Blog 688: Turok

I wish I could have been a part of the late-90s shooter boom, but we could never afford a PC or any of those early 3D consoles at the time. Luckily gog.com exists in the present day and is slowly but surely unearthing all the shonky PC ports of strange games I glimpsed on billboards and in magazines but never imagined I would ever get to touch.

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter here is not the original game, but a (slightly?) remastered edition that was actually cranked out fairly recently. Generally I aim for purism — all official original patches and expansions but nothing more — but that’s not an option here so you’ll have to forgive my ignorance of the Original Version and take my review as being of… whatever they’ve changed/fixed/upgraded in this new version.

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Blog 687: Risen 3: Titan Blogs

Adventure, swashbuckling, tropical islands, strange creatures and ancient ruins; these are a few of my favourite things (and in the game). I gave my brother my gog.com wishlist so he could birthday me without fear, and he first picked Risen 3: Titan Lords — a game which has all of these things in spades.

I don’t go on traditional summer holidays these days, but a trip to some imagined tropics doesn’t sound so bad…

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Blog 686: Close, But No Biscuit – James Bond – Part 5

“Our Bond is Better” seems to be the recurring claim of the Daniel Craig era. “What were you expecting, an exploding pen?” Well, yes, actually — but even if I wasn’t, these films don’t ever deliver on their claims of being better. The gritty introspection that is the hallmark of modern Bond actually isn’t built up or built on in any meaningful way, so we are left with… nothing. Nothing but sadness, emptiness, and a hollow, pointless rage.

Alas, we are the problem, because we both still paid money to see these films.

(Transcript is included in the blog post.)

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Blog 685: Nova: Cover Tops

What a lovely birthday present, thanks Blizzard — you released the second pack of Nova: Covert Ops missions on the 2nd of August to commemorate me getting old!

Ahem. I wasn’t particularly impressed by the first mission pack, but by the third mission things were (mechanically at least) starting to look up. Will the three missions of the second pack drop the ball again or blast off into brilliance?

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Blog 684: Close, But No Biscuit – James Bond – Part 4

SPECTRis all the more irritating because of the good things it had that it completely squandered. Willingness to retcon away the crap bits — nope, let’s retcon them to be even worse. Dave Bautista as a Proper Henchman — disposed of barely past the half-way mark. Crater Base as a final boss location — blown up after five minutes of screen time and it wasn’t even the finale. It was all me, James! (Smart blood.)

(Transcript is included in the blog post.)

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Blog 683: The Second Last Mission

I hark back to Star Wars: Empire at War every so often, but it’s more an interactive film than much of a strategy game. You build a huge fleet, set it loose, and turn on the autocamera mode — and it beautifully recreates space battles right out of the movies. Beyond that, there’s not a lot to it.

As with many games, it took an expansion pack — Forces of Corruption — to really bring it to life. A larger tech tree, of new pirate units alongside a mix of stolen classic Imperial and Rebel craft, a more involved plotline in a single longer campaign rather than split between two sides… It’s still far from perfect, but it made good progress.

And that expansion brought with it one particular mission that’s a real favourite of mine, despite its flaws: a raid on the Imperial Archives on Coruscant.

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Blog 682: Close, But No Biscuit – James Bond – Part 3

To be honest, I’m surprised I lasted until episode 3 before shoehorning A-ha in there — of course I would say that The Living Daylights has the best theme tune. There are many lessons to be learnt from a Bond film’s opening moments — the starting stunts, the title sequence and, of course, the music…

(Transcript is included in the blog post.)

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Blog 681: The Design of the Warrior

I’ve made no secret that my own attempt at a real game is basically a Nox clone, albeit with a few twists and (hopefully) upgrades. The Warrior of Nox has five special abilities that make him a well-rounded individual, and I’m going to follow that formula with my own All-Purpose Assault Mech (and its inevitable variants)…

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