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There is also this interesting interview from Stay Forever Podcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s5ejYzd8wk
I also found one of the artists that worked on the project https://www.redheadart.com/portfolio/the-last-express/
I also remember this game as one, if not the first, open world game I ever played. You can literally travel to any planet in the galaxy in any order. The game even leverages on this and the start is randomized from a bunch of key planets, since you can pick up the main plot at any point.
The comm system is clever, but I agree that in the end is kind of tedious and can very well be replaced by a parser like in Sierra games.
Another thing that caught my attention back in the day is the amount of tech in display, from the procedural planet rotation to the fly-by sequence.
I played the shareware version back in the day and I remember it as a decent shooter. Movements are not as smooth as other titles, but it manages to pull out some impressive visuals with parallax scrolling that can also change speed. What I remember most is the presentation synced with the adlib music.
I’m following a playthrough by one of my preferred YouTuber, and it is interesting only for the reactions, otherwise right from start I’ve found the game depressing and really pointless. I know objectives can be quite obscure on other SQ games, but on this one is just watching Roger get punished just because and being mean to other NPC for no real reason.
This is probably one of the most unique RPG experiences out there, and for sure a great addition to the list.
I remember playing it as a kid. The level of English was a bit above mine at the time, but the game was so unique and intriguing that I pushed it to the end
I don’t mind deaths or endgames in adventure games. I find non-death games more relaxing to play, but that’s because I know I can’t mess things up. Deaths without warnings or second chances are annoying (and on some Sierra games can be extremely irritating), but at least you know you can’t proceed further.
What I really hate with passion are adventure games on where you can have an endgame situation without knowing it, because you destroyed or missed an object early on and the game decided not to notify you.
To let the player proceed beyond return without a key object is the worst, and on big games I’m pretty sure it is a tactic designed to sell guides and clues.
I’m following Jim Plays Games playthrough on the series, and was really impressed by the EGA graphics on the second and third games, specially the use of perspective, the screens are all interesting to watch and explore.
BTW Jim can be an interesting shoutout. He is more an Amiga gamer, but he covers many DOS games, and he is also an indie game developer, currently working online on Twitch on his upcoming game.
The Easter eggs list is really interesting:
“In early versions of Space Quest 1, when you typed “ken” in the opening screen aboard the Arcada, Sierra CEO Ken Williams would walk onto the screen and complain that the game was behind schedule.”
There is a “classic 1994” version on Steam https://store.steampowered.com/app/358360/Raptor_Call_of_the_Shadows_1994_Classic_Edition/ , that seems to be a Dosbox bundle, based on the comments.
One comment even provides a fix for the mouse controls, that was a very interesting feature of the game.
Speaking of comments, there is a very detailed 1000+ words one that has a ton of information. There is also a 1 word one that reads “good”. Both seems accurate 😀
Oh, I forgot about the “record a podcast” part. Then yeah, probably a gameplay is not going to translate well.
Another idea: what about if members of the club purpose a DOS game that for some reason has a special meaning (was the first game, or the only game they had for a while), better if it is an obscure game. You can read the message and discuss.
Also, there are a lot of games that can be played simultaneously or in turns on the same screen (sports games like Beach Volley or World Games the ones that came to my mind), in this case something like Parsec can be used to share the screen and the controls.
Really interesting, and makes sense if you think about it, the monospaced editors for DOS are really easy to use, you don’t need to bother with font sizes, tabs, etc, and they are usually very clear and easy to read. Ideal if you want to focus just on writing without distractions.
I remember this one. The premise is quite intriguing: you manage a big colony ship arriving to another solar system. A sister mission is supposed to be already colonizing the system, but something happened and their mission failed. Also, the Earth was in conflict with an Allen race and kind of lost, so, you are alone providing a new home for humanity and also discovering what happened to the other mission.
This is a very interesting title to review on the show. Quite unique, I don’t remember another game using the same engine, that was quite advanced IMO, allowing customization of the UI using a windows system with free positioning but also pixel scaling. Layouts can be saved and the game provides a couple.
One of those titles that are not directly related to Lovecraft’s work, but for sure it is inspired and do a better job than many with the official licence.
Hi! Just finished playing WC1 and WC2 with my son and I must say the experience was solid.
I’m quite impressed by WC1 as a product, technically was pushing boundaries, but also the design has a clear vision for an immersive experience. The way the game starts with the user “losing” in the simulator, the save screen with the sleeping pilots; but also the different wingman’s personalities during flight and the damage reflected on the ship after landing, I think helps a lot to tie-up the space combat with the Tiger’s Claw sequences, enforcing the feeling that “you are there”.
The story is kind of weak, but since wingmans can die at any point, I think it becomes a necessity not to go any deep.
IMHO the most interesting bit about the space combat is the damage system. Not only systems and parts of the ships can be damaged (and there is a direct repercussion on the game), but also weapons can be destroyed: missiles and cannons alike; you can end up with no weapons at all on your ship, and I could not confirm this but I suspect you can do that also to your enemies.
The Space engine is solid but sometimes the game pushes it too far, and I’m pretty sure on some heavy combats, like the ones in an asteroid field, it reached the max amount of objects it can track, and I couldn’t fire my weapons until some missiles and lasers cleared up. I also suspect the game area is dynamic and extends as far as it is needs, just because on one mission a bug happened and a KIlrathi cruiser started to travel pretty fast off-map; at some point the map not only started to zoom out, but also the game become slower and slower until I managed to destroy it and return to the “normal” space.
The AI feels like a mixbag. There are odd bits, like ships colliding and how almost any one vs one combat becomes a ballet of ship crossing each other; but on the other hand, the AI is well aware of the damage and ships break combat to run home when they are near destruction, and I think I caught enemies breaking combat to go out of range and charge shields.
This is indeed a very interesting title to analyze, can’t wait to listen to this episode 🙂
I also think this game and the sequel can be reviewed in conjunction. They did a very good job portraying the TV show, and the voiced version I think it was the last time the original cast was reunited on a project. There is so much love for the characters here, and the episodic format was very interesting.
I was trying to replicate this on DOS box without success. I can disable extended and expanded memory, but seems that DOSBOX has always a min of 1MB of memory free, and that is enough for the game to go full graphics.
Something interesting: if you change the graphics from VGA to EGA, the installer actually converts the art to 16 colors without backup, so, if you later want to go back to VGA, it asks for the original discs.
Really good game, and one of my favorites for DOS.
In retrospect I’m still surprised on how well it makes use of the resources. The Adlib soundtrack keeps surprising me on how good and crisp it sounds, but also there are a lot of little demoscene-esque details, like the palette rotations, distortions and zoom effects.
I prefer the floppy version, probably because of nostalgic reasons, but also I didn’t like the transition animations and pretty much prefer the simpler fly-by animation with the day-night cycle 🙂
What an interesting suggestion. I’m a fan of the flight simulators, specially the combat ones, and I remember playing this game and feeling it was something special. The way you must coordinate the attack with other planes was really unique and accurate to the way an actual operation involving Tornados might develop in real life.
Digital Integration was also a very experienced company, that started producing simulators back in 1982 for the ZX81 and ZX Spectrum, producing several memorable titles for those machines (and yes, I played them all 🙂 )