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

No comments:

Post a Comment