Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Terror from the Deep

I've had a little bit of time to spare in recent evenings, so I've been hammering through X-Com 2, and I finally finished it yesterday. There's not much to say about it after the original X-Com. It's essentially the same game with new graphics, but it does have a different feel. The underwater theme is a strong one, and suits it really well. The original X-Com didn't veer much from the standard invading-aliens-from-space template, but the second game feels much tighter and more original. It's also much harder. I died a lot, and frequently had my intercepting ships blown out of the water by the aliens, which I don't remember happening at all in the first game. Actually, some of that was due to a bug that I ran into. There's an issue where if you research a certain technology without having a certain item in your inventory (or having already researched the technology related to that item) then you can't research an essential technology. This technology is at the root of the new-vessels branch, so without it you can't create any new ships and can't complete the game. I thought something was up when I'd got quite far into the game but still had my original ships (and my old ships kept getting blown up), and my ships couldn't dive deep enough to hunt the aliens any more. I'd researched everything I could, and no new technologies were being offered to me. So, I looked it up online, found the bug, did a quick hex-edit on my save file, and the missing technology appeared on my research list. From there, it didn't take too long to research and manufacture the requisite ship (I'd already researched the alien city at that point), then send my squad down to defeat the big evil. The ending was a little anti-climactic after that (that's not to say I didn't die a few times during it). After fighting through the city to find the big boss, there was only one crony in his room, and once there, I just had to blow up a few gee-gaws rather than duke it out with the big dude himself. Anyway, it's nice to move on from those two, and nice to have finally finished them after all these years.

Next up on the series list is X-Com 3: Apocalypse, which came a few years later. I remember the slightly 50s-esque art style and good reviews from the mags of the time, and I'm looking forward to seeing how things changed from the original games. I think I'll take a break from all this strategy first, though, and delve into the slightly blocky and texture-poppy London of Nightmare Creatures.

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