Posts Tagged ‘Steam’

Worms Crazy Golf

October 28, 2011

Worms Crazy Golf

 Developer: Team 17

Publisher: Team 17

Players: 1-4

Available On: PC, PS3, iPad, iPhone

Ah, Worms. It  brings back so many great memories of playing the original on my Amiga; the big box with the funky art work, the 3 disks, the black code book for the copy protection, making a load of teams with funny names and characters – ‘Aliens’ was my favourite, with Hicks, Hudson, Ripley, Kane etc in all their Wormy awesomeness. (Get on with it – Ed)

Apologies, it’s why I like reviewing retro games…

This game is in fact the latest release from Team 17, Worms Crazy Golf, which has taken the great Worms concept and added a sporting theme (who would have thought?). Worms Crazy Golf is a fun deviation from the usual Worms format. Instead of the usual war like destruction between a number of teams you take control of a single Worm and play your way through 18 holes of golf. The game retains the familiar Worms design and landscapes but introduces a different style of game play, whilst doing its utmost to keep in the general mayhem and craziness associated with previous Worms games. There are four courses to play; Britannia, Pirate Cavern, Graveyard and Carnival, each with their own unique set of level design, characters and pitfalls.

The game begins with setting up your Worm golfer, including name, voice and other customisations, with more to be unlocked as you progress through the game, such as a range of customisable clubs and hats. Starting a single player game, and choosing career, you are able to choose from Britannia or Carnival, all with a massive 18 holes to play on each course. The courses start off easy to allow the player to get used to the controls, the game then introduce more and more unique abilities and power ups needed in order to solve levels further down the line. Abilities such as; swerving the ball in midair, using a parachute to float your ball down and into position and an array of switches, cannons and shortcuts scattered across the landscape. The initial controls are simple; a power bar dictates the strength of your swing and a trail line to show where the shot is being aimed, some levels feature ‘wind’ so shots (like the bazooka) can be curved. The additional controls are introduced gently and make the course more challenging and more interesting than your average pitch and putt.

The game is simple and fun however, even on easy you must make par or better to unlock the next hole otherwise you cannot progress. A few times I had wished for a ‘restart hole’ feature to crop up, as when you realise you are not going to make par you still have to finish the hole knowing it won’t unlock the next one, which can be a little frustrating. Having played more than a few hours of this it was the only drawback I could find – the graphics are superb and I believe Team 17 excels when it comes to making great looking games. The landscapes are beautifully designed and extremely colourful. The Worms characters are distinct amongst the landscape, as are all the other characters to be found, including a few old favourites, with exploding sheep, old ladies, and odd disgruntled gardeners. These characters can be a help or a hindrance when it comes to playing a shot, but it also adds to the randomness and great humour of the game.

The sound effects are much the same as in previous Worms games, the humour is on top form and adding personality in the voices is still a great feature (I loved Scottish from the original). Most of the sound effects come hand in hand with the environment, whether it is firing your ball from a cannon or scoring a hole in one. The music is a nice background element but nothing outstanding. It seems like Team 17 sat around a table and thought what would the Worms be doing on a Sunday afternoon, taking some time out from the mayhem to relax?

It seems the answer is here. I loved playing this game, fun and simple with plenty of bonuses and customisation to keep the playability going long after you’ve finished the courses, with plenty of scope for an expansion or two. In single player mode there are trophies to collect, and a range of challenges including the familiar Time Attack and Chip In games, the game also includes multiplayer, something I’ll be exploring once I’ve finished the single player career (bring on the pirating). A brilliant addition to the Worms franchise, a sporting triumph and challenging in places but with all the humour and randomness that makes the Worms games so popular.

Below is a few of the features available in the game, as listed on the awesome Team 17 website, including the games original blurb, which sums this game up beautifully. Please visit the site for more information on Worms games available as well as the awesome Alien Breed.

Worms Crazy Golf is a hilarious mixture of the explosive action of Worms and the puzzle-based challenges of crazy golf! All of the trademark Worms humour, comic violence, and cartoon visuals are present, combined with addictive yet accessible golf gameplay. With extensive and replayable single-player options, and hot-seat multi-player for up to 4 players, this is not just a load of balls!

Game Features:

EXTENSIVE SINGLE-PLAYER CONTENT:  Single-player career mode – x3 18-hole courses – Britannia, Pirate Cavern and Graveyard, with Steam Achievements. Single-player challenge mode – x15 challenges with leaderboards.

LOCAL MULTI-PLAYER ACTION: Hot-seat multi-player for up to 4 players.

HIGHLY REPLAYABLE PUZZLE-BASED GAMEPLAY: Crazy golf! Navigate the hilarious, and increasingly challenging, holes in unique ways with interactive objects, utilities and ball spin.

WORMS HUMOUR AND CHARACTERS:  Worms humour! Exploding sheep, teleports, ball-whacking Old Women, ball-stealing moles, mines, magnets and even new bats!

CRAZY CUSTOMISATION: Customise the name, hat, club, speech and balls of your worm, and earn in-game cash to unlock even more customisation options.

http://uberflash.deviantart.com/art/Worm-Tribute-119056940

Worms Tribute by uberflash

For some more Worms reviews, and some video of the actual gameplay, take a look at the video below from Ginx TV, which includes Worms Crazy Golf gameplay footage and interviews with the guys at Team 17.

Picture above drawn by uberflash on deviantART, link here!

Team 17 website.

 

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PC Classic Review: Jedi Academy

January 31, 2010

Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy

Released: Sep 2003 (PC)

Developer: Raven Software

Publisher: LucasArts & Activision

Genre: 1st/3rd Person Action Shooter

Decided to dust off this title and see who still played it online, I was surprised to see quite a few people still do so I thought why not play through from start to finish. By the time I gotten to my favourite part of the game (choosing between the light path and the dark path) I realised I’d never actually completed the ‘light path’ version of the storyline. All done but I still prefer the dark side ending. Either way I realised how well this game has lasted for its age, the game play is still as fun and exciting and the lightsaber combat second to none. I’m still in awe of the amount of customisation you were able to do (back in the day of course) on your character in a game that is a first/third-person shooter and not an RPG. It was developed by Raven Software and published, distributed and marketed by LucasArts in North America and by Activision in the rest of the world.

You play as Jaden Korr, (a character you can customise to be male/female, human, twi’lek etc) a padawan who is travelling to Luke Skywalker’s jedi academy on Yavin IV, along with other new jedi hopefuls. Kyle Katarn, (the reluctant jedi you played as in Jedi Outcast) returns as a mentor at the Academy and becomes your master. However your ship is attacked and crashes into the planet, leaving Jaden and one other student, Rosh Penin, to make their way to the academy on foot. The storyline revolves around solving several questions related to this attack at the start of the game. From here you take on several missions, mostly with Kyle to begin with to find these answers and soon discover that a dark jedi called Tavion (Dessans apprentice in Jedi Outcast) is behind the attacks. Tavion is attempting to resurrect the spirit of dark sith lord Marka Ragnos by using his sceptre to drain dark force energy from locations across the galaxy. On each subsequent mission after the training you set about finding out more about the cult, battling with dark jedi, the remnant and a few bounty hunters along the way.

The options of customising your character does not end at physical appearance, you are able to specialise and train in a selection of different force abilities, light and dark. You start out with eight core force powers; pull, push etc which are automatically upgraded every time you return to the academy after missions. There are also eight advanced force powers to choose from (4 on the light side and 4 on the dark) the light side abilities are; absorb, protection, heal, and mind trick. The dark side powers include life drain, force lightning, force grip, and rage. You receive a point when you complete a mission (each power has three levels of improvement) and you can distribute it in any of these eight powers at the start of the next mission.

Personally force grip and heal are the powers of choice to get up to maximum level, and whether you choose the light or dark path nearer the end of the game (each with its own ending) you can have as many of the dark side powers as you like. Nothing like dangling a storm trooper over the edge of cliff using force grip or throwing him halfway across the map!

Jedi Academy captures the excitement of lightsaber combat perfectly and not to far into the game allows the player to select between single, dual or a staff lightsaber. The problem with Jedi Outcast was the amount of tedious levels you had to play before you got your lightsaber, in this game you have it from the start and can customise it to your liking. I tend to favour dual lightsabers in green and purple, I have no idea why. After completing the single player I was actually surprised when I logged into multiplayer to find servers still running and being played online. Usually by now they’ve been taken over by bots and the odd nostalgic gamer but these were very full and active. Good times. The game itself is relatively easy to complete (mainly due to the lack of good AI in the enemy) and even has the option of avoiding harder missions if you choose too. Some of the better levels involve locations or characters from the movies. The Hoth mission is particularly good and the fight with Bobba Fett is awesome (although I feel they could have done more with this level).

Jedi Academy is a great game and still worth revisiting. It is still highly playable in single and multiplayer mode and has plenty to offer in the way of character customisation and mission/weapon selection. I love the choice of the light or dark path nearer the end of the game as it actually evokes real emotions in the player and for the situation the characters are in. All I can say is the dark side path isn’t easier by a long way. The sound effects, music and voice acting really add a great atmosphere to the game and an extra dimension to the characters. Jeff Bennett returns to voice Kyle Katarn and Jennifer Hale and Philip Tanzini provide the female and male voices of Jaden Korr, with some great supporting voice artists Bob Bergen, Kath Soucie and Cam Clarke. I really enjoyed playing Academy again and even more now it’s available through Steam.

The Secret of Monkey Island

November 8, 2009

The Secret of Monkey Island

  

Developer: Lucasfilm Games

Design: Ron Gilbert

Genre: Point n’ Click Adventure

Release date: 1990

 

“My name is Guybrush Threepwood, prepare to die! The immortal words of Guybrush Drinkwater, um, Thrinkwood, eh, never mind. Squinky, just call him Squinky.” 

This is probably one of the hardest reviews I’ve written on my blog. This game has so many fond memories attached to it I could waffle on for days. I believe that Ron Gilbert is the best thing to have happened to point n’ click adventures in the entire history of the genre. He designed and created a game I still enjoy playing through again and again, even 20 years later. It is hard to express how much I love this game, (without resorting to interpretive dance or something) and unfortunately can never do it justice. However below are just some of my thoughts and feelings on what I think is a classic game, first played on my Amiga in the early 90’s, eagerly swapping 4 disks over and over, and pretty much the same game still being played on my PC, through Steam. My original big boxed version for the Amiga sits proudly on my shelf o’ gaming as I write.

The Secret of Monkey Island can be seen as one of the greatest point and click adventures of its time, and possibly of all time (begin debate) It remains in the hearts and minds of all dedicated adventurers since the beginning of the classic pirate series from Lucas Arts, and more specifically Ron Gilbert, master of dialogue and design behind The Secret of Monkey Island. Guybrush’s adventures continue to this day, with some of the original team returning for the Tales of Monkey Island from Telltale Games. The Secret of Monkey Island is an adventure game that utilizes the command verb-based system SCUMM (Script Creation Utility of Maniac Mansion), the kind of point and click interface first introduced in Maniac Mansion and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The technology was used in all subsequent Lucas Arts adventure games, with the exception of Grim Fandango and Escape from Monkey Island. The branching dialogue system allows you to talk to characters in different ways without fearing a wrong choice, (if this was the not the case Guybrush’s’ further adventures could see him working down at the local fire station) after declaring to the pirate captains “I wanna be a fireman”. The game play itself revolves around inventory-based puzzles to solve. Items are picked up and saved in the players’ inventory until needed; they can be used with each other or with an object, place or character within the game.

Guybrush is the wannabe pirate hero of the adventure, our pony tailed protagonist doesn’t realise that his arrival on Melee Island couldn’t have come at a worse time as its inhabitants are being terrorised by the fearsome ghost pirate Le Chuck. To begin his dream of adventure on the high seas, drinking grog, swordplay, thievery, and eh, treasure huntery, Guybrush must seek the three grog swilling, foul-mouthed pirate captains who reside in the SCUMM bar, aptly named for the games interface system explained above. Guybrush must complete the three trials given to him by the pirate captains to succeed in becoming a pirate. With cracking dialogue, cut scenes and some very funny moments Guybrush’s adventure goes from wannabe pirate to captaining his own ship and crew in order to find his way to Monkey Island and rescue the woman he loves from the evil clutches of the ghost pirate Le Chuck!

Along the way Guybrush meets many other great characters; including Captain Smirk who trains Guybrush, used ship salesman Stan (this character also returns many times in other Monkey Island games, and excels in the second game as a used coffin salesman), Otis the prisoner, and most significantly, the love of his life, Governor Elaine Marley, who Guybrush meets whilst attempting to steal the idol of many hands (only because it belongs in a museum you understand…). However, Elaines ex, or Le Chuck as we like to call him decides to kidnap her and take her with his ghostly crew to the fabled Monkey Island. Le Chuck has been Guybrush’s nemesis throughout the Monkey Island series and is a great character, with plenty more villainous potential to return in further games, whether is be as ghost, zombie or human!

One of the most memorable of the three trials (for its longevity) is to defeat the island’s sword master Carla, an expert in the art of sword play and insults. A notable contributor to this very clever and funny part of the game was author Orson Scott Card. Orson wrote the insults and answers that the player has to collect by fighting stinking and bloodthirsty pirates on the road, and to  use the insults and answers collected to defeat the sword masters own unique brand of verbal abuse. This is also one of my personal favourites in the game, and even though I know when I have just enough replies to defeat the swordmaster, I will continue to fight and collect more. Other favourite parts of the game include the relatively short second part on the voyage to Monkey Island itself, the ‘self contained pirate sitcom’, whereby the mutinous crew reduce Guybrush to the highest and lowest rank on his own ship.

Gilberts dialogue throughout is funny and timeless, allowing new gamers who have not had the  pleasure of the Monkey Island experience before to appreciate the superior humour and the great characters in a new light, rather than focus on the outdated graphics and linear story line. However, with the recent release of the special editions on PC the graphics have been greatly improved with some fantastic character designs and background artwork, I highly recommend The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition as it looks great but has lost none of the originals great game play, humour and charm. 

A brilliant game and still one of my all time favorites, it all culminates into a timeless game with humour and characters that stick in the mind to this day, playable and simply one of Lucas Arts, (or more accurately Ron Gilberts) greatest point and click adventures, nothing yet in my opinion has beaten sword fight insults and the pirate ghost ship shuffle. For similar experiences in humour and game play see other classics like Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The Monkey Island sequels Curse of Monkey Island and Escape from Monkey Island tried to sustain the template set out by Ron Gilbert but are missing the subtle humour and charm of the first two games, and I think whole heartedly that Monkey Island 2: Le Chucks Revenge is a superior sequel, with an ending that can only be explained, or concluded (if he chooses), by Ron Gilbert. 

 

Monkey Island related business below… (Monkey Business)

Learn more about Ron Gilbert at his website Grumpy Gamer

Old but still interesting interview with Ron Gilbert over at The World of Monkey Island in 2007, plus includes plenty of other awesome Monkey Island info.

Amiga Power 2 (June 1991) review of The Secret of Monkey Island gave the game 90%

Amiga Format 23 (June 1991) review, gave it 92%

Having trouble wondering what the red herring is for? Not sure what to do with the cotton swab, eager to get a-head in navigating? Then check out the Amiga Longplay of The Secret of Monkey Island on Youtube below!