In case my previous post wasn’t explicit enough, let me relate now that I have been extremely excited for the arrival of Pu Li Ru La on Saturn. Incredibly, Lauryn Hill even altered the The Fugees’ song Fu Gee La so that she now sings “Pu Li Ru La” throughout the chorus. I mean wow, seriously it’s so amazing that she would do that for her fans, even if it is just my imagination, like my mother keeps telling me.
In any case, my copy of Pu Li Ru La came a few days ago but a short hiatus has meant I haven’t been able to play through it more than once (this is a really quick and easy game to beat so we’re only talking around 20 minutes). So no detailed impressions here yet. Suffice to say this game is very cute, and I love the old cartoon look it has. It’s pretty shocking actually how fantastic it looks, considering it was originally released in arcades in 1991 – the Saturn version is a late port, and it was also ported to Playstation and the FM Towns Marty (which remains perhaps the second most bizarrely named games console after Henry the Hoover, which incidentally is not a games console).
This cutesy feel runs through pretty much the entire game, despite regularly bizarre imagery. One image near the end of the game however, uses the context of a cutesy game to create an effect best described as profoundly disturbing.
Look closely. Those are rows and rows of corpses, yes. And the centrepiece of the background on the right shows corpses clinging to one another, one rising above the rest trying to grab something in agonising desperation. WHAT THE HELL. I’ve played the Silent Hill series almost in its entirety. I love horror games. But none of them can hold a candle to this. Such are the powers of juxtaposition. When cute cuddly cartoon characters and pretty flowers collide with the world of genocide and your character walks on by without a single word I get ominous shivers up my spine.
(Incidental post-script: Last night Channel 4 showed a documentary film called Indie Game: The Movie. I wasn’t expecting much but it turned out to be highly involving and fascinating. The film follows the maker(s) of Braid, post-release, Super Meat Boy at the end of production and during its launch, and Fez, a long running project trapped in development hell. It convincingly shows how the indie game development process – I imagine it’s comparable at game studios too – can produce extremes ranging between near-suicidal levels of poverty and workload to the elation of Metacritic’s “Universal acclaim” label, an enormous fanbase and high income.)