Monday 29 April 2024

Missed Classic: The Hound of Shadow – Appointment with Death

Written by Vetinari

Last time we were asked by Father Paul Mason to find out the nature of the beast that killed Matthew Talbot. A good place to search for that would be the Reading Room at the British Museum, but obviously without knowing the name of a book to retrieve, the library is almost useless. I do not know of any other source of knowledge (except for Marcus, who is characteristically close-mouthed about any topic of which I ask), so I am a little bit lost here.

The list of verbs does not give any particular hint (I already tried searching almost everywhere I thought there could possibly be something hidden), so I resort to checking back my screenshots and notes. And I find out that when Marcus gave me the Gascoigne Journal to read, he took it back but said that I could read it as long as it would not leave the shop.

Marcus drops a hint.

So I immediately ask him to show me the Gascoigne Journal, and he reluctantly does so. Apparently, Gascoigne talks about the Plateau of Leng and some of the terrible creatures that reside there, saying that Von Juntz's book has more details. But... I already read Von Juntz's book...

Saturday 27 April 2024

Wayne's World – Won!

by Michael

At the end of this game, we will be rescuing a princess.

Well, I have to take back some of my optimism about this game from the previous posts.  This last segment of the game made me feel as though I was constantly climbing ladders, dodging wine barrels being tossed my way.

I’m going to leave out a lot of the deliberations that went into my actions.  A lot of the puzzle solving in this last section came down to pure luck or brute force inventory application.  Sometimes, I could see where I might have been given a hint, had I arrived at a different screen first, but instead did not.

Last we saw, I found out my pookie had been babe-napped, and the money we raised to save the TV station had been stolen at the same time.

I dare you to say it three times, really fast.

Exploring the world after the tragedy, I made my way to the grocery store warehouse, where, housed within, was a meeting of the Secret Society of Sinusitus Sufferers.  Because that is the most likely place for a meeting, of course.

I could think of a better place for such a meeting.

Wednesday 24 April 2024

BloodNet – Final Rating

by Will Moczarski

The time has come for the final rating of the "cyberpunk vampire adventure game" BloodNet – or is it a cyberpunk vampire RPG? When I started reviewing this game back in fall 2022, I made two predictions: there’ll be more coincidental Muse lyrics than “time is running out” in my posts before I get to pen the final rating. And “exploring the far reaches of Cyberspace” will surely be a chore. Both of them were wrong. Cyberspace was alright (although there are some who will beg to differ), and I refrained from quoting Muse altogether as far as I'm aware. Before I try to break down the sprawling mess that is BloodNet, however, let's take a look at what the contemporary magazines had to say about it. 

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Missed Classic: The Hound of Shadow - By the Pricking of My Thumbs

Written by Vetinari

Next morning, I wake up to a surprise. The landlady, Mrs Bastable, announces that a visitor, a young lady, is waiting for me in the lounge.

Now, I haven't mentioned anything about a landlady up to now, and I can hear what you're saying: of course there's a landlady, all sleuths (especially ones who live in London, and in Marylebone, no less) have a landlady. No! You are thinking of Victorian sleuths! Golden Age sleuths have no landladies, only secretaries!

She's no Miss Lemon, but Nikki Porter comes a close second.

Anyway, going to the lounge I find that this mysterious visitor is none other than Yasmin the maid/assistant from the séance. She says that her real name is Vivienne Powers and that Harry Pelham, a.k.a. the Adept Karmi, has not been right since the other night. Nightmares, headaches, depression, the whole package that you can expect after having had a close encounter with occult and malevolent forces.

Sunday 21 April 2024

Homeworld - Spirits and Spies

By Reiko

Previously, we discovered Convergence was the head of a secret society who had leads on where to find the items necessary to fix the ship so we can return to Earth, but we still need the TransWarp drive from Solifluction to get back in time to stop the Assassins. So we have to contact his son Raphide again and also find Astatine in Fogram's lab. The Aesthemis constellation unlocks the door to the lab, so I step inside.

Please note that this post has fewer screenshots than normal because we have many lengthy conversations in which the only image is the exact same picture of the character having the conversation with us.

Sneaking into Fogram's secret lab.

There's a lot of mysterious equipment in here, but the most interesting things are a visor and a strange device on a pedestal. I think I remember something about the visor, so I look at the device first. It sort of looks like a belt but with a piece of metal attached. I reach for it to pick it up and fiddle with it, but instead it zaps me. Ow! Then the screen on the wall lights up, and we see an Ancestor, who says, "Who are you? Do you belong here? Get out! I'm at a delicate stage in my experiments and I will not tolerate your interference!"

Friday 19 April 2024

Wayne's World - Welcome to Uncle Nutzy's Clubhouse

by Michael

This logo reminds me of another adventure game publisher...

So, last post, I said the game wasn’t as bad as I expected.  And that’s still true.  But it is far from the “Pinnacle of Entertainment Software” as their logo in the game loading sequence claims.

I probably could have finished the game in this session, but I really needed to take a break.  

Recapping from the last time, we’ve crossed 5 of the 10 items off of our to-do list.  So let’s see how to handle the rest of them.  First, my thoughts before I started out:

  • Advertising - I’ll need to find the mascot mouse or a replacement to pep up the ad agency staff

  • Volunteers - I need to befriend the biker gang

  • TV air time - I’ll need to steal the time slot somehow from the gadget guy

  • Electronic totals board - I’ll need to use the remote control to commandeer the televisions/computers from either the TV studio or the invention business

  • Pizza ingredients - need to be obtained, somehow, from the supermarket

And it turns out that I’m right on 4 out of 5 of these.  Let’s see how I worked this out.

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Missed Classic 129: Valhalla (1983) - Introduction

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

Its time for a marathon. Today's topic, Eldritch Games, the company behind The Hound of Shadow and Daughter of Serpents. Two horror adventure games that got missed the first time through, and seemingly ones that deserve the title Missed Classic. But an astute reader will have already noticed that this isn't The Hound of Shadow. Like all good stories, it does not start where you think.

Wait, what do you mean Vetinari started up Hound of Shadow? Serves me right for first writing this entry in 2022.

The principal team behind Eldritch Games consists of Chris Elliot, Richard Edwards, Mike Lewis and Carl Cropley. Mr. Elliot did not do anything before Hound of Shadow, at least that I know of. Lewis and Cropley were friends long before, and we'll get to them quickly. Today's title covers a game Richard Edwards had a hand in, the Norse mythology driven Valhalla...which is an adventure game with real-time gameplay. Can't I get a game without some annoying aspect like that?

And this game has combat. Not sure how extensive it is, but that is apparently part of the game. I remember someone once telling me adventure games were generally not violent. I can't help but feel like I've never seen one that was about non-violence...uh..Leisure Suit Larry...?

Sunday 14 April 2024

BloodNet – WON!

 by Will Moczarski

Whatever the case: I’m back. Those are the words I ended my previous BloodNet post with, and they are just as suitable for picking up on it again. That was on May 19, 2023, so it almost took me a year to be “back” this time, hopefully for good. Now I could bore you with long explanations why it took me so long but I think it doesn’t matter at this point. Whatever the case: I’m back.

Last time, I finally jumped over the huge stumbling block that was the fight inside Grant’s Tomb. The spike in difficulty had been unprecedented at that point and the remainder of the game was comparatively easy. I finished BloodNet on May 22, 2023 riding high on my previous success, clocking in at 28 hours. Fortunately, I recorded my playthrough. Also, I wrote much of this post back then but because I had to get back into the plot (as is probably the case with you) I decided to rewrite most of it (you'll notice by the shift from past to present tense when the new introduction ends).

So, where were we? I won the fight at Grant’s Tomb, killing Abraham Van Helsing in the process. Also, I freed Alexander Tennant only to see him die on me. To make things worse, he told me that Van Helsing was not really dead. I’d have to stab his heart to make sure. From looking at my notes I figured that was fair game since I hadn’t managed to find Deirdre yet (my main objective once upon a time). It was time to shape up and tie up with some loose ends.

Now going back out into the streets felt strangely satisfying having spent so many hours inside that damn tomb (although the in-game time hardly advanced, naturally). I stocked up on ammo at Vince’s and only then did I notice (or remember, really) that my proud party of six had shrunk to only three members. Rymma Fizz and Monique St. Clair had stuck it out but the others would never come back from the tomb. 

I decided not to repeat the fight hoping for a better result as I still had some potential party members waiting for me out in the streets. Also, I had been stuck in cyberspace, not being able to continue with the “lost kids” plot. Going over my notes I figured that Chuck was likely the right person to talk to, so I went out to add him to my party. (I had tried that in some of my earlier save states but he didn’t seem like a good fighter to me. Maybe he’s of more use to me in the cyberspace.)

Now especially during the endgame I was quite happy that I had been really thorough at keeping notes. I could quickly look up where to find other party members such as Garrick Fizz who’d finally be reunited with his wife Rymma now. He was on the same street corner as Chuck, too, which was kind of convenient...

Saturday 13 April 2024

Missed Classic: Hound of Shadow - A Murder is Announced

Written by Vetinari

Whoever may have had an however fleeting or passing acquaintance with other famous Lovecraft-adjacent games (or even just stood downwind of someone who had), when faced with a title like The Hound of Shadow knows exactly what to expect: one of the most iconic creatures in the Cthulhu Mythos, the Hound of Tindalos.

The main characteristic of these creatures is that once a human becomes known to them as a prey, they will pursue the victim through anything to reach their quarry.

Say hello to my little friend.
So, starting the game proper I had quite a good idea of what I would be facing, at least in terms of the main antagonist. Something relentless, that would hunt down the investigator without mercy wherever and whenever he would be.

Thursday 11 April 2024

Wayne's World - Whoa, We're Halfway There

by Michael

So, how to start off this post?  How about a shocking thought:  this game is nowhere near as bad as I expected.

I'm not saying it's great.  I'm not even saying that it's good.  But there's actually a few things in here so far that are actually an improvement over the last game I played for the blog.  A LucasArts game, remember.

For example, some commenters on that last review were distressed by the lack of tool tips or mouse-over item descriptions.  This game has both.  It has icons that function very similarly to that of old-school LucasFilm games, where you can select an action, and then whip around the screen, the names of items showing at the bottom of the screen.  Not only do most items have a description when you look at them, but often, different descriptions when either Wayne or Garth is looking at the item.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Missed Classic: Urotsukidoji (うろつき童子) - Won (And Summary)

 Written by Morpheus Kitami

Last time, we finished a meeting with Kudo, and we were going to go to class 3-C. Probably.

That's Akemi, but it isn't anyone I recognize. Wasn't she missing? Oh, it is Nagumo, but wait, who was the guy the first time? I guess a member of the student council? Jaku asks about the Choujin, Nagumo says he always asks about that, when in the world is he going to get new material? Now two different people are stealing my lines...I have Jaku talk to Nagumo again, and again, Nagumo mocks him and now Akemi is joining in on the fun. I'm going to click on talk to Nagumo again, Jaku, are we going to talk to him normally? He asks him what's going on, nothing much. How about Akemi? Well, she asks Jaku if he's seen Kumiko, he says yes, but he's cagey about it. Probably because she's dead. Jaku tells Kuroko to watch Nagumo.

Yuuchi is in 3-B. So if Kudo isn't in 3-B or 3-C, where is he? Yuuchi is still pinning over Akemi, and to be honest I sort of don't care about this plotline much. Seemingly, it might just be carryover from yesterday, hopefully that's not a technical issue. I briefly search the rest of the rooms on the third floor, before deciding to speed things along. Which is good, because I didn't examine the Information Room on the third floor enough. Examining it three times reveals that Jaku can hear someone's voice, and because this is the only way we're getting any plot right now, we search the LL room, then I have to go to 3-A, 2-C and 1-B. A green voiced person is saying something about making war in 24 hours...and then eating a bento. On the first floor, Jaku then gets an ominous atmosphere.

To the school infirmary, where a yellow voice says something ominous, and another, this time purple voice, says something mysterious. Jaku enters and...

Sunday 7 April 2024

Veil of Darkness - A Weapon for Every Being

Written by Zenic Reverie

Thanks for hanging around.

The mace I found at the monastery was quite effective against the skeletons, and good thing too because no other weapon made a mark on their bones. Combat beyond normal wolves and bats has required a dedicated weapon to deal damage. This has led me to cautiously approach new enemies, and keep most weapons handy. I dispatched them one at a time, retreating to heal at the gypsy camp. With those two cleared I was clear to explore the graveyard and collected some betony. I found there wasn't much else to do without a means to banish the guardian in front of the crypt. Next location of interest was a crossroads that connected the towns. Here was the man hanged for the murder of Eduard. His soul, still attached to his body, had much to say. He warned me to stay away from a nearby hut that was home to an old crone.

I promise I won't give it to the witch unless it's part of the quest.

Ambrose, the hanged man, wanted his soul redeemed. Finding the true murderer was necessary. Continuing to claim full innocence, he elaborated that the magistrate had to make an example of someone to appease the Dark Lord Kairn. While in this limbo state he communicated with the spirits of the monks from the monastery, blaming their deaths on the nearby witch. The key she sought from the monks unlocks their library where a book called Etheric Rites is held. How Ambrose came by the key wasn't covered.

Friday 5 April 2024

Missed Classic 128: The Hound of Shadow - Introduction (1989)

Written by Vetinari

The Hound of Shadow is the first of two games created by British developer Eldritch Games and based on the Cthulhu Mythos by Lovecraft.

This game is a bit of a precursor to the other Lovecraftian games which were all the rage in the first half of the 1990s, such as Alone in the Dark, Shadow of the Comet or Prisoner of Ice, but still it was published two years later than Infocom's The Lurking Horror.

Eldritch Games was the child of software designers Chris Elliott and Richard Edwards, who created the company specifically to develop the Timeline computer games series, of which unfortunately only this game and its later sequel (Daughter of Serpents) were ever created.

Elliot and Edwards. I doubt that this was taken during a normal day at the office.

The other credits for this game are Mike Lewis, who is credited with the lion's share of the programming, and Carl Cropley as the graphic artist.

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Black Sect - Final Rating

By Ilmari

The story of Lankhor is over in our regular game list, although I might return to do some of their older games as Missed Classics. The company did continue its existence to 2001, but all they did after this was some racing games. I can’t help, but feel a bit sad. Still, I’ll try to maintain my objectivity when rating the Black Sect.

Monday 1 April 2024

Missed Classic: Johnny Castaway (1992)

by a Random Reviewer

The other genres get all the credit, even though adventures have always been the superior genre.  So many action games have inspired movies, such as Doom, Tomb Raider, Need for Speed, and the Super Mario Brothers series.  Heck, they even got people to pay to see a movie that was really just an advertisement for Mario 3!  

But there’s very few adventure games that have succeeded in that way.  In fact, there’s only one.  (Rumor has it that Les Manley was copied to make a Steve Carell film, but I don’t buy that.)  

Enter today’s game, Johnny Castaway, a 1992 classic from the team at Sierra On-Line.  Dynamix lead Jeff Tunnel did much of the work, causing the game to be noticed by filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, taking a break from directing the smash hit Death Becomes Her. Tom Hanks didn't take much convincing to star in it. According to the press at the time, he took one look at the game and instantly signed on to the movie project.