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7th October 2014: The Ancient Crusade

A marathon of an entry kicks off with the completion of another old Amiga game, in the form of Space Crusade. The board game of this got me into wargaming back in the early 90s, and I also played the computer game a little bit with my friends. I don't ever remember finishing a single mission properly, on the board game or the computer game. But that has changed now with this completion.

I know it's old and simple, but the game was a pain to get through. It was just so slow, constantly switching to pointless little animations that got old real quick. I'd have preferred if there was an option to turn those off. There were other annoying things such as the Soul Suckers being present instead of the Genestealers for some reason, and a few graphics bugs, which may have been down to the emulator.

I went into this controlling both the Imperial Fists and the Ultramarines, not knowing that the Blood Angels are supposed to have the best cards. Still, it made it more of a challenge I guess. Overall it was quite easy, up until the last couple of missions anyway. That was when the weaker Imperial Fists got slaughtered twice when under heavy close assault from many enemies. But the Ultramarines with their better close combat cards and medkit managed to forge a path through every level. Kind of a shame, as I prefer the Fists to the Ultramarines, but oh well.

The Ultramarines deploy

The Ultramarines deploy

Trapping enemies in doors

Trapping enemies in doors

A Marine loses his head, and his body

A Marine loses his head, and his body

That room is gonna be interesting...

That room is gonna be interesting...

A huge rumble kicks off

A huge rumble kicks off

Gretchin beat up a Marine

Gretchin beat up a Marine

Conga line

Conga line

Commander Keifer is killed by a Soul Sucker

Commander Keifer is killed by a Soul Sucker

That's a Dreadnought not a Soul Sucker. Silly game.

That's a Dreadnought not a Soul Sucker. Silly game.

Commander Goldstock fights for his life

Commander Goldstock fights for his life

Launcher Marine cleaning up the town

Launcher Marine cleaning up the town

In the final mission, the Fists are destroyed

In the final mission, the Fists are destroyed

The Ultramarines are able to destroy the Chaos Cube

The Ultramarines are able to destroy the Chaos Cube

Don't look so smug, you silly smurf

Don't look so smug, you silly smurf

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

My Amiga emulator got another workout when I had a bit of a fad recently on good old Sensible Soccer. I played four leagues on the trot, each one including more and more teams as I thought of new ones to create. It was honestly quite a bit harder than I remember it when I was a kid, and I continually failed to win the title until the fourth league where I really knuckled down. Even then, throughout the course of the madness, I had a fair few second half meltdowns, playing very badly in the second half after doing good work in the first.
But it was so much fun to just go nuts on a fondly remembered game from twenty-odd years ago.

Angron scores passed me for Chaos Utd...

Angron scores passed me for Chaos Utd...

...so I fight Chaos with chaos

...so I fight Chaos with chaos

Scoring passed the DC comics team

Scoring passed the DC comics team

Going for the lunge

Going for the lunge

Everyone's on their arse

Everyone's on their arse

Marvel's keeper tries to head it out

Marvel's keeper tries to head it out

Only Marvel beat me on the way to the title

Only Marvel beat me on the way to the title

The midfield battle against the Skumsplattaz

The midfield battle against the Skumsplattaz

Great save by Aquaman in the DC goal

Great save by Aquaman in the DC goal

Champions at last

Champions at last

Me and Scoob have continued in our efforts to find other interesting multiplayer games to play, but unfortunately none of them have really worked for us.

Up first, we tried Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine from Humble Indie Bundle 11. This was fun enough, but after a few levels we quickly got bored, and the blocky art style really spoiled it in my opinion. Had the graphics been created with a sharper, more up to date style, without all the blockiness, I may have continued a bit more.

I see you, copper!

I see you, copper!

No idea what just happened

No idea what just happened

We also tried Empire Earth which I'd grabbed from GOG, as I was hoping for an interesting strategy game after the failure that was HOMM 3. This thing was a bit of a ball ache to get into, and it seems to be one of those games that starts off slow and builds up to the action. It didn't help that it seemed very close in style to the old Age Of Empire games. I'm not ruling out coming back to this, but if we really fancy playing a game of this type I'm sure we would just go and play Galactic Battlegrounds.

Choppa

Choppa

And then we tried one that I bought a while ago, System Shock 2, that I was really looking forward to getting into, mainly because it can be played 3-player co-op, and I thought me, Scoob and JIK could give it a go. In the end, I got tired of waiting for all of us to be available, so me and Scoob tried a 2-player game. I think I'd built it up in my head far too much, and was greatly disappointed. This thing was all kinds of clunky, especially the HUD and inventory. The combat and controls were also slow and frustrating, and we had no real idea what was going on. I went in expecting an interesting FPS horror game, and got psychic monkeys shooting energy balls at us. Hmmph.

The not so scary ghosts of System Shock 2

The not so scary ghosts of System Shock 2

The definitely not scary monkeys

The definitely not scary monkeys

Ever since Riot activated intermediate bots in custom games in LoL we've been challenging ourselves more and more against them. The latest challenge, and as far as we can tell, the hardest one we can create, was to go against five burst champions who could root or stun while using fairly weak melee champs ourselves. When the enemy bots grouped up we could not touch them, and they beat us a few times until we changed tactics. Rather than try and team-fight them, we instead outplayed them and pushed the lanes to their base. We were easily able to take their nexus down before they touched our own, with just five kills in the entire game. We have since gone on to beat them with a host of different champs and in straight up fights, so we'll need to find a new challenge...

Another challenge complete

Another challenge complete

Had a bit of an RTS revival recently, playing a few sessions with Mr. Gallear. Included were some games of Rome: Total War for the first time since my days as a Wild Monkey general.

My wonderful pink cavalry ride to the aid of Mr. Gallear

My wonderful pink cavalry ride to the aid of Mr. Gallear

Catching the enemy from behind

Catching the enemy from behind

The massive 4v4 battle stretches down into the valley

The massive 4v4 battle stretches down into the valley

We also played some Soulstorm, with one 2v2v2v2 battle lasting nearly two hours, and another 2v2v2v2 battle where every army was Necrons. Crazy fun.

The Living Saint takes a beating

The Living Saint takes a beating

The Ecto-1 sure looks different these days

The Ecto-1 sure looks different these days

March of the Necrons

March of the Necrons

The enemy Necrons stand no chance

The enemy Necrons stand no chance

21st August 2014: Let's Pretend

Why does time go by so very fast? I recently realised that we have passed the ten year anniversary of the end of the Toybitus web-comic, and therefore LLAP-Goch Productions. That is so crazy.
This got me thinking about the web-comic, all those old toys I used, and some of the things that I may have done differently. One character that definitely would have been in it a lot would have been the Decepticon combiner called Monstructor. That dude was made from six little Pretender robots and was totally badass. Me and my bro owned that toy when we were kids, but one day he took it to his mate's house and it never came back. Nowadays, that toy is one of the rarest and is worth a bomb, and I've always been annoyed with myself that I didn't try to get it back when I was a kid. But back then, I didn't really care.

To make a short, boring story even shorter, I fancied paying homage to Monstructor in some way. I also wanted to try line work in PaintTool Sai, and decided to try and re-create an image of one of the Pretender shells. This is the shell of a robot called Icepick, and according to his bio he's actually very cheerful. Hmmm, looks like it.

I have very much cheated creating this image, as I just traced over the original, but I just wanted the practise. I pasted the original into PaintTool Sai, and used the curve tool to create the lines. Then I threw that into Photoshop, and used shape layers to add the colour. I'm happy with how it's turned out, but it would be nothing like this if I'd done it freehand.

Hope he doesn't pick his nose with those things

Hope he doesn't pick his nose with those things

18th August 2014: All I Ever Wanna Play Is Pang

Me and Scoob went back to our school years yesterday when out of the blue we decided to play Pang on my Amiga emulator. I played quite a lot of this fun bubble-burster with my mates back in the day, but it was one of the many frustrating games of the time that had no save and therefore no real way for us impatient kids to complete.
However, the Amiga emulator has a very useful save ability that allowed us to keep reloading everytime we got killed.

An hour or so later, I was able to tick this off the list of games that I'd always wanted to finish.

It's all fun and cheesy grins at first...

It's all fun and cheesy grins at first...

...but that soon changes

...but that soon changes

Pop pop pop pop

Pop pop pop pop

We're coming to burst all your bubbles, America

We're coming to burst all your bubbles, America

Leaving Scoob to do all the work

Leaving Scoob to do all the work

This slippery bastard took forever

This slippery bastard took forever

This damn level

This damn level

Get 'em dude!

Get 'em dude!

They don't make ending cinematics like this anymore

They don't make ending cinematics like this anymore

14th August 2014: Unrealtime

It was back in December that I last played through a bit of Unreal with JIK and Scoob. Since then, we've not been able to all get together to continue, so I finally decided to finish this one by myself.

It was an absolute pain in the ass to play because of the mouse acceleration, which I couldn't fix even with tweaks to the .ini files. What is it with software companies not giving us the option to turn off mouse acceleration in their systems and games? So annoying.
I guess it doesn't matter as long as the game is done and complete.

Things are looking up

Things are looking up

Sneakin' up on 'im

Sneakin' up on 'im

Splat

Splat

Enemy gets shock rifled

Enemy gets shock rifled

Come back here, coward

Come back here, coward

Stop picking on me, bullies

Stop picking on me, bullies

Your Predator powers are weak

Your Predator powers are weak

Final boss time

Final boss time

Come on then, queeny

Come on then, queeny

Boom!

Boom!

Another one bites the dust

Another one bites the dust

Back to our adventures in LoL, and me and Scoob got a bit annoyed a few weeks back when Riot activated the Doom Bots for a few days. Playing against the Doom Bots was an interesting challenge, and one that we found very difficult while lumped in with other random players. We tried a few times to beat them, and in each game me and Scoob were able to push bot lane, usually getting to their inhibitor turret, only to have the rest of our team falter and allow both other lanes to get pushed back to our own base.
Maybe in one of the games we should have just tried to keep pushing and hope our team mates could hold out, but each time we would 'port back to help, usually after some whining from our other players. Inevitably, our defending would fail, as the other players would dive in aggressively, die, and then leave me and Scoob with no chance to defend. Bastards.

In the one game that looked like it was going our way quite comfortably, our other players seemed quite good for a change. We were 31-15 up on the bots and sieging their base, when lo and behold our Rengar player quit or had connection issues, leaving us 4v5. If we were expert players we may have been able to force it through, but the bots immediately grouped, stomped straight across the map and finished it. Gutted.

Doom Bots be crazy

Doom Bots be crazy

I could not follow what was going on

I could not follow what was going on

Noooooooooo

Noooooooooo

Just a few minutes later things are not going well

Just a few minutes later things are not going well

Can't hold out

Can't hold out

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