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Started by Lemming, November 17, 2019, 12:23:16 PM

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Can we have more pure shite please? These games are way too good.*

Another bump for this masterpiece:

edit: new page bumwhacker

*in all seriousness - still absolutely loving the FPS nightmares, +1 for a podcast/vid - convinced your concerns around vocal qualities are just overthinking stuff - if these words can come out of your head that's all that matters


Quote from: TheGingerAlien on April 14, 2022, 10:20:38 AMCan we have more pure shite please? These games are way too good.*

Another bump for this masterpiece:

edit: new page bumwhacker

*in all seriousness - still absolutely loving the FPS nightmares, +1 for a podcast/vid - convinced your concerns around vocal qualities are just overthinking stuff - if these words can come out of your head that's all that matters

Strong agree with all the small print here - bet your voice is absolutely fine. That zero punctuation lad gets on ok sounding like an American parody of a British sex  offender

Pink Gregory

Pod!  Pod!  Pod! (cast)


What do we want?


When do we want them?



Thanks for all the encouragement about starting a podcast or video series! But my voice is an absolute shocker. Hard at work on trying to make it sound better for days but its slow going, filled with moments of pure agony when listening to myself back.

Been meaning to start Serious Sam for a while now but, naturally, the computer's liquid cooler shat itself the other day. The replacement arrives in a couple of days (barring Easter madness), so things will GET SERIOUS then. Can't play Serious Sam without liquid cooling, those werebull hordes will push the temps up to 100 degrees easy.

As long as the thread's been bumped, I wonder if anyone here has played the recent PowerSlave re-release and has any opinions on it. It's meant to mix the two console versions together and add in the "best elements" (whatever that may mean) of the DOS version, which I played under the title Exhumed. Really excited to check it out since PowerSlave was an unexpected new favourite, given the prestigious 5/5 seal of approval.

Quote from: TheGingerAlien on April 14, 2022, 10:20:38 AMAnother bump for this masterpiece:

Is that PO'ed? Still kicking myself for missing that one! There's a lot of games I missed or had to skip for various reasons that are definitely worth going back to - Catacombs 3D, PO'ed, Realms of the Haunting, and Killing Time being the ones that spring to mind.


You could always go back and insert them (steady on) into proceedings when you're finished. Then release FPS NIGHTMARES: REDUX including any new games put into approx the right timeline/order.

Mister Six

Quote from: Lemming on April 14, 2022, 02:23:49 PMIs that PO'ed? Still kicking myself for missing that one! There's a lot of games I missed or had to skip for various reasons that are definitely worth going back to - Catacombs 3D, PO'ed, Realms of the Haunting, and Killing Time being the ones that spring to mind.

Still waiting for Forbes Corporate Warrior.


Learned how to set up a Windows 95/98 virtual machine a while ago in order to play 1997's legendary smash-hit award-winning industry-storming widely-beloved world-famous "Meat Puppet", so a Forbes Corporate Warrior playthrough is now a real possibility!

Mister Six


Quote from: Lemming on April 14, 2022, 02:23:49 PMThanks for all the encouragement about starting a podcast or video series! But my voice is an absolute shocker. Hard at work on trying to make it sound better for days but its slow going, filled with moments of pure agony when listening to myself back.

Everyone thinks their own voice sounds terrible. You eventually get used to it. Get yourself a decent microphone, though.


Quote from: Lemming on April 14, 2022, 02:23:49 PMIs that PO'ed? Still kicking myself for missing that one!

That's the one!  Absolute shit, but I have every confidence you'd be able to make something worthwhile out of the experience.

If you do every decide to pull the trigger on this podcast/vid stuff, you could always leave it private and just share it with friends/CaBers who already appreciate your work and refuse to believe that your voice is that bad.  I look like Catweasel and sound like Jimmy Nail, so it doesn't get any more fucked up than that.


Serious Sam - The First Encounter (2001)

RELEASE DATE: 21st March, 2001

STORY: In the future, humanity is threatened by a terrifying race of merciless aliens. Their only hope is a one-use time portal that can send one champion back into the ancient past to defeat the aliens across time. Humanity nominates SERIOUS SAM as their champion.

WHOA, THIS IS GETTING SERIOUS: Here it is! The game that every modern "throwback FPS"/"boomer shooter" dev seems to accidentally emulate!

Here's the concept for Serious Sam: the player will walk down a corridor littered with health and ammo pickups. They'll then enter a large arena, and the doors will lock. Enemies will then be spawned in vast numbers while the player prances about dodging projectiles left right and centre and majestically twirling around, frantically switching between weapons to dispatch the countless hordes of hostiles. When the final enemy falls, the doors to the arena will open, the player will enter another corridor, and it'll happen all over again.

If this sounds familiar, it's because it's what almost every throwback FPS seems to do. DUSK, Amid Evil, the new DOOM games, Devil Daggers, many other titles you could pick out, they all seem to refer back to Serious Sam, despite their claims to be inspired by the likes of Doom or Heretic or Quake or Half-Life.

This formula can be really shit, if it's done wrong. Getting locked in an arena can feel irritating, having enemies spammed at you can feel either boring or unfair, and the game can seem totally devoid of substance. Almost inexplicably, Serious Sam completely sidesteps all of these problems. It's fantastic. I'm going to spend the rest of the review trying to figure out why that is, but be warned, I don't think I actually know!

First let's cover the graphics - they're WICKED-SICK, as the Unreal Tournament announcer would say. Really, look at them! The environments look amazing for the time, and the weapon and enemy models are fantastic. The ancient Egyptian theme lends the game a cool and memorable visual look (even if it feels a bit PowerSlave-y, which I'm virtually certain was just a lift from Stargate anyway).

The real triumph of the visual design is in the weapons and enemies. The weapons all look peculiarly unique in the way that a lot of the best and most memorable FPS weapons do, especially the big fuck-off cannon. But the enemy design is where the visuals really come to life. Every enemy is fucking ridiculous. What the fuck is a werebull?

And of course, the one everyone remembers: the kamikaze bomb guys. If you've never played Serious Sam, just watch this for a taste of how fucking bizarre the whole thing is.

Not my video. Also, it's Serious Sam HD, but it's basically the same.

^ this segment here with the arena with the hill in the middle has to be one of the best moments ever in an FPS game - first you get the introduction to the Kamikazes, which will have you laughing like a hyena if you're anything like me, and then a big fight against an absolute swarm of them, which teaches you how to lure them so that you can use their own explosive qualities against them. Just as that ends and you think the coast is clear, you nervously inch up the hill and peek over, only to be introduced to yet another enemy - a rampaging werebull that swoops over the crest of the hill, hits you in the face at 70 miles an hour before you've even had a chance to think "what the fuck is that", and sends you hurtling through the air in agony. It's a fantastic microcosm of the entire game: it's bizarre, it's arguably unfairly difficult, and yet you're too busy alternately laughing and yelling "oh god there's too fucking many of them" to feel anything other than a sense of bewildered joy.

In addition to looking hilarious, the enemies and weapons all feel distinct from a mechanics perspective, which might go some way to explaining why a game that so clearly should be shit ends up being such a triumph. The bomb guys scream louder as they approach, so there's always a moment of sheer horror as you hear them gradually getting louder where you frantically dart about trying to see which direction you're about to get fucked from. Werebulls behave in strangely convincing pack-like ways, often circling you as a group and closing in to start battering you (being headbutted by one sends you flying 300 feet into the air). There's also the horse skeleton guys (no idea what they're even called) who will throw shit at you from a distance, and then charge you when close. We've also got lava monsters, alien strider things armed with laser guns, these BASTARD little poison frog things, and more! Harpies too!

The weapons match the distinctiveness of the enemies. Your pistol is shit but can come in useful when confronted with those frog bastards. Your shotgun is better, and the coach gun is critical for taking down anything charging you - a full direct hit will gib the horse skeletons, and three or four direct hits will stop a werebull. Then there's the grenade launcher, the rocket launcher, the laughably-oversized minigun, the laser quad minigun (no idea what else to call it), and the SERIOUS CANNON*.

*not actually called this, but clearly should be

The SERIOUS CANNON is the best weapon in any game ever. It will fire a cannonball that will roll forward and crush anything in its path. Its best use is for taking down five or more charging werebulls at a time - as long as you get them in a line, you can send the ball straight down their ranks. Holding fire will charge it into some kind of batshit super cannonball, which is on fire and flies faster. Cannonballs will also bounce of terrain and back at you if you fuck about.

Different strategies and different weapons work against different enemies, leaving you to devise your own methods of dealing with each arena. Additionally, movement plays a huge roll in the game, and it can turn into some kind of mad first person Touhou at times if enough enemies are charging and shooting at you simultaneously. Dodging is critical!

What's more is that the encounter design is superb. It rarely feels like enemies are being lazily spammed at you. Instead, they almost always spawn in groups that make some kind of gameplay sense - seeing what exactly you're dealing with and then rapidly coming up with a strategy (while you're being chased by kamikaze guys) is a big part of the game.

The one big criticism I have is that enemies teleport in - normally this is all well and good, but there's just a small but notable handful of times when this is fucking horseshit, and not in a satisfying way. You can usually counteract this by watching out for areas where they're likely to pop in - if there's a narrow dead-end corridor with a big health pack at the end, you can be fairly sure the instant you pick it up, a hundred kamikaze guys will materialise right behind you. But there were a small number of situations where it was complete arse, often involving enemies teleporting in behind you without any indication that it was about to happen. On Serious difficulty, being hit by anything at all is disastrous, so three hitscan scorpions popping in behind you without even an audio cue to tell you they're there is just nonsense.

Which brings me to a final point - the game is hard as fuck. Play on Serious difficulty for the ULTIMATE CHALLENGE. A lot of people - including some developers - seem to make the mistake of thinking that FPS games are a power fantasy. People even say it about Doom! But Serious Sam knows the truth, that Doom also knew well: a satisfying FPS game isn't a power fantasy, it's a... weakness fantasy. It's about being hopelessly outgunned and outnumbered, shitting yourself, everything being absolutely knife-edge tense, stalking through levels with your head on a swivel because you're down to 5 health, watching and rationing your ammo like a hawk, and peeking around every corner in absolute terror of what you might find there.

FINAL RATING: It's gonna be 4 Superb T-Shirts out of 5, the point lost only because a small handful of the game's encounters feel like bullshit, and there are a just a couple of maps that feel a bit lazy (usually needlessly big arenas that just spawn enemies from every angle).

That video is amazing, I think I picked this up from the shelf a million times when I was younger but never took the plunge, if I knew it had that level of demented insanity I'd have been all over it.

Pink Gregory

I played First Encounter HD, but I agree with all points above.  Traumatised by getting stuck in an arena full of Kleer skeletons with 1-2 hits worth of health left, it's my main memory of the game.

Same criticism as I always have though, felt a bit too long, but that really is just me.


First Encounter has a real dream-like quality to it that's magnetic. I played it in a single long sitting with a mate in coop and it was absolutely riveting.


QuoteDUSK, Amid Evil

neither of these games are like Serious Sam. at least not compared to the modern doom games. and even then doom eternal manages to stand apart imo


Brought it up because it's always interested me why many of the "boomer shooters"/"throwback shooters", while often great, rarely seem to successfully emulate the games they claim to be taking primary inspiration from. I feel like people misremember Doom, Duke Nukem and Quake as being some kind of ultra fast-paced gory carnage simulators with unstoppable protagonists facing down endless waves of enemies, when they're almost the exact opposite from my experience, especially on higher difficulties (bar perhaps number of enemies). That was the attitude that Doom 2016 seemed to lean into, and as a result it's a game that's always kind of baffled me in its lack of resemblance to Doom.

Serious Sam is the first game I've played in this thread where I feel like you can see the more obvious roots of some of the more notable throwback FPSes to come out in recent years, by which I mean a lot of bunnyhopping backwards through large-ish spaces, switching weapons constantly (rocket launcher equivalent for when they're gathering far away, shotgun equivalent for when they're closing in), dodging projectiles that are flying all over the place, weaving between enemies to try and avoid being trapped, that kind of thing. Amid Evil probably displays it significantly moreso than DUSK, but yeah, Doom 2016 is the big one, right down to magically locking the doors to the arena until you've finished bouncing around killing everything inside it.


Tell anycunt who's actually played Blood that boomer-shooters are all about immortal god-men bunnyhopping around at the speed of light and they'll scream MODERN ARTS AND FEAR BOOKS and punt a dynamite cluster at your head.


I will never allow this thread to die.



No one lives forever, Ferris.


You're not gonna believe this but I was writing the Half-Life Blue Shift review earlier, to post today or tomorrow. Synchronicity!

Have some extremely uncomplimentary things to say about Dr Rosenberg, the worst character in gaming history.


More like Half Life Blue SHIT am I right? Well no, not really.

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

Quote from: Lemming on June 29, 2022, 06:52:51 PMHave some extremely uncomplimentary things to say about Dr Rosenberg, the worst character in gaming history.
Even worse than Steve Burnside?!

Pink Gregory

Quote from: king_tubby on June 29, 2022, 06:55:58 PMMore like Half Life Blue SHIT am I right? Well no, not really.

half life poo shit


Arse pipe poo shit, more like!
Right, kids?

Quote from: popcorn on June 29, 2022, 05:36:25 PMNo one lives forever, Ferris.

Is this some sort of THREAT?


Half-Life: Blue Shift (2001)

RELEASE DATE: 12th June, 2001

STORY: A hapless security guard scrambles to escape the collapsing Black Mesa facility after Gordon Freeman accidentally blows it up one morning (NOT his fault).

HAVE A GOOD ONE, CALHOUN: Here we go, Gearbox's next expansion to Half-Life. Opposing Force showed how Gearbox's relative lack of skill (sorry!) compared to Valve served to demonstrate exactly why Half-Life worked, and why OpForce sort of didn't. Whereas Valve disguised weak core game mechanics with very enjoyable gimmick-laden maps, Gearbox filled blocky corridors with spongey enemies. Whereas Valve made sure that every room in the game had some new activity or told some new part of the story, Gearbox made you slog through corridors. OpForce wasn't shit or anything, but I feel like "Half-Life made by people with less skill" is a brutal yet fair way to describe it.

Did Gearbox up their game for Blue Shift? Short answer: not really. Long answer:

First thing about Blue Shift you might notice is that, despite coming after OpForce, it actually removes a lot of OpForce's new additions. Race X, the new aliens, are gone. The exotic new weapons - even the Barnacle grappling gun! - are gone. You sort of get the feeling that Gearbox realised a lot of their additions were dodgy from a gameplay perspective and dodgier from a lore perspective, and so ditched them in favour of an experience closer to Half-Life. And yet...

I'll actually just walk you through the game, since it's so short that it won't take much time. You enter on a tram, as expected, collect your stuff, walk around and gawk at the facility. The resonance cascade hits and you plunge down an elevator shaft, then awaken and make your way through the canals. About twenty minutes into the game, you see soldiers dumping the bodies of executed people. Feel like the timeline's a little off there - in Half-Life, they were shown to only be arriving later in the day, but whatever.

The canals are very tedious, the centrepiece is a puzzle in which you've got to throw an explosive crate into some machinery to destroy it so you can swim through. On this journey, you're spammed with Vortigaunts, who, on Hard difficulty, will just chew up all your ammo. After exiting the canals, you emerge in a series of empty tunnels that honestly look like something out of Chasm: The Rift, in which you're spammed with more Vorts, and some headcrabs. The big gameplay challenge here is pushing a crate to a vent so you can go up into it. Soon, you arrive in an office where a scientist who's been shot by marines tells you to seek out a guy called Rosenberg. A brief jaunt across the surface leads you to a big freight yard, where the game absolutely shits the bed.

Do you remember how Half-Life escelated everything at such a deliberate pace? How new enemies and weapons were steadily drip-fed to you over the course of the adventure, how the stakes and action gradually ramped up from crowbarring headcrabs in vents at the start to, eventually, taking on helicopters with the Tau Cannon?

Blue Shift decides to say fuck it to all that - the freight yard is your first serious encounter with the military, and it throws about twenty guys at you right away. If you survive, you'll move down a tunnel to another yard, with a tank. Don't worry though, there's a bazooka right there for you to take it out. Content that Half-Life saved for late in its latter half (if not counting Xen) is thrown at you about 45 minutes into Blue Shift, with no build-up whatsoever.

Your objective here is to rescue Rosenberg, who's been locked in a freight container (lmao). And now the game really goes to hell.

This guy fucking sucks. I hate this man. He mansplains shit to you, that's the only word for it. It's infuriating. This stupid babbling prick will not stop talking at you, and because he's magic, doors won't open and elevators won't arrive until he's finished his soliloquys. In a freight container? He'll tell you you're in a freight container. Fighting the marines? He'll point out the marines are hostile. Moment of silence? Not with this guy around, he'll explain the plot of Half-Life to you, or talk about where you're going.


Naturally, he uses the standard awful Half-Life follower scripts, which means the dumb motor-mouthed fuckwit will get stuck on any terrain you care to lay eyes on. "THIS WAY, CALHOUN!", he triumphantly yells while he runs in place with his knob caught on a crate. The one time he'll be successful at following you is if you go the wrong way down a one-way corridor, in which case he'll make absolutely sure to rush over and block the way back. He will eventually use a different script in which he runs (slowly) towards a pre-set objective, which is a relief.

Anyway, the terrible man eventually leads you to his friends, who mercilessly don't jabber on as much as he does. No worries though, he picks up the slack - everyone's working on a teleporter, and the boring fuck drones on at you for a good solid minute or so ("you see, Mr Calhoun, teleportation isn't as simple as going from point A to point B") until finally giving you the next objective: start this teleporter up so we can all whoosh ourselves to safety. There's a three-minute sequence where he rabbits on about the teleporter and how you're going to Xen, which I tuned out by putting some Joan Armatrading on. Eventually the portal opens and you go to Xen.

Yeah, Xen. The game just has no sense of pace at all. The military arrive, then about two minutes after your first meeting with them, you take on a tank and about as many troops as Gordon Freeman ever encountered. Now, after a walk through a boring concrete corridor, you're at Xen. This is insane, it'd be like making a Doom spinoff where you meet the Cyberdemon in E1M2 and then go to hell in E1M3.

To be honest I don't really know why you go to Xen, for Rosenberg's explanation was mercifully drowned out by Armatrading's fresh, sharp guitar style. Basically you've got to walk around going "ohhh godddd" until you find this bit of machinery (phwoar) that, when fiddled with (ooh-er) will realign the teleporter or something like that. What follows is a brief and mostly rather mind-numbing jaunt through a portion of Xen that has about as much merit as the original game's Xen maps, but without the thematic excitement of the original since you're only about an hour into Blue Shift at this point, and haven't done anything to "earn" your trip here. The first couple maps are really poor, a cave network of pitch-black, needlessly long rock passageways that must be crawled through. There's an attempt at making them into a maze, which mercifully doesn't go too far. This is followed by a cool setpiece that feels very Half-Life-y, where one of those weird flying manta ray things goes overhead and carves up the bit of rock you're standing on, forcing you to duck and dodge as the ground crumbles around you. I think this is the first setpiece in the game I really liked.

Anyway, after a sewer section that goes exactly as you'd expect (swept away down waterfalls, etc) you reach the equipment that Dr Boron, the most boring man in the universe, mentioned. After a really incredibly tough brain-teaser of a puzzle in which you must turn not one, but TWO dials, the teleporter is ready to go. An orb appears in mid-air and Rosenberg's voice comes through it, boring you from across the cosmos, and beckoning you back to Earth. Despite the temptation to flee and stay far away from him, you've got to do a death-defying leap to go into it and return to the lab, so he can mansplain what just happened to you. Luckily, you can get out of there, though you walking the hell away doesn't deter him from yelling his last few pearls of wisdom at you:

Video demonstration of this terrible man

Now you've got to find a power cell. What follows is an all-expenses-paid trip to Yawnorama City. More concrete corridors. The military are down here for whatever reason and, in standard Gearbox style, they're spammed at you like nobody's business. I didn't count, but I feel fairly confident in saying you kill another twenty of them over the course of a minute. As usual, there's no gimmick or environmental trick or scripted event here to soften the blow, the weak combat mechanics are laid bare once again. The reality, IMO, is that Half-Life's mechanics are too poor to work in this more traditional, enemies-in-a-corridor type of design. Anyway there's a decent puzzle with a flooded room, then a bit more busywork with charging and sending a power cell.

Returning to Rosenberg (nooo), he gives you an earful of shit about how we need to start up the teleporter. You act as his lackey, going up to the control room and pushing switches as he tells you to. This is literally the finale of Blue Shift, you stand in a room while Rosenberg talks at you and says "now, Calhoun" whenever you need to press a switch. The scientists leave one by one, with Barney and Rosenberg going last. A couple of houndeyes teleport in at one point and a few soldiers bust down a door (with plenty of advance warning for you to place a single satchel charge to wipe them out), but that's it. You go through last, and arrive outside. You're in flux so you teleport around a bit and see Gordon being dragged away to the trash compactor by the marines, then the flux wears off and you return to front gate of Black Mesa (???) with the gang, and drive off. That's the game.

I don't want to say this, not least because it makes me sound like a right knobhead, but the game just feels amateur. It feels like a fanmade mod. To make matters worse, a free fanmade mod where you play as a security guard had already come out by the time of Blue Shift's release - Azure Sheep. While Azure Sheep isn't perfect and feels very tonally off compared to Half-Life, it has a lot of imagination, new weapons, new locations, new ideas etc - everything Blue Shift lacks. It also has a follower called Kate, who is one hundred thousand times better than Rosenberg (though equally prone to getting stuck on shit). It's longer than Blue Shift too.

Opposing Force felt similar (I think I actually compared it to Azure Sheep in the post about it) - janky, not tightly or professionally made, but oozing enthusiasm and creativity. Blue Shift, on the other hand, oozes nothing but SHIT. It feels like they were forced to make it against their will.

Blue Shift rejects all Opposing Force's new content and instead relies only on weapons and enemies present in the original game. You don't even get all the weapons, though, you're stuck with the non-exotic ones. Again, the differing approaches between Gearbox and Valve are revealed - where Valve tried to tell a story organically, Gearbox lock you in a room with a lunatic reading the plot out to you (a strategy Valve would inexplicably employ in Half-Life 2). Where Valve approached combat as a sort of seasoning to complement other areas of the game, usually by encouraging the player to use some kind of gimmick to take down enemies, Gearbox reckon that Half-Life's shitty combat stands alone, and put the player in a big square arena and then spam enemies in. Whereas Valve have a great sense of pace, Gearbox think it'd be cool if you blew up a tank then went to Xen.

I hate to be so down on the game, but it really does sort of suck. It is indeed Half-Life: Poo Shit. At best, Half-Life fans can get a bit of fun out of seeing new bits of the Black Mesa facility.

We've still got one more Gearbox Half-Life game to go, Half-Life: Decay, which I don't remember very well. Exciting!

FINAL RATING: Harsh, but it has to be done: 1.5 Cathartic Justices out of 5.



How have I never heard of Joan Armatrading?!

She's fucking brill!


I know right? Superb artist, plus the sick guitar at the end of "(I Love It When You) Call Me Names" beautifully drowned out a full Dr Rosenberg speech.


Another absolute banger! Lovely stuff.

(Not rosentwat, I still haven't even finished the original half life, please don't belittle me, and anyway you didn't even do TimeSplitters so we're even.)


Sorry I know this is the wrong thread, but "Down to the Ground" feels like the song Dylan has been trying to write since 1976 (until the late '90s when his voice gave out).

It's a superb bit of music.

...Oh yeah great review of Half Life or whatever.