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Reply 2340 of 2468, by newtmonkey

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Had a rainy weekend and no emergency jobs to get done, so I spent a lot of time making progress in a couple of RPGs.

Curse of the Azure Bonds
This is shaping up to be a very excellent sequel to Pool of Radiance, indeed. I finished reading the Azure Bonds novel and it's fun to pick up the references scattered throughout the game (it's basically a direct sequel to both Pool and the Azure Bonds novel). A lot of the combat strategies that worked so well in Pool don't apply here due to plenty of magic-resistant enemies, so you end up using buffing spells more often than direct damage spells. The game does throw you a bone by allowing Hold Monsters and Ice Storm to work (sometimes) even on magic-resistant enemies—crucial for disrupting enemy spell casters.

Might & Magic II
I finally got the Teleport spell, which lets you jump ahead 1-9 squares within a single map. This really opens the world up as it allows you to skip fixed encounters you've already mapped and get right back to exploring new areas.
It's a great game, but I dunno if I like it more than the first M&M. The frequent equipment upgrades are nice and I really like the improved graphics (excellent monster art), but I preferred how the outdoors maps in M&M I have impassible "walls" to give you a better sense of actually exploring a wilderness full of thick forests and mountains. In M&MII, you can purchase the exploration/navigation skills very early on, which allows you to basically walk anywhere on the map unimpeded. It feels less like exploring a wilderness and more like painting a wall 🤣.

Last edited by newtmonkey on 2020-10-21, 15:44. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 2341 of 2468, by appiah4

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robertmo wrote on 2020-10-18, 13:19:
newtmonkey wrote on 2020-10-16, 17:59:

Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World
There's a lot I like about M&MII over the first game. It has some really great 16-color graphics (make sure to run the game in MCGA mode graphics mode; all the characters have purple skin if you select EGA for some reason!)

Check Mac version for even more colours.

I would think the Amiga version should have the best audio/video?

http://hol.abime.net/2474

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 2342 of 2468, by robertmo

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are you trying to say this
https://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga/might-an … eShotId,942264/
is better than this? 😉
https://www.mobygames.com/game/macintosh/migh … eShotId,871904/
impressive ceiling 😉

Reply 2343 of 2468, by appiah4

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robertmo wrote on 2020-10-19, 13:45:
are you trying to say this https://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga/might-an … eShotId,942264/ is better than this? ;) https://www.m […]
Show full quote

are you trying to say this
https://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga/might-an … eShotId,942264/
is better than this? 😉
https://www.mobygames.com/game/macintosh/migh … eShotId,871904/
impressive ceiling 😉

Hah, good catch. It does appear to be higher resolution and higher color count though.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 2344 of 2468, by robertmo

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If we talk about the game picture than Amiga's horizontal resolution has one more pixel on both sides 😉
As for colours
Amiga is using dark green for handle while Mac dark yellow
Amiga uses dark green for torch as well so Mac has one more colour used on this picture.

Reply 2345 of 2468, by Joseph_Joestar

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Finished the original Splinter Cell, moving on to Pandora Tomorrow. Still using the AthlonXP + GeForce4 rig, since my WinXP GPU is too new to display the shadows correctly.

Noticing lots of small but nice gameplay improvements, like being able to use the optic cable and lockpicks straight from the door interaction menu and so on.The only thing that bothers me is that mouse aiming (with weapons) seems terribly sluggish compared to the first game. I applied the ini file tweaks listed on the PCGaming Wiki, but it still doesn't feel right. Didn't change a thing in terms of hardware or software on my rig, so it must be the new game engine.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 2346 of 2468, by appiah4

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I don't think the GF4 displays Splinter Cell shadows correctly either, you need a GF3 for that. Someone will correct me on this.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 2347 of 2468, by Joseph_Joestar

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-10-20, 13:57:

I don't think the GF4 displays Splinter Cell shadows correctly either, you need a GF3 for that. Someone will correct me on this.

The readme file of the first game says that GeForce3 and 4 can both do ShadowBuffers in hardware, which is what you want for the best shadows.

I can definitively see a difference in shadow rendering between the GeForce4 and the GeForce 9500GT (which is on my WinXP rig) so at least something seems to be working.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 2348 of 2468, by newtmonkey

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Might & Magic II

I realized that this:

newtmonkey wrote on 2020-10-19, 02:35:

I preferred how the outdoors maps in M&M I have impassible "walls" to give you a better sense of actually exploring a wilderness full of thick forests and mountains. In M&MII, you can purchase the exploration/navigation skills very early on, which allows you to basically walk anywhere on the map unimpeded. It feels less like exploring a wilderness and more like painting a wall 🤣.

was a problem of my own making.

I decided to pretend like I don't have the exploration skills, and have been mapping everything outside of deep forests, mountains, and water. Much better! Makes it feel like I am exploring a world again, and it also allows me to focus on a much narrower section of the massive world. I've got a good portion of the world mapped, as well as all of the towns and most of the town dungeons. I've started exploring all the castles but am still too weak for more of the wilderness caves, etc.

Reply 2350 of 2468, by Bruninho

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Football Manager 2020

"Design isn't just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
JOBS, Steve.

Reply 2351 of 2468, by clueless1

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I just discovered that you can keep picking a lockpicked chest over and over to raise your lockpicking skills in Betrayal at Krondor. 🤣. So this game is one of those RPGs that is very low-key. Lots of exploration, no re-spawning enemies, a fun sense of adventure that you can relax and play with a cup of tea or beer. There's not much tension yet. I'm still in Chapter 1 and have spent about 12 hours on so far. I guess the chapters don't have to take this long (otherwise this could be a 100 hour game!), but I'm enjoying the slow pace and combination of exploration and story. So far, so good! Maybe not a top-10 RPG, but one that's worth playing...

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 2352 of 2468, by Iris030380

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I was working my way through a replay for Morrowind for a few weeks but decided to take a break. I'll return to it shortly ... just moved all my stuff into an abandoned boat and furnished it with 100+ glass lanterns. After a 3 hour "moving day", it kind of took the wind out of my sails.

Currently playing Stardew Valley with my daughter. Once she goes to sleep, it's Quake 1 : The Coagula Contest maps.

I5-2500K @ 4.0Ghz + R9 290 + 8GB DDR3 1333 :: I3-540 @ 4.2 GHZ + 6870 4GB DDR3 2000 :: E6300 @ 2.7 GHZ + 1950XTX 2GB DDR2 800 :: A64 3700 + 1950PRO AGP 2GB DDR400 :: K63+ @ 550MHZ + V2 SLI 256 PC133:: P200 + MYSTIQUE / 3Dfx 128 PC66

Reply 2353 of 2468, by foil_fresh

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After finishing jedi knight and the expansion mysteries of the sith I decided with outlaws, another lucasarts game.

the d3d patch runs really really really badly on my P2 266 & riva 128 (audio glitches and stutters for up to 5 seconds at a time whenever an enemy is on screen) but software is fine. It looks nice with the d3d render but its just unplayable. I am thinking of playing it on the P3/geforce 2 instead.

"where are ya, marshall??"
"yer surrounded marshall!!"

I'm really enjoying it, about 4 levels in i'm at a big canyon. huge level. i'm lost in it.

Reply 2354 of 2468, by henryVK

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clueless1 wrote on 2020-10-21, 23:46:

I just discovered that you can keep picking a lockpicked chest over and over to raise your lockpicking skills in Betrayal at Krondor. 🤣. So this game is one of those RPGs that is very low-key. Lots of exploration, no re-spawning enemies, a fun sense of adventure that you can relax and play with a cup of tea or beer. There's not much tension yet. I'm still in Chapter 1 and have spent about 12 hours on so far. I guess the chapters don't have to take this long (otherwise this could be a 100 hour game!), but I'm enjoying the slow pace and combination of exploration and story. So far, so good! Maybe not a top-10 RPG, but one that's worth playing...

If you take it real slow and do every last battle possible your party will be way overpowered by the time the final battle rolls around.

That or the game is just generally unbalanced idk. I took my time with everything and by the last couple of chapters I had no clue anymore what was going on storywise but it was also ridiculously easy.

Paradoxically it's still a pretty enjoyable game. Wish someone had done more with the format!

Reply 2355 of 2468, by Shagittarius

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Finished Call of Cthulhu, A waste of time, it's a walking simulator with laughable stealth and shooter sections, both are completely devoid of challenge.

Started Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order and damnit if I cannot stop accidentally buying and picking Dark Souls-alikes. I thought this would be an action game like the Force Unleashed series but to my surprise after the excellent first level its a Dark Souls game. I'm not here to argue about the merits of that particular game design because I know a lot of people like it, but I don't. It's all my fault for not re-researching the game before buying it while it was on sale but I just didn't expect that game pedigree to appear in a Star Wars game.

On the bright side it seems to be a very light implementation of that design so maybe I will be able to stick it out, though my enthusiasm is way diminished.

I started a thread to list souls-alike games please contribute if you know of any that are not on the list.

Reply 2356 of 2468, by newtmonkey

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Swords & Sorcery - Underworld - DEFINITIVE EDITION
Interesting little game! Combine the level structure of classic Wizardry with the character development/combat of Might & Magic I/II, and you have Swords & Sorcery.

I had to stay up a bit late tonight while waiting for an online vendor located in the US to replenish stock on a certain product (in real-time and on a first come, first served basis), so I needed something to kill a few hours while sitting at my desk. I had this game in my Steam library for some time now and had put a couple of hours into it (and liked it), but got sidetracked playing through Might & Magic I. Tonight seemed like a great opportunity to devote some serious time to the game, so four hours later and I'm really liking this!

Much like Might & Magic or Wizardry, you create a party of six and begin standing in an inn. Also like Might & Magic, your first goal is to explore the starting town and solve a couple of quests to level up enough to explore the next area, the catacombs beneath the town. From then, it follows the Wizardry structure of exploring a multi-level dungeon beneath the town (unfortunately there is no overland exploration as in Might & Magic).

It's really quite excellent. The combat engine is very similar to that in Might & Magic, but I'd argue that it's actually a bit more tactical due to some excellent encounter design and some extra options you get as your characters level up. With Might & Magic , combat is either impossibly hard or ridiculously easy... but that's definitely not the case in Swords & Sorcery, or at least now within the first 7.5 hours of the game. Although S&S offers an auto-battle option, I've only used it once so far, as combat really does require that you pay attention to every command.

The only thing I don't really like about this game is the art. The developer used an American comic book style for the character and monster artwork, and while it's competent, it's not really my preferred style. The tiles used for the environments are generally pretty poor (I much prefer the look for Might & Magic I honestly), but not a big deal. I do have to praise the developer for implementing redundant mouse and keyboard controls; the game is completely controllable using either or both input devices, and the keyboard controls are fantastic—very similar to the keyboard controls for Might & Magic I, actually!

Overall, I'm really enjoying this one!

Reply 2357 of 2468, by newtmonkey

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Shagittarius wrote on 2020-10-23, 16:07:

Finished Call of Cthulhu, A waste of time, it's a walking simulator with laughable stealth and shooter sections, both are completely devoid of challenge.

Started Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order and damnit if I cannot stop accidentally buying and picking Dark Souls-alikes. I thought this would be an action game like the Force Unleashed series but to my surprise after the excellent first level its a Dark Souls game. I'm not here to argue about the merits of that particular game design because I know a lot of people like it, but I don't. It's all my fault for not re-researching the game before buying it while it was on sale but I just didn't expect that game pedigree to appear in a Star Wars game.

On the bright side it seems to be a very light implementation of that design so maybe I will be able to stick it out, though my enthusiasm is way diminished.

I started a thread to list souls-alike games please contribute if you know of any that are not on the list.

I was initially interested in the CoC game but had read similar things elsewhere about it being a walking simulator with little depth. That's too bad.
Did you play The Sinking City? I bought a copy off Gamesplanet (DRM free) and it seemed promising from what I played, but I got sidetracked with a bunch of stuff and wasn't able to put much time into it. People had told me that it was what CoC was trying to do, but done right.

Reply 2358 of 2468, by TheMobRules

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Shagittarius wrote on 2020-10-23, 16:07:

Finished Call of Cthulhu, A waste of time, it's a walking simulator with laughable stealth and shooter sections, both are completely devoid of challenge.

Have you played Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth from 2005? That game is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine, on one side it gets the lovecraftian setting spot on, and provides a good level of challenge (pretty difficult if you want to get the "true" ending) but it also has quite a few bugs and the gameplay is kind of clunky. I also had many problems/game breaking graphical glitches when running it on more modern computers, it only worked properly on my Athlon 64 + 7900GS.

I'd also recommend Bloodborne on the PS4 but since you said that you don't like Souls-like games I guess it's a no go. From a story/art design point of view however I feel it's the most accurate interpretation of Lovecraft's themes, despite not being a direct adaptation and only "inspired by".

Reply 2359 of 2468, by Shagittarius

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Yes, I have yet to complete Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth but I have played through much of it multiple times. I will eventually get through it, It has some interesting elements to it that I can't quite put my finger on but it keeps me coming back.

I tried Bloodborne but I have the same problem with it that I do with all most souls-alikes which is an inverted learning curve and difficulty spikes that last hours thanks to the forced back tracking. When it comes to Dark Souls in particular I just can't stand the clunky combat either.

However I just completed my first Souls-Alike ever, even though it's Souls-alike light, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order. I'm proud of myself for beating it but it really wasn't that punishing in its backtracking which I think is my main issue with those games. I enjoyed that game though. Maybe it's time for me to try and drag out Dark Souls for the fifteenth time and give it another shot.

Anyways for now I've started Trine 4, a nice palette cleanser between AAA titles.

Also: newtmonkey , I have not tried The Sinking City, thanks for the suggestion, I will look into it.