Two defective nuclear missiles are being transported cross country to a controlled demolition site. In transit, they start leaking, and the autopilot of the carrier kicks in, sending it on a direct path to the destination at a steady speed to the demolition site. A DIRECT path, completely disregarding any buildings or any other obstacles If it hits any bump, no matter how small, it will detonate. So the demolition squad called Blast Corps is hired to tear down everything in the carrier’s way.
Each type of animal has its own set of abilities which must be used to solve environmental puzzles in the game. The sheep is one of the first animals you encounter. It has no attack, but it can glide slowly down, floating like the little puffy cloud that it resembles, which lets it cross long gaps easily. Also in the early stages you can become a dog which can jump and bite. Hyenas have contagious laughter which causes area-of-effect damaging hysteria. Pigeons can grip dormant robots and carry them from place to place. You get the point.
Perdido Street Section is a great book, well worth the read. This is the first story I’ve read by China Mieville, but I will now be on the lookout for more from this author. It doesn’t take long to recognize China Mieville’s obvious skill at worldbuilding. The city of New Crobuzon is multi-faceted and schizophrenic, populated by humans and a multitude of semi-human races. But it does have its flaws. The good parts were great enough that I am still happy to recommend it.
Besides the cool notebook idea, I really loved the sense of humor instilled in the game from the very beginning, in particular the manner of obtaining a press pass near the beginning is very funny (I won’t tell you the details to spoil the fun of figuring it out yourself). Also, the murders in a museum setting are always fun. Lots of cool artifacts from various eras surround and can be murder weapons, and I had fun just wandering from room to room and examining all the different items.
The best part of the original game, also done well in Star Control II, is the combat. Each round of fighting pits 2 ships against each other in a battle to the death. Each alien race has their own ship design, each varying wildly from the others. As you play, you see an image of that alien race manipulating its controls as you press each button, which I always found amusing. Each ship has two resources they must draw on: crew, and energy. Crew is the number of crew members left on board. These are basically used as hit points for the ship. The energy is what is drawn on for most of the weapons systems (with a few exceptions). Except for one or two exceptions, crew do not regenerate, so once you lose a crew member you can never regain that. Energy is depleted by a specified amount each time a weapon is fired. Different weapons require different amounts of energy, and each ship type regenerates energy at a different rate. In addition, each ship has a different mass, acceleration, and top speed (though that speed can be exceeded by using gravity slings, more on that later).
The Lost Treasures of Infocom is a package of 20 Infocom games that was released in 1991. The collection was released by Activision, who had closed Infocom, then their child company, back in 1989. The games included are Zork 1, Zork 2, Zork 3, Beyond Zork, Zork Zero, Enchanter, Sorcerer, Spellbreaker, Deadline, The Witness, Suspect, The Lurking Horror, Ballyhoo, Infidel, Moonmist, Starcross, Suspended, Planetfall, Stationfall, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
In the intro sequence, the three Vikings are abducted from their homes by the evil alien overlord Tomator. They manage to escape through a time portal which takes them to to Prehistoric times. You control each of the Vikings, one at a time, and you must work your way to the exit. All three have to be at the exit or you can’t move on. Each Viking has his own unique abilities, and you’ll have to use each of them to fullest advantage to make it through the levels.
Body Harvest was released in 1998 by DMA Design, the company that later became Rockstar North, the makers of Grand Theft Auto III. This isn’t at all surprising if you play the game as the style is very similar with a wide open world, open-ended game play, a large collection of weapons, and the ability to acquire any vehicle you see. The graphics weren’t terribly impressive, even for the time, which might explain why this awesome game has been overlooked by so many.
ONE of the best pieces of advice that I read is if you are going to write short stories, you need to read short stories. What better way to follow that advice than by checking up on the competition. My first love is the anthology. I love reading a collection of short stories with a theme. The theme to WotF is very loose but the writers all have one thing in common, amateurs hoping to become pros.