Gaming

Blog 847: Neverwinter Nights

As far as I can remember, I played Neverwinter Nights precisely once at the time, and the same again for its first expansion pack Shadows of Undrentide (before missing out on its second expansion Hordes of the Underdark). A while back, gog decided to hand out the complete Diamond Edition for free, so I figured it might be time to give it another shot. I created a Paladin who seemed to be utterly unable to hit anything and gave up on it not far into chapter 2.

But I was haunted by this failure; I had to try again and see it through. This time I made a Fighter — who I knew would be boring to play, but at least should be able to hit things and not die.

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Gaming

Blog 843: Gunlok

A long time ago, so long ago it defies memory (~2000), I played a demo of a game called Gunlok. I didn’t understand how to play videogames so I don’t think I even managed to move my dude(s), let alone complete it, but the blurb made it sound well cool. Fast-forward two decades and here’s me browsing through old games on a popular internet auction site, looking for things to put on my XP machine and, what ho, it’s a factory-sealed copy of this very game!

I barely remember what genre it was, but I’m long past hesitation now.

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Gaming

Blog 842: No One Lives Forever

Sometimes I hate legal battles over who owns the rights to what game. While I’m a big believer in physical copies, I’d still rather oft-lauded classics were available digitally than… not at all.

So here we are at No One Lives Forever, a 60s-spy-thriller-based FPS from the same people that made my beloved Shogo: Mobile Armor Division (and more surprisingly, the studio who would go on to make Lord of the Rings fanfic Shadow of Mordor), and a game that’s consistently revered by critics whenever it’s mentioned. But I missed it at the time, and it has been locked in a legal dungeon for twenty-odd years so I’ve not had the chance, until… Windows XP computer, internet auction site, still-factory-sealed box, you know this story by now.

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Gaming

Blog 841: The Wheel of Time

I didn’t really get on with The Wheel of Time series of books. I enjoyed some of them the first time around, but tried to re-read them more recently and decided by about book 4 that life was too short. While I enjoyed the prose, the overall plot seemed incredibly stodgy, with months of travelling between important locations and nothing much of consequence happening. Also many of the characters are kind of annoying.

But as you all know, I love a late-90s FPS, and yes — there was a Wheel of Time FPS made in Unreal Engine 1 back in the day. I’ve known about this game for years (indeed, the premier UnrealScript IDE, WOTgreal, was built for it) but it has been somewhat inaccessible… Until now. Yep, it’s been re-released on gog and oh, my body is so ready.

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Gaming

Blog 839: Pariah

It is by now an Agreed Fact that I am interested in 00s first-person shooters. Such an Agreed Fact, indeed, that when a friend was clearing out his collection of old PC games, he offered me first refusal on claiming any of it. Among the classic titles I recognised, one stood out that I did not: Pariah.

An Unreal Engine 2 game by Digital Extremes? The people who worked with Epic on the original Unreal Tournament? You don’t have to ask twice.

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Gaming

Blog 837: Final Grindtasy VII

A part of me thought this moment would come much sooner than it did, but as I activated the endgame of Final Fantasy VII it arrived at last — the moment where my team simply weren’t powerful enough to get past the challenges in front of them.

I had to go back to an earlier save and commence… the Grind.

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Gaming

Blog 835: Final Fantasy VII

I have never played a JRPG before, let alone a Final Fantasy game. The closest I’ve ever got to Final Fantasy is my affection for classic cinematic CGI romp The Spirits Within (another party to which I was late, as I first saw it on DVD as an adult).

But I know that a lot of stuff I like was influenced by Final Fantasy, and the seventh entry comes up again and again and again in discussion. I have felt for years that this is a hole in my experience, and it was one I thought that I could never fill because Final Fantasies are traditionally console games… until I was told that Final Fantasy VII was indeed available on PC, and had been for a very long time.

Oops. Better late than never, right?

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Gaming

Blog 833: LEGO Rock Raiders

LEGO Rock Raiders was a formative game for me — it’s the reason why I’m called Rao Dao Zao.

Previously, when playing Baldur’s Gate, I’d made my real name “Robbie” marginally more fantastical by shortening it to “Robe” (shush, I was only 11 or 12). In Rock Raiders, when you hover the mouse over things, the name of the thing is read out, and one of the vehicles is “The Loader Dozer”. For some reason, my mind saw fit to repeat this voice clip over and over and eventually swap “Load” for “Robe” to form “The Rober Dozer”. Finally, if you slur “The Rober Dozer” really hard you end up with… Rao Dao Zao. (I guess it should really be “Rao Bao Dao Zao”, but Bao somehow never entered into the equation.)

Why is this relevant? Because after I rebuilt my Windows XP machine with true 2004-era components, I got Rock Raiders running. So let’s take a step back in time, to before “Lego Game” was a whole genre of licensed tie-ins, to the heady days of 1999…

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