tante totti @tante de totti
Devil's Island Pinball (Windows)
This game gives me a supra ventricular tachycardia
I have been playing this game for many years now and I think it is one of the pinball games that comes a very lot closer to the real pinball cabinets than most other pinball sim's. Here the people of wildfire studios understand that ball action speed must be very high paced and several sound effects must sound like real clicking and bonking. A multi-ball is not easy to keep in play, and there is a lot to keep going for just like today's modern pinball table. There are different missions to achieve, and many targets to shoot. Some of them are surrealistic like the cannibal mode where savages will do a native dance in a circle on the playfield. Others are only suggestive like the disappearing and reappearing fake big ugly cannibal head. When you keep the ball in play, this game can really rack your score up, as point keep growing, awarded points keep multiplying, and completing missions can earn you millions of points. In this game a skill-shot is already worth 5 million! The graphics in this game are fairly good, they are in sharp eye candy 2 dimensional visuals and for better performance you can scale the resolution back to half of the screen so scrolling won't be necessary. Extra pluses are the extra modes like the zombie ball where you can try to restore a lost ball or the super-ball after mode you can play after achieving lot's of points. It definitely is the icing on the cake for real pinball enthusiasts.
What I dislike is that this game is so hard. It feels so unbalanced and as if the playfield is not levelled. You can lose the balls so easily, targets are so extremely hard to hit. From the moment you shoot the ball in play, there isn't a single moment to relax. You need to concentrate not to shoot panicky and stress balls that deliberately miss your targets and bounce back so fast you go flipping like a crazy man. After all these years I still not know how to perfectly hit the targets, I keep missing them. Very often the metal ball will go like a bouncing ball or leave the playfield directly via the side lanes. Nudging will do this game no good, as you often can't catch this special "feeling" to think forward where the ball will be going to. What makes me even more nervous is that shooting the burial ground or the temple are extremely hard when you need it to. It is essential for going into missions and boosting up the score. Even thereafter, the missions want you to shoot lanes and ramps in a special order, that is very difficult to do in the given time, usually only a meager few seconds. Half accomplished missions won't give interesting bonuses. What makes it worse it that shooting the ball in the burial ground or the volcano take too much time to get the ball back into the playfield. To add insult to injury, there aren't that many game options to toggle. You can choose a single screen and that's about it, you cannot change the ball speed or the leveling. Finally I think the music is done wrong completely. It is not catchy or amusing nor does it sound like it's coming from a real pinball cabinet's sound chip.
The Bottom Line
This game gives me heart problems. For every time I play it, I think I lose a few years to live. Considerably, it's a good pinball concept with just too many targets that are too hard to shoot.
By tante totti on October 17, 2007
The Dig (DOS)
Whoa, I am gonna meet some Extra-terrestrials man
Interesting graphics. A good blend of hand drawn graphics, FMV-sequences and animation. I must say they still look good and were kind of superior for it's time.
It's repetitiveness. most of the time I was spending time going here and there, going back, going back and going back some more. I would like to see some variation here. Too many times I was wasting time unlocking doors and putting pieces back together.
The story is the biggest let down here. Since there is some budget and possibilities I would expect to be impressed with creative aliens but instead of that I was treated to the same old mystery crap, where aliens don't show up until the very last seconds of the game. The story isn't actually that original. There are worlds that look identical to ours, with beaches, blue skies and mountains. There are rats that look like rats, birds that are birds, dogs that are dogs, bats that are bats and even a ginormous spider. On top of that as some sort of final insult that alien leader says: "those creatures haven't evolved yet". Oh dear...
Also there is one part I simply can't get over with, how on earth is it possible to learn (and speak) a complete alien language just by analysing a few samples in a library?
The Bottom Line
The dig: I rather leave this one buried
By tante totti on May 17, 2007
The Typing of the Dead (Windows)
type or die... but for experienced typists only
When I tried this game out I was surprised. It took me a couple of minutes to find out you had to use the keyboard to shoot the zombies. I really liked that on my first go. It is a fresh idea and it is kind of addictive. If you are familiar with the house of the dead 2 arcade game, it is just the same but with a twist. It is one of the most original games I have played over a decade and there also seem to be life span expanding options such as network play and boss battles so this will hold your attention for a while.
I asked my brother if he would like to have this game too, and he answered no. Why did he say that? Well, because there is no way to input the words of your own choice. You see, we are computer users since the early nineties and we are true typing prodigies. But when we look at the screen we see the most annoying sentences and in particular Latin and English ones that make us freeze for seconds and screw most of the shots. That sucks away a lot of fun as English is not our native language.
Maybe it is me, but TOTD doesn't run too smoothly on a modern PC. Why? Because the program is sensitive and needs a clean system memory to run on. So be prepared to kill all your windows activities such as internet browsers, your current downloads and virus scanners etc. Believe me, nothing is more frustrating when quick reaction is required, but you simply can't focus because the frame animation is disturbed by other windows activities.
What irritates me most is that there is no beginner mode for inexperienced typists. Sure you can switch the game's difficulty to very easy, but that doesn't give you more time to complete the sentences or more chances to recover from typing errors. No, this only makes the words a little shorter but it is still required to react quickly. I kind of hate it. How would you like this if I said to you it is not necessarily to play the guitar, but still you have to play a tune without making a fault and you had to play the melody in time? It is that stupid.
Another point is the annoying boss battles. Thankfully you can skip a lot of the worthless cutscenes, but not when you encounter a boss. When this gargoyle appears you cannot press away his monologue and this monster you will be fighting next takes so many moments of grunting animation that it is destroying it's replay value. It doesn't help either that you have to defeat them.. err...TWICE!
Another problem is that once you progress through the stages you can get exhausted. There are so many tough words on the normal setting and due to quick required typing I usually need to take a break after the third or fourth stage. You can play the game stages in a different order, but the last ones are locked so you need to play this game if a rush if you would to like to complete it. And why do you have to enter a name for a high score every time you complete a stage? It is so annoying, wouldn't it be good idea if they waited a little while and let you do this when the game is over? Here again I must conclude that the lack of a real easy mode damages some of it's replay value.
Things to keep in mind is that you need a good keyboard for this and second you need to configure your keyboard setting to US or UK because this game doesn't support EURO keyboards. There will be a lot of words that require the special keys in this game, and you are simply screwed if some special characters don't correspond to the your keys.
The Bottom Line
Despite all my complaining (hey somebody had to say it), this is a great game for all typing masters out there. Think you are good at typing? Then this game is definitely a challenge. In these days it is quite an original game so please be sure not to miss this. Also be aware that this is not meant to learn typing but only for those who already have typing skills.
By tante totti on May 13, 2007
Runaway 2: The Dream of the Turtle (Windows)
whoever says this game is perfect probably never played a real point and click adventure game
Nice, clear, colourful 2 dimensional visuals
It tries to relive the point n click adventure genre that once dominated the nineties...
The Bottom Line
..unfortunately it fails. Let me explain. R2TDOTT tries to mimic old point n click games and adds a little flavour to it. The genre is long gone since they eliminated the complete command system such as "pick up" or "give to" and adapted all commands under a single mouse click. What made this genre so great was that you could visit almost a hundred screens at a time, combine a full inventory of red herrings and lots of objects, and then I really mean lots. And you were practically clueless because of all the possibilities.
Here it feels like the complete opposite, except for the addition of zillions of bogus dialogues. There is very little you can do, there aren't that many screens you can explore because you are often stuck to a small location and Brian Basco doesn't mention much unless you are supposed to interact with certain objects. The way you work yourself through the chapters is pretty embarrassing, I mean for example.. how many times can you use soldier O'Connor or the Lemur as a solution to just about everything??
You know what's a big problem with this game? For most of the time, it feels like watching a movie more than playing a game. There are ginormous cut scenes that you just can't click away, why not shut up and let me play? Or at least let me skip them. If I wanted to watch an animated movie, i'd pick up the incredibles or something like that. But no, I purchased a game so please, I want to play!
The story is pretty forgettable too. Again they borrowed too much from Indiana Jones cliches such as discovering the mysteries of old artifacts and traveling around the planet and the way Brian can escape from his foes is so fictional that I rather take every James Bond installment for real. The way you must trigger certain events is pretty stupid too, you can't do action x unless you have mentioned something about topic y; this makes the game extremely linear. And the way Brian always has to say something smart every time he does something really annoys me.
Two dimensional graphics look awesome, but the animation simply isn't. For example, Colonel Kordsmeier talks like a sock puppet and sound like a drunk pirate. Voice acting could have been done a lot better though, since you are obliged to listen to a million lines of nonsense.
It never gave me a pleasant feeling and after a while I was playing against my will. After the fourth chapter I couldn't bear it anymore and I quit playing. I can enjoy a lot of old point n click games, but this one simply fails to deliver.
By tante totti on April 15, 2007