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Overview

Poacher, a game developed by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw using Game Maker for the first time (his past games developed using AGS), was released on April 4, 2012 as a free download. As stated by Yahtzee, it is his "most overtly gameplay-focussed" [sic] title to date, combining multiple elements of various platformers such as Castlevania and Metroid, including upgradeable abilities and respawning enemies, with a setting and story featuring Yahtzee's comic stylings.

Story

The game follows Derek Badger, a Yorkshireman who runs afoul of the local game warden (aka Gamey) while out poaching. In the act of catching Badger redhanded, Gamey is taken into a pit, and is nowhere to be found when Derek chases after him. However, after some exploration of the caves below, the reluctant hero comes across an underground world filled with demonic creatures such as evil rabbits and giant evil rabbits, and is charged by a spirit princess (who enters inside him after her rescue from said demonic creatures) to help her underground kingdom in a war of good vs evil, a task he is begrudgingly dragged into due in part to his Yorkshire accent, which none of the other characters can understand.

Gameplay

Poacher plays much like the platformers it pays homage to, as the character has to shoot enemies and navigate platforms in order to avoid damage or death. At the beginning of the game Derek only has his trusty shotgun and a short hop to help him survive, but over the course of the game upgrades can be found (usually from a recently defeated boss) that do various things from increasing Derek's jump height to giving Badger the ability to throw "grenades". The small health bar that Derek starts with can be upgraded as well, and there are various health pickups in the event that he takes damage. In the process of receiving these upgrades the character can use them to explore areas of the game world that were previously inaccessible, allowing the player to progress further into the game. Placed in certain areas of the world are save rooms, where Derek's health can be refilled and the game saved via going down one of three pits, coming out from the top of the room upon doing so.

Updates

Shortly after release of the game, Patch 1.1 was released in order to fix various bugs and game crashing/breaking issues. However, save files from the previous version cannot be carried over, so the game must be restarted from the beginning. The updated game can be downloaded from Yahtzee's personal blog as well as The Escapist website.

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