Saturday, June 6, 2020

Abandoned Places: Won! (with Summary and Rating)

         
Abandoned Places: A Time for Heroes
Hungary
ArtGame (developer); Electronic Zoo (publisher)
Released 1992 for Amiga and DOS
Date Started: 15 May 2020
Date Ended: 4 June 2020
Total Hours: 33
Difficulty: Moderate (3/5) but very imbalanced
Final Rating: 31
Ranking at time of posting: 220/368 (60%)
        
Summary:
The first game from a Hungarian developer, Abandoned Places offers typical Dungeon Master-style exploration, combat, and mechanical puzzle solving in a series of tiled 22 x 22 dungeons and dungeon levels. These locations are tied loosely together by a top-down overworld in which characters can visit a variety of menu towns and similar locations. The mostly-irrelevant story has four resurrected heroes from ancient times trying to stop the return of an ancient evil named Bronakh. The full game requires the party to defeat 27 dungeon levels, but different players will encounter different levels early in the game depending on where they pick up the main quest thread.  

*****

Bronakh's volcanic lair ended up being nine more levels, pitched in difficulty somewhere between the earlier, easy dungeons and the difficult Halls of Rage. Honestly, I wouldn't have minded if the game had just consisted of the Halls of Rage and Bronakh's fortress, maybe with a menu town on top. It would have been a tighter, more challenging game without a lot of wasted time before the main event.
          
As I mentioned in my penultimate entry, Bronakh whisked us directly from the Halls of Rage to his fortress without giving us a chance to level up. It turned out that I could just turn around, go up the stairs, and exit the volcano. In fact, the general theme of Bronakh's nine-level lair was to require full exploration of each level, but ultimately in service of finding a key that unlocked a down staircase rather close to the up staircase. Thus, even deep in the fortress, a return to town was possible with minimal effort. 
    
Bronakh's levels were more challenging than the rest of the game, but I still wouldn't say they were as challenging as Dungeon Master or even Eye of the Beholder. They were perhaps deadlier, in that fireballs and lightning bolts came flinging at my party it seems like every third step. I eventually got to the point where I just shrugged off the fact that my characters seemed to be taking constant damage for no visible reason. I reloaded a lot and took advantage of safe spaces to rest multiple times. My cleric got a resurrection spell eventually, and between that and "Heal," I could deal with most problems as long as he kept his spell points up.
            
Wandering into the wrong room in Bronakh's lair.
                     
As I explored, I tried to make a full accounting of the different mechanical devices that the game uses. They include:
           
  • Wall switches, some activated by hands, some by keys, that open walls and doors in other parts of the dungeon.
  • Floor plates that open walls and doors in other parts of the dungeon.
  • Illusory walls. Generally, you can just walk through them but "Detect Illusion" lets you see through them entirely.
        
This was a rare illusory door that looked like a regular wall until I cast the spell.
        
  • Doors that require finding keys.
  • Doors that have switches.
  • Multiple doors whose switches open each other rather than the doors they're attached to.
  • Traps that cause fireballs or lightning bolts to hit you from the nearest wall.
  • Fireballs and lightning bolts that fly out of the walls and corridors around you in absence of any trigger. Sometimes you can block these with plants, statues, or temporary walls created with the "Create Wall" spell.
  • Teleportation squares, including those that teleport you in a sequence around a particular part of the dungeon, so it's like you're on a never-ending conveyor belt.
  • Anti-magic squares.
  • Spinners, some of which spin continually, some of which turn you once or twice. It got to the point that every major intersection in Bronakh's had one of these.
  • Water squares, for which you must cast "Swimming" to keep from taking damage.
  • Squares perpetually on fire, for which you must cast "Walk on Fire" to keep from taking damage.
             
Here we have water and fire in a row.
         
  • Cobwebs, which must be destroyed with the "Fire Path" spell, which turns them into fire squares.
  • Potted plants (some of them hostile) and statues that you have to push and pull to clear paths or reveal hidden keys.
  • Pits that lead to small lower areas of the same level. You can use ropes to lower yourself without damage and "Climb" to get back up, or "Levitate" to avoid them entirely.
           
Notably absent from this list are pressure plates, and the types of puzzles that require you to weigh down those plates, either with characters or monsters. You also can't throw items into teleporters--just yourself--which limits some of the fun puzzles other games in this subgenre have allowed.
        
Through most of the game, the wall/door/switch ratio was 1:1 and one-directional, so that every time you found a switch, you could confidently activate it, knowing that it would open a door or wall that you needed open. Bronakh's got a little more fiendish by having some of its switches close areas that you needed open. It took me a while to learn to stop activating switches and instead to treat the game more like Dungeon Master where you explore first and slowly, carefully work on your switches later.
    
Both the Halls of Rage and Bronakh's did a good job of stringing these multiple options together. For instance, one of the levels has a series of pits that you needed to cross with "Levitate," only to put an anti-magic square on the pit in the middle. This caused "Levitate" to snuff out and drop me through to a waiting fire square below. I had to "Jump" to avoid this particular square..
             
Usually the game makes you fail once to figure it out, but this time it gave me a hint.
              
I don't love this kind of gameplay but I can appreciate it, and thus my only major complaint is that a couple of levels had keys allocated in such a way that you could put yourself in a "walking dead" situation if you didn't open doors in a particular order. There's never any excuse for that.
       
Enemies weren't pushovers, but they continued to be the least important part of navigating the dungeon levels, at least until Level 8, where several of the enemies were capable of frequent, high-damage fireballs. It turns out that the creators anticipated the experience imbalance between fighters and spellcasters and thus set the level requirements much lower for the latter. Everyone reached the end of the game at their maximum levels, which was 8. Inventory rewards mostly stopped after the Halls of Rage, and I found I didn't need any money after that. I only needed to retreat to town to get my last levels.
         
These dino-looking things were pretty tough.
        
The ninth and last level was large and mostly open, though with a few corridors and pillars to use for hiding and regrouping. Bronakh was the only enemy--a robed figure without much menace or character. He hit hard with spells, though, and took a long time to kill--so long that when I finally managed to kill him but had two of my own characters dead, I declined to reload and just moved forward through the final door.
         
Casting a "Toxic Cloud" at Bronakh while he hammers me with something or other.
        
The endgame cinematic showed the same sage who had resurrected the heroes sitting at his desk.
          
And so with the fall of Bronakh, the Kalynthian Empire is ready for a new age of peace and harmony: the age of union--when the lands of the world will at last be rejoined. For you it will be a time to build a new life, to meet new friends and remember old ones lost. And to watch and wait for the evil that can never sleep and must never be forgotten. The time of heroes will come again.
         
As the final words disappear, the door behind the sage opens to reveal a skeletal figure with glowing eyes just before we return to the main menu.
         
We never did find out who this guy was.
        
In the GIMLET, the game earns:
           
  • 3 points for the game world. I found the framing narrative derivative and poorly reflected in the game itself. The map was mostly wasted.
  • 3 points for character creation and development. There's no "creation" as such--just a selection from a gallery of heroes. Development is moderately satisfying, particularly in the acquisition of new spells, but forcing every player to have two warriors, a cleric, and a mage just reduces replayability.
  • 1 point for a minor amount of NPC interaction to guide the quest.
  • 5 points for encounters and foes. The game's enemies are maddeningly unnamed, and while they do have some special attacks and defenses that you might want to plan tactics around, each enemy type lasts for such a brief time that it's hardly worth analyzing them. I use this category for the quality of puzzles, which we've mostly already covered
  • 5 points for magic and combat. I like that the spells were integrated with puzzle-solving. While the game makes good use of the "cool down" system of Dungeon Master, it lacks some of the timing and punch of other games of its ilk, and for most of the game it was too easy.
           
Fighting some kind of goofy flying thing.
        
  • 4 points for equipment. You get the basics: two hand slots, armor, a ring, and a necklace or amulet. There weren't many upgrades, especially towards the end. There's no way to see weapon statistics, but at least the ability to sell weapons imparts some estimate of relative worth.
  • 2 points for the economy. The game has one, but it's not very well done. I sold a lot but hardly bought anything.
  • 3 points for quests. It has a main quest, of course, and there are a couple of different paths through the early dungeons, although which you take is more a matter of luck than "choice."
  • 3 points for graphics, sound, and interface. It gets 1 for each. I thought the graphics and sound effects were only okay, and for everything I liked about the interface (e.g., the use of function keys to execute attacks), there was something I didn't like (e.g., having to scroll slowly through the spell list). The automap, which you don't acquire until the third dungeon, stopped working in all of the later dungeons.
  • 3 points for gameplay. I have to give it a small amount of credit for some nonlinearity and some replayability, but the difficulty was too imbalanced and the pacing was horrible. 
       
That gives us a subtotal of 32, from which I subtract 1 for bugs, for a final score of 31. The "invulnerability" bug dogged me throughout the final dungeon. It seemed like whenever the processor got overwhelmed by too much happening on the screen--too many spells or flying lightning bolts or whatever--enemies just froze in place. They stopped attacking, but they were also impossible to kill and were blocking the corridors. On the positive side, I never encountered any of the bugs some other players report, such as an inability to ever find some of the dungeons.
It doesn't appear that the game ever had a North American release, and thus all the reviews are from European magazines, particularly Amiga magazines. I rubbed my hands and got ready to excoriate British Amiga reviewers for getting everything wrong, but they mostly gave the game a fair shake. Amiga Power said in February 1992 that: "[It] may not represent the new standard in RPGs--it's a bit too scrappy in certain areas for that--but you can bet your bottom dollar it'll be responsible for a great many hours of lost sleep among the die-hard D&D fraternity." Overall, the magazine gave it an 80. Reviews from CU Amiga in March 1992 (83), Amiga Action in March 1992 (82), and Amiga Format in February 1992 (80), all basically said the same things: the graphics are a bit rough and the game is a bit too easy, but otherwise it wasn't a bad experience. None of them seem to have made it all the way to the Halls of Rage before their reviews, however, which I imagine would have changed things. Continental reviews were less charitable, mostly in the 60s and 70s. The worst came from the German PC Player (37), but they didn't get to it until August 1993, at which point they were comparing it to Ultima Underworld and Betrayal at Krondor.
          
Some of the reviews mention bits of marketing from Electronic Zoo that said the game had "over 100" levels. Even accounting for the extra early-game dungeons that you don't experience if you take different paths, the only way that is true is if you count the little interconnected sections of dungeon levels and not the entirety of the levels. It's a disingenuous bit of marketing. Electronic Zoo also advertised that it would take more than two months to finish. It took me three weeks, but I don't really see how it makes sense to measure playing time in months anyway.
         
Abandoned Places was one of three games from Hungarian developer ArtGame. Abandoned Places 2 came along in 1993 and Piracy on the High Seas was published in 1992; it features an overworld interface very similar to Abandoned Places. Screenshots from the sequel show improved monster graphics, a redesigned interface, and first-person exploration of the overworld.
         
Travel in Piracy uses an interface nearly identical to Places.
           
If I can trust a few sites, the principals of ArtGame--including Ferenc Staengler, István Fábián, Sandor Hadas, and György Dragon--were university students when they met and decided to make games. An initial version of the game failed to find a publisher, although Electronic Arts expressed interest if the team came up with better graphics. They spent several months on a graphical overhaul, but by the time they resubmitted, EA had already agreed to publish Raven Software's Black Crypt and didn't want two games in the same subgenre at the same time. They ultimately struck a deal with United Kingdom-based publisher Electronic Zoo.
On a page in which Abandoned Places 2 is offered for free, Staengler recounts how he and his colleagues were treated by International Computer Entertainment, which bought the ailing Electronic Zoo and published the sequel. I'm not sure how much of this story (e.g., receiving no royalties) has anything to do with the original game and original publisher, so I'll leave off any more history until next year, when I cover the sequel and hopefully have managed to make contact with Staengler or one of the other developers. It is worth noting that even in the first game's manual, the publisher apparently made the developers anglicize their names: Ferenc Staengler became "Francis" Staengler, István Fábián became "Steve Fabian," and György Dragon was rendered as "George Dragon."
      
I found Abandoned Places underwhelming for most of its run, particularly in comparison to the better games of its sub-genre, but I do like that it tried to integrate Dungeon Master with an overworld, towns, an economy, and other features from outside the typical Dungeon Master line. There's no reason that a good dungeon crawl has to be 15 levels straight down; you can enjoy the same mechanics while still pausing for story elements and while allowing the characters to spend a night in a tavern. Abandoned Places didn't do it particularly well, but I'm glad that it tried to do it at all. I look forward to seeing if the sequel improves.
         
We'll head back to The Legacy next, of course, but whether the next game after that is a return to Ultima VII or a look at Mythos 1 depends on how far I get retracing my steps in the former.
         
***********
     
Trying something. Let's assume I have a Famicom Disk System (FDS) file and an IPS patch for it. How do I put them together? I can find all kinds of instructions for doing it with an SNES file, but not for an FDS file.
    

44 comments:

  1. stepped pyramidsJune 6, 2020 at 12:57 PM

    IPS is a generic binary patching format. As long as the patch was generated against the ROM you're using, it shouldn't matter what format of ROM it is. You should be able to use the exact same procedure with a FDS ROM as with a SNES ROM. If the tool you're using doesn't let you select a FDS ROM as the target, you should find another IPS tool -- there's a ton of them.

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    1. Okay, thanks. I'm doing something wrong because every time I apply the patch it results in garbled nonsense. Perhaps I should just try a different game.

      Delete
    2. FDS is trickier because there are different dumps of the same game, since it's a writeable format (so two different copies will differ in, if nothing else, the alterations made by user data), and things like headers can affect it too.

      If you're seeing garbled results, you'll want to make sure that the checksum (MD5 or CRC32) of the file you're attempting to patch matches what the patcher had in mind. On a Mac or Linux I can verify that from the command line, but not sure what one does on a Windows machine.

      There are newer patching formats, like BPS, that only allow you to proceed if the file you're trying to patch has the right checksum. Of course, the disadvantage is that if your copy differs by one unimportant byte, you're roadblocked nonetheless...

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    3. If you're getting the IPS patches from RomHacking or the like, they might have a readme that indicates which specific dump it needs.

      I'm wracking my brain as to which game this could be. Many of the bigger FDS games eventually had cartridge versions, which are much easier to emulate. Still a fair number of exclusives though.

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    4. I have a complete FDS set, AFAIK. If you send me an email I might be able to help sort this out.

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    5. Yeah, they're supposed to list the MD5 or CRC32 of the intended target dump. Whether they actually do, or whether the given number is correct, is another issue -- but people have been working behind the scenes to clean up old, poorly-documented patches.

      I'm not having any luck guessing which game it is either!

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    6. I can't think of any especially notable RPGs that were for FDS but not NES. Tres intrigue!

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    7. It was just something that came up randomly. I figured if I was going to try another console game, rather than start another comment war by playing something everyone already knows, I'd look for something that is largely unknown because it was only recently translated to English. It's turning into more of a headache than I needed, and I've wasted a bunch of time that would have been better spent catching up on Ultima VII.

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    8. If it was Qrrc Qhatrba: Znqō Fraxv, I have a working file for it that I can send you.

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    9. I suppose all this has nothing to do with your Final Fantasy entry? Otherwise you really tricked us with that "largely unknown" part in your reply. Will we ever know what game you were thinking of?

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    10. It was something called Dandy. It was just a random selection.

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    11. I DON'T want people coming along offering help for how to run Dandy. I'm past it.

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    12. Thanks. I just looked it up and I understand why you're not asking people to help you run it ;-)

      Delete
  2. I'm curious about Betrayal at Krondor. I've never played the game but recently read the novelization by Raymond Feist (titled Krondor: The Betrayal) which was competent but completely forgettable. It gets a lot of love from commenters, so maybe I'll pick it up before the blog gets there.

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    1. BaK is alright. It's really most notable in context--at the time, you didn't have many computer rpgs with that amount of characterization and storytelling. The characters are all premade and join or leave as the plot requires--in some ways it's more in line with how console rpgs developed. It's interesting enough, and probably worth checking out.

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    2. Magician was a decent high fantasy novel for its time, along with it's direct sequels. After that Feist wrote something like 30 more sequels that retread the same ground over and over and over... so I heard at least. I gave them up many years ago.

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    3. I read a fair bit of Feist til they all started feeling like the same book.

      His series with Wurtz was good (according to 16 y/o me)

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    4. His early stuff was good, considering that no one else had realky tread the East vs West culture war in a fantasy setting before (and maybe since?). His Empire Stuff with Jammy Wurts was really well done, probably because of her input. Betrayal at Krondor was unique in that it was an original game within a licensed property and was one of the first CRPG's that I can remember to try to integrate 3D graphics, human actors, and voice acting all together. The story was more complicated than you typically saw, and the world was huge. You could easily explore well beyond what the main quest pushed you through. Was it a good game? Yes. Is it a great game? Probably not, but I spent a lot of time within it back in the day.

      Addict I wish I had your focus when it comes to beating games. I tend to spend myself too thin

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    5. I read a lot of Feist when I was a teenager, and "competent but forgettable" seems pretty appropriate. The one thing I remember about Betrayal the game was the cypher locked chest mechanic.

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    6. If you're interested in reading the riftwar books only 6 of them are really any good(mileage may vary), and two are allright. The first ones Magician, Silverthorn and Darkness at Sethanon work well enough for a fantasy trilogy (though originally they were four with Magician being split into Apprentice and Master). The Wurts Empire books is less fantasy fights and more inscrutable scheming. A good change of pace. The last two are Prince of the Blood and King's Buccaneer which are...allright. Mostly there to set up later books they still give an acceptable read and have some good characters......after that he gets more "dark" and "gritty" and "real". It goes downhill from there.

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    7. PetrusOctavianusJune 7, 2020 at 3:02 AM

      Feist's novels are good for kids and people who have not read much Fantasy before.
      The young me thought Magician was really good, but it gave me nothing when rereading it some years ago.

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    8. Just a quick reminder that Betrayal at Krondor the game has only licensed Feist's setting and some characters; the actual writing and story in the game is Neal Halford's - who's arguably a much better writer.

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    9. I also enjoyed Feist's fantasy books when I was a young teen, the first few were good, but after about 3 or 4 it became clear he didn't really have an arc in mind, and was kind of just making it up as he went along, kind of like Card with the Ender series.

      But Faerie Tale on the other hand, that was a phenomenal book, I was terrified reading that one in the dark at night...

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    10. The later books in Feist's work also go heavy on the mary sue characters. All of his main characters are pretty much guaranteed to succeed at everything they try, often at their first attempt and sometimes quite randomly; and to always get a number of attractive sex partners about halfway through the book. Both are true even if the character is supposed to be plain-to-ugly and not much of a fighter, such as Roo Avery.

      Admittedly it's decently written, but I'd also call it pulp and "forgettable" is a good term. Although his early works, before he became formulaic, are very good; that includes both Magician and Faerie Tale.

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  3. I've tried to fact-check the story about the developers not receiving a compensation for the game in the Hungarian-only resources available for me. The resources I've found:

    - a podcast on the beginnings of Hungarian game development here: https://soundcloud.com/st-ki/checkpoint-1x14-a-magyar-jatekfejlesztes-kezdetei (54:15)
    - a book called "Pixelhősök" (Pixel Heroes in English, a book about rhe first 50 years of computer game development, with special focus on Hungarian games), on page 300, in an interview with György Dragon

    tells the same story. The publisher divided the team of the four developers, they told all of them that the others already received the compensations and tried to turn them on each other.

    I'm not sure how accurate this is, I'd like to hear the publisher's side as well, but interesting piece of history indeed :-)

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    1. Wow, that's even worse than what's written on the site that I linked. But I still don't know if they're talking about just the second game or the first, and whether there's a distinction to be made between Electronic Zoo and ICE.

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  4. 31 out of 69--the highest rating you´ve ever done Chet--means you give this 44.93 as a percentage. It may interest to say that the Amiga version was rated substantially higher than the pc/dos one that you´ve played. I guess you hinted at this but let´s just highlight that Amigas for a time were certainly superior to dos games. On that 44.93% scale I would be tempted to say it´s not worth playing.

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    1. That seems to assume that a score higher than 69 isn't possible just because he hasn't awarded one yet. At least some of the factors he considers for an improved GIMLET are likely to improve as greater levels of technology and investment allow more ambitious games down the line, albeit graphics and sound unlikely to be a major factor in the ratings increase (as they would be for many players).

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    2. Contemporary ratings are always based on their times. Mine are based on their times and the 30 years of development since then. If the game were released TODAY, what do you think it would earn on any current magazine's rating scale? 80s? 90s? or closer to the 31 that I gave it?

      Amigas were superior to DOS in some ways. There is virtually no difference between the two in this case.

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    3. I don´t mean it in a bad way, but somehow I can´t put away the feeling, that in category "graphic, sound and interface" the far most important is for you interface. Because sound you quite often turn off and graphic is for you not so important, which is maybe little affected by the way how you see the colors. I really hope you will not take it in a bad way, I am not so good in English and I would be not happy, if my post would sound touchy in any way. But just like this is possible that you gave AP 3 in this category and for example Ultima IV has 4. I didn´t play any of these two games but just looking on the screenshots and reading your comment that U4 sounds are just some beeps makes me feel like this. Or in time maybe you start to be more harsh in some categories.

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    4. And if I will keep my exapmle, I must say that also your answer to bobsy is little in contradict. Or really do you think, that if Ultima IV would be released today, it would get that let´s say 80s or 70s?

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    5. I allow that I probably look for different things in graphics and sound than most players. I want them to be functional first of all. If I can't see a door to my right then I don't care how pretty they are. You don't get much more "functional" than the crisp iconographic graphics of a game like Ultima IV. After "functional," I tend not to get excited about graphics until they become truly immersive, and that's mostly in the future.

      As for sound, I prize truly good sound as we have it today. In 1980s and 1990s, it doesn't take much to annoy me and make me turn the sound off. One bad effect will do it if I have to hear it more than once.

      So yes, I suppose you're right that in this era, anyway, the ease of the interface takes priority.

      As for your final comment, maybe I wasn't clear in what I said. I was arguing the opposite. I think if U4 was released today, and review sites rated it honestly in comparison to other games released today, we'd see scores close to what I gave it in the 50s. It's not a great analogy because if U4 was released today, no site would even bother to review it. It would be treated like an independent "retro" RPG and, if reviewed at all, only reviewed on sites that cater to such titles.

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    6. I don't know, I'm sure there are plenty of sites and independent reviewers that would give an alternate reality modern-day U4 a high score just because it looks old. Retro aesthetic, particularly pixel art, is hugely marketable and has carried plenty of otherwise unremarkable games to "cult classic" status. If the controls were changed to something more sensible for modern players, I could easily see it scoring 90s and 100s from wide-eyed YouTubers and fansite admins who still hope to wake up and find themselves back in the 1980s again.

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    7. The closest I could think of to a recent graphical Ultima IV clone is the Henry VIII simulator Fit for a King. (It's a comedy, and it even parodies the virtue-selection thing. "Marry everything. Execute everything. SPEND IT ALL. Live the ultimate fantasy in this Henry VIII simulator, and humiliate France with your wealth and excess, or die trying. Who's going to stop you? God? Nope. You're also the Pope.")

      The Metacritic reviews are 85 and 40 respectively. The other second-tier blog sites I found all scored at 4/5 or 80%.

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    8. "Amigas were superior to DOS in some ways. There is virtually no difference between the two in this case."

      By 1992 PCs had pretty much catched up with the Amiga, and then some.

      Both 256 colors VGA and audio cards had widespread adoption by then, and PCs had better CPUs and Hard Disks by default.

      Major companies like Origin, Lucasarts, Sierra, pretty much started dropping Amiga support in 1992/1993 (Ultima 7, Wing Commander 2, Day of the Tentacle, Gabriel Knight had no Amiga release), and the writing was pretty much on the wall.

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    9. This is a difficult hypothetical to imagine. In this world, Ultima IV would be released now, as-is, and therefore it would have never existed to influence RPGs for the past 25 years? What would that world look like?

      One would have to assume Ultima successors were never made. I think it's only a meaningful exercise if predecessors were never made, as well. Otherwise, while U4 introduced a lot of plot-related innovation, it wasn't mechanically all that different enough from U3 for that to matter. But we could say Wing Commander and other Origin games might have existed, I don't think it changes the result.

      I argue that it would be much the same as our world. If it wasn't Ultima, then someone else would have put together much the same elements and the industry would have moved on.

      There are plenty of low-fi indie games that are not reviewed or noticed. I mean REALLY indie. Modern equivalent of typical shareware in the 80s. Kids are still out there making games, and they are generally terrible. Now there are a lot more of them.

      I would imagine that no one would notice anything like U4, even with its philosophical position. Who's going to find it and suffer through its rough edges to find the value inside?

      That said, even now it's hard to find works targeted at the masses but with a real thought-provoking message or concept behind it. (The Good Place isn't a game, but it comes to mind.) It still has that value, in my opinion. I just think no one would find it for it to have a rating.

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  5. Funny thing to learn about a dungeon crawler I never heard of. I would have if it was mentionable, though...

    I suggest starting Amberstar not before you finished (being fed up with) Ultima. There are similarities in game play.

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  6. Addict, a game you might consider adding to your list - http://www.terrygreer.com/xenomorph.html.

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    1. I rejected it a long time ago for not having any character development.

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  7. I finished the second Abandoned Places last year. It was hard work to map it, but i had like this game. For playing Abandoned Places 1 I haven´t found courage still :-)

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    1. How did the second one compare to what I've described here?

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    2. Abandoned Places 2 is much better. Not without flaws, but more close to Eye of the Beholder 1. And I love graphic and atmosphere of Abandoned Places 2. Graphic 85%, Atmosphere 85%, Sound 50%, Story: 50%, Gameplay: 75%. Some levels are very good with good puzzles, but another looks like a little empty, only for fights. Only bug, which is little frustrating is, that in sometimes arrows for moving didnt react and I had to press it twice or more.

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2. Please avoid profanity and vulgar language. I don't want my blog flagged by too many filters.

3. Please don't comment anonymously. It makes it impossible to tell who's who in a thread. Choose the "Name/URL" option, pick a name for yourself, and just leave the URL blank.

4. I appreciate if you use ROT13 for explicit spoilers for the current game and upcoming games. Please at least mention "ROT13" in the comment so we don't get a lot of replies saying "what is that gibberish?"

Also, Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

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.