The Secret of Monkey Island
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I successfully completed both of the campaigns in the first half of the month. I’ll talk a little about how I found them:
– The earlier missions are quick and easy (you can do the first 6 missions in a single night) and they serve as a gentle introduction to the gameplay.
We have to realise that RTS is a well established genre nowadays, but in 1996 that was not the case. These early levels do feel *too* easy now, but back then they were important for teaching the basic mechanics of RTS, and I do still have fond memories of playing them in the early 2000s (when I got the game). They offer a nice variety of objectives:
For example, learning how to harvest resources and construct buildings in the first level. Also dealing with gold/wood/food as resources. In the second level, we learn how to control unit groups and some basic combat. The third level introduces the tech tree, with naval units and oil as a resource. The fourth level builds upon this, by having us assault another island with both ships and transports.
This all sets the scene for later levels, as they all involve some combination of (1) building a base and managing resources, (2) Guiding a group of units through a hostile environment. (3a) assaulting an enemy on another island. (3b) assaulting an enemy on the same island. What changes are new units being made available in the tech tree, and of course the map layouts!
– The middle levels (7-10) take less than an hour each on average, and I was working through two each evening. There are some very memorable gems here, like the building a castle on the island mission, and the river run with cannons along it. 😀 Perhaps some of the most fun levels in the game are these middle levels. Not too slow, and just challenging enough.
– The end levels (11-14) are all slow paced, taking over an hour each (one per evening). I found most of these quite boring to be honets, and I was actually dreading starting some of them because I knew what I was in for. The human-L14-finale is perhaps the most interesting of the batch, and I actually chose to play through it again towards the end of august.
In the second half of the month I played several melee games vs computer AI, and made a couple of my own melee maps using the Map Editor, and played on that vs the computer AI as well.
We were going to have an online multiplayer session at some point, but it never happened.
I took a look at the expansion pack ‘beyond the dark portal’. The main thing to note are story-driving hero units having a far greater presence. I did play through these campaigns a couple of times back in the day, but I didn’t complete much this month. There are a few nice levels here, but some poor/rushed/unoriginal levels do sour the campaign for me. In short, it offers nothing particularly different gameplay-wise from the original, but expansions all tend to be like that, don’t they? 🙂
The campaigns are mostly telling a story, and the AI scripts they use are only mildly aggressive, with most units on stationary guard duty, and they don’t get replaced if they are killed.
Some say that the campaigns are for teaching you about all of the units and developing play skills, and the REAL game is the custom 1v1 melee matches: versus computer opponents at first, and later versus other human players.
So the next step for you Tijn, is to try some custom melee games vs computer opponent(s), as these use more aggressive AI scripts, which will offer a greater challenge.
Computer opponents actually select one of three different strategies at random: Focusing on either Air, Sea, or Land dominance. Though if the map has very little sea, it’s possible it makes a terrible choice there 😛
Just make sure you pick fairly open plan maps, that work properly with the game’s lousy pathfinding. Otherwise your cpu opponents will get stuck launching their attacks, enabling you to dominate the map.
Welcome to dgc, evilteuton 🙂
For those who don’t know : evilteuton did a complete playthrough of transarctica on youtube last year. I invited him to DGC as he’s clearly an expert at the game, and who no doubt has many interesting tips and tales to share with us.
We all have happy memories of games we played in the 1990s. So evilteuton: feel free to share your memories of transarctica with us. such as your first impressions of it, and how hard you found it at first. Any funny stories of things which happened during play? How long it took you to complete the game, etc.
Descent was one of the first PC games I saw, as someone had installed it on our school computers, alongside Doom II, and Rise of the Triad.
There was something seductive about it, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what.
– As a shooting game I don’t feel it was anything special.
– The six-degree-of-freedom control system was complicated and confusing to use. Though I often see it being referenced and celebrated on forums, where flight control schemes are being discussed. Perhaps one can master it with experience, and come to appreciate it. idk.
– 3D games were still in their infancy at the time. Even the legendary Doom didn’t have truely 3D environments. Descent was a truely 3D game, with it’s weird twisty labyrinths really reinforcing that fact, messing with our sense of orientation. Perhaps that is what made the game so memorable.
This game is a happy memory for me.
I first heard about it through a school friend, who would regularly talk about how fun it was. We (family) didn’t have a PC until a few months later, but we did have a PC magazine with the WC2 demo bundled with it.
Once we got our PC, I eventually got around to trying the WC2 demo, and I did find it enjoyable. Every few months I’d look at the demo again, trying different ideas and strategies to see what happens. It grew on me over time.
I sometimes wondered what the full game would be like, and what these extra units were which were ghosted out and unavailable in the demo.
While I did play games occasionally, I didn’t consider myself a gamer. Gaming culture as a whole felt quite alien to me, and most of my exposure to games was through my brother, who loved gaming.
It was about 3-4 years after first trying the demo, that I eventually bought the full game. It was in fact the first PC game I bought. And for the next 3-4 years I became very interested in it : playing through the campaigns and melee maps, designing maps of my own, and setting myself other challenges.
It’s fair to say it was my favourite game throughout my teenage years. And comparing it with other games I had seen/played, I firmly believed this to be the best game ever made. The depth and beauty of it was something to behold.
Eventually I grew bored of it, and I moved onto Starcraft. I struggled to decide which was the better game. The SC engine was undeniably better, and despite greater depth and balance in it’s design, my experience overall with SC was considerably less enjoyable.
Around 2005, I learned that WC3 was actually a thing, and I bought it without hesitation. To this day I consider WC3:ROC the best game ever made. I should also point out that it’s expansion pack WC3:TFT changes the dynamics of the game entirely, and imho, strips out the joy, turning it into another starcraft.
The objective for this term is to further city expansion, and implement a sustainable economic model.
– Adjusted taxes to reflect high demands for Commercial and Industrial.
– Reduced Residental taxes to encourage new residents into the area.
– Began levelling the terrain above Grand Valley in preparation for city expansion.
– Layed roads in the new Grand Plateau area
– Expanded the hydro plants behind the nearby fire station.
– A new police station and hospital are constructed in the Grand Plateau area.
– As revenue is already high, we remove the 1% Income Tax, and introduce several new socially progressive ordinances to encourage people to move into our growing area.
– A suspension bridge is constructed over the river near the Marina, providing another access point into Grand Plateau.
– Construction continues along the plateau, to Schwarzenegger Hill.
– Rebalanced taxes to maintain a sustainable demand for all areas, while maintaining a good income.
– Response to a water shortage with construction of several new pumps.
– Some small parks are placed in new residential areas.
– More roads are added to Schwarzenegger Hill, to try and ease congestion.
– Terrain is levelled near to the Ocean Seaport, for placement of a small industrial area.
– Work near the ocean continues, with construction of the Seaside Holiday Park
– An ocean link road is completed, for connecting with our pirate friends.
Discussed with kdrnic – we only have 1 week to go, to try and advance the sim to 2017. I suggested we increase to 10 year slots, as this will only require 6 more turns.
We were voted in for 10 more glorious years!
1950 – 1954
Now that the power issue is over, the cuts to public services have been reversed, with police, health and education budget being raised to 70% and fire dept budget being raised to 50%
Education and health ordinances are also restored to pre 1945 levels.
We begin construction of a new district in Grand Valley.
1955 – 1959
Nuclear power invented. Dossington declared a nuclear free zone.
A new settlement is established in Redneck County, and a seaport is constructed on the coast near micropolis.
Due to high demand for residental areas, residental tax is raised to 10%
Having $11,467 in the treasury at the end of 1959, the bond is repayed, leaving $1467 for the next governor to play with.
Yearly Income: $2182
Approval Rating: 64%
Our power station is nearing the end of it’s life. Previous goverments have made insufficient provision to address this issue, as the hydroelectric plants which have recently been constructed will not be enough to meet our energy needs.
Allowing the power station to fail would be a life threatening disaster, causing chaos and misery for families and businesses across the city. Perhaps the previous goverment would have been happy to have let this happen, leaving us sat in the dark, and our businesses going to ruin?
To help raise funds for the new power station, we’re taking the following actions:
– Cutting funding for schools to 60%
– Cutting funding for police to 60%
– Cutting ordinances for free clinics
– Cutting education ordinances
Our educational institutions have suffered from years of neglect by previous governments, and our children are now paying the price. After schools throughout this city were graded F in most recent inspections, it is clear the whole educational system is in dire need of top-down reform.
The 1947 Schools Act will overturn the ban on grammar schools, and construction of a new Grammar school in Windy Tops will begin in the spring, giving young people from ordinary working families the opportunities denied to them by previous governments.
Through our strong and stable leadership, we have raised the necessary funds to seamlessly replace the aging power station before disaster strikes.
We were committed to keeping the lights on for the next 50 years, and we’ve delivered on our promise.
Yearly Income: $1446
Approval Rating: 64%