Trackmania Nations Forever strikes me as Shareware not Freeware despite the words they through around to describe it. As it's simply a stripped down version of a different Trackmania title...they get away with it cause the game is damn fun and addictive.
A now classic Mac/Windows FPS that has you protecting an infinitely oblivious and simple minded VIP from waves of assassins using your powers as a Psychic Bodyguard. Not only are there various weapons the game also mixes it up with themed assassins (knife wielders, snipers and even a zombie stage). You also have some melee moves including the rather nicely designed *disarm* ability which was fairly unique at the time and still underused in my opinion.
Other then being somewhat unforgiving the game has a rather poor aiming system as its main faults. However a handful of neat cheats including a force push ability help rectify this. Also the guys team made Lugaru which is an incredible indie game (and originally for Macs no less) and possibly has the greatest cheats ever (you know back when cheats did fun things and weren't just arbitrary things like INFINITE AMMO/LIFE/TIME) and that's the Spontantous Combustion ability that comes in both completely and head only (And it looks awesome).
IWBTG is one of the games that's riding the waves of a small, growing genre of platform games that some have deemed as 'sadocore' (sadistic hardcore, if you really wanted to know). The games are usually balls-hard ROM-hacks of games of yesteryear (witness the game English speakers have christened 'Asshole Mario', for example), but sometimes original Flash or freeware games such as IWBTG end up released from time to time.
IWBTG is basically a really hard, twitch platformer that somewhat resembles the non-linear map layouts of Metroidvania games. The goal is to become "The Guy" (duh) by surving platform-hell, beating bosses, and defeating the current Guy. Pretty much the entire game's graphics, sound effects, and music are taken from numerous older games.
If you're a sane gamer who doesn't like games that take an insane combination of luck and skill, or otherwise get frustrated easily, it would probably be best to stay far, far, away from IWBTG.
Post by Gendo Ikari on Sept 6, 2008 13:11:28 GMT -5
Some people view Fraxy as "Warning Forever where you can build your own bosses", but I find the paragon quite reductive: aside from being based on boss-only battles, Fraxy is very different, an arena shooter where the ship is able to move and shoot at 360 degrees. It has an energy bar which recharges at good speed, but is consumed by both weapon usage and enemy shots (on the other hand, direct contact with an enemy means instant death), forcing the player to ponder attacks and retreats. Power-ups allow for more power to the currently selected weapon (max 3 levels), or more energy and faster recharge (5 levels); they are similar to the ones seen in Cho Ren Sha 68K and, in fact, standing between them gives a temporary secret weapon, the Over Soll, a super-charge paired with a great quantity of energy. The five weapon slots cannot be assigned in-game, but in the external setup. Between classic weapons and shield are the extremely useful Stun weapons: they paralyze the hit segments for a few seconds, and are often vital to open a breach in the enemy defenses. The Decoy isn’t bad too, since it can divert some enemy fire.
The true “star” of Fraxy, however, is the editor. While its babelfish-ed English documentation doesn’t help too much, it is intuitive enough. Boss datafiles must be put in the /enemy subdirectoy. They are based on a modular structure, and built from a set of more than 80 pieces, graphically quite inspired by Gradius. From one base Core all the pieces are developed, other Cores included. Observing user creations, I noticed how you can create parts detached from the main body, small support ships, more or less mobile extension, and even parts that, after some pieces are destroyed, leave the boss and fight on their own. The possibilities are endless. There’s no music by deafault, but you can put mp3s in the /bgm subdirectory, just be sure they haven’t space in their filenames. There are even some missions (“Try”) created with a scripting language, but there are few be found on the Net, since they are much harder to create than the bosses, and the documentation doesn’t help.
The graphics, while nice, are marred by low resolution and an excessively zoomed-in view: often, you’ll have to resort to the radar to direct the attacks toward the bosses. Very complex bosses and a lot of graphical effects can cause notable slowdown. Some options would be better in-game than in the external setup, and some parts of the editor could be made better too, especially the piece selection. Finally, but this is not strictly related to the game itself, many user-made bosses lack balance: they are big, bad, and cool to see, but often cheap and frustrating, even in Free Play mode where you can continue as long as you like.
These flaws relegate Fraxy to a “rough gem”, yet still a shiny one. Updates have been constant (the latest version is dated August 25th), so we can hope for a gradual refinement. If there was way to alter the appearance of the pieces too, the expandibility would become limitless. It’s also an extremely small download, and additional bosses won’t take much more space: an average boss datafile takes usually less than 10 kilobytes. There’s much fun to have with just the Free Play -> Random mode.
Ah, Fraxy, Good times. Although I didn't get how to create a boss.
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Post by Gendo Ikari on Sept 9, 2008 6:32:07 GMT -5
Barkley, Shut Up And Jam: Gaiden
2041: the Great B-Ball Purge. The game is banned, almost all the players killed. 2053: Charles Barkley is one of the few surviving players, even if he was the cause of the Purge - he used a forbidden "Chaos Dunk" that caused great loss of lives. Now a shell of his former self, his son Hoopz is all he has left. However, destiny is coming for a big change... Ridicolous premise, right? And, face it, the story and dialogues are taken seriously, bringing the parody and campiness of the game to the extreme. Just to mention one, the events of Space Jam are an essential part of the backstory. And the save points are loquacious otaku gas pumps. I won't spoil anything more.
And what is the most incredibile thing? The game in itself is estremely good. From a first look at the screenshots, it seems to be RPG Maker, and originally it was, but the authors later moved on Game Maker, which allowed for better customization of the gameplay. The excellent battle system is inspired by the RPGs featuring Mario & Co., with most attacks based on consecutive and/or timed key presses; each character is completely different from the others, and the fights are a blast. There are no random encounters, but it also means it's better never win a fight with some fallen party member, or he'll permanently lose the opportunity of getting that experience.
The battles alone would already make the game solid, but there are also some optional sidequests and bosses, some situations have more than one solution to pass through, there are some Quick Time Events... A later section has just a couple of fights, and is structured more like an adventure game. In short, the game constantly succeeds in keeping the player's interest high.
Graphics are a mishmash of rips from 16 bit games (Balthios' sprite in battles is the guy from X-Kaliber, Hoopz's Sammy from Streets of Rage), RPG Maker resources, digitized faces and original stuff; sometimes the contrast is obviously jarring, but other screens look quite nice (the b-ball catacombs for example). Music is in MP3 format and is the main cause of the game's download size. Total play time is expected around 5-6 hours, but I found every single minute totally worth of the 62 megs download. The possible different outcomes of some situations call for a second play, I surely haven't found all the secrets, and upon completion I unlocked a truly bizarre extra. The ending is voluntarily left open for a planned sequel (this would be "Chapter 1 of the Hoopz Barkley Saga". Really, don't be fooled by appearance: I'd have never expected this to be one of the best free games I played in months!
Dawnspire has died and you reap the rewards...the creators have left the game to the community as they're no longer able to support it. This means that the game is no longer being charged for and accounts are free.
I have mentioned this in the past. It's basically a Capture the Flag game MMORPG styled system but soley PVP with no leveling. 16 players per game and it's actually great fun with friends/groups. High focus on teamwork and strategy.
Post by Gendo Ikari on Sept 16, 2008 15:00:56 GMT -5
The graphics of this shooter really catch the eye: they are in 3D, although the gameplay is kept into two dimensions. The backgrounds show often sparse detail and poor textures, but the quality of enemy design, animation, and graphical effects (notice the sparks generated by shots as they hit) make up for them; it looks like an early Dreamcast or PS2 title. The engine is quite scalable. Short non-interactive sequences create a nice sense of continuity between levels: the battle begins on Mars, then through a jumpgate and an enemy fleet, down to Earth to fight a Super-AI gone rogue in its underwater base. Bosses and sub-bosses are surely the best part of the game, both in graphics and gameplay: the Gatekeeper at the end of level 2 is awesome! Add a great soundtrack, with different themes for each level and boss.
Gameplay is equally good. You can put a weight on the key for the main shot, which is very fast, but most enemies are quite resistant. So, enter the secondary weapon: an energy globe that grows as you hold the button, and is launched when you release it. Devastating at maximum size, but not easy to direct, and the ship becomes slower as the button is held. Aside from some dashes of strategy, the controls leave an effective feeling of having a great yet unstable force at hand –mastering it is a real satisfaction.
The “Novice” difficult is not easy, but neither hardcore. You have only one credit to start, but you get one more for every new level reached, you can have more chances to go further during the next play, but only if you get actually better. There are only five short levels and the multi-stage final boss, but they are intense. Expert difficulty takes by surprise at first, because many enemies, especially smaller ones, show attacks not present in Novice difficulty. You can save a replay and watch it, in slow motion (shot button) or speeded up (special weapon button) too.
Given EndEffector’s quality, it didn’t surprise me to find that a commercial version exists in Japan, an enhanced remix called EndEffector#, sold at a budget price. It doesn’t detract, however, from the quality of this free version, worth of the 70+ megs of download.
It's been mentioned before in this thread, but Iji is pretty awesome; it's kind of a cross between System Shock, Blackthorne, and Prince of Persia. You're a nanotech-infused teenager, awakened in a future where aliens have invaded the Earth. As you try to force them off the planet and save the remainder of humanity, you can choose to follow the general paths of pacifisim (avoiding killing whenever possible) or aggression.
The action takes place over 10 pretty big levels- it's kind of like Turrican, if Turrican were good. Yeah, I went there.
The gameplay is more deliberate than many similar 2D action-platformers; in this respect, it's a lot more like Prince of Persia than a contra derivative. The music is really good; the graphics are okay given the price of entry, and have a bit of an Out of this World look to them. Here's the trailer, which pretty much says it all:
I also feel I should mention another old-ish game that doesn't get a lot of attention. Frenetic Plus is an arcade-y shooter about mechs fighting in space. You're probably picturing a scrolling shooter right now; it actually plays a little closer to an arcade-oriented FPS. You're given a series of 'missions' (which consist of a series of enemies that need to be destroyed); destroying enemies gives you money (CLAY in the game's parlance), which is used to buy weapon upgrades and new mechs. Destroying enemies without doing too much extra damage to them nets you more. A reasonable variety of powerups and weapons are available to fit different play styles.
The graphics and sound are very 16-bit-era, but they're both okay. There is a storyline involving the android warrior Mercen 505's mission to return to Earth- it's minimal, but I felt it was actually pretty good for what it was. It's all told in the form of EMails and journal entries by 505 herself and can be wholly ignored if you just want to blow some mobile suits out of the sky.
I really enjoyed the game, and it's definitely worth a try.