Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Flames of Freedom: African Wolves

There were some unpleasant facts I had to face at the start of this session. I could play the game with crap sound...or I could try the Amiga version. This would make it the first multi-floppy game I've played on the Amiga. But sure enough on the second attempt everything goes smoothly. No graphical downgrades*, but some obvious loading times. Hopefully that won't screw with anything. Even the sound is a marked improvement. There's also the issue that I won't be able to save in-game, but I can work around that.
Testing with the vehicles end up showing the sound is greatly improved. The music amazing, the 3d scenes don't make dogs within a ten mile radius start barking. There's even the odd background sounds. There's some minor control issues. However, considering my previous talent at the shooting in Midwinter, I think I'll be choosing the novice setting here.
We're also going to pretend I didn't forget to crop these shots
I start the campaign off at Lobos, the western-most fortress. The fortresses different from regular islands in that these supply the Saharan Empire's armies just as much as the mainland. I completely cut off the mainland, and nothing will change, because these places are still in operation. I have three tasks here, one, kill the admiral of of their flying sub unit. Destroy the radar, and destroy their underwater base. This won't be easy...probably. I'd just like one moment of pause, while we consider the island named after wolves have nothing to do with land. I will arrive by helicopter and my armament will be quite pathetic.
No, seriously, can't I get some more ammo? Sigh... The journey to the island takes 36 hours. I have two pieces of information to help me. There's an insider on the northern most village, ignoring the big crescent thing. And an enemy to kill west of the big spire. Which tells me nothing. This island is clearly very empty in terms of population, having two villages of a very small population.
It takes a while to get to the upper village. My helicopter is fast, but going fast in this game isn't the best experience. Its not like the first game with the skiing. Its not even snow. When I arrive I hit upon a minor problem. Landing. So I very gently put down my helicopter...and it crashes. Okay, time to talk with my contact and maybe commandeer a vehicle or two.
Talking with my contact proves...interesting. I first ask them to give me information about people, at which point she tells about a farmhand and a street musician. Which feels very 21st century revolution. Both of these people are on the other side of the island, which is not someplace I plan on going unless necessary. My other option is secret journey, in which they lead me to someone who's whereabouts need to remain secret. In Achebe's case, his option looks like a serial killer, but stopping him can wait for later, there are more important things right now.
His master is the Harbor Master, better to dump the bodies at sea. No one's going to blame you if bodyparts mysteriously wash up on shore. He shows me where some enemy squadrons are, not that I needed to know that, but any information is good information. There's a lot of them, but they're out at sea. He takes me to see a member of the local resistance. He looks a lot like me, but without the sunglasses. He wants me to destroy the control tower at Jubilee Plateau. Its at this point I realize I have a tiny problem, I can't destroy this building or the other two I need to. The Admiral? That guy is going down. Don't need a rocket to kill a man. I also realize I don't have transportation. There's a garage here, but it only refuels, not give me a vehicle. Fortunately, I see a truck approaching. It is mine now.
This leads to what I like to call, problem number 3. The map doesn't tell me where the secret base nor the radar. This is going to take a while, isn't it? So let's take an autoroute. Which in case it isn't obvious, is fast travel. Straight off, I see a minor problem with this. I still have to be at the screen. At least, that's what I think at first. Then I hit F4, thinking that'll turn autoroute off. That makes me go faster. So, right at my destination.
Then I start fighting some hot air ballons right off that autoroute. This seems really easy as long as I don't screw things up. My missiles seek out flying enemies, I guess its a SAM truck. They fire rockets at me, but I'm sure they're missing. Eventually...I get taken out...or not...? The menu I'm taken to just tells me I took out six out of eight balloons. And it shows me the normal return menu...
Its back to normal. More balloons, and some tanks, helicopters. You know, I don't think they're going to buy this is a simple rebellion if one guy with a truck is crushing their military might. Also, I'm running into the very real possibility of running out of ammo. That could be a problem, because neither me nor the truck are capable of fleeing this area. Better be a garage nearby. But as my bodycount keeps racking up, I notice that some of the icons on my radar are different. It takes a while to check the manual, but nope, I'm not doing anything wrong.
Then things go wrong. They destroy my vehicle. This is going to suck....I can commandeer a moving vehicle? I can do that. Huzzah. The tank actually seems worse than the truck in combat prowess. That's right, its slower, less missiles, and any damage absorption seems pointless. It gets blown apart in short order. After a short panic run around, dodging missiles, I jump in another truck and blow my enemies away in short order. In-between loading screens and checking the manual, I don't think I need anything else here. Oh...good. Escaping proves difficult. Because I think the enemy damaged the truck I'm driving. At first I thought it was just slow as balls, but no, its screwed, like a boat. Maybe that was the problem.
Now I'm no expert in such things, but I don't think that's how vehicles brake down unless the steering is locked one way or another. This also happens if the player injured. I wasn't aware they were shooting bullets laced with alcohol or shooting flashbangs. Whatever, this doesn't affect autoroute. I can rest when I'm done with James. He offers me knowledge of where the secret underwater base is, blows up an important piece of enemy infrastructure and takes me to see a nurse/nun. Which turns out to be a wise thing, as the nurse offers me the location of the enemy sub squad. There's a lot of subs. She also heals me.
I start to understand that I might have screwed something up when starting the game. Instead of campaign, I think I chose raids. Might as well see this one play out to the finish.

This Session: 3 hours

Total Time: 5 hours

*Technically, this isn't true, but the dithering is good enough that the graphical limitations are ignorable.

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