The Hilarious Misadventures of ArbitraryWater in DOSland part 1

Or: I play old games of questionable merit.

 
Hello all. As you might remember from my last blog, I was on the cusp of finishing Wizardry 8. And so I did. Needless to say, the last 15 or so hours were about as good as the rest of the game, although I admit that it started getting a little stale by the end. But enough talk of modern games that don't require extensive workarounds to function properly, this blog in particular is about all of the not... so... great... games that I have encountered on my path within the last few months, specifically for DOS (It's ok Deus Ex, your terrible first impression will come soon enough). Ok, so they might actually be great, but I wouldn't know it because they don't give especially great first impressions. so take what I say with a grain of salt.


X-COM Apocalypse

 
As you might know, I encountered X-COM UFO Defense earlier this year and was extremely impressed with what I found. It was compelling, addictive, and induced plenty of other advertising buzz words. It also has the misfortune of being the best game in the series, despite being the first one. Terror From the Deep is literally just UFO Defense but harder and underwater, so it gets a pass for at least not screwing anything up. Unfortunately, there was another X-COM game that actually tried to be different... and succeeded in doing so before Microprose said "Fuck it, let's do some spinoffs, after which we will go out of business because they are crap and 2K will buy up the name and make a game that isn't even tangentially connected to any of the others" 
 
But I'm going off topic here. It's not that X-COM Apocalypse is a bad game. It just has the misfortune of not being better than it's predecessors ( See: Heroes of Might and Magic IV). What makes it not as good? Firstly, the feel is off. While the first and second games were very much a "Kill or be killed" style of strategy game, Apocalypse is far more lenient. I could go into how a single city isn't nearly as good as THE ENTIRE WORLD or how the interface is pretty bad or how the future tech is kind of lame, but here's a video I recorded instead. Oooh Shiny!  
  Chances of me playing any more? 6/10. It's not awful by any means. It's just not as good. Also, as you saw in the video the Aliens look like muppets. 
 

One Must Fall 2097

 
Remember the early 90s? I sure as hell don't. But apparently Street Fighter II was "the bomb" and "totally bodacious dude". Thus came plenty of other fighting games, from the revered, to the ironically revered. But what I had never heard of up until a few months ago was a PC only fighting game called One Must Fall, which was published by Epic, when it was called EpicMegaGames, which is a pretty awesome company name that is also very early 90s. It consists of Americanime Pilots beating the shit out of each other in giant robots... that still look about as big as characters in every other fighting game. There is also a tournament mode that has you progressing with one pilot and upgrading a single craft. The game itself isn't especially deep or... good, but what makes it hilarious is not just the presentation (which basically makes me think that the developers had just seen gundam or voltron for the very first time and their minds were BLOWN), but the awesomely catchy (once again, early 90s) Techno theme song. Speaking of which, you can catch it in this video! 
  Chances of me playing any more? ?/10. That theme song is so damn catchy.  And the game itself is freeware!
 

Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny

 
Let me be clear: I have made many a bad purchasing decision in the past. I bought Far Cry 2 after all. But at least I could play Far Cry. The same cannot be said for Realms of Arkania, which I bought in a pack along with its sequel for $6 on Good Old Games (what can I say? It was $6. That's like a lunch). Based on a nigh unspellable German RPG system that is basically D&D to our european friends (except it makes 2nd Edition AD&D look like child's play by comparison) and also featured in the more recent Drakensang (have not played). While I have been to Germany recently and admire both its efficiency and its cleanliness (as well as the part where people don't snarl at you when they find out you can only speak english like a certain baugette and cheese eating country), I am not a fan of German games. Settlers of Catan both bores and infuriates me, while Carcassone just... bores me. Oh, you meant video games? Well, I never played Gothic, so I can't speak for that, but I can speak for this game, in that it's totally impenetrable. Maybe it's my D&D playing mind. Maybe it's that the game doesn't tell you a goddamn thing and I had to read the manual several times to get through the act of character creation. In any case, what little of the combat I have managed to encounter is boring anyways, and while there might be a good game buried underneath all this stuff, I'm not going to be able to find it with my feeble brain. Here's some videos. Of pain.  
   
  Chance of me ever playing again? 4/10. Maybe I'll sit down and try my best to play this game. Maybe I will do that with a much better title instead. 
 
Your hope drained? Your countenance dour? Fear not! For the next time I bother to do this (that's why there's a part 1 in the title), I take a look at games... that are slightly less confusing.
8 Comments
9 Comments
Posted by ArbitraryWater

Or: I play old games of questionable merit.

 
Hello all. As you might remember from my last blog, I was on the cusp of finishing Wizardry 8. And so I did. Needless to say, the last 15 or so hours were about as good as the rest of the game, although I admit that it started getting a little stale by the end. But enough talk of modern games that don't require extensive workarounds to function properly, this blog in particular is about all of the not... so... great... games that I have encountered on my path within the last few months, specifically for DOS (It's ok Deus Ex, your terrible first impression will come soon enough). Ok, so they might actually be great, but I wouldn't know it because they don't give especially great first impressions. so take what I say with a grain of salt.


X-COM Apocalypse

 
As you might know, I encountered X-COM UFO Defense earlier this year and was extremely impressed with what I found. It was compelling, addictive, and induced plenty of other advertising buzz words. It also has the misfortune of being the best game in the series, despite being the first one. Terror From the Deep is literally just UFO Defense but harder and underwater, so it gets a pass for at least not screwing anything up. Unfortunately, there was another X-COM game that actually tried to be different... and succeeded in doing so before Microprose said "Fuck it, let's do some spinoffs, after which we will go out of business because they are crap and 2K will buy up the name and make a game that isn't even tangentially connected to any of the others" 
 
But I'm going off topic here. It's not that X-COM Apocalypse is a bad game. It just has the misfortune of not being better than it's predecessors ( See: Heroes of Might and Magic IV). What makes it not as good? Firstly, the feel is off. While the first and second games were very much a "Kill or be killed" style of strategy game, Apocalypse is far more lenient. I could go into how a single city isn't nearly as good as THE ENTIRE WORLD or how the interface is pretty bad or how the future tech is kind of lame, but here's a video I recorded instead. Oooh Shiny!  
  Chances of me playing any more? 6/10. It's not awful by any means. It's just not as good. Also, as you saw in the video the Aliens look like muppets. 
 

One Must Fall 2097

 
Remember the early 90s? I sure as hell don't. But apparently Street Fighter II was "the bomb" and "totally bodacious dude". Thus came plenty of other fighting games, from the revered, to the ironically revered. But what I had never heard of up until a few months ago was a PC only fighting game called One Must Fall, which was published by Epic, when it was called EpicMegaGames, which is a pretty awesome company name that is also very early 90s. It consists of Americanime Pilots beating the shit out of each other in giant robots... that still look about as big as characters in every other fighting game. There is also a tournament mode that has you progressing with one pilot and upgrading a single craft. The game itself isn't especially deep or... good, but what makes it hilarious is not just the presentation (which basically makes me think that the developers had just seen gundam or voltron for the very first time and their minds were BLOWN), but the awesomely catchy (once again, early 90s) Techno theme song. Speaking of which, you can catch it in this video! 
  Chances of me playing any more? ?/10. That theme song is so damn catchy.  And the game itself is freeware!
 

Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny

 
Let me be clear: I have made many a bad purchasing decision in the past. I bought Far Cry 2 after all. But at least I could play Far Cry. The same cannot be said for Realms of Arkania, which I bought in a pack along with its sequel for $6 on Good Old Games (what can I say? It was $6. That's like a lunch). Based on a nigh unspellable German RPG system that is basically D&D to our european friends (except it makes 2nd Edition AD&D look like child's play by comparison) and also featured in the more recent Drakensang (have not played). While I have been to Germany recently and admire both its efficiency and its cleanliness (as well as the part where people don't snarl at you when they find out you can only speak english like a certain baugette and cheese eating country), I am not a fan of German games. Settlers of Catan both bores and infuriates me, while Carcassone just... bores me. Oh, you meant video games? Well, I never played Gothic, so I can't speak for that, but I can speak for this game, in that it's totally impenetrable. Maybe it's my D&D playing mind. Maybe it's that the game doesn't tell you a goddamn thing and I had to read the manual several times to get through the act of character creation. In any case, what little of the combat I have managed to encounter is boring anyways, and while there might be a good game buried underneath all this stuff, I'm not going to be able to find it with my feeble brain. Here's some videos. Of pain.  
   
  Chance of me ever playing again? 4/10. Maybe I'll sit down and try my best to play this game. Maybe I will do that with a much better title instead. 
 
Your hope drained? Your countenance dour? Fear not! For the next time I bother to do this (that's why there's a part 1 in the title), I take a look at games... that are slightly less confusing.
Posted by Claude

You're going into dark places. Places I never knew or would wish to venture. Thank god for blogs.

Posted by Tordah

Dude, One Must Fall 2097 is awesome! How can you not love it? Maybe you just had to play it in the 90s like I did, but I think the gameplay mechanics hold up really well still. The controls are tight and the robots all behave and feel significantly different from each other. I don't know anything about Gundam or Voltron (are those games?) but I really dig the design of the robots. Pyros is badass.
 
And yes, the theme song is fantastic.

Posted by Ineedaname

Never let my eyes see One must fall, or Realms of Arkania again please.
 
PLEASE!

Posted by mylifeforAiur

All those awesome DOS adventure games, just to old-school for me. But I wish you luck on your journey ;)

Posted by ahoodedfigure

Other than telling you to cast light in that dungeon, I think the best I can do is just recommend Shadows over Riva, the only game of the Realms that I played. I liked it, and I liked how it differed from the standard.  It also has a roaming 2D navigation with 3D graphics, rather than the rails 2D from games like Might and Magic.  The creepy celebrity look-alike characters aside, I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I guess people thought it was the best of the series as well. 

Edited by ArbitraryWater
@Claude: Feel good, my friend, that you will never have to sink to the depths I have. Unfortunate sequels, obscure PC only fighting games, and weird german style RPGs. Es no bueno. 
 
@Tordah: As someone who finally has grasped how to play both Capcom and SNK fighting games, OMF just kind of baffles me. There doesn't appear to be a need for zoning, nor a need for anti-air shoryuken style attacks. Nonetheless, I don't think it's bad. Just kind of dumb. And Gundam and Voltron are both the quintessential giant Robot animes.
 
@Ineedaname: Don't worry. Next time I do this, the games themselves will be somewhat more tolerable, even if they are still baffling.
 
@ahoodedfigure: Well, the thing is, I couldn't find a light spell. The manual has no documentation on any of the spells, nor does it tell what they do. But your endorsement has just knocked it up to a 6. Shadows over Riva is a separate purchase, which means I would have to spend another $6 to see if it really is better or not, and frankly I would rather spend money on games that crazy people love like Masters of Orion or Freespace 2 (both of which are also $6)
Posted by Brodehouse

One Must Fall 2097: I don't know about the main theme song (the menu song), but the song during the fights (especially the first one) are awesome.

Posted by Ineedaname
@ArbitraryWater: I'm going to hold you to that, I'm also going to follow you as this was actually entertaining, if some what disturbing.