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Exhuminator
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by Exhuminator Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:28 pm

laurenhiya21 wrote:And I'm using ePSXe to emulate.

ePSXe is the best PS1 emulator, although its compatibility largely depends on which plug-ins you're using.

A good ePSXe tutorial: https://fantasyanime.com/emuhelp/epsxe
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crazythink4
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by crazythink4 Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:03 am

Oof, haven't had as much time as I hoped to play this week. Oh well... :|

I did manage to complete The Journeyman Project: Pegasus Prime however. It doesn't hold up the best after all these years, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. (As previously mentioned, I'm a sucker for time travel stories, good and bad.)

The acting is pretty decent when held up to its contemporaries. I mean, it's not going to win any Oscars, but no one really embarrassed themselves either, except for a few of the direct encounters. You're supposed to avoid contact with anyone in the past, so these are very quick reactions to your presence followed by a game over screen. These are pretty cheesy and you can tell that the actors were having some fun with it.

You can die in the game, but it's extremely well telegraphed (your AI warns you before you're about to trigger death, and you can resume just beforehand), so in some ways it's kinda fun to see all the different ways that you can be killed. However, there's one really cheap death early on: you're supposed to use the transporter to work. I expected to have a nice little shuttle ride, but instead it turned out to be a molecular disintegrator. However, due to some glitch or something, I respawned at work rather than getting the usual game over screen. I continued along my merry way with with my new doppelganger character.

As far as the story goes, it's fairly interesting but has some big plot holes you need to be able to overlook. Time travel is discovered and, fearing the consequences of timeline alterations, the government sets up an agency to monitor the timeline for disruptions. They also sent back a record of the timeline back to the prehistoric era so that an unadulterated history can be kept if any timeline alterations do occur. I especially liked this idea, since the concept could open up a lot of interesting plots (like forging a new timeline by replacing the record, or the moral decisions of finding out that the altered timeline is better than the original).

But for the first game, it's much more standard fare. In this story, someone altered 3 points in history in order to prevent humanity from joining an alien union called The Symbiotry of Peaceful Beings, and so it's up to you to set things right. (Apparently, one complaint of the game was that all the times visited were still in our future. I honestly didn't mind this, as visiting major points in our past has been fairly well tread at this point.) You have a limited amount of time to solve the time discrepancy before your battery runs out and you're trapped forever. Most of the puzzles are of the get item, use item in the correct place type. There's no strong logic or heavy thinking in the game, but some of the puzzles are still obtuse and they added a built-in hint system if you get stuck.

The game is almost entirely in pre-rendered CG with human actors in it. The view is a little small, but it's large enough that it doesn't feel terribly constrained. Walking around must have been impressive back in 1997, and it still holds up okay today though retreading areas does get tedious after a while (if you get stuck or needed an object from another time). When you turn from side to side, the video doesn't play a rotation but instead just pans to another view (which could be a still frame if it's against a wall or the first frame of a new video if you can walk forward). It's a little strange at first but I got used to it quickly. The UI interface gave me a strong Babylon 5 vibe, though I'm not sure if it really was influenced by B5 or if that's just the 90s sci-fi style.

Each area had its own "first person ride" segment, including the obligatory mine cart ride seen in many 90s games. (The other two were an underwater navigation and a space chase.) These have little interactivity beyond "press the correct direction to not die" of the Dragon's Lair variety. These were obviously meant for show but are easily the weakest parts of the game. (Apparently, if you play in casual mode you can't fail, but I'm sure they made you sit through them anyway.)

This game is a remake of the original, which didn't have any real FMV and was much more straightforward. In the original, each time period could be solved in a self-contained manner; in Pegasus Prime, some puzzles required you to visit other times to get the required items. Also, apparently the original was quite straight-forward, making a bit more movie and than game. Perhaps someday, I'll try to track down the original and give it a go.

I enjoyed Pegasus Prime a fair but, but unless anything I mentioned above really grabs you, it's kinda hard to recommend. I definitely plan to give the sequels a go, at some point (in the GoG wishlist on the lookout for a sale!)

Next up is Riven. I'm fairly stoked, and I'm going to try to beat it without a walkthrough. That being said, I'm not sure I'll finish it before the month is out. I'll give it a good old try!
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by Key-Glyph Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:44 am

crazythink4 wrote:The Journeyman Project: Pegasus Prime!


Awesome write-up! I really enjoyed reading this because aside from Silent Steel, the other Windows 95 pack-in game that's been on my bucketlist all these years is The Journeyman Project: Turbo! It equal parts fascinated, confused, and disturbed me.

From your description I'm thinking the remake won't be as satisfying a play for me as the Turbo version, though -- partly for the nostalgia factor, and partly because it seems like it's more convoluted without being any more fun or cool for the trouble? I guess I should really take a gander at what the game environments look and sound like to get a better feel for it myself.

Do they still allow you to transport somewhere other than work in the first few minutes of the game? That was my favorite death. I was like, "Oh neat! I'm going to go to future Tokyo instead of work, yeah!" Then the game was like "DING, your timeline was unmade around you. Congrats on your death you delinquent."

I also remember the game explicitly telling me I should play in the dark with headphones on so that I wouldn't miss anything I needed to see or hear, but that after my first encounter with one of those eight foot tall terrors I was like, "NOPE!"

What an awesome game. Really left an impression on me, even despite my not getting very far in it.
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by Ack Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:49 am

Oh man, I did it. I finally went and picked up Riven on GOG. It's been nearly 20 years since the last time I played it, and while there are little things I remember, I also remember never beating it. Myst and Myst III, yes, but not Riven or the later entries in the series.

Well, looks like I'm down the rabbit hole now.
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by Exhuminator Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:14 am

I played some of The X-Files for PC last night. This game originally came out on a crazy amount CDs, but I was able to get the DVD9 version, which is much easier to manage. I didn't watch much of this show back in the '90s, but enough to understand the gist of the underpinnings here. Thus far the path progression and puzzles haven't been totally unintuitive, and the FMV integration is very well done. The atmosphere is on par, and The X-Files does a good job of making the player feel like an FBI agent. Thus far I am enjoying the experience... but there's still plenty of time for everything to go wrong. I remain cautiously optimistic.
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by ElkinFencer10 Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:47 am

Finished Area 51 on Saturn. That's a daaaaaaamn good game. I love light gun games in general, and this is an exceptionally good one.
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crazythink4
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by crazythink4 Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:22 pm

Key-Glyph wrote:Awesome write-up! I really enjoyed reading this because aside from Silent Steel, the other Windows 95 pack-in game that's been on my bucketlist all these years is The Journeyman Project: Turbo! It equal parts fascinated, confused, and disturbed me.


Thanks! :D

Key-Glyph wrote:From your description I'm thinking the remake won't be as satisfying a play for me as the Turbo version, though -- partly for the nostalgia factor, and partly because it seems like it's more convoluted without being any more fun or cool for the trouble? I guess I should really take a gander at what the game environments look and sound like to get a better feel for it myself.


That’s certainly possible. My knowledge of the original and Turbo! are from having read HG101’s Guide to Classic Graphic Adventures, so it’s all second-hand.

The vibe I got from Kalata’s book was that the original almost felt like a tech proof-of-concept than what the sequels wound up being.

According to the book, reviews at the time said that the fact that each portion could be solved completely without exiting the time period was a weakness. I kinda disagree because jumping to another time to get, for example, a crowbar feels all kinds of contrived to me. Plus, saying that the time agency forbids removing objects from a time could lead to some interesting puzzle setups (“Man! If only I could use that cool doo-dad I saw in the other time!”)

Anyway, both versions apparently have very different feels, so I totally suggest giving both a try!

Key-Glyph wrote:Do they still allow you to transport somewhere other than work in the first few minutes of the game? That was my favorite death. I was like, "Oh neat! I'm going to go to future Tokyo instead of work, yeah!" Then the game was like "DING, your timeline was unmade around you. Congrats on your death you delinquent."


They do indeed! :lol:

Key-Glyph wrote:I also remember the game explicitly telling me I should play in the dark with headphones on so that I wouldn't miss anything I needed to see or hear, but that after my first encounter with one of those eight foot tall terrors I was like, "NOPE!"


Ah, the imaginations of youth! I have some BGMs of yore burned into my memory that still choke me up or give me shivers! That said, I’d suspect that this is like the old horror movie that you saw as a kid. Scary back then, but watching it today you’ll see a guy in a rubber suit.

Key-Glyph wrote:What an awesome game. Really left an impression on me, even despite my not getting very far in it.


It’s definitely worth a go! I suspect it’s one of the better games of its type!
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by nullPointer Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:47 pm

Between an uptick in workload and Spring sports season kicking off for my kids, I haven't had quite the time to devote to FMV games as I would have liked this month. Having said that, I finally beat A Fork in the Tale last night! And I have to admit ... I may have been a little hard on this game in my previous write-up, partly due to technological issues that can pop up due to running old games in virtualized environments. I mentioned in my initial post on the game that it doesn't give any contextual clues to your reactions in the quicktime segments. That part wasn't exactly accurate. Turns out that due to the fact that I was running it in a Win98 VM and the game was actually released for Win 95, I had to go into the graphical options for the game and change them to 'Compatibility Mode'. I discovered this purely by chance, but it made a huge difference when I did. After that the textual component of all the contextual choices suddenly appeared! And all of a sudden I was able to determine whether my choices were to 'Agree', 'Disagree', 'Wisecrack', etc. It was an epiphany! So much so that I just restarted the game and enjoyed it much more so than I had previously.

It's still not perfect, far from it, but I enjoyed my time with it. The actors actually do a rather decent job, with some standouts in particular. Although the story is nothing terribly groundbreaking (here we're dealing with a Narnia sort of concept with parallel worlds in which one is our known 'real' world and one is a fantasy world of magic), but it's done well enough. It was certainly good enough to hook me into wondering what happens next. If anything I'd say that any non-trivial issues with the game relate to it's interface which can be touchy in terms of timing, click placement, and occasionally even knowing when/where to click. But to be fair some of that might even come down to the virtualized environment and fixed resolution issues.

So would I recommend it without reservations? No ... partly due to the fact that you need to run it in a VM environment which means there might be some considerable setup and configuration for questionable payoff (depending on your tastes and preferences). Would I recommend it for players that have more than a passing interest in FMV games? Absolutely. It's just far enough off the beaten path as to provide a rather unique experience, and has some decent acting and story choices to bolster the experience.

I'll have a write-up in games beaten when I get the opportunity to do so.
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by nullPointer Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:20 pm

Okay real talk people, as a first time player of Myst, which version would be the best one to start with (or alternately, which version is considered to be the 'definitive' cut)? I have both Myst Masterpiece Edition and Real Myst in my GOG library. I could also probably lay hands on the original release. And as a followup question, do all versions of Myst qualify for the Together Retro topic this month (i.e. do they all have live action FMV segments)?

My original plan was to play The Daedalus Encounter after A Fork in the Tale, but I think I might need a bit of a break from games consisting primarily of FMV segments.

(And sorry for the double post, I meant to ask in my previous quote)
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Re: Together Retro: FMV Frenzy

by Ack Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:32 pm

nullPointer wrote:Okay real talk people, as a first time player of Myst, which version would be the best one to start with (or alternately, which version is considered to be the 'definitive' cut)? I have both Myst Masterpiece Edition and Real Myst in my GOG library. I could also probably lay hands on the original release. And as a followup question, do all versions of Myst qualify for the Together Retro topic this month (i.e. do they all have live action FMV segments)?

My original plan was to play The Daedalus Encounter after A Fork in the Tale, but I think I might need a bit of a break from games consisting primarily of FMV segments.

(And sorry for the double post, I meant to ask in my previous quote)

I'd go with Myst: Masterpiece Edition if I were you. RealMyst changes up how you move, and it can really change how you approach the game. Since that wasn't how it was designed, I would avoid it.

Myst does still have FMV, but it's a lot less than what many of us have been playing. Don't let that deter you, though. It's worth the experience if only to say you have played a piece of history.
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