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

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