Showing posts from April, 2009

Sidetracked to a Fantasy World

I was planning to devote myself to playing AGS games for at least a month, but got sidetracked.

While browsing for games to buy, I stumbled upon the Gold Edition of Fantasy Wars. I was aware that the title was well-received by both, the press and players, but never had a chance to play it. I was greatly enthused over the find and thought it would be the perfect specimen for my vast video game collection. Unfortunately, I decided to install and run the game, just to check if it was as exciting as everyone else thought it to be.

The game sucked me right in and didn't let go for three long evenings. After completing it (only the original Fantasy Wars), I felt horribly tired. Not only I barely got to sleep, but also struggled to have a single normal meal during the hours I spent playing. So captivated I was.

Quick Reference

Fantasy Wars was developed by Ino-Co, a Russian video game development company, a subsidiary of one of the biggest (if not the biggest) Russian video game publishing c…

Who Crippled Prince of Persia?

It looks like Blue Omega did. Just checked a couple of trailers for their upcoming video game called Damnation.

There are a bunch of videos dedicated to the game, all of them have one thing in common - they show a dull game with an unmemorable lead character and zero new ideas. And yeah, most of the videos feature lifeless zombie-like people who, one way or another, were involved in the production.

Just to have a point of reference, check this trailer out: Damnation, Verticality Trailer.

If a game features a commentary from the production team, I am used to very bright, interesting presentations. For example, all of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning videos (with commentaries) were fun and exciting to watch. Tim Schafer is pure pleasure to listen to talking about his upcoming game, BrĂ¼tal Legend. Well, there are plenty of examples.

The video I linked shows two emotionless guys, they don't look too excited about their game, nor do they say anything interesting about their game. They t…

Undead in Japan

Ben Jordan Case 5: Land of the Rising Dead was the first game in the Ben Jordan series I played, it also was the first one I wrote about. Just to be true to the chronological order of the series, I played it again after finishing Ben Jordan Case 4: Horror at Number 50 and am going to re-write the original post a bit, moving it to a later date.

First off, lets take a look at the changes in the Ben Jordan's latest case compared to the previous games in the series. Ben Jordan's portrait has been updated, now it looks more realistic (Deluxe Edition of Ben Jordan Case 1: In Search of the Skunk-Ape featured the updated version as well). To tell the truth, I don't see it as an improvement and think that the original cartoony look of Ben's portrait was more adorable.

Simon Booth and Alice Wilkins, friends Ben made in his previous case, re-appear as the lead characters in this adventure. Simon, as well as Ben, received a new portrait. Once again, I find the original portrait much…

It's Haunted, All Right

It's time to write about another Ben Jordan adventure, Ben Jordan Case 4: Horror at Number 50. This case leads Ben to a haunted house where he, together with his brothers-in-arms - people in the paranormal investigation business, - gets a chance to come face to face with an evil spirit. In the end, the evil is perished and Ben finds good friends.

The plot of Horror at Number 50 is relatively good, even if not that original. Still, I wouldn't say that this is the best of Ben Jordan cases. The problem with the game is that it features an extremely dull gameplay.

Most of the time Ben will have to venture into the same rooms and talk to the same people over and over again. I have nothing against extensive conversation, heck, The Moment of Silence is one of my favorite games only because it boasts with long conversations. Sadly, Ben's fourth case consists of almost nothing but conversations, and they are not good enough to keep things fresh and interesting. Other than talking, th…

Look at Them Float!

I continue expressing my opinion on Ben Jordan adventure game series. Just to sum up a bit. Case 1: In Search of the Skunk-Ape (both, original and the Deluxe Edition) was a complete atrocity. Case 2: The Lost Galleon of the Salton Sea was pretty good, but a bit boring.

This time I am going to write about Ben Jordan Case 3: The Sorceress of Smailholm. Well, without further introduction, I would like to say that this game is the best of all the Ben Jordan games I've played so far. It tells a story about a Witch Cult and a story of love. It's definitely not The Lost Crown: A Ghost-Hunting Adventure, but is extremely good and deeply satisfying!

The Sorceress of Smailholm has it all: good graphics, logical puzzles and a swift storyline. There is almost nothing to dislike about this title, but still there are at least two things I found disappointing (if only a bit).

First of all, the game is extremely easy. As it came out in the end, there are two different endings, lets call them th…

Cure for Madness

It is really surprising how Francisco Gonzalez managed to recover from the piece of shit that was Ben Jordan Case 1: In Search for the Skunk-Ape with the follow-up title in the series, Ben Jordan Case 2: The Lost Galleon of the Salton Sea. The game is funny and the plot, even though a bit boring, lacks the stupidity of the predecessor.

Case 2 looks exactly like the original release of the Case 1. It has the same ugly thick gray frames around all the dialogue messages (I don't understand why the frames used for character portraits were not utilized for dialogues as well, they look very neat) and the same horrible blue game menu which is not harmonic with the rest of the game looks. Nonetheless, the game is visually appealing, but what is most important, the story is tenable.

The sad part is that the length of Ben Jordan's second case is only moderate at best. Without a doubt, it is much longer than that of the Skunk-Ape case, but still is very humble, considering all the game puz…

Storytelling at Its Worst

Adventure Game Studio freeware game engine created the perfect opportunity for people who can draw even a little bit to create great adventure games. There are plenty of games using that engine which are truly wonderful and exciting. Not surprisingly though - with an easy to use, flexible tools at the disposal there is no limits but imagination. There are, of course, plenty of terrible games as well. What is astounding, at least for me, is that some of not so good AGS games are highly praised by the community.

I am going to talk about the first game in the Ben Jordan adventure game series, Ben Jordan Case 1: In Search of the Skunk-Ape. There are two versions of the game available at the moment, the original one and the Deluxe Edition. There are plenty of differences between the two of them, so I played them both in a row. Without a doubt I can say that this title is total crap, deluxe or not.

To explain my opinion better, I will have to mention the key plot elements (I giggled when I w…

The Perfect Evening

So, I am having the perfect evening. Watching a really fun and warm TV series called Being Erica and drinking whiskey.

This time it's Jameson 1780 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey. The stuff is pretty expensive with a price of around $30+ for a bottle, but it is extremely pleasant. I really wasn't expecting such a smooth taste and a memorable aftertaste. A couple of pipes of Peterson's tobacco on top of that... Mmmm.

To rate the things which could make your evening as enjoyable as mine:

* Being Erica - kind and simple TV series, perfect for a relaxing evening.
* Jameson 1780 12 Year Old Irish Whiskey - one of the best drinks I had so far.
* Peterson's tobacco - I am having Sweet Killarney today. Peterson is not my best choice, but it's also not the worst I had.

It's Free, But There's a Cost

Well, I've been away from the Internet for about three weeks now and had a chance to play a lot of freeware adventure games created using Adventure Game Studio game engine. At first, I was very excited about those games as they were very well done considering them being freeware and developed by a single person (mostly). Still, after thinking about it for a while, I decided that those games could have been much better.

In my following posts I am going to review several AGS games and will start with Ben Jordan series created by Francisco Gonzalez.