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Rob On Stuff This is a collection of words.

Zzap

Started tinkering with the enemy bullets a bit, first up – the lance…

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Rob On Stuff This is a collection of words.

Sensible Soccer 2006

The more I play you, the more you make me want to cry.

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Rob On Stuff This is a collection of words.

Decimating Pixels

I try an obscene amount of games each week. Between any WIP’s that get fired across in IRC, beta’s and finished remakes on the RR board, demo’s of recent Indie games and a fair bit of freeware that gets mailed to me for some reason. A lot of the “retro homage” stuff I can’t really cover on RR as its not really in our remit. The Retro & Remakes part aren’t exclusive I’m afraid, but I’ll try and detail some of the stuff I get sent that never makes it to RR on here.

One of my biggest bugbears though is when I pick through my mail and it’ll contain something along the lines of “come download {x} game, its completely free”, and you get to the site and once again “download {x} game, its completely free”… and elsewhere, or when you get to the download location…its a fucking trial version of a shareware game.

So, technically…the download is completely free – but the game isn’t, is it? Its a tenner or more usually. Now, call me a trusting bastard here… but surely if you’re going to use the term “free”, and more to the point… if you want my money to play your game… well, don’t fucking lie to me, really – you’re stretching the definition to breaking point.

Whats wrong with a bit of honesty and just coming out and saying “yes, this game will cost you $x or £x in order to play”? Or are you just hoping to cheat a search engine to obtain a higher ranking for the search term “free whatever”?

Anyway, if you’re considering pulling this stunt, and you’re reading this – don’t. Its a cunts trick. Your game is either free or its not, it can’t be free and then cost money because then, its no longer free.

Well, a couple of games that have landed in my mail box over the past few weeks that are most definitely free in the true sense of the word (or at least, they are at the moment)…

Decimator is a very stylish looking shooter by Max Foster, and is currently in the beta stage. Its got some lovely eye candy with a very “future retro” feel, lots of lovely blending mixed with early 80’s style spriting. Unfortunately, at the moment – its not the greatest game ever (it is still beta though, so there’s time yet) – the waves seem very unstructured and you fly into impossible situations far too often. The scanline effect, whilst beautiful static completely fucks with your eyes after a very short while and for me, at least, everything starts to blur into a bit of a mess. A bit of tweaking and structuring and there’s a lot of potential in Decimator. I just hope when it hits final, the option to remove the scanlining will be available.

And from a game with a lot of potential, to a game that appears to have had a lot of potential, then pissed away with a complete lack of thought as to how it should play. I always get suspicious when the email contains something along the lines of “this is our gift to the retro world”, instantly alarm bells start ringing and I contemplate that perhaps this is going to be another of those gifts where someone spiking your tea with a lethal poison might be a better present. Well, its not quite that bad, but if playability is anything to go by … perhaps the poison might be preferable.

Gamma Bros has an art style that recalls the Activision Atari 2600 stylings, and so, one look at the screenshots was more than enough for me to instantly begin leeching the game. Within a few seconds of the game opening I’m incredibly impressed and thinking “hey, this has style – I think I’m really going to like this” and then it all goes wrong once the game starts. Its a bizarre arena shooter that somehow manages to throw large amounts of enemies at you, yet still be completely and utterly boring and unplayable. The waves come in from offscreen either from the left/right/top or bottom in formation, pause for some unknown reason, throw the occasional bullet at you then piss off again. The controls feel terrible and its about as exciting as a 24 hour marathon of Last Of The Summer Wine repeats.

How a game can so such promise and then just sling it all out of the window in one of the simplest genres ever I’ll never know, but Gamma Bros is living proof that no amount of style can make up for god awful uninspired gameplay.