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Shoot First

July 13th, 2010 No comments

Shoot First, a game by Beau Blyth, is a mix of a Roguelike and Run-N-Gun where you explore a randomly generated dungeon while searching for precious items and encountering vile enemy monsters of all kinds. You get thrown into the dungeon at a random entry point from where you have to make your way to the next-lower floor. On the way you find chests that you can shoot open to reveal useful items and occasionally you find companions who join your party or damsels which you have to rescue from captivity. If you escort them safely to the next exit they will thank you with a reward item.

The game isn’t your generic rogue-like, it’s actually very fast-paced. To get forward you have to encounter many monsters and dispatch them or at least evade them but the enemy AI is quite smart. Many monsters will try to flank or evade you and try to shoot you while you’re hiding in a tunnel. That said, Shoot First is not an easy game. The enemies shoot a lot and they shoot well. Many of them are also quite powerful. To counter this, you’re able to shoot into any direction or strafe-shoot into one direction while running. You can also increase in level which will improve your character’s skills. You’re doing so by shooting monsters and collect small, yellow artifacts (gold?) that are revealed after a monster dies. Still the game is rather difficult to beat and to be honest I haven’t made it any further than to the third floor so far.

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Ultima IV – The Flash Version

July 8th, 2010 2 comments

Oldschool RPG fans can now enjoy playing the classic Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar directly on the web via this impressive Flash port. The game is an almost one-to-one conversion of the 1986 original but the author Blair Leggett also made some enhancements to it.

Flash Version of Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar

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Videogame & Demoscene Music Radio Streams

April 5th, 2010 1 comment

Having digged around recently in search for videogame music radio stations and found a couple of decent ones.  Here’s a list of some of the old ones that probably everyone knows already but also a couple of streams that were completely new to me …

Kohinawww.kohina.com – Everybody knows them, very 8bit, very piko piko, a lot of C64 tunes mixed with a very good selection of Japanese Videogame and Arcade music. Sometimes also Spectrum music that sounds more like sizzling oil in the frying pan.

Nectarinewww.scenemusic.eu/demovibes – The Demoscene Radio, lots of the typical European Demoscene music and as that very good. Unfortunately they recently often also play some very strange vocal pop/rock-like homebrew stuff that sounds everything else but good.

No-Life Radionolife-radio.com – Surprisingly good station! Lots of varying game soundtrack, both Western and Japanese, 8-bit, 16-bit and modern soundtracks in abundance, spiked with Jingles by GlaDOS ;-)

Retro PC Game Music Streaming Radiogyusyabu.ddo.jp/MP3/MP3.html – A Japanese radio stream and the name is program here … plays nonstop pre-2K DOS/Adlib style Game music. Nice for a change when you’re grew tired of Kohina.

Radio SEGAwww.radiosega.net – Haven’t given this one much time to listen to yet but obviously plays a lot of music of SEGA titles.

CGM UKScene Radiowww.lmp.d2g.com – Somehow very similar in style to Nectarine. As of now only lo-fi stream available. It’s a good idea to listen to Nectarine and whenever they play those horrid vocal tracks, switch to this station!

… Know of any other related streams that are worth to mention? Let me know!

Ultima IX Ascension – Intro Video

February 25th, 2010 2 comments

What’s best to do on a stormy spring autumn evening in your cozy carpeted living room with fireplace lightened messy bachelor apartment on the seventh floor while the wind cries outside through the trees concrete gaps? Correct! Playing a nice and well-matured Role-playing Game like for example Ultima.

Ultima is the one role-playing game where you start in the present world and then travel into a fantasy parallel world of Britannia, usually via a portal. Here’s a nice video (from RetroHD) of the last game in the Ultima series, Ultima 9 – Ascension which introduces the beginning of the game.

Moments In Gaming 5: Fighting Force

February 14th, 2010 3 comments

Today’s installment of Moments In Gaming covers the 1997 Playstation game Fighting Force. It was one of those games in the late nineties era of video games where the fresh 3D technology of the Playstation spawned an avalanche of outstanding 3D games.

In Fighting Force you play the role of one ruffian (or ruffine) who is hired to intrude the premises of a certain villain named Zeng with the goal to eliminate him.  So much for the story!

The graphics are of the typical early era PSX low-poly style but the environments that act as staging grounds for the rumble work surprisingly well. The gameplay is fun for a couple of rounds. You have a set of attack moves and combos available and you are able to pick up stuff from the ground like weapons, sandwiches, coke cans as well as bundles of dollar bills and even gold bars! Some items like cars, vending machines and trash cans can be destroyed to spawn makeshift weapons like metal bars that help dispatching bad guys quicker.

But the one feature that makes Fighting Force worth mentioning is the soundtrack by Martin Iveson. A well shuffled mixture of Electro and Techno beats blended perfectly together with filtered guitar riffs, fat bass lines and police sirens, sometimes uptempo and other times  subtle and atmospheric. This is one of those soundtracks that has a very personal note and stands on its own among the deluge of orchestral mass ware and prefab sound loops often found in games today.

Mass Effect 2: The Future of RPGs? Oh really?

February 12th, 2010 16 comments

There has been a lot of hype around the release of Mass Effect 2 some weeks back and some people already start claiming that this game is going to be the Future of RPGs. Rampant Coyote took a stance and so did The Brainy Gamer. Being an old hand RPGer and having played Mass Effect 1 to the end and started playing part 2 I feel I need to have my say to the hype around that game.

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Sentinel Worlds 1: Future Magic with Tandy Sound Enabled

February 9th, 2010 1 comment

Today’s video pick (yeah right, as if I had a new post everyday here) is from YouTube user Five5Six and about how he managed to get Sentinel Worlds 1: Future Magic to run on DOSBox with Tandy sound enabled. That’s right, Tandy sound! By default the game uses those bleepy PC speaker sounds as in my own video. Personally I haven’t yet figured out how to get Tandy sound working with this game, so there … a video with the marvelous Tandy-enabled sound of SW1:FM in all it’s glory …

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Sword of Fargoal for iPhone

December 13th, 2009 2 comments

The classic dungeon crawler Sword of Fargoal has been released for the iPhone and it turns out that it’s one of the few computer/console-game-to-iPhone conversions I’ve came across that are actually fun to play on the touch-screen (unlike, say, Sonic, Bomberman et al). Go check it out if you’re into RPGs with an ever-changing maze-like dungeon accompanied by nicely done atmospheric music and sound effects.

Official Sword of Fargoal Website

Moments in Gaming 4: Whodunit? (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion)

November 28th, 2009 No comments

While the main quest of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion didn’t attract me very much – admittedly I haven’t even completed it once to this day – some of the side quests were amusingly entertaining, particularly the Thief’s Guild and Dark Brotherhood quest series. Both of these feature stories with some pretty twisted plots and very interesting characters.

While doing contract work for the Dark Brotherhood you are being sent to attend a party where the guests are invited to search for a treasure that is supposed to be hidden in a house in that they are going to be locked in, except that there is no treasure and you are not one of the treasure hunters but an assassin hired by the house owner to kill all the other guests. Can a quest be more macabre and fun than this?!

The Whodunit quest which you are being assigned to in the latter part of the Dark Brotherhood guild quest series was somehow the highlight of it all for me. Not only combined it the cozy whodunit mystery with a medieval fantasy setting but it put you in the role of the killer instead of the detective. What made this quest so gleefully entertaining wasn’t the fact that you are the perpetrator but the way how you could manipulate the characters and watch how they became more and more terrified after somebody crossed the bar. There are several different ways how the NPC’s react which is especially interesting in the end when only three or two are left, even if eventually the quest concludes always in the same outcome.

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Moments in Gaming 3: Grager’s Yacht (Sentinel Worlds I: Future Magic)

November 22nd, 2009 2 comments

Back in the days when computer games still required you to use your imagination to play them there was a role-playing game pearl named Sentinel Worlds I: Future Magic, one of the many scifi-themed RPGs back then which today are only sparsely seeded in retailer shelves.

Future Magic was first released for DOS and a port for the C64 was published later which looked almost equally good as the DOS version with excellent graphics done by Michael Kosaka. At times the game is quite bizarre. For example there is a planet with ranchers and farms just like in an old western. Another planet has two very high towers that reach into the orbit and these are the only colonies on the otherwise untouched surface. On another, icy planet you scout an abandoned research base which is overrun by saber-toothed creatures … but this is how the games were made in the golden age of RPG. Despite the number in the title a follower was never developed for Future Magic but instead the acclaimed Hard Nova served as a spiritual sequel.

The game let’s you control a group of five space mercs who are send out on a mission to stop mysteriously appearing raiders which are attacking ships in the local system. Right after your ships drops out of hyperspeed you are being attacked by them. However while the other ships of the space convoy with that you came are trying to fight them you are able to take some distance and locate a yacht floating in nearby space. It’s the space yacht of a tycoon named Grager which turns out to be a luxurious vessel full with the newest technology.

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