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3rd June 2021: Welcome To The Rebellion

Before I can say my final farewells to my once favourite franchise, I thought I could do with addressing several Star Warsy things that were outstanding.

I still have a bunch of games that I've never finished, and several I've never even played. Some of these are old ones that I still have on physical media, and some are games I've bought digitally. Truth be told, I didn't really want to play any of them considering my feelings at the moment, but when I looked down the list there were two that stood out as games I really should do my best to finish.

First up was X-Wing Alliance. I reached the end level of this when I first played it about 20 years ago, but when I flew into the Death Star the game totally spooged out. I don't know if I was clipping through the tunnel walls, or there were some weird graphics bugs, or something else entirely.
Basically I gave up and turned it off, fully intending to go back to it another time. But this is me we're talking about, and so I never did.

Coming back to this was eye-opening. I found some missions very hard, and as early as mission 4 was having to replay over and over in order to complete them. I don't remember it being this hard years ago. It's probably a combination of age slowing down my reactions, and looking back with rose-tinted glasses.

Conversely, on some other missions my wing mates seemed to do all the work before I could even get there, and the level would complete. Such strange difficulty balancing.

The game was also buggy as hell. The worst one I found was the map screen. Very often, whenever I would look at the map and then return to the main game screen, all of my laser energy would be fully drained and I would have to charge it up again. It was so infuriating.
There were also lots of audio glitches, with sounds playing on annoying loops, which would sometimes continue even after the mission had ended, forcing me to quit and re-load.

And the most game-breaking one I had was on a mission where I had to liberate some slaves from some shuttles. I had already played the damn mission several times figuring out the tactics required to complete it. And when I finally managed to do my part right, all of the transports arrived to free the slaves and then promply just froze and would not move.
I sure as hell was not going to go through all that again, and was considering quitting, until I saw there was a skip mission option.

How are these two ships docked in this position?

How are these two ships docked in this position?

Pandemonium breaks out

Pandemonium breaks out

Bugged transports are bugged

Bugged transports are bugged

Just casually blowing shit up

Just casually blowing shit up

This is not going to end well

This is not going to end well

When I finally arrived at the last mission, as soon as I entered the Death Star, I got my first hard crash of my playthrough. I re-loaded, fearing that this game's final mission was cursed, and I would not be able to finish it after all this. But thankfully it didn't happen again.

Still, part of me maybe wishes it had. Because finishing the last mission was an absolute arse, and I must have replayed it 12-15 times trying to figure the damn thing out. Even after I sort-of knew what I was supposed to do, I still had to play it a few more times due to little glitches and bugs that were preventing me from getting through it.

Also, during all these years since I first played it, I was wrongly remembering that you were still playing as the main character Ace Azzameen in the final missions, even though you fly the Millennium Falcon. This playthrough made it clear that it's still Lando and Nien Nunb that are flying it. I really did not appreciate this, as there's no explanation to where Ace went. And I'd have much rather flown the Otana or an X-Wing in the attack on the Death Star.
An X-Wing definitely would have made it easier to fly through those tunnels, as I did not keep Lando's promise to Han while playing this. That poor Falcon got scratched. Reeeaaaal scratched.

But thankfully it's all done. At very long last.

Luke and Dash can't take out this Tie Fighter. Sigh. Better go help.

Luke and Dash can't take out this Tie Fighter. Sigh. Better go help.

Intercepting some Bombers

Intercepting some Bombers

Transport decides to land on its side

Transport decides to land on its side

Here we are again

Here we are again


The other Star Wars game I decided to have a crack at is Shadows Of The Empire. I had never played it before this, but I'd read the novel several times, and the urge to see Dash's side of the story meant I had more desire to play this than any of the other games.

However, things took an immediate turn for the worse when I started my playthrough and I got a load of the controls. I know this game is old, but come on. What were they thinking? Pushing the mouse forward and back moves your character forward and back, rather than looking up and down, with no way to change it? What kind of backwards world were the developers living in? At least some other weird things like having the space bar be activate and X be jump were rebindable.

The basic control of Dash was also a bit shoddy, in terms of him feeling like he was running on an ice rink. There was a somewhat similar feeling when I played Dark Forces II a while back, but this was even worse. It was especially bad on one level when you have to traverse a train, which needs you to jump from one track to another. And when in the air, I swear Dash just did his own thing. The amount of times I fell off was just nuts.

So I struggled through to the fight against Boba Fett, during which he killed me when in his ship. And rather than put me back to a checkpoint or the start of that stage, it put me all the way back to the start of the level, which was probably about 30-40 minutes of play time. If I was really enjoying the game, I'd have pushed on and done it again. But I was really fed up by the old shitty controls and lack of interest in Star Wars by this point, so decided to just abandon it. I can't imagine I'd have gotten any more enjoyment out of the game even if I'd got passed Slave I, and I want to keep up my decent gaming momentum this year by getting back to games I enjoy.

Shooting up some Imps in the awesome Snowspeeder

Shooting up some Imps in the awesome Snowspeeder

Can't catch me, AT-AT

Can't catch me, AT-AT

Shooting an AT-ST up the arse

Shooting an AT-ST up the arse

Letting rip with the Outrider's turrets

Letting rip with the Outrider's turrets

Yep, fell off the train again

Yep, fell off the train again

Duking it out with Boba Fett

Duking it out with Boba Fett


<Old Stuff>

While I'm having this big Star Wars clear out, I thought I'd bring back these images from my old site, which were from just the second MMORPG I ever played.

I played on Star Wars: Galaxies for a few months back in 2007 as the awesome Mon Calamari medic Splapdink McWildpants. I didn't really get up to much, mostly spending my time working through the "introductory" quest called the Legacy Quest, which pretty much got me to level 50 out of 90. Outside of that, I mostly did space missions, and spent a few evenings hanging out and getting killed with my work mate Big Dave.
Even though I didn't play on it for long I was a little sad when I heard it was to close in late 2011.

Here are some pictures from those adventures:

The awesome Splapdink McWildpants begins his training as a Rebel Alliance medic

The awesome Splapdink McWildpants begins his training as a Rebel Alliance medic

Splapdink does an impression of Lando Calrissian

Splapdink does an impression of Lando Calrissian

Short Mon Calamarians really shouldn't stand next to tall Wookiees unless they want to look stupid

Short Mon Calamarians really shouldn't stand next to tall Wookiees unless they want to look stupid

Splapdink, having lost his kin, goes fishing in order to try and find them

Splapdink, having lost his kin, goes fishing in order to try and find them

I didn't realise speeder bikes could travel vertically

I didn't realise speeder bikes could travel vertically

No, I don't have a gold bikini, you strange little fish man. Now get out of here before I fetch security, pervert!

No, I don't have a gold bikini, you strange little fish man. Now get out of here before I fetch security, pervert!

Splapdink dons a Clone Trooper outfit in a vague effort to look the slightest bit hard

Splapdink dons a Clone Trooper outfit in a vague effort to look the slightest bit hard

The narglatch uses the 'hide inside a tree' technique

The narglatch uses the 'hide inside a tree' technique

Splapdink wonders for a moment whether the inside of his helmet has steamed up

Splapdink wonders for a moment whether the inside of his helmet has steamed up

Splapdink's yacht tries to do a USS Voyager impression

Splapdink's yacht tries to do a USS Voyager impression

Some dude levitates without any Force powers. Or the game has messed up again. Hard to tell.

Some dude levitates without any Force powers. Or the game has messed up again. Hard to tell.

And Splapdink thought <i>he</i> was a short-arse

And Splapdink thought he was a short-arse

Now guys, you do realise how totally wrong this dancing is, right?

Now guys, you do realise how totally wrong this dancing is, right?

Splapdink McWildpants. Professional idiot.

Splapdink McWildpants. Professional idiot.

Wrrlykam the Wookiee gives Splapdink the best present in the galaxy: a green Bantha named Bruce

Wrrlykam the Wookiee gives Splapdink the best present in the galaxy: a green Bantha named Bruce

Bruce can't get on the shuttle

Bruce can't get on the shuttle

The brave Rebel pilots argue over who will be the first to attack the very large Star Destroyer

The brave Rebel pilots argue over who will be the first to attack the very large Star Destroyer

Splapdink gets an unwelcome guest at his beachfront apartment

Splapdink gets an unwelcome guest at his beachfront apartment

Splapdink doesn't seem too bothered when informed of all the spiders he is about to meet

Splapdink doesn't seem too bothered when informed of all the spiders he is about to meet

Yet another unexplained levitation

Yet another unexplained levitation

I'm gonna need a bigger boat

I'm gonna need a bigger boat

23rd December 2020: Order Of The Fallen Franchise

A game I saw a bit of when it came out about a year ago was Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Now I've not really been engaged with Star Wars for the past couple of years, for Last Jedi shaped reasons, but this piqued my interest. Recently I saw its price had dropped enough for me to snatch it up.

Whatever I may think about the gameplay, the experience of playing it was not a smooth one from a technical standpoint. All the way through the game I had weird little graphics bugs, as some of these screenshots can attest. There was also a ton of frame rate stuttering, and even complete pauses in order to load new assets. Later on in the game I even started to get hard crashes, kicking me out of the game altogether. This crash problem was exacerbated by the fact that there is no way to skip cutscenes. I had to watch a very lengthy one just outside the tomb on Dathomir three times, because the damn game crashed twice as I tried to get back to my ship with a bunch of zombie Nightsisters on my tail.
And this was on a PS4 Pro after some patches. I dread to think of the experience base PS4 players had during the game's release window.

The best things about the game were the story and characters, which I quite liked. Though I'm beginning to wonder exactly how many more Jedi will be added to the ever growing list of Order 66 survivors, when the original trilogy made it seem like only Obi-Wan and Yoda made it. In this game alone we learn that Cal and Cere are still alive, and that does not even count Malicos and the two Inquisitors, who all used to be Jedi as well.

BD-1 was my favourite character

BD-1 was my favourite character

Twonking an AT-AT with an AT-AT

Twonking an AT-AT with an AT-AT

Dead Stormtrooper maintains vertical stability

Dead Stormtrooper maintains vertical stability

Don't think this thing agrees with me killing it<br /><span class='skye'>(webm video)</span>

Don't think this thing agrees with me killing it
(webm video)

BD-1 performs a scan while hovering 12 feet in the air

BD-1 performs a scan while hovering 12 feet in the air

When in battle, sometimes I would feel awesome, and sometimes I would get incredibly irritated. That's because the combat in this felt more tactical, forcing me to be patient and focused, rather than allowing me to just run around swinging my lightsaber like I would have preferred. The reason for this is that there was no attack cancellation, so I couldn't swing my saber, then immediately change my mind to quickly block or dodge an incoming attack from another enemy. This kind of combat may work for some people, and in other games, but I've never really liked it, and it makes no sense when playing as a Jedi who is supposed to have split-second reactions. I mean, if I can see an attack coming, then surely he can, right?

The level design was also what I can only describe as janky. To get around each environment, you (a Jedi, no less), have to jump and climb all over the place and do all kinds of fancy shit to reach further into the level. But when you get there, there are always simple enemies already populating that area. If Cal had to go through all that trouble to get there, then how in the galaxy did a simple Stormtrooper manage to get there? It was dumb.

As what usually happens when I play a game like this with a controller, I got annoyed at the camera rotate speed, and the fact that I couldn't turn the camera and hit any action buttons at the same time. So out came the KX adapter for another try. For the most part, it worked better than it did for Horizon, as I did not need precise aiming in this game like is required for that game. But in the end, the KX's lack of rebinding meant I still couldn't figure out a comfortable control scheme (and plus I wanted to save my mouse-clicking fingers a bit more), so I switched back to the controller to finish up.

I can see why a lot of people liked the game, but for me it was somewhere in the middle. In conclusion, I would consider the game to be simply "alright", and it has done very little to interest me in anything new Star Wars has to offer.
Some of the older things though...
Yes. I might get back to those at some point...

Looks like I just twonked this Nightbrother in the balls

Looks like I just twonked this Nightbrother in the balls

This whole section was a shit show

This whole section was a shit show

Imperial can somehow shoot behind him<br /><span class='skye'>(webm video)</span>

Imperial can somehow shoot behind him
(webm video)

Cal runs like he's shit himself<br /><span class='skye'>(webm video)</span>

Cal runs like he's shit himself
(webm video)

Pull yourself together, Mr. Lightsaber

Pull yourself together, Mr. Lightsaber

21st October 2019: The Frustration Unleashed

I played the original Force Unleashed back in early 2010 on the PS3. If I remember right, I quite liked the early parts of the game, but lost interest later on with both the gameplay and the lore, as I didn't like how many Imperial enemies could neutralise your Force powers, when no such enemies existed in the films.

When the sequel came out, it got worse reviews than its predecessor, so I never considered it until I picked it up on sale from GOG about a year ago.

As I'd not completed a game for 7 months, I needed a fairly short game to get through, so went with this one. Well, I'm glad it was a short one, that's all I can say.

For a start, the keyboard and mouse controls that are supposed to be in the game do not work. I read online you have to disable all the controllers in device manager for this to work, but it did nothing for me. So I had to play with the controller, and its incredibly slow camera rotate speed. Urgh.

I also had trouble trying to unlock the frame rate, which in the original game is fixed at 30fps. I found a modified .exe, which did indeed let me run at 60. However, I had a lot of weird bugs and glitches in the game, especially going up elevators, which ended up being the fault of that modified .exe. So in the end I played with the original 30fps locked version of the game. But even that still threw up problems, as the cut scenes seemed to want to run at over 4000fps, and kept stuttering. I had to run RivaTuner to cap those at 30 as well, just to make everything work.

Even after getting it to seemingly run right, and using the original .exe, I still had some glitches and crashes. This was most evident in the level where the rebel fleet turns up at the planet Kamino, and you have to repel Imperial boarders in a hangar. Three times I had to clear that level. The first time, when the game told me to remove the boarding clamps, it crashed. The second time, I killed all the enemies, but the game never told me to remove all the boarding clamps, so I was just stuck in an empty hangar unable to proceed. Pain in the ass.

I really had no fondness for the story or characters in this game either. The original Starkiller at least had some character development. This clone of him is very one note, and very boring. I don't remember what Kota was like in the original game, but his constant orders and irritating tone really pissed me off while getting through this.

I suppose it doesn't really help that I'm really off Star Wars lately, ever since that ridiculously awful Last Jedi spoiled the entire franchise for me.
But at least it's a game done at long last.

Tickling an Acolyte

Tickling an Acolyte

Stormtrooper loses his head

Stormtrooper loses his head

This very annoying boss has very bad breath

This very annoying boss has very bad breath

Wrecking some droids

Wrecking some droids

Pushing some Stormtroopers around

Pushing some Stormtroopers around

Fighting my way through to Vader

Fighting my way through to Vader

Frying up a Sith Lord for dinner

Frying up a Sith Lord for dinner

2nd December 2018: Galactic Farewells

So all right, this entry is not really about finishing a game, as this is a game that can not really be finished. But I've allowed myself to do this as I have finished something within a game. And the something I have finished has taken hours.

This last month or so I've had a big run on The Old Republic again after not really touching it since back in July. This run ended yesterday when I finally finished the class storyline for Kreethen, my Jedi Consular.
And boy, I'm glad it's over.

As MMORPGs go, I think this is arguably the one I would pick to play again if I absolutely had to. I think the way it tells its story content, with the choices and fully voiced dialogue, just made me more interested to see what was going to happen next, compared to other such games like WOW where you just get a wall of text that few people actually read.

That being said, the game is still a very typical MMORPG, filled with dull as fuck loot quests, kill quests, and endless travelling back and forth. Actually getting to the end of one character's story has been quite the miracle, and there are seven other characters to choose from, as well as all the expansion content.
But yeah, I'm going to happily forget all that stuff even exists.

To be fair, a few times I did actually think whether I should subscribe and get the expansions, but in the end I think I've had enough of this type of game to last me the next few years. I did however at one point put a little money into the game just so that I could hide what Kreethen was wearing on his head, as the helmet designs were getting more and more ridiculous as I went through the game.

But for now, and probably for ever, this game is done, and has now been uninstalled.

Kreethen's fashion sense is top notch

Kreethen's fashion sense is top notch

Bad dude tries to dodge

Bad dude tries to dodge

Gold digger

Gold digger

Blocking some Sith lightning

Blocking some Sith lightning

Senator Grell has a Sullustan-shaped growth

Senator Grell has a Sullustan-shaped growth

Kreethen uses a proton pack

Kreethen uses a proton pack

Dead guy floats

Dead guy floats

My companion Nadia takes on a Sith

My companion Nadia takes on a Sith

Bad kitties

Bad kitties

Invisible Jedi

Invisible Jedi

Getting well and truly zapped

Getting well and truly zapped

Defeating the end boss

Defeating the end boss

Taking all the plaudits

Taking all the plaudits

Level 50 Kreethen

Level 50 Kreethen

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

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