Author Topic: FPS NIGHTMARES  (Read 39143 times)

Zetetic

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #90 on: November 28, 2019, 06:33:21 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.
Devil Daggers, sort of. (Although obviously utterly at odds with the sort-of map learning and exploration that seems to be have a major characteristic so far, with Marathon doubling down on the environmental stuff.)

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #91 on: November 29, 2019, 05:07:12 AM »
System Shock looks great

Dunno if you're planning on it but Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force please (2000)

Second this!

Love the thread btw, never knew I needed a retrospective on FPS games untill you started babbling.

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #92 on: November 29, 2019, 06:58:25 AM »
I am willing to announce that this is the best thread ever.  Objectively.  Fact.  Seriously, this thread is bloody lovely.

madhair60

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #93 on: November 29, 2019, 10:24:59 AM »
I am willing to announce that this is the best thread ever.  Objectively.  Fact.  Seriously, this thread is bloody lovely.

Mate, you must have missed the GamerGate thread

Blue Jam

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #94 on: November 29, 2019, 11:02:11 AM »
Just wanted to add to all the posts saying great thread- cheers lemming, this has been a cracking read.

It's also made me really, really hope the System Shock reboot isn't shit. It's being written by Chris Avellone what done Prey (which is of course massively influenced by System Shock and even contains a few homages to it) so it should be right up my street.

Zetetic

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #95 on: November 29, 2019, 12:51:14 PM »
Not a designer on either of those, AFAIK, though. (But he's usually a mark of some quality.)

Mister Six

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #96 on: November 29, 2019, 02:04:44 PM »
I downloaded the demo from Steam or GOG or something and it certainly looks the part.

Was it Rise of the Triad where if you shrank the FPS window (ie. the actual 3D display to minimum size, it put up a message saying "Get a 286 :)" ?

Would love to do a thread on point n click adventures but I don't have the time. You unemployed don't know how lucky you are!
« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 02:34:37 PM by Mister Six »

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #97 on: November 29, 2019, 03:19:47 PM »
Heretic (1994)



Take a minute to appreciate that art, fucking love it.

   

STORY: Three interdimensional bastards, known as Serpent Riders because they... ride serpents, seek to conquer the cosmos. They can corrupt the minds of the populace of whole worlds. Only the Sidhe Elves are immune to this effect, and when the Riders invade the elves' homeworld, all the other races of the world become enslaved to the Serpent Rider's cult and turn against the elves quickly, massacring most of them in a terrible genocide and sending the rest into hiding. D'Sparil, the youngest Serpent Rider, is left to rule this world while the others move onto another dimension (Hexen!). All seems lost, but one surviving Sidhe Elf, Corvus, decides he's had enough of this bullshit and picks up his strangely-phallic staff and sets out to face down D'Sparil and free his world.

MUSIC: Top soundtrack all around. Similar to Doom, lots of moody atmospheric pieces balanced out by ridiculous guitar-shredding action music.

Best track: Either E1M1 (love the guitar) or E1M5.

THE VERDICT: Do you know why this game is called Heretic? It's because that's what you become if you say you like it more than Doom.

But it's true! It's impossible not to compare them since they share the same engine and basic gameplay, but I somehow always preferred Heretic. I don't know if it's just the dark fantasy theme being more appealing than the demons-from-hell theme, but something about Heretic always edged it just ahead of Doom for me.

So, it's very similar to Doom - well-designed levels based around fighting legions of enemies and performing the occasional platforming or maze puzzle to retrieve keys. Heretic places keys logically, just like Doom, and therefore you're not generally spending half an hour wandering around not knowing what the fuck to do.

There's two big differences from Doom - first is the arsenal of weapons and second is the item system.

Weapons in Heretic generally feel quite weak. Not in a bad way - visual and audio feedback is awesome and all your weapons feel impactful and fun to use, but enemies are tough. Even the weakest enemy in the game, the basic demon-bat-things that swarm you by the dozen, can take a bit of damage. Two direct hits from your crossbow are needed to bring just one of them down. It's a very different feel from most of Doom, where you'd obliterate rooms full of enemies with a few shotgun blasts.

The items system on the other hand adds a whole new level to the game. You can pick up and carry power ups and healing items with you to use later. Invisibility, invulnerability and flight are some effects you'll get from items, to be used whenever you want. There's also the Morph Ovum, an egg which turns all enemies nearby into chickens (this is exactly as fun as it sounds, and you can turn yourself into a chicken too, which gets you a beak similar to Rise of the Triad's dog snout) and one of the coolest items in any videogame ever - the Tome of Power. So cool that they turned it into an actual voiced character in Heretic 2.

The Tome of Power, when used, changes every single weapon in the game to be hilariously overpowered. Your gauntlets (which I think are a straight-up reskin of the chainsaw from Doom) will heal you as you drain enemies health. Your Phoenix Rod, normally a sort of rocket launcher, becomes a flamethrower. The Dragon Claw, which normally rapidly fires a weak blue projectile, starts firing spiked cannonballs that fly out in all directions. Even your shitty basic melee staff which you literally never use starts glowing with blue energy and deals significant damage. The wand, however, the shittiest and saddest weapon in video game history, cannot be saved even by the Tome of Power. I think it fires more projectiles than normal or something, who knows? Fuck the wand.

Heretic can easily rival Doom's enemy roster. There are the aforementioned demon bat things, which hover in the air above (you can look up and down in Heretic) and swoop down to claw you in the face. There are golems, basic melee guys that have a very strange death animation where their ghost flies out of their body. There's powerful claw-things, even more powerful sword-wielding things, the "Iron Lich" (a cacodemon-esque giant flying head made of iron that can shoot a tornado that sucks you up and throws you around), Minotaurs (who can charge into you and send you flying or swing at you with their laser-throwing hammers), weird snake things with tridents that fire projectiles, and some others.

While levels are still abstract, there is an attempt to make them resemble believable places. The first episode sees Corvus fighting through the overrun ruins of his doomed hometown, and that involves fighting through a docks area, destroyed houses, a ruined cathedral and so on. After that, he enters the portal to D'Sparil's dimension to continue his ridiculous revenge campaign, and that involves a lot of twisted architecture and large imposing castles and towers. Finally, he reaches the memorably-designed underwater lair of D'Sparil, which features a lot of water based levels. There's strong art direction which helps to feel like you're progressing on a journey as the game goes on.

Another advantage of this game is that it establishes a story and setting that we'll see again in Hexen and Hexen 2 (and again in Heretic 2 but that's not an FPS, it's like a weird platformer thing - pretty good, if you've never tried it before). It's not a super detailed setting and it's not the world's most gripping story, but it's a great collection of twisted enemies, awesome weapons, murky swamplands, shitty wastelands, evil mages and vaguely-hinted-at cosmic horror that forms the background for a great set of games.

By the way, how do you say "Heretic"? The correct way is obviously "HE-re-tic", the way you'd say "heresy", but for years I've been unable to say it any way other than "he-RE-tic". I got laughed out of a Warhammer 40k discussion for this reason.

FINAL RATING: Like I said, this just edges out Doom for me. It basically is Doom, but with a different mood and a few key differences. If you're a Doom fan but you've never played this, try it out and see what you think.

Let's go all the way. 5 Shittiest Fucking Weapon Ever out of 5. Again, it's not a perfect game or anything, but I don't know how to use ratings.




Next game: Quarantine (1994), and then I think we're done with 1994.

Mister Six

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #98 on: November 29, 2019, 03:23:23 PM »
Just looking through the big list of FPS games on Wikipedia and these one jump out as being fairly prominent, if only on their systems...

Alien Breed 3D (Amiga 1200, CD32, 1995 - possibly the first proper FPS on the Amiga; there was a sequel in 1996)

Gloom (Amiga, CD32, 1995 - the swansong for the Amiga, I think)

Metal Head (Sega 32X, 1995 - the 32X's only FPS, if you care, which you probably shouldn't)

Jumping Flash! (PS1, 1995 - actually more of a 3D platformer so maybe not appropriate but very pretty for the time)

Killing Time (3DO, PC, 1995 - FMV-heavy, story-led FPS with a big nonlinear island setting and no load times. Quite revolutionary for its time, IIRC)

Witchhaven (PC, 1995 - quite pretty FPS/RPG hybrid with varied weapons and power ups)

PO'ed (3DO, 1995 - weirdly has a number of melee weapons including a drill and a frying pan. Had a good sense of humour)

Chex Quest (PC, 1996 - Wolfenstein reskin given away with cereal. Has a big cult following in the US)

Chasm: The Rift (PC, 1997 - main gimmick was that you could chop limbs off enemies and they would keep coming)

FORBES CORPORATE WARRIOR (PC, 1997 - caps were accidental but deserved, I think. Described as "Doom meets Wharton School of Business")

South Park (N64, PC, 1998)
« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 03:35:20 PM by Mister Six »

PlanktonSideburns

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #99 on: November 29, 2019, 04:41:08 PM »
well youve definatley made up FORBES COPORATE WARRIOR

oh no there it is -

madhair60

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #100 on: November 29, 2019, 05:54:33 PM »
Heretic is so fucking good, I adore that whole series even though Hexen is a fucking ARSE ACHE. Heretic is probably the best of the Doom engine games for me after, well, Doom

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #101 on: November 29, 2019, 06:56:00 PM »
God, Jumping Flash was brilliant. Loved that game.

Not strictly a FPS although you can shoot in it.

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #102 on: November 29, 2019, 08:43:18 PM »
well youve definatley made up FORBES COPORATE WARRIOR

oh no there it is -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3i0cZuohNI

The fuck.

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #103 on: November 29, 2019, 10:35:52 PM »
Gloom on Amiga! I remember that, and PO'ed too. FORBES CORPORATE WARRIOR is definitely going on the list, only needed to see five seconds of the above to know we're in for a true classic with that one.

Heretic is so fucking good, I adore that whole series even though Hexen is a fucking ARSE ACHE. Heretic is probably the best of the Doom engine games for me after, well, Doom

Hexen is so good, although definitely an ARSE ACHE. I'm sort of cautiously looking forward to revisiting Hexen 2, I'm less familiar with it than with Hexen 1 but I seem to remember it's even worse for the whole "this switch opened something somewhere, probably on another map behind two other locked switches" shit.

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #104 on: November 29, 2019, 11:00:06 PM »
Gloom

Haha.  I love the no shits given laziness of that title.

Jumping Flash! (PS1, 1995 - actually more of a 3D platformer so maybe not appropriate but very pretty for the time)

The only game which I know of which transcended the troublesome issue of getting around in a first person perspective, within the platforming genre, is Jumping Flash.  The slow jump and the use of a shadow is a boon.  That robot-rabbit is a great bunch of lads in my eyes.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 11:14:25 PM by Jim Bob »

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #105 on: November 30, 2019, 02:02:35 AM »
Quarantine (1994)



   

Sorry that the screenshots are shit. The game looks great in motion but I couldn't get the screenshots to represent that no matter how many times I tried, so I gave up pretty quick.

STORY: An industrial city known for hovercar production has been walled off, Escape from New York style, due to out-of-control crime. The government eventually steps in and makes everything far worse - they introduce a chemical that's intended to pacify the populace, but instead reacts with the city's shitty stagnant water and turns half the population into violent maniacs. Oops. Now pedestrians walk around gunning each other down and cars have been turned into war machines with roof-mounted cannons and machine guns. Taxi driver Drake Edgewater fits his own car out with twin machineguns and tries to continue on as normal, hoping his cab fares will get him enough money to find his way out of the city.

MUSIC: Apparently the CD version of the game came with music from some Australian indie bands, but it wasn't playing on the version I got. The list of songs is on the game's Wikipedia page if you want to check them out. Sounds like Dinosaur Jr and Superchunk style stuff from the bits I listened to.

THE VERDICT: This is really inventive. Could be very loosely described as Crazy Taxi mixed with Carmageddon, but released before either of them.

The graphics are quite impressive and you get to drive around fairly large maps with tons of other vehicles and pedestrians, though the 3D graphics are a bit pixel-y and cause your retinas to explode after a while.

There are a selection of upgrades to make to your car. There's the standard armour and speed boosts you'd expect, but also an array of awesome weapons. There's a weird tesla gun thing, a really satisfying gatling gun to stick to the roof, your shitty dual machineguns you start with, and, best of all, a circular saw blade to stick on the front of the car and cut everyone and everything to pieces with.

You'll need all of these, because virtually everyone is trying to kill you. Pedestrians open fire from the pavement, sewer-dwelling bastards jump out of manholes to fire at you as you drive by, other cars chase you and ram you or unload their weapons on you, and weird flying things zoom by to drop landmines on the road in front of you.

This level of chaos is the game's big strength and main appeal. It gets absolutely insane literally about two minutes in and never really lets up. Your windshield is constantly coated with the blood of splattered pedestrians and bullet holes from other cars, every other road you pass by has someone speeding out of it at 90mph with their guns bearing down on you and you can't go more than a couple minutes without witnessing people crash into each other and explode.

It's so extreme that it's impossible not to laugh, and trying to get your customers to their destination on time usually involves killing upwards of 20 people. Some of them are virus-crazed feral lunatics attacking you, others are just people who INEXPLICABLY THINK IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO WALK AROUND IN A WARZONE.

No point trying not to harm civilians in this, by the way. In addition to the people who stroll right in front of your car, people will try to hail your taxi by standing IN THE ROAD, DURING A GUNFIGHT. Sometimes you won't even see them, just hear the "TAXI!" followed instantly by a scream and blood coating the windshield. This extends to cars, too. There are civilian cars on the road, but when the FUCKERS keep bumping into you, steering wildly all over the place and blocking your shots during battles, blowing them to pieces along with your enemies seems like a pretty good idea.

After a while, you're able to advance to a new map featuring a new area of the city. The maps are noticeably different from each other and help give the game a feeling of progression. For example, the first map is a city filled with narrow-ish roads and tight streets, set at night, and requires relatively precise driving. The second map is set in lighter conditions and has wide open fields to blitz across, allowing you to maneuver during combat in a way you really didn't get a chance to previously, though the insanity still never lets up.

There's only really two issues I have with the game. The first is that the core gameplay loop gets quite repetitive - you roam around looking for fares and trying to avoid getting clusterfucked by the gun-wielding maniacs running rampant through the city. You race against time to get your fare to the destination before the clock runs out, then roam around again looking for another fare. Between this, you use your money to upgrade or repair your car and occasionally chance across missions from members of the resistance or gangs. You'll be asked to drive people to locations, pick up packages, sometimes attack targets, but you're ultimately doing the same thing throughout the game. The devs wisely keep things moving with a constant stream of car upgrades and map changes that prevent things from ever feeling stale, but a bit more variety would have elevated the game up even further.

The other problem is the physics system. This is sort of a mixed blessing instead of a problem, in that it allows for beautifully ridiculous shit to happen, but can also start to get infuriating when you lose out on a fare because you're bouncing all over the place and rocketing off in the wrong direction at half the speed of light because someone rammed you from behind. I also lost the game once due to this - with barely any health remaining, I was mere meters away from the entrance to the repair bay when someone crashed into me from the side, sending me careening away into a car park filled with mines and hostile vehicles who shredded me to pieces. It was delightfully hilarious and irritating in almost equal measure. I don't think any other game in this thread has made me laugh so much while losing 10+ minutes of progress.

FINAL RATING: I haven't finished this yet, I'm on the third map (out of five, I think?). Rating might go up or down slightly depending on how good the remaining maps are, but I feel pretty confident giving this 3.5 Absolutely Fucking Stupid Pedestrian Fools, Why Are You Walking In Front Of An Armed Vehicle Moving At Like Seventy Miles An Hour out of a possible 5. Great mechanics, hilarious action, fun weapons, just wish it had more varied missions and maybe if the car didn't spin out of control quite so easily. Does the sequel shake up the mission design at all?



Next game: I think it's Star Wars: Dark Forces (1995), but don't quote me on that, since I still need to finalise the 1995 list first and try and put it in as close to chronological order as possible.

Also we could do a 1994 retrospective thing now, where we all argue about what the best game of 94 was. It was System Shock, but people could pretend otherwise.

samadriel

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #106 on: November 30, 2019, 02:13:24 AM »
Quarantine (1994)
MUSIC: Apparently the CD version of the game came with music from some Australian indie bands, but it wasn't playing on the version I got. The list of songs is on the game's Wikipedia page if you want to check them out. Sounds like Dinosaur Jr and Superchunk style stuff from the bits I listened to.

Wow, Screamfeeder! They're a great wee local band, I didn't expect to see that. Berlin Chair's a bit of an emo choice for a proto-Carmageddon too.... Good song though.

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #107 on: November 30, 2019, 05:26:13 AM »
Aw, it’s a great shame that you couldn’t get the music to work.  Honestly, it’s half the game.  Playing Quarantine without the soundtrack would be akin to watching Blade Runner without Vangelis‘ seminal work.  It’s integral to the experience.  I fully agree with your criticism of the physics, mind.  It’s like playing pinball with cars.

Oh, and in regards to the sequel, seeming as you asked; it’s much more narrative based than the first game (each level is an individual mission and there’s a map that you work your way along, one step at a time).  I didn’t care for it myself but I appreciate the fact that they tried to do something different with it.  I’d care to nominate it for a review, if you’d be interested?

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #108 on: November 30, 2019, 02:10:14 PM »
Oh, and in regards to the sequel, seeming as you asked; it’s much more narrative based than the first game (each level is an individual mission and there’s a map that you work your way along, one step at a time).  I didn’t care for it myself but I appreciate the fact that they tried to do something different with it.  I’d care to nominate it for a review, if you’d be interested?

Definitely. I like the open world-ish nature of the first game but the same gameplay applied to a more traditionally linear experience sounds like fun.

IT'S TIME FOR THE


Nothing's more 1994 than glitter text, right?

From 1994 onwards, we have enough games per year to do a proper annual retrospective sort of thing.

Well, great year. Developers started building off Doom's successes fast. I was three years old, so it flew over my head at the time, too busy shitting and pissing myself probably. The innovations came thick and fast this year, from both a technological perspective and a design perspective.

BEST GAME: System Shock
SECOND PLACE: Heretic
THIRD PLACE: Marathon

Would have put Doom 2 up there in third place if it weren't for the relatively few improvements from Doom, which is pretty obviously FPS of the year for 1993, making it feel almost redundant to nominate Doom 2.

WORST GAME: Corridor 7. Not exceptionally bad, but pretty boring and the weakest of a generally good year. Super 3D Noah's Ark could easily have taken this spot instead, but it's adorable enough to just edge ahead of Corridor 7, I think. But Super 3D Noah's Ark is easily the weakest of the games that actually got reviews posted...

BEST PROTAGONIST: Has to be the Hacker from System Shock. He's so shit, and even with his "military grade" neural interface he's still likely to get his ass kicked by anything and everything in sight. But he still wins! Inspirational.

Special shoutout to Drake Edgewater from Quarantine. I'm playing through the rest of the game now and I only just found out that pressing F10 causes him to yell "UP YOURRRRS". That's gotta push him pretty far up the coolest protagonist rankings.

BEST GUN: Love the Hellstaff from Heretic. It's a horned skull on a stick! After being Tome of Power'd, it also creates fancy neon-red lightshows for you.

BEST ENEMY: Almost gave this to the Minotaurs (which are apparently actually called Maulotaurs) from Heretic, but let's be real, nothing beats an Arch-Vile.

BEST STORY AND/OR SETTING: Citadel Station, for all the reasons I gushed over in the System Shock post.

Can't think of any other categories. Please suggest more to help make these retrospectives less terrible in future. Also, everyone please have a multi-page argument about games from 1994 while I set up Dark Forces.

Mister Six

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #109 on: November 30, 2019, 03:20:18 PM »
Might be worth having a best villain category for those arch-nemesis characters once the stories kick in properly? Probably only Shodan counts at this point.

I'd also like to know what your most pleasant surprises and biggest disappointments were from the games. There must be some that don't live up to your memories or that exceed your expectations.

Jim Bob

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #110 on: November 30, 2019, 04:22:41 PM »
Special shoutout to Drake Edgewater from Quarantine. I'm playing through the rest of the game now and I only just found out that pressing F10 causes him to yell "UP YOURRRRS". That's gotta push him pretty far up the coolest protagonist rankings.

Woah!  I never knew this!

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #111 on: November 30, 2019, 04:33:59 PM »
Might be worth having a best villain category for those arch-nemesis characters once the stories kick in properly? Probably only Shodan counts at this point.

I'd also like to know what your most pleasant surprises and biggest disappointments were from the games. There must be some that don't live up to your memories or that exceed your expectations.

Ooh, good ideas. SHODAN is definitely an automatic winner for best villain of 1994.

There haven't been any real disappointments so far. The only games I didn't like were Corridor 7 and Super 3D Noah's Ark but my expectations for them were so low they were practically subterranean.

Nice surprises have been Marathon, Quarantine and, hilariously enough, Operation Body Count. The first two because they're great games that I'd somehow managed to never play before now, and Body Count because it ended up being inexplicably fun despite being an ultra-glitchy, very low budget title, with a terrible first few levels that made me think the game would be good for nothing but mockery. Also literally only just noticed that they're apparently orbiting Jupiter in the box art for Operation Body Count. What the fuck? The game has no science fiction or space travel elements whatsoever and takes place in an office block on Earth. If I'd seen that box art properly earlier, the game would have gotten an automatic 5/5.

AsparagusTrevor

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #112 on: November 30, 2019, 07:01:55 PM »
I never even heard of Quarantine, it looks like it would've been right up my alley, a proto-Carmageddon.

This is a great thread, I look forward to the next entries.

Lemming

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Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #113 on: December 01, 2019, 11:17:59 PM »
Star Wars: Dark Forces (1995)



   

STORY: Again, movies aren't really my thing, and I'm not a Star Wars fan by any means (I couldn't even tell you which ones I've seen), so I assume most of the plot details in this just flew straight over my head. Anyway, Kyle Katarn is a defector from the Empire who's joined the Rebel Alliance. The Empire are building a new supersoldier, the Dark Trooper, and Katarn is dispatched by the Rebels to investigate.

MUSIC: I may not know shit about Star Wars, but I recognise that music. Most tracks seem to be superbly accurate recreations of music from the films, ones which you'll already know off by heart.

THE VERDICT: It's probably a good idea to start by talking about the engine. This is the Jedi engine, which is only used in this game and 1997's Outlaws. It's like the Build engine but a bit shittier. Still, we've got some impressive stuff here - jumping, crouching, looking up and down (albeit hideously warping the perspective of the world in the process) are all here. There are also decently large maps with lots of 3D moving parts, like a fully 3D ship that comes to collect you at the end of missions, and spinning rotors in a weird hydroelectric dam thing on one map.

So, combat: weapons are weirdly inaccurate, but fun to use. I assume that's intentional and meant to evoke the feeling of Star Wars fights where everyone's hitting everything but their opponents. It's sort of reminiscent of the assault rifle from Marathon and its pretty cool. It does look suitably dramatic when lasers are flying all over the place, blasting into walls all around you as you and a squad of Stormtroopers continuously miss each other. The weapon variety isn't too interesting and all the energy weapons (the bulk of your arsenal) basically feel identical, but whatever, the blaster rifle is all you need.

Also, this game has one of the coolest grenades ever. You can carry like 50+ "Thermal Detonators" and spam them against enemy squads for a ridiculous barrage of explosions. You can even hold down left mouse to throw them farther, a now-commonplace feature I don't think we've seen in any game yet, and use the Jedi engine's height capability to throw them up or down. The grenade-spam induced smile will soon be wiped off your face though, because there's some weird alien thing, probably a Wookie or some shit I don't know, that does the exact same thing back at you. This seems to necessarily happen in tight spaces where you can't return fire properly, and usually when you're stood right next to explosive barrels.

The game has alright enemy variety, but nothing special. There's about four types of basic enemy soldier (the only one I can name is the Stormtroopers) and most of the rest of the enemy roster is filled out by shitty drone things that aren't really fun to fight at all and these alien things which are basically just Stormtroopers that take more hits to kill and carry big axes. Oh, and what's fucking BULLSHIT is these stupid turret things on a few levels. There's virtually no way to reliably shoot them, I literally can not find a way to destroy them without getting hit at least once, and they take off absurd amounts of health on Hard. Seriously, this one enemy type comes close to ruining whole maps.

Turrets aside, the game is pretty easy. There's no save system and instead a life system but this doesn't really make much of a difference since even on Hard mode you won't get killed very often, bar in the case of platforming puzzles where it's not super clear what you're meant to do and so you end up plummeting down a chasm because you thought you were supposed to go down there.

Oh, but the level where you get captured by Jabba the Hut is nearly impossible. The fuck are you meant to do? It's a standard level when you get your weapons back but how the shit are you supposed to get that far on Hard? I ended up turning the difficulty down to Medium because there's no goddamn way to beat the first fight without losing like two lives.

The combat isn't a huge deal in the end though because the big feature of this game over pretty much every game so far except System Shock is the presence of fairly complex environmental puzzles. You'll have to adjust water levels to swim out of a sewer, activate a huge dam and run across its spinning machinery, mess around with control panels to get the access bridge to a huge tower to line up as it should, and more. A lot of the puzzles seem weak by today's standards, but I think this is the first game where we've really had this sort of thing, which will obviously become very prevalent in FPS games later on.

These puzzles lead to some great setpieces (hopefully people know what I mean by "setpiece", because I doubt I could define it). One of the missions has you going inside the machinery of a big reactor, dodging giant pistons which can crush you and riding down huge spinning rotors. Again, it's impossible not to think about memorable moments from later games. The machinery-traversing level really made me think of Half-Life and its many subsequent imitators. These setpiece-based sections are great and help to set Dark Forces apart from most of what came before it. Incidentally, this same mission ends with you being forced to rush down a corridor while being shot at as huge blast doors slowly close in front of you, forcing you to crouch-leap through the final one. Definitely the most cinematic-feeling action in any game so far in this thread.

In fact, the first couple levels are pretty weak, but after that, just about every level is strong. There's a prison that requires you to leap across elevator shafts to reach a prisoner using air vents, a robotics facility that you need to reach by travelling along conveyor belts which can drop you into toxic sludge or Very Dangerous Spinning Fan Blades, and many others. A lot of these setpieces (I'll stop saying "setpiece" now) are so strong that I think this is one of the first FPS games where you could carry a conversation about it with another person by just referring to "the level with the ___". I love this approach to game design.

This aspect of the game is helped by the game's objective system. Each map has certain victory conditions - usually to find something on the map and then return to the landing pad. This furthers the game's goal of making you feel as if you're playing through a story with relevant locations.

Probably the main draw of this game for most people is the Star Wars setting. But like I said, I'm not a Star Wars fan. Not to bash it, but I've always been bewildered by the extent of the fandom around it. With that in mind, the recreation of recognisable Star Wars locations, weapons and characters just passes me by completely and I'm more or less left looking purely at the gameplay to judge the game by. The tables will turn when we get to Star Trek games later on - I love Star Trek and will gladly give any old shit 5/5 as long as it's got Star Trek written on the box.

Oh, last thing, the story is told with cinematic animated cutscenes. The production values are pretty good with quality voice acting, so again, if you like Star Wars then... HERE IT IS.

FINAL RATING: This was apparently meant to be THE DOOM KILLER, the game that would finally dethrone Doom as the definitive FPS. Did it succeed? Nah, not really, and the two games are so different that I don't know if it's fair to compare them at all. It's not THE DOOM KILLER but it is a great game and a fine way to start 1995. Probably 3.5 Stupid Game-Breaking Shit 3D Turret Fucks out of 5. Add a bit to that score if you really like Star Wars. The big environmental setpieces are really exciting and clearly the main innovation this game contributes to the genre.





Next game: Descent (1995)

Jim Bob

  • (aka Right Said Brett)
Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #114 on: December 02, 2019, 12:18:47 AM »
...weapons are weirdly inaccurate, but fun to use.

For the most part, this is a fair statement but it's worth noting that the repeater rifle offers superb accuracy and should be the player's favoured weapon, ammo providing, for taking out standard enemies (stormtroopers and the likes).  The blaster rifle is the best fallback option when you run out of ammo for the repeater rifle.

The grenade-spam induced smile will soon be wiped off your face though, because there's some weird alien thing, probably a Wookie or some shit I don't know, that does the exact same thing back at you.

That would be a Gran.


Oh, and what's fucking BULLSHIT is these stupid turret things on a few levels. There's virtually no way to reliably shoot them, I literally can not find a way to destroy them without getting hit at least once, and they take off absurd amounts of health on Hard. Seriously, this one enemy type comes close to ruining whole maps.

Urgh.  Those fucking turrets!  They're the reason that I ultimately had to switch from hard to easy mode.  It's no fun at all to get wiped out by a turret 2/3rds of the way through a level, causing you to lose your last life and restart from the beginning.

Oh, but the level where you get captured by Jabba the Hut is nearly impossible. The fuck are you meant to do? It's a standard level when you get your weapons back but how the shit are you supposed to get that far on Hard? I ended up turning the difficulty down to Medium because there's no goddamn way to beat the first fight without losing like two lives.

Aye, that Krayt dragon is a S.O.B.

The combat isn't a huge deal in the end though because the big feature of this game over pretty much every game so far except System Shock is the presence of fairly complex environmental puzzles. You'll have to adjust water levels to swim out of a sewer, activate a huge dam and run across its spinning machinery, mess around with control panels to get the access bridge to a huge tower to line up as it should, and more. A lot of the puzzles seem weak by today's standards, but I think this is the first game where we've really had this sort of thing, which will obviously become very prevalent in FPS games later on.

It's the environmental puzzles which make Dark Forces an absolute classic in my eyes.  It's like a wonderful melding of adventure game and FPS; a game where your brain is tested as much as your reflexes.  I adore it.  The detention centre level is a highlight of not only this game but games in general for me.  I love collecting the codes and figuring out which lifts to use and how.  The part where you have to blast a hole in the wall, crawl through a vent and climb on top of a lift; pure magic.  It's just so immensely satisfying.  I'm not a big player of action games these days, so I'm not aware of any modern equivalent titles in the sub-genre of FPS games with a focus on environmental puzzles.  Recommendations would be welcome.

A lot of these setpieces (I'll stop saying "setpiece" now) are so strong that I think this is one of the first FPS games where you could carry a conversation about it with another person by just referring to "the level with the ___". I love this approach to game design.

I fully agree, 100%.

FINAL RATING: This was apparently meant to be THE DOOM KILLER, the game that would finally dethrone Doom as the definitive FPS. Did it succeed? Nah, not really, and the two games are so different that I don't know if it's fair to compare them at all. It's not THE DOOM KILLER but it is a great game and a fine way to start 1995. Probably 3.5 Stupid Game-Breaking Shit 3D Turret Fucks out of 5. Add a bit to that score if you really like Star Wars. The big environmental setpieces are really exciting and clearly the main innovation this game contributes to the genre.

I'm a little deflated to see it rank so low, given that it's one of my absolute favourite FPS games of all time (it's pretty much a toss up between this and Half-Life for me), but as you say; not being into Star Wars must have a significant effect on one's enjoyment of the game.  I was a huge Star Wars fan as a kid, so that universe will always have a special place in my heart.

Lemming

  • Short-Burst Underwater Crying
Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #115 on: December 02, 2019, 12:47:53 AM »
That would be a Gran.

HATE THEM. The ones who throw grenades at you in the explosives-filled warehouse are bad enough, but the one waiting at the top of a lift just to punch you in the face in the Jabba level (who killed me on my first try and cost me my last life) solidified their place as the biggest bastards in the game second only to the turrets.

Quote
It's the environmental puzzles which make this game a clad iron classic in my eyes.  It's like a wonderful melding of adventure game and FPS; a game where your brain is tested as much as your reflexes.  I adore it.  The detention centre level which I previously mentioned within this thread is a highlight of not only this game but games in general for me.  I love collecting the codes and figuring out which lifts to use and how.  The part where you have to blast a hole in the wall, crawl through a vent and climb on top of a lift; pure magic.  It's just so immensely satisfying.  I'm not a big player of action games these days, so I'm not aware of any modern equivalent titles in the sub-genre.  Recommendations would be welcome.

The prison was one of my favourite levels. Even before the main puzzles start, the shuttle thing that flies you in over the huge ice canyon is such a cool way to start the map, but I was properly amazed with the elevator shaft part when I figured out that the game wanted the player to actually go down and manually position each elevator in a way that allows you to reach the vent on the other side. Really didn't expect it in a game from early 1995, since other than System Shock the most complexity we've had so far for puzzles is just hit-switch-to-open-door stuff like in Doom.

Quote
I'm a little deflated to see it rank so low, given that it's one of my absolute favourite FPS games of all time (it's pretty much a toss up between this and Half-Life for me), but as you say; not being into Star Wars must have a significant effect on one's enjoyment of the game.  I was a huge Star Wars fan as a kid, so that universe will always have a special place in my heart.

I think familiarity and investment in the setting would easily have pushed the game's score up higher for sure. Half-Life is one of my favourites too and Dark Forces definitely resembles it (or more accurately, HL resembles DF) more than any other game so far.

Jim Bob

  • (aka Right Said Brett)
Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #116 on: December 02, 2019, 05:17:56 PM »
This thread has inspired me to get back into playing Quarantine.  I was hoping that you may be able to give me some advice, Lemming; it's been so long since I last played (15 years or so!) that I'm having trouble remembering the ins and outs of the upgrades.  I've purchased the roof mounted chaingun, which is grand and all but I can't really remember what advantages the other weapons offer.  Why would I want the circular saw for example?  What good will that do me out on the road?

Also, I'm very confused with the armour upgrade.  I buy some steel armour and it's fully depleted within 30 seconds of me leaving the repair shop, every single time.  What is point steel armour?  What is point upgrade?  What is point spend money?  What is point?

Oh, also; I decided to download a copy of the game from an abandonware site because it's pre-configured for DOSBOX and it's easier than faffing around with my CD copy and setting things up, but like your copy, Lemming; there's no soundtrack (I suspect that all of the copies on abandonware sites are the floppy disk version, which didn't feature the soundtrack for obvious reasons).

However, I found a work around of sorts, that I thought you (and others who want to play) may appreciate; the full game soundtrack playlist can be found here on YouTube.  Whenever I start the game up, I start the playlist at the same time (running in my browser, in the background, as I'm playing in DOSBOX).  It's an odd workaround, I guess but honestly, the experience once you're playing is 100% accurate to playing the game as intended (seeming as the game always just continuously played the soundtrack on a loop during gameplay anyway).

Oh, the other thing is that I've set the game to make use of my 360 gamepad via Joy2Key (a neat, free piece of mapping software).  I find that it plays much better this way, than with the keyboard and so, again, if this is of any use to anyone, this is the mapping solution which I came up with (and I think works very well)...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stick 1 Left = Keyboard Left
Stick 1 Right = Keyboard Right
 
Stick 2 Left = Keyboard Left
Stick 2 Right = Keyboard Right
Stick 2 Up = Keyboard Up
Stick 2 Down = Keyboard Down
Axis5(<0) = Keyboard Up
Axis5(>0) = Keyboard Down

(The left analogue stick is used for steering left and right, the right analogue stick is used for navigating menus.  The upper right and left shoulder buttons accelerate and brake, respectively)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

POV Right = Y
POV Left = N
POV Down = E

(D-pad right to accept a passenger/fare, D-pad left to reject them and D-pad down to eject them from your cab)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Button 1 = Space
Button 2 = Ctrl
Button 3 = Alt
Button 4 = Z

(On the gamepad, the A button will fire your default machine guns, X will cycle between your special weapons, B will fire your selected special weapon and Y will cause your cab to jump)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Button 5 = F1
Button 6 = F3
Button 7 = Escape
Button 8 = M
Button 9 = F10
Button 10 = F2

(The lower left shoulder button will allow you to look out of your cab to the left side and the lower right shoulder button will allow you to look to your right.   Clicking in the right analogue stick will centre your view (default).  Whereas, clicking in the left analogue stick will get Drake to shout "Up Yours!"  Pressing the start button will bring up the map screen and pressing the back button will exit the map screen, as well as exit shop screens and when on the road, bring up the main menu)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTE: Under the game's profile in Joy2Key, you'll need to set Stick/POV to 'Show all axes (8 way + POV x2)'.  I also recommend setting the Threshold for input to 50% for stick 1 and 30% for stick 2.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anyway, hopefully that'll be of use to someone, as I found this control scheme to be second nature in virtually no time at all and with it, you'll never have cause to use the keyboard outside of naming your save game files.


« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 06:45:03 PM by Jim Bob »

Lemming

  • Short-Burst Underwater Crying
Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #117 on: December 02, 2019, 06:37:28 PM »
This thread has inspired me to get back into playing Quarantine.  I was hoping that you may be able to give me some advice, Lemming; it's been so long since I last played (15 years or so!) that I'm having trouble remembering the ins and outs of the upgrades.  I've purchased the hood mounted chaingun, which is grand and all but I can't really remember what advantages the other weapons offer.  Why would I want the circular saw for example?  What good will that do me out on the road?

The circular saw is good in the more enclosed areas with tight spaces. If you get rammed into a corner you can carve your way through enemies pretty quickly with the saw.

As for the other weapons, the fusion-tesla-thing was a bit shit, I thought, mainly because I seemed to miss most shots with it. The Uzi is insanely cool to use but not super-practical, but definitely worth having just for the visuals. You can also use the Uzi to sort of circle-strafe enemies by shooting sideways as you drive around them in a circle but I couldn't pull that off without slamming into a wall.

The main weapon of choice for most of the game is definitely the Punisher chaingun, supplemented by the starter machineguns. Plus the missile launcher, saved for emergencies and the miniboss enemies you sometimes have to kill as mission objectives.

Quote
Also, I'm very confused with the armour upgrade.  I buy some steel armour and it's fully depleted within 30 seconds of me leaving the repair shop, every single time.  What is point steel armour?  What is point upgrade?  What is point spend money?  What is point?

I stopped really going for the armour after a while, it's basically just a few extra hitpoints for the car and gets depleted in seconds. Titanium armour later on is a little more worth the cost than steel but even that gets ripped away by a few landmines and bullets. I think it's more or less just an insurance option if you've got money to spend on it.

Quote
However, I found a work around of sorts, that I thought you (and others who want to play) may appreciate; the full game soundtrack playlist can be found here on YouTube.  Whenever I start the game up, I start the playlist at the same time (running in my browser, in the background, as I'm playing in DOSBOX).  It's an odd workaround, I guess but honestly, the experience once you're playing is 100% accurate to playing the game as intended (seeming as the game always just continuously played the soundtrack on a loop during gameplay anyway).

Thanks! I might play through the first level or so of Quarantine again later (I need a break from Descent, it's driving me INSANE with the respawning enemies) and see how the feel of the game changes with addition of the soundtrack.

Jim Bob

  • (aka Right Said Brett)
Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #118 on: December 02, 2019, 06:55:33 PM »
The circular saw is good in the more enclosed areas with tight spaces. If you get rammed into a corner you can carve your way through enemies pretty quickly with the saw.

As for the other weapons, the fusion-tesla-thing was a bit shit, I thought, mainly because I seemed to miss most shots with it. The Uzi is insanely cool to use but not super-practical, but definitely worth having just for the visuals. You can also use the Uzi to sort of circle-strafe enemies by shooting sideways as you drive around them in a circle but I couldn't pull that off without slamming into a wall.

The main weapon of choice for most of the game is definitely the Punisher chaingun, supplemented by the starter machineguns. Plus the missile launcher, saved for emergencies and the miniboss enemies you sometimes have to kill as mission objectives.

I stopped really going for the armour after a while, it's basically just a few extra hitpoints for the car and gets depleted in seconds. Titanium armour later on is a little more worth the cost than steel but even that gets ripped away by a few landmines and bullets. I think it's more or less just an insurance option if you've got money to spend on it.

Ah, that's great.  Thanks for the advice.

Thanks! I might play through the first level or so of Quarantine again later (I need a break from Descent, it's driving me INSANE with the respawning enemies) and see how the feel of the game changes with addition of the soundtrack.

Excellent!  I'd be curious to find out if it enhances the game for you.  I tried playing the game without the soundtrack for all of 10 minutes, before resorting to my workaround.  It really isn't the same sans music.  It's half the experience.  It would be like starting up Doom without E1M1 kicking in.

Re: FPS NIGHTMARES
« Reply #119 on: December 02, 2019, 06:57:27 PM »
Are light gun games classed as a First Person Shooter?

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