Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny Review

Game:  Wolfenstein 3D: Spear of Destiny
Year (s):  1992
Company:  dev.  id Software
pub.  FormGen Corporation
Engine:  Wolfenstein 3D engine
Type:  Old School Shooter
Viewpoint:  First-Person

Price (as of  March 19, 2013)

Regular list price on Steam:  $4.99
Lowest Buy-It-Now on eBay (UNOPENED, with shipping):  $65

See Also:
Wolfenstein 3D Review:  http://fpsandmtg.blogspot.com/2011/09/wolfenstein-3d-review.html

The Second Wolf 3D Game

Spear of Destiny offers gameply and environments identical to Wolfenstein 3D.  The plot is nicely contained in the instruction manual, and otherwise unknown.

Two additional 21-level mission packs were created by FormGen and released in 1994.  These did not sell well.

Controls for the game are pretty different from today, making things a little akward.  Forcing the game to close unconventionally, or using ALT TAB to minimize it, resets the controls to default.  Maps are still mazes.  Enemies are still silent after they make an initial noise.

I did not play this game for very long.  I'd played the original Wolfenstein 3D as a child, so it had some nostalgic aspects.  I still remembered secrets in a few levels.  Spear of Destiny is the same game, without the nostalgia.  I'd never even heard about it until a few years ago.  Final verdict: if you didn't play it in the nineties, don't start now.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Prototype Review

Game:  Prototype
Year (s):  2009
Company:  dev.  Radical Entertainment
pub.  Activision
Engine:  Titanium
Type:  Open World, Platformer, Hack 'n Slash
Viewpoint:  Third-Person
Metacritic Score: 79
My Score:  I agree with Metacritic.

Price (as of  March 17, 2013)

Regular list price on Steam:  $19.99
Lowest Buy-It-Now on eBay (new, with shipping):  $17

Game Time: 21 hours.  This includes a few hours on normal before starting over on easy.

Obligatory Trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvsUkUaJjYs


Alex Mercer was at Penn station when a biological weapon was unleashed.  Three weeks later he wakes up in a morgue.  His memory is spotty, soldiers are trying to kill him, and he now has superhuman powers.  The initial goal is to take revenge on everyone responsible for the biological attack.  Also, zombies.

The plot comes through in bits and pieces, partly through killing people.  There are a few cool twists near the end, but these don't do enough to compensate for some of the game's lacking aspects.


It's called the Platinum engine.  It looks ok.  No bugs.

Save System

Manual Save?  No
Quick Save?  No
Area Load Save?  No
Checkpoint Save?  Yes


The playable character is a shapeshifter.  Spending experience points allows you to unlock attacks (these often involve changing the arms into weapons), maneuverability bonuses, and other useful abilities.  In addition to attacking, running up walls, jumping high, throwing cars, and gliding across Manhattan, the player can disguise themselves.  Simply murder a person (preferably unobserved) and you can look just like them.  Murder is also the easist way to gain life.  It's not a character that derives a great deal of sympathy.

Gameplay is obviously directed toward consoles.  I unlocked a bunch of moves that I never figured out how to actually use.

Expansions / DLC / Sequels

Prototype 2 came out in 2012, pitting one of the infected against Mercer in a ravaged city.

Final Thoughts

The difficulty isn't balanced whatsoever.  On normal, I got stuck two hours in.  On easy, I was a god for most of the game, but a few parts were a huge pain in the ass.  Because the game called for constant murder, I didn't connect with the character, or care at all if they died.  Gameplay was fun initially but became repetitive about halfway through, and poorly ported to the PC.  A couple of cool plot elements and a glitch-free engine do just enough to make this a fantastically ho-hum game.  I would not highly recommend this one.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Painkiller: Redemption Review

Painkiller: Redemption

I love a bargain.  I bought the Painkiller franchise on sale, when it was four games, for about ten bucks (it is now six games, though the most recent is a remake of the first using Unreal Engine 3).  The first Painkiller had merit at the time, but lacked Serious Sam, and the engine was a piece of shit.  Redemption, like the last iteration, uses the same shitty engine to create fan-made content in guise of a game.

I played this game for about half an hour.  I played on easy, because I assumed it would be a chore and I wanted it over with as soon as possible.  On Redemption, easy means FINAL DOOM HARD.  While I didn't die, I was surrounded by hordes of monsters more than once.  The first level has more than one thousand enemies.

Sadly, I fell off a ledge near the end of the first level and could not progress.  It's a good thing then, that I didn't want to.  Redemption is another garbage, fan-created game, and the latest Serious Sam is far superior.

Section 8: Prejudice

Game:  Section 8: Prejudice
Year (s):  2011
Company:  dev.  TimeGate Studios
pub.  TimeGate Studios
Engine:  Unreal Engine 3
Type:  Shooter, multiplayer oriented
Viewpoint:  Third-person
Metacritic Score:  77
My Score:  Not worth it.

Price (as of  March 3, 2013)

Regular list price on Steam:  $14.99
Lowest Buy-It-Now on eBay (new, with shipping):  Not applicable, no physical copies exist.

Game Time:  About five hours on normal for the campaign.

Obligatory Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4j_t_HfLSBs

See Also
Section 8 Review:  http://fpsandmtg.blogspot.com/2012/02/section-8-review.html

(plot omitted from this review due to its lameness)

Save System

Manual Save?  No
Quck Save?  No
Area Load Save?  Yes
Checkpoint Save?  Yes


Team-based combat, deployable objects, jet packs, and alternate loadouts.  In a nutshell, the same thing as the first, except the campaign is half the length.  The AI is so poor that bots on my team were constantly walking right in to my line of fire or throwing grenades at my feet.

The only new (and cool) aspects of this are a cool aiming toy and the adoption of a checkpoint save system.

Expansions / DLC / Sequels

A few DLC exist offering additional maps to play.

Final Thoughts

The CEO of TimeGate is giving a motivational speech to get the team excited about their work.  "Okay guys, it's time to turn things up!  I want more reviewers praising our games as mediocre, adequate, and okay!  Remember our slogan, it's not good, it's JUST GOOD ENOUGH!  Go team!"

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hard Reset Review

Game:  Hard Reset
Year (s):  2012
Company:  dev.  Flying Wild Hog
pub.  Flying Wild Hog, 1C SoftClub
Engine:  Road Hog Engine
Type:  Old School Shooter
Viewpoint:  First-Person
Metacritic Score: 73
My Score:  A forgettable game by a developer that might have potential.

Price (as of February 26, 2013)

Regular list price on Steam:  $14.99
Lowest Buy-It-Now on eBay (new, with shipping):  $12.89

Game Time: about 7 hours

Obligatory Trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFkOrBkVNhg


You're a cop in the city of Bazoar.  Artificial intelligence was created, and the robots attacked.  There is a little more to it than that, but it's written incredibly badly (not in an effort to be humorous) and never cements into anything.

"Plot" is told through comic-book style cutscenes between levels, but it's so illogical, inconclusive, and chock-full dramitically shouted swear words that the game would have been better without it.


I don't know how much work goes into building a game engine.  I couldn't find anything about this particular engine, so I don't know if it derives from something else (id Tech 4 and Source are now open-source).  In any case, it looks pretty close to id Tech 4 (albeit with better lighting effects), I assumed it was the ubiquitous Unreal Engine 3, and if they made it entirely from scratch, good on 'em.  Glitch free.

Save System

Manual Save?  Not sure, never tried.
Quck Save?  Same as above
Area Load Save?  Yes
Checkpoint Save?  Yes


Hard Reset does a good job on most old school shooter mechanics.  You never reload, bosses are huge, and ammo/health is instantly used by running over it.  You have two base weapons, a standard assault rifle and a plasma rifle, with distinct ammo.  Upgrades allow different weapon modes for either, from shotgun and RPG to railgun and energy mortar.  Alternate fire modes can be unlocked for each weapon mode.

Combat is closer to Painkiller than to Serious Sam.  Hordes of enemies will attack, but you won't always have much room to maneuver.  For this reason, I would recommend playing it on easy the first time through.

The environment can be used as a weapon in many areas.  Explosive barrels and electrical sparks are common.

Expansions / DLC / Sequels

The DLC, "Exile" comes with the game, offering a few more enemies, levels, and upgrades.

Final Thoughts

The weapons system was cool.  The engine looked fine.  The combat was pretty solid.  The story could use a story.  It's not a game I'm going to recommend you buy, but I will point out that this is the first game from a small developer.  One learns best by doing.  As a fan of the linear, old school genre, I am looking forward to what Flying Wild Hog does next.