Seriously, I feel like I altered my destiny just trying to get this game to start!
After the joy that was The Secret of Monkey Island, it’s pretty hard for me to get too excited about Altered Destiny. I’ll try to go in with no preconceptions so as to judge the game fairly, but what I know about it doesn’t fill me with confidence. After all, it’s the second game released by Accolade, the company that made the nightmarish Les Manley. It uses the same engine as that travesty, and the majority of the team that worked on Les Manley were also involved in the making of Altered Destiny. Russell Shiffer once again handles the music, and out of the eight people that produced the animation and background art for that awful Elvis inspired Larry rip-off, seven of them came back to work on Altered Destiny (only Mike Nowak avoided it, but then he came back for the Les Manley sequel a year later). The two things that give me some hope that Altered Destiny might be ok are that Michael Berlyn (of Infocom and Tass Times in Tonetown fame) replaced Steve Cartwright as designer of the game, and that a couple of the new background artists previously worked on MechWarrior and Wing Commander (Caitlin and Peter Mitchell-Dayton). The new personnel at least suggest someone was involved that had some decent sci-fi chops.
The cover suggests an exciting science fiction journey. Let's see if the game lives up to it.
I've downloaded a copy that I’ll be running in DOSBox. As usual, I tried loading up the game before I started this post (to grab a screenshot of the title screen). It was a pain to get to run in DBGL, which is the interface I use to run games in DOSBox, but once I followed Glenn's Guide to run the game in its own DOSBox installation, I was eventually able to get things going. I suggest following Glen's instructions if you want to play along and run into any trouble. I read somewhere that it was difficult to get decent sound in the game, and so far I've only managed to get PC speaker quality audio. There are a few different options in the setup file, so I'll try a few before giving up. If anyone can assist, there are CAPs to be made! The manual, which I also had to hunt down, is pretty uninteresting, spending the vast majority of space describing how to play a third person parser based adventure game. There is one paragraph at the beginning that gives me some clue as to what I have ahead of me, but since the game's introduction covers it perfectly well, I'll withhold giving anything away at this point. I will say that it sounds a bit like Future Wars, albeit with space travel rather than time travel. Are there any companions brave enough to join me on this adventure!? Canageek, you know you really should be loading this one up. You paid for it after all!
Weird Woods, Boiling Pits, Canyons of Fear...nothing I haven't dealt with before!
Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There's a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no CAPs will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. As this is an introduction post, it's an opportunity for readers to bet 10 CAPs (only if they already have them) that I won't be able to solve a puzzle without putting in an official Request for Assistance (see below for an example bet). If you get it right I will reward you with 40 CAPs in return. It's also your chance to predict what the final rating will be for the game. Voters can predict whatever score they want, regardless of whether someone else has already chosen it. All correct (or nearest) votes will go into a draw.
Example Bet:Jura V njbxr gur erfg jrer qrnq
V'z abg fher ubj V fheivirq
V'yy unir gb svk guvf qnzntrq fuvc
Vs V'z gb fnir znaxvaq
Jurer nz V gelvat gb ernpu sbe 20 PNCf
Extra Note: We're extremely lucky to have a generous sponsor like Lars-Erik. The person who correctly predicts what score I will give the current game (or are closest) will get to choose one of the next five commercially available games on the playlist. Lars-Erik will donate the game once a choice is made. So, if you predict the right score (or are closest), you will get 10 CAPs and a copy of one of the following games:
The Quest for Glory 1-5 Collection from GOG
The King's Quest 4 + 5 + 6 Collection from GOG
The Hugo Trilogy
Space Quest 4 + 5 + 6 Collection from GOG
Leisure Suit Larry: Greatest Hits and Misses Collection from GOG