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30th September 2019: Resident Evil Maps

<Old Stuff>

By far the most popular things on my old site were all of the Resident Evil game maps that I made. My Resident Evil 1 Directors Cut maps were made in August 2011, which was a few months before I started doing my original computer gaming blog, and therefore they were never included in it.

It makes sense that they are the first things I bring back as part of my <Old Stuff> series of blog entries.

I got the Director's Cut of the original Resident Evil for the PS1 back in the 90s, but back then I only got to the underground section, and never actually finished the game. For some reason in mid 2011, I made up my mind that I was finally gonna get through it. And not only that, I was gonna make some detailed maps as I went on the adventure.
I started with Jill in normal mode, as that's what I tried way back then...

These maps were used by JPTR when making their Resident Evil mod for Skyrim called "The Evil Mansion", which can be found on Nexusmods and Steam Workshop. You should check it out. It looks freakin' awesome.

Jill standard mode, mansion 1st floor, 1st visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 1st floor, 1st visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 2nd floor, 1st visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 2nd floor, 1st visit

Jill standard mode, courtyard

Jill standard mode, courtyard

Jill standard mode, guardhouse 1st floor

Jill standard mode, guardhouse 1st floor

Jill standard mode, guardhouse basement

Jill standard mode, guardhouse basement

Jill standard mode, mansion 1st floor, 2nd visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 1st floor, 2nd visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 2nd floor, 2nd visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 2nd floor, 2nd visit

Jill standard mode, mansion basement

Jill standard mode, mansion basement

Jill standard mode, underground

Jill standard mode, underground

Jill standard mode, lab B1 & B2

Jill standard mode, lab B1 & B2

Jill standard mode, lab B3 & B4

Jill standard mode, lab B3 & B4

After going through Jill's normal mission, I decided to go through the Chris advanced mission, just for shits and giggles. Though it was more challenging (yes I'm talking to you, Hunters!) I much prefer this mode as it forces you to go to a lot of the parts of the mansion you could just skip passed during normal mode.

Chris advanced mode, mansion 1st floor, 1st visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 1st floor, 1st visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 2nd floor, 1st visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 2nd floor, 1st visit

Chris advanced mode, courtyard

Chris advanced mode, courtyard

Chris advanced mode, guardhouse 1st floor

Chris advanced mode, guardhouse 1st floor

Chris advanced mode, guardhouse basement

Chris advanced mode, guardhouse basement

Chris advanced mode, mansion 1st floor, 2nd visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 1st floor, 2nd visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 2nd floor, 2nd visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 2nd floor, 2nd visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion basement

Chris advanced mode, mansion basement

Chris advanced mode, underground

Chris advanced mode, underground

Chris advanced mode, lab B1 & B2

Chris advanced mode, lab B1 & B2

Chris advanced mode, lab B3 & B4

Chris advanced mode, lab B3 & B4

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


Continuing with this trend of emulators, I thought about a PS1 emulator, so maybe I could get that version of GTA running better as well. I discovered RetroArch, which not only emulates the PS1, but can also do so for loads of old consoles. However, it was the PS1 I was interested in.

This one was a bit more awkward to set up than the very simple PCSX2, but I got GTA working on it eventually. Unfortunately, the game was no better on this either, so I just gave up on it entirely.

While I had got the emulator downloaded and running, I decided to try another one of my old PS games that I never finished, being Gran Turismo. In fact, I barely touched this back in the day, which is kinda weird as I used to be really into racing games.
I got this one booted up and had a few simple races, before starting to tweak it a bit. Like PCSX2, it's possible to turn up the graphics, but it only seems to be able to go a little way before the sound craps out and the game starts to lag. Still, it's better than its default appearance, and it might be something I try to complete at some point in the next few weeks or months.

Default graphics

Default graphics

Slightly better graphics

Slightly better graphics


Over the last couple of years I've picked up a few fighting games from places like Humble and GOG, but I've never gotten around to giving them a go yet. The only time of my life I ever really bothered with fighting games was back in my early-mid teen years, and I didn't really play a whole lot even then. The most popular game of the genre for me was Tekken 2, by a long way, but it's not the only PS1 fighting game I own.

As it is my intention to at least try and get back into the genre, even if just a little bit, I decided on trying Dead Or Alive on the emulator as well. This game never got much traction with me back then, so I thought it deserved another chance. Also, who knew, a bit of a punching-and-jiggling combo may have really got me back in the mood for it.

Like Smackdown on the PS2 emulator, this thing threw out some serious ghosting, but added in a whole lot of interlaced lines into the mix as well. Unfortunately, there's no way of turning off deinterlacing in this emulator like there is in PCSX2, so I couldn't get rid of the effect. There are some de-interlacing shaders that are available, but they only seemed to slightly reduce the lines, and did nothing for the weird motion blur going on.
In addition, this game did not allow me to crank up the graphics even a little bit, as when I tried, it just pasted a thick black band of more obvious lines across the middle of the screen.

Nah, I don't think this game will ever get much more time out of me, but it was worth trying it again, just in case. I guess.

Blurry line punch attack!

Blurry line punch attack!

What the?

What the?

4th July 2014: The Final Fantasy, Perhaps?

After the debacle of the Playstation Network getting hacked back in 2011 I never saw it fit to give Sony my card details. So when I wanted to buy Resident Evil 2 a couple of years back I did so using a PSN card. However this gave me extra funds in my account that I didn't really know how to spend. It was quite a while ago, May 2013 in fact, that I decided to use up the funds by grabbing Final Fantasy 6 and Final Fantasy 9, as I'd never played 6, and had never owned 9.

I've never owned any Nintendo console, so my first Final Fantasy was 7 on the PS1, which I really loved at the time. However, it's number 6 that's widely regarded to be the best Final Fantasy game ever made, and back in March I finally began my journey through its madness. I know. I don't work very fast.

Before playing this I was well aware my tastes have changed since 1998. I haven't played FF7 in well over a decade, and though I consider it my fave game of all time for its story, I have long believed I would struggle to play it again due to its mechanics and random encounters. That belief has certainly been reinforced while playing through FF6.

Very much a game of two halves, it started out very much reminding me of number 7, being fairly linear and story driven. However, unlike 7, you very quickly get to explore the places of the world, and fairly quickly gain an airship to travel around. Still, during this time, the game makes it clear where you've got to go and what you've got to do, but allows you to fly around and do your own thing if you wish.
In contrast, the second half of the game is weird. You get absolutely no story or instructions to guide you, other than it's your task to kill the final boss, Kefka. At that point in the game though, the low levels of your characters dictate that such an attempt would be pointless. It's up to you where to go, what to explore and how much to level up before going into Kefka's tower.

Instead, the game is laden with secret little things to find and do. Number 7 had a few hidden cut scenes, like when visiting the Shinra Mansion basement or Lucrecia's cave, but in this game there were loads of little scenes that flashed up out of nowhere, and entire side missions that would become available, depending on what I was doing or which characters were in my party. I can't even begin to imagine how many things I missed, and it's left me with a feeling that I learned very little about the characters, meaning I don't really care for any of them. Some people probably enjoy that there are so many things to find and do, but for me I'd rather at least all the big back story scenes be mandatory.

Sabin wants food...

Sabin wants food...

...and gets fed by a ghost?

...and gets fed by a ghost?

Then he goes and punches another ghost in the face

Then he goes and punches another ghost in the face

#suplexthetrain

#suplexthetrain

Gau annoys me

Gau annoys me

Kefka also annoys me...

Kefka also annoys me...

...so I got Edgar to shoot him with some green shit

...so I got Edgar to shoot him with some green shit

Terra turns into a pink thing and forgets how to speak

Terra turns into a pink thing and forgets how to speak

Siren is quite the cheeky esper

Siren is quite the cheeky esper

This conductor is awesome

This conductor is awesome

No Ultros, I did not

No Ultros, I did not

Gots me an airship I has

Gots me an airship I has

The lack of story and focus was not the only problem with the later sections of the game. I certainly did not enjoy the required grind to level up enough of the characters and have them learn enough magic to be useful going into the final confrontations. Number 8 had a lot of grinding in order to draw magics, but I don't remember anything of the sort necessary in 7 or 9, unless you wanted to fight the WEAPONs. Maybe it's an even number thing. It's just not something I care for.

But by far the main issues were down to the downright pathetic attempt at porting this old Nintendo game to the Playstation platform. I've seen footage of the original Nintento version on Youtube, and it has none of the issues this version has. Incredibly slow load speeds in between battles and sections, battle menu freezes, and sluggish controller response times plagued me every step of the way. Also, in the iconic opera scene, there's some very strange video/audio sync issues which made the whole section really hard to get passed as correct timing is necessary.
The other issue which also annoyed me, which was not port-related, was the fact that you can not see your character's MP or max HP when you're in a battle. I'm so glad they made that info available in later games, because there's no excuse for it not to be there.

For all its bad points though, the game was still playable. It says something about how bad 13 was if I've managed to get through this game with all its Playstation issues, when I couldn't face 13 for more than a few hours.

As far as number 9 is concerned, I struggled to get through it the first time when I borrowed it from Scoob. After this experience it's unlikely I'll play it, or any Final Fantasy, ever again.

This kid is just creepy

This kid is just creepy

Surrounded by Espers

Surrounded by Espers

Burn bitch!

Burn bitch!

Kefka decimates the world

Kefka decimates the world

Chocobo!

Chocobo!

Not so sure I wanna use that technique

Not so sure I wanna use that technique

Terra seems able to piss stars

Terra seems able to piss stars

Rise of Phoenix

Rise of Phoenix

Erm what?

Erm what?

Terra freaks out when she learns she is in Cyan's soul

Terra freaks out when she learns she is in Cyan's soul

Cyan's soul is a weird place

Cyan's soul is a weird place

Celes kicking butt

Celes kicking butt

Time to finish this

Time to finish this

Kefka is such a dick

Kefka is such a dick

Kefka's final moments

Kefka's final moments

Bad guy dead, time to take a nap

Bad guy dead, time to take a nap

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