Thursday, 14 November 2013

Millenium Bug

Well that's weird. I went to install EF2000, but couldn't find it anywhere. I can't imagine I'd have added all of the info for it to the database if I didn't have, so I don't know where it's gone. My only guess is the filename of the zip must be something obscure so it's not anywhere obvious. Ah well, I'll mark it done for now and see if it's left over in my gamesToDo folder 20 years down the line when everything else is done.

Next up on the randometer is...Quantum Conundrum on the PS3 list - I'll move to that next instead of Ratchet & Clank. On the PC it's going to be...Encounter - a Space Invaders clone from 1984. Should be quick, I might even sneak it in next.

...and, that didn't take long. It's a very basic game in the style of Space invaders (though not the gameplay). You sit in your ship at the bottom of the screen, and can only move left and right. Asteroids fall from the top of the screen - I don't think you can destroy them, at least I couldn't - and they'll destroy you if they hit you. There are also a couple of alien ships wobbling around on the screen and firing lasers down on you. The aim of the game is to destroy these ships. Kill them both and the next level starts and two more aliens appear. I only managed to do this once, so I can't really tell if anything happens when levels change. It didn't run brilliantly for me, aliens fired too fast, and controls were really chuggy, but that may have all been more by design. Anyway, that's enough for me. Onwards!

Next up on the randometer is...Wizard Warz! I don't know too much about it, apparently it's an action game with light RPG elements from 1987, so could be fun. Definitely back to X-Com first, though.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Pity the Lost Children

City of Lost Children is done and dusted, never to be returned to again. There were a few things that weren't the game's fault that left be badly disposed to it, and a few things that definitely were. First up, the curse of the dodgy copy struck again. The main game worked fine, but as is so often the case, the dodgy copy had the movies and music struck from it. That's not necessarily a problem with some games, but with this game all of the story is given in those movies, so without them you have no idea what you're supposed to be doing, or when you've succeeded in doing something. This set me off on the back foot to begin with, but the game didn't do much to attempt to turn that around.

The game feels a lot like Alone in the Dark, with a 3D character moving through pre-rendered backgrounds with a variety of interesting camera angles. It uses tank controls, which always feel a bit awkward to begin with, but you quickly get used to them. The graphics are pretty good - there's nothing jaw-droppingly spectacular, but there are some nice areas and animations. There aren't many areas to the game, though - it's pretty short - and it's all a bit dark and dismal (as is the source film). Onto the problems...the inventory management is rubbish. There are numerous objects that you can pick up (if you can see them...another one of the game's problems), and you can store them either in your hand, or in your inventory. Let's say you pick up a key, and you diligently put it into your inventory. You then come across a locked door and decide to use your key. You walk up to the door and press 'action' with the key in your inventory and you're informed that the door is locked. Okay, that happens in lots of games...not too much of an issue. You go into your inventory and move the key into your hand. You then hit 'action' again and you're rewarded with the door being unlocked. Yay! Flushed with success, you hit 'action' again to open the door only to be told that you can't open the door because your hands are full. Yep, you're still holding the key and bashing it into the door like a muppet. So, you go into your inventory and put the key away then you can finally hit 'action' again and open the door. The control system rears its ugly head in similar ways throughout the game. If you run into a solid object then you'll bounce off it with a soundbite and annoyingly long animation that you can't skip before you can move again. If you try to talk to someone or interact with something that you're not quite facing head on, then you get another unskippable soundbite and animation. There's a key to bend down that I think was only used once in the game. Trying to use it at any other time guessed it...another unskippable soundbite and animation. The puzzles are often frustratingly obtuse, and because objects you can interact with are incredibly hard to see, you'll often find yourself wandering around trying to find something that will help you solve a scene and move on. I don't know if perhaps the movies gave you hints as to what to do, as it was pretty hard to work out without them. So all in all, a bit of a disappointment. Still, at least it was short. Onwards!

Next up on the randometer is...EF 2000...ugh. A flight sim that I remember well from magazines and cover disks back in the day. As far as I recall, it got pretty good reviews - flight sims just aren't my thing. Ah well, I'll give it a go. First up, I'm going to switch back to X-Com and try and get through Interceptor. I haven't played it at all yet, so looking forward to seeing what it has to offer.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Declined Wars

Ugh. I'm sorry Line Wars, I really am, but I just wasn't in the mood for you. Line Wars is obviously made by someone who really loves Elite. I really love Elite, so that's not necessarily a bad thing. But Line Wars is purely a replication of the combat aspects - no trading involved - and it's a direct copy. The ship models are the same (they even have the same names), the handling's the same, the radar's the same(-ish). It's a perfectly serviceable game (but it ran really rubbishly for me), it's just a bit pointless. It's shareware, so it's made by someone who wanted to try their skills on building a version of Elite - that's fine, honourable even, but Elite's already out there and is a fuller, better game. Why would I want to play Line Wars? (Answer: I don't.)

Moving on - the next game up on the randometer is... The City of Lost Children. It's the game of the film...which I've sort of seen. I was ill when I rented it and fell asleep through much of it, so I remember bits from the beginning, but not much else. Could be fun.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


Ack, I've had enough. I made it through the next planet and its four missions, then it started getting into silly old 'protect the convoy' missions and making me shoot missile turrets off of buildings that I'm not allowed to get a scratch on. The missile turrets are absolutely lethal, but they're not as bad as the floating mines that home in on you when you get too close. When you've got a combination of the two together, it's just not fun. Could I still progress in the game? Undoubtedly I could. Do I want to? No. It would involve masses of mission restarts (and as I've already mentioned, the restart process is agonising) and I just haven't got the will.

In other, slightly better, news I completed Costume Quest on the PS3. It was a very short, happy happy game that was a joy to play. Three cheers for Tim Schafer! If I had one criticism, it was actually way too easy. There wasn't really any skill involved in the combat or the exploring, and the couple of times I died the game restarted me just before the battle and I beat the fights on the next attempt. Still, I'm not complaining, it was a fun game with a lovely art style and it's another one ticked off the list. Yay!

Next up on the randometer is...Line Wars 2, a...nooooo...shareware 3D space shooter. Ug. One day I'll be free of them. Never heard of it, so who knows what to expect. Nothing else on the PS3 list yet, so I think I'll try and knock off the rest of Ratchet and Clank, which I started a while back but haven't picked up again.