Prince of Persia
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Finished it last night! With 104 races, which seems a bit inefficient of me. One of the things I didn’t appreciate above in how the game is balanced is that the longer you spend messing about in the easy levels, the greater a lead the difficult opponents can build up so you create more work for yourself catching up.
This time around, I chose to spend a long time in the easy races to build up these bonuses and having a strong chance of winning $3000 or so per race with an extra bonus every three races (for destroying other cars and having a winning streak) rather than going for the Medium races, but that set my score back quite a lot and I had to really grind at the end once I had the best car to reach the top of the league.
Yes, the Windows update is definitely a lot easier to get going – Death Rally runs under DOSBox with some configurations because the 3D Realms Anthology version ran fine, but even then sometimes the music went strange.
Repetitive though it is, I’m very into this game again 🙂 Just having some races occasionally and increasing your stash is enjoyable. The only thing I can’t get over is how laughable the “edginess” is – for example, the inclusion of heroin delivery by a pitch-shifted dealer that sounds like what I used to do for my games when I was twelve and didn’t have a deep enough voice 🙂
I started it up again and played much longer than I’d intended… which is probably a good sign 🙂 I forgot another tactic that I discovered in my earlier exploration of the game – I find that it’s worth moving up to Medium difficulty earlier than the game recommends (it asks you for the level 3 car, but it won’t actually stop you if you try again after getting the warning). The prize money is much more worthwhile, even if you only finish in third.
Yes, once you get over the hump of moving away from your original Volkswagen from about 1947 the game gets easier, if I remember right 🙂
My own strategy was what Wan mentioned – to hang back at the start and let the other cars beat each other up for a bit, then go for the easy kill at the back so that you guarantee yourself at least a bit of income from finishing in 3rd place. The racing mechanics never really seemed like they had a whole lot of depth to me, beyond “hold forward and try not to crash on the corners”, so it’s hard to talk about tactics for driving apart from learning the courses as you go.
I grew up with most of the Apogee catalogue but didn’t encounter this one at the time – I played it for the first time for a video that I did a couple of years ago, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kG8chy-kRRg#t=19m10s . I ended up really enjoying it and playing all the way through to the end! The 3D Realms Anthology came with the original DOS version at the time, but the Windows-ized version that comes with Steam is functionally identical and works a bit better.
It feels a bit short because all the tracks are theoretically open to you from the start and there isn’t much in the way of feeling like you’re progressing, just the same loop of signing up for a race. But once you’re over the initial hump of difficulty and have the hang of the game, it’s satisfying to work your way up the ranks. It definitely wouldn’t have flown as a “full” game even at the time, I think (it was considered a budget title if I remember right), but it’s a fun enough diversion.
One tip that I remember seeing somewhere is to always pick the Duke Nukem portrait for yourself, because this takes him out of the game and he’s the hardest opponent by a mile!
Thanks for scanning those! I grew up with PC games magazines and really miss the tone of humour they had in them, particularly the irreverence of PC Zone. I don’t think it’s a style that survived in the Internet age of game journalism 🙂
Interesting to see such a spread of scores, as well – I agree with the observation that the game isn’t really as edgy as it would like to be, it’s more like just an Apogee game that’s been allowed to stay up past its bedtime and is trying to be a bit darker without really knowing how.
From my first impressions, the general feel seems quite like a different Silmarils game I had called Le Fetiche Maya, where you were basically dumped into the environment (a set of locations connected by driving sections) and left to work out any and all objectives for yourself! Though admittedly I got the game from my uncle and I didn’t have the manual, so that could have hindered me a lot.
Blimey, this definitely throws you in at the deep end – thanks for the quick guide, because without it the game just presents you with this unfathomable screen to click around on! Definitely another case where a read of the manual is going to be needed 🙂 Silmarils (and more generally, French) games seem to be very like this.
Something I’ve thought might be good as a starting point for each month is a few links showing people where to get the game – one possible place is https://archive.org/details/msdos_Transarctica_1993 . It looks like you can also get it in the Silmarils Collection as a download from Amazon – I found a download of the American version Arctic Baron elsewhere, but it suffers from a weird problem with the mouse where sometimes it’ll jump into the corner of the screen.
Will update once I’ve worked out what I’m doing at all 🙂
I think I may have hit my wall on level 4! I’m pretty much stuck in a siege where I own the three rightmost castles on the map – I have just about enough forces on hand to fend off the armies of ten Cyclopses that keep coming my way, but not enough to make any headway in forming a counterattack.
It’s interesting you say that because I’m on level 4 of the campaign now, playing as Knights, and I’ve run into a difficulty wall where I had to admit defeat and start the level again – I spread myself too thinly with units that get torn through like paper, and I’ve been pining for access to the more powerful units of the Warlock class! Does the increased cost of the Warlock’s army make it impractical to build it up in the early game?