Computer nerds rejoice! Zombie Cow’s free edutainment game Privates has been released, so now we all finally have the chance to enter a woman’s naughty bits! Hurrah! No wait, I mean, umm… let me try that again.
Privates is a platforming shooter set inside the human body, in which small, gun-wielding soldiers take on a variety of sexually transmitted diseases in the name of education and hilarity (but mainly hilarity). It can be a little rough around the edges at times, but a combination of excellent script writing, simple yet effective fun and genius settings and backdrops make this a must-download.
Privates follows the exploits of a tiny drill sergeant leading his troops into battle against a whole host of sexually transmitted diseases. You control the captain, while your three dunderheads try to stick closely behind. It’s a platformer with the mouse used to aim and fire anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-other things at the various baddies that have made a home out of some silly teenager’s insides.
Your gun has four different cylinders representing the types of treatment you can administer and learning which ammo to use for each virus is the key to staying alive. As diseases are encountered, your scanner can be utilized via the space bar, suppling useful (and hilarious) information as to which type of treatment should be used.
Learning which cylinders to switch to takes a mission or two, but eventually you’ll be blasting vaginas and bottoms clean like a pro. It’s incredibly easy to roam about each unique landscape and taking out the viruses is a riot. Throughout play the action gets more and more fast-paced, as sperm swarm in and carry you along with them, and chlamydia darts around, attacking from all sides.
Don’t expect to sail smoothly through, however – there are some really challenging sections to overcome that will really test you. One part in particular towards the end – involving the morning-after pill – was possibly even a little too difficult, and holding the incoming sperm back was utter madness.
At the end of each of the five campaigns is a boss battle, featuring one of the more deadly STDs, and they do a great job of rounding up all the action. The battle with Gonorrhea in particular is really quite awesome, as it attempts to remove your condom-hat and kill you off.
All-in-all, it’s a rollicking good journey through the more disturbing parts of the human body, but it’s not without issues – mainly of the technical kind. While the cutscenes are genuinely a laugh a minute, they can be a little slow-moving at times, with a few long pauses and strange silences that even the brilliant writing sometimes can’t save.
Then there’s a strange problem with pausing the game. Half the time it will work perfectly fine, freezing everything as it should – yet other times the action will continue to move behind the menu, and you need to select resume before all your men end up dead. The game also crashed a couple of times during play, stating that ‘an unknown error’ had occurred.
Yet it’s most likely that none of this will matter, because you’ll be smiling a bit too much to notice. Much like Zombie Cow’s past games, Privates is pumped full of British humour, from the way the characters talk to its general take on sex and genitalia. The chatter between the soldiers made me laugh out loud multiple times, and gave the whole experience such an incredible personality.
It’s impossible to go a few seconds without something highly amusing being rammed down your throat. Areas of the body feature giant neon signs to let you know where you are; Missions have titles such as ‘Close to the Bone’ and ‘Campaign in the Arse’; Even the age warning description on boot-up made me chuckle. There are some rather risque ideas and dialogue thrown about the place, yet it all manages to stay relatively mature and rarely feels like it’s being rude for the sake of being rude.
Privates looks the part, too. Characters run along a 2D plane, with gorgeously creepy backdrops setting each separate scene. Each disease is portrayed in a way which describes how it works – for example, chlamydia is difficult to spot, while HIV cannot be killed. Privates oozes personality, and isn’t afraid to get down and dirty.
A couple of technical problems mar an otherwise perfect soundscape – a number of times, sound effects will randomly start playing on repeat, and bits and pieces of dialogue will go unheard. On the flipside, effects will sometimes completely cut out, leaving you with a few seconds of silent gunfire. It’s not a game-breaker, but it does break the ambience now and again.
A squad of remarkably awful soldiers are put under the supervision of a great sergeant, who takes them on missions into women’s vaginas and across the surface of a man’s ballsack – sorry – scrotum. Along the way, they learn how each virus attacks, and how it can be prevented. Apparently safe sex is usually the answer. Who would have thought it, eh?
Privates is meant to be partially educational, so the question is – did I learn anything? Well… the answer is probably not, although that’s not to say that others won’t learn a thing or two. The emphasis on blasting and silliness means that the bits where you might actually learn something are overshadowed. Still, for a 14 or 15 year old who hasn’t got the faintest clue about sex or STDs, some of the info wedged between all the poo jokes might stick.
As an hour’s worth of entertainment, Privates is a charmingly frivolous blaster, the likes of which you’ve never seen (and most likely will never see again). As an educational tool, you may want to stick to your textbooks, Mr. Teacher.
Definitely worth a download, it’s an experience you’ll most likely be describing to your friends the next day… but possibly not your family. Give it a download from the E4 website.