Resurrected Entertainment

Archive for the 'Games' category

R.I.P. Game Guides

September 13, 2021

I have been playing Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla lately on the PlayStation 5 and I noticed that there were no official game guides for it on Amazon. I thought this was odd since there are many things to find and unravel within the game which would surely be enough content to warrant a guide. Some time later, I visited the in-game store and found all kinds of downloadable patches that could alter the game and give you content that you would typically find in a game guide, such as location maps for items and such. Obviously, this is the reason why there are no official guides, since Ubisoft wanted to leverage the power of in-app purchasing and make money directly off of these hints, rather than split the profit with the publisher for the guide. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good strategy and I don’t necessarily disagree with it, even if it costs me more money. The in-game location maps for Vahalla, which could have built-in filters and search features, deliver a better experience than having to flip through pages of a game guide. Naturally, it is a bit of a balancing act, since many gamers want to feel like they own the complete experience for a game once they pay the sticker price. If some content feels like it should have been part of the official release and not as a separate download that must be purchased later, then the model has crossed that line. There are several games available that follow that model to its inevitable conclusion, where the core game is free, but any additional features or content that presumably make the game more interesting, must be purchased separately.

Happy birthday to the Legend of Zelda development team!

August 22, 2021

Unusually, the release date for this game in North America appears to be under some debate with some sources listing it as being released in June, July, or August. I chose the latter since it was the only entry listed with a specific day. The Japanese release was in February 1986, over a year earlier.

Before this game, I had played text adventures, Dungeons and Dragons over e-mail, and one or two “RPG adventure” titles on the Atari 2600. I have long been fascinated with the genre as RPG elements and action are two of my favorite themes in a video game.

Dead Space on PC

March 28, 2020

I finally had an opportunity to play and finish Dead Space for the PC. I had a lot of fun playing this game, and while the camera took some time to get use to and the VSYNC bug that took some time to diagnose, neither detracted measurably from the overall game play experience. I am not going to do a review on this game since the world doesn’t need another one of those. What I have been thinking about, though, is giving you a persona based list of key gaming elements that may help you decide if you want to play it:

  • Jumping about in 3D space doesn’t make you queasy (you will literally be jumping about in space with no gravity).
  • You like being told what to do and bossed around.
  • You can continue to snack while walking through pools of blood and guts.
  • You like games that allow you to kill things with visceral tools like bolt guns, saws, and fire.
  • You like it when you are low on ammo and there are baddies around the corner.
  • Detailed space ship environments make you happy.
  • You enjoy long load times as it gives you an opportunity to reflect on how you buggered it all up.

Just plain old “Wolfenstein” on the PlayStation 3?

January 11, 2020

wolfenstein_ps3_small I picked up this used game on Amazon the other day for a steal. I had no idea it even existed before I stumbled upon it being mentioned in one of my favourite game magazines, Retro Gamer. Anyway, I am currently playing Wolfenstein: The Old Blood on my PC and loving it, but perhaps not quite as much as Wolfenstein: The New Order, we shall soon see how it stacks up as I get closer to finishing it!

Kill Two Cacodemons, Once a Day

January 20, 2019

I am ashamed to admit that I don’t play every game I own. Some of them haven’t even been fired up a single time on the machine for which they were destined to be played. Why is that?

Well, the easy answer is that I buy too many games for my current life style, and that is definitely true. I just don’t have as much free time as I had before I had kids. However, that answer doesn’t sit quite so well with me. It doesn’t feel like enough of a reason. I know that if I dedicated all of my free time towards the effort, I could play most, if not all, of those titles. It would take time, but I could slog through them. So then, why don’t I just do that?

The more complex answer is that I find many types of games I own to be mentally exhausting. I do tend to gravitate to the ones involving a lot of action and little else because of that. I just can’t bring myself to face the onslaught of constant decision making most of the time. I do play those other types of games, and I will enjoy them to varying degrees, but I find the exercise of unwinding a little harder than  when playing a game like Doom. The fact that I play these games at all is ironic, because I often partake in electronic games to unwind.

With games like Doom, it comes down to a constant cycle of challenge, failure, and success. I have a job and home life where I am challenged with all sorts of problems on a daily basis. That reality is stressful, and I often feel like I make very little progress in the day to day. When I play a game like Doom, it is challenging and I do fail often, but I also succeed multiple times as well. I don’t get that kind of tight cycle in a game like Divine Divinity, the cycle is much slower. With Doom or perhaps a good platformer, those short, micro wins are fulfilling. Sure the mental onslaught of fear, anger, and worry while playing these sorts of titles is tiring eventually, but at the end of it I have usually made significant progress and that progression is enjoyable and ultimately, worth the price of admission.

Battletoads: Terra Tubes!

July 15, 2015

Without a doubt, this is one of the most difficult levels I have ever played for any game on the NES — incidentally, I don’t think I have ever finished it. Here is someone who played it through with barely a nick:

Keyboard or Joystick: You Decide!

April 19, 2015

For those who don’t like playing DOS games using their keyboard, there is a nifty little software package called “JoyEmu“. It allows you to map keyboard keys to joystick input (2 or 4 button joysticks), along with the axial directions. It has a great configuration utility to help you set this up, and allows you to save keyboard mappings and joystick assignments as files. These files can be loaded manually alongside a batch file wrapper, if you desire,  so that playing your favourite games is quick and easy. It also allows for mappings to your mouse and a truck load of documentation; you really couldn’t ask for a better utility of this type!

Alone in the Dark for DOS

I have been playing that game recently and researching different aspects of its history; I ran across a thread on the ScummVM message board that said you can enter the text “benjaminyaelfred” at the copy protection screen and it will let you play the game, if you don’t have the code book that came with the game. The last part of the text “yaelfred” is from one of the original artists of the game, Yaël Barroz, and the original engine programmer, Frédérick Raynal.

DOOM’s 21st Birthday

December 11, 2014

It’s hard to believe, but DOOM (or Smashing Pumpkins Into Small Pieces of Putrid Debris as it was known in some circles) was unleashed upon the world as Shareware on this date in 1993. The game was so popular that Microsoft had contemplated purchasing id Software in an effort to promote Windows 95 as a top-notch gaming platform; Bill Gates even featured himself in a video fighting the creatures of DOOM head on. DOOM fever had reached high enough levels inside Microsoft that a special Easter Egg was placed inside of Microsoft Excel 95 with a DOOM-like level called The Hall of Tortured Souls. Over the years, much has been said about this game and the team that created it, so I will not echo that history here, but here are some of the things the DOOM franchise has birthed into this world since its release:

  • It has sold over one million copies, but it has been pirated and downloaded many more times than that
  • DOOM – The movie starring Dwayne John (The Rock)
  • Masters of DOOM Book
  • The source code for the game was released in 1997 spawning numerous source ports to other platforms and revamped engines
  • The game engine has been licensed numerous times, even for such projects as promoting breakfast cereals like Chex
  • For four years after its release, people continued to refer to other 3D games as “DOOM clones”
  • DOOM board games and expansions
  • DOOM comic books and fantasy novels

Building Wolfenstein 3D Source Code

June 16, 2014

Way back on Feb 6, 2012, id Software released the source code to Wolfenstein 3D — 20 years after it had already been written. The source code release does not come with any support or assets from the originally released game. In fact, id Software is still selling this title on various Internet stores like Steam. I played around with a DOS port of the DOOM source code quite some time ago, but I had never bothered to try and build its ancestral project. Until now!

As it turns out, it’s actually quite straight-forward with only a minor hiccup here and there. The first thing you’ll need is a compiler, that almighty piece of software that transforms your poorly written slop into a form that the operating system can feed to the machine. For this project, the authors decided to settle on the Borland C++ v3.0, but it is 100% compatible with v3.1. I don’t know if more recent compilers from Borland are compatible with the project files, or the code present in the project produces viable targets, so good luck if you decide to make your own roads.

As per the details in the README file, there are a couple of object files you will want to make sure don’t get deleted when you perform a clean within the IDE:

  • GAMEPAL.OBJ
  • SIGNON.OBJ

You can open up the pre-built project file in the Borland IDE, and after tweaking the locations for the above two files, you should be able to build without any errors. The resulting executable can then be copied into a working test directory where all of the originally released assets are located, I believe my assets were from the 1.2 release.

There are also a few resource files you must have in order for the compiled executable to find all of the right resources. According to legend, the various asset files were pulled from a sprinkling of source formats and assembled into “WL6” resource files. A utility called I-Grab, which is available via the TED5 editor utility, produced header files (.H) and assembler based (.EQU) files from that resource content which allowed the game to refer to them by constant indices once the monolithic WL6 resource files were built. There are annotations in the definition files, using the “.EQU or .H” extension, with a generated comment at the top which confirms part of that legend.

The tricky part in getting the game to run properly revolves around which resource files are being used by the current code base. The code refers to specific WL6 resource files, but locating those resource files using public releases of the game can be very tricky because those generated files have changed an unknown number of times. Luckily, someone has already gone through the trouble of making sure the graphics match up with the indices in the generated files. The files have conveniently been assembled and made available here:

After unpacking, you’ll need to copy those to the test directory holding the registered content for the game. Note that without the right resource files, the game will not look right and will suffer from a variety of visual ailments, such as B.J. Blazkowicz’s head being used as a cursor in the main menu, or failing to see any content when a level is loaded.