Thursday, 29 May 2014

Escape Super Rosenovacliff Island

A bit of an update lump today. I finished Supernova a couple of days ago but haven't had time to post about it, then completed Escape Rosecliff Island tonight, so thought I'd better pop out a quick one (ooh err). Supernova was a very old-school text adventure complete with one of my pet hates - a dumb parser. That's a bit unfair, as it's incredibly difficult to build a parser that understands natural language - and I'm fine with that - but what I hate is annoying things that could have been easily fixed by the programmer. In this case, it's sitting in chairs. It's more common than you think in text adventures (and in real life), and it annoys the heck out of me every time. So, my guy enters a room and sees a chair. He sits in said chair to interact with something. I then want him to leave the room when he's done, so I tell him the direction to go in and the computer replies...you need to stand up first. Really? If you're going to take the time to berate me for not standing up, then you may as well have spent that time programming the character to automatically stand up when I want to move. It drives me mad! Other than that, though, the parser wasn't too bad (oh, except there was no 'use' verb, so you had to type the specific verb it was looking for. Why not just have a general 'use'? It makes things so much easier.). You're a miner in space looking for a way to get out of your crummy existence, and you overhear a couple of aliens talking in a bar which takes you off on a crazy quest. It took multiple maps in the style I remember doing for the old BBC text adventures (I'm sure I still have my Sphinx Adventure maps somewhere), but I got there in the end. It also annoyingly wouldn't save for some reason, so I had to start from the beginning every time. Luckily, it didn't take too long (I took to writing out long sequences of commands on paper so I could just type them in to get me back to the place I was before I died). It was certainly no classic of the genre, but it was fine for what it was.

I also finished Escape Rosecliff Island (I always want to add a 'from' in there). It's a Hidden Object game that I've been doing a bit of every now and then when I'm up early in the mornings. Fairly brainless, and more just something to pass the time rather than any actual enjoyment. There are waaaay too many levels where you're finding the same objects on the same screens over and over again, which is why I don't think I could have done it in anything other than incredibly short bursts. The game does nothing special to set it apart from every other Hidden Object game until right at the very end when it has you performing different tasks to actually escape from the island. This bit was actually quite fun and fast-paced, so I don't know why they didn't have more of it throughout the game...it would have made it a lot more fun. 

Anyway, that's two more down and only another few thousand left to go! Next up on the randometer is...Hard Nova. Ooh, another nova! I remember this one from magazines back in the day. I always wanted to play it back then, so hopefully it'll live up to my memories. It's some kind of space RPG, so I look forward to giving it a go. First, though, I really must get into Ishar.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Is nothing...?

Finally, finally I have beaten Sacred and its add-on pack, Underworld. The game was taking waaaay too long with all the sidequests, so in the end I just had to give up and focus on the main quest. Once I did that, things started moving a lot quicker. I also chose to basically give up on most fights and grab the fastest horse I could and just run past everyone. Many enemies have a spell that can hold you in place, so it wasn't quite as quick as I'd have liked, but it did allow me to zip through the game a lot quicker than I had been. I also decided at that point to export my character and start again at a higher difficulty level. My reasoning was a) that I'd keep my old character in case I ever wanted to go back and play through the rest of those sidequests, and b) so that I could get some better loot. I went through and completed it at the higher difficulty level, but I did so using pretty much exactly the same equipment that I'd started out with. The problem was that whenever the game generated a decent piece of loot, it would make it only equippable when I reached a certain level, usually 5-10 higher than my current level. Unfortunately, by the time I exported my character I was already at level 50-odd, and it took literally millions of XP to go up each level at that point, so there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to earn enough XP to go up enough levels to use the new gear. Rubbish! Anyway, it's done. Ironically, I just picked up Sacred 2 in a recent bundle, but there's no way on earth I'm going to play that next! It'll just have to wait until the chance fairy waves her wand at it.

On the subject of which, next up on the randometer is...Supernova, an early text adventure by Apogee. I've never heard of it, but it'll be a nice change of pace from Sacred. I should also make a start on Ishar, too.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Sacre(d) Bleu!

Not a great deal of news, but it's been a while without an update. I've been beavering away a little at Sacred, but as with all of those kinds of games, progress is measured in an extra point of damage here or an extra 0.1% experience gain there. There is a story somewhere, but to be honest, it's all about the stats. I read up a little on it, and people seem to suggest that you play at easy (bronze) level for a while and then export your character and start all over again with him on medium (silver) level so you get better loot. But I say "Bums to that", so I'm going to continue on easy level and put up with duff loot. I've only uncovered something like 5% of the map so far, so I think I've still got a long way to go with it. It is good fun, though. I'm currently playing a Wood Elf, but some of the other characters do look quite interesting, so I might pick it up again as a different character one day...nah, who am I trying to kid! I did have one annoyance the other day when the game crashed without me saving it after a decent session, and then when I started it up again everything was corrupt. I thought I might have to give up on it, but I gave it a full reboot and the next time I loaded it the game looked okay, so I think we're back on. There's also an expansion pack after the main game's finished, so I'll be on it for a while.

I haven't started Ishar yet - well, that's not quite true, it looks like my version of Ishar doesn't work, so I'm going to have a quick look and see if I can find a working copy. In other news, I did finish Mass Effect on the PS3. It's a really enjoyable game that lives up to its reputation, and I'm really looking forward to taking my girl-power team into the next game. I chose perhaps the most inappropriate skills (bringing a sniper rife to an in-your-face action game), but my girls still cruised through the combat sections in style (only standing directly in the way of my rifle a few times). The less said about the lifts, the better, but it was mostly a joy. Bring on ME2. (And here's a picture of Ashley because I feel bad about killing her!)

Update: It turns out Ishar does work after all. I was stuck at a language select screen where you had to type a number to choose your language. Nothing I pressed worked, so I assumed the copy I had was broken. Turns out you actually need to press the key on the num-pad, not the ones on the top of the keyboard like any logical human being would press. Anyway, I just tried it and it worked, so I'll give it a go one day soon.