Author Topic: FPS NIGHTMARES  (Read 12436 times)

Lemming

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FPS NIGHTMARES
« on: November 17, 2019, 12:23:16 PM »
A while ago I tried to experience the entire genre of FPS games chronologically, playing key entries. I fucked it up, my list was shit, I got bored.

But now, the project returns.



Basically I'm going to try and play all notable FPS games from 1992 to 2019, and a lot of shitty low-budget awful ones too. You can play along at home, but be warned, I am unemployed, so I'll take the lead almost instantly. I'll be done with the whole list by the time you're on Doom 2.

The goal of this is for us to marvel at the insane nut-busting breakneck speed at which technology and game design progressed through the 90s. We will awe at the change from Wolf3D to Doom, from Doom to Quake, Quake to Half-Life, and so on. After that, John Romero will make us his bitch. Subsequently, we'll despair as we watch the genre die a fucking death in real-time during the 2000s. Finally, we'll suffer through some of the "old school inspired" indie shooters that have been shat out at a rate of knots over the last few years.

We'll also get into huge blow-out fights about which games are shit and why.

Here's a preliminary list (subject to change in that I'll bet nobody can even find copies of half of this shite), throw some titles into the mix if you think they're worth checking out. I've bolded entries I've already played at some point in the past.

1992
Wolfenstein 3D

1993
The Terminator: Rampage
Doom

1994
Corridor 7: Alien Invasion
Operation Body Count
Doom 2
Super 3D Noah's Ark
Marathon
Rise of the Triad
Heretic

1995
In Pursuit of Greed
The Terminator: Future Shock
Star Wars: Dark Forces
CyberMage
Killing Time
William Shatner's TekWar
Witchaven
Hexen
Marathon 2

1996
Duke Nukem 3D
Alien Trilogy
Strife
Witchaven 2
Quake
PowerSlave (there's two different games with the same name - I played one but I'm not sure which)
Marathon Infinity
Realms of the Haunting

1997
Blood
Outlaws
Redneck Rampage
Shadow Warrior
Turok
Lifeforce Tenka
Hexen 2
Chasm: The Rift
Star Wars: Jedi Knight
Quake 2

1998
Hexen 2: Portal of Praevus
Spec Ops: Rangers Lead The Way
Rainbow Six
Unreal
NAM
Shogo: Mobile Armoured Division
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Klingon Honor Guard
Jurassic Park: Trespasser
Blood II: The Chosen
SiN
Delta Force
Half-Life
Carnivores
Turok 2
South Park

Alright that's actually it for now because I can't be fucked putting the rest of the list in today and this post will look ugly as fuck with a huge list dangling off the bottom of it like a hemorrhoid. Currently progressing through Wolfenstein 3D, review to follow soon.

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2019, 01:11:02 PM »
No Goldeneye?

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2019, 01:25:53 PM »
I was leaning towards PC games since Goldeneye on an emulator, even with the mouse/keyboard plugin thing, is pretty awkward to play. I suppose its worth throwing on the list along with Perfect Dark and then crossing the emulation-nightmare bridge when we come to it.

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2019, 01:31:27 PM »
Fair enough. It hasn’t held up very well, but it’s seen as important (or was at the time).

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2019, 01:31:47 PM »
You can play Perfect Dark on the Xbone, although it's quite different without the unique shitness of the N64 controller.

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2019, 01:34:30 PM »
Sadly relegated to PC only, but I have endured Perfect Dark (or at least, part of it) on an N64 emulator once before. I'm sure it'll all come back if I start playing, like riding a bike, except the bike has shitty c-buttons.

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2019, 02:25:10 PM »
I used to like 'Blake Stone - Aliens Of Gold' in 1993.

Doom was released 2 weeks later though and that was the end of that.

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2019, 02:42:15 PM »
Alien Breed 3D. Although thinking about it that may be Amiga only.

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2019, 03:11:51 PM »
Wolfenstein 3D (1992)


   

STORY: It's World War 2, and American guy BJ Blazcowikz has been captured and taken to Castle Wolfenstein, which is in fact not a castle, but a surreal Eischer-esque labyrinth of inexplicable doors, portraits of Hitler, and dog kennels.

Escaping from his cell, he fights through the bizarrely well-guarded corridors of the castle to flee to freedom. Immediately after escaping, he goes to another castle, this time with zombies, I wasn't really clear on why even though there's a screen explaining it - I think the German resistance asked him to go there? And after that, it's onto Adolf Hitler himself.

MUSIC: The music is pretty good, but every track loops before too long and starts to drive you up the fucking wall. This track is aptly titled.

Best track - P.O.W

THE VERDICT: Here's the game often credited with creating the FPS genre. That's basically true even if some dickhead always has to swoop in with "OH BUT WHAT ABOUT THIS SHITTY THING FROM A YEAR OR TWO EARLIER???".

To summarise it in a couple words, it's quite good. I played on Bring 'Em On difficulty and it's a good challenge - you're unstoppable as long as you know where enemies are, but as soon as someone creeps up behind you or you charge into a room without checking corners, you get instafucked, as it should be.

There's a bit of a difficulty spike when episode two starts, these zombie guys with guns in their chests just shit you up in a matter of seconds. I had to charge into one of them to get that sick second screenshot you see up there, and I'm sure I was at 100% health before he got one shot on me.

One weird thing is that, unlike virtually every FPS game from this point onwards, there's no unique ammo. You just find clips that will fit all your guns, meaning that the instant you find the MP-40, there's literally no reason to use the pistol. I tried messing around shooting enemies at long distances to see if the MP-40 had some kind of issues with inaccuracy at range or something, but no, it works exactly like the pistol only better. The chaingun is best saved for emergencies but aside from that, you're basically using a single weapon, the MP-40, for the entire game.

So while the shooting mechanics are good, the problem I have with the game is that you spend 80% of the time running round in circles in gigantic mazes. Everything looks exactly the same and it quickly starts to grate as you walk around corpse-laden corridors trying to figure out where the shitty key you need is hidden. I never liked key-based level design in FPS games, but it's much more grating here than it is in the likes of Doom and Heretic. At least key locations make sense in those games, in Wolf3D keys are literally just hidden in the corner of unremarkable rooms, sometimes behind the same furniture sprite you've seen 500 times already on this map. I played this game not long ago, early last year I think, and I think I retained some kind of residual memory of where certain things were because I managed to move through the game much quicker than I thought I would.

I played up to the end of episode three, Die Fuhrer Die, and although three more episodes remain I'm going to call it a day here. I killed Hitler, that's good enough for me, and the thought of walking around increasingly large mazes that look almost exactly like the ones I've just spent a few hours walking around is not especially appealing. Honestly, if you've somehow never played this game and want to try it, or you played it ages ago and want to revisit it, you might as well just play the first episode Escape from Castle Wolfenstein and quit after that. You've basically seen everything the game has going for it by that point, except for the Hitler mages.

It's also kind of cute that the game has lots of treasure scattered around, which increases your score. I'm trying to progress through the game, why the fuck would I care about the number at the bottom of the screen. It feels like a weird holdover from the era and I'm glad its in the game, even if opening a room to find it filled with treasure instead of ammo, health or keys made me roll my eyes and turn right back around.

On a final note, it's worth quickly taking a look at Castle Wolfenstein, the game Wolfenstein 3D is based on. I'm quite a fan of Castle Wolfenstein - for those who haven't played it, it's the same concept as Wolfenstein 3D, except it's a roguelike, and instead of first person, it looks like this:


In Castle Wolfenstein, you don't race around gunning everyone you meet down - you can get disguises to move unmolested through guard posts. You can hold people up by pointing your gun at them, forcing them to surrender and hand their keys over to you. You can try to move stealthily, avoiding guard patrols.

It feels weird to say about something as seminal and game-changing as Wolfenstein 3D, but it's actually a step down from Castle Wolfenstein in a lot of ways. I wonder if there were any big Wolfenstein fans who felt that way in 1992, bemoaning that their nice creative stealth game had been turned into a relatively mindless FPS, the way fans of Fallout were upset at Bethesda for doing something similar with Fallout 3. I guess it's easier to get away with switching genres and stripping out features if you create a good game that happens to kickstart an entire genre in the process.

But yeah, it's good overall. Next game: The Terminator: Rampage (1993)

FINAL RATING: 3 Severely Injured BJ Heads out of a possible 5
« Last Edit: November 17, 2019, 05:51:58 PM by Lemming »

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2019, 03:14:19 PM »
I used to like 'Blake Stone - Aliens Of Gold' in 1993.

Doom was released 2 weeks later though and that was the end of that.

Oh yeah. I've never played that but I'm interesting in playing as many decent pre-Doom FPS games as possible to try and get more of a feel for how much of a big deal Doom was at the time. Added it to the list.

Alien Breed 3D. Although thinking about it that may be Amiga only.

Added this too. It should be possible to get it going on an Amiga emulator.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2019, 03:39:09 PM »
Die Fuhrer Die
That's German for "The Leader The".

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2019, 03:43:01 PM »
Nothing to add, but this looks like a cool project and I want to follow along.

Have fun!

madhair60

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2019, 05:10:05 PM »
Great thread

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2019, 05:36:08 PM »
Please award different percentage scores for Lastability, Fun factor, etc.

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2019, 05:49:32 PM »
Will adopt a 5-point rating system. Have added a respectable 3/5 rating for Wolf3D.

BeardFaceMan

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2019, 06:47:37 PM »
Is it easy to play the old games like Hexen and Heretic on modern PCs? I have a few of those old school FPS games on Steam but never really got to playing them because they wouldn't run properly on my Windows 10 PC. Or is there just some obvious setting I need to change?

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2019, 07:19:33 PM »
Looking forward to Rise of the Triad. It was shit, but I have fond memories of the bad guys begging for their lives before exploded them.

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2019, 07:30:38 PM »
Is it easy to play the old games like Hexen and Heretic on modern PCs? I have a few of those old school FPS games on Steam but never really got to playing them because they wouldn't run properly on my Windows 10 PC. Or is there just some obvious setting I need to change?

Both Hexen and Heretic can be run through ZDoom, a great source port for Doom engine games. The Hexen and Heretic WAD files from the Steam versions work perfectly with it.

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2019, 08:45:24 PM »
The Terminator: Rampage (1993)



   

STORY: Movies aren't my thing, by and large, and so my memory of the Terminator movie is very limited. As a result, no clue what's going on here. I briefly thought I was the titular Terminator, but I think I'm actually just a guy. We've been sent to the past, which is represented by an office building, to shoot at robots. We're going to destroy SkyNet, and that's about all I gathered. To do this, we must piece together a VTEC plasma rifle, which is scattered around the complex in parts, meaning we've got to search for them all. Yay!

MUSIC: Who knows? Sound wouldn't play on DOSBox. To avoid playing in absolute silence, I put some internet radio on, which resulted in me battling terminators to the soundtrack of Finally by CeCe Peniston. Not bad, I guess?

THE VERDICT: Ok, before anything else, let's get this out of the way: what the fuck is happening with the controls? You're made to pick between three options: Mouse, Joystick and Keyboard.

All of them exclude the other, meaning you either play entirely with the keyboard or just with the mouse. Moving is stupid with the mouse, while turning and aiming is stupid with the keyboard.

Settled on keyboard in the end, but what the fuck? If you pick mouse, the use key is still space on the keyboard, just to mess with you and remind you that the game is still receiving keyboard input, it just won't let you move with it, because fuck you.

Anyway, this feels a lot like the Elder Scrolls Arena engine - no surprise, since I'm pretty sure it is the engine that would go on to produce Arena. But if you thought TES Arena was janky, welcome to hell. This is borderline unplayable. Everything's choppy as fuck, and no amount of fucking with DOSBox cycles can help.

Let's look at the positives first: the graphics are actually great. My screenshots don't show it well at all, but there are textured floors and ceilings, good-looking weapon sprites, animated scenery such as fountains and TV screens showing static, rooms that actually seem to have real purposes like offices, storage rooms, etc. You can even shoot out the TV screens. While the levels are still abstract mazes, the designers did go to a lot of effort to make them seem like a real office building, and the game benefits massively as a result. It must have looked impressive at the time, especially since Wolf3D's Castle Wolfenstein looks nothing like a castle and, later this year, Doom's Phobos base doesn't really look anything like a real believable location. As you advance through the levels, the textures and sprites change too - something Wolfenstein 3D could really have done with. The enemy sprites look like dogshit though, no clue what's going on with those, although when you aim at them, a flattering 3D spinning version of their sprite appears in your targeting thing, which shows what I suppose they're meant to look like.

Another good aspect of this game is the minimap in the bottom right. Like in Arena, entrances and exits are marked with coloured squares on this map, and it's massively appreciated. These levels are big and running around them with no reference on where the fuck you are or where the fuck you're going would wear thing very quickly.

I like the targeting thing I mentioned earlier, it's a cool touch and it lets you know when you're actually hitting an enemy or not, and enemies have good variety - airborne enemies, enemies that rush towards you to explode if they touch you, etc.

That's about it for the good aspects. Onto the bullshit: the combat is basically crap, you just unload on everyone you see. Because you’re choppily moving around and they’re choppily moving around, this means you’ll be lucky to hit unless they’re approaching you in a straight line (which the AI does almost every time).

Look at this by the way:

This "Infiltrator" is invincible and there were like three more identical ones nearby, then a fuckton on the floor below. Is this guy from the movie? I emptied 30 beretta rounds into him before giving up and running for it. Had no idea what the fuck they wanted me to do there. These guys can walk through you, by the way, and they kept magically phasing through my body then shooting me from behind, as I turned around at a rate of 2 degrees per hour thanks to the shitty keyboard-only controls. Cool enemy ability or shitty engine? Anyway, it turns out they’re immune to the pistol or something, and you need heavier firepower to take them on:

It’s a Terminator!!!

After you clear the enemies from a floor, it turns into a methodical map-checking exercise where you walk around going into every room you see on the map trying to get the VTEC rifle parts. It feels a lot like the worst parts of Wolfenstein 3D, and I’m not sure if the presence of the map makes it better or worse. On one hand it’s good to know where you are and what you’re going to check next, on the other hand seeing how much you’ve still got to go and knowing that 95% of the rooms will be empty is demoralizing enough to encourage you to just drop the game right there.

Speaking of dropping the game, I played for nearly two hours and got a few floors in, but I don’t think there’s much more to see or much fun to be had going back to the floors I’ve already been through to try and scavenge the VTEC components, so I’m going to leave it here. I'll try to always finish games to completion during FPS NIGHTMARES but I think I've seen all this one has to offer and it's not fun enough to continue playing for its own sake.

So yeah, fantastic visuals but not much else. Next game: Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (1993)

FINAL RATING: 1 Stupid Control Scheme out of a possible 5

BeardFaceMan

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2019, 08:54:50 PM »
Both Hexen and Heretic can be run through ZDoom, a great source port for Doom engine games. The Hexen and Heretic WAD files from the Steam versions work perfectly with it.

Lovely, I'll give it a go, thank you.

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2019, 01:49:57 AM »
I love this thread.  Top stuff.

I had no idea how Terminator: Rampage passed me by all of these years.  If you had asked me what was the first FPS Terminator game for DOS, I would have confidently replied "Terminator: Future Shock".  I had no idea that a fully sprite based Terminator FPS existed.  I watched a gameplay video of it on Youtube and it does indeed look as janky as all heck.

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2019, 09:23:12 AM »
Great thread!! Lovely stuff. I have two recommendations, if you can call them that:

Substation (1995) on the Atari ST. Should be fine in an emulator. I wanted to play this so much but I only had an STfm and you needed an STE to run it. Very very grey.

Star Trek Generations (1997). Seeing Klingon Honor Guard on your list reminded me of the original Star Trek FPS (I think). Lots of puzzles and stuff. I found this absolutely terrifying for some reason. There's a mission where you're Troi dressed up as a Romulan going undercover. I seem to remember you can blow your cover and all hell breaks loose. Pretty ahead of its time but it obviously looks total cack next to Quake 2.

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2019, 10:24:53 AM »
There was also 'Terminator - SkyNET' in 1996 which I remember having to play at a friend's house because it didn't run on my PC. Really good at the time.

madhair60

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2019, 10:34:24 AM »
You can get all these games gussied up to work on Windows 7/10 on The Collection Chamber and Zomb's Lair, two sites I have no idea why they're not more popular.

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2019, 11:39:33 AM »
You can get all these games gussied up to work on Windows 7/10 on The Collection Chamber and Zomb's Lair, two sites I have no idea why they're not more popular.

This is an absolutely revelation to me!  Thank you for bringing these sites to my attention.  I'm downloading a bunch of stuff right now.  I'm particularly excited for the Terminator Collection, as I've been waiting an absolute age in the hopes that GOG might eventually add Future Shock and Skynet to its store, but now that wait is over and the best part is that the price is my favourite kind; free!

Ta very much!

madhair60

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2019, 11:54:12 AM »
Aren't they just the fucking best?

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2019, 03:27:42 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions, added the games to the list. Not sure how I missed that Star Trek one when I was looking for games for the initial list.

Thanks madhair60 for the sites, these fucking rock. Glad to see Collection Chamber has a lot of the games on the list.

Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold (1993)

   

STORY: Some fucking maniac called Dr Goldfire is dicking about with mutants. It's up to Blake Stone to go to six key locations to absolutely fuck shit up and kill all Goldfire's strongest mutants before they can overrun the Earth.

MUSIC: Not bad. No tunes stick in the mind, but they're good background music.

Best track: Hiding. Sounds like Pump Up The Jam by Technotronic! MAKE MY DAY.

THE VERDICT: By all accounts, this game was overshadowed by the fact that Doom came out a matter of days after it. That coloured my playthrough of it, too - knowing that it's so close to Doom makes it sort of weirdly sad to play. It's a good game and surpasses Doom in a couple ways, but a Wolfenstein 3D clone - even a top quality one like this that expands on Wolfenstein 3D in so many ways - can't stand up to Doom.

So let's put aside Doom and compare this game to what came before it, not what came days later. Compared to Wolfenstein 3D, this is outstanding - better graphics and much more varied visuals are immediately apparent. Wolfenstein 3D's limited enemy roster has been replaced by a fairly decent selection of enemies, each demanding slightly different strategies to deal with them.

There's a map which is revealed as you play, and it's an awesome addition to the game. It even tells you exactly where keycards are located - this works because levels are generally designed around exploring until your map reveals which room you need to reach, and then trying to find the route into that room.

One thing that differs from Wolfenstein 3D and Terminator is that this game incorporates movement into combat. In Wolfenstein 3D, everyone but the Hitler mages is equipped with hitscan guns. If you're stood in the open, you get hit. In Blake Stone, however, many mutants fire projectiles which travel through the air towards you, and so dodging left and right is crucial.

Another good feature is the food tokens system. Instead of just picking up health kits (though there are plenty around), you can collect tokens to spend at food dispensers for a small health boost.

The most interesting feature of this game is the informant system. Some of the scientists you meet through the levels are actually non-hostile and will give you tokens and advice. The twist is that they have the exact same sprites as hostile scientists, meaning you not only have to hold fire whenever you see any scientist (some who will open fire on you as soon as they see you), you also have to go up and actually speak to them to confirm whether they're hostile or not. If they are, they whip their gun out in no time flat and blast you right in your dipshit face. This feature could piss people off, but I really love it. Shooting informants by mistake results in a unique death-cry of "NOOO!", and every time I heard it I winced for real. This is real emotional storytelling in gaming, everyone. The only time this system is bullshit is if one of the informants dumbly wanders into a battle zone where you're already firing on people and gets torn apart in the crossfire.

Hey, speaking of getting torn apart, what the fuck is going on with the death animations in this game? They're horrible! It's like Soldier of Fortune! People get holes blown through their chests, limbs blown off, mutants vomit blood and get parts of their bodies blasted away as you fire, and everyone screams in pain. Unless it's cartoonishly over the top, I'm not good with violence and gore in media (you might wonder why I'm doing an FPS playthrough thing then, and that'd be a good question) and this game properly unnerved me with it.

Anyway, final point, this game inherits Wolfenstein 3D's one-ammo-for-everything system, and again there's no real reason to switch between weapons. There are now, however, five weapons. You have a silenced pistol which is actually really cool and can silently eliminate enemies without others nearby being alerted, but let's face it, that's basically a useless ability in a game like this. You then have a regular pistol which is soon rendered obsolete by an SMG, which itself is later rendered obsolete by a twin-barrel SMG thing. Your other weapon is a grenade launcher, which is obviously well adapted to some situations and poorly adapted to others, so you're basically looking at two weapons for your whole playthrough - whichever SMG you have, and the grenade launcher.

I'm on episode five out of six as of writing this review, but I'll finish it up probably later tonight to move on to THE BIG ONE.

FINAL RATING: 3 Absurdly Horrific Death Animations out of a possible 5. Next game: Doom (1993) (yes yes yes yes)

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2019, 03:53:28 PM »
Great review, as always.  I'm really enjoying this thread.  For anyone who's not aware, Ancient DOS Games (AGD) covered Blake Stone a few years back.

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2019, 08:51:28 PM »
Awesome thread mate. Nothing to add other than that.

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2019, 10:30:24 PM »
Doom (1993)



   

STORY: After refusing to fire on civilians and instead attacking the officer who gave the order, a space marine is demoted to a shit assignment on Phobos. Yes, he actually has a backstory, it's in the manual! When a portal to Hell opens and demons and hellspawn flood forth and overrun the facility, it's up to him to run around in circles and pick up keycards before entering Hell itself to close the portal from the other side.

MUSIC: Haha wow, where to start? Everyone already knows the soundtrack.

Best track: E1M9 is the one I always think of first when I think of Doom.

THE VERDICT: First off, I played on the ZDoom source port, not the original engine. This seems self-defeating when the goal here is to try to experience the impact of these games on release, but at the same time, fuck it, ZDoom is better. I've played the original engine version plenty of times, and when comparing this to the three games we've checked out so far I tried to keep in mind all the new additions and features by ZDoom that weren't in the original.

So anyway, this game is ace. There's a functional map, if you can believe it - not a functional but vague one like Blake Stone and not a proper shit one like Terminator, but a real map that fills out in real-time as you explore.

Levels are tightly designed and there's never really any points where you might get stuck wandering around in circles as happened often in Wolfenstein 3D. Finding where to go usually feels intuitive and if you're lost it won't be for long. Keys are placed in fairly logical locations and many levels let you see a keycard before you can actually reach it. In fact, levels are so intuitive that the whole game (episodes one through three, anyway, not Thy Flesh Consumed) took me a couple of hours to blast through just now. Granted, like many people, I've played it enough that most maps are basically committed to memory, but still.

It's interesting how different combat feels in Doom in comparison to the other games so far. Wolf3D, Terminator and Blake Stone force you to take care when fighting even the weakest enemies - a guard in Blake Stone or a soldier in Wolf3D can kill you in seconds if you're not careful. In Doom, even on Hurt Me Plenty difficulty, you're breezing around rooms blasting five or six enemies away at a time with one shotgun blast. The tables turn when you meet more threatening enemies like Hell Barons and Cacodemons but, initially at least, you're unstoppable and legions of enemies fall before you and your shotgun. It's a strange feeling after playing the previous games.

Movement now plays a big role in combat. Dodging fireballs, plasma bolts and lost souls left right and centre is a big part of the game.

At last, we've got unique ammo for different weapons (Terminator technically had this too but who cares). Now all weapons have a role to play, although let's be real, the shotgun just beats the absolute shit out of everything else until you get the rocket launcher. BFG doesn't count, it's a joke weapon that just obliterates everything.

It's easy to see how a new standard was set by Doom. Wolfenstein 3D clones won't cut it anymore (even though we've got a bunch of them up ahead on the list). Developers need to ensure that visual design, enemy variety, weapon variety and level design are all much tighter if they want to match up with Doom.

Speaking of visual design, I love episodes two and three. It's the most bizarre depiction of Hell ever in a work of fiction. The caves with molten rock and walls of screaming faces I get, but why does the UAC base sometimes suddenly appear out of nowhere? Is the portal to hell merging the two worlds together? Looks sick, whatever the explanation is. And on top of level visuals, the monsters are just iconic. The Cacodemon's anus and... whatever the other hole is meant to be always gets a laugh whenever you happen to bump into one from behind.

FINAL RATING: 4 Ouch Faces out of a possible 5. More like 4.5 but we can't let ourselves fall to the temptation of decimal place scores because then everything will just get fucking chaotic. Next game: Corridor 7 (1994)


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