Condemned: Criminal Origins

What do you mean, it’s the wrong Condemned?

It’s a sad fact that I have a natural affinity for cheap games. When I saw the PC version of Condemned sitting on a shelf, mocking me with its $5 pricetag, I couldn’t help but snap it up. I think that, falling victim to the siren song of “cheap” games, I may have spent three or four hundred dollars on video games across multiple platforms that week. Am I ever going to play them? I’ve got stuff I bought in 2004 that’s never been out of its packaging, so the jury is out!

The amazing thing about Condemned is that I bought it about seven weeks ago and have already completed it. I judge it: worth the $5 I pay for it. It has the distinction of being the first FPS that I’ve managed to complete with a mouse and keyboard set up. I have the original Half-Life on this computer (not Source) and it’s somehow impossible to play that way. At least now I have learned that it’s a valid control scheme for a game to take on.

As to the game itself? Basically, FBI Agent Ethan “Officer Matt Parkman” Thomas has to investigate a bunch of serial killers – but, mid investigation, some of his comrades get killed with his gun and he’s on the lam! Somehow his lab access isn’t cut off, though, so he teams up with Lab Tech Rosa (Klebb), digitally transfers fingerprints, blood and general DNA to her with technology, and busts all of his cold cases wide open.

There’s not that much to say about it, but it tells a fairly compelling story, has okay melee combat and is entirely too dark. I would like to play an FPS that features its share of brightly lit areas and has more colours in its pallet than brown, grey and black. When I say this, it does not mean that I want to play Perfect Dark Zero, because nothing could be further from the truth: no one in the history of humanity has ever wanted to play that game. Those of us who have would likely testify to having been caught up in a lost wave of brand loyalty to Rareware.

There are reasons to play Condemned: it made me wonder why anyone would play any given FPS over another, and that is something that I will tackle later. All you need to know is that I’m shallow enough that the price tag of a game can render it much better than it would have been at a higher price point – which makes you wonder how people who never pay for games can sleep at night, knowing full well that there are serial killers to be stopped and weird pseudo-mystical BS to tamper with their minds.

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