Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Done with Divinity

Had a bit of time on a day off today and I finally, FINALLY finished Beyond Divinity. It was a heck of a grind and nowhere near as much fun as the first game, and I'm really, really glad it's over. The ending continued the bad design decisions. The actual surprise at the end was good, but they then went in for a little too much exposition. They essentially retold the entire game - admittedly I had forgotten some of it - in narrated cutscenes without really adding anything new. I don't know if it was meant to be an 'aha!' moment once you knew the final reveal, but it didn't really add anything. It's a shame, I love an epic RPG as much as the next guy, probably a bit more, but this just didn't do it for me. Ah well.

Next up on the series list are Epic and its follow up Inferno. Space flight games that I don't really know much about. I think they're more arcadey than, say,  the Elite-style Privateer, but we'll see.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Pucks

And I'm back. Sports games are never my favourite genre (not single-player, anyway), so I wasn't going to stick with this for long. It was actually quite fun for what it was. Controls were smooth on the joypad and there were only a few players on the rink at a time, giving you plenty of space for glory runs. That's actually not a bad thing because, unlike most other sports games, you control the same player throughout the match, so once you pass it the computer then controls the guy with the puck until you happen to get it back. I guess it does give you more of a feeling of actually being on a team, but, as I said earlier, it does also increase your tendency to hog the puck. There's also fighting involved when two players have a bad collision - the titular face off. This has become a standard in ice hockey games, but I think this may have been one of its first occurrences (don't quote me on that). In other ice hockey games I've played, the fighting was over quite quickly, but here it's much more drawn out with both characters being able to move around and use two different punches, almost like a proto-Street Fighter! Actually, I have to admit that the fighting wasn't that fun. It took so long (or maybe I was just so bad at it) that it left you itching to get back to the hockey action. The other notable thing at the time was that this was an unlicensed game, which I think annoyed some people, but I don't know the first thing about ice hockey teams, so it didn't bother me at all. Anyway, I played a few games and enjoyed my time with it, but I'm not going to pursue it any longer.

Another multi-post day, and things are moving again! Next up on the randometer is...Uplink: Hacker Elite! Interesting. It's a relatively modern game (although 2001 isn't *that* modern) that I bought in a Steam sale a while back. I don't know much about it other than the fact you play a hacker. Looks fun.

Fatman tongued

That's the most horrible post title I think I'll ever write! I had a bit of extra PC time last night, so I played a couple of games quickly. Tongue of the Fatman was without a doubt one of the worst fighting games I've ever played. The control system was the real problem - it was all on the num keypad and gives me hand cramp just thinking about it. There were some nice bits like being able to bet on the outcome of the fight and being able to buy items to help you in between bouts, but the actual fighting itself was so atrocious that I couldn't continue with it. Good graphics, good atmosphere with loads of really quirky characters...just writing about it does make me want to give it another go, but no, I don't think I can face it. (And just so you know, that title screen image is actually animated - he does indeed sit there and rub his nipples.)

So, I went for the next game on the randometer. This time it was... Face Off! Nothing to do with the John Woo flick, it's an old ice hockey sim. I'm going to stick to one game per post (for screenshot reasons), so I'll be back in a mo' with my thoughts on the game.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Won, lost, didn't draw much

Sorry, three posts in a day is a bit overkill, I know, but I couldn't resist giving it a quick go. It's actually quite a fun little game, apart for the fact my team are a bunch of idiots who don't know which way round to hold a pen. Some of the drawings they come up with are insane. I lost my first three games only getting about 2 questions right, then the last game I absolutely whipped the other team, $2300 - $200. Wooha! I then went to the bonus quick fire round where you have to get as many right as you can in 90 seconds. My 'artist' drew a face. That was it, a face. I tried everything I could, but needless to say I didn't get it right. So, I quickly gave up, happy with the fact I won one game.

Next up on the randometer is...Tongue of the Fatman! I kid you not, that really is the title. Apparently it was also released on the C64 as Mondu's Fight Palace, but hey, Fatman it is. It's a one-on-one fighter from 1989. Wish me luck.

Dudes...not too bad

The President has been rescued! Bad Dudes was a fantastically awful arcade port, but good fun nonetheless. Your typical brawler where you wander along the screen while thousands of ninjas come the other way, waiting to be punched/kicked/weaponised. Only two weapons, a knife and some nunchuks, both better than a fist, especially the reach of the nunchuks which helped a great deal. There were some fun levels, including one on top of a moving train and one on top of a convoy of trucks - one weird thing was that when you move forward you don't stop when you release the button, you carry on running forward crazily. Seemed a bit of an odd design decision, so I'm not sure if it was a screw-up in the DOS port? There's a timer that constantly runs down that caused me a few issues. In the end I had to slow DosBox down so I could make it through some of the levels. Meant the game ran like treacle, but at least I could finish it. As always seems to be the case with these brawlers, the jumping kick is your best friend. It's a spinning kick, meaning that you can handily hit enemies behind and in front of you, so it tended to be what I used the most. That and the good old duck and nunchuk trick. Always a winner - especially on bosses! The end of game boss was a bit of a push-over, I don't know if I got incredibly lucky, but it was just a case of jumping up onto the helicopter next to him, then crouching and swinging my nunchuks. He barely scratched me as he fell over. Best glitch was that when I tried to play it with my gamepad it must have got confused by the dual analogue sticks, so I was able to play it two player with each stick controlling one player. Was interesting for a while, but a bit too crazy for prolonged use (bonus points for remembering what the name of that PlayStation game was where you did have to control one guy with each analogue stick, I can't for the life of me remember what it was called).

So, one more down and the neverending quest continues. Next up on the randometer is...Win, Lose, or Draw! A gameshow conversion, fun! This is the US version, but I think the gameshow was called the same thing in the UK (Wikipedia says it was). Essentially it's pictionary, but this version doesn't actually allow you to draw anything, you just have to guess the drawings that the computer shows you. Sounds a bit more like Catchphrase, then. Anyway, I'll give it a whirl. Doubt I'll play for long.

(On a side note, the series list seems to have gone strategy sci-fi crazy - last three series it's thrown at me have been I-War, X-Com and Master of Orion...going to be fun when I get there!)

Half-back

Back with a baby. Things have been manic, as you might imagine, over the last month so I haven't had a chance to play much. I've done a little bit more Beyond Divinity, but I'm still not realy feeling it. I've just made it to Act IV, which I think is the last Act of the game. I'm in the Raanaar academy and facing many, many more fetch quests before I can assign this to the done pile. They're starting (!) to get a bit silly now, too. One of the last things I had to do in the previous Act was finding the staff of power to open a church vault. The staff was about a hundred pixels away from the church to the North. I knew this because I'd previously found the cave that I couldn't enter. But what was between the church and the cave? A wall. And where did the wall go? Miles around the whole town containing the church, and the church, of course, was at one end of the town while the gates were at the other end. So it took about 10 minutes wandering to get to the cave (with no monsters, they don't respawn, just mindless trudging), then a 5-minute jaunt through the cave to get the staff, then another 10 minutes to get back to the church. Why? What is the point of making me go through that? Is it, on a metagame level, trying to make me realise that life as a fantasy paladin wasn't all spells and swordplay, it was actually a boring life punctuated with brief flashes of excitement here and there? That may be so, but this is a GAME, not a medieval life simulator. Anyway, enough moaning. As you can probably tell, I can't wait to get this one over with. The series list is growing, too, so I need to move ahead soon.

I had a few more issues with SubWar so I've put it on the pause pile. I'll return to it later when I have a bit more time and patience. I rolled the randometer, and the next game up was It Came from the Desert, another Cinemaware classic. They were mostly an Amiga company back in the day, so they were only ever on the periphery of my senses because I was mostly a PC guy. Similar to Rocket Ranger it contains doses of strategy and story with action sequences in between. The story is that you're a scientist in a mid-western town (with the very odd name of Lizard Breath), when suddenly giant ants start appearing and attacking the town. It has a great B-movie feel and nice graphics (although they were far better on the Amiga), but again it's giving me DosBox issues. It's not as bad as SubWar, but it's annoying enough that I don't have the patience for it right now. I just want to get into something quick to start my way back on the list. So, again, I'm moving this one to the waiting pile, and I'll spin the randometer once again. Next up is...Bad Dudes (also known as Dragon Ninja). That'll do it! It's a mindless side-scrolling brawler of the type they just don't make any more. It'll probably control horrendously on the PC, but hey. Bring it on.