Let's Play Malice
Malice is a 3D platformer with a bit of a history. It was in development for four years, starting way back on the PS1, and went through countless changes before its release. At one point it was even meant to feature Gwen Stefani's voice and music. But as with many other of Argonaut's plans, that too fell through. Why do you need to know this? Because I believe it puts things into perspective when I tell you the game tanked.
While the turbulent development no doubt had its role to play in Malice's reception, I feel the biggest culprit was a changing medium. This game had no horrendously offensive game design, or bugs, or even outdated graphics, but it was thoroughly mediocre. By the time it was released, the world had moved on, and what Malice put on the table wasn't as appetizing as it would've been four years ago. This was the last game Argonaut developed, and in spite of everything I just said, I consider it to be their magnum opus.
So it does have things worth sharing?
That depends on who you are. There are a lot of things I find interesting about it. There's the ancient platforming game design, awkwardly simplistic combat, under-utilized and over-powered magical abilities, confusing pacing, humorous voice acting, and most importantly... surrealistic atmosphere. If there's a good reason to get lost in the Malice, it's how bizarre and transient the universe is. Everything from the backdrops to the characters is hazy and dream-like, with the tone constantly struggling to balance a twisted, forgotten fairytale and questionable humor.
But is it fun?
If you're playing it solely for the gameplay? No, probably not. It does some things right, though. There's variety in locations and objectives, some serviceable boss battles.. but it's all so predictable. You should play Malice for its pretty wrappings, or not at all.
The game's atmosphere really means that much to you?
Yeah, pretty much. I'd even call it a personal classic. The best thing is that the actual game part doesn't get in the way of me enjoying it. No spoilers please.