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Game Maker Games - The Cleaner
 The Cleaner by darthlupi
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Review by Jabberwock
The Cleaner is a fast-paced action/adventure game with some role-playing and puzzle elements thrown in as well. The great part of this game is not the concept, however, but the amazing style with which it's all put together- though of course, with a Darthlupi game, we already knew that.

The story of the game itself is a bit fragmented and leaves a lot to the player's imagination, but it's set against an epic and obviously well thought-out back-story (embodied in the intro video). The vagueness of the plot is mostly due to the lack of any narration in the cutscenes; this is obviously on purpose, and it ends up leaving the game's plot a matter of interpretation. However, the basic story is apparent- you are The Cleaner, a superhero sort of character whose job is to protect a peaceful world from outside invasion. Specifically, it's his duty to travel through an array magical portals to other dimensions and defend against potentially hostile beings. The game kicks off with an apparently run-of-the-mill assignment. However, it soon turns into something far more sinister as The Cleaner's wife is fired upon and badly injured by a couple of invaders. From here, the story becomes unclear, but the gist of it is that you, The Cleaner, decide to track down those responsible for this misdeed. This is where the story takes a backseat and the fun begins.

Much (basically all, actually) of the game is spent flying around various worlds in search of your enemies, but fear not- the game rarely, if ever, grows boring, due to both the (at times) awe-inspiring level design and the exceptional quality of the action sequences. Which brings me to the gameplay.

The Cleaner is, like almost every great game, simple to learn, yet difficult to master, and far more strategic than it at first appears. Generally speaking, you'll be spending most of your time running or flying, armed with a wide variety of offensive spells. The spells are all aimed and otherwise controlled using the mouse. Your various spells and skills (health and mana capacity, etc.) can all be upgraded using a simple experience system which doesn't really need much explaining.

Your character also has the ability to manipulate a wide variety of objects through telekinesis; this, I think, is what really 'sold' the game for me- it adds practically endless possibilities to each action sequence, plus it's just plain fun to use. Also, through the course of the game, you can choose to piece together several artifacts, which each give you a new ability- some more useful than others. This is a good concept, but I felt that, since the artifact pieces are supposed to be secret, they were a little too easy to find.

The spells are each interesting in their own way, though some are, of course, more useful and versatile than others. All in all, they seemed pretty well balanced, with only a couple anomalies; specifically, there was one spell which I found to be utterly useless and another which seemed disproportionately powerful. The rest I found a use for in some situation or another, though they do have their shortcomings- for instance, I felt that the spreadshot spread a little too far. The game also has its fair share of puzzles, which are often very cleverly designed if not particularly difficult; I don't recall ever getting stuck on a puzzle for more than a few minutes.

Lastly in terms of gameplay, I should mention that, despite being riotously fun, the game is also very difficult. For the most part, it's not excessively so, but there were a few keyboard-throwing moments here and there. Oh yeah- and as a little disclaimer, I should mention that the game is also shamefully addictive.

The graphics in The Cleaner, with the exception of the cutscenes, which are a bit iffy at times, are simply wonderful- no resource pack sprites here. Each world is a joy to explore, despite the minimalism with which it's presented- from frozen wastelands and grassy slopes to the dark depths of the ocean, each world feels starkly real and sometimes astoundingly beautiful. Few games have captured nature (or my imagination) quite so simply and effectively, and the game is worth playing for the environments alone. Even the most bizarre of the game's worlds have a feeling of reality (or surreality) to them. While most of the landscape graphics in the game wouldn't look like much on their own (and might, in fact, look downright bad), they work together nicely to make some of the best-looking environments I've seen in a GM game.

Besides this, however, we have a myriad of particle-laced spell effects, and practically flawless character and creature animations, of which there are many. The wide variety of alien-looking creatures in the game also added to the fun of exploration; they're all interesting and often very unusual. The only other problem I really had with the graphics is that sometimes the depth of certain objects was a little off.

As for the music, what can I say? It was all composed specifically for the game, and fits perfectly- I can't think of a single incongruous piece of music in the game. Sound effects are also used in great numbers, and, once again, were created exclusively for this game. They're all perfect fits, and add to the atmosphere nicely.

Another quality that The Cleaner possesses that's extraordinarily rare among GM games is length. It's as long as a commercial game, and you certainly won't finish it in one sitting unless that sitting is about twelve hours long. It took me at least a week or two, off and on, to beat the game, and, amazingly, I never once grew too bored with the game or even too frustrated to continue. Hats off to you, Darthlupi, for having the patience to make a long game, and make it well.

Well, Darthlupi has outdone himself, and I doubt any of his many fans will be disappointed. This is a perfect example of Game Maker pushed to the height of its capabilities, and I'm constantly amazed by this game. In any case, I'll stop yammering now, and you can start playing it.

Author's Description:
Battle across the Multiverse in adventure to save your world. Wield strange magics to combat even stranger foes.

Prepare yourself to step into the shoes of a Cleaner.

Download The Cleaner (EXE, ~6.9 MB , Content caution )

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Opinions about The Cleaner

Overall: recommended

Recommendations: The 30 people who like The Cleaner also like the following games.
Comments (Add your own):
2011.06.10 yalmic
Rating: 9

I don't think I'll ever be good enough to make something like this...
2010.02.13 Laserboy52
Rating: 1

The application doesnt open but my task manager says its running. I have a windows 7 computer so it should work.
2009.07.27 Tubey
Rating: 7

EHHH. It was okay. I didn't overly enjoy it, but it was certainly cool.
2008.12.17 Valius
Rating: 9

first off this is a great game. Lots of spells to choose from, very challenging, not a very good storyline, good music, was fairly long. Loved the bosses. overall i give you a 9. nice game man
2008.11.15 Curtisisthebest
Rating: 10

Absolutely awesome game!!!
Definately 10/10. I would have given you
1000000/1000000 as well but I can't
2008.07.22 The HammerHead
Rating: 10

This game is very impressive, Darthlupi... The videos suck, but the gameplay itself (especially the cape effects and enemy deaths) are incredibly well-done for a Game Maker game. I believe it is the best game you have made...
2008.05.21 flip82
Rating: 10

The best game I've ever played. I'm serious. Great graphics, but simple. Amazingly hard, I can't get past the part where you scroll and have to beat that boss taht has like 6 eyeballs around it!
2007.11.01 Xitilon
Rating: --

I forgot to mention that the game sets resolution to 640x480 and the refresh rate to something like 60 or 70Hz, which is terrible for eyes, as I have a CRT monitor. That's the reason why I won't play this game fully through even twice.
2007.10.31 Xitilon
Rating: 9

'Sound effects are also used in great numbers, and, once again, were created exclusively for this game.'
Created? I really doubt it, at least certainly not ALL of them.

I didn't like many things here and there.

The sounds aren't perfect, some are way too loud and some are used too often (over 5 times per second) in the game, so they 'rip' the whole sound output. Or is it just my speakers?.. They're 7 years old... Still I'm not satisfied. Maybe this whole thing is rare to encounter, but it's still a part of the game.

More than that, the built-in GM sound effects are overused - the echoes are OK, but flanger and gargle and whatever else is used - that's a bit too much and isn't combined very well.

Weirdly enough, the speed of flying is a bit slow for me, and I didn't notice any change while upgrading it.

Most spells aren't really useful at all. For example, second spell is WAY too slow for ANY enemy except the ones which don't move. I used the first one LV3 just about half of the game.

Also, the game did load way longer than I expected. On the other hand the game is long and definitely has complicated structure, so it's OK then.

Still, there are things that I liked a lot.

The telekinesis is a really good feature, often being useful and indeed fun to use. Also reminds of Star Wars.

Serpent-typed enemies with section-based bodies are well-done.

The ability to reassign the EP is just AWESOME, and makes the game even more unique than it already is. I could've not even beat the first boss without doing that. Simple thing to do but great.

The 'plot', the scenery and the whole atmosphere is rather impressive.

There's still room for improvement, so good luck!
2007.07.21 Koreans1000
Rating: 10

THIS GAME IS THE BEST GAME IN THE WORLD!!! BUT for the yellow orb to use it says press keys in a circle...? i dont get it
2007.06.26 harkathmaker
Rating: 8

Second comment I made on this game...
The game itself is quite wonderful. Every level seems to have been artistically crafted by darthlupi. Even the story was well-made. The only problem that sort of ruins it is its incompatibily.
As a few other people have said, it clearly doesn't work on all computers. On my Windows XP, the game hiccuped every time a new sound was loaded. This was quite annoying, especially at the start of the game. The load time was also rather long.
There's no question that darthlupi is an excellent game maker, but perhaps he should work on optimization a bit more. It's the only thing I think is stopping him from being professional-class.
2007.05.17 David Lindberg
Rating: --

... It took AGES to load! And when the loading finally was done, it said that the file was corrupted! DON`T blame me! I unzipped it!
2007.01.13 user_ferai
Rating: 10

The graphics aren't 'ugly' they are stylistic. Haven't you ever played Flash Back on Sega? At any rate, I couldn't stop playing this game once I started. There were so many different worlds, enemies, and spells! The variety alone makes it one of my favorite game maker games to date.
2006.12.19 Jabberwock
Rating: --

I'm pretty sure you're imagining things. It had one mildly suggestive scene, which is entirely different from sex.
2006.12.17 Dawg_Man
Rating: 1

I hated it.
It was just plain boring!
The Grafix were UGLY!
And it said it was rated aroud T.
2006.11.11 interceptor
Rating: 10

I played most darthlupi games. But none of them really made fun.
But this is darthlupi's masterpiece. Excellent gameplay, graphics, sound, music and a story you have to know how it ends.
Play 'The Cleaner'!
2006.09.23 ForceDevice
Rating: 10

First time I played this game,I just HATED it.I thought it was just a 2d shooter with that stats increase stuff like in Mage Craft(I HATE increasing stats like that).Then,some months after the first time I played,I noticed it still was in my HD (I forgot to 'Clean' it),and I decided to try again.The first ten minutes were really boring,but after some time it got more and more fun,til I got completely addicted to it.I really couldn't stop playin' it till I beat it.This game is so LONG!Except for that cat boss bein' too hard(I still don't know how the heck I defeated that thing),this game is absolutely PERFECT!Second 10 I give to you,Darthlupi.You should really consider making games as a profession.
2006.09.17 Lehdari
Rating: 10

O H M Y G O D ! ! ! This is the ULTIMATE quality Game Maker game! I played game to end yesterderday, and I can only wonder, how all craphics(giant-sized bosses ect.) and other resources are in so small file?! I really liked isometric look, old-shcool style, thinking proplems and hard bosses.(Like a cat-boss was a hard one. I tried it over 30 times.) But... I didn't got every stats and spells at last level. Maybe you can do a challenge mode(Like on Ratchet and Clank). Challenge mode is a game re-start, but with all spells and stats, what was in last game. And all creatures are harder and character gets more esp from them. But everything else is very great. And one more question: How long you maked this game? Every your games are same quality: ULTIMATE.

2006.09.12 Game Guru
Rating: --

Hmmm, it's not working for me. I've got a fairly recent Dell (about 4 or 5 years old now) computer with Windows XP, and after it gets past the cutscenes after clickinmg 'new game' the screen just goes black. Just wanted to give you a heads up.
2006.08.31 dude
Rating: 10

Th1s 5ukks! Dud3 1 give it a 1. n0 m4ke dat a 0. N0 h0w ab0t 1+0.
2006.08.23 poizen
Rating: --

How does Darthlupi make his games? Does he plan them a couple of weeks first...? Make sprites few months...?

These great game makers should write a book. 'The ingridients of a great game'

...great game.
2006.08.21 harkathmaker
Rating: --

Hubert do you realize you are criticizing the best game maker on the site?!?! Maybe your computer is just really bad
2006.08.17 Hubert
Rating: 1

The game stunk, it didn't even work at all, it said something about an error with the starter.
2006.08.17 Hubert
Rating: 1

I tried it again and well it did not work AT ALL!
2006.08.14 ruhtrA
Rating: 10

Yet another of the many masterpieces of darthlupi.
This particular one, to me anyway, was like a mix of Magecraft and Spoonpage.
Somewhat laggy, but maybe it's just my brick.
2006.08.14 Phreak
Rating: --

uhh isn't that the same guy from Magecraft?
2006.08.13 mapler_zeus
Rating: 10

10/10!!! Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2006.08.13 poizen
Rating: 9

Not every game can be 'OMG! The best game I've ever seen! 10/10'. But this is good. Quality game like always... These kind of games make me sad... I can't ever accomplish anything like this. Congratulations.
2006.08.12 FrozenWindow
Rating: --

So far, this game is fantastic, however when I get to the ice level in the scrolling ice tunnel, I get to the boss and it just keeps moving to the left. It doesn't come back and I don't have any way to destroy it. How do I fix this?
2006.08.09 E.B
Rating: 10

Definately worth the download.
The best GM game ever-including seiklus (ho noes! I defied the tapeworm! Have mercy!)
Seriously, I can tell a lot of work went into this. The graphics are crisp to the last pixel.
This game has inspired me to make my own platform action game :D
2006.08.08 piggybankvillan
Rating: 10

WEll definently most likely to be the best game ever on game maker. But I NEED to know how you did this game I mean maybe everyone must know how you did this. It would be awesome if you did this. Or at least get a hold of me at piggy_bank_villan@hotmail.com and also this is a game i can look up to so if you can get a hold of me sometime it would be most appreciated (or how ever you spell it) WOW this is the longest comment i ever did. Im only 12 by the way and it'd be cool if you were to e-mail me :) well good commentin ya. 10/10 out of me.
2006.08.06 clam_is_good_28
Rating: 10

Fantastic!! Brilliant!! Smooth, effective and challenging. Well thought out concept too.
2006.08.05 MOG 10
Rating: 8

Great game!!! Probably one of the best. The gameplay is smooth and animations are great!!! I think its a bit too chalanging but mabey thats me. In conclusion:great game get it now!!!
2006.08.05 virus616
Rating: 9

Ok, for starters, this game had amazingly polished graphics, and good well made evironments. I still find it cool when I go up to the top floor and watch the monsters in the glass tank following me around. The environments really sucked me in.
not only were the background and the cutcscenes good, but the physics engine for the flying and the cleaner's cape were amazing. I still can't figure out how Darthlupi did the flowing cape.
The gameplay and the story were great too, but if I rant more about how I like this game I feel my head will esplode!

I'm sensing a rival to Seklus for best gamemaker game ever, hmm?
2006.08.04 HCS0001
Rating: 9

Great Game! Not my all time faves, but it gets the job done! The story is very compelling- probably the force that attracted me to it! Keep making hit titles!
2006.08.03 Keysle_Sorm
Rating: 10

HAAHHAHAHHAHHAHHAAAH YOur 3rd most downloaded... Maybe you should tell your friends in the real world instead of people online... 243 downloads... I think that beats the monthly record. Does it not???
2006.07.29 jmanjman47
Rating: 10

Wow, Truly Amazing. A class of its own.
Darthlupi, you ever consider game making as a proffesion?
2006.07.29 LunchRush
Rating: 10

No hesitation with the perfect 10, this game is simply incredible. If you enjoy having fun, play this game. Please.
2006.07.28 smcandrew
Rating: 10

I've never seen a better game created using Game Maker! Excellent work!
2006.07.28 PnE Productions
Rating: 10

This is my favorite game maker game Ive ever played. (E of PnE speaking)
2006.07.26 block0man
Rating: 10

Absolutely amazing. The sound, visuals, gameplay, all fit together to make an amazingly addictive game. The loading was kinda long for me, but it was definitly worth it.
2006.07.24 F.S.
Rating: 6

This game is good, but has no own character, something special I could love. I know, you´re a great Game Maker, but I doesn´t like your style so much. But AirDoo was very cool.
2006.07.24 Undeadragonslayer
Rating: 10

Best Game Maker game i have ever seen...

However i did notice a few bugs, to do with the absorbing sphere thingy, if you charge them with either Benders Balls OR Energy Blade (havent actually tested the latter, but i saw it on your forums) then they have that spell with no restrictions, making the game extremly easy.

However everything else is nice and very well polished.

2006.07.18 dude
Rating: 10

pmg. teh awsum. ti mad me tlk leik dis. cuz it wuz c00l.
2006.07.11 mazimadu
Rating: 9

I can only say, THIS GAME IS LONG AND TIGHT. Truely the best gm game ever made.(for now)
2006.06.19 Nobody
Rating: 10

This is the best gamemaker game I've ever seen. 10/10

Great job, just really really really awesome work.
2006.06.19 Jabberwock
Rating: 10

Absolutely amazing. Everything about it is basically perfect, except for some of the videos, which looked a bit iffy.

Now you can work on Velella, right?
2006.06.19 Sampe
Rating: 10

This is definitely one of the best GM games I have ever played. The story, gameplay and graphics are all great. And haha, I have played through this game like 3 times because of all beta testing and such. Now, it's time for the fourth time. :D Very nice stuff.
2006.06.12 jchalase
Rating: 8

WOW! This game is high-quality!
2006.06.09 jchalase
Rating: --

404 not found
The requested resource could not be found.
2006.06.09 darthlupi
Rating: --

Thanks for the heads up. Slight typo I did not see.
Thanks again!
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