The Zero Hour

Reviews, rants and oddities on video game and film culture.

Moorhen 3: The Chicken Chase

So…birds. How can I begin to describe the effect birds have on video games? And of course, by birds I mean poultry and feathered flying creatures, not 90’s Manchester speak for women. But they’re importance is…ok, I’ve got nothing, I guess chickens appear in video games most, usually as characters like in Earthworm Jim 3D, weapons like in Earthworm Jim 3D or just targets for destruction like in Earthworm Jim 3D…ok, so chickens have mostly appeared in Earthworm Jim 3D…for some reason. I guess chickens eat worms, so it makes sense, kinda. There’s also parrots in Donkey Kong, eagles in Pokémon, Breegulls in Banjo Kazooie and evil turkeys in South Park 64. Yeah. But with all these feathered fiends, the only question on my mind is simply, where are all the Moorhens?

And this, conveniently segues us into Moorhen 3, I know what you’re think, yes, there is a Moorhen 3. What about Moorhen 1 and 2 and more to the point, what the **** is a Moorhen? Well, according to reputable sources, it’s a bird that hangs around in marshes, are a close relation to coots and despite the name have more in common with ducks than of hens. According to non-reputable sources, they’re “the shadiest of all birds if it was any more shadier it would be a shadow, these birds are not your average birds, these are your basic moorhens.” Is this why the purpose of this game is to shoot them out the sky? Because they look suspcious?

Well, Moorhen 3 allows you to do this. The aim of the game is simply to shoot birds, frogs, rabbits, even the occasional hot air balloon out the sky. What’s the context of this mad, mildly psychopathic rampage, I hear you ask. Well, it’s obviously a carefully planned metaphor on how games tell you to do certain objectives, then you realise that doing it questions why you enjoy playing a game that celebrates mass murder, you know like that bit in Bioshock where

Didn’t expect something like that from a GBA game…Ok, this has already gone too far. I’m bullshitting, there is no context to why you’re shooting hot air balloons and geese out the sky and truth be told, its game with cartoon birds, I don’t expect the storyline from Heavy Rain. Or even a storyline at all for that matter. This is fitting anyway, because the game isn’t long enough to have a story, being a scant 1 level game. Yep. 1 level. However, having said that, the level itself is surprisingly a lot of fun and full of replay value, you get scored based on what you shoot and sometimes get points deducted, so there’s always the attempt to better your high scores, its pretty good for quick bus journeys and more fun than the “counting the old people” game I usually do. But any longer and you’ll get bored very quickly. It looks very nice as a game with pseudo 3D and FMV sections that do show off the power of the GBA, but ultimately it just falls under style over substance, the 4 direction controls are a bit clunky for manoeuvring your cross hair and makes it feel more confined than it should be and it is still only one level. On the plus side, its 5 minutes of fun and it’ll curb your serial killer tendencies for a short time…not that anyone has serial killer tendencies…don’t you look at me like that, I’m coming over with my machete, I’ll show you what’s what…

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