It Could be a Game: Black Lagoon

Topic started by Sarumarine on Aug. 18, 2011. Last post by sotyfan16 2 years, 10 months ago.
Post by Sarumarine (9 posts) See mini bio Level 9

Usually I spend most of my time on Giant Bomb. I've been easing my way into Anime Vice since taking a liking to Black Lagoon. This post has a foot in both sites so I thought I'd share it here just in case.

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I'm a guy with many tastes, but I have most of my fun with video games. And a lot like an ill fated metaphor about combining ice cream and pizza, I tend to wonder if other things I enjoy just might make a good game. Considering the crazy range of play styles and tone from one title to the next there is certainly a whole lot of room for just about anything you can throw at it.

So this blog post is about something that could be a game. Take careful note that I say could, because as the saying goes. You could, but should you? Safe money and sanity says, no, but I want to have fun with it anyway.

It Could be a Game: Black Lagoon

Like most video game characters, Revy is really only good at Killing People
Like most video game characters, Revy is really only good at Killing People

Right up front Black Lagoon is an anime/manga series about a gang of pirates that operate out of a city in Thailand made up of mobsters, cartels, psychopaths, and drug dealers. The tone is very dark with a dash of grey morality kinda similar to Grand Theft Auto without the cheeky parodies of American culture. The action is very 80s what with torpedo boats taking out attack helicopters, unlikely displays of dual wielding handguns, and nearly indestructible women sometimes dressed up in maid outfits. I won't drag on about the plot because we have the technology if you want to know more.

Some of the appeal comes from a Japanese salary man out of his element who still finds time to survive using his head and carefully chosen words instead of mountains of bullets. I'll get around to that later. Some of the danger is that this would be a licensed game dooming it to indifference or a quick cash in. Although, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Tons of Guns, and Quirky Weapons Too

Guns? Yes. All of the Above
Guns? Yes. All of the Above

People who are familiar with Black Lagoon might find it a dead ringer for a third person action game or a sandbox type where you explore a city. But before we get that far, one thing Black Lagoon has going for it is a healthy selection of weapons. For me, most action games live and die with their selection of guns or tools of destruction. This is especially true in first person shooters where your "character" is really just a floating gun with a helping hand for reload animations. One of the show's more defining characteristics is the considerable detail spent on the various guns that are fired off from episode to episode. Everything from Berettas, to Browning Automatic Rifles, to Desert Eagles, to Kalashnikovs are well represented.

And then there are a few special weapons that were the partial inspiration for a blog like this. The kind of stuff that makes me wonder why this hasn't appeared in a video game yet.

The Umbrella Shotgun and the Suitcase SAW
The Umbrella Shotgun and the Suitcase SAW

Short explanation, Black Lagoon likes to take a lot of Japanese character types and put dark spins on them. Roberta the maid is no exception. But the important thing is her concealed weapons in the form of a combat shotgun umbrella and an LMG in her suitcase. I don't know how we've gotten this far without a game featuring some sort of concealed combination like this. C'mon video game industry. New Hitman game? Novelty Team Fortress 2 item for the Heavy? Someone get on this. It would be awesome.

Roanapur: A Little Slice of Hell in East Asia

Someone has Already Thought of This
Someone has Already Thought of This

The setting of Black Lagoon certainly leaves a lot of options for game play. Roanapur is a fictional city in Thailand overrun with crime and drug trade. There's no illusion of order as the police are completely useless and the criminal element kill each other day in, day out fighting for territory. The only thing keeping the streets from becoming a war zone is a tight balance struck up by the various mafias. It's not the most original setting as a city of sin and crime, but the international element allows a lot of interaction from all over the world. Setting it in the 90s allows for plenty of soldiers left behind from the Cold War and Communism to apply their training for personal profit.

The natural reaction is something like GTA, which the accompanying image I found on the internet shows someone agrees. I have a different, less obvious idea, which leads me to...

Black Lagoon feat. Dialogue Trees

I would be totally cool with an adventure game where you navigate the trigger happy world of Black Lagoon with nothing but a lot of smooth talking. Adventure games are hot now, right? Give it to Telltale Games. The main character, nicknamed Rock, of this series is really just a normal white collar guy trying to hold onto his soul in a city where people solve their differences with gunfire and grenade launchers. He gets away with a lot of shit using nothing but a cool head and a lot of talking. It would be fun trying to get away with the same stuff through careful use of dialogue trees.

Use [Coat] on [Mad Russian Lady]
Use [Coat] on [Mad Russian Lady]

Or in the case of the game giving you options (including massive failure), make a big a mess as you possibly can.

Sometimes there are No Right Answers
Sometimes there are No Right Answers

Of course, if you want shooting there are more than enough blood thirsty characters in this series to put together a battle of any kind. You could even make it Uncharted-like to take advantage of all the jumping and diving regularly featured in the show.

This is Probably a Bad Idea

Torture Mini Game! What? Too far?
Torture Mini Game! What? Too far?

But there's really no reason to limit game play to one character when there are plenty of quirky people you could rotate around... and that brings me to (probably) the most uncomfortable part of Black Lagoon, Hansel and Gretel. They're a pair of murderous pre-teen twins (maybe) that kill people with axes and a machine gun. They're all kinds of fucked up. And yet... I would be lying if I didn't think playing as them could be fun. Stalking people, luring them into a false sense of security, laying waste to bars and automobiles with a machine gun... and they would be weak to sniper rifles. I don't know what that says about me as a person, but if done poorly it would really cheapen their characters and probably show up on a news program.

Although, this concern probably depends on your familiarity with Hansel and Gretel and your tolerance for violence. I just can't remember many games where you play as murderous children beyond saving with a really, really fucked up past.

The Conclusion?

Black Lagoon could be a video game. It has everything it needs. Should it though? Probably no, considering how most licensed games turn out. The fact that there isn't an actual Black Lagoon game is evidence enough of that. Still, there are a lot of parts of the show I wouldn't mind getting borrowed for other games. If there is one thing from this blog that I would make real, it would be a shotgun umbrella. Preferably for a stealth game. That would be sweet.

That's not how you Active Reload, dude.
That's not how you Active Reload, dude.
Post by DocHaus (922 posts) See mini bio Level 18
@Sarumarine: Obligatory "Welcome to AV, we're not all crazy here" message. 
 
Black Lagoon was more of an homage to old exploitation films with the gun-toting ladies and the non-sensical plots. But for what overarching plot exists I could definitely see it working as a sort of adventure game, with you (the player) picking a character from the Black Lagoon crew and going through their story: Revy and Dutch shooting things up, Benny doing some hacking, and Rock trying to talk his way out of (or into) various situations. I'm just afraid of who exactly would develop it if such a thing were to come to pass, like how I'd feel if someone made Kill Bill or Black Dynamite into a video game.
Post by AURON570 (539 posts) See mini bio Level 15
Awesome post! I still need to check out this series, damn it, hopefully sometime this year though. :)
Post by Sarumarine (9 posts) See mini bio Level 9

@DocHaus: Heh, thanks. In all seriousness I don't know who would be best suited for a project like this. When you aptly put it like that, it's a dicey proposition no matter how you cut it.

@AURON570: There's only two seasons (provided you're watching the anime) so it wouldn't take that long to get caught up. The manga is a little more spread out over 9 or so issues if I'm not mistaken.

Post by Superevil225 (6,742 posts) See mini bio Level 17
Black Lagoon reminded me of an anime Machete. XD
Post by sotyfan16 (1,340 posts) See mini bio Level 20
I have thought about how this could/should be a game. I've also thought it would be an easy anime-to-live-action transition.
 
Considering what the anime is and what it contains, I think Rockstar or Bethesda would be best suited. Nice addition with the Black Lagoon take on GTA.
 
But I find it nice and understandable that you would like this anime. Black Lagoon is one of 2 anime (the other is Afro Samurai) that I use to introduce people to the medium because it plays out like an R-rated action/adventure movie and is therefore easy to understand and watch. Since the series interests you, take a look at the Beginner's Guide I did for AV and a blog I did where I put the reactions of a non-anime watching friend. I'll get around to doing a video review for the series, too.
 
Anyway, welcome to the site and if you are curious about a series or want to find one like Black Lagoon, feel free to ask me or any other user.
Post by Sarumarine (9 posts) See mini bio Level 9

@sotyfan16:

Yeah, Black Lagoon wasn't that hard to get into. The beginner's guide was one of the reasons I checked it out along with the character design. The action is pretty universal considering the gunshots and explosions. Not to mention the references to 80s films like "The Terminator" and "A Better Tomorrow." The distinctly Japanese aspect (other than the animation style) involving maids, little kids in Gothic clothes, and men who can cut bullets in half with a sword, show up well after you've gotten to know Rock and Lagoon Company. But I like the twisted spins they take on it.

The video review sounds cool. Best of luck with that.

Post by sotyfan16 (1,340 posts) See mini bio Level 20
@Sarumarine:
I'm glad the Guide pointed you in the direction. I do the Guides because I want more people to watch the series I bring to light. I'm looking to do another soon.
 
Keep an eye out for the video review. It might be a while til I get it posted because I want to bring in my old co-host but thanks for the luck. I've done a number of reviews already. Just look in my blog and anything with a 'Dunce Cap' title is one.
 
Oh, you're right that there are only 9 volumes of the manga out. Right now it's on hiatus and there is no news on when the manga will start back up. I hope it does soon so there can eventually be a 3rd season. But if you haven't seen the 5 ep OVA series Black Lagoon Roberta's Blood Trail then take a look as it is a continuation. It will get the same dub treatment (which is good because the series is one of my favorite dubs) but the last episode only came out last month, so the OVA is only in English sub.
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