Adventure FAIL: Prometheus


Free RPG Day had just ended, I’d already lost two PCs to friendly fire and watched Iron Man get pounded into a hubcap full of jelly by the Hulk so maybe I was just in a bad mood, but I have never seen a more inept party of adventurers than the knuckle-headed try-hards that pass for a crew in Prometheus.



This is the story of how mankind makes first contact with his ancient alien ancestors by spending one trillion dollars to shoot 17 of the world's dumbest people into space.

Look, I’m not going to argue with the fundamental premise of the movie because that’s like arguing with the DM over the preliminary boxed text: Do you want to go adventuring or not? YEAH YEAH WE’VE ALL BEEN INVITED TO STRAHD’S PLACE FOR DINNER. GET ON WITH IT!

So, some crazy tall dudes — let’s be honest: they look like cloud giants, can we call them cloud giants? -Great. Some cloud giants from another planet probably started life on earth. Cut to: thirty-five thousand years later, we go looking for them. CUE GIANT SPACE ROCKET NOISE THAT TOTALLY DOES NOT MAKE NOISE BECAUSE IT’S IN SPACE. KHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU.

After some useless crap that results mostly in a gratuitous shot of Charlize Theron’s cleavage and a newfound appreciation for Michael Fassbender’s ability to mime a CGI basketball, we get to the planet where we learn one crucial fact: THESE PEOPLE HAVE NEVER PLAYED D&D.

Hey, I’m a fancy space captain with a fancy trillion-dollar starship. Do I use my super-fancy sci-fi radar to scan the planet for possible threats and danger? F*CK NO! POINT THOSE ION THRUSTERS TITS UP AND LET’S DIVE BOMB THIS BADBOY!!

Scanners are for people who aren't busy holding a COFFEE CUP!!

This sets the tone for the whole rest of the movie: We’re sitting on a trillion dollars’ worth of technology and are four years away from the nearest possible help… YEAHHHH!!! CLOUD GIANTS! YEAH!!!! BASH THE SKULL WITH THE MAGIC HAMMER!! YEAHHH!!

So, despite their insistence on wandering at random, the party encounters the cloud giant lair. (GAMERS: THIS IS WHY YOU DO NOT WANDER AT RANDOM. IT JUST GIVES THE DM AN EXCUSE FOR YOU TO “ACCIDENTALLY” STUMBLE HEADLONG INTO THE FIRST ENCOUNTER. Take my advice and ACTIVELY avoid the plot!)

Hey, what’s in our fancy trillion dollar cargo bay filled with super science stuff? Do you think you have some robot drones or remote control helio-copters or some piece of sh*t Mars Rover left over from 200 years ago that you could drive into that big, creepy-looking cloud giant lair? F*CK NO.

Oh, okay. Well, look – we only have 17 people on the crew and we have absolutely no idea what’s in there. Maybe we could send our Super Basketball Robot into the creepy deathpit to take a look around? –AND LET THE ROBOT TAKE ALL THE GLORY!?! MOUNT UP PEOPLE!! WE HAVE SOME HUBRIS TO FLEX!

Which brings us to…

ADVENTURE FAIL #1: If anyone ever says “This is a scientific mission, we don’t need any weapons” this is a rock-solid guarantee YOU WILL NEED WEAPONS.

Weapons? These guys aren't even smart enough to carry a 10-foot pole.

We get no more than 10 feet inside the cave when Scotty McBarCodeHead lets loose his “pups” — magic orbs that fly off in all directions and MAP THE ENTIRE COMPLEX.

Hey, you guys, I have this great idea for these flying orb things that are super fast and handy and can transmit TOTALLY BITCHIN’ 3-D maps of any structure. What? Can you mount them to a small helio-copter, drone, or Mars Rover? No, unfortunately the only way they can be activated is if a LIVING HUMAN BEING REMOVES THEM FROM A POUCH AND TOSSES THEM INTO THE AIR. It’s an insurmountable design challenge you guys, trust me on this one.

So, MEANWHILE, the party keeps on exploring because, you know, it’s not like they spent four years travelling here and could just adjourn to the ship or pop back into their sleep beds while the Super Robot Orbs do their work. They have an URGENT DEADLINE to meet! Geologists and archaelogists are PEOPLE of ACTION. They’re used to getting immediate results. Besides, those flying robot orbs have to be supervised, right? Plus there’s NO WAY they could accidentally trip off some alien defense mechanism or something.


Fortunately, while the flying robot orbs are doing something useful, the party finds a deeper level in Dungeon Fort Cloud Giant, one that contains breathable air.

ADVENTURE FAIL #2: I don’t care WHAT your oxygen meter reads, DO NOT REMOVE YOUR HELMET.

Look, not only are you exposing yourself to potential germs (did they somehow make “germ learning” optional in 2093 trillion-dollar science class??) but you’re also lowering your Armor Class. As soon as you take off your helmet, you create a giant, glowing arrow over your head that says “HEY MR. DM, KILL ME FIRST.”

Super Basketball Robot proceeds to activate a hologram of several alien dudes running in terror. No one finds this the LEAST bit curious. Like: “Hey, alien life! High-five, Nobel Prize everybody!”

Or: “Gee, they’re bipedal just like us! Fascinating!”

Or: “Wow, those dudes are really, really terrified. What are they running from? It seems to be invisible. Could it be some sort of germ-type organism? Man I wish I had taken that optional germ-learning class instead of demolishing old Mars Rover prototypes with a ballpeen hammer.”

Mostly, everyone seems interested in the fact that one alien dude got his head cut off by a door. The following exchange immediately occurs:

Not-Sigourney Weaver: “Super Basketball Robot, what are you doing?”

Super Basketball Robot: “Opening this door.”

Not-Sigourney Weaver: “Ummmm… let’s not open that door just yet.”

Door: “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhooouuuuuunnnk!

ADVENTURE FAIL #3 AKA CAVALIER’S LAW OF ROBOTICS: The first time the robot fails to obey you, YOU KILL THE ROBOT.

Bring it on. I have 18/00 STR.

At this point, Scotty McBarCodeHead and Sciencey Glassesdude freak out and decide to head back to the ship.


Apparently in 2093, they’ve stopped watching Scooby-Doo.

Of course, Scotty McBarCodeHead and Sciencey Glassesdude immediately get lost.

Hey, are you a geologist who probably has spent a lot of time underground, spelunking? WELL DID YOU LIST THAT ON YOUR CHARACTER SHEET? No? THEN I GUESS YOU DIDN’T. Oh, and it’s too bad they don’t teach orienteering in trillion-dollar geology class. WAIT, maybe you can use your robot mapping orbs to tell you where -NOPE… Hey, it’s too bad you can’t RADIO THE SHIP. You know, the one that is tracking your EXACT LOCATION along with a COMPLETE READOUT of the tunnel system as mapped by your shiny robot orbs. BOY THIS IS A STICKLER. WHAT TO DO…

Meanwhile, the rest of the team spends 15 minutes dicking around deeper inside the complex and makes it out with all due haste, along with a giant alien head in a bag and a jar of that evil black oil crap from season three of The X-Files. If I’m Scotty McBarCodeHead or Sciencey Glassesdude, I immediately start screaming “KILLER DM!!!!”

The rest of the movie devolves into a similar nonsensical cluserf*ck of the 8th magnitude.

ADVENTURE FAIL #5: The best way to test if something is organic life or not is to rub it between your fingers. Because if the DM says you see some crusty dead bodies, you freak the f*ck out, but if he says you see some ooky black goop, it’s time to slather it on like SPF 50 at a 4th of July cookout. DON’T WORRY EVERYONE, I’M WEARING GLOVES!

ADVENTURE FAIL #6: Just because Super Basketball Robot does not have a soul does not mean you should openly taunt Super Basketball Robot. In fact, one might argue this is EXACTLY WHY you should not taunt Super Basketball Robot. Super Basketball Robot does not have a sense of humor.

ADVENTURE FAIL #7: If you would like to bed a LADY, just accuse her of being a Super Basketball Robot. CHARISMA CHECK!

ADVENTURE FAIL #8: If you’re four years away from Earth and feel like mmmmaybe you’re coming down with something, don’t report it. It’s probably just allergies. You know, the kind of allergies that cause little veiny tentacles to sprout from the whites of your eye. (I think that’s milkweed.) Besides what kind of DM uses the DISEASE table? DICK MOVE!

ADVENTURE FAIL #9: Movie dialogue is like a limited wish. If you say you can’t get pregnant, BE SURE TO BE SPECIFIC.

ADVENTURE FAIL #10: Dear future engineers: NEVER make a space helmet that accommodates bong hits. This will NEVER BE HELPFUL.

ADVENTURE FAIL #11: Pro-tip: Any monster shaped like a snake, penis, or vagina is NOT friendly.

ADVENTURE FAIL #11a: Any monster shaped like a snake, penis, AND a vagina WILL EAT YOU.

ADVENTURE FAIL #12: If the CEO of the company has a daughter on this mission, make sure the super surgery pod only works on men and have it installed in her quarters. IN YOUR FACE!

ADVENTURE FAIL #13: That CEO guy you thought was dead? Turns out he was just asleep. That super alien engineer dude you thought was dead? -Also just asleep. …How do you think this will end?

ADVENTURE FAIL #14: If your entire purpose in going on this adventure was just to talk to some NPC, you deserve it when your character gets punched in the face. PARLEY? You thought you could PARLEY? ROLL FOR INITIATIVE!

ADVENTURE FAIL #15: Even if it’s six inches thick, your age makeup will not protect you from super alien punching damage. DO NOT F*CK WITH THE CLOUD GIANTS!

ADVENTURE FAIL #16: If you’ve got the time to sit back and poke holes in the continuity, the DM has failed as a storyteller and human being.

ADVENTURE FAIL #17: Consider for a moment the possibility that your DM may not actually be a human being, but is instead a Super Basketball Robot. ...Makes a lot more sense now, doesn’t it?


Gamers, if I have in any way enticed you to see this miserable trainwreck of a movie, PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF MORADIN, go rent Pandorum instead. It’s much more entertaining, and when it’s all over you won’t want to stab yourself in the neck with the pointy end of a GameScience d10.


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13 Responses to Adventure FAIL: Prometheus

  1. Dennis Pipes says:

    Hahahahahahaha, absolutely 100% dead on!!!!

  2. MilwaukeeJoe says:

    Strangely enough, you did intrigue me to now want to see this movie. But, to see it in the proper context that this crew consists of morons, and I’m looking forward to seeing the train wreck. Who doesn’t like a seeing a TPK when the players are stupid?

  3. George says:

    So, if I can read between the lines, you’re saying this movie is sub-par and might not be the best way to spend an afternoon? Or is that being too harsh?


  4. vecna00 says:

    You sir, are an artist!

  5. Trevor says:

    Office consensus: Dungeon Bastard needs MORE Adventure FAILs. These are hilarious and oh-so-true.

  6. Craig says:

    I did like a lot about Prometheus…the effects, the sets, even the performances. But yeah…the characters are a bunch of clueless jackholes, who richly deserve a TPK by tentacle fun time.
    Personal highlight – the biologist who is terrified of a dead, decapitated body, gets an irresistible and inexplicable urge to touch the alien cobra worm (which is striking an obviously aggressive posture) like it’s a fuzzy kitty stretched out on it’s back wanting it’s belly tickled.

  7. rogue3 says:

    There’s a great article on Ars Technica about the utter lack of realistic science in the movie, and the sub-par quality of scientists that go on this ill-fated expedition.

    Another issue I had was with Shaw’s beyond miraculous recovery from her emergency surgery. Seconds after having something ripped from her abdomen by Dr. Roboto, she’s up stumbling around the ship. AND NO ONE NOTICES! She’s pale, she’d covered in blood, but the most anyone can do for her is give her a gown to cover up. No “Hey, what’re those giant staples on your stomach?” or anything. Then about 20 minutes later she’s running and jumping and climbing. Whatever that spray anesthetic they put on her was must have some Wolverine-like healing properties because I couldn’t take a blow to the gut after having stomach surgery the way she did. I’d have passed out and fallen to my doom. Either that or Swedes are made of sterner stuff than Americans.

  8. Xiim says:

    Really great review, love the movie as dungeon crawl style of review and I would love to see some more in the future….

    Actually do past review too, I would slaughter all the younglings in exchange for a review on the inter-party dynamics of the Avengers. Huh… I just realized that the Chitauri are actually Githyanki… wow my head hurts.

  9. Eric (the viking) says:

    Hilarious read but I can’t help but wonder… does a fail party make a fail movie? I mean, clearly those guys are scientists, not space marines. They’re the half-elf bards of science fiction, while a PROPER adventuring party would consist of crack marine guys with the personalities of dwarves and half-orcs fighters and barbarians, and some humans (non-wussy medic “clerics” and tech-savvy “wizard” hopefully with a few level in something less likely to die from cloud giant sneezing).
    So all in all, I’m thinking that a fail party in action could still be entertaining, even if it would make any gamer facepalm.
    The question is… is that the case? Or is the movie actually bad?

  10. Chogokin says:

    No, the movie is bad. I believe the writers sacrificed the integrity of the characters and the plot for the sake of symbolism.

    I think that it there could be a terribly profound and affecting movie to be had of a story in which a competent group of explorers travel to an alien planet, investigate a long-abandoned alien base, and still manage to die in the process. Not through incompetence, but simply because they are overmatched by the sheer alienness of their environment. There are any number of classic science fiction stories on this theme, ranging from the Strugatsky brothers’ Roadside Picnic, to Alastair Reynolds’ Diamond Dogs. You could even throw in a Michael Crichton-esque twist in which they are endangered by inherent or overlooked flaws in their reasoning, as in Andromeda Strain or Jurassic Park.

    But no, this is a movie in which, simply to make an off-the-cuff Christ reference, it is apparently standard procedure aboard a starship which is making a suicidal ramming attack on an alien vessel for the three bridge crewmen to assume a crucifix position by standing up and raising their arms just before they hit. They are apparently trained to answer this command unquestioningly.

  11. Hopeless says:

    Any chance of having this be done as a youtube video?
    Perhaps a justice arena job between it and Pandorum… hold on might have to wait until its released on dvd…
    Still very amusing, by the end of watching this I needed the toilet very badly… but not because of the movie itself!

  12. Pingback:Flaming Deathpits Are In: Dungeon Bastard Wants You For a Dungeon Crawl

  13. Erik says:

    Visually stunning but dumb as f*ck. This is what happens when you pair a genius director with a terrible writer.

    I’d find it more entertaining to run a game with such inept players; it’d be sooo much fun to kill them off and I could rib them about it for years afterward. Watching a movie like this, all I can do is yell at the screen.

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