The Secret of Monkey Island
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What an amazing collection – I’m going to enjoy reading through these again! I’m pretty sure I have some more early issues of PC Zone, though my parents’ house is 3000 miles away from my current location 🙂 I’ll have to remember the next time they take a journey over to us.
“Wargames used to be about as much fun as putting your underwear between two flowery baps, slapping on some mustard and scoffing the lot”. My god, I miss these magazines 😀 Are these from your own collection, or are you looking at some online archive for them? There must still be a large box of them at my parents’ house, I wonder if they have any that haven’t been made available yet…
It’s interesting how Chris Anderson in PC Zone spends two pages absolutely lambasting it and then awards it an 82 – spending most of the review talking about the presentation rather than any of the gameplay! Although that’s something that I’d meant to mention as a reason I remember this game so well – the narrator with his veins audibly popping out of his forehead at the sheer determination with which he’s doing his “English” accent.
Fantastic memories nonetheless 🙂 I wasn’t able to identify what felt awkward about groups of units, but you said it – you can’t tell which health bar belongs to whom! A lot of my success in this game has just been in building an overwhelming force and sending them all out at once (or at least nine at a time).
There’s a weird feature in the manual where you can sort of recall unit groups – if you click on a unit while holding Alt it will select everyone who was in the last group in which this unit was selected. This is pretty awkward and doesn’t make things as easy as using the number keys to set unit groups, which I think was only added in the later battle.net version.
I went through the human campaign a few years ago (but I remember very little about it) so I’m doing the orcs this time!
I definitely agree that it takes ages to get up and running – I wondered if it was just me, but chopping lumber in particular seems to take an enormous amount of time until you have a small army of workers. And in the orc campaign, it seems like you often start off using more food than you’re actually growing, so you have to spend your first resources on about four farms before you can really get started.
Comparisons to Command and Conquer are definitely inevitable – something I was surprised by in C&C was that it had a lot of varied missions beyond “destroy the enemy base”, like the one where due to budget constraints you have to clear the area using a bunch of mouldy old tanks and a repair bay. Warcraft’s missions, despite having slight variations like “destroy the castle and get to this rune stone”, seem to be fairly repetitive like Pix says. Once you’ve got your armada sorted out there’s little the enemy does to stop you beyond throw its starting units at you.
It’s interesting that “fog of war” is an option in the preferences, rather than a cheat code! I prefer to play with it off, C&C-style, but I imagine the game would be very different with it on – usually, I spend a while at the start of the mission flying a scout around to reveal most of the map, but that wouldn’t be as useful with the fog turned on.
I’ve noticed that I tend to take a very long time to really get a base going compared to other RTS games – that hasn’t mattered so far in the campaign as the enemy tends to leave you alone before you start exploring on the early levels. What’s your build order like? 🙂
Thanks! I had a bit of illness just after posting that video, but here at last is the commentary as to what I’m doing and how I’m skipping pieces of the levels… I had to talk faster than I had anticipated.
I think Jordan Mechner threw that in as a follow up to a feature in his previous game Karateka – https://tcrf.net/Karateka_(Apple_II) – where he went to the trouble of providing an entire second copy of the game modified to display upside down for the sake of a joke! That’s dedication 🙂
Agh, those biting heads. I never found a reliable way to swipe at them with the half-butterknife that you’re given throughout most of the ruins either – timing gets you so far, but then they’ll hover just out of your range and then swoop in to kill you. They’d be far more enjoyable if they didn’t stay out of range, didn’t have a chance of biting off about four health bottles at a time, and ideally didn’t exist at all.
Prince of Persia 2 really had an avalanche of new ideas – it’s interesting that none of the obstacles from the first game are repeated, not even the basic shrubs of spikes on the floor – but not all of them really worked. And the controls are definitely more sluggish, I feel it in both the jumping and the swordfighting… it’s odd that they didn’t seem to base the game on the perfect groundwork of the original.
So I said the next phase was levels 7-9, but I went ahead and finished the whole thing – after you’ve got through those, levels 10-12 are nothing! I finished the game in 12:20.58, counting from the moment the “Level 1” text appears on the screen to the cut to black after completing level 12c. For comparison’s sake, my best human time for the game is 14:24.32, over two minutes slower – an eternity in speedrunning terms! And I’m sure that there’s more that I can go back and enhance (not to mention the emulator was a bit choppy at some points as well, not helping the final time).
Here’s the final rendered TAS from the DOS emulator, and I’ll do a version with commentary soon.
(WARNING, the video begins with quite a loud and alarming emulated PC speaker beep)