Archive for category nostalgia
Twinsens Odyssey (Little Big Adventure 2)
I have this thing for quirky odd games, and Twinsens Oddessy is certainly quirky. It’s kind of an action adventure game about a boy and his ball, on a quest to save his girlfriend.
The art style is a mash-up of isometric interiors and 3rd person perspective outside areas. Many of the characters you meet are humaniod-animal creatures and to be honest I can’t decide if it takes place in a fantasy world or a science fiction one.
Want Little Big Adventure 3 please!
A couple weeks back I purchased the Sega Megadrive collection for my PS2 and its got Phantasy Star II, III and IV on the disc.
These games were freaking expensive when they first came out, as they took up more than 2x the amount of memory on the cartridge compared to other titles at the time.
The games are best described as Sega’s answer to the Final Fantasy games. Phantasy Star is an RPG series that spans many millenia of the Algol solar system. Its a J-RPG at its finest, before the genre decided they wanted to make 40 hour movies instead of games.
We need another Phantasy Star game, and I’m not talking about this Phantasy Star Online business. Incidentally Phantasy Star I and II have been remade for the PS2, and they look amazing. Unfortunately the games are only avalible in Japanese.
Gateway and Gateway II homeworld are text adventure games with pictures based on Science-Fiction author Frederick Phol’s series of novels of the same name.
Gateway II was probably the first text adventure game I played seriously, probably back in ’95 or so. The story and the puzzles are first class and unlike alot of adventure games, things actually make sense. You don’t have to keep guessing what the designer was thinking of when they designed some of the puzzles.
I’ve been meaning to pick up the Gateway novels for a while now.
Streets of Rage
Ah, beat ‘em ups. What more can I say, lots of enemies and cool moves to kick their collective asses. Give me another Streets of Rage. If I had a 360 I could probably get Castle Crashers for my beat ‘em up fix. But for now, I’ll just pine for another Streets of Rage.
Moonstone is one of the most bloody and violent games I have ever played – The pixel art is fantastic and the game can only be described as a blood fest. You play one of four knights on a quest to do… something – I honestly can’t remember, but I think it involved a dragon? Anyway, it kicked ass.
Below are what I would consider to be the defining RPGs that I played when I was younger that really helped cement the idea that I wanted to program computer games for a living.
Quest for Glory I & II
This, I think was the first game that got me REALLY interested in computer games. My first encounters with computer games were mainly the arcade video games of the later part of the 80s. Space Invaders, Bolder Dash and Gauntlet clones, all pretty cool, but nothing compared to what I was about to see in the form of Quest for Glory. You see QfG, was the first game that I saw that used the EGA graphics card, a whole 16 colours. Not much, but EGA was an order of magnitude better than it’s predecessor, which only boasted 4 colours. Not only was it graphically superior to anything I had seen at the time, but the gameplay was superior to anything I’d ever seen also. The world seemed huge and the possibilities endless to a child of 7 years of age. I’d played a couple of the other adventure games from Sierra before, but they were previous generation titles, QfG was the first game I played that used Sierra’s SCI engine.
The game just seemed to open up worlds that I had never before seen in a computer game. I’d never played a role-playing game before but I was hooked from the begining. I used to imagine what things I might find in the forest, or maybe there was some way to get over the mountains and explore new areas of the game. (There wasn’t, but at least I had an imagination back then.)
Admittedly I wasn’t very good at the game. I pretty much asked my step-dad what he had found in the game and copied his findings, but I was only 7 after all, and the game was one of those parser interface adventure games where you had to type in what you wanted to do, so being seven years old my vocabulary was fairly underdeveloped, and often I wouldn’t know what I could do because, I’d need to know what a word meant before I could use it in a sentence, of course. (And spell it correctly too, which was never my strong point during my school years.) But never the less, I had heaps of fun just wandering around the game.
Later on I got my hands on Quest for Glory II : Trial by Fire. I think I was around 12 maybe, this game remains one of my favorite games to date. I would estimate that I’ve played the game all the way through at least 8 times. The three different character types you could choose added lots replay ability. (As well as the ultimate goal of achieving the status of Paladin, which was obtained if you always acted honorably and completed some of the non-essential quests.) The Arabian Nights style setting also gave it a unique flavor compared to some of the more generic fantasy games. There is a remake project at http://www.agdinteractive.com which should be out any day now, and I definitely intend to play this version of the game through. There is also a possibility that a collection of the entire series will be reissued. I’ve heard rumours about Kings Quest and Space Quest series being re-issued, but I haven’t seen them on the shelves yet.
Ultima 7 The Black Gate
Ultima7 : The Black Gate and Ultima7: Serpent Isle are my only real encounters with the legendary Ultima series and I have to admit, I’m in absolute and total awe of the geniuses who developed this game. How they fit it into 20mb of Hard disk space and 4mb of RAM is totally beyond me. The game featured a huge seamless world where the player could interact with just about anything – If it wasn’t nailed down, or heaver than a desk, then you could take it.One of my fondest memories of the game was ‘pretending to buy a house.’ Now, you couldn’t actually buy a house in the game, but you could kill the occupants of a dwelling that took your fancy and then proceed to fill it up with your own trophies and loot. Actually, finding loot was another great pastime, I remember having competitions with my friends to see who could gather the most glass swords or powder kegs.
I didn’t like Serpent Isle isle as much because it was a lot more linear than The Black Gate. It was also harder to steal things, which was a lot of fun in the first one.
Ultima7 was coded with some pretty fancy trickery. There would have to have been to get that much data into memory, so it doesn’t run on modern machines. But There is a sort of engine remake project going on called Exult. The Exult project is a rewritten engine that uses the original data, graphics and scripts. Unfortunately I’ve long since lost my Ultimate Ultima7 Collection CD.
I had a Sega Megadrive when I was a lad. In fact the Megadrive was the last video game console that I ever owned. Because most of my favorite games were available only on the PC, I never really wanted a Playstation or anything like that. Landstalker was Sega’s Zelda, an Adventure / Arcade / RPG type game presented in beautiful Isometric graphics.
The game was released in 1993 which places it towards the end of the Megadrive’s life cycle and is by far the most impressive game on that system. From both a technical standpoint and a game design standpoint. The game was full of dungeons to explore and clever puzzles. Not to mention the fact that it was a huge game, I believe that even with a walkthrough it took me a week before I got right to the end. The game was mostly linear, but considering the limitations of the system it was designed for, and the fact that it wasn’t really until too recently that any console games where non-linear. My hat goes off to the development team.
It was announced that a remake project was underway for the Sony PSP. Something I’d be quite keen to check out.
Ah, Fallout. The yardstick by which all other RPGs are compared. The first time I heard about Fallout I thought that it sounded interesting, but I didn’t really know what to expect. Here was this RPG that was set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. When I saw it in the bargain bin at my local computer game store I grabbed it. It was school holidays and I had nowhere to be and nothing to do. What ended up happening is that after getting home and installing it I didn’t emerge from my bedroom for 5 days.
It was obvious from the beginning that setting of the Fallout universe had a lot of thought put into it. It seemed that the designers, once agreeing on the setting, just let the ideas pour from that one central idea of a post-nuclear world following the near destruction of civilisation. Cows with two heads, mutants, radiation, Nuka-Cola, bottle caps for currency. In other words the design of the entire world was congruent.
Two elements of Fallout I really enjoyed where ‘Character Creation and Development’ with all the perks and skills that were available it meant that the game could be played many different ways depending on how you wanted to play your character. I never really played it through more than once because I lent it to all my friends, I just had to show them this game because it was just so cool and they would often discover things that I didn’t simply because they chose to play different style characters. The other element I enjoyed was the ‘Turn Based Combat system.’ Fallout has my favorite combat system of any RPG I have played – targeting of specific body parts lead to more than a few chuckles.