Sunday, November 23, 2008

Review old games

Several people have responded to Zubon's challenge to review old games with awesome gameplay, so I thought I'd throw my 2c into the mix with these mini-reviewlets:

Betrayal at Krondor: RPG by Sierra based on the world of Midkemia created by Raymond E Feist, one of the greatest fantasy writers ever in my book. One of the best RPG's I've ever played, second only to the Baldur's Gate series, and only then because of the dated graphics. Viewpoint is first person for navigation, and third person turn-based for combat. Although turn-based the combat does not take too long, and is simple without being shallow. The game has a really well done story but still manages to encourage free roaming and a really sandbox feel to everything. There are no levels - skills are improved as you use them, and spells are acquired from scrolls found on your adventures. Solutions to problems are solved with brains as much as with brawn, and often cause you to think outside the box, but in an intuitive (not frustrating) way.

Well worth a look for only ~ 20 Mb download and will give you tons of play time. The graphics are the only downside, but are much better than any other first person party-based RPG from the same era, and honestly still don't bother me to this day.

Sword of the Samurai: I can not put into words how brilliant this game is. You control a young Samurai lord in Feudal Japan who eventually rises through the ranks to try and become Shogun. The game features three distinct modes of play - RTS battles with your army to control territory, third person sword duels, and top-down shoot/stab-'em-up where you take on hordes of lesser warriors. You can gain honour, recruit troops, dishonour your enemies, slaughter bandits by the dozen, assassinate anyone standing in your way (don't get caught!), rescue fair maidens (who you then marry and get cranking out heirs for you to play with when your current character becomes too old!), kidnap your enemy's family, and fend off cowardly attempts on your life by hired ninja assassins and other samurai lords. There is no linear way that you have to play the game, with complete freedom to choose how you will advance.

There is heaps of replayability because of a wide selection of difficulty levels (the hardest is *really* hard), a high score system that ranks how long your reign of Shogunate will last for, and various starting territories with their own pro's and cons.

This game would be freaking awesome in multiplayer, but alas the game does not support it. Still, countless hours worth of fun in this one.

Speedball 2: Futuristic, top-down, action-packed, beat-em up sports game. Players throw around a big metal shotput which they have to attempt to put in the goals at the other end of the field... while players from the other team attempt to smack them to the ground and steal the ball. Players can get knocked out and are carried off the field by mini ambulance robots, which is always hilarious.

In between each game, you purchase upgrades for your team members to make them stronger, faster, have better AI, etc. Your little fellows will start off fairly slow and weak at the beginning of the season, but by the end you can fling them all over the place at breakneck speed. The computer teams rise in power too, with the object being to make it into the grand final at the end of the season. This is no mean feat, and the game gets quite challenging (in a good way) towards the end of the season.

Controls are dead simple so the game is really easy to get into, but there is a lot of depth with the design of the sports stadium and the various tactics which you can employ, that has made the game one of my all time favourites. It's fast, fun, highly addictive, 2 player on the same computer, and has multiple 'quick game' typed options if you just want to jump on and muck around. All in all, a must have!

Anyway, if you think any of these sound appealing, try them out and let us know how you got on!


mbp said...

Excellent Melf - 3 reviews for the price of one! I can still remember downloading Krondor (over a 28k modem!!!) when it was first made free but somehow I never got around to playing it.

Tesh said...

I loved the Krondor novels, but the game just didn't do much for me. (Though it was better than Return to Krondor.) The design decision to make magic consume HP never sat well with me, but the semi-tactical combat was fun. Overall, I think that it was a net positive in my mind, but I never did finish it, or feel the need to.

It's definitely worth checking out. Its "sequel", Betrayal in Antara, was pretty much in the same vein, and if you liked Krondor, you'd probably like Antara.

Melf_Himself said...

@ mbp: Well what are you waiting for? Get playing it!

@ Tesh: Blasphemy! :p \

IIRC, magic usually consumes stamina. It was only when you ran out of stamina that your actual HP was affected.

In all honesty I loved the game not for the combat system though, but for the story, the exploration and the lateral thinking challenges it provided.

That is high praise from me indeed, because I am about a 10% explorer on my Bartle breakd-down :p