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fishy_fis 
Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 6:24:44
#1 ]
Super Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 1732
From: Australia

I spent a bit of time playing some ScummVM games that I'd yet to delve into this weekend. Much to my disappointment it turns out that the highly acclaimed Simon The Sorcerer turned out to be a 4th rate Monkey Island clone.
I have no problems playing games with clear inspiration, but I'm baffled how this series earned any sort of acclaim. Firstly the "feel" is all wrong. For lack of better adjectives it's all sorts of "muddy" feeling. Like the engine is struggling on it's hardware (regardless of the hardware its running on). The jokes/humor are also nowhere near as entertaining as most games in the genre.
Most disappointing however was the protagonist. He's irritating, and quite frankly completely unlikable. In the 2nd game especially "asshole" would be a reasonable description.

Anyone else here find these games severely overrated?
Given my fondness for the genre this was disappointing. I'd left these games near to last when playing the point n click adventure games ScummVM supports expecting something close to as entertaining as the M.I. series. Reality turned out to be that there's better grac/graal games.

Any other games people had high expectations of that turned out to be turkeys?

Last edited by fishy_fis on 31-Oct-2016 at 06:25 AM.

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Jupp3 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 8:00:12
#2 ]
Super Member
Joined: 22-Feb-2007
Posts: 1202
From: Unknown

@fishy_fis

Quote:
the engine is struggling on it's hardware (regardless of the hardware its running on)

If you mean it should run better on the hardware, you're running ScummVM on, that's not how it's supposed to work. It's supposed to "re-create the original experience".

Quote:
Anyone else here find these games severely overrated?

Not me, at least. Simon the Sorcerer is near the very top of "most classic point and click adventures", definitely behind the 2 first Monkey Island games, perhaps I'd add Day of the Tentacle and Beneath a Steel Sky (highly recommended!) in-between.

Yes, I find the main character annoying too. I also found that he was specifically meant to be that way.

Why I like it? I like the idea of mixing lots of fairytales, and making fun of them. Voice acting is definitely among the best of its time. Graphics are great, and so are the musics. Puzzles are mostly logical

The sequel, however... No idea where to put on the list. Definitely much lower.

And if you think that's bad, iirc ScummVM also supports Simon the Sorcerer's Puzzle Pack, no adventuring of any sort there :P

As for the other games, there's also Discworld series. Some great voice actors there too, but I find most of the puzzles illogical, and simply because of this, I'd recommend this only to Discworld fans.

Beneath a Steel Sky was already mentioned, a great scifi adventure with lots of scifi references here and there, but beware, you can die in this game, so remember to save.

Broken Sword series, now THIS I call overrated. Great animation and voice acting, but... Somehow it doesn't work that well to me. I find the games ok, not great.

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ErikBauer 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 8:34:42
#3 ]
Super Member
Joined: 25-Feb-2004
Posts: 1050
From: Italy

@fishy_fis

Well, I recall enjoying it (Played on my A1200, no emulation, no ScummVM). While I found it amusing and quite interesting to walk trough, my main concern were it's sloooooowwww pacing (Insanely long dialogues, insanely slow character walking, a good amount of backtracking required).

Having said that, surely it is a "One Shot" game, once you know all it's jokes, there is no will to replay it (at least for me).

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PR 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 8:43:59
#4 ]
Super Member
Joined: 1-Sep-2004
Posts: 1777
From: Suomi-Finland Perkele

Try Myst or the Larry series (joke intended). Not starting to list the best again. Once tried Scumm, was it Indiana Jones.. Very long time ago.

We evolve, old games don't.

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fishy_fis 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 8:54:51
#5 ]
Super Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 1732
From: Australia

@Jupp3

I actually mean the game itself has a yuck/muddy/squishy feel (adjectives are sometimes hard to pick when describing "feel"). I actually played these games in their original form, not with ScummVM. It always feels like its struggling. Just the "feel" of the engine.
Not sure who thought it was a good idea to make the protagonist unlikable. Makes it harder to immerse oneself into the game when you want to constantly slap the character you're controlling. :)
Number 2 is definitely the inferior game. Main character goes from simply irritating to being an outright asshole. :). Graphics are a little better, but that doesn't help the game at all.
Does Chris Barry (Barrie?) do the voice for no.2 do you know? It sounds a little different... like they've tried to find someone who sounds similar, but not the same guy.

I actually collect games that are playable on amiga-oid systems via software like ScummVM, although will at times play them in their native environments, so although I mention ScummVM games I don't specifically mean I'm using ScummVM (although I do at times).

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OneTimer1 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 11:52:51
#6 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2015
Posts: 240
From: Unknown

@fishy_fis

Speed Music and GFX often depends on the hardware running ScummVM and on the target platform of the adventure files.

There where Summ Games with 256 colours, speech and CD support - things hardly found on a basic A500.

I saw Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, Flight of the Amazon Queen and think they are great adventures.

Loom is one of the few adventures I played on the Amiga, it is nice but less humorous then the others.

I can't say much about the other adventures but most of them where worth playing them.

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Raziel 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 12:01:13
#7 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 17-Apr-2004
Posts: 2422
From: A haunted Castle somewhere in the Bavarian Mountains

@fishy_fis

wrt to Simon being a dick...

He was designed to be one

from Wikipedia:
Quote:

Simon is rude and insulting to many of the characters he meets. This tends to interfere with the success of his quests, forcing him to go to ridiculous lengths in order to complete puzzles. Simon also breaks the fourth wall with his comments about adventure games.


wrt the voice acting...

Chris Barrie did the first one, AdventureSoft hired another actor to do the second game.
The voice of Simon was provided by Brian Bowles.
The reason for that i don't know, probably time issues with Chris' other acting work.

wrt to the game being disappointing...

Well, that's a matter of taste of course.
I liked it, especially when i found out that ScummVM played the background midi music (which the Amiga conversion never did...man, was that game silent back then)

wrt to other disappointing games...

Here's my list of Adventure garbage (solely speaking of ScummVM supported games):

Manhunter 1 and 2
(The *only* Sierra-made Adventure games i really hate, they even "smell" just looking at the graphics)

Elvira 1 and 2, Personal Nightmare, Waxworks
(actually everything from the pre Simon the Sorcerer era Adventuresoft/Horrorsoft did...not sure why though, probably because it's more RPG than Adventure)

Soltys and Sfinx
(Two, i think, Polish adventure games...not woth the bandwidth to download, yes, they are free)

Dragon History
(Also free to download, Czech adventure, well, no)

Drascula
(Spanish adventure...it has a charm to it, but...after half an hour the "dialect" of all the protagonists make my ears start bleeding...and the game isn't fun too)

Bargon Attack
(Poor design choices, looks more like a 90's side scroller shooter, disappearing items and so on)

The Legend of Kyrandia: Book Three: Malcolm's Revenge
(While the second part - never released on Amiga - was an eye opener when it came to graphics - beautiful as in the first part, this third part died a slow death because of two things - the developer switching to 3D...it just doesn't age well, and the "good/evil dial-a-thing"-crap)

...

Fortunately there are lots of other games that make more than up to what this trash offers

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utri007 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 13:49:48
#8 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 12-Aug-2003
Posts: 915
From: United States of Europe

Desert Race of Bardos!

I wanted to buy it, but gotta say it is not a actually game, car is totally uncontrollable.

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fishy_fis 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 14:42:58
#9 ]
Super Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 1732
From: Australia

@utri007

I'm in such thunderous agreement there that it made me literally lol.
I really wanted it to be good for some reason. Not even sure why to be honest. Was far from a big name game, even for the Amiga at a pretty low point in it's history. For some reason though I really wanted to like it. Try as I might though I just couldn't. Couldn't even do the thing where people deliberately fool themselves into liking something for a short period of time to satisfy an agenda. It really was awful. :)

@thread

While I used ScummVM supported point n click adventure games in my examples I wasn't specifically asking about games in that genre.
Additionally, and just for clarification, my observation that Simon The Sorceror always feels like the hardware is struggling is down to the game itself. It runs as intended on a 40mhz 386, yet running it on a 2.4ghz athlon xp still feels the same (2 of my native dos systems, hence the reason for them examples).

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Bugala 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 16:59:25
#10 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2007
Posts: 563
From: Finland

I played Simon The Sorcerer CD32 version about 1998.

At that time it was very good having full speech and background music. Background music wasnt that unusual, but full speech was. And even more unusual was that the voiceactor was actually good.

When you hear some of those mid 90s games that have speech, it is not that unusual for the voice actors to be not very good.

However, I do remember that even back then, despite all the glitter from full audio and 256 graphics, I did notice there were couple of shortcomings to the story. I sort of recall this might have been one of those games where there is basically one puzzle per screen. I very much disliked those adventure games that wasted all that space by basically having only one puzzle to solve each screen, instead of having several.

Hard to say if i would like it anymore, now that i have played several games with good full speech and graphics etc. But back then it was great experience for me, as the rest i had played werent on same quality level.

However, it clearly is not as good as Monkey Islands, and indeed, sequel is worse, since its done with less quality in my opinion.

I would also put many others ahead of Simon The Sorcerer, and it maybe only average good adventure game, its not bad, but its not that excellent either, if it wouldnt be so much of more quality in its time. That is also probably the reason why it have gained sort of classic game status, not necessarily being so good if voice actor, graphics etc. were changed to some other game instead.

Broken Sword was good game as well. Not excellent again, just good. And it was once again very much based to me personally upon not having much adventures coming out anymore at that time.

Broken Sword was actually quite old game, 1998 i think, but I didnt notice it until maybe 2005 when it was budget released and i thought it was newer game at that point and was happy to see "new" adventure game.

Runaway serie is similar. It is good, not excellent. But it is mainly good because there werent that much choice when the first in the serie arrived.

However, nowadays situation is different again, with lots of new adventure games coming out, well, not to Amiga, but to other platforms at least.

"The Secret of Middle City" is still on my "to play" list, so no idea how good that one is yet.

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fishy_fis 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 21:15:24
#11 ]
Super Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 1732
From: Australia

@Bugala

You may well be right there in your insinuation that Simon The Sorceror achieved classic status via being a product of its time. Unlike the Monkey Island games the writing doesn't hold up to scrutiny today. Voice acting is definitely a highlight, although this may be down to the fact an actual actor was used vs the norm of the time of getting people involved in the production to do them. Having been a big Red Dwarf fan at the time however it was distracting. Chris Barrie has a distinct voice, and all I could hear for a long time was Rimmer.
As for the other games you mention, I actually have one of the Runaway games, but I've yet to play it. Its still in its shrink wrap. :) I was pleased to read about and see the production of Secret Of Middle City, and I don't like to discourage anyone's efforts in this day and age, but I don't like the graphics, and based on the title alone I'm expecting mediocre writing at best.

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utri007 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 21:50:41
#12 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 12-Aug-2003
Posts: 915
From: United States of Europe

@fishy_fis

Quote:

I'm in such thunderous agreement there that it made me literally lol.
I really wanted it to be good for some reason. Not even sure why to be honest. Was far from a big name game, even for the Amiga at a pretty low point in it's history. For some reason though I really wanted to like it. Try as I might though I just couldn't. Couldn't even do the thing where people deliberately fool themselves into liking something for a short period of time to satisfy an agenda. It really was awful. :)


I wanted to like it, I knew it is a bad game, but I had deciced to buy it if it is even remotely playable.

Still it surprised me how bad it actually is. With my 68060 machine driving is impossible, it just disappers and appers somewhere. Tested with my NG machine, still very very bad. I just wanted to support somebody who has developed a car game for amiga.

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Hans 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 22:28:35
#13 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 27-Dec-2003
Posts: 4789
From: New Zealand

@fishy_fis

Quote:
Any other games people had high expectations of that turned out to be turkeys?

Rise of the Robots. It had impressive rendered graphics, but when I tried it I got through over half the disks it came on (it had a lot of disks) by holding down fire and pushing diagonally up to the right on the joystick. Yes, fight after fight won with zero effort.

Hans

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Rob 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 22:56:52
#14 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 20-Mar-2003
Posts: 5577
From: S.Wales

@fishy_fis

Myst was hyped in Amiga magazines even from the time you had to emulate a Mac to run it. I bought the Amiga version as soon as it was released but was soon left feeling I'd wasted my money. Sure the graphics and animation looked nice but you could download some renders and so on from Aminet if wanted to look at pretty pictures. I just find the game play to dull to care about solving the puzzle and discovering more of the story which seemed too distant from what you were actually doing. For Myst is a stand out game but for the wrong reason.

This is going to be controversial but a few years ago I lent my Minimig to a friend. Aside from having a CD32 for a few months he'd never been into the Amiga. He is still today a big fan of the Spectrum so he was keen to see how some his favourites compared on the Amiga. One of the games he tried was Batman The Movie. I'd never played the Amiga version myself until then either but had been reading how good it was since I bought my first Amiga magazine back in 1993. I always thought the Bat Mobile and Bat Wing levels looked nice in the screenshots that adorned the magazines of the time. The thing is that neither of us found it nearly as enjoyable as the Spectrum version and we both felt that the aforementioned level seem to drag on for too long.

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Hans 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 31-Oct-2016 23:49:15
#15 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 27-Dec-2003
Posts: 4789
From: New Zealand

@Rob

Quote:

Rob wrote:
@fishy_fis

Myst was hyped in Amiga magazines even from the time you had to emulate a Mac to run it. I bought the Amiga version as soon as it was released but was soon left feeling I'd wasted my money. Sure the graphics and animation looked nice but you could download some renders and so on from Aminet if wanted to look at pretty pictures. I just find the game play to dull to care about solving the puzzle and discovering more of the story which seemed too distant from what you were actually doing. For Myst is a stand out game but for the wrong reason.

It's probably not your style of game. I liked Myst.

Hans

_________________
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fishy_fis 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 1-Nov-2016 1:38:53
#16 ]
Super Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 1732
From: Australia

@Rob

To each their own, but I'm surprised to hear anyone prefers any version of Batman The Movie to the Amiga version.
This isn't to say the Amiga version is a stand out, its just that I find them all very, very similar. The exception being the batmobile and batwing sections, which were, in my opinion hugely impressive for the time on the Amiga. To this day there's few sprite based "3d" engines on the Amiga that are comparable. Great, exhilarating sensation of speed, and nicely weighted. Bit of a sidebar, but not sure what the deal with the Atari st version is for those sections. I've seen reviews where its the side scrolling method, but videos where it uses same scenes as the Amiga (albeit somewhat compromised).

In regards to Myst, another game I've never actually played, even though I have it. I did check out the CDs contents though, and unless I'm missed some stuff it appears the graphics on the Amiga version aren't nearly as good as most other versions. HAM mode, or 256 colors perhaps? Bit of a shame if this is the case. I viewed them on a 32bit rtg screen as well, so its not just a case of them being displayed in a non optimal manner.

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Jupp3 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 1-Nov-2016 10:04:57
#17 ]
Super Member
Joined: 22-Feb-2007
Posts: 1202
From: Unknown

@fishy_fis

Quote:
The exception being the batmobile and batwing sections, which were, in my opinion hugely impressive for the time on the Amiga.
...
but not sure what the deal with the Atari st version is for those sections.

If you ask me, looks quite similar to Amiga.

Looks like this was one of the numerous "lazy ports" of the era. Just take the Atari ST version, and port it over without much consideration for copper & blitter usage. At least mustics were re-done, while not great.

If you think it looked impressive on Amiga, consider the (apparently) same on ST

As for side scrolling vs. 3D, both have their benefits.

2D: Full framerate (even on spectrum!), more "clear" gameplay (easier to see where you are supposed to turn etc.), not as "wow" as 3D.

3D: Noticeably slower framerate, but looks more impressive than 2D. Not as "clear" gameplay.

Overall, I don't consider it that good game. But definitely way better than most license games.

And why it was so popular on Amiga? This is probably the biggest reason.

If you're interested in Batman games with similar 3D engine, check out Batman Returns and Adventures of Batman and Robin for Sega Mega CD.

And if you think "Wow, the hardware is almost the same as in Amiga!", it's... not.

In addition to what Megadrive has, Sega CD has some extra hardware, that makes it more suitable for "Outrun-like" game engines. It's more than "just a CD interface".

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OneTimer1 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 1-Nov-2016 13:29:09
#18 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2015
Posts: 240
From: Unknown

@Rob

Quote:

One of the games he tried was Batman The Movie.


Films turns bad as computer games ...

The ways things happen are too different ...

---

Sadly the topic of this thread is moving away from ScummVM adventures to games in general.

Just for the Record, here is a list of Games supported by ScummVM

http://wiki.scummvm.org/index.php/Category:Supported_Games

Last edited by OneTimer1 on 01-Nov-2016 at 01:41 PM.
Last edited by OneTimer1 on 01-Nov-2016 at 01:40 PM.

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fishy_fis 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 1-Nov-2016 18:32:41
#19 ]
Super Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 1732
From: Australia

@Jupp3

I could be mistaken, but I suspect there's some positive emulation side effects going on with some of the videos online for st version. I seem to recall the st version being a little slower and jerkier than the Amiga version, but checking out some videos now the main difference I see is marginally fewer roadside objects.

In regards to mega CD, I'm pretty familiar with it and its hardware. While I understand why it never happened its a shame it got such limited support. Would've been interesting to see more examples of what it could do. Ditto in combination with 32x.
As for Batman The Movie, I found it on the upper side of average. Not fantastic, but better than most movie tie-ins.
Sidebar, but the msdos version was quite reasonable given PC hardware of the time.

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Jupp3 
Re: Disappointing Games
Posted on 1-Nov-2016 21:29:04
#20 ]
Super Member
Joined: 22-Feb-2007
Posts: 1202
From: Unknown

@fishy_fis

Quote:
In regards to mega CD, I'm pretty familiar with it and its hardware. While I understand why it never happened its a shame it got such limited support.


It was also interesting to learn, how much more restricted Nintendo Playstation would have been (basically just CD access + extra RAM to load data into, and save games iirc.)

And even without CD, SNES is still noticeably weaker than Megadrive in some ways, a machine that was created to compete with SNES predecessor, before SNES was even started

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