Wednesday, 21 March 2018


A good mascot for "Too Much Information".

An evil magician threatens the kingdom and you must stop him in this very verbose point and click adventure. While dated graphics wise, the animations are quite fluid and the story is good, with a decent twist near the midpoint(?).

All spoken lines are voiced (not very well), and the detail on every scene is extreme; and this is part of the problem. With every mundane object being "active" it is easy to get overwhelemed by information, especially with all the pixel hunting going on.

I almost quit here. Effing sprites.

It doesn't help that you have 10 default different actions such as "Look, Take, Throw, Put, Open, Talk to..." and have additional ones for each item you pick up. You can "shine" a ring or "lick" a dead rat. A sword can "attack, thrust or carve up".

Said actions are also not interchangeable. You can't "put" acid on the floor or "throw" acid on the floor or "use" acid on the floor but you can use "pour contents of beaker" on the floor. Irritating is an understatement.

Set in a magical, fantasy land also makes it hard to use logic to progress. Do you know that tentacles can physically grab a teleporter and let you carry it around if you get no hints? No? Lucky I just told you then because the game certainly won't! Good luck assembling mystical artifacts too.
It's like it was designed be unfair, and for that reason alone I give it 1 bullshitting sprite out of 5. If you are after a dated point and click adventure, go with Beneath a Steel Sky instead.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Command and Conquer

Where engineers are your most deadly weapon!

You'd think that the Earth being invaded by alien fauna called Tiberium might unite mankind but no, this game is all about the war between the Global Defense Force Initiative (GDI) and brotherhood of Nod terrorists (or just Nod) and you get to play commander for their forces.

Now, I'm terrible at RTS games so I found this really challenging from the get go. There are no difficulty options either, just a slowly expanding arsenal array to build and deal with on the field. Really, it's more like a puzzle game because if you don't do the "right" moves fast enough, then you are put into an unrecoverable losing state.

I really hate those obelisks.

While it's easy enough to load when you find yourself there, the AI doesn't ever surrender - meaning even it will try waste as much of your time as possible with its last unit/building before you get a "Mission Accomplished".

Other than that, game play wise is mostly fine (though I don't get why aircraft can't scout). It has an easy to understand HUD, entertaining (though poorly acted) mission briefing videos and music track, and delivers good challenges. Good to see that the commandos are also almost as OP as the guy in Renegade.

The Command and Conquer: The Covert Operations expansion just adds more missions for each side rather than story, and feels like they just wanted to have more skirmishes with both sides accessing their full tech trees which in the original game only happens right at the last 2-3 missions.

While I did finish the original GDI campaign, I couldn't fight through the expansion as I got tired of being nuked. Only so much fun can be had from loading a saved game after all. :P

That's my big problem with it. It's fun but only to a certain degree due to the required repetition to get things "just right". I give it 2 engineer rushes out of 5 and can only recommend it to RTS fanatics.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Treasure Adventure Game

Enjoyable and fun, until it starts to kill you! :P

While the advertised quest is to simply collect 12 treasures, the story and world in this pixel platformer has some surprising depth and decent game play, featuring a good variety of 8-bit music, puzzles, and boss fights.

The talking animals are a cute idea too.

Its also quite lengthy thanks to all the parts where you will undoubtedly get stuck and go backtracking. Fortunately, travel methods improve in speed as the game progresses.

Lastly, while not as hard as Super Meat Boy or IWBTG, there is still a fair amount of difficulty in this game, enough for me to wave off anyone who isn't into platformers. For everyone else though, this itself is quite a treasure. I give it 3 bumbling henchmen out of 5.

Note: Treasure Adventure World, the reimagining of this game, has better graphics if the pixel stuff bugs you too much. You can get it on Steam. :)

Friday, 16 March 2018

Beneath a Steel Sky

Australia... in the Future!

This point and click adventure has very simple controls (left mouse/right mouse/F5 for options) but is quite well made. Despite the obvious age, the backdrops are decent, character motions are fluid, and almost all lines of dialogue are voiced (though some incorrectly).

Obviously made before the Opal card system.

The script is also quite humorous though it's definitely for a mature audience and the midi tracks are decent background music. While I didn't run into any logic holes (can't progress because of unobtainable item), it is quite easy to get stuck in the game through three things:
  • Dialogue - only when your character knows about things do other options become available elsewhere
  • Pixel Hunting - the bane of this sort of game, where "the correct spot" is only a 2x2 pixel cluster on the screen
  • Online World - logging in to the virtual reality system gives you a variety of abilities, all of which aren't very user friendly

For the most part though, some thinking will get you a long way. Despite getting stuck a few times, I quite enjoyed this game and can recommend it to others who enjoy this genre. I give it 2.5 Joeys out of 5.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The King of Fighters 2002

Brawling for the sake of brawling!

Instead of having any story whatsoever, this fighting game instead has 42+ characters, which is a massive line up. Each match is 3 versus 3 (apart from the boss fights), has mostly well animated sprites and generally has good, blood pumping music for each round.

I'm not sure about the fighters being "balanced", as the hit boxes are quite spot on and the time limit of 60 seconds per round makes it tough to be aggressive with the fellas who have shorter range or more defensive moves.

My sparkles are better than yours!

Fortunately for rookie button mashers like myself, defeat/continue gives you a choice of options to make your next time slightly easier after your score is reduced to 0. Maybe your power bar is always full, or the enemy AI is dumber, or the enemy only has 1/3rd of their HP. That's a pretty good system for player enjoyment I think.

Definitely fun but also definitely short if you are just going for the "once through" like I am. There is obviously more replayability if you are a hunter of secret moves and such. I give it 2 evil android guys out of 5.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Tyrian 2000

Space Invaders ... to the max!

While it can be played in arcade mode, Tyrian 2000 actually offers a 5 chapter story mode which was far more appealing for me to play. In it Trent the protagonist is put through the ringer in a crazy story of evil corporations, aliens and fruit cultists.

Also, regardless of your mission - be it scouting, escaping, or destroying a sun, the game play of "destroy everything without dying" holds true. This is because the more things you explode, the more money you get to upgrade your ship. The customization options are vast and is one of my favorite parts of this game.

One of the simpler level boss fights.

The music is awesome too, and the occasional choice between missions is also good. Where it gets messy is in the action portion, as later missions have so much crap flying on the screen. There are also a few missions which become a memory game (looking at you Chapter 3 Finale) because you need to know before hand where to position yourself to not die.

A fun enough diversion, though the death repetition can be a turn off. I give it 2 super carrots out of 5.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

FEAR: Perseus Mandate

A solid shooter with a few supernatural jump scares.

I've played most of the FEAR franchise long ago, but I can't remember ever playing through Perseus Mandate which possibly speaks for its memorability: ie. it's not, as you are literally the "B Team". Given it is a standalone expansion, you are expected to have played the main FEAR game prior and will be left with a few questions to the story if you haven't.

Like why things go to hell all of a sudden.

Like the original though, the FEAR AI is fantastic. The regular enemy squads work together to actively flank you, make good use of suppression and cover - leaning to fire and occasionally blind firing (gun around corner only). They do talk a lot though which is both entertaining and silly.

The musical queues are also good and not repetitive, and the boss fights can be quite challenging especially towards the end. All up, it's fun, immersive and I highly recommend it (though you probably should play the original first). I give it 4 turret mines out of 5.