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Just recently finished Heart of Darkness.

I remember being awed by the screenshots of this game in magazines back in the day, but I was never able to get the demo version working, so I never got to try the game till now. Last year I managed to get a big box copy in nice condition, and after making a back-up of the CD, I played through the game to test my copy. The game works out of the box on Windows 10, no mucking about with patches, compatibility settings, or anything else needed.
I didn't know what to expect going into this game, but it plays much the same like Eric Chahi's previous game Another World. It's a 'cinematic platformer', and it has a fantastic, colorful visual design and some of the best 2D animations that I've ever seen in a game. The 3D cinematics are aged, but serviceable. The story revolves around a boy named Andy who has to save his dog Whisky, who had been taken to another planet. The boy has fantastic contraptions he has made himself much like Commander Keen. The gameplay itself is much like Another World. The worlds are composed of single screens, but enemies can pursue you between screens. Go the wrong way, mistime a jump or event, fail to kill an enemy before it reaches you, etc. and Andy will die in one of many horrible, but not explicitly graphic, ways. There are assorted checkpoints spaced out fairly often throughout each level. Besides the movement keys, the only keys are jump, attack, special ability, and a run modifier. Andy, can run, double jump, and climb assorted walls. It's not too long, and I didn't need to rely on a walkthrough to complete the game. If you enjoyed, and still enjoy Another World, do yourself a favor and try to get a hold of a copy of this great game. And vote for it on the GOG wishlist:
https://www.gog.com/wishlist/games/heart_of_darkness
Softporn Adventure

It's part of the bonus material with Leisure Suit Larry, and is a text adventure along the same lines. It is proto-Larry for better or worse. It required some save scumming, trial and error with a pretty basic parser, and finding the one-true-path through it. It is probably a better historic artifact then a game.
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SCPM: Just recently finished Heart of Darkness.
May I ask on which OS you did play this game? I could never get my disc running on anything after XP. It's a fantastic game and I would love to play it again.

Edit: Forget it. I should learn to read.
Post edited 21 hours ago by PaterAlf
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Jan 15 (GOG)- This is more an interactive story than a game and that's not a bad thing. The storytelling is great and the light puzzle and platformer elements don't get in the way. It's not for everyone but if you're interested in unique experiences you should try it.

Full List
I beat Ultima 4 NES (again) today.

Now, if only I had someone to talk about the game with...
Eventide 2: The Sorcerer's Mirror

Well, I think I can't complain about my recent HOPA foray after all. As the saying goes, third time's the charm and Eventide 2: The Sorcerer's Mirror turned out to be much better than the two previous games I played. It combines a really nice and pleasant artstyle, a few well-polished cutscenes, and a wide variety of hidden object scenes. The puzzles, on the other hand, are few and far between and not extremely interesting nor original.

The story, while still full of mythical and magical nonsense, for once scratches the surface of some mature and profound themes, but not too much. What is a blatant lie is the warning you get at the beginning that "your choices will have consequences in the story". No siree: you only get to make five (rather obvious) moral choices during your playthrough, and they have zero impact in the gameplay. The only difference is during the final confrontation with the baddie, who acts differently depending on what you've chosen before. But even then, the final cutscene is the same no matter what you chose, and it contradicts some of the consequences of your choices, should you had opted the 'bad ones'. I know it for a fact because there's an in-game achievement for completing the game twice with different choices, and I quickly replayed it but this time around taking the exact opposite decisions... only for the acheevo not to trigger after all as it turns out to be bugged. Yay for achievements!

So yeah, you can save yourself the trouble of replaying this game unless you enjoy it so much that you cannot help it. However, even with a single playthrough this was hands down the best of the three HOPAs I've played so far this year, and probably one of the best I've ever played. As I said, I think I'll give this genre a rest for a while now I'm left with a good taste in my mouth, and I'll start playing other things.


My list of finished games in 2018
include me

thanks
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SCPM: Just recently finished Heart of Darkness.
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PaterAlf: May I ask on which OS you did play this game? I could never get my disc running on anything after XP. It's a fantastic game and I would love to play it again.

Edit: Forget it. I should learn to read.
If you try it again, do let us know if you get it working as well. I've seen on other boards that folks had problems on different setups, but they came up with workarounds for some issues.
I finished Deus Ex, the first one, and chose the "dark age" ending. I am really surprised by the fact that in online discussions, most people consider this the bad ending. It seems the only good ending to me. You give people freedom, truth, etc. at the expense of technology, security etc. The Illuminati ending is too selfish and greedy and preserves the current status quo. The merging with Helios ending is too much "I'll play God and take the decisions".
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Zadalon: I finished Deus Ex, the first one, and chose the "dark age" ending. I am really surprised by the fact that in online discussions, most people consider this the bad ending. It seems the only good ending to me. You give people freedom, truth, etc. at the expense of technology, security etc. The Illuminati ending is too selfish and greedy and preserves the current status quo. The merging with Helios ending is too much "I'll play God and take the decisions".
Well, depends on viewpoint. The merging seemed the only tolerable one to me. Don't want to think about a non-tech world, want one where it's used right and developed in the right direction, and that can't happen if it no longer exists.
Night in the Woods

I went into this not knowing anything about the story or the game in general, and that made it all the more fun to explore and discover, so personally I think the less said about it the better. But it's hard to trust any recommendations if you don't know what to expect and to judge whether it's something you would enjoy, so read on at your own discretion.

If you've played Oxenfree, you already have a general idea of the type of game it is, gameplay-wise. If not, I'd say the game compares most to reading a good graphic novel, just with a few more interactive elements. It's not like one of those visual novels though in which you only press keys to advance the text, you're often free to explore on your own and decide where to go to or not, who to talk to or not, there is a little bit of platforming involved occasionally, and there are minigames (mostly playing bass the Guitar Hero way) and a Zelda-style game within a game with lots of stages and bosses, as well (all of that was fun even though I really sucked at it, but it didn't matter, as it's not crucial for advancing the story). What you'll do most of the time though is get up every day and visit the same places over and over again in order to talk to the same people and then conclude the day by choosing who to hang out with this night. That sounds quite repetitive and boring if put that way, and indeed, it can get a bit repetitive if you don't take breaks in between and try to play it in one go - I usually played through one or two days every sitting, for 1-2 hours, and that worked fine for me. It wasn't boring at all though because the storytelling and writing really drew me in, and the graphics and music added to the immersion (the soundtrack was composed by Alec Holowka, btw, who was also involved in Aquaria).

The cute look and the anthropomorphic characters might deceive you into thinking it's a children's story, but that's just the outward appearance. The characters are very human, not animals, and the themes in the story are actually pretty serious and relatable. The dialogues and situations are often quite fun but also a bit sad or even bleak and depressing at times, even though the general tone is one of warmth and hope. The story also has some spooky, dark and sometimes confusing elements, but it's mostly just about small town life, life in general, friendship, anxiety, depression and smashing things ("Crimes!"). It's kind of a coming of age story - and also not at all, and it features very unique anti-heroes as main characters (one of them being the town itself which you get to know quite a bit by exploring its present and history). A very specific milieu, and yet somewhat universal and familiar, too.

I have to admit, not knowing what to expect, I was a bit reluctant to buy NITW at the full asking price, but after having played through it, I can say, it is worth that. Not only is it rather long for such a story-telling game (my completionist playthrough was about 14-15 hours, including the two included short prequel stories), but I found it interesting all the way through, like a nice book or comic, not just gripping but occasionally also inspiring thoughts that transcended the game. And there's also a certain replayability because you won't be able to see everything in one playthrough, although for me personally, as a completionists with good memory who doesn't really believe in the replayability of most games, that's actually the only thing I do not like that much, because on the one hand I'd absolutely love to see everything I've missed in my first playthrough, but on the other hand I can't see myself going through the same story all over again and repeat 80% of what I've already seen just to get to those 20% of unfamiliar parts. Other than that, I think it's my GOTY 2017 - or at the very least a tie with Steamworld Dig 2 which I had already named GOTY 2017 before. ;)
Post edited 36 minutes ago by Leroux