Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Axel: F. Must Try Harder

What do you mean, you don't remember Beverly Hills Cop: The VR Missions?? Yes, I couldn't resist giving it a quick go last night, and five minutes later, that was enough. Beverly Hills Cop is super glitchy running in DosBox. I probably could have spent a while tweaking the settings, but, to be honest, I didn't think it was worth it. There are four levels to the game, and luckily you're allowed to select any of them from the main menu, so I feel like I've seen all there is to see. The game is a weird mish-mash of all of the favourite genres of the early '90s. The first level is a side-scrolling brawler where you kick, punch, and roll your way through a warehouse full of thugs. Except there doesn't appear to be any kind of life bar, and I found myself dying inexplicably after a few baddies had passed. The second level is a driving game, which was way too responsive in DosBox, and the slightest nudge of the wheel sent me careering off the road. The view was a bit odd, too, you could see the interior of your car, but also see your car on the road in front of you (at least, I assume it was your car). The third level was a Commando-style shooter that sees you running up the screen and storming the mansion. Except, where on Commando you can see all the bullets and dodge them, here the bullets are invisible (yours and theirs) so you can't see either where you're firing or who's shooting at you, leading to some more inexplicable deaths. The final level is where it gets weird. Here, you're in the mansion looking for Mr. Big, but the whole thing is done as a wireframe FPS. You wander around the level shooting or avoiding the 'guards' (some spinning polygons) trying to find your way to the big bad guy. I never did find him - there were some lifts, but I couldn't work out how to use them, so I never got off the ground floor. So, an interesting game, but not one I'll be returning to.

Oh, and the music. Of course, you get to hear Axel F playing at the menu screen, though nowhere else in the game. Unfortunately, for such an iconic piece of music that's perfectly suited to the bleeps and bloops of early computer speakers, the developers instead chose to try and emulate a synthesizer sound. They did a passable job, but it just makes the whole thing sound really muddy and washed out, when it could have been a really clean chiptune. Bit of a wasted opportunity if you ask me.

Next up on the randometer is...Pharaoh! This is a Sim-City-ish game set in ancient Egypt. I've owned the boxed copy for years and used to play it quite a bit. It'll be quite fun to get back into it. Definitely Ishar first, though.

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