The year is 2011. We’re nearing the home stretch of the 360 and PS3 console generation. We’re seeing really cool games that push the power of their hardware, while also being fun as hell to play.
One day, while browsing on Twitter like I usually do, someone I followed retweeted this gem by one Clifford Bleszinski:
Naturally, being the curious guy I am, I checked out the website and found out there was a free game there. I download the 700MB installer, not knowing what to expect.
Duty Calls: The Calm Before the Storm is a parody game that makes fun of the long-standing Call of Duty franchise. This is very apparent by the logo that makes fun of the old Call of Duty logo, to even that important disclaimer that Activision had nothing to do with it. Because the last thing they needed were lawsuits.
Parodying games in other games is a fickle thing. Sometimes you can be right on point and make it funny, otherwise you end up just making half-baked references that fall flat and seem incredibly dated, like Duke Nukem Forever rejecting Master Chief’s power armor, saying it’s “for pussies.”
With a parody like this, it can only go up from there, so let’s give it a try.
Our adventure begins with an introductory cutscene learning about some secret base, complete with a Call of Duty-style talking about how war has changed, and yet war never changes. It oddly reminded me of that song from Idle Thumbs about the wizard.
After that, our intrepid shooterguy drops in with an M4 assault rifle and a secret base to find by some random commander dude. So let’s jump into the fray and fight the big bad.
I could do a play-by-play, much like I did with my last article on CTU Marine Sharpshooter, but this game is short. I beat it in 10 minutes. Not only that, this game relies on such silly gags like the one below, thus if I showed you every gag you wouldn’t wanna play it, so here’s a sampling instead.
Duty Calls throws a lot of jabs at Call of Duty, usually referencing its fairly linear nature, its over-emphasis on slow motion action scenes, even making fun of the silly rank progression of COD‘s multiplayer. The only thing it doesn’t make fun of is being penalized for going out of bounds. Oh well, can’t have everything, I guess.