Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Perry Rhodan: Myth of the Illochim (AKA The Immortals of Terra)

Perry Rhodan: Myth of the Illochim is a adventure title set within the long running German science fiction magazine/novella series Perry Rhodan and even sporting the same protagonist, Perry Rhodan himself. In publication since 1961, with over 2500 issues in the original series released so far (with numerous spin offs), and covering millions of years in game history though time travel and immortal creatures, The Perry Rhodan universe is considered one of the most successful sci-fi universes past or present with translations in many languages. So how does the game cope with this 50+ years of publication and millions of years of in universe backstory? Surprisingly well (at least from the perspective of this reviewer who has never read a single Perry Rhodan story) and in this time of reboots and re-imaginings this hefty and substantial platform on which to base a game (or any media for that matter) is appreciated.

In the original series the main story-line starts in 1971 with the first manned moon landing by Perry Rhodan and his crew. Diverting from reality even more, they encounter a alien spaceship which contains advanced technology. They then return to Earth to share these technologies and strengthen humanity. As the series progresses it covers pretty much every aspect of sci-fi from parallel universes to time travels and everywhere in between with the main crux being the relative immortality that many of the major characters are granted. The game incorporates this backstory terrifically and with the notable exception of the history museum, backstory is always given in small bite size chunks that leaves you wanting more.

Myth of the Illochim is set within the 3rd century of Perry's life in which he is currently regent of the League of Free Terrans and starts off with an attack on his HQ by some unknown enemy who captures Mondra Diamond, Perry's love interest. As he investigates the attack he quickly learns that it is somehow linked to the mysterious and little known Illochim that Mondra has been researching and who appear to have disappeared from this part of the universe 10,000 years ago. What follows is an adventure spanning many planets and involving many alien races, where Perry discovers the mystery of the Illochim and the abduction of his love.

The puzzles are as equally well done as the plot and work well with it with the lions share going to a wide variety of inventory based puzzles. The rest of these puzzles are made up of a special style of logic puzzle, of which I would call puzzle through obfuscation. And what I mean by this is that the puzzle itself is relatively easy compared to figuring out what the controls do and what the visuals/audio indicators mean. This puzzle style works very well alongside alien technology (of which much is present) and compliments the exploration aspect of any game very well. It is a shame that I see it so infrequently and the only game I can compare Myth of the Illochim with in this department is in fact the legendary classic The Dig.

Matching the rest of the game the visuals certainty do not disappoint. Whether the scene be in a Terran building or far deep below the surface of an alien planet Myth of the Illochim impresses and is always excellently sci-fi with its semi-3D fixed camera graphics and its classical sci-fi flair; And that is just the regular in-game graphics. In addition to these there is the fantastic, almost Hollywood movie quality, cut scenes and one of the best looking interfaces I have ever used in any graphicle adventure.

The one trouble I had with this game is how to rate it. By any scientific methodology this game would come out almost perfect (at least in my opinion), but there simply was not that spark of love that some games have given me.

Rating 8.5/10 - 9.5/10

My mini-review of Perry Rhodan: Myth of the Illochim.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Don't Take it Personally, Babe, it Just Ain't Your Story

Don't Take it Personally, Babe, it Just Ain't Your Story is a slightly interactive visual novel set in 2027 in a prestigious high school literacy class. In it you play as the teacher and in addition to the expected high school drama you will encounter themes of homosexuality, youth sexuality, and erosion of privacy. It is also lauded as a kind-of spiritual sequel to Digital: A Love Story, which I completely see.

The gameplay overall is comprised mostly of reading messages but in opposition to Digital there are a few choices to be made that effect the story, but this is the extent of the gameplay with no puzzles in the offering at all this time. My biggest problem with the game is these choices; Overall (from what I could tell) most of them did not seem to add much to the story and the story seemed to be obviously made to negate the consequences of your choices.

I liked it, but no where near as much as Digital.

My mini-review of Don't Take it Personally, Babe, it Just Ain't Your Story.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bullet Candy Perfect Free for a little while

Until 6pm GMT on Monday the 23rd May 2011 to be precise.

So if you want to check out this bright stylish shoot-em-up send a email to charlie@charliesgames.com soon and you will get your free copy for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Source: http://www.charliesgames.com/wordpress/?p=612

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter

Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter is the HD remake of Serious Sam: The First Encounter, the first game in the seminal Serious Sam series.

Not that I have played the original, but I would like to start off with what the HD adds to the game. The game, like its name denotes, runs in many high resolutions and has improved textures, models, and environments but will also handle low resolutions if you so desire. Additionally, according to the Wikipedia entry, it also adds 16-player online co-op, deathmatch, dedicated servers, and achievements; Not to mention the likely better compatibility with modern computers. The one thing I question is if these high resolutions make sense. While textures have been improved they are still very low on detail and simply look bland in this high resolution.

So onto the gameplay; In short Serious Sam is serious fun. It has a bunch of unique enemies with a strangely high number of melee only thrown in. These enemies are not deployed or combated with the normal finessy style of a FPS but instead are often simply spawned en-mass in-front of you; There is no peaking up from behind chest high walls, peering around a corner, or slowly taking aim, just keep firing until no enemy is left standing or you run out of bullets. The one aspect I liked about this a lot is the increased dependence on strategy instead of lightning fast reflexes. You have time until you have to fire your first shot so the importance has been moved to what weapon you select more then how quickly you fire it.

The first encounter with this enemy which is a mini-boss as this point
but will, by game's end, be thrown at you in the hundreds.

As the game progresses the bosses just get bigger and bigger.

The water effects are some of the best in the game, but are underused.

My mini-review of Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter.

Getting it to Run (on a Windows 7 x64):
Run as Administrator and Windows XP SP3 compatibility mode.

Windowed Mode:
Fully supported.

Supported, no side effects.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Postal (2007)

Postal (2007) is a film adaptation of the video game series of the same name. Identically to the video game series, Postal (2007) is all about the humour and gratuitous violence; It does this very well and is by far the most true to source game adaptation I have ever seen and as such would be my personal favourite game adaptation. Admittedly the film is rather corning, but it is supposed to be and I for one find it hilarious.

And you shall know when the final day of reckoning begins, because on that day a tiny entertainer will be RAPED BY A THOUSAND MONKEYS!
Bring on the Monkeys!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

Prince of Persia : The Sands of Time is a film adaptation of the well know and loved Prince of Persia series that contains almost a record number of games that stretch back all the way to 1989. Overall I would say that it is one of the best game to film adaptations I have ever watched, but unfortunately that still only translates into a average fantasy action film; But if you are a fan of either the action genre or Prince of Persia I would recommend giving it a try (and as a fan of both I rather like it).

Like the game, the protagonist is a prince who comes across the Dagger of Time and the Sands of Time and must stop some apocalyptic catastrophe from happening, which was set in motion because of his actions and the Sands of Time. But what the movie is mostly about is the action with the prince and others fighting in many situations and the prince in particular showing off quite impressive acrobatics throughout.

One thing to note is how non ostentatious the film is. Even with some magic thrown in, the film is just not as flashy as you normally see nowadays. The graphics, special effects, and even fight scenes are very good and enjoyable but often stay within the realm of realism, so much so that I have encountered problems finding good screenshots. Now I think I better explain further, I think this is a good thing and that even in fantasy films filled with magic there is still a place for realism. And it is not that it takes away anything from the film while you are watching it, it simple never goes over the top.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Pandorum (2009)

Now I don't normally write about non-game related media on this blog but this is a special case. First, what game lover does not enjoy a little scifi? and secondly my opinion of this movie is radically different from any other I have heard thus far.

Pandorum is one of the very best scifi films of all time and also simply a great movie. It has a horror scifi plot that keeps you guessing right up to the end. And for some reason it is almost universally hated.

Boom. Oh, how the whole world cheered to the thunder of
earth's mightiest creation, Elysium.

First off, and most importantly to me, there are no major logic holes in the film.

Secondly, and just as uniquely there are actually parts of the film you will not only not guess within the first few minutes but until they happen.

Now, I am not going to ruin the plot for anyone, so I suggest just going out and watching it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Tiny Bang Story

The Tiny Bang Story
is a hidden object game that takes the genre to a never before seen peak; It shows that hidden object games do not simply appeal to a casual audience and that searching for hidden objects does not have to mean a disconnect from realistic puzzles that fit well within the plot. In The Tiny Bang Story you play on a small world that has recently been devastated by a meteor strike and shattered into many puzzle pieces. You travel the unaffected lands collecting these pieces and restoring your world.

The graphics of Tiny Bang are what should draw most players to the game because they are simply fantastic. These visuals are 2D and are quite fantastical in nature with slight hints of steampunk and come across as very alive which is only helped by the fantastic sound track.

The gameplay is equally well polished and I believe is some of the best the genre has to offer and by far the best I have ever played. Every single puzzle and hidden object you are directed to find makes sense in the plot even when considering the number of objects that you are asked to find. And in addition to the hidden objects you will also be solving many logic puzzles, which are quite well done and I found them quite fun is somewhat ambiguous.

My mini-review of The Tiny Bang Story.

Getting it to Run (on a Windows 7 x64):
Runs perfectly fine with default settings.

Windowed Mode:
Fully supported.

Supported, no side effects.