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STACKER: Nuclear Scavenger

Tom Armitage of Infovore has been blogging about the TIGSource Forums Bootleg Demake compo. I've been keeping one eye on them, but only with his urging have I taken any out for a spin. I suspect they'll be further posts on this, but let's start with S.T.A.C.K.E.R.: NUCLEAR SCAVENGER. And after the disappointment of Clear Sky, it's put a big ol' smile on my face. Though it's even more punishing.

You can download it from here, but there's a little more explanation beneath the cut.

Okay - quoting the feature list, as it amuses me:

* Loot, drink, smoke and fight your way through three levels of irradiated hell
* Overcome dogs, soldiers, swamps, and fanatics with rocket launchers
* Discover the perverted secrets of Soviet science
* Struggle with outdated 80s equipment
* Have your wishes granted in the mysterious heart of the Zone

How does it work? It basically looks at the two icons of Soviet-bloc game design - Stalker and Tetris - and looks for the common terrain. And that, in what's a genuinely inspired insight, the inventory management - so what we have is a tetris game where you have to organise various inventory items as they come at you, while keeping your radition exposure as low and your health as high as possible. It's kind of a lo-fi brother of Puzzle Quest in that it's a quiet joy to see how all these mechanics of a more traditional shooter are worked into Tetris. Like the expected queue of items arriving being rudely interrupted by random dog attacks, which hurt your health bar as well as throwing an unexpected item your way.

I've only played it a few times, and I suspect it's a little over-random of whether you make it or not, which i) is kinda forgivable, as it's pretty funny and terribly well executed and ii) makes it a lot like Clear Sky.

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