Tuesday, 20 October 2009

David and the Devil

Title: Fad Of Devil's Hash
Release date: 15 July 2001
Playtime(*): 216
Size: 620Kb

I'm a collector. I can't rest until a collection is complete. So I'm looking for all MAGS games and won't stop until I have them all. Since last weekend, after quite some digging in old forums and websites through archive.org, I found a name of a still very active AGS member. He hosted this game for a very short amount of time so I took the chance and wrote him, expecting the reply that after 8 years the many crashes and PC replacements, it wasn't possible to salvage any of the bits.

But to my surprise I received the positive message that after his digging and dusting of a huge pile of disks, he managed to find the file I was looking for.

It's an entry of Monkeyspank, called the Fad of Devil's Hash. It's about the Devil in David Hasselhof (hence the title).

A very short game but fun to play. You can find it (again) here.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Release... but don't let go! - 2

A few days ago I wrote a bit about Saw, the video game. It was about the update or 'deluxe' version as Pedro calls it. I was surprised how such thing can make your game popular all of a sudden. I monitor that by the number of hits the game gets in walkthrough visits.

The original version has been on my site from February and was visited once or twice a day. But since the update has been released, it has been around 80 average. The moral: keep working on your game and keep improving. One day you'll be famous!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Problems in fast food land.

Title: Cold Meat
Helme (Helme Burch)
Release date: 4 October 2009
Playtime(*): 3360
Size: 10.8Mb

Like horror, graveyards, dark places, death and zombies? If Thriller is something that comes to mind you're in for a surprise because this game features the most friendliest zombies you can think of. And there are no dark places (if you ignore the cooling cell) because it take place in and around a fast food restaurant.

You are playing Pete and just as you think you have the all-you-can-eat deal of your life, the place is taken over by the zombies the restaurant is built on. So it's your job to get some hamburgers on the tray. And boy what a job that is. Not only do you have to find out who is who, you must also find the place they were buried, the object they took as burial object and if that's not enough, you also must help them regain their memory.

When that's all done you finally need to get them to help you get the burgers ready and customers satisfied. Along the way, you also need to keep Mr. Klang happy and hide the fact that there are zombies around. But fear not, you get help from expected and unexpected directions.

The game has good puzzles, not really easy. Most of it is in the details. You have to look at a lot of objects and listen to a lot of conversations very carefully otherwise you might miss a clue or solution. Of course there are a number of less obvious inventory combinations which result in the use all on everything and everywhere. Less satisfying but in the end it gets the job done.

The soundtrack is of a techno-synth style and when not played too loud, it can be a nice background filler. But when you're stuck in situations, it can become annoyingly repeating.

Another minor negative point is the names Helme gave the zombies. Names like Raktin, Foltnir, Nektom and Limfor aren't everyday names and it takes a lot longer to get familiar and 'attached' to the zombies. Because you can say what you want, they are drawn in a strange, simple but cute way. You could have seen the style before in Helme's MAGS entry of August: Celtic Chaos: Cold Mead. Despite the names, you get to love these guys with their bizarre sense of humor.

Overall a nice game, available in German and English. And hurry, the food is getting cold.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

The fool returns

Title: Duzz Quest 2
Duzz (David Lloyd)
Release date: 8 October 2009
Playtime(*): 1578
Size: 37.6Mb

I'll be honest. I don't like adventure games made with photoshopped pictures, rough cutouts with non-transparent pixels on the edge and thrown together as if it was only a test to see if you can use the AGS engine. Well, so it started with DuzzQuest five years ago. Not much of a story, not much of graphics. Fun to look at and to see that Duzz can walk around in his garden. Like the author says: most images and jokes are probably lost for the public and only understandable for the insiders.

So now there's DuzzQuest 2. Again with a lot of inside information and jokes. But more story, better puzzles and way better graphics. I have to admit, I like the interface and the way the graphics were put together. I still don't appreciate the way things are animated but the images are more consistent and that helps a lot.

Again the story is about defeating Dark Fool, or actually his evil twin because the other one was killed by Duzz (actually it was Tim, I'm not sure why Duzz gets all the credits but I guess that's why you are the main character...). So on your quest to find Dark Fool's evil twin you need the help again of your friends.

There are some nice effects in this episode. There's a real shoot out with wits, not just the all you can hit one although you can try. And there's a scratch card puzzle. Not really a game but the effect is very well done. And there's a side-quest thing with Tim again with humor.

The soundtrack is good. Not boring, not overwhelming but suits the game. In hindsight, I liked the game. If you look beyond the animations, it's a good hour of fun. With some good laughs and that's what it's all about.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Release... but don't let go!

Title: Release... but don't let go!
Pedro & Joe Carl
Release date: 13 October 2009
Playtime(*): 628
Size: 17.9Mb

The game was originally released in 2006. But now, three years later, there's a new version. New? Well... yeah. It's not a re-release, it's not an update, it's a complete remake.

The graphics have been completely redrawn to a much higher standard than the original. And there are a lot more animations than before, although the speed could be a bit faster, or at least selected by the player. For comparison, here's the original:

The gameplay has changed a bit...a lot. And not bad at all. There's now more interaction between Allan and Carl. The main players that is.

You play with Joe and Carl, locked in a public bathroom and you need find a way out by finding clues and solving riddles. This leads to items you can use to escape. There's a line in the middle and neither of you can cross the line. In the original you could play almost half of the game with one player. Then, when you only had the choice left: either kill or cooperate, you needed some interaction between the two. Now you need to join forces straight away.

The music is similar to the original. Great for lonely nights in the dark, more horror and suspense. It certainly adds to the atmosphere. But there are also some issues that could have been changed to make it a real 'deluxe' version.

The dialogs are quite confusing. They were in the original and nothing has changed there. New lines that become available after you've learned something from your co-star are mixed with the lines you've already used. And you can't see that you've used them. So it's not clear whether you've learned something or can learn more. Normally these lines are added at the bottom of the conversation thread and that adds to the readability.

All in all, if you've played the original you should play this one. Don't worry if you still know the solution.... it's useless. Because the items, locations and interactions also have changed. So actually it's a whole new game.
Don't worry if you (still) haven't seen the movies that these games got their inspiration from, they follow their own story. And if you haven't done already, you can also play the sequel.

Friday, 31 July 2009

More spooky business

Title: A G-G-Ghost!
SpastikChuwawa (James Morr)
Release date: 20 July 2009
Playtime(*): 628
Size: 11.5Mb

Another game about ghosts. This time it's hunting the killer of your father. With loads and loads of humor and a narrator that won't shut up.

But that's the most fun about the game, the great dialogs between the main character, Doug McBlandface, and the narrator. When it almost seems to derail, there's intervention from the hooded man who will send you on your mission to get the classical inventory items for the spell.

But the the items you need are not so classical. They, pretty hard to find but with some creativity and imagination you can do the job. They are all within reach and when you're at it, you'll do some more gruesome discoveries. You have to find out for yourself.

The story is nice, to too big and the game play is good. Puzzle not too hard but certainly not unsolvable. Maybe just hindered by the lack of hotspots on the inventory objects, it's the only negative point I could find.

The graphics are nicely done, crisp and scenes are not overcrowded with hotspots but certainly enough to make the puzzles a bit harder. These hotspots, by the way, leave enough possibility for a sequel or a 'deluxe' version. With nice sound effects, great musical score at the right moment and a clear verbcoin interface, it all adds up to a great game. Not long but when you're into ghost hunting, like a few classical references and humoristic dialogs and have 30 minutes to spare, it's the game for you.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

An author to remember

Title: A night to remember
Float On (Ethan Damschroder)
Release date: 23 July 2009
Playtime(*): 1250
Size: 3.6Mb

A lot of games have been released lately that deal with the spiritual world. There's Wheel of Torture in the MAGS section, Ben Chandler's Heed, Dave Gilbert's Blackwell addition and now there's also A night to remember from first-timer Ethan Damschroder. Although not completely done alone, it's mainly a one man project.

It's a story about a con artist who tries to uncover the suspected malpractice of an entrepreneur. But as soon as he tries to get closer to the main suspect, things don't work out as planned and will it become a night to remember.

A great story with a good plot. There's a lot of reading to do from dialogs and documents and you're introduced to all characters in a fast pace at the start so you have to pay attention to remember who's who later on. The graphics are nice, clean but at some points I find them too clean. There could have been more detail and more objects in certain rooms (especially the hall) to make the images richer and enhance the game play.

The game isn't difficult. It's more walking from A to B and finding the right room to let the story continue. There are two real puzzles in it and you can't progress before the needed actions have taken place so with these puzzles you're also pushed in the right direction. A negative side effect is that objects that weren't available at first, will be later on in the game and interaction with people will change as game progresses. Looking at first will become taking later on. Somewhat distracting and confusing. The rest of the game is more pixel hunting.

The interface of the game is simple. The menu and inventory can be accessed via the TAB key but make sure you use the right cursor before you open the inventory otherwise you can't select any objects to work with.

The music in the game is nice and not too dominant. At moments it's a good addition to the drama at others it can become a bit annoying because of repetition. With the lighting effects (very well done) the game as a whole is a nice spiritual drama to work through.

So overall it was an enjoyable journey but for me it won't be one to remember. You should do with the author though, because I'm sure the next one will be.