Monday, 15 September 2014

Outcast (PC) - Guest Post

And now, Super Adventures proudly presents another guest post by a bloke called mecha-neko.
Hey Ya!

Outcast PC title screen
I'm playing an early 3D action-adventure game for the PC called Outcast!

I never played this back when it was released in 1999 because it needed a far beefier computer than I could dream of. Outcast was made in the crazy days where 3D acceleration was a scary and new invention, so all the graphics were done on the CPU alone. Hell, 3D games were a scary and new invention at the time, and nobody had any idea how they should work. So Franck Sauer, Yves Grolet and Yann Robert, three truly invincible professionals (and names you may recognise from Agony), decided to show the world exactly how it should be done.

Click the images to view them as lossless PNGs.
Wahh! I just started the game and already it's glaring at me. I'm sorry it took so long for me to get you working, game! I had to fiddle with keyboard shortcuts to get it visible on my two-monitor set up.

It is the near future, and you are Commander Cutter Slade, an ex-Navy SEAL who has dedicated his new life to getting blind bonkers drunk every night. That is, until his world is flipped upside-down by an unexpected call: DIAMOND PRIORITY. A top-secret protocol has been activated, and Slade is being recalled into active service immediately.

(I wonder if he's at all related to the real, not-drunk and actually pretty good at his job, U.S. naval officer Captain Slade Cutter? (wikipedia link))

Unlike poor Snake, they don't go so far as to kidnap the Commander, they just park a helicopter right outside his favourite dive and provide a gun-shaped hint that it's time to move along.

We're briefed en route on the situation. We don't catch most of it because Cutter falls asleep and instead we get to watch a completely incomprehensible dream about ninjas or something.

Anyway, back to business. In this near future, scientific discovery has entered a new golden age, with advances in superstring theory suggesting that travel to parallel worlds may be possible. For the past few years, a top secret research project has attempted to send a probe into another world. Yesterday, they succeeded.

"Where'd you wind up, Belgium?"

I like Cutter's jib.

What's the big ruckus? Well...

For seventy one minutes, the probe worked. There was a video feed being sent through the dimensional barrier and everybody was very happy. And then an alien guy on the other side found the probe and started shooting at it. This turned out to be a Bad Thing.

"Let me get this straight. The probe you shot at the Twilight Zone screwed up and is sucking us in?"
"Yes, and the vortex is growing exponentially, Commander. We estimate twenty-five days before the Earth is no more than a... cosmic memory."

Somehow they've managed to cover it up so far, but it's getting a little difficult.

This voice acting is right on the money as computer games go, and this orchestra sounds very expensive. It's a strange mismatch against the big RENDERED FACES and Thunderbirds-esque lip-syncing. What this video is lacking in bitrate, it makes up for in length. It's a veritable TV movie! I didn't expect as much Earth back-story as this. It's awesome! I was expecting us to appear on the other world without any context at all.

So here's the mission: I have to escort Nice Professor, Grumpy Scientist and Ex-With-A-Grudge to the parallel world so they can repair and retrieve the malfunctioning probe and save the God-damned day. I like it.

Cutter's going alone without any equipment on him, because, um... And he's got to go into this pod thing right now, because, um...

"Just try not to break anything else before I get back, will you?"

Woooooooaaahhhh - POW! Off we go!

Some time later, Cutter slowly awakens.

We have arrived in the parallel dimension... a ski lodge somewhere in Space Canada?

He doesn't have much time to recover before he encounters his first alien. It's a kindly monk-like fellow called Zokrym, who conveniently even speaks English! Somehow! Say hello, everybody!

According to the big ol' manual that I briefly looked through before I got bored, Cutter is a gifted linguist, so I'm thankful we've been spared the excruciating 'Chocolate? Chocolate good. Food. Food good.' exchange that we could have had instead. They speak English because it's a game.

Zokrym is convinced that Cutter is the 'Ulukai', a legendary, messiah-like figure sent from a world unknown to save his race, the Talan. It doesn't take long before the situation gets totally out of control and I die of words.

"Hundreds of moons ago, the prophet Kazar spoke of a higher being, the Ulukai, who would arrive at this time to save Adelpha from destruction at the hands of Far Rhan. To do this, you will need the five Mons, sacred objects that have been hidden around the regions of..."

Cutter's polite, given the circumstances. He says that whatever it is they're asking him to do, it will have to be secondary to finding 'the big metal thing' and shutting it down, otherwise nobody is going to be in any state to save anybody.

There's another snag. The Talan think Cutter's military equipment is a sacred gift sent from the Yods above. While he was kipping in their ski lodge, they kind of ransacked all his stuff. All of it. Now every Talan on the entire planet cradles a box of ammo or a medkit as they sleep, praying for their saviour.

Because Zokrym's got the nicest robe, he got the pick of the best stuff. And because he's not a complete twit, he readily returns Cutter's magic miniaturisation backpack, his HUD visor and a pistol. Other Talan won't give up their sacred talismans so easily I'm warned; I'll have to earn their trust by proving my worth as their Ulukai. Or I could sneak in through their window at night and swipe their stuff when they're asleep like an evil Anti-Santa.

"We will know, Ulukai... All will watch your every move."


Before I go and begin my quest for the missing scientists, the malfunctioning probe, and the Mons, Zokrym has one last gift for me. The blessed gaamsavv crystal. You... might be able to guess what this thing does.

Cheer up, Cutter. You're alive, aren't you? If this was an Eric Chahi game, you'd have been murdered in your sleep.

Dramatic music! What a cool fly-by!


Time to explore the village. Outcast is a third person action-adventure game, but you can also switch it to a useless first person mode if you enjoy Cutter's slow ambling pace.

According to the map, this is the town (or perhaps region, or even dimension) of Ranzaar. It's been cut off from the rest of the Talan civilisation to prevent any invasion force from pursuing the recovering Ulukai. It's a calm place, set in the mountains, with lots of delicious, nutritious snow to eat. I could run back and forth here all day enjoying the thick, crunchy sound of it under my feet. There's quite a few guys shuffling about, picking up a log, dropping a box. It's a fun life being an alien in Space Canada.

Cutter's visor never shuts up. Whenever there's an item you can pick up, it will highlight it with a distracting bright green reticule and read out a description. Ammo, minerals, even the ridiculously specific 'Foreign Vegetation With High Levels of Adrenaline' can be found everywhere.

Ah, Jan, there you are! This is Zokrym's son, a warrior who's all fired up by the revival of the Ulukai as it means that soon I will help his tribe destroy all the nasty other alien guys. Cutter cools him down and says he'll need to get his bearings first.

Jan's decided to test my skill as a warrior by putting me through a series of Talan warrior tutorials trials: the shooting test, the agility test, the swimming test, and the sneaking test. It's annoying, but I'm going to stick with it because I don't know the controls (there's tons of them, all over the keyboard, and few of them are reconfigurable), it's in character, and I'll earn his trust by talking with him. Plus maybe he'll give me some items if I do well.

Before we get started, I've got to have the cyanide on standby as I attempt to engage him in idle conversation about this alien world. Menu after menu of fully-voiced dialogue options fills the screen. So many words...! "What is X?" "X is our word for house." "What is Y?" "Y is our word for person.", with the same two camera transitions slowly zooming on the characters' faces as they speak. Perhaps coloured keywords would have made important concepts stand out a little more amongst the endless drone I'm hearing.

I'm trying to figure out how to tell Jan and his dad apart. I think Jan has a higher mouth and Zokrym has divots on his forehead. One of them likes to sit down cross-legged and block the path through the village while smoking a pipe, but I don't know which.

Enough talking, I'm bored. Onto the shooting test!

Hold the right mouse button to raise the current weapon and press left mouse to destroy the precious, finely-thrown pots that took some exhausted Talan several weeks to make. Make sure to switch to first person or all you'll be seeing is a screen full of Cutter-butt.

With three expertly placed energy bolts, the crockery lies defeated and I am a master of weapons. They're unusually slow projectiles. If Cutter was capable of movement, I'd almost think I could outrun them. Why didn't they give Cutter some ordinary, predictable 'bullet weapons' if this was such a critical mission?

Next is the swimming test!

You know, Cutter isn't just like Jack O'Neill from the Stargate TV series, he is Jack O'Neill. And that is no bad thing.

Even though Cutter's only wearing a tiny orange shirt he's got no problem diving deep down into icy water. There's tons of ammo down here in the river! Did somebody decide one day that all the Ulukai stuff was a bunch of crap and toss all their precious sacred Earth stuff into the sea? Why would they do that?

And where did Jan run off to? He's given me the slip amongst a bunch of identical robed alien guys.

Every alien who isn't a named character forms part of a convenient group consciousness of 'Other Guys' who can each give you identical responses to a whole bunch of non-plot-related questions, if you're into that sort of thing.

The full, live orchestral ambient themes I'm hearing are awesome, but because they're static tracks they rarely match up with what's happening on screen at any given time. They're also short, so I'm hearing the same swells and crescendos repeating (mercifully not as often as in Tron 2.0) and often drowning out critical parts of the dialogue.

Nearly done with the tests now. Third one is a Tomb Raiding test. A test of the player's patience as they try to use the keyboard controls to shuffle Cutter along narrow wooden beams, jumping from one to another across vast drops. I hope they keep this to a minimum because it's not the game's strong point.

My reward for scaling the climbing frame is Cutter's radio transceiver! Sadly, nobody's answering right now.

Final test. The hardest of them all: the sneaking test.

That's the spirit, Cutter.

Right. I need to rush over to that raised bank to the right and hit the deck as soon as I reach it. It's a little difficult to tell which way the guard is facing. These screenshots aren't reduced in any way: the game runs in 640 by 480 resolution with a 512 by 384 game window, for the same reason other software 3D rendered games like Gloom used to.

Somehow, you have to figure out which direction the guard is facing from the single pixel that you can see. On top of that, I think he's actually turning around every second or so. This looks impossible unless I have a tranquilizer weapon that I don't know about.

Bah. He got me. And again. And again.

And then he took pity on me for failing the test so often and gave me the reward anyway. I now have some fancy new binoculars and the ability to project bright green squares over the landscape. This has to help.

Whoa! I'm so close to the fruit now. I need to wait until he stops looking directly at it. Any second now. Any second now. Any second.... now! He's walking away from the fruit... it's mine, all mine!

Hey, come back, I finished the test!

Nope, it doesn't count because I took too long and he got bored. Rack 'em back up, let's try this again.

And now he's just going to LIE and say that I did it right! Noooooo!

Well there you go, I flunked the sneaking FOREVER. He was glitching out and turning every which way and I never stood a chance.

"grrrrrr....rasafrackin sombulato", indeed.

That's the tests done with. Let's explore some more.

The draw distance is pretty low around here, from up on the rooftops you can see the jagged landscape popping in as you move. There's invisible walls around the mountainside village, which is really tiny.

After consulting with the unnamed Talan for some useless non-information, I decide it's time to return to Zokrym to report the almost-good news.

Outcast has a pretty sophisticated presentation for conversations. Characters will try to drop what they're doing if they can, and give Cutter their full attention. They'll take a step or two back to find a place to stand so that the camera can show their face clearly during dialogue.

And occasionally it all messes up and Cutter ends up frenching the aliens.

Zokrym's satisfied that I'm ready for action. On the other side of the 'Daoka' gate lies a place called Shamazaar, a dangerous world under siege from the Bad Aliens. To the far west, I will find Shamaz Zeb, a wise man who can point me in the direction of one of the five Mons the Ulukai must seek, and may also have heard about the probe.

Zokrym's men will activate the gate so that I may finally fulfil the prophecy of the Ulukai.

Totally not a stargate.

Here we go!

Splat! I kind of assumed that there would be a platform or a portal on the other side of this thing. This is going to make it difficult to get back to Zokrym...

Oooh! There's some kind of item hidden under the water here. It's got some unpronounceable military acronym for a name, and the inventory screen isn't giving me any clues. Sort of looks like a spanner, perhaps?

And get a load of these real-time ripples! Wow!

Now what?

I kind of already forgotten what Zokrym said I should be doing here, and there's not much in the way of landmarks in any direction. Time to flip on the scan-o-goggles.

Scan-o-goggles engaged.

There's some activity to the south-east! A red dot on the map... an objective marker? A foe?

Scope on!

It's a bunch of Talan! And they seem to be having a little picnic while guarding a mother lode of items. I love items.

These are either good guys or bad guys. Just because they're soldiers, it doesn't mean that they're the bad guys. They could be the resistance. I have to be smart. Let's put my gun away and sneak up to them.

I had a look through my gadget bag for some inspiration, but came up empty. Without descriptions I couldn't tell what any of it was for, so I picked something out at random that looked like a stun weapon.

It turned out to be a holographic decoy, which automatically began strutting up to the picnickers and causing a hell of a commotion...

... providing the perfect distraction for me to get the drop on the guards and blast them all to bits with my blammy gun!

I'm glad I did a few laps of the icy lake in the tutorial village, because these guys took more than a few shots to kill. Amongst the spoils: some ammo, and some other useless gadgetry that I can't identify. Maybe one of the Talan could give me some pointers on how to use this stuff.

Let's take a moment to enjoy all these fine graphics! The frame rate is unbelievably smooth on this future computer, which really has to be seen to be appreciated. If you've been playing lots of modern games recently and you're sick of being lied to about frame rates, come on home to Outcast and be reminded of how easy on the eyes a game can feel.

All the models, especially Cutter, are very nicely animated. Even if his running animation looks like he's trying to wade through custard. There's not much in the way of landmarks in this new world. No trees. Nothing but a living action figure standing in a world of plasticine scenery.

The landscape is very oddly formed here. Perfectly straight shelves of land, forming a staircase up towards something concealed by fog. There has to be something interesting at the top of it all. Let's go.

Action stations! Orchestral combat music is a go, and I'm ready for some kick-ass action! Sadly, my gun isn't.

It fires quickly, which is useful because you'll need the full magazine to be direct hits to take down a bad guy for good. Anything less and they enter an invulnerable state where they stagger around for ages, clutching their wounds, before suddenly rejoining the fight and hitting you with a sucker punch shot.

The enemies aren't dropping much of use. Whatever weapons they're using, it doesn't look like I can take them yet.

Hi there, chum. What's up?

Shamazaar is in turmoil, I'm told. The good guy Talan are being used as slaves by the forces of the warlord Kroax to harvest 'riss' in these paddies. Only the Ulukai could possibly save us, but we're not going to give up our sacred objects because we are idiots.

I'm getting closer to the enemy base. I can smell it.

The visor can detect enemies but it's never helpful. The buggers keep sneaking up on me and blasting me from off-screen. It's possible that they're cheating and appearing out of the frame as I walk past. It would be nice if there was a radar, or a constant 'DETECTED' message to let me know when I'm about to get my a fireball up the butt. The visor can somehow tell me about miniscule amount of precious minerals it sniffs through several metres of rock, but warning me about the big flashy bolts of alien magic heading directly at me is too much to ask.

That one guy with the dual-fireball staff is one tough cookie. I've got to keep moving, and try to forget everything I've learned about third person shooting in other games to hit them with my super-slow moving pistol shots. The bad guys haven't been trained in the use of stairs, so I've got them jammed on the spot for now.

I need a new strategy. Surely there's something in my equipment that can tilt these battles in my favour!

Look at this. I have a brick, a block, a fire extinguisher, some lumps, a spanner, a broken spanner, and a bag of 220 sweets.

This is hopeless. Retreat, Slade!

All I wanted to do was gaamsavv! Please, leave me be! I can't figure out how to get my gun out again!


That's that I guess. I'll just return to the checkpoint when I arrived on Shamazaar.

No checkpoints.

Gaamsavv early and often, everybody. You do not want to repeat the tutorial world. Jan's tests are unskippable!

Say, I've just realised who Slade kind of reminds me of...

Body Harvest N64 image from hardcore gaming 101
Body Harvest (N64)
Image from Hardcore Gaming 101
Adam Drake from Body Harvest! They both even have magic backpacks to store all their stuff in. Adam and Cutter could hang out with Stanley from Time Commando and start a Rendered Blokes In Orange Clothes Who Travel In Time And Space club.

Body Harvest came out in late 1998 on the Nintendo 64 and dear God does it look rough next to Outcast. Did Body Harvest really look like that? It's been a while since I've played it but... wow.

Blurg. Back on Shamazaar and I fell off the level and now I have to wade through the wretched swamp at the edge of the map. Slower than ever, and I can only get back to dry land if I find a special ramp. This sucks.

Hey hey, I've found another Stargate Daoka. And some more of those creatures in a pen. I'm getting closer to civilisation!

I've got tons of bullets from my unplanned scuba session, so it's all guns blazing to reclaim the gate!

This is Zalinass. Nice guy. He looks after the 'twon-ha' creatures in that pen. He's full of all kinds of information on where I could look for the Mon, and he's only a mite bit batty.

"Say, Zalinass, how much for one of your twon-ha?"
"You want to bring a twon-ha into your life? How nice!"
"Heh, yeah! Ain't I a softy? How much?"
"Will you care for it as one of your family?"
"Sure thing. How much?"
"And sing to it when it is tired?"
"Ah, yeah. How much?"
"And give it a bath when it needs one?"
"You need a date, Zalinass. Really, man."

Yes! Slam dunk! I got something done! This, right here, is the Shamaz!

No, I don't mean it's 'really good'. That's his name. He's Shamaz Zeb, the man with the master plan. He can heal me at no cost, and he's sure to tell me where I can find one of the five lost Mons so I can get back to doing important things like rescuing lost scientists or saving the planet.

He doesn't know.

Zeb's just a substitute Shamaz brought in to replace the last guy who was brutally 'reverted' by the evil alien warlord guy, Kroax. The last guy possessed the secret knowledge of prophecies and the path of the Ulukai. This guy barely knows what's going on outside his front door.

Cutter doesn't like taking things too seriously, especially when he's trapped in a room with someone who keeps saying things like 'reverted'. Pure Jack O'Neill stuff. But unlike Jack, Cutter often doesn't have anybody to talk to so it's all wasted. In Stargate, the characters are always in a team. They're constantly talking to each other. Camaraderie. It's fun stuff.

Meanwhile I'm stuck in a friggin' fence. Help me, Zalinass!

Luckily I gaamsavved before I met with the Shamaz, so I only have to repeat one lousy conversation.

One of the most important guys in the village is the Recreator, the blacksmith. Being a reasonable sort, he recognises the Ulukai's importance straight away and offers his services free of charge. You might be wondering if this guy can help me ditch the pistol and outfit me with some flashy alien ordnance. It's a funny thing: the Recreator explains that the weapons that the Talan use work off a Talan's 'essence', but because our Cutter is a boring old human without any magic powers, he can't use them. But what he can do is to make bullets for my sacred Earth guns out of the minerals my visor keeps telling me about. He must be one hell of an engineer, especially since all he seems to have to hand is a hammer and an anvil.

It's weird, but it's also kind of rational in its way. Magic is magic, so what's a blacksmith to do? But if it's a physical item you want, then given the right source materials sure you can build whatever you want! Just because they think Cutter's gear is sacred, it doesn't mean that's it's actually enchanted. It's still just stuff.

As part of my Mon quest, the Shamaz suggested that I look into the situation with the Talan named Maar. He's been placed as watchman for the 'riss' production on this world, making sure that the slaves produce enough food for the bad guys to continue occupying the place. Cutter's mission is to convince him to withhold the food so that the good guys can gain an advantage. Unfortunately for Slade, Maar's as stubborn as he is dense and barely understands the situation, but he enjoys being important and that's all that matters.

Eventually, through yet another blindingly tedious linear conversation 'tree', Maar says that he will consider withholding the food if Cutter can return the village's 'essence stone'. Hooray. I will totally locate and return your item in return for you telling me about the next thing that isn't the probe I'm trying to find.

Can you tell the good guys from the bad guys here?

Don't accidentally shoot anyone friendly, whatever you do. Way back in the tutorial world, Zokrym drilled into me the importance of tempering my actions and earning the respect of the Talan. I thought that meant there was a reputation system, where stealing and violence would be met with disapproval from the other characters. As far as I can see though, what it really means is that if you kill a plot-critical character, you instantly lose the game.

Which ones are the plot-critical characters? They're... the alien guys. Some of them anyway.

They're sending in giant birds to drop exploding balls on my face. Seriously unpleasant.

While I'm out adventuring on the barren mouldy wastes of Shamazaar, occasionally I get flagged down like a taxicab by some random Talan, even in the midst of a pitched battle, and asked to help them with their resistance efforts. One particular guy asked me to help him find a Shamaz to heal his friends. Walking all the way across the map from North to South and then escorting the defenceless Shamaz all the way back under enemy fire? No thanks. By now, I'm sick of even hearing the Talan voice.

Dead end. These blue structures mark an electric fence preventing me from advancing north towards the temple proper and claiming my first Mon. I'm missing something here. Perhaps if I had some explosives I could take out a section of the fence and assault the base. I'll make a note about this and come back to it later.

I can't think of anything else I can do here. It's time to return to the Daoka next to Zalinass' herd and see where it takes me.

Desert world. Any resemblance to movies, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Up ahead of me is a vast trading post. Before I enter, a Talan in a turban warns me away, saying there's a heavy enemy presence inside and today they're going to be extra peeved because he's spent the last few days stealing all their stuff.

I'm going to have to blend in, become one of them. Become invisible.

Perfect. No-one will ever know.


My incognito streak lasted all of about twenty seconds.

If you think about it, Cutter is running around in a fluorescent T-shirt with "I am the Messiah" written on it in big letters. Not the most subtle way to infiltrate an enemy base. Where did this thing even come from? He was wearing a vest in the intro video!


Um... well, I've only got a few dozen bullets left and it takes an entire mag to get one of these magic guys to stay dead. It'll give them something to think about at least!

I made it. Wasn't easy.

What a bastard! Hocking MY YOD-DAMNED STUFF religious artefacts for his own personal gain!

I waste all my hard earned money and buy myself a big beefy looking gun.

And then I realise that I have no money left to buy ammo for it, and cry.

This is Mogi. He's got a story to tell. It's a sad tale of betrayal, war, and devastating head trauma, and once he's begun there's no way to make him stop. Cutter, the ultimate space gent he is, can't bear to be rude to the poor, lonely sod.

"Are you the Ulukai?" they yell. "Oh, won't you please help us?"

"Our crane has gone berserk! We're all in terrible danger! Can't you do something to stop that box?"

"Absolutely", replies Cutter.

I pull out my pistol and shoot the rope, expecting the box to snap free and tear through the market like a rampaging bull. Nothing happens. I use my few remaining bullets shooting at the body of box a few times until it comes to a rest.

"Thank you, Ulukai! You truly are the saviour of us all!" the man beside the crane yells, with tears in his eyes.

"All in a days work."

In return for my miraculous intervention, I am rewarded with a pittance in money and ammunition. Such excitement.

The art direction in the desert town is very inspired. They've gathered up all the imagery of bustling desert trading towns they could gather, sprinkled a little bit of imagination and fairy dust on top and created the ultimate 'Alien Desert Town Place'. Their master-stroke was to draw an ordinary human 'Desert Town Place' and then just tell the player it was on an alien world so they could tick the box and take the rest of the month off.

Whoops! Looks like I went the wrong way there! Emergency escape!

Splat, surrounded, dead.

Huh, so there's no way to explore this town without getting ambushed and annihilated. I was sort of looking forward to exploring the other worlds, but I can't reach their Daokas. I'm stuck!


Alright, that's enough Outcast. This isn't a fun game and I don't want to see it any more.

There's nothing but vast tracts of hideously dull nothingness. I feel like there's nothing to look forward to. And if there was, we wouldn't be getting there very fast.

I've been playing for so many hours and there hasn't yet been a single "Oh did you see that awesome/funny/clever thing I just did?" moment. Maybe it all comes together at the end. Why can't it come together now?

Because everything in the game is so spaced out in both space and time, you can't really watch the game in videos either unless you are in a maximally chilled out mood. You'd have fifteen minutes of walking, followed by ten minutes of "Yod Mon Fae Yod Ulukai Yod", and then fifteen more minutes of walking back. With this resolution and these camera angles, I don't know how much of the game you'd even be able to see.

You could try to play the game in small bursts over time, but the amount of controls and game world nonsense you'd need to remember would mean you'd be spending hours getting back into the groove each time you wanted to resume the adventure.

The Outcast I've played is a poor shooter and a mediocre adventure. There are so many other fun things you could be spending your life doing. Why play Outcast?


Reading about Outcast is miles more fun than playing it or watching it. Franck Sauer has a magnificent website with an in-depth article all about the making of Outcast, complete with the story of how the game came to be made, lots of work-in-progress videos and illustrations. There's also making-of videos and goofy in-universe out-takes with Cutter and the gang. (Included in your package, or on YouTube.)

There was also a PS2 sequel in the works, which from what I've seen looks ridiculously swish for what would have been an early release.

All that work has to amount to something. I'm not able to see it, and that's depressing.

While you're down here at the bottom of the page, why not scroll down just a little further and leave a comment in that message box underneath? You could share your opinions on the game, say what you think about mecha-neko's article, or let us know what you feel about the site in general. This is your moment to dazzle the world with your wit and insight, and it'd be a shame for you to throw such an opportunity away!


  1. There also was recent failed attempt at kickstarter to fund a remake.
    I backed it a bit.
    This one of those games like Pathologic that could be great if the tech and gameplay were up to date or even up to yesterday.

  2. Oh man this one brings back memories. I actually had this game preinstalled on a shitty malfunctioning windows 98 computer we brought off some dodgy guy my dad was friends with back in 2000. Most of the time the graphics for this wouldn't even load properly. I was about ten back then and never knew what the hell I was supposed to do or where to go, though I did somehow end up getting to the same point you did but not any further. I got bored of it in the end and only continued to play it just to see how many of the townspeople I could kill before the guards shot me down. One part I remember and thought was totally hilarious was how if you tried talking to one of the characters and they didn't trust you or whatever you they would kick you in the groin and their foot would phase straight through your body without so much of any reaction or acknowledgement by your character that they had done so.

  3. Couldn't agree less with your estimation of Outcast. I had fun with Outcast when it was first out and I still had fun with it when I last played it.

  4. Regarding the above comments, I'd like to stress that these screenshots were taken using the original Outcast engine, which I bought from GOG in 2013. Since then, the GOG item has been replaced with 'Outcast 1.1', with no reference to the original game available that I can find. Outcast 1.1 is the engine remake by Fresh3D with the improved resolution support and slightly changed interface but with the same textures and models. If you download Outcast from GOG now, you'll be getting that one rather than the one you see in this post. As far as I know, the old GOG version was near identical to the 1999 Win 95/98 retail release.

    I'm not hyper-thrilled about the old one disappearing, but I did download it and burn it to DVD first so I'm not missing out too much if I need to go back.

    1. True to my usual form, the easiest way to find out the reality of a situation is to assert the opposite and make a fool of yourself. :P

      I looked again on the bonus content for the Outcast 1.1 item, and (what I believe to be) the old installer is listed as 'Outcast Classic'. Hooray!

  5. I remember being incredibly disappointed with this game. The tutorial level was lovely and the voxels looked nice, and in general the presentation was fine - I can understand why it got good reviews at the time - but the gameplay was horrible.

    It was just a huge flowchart. The gameplay was just a bunch of nested fetch quests. It was generally obvious what you had to do, but it was joyless - the gameplay was a rote series of fetch quests whereby character X would ask you to collect object Y from character Z, who would ask you to get a bunch of objects from character N, and it just went on like that until you finished the map. It was just nested fetch quests that you unwound. Every level was the same. Like a LucasArts adventure with all of the humour and characterisation stripped away.

    And despite being sold as an epic sci-fi tale the sci-fi consisted of taking Earth environments and giving them alien names. Rice was riss. Cattle was Twon-Ha, or something. There was no imagination, it was just word substitution. As the review points out the environments were essentially Vietnam, Morocco, Sherwood Forest, castles, and a fantasy swamp, but "in space".

    In fact the more I think about the game the more angry it makes me, even twenty years later. The hero is supposed to be a wisecracking rogue but the dialogue is cringy. The epic score and lengthy FMV feel pompously overblown. The shooting is clumsy. The stealth is almost never used. Tonally it feels like one of those French sci-fi comics where everything is a flippant joke and the characters are aware that they're in a comic, so it's impossible to identify with any of it. If you had Windows 98 SE it didn't install from CD unless you patched it. Etc.

    Again, I can see why people liked it - on first impressions it looks great - but the actual gameplay is horrible and whatever money was spent updating it was wasted.


Semi-Random Game Box