Its not often I handle current events on this blog. I know what you're thinking. "Current events, Morpheus, you're talking about a Highlander game. That franchise hasn't been relevant since the '90s at best. Has your mind finally snapped?" Because Highlander - Last of the MacLeods has for around 25 years been thought of as a Jaguar (Jag-war) CD exclusive. There are four games relevant to this project on that console. Two of those are enhanced remakes of games on other consoles, so who really cares? The other two, this and Battlemorph...are...well...I can't say I ever really cared one way or the other about playing them. This one looked nice, because I'm a fan of Alone in the Dark/Resident Evil styled games. But I had made my peace about not ever playing it, I had better things to do, like learning Japanese for Doctor Hauzer. Wait a minute, I don't need to do that anymore...uh...well, I still need to do that for other reasons.
You see, the thing about the Jaguar CD, if you're unfamiliar with it, is that it is probably the worst console of all time. It was a bad selling add-on to a bad selling console. There are only 13 games for the system, half of which are ports of PC games, and only 5 are not ports in general. Because of this, nobody really wanted to emulate the console except as a challenge. And the best part, the system itself is notoriously hard to run. As of ten years ago, most of them refused to boot up. Not laser issues, not connection issues, it literally refused to run*. Ten years ago. I'm sure the next decade will see the rest of the systems die, if they're not already dead.
With all that, it was easy to suspect the reason for the games not appearing on other consoles is due to Atari ponying up some sweet, sweet cash to a few companies. Then...an alpha for Highlander on the PC came out the other day. Which means the reason why it didn't come out is that they ran out of money. I wonder what could have ever caused that. Of course, it also means I have no one but myself to rely on for assistance if it breaks down. Actually, that's not entirely true...
HOW TO GET IT RUNNING:
Despite being distributed in a ZIP file, you need to have the thing mounted as a disc. It won't work if you don't properly install it. That is some dedication to copy-protection. Sound doesn't work straight off, but the only way I could get it working is via some kind of Russian black magic. In fact, if WERTA over at Old Games Russia didn't have a video with working audio and I never thought to ask him, this would have been played soundless. Starts off slow, but it runs like a charm otherwise.
The game starts off with a weird cinematic before the menu starts, then one explaining the game's premise, then another one explaining the backstory once you start the game. This I suspect was taken from the animated series, and is very low quality. The only evidence I have for this is the big title card from that show appearing. I'm really glad I have the sound for this generic five-second loop of swelling orchestral music. Really making my day. Oh, the menu is another five-second loop. I've heard worse sound, but not in a commercial video game made after the invention of decent sound cards.
|I'd get a later shot, but whenever I press anything it skips
|Kick, kick, guess its locked...
|For example, can you tell where I'm supposed to walk?
|A very necessary screenshot for a very necessary location
|There are definitely signs of greatness at times
Here, there are three guards just standing there waiting for me. I take these three as an opportunity to learn how to use the sword. Any cleverness regarding combat seems to have been diminished by the uselessness of some attacks. Not to the extent that Alone in the Dark 2 had, mind, but some moves are rather useless. All of one group of actions seem useless, and you generally want to make as much use of the sword's reach as possible. Still by the last one I have things figured out.
This Session: 2 hours
*At least, that's how it happened for the Angry Video Game Nerd and The Spoony One. People aren't exactly raring to review the thing.