Thursday, March 25, 2021

Game 52: Maze Wars

Name:Maze Wars
Publisher:Amazing Graphics
Developer:Amazing Graphics
Time:1 hour

I could tell before I had even opened up the game that it would be trouble. It befits many games made before iD solidified the arrow key movement scheme that many weird attempts at experimentation were designed. You have weird mouse keyboard hybrids that have the mouse function as a cursor rather than the end of a gun; You have keyboard games that mimic that and so forth. But Maze Wars uses the mouse, exclusively. You can do that with a lot of games, true, but in those cases moving the mouse moves your character. Not so here, you move with the mouse buttons, you shoot by pressing both of them. Of all the questionable choices, why that? Surely in the design phase that would seem unideal?
I wish to point out that this isn't related to the more well-known Maze Wars games, that started off in the mainframe kind of computers.
Its hard to find good things to say about this game. Certainly, its 1992 and its impressive for a FPS to exist with a very small filesize...but that doesn't make it good. I daresay anyone would only feel like playing this for a brief period in that year. Its not even the weird control scheme, its how awkward the whole game is. I don't know yet if it shows up in screenshots, but the game stutters. This could just be because I couldn't find a proper speed for it, but at the same time, that's sort of what I'm here for. Enemies don't show up if you're turning and its hard to properly aim at things.
Here I am, wandering the beginner's maze again. Why is it the beginner's maze? There's a difficulty setting but that seems like a lie, so what's going on? I nearly beat it once, but nearly. I could try and try again until I beat it...but I don't feel like I'm getting anything out of that. I guess trying to predict the path of enemies so you can hit them is amusing for a little while, since bullets travel in a straight line and the enemies are similarly predictable. But I could do that in a flight sim too, and that has the advantage of a more interesting central concept.
So that leaves me wandering around what is essentially a very simple maze, a rough take on Pac-Man perhaps? Wandering around a maze shooting enemies that are only a threat if I let them, by walking into their path. The only other enemy is a timer that seems to have plenty of time if you're already skilled at the game. Hence my thought that the beginner's maze was a lie. The goal for a level is to kill every monster and then escape...but meh.
I don't feel this game deserves any points. Even if the game has different maze designs its not going to be any good. Enemies are simple and not interesting, the weapon tries to add strategy where there is none, the controls are barely functional, its all very ugly and the only sound is that of me destroying an enemy.

Since I don't yet keep a win/loss counter on the side, I'm currently standing at 22 wins, 13 losses, 15 unwinnable games. This of course, being the 13th loss, as I didn't beat the 11th level. (or any for that matter) A pretty low ratio of wins, I must admit, but looking at the games I've lost, its clear why. I was unwilling to put in effort for little reward or the games suffered some horrendous glitch.

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