stick to Synthie music, since I think that it just fits this game. It's also a cool genre that needs more love. And if you by chance have watched my Shogo LP, you'll know that my taste isn't garbage. If you didn't, then you just have to trust me, okay? I'll always credit all the songs at the end of each epsiode, and you can pretty much find all of them on Youtube. I'm no audio engineer, so my mix probably isn't perfect. But I've spent a lot of time to create a baseline that should be fine for most people/sound systems. If you have a problem with my mix, or just an opinion about it, go ahead and say it! I'm always open to improvement.

This is going to be a pretty chill thread, where we can chat about music, space, bad FPS games, and maybe bounty hunting? I'll probably even post a few rad tracks every now and then, and don't mind other folks doing it. This shouldn't devolve into a PYF thread, but as long as all of us have fun, I'm cool with it. Except,


The story isn't going to blow your mind, but should still be experienced without interference. So please don't ruin our space mystery.

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Burn, baby, burn.

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It's the mysterious exploding, un-exploding man!

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