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Neon Chrome [official site] is a game that’s sure of two things: what it is and who it hopes to entertain. It’s a top-down roguelike shooter, you see, that asks you to run frantically around procedurally generated battlegrounds, blast waves of baddies until they stop moving/explode/both, and climb a hierarchy of levels before facing off against a grand final boss. If you don’t like games of this nature, for there are a lot of them, then you probably won’t like like this one. If you do, however, then I think you will like Neon Chrome. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played.
Over and above its management and strategy groundings, Big Pharma [official site] shines a light on the billion dollar, often unscrupulous, pharmaceutical industry. While Alec enjoyed his hands-on time with Twice Circled’s medicine manufacturing sim last year, he noted it didn’t “go for pharmaceutical industry s jugular”. Its first expansion – Marketing and Malpractice – takes a distinguished step towards doing exactly that by introducing dodgy tactics and the ability to manually set medicine prices.
Sundays are for baby baby baby baby bab–
Fridays are for preparing a collection of the week’s (and then some) best games writing. Since I haven’t been around for the past month, some of these articles are a little older than normal.
At Sub-Q – an “interactive magazine for interactive fiction” – A. Johanna DeNiro looks at the work of a forgotten, maybe-bad, maybe-great IF creator, Rybread Celsius.
The Sega Mega Drive & Genesis Classics Hub has now arrived on Steam, followings its announcement. For the most part it isn’t all that interesting, even if playing classic games from yesteryear via a drab virtual bedroom against eerie acoustics is your bag. No, what’s exciting is the fact that Sega have added Steam Workshop support to their library of Mega Drive/Genesis games on the platform, allowing intuitive modders to upload and share loads of ROM hacks of the classics. Here are few that caught my eye.
A series of bizarre typhoons struck coastlines in dozens of countries last week in a global phenomenon many are calling the ‘Ludum Storm’. The tempests appear without warning and produce a heavy downpour of free games, leading many to suspect the Ludum Darists to be somehow behind the surreal weather. Our sources say that elements calling themselves ‘the 35th Division’ have taken responsibility for the storms. Forecasters are warning people to stay inside, close their windows and to play only “safe, expensive videogames.”
Monday is a holiday for us so we’ll be a bit quieter than usual until Tuesday.
But, more importantly… they said it couldn’t be done. They said it’d never happen. They said I was only fooling myself. Hmph! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: all six RPS staffers reporting what we’re playing this weekend!
Construction arrived in PlanetSide 2 [official site] this week, letting players build their own little bases. If you’ve been hoping to build a quiet little get-away spot, put up a shed, set out a few lawn chairs, fire up the barbie… yeah, that won’t happen. Especially given the sort of people pootling around, tooled up and looking for trouble. No, this is warconstruction, letting players build little warbases as waroutposts and even to help contribute victory points to the free-to-play MMOFPS’s wareffort.
Saved my hide, it did. The alien’s broad back shielded me as its brethren flung their fiery mucus wads; the fireballs burst, spraying flaming, red liquid that dribbled down my dance partner’s legs to pool on the ground, lighting the room with a hellish, red glaze. I fired nine or ten times, finally blowing a hole clean through the alien … a gory loophole through which I turned on the rest. >
Knee Deep in the Dead, Dafydd Ab Hugh and Brad Linaweaver s novelisation of Doom, is perhaps a little more theatrical than the Doom that played in my head during the summer of 1994. It features a sidekick and talking demons, and dramatised sequences in which protagonist Corporal Flynn Taggart finds ammo and bumps up against walls to find secrets. But it captures something of Doom s intensely graphic nature. Doom was the first game I played that felt truly fluid and direct.
Playing Brutal Doom [official site] today feels like Doom always did, despite its custom levels and gouts of blood and gore, death animations and chugging live versions of Doom s MUS originals. It overhauls pretty much every element of the original, and yet it s the Doom that plays in my memory, amplifying the original s gore and immediacy to suit a post-COD, Gears of War heck, Soldier of Fortune world. For me, the latest version, v20b, reaches a state of the sublime. But while the blood that drips from ceilings and screen-filling viscera are its obvious achievements, something far more prosaic lies at the root of how it works so well.
THE MECHANIC: Hitboxes.
Long War Studios, the folks behind the loved/feared XCOM 1 mod Long War, have joined up with Firaxis again to make more mods for XCOM 2 [official site]. They had three ready for XCOM 2 at launch, which Adam quite liked, and have been working on another five since then. No, none of them appear to be Long War 2. The first of these extras came out today, adding options like larger squad sizes, randomised soldier stats, and ‘red fog’ lowering the stats of wounded units. Beyond that, look forward to custom classes, new weapons, new aliens, and more.
Lionhead Studios, The English developer behind Fable, The Movies, and Black & White, closed down today. Peter Molyneux and other former members of Bullfrog Productions founded Lionhead in 1996, and Microsoft bought it in 2006. Molyneux himself left in 2012 to start new studio 22cans. Microsoft still haven’t really explained why they’re closing Lionhead. But they publicly announced in March that they were “in discussions with employees about the proposed closure of Lionhead Studios”, and there aren’t many ways back to safe ground from that point. Alas, today was the final day for Lionhead. Godspeed, you cow-tickling, guff-blasting chicken-chasers.