Ben X

The Big FPS Playthrough MISSION COMPLETE

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I've played most of the first level in Duke Nukem 3D and so far it's really fun. It feels quite sloppy mechanically, especially compared to Doom, but the LA movie-house setting is fun and it has lots of stuff going on - letting you turn on a film in the projector room, use the security cameras, stuff like that, plus enemies sitting on the loo or plummeting to their death, looking back and seeing your bloody footprints from where you walked through an alien corpse. FPS mechanics can get quite repetitive, so having variety elsewhere - enemy types, weapons, one-off events, stuff like that - really helps. Like Dark Forces, it has little touches like seeing your ship go down in flames at the start of a level, or hearing your character speak, that give it little narrative touches. While id's games would have minor environmental storytelling, these other games are pushing more overt stuff.

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Played a few more levels. Still lots of fun stuff going on and interesting level settings. There was a really nice moment where I found a little secret area by blowing up a manhole cover and heading down into a little alien nest in the sewer. After exclusively urban environments, I suddenly found myself in a little pocket of utterly alien surroundings with a load of new stuff thrown at me all at once. It was really effective.

 

They pulled the old "you lose all your weapons" trick really early on and also have been doing some ride-the-conveyor-belt/get-picked-up-and-carried-by-a-crane-arm-claw-thingy, which reminded me of the Half Life games.

 

The "babe" stuff is getting gradually more heinous, though, with the strippers you can pay money to for a quick flash, and the naked women stuck to the wall with alien goo begging you to kill them. The former can be taken as part of Duke's ridiculously exaggerated 80s action hero machismo, continually throwing out lame catchphrases and detonating entire skyscrapers to make a path to an access card, but the latter feels a bit gross.

 

It's actually pretty hard, you have to be really good with strafing and even on Normal, it's very easy to lose most of your health after a couple of hits from relatively low-level enemies like the pig-cops. It's nice to be back to levels where I don't get lost a lot of the time, which is really helped by each room having a different motif (for example in the previous level, there was the electric chair chamber, the prayer room, the jail cells, the outside area and the alien hologram head room). Having said that though, I have just got stuck for the first time, which is exacerbated by the fact that I've used up my scuba gear, so if the route out is underwater it's going to take me a lot of deaths to find it.

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From what I remember Duke 3D was fun to play, but I haven't played it in about a decade. I think for me the point at which I stopped having fun was when I realized the game wasn't poking fun at these misogynistic action movie tropes, it actually thought they were awesome. That's when I stopped liking Duke Nukem, when I realized the devs were taking such ridiculous content a bit too seriously. This is way more obvious in Duke Nukem Forever I think.

 

RE: Dark Forces, I played a few levels but gave up on it for similar reasons. Levels were confusing to navigate due to repetitive scenery so I was just getting bored trying to find my way around. I agree that it feels like Star Wars though, which is more than can be said for many other games with the license.

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I finally finished Episode 1 - that boss was TOUGH. I'm going to play it on easy from this episode forward. I enjoyed the San Andreas Fault level (apart from the fucking platforming) - huge rockscapes collapsing to reveal underground alien caverns which have a weird kind of Satanic vibe to them, then getting into the trippy alien spaceship.

 

I'm now on an orbiting spaceship, Duke apparently fuelled by his anger at the aliens kidnapping the "babes" whom so far he's been mercy-killing in order to collect power-ups.

 

I've already encountered a new enemy type, which is cool. I'd be very interested to see a comparison of various FPSes' amount of enemy types and at what pace throughout the game they introduce them, how many of each occur etc.

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you are aware that killing the babes is usually a trigger for monster spawners?

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The live babes, yes. Not the alien-gooped "kill me" ones.

 

EDIT: by which I mean, I was aware of the former, but yeah seems the same is true of the latter. Not that I'm sure it makes any difference...

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Okay, I struggled through as much of Episode 2 as I could, but I had to give up. The balancing is awful - none of the kooky weapons is actually safe to use and all of the new enemies are ridiculously tough/irritating (face-huggers, turrets, kamikaze flying things etc). The setting was pretty dull and there are a fair few gotcha deaths which are impossible to avoid. Plus the space station environment just isn't as interesting. I skipped ahead to the next episodes but nothing held my interest, so I'm giving up on this one.

 

I was surprised to see how much stuff which I'd assumed Half Life was the first to do was in here - air-ducts, looping transit systems, interactive environments, explosive set-pieces, scenic transport shuttles that feel like a miniature predecessor of HL's tram intro. Surprisingly, though, Half-Life didn't feature gross misogynistic stuff like

 

aliens torturing a naked pregnant woman (Wikipedia tells me they were using her to give birth to an alien queen) or Duke shoving a remote bomb up the alien queen's vagina and detonating it while saying "Time to abort your whole species"

 

Anyway, it's now onto Quake! Full 3D, wooo! Two things I need to figure out first, though: how to play with the Trent Reznor score, and whether the average player at time of release played this with mouse-look or not (which I now remember aoania says they did)...

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Kudos to you for sticking with Duke Nukem as long as you did, that's definitely a game that doesn't hold up to modern design conventions. I feel like the early chapters are interesting because they mimic real world environments, but they drop that so quickly that the rest of the game becomes the usual early-nineties shooter environments that are completely meaningless.

 

After reading this I'm really in the mood to go back to Marathon though. Or Marathon 2. They definitely had archaic level design (especially M1) but I loved the storytelling in those games. In fact I might make a separate thread for those games because there's something really special in their madness.

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Well, Episode 3 of Duke does go back to LA, but I immediately got stuck on a) the insane difficulty and sunglasses) the fact that they hide essential keys and switches in utterly camouflaged secret areas. Plus it seemed to be pretty much more of the same. For anyone who fancies playing it, I'd recommend picking it up super-cheap and just playing the first episode on easy mode.

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Ooh, I've got 86% so far saying yes to originally playing with mouselook:

 

https://twitter.com/TimeGentleman/status/665633161037131776

 

EDIT: for playing with the music but avoiding new engines that cover it with ugly new effects, seems the best way is to download this .cue image: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=996272 and burn it onto CD with Imgburn. Sound reasonable? Apparently there are still issues with it not looping or allowing volume adjustments, so I might just burn a CD and manually set a track to loop each time I start a new level...

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Surprisingly, though, Half-Life didn't feature gross misogynistic stuff like

aliens torturing a naked pregnant woman (Wikipedia tells me they were using her to give birth to an alien queen) or Duke shoving a remote bomb up the alien queen's vagina and detonating it while saying "Time to abort your whole species"

 

I liked the first couple Duke games when it was a side scroller.  They were quite a lot of fun and the machismo of Duke was much more amusing.  But Duke 3D grossed me out because it felt like they were embracing the parody too much, to the point of it not being a parody anymore and instead being some adolescent boy's wet dream.

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Yeah the side scrolling Dukes are really fun. Duke 3D has interesting level design, but that's about it.

Not sure about Manhattan Project, though. The 2.5D one, whatever it's called.

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2d Dukes were great, I played the shareware episode 1 to death. Manhattan Project was ok, it had a jetpack.

 

2D Duke 1 had those climbing claws, some jump boots and 2 more things? The clank clankclank of climbing on ceilings was a great sound effect.

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Apparently Nukem 3D was very close to including a level which heavily referenced a recent real-life shooting, so it's hard to give them the benefit of the doubt on the parody stuff...

 

Anyway, Quake is fantastic!

My Twitter poll went 60-40 for mouselook, but once playing I realised that original Quake, like Dark Forces and Duke Nukem, only allowed horizontal mouselook which for me is worse than sticking to keys. So I guess I'll have to wait a few more games for full-on mouselook.

Regardless, the feel of Quake is great, careening round the levels blowing enemies away. The weapons and enemies are all really well-balanced and varied - the ogres who throw grenades unless you dare get close up to them at which point they switch to chainsaw and axe, the zombies who don't die properly unless you gib them with grenades (this game really got the Romero feel of zombies right, with them slowly rising up out of the water in silhouette, shuffling towards you with groans and only becoming a problem if you stupidly let them get too close - just ignore the fact that they throw lumps of themselves at you!). I didn't think the move to 3D would make much difference without full mouselook, but it definitely makes the enemies feel more tangible and the physics of your parabolic grenades more rigid. I really like the Clive Barkery design of the enemies too, and the weird aesthetic mix between medieval and sci-fi.

I had started to wonder before playing this if I had somehow missed out on the Trent Reznor/NIN music when originally playing Quake, as I remembered being disappointed and instead putting Pretty Hate Machine and Downward Spiral on loop on my stereo. Turns out that aside from about 30 seconds of menu screen music, Reznor created a soundscape rather than a thumping industrial score. So in the interests of personal authenticity, I'm playing with Spotify looping those two albums in the background and it is great.

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Just finished the first episode - I got through that pretty quickly. My fondest memories of the game still hold up - the first appearance of the Shambler, which I felt so clever for escaping by simply running out of its arena, only to discover that it chases you through the whole level! And also the end of episode boss (Cthlon?) which is really big and impressive but isn't a bullet-sponge - you just need to flip a few switches to blast it with electricity.

 

I took a quick look at the manual, and realised that the mix of aesthetics is half-covered by the story, which is essentially the same as DooMTM's - evil creatures from another dimension invade your future army base. It's still kind of weird that as a space-marine you start off with a shotgun and a bloody axe! I guess at some point you also go to their dimension with the churches and lava pits and stuff... Hmm, okay, I guess the story doesn't cover it, which I prefer anyway. I always thought of it as an unexplained mix, kind of like He-Man's barbarians with lasers feel. I normally look at retrospectives of these games after I've finished them, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that the mish-mash of styles was due to disagreements during development and a whole Daikatana-style RPG element being removed...

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As I recall (tho I should add I never finished the game myself) you kill the final boss by manipulating a bit of a quirk of game design. Won't spoil it obviously, but I think that is really cool

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About the style of Quake, I remember reading or watching some video on YT that they wanted to do an fantasy game at first but then they ran out of time/resources/will to do it and just reused most of the already made assets to make a scifi game. Or vice versa (probably not). I wonder where Hexen fits into this.

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Ah yeah, I know that about the EOGB already - although I didn't when first playing, because I wasn't aware of that quirk (I guess it's more of a multiplayer thing), so I spent forever in that final level. I can't remember if I completed it by accident or if I just gave up. I'll put it in spoilers just in case:

 

 

iirc, the EOGB is a big Lovecraftian tentacle tree type thing that never moves and doesn't take damage. There's a purple star thing that moves around the level and if you jump into the teleporter, you end up wherever the star is at that moment. So to kill the boss, you have to telefrag it by waiting until the star is inside it, then teleporting. I had no idea telefragging was a thing!

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Masters of Doom covers what went on with Quake. From what I can remember id was and would be for many years a tech house that games were then built around. Quake was very ambitious in terms of what Romero wanted and the tech wasn't there to achieve a lot of it and it was generally too big and the engine was already taking a lot of time as it was. It also wasn't going to be a FPS in that style, it was going to be sort of RPG with FPS-lite stuff in it. They got to a point where they needed to ship a game so they kept all the art etc. and made it work as a Doom style FPS and created something magical. This was one of the events that was the beginning of the end for the relationships between the founders.

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Anyway, Quake is fantastic!

My Twitter poll went 60-40 for mouselook, but once playing I realised that original Quake, like Dark Forces and Duke Nukem, only allowed horizontal mouselook which for me is worse than sticking to keys. So I guess I'll have to wait a few more games for full-on mouselook.

That's not right at all: Quake always had full mouselook. It just wasn't on by default, because it took some getting used to (and would likely result in the uninitiated staring at the ceiling and floor a lot).

 

A common thing at the time was binding a key to mouselook that you'd hold to engage it, and let go to snap your view back to center if you got disoriented (and there were other variations on this... Quake had a complex keybinding system that you could mess with through the console and config files; you can't go by what's in the menus, which is probably what tripped you up). But once you got used to it, you took the training wheels off and just left mouselook on. That's how all ~serious gamers~ played Quake, even back in 1996.

 

You're making a big mistake by not using it. Quake is the game that taught everyone to use full mouselook and set that as the template for all future FPS games. (Heck, it's the game that accidentally introduced rocket jumping... we sure didn't do that without mouselook.) In the early days, multiplayer servers had a hilarious division between people who had figured it out and people who were still using the keyboard, and you can imagine how quickly everyone had to adapt if they wanted to compete.

 

Go into the console (`) and type +mlook. I'm glad you're enjoying the game the way you're playing it, but I'd hate for you to miss out on the full experience. You should play Quake like a modern, 3D FPS, because it is one! 

 

edit: if you do use mouselook, you may want to turn off the aim assistance by changing the value of sv_aim to, I think, 1, rather than whatever fractional value it starts at.

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I had noticed the key that you hold down for mouselook, but I didn't want to be constantly holding a key down!

Okay, I'll give full mouselook a go, although having to use the console makes me feel like I'm not playing it as intended...

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As Salacious said, it accidentally introduced rocket-jumping.

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> hit ~ key

> type +mlook

> never look back

 

Actually the next step is to make a file autoexec.cfg and put a  line containing +mlook in there

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I'm like the anti-purist, I always play these old FPS games with whatever front end has the most graphical wizbang, and turn jumping on. Makes a mockery of the pinky demons in Doom when you can just jump over them!

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