Fun With Flash! CptCluster Plays “Gretel and Hansel 2”
[This gets to gaming, but first, a story...]
I was hanging out at my actor friend Josh’s place a couple months ago and we were planning on watching a DVD. He’d just gotten a new TV (well, used- but a primo one from a hotel…I believe him when he says he didn’t steal it) and he wanted to see it in action. Long story short, he ended up needing to enter some hotel locking code that he did not have, and the TV wouldn’t work.
Trying to be helpful and salvage the situation, I suggested, “Why don’t we use your laptop?”
A look of sheer panic shot across Josh’s face. “No!” he shouted. This was strange, since his laptop was sitting, shut, on the table right in front of us.
I was not to be deterred. “Why not?” I asked him.
“Because…” he answered, visibly hesitant to give his reason.
“Go on,” I goaded him. He was cracking. It was just a matter of drawing it out of him.
Then he finally blurted it out. “Because I’m playing a Flash game on it!”
He exhaled deeply, a mix of shame and relief. His cheeks flushed pink from this revelation, like a guy whose friends have just caught making out with a fat girl.
“Oh,” I said, less than supportively.
[above: my friend Josh, starring as "70's Guy" in a late night cable TV commercial]
Shit, I thought, privately. Who plays Flash games??? Especially in this day and age?
Sure, I had played free Flash games before, when I was bored in college. But those were merely time-wasters, with the crappiest of graphics. Why waste time on those these days when you can fire up your console?
“It’s not like that!!” Josh shouted, scrambling to defend himself. I was skeptical, and shot him a correspondingly skeptical look. “Here!” he added, finally opening up his laptop to reveal what he’d taken such great pains to conceal. “Some of these games are actually really good! The graphics are waaay better than they used to be!!”
“Huh,” I offered. I had to admit I impressed by his enthusiasm.
“Here!” he continued, with missionary zeal. “I’m on the last level of RoboKill. Check out the game while I beat it.”
I did not comment on how wrong that sounded, but merely observed the game as he finished playing it.
RoboKill was, indeed, pretty damn neat! It was simple- true to its name, it was mostly just a robot running around, killing things with fireballs. But I was suitably impressed with the crisp, three-dimensional-looking graphics.
“Sometime if you get a chance,” he concluded, “check out a Flash game called Gretel and Hansel 2. It’s fucking amazing.”
Fucking amazing? You don’t hear that too often.
So, when I finally got the chance, I did indeed check out Gretel and Hansel 2- and I loved it.
The game Gretel and Hansel 2 is, as to be expected from a Flash game, quite straightforward. You play as the resourceful Gretel, who must save herself and her whiny, useless brother from the perils of the enchanted forest they’re trapped in. Practically speaking, this is a very simple point-and-click game-playing experience.
Where Gretel and Hansel 2 shines, however, is in its artwork. I certainly had never seen design this richly detailed and beautiful in a Flash game, and rarely in any game, period. The designers had made the most of Flash games’ flat space limitations by making each game screen a different, gorgeous watercolor-style landscape painting. It is a true pleasure to move from screen to screen to see what new watercolor world your Gretel will move around in.
The game has an Eastern European art feel that works well for the story, and gives it a slightly abstract, sinister edge. It’s paired well with a compelling soundtrack of spooky, Eastern European-style music.
The game also has a good sense of truly dark mischief, such as when Gretel lures a bear into a bear trap and it closes on the bear’s head, sending blood spraying everywhere. I’m sure PETA would not be a fan of this, but it made me laugh.
I cannot say how the game’s story holds up, since I’ll admit here that I did not play the game the whole way through. But I did play enough to be impressed with Gretel and Hansel 2 and to be greatly encouraged by how far Flash animation has come, especially in terms of supporting a surprisingly deep and rich gaming experience.
I would never trade playing console games for Flash games, but I do give Flash games much more respect now, and I will definitely be on the lookout for true gems like Gretel and Hansel 2. Luckily for me, all I have to do to find them is ask my friend Josh- I can only wonder what else he’s been playing, blushing with shame, in secret.
Gretel and Hansel 2 can be found at: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/550407
RoboKill can be found at: http://www.rocksolidarcade.com/games/robokill/