Saturday, February 27, 2021

Freaks!: 90-degree Turns

As difficult as it might be to believe, I've already gone through most of the FPS games from 1993 that I know of that I considered good. 5 out of 7, while the whole year sits at a staggering 15 PC FPS, 8 of which I've beaten. I've adjusted the list so the other two I remember liking are at the end of the year's games, so from here until Ken's Labyrinth, its all crap. I'm not joking that much. Today's entry is Freaks, a game I remember briefly playing, not liking, and then giving up on. This is related to the game's weird Dungeon Master-ish movement system. That's the only thing I noticed.

Kickass music starts, there's this Lovecraft quote...Lovecraft Dreams presents...and then the title. Is this actually good? Its got a cool intro. Slow text based stuff. Apparently the player is some kind of creator wizard, but "The Learner" betrayed us. I am without body, without mind. I have to make The Learner pay. So...basically...I'm God and all my creations have betrayed me. Holy crap, this is actually starting off pretty good. It was even beta-tested! Maybe I just gave it a bad shake. They're inspired by all the cool horror stuff, Lovecraft, Giger, Dead Can Dance.
The menu's a little weird, like a quasi-Windows thing, no keyboard usage, despite the game lacking any mouse controls. Four episodes, standard shareware stuff. Its freeware now, including a remake I'll get to in 2001 or whenever it was released. I've noticed that sometimes the intro doesn't start the game, which might have something to do with my original distaste for the game. Sometimes this menu is a bit glitchy, but restarting the game always works.

The music track starts again as the game starts. There better not be one track, because one music track and no sound means nothing good. If I took a screenshot, you should see the effect that happens when you turn. Its honestly not as distracting as having 90-degree turns is in general, which limits the player's fighting ability. You can sidestep, but its slow and personally hinders my ability to shoot. I'd appreciate being able to rebind keys. I mean I could do that in DOSbox, but I'd forgot I changed that for other games and screw myself over.
This game feels a lot more hardcore than most shooters so far. It was the wild west of video game violence. In many ways, it feels nastier than more realistic depictions of violence, anything can happen. The doors are opened by walking into them.
Speaking of hardcore, floating heads. I think the title Freaks! doesn't accurately convey this crap. They just walk straight in front of you, no strategy involved. The player wields what seems to be a rapid-fire shotgun with infinite ammo. I can't fault that, I'd make myself that too if I were God. I do however, sense this could get ugly with bosses.
Devils, ghouls with swords. If nothing else, I love the enemies in this game. Much like In Extremis, they only have forward walking frames, but they're nice to look at, at least so far. I actually really like the whole thing. Amateur-ish, but it feels very well done. The level design's been generic, but each level is like 25x25 or something similarly smallish.
I have two doors forward...does that mean this is open-ended to a certain sense. I find a set of bones, to regenerate my body to kill that nasty Learner. Although that's only indicated as another item on the player's HUD. That's apparently something like "The Apprentice" in Spanish, which it actually should be. Either way that's a very lame name for your antagonist, but whatever, I'm liking it so far, no need to get down.
I pick a path with a bunch of chains, destructible objects. I don't know if they hurt you...yet.
The next room is just pure chaos, the enemies nearly get me. The problem is there are no sounds, so if they're attacking you, there's no warning. You usually aren't paying attention to the health bar, on the side. In order to restore health, I just need to kill a lot of enemies. A lot of enemies. I'm good, but I'm usually not that good. I also take this opportunity to see how I save...its just an autosave each time I enter a room. Cool, cool.
I acidentally screw myself in the room after that. There's three or so robed dudes in front of me. I'm full of it when I say there's no strategy. There is strategy, but its probably simpler than I give it credit. However, running in and out of a room is not that strategy, which gives me nearly 0% health. Which screws me anyway, because the dude is always right outside.
I restart and pick a different route. Its open-ended in the sense I can explore the world as I see fit, everything is saved. Here, I see stuff like cages, unsure if I can enter it. I also see one of the enemies retreat, I don't know if its something glitchy in the pathfinding or if they're actually running, but that's actually cool.
Then there's this freaking thing. This thing is tough to kill, in an area surrounded with objects that appear on my radar, and takes me out in 4 swings, when everyone else is a bit more polite about violence. After eventually taking them out I discover something annoying, taking out inanimate objects increases one's health incredibly slowly.
Why did the dinosaurs die out? Because God killed them with an automatic shotgun.
Here I find the first locked doors, I should probably have checked that other door more thoroughly. Even one that doesn't look locked at all. Because its just a ladder and a hole. They should've thought that bit out, but whatever.
One of the other doors leads to a tough room, Garden of Delights. Which is Eden I think. Purgatory was somewhere else. Just a short walk away. This is legitimately tough, the plants, while tough to kill, give only a little health, its the four-armed T-rexes, which are easy to kill, but give just as much, which I appreciate as enemies more. Its actually nerve-wracking, because I have to start this section over if I fail.
After a few more outdoor sections, I come across Temple by the Sea. Here is just a bunch of heads, but its set up in a really hard to defeat way. They're flanking you, pretty much straight off, and no matter what it seems I do, there's one in a corner that hits me. I barely make it out on my success.
This eventually leads to the other side of Purgatory, which was the gate I missed earlier. Here's The Beach. Yeah, the beach all right. Two ogres, flanking me. I forgot to mention it, but you can push enemies, at least most enemies, and the trees are no exception. So I'm running away from ogres, pushing around trees. For my trouble, another body part.
Finally, the temple area has a snaking corridor. You know the kind, zig-zagging turns. Its here I meet the first enemy I can call a boss. He certainly eats up damage like a boss. With how long the level is, I don't seem to have enough space to escape the guy. I eventually do manage to kill the guy, just barely. If I didn't have a bit of health I'd be a goner, which worries me. This leads me to another ladder. Its not locked, luckily for me.
New enemies, snakemen and medusas. I can't show you a proper shot of the medusas, because bras haven't been haven't been invented yet. There are also medusa eggs around here, which are almost ready to hatch. They're all about average to kill. There's another purple monster thing and some statues in the walls. The latter make me nervous. Also, a swastika-shaped room. Bold choice in a non-nazi related video game.
Next is another tough room, 6 6 6, which is a series of three sixes. Its the same basic idea as each other level. You've got to carefully set up the enemies in a way so you can hit them without them hitting you. This is a lot tougher than it sounds, because they're each in different rooms. The second room I deal with by getting them stacked in a corner, but the third requires a bit of experimentation on my part.
I leave the game off at another interesting situation. This starts off like a typical level, shoot some dudes, continue afterward. There's a way out, but there's also two rooms with some monsters. The way its set up is tricky, and this is completely necessary, because what appears to be a body part is inside. I'm going to leave that for next time.
So far this game is really appealing to me, an awesome excuse story, appealing graphics, and it plays like a FPS Deadly Rooms of Death. I just love it.

This Session: 1.5 hours

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Game 46: Spitfire Ace

Name:Spitfire Ace
Genre:Flight Sim
Time:1 hour

Is it that time once again? I want to make it clear, that despite my issues with their flight sims, I like a lot of Microprose's games. At least, I liked the simulation games. Not vehicle simulations, character simulations. Sword of the Samurai, Covert Action, Pirates. There's not really anything else to call those. They're not neat little games to pigeonhole like so many other games. Today's game doesn't look like one of the better games. Originally it came out in 1982, but the C64 version, which I'll be playing, came out in 1984. Its anyone else's guess where this comes out in the flight sim lineage.

Its exactly the same as the previous Microprose flight sims. Except instead of the Migs you can't mention the codename of or a Mitsubishi, its a Stuka. Well, I won't waste your time or mine-
What's this black magic? AVOID? Is this actually going to be a deadly serious avoid or can I pull the typical Morpheus flight sim ace skills by shooting everything down?
What the hell even was this crap? I try my darnest to shoot the thing down, and nothing happens. This is worse than things were before.

I'm just assigning this the same score as Hellcat Ace, 5. Because they're effectively the same game, except with different music. I didn't say a lot about it, but then, there's nothing to say about it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Game 45: In Extremis

Name:In Extremis
Publisher:US Gold
Developer:Blue Sphere
Time:4.5 Hours

In Extremis is one bizarre game. Seemingly made as a cheap cash-in for the Wolfenstein craze, yet it has actual cutscenes, by what appears to be a legitimate artist. An engine with many unusual things for the era, advanced beyond Wolfenstein and even Doom in some cases. So this had some actual effort put into it. And yet...I can't believe that anyone spent any real amount of time on this game. It doesn't feel tested.

Perhaps its for the best, its hard to look at In Extremis and not think of Alien. The game's most notable feature is that it rips off Alien more blatantly than any other game I've ever seen. Every single element of the first two movies is here, and I dare say it gets close to some of the stuff in Alien 3 as well. The similarities end visually, as once you fight them you're not in danger from their blood and the face huggers don't turn you into a ticking time bomb. Granted, no one ever does that aspect of the Alien films, even the official titles, but its an interesting thing to note.

With that in mind, the whole style of the game feels like a bizarre relic of pre-Doom times. With its inspirations exactly the same as Doom's, we sort of get that game through an entirely different set of eyes. Instead of a fast, action game, we get one that's plodding, slow, and without much tactical consideration. You move very slowly, and without the ability to as much select a different weapon, instead using whatever you last picked up. All you can do is walk backwards and shoot, and you don't know if you've been flanked until you've killed the enemy in front of you.

There are several new and interesting aspects that haven't been seen before, and some that haven't been seen since. There are doors that open in proximity, lights that turn the screen a certain color when you get close. These are interesting, but don't have much effect on the game. The new aspects are terminals, places where you can get various items or passcodes. This isn't like Marathon or the myriad of other games that use such things for displaying text to the player, no this is the only part of the game where you can get items. From guns, to oxygen tanks (because oxygen slowly runs out, why do the French love this so?), to bombs. You don't even get ammo, just another gun from another terminal. Saving works in this system too, although you get save codes automatically at pre-set levels, with pre-set equipment.

Unfortunately, once you've gotten over the unusual nature of In Extremis, you've pretty much seen all there is worth seeing. Instead of the key and door games, its passcode and terminal, key and door. The usual pre-placed monsters are replaced with respawning ones that come out of certain locations. You need to find a bomb in order to stop this from occurring. It was precisely because of this situation that I never finished the game. The game's not very interesting in terms of combat, at least I never found anything that offered something beyond slowly walking backwards. At a certain point, I was on a level, one I had a code for, where it seemed like I didn't have enough ammo to reach the bomb and the location I had to use it in.

Fortunately, multiple people on the internet have beaten this game, so there were working save codes for the final level. Where the player has to fight a Xenomorph Queen. The final boss has a lot of health, too much. The game is expecting you to run out of ammo on one weapon, then go to any of the dozen terminals here in order to get another weapon, and repeat this possibly that many times. I didn't have the patience to deal with that, but some Russian let's player did, and winning isn't impressive, just another cutscene.

I haven't mentioned the cutscenes for a reason...they're very French and non-verbal. There's an intro cutscene, which explains you're on a derelict ship, and an outro cutscene, where you get out of a mine onto a planet's surface. Presumably I missed a cutscene where we enter that mine. There are a lot of little cutscenes for doing things that other games would gloss over. Getting an item out of a terminal starts a cutscene, dying, I think using key cards, and using an elevator. They're the best part by far, feeling truly alien and cold. Like you're all alone in space.

There are two weapons I remember using, there may be more. The first were varieties of a laser gun. Some were a flamethrower, I think. None of them were any good. Then, there was the good weapon, the plasma...something or another. It slowed enemies down, it didn't take a dozen shots to kill things. Its actually a pretty good weapon. Which is why I'm giving this a single point. 1/10

Alien. Xenomorph. Facehugger. Xenomorph. Xenomorph Queen. The amount of variety is bizarre considering how little it matters. I didn't notice any real practical difference between enemies, except the queen, who is so boring I didn't bother killing her. The problem is with the regular enemies, the strategy is effectively, shoot, walk backward, hope it dies. This happens in a lot of games, but here this is pronounced because you move like a normal person in power armor, which is slow. You have no way of actually running away, so every fight is exactly the same. 0/10

None. 0/10

You walk around a bunch of areas until things happen. 0/10

Player Agency:
You have move, you have crouch, you have shoot, which is also the use key, and you run. You always run because this guy is slow. There's no real point in crouching. Having two vitally important actions bound to the same key screwed me over more than one time. Its just so slow and unwieldy, like a prototype tank that nobody should have actually made. At least the doors open automatically. People taut that like some kind of accomplishment.
The inventory is okay. You can pick up various kinds of items. Batteries, which power a radar and night vision goggles, the latter is completely useless. Oxygen, syringes, which are vital to surviving the game. Cards, which tell you what the level codes are and give you access to the elevators. Finally, there are bombs, which blow up enemy spawning points. 1/10

Shoot and use are bound to the same key. The only thing I can use are terminals which are also item lockers. Neither of these are postitives. 0/10

There's something bizarre here. Not a feeling of "what's going on?", but a feeling of "why did they do it like this?". There are little cutscenes that play after some important actions. They feel weird and out-of-place. The whole thing feels familiar and yet, completely alien. It is not an all together good feeling, but it is the fondest I ever felt of the game. 3/10

On the surface, the game is very nice-looking. The monsters in particular are gorgeously grotesque. The problem is they have three frames of animation, and no side sprites. They're always facing the player. This isn't a problem in some games, because enemies always walk towards the player, but here, they walk in other directions. Frankly, the graphical artist would have been better off working on a RPG than a shooter or anything requiring animation.
The walls, within a level, are basically all the same. Everything looks the same. There's variety across levels and a few distinct interlevel graphics, but that doesn't change the bland profile the game builds itself. The floors have textures, which I think it beat Blake Stone to the punch on. I didn't notice much.
There are a few gimmicks here. In some places there are green and red lights. You approach them, the screen turns that color. It means nothing. Then, whenever you're next to a monster (which is always) killing it covers the screen in alien blood briefly. Finally, 45-degree angles. None of these improved the experience. 2/10

The player goes to a planet, aliens took over the planet, and the player gets rescued. I think. This has the double whammy of being confusing for an already pointless plot. 0/10

I think I was supposed to have music in this game, but I'll be honest, I'm not crying over that. I think there's some static background sound which is a weird combination. Regardless, the sounds in-game are all bad. First, there's the walking sound, which sounds like my ears popping, which unnerves the hell out of me. Not in a good way.

The problem is the sound effect dude, because he doesn't deserve a title, left in a bunch of popping sounds. Its noticeable in a lot of places, but its the walking sounds that are the most annoying. Running is only slightly better. The rest, is bland. The shooting sounds like generic sci-fi blaster, although the plasma weapons have a decent punch to them. Generic alien screams.
Supposedly, the game's sounds are ripped from Alien. As in actually stolen. Considering how very blatant the game is otherwise about stealing it, I can believe it, it explains the game's awful popping sounds. However, throughout the game there's a Star Trek-style red alert sound effect. I don't remember that from Alien, but I haven't seen it in years and I don't care to see it anytime soon. 1/10

Totaling it up gives me 8. I'm going to take a further 2 points off, because of the passcode system and because some of the savecodes are literally impossible to start from. That's 6. That is the lowest score any game has had that wasn't from the early '80s. The nearest in-decade games are 10 points higher. From a practical standpoint, this game is probably the worst one I've played yet. 90% of the time, except for nostalgia, games from the early '80s aren't that good.

As there's some shoot 'em up sharing the game's title, I'm going to go over modern reviews extremely briefly. Judging by most of these statements, but they don't really say why. They all really boil down to it having neat ideas, but its not as horrible as I think. The Alien wiki has this game, although the writer forgot to mention why its an Alien game, which is amusing, all things considered.
There are no period reviews in English, and all the foreign language ones are surprisingly nice, albeit in the 3/5 70% range of reviews.

So, Am I right or am I wrong? Well, considering the best reviews lean towards better than average, and nobody really played it, oh, and someone made a shoot 'em up sharing the game's title. The next FPS is going to be Freaks, the original, not the remake. Not before a detour into another Sid Meier flight sim.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

In Extremis: Xenomancer

While playing a Coktel Vision game one day, I had a realization about French media. Its nuts, like Japan if not more so. Why? The most normal piece of French media I've ever seen was Alphaville, and that's because it was technically adapted from a British work. Although I'm sure there's some French film that's relatively normal. Is this because every French import ends up being a little bit weird at the very least? Italy was known for making arthouse and low-budget schlock for a while, now they just make bad comedy films, at least from what reviews I've seen of them.
Think about it, comics, usually weird. Films, usually weird. Games, I played a puzzle game that involved moving around triangles to advance through the ages.

I start this entry a little further back than I expected. Fine, I'll just get back there. It doesn't work like I planned. The level layouts in this game are...I'd call them fine in the sense that it exists, but it isn't interesting. Its just System Shock, but without all the charm and quality that made System Shock good. But I'm running around this level for a good fifteen minutes. There are three elevators and only two computers. One of the computers is the one that does nothing, the other the code computer. A012, which I assume is level 12, that's all the sense the passcodes make to me anyway. One of the elevators take me back, but the other two each have two levels. The two I can access now, presumably the others need a new card, don't give me a new gun or anything. What happens when you run out of ammo? Nothing. You can't shoot at all.
Also, I don't know if I mentioned it, but the console controls are just so fast, its a pain to type codes or even use the elevator in general.

So the second area I go to, the 7th level, starts off with a half dozen enemies. In a good game, this isn't a problem; In this game, in a close area, its a pain in the ass. The only way this game has to avoid enemies is running away and hope the enemies don't have the AI to go into the area you've moved into. I'm not joking either. This whole section is weird, I find the E4 card in multiple places, but in some places there are no elevators forward, so its backtracking. But its not, because I get past the game without having to do that. Oxygen's tight though, very, very tight. Every time I reload I'm placed in an awkward position without much oxygen. I think at some point I'm going to have to speed run a section of this.

Now the Xenomorph rip-offs are getting really blatant. Which is the only interesting bit about this level. I can't even remember anything about this level beyond these guys. I thought the save code I had was for this level, and I died, but apparently I beat it, and the next time I started it up I was in front of more of the Y-shaped aliens.
This level is where the game is starting to get really unfair. I'm running out of ammo well before getting anywhere close to clearing out the level. This comes off as badly designed. The walking speed and the enemies tell me this is a slow-paced but apparently the level designer didn't get that memo. The specific problem is that there are areas where enemies are spawned, the spawned enemies home in on you and you need to use a bomb on that spawn point. The bomb is on the other side of the level and you have to walk all the way over there. This screams to me that this was either not tested or only tested by the developer of this level.
Anyway, I die. A strangely done cutscene has my character flailing his legs in vain.
Wow, this text scroll is hardcore. A lot of talk from a game that doesn't let me change weapons. A lot of talk from a game that doesn't even let me dodge enemies. At this point I try several more times and its clear this level isn't going to be legitimately won by myself...and that I can't cheat my way through it either. In good news, someone else suffered through this crap, and put the games codes online. I can tell he never used the CARTOONO code, because it doesn't use a 0 at the end. This would be the code for the level I'm stuck on. I skip that level and use the next nearest code.
This game just feels like, what if all the rip-offs of alien invaded a ship...and it was really lame. This level seems to have a million lamps as its gimmick.
Next level, a chase level. Worms, nasty-looking things. There are at least two worm-generating things, and the player is fighting them the entire time. There's probably no way to blow them up. Probably. I gave up on looking for that option, it seemed saner. I came across a rather unpleasant realization. These worms have to parts to their body. If you hit between those two parts, you miss the worm. I didn't expect that. I don't consider that a good thing.
Also, there's a plasma gun and its the first fun weapon to use, unfortunately, I lack the desire to use it on this level. In fact, I lack the desire to continue actually playing this game. I'll just cut to the end here, since the game gives me that option.
Final boss, alien queen. Not sure what I expected. Moves like a truck, and eats damage like a tank. This really shows the limitations of the game. A damage sponge enemy isn't very good in a game without any real tactics. I think the intention is to use bombs against her, but I used most of the ones I could find, several guns worth of ammo, including the plasma gun, and Jesus, it looks like I did no damage. I checked some LP, the ending is nothing impressive. With that, I'm done here. I skipped a lot more than I should have, but I don't think that really matters.

This Session: 3 hours

Final Time: 4.5 hours

Thursday, February 11, 2021

SunDog: Frozen Progress

Why is it that all these space games all seem to have something that ruins the experience? Actual, proper open-ended space games. Space Vikings is the slowest game I've ever played. Off this blog, I've played many space games, and if they're not "fly here to here" in real-time, they're "you have to wait to do this action or get this item". Anything that doesn't do that just has overarching space as linkage between battles; There's nothing to do there. There's all this talk of space being incredibly big, and that's true, but considering how many problems there are with this kind of stuff already, I think the largeness of space has been simulated well-enough.
So last I left off on SunDog, I was effectively trapped on the starting planet until I figured out how to get my shields working. Since that, is what I assume I'm not getting when it comes to not blowing up through a simple interplanetary journey. I was going to go for 2 control modules, a couple J-junc modules, whatever they were, photon bridge. This is what I was going to fix that wasn't an engine or a gun. Fighting could wait until I didn't die doing something humans have already mastered.
So, I wander around the city, trying to find a bank, until eventually...

Oh, damnation...
This isn't good, all my money's tied up in trade goods. Except, wait a minute, I somehow managed to buy the one item I could barely afford? No matter, I just have to hope that crossing the area in a lander is safer than crossing it by foot.
When you get down to it, everything's just a different style of Art Deco named something or another. Its got a different city style, which is just fantastic. Everything really important is the same, so it doesn't really matter, but its still annoying. Imagine putting in all that effort and only getting annoying as a response. However, luckily for me, I find the commodity exchange and make a profit on my art objects. Score. Now I just have to hope I can figure out what to sell for a high price back where I started.

What kind of madman just puts a maze in their town?

Next, I have to find a bank. I could go back, but I want to get some items first, in case they prove hard-to-find. Besides, this town has an awful layout and I want to get everything done I might possibly do done. There's a unique maze time in here, and I don't know what its deal is, but I just know something bad is going to happen and I'll have to come back.

This is nice for 4 or 5 colors
I have an observation about the world map. Its annoying and feels oddly, the least realistic of any in-game element. There are no real paths or any convenient ways to reach another town. There's no reason why cities without starports need to have a convoluted path to the city with the starport. I realize this was probably all randomized when they created it, but I feel cheated.
Frankly, if space is like this, I don't know how anyone ventures outside their planet
Back at Drahew, my choice of trade good proves an unwise investment. Which means I can go around the planet again, unwise, but possibly necessary, or see if my improved ship can travel through space now without self-destructing. It certainly worked wonders for the stats of my ship, but I'm unsure if that's going to do anything good.
Is this a city or someone's amusement park?
Somehow, I make it to the other planet. For not much point, I estimate the little I made on the trade is going to get eaten up by repairs and the dozens of parts I need to fix the sub-systems. There are also multiple mazes here, including two together, so its not important...okay. This leads to my current problem. Am I getting attacked or is this an error with the project? Turns out I'm expecting sound where it isn't, because I can't read. Oh, well, still better than playing it in a ST emulator.
See the yellow thing? That's the ship
I figure out how to strike back at these guys trying to destroy me. Its typical of the era, in that I don't care for it, I'm just moving my cursor around to hit a target and there's not really any movement in this. The target moves around a lot and is tiny. Its not very difficult to at a time...but its not fun. Of course my ship loses one of the sub-systems controlling flight, which is ticking me off. After repairing it, and attempting to continue my flight, another ship almost immediately attacks me. Maybe I just had bad luck there, but something tells me this game isn't just throwing bad luck at me. I'm going to be killing pirates all the way to the other planet. I don't see any reason for this. Is this deep in pirate space? This seems like a law-abiding bunch with a few bad eggs? Why is it so bad the second I go into outer space I get attacked? Its just a cruel trick you play on the player.

Reminds me of The Twilight Zone video game, where you can pick up your wallet, but if you go outside with it, you get mugged. Although I accept this slightly more here, since space ships have scanners in most settings. So, I have to just trade on the planet I'm currently on. Oh, joy. Guess I'm just going to have to work my way through this...probably not going to be another entry on this for a few days.

This Session: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

In Extremis: Xeno-what?

In Extremis is at first glance, just some cheapo European ripoff of Wolfenstein. You'd be right. I'm relatively unfamiliar with what people thought of US Gold, but I do notice that name shows up a lot in the first decade I have written down. Blue Sphere, as opposed to Delphine, commonly accredited to making this, is French. Although the game is in a weird mix of English and French. I distinctly remember being not fond of this bad boy. In cinematic terms, this wouldn't be The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, this would be White Comanche...without William Shatner. I don't know what the correct comparison would be, just roll with it.

This is the least weird shot from that cutscene
The story is, we're somewhere out in space, we come across a space station...and our ship explodes for some reason? The opening cutscene isn't clear on anything, but it looks nice. I configure my controls (Shoot and open is controlled with the same key!) I start the game...and it doesn't work. Dosbox wants to give the game 100%, that causes the game to move fast...and I can't move forward. Turning it down is funky, because it doesn't register right away, so I do something that ends up causing the game to not register any in-game button presses. I eventually decide on 30%.

This game feels pretty casual about the corpse there

Let's talk about the second problem this game has, because the first is going to require a bit more explaining. Shoot and open are the same key. There's nothing I can do to change this. In theory, this isn't a bad idea. Because you don't need to do both at once. This is obviously bad as soon as you start playing, pressing space on something that looks like it should be interactable but isn't still shoots. I have no idea if I'm going to get more ammo (or even health) later. I will cheat if necessary, but I'd prefer not to, for obvious reasons.
The first problem is that moving around is ass in general. You've got a crouch button, there's no use for that yet. There's a run button, which makes you go 50% faster, not much when you move like you're in what modern people think plate armor was like. The player is in some kind of power armor, it functions accordingly, except I'm using a SMG for some reason. Also incredibly obvious before the first shot is fired, password doors? I don't know what they're supposed to be, but so far I see no way of finding the codes. You also type in the code via the arrow keys. I want to point out from my own experience, that's more work than just typing stuff in. Even if it isn't, they put in that effort for the copy protection. Its impressive it was cracked, since Mobygames says it was heavily protected for the age. Anyway, moving around the code pad is far too fast, and I'm not going lower than 30%.

They're certainly well-done ugly, but they only have forward frames
These problems are all visible before you fight the first enemy. Its some kind of green spider thing. It goes down quickly, a few shots from my rather slow SMG-looking gun. What makes them trouble is they knock you back with each blow. Most of the time this is okay, but sometimes they knock you on top of scenery. A FPS with an actual Z-axis? That's possibly a first. Upon dying, they explode on the screen. Possibly if they're far away enough they don't, but that seems impossible so far. Also a first, automatically opening doors. I guess the latter's helpful.
Also, all the sound effects sound like they were ripped out of Star Trek, but whoever added the trivia to Mobygames says they're stolen from Alien. I think you'll find that I don't really care. Whatever the case, the sound effects have very bad noise, like popping sounds that don't make sense, included.
That's not something I can use, too much color
There's also another neat thing in the game, the lighting, wander to close to a ceiling light and the screen changes color to signal you are inside. This is about as far as I got last time I played. There's no in-level save function, and you can make a complete circle of the level without any idea of what you're doing. There are several access terminals, but there doesn't seem to be any in-game way to find out the codes. I would also like to point out at this time that each time you restart the game, you have to spend a minute watching the unskippable logos and credits before playing the game. There's no one credited as testing this game, "Notice" mentioned in the credits is for the manual.
This is before I get anything, trying to interact with a card reader
Anyway, the manual, the only one I could find was in French. The language barrier in-game is some fever dream of French and English, so I don't understand any of this. Most of this is relatively unimportant at the moment, except for inventory, the I key, and the computer code. Yeah, all those computers around? Literally necessary to advance the game, they contain items, and more importantly, keycards. The first terminal just gives me some transfer stuff.
I don't know if this has a point or not
So, the terminals are all item lockers. The green bar is oxygen, the red health. The game is not generous with health items, but on each level you can usually find a new weapon. Weapons so far are straight upgrades, making this game very arcadey for some reason. Combined with the codes, makes this feel less advanced than Wolfenstein, despite the obvious graphical improvements. You don't get an item picking up cutscene there. Probably for good reason, this is some trippy stuff.
Whoever drew this was wasted here
In order to advance, you need to find a key card, which are inside the terminals, as mentioned. You have three slots, and so far it only seems to be necessary to have two, a E-card and a C-card. One controls the elevator, the other the password computers.
All of them very ugly
That's about it for now. Two interesting things, levels have walls that have 45 degree angles as opposed to Wolf's entirely block-based system, and each level has a new monster. There's no difference between the monsters, there's just a different graphic. Level design isn't impressing me too much yet, but it isn't offensive.

For future player's reference, here are the computer codes for these levels:

And here are the save codes:
(I missed one here, sorry)

This Session: 1.5 hours