Cult Classics – The Club
I played a lot of Metropolis Street Racer on my Dreamcast, and I made a point of playing anything that Bizarre Creations released from that point on. To this day, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2 remains one of my desert-island games (provided the island has electricity). With The Club, the studio skillfully drew upon its racing heritage while incorporating Fur Fighters’ third-person shooting. The result was a speed-based shooting competition that played like nothing before or since.
The game’s conceit is that you are thrust into an underground murder club (THE CLUB!), where rich people watch talented killers race through areas while slaughtering less-talented lowlifes. As a player, you need to shoot through linear levels as quickly as possible to keep a combo meter active to keep your score high. You’re also rewarded for accuracy, stylish kills, and finding hidden targets. Take a look at the trailer below to see how it works in greater detail.
Critics didn’t seem to appreciate the game’s lack of a storyline (the introductory sequence below sums up just about everything you need to know about the game’s playable characters), which I think missed the point. I didn’t care why the guy in Smash TV was collecting piles of VCRs, and I didn’t need any explanation as to why my dreadlocked antihero was racing through a prison full-tilt, shooting guard towers with rocket launchers to keep a combo rolling. Fun is fun.
Sadly, Activision closed Bizarre Creations down in 2011, after Blur and 007: Blood Stone failed to meet sales expectations. A big part of me will miss not seeing Bizarre's logo flashing on screen (it remains the coolest logo, hands down), and I would loved to have seen what the studio could do with The Club in a future installment. In the meantime, I'll dust it off every once and again to get my fix. Artificial Mind and Motion came close to hitting the formula with Wet, but it's not quite the same.