The RPS Bargain Bucket: Rage and Terror

By Lewie Procter on December 5th, 2009 at 5:33 pm.


Back again after a week of completely not being here, it’s the Bargain Bucket. The various digital distribution outlets from around the internet are starting to get into the festive season, and are discounting their games accordingly. We’ve got a pair of advent calendars to keep an eye on, no chocolate sadly though, just discounted computer games. To keep a closer eye on what’s going on in the Christmas sales, be sure to visit SavyGamer.co.uk.

Altitude – £6.07/€6.73/$9.89
For USA folk, it is cheapest to get this game on Steam for $9.89, but for everyone else, it is slightly cheaper to get it straight from the developer for £6.07/€6.73. John played the demo of this, and had this to say about it: “It is still a very restricted game – teeny levels and little more to it than flying in tight loops and throwing ammo everywhere. But this is certainly enough for a cute, distracting burst of play. The demo even comes with the level editor, letting you create your own arenas for battle. Give it a look, if just so they’ll stop emailing us.”. Demo here.

Red Faction Bundle – £24.42/€29.92/$29.92
This would be a much better deal if you couldn’t get ARRR EFFF GEEE for £12.99 on it’s own, but if you are after all three games, then this is a decent deal. I did really enjoy Red Faction: Guerrilla, It looses momentum with a few dull missions from time to time, but then you just get out your hammer, and smash some buildings apart, then everything is made better. The open world doesn’t feel as open as I would like, but most of the time that doesn’t matter. It’s got some fantastic weapons and vehicles that really let you have a lot of fun with the incredible destructible buildings. RPS coverage here.

Rage Software – 25% off
All of Rage Software’s games on Good old Games are 25% off at the minute. It’s been a while since I played them, but I remember having fun with Incoming and Hostile Waters. Incoming has you defending earth from alien invaders. You control a range of vehicles, and make lots of explosions happen by pressing buttons. There probably are a hell of a lot more sophisticated games out there, but I’m sure it would be fun for a quick blast. Hostile Waters is an interesting game too. It is a nice marriage of two genre’s. It has a heavy strategic element, but you have direct control over individual vehicles. The vehicles can be modified too. I remember feeling it was ahead of it’s time at release, I wonder how it has aged.

Deal of the week
Tomb Raider Underworld – £4.99/€/$
Lara’s most recent adventure didn’t grab me all that much. There didn’t actually seem to be anything hugely wrong with it, I just found it to be more of the same game I’ve already played with Legend. Perhaps I was to quick to judge though, and I might give it another go. Certainly if you are a big fan of the games, and you are yet to give this instalment a try, you’ll probably never see it much cheaper than this. At this price, if you’ve not played any of the recent Tomb Raider games, it’s certainly worth considering. RPS coverage here, demo here.

Also of note:
Starscape – 50% off
And Yet It Moves – 25% off

GamersGate Advent Calender
Direct2Drive Advent Calender – USA/UK

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56 Comments »

  1. Hunam says:

    Tomb Raider Underworld is a good buy at that price. It is the weakest of the CD TR’s because they got a new engine that doesn’t quite work, animation is jerky and the hit detection, which I might add is the crux of Tomb Raider is a bit off, so you get caught on stuff and she just stops, meaning you sometimes have to fight to just jump from a surface that is slightly curved. It’s still a good game, just a little more effort that maybe it should be.

    • Vandelay says:

      I thought it was a much better game than Legend, which, although good, was rather straight forward. In fact, bar the story I can’t really fault Underworld. It really managed to capture that state of wonder that came with the earlier games, with its large levels ready to be explored. Having said that, I was little disappointed in the last levels, which had been built up since Legend, but ended up being the weakest part of the game..

      Anniversary is by far the best of the new Tomb Raiders though and possibly the best of the whole series.

    • Hunam says:

      The story was bobbins, like how it introduced mechanics in the story then just ignored them. I just though that moving through the world was a lot harder than it should be and the puzzles tended to be just hard to find objects rather than any state of deduction.

    • kyrieee says:

      Anniversary is much better (than Legend too btw)
      Legend and Underworld have way too easy and shallow puzzles. Legend especially is more of an action game than an exploration / platformer

    • Jason Lefkowitz says:

      So other than the graphics, the gameplay, and the story it’s great?

      But other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

  2. Optimaximal says:

    I remember feeling it was ahead of it’s time at release, I wonder how it has aged.

    Very well and not very in equal measures. The gameplay, plot and concept are still top-notch, but its a shame Rage died before anyone could open-source and/or upgrade the engine.

    • Bhazor says:

      Its aged well because it is still one of a kind bar the Battlestations series. The controls still feel very natural and the fights are vicious even if they do lack the particles and whizz bang pixels youngsters crave. The AI though is feeling a bit guff now though (on stealth missions especially) but the designers compensated for that by upping the enemy count which is cheap but it works.

      Having Warren Ellis writing for it doesn’t hurt either.

      I sincerely hope that Bohemia have played through this in preparation for the new Carrier Command game.

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      I replayed Hostile Waters just a few months ago and it has stood up very well. The graphics aren’t fantastic any more, but certainly do their job very well. The combat is fast and furious (especially on that mission where you have to defend the town and push the enemy back along that spit of land, which gets my vote for most maniacally intense RTS mission of all time), the customisable units are still great and the way game addresses the conceits of the RTS genre and uses them to build a great story is very clever.

      In short, it’s still pretty awesome. I played DoW2 for the first time shortly after Hostile Waters and, despite obviously being different games, Hostile Waters was frankly a superior playing experience on every level bar the multiplayer (because it has none), although DoW2 is still a fine game.

    • Sajmn says:

      And there’s no other rts in which you could shoot down a helicopter with a howitzer.

    • matte_k says:

      The crew chips in Hostile Waters had such personality, I loved picking crews for a mission.
      “Son, I drive Tanks. And this ain’t a Gun!!!”
      God bless Patton, his bitching amused me endlessly. And Kroker- “i could kill you by fuckin’ lookin’ at you”. Also, anyone else think that Lazare bore a passing resemblance to Jean Reno?

      I remember that mission on the long strip island, a war of attrition to slowly advance your defensive wall from one end to the other. And there was another mission across a three island group, spent god knows how many day/night cycles cutting the two smaller islands off and clearing them to recycle the scrap for enough energy for the main assault.

      It would be nice to have more games with ideas like HW

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      Hostile Waters could give rise to some insane player mistakes as well. My most annoying was when I had just recycled a helicopter to fend off an enemy aerial assault only to realise I’d forgotten to swap out the armament, leading to the farcical sight of my helicopter trying to shoot down a moving alien fighter aircraft with a flamethrower (range: 10 feet) and Ransom making sarcastic complaints all the way. Inadvertantly hilarious.

      Also, there is nothing more awesome then having Tom Baker speaking dialogue written by Warren Ellis in your cut scenes.

    • bill says:

      I played it last year and thought the graphics held up really well. Nice effects, and the ever-so-slightly cartoony look of the units means it looks a lot like Batallion Wars in places. At the very least, everything is clear.

      I enjoyed that spit of land one. But one thing i liked about hostile waters is many of the missions allowed you to get creative with the solutions. Sometimes you coudl get away with one or two covert spotters and some bombardments. I finished one mission in 3 minutes with one unit – and i count that as a huge positive point.

      A few of the later missions turned into dragged out “kill 100 turrets” missions, but other than that it rocked. The characters rocked, I loved that their different skills and personalities all had an effect in game. Ransom jinking and racing in suicidally, the sniper dude staying still and hanging back.

      it was frantic, and awesome.

    • sinister agent says:

      Gentlemen, and female gentlemen, you have convinced me to buy Hostile Waters. For this I damn you.

  3. Bhazor says:

    Red Faction has aged terribly. It was made a good 3 years too soon but essentially you can sum up it’s faults by saying “It’s a game about destruction in an engine without physics”.

    This is completely off topic but is it worth getting into Children of the Nile? Is there a monthly subscription or did it go all Guild Wars? Anyone here still playing?

    • pepper says:

      I stopped playing when they went with the subscription model to upgrade your city’s. I presume were talking about the web based game? The RTS games do still look interesting.

    • Severian says:

      I played the single player Children of the Nile: Immortal Cities and thought it great. It was one of those games that I meant to play a lot more of but got side-tracked by life/other games. But I thought it’s economy and building aspects pretty interesting and some of the scenarios were quite challenging. I don’t know much about the version that went online with some weird subscription model. I avoid that shite like the plague anyways.

    • Bhazor says:

      OK, I’m an idiot.

      The game I was thinking of was A Tale In The Desert. So the same questions as before but about that one instead.

      Ironically reading up about Children of the Nile has made me go and get it from Steam. So a happy ending to the story there then.

    • Clovis says:

      Everyone should try out Tale in the Desert at some point. It is probably the most original MMO out there. If you go solo it can be terribly grindy, but the playerbase is super (super) friendly, and by joining with a group you can get stuff done quickly.

  4. Thermal Ions says:

    I note that 1C has 27 games listed on Gamersgate (http://www.gamersgate.co.uk/publisher/5/1c-publishing-eu) , so obviously virtually all of them will appear on special in the advent calendar. Anyone therefore wish to comment on any they’d recommend to other readers?

    Personally, I’ve got Space Rangers 2 and recall having some fun with it at the time.

    • Vinraith says:

      1C games of note on Gamersgate:

      Both Kings Bounty Games
      Both Men of War Games (and possibly Faces of War as well)
      Fantasy Wars, Elven Legacy, and the Elven Legacy Expansions
      Space Rangers 2 (as you said) and Reboot which are both DRM free on GG
      Alien Shooter Gold Pack

      Note that I’ve not played all of these, but they’re all games I’ve been keeping an eye on. I can vouch for the Kings Bounty games personally, I own Fantasy Wars, Elven Legacy, and Men of War but haven’t had time to play them. Space Rangers 2 and I have a mixed history, but I’m intending to give it another try soon (and pick up Reboot if I like it). I’ve heard good things about Alien Shooter and Zombie Shooter but haven’t gotten around to grabbing them yet, so a deal on that pack would be great.

    • MastodonFarm says:

      Aren’t there only 24 days in an Advent calendar?

    • Thermal Ions says:

      Ah, I see where I went wrong, I’d clicked the “1C Publishing EU” link (http://www.gamersgate.co.uk/publisher/5/1c-publishing-eu) from the advent item of the day rather than search for 1C which shows a separate page of close to 40 games for 1C Company (http://www.gamersgate.co.uk/publisher/4/1c).

  5. Xocrates says:

    @Hunam: Just a small clarification, Underworld is the weakest Crystal Dynamics game Technology wise.

    Game wise is probably the strongest. It’s not as linear and silly as Legend, and not as frustrating and visually bland as Anniversary (past Peru, Anniversary has a bad case of Real is Brown and Bloom).
    Quite frankly, the fact that Underworld doesn’t have QTE should be enough to raise it to the best of the 3.

    • Mman says:

      “(past Peru, Anniversary has a bad case of Real is Brown and Bloom)”

      Underworld is just as bad in that regard, the first half is colourful enough, but around the second half of the game it visually becomes a bunch of homogeneous grey and blue (with a little white if you’re lucky).

    • Xocrates says:

      I guess that’s true enough, but since it doesn’t have so much bloom at least it doesn’t look like you need glasses.

    • Xocrates says:

      Also, Underworld is also much shorter (for better and for worse), so the visually bland correspond to 2-3 levels as opposed to the 8-12 of Anniversary.

  6. Heliocentric says:

    I’d get space rangers 2 off impulse, they have the reboot expansion.

    • Vinraith says:

      Gamersgate has SR2, the reboot expansion, and no need for a client.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Didn’t see the expansion listed, on the client front i like me some automated patching.

    • Vinraith says:

      Bah, damn thing’s region restricted, apparently. Reboot shows up on a search, but at least in North America it’s listed as not available.
      _
      Personally I detest client programs, and am willing to pay at least a small premium to avoid them. Impulse is, however, markedly less ridiculously intrusive than Steam.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I’m a big fan of impulses ability to just use the client to install and patch (you can often just download regular patches if you rather).

      If impulse had the back catalogue of gamersgate and actually allowed non americans to spend money i would be all over it like baco on a spud. As it is, i love how it handles what i have gotten off them.

    • Blather Blob says:

      @Vinraith: But doesn’t GamersGate have a client with most of the detestable bits of Impulse, it’s just that it’s built-in to every installer?

    • Vinraith says:

      There’s a wrapper on the installer, but in my opinion that’s pretty radically different. I don’t have to install and run a separate piece of software to acquire my games and I don’t have to utilize said piece of software to update my games (most GG games are either up to date, patch normally, or have patches available from the GG website).

      Of course, the biggest advantage of GG in my opinion is that they guarantee you an unlimited number of activations on any game you buy from them, DRM be damned.

  7. Carra says:

    I’ll keep my wallet closed this week. Bought Tomb Raider: Legend for €5 in a previous steam deal and still haven’t finished it.

  8. Nickosha says:

    I got Red Faction: Guerrilla in the THQ deal on Steam and I just could not get it to work reliably. I had problems with getting black screens in the tutorial, it froze once or twice with a short sound repeating, and worst of all it would do this thing where it would freeze for a few seconds, black screen for a second, and then go back to normal until it did it again a few minutes later. I tried several things like running in compatibility mode and administrator, running it windowed, and running it as low priority (reported to help). Perhaps there is a secret to good performance that I couldn’t find anything about, but I did learn that they outsourced it to an no-name studio, probably the one that ported Saints Row 2…

    I’m running an e8400/hd4850 with all up to date drivers, if it matters.

    • Krondonian says:

      That’s very odd, as I’m running it now with an HD4850, Q8200 and 2GB RAM, smooth as butter, with other stuff running in the background too.

      My only problem is that 5.1 sound is borked, but switching to stereo is fine. This has also been fixed in the patch, though that has been a long time coming.

      The thread here: http://community.redfaction.com/forums/topic/7426 details the progress, and it should hopefully be available within weeks.

      A poster there links to this: http://www.microsoft.com/games/en-US/community/newsarticles/pages/gamesondemandcomingsoon.aspx which seems like big news. It could also indicate any patches coming then (Dec. 15).

      If your technical issues get sorted though I’d definitely stick at it- I’m having a great time so far.

      Also, the porting studio is called Reactor Zero, website here: http://www.reactorzero.com/

    • Nickosha says:

      I really hope the patch helps out, because the game itself looks like it is a lot of fun. I guess I’ll just cross my fingers until then.

    • Dave says:

      RFG gives me all kinds of trouble unless I run it in windowed mode… at which point it runs almost flawlessly on my modest machine. Go figure.

    • abhishek says:

      Yep, running RFG in windowed mode has solved lots of issues for lots of people. It’s definitely the first thing to try if you have problems. Next, you can try disabling AO and the other Dx10 specific effect (it escapes my mind which one it is, but it shows up below AO in the options menu). This should give you a huge boost in performance.

  9. archonsod says:

    Direct 2 Drive are also doing a 24 days to christmas thing. Bioshock is 50% off today, yesterday was The Witcher Directors Cut for £13.

  10. SirKicksalot says:

    If you buy more than 5 games from GamersGate’s 1C calendar, you’ll be able to download a free one on Christmas Day (source: http://forum.1cpublishing.eu/showthread.php?t=11509 )

    Cryostasis is already on sale there, although not on the calendar. BUY IT.

  11. malkav11 says:

    Note that at least one of the older Red Faction games reputedly won’t work on Vista and possibly not on 7 either.

  12. Blather Blob says:

    Starscape is “also of note” to me for the WTFness of it’s everyday price. How can a game that old, that simple, and that small still be $20? It’s still fun, don’t get me wrong, and it’s on my list of games to pick up when the price is right, but that means something in the under $5 range for that game, to me. Of course, I have the option of playing it on gametap, though that means rebooting into a 32-bit OS.

    But then I looked at Steam and realised that this is just Impulse price gouging. Their sale price is exactly the same as Steam’s everyday price. Same thing with the Tilted Mill collection that’s “on sale” at Impulse.

    For USians, GoGamer is having one of its weekend sales, though not too much is exciting in it. Two Worlds did catch my eye though, since I’ve just discovered that the only difference between the $1.90 copy and the “epic edition” is that the epic edition has had all the patches applied.

    • moyogo says:

      Stalker: Clear Sky for $3.90 on GoGamer, basically I’ve heard it’s less good than Stalker but what isn’t?

    • unique_identifier says:

      stalker clear sky has some great environments and features — the improved artifact hunting experience & equipment upgrade / repair spring to mind, and some of the anomalies & their warping of the landscape are far more visually and mechanically interesting than those in the first game.

      Of course, other parts of the game don’t really seem to work that well, such as the faction system, and there are some truly horrible parts, such as the last 1/3 of the game changing from a free-form open world fps/rpg to some linear scripted call of duty wannabe squad shooter.

      i’d say the good bits are easily worth $3.90

  13. Dison says:

    Last week purchased both copies of the older Red Faction games with the Steam Deal. Both versions work under windows 7, However Red faction II refuses to play in high resolution with my graphics card (HD 4670).

    Really enjoyed the original red faction. Played it through to completion last week. Cannot say the same for Red Faction II. Feels like a really bad console port.

  14. Mashakosha says:

    A couple things I’ve picked up:
    http://www.zavvi.com/games/platforms/pc/borderlands/10048149.html
    Borderlands for £15. I’m tempted to buy this, but the fact that I’ve already bought TR Underworld today has stopped me.

    http://www.play.com/Games/PC/4-/6187127/Grand-Theft-Auto-IV/Product.html
    GTA4 for £10. It’s not especially well ported, but still good fun in multiplayer. Worth a look regardless.

    http://www.play.com/Games/PC/4-/9004913/ARMA-II-Armed-Assault/Product.html
    ArmA 2 for £15. For all it’s bugs, it’s an excellent game.

  15. DoujinGamer says:

    Tomb Raider Underworld for five bucks? Can’t beat that with a bag of hammers.

  16. yutt says:

    “…I don’t have to utilize said piece of software to update my games…”

    Meaning, you don’t have said piece of software available, which makes updating, downloading, and managing games incredibly simple. Impulse is a 6 MB download, isn’t required to run games, allows unlimited downloads and installs, and has no DRM.

    I don’t understand the benefits of using a less robust system.

    • Vinraith says:

      Control, obviously. By your logic you should be using Steam, which is the most “robust” (and consequently most intrusive) system of them all. Or just use a console, which completely removes any need to manage files at all and is as “robust” as it gets. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with either of those options, and it seems like the logical course to take if you value convenience over control.

  17. Matzerath says:

    I found the Altitude demo to be as presumptive and intrusive as, apparently, the developers are with RPS. The demo auto downloads the game, which waits patiently on the Steam games list for your purchase. In game it makes multiple requests for your e-mail address and whether or not you would like to play on Facebook. Kinda annoying. The game itself, I wanted to like, but it looks – well dammit, it looks OLD. Bet it plays on anything, though.

  18. Krikey! says:

    Hostile Waters is ace. At $4.50, you just can’t go wrong. The only beef that I have with the game is the pathfinding AI, but that is just a minor annoyance for hours of fun and shooty shooty bang bang. Hell I’d say I had more fun with HW than most games I played in 2008.

  19. bill says:

    Hostile waters is indeed ace, and I felt it had aged very well when i played it for the first time on GOG last year. Great mix of RTS and Shooter. Memorable voiceover characters. Weird story.

    The only issue it might have for some people is that there’s no multiplayer… which is sad, as i think a multiplayer game without the option to pause and issue orders would have been a blast.

  20. Dominic White says:

    As many others have said, Hostile Waters is rather brill and you should all own it. Also, it does get pretty hard later on. You know shit has hit the fan when in the middle of a mission, you hear Ransom practically scream “What the fuck is THAT!?”.

    Having a small crew of high-personality pilots really helped it, too.

  21. Sean says:

    I played TRU last fall via the magic of bittorrent. I remember now that I was fascinated by the ability to kick tigers in the teeth. That part is totally great. =D

    And now, it is finally inexpensive enough that I purchased it without hesitation.

    On the puzzles: yes, most were not terribly hard. The combat was mostly fun, and a bit more fluid than the old style. I particularly liked the Mexico level for its more-complex-than-average puzzle mechanisms, and for the creatures there (tigers! giant spiders!)

    I missed the character-centric controls for their ability to allow the camera to pan without disrupting movement. That said, the climbing and whatnot is done well, and I like how Lara “sticks” her landings on very small balance beams, because it makes what could otherwise be very frustrating jumps seem precise. The procedural animation for free-climbing on walls with hand- and foot-holds is also well done, though not perhaps as well as Assassin’s Creed. I really only took issue with hit detection and controls on one of the later levels. To avoid spoilers, I will merely say: gears and chains.

    I think the visuals are excellent and provide a sense of wonder to the environments.

    The game is solid action-adventure, with a few relatively minor flaws. It’s not sublime, but well-worth $7.50!

  22. Ginger Yellow says:

    I remember feeling it was ahead of it’s time at release

    If it had been released in 1987, maybe.