Vecalabeth Alpha – Version 2

I uploaded a new version of Vecalabeth yesterday (http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/Vecalabeth.rar) with some bug fixes and gameplay tweaks.

This version improves the flickering and more importantly fixes a good number of game-breaking bugs. I’ve played this one far enough to complete about half the quests on the easiest level without noticing any major problems. There are a few bugs I’m aware of which for my benefit as much as anyone else are:-

  • I still haven’t fixed invisible passages showing up from certain angles.
  • If you kill a carrion creeper the text goes off the screen
  • Monsters don’t attack you if you are stood on something (ladder/chest)
  • The menus are still a little fiddly – I may not do too much with these as it wasn’t really an issue when playing.
  • You will keep being told a quest is completed every time you kill the appropriate monster
  • Lucky number selection starts at 0 instead of 1

I went back and played the original Akalabeth again as a basis for comparison. There are clearly different versions of this as the usual Apple II version does not quite match the source code I’ve got or the code analysis. I was fairly certain I remembered it playing differently but it’s been years so I needed to go back and make sure. As such I’ve made some changes to make my version a bit more playable and bring it more in line with the later version:-

  • I’ve altered the dungeon generation to include empty blocks in the grid. Believe it or not, this would never happen with the original dungeon generator and it makes the dungeons much more open and playable. It is still possible in my latest version to not have paths through the dungeon but far less likely.
  • I’ve doubled the number of hit points awarded when exiting the dungeon. This feels much closer to the original to me and a whole lot fairer on the player.
  • On the earlier version, all the monsters for that level didn’t always spawn on each level. I’ve altered it so they are always on there somewhere. Best find a dead end to fight off the onslaught on those lower levels…
  • I’ve made traps about half as likely to be generated. They were a nightmare on the original version.

Another major difference in the later Akalabeth is the persistence of dungeon levels. i.e. they are the same when you go back. This didn’t happen on the original and I’m tempted to leave this alone on the Vectrex. I don’t have enough memory to store more than the one level at a time – I could try to save them to the cartridge but I’m going to leave as is at least for now. The random levels offer an easy way to compensate for potential dead ends if nothing else.

There are no doubt other little differences but this felt very close to playing the Akalabeth I remember at any rate. The current plan is to fix the bugs in the first list, play through the whole game to see if I can finish it and then if nothing else shows up, call it a beta and see if anyone else ever actually plays it. None of that will take too long so I should be done in the next few days.

PC Zone Issue 11 – February 1994

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You’re getting two issues in as many days as I thought I’d get this out of the way then concentrate on getting Vecalabeth finished off. This one is PC Zone Issue 11 from February 1994. It features the second half of an article on Origin Systems. I’ve always wanted to read the first half but still don’t have issue 10.
As far as reviews go, the big games this month are Sam and Max, Rebel Assault and Alone In The Dark 2. Interesting to see Sam and Max score less than Rebel Assault. Also that score of 97% for Alone In The Dark 2 might just be the highest score they ever gave. It’s certainly up there if not. The scan is now in with the rest at http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/PCZone

PC Zone Issue 12 – March 1994

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It’s PC Zone Issue 12 – March 1994 this week. This month may possibly have seen the most point and click adventures releases ever with a whole string of them reviewed. So we get reviews of Gabriel Knight, Hand Of Fate, Quest For Glory 4, Companions Of Xanth, Leisure Suit Larry 6, Police Quest 4, Goblins 3 and Lost In Time. You would think Sierra would have spread things out a bit more but clearly not. I actually have the cover floppy for this release so you can download that as well as the PDF from http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/PCZone

PC Zone Issue 32 – November 1995

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This weeks PC Zone is issue #32 from November 1995. It must have been a good month as there are loads of high scoring games reviewed, some of which I know well but most I’ve never played. The standout games for me include Magic Carpet 2 and Burn Cycle which I expected them to hate but on this occasion they actually liked an FMV game. The novelty mustn’t have worn off by this point. The PDF is in with all the other scans so far at http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/PCZone

PC Zone Issue 48 – March 1997

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I’m plugging another gap in the PC Zone scans with issue 48 from March 1997. The headline review is Ecstatica II which seems strange in a month that also features Diablo. I know which one is better remembered now (even if I would rather play Ecstatica myself). There’s not much else I’ve actually played in this other than Phantasmagoria 2 which was great fun for a fan of cheesy 80’s horror like myself. The PDF is in the archive at http://www.pixsoriginadventures.co.uk/PCZone