Friday, 8 February 2013

Back to Boken

I felt bad about the terse assessment of Superhero League of Hoboken yesterday, so I thought I'd briefly revisit it today. My excuse is that I wrote it in the middle of something else, so I wasn't really feeling it at the time.

So, a little more about the game. In it, you play a team of superheroes with rather rubbish abilities (e.g. the ability to eat spicy food without any side effects, or the ability to fold road maps). You start off with a team of 4 heroes (from a pool of 6), and over the course of the game new heroes join your league and your team roster expands, so by the end you have 8 (or 9...can't remember) slots to fill from a selection of weird and wonderful characters. The mission structure is kind of unique, each 'level' you have five missions, and once you complete all five (the last of which is always foiling big bad guy's current plan) then your league level increases and you get the next set of five missions (along with a new character slot and another 'rest'). You travel around a map of New York, fighting bad guys and solving these missions. When you encounter enemies, the screen switches to a view of the monsters and you have a fairly traditional fight with them (except they have comedy descriptions and make amusing comments every time you hit them). There are also special locations on the map - villages, warlord's mansions, the Statue of Liberty, etc. - where your team can enter and the game switches to a more traditional adventure game interface where you'll need to sweep the screen with your mouse looking for things to interact with. You have a full inventory, so you can pick things up or use objects on other objects. I thought the game combined these two styles pretty well, and it was fun to explore the map and discover the new locations. There was a map in the manual that gave the basic locations of the villages, so it wasn't too hard to navigate around. The most difficult bit to me was the subways. You find subway passes throughout the game that allow you to travel on the different subway lines you come across, but nothing ever tells you where each line goes, and those lines sometimes go to other, off-map locations that are essential to your quest. So, one quest has you going to Philadelphia, but you have absolutely no idea which subway will take you to Philadelphia, so you have to travel around the map trying all of the subways until you find the right coloured line. In fact, that particular quest was even worse because the subway pass that you need was a random drop from a battle. This meant that I had to keep travelling around fighting random battles until I found it (and don't forget that once you've fought a certain number of battles on a map screen the random battles stop, so you have to travel to a different map screen with more difficult enemies and fight them...). So anyway, that part of the game was annoying. The other thing that I found annoying was that there are times (quite a few times) where you have to perform the same action numerous times before it has an effect. I hate things like that. For example, you might have to go to a location and wait for something to happen. There is a Wait command in the interface, so you go to the place and hit Wait... Nothing happens. You click it again... Nothing happens. And again. And again, until at last the event you were waiting for takes place. What is the point of that? If I go somewhere and I click Wait, then have me wait until the event happens, don't make me hit Wait five times without giving me any indication that I'm doing the right thing. Grrr. Anyway, even with those annoying faults, I thought that the game in general was good fun and pretty amusing in parts. Oh, the ending screen was pretty rubbish, though. I did take a screen grab of it, but it's not worth posting it here. Just imagine the previous grab of the game, but with a small grey box over it saying "The End". That was it. There was also the promise of a sequel, but that never happened, as far as I'm aware.

So, Capone. I gave it a quick blast, but it's just a very basic, very early light gun game. The camera pans along the street and bad guys pop up from windows, and you proceed to shoot said bad guys in the face with your pistol (or tommy gun, if you have it). I played through four or five levels, and nothing happened except the bad guys got faster and shot me more. Actually, there was one slight change when one level was set in a warehouse full of TNT boxes, and if I shot one of those by mistake then the place exploded, but otherwise it was still pop-up pirate. I don't think I'm going to take it any further, it's not hugely fun and I can't see it becoming any more fun. Onwards...

Next up on the randometer is...Startopia! This should be fun. It's one of those light-hearted management sims in the same vein as Theme Park or Theme Hospital (and it's made by ex-Bullfroggers), but this one's set on a space station. I'll definitely switch to the series for a bit of UFO love now, but I'm looking forward to this one.

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