Dec 26 2011

I’ve Never Forgiven the Barrels for Killing My Son

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So a while back, a friend gave me his copy of Dungeons and Dragons: Daggerfaildale, because he couldn’t get it to run on his computer. And since I’ve been jonesing for a little goblin smackdown, I decided to give it a shot. [1]

Daggerdale is basically like Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance or Everquest: Conquest of Norrath, a multiplayer action game with the trappings of D&D … throw yourself at goblins and mash buttons ’til they die. Theoretically it should be prettier than those, being newer, but it’s basically the same thing. The only problem is, the makers seem to have decided that instead of just making a similar game in the same genre, they would just do a wholesale copy/paste and call it a day.

These games don’t generally mess with a complicated plot, right? Well, the makers of the game apparently decided to go with that “etcetera, etcetera” mindset and really just phoned it in. There’s some evil guy named Rezlus in a tower who is gonna do some bad thing or other. He’s always the evil Rezlus. Or maybe “The’Evil” is his first name. What is Rezlus like or about, other than evil? No idea, except that he’s blue. And apparently worships Bane. But really, that’s enough, right? Anyhow, obviously, y’all gotta knock off all that evil, so !Galadriel teleports you into a dwarf mine so you can smash barrels and even occasionally fight a goblin. (Presumably !Gandalf was busy.)

Barrels. Really. Why. They even have the “barrel-maker crying that people keep smashing his barrels” joke. Didn’t Bard’s Tale put that bit to bed, like ten years ago? Maybe they’re depending on gamers having a short memory. The first level past the tutorial consists of nothing but a bunch of dwarves standing around while you smash all their barrels. (Smashing barrels is optional, of course, but you’ll want those health potions later.)

So you have your choice of four characters in the game: the burly white fighter guy, the white elf archer chick, the white dwarf cleric dude, or the androgynous white halfling wizard. [2] Each one is lovingly rendered in shades of sepia, and looks like they’d rather be doing anything else than going on this adventure. I kinda want to gripe about the lack of options here– I’m partial to male elf fighters and female human clerics (for instance), but none of the other games in this genre really give you a choice (Gauntlet II at least gave you color options…), so I guess there’s no point in that.

I should point out, that you don’t necessarily stay sepia. The high point of the game, in terms of low points, had to be when my character picked up a suit of armor that turned him into the Iceman from Marvel Comics. And by this I don’t mean he was wearing blue armor, I mean his entire body turned bright blue, including his skin, eyes, and hair. I know, fantasy game, magic, yadda-yadda, but wow. Even D&D usually tries to at least keep a little grounding in its quasi-medieval setting. Did some designer really want to be working on a superhero game instead? It was here that it went from “playable if weak” to “just plain silly.”

Anyway, the game’s nomenclature is all lifted from 4E, but it doesn’t mean anything. I fought “level one minions” with 24 hit points, “controllers” who just stood there and beat up on you, and so forth. You have all the usual Strength/Dex/Con stuff, but it’s all pre-set and doesn’t seem to actually do much. You fight by clicking the attack button until everything around you is dead, and defend yourself by guzzling health potions. I don’t know what the multiplayer is like, because that would have required getting another copy for Mrs. Gneech and I wasn’t willing to actually spend any money on it. We can do the same thing only better by pulling out the old Baldur’s Gate platformers or Gauntlet: Legends.

In short… meh. Don’t waste your time.

-The Gneech

PS: Oh, did I mention that the disk appears to contain nothing but an installer that downloads the game from Steam? Whee!

[1] I more or less hung up my dicebag earlier this year, at least as a gamemaster. I’d still love to play if I could find a local game, but I haven’t exactly been actively searching.

[2] Halfling wizard, really? I don’t get the gaming community’s fervent desire to include halflings but OMG can’t have ’em be hobbits, no, no! Really, guys, the only reason to include halflings is because they’re hobbits. If you don’t like hobbits, leave halflings out all together. They’re superfluous otherwise.

Filed under : Reviews | Comments Off on I’ve Never Forgiven the Barrels for Killing My Son
Dec 24 2011

The Most Horrible of Traditions

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NOTE: This actually looks better in my LiveJournal. The Gneech.com posting munges the format something awful.

And it’s upon us another year!

Look to the sky
way up on high
There in the night
stars are now right

Eons have passed          Fear
now then at last          the
prison walls break        Old
Old Ones awake            Ones

They will return          They                     Fear
Mankind will learn        will                     the
new kinds of fear         re-                      Old
when they are here        turn                     Ones

They will reclaim         They will reclaim        They will reclaim         They will reclaim
all in their name         all in their name        all in their name         all in their name
Hopes turn to black       Hopes turn to black      Hopes turn to black       Hopes turn to black
when they come back       when they come back      when they come back       when they come back

Ignorant fools            Ignorant fools           They                      Ignorant fools
Mankind now rules         Mankind now rules        will                      Mankind now rules
where they ruled then     where they ruled then    walk the                  where they ruled then
It's theirs again         It's theirs again        Earth again               It's theirs again

Stars brightly burning    They will return         Stars brightly burning    They will return
boiling and churning      Mankind will learn       up in the gloom           Mankind will learn
bode a returning          new kinds of fear        bode a returning          new kinds of fear
season of doom            when they are here       season of doom            when they are here

Scary scary scary         They                     Look to the sky           They
scary solstice            will return              there up on high          will
very very very            They                     Stars brightly burn       re-
scary solstice            will return              Old Ones return           turn

Up from the sea           Bring-                   Bring-                    Bring-
from underground          ing                      ing                       ing
down from the sky         cer-                     cer-                      cer-
They're all around        tain                     tain                      tain

They will return          Doom!                    Doom!                     Doom!
Mankind will learn        ...                      ...                       ...
new kinds of fear         ...                      ...                       ...
when they are here        ...                      ...                       ...

Look to the sky           Fear
way up on high            the
There in the night        Old
stars are now right       Ones

Eons have passed          They                     Fear
now then at last          will                     the
prison walls break        re-                      Old
Old Ones awake            turn                     Ones

Madness will reign        Madness will reign       Madness will reign        Madness will reign
terror and pain           terror and pain          terror and pain           terror and pain
Woes without end          Woes without end         Woes without end          Woes without end
where they extend         where they extend        where they extend         where they extend

Ignorant fools            Ignorant fools           They                      Ignorant fools
Mankind now rules         Mankind now rules        will                      Mankind now rules
where they ruled then     where they ruled then    master this               where they ruled then
It's theirs again         It's theirs again        planet again              It's theirs again

Stars brightly burning    They will return         Stars brightly burning    They will return
boiling and churning      Mankind will learn       up in the gloom           Mankind will learn
bode a returning          new kinds of fear        bode a returning          new kinds of fear
season of doom            when they are here       season of doom            when they are here

Scary scary scary         They                     They will return          They
scary solstice            will return              Mankind will learn        will
Very very very            they                     new kinds of fear         re-
scary solstice            will return              when they are here        turn

Up from the sea           Man                      Man                       Man
from underground          has                      should                    has
down from the sky         much                     fear                      much
They're all around        to                       to                        to

Fear                      Fear                     Look to the sky           Fear
...                       ...                      way up on high            ...
...                       ...                      There in the night        ...
...                       ...                      stars now are right       ...

They will return...       They will return...      They will return...       They will return...

Care of The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.

Merry Christmas. 😉

-The Gneech

Filed under : Gneechy Talk | Comments Off on The Most Horrible of Traditions
Dec 14 2011

Fictionlet

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“Hey, you took Latin, right?” said Alex, over the music.

“Actually, we both did,” said Greg, gesturing a thumb towards Brigid, who was lurking in the corner apparently hoarding a bowl of party mix. “Why?”

“Well I just wanna know, what does ‘cogito ergo sum‘ mean?”

“Oh, that!” said Greg. “That’s Descartes. His idea was that you needed to drill down to the most fundamental level of thought you could get to, so he started with ‘if I am having this thought, there must be a me here to think it,’ or more elegantly, cogito ergo sum, ‘I think, therefore I am.'”

“I didn’t need the history lesson,” said Alex. “I just wanted a translation.”

“It’s meaningless without context,” replied Greg.

“I don’t think Descartes went far enough,” said Brigid. “There are too many loaded assumptions in ‘I think, therefore I am.’ How do you know you’re thinking? What if you only think you’re thinking?”

“Some of the folks who came after Descartes have tackled that one, too,” said Greg. “But you have to start somewhere.”

“There are too many loaded assumptions in that, too! Who says you have to start somewhere? Who says you have to start?” She waved a pretzel stick defiantly. “Throw off your shackles! Don’t be a slave to the establishment! Refuse to start! It’s the only way to be truly free! Let us begin a golden age of aggressive non-starting!”

“Eat your party mix, Bartleby,” said Greg.

“I refuse to start eating my party mix,” said Brigid, but she ate the pretzel stick anyway.

-The Gneech

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