An old-fashioned game save

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Beware Planet Earth (PC): COMPLETED!

I continued playing this again a few days ago having “paused” almost exactly a year ago. I think I’d struggled on a level and lost interest, but it is actually a very good tower defence game. I resumed it part way through Autumn (the game is split into four chapters, one for each season), and quickly progressed to Winter, where I ran into difficulty.

Beware Planet Earth

It’s just so damn hard. In the final season, you have to deal with your weapons freezing, and although you get an item to help negate this later on, it’s not cheap and uses up precious space on the map. Eventually though, I made it to the end boss who was surprisingly simple – or not surprisingly, considering a power-up you’re given right at the end.

I can definitely recommend Beware Planet Earth, especially if you like this sort of game. And it has a toilet in it, so what more can you want?

Click to view slideshow.

The post Beware Planet Earth (PC): COMPLETED! appeared first on deKay's Gaming Diary.

Sonic Generations: hitting walls

Oddly enough, although I wrote at length about my experiences with the 3DS game, I don't appear to have written about the Xbox 360 version which I played at pretty much the same time.  I didn't complete it though; of the nine main stages of the game I had completed both acts of six and played through the 2D parts of the remaining three.  I've no idea why I stopped.

With the launch of TrueSteamAchievements, I was able to register and see which games I own but have hardly played on Steam. Most of them, it turns out. One of the more interesting pages is 'My Easy Achievements' which lists those achievements I've not yet won which most people who own the games in question have. This list was topped by the achievement for completing the first Act in Sonic Generations. I have absolutely no idea when I bought the game on Steam, though I won't have paid much for it.

Anyway, suitably shamed, I loaded the game on my work PC - no Mac version, it seems - and played through both Acts of the Green Hill Zone. That took some effort; the game juddered and slowed in the resolution it recommended, and then looked ugly and in the wrong aspect ratio when I tried to change that. Why was I struggling through it when I had a perfectly accessible console version?

No, I didn't know either. And that, in a roundabout way, is why I loaded up Sonic Generations on my Xbox 360.

I'm glad I did. This is a good Sonic game - particularly the 2D sections, although most of the 3D Acts are fun as well. The only real problem is that the controls feel a little imprecise at times, which I think is down to using the analogue stick (with its length of travel) over digital pads. Turning in the air to avoid spikes can take a fraction of a second too long, and occasionally I can't steer Sonic away from the walls that jut out into the 3D levels.



I played through the second Acts of Crisis City, Rooftop Run, and Planet Wisp, with a number of lives lost due to me trying to hurry through the levels. It's easy to forget that even in the original Mega Drive games you had to take the later stages somewhat slower. There's a boss battle next, but first I've got to unlock it by completing three challenges - special requirements within existing levels. What a faff. 
 

Switchblade: exploring the caves

Switchblade was always touted as one of the great games on the GX4000, using the power of the console over the standard CPC version and benefiting from instant loading.  Given the size of the map, that's not surprising; the disk version certainly seems to chug regularly.  Despite having owned it for many years, I've never given it a proper go beyond making sure that the cartridge worked.  Over the Christmas holidays I had some time to rectify that.


The first thing I was surprised about was the accuracy of controls. When playing many 8-bit games, there's a noticeable lag in inputs, and games are often designed to allow for this.  Some games did this better than others - Titus the Fox, for example, allowed a bit of leeway in jumping.  That's not the case here, but the response to inputs is instant, making you feel much more in control.


The second thing I noticed, after playing for a while, is how complex the game is.  It's packed with puzzles, in terms of finding new rooms, finding ways to attack enemies without taking damage, and exploration.  I originally thought that the fact that enemies can't attack you while you're standing on a crate was a limitation of the game, but in many cases it's the very basis of the puzzle.

That's not to say that the game isn't an action-based title.  I've not completed it yet, because the five lives you start with don't last long when you're being attacked.  I shall try again, though - each time I play I get a bit further.  I may need map paper soon though ...

Meanwhile, I loaded up an emulator to take some screenshots, and took the opportunity to compare the GX4000 game to the CPC version.  As I said above, the disk version seems to chug a bit more, which may be loading, but the main difference is the visuals.  Look at them, it's an astounding change.



(GX4000 is the top, standard CPC is the bottom.)

Switchblade: exploring the caves

Switchblade was always touted as one of the great games on the GX4000, using the power of the console over the standard CPC version and benefiting from instant loading.  Given the size of the map, that's not surprising; the disk version certainly seems to chug regularly.  Despite having owned it for many years, I've never given it a proper go beyond making sure that the cartridge worked.  Over the Christmas holidays I had some time to rectify that.


The first thing I was surprised about was the accuracy of controls. When playing many 8-bit games, there's a noticeable lag in inputs, and games are often designed to allow for this.  Some games did this better than others - Titus the Fox, for example, allowed a bit of leeway in jumping.  That's not the case here, but the response to inputs is instant, making you feel much more in control.


The second thing I noticed, after playing for a while, is how complex the game is.  It's packed with puzzles, in terms of finding new rooms, finding ways to attack enemies without taking damage, and exploration.  I originally thought that the fact that enemies can't attack you while you're standing on a crate was a limitation of the game, but in many cases it's the very basis of the puzzle.

That's not to say that the game isn't an action-based title.  I've not completed it yet, because the five lives you start with don't last long when you're being attacked.  I shall try again, though - each time I play I get a bit further.  I may need map paper soon though ...

Meanwhile, I loaded up an emulator to take some screenshots, and took the opportunity to compare the GX4000 game to the CPC version.  As I said above, the disk version seems to chug a bit more, which may be loading, but the main difference is the visuals.  Look at them, it's an astounding change.



(GX4000 is the top, standard CPC is the bottom.)

The Stanley Parable: completed!

The Stanley Parable is an odd narrative game, where you are effectively given instructions by the narrator.  As an office worker, you suddenly realise that everyone else has disappeared, and it feels that the point of the game is to understand why.  If it were a traditional game, that would be the case.

The game is most fun, or rather funny, when not following instructions.  I didn't know that, of course, and my first play through I did what the narrator told me was going to happen, with one exception - I went down a corridor marked as certain death, and only turned around at the end when I realised they weren't joking.

I found the boss's office, I found the secret passageway, I went through and completed the game.  That wasn't the end, though.




On my second game, I turned left when I was told right, and ended up backstage.  I found myself eventually in some sort of museum with maps of the game and concept sketches.  I tried again and the game was reset by the narrator.  I found an odd subgame where I was pretending to be at home with a mannequin.




I saw a lot of office buildings and the central control room, many times.




I escaped a few times.


I got trapped in a room once, when the narrator decided that he was fed up with my excursions and told me that I had won the game.



I was given a helpful hint on where to go.




And I don't think I've seen it all yet, but it'll have to wait for another day.  I suspect that I shall put this on the TV and show Justine at some point, and maybe she'll want to experiment as well.


I wonder which ending she'll get.

The Stanley Parable: completed!

The Stanley Parable is an odd narrative game, where you are effectively given instructions by the narrator.  As an office worker, you suddenly realise that everyone else has disappeared, and it feels that the point of the game is to understand why.  If it were a traditional game, that would be the case.

The game is most fun, or rather funny, when not following instructions.  I didn't know that, of course, and my first play through I did what the narrator told me was going to happen, with one exception - I went down a corridor marked as certain death, and only turned around at the end when I realised they weren't joking.

I found the boss's office, I found the secret passageway, I went through and completed the game.  That wasn't the end, though.




On my second game, I turned left when I was told right, and ended up backstage.  I found myself eventually in some sort of museum with maps of the game and concept sketches.  I tried again and the game was reset by the narrator.  I found an odd subgame where I was pretending to be at home with a mannequin.




I saw a lot of office buildings and the central control room, many times.




I escaped a few times.


I got trapped in a room once, when the narrator decided that he was fed up with my excursions and told me that I had won the game.



I was given a helpful hint on where to go.




And I don't think I've seen it all yet, but it'll have to wait for another day.  I suspect that I shall put this on the TV and show Justine at some point, and maybe she'll want to experiment as well.


I wonder which ending she'll get.

Gone Home (PC): COMPLETED!

2015-10-26_00007Gone Home, the game I kept writing “Grow Home” as over and over again, was in my Steam wishlist ever since I completed Dear Esther. Then, one day not so long ago, it was on sale and when I went to buy it, I discovered I’d owned it for months. Tch, eh?

Like Dear Esther, you walk around and discover what’s going on by reading things and looking at things. Gone Home includes minor puzzle elements, but for the most part, you’re exploring a slightly spooky house during a thunderstorm reading notes and letters left strewn around the rooms. The plot goes that you’re returning home after a backpacking trip round Europe, to a house left to your father by his “psychopath” Uncle. Only your family have vanished.

2015-10-26_00010Reading journal scraps and messages left by your sister, you uncover secret rooms and compartments in the house; catching up with her explorations through her kept record of what she’s found. There’s a suggestion Uncle Oscar is haunting the house, and all was not well in the bedroom between your father and mother. No doubt her new job, with long hours, and his failed novels have contributed to this.

2015-10-26_00020Eventually, you discover what has happened to your sister, but nothing conclusive about the rest of your family is shown. At least, I couldn’t find it if there was something. It’s a massive spoiler, but here’s what I think has happened:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Anyway. It wasn’t as good as Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (but then, very little is), it was perhaps on a par with Dear Esther, and waaay better than Proteus.

Here’s my full (and so spoiler-filled) complete playthrough:

The post Gone Home (PC): COMPLETED! appeared first on deKay's Gaming Diary.

Things I’ve been playing recently

Been a while since I did a roundup, so this covers several weeks…

Stan_Lee_is_a_bloody_liabilityLego Marvel Super Heroes (Wii U)

My daughter and I completed this some time ago, but the post game mop-up is huuuuge. Not only is there the usual Free Play of levels, but there are loads of other smaller levels you unlock, and hundreds of events around the world map. We’ve 230/250 gold bricks now, so the end is in sight.

LEGO® Jurassic World™ Demo_20151003154452Lego Jurassic World Demo (PS4)

Oh god I think we need to get this. We’ll probably get the Wii U version though, because co-op screen-each play is the way to go on Lego games. I know the PS4 version looks better, but screen-each!

WVW69iYicg80ANCGpGPuzzle & Dragons Z (3DS)

Slow going on this. I only do a single level every now and again, so although I’m getting there, it’s taking a while. I am enjoying it, though!

_t__PS4share_httpt.coZ6fVvHoVayThe Pinball Arcade (PS4)

Picked this up when it was on sale. It’s not something you can complete, but it’s pretty good. I got the first two “seasons” cheap, and although some are recycled from Gottleib Pinball on the Wii, it’s enjoyable. Some more than others, of course. One thing which is annoying, however, is that your users on your PS4 can’t share leaderboards, making the leaderboards essentially useless.

Pix the Cat_20151004141202Pix the Cat (PS4)

Saw this described as Chu Chu Rocket x Pac Man Championship Edition, but it’s not quite that close. In fact, the main arcade mode isn’t really interesting me and I was pretty disappointed… but Nostalgia Mode? Bloody awesome. It’s more puzzle based, and a lot of fun. So mainly I’ve been playing that.

Uncrowded (PC)

Some sort of Minecraft looking but more survival based game. Which appears to literally be a reskin of some Unity asset pack demo game released as a “new” title. Cheeky. And utter tripe.

The post Things I’ve been playing recently appeared first on deKay's Gaming Diary.

Things I’ve been playing recently

Been a while since I did a roundup, so this covers several weeks…

Stan_Lee_is_a_bloody_liabilityLego Marvel Super Heroes (Wii U)

My daughter and I completed this some time ago, but the post game mop-up is huuuuge. Not only is there the usual Free Play of levels, but there are loads of other smaller levels you unlock, and hundreds of events around the world map. We’ve 230/250 gold bricks now, so the end is in sight.

LEGO® Jurassic World™ Demo_20151003154452Lego Jurassic World Demo (PS4)

Oh god I think we need to get this. We’ll probably get the Wii U version though, because co-op screen-each play is the way to go on Lego games. I know the PS4 version looks better, but screen-each!

WVW69iYicg80ANCGpGPuzzle & Dragons Z (3DS)

Slow going on this. I only do a single level every now and again, so although I’m getting there, it’s taking a while. I am enjoying it, though!

_t__PS4share_httpt.coZ6fVvHoVayThe Pinball Arcade (PS4)

Picked this up when it was on sale. It’s not something you can complete, but it’s pretty good. I got the first two “seasons” cheap, and although some are recycled from Gottleib Pinball on the Wii, it’s enjoyable. Some more than others, of course. One thing which is annoying, however, is that your users on your PS4 can’t share leaderboards, making the leaderboards essentially useless.

Pix the Cat_20151004141202Pix the Cat (PS4)

Saw this described as Chu Chu Rocket x Pac Man Championship Edition, but it’s not quite that close. In fact, the main arcade mode isn’t really interesting me and I was pretty disappointed… but Nostalgia Mode? Bloody awesome. It’s more puzzle based, and a lot of fun. So mainly I’ve been playing that.

Uncrowded (PC)

Some sort of Minecraft looking but more survival based game. Which appears to literally be a reskin of some Unity asset pack demo game released as a “new” title. Cheeky. And utter tripe.

The post Things I’ve been playing recently appeared first on deKay's Gaming Diary.