Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Super AiG Screenshots of the Decade: 2011-2020

This week's Super Adventures is going to be the last this year I'm afraid. In fact there'll be no more games until the end of January.

But seeing as this is the end of Super Adventures's 10th year, I figured I should expand the scope of my annual screenshot showcase to cover the entire first decade of the site! Every picture and GIF that's ever been posted here is eligible for entry, even this sketch of a cute bunny I drew for my Toonstruck post six years ago:

But it's bad enough that I inflicted my art on people the first time, so I'm mostly going to stick to the game screenshots.

I'm fortunate that I already did all those Screenshot of the Year articles and chose my favourite screens from each year, as it dramatically reduces the amount of images I have to look through here. But screw that! This is a special occasion, so I'm going to look through all 40,000 or so images in my archive and pick the ones that stand out to me in the blur of intense scrolling. With any luck I might find something to write about them as well.

I should mention that clicking on a highlighted game title will open up the original article, so you can visit the screenshot's home and find it hanging out with its friends. And if you come across a game released in the last 20 years then clicking the image itself will probably give you a bigger version to glare at. Not that big though I'm afraid.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Star Trek: Borg (PC)

Star Trek: Borg logo pc
Developer:Simon & Schuster|Release Date:1996|Systems:Win, Mac

This week on Super Adventures, I'm giving you a choice!

You can either keep reading this perfectly normal regular article on Star Trek: Borg, or you can jump over my other website, Sci-Fi Adventures, and get an enhanced review with additional Star Trek trivia and observations! Stay here if you don't give a damn about the series and just want to read about a video game, go over there if you want too many words.

I really wouldn't recommend reading both articles. Well, unless you're into sitting through lots of the same content all over again, in which case I might have found the right game for you!

Star Trek: Borg apparently came out in late 1996, just a few weeks before the movie Star Trek: First Contact. That film's all about the Borg so they had their synergy figured out there. That means that in grand scheme of Star Trek games, Borg comes after 25th Anniversary and A Final Unity, but before Starfleet Academy and Elite Force. It was released right at the start of the Trek game explosion that lasted until 2001, where every year would have three or more games, some of them not entirely terrible! In fact this wasn't even the only Trek game by Simon & Schuster that year, as they also released Star Trek: Klingon, which appears to be more of the same kind of thing.

The game will apparently run on modern systems if you download this ancient installer from the Internet Archive: Borgptch, but I don't really know how well it gets along with Windows 10 because I decided to run it in Windows 95 using the PCem PC emulator instead.

I usually only play for an hour or two, but this isn't the longest of games so I'm going to be playing all of it this time. So there's going to be HUGE SPOILERS for this game and maybe a few smaller spoilers for Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes like The Best of Both Worlds.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Constantine (PS2)

Developer:Bits|Release Date:2005|Systems:PS2, Xbox, Windows

This week on Super Adventures, it's the final game of Keanu Reeves week: Constantine, based on the 2005 movie of the same name, based on the comic Hellblazer.

I always forget how to pronounce the name 'Constantine', and it doesn't help that it's always changing. The star of the comics, a blonde anti-hero warlock Scouser from Liverpool, England, would pronounce his name to rhyme with 'wine', but the dark-haired American Keanu Reeves version has a name that rhymes with 'keen', and so does this game. (The TV series DC's Legends of Tomorrow splits the difference, making him blonde Liverpudlian who pronounces his name the American way).

Funnily enough, the game's developer, Bits Studios, was English, so a British studio made a game based on an American reimagining of a British character. Bits worked on a lot of licenced games actually, like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Terminator 2, Last Action Hero, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Alien3, and Die Hard: Vendetta. Unfortunately Constantine was their last, as they only got to make one more game before their assets were sold off and that was Payout Poker & Casino on the PSP.

Anyway, I'm only going to be playing the PlayStation 2 version of the game, but I've given the Xbox and PC versions a quick glance and they seem to be more or less the same thing. It really was just a glance though, so I could be way wrong there. The game's also going to have similarities to the movie, so be warned about SPOILERS.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Bram Stoker's Dracula (Amiga)

Bram Stoker's Dracula Amiga title screen
Developer:Psygnosis|Release Date:1994|Systems:Amiga + eight other systems

Today on Super Adventures, Keanu Reeves week continues with Bram Stoker's Dracula on the Amiga! I said I was only going to play three Keanu Reeves games, and this would be the second of them, but things get a little complicated with this one.

Bram Stoker's Dracula was a multiplatform title released to tie in with the 1992 Gary Oldman movie, but not all platforms got the same game. In fact it seems like there's actually five different games here, split across nine different systems. It came out on Amiga, SNES, Mega Drive/Genesis, Game Gear, Master System, NES, Game Boy, Sega CD and DOS PCs, so poor C64 owners were left out this time.

Nine systems in one article is a bit much, so I'm going to focus on the Amiga game mostly and try not to get too carried away with writing about the other versions, but I have to at least take a look at them. Yeah okay, I didn't show off all the different Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure games yesterday, I only played the home computer versions, but in my defence I was busy finishing the entire game three times over.

I'll also try not to spoil too much about the movie, but I get the feeling that's not going to be an issue here.

Monday, 16 November 2020

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (C64)

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure C64 title screen
Developer:Off the Wall|Release Date:1989|Systems:C64, Amiga, DOS

Today on Super Adventures, to celebrate Cyberpunk 2077 eventually coming out at some point hopefully, I'm kicking off Keanu Reeves week! I'll be playing three games this week, each of which is based on a movie starring Keanu Reeves, starting with the computer version of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Which works out pretty well I reckon, seeing as the third Bill & Ted film just came out.

I've already played a Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure game, on the Lynx, but I'm pretty sure this one's something completely different. Maybe even something better! This version came out on three systems, Amiga, MS-DOS and Commodore 64, and I'll be playing all three of them, because I'm hardcore like that. But I'm mostly focusing on the C64 game, because the poor system doesn't get much love here and it'll be a change.

There may be SPOILERS below for the first Bill & Ted movie... but I doubt it somehow.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

The Speris Legacy (Amiga CD32) - Part 4 - Guest Post

Previously on the Amiga CD32 Zelda-'em-up The Speris Legacy, I permanently ruined my only save file, and so I decided this time to investigate The Speris Legacy and write some Cool Stuff instead.

The Speris Legacy (Amiga CD32) - Part 3 - Guest Post

Previously on the Amiga CD32 Zelda-'em-up The Speris Legacy, our hero Cho tried to inspect a sinister looking plant and instantly died. What could happen next?

The Speris Legacy (Amiga CD32) - Part 2 - Guest Post

Previously on the Amiga CD32 Zelda-'em-up The Speris Legacy, our hero Cho left Sharma City in search of revenge. What will he find in the farming town of Gilliards Rhine?

The Speris Legacy (Amiga CD32) - Part 1 - Guest Post

This week on Super Adventures, recurring guest poster mecha-neko is back already with a detailed four-part report on what appears to be 'Zelda, but on the Amiga'. It might be good, you never know.

By 1995, the Amiga was done. The CD32 was a year in its grave. All the magazines save for the very nerdiest were shrivelling up into nothing as the games quickly vanished. Darth Vader, Sam and Max and a certain green-clad space marine made sure that there was no place in the computer world for slow moving, ugly games that couldn't talk back to you. Europe was falling in love with the Japanese consoles, every British kid was getting a Mega Drive II for Christmas to replace their Master System II, and Sonic the Hedgehog was appearing in two cartoons at once.

Only the brave, the mad and the heavily invested remained to try to magic up some glory from the abandoned hardware and win the hearts of the Amiga's vast and loyal European install base.

The Speris Legacy CD32 title screen
Developer:Binary Emotions|Release Date:February 1996|Systems:Amiga 1200, CD32

Say hello to light-hearted fantasy epic The Speris Legacy, featuring this rather nifty digitised painting of one hopeful adventurer who could easily be Neal McDonough in a blonde mullet.

Amiga Computing magazine described The Speris Legacy as 'pure genius', with its coverdisk demo asking 'The best game of the year?' in bold red letters. Amiga Power dedicated an entire cover to it with a brand new lovely illustration.

The Amiga could still have its hero!

The Speris Legacy (Amiga CD32) - Guest PostPart 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

Friday, 6 November 2020

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)

Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker title screen PSP
Developer:Kojima Productions|Release Date:2010|Systems:PSP, PS3, Xbox 360

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing the fifth of the main Metal Gear Solid games, Peace Walker on the PlayStation Portable! Or maybe sixth, depending on whether you count Portable Ops (creator Hideo Kojima doesn't). In fact it was originally going to be Metal Gear Solid 5 and it pretty much still is in everything but title, as it continues the story of the fall of Big Boss.

I've never been keen on handheld exclusive sequels to console exclusive games (or the opposite) as unless you're playing on a Switch it's going to really change the experience. Plus it means you have to get extra hardware to continue the story, which kind of sucks if you've spent all your money getting a PS3 to play Metal Gear Solid 4 and don't feel the need to take games outside with you. (Personally I had a PSP in the house before I had a PS3, but that's just the same problem backwards!) Ideally I'd want developers to port everything to everything, but if that's not possible and they really want to make a portable game, then they should make it a spin-off like Metal Gear AC!D that doesn't continue the storyline. In my opinion.

Part of the reason they went portable with this one is because Monster Hunter Freedom did really well on PSP, hitting a broader demographic, and they wanted some of that for MGS. Peace Walker was aimed towards a younger school-age audience and in Japan they found it, making the game a big hit. Outside of Japan, not so much. In fact the game sold so poorly in the West that they took one of its characters off the cover of the international versions of Ground Zeroes because no one knew who he was. The game did pretty well in reviews though, as it's one of the highest rated PSP games on Metacritic (sharing third place with Lumines and Persona 3). In fact it's actually way higher than Monster Hunter Freedom. It's also a pretty late PSP game as it came out a year before the release of the PS Vita. And a year before Peace Walker HD Edition was released on consoles.

Okay, I'm going to play this for an hour or two and hope that gets me past the first cutscene at least. Either way there's going to be a lot of SPOILERS here for both this game and earlier Metal Gears, so please don't accidentally ruin a game for yourself by reading something here you didn't want to know.

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Halloween Harry / Alien Carnage (MS-DOS) - Guest Post

Today on Super Adventures, guest poster mecha-neko has returned and he's brought you the perfect game for Halloween. I wrote about Sanitarium a few days ago so I thought I had Halloween covered this year (the game even has pumpkins in it), but mecha-neko's choice literally has the word in the title. I can't compete with that.

Halloween Harry MS DOS title screen
Developer:Interactive Binary Illusions
Sub Zero
|Release Date:
Halloween Harry:10th October 1993
Alien Carnage:2nd November 1994
Freeware:24th May 2007

Spooky greetings to you all! Fancy looking at some classic Apogee shareware?

As Robbie Coltrane might say: it's 'alloween, 'arry!

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Sanitarium (PC)

Santitarium pc title logo
Developer: DreamForge Intertainment | Release Date: 1998 | Systems: Windows, iOS

This week on Super Adventures, I'm writing about the critically acclaimed 1998 PC horror adventure Sanitarium! They were going to call it Asylum before learning that the name was taken, but I think it worked out better this way. 'Sanitarium' is definitely a more distinctive title; you won't find a second one on MobyGames.

This was one of the last games developed by DreamForge Intertainment: the company that put the 'in' into 'entertainment'. I recognise the names of some of the other games they developed, like Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession and Menzoberranzan, but the only one I've written about is Veil of Darkness and that was ages ago. If I remember right it was some kind of isometric horror adventure game, which makes sense because so's this.

I've only got the CD version of the game so I expected it'd be a struggle to get it running in Windows 10. I was ready to start hunting down fan patches and messing around with processor affinities. But all I did was add '-w -e' to the exe's arguments to put it into windowed mode and it was happy, which makes me happy as well.

Okay I'm going to play through a couple of chapters and start taking screenshots, but first I feel like I should let you know that this is a horror game dealing with horrible things (and horrible things happening to children) so please be aware of what kind of rabbit hole we're going down here.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Super Adventures in the Humble Choice Bundle

This week on Super Adventures, I'm writing about some games from the Humble Choice bundle (formerly known as Humble Monthly). Not because I'm getting any money for it, in fact they're not even from the current bundle. I just felt like writing about a few games at once and needed a theme to tie them together. It seemed like a better idea than "games with 11 letters in the title" or something, plus this way there's more chance you already own some of these games and haven't gotten around to trying them yet.

I'll be showing off seven games, but I assure you that I played each of them for as long as I usually do; they got a full hour, sometimes even two! You might not think that this is long enough to properly judge a game and I don't really disagree, but it was long enough to finish a couple of them. So I'll be able to give you a proper opinion on those two at least.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Valkyrie Profile (PSX)

Valkyrie Profile title screen menu
Developer:tri-Ace|Release Date:2000 (JP 1999)
|Systems:PSX, PSP

This week on Super Adventures, I've got some screenshots from Nordically-themed PlayStation JRPG Valkyrie Profile for you. Maybe even a couple of GIFs as well! That's the original PlayStation by the way, though you'd forgiven for being confused by this atypically high resolution menu screen. I suppose they needed the extra pixels to fit in all those choices (there are two separate 'play intro' options there!)

The game's by tri-Ace, makers of the Star Ocean series, among other RPGs. I was going to list a few of the ones I've already written about and give you some links to click but when I went looking I couldn't actually find any. 1200+ games on Super Adventures so far and this is my very first tri-Ace title!

I'm sure I must have at least tried the game before, but it would've been in ages past so if I seem like I'm surprised or clueless about something, that's because I am. I really don't know what this game's going to be like. Well okay, it's a platformer with an unusual turn-based JRPG battle system, I know that much. I also know that I have to play the US version because there isn't a European version of it for me to show off. Us Europeans had to wait for the PSP version, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth, which came out seven years later. That's an entire console generation!

SPOILER WARNING: JRPGs typically have a fair bit of story in them and I'm going to be going through the first couple of hours of this one, so be aware that I will reveal and ruin any twists up to that point. There's still 30 or 40 hours of it I won't be spoiling though.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Electronic Popple (MS-DOS)

Electronic Popple title screen
Developer:Byteshock|Release Date:1997|Systems:PC

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing Electronic Popple, a DOS game by Byteshock released in 1997.

I went searching the internet looking for any kind of information about the game to write up here, and it seems like Byteshock were a bunch of Korean college students who disbanded soon afterwards. Plus it seems like 'popple' might be a mistranslation of 'purple'? Also the game apparently has multiple endings. That's all I could find out about it though I'm afraid! I'm all out of trivia now.

Man, that's a pretty pitiful amount of text for an intro, I need to think of some more words. Uh, it seems to have a two player mode, that's probably worth mentioning. Plus there's lots of anthropomorphic computer people exploding on the title screen. Poor guys.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Super Adventures in Face Editors II

This week on Super Adventures, I've decided that what my site really needs is more screenshots of faces. It's been exactly five years to the day since I published my Super Adventures in Face Editors article comparing different character creators in video games, so I figured it was time for a sequel. Last time I tried recreating Metal Gear Solid protagonist Solid Snake in games like Skyrim, Dark Souls and Mass Effect, but this time around I've got brand new games and a brand new video game star: Tomb Raider hero Lara Croft.

I don't mean the pointy polygon-head Lara with the painted-on face, I mean the more realistic version you can see in the picture above. Though I'll be going through the games in chronological order again, to observe how the visuals and the editors become more sophisticated over time, so you'll be seeing a horrifying low-poly head soon enough.

Monday, 31 August 2020

Super Adventures: Game Over

Bad news, you just lost the game. It's all over, you've failed, the princess is dead, humanity is doomed, and you'll never get all your bananas back. But it's not all bad, as video games often include special exclusive content that can only be accessed by screwing everything up. Game over screens, continue screens, excessively well-animated death scenes, sometimes even a catchy song.

So this week's Super Adventures is going to be a celebration of bad endings! Mostly because they're far easier and quicker to get a screenshot of than good endings, and also much less spoilery! Oh, I realise the picture up there's a bit ominous, but the site itself isn't ending any time soon. Not permanently anyway, though I am taking another break after this for a few weeks.

You may be thinking 'How is this any different to one of those "Top 30 Game Over Screens" posts you'd find on other sites?' The answer is... it's not any different. It's exactly that. I have no shame. Though I might be the first site not to include Total Distortion's "You Are Dead" song... except that's a YouTube link I just gave you, so I suppose I kind of did. I won't be including Chrono Trigger's "But... the Future Refused to Change" screen either, because it's not really much to look at. It's just really grey.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

TECNO: The Base (PC) - Guest Post

Today on Super Adventures, occasional guest poster mecha-neko's back to show off... uh, I have no idea what this is. I've never heard of this game before. What even is this?

Hello everyone!

I'm playing TECNO: The Base, "An FPS-Adventure game with its own unique style".

Tecno The Base Title Screen
Developer:Paolo Cosentino
GURUY Entertainment (Uruguay)
|Release Date:7th September 2007
(freeware May 2012)

Set in a huge research facility run amok, TECNO: The Base promises a plethora of lethal robots, an arsenal of experimental weaponry and many ingenious objectives to complete. Sounds awesome to me!

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence (PS2)

Metal Gear Solid 3 title screen playstation 2
Developer:Konami|Release Date:
Snake Eater - NA/JP 2004, EU 2005
Subsistence - JP 2005, EU/NA 2006
|Systems:PS2, PS3, PSVita, Xbox 360, 3DS

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing the first canon Metal Gear game to never come out on a computer! Even to this day it hasn't had a Steam release, despite getting a HD remaster a decade or so back on consoles. Because Konami are strange.

The title screen up there claims that this is something called Subsistence, but really it's just Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater with a new camera mode and a few extra features. In fact it's a bit like the Substance release for Metal Gear Solid 2 (funny how similar those subtitles are). But there's no VR missions this time! That's possibly because the game's a prequel set 40 years earlier, in the 60s, and VR was less of a thing back then. The story starts on 24 August 1964 in fact, which also happened to be creator Hideo Kojima's first birthday.

Here's a non-trivial bit of trivia about this title screen: you can change the background camo style and colour by clicking the analogue sticks. There's nothing you can press to stop Snake beating up this poor guard over and over though. Here's some more trivia: that's not actually Snake. Well, it is a Snake, but it's not series protagonist Solid Snake (because he was born in the 70s).

I'm not going to assume you've played the other Metal Gears or know anything about the convoluted continuity, but there are going to be SPOILERS below for the series so far, so try not to read anything you don't want to know.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition (PC) - Part 2

Baldur's Gate 2 Shadows of Amn Enhanced Edition menu screen
Today on Super Adventures I'm just playing a bit more of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (Enhanced Edition). Well actually I'll be playing a lot more, but I wouldn't worry too much about spoilers as I'll just be skipping through all the interesting parts to whine about things that bother me.

I'm sorry I can't be as in-depth or insightful as the CRPG Addict, but it seems like he's going to take another decade or more to reach the 2000s, so why not read my words while you wait? I mean I'm assuming you've probably read part one already. If not you can get to it by clicking here: PART ONE.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition (PC) - Part 1

Baldur's Gate II Enhanced Edition title screen
Enhanced - Developer:Overhaul|Release Date:2013|Systems:Win, OS X, iPad, Android, iPhone, Linux, Switch, PS4, XBOne
Original Game - Developer:BioWare|Release Date:2000|Systems:Win

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing the Enhanced Edition of the gigantic Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. This one's a titan of RPGs, an absolute classic, and very similar to the original Baldur's Gate... which I've already written about. In fact you might be wondering why I'd spend so much time trying to play and then summarise something so massive and complex (and yet also so well known) when I've basically done it already, but it's too late for you to talk me out of it.

Baldur's Gate II was BioWare's fourth title, after mech action game Shattered Steel, Baldur's Gate, and misc action game MDK2, and this is the point where they cast away all distractions to fully devote themselves to the RPG genre. But they only make blockbuster AAA titles these days, so Beamdog (their Overhaul Games division to be precise) got to be the ones to update this game for modern systems 13 years later. They updated the Throne of Bhaal expansion as well, and even threw in a bonus battle arena called The Black Pits II (which I'm not gonna play).

The Enhanced Editions apparently sold well enough, as a few years later Beamdog also got to make a new expansion for the first Baldur's Gate, called Siege of Dragonspear, which fills you in what happened to your hero in the time skip between the two games. So Baldur's Gate II is now following on from content made 16 years after it. You can import your character from that expansion into this and start off way overleveled... by like 2 levels (Dungeons & Dragons can be incredibly stingy with the level ups it seems).

I never played pen and paper D&D and I haven't read any Forgotten Realms books, so I'll have no idea how faithful Baldur's Gate II is to the lore and gameplay. I have played a few of the videogames before though... including this one. In fact it was probably my first D&D game after Eye of the Beholder, and I completely bounced off it the first time I installed it because I had no bloody idea what I was doing. I don't even think I knew I was supposed to rest occasionally. But then I gave it a second go later and made real progress. Tons of progress. I didn't actually beat the bloody game though and it's been tormenting me ever since.

I'm thinking that I got about two thirds of the way through on my last time, but it's a bloody long game so I'm not really sure. All I know is that it's going to take more than the first hour to really get an idea of how it plays, but I'll try to skip through without really spoiling anything beyond the prologue. Expect lots of zoomed out images of tactical combat and beautiful shots of menu screens.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Breath of Fire II (SNES)

Breath of Fire II title screen SNES
Developer:Capcom|Release Date:JP: 1994, NA: 1995, EU: 1996|Systems:SNES, GBA

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing Brerth of Fireo! Uh, Breath of Fire II!

I played the original Breath of Fire just over a year ago, so it's not really fresh in my memory, but I think I thought it was 'okay'. Not all that interesting, but okay. Nice graphics though.

I've already spotted one massive improvement that Breath of Fire II has over the first game, which is that is was actually made it to Europe fast enough to get released for the system it was created for. We didn't get to play first game over here until the Game Boy Advance port, which came out five and a half years after its own sequel. And it does seem to be a proper sequel this time, unlike the other games in the series, as Wikipedia tells me it takes place 500 years after the events of the original game.

I'm planning to at least go through the first few hours of the game, so there will be SPOILERS below this point, but not many. I just felt like I should give you fair warning, seeing as JRPGs have a lot of story in them. Here's my first spoiler: if you leave the title screen on for a while all you get is gameplay demos. I thought it might give me an secret intro, like the first game, but it did not.

Right, I'm going to press SJARJ and see what this is like.

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Amulets & Armor (MS-DOS) - Guest Post

This week on Super Adventures, guest poster mecha-neko is playing a DOS RPG from 1997! He rarely ever writes about RPGs, so this one must be something... special.

For a change, instead of playing something weird that I've never played before, I'm going to play something I'm very familiar with from my childhood.

Amulets and Armor title screen dos
Developer:United Software Artists|Release Date:January 1997
(re-released 26th April 2013)
|Systems:MS-DOS, Windows

This is Amulets & Armor. It's an RPG! Except it's not. It's an FPS! Except it's not. And it's multiplayer, except it's not. It's a little of everything.

I've been meaning to play and write about this game for years, but I've never felt like I'd be able to do it justice. When I was but a lad and loved playing shareware demos on the family PC (alright, I still do), I would play the one level demo of this a lot. I liked the ambience and the cartoons in Interpose, but Amulets & Armor is the game I actually played.

I only had the demo back then, but it was re-released in 2013 as a free full game for both MS-DOS and Windows, with the source code available for boffins as well. If you'd like to hear a little bit about why you've never heard of the game, click here, but I'll be focusing on just playing the full DOS version today.

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole (Genesis/Mega Drive) - Replay

Landstalker title screen PAL
Developer:Climax|Release Date:1993 (1992 in Japan)|Systems:Mega Drive/Genesis

This week on Super Adventures I'm playing isometric action-adventure game Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole! I've already written about it once before but now I'm playing it again.

This is the second game I've revisited recently, after Nox, so I guess it's finally happened: I've finally played through every single video game ever released on every console and computer and now all I can do is circle around and start replaying them all. Actually wait, I just thought of something else I could've played: isometric action-adventure game Equinox. Though after checking out Nox, AquaNox and Anachronox in a row I'm kind of 'nox'd out at the moment to be honest.

It's been almost ten years since I last played Landstalker and I remember very little about it... though that's probably because I saw very little of it. It seems that the game lost my interest right away and I only stuck with it long enough to find an enemy to hit. In my defence the site was only six days old at the time and Landstalker was my 74th article that week... wait, that's not a defence, that's an admission of insanity! What the hell was I thinking?

These days I try to at least see what a game plays like before turning it off. Plus sometimes I even do research! For this game I decided to research whether the original Japanese version also has a melted version of the Turrican II logo on its title screen, and it does. In fact it has the exact same logo, as the game is called Landstalker in Japan as well.

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Noctropolis (PC)

Noctropolis title screen
Developer:Flashpoint|Release Date:1994|Systems:DOS (EE version: Windows, Linux, macOS)

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing my fourth PC game in a row! This one's from the mid 90s though, so I've escaped 2001 at least.

Noctropolis is an "adult graphic adventure", which is apparently a lot like a regular adventure, except a couple of hours in you get to see an actress's breasts for a few seconds. You won't find a screenshot of it here though, this site's safe for work (also I'll have stopped playing ages before then).

I own the game on Steam so that means I'm playing the Enhanced Edition released by Nightdive a few years back. It doesn't actually say that, it's listed in my game library as just 'Noctropolis', but it didn't boot up DOSBox when I started it so it must be the new version. Oh hang on, they mention it on the store page: "New Enhanced Edition for Steam!" So that's cleared that up.

Man, this music on the title screen sounds like it's going to break into a Batman theme at any moment. Not any particular Batman theme, just a Batman theme. That's probably a good sign, as the game's supposed to be going for a comic book tone. In fact they were originally going after a comic book licence, but they couldn't get hold of one and had to make up their own setting instead. They apparently tried to approach this problem from the other direction and get a comic book published based on the game, but their meeting with legendary artist Rob Liefeld at Image didn't lead to anything.

Before I start going through the game I feel like I should warn you that it gets a bit edgy at times. To put it bluntly, a main character gets raped off-screen and it's not dealt with all that tactfully.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Anachronox (PC)

Anachronox logo
Developer:Ion Storm|Release Date:2001|Systems:Windows

Deus Ex-style spinning logo!

This week on Super Adventures, it's Ion Storm's fourth game (of six), Anachronox! It was supposed to come out much earlier than that, but then that was true of everything Ion Storm's Dallas studio worked on. Dominion: Storm over Gift 3 was supposed to be released in 1997 and came out a year later in 98, Daikatana was also supposed to hit shelves in 97 and was eventually finished three years later in 2000, and Anachronox was planned for 1998 and was finally released in 2001. It's not really a mystery why the Dallas studio was closed down the month after Anachronox's release, as even if the games had sold well (they hadn't) they must have been way way over budget.

The company's second studio in Austin had a lot more success with the legendary Deus Ex, and survived a few years longer to produce the considerably less legendary Deus Ex: Invisible War and a third Thief game, Deadly Shadows. Which means that during its life Ion Storm released Dominion, Daikatana, Deus Ex, Deus Ex 2, Deadly Shadows... and Anachronox. One of these titles doesn't match the pattern. They should've called this Danachronox, or Daikatanachronox.

Ion Storm was formed by John Romero and Tom Hall, who had both gotten pushed out of id Software due to creative differences. I haven't read Masters of Doom, but it seems like they wanted to be creative, while John Carmack wanted to get games finished. In fact Hall was technically lead designer on Doom, but the character-driven story he'd come up with was thrown out, because who even needs story in video games? To be fair, Doom did just fine without it, but Anachronox was Hall's project, and this time no one was going to stop him putting in all the story and characters and space adventure he wanted.

Hopefully that'll turn out to be a good thing.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

AquaNox (PC)

AquaNox title screen
Developer:Massive Development|Release Date:2001|Systems:Windows

This week on Super Adventures I'm still in the early 2000s and I'm still on PC, but I've jumped ahead by one year to play 2001 submarine shooter AquaNox.

I own this one on CD with a proper box and a proper manual, but I'm playing the Steam version instead because Windows 10 apparently wants nothing to do with its SafeDisc DRM. A lot of the games on my PC shelf have the same issue, which is a bit of a pain seeing as I didn't get them just so they could take up space! I got them so that they'd be there when I was ready to play them in a decade or two.

Speaking of the box, I got it out to have a look and there's no mention on it anywhere that this is actually a sequel to a 1996 game called Archimedean Dynasty. It apparently has "34 dangerous missions", an "atmospheric 3D soundtrack" and "an absorbing storyline that provides depth to the relentless action", but there's no hint that it's game #2.

There's actually three games in the AquaNox series, though AquaNox: Deep Descent is supposed to be out any day now, which will bring the number to four. There was going to be a PlayStation 2 game as well, AquaNox: The Angel's Tears, but that was outright cancelled for not passing Sony's software quality assurance test! I'm sure the developer could've fixed it, unfortunately they'd already been closed down by that point.

Anyway, it's been a long time since I played Archimedean Dynasty and I've never played this before so I'm not 100% sure what to expect here, but I'm optimistic. I like space shooters and some sky shooters, so I think I could find the fun in a sea shooter.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Nox (PC)

Nox title screen
Developer:Westwood Pacific|Release Date:2000|Systems:Windows, OS X

This week on Super Adventures, I'm writing about Nox. Not the Android Emulator, I'm talking about the classic Diablo 'em up video game by Westwood. Not the Westwood that made Command and Conquer and Blade Runner, I'm talking about the other one, Westwood Pacific. They're the ones who made the 'Christopher Lloyd in Toontown' adventure game Toonstruck, back when they were known as 'Burst Studios'.

Nox has already made an appearance on Super Adventures, as guest reviewer Ocean guest reviewed it for me. But that was way back in April 2011, when the site was just three months old, so I figured it was about time that I had a look at the game myself. Plus I'm going to justify the existence of this second article right away by giving you some trivia that you won't find in Ocean's post: the word 'nox' is Latin for night or darkness. Here's another fact: the game was released five months before Diablo II, which is maybe a bit closer than you want, but much preferable to releasing five months after it.

Okay I'm going to give the game a couple of hours and see how it plays. Oh, I should mention that I'm running the GOG.com version, and I've installed the 'Nox GUI' SDL patch to increase the chances of it working properly for me on Windows 10.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Brian the Lion Starring In: 'Rumble In The Jungle' (Amiga) - Guest Post

This week on Super Adventures, mecha-neko has returned to tell you a tale about a lion, called Brian.

Brian the Lion Amiga title screen
Developer:Reflections|Release Date:1994|Systems:Amiga 500, 1200, CD32

Ray and I have played more than a few mascots and almost-mascots for the Amiga, but it's time to show you the last, and best. Introducing Brian the Lion.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Super Adventures in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality

Super Adventures is finally back, a little later than planned. That's partly because my internet broke, partly because I've been really busy, and partly because even looking through all the games in this new itch.io bundle took forever:

There's 742 1000 1427 1509... at least 1637 DRM free games, asset packs, books, soundtracks, tools, etc. in it! It's like one of those 1000+ game compilation CDs they used to make, except here it's not just stuff you've never heard of.

It includes games like Celeste, Nuclear Throne, Pyre, Receiver, Cook Serve Delicious 2, Heavy Bullets, Minit, A Short Hike, Night in the Woods, Glittermitten Grove, Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass, Paranautical Activity, Oxenfree, Pikuniku, 2064: Read Only Memories, Super Win the Game, Octodad: Dadliest Catch and They Bleed Pixels. Not saying that I played any of those ones specifically for this article, but they're in there. I already wrote about They Bleed Pixels a while back though, it's good. Minit too.

I've been meaning to write about some of the games you can find on itch.io for ages, so I'm glad this is finally motivating me to do something. Speaking of motivating people to finally do things, it's also raised $5,000,000 (so far) for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Community Bail Fund to help support the Black Lives Matter movement in their efforts to get things moving. So if I sound like I'm trying to advertise this bundle and persuade you to donate money to get it, that's because I am.

But that means I have to get this written and published while the bundle's still for sale, so I'm feeling a little bit rushed here! I did the maths, and it turns out I don't have time to download, play and review 900 or so games, so I've narrowed it down to 7. I don't have time to properly play and review them either to be honest, but I can definitely give you some hastily typed words about the 30 minutes I tried them for. Plus I've got a bonus review from a friend to show off an extra game and boost the word count a little, so you've got that to look forward to as well.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Disco Elysium (PC)

Disco Elysium menu screen
Developer:ZA/UM|Release Date:2019|Systems:Windows (PS4 + Xbox One later in 2020)

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing Disco Elysium, a brand new game that's the opposite of obscure. Everyone's heard about it, everyone knows about it. But I have to write about it anyway, because it was a surprise birthday gift and I'd be some kind of ungrateful monster not to. It's a bit of a roll of the dice though, seeing as I could end up writing a whole essay here on why it's bad and I hate it. Which would be awkward.

Fortunately the game's got immense critical acclaim, so it seems like a pretty safe bet. In fact I often hear it compared to The Outer Worlds, which came out shortly afterwards and deals with some of the same themes. Or, to be more accurate, I heard people saying "Outer Worlds' biggest problem was that it came out right after Disco Elysium instead of right after Fallout '76". It's apparently narratively masterful in a way that makes the writing in other video games look like video game writing by comparison, plus it's got a name that sounds like a boat in a James Bond movie.

It originally had the title No Truce with the Furies attached to it, but that was apparently only ever supposed to be the project name. Personally I think they made the right choice going with Disco Elysium, as it's got a nice sound to it, it's distinctive, and it's a lot quicker to type. Plus 'disco' is also a Latin word meaning 'I learn' and the game's all about learning things, so it's being clever.

Okay, this is a story driven detective game based around mysteries, so this article is inevitably going to be full of SPOILERS. But I'm only going to play it for exactly one in-game day, so I hopefully won't ruin too much of it for you if you haven't played it yourself. Plus I'm going to pick all the boring options to ensure there's no risk of anything interesting happing and preserve all the wondrous fuck ups for you to discover on their own.

I should also mention that the game is full of bad words, depressing themes, gruesome descriptions, and opinions about politics, just to let you know what you're in for. Not that you'll necessarily see much of it in my article.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Ace Combat 2 (PSX)

Developer:Namco|Release Date:1997|Systems:PlayStation

This week on Super Adventures, I'm playing Ace Combat 2: the classic PlayStation dogfight 'em up by the people who've watched Top Gun.

It was made by the legendary developer/publisher Namco, who started creating their own video games in 1978 and didn't stop until 2005, when some mad businessmen fused them with Bandai Games to create a hybrid creature called Bandai Namco. Though the interesting thing about Namco, is that they were responsible for games like Pac-Man, Galaga, Time Crisis, Ridge Racer, Splatterhouse, Soulcalibur, Tekken, Klonoa and Katamari Damacy, and I somehow haven't covered a single one of them yet. I wrote about Tales of Symphonia by Namco Tales Studio (formerly known as Wolf Team), but I think this is actually the first proper Namco-developed game on Super Adventures!

Here's another fact for you: for some reason the first game was renamed Air Combat when it was released in the West, even though the Japanese game's title was in English to begin with. This is doubly weird and confusing because the Ace Combat series is the successor to Namco's arcade flight sim series... called Air Combat. I could understand why they'd want to use that brand if it already had some value in the West, but it doesn't seem like the arcade games ever made it outside of Japan. Anyway by Ace Combat 2 everyone was using the same name and the confusion was over (until the sequels).

You might be curious why I'm starting with the second game. I've got a few reasons, but I think the main one is that I actually finished it, many years ago, and I'm really curious how the hell that happened. Is it really that good, or just really really short?

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Full Throttle: Remastered (PC) - Part 2

Congratulations, you've discovered the second and final part of my epic two-part Full Throttle: Remastered article! If you're looking for the first part, it's right here: PART ONE.

I spent all of part one just getting out of the town at the start, but part two covers the entire rest of the game, so if you haven't played the game before and have any interest in going into it without the plot and puzzles ruined, it's probably best not to read anything below this SPOILER WARNING.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Full Throttle: Remastered (PC) - Part 1

Full Throttle Remastered title screen
Remastered - Developer:Double Fine|Release Date:2017|Systems:Win, PS4, PS Vita
Original Game - Developer:LucasArts|Release Date:1995|Systems:MS-DOS, Win & Mac OS

This week on Super Adventures, it's the legendary LucasArts classic, Full Throttle! Remastered!

It seemed like a good time for me to get around to this one, with the original game's 25th anniversary being just around the corner. It came out on April 20th so I'm a month early, but Super Adventures is taking a break during April (and May) so I'm playing it now.

I've played the classic Full Throttle before, in fact I've beaten the game, but I've forgotten almost everything about it since then. I'm fairly sure I used a guide to get through it, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. I used guides all the time back then, because assumed I wouldn't make it though a game without them.

I do know one thing about the game though: it actually sold pretty well, better than any LucasArts adventure that came before it (but maybe not as well as The Dig), which the company appreciated as it also cost a fortune (though maybe not as much as The Dig). It's possible that all the expensive CD-filling cutscenes were the reason the game was such a big hit for them, though some have theorised it was actually because it had a big explosion on the box art.

Okay, I don't usually do SPOILER warnings on Super Adventures, but I'm going to play through the first third of the game and spoil a big chunk of the puzzles and story, so you might not want to read this if you haven't played through it before.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Psychic Detective (MS-DOS) - Guest Post

This week on Super Adventures, I've dragged mecha-neko back to talk about... whatever this is. Looks a bit like a game, maybe? Or perhaps a direct to video movie? Either way, I hope you enjoy reading about it at least twice as much as he enjoyed playing it.

My next game was going to be a cutesy platformer on the Amiga, but after unsuccessfully fighting my way through VectorMan, I thought we could all do with a change.

Psychic Detective title screen DOS
Developer:Colossal Pictures,
Electronic Arts Studios
|Release Date:30th November 1995|Systems:MS-DOS, 3DO, PlayStation

So instead, I've gone back in time and found a full motion video interactive movie, just for you. You can tell it's an interactive movie! Look, it's got a strip of film! And a CD-ROM!

Okay, you can stop looking now. Seriously, stop. That mess can't be good for your eyes.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance (PS2)

Metal Gear Solid 2 substance title screen playstation 2 PAL
Developer:Konami|Release Date:2003 (Sons of Liberty 2001)|Systems:PS2, PS3, Vita, Xbox, Xbox 360, Windows

March 4th, 2000, two decades ago, the second and most popular of the sixth-generation consoles was released in Japan. That means that today is the PlayStation 2's 20th birthday!

My first idea was that I could play one of its original launch titles to celebrate, but then I looked at what they were and decided that I could do better. So this week on Super Adventures, I'm playing Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty! Actually to be precise I'm playing the re-released Substance edition (PAL version) but really it's the same thing. They were just getting people to double dip for a handful of special missions. Well okay, lots of handfuls of special missions.

I actually beat this game once, many years ago, on PC. So I'll have a vague idea of what I'm doing but not what buttons to press to do it. Though one thing I definitely haven't forgotten, is how great the opening theme by Harry Gregson-Williams is. I think it sounds even better the original Metal Gear Solid theme by TAPPY, which sounds better than "The Winter Road" by Russian composer Georgy Sviridov. Unfortunately it also sounds kind of similar, and the other song was written back in the 70s, so Konami had to stop using their own MGS theme in the MGS games. This means they won't get to use it in the movie either!

Okay, I'm going to be playing the game up to a little bit into the Plant chapter, so there'll be SPOILERS for the first two hours or so. I might also mention at some point that the story becomes a bit of a confusing mess by the end and the game left a lot of questions that weren't answered for seven years.

Friday, 28 February 2020

Super Adventures with the Xbox Game Pass, Part 4

This week on Super Adventures, I hope you don't mind that I'm still writing about all these games I played with my month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate last November, because I'm on the last part now and I'm not quitting until it's done.

Once again I should point out that I only played most of these games for an hour or so, long enough for me to get distracted by something else and turn them off, but not long enough for me to accurate assess the majority of their content or the intricacies of their gameplay. I'll also point out that these aren't just Xbox games! I played most of them on PC, and a lot of them can be played on lots of systems.

You can find part 1 here: Part 1.
Part 2 is here: Part 2.
Part 3 is here: Part 3.

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Super Adventures with the Xbox Game Pass, Part 3

This week on Super Adventures, I'm still writing about the games I played last November when I bought a month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. I'm up to part 3 now because it turns out you can play a lot of games in one month if you really rush. You probably shouldn't write about them though, because you likely won't have played them enough to come to grips with the gameplay or get a proper impression of the content.

But I'm doing it anyway because I want to show some games off and I'm hoping someone reading these will discover something new they end up playing and loving, even if I didn't love it myself.

You can find part 1 here: Part 1.
And part 2 is here: Part 2.

The final part is coming tomorrow!

Semi-Random Game Box