Thursday, 9 July 2015

Remembering Amnesia

I played a bit of Amnesia last night, and finished it off over lunch today. Needless to say, I used a walkthrough. In some ways, I think it probably wasn't a bad way to play the game. Amnesia is huge - it covers every street in Manhattan, and all the subway lines, too. It was also written back in the late '80s when there was no way on earth a single disk could hold the data for all of those locations, so Amnesia is a very empty game. You could spend days wandering lost through the streets (luckily, the US system of street grids helps a lot with computer games), and the map that comes with the game is invaluable (or a regular NY map would do). You start out with nowhere to live and no food or money. Time passes quickly in the game, so your first priority is to find somewhere to rest. Then you have to beg passers by for money until you can afford some food. That is your basic existence - begging, eating, sleeping, maybe washing the odd windscreen for cash - until you stumble upon your first clues to finding out just who you are and what happened to you. The story was written by an award-winning author, and it shows. The text is excellent, and the story really gripping, but the game is really lacking. There's just too much emptiness and lack of direction - that's why I think playing with a walkthrough was a decent way to play, so you can experience the full story without the frustration. The plot spins around all over the place and it's not until the very end where the pieces finally slot into place and you get the answers you've been looking for. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, but that's probably much more to do with the fact I love a good story rather than the strength of the game itself. I'm not sure I'd recommend the game, but the script's available online if you just want to read the story. Onwards!

Next up on the randometer is...Centauri Alliance! It's a sci-fi RPG from the same guy (and era) who wrote the Bard's Tale. I've never heard of it. Slightly mixed feelings about this one...I like the sound of a sci-fi RPG, just as long as it isn't full of darned dungeons and spinners! Interestingly, apparently you can import characters from the Bard's Tale and a bunch of other early RPGs (such as Ultima), so I might look into that.

... Ah, looks like it's for the C64. While I could go dig out a C64 emulator and try and get it running, I'm going to stick to DOS and call this one done. The manual does make it look quite cool, but...no. A bit of a cop out, I know, but I need to get through the list somehow. So, next, next up on the randometer is...Magnetik Tank! Never heard of this one, but it's a French game from the '80s, so who knows!

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