As a splinter from all the Let's Play threads, I thought I'd provide a similar service by resurrecting a game from the past and decimating it so thoroughly that no one would ever make the mistake of playing it themselves. I think Let's Play threads serve the same purpose, really, but for different reasons. So, without further ado, let's NOT play Extreme Paintbrawl 2.
NOTE: In keeping with the theme of this thread, all information has been pulled from various web sources and my brain. I have not fired up the game or actually played it recently. That would be contrary to the ideals presented in this thread.
So, moving on...Extreme Paintbrawl 2. What is it? One can define the game in a variety of ways. It is an FPS, sure. That is a valid description. Players have a first-person point of view and you shoot...paintballs. And you are forced to shoot other people with said paintballs. Hence the very "clever" modification in the title from Paintball to Paintbrawl. Never you mind that paintball activities traditionally involve multi-user skirmish, which makes the modification unnecessary, combined with the fact that a "brawl" is - connotatively - a melee affair.
I apologize that I could not locate a sufficiently-sized Extreme Paintbrawl 2 box cover image for you, so this one from Extreme Paintbrawl 4 will have to suffice. The box art, however, is largely unchanged from game to game. The cover art is very eye-catching and colorful (read: gaudy), presumably to allude to the paintball aspect of the game. I particularly like the purple stamp on the lower right of this box, where it proudly advertises this iteration as the "Sequel to the #1 Best Selling Paintball Game". I'll give it that much: the Extreme Paintbrawl series is (literally) unchallenged in the paintball game market.
An aside: one might ask why I decided to write about Extreme Paintbrawl 2 rather than, say, Extreme Paintbrawl 4 or the original Extreme Paintbrawl. Suffice to say the entire series is worthless, but I feel Extreme Paintbrawl 2 provides a proper focal point for my thesis. It will all become clear in due time.
Let's move on. The Extreme Paintbrawl series presumably meant to capitalize on an increasingly-popular physical sport, the relative increasing popularity of the FPS genre, and the notion of "Extreme" sports which were just about starting to take hold on gamers and ESPN-watchers alike. Sounds like an economic match made in heaven, right? Sure, but only if the game could deliver a healthy product that in any way touched upon any of these things, which Extreme Paintbrawl does not.
Let's talk about the engine first. Extreme Paintbrawl 2 uses a modified version of the Duke Nukem 3D "build engine", which is fine as Duke Nukem 3D is a fine game. But it wasn't what I would call cutting edge even during its heyday. Duke Nukem 3D made up for this by being extremely fun. Sadly, this is not an extreme or even a "somewhat" that Extreme Paintbrawl 2 can advertise. Extreme Paintbrawl 2 is extremely dull and un-fun, the exact opposite of Duke Nukem 3D, and so it cannot be forgiven for being so ugly. This is perhaps a bit unfair to Duke Nukem 3D which, while not particularly crisp in many of its levels, still maintained a high level of aesthetic appeal and interesting locations and level design accompanied by a well-colored set of textures. I will let a few screenshots attest to Extreme Paintbrawl 2's visual quality:
Yes, those are your foes doing some kind of synchronized dance maneuver in the middle of the street. Perhaps the game should be re-titled to Extreme Breakdancing 2.
Multi-colored shipping crates against a gray sky. Where have I seen that before? Oh yes, in EVERY FPS KNOWN TO MAN. What I particularly like about this screenshot is the fact that I can just barely see the opponent standing directly in front of me - the obvious focal point of this scene. He's nearly invisible thanks to the abhorrent lighting and coloring.
But visuals are one thing and gameplay is another. After all, this is Extreme Paintbrawl 2 and not Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Paintbrawl (2), so perhaps I am fixating on unimportant features. I mean, as long as the gameplay is up to snuff, who gives a shit about lackluster (read: eye-gouging) visual?
The main complaint - and there were many - in the original Extreme Paintbrawl was lack of AI. Let me explain that. Many colloquially use the term "lack of" to indicate a quantitative decrease, i.e. "fewer" or "less". Here, however, I use the phrase in its most literal form: the first game featured no AI. None. Zilch. Nada. Zero. The original Extreme Paintbrawl enemy intelligence algorithm basically had one statement: "if player appears in field of vision, shoot." Enemies were very accurate, sure, but not intelligent at all.
Using the scientific method
, I had rigorously investigated the AI present in Extreme Paintbrawl 2 and after about eight minutes I gave up. It appears that the problem was not fixed. The main problem. The champion of all Extreme Paintbrawl The First's problems was not even looked at in "creating" the sequel. I put the word "creating" there in quotes because I am not sure such a verb can be applied to the "design" of this "product".
I'm not really sure much else needs to be said. So why am I discussing Extreme Paintbrawl 2? Well, for starters, there is no reason for it to exist. And by extension no reason for 3 and 4 to exist. In fact, it would have been better if the original never existed. It certainly serves the purpose of mockery and for constituting the very worst a game developer could ever aspire to. Furthermore, there is very little different between the original and the sequel. So little, in fact, that one wonders if more than five hours in a garage were spent upgrading the game into this sequel.
Also, though I never personally had this issue, but as I worked at EBGames when this monstrosity was released I recall various customers returning the product because it "uninstalled immediately after installing". Now, I'll be the first to state that game installations in the DOS4Gw days were kind of...well, painful at times and it could not always be attributed to the game itself; sometimes the operating system was just...non-compliant (in the sense that it occasionally would emphatically reject any attempt to run a game on it unless you performed some kind of convoluted .ini or .bat voodoo first). But in the case of Extreme Paintbrawl 2, I think it is safe to assume that any such technical flaws can be laid directly at the feet of the Extreme Paintbrawl 2 "designers". To be fair to Extreme Paintbrawl 2, though, this is actually the only thing the game got right. I found myself having to manually uninstall it an hour after installing it. It would have been nice if the game had done it for me. So to those afflicted by this particular bug, consider yourselves lucky.
And to everyone else: avoid this horrible, horrible series like the plague.