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Mgoddard: After playing some more, I feel like the early game is the hardest part. Once you have some upgrades it gets much easier, until then it’s a matter of being extra careful to avoid collisions (they slow you a lot) & waiting for the others to make mistakes.
This game stood the test of time surprisingly well!
The graphics are still very respectable, and the game loop is indeed quite unusual and addictive. I’m also surprised by the game difficulty and complexity.
The game reminds me of the (much more recent) Little Racers STREET game, which was fun in similar ways and probably found some inspiration in Death Rally (except it removed the weapons :P).
So far I’m sitting at rank #18, and I’m actually having a hard time amassing money, so still plenty to learn.
Those damn mines though!
I did read about this before playing the game, and what surprised me is how small most of those signs are! Like how can they find anything relevant to say in what seems to be just 3 or 4 letters?
The answer was found on Gamefaqs (§5.2.1), explaining how most signs were just some orientation clues, like “GO UP”, “EXIT” or “DIE”.
Congrats Tijn 🙂
The screen shows another issue I’ve had with the game, being the cheap advertisment lines like Commender Keen endorsing his own game meh
I lack culture on shareware games (in particular it’s the first episodic DOS game I play) but I was surprised by how in-your-face the advertising is.
@DavidN: The level design brings a lot of die-and-retry to the game indeed, and that kind of stuff didn’t age very well. On episode 1 the issue was reasonable enough not to kill my entusiasm completely 😉 I still have to try to next games to compare!
Just finished episode 1!
While I got used to the controls, I still can’t forgive the average and sometimes unclear graphics, nor the punishing level design. I can understand smooth scrolling was new on PCs at the time, but this is still a game made 5 years after the original Super Mario, so I’m surprised with how amateur some aspects of the game felt.
The pogo is what gives the game some kind of charm though, and helped me stay interested to the end. The ending (final level + cutscene) is the highlight of the game to me, and made me want to try the later episodes.
I’ve given a try to episode 2, which already looks a bit better. Now that I’m used to the controls and the way levels are designed, maybe my expectations are more suited to enjoy them.
Now Derphilip suggested we try the “Goodbye, Galaxy” game, which is apparently the best in the series. The art already seems way better despite the game being released only a year after, so I might quickly switch to that one.
Interesting interview, thanks for sharing 🙂
My favorite part (the last sentence in particular):
> Once I had a reasonably workable version, some friends installed it at the school dorms. Each house had a small room full of computers (6 to 10), and many hours which should have been studying were annihilated by Scorch parties. I left pen and paper for people to write down ideas, and many of the weapons came out of that.
First to suggest Alone in the Dark 😀
I actually never played it but I’m curious to discover this ancestor of the Resident Evil series and the likes.
Bonus challenge: have a part of the podcast dedicated to comparing it to the 2005 Uwe Boll movie 🙂
Those cutscenes really helped with the immersion! I think those really gave life to the story, while providing a sense of progression through the game.
Even as a kid I found them quite cheap, but they still had some kind of charm and an instantly recognizable style, with those huge logos clearly classifying you as good/evil and the white noise at the end.
As I finished the GDI campaign and inserted CD2 in the player I really felt like I was giving up to the Dark Side of the Force or something 😛
THE HISTORY OF DOSSINGTON DC (1990-2000)
In the year 1990, Wan W. managed to get elected again, 20 years after his first term. Strangely, the man did not seem to age at all.
He started by fixing terrible water shortages all around the city. “It takes me a whole hour to reach the nearest well”, explained a Schwarzenegger Hill resident with a bucket in each hand. “It means that in two hours… I’ll be back” he said, putting sunglasses on and walking away.
In 1993, Mayor Wan W. shocked the scientific world by announcing a disruptive solar power technology. “I invented it myself, using electronics, and… and pipes, and stuff”, he explained to the hundreds of skeptical experts who attended the inaugural speech. As it turns out, the technology did work, the Mayor was hailed as a hero, and the oil energy crisis expected in 2000 was prevented.
In the following years, taxes were slightly increased, as the city could hardly keep expanding. Efforts were made on security and education.
In 1997, a plane crash in Rednack County killed all 134 passengers in a terrible accident, starting a fire that burned down more than half of the district.
Fortunately the city firefighters handled the situation well, and Wan W. put thousands of sim dollars into rebuilding the place, now called Redneck 97′ as a tribute.
While Wan. W. was the favorite for his re-election, he happened to be declared missing in December 1999 in strange circumstances, never to be seen again.
THE HISTORY OF DOSSINGTON DC (1960-1970)
Sorceress led a record 15-year-long office as Dossington’s Mayor, following a change to the Dostitution that granted her both the rights to serve two terms in a row, and switched the term duration to ten years.
In a controversial campaign, prior to which Sorceress tried to change the Dostitution again and run for a third term, Wan W. Wan (son of 20s mayor Wan) won the office for the 60s decade.
After light reforms to the tax law, Wan W. launched various park projects throughout the city, in particular in the polluted and crime-prone Riverside district, which saw a new and expensive police station constructed on the flank of a montain.
The Plagette area, which was left abandoned since Wan W. father’s mandate, was finally completed, with the creation of a much welcome seaport.
Excited by the positive feedback about the port, W. ended his term by announcing the launch of a large airport in the new Redneck County. “We still have to find people to invest in it, but it will be awesome”, promised the Mayor in his final speech.
Yearly Income: $1.638
Approval Rating: 62%
Here is my very first game lasting over a century, I present you WAN TOWN, with a mere 22k inhabitants as of May 2017.
On the upper hand it has a soccer stadium with a capacity of 25k 😀 (attendance is 1500 on average…).
I feel like there’s still a lot I have to learn regarding startegy. In particular I had troubles re-funding power stations every 50 years, requiring me to issue bonds a couple times. I think I have also invested way too early in various buildings for fun (2-station subway anyone?), leading to costly upkeep.
Your post prompted me to do some research on churches 😀
“One of the things you’ll notice is that as your residential zones develop, 2×2 churches will be periodically constructed in your zoned land. However, churches aren’t considered residential buildings, and do not contribute to the residential population. If they bother you and you start trying to demolish them, you’ll notice that new churches pop up elsewhere. Bottom line: Churches are here to stay, so live with it.”
> “It is a bit disappointing that it still has ~70k inhabitants, yet there’s already little space left other than hills on the map.”
In case you missed it, it’s possible to level the terrain by holding the mouse button on the “Destroy” icon. The tools are a bit weird to use but they can be very useful in this kind of situations!
THE HISTORY OF DOSSINGTON DC (1920-1925)
Mayor Wan got elected in 1920, with a platform focused on resolving the imminent power shortage issue – he indeed promised to switch the city entirely to hydroelectric energy by the end of his office.
Right at the start of his office, the Mayor launched a controversial tax program, notably increasing property taxes to %10, and heavily drawing from financial companies. “We really need that money guys”, said the mayor in a satisfying explaination.
In the early years, large investments have been put towards developing hydroelectric power, but the costs made the switch go much slower than planned. Investments have also been made in the Micropolis area, with among other things the creation of the Sakamoto High School.
The second part of the mandate gave life to a brand new area called La Plagette, aiming to make the “North bank great again”. It consisted in a long beach filled with light residential areas, and attractive buildings such as a marina, to which the mayor gave his name.
The final situation of the city was mixed, as taxes refrained the city development, especially for industries. “Sorry guys here you go”, announced Wan in early 1924 as he lowered the taxes a bit. Oil-based power station was still running at 79% Capacity (down from 93%) as of 1925. “My project was a complete success”, assured Wan, “don’t listen to the fake news!”
End of 1924 Status
Projected income: $1,016
Mayor’s approval rating: 56%
Ok guys I’ve been inspired by our little chat with the grand champion, and now it’s time to up the antes. I just secured:
* 1st place on Detroit (Ferrari is definitely the better car), Germany and Britain
* 2nd place on Italy and Japan
I hope you can handle dual employment as F1 racers and city mayors 😉
I don’t know what to think anymore! Is it because of the cars themselves, because of our skills? I guess our sampling of GPC scores is too small to make a definitive call.
Anyway it’s quite telling how we change our minds about the cars every week – GPC’s balancing is pretty thought out it seems.
I’m curious how the gameplay was received at the time.
Back then such arcade games were already widespread, featuring actual wheels, motorbikes etc. so I’m not sure it was even praised for the quality of the simulation/physics.
The game was fun though so in the end it’s all that matters indeed!
Back then I always picked the McLaren, but I remember struggling with the handling issues. I didn’t care though because I had the fastest engine on the block x)
20 years later my tastes might have changed a bit though… Time to give it another try, I’ll make sure to report my findings 😉
I have mostly played recent AAA FPS so I can tell what this kind of picture mocks. Typically with licenses like Battlefield & Call of Duty the single player campaigns have mostly turned into 2H-long, action-packed experiences you can play in a single sitting, featuring bigger and bigger technical achievements and spectacular effects to give an action-movie feel… While at the same time feeling completely hollow with little difficulty involved.
The reason is simple though: these SP campaigns are mostly an intro to the actual game, i.e. its multiplayer mode.
Most of the popular FPS games now focus on multiplayer, leaving less and less IPs to focus on Doom-like, level-based campaigns. A lot of alternate approaches to FPS have emerged, from mostly online games (e.g. CS/TF2 on PC, CoD/SW Battlefront on consoles) to huge open-worlds (Farcry & countless survival games), not mentioning some aliens (e.g. Alien: Isolation – pun intended, Portal, etc.).
That leaves us to compare Doom with things like the Halo & Half Life series. These games are probably more linear compared to Doom but not that much compared to, say, the original Unreal (1998). Alien: Isolation on the opposite does involve a lot of going back and forth unlocking parts of the same level, in order to make the hide-and-seek mechanic with the alien work.
I agree that there’s a problem with hand-holding in a lot of games these days, but I wouldn’t say FPS are the main victims of this trend. Level-design wise the FPS world has just diversified, offering a lot of different options depending on the experience you’re looking for.