Monday, 13 July 2015

Boom and Bust

The Boomtown is a strange game. It's not really an RPG as such, more of a post-apocalyptic survival sim. You start in a shelter with a variety of goods and food with you, then have to set out and brave the new world to find new materials and survive. There are essentials like meat (which you can hunt for), veggies (which you can grow) and water (which you can get from lakes), but you'll also find other things like lumber (for building - also works as an emergency fuel source), fuel (I'm guessing this is charcoal - you seem to get it from forests), metal, parts, and so on. You slowly explore the world, heading back to your shelter when you start to get tired. You also don't want to spend too long out in the world, as dangerous events take place. I had a mutant jump on my car and bite my leg (sending my radiation through the roof), a tornado that whisked me up and dropped me off on a random part of the map, and a vast sandstorm that, as far as I could tell, covered the whole of the map with sand. At that point, I couldn't find anything else. It didn't occur to me to actually just standing still and trying to dig in the desolate sands to see if anything was there (you do sometime find random things, like jars of peanut butter), instead, I ran around trying to find some kind of marker in the sand until I collapsed from exhaustion. Unfortunately, the game then crashed asking for another map disk, so I never got to see the world when I woke up. You create your own random world at the beginning of the game, and you can play it multiplayer and invite other people into your wasteland. Of course, I didn't try that, but it actually sounds kind of fun. I played the game on the easiest difficulty level (and still died) but there are a ton of different options to play with to mould the world to your liking. It's an intriguing game - especially for its age. I'm going to call it a day for the sake of moving on, but it feels like it's a bit of a hidden gem that was way ahead of its time.

Next up on the randometer is...Anacreon: Reconstruction 4021! It's an ASCII space strategy game from 1987. I might take a quick look, or I might just hop back to a bit of Tomb Raider. I've played the first two levels of TR, and it's as fantastic as I remember. Beautiful level design and set pieces, with a verticality you don't tend to see so much in games any more.

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