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Archive for the ‘retro’ tag

Games I Own: Requiem: Avenging Angel

Posted on 13th Feb 2011 at 10:02 by Joe Martin with 13 comments

Joe Martin
Requiem: Avenging Angel is a classic example of a game that should be very well known, but isn’t. In fact, it’s more likely that you've never heard of it, which is odd considering that it was the first ever game to feature bullet time, while having similar gameplay to Jedi Knight. That sounds like a winning formula, right?

Requiem has more going for it than just a single feature and a passing similarity, though. It was also one of the first modern games to tread in Half-Life’s shoes; trapping players in a first person perspective and allowing players to travel back and forth through some levels.

Unfortunately, Requiem had a whole heap of problems, which outweighed these strengths and stopped it from collecting acclaim of either the critical or commercial variety. Firstly, the levels were incredibly boring to fight through and, while Requiem opens strongly with a few gory levels in hellish Limbo, it eventually descends into a blocky romp through generic sci-fi locations. The obligatory sewer section doesn’t help either.

Requiem’s biggest problem, however, is simply the subject matter; Catholicism.

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Most Broken Game: A Travel Guide

Posted on 12th Sep 2010 at 00:59 by Phil Hartup with 10 comments

Phil Hartup
Here at the Realia Tourist Board we’d like to wish you a safe and pleasant stay in our little country. Please drive carefully and use pain medication responsibly, because it’s highly addictive.

There are two main towns in Realia, each with distinct character and places to visit.

Puerto Sombra, is the only town in the country fully controlled by the government and is sprawling colonial town offering plenty to see and do for those new to Realia. The main church is here, as is the only police station our great nation has, not to mention the offices of the national newspaper.

Puerto Sombra is also home to El Jaguar Negro, a small pub which, like all good bars, offers connections to large scale criminal organisations as standard, as well as hapless victims of assorted crimes looking for help. The Police Station on the other hand offers neither of these. In the event that you become a victim of crime yourself please be advised that wasting police time with such matters is likely to get you laughed at and you really should have picked up more guns at the Duty Free.

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Most Broken Game: The First Hour

Posted on 6th Sep 2010 at 09:11 by Phil Hartup with 20 comments

Phil Hartup
Survival in open world adventure games like Boiling Point can be a tricky and even somewhat distasteful business. I remember being put off by having to acquire my first suit of basic armour off a still-warm corpse in Oblivion, for example. Some might argue that walking a mile in another man’s shoes is a way to empathy and understanding, but I’d wager they didn’t envisage killing the owner of said shoes and stealing all his belongings as a prefix to that meaningful walk.

In Boiling Point you don’t need to steal clothes, but you still end up doing your fair share of scavenging. New players start facing the world of Realia with just a basic pistol and a knife – and to give you an idea of how useless those weapons are I’ll explain that your pistol only carries five bullets. It may look like an awesomely powerful Desert Eagle, but you’ll find you need to reload at least once even if you’re shooting at an unarmed Old Granny.

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Games I Own: Duke Nukem 3D

Posted on 26th Aug 2010 at 12:38 by Joe Martin with 12 comments

Joe Martin
I’ve played the life out of Duke Nukem 3D over the years, trying most of the different editions and even somehow managing to tolerate the terrible controls of the iPhone version. It helped to shape my taste in games, though more for the impressive amount of detail and interactivity that was built into the levels than for the reasons you’d think would appeal to a teenage boy…

Really though, when I look back on Duke Nukem 3D I don’t think of the game itself – instead, I remember the shareware demo, which came on a disc I got with a games magazine as a young lad. That disc was one of my most treasured possessions at the time, as it contained demos for a whole bunch of games, not least of which were Duke and Quake. Much fun was had.

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Games I Own: Carnivores

Posted on 21st May 2010 at 12:03 by Joe Martin with 8 comments

Joe Martin
Nearly all the games I own are story-focused titles with a strong singleplayer campaign, because that’s very much the type of game that I prefer. There are a few exceptions though and Carnivores is probably the oddest one because it’s a genre I otherwise have almost no interest in; it’s a hunting game.

It’s a fictional one admittedly – you’re hunting dinosaurs using modern weaponry – but it’s still a hunting game. You have to do stuff like gauge the wind, aim only for vital organs and cover your scent. Plus, you only get one weapon and about six shots.

Or, you would if you played Carnivores in the way it was supposed to be played, which I never did.

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Bit-Tech Reader Releases JRPG

Posted on 10th May 2010 at 14:47 by Joe Martin with 26 comments

Joe Martin
A long-time member of the bit-tech forums, KayinBlack, sent me a message the other day with a very special announcement in it that I thought I’d share with you. He’s released a game.

Well, kind of. The game is still in the midst of development and Kayin is hard at work on the later stages, but he’s finally got to a stage where he’s confident enough to release a playable, fully featured demo of his creation – a SNES-style JRPG called Fatal Optimisation.

Fatal Optimisation’s story is, as you’d expect of a Japanese RPG, a long and complicated one which isn’t easily summed up in a few lines in a blog post – all of which makes it a good thing that Kayin has been developing the story over on the game's official site. He’s plotted it out in great detail, posting snippets and chapters on his blog in a way which will give you a glimpse into what’s still to come.

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Games I Own: Postal 2

Posted on 8th May 2010 at 12:59 by Joe Martin with 30 comments

Joe Martin
In many ways Postal 2 is the game I’m most ashamed to own. It’s crass, deliberately offensive and gross, it’s shallow and dull and it’s sold mainly on the basis that these things appeal to immature gamers. At the same time though, Postal 2 is a game I’ve frequently found myself defending and, despite my shame and embarrassment, I’ve never been able to throw it away.

The important thing to stress about Postal 2 is that I’m not kidding around when I say that it’s deliberately offensive. This isn’t a case of just a handful of swears or politically incorrect terms – it even goes far beyond the likes of 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. It’s filled with gore, racial stereotypes and features which push the boundaries. You have anthrax-filled cow heads for weapons, use live kittens as silencers and can taser people until they wet themselves – and those are tame examples.

What really pushes Postal 2 beyond the realms of good taste though is the way it encourages you to use the violence against passers by. Set in a small Arizona town over the course of a week, your objectives each day are banal things like “Get milk” and “Go to work”. You don’t need to get violent, but the fact that everyone in the town is a foul-mouthed, gun-toting, identi-kit bot means there’s little to stop you – and at least once a day you’ll be forced to defend yourself. It’s not long before you start shooting the place up just to relieve the boredom.

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Free Games I Like: The Wastes

Posted on 6th May 2010 at 15:28 by Joe Martin with 8 comments

Joe Martin
The Wastes is a mod for the original Half-Life that struggled for a long time to stand out amongst the hundreds of other HL mods, but which never really managed to gather the sizable audience that multiplayer mods really need. Half-Life’s mod scene was just so big that The Wastes got lost in the shuffle.

That's not surprising because when it comes to the concept there isn’t really much that makes The Wastes stand out. It was a straight up deathmatch game with a post-apocalypse setting that mixed scavenged firearms with home-made weapons. Spears and sniper rifles, basically. What I really liked about it though was simply that the level design and balance made it great for playing in small groups, which is exactly how I chose to play it - 1v1.

The Wastes became a tradition for me in the weeks when I was home from university and every night I’d start it up and play a few quick LAN games with members of my family. We had two ailing, ancient PCs back then, plus my own slightly better machine, so when I made the out-of-the-blue suggestion of playing deathmatch with my non-gaming family then Half-Life was an obvious choice. It didn’t require much in terms of hardware, but the basics of the game were easy to pick up – and the mod community meant I had a way to customise it. I chose The Wastes at random, accidentally falling upon a game that would keep me entertained on and off for about three years.

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Everything I Know About Games I Learned From Timecop

Posted on 26th Mar 2010 at 11:27 by Joe Martin with 10 comments

Joe Martin
Did you ever watch a trailer or advert that really stuck with you for an awful long time? Possibly even longer than the actual thing it was advertising? If yes, then you'll understand what lead me to buy a copy of Dreams to Reality. It's an experience I've had a few times in my life, when trailers have used a particular blend of music and emotion to lodge themselves in my brain like an icepick and I've been unable to get them out.

The advert for Beyond Good & Evil is one of the best examples, if only because it happily turned out that the game was equal to the effect of the advert. The Jean Claude Van Damme film Timecop is a less good example because it actually turned out to be rubbish, but the trailer left a strong enough impression that I was still desperate enough to watch it a few years later when I didn't have to try and bluff my way into an 18 cert film. Maybe I was just an impressionable youth, but that film looked badass back when I was nine years old.

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Games I Own: Freedom Force

Posted on 2nd Feb 2010 at 10:54 by Joe Martin with 4 comments

Joe Martin
I only bought the Freedom Force games – both the original and the sequel Freedom Force vs The Third Reich – fairly recently, though I annoyingly timed it just before the recent Steam £2 deal. It was a series I’d often heard lauded as a great tactical RPG to play if you like comics, but I’d never really gotten around to trying it until a few weeks ago.

I don’t totally regret the decision to buy the game, but the fact that I have to mention this up front probably hints clearly at how unsatisfied I am with the game.

What Freedom Force is, is an incredibly tongue-in-cheek game inspired mainly by 1930s comics, as oppose to the modern Marvel and DC conglomerates. It focuses on a series of characters who get exposed to an alien weapon called Energy X which accidentally rains down on the planet as part of an overly convoluted alien plan to take over Earth. The exposed humans subsequently manifest super powers, dividing fairly equally into heroes and villains. The heroes, championed by the ultra-American hero Minuteman, form into Freedom Force and go around fighting evil.

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