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13th May 2020: Hit The Road Jack, And Don't You Come Back

This 'ere next game is one I first saw a very, very long time ago when I was still in school. My mate Scoob used to babysit for one of his neighbours, and on one occasion he asked me to join him. This was because he wanted to show me this game, which was on his neighbour's PC. I could be wrong, but that may have been the first time I ever saw a PC, as back then I only had a Commodore Amiga. I remembered not being impressed at first, as the computer was running MS-DOS, and I had no real interest in a black screen with white writing.

But then he fired the game up. And I was intrigued. Because this game was Sam & Max Hit The Road.

See, back then I quite liked silly point and click adventures like Monkey Island. In fact, my mate Dave and I even tried making one on some Amiga software called Grac. But that software was garbage and the experiment didn't go very well.

It was, however, a very long time until I would catch sight of this game again. More than twenty years in fact, when I bought it from GOG in 2015. Yes, I've owned it nearly 5 years, and it's a fairly short-ish game, so it would have been good to play before, but I've never really had the motivation to play it as an adult. I just don't like silly point and clicks anymore, mostly due to the stupid moon logic, which of course, this game is chock-full of.

In the game, you control Sam and Max, members of the Freelance Police, as they are sent to rescue a bigfoot from a power-hungry country music star. It sounds bonkers, and it is bonkers. Some of the locations and things you have to do are ridiculous, but that's just the kind of game it is.

The characters and writing are enjoyable and funny, based on an earlier comic I believe, and these helped me get through the game. Because, not gonna lie, I really needed the help. I very quickly got tired of looking at everything, talking to everyone, trying to pick everything up, trying to use everything with everything else, just to see if I could advance any one of the very silly moon logic puzzles. I even got a sore hand from all the mouse clicking.
Nor am I ashamed to admit that I had to use a walkthrough at a few points, because I just couldn't be bothered.

It really is a shame I didn't get to fully play this when I was a lot younger when I may have appreciated it a lot more. But this kind of game is just not for me any more.

Wak that rat!

Wak that rat!

Feeling a bit sick

Feeling a bit sick

Max likes bouncing

Max likes bouncing

The villains are introduced

The villains are introduced

Bungee jumping from Mount Rushmore nostrils

Bungee jumping from Mount Rushmore nostrils

10th March 2019: Ain't That Grand

I only have three PS1 games that I never finished, and about 6 months ago I had a look at trying to do just that with one of them, which was the very first Grand Theft Auto. When I first picked it up in the late 90s, I had a few weeks when I played it quite a lot, but I never tried to finish it. I just spent time driving round, being an idiot and getting into trouble. I think I only remember getting on to the second map once, and didn't like it as I was so used to the first one, so never bothered getting any further.

Fast forward to last year, and I booted it up on my PS3 to give it a long due proper attempt, but I just couldn't play it. The frame rate was so low, and its weird constant zooming in and out style just made me feel so sick.
A few weeks back I had the plan of trying the PC version, so again got a cheap copy from ebay, and installed it using DOSBox. While it's a little better, it still has all the same issues sadly. I think most of the slow down and jankinees is because of the zooming in and out, and while I found a cheat that let me zoom in and out manually, it only seemed to work while I was stationary, and when I started to move, the game resumed the auto zooming.
Also, for some weird reason, the game (or DOSBox) pays no attention when I try to limit the frame rate, which I tried to do just to try and smooth it out a bit.

Oh well. Whatever. It's not like I haven't got dozens of other games to try and finish instead.

Drivin' around town

Drivin' around town

Getting decked by some random dude on the street

Getting decked by some random dude on the street

27th August 2018: The Darkest Forces

Just recently Scoob and I have been going through Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, and playing that pretty old FPS got me thinking about a really old FPS, in the shape of Dark Forces. I had played this not long after it came out in the 90s, but never finished it. Last time I looked at the game, someone was working on a promising mod for it called DarkXL, which made the game a little more up to date and added in proper mouse controls. It was my plan to wait for that mod to be completed, but unfortunately it doesn't look like it's had any development for some years.
Out of curiosity, I did some searching as to whether there were any other ways to play the original game a bit more comfortably. As luck would have it, many people had reported success using a tool called GlovePIE, which makes it possible to play with the mouse.
So after a great deal of tinkering to get Dark Forces, DOSBox, GlovePIE and Fraps all configured so that I could play and take screenshots, I once again stepped into Kyle's boots, around two decades after first doing so.

This was a massive nostalgia trip, and though I couldn't remember all of the levels and locations in the game, many of them brought back memories of playing it as a teenager. Without a doubt, playing it with the mouse helped a great deal, and it was nowhere near as awkward as trying to play it on the keyboard. Yet, the game does not have a targeting reticule, and instead Kyle kind-of auto-aims at enemies in his line of sight. This means sometimes you can try and shoot at one enemy, but Kyle picks another and your shots go off in a totally different direction. Also, it makes it impossible to lead your targets when they are moving, as Kyle always aims at where they are at that moment. It made fighting flying enemies a lot harder such as the Dark Troopers and Boba Fett.

It's a trap!

It's a trap!

Boy I remembered these things

Boy I remembered these things

Sneakin' up on some fool

Sneakin' up on some fool

Silly Imperial falls down the stairs

Silly Imperial falls down the stairs

How big was that bomb I just planted?

How big was that bomb I just planted?

Shooting a Stormtrooper in the nads

Shooting a Stormtrooper in the nads

I thought at first that the game seemed really easy, and I picked up enough spare lives to max out at 9. Then I got captured by Jabba the Hutt and had to fight his Krayt Dragon. I didn't think I was supposed to fight it hand to hand so instead I was running around trying to escape somehow. By the time I gave up and just punched the thing in the face a bunch, I had lost 5 lives and was down to 4. From that point on, the game became a lot more challenging, and included some shady level design such as placing sneaky enemies waiting to ambush you as you go up elevators and such. My lives were slowly whittled away and I only had two remaining when I went against final boss General Mohc. Luckily, that guy gave me no trouble compared to his Dark Trooper underlings, and I was able to pull out the win.

Pretty damn stoked to have finally finished this game, as it's one of a handful that have hung over my head for years. It also means that I've completed the entire Jedi Knight series featuring Kyle, at long last. Cool.

Can Stormtroopers even piss in that armour?

Can Stormtroopers even piss in that armour?

Probably the most frustrating part of the game

Probably the most frustrating part of the game

Putting Boba Fett down

Putting Boba Fett down

This conveyor belt system is where I got to in the 90s

This conveyor belt system is where I got to in the 90s

Duelling with a Dark Trooper

Duelling with a Dark Trooper

Mohc gets smoked

Mohc gets smoked

24th May 2017: Goblin Up Some Games

The second game I had a go at recently, which I completely failed to finish, was Gobliins 2. I'd wanted to try and get through this for ages, ever since playing the first part of the game on my Amiga years ago. I think it was a demo on a cover disk, or maybe someone had got a dodgy copy which would only allow you to play the first area. Whichever it was, I have vague memories of quite enjoying it back in my teens. I even named my Goblin on WoW Fingus after one of the characters from this.

Fast forward to now, and holy shit what a drag. Stupid, awkward controls, especially the inventory, and the ridiculous moon logic, made this totally unplayable. Add in to the mix the fact that the sound kept throwing up stupid beeps and fart noises. These were obviously errors in the ScummVM emulator and made me mute the game, taking away the silly noises of the characters which was one of the best things about it.

It was also janky as hell. Often, if I told both Goblins to do things, whoever I ordered first would forget what he was supposed to be doing after I ordered the second one. And it crashed. A lot. I've literally just given up on it, I think after getting around half way through, after it crashed once more, pissing me off too much to bother continuing.

Didn't help that, as soon as I got through the first area, I no longer felt any nostalgia for it whatsoever.

Fingus cops a feel

Fingus cops a feel

How rude

How rude

Winkle chokes his chicken

Winkle chokes his chicken

You can't say that!!

You can't say that!!

I didn't know Donald Trump was in this game

I didn't know Donald Trump was in this game

Did this monkey just give me the finger?

Did this monkey just give me the finger?

Looks like a very happy person, considering they live in a bin

Looks like a very happy person, considering they live in a bin

7th October 2014: Dark Forces

Another game I thought I could quickly blast through and tick off the completed list was Star Wars Dark Forces. I got to the last level of this back on my original PC in the 90s, but never managed to beat it. Recently I found there was a mod for the game called DarkXL which made it a bit more up to date. After installing the game using DOSBox, I was soon playing the DarkXL version. However, I came up against several problems which stopped me in my tracks. Firstly, the game's very loud music can not be turned down or off using the mod, and also the graphics were incredibly dark with no brightness or gamma control in sight. Also, reading the t'interwebs, there are many bugs with the mod that make the game impossible to finish anyway.

So instead, I booted up the classic game on its own, but had issues there also, particularly the lack of mouse control and the lack of targeting reticule. Just how did I play like that back in the day?
Hopefully, DarkXL will get updated, as it is still in alpha. If it does, I'll be back to this in the future, but for now it's going back to its forgotten corner where it belongs...

Here, have one of my red diamonds

Here, have one of my red diamonds

Darth Vader argues with Colonel Mustard

Darth Vader argues with Colonel Mustard

Sit down nerd

Sit down nerd

23rd March 2012: Revisiting Classics

A few days ago I discovered the existence of GOG, which offers old PC games that are usable on current Windows. Of course, as soon as I saw the old Worms game on there I had to have it. I wrongly assumed though that the software had been tweaked so that it would install and run on current Windows, but instead the game is just as it was and is bundled with something called DOSBox that allows you to run it. I could have just downloaded DOSBox for free myself, as I'm pretty sure my brother's original Worms is in the loft somewhere, but oh well.
Worms was one of the first games we ever had for our first PC back when I started college in '95, and it was by far our favourite. My bro, my mates and I spent many a Saturday afternoon blowing each other's worms to pieces in a variety of silly ways, all the time trying to counter my mate Spud's dark side tactics!

Worms is a fairly customisable game, with the ability to add your own maps and sound effects. Back in the 90s we didn't have the capability to make our own speech, but I did add a couple of my own maps with (AFAIR) fairly little trouble. So, imagine my surprise recently when I found it very difficult to make my own maps, when I assumed it would be a doddle with newer software. Damn you Photoshop. Gimp is supposed to work though, so maybe I'll have to download that and give it a try. And when I can get around to it, I'm sure I'll be able to make my own speech sets with the contraptions that I now have available.
So far, I've only got around to entering a single team - based on the LLAP-Goch classic, "The Adventures Of Detective Cronkshonk", which I have been using to beat up on the Take That team.

Nug Nug Worm sorts two enemies out

Nug Nug Worm sorts two enemies out