Thank God That's Over With

Mon, Jan 1st, 2001 | 8:05am

I'm going to spare you the usual cynical agnostic sarcastic comments about Christmas I'm sure you've heard all over the place already and tell you what I think of the following games:

  • Escape from Monkey Island™:
    Good: fun, challenging, funny, and funny. Some very original puzzles, including one regarding smells and another involving learning the sacred art of monkey insult hand-to-hand combat. The animation is excellent as well, as is the music and the voice acting. Really makes me want to find a store that carries the first three so I can play them all. I bet the LucasArts store still has them ...
    Bad: absolutely no mouse support. What the hell, LucasArts? Come on, what happened to progress? The biggest frustrations of the game all stem from the stupid interaction system. It's either struggling to maneuver Guybrush around the various scenes with the arrow keys or becoming stuck at some point because I missed a usable/grabbable thing someplace because Guybrush was never close enough and/or facing the right direction to "see" it. Plus, it requires a 3D accelerator, but the only 3D things in the scene are the characters, which are vertex lit and not exactly high-detail.

  • Quake 3: Team Arena:
    Good: It's a little more fun than Q3A, and the bots are a bit better at following orders. The new weapons are damn cool to use - at last the Nailgun graces Q3 with some kind of original weapon. Overload is fun if for no other reason than to pump the obelisk full of shot and see it slowly turn red.
    Bad: I was less than impressed with the outdoor maps. They ran like shit, even on a fairly high-end system, and didn't exactly wowbag me with expansive vistas. More like rather unprofessional GenSurf maps with buildings stuck at either end. Plus, while load times aren't any higher than Q3, for some reason I have to sit and let the program "Await Snapshot" for up to four minutes. Four minutes! For comparison, on the same machine regular Q3 map loads take only up to a second of "awaiting snapshot." Anyone know how to fix this? Please, drop me a line if you've got a solution.

  • Alice: Damn is this game ever dark, and I don't mean poorly illuminated.
    Good: Uses the Q3 engine and doesn't screw it up. Fantastic visuals, excellent environment design, great story and concept what with the whole fire/asylum/shattered mind equals twisted Wonderland thing, some clever enemy concepts like the chesspieces and the Card Guards, and some pretty evil weapons. The jacks are hands-down the neatest damn thing I've ever had the pleasure to kill something with. er ... anyway. I didn't find the 3rd Person perspective to be that much of a problem, as some of my colleagues in the mapping community holler that it is.
    Bad: It's not the most fantastic gameplay I've ever experienced. It really all boils down to just repeatedly killing stuff. The boss combats are especially, in the words of Shambler, "gay." Small platform floating in some eerie void with you, continually respawning Meta-Essence cubes, and the boss, who is usually little more than just a particularly dangerous and endurant monster. Plus, load times are horrible for the same reason as Q3:TA.

    See you after the apocalypse.