Show the original Far Cry to someone today and you’ll probably hear the following: “Where’s Vaas? What do you mean this isn’t open-world?” “Are you seriously telling me Jack Carver thinks he’s being stealthy wearing that shirt?” “Why are these mercenaries so good at killing me?” “How did they see me from there!?” “Why is the saving system so shit?” “Where are the enemies, I can’t see through all this bloody jungle!” “What the fuck is that pink ape creature eating my foot? I thought this game was about men with guns!”
Get past your initial modern reaction about what shooting games should be, and you’ll find an amazing (though not perfect – see the complaint about jungle and visibility) and ridiculous game that encapsulates the last of shooters like Duke Nukem and Serious Sam before shooters started trying to take themselves too seriously and try to distance themselves from the inherent silliness of their plots for about a decade and a half. This of course gave us such delightful entertainment as the death of both the Call of Duty and Halo series, games that used to also give that magic blend of cathartic fun and absurdity, but whose recent fare has given us only grim and gruff miserable people traipsing around dull environments lovingly rendered in every shade of brown. I blame Gears of War, or just Gears as it’s known now, whereupon we can guess that in the future it’ll be called simply G.
The game was first introduced to me by my father, back when you had to put the install games via a CD in your disk drive that you had to find and put back inside whenever you wanted to play. Archaic technology! Thankfully, you can easily find the game nowadays for digital download on Steam, although upon loading you’ll still be greeted with an advert for the tie-in mobile version – available only on Nokia flip-phone. That’s right baby, gaming in the early ’00s was truly a wild and frightening place.
While the game is hard as nails, you are rewarded for your perseverance with some of the campiest Evil Dead-esque story and characters you’ll ever see. Every male character seems to body-build on the side – even the scientist who assists the main character, ex-marine, and bright red Hawaiian shirt wearer Jack Carver seems just one accidental flex away from bursting through his lab coat – worn in all weathers and climes, while speed-boating through Micronesia or standing atop an active volcano. The enemy mercenaries unironically scream that they’re ‘gonna open a can of whoop-ass on you’ and invite you to ‘bite my ass’ even as they die by the dozen in gorgeously rendered jungle environments. Further on, the tone changes from Rambo to Predator as the aforementioned pink ape monsters are introduced – the villain Dr Krieger (because of course, he’s a German whose name means Dr War) seems to think that by using insane murderous genetic experiments, he can somehow fix the world’s problems. Go figure.
Of course, the last level takes place in a doom fortress inside a lava-spewing volcano, where rocket wielding horrors will blast every square inch of you until you’ve hammered the quick-load button into oblivion and spat your fair share of blood and colourful language because how in the hell are you supposed to make it past those bastards?! Please do tell me, I still don’t know. I think that says everything that needs to be said about this insane, beautiful, hilarious masterpiece. Please, give this game a chance – you won’t regret it.
The original Far Cry game is available to purchase on Steam here. Check out the glorious trailer below: