Friday, 20 September 2013

Same old, same old

I've played a little more X-Com Apocalypse, so I figured I'd put down a few thoughts. First up, the game isn't quite what I expected. I saw the different environment and the addition of factions in the city and thought I was in for some markedly different gameplay, but's the same. The factions basically take the place of countries in the old X-Coms - you're trying to keep them happy to increase your funding. The city map itself doesn't really do anything different either, it may as well be a reskin of the world map - it's just a backdrop for you to build bases on, fly around in and for aliens to attack. I guess it's different in that you can have ground vehicles as well as flying ones, but that doesn't really change the mechanics much (and I haven't yet seen much reason (other than price) why not to stick with planes). So essentially, you're doing the same things as in the old games, but with a little more complexity - more types of vehicle and ways to equip them, different types of research, different types of soldier - humans and androids, and so on. I'm still in very much the early stages of the game, only having researched the first view items, but so far it's 9/10 on the de ja vu scale. Is that a bad thing? No, I guess not. The pure X-Com gameplay is still there and as compelling as ever, I was just expecting something more. Maybe that's why they departed so radically from the formula for the following games? Anyway, I'm enjoying it well enough, just not really getting a lot of time to dedicate to it. I've also been playing a bit more Kingdoms of Amalur. Nothing really to report there, just grinding through sidequests, but it's still good fun. Actually, it crashed last time I played and I'm worried it'll have lost the hour or two's progress I'd put in (typically it happened at the end of a rare decent gaming session. I guess I'll see next time I boot it up.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


Well, Prohibition didn't last long...back to the booze! Other than some jaunty music and tasty CGA graphics, it proved unplayable using joystick or keyboard and the graphics grew increasingly corrupted as the game went on. Most old games still work fine under DosBox, so I'm not sure what the issue with it is. Anyway, it didn't really look worth the effort of exploring too deeply. Onwards!

The next game up on the randometer is...Retribution. It's a sci-fi shoot-em-up (yes, another one!) from Gremlin. I think I'll give X-Com more of a shot before hitting this one.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Pretty Poor Escape, Really

So, I failed at escaping from Stalag-Luft III. I did try. I tried over and over again. I collected as many items as I could, but you're basically hampered by one horrible game mechanic - a few items that you need to escape are delivered in red cross parcels. These arrive once per day (I think) and the game notifies you when one is there. So far, so good. They get delivered to one of the rooms and you have to make your way there, avoiding the guards, to pick them up and get their booty. The problem is that there's no way of speeding up time, so you have to wait an entire day (in game time, but it feels like real time) until the next package arrives. There are things you can do at the start of the game - explore the camp, find items, stash things in tunnels, and so on, but once you know where these things are, you can pick them up really quickly and then you have nothing to do but wait for what seems like hours for new red cross parcels to appear, and hope that they contain the items that you need. That's what killed it for me; I just don't have time to wait around staring at a screen, waiting for a message to appear.

Otherwise, some aspects weren't too bad. The graphics were charmingly Spectrum era - it's the first time I've seen isometric effects like that on the PC. Also, there's a nice feature where if you leave the controls for a minute then your bloke will wander round performing his camp duties and not getting into trouble. I guess this is to give you something to look at while you're waiting for those red cross parcels to appear, but the good will it generates only goes so far. Onwards!

The next game on the randometer is... Castle of the Winds! Never heard of it. It looks like an early roguelike, so could be fun.

In other news, I started X-Com Apocalypse tonight and played for a little while. I did the tutorial missions in the manual and have done my first couple of sorties alone. I was just getting into it when it crashed on me, so I decided to call it a night and write this post instead. It looks good fun, though, so I'll be back to it soon.

EDIT: It looks like there are two Castle of the Winds games, so I've added it to the series list. So, next up on the randometer is...a few more series games and...Prohibition! It looks like an early Operation Wolf-style shooter, very similar to Capone that I played earlier in the year. I can't see it lasting too long.