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A slow, boring game that mostly consists of FMV walking scenes

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    The Bunker

    Rating: 1.0 – Terrible

    A slow, boring game that mostly consists of FMV walking scenes

    The FMV "genre" was never great, but it sure was something at one point. If nothing else, these games usually have ultra cheesy acting or over the top action scenes to pull you through the game, even if it’s just for laughs. The gameplay is rarely the focus due to the nature of live video, so FMV often works best with a story-heavy adventure game where the gameplay is just a distraction to get to the next bit of FMV fun. In The Bunker, there isn’t a big focus on gameplay or story. It’s a brief, linear adventure game that makes you sit through 3 hours of nearly nothing and tries to ride on a singular plot twist.

    Nuclear bombs have destroyed Europe and you’re the sole remaining survivor living in an underground bunker. Your mundane daily routine consists of checking computer systems, eating, and making sure your radiation levels are normal. One day, you notice radiation levels increasing and computer systems starting to fail, and you guide your character around the bunker to investigate and resolve the problem. If replacing fuses and air filters is your idea of adventure, strap yourself in!

    The gameplay consists of dragging your cursor around the screen and clicking on highlighted circles. You rarely have more than 1-2 things you can really do, and even if multiple paths are open to you, one of them is almost certainly blocked to keep you on the rails. The only thing to do in this game is to keep clicking the circles to slowly advance the story, told partially through flashback cutscenes. Sometimes you have to hold and drag a circle to perform an action like opening a door or flipping a switch. It is thrilling stuff. Most actions are accompanied by unskippable FMV scenes of you walking down a hallway or opening a door. This makes up the majority of the game.

    There is exactly one thing in the game I would classify as a puzzle, a keypad code you need to figure out using physical evidence on the screen. Other than that, there are a couple of quick time events during FMV scenes, but there’s only a single button press each time so it’s not difficult. You could say it’s an interactive movie, but it doesn’t have enough content to be a movie. It’s more like a 15 minute short film dragged out with a couple of pointless chores and walking scenes. I should note that The Bunker takes itself seriously, so if you are expecting a cheesy homage to the Sega CD and PC games of old, you will not find it here.

    I’m excited to play modern FMV games because at worst it’s usually a low budget, so-bad-it’s-good game like Hysteria Project. At best, it can step outside traditional genres in a way only possible with video like in Her Story. The Bunker unfortunately hits neither of these targets. It feels like a misapplication of the video game game medium. With its brief story, and no real gameplay to speak of, it really would work better as a short film, and a short film would be a great thing to watch instead of playing The Bunker.

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