Thursday, 14 November 2019

Strategone

Stratego is exactly what it set out to be, a faithful rendition of the boardgame. It's actually a much simpler game than I first thought. It's a bit like battleships in a weird way. You hide your flag somewhere on your side of the board, and your opponent does the same, then you both add some bombs sprinkled around. These are all of the static units in the game. The aim is to have one of your units capture the opponent's flag. The rest of your side of the board is then filled with an assortment of different units with different numerical ratings, running from 1, the highest, down to 9, the lowest (scouts). When two units meet, the one with the lower value will win the battle. The exception is that when two units with the same value meet they are both destroyed, and a bomb will destroy any unit. All units can move one square orthogonally at a time, except for scouts that can move two squares. That's pretty much it. The computer plays well enough, but once you've played a couple of games there's not much more to it. Onwards!

Next up on the randometer (which is definitely broken...sniff! Something in the latest Windows update seems to have stopped it loading properly.) is...Gex! Yes, the Gecko. I know there were a few Gex games, but I only have the one. The only question is whether this is going to be a Win 95 game that won't play nice. Hmm, the answer is clearly NO. Windows flat out refuses to run the installer, so that's that. Next up is...Rebel Galaxy! Not a game I know anything about. It's on GOG, though, so hopefully will run.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Night hunted

Night Hunter is a funny old game - literally as well as figuratively. You play a vampire who must wander the levels looking for...stuff...in order to do...stuff. Look, I couldn't really work it out, okay. I picked up various items like keys and upside-down crosses, but I couldn't work out how to use any of them. I presume the keys are what let me open certain doors (although that in itself is a process of immense trial and error). While you're searching the levels, you're constantly being attacked by wandering villagers and creatures (I don't know what witches have against vampires, but they delight in zooming past on their broomsticks and bashing into you). If you get close enough to another creature then you can grab hold of it and suck its blood, filling up a little more of your life meter. You can also change form into either a wolf or a bat by pressing diagonally down and hitting fire (Q). The bat can be used to fly quickly across the level avoiding enemies and obstacles, but it doesn't last for long. The wolf is used for...something? I couldn't work out what the wolf was good for. The biggest issue was that I couldn't work out how to proceed. I found a few things, but they didn't seem to be enough to enable me to open up the other doors on the level and search inside them. It was interesting wandering about for a bit, but I can't get anywhere and it's not worth carrying on with it.

Next up on the randometer is...Stratego! Yes, the board game adaptation. I don't think I've ever played the board game.

Slight panic there, as I lost the entire collection database, but it seems to be back and working now!

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Deadlit

Deadlight wasn't what I was expecting at all. It's a 2D game very similar to Limbo, where you have to move from left to right through the levels, traversing obstacles and avoiding traps. Death is a frequent friend, with checkpoints enabling rapid restarts. The big difference is that where Limbo has an arty, lo-fi graphic aesthetic, Deadlight has a full 3D world in the background where there is always something going on. It gives a different look to the game, but in essence the feel doesn't change that much. It's very focused on the mechanics of traversal, as is Limbo. Oh, and there are zombies. They're mostly just another obstacle, as combat isn't your forte, but there are times when you'll need to use your axe/pistol/shotgun to show them who's who. The story is...okay? It's very standard zombie plague fare. There are hints at something wider from the snippets of text you find on your journey, but it never pans out.The same goes with the main character's diary. You have a diary that you find lost pages of as you progress, but it's largely pointless. It doesn't really add anything to the backstory, and I can't imagine I'd feel any differently about the character if I hadn't picked up all of the pieces and read them. It shows that the guy's a bit nuts, but not a lot more. The setting follows similar lines - a big thing is made of it being Seattle in the '80s, but really it could have been anywhere at pretty much any time. Anyway, gameplay-wise it was fine. A lot of people complained it was short, but that didn't bother me - I'm happy to get through it and move on.

Next up on the randometer is...Night Hunter! Looks like a vampire action game from the '80s.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

So Long, Solstice

I finished up Solstice last night. It's not a long game by any means, only a few hours, but I actually played it through twice. That doesn't necessarily mean I hugely enjoyed it, but I wanted to see how much of a difference I could make. As mentioned, this was a visual novel affair with some choices thrown in along the way. I'm still not completely sold on the idea, but I did enjoy it more than I thought I might. I won't give away the story, but essentially there's a bit of detective work involved - you're trying to find a missing person and prevent a crisis from happening. You do this by talking to people and choosing different conversation options. There's no other action as such, it's all done through conversation choices. The writing and the story itself was fine, but I felt frustrated as it played out that I couldn't do more. For example, when the missing person plot thread plays out, you're left with a list of three people that you can accuse. Obviously, you can choose any one of those three people and the plot plays out differently (a little) depending on whom you choose, but those three people were not the ones that I wanted to choose to accuse! There was no way for me to finger the person that I wanted to, and it's moments like that that really broke the immersion for me. Obviously it's difficult because they have to limit the amount of options they can give to you, but it felt like I didn't have a hand in some of the important ones. I still don't think I'll be buying many more visual novels in future, I'm afraid. Ah well, onwards!

Next up on the randometer is...Deadlight! Some kind of zombie apocalypse thing from a few years back. Interesting.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Reached Out

And, Out of Reach is done. A bit of a weird one. It was an MMORPG survive-em-up from a year or two ago, but the devs pretty much dropped it as soon as it left early access. The result is an empty shell of a game that's just sitting there with a few random people traipsing through it. There is a single-player component - essentially just an extended tutorial, but it's fun while it lasts. There isn't much to it, you wander about gathering resources and building your base, gradually upgrading everything so you can build bigger and better things. The tutorial takes you a good way through the game, so there really isn't much more to see. You build a base, build a boat, explore islands, follow treasure maps, all in the name of being the best pirate. It might have been more fun with teams of players, but it was never to be. Onwards!

Next up on the randometer is...Solstice! Not the SNES game that I was thinking of, but apparently a recent visual novel. Interesting. I tend to be more in the old-school camp of "a book is a book and a game is a game, and never the twain shall meet", but I'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Shipwrecked

Another quick one. I feel like I'm just crossing them off the list at the moment, but I'll be back properly one day. I completed The Ship last night. To be honest, it was pretty rubbish as a single-player game; not surprising, as it was never meant to be one. There's a small set of tasks that you have to do for various people that basically involve crossing from one corner of the empty ship to the other multiple times either fetching things or killing things. It's based on the Half-life 2 engine so looks fine, but they've set it up so the characters run like treacle. I can see why they did it from a thematic point of view, this isn't supposed to be a shoot-em-up, it's supposed to be a controlled and thoughtful murder simulator, but in the single-player mode it's terrible. Luckily, if you dig into the console commands you can find the setting for how long you can sprint for and set it to near-enough infinity. It's one of the few games I've hacked not for an advantage, but just to make the darned thing playable. I did try it briefly online, but it didn't seem hugely improved - the catch is that you don't know who your target is, so you can't just blast away indiscriminately...but as soon as you identify your target you can. I don't know, I can see their vision for the game, I just didn't enjoy it.

Next up on the randometer is...Out of Reach! Never heard of it. Looks like some kind of pirate survival simulator. I'll see how it goes.

I also went back and finished off the first Devil May Cry. I won't start the next one yet, but I wanted to get through that one while I still remembered how to play it. It was fine, over-the-top fun with a ridiculous storyline and terrible acting, but I didn't feel quite the same love for it as some people seem to. Back to Red Dead Redemption now, which I'm also not enjoying quite as much as I thought I would. Maybe I'm just getting jaded...

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Shorter and Sharper

Just a quick round-up, as there's been a bit of PS3 progress. Costume Quest 2 was short and sharp. Very similar to the first game - nothing spectacular, but nothing awful and didn't out-stay its welcome. Resogun was a shoot-em-up that everyone crowed about when it came out, but but it ended up being just like Defender, except not quite as fun. I wasn't feeling it at all so didn't give it much shrift. Along a similar vein was Red Faction: Battlegrounds. This was a mainly online multiplayer overhead driving game set inthe Red Faction universe. Think Super Sprint with tanks and guns. The only single-player part was a few training missions which just looped over and over getting a little harder each time. Not exactly inspiring or much fun. I did about two thirds of them before the repetition bored me. I also wrote off NBA 2K14 pretty quickly. It's just really not my thing. I spent longer in the character creator than I did in the game (and then couldn't work out how to actually get my newly created character into the game!). Next up is Red Dead Redemption, but I'm going to see if I can finish the first Devil May Cry before starting that so I don't forget how to play it.

On the PC front, I've played a bit of The Ship. Again, it's mostly online multiplayer, but there is a small single-player component. I've stalled on one mission, but it shouldn't take long to polish off.