Back in 2009, Radical Entertainment released Prototype: an open-world action game dripping with schadenfreude potential which was more than willing to bathe in the blood of its own violent indulgence. As you mow down crowds full of pedestrians and literally eat people both to further the story and to restore your health/get stronger, Prototype 1 made no mistake about what it was: the world’s first supervillain sim. Despite a number of different flaws which kept it from being truly great, Prototype was a very fun game. Fast-forward to 2012, and Radical has released a sequel, Prototype 2, which, if it can be summed up in a single statement, it would be “more of the same”, with all of the good and bad that entails.
Prototype 2 returns to virus-stricken New York a year after the outbreak of the Mercer Virus from the first game. You play as Sgt. James Heller, a black ops soldier who lost his family during the outbreak, now seeking revenge against Alex Mercer, the man behind releasing the virus (and, spoiler, your protagonist from the first game). However, in a twist of fate, Mercer catches Heller, endowing him with the same powers he possesses as part of a plan to take down the pharmaceutical company Gentech, as well as Blackwatch, the paramilitary group associated with them.
Mental illness is becoming something of a common trope in 40-minute dramas seeking to stand out from the crowd. But while not an indicator of necessarily poor quality (Dexter, Sherlock, Monk, and Firefly are all excellent shows), few shows tackle the abundance of mental and emotional repercussions of living with a serious mental disorder: both the effects on the person with the disorder and those around them. Despite whatever other strengths these shows tend to have, their portrayal of these effects, by and large, tends to be pretty unrealistic.
Not so with Showtime’s The United States of Tara, which follows the daily trials and tribulations of Tara: a painter, mother of two, and loving wife. The twist? Tara has Dissociative Identity Disorder (better known as multiple personalities). Other than her main persona, there are three main “alters”: T, a rambunctious, hyper-sexed fifteen-year old; Buck, a chain-smoking, gun-toting Vietnam war vet; and Alice, an eerily cheerful and controlling housewife, straight out of a 60s sitcom. It also follows the goings on with the rest of her family: husband Max, rebellious teen Kate, and son Marshall — film nerd and all-around classy motherfucker — as they each go through dealing with their own personal adventures on top of the those which come with having a family member with D.I.D.