You know how some films are so bad that you canâ€™t help yourself but to keep watching? MorphX is the videogame equivalent, riddled with plot holes, clichÃ©s, bad voice acting and poor dialogue.
Itâ€™s a third person romp that 505 Games slipped out on the sly back in 2010, heralding all the way from an unheard of development studio in Russia. Iâ€™ve always been curious about it, and now that CeX are selling it for Â£4 I was able to fulfil that curiosity.
There are few Xbox 360 games out there that have been so shoddy that I havenâ€™t been able to finish them. Thor, Damnation and Turning Point spring to mind here, but MorphX didnâ€™t make that list. The last few levels were done with gritted teeth but MorphX isnâ€™t a terrible game â€“ itâ€™s merely shoddy.
The plot, then. Aliens attack Moscow â€œkilling millions in secondsâ€ and weâ€™re also told that â€œafter just seven months humankind has been reduced to fighting over cans of rotting foodâ€. And there was me thinking that the can of salmon in my cupboard would keep until next Christmas. The army is still strong even after seven months of war and bizarrely still fighting on the same turf the aliens landed, trying to retake ground zero. During the invasion the nameless hero becomes infected with an alien virus and slowly starts to turn into one, a la cult movie District 9.
As the game progresses the protagonistâ€™s body starts to morph into what can only be described as a cross between a Ninja Turtle and Mortal Kombatâ€™s Scorpion. New alien talents are frequently gained – or â€œalien spellsâ€ as theyâ€™re also known in the menus. The first few levels see you taking on the might of the army but once you reach the army hospital the guard on the door recognises the main character and tells his fellow soldiers to stop shooting. Suddenly the grizzly deaths of the hundred or so soldiers that youâ€™ve killed on your way there are swept under the carpet. From here on in youâ€™re able to fight alongside the soldiers as they try and take back Russia.
The enemy design isnâ€™t too bad and there is quite a tense atmosphere â€“ the aliens have started to colonise the planet, leading to the discovery of some Giger-esque locations. Similar clichÃ©s come thick and fast – enemy names include â€˜terminatorsâ€™ and â€˜annihilatorsâ€™, while one of the bosses is a large rhino-like creature that has to be lured into a brick wall and attacked while stunned. Iâ€™m pretty sure thatâ€™s how Rhino in one of the Spider-Man games had to be defeated.
The first two bosses are large in scale while the third is an alien no bigger than the main character. I never did get to find out what his attack patterns were as I was able to kill it from afar as it aimlessly marched back and forth. I was also able to kill the last boss by hiding under a stairwell, where its attacks couldnâ€™t reach.
Other laughable things include entering a destroyed army base to find just one solider inside, completely unscratched, and the fact that one of the levels is simply called â€œThe way to the baseâ€.
Thankfully there is a degree of fun to be had. Later on in you can possess aliens’ minds to make them fight alongside you while the DNA linking hacking mini-game (which is also used to improve your alien skills) is quite challenging. You shouldn’t go seeking a copy for just these reasons, but if you ran into Blockbuster late one night and this was the only game that they had left then it wouldnâ€™t be the end of the world.