Eco Warriors

En Garde, Union Carbide!

Free Download
System Requirements:
Win 2000+/ 1GHz CPU/ 1 GB RAM/ 128MB VRAM/ DirectX 9
PM Studios

Created by PM Studios (which did ETROM: The Astral Essence, a beautiful action/adventure RPG with extremely awkward controls), Eco Warriors is a "serious" game funded by the government of Italy's Apulia region, with EU support. It's primarily in Italiano, but the English language version contains English subtitles. Ciao, Eco Warrior.

In Eco Warrior, you play a sword-wielding kid in a funny costume, running around a 3D landscape and fighting evil pollution bots, dismantling their evil pollution spewing machines -- and then recycling them.

Points are gained for killing enemies, but more for picking up refuse, including their slain bot parts, then lugging them to a set of recycling bins, and properly sorting them out. Glass goes here, plastic goes there, and so on.

Oh, yes, also there's a quiz you can take between levels for extra points, which tests on your knowledge of things like Apulian recycling regulations, as well as all-important questions like "Toxic waste is dangerous, true or false?"

Uh... Where to begin?

Well, from the persepective of a "serious game," I suppose Eco Warriors is "successful" if it teaches kids, its ostensible audience about, say, Apulian recycling regulations, and fosters changes in attitudes that lead to higher levels of recycling. Probably does, I guess. Of course, the real lesson of the game is something along the lines of "evil people are polluting our planet, and we have to kill them with swords and then recycle them." You know, something like "En garde, Union Carbide!"

So, you know, from the perspective a serious game, it probably does achieve its objectives, at least partially, but in the most brain-dead possible way. That is, the whole reason to do a serious game, rather than a documentary or a leaflet, is because games can do something other media can't do: since games are systems, they can show how systems function. An intelligent game about recycling would show how recycling reduces waste and what the net effects are on the environment. That would be a different game, of course.

From the perspective of a game qua game -- like, is this fun, and how does it advance the state of the art -- well, it's a mildly entertaining combat game, and not a trivial one. You run a real danger of dying in combat, and you need to learn when to run and use a health powerup and how much you can press your luck.

The AI, however, is pretty dumb -- and the "system requirements" here should be treated as a bare minimum. The game ran like molasses on my normal box, which exceeds them slightly -- so much so as to be virtually unplayable. It worked better on a faster Vista machine, however.

One other caveat: It's a 600 meg installer, and the download site has the bandwidth of a straw, so expect a couple of hours to get the installer. (Note to PM Studios: Host on Amazon S3, or at least


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Edward Abbey

Somebody needs to make a game about some real eco-warriors.