I finally played Psychonauts

Posted by C0V3RT (1380 posts) -

I finally got around to playing and beating Psychonauts. I guess I got caught up in the Tim Schafer/Kickstarter/Notch/Psycnonauts 2 hoopla and figured now was as good a time as any to bust out my six year old original Xbox copy. I own the Steam version as well and actually installed it until I told myself I wanted to see what all the bitching about the Meat Circus and experience it as it originally was. I HAVE NO REGRETS!

I can't say much, if anything, about a game so many of you have come to revere over the years... but what an amazing game! In the past, I've dabbled through the start but just ended up getting bored with the Basic Braining level. I don't think it was until Milla Vodello's stage where the game really got it's hooks into me. By the time I got to the Milkman Conspiracy, I was finally able to understand why people adore this game.

Hello fellow road crew worker. Welcome to the road crew. My red sign helps me work on the road. Look at that woman's breasts. They're large.

Hands down, my absolute favorite piece of the game was the Milkman Conspiracy. The layout of the stage, the dry humor, the puzzle solving, just everything about that stage was amazing and so well done. What's not to love about a government agent that's disguised as a housewife by carrying a rolling pin and saying how rhubarb is a controversial type of pie? The section took me longer then it should have because I got hung up on a silly puzzle, but it didn't bother me at all as it gave me an excuse to just wander and interact with all the different disguised government agents.

Another thing I really appreciated is how varied each of the stages were. I never really saw the same thing twice. Each level was themed really well and had game play mechanics around each respective theme that didn't feel shoehorned in. The art design and layout just made everything feel really vibrant and fun.

As for the Meat Circus, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The only parts that gave me fits were the during the first "escort" portion where you have to jump in front of the spinning wheel and have the knife thrower get a knife stuck that you can swing on, and the cage climbing in the second part that requires you to double jump across multiple gaps... ONLY TO NOT HAVE THE DOUBLE JUMP WORK CONSISTENTLY. It probably makes me an awful person, but I ultimately kind of stumbled on a glitch to let me get past that part, but the boss fights were pretty easy.

I guess in closing, I'm glad I finally played the game. It lived up to the hype which is a rarity. I've got to believe with all the chatter and showing of support Psychonauts 2 has gotten, even if Notch doesn't help fund it, some publisher will throw money Double Fine's way to make it happen at some point in the future. Even playing it this long after it's initial release, Psychonauts easily cracks my favorite games of all time list. Oh... and Mr. Pokeylope is the shit!

#1 Posted by C0V3RT (1380 posts) -

I finally got around to playing and beating Psychonauts. I guess I got caught up in the Tim Schafer/Kickstarter/Notch/Psycnonauts 2 hoopla and figured now was as good a time as any to bust out my six year old original Xbox copy. I own the Steam version as well and actually installed it until I told myself I wanted to see what all the bitching about the Meat Circus and experience it as it originally was. I HAVE NO REGRETS!

I can't say much, if anything, about a game so many of you have come to revere over the years... but what an amazing game! In the past, I've dabbled through the start but just ended up getting bored with the Basic Braining level. I don't think it was until Milla Vodello's stage where the game really got it's hooks into me. By the time I got to the Milkman Conspiracy, I was finally able to understand why people adore this game.

Hello fellow road crew worker. Welcome to the road crew. My red sign helps me work on the road. Look at that woman's breasts. They're large.

Hands down, my absolute favorite piece of the game was the Milkman Conspiracy. The layout of the stage, the dry humor, the puzzle solving, just everything about that stage was amazing and so well done. What's not to love about a government agent that's disguised as a housewife by carrying a rolling pin and saying how rhubarb is a controversial type of pie? The section took me longer then it should have because I got hung up on a silly puzzle, but it didn't bother me at all as it gave me an excuse to just wander and interact with all the different disguised government agents.

Another thing I really appreciated is how varied each of the stages were. I never really saw the same thing twice. Each level was themed really well and had game play mechanics around each respective theme that didn't feel shoehorned in. The art design and layout just made everything feel really vibrant and fun.

As for the Meat Circus, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The only parts that gave me fits were the during the first "escort" portion where you have to jump in front of the spinning wheel and have the knife thrower get a knife stuck that you can swing on, and the cage climbing in the second part that requires you to double jump across multiple gaps... ONLY TO NOT HAVE THE DOUBLE JUMP WORK CONSISTENTLY. It probably makes me an awful person, but I ultimately kind of stumbled on a glitch to let me get past that part, but the boss fights were pretty easy.

I guess in closing, I'm glad I finally played the game. It lived up to the hype which is a rarity. I've got to believe with all the chatter and showing of support Psychonauts 2 has gotten, even if Notch doesn't help fund it, some publisher will throw money Double Fine's way to make it happen at some point in the future. Even playing it this long after it's initial release, Psychonauts easily cracks my favorite games of all time list. Oh... and Mr. Pokeylope is the shit!

#2 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4700 posts) -

Which level is the meat circus? I stopped played at the Napoleon guy. How much is there after that? I've always wondered.

#3 Posted by C0V3RT (1380 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan: You're really close to the end. If you haven't already done the bit where you help out a bullfighter (Google says it's called Black Velvetopia), you've got that, a climb up the asylum, and a short boss battle to go before you get to the Meat Circus.

#4 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7099 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

Which level is the meat circus? I stopped played at the Napoleon guy. How much is there after that? I've always wondered.

Meat Circus is the last area, if my memory serves.

Congratulations OP. Glad you enjoyed it. It really is an incredible game.

#5 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4700 posts) -

@C0V3RT said:

@ImmortalSaiyan: You're really close to the end. If you haven't already done the bit where you help out a bullfighter (Google says it's called Black Velvetopia), you've got that, a climb up the asylum, and a short boss battle to go before you get to the Meat Circus.

I am at the boss of the bullfighter, I stopped playing after getting stuck and confused in the Napoleon level. Sounds like I should finish it. I wonder how hand it would be to jump back into.

#6 Posted by buzz_clik (7024 posts) -

Yup, The Milkman Conspiracy is definitely in my Top 10 Personal Moments of Gaming. At the time I was blathering on about it to my mystified girlfriend, who didn't (and quite honestly couldn't) share my excitement about the whole thing. I should get her to actually play Psychonauts at some point - I think she'd dig it.

Moderator
#7 Posted by C0V3RT (1380 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan: The payoff at the end of the game is decent. It really sets up for a sequel. I actually had to check a FAQ on the Napoleon level because the villagers kept telling me to talk to Fred and I couldn't figure out how to and totally overlooked that there was a ladder. To be as far as you are, you owe it to yourself to finish. No shame in using a guide. :)

#8 Posted by falling_fast (2277 posts) -

one of us

#9 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

I'm a huge Tim Schaefer fan and enjoyed all of his adventure games. They're some of my favorite moments in all of gaming.

That being said, I loved the story, characters, art, graphics, voiceovers, jokes and subtle psychological studies in Psychonauts. But, I can't bring myself to get past the second level. I have started the game no less than 3 times and ultimately, I just can't get into the platforming and gameplay. it literally puts me to sleep. I think I'll try to watch it through on Youtube or something.

#10 Posted by Rookwood (34 posts) -

Yep, Milkman is my favorite too, followed closely by the bizarro Tokyo/Godzilla one and the one in the velvet painting. But they're all good. I scoured every one of the levels to get all those little doodle guys. Can't even remember if there was a reward for that but the levels were so amazing it didn't matter.

I don't even know if a Psychonauts 2 could live up to the perfection of the first one, but I'd pre-order it tomorrow anyway. I really wish there were more games like this and Beyond Good & Evil for the current generation. They just don't make them like that any more.

#11 Posted by CrimsonNoir (403 posts) -

Definitely one of my favorite games and one of my favorite power was clairvoyance and seeing the way everyone saw you. So much detail in the game.

#12 Posted by C0V3RT (1380 posts) -

@buzz_clik: One of the first things I did after completing the Milkman Conspiracy was giddily try and recap to my wife what just happened. She just looked at me like I was "special".

#13 Posted by project343 (2838 posts) -
@JazGalaxy The platforming isn't fully developed until you reach the third level and acquire levitate. The first three levels are sort of an extended tutorial and are easily the most forgettable part of the game. With that said, Psychonauts is in my top 3 favourite games of all time. I urge you to at least reach the Lungfishopolis level.
#14 Edited by Moncole (636 posts) -

I started playing it on Sunday after a while of always wanting to play it. And now I am at the Meat Circus, and I am hating it.

I love this game.

#15 Posted by C0V3RT (1380 posts) -

@Moncole: Ha! Hang in there! Are you playing the Steam version or an old console version?

#16 Posted by TurboMan (7724 posts) -

Psychonauts is in my top three gaming experiences of all time. The tone and dialog of the game was something that directly hit me, and when it flips from something kiddy to going into psychopaths heads towards the end, I absolutely fell in love with everything the game was about.

#17 Posted by Moncole (636 posts) -

@C0V3RT: Steam version.

#18 Posted by BSw (255 posts) -

I quit Psychonauts at the Meat Circus, about a year ago, I think. I really didn't like that part (it's the boxed game, not the DL). That's a shame, because the rest of game, especially the sense of humor, was fantastic. It's one of those rare games that will actually make you laugh out loud on quite a few occasions. I'd like to start over again to relive the oddness, but I don't really want to do the campgrounds again, which took too long to complete. Maybe later.

#19 Posted by GeekDown (1170 posts) -

I stopped playing at the milkman part a couple months ago. I still intend on finishing it, because it is really good. The controls on the PC can be a bit frustrating at times though.

#20 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -

I tried to play it last year after beating it like 5 years ago, and the terribly aged mechanics made me cringe. How did you handle the dated gameplay?

#21 Posted by C0V3RT (1380 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic: I kind of went back and forth on if the mechanics were dated, or if the hit-or-miss mechanics were a result of it being Double Fine's first attempt at a platformer. The only mechanics that gave me trouble were related to jumping off something in relation to spacial awareness (like jumping off a trampoline-like surface and having to land on a platform). I think I just had to remind myself both of these points when I got frustrated and it's like it somehow made the mechanics tolerable.

#22 Edited by Moncole (636 posts) -

I beat the game today and it was an amazing ending. For the people that want better controls on the PC version there is a custom patch that I used that I was able to use an Xbox 360 controller an was very helpful. If you installed it correctly it would show all the controllers buttons instead of the m/k buttons. http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2151566

#23 Posted by 1momosauky (214 posts) -

I also beat it just yesterday, and the story is great and so is the combat; however the platforming had me throwing a cuss or two

#24 Posted by TheHBK (5561 posts) -

Schafer is pretty good at crafting a story and characters especially, but by god, I never could get through the game, the gameplay was mad boring. I know that people will love his new adventure game, but don't let this man try to design any other type of game, he just can't.

#25 Posted by wewantsthering (1593 posts) -

The reason you didn't find the meat circus that difficult is because they recently patched the game to make that part easier. I beat the vanilla version, but it was a nightmare...To people who can't play this game because they think it's aged: Shame on you. I always play games in the context of when they came out. I treat movies the same way. I don't dislike The Big Sleep because it's black and white. It's still an amazing movie.

Online
#26 Posted by BisonHero (7013 posts) -

@C0V3RT said:

@ImmortalSaiyan: You're really close to the end. If you haven't already done the bit where you help out a bullfighter (Google says it's called Black Velvetopia), you've got that, a climb up the asylum, and a short boss battle to go before you get to the Meat Circus.

Technically, I think you can do Gloria's Theater, the Napoleon board game thing, and Black Velvetopia in any order, though yeah, the generally assumed order is the one I just listed them in.

Anyway, I thought the structure of the game was quite interesting, though maybe to the detriment of people that don't stick with the game to the end. The first 3 levels (Coach Oleander's military level, Sasha's B&W cube, and Milla's dance party) are sort of one long tutorial, and the themes of Oleander's and Milla's levels are pretty tame compared to the later levels. And the stage supposedly inside Raz's mind that's all dark and twisted ultimately just kind of goes nowhere, other than giving you a little bit of foreshadowing.

But everything after that is where the game really takes off, once you start entering the minds of people with some type of affliction. Seeing that affliction affect the appearance of their mind was a really cool idea.

And the game has a lot of interesting foreshadowing. Oleander's military level, and the one supposedly in Raz's mind, contain these weird bushes that look like a bone with meat on it, foreshadowing the reveal about Oleander's father. Those levels also have collectible figments that are pictures of things that don't suit the military/creepy forest themes, like meat, meat cleavers, butchers, etc., for the same reason. And if you remember the sewers in Black Velvetopia, they were full of things you would normally find in a high school, like bleachers, basketball nets, school desks, etc. His real memories (that everything happened in high school) are being repressed and literally pushed below the delusion that he currently believes (the bullfighter scenario). Very inventive.

#27 Posted by C0V3RT (1380 posts) -

@wewantsthering: Wait they patched the original Xbox version? Because that's the version I played. I thought they just patched it to make it easier in the Steam build.

@Moncole: Thanks for sharing that. I absolutely want to go back and play it again sometime on the PC but would absolutely only want to use a game pad.

#28 Posted by C0V3RT (1380 posts) -

@BisonHero: Holy crap, I never picked up on that.

#29 Posted by wewantsthering (1593 posts) -

@C0V3RT: That was my bad. :-) I didn't see the XBOX part. I skimmed over it. It may actually have been different on the unpatched Xbox version. The PC version wasn't only difficult on that part, but the framerate also dropped to about 5-15fps on that part originally, which made it even more difficult. Not sure why you didn't play it on Steam though. Haha. It's a much better experience.

Online
#30 Posted by BisonHero (7013 posts) -

@C0V3RT: They only patched the Steam version, so yes, if you played the Xbox version, you played the harder version of the Meat Circus.

I heard Tim Schafer say in an interview or article or something (actually, might've been the Double Fine podcast) that the difficulty was unintentional partially because of some bug that accidentally came up near the end of development and nobody noticed it in time. I can't recall what the issue actually was, but it was the kind of unintentional bug that gamers wouldn't realize was unintentional (something like the platforms accidentally moved twice as fast as the devs wanted, or the enemies respawned twice as often as the devs wanted, that sort of thing). For a while, everybody assumed they were kind of assholes who had made the last level dramatically tougher than everything else on purpose.

I had owned Psychonauts on Steam for a while, but only got motivated to play it when they announced the big Steam patch a few months ago, so I've only seen the fixed version of Meat Circus.

#31 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4700 posts) -

Speaking of the xbox does anyone know if I can download it on 360 still? I bought that version a few years ago and when I transferred my saves into my current xbox that game never came along. Now I can't find it anywhere to download. So I will never finish Psychonauts.

#32 Posted by SamFo (1562 posts) -

i must be the only one who didn't have an issue with the meat circus!

#33 Posted by C0V3RT (1380 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan: I believe last year when Double Fine acquired the publishing rights to Psychonauts, it was pulled off of XBL. I think that's more of a Microsoft thing as opposed to a Double Fine thing. I think I read somewhere else someone encountered a similar problem and they called Xbox support and got refunded the price of the game.

@SamFo: Did you play the original console version or on Steam?

#34 Posted by BisonHero (7013 posts) -

@ImmortalSaiyan said:

Speaking of the xbox does anyone know if I can download it on 360 still? I bought that version a few years ago and when I transferred my saves into my current xbox that game never came along. Now I can't find it anywhere to download. So I will never finish Psychonauts.

Like C0V3RT said, it got pulled from the Xbox Live Marketplace, possibly because Double Fine themselves now has the rights to the game, instead of whatever publisher originally made the deal that got it on the XBLM. If you search for it anywhere on the store, you won't find it. They took it down.

Instead, if you look on your account for your download history/purchase history, try to find Psychonauts somewhere in there? Your best bet is to look for the sort of page with a button that says something like "redownload this thing I already bought". Sometimes the download will still work, even if they've officially taken that game off the store. Try Googling it, someone might have more specific instructions than I just gave. If there really doesn't seem to be any way to redownload it, then yeah, try calling Xbox support and getting a refund.

#35 Edited by JCTango (1366 posts) -

@C0V3RT: Haven't gotten around to trying this game out yet... but the adoration everyone seems to have for it is getting to me... I'll have to check it out at some point! :)

Dang didn't realize how old the thread was... was just checking out your blogs haha! Sorry.

#36 Posted by C0V3RT (1380 posts) -

@JCTango: Haha no worries! If you ever get around to check it out, let me know what you think!

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