Bad Day L.A. is an American culture satire game developed by American McGee. The main theme focuses on lampooning Americans and their tendencies to over react to something they fear. The game is in third person and follows the view point of Anthony Williams, a former Hollywood agent who became jaded with his life and abandoned it, choosing to live as a homeless man instead. He initially only cares about saving himself but eventually becomes the unlikely hero. Anthony is not alone and is accompanied by other characters. The Sick Kid, a child infected with a biological agent who Anthony tries to get to a doctor. Juan the Yard-worker, Mexican with amnesia who wields a chainsaw. Beverly, a bratty girl who is obsessed with fashion. The Sergeant, a super-nationalistic soldier who is filled with George W. Bush quotes who doesn't seem to notice that his arm has been severed.
The game uses an offbeat art-style, apparently inspired by disaster reaction pamphlets, in its depiction of Los Angeles. The city is suffering from a wide range of disasters. Earthquakes, terrorist attacks, Mexican invasions, and zombie plague are constant imagery used in the game. A variety of weapons from firearms to common day items are available. The political commentary was heavily influenced by American McGee's own political views.
Bad Day L.A. is a third person shooter, with each level in Bad Day L.A. revolving around a different crisis that is going on at the moment, and players have to help make the situation in each crisis better in some way to move on. Most of the time this involves killing a lot of enemies. Players use weapons to kill terrorists, looters, zombies, and more with scarce ammunition. To tie all of these levels together is a Threat-Adivsory Rating. As players kill more innocent civilians, ignore NPCs in need, and generally shoot everything in sight, this rating will go up. As the rating goes up, civilians and police will become more aggressive. To keep this rating down, players bandage wounded civilians, cure zombies instead of killing them, put out fiery civilians, and kill undesirables among the populace. This regenerates health slowly whilst keeping the crowd less angry.
These are not the only gameplay pieces however. Some levels are on-rails, with plenty of bad guys to shoot. There are boss fights as well, but that's all that's in Bad Day L.A. The game takes an extremely linear approach to levels, and despite having the ability to talk to many NPCs, there isn't much exploration. The game lasts around 5 hours.
Bad Day L.A. has a variety of weapons, including:
- Sniper Rifle
- Rocket Launcher
- Tire Iron
- Molotov Cocktails
- Huge Nail Clippers
American McGee's Bad Day L.A. was a critical disaster. It received some of the lowest review scores among the press and was on the receiving end of many "Year's Worst" awards. The art style was greeted with criticisms of lazy and cheap. The humor was widely considered childish and unfunny.
American McGee has openly admitted Bad Day L.A. is a bad game. He revealed on the GFW Radio podcast, the game went through a tumultuous development process. The game was running on a 2D top down engine mainly used for theme park simulations. It was then re-purposed to run as a polygonal third person engine that was greeted with numerous issues. The budget was less than $1 million and was marketed as a casual friendly game with an M rating. Ultimately American McGee thought the game was a good idea that was executed poorly.
PC System Requirements
- OS: Windows 2000/XP
- Processor: Pentium 4 @ 1.6 GHz
- Memory: 512 MB
- Video Memory: 64 MB
- Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
- DirectX: 9.0c