HEROES OF MIGHT & MAGIC
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After diversifying a bit in the second scenario map, I’ve discovered that phoenixes are like a flying pink steamroller – if you’ve got about seven of those then you can absolutely waste everything in a pack encounter very easily, and they’re very powerful against enemy heroes as well! They’ll definitely be on my list of things to prioritize in the future.
This game is absolutely wrecking my week. I’m supposed to get up in about six hours and drive to daycare and I’m absolutely hooked on finishing this second scenario (good to know that the others are just the same maps played on different starting points, by the way – that’ll save a bit of time.) I think I’m quite close! I think I’d mistakenly thought this game was an RPG before, where it’s really more like Civilization (especially in the temptation to take “just one more turn” about fifty times in a row). My weakness is definitely in defence – it’s only recently that I’ve thought to actually leave troops behind to defend a castle and keep a hero around specifically to keep my flags planted on the mines, rather than just leaving things alone and hope nobody barges in.
After struggling back and forth a bit, there seems to be a point where you reach critical mass with your castles and income (currently 10,500 gold pieces a day) and can just buy up everything, after which the game gets a lot easier… having a hero act as a taxi had occurred to me as well, to ferry troops out to the combat zones instead of returning to heal up, interesting to know it’s a viable strategy 🙂
I’m still in my first steps with the game, but the tutorial mission starts you off with a barbarian army and I quickly got to appreciate the Trolls a lot 🙂 They’re strong, they hurl big boulders at the enemy… they’re very expensive, though.
The Hydra was a massive headache for me during that mission, I never got hold of one myself but whenever I encountered one it seemed like a massively overpowered scaly wall of doom that would trundle round and absolutely slaughter everything. I’m looking forward to seeing if the impression is the same the other way around… it’s interesting that you’re finding uses for units that you hadn’t originally realized!
The way that each class has one more unit type than you can fit into an army reminds me of Etrian Odyssey, in an odd way – I read that the director of the game chose a party limit of five specifically so that it would always feel you were missing something and want to experiment with new combinations. It’s also interesting that you get a morale penalty for having too many units of different classes – I think this is something I didn’t realize way back when I briefly played HOMM3! What that does is discourage you from stuffing your army with multiple fliers, or ranged units, or whatever, by reaching across classes.
Additional note regarding the sound – I honestly wandered around my house trying to work out why the heating was making a distressing noise until I realized it was the bizarre “wind” sound effect in the background of the game! It’s so repetitive and mechanical…
The project manager, with the underlings doing the actual work 🙂
I knew roughly what this game was going to be like because I’d played Heroes of Might and Magic 3 many years ago, from a CD borrowed from someone. My overall impression was that I hated it – my primary memory is of fumbling around, entering combat, the computer declaring I had no morale and skipping all my turns, and then having its units slaughter me instantly!
So I started HOMAM1 up this evening and to be frank my first impression was “Oh my god what on earth is going on”. The art style is very, very busy, with a veritable avalanche of things going on on-screen even when you start a scenario (the grainy look of the terrain contributes to that, along with the bold lines of the sprites) – the view and lack of labelling on the buttons contribute to make something that looks incomprehensible.
Fortunately the manual is generous enough to provide a tutorial, although it cuts off just when you’re about to find your feet – http://replacementdocs.com/download.php?view.538 . With its help, I was able to just about understand what I was meant to be doing – there definitely seems to be a lot to discover, and even the combat doesn’t seem as insurmountable as it once was. I think that one of the major things that it explained was to get into the habit of holding down the right mouse button on things to get more information – in a modern UI, this would just be done by hovering, and that action hadn’t occurred to me.
I definitely agree with a few comments above – the combat grid is very vague and it’s unclear where units are standing, partly due to their different sizes… on that subject, the unit graphics are just all over the place and look like they’ve been drawn by at least two separate artists without fully agreeing on a style. That, along with the odd collection of sound effects, reminds me of early independent games which just used whatever sprites and WAV files they found lying around 🙂
I think tonight I’ll do something very nostalgic, and read the manual in bed – I used to do that with all my DOS games in the early 90s, because reading them was so vital to discovering things that weren’t made obvious by the game itself!
A well-earned victory 🙂 Sounds like it was a struggle! I noticed when I went through that the kill frenzies really don’t give you a lot of points, even with the multiplier.
I definitely agree on the aiming problem, too – later in the game you’re asked to go up against whole gangs on foot, and the only way to fight effectively is by doing this strange dance where you run perpendicular to them, wait for them to fire and then turn around spraying your machine gun during the pause. In addition to that there’s a definite limit to the number of directions a gun can fire in, leaving large blind spots!
I found myself wanting strafe controls so that I could move with WSAD and aim with the mouse, although I admit that swapping between the two would be awkward when you’re getting in or out of a vehicle.
I’ve been too much of a perfectionist so far, trying to get that score multiplier as high as it’ll go – but I did discover one more example because of a game bug 🙂
There’s a mission in Liberty City 2 where you’re meant to follow and then kill two rival gang heads (whose names I can’t recall) – I assume that someone was meant to get out of the car I was following, but instead it pulled over to the side of the road and just sat there glumly even when I shunted it a bit to try to get it going. With no other options, I chose to just blow it up – and my contact was annoyed that I didn’t take the chance to get them both, but I got a Mission Complete anyway.
It just occurred to me that I had no idea what the game’s title meant! Over time it’s just become a game name to me 🙂 But yes, like kdrnic says, seems like “Grand theft auto” is the American term for motor vehicle theft. I’m not sure what the distinction between theft and grand theft is, or why the words are in that order instead of the more natural “grand auto theft”, or why they call them autos and not vehicles, even though I’ve spent eleven years in America now.
And yes, the car names are also plays on real life ones 🙂 Once again I knew nothing about cars when I played this the first time, but looking at them now… Mundano was a nickname for the Ford Mondeo in the UK because it was a safe, common, boring choice of car. Jugular must be Jaguar… Porka is Porsche, Stallion is Mustang, Impaler would be the Chevy Impala.
Yep, I think that GTA24.EXE or the Windows one (if I can find the right compatibility settings to get the performance up) is looking like the best option.
Incidentally I love that the 8-bit and high-colour versions look so different – the GTA8 ones aren’t just low-colour variants of the tiles, they’re a completely separate tile set and it almost looks like a different game. I’ve heard that this is because as the graphics evolved during development, they just sort of forgot to translate their new graphics back to the GTA8 version 🙂
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I know what you mean and I felt the same way about the PS2-era games – they felt pretty awkward to me. I enjoyed GTA4 and 5, but in different ways from the original top-down games – I suppose in a world where open sandboxes are commonplace, they stand out less than they used to. In the late 90s, being dumped in a city and left to cause havoc was a real novelty 🙂
This will sound a bit “my uncle works at Nintendo”-ish, but an old school friend works with Rockstar now and has a credit in Grand Theft Auto 5, he’s one of the people who wrote the tools for graphics/texture artists and modellers to import their stuff into the game world. We’re very proud of him 🙂
Those are great 🙂 Something wonderful about the modern era is just how many of these mysterious creators behind the games we loved are just… there and contactable, now. The first PC game I ever played was an ASCII platformer called Jason Jupiter, and I was delighted when its author Neil Drage responded to a post I’d made about remaking it!
I hadn’t realized at the time that the Hugo games were the only shareware graphical adventure series around – that surely boosted their visibility. It’s hard to remember that people could stand out on the shareware libraries then, in contrast to the age when 500 more games are released on Steam every week.
What I found most interesting about David P Gray is the way that despite being from the UK, he uses a lot of American language (the infamous “bung” from the first Hugo game, for example). It turns out that like me, he emigrated from the UK to the US fairly early in life, though I have actively resisted picking up any of the local terms here 🙂
I had a go at Episode 2, and like I remembered, the presentation improves a bit 🙂 There are now backgrounds other than plain grey – they’re a bit monotonous but they’re there, and there are places with simulated lighting cutting through darkness. In general it feels more interesting than episode 1. It also has the feature of some levers that the overly curious can pull in order to lose the game instantly – a trap I fell into in the early 90s 🙂
But the die-and-retry style of gameplay really ramps up as well, mostly due to the new enemies – there seem to be far more with projectile weapons, and your speed of movement (particularly that short delay before you jump) makes it very difficult to get out of the way. Some of the enemies are also ridiculously fast and difficult to see coming – the puppies (I don’t know what they are but that’s what I always called them – they’re small, fast and blue) are very erratic and unpredictable, and they don’t hurt you but they stun you for long enough to be zapped by a nearby enemy. The lack of look up/down controls hurts as well, as you can often drop down straight on to enemies that you couldn’t even see.
Shareware games used to advertise each other all the time, as corny as it looks today – it was the way to get the word out before the Internet as we know it 🙂 You might notice that the game “The Fight For Justice” advertised in the episode 1 help file – which they just made up on the spot, nothing about it had ever been coded – eventually became Quake!
The shareware titans even put friendly jabs at each other in their games 🙂 http://legacy.3drealms.com/fanstuff/keenstory/page6.html
I never got very far in Fez, but on a quick Google, it looks like it does 🙂 And from what I saw, Fez’s “fox room” – the giveaway room that tells you the whole alphabet – is more creative, just hinting that you have what’s needed to work it out instead of telling you outright.