Monday, November 20, 2017

Twilight: 2000: Won! (with Summary and Rating)

But what did Paragon do if two people got the same winning number?
Twilight: 2000
United States
Paragon Software (developer); MicroProse (publisher)
Released in 1991 for DOS
Date Started: 26 October 2017
Date Ended: 19 November 2017
Total Hours: 42
Difficulty: Moderate (3/5)
Final Rating: 35
Ranking at Time of Posting: 191/271 (70%)
I had around another 8 hours and maybe 20 missions to go after the last entry. After a few missions, my intelligence officer told me that "Czarny's regime is crumbling" and "General Andrekov has been called back to Checiny for emergency strategy meetings with Baron Czarny."

I couldn't remember if Czarny's home city had been named before. I decided to ignore the next mission and see what happened if I just assaulted Checiny. I took a tank to the city and didn't see any enemy vehicles. The moment I got out of the tank, the game told me that I was ambushed and captured by Czarny's forces, and that he subsequently captured Krakow. A graphic seen showed my 20 characters being marched somewhere and then shot on a firing line.

This ending, unlike the "good" one, has graphics.
Returning to doing it the hard way, I had about 10 more missions before my intelligence officer said that "General Andrekov is out of the picture . . . apparently, there's been some kind of fallout [with] Czarny."

The missions towards the end of the game almost all involved combat. I think among the last dozen, I had one supply mission but everything else was ground or tank battles.

Finally, I finished a mission, checked in with the intel officer, and got a message that Czarny was attacking Krakow itself with a force of 2 vehicles and 27 troops. I went to bed at this point without saving. Reloading the next day, I got the same mission but with 2 vehicles and 11 troops. That was much easier.
The final mission begins.
I drove my M1A1 Abrams outside the garage, blasted the two tanks, got out, and took out the 11 soldiers in a regular ground combat. It was perhaps a little harder than normal; more of the enemies had grenade launchers and rocket launchers.
My last kill of the game.
The endgame text tells of the execution of Baron Czarny and a bright future for free Poland--but under the cloud of General Andrekov's escape. Despite rumors that he had been executed or fled to the U.S., my party wonders if he was the true source of the trouble and Czarny was just his puppet. The game ends with the question unresolved. In the final line, you're encouraged to send a 30-character alphanumeric to Paragon.
Part of the endgame text.
In my first entry for Twilight: 2000, I noted that about 20% of the manual consisted of errata. The game then shipped with a readme file that had errata on the errata. To excuse this sorry state of affairs, the developers noted in the errata that the manuals "are always written and printed long before the project is actually completed." I don't know if this is really true; even if it is true, I suspect that Paragon perhaps still printed its manuals a bit too early.
This is not the kind of note that instills a lot of confidence in the game you're about to play.
In their final paragraph, the developers say: "We believe the changes have improved the playability of the game and we've tried to create a game that is fun, challenging, and convenient to learn and use." I might be reading too deeply between the lines, but these sentences suggest to me a certain desperation. "We tried," it says, almost plaintively. This is the desperation of a company that got the license to make computer versions of several popular tabletop games but, lacking any real RPG experience, managed not to get any of them right. It's the desperation of a company that had similarly bungled a series of action games based on Marvel characters, a company that would be out of business within a year. I haven't been able to find a solid history of Paragon, but my impression is that they had some good fortune in getting the Marvel and GDW licenses, but ultimately bit off more than they could chew.

Twilight: 2000 is much like MegaTraveller 2 in its essential failure despite promising elements. Both have some of the best character-creation processes that we've seen in RPG history. Both offer relatively open worlds. Both attempt to use at least some of the skills offered by their tabletop parents. Both offer a variety of different quest types. But in the end, both are fundamentally boring. They had to cut too many corners in adapting the game from tabletop to computer.

I'll discuss some of the other things I like about Twilight: 2000 as we go through the GIMLET:

  • 6 points for the game world. Liberating post-apocalyptic Poland may not be an original plot if you're familiar with the tabletop modules, but it is highly original among CRPGs. The plot and backstory are well-told and the party's place is clear. The world even responds slightly to the party's actions.
  • 4 points for character creation and development, all of this going to an excellent creation process that allows you to develop a variety of skills via education, civilian careers, and numerous types of military careers. It also gets some credit for its "find-the-right-person-for-the-job" approach to quests.
  • 2 points for NPC interaction. These interactions are minimal and offer no role-playing options. NPCs are rarely named and do not contribute to the game's lore.
  • 1 point for encounters and foes. There are two types of enemies: tanks and soldiers. Soldiers are differentiated somewhat by the types of weapons they wield.
Until he fires, I don't know what he has for a weapon.
  • 4 points for combat, which includes the action tank combat and the tactical ground combat. It's a little weird how separated these are, and it makes little sense that you can avoid a tank blast by diving out of your own vehicle, or avoid damage from ground troops by diving back in. Aside from distance and a few terrain considerations, ground combat doesn't have enough tactics, but I suppose it benefits from some gritty realism.
Sneaking up behind enemy tanks and blasting them to smithereens was the best part of the game.
  • 6 points for equipment. This game is a military fetishist's dream, offering numerous types of handguns, rifles, heavy weapons, and explosives, all carefully detailed and described for various factors, including damage and weight. The ability to modify weapons with scopes is a plus, and the game does some original things with rarely-seen (in RPGs) equipment like goggles, snow shoes, medicines, binoculars, tools, and radios. That you have to purchase most of your equipment during character creation is kind of stupid. I was also disappointed at how many items were never used, including flashlights and Geiger counters.
  • 1 point for the economy. There is no in-game economy, just during character creation, and it's generous enough that you don't really need to worry about it at all.
  • 3 points for the quest. There is only one main quest and no side-quests, but the variability of the main quest missions are a slight bonus.
  • 4 points for graphics, sound, and interface. The graphics and sound effects both get the job done. I was not fond of the interface, and I will never rate a game high that refuses to use the keyboard in the most obvious of ways. There were too many times that the interface was inconsistent or required too much time to accomplish a common task (opening and closing the map being the prime exhibit).
The interiors of the buildings were well-designed and almost entirely wasted.
  • 2 points for gameplay. This is where it really suffers. The open world is wasted in a linear set of missions. There are far too many of them, and they get too repetitive. Since you can't reject missions or choose a path that you want to specialize in (e.g., combat or non-combat), there's no reason to replay the game.
This gives us a subtotal of 33. I'm going to give a couple of extra points for the vehicle-driving mechanic, which is reasonably well-done and fairly unusual to RPGs of the period. The final score of 35 is still quite a bit below the 41 I gave to MegaTraveller 2. Both games offer somewhat bipolar GIMLETs: several high scores balanced by several abysmal ones. That's the Paragon experience in a nutshell.
Here's another cool image where I've just blown up two tanks in a row.
J. D. Lambright reviewed the game in the June 1992 Computer Gaming World. I believe I'm encountering this reviewer for the first time, and I have to say I'm impressed with how well he understood the game. He covers considerations for skills, equipment, vehicles, and overall mission success, and he clearly put a Scorpia-level of effort into it.

He agrees that the character creation system was "possibly the most outstanding system ever introduced in a computer game." If nothing else, Paragon made a great character-generator for tabletop players. Alas, he got sucked in by the fantasy that even if "all the available skills are needed in this game, they may be used in subsequent games." There's only one game--Wizard's Crown--in which that kind of investment has ever paid off. He notes many of the gameplay frustrations that I did, including finding the right NPCs to talk with and dealing with the whole language issue, and like me he found the missions "repetitious." Overall, however, he concludes much more positively than I did. His penultimate sentence is one that I absolutely cannot sanction: "Paragon Software is listening to their customers and learning what role-playing is all about." I don't think the company ever understood what role-playing was all about.
This got old fast.
For justification for that opinion, I turn to the tabletop Twilight: 2000 materials, provided to me by two awesome readers, Antti and Dariel. Between them, they sent the play manual and several modules. From the play manual, I was primarily interested in whether the tabletop RPG allowed for continual character development or whether a character's skills were presumed to be fixed after creation. As I suspected, the idea of no character development lies solely with the CRPG and its developers. The manual has this to say:
As a person grows older and more experienced, it is natural that he will polish his existing skills and learn new ones. In a sense, Twilight: 2000 picks up the threads of the lives of the characters in mid-course. Thus, they already have considerable knowledge of the world, but as time passes they will learn more.
The manual gives several ways by which a character can increase a skill, including successful use, observing another character, training, and literature. The rules behind these increases are not strict, however, and a lot is left to the discretion of the "referee." I suspect the lack of hard rules has something to do with Paragon's failure to include any kind of development.
The play manual cover.
The tabletop materials also make it clear that the party's assemblage of skills is supposed to provide various alternatives to completing the missions. The CRPG's primary problem is that the player has no choices. If the next mission is a spy mission, he needs "Interrogate." If it's a vehicle retrieval mission, he needs "Mechanics." He can't use "Stealth" as an alternative, following potential spies and observing their behavior, or "Persuasion" to convince someone else to fix the vehicle. Twilight: 2000 should have been a bit more like Wasteland, where different combinations of skills can all lead to a successful outcome.

The modules, all from 1985, show the game's sources, beginning with The Free City of Krakow, which establishes the home base of the party. Pirates of the Vistula introduces Baron Czarny as one of several regional warlords, and The Ruins of Warsaw deals primarily with Czarny. (The CRPG doesn't go as far north as Warsaw, instead relocating Czarny's headquarters to Checiny.) Reading these, I can't help but be a little heartbroken at what could have been. A full CRPG based on these modules would have offered air and river travel (and combat) options, dozens of interesting NPCs with backstories and even romance options, a much more subtle and complex plot, half a dozen intriguing factions to role-play, more detailed maps, and cities and towns with shops and bars and individual character.

The game's one addition to the plot seems to have been General Andrekov, who appears nowhere in the modules. I guess they were setting him up for a possible sequel.

Of course, there was no sequel. In finishing this game, we are done with adaptations of Game Designers' Workshop properties, done with Paragon Software, and mostly done with the lead developers who worked on this or MegaTraveller. After the company was bought by MicroProse in July 1992, some of the Paragon principals founded Take-Two Interactive, but I guess by then they had learned that RPGs weren't their strong suit, as Take-Two has never made one.
[Edit: Long after originally posting this entry, I found the ad below for both Twilight: 2001 and MegaTraveller 3: The Unknown Worlds. The games are promised by Microplay, a division of MicroProse, suggesting that MicroProse got the rights to the GDW licenses. But despite this full-page ad in the August 1992 Computer Gaming World, nothing was ever heard of these games again.]
Two games that never were.
I said "mostly done" with the developers. The major exception is going to be Challenge of the Five Realms (1992), a MicroProse title conceived by Marc Miller, the GDW co-founder who contributed the scenarios to the computer versions of MegaTraveller 2 and Twilight: 2000. Paragon programmers F. J. Lennon (design) and Paul M. Conklin (sound) also appear in the credits. Summaries of the game suggest that it heavily involves the use of skills and includes the "PAL" system that was featured in both MegaTraveller 2 and Twilight: 2000, in which characters with an appropriate skill will pipe up at the right moment. In short, it sounds like Challenge of the Five Realms is a Paragon title developed without the constraints of a GDW tabletop rulebook. Will that make it a better or worse game? I guess we'll soon see.

Lennon has one other RPG in his future: MicroProse's BloodNet (1993). Finally, another Twilight: 2000 programmer, Don Wuenschell, found post-Paragon work at DreamForge, and we'll see his work on Veil of Darkness (1993), Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession (1994), Menzoberranzan (1994), and Ravenloft: Stone Prophet (1995).

It's been a strange ride, Paragon. Whether I was trying to map the crazy corridors of Alien Fires, looking for the right artifact in Wizard Wars, or going through the detailed character creation processes in Space 1889, MegaTraveller, and Twilight: 2000, I always thought you had some intriguing ideas. I don't know if you never bothered to check out titles like Ultima, Wizardry, Might and Magic, or the Gold Box series, or if you did check them out and just didn't understand them. Either way, you never did really figure out what CRPGs were about. I'm not sorry to see you go, but part of me will always be sorry that you never reached your potential.


The bizarre French Oméga: Planète Invisible was supposed to be next, but I found plenty of evidence that its release was not in 1987, as most sites report, but in late 1985 or early 1986. I'm using this flimsy excuse to kick it backwards on the list and relegate it to a final "sweep up" that I'll have to do when I get to the end of 1989.


  1. A great epitaph for Paragon.

    As for DreamForge games, I haven't played Veil of Darkness yet. The rest are okay-ish dungeon crawlers, the Strahd's Possession being the first and the best of them. The other two suffer from linearity and low difficulty (Menzoberranzan) and highly repetitive/formulaic design (Stone Prophet). I was able to finish the first two in past years, but grew abysmally bored with Stone Prophet and dropped it more then a half-way through. But I don't like dungeon crawlers that much, so opinions may vary.

    1. Veil of Darkness is a fun game as far as I remember. It's an action adventure, though, and I don't remember any stats except health, so I doubt it qualifies as an RPG.

    2. The best thing the DreamForge games had going for them was amazing artwork, in my opinion.

      Veil of Darkness is most similar to DreamForge's earlier work as 'Event Horizon' which have already been covered in this blog. Although it's very light on the rpg elements, Veil of Darkness is worth looking at because of the gorgeous graphics and the unusual setting for games of this sort and more importantly because the prior games of the developer that are very similar have already been covered here.

      There's combat and items usage for buffs and so on, so it's almost an rpg, but I don't remember there being any character progression over time, but that didn't stop Twilight 2000 from being a (bad) rpg, did it?

    3. Dreamforge were also behind Anvil of Dawn, which is a seriously good dungeon crawler, far better than the Ravenloft games. Maybe the cooperation with New World Computing has something to do with that.

    4. @The Architect, I doubt it's because of NWC influence, because AoD plays basically like a sequel or spiritual successor to Event Horizon's earlier awesome dungeon crawler The Summoning (perspective being the primary difference). I just think they didn't really know what to do with the DnD properties and were much better off with their own designs.

    5. Veil of Darkness uses the same engine as Dusk of the Gods and The Summoning, both of which are decent RPGs in their own right. It's more a horror/adventure title though, with no real stats or character development, but I'd consider playing it anyway due to it's similarity to the other two games on the engine.

      I think they also did Dungeon Hack, which is a Eye of the Beholder-style Rogue-like, with randomly generated dungeons. A bit tedious after awhile, as the dungeons all feel the same, but still fun for a quick run through.

  2. Did any of the Paragon people work on Darklands? It has the Traveller style characer creation (with actual in-game skill advancement.)

  3. I played both MT2 and T2000 but never finished them. My impression is that MT2 was by far the better game: less confusing, better story, better side quests, doesn't include an apparently despairing and repetitive combat system... I think the final score reflects that nicely (wouldn't have been surprised if the gap had been bigger)

  4. Challenge of the Five Realms is very much like these games: there are some cool ideas, but it's woefully unfinished. Even though they didn't have a tabletop system to adapt, they still ended up with many skills that don't have any use (rot13ed tip: qba'g ebyy n qvcybzng be n guvrs - gurer ner arkg ab hfr sbe rvgure bs gubfr fxvyyfrg (naq sbe jung yvzvgrq gurer vf, lbh'yy unir ACPf), naq lbh yvxryl jba'g trg cnfg gur svefg onggyr jvgu gurfr glcrf naljnl). Though the proportion is apparently better than in Twilight, and finally there is character development (not that it matters much). Also, in a similar fashion, the game presents an open world, but you need to strictly follow the plot, otherwise you'll end up in a walking dead state.

    1. I think the Addict will enjoy Cot5R, not game of the year material or anything but it has it's charms and is pretty well written with some great NPCs. As you suggest it does continue the streak of offering a great initial character development system only for half of the skills to be mostly useless, promising more than it could deliver. I'm torn about the time limiting element of the game, on the one hand it's quite unique, but it does railroad you somewhat turning the open world linear.

    2. Oh, I did enjoy my first playthrough too. It's when I started replaying it that I noticed how much unfinished stuff is there.

    3. Challenge of the Five Realms definitely shows that the Paragon developers were slowly improving. It had great non-linear exploration (if you follow the obvious story trail in the beginning, the time limit becomes a non-factor), lots of NPC interaction (though not nearly as good as to something like Ultima), and decent skill usage for puzzles. Unfortunately, it seems like the never mastered combat, and even in Cot5R, it was a bit of a cluster-F. The only upside was combat was pretty infrequent and as such, reminds me a bit of a more primitive ultima 6/7. I think the addict will find it relatively enjoyable.

    4. Actually, combat in Cot5R was quite easy to figure out once you understood that it is neatly divided into a moving phase and action phase. The bigger problem that a single well-rolled mage could basically mop the floor with more or less anything right from the start, and then you got mage NPCs...

  5. Regarding printed manuals: I've seen this mentioned by too many developers to doubt it. In my own work, I've also encountered the same issue - a decade back, when boxed editions were still the primary mode of distribution, the box art and the manual needed to be finalised well in advance. By that point, "well in advance" meant a week or two before the game went gold, but as I understand, back in the early 1990s, that time was much longer, sometimes more than a month. And as you can imagine, the final month of games development often involves some of the most significant changes. These range from subtle but crucial adjustments in game balance, to the wholesale removal of features that are already described in the manual, but just ain't gonna get done.

    But *why* would it take so long to print a bunch of manuals? Isn't it a job for a few hours for an experienced printing facilitie? The answer lies in the fact that printing facilities were relatively limited, and in very heavy use. In the early 1990s, paper publishing was such a huge part of the economy, that printing facilities had difficulty keeping up with the demand.
    Two major issues affected this. The first was that printing materials at the time wasn't just a matter of loading up a well-ordered Word file and away you go. Substantial effort was needed by the printing company to prepare the supplied documents for printing by converting them into whatever formats the printing facility used (not necessarily digital!). This took time, it took staff resources, and - naturally - it prevented last-minute updates. You needed them to get started much earlier in advance - unlike the disk printing people, who (obviously...) worked in digital.
    The other factor was the relative low priority of games from the perspective of the printing industry. When 200,000 units was considered a rather modest printing run for a book, games were getting printed in tens of thousands of units, so they naturally got relegated to the back of the queue, delayed by sudden orders, or squeezed into the cracks on a "we'll manage it somehow" basis.

    It all made for a very convoluted and frustrating process, which is hard to grasp from today's perspective, when we've got absolutely incredible and instant capacity for printing high quality materials of any kind. At the time, though, you even had some companies investing in their own printing facilities just to streamline that part of the process. This would have been a hefty investment and was probably very unusual. I recall Christopher Weaver of Bethesda saying this was the case for them, but I don't know who else would have done it - Nintendo, obviously, Sega, and probably the big publishers like EA... and... EA (it was a smaller industry back then :) ).

    One of the repercussions this had, over time, was that as schedules became tighter, and releases shifted from "when it's done" to concrete dates, manuals became more and more frustrating. By the mid-1990s, you start seeing a very clear trend, especially in complex games involving statistical crunching - like RTSes, RPGs, flight/space sims - towards reductionism in the manual. Instead of telling the user the exact numeric stats, let's just give him vague descriptions like "good", "great", "excellent", and then if we have to adjust the numbers a bit in the game, they won't notice. Manuals got less detailed, less precise, and just plain lousier, so that by the time the issue of squeezing them down into DVD-sized boxes came along, it hardly involved any effort at all. Of course, that was the push factor - there was also a pull factor in the form of official game strategy guides, which showed that if you don't reveal all in the manual, you can sell more stuff to your customers at a slightly later date.

    1. This was a great read. I love reading old manuals, I've kept some of my favorites throughout the years, Island of Dr.Brain being the absolute best.

    2. Manuals were a big deal. I was really disappointed when we shifted from thorough manuals with good production values to pamphlets. It was like I was getting less of a product.

    3. (I should add that my expectations have completely changed, nowadays I feel a tutorial plus tool-tips should provide you with everything you need to understand the game)

    4. Well heck nobody read manuals anyway. I was about the only one. Everyone else was, "Just start playing the damn game, who likes reading?" or "If you can't figure out the game by playing, then it sucks anyway" and other brilliant attitudes.

      The manual for Civilization (1, but it didn't need a number dammit, that's not what it was called) was a masterpiece. It was a fricken book. I read it on and off for *months*. One chapter here, one chapter there. It led to a much deeper understanding of not just the game, but history itself. But screw that, amirite, any game that requires reference to an external source is defective by design, if it doesn't handhold you in the game itself it's stupid.

    5. Yeah, I'm with you, Tristan. I APPRECIATE the effort that went into old manuals, but I vastly prefer the modern era where you learn to play the game in the opening stages.

      Jakub, you offer a spirited defense, and I agree that all these concerns were present, but if a manual needs 25 pages of errata plus a separate errata file, the development schedule was really out of whack. Too many changes were being made at the last minute.

    6. Yes, I would agree there, Chester - 25 pages of errata is more than a bit excessive (though, I suppose, it does indicate the manual was significantly more than 25 pages). Clearly something went wrong there.

      Regarding learning to play in the opening stages - it definitely is better to design games with this philosophy in mind, as it leads the developer to provide a better learning progression through the early game.

      That having been said, I definitely more than appreciate the effort that went into SOME of the old manuals. Specifically, I think those manuals that described the world, its contents and inhabitants, were in a special category of their own. And best of all were the ones that were conceived as part of the game world. I absolutely loved the way Origin handled manuals, with a flimsy install guide and playguide, and the thick gameworld booklet. I'm happy that no one assumes any more I need a playguide or an install guide to get into the game, but that gameworld booklet, I greatly miss.

    7. Origin definitely is the company I have in my head when I say I miss manuals. Their manuals and other documentation 'add-ons', particularly for the Ultima games, were wonderful. I still remember following the path in the underworld described in Lord British's letter in Ultima 5 and at risk of sounding cheesy, it was magical to me to have the documentation/letter and gameplay intertwine like that.

    8. Early Microprose was something like 80/20 education/gameplay so far as the manuals went. I learned more about 19th century railroads via the original Railroad Tycoon manual than any other single source.

    9. Problem with printing back in the 90's wasn't that it was difficult but that it costed money because each change had to be repeated per palet (4 CMYK + spot colors) per offset run (and even this day still) and you also had to pay for each run you made.

      Off set plates have to be prepared well in advance so you can't really do any "last day" changes and with a large queue even less so.

      So say you have the first run and then 5 others well guess what you now have 4x printing runs worth of useless manuals that you still have to pay up for.

      Binding also costs money though these days printing machines can wham the rivets auromatically, depending on what's being printed.

    10. One of the most enjoyable parts of purchasing a new game is unboxing it on the bus ride home from the games store. I'd spend the entire trip tearing through the manual and just soaking in the (hopefully) fun and excitement that would ensue.

    11. I know I'm 6 months late (again), but the two manuals that stick in my head are Elite (well, the novella that came with it, The Dark Mirror, I think it was called, and The Magic Candle, with its descriptions of each NPC in the game and their personality.

      Oh, and there also was a good Ultima one (IV? VI? Something like that) that came with a cool description of the magic system in a separate book. (I'm sure Chet will be able to identify the game from that alone, given his knowledge of early Ultima gamaes)

    12. It was Ultima III and Ultima IV that offered separate spellbooks, each page fully describing a different spell, often so thickly that you couldn't really tell what the spell did. By Ultima V, each spell was just a paragraph and they included the descriptions in the regular lore book.

    13. Probably IV then, I seem to recall a V in the title.

      I COULD go to those blog posts I made where I went through all the gaming stuff in my parents basement (Now all sold I think, when they retired and moved to a condo on the west coast they had to downsize heavily).

      On the plus side, now that he is retired he has time to play Divinity: Original Sin (He and my brother were going to play Co-op, but he has more free time then my brother and left him behind), and to play Fortnite with my brother and I.

      I'm wishing they were on XBox instead of PS4, so we could play Fallout 76 together when it comes out.

  6. In the Realms of Arkadia trilogy you can use some skills and spells later that have no use in the first game(s).
    As they are also a software implementation of a P&P game they share the issue of unused skills with Twilight2k and MT, but at least some are used later (though not riding).
    The remakes from 2015/17 reduced the amount of skills and spells to a much more manageable list.

    1. I was under the impression riding cpuld be used in the second game just after getting a certain item to get where you need to faster.

  7. A final mission with no boss and which you can re-roll for less enemies? Thanks for the climax paragon.

  8. Twilight 2k tries to keep it realistic, that means no mecha stomping in for the final confrontation. The game was too rushed and too early to bring that system to market as a CRPG.

  9. Challenge of the Five Realms and Bloodnet seems like a kind of games that only you, our heroic crpg addict, can really like without being driven over by their interface, amount of stats that you never know if they are really useful or not, and general lack of guidance.

    Two developers/designers in all those games, Laura Kampo and John Antinori, are unique in the sense that they basically were the most unique defenders and designers of the cyberpunk/horror mix. After Bloodnet, Hell and Ripper are two very flawed adventures that are also awfully interesting in what they bring up to the narrative genre.

    Oh, and congrats beating the Paragon games. I cannot stop admiring you.

  10. So...Twilight 2000 was kind of just crappy X-COM.

  11. Playing this as a 10 or 11 year old I rather struggled - despite being the kind of kid that read manuals cover to cover (and now I recall how inaccurate the manual was). I came to the conclusion most of the skills were useless, obviously being a computer geek I took 'computers'; might be mis-remembering but I think that was a useless one. I also remember hundreds of languages and it frankly being a miracle if one of my team could talk to an NPC...

    I've no doubt I got absolutely nowhere in the missions, but I dimly remember the firing line bit - maybe I drove over to Checiny for 'fun' early on and got the bad ending...

    Fully agree with your rating: seemed like they took on more than they could handle, a very ambitious project, but ended up being delivered unfinished.


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I read all comments, no matter how old the entry. So do many of my subscribers. Reader comments on "old" games continue to supplement our understanding of them. As such, all comment threads on this blog are live and active unless I specifically turn them off. There is no such thing as "necro-posting" on this blog, and thus no need to use that term.

I will delete any comments that simply point out typos. If you want to use the commenting system to alert me to them, great, I appreciate it, but there's no reason to leave such comments preserved for posterity.

I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.