Posts Tagged ‘GOG’

Escape Goat Review

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Escape Goat Boxart

Developer: MagicalTimeBean
Publisher: MagicalTimeBean
Platform: PC – Desura, Direct, GOG*, Steam (Reviewed), Xbox 360 – XBLIG

Escape Goat is one of those games that has managed to evade me since it launched on Xbox Live Indie Games. Many took notice of it at the time, but for me, my interest in any XBLIG title was negatively colored by a few unfortunate experiences. Only now have I finally gotten to spend time with Escape Goat and can’t believe I passed on it for so long.

The game is a puzzle platformer, which in itself isn’t impressive anymore, but thankfully there is a lot that manages to set it apart from the zillion others out there. The first thing anyone is likely to notice is the purple goat. This is your character, of course! The goat can jump, double jump, and ram to speed up. This unusually colored goat teams up with a mouse which can travel on walls to trigger buttons from afar, or even teleport you under the right circumstances.

As the story begins, you realize that the goat and every other animal is stuck in the Prison of Agnus. All players need to know is that they’re going to go through a series of rooms to find sheep and save them. Once every (or most) animals are saved then our goat hero can finally escape. Overall, this grants a little over 50 solvable levels. There are even more difficult ones to complete after you beat the game as well.

Escape Goat Featured

Unlike most puzzle platformers, it actually feels like the majority of Escape Goat is actually solvable. This isn’t a slight against any other games. Generally, it’s hard for me to work through many puzzle games because they seem to be hard right from the start. But here it’s easy to grasp the concepts of buttons and switches and how to most effectively use your mouse friend. As new features are introduced, such as exploding barrels, you work them into your puzzle-solving knowledge and continue to move forward smoothly.

It might only take a few rounds of guess and check to figure out the solution to a stage, but sometimes the controls can muck up plans. Playing with the Xbox 360 gamepad is recommended and is what I did. With this setup, it seemed that the goat was not perfectly attuned with my thumbstick motions. The issue only became apparent on a few late stages where I was attempting to perform some speedy hoofwork.

For the most part though, everything about Escape Goat is lovely. The visuals are a very attractive pixel art style, the chiptune music is suitably excellent, and puzzles themselves are varied from stage to stage. Beating the main game only takes a couple of hours but once you’re done with that it’s fun to then jump into the extra hard stages or even try your hand at the stage editor. In any case, Escape Goat only costs $4.99 which actually seems cheap for the amount of puzzles provided. It also happens to be the best game featuring a purple goat out there – at least until Escape Goat 2 launches!

Score: 4.5

4 1/2 out of 5 alpacas

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Re-Volt Review

Re-Volt Featured

Re-Volt Boxart

Developer: Acclaim Studios Teesside
Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment, H2 Interactive
Platform: Android, Dreamcast, iOS, Nintendo 64, PC – GOG* (Reviewed), PlayStation 1

Over the years there have been copious amount of racing games across consoles and arcades. And yet, we’ve only rarely seen ones that put players in control of RC cars. The two biggest names to have done so are Re-Volt and the Micro Machines series, both of which have been absent from the most recent console generation. Unlike the latter, Re-Volt only ever got one game but it still managed to develop a following. It was important enough that fans even created a patch to make sure the game would continue to run on modern PCs. But is the game really that deserving of praise?

Despite having only just played this game from 1999 in 2013, it still manages to be a lot of fun. A large part of the fun comes from the fact that you’re racing RC cars. They look just like they should and are tiny against the stage. Instead of racing on well-known race tracks, these cars simply tear it up around the suburbs, market, museum, and the like. This helps Re-Volt have a very unique appearance against its contemporaries.

Cars themselves handle semi-finicky and are downright speedy. This precise control becomes more of an issue if you choose to play with a gamepad, unfortunately. If you encounter too much trouble racing with one then definitely shift to the keyboard. This was my issue because the controller made me over steer and lose races whereas the keyboard was far more manageable. Those who prefer can enable options to change the maximum speed of cars or how they react to crashes to make it an easier or harder racer.

Re-Volt Featured

If you like Mario Kart’s item system then you might even be more interested in this game. Items are scattered across the course and signified by lightning bolts. Once you drive over one, an item is revealed to you and ready for action. You can get bowling balls, oil slicks, firecrackers, and even bombs. It may be aping off an established concept but is utilized well. Thankfully, there are no blue shell analogues!

Even though Re-Volt is over 10 years old now it still looks lively and cute. Many early polygonal games look rough but it still looks just fine to me. This is helped in part by the fact that a fan patch (included with GOG copies) allows the game to run at modern resolutions and look great doing so. This is the main way in which the PC version shines over consoles since they’re locked at much smaller resolutions. In any case, it seems that the game would be wholly enjoyable however you access it.

Re-Volt is a pretty tough racer but it also has a lot of spirit. Check it out if you’re willing to lose your fair share of times before finally getting a hang of your favorite RC car. After racing a while, try your hand at designing some tracks or playing against a friend in multiplayer.

Score: 3

3 out of 5 alpacas

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Shadow Man Review

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Shadow Man Boxart

Developer: Acclaim Studios Teesside
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Platform: Console – Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 1 PC – GOG*, Steam (Reviewed)

The 90s were an incredible era for comic books. We were seeing creative new heroes hitting stands and one of those new names was Shadow Man. Launched in 1992, there was a time when the Shadow Man series sold more than longtime favorites such as Batman! Of course, with such popularity, it was only a matter of time before a video game was produced. The first game, Shadow Man, came in 1999.

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I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Review

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Featured

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Boxart

Developer: The Dreamers Guild
Publisher: Cyberdreams
Platform: PC – DOS, GOG*

During most of adventure gaming’s history there were many great titles released. The most popular tended to be from Lucas Arts and Sierra and often were comedic. Those looking for more “adult” fare were left with a much smaller library to choose from. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, based on a short story by Harlan Ellison, attempted to push that envelope when it launched in 1995.

The game is certainly strange. It focuses on a supercomputer by the name of AM which grew in power enough to ultimately take over the world. Humanity is all but demolished aside from five different individuals who AM has decided to hold captive for over 100 years. They basically stand as AM’s playthings, and are tortured continuously in the most painful ways specific to their psyches.

As the game begins, you are tasked with playing a new “game” that AM has come up with. One by one, each of the five must enter into a simulated world which has to do with their lives. There they must relieve past nightmares and overcome them. While some characters perpetrated great evils upon the world, others were victims. In particular, the story of Ellen was especially worrisome due to the triggers it may set off in some people.

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream Featured

It doesn’t appear that I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream commits any of the cardinal sins of adventure gaming but there are still some niggling issues. One is based around the control scheme which has players first select an action (look, use, talk, etc) and then click on an object. On a few occasions, there were times when an item had to be used in a way atypical from the rest. This was confusing and led to a lot of backtracking at times only to realize the simple error. Also, it feels a bit cumbersome to have to reach down to the functions and click them every time, but that’s thanks to changes in modern adventure games.

With those issues considered, it still isn’t a bad game. AM is one spiteful, cruel machine but it also has a weird sense of humor. The characters also stand as interesting when you uncover their lives through play. Backdrops, too, are incredibly well done. Adding in the voice acting, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is a really impressive adventure game overall which helps it overcome aged gameplay mechanics.

Score: 3.5

3 1/2 out of 5 alpacas

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Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller – Season One Review

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Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller Boxart

Developer: Phoenix Online Studios
Publisher: Phoenix Online Studios
Platform: Mobile – iOS, PC – GOG*, Steam, etc

Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller is an episodic point and click adventure series which just concluded its first season. It took Phoenix Online Studios about a year to pump out all four episodes, but now that it has concluded we can finally assess how the full product stands against adventure gaming competition.

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The Legend of Kyrandia Book One Review

The Legend of Kyrandia Featured

The Legend of Kyrandia Boxart

Developer: Westwood Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PC – GOG*
Review code provided

It’s a shame we don’t see more adventure games in the modern era. Before FPSes and 3D landscapes became de rigueur for games, the adventure genre flourished. Here was a genre that gave players a view of vast creative, beautiful, or even disturbing landscapes that they were free to explore! Many classics came from that era. The Legend of Kyrandia series is not one of the well-known highlights from that time, but instead stands as a hidden gem.

In The Legend of Kyrandia Book One you begin your journey unexpectedly. Your grandfather has just been turned to stone by the power-hungry jester Malcolm. As a young man named Brandon, you seek to get your grandfather back to normal. Along the way, you come across multiple citizens who point you in the right direction, usually alongside new puzzles.

Puzzles are the make or break aspect for most modern gamers who try out adventure titles. Most modern ones feature easier puzzles or hints, but The Legend of Kyrandia is hint system free! A handful of puzzles require you to cycle through multiple attempts to figure out the proper solution. However, you can save at any point so it’s not very painful to retry puzzles. And unlike some games, you can never be stranded without a necessary item later on. No matter what, items will respawn if destroyed or you can backtrack to find them again.

The Legend of Kyrandia Featured

With that said, there are aspects of the game that are pretty hard to figure out without help. If you pick up the GOG release it comes with a PDF of the old Prima strategy guide. Although it doesn’t give you a point by point breakdown, it does showcase all solutions. It’s pretty handy, although many online guides exist too, such as this excellent one.

The game is not quite as fanciful as others of the time period, and it shows. For example, there are multiple areas to explore, but their forests are visually identical. Brandon even makes a remark about this. Funny as it may be, it doesn’t help the player to differentiate the landscape. Basically, you’ll need to create a map or use one someone else has drafted.

The Legend of Kyrandia Book One is a short and sweet adventure game with creative puzzles. When it comes right down to it, those are all the requirements needed to make an acceptable adventure game. It deserves some credit for never leaving a player without all required items, but isn’t quite as inspired as other titles. If you’re an adventure lover who has played all the big names but missed out on Kyrandia then go give it a shot!

Score: 2.5

2 1/2 out of 5 alpacas

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Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Review

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Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Boxart

Developer: The Chinese Room
Publisher: Frictional Games
Platform: PC – GOG*, Steam

In my opinion, Amnesia: The Dark Descent spurred a resurgence in horror games when it launched in 2010. There had been games where you were weaponless and pursued by monstrous beings before, but this one hit it big. Frictional Games became far more well known than they had been with their entire Penumbra series and we still see the results of Amnesia’s popularity today.

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