Monday, 5 November 2018

Nuclear Winter

I'm done with Nuclear War (in life, as well as gaming). My first impressions of the game weren't great, but I warmed to it once I got the hang of the combat flow. Basically, you control a nuclear power duking it out with 4 other powers - last one left alive wins...I think, I never actually made it out of a game alive. Each country takes one action per turn - building your stockpile, preparing nukes, launching nukes, preparing defenses and propaganda. Each leader has a different personality and their outlook on each other leader changes as the game goes on. It's best to play leaders off against each other and let them deal as much damage to each other before their focus changes to you. You can't just spend your time stockpiling, though, or the other nations will notice and all attack you, so you have to vary your actions each turn. Each nation starts with 5 cities, and as cities become destroyed you lose the ability to build as many weapons per turn. It doesn't take too long to play, as it's basically a downward spiral of destruction - cities can never be rebuilt, and you can only gain population by using propaganda to lure people from other cities or from random events. One quirk is that when a nation is destroyed, they automatically launch their remaining stockpile at random against the remaining players. This prevents stalemates and rapidly brings about the endgame. The only problem (and the reason why I've never survived the game) is that this also happens when you destroy the final city, so even though you've destroyed the opposition, their bombs still rain down on you at the end and (usually) wipe you out. It's possible that you could survive it if you had enough cities left, but I've never managed it. Maybe it's supposed to be a metaphor for the real world - there are no winners in nuclear war!

Next up on the randometer is...Five-a-side Soccer! Great, an ancient DOS football game. This one probably won't take long.

In fact, I'm going to give up on Five-a-side Soccer. I tried it over lunch today, and I just can't get it to control very well. It's way too fast on normal DosBox cycles, and when I slow it down to manageable levels the controls don't respond. So...sorry Five-a-side Soccer. Honestly, I don't think I'm missing much - the graphics are extremely rudimentary and I couldn't make any kind of movement or action..

Next up on the randometer is...DinoPark Tycoon! Looks like a semi-edutainment management game where you build your own Jurassic Park. I'm not the biggest fan of tycoon games, so we'll see...

Friday, 2 November 2018

freeDone planet

Another delay (work is still hardcore), but I've finally finished Freedom Planet. It's a throwback to the Sonic games of old in just about every sense. Here, you play a dragon who can do spin attacks rather than Sonic's bouncing, and these spin attacks can also give you an extra bit of lift to clear long gaps. There is also a speed boost attack like Sonic's, but here you can also shoot up in the air to reach new areas or clear long gaps. It also has a power gauge and you can only use it when the gauge is full. Boosting drains the whole gauge (which refills fairly quickly), and spin attacks drain a little of the gauge. This is basically just to stop you chaining spin attacks followed by boosts. (There are other characters with other moves, but I'd had enough after the first one.) It's all done in a retro style, which looks fine and sounds good. I have to admit that I didn't really enjoy the game that much...actually, I have to admit that I don't really enjoy the Sonic games that much either. You zoom through the stages at high speed, which is great and all, but I personally like to take my time and see the sights. Each stage is then followed by a boss fight. This has the same Sonic rhythms of easy stage followed by difficult boss, but here, both of those are even more exaggerated. The stages here are mostly so easy that there's almost no point to them. You can just run through to the end jumping between platforms without really bothering with the enemies for the most part. As the stages go on, there's a bit more thinking - the odd switch here or keycard there - but they're all fairly straightforward. Then, you reach the bosses, which are almost all near impossible the first time that you encounter them. They're just cheap and no fun. Even when I'd fought them a few times and learned the patterns, defeating them still felt like a chore rather than anything fun. I don't know, it just never grabbed me... oh, and the voice acting is horrible, soooo grating, with long, long cutscenes between each stage. Normally, I'm a man who loves cutscenes and a story, and I can't understand why people skip them, but these were just awful. A tedious story with hideous voicing. Ugh. I don't know, some people absolutely love this game, so it's obviously just me, but it just never clicked. I made it through to the end, and that's what matters!

Next up on the randometer is...Nuclear War! Looks like a strategic '80s DOS game of blowing people up. Might not take long...

I've also had a few goes at the Last Ninja games. Not getting very far at all (which is exactly how I remember them) and I'm feeling like giving up on them (I'm in one of those moods!). One big issue is the keyboard controls, which just don't seem to work how they should. Still, I'll give them a fair shake and see if I can get any further.