Monday, November 30, 2020
For a Wolfenstein 3D-inspired actionized sequel, Alone in the Dark 2 sure didn't deliver. In fact, its like someone heard Wolf was popular, and then only saw an early developmental build where stealth was still a thing. This is a level of missing the point so hard it might as well have been inspired by Dune 2. The combat isn't even that bad...for the most part. Its the adventure game aspects that ruin it. Even with a relatively limited item pool all the puzzles felt forced and difficult to understand. If you wanted an example of how NOT to do an adventure game, this is the one you'd chose.
Most of the weapons felt fun to use. Actually hitting something with the fist was amazing, same with the sword cane. The guns, when working as intended, were just so satisying to use. All the sword-fighting, despite sometimes feeling broken in the game's favor, was just so sweet after the Grace section. When they weren't working I never felt like the failure was my fault, which isn't ideal. 5/10
I must admit that despite my general distaste here, I think this was well handled. Despite coming off as a stupid trap, the fights in the attic were interesting. In fact, every big fight the game built up to was satisfying, even if the actual fighting wasn't the best. I also like the design of most of the enemies, its a nice selection. 5/10
There weren't any. 0/10
I liked the beginning and I liked the end. The puzzle sections were a bad and the stealth sections can shove right off. 2/10
There's the usual from the last game, tank controls, awkward running. But we've got some changes, a lack of jumping, combat feeling incredibly awkward. Movement during melee combat is something I think is always necessary. It was always a question of whether or not I could actually hit something there, despite no indication why I was missing. 3/10
Just so many of the puzzles forced me to dwell on things I had no recourse other than to spam items everywhere or look up a walkthrough. Even some of those were difficult to do after looking it up. Who's going to waste their time pushing everything in the area? Huh? Huh? At no point during the adventure game aspect did I feel I could solve a problem without the game or a walkthrough telling me. 1/10
Despite the Christmas theme the game has going on, the whole package is more of a non-threatening children's halloween adventure. At that, I think it succeeds, even if that wasn't the intention. 7/10
I can't say this is too different than the art from the original. Its more of it. Its high quality pixel art with charmingly bad 3d models. A few awkward animations, but hey, its 1993, its not like its that bad. 7/10
The story drip-feeds the important bits all over the first 3/4s of the game just enough to make it interesting. Its not like the original when its not obvious its going to be cheesy pirate movie until over halfway through, so it has that going for it. 4/10
The sound effects, while low-quality, all serve their purpose. With exception to the voice clips the zombies say, which are charmingly bad. The music's the real treasure. It goes all over the game's horror, Christmas, noir and pirate themes and creates something quite cohesive and pleasant to hear. 8/10
That is...42. 11 below the original and exactly the same place as Shadowcaster. I'll keep it as is, I guess. I enjoyed the combat and didn't enjoy the aspects unrelated to shooting, so that makes sense since this is supposed to be about shooting games, not adventure games.
I'll come back later to talk about the console reviews, probably when I do the console versions. They're...interesting looking. Well, if I bothered to do so beforehand I would have put the previews and ads at the start, so I am forced to stick them here...And there's a whopper.
50 hours of gameplay. I don't know if that's true or not, since I didn't do this entirely legitimately, but 50 hours? I thought I was screwing around at times, but imagine trying to pad this out to 50 hours. 70 characters? If you count some of them twice maybe. 15 levels? What exactly is a level in-game context? Hundreds of objects? Hundreds? Frightfully eerie soundtrack? Don't kid yourself. Its no mystery either, virtual mystery my ass.
From Electronic Entertainment, we have someone who appears to be an old hand at adventure games. In addition to the usual gameplay gripping, he whines that the puzzles are...too easy. Okay, whatever. He whines about the plot as cliche, but he clearly wasn't paying attention to it, failing to notice why they kidnapped Grace. 4 out of 5, but only appealing to fans of the original. The rest of the English reviewers aren't very interesting, making the usual points, gunplay, little atmosphere, easy puzzles. Honestly, even the modern English reviews aren't of much interest either, making little new points. A few criticisms about the Grace section...which hardly seem related to the stupidity of the stealth, just that it exists.
I don't feel like going through the non-English reviews, so that will remain a mystery. I doubt they bring up any points that haven't been brought up in English. Maybe I'm just small-brained or something.
Fortunately, my next game isn't going to require me understanding a language other than English, since there aren't any reviews of it. It was in fact, never released. Stay tuned.
Monday, November 23, 2020
It took me a long time to pick up the game again after starting this level. Its at this point, that two elements that are sort of Blake Stone's party piece are also the reason why it remains mostly forgotten. There are three things unique to Blake Stone, monster generators, the rocket launcher, and the scientists. Now I realize the rocket launcher is technically not unique, but among Wolf clones, there are very few good games with them, excluding all the Wolfenstein mods, of course. Aliens is unique by being a functioning game despite that. But the other two...well, they're what drag this game down.
Oh, yeah, having ten music tracks screws with me too. This level reminds me that I forgot the prison and computer room sections. In my defense, I haven't played this in a month. This level has a one-way door in and a one-way door out into the elevator room. Less linear than that implies.
There's a lot of scientists on this level, too many. I'm pretty sure I missed a few hostile ones because I went across the entire level twice and still couldn't kill every enemy. When I was going through a secret they were following me in, it was a pretty big secret too. That's some dedicated amount of crap there. There aren't too many stuck next to guards, but it does get extremely annoying to work through.
New song? What witchcraft is this? There's quite a bit of ammo here, but in terms of health, I'm still up a creek. Right next to the starting room is a secret room with more ammo, but a few STAR troopers. Going into it the first time nearly killed me, and on this floor that's not good.
The Goldfire boss arena is a wide open space with a couple of secrets, a dozen guards and a half dozen pillars. Takes up more than a quarter of the map, and boy does it not feel all that great. The locked room after this doesn't hold the real boss, but does hold about a dozen explosive drones. It just never ends.
The boss is in a slightly more cramped series of rooms, which has the potential to turn into a complete nightmare. Goldfire appears in two places on this level, once in dedicated arena, the other in the drone room. This means that Goldfire can walk in on you fighting the Acid Dragon...which is one ugly looking fellow. He seems rather easy on his own or even with the mutants in the room with him, but I could just be lucky. After that its basically a clear swing, just a few rooms full of treasure. Apparently I missed something the first time around, but its just a little something. It made me think I had a shot at getting 100%, but no dice.
What the hell is this music? It sounds like the kind of song that would play before you have to fight off a space oil sheik. After playing through this level it makes me feel deeply unwell for some reason.
There's a lot of aliens here, and those aliens move around a bit, so while I was walking around, with 92% kills and everything mostly explored, I assumed there were some I missed. Nah, just a trap secret. Ah...joy.
To advance the plot, this apparently kills off Goldfire's intelligence gathering abilities. Yay.
This Session: 3 hours
Total Time: 21 hours
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Oh, let this be the end. Let this be the end.
|Enemies now turn into skeletons, something supposed to show they're actually dying. Meh
Things start off good enough. In each room is another guard, in each room I defeat him. I'm getting items, health items, weapons, armor. Things are looking good. Then in one room there's a "puzzle" where you have to figure out how move a barrel away from some items. I end up pushing it into the items and reload.
|Didn't catch a lot of good action shots here, I'm afraid
|Stupid push puzzles really annoy me
|Note guard 2, politely waiting for me to kill the other
|You're not supposed to shoot in here, but I wasn't exactly doing that anyway
|If you have mail on, the enemies don't hurt you until that's gone. Unfortunately, you can't hurt them period
See, I have to put the powder keg in the room of some sleeping guards. What you might think you have to do is put it somewhere, put the fuse in, light it, run away. That would be too easy. No. This requires some placement, although the game is kind enough to put it where it needs to be. Also, this section seems to glitch out even more, which is great.
|So much effort for what should be a simple puzzle
|Why do they have short chefs anyway?
|No, anything but Grace again!
|Elisabeth, three seconds before dying
|Its now or never
|This fight looks nastier than it really is
|Turning from the most deadly enemy to the weakest, and he did it himself
|I've had better final bosses
|Look at Carnby not waving, the big jerk
Total Time: 11.5 hours
Saturday, November 7, 2020
After that totally necessary sequence last time, I'm ready to enjoy more stealth sections in my survival horror game.
|I'd make fun of this, but considering how things go later...
|I don't think that'll give me away
Curiously, there's a map on the wall that causes a vocal chorus to swell for some reason.
|The sword shows why they're avoiding texturing the characters in detail
|Why does this pirate ship have so many pirates?
After making it up a ladder, disaster strikes. Another pirate, only this time I have no where to go next. I don't want to do this. It looks like up is really the only way forward. Oh, this game.
|I'm going to be so glad to kill these guys next time
It gets better. The top of the ship is absolutely the worst stealth section in any game possible. You advance like someone would expect to, going behind the boxes and barrels. Only, then two of the guys notice and chase after me. Okay, I'll wait behind a barrel for them...how the hell did they spot me? They keep doing it. Its like some bizarre timer, you walk into a particular hotspot, they activate, you wait, they activate.
|Because they can spot me behind a barrel but not this barrel...for some reason
Wanna know how you get past them? You turn around from the start. This isn't obvious, because from most of the camera angles, you can't see anything there. Even so, there's a guard there. You wouldn't think that. That's not the end of it, because one of the moving guards dropped something near the hole you're heading towards. You have to avoid the hotspots that awaken them. There's a reason why beta testers are a thing. The item is a tinder-box.
|Why would you keep that?
The hole leads to the captain's room...for some reason. Inside are in some order, a small cannon, a crystal vase, and the captain's staff. There's no way out, so I fiddle around with the items. Throwing the crystal vase causes a pirate to open the door. Aha, I think, I must drop the cannon, light it and blow him away. So I try that again. Nothing happens. I look around the room again. Nothing. Okay, I'm missing something. Turns out I should have put the pepper shaker into the cannon. Gee, why didn't I think of that, after all I surely examined that.
I would like to point out again, I have no examination function. After defeating him, I get a bell.
|From this shot, it feels like he's creeping on Grace
|This feels like a monkey paw thing
Back to the house. Okay, fair enough. There's a key which opens the nearby cabinet. Giving me a tin of molasses and a container of ice. Further examination reveals that there's nothing else, but the second I enter the main lobby, a guard notices me and I can't run away. I can see the bunkhouse and see nothing new. Okay, clearly I have to use one or the other on the floor, and at this point I don't really care. The magic walkthrough tells me that I have to use the ice on the kitchen floor and then drag him over there.
Also, it keeps talking about a tip sheet that came with the game, and I can't find any evidence of its existence.
|And we never see him again
|This is supposed to be a hint
|There are two of them? Huh?
|The circle of life has no beginning...or end...
Total Time: 9.5 hours
This Session: 1.5 hours
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
|Zombie Carnby is not as terrifying as one might think
How am I going to get out of this cell? From a friend, this had kind of been built up as some really difficult to do task. Okay, there are three possible use locations...and I don't have that many items...why not the hook? Well, that was that.
|Can't even grab the swords
Once outside, the room was empty. The upstairs was empty. Everything was empty. It was almost like I did nothing at all. Even the door outside was still locked. As I walk toward the kitchen, disaster strikes.
Its Elisabeth Jarret, doing something to Carnby. I swear her laughing sound effect was reused in the Looney Tunes games.
|Zombie Carnby is not a joke and won't stand for this
|Carnby looks pretty dead here, which seems counterproductive to the zombie thing
|Just give it a good kick
|Although it might be a reskin of the car from the original
There are two places of interest, well, places of interest that aren't infested with guards. A flag and a tree that looks like I can enter. I found a ball inside the car earlier...somehow, and using that on the flag causes a statue to rise out of the ground. At this point, the game's gone off the rails. At this point I don't know what's going on or what to do, so I check a walkthrough. Only the walkthrough I checked last time didn't mention this. Nor do most of them. I'm guessing this was some section added to the CD version. Real glad they added this part. Very useful.
|Not pictured, lost, off to the right
So, the thing I have to do is get the item near the gangsters. Since whenever I approach from the mansion side, the gangsters spot me, and I can't run. I obviously have no safe area to approach opposite the house, since whenever I walk slightly past one section that obviously has a gangster within spitting range, the game tells me I'm lost. I'm not lost, what the hell are you on about? This is a stupid puzzle in a game with dozens of stupid puzzles.
|Is this a joke?
Wanna know how you get the item near the gangsters? Just walk up to it from the car. No trying to be stealthy, no cleverness. Just walk up to that hook and walk back away. Then use the hook on the statue and another zombie captures Grace. There's no point to any of this sequence, it might as well have not happened.
|Elisabeth, you're looking awfully old here, or at least unwell
Then we get another villain backstory, Elisabeth tells of how she went to Haiti, learned hate from the plantation master, voodoo from a slave, then killed the master.
|Just lie Elisabeth Jarret was, now Carnby is in gaal
Total Time: 8 hours
This Session: 1 hour