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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 😛