Monday, 30 November 2015

Chasm: The Rift (MS-DOS)

Developer:Action Forms|Release Date:1997|Systems:PC

Today on Super Adventures, I'm putting a few hours into Chasm: The Rift, a game in which you don't play as a zombie lizard jester with a circular power-saw hand. This isn't even the title screen, the game has no time for crap like that. It just dumps you straight to a typical 90s first person shooter menu screen floating above a typical 90s first person shooter gameplay demo.

Oh, I should mention that this is a typical 90s first person shooter. It's kind of an obscure one too, which is exactly what my site's been missing lately. I haven't had a DOS FPS on Super Adventures since Wolfenstein 3D back in March, and that's just terrible. The game I mean, not my FPS negligence (thought that's pretty bad too).

Anyway I had Chasm on a demo disc back in the olden days and remember thinking it had a surprisingly decent looking homemade 3D engine, but not much else. I pretty much forgot the demo entirely for a decade or two after the game disappeared off the face of the Earth. Or I assumed it'd disappeared anyway; turns out the game had actually been released the year after Quake and Duke Nukem 3D and I just hadn't heard about it. It wasn't exactly the next big thing, but it's the next thing on my site so I'm going to go into it with my best attempt at enthusiasm and see if I can get some fun out of it.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Ruff 'n' Tumble (Amiga)

Ruff 'n' Tumble title screen
Developer:Wunderkind|Release Date:1994|Systems:Amiga

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing the first (and last) game ever made by Wunderkind, run 'n' gun platformer Ruff 'n' Tumble! From what I can tell it's an Amiga exclusive released only in Europe during the end of the system's lifetime, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's probably fairly obscure to anyone who's never booted up an A500.

I used to play the crap out of this back in the day though. Well, I played the demo mostly, but I was young and that was enough for me... because I couldn't beat the damn thing. If I make it to the end of world 1 today I'll be shocked, and you should be too, but I'll give it my best shot.

Will it start with a forest level? Place your bets now! (PS. the game's also called Ruff 'n' Tumble in the Fantasy Forest).

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Ultima: Worlds of Adventure 2 - Martian Dreams (MS-DOS)

Developer:Origin|Release Date:1991|Systems:MS-DOS

This week on Super Adventures I'll be... looking for the quit option on this menu. I'm not giving up just yet, my attention span hasn't gotten that bad, but someday I will eventually want to turn the game off and I'm not seeing a way to do that. Do I just reboot my PC or something? See, this is what I don't get about classic DOS RPGs: how to do things in them. They baffle me. I realise that part/all of my problem is that I don’t read manuals, but have you seen those things? They’re nothing but words and pictures, cover to cover, and who can be bothered with that any more?

Anyway this week on Super Adventures I’m taking a quick look at Martian Dreams aka. Ultima: Worlds of Adventure 2 – Martian Dreams. You'd think this was the sequel to a game called Ultima: Worlds of Adventure, seeing as that's how titles typically work, but it actually follows on from Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire. I guess Origin got bored of the Worlds of Ultima brand after one game. On the bright side at least this is more alphabetically convenient.

Martian Dreams is one of the earliest Ultimas to be developed primarily for DOS PCs instead of Apple IIs, and the first to be exclusive to the system. More importantly it'll be the first of the Ultima games I've ever played... for more than 5 minutes. I was looking for an interesting space sci-fi RPG game to follow Mass Effect 3 and I found this in my GOG library, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I'm not deliberately picking out games with 'Adventure' in the title I promise.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Mass Effect 3 (PC) - Part 4: Extended Cut

THIS IS PART 4, YOU CAN FIND PART 1 HERE.

Around four months after release, Mass Effect 3 received an alternate ending DLC, with a price of absolutely nothing. The Extended Cut replaces the original ending, but not by default; it needs to be downloaded and installed separately. Unless you’ve got the Wii U version that is, then you’re stuck with the new content.

I actually think it’s great that the original ending’s still there for people to experience first hand, as we should be preserving content like this. Plus developers shouldn’t be able to edit our copies of a game to change the story without permission anyway!

Is it a good thing that BioWare ‘caved’ to their fans at all though? Does it set the medium back as an art form when customers can demand changes when a story doesn’t match their expectations? And does it actually fix anything?

 *** WARNING: ULTIMATE SPOILERS ***

Mass Effect 3 (PC) - Part 3: The Original Ending

THIS IS PART 3, YOU CAN FIND PART 1 HERE.

I've already talked about Mass Effect 3's gameplay, but now that it's three years later and emotions have calmed down I'm going to revisit the controversial conclusions to the Mass Effect Trilogy and finally answer the question "Is there actually anything left to say about this bloody ending that hasn't been said a thousand times before?"

And the answer is "nope".

Sorry, there just isn't. The game was so thoroughly torn apart back in 2012 that there's absolutely nothing new I can bring to the table.

Though I remember that reviewers at the time didn't really take issue with the game's ending, which is kind of bizarre considering how many of the fans did. My theory is that they were thrown off by the fact that you needed to play multiplayer to boost your War Assets for the best ending, and assumed that they must have gotten a crap outcome. Everyone else playing after release was able to check YouTube afterwards to learn that all endings are the crap outcome.

I don't usually like to call what I write for this site 'reviews' even though they can get a bit conclusiony down at the bottom, because most of the time I haven't finished the games I'm talking about and for some games that really matters. When a game's a story driven as this, that last 1% of plot can make all the difference, just ask a 'Lost' or 'Battlestar Galactica' fan.

So for once I actually am going to be finishing something. Twice over in fact; first with the original ending and then a second time with the reworked Extended Cut DLC installed. And I will have opinions to share.

*** WARNING: MAXIMUM SPOILERS ***

Mass Effect 3 (PC) - Part 2

Welcome to part two of my epic four part review thing!

In part one I played through the prologue up to getting my ship back.
In part two I'll be going through a typical mission and talking about how the game progresses. I'll put my conclusion here along with the comment box.
In part three I'll be going one step further into madness and analysing that ending to figure out why people were so bothered by it.
In part four I'll be talking about the new ending, and whether BioWare did the right thing by retconning their art. Yes I realise that no one's going to still be reading by this point, but I'm putting a second comment box there anyway.

There'll likely be massive spoilers for the first two games, and I'll be talking about how some major storylines wrap up near the end. See, this is what happens when I actually finish a game for once, I feel like talking about all of it and end up ruining the whole story for people. You should be safe to skip to the conclusion though.

Mass Effect 3 (PC) - Part 1

Developer:BioWare|Release Date:2012|Systems:Windows, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U

This week on Super Adventures, I'm celebrating N7 day by replaying the first couple of missions in Mass Effect 3 and briefly... oh fuck it, I'm going to go and beat the whole game again. No sense in half-assing it after I finished the first two to get here.

Plus I remember there being a bit of controversy about how the game wraps up the (first) Mass Effect trilogy, so I'm going to go through the ending in excruciating detail and share my own thoughts on how it plays out, and whether people were freaking out about nothing. You're not going to get a 47 page let's play out of me, I haven't entirely lost my mind, but this shall be an epic four part article!

PART ONE is what you're reading now, where I'll talk about first couple of hours and show how the game plays. It'll likely spoil the last two games along with the start of this one but not much else.

PART TWO is where I'll talk about the game overall and give my thoughts about it. Likely to be more spoilery. I'll review the game at the end and give you a box to leave non-spoilery comments underneath.

PART THREE is going to reveal my SHOCKING opinions about the unloved original ending of the trilogy, as I go through the final act in the aforementioned excruciating detail. This will have all of the spoilers, maximum spoilers.

PART FOUR is going to quickly go over the changes made for the Extended Cut and whether altering the story was a good idea. It'll also have maximum spoilers, plus a second comments box for you to chat about the ending specifically. If you want.

I'm going to be playing the Windows version so some of my issues will be PC specific (like not being able to click on anything without disabling the Origin overlay first). Also I'm using a fix to enable ambient occlusion on my Nvidia card, following this guide I found on the BioWare forums, so my visuals will look slightly sweeter than the default. Or maybe slightly glitchy and screwed up, it could go either way!

(Click the screenshots to expand them to their original resolution.)

Semi-Random Game Box