Friday, June 10, 2011

Movie Mashup 2011 - Ghost-Runner: The 9th Layer

Since I'm involved in a contest that doesn't end until June 1st, 2011, I figured that I would do what I did with Game Chef and do reviews for people who have put forth entries into the Movie Mashup 24 hour RPG competition. I put my game up already, but since I'm not really going to review my own stuff, I'd rather get feedback from other people, I turn my attention to those the other contestants.

I'm doing this because I know that feedback is important, and that it is rather notoriously hard to get. I offer free copies of a book to people who will do a review of the PDF and I still haven't gotten any reviews that fit the contest (though Ed at Robot Viking did one, which is always appreciated).

Anyway, I'll be doing this review using most of the criteria put out by the contest. Copying from the thread here are the criteria for judgement.

Poor you! Our panel of monkeys will be judging you on:
Must include an NPC called Keeton
Proximity: How close to the two films is it?
Complete: Is it complete? Could you run it?
Attractive: Is it attractive to look at?
Professional: How much effort went into layout and style?
Extras: Did they include actual cover, index, character sheet or any other cool things you get in a proper RPG?

Don't worry too much about the Keeton part. That's a running joke on the site.

Today's game is Ghost-Runner: The 9th Layer, submission number two by Shinobicow

Wow. A second one. I know that I want to do another one some time down the road, which might mean never, but doing two in quick succession is impressive even though I did slack a lot and get to this review this late.

Proximity: How close to the two films is it?
It's actually exactly what I'm looking for in regards to what a movie mash up should be. It's got the flavours of both, where you have people who are trying to catch escape ghosts while in a dystopian dark future, but is still its own game with it's own feel. Certainly that feel is slightly more in the path of Blade Runner than Ghostbusters, you are corporate working Ghostrunners whose job description includes hunting down rogue ghosts and demons and vengeful spirits all without raising the alarm to the intentionally ignorant populace.

What I think would have been a nice addition to the world is that instead of having a prophet come out and try to out what was going on, basically that they had discovered a way of bringing back the souls of the dead and putting them into robot bodies, would be that if the fact that this was a secret was of the utmost importance. I think it would add a layer of extra conflict with the players, how do they go about doing things so that the least people are aware of what's happening. What do they do with the people who they find out, do they recruit them or do they "deal" with them to save their own jobs.

Complete: Is it complete? Could you run it?
It's a little on the complicated side since it also mashed up two different rule sets (DOOM8 and FATE) so sometimes the rules get a little, murky. To be fair this may be my stumbling with FATE Aspects, which is what the game uses, rather than anything else.

I know it might be easy to some, I've just tried to work it out in my head and it makes sense but I've never played it so ...

Also, this does create a fair bit of legal text at the beginning of the book. It wasn't a huge problem, but it's still a little annoying when you want to get to the game.

Attractive: Is it attractive to look at?
Professional: How much effort went into layout and style?

It is a pretty attractive product, done up on the standard 8.5" x 11" letter (215.9 by 279.4 mm) format. It's got two columns, and readable fonts and appropriate pictures (which is always harder than people think). However, I'm gonna call Greg out on the Matrix-like green that he ended up using, every single dark future/cyberpunk/dystopic rpg uses that same green colour whenever they do anything now. I was greatly amused when Shadowrun changed to the same cyan that I had used for CyberGeneration because I think they get sick of it too.

The other thing is that there isn't an appendix, only a large ghost like figure that takes up the whole page. I can totally understand that there wasn't time to put something there, but when that's the case cut it completely rather than have an extra page that someone who might hit print will have to deal with. I'm also not a fan of the same image taking up a large part of the character sheet. It's just taking up space without really giving anything to the page.

Extras: Did they include actual cover, index, character sheet or any other cool things you get in a proper RPG?

Yup, there's a cover and a pretty extensive character sheet. The only problem with the sheet is that large ghost like image on the upper right of the first page. Beyond that, it's good!

Would I play it?
Yes, actually. I might not use the same system, I might just go with a straight FATE game rather than this mash up, but the world is totally compelling enough that I would adapt it to my own desires. Good job!

1 comment:

Shinobicow said...

Hey! Thank you very much sir for your kind review. Also, I really appreciate the feedback. I might actually do exactly what you recommended and get rid of the DOOM8 system and adapt the game purely for the FATE system. That might make it a bit easier to run with.

It's very funny about the colors. I was going for the ectoplasm green from Ghostbusters, but it is quite funny that the same green is so prevalent in most Cyberpunk stuff.

Thanks for the review!

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