I’ve not done any more over the weekend than watch the intro for Bioforge. I’m now in the final 10 games and I’m not feeling the need to rush through quite as much as when I still had 50+ to go. I’ve been busy in the meanwhile messing about a bit with ScummVM again and have added digital soundtracks to Monkey Island 1 and Loom (floppy versions) so that I don’t have to put up with adlib on my PSP. Having got this working, I’ve managed to reset my PSP to default firmware while attempting to update to the latest version and I won’t be able to run any homebrew on it until the pandora’s battery kit I just ordered off Amazon arrives. That means its back to the Origin games again with no distractions for a few days.
The sci-fi action theme continues with the next game Bioforge. Cybermage was undoubtedly a Doom clone but with a lot of extras and Bioforge could equally be described as an Alone in the Dark clone with extras. Like near enough all the other games left in this blog from here on I’ve played this before but it was a long time ago. Unusually for me, I do remember it quite well actually and was impressed by it although it did have ridiculous loading times if you restored a game (and you needed to do this a lot due to the extreme difficulty). I’m hoping this won’t be a problem on a faster pc.
It was actually marketed as an interactive movie which is strange considering the lack of FMV and how much reading I remember being involved. Maybe this contributed to the poor sales – there has been a running theme of good games not selling too well in this blog.
The intro is done differently from the last few games yet again and has quite a low framerate but no quality loss. It shows me landing as a prisoner on a planet, being dragged into a base and then operated upon by a sadistic looking doctor. I’m back in straight VGA again but the graphics still look ok – its less of an issue with pre-rendered graphics like this as they can be anti-aliased. It would still have been nice to have the game in SVGA though as the 3D characters in it would have looked a lot clearer.
Despite the VGA graphics and lack of full screen 3D, the requirements for this game were pretty steep and it needed nearly as powerful a PC as WC3 had which may not have helped its sales either. If you’ve shelled out a fortune on a fast PC, WC3 or even Cybermage would show it off a lot better. The irony is that both those two games will probably not have stood the test of time as well as I’m expecting Bioforge to have done.
I don’t think there is no pre-story to pass on from the manual in this game as such (although I haven’t read it yet). The game starts off with your character having no memory and builds the story from there. This is a pretty common technique in games. Maybe Bioforge was one of the earlier games to use it (although I seriously doubt this), but either way it provides a good basis for exploring the game and discovering what your aims and goals are while playing it. In essence, this is the same plot device that games like Ultima 4 used where you are dumped in a world and have to discover what to do for yourself. The loss-of-memory plot line will also be making a return in Privateer 2 but thats a few weeks off yet.
Suffice to say, the intro looks good enough and provides a bit of intrigue without actually telling me whats going on.
I’m given a choice of combat difficulty, at the start of the game (easy, medium and hard). I remember the game being incredibly unforgiving so I’m going for easy here. It could be that it wasn’t too difficult and the only problem was the minute long load times stopping me from restoring as often as I should but I remember the game being more interesting for its puzzles and story than its combat.
The game starts with me being woken in a cell by some sort of earthquake. I’ve got more metal parts than human at this point but no memory of who I was. There is a medical robot in the room which wants me to get back on my bunk – this is a first chance to try out the combat. The combat system is surprisingly complex – I can either punch or kick and use CTRL and ALT for each. With one of these key’s held down I can then press any key around the 5 on the number pad to try a different sort of attack. That’s a lot of potential options and the game penalises you if you just keep using the same one. In practice I seem to remember just alternating between the same 2 attacks was my best bet but I’ll have to wait until later to try that out as the medical robot isn’t built to survive attacks by angry cyborgs and only lasts a couple of hits. At this point it goes out of control and bounces round the room until I push it into the force field guarding my room. This damages the field offering me a chance of escape.
There is also a log book on the floor which I pick up. Reading it is going to have to wait until tomorrow though when I’ve read the manual and actually know how.