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Leroux: HROT

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Possibly in my top 5 of retro shooters. A few levels in between were a bit less exciting, but all in all, it had a surprisingly high number of memorable ones, and quite a few delightfully weird and funny surprises. The only part I did not like all that much was the final boss fight of episode 2, because the arena is so small and the boss and his minions absorb a lot of ammo, making it a sparse commodity. I eventually beat it, but with a lot of save scumming (hurray for quicksaves!). Final boss 1 and 3 were rather easy in comparison but also a lot more fun. I don't really have much else to say because most everything was pretty good.

Oh, there's one more thing: I played through the whole game without map, thinking it didn't have one, but at the very end, I actually found out it's on the "M" key (not "Tab" like I would have expected). Still, it was perfectly fine without the help of a map. And that reminds me, I also made use of the footkick only very late into the game. I should have experimented with it much earlier. It seems that it's possible to kick enemies of ledges, Dark Messiah style, and I regret never trying it!
Hahah, I finished HROT just yesterday and I agree with all points, especially the one about the map, which I discovered in the second to last level.
Not that I needed though, the maps are very clear despite adhering to the oldschool shooter design philosophy.
The last boss was unexpected to say the least.

Btw, did you find all four dogs?
Enebias: Btw, did you find all four dogs?
Tbh, I completely missed them in my playthrough somehow. Did not encounter even one of these dogs and was quite surprised to see everyone talking about them afterwards. Where were they?
Enebias: Btw, did you find all four dogs?
Leroux: Tbh, I completely missed them in my playthrough somehow. Did not encounter even one of these dogs and was quite surprised to see everyone talking about them afterwards. Where were they?
I cannot remember the name of the level, but they were in the second or third to last in the 3rd episode. They help immensely in the part full of rats, they rush them and eat them.
They're closed in tiny cages, one is in plain sight while the others are in secrets, the last in particular being in a secret level accessible after you sound a bell.
Catie in MeowmeowLand - available on GOG

Although the listed genres are adventure, point-and-click, and puzzle, I would classify this as a point-and-click puzzle game. The reason is every screen is its own puzzle with its own objectives to help Catie journey through MeowmeowLand and find her way back home.

This guy reminds me of the caterpillar from Alice and Wonderland.

Cat statues.

The cat in the sky.

Let's travel on the cat bus.

If you like cats maybe only about half as much as me, you'll enjoy this game. The only downside is that it is short.
Operation C. (Gameboy)

I finished it without using continues.
AM2R 1.5.5: In my opinion, one of the greatest fan made games of all time.
Alien Breed 2: Assault is another short and modern Alien Shooter like game. Good relax when you do not want think about things, but fix camera part of game breaks immersion.
Two games finished this weekend meanwhile George and AnneMarie are in Istambul searching an old artifact,

Little Misfortune

Simple adventure game, you can end the game in an afternoon. It is very easy, movement only to right and left and easy puzles, mostly you can avoid. The story was ok but i dislike, not good for the body.

Catie in Meowmeowland

A reference to Alice in Wonderland. It is like Machinarium, unique screens in which you click to see what happens and must solve to pass to the next screen. That´s good and specially for cats lovers.
Beyond a Steel Sky. Picking up 10 years after the first game, Foster has to go back to Union City to find a kidnapped boy from his village, but he finds that Union City has become a different kind of dystopia than what it used to be. It's clean and everyone smiles all the time, but the "keep a smile on your face" mantra quickly starts to sound creepy and the society operates on a social credit system.

The game looks pretty nice, and although I wasn't sure how it would work in 3D, the game actually does a nice job of capturing Dave Gibbons's style. It's just that the downside of that is that Gibbons was a better artist when the original game was released as he's stripped his style down since the late 90s or so. The puzzles are mostly straightforward and the game even includes a hint system to prod you along. Although you have an inventory, as the game continues the emphasis shifts much more toward hacking puzzles that are still pretty easy to figure out. What you can't hack, your crowbar is often good for solving.

The pacing has the sort that's common in adventure games, where it starts and ends fast, but it sags in the middle as you start to feel like you're getting run around with some especially contrived puzzles (go fetch some guy some moonshine!). The story is alright, I wish it was better. The main problem is that it takes some liberties with the original game's story - people would say something about events from the original and I'd wonder if I'd forgotten something only to go back and watch footage of the original to confirm that they indeed retconned stuff, which I'm not fond of. I didn't mind my time with the game, but I doubt I'll replay it, while I can see myself replaying the original eventually.


Powerslave Exhumed. I hadn't played the PC/Build engine version or the console versions, but I was intrigued by the nonlinear style here and the story behind the game. It's often described as an FPS/Metroidvania but that isn't really accurate because it has defined levels that you just replay instead of a continuous open world. You play linearly until you can't go any farther, but you get an item that will allow you to take a path you couldn't on previous levels, so then you play those linearly until you get another item that opens more paths, and so on. There are also some items like extra health bars you can replay levels to find, and to get the good ending you need to find parts of a transmitter scattered around, but the game helps with that by playing a beeping noise on the world map when you hover over a level.

The game is quite an achievement in terms of taking the best parts of different versions of a game and mixing them into an arguably definitive version, but in terms of playing it, it's...fine. It's mostly based on the console versions and it plays like a console FPS in a lot of ways, with checkpoints instead of saves. The enemies are kind of lame (hope you like shooting bugs!). The graphics are decent, and the soundtrack is fine but could have used even more music.

I appreciate what Night Dive did with this, but much like their Turok and Shadow Man remasters, this is basically a fantastic version of a game that is pretty alright.
Stasis Bone Totem

It's great. I loved the first Stasis, Cayne was a nice free extra episode and I liked Beautiful Desolation despite its shortcomings, so I knew this was most likely going to be good... but this time the devs outdid themselves. Top quality in all of its aspects, and it ended up being a way bigger game than I expected.

The only person I wouldn't recommend it to would be someebody bothered by gore and body horror, which this game packs in spades.
Post edited June 21, 2023 by Enebias
Quake Enhanced

I've never really played Quake back in the days, so when it finally arrived on GOG, I was happy to buy it. However, disappointment soon followed. It turned out the game was missing the in-game soundtrack, and after I went to the trouble of learning how to patch it back in and could finally start it, I immediately lost interest in it again, due to the inconvenient control scheme, the somewhat sluggish performance and even the graphics, weapons and spongy opponents (in the first level). I came to the conclusion that Quake just wasn't for me and I'm more of a Doom guy.

Fast forward to recently, when I had finished HROT and was looking for the next old-school shooter to play. By chance I noticed that in the meantime Quake Enhanced had been added to my account due to my original Quake mispurchase. So I thought why not give it a second chance. And as soon as I had started playing, I realized this played EXACTLY like HROT since apparently HROT was heavily influenced by it. I also found it was just as much fun, and the perfect game for the perfect moment in time. I wondered why I had been so hard on Quake before, so just to make sure, I installed the original version again and gave it another try, and again I did not like it and immediately uninstalled it. But I loved Quake Enhanced! It seems pretty faithful to the original game but in a much more modern form, with more intuitive standard modern FPS controls, widescreen and higher resolution graphics, and it also plays so much smoother than the original DOS package on my end. Last but not least, the original Trent Reznor soundtrack is back in the game, and I could see now what travesty it was to sell the game without it. It's fantastic!

For the last few weeks, Quake Enhanced has been my go-to game, the only one I was always ready to play, at any time. "Just one more level. And maybe another. Oh, and since I'm here already, I might just as well finish this episode today. And take a peek at the next one", and so on. I've played through the original campaign, the expansion packs Scourge of Armagon and Dissolution of Eternity, tried the newer Dimensions of the Past by Machine Games, and then also played through their most recent masterwork Dimensions of the Machine which was the culmination of my Quake experience - I absolutely loved it, especially the last few levels, and it's very rare that a game gets better and better the closer it gets to the finish line and then ends at its best.

Admittedly, I only played on Normal (which I assume is Baby's First Quake to veteran players) and I didn't shy away from savescumming when necessary, because I was mostly interested in atmosphere and exploration, not a hardcore challenge. This might also explain why I liked all campaigns except for Dimensions of the Past, which I gave up on shortly before the end because I realized I was just forcing myself through it and not having fun like I've had with the other campaigns. Because it seems like the only interesting thing about it is the challenge. With exception of the first two maps maybe, the levels themselves are comparatively boring, even in comparison to Quake's original campaign, IMO, but even more so after I had played the expansion packs and particularly Dimensions of the Machine which was such a joy to explore. And the challenge in Dimensions of the Past comes from the (to me) most boring ideas, mainly very limited ammo and health pickups (even on Normal) while confronting the player with all kinds of devious traps and overusing hordes of the most spongy enemies of the game. It just felt more like a game for the "git gud" crowd than something really worth experiencing for everyone.

But even ignoring Dimensions of the Past, that's still four enjoyable campaigns with different parts each and many memorable maps, ranging from good to gorgeous. The Enhanced version really made me fall in love with Quake for the first time, similar to how players must have felt back in the days, and all that due to a purchase I thought a waste of money at first, of a game I had thought lost to me.

I could only find one single, insignificant yet glaring fault with Quake Enhanced, and that's the inexplicable idea to introduce low quality achievement pop-ups in-game, without providing an option to toggle them off. Not only are they unnecessary and distracting, they are also butt-ugly compared to the rest of the game, not consistent with its style. Fortunately, you don't get them very often - I only ever saw like 2-3+ of them (Friendly Fire, Secret Sleuth and for finishing the campaigns), but the ones for finding a secret or enemies hitting each other popped up once in every session! So not only one time per playthrough, but apparently they are reset every time you quit and then run the game again. Just mind-boggling, who ever thought this was a good idea?

Other than that - pure awesomeness!
Post edited June 22, 2023 by Leroux
IXOXI: Alien Breed 2: Assault is another short and modern Alien Shooter like game. Good relax when you do not want think about things, but fix camera part of game breaks immersion.
Finished my second game of 2023, Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos. Overall I enjoyed it, though not as much as many of the other classic CRPG's I've played. I clocked in at around 35 hours to complete it, but even that left me feeling like it dragged on a bit. Save-scumming was unavoidable in the last castle as my hapless party missed about 80% of the swings they took, so I had to rely on spells, which meant lots of resting and saving. It just felt like a section or two of the storyline could have been eliminated and the game would not have suffered at all.

All that said, if you're revisiting classics from your earlier days, or just like to check out old time games like this, it's worth it for sure, especially since it can be had on sale for pocket change (along with its sequel).
Leroux: Quake Enhanced
Quake was a great game even before the Enhanced edition... in a source port! :P
Enhanced basically bings all that quality of life without the hassle of having to do it yourself. I'm one of those guys who recovered, decompressed and fixed the audio while tweaking the source port. This new edition saves a few hours of work, that's for sure!

I was also really impressed by the new episode as well, I think it's the best Quake has to offer, although it's a bit unfair to say it like this -after all, technology has advanced a lot since the original release, so the devs could afford to create something I doubt would have run decently back then. That, and a few improvements in design overall, even those coming with time and experience.
Enebias: Quake was a great game even before the Enhanced edition... in a source port! :P
I actually tried the source port, too, at some point, and found out it runs better, but for some reason I still wasn't motivated enough to play the game at that time, and then I forgot about the sourceport again. Maybe this was just the right moment in time for me now, after finishing HROT, and the Enhanced edition was plug & play, I could just jump into it and get hooked.

Sometimes, if I have to overcome several hurdles before getting a game to run smoothly, that process can sour my experience a little already and make me bear some kind of grudge against the game - which is completely unreasonable of course, but I guess it can ruin my mood enough as to lose interest in the game altogether sometimes, heh. And at the time I was still convinced that I wouldn't really like Quake anyway.

Btw, I hear an Enhanced/Remastered version of Quake 2 is in the works as well. Although the RTX version - with OpenGL for me and my weak GPU - is a good alternative to original Q2 already. I'm just not sure yet whether I like Q2 as much as I liked Q1.
Post edited June 22, 2023 by Leroux