Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Counted Down

The first Buck Rogers game is done and dusted. I think I was looking back on it with slightly rose-tinted specs, as it's nothing like as good a game as I remembered. The core of the gold box engine is there and it's as solid as ever, but it definitely doesn't fit the sci-fi setting as well as it does the fantasy world of the D&D games. The battles are way too hard in places and take way too long, and the story is a bit uneven, but I still enjoyed it all the way to the end. After a bit of a fiddle, I've also managed to transfer my party across to the sequel, so I'll be blazing my way through Matrix Cubed as soon as I can.

I've also started on Black & White, and I'm running into exactly the same issues that I did when I first played it. I just find it horribly slow-paced, and the lack of direct control is infuriating. I don't know if it's just my bad luck with dumb creatures, or if I'm a terrible teacher, but I can't get my creature to learn anything useful. They tend to do the exact opposite of whatever I want them to do, no matter how much I slap or tickle them! For example, one of the early quests is to rescue some villagers from drowning. I send my creature down there and click on one villager and...he just stands next to the drowning villager and starts drinking the water. SLAP. I click on the next villager drowning away, and he does exactly the same, thing slurping away merrily while they sink to their doom. SLAP SLAP. I click on villager number three and he finally picks up the villager and lifts him from the water. TICKLE. I click on the beach, and the creature wades out of the water and back to dry land. TICKLE TICKLE. He then proceeds to eat the villager. SLAP SLAP SLAP. The quest giver who is standing on the beach then starts shouting at me, telling me what a terrible god I am for killing the drowning villagers instead of helping them. My creature picks up the quest giver and hurls her out to sea. SLAP SLAP SLAP SLAP. Finally, of his own volition, my creature wades out to sea and rescues the last villager, but by that point I don't even have the heart to tickle him. I just send him out to sea as far as I can and leave him there, hoping to put him out of his misery, and mine. It may sound funny, but it's just not fun. At least not to me. The quest is failed and the game is autosaved. I like to finish every mission I'm given in a game, and not being able to - not because I don't know how to, but because the controls of the game don't allow me to - is infuriating. I spent a few hours last night playing and my creature learned one skill in all that time, and now I'm considering restarting because I want to actually complete the drowning villagers mission properly. I came pretty close to just giving up and throwing the game in the done pile last night, but I'll give it another go tonight and see if I can make any progress with it.

In other news, I finished Puzzle Quest Galactrix, and also added Puzzle Kingdoms, which I finished years ago but hadn't marked it off. Too drained to say much about them now. I loved the Puzzle Quest games, but found Galactrix just a little too random for me. In the first Puzzle Quest you only have new gems dropping down from the top of the screen, so although it can feel random and unfair when something goes awry, it's at least manageable, and you feel like you can strategise a bit by arranging blocks favourably on the lower half of the screen. Galactrix is played on a hexagon with gems falling from all sides, so you never really feel like you have any control over the board, and the randomness of it all really hits you. It still scratched an itch...but only barely.

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