Flash Review! – Pandemic 2
The people at Crazy Monkey Games have created yet another full fledged game experience via the magical medium of Flash. Games created through Flash are typically underestimated in their scale and scope mainly due to the way the creation process is facilitated. A lot of the games in Flash are made as point and click simply because this is what Flash does best, but here in Pandemic 2 the whole aspect of the game is becoming more and more like a ‘real’ game.
The goal of this game is to infect and literally kill the entire human population. When I first saw that I thought what a violent game and what horrible goals to set out to a world wide audience. Even the video tutorials that are coupled with the game say explicity that they want you to kill everyone as if it was nothing big at all. No wonder the gaming industry never gets a break about the whole violence thing. Anyway, you begin the game by choosing the type of infection you want to carry which include viruses, bacteria, or parasites each with their own evolutionary rate. You even get to name your pandemic! Then when you delve into the game you are introduced to the world map which allows you to scroll across using a convenient mini-map at the top left corner not unlike the real time strategy genre. Littered through the map are tiny icons which illustrate the different points of interest in each country. There are airports, shipyards, water supplies and hospitals. Everything you need to know to spread disease pretty much.
So how does the game play? Pretty simply actually. The country of origin of the infection is randomly assigned. The first time I played the infection began in Canada so I thought it might have read my ip somehow, but after my second time I understood that it wasn’t that advanced. At least not yet. Once the infection has began you can click on each geographical region to see how the nation is doing. Whether their hospitals are good, how many of the population is infected, how many died, whether their airports are closed down and so forth. There is also a disease menu at the bottom to control the symptoms and resistance levels of your disease. There are also means of transmitting the disease. Of course a game would not be a game if there wasn’t some form of monetary value and in this case they come in evolution points. You use these points to buy or sell symptoms to change their lethality, infectivity, and visibility. These 3 aspects are the main stats of the game. Greater lethal nature could make it more visible making it easier for other countries to take notice and create vaccines or close means of transportation making infection more difficult. Other symptoms might be less visible but are not lethal enough to get you more evolution points. That’s why it was a smart move to make both the buying and selling of the symptoms cost points so that trade-offs are always the main part of the strategy.
Overall the game does provide some strategy to play in order to balance things off and keep track of the various regions to see how you can make the trade-offs work most efficiently, but the game is rather slow. There is a way to speed up the rate of time in the world, but despite that it does take time for things to spread. This definitely isn’t a graphics intensive game and instead is algorithm based, so all you look at is a green map slowly turning red if you do things right. For cute/detail value there are little plane icons and ship icons that move around the map indicating open tranportation systems. In the end though the game plays by evolving your disease and watching to see how things change. I give it props though for being interesting and engaging in concept even if the gameplay is a little lacking at times. And despite the cultural contradiction of this game, wiping the world out rather than saving it by being green, it still holds value by being an interesting game and pushing the boundaries of what a Flash game can be. Now if it could be change to be the reforestation game or recycling game maybe more people would jump on to give it a try.