Sunday, August 14, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever

Duke Nukem Forever, the long-awaited sequel to Duke Nukem 3D was first announced when I was in elementary school. Now, over 13 years later it's finally been released, and it is a shit-pile. They should have just called it Halo 4 or Doom Nukem.

In Duke3D, you had plenty of open levels to run or fly around in, filled with hidden passages that you could blow open with rockets or pipe bombs. DNF is more linear and there's really only one correct route that you can go. Rockets and pipe bombs are really only useful against enemies, and laser trip mines are completely worthless. You can only hold two guns at a time, with very limited ammo. Gone are the days of having an arsenal of weapons.


The health meter has been replaced by an "ego" meter, which is just a shield that regenerates when you aren't getting hit. No more med kits, no more relieving yourself or drinking out of broken toilets and fire hydrants to regenerate health. You can still use the urinals, but it doesn't accomplish anything.

Normally I wouldn't complain about vehicle handling in an action game since it isn't a racing game, but I'm going to since you spend so much time driving a pickup truck that's straight out of some redneck's wet dream. Trying to drive in this game is like trying to drive after drinking a gallon of liquor. You shouldn't even bother.

Being shrunk isn't temporary like in its predecessor. You stay shrunken until you find an expanding pad. There are all sorts of obstacles that you have to climb over, which is extremely difficult because even when you're normal sized you can barely jump and running only works about half the time. You can't shoot panels to open doors anymore, so they force you to run around the level to get to panels. Opening doors is a chore; in many of them after pressing the open button you have to tap space repeatedly for no apparent reason. I don't know what that's supposed to add to the game aside from annoyance.

Save points are setup randomly and in a nonsensical manner. Sometimes you will get to a new level and walk through one room before the game has to load the next part of the level. The game is littered with wooden crates that you can smash but there is never anything in them. You will occasionally get a weapon or two smacking a dead body around. There are boxes containing unlimited ammo that are scattered around and there are usually some around bosses, which is necessary because only explosions can hurt bosses and with only two weapons you run out of ammo very quickly. Especially since you're never fighting just the boss, there's always minor enemies attacking you at the same time. And since you can only use explosives on bosses and always stuffed into tight quarters, you have to try not to blow yourself up.

A lot of people complain about the water level in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but that's nothing compared to the water levels in this. This is more like the water level from the original Ninja Turtles game on NES. There is no more scuba gear, you have to find bubbles to breathe and try not to get electrocuted. The controls that you use to open valves are hard to release from, so it's daunting at times to get to the air supply in time.

Despite the cheesy catch-phrases and obscene material, this doesn't feel like a Duke Nukem game. The target audience doesn't seem to be those of us that grew up with The Duke. It seems to have been made for the younger gaming generation.


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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Raptor: Call of the Shadows


Raptor: Call of the Shadows is a top-down flying shoot-em-up game. It is notable for its weapons purchasing system instead of obtaining upgrades in the level like in similar games. You have only one life, and if you die you have to start over from a previously saved game (assuming you were smart enough to save it).

There isn't very much of a story to this game. Basically you're just a mercenary attacking a corporation for money. You gain money by blowing up buildings and enemy units or by selling extra weapons you don't need. You can find a couple of weapons in the levels, but the good ones are in the mercenary shop. I don't really have anything else to add that isn't already in the Wiki article, but it's a fun game.


Available at GoodOldGames


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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Super Mario Bros Crossover

Super Mario Bros Crossover is a remake of the original Super Mario Brothers with some added characters. There have been similar rom hacks but this seems to be a complete remake. The game plays mostly like Super Mario Bros and each character controls mostly like in their original game, though there are noticeable differences. You can run backwards through the stage, and nobody but Mario can swim. Other characters just jump and when they hit the bottom they have to jump again. The menus at the start of the game are a little annoying as they're very slow to move through.



Link - I'm rather confused why they used Link from the original Zelda. The Link from Zelda 2 would have been better for this type of game, and the underworld music that they use actually is from Zelda 2. I wonder if the developer ever played the original Zelda games. Link can throw a boomerang, and his sword attack stuns enemies. His upgrades are the white tunic and the red tunic which gives him the blue boomerang and the ability to shoot from his sword. Link can attack up or down while jumping, which makes him surprisingly good at water levels.


Simon Belmont - Aside from using his whip, Simon throws axes and has the ability to double jump. His upgrades give him a stronger whip and the ability to throw more axes at once. You can change the way Simon jumps under the Options menu. The choices are Easy, Hard, and Classic. Easy allows you to change direction while in the air. Hard means you'll continue in the direction you were originally going. Classic means if you are walk off of a ledge, you fall straight down instead of continuing forward. Exploding rabbit said "I put it in for people that want the true castlevania experience."


Megaman - Megaman starts off without a helmet and cannot smash through blocks though he can shoot through them. When you get a mushroom he receives his helmet, can smash through blocks and charge his blaster. His special ability calls Rush so that he can spring off of him. This is a problem in some places where there are bricks over a pit as you will bounce off of Rush, hit your head on the bricks, and fall to your death. His second upgrade shoots flames. He also has the ability to slide which helps for getting under Bowser's fireballs.


Ryu Hayabusa - Ryu is the most underpowered character in the game. On Normal, Goombas take 3 hits with the sword or 4 with the shuriken to kill and you have to duck to hit them. Most of the characters in the Ninja Gaiden games aside from the bosses only took one hit to kill. Ryu can be a little difficult to control at times because his jump controls don't work correctly. In Ninja Gaiden, if you jumped onto a wall you could immediately bounce off of the wall assuming you were still holding the jump button. In this game you have to release the jump button and press it again. Ryu's first upgrade gives him a windmill shuriken. His second upgrade gives him the sword from Ninja Gaiden 3 which has extended range and allows you to hit Goombas without ducking.


Samus Aran - Samus starts off with the ability to roll into a ball and wields a short-range weapon that is rather weak but fires rapidly enough to be very useful. Her first upgrade is her suit and a gun with a farther range. Her second upgrade is the Wave Beam.


Bill Rizer - Bill can aim up, down, diagonally, and lie in the prone position. His first upgrade gives him an almost fully automatic weapon (6 shots may be on the screen at once) and his second upgrade shoots 4 shots in different directions.


If you choose to play as many characters you can change character between rounds or between lives. If you upgrade a character and switch to another character at the end of the round, you maintain upgrades when you switch back to that character. Overall this is highly enjoyable for anyone who enjoys oldskool games.

This was written as of the version 1.1 release and gameplay may change in future versions.




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Sunday, July 26, 2009

DOSBox

DOSBox is an MS-DOS emulator that runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and different distributions of Linux. It's designed to run MS-DOS games within newer versions of Windows. The command prompt for XP/Vista/7 is a command line interpreter and not an implementation of DOS, and therefore doesn't include all of the same features.

Older computers will have trouble running newer versions of DOSBox. If your computer is over 3 years old, you can download an older version of DOSBox here.

Wikipedia Article


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VDMSound

VDMSound is a sound card emulator for Windows NT/2000. Very useful for older games that run normally in XP but do not have sound. It only run portions of the DOS environment and tends to be faster than DOSBox. More information can be found in the Wikipedia entry.

Note: After installing VDMSound, a reboot is required.

Wikipedia Article


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Sunday, July 6, 2008

ROM CHECK FAIL

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ROM CHECK FAIL is like a mix between WarioWare and oldskool games. It starts out looking like a MAME rom starting up. The controls are simple enough to figure out. ALT+Enter make the game go into fullscreen mode, the arrow keys move in a direction and the spacebar is your attack button.

Randomly the game will change the background, enemies, and the character you are using. Characters include Pac-Man, the Space Invaders ship, the Asteroids ship, Link, the car from Spy Hunter, and some spaceship from a game that I haven't played before. The enemies are Goombas, Space Invaders, Asteroids, square blocks from Breakout, some weird floating bar thing, ghosts from some game I don't know, and the Pac-Man ghosts when Pac-Man eats a power pellet. Characters retain their original moves: Mario jumps up and runs left or right, Link and Pac-Man can move in any direction, the Space Invaders ship can only move right/left, etc. The most valuable character for killing mass quantities of enemies is Pac-Man.

The levels have the backgrounds of old arcade/NES games, but the structures are placed randomly and sometimes make it impossible to move around depending on which character you are using at the time. The selection could have been much better since there are many situations where you have no way of surviving. Either you will get the Space Invaders ship while you're at the top of a level and can't attack enemies below you or to the side, or Mario with something attacking from above. Sometimes the enemies will be in a position to kill you from the start of the level, while you have no way of defending yourself or moving out of the way.

The music makes me question if the author ever played the original games before. There is music from Tetris, some MegaMan game, and Double Dragon. Putting MegaMan or Billy into the game would probably make it a bit more fair.

At the end of each round you get an extra life, unless you already have the maximum of 3 lives in which case you get +100 points. After beating 20 rounds, you go into a more difficult mode.
It isn't a bad game for having been made in a week, though there is much room for improvement.


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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Stargoose






What older games lacked in graphics, they more than made up for in difficulty. This game is proof. I don't remember this game being so hard when I was four.



There are tunnels that you go through to re-up on fuel, ammo, and shield. You have to roll up the left or right side of the tunnel in order to get the ups. It's easier to control the ship when it is going slower. If you exit these tunnels upside-down, you blow up. If you take the first tunnel to fill up on Shield, you get hit in the face by a missile right as you exit.





These turrets are incredibly difficult to kill. They 1-shot you from across the screen, and the resolution on the game is so small that you barely have time to fire at them before you're up to or past them on the screen. You can only fire forward but they can fire in any direction. The only strategy for killing them is to head in their direction and keep launching rockets, hoping they don't hit you first. And they usually will.



Once you learn the layout of the level; where all the missile turrets and objects are, the game is all about not getting hit by missiles, and not running into anything.



Wikipedia Article


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