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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:06 pm

One of my favorite gaming experiences - ever - was on the C64 playing Legacy of the Ancients. Legacy is a game that is very similar to Ultima in game mechanics, yet also offers weird teleportation to various worlds (very mild sci-fi) mixed with map adventuring and dungeon crawling. It really is something special and the dungeon encounters are gorgeous to behold.

This is a game that required drawing your maps out on graph paper, but unlike future 16-bit dungeon crawlers it is not intended to drive you insane. Legacy's dungeons are more "basic" and generally aren't filled with hair-whitening meanness or cruel puzzles - in fact, there are none. But you do need to map them out (I did) or you'll get lost as you travel 8 floors down and then try to get all the way back out alive. If you've got a paper map to follow, your path to escape will be far easier. It still creates some heart-thumping moments for sure.

Legacy was followed up with the Legend of Blacksilver, Questron and eventually Questron II. All of these games, from what I can tell, follow the same game design and mechanics.

Well, I've decided to go all-in on Questron II. The graphics really are exceptionally nice. It's like my old Legacy game got dipped into a bucket of Deluxe Paint and it's dripping gold everywhere.

I added it to the Games Library last year, but was in a rush to add titles more than deep-dive depth. After reading a bit about it lately, while looking for my next gaming obsession, this passage on CRPG Addict sold me:
When I won, there was an extended end-game sequence that showed you paraded through a castle and being lauded by the king or something. For me, this set the bar for end games, and I was usually disappointed in future games by how little they gave me. (I'm not the only one. This guy gushes about the ending to this game, calling it "the greatest ending ever.")
Greatest (at the time) ending to a game ever? And a game that really seems identical to Legacy of the Ancients, except with a ton more pixels? I'm in! All the way, this time.

And, yeah - I peeled the original plastic off my never-used, never-opened mint NOS copy. And god did that feel so nice. <3
Attachments
q2.jpg
Shrink-wrapped no longer!


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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:01 pm

On a slightly related note, while somewhat distracted I decided to try and figure out who painted the cover image for Legacy of the Ancient's memorable box. If you zoom into the image, down in the lower right-hand corner is an artist's signature "McMacken".
LotA-cover.png
Legacy of the Ancients cover image, with artist signature "McMacken"

A bit of investigation led me to the art portfolio site of David McMacken, which is called Ratz & Co. and seems to have a brick and mortar art studio in Astoria, OR (home of Goonies).

While McMacken doesn't appear to have any prints available, further investigations led me to the Computer Game Museum website, which is hosted and physically located in Montreal, Canada, by a gentleman named Howard Feldman. You might notice on that website that, down at the bottom, is a small sole image of the original cover painting. After communicating with Howard, I came to learn that he is indeed the proud owner of the original artwork used for the cover of LotA, which he purchased from McMacken back in 2008.

The original painting really is something quite stunning to behold without any overlaid text.
loa-coverart.jpg
Original cover artwork of Legacy of the Ancients, framed.

I've since reached out to David McMacken to see if he ever created any prints from the original. I've got my doubts but it doesn't hurt to ask. Hopefully he's doing well and I'll hear back in the near future.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:48 am

Last night I completed and beat Questron II.

Playing the game from beginning to end completely changed my original opinion and score for the game when I put it in the Games Library in 2016. I will be completely re-writing that entry very soon. I documented most of my progress throughout the game.

The TLDR; version: Question II is a beginner-level CRPG that seems to be aimed at very young gamers. Depending on your age, you may walk away with very different opinions and attitudes about it. The game is unwaveringly linear, the back story is pretty thin, and the RPG aspects are nearly non-existent. But it also brings some really incredible innovations to the genre worthy of praise. I'll discuss it in more detail soon.
Attachments
questronii-win.jpg

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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA
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Posted Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:40 am

Indeed, playing a game the whole way through often gives you a different perspective; positive or negative. Which is why I've personally chosen to the best I can to complete any game I review. The journey you take is so very important when giving a recommendation to others. Of course the first look is always an interesting perspective to have as well, so I've always liked the games section reviews you do. When you finish it you should post both reviews here; I'd be curious to see how much things changed based on completing the game.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:18 pm

I've finished my complete review for Questron II (Q2), and completely re-written what I had there before . I gave the game the time it really deserved to get a handle on it and played it to the very end.

I do think it's worth noting that these game reviews are totally subjective (obviously). And each person will walk away with a different experience - their own. In my case, I'm pretty sure if I had played this as a 13 year-old kid, I probably would have liked it much more because I would have felt it to be more "fair". Whereas at this stage in my life, I feel it to be so simplistic it's borderline dull. But I also think it's because I'm biased about one of its predecessors, Legacy of the Ancients, which I love and have played and finished multiple times. For me at least, that game is special. Plus, the story world and balance are excellent.

I've read some people say that the less well-known Legend of Blacksilver is a tiny bit better than Legacy, but I've never played Blacksilver. Not yet, anyway. Some day.

If I could score on 1/2 points, I would give Q2 a 2.5, simply because the game's graphics take and innovative mapping feature take it a notch above Fair, but not quite to Good. Somewhere in between. But I can't, so I had to round-up. This does bring my score down a full point from the previous score of 4. In hindsight, that was simply too high.

In any case, I've also updated the screenshots up to the end of the game.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:21 pm

Final note on Legacy of the Ancients artist Dave McMacken (for now). He contacted me today after I purchased a museum quality print from him for the games' cover art. (W00t!) He informed me of some very intriguing info about Legacy.

Dave McMacken:
Of note, I’am currently making another version on LEGACY, for a new format re-release. I’ll have it done in a couple of weeks
I can't wait to see what that's going to be!

In the meantime, I eagerly await my signed print. :)

If you love an old game from the 80s or 90s, I highly encourage you to research the creators and creatives behind them. Sometimes you never quite know what you might stumble across.





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