Post by Gendo Ikari on Jan 30, 2010 15:04:23 GMT -5
Neverball is based on the concept of some old prize machines for arcades and theme parks: tilt a board carefully to make a ball roll to the exit (early PS1 game Tama springs to my mind, and Cameltry can be considered a 2D rendition of the concept). Each board has a time limit and a set number of coins to collect in order to unlock the exit. Not only there are dozens of levels - and a few alternate balls, among them a Sootsprite from Spirited Away! - available in the current version, but the installer also contains Neverputt, a minigolf game for one to four players based on the same engine, which in turn has several courses with lots of holes.
Virtual U is, as far as I know, the only game about managing an American university campus. Programmed by Trevor Chang (Capitalism Plus, Seven Kingdoms), it's extremely complex and, personally, I recommend it only to fans of the genre.
Tetanus on Drugs is, as the author puts it, Tetris played under LSD. The game is absolutely classic, without particular variations on the classic gameplay, but extremely trippy (never was the term more appropriate) graphical effects make the task difficult. Better than it sounds.
Post by Gendo Ikari on Jan 31, 2010 14:32:13 GMT -5
Freedroid is a retro-remake of Paradroid whose last update dates back to 2003; however, it has spawned a much bigger and ambitious project in the form of FreedroidRPG, an isometric action-rpg whose main character is a Tux penguin fighting in a world overrun by crazy robots (no joke, the story is quite absurd especially considering the semi-serious tone); aside from the usual weapons and items, his main ability is the hacking of robots to reprogram them as allies, the takeover is attempted with a minigame that's the same as in the original. Graphics could be better - there's an overall "plastic" look and occasional flickering problems - but the game is well worth a try and, from the little I've played so far, challenging even at the lowest difficulty. I had fun hacking some bots and making them attack the ohers while attracting their "aggro". Development is still underway, as the latest version has been released on January 21.
Lethal Application (scroll down the homepage to find the download links) is a doujin game recently released as freeware, a bizarre shooter with some platforming elements. The player character cannot jump, but her gun has a recoil so strong, it can literally make her fly. The game is built around this, simple in concept yet difficult to master completely. Levels are developed vertically with the exit at the top, while an electric barrier slowly rises from the bottom. Fun and original.
CnC Darkside was a Japanese developer with a penchant for absurd fusions - and they are all good if not great games!
Super Mario XP is a darker Super Mario Bros with music and several elements from Castlevania thrown in. Mario doesn't get small if hit but loses energy, replenished by mushrooms; hearts are consumed to use the three weapons (fire, hammer and boomerang cross); Mario doesn't run but can make higher jumps. Controls are Shift (jump), CTRL (weapon) and Z (if you have the cross and at least 20 hearts, item crash). I found the level design to be very good, fun bosses and decent challenge. A boss rush mode is unlocked after completing the game.
G-Type is the developer's magnum opus, a fusion of the SNES episodes of Gradius and R-Type. The ship is the R9 Arrowhead, complete with beam and pod, but the power-up system and pre-level phases are like Gradius and there are two options (but only for protection). Enemies and stages come from both (there's even a serpent boss within a Moai head), with a guest appearance from Gradius Twin. Graphics are ripped but used with surprisng consistency. There are only five levels, but most of them change completely between difficulty levels (only Easy is availale at the start), bringing the total to at least ten; and if you set the difficulty to Hard and exit and enter the options screen a few times, you'll unlock an hellish boss rush mode. Not to be missed. Tip: use the autofire (V key) in some tight places, to avoid crashing on a wall because of the beam's recoil. Fun fact: there was an 8-bit music pack available for a short time (I jealously keep it).
GF Captor Kurara [no realiable source found; try googling the title] is the weirdest: a Metroidvania with the characters of Card Captor Sakura (who wields a lethal boomerang-blade) in an horror version of their school, and songs from Initial D as background music. It is over in a few hours, a bit too easy (when all the lives are finished, you restart from the last save point with a full replenishment), and the graphics are minuscule, but fun bosses and the absolute crazyness make up for these flaws. It also comes with four minigames: two are useless, one is nice, and the single-level shooter with Kero-chan is great.
CnC's last game was Daimakaimura EXCEED, a remake of Ghosts 'n' Goblins with ugly graphics but two game modes: one is more or less faithful to the original, although Arthur can take three hits and make a double jump; the titular EXCEED mode consists of completely new and non-linear levels (there are even some keys to recover), and bosses apparently taken from Castlevania.
Post by Gendo Ikari on Feb 1, 2010 15:00:39 GMT -5
I'm digging out games I first played in '02-'03. Several of their sites disappeared in the meantime, but others are stll alive and to my surprise, a few are still updated. Since some are within genres I don't particularly like, or I had never the chance to play them extensively, I'll limit myself to quick links. Here's some.
Space Paranoids - a rendition of the game of the same name seen at the beginning of Tron.
Shadowflare - a Diablo clone released in fout episodes. The First one is freeware.
Thugs - turn-based strategy game based on clashes between urban gangs. Nice but very simplistic and limited.
Warlords 1 e 2 ("download" section) - The first two episodes of the turn-based (the Battlecry sub-saga doesn't count) fantasy strategy games saga.
Lord Monarch - snack-sized strategy game by Falcom. Like Vantage Master, it has been translated and released for free.
Duck Mr Duck - very old DOS clone of Worms, lacks single player. The titular ducks can fly and swim - the possibilities on the gameplay could have been interesting if better developed, but a planned sequel (Duck 2 Survive) never saw the light.
Ys Flight Simulation System - Flight simulator that's been in development for over a decade, available also for Linux, and a Mac version is in development. Very dated graphics but the game is solid and has a nice community of fansites with additional material.
Traffic Department 2192 (roughly at the bottom of the page, where you can find several other formerly shareware games) is and old DOS game, originally published by Safari Software and liberated in 2007. It is a basic top-view, mission-based shooter taking place in only a few maps spanning the three episodes. It's generally easy, with the exception of escort missions, where the stupidity of the escortees makes more convenient to anticipate the enemies as they enter the map. What makes it special, however, are the long and text-heavy cutscenes telling the story of Lt. Marta Velasquez, an _extremely_ angry (and she gets worse!) female officer living in a very bleak and depressing future. It's surely full of cliches, relies too much on swearing sometimes, and the ending appears rushed (so much that the third episode has 19 missions but they are still counted "X of 20"), but it manages to be positively gripping at times, elevating the game from mediocrity.
Shoujo Attack is a clone of Lemmings with the titular shoujos (anime girls) in place of the green-haired creatures. Their lack of sense of self-preservation, however, is exactly the same. It's up to the player to assign them abilities in the right spots of the screen, so that they clear a way to safety for the others. Some abilities are the same as Lemmings, just with cosmetic differencies, others are more original variations (see Airhead and Mecha). Graphics are functional and the shoujos are just small bunches of pixels, but are nicely animated. About 80 levels available, broken into "channels" to unlock.
Post by Gendo Ikari on Feb 7, 2010 13:35:58 GMT -5
Noctis IV is a simulation of space exploration. No action, no goals beside exploring a galaxy of 100 billion stars and countless planets and satellites; you can give them names and leave notes which can be submitted and become part of the game's starmap. Interestingly, several functions are achieved through an in-game terminal with command lines. The interface is very clumsy and takes time to assimilate. No sound, but the 3D graphics are very simple yet extremely effective and fascinating at times; the entire galaxy fits into just a few hundred kilobytes of data. Given the deserved success Noctis IV enjoyed in the early 2000s thanks to publicity from Home of the Underdogs, the author announced Noctis V, a sequel with improved interface, more functions and Windows-native code. Unfortunately, while N4's starmap is stll updated and its source codes available (there are a couple of ports), N5 is yet to be released, making it possibily the worst case of vaporware in indie gaming - although, by now, the project could be simply dead. Two hints: to explore a surface without fear of getting lost, exit (progress is resumed automatically as you re-enter the game, and time goes on) and delete a file called surface.bin in one of the subfolders; as you return in the game, you'll be back aboard the ship. Also, as you start, immediately reach a S11 star to harvest lithium, so to have a good reserve for several voyages.
Mission Missyo (download) is a fun action/puzzle hybrid in the vein of Lost Vikings. Three ninjas must collect all the scrolls in every screen; each one has a different ability (running, floating and incorporeity) but they consume the same shared bar, which recharges when they are not used. The game's in Japanese but very intuitive: the ninjas are associated to the Z, X, and C keys, one press to take control of one, another to use his ability. The very first screens are easy but difficulty rises up quickly, with several enemies swarming the screen and few safe spots.
Battle of Yavin and Battle of Endor are fangames of Star Wars, putting the player as Luke and some other X-Wing pilotduring the two historical battles of the classic trilogy. The first gameplay phases consist of shooting down TIEs before going for the trench run / super star destroyer. Both difficult and the 3D models are simple, but the atmosphere is rendered quite nicely. There's a Tron mod for BoY, a Battle of Cardassia (from Star Trek DS9) mod for BoE, and a graphics and sound update for both.
Crazy Cross, from some Digipen students, is an affectionate parody of console RPGs, especially Final Fantasy 8. The graphics are extremely inconsistent (often voluntarily, it seems) and the game is short, with only a few types of enemies to battle and a couple of points where grinding is required to go on. However, the sheer number of more-or-less explicit references to anime and other games, some fourth-wall breaking moments (it pokes fun at the badness of his own graphics at some point), crazy dialogues (fully voiced), bizarre character abilities, and the absurd FMVs, make Crazy Cross a very pleasant experience for the 5-6 hours it lasts.
Post by Gendo Ikari on Feb 14, 2010 10:45:21 GMT -5
In the vein of Sumotori I present Toribash, a physics and turn based fighting game. Each joint of the player's puppet has four commands, plus the option of having the hands in grab mode or not; after setting them (a shadow projection shows the result, but it doesn't take the impact with the opponent into consideration) and ending the turn, a set number of frames plays, and the process is repeated until the opponents are completely unable to move; who scores more points damaging the other wins. Simple in concept, extremely complex to master, sometimes with outstanding results - just watch some of the replays included (ripping out and launching you own head for massive damage is the best). Online mode is even better, with only a limited time to plan every turn. While there are several extras to be purchased, sometimes decorative, sometimes affecting gameplay (acid blood for example), the basic game has still more than enough content, with lots of replays and basic mods.
Atomic Butcher is a platform set in a post-apocalyptic future. The titular character has radioactive urine as his main weapon. Yes, you read it right. Despite the premise, inconsistent quality of graphics (some details are grim and gritty and others more cartoonish), and a control scheme that could have used a configuration tool, the game is actually very challenging and offers expansive levels - some may find them even too large.
Post by Gendo Ikari on Feb 15, 2010 13:49:45 GMT -5
Starting from Command & Conquer 3, EA has taken the good habit (also a great promotion tool, which doesn't hurt) of releasing a classic episode of the series for free download when a new one is approaching. After C&C and Red Alert, it's the turn of Tiberian Sun and its expansion Firestorm!
Post by Gendo Ikari on Feb 17, 2010 8:34:50 GMT -5
SEEP (Sergio ed Enrico Productions) is an Italian duo dedicated mostly to fangames and specifically games made with the Beats of Rage engine (plus a couple of RPG Maker productions, but they are in Italian only). While their earlier productions are forgettable, starting from the decent Fatal Fury Re-Bout (a retelling of the very first game of the series in scrolling beat-em-up form) and with the introduction of OpenBoR, a modified version of the engine which allows for more modes, four-player multiplay and larger movesets for the character, they have gotten better. Golden Axe Genesis uses an excuse plot involving time paradoxes and a literal personality split to put up a big roster which includes both versions of the original trio, a good Death Adder and even Alex; it also has branching paths and a game mode which replicates the original levels. Ryuko no Ken Nekketsu is a mad fusion between Art of Fighting and River City Ransom, with the characters of SNK's trilogy drawn in the style of the latter. Graphics and sound are mostly original, the roster consists of over 20 characters and each has its own set of moves. There's even a Wii version, although quite limited in repsect to the PC one. These games have some hilariously bad english, I don't know if it's deliberate (to keep in the spirit of the frequent Engrish in SNK games) or the makers' bad grasp of the language. Also available are a sequel to FF Re-Bout and, most recently, P.O.W. 20th Anniversary, which includes both a close reproduction of the original game and a modern remake.
I'm bumping this thread to post about Anna Anthropy's latest game Redder. It's a fun exploration based platformer where you play a space pilot whose ship has run out of energy. You are then forced to land on an alien planet and collect 24 energy crystals. The game has a visual style reminiscent of NES era platformers and features a catchy chiptune that vaguely reminds me of Unreal's soundtrack.
Unique to the game is the block shifting mechanic. There are two kinds of special blocks: red and green, with only one color block being active at one time. There are switches all about the world that shift the dominant block color to open up new areas and create platforms for moving about. It's pretty challenging, and should take you about an 1 hour to fully complete.
Spoilers:You'll probably notice in the intro that there are slots for 27 crystals, but only 24 of them are filled in. There is a good reason for this: around the time you collect about half of the crystals, the game pulls an Eversion and becomes more "corrupt" as you go along. You might think, as I did, that the game is glitching out, but you quickly learn it's intentional. By the time you get the 24 crystals you need, the game has become an almost unplayable mess of randomly changing tiles and garbage.
However, if you soldier on and try and collect all 27 crystals, the game world will "warp" from an 8-bit platformer to something resembling an Atari 2600 game with solid blocks of color. You then make it back to your ship, which is now a colorful, flashing rectangle and fly away. There is both an achievement for beating the game with 24 and 27 crystals, as well as a finding secret areas and filling out the entire map. I'm not sure how different the 24 crystal ending is, so it might be worth another play through.End Spoilers
Screenshots would go a long way toward people actually playing these, I think. There are a lot of links and a lot of text, but very little that's instantly appealing, here. There's so many little articles and links I don't even want to bother checking any of them :[