If you are going to pick up an old game, you may as well go to pick up one of the greatest ever made. For those of you who have never encountered the game, that comment may seem a little strong, but for those of you who have, I’m sure you’ll agree it is spot on.
So, let’s stop beating around the bush and beat our way into the storage container of affordably priced digital entertainment, or, for those of you (unlike me) who don’t have thesaurus.com as their homepage, the bargain bin, as we take a journey back to Psychonauts.
If you are unaware of who Tim Schafer is, then I hope the rock you have been living under was very comfortable, and roomy enough, yet has the option of an added extension if you find yourself needing the extra space for a nursery. Recently his name has been widely thrown around regarding the release of the upcoming rock and roll odyssey, Brütal Legend. But he is a veteran of the industry, working on classics ranging from the Monkey Island series to Grim Fandango, from Day of the Tentacle to the game I’m writing about today, Psychonauts.
In the game, you take the role of Raz, as you set off on your journey into a psychic summer camp, after running away from the circus. This camp trains the children in the use of their psychic powers to become super psychic secret agents ( say that when you’re drunk) also known as Psychonauts (probably a lot easier to say when drunk).
Using these psychic powers you venture into the vast array of levels based mostly inside people’s minds, however, the camp resort itself allows for a large amount of exploration. Each level is design specifically for the person, and reflects their personality (or lack of). They are beautifully crafted, well-paced and most of the time offer a perfect balance of fun and challenge, with numerous things to pick up for those who have gaming’s equivalent of OCD.
Perhaps even better done than the level design, is that of the writing. It’s sharp, witty and almost always entertaining. There are very few games on the market, even today, with writing done as well as this. In most cases, the voice acting goes alongside it as a perfect accompaniment, fully capturing the characters.
The game is stylised in such a way that although looking clearly dated if you are playing it for the first time, it still looks fantastic today. The range of bizarre and downright absurd characters are created in such a way that they look just as bizarre and downright absurd.
Psychonauts is available fairly cheaply from most bargain bins and direct download sites, but if you have begun to feel how “owning a disc is just so 20th century, and not for a modern jet-setter, go-getter, trend-setter, warm sweater like me” then you will be delighted to know it is available to download off Xbox Live for the price of 1200 Microsoft Points.
Outside of XBLA, you can find the game at Amazon (US or UK for the sake of catering to the likes of you who don’t feel like typing yourself). And as mentioned, here is how to purchase the game with that good old fashioned Microsoft-endorsed currency.
If you have found your own bargains, have those nostalgic pangs of memories for this game, or have even felt inspired to buy this game, then let us know. Also, feel free to comment if you have a suggestion of games to look for, which I may not have heard of before.