Thursday, 22 June 2017

Monumental

Well, that was more fun than expected. A very early platform game from Apogee, with some good old cga graphics. It's a shareware game, like most Apogee games of the time were, with the first level pack released for free and then having to pay for the other three. Each pack consists of 20 levels, each a single screen. The story doesn't really matter, you're playing through a series of levels looking for missing astronauts, whom you find on the penultimate level of each pack. Games made using this engine were notorious for having terrible hit detection, with massive bounding boxes around sprites. This game's much better than Pharaoh's Tomb, but it's still far from perfect. It means you'll often see cheap deaths where you'd quite clearly leapt over a set of spikes, but the game counted it as a hit. Monuments of Mars gets around this by offering you infinite lives. The downside of that is that the game then simply becomes a grind of repeating the same thing until you finally get it right. The levels themselves only take a couple of minutes each to play through, unless you get stuck. I actually found that the first level pack contained much better designed levels than the larger, paid packs. They had cleverer puzzles and took more thought. Compared to the first one, the remaining three level packs were surprisingly easy, and it wasn't long until I was picking up the final batch of astronauts and touching... The Face! These games remind me a bit of the modern(ish) indie trend for 'skill'-based frequent-death platformers like Super Meat Boy and VVVVVV. All in all, much more fun than I thought it would be, and kept me entertained from start to finish. What more can you ask for?

Next up on the randometer is...Peach the Lobster! Okay...never heard of that one. Apparently it's a platformer from the early '90s. Exciting!

And URGH!! Just...NO. That was terrible. An absolute turd of a game. It looks like it was made in a simple Game Creator style program, so it's more like a home brew. I guess that lets it off a bit, but even so, why the heck would you decide to release something as terrible as that? Have some pride, man! It's obviously supposed to be a bit like Sonic, but the controls are impossibly slippery, the movement is jankey, the jump is terrible, the weapon rarely hits anything, the level design is maddening, there's a crazy design decision where to jump higher you just continuously mash the three jump buttons (yes 3 buttons...I don't know why - at a guess, I'd say it was because they couldn't handle 2 keyboard inputs at once for jump and across, but actually that seems to work just fine. Similarly, I'd guess the mashing the jump buttons was a bug that became a 'feature'). The graphics are bad. It constantly crashes and glitches. There are no checkpoints (though there do seem to be infinite lives). Just all over one of the worst games I've ever played. I didn't make it off the first level, and I have absolutely no intention of trying to. Onwards!

Next up on the randometer is...Expander! Never heard of it (I think something's telling me to go back to Fallout 4). I got it randomly in a humble bundle one day. 

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