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Platforms: PS2, Xbox & PC
There are a lot if ideas running around at the moment on how to expand the games market outwards. How do you get not only the traditional hardcore and casual gamers, but the older men, the younger women, the middle-aged execs, the working mums? The answer might be innovative controls (Nintendo’s revolution and Sony’s EyeToy), family games (SingStar and popular quiz titles) or just community (Xbox Live!). However, it could be something a lot more simple. Maybe we just need to see more games that grown adults don’t feel embarrassed playing.
True, we already have plenty of games that suit an adult audience, but not everyone wants to play sports, re-enact history or join the armed forces. And isn’t there something a little adolescent about the gang-violence of GTA, no matter how intelligent the movie references and post-modern flourishes get? We’ve got the game equivalents of Aliens, Spider-Man, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Hero – they’re great, and there’s nothing wrong with that – but what about The Godfather, Raging Bull or Seven? Where’s the Gone with the Wind, the Citizen Kane, the North by Northwest of games?
Well, Fahrenheit isn’t up there yet, but it’s a step in the right direction.
It’s a good start, for instance, that I don’t think of Fahrenheit in terms of a third-person action or adventure game, though it certainly has elements of both. Instead, I think of it as a thriller. I’m not just thinking about the presentation, but about story, style and emotional effect. It’s also a good sign that Fahrenheit is an unashamed ‘interactive movie’ – it even says New Movie – on the options screen, yet it’s as deeply involving as Half-Life 2 or Resident Evil 4.
Admittedly, I can’t pretend that the story or characterisation is up there with Seven or The Usual Suspects, but Fahrenheit certainly kicks off with a bang. Like any great Hitchcock thriller, Fahrenheit opens with an ordinary guy in the wrong place at the wrong time and in a whole lot of trouble as a result. Lucas Kane comes to in a diner washroom, with a knife in his hands, arcane symbols cut into his arms, and a bloody corpse on the floor. It’s not so much a case of whodunit, as what-made-me-do-it, and Kane’s quest for understanding and his fight to escape the authorities are the motors that drive his story forwards.