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Ack
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Together Retro October 2020 - The Horror of Point-and-Click

by Ack Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:50 pm

Welcome to another fun filled October, meatbags! While the plague keeps us all indoors, and creepy things hide under our beds and fill our minds with deliciously tormented nightmares, it's time to add more fuel to the fire with this month's Together Retro offering:

THE HORROR OF POINT-AND-CLICK

Yes, we are celebrating those point-and-click adventures that focus on the darker side of our psyche, that torment us, force us to confront the hidden parts of ourselves that we try so hard to hide, and altogether drive us towards depravity, madness, and the truth of ourselves: that we are simply clumps of flesh that haven't had the good sense to go rot yet.

And we do it all with a point-and-click interface!

This month you must subject yourself to the classic styles of a mouse-like interface, drawing yourself into the grotesque and terrifying by clicking on things on the screen! Face puzzles that will bend the mind, confront images that will make you queasy, and force yourself against time limits that may just drive you insane. Isn't it beautiful?

So go, my pretty, little dead things. Find your point-and-click adventures and show them no mercy! Stare into the abyss! And above all else, come back and tell us what you are playing and how it's going! Because we revel in your horror.

Happy October, everyone!
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Re: Together Retro October 2020 - The Horror of Point-and-Cl

by Ack Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:01 pm

Well, to kick things off, I just spent some time with The Lovecraft Museum, an extra game available on the Shadow of the Comet CD release in the mid-1990s and now currently available through GOG.

The Lovecraft Museum is less a game and more a walking simulator with some interactivity that enables you to look at various "art pieces" based on the writing of HP Lovecraft. Of course, the works are presented as real despite that they are actually references to Lovecraft's stories, ranging from The Horror of Red Hook to The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Mystical objects from Lovecraft's stories are mixed in, as are a couple of sly references to Lovecraft's own hobbies and interests.

In truth, there isn't much to actually do beyond simply looking at all the various objects, but for fans of Lovecraft, it's a quaint little treat, offering fully voiced descriptions of all the various objects you can see by a guy who definitely wishes he was Vincent Price.

If you own a copy of Shadow of the Comet, I highly recommend taking some time to devote to The Lovecraft Museum, especially if you are knowledgeable on Lovecraft's stories.
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Re: Together Retro October 2020 - The Horror of Point-and-Cl

by prfsnl_gmr Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:09 am

I just finished Gorrister’s scenario in I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. The game pre-supposes knowledge of the short story (so, I read the Wikipedia entry on it!). Otherwise, it’s a pretty standard point-and-click (PNC) with a macabre setting and over-the-top voicework. Unlike LucasArts PNCs, you can kill yourself in this game, which annoyingly results in you having to restart the scenario. Accordingly, I am keeping a few save files to avoid losing too much progress.

There appear to be four more scenarios after this, and I suppose, a final scenario, which will make this a pretty lengthy PNC. I’m planning on just marching through them, though, and I’ll post another update when I finish Ellen’s scenario.
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Re: Together Retro October 2020 - The Horror of Point-and-Cl

by PretentiousHipster Sun Oct 04, 2020 8:51 am

Some scenarios are fascinating but a lot of the voice acting sucks and the amount of obscure as hell triggers to keep the plot going are annoying
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Re: Together Retro October 2020 - The Horror of Point-and-Cl

by Nemoide Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:53 pm

I started Sanitarium tonight for maybe the fourth time since I got the game when I was in high school over 15 years ago.

It has a lot of good atmosphere; you start off as an amnesiac with a bandaged face in a bizarre mental hospital before quickly being transported to a creepy town full of deformed children who talk ominously about "mother."
The last time I played, I got several chapters in and while I don't remember it getting *bad* I remember thinking that the quality does start to drop after the first couple chapters. Unfortunately this game is a little tricky to get working on modern computers. I think I have it working now on my Windows 7 PC though; all the compatibility mode boxes are checked and it's running in Windows 95 Mode as an administrator. Without compatibility mode it just crashes before starting and before I was running as an administrator, the colors would turn into a crazy rainbow. It seems to be working fine now but I can only hope that it keeps running smoothly.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to actually finishing the game this time!
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Re: Together Retro October 2020 - The Horror of Point-and-Cl

by prfsnl_gmr Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:01 pm

Nice work. It’s cool getting old games to run on modern machines. Please let me know what you think of Sanitarium. It’s available for iOS, and it looks intriguing, maybe I’ll pick it up after I finish IHNMAIMS and Gabriel Knight.

......

I’m still playing IHNMAIMS. I’ve finished the Gorrister, Ellen, and Benny scenarios, and I just started the Nimdok scenario. My favorite part of the game, so far, is how the antagonist AM, a sentient, ultra-intelligent, all powerful computer, tells dad jokes as he’s torturing the protagonists. I just like to think that, even when you reach a certain level of extreme intelligence, puns and dated pop-culture references are still funny. I would be rooting for AM, by the way, if it weren’t for Ellen. She seems like a perfectly nice woman, and she doesn’t deserve 109 years of continuous torture. The other protagonists deserve their fates, though. Gorrister’s an abusive, misogynist redneck; Benny’s a racist war-criminal; and Nimdok’s a Nazi. The “best” ending for them is that AM tortures them forever, and I’m not sure how I feel about helping them find redemption...

The game is grim, but it’s not exactly scary, which is fine. The point and click mechanics are good, though. I don’t feel like I have to pixel hunt too much, and the puzzles generally make sense. I’m enjoying it so far, and I anticipate wrapping it up soon.
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Re: Together Retro October 2020 - The Horror of Point-and-Cl

by PretentiousHipster Tue Oct 06, 2020 7:16 am

Ellen's story is important because it shows the flaw of having an exclusively misanthropic viewpoint. I also find it weird that AM has so much emotion considering it was programmed during the whole neocon Ayn Rand movement.

Gabriel Knight has some pixel hunting but it might be the best Sierra adventure game I've played so far. Love how Gabriel has this strange mix of being an endearing yet creepy douchebag. Some of the puzzles are very tough though. Playing part 2 now and I enjoy how natural is feels for an fmv game. Still quite flawed cutscenes but it's one of the better cases. Fmv acting will never be surpassed than in the game Obsidian though.
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Re: Together Retro October 2020 - The Horror of Point-and-Cl

by PretentiousHipster Tue Oct 06, 2020 7:08 pm

I've beaten The Dark Eye. I love how they have William S. Burroughs do the voicework for adaptations of Poe's work, but it was still quite disappointing. Part of it is the bad event triggering. A lot of it is like, looking at something to trigger an event, looking away, and looking back at it to trigger another one. I also had an instance where I looked at a window from the left side and nothing happened, but looking at it from the right side triggered something. Because of this, even if you are confined to such a small area, you're gonna get so lost. It ruins the pacing of this since it is more of an interactive film rather than an all out adventure game.

I'll make a video on it probably this Friday to talk about it in more detail.
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Re: Together Retro October 2020 - The Horror of Point-and-Cl

by prfsnl_gmr Tue Oct 06, 2020 8:43 pm

And...I beat IHNMAIMS. I think I missed something in Nimdok’s scenario because there was still, seemingly, a lot to do when I finished it. Also, Nimdok didn’t have a special item when I chose him during the final scenario. I got everything in Ted’s scenario, though, and I was still able to get a good ending (i.e., everyone dies, except Ellen, who is now immortal, I guess, and AM shuts down). Overall, I thought it was a very, very OK point-and-click. I appreciate the episodic design, branching paths, lack of clutter, and stream-lined, sensible puzzles (by point-and-click standards). I didn’t like how easy it is to kill yourself accidentally, or did I appreciate all of the bugs I encountered in the last scenario. (I had to restart twice.) Otherwise, the game was a little ho-hum, but I’m glad to have it under my belt.

I’ll probably play a few seasonal games that aren’t point-and-click games next (i.e., Five Nights at Freddy’s, Limbo, Inside, Paratopic, etc.), but since it’s still relatively early in the month, I hope to have time to pick up Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father a bit later. In the meantime, I’m interested in reading about what everyone else is playing.
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Re: Together Retro October 2020 - The Horror of Point-and-Cl

by Ack Thu Oct 08, 2020 3:14 pm

I booted up Shadow of the Comet recently via GOG Galaxy and wanted to share some of my initial impressions.

First, it was initially available on floppy disk, so when the CD version was released, it appears they added fully voiced audio. This is a mixed bag, both in terms of acting quality and technical issues. First, the actors range from good to delightfully hammy, to groan-inducingly over the top. Second, the timing of dialog does not match up to the text speed, so if you click trying to speed up the text, you will likely cut out portions of the audio, thus cutting off possibly crucial information.

Also, as I had previously mentioned, The Lovecraft Museum was included on the CD release. Since this was developed later, it looks better than the base game: you have a bigger character sprite, and controls feel more fluid. Shadow of the Comet suffers a lot from needing to know exactly where to stand to interact with something. As a result, my early foray into SotC is a little frustrating.

That said, it also offers a couple of delights. The first is an open town I can explore, complete with a really terrible map. It's an attempt at an open world, and while it's rudimentary, it's still fascinating. The second is that main characters get large images of their faces when they talk, including one who has a painstaking resemblance to Vincent Price. I apparently am staying at his house in the adventure. Yes, I'm playing a British journalist waiting for a comet in a Lovecraftian adventure while having a sleepover with Vincent Price. Sweet.
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