LISTEN UP GAMERS:
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.
IT’S TIME FOR SOME ADVENTURE COACHING, PEOPLE!
SPOILERS AFTER THE CUT!!
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!!
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.
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.
OMG I’M GOING TO HAVE A SARCASM-INDUCED ANEURYSM.
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.”
ADVENTURE FAIL #3 AKA CAVALIER’S LAW OF ROBOTICS: The first time the robot fails to obey you, YOU KILL THE ROBOT.
At this point, Scotty McBarCodeHead and Sciencey Glassesdude freak out and decide to head back to the ship.
ADVENTURE FAIL #4: DO NOT SPLIT UP THE PARTY.
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.