Baldies Review

From initial concept to practical execution, Baldies is sick and wrong.

From initial concept to practical execution, Baldies is sick and wrong. It's one thing to have a serious, rock-jawed game like, say, Command & Conquer, wherein you order very serious military units to advance upon enemy positions, attack key targets, and, if the need arises, employ nuclear force - but THIS: Cute little Ziggy-esque moppets jogging around, punching each other out or shooting one another... stepping on cute little land mines called "poppers"... using little animals in biological weapons testing - BUNNIES, yet… growing angel wings for the purpose of airborne assault... perverting the very meteorological order of nature... did I mention bunnies?

Sick And Wrong.

A self-proclaimed game of "demented action for people who think," this one has now officially supplanted Total Distortion as the single weirdest game I have ever played. As the god/commander of the Baldies, it's your job to oversee every aspect of their ongoing war with their Hairy enemies (presumably, the conflict is aesthetic in nature). The goal here is nothing less than genocide (with a good deal of cruelty to animals thrown in for good measure). Divinely intervening with your drag-box and Grab Hand cursor, you determine who the Baldies are and what they do; drag-select a group of Workers and suddenly change them into Solidiers - zing, now they're soldiers, ready to punch or shoot or otherwise harm any man (or whatever) not of their kind. Inside your houses, Scientists labor away on new technologies, and when your Grab Hand plucks some little animal out of the nearby fields and drops it into one of your Houses, he's lab-fodder, and any number of dastardly creations may result. Animals don't fair well in Baldies, and they're as likely to get used for minesweeping duty as anything else. Cows have a particularly bad time of it when your Scientists develop Exploding Cow technology, which is just what it sounds like. The cow attracts Baldies from all around, and then it's Moo, Boom, and Splatter. It does a body bad.

One of the hardest things to get one's head around in Baldies is that you're only somewhat in control. The Baldie soldiers, apparently afflicted with severe thyroid problems and/or massive chemical difficulties, continually totter hither and yon through the grassy fields, and do their jobs only when the enemy happens to run right up in their faces (the enemy, too, is running around without focus, like a stage four Alzheimer's victim on crank). You can continue to pick up and put down a particular soldier with the Grab Hand until you land him squarely on his intended target, but it's a better idea to just saturate an area with soldiers, mines, bear-traps, and the like and just let things run their course. In the parlance of Command & Conquer: Red Alert, every Baldies unit is in "guard" mode ALL THE TIME. Eventually something is gonna die, but the actual process is enough to give a Command & Conquer player seizures.

Eventually, you're going to grow jaded and corrupted enough to want the big stuff (what the manual refers to as Acts of You): artificially-induced storms errode terrain, drown the unwary, and bring down helicopters (yes, there are helicopters, and cars, and - just never mind); the Flamehead attack allows you to reach down from Heaven, as it were, and smite a particular creature - or to do a Sodom-and-Gomorrah tune-up on an entire stretch of terrain; and what holy war would be complete without Armageddon? This is The Big One: Use it, and all your guys, everywhere, will be turned into soldiers, whisked off to a newly-created island where the same fate has befallen the enemy, and the Last Battle will commence.

The learning curve is so atrocious here because of the complete lack of any comprehensive tutorial. The manual included with the game manages to be brief and opaque at the same time. Who are these guys? What is my goal? What the hell am I supposed to do? (And in the back of your head: What were the designers smoking, and where can I get some?) Players are given specific uses for weapons and tech, but no broad-stroke explanation of the game mechanics, so it's up to the diligent gamer to fully explore Baldies. And there is a lot to explore, with secrets to find and mistakes to not make again. Confusing at times, funny at others, Baldies is worth a play if you have some gaming under your belt and a streak of chaotic violence a mile wide (sample Gamer Tip: "If it's still, blow it up; if it moves, burn it"). And when the need arises, don't hesitate to make it rain goldfish so your minions can pick them up and eat them.

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Baldies More Info

  • First Released December 1995
    • Jaguar CD
    • PC
    • + 2 more
    • PlayStation
    • Saturn
    Average Rating8 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Creative Edge Software
    Published by:
    Atari Corporation, Panasonic, Banpresto, Phoenix Games, Bethesda Softworks
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Kids to Adults