ArbitraryWater vs Interplay vs Resident Evil vs Might and Magic

Hey guys. In the interim between this blog and the last, I’ve played some video games, done some homework, had a birthday, voted, and suffered rejection at the cruel hands of a woman. Truly a large variety of things. Thankfully for you, I will be focusing pretty much entirely on the first one, since the internet is probably the worst place to talk about your personal life and that’s what Facebook is for anyways. So, right. Video Games. This is ostensibly still about the other 7 Interplay Games, right? But really, let’s not kid ourselves. That’s just the excuse. Of course, Interplay’s entire catalogue was 50% off recently, ensuring that anyone who paid $35 for that full bundle feels like a sucker. It’s not hard to figure out what games to pick: Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics and Freespace 2. Done. No more Interplay games needed. And I don’t even like Fallout 2 that much.

Oh right, other games

The way siege combat is handled in Heroes IV is probably one of its worse aspects, along with the terrible art design. Seriously, what is up with the plastic-looking monster design?

I finished Heroes of Might and Magic IV: The Gathering Storm, for the 3 of you interested in my completion of a middling expansion to a sequel with a mixed reputation for a franchise that has fallen from grace in the eyes of its fanbase. But Might and Magic fans are crazy. Not as crazy as Fire Emblem fans, but far more bitter and far less likely to be fluent in English. Heroes V and Heroes VI are a-ok, whatever they might think. Oh right. The Gathering Storm. The last campaign is suitably insane, having your 5 ultra-powerful heroes with powerful artifacts go against large numbers of powerful enemies. It also reveals how totally broken heroes are at higher levels. What's that? You're throwing hundreds of Goblin Knights at me, who are durable as hell and resistant to magic? Too bad the archmage character's artifact set totally allows him to ignore magic resist, which means he probably casts Hypnosis or similarly broken spell (seriously, Hypnosis is the most broken, and was ultimately the spell I used in order to win the absurd final battle where the odds are clearly stacked against you in large fashion). Oh well. Still enjoyable, if not necessarily recommendable. Maybe I’ll try The Winds of War next, since that is less about broken heroes and a bit more about “strategy”. But really, thanks to the proverbial stupidity of Heroes IV's AI at times, it's more about exploitation than actual countermeasures. I bet Heroes IV would be a pretty rad multiplayer game.

Code Veronica can certainly DRAG at times (get it? Because Alfred is this comically over the top villain who cross-dresses as his sister? How did they think that was a good idea?)

I also played through Resident Evil Code Veronica again over the weekend, mostly because the alternative was thinking about playing Silent Hill 2, and while SH2 succeeds at making me very uncomfortable, it kind of blows as a game. For whatever gripes I have with Code Veronica (and there are many), it’s still a perfectly competent Resident Evil game and is usually totally fine. Silent Hill 2 is all about fog and obnoxious riddles, two things that I’m less than keen on. Thus, because I only have my PS2 with me I had to make due with my least favorite game in the series (at least until I play 6). Unsurprisingly, my opinion has not changed much in the last 3 years since I played the game last. Code Veronica still does a lot of smart things with the way the camera is handled, how the map shows you items you haven’t picked up and how you enemies don’t really have invincibility frames (allowing you to dump with impunity). It squanders this by being crazy long (the par time for the Rocket Launcher is under 4 ½ hours), surprisingly difficult at times, and in general being the clear jumping off point for the series from more puzzle-focused adventure type stuff to third person shooting. Also you don’t really ever have to manage your inventory because both characters get side-packs that give you 10 inventory slots. On the plus side, it’s still totally cool that the knife isn’t complete garbage and can be used as something other than a weapon of last resort. Not that it matters much, as while Claire can genuinely be screwed over in the ammo department if you used a few too many grenade rounds, Chris has enough ammunition to kill every enemy he encounters, especially if you leave Claire’s weapons in the item box when you switch characters. And you will want to do that because the shotgun kind of blows in this game. Also I wrote a list where I rank the old RE games in a numerical order. You should read it?

Probably Interplay

Baldur's Gate is a classic. This game... is not.

Shattered Steel is a name that you know for one reason and one reason only: it was Bioware’s first game. Having played…. 4 missions, I can confirm that your lack of knowing or caring about the game that they made before Baldur’s Gate is justified. Admittedly, my knowledge of mech games is not expansive, but as far as I can tell, Shattered Steel is… a totally ok mech game. You have lasers. You can equip your mech with different weapons. You can turn your head independently of your legs. The hitboxes for enemies seem kinda messed up. I dunno. Seems rather simplistic, considering when I see a mech game I expect at least 30 different meters telling me the temperature of the right gun barrel. So thus, my conclusion is… inconclusive? I dunno. It fits with my assumption that most of the games in that bottom tier are boring, rather than out and out garbage the same way Kingdom: The Far Realms was. But, to be fair, that game was at least entertaining in how not good it was.

VR Soccer 96 is a soccer game and I have no idea if it would be considered good or not. I can tell you that it was the lowest-selling game on GOG until that promotion, and probably will continue to be an unfortunate stain in my GOG library. Also, it doesn't have a page on this site. Moving on.

Screamer is an “arcade style” “racing game” that is perhaps only novel if you have never played a mid-late 90s arcade style racing game in your life, and I imagine it’s comparable to the Ridge Racer games of that era. Personally, I just found it to be kinda boring, with the unfortunate exception being the announcer, who is both obnoxious and never shuts up in that 90s “In yo face attitude” kind of way. Why is this a game that anyone would buy again? Oh right. Because I paid a dollar for it.

And thus ends yet another excursion into the darkness of Interplay’s catalog and thus allows me to uninstall a few more Interplay games from my computer, never to return. Silent Storm is 60% off on GOG this weekend, and personally I think that game seems pretty cool, as opposed to most of these games.

5 Comments
6 Comments
Posted by ArbitraryWater

Hey guys. In the interim between this blog and the last, I’ve played some video games, done some homework, had a birthday, voted, and suffered rejection at the cruel hands of a woman. Truly a large variety of things. Thankfully for you, I will be focusing pretty much entirely on the first one, since the internet is probably the worst place to talk about your personal life and that’s what Facebook is for anyways. So, right. Video Games. This is ostensibly still about the other 7 Interplay Games, right? But really, let’s not kid ourselves. That’s just the excuse. Of course, Interplay’s entire catalogue was 50% off recently, ensuring that anyone who paid $35 for that full bundle feels like a sucker. It’s not hard to figure out what games to pick: Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout Tactics and Freespace 2. Done. No more Interplay games needed. And I don’t even like Fallout 2 that much.

Oh right, other games

The way siege combat is handled in Heroes IV is probably one of its worse aspects, along with the terrible art design. Seriously, what is up with the plastic-looking monster design?

I finished Heroes of Might and Magic IV: The Gathering Storm, for the 3 of you interested in my completion of a middling expansion to a sequel with a mixed reputation for a franchise that has fallen from grace in the eyes of its fanbase. But Might and Magic fans are crazy. Not as crazy as Fire Emblem fans, but far more bitter and far less likely to be fluent in English. Heroes V and Heroes VI are a-ok, whatever they might think. Oh right. The Gathering Storm. The last campaign is suitably insane, having your 5 ultra-powerful heroes with powerful artifacts go against large numbers of powerful enemies. It also reveals how totally broken heroes are at higher levels. What's that? You're throwing hundreds of Goblin Knights at me, who are durable as hell and resistant to magic? Too bad the archmage character's artifact set totally allows him to ignore magic resist, which means he probably casts Hypnosis or similarly broken spell (seriously, Hypnosis is the most broken, and was ultimately the spell I used in order to win the absurd final battle where the odds are clearly stacked against you in large fashion). Oh well. Still enjoyable, if not necessarily recommendable. Maybe I’ll try The Winds of War next, since that is less about broken heroes and a bit more about “strategy”. But really, thanks to the proverbial stupidity of Heroes IV's AI at times, it's more about exploitation than actual countermeasures. I bet Heroes IV would be a pretty rad multiplayer game.

Code Veronica can certainly DRAG at times (get it? Because Alfred is this comically over the top villain who cross-dresses as his sister? How did they think that was a good idea?)

I also played through Resident Evil Code Veronica again over the weekend, mostly because the alternative was thinking about playing Silent Hill 2, and while SH2 succeeds at making me very uncomfortable, it kind of blows as a game. For whatever gripes I have with Code Veronica (and there are many), it’s still a perfectly competent Resident Evil game and is usually totally fine. Silent Hill 2 is all about fog and obnoxious riddles, two things that I’m less than keen on. Thus, because I only have my PS2 with me I had to make due with my least favorite game in the series (at least until I play 6). Unsurprisingly, my opinion has not changed much in the last 3 years since I played the game last. Code Veronica still does a lot of smart things with the way the camera is handled, how the map shows you items you haven’t picked up and how you enemies don’t really have invincibility frames (allowing you to dump with impunity). It squanders this by being crazy long (the par time for the Rocket Launcher is under 4 ½ hours), surprisingly difficult at times, and in general being the clear jumping off point for the series from more puzzle-focused adventure type stuff to third person shooting. Also you don’t really ever have to manage your inventory because both characters get side-packs that give you 10 inventory slots. On the plus side, it’s still totally cool that the knife isn’t complete garbage and can be used as something other than a weapon of last resort. Not that it matters much, as while Claire can genuinely be screwed over in the ammo department if you used a few too many grenade rounds, Chris has enough ammunition to kill every enemy he encounters, especially if you leave Claire’s weapons in the item box when you switch characters. And you will want to do that because the shotgun kind of blows in this game. Also I wrote a list where I rank the old RE games in a numerical order. You should read it?

Probably Interplay

Baldur's Gate is a classic. This game... is not.

Shattered Steel is a name that you know for one reason and one reason only: it was Bioware’s first game. Having played…. 4 missions, I can confirm that your lack of knowing or caring about the game that they made before Baldur’s Gate is justified. Admittedly, my knowledge of mech games is not expansive, but as far as I can tell, Shattered Steel is… a totally ok mech game. You have lasers. You can equip your mech with different weapons. You can turn your head independently of your legs. The hitboxes for enemies seem kinda messed up. I dunno. Seems rather simplistic, considering when I see a mech game I expect at least 30 different meters telling me the temperature of the right gun barrel. So thus, my conclusion is… inconclusive? I dunno. It fits with my assumption that most of the games in that bottom tier are boring, rather than out and out garbage the same way Kingdom: The Far Realms was. But, to be fair, that game was at least entertaining in how not good it was.

VR Soccer 96 is a soccer game and I have no idea if it would be considered good or not. I can tell you that it was the lowest-selling game on GOG until that promotion, and probably will continue to be an unfortunate stain in my GOG library. Also, it doesn't have a page on this site. Moving on.

Screamer is an “arcade style” “racing game” that is perhaps only novel if you have never played a mid-late 90s arcade style racing game in your life, and I imagine it’s comparable to the Ridge Racer games of that era. Personally, I just found it to be kinda boring, with the unfortunate exception being the announcer, who is both obnoxious and never shuts up in that 90s “In yo face attitude” kind of way. Why is this a game that anyone would buy again? Oh right. Because I paid a dollar for it.

And thus ends yet another excursion into the darkness of Interplay’s catalog and thus allows me to uninstall a few more Interplay games from my computer, never to return. Silent Storm is 60% off on GOG this weekend, and personally I think that game seems pretty cool, as opposed to most of these games.

Posted by Tordah

I never even finished the campaign in vanilla Heroes 4, much less any of the expansions. I hadn't seen any screenshots of said game for a long time, but in my mind it looked much better than that. Did it really look that terrible or is that just a very unflattering screenshot?

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@Tordah: No, Heroes IV is downright ugly, especially now, though my problems with it are still on an artistic, rather than a purely technical level.

Posted by BBAlpert

I want to like the campaigns in Heroes games because I think the core mechanics are pretty interesting, but there always seems to be some big issue that turns me off. For example, one of the games (maybe several of them, I don't know) has missions later on in the campaign that pits you against characters you made in earlier missions. I think that's a fairly neat concept, but in practice it's just frustrating to have to worry about not making any of your guys too powerful on the off chance that you'll have to fight them later on.

Edited by Tennmuerti

I don't really consider myself a HoMM fanboy, and as you know frequently think 3 is a bit too revered. But HoMM4's bad rep is quite deserved in a lot of cases imo.

Obviously it's not a terrible game, quite decent in fact but compared to all the other entries in the franchise it is arguably the weakest one. Highly unbalanced, terrible art design most drab, lackluster expansions. About the only thing I can personally give HoMM4 credit for is for trying to boldly go in a new direction for the series even if it did not work out in the end. (oh and introducing a proper hero equipment scheme to the games) That said I still got a ton of milage out of it back in the day especially with the excellent Equilibris mod.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@BBAlpert: Admittedly, the campaigns have never really been the biggest draw for me, but I know exactly what you are referring to and it really does kinda suck. I've always been more of a one-off scenario/multiplayer kinda guy myself, although I think Heroes IV has the best campaigns simply because of the way the hero progression works in that game, which is really obvious in this expansion.

@Tennmuerti: The use of Equilibris is implied in my case. It really does tweak just enough in terms of balance to make the game a lot more enjoyable, although heroes with GM Combat are still crazy overpowered (once again, something deliberately challenged with this expansion and the sheer number of dudes they throw at you). And yes, the art style is still totally awful. Still really like it though.