Monday, 28 January 2013


I had a bit of free time at the weekend, so I decided to hit Bloodwych a bit more. and I kind of wish I hadn't.  I got off the level I was on, and the next one, but I still couldn't find any indication of where I was or what I was supposed to be doing. Was I still stuck in the infernal inn? Had I escaped from the inn and made it into a dungeon? Was I in one of the towers I was supposed to be exploring (and if so, how does going down from an inn lead into a tower)? Dungeon crawlers like this are always mazes, I understand that, but mazes full of invisible spinners combined with a compass spell that only lasts a few seconds  mean that mapping the thing is absolute hell, and I just don't have the patience for it at the moment. Sorry Bloodwych, you're moving into the Done pile for now (NB: I've still got the save game, just in case I decide to go back to it in 20 years, haha!). The screengrab shows me stuck in one of the many mazes, with one of my characters taking damage through hunger because I'd been wandering around aimlessly for so long. Did I mention that I hate games where there's some kind of hunger stat and you have to keep eating? I guess it adds a timer element to the game (especially as monsters don't respawn here, so food is limited), but I like having the option to wander about and take my time. I know the world's at risk from an evil wizard and all that, but I'm sure it could wait a little while so I can admire the scenery. (Side note - there is a remake of this game called Hexx, which I'll be coming to one day on the blog...hopefully not for a while.)

Ah well, next up on the randometer is...Space Crusade! Ooh, this is a conversion of the board game we used to play back at school. Expect genestealers-a-plenty, and Ben singing along to the sound of bolt rifles (is bolt rifles right? I seem to remember they were called bolt somethings, but I imagine them as being more pistol sized...bolt pistols? That doesn't sound right either. I guess I'll find out soon enough.). Weirdly, I think this is going to be quite similar to UFO, but I think I'll go with Space Crusade first and then make a start on UFO.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Every Wych Way But Loose

I did my best. I really did. I tried to get off the first darned level of Bloodwych, but I'm still stuck there. I have made some progress, though. I've got my whole party of four folk together, and they've all gone up a level and learned a new spell or two, so I'm getting somewhere...just not making any actual progress with the game. But I did make a map...not a paper one after all, but a digital one. And it went wrong. It was all going well, then I went up some stairs (thinking I was going up to the next level) crossed a corridor, and went down again the other side. And that...umm...confused me. I assumed I was coming back down onto the same map so I carried on mapping from the other side of the stairs, but it didn't seem to tally up and my new map kept on running back into walls on my old map, so I just had to leave areas unmapped. Anyway, that made me think that I must have actually come down on another level, so I was about to give up on my map when I opened up a secret door in a wall somewhere and ended up...back on the old map. So it was the same level, it had just got out of sync with the going up and down stairs. Anyway, it's a bit of a mess, but I'll try and stick it in the blog. There we go. So, that thing that looks like a rubbish crossword is my mess of a map. Remember that according to the manual this is supposed to be the inn that I woke up in. What kind of crazy fool would design an inn like this? The top-left bit is the bit that got mucked up going up and down the steps and lost in a maze with a spinner and no compass. I guess it should have all been shunted up a couple more squares to make the map more of a square. I'm somewhere in the bottom-right corner at the moment. Can't remember where, unfortunately, but I'll try and pick it up again next week. Hopefully then I can get out of this ridiculous pub and work out what I'm supposed to be doing in this weird game. I don't know if there's going to be any kind of outdoor segment - the manual wasn't too revealing - so who knows what I'll find when I get out. I'm determined to make at least a little headway in this before I give up and install UFO.

Friday, 18 January 2013

I-War Over

Finally, I've completed I-War 2. A flippin' hard, but enjoyable game. After feeling like I wasn't getting anywhere last time, I decided to focus on storyline missions to try and make some progress. I got a new ship pretty quickly after the last one (I think I should have got the previous ship much earlier, but I didn't take that mission because I was doing a load of side quests), and proceeded to do a bunch of raiding and upgrading to bring it up to scratch. I was only a few missions away from the end of Act 2 last time, though I didn't know it then, and Act 3 didn't consist of too many missions. I think the developers must have some serious issues with capitalism, as in both this and the first game the main antagonists behind all the chaos turned out to be groups of mega-corporations. Still, I can't complain - after a slightly rocky beginning with it while I got used to the controls and the difficulty, I ended up loving the game, and it came to a very satisfying conclusion. Another series done! It looks like I didn't actually check off the first game, so I've added that to the done pile, too, and I also put FTL on there because, hey, it's another one ticked off!

Next up on the series list is the X-Com games. I've been meaning to play these for many years, but somehow never quite got round to it. Looks like there are 5 games in the series, so I'll be at them for a while (6 if you count the new one that came out last year, but I don't own that). I've got the original UFO: Enemy Unknown here, with its lovely (and slightly daunting) 128-page manual. That'll give me some bedtime reading, anyway. Copyright in the manual says 1994 - gosh, can it really be that long! That means I've owned this for nearly 20 years and still never played it. Blimey, I should have started this backlog-busting quest a long time ago.

Ah well, that'll all come in time. First up it's time to go back to Bloodwych and that graph paper and see if I can make any headway there.

Friday, 11 January 2013

One ship, two ship, red ship, NEW SHIP

Yes, I'm still trawling around the galaxy in I-war, but I have made a bit of progress - not as much as I wanted to make before this post, but enough. I now have a new speedy spaceship. It's actually a souped-up version of the one I had in the previous game, and it's much better than the little tug that I used to have. One of the things that I like most about it, bizarrely, is the sound design. The old tug used to roar about the stars, ambling between jump points in the time it took me to write an email or two, but this new ship has a beautiful high-pitched hum as it zips about. If anything, it seems to go a bit too fast at times. It has an annoying habit of crashing into ships when it's auto-piloting up to them, which never used to happen with the old slow tug. It's also, really, really annoyingly, crashed on the way home from missions a couple of times. I set the auto-pilot to take me home, then turn around to do something else, and next thing I know the blighter's ramming head first into a cargo transporter. I think it happens at Lagrange points - what the game uses for making jumps between systems. You often have to queue up to use the points, as there's often a bunch of other traffic making system hops, and this new speedy ship seems to have a tendency to jostle and push its way up the queue, smashing in its own hull in the process. I'm not sure why it does it, as I say, the tug never used to, but it doesn't half get my goat. Anyway, I've completed a bunch more side missions and cashed in some booty for ship upgrades, but I haven't really made any headway with the uber mission yet. I'll try and do that the next chance I get to play.

In other news - I order you to go out and play FTL (Faster Than Light) right now. I think it's even on sale on Steam at the moment, so you have no excuse. Go buy buy (don't worry, I bought my copy in the sales last year, so I haven't broken my resolution quite yet). It's a wonderful little spaceship-based roguelike (it's not really anything like Rogue, but that's what they call it), which I recommend everyone have a go at. It doesn't take long to play, and the action's all pausable so old folk like me can stop and think in mid battle. It's super great, and I finished it today...not sure if I'll mark it as complete quite yet, though, as I unlocked a new ship when I killed Mr. BigBadGuy, so I might just fire it up for another quick go.

In other, other news, I won a competition! Don't worry, not a big serious competition, just a frivolous online one, and guess what the prize was? Yes, it was two RPGs from GoG! I think there were only actually two that I didn't own yet, but still, it's two more games to feed my addiction and I didn't have to buy them. Yay!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Hello 2013

Happy New Year - here we are in January! Gosh, last year seemed to go quickly, and I didn't make much of a dent in the backlog. Must try harder this year. The To-Do pile just shot up because there were a bunch of old games on the PS3 that I found out I hadn't listed yet (all the minis from being a Plus subscriber), and a load of bonus games in indie bundles that I hadn't registered on Steam yet. So, the current tally at the beginning of the year is...

Done: 275
Total: 3315
Completed: 8.3%

Blimey. That slightly sobering figure prompts my New Year's Resolution this year to not buy any more games. There, I've said it. And now I've written it down I'm going to have to try and stick to it. I mostly managed to avoid the Steam and GoG sales, so I'm off to a good start. As I mentioned, I am on PlayStation Plus, so that Total number will continue to slowly tick up every month, but I'll attempt to bring that Completed percentage up, too. It'd be good to see it hit 10%, which would mean finishing another ... (come on brain)... 56 games. Gulp. That's more than I thought it would be. Oh well, not sure if I will hit that this year, but it's something to aim for (...slowly realises that would be more than one game a week...maybe not this year, then).

I didn't get to play anything over the holidays, as I was away from home for most of it, so the games in progress are still exactly as they were. I did get the new PS3, which is nice because it's much smaller and quieter than the old one, but rubbish because of the missing PS2 backwards compatibility. Oh, and that old laptop was much sicker than I thought it was and ended up taking a trip to the tip. Ah well, I'll be on the trusty old PC for a while longer.

Big love to one and all, and I hope 2013 brings you all a spare 5 minutes or so a day for a little bit of button tapping.