Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sentinel Worlds: Won!

Apparently, my crew perished in cryogenic sleep, as there was no Sentinel Worlds 2.

If I'd known how close I was to winning when I made my last entry, I would have kept playing. After getting out of the Sentinels' caverns, I returned to the raiders' base and spent about 90 minutes finding my way back to Malcolm's throne room (I hadn't taken good notes in my previous exploration).


By the time I arrived, I was almost out of ammunition and not looking forward to a melee battle with Malcolm.


I needn't have worried. Instead of using the same combat protocols the game had used up to this point, the moment the "battle" with Malcolm started, I was taken to a screen similar to when I faced Shadar, showing our respective energy levels. Mine was about half of his. He blasted away at me while I tried to figure out the controls. It turns out I had to wait for the leters "DEF" (defend) and "ATT" (attack) to appear on the sides of the screen. When DEF was there, I hit the right arrow to defend; when ATT was there, I hit the left arrow to attack. That was it. Once I had the hang of it, it was easy, and I bled away Malcolm's energy advantage.


Slowly bled it away, I should say. ATT and DEF only appeared a few times a minute. It took over half an hour to win this tedious, pointless battle. I'm trying to save my invective for the GIMLET, but this is easily the worst final boss battle that I've experienced in a CRPG, and that includes chasing Minax all around her castle. Final battles should use the tactics and items and experience you've gained up to that point, not introduce an entirely new interface! I never even used those extra spells that the Sentinels gave me.

Anyway, eventually Malcolm died and expressed incredulity, in language as stilted and awkward as everything else in the game:


At this point, the game could have been nice and given me the final screen at the top of this posting, but no, it made me hike all the way back out of Malcolm's fortress to my ship first. That was another 30 minutes. After showing me the final screen and prompting me to save the game, it commanded me to wait for the sequel that never came.

Lots of items were unaddressed, including the history of the Sentinels and why Malcolm turned dark. We never found out what the aliens were digging for on Caldorre. There was also some suggestion that the shops in the towers of Caldorre were just illusions created by Malcolm, but like most things, the game didn't bother to explore this beyond some awkward dialogue.

Looking at the manual, I realized the game hadn't used even a third of the available paragraphs, so I read through the "extra" ones. There were a bunch offering false leads at fake coordinates, a few chastising the reader for reading paragraphs you're not supposed to read, and a host with contrary plot points. Perhaps my favorite "fake" entry is:

The globe rises slowly, pulsating with a raw energy that completely illuminates your surroundings. "I am the Key of Thor. Tremble before me vermin! I shall use you and your pitiful mechanical conveyances to fulfill my destiny. We shall go to Norajaenn 1875,1060 where the Sentinels, reside and crush them. Let us go!

There was a related one that, if it had come true, would have been an awesome plot twist:

"You fools!" Malcolm screams, "can't you see what you've done? You've freed the most horrible power the cosmos has ever seen. The Sentinels have been held in check by the Gates of Truth since before your race clawed it's way out of the primal ooze. Your ancestors called them 'daemons' and feared them above all else. And rightly so for they delight in slaughter and mayhem! There is but one hope now. Use the Key of Thor, for it has the power to bind them. That's how we managed to lock them into the stronghold of Truth. Unveil the Key in their presence and then take them across the Gates. Once there you will be able to walk back across the threshold  while they must remain. Go now and undo the damage you have wrought!"
 
Generally, these bogus paragraphs actually offer a more exciting gameplay experience than the real game.

Short posting, GIMLET tomorrow.

70 comments:

  1. PetrusOctavianusMay 13, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    "Apparently, my crew perished in cryogenic sleep, as there was no Sentinel Worlds 2."

    I guess their ship crash landed on a prison planet.

    Hard Nova is considered a spiritual sequel, and word on the internets is that it is a better game. But it still didn't sound good enough to add to my own play list.

    Congratulations on your supreme Willpower and Endurance stats, BTW. I guess you need straight 18's in those stats to complete Sentinel Worlds in this day and age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it's not written very well, but it suggests a major plot twist in which the Sentinels are evil. I would have welcomed that.

      Delete
    2. Wrong thread. I hate the mobile interface to Blogger.

      Delete
  2. I have been casually reading through these SW posts, with a lot of time in between readings, and I can only vaguely remember the overall story.

    So forgive me if I feel completely lost comprehending that last fake paragraph. Or is it the stilty writing and its weak attempt at voice? Either my brain's defective or the writing's defective -- or it's a little bit of both.

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  3. Wow, the mechanics of that boss battle and the overall endgame sound brutal. I can't even think of one that makes you actually trek out of the final dungeon once everything's done with.

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  4. "If I'd known how close I was to winning when I made my last entry, I would have kept playing."

    How many times have you written this, or something like it? It seems a lot of these games just lurk in the bushes while you swear and glare at the dungeons and then suddenly leap out and spring an ending on you.

    One day CRPGs will discover "pacing", I promise.

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    Replies
    1. I should have realized it was coming up when I got the mission to confront Malcolm. But I was so far away from the top level that I figured there must be a new area after the initial confrontation.

      Delete
  5. "You beat me?! I am destroyed" are now the exact words I want carved on my tombstone.

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    Replies
    1. I love how he goes from incredulity to resignation in the space of one sentence.

      Delete
    2. Really? I was thinking of something more along the lines of "Warning; Radioactive waste, do not disturb". Since then everybody who sees it is going to wonder who I died. Also then no one will build my bones into an ossuary when they run out of room in the graveyard.

      Well, that is assuming I am radioactive or tainted. Otherwise I'm donating everything to medicine and science.

      Delete
    3. I remember reading that line in my Let's Play and trying to make it sound dramatic. It just sounds kinda funny. ;)

      Delete
    4. Similar to this: I always mark my lunch as "For Lab Use Only."

      This is especially effective on cups of Apple Juice.

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    5. Amy, I was just watching your winning video. I didn't realize that healing creatures was the way you were supposed to increase your energy. I wondered what the purpose of healing was.

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    6. Yes. And it's good that you didn't hurt the cattle, or that would've decreased your energy. I increased mine quite a bit, but I think I hit some kind of limit. I don't know if it that limit raised with my levels or not.

      Delete
    7. I think his last words nearly fall into the "so bad it's good" category. I had to steal them for a bit of villain exposition in Ballad of the Bard:

      We turned to Mondax, his slumped form still smoldering slightly. “Ohhhh,” he moaned. “You have destroyed me? I am beaten! You have defeated me; I am finished.” Then he collapsed onto his beloved thesaurus.

      Delete
    8. I love "Mondax," though I think you could have gone a little further, with "Mondaxodus." Mondaxodus, Avatar of the False Guardian.

      Delete
  6. Another one bites the dust
    Another one bites the dust
    And another one gone and another one gone
    Another one bites the dust, eh
    Hey, I'm gonna get you too
    Another one bites the dust

    ReplyDelete
  7. You play these games so we dont have to :D

    ReplyDelete
  8. So is this the first example of a quick time event in a game? Pressing a key when a prompt flashes on the screen? Seems like a QTE to me. Is it the first in a CRPG though, I wonder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was way before Quicktime, which is a Windows/Mac application.

      Delete
    2. He's not referring to Quicktime the program as far as I can tell. He's referring to quick time event, that is an event in a cutscene in which you need to respond quickly in order to not die/lose something. (Press X quickly to dodge the giant dinosaur about to trample you)

      One of the best examples of these events is God of War which by many is considered to have started the fad again for modern games.

      Delete
    3. I first saw them in arcade game cut scenes where you'd be running along a corridor and have to hit Blue to jump over a chasm or punch a terrorist, or die.

      They are often criticized because done wrong, you sit back to enjoy the cutscene....then die.

      Delete
    4. "Die Hard Arcade", right?

      Me, the first thing I think of is Dragon's Lair. That'd be 1983 or so.

      Delete
    5. one of the first games using qte was Dragon's Lair on laserdisc in the early 80s.

      Delete
    6. I once played a dating game where there were different girls. They spoke as you had to read really fast to figure out whatever they wanted you to say. If you said whatever they wanted you to say you got points, but the dialogue was timed.

      Delete
    7. Ah, my bad. I always thought it had to do with Apple's Quicktime. It looks like I still have things to learn...

      Delete
    8. The first game in which I remember seeing something like this was in the otherwise horrible Braminar, where you had to press keys in a particular sequence to "simulate taking gold." I wrote about it back then:

      http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2010/11/game-32-braminar-1987.html

      Only I called it "button-pushing sequence" because I didn't know the term "quick time event." Thanks!

      Delete
    9. So maybe let's not call this a QTE. It seems like most people agree that a QTE is basically a cut scene with moments where you have to push a specific button to avoid failing the cut scene - think the Kayran battle in The Witcher 2.

      There's no cut scene here - just timed button pushing.

      Delete
    10. Now it sounds like DDR or Rock Band, sans music.

      Delete
    11. My first was Dragon's Lair and my second was... er... Seymour Butts... er... It's also an adventure game... of sorts...

      Delete
  9. What happened to all the other people who like this game? Am I the only one of them left commenting? I can understand why people get frustrated with it, and it's perfect, but I like it, dammit. lol :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, I meant it's *not* perfect. And it's not a Freudian slip either. :p

      Delete
    2. Everyone is scared to disagree with the addict.

      Delete
    3. Maybe you're the only commenter that played it. I only played games with a D&D type setting. This remains mostly true, although Mass Effect 2 and Fallout 3 stand out as a exceptions that should not be missed.

      Delete
    4. Nope I also still do love this game and if it's only for the sweet EGA graphics drawn by Micheal Kosaka. :)
      Strangely I didn't mind the short and (according to the addict) childish dialogues but I guess that's because I'm not a native English speaker. I also like the odd influences in the SF theme, like the western town, etc.

      Delete
    5. I agree with graphics.

      When the game came up (at least in my country) the choice between SFCRPGs were SWFM, Starflight and Star Command. Out of them SW offered best eyecandy for all it was worth. For interface enjoyed high-tech feeling came up on including "radar HUD" on top of 3D wireframe dungeon.

      After reading the review for all it's faults, I still appreciate the idea of containing the whole game in one starsystem than spreading same content to area equivalent to Starflight.

      Delete
    6. Sorry, Amy. I enjoyed the portions of your LP that I watched far more than the game itself.

      Tastes differ, which is as it should be, and I've been on your side of things before. I liked Skyrim, for instance, which I think got me banned from RPGCodex.

      Delete
    7. No big loss there. They were doing you a favor, the way I see it. Never have I seen such a huge amount of jerks in one place.

      Delete
    8. PetrusOctavianusMay 15, 2012 at 1:20 AM

      You were banned from the Codex? Seriously?!?
      Can't be for liking Skyrim, as it's generally considered an OK game. Oblivion on the other hand, is almost universally despised by the Codex hive mind. I've caused some butthurt by professing my liking for Oblivion (modded, of course), but I don't think I'm in danger of being banned for it.

      Amy, there may be a huge amount of jerks there, but it is also probably the most knowledgeable community when it comes to retro PC gaming, and CRPGs in particular. Just use the Ignore button on the worst trolls and jerks.

      Delete
    9. Sorry, I've browsed through there, and the racial epithets alone give me that bad feeling to where I just don't want to go back. It's like that feeling I got when visiting Markarth in Skyrim. "Gotta get out of here! Whiterun! Breezehome! I miss you guys!!! Lydiaaaaaaa!"

      Delete
    10. Wait, Mararth? Don't you men windhelm for racism?

      Delete
    11. your account isn't banned and it doesn't look like you ever were (not to mention that people don't get banned on the codex for simply having different tastes in games).
      can it be that you simply missed the whole forum software move, including stickies on how it fucked up existing passwords and people should request new ones?

      Delete
    12. I haven't been to Windhelm yet. I wasn't commenting on Markarth being racist. I just got a bad vibe when I was there.

      Delete
    13. Oh, man. I have to remember that things that sound like obvious jokes to me don't come across that way to other people. No, I wasn't banned from RPGCodex; nothing like it. I was just trying to make a joke about the intensity of dislike for Skyrim that I've seen there. My apologies for any confusion.

      Delete
    14. Yep Markath is also my least liked town in Skyrim, right after Windhelm.

      Hey Amy, I'm wondering have you played Hard Nova too? Personally i think it was a great game and the story was a lot better than the one in SWFM.

      Delete
    15. No, I haven't played Hard Nova yet, but it's on my (admittedly long) list of games to get to.

      Delete
    16. Yeah, I must say, of the major towns in Skyrim I only really like Whiterun and Solitude. Riften would be nice if you could purge the Thieves guild from it.

      Delete
    17. That annoyed me. When you first walk in to Riften, you overhear a conversation between Mjoll and her boyfriend, and her crusade against the thieves' guild seems like it's going to be a big plot point. Instead, not only can you not wage war on the guild (they're all un-killable), you can't avoid a quest that makes you join them.

      Hated Markarth the most, though. I completely depopulated the place.

      Delete
    18. You can at least take down the Dark Brotherhood. I didn't kill most of Markarth, just that Silverblood who was part of the plot with the mines.

      Fcrpvsvpnyyl, V qvqa'g jnag gb eryrnfr gur greebevfg Sbefnxra, fvapr gurl ner xvyyvat enaqbz crbcyr, juvpu vf n ab-ab sbe zl tbbq-nyvtarq punenpgre. Fb V xvyyrq gurz nyy va gur zvarf gura fbybrq zl jnl bhg guebhtu gur ehvaf; Gung jnf *abg* rnfl. Gura V gbbx gur evat naq uvf erjneq, naq fvapr V qvqa'g unir nal fgbyra tbbqf ba zr, sbyybjrq uvz onpx gb uvf ubhfr, xvyyrq uvz va n fvatyr oybj, gura ghearq zlfrys va gb gur jngpu. Gheaf bhg xvyyvat bar bs gur zbfg cebzvarag pvgvmraf bs Znexnegu vf n 40 tbyq svar. Yngre V qvfpbire V jnf va uvf jvyy sbe 100 tbyq; Lbh guvax gurl'q jvguubyq gung ovg jura V jnf gur xvyyre, ohg zru? Arggrq zlfrys 60 tbyq naq chetrq bar bs ugr znwbe fbheprf bs pbeehcgvba va Znexnegu, abg gung gur tnzr jvyy npxabjyrqtr gung.

      It was interesting playing it around the same time as my brother played all of ME3. I was only mildly annoyed at the lack of world response before, but after seeing how ME3 did it I grew far more annoyed.

      Delete
    19. SKYRIM SPOILER BELOW!




      Only a few NPCs even acknowledge when Ulfric Stormcloak dies, so I'm not surprised that they don't say anything about a Silverblood.

      Getting the willed money was a riot, though. It reminds me of when a group of thugs were contracted to attack me after I'd stolen something from their employer. The employer was a Forsworn Briarheart, whose pocket I had picked, instantly killing him. When the hell did he put that contract out?

      Delete
  10. Addict, shouldn't you space these posts out a little longer? In this case it kind of makes sense since you replied in the last comment that you had gotten past the hurdle you had complained about.

    But I mean more to avoid the feast or famine mode of posting, where you had a few weeks of silence(including time to get enough gameplay in to have something to post about), then back to a post a day for over half a week now.

    Just as a suggestion, but putting an extra day between these posts would give more time for people to comment(and make suggestions, even if some of them end up moot) and give you more lead time to generate content without dead periods.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suggest that you ignore Kellandros. I like fast posting rate when you have something to post, and I don't mind when you don't. Artificial delays suck.

      Delete
    2. We're getting one post per day, I think that's good, even if it will be followed by a drought later. Posts shouldn't be delayed, but rather posted as soon as possible, if you delay a post it will be less current.

      Delete
    3. Of course, I still end up checking the next day myself anyways...

      Delete
    4. Nah, it's ok the way it is. I don't want our Addict feeling like he always needs to post something. I don't mind the droughts much.

      Delete
    5. I appreciate the suggestion, but for various reasons I don't really want to "hold" postings. One of the primary reasons is that I get a lot of good feedback from the comments, so if I write a bunch of postings and then try to parcel them out, I can't benefit from the things you tell me about the game.

      It hasn't been EVERY day this week, though. More like every other day. In your honor, I'll delay the GIMLET until tomorrow.

      Delete
  11. Ack, you probably will not leave much of a good light on this game that I remember so well as being very nostalgic for me, Oh well I guess anyone has their one or two games that aren't great or even are horrible but we still love them for one reason or the other.

    Hard Nova is indeed a lot better than SWFM but I'm afraid you will feel lost yet again in it's main quest.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I played this game when it came out. Honestly, I must not have beaten it, since I don't remember any of this nonsense. Oh well, this review has destroyed my rose-colored memories of the game, but it sounds like it didn't deserve it anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I think that a lot of the games back in the time used to be good because they were party contained in our own heads. If the game wasn't deep enough we gave it some extra story of our own, now older and replaying old games, better able to discern what's in the game and what's not, they are not quite as good as we used to give them credit for. I used to be a huge fan of Warlords, but having played the game over a decade later I realize that the game isn't all that good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's something to what you say. When I was re-playing Ultima IV, I remembered when I played it as a kid, and Iolo, Dupre, Geoffrey, et. al. seemed to be real characters, with real personalities. On the replay, I realized that they all have about six words of dialogue with you before they join your party, and never speak anything again, so I must have made up those personalities myself as I played.

      On Warlords, the original doesn't hold up that well, but I still cherish my copy of Warlords II and break it out now and then.

      Delete
    2. I didn't know you played turn based strategy, well back when I was a kid Warlords 1 and 2 were my favorite games. They would still be if the design wasn't kinda broken. Troops are useless unless there's a hero.

      Delete
  14. Good riddance to a poor game! Another step closer to The Magic Candle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another step closer to Star Control 2!

      Delete
  15. PetrusOctavianusMay 14, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    I have a feeling Chet will like The Magic Candle. A good mix of combat, exploration and NPC interaction. And time management should be the icing on the cake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Y'all have built up The Magic Candle so much that I'm almost afraid to play it.

      Delete
  16. I really wish people would figure out that the best way to get to finish your mighty epic is to have each individual release stand alone as a complete story. Way too many "part one" or "episode one" games out there that never got to part two. (Or, say, in Star Saga's case, got to part two, but never part III. That's one I'd like to see Kickstarted.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean like Quake 4? (I think) where they threw the main character into a stasis pod where he still rests?

      Delete
  17. The Addict saying that this was the worst final boss battle in an CRPG got me to watch Amy's Lets Play of it on YouTube.

    Strangely bizarre, and such a bad idea in so many ways.

    My sympathies to you both!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, well, thanks! And thanks for watching. :)

      Delete

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