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