Thursday, 27 February 2014

Bulletstorm (PC)

Today on Super Adventures in Games Beginning with 'B', I'm taking a quick look at Bulletstorm made by Painkiller developer Epic Games Poland back when they were still called People Can Fly.

The game is part of the small but growing 'post-apocalyptic sci-fi craphole first person shooter' genre, along with games like Fallout 3/New Vegas and Rage, so it's in good company at least. It came out for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows, but I'll be playing the PC version, as it is superior for two very important reasons: I own a copy and it's easier to take screenshots of it.

First though I'm going to link to the theme music as it's surprisingly epic: youtube link. Stick that on while you read to make the next few paragraphs seem even more intense.

(Clicking pictures will likely show you a clear higher res version.)

Monday, 24 February 2014

Blade Runner (PC)

Blade Runner pc title screenBlade Runner pc title screen
I'm through with 'A' games now, so this week I'm moving up to games beginning with the letter 'B', starting with another game request: Westwood's 1997 adventure game Blade Runner.

Amazingly it took 15 years for a proper Blade Runner game to get made, though developers like Hideo Kojima had been... paying homage to it the best they could in the meantime. Well okay there is another game called Blade Runner released in 1985 for 8-bit computers, but it's actually based on the soundtrack to the movie. Seriously, it's stated to be a "video game interpretation of the film score".

I'm not sure if it's a coincidence that Westwood's game came out a few months after the Director's Cut DVD of the movie, but it certainly seems like good timing. Sadly I'm not going to be able to compare the game to the film, as I've somehow neglected to ever watch it. There's two theatrical cuts, a TV cut, a workprint cut, a Director's Cut and a Final Cut, and I haven't seen any of them. I know it stars a detective called Rick Deckard who definitely is/isn't a robot and I know where the Millennium Falcon is hidden amongst the skyscrapers, but other than that...

Actually you know what, I'm not going to half-ass this for once; I'm going to use this article as an excuse to finally watch the film for the very first time before I play the game, right now! Such is my commitment to excellence and my dedication to providing insightful commentary... or maybe I'm just trying to put off having to write about the game for a bit longer. Either way this article may now also include MOVIE SPOILERS.

(Click the pictures to... see them in exactly the same res as they are now. Sorry, but this one's stuck at 640x480.)

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Alan Wake (PC)

Alan Wake logo
Alright, Alan Wake is the last game beginning with 'A' that I'll be playing this ENTIRE year. I had a few ideas of other games I wanted to check out, plus a couple of requests, but then a friend pointed out that I'd played Max Payne recently and that I should probably play the first game in Remedy's follow up franchise while the memory is still fresh. Better than leaving it sitting in my Steam library for another twelve months anyway.

I'll be playing it on Easy Mode by the way. I usually go with the default or medium difficulty for a game, but for the PC version Easy Mode is the same as the Xbox 360 version's Normal Mode, and I've heard that it's not a game that improves as it gets more challenging.

(Click the images to view them at a slightly less horrifying resolution.)

Monday, 17 February 2014

Arx Fatalis (PC)

Arx Fatalis title screen
I'm still going through titles beginning with A and today I've dug up another game from my epic pile of requests for you: classic PC/Xbox RPG Arx Fatalis.

I know next to nothing about this other than that it came out in 2002 (a couple months after Morrowind) and that it's the first game from Arkane Studios, the creators of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic and Dishonored, but hey that's enough to catch my interest. Well okay to be fair I haven't seen much of those two games either, though they seem like they could be cool, so maybe this will... seem cool too.

Arkane actually had another big project secretly in the works during the mid 00's, called Half-Life 2: Episode 4, but that didn't work out in the end; partially because Valve forgot to release Episode 3. Over six years we've been waiting for the resolution to that cliffhanger now in case you're wondering.

(Click the images to view their giant-sized doppelgängers.)

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Apidya (Amiga)

Amiga Apidya title screenAmiga Apidya title screen
Today's game is 1992's Amiga exclusive Apidya, requested less than a month ago which is way better than I usually manage.

Man, look at that title screen, you can tell with a glance what country this game came from. A glimpse at the Kaiko logo anyway. Kaiko were actually a German company who tried to bring the Japanese console game experience to western computers, even down to including katakana on the logo and anime art on the box cover. Though the fact that アビヂャ actually says 'abidya' would be a bit of a giveaway to anyone who can read the language. They even threw a II on there for the hell of it, even though this is the first and only game in the series.

Speaking of the title, Apidya is based on the word 'Apidae' which is the family that the honey bee belongs to; just in case you were curious.

I've thought about showing off Apidya on the site before as it's got some interesting art, but then I'd remember that I'm terrible at the game and all I'd be able to show was the first half of stage one. But it's been requested now, so I figure that I should probably get it over with.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Antichamber (PC)

Alright, now that Replay Week is finally out of the way I can at last reveal my true master-plan for Super Adventures: Year Four. This year the site has a dumb gimmick you see: I'm going to play games in roughly alphabetical order; 3-4 of them per letter, one letter every fortnight, and this is going to carry on for the next 51 weeks (or until I get bored of the idea).

This tiny change should help me clear out my current backlog as there'll be an average of 96% less games around to distract me, while also giving readers a clue of what to expect for once. If you're hoping I'll play a game starting with K, they'll be showing up in July. If you're dying to see me play, I dunno... Zeno Clash, then that could happen next January!

I realise that chronological order would make more sense for so many reasons, as it'd put the games in context and let me examine how they've evolved over time. But knowing me I'd likely still be talking about the Master System and the NES five months in and this site ain't Chrontendo so I'd doubt I'd get away with it. Maybe next year though!

I'm starting this off with another game from my long list of requests: first person indie puzzle game Antichamber.

I've heard that this is a game about discovering the rules and gameplay for yourself, so that even showing you how it plays would be a spoiler. But I'm going to go and do it anyway, so if you have an interest in playing through the game yourself and and you haven't already, you might not want to read any of this. Not that I'm likely to be able to get very far into it.

I'm not going to show you the title screen though, because the game doesn't have one.

(Clicking these screenshots will unfold them to their original size.)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Light Crusader (Genesis/Mega Drive) - Replay

Super Adventures in Gaming Replay 2014 - Game 6

Light Crusader title screenLight Crusader title screen
And the final game I'm replaying this year is... action RPG-type thing Light Crusader. That logo's looking so Roger Dean that I wouldn't have been shocked if I'd seen 'Psygnosis' written down there instead of 'Treasure'.

In fact this is a pretty atypical art style for Treasure, who at this point were famous for flashy cartoon action games like Dynamite Headdy, Gunstar Heroes and, uh, McDonald's Treasure Land Adventure (hey, it's actually a pretty decent game). Like all Treasure games up to this point it was Sega exclusive, the final game they released on the Mega Drive/Genesis before switching over to the Saturn for 1996's Guardian Heroes. They continued supporting Sega right through to the end of the Dreamcast but they weren't particularly exclusive to anything at all by '97, and gamers everywhere soon received the benefit of their videogame design genius. Well except for PC gamers, but I hear that they'll be fixing that this year.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

King's Bounty (Amiga)

Super Adventures in Gaming Replay 2014 - Game 5

King's Bounty Amiga title screenKing's Bounty Amiga title screen
Long long ago in the year of 2011, I took a look at a game called King's Bounty. It wasn't a long look though; in fact I only made it to four screenshots before I realised that it wasn't my kind of thing and turned it off. I think I just wanted to show off the character select screen really and that was about the limit of my interest.

But since then I've learned that this game is actually a precursor to the long running Heroes of Might and Magic series as well as a new King's Bounty franchise. It even got a PS2 remake called Heroes of Might and Magic: Quest of the Dragon Bone staff. I know even less about HoMM than I do about King's Bounty so it's not like I can compare the games, but it's triggered my curiosity now; I want to know what this actually is.

So I present to you an idiot's guide to playing King's Bounty. Uh, I mean a guide to how an idiot plays King's Bounty. The game came out on PC, Genesis/Mega Drive, C64 and Amiga, and I'll be playing the Amiga game as I've heard that it's the better looking one.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Max Payne (PC)

Super Adventures in Gaming Replay 2014 - Game 4

Today on Super Adventures, Replay Week continues with my second look at Remedy's Max Payne, as seen on PC, Mac, PlayStation 2, Xbox, iOS, Android and, uh, Game Boy Advance. It also got a movie in 2008, which was utter shite (no huge surprise there).

I suppose this one's not actually technically a replay, seeing as first time around I was mostly talking about the GBA version instead, which is a great deal more isometric and a great deal less 3D. It wasn't all that terrible either (genuine huge surprise there!)

Here, have Max's theme tune to listen to while you read: youtube link, it's one of my favourites.

(Click the images to view them at a fascinating 1280x1024 resolution.)

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Fatal Labyrinth (Genesis/Mega Drive) - Replay

Super Adventures in Gaming Replay 2014 - Game 3

With a distant rumbling that sounds more like screechy irritating static, rises the lavender fortress of the Fatal Labyrinth! Again!

Today I'm going to take another look at this classic Sega roguelike on the Genesis/Mega Drive. Though I don't mean I'm literally going to take just one glance at it and then turn it right off like I did last time, I promise.

Despite being a first party Sega title the game doesn't start with my beloved 'say-gah!' jingle, but just this once I can forgive them for not including it as the game is tiny. There's around 128k of content here, eight times less than your typical Genesis/Mega Drive cart. In fact this is even smaller than the average Master System game, though there's a good reason for its diminutive nature and that's because the game was actually a download only title in Japan.

Seriously, you'd connect a 1200 bit/s Meganet Mega Modem to your Mega Drive (only 47 times slower than 56k) and then download the game onto a Sega Game Library cart. Or more likely you wouldn't, as it was never released in the West and nobody bought the device in Japan. Even the home banking keypad add-on couldn't make the poor Meganet into a success! Sega eventually had to admit defeat on this one and redesigned the console in later revisions to remove the EXT modem port entirely. And that's the story of what the EXT port was for.

Semi-Random Game Box