By dankempster 2 Comments
Hey guys. Once again, I've found myself back in that position where I don't have a lot to say about any particular game, but I do have a little to say about a few titles I've played recently. This means I'm reverting to the 'A Little, More Often' blog format this week. Let's get started, shall we?
I've owned The Ultimate DOOM on Steam for quite some time now, more as an item of historical video game interest to dabble with than something I'd ever seriously considered playing. That stance on the game changed last week when a friend picked it from my Pile of Shame and advised me to try playing through it. Over the course of a few days I powered through its relatively short but incredibly challenging campaign, seeing the end of its third chapter on Tuesday. As somebody who doesn't play a lot of first-person shooters period, let alone with the unfamiliar mouse-and-keyboard method of control, I found DOOM to be very difficult, but I also found a huge element of reward in overcoming that difficulty. The combat is fast-paced and the enemies relentless, a world away from the design ethics of modern shooters, but that was precisely what kept me interested in DOOM right through to its final climactic showdown. I did briefly toy with the idea of playing through the bonus fourth chapter included with The Ultimate DOOM, but quickly decided against it - the difficulty of that expansion is markedly higher than anything in the game's vanilla campaign, and several steps above my personal DOOM threshold. With its sequel and the first two Quake games also sitting in my Steam library, I'm sure it won't be long before I sample the delights of another of id's formative shooters.
Sam & Max: Culture Shock
As of the time of writing, I'm not sure if I'm still playing the first episode of Telltale Games' inaugural season of Sam & Max. I bought all three series (a total of sixteen episodes) last weekend while they were on sale on GOG.com, with a tentative view to playing through one episode every couple of weeks or so. Unfortunately that plan's been thrown into jeopardy before it's even really begun, because I seem to have hit a game-breaking glitch that won't allow me to finish Culture Shock. To cut a long story short, I'm at a point where I need to speak to Sybil Pandemik to progress, but she's nowhere to be found in the gameworld. I've played through the bulk of the episode a total of three times now, and each time I've run into the same issue of this missing crucial NPC. It's a real shame, because up until I hit this snag I was having a blast with Sam & Max. It's well-written, genuinely funny, and the puzzles are rewarding to solve without ever feeling too difficult or deliberately obtuse. I'd seen this as my doorway back into point-and-click adventures, a genre I've been trying to get into over the last couple of years, but unless I can find a way around this persistent problem, I don't think I'll be pushing through the episodes in the way I'd hoped.
Medal of Honor
Taking time out from Culture Shock, I've turned my attention to another vintage first-person shooter in the form of Medal of Honor. Considering it's thirteen years old, it's still remarkably playable, thanks in large part to the number of current industry conventions it features - an objective-based single-player campaign, body-part-specific damage to enemies, a control scheme that approximates what's now become the industry standard for first-person gaming, and cinematic presentation. It's a game that must have felt prophetically ahead-of-its-time back on its release in late 1999. The graphics are rough around the edges, the enemy AI leaves a lot to be desired, and success in the forced stealth 'undercover' sections is very hit-and-miss. But fundamentally, it's very much the same core experience of shootin' dudes that you'd find in any military FPS of the last ten years, which is to say it's still pretty fun. I'm seven levels into its twenty-four-level campaign, and anticipate that I may well see this one through to its end within the next few days.
That's Yer Lot
I think that covers more or less everything. I've not made much progress with either Final Fantasy Tactics Advance or Persona 4, so no need for a JRPG progress report this time around. All that remains for me to do is remind you all that this coming Friday (November 23rd), starting at 9am GMT, I'll be embarking on a twenty-four-hour video game marathon to raise money for charity. I'll be doing an in-depth write-up nearer the time, but if you're feeling generous already, you can donate on my JustGiving page here. I'd be eternally grateful, as I'm sure would the people the funds raised will go towards helping. Anyway, thanks for reading, and I'll see you around.
Currently playing - Medal of Honor (PS1)