The real reason you got that machine (or emulator), right? Classic and new Amiga games talked about here.
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Seattle, WA, USA

Re: Games we're Working on

by intric8 Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:25 am

After a bit of a gaming break (so many hardware projects moved to the front of the line) I've decided to go all-in on a very challenging CRPG classic: Black Crypt.

It was made by Ravensoft (Wisconsin, US) and published by Electronic Arts back in 1992. Black Crypt is an Eye of the Beholder / Dungeon Master CRPG clone which sports exceptional graphics. It uses 64 color extra-half brite graphics so some of the effects and textures can be really eye popping. The digitized sound is great, too (I've fallen in love with the intro song). And what’s even more cool is that it was made on, and exclusively for, Amiga computers. One of the programmers, Rick Johnson, later ported the first two levels of the game to PC in 1998 so more folks could at least check it out. Most don't get past the two-headed ogre on the 2nd level anyway. :)

For those that think Ravensoft sounds familiar, it’s because they are the same folks that later created the highly atmospheric Doom-like Heretic and Hexen.

I’m going to be documenting my experience playing through the game it as best as I can (it’s not always easy to take a picture when you’re in the middle of getting attacked!). I started playing this game over a year ago and it completely kicked my ass. I didn’t get very far but did recognize the high quality bar Ravensoft had set.

I started on Friday night and you can quickly see that this game was quality built from end to end. The box art (note EA's really old logo in the demon's golden leg brace), the disk stickers, manual, game icons, flawless HD install - the whole thing is just so well made.
The Black Crypt's attention to detail and quality is exceptional.

This past weekend, I managed to finally defeat the 2-headed ogre on Level 2 and made my way down to Level 3. Only 25 more levels to go! Good times.
The dreaded 2-headed ogre. Can you unlock the secret to defeating him?
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Seattle, WA, USA

Re: Games we're Working on

by intric8 Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:54 am

I've continued to make progress on Black Crypt, a simply mind numbingly difficult game at times. I've spent hours wandering around dungeon levels looking for a switch to flip or button to press, which will unlock other things off in the distance (things you can't see). So then you go off looking for whatever just changed somewhere in the miles of corridors that all look the same. Hah!

But I have made progress this week, which is cool. I've made my way down to Level 5. Doesn't sound very far, I know, but trust me. It's far. Even though I know this game has 25 levels in all, I think Levels 2 and 4 were simply incredibly soul crushing by design. Interestingly, I had to finish level 4 before I could complete level 3, which was far far easier than any other. Lots of saving and rebooting, but merely a hack-n-slash level, which was a really nice break from the brain teasers.

Hope to make a bit more progress this weekend. Baby steps with games like this one.
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Seattle, WA, USA

Re: Games we're Working on

by intric8 Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:39 am

I've made a bit more progress.

As I'm completely immersed in Black Crypt lately, I recognize I've not posted here as much as I usually do or as much as I'd like.

But I think, based on the manual, that I'm about 1/2 of the way done. If all goes well (lordy please) I should be done some time in the next 2 weeks. Some of these levels I can finish in a day; others take me several days each as they can be completely and utterly baffling (on purpose).

Imagine running around a level, flipping a hidden button on a wall and hearing it open or change something "somewhere". So you then run around a gigantic maze trying to figure out what might have changed, while also being mindful not to starve, die of thirst or be killed by some jerk monster (the hunger/thirst seemed more dire of an issue before I had a Create Food spell. Can't create water just yet, I don't think). And all of the corridors look identical. Oh, and that wall that disappeared might be on a different level, too. I'm having fun, but I'm pretty sure I've grown a lot more white hair.

By the time I finish Black Crypt I may look like Doc Brown!
My likely reward for finishing Black Crypt.
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Seattle, WA, USA

Re: Games we're Working on

by intric8 Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:17 pm

I've started the beginning stages of Gateway to the Savage Frontier - a Gold Box game from SSI from 1991/92. It's exactly the same format as the previous Gold Box games (and I think the second-to-last one made, although I haven't researched it yet). So, everything is very familiar to me at this stage having played and finished Curse of the Azure Bonds earlier this year.

I can tell right off the bat that the small panel that shows your view to the outside world involves much more detailed imagery than previous titles. The story starts off virtually word for word as Azure Bonds, but then you're thrust into a much different landscape that features a vast network of rivers. They actually run right through the first two towns (and are part of the town maps) I've explored to this point, which is pretty cool.

The game was designed by pioneering gaming heavyweight Don Daglow, so my expectations are pretty high. The dude's work is worth reading on Wikipedia when you've got a moment. Not only was he responsible for some of the most important 'firsts' in computer gaming in the 70s and 80s, he also is responsible for some of my all-time personal favorites on arcade, 8-bit and 16-bit machines:
  • Mail Order Monsters
  • Tron Deadly Discs
  • Intellivision World Series Baseball (1983) — the first video game to use multiple camera angles to display the action rather than a static playfield; developed with Eddie Dombrower (these two guys later went on to design Earl Weaver Baseball)
  • Realm of Impossibility
  • Super Boulder Dash
  • Lords of Conquest
And many more. Very, very cool.

I think in the DOS version the art areas were mildly animated. They don't appear to be in the Amiga version (not so far) but damn, the artwork is really great.
intro screen
After you win, the treasure rarely matches this artwork - but damn the artwork is gorgeous!
Pretty sure this is a bad guy ;) The blue eyeshadow is a tell-tale sign
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Re: Games we're Working on

by Lorfarius Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:12 am

Totally worth it!
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New Jersey, USA

Re: Games we're Working on

by LambdaCalculus Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:12 am

The Gold Box games were so incredibly fun! I unfortunately only had two back in the day: Curse of the Azure Bonds and Pools of Darkness, both on DOS. I seriously wanted to get the Savage Frontier games so bad back then!
Own: Amiga 500 (NTSC), Amiga 4000, Amiga 600 (PAL), Mac Mini G4 & iBook G4 (MorphOS), ThinkPad T40 (AROS), R.Pi3 (Amibian)
After: Amiga 1200
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Seattle, WA, USA

Re: Games we're Working on

by intric8 Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:20 am

Well you had two of the best, then! PoR came first, then Curse.

I actually 'read' the audible books to really get in the mood. It was a trilogy written back in the 80s which came out with corresponding modules and computer games. Pretty brilliant, really.

The books almost border on sci-fi akin to what's being pumped out of Canada these days (i.e. Orphan Black and Dark Matter), which is this interesting blend of Phillip K. Dick-sian concepts around replicants, clones, and what it means to be alive and/or unique.

You'd never know if from the games, but Alias from Curse of the Azure Bonds is actually cloned and you see her various 'versions' pop up all over the place throughout the trilogy. It's high-school level reading, but it's entertaining.

Dude - speaking of Pool of Radiance... you have NO idea how rare it is to find PoR for Amiga here in the U.S., which is bizarre as it sold really really well. I've only seen a copy for sale in Australia over the past year and they are asking stupid money for it (probably because it's so rare to be found on the market).

For the hundreds of thousands sold, it's strange how it can't be found boxed anywhere. I guess once people finally find it, they never let it go!

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