Posts Tagged ‘microprose’

Have You Played… Magic: The Gathering?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Not Duels of the Planeswalkers, not the cardboard version – I mean MicroProse’s MTG game from 1997. Far less literal than DotP, it took Wizards of the Coast’s collectible card game into an open world RPG-ish thing. Your wizard roamed around battling monsters and winning cards to build a better deck, grow stronger, and challenge an ultimate evil, which was an interesting adaptation. But, as far as I can recall, this is the only video game I have ever returned for a refund because I didn’t like it.

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The Ambitious Failure Of Cybervamp RPG BloodNet

I’m known for writing about old games that are worth playing today. This is something of a departure, as I can’t really recommend Bloodnet [Wikipedia page] with a clear conscience. It isn’t a good game. But it’s been lurking in my mind for the better part of 20 years.

It’s a rare game that would excite a traditional RPG fan as well as a genre cynic like me – an unforgiving, non-linear, party-based adventure with turn-based combat and minimal handholding, set in a world devoid of goddamn elves. Instead, it’s set in the kind of future that only the early 1990s could conjure up.

Cast as Ransom Stark, you’re a ‘disgrunt’ – a former employee of evil megacorporation du jour, TransTechnicals, discarded when your work made you sick. Now you’re one of many surviving the dystopian microcosm of Manhattan via illegal activities like ‘decking’ (unauthorised Matrix use. No, not that one. Well, actually….), theft, espionage, and of course murder. Then you’re bitten by a vampire.

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Darklands Retrospective: What RPGs Are Supposed To Be

A lesson that often eludes the games industry is how much names matter. Though it’s hardly the worst offender, Darklands is about as generic as a name gets, and its cover image (which mattered once) is even worse.

Even discounting that, it faced an uphill struggle, as its original 1992 release was marked by a plague of bugs, which Microprose’s patching never entirely expunged. It can still fritz during longer, complex sections – the ones you’ll save at most – and its occasional glitches compound cumbersome controls and an interface that’s awkward and often repetitive. Its sounds are few and its animations simplistic, with minimal feedback. On paper, it’s a bit of a mess.

It’s one of the best RPGs ever made anyway.

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The Flare Path: Orientally Oriented

When a Flare Path Friday falls on Chinese New Year, it’s traditional for all the stories to be Sino centred. Back in 1997 that meant coverage of Taiwan invasion TBS 以臺海兩岸緊張, thoughts on Ding Ding, a work-in-progress Hong Kong tramway sim, and an interview with Implicit Sextant, the team behind heavenly 14th Century fireworks sandbox, The Fire Drake of Fuzhou. Today it means Silent Service II patrols in the South China Sea, and a swift inspection of Just Trains’ new SS7C CR electric loco. Read the rest of this entry »

Microprose Now Making Special Forces: Team X

Ah, you couldn’t make this stuff up: Microprose, which was resurrected and attached to bunch of obscure console games in the past couple of years, has been assigned to make a game in conjunction with Zombie Studios. No, really, that is an actual thing that is happening. Anyway, the famed old undead name is now going to appear with third-person tactical shooter Special Forces: Team X, which was first announced last year. The game might just be interesting, what with it supporting “asymmetric game play with 2-4 teams”and also having dogs in. Yep, player dogs. And player-customisable maps as part of gameplay. Intriguing? Video below.
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New X-COM Incoming, Old X-COM Cheapens!


EDIT: added Gamersgate deal.

Steam’s daily deal sees the complete X-COM bundle reduced to £3.05, while the complete pack is £2.49 at Gamersgate. It’s as if they think the whole internet is talking about the series. You probably don’t want Enforcer and Interceptor but if you don’t have them, you almost definitely want the other three. They are £1.01 each on Steam. I still play the original on a regular basis and find it laughable that it’s available for a pound and a penny. HA!

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Retro – The Legacy: Realm of Terror

It's Indy's dad

A guilty secret. This Microprose RPG was one of the first games I ever bought – not played, but bought, with actual money, in an actual box and everything. I think it was a good year or so after the thing was actually out, but for some reason it caught my eye in the shop and stuck in my head, convincing me to save my pennies and head back a few weeks later to treat myself to it.

Very much a teenager, I was reading a lot of tawdry horror fiction at the time, and though I was yet to have any experience of Lovecraft or Poe, The Legacy‘s haunted gothic mansion setting was enough to grab me on its own.
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