Tuesday, July 10, 2012

B.A.T.: Won!* (With Final Rating)

This is the second game in a row to just dump me onto a screen like this at the end.

Computer's Dream (Developer) / Ubi Soft (Publisher)
Released in 1989 for Atari ST, 1990 for DOS
Date Started: 06 July 2012
Date Ended: 10 July 2012
Total Hours: 11
Difficulty: Moderate (2.5/5)
Final Rating: 29
Ranking at Time of Posting: 28/64 (44%)

B.A.T. ought to stand for "Bait and Tswitch." The game promises to be a CRPG/adventure hybrid and almost entirely fails to deliver on the CRPG part.

I spent a lot of time--too much time--winning the game yesterday. My winning character was probably my eighth; most of the first seven died of starvation rather than experiencing "walking dead" moments. There were only a few puzzles, and the game world is fairly small. The key to winning involved doing things in a particular sequence (as is often true in adventure games) and "searching" every area and after every combat to pick up the few vital inventory items.

Failure to search after killing Merigo puts you in a "walking dead" situation.

The basic winning sequence (obviously major spoilers for anyone playing the game) was to do the following:

1. Equipped myself with one good weapon, a couple of clips of ammunition, at least one force field, and a number of units of food. Medicine was sometimes useful but I learned to flee most combats, and in my final play-through, it wasn't necessary as I only fought Merigo and Vrangor.

2. Headed to the arcade and played the "Bizzy Game" until I had about 500 more credits than I started with. Changed those credits for local currency and that lasted for the rest of the game. This might have been cheating a bit, as I used Notepad to write down the sequence of shapes for each level and then just repeated them. I think you're supposed to memorize it.

3. Went into a bar and ask a woman about Merigo. She told me that some random alien or robot was talking about him.

4. Wandered around the city until I find the right alien or robot. He told me to meet him at the museum at a particular time. Met him there and got a clue that Merigo was in the Xifo club. Bought an access pass to the club from the same NPC or wandered around until I found another NPC that had one.

Who goes to a nightclub at 6 o'clock in the morning?!

5. Visited the Xifo club at the right time, encountered Merigo, and defeated him in combat. Searched his corpse for an electronic key that would get me into the underground area in #10.

What happened to this guy? I just shot him! I didn't cut off his nose and burn him!

6. Visited the nightclub at a particular time (around 03:00), danced with Lydia, and got her to join me.

7. Visited the arcade again at a particular time (around 13:00), used the "Bizzy" machine, and met Sloan. Agreed to his challenge about who could reach the highest level. Watched him play five or six levels (the game actually makes you watch the entire thing) and then beat his level. Asked him to join me as a reward.

"Sloan" looks oddly Native American.

8. Used Sloan to get through the airlock. Talked to a guy who would rent me a "drag" for $5,900. Lydia suggested that I contact Crisa Kortakis for financial help and gave me her number.

I have no idea what he meant by "arrangements for personal cover."

9. Used the payphone on the first screen to call Kortakis, got an appointment with her, and visited her--she turned out to be a morbidly obese, emotionally unstable, unclothed woman--in her apartment. Got her to give me a bunch of extra cash. I could have skipped this step with all the money I won at the "Bizzy game," but she also gave Lydia a gem needed for #11.

10. Went into the underground and navigated a very frustrating, complicated 3D maze. I found it impossible to map, because I didn't realize that the game randomly turns you every time you exit a door. I finally buckled and looked at an online map, which is why there's an asterisk after "Won!" in the title.

This took bloody forever.

11. In the underground city on the other side of the maze, used Lydia's gem to activate a control panel and get me an Epsilon Card that showed the way to Vrangor's hiding place at Epsilon Station (needed for #13). Returned to the city, which forced me to re-navigate the maze because some of the doors I used on the way there were now locked.

I can't quite make a double entendre out of this.

12. Checked into a hotel in the city and searched the room for an access card for the technician's panel at the airlock. Visited the airlock and got the access code for Epsilon Station.

13. Paid the guy in the airlock $5,900 for the drag. Headed out into the desert and drove around randomly until I saw a blinking light indicating where Epsilon Station was.

There wasn't much to this complicated-looking interface. Left-click to speed up, right-click to slow down, mouse to turn.

14. Entered the station, input the code from #12, went through a door, and encountered Vrangor. Defeated him in combat (he was the easiest foe in the game) and immediately got tossed into the "The End" screen at the top of this posting.

Vrangor went down so easily that I had time to take my hand off the mouse and take this screen shot.

Figuring out this sequence involved a lot of trial-and-error, of course. The first time I bought the drag, I drove it around aimlessly and found nothing. The first time I entered the maze, it was before I had Lydia's gem, so I got all the way to the underground city and couldn't finish. As you heard last time, I didn't realize that some of the events (such as meeting Lydia and Sloan) were time-sensitive, so I spent a lot of time wondering what to do next. It took me forever to figure out that the technician access card was in the hotel room; I thought the hotel room was just a place to sleep.

It actually turns out you can sleep anywhere, which was good because I used the option to wait out the time before the time-sensitive events. Time passes very slowly in the game; so much so that I was only on day 3 of my 10-day limit when I won.

I doze in a dark, dangerous alley.

Just for fun, after I won, I had a character sleep solidly for 12 days, and the world didn't end, so the 10-day limit seems to be something of a red herring.

All humans were supposed to be dead two days ago.

The puzzles exemplified many of the things that I don't like about adventure games. Too many of them required me to pick up obscure cards in obscure places. If y'all hadn't clued me in to wait around the arcade until the right time, I probably never would have met Sloan (even meeting Lydia was a fluke; I just happened to enter the club at the right time the first time I played). And then we have the issue, discussed last time, of having to click in just the right place to find the arrow to a new area. It was very late in the game that I found the path to the underground city on a screen I'd visited 500 times without noticing an alternate exit.

But it bothers me more how the game works--or doesn't work--as a CRPG. Let's move on to the GIMLET and we'll talk about that.

1. Game world. This is the first cyberpunk-influenced game that I've played, and while I'll never love the genre, I am grateful for the chance to play something other than the typical sword-and-sorcery CRPG. The game manual offers a fairly good history of the setting and describes the different alien and robot races to an extent frankly not required by the actual gameplay. The player's role and quest are fairly clear, and the game world does a good job responding to your actions. Mercilessly blast NPCs and the entire world turns against you, offering combat on every corner. Steal from shopkeepers and get caught, and no one will do business with you. There are neat little touches as you explore, such as flyers that give phone numbers for the club and the police station; you can call them from the payphone for somewhat useless information. There are a cinema and a police station that seem to be there just for atmosphere. All in all, not a bad world. It's just not very big, and they didn't do much with it. Score: 6.

Fiddling around with the phone allows you to call Ubi Soft, the game publisher.

2. Character Creation and Development. This was very disappointing. The game is offered as a CRPG and adventure hybrid, and the opening screen seems specifically designed to appeal to CRPG players, with a standard set of attributes and various skills, and with the ability to select your name. But the joke's on the CRPG player because no one ever refers to you by name, and if the attributes and skills play any role, it's very subtle. I didn't see a single place in which "electronics," "climbing," "evaluate," "mechanics," "truck," "locate," "pick locks," or many of the other skills would be used. It's possible that some of the attributes had an effect on speed and effectiveness in combat, but combat wasn't hard enough to require such tweaking. The character does gain "levels" throughout the course of play, but again, the influence of this is essentially undetectable.

Just for fun, I tried different combinations. I created a character who had no intelligence, charisma, and perception and was all force, energy, and reflexes, and I created a second character who was the opposite. The only thing notably different was the speed at which combat began and the character's effectiveness in combat. NPC interaction, use of other computer consoles, even the price charged for goods by shopkeepers, all seemed exactly the same. It feels like the creators came up with an engine that supports a CRPG/adventure hybrid but didn't come up with a scenario that actually makes use of the engine. Score: 2.

Stuff like this fools you into thinking that this is a real CRPG.

3. NPC Interaction. Admittedly better than a lot of standard CRPGs. There are a wide variety of robots and aliens to talk with, get hints from, buy things from, steal from, and attack. They just don't have much to say. Like many things in the game, the interface is better than the substance; ultimately, it is only strictly necessary to talk to two or three of them. Nonetheless, the ability to steal from and attack them gives more role-playing options than many games. Having to pick up a couple of NPCs to follow you around was vaguely interesting. Score: 4.

4. Encounters. Although there are different types of aliens in the game, they are essentially indistinguishable from each other in attitude and helpfulness, and you don't really role-play your encounters with them. Neither are there any role-playing choices in the puzzles. Not a strong part of the gameplay. Score: 3.

5. Magic and Combat. No magic, of course, and combat is extremely basic. You click on your weapon and shield to activate them, and then click on your foe until he's dead (or you are). There are no tactics save the option to flee. Again the developers half-assed the RPG part of the game here. I can't complain that it's not an RPG, because combat effectiveness is clearly based on attributes (it's pretty much the only thing that is), but the overall combat system is still very weak.

Perhaps more egregiously, there's hardly any combat in the game. My final character had just two fights, with the two main villains. They were both considerably easier than the random encounters I occasionally had with robots before I started fleeing them. Score: 1.

6. Equipment. A non-puzzle-solving inventory is one of my criteria for a CRPG, and this game has it. You can carry around various types of weapons, shields, ammunition, medicine, food, and quest items. But while this seems to offer some kind of choice to the player, in reality every player will end up with the same one or two weapons, respective ammunition, a shield, and a couple of meals to prevent starvation. I do like that you can buy or loot some of these items from random NPCs. Score: 2.

"Steak and chips" sounded so good I had it for dinner in real life.

7. Economy. It's kind-of stupid. You start out with a moderate amount, and the only way to make more is to play the arcade game. Through the game, you end up with all the cash you'll ever need in about 30 minutes. (It would have been more along the lines of a CRPG if you got cash for killing foes.) The process of exchanging credits for local cash seemed tedious and purposeless, and aside from food and beverages, which are cheap, there's not much to buy. Score: 1.

It's no wonder the world is so depressing and grimy if this is all people have to do for money.

8. Quests. There is one clear main quest, of the simple "kill the bad guy" variety, with no side quests. There are no alternate endings or opportunities to role-play the main quest. Score: 2.

9. Graphics, Sound, and Interface. As we've seen, the graphics are lovely--probably the best thing about the game, and perhaps the best graphics we've seen so far on this blog. There are no sound effects--just a series of repetitive, annoying techno tunes that I muted. The interface is all-mouse, and while I often don't like that (cf. Dungeon Master, Galdregon's Domain), it didn't work too badly here. The bigger problem is having to hover carefully over every pixel on the screen to make sure you aren't missing something vital to click on. I would have appreciated clearer highlighting of paths. Score: 4.

10. Gameplay. Like many adventure games of the era, B.A.T. is very linear and offers only one gameplay experience. Once you figure out its quirks and secrets, it's quite brief, and there would be no reason to replay it once you've won. Its level of challenge feels about right, even if I wish the nature of the challenges were a little more sophisticated. Score: 3.

I'm going to give the game a bonus point for the programmable computer, which I didn't really explore beyond a simple program (offered by the manual) to allow easy switching between alien and robot translation. Apparently, there was a lot more I could have done with it, including setting up automatic alerts for hunger, thirst, and alien pursuit. I've never seen anything like it in a game.

There are a lot of games for which this kind of macro would be extremely helpful.

The final rating of 29 puts the game slightly above some CRPGs that I didn't like and didn't finish. That feels right; I didn't hate the game, but I was a bit disappointed by it. Its score is notably below Beyond Zork's of 46; the latter game is really the first RPG/adventure hybrid, and even though it was non-graphical, it showed what a hybrid could really be, with statistics and equipment that mattered, complex (but logical) puzzles, and far more interesting encounters.

An ad for B.A.T. from the November 1990 Computer Gaming World.

I haven't been able to find a lot of contemporary reviews for B.A.T., but I am amused by the advertisement's promise that you can "pilot the DRAG, a genuine flight simulator shown in 3D." Some reviewers seem to have picked this up and offered it as a game "feature." The DRAG part of the game lasts about 30 seconds, and there is nothing about it that remotely approximates a flight simulator.

B.A.T.'s developer, Computer's Dream, made only one other game: a sequel called The Koshan Conspiracy (1992). It appears that they abandoned any pretense of making it a CRPG; MobyGames lists it as an adventure/strategy hybrid. The company was renamed Haiku Studios in 1993 and made one other game, an adventure game called Down in the Dumps, before it went out of business. Of the two developers, Herve Lange appears to still be active, but his credits have shifted to kids' games. Olivier Cordoleani seems to have gone into marketing and advertising. In any event, I am encountering all of them for my one and only time.

Bloodwych, of which I know absolutely nothing, is next.


  1. I don't think I even considered this game for my own chronological project. It looked B.A.D. from miles away.

    Bloodwych: didn't play it much, but it really is designed to be played against another human. If your wife has forced you to sit trough all 27 seasons of Grey's Anatomy and Sex and the City, now is the time to cash in on the credit.
    The single player experience is rather limited.

    1. Bloodwych: I wouldn't call the single player mode limited, but co-op is certainly more fun.

      I remember playing it for months, then getting stuck on some puzzle. Despite that, I have fond memories about it. Certainly enjoyed it more than B.A.T.

    2. As Zaltys says, the single player in Bloodwych is in no way limited and the 2 players mode is a co-op experience rather than a competitive one.

      If I remember correctly, the game is quite long. I would advise, and I don't think this could be considered as a spoiler, that each one of your party member is of a different colour (blue, green, yellow and red) in order to eventually have access to all the different spells in the game.

    3. The only downside to the single player mode is that some screen real-estate is wasted. I nover finished this on the Amiga, but I got quite a long way. It's along the lines of Dungeon Master, and the magic system is interesting. (You don't actually have to have one of each colour, I think, as they can learn cross-colour spells, but it's a reasonable choice that can't really be a mistake.)

    4. Thanks for the preview, guys. I'll try Bloodwych in single-player first and then maybe get Irene to join me for a cooperative player session just to check it out.

    5. Bloodwych: the sandwich vampires prefer.

  2. Congrats on finishing this. My feelings on it largely echo yours. Let's see how you like Bloodwych next.

  3. Man, I very dislike adventure games. How can we avoid them in this blog in the future?

    1. Opposite viewpoint espoused: More adventure/CRPG hybrids!!

    2. Any adventure game I play is supposed to be an adventure/CRPG hybrid. There are some good ones that are certainly worth playing, like Quest for Glory. But either way, there aren't THAT many each year.

  4. Am I the only one who thinks that Sloan looks more like a woman than a man?

    And yes, the maze is very annoying and unintuitive, especially the turning after going through doors. That part is not random, though, the direction is fixed for each door.

    The only other thing I can think of that is actually influenced by the attributes, other than combat, is the success rate of stealing. I'm not exactly sure which attributes are important for that, though.

    By the way, I've recently done a longplay video of the entire game, so if anyone wants to know more about how the game plays they can check it out here:

    1. Wait, Slaon is a man? I didn't even consider that.

    2. So, Jan... You're also behind the GameFAQ's B.A.T. walkthrough?

    3. I don't see it. Sure, the hair is long, but that's definitely a man's face. Also, his outfit would be far too revealing on a woman.

      The problem with stealing is that if you fail once, you're barred from every store in the game, including the doctor. Unless you save-scum, the risks of stealing so far outweigh the benefits that you wouldn't use it even if your success rate was 90%.

      I encourage everyone to watch Jan's LP, if only to illustrate (you'll notice almost right away) why I played with the sound off.

    4. You can also steal from random aliens. That doesn't usually net you much, but the worst that can happen is that they attack you.

      I'm the author of one of the two walkthroughs on GameFAQs, yes. When I started writing it there wasn't any, and then another one pops up just before I'm finished with mine. What are the chances?

    5. Good work! Got to ask that did you deduce Bizzy formula yourself or was it somewhere?

      Also, about on difference with other versions, on C64 don't remember even encountering Sloan or Kortakis but it was still possible to get to Epsilon Station. Have no idea if they were cut to meet system requirements or if game was just buggy.

    6. I'm not seeing the destinctly male face on Sloan (could just be some non-star-actress character art or bad art). Also I'm pretty sure Sloan can be a girl's name too.

    7. Random Encounter:
      Thanks! I've probably spent more time on the game than I should have, though. I've deduced the Bizzy formula myself, luckily that was relatively easy to do once I've had a hard look at the money progression after each level. It's really just some sums.

      Yes, I've read about that difference between versions. My guess is that the fact that you don't need the radar device from the underground city in some versions was a bug that got fixed in the DOS release, since it essentially allows you to skip a large part of the (already not very long) game. The content itself should be there, though.

  5. I shall promptly put this game on my list of games to avoid and then make a point of purposely avoiding it, possibly by downloading it, installing it, and then erasing it without playing it.

    1. My, aren't we edgy.

      Me, I'm going to play this and in fact every other old adventure game at some point. I disagree with the blog host on a lot of issues, near constantly in fact, but I think that playing all these classic games in the first place is such an inherently noble and worthwhile thing that it more than redeems him, even if he heretically refuses to admit that Dungeon Master is the best game of all time (it totes is).

    2. Wrong- the best game of all reality is Star Fox 64. I feel ashamed at how little this empirical truth is recognized. GET THEE HENCE LEST YOU FALL BEFORE MY SMUG!

    3. Do a barrel roll! (Tap R or Z twice)

  6. Congratulations! I never saw this one back in the day. It looks like a cyberpunk version of "Where is Carmen San Diego?" I appreciate your playing this but cannot see myself doing so. I have played other adventure games with the same problem - absolutely no replay value.

  7. Regardless of everything else, I really like the use of multiple panels; it reminds me of the plot events in Phantasy Star 4, among other things.

    1. It was a bit jarring at first, but I did come to like it. It helped organize the areas.

  8. Imagine if you bolt a computer into your arm and a superior upgraded version comes out a few months later?

    1. Think of it as more like a web browser than a piece of hardware. You don't have to have the latest version to access new content.

      Incidentally, I tried to post that comment in Chrome, and it was ignored (I clicked Publish, the page refreshed, and no comment). This one was posted using FireFox. Video, on the other hand, seems to work much better and faster in Chrome.

      So really you need two competing brands of arm computer, one on each arm.

    2. For the sequel, it WAS upgraded.


    3. I just want to know how it's powered. Do I have to sleep with a cord's length of an AC outlet every night?

    4. I would assume it's powered by your bodily energy, which would presumably mean that you would have to eat more than usual with it installed.

    5. That's what I want in my next iPhone upgrade: a way to suck energy directly from my body. Power your phone and lose weight at the same time.

    6. Might I recommend Android? I wouldn't recommend Apple for that, they place appearance over usability, which isn't what you want interfacing with your nervous system.

  9. I can't quite make it out, but does the blurb on the back of the box say there are 1,100 locations? How did they arrive at that number given what seems to be a relatively small game world? Just curious....

    1. Either on drawing board the game would've been considerably vaster or every heading in every screen at underground is considered location. Considering it also states 7 different species, adding claim under player interaction and previously mentioned DRAG piloting, says they had ad done long before game was released.

      Or they might've just lied plain and simple.

    2. I'm betting they planned it to be a full CRPG, then ran out of money. Why else spend all the time and effort on those stat screens?

    3. There might be 1,100 locations if you count each square of the maze as a separate "location."

      Otherwise, I count about 75-80 separate "screens" in the game, including buildings and specific rooms within buildings.

  10. Won? I wasn't excepting that, I was excepting at least one more posting with some sort of sense of build up.

    An anti-climatic end to a anti-climatic game I guess.

    1. The last two games have been too short not to win.

  11. Looks like Magic Candle's coming closer - that's great :D

  12. I believe Magic Candle is immediately after Bloodwych. Chet is in for a pleasant surprise. If he finishes it, it'll take him into the winter months.

    1. Oh, man. That'll mess up my year plan. Is it really that long?

    2. Oh man, I'll have to get that manual up soon!

    3. The Magic Candle manual is already available in scanned form: http://tiny.cc/mc1m

    4. Magic Candle isn't _that_ long, only about twice as long as a normal CRPG of that era. I've been playing lots of old CRPGs the past 1.5 years and I usually use about a week on the smaller games (the smaller Gold Box games and real time games like Dungeon Master, Chaos Strikes Back, Black Crypt and Ultima Underworld), two weeks on most turn based games like most of the Gold Box games, three weeks on large turn based games like Might&Magic 2, Ultima 5 and Wizardry 6. With Magic Candle I needed a whole month, not including the break I needed from the game.

    5. My Magic Candle saved games don't show up when I want to load them. Is there an obvious way to fix this? I'm using DosBox.

  13. Magic Candle and Dark Heart of Uukrul, so close together? That is the best thing ever.

    1. All the hype is making me look forward to Magic Candle - I know practically nothing about it. I was already looking forward to Dark Heart of Uukrul, I played it a bit and it seemed quite good, atmospheric and well thought-out, I think I just wasn't into the hardcore RPG experience at that particular point in time. Bloodwych is intriguing too, I hope you can pull off the co-op thing with Irene.


  14. "Just for fun, after I won, I had a character sleep solidly for 12 days, and the world didn't end, so the 10-day limit seems to be something of a red herring."

    Hmm, that's interesting. In your first posting on the game you showed a game over screen and said the following:

    "While I was exploring and typing this entry, the game screen flashed a few times, and then showed me an image of Selenia in which humans are dead in the streets, so I guess I failed somehow. I wonder if time passes when you're just standing around. If that's the case, I probably need to adjust my CPU speed downwards in DOSBox."

    I'm confused!

    1. I was wrong the first time. I must have gotten attacked by one of Vragnor's assassin bots when I wasn't looking. Another possibility is that I starved to death; I didn't realize that was possible until I'd been playing for a while.

    2. Wonder how they were able to find the agent in first place? After all, he arrived probably as civilian, unarmed and all. Mole in Bureau or was the contact in toilet ambushed? Eyewitness after shootout with Merigo? Guess this was never answered in-game.

  15. I, too, am very excited about The Magic Candle. A favorite of mine from my youth. I remember, vividly, the Computer Gaming World ads for both MC and the sequel.

  16. Anybody remember QuestBusters? Shay Addams did a feature on it on the cover of the April 1989 issue. Title was "A wicked RPG: The Magic Candle. Here is text from the end of the lengthy article.
    "Magic Candle's cohesive unified design offers the experienced orc-slayer a rewarding fantasy, while its countless original touches and innovations combined with a charming, individual graphics style, make it an entertaining one. Not just recommended, Magic Candle is our "Best Quest of the Month."

    There you have it. This game's as good as it gets. By the way, I have every Questbusters issue.

    1. While a good game, I always felt that the magic candle was a step backwards from Ultima 5 particularly in terms of NPC interaction. Still looking forward to RPGAddicts writeups of it though

    2. The Magic Candle, while good, seemed a bit dated and overlong even back in the day. It had a few nice points, but it was nothing special.

  17. Good job Chet! Puzzles where you meet someone at a certain time of day really annoy me, especially when there's no indication of the correct time to meet them. There's a game (Ephemeral Phantasia) I'm coming across in a decade or so that involves many cases of learning NPC schedules. Not looking forward to that one.

    1. It's done better in something like Ultima V, in which NPCs have schedules, but you can find them sleeping or walking around in between their "appointments." In B.A.T., Sloan and Lydia just cease to exist when not in their designated locations.

    2. A little bit of that will be in the - superior in all ways - Circuit's Edge later on, but the people you're trying to find are available in logical locations and there are in-theme reasons for your main character to be hanging around them, it's not just random.

  18. The real question here is

    "Do you want your Bloodwych with or without pickles?"

    followed up by

    "Would you like hell fries with that?"

  19. Well, dammit, now I am going to have to play Bloodwych, then Magic Candle, THEN Ukruul. Of course, I will have plenty of reason to want to...

    Said I wasn't going to be bringing this up anymore, but news sent my sanity crashing into "I want to escape from reality" mode. My wife told me that the hospital wants her to start work on what to do for her palliative care only, because soon there will be no way for the hospital to save her when she crashes like she has been doing.

    So, I am going to pre-emptively retreat from reality even more than I have been so that I will be prepared for the near-future when my wife-

    I can't even begin to finish that sentence.

    1. Get some help now. A problem like that only eats at you faster the farther you push it away. I should know as I have a lot of built up anxiety about my mom dying. She currently is 45, obese, often has pain and stiffness from fibromialgia, and recently went through a 6-hour surgery to remove her thyroid and a softball-sized benign tumor that would have eventually cut off her airway (now she noticeably becomes warn out more often and can become short of breath if walking for a short amount of time). I have regrettably let a lot of things slide since my anxiety began, and my escapism online is no less of a bitter hell than considering life without my mom.

      Atleast see a counselor. I believe with their help I am now able to deal with that possibility far better than my "alternative."

  20. You mentioned "I haven't been able to find a lot of contemporary reviews for B.A.T.".

    There are a couple of german reviews online. Generally, they did like this game...


    1. I can see why it might have been well-received in its day.

  21. People here might be interested in the news that EA (Bioware Mythic) is going to do a "free to play" remake of Ultima IV.


    1. Thanks for the post. Looks good!!!!

  22. Irene and Chester playing Bloodwych - bring it on!

    1. I'm trying it myself, though since it's not a Nintendo or otherwise console version of a pc game I'm not blogging it on my (currently on hiatus) blog at http://bloggingtheoldies.blogspot.com. However, good LORD is this a weird and hard to map/deal with inventory game. It's something that really requires paper and pencil to map instead of something like Excel or some such. And the bloody inventory system for trading items... (shudder). Hard to tell right now if it's a good game or otherwise.

    2. you could blog about it, It seems like Chet is maybe going on another hiatus...

    3. I'm on vacation. I put a thing at the top of the blog, but I guess it's not very noticeable. I'll resume posting this weekend.

      Chunkations, if I ever take another "hiatus," rest assured I'll tell everyone. Don't feel like you need to speculate.

    4. At this point I'm just assuming Chet is batman, and sometimes is busy fighting crime.

    5. I thought Chet was the chubby sidekick of the Hardy Boys.

    6. I often wish I'd chosen a different nom-de-plume for just this reason.

    7. Chet isn't your real name? All this time I thought it was rather ballsy of you to disclose your real name in such a public forum.

    8. Sorry bout that I used to play bloodwych as a kid on the spectrum so I let my excitement about seeing it here get the better of me

  23. By the way; There is a crazily large Steam sale on right now, with lots of CRPGs:

    Legend of Grimrock: http://store.steampowered.com/app/207170/?snr=1_4_4_

    Paradox Collection: Bunch of Magika stuff, Crusader Kings II, Mount and Blade stuff, Warlock -Master of the Arcane, looks like some CRPG stuff. http://store.steampowered.com/sub/15300/?snr=1_4_4_

    Square Enix Hit Collection: Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Human Revolution + Expansion packs. store.steampowered.com/sub/8594/?snr=1_4_4_

    SEGA Hit Collection: A ton of old Sega RPGs (Phantasy Star I through IV, Shining Force (?).

    Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: http://store.steampowered.com/app/2600/

    Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: http://store.steampowered.com/app/32370/

    Bethesda Collection: Fallout New Vegas, Skyrim, Hunted: The Demon's Forge. Brink. With lots of DLC, $61.88 USD. http://store.steampowered.com/sub/15263/?snr=1_614_615_summersale2012collections_616_20

    This is SO going to set off a spam filter.

  24. Alright, I'll freely admit that this isn't a CRPG game; it is a tabletop roleplaying-board-party game. However, some people I know are making it, and the predicted finish amount just dropped to 99%, so I thought I'd post it as I know we have a rather eclectic mix of people, including some tabletop gamers. I know how much it sucks to see a Kickstater you really want die, and it must suck even more from the other side of the project.

    Project Ninja Panda Taco:

    Project Ninja Panda Taco is a game where you get to play a Mastermind trying to take over the world. Along the way, you’ll compete as a Nemesis against other Masterminds and as a Minion who loves to help, while receiving rewards for their hard work.

    Project Ninja Panda Taco is about Masterminds taking over the World and the Minions who try to help. The game is a low-prep, lighthearted, collaborative roleplaying game that is perfect for everyone around the table.

  25. Noooooooooo!!!! I've finally caught up to the present. Now I have to wait for new posts before I can read them. What am I supposed to read while I'm on the train now??

    Oh well. At least I can comment now without feeling like I'm a light year behind the conversation.

    1. I would start here:


      There is a lot of JRPG-y stuff (he also has played a lot of the classic and current WRPGs on PC as well), but the guy is plenty incitefull, entertaining, and has tons of long-winded rants. Enjoy.

    2. Incitefull? :-)

    3. I decided to download Rogue for my phone instead. Unfortunately, it's a little buggy, and I haven't figured out a couple of the controls yet, but it seems pretty fun.

    4. Petrus: that was an error but it probably still works.

    5. The Stack has a pretty deep archive of RPG stuff to read, if you still need a fix. Here's the last page, so you can read your way backwards to the present:


      Older CRPGs like Wizardry 3 and the first three Gold Box games are included.

    6. You could just re-read everything. You probably skimmed a lot anyway.

  26. For giggles, I was checking out emulation because oftentimes the older Amiga or Atari ST version is superior in graphics and sound; I chose ST emulation because it is easier and cheaper (free!) than Amiga emulation. I am using the STeem Engine ( http://steem.atari.st ) and it's really easy to use- click click click and it's running- that fast.

    Oddly, however, the ST version is not that much better than the DOS version- in fact, the DOS version, as least the VGA graphics with Ad Lib sound, is much superior. The DOS version plays this cool sort of techno/trance beat for music and the ST version is silent except for the occasional sound effect. Graphically, the only thing the ST version has going for it is that it is somewhat sharper- occasionally easier to determine what a character, for example, looks like. I'd say maybe a 5% difference in graphical brilliance.

    The DOS version wins. Both games are mouse driven but the DOS version, VGA with Ad Lib sound, wins.

    I don't like having to map the game, however (I don't mind mapping- I like it, but I find the look of the 'dungeon'in the game to be somewhat confusing to my old, jaded, stressed-out eye), but it is superior to the ST :)

    1. The ST version originally came with a soundcard ("MV16") included, which also worked as a copy protection hardware dongle. I have no idea about the sound quality of that thingy, though...

    2. This is why the Amiga was superior to the ST in every way. The individual chips inside the machine took care of all of that. Gary, Agnes (Fat Agnes and Obese Agnes following), and all the others. No extra hardware was required, except for RAM, and even at that the OS of the Amiga fit in the half meg of RAM the machine had... and left the machine with enough RAM to run most games! I loved my A1000... Then I traded "up" to an A500, then it busted and I got a replacement with a 500 meg HD, and when it died (sigh) I got a replacement IBM pc clone. The first time I had ever jumped the Commodore ship (I had started with a Vic20, bought a C64, got a replacement C64, bought a C128, then the Amiga...)

    3. I fondly remember my Amiga. It was far ahead of its time.

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I've made a list of console RPGs. I'm fairly sure it's complete through 2009. After that it needs amending.


    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. No problem. It's the list I'm using, and I've hidden games I've covered that I don't consider console RPGs, but if you export the document and unhide everything you can get the full list.

      It was compiled using Mobygames, Wikipedia, and other suggestions. RPGamer.com is another resource I considered, but it seemed everything was well covered using the first two. I figured people would offer up any suggestions I missed.

    4. Zenic - awesome list, but you should have had another column about whether or not there is a PC version of the console RP as well... My 'twist' in my blog is that I'm playing the console version of a pc rpg and seeing what the difference is between the two. As well as just blogging the experience of playing the game. And getting sidetracked. Etc etc etc.

      So, if you could just do all my work for me, that'd be awesome, all right? Thanks!

      P.S. Not serious about asking you to do my work for me, in case you couldn't tell :)

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. @william: If you're talking about PC games ported to console, then the list is actually fairly small. Adding console games ported to PC, or created at the same time, then you'll have a lot more recent titles (including Skyrim and Mass Effect).

      @VicariousToast: If you have Dragonstomper as the first line, then you have them all unhidden; otherwise, you should export it as an xls and unhide all rows. Or you could look at my blog and see which games are marked as cut.

    7. @william: Here's a quick list I threw together. It's rough, but if you didn't have a list already, it should get you started:

      Alpha Protocol
      Arx Fatalis
      Bard's Tale
      Breath of Fire IV (European version)
      Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday
      Dark Messiah of Might and Magic: Elements
      Divinity II: Ego Draconis
      Dragon Age II
      Dragon Age: Origins
      Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening
      Dungeon Master
      Eye of the Beholder
      Fable II
      Fable III
      Fable: Lost Chapters
      Faery Tale Adventure
      Falling Stars
      Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
      Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
      Fallout: New Vegas
      Final Fantasy VII
      Final Fantasy VIII
      Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone
      Grandia II
      Heroes of the Lance
      Jade Empire
      Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch
      Legend of Heroes III: Song of the Ocean
      Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion
      Lord of the Rings: Volume 1
      Marvel Ultimate Alliance
      Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
      Mass Effect
      Mass Effect 2
      Might & Magic 3: Isles of Terra
      Might & Magic II: Gates to Another World
      Might & Magic: Book 1
      Penny Arcade Adventures: Precipice of Darkness, Episode One
      Penny Arcade Adventures: Precipice of Darkness, Episode Two
      Pool of Radiance
      Puzzle Chronicles
      Puzzle Kingdoms
      Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords
      Puzzle Quest: Galactrix
      Robinson's Requiem
      Sacred 2: Fallen Angel
      Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
      Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II
      Suikoden II (Chinese version only for Windows?)
      The Bard's Tale
      The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
      The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
      The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
      The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
      The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
      Two Worlds
      Two Worlds II
      Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar
      Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny
      Ultima VI: False Prophet
      Ultima VII: The Black Gate
      Ultima: Exodus
      Uncharted Waters
      Uncharted Waters: New Horizons
      Wizardry II: Knight of Diamonds
      Wizardry V: Heart of the Maelstrom
      Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord
      Ys Book I & II

    8. I avoided after market ports that happened many years later, and mainly use emulation, so they're basically the same game. Things like the Shining Force games and Phantasy Star.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. "Who goes to a nightclub at 6 o'clock in the morning?!"

    I did, a few years ago when I was in college. :D

    1. Ha! You just scared the hell out of me. Not an hour ago, I posted to my Facebook profile that I was at this French Quarter club until 06:00 this morning. When I got the e-mail with your comment, I didn't realize you were quoting this posting. I thought you'd tracked me down.

    2. Haha! Sorry 'bout that.

      Nevertheless, your secret is safe with me, Mr. Bruce Wayne.

  30. Mazes were a staple of adventure games of these years; in the better games there was usually some puzzle you had to solve to navigate them successfully (Monkey Island , Gabriel Knight), but in many cases they were used as a cheap way to pad the game length.

    I know what you are saying when the puzzle in this game exemplify what you don't like about adventure games, on the other hand BAT doesn't seem to me a very good game to take as an example of what the genre has to offer...


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