Genre: Real Time Tactics
Developed by: Game Refuge Inc
Published by: Electronic Arts
Feeling Like: Charlie’s Last Stand
Well, this has thrown a wrench into my gears. I promised you a game that you’ve never heard of and when I was looking up information on General Chaos, I was floored to realize that there was a Kickstarter campaign to fund a sequel just a few years ago. After a few minutes of carefree research (I still can’t tell if it’s still in production or not) but from the comments I read and the obvious passion the developers are displaying in their videos, one truth is painfully obvious; many people have heard of this game. My experience was not a diamond in the rough. I’m not the only one that had a blast with General Chaos. And I’m that much more excited to write about it.
General Chaos reeks of the early 90s. It portrays war in a rather lighthearted tone, there’s cartoonish violence with attitude and the frame rate can’t be higher than 15 fps (that’s bad). Upon watching some old reviews, it stuns me that I had that much fun in such a short time. But I did.
I only played it once. The memory is as vivid. Charlie Patterson and his brother Warren were only in my circle of friends for a few years, but their parents still welcomed us into their giant house more than a few times. Complete with spacious games room, a Sega Genesis and a massive TV, this was gaming mecca for overnight parties for boys who were too old not have sleepovers, but too young to even think about chasing girls or looking cool.
Sean Mc, Charlie, Warren and myself found ourselves divided in a two on two conflict that started mid evening and lasted until the light hours of the morning. A truce was only formed when sleep was a better motivator than glory.
It was so rare to find a game that had four player local co-op, or competitive play. Back in the days of the 16-bit generation, it was unheard of. Even when a game did support three or four players, the quest to find the right accessory to allow such witchcraft was the most difficult of them all. What to do? The only thing you could do pre-internet, pre-smartphone and pre-being able to drive. Call every single video rental store and ask them if they had one in stock. Then, beg your friend’s parents to drive you to the video store. That trip was always a tense hell. The stress of thinking of doomsday scenarios, like how a similar bunch of hyper ten and eleven year olds could be on the way to the same store RIGHT NOW to steal our precious multiplayer gadget away from us was almost too much to bear.
The five types of soldiers you could control were all fun in their own right; the blowtorch dude was a very popular, but we always found it really difficult to get close enough to use it. Easily the MVP of each match was rocket launcher dude. The most powerful attack, combined with the greatest range, soon led to many claims of “that’s unfair” to “that’s total crap” to “you can’t use that guy!!!” You know, the usual cries of war.
One night, one rental. That was all. But it was enough to land General Chaos at spot number 469 on the 500. If only I’d know that 22 years later I’d be wasting 26 minutes of my future life in my early 30s on a Saturday night writing about it. I’d probably tell current me to stop what I’m doing and just play more General Chaos instead.