Drakensang is a lost gem. Back when the world was lamenting the lack of Baldur’s Gate-a-likes, Drakensang slipped out without much fanfare; I picked it up on a whim seeing it on the shelf in Game (remember when Game had PC shelves? Good times). Based on The Dark Eye system rather than Dungeons & Dragons, it nevertheless promotes the same ideals: a player-created character leads a tight-knit strike team as they vanquish evil in real-time-with-pause combat based on a tabletop system.
I was interested in C&C4: Tiberian Twilight, despite all the rumours of its horror. The core concept — trading standard base building and assault for a mobile super-vehicle — seemed quite interesting to me. For a man that favours the ultra-versatile solo operatives of RPGs and FPSes, the conceit had legs.
The game did not deliver anything of what I imagined; it is exactly as bad as everyone says. So instead of delving into that den of iniquity, let’s indulge instead in what it could have been, had somebody with dreams more like mine been at the helm…
It seems to me that everything Westwood touched turned to gold. They were most famous for their real-time strategies — the pinnacle being Tiberian Sun itself — but they seemed to diverge from that mould more than history would have you believe and come up roses all the same. Foremost of course was their stab at the hack ‘n’ slash RPG, which produced one of the greatest games of all time, Nox.
Over here, though, we have their first-person shooter. Set in the Command & Conqueriverse, occurring some time during the original C&C, this answers the age-old question that haunts every strategy franchise — what would it be like to be in one of those battles?
All right then. If Tiberian Sun is the unassailable classic of the Command & Conquer franchise, what of the sequel that emerged seven years later? Built merely by “EA” rather than Westwood Studios, is C&C3: Tiberium Wars a dead husk wearing the skin of C&C or a genuine continuation?
Ho ho ho.
Real-world associate Chris McPhail and I might have been going through Star Wars in our Close, But No Biscuit podcast of late, but there’s another piece of cultural media that deeply affected my robot designs — Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun. The goody-goody Global Defence Initiatve forces had several grungy, industrial, brutalist, utilitarian hulks that evoked power and strength and resilience so much that I took my first faltering steps into 3D modelling trying desperately to ape them. If Star Wars set the robot wheels in motion for me, then Tiberian Sun gave them life.
Look at it this way — if I’d known the Final Sun level editor existed at the time, I’d have cut my modding teeth on Tiberian Sun over Age of Empires II. Oh yes.
I am a little bit sad that I missed the late 90s computer game era; things seemed to be more aligned to my tastes back then. Oh well, we’ve got ports on gog.com to make up for it — better late than never, right?
Today’s interesting morsel from the dark ages is Urban Chaos, a crime-fighting action adventure. (Well, not that dark, 1999 wasn’t that long ago.)
My brother gave me five games for crimbo, but I’ve been so busy working on my own that I’ve hardly even looked at them. I played open-world RPG Two Worlds during the festive holiday but didn’t have much to say about it; it’s a bit janky, sometimes interesting, couple of nice ideas but ultimately bland.
Sometimes, though, you need to recharge your batteries with a classic late-90s first-person shooter, and it seems we have one in the pile — SiN.
It’s here at last, the third and final installment of Starcraft II bonus campaign Nova: Covert Ops. Which has, to date, featured six ops but none of them particularly covert. With three missions left in the bag and the second pack a good improvement on the first, will these finally hit the spot? (Also thank goodness there are only three packs, because as you can see I’ve already run out of title puns.)