Classic game observation

May 27, 2010

Real quick one here… look at the art from the NES game Robowarrior on Wikipedia’s page.  Look at the four colored panels on his gun.  Do they look familiar to you?  Think about a computer OS for a moment…

Advertisements

Sigma Star Saga

April 12, 2008

Last Sunday, I beat Sigma Star Saga for the first time and I have to say I really enjoyed it.  It’s a challenging game that combines the scrolling space shooter game with an exploration game.  Typically a formula like this doesn’t work too well, but it holds it own in this case with a few minor exceptions.  On the inventory screen, they have room for over 20 items, but you will never even see that many, let alone hold on to all of them at once.  Some people figure they just reused the one screen for bullet types and copied it over for the inventory screen, which is possible.  Also, a glitch in the game makes the game impossible to continue unless you kill yourself in one stage.  There is an enemy that is a small canister and it projects an invincible ghostly image.  If you kill the projector, the ghost goes away too.  However, some of those canisters don’t have a ghost attached to them.  If you kill them, you can’t exit the stage without killing yourself.  I figured this out on my own, like most, but it is a glitch that could really wreck the game if it was earlier on than it is.

The story involves a conflict between the people of Earth and the aliens of the Krill Empire.  You play a man named Recker and your C.O. will plant you inside their forces to learn information.  Over the course of events, you will not really be sure who to trust between the Krill and the Humans and friends that you make may do things to make you question their motives as well.  A fascinating story that keeps you guessing from start to finish.  Note: if you don’t find the story’s ending to be to your liking, if you save the game after you finish (wait through the credits), you can start will all of your gun data (more on that in a moment) and you will eventually find a new item that will change the ending.  Good news for those that like a happy endign all around!

In the shooter segments, you pilot a Krill fighter and you have to destroy a certain number of enemies before you can leave.  3 things will affect the way you attack those enemies: The Cannon, the Bullet, and the Impact.  The cannon is the way that your ammo will fly out of your ship like in a cross pattern, rapid fire or one that you can aim in 8 directions on your own.  The Bullet affects the style of ammo you can use such as a wave pattern, large bubbles or mines.  The Impact is what happens when the bullet hits its target.  Some variations are a smoldering affect that is great against bosses, dropping rocks below the impact, or one that generates a small pod of experience after every 30 hits.  Yes, I said experience.  You gain levels as you kill enemies in the shooter scenes and that allows you to take less damage and dish out more punishment as well.

Overall, I really liked this game a lot and highly recommend it for anyone that plays Game Boy Advance titles.  It might be a little hard to find these days, but it’s worth the investment.  Now I’m going to finish it for the second time and get that better ending!

Yuri’s Revenge Soviet thoughts

March 8, 2008

I just finished playing as the Soviets and now I’ll list the good and the bad for them.  First, the new units coming into play:  Boris… Boris is a ton of fun and can be more versatile than Tanya in some instances.  He can plow through vehicles pretty easily, but doesn’t hold up against taking out structures quite as quickly.  He can take them out a good distance away, which is good against defensive structures, but with main buildings, Tanya gets the job done faster.  The Siege Chopper was fun, when I could make use of it.  Powerful against infantry (as long as it’s not a Flak Trooper or Guardian G.I., anyway) and when it deploys, it gives a good alternative to the formidable damage that a V3 can dish out.  The Chopper’s advantage is that the firepower can’t be intercepted like the V3’s missiles.  Of course, when it’s on the ground, it can be mind-controlled just like any other ground vehicle, so you need to keep an eye out.  Keeping a few in the air nearby can keep Yuri Clones away from a quick mind-control steal.  The Spy Plane gives a good way of seeing more of the map and it doesn’t take too long to recharge and use again (and it’s free once the radar goes up).  The Industrial Plant is amazing in what it can do, providing that you can support the somewhat hefty cash and energy cost.  By reducing the price and build times of vehicles by 1/4, you effectively get 5 units for the price of 4 in the time it takes to build 4.  Very nice for improving their already great vehicle war game.  Finally, the Battle Bunker.  While not a unit per se, it is an amazing structure that doesn’t require any power and allows Conscripts to garrison it, giving your base a powerful protection that lasts in power outages.  Each can only hold 5, but placed right, they can cover one another and make a base damn near impossible to crack.  This also makes it much easier to take and keep the Neutral Tech building like the Oil Derricks, Hospital, Outpost and Machine Shop.   I really wish I could have used the Cosmonauts in more missions, though.  They were a ton of fun and had some great power, even if they were a bit pricey.

The missions were hard, like the Allied ones, but they didn’t always have the same hard endgame.  Getting started in the missions was typically difficult, but once you were dug in pretty well, you could hold your own without worrying too much.   The last mission was rough at first until I had a decent force and most of the bottom half of the map scanned.  Getting rid of his Grinder helped a little bit, but it was only when I held the ore field up top below Yuri’s base that things started to even out a little.  The number of units that would come down to attack me decreased sharply once I started taking out his miners.  I liberated the Soviet base first since it had less in the way of anti-air defenses and sent my Kirovs in straight for the Psychic Beacon (its destruction gives that base and everyone inside to me, cutting his effective power by one third).  I set up some Grand Cannons on the left side of the new Soviet Base and let them pound away at whatever Yuri structure they could find.  Typically the nailed miners that were just coming out of the factory (and taking the factory out sometimes), so a lot of his money was spent just trying to catch up and rebuild what I would destroy.  I liberated the Allies next, though I lost a good Number of Kirovs doing so.  I had Apocalypse Tanks behind them, but kept them back because I didn’t want to lose them to the Prism Towers in the base.  In hindsight, I probably could have taken the Towers without losing many Tanks and then they could have taken out the Anti-air problems and I would have lost fewer Kirovs.  Oh well.  Once I had the Allied Base as well, it was just a matter of coordinating the Grand Cannons and getting my Apocalypse Tanks in past their shelling to start ripping apart Yuri’s base, one bit at a time.  It didn’t take too long and I was able to celebrate in Soviet fashion.

All in all, I’m quite happy with Yuri’s Revenge, though I still wish that they would have come up with a campaign for Yuri himself.  It would have given you a chance to see his units and figure out the best way to use them, not to mention give him a neat story of how he takes over the world.

I’m not sure what the next game goal is for me.  Maybe install Command and Conquer Generals next and play through that.  Little by little, I’m catching up to things.  I won’t be ready for when Kane’s Wrath comes out in a few weeks, but I’ll still be having fun in the meantime.  I do think it’s time to do some more classic gaming, though.  Initially I set this blog up for that purpose, so it seems logical to play some old games and blog about their strengths and weaknesses.  We’ll see what comes up next.

—————-
Now playing: 002_phat_attack – Frank Klepacki / Phat Attack
via FoxyTunes

Yuri’s Revenge Allied thoughts

March 3, 2008

This won’t be as long a post as the previous Red Alert ones, so it will only focus on the Allied campaign for Yuri’s Revenge.  All in all, they fare pretty well against Yuri’s forces, but there is a definite shortcoming if you don’t plan to use a crapload of Prism Tanks.  Especially when in their Elite state, the range of these Prism Tanks is far greater than anything Yuri can throw at you, allowing them to his anything without worry.  The new units are fun, too: The Seal is nice to have around once in awhile, the Guardian G.I. is quite effective against vehicles (uncrushable!) and airborn weapons.  Their only weakness is that they don’t do much against infantry and seem to take greater damage from them when in their deployed state, so they should have some backup.  The Robot Tanks were interesting and fun to play with, but in the grand scheme, I used Prisms far more often.  Robot Tanks were good for launching a secondary strike against areas that had good mind control in place as they have no mind to control.  Not terribly powerful, but useful in the right situations.  The Battle Fortress was a lot of fun, too.  I never had the chance to crush vehicles with them, but I did load them up with a Sniper and 4 Guardian G.I’s to have a great anti-infantry/anti-vehicle tank ‘o doom.  I never used the Force Shield at all, so I can’t comment on that.

The missions were well-designed and were quite hard.  It’s a good thing that I played this right after Red Alert 2 or the difficulty jump would have been a bit too much.   Yuri’s forces are fun to watch and I did control them in a skirmish just to play around and they seemed to be a fun group, but I didn’t have time to see all of them, so I will comment on them later.  The last mission was difficult, but not overbearing.  When I went through it a second time, I attacked his miners and the group going for the 2 Derricks at the bottom of the map where the Allies landed and I think that allowed me to turn the tides a little.  It seemed to cut off his money a little bit, though he never let up on the attacks.  Kirov’s once again saved the day, but even they were eventually cut down by the repeated firing of the Gatling Cannons.  Still, I prevailed eventually… or so I thought.  I wiped everything out that I could see and then I remembered that Yuri was able to grab all (or most) of my subs from the early part of the mission with the Psychic Dominator.  I had a hell of a time building another Naval Yard to get subs to take them out because every time I would put one down, the captured subs would destroy it before I could get more than 1 or 2 subs out.  Finally, I built it on the far side of the small island to the right of where the Soviet base started.  I had enough time to build 4 or 5 subs before he found it and came to attack and that was enough of a force to whittle down the remainders and finally give me the win.  Now all that’s left is to see the sequel (red Alert 3!)   Of course, I still have the Soviet side to play through and that will get started later today.

On a side note, we all know Tanya is hot as hell, but who the hell knew Lt. Eva was so attractive?
Now playing: 003_brain_freeze – Frank Klepacki / Brain Freeze
via FoxyTunes

Red Alert 2 (Soviets) Spoiler Warning!

February 25, 2008

This would be my quick review of the Soviets in general.  I just finished their campaign and I loved it!  The hardest mission for me was Chrono Defense without a doubt.  Picture this, for those who have never played it:  You’re in charge of protecting a small plateau with 4 ways in for ground forces (5 if you count a small loop at the top) and very little room to place much in the way of good defenses.  The Allies don’t have a formal base on this map, but send waves of troops over via their Chronospehere.  The first few waves aren’t so bad and allow you to set your base up and get some basic defenses and some troops in place to deal with their onslaught, but it gets nasty quick.  They start adding more troops to their assault, including Snipers, which kill infantry in one hit.  You’re doing your best just to hang on and hold off their advances while protecting the one building that you need to keep in one piece.  They’ll throw everything at it to try to either knock it out or take it over, either of which earns you an immediate loss.  After six assaults, you can finally rest easy as they will give up.

The second last mission for them has you taking out the Kremlin with a small starting base and some new toys to play with: Kirov ships.  These zeppelins with large bombs take a crapload of damage and dish it out… when they can eventually fly to their target.   They have the ability to heal the damage they take given enough time (which is nice because they can’t land on a service depot to repair themselves).  The forces he threw at me were much bigger than I thought, so I lost my whole base except for the 2 Kirov’s that I started with.  I Moved them down and east, taking out whatever I could along the way.  Given enough time, I hoped to at least make it worth their while before I would have to restart.  I slowly made it to their eastern base and wiped out the tanks and Conscripts on their way, which brought them to Elite status.  When Elite, their bombs look like they throw out electric sparks and seem to be larger.  Very nice!  Between giving them some time to repair their damage, I managed to take out the flak cannons in the area and then destroyed the small base, knocking out their Nuclear Reactor.  At this point, it seemed like I might have a chance, so I continued my march toward the Kremlin.  I took out another base of their’s and set my sights to the northeast, where my target lay, protected by flak cannons, Tesla Coils and Psi-Corp Troops.  I took out enough reactors in the Northwest to offline the coils surrounding the area, so I wiped out everything there.  I sent one ship to the east to see what else was there and it was finally shot down by flak fire.  It didn’t matter much, really.  My other Kirov hovered over its target, opened up the bomb bay doors and destroyed the Kirov, driving Yuri into hiding.  The final mission against the Allies wasn’t too hard.  Once I moved into position with my base and held off the initial assaults of Chronoed troops, I built up the Navy (which was nice, but not as crucial as the briefing would have you believe) and some Kirovs to help me move inland.  This took time, but my losses were fairly small.  I took over a position of his to the southeast of the island.  So many of his troops seemed to want to take out the Air Force Command that I appropriated and the Harriers on it, which baffled me.  After shuttling in Apocalypse tanks and a few V3’s, I set up with my Kirovs to take out some defenses.  Between them bombing things and acting as spotters for my Dreadnoughts to shell further inland, I wiped their main hold on the island out, but I reached a point to close and he started Chronoing in sets of Prism tanks, IFV’s, and Grizzlies.  I held my own and let the Apocalypse Tanks go to Elite status.  I ended up winning by accident when some Dreadnought missiles hit the Chronosphere instead of the Patriot Missile that I thought I was aiming for.  Still… a victory is a victory.  Now it’s on to Yuri’s Revenge for me!  I’m a bit disappointed ion that because it doesn’t sound like Yuri has a campaign of his own.  I was looking forward to playing as his units in a story, but it sounds like you can only do that in multiplayer.

As for a unit comparison, let’s see….  once I could build Apocalypse Tanks, the Rhino’s had little use for me.   I never built and Psi-Corp Troopers, rarely built dogs (except for the Chrono Defense in which they came very much in handy).  Flak Troopers were useful once in a while (usually around cannons for added oomph).  Tesla Troopers weren’t built as often as they could have been, but when I used them, they were great!  In the final mission, I stole their barracks in the Northeast and had it long enough to build a Tesla Coil and I stationed 2 Tesla Troopers there.  Onme went to Elite between juicing the coil and firing into tanks that came by.  After a bit, he was tough enough that between him and the coil (the other was killed), they could take on six Grizzlies at a shot with very little damage (and target the Prism Tanks before they could pass the area).  Flak Tracks were fun as troop transports once in a while, but their mobile support against Rocketeers was quite valuable.  Groups of them around Flak Cannons made for quick Elite trips and a lot of dead Allies.  I almost never built Terror Drones.  When I got them I would use them a bit, but they always seemed a bit too hard to use quickly and aggressively.  Sea Scorpions would be used as anti-Rocketeer defense very nicely and supported my Subs.  I never used a single Giant Squid, though.  By the time I could train them, I didn’t really have many large ships that a wolfpack of Subs couldn’t deal with.  Neat idea, yes, but I never got the hang of using them.  I also never used (or built) the Iron Curtain.  I only launched one nuke, so that wasn’t a very important building for me either.  I built the Psychic Sensor by mistake in the last mission, but was very glad I did so.  The intel it gives you on what will be attacked was invaluable in the early part of the mission.  It’s a shame that it will be lost as Yuri stole it. 🙂  I also only built the Cloning Vat in the last mission to play with it.  Not terribly useful when I built it (especially in that mission when garrisoning buildings would have been useless), but I can see its uses elsewhere.

Overall, an excellent game.  I’m very satisfied.  Who knows… maybe one day I’ll get through Yuri’s Revenege and move through CnC Generals and actually get to play CnC 3!

—————-
Now playing: Westwood Studios & Digital Media House – Grinder
via FoxyTunes

Red Alert 2 (Allies)

February 10, 2008

In an effort to get this blog moving a bit forward, I’m going to talk a bit about Red Alert 2.  I beat it last night with the Allies for the first time.  I rather enjoyed it overall, though I always had trouble coordinating my navy.  Since you rarely use them in the campaign (or at least I did), I never had the chance to put them to their full potential and I never got used to which ships could attack which targets.  I know the carriers can attack things inland and would make good use of that, but towards the end you would get the dolphins to counter the Soviet Squids.  I would try to get them to shake the squids off but wouldn’t always be successful.

Other units that didn’t get as much use are the Mirage Tanks.  Since I don’t play online (at least not yet), they never seemed to have the same punch against the A.I.  I can never be sure of how much the A.I. is “fooled” when he would see a few tanks sitting amongst a bunch of trees, only to have the mirage be lifted and ten more tanks appear.  They seemed to have a decent enough attack ability, but once I was able to make the  Prism Tanks, that was all I needed.  Staggering their placement allows for a virtual continuous firestorm of light to be launched at anything that comes around.  The only good counter to that is either a quick air assault or a bunch of Conscripts streaming in at once.  The more Prism Tanks around, the better my chances are of doing additional damage to anything surrounding the units I was aiming at (great for taking out base structures).  I would usually have a few Grizzlies nearby for support, but a healthy number of Prisms (around 10 or so) could typically support itself long enough to go Elite.

Thoughts on Infantry:

I would pump out a number of G.I.’s to garrison buildings in key locations.  The A.I. seems very suicidal when it comes to dealing with these buildings.  I’ve seen them throw good ideas at me once in awhile like a good V3 Launcher assault, but typically they like to stream troops past the building and get carved up.  I loved building Spies, but my first use would be to hit the Barracks or War Factory so I could get Veteran units.  That plan, of course, is put on hold once I know they have Nukes on board.  The best way of stalling for time to get Nukes out of the picture is to sneak a Spy inside and reset the timer for the launch window.  I used to use Rocketeers heavily until they seemed to make more Flak Troopers to counter that.  A nice fast way of keeping their economy low was to send in 10 or so Rocketeers against their War Miners.  Unless they were really close to base, I wouldn’t let one get away.

Thoughts on the final mission:

Rocky start, to say the least.  the Seals landed and cleared the area for me.  Instead of having the Seals wipe out the Tesla Coils, I let the IFV’s take care of them.  A few of them would become Veterans from their destruction, which would be a help once the stupid Kirovs came floating into town.  Anyway, I pumped out quite a few G.I.’s and garrisoned the bunkers outside and a building just to the east.  I took the reinforcements that arrived and grouped the IFV’s into one group and the Prisms and Grizzlies into another.  While fending off their small attacks which always seemed to be timed with keeping me busy long enough for them to get a Nuke Ready, I tried to build a Spy to deal with either the Nuke or the Iron Curtain.   When the first Kirov showed up, I was ready for him and sent the IFV’s in to swat him down.  I can’t wait to play with those blimps… they take so much damage!

Not long after the Kirovs were destroyed, they launched their Nuke.  Around a minute left in the window, I moved everything away from the Construction Yard and let them nail it.  They took out a Power Plant and my Barracks because of how close they were clustered (when will I learn?)  I went to work rebuilding what was lost and tried to continue to bolster my troops.   Once the res of that was back, I built the other buildings needed to bring out the Chrono Legionnaires.  I built a few of them and sent them off to do their various dirty work.  I first tried to single out their Nuclear Reactors when I could find some and would zap them out of existence in an effort to cut their power down.  After a few attempts, I was able to stop the timers on the Iron Curtain and the Nuke by taking enough of their power out.  During this focus, however, the Soviets Iron Curtained a few tanks and wiped out the Derricks that I picked up early on, cutting my economy down a little bit (I still had a refinery and an Ore Truck, though).   Several of my bunkers were wiped out, but they kept a lot out of my base, so it was a good trade off.  Somewhere in my Chrono power trip, a Kirov or two snuck up towards my base and wiped out my troops (all of the vehicles and everything not in a building, except for the 3 Chrono Legionnaires  and 2 Navy Seals)  He also took out my Barracks, War Factory and Construction Yard, so I was quite alone.  When the dust cleared, he was killed, but I had nothing left but what I mentioned above.  I thought about restarting, but I wanted to see where I could go with this, so I marched onward.

The Chrono Legionnaires  became my best friend.  Slowly and very carefully, I would take everything of theirs that I could, starting with the remaining power plants and eventually moving toward the War Factories and Barracks.  I had nothing else to produce, so each move was carefully thought about.  Any troop that was lost could not be replaced.  I managed to wipe out most of everything on the map, saving as I went.  I found the Navy Seals (I thought they were killed at first) and had them join up, using their one shot kill against Infantry to be a big help (especially later on).  By now, these five troops that were left were all Elite, which was a major help.

I found (the hard way) that Seals can’t destroy the Terror Drones before they get killed, so I had to stage traps to remove them.  At this point, I remembered that I had troops in building just waiting to shoot stuff.  I pulled them out and moved them south toward the Kremlin.  One of the large Cathedrals was sitting mostly empty (with an un-powered Tesla Coil and a V3 to keep it company).   They moved into the building and I had the Seals get close enough to trigger the Drones to attack.  They would get close and the G.I.’s in the Cathedral would destroy them.  At this point, the only thing left to get rid of was the small base surrounding the fortress of the Kremlin.  The Legionnaires would clean most of it up, but I found they could not get rid of the Yuri that was sitting there.  It took a few tries before I realized that the Seals could still kill them in one show (but only if there was one of them.  If there were 2 together, one might get killed and the other would mind control the Seal’s, removing a lot of my effective crowd control.  Eventually, I figured out that my Terror Drone trap would work against the Yuri’s too, so I eventually wiped them out and was able to take care of the entire base surrounding the Kremlin.  All that was left was the small green forces.  4 Apocalypse Tanks, 2 Sentry Guns and a Tesla Coil.  This, oddly, would be the hardest part of the whole damn mission.

I moved some troops around to test how powerful the Tanks were and was surprised that one volley was enough to kill any troop I had on hand.  (for those that haven’t played the game, infantry can’t damage tanks very easily, but tanks also have a hard time damaging infantry.  Kind of a balance of sorts).   I found a spot below the Kremlin that I could Chrono in my 3 guys in an effort to wipe out the Sentry Guns.  It took quite a few attempts to figure out where to put them, however.  Every time I placed them in the middle, thinking that they would target a separate gun before they would get killed,they always went for only one and would get wiped out.  Finally, I found a spot on the right just far enough away from the left gun but not too close to the tanks that I could hit one and then the other afterwards.  After many efforts or trying to figure out a timing for taking out 2 of the 4 tanks safely using the Chrono Legionnaires, I gave up.  I couldn’t seem to figure out a timing for swooping in and snagging one while the other was tied up and hitting both at once wasn’t working either.  Then I remembered I had one last troop that might help… my Chrono Miner.  I moved the big truck down to the gate of the base and moved all of the G.I’s that I had left outside as well.  Suicide run in transit… I sent the truck in and the Tanks took aim.  I also moved all of the G.I.’sin, hoping they would keep the Tanks busy while my Legionnaires approached from behind and zapped both of them out of existence.  With only 2 Tanks left, I sent the remaining G.I’s forward and repeated the strategy.  With the green forces removed, Tanya landed and finished the mission.  So that is how I beat the majority of the final Allied Mission with 3 Chrono Legionnaires, 2 Navy Seals, 1 Chrono Miner and about 15 G.I.’s (in a pear tree).  That was a hell of a fight.  Now it’s on to the Soviet Campaign!

And for anyone that wants to know more about the units, please check out planetCNC.

—————-
Now playing: ra2destfull – Frank Klepacki / Destroy.mp3
via FoxyTunes

Contest Winner!

February 6, 2008

I took part in the contest involving the Blizzard podcasts that they started making and I won one of the grand prizes!  I’ll be getting a Starcraft II hat and a set of Logitech 5.1 speakers.  Not bad at all!

Hello world!

August 17, 2007

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!