Review | CID The Dummy
Format: PC/Wii/PS2/PSP | Genre: Platform | Publisher: Oxygen | Developer: Twelve Games | Out now: £19.99
By Lewis Denby
Poor CID. I’ve spent most of my time mindlessly smashing him head-first into walls. It’s good that it’s a key mechanic in CID the Dummy, and that its animation is surprisingly satisfying, as it’s almost certainly what you’ll feel like doing a lot of the time – usually after he misses a straightforward jump, falls to his death via an invisible trapdoor, or shouts “Not such a dummy now, am I?” for the 18 billionth time.
He’s a crash test dummy, you see. Bored of his mundane – and probably rather painful – day job, he finds his chance to prove his worth when a professor’s daughter is kidnapped by a pesky villain. And – well – none of it makes much sense, or provides for anything more than a gimmicky backdrop for the equally tedious game at the fore.
//CID the dumb
First games from small-time developers are always tricky. There’s a limited budget at your disposal, and not a whole lot of reputation to place you firmly in people’s good books before release. The trick is to play to your strengths, find a niche and hit it hard, utilise your limited resources to create something engaging and intriguing. CID’s niche is those who yearn for the side-scrolling action-platformers of the mid-nineties, but its imprecise mechanics, awful control system and lack of design knowledge hold it back. Elsewhere, there’s little to maintain your attention.
The whole thing is just grossly unambitious. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re going to rehash a thousand old ideas, you’d better do them right. If you don’t, you’ve a hell of a lot of catching up to do, and CID the Dummy doesn’t even seem to try. It’s a clumsy amble from left to right, marred by frustration and boredom. That it’s so messy would perhaps be forgivable if it weren’t so bland.
The fisticuffs provide for a welcome change of pace: there’s an odd sense of brutality to punching the various denizens of this world squarely in the face. It never stretches past frantic button-mashing, and the less said about ranged combat the better. But it’s unremarkable fun. It’s about as good as it gets.
It’s all needlessly archaic. The shaky engine would have benefited from a little creative design; the clichéd story and characters could have been improved with a dash of personality. But there’s none there. Levels are empty, blocky and predictable. Voice acting is at the level of the worst children’s television. It’s modest in its aims and substandard in its execution.
The final straw is the woeful optimisation, seemingly across the formats. The resolution of the PC version is fixed and ugly, with unchangeable controls mapped exclusively to the keyboard – but you’re still told to scale along rails using the “move stick.” And though we’ve not tried the Wii version, we’ve heard terrible tales of nunchuck-swinging nonsense that only serves to flail CID around wildly instead of performing the action required.
Ultimately, the satisfaction of punching things wears off, the frustration of being caught out by yet another instant-death trap kicks in, and CID’s crippling lack of creativity is all that remains on the mind.