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1st June 2015: Let's Have A Butcher's

So I just got done with a game I didn't initially realise I even owned. Quite a while ago now I bought Assault On Dark Athena from GOG, and when I came to play it a couple of months back, I finally saw that it was bundled with a remake of an earlier game called Escape From Butcher Bay. Made sense to play the first game first, so that's what I've done.

You play as Riddick, the main character from the Pitch Black and Chronicles Of Riddick movies, in a story set before those films. Riddick must escape the eponymous prison after being captured and delivered there by Johns, another character that is in the Pitch Black movie.

I found this quite challenging in places, especially early in the game when I didn't really know what I was doing. At times, I was further hindered (though sometimes helped) by the very poor A.I. of the enemies, especially the Riot Guards, who are dudes in massive powered armour who can only be killed if you shoot them in the back. The worst incident was when a Riot Guard came down an elevator in the corner of the room, then refused to get off said elevator, keeping his back to the wall. I kept trying to lure him into the room by sticking my head out of cover and letting him shoot at me, but he'd take a couple of steps forward, do a weird stutter, then take two steps back. It took ages for him to finally wriggle free and start chasing me around the crates in the room, finally allowing me to take him down.

There are sections of straight up FPS action, but most of the game leans towards being stealthy and hiding out in shadows, which is not usually the kind of thing I like. The more I played of this though, the more I got into it. It was quite cool to pretend to be Riddick, especially after you become able to see in the dark. Vin Diesel's voice acting also helped, as it really would not have been the same if someone else had done it instead.

The story was freaking bonkers, as Riddick sneaks and kills his way through a prison which must be bigger than most cities. There were also quite a few weird graphics bugs, but they were easy to shrug off, and just made me laugh.

Douchebags unite

Douchebags unite

How long is Riddick's arm?

How long is Riddick's arm?

You'll have someone's eye out with that

You'll have someone's eye out with that

Behold, the magical floating gun

Behold, the magical floating gun

What is this dude doing?

What is this dude doing?

Never saw Riddick as the cuddling type

Never saw Riddick as the cuddling type

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

Time heals all things, except these crazy eyes

About to fight Kryten from Red Dwarf

About to fight Kryten from Red Dwarf

Playing some Star Wars Arcade

Playing some Star Wars Arcade

Enjoy your trip

Enjoy your trip

Gun grows some tentacles

Gun grows some tentacles

I just climbed through a closed hatch

I just climbed through a closed hatch

Behold, the magical floating man

Behold, the magical floating man

Urf The Manatee attacks

Urf The Manatee attacks

These guys are bad shots

These guys are bad shots

Ha ha, bad guy killed by his own guards

Ha ha, bad guy killed by his own guards

Along with the Scoob I've also just started up two multiplayer games. I haven't really played many MMOs while doing this blog, but we've just started a new one in the form of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Though the game seems very much like any other MMORPG, it does focus heavily on story and conversation, so I hope that side of the game keeps me more interested. I've created two characters, being Imperial Agent Munkfish and Kreethen the Jedi, so I can experience both sides of the conflict.

The latest incarnation of Munkfish

The latest incarnation of Munkfish

The latest incarnation of Kreethen

The latest incarnation of Kreethen

This dude has strange orange growths

This dude has strange orange growths

Pew pew pew

Pew pew pew

Holy crap, how big are Hutts in this game?

Holy crap, how big are Hutts in this game?

The other game is one I've wanted to play for years, after seeing footage of it on Youtube, being Saints Row The Third. Recently, and surprisingly, it was released very cheap on GOG, and I swooped on it like a hawk. We've only played a little of it so far, but it's definitely gonna be fun, and I can't wait to sing along to the Hot Pizza song.

Shooting some shit up in Steelport

Shooting some shit up in Steelport

23rd May 2015: Mysteries Of The Mysteries

It's taken a little longer than I hoped, but I've managed to complete the expandalone to Jedi Knight, called Mysteries Of The Sith. In this one you take on the role of Mara Jade, probably my favourite expanded universe character, as she goes about her business helping the New Republic and later bringing Kyle back from the dark side.

Unsurprisingly it's very similar to the original game, though with some advantages and disadvantages. The main problem was the different cutscenes. Not only were they rendered very badly using the in-game engine, it seems they were compressed with a different codec, and they would not play right on my computer. This led me to watching them all on Youtube afterwards, so I could finally see what the whole story was about. This in turn led to another issue: just why was the game called Mysteries Of The Sith? I don't seem to remember any mysteries concerning the Sith in the whole game, unless it refers to the puzzles you have to solve to make your way through the Sith temple in the last couple of levels, which I doubt it does.
Weird.

Other than a few rare times, I did not have as much trouble navigating the maps as I did last month playing DF2. This could be down to me actually paying more attention to the locations, but I'm guessing it was down to simpler map design, which I appreciated. My two staple Force powers from Jedi Outcast were also added in this game, being saber throw and push, but neither one of these early versions proved to be very useful at all.

Though I was happy to play these two games, the combination of them being a little old and frustrating, and my tastes being different these days, probably means I'll never replay them as I did with both Outcast & Academy.

AT-ST takes it on the chin

AT-ST takes it on the chin

A wall of lava?

A wall of lava?

Synchronised death from the Gamorreans

Synchronised death from the Gamorreans

Another saber sniffer

Another saber sniffer

Hey I know that ship

Hey I know that ship

Oh no! The rancor!

Oh no! The rancor!

Is this droid wearing a dress?

Is this droid wearing a dress?

A Noghri shows off his guns to Mara

A Noghri shows off his guns to Mara

Stop hitting yourself. Silly Mara.

Stop hitting yourself. Silly Mara.

I found you Kyle. Time to end this.

I found you Kyle. Time to end this.

29th April 2015: Gimme My Lightsaber

Back in the early 2000s, there was a period of about 6 months where I played the Star Wars game Jedi Outcast pretty much exclusively, and with a few of my friends would play match after match of LAN multiplayer. We even added our own skins and voices, and edited the game's files to make the bots act how we wanted them to. I also really liked its sequel, Jedi Academy, but only for its single player. I found its multiplayer maps far less interesting, and didn't like it that I could no longer control how the bots behaved. Stormtroopers with Force powers? No thanks.
About six months ago, I had a bit of a hankering to catch up with Kyle, and tried to play the original Dark Forces and Jedi Outcast again. Unfortunately, I couldn't get either of them to work the way I wanted them to on newer hardware and operating systems.
But with the fairly recent release of Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2 on GOG, I got my chance to play the only game in the series that I'd never played before.

There were certainly a few annoying things about the game. For a start, it would not play on my Windows 7 machine. Every time I tried the mouse would lock up and Kyle would get stuck constantly running forward. So I had to install it on an older XP computer, and luckily everything worked this time.
I had some trouble with the movement, which felt awkward. Kyle feels like he's running around on an ice rink. On the many levels where precise jumping is involved this proved a major problem. Jumping from ledge to ledge at times was also hampered if I even so much as brushed anything else in the environment, as I would rebound off of it like a rubber ball and be sent in a completely different direction. I don't remember Outcast being like that, but maybe I'm remembering through rose-tinted glasses.
There were one or two strange bugs or graphics glitches, the biggest of which was when I fought the first Dark Jedi, who actually fell through the floor and vanished. That was interesting.
The main problem I had though was level design. Some of the maps were really annoying to navigate, and I spent far too long finding switches or hidden holes to drop down into. I guess I'm just really out of practise with this kind of game.

Another little issue I had, which was not so much a problem but more of a preference, was that my two favourite Force powers had not been put into the series yet. Not being able to throw my saber at people or push them off of ledges was a bit of a let down.
I also missed the more complex saber duelling of the sequels, but just in general the saber didn't seem all that important in this game except for when fighting the bosses. It was also a bit confusing that the direction of the saber swing was opposite to the direction button you were pressing at the time, not the right way round like in Outcast and Academy.

Concerning the story, I would have liked more of a build up to Kyle being able to use his powers, as there is no explanation about how this is possible at all. He just receives the saber and can suddenly deflect laser bolts and learn Force powers. There should have been at least one level where he is taught some basics, just like there was in both Jedi Outcast and Jedi Academy.
And as much as I like Jan, how many times does she get captured? Sheesh.

But nevermind, it's all just me being picky. Overall, I actually enjoyed it, and have been kind of hooked these last few days trying to get through it.
I'll be doing Mysteries Of The Sith next I guess, and I just saw both Outcast and Academy have been released on GOG today...

Yay! It's Kyle!

Yay! It's Kyle!

Yay! It's Jan!

Yay! It's Jan!

Ninja Gran

Ninja Gran

Rodians are stupid

Rodians are stupid

This dude hovers above me somehow

This dude hovers above me somehow

Oh this is not gonna end well...

Oh this is not gonna end well...

Dem pit stains

Dem pit stains

Got me a saber, bitches!

Got me a saber, bitches!

This dude seems oddly addicted to saber sniffing

This dude seems oddly addicted to saber sniffing

Game says I can't fit through here

Game says I can't fit through here

This Stormtrooper needs a hand

This Stormtrooper needs a hand

My first Dark Jedi enemy practising his diving skills

My first Dark Jedi enemy practising his diving skills

These Stormtroopers look more like owls

These Stormtroopers look more like owls

He's a big bugger

He's a big bugger

Probe droid goes for a swim

Probe droid goes for a swim

This was my fave duel of the game

This was my fave duel of the game

Kill it Kyle! Kill it quick!

Kill it Kyle! Kill it quick!

The end battle commences

The end battle commences

26th April 2015: Conquering More Skum

Late last year I started to play the fun but cheesy game Terraria along with Scoob and JIK. I'd seen footage of this a few times on the net and thought it had some promise, and thanks to GOG (again), we could now try it out for ourselves.
So we booted up the game and made a world, which we called Skum. Of course.

Best explained as a kind-of Minecraft clone, though from a side-scrolling perspective rather than in first person, this somewhat simple looking game is actually quite deep, with massive, randomly generated worlds to explore, things to build, and enemies to battle.

The main aim of the game is to continue to build up your strength and equipment so you can fight the next boss, which in turn usually unlocks some other resource or equipment you can find to help with the next boss. In order to help with this, you can build a base that NPC characters can move into, who then provide you with other resources or services.
Said base building can be slow and frustrating, and at first I had problems creating a layout that the NPCs would navigate properly. But I constantly found myself adding and tweaking over the weeks. I could easily see myself going mental and building something crazy, if I could find the time. Or be bothered.

The combat is very easy and simple, but if there's a lot of enemies on screen it can get a little difficult to follow what's going on, especially in boss fights. It also didn't help that I kept getting weird lag on my machine, during which other players, NPCs and enemies would jump all over the screen as the game caught up, making it hard to hit them or dodge away. I initially thought it was down to me hosting the server at the same time, as my much slower computers that were connecting to me had no such lag. In the end, this weird lag went away when I tweaked some of the video settings. I have no idea why the slower machines were fine, nor do I know which setting fixed it, as I'm not sure what I changed. But it worked.

There were also a bunch of weird bugs that only seemed to show up during multiplayer, which I didn't see when I was playing alone trying to build things or collect things. For example, sometimes we or the enemies would warp through solid walls, or the teleporters wouldn't work. It was annoying.

In one way I spoiled the game a bit by constantly referring to the wiki to see what we needed to collect next, and what we needed to do to face the next boss. However if I didn't do this, it would have taken hours of play to find things and figure things out, and I don't think we would have had the attention span to keep going.

And the hardest boss in the game, Duke Fishron, proved to be a bit too much of a challenge for us with the weapons we'd managed to build ourselves, and he killed us a bunch of times. So we had to (ahem) borrow some items to fight him on a more even footing. Even then, it took three attempts to learn how to beat him and finally take him down. How people solo that guy with crappy equipment I'll never know.

Our first base early in the game

Our first base early in the game

Fighting the Eye Of Cthulhu with my trusty balloon

Fighting the Eye Of Cthulhu with my trusty balloon

Goblins get into our base

Goblins get into our base

I attack Skeletron with a lightsaber while dressed as an alien

I attack Skeletron with a lightsaber while dressed as an alien

Letting the Wall Of Flesh have it

Letting the Wall Of Flesh have it

Fighting a fake Falkor

Fighting a fake Falkor

We can't stop The Destroyer from killing all our NPCs

We can't stop The Destroyer from killing all our NPCs

Skeletron Prime looking for revenge on a Blood Moon night

Skeletron Prime looking for revenge on a Blood Moon night

I think we crashed this ocean biome

I think we crashed this ocean biome

Chopping Plantera to pieces

Chopping Plantera to pieces

Scoob piles on end boss Duke Fishron

Scoob piles on end boss Duke Fishron

An evil Christmas tree infiltrates our base

An evil Christmas tree infiltrates our base

Finally defeating the Duke

Finally defeating the Duke

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