CID the Dummy Wii
Just when games like House of the Dead: Overkill and Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars start to re-affirm your faith in the potential of Wii games; something like CID the Dummy comes along and smashes all of your hopes and dreams into tiny little pieces.
Perhaps naively, I was actually cautiously optimistic about playing this game. The press releases I had read had given the impression that the plot held some intrigue, and that the characters would make the most of the original premise. I was wrong.
Title character CID is a Crash Impact Dummy, spending his life being bashed about in the name of safety. He longs to escape the drudgery of his existence, and when his creator, Professor B.M.Werken, sends him on a life-threatening mission to save his daughter, CID is only too eager to accept.
Unfortunately, the experience of playing CID isn’t too different from the continuous, repetitive physical abuse of being a crash dummy. Whoever voiced the Professor’s character seems to empathise with your plight, as every line of dialogue is spoken in such a squeaky, wavering voice that it’s clear his balls are being slowly crushed whilst he’s talking.
At its heart, CID is essentially a 2D-action platformer, as it makes no worthwhile use of the third dimension in gameplay. Unfortunately, this game is stuck about eight years in the past in more ways than one.
Graphically, CID resembles an early PS2-era title, and the enemy and level-design goes back much further into the annals of gaming history than that. Obstacles to jump over include electric barriers, saw blades, spikes, rolling logs, pools of acid, flame vents and every other generic platforming deathtrap of the last twenty years. The jumping physics aren’t enjoyable in the least, with CID floating upwards and then plummeting towards the ground like a sackful of dead pigs once he reaches the apex of his jump.
So far, so yawn. But surely some redeeming factor could be made from the originality of the Crash Dummy character and the Wii’s unique control scheme, right? Wrong again. The only Crash Dummy-related move that CID has is bashing his head through a wall to break it. This is used infrequently and is neither entertaining nor challenging.
The rest of the game certainly can’t be accused of lacking challenge, as the horrible controls and bad game design conspire against the player to make CID more frustrating than a baby that won’t stop crying no matter how hard you shake it.
CID’s basic attack is supposedly Kung-Fu punching, but if swinging your fists side-to-side like an angry monkey is Kung Fu, then consider me a martial arts master. This attack can only be activated with a vertical waggle of the Wii remote. Not the more natural-feeling horizontal waggle, or a more forgiving general waggle, ONLY a vertical waggle. The slight delay between you performing the action with the remote, and CID performing the command is infuriating, and often your gesture will fail to even register at all, leaving you flailing around like an epileptic caught in the glare of a strobe light.
Surely it’s a relief then that CID is equipped with a handy bazooka, so that he can simply attack from a distance? Wronger than obese mature porn. Some bright spark developer had the great idea that to equip the bazooka, the player must hold down the A button and perform a gesture with the Wii Remote as if they were hoisting a bazooka onto their shoulder. This terrible idea (which usually takes several attempts to register on-screen) wouldn’t have been so bad if you didn’t have to do it every few seconds.
The bazooka, which fires kid-friendly rubber bullets, is the preferred way of attacking. But almost every other action cannot be performed without first un-equipping the bazooka. Just to pour some salt into an already gaping wound, the developers decided to include some completely unnecessary pointer control too. So once you’ve put your remote on your shoulder, you have to spend a few more seconds aligning the pointer, and by that time, you’re often dead.
The game would clearly work just as ‘well’ without these stupid controls, as you can’t even shoot enemies unless you’re on the same level as them and facing towards them anyway. You know Wii controls are bad when you’re longing for a DualShock controller in your hands. In fact, if you’re playing this game on PS2 you can almost certainly add another point to the score.
There’s a good reason that very few games released nowadays no longer implement a lives system. That was all well and good in the days before you could save your game, so games naturally were often shorter, and giving players a limited number of lives was a good method to prolong the gaming experience. Apparently someone at Twelve Games has taken too many blows to the head as research for CID, as losing all your lives forces you back to the main menu where you must reload your game and replay the whole level again.
CID doesn’t even start you back with your original five lives when you get a Game Over, it gives you a single life to retry with, thus making things even harder. Dying will be a frequent occurrence, as if the controls don’t kill you, the camera will. Although the game is played from a side-on perspective, by the time many enemies and hazards appear onscreen they’ll have already killed you.
There are a few Boss fights, which are unsatisfying, repetitive and drag on for far, far too long. Throw in a couple of boring vehicle missions, some ill-advised stealth sections and some puzzles that consist of pressing a button to open a door and you’ve got yourself a lovely recipe for disaster.
Trying to play CID the Dummy is so frustrating that it should be classed as a WMD. If an already-angry dictator gets his hands on this title, we could quite easily see World War III kick off. Next time a game developer decides to make a game like CID the Dummy, it would work out better for everyone if instead they drove a car at top speed towards a brick wall, without a seatbelt.
You’d have to be a real dummy to spend any money on this.