It is a sad moment when you realize, before you even begin writing a review, that the predominant expression for everything you feel about the game in question is not a word, but the prefix "un." Unfortunately for Byron Preiss, the publisher of the un-dynamic duo release - They Call Me...The Skul and The Suit, this review almost never happened. The only reason that the pair is reviewed here is because to let it go unreviewed would mean forgiving the publishers of their larger offense: that their entire recent lineup of games is practically unpublishable. Which means that They Call Me...The Skul and The Suit must bear the unlucky brunt of both a critical review of its own unremarkable existence, and a critical review of Byron Preiss in general, for ever letting these unforgivably unplayable games out the door in the first place.
The first title that upset anyone in the GameSpot office who suffered through its flawed, system-crashing installation was Westworld 2000. With its terribly acted cut scenes, unappealing graphics, and dreary gameplay, Westworld 2000 is merely a hoax that hopes to capture gamers' attention by boasting that it is "based on Michael Crichton's classic science-fiction film." Perhaps Crichton and company merely licensed the rights to the "Westworld" name and premise but cared not to have any say in what would be done with the work. Pity that. At any rate, nobody in the office wanted to review the game.
The second strike against (or for, if you are) Byron Preiss was Spiderman: The Sinister Six, whose one-dimensional script and impeded controls were so unappealing that only after threats from the Reviews Editor did someone finally agree to review it. It wasn't until "playing" They Call Me...The Skul and The Suit that the aforementioned offense of Byron Preiss' general disregard for publishing playable games fully gelled. Like its weak siblings, They Call Me...The Skul and The Suit looks horrible. As if the low-res graphics, sloppy animation, and uneventful sound and music weren't unbearable enough, there's the ungameplay itself. Unless, that is, your idea of action is an unstoppable conveyor-belt stream of easy-to-shoot targets that roll by for an unbearably long time. Scroll, shoot, scroll, shoot, an unending stream of sorry scenarios that elicit resentment rather than reward. The only real difference between the two games is that They Call Me...The Skul is a vertical scroller, and The Suit is a horizontal scroller. How uninspired.
Which leads back to the game's publisher. How, Byron Preiss, did you even come upon these games? Did you pick them up at some bad-games garage sale, where the unintellectual property rights to piles of unfit-and-in-need-of-a-publisher games are sold by the pound? Each of these games, it is worth mentioning, could have been something. Indeed, you nabbed Marvel's immensely popular character Spiderman - but then tangled him in a web of poor game design. You reeled in a ripe Crichton property - but shot yourself in the foot with what is unquestionably the worst 3-D interpretation released this year. And with They Call Me...The Skul and The Suit, you took a promising tie-in -"Virtual Comics" - and achieved...virtually nothing. That, in the end, is utterly unacceptable.
We're supposed to pay $40 apiece for these so-called games? When such notable titles as Command & Conquer: Red Alert, Quake, Wing Commander IV, and Abuse, to name a few, share the same shelf space and compete for our cash? Take note of these games, Byron Preiss. Play them. Study them. Learn from them. Then go out and create a few good games of your own. Please. We promise we'll give them our undivided attention.