Author Topic: FPS NIGHTMARES  (Read 32093 times)

Zetetic

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #60 on: November 26, 2019, 07:16:08 PM »
Just another post saying "Thanks for these posts!".

Particularly interested what you'll make of Marathon.

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #61 on: November 26, 2019, 08:15:09 PM »
Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 was the best FPS of the 90s. Amazing level design, force powers were fun as fuck, and being released 1997 it was before Star Wars was irredeemable gash. The acting in the cut scenes isn't the best, but they still feel more fun and more "Star Warsy" than any of the films since (low bar, admittedly) .

I feel like it's been forgotten a little in the annals of FPS history coming soon after Doom and just before Half-Life, but I had more fun with JK than either of them and there's definitely not been a better Star Wars FPS since. In fact in 22 years only KOTOR is in the same league if you include any genre of SW game.

Anyway, fun thread, hope you can keep it up, there's some shit games on there.

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #62 on: November 27, 2019, 12:55:44 AM »
I think I remember it too. It appears on Wikipedia's list of FPS games for some reason, I guess because it's got a switchable perspective, but then they don't include other games with changeable perspectives like early Hitman games. Weird.

Eh, it's not that weird considering that Wikipedia is a user generated resource that anyone can edit.  Somebody erroneously added Outcast to the list and nobody has yet removed it because they either haven't noticed that it shouldn't be on there, or they can't be arsed to make the edit themselves.

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Why has Noah plastered the walls of his ark with framed pictures of himself? It surely can't be for the benefit of the animals, which therefore leads me to surmise that it's so that he can admire his own visage, wherever he may daine to set foot.  Bloody narcissist!

Noah is on his ark, but the animals (mainly goats???)...

Well, after all, does Genesis 6:20 not state 'Two thousand each of half a dozen different kinds of animal, but mostly goats, will come to you to be kept alive and pelted in the face with food stuffs'?  No.  No, it does not.

Why is the game called Super 3D Noah's Ark by the way? I get the Noah's Ark part, but why 3D? There was no 2D Noah's Ark game in the same series to warrant the 3D label. And "Super"? Did they just see "Super Mario" and think "yeah, fuck it, that's the way to name videogames"?

To be fair, this was a common way of titling games for the SNES.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 01:34:27 AM by Jim Bob »

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #63 on: November 27, 2019, 01:06:38 AM »
Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 was the best FPS of the 90s. Amazing level design, force powers were fun as fuck, and being released 1997 it was before Star Wars was irredeemable gash. The acting in the cut scenes isn't the best, but they still feel more fun and more "Star Warsy" than any of the films since (low bar, admittedly).

I replayed Dark Forces and Jedi Knight earlier this year.  The latter is indeed a brilliant game (made all the better by the recent neural network upgrade and enhanced models/effects patches),  It's a game that I spent a large portion of my teenage years replaying over and over again.  However, what greatly surprised this time around is that I actually preferred Dark Forces to its sequel, as I found that the mission design (some of the environmental puzzles are borderline genius - the detention facility mission with its elevator shafts deserves a special mention) and general atmosphere to be superior to Jedi Knight.

They're both great games though and Jedi Knight certainly benefits from the addition of FMV cutscenes* and a lightsaber.  The two sequels which followed (Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy) were disappointing by comparison.

*Although, I noticed that there was in fact one tiny FMV cutscene in Dark Forces; when Boba Fett first makes his appearance.  That means that particular 3 second clip may well have been the first official live action Star Wars footage shot since 1985's Ewoks: The Battle for Endor!

Jerzy Bondov

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #64 on: November 27, 2019, 09:08:30 AM »
*Although, I noticed that there was in fact one tiny FMV cutscene in Dark Forces; when Boba Fett first makes his appearance.  That means that particular 3 second clip may well have been the first official live action Star Wars footage shot since 1985's Ewoks: The Battle for Endor!
Didn't know that. Rebel Assault II is the same year - 1995 - so that might have been shot first. Something must have happened to me between 1995 and 1999 that gave me the ability to identify shit Star Wars because I thought RAII was amazing.

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #65 on: November 27, 2019, 10:21:02 AM »
Didn't know that. Rebel Assault II is the same year - 1995 - so that might have been shot first. Something must have happened to me between 1995 and 1999 that gave me the ability to identify shit Star Wars because I thought RAII was amazing.

Haha.  I too was besotted with Rebel Assault II as a teenager.  I must have completed it at least 30 times back in the day.  Those FMV graphics were incredible at the time (even my Dad, who's almost entirely nonplussed by games, cooed at the visuals and when his friend came over for dinner, insisted that I boot the game up in order to show it off).  In fact, the awesomeness of the newfangled gaming technology was so immense that the game kept crashing my PC on the second level, resulting in me having to upgrade my computer to a whopping 16MB of ram just to handle the sheer spender and magnificence of it all.

I replayed it a couple of years ago and it's utter cack.

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #66 on: November 27, 2019, 01:45:40 PM »
They don't call it Marathon for nothing. I just got to the Phfor ship and was certain I'd reached the endgame but apparently there's still a ton left to go. Excellent game so far though, no idea why I never played this before.

Why has Noah plastered the walls of his ark with framed pictures of himself? It surely can't be for the benefit of the animals, which therefore leads me to surmise that it's so that he can admire his own visage, wherever he may daine to set foot.  Bloody narcissist!

Blasphemous too, since he's meant to have no idols other than God. I wonder if they're actually pictures of God, Noah's best mate, so he can have the opportunity to worship wherever he goes. At the same time, he decorated the lower decks of the ark in episode six with rubber duck decals so maybe he's just a complete lunatic.

Mister Six

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #67 on: November 27, 2019, 03:24:53 PM »
Some suggestions for other games, now the remit has been broadened a bit:

Quarantine (1994) and Quarantine 2: Road Warrior (1995; what a cocky title!) - using the Doom engine (I think?) to make a far-future driving/action SIM where you play a murderous taxi driver helping a resistance to fight oppression or something. I dunno. I was mildly obsessed with the Quarantine 2 demo at the time, especially the way the windscreen wipers would scrape blood off your window if you flattened a pedestrian.

BLAM! Machinehead (1996) - another demo that I loved, although we're probably stretching "FPS" too far. You zoom about on a hoverbike equipped with satisfyingly chunky machineguns and blast stuff to kingdom come. It is a first-person game and it does involve shooting, so does it count? I dunno. Great title though.

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #68 on: November 27, 2019, 04:44:00 PM »
Thanks for suggestions, Quarantine looks awesome. I think they all probably fit the loose definition of FPS we're using, along with stuff like 1995's Descent.

Marathon (1994)



   

(This is the Aleph One port, which apparently uses an upgraded Marathon 2 engine. Check it out here.)

STORY: The gigantic colony ship Marathon (which is built into the moon Deimos!) is establishing a colony on the planet of Tau Ceti. When a security guard returns to the ship from the planet-side colony, Marathon is in chaos as soldiers of a strange alien race swarm through the corridors, slaughtering any humans they find. On top of that, the ship is run by three AI, one of which has gone "rampant" (apparently that just means "insane") and is in contact with the aliens. With Marathon and the colony itself both under threat, and resistance to the aliens disorganised and spread thin (because the rest of the security force is just useless), the lone guard will have to work with the remaining AI to launch a counter-strike against the aliens in time to rescue the countless lives on the ship and the colony below.

MUSIC: Mainly good and helps the lonely atmosphere a lot. I wish it was more varied though, especially after you (spoiler) return from the alien ship after freeing the enslaved alien race. Come on, I'm back aboard the Marathon, the tide of battle is turning, and I'm going ballistic with my new alien friends and my big fuck-off flamethrower. At least play some silly rock music or something rather than just more spooky ambient stuff.

THE VERDICT: Great weapon variety, great enemy variety, great setting and atmosphere. Apparently Mac users considered this to be their own competitor to Doom at the time. I don't think there's really much comparison - they're two different games that play very differently and try to achieve different things - but this definitely has all the hallmarks of being a flagship game for Mac, the same way Doom does for PC.

Graphics are fantastic (albeit sometimes ruined by really odd texture work). Again, I played a source port but it doesn't look too different from the original game as far as I can tell, just sharper textures.

Weapon variety is excellent, and all weapons feel unique. The assault rifle is awesome - it's specifically stated to be an unreliable piece of shit, and sure enough, bullets fly everywhere. You end up having to use it more akin to a shotgun, by rushing up to enemies, blasting them with half a magazine of ammo, and then quickly running. There's also a plasma pistol thing that can charge shots and works on the couple of vacuum-based levels, a flamethrower which feels too horrific to use (enemies scream in pain when hit and turn into a hideous charred corpse sprite), a rocket launcher which has the craziest rocket jump distance I've ever seen in a game, a pink alien thing that shoots a volley of powerful shots then permanently disintegrates, and more.

Enemies are similarly varied. Basic troops form the backbone of the enemy force but there are also a race of enslaved aliens who shoot plasma bolts, bug things that explode when they reach you (BULLSHIT ENEMY), flying wasp things, armoured bastards who can resist flamethrower attacks, more armoured bastards who have the same assault rifle as you and can grenade spam just like you, etc.

Marathon also has many friendly NPCs, something we've only seen in Operation Body Count before now (not counting Arena's town-dwelling NPCs or the FUCKING IDIOT INFORMANTS from Blake Stone). This is pretty cool in and of itself, even if all they do is scream "THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!!!" and get brutally killed before your eyes, but there's another very memorable feature. Around the mid-game, you'll see humans running towards you as they normally do. As they approach, you might notice something's not quite right - they don't scream for help, they don't seem to fear the aliens, and they're running directly towards you, mirroring your every move to get closer to you. If you don't panic and run at this point, you'll soon find them exploding against you on contact, dealing substantial damage to you and revealing hideous alien worms bursting forth from their corpse. It's one of the oldest sci-fi body horror ideas ever, but it's the first thing I've seen in any game so far in this thread that's actually properly creeped me out for a minute or two. Until that point, humans have been a welcome sight, and something to protect - now, you're not sure if anyone you meet is a real person or about to shower you with an explosion of acidic blood. If you get too panicky and shoot too soon before you're absolutely sure you're dealing with an alien mimic (or infested human or whatever they are), you might see the brutal sight of red human blood splattering out of your target as they scream in pain. Oops. It's a mechanic that could be easily annoying as hell but ends up really working and being one of the most impactful elements of the game. Not to mention how sometimes the fake humans just stand there glaring at you, completely still, until you edge closer to try and confirm their identity at which point they suddenly bolt towards you. Terrifying.

In fact, the entire game has a weirdly disturbing atmosphere. The ship is mainly a web of dark corridors (the lights taken out by an EMP blast apparently). It's an industrial hellscape of cramped maintenance tunnels, cavernous metal rooms with broken or half-functional machinery, giant halls full of cryogenic containment pods (I guess that's where the colonists are?), and to make it all worse, the messages you're sent by your AI handler mention that any contact with Earth will take years. The ship is filled with people - namely Pfhor soldiers - but feels completely desolate and alone.

That's before you get onto the Pfhor ship, which I find much more effective at creating an alienating and scary place than the Hell levels from Doom, for example. The alien ship is shrouded in darkness much like the Marathon, but you come across human corpses in various states of dissection, or trapped in large gel-filled prisons. It's all standard sci-fi stuff but something about the way it's presented makes it properly unsettling. There's also virtually no ammo for your regular human weapons here. You'll need to pick up weird one-use pink alien things (a living weapon in a game before Half-Life, ooh) which aren't super plentiful in themselves.

Something that's really bullshit about Marathon is the amount of platforming puzzles. I like platforming in FPS games, controversially. What I don't like is platforming in a game where movement is slippery and imprecise and you can't jump at all. Several times, Marathon asks you to make large jumps by just walking off a ledge really fast and hoping you reach the other side instead of plummeting into the pit below. Combined with sparse save points, these imprecise and fuckup-prone platforming sections can end up setting you back 10 minutes or more... and if you reach the platforming section again and fuck up a second time, you're fucked.

The save system is a double edged sword. Not being able to savescum does ratchet up the tension, but the amount of bullshit traps and insta-kill zones in the game mean that you'll routinely lose minutes worth of gameplay. Often your last save point will even be on a previous map, which is just fucking annoying. The game also has a few leap of faith moments - usually lava-filled tunnels where you can't see if there's a way out on the other side, but leaping into the lava is the only way to progress. There's a particularly bad one on the very last level. I made it out of the lava first try, but only barely with very little health remaining, and if I'd failed I would have had to redo the entire final level.

FINAL RATING: Really high production values and fun gunplay, with a lot of creative level ideas, hampered only by BASTARD PLATFORMING and the save system occasionally being slightly too punishing. 4 Possibly An Alien Maggot-Filled Impostor Things out of a possible 5 seems like a fair score here.


Next game: Alien vs Predator (1994)

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #69 on: November 27, 2019, 09:54:44 PM »
Quarantine (1994) and Quarantine 2: Road Warrior (1995; what a cocky title!) - using the Doom engine (I think?) to make a far-future driving/action SIM where you play a murderous taxi driver helping a resistance to fight oppression or something. I dunno. I was mildly obsessed with the Quarantine 2 demo at the time, especially the way the windscreen wipers would scrape blood off your window if you flattened a pedestrian.

I love the Quarantine games!  So much so that I own not one, but two of the original big box copies for PC...


Sadly, as a kid I was never able to find a big box release of Quarantine 2: Road Warrior, much less two, so I had to resort to buying a puny little jewel case edition.  Booooo!


They're immensely underappreciated games and the first game was way ahead of its time.  It's also got a fantastic FMV intro, which was sadly kind of hidden because it required the user to use a special DOS command when launching the game (it was a glorious day when I found that command buried within the manual, weeks after having already been playing the game - I used that command and watched the intro from start to finish every single time that I booted up the game from that point on).

It's also interesting to note that Quarantine is the second game that I know of which allowed the player to switch to a side view and perform drive-by shootings (the first, to the best of my knowledge, being Outlander for the Megadrive), way before the likes of Grand Theft Auto III introduced the mechanic to a wider audience...


Oh, and it has one of my favourite old school copy protection methods (second only to the dial-a-pirate wheel for The Secret of Monkey Island); a pedestrian weight to impact ratio chart...


FUN FACT: The chart was coloured red with black text, to make photocopying it an impossibility.

Thanks for suggestions, Quarantine looks awesome. I think they all probably fit the loose definition of FPS we're using, along with stuff like 1995's Descent.

Aye, if Descent qualifies, then so does Quarantine.  Something which pleases me greatly.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 10:41:52 PM by Jim Bob »

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #70 on: November 27, 2019, 10:58:48 PM »
Quarantine really looks ace.

Alien vs Predator might have to wait - it's running on an emulator but at about half the speed it should be. There's another emulator that runs it at full speed, but with graphical glitches that make the game virtually unplayable.

The emulator-based travails have begun. I'm sure we have many more to come.

I'll see if I can do anything to get it running better because the game seems excellent with some awesome elements we haven't seen in any game before (Predator has an honor system and the Alien must cocoon enemies to be able to respawn), but it's pretty awkward to play like this. Anyway here's me getting ripped apart by a surprise air duct alien.



If other emulators don't work out we might end up moving straight on to Rise of the Triad and coming back to this (and other console FPS games) later on.

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #71 on: November 28, 2019, 12:01:04 AM »
Aw, it's a shame that you couldn't get Alien vs Predator to run properly.  I never played the Jaguar version (outside of a few minutes on a demo booth inside Rumbelows).  I did own and play the two PC games in the series though.  I'm hoping that you'll eventually cover Aliens vs Predator 2 for the PC because that game is fantastic.

There's a superb opening segment to the alien campaign, where you start as a facehugger, scuttling around stealthily, looking for an isolated host, whom you eventually find and duly impregnate.  Then it switches to the player controlling a chestburster INSIDE the host and you have to eat your way out of his rib cage, before making a hasty retreat to safety, away from the freaked out humans with guns.  Then you evolve to a fully grown xenomorph and the campaign proper begins.  It's absolutely amazing!

Cerys

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #72 on: November 28, 2019, 12:01:12 AM »
Alien Trilogy and Time Crisis are the only two FPS I've ever completed.

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #73 on: November 28, 2019, 12:06:10 AM »
Alien Trilogy and Time Crisis are the only two FPS I've ever completed.

I'm not sure that I'd classify Time Crisis as an FPS.  I mean, technically it is, I suppose, in as much as you're shooting people from a first person perspective but it's better identified as an arcade lightgun game.  Sorry, I'm being pedantic.  It's kind of like the difference between a fighting game and a beat 'em up; both involve punching people from a third person perspective but both are very different types of game.  Anyway, I digress; Time Crisis is a very good game.  Alien Trilogy; eh, not so much (it's very atmospheric though).
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 01:13:19 AM by Jim Bob »

Cerys

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #74 on: November 28, 2019, 12:27:14 AM »
FaIr point, even if it does mean that I've only ever completed one FPS.  I completed Alien Resurrection, but I used the cheats towards the end so it doesn't count.

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #75 on: November 28, 2019, 01:22:06 AM »
FaIr point, even if it does mean that I've only ever completed one FPS.  I completed Alien Resurrection, but I used the cheats towards the end so it doesn't count.

I purchased Alien Resurrection back in 2000, played halfway through the opening level and couldn't for the life of me figure out how to proceed.  I backtracked throughout the level as far as I was able to, to see if I had missed anything, but not a sausage.  Eventually I resorted to restarting the game, only to this time have a security guard drop a vital keycard, which was not collectible on my first playthrough because I hadn't noticed it and the game had allowed me to proceed without it, sealing a door behind me as I progressed, meaning that I was unable to go back and collect it; so yeah, a game breaking design flaw within the very first level.

It pissed me off so much and made me lose any faith in the quality of the game, that I immediately used cheats to skip through the various remaining levels, playing each level for a couple of minutes, before moving on to the next one.  Within one hour of first putting the disc into my Playstation, I was watching the end credits.  One hour of total playtime for a game I spent £40 on (and 30 minutes of that hour was me futilely attempting to proceed within the bugged out first level).  Great bolshy yarblockos to that game and also to the terrible movie it's based upon.

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #76 on: November 28, 2019, 02:16:48 AM »
(and 30 minutes of that hour was me futilely attempting to proceed within the bugged out first level).
"Is this gonna be an FPS, or another bugged hunt?"

Cerys

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #77 on: November 28, 2019, 04:47:01 AM »
Bravo!

madhair60

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #78 on: November 28, 2019, 10:57:40 AM »
I really want to get into Jedi Knight. I played it a bit back in the day but the sheer number of commands intimidated me.

Are you doing Heretic?

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #79 on: November 28, 2019, 01:50:04 PM »
Are you doing Heretic?

One of my favourite games, doing it right after Rise of the Triad.

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #80 on: November 28, 2019, 01:53:24 PM »
How is that the music you instantly think of and not E1M1?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSsfjHCFosw

Yeah boiii

Jerzy Bondov

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #81 on: November 28, 2019, 01:54:58 PM »
This is such a good thread. I hope you have another project lined up for when you're done. Never get a job. If anyone else wants to launch copycat threads as well I'll be all over them.

Just found out about a Build engine game I hadn't heard of - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_Paintbrawl (1998) "The game is considered to be one of the worst video games ever made. Extreme Paintbrawl was developed in two weeks" That's got to be worth a look.

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #82 on: November 28, 2019, 01:58:57 PM »
Speaking of the Build engine, there was a new game made with it this year: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ion_Fury

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #83 on: November 28, 2019, 02:21:53 PM »
Ion Fury looks cool. It'll be interesting reaching the 2010s and seeing a trend of FPS games starting to revert to 90s design principles and visuals with titles like that and Dusk. There was also Amid Evil, Wrath: Aeon of Ruin (which just came out the other week) and I think a couple of others - I haven't played any so we'll be going in FRESH.

How is that the music you instantly think of and not E1M1?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSsfjHCFosw

Yeah boiii

Always found E1M9 to be the catchiest thing ever written. As a little kid I used to get my cousin to go to the secret level (since she knew how to reach it and I was too shit and toddler-y to manage it) and then leave the game running just to hear the music looping. Grim buried memories of life before proper internet access there.

This is such a good thread. I hope you have another project lined up for when you're done. Never get a job. If anyone else wants to launch copycat threads as well I'll be all over them.

I hope someone does a platform-based thread like ARCADE NIGHTMARES or AMIGA NIGHTMARES. The amount of incredible hidden gems (not to mention the overwhelming tide of hilarious total utter shit) that would be revealed would be immense.

Quote
Just found out about a Build engine game I hadn't heard of - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_Paintbrawl (1998) "The game is considered to be one of the worst video games ever made. Extreme Paintbrawl was developed in two weeks" That's got to be worth a look.

"The game was also plagued by bizarre AI behavior, including computer-controlled teammates getting caught near doors and walls or standing still in open areas of the map, but also being able to also exhibit perfect aim."

I'm in.

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #84 on: November 28, 2019, 02:25:33 PM »
If anyone else wants to launch copycat threads as well I'll be all over them.

I've been considering making a thread like this for adventure games for quite some time and this wonderful thread is encouraging me to go ahead and do it at some point in the near future.

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #85 on: November 28, 2019, 02:29:57 PM »
I hope someone does a platform-based thread like ARCADE NIGHTMARES or AMIGA NIGHTMARES.
For a moment there, I thought you meant a thread of every platforming game ever. Such an undertaking would surely be the ruin of anyone brave or foolish enough to attempt it.

madhair60

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #86 on: November 28, 2019, 03:44:59 PM »
I've been considering making a thread like this for adventure games for quite some time and this wonderful thread is encouraging me to go ahead and do it at some point in the near future.

Do it

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #87 on: November 28, 2019, 04:18:01 PM »
Please do the adventure games thread. I love old adventure games but don't have the patience to play many of the 80s/early 90s ones myself due to the occasional insane moon logic puzzles.

Rise of the Triad (1994)



   

STORY: United Nations task force H.U.N.T. have been deployed to an island overrun by cultists. Their boat is destroyed and now they're stuck on the island and will have to battle their way out. That's the whole plot! Really, watch the intro!

MUSIC: It kind of passed me by honestly. Bobby Prince, who made Doom's outstanding soundtrack, worked on it but no tunes really stuck out for me.

THE VERDICT: Well, this is a mixed bag, so to speak. On one hand we've got an amazingly creative set of weapons, enemies and mechanics, and on the other we've got substandard graphics and confusing, samey level design that often seems to stop the game's many positive elements from shining through.

Let's talk about the good first - it's a game with God mode that literally turns you into a god who can vaporise entire rooms of people, and a Dog mode that literally turns you into a dog who can leap through the air to maul people. This alone makes the game worthwhile, the dog snout that shows up on the screen when you suddenly transmogrify into a hound had me properly laughing, moreso when gibs and gore started to fly all around it whenever I leapt into an enemy.

Crazy powers like that aside, we've got a few different weapons - pistol, dual pistols (you pick this up immediately and literally NEVER need to use the singular pistol) and an MP40 form the bullet-based weapons. Interestingly, you've got infinite ammo for all of these. You can run around firing your MP40 continuously for the whole level, never needing to stop or reload. It encourages the kind of reckless adrenaline-fuelled action that the game really wants you to take part in.

We've also got some weapons with limited ammo. The best one is the Firewall, which does exactly what you'd expect, and can roast everything in a large radius in front of you. Also got consistent laughs out of the rocket launcher that's as likely to hit you as it is to hit an enemy thanks to a ludicrous blast radius. "COULD GO YOUR WAY, COULD GO MINE. EITHER WAY, ONE OF US IS GOING DOWN."

Enemies can beg for their lives on low health and play dead, some fantastic features for a 1994 game. Additionally some enemies have cool tricks - one will fire a net at you, trapping you and forcing you to move the mouse rapidly left and right to break free. The net thing got annoying as fuck after the first time, but it's still a straight-up cool and unusual thing to have in the game.

On top of all this, you've got five characters to play as, each with different attributes such as speed and health. Among these characters are two female characters, which I think marks the first female protagonists in a pure FPS game.

So, we've got some genuinely memorable and exciting things, so what's stopping the game from being an out-and-out classic? All these mechanics are wrapped inside some pretty tedious level design. Graphically, there are a range of different textures and objects to differentiate maps, moreso than in something like Wolf3D, but you still spend most of the game racing around very similar looking maps, mostly using the same weapons since you'll probably end up defaulting to the MP40 after a while, fighting similar enemies and encountering similar traps. There's a bit of visual variation between episodes but it all starts to blur into one before long.

Speaking of traps, there are a cool range of them - spinning blades, crusher walls, fireballs etc. Crusher walls are completely busted though, touching them seems to either instantly kill you no matter what or freeze you in place as the wall physically passes through you. Like, you don't have to be crushed against a wall or anything, you just touch a wall that happens to be moving and you're instantly killed.

Levels turn into a hellish maze of jump-pads, crusher walls, locked doors and arenas that look the same as the last five arenas. The key hunting can really start to grate after a while if you can't find what you need, and the map system doesn't really help - it doesn't have a real-time-updated map like Doom or Marathon. This is the Wolfenstein 3D engine, by the way, but it's insanely well disguised.

That leads us to a final curiosity to end the review on: this was originally meant to be a Wolfenstein 3D sequel, apparently. The cult was originally a shadowy organisation that was "the real force behind Hitler". Wow. Oh, also, the final boss made me actually yelp in shock when he transformed into his flying-head form. Go check it out in a video if you've never seen this before, it's a final hilariously absurd touch in a game that's pretty devoted to being hilariously absurd.

FINAL RATING: All the ingredients of a classic are here, but the game never really pulls it together for me. It's inches away from being a classic - tight level design built around letting you use all your ridiculous weapons and powers to maximum effect would easily elevate this game to greatness. As it stands, it's a lot of great and imaginative ideas that don't quite coalesce into a truly fun game, trapped inside some of the most annoyingly maze-like levels we've seen so far. It'll be interesting to see the 2013 remake/re-imagining/whatever it is, which I've never played. Let's go for 2.5 Dog Mode Snouts out of 5. Decimal places are here whether we like it or not.

I'm not cutting one of these in half, so the 2.5 score will have to be represented by 2 whole Dog Mode Snouts:



Next game: Heretic (1994)

Inspector Norse

  • I bash the Bishop well.
Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #88 on: November 28, 2019, 04:48:25 PM »
I've been considering making a thread like this for adventure games for quite some time and this wonderful thread is encouraging me to go ahead and do it at some point in the near future.

I’d be happy to do one for point ’n click racing games based on 19th-century novels

Jim Bob

  • (aka Right Said Brett)
Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #89 on: November 28, 2019, 04:52:03 PM »
I’d be happy to do one for point ’n click racing games based on 19th-century novels

I dunno, man.  You'll be spending the rest of your life working your way through them all, given the abundance of games within the genre.

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