Posts Tagged ‘Retro’

Eurogamer Retro: King’s Bounty

By John Walker on August 9th, 2010.

They all appear to have the same face.

It’s thanks to Alec that I played King’s Bounty. Seeing turn-based combat in KB: The Legend my “Ew! Strategy!” alarms went off and I moved on to the next game on the list. But having read Alec’s My Zombie Wife piece, I felt I should give it a go. It’s fabulous. So when exploring the retro-weighed shelves of a nearby gaming store, finding the original King’s Bounty for sale meant a guaranteed buy. Except, well, it was on Megadrive. “Traitor!” shouted Kieron at me, repeatedly, all last week as I played. I’ve written all about it, and it’s almost entirely true for the DOS version too – a game I heartily recommend getting hold of. And the Megadrive version emulates beautifully on PC, I found out when taking screenshots after playing it for a few days on a real Megadrive on a television with a refresh rate low enough to give me a headache. There’s no good to be found in traiting. You can read my Eurogamer retrospective here, where I find much love and happiness in the game. A game with the most brutal game over message I’ve ever seen.

“Oh Mad Mohan,

You have failed to recover the Sceptre of Order in time to save the land! Beloved King Maximus has died and the Demon King Urthrax Killspite rules in his place. The Four Continents lay in ruin about you, its people doomed to a life of misery and oppression because you could not find the Sceptre.”

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EG Retrospective: Tomb Raider IV

By John Walker on August 2nd, 2010.

Yeah, just steal it. Who cares?

Peering back through time, my retrospective hands seized upon Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, which I use as an excuse to explore the Tomb Raider series a little. It contains a paragraph that says this:

Lara is, let’s not forget, a truly dreadful person. Much has already been written about how she’s a grave-robbing thief, uncaring about either history or wildlife. And despite her having encountered dinosaurs, dragons and giant killer statues, she’s utterly blase about ignoring ancient texts warning of terrible plagues being unleashed upon the Earth if she takes one trinket or another. Screw Earth! She wants the shiny thing! Yeah, just steal it Lara. No one minds if you KILL EVERYONE ON EARTH. But of course Von Croy is the baddy, because he tried to do the world and its history a favour by killing her when she was a squawky teenager.

The rest is here.

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Eurogamer Retro: Armed & Dangerous

By John Walker on June 21st, 2010.

I already made the trumpet joke on EG, and this game won't screengrab to get more shots!

How funny was Armed & Dangerous? Yes, yes it absolutely had the Land Shark Gun, and no one can dispute its magnificence, but what about the rest of the game? I took a look at the 2003 game for Eurogamer, and then wrote words about it in the correct order. Some were:

“The reception is all down to context. You know when a golfer makes a funny mime to the crowd when someone’s phone rings, and everyone falls about laughing? Context. It’s not funny. It’s just unexpected. Put that golfer on stage at an open mic comedy night and his hilarity would be put into cruel perspective. It’s just not okay, not after 3000 years of games being around, for something just not being completely humourless to be good enough. And it’s not that A&D is unfunny – not at all. It’s occasionally wry, often silly. But just not “hilarious”.”

And the rest are here.

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Eurogamer: Fahrenheit Retrospective

By John Walker on May 31st, 2010.

He just wants a cuddle.

It seems like only yesterday that my retrospective of bonkers genre-blurred Fahrenheit appeared on Eurogamer. A ha, my little joke there. It was yesterday! It’s a Bank Holiday, my brain is on holiday. I replayed the game five years on to see, well, all sorts. Any of the ideas hold up? Anything been picked up by others? Still as completely trousers-down, purple-hatted batshit insane? Well, of course. The intro:

Here’s my impression of David Cage brainstorming ideas before making a game:

“Okay, it shall be set in a regular city, slightly in the future. Our character must get through his day, while becoming embroiled in a strange mystery. A peculiar girl is stuck in a tornado, and the player must rescue her before all the water in the world turns to stone. Aliens attack. At the end it rains cars.”

While Heavy Rain stayed in reality, Omikron and Fahrenheit begin with a facsimile of a recognisable life, and then dive headfirst into a swimming pool of insane.

Read on here.

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Re-Retro: Republic Commando

By Alec Meer on May 24th, 2010.

Combing my hard drive for dusty manuscripts to rehome on RPS, I stumbled happily across this revisit to Star Wars: Republic Commando, originally written for PC Gamer. Admittedly I’ve already given RepCom a little retro cuddle on RPS, but as Lucasart’s Star Wars shooter is now available on Steam it’s well worth restating its surprising marvellousness…

I’m still waiting for Imperial Commando. It was never promised, never so much as rumoured, but it always seemed the logical next step for Lucasarts’ surprisingly vigorous Star Wars squad-shooter to take. A sequel to this avowedly heroic FPS in which you play a Storm Trooper hunting down Rebel enclaves, brutally razing Jawa settlements or setting fire to Aunt Beru? That’s dream gaming – and a precedent laid down by, years previous, their following up saintly X-Wing with devilish TIE Fighter. Republic Commando seemed to be the way back to great things for this so-long unreliable developer – if you will, a new hope.
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Eurogamer Retro: Max Payne

By John Walker on May 10th, 2010.

This is the only facial expression Kieron's capable of, too.

Max Payne zooms back into our consciousnesses with the appearance of Alan Wake. But stupid stinky Alan Wake is only on 360, and Max Payne is still available for the PC. Does it hold up nearly a decade on? I attempt to answer that question, and also to mock the hilarious writing for as long as I can bear. It begins:

“The third-person shooter had been our first dance with Bullet Time. Sure, we’ve all been to bed with the gimmick now, but this was the first flirtation. For reasons unknown, Payne could enter a slow-motion world like a hand enters an oven glove. It doesn’t stay forever, but it can handle a lot more heat when it’s there. Able to react in real-time, it allowed Max to demonstrate his super-reflexes, filling enemies with bullets like he was making bullet pie with a human crust.”

You can read the rest here.

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Trans Europe Express: Free Transarctica

By Kieron Gillen on May 5th, 2010.

I just love that guy in this screenshot. I love him. I love you, guy. You hear me? I love you. I FUCKING LOVE YOU!

When we wrote about the DotEmu beta opening we expressed enormous chagrin that, despite them claiming otherwise, Transarctica wasn’t available to download. Oh noes! Oh noes no more, as Frankie The Patrician noted that it’s up there now. You can get it now. Transarctica is a strategy game about enormous armoured trains in a new ice-age, and is one of the games that seems to stick in people’s imaginations, even if you’ve never played it. Got to be worth downloading for the files, yeah? Video follows…
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Birds Of A Feather: DotEmu Beta

By Kieron Gillen on April 26th, 2010.

Just wanted to make sure at least one worked - it does, through DOSbox. I killed this dude within three seconds of starting the game. Go me!

Hmm. Looks like Good Old Games has a competitor in the old-classics/no-DRM/low-price market. DotEmu is basically an old-classic/no-DRM/low-price online retailer who has just gone into open Beta. Currently it’s got a limited range, which leans Francophile with the most obvious deals being the Alec-loved Gobliiins Trilogy for 4.90 Euros and the 16-game Silmarils collection. As an encouragement to sign up, during this beta period, people who do so will apparently be able to download Ishar I, Nicky Boom 1, Metal Mutant and Transartica for free. I say “apparently” because at the time of writing, of the four, I can only find a free download link for Ishar I. Though there is the (freeware) Beneath a Steel Sky and – I have no ideaDraskula. Oh – and some webgames, which just lead me to wasting 10 minutes playing Street Fighter 2 CE. ME BLANKA! STRONG! NO FEAR THIGHS OF CHUN-LI. YOU LOOK LIKE A RUGBY PLAYER, LADY.

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Eurogamer Retro: Another World

By John Walker on April 26th, 2010.

I want one of those beasts as a pet.

Replaying Another World for Eurogamer, in the form of its 15th Anniversary Edition, I found myself asking questions. Mostly of myself. Do I like trial and error gaming? The question was tricky, because I generally don’t, but I was enjoying Another World a great deal. Apart from when I reached the point where it became all error, and quite a trial. Were you to read it, you’d encounter passages like:

When developers at Valve make a game, from the moment a single room has been crafted in their Hammer editor, they playtest it. Outsiders come in once a week, with no previous experience of the game, and play with whatever’s been created. The developers must watch without comment, and observe how the player encounters the game. This is not how Another World was developed. Released in 1991, Another World was the one-man project from Eric Chahi, a visually striking 2D platform game about a man transported to an alien world after a disaster with his particle acceleration experiment.

It’s here.

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Retro: Slay

By Alec Meer on April 20th, 2010.

Monday, train, Oxford. Tuesday, train, Waterloo. Wednesday, train, Brighton. Thursday? I don’t remember Thursday. Friday, train, Paris. Saturday, train, London. Sunday, train, Brighton. Repeat/mix/repeat/train train train. Small orange tickets everywhere. Map print-outs to places I’ve never been before, will never go to again. Long-distance job, long-distance relationship too, home is only the place where my bed happens to be. Glamorous? No, exhausting, hollowing. Yellow light on grey skin, slumped in a frayed, greasy fabric seat. No, I don’t want drinks or snacks. Yes, here is my ticket, the one I’ve showed you and your machines time and again, again, again. Bored/tired/bored. Too many papers, too many books, too many MP3s. Games. I need games. Games that use my mind, that focus, sharpen and obsess it.

Slay. Slay is perfect. I shall attempt to gather up the pieces of my travel-maddened brain and tell you about it.
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Eurogamer Retrospective: Toonstruck

By John Walker on April 19th, 2010.

Wouldn't work in 3D now, would it?

Eurogamer currently sports my retrospective of Toonstruck, the 1996 point and click adventure starring Christopher Lloyd and some cartoons. I went back to it having forgotten if I even liked it 14 years ago, and was absolutely delighted to discover that it’s fantastic. I say things like:

“In looking back at some of the best (and worst) adventure games of the eighties and nineties, it’s too easy to remain within the archives of LucasArts and Sierra. Perhaps Westwood’s Bladerunner gets quickly remembered, Cecil’s Broken Sword games, and someone will recall Adventure Soft’s Simon The Sorcerer games. But what about The Legend of Kyrania series, also from Westwood? Access’s Tex Murphy games? Microids’ Syberia? And what about Burst Studio’s Toonstruck? Why isn’t everyone talking about it? It’s absolutely bloody brilliant..”

And it continues here. Also, I can’t resist doing a gallery for this one either, so that’s coming up.

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Why X-COM Matters (To You)

By Alec Meer on April 14th, 2010.

Funny thing. Whenever I try to write about X-COM, as in X-COM the game, not X-COM the place in my heart, I stall. It’s too big. I need to do it at the right time (or perhaps for the right paycheque, I suspect). Where to start? Where to end? There have been superb summaries, makings-of and play diaries. It’s a well-documented game, for sure. Yet I’m not sure there’s been that simple one-two punch of why our collective knickers remain so thoroughly entwisted by it. Perhaps the words of one are not enough. Let’s try the words of many.
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Why X-COM Matters (To Me)

By Alec Meer on April 14th, 2010.

Oof, tough day. I totally get why people are upset, but once again it’s worth waiting for a few more details before you decide the new XCOM is the end of all that is sacred. Maybe it will be, maybe it won’t, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little honest hope. Today does, however, spell the end of a decade-long dream that someone would throw really serious money at resurrecting the fantastic hybrid genre 1994’s X-COM created. There is a great sadness there – so many ideas left to die, never bettered in the long gap between then and now. So let’s be hopeful, cautiously or otherwise, about XCOM, but let’s also raise a glass to X-COM. We owe it so much, and we may never see its like again. Sniff.

This is the first of two posts exploring why I (and many others) unwaveringly believe X-COM is one of the most important and greatest games ever made. We’ll talk about the game itself in the second one, but first please allow me to indulge myself with this autobiographical prelude. This is why X-COM matters to me.
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