I finished Episode 1 today, and overall it was a bundle of fun! 😀
I played all the way through on Let’s Party (hard) and it was indeed difficult to begin with, but I settled into a rhythm quite quickly.
The gameplay suffers from poor targeting, a combination of tiny hitboxes plus too rapid turning (I’m playing with the keyboard only). Coupled with some monsters having hitscan attacks, this made life difficult (skeletons, grr!). The AI showed its age too, though it didn’t really impact on my enjoyment. I’d completely forgotten about the puzzles and some other parts of the gameplay which I think are pretty original and fun even today. Interestingly the combat is quite different on hard, as getting close to monsters is often fatal, so you have to be much more careful when wandering into new spaces; I found this helped build the atmosphere even more.
On first viewing the graphics seemed to be the part which had aged the most, but I quickly became used to and then began to appreciate them. None of the monsters look amazing but they’re expressive enough. There’s also enough variety in the textures to create a huge house with several different environments (some which were only used in the secret level, which was bold)—and don’t forget the gardens!
The music is pretty good, and even great in places. One thing that bothered me a little was that each level and menu has its own soundtrack, so every time I died (this happened often) the menu track would start, then on reloading the level track would start again from the beginning. This meant that even when the game was at its most absorbing, I was pulled back out of the zone frequently.
The SFX work well in this game. I can still hear all the different witch noises! The noises made by some of the sneakier monsters in later garden levels (I don’t want to give any spoilers but if you’ve played it you know the ones I mean) really make me jump by now. Also there are nice little flourishes like the sighing groan every time you die.
# High points
1. Reaching level 9. This level in particular is more atmospheric than many others. There’s less action and more focus on just finding your way around, and some cool panels at the start. The music is the same as the main menu, which a) is a great track and b) made a neat build-up to the impending end of the episode.
2. Finding the secret level without having to look it up! Oh yeah! 😀
# Low point
Realising that I’d missed out on the autoplasma. Somehow I managed to not pick up this great weapon, and as it only appears once in the episode, that was that!
I doubt I’ll be able to finish the game by the end of the month, but already I’ve had a great time. I hope others are enjoying it half as much as I am!