Monday, March 31, 2008

Unreal 1 (1998)

Finished replaying Unreal 1. I played it using Unreal Tournament by using the OldSkool Amp'd Lite mod v2.39 (Lets you play Unreal 1 and other mission packs in UT) along with the S3TC textures from the extras cd (disk 2) and an updated ut opengl driver v3.4. I replaced the updated S3TC skybox texture with the original texture due to it not working correctly (Nice sky in the center surrounded by blackness). See far below for ini edits for the opengl driver.

I still think the first few levels are some of the most memorable gaming moments. Waking up not quite knowing where you are. Inside some darkly lit prison thing thats rumbling and shaking. Hearing a fight behind a slowly rising door as the person is killed by something that quickly runs off. Then coming out of the ship into the huge alien world. It was crazy how large the world was when compared to Quake 2 maps.

Jumping from cliffs in many levels was fun just to see how long it took to hit the bottom due to how tall some maps were. The water effects, volumetric lighting and fog along with color and textures all looked amazing at the time if your rig could run it. The S3TC textures are nice in that even close up everything is still clear and detailed, not blurry.

The guns still felt nice with their primary and secondary fire. AI is still good even when compared to current games, depending on the creature being fought. Many will jump and dodge your shots and sometimes retreat. I played on medium and while it wasn't hard to survive the first half the last half took many reloads. Battles where I started with full health and armor ended with my barely surviving.

I still liked how the narrative was passed by using the Universal Translater for reading logs and alien books. Though I did start to ignore most of them at the end and ended up getting lost since I was no longer reading the clues. Also enjoyed the maps that mix some alien-medieval and scifi themes.

This is a very long game compared to current games. The levels seemed to go from sparsely populated to enemy filled events. Some of the early levels, especially after the first few, seemed to drag because of this. I still had fun checking out the architecture and style of the map though. Just feel the 2nd quarter should be condensed into less maps. Still really enjoyed the 1st quarter and last half. The final boss does suck though and is the only place I had to cheat since I got tired of dying.

Not sure if this was needed to make the updated opengl driver work but I updated my unrealtournament.ini with the following changes:


This was from a thread on This was one of the first I found so I used it but I figure there are other sites posting what changes to make.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Quake 2 (1997)

I picked up Quake 4 on the cheap and decided to replay Quake 2 first. I used to play a lot of Q2 SP back when it came out as it and Half Life were the only FPS I had. Also played a lot of Fallout 2 and Red Baron 2 as those were about the only games I had when I first got into PC gaming back in 97/98 so I replayed them many times.

I went from an IBM 200MHz (NonMMX) to building my own and overclocking Celeron 266 and 566 to 400 and 850, respectively. I still have my 200 running as a mp3/divx server and my Voodoo 2 SLIs/TNT1&2 are living in a box in a closet in case I ever feel or need to build an old system to run older games.

I played the first level a bit before checking out some texture mods to bring the game a bit more up to date. While I didn't mind the polygon explosions, I just can't resist modding stuff. I ended up using Quake 2 Evolved but also found EGL both of which update the particle system, textures and shaders, etc. Either work just fine but I think EGL sped up the enemy speed and I didn't feel like seeing if this was tweakable back to the original setting.

Before playing way too much Counter Strike, I got into MP gaming by playing Q2's Action Quake mod. Not sure what other Q2 mods I might have tried but there sure are a lot out there though I'm not sure how active they still are. No plans on any MP play this time as I'm focusing on SP. I'm not too much into MP these days except an occasional game of Co-op (Joint Ops, Ghost Recon, Raven Shield, etc.) or the rare team vs team round (BF2/BF2142, UT2K4, etc.)

The game still held up well. The level design and gameplay are still fun and the classic run and gun/key find elements flowed well. I don't think I've played this since 2K but I still remembered parts of the levels though I had forgotten the overall order of the maps and got lost many times as well as ambushed. The jail section has always stuck in my mind as the soldiers' mutterings added to the creepy atmosphere. The world is still as brown as I remembered it :) which has set me up for a nice color shock when I replay its contender Unreal.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

XIII (2003)

Picked up XIII from gogamer for about $5 with some other games I wanted. It got really mixed reviews where some people liked it and some just thought it was OK. The main thing going for it is its cell shaded/comic book style. I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

The game had decent levels with a good mix of indoor and outdoor settings. Outdoor went from the tops of buildings, a military base, hunting cabin, etc. Inside was different military bases and other facilities you had to infiltrate. It had the usual mix of weapons but you also had some gadgets like a grappling hook. You could also do hand to hand combat or grab nearby chairs/bottles for non-lethal stealth take downs.

I felt the first half of the game was the best part. I initially stalled on the 3rd or so level as it was an escort mission which are normally bad in games. It was actually easier than I though as I never lost the person I was escorting in any of the few times where this was the mission. Normally, if I failed the escort, it was because I was taken down and not the person I was covering. They definitely did better than most other games in this aspect.

The story was decent and most of the voice acting was good (Adam West = Good; Duchovney = Bad). I liked the comic book style mini pictures that would appear now and then to explain the story or after a headshot. There were also the boom/pows of comic books and other visual clues about the sounds you hear. AI was nothing great but it wasn't horrible.

The main bad points of the game were the save system and the last half of it nvolved way to many levels of not being detected by the enemy. The save system was not save anywhere, it only allowed saves at the first of the level or at midpoint saves. This led to using the F2 healme cheat after my X play through of a level, especially after multiple end level deaths during boss fights. While I don't mind a few sneak levels, it seemed the last half of the game was filled with them. Only good thing was that you had the chance to take out the guard before they set off the alarm if you were detected, sometimes you could use lethal force but a lot of the last levels required hand to hand nonlethal take downs.

For the cheap price I paid it was worth the play through even with its few nagging faults. Not sure how I would feel about it at full price, but that is why I prefer bargain bin gaming.