Descent Freespace has been keeping me busy most of this week and I just finished it last night. I did enjoy the game but have to say I was expecting a bit more. It never quite managed to suck me into the world with either the story or gameplay and came across as a Wing Commander/X-Wing hybrid that didn’t capture the magic of either. I don’t want to be too harsh, there were plenty of good aspects and I went into it with extremely high expectations which never helps. I certainly liked it enough to move onto Freespace 2 which I’ve heard is the best by a distance. Like many other gamers I’ll be playing the new Bioshock next though which may keep me busy for some time.
In the meanwhile I thought I’d share some videos I found on Youtube the other day. These are old news having been up there for 5 years but were new to me. They were uploaded by former Origin QA Jeff Morris who has put loads of videos of Origin cinematics onto his channel. What caught my eye in particular were two videos with footage from the unreleased Bioforge Plus.
I know precious little about this game. A full sequel was originally planned but this was dropped in favour of the speedier option of tacking an extra adventure onto the end to conclude the story. The team responsible were given just 9 weeks to create this which sounds ridiculously little but they did manage to get to beta in 10 weeks only for the project to ultimately be cancelled. The first video shows the entire intro for the game with Lex landing on an abandoned spaceship. In the promotional material on some of the old electronic Origin catalogues it mentions that the ship was called the Black Raven and was sent by the Ministry of Security to spy on the Mondites. I could only speculate on the rest of the plot and would love to know more if the information is out there somewhere:-
This second video shows footage from a gauntlet mode possibly inspired by a similar mode in Wing Commander Armada. I presume it would have been an endless series of opponents for Lex to battle against – not sure how convinced I am about this being something I would have spent much time with but I imagine it would have been an easy extra to implement:-
I thought I’d pull another random item from the collection today. This is a standing advert that was presumably used at a trade show around late 1991/early 1992. It’s about A3 sized and features a generic Ultima advert with all the games up to Ultima 7 including all the NES releases and Runes Of Virtue on the Gameboy but curiously no mention of Ultima Underworld. It might be from the 1991 Winter CES by when Ultima 7 should have been (but wasn’t) released but that is strictly a guess. It has something along the lines of Sega Hilton 4556 SPA written on the back which may mean something to someone:-
I’ve been catching up on various mundane jobs since I got back last weekend and one piece of news that sneaked by unseen behind a pile of ironing yesterday was that another Origin classic Bioforge has been released on GOG for the usual price of $5.99. This was one of Origin’s best efforts without a doubt, a kind of updated sci-fi Alone In The Dark with strong movie-like story elements. It could have done with a sequel but is certainly recommended at the price if you’ve never played it.
Also yesterday, Star Citizen reached its first million in the fundraising campaign and immediately launched a Kickstarter. I’ll admit that I was unconvinced that a Kickstarter was a good idea as I thought splitting the funding would just cause confusion among backers. Since the Kickstarter is closing in on $200,000 after one day, I was clearly completely and utterly wrong. I guess you can never have enough sources of money or publicity. Here’s hoping RSI reaches the $2 million total by this time next week and they can start working on those stretch goals.
Finally, if you have some money left over, Lori & Corey Cole of Quest For Glory fame just launched a Kickstarter of their own. It clearly isn’t going to be on the scale of Star Citizen but I can’t be the only Sierra fan who has been waiting for this one.
I’m not in the habit of advertising on here but I’ve been given the chance to buy some more Origin memorabilia of the sort I’ve been slowly posting on here in recent months and the fact is I need money and plenty of it. I’ve already posted a splendid Bioforge standup store display on this blog. Let me introduce his twin:-
It has to be said that this Lex looks more world-weary than his brother but he would still make a seriously nice addition to any collection. He’s about 4.5 foot tall and I’m selling him on Ebay for the lowish starting price of £39.99. The airport fees alone on the parcel he came in(without shipping or VAT) were more than double that and I can more or less guarantee you aren’t going to find another in the UK. Any money I make, along with plenty of my own cash, will go towards more Origin development doc’s and the like which I’ll share on here in due course.
I’m not convinced I’ll get any takers but if you are in the UK and feel the need to decorate part of your house with a meter of cyborg, and I can’t think of reason why you wouldn’t, then a bid or two would be greatly appreciated.
This review of Bioforge comes from the May 1995 PC Format. They clearly loved the game with the only complaints being occasionally getting stuck and the linear nature of the story:-
Also from the same issue, a brief mention of Cybermage and Crusader debuting at ECTS. They question the decision with Cybermage to release another Doom clone and in hindsight they were probably right but it was still a great game even if hardly anyone played it:-
This is a 32 page pullout from the September 1994 PC Format. It’s the first entry in their collector’s series which featured companies like Microprose, Lucasarts & Gremlin. Since it’s on here, it goes without saying that this first volume is entirely on Origin:-
It includes a brief history of the company, interviews with Richard Garriott and Chris Roberts, previews of coming games (with Warren Spector interviews) and a look back at the Ultima and Wing Commander series. There is so much misinformation in the Ultima history that it beggars belief but there is plenty of good content in here otherwise. According to the Ultima 8 article, at this time Garriott saw the Avatar as being separated from the human plane and more of a supernatural being in Ultima 9 and already had an Ultima 10 plot ready to go.