I was determined not to harken back to White Gold's predecessor when writing up my impressions of the open-world shooter, but when you're sprinting down a road being chased by a disastrously animated snake, it's hard not to conjure up memories of Boiling Point's hovering death pumas.
The preview code I've been playing is rough as hell (yet thankfully stable), with some outlandish placeholder translations and legally dubious game assets too - a sound effect from Windows 95 when you level up and a near-perfect recreation of a Canon 30D digital SLR camera being my favourite copyright infringements.
Some pre-packaged save games guided me through the game's features and vehicles. Jumping into 'Plane.sav' afforded me the privilege of pootling about in one of the game's seaplanes,
a jaunty vehicle that obeyed physics in only a very casual fashion. Decelerating, for instance, seemed to convert all my forward momentum into sideways velocity, propelling me alarmingly over some islands. Other saved games conveyed yet more of the game's features, including one mission in which you encounter a suicidal man (cutely translated to 'self-killer').
You can either coax this guy down from a ledge by fetching his psychiatrist, or goad him into diving into the pavement head first. This is the kind of thing that would benefit from a sharp script, as even once you've summoned his counsellor, there's a maze of branching dialogue to navigate before he calms down. There's dark, wayward humour tied up in here too, hinting at an underlying cleverness to the game that's lost in translation.
Despite all these loose ends, there's something innately promising about White Gold. Even though you'll chuckle at the crooked animation and the lines of powdery, white 'adrenaline' you'll loot from corpses, there are more ideas in here than most other open-world shooters. My first actions in the game involved leaping off a pier having seen some interesting tropical fish, stabbing said fish with a Bowie knife, and being delighted that I could pick up the dead fish and see it in my inventory. The inventory description promises that I can cook it too.
Deep Shadows have let their ideas run wild with White Gold, admittedly without looking back very often to make sure those ideas will fit together properly. As such, you can't walk five metres into the jungles without seeing something that's mildly interesting. For instance, after exiting the pier at the beginning of the game, somebody began to shout about "a man up there". I looked around and there indeed was a man standing up on top of the mountain.
I couldn't for the life of me figure out why that man was there, but for some reason, I liked the fact that he was.