I command. You obey.
It's the year 2026, where life is grim and the world looks bleak. You are located in the dirty streets of Los Angeles. Everything is dark and evil. The lust for power and blood surrounds the ghetto. Technology dominates the society in forms of weaponry, bio-engineering, and advanced armor. You only vaguely remember your own identity. You recall being a hooker. The last thing that comes in mind is answering an ad hiring call girls for a party. The rest is blank. A digital sidekick, Dumaine, acts as your personal mentor. It tells you a little about yourself, and calls you Lotos. This little computer was also once just a live sex toy. Somehow this human being ended up as that entity held in the palm of your hands. You realize that you are maliciously violent, and the new body you control is incredibly potent.
As you fondle the trigger and lick your lips in lewd excitement, your Jiminy Cricket, Dumaine, reigns in the leash and reminds you that Martinet, the puppet master wants you to finish some business. Taking out all the ambassadors of the six ruling embassies suits your grisly tastes anyway. Surprisingly, Dumaine begs you to finish your missions, and then seek and destroy Martinet himself. The little guy promises to delay Martinet's "colonic detonation", a chemical bomb in your body, while you finish that scumbag. That's the only way to freedom. After all, you and your partner are only pawns. You're an expendable tool, once a whore, now an assassin. You're nothing but a Meat Puppet.
After MDK, PIE brings us another one of its futuristic distopian worlds full of destruction and mayhem. With a touch of sexual innuendo and tons of bloody violence, Meat Puppet is an isometric shooter. The feel of the game can probably be best described as a cross between Syndicate and Diablo. The play is similar to Crusader. You control the character in a large world. Although the missions you must complete are in sequence, where you go is up to you. This allows you to roam freely around the area, and the map is really huge. You can run, jump, and roll. To use the six different weapons, you must acquire the right ammo.
The graphics are simply stunning. Everything looks dark and creepy, befitting the central theme of the game. Each object is crisply and clearly defined. Meat Puppet should definitely be run under medium or high resolution, or it wouldn't be worth it. When you kill the 'monsters', they either burn vividly (like Syndicate), or blow up into incredibly detailed chunks of flesh and blood, most satiating to the sadistic side of you. One of the things I found most interesting was the billboard in the background that asks for your fetus.
The sound effects were mediocre, and the music sort of wore thin after a while. They stuck to the theme by playing some crazy techno-futuristic tune, but it just got too repetitive. During the loading between each area, some annoying beat kept going. This became all too agitating while waiting for the computer to load.
Aside from the good graphics and awesome storyline, Meat Puppet has some huge flaws. The player can control the puppet with keyboard or mouse. I strongly recommend the mouse. But even using the mouse, movement and actions were greatly hindered. To move to one place, you must point the cursor and hold on to the right button. This became difficult when there were obstacles in the way. Then you had to steer the character clear of these objects. Sometimes it was obviously easier to just jump on a certain platform, but the game would not allow it, even though at other times you're allowed to jump on higher places. There were bothersome restrictions everywhere. Sometimes to reach a certain place you were required to walk in only one way to that destination, other times Lotos jumped down to different places when you just wanted to stay where you were. I just had to try everything until it worked. When firing the weapons at enemies, you have to click the left button once at a time. For example, if you're using the machine gun(you usually are), you click once and a series of bullets will be fired. Only after that are you allowed to click again, but by then the enemy already moved. Holding onto the button doesn't work. The feel to this firing method really sucks compared to Syndicate where you can hold on to the button and unload until your enemies look like bee hives. Don't just take my word for it, click HERE to download the demo for free.
Simply put, the gameplay was tremendously obstructed by the controls. You would think that this should be one of the first and foremost things PIE considered, since it is an action game. If Lotos doesn't do what you want her to do in midst of battle, she's as good as dead. The control was not something you get used to, it's more of just putting up with it until you decide to kill someone in real life.
Meat Puppet is an extremely difficult game. You must explore the area on your own while adhering to strict time limits. To make matters worse, the map that comes in the box is incomplete and does not say anything about the first level. The game itself has no mapping function either. MP looks promising from the start, but does not pull through to the end. At first I was intrigued by the story and drawn in by the graphics. After playing for several hours it became clear that the gameplay itself does not meet expectations. For action games it's vital to have a good sense of control and feel over the character, something Meat Puppet lacks. Sex and violence sells, and PIE uses it to lure gamers. Although the game itself is gory and graphic enough, it just wasn't as fun as it is bloody. If you really want to try this out, make sure you're the patient type of person.