Saturday, July 10, 2021

Cybercon III: A Question of Spiders

Cybercon III is frustrating. Very frustrating. I am giving it more due than its worth. Much more. I started up this entry again, doing the same things I did last time. I realized that, then checked the manual again. I don't get any further. There's a camera system, but I just don't see myself using that in any way here. There are two pages of text relating to controls in the manual. Its not a thick read.

So I view a longplay. Looking at the first few minutes or so, the player walks past a pair of chainguns, that kills the player instantly should he try to walk past. Or at least that happens to me, he breezes through it. This is a longplay, a guide that's supposed to be roughly how someone would normally play it. I don't know, there's something wrong about this one. When I look back at early FPS titles that I enjoyed, I usually manage to get some kind of progress. Even the games I hated I could figure things out. Its this, and Corporation I put on the truly perplexing stack. That's to say nothing of difficulty, but having an unusable inventory system and requiring it to interact with things is a cardinal sin. Unlike Corporation, there are no second chances, only a first chance its rapidly burning through.

At this point, I'm ready to give up on this. Then I have a revelation as to what I THINK is the way to control this. You interrogate objects with codes on them, and you use those codes to operate things. Its things like this that make me realize that piracy played a massive role in determining what games from the past we remember, and because this game is unplayable without a manual, well, its no surprise that this isn't a big abandonware hit. You literally can't just download this off the internet randomly and play through it. Not if you expect to get anywhere. Who knows if it actually reaches fun at any point?

There was something I missed mentioning, you have to be on the code menu, because the interrogate button just automatically finds out what code is supposed to be used at a location. To recap, you need to find a code, hope that you can enter that code somewhere, or use the F9 key. Either way you're going to be stuck in some place for a few moments. And keep in mind, I still don't know what I'm supposed to do with items, nor do I have much idea on how to get more power. They should have invested in a better manual. Something like that is absolutely vital to this game being understandable. You are being published by a professional company. This is not 2020 where a wiki will pick up the slack, the manual is all that stands between you and oblivion.

Okay, I can go somewhere now. I still need to find a save point, but I have progress. The hour is reset. It starts off well enough, I find a room with an obvious switch. It turns out that turns off the power and I have no way to turn it back on. Whoops.

This actually opens up a lot less than I would have thought. The most obvious path forward is blocked. I'm lacking a key piece of the code needed to advance. I know what the code should be, as its a cycling series of hourglass symbols, but I'm lacking a red one. The only real paths I have seem to be down holes, but I quickly get killed by a robot wheel down there. Verticality is cool though.

I finally get into a situation where I can test the repair system...and its really slow. It makes Shadowcaster's system look speedy. I could type up what I was doing in that up til that time. It was reliable. I can use that as a method of making my life easier, but I still have time to spare. Not to mention enemies can pop out even in the best of hiding places. Whichever button is the pause button is super inconvenient too.

There's not really any obvious path forward, as each area I go through seems roughly the same as the others, nothing much I can interact with, plenty of respawning enemies. At some point I think I try to do something in the areas that seem like enemy spawners, but I die, because there's no reprieve here.

I get to thinking. What if turning off the power has an advantage? There are multiple turrets lying around, what if this turns them off? Finding that place again proves difficult, but I succeed, battered, but the lights are off. I rush to a hiding spot to recover my strength. I would like to say I was in an incredible chase, but that would be a lie. I have no idea.
But what I do know is that this little plan has me in a bad situation. I make it into a coderoom, and rest, but while I am resting, a walker comes at the door. He stops there. Well...okay? I gather my strength up, after a few minutes. I open fire. He doesn't move, but walking into him damages me. I unload an entire energy bar on him. Nothing. I know I'm hitting him and not the door. It takes a while, a long while, but I kill him. Onto the turrets...where I get killed. Well, I'm running out of ideas. This is going to go on the unfinished pile, isn't it?

This Session: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

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