Project: First Person Shooter History

Showcase your Retro PC / Build logs.

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby dr_st » 2019-3-22 @ 11:38

Unfortunately, reviews don't do games justice. Most reviews tend to be superficial, because a reviewer often does not have time to play the whole game, much less investigate its replay value. Also, reviewers often have some relationship with the publishers and don't want to trash talk a game too much, whether out of fear of losing the relationship, or just common courtesy.

As a result - game scores tend to be inflated - there are many games getting extraordinary reviews, which are actually mediocre with little originality and mostly looks in their favor (e.g., Quake II), as well as games with very creative ideas that somehow did not fall together to provide consistently good gameplay (e.g., Bioshock, Assassin's Creed).

Descent, in my mind, is actually not as bad as those examples above, especially if you judge it relative to its era. It is just quite hard, with all the degrees of freedom (which necessitate complex controls), unforgiving enemies and long confusing mazes.
User avatar
dr_st
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1854
Joined: 2015-4-09 @ 07:18

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby LunarG » 2019-3-22 @ 12:04

doaks80 wrote:
LunarG wrote:
doaks80 wrote:1. Decent was not great back in the day either.

2. Also back in the day it was normal to draw maps on paper to navigate games. This whole scene emerged from D&D remember.


Descent wasn't great back in the day? Hmmm, I remember it getting pretty solid reviews, and most of the kids my age played the heck out of it. Most people considered it to be pretty awesome.


It felt more like a 3D tech demo than a game, and once you got over the "ooh aah 3D" the gameplay basically sucked. I mean, if there were two genres that weren't supposed to be combined, it was space flight sim and FPS. If I remember you basically played Descent for a break/something different after playing Doom or Warcraft for hours and hours and hours on end.


The fact that it has had several sequels suggests that your opinion isn't universally shared. Clearly, enough people liked the concept to say that it was a successful combination. It hasn't really aged that well, but this is true about many games. I only ever played the first Descent game, because my problem with motion sickness started getting worse and worse, so I can't really comment on how good the sequels were. But Descent 3 got 89% on meta critic, which indicates that the space-sim-fps genre works pretty well.
WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, Waveforce 192XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, ELSA Winner 1000PRO, GUS 1MB, SB16.
User avatar
LunarG
Oldbie
 
Posts: 618
Joined: 2013-6-26 @ 20:37
Location: Norway

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby jmarsh » 2019-3-22 @ 12:30

A lot of people complain about Descent1's low res graphics (since the enemies are models, not sprites) even though it supports 640x480 (use -640x480 on the command line). Not sure why this wasn't enabled (at least as an option) for the GoG/Steam re-releases.
jmarsh
Member
 
Posts: 179
Joined: 2014-1-04 @ 09:17

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Almoststew1990 » 2019-4-06 @ 13:14

Game 13 Complete!

Half-Life

Image

"They've been expecting you, Gordon. In the test chamberrrrrrrrrr."

Getting it running
This game was an ISO from a disk I owned many, many years ago. Installs fine, doesn't need the disk to play.

Gameplay
The first game I've played with a big focus on world building and narrative and less of a focus on running and gunning. I came into this game with very high expectations, partly due to having played it before and partly due to its reputation. I am finding myself comparing it to newer games rather than the games in my list that I've played.

The game famously sets the scene for the story with the train ride during the opening credits. I remember being very impatient with this as an 10 year old but as an adult experiencing it for the first time in a long time, it's great scene setting. I should probably say this is the first game on my list I played before, around 2000 (not more than a few levels before I went back to racing games) but I did complete it on a netbook at uni too about 10 years ago.

This game is masterfully paced with the introduction touring the facility whilst allowing you to get to grips with the controls as well as discover the interactivity of the environment (who doesn't ruin that scientist's microwavable meal?). The pacing of discovering your first weapon and slowly finding out its uses forms a fantastic tutorial without being a tutorial.

I find the story itself not that involving. Whilst its designed to be provided organically through scientists telling you things, often they're too slow and I've run past to shoot the next thing. I think I was heading to the surface, then heading to a rocket site, then suddenly portals are a thing and I need to get the core and go to zen to kill (what I assume) is the bigass dude ordering all the aliens to go to earth through the portals Gordon opened up. Then there's G-Man who may or may not be involved in some ways that aren't clear. So whilst the game builds up a brilliant world of laboratories, vents and metro systems, I wasn't particularly engrossed in the story that goes with it.

The controls feel very tight in combat with jumping, shooting and cover all coming into play. The range of guns are good too, although not all seem to have much use - the MP5 is a bit too accurate for anything that isn't close range, and a double shotgun blast is better at close range. The weird bee-shooter I found fairly pointless with its (recharging) magazine capacity of 8 being too low to do any damage. I ended up using the pistols for long range shooting and the shotgun for close quarters combat.

The range of enemies are good too, with the irritating head crabs perhaps doing a little too much damage on medium (10 health). A few too many times a headcrab is hiding in a vent your crawling a long and jumps at you in the dark; it made me jump the first time but just being a guaranteed hit later on - a lot of quick loading was done!

Elsewhere the green electro-dudes are good to fight with a powerful attack, which needs charging, but quite weak to a few headshots with the starting pistol. The electro-dogs are similar in needing to charge and doing reasonable damage. Later on when every other enemy is a big-ass blue dude, who shoots half-homing bees which bizarrely seem to go through doors, I ended up in a "oh **** you" mood and grenade launchered them for an instant kill. Soliders are quite intelligent other than constantly talking so you can hear where they are, and the freakin' ninjas are even quite fun to shoot due to being a different challenge altogether and are used sparingly.

Then there are the boss fights. The three main ones, the three headed snake, is satisfying to kill using a prototype rocket engine or something, especially after it's been nibbling at your heels for quite a while running around its home. The Blue furbee thing that needs dispatching to unlock On A Rail likewise is good to lure into an electric generator before it explodes.

Outside of combat though, the controls are quite weak. The pain in the arse of navigating ladders needs no introduction, where it is anyone's guess where you're actually going to jump to, and the slidey nature of platforming makes it one of the weaker elements of the game. Especially when navigating mazes of conveyor belts, eufggh.

The big let down are the Zen levels and the final boss. The different areas you go to are quite illogical, whereas the main game has you running through rooms next to each other with purposes (electric rails need a generator switched on, etc), whereas Zen is just a bunch of open environments and caves that conveniently lead to a disappointing boss fight.

The final boss fight is the worst part of the game in my opinion. The portal the flying baby shoots at you are a pain in the arse, low gravity movement does not make use of all the movement techniques that you've perfected up to that point, and the slow flying you need to do to fly above the baby's face makes you an easy target for flying aliens. The final fight to open up the portal to zen should have been the games conclusion in my opinion, where you're running around, dodging, defending scientist dude, shooting new flying enemies using what you've practiced throughout the game.

Overall, it's got a great setting and a world that sucks you in, even if I wasn't quite sure what I was hoping to achieve. The combat is good, platforming not so much, and should have ended an hour earlier.

Graphics and Performance
Like unreal on which it's based, Half Life looks great. The world is much more believable than Unreal due to the textures and art style, and it being set on earth (I assume...?). Lighting looks great in vents, green goo emits a similar green lighting, sparks fly, explosions explode...

Performance was better than Unreal at 1024 * 768, and I think I used OpenGL. The brightness was not an issue unlike Unreal and the screenshots came out with proper brightness.

Sound
I did not have any music at all, I assume because I was playing without the CD! However, the world building was good enough without it. I've given the sound track a listen to and it does sound pretty good which is a shame.

The sound effects were good. High quality in terms of compression, Hz, bits per section or whatever and comparable to modern sound effects, with the exception of scientists voices them being poor. My Soundblaster AWE32 couldn't do EAX I don't think however, there was lovely echo going on regardless in vents and enclosed areas.

Was it fun?
It was fun and I had no trouble keeping motivation to complete it unlike previous games, but I am not sure it is "Best Game Evarrr" fun due to the story and platforming

Should you play it?
Definitely.

Screenshots
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Intel 4770K 4.4GHz | 12GB DDR3 1600MHz | Nvidia 1070ti | 750GB EVO SSD
Athlon 3200+ 2.4GHz | 2.25GB DDR1 | Nvidia GeForce 7950 GT 512MB | 250GB HDD
Slot 1 PIII 650MHz | 256MB PC100 | Nvidia MX440 | AWE32 CT3910
User avatar
Almoststew1990
Member
 
Posts: 359
Joined: 2017-3-14 @ 19:48
Location: Southampton, UK

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby jmarsh » 2019-4-06 @ 13:27

Half Life 1 didn't use an unreal engine, it used a heavily modified quake engine.
jmarsh
Member
 
Posts: 179
Joined: 2014-1-04 @ 09:17

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby clueless1 » 2019-4-07 @ 12:40

Thanks for the Half-Life review! I mostly agree with it. It starts off amazing, but the further in you get, the more bizarre and unbelievable the story becomes. Also, I'd have to say that Unreal's graphics are a big step up from Half-Life's. And that is because of what jmarsh said above. Did you encounter the elevator bug at all? That was SO ANNOYING! Seemed like it happened at least twice in my play-through, forcing a reload to previous save. When it happens, you have to jump continually while on the elevator between missions in order to keep from getting stuck.
User avatar
clueless1
l33t
 
Posts: 3887
Joined: 2015-12-22 @ 17:43
Location: Midwest US

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby dr_st » 2019-4-07 @ 13:05

I must say I never liked Half-Life at all and dropped it in the middle. The issues with the controls during the platforming described in the review are spot-on, and for the year-2000-2002 me (when I played it) it was just too much. I probably would like it more now that I am more used to modern 3D shooters, but can't be bothered.
User avatar
dr_st
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1854
Joined: 2015-4-09 @ 07:18

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Almoststew1990 » 2019-4-07 @ 17:12

"Game" 14 Complete!

Sin - Demo only

The Verdict
I'm not sure there is a huge amount to say about this on the basis it was a 30 minute demo! Some content has been cut from the demo too, in particular music I assume due to the lack of the CD and a few cutscenes too, judging you youtube lets play videos. Therefore I've kept this to a couple of paragraphs.

What content was there was quite fun, but nothing ground breaking. I quite liked the interactivity though, and the computer screens dotted around the map are almost picture - in - picture in that they actually show the same thing whether your standing near them or interacting with them. The demo level takes place in a bank and I took the time to find Blade's account number and PIN on the main terminal and went back to ATM to see if I could access his bank account - which I could! The code to the main bank vault was also displayed here, and I liked this natural and organic way of finding out information around the world.

The combat was only so-so. Having played the slow Half Life and the quick Quakes (including Q3 as I write this; I've been ill this weekend so a lot of time spent sat around not doing much!) Sin doesn't seem to have much special about its combat. You shoot duded with a pistol or MSG, and I would hope more guns unlock as you play. The guns have weak soundeffects and don't have any real weight to them (although yes these were the starting guns!)

The graphics were surprisingly good, much better than half-life's. There were very crisp textures, water effects and lighting. There were many API options, I was tempted to choose RIVA OpenGL considering I have an NVIDIA MX440 but just went with "default OpenGL".

I suppose the best way to judge a demo is... Did it make me want to browse eBay for the full game? Nah.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Intel 4770K 4.4GHz | 12GB DDR3 1600MHz | Nvidia 1070ti | 750GB EVO SSD
Athlon 3200+ 2.4GHz | 2.25GB DDR1 | Nvidia GeForce 7950 GT 512MB | 250GB HDD
Slot 1 PIII 650MHz | 256MB PC100 | Nvidia MX440 | AWE32 CT3910
User avatar
Almoststew1990
Member
 
Posts: 359
Joined: 2017-3-14 @ 19:48
Location: Southampton, UK

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Almoststew1990 » 2019-4-07 @ 17:53

Game 15 Complete... for now!

Quake 3

Image

This is one of those games I've never actually owned but I've played and watched the Demo and benchmark hundreds of times! Is it actually any fun?

Getting it running
Like a lot of these games, I had no issues installing and playing using this original (perhaps patched?) disk. I could get used to this!

Gameplay
Well this is a contrast to Half-Life. Very fast paced action, jump pads, twitch mouse kills, no story (I think? Reading the manual doesn't count!).

I have only played the single player... so far. I think now might be a good time to retire the Windows 98 PC for the XP PC which can do USB wifi and has an ethernet port and see if there is a way to play online! Also I can play Morrowind :P

This is the best feeling game so far. Even with my Dell ball mouse I never felt I had been cheated a kill by the game. Running around the levels with my mechanical keyboard, all the controls fell immediately to hand, the auto-switching is great in that I turned it off but it switches when you're out of ammo (once you've let go of fire to give you a small penalty for not paying attention to your ammo counter). The mouse sensitivity was perfect for me by default. The game always did what I wanted it to do; it's basically the opposite of using ladders in Half-Life.

None of the games so far have given me the feeling of satisfaction that I got from jump padding between islands, in the air spinning around and getting a one hit kill with a rail gun at another dude who is also flying through the air on the otherside of the map. I played on the second of five difficulty levels after getting my arse handed to me on about the 3rd level on the medium medium difficulty. The railgun was my weapon of choice, which is unusual for me as I am more of a spray and pray in fast action games!

A few of the levels are a bit too large for the number of bots that were provided. I learned quickly to hang around the central "junctions" to not miss out of the fight altogether.

The tutorial is quite good by placing you in a small area with a voice over telling you what certain things do. That's all it needs to get you into a fight. The difficulty ramp is quite good in that Tier 6 and 7 provided quite closer matches.This is the first game I might play again on a harder difficulty (and with my laser mouse), although I might wait until I've played UT99 first.

Please bear in mind this review is coming from someone who generally isn't really into online shooters; I've played about 100 hours of BF1, as a medic 99% of the time, and that's about it! Compared to BF1 then, Q3 feels so much "purer" and skill based. Very little getting in the way with how good you are with a mouse (and your refresh rate I suppose!); no reviving, weird perks, OP snipers (perhaps the rail gun, I feel like it has a generous hit box or something...), loot crates, sprinting from one end of the map to the other, heros with unique abilities, micro-transactions... Just a range of pick ups in locked locations that allow you to plan your run around the map and cut off people who are probably going for the same thing!

I think the animations deserve a final mention - it was a joy to see (and kill) bots doing unique jumps like backflips off ledges, which looked incredibly smooth at 75fps.

After playing 26 matches the range of levels are great; whilst there were a few that quite convoluted routes, I learned my around most of them in the 10 minute matches.

Graphics and Performance
Playing at 1280*1024 on maximum settings, it looked great, much better than Half-Life and Sin. I can't remember too much about it as it's quite hard to admire scenery whilst dodging rockets. The textures in particular looked much sharper. The mirror you first spawn in front of in particular tanked my frame rate to 52 (how will I cope) which was slightly surprising for a 728MHz P3 and MX440 128bit!


Sound
The sound achieves its main job of telling you roughly where enemies are through pick up and gunfire sounds. I'm trying to remember if there was any music, and I really have no idea!

Was it fun?
It's been the most fun I've had with this PC. It's the sort of game that will make me struggle to go back and play Doom 2 but also BF1 and Destiny 2 which I'm currently playing through in a "eh :/" kind of way.

Should you play it?
Let's be honest, you already have, but play it more!

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
My stats just before the final match.
Intel 4770K 4.4GHz | 12GB DDR3 1600MHz | Nvidia 1070ti | 750GB EVO SSD
Athlon 3200+ 2.4GHz | 2.25GB DDR1 | Nvidia GeForce 7950 GT 512MB | 250GB HDD
Slot 1 PIII 650MHz | 256MB PC100 | Nvidia MX440 | AWE32 CT3910
User avatar
Almoststew1990
Member
 
Posts: 359
Joined: 2017-3-14 @ 19:48
Location: Southampton, UK

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Davros » 2019-4-07 @ 18:56

Maybe I should suggest the legendary Diakatana - yes I know I'm evil
Guardian of the Sacred Five Terabyte's of Gaming Goodness
User avatar
Davros
l33t
 
Posts: 2601
Joined: 2004-3-01 @ 03:08

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby badmojo » 2019-4-07 @ 20:52

Davros wrote:Maybe I should suggest the legendary Diakatana - yes I know I'm evil


Lol that it evil - I think I read somewhere that there's a community patch which made it playable but I sold my copy long ago.

Thanks for the reviews OP - I played through HL recently and thought it was pretty gosh darn fun but yes, those final couple of levels were shite and that final boss battle made me rage quit, so I can't say I've finished it.
If it's broke, then fix it!
User avatar
badmojo
l33t
 
Posts: 3180
Joined: 2011-10-11 @ 04:14
Location: Australia

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Burrito78 » 2019-5-22 @ 08:08

Soo...will you continue? Can't wait for new game reviews. I did enjoy very much what you did until now! Thanks!
User avatar
Burrito78
Newbie
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 2018-3-13 @ 10:50

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Almoststew1990 » 2019-5-22 @ 20:20

Yes it's not quite dead - I'll pick it up again at some point soon(ish). I certainly got further than I thought before I burned out on shooters. To be honest, I've kind of burned out with retro gaming quite a bit; I spent so much time building and tearing down PCs for the tiniest reason (let's build a PC for Monkey Island! No, let's build a PC for Doom! No, I want to play frickin' Morrowind now!) that it was bugging me and I wasn't actually enjoying it. For the moment I just have Core 2 Duo with XP and a Audigy 2 ZS on it so I could get back into it. I will probably pick it up again soon (this XP PC will be just fine now I'm in XP era games) oncen I burn out on Cities Skylines, C&C Generals and Ghost Record GrindWildlands
Intel 4770K 4.4GHz | 12GB DDR3 1600MHz | Nvidia 1070ti | 750GB EVO SSD
Athlon 3200+ 2.4GHz | 2.25GB DDR1 | Nvidia GeForce 7950 GT 512MB | 250GB HDD
Slot 1 PIII 650MHz | 256MB PC100 | Nvidia MX440 | AWE32 CT3910
User avatar
Almoststew1990
Member
 
Posts: 359
Joined: 2017-3-14 @ 19:48
Location: Southampton, UK

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Almoststew1990 » 2019-7-04 @ 12:29

The First Person Shooter project is back!

One of the main reasons I stopped was I was not happy with the performance of No One Lives Forever on my Windows 98 PC. So after a while of finding parts I have built up my XP PC:

Image
It's built inside the world's least interesting case. But it does have a very useful 3 usb ports and various memory card readers

Image
Inside it has a generic (but retail) Foxconn / Winfast Socket 939 motherboard. It is using an nForce 4 chipset with Nvidia 6100 graphics, a first for me. I'm using a Venice Athlon 3200+ (2GHz) However I overclocked it to 3800+ (2.4GHz), with no changes to any voltages. This overclock also bumps my RAM from 333MHz to 400MHz, which it is rated for.

I installed XP using my known good 2x 512Mb 400MHz stick, which worked fine. I then threw in two other random 400MHz sticks in there and left it to Memtest it for a few hours. So now I have 2.25Gb of RAM, but it works with no problems at all (I'm not sure if the dual channel 2x 512mb will still be operating dual channel though.)

I'm using an Nvidia GeForce 7950 GT 512Mb PCI-E graphics card. I wanted something that is fast enough for gaming up to 2005, but also as old as possible. This seemed a good comprimise of speed and age.

Finally, I have a Soundblaster Audigy 2ZS for some EAX3/4/5? compatibility.

Image
Finally, by using XP I can use my much smaller wireless keyboard and mouse which frees up some desk space, even if I do miss the clicking of my beige mechanical keyboard. I also got a free upgrade to my sound system. When I picked up a bunch of free Dells, it came with this Labtec 2.1 system. Much better sound quality than the old beige mono speakers I was using (they were broken).
Intel 4770K 4.4GHz | 12GB DDR3 1600MHz | Nvidia 1070ti | 750GB EVO SSD
Athlon 3200+ 2.4GHz | 2.25GB DDR1 | Nvidia GeForce 7950 GT 512MB | 250GB HDD
Slot 1 PIII 650MHz | 256MB PC100 | Nvidia MX440 | AWE32 CT3910
User avatar
Almoststew1990
Member
 
Posts: 359
Joined: 2017-3-14 @ 19:48
Location: Southampton, UK

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Almoststew1990 » 2019-7-04 @ 17:45

Game 16 Complete!

Image

No One Lives Forever

(Yeah, I didn't review UT99. I did play it a fair bit (if anything I liked it more than Quake 3) but didn't really take any screenshots)

Getting it running

I owned Nolf 1 and 2 on disk for a long time. However, now I just use the Revival installer. I don't feel guilty doing this given that no one seems to own the rights to the game anymore and you can't buy it new anywhere!

The Revival Installer includes the GOTY edition and widescreen patches. It will install fine on XP and Windows 10. The widescreen patch has its flaws; zooming in with scopes doesn't work very well on 16:9 monitors and text in cutscnes and intelligence pick ups won't fit on screen. Fortunately, I was playing at 5:4, which does need the patch but avoids the worst of the issues.

Gameplay
This is rather different to the games I played recently, where there is a focus on stealth, gadgets and being a cold war spy! NOLF has a split personality; one minute I will be running and gunning and the next I will be crouched behind crates, headshooting guards with a silenced pistol. This mix of gameplay works very well and which approach I take is (mostly) my decision rather than "forced stealth sections" like in modern games.

The stealth works pretty well. Guards will investigate noises, CCTV cameras will pan left-right predictably and there are many silenced weapons using which you can dispatch dudes. There is no light and dark visibility meter, but sound does play a role in being detected. However, the AI cheats perhaps little too much; I could be hidden crouched and stationary behind a wall and someone in the next room will hear me and raise the alarm. Guards will also instantly know where you are after one solitary scientist yells out in fright, and a lot of times I caught bullets coming out of a guards gun in a completely different direction to where the gun was pointing! I spent a lot of time doing what is now standard stuff, hiding under CCTV cameras, waiting for a guard's patrol etc, but considering this is one of the first games that does this (I think?) it does it rather well.

Image
You'll spend a lot of time standing underneath cameras

Fortuntely you have range of gadgets at your disposal to even out the fight, and playing at regular difficulty I never found myself thinking "oh come on!" after being caught by a guard in separate room who can't see me. There are several unlocking mechanisms, from just shooting the lock, to requring a lock pick or a blowtorch on the combination lock. You have a zipline which is only used contextually but does add some verticality to the game. You have special sunglasses for taking pictures, or finding land mines, or an infrared mode for finding detection lasers. Unfortunately some of these gadgets are introduced prior to each mission and then forgotten about, such as the laser detection and land mine detector, which I used once. I also used the perfume sprays (with varieties that can poison, burn and kill, naturally) exacetly zero times after their respective training session before each main level.

I particularly enjoyed the silenced pistol and crossbow, both of which are satisfying to get silent headshots with. You do have to be careful who you kill as cameras will realistically pick up dead bodies and nearby enemies will go investigate why their buddy now has an air conditioned head (or come straight after you if they literally see someone in their field of view get shot). It makes a nice change from more recent games I've played where other NPCs are oblivious to their buddies mysteriously dropping like flies, not mentioning any Mafia 3 I mean names...

Image
You have a robotic dog that can release pheromones to distract guard dogs, but I don't have a)a torch or b)a lighter that stays illuminated longer than a second or so!

There are petty frustrations however. You don't have hotkeys for specific gadgets so you have to cycle through your various gadgets to pick out the right one which is frustrating when you have 10 gadgets (the cycle key also cycles through your weapons too). Whenever you switch weapon (or switch back from a gadget to your old weapon) it will always load its most fancy ammo. You have normal, phospherous, skin-piercing ammo, and it'll switch to phospherous even if you only have three bullets left. You also can't do two things at once, such a drive your skiimobile and wear land mine detecting glasses.

The running and gunning also works nicely. Unlike other stealth games, when you're detected you don't have to sulkily reload (quicksave is thankfully present and accounted for in NOLF) but instead can just go go full Rambo. A range of submachine guns, AKs, snipers ensure you can deal a lot of damage out in the open as well as when sneaky. I would often find myself stealthing for half a level before ballsing up and just going into massacre mode. A great feature is that levels are split into scenes each of which resets your stealth at the start. I would murder about 100 dudes on the ground floor, made my way up the 1st floor separated by a loading screen, start Scene 2 of the mission and I can try stealthing again.

The levels are quite linear, with some featuring a whole floor of a building for you to explore and some only having a very linear way forward. But hooray, no bloody keycards to find! There were however a few times I found myself backtracking to find a switch I need to pull or something, but it wasn't too bad and I only googled what I had to do next once.

Image
looking good!

Another aspect that sets this game apart is its tone - it doesn't take itself too seriously! Every character has the sort of accent the rest of the world thinks everyone in the UK (except Adele) has, but to me as a British person it's the 'posh Eton accent'; "rather! Jolly Good! Bravo!" etc etc.

You'll find intellegence items providing warnings to staff not to go into the lava because it is hot; you'll hear conversations between enemy dudes about thier old job at another evil crime syndicate talking about it as if it is just another normal boring office job at EA; and the characters are all larger than life stereotypes like the scottish kilt guy Armstrong, a fat lady who sings, and Mr Smith, your boss, being a fat middle aged man. It's all wrapped up in an over the top 60s vibe that makes it feel like Austin Powers The Game, although there are bits of On Her Majesty's Secret Service in there too. You go to a space station, you go to a shipwreck, you go to an freakin' underground lair...

Image
One of my favourite characters

The game also doesn't hold back with its message on sexism. Every man you meet tells you you're sure to fail the mission because you're a woman. There is a nice character arc however, for the first time I've come across in these games, where your two old male bosses slowly start respecting you, and end up apologising at the end of the game that they shouldn't have doubted you. It's not subtley woven into the narrative (like, say, "the plot twist" in Spec Ops: The Line is), but it is not preachy. Cate has solid banter with her male colleagues whilst getting the point across that she is a woman in a mans world who has to fight for respect and is sick of it. It comes to a head near the end when Cate meets the actual Evil Boss... buuuut I don't want to spoil.

However, I feel it would not bne well received today for its message. Cate wears small dresses with big cleavage, which I think is equally about attracting the 14 year old boy demographic as it is making a point that attractive people can be more than the traditional Bond Girl. Every character and NPC in the game is white, there are no female henchmen etc... I usually do not care in the slightest about "representation" and "progressiveness" in my games, and this is no exception, it's just worth noting that by choosing to make a statement on femanism, the game shows its flaws that we have come to realise in our "enlightened times" in sharper relief. However, I should also say I'm a firm believer that we should not judge things created in the past by modern standards. But that is enough of that. Like I said, it doesn't bother me, as you can tell I'm quite happy playing Duke3D without needing a safe space to go to.

Image
I can't see this going down well in this day and age...

Graphics and Performance
This game feels caught between what I'll call "first gen" (e.g. NfSII) and "second gen" 3D games (T&L games). On the one hand you have surprisingly high quality 3D models and small interior environments and on the other hand you have skyboxes which literally look like boxes. However, it is a rather big upgrade from the earlier games, and it was nice to be back in actual places after playing Quake 3. The sinking ship level was a particular highlight probably as it plays to the engine's strengths, and features rising water for some tense gameplay.

Image
The game can look like this...

Image
Or this

Unfortunately I didn't get quite as much sense of place as other games. Whilst the game takes place in actual places, instead of mazes or deathmatch arenas, and in more detail than any game to date, it think there is some "uncanny valley" effect going on; the graphics are better but the atmosphere has not improved over, say, Blood, which draws me into believing I'm in a real place. Performance wise, It ran at a flawless 60fps as you would hope! My P3 650 and MX440 128bit was getting about 25 to 30fps.

sound
This is the first game on my list with extensive voice acting, and you can tell! It is quite stilted and abrupt, with limited flow of conversation. One thing that's bugged me in games for years is when a person interupts another, in real life, the interupter talks over the other person until the other person stops talking. But in games the person talking always seems to stop before the interupter speaks at all, as if having two people speaking at once, very briefly, is impossible. All of the conversations in NolF feel like that. However sound effects are quite good, withnice silenced gun sounds, lock picking and an audiable queue when a door is not openable at all.

The music however is great. The main theme is suitably funky, but what is impressive is the adaptive nature of the music, with "undetected" "searching/suspicious guards" and "shit just got real" versions of the same song. There are probably five or six songs in the game with 3 "modes". They also generally reflect the main theme music too.

Was it fun?
Yes definitely!

Should you play it?
Yes definitely!

Screenshots
750mb of BMP screenshots (converted to PNG ;))

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
You're not one of the good guys when you have a lair...

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Intel 4770K 4.4GHz | 12GB DDR3 1600MHz | Nvidia 1070ti | 750GB EVO SSD
Athlon 3200+ 2.4GHz | 2.25GB DDR1 | Nvidia GeForce 7950 GT 512MB | 250GB HDD
Slot 1 PIII 650MHz | 256MB PC100 | Nvidia MX440 | AWE32 CT3910
User avatar
Almoststew1990
Member
 
Posts: 359
Joined: 2017-3-14 @ 19:48
Location: Southampton, UK

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Alcononymous » 2019-7-07 @ 00:31

Please do Deus Ex next. Awesome work btw.
Alcononymous
Newbie
 
Posts: 1
Joined: 2019-5-19 @ 07:13

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby Burrito78 » 2019-7-08 @ 11:47

Nice review! Never played that one! Thanks!!
User avatar
Burrito78
Newbie
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 2018-3-13 @ 10:50

Re: Project: First Person Shooter History

Postby amadeus777999 » 2019-7-10 @ 16:24

Alcononymous wrote:Please do Deus Ex next. Awesome work btw.


x2

No One Lives Forever has some very nice artwork - some of the character textures look outstanding.
User avatar
amadeus777999
Oldbie
 
Posts: 650
Joined: 2013-7-04 @ 17:04

Previous

Return to System Specs

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: PcBytes and 3 guests