I finished Unreal 2, and I really liked it. Weirdly, this game garners a lot of dislike on the net. I think it's because it was quite different to the first game and didn't continue the story. Personally, I didn't think much of the story in the first game, so it wasn't really much of a worry. Also, there was a feeling that this was all about the engine and the game was just light cloth draped on top. I don't know about that - the game does look beautiful, so much so that at times I was surprised my aging rig could play it, and there was plenty of imagination in the scenery; the planet-sized organism was particularly great. A lot of vitriol was spewed at the fact it's quite a slow game for a shooter, and I don't deny that, but it suited me down to the ground - I always play shooters slowly and methodically, and I hate the ones that are so fast you can't tell what's going on. (N.B. I never said I was good at FPS games :) Obviously I'm in a minority here, because This was the last real storied Unreal game, it was all Unreal Tournament from here out, and that's an incredibly fast jump-all-over-the-place experience that I can't get on with at all but the community absolutely loved. I know I slightly dissed the story of this one, but it actually had its good points. The crew were fairly well defined (though I wish they'd chosen some slightly more appropriate clothing for the female lead), and their (spoilers...but this is a pretty old game) death at the end was a shock. I kept thinking they were going to perform the old videogame trope of somehow coming back to life or jettisoning off the ship at the last minute, but nope, full points to the game for doing that.I wish the my revenge on the bad guy hadn't been a cutscene, though. In fact, the end game did come quite quickly - I was expecting a couple more levels once I'd found all the artifacts and they'd been linked together, but it all came to a head very quickly. As far as I'm concerned, that's no bad thing. All in all, very positive from me. The Unreal series wasn't what I expected and I'm glad I played both games. As I said, there are plenty more games in the Unreal series, but they're all Tournament games, and I don't own any of them, or have the desire to.
Next up on the series list is one of the reasons why I started this blog, Ultima. I've always wanted to play through the Ultima games in order, but have never got around to it. There are 9 core games in all (plus a few on the side) and I've played three of them, 4, 6, and 8. I'm looking forward to playing the others, especially 7, which was widely lauded as being one of the greatest RPGs ever. I'm going to play them all on PC, though looking at the graphics, I'm slightly regretting that. I played Ultima 4 on the Master System (we spent ages playing this game at school), and that version has waaaaaay better graphics than the PC version...and sound, and controls. I'm really tempted to play the console version here, the only thing stopping me is that on the PC you can carry your character across through 4, 5, and 6, which I really want to try. We'll see. (Update, I've chosen to apply some fan patches to the games that update the tilesets - basically using graphics from the later games in some of the earlier ones. I know it's not a 'pure' experience, but I really want to enjoy my time with these games!)
In fact, it's been a while since I started to write this post and in that time I've completed Akalabeth (retro-fitted as Ultima 0), or at least I've become a knight and seen as much of the game as I want to. Apparently there is a 'final' ending if you complete the tasks on difficulty 10, so I might try that if I'm feeling crazy. It's a really basic dungeon crawler with no story to speak of. Great for the time, of course, but I'm really here to see the main Ultima storyline!
In other news (this is turning into a long post), I've decided to put Pharaoh on hold. Not because I'm not enjoying playing it, just because each level is taking hours and I don't really have that kind of time to invest at the moment. I might generally skip over those kinds of open-ended deep strategy games, as I want to move with the list. So, next up on the randometer is...Vikings! It's an edutainment adventure game, might actually be a fun one for Max to try if it's any good. ... And that didn't last long. It's an old Windows game, so it won't run in Dosbox and it won't run under my version of Windows. The graphics are just missing. I can click around and sometimes hit a button which makes the odd thing appear, but that'll take me through to another blank screen, and so on. Oh well, next up on the randometer is...The Bugs Bunny Hare-Brained Adventure! Never heard of it, but I can imagine how it's going to play already. Should be a quick one!