Thursday, 30 April 2015

Dark Messiah: Might and Magic (PC)

Developer:Arkane, Floodgate and Kuju|Release Date:2006|Systems:Windows, Xbox 360

Today on Super Adventures, I'm finally taking a look at Dark Messiah of... hang on, where's the 'of'? Everyone knows the game is called 'Dark Messiah of Might and Magic', that's what it's called on Wikipedia, that's what it's called on Steam, that's what is written in the press releases, so why isn't there an 'of' on the title screen? It's not there on the box either, or the manual, or the official website... huh I guess the game really is called Dark Messiah: Might and Magic.

Though 'Might and Magic: Dark Messiah' would've made more sense, seeing as it's part of the Might and Magic franchise. Just saying.

Anyway, this was actually the very first game I ever bought on Steam, way back in July 2012. It's not that I was still holding a grudge after 8 years for all the bullshit I had to go through to install my DVD copy of Half-Life 2... I'd just stopped buying PC games entirely by that point because companies were in an arms race to see who could develop the scariest DRM, and retail discs had become a minefield. Not that I didn't have a Steam library, but at that point it was basically a handful of Half-Lifes, a Humble Bundle or two and Ricochet. And yet it's still taken me until now to play the bloody thing.

Now I'm wondering what was I playing that month that was so much more worthy of my time. Hmm, my site notes say MDK, Superfrog... and Sensible Train-Spotting? I didn't even publish that last one until June the next year, so I don't know what the hurry there was. It's very annoying how my notes don't include explanations for all my bad decisions. Anyway, I'll be playing this for an hour (or more) and yelling out how it plays as I go. In text.


(Click the screenshots to make them bigger).

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Deluxe Galaga (Amiga) - Part 1

Deluxe Galaga 2.6C title screenDeluxe Galaga 2.6C title screen
Developer:Edgar M. Vigdal|Release Date:1995|Systems:Amiga, Windows, Mac, iOS

I don't play shareware games for Super Adventures as a rule, but I thought I'd make an exception this once, because I'm a sucker for a pretty starfield.

Deluxe Galaga used to be one of my favourite Amiga games back in the day, so I was always going to get around to writing about it eventually. The main thing that was putting me off is that it looks like... well, Galaga. It's not actually a licenced Galaga sequel, it's just inspired by the game, but it still features a lot of tiny alien sprites against black background and that doesn't necessarily make for the most interesting screenshots, or give me much to write about.

But then I learned that the game's creator, Edgar M. Vigdal, had died of cancer a few weeks ago on April 1st, and suddenly I'm feeling that it's been too long since I last gave the game some attention.

Deluxe Galaga (Amiga) - Part 2

Click this link for if you'd rather be reading the first half: Part one.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Batman: Return of the Joker (NES)

Developer:Sunsoft|Release Date:1991|Systems:NES, Genesis

Today on Super Adventures I'm taking a look at Batman: Return of the Joker, the sort-of sequel to Sunsoft's Batman: The Video Game, which was released for the NES two years earlier.

Batman: The Video Game was a tie-in with Tim Burton's 1989 'Batman' movie (thoughtfully given a subtitle so that people wouldn't get them confused and end up shoving the cartridge into their VCR), and this also shares the movie's shiny golden 'BATMAN' text so I'm presuming they're part of the same continuity. But ~SPOILERS~ The Joker didn't just get locked away in Arkham or go into hiding at the end of the movie, he got dropped off a giant gothic church tower to his very definite pavement-assisted demise. In fact in the end of the NES game Batman punches him off the church roof, which is kind of hardcore for a man that never kills, but the end result is much the same. So if The Joker really has returned here, then he's come back from the dead.

Incidentally this has nothing to do with the 'Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker' animated movie, as that came out about a decade later and has its own set of games. Though it's still about The Joker coming back from the dead.

The guy is like... weeds or something.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Alien: Isolation (PC) - Part 2

Click this link if you want to return to where this all began: Part one.

Alien: Isolation (PC) - Part 1

Developer:Creative Assembly|Release Date:2014|Systems:PS3, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows

Today on Super Adventures, I'm taking a look at scary, stealthy, 'Alien' sequel Alien: Isolation.

Isolation was in development at The Creative Assembly around the same time as Gearbox and friends were working on Aliens: Colonial Marines, but while that project was very public (with expensive consequences for Sega when the finished product failed to live up to the trailers), Isolation remained hidden in the shadows until the year of release. Another big difference between the games is that everyone loved this one! It was a huge success with both critics and players!

I watched both 'Alien' and 'Aliens' in preparation for looking at Colonial Marines the other day, so I'm in a bit of an Alien mood right now. The thing is though, I'm coming from the perspective of someone who's never gotten on with survival horror games, doesn't like pure stealth, hates replaying levels, and doesn't appreciate too much of a challenge, so the game might not be the perfect fit for me. On the other hand it was a Christmas present from someone who reads the site and I kind of know a couple of people employed at Creative Assembly so I can't actually say anything bad about the game. I'm sure you understand.

But It's a first person sci-fi game with amazing visuals and critical acclaim practically across the board, so chances are that I'm going to end up liking it. I'll give it a couple of hours either way, sharing my thoughts as I go.


(Click screenshots to view them at a very reasonable 1920x1080 resolution with all the graphics on high.)

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Aliens: Colonial Marines (PC) - Part 2

Click the highlighted text to return to the horror of part one.

Aliens: Colonial Marines (PC) - Part 1

Developer:Gearbox, TimeGate, Nerve|Release Date:2013|Systems:Windows, PS3, Xbox 360

Last year on Super Adventures I decided that April 1st would be the perfect day to give a critically mauled Duke Nukem Forever a fighting chance to win me over. Because if I ended up liking it I could always pass my opinions off as being a joke and escape with my reputation intact. So today I’m going to pull the same trick with the hated Aliens: Colonial Marines and see if I can find the good in it too.

Like DNF, this is a first person shooter famous for taking ages to make and impressing absolutely no one by the time it finally came out, though it wasn't in the oven for quite as long before it got rushed out and served undercooked. It started late 2006 and finished early 2013, with folks saying that it spent 4 years at Gearbox, then around 18 months outsourced to TimeGate, and then 9 more months at Gearbox. Apparently huge chunks were reworked each time it swapped over, which left Sega agreeing to pay out $1.25 million to settle a class-action suit when people discovered to their dismay that the demos they'd been shown were demonstrating content and visuals that hadn't survived to the final product.

Anyway I'm playing the PC version here, which I've heard is the least crap of them. I usually only play games for an hour or two to get an impression of what kind of game they are, but this time I’m going to keep playing the single player campaign until either I start liking it or I really can’t take any more. I even watched both 'Alien' and 'Aliens' in preparation so I can nitpick about every tiny thing it gets wrong! I could end up spoiling elements of any of the films in the series though (plus a decent amount of this game, obviously), so if that's an issue you should get out now while you're still safe.

(Click screenshots to view them slightly bigger.)

Semi-Random Game Box