The RPS Bargain Bucket: Two Fiddy

Four out of five of this week’s best value PC downloads are in the two pound fifty price range. This is significant because one serving of alcohol in a public house normally costs around that, so purchases of this amount are firmly lodged in the “Impulse buy” node of the human brain. As always, you can find more of this sort of thing over at SavyGamer, where I keep watch over the best deals on all platforms throughout the week. Here’s this weekends best download deals.

Strategy First Adventure Pack – £3.89/€4.43/$5.94
Apply coupon “SFIADVENTURE”.
Jack Keane
Ankh 2: Hearts of Osiris
Ankh 3: Battle Of The Gods
The Abbey

The first adventure you’ll be wanting to set out on is “The Quest to back up my installers”, as Strategy First only offer time limited downloads (I think it’s a month. Confirm/Deny?), so after that you’ll be on your own. I would have guessed that bandwidth costs to let people have access to their downloads forever would be less than the loss of revenue from people not being interested in temporary downloads, but what do I know. John gave Jack Keane a bit of a kicking over at Eurogamer back at release, perhaps the other games in this bundle make up for it.

Arcanum of Steamworks & Magick Obscura – £2.59/€2.97/$4.19
Confusingly, does not register on Steam. I’ve not played this, but on paper it sounds like it’s probably a brilliant RPG. It was Troika’s first game, and Wikipedia even tells me it was “criticized for being unpolished and having a bad combat engine” like all the best RPGs are. Alec posted about a mod to add support for modern resolutions, but the link has since gone dead. Anyone know where it can be found now? Google seems to only bring me the same broken link. I reckon I’m going to grab this and educate myself a bit.

Pathologic – £2.39/€2.99/$2.99
This is a Very Important Game. So said Quinns. Here’s his reasoning:

Interesting elements of Pathologic included its magical realist plot, its morally ambiguous tone that saw you making all sorts of horrible decisions, how it made you as a player start thinking similarly to the healer you chose, its moments of horror and its uniquely cruel and unrelenting atmosphere. Playing Pathologic felt like having a noose slowly tighten around your neck, both mechanically and narratively, and that more gamers didn’t get the most out of it at release is to be lamented. All together now: What a shame.

What a shame indeed. I’ve never seen this for less than a fiver before, and it doesn’t get discounted at all very often, so this is a bit of a turn up for the books.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl£2.49/€2.86/$4.98
Have you played Stalker yet? You should probably play Stalker. This is another Very Important Game, and Jim tells us why:

It would please me to be able to say that Stalker was more important than it actually is, but it sadly remains one of those games that is out in an isolated intellectual region, unencroached by the large trade of ideas from other games. Plenty of games from the West have influenced Stalker, but I’ve yet to see any Western studios mimicking GSC’s achievements. Is that because Stalker is bad or unimportant? No, it’s because most game studios are basically boring, or hideously constrained. The lack of constraint that GSC were under for Call Of Pripyat shows (thankfully) that the brilliance of the original game wasn’t all down to THQ’s money and expert producers.

The Complete 2009 mod is essential.

Deal of the week
Machinarium – £2.49/€3.74/$3.74
The game about the loveliest robot, with the loveliest music and loveliest pretty pictures. If you don’t at least consider picking up this charming point and clicker at this bargain price, you’re either a fool or someone who’s already got it. I got stuck a few times, and although the in game hint system is gorgeous, it’s not all that practical. I’d say hop over to gamefaqs if you get stuck, as most of the enjoyment to be had in Machinarium is in the taking in the pretty, not in the being smart. See wot John thought of it here.

Also of note:
Blue Toad Murder Files – £2.49/€3.24/$3.74
The Witcher – £3.08/€3.53/$4.99
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones – £1.99 (UK only).
The Oddboxx – £6.49/€7.49/$7.49 (Actually working now).
Tesla: The Weather Man – £2.09/€2.40/$3.33
Various combinations of Serious Sams for cheap is your essential guide to gaming on the cheap.


  1. Benjamin L. says:

    There’s the widescreen patch, but more importantly there’s the major fan patch that’s been a must-have for several years now.
    Handy-dandy all-in-one Arcanum patcher-upper guide on the GOG forums, also works for retail versions.

  2. Spider Jerusalem says:

    I want to play SOC but STALKER is scary and I’m a bit of a pansy.


    • Joshua says:

      It’s not that scary, honestly. There are some scary bits in it, sure, but there’s also a lot of athmospheric stuff, and warmth.

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      I think you’re underestimating how much of a wuss I am.

      The original STALKER was great, but those dogs.


    • GenBanks says:

      Haha I’m like you. I tried Stalker a bit with a friend but soon after the game told me ‘go into that terrifying dark passageway where you will be ambushed by obscene mutant things’ I panicked and stopped playing. I keep getting the urge to make a proper attempt at it though.

    • A-Scale says:

      I am also a girlygameman, but I beat stalker without problems. Definitely play it.

    • Vandelay says:

      I never particular thought of STALKER as scary, until everyone said it was. I suppose it kept you on edge, but it wasn’t scary in an Amnesia, The Cradle, Penumbra or even the opening levels of Bioshock kind of way.

      Personally, I found the strange hooded mutants and the pitch black nights of Call of Pripyat much more unsettling than anything in the original.

    • amorpheous says:

      It is a bit of a jumpy, stay-on-the-edge-of-your-seat type game, but I did enjoy it up until I applied the first patch which wiped out previous saved games… then I never played it again…

    • -Spooky- says:

      Buy it! The best piece of atmospheric gameplay ever, in vanilla. With Complete 2009 .. you will never leaving the zone.

  3. vanarbulax says:

    Pathologic? Sold!

  4. TRS-80 says:

    SpaceChem is still on sale for another 41 hours. I’ve already sold 3 people on it today.

    • iLag says:

      important service announcement for people who are used to pay in €: go buy SpaceChem directly from the developers! you’ll get a Steam key and save some money (it’s $7.50 instead of 7,49€). link to Having said that, I still don’t “get” the game. And I’m almost feeling bad about it.

      EDIT: oops, TRS-80 was already linking to the Zachtronics page. sorry!

    • Heliocentric says:

      spacechem is a game which fits closely with what my tween mind thought nano bits would do while learning about molecular bonds and fusion in chemistry.

      Essentially, its the game I always wanted chemistry to be.

      Like all programming the fun is in creating elegant loops.

    • somini says:

      Damn, I should have bought in their store. I thought that was only discounted on Steam… Well, I played the demo when it came out and I didn’t see anything special, but after the demo missions oh boy. Truly a great game.

    • MD says:

      Where does the demo end? (Just curious — I bought the full version before completing the demo.)

      P.S. Everyone should buy at least one of Machinarium or SpaceChem. Preferably both.

    • Danny252 says:

      @MD: End of the second planet, if I remember rightly (which I may not…)

  5. Pobblepop says:

    Ah Pathologic is so cheap and I’m tempted, but will I find it too depressing and the Witcher 2 is out in a couple of days :(

    • malkav11 says:

      Get it now – it is unlikely to ever be substantially cheaper. And then maybe wait for a proper translation before playing it (or don’t – the broken English adds a certain surreality to the tone of the game).

    • Drew says:

      Agreed, malkav. You just have to be OK with (MINOR SPOILER) seeing a woman being burned at the stake and the townsfolk celebrating, and having no blessed idea why. (END OF MINOR SPOILER).

  6. RickyButler says:

    While looking at Pathologic, terribly tempted to finally make a GG account, I saw that it’s also on sale on Amazon’s digital game download service.

    I have no idea how good or bad their digital service is for gaming, but…hey!

    • Wedge says:

      I bought a game off the Amazon service once. It did require you to install a very small download manager, but once that was done it didn’t care if I uninstalled it or whatever.

  7. Akaros says:

    Arcanum had a great setting, interesting crafting and equipment system, and lots of sidequest fun. Unfortunately, that made it all the more frustrating when you ran into polish issues, unbalanced abilities (magic owned everything, technology had to do a crap-load of running around finding recipes and materials to be viable), bugs (usually fixed by Drog’s unofficial patch though), stupid stupid design choices, and a sidequest that remains in my book as having the biggest-slap-in-the-face-ending after a major buildup. Also, I just couldn’t get into the story, and very few of your NPC companions have any character or story after their hiring.

    It’s a shame really, but the Troika way was always aim high and fall on pointy things somewhere in between.

    • choconutjoe says:

      Yeah. Arcanum is another one of those ‘flawed masterpieces’, of which there seem to be a lot when it comes to RPGs.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Flawed masterpiece or not, you can make love to a sheep, and that had to be said at some point.

    • Paul B says:

      And in the game too!

  8. MuscleHorse says:

    It’s also worth pointing out that the excellent tower defence game Revenge of the Titans is available for £6 link to
    The issues with it’s economy/progression, pointed out in (I THINK) your last article on it, have been pretty much singled out and removed now, making it a truly fun and not-so frustrating game. It registers on Steam too – though I’m not sure if you have to ask the devs for the key or whether Gamer’s Gate give it you straight away.

    • iLag says:

      pretty sure the GG version does not register on Steam, since GamersGate use their own key format on most games. so unless a game bought there explicitly states that it can be registered on Steam (aka “3rd party download service”), it does not.

    • MuscleHorse says:

      Not sure how it works exactly, but the dev said during the Steam launch on his blog that if you e-mail him he’ll get you a Steam activation key. Not sure if that was if you’d bought directly from him though.

    • princec says:

      You can get a Steam key for your Gamersgate version just by going here: link to

      Gamersgate use our registration system. They’re a pleasure to work with :)

  9. ordteapot says:

    Not played it myself, but the recent You Don’t Know Jack is $9.99 (half off), at least in Americaland. The Wot-‘E-Thinks complained about random culling of features from the PC version and no distribution east of the Atlantic — no idea if those have been resolved.

    • Delusibeta says:

      They haven’t released it in the UK, and I haven’t heard of any patches for the PC version.

    • mwoody says:

      The two big reasons not to get YDKJ on PC – and they are indeed BIG reasons – are that it only supports two players, and that it has no online play. Which are totally baffling omissions that pretty much ruin it for those of us who don’t live close enough to friends/family who might be interested in a game. You can play single player, but it’s… well, it’s a trivia game. You can see how single player would be boring.

      They made their poor design decisions even worse when they claimed they limited the PC version to two players because PC gamers were too fat to fit more than two around a keyboard. It could have been funny in the right context, but speaking to an audience of angry gamers who had just discovered they’d purchased a feature-locked version was NOT the right context.

      Also, supposedly the PC version will not get any DLC. I hate DLC as a rule, but an episodic trivia game that wants to stay up to date on pop culture might be the one place I’d stomach it. I don’t know if the console versions have any out yet, as their website is thoroughly unhelpful.

      All things considered, just forget this game exists on PC. Get it on a console and play it sitting on a couch with 1-3 friends (in the room or remotely) or not at all.

  10. Kdansky says:

    Missing: SpaceChem is 50% off, both from Steam and from the creators website, where it is another 30% cheaper due to correct currency translation and not 1$ = 1€ bullshit. And that version also registers on Steam, if wanted.

    • Carra says:

      Oh yes, I did buy Spacechem for cheap. Seems like a must buy game according to the laws of RPS.

  11. MuscleHorse says:

    Just noticed that the Krondor games are on sale on GoG. I’ve seen them mentioned numerous times, do they hold up?

    • choconutjoe says:

      I’m playing through Betrayal at Krondor at the moment. I have to say it’s pretty good fun. Provided you can live with 1993 graphics, it’s easily worth the asking price on GOG.

    • Wizardry says:

      Betrayal at Krondor is a very good game. Definitely recommended. Good turn-based combat, fun exploration, some nice puzzles and well written characters and story. Usually CRPGs excel in just one or two areas but Betrayal at Krondor does well in pretty much all of them. Betrayal in Antara isn’t as good a game but as an extra/bonus it’s fine.

      Arcanum and Betrayal at Krondor are definitely the things to get from GOG this weekend. Return to Krondor and Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption are pretty bad games and definitely not recommended.

    • Berzee says:

      To say nothing of Betrayal in Antara
      *shudder* (though I never played Return, which was prolly worse)

      Krondor, though, is amazing and should be played by anyone =) though it has some slow parts, and…bizarrely…**MINOR SPOILERSSSSSSS FROM MANY YEARS OLD****

      XenAHAHAHsyndromeO_Ojust a little bit


    • Alaric says:

      Betrayal at Krondor is one of the best five RPGs ever made. Possibly the best. Not having played it is like not having watched Citizen Kane. You MUST buy it and play it.

      Arcanum, on the other hand is crap.

      Return to Krondor is meh. It starts off OK, but then you can almost tell the moment where they hit the funding wall (or were told to finish “RIGHT NOW!” to make the release date.)

  12. terry says:

    I don’t know what scares me more, Pathologic, Stalker or SpaceChem.

  13. Heliocentric says:

    How about a game with stalkers environment, space chems complexity and pathologics time pressure… You’d better get those hydrocarbons made, a blow out is coming and if you run for cover without making those hydrocarbons for food you’ll starve.

    Also the leader of duty is suffering late symptoms of the plague and if he dies freedom will overrun the reactors and they’ll get broken in the conflict.

  14. GenBanks says:

    Would I be better off installing STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl with the 2009 mod pack, or STALKER Clear Sky? Is there an equivalent mod pack for Clear Sky?

    • GenBanks says:

      Oh and by Clear Sky I think I meant Call of Pripyat, the most recent one.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I would play Chernobyl first, and then if you like that get Pripyat later.

    • Conor says:

      There is an equivalent mod for Call of Pripyat, yes, by the same bloke. Ive not tried it, but the system requirements were pretty high the last time I checked.
      Shadow of Chernobyl and Call of Pripyat are pretty different too. Call of Pripyat feels more polished and gamelike, but it loses SoC’s unique atmosphere and feel. I would recommend you try both!

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Yes, Shadow of Chernobyl is much, much better imo. More atmosphere, does need some polishing but still.

    • GenBanks says:

      Cool, thank you, I’ll go for Shadow of Chernobyl with the 2009 mod then!

  15. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Ah.. picked up the Witcher. I was planning to get it anyway (but you know.. backlog and many games vying for interest), but this time I couldn’t pass it up. Thanks, Lewie.

  16. Xercies says:

    Gamersgate seems to have broken down, just a little bit after i tried to pay for it, it says my moneys been taken out, hopefully i have the game as well.

  17. RegisteredUser says:

    Get Stalker: SoC NOW!

    It’s one of the last actual / good FPS/open worldish PC games made. PC game. An ACTUAL PC game.
    How many of those are left? Not many. Stop the console rot! Buy PC now!

  18. Carra says:

    Limited download times meh. I can only download so many gb a month. Thus I want to be able to download my games when I want to play them. Not spend half of my monthly limit downloading games I’ll only be playing in a year.

  19. iLag says:

    more interesting free stuff: Irukandji 2 preview @Charlie’s Games link to – definitely worth checking out!

  20. Coins says:

    link to
    Hearts of Iron 3 and most of it’s dlc/expansion/whatever on sale, at least for me.

  21. dawnmane says:

    Arcanum is delicious. It’s is and forever will be on my top 5 PC games of all time. It’s right up there with Fallout and Baldur’s Gate. I can’t wait for someone, somewhere to do a remake of it.

  22. pirusu says:

    I almost want to buy Machinarium AGAIN, because it’s so wonderful.

    I was playing one day at a particularly slow day at work, and my co-worker, who is probably a good twenty years older than me, saw me and asked what it was. He was so intrigued, he ended up buying it himself, and would play at his niece’s house, where she would “help.”

    He isn’t a gamer by any means, and it was really nice to see such a lovely game reach out and prick the interest of someone who may not have necessarily been otherwise exposed.

    Seriously, go play Machinarium right now.

  23. MuscleHorse says:

    Plumbed ahead and got Pathologic. Sounds exactly my sort of bag. A bag full of rusty needles and glass.

    edit: FURTHERMORE; are there any enhancement mods etc that I should know about?

  24. Teddy Leach says:

    There’s supposed to be a fan translation for Pathologic that turns the text into English rather than Purple Prose’s mutant, foreign cousin. I’m not sure how it’s coming along though.

  25. Joey75 says:

    The first adventure you’ll be wanting to set out on is “The Quest to back up my installers”, as Strategy First only offer time limited downloads (I think it’s a month. Confirm/Deny?)

    Back when they had this super sale of 20+ games I could only download a couple of days (max 1 week).
    I hadn’t even grabbed everything when they link expired so get it ASAP (luckily I had the few games still missing already on Steam etc. but would have been nice to get them DRM free ah well).

  26. sinister agent says:

    I feel sad every time I see Stalker recommended here. It marked the first time the Hive Mind ever let me down, because it’s an utterly terrible, broken, useless game, even with mods. I appreciate what it tried to do, but it’s still a hopeless mess.

    • bill says:

      I’m not sure it is – but it might be a very hard game to get into.
      I played it with basically no mods (other than performace ones for my poor lappy) and for the first few hours I hated it and I didn’t know what anyone saw in it.
      Then it rather grew on me.

      There’s a point about in the middle where everything is great – but then the ending loses it a little.

      I don’t think it’s as good as some people here make out, but after a while I did see what those people saw in it.

    • sinister agent says:

      I’ve given it every chance. Several more than it deserved.

      I actually liked it in the beginning, but its flaws became more numerous and glaring with every passing hour.

      Not even the mods managed to remove the constant respawning, and having exactly the same fight in exactly the same spot 200 times along would have been quite enough to consign it to an electronic bin for eternity.

    • A-Scale says:

      Really? I think it’s remarkable and superb. Nothing makes me feel quite the way anomaly hunting does.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Have you tried turning the difficulty down? (I’m not trying to offend; it seriously sounds like the difficulty is set too high for you.)

    • sinister agent says:

      I dunno where you got that impression. Either way, it’s not the difficulty. It’s the tedium. Oh hey, the guys I just killed are back again. For the sixth time in the last two hours. And the mission I’ve completed three times has reset itself again. Sigh.

      It bothers me because it’s potentially a really fun game, but it’s completely crippled itself with horrible design decisions and bugs (that even the big mods haven’t fixed), even if you do use a mod to correct the Most Useless Guns In Any Game Ever.

    • malkav11 says:

      Have you tried it with Stalker Complete? Because if you have, I have to conclude you’re playing some sort of Mirror Universe Stalker made by evil people that hate you specifically, as your description sounds nothing like the game I played. On the other hand, if you haven’t, you should.

    • Avish says:

      Didn’t hate the game but also find it it to be exhausting in places.
      It’s pretty, the world is interesting and creepy in a good way, but all the walking, re-spawning enemies and unrewarding side-quests can make this nice game very tedious.

  27. Krimson says:

    Why is it confusing that Arcanum doesn’t register on Steam? You can’t buy Arcanum on Steam, so it makes sense that you wouldn’t be able to register a copy from a different distributor. Regardless, I’m really looking forward to picking up both Arcanum and Pathologic. I’ve been waiting for those games to go on sale for ages.


    • Fumarole says:

      Of GOGworks and Magick Obscura.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      Because it’s called “Of Steamworks and” and so on.

      It is a Joke. They do those here.

    • Krimson says:

      …Right. Thanks.

      In my defence, it was somewhat confusingly worded.

  28. dethtoll says:

    Arcanum is a perfect example of what’s wrong with late 90s/early 00s cRPGs. In the first five minutes, I lost the clothing I was wearing while kicking a wolf to death. I had to kick it to death because the railroad spike I found broke. I had to use a railroad spike because the gun I bought wasn’t working.

    At least the music is nice.

    • pandora says:

      …and I bet you either didn’t know how to use the gun or didn’t buy/ran out of bullets, right? Well, let’s just assume “old-school” wRPG, today’s cRPGs and JRPGs are different game types. Also, shit happens. Sometimes you die by critical missing, such is a life.

  29. RogB says:

    I blundered through 20 minutes of Crusader Kings before quitting in bewilderment, and then attempted to sit through 50 minutes of youtube ‘tutorials’ to make up for the lack of ingame help.

    Is hearts of Iron 3 any different since i’m guessing its the same kind of thing*

    *may not be true

    • RogB says:

      poop. that was supposed to be a reply @coins, above. Since its the only mention of HOI3 on the page.

    • Torgen says:

      I’ve found just reading the CK forums at Paradox the best way to figure out what’s going on in the game. Also, the AARs can be magnificent, and provide the impetus for learning the ins and outs of the game.

  30. daf says:

    I ain’t giving you two fiddy you god damn lockness monster! Now get out of here, ya hear…

  31. thebigJ_A says:

    Just finally got Pathologic. I’ve been meaning to ever since the write-up here a year or two ago.

    I realize the fan translation was never finished :'( but is there any way to get subtitles? I can’t follow at all what’s being said during the opening scene with the three people on stage, and I don’t want to go any farther until I do.

    • Vandelay says:

      That bit reminded me of the rabbit headed people in Lynch’s Inland Empire (or Rabbits!) Didn’t understand either of them, but I’m not sure you are really meant to.

      I’ve not played too much of Pathologic yet, but from what I have seen the dialogue is mostly given in text.

  32. jamesgecko says:

    I really wanted to love Arcanum. It’s steampunk. There’s cultural tension between technology and magic. It’s an open-world, open-ended thing with lots of freedom i how you approach things.

    It just seemed so darned determined to hate me in return. The first character I made was awful and incapable of talking his way out of or surviving any battle whatsoever, because I had no idea what was good when I built him. I chose a pre-made character the next time. I mean, it’s one of the default characters. She has to be decent, right?

    Wrong! I died all over the place anyway. Very disappointing.