Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Star Cruiser: A Dramatic Turn of Events

Red boxes are apparently where VOID are
Mercury, my destination, is travelable by just flying to it from Ganymede/Jupiter, but that would take a while. Instead I can use the warp function, which opens up a map. This map is fairly useful, telling me where all the enemy bases are in addition to the expected things. Saturn is free of VOID's influence, whatever that means in the grand scheme of things.

I dig the vintage scifi presentation, even if its not especially exciting otherwise
As soon as I travel there, things happen quickly. Freddy tells me its hot on Mercury and I should get inside the protective dome quickly. I don't even get the choice of traveling around the damn planet, I'm just sent directly into it. Was I supposed to travel slightly off it? No matter, just a quick drive from the planet start to the dome, and I'm safe.

The game is generous enough with keys that this is practically never a problem
Once inside there's the usual opening of doors with keys. Seems pointless when there's no other obstacle, but what do I know? Then, two doors, side-by-side. Is this a puzzle? No, I get an item from one door, a Heat Shield that increases my capabilities of surviving under higher temperatures. On the other, a control system that opens something. Strange, I didn't see anything.
I was looking for that...yeah, definitely
And there is nothing, so I guess I opened something outside? I can actually travel out there now, so I guess this is it? Travel to another dome/section of dome? This seems to be a proper level now, albeit now the design isn't linear. I'm not sure that's a good thing.
One way leads to another control system. Freddy tells me this is what Daigo told me about. What? I wrote down materials, I don't know anything about this. Translation issues or I wrote it down wrong? No matter, I can't do anything with it now.
So I clear out the rest of the base, until I take out a big tank and reach a door that needs to be opened elsewhere. Now what? I just forgot the trend that all FPSes from the '80s need to make things more complex than they need to. In this case I needed to use the console, then put the card I got from Daigo in it. Serves me right for not remembering everything some grumpy old man said after whining that I saved his bacon. Now I'm inside the VOID base...this was all to just enter the place.
Showing first-person shooting for my FPS blog
Now, I should point out by this point that I'm constantly draining energy. This is not necessarily a problem, even though I use it by the simple act of existing, and repairing damage drains it even more, I haven't been in danger of running out. The game, so far, is providing ample resupplying opportunities in the form of pick-ups, sort of like how SeeNa did it. Even though that makes sense, its a weird comparison. Are the Japanese the only people who made this kind of first-person game? Hmm...
This also doesn't really feel like a RPG so far. Not even in the mocking "JRPGs aren't RPGs, lolololol" sense. Like I guess if I feel like RPGs exist that don't allow any kind of character improvement or creation, then this is just a valid JRPG interpretation of those, but this seems more like a Metroidvania so far.
The actual game is almost completely uneventful. Combat has become suspiciously easy, so only story beats are important, and that's not great. I can examine some cabinets...I guess I'm supposed to use my imagination? I don't really get what anything is supposed to be, its far too simple. In the next room over I find some higher quality homing missiles in a trash container. I have a limit of each kind, but I don't feel in a hurry to burn them off on any enemies.
Won't this cause you to die too?

Outside of control issues there's not really much to talk about. Lot of doors that require a use of a switch elsewhere, and the game is generous enough with the gate keys so doors aren't much of a problem. Eventually, I find and kill two enemies that look very much like my own ship. These guys are somewhat of a problem, even killing me once, but just compared to the ease I've killed everything else.
Not far from the second are the repair parts I needed. Now I just need the blueprints. Incidentally, you can screw yourself by walking out before getting these items, which causes the base to explode. Aided by this map being confusing as hell to navigate.

After finding the blueprint, I find out why the base was going to explode. Its a trap to kill whoever arrives. Once properly dealing with the countdown, its one of those really fast ones, the previously blocked doors open and I get out fairly quickly.

Good, less jib
Back on Ganymede, I'm told I need to wait for the ship to be upgraded. Fine. I go to the restaurant, but it isn't open. There's nothing I can do. Am I just supposed to come back? No, I'm supposed to head to my ship, then I go to the restaurant.
Are you? Am I?
Its here I meet Masashi Clark, another hunter like me. You can tell he's cool, because he's wearing sunglasses. He wants me to lend him my Star Cruiser. Hahahahaha. No. Then he says he's joking. Interesting, because my character isn't allowed to speak, the waiter asks what he's really on about.
VOID, lacking warp capabilities, has captured Gravity Catapult, something used to deliver heavy cargo. Clark then tells me its directed to the Alpha Centauri System, where I think aliens are supposed to be. This, the waiter tells me, would cause the solar system to become isolated like the Barnard System. I thought this was only in-system space opera? Huh.
Then Clark tells me they're planning on attacking at the same time...so I guess they're just going to capture the Gravity Catapult...? He then says goodbye because he has matters to attend to. Then Daigo phones to tell me he upgraded the Star Cruiser. Not quite sure my new capabilities, but I now have a string beam...whatever that does.
How could they do this to my cherished friend?

Before I can take off to defend the Gravity Catapult, Gibson phones and tells me to head to Earth ASAP. He's in cyberspace and has found out something interesting about VOID. Finally, the plot of the game! Only, enemy forces found him. Curiously, I don't have a beacon, or warp point for Earth, so Daigo gives me one. Except that I can't just head to Earth, no, I need to head to The Colony to get there.
Aren't tanks supposed to be able to handle that sort of thing?
Once there, Freddy informs me that the road is in really bad shape...ah, just like Earth. I have to walk. All this means is I can't use missiles. The only oddities are a recharging station and a pair of teleporters, one of which teleports to the start of the level with a set of respawned enemies.
Choices, choices
The other one leads to a teleporter maze, because of course it does. Its not the worst thing I've ever seen, but its doing this game no favors.
Someone's more overconfident than me for once
Eventually I run into...someone. Who I have to fight. After blowing up his tank he says I can rob him. Who is he? Maximilion Gaddis, who thought I was a space pirate. I'm more shocked that there are space pirates in this game than someone confusing me for someone else. He's a student at a Mars University. Now I can enter his humble adobe.
Seems kind of a crap course if the professor is back on Earth
Oh, wow, it really is his humble adobe. After showing him the amulet I got from Daigo...I got it from Daigo? I know I used an amulet on a console somewhere here. Max's teacher is apparently Daigo's son...er...daughter? Daigo's daughter is currently on Earth, and Max gives me the beacon for there. He also gives me a card for her. That's it for this place...I guess I'm going to go to Earth now. Which I do so after taking out some enemy fighters. There seems to be just no in-between in difficulty between a joke and difficult.
I like the pixel sky boxes, but wish they were in a better game

Earth is not a battleground, but a proper town, good-looking too. The repair shop also resupplies my missiles for me, hopefully not a one-time deal. The nearby spaceport tells me where Yoko is, but know nothing about Gibson. Guess my path forward is clear. But first I take in each building as I advance through the town. The most important piece of information I discover is not related to my near and dear friend, but rather to the game's basic plot, apparently I'm a member of the Federal Patrol, or at least on very friendly terms with them.

This looks suspiciously like her student's house
Ah, yes, the professor's daughter is attractive, or at least I think that was the intention. She doesn't know anything, but after giving her Max's card she tells me to ask her students. The student tells me that Gibson just disappeared at the Information Centre in cyberspace, and he'll take me there.

I'm getting some juvenile amusement by taking a screenshot out of context

Once inside it turns into the ground shooter section again, where I have to take out a bunch of enemies to advance. This time the game is going really hard on the keys, but otherwise its not terribly interesting. I have to decipher a message from various cut up pieces of it. Basically just telling me that someone named Jack told out Gibson. Everything else I need a cancellation program for. Then the game tells me to go somewhere else, and as I'm going through an old area I get blindsided by newly spawned enemies.
Upon returning, I get the cancellation program, but cannot reenter cyberspace from here. I have to enter from the Information Center building. Why did we have to do all this? I dunno. After getting some quick repairs, I find it pretty quickly. Something funny is going on, but we sneak into cyberspace anyway.
Ponder the nature of the human soul?
After dealing with more respawned enemies, I'm back at the information area. Only, someone destryoed the central processor. Something that wasn't supposed to be done. Not that this affects anything, mind you. There are three new files I can take, info on VOID, their strategy plan, and seemingly unrelated genetic information. Oh, good, there's going to be a human conspiracy against aliens we have to take down...because...reasons I guess. Also, Freddy throws away the cancellation program, because we are smart people. Now what?
Maybe if there was a way to change the model of it to something else
Well, for no reason at all, we give the data I just got to the student. What is it? Why, its the data of a human! Probably Gibson. Okay...Uh...guess I should talk to Yuko? Even though the only reason why I should is because she's related to someone who is begrudgingly helping me.
Like father, like daughter
And I feel vindicated the second I walk in. Why should I trust someone I just met when the second I return she thinks I'm responsible for the destroyed computer at a local building. For what? To bring the data to her father. On my way back I note that I can warp in combat without any penalty. Its not like there's experience or anything.
On Ganymede there's the usual song and dance. "Gibson is in data!?" What do I have to get now? Hydrogen, in the form of 10 blue meteorites. I'm not going to repeat what I said, but it was an expression of disbelief. Ah, to be the first FPS game to have the generic collection quest...what an honor. He gives me a tractor beam and tells me to go to some asteroid belt. This seems like a good a place as any to stop.
I guess I'll be continuing forward on this game, but man, I'm not feeling motivated here. This feels like a really generic game where a simple AI could just play the game for me. If I was in any way talented at coding, I suspect I would do that. Even the story feelings like its throwing everything it can at a wall hoping it will stick.

This Session: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 30 Minutes

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