World of Horror

An old school macintosh hypertext adventure game styled after the horrific works of Jun Ito? Shut up and take my sanity! World of Horror peeks back beyond the cosmic veil to the beginning of the point and click adventure era, in what is as much a love letter to old school gaming as it is to old school horror.

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The demo we played (dd12 at the time of downloading, latest version is dd15 -ed) was a bit rough around the edges, with an interface that is sometimes more scary than the monsters, but if you can keep grip of your mental faculties long enough, you may just enjoy World of Horror has to offer before succumbing to the embrace of the eternal abyss.

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Let’s Play Helherron #1: Character Creation

I’m going to try my hand at something different, and test out a “Let’s Play” style series of articles. The popularity of Youtube means it’s disturbingly hard to find a let’s play that isn’t some guy over-the-top screaming at the screen and constantly nagging you to subscribe. Just like we are taking blogging back to its roots by focusing just on the games, I want to bring back the more traditional playthrough that focuses just on documenting the game, kind of like the cRPG addict‘s approach.

The first session will cover a game I recently wrote about: old school tactical RPG Helherron. A hardcore tactics-RPG game that treats you mean, but keeps you keen with amazing tactical combat, rewarding exploration, and satisfying character progression. Check out the link for an overview of the game.

I chose to cover Helherron for two reasons: it’s probably one of the best tactical RPGs out there, even now, over a decade after it was made, yet there is little to no coverage of this excellent indie gem. Secondly, I never managed to finish it, and hoping documenting the game will help push me to go all the way (and possibly attract helpful hints from commenters).

We begin our first article with the rather involved character creation process to get through first. Let’s begin.

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[Freeware] Mariovania

Let’s face it, Bowser is horribly incompetent. The number of times his plans for world domination have been thwarted by a overweight plumber from Brooklyn should be enough of a signal to call it quits. But what if Bowser… teamed up with Dracula? That is very the question Mariovania answers.

Die, Bowser! You don’t belong in this world! Not quite the same ring to it, but just go with it.

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Actually, considering Drac’s similarly lacklustre record, actually, probably not a whole lot would be different. But the combination of Mario platforming and Castlevania stlye exploration works surprisingly well.

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The Lost Coverdisks: Titus the Fox

Welcome to the Lost Coverdisks…! A feature where we dig through those old weird games found on the gaming mag coverdisks, in obscure shareware bargain bins, or just long forgotten 90’s retro games. Join us each month(?) as we sample a different slice of history and check up on its modern ports and remakes.

This time around we take a look at Titus the Fox – a game I discovered on the PC Format #7 coverdisk way back.

Titus the Fox is a classic platformer released in 1992 by Titus Interactive, finding a home on the good old Amiga, as well as the Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, and DOS. It starred the titular fox engaging in the popular pastime of 90s platforming characters Рrescuing his girlfriend from the clutches of some faceless jerk.

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Hardware limitations, for all their setbacks, helped to push developers to come up with innovative and sometimes insane tricks and workarounds, and sometimes just plain make the game so fun, innovative or well-designed that you’ll play it – even if it was in cyan and magenta.

Titus the Fox is not one of those games.

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Resident Evil: Codename MADMAN

You know you’re old when people start referring to those new fangled games what with that extra 3rd dimension that all those scrappy kids are into, like Mario 64, or even Mass Effect, as “retro”. One day the likes of No Man’s Sky or Resident Evil VII will be called a “quaint retro effort with clunky controls and terrible UI” no doubt.

Anyway, my point is, is Resident Evil 4 retro now? It still feels relatively nuskool to me: shiny polygons that don’t look like Virtua Lego pieces, faster gameplay, more responsive over-the-shoulder shooting, and a bit lightened up on the ol’ tank controls. And then I take a look and see that it’s pretty dam old as far as the series goes: 12 years(!) What have I done with my life.

In any case, here we are featuring a kind of remake/re-imagining of Resident Evil 4. Or at least what Resident Evil 4 could have been before it was Resident Evil 4. Resident Evil: Codename MADMAN is one fan’s effort to put together a completely new experience based on early prototype.

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[Freeware] Sinnerman

I’m not sure which sin(s) Sinnerman gets his name from, but at least one of them is sloth. He certainly moves about as fast as a particularly arthritic sloth, at least. I desperately wanted to like Sinnerman, but after half a dozen deaths I couldn’t handle repeating the cycle again. If the game speeds up this one caveat though, it’d be a dangerous contender for my time.

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Sample Action Game 01

With a name like Sample Action Game 01, expectations aren’t exactly going to be high, but where it lacks in the creative naming department, Action Game 01 more than delivers in terms of actual game. There’s not just a completely full freeware game to be found here, no, there’s oh so so much more.

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New Retro Vault: Helherron

Ah, Helherron. A relatively hardcore tactics-RPG game. Treats you mean, but keeps you keen with amazing tactical combat, rewarding exploration, and satisfying character progression.

It was an old, tough beast, not dissimilar to Mum’s old mutton dinner, with an unforgiving difficulty curve and even more unforgiving U.I., but probably was the best tactical RPG out there. Hell, it probably still is.

Then the developer left it all behind to become a Buddhist monk in Japan. Yes, really.

But now, Helherron has been resurrected, as the developer – some 10 years later – returned to civilisation, adding innumerable bug fixes, balance adjustments, improved A.I. and, of course, more loot. And there’s more to come.

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Melone in the Dark

Ever thought Alone in the Dark was all but the perfect progenitor of survival horror, suffering only from a distinct lack of melons? The answer to that problem which nobody asked for is Melone in the Dark, a pretty impressive jam game experiment that recreates the look n feel of Alone pretty awesomely well, though not much else.

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Hawkwing

Last year was a good year for old school shooters – with Z-Exemplar, Zenodyne R, Arengius, and Xydonia, among others emerging in either completed or demo-based flavours. Hawking suggests that 2017 will be no worse off, providing yet another new 80-90’s style arcade experience.

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