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Yes, I just tried it now (played the first couple of levels). Even though the character looks somewhat like Jill, the level design feels more like Xargon. Movement is a bit more fluid, but I dislike the fact that it is no longer possible to throw the knives while crouching.
I played all 3 episodes, start to finish, probably more than two decades ago. Since then, replayed some parts a couple of times, but I am not sure I ever finished the third game since.
The soundtrack is one of the nicest things about the Jill Trilogy, and the mechanics of playing as different animals is rather original.
Control-wise, choppy is a good way to put it – it is very much grid-locked – unlike the very smooth, sometimes pixel-resolution platforming of games like Commander Keen. However, I found that once I adjusted to that, the game was quite fun.
Descent is a game that feels totally suited to joysticks, flightsticks and what not. Surprisingly, one of the best players I have seen (he has a Youtube channel) plays with keyboard only, and on DXX-Rebirth, no less. Here is his comment in his video where he described his control scheme:
To be honest, I never got good enough at Descent to beat it without cheats. The levels just become more and more frustrating with more convoluted mazes and tougher enemies.
I recall that one of my friends when he was playing the game when it came out, like 25 years ago had the following strategy for the first boss (Level 7): shoot, save, reload if dead, repeat. That should tell you much about it.
CUE format supports data and audio tracks mixed within the same BIN image file (of course the audio is uncompressed this way). DOSBox supports audio from the BIN file as well as from external files, based on whatever the CUE specifies.
Every major 3D shooter in the DOS era had secret levels. Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, Heretic, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake – all had one per episode. Games that were not split to episodes (Spear of Destiny, DOOM II, Descent) had a couple as well; Hexen basically had one secret level per hub. It was like a mandatory element of the design. 🙂
I think I got it as a freebie from the computer / D&D magazine I was subscribed to at the time. I didn’t like it one bit.
Based on the release dates, both MK and MK2, as well as SF2 were already available on the PC before Rise of the Robots got released, with MK3 and SSF2T coming not far behind. Not difficult to see why nobody would really want to play this game.
Well, F is what you are supposed to use. ESDF is ESDF for a reason – once you get used to it, it’s very convenient to have all the action buttons close by.
It’s the same control scheme used for Lost Vikings, which I played first, and I too started off by using Spacebar, until I figured out that it is actually holding me back, and switched over to F. By the time I got to Blackthorne, it was ESDF all the way. 🙂
Which is why I hate that the updated Blizzard release makes you use both.
I actually play all original DOOM and Build engine games with keyboard only, just because the mouselook is not right in them. They also don’t really require a mouse.
Source ports (Doomsday, eDuke32) are a different thing. It feels more natural to use mouse + WASD there.
While not being generally an adventure/quest type player, I’ve played Simon the Sorcerer 1 and 2 pretty extensively back in the day and loved the atmosphere and humor. I never played any Monkey Island games (shame on me), but from a first glance it looks like it can be very similar, and I might enjoy it as well. Probably need to set up the Talkie Edition first…
Well, you can still click a unit’s avatar in the sidebar to immediately select that unit, or you can shift-click a unit to deselect it (remove it from the group). This simplifies the separation of ‘healthy’ vs ‘wounded’ units a bit.
The general strategies against the AI seem to be:
1) Build your base while defending against attacks using tactically placed melee units with archers behind them (combine with towers if you wish).
2) Build 2-3 groups of super-tough units and send them to destroy the enemy bases bit by bit.
On land I’d mostly use Ogres / Ogre Mages (Knights / Paladins). If the enemy has fliers, then also include some trolls / archers in the group.
On sea maps I would use groups of destroyers, or juggernauts/battleships once they are available. One word of advise, though – always have a couple of destroyers accompanying your heavy ships in the event of being attacked by fliers – battleships/juggernauts cannot attack air!
Once air units are available, everything else becomes kinda useless – groups of dragons / gryphons can pretty much take out everything the AI throws at you.
I must admit I only ever played Warcraft with the “on screen” cheat that shows the entire map. I felt like I do not want to play “hide-n-seek” with the AI, preferring to play “chess” instead. The AI does not explore; it always knows the location of your base and sends the units directly to it.
The AI also does not really manage resources; its economy is simpler – as long as it has peons/peasants collecting gold/lumber it can create new units. If you kill all of its peasants and destroy the town hall – it will never build more units and never send any more to attack you, so you can safely gather your forces until you are ready to destroy them. This is true per individual player color – if playing against multiple AI “players” each of them has its own economy.
There is also a bug where for whatever reason all AI players simply stop creating troops and attacking your base. I haven’t figured out how its triggered, but saving/reloading can either trigger it or “release” it.
Yes, the fast scroll is a known bag on fast CPUs. It’s a good thing DOSBox lets us control it. 🙂
I’m quite happy that I managed to snatch a cheap copy of the Warcraft Battle Chess years ago. Can’t beat those big boxes with all the manuals for the original games included!
To be honest, I did not have much more problems with the average flying head compared to the average bird-headed guard. In both fights, I often take damage, but deal more than I take. Timing is usually enough… The only really hard ones (that deal 3-4 points of damage in a single bite) are those that guard the life-extending potions in the second and third ruins levels, but they are optional.
I have never known any version of PoP1 or PoP2 to be speed-sensitive, but to be sure I played it as extensively as I could today through DOSBox as well as on my K6-II “real hardware” system, and found no differences.
However, I have a possible explanation – have you by chance been playing the “initial release”? This is the one where cheats are activated using “prince makinit” and if you press Alt+V it just says “Prince of Persia 2” without a version number?
If so, then this might be the problem – I’ve played this version a bit today, and found that I am much more likely to miss running jumps in this one compared to the newer “1.0”/”1.1″, and also the goblin heads may have been out-of-alignment more frequently (although I’m not 100% sure on that one).
So it looks like they really did fix some subtle bugs (in addition to the obvious ones) in the final releases.
So, I finished my own playthrough of PoP2, to refresh my memory, and can say the following things:
* The running jump timing was not as terrible as I remembered. Sure it is still easier to miss than in PoP1, but I found that it rarely happened to me if I concentrated on the jump.
* I noticed what Pix mentioned about the goblin heads not always stopping at the same distance from you, making them impossible to hit. However, I observed that the first time they hit you and push you back, this is reset, and now they will be at the correct distance (you are still responsible for the timing, though). So you may sometimes be forced to lose some health (up to 4 bottles for some of the heads!), but generally you can still defeat them, without bothering with stopping at the correct tile.
* Versions 1.0 and 1.1 (but not the initial release) have a bug that if you save in the second caves level, then load the game, cutscenes will not be playing for the rest of the game. This has the side-effect that the countdown will not start (it is triggered by the tree cutscene after the second cave level, or if you die in it), so you have infinite time! Unfortunately, also the horse sequence will not show, so you will have a wrong palette at the beginning of the first temple level (saving and reloading fixes this).
* As far as the levels themselves go, I managed to get through most of them without saving/reloading, or at most with one mistake. Exceptions are the first and third temple levels, where I had to refresh my memory a lot to do everything right. The third temple level is particularly terrible. It has at least 5-6 different spots where a single mistake (which requires foreknowledge) will make the level unwinnable.
>> I think the only essential potion is the feather falling
>> one without which you cannot finish that one level.
Even that is not essential, if you have at least two hitpoints left. You can just hang down from the ledge and drop; this makes it a two-storey drop, so you only lose a single hitpoint. 😀
Well, you can get rid of the music with Alt+M (although it’s there for the atmosphere and, therefore, only hectic during fights; the first level is basically a non-stop fight).
I think that for games of that era it was expected that you would have had the manual and would have read it. It would also explain that Ctrl (as opposed to Shift) is used to draw the sword…
Oh, and don’t judge PoP2 by the first level. Most of the game is completely different (although in the late levels you get fighting sections that are just as long, and are much harder).
>> The snakes seem to have the same problem as the heads
>> where you need to be in the right position to be able
>> to strike them.
There is not a single snake in the game that must be actually struck. 🙂 You can always avoid them or jump over them.
>> Combined with the jumping it smacks of a minor bug to
>> me where the player can get out of alignment with the
>> tile positions.
This is an interesting observation and it’s quite possibly a true explanation.
>> So much of beating POP2 seemed to come down to
>> learning by rote exactly where to stand for each figt
>> or start each jump and I was having to use trial and
>> error to figure it all out.
I didn’t notice it being a problem with fights, to be honest. With jumps – yes, a little bit.
>> I was also getting a good number of crashes on my PII
>> which rubbed it in when they happened after one of
>> the mid-level checkpoints that I’d struggled to get
>> to for ages. Maybe I should have tried slowing my PC
>> down a bit in hindsight.
You may have been playing an early, buggy and crash-prone version of the game. Crashes are much less frequent with the later 1.01/1.1 versions, but they still happen (often because of sound bugs).
>> There was a lot of satisfaction to cleaving through a
>> load of goblin heads after getting a full length
>> sword again.
I almost think they put all those goblin heads there intentionally, for that satisfaction. 🙂
I kind-of agree with everything you guys say, but disagree with the bottom line. 😉
PoP2 is not flawed. It’s just HARD. It’s harder than the first, and I think it was completely intentional. For example: PoP1 also has puzzles where you only have one chance and can end up in an unwinnable situation – they are just far, far simpler (both in figuring them out and in execution), so you don’t get infuriated as much.
The levels are also much shorter in PoP1, so there are fewer puzzles –> fewer traps –> fewer restarts and shorter duration of average restart –> less frustrated players. 🙂
Combat is also harder in PoP2 – PoP1 had only a couple of guards were you really needed to combine block and strike – PoP2 has many more of these (pretty much all the bird-headed temple guards, and a few of the skeletons in the caves). The goblin heads require very precise timing and rhythm, although I did not notice that initial position mattered as much (and you can always inch a bit forward/backward if needed).
All in all, I think the developers just wanted to make a harder game, that will be challenging to players who already mastered PoP1, and they succeeded. If it had been toned down to the same level of difficulty, newbies would be happier, but oldtimers may have been disappointed that the game did not provide enough hours of play time.
The only aspect where I’m not sure that the change was intentional, is the timing on running jumps. The game really requires it to be much more precise – jump too early or too late and you plummet to your death either at the near or at the far edge. It may be that they took out the position adjustment code to make things harder, or it may be an actual bug. It is also the thing that annoyed me the most in the game, and I wish it was back in.
As Pix noticed – pausing and starting the jump from the correct location usually allows you to make the jump safely, but there are a few sequences where you don’t have the time to pause, because some door is closing, and this is very annoying, especially since often you have to restart way-way-back if you miss.
FWIW, PoP2 does allow you to save in the beginning of every level, like PoP1, so at least you after all the exploration and learning is done, and you pass the level on the first try, you can save your progress. This will guarantee you will not run out of time before the end of the game.
That’s true. In fact, the first component to any speedrun is skipping all these upgrades. A lot of time is saved this way.
Prince of Persia 2 makes it impossible to skip the life upgrades! You start with 3 hitpoints, can get a maximum of 12, and need at least 11 to beat the last level. If you got to the last level with fewer than that, there is an endless supply of life-extending potions, but it takes time to get them, probably more than you would save by skipping the upgrades throughout the levels.
It is also worth mentioning, that (unlike in PoP1) there are more life upgrades scattered in the levels of PoP2 than the maximum number of hitpoints you can get, so some of them are worth skipping; speedrun experts know which ones. 🙂
“prince megahit” works on version 1.0. For version 1.3 and 1.4 it’s “prince improved”.
Another observation: when using N/U/H/J to browse the level, you can use K to kill the guards, but they don’t stay dead – they will come back to life if you visit the same screen again (in real life or while “browsing”).
Also, if you kill an enemy, then quickly browse away from the screen and come back to it, the enemy will come back to life too. It seems that the game only registers killed enemies when the prince physically leaves the screen – if you leave it and come back, enemies will not come back to life even if you use U/N/H/J.
Warning: Using K to kill the skeleton can freeze the game!
I watched your excellent and informative video a while ago and even commented on it, without making the connection to your account on this forum. 🙂
I really think the SNES is quite good, and is certainly worth playing for how different it is. But I still like the DOS version the best.
Good tips, all. I would add a couple of points:
* Be careful when trying to crouch to avoid damage from a falling plate; it requires precise timing – if you are still crouched when it hits, you will lose not one, but two points!
* Combining jumps with grabbing ledges – standing jump is 2 tiles, running jump OR standing jump + ledge grab is 3 tiles, running jump + ledge grab is 4 tiles. 4 tiles is the maximum gap you can jump over. In PoP2 you can actually cross 5-tile gaps if there is a ledge to grab one floor below, but PoP1 either doesn’t have these mechanic, or has no areas set up to take advantage of them.
* Some enemies fence better than others. Most of the bright yellow ones are a notch above the rest for whatever reason. Of course the real masters are the fat guard in level 6 and Jaffar himself. With these you need to do a lot of block+strike tapping.
Regarding the controls, you nailed it. It’s not unresponsiveness, it’s realism! In real life you cannot do a standing jump two human heights into the air, then reverse direction mid flight and land on a floor above and behind you. In real life, if you don’t jump at the precise moment near the ledge you will either fall off or come up short. That’s what Prince of Persia is all about. And I must say, that PoP1 is actually very generous in terms of timing – during a run-up you can push up a couple of tiles before the edge and the prince will still jump at the last moment. PoP2 was not so generous.
Oh yeah! Once I saw that Prince of Persia is the next month’s game, I couldn’t wait for it to actually show up in the forums so I could participate in the discussions.
This is one of my all-time favorite games – both the original, and the entire series. With the exception of the really rather terrible “Prince of Persia 3D” and the rather OK-but-bland “Forgotten Sands”, I have fond memories of all the games.
But, since this is mostly about the original, let’s go back to that. 🙂
It is one of the earliest PC games I’ve been introduced to, playing it during the early nineties on my uncle’s 386. Naturally I sucked badly. A couple of years later a friend of mine got it on his 386, and this time we played together and gradually got better, until we could each beat the game. It really felt like an accomplishment.
And funnily, Prince of Persia is one of the game that I own legally, without having paid for it directly. I received the CD version of PoP + PoP2 with a monthly PC gaming magazine I was subscribed to back in the nineties. That version still had the original copy protection, but they forgot to attach the relevant manual information until the following month. 🙁 I bet many folks that did not already own cracked versions were quite unhappy about it.
The Playstation version (Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown) has a very different, more metal/techno soundtrack. A few tunes are the same, a few are “remixed” versions of original tunes, and a lot are original. It was composed by Mark “TDK” Knight:
Build engine also cannot do full room over room, because the map is still 2D. There are ingenious tricks in the engine that allow the feeling of room over room.
One is silent teleporters that basically take you to a different place in the map (this is what happens every time you dive under water – check it).
The second key element has to do with the way the engine renders sectors – it does not care about their absolute position in space, only the connections between them. So two sectors can really overlap or occupy the same area in space, as long as they are not visible at the same time. So you can “feel” room over room, but you can never see room over room.
The latter feature allows some amazing things that are almost unheard of in 3D games. I encourage you guys playing it right now to check the following secret levels to understand what I’m talking about and to be deeply impressed:
E2L11 – Lunatic Fringe (exit from E2L08 – Dark Side)
E3L10 – Tier Drops (exit from E3L05 – Movie Set)
Come to think about it, all of the most famous Build Engine games (Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, Blood, Redneck Rampage) feature much more realistic level design compared to the DOOM and Quake games.
Thus it’s got to be something more than just the style of the designers who worked on the levels (because these were different people); there must be something inherent to the engine, or the editing tools, that make it much easier to pull off realistic-looking environments.March 16, 2018 at 6:29 pm in reply to: What a Game! aka. WHY DID NOBODY TELL ME _HOW_ GOOD IT IT?? #1224
I believe that if you set Parental controls to on, it should get rid of most of the child-unfriendly stuff, including the sexism.
When playing using keyboard only, I always use the keypad, not the arrows. This way you can much easier use Pad7/Pad1 to aim, Pad9/Pad3 to look up/down and Pad5 to center the view. I think this is how it’s meant to be played on a keyboard-only setup.
I never tried it over LAN, only “Hot seat”. It’s easier to set up, and you don’t have the element of uncertainty “when is that guy going to finish up his turn???”, but you lose some of the mystery, as all human players know what all other human players are up to.
Come to think of it, last time I played Heroes multiplayer was with my lovely wife. We would make a pact not to attach each other until all AI enemies are beaten. Interestingly she enjoyed the first game more than the second one, where she did not appreciate the extra complexity.
In the second game, the special structure in the Warlock castle actually produces an extra 500 gold a day, just to balance out the cost of the troops. In Heroes 1, better find a gold mine, or a gold-producing artifact, or conquer another castle. 🙂
I think that in the first 3 games in the HoM&M series, it really makes sense to start playing them in order. Each game introduces extra complexity to the elements it takes from the previous one. Starting with HoM&M 3 would overwhelm a lot of players (unless they already have experience with similar games).
Heck, I’ve played the first two games a lot, and HoM&M 3 still overwhelmed me. I never grew as fond of it as most seem to be. I think it’s because in my nature I prefer games that are somewhat confined, rather than those that seem infinitely expandable.
The first game is a bit too confined. There really is only so much you can do. The second adds a lot more things, which increase depth and the number of available strategies, and the third takes it a little bit too far, in my opinion.
When I played the campaign, I felt that the level that puts you up against the Barbarian, Lord Slayer, is the hardest, because the Barbarians start sending powerful heroes to attack your castles almost immediately, and with the ‘no movement penalty on rough terrain’ they can cross the desert and be at your door step within 2-3 weeks, making it tough to survive the initial onslaughts. But if you do, it gets easier.
You can avoid this level entirely if you choose the Barbarians to play the campaign to begin with. 🙂
Trolls also regenerate hitpoints at the start of every round (something not immediately obvious). If your troll got even 1 point of health left at the end of the round, next round it starts at 40 again. It can help avoid some of the attrition that the enemy archers do to trolls during long battles (since the AI will go for your most powerful ranged unit at all times).
One technique against Hydras is to try to take them out of the game by casting Blind/Paralyze on them (Paralyze is especially good since they can’t retaliate either). The AI uses that technique a lot. Then you can finish of the other creatures, and then focus on the hydras. Doesn’t help when fighting groups of hydras in the wild, though. 😛
Regarding morale: You get -1 for 3 classes, -2 for 4 and -3 for 5. Since a Knight hero has +1 morale, and since you can usually find some artifacts that boost morale as well, I figure that 3 classes is something you can handle without morale penalties for the most part. 4-5 is probably too much already.
Phoenixes – well, they are very strong, the 2nd strongest in the game (after dragons), and against pack creatures even a small group is probably enough. However, when fighting enemy heroes, I’ve learned that attack/defense skills matter more than one realizes at first.
Consider Paladins, for instance. They are not as strong as a Phoenix, but their production is double, and they strike twice. Take a Knight hero with high attack/defense, against a Sorceress hero with low attack/defense, and a double-sized stack of Paladins will easily make minced meat out of Phoenix.
I mostly agree with your selection of armies for the 4 classes. Peasants are useless, of course, and Dwarfs/Hydra are much more useful as castle defense creatures than in a traveling army.
The one class where I’m not conclusive on is Barbarian. Ogres are very tough but are also slow. So, choosing between them and Goblins, I would sometimes prefer to take Goblins with me for traveling (as the hero moves faster). This is especially true if you are in a map with lots of Goblin huts where you can get more Goblins to join you for free. So, sometimes I would choose Ogres, sometimes Goblins.
In the end, it does not matter as much as one thinks, because at some point in the game you will have more than one hero, and you will have conquered some castles of other classes. In the end your most powerful hero will probably have a mix of powerful creatures from 2-3 classes.
Dragons, well, they are totally awesome. They are way overpowered in this game. It is true that their speed is Medium, so a fast creature (like a Phoenix) will get to attack first, but it typically will not make a difference. Their total spell immunity allows massive exploits – take a strong spellcaster with a few Dragons, walk around and cast Armageddon / Storm, causing hundreds of damage points to all enemy creatures, while the dragons are not affected.
In the sequel, they tried to balance things out a bit, by adding ‘Dragon slayer’ spell which boost attack against dragons, and adding powerful Titan units that, while not immune to spells, can also benefit from good spells (like Bless), and can often match and surpass dragons, depending on the skills and spells available to your hero.
Oh, you mean that the tracks that play during map exploration have that ambient noise (kind of like sound effects superimposed on the music)?
I understand what you mean; interestingly I never gave it a second thought. Probably because the first time I played through the first game was through an early CD-Rip that had no music at all, just ambient noises.
FWIW, the music that plays in the towns/castles and during battles, does not have that ambience added.
The economy thing is quite nice about Scorched Earth, but it also is a pretty big potential game breaker.
Once you win a couple of rounds and get enough money to buy shields, you are practically indestructible. Very few things can penetrate a shield (especially the heavy-duty one), and it is likely that the other players don’t have them yet.
Thus, if you are not unlucky enough to get killed before your first turn, you activate the shield, which gives you at least 80% of winning the round (90% if you also bought parachutes!), which means you will get more cash, with which you can buy… more shields, and run away winning almost every round.
When playing with other friends we sometimes agreed to not use shields, just for this reason.
You expressed it very nicely, sorceress. I had similar feelings when I played the game ages ago, but never managed to put my finger on it. To date I can barely remember the designs of most E2 levels – they are like a blur in my mind – whereas most E1 I remember quite well. E3 is a little better in this regard, but not as good as E1.
All E1 levels except E1M8 where designed by John Romero, whereas none of E2/E3 where. Many of the things that positively distinguish E1 from E2 are straight out of his “design rules”:
I guess this shows you that his reputation as a master designer is at least partially deserved. :
The original DOOM levels are really quite easy, even with keyboard only. However, if you are not used to playing keyboard-only, you will feel somewhat handicapped by that.
Once you go to DOOM2 and the 4th episode of Ultimate DOOM, and then Final DOOM, things start getting quite a bit harder; however, it is still perfectly manageable with keyboard only. All of the original levels in the original games are. It is when you go to the user-created level packs that you find some really hard ones, for which keyboard-only can become an insurmountable handicap.
The fact that the game can be difficult despite “dumb” straightforward enemies shows that good “smart” AI is not the only way to make a game challenging. Early FPSs like DOOM, Quake etc. (and similar concept games like Serious Sam) succeed mostly by presenting overwhelming numbers of tough enemies. Many modern FPSs will put you against smaller groups of smarter enemies instead. These are just different approaches and personally I don’t find one better than the other – it depends on how well a game implements whatever approach it chooses.
Yes, the evil soldiers are possessed humans.
I don’t remember exactly where it was explained; possibly in the manual, possibly in some FAQ. But even the sprite names used for them in DOOM.WAD make it clear:
Pistol Soldier – POSS (Possessed)
Shotgun Soldier – SPOS (Shotgun Possessed)
Chaingunner – CPOS (Chaingun Possessed, DOOM2 only)
You can totally play DOOM with the mouse and WASD, just like you would any modern FPS (minus the fact that there is no vertical freelook). However, this requires manually setting the mouse sensitivity to a very high number (40+?) in the configuration file. The maximum setting available in the in-game Options menu would make the mouse too slow to be usable.
This is a great example of how the community figured out better ways to play than was envisioned by the original designers. DOOM was intended to be perfectly playable with keyboard only (and to be fair, it is perfectly playable with keyboard only). But once folks realized they can be much faster and more efficient playing with the mouse, the game changed. This opened the door to higher level deathmatching, and much harder, moster-packed levels, which are very difficult (some probably impossible) to beat for keyboard-only players.