Tom vs. The Armies of Hell (PC) Review

Developer: Darkmire Entertainment | Publisher: Burgoon Entertainment || Overall: 8.5

Every now and then a game supersedes its intent to be “simply” a game, and illuminates itself as more of a personal sarcastic journal of one person’s journey through life.  While Tom vs. The Armies of Hell is a well-designed, fun, twin-stick shooter with the sensibilities of a traditional 3rd person action beat-em-up game, it’s biting cynicism and lighthearted humor are by far its most shining aspect.  I thoroughly enjoyed this game, and the only thing holding it back were its annoying bugs.

Through six levels, you’ll take control of normal office employee “Tom” as he deals with a situation gone awry at his office.  While workplace violence is something to be mindful of, workplace-sinking-into-Hell might not be.  The beginning of the game, which is also the game’s story trailer (as seen below), is actually quite hilarious and really sets the mood for what’s to come.  While the cinematics and character portraits have a “Flash movie” art style to them, the in-game characters replicate their animated counterparts quite well, keeping a cartoonish look through most of the enemy designs that are quite unique.

The comedic point of the adventure really comes with using a normal everyday white dude who has a white collar job going around and killing hordes of demons with a gun that is powered by souls.  You’ll be accompanied by Hell’s seeming-antagonist Beezle and Tom has no choice but to do what he says since he can’t go anywhere else (much like his normal office job).  Tom vs. The Armies of Hell is full of ironic situations and comparisons to the real world like this, and is also full of inside jokes.  The game became an outlet for the developer to unleash his experiences onto the world, and due to the comedic execution of the writing, it is all very funny.  There is only voice acting during the cinematics, and not during the actual gameplay, however.

Tom vs. The Armies of Hell is actually quite difficult at times.  If you aren’t lucky or don’t figure out the exact way to beat a boss, you’ll be attempting it over and over until you do.  I personally encountered some game-breaking bugs that forced me to either restart the level or restart the game.  It extended the play time considerably for me, but it was usually not that difficult to get back to where I was considering I knew how to kill the bosses up to that point.  Enemy layouts are also randomized, but you’ll usually see the same ones pop up in particular places.  There was only one or two times where the set of enemies spawning made it a lot harder than the second time through where the more annoying enemies didn’t spawn.  Health is hard to come by, even on the easiest difficulty.  I didn’t see much nominal difference between Normal and Easy, but the game was difficult enough on Easy for me.  The last boss of the game can also be pretty cheap, and depending on if you have any upgrades available you’ll be in for a lot of “learning.”

Because the game is so short (I’d say max four hours without bugs ruining your day), you don’t earn many permanent upgrades like you may in a longer-form game.  Temporary upgrades are found in chests and are an assortment of buffs, like bigger ammo capacity, more damage, armor, etc; these are lost on death/respawn.  The one permanent upgrade is found on the second level where you are able to store a second type of ammo to switch to.  Your main modes of attack are your gun and your demon arm given to you by Beezle.  You’ll have to capture souls released by enemies with your gun and you’ll gain a limited amount of ammo to use that type.  The gun ammo is quite diverse, including but not limited to a rapid fire gun, shotgun, flamethrower, frost, penetrating plasma, lightning, and the most unique being a radioactive explodey-laser.  The demon arm is used for melee and as you hit more enemies, you’ll juice up your Energy bar.  Holding the melee button after a combo will unleash a large hit, expending your Energy, and is your best way to kill enemies fast at the risk of getting hit.  Finding purple demon shards (the game pretty much blatantly tells you it is demon’s fecal matter) will allow you to transform into a Demon and beat the crap out of everything around you while regaining health for the duration.  Energy drops and health drops are also common sights, but Health drops are quite a bit rarer.

While the game wasn’t super difficult, it can be a bit of a challenge.  The bugs are also strange; it feels like the game “forgets” to allow any Health drops at times, or a wall that stays up until you kill all enemies still stays up after you kill all enemies.  If you somehow manage to bug the game out in a different way, you’ll also have to restart the level.  For some reason when I continue a game from one of my older saves it doesn’t let me continue to any levels.  This is quite possibly the worst thing that can happen as you’ll have to restart the whole game again if you don’t play in one go.  While the developer appears to be quashing as many bugs as he can, this is an unfortunate side effect of a game that only has one person behind it.

Taking into account that Tom vs. The Armies of Hell is made by one person, the game is quite a marvel.  The art is great, the gameplay is decent-to-good throughout, and the bosses/enemies are designed well and are diverse.  The story is really funny and all of it makes for a quick, enjoyable experience.

 

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Quote #22651

A guy in a normal, not very interesting-looking denim long sleeve shirt is walking by davepoobond.  One of the employees of the store is walking behind him, sort of chasing him a little.

Employee: “Hey, that’s a nice shirt.”

Guy doesn’t hear him or ignores him.

Employee: “Hey that’s a nice shirt, man!”

Guy stops and turns around.

Guy: “Huh?”

Employee: “I said that’s a nice shirt.”

Guy: “Oh. Thanks…”

Guy walks off.

– at davepoobond’s job

 

Cashier Lesson – Ways to Torture Cashiers

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Cashier Lessons

Let’s say you are in a supervisory position over cashiers.  Typically supervising is a boring and monotonous exploit.  Babysitting other people to make sure they’re doing their job correctly can bring out the worst in people, especially when you do it day in and day out.

Why not put a little sadistic fun into your life by torturing the people you are supervising?  Here’s a few suggestions:

1. Funneling customers to one cashier’s register (or just away from you).

Nothing says “I’m lazy” more than rejecting any customer that comes your way.  But there’s a reasoning behind that.  It’s because you want that stupid cashier with the tacky blonde highlights or that other cashier with the excessively form-revealing biking shirt (can anyone say man boobs?) to have pleasure of taking another customer after the one they’re already ringing up.  Who says you need to endure the crappy money jokes customer’s always seem to think are funny when you can just deflect them to the next guy?

2. Musical registers.

Nothing wipes the hopeful look on a about-to-close-out cashier’s face than to make them close-out later by switching them to a register that closes later.  The best part about it, is that its all random and “pre-ordained to fate” because they chose a bad number.  To set up a game of musical registers, write the names of the registers on a piece of paper and cut them out.  Fold them up and then toss them into a small box or cup or something like that and have the cashiers draw a piece of paper.  These papers will tell them where to go for their registers, and if you’re lucky you’ll have a situation where a cashier who was happy they were about to close closes last and an overzealous cashier cheers that they get to close first instead of last.  Then you can revel in the pain of the cashier who just had the power play to being put into the penalty box.

3. Inventory.

Nothing is more sadistic than forcing people to count millions of Scantrons, pens, pencils, sweaters, or large amounts of random shit for hours on end.  If you get a chance, make sure they count the roundabout fixture full of dusty stickers that look alike.

4. Stare at them.

Nothing will make a cashier more uncomfortable than getting every move they make scrutinized upon by their superior.  When they mess up, you can stare at them even harder and make grunting noises and tell them they’re doing something wrong with little to no explanation.  You’re doing your job, after all.

5. Leave them with no change.

Oh, the cashier just called for pennies?  I think you should wait another twenty minutes and let them sweat a little.  Especially since they called for change five minutes ago and conveniently didn’t tell you they are about to run out of pennies.  Leave it to them to explain to customers why they don’t have three pennies to give back for change.

6. Mindless policies.

Making up policies that do not make any sense is a subtle way to make life hard for a cashier.  Nothing pains the soul more than to have needless red tape and hurdles to jump over to do even the simplest of things.  Need some more ones?  How about you fill out a cash request form which you will evaluate the reasoning for before getting the money?  How about requiring extraneous, useless information on checks to make the transaction take longer, and if they forget something, then you can punish them for doing so.

This requires some creativity, obviously.  Just think up the most ass backwards ways to frustrate your employees and execute.

7. Hidden supplies.

If a cashier is able to easily get the pens, pencils, staplers, or whatever they need easily, then you fail at torturing them.  You need to make sure that any of the office supplies they may require to finish transactions are in hard to reach or practically inaccessible areas.  Make sure these supplies are always a few steps away and limit the amount of efficiency they can possibly have by maximizing the annoyance factor.  Make sure the stapler is on the other side of the room from the pens and pencils.  Why would you ever want them to be in the same place?  It’s not like you want anything to be convenient for anyone.

 

Joke #18712

We have a new employee, Jose, at the local Home Depot and has proven to be very knowledgeable and helpful to the sawdust-challenged like myself.

Yesterday I needed his guidance after ruining several pieces of wood with my newly purchased belt sander.

A fast trip to the store led to the retro question,

“Do you know the way to sand, Jose?”

 

Joke #18684: Why You Can’t Have a Day Off

So you want a day off. Let’s take a look at what you are asking for:

There are 365 days per year available for work. There are 52 weeks per year in which you already have 2 days off per week, leaving 261 days available for work. Since you spend 16 hours each day away from work, you have used up 170 days, leaving only 91 days available.

You spend 30 minutes each day on coffee break, which counts for 23 days each year, leaving only 68 days available. With a 1 hour lunch each day, you used up another 46 days, leaving only 22 days available for work.

You normally spend 2 days per year on sick leave. This leaves you only 20 days per year available for work. We are off 5 holidays per year, so your available working time is down to 15 days. We generously give 14 days vacation per year, which leaves only 1 day available for work and I’ll be darned if you are going to take that day off!

 

Ten Common Full-Time Employee Illnesses

1. The Macy’s One Day Sale Flu.

2. The Drivers License Renewal Appointment 24-Hour Virus.

3. The Friday-Afternoon-Start-The-Weekend-Early Sudden Unbearable Stomach Pains.

4. The I’m Looking for a New Job and I Don’t Know How Long It’s Going to Take, but I Want To Stay On The Payroll Until Then Mysterious Infection.

5. The My Boyfriend’s Got the Week Off So Suddenly I’m Too Contagious To Come In To The Office Disease.

6. The I Need a Hair Cut and My Stylist Doesn’t Make Evening Appointments Bout of Influenza.

7. The There’s No Federal Holidays for Two Months and I Want a Day Off Sickness.

8. The It’s Spring Break and I Want To Pretend I’m a Teenager Again General Ailment.

9. The I’ve Messed Up Royally and I Won’t Come In To Face the Music Terminal Illness.

10. The I Really Am Sick and I’ve Got The Doctor’s Bills and the Completed Medical Expense Reimbursement Forms to Prove It Infirmity.

 

Joke #18586

The day I started my construction job, I was in the office filling out an employee form when I came to the section that asked: Single____, Married____, Divorced____.

I marked single. Glancing at the man next to me, who was also filling out his form, I noticed he hadn’t marked any of the blanks. Instead he had written, ‘Yes, in that order.’

 

Joke #18519

Our company offers a bonus award for employee ideas that improve safety, quality or performance. A co-worker noticed there was a power switch suspended 16 feet over our machinery.

He suggested that a chain be attached to the switch, allowing it to be pulled for quick shut-off in an emergency.

The suggestion went through channels and was rejected. One reason given was that “the chain might be pushed up one day, accidentally turning the power switch on.”

 

Quote #18502: Managerial Smartity

Recently, a magazine ran a contest. They were looking for people to submit quotes from their real-life managers. Here are some of the submissions:

As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday and employees will receive their cards in two weeks. (This was the winning quote from Fred Dales at Microsoft Corp in Redmond, WA.)

What I need is a list of specific unknown problems we will encounter. (Lykes Lines Shipping)

E-mail is not to be used to pass on information or data. It should be used only for company business (Accounting manager, Electric Boat Company)

This project is so important, we can’t let things that are more important interfere with it. (Advertising/Marketing manager, United Parcel Service)

Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule. No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! We’ve been working on it for months. Now, go act busy for a few weeks and I’ll let you know when it’s time to tell them. (R&D supervisor, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing/3M Corp.)

Quote from the Boss: “Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say.” (Marketing executive, Citrix Corporation)

We recently received a memo from senior management saying: “This is to inform you that a memo will be issued today regarding the subject mentioned above.” (Microsoft, Legal Affairs Division)

One day my Boss asked for a status report concerning a project I was working on. I asked him if tomorrow would be soon enough. He said “If I wanted it tomorrow, I would have waited until tomorrow to ask for it!” (New business manager, Hallmark Greeting Cards.)

 

Joke #18498

Business must follow numerous rules and regulations laid down by government agencies. So maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised by the memo from the county Department of Health Services.

“The month of August has been designated as Breast-Feeding Awareness Month,” it read. “It is a good time for employers to review their policies relative to breast-feeding employees.”