The Let's Play Archive

The You Testament 2

by Daeren

Part 12: Hard Time Update 1: The Shawshank Rederption

Hard Time Update 1: The Shawshank Rederption

Hard Time is one of MDickie's older games. While not nearly one of his first, it lacks the polish that The Making of a Prophet has. No, that's not tongue in cheek. It's actually possible to be less polished than The Making of a Prophet.

If you want to get yourself depressed as fuck about what real life prisons are like look no further than the thread Prison Nation. Here's a hint: they're horribad.

Let's take a tour through the choice bits of MDickie's own preview of it.

MDickie posted:

Welcome To The Jungle
As you may have gathered, this game takes place in the confines of a prison - but it's no ordinary prison! Southtown Correctional Facility is an experimental jail that specializes in short doses of "hard" time. Its inhabitants are locked up for a matter of months rather than years, but rehabilitation comes thick and fast courtesy of a strict (and violent) regime. The game plunges your customized character into this world and challenges you to guide him through to his release. What ensues is an amalgamation of practically every game I've ever made! The survival concept of Wrecked returns to form the backbone, the fighting gameplay and improved visuals of World War Alpha put meat on the bones, and the deal is sealed with the RPG-style character building and conversation-driven storylines of the sports games. All of which fuse together to produce the biggest, deepest, and most visually appealing project yet...

He's not joking. The sentences they give you are utterly absurd. Also, conversations from a SPORTS game?

MDickie posted:

Like most third-person adventures, this game uses a "turn & advance" movement system to allow you to face any direction and approach any part of the scene with pinpoint accuracy (as in Wrecked). It makes the fighting a little stiffer than wrestling fans may be accustomed to, but exploration becomes more important in a concept like this. Most locations have interactive areas - such as chairs and beds - that can be accessed by repeatedly walking against them (much like the doors). To return to your feet you simply press any direction again, and can then carry on strolling around the scene. Meanwhile, the camera constantly follows in the most appropriate way possible. Instead of offering you a wide range of optional camera angles, this game uses one preset "over-the-shoulder" angle for movement and then automatically lurks closer when you're performing automated tasks - such as working or resting...

Yes, because fucking tank controls were fresh, innovative, and new when you published this in 2007. Especially when the camera is even more of a sack of dicks than it is in Making of a Prophet, and it's still assigned to the mouse.


Parallel Universe
As if the game wasn't big enough already, it goes beyond the preset universes of Wrestling Encore and Booking Encore to allow 3 separate games on file - each with their own unique cast of characters! Although that would be a logistical nightmare on paper, some clever programming makes it happen effortlessly and with no negative effect on the game's performance. However, that's not to say that good performance is guaranteed. Like many recent games, the sheer scale of this concept means that a powerful computer is needed to run a 100-man prison population. You have the option to choose how many you want though, so you can cut the population in half in an attempt to create your ideal scenario. Plus there are all the usual resolution and graphical detail options, which allow you to squeeze the best out of your system...

Yes, folks, he's bragging that he figured out fucking save slots in 2007.

Let's move on.

I'll get this out of the way: due no longer having the ability to pause between lines of conversation, I had to use IrfanView to get the screenshots. Apparently, this game hates IrfanView. Therefore, many screenshots are a little screwed up. I apologize, but I refuse to play through this game again.

Anyway, as you can see, you can pick a name, your height, your stats (20 spare points, can lower any stat to 30 for more), and your crime. Crimes in this game have an ascending order of badness, and the badder the crime, the more time you serve for it. The least bad crime is fraud, and the worst is terrorism. Also, other criminals will either call you a sissy or a monster. This makes conversations like "You think you're a big man for doing time for prostitution? Well I'm in here for VANDALISM, and that's even worse!" pretty damn hilarious. You can also commit crimes - lots of crimes, in fact - in prison, which can get you dragged in front of a judge again.

Did I mention MDickie's face files were pretty much the same file format back in 2007?

Cause they totally were. MDickie's weird pixel mouth thing is in this game, but he hadn't developed the horrible shrinking and expanding soulless eyes thing, so they're just painted on. They can never close. Ever.

Hmmmm. En Sabah Nur's missing ne sais quoi....

Here's the loading screen. We'll be seeing this a lot. Well, I will. Because I'm nice and cut out the metric asston of loading screens for you guys.

Those four identical rooms on each side are the four cell blocks. The big room up north is the exercise yard, the room on the west side is the cafeteria, the south two rooms are the hospital and bathroom, and the two east rooms are the study and workshop. The big middle room is the main hall.

Yes, it's seriously called the Court of MDickie.

I picked rape as my crime, it's the middle of the road in badness. No, really.

I find you GUILTY and sentence you to 50 days in Southtown Correctional Facility! That may not be 'long' time but it will be HARD time! You'll be lucky if you survive...I'm now handing you over to the wardens, and they'll help you settle into your new home...

Take TWO shots. And yes, we seriously just got a month and a half in the slammer for rape. Truly, this is the horrible dystopian nightmare world MDickie said it was.

En Sabah Nur's face is going to continue to be a goldmine. ESPECIALLY with the shades.

So, we're unceremoniously dumped into the main hall and met by an anime nerd.

That means you're in Cell 15 of the South Block, so head over there and make yourself at home...

Take - you know what, fuck it, just drink constantly through this entire intermission. Practically every other LINE ends with an ellipsis in Hard Time, and the drinking will probably soothe the pain.

So here's the HUD, if you can call it that. Our money, all our stats, health, and sanity are shown, along with the time and number of days left in prison. Strength makes you punchier, agility makes you faster, intelligence makes you thinkier. Reputation changes how inmates and guards deal with you: the higher your rep, the more you're seen as someone not to fuck with, but the guards dislike you. Also, you might notice the guards beating the stuffing out of each other. The "kick ass all the time" code is going strong, and if a guard takes another guard's stuff, they'll start fighting to the death. This, sadly, is the game where Making of a Prophet and You Testament got their guard code from. MDickie actually improved it in the meantime.

You're now in Cell 19 of North Block, so head over there and make yourself at home...

Not even a few moments later, the anime nerd comes back up to us. The guards will arbitrarily change where you live every now and again for absolutely no reason.

Since we live in North Block now, I now have glorious orange pants.

Ooh hey, what's this?

Awww yeah. A comb. Combs let you change your hair style and color with the arrow keys once you stand still with it long enough. However, I am a fan of our bitchin fro.

Over here we have a computer where prisoners can apparently look up everything about other prisoners if they pass an IQ test.

Also, my stats changed. They'll keep changing till they're 99 cause I am going to cheat like a bandit to get through this quickly.

Apparently the thing works with a pool cue stuck in it, too. Note it mentions 'gang.' I'll get to that in a while.

Wow, that's...that's classy, MDickie. Real classy.

Oh what now?

Done. This'll get us a day off our sentence, and if we ignored him (or couldn't do it) we get a day added to our sentence.

This is our cell block. Pretty sparse for a crime-ridden hellhole world.

Sleeping makes time pass very quickly, and increases your health and happiness.

At 7 sharp, there's a very annoying BRAAAAAAANK and the intercom yells at us.

There's not much to do, but you can occupy your mind by watching TV or using the computer...It's worth keeping an eye on the phones, too. We get some interesting calls around here...

The phone does indeed ring randomly, but most of the calls are for other people. Let's keep exploring!

You can rest your bones on one of the beds, or help the healing process along with a dose of drugs...If you know what you're doing, you can even make some money by concocting the chemicals!


Wait a second, did a warden just tell us to make money by dealing drugs!?

This terminal functions like the other one, only it tells us the strength, agility, health, and happiness of inmates.

That sign says "Don't Serve A Death Sentence! Sleep off your aches and pains in the medical bay...". Yes, he even has the '...' on SIGNS. Also, there's heroin all over the floor.

Mmmm. Heroin. Take me away from the land of shitty games. Opiate needles make your happiness crash down (what) and your health increases.

We are, sadly, too stupid to make drugs from random OPIATE SYRINGES lying around.

Here's the entrance to the Bathroom. No nudity allowed, apparently.

And here's the bathroom proper. There's nobody in here to give us the intro right now, but the long and short of it is there are never any guards in here, so you can do whatever you want in here.

The sign wasn't joking: showering removes the blood and scars from your character model.

Oh hey, bathroom floor cigarettes! Breakfast of champions.

Mmm. Tastes like everything-cancer. Cigarettes drain your health but increase your happiness by an absurd amount. Hey, wait, is that what I think it is behind me?

Free shower beer! You know, maybe prison won't be so bad after all.