By Phil Orona
Picture, if you will, a first person shooter circa 1993. A slightly grainy, pixel filled, in your face menagerie of violence and gore with a grunge rock soundtrack provided by Nine Inch Nails as you wield a mini-gun that should be mounted on an attack chopper.This was the norm for many Doom clones produced for nearly a decade, the era of the “Wolfehexedoomnuke’m”. Now take what you can remember from this time frame and remove the bullets, the blood, and the monsters, substitute toxic male masculinity with subtle flamboyant themes, spangly jumpers and what amounts to Homer Simpson’s make up gun (For the woman who has 4\5ths of a second to get ready, just don’t set it to whore), and you get Fashion Police Squad by Mopeful games.
The game starts off in Trendopolis where you are the aptly titled Fashion Police agent Sergeant Des who is present to serve up a good’ ole sense of justice to those who would commit crimes against fashion upon the eyes of the trendy citizens of the “hip-to-the-jive” city. The Fashion Police get dispatched to 135th and Queen on a report of a GSMA (Grey Suit Male Adult) and it’s up to the Fashion Police to get this man up to dress code. Along the way in the tutorial stage you will find other offenders who will need to be blasted with the fashion gat (it’s like a smaller t-shirt cannon) that’s loaded up with the right stuff to make sure “You’ve got the look” like Sheena Easton and Revlon. The maze of the city streets amounts to a dungeon-like stage that requires some exploration and stage platforming to find hidden items, ammo, and power-ups.
The enemies come at first in the form of your typical grey suit wall street businessman who attacks you with his briefcase. Once blasted, they become fabulous powersuit champions who send their gratitude. Later in the stage you are attacked by Sock-In-Sandals Dude-Bros on scooters who are much quicker and harder to hit. While the game may come off as an extremely derivative Quake Engine powered FPS, it is actually an interesting change of pace to shoot someone and for them to not explode into a puddle of blood and organs. Then there are health packs that look like liquor drinks but are explained to be Mocktails that are suspiciously placed on the ground. Fashion Police Squad is quite self aware in its design.
Your weapons system is pretty basic – you have your fashion gun equipped with a color sampling laser that is required for certain enemies and you can use it to take away color as some need to have their colors drained because they are way too shiny (Hey, Tamatoa hasn’t always been so glam). In hyper attack mode, you pretty much run up and backhand slap your enemies down with all the grace and panache of “A Pimp named Slick back” (you have to say the whole thing). Until the last drab dresser drops, its wave after wave of fashion criminals all the way to the end of the stage and a boss encounter. Then it’s on to the fashion show to await the next report of a lack of fashion sense.
The music is very 16 bit pop synth which feels right for the presentation and overall sound design, while it doesn’t stand out, works just fine for the medium. The graphics feel very GFX\Glide retro, just a couple of fab-hairs better than a Super Nintendo FPS and runs smoothly throughout. The controls are intuitive and easy no matter if you are using a keyboard and mouse or a controller, and it handles the way one would expect an FPS to. The cut scenes and character designs are well drawn and certainly comic-book worthy.
Fashion Police Squad may be easily dismissed by the hardcore gamer, but then again, this is not who it is aimed at. This is aimed at the casual gamer who wants something fun and light hearted. You can get your FPS fix without the bloodshed, it tastes great and it’s less filling to boot. Fashion Police Squad is certainly a “right-turn at Albuquerque” that takes you in a slightly unexpected direction but you may be glad you found yourself there nonetheless. While I feel that it is still missing a certain “Ju no se qua” I have no problem booting up this game while bumping some old school “Right-Said Fred” but some people may find that they may just be too sexy for this game.
Fashion Police Squad has a 2022 tentative release date