Saturday, January 9, 2021

Highlander - Last of the MacLeods: One, Two, Three

One thing of note I mentioned regarding this game was that due to it depending on a Jaguar CD, it was living on borrowed time, and now that its on PC everything is fine. Well, it turns out that's not true. During this session several interesting crashes occur. The first of which just crashes my game whenever I first boot up DOSbox. It causes cutscenes to skip too. This is very helpful.

Check out that compression, I've never seen anything like it
Near where I left off there's a pond, there, I find Clyde's Waterwheel. Examining it starts a cutscene that also skips. Clyde seems to be Quentin's sister. The two talk about nightmares. Quentin talks about one where a very weird version of Sean Connery's character from the original asks his name and says he'll be back. Bootleg Sean Connery also appeared in the intro.

Sometimes this game pulls off something nice...

After this, I notice a tank in the distance. Aha! There must something inside the tank. Takes a few tries to get back into it, but I kill the guard. It might not be the best combat system ever made, but it is fun. Going around the tank eventually takes me to the desert, but I don't want to do that yet. Continuing to look around reveals some health items...and nothing. I guess we aren't going to discover what's inside that chest.

...and sometimes it doesn't

After a cutscene where Bootleg Sean Connery talks about the upcoming level, I arrive at a canyon. There's a guard charging at me straight off, but after that its relatively tranquil. If nothing else this game gives a good sense of scale in its levels. Its not fun running to and from, but at a first glance its pretty interesting.
The whole area is actually a pretty good, for Jaguar, processor to locations games like later Myst-clones and shooters would do better. Points for effort even if it doesn't live up to that hype.

The first section I go to is a cliff leading to a bunker. Skillfully hidden by the camera until you go past a different staircase. Then you see the staircase you can walk up. I'm not too mad. What is annoying is there are several enemies here that are aware of you before you're aware of them, before you can even see them in-character. This includes at least one hidden behind a bridge I can't bring down yet. This, I would hope, is something I can fix later. There's also cheese here, lying on the ground. Yum.

The canyon floor continues past a second staircase, although its probably the first you see. We'll get back to that one. I keep expecting snipers to shoot me, but that's later. For a good while its just guards on the ground. Two of these are guarding a rather small side pass, and sneaking up on the second one is very interesting. As I mentioned last time, the AI uses the same pathfinding system you do, but the added bonus is they're very stupid. I got him stuck for a good minute or so.

Continuing further down there are two paths, one with a tank and the other with two snipers I can't reach. What I'm supposed to do is run past the snipers, but because I assumed they were road blocks, I backtracked. At this point I find a flower.

Before I continue past the snipers, I'm going to briefly talk about the second staircase. I don't, as of yet know if I can cross it. There's a path that looks like you're supposed to jump over it, but you just lack the reach for it. It took me several tries to realize this. There's no falling damage, but below is some quicksand.

Running past the snipers is tricky, but not impossible. Its after that it becomes annoying. Every item is so small it might as well be a speck of dust on my monitor. Every fight is tricky. Either due to the camera angle messing me up or some weird skill level on the enemies. Then there's the lieutenant figure, a new enemy type. They don't technically seem to be harder, but they're harder. Its roughly this point that I figure out that if you get hit with your back against a wall it counts as walking backwards and turns you.

Then comes the game's worst encounter so far. Another lieutenant, is hidden behind a rock. This isn't a problem because he doesn't know you're there when he shouldn't. What is a problem is that as soon as you get out he is guaranteed to hit you if you aren't aware of this. Even then its still a problem, if he gets enough hits he knocks me into a camera transition. The thing is, these are two different in-game scenes. Which is to say he can't hurt me here, only he's waiting right outside. Eventually I kill him...eventually. Later I realize this was a mistake, as I could have just went through a different path. Who knows if that would have ended badly.

Next two swordsmen, in a manner difficult to seperate them, plus awkward angle. Generally speaking any time the enemy is approaching me from an angle where the enemy is a lot closer sprite-wise than he really is, makes things difficult to fight. Either I'm worse at these kinds of games than I thought or this game chose a lot of poor angles. Another lieutenant guarding the gates. He drops a key, after checking the rest of the area, I go for the obvious choice.

The logo these guys have looks a lot like a maple leaf. You can tell this is a fantasy game, the Canadian army controls the world. I really supposed to do this? Oh...good. Far be it for me to be cheap, but I think I'm going to cheat. In the readme that came supplied with the game, there are a few codes, the only one I'm interested in is invincibility. I still do the pain animation, but eventually I manage to kill them. Eventually. guess I need to guess I need to find something for this. Ygh...It takes a while to walk back across the canyon, it doesn't help that the area is designed in a genuinely confusing way. Highlander pulled some weird tricks. You could walk along, shift to a different camera angle, then back to the previous one with no explanation.

I finally figure out how to solve one bit of the puzzle. In order to get up the second staircase I need a board. Where is that board? Back at the Highlander camp. How do I get there? Just walk back. I'd complain, but knowing some games, that's nice. After that it gets worse. Much worse.

At this point nearly every encounter is with two enemies, so I either have to cheat, which is not really fun, or get them to come at me one at a time, which is slow. I find a gun, but something tells me that's going to be necessary later. So there are three bunkers with the three pieces of the code I need to find. Why do I need to do this? Apparently this game doesn't have a long enough running time. There are two on the second staircase and one on the first.

The lever is in one of the bunkers on the second staircase, which brings down the walkway on the other staircase. This leads me to three enemies...if I'm not careful. After I get through all three, I find a crowbar and the final bit of code. I wonder if I can open the chest with this? At this point that's when something interesting happens. Any time I try to go back to the start from here it crashes.

Just like daytime television

Well, I have another solution. There's another cheat code, this one teleports me to a secret room. Its just the developers faces in rather unflattering poses. This goes out somewhere beneath the snipers. I think the flower is used to enter here, but I'm not entirely certain. Its a useless location.

Eventually I return. Might be because I transitioned between scenes too quickly after starting, might be because I have too much cheese. The crowbar works on the chest and I get a...uniform. Why...? I don't know yet. I'll pick this up next time after reaching the next area.

This Session: 1.5 hours

Total Time: 3.5 hours

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