Welcome back to Galactic Empire, the one game I refuse to lose. For those of you who haven't read the original entries, this is more or less a way to bring us all back to speed on the colossal failure that has been my attempts to finish the game. Galactic Empire was an attempt at a FPS from French adventure developer Coktel Vision, known for the Goblins series. The game was based off a French tabletop RPG of the same name, and involved the lead writer of it. Why the bizarre combo? I have no idea, but we do know that it did okay, nothing special in the developer's eyes and got a sequel in the form of Advanced Galactic Empire. Because of the awkward name, I believe people wrongly assumed that AGE was more or less the same game, just upgraded. This is not correct.
The last SERSEC agent disappeared, presumably killed, and the player is the replacement. His final statement was "Its the Malkouts fault". The objective is to evaulate the strength of forces on this planet pro-Voltar and anti-Voltar, and uncover anything else. The manual notes that an unknown enemy could be manipulating events to their advantage. It even notes that what Voltar is doing is suicidal. The player goes in as a reporter, Ted Fost, for the "homeo-new paper" Cosmopolis, without anything that identifies him as an imperial agent.
The manual finishes with various bits of info, from weapons to the buildings and vehicles everyone uses to get around. In short, this is a space opera title where we play a secret agent uncovering information on rebellious planet, and we're not actually the bad guys. Its an interesting setup, and one that actually factors into the game very heavily. Since the manual isn't on most of the more obvious sites, and its not that well explained in the game itself, I believe this contributes to some of the confusion.
Also, most DOS versions around are broken AND the game doesn't work on regular DOSbox if anyone has EVER made a save. So for a good chunk of time, you had to play this completely legit, or emulate the Amiga or ST version. The game even locks up if you don't put the code in. Not sure if that's intentional or just poor luck. Its also in that weird position where it should be playable in SCUMMVM since its a Coktel Vision adventure game, but because of the 3D engine, you don't assume its anything like an adventure game.
|Quite a lot of spaceships coming and going at the edge of the galaxy|
After that, we begin in what I believe is a spaceport in a space station outside of Ether. This isn't entirely clear, but things are flying by, so I believe spaceport is the operative word. You'll figure out why I say its a space station later. If you decide to play this, let me drop a piece of advice, the second you get control, press right click. This activates a mode which works somewhat like a more reasonable game. Numpad 4 & 6 turn left and right. (2 & 8 look down and up, but you don't really need that) Numpad + & - move forward and backward. You can now use the mouse like in the various RPGs of the era. Its not great, not by a longshot, but I found I didn't hate the control scheme when I did this. You could always use DOSbox's keymap to rebind them to more reasonable keys, assuming you're the kind of person who can manage that properly. I am not.
I'd just like to add that the game has one music track, its a nice one, less wearysome than they could have used, but still one single music track for a game that should realistically take 10-20 hours. Let's just say it hasn't. I'm linking the Amiga version, but the DOS version is very nice too.
|The NPCs are rendered in real-time and look around, Fost is 2D|
|Note that Ted's face changes depending on the option|
Luckily, he doesn't take it too hard. This game is often really eager to put you into a situation where you've accidentally ended up in a fight or done something you don't want. These states are not necessarily unwinnable, but without cheating you won't have a shot now. The game also has some off-limits places in this section, where you'll immediately get some soldiers after you.
|Civilians all have various grey shaded hats, while soldiers have red, the reason why they're called the "scarlet" militia|
However, there's a building behind him with some useful stuff, a radar and a light laser. A guard arrives and attacks, but you start with a stunner which is an effective enough weapon to deal with him, its one of the weapons that stop enemies in their tracks. Weapons that stop your foes in their tracks are much more useful than those that don't. You might think this would break something, but I've done this section several times, and if it does, its obscure enough that I never noticed.
|So far, grenades kill anything you can kill in one hit|
|Why are the robots all hostile?|
|Since the HUD is supposed to be how I see the world from inside the suit, this seems like an awkward camera angle|
|All five options you get are so what!|
|Note my health bar there at the bottom, you do not get a lot of time to react in this game|
|They don't attack me unless I go for the card|
|I'm not much of a wildlife photographer|
|This isn't a robot, but a soldier who hits like a truck|
|There is no benefit to saying no, as these aren't limited|
|You can tell nobody got this far because they would absolutely show this screenshot|
We get a nice full-screen graphic of me teleporting.
The only feature this location has is a a small corral with a robot inside. I cannot do anything about it. Its at this point that I'm stuck. The robot is unkillable, it doesn't show any signs of taking damage. Even cheating seems like a fool's errand. I have, a couple of times, managed to get the robot to shoot a bird as shown on the mural, but nothing happens. Nobody else on the internet has ever gotten this far, nobody shows any images of the planet. Maybe, information is hard to find on this game and I don't speak French. I know its possible to get past this section, because a period reviewer mentions that one of the images on the back, depicting a side-scrolling beat 'em up sequence, is not anywhere in the game. (its actually from Cougar Force)
Now, I've already tried to beat this for quite some time. Ever since the last entry I've played the game off and on and never went anywhere. I've done things like looking through the files to no use. Since its unreasonable to continue this indefinitely, I'm going to continue to try winning this throughout the rest of September and October. Most of the time since Galactic Empire, the games I would have been blogging alongside it were frustrating enough that I didn't feel like playing a game I didn't have a good idea on how to continue with. This October is going to have some frustrating games too, but I think they're of the sort I'm used to enough that I can at least try to make progress here. In any case, I'll have more than enough days to dedicate just to this game.
As far as how I'm going to get past this, I have two theories. The first is that I missed something on the space station. Very unlikely, but I feel like the robots shouldn't require me to kill them, there should be a non-violent way of passing. I didn't miss any items anywhere obvious, so if this is the answer, its incredibly well hidden. The second is that I need to get an animal with a specific head into the enclosure with the robot. Which is going to be oh, so tedious. That requires putting meat inside the corral and hoping something enters. You can get meat off any animal in-game, but their pathfinding and range makes entering this cage a tedious experience. Its going to be a challenge if I can continue the game.
This Session: 1 hour 10 minutes