Saturday, March 28, 2020
Game 28: Space Station Oblivion
Publisher:Incentive Software (Epyx in the US)
There are very few games I've struggled with as much as this one in regards to actually playing through it. Due to the nature of the game, it wasn't quite possible to release multiple entries over the course of the game, as it wasn't long enough to provide even my sometimes meaningless commentary. But because of the way the game was played, this was long, this was hard, and this was difficult to talk about. Nobody wants to read someone flail around the same section for twenty minutes straight.
Hovertank 3D look advanced. It is truly awesome.
Its a shooty laser. It exists. It doesn't do anything special, really. 1/10
What is an annoying triangle that is usually hard to hit? A single tiny pixel that is hard to hit with finicky controls. 1/10
They don't exist as such. 0/10
Oblivion makes a lot out of a little. There's only 18 "levels", but these require a good amount of time to figure out, and that's not going into the sub-locations. Even secrets, something that you wouldn't think of when you think primitive shooter. 4/10
There are a lot of options offered. You can change your height, viewing angle, speed of view adjustment, a lot of things I didn't think you could ever need. Awkward, but it gets the job done. The game also takes into account where your camera is angled and where the front of the tank is. This can be two different places. Because you can look up and keep looking up until you're looking behind you upside-down. Unfortunately, when it gets time to shoot, I have to use the arrow keys like a mouse to aim. All that trouble and there wasn't a way to change the speed of the cursor. 3/10
Even if the only way to interact with things is via a laser, its still very good for what it is. A lot of thought was put into how you use the various objects in the game world. These ultimately end up being fancy switches, but there are a lot of fancy switches, and sometimes the switches have multiple states... 3/10
Because of graphical limitations and sound limitations, this game has the distinct sense of nothing beyond what you see, an early 3D game. What can I say to that? Oh, sweet, it might be space or it might be night? Eh. 0/10
It is cruel, but necessary to complain here. Because of presumably limited palette options, everything looks very garish and ugly. This is in addition to the 3D that had no choice but to age like milk. 1/10
Effectively non-existent, and the explanations I could find were confusing. 0/10
Very nice use of the PC speaker for, but still, PC speaker. Everything feels distinct and I didn't hate it as much as I hate most PC speaker sound effects. 2/10
That's a total of 15. Which puts it next to Isle of the Dead and The Terminator, games similar in that they had good ideas, but were bogged down in silly things like "bad graphics" and "no idea what they're doing". I think this game is something that definitely deserves a remake. Something to sand out the rough edges and make it look and sound like something. Anything really.
Back in the day, reviews were mostly positive, but a few standouts note that there were graphical problems even at the time, interesting. There's nothing of note today. Very few people have decided to put in the time to play something like this in the past twenty years. Its not hard to see why.