EvilSoft Blog - Metal and Games
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War Eternal!
Posted May 7, 2013

Well, Arch Enemy's got a new singer, the previous singer from the band "The Agonist". Apparently Angela Gossow had enough and moved on. Well, they scored the motherload. Alissa White-Gluz is even hotter and still brings the hellfury with her death metal vocals. This album "War Eternal" sounds highly promising. Cha-ching. Sold!

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T3h H4ck3r!
Posted May 7, 2014

You're a hacker; the elite, hired to go in, running and acquiring whatever programs you need, steal the data and any bank info, and bail out, signal integrity intact. Well... Good luck with all that! If only it were that easy...

868-HACK is an iOS game based off a kickass original freeware game titled "86856527". What's even more astounding about it is it was originally completed in just 7 days during a one-week rogue-like game jam. Superbly Cyberpunk in it's design aesthetic. At first, the game seems impossible. It is, afterall, a rogue- like. You're meant to die over and over again until you grok how the game systems work and exploit them perfectly. Then, after a few addictive plays, you start to grasp what's being asked of you and start getting strategic about your moves. Then, you make a few runs where you're a hair's breath away from the end. At least, this is my personal experience with it.

It's a great coffee-break game. A full game lasts maybe 10-15 minutes. There's no side-quests. There's no fluff, no bullshit. It's just you against the system. Hacking your way into whatever megacorp to "stick it to the man". The game plays as a turn-based strategy game. You move one grid location at a time, run any software you want, examine your options, and the enemies make their move. You encounter all manner of obstacle; the hellbent software out to do you in. Daemons, Viruses (oh gawd, the fucking viruses!!! Anti-Virus to the rescue!), Hidden files, Glitches (which don't obey the normal rules of software). It seems on the surface to be such a simple game, but boy is that an illusion. The depth is in the intricate subtlety. Every move counts. A single turn can make the difference of a run to the very end, or an instant death. The game is that delicately balanced. It all dances on a razor's edge.

And, it's awesome. Living Tron. Good proper cyberpunk flare meets rogue-like gameplay. Good for kicking around for a few minutes, with no big commitments. If you're anything like me though, it'll become an obsession. Your eyes close to sleep and all you see is green lines, the soft glow of the gamegrid, and another rabid Cryptog bearing down on you!! Gaaahhhhh!

Links :
868-HACK (download)
868-HACK (iOS Version)
Fan site
Tutorial and Gameplay video
Let's Play video (Explains some game concepts)

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Hard-Rockin 80s Until the Day I Die
Posted December 30, 2013

It's hard for me to not get all teary-eyed and wistful about the great music of the 80s. If that wasn't enough on it's own, MTV just came out and bands were figuring out how in the hell they make something funny enough to be memorable. So, that basically means the following : Over-the-top guitar theatrics? Check. Girls with big hair in tube-tops and mini-skirts dancing provocatively? Check. Guys with candy-floss poofed hair? Check. Neon? Check. Spandex? Check. Pure unadulterated 80's cheese? Check. And if you managed to box that up into a cereal, I'd eat it every god-damned day for breakfast. All the good stuff I remember as a kid growing up in the 80's. This is an unapologetic love-letter to my childhood. If you don't like it, you probably didn't grow up during the 80s, or your sister found your Cabbage Patch Doll collection or something, so go read another fucking blog!

Anyways, I hereby... Unleash.... the 80s!

Links :
Like Totally 80's
80's Nostalgia
Do You Remember the 80's?
Eighties Club
In the 80's
80's Tees

80's Tees
80's Bedroom Wall Posters

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Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean They Aren't After You!
Posted December 30, 2013

Ok, with this year coming to a close, I think it's high-time for yet another Warren Spector masterpiece. Some would argue this being his swan song, given that the game's gotten onto just about every damn Best 100 Games ever list and ended up with a Game of the Year Edition, from, guess what? Curing cancer. Inventing air. Electrocuting gun-control advocates with car batteries. Starting a porn empire. Being the Game of the Year.

Put simply, Deus Ex is an old-school, plot-driven, choice-heavy RPG played FPS-style with a Cyberpunk theme. So, think Megacorps, hacking, long leather shiny trenchcoats, sunglasses 24/7, and the enmeshment of man and machine Borg-style, just snazzier-looking. What made this game fun was the storyline, character development, and the sheer importance of choice that this game heaps upon you as a giant gift; like one of those cakes where the dancing girl jumps out. Those ones.

It's primarily a RPG, so, yes, you develop your character through the use of augmentations that give certain abilities. But I'll come back to that in a minute. Because what really does the job here is the story. Terrorists, bombings, anti-terrorist agency, conspiracies... so far it sounds pretty standard tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist meets NSA meets the Matrix. But you get the cool plot twist of agents in the government being behind a planned mass murder of the population (Sometimes I wonder if this would be such a bad thing) and some other stuff that I don't want to spoil for you, especially if you're a Deus Ex virgin. I don't want to be that douche.

The story takes you along, learning how these things are occurring, traveling the world to gather intel, and trying to save the race pretty much. There is a lot of NPC interaction, and how you talk to people can effect if they help you. Chock full of good dialogue with an exception made for some of the dialogue in Hong Kong. I don't know if it was meant as a joke or what, but some of those conversations leave you feeling as though you just watched a badly translated anime film where All Your Base Are Belong to Us.

Now onto the gameplay itself. You have a vast array of tools and weapons available, including lockpicks, emp grenades for disabling bots and other electrical fields, and tools for bypassing security computers. But if you want to just blow the crap out of stuff, you can do that too. Choices my good chap! Enjoy killing anyone in your path, go for it. Feel like trying a different approach and just incapacitating them like stealthy Ninja with some moral streak, you can do that also. The choices and methods add a fun and unique style to this game that you don't normally get in a game with a FPS perspective. Of course, this isn't to say there aren't ramifications for choices. You can blow the hell out of everyone, Rambo-style, but you're not going to get to do that too often in Deus Ex, and you'll probably end up paying for it in one way or another.

You get those augmentations that I mentioned earlier and you'll encounter a number of them throughout the game, and each aug leaves you a choice as to how to use it. Once implemented though, you are stuck with it for the rest of the game, adding an element of replability to see what would happen if you picked the other choice. You've got Run Silent, Speed Enhancement, Combat Strength, or Microfibral Muscle, just to name a few. A couple of the other augs do leave you with harder decisions, such as Radar transparency from all electric sources, or Cloak from all living enemies? Both are good. And the game gives you a bunch of these sorts of choices.

The bottom line is Deus Ex continually keeps being mentioned in lists of best ever games for good reason. Find out why. We'll be watching you!

Links :
Deus Ex (with Manuals and Hintbook) (Or from GOG)

Sites :
Mod's, Levels, and Addons, oh my!
Strategy Wiki
Planet Deus Ex
TTLG Forum for Deus Ex
GOG Forum for Deus Ex

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Yar Mateys! Get yer sea legs ya scurvy dogs! Pirate Metal Ahoy!
Posted October 29, 2013

Well, it's officially Halloween and normally I'd throw up some badass evil-sounding music that fits the part for the holiday. But, 1. I already posted the good options for that earlier, 2. There's only so many good options for that stylistically and 3. Enough people go as damn pirates for Halloween that I can totally justify it (sexy pirate wench anyone???).

Ok ok. I'm taking liberties, but this music is fucking awesome, so sue me. Borrowing just about every possible option from legendary pirate metal bucanneers Running Wild, the best god-damned band ever if I don't mind saying so (though their comeback albums have about as much wind in their sails as an asthmatic squirrel blowing through a straw at them). Let's see here : The name of the band Blazon Stone is a Running Wild album. The name of the album is "Return to" tacked on yet another Running Wild album. And the riffs blow the door off anything Rock'n (now known as Dusty) Rolf has put out in the last 6 years; capturing all the mach-speed surge of the best-of-the-best albums by them, notably "Death or Glory", "Pile of Skulls", and "Black Hand Inn". Ok, they're frickin' amazing.

So, Happy Halloween from your evil breathren here at EvilSoft. And you don't even have to go to the local mall with a fake parrot duct-taped to your shoulder with your friend walking a bit behind you doing the voice for it and making a girl run away and cry when she asks you to make the parrot talk again, you tell her "Rawt! She's got junk in the trunk!", and her boyfriend laughs, to enjoy it. Not that this has ever happened or anything...

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Happy Halloween, EvilSoft-style.
Posted October 29, 2013

If there is a game company that specializes in horror games, that honor far and away belongs to Frictional Games. They're well known now for Amnesia : The Dark Descent (though the outsourced sequel is said to suck hairy johnson). And modern lists of scariest games ever include that usually right at the top (now adding Outlast to the list). Prior to all that hub-bub was their fantastic Penumbra series.

Using a term that means literally "Nearly Shadow", an obvious reference to the light fading, the game of course thrusts you into dark hostile environments, and lures you through a horrific story by alternatively drawing you in and then kicking you in the ass against your will. You're not totally abandoned, though the game will make you wish you were. Unlike Amnesia, you do have the ability to attack but you suck ass at fighting, making running the usually smart option. The game's more cerebral than Amnesia as a general rule. It's bigger on implications of horror than outright jump-scares. Trust me, this is a good thing.

The game uses a custom-made 3D engine, well-titled as the HPL Engine, a direct nod to H.P. Lovecraft, the undisputed father of modern horror. It works extremely well, showing off dark decrepit creepy environments readily. The story starts with a nearly direct rip off of Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" with you trapped in the arctic, looking for shelter. From there, it diverges into it's own story rapidly.

I'm hesitant to reveal too much as I don't want to spoil the experience for you, because that experience is awesome. But, suffice to say it stands amongst the likes of Amnesia without batting an eyelash. Let's put it this way. If turning all the lights out, the speakers up, and working your way through mind-bending puzzles and torturous nerve-wracking events that the game throws at you, all while drenching yourself in an evocatively-told horror masterpiece sounds like a Halloween well-spent, then you'll fucking love this game. The end.

Enjoy! And Happy Evil Halloween!

Links :
Penumbra : Overture

Sites :
Whole series

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Razorwyre : How New Zealand says Hello via Metal
Posted August 29, 2013

Taking cues from the best of German Hard Rock and Powermetal and hailing from New Zealand (I'm betting even Luxemberg has some metal bands at this point. Wow... Nope!) enter Razorwyre. These guys sound like a mix of old Helloween and Accept. Not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. These guys only have one album and EP out at the moment, but with promise like this and song titles like "Fight or Be Fucked", hopefully there will be a lot more in the coming years. Time will tell. In the meantime, rock out to this great band. Horns straight up!

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Posted August 29, 2013

Good ol' Bullfrog. Man they put out some good games during their run in the early 90's. It's no wonder their chief game designer Peter Molyneux became famous. Hit home run after home run and you become the Babe Ruth of Game Designers. I've covered some of them already; Magic Carpet and Dungeon Keeper.
Time for Syndicate...

Syndicate's a pretty straightforward game. You control an elite tactical strikeforce of 4 guys who you send in to complete missions in a vast cityscape. Now, even if that's all it was, it'd still be pretty cool. But the ante is upped by the fact that it's a dystopian Cyberpunk future ruled by Megacorporations and their well-placed greed. Your guys aren't just a bunch of joe-schmoe dipshits either. You get to Borg-out the crap of these guys, doing all sorts on non-ethical experiments to upgrade your guys Universal Soldier-style. Your guys are too dumb? Start a research project to upgrade their brains and install new ones. Too slow? Do the same for their legs. The list goes on. It's awesome.

Of course, what you get to do on the missions is what really makes it great. The aforementioned cityscapes are teeming with life. Life that you get to destroy in true ruthless fashion. And it doesn't get any better than setting hordes of people on fire and watching them run around screaming and flailing. Then there's the Gauss gun which cuts down swathes of people. Then there's unique weapons like the Persuadertron. People attacking you because you killed their friends? Use this on them and they join your side instead, running amuck and causing bedlam. It's so awesome. It doesn't really matter if it's essential to kill them. You do it pretty much because you can. Rough day? Here's your release.

The game will never win any awards for instilling deep values in children. But that's exactly what makes it so good. I mean, deep values? Fuck that shit! The game even made it to a list of the best violent video games of all time because "few games have ever been so keen to have their protagonists murder civilians, burning them with flamethrowers, blowing them up with rocket launchers and simply mowing them down." This was back before stupid soccer moms helicoptor-parented their kids and waged idiotic campaigns every time something even mildly politically incorrect flashed in front of their sacrosanct soon-to-be-entitled emo pansy kid's eyes. To hell with that! Save that crap for the damn dirty hippies and libtards. Let them cry oceans. Time to get some!

Links :
Syndicate Plus

Sites :
Unofficial Fan Site

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New Wave of Thrash Metal : Part 1
Posted June 27, 2013

2013's looking to be a good year for metal. With Black Sabbath and Ghost (I am fucking not calling them Ghost BC. Maybe Ghost BS, but not BC) releasing new albums and rap music slowly dying off, things are looking brighter day-by-day. With digital distribution easing entrance into the market, anyone with a guitar has pretty much picked it up and pumped out an album through Garageband.

Now, to anyone with even half a brain, the implications of this are scary; millions of tweenwave emo idiots cranking out complete hazardous garbage that they deserve to be strangled with their guitar strings over. The flip-side is that with a greater amount of albums and bands coming out, even amongst the dross, there's quite a few good bands coming out. One style notably, is good ol' fashioned thrash metal.

Now, just to be clear, I'm not talking yet another metalcore band or some Swedish buttlick "we sweep-pick until the cows come home" nonsense. I'm talking straight, no-BS, classic thrash metal done today.

There's way too many of these bands, like Municipal Waste (award should be given for "Best Video Ever") and Warbringer, to catch them all Pokemon-style in a single blog entry, so this is going to be an ongoing thing. I find 'em, you get 'em. It's that simple.

So, without further ado, I introduce you to Havok. Straight American Thrash. Enter the New Wave of Thrash Metal. Enjoy!

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I'll Be Back!
Posted June 27, 2013

Ahhh... The Terminator franchise... Back before Bethesda Softworks got their groove on with the whole Elder Scrolls series, they were one of very few companies to actually get a license to create games using that IP. Pretty much every other company took a giant dump on the Terminator name (though it's hard to beat Christian Bale in this department), but, to give Bethesda proper credit, they actually got it right.

There were only a few games worth mentioning; Terminator : 2029, Rampage, Future Shock, and Skynet.

Terminator : 2029 played like an old orthogonal RPG. It's also worth noting that it's hard as nails. It's probably the weakest of the group, but that's not to say it's not worth playing.

Terminator : Rampage attempted to capitalize on the whole Doom FPS craze of the early-to-mid 90's. It did this to pretty good effect. I mean what's not to like about running through office buildings after the shit's already hit the fan, hunting for ammo and weapons, fending off HK's, Seeker Bombs, and T-800 Endoskeletons to find components of a super weapon that was in development to destroy the heart of Skynet? Fucking nothing, that's what.

Terminator : Future Shock / Skynet is where they really hit their stride though. Utilizing Xngine, one of the first full 3D engines available and the first entrant into the now-standard Mouselook, which they also used to great effect in Daggerfall, they really captured what it would feel like to be a resistance fighter, running for your life, and fighting Terminators and cybernetic organisms from Skynet. These two form more of a sequel package, with the bonus of Skynet allowing you to play Future Shock in highres. These games in particular really allow you to explore large maps in a fairly nonlinear fashion, stocking up on supplies, rumaging through buildings, and reveling in the amazingly created post-apocalyptic setting that the creators managed to form. It really does feel like you're in one of the burning battlefields of the future. They nailed it.

All-in-all robots and technology are often annoying, thanks largely to the fact that they're created by annoying humans with their equally annoying human frailties. So, it's a fantastic form of catharsis to smash the hell out of said tech via pounding a Terminator or 2.. 20.. 200.. 2000 into a bent-up pulverized mess. Hard day at work? Crush a bunch of Terminators. I promise you you'll feel better.

For Future Shock / Skynet, simply run the .bat file included and it'll do all the hard work for you. Dosbox and everything are already included, so just unzip and play away! Skynet is the sequel, so you'll want to start the game and select Future Shock from the bottom of the menu. Once in the game, go to Options->Details->640x480 to run in highres. That's it. Super-fricking-simple.

Links :
Terminator : Future Shock / Skynet
Terminator : Rampage / 2029

Wiki :
Terminator Wiki

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American Power Metal Par-Excellence
Posted April 1, 2013

After the tragic death of Chuck Shuldiner the singer Tim Aymar from Chuck's great last effort "Control Denied" needed to take all that asskickery somewhere else. Well, what better than to start an American Power Metal band sounding profoundly similar to the likes of Jag Panzer and naming it after some cool Egyptian motif. Enter "Pharaoh". Just good ol' fashioned metal with no agenda, full of great melodies and hooks, and with cool lyrics. The world needs more of Kate Beckinsale in corsets this.

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Crusaders of the Voxel
Posted April 1, 2013

Before the advent of the Golden age of Triangles and the GPU's that powered them, pretty much anything went for alternative rendering techniques. Whether it be Ray-Casting used in Wolfenstein 3D and Doom or Ellipse-rendering. Whatever. If was weird and new developers were willing to throw it at the wall and see if it stuck. In the case of NovaLogic they went with tech that few others outside the medical community have used, with the notable exceptions of the great Action RPG "Outcast" and "Minecraft". That being Voxels or "Volume Pixels". This technique's capabilities are still being explored, even being used indirectly to help texture id's newest game "Rage" via it's Mega-Texture technique. Cool stuff you say, but how does this relate to the actual games? Well good question.

NovaLogic had a love affair with Voxels and thrust them into every damn game they made. Basically Voxels excel at rendering organic looking outdoor scenes. The downside is they're purely CPU-intensive which means they look better the more clock cycles you throw at them. They can also look extremely pixelated at the low resolutions they were rendered in at the time they were originally used. Later games in the series allowed for mods to alleviate this. Luckily, this tech was paired with fun straight-forward arcade-like simulations that didn't burden the player the way some games do.

For Comanche, the game is based on the stealth helicoptor that was the basis for the one used to infiltrate Osama Bin Laden's place, assuming that actually happened. Weird angular panels made the radar bounce off masking it from radar. Not to say this makes your mission easy or aything. Far from it! Just that using stealth and staying out of direct sight is your main priority to stay alive and complete the short but sweet missions.

For completeness' sake, NovaLogic also released an A1 Abrahms simulator titled "Armored Fist", letting you play the other side of the equation from Comanche. Both had their fun in different ways. If you like them you can pick up the newest ones for dirt cheap.

Let me just sum it up and say Comanche is the closest thing to flying Airwolf or Blue Thunder you're going to find.

Links :
Comanche CD
Comanche Gold
Comanche 4

Armored Fist
Armored Fist 2
Armored Fist 3

WolfPack (Sub Simulator)

Manuals :
Comanche Gold (Reference Card)
Comanche 4 (Reference Card / Missions Editor)

Armored Fist 2
Armored Fist 3


Amazon :
Comanche Gold
Comanche Gold (Combo Pack)
Armed Forces Pack (Comanche 4, Armored Fist 3, + more)

Mods :
Flyboy's site Comanche 3
Flyboy's Resolution mod for Comanche 3

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None More Metal Than This
Posted January 6, 2013

Bolt Thrower; Combining Warhammer 40,000 motif and forming a band around it, you're pretty much going to come up with the most metal band ever. Puts hair on your chest, even if you're a woman. Makes you hungry for red meat covered in your enemy's blood. Makes you grow extra testicles. Best listened to in the nice glowing warm light of machine gun fire bursts. Good background music for bathing in the guts of your fallen opposition. Goes swimmingly with pounding mortyr fire. Hymns for total victory. No prisoners. If you can find anything more metal than this, then I challenge you... Bring it on! We'll do war!

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Got Caught Stealin... Once.
Posted January 6, 2013

Ahh... Good ol' Looking Glass Studios. Creators of the thinking man's First Person Shooter. Deep, immersive games that make you forget about the clock until you cringe when you remember you've got to get up for work the next morning and it's now pushing 5am. Yeah, tomorrow's going to be a sick day I think. Quality through-and-through. What's their Persian flaw then? It'd have to be the fact that nearly every game they decided to reinvent themselves. Sometimes this fucked up gloriously in an earth-scorching fireball as in Terra Nova or the horrible torture device that is the control scheme of System Shock. Their design philosophy was something like "Let's throw this at the wall and see if it sticks, explodes, or maims an employee". But, when it worked, boy did it work.

Thief is one of the better examples of it actually working. Compared to RPG-like games like System Shock and the seriously fantastic RPG series Ultima Underworld, Thief is far more stripped down. But they took that stripped down core and sharpened it into a weapon. All that RPG stuff? Yeah, toss that in the dumpster. What's left? Hmmm... Just walking around. Now what? Ok, let's crank up the AI, make sneaking a priority, take into account the amount of light available and the noise you make, have mission objectives that need to be met, and have you loot and kill along the way. Yeah, that sounds about right. That's Thief in a nutshell. Sounds pretty simple right?

Wrong! They combined these factors together into something truly awesome. For one, you don't need to do the mission objectives in the order they're listed. Nice nonlinear play that doesn't mollycoddle you like a retarded child. Mind you, this is not Doom. The frontal assault will get you roundly crushed pretty much every time. Time to be inventive. Find the secret entrance. Scale a wall and go in through the back. Discretion is the better part of valour and all that sneaky stuff. Oh yeah, don't forget to stab some guards in the back or club them with a blackjack while you're at it. Just be quiet about it, damn it! Get your head back in the game. What, do you want to give us all away or something? Shhhhh!

Links :
Thief Gold
Thief II : The Metal Age

Manuals :
Thief : The Dark Project (Reference Card)
Thief II : The Metal Age (Reference Card)

Sites :
Through the Looking Glass (Forum)
Thief Enhancements and Downloads

Levels :
Cheap Thief Missions
The Keep of Metal and Gold
Thief : The Circle
T2x (Unofficial Expansion)

Mods :
Thief Gold HD Texture Mod
Thief Enhancement Pack

Editors and Utilities :
DarkLoader (Used for Running Fan Missions)
GarretLoader (Used for Running Fan Missions)

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Living Proof That There's No Such Thing as Too Much German Metal
Posted November 30, 2012

If you ever were in the mood for a good solid Judas Priest in their glory days replacement, look no further than Tyran' Pace. Frontlined by the wailing vocalist Ralf Scheepers who started it as an unapologetic Judas Priest ripoff band, arguably even influencing the direction Priest went in later. Just full-on balls-out German speed metal. Later Ralf started the great band Primal Fear that cranked the dial up even further, but there's something to be said for the classic metal sound of these guys ala old Scorpions. Raw guitar sound with enough room in the sonic envelope to fit audible bass into. No Wall-of-Guitars sound here. Have a go! Warning : Dangerous to drive to (Read as "Fun").

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Posted November 30, 2012

If you've ever asked yourself what would happen if Doom and a Flight-Sim hooked up and produced a beautiful baby bastard child, I present to you... Hold for the curtains opening... What're these things broken?...... Descent.

Descent was released after Doom, but years before Quake and was the first full-3D Texture-mapped environment. Yes, That means the good stuff; floors over other floors and huge environments. It also means the bad stuff; terribly hard to navigate labyrinthine levels with an equally retardedly difficult to use map. But brave those elements and you've got one hell of a game. Games of this era were typically advanced and this would be no exception.

The plot is simple and straight-forward : You're a mercenary with a mining vehicle hired by a multi-planetary organization sent in to dispatch rogue mining vehicles infected by a computer virus in various planet's mines, destroy the reactor, and hightail it out of there before it explodes. Obviously there's more to it. There's hostages hidden away in the mines you can find for a bonus. Alternatively you could say "fuck 'em!" and let them burn baby burn. Your choice. But you do get a point bonus for rescuing them. There's also all the nice standards; secrets and hidden powerups. Alternative secret exits leading to secret levels, genuinely dangerous bosses. Actually... That last one is something of an understatement. These bosses are just plain wicked. Let me put it this way; They make Cyberdyne look like My Little Pony girlified wearing a tutu and a pink pretty bow in their hair.

Case-in-point : The various mini-bosses you fight are like legless mechs with this lumpy cam sound like a late 60's/early 70's muscle car. In car terms, the lumpier (read as "blub blub" sound) the cam, the greater the horsepower. Watch this and listen. And these mechs follow that rule. The nastier they are, the lower frequency the sound. Ok, they just sound frickin scary, all right? Of course it helps that the AI in this game was also downright devious. In fact the developer Parallax toned down the AI when they patched the game because it was just too god-damned hard. Enemies pull hit-and-run tactics. They'd hide until you came out and surprise attack you. They'd charge you. You name it. If it sucks for you the player, they'd do it. And the first mech-boss I was mentioning earlier... Oh dear god! You'd hear his horrible low-frequency rumble, he'd slowly appear, and instantly, he's got a Smart Missile lock on you forcing you to fly away for dear life. Once you managed to get a hit on him, he'd turn invisible, teleport somewhere behind you, and get missile lock again. And this is on the second-easiest difficulty setting labelled "Rookie". Beating him is a genuinely nerve-racking experience. But what an accomplishment! Watch the video included where this guy makes short work of it. Sadly, this will probably not be you. Not being a pessimist, just stating facts. This game will teach you the meaning of the word earn. You will earn your victories. No free lunches here.

The game has an innate quality of something that's a work of genius. Like most works of genius it has it's flaws. Yes, it's hard to play somewhat due to actually being able to move and rotate in all 3 dimensions at once. Really, the only way to do it well was the SpaceOrb 360 controller which was probably otherwise the weirdest controller ever. Imagine for a moment a black rubber tennis ball attached to a joystick. That's it. That's the end. You're right that it sounds bizarre and people will invariably say "What the fuck is that??" if you break one out. But when they play Descent before and after with it they will understand why you shelled out $100 for one. It makes playing Descent as natural as breathing. But, it's still doable with keyboard and mouse. Even better with a good flightstick. Either way though... You just can't seem as savvy as SpaceOrb players. It was literally made for games like this.

The music alone is worth noting. It is just flat-out awesome. Highly memorable and catchy. Quality through-and-through. The game was successful enough that for the sequel they got Type O Negative and Skinny Puppy to do some of the tracks on the redbook CD audio.

Descent spawned 2 sequels, a number of level packs, and even a commercial level editor, but ultimately faded out of the mainstream only to be picked up in spiritual successor terms by the game Forsaken. Try it out, especially in high-res. You'll be addicted. Trust me.

Links :
Descent I and II
Descent I (1.5 Patched/fixed with 640x480 HR mode available)
Descent I (Anniversary Edition)
Descent II (1.2 Patched)

OpenGL Source Ports :

Manuals :
Descent (Reference Card)
Descent II

Sites :
Planet Descent
Good Fan Site
Site with walkthrough and pics of the various enemies

Levels, Editors, and Patches :
Sniper's Descent Mission Database
D3fischlein.de - Tons of Levels
Gobs of Levels (All in One Zip)

DMB2 - Official Editor for Descent I & II (2.6 Patched)
DLE : Improved Editor
DLE-XP : Another Improved Editor
Descent Level & Editor Info

Info and fix for the 1.5 Patch blunder committed by Interplay

SpaceOrb 360 (The best controller for Descent) :
SpaceOrb 360's For Sale (Only controller with 6-axis freedom)
SpaceOrb 360 (Ebay Reseller)
SpaceOrb 360 Forums and Software
SpaceOrb 360 Drivers (DOS Version)
SpaceOrb 360 Info
Review from a guy who's truly obsessed

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This is Halloween
Posted October 28, 2012

If there is a more appropriate choice of metal band for Halloween other than maybe King Diamond, I don't know of it. When your name is a combination of hell and the best frickin holiday ever, you've got to bring your A-game musicianship-wise. Fortunately, they do just that in typical German style, with perfect solos, great riffs, and quality lyrics. Best of the breed guitarist Kai Hansen and legendary singer Michael Kiske help that formula out a bit. Among the top-tier of power metal bands. Their mascot is a pumpkin-headed dude. Oh, and they even have a song about Halloween. Yeah, beat that!

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Horror Author + Games = Good Halloween
Posted October 28, 2012

So, it's the official EvilSoft holiday of choice and I'm going to keep this short and sweet and just say that when a famous horror author collaborates with and puts his name on a game, your best bet is to stop what you're doing and just sit down and play it. Good staple scary stuff that's come in scariest game ever lists repeatedly. Perfect game to enjoy this Halloween with. Happy Halloween!

Mwahahahahahaha! :
Clive Barker's Undying
Fansite with Editors and Tools
Another one

Trick or Treats :
All HP Lovecraft's fiction
All Edgar Allen Poe's fiction
Some free Neil Gaiman stories

Dagon (full movie)
Masters of Horror "Dreams in the Witchhouse" episode
Masters of Horror series
Night of the Living Dead (1990) (full movie)
Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (full movie)
House of Usher (full movie)
The Masque of the Red Death (full movie)
The Haunted Palace (full movie)
Picture of Dorian Gray (full movie)

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Screaming Like a Banshee
Posted September 5, 2012

Ah, the 80's. A time where cranking up the dial on everything was par for the course; guitar-playing and operatic vocals notwithstanding. Of course, like anything, there were loads of crappy wanna-be's. But those that could, did it ridiculously. I'm talking 5-octave ranges or get the fuck out. Of course, lyrics played a huge backseat to the musicianship. In fact, when I asked Warrel Dane directly what the album "Refuge Denied" by Sanctuary was about, his exact words were "NOOOOTTTHIIINNNGGGG!! It was just 80's metal bullshit. The second album is where I got my brain".

Still, there are rules. Rules like : 1. Thou shalt sing about dragons minimum twice an album with a full song devoted to them if possible. 2. Barring rule 1, mages are an acceptable replacement. 3. Everything must contain lightning and fire in the descriptions. 4. Swords are another good subject. Include many depictions of them cleaving evil in epic war or being swung while riding on dragons, preferably by a mage. 5. If it's not already clear, fantasy is your friend. Theme your albums in that direction. 6. Barring rule 5, SciFi is an ok replacement. But only if it has spacemages and cyberdragons. 7. Don't forget spacelightning and space fire. Forget that these things are completely unfeasable. In fact, forget reality altogether. 8. Read LOtR or other notable fantasy series like Elric of Melnibone, The Black Company, or other Dungeons and Dragons novels at nearly all times. Take notes. Base entire albums on them. Consider doing a side-project about them if possible with other famous muscians from other famous bands who base their albums on the same things. 9. Read an memorize this list here. and Rule 10. All notes must be above the staff and any that aren't must be contain vocal grit. These are the rules. Write them down.

All the best-of-the-best; Midnight of Crimson Glory, Warrel Dane of Sanctuary, and Geoff Tate of Queensryche followed these rules as did the king metal elf Dio. Of course, Midnight headed towards glam and then some weird hippy hybrid, and that shit just does not fly. Nothing is more the antithesis of metal than smelly hippies. He must've forgotten rule 11 which is stay metal. Anyways, enjoy, and go heavy on the wail!

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"Smithers! Release... the Clones"
Posted September 5, 2012

Back in the good 'ol days of DOS/early Windows gaming, back before multi-million dollar budgets that went mostly to graphics and artwork, and game design catering to mass-idiocrasy and accessibility, man did a lot of quality games come out. So many, that walking into a game store at the time was dangerous to one's wallet. Looking at a list like PC Gamer's Top 100 games of all time, over 40% came before the year 2000. We all know where that's ended up with the Xbox 360/PS3 14-year old COD players. Games with depth, substance, and thoughtfulness fell prey to the "hahA I killed U U stoop1d n00b!!!!111" and Mildly Butthurt Avian crowd; aka "you-can't-loose, hold-your-hand, be-careful-don't-cut-yourself-with-that-spoon" demographic. Tetris while high on crack in zero-G had vastly more depth. Luckily for any gamers with more than 3 working neurons, some game developers, outside the handful of worthwhile studios like Bethesda, BioWare, Piranha Bytes, games released by Paradox Interactive, Matrix Games, and a few others, some independent game developers took it upon themselves to clone the gaming goodness of yesteryear.

Many of these are works in progress, so improvements can and often will come along if any parts are clunky or just plain wrong as of now. But, as they are, many of these are just plain amazing. So, without further ado, I... hearby... release.. the clones!

The Clones (Digital Edition) :
FreeOrion (Masters of Orion)
FreeCiv (Civilization)
FreeColonization (Colonization)
WinWW2 (Steel Panthers)
Ur Quan Masters (Star Control)
OpenGeneral (Panzer General II)
OpenX-Com (X-Com)
X-Com:AI (X-Com)
Crimson Fields (Advance Wars / Nectaris)
Advanced Strategic Command (Advance Wars / Nectaris)
FreeDoom (Doom, duh!)

The Clones (Paper Edition) :
Triple A
Maps for Triple A (Axis and Allies)
MegaMek (BattleTech)
JSettlers 2 (Settlers of Catain)
WinMBT (Main Battle Tank)
Alien Assault (Space Hulk)

Other Dudes :
Battle for Wesnoth
Ad Infinitum
VegaTrek (Star Trek Simulator)
Dink Smallwood
Pacific War
War in Russia
Europa Universalis (and a ton of others)
Hearts of Iron (with restored historical flags)

Links :
A Fuckton More
Double That
Classic Strategy Games site

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Video Game Metal
Posted July 4, 2012

If there was ever a combination that was a figurative match-made-in-hell, and I mean that in the good way, it is old-school 80's video game soundtracks, metalled up. Seriously, best combination ever. Better than sex. Yes, I went there. Can I really mean it? Depends on the sex. Let's just say they're blacker than the blackest black, times infinity. Then double that. Add two. Spin in place. Pat your head and rub your stomach. What do you mean no? Oh, forget it! How about this; When Nathan Explosion said they will make everything metal, he definitely meant video games first. Right after coffee. Yes, indeed these songs go to 11. Listen to these glorious 3.5 hours of metal goodness. If this doesn't bring you back and get you all teary for the golden years when games and metal were practically one in the same, then nothing will. Volume up!

Other kickass bands :
Benevolent Demise (Albums : "Video Game Metal 1 and 2")
Metroid Metal
Dwelling of Duels (Metal video game music contest)

Youtube Shredders :

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Saving Private Ryan : Live
Posted July 4, 2012

Well, let me start by saying happy 4th and all that happy crap, assuming you're a US citizen and all. So, not missing a chance to be appropriate, I present to you, sage reader, quite possibly the best WW2 strategy game ever made.

What's this, you say? WW2? Isn't that some war some old fogies or ancient race fought aeons ago with walkers and faded into some history book that high school students are forced to write boring reports on? You mean there's no deserts or terrorists to deal with? Huh??? None of the above. COD fanboys go home! There's the door. Don't let it hit you in the ass on the way out. Ok, now that they're gone...

This was the last real war the USA fought, and may ever fight. A real adversary, strong, intelligent, and full of fight. Just the kind to make us up our game and wield some real war strategy to gain that precious victory. The kind where the fate of the world does really hang in the balance, not just on wallets at the gaspumps.

This game, Combat Mission : Beyond Overlord uses all of that. Like many strategy games, you play the field commander, overseeing and orchestrating your battle plans to sweet fruition. Unlike other strategy games, this is conducted in a very unconventional and different way.

Say hello to simultaneous execution. No, this is not the result of a bad hit of acid or eating cheese too late at night. Basically, what it means is both sides issue their orders, one-at-a-time, like most turn-based strategy. But none of this is acted on until you click the big Go button, both sides' orders are dealt with at the same time through AI, and you watch your plans go awry from any number of unexpected events. Didn't account for a potential ambush on a march order, now your guys are pinned down with morale busted. Didn't send in a spotter to see what lies in the crossroad ahead, now your tank is brewed up from a well-placed Panzer hit. Didn't utilize cover, now your forces are sending in bodybags by the truckload. Yeah boys, play time's over.

Now, I know what you're thinking... This sounds harsh and brutal. This game hands you a shitstorm and expects you to handle it. Well... That's partially true. The other half of it is, if you didn't make such a tactically blunderous move to begin with, you wouldn't be breaking out the mops for your guys' guts. This game expects you to think ahead to what the grand overview of your actions is supposed to be, taking into account all that could and often does go wrong, and do your best with it. The glorious upside of all this responsibility? Real strategy actually applies and learning from your mistakes and applying that knowledge is hand-rubbingly oh-so-satisfying.

Since your forces are controlled by fuzzy-logic AI, same as the computer, your men will do their best to carry out their orders as you gave them. They are, in the end, well-trained troops, indoctrinated by all that bootcamp... er, code. Whatever... Anyways! So, all your troops do is respond offensively or defensively to whatever happens dynamically, sticking to the plan you laid out best they can. So, you ask, how does one succeed with such touches of reality playing part?

By really planning ahead and considering what you'd do if you were your enemy. By letting a certain number of troops remain on opportunity fire. By using cover and considering morale. Through solid knowledge of available units and their strengths and weaknesses. And lastly, by not treating your troops as cannon-fodder. Every last one of them will be necessary to complete your mission. And there's a ton of missions! And, for any history buffs, you can recreate your favorite stories from history in the included editor, giving ridiculous amounts of replay value.

You get as much time as you want to create your plan, and that Go button executes all of a single minute of actual game time which you can rewatch to your heart's content, from any angle possible. It's like your own private war movie and this game has a way of making you break out in a sweat when things go off the rails and bursting into cheers when things beautifully come together. Gritty. Palpable. The good stuff.

The newer versions of this game upped the ante by adding better graphics, but they change very little in terms of gameplay, and this is frankly a good thing. Even in spite of the graphics (you had to know this was coming), the gameplay is solid, even if the controls are somewhat clunky and proprietary. RTFM! The graphics can be updated by quite a bit via the mods link below, though I doubt anyone actually bothering to play it will much care. Anyways, quite the good game to play on this holiday with "Band of Brothers", "Patton", or "Saving Private Ryan" playing in the background sans fireworks. That is, unless tanks and mortar shells count.

Links :
Combat Mission : Beyond Overlord - Special Edition
Crack (Pre-cracked .exe)
ATI Radeon : Unreadable text fix (Instructions)
GreenAsJade's Combat Mission Mods Warehouse

The Blitz : Wargaming Club
The Few Good Men : Wargaming Club

Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich
Infantry Attacks by Erwin Rommel

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Hail from Poland. All hail Vader!
Posted May 30, 2012

Making sure I don't miss any European countries representing themselves as their country's bastion of metal to the world, it was only a matter of time before I got around to Poland. If I haven't gotten to whatever country you can think of, hold your horses and give me time! Anyways... Since Morbid Angel decided to follow in the footsteps of Marilyn Manson, there was nothing left in the field of death metal to fill that void. That being beautiful, harrowing, wicked, and melodic riffs done like only Trey Azogthoth can. That would be fine if Morbid Angel was an industrial band to begin with, but they're a frickin' death metal band. Apparently someone forgot to remind them before they got back together and put out their last abomination (meant in a bad way) of an album.

Well, worry not. Enter, Vader. With a name lifted straight from the big-bad in Star Wars, you know these guys would have to musically do the equivalent of destroying an inhabited moon with this fully operational death star! Er, I mean, kick some ass with their appropriately pointy guitars. Whatever... Just listen, ok?

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Dies ist gut, nicht Scheiße, du Katze Bauer!
Posted May 30, 2012

Before the advent of 3D cards and all that zazz, we played with squirrels and rocks, and we were glad! Wait wait... Too far back. Let's start over. Before id Software created their swan song Doom and set the world on fire with a graphical arms race extraordinaire, they were cracking holes in 3D spaces, albeit in a cludgey fashion via tackhammer and toothpicks. How you say? Same as they did later with Doom, just with far more restriction. I welcome you to Ray-casting.

Basically, for each line of the screen, you cast a single column out until it hits a wall, calculate the distance and section on the wall, and scale that strip accordingly. If all this sounds excessively technical, then all you need to know is , for it's time, this meant ground-breaking graphics with a mandated 90-degree orthogonal angle between walls.

Looking back now, the graphics are a bit clunky, but that doesn't stop these games from being a ton of fun. Think of it like this : Imagine your favorite 8 and 16 bit arcade games got together with a modern first-person shooter and had a group orgy with a little irreverence for lube. Lives, treasure, loot, and plenty of gratuitous violence thrown in. Yeah, it's great!

Great enough that many companies started requesting licenses for the Wolf3D engine for their games. This happened enough times that it became an inside joke at id and "Let's do another $50k xcopy" was John Romero's response to any new requests. Even id decided to put out a store-only version about the Spear of Destiny, which was reputed to pierce the side of Christ and yield victory to whoever possessed it. The game was much more fast-paced and had a boss every 5 or so levels instead of every 10. Wolf3D and SOD got promptly banned in Germany for it's use of the Horst-Wessel-Lied nazi theme song. I'm sure the Third Reich would've been proud, but let's just say Germany was not having it. That, or the rampant amounts of swastikas (borrowed straight from the Thule Society), and Hitler's face plastered everywhere. Yeah, can't see what problem they'd have with that... Bunch of weirdos.

The spin-offs were pretty damn good too. Good ol'-fashioned run-and-gun in first-person style. Granted, they hadn't gotten their mouse controls very refined yet, so to-this-day the best way to play is a Gravis pad or other 4 button joypad of some sort. Even with just Keyboard and mouse, the game was rockin! And the aforementioned spinoffs were no slouch either. WW2 in arcade form not your style? How about a scifi theme ala Corridor 7 or Blake Stone? How about a Die Hard direct plot ripoff in Operation Body Count? You've got options. Even the games like 8-Bit Killer done intentionally in this style were a solid night of fun. If you want to crank it up a notch, try out some of the tools below to alter the graphics or make new levels. Taking a look back on good ol' Wolf3D, it captures one aspect that many games these days are sorely lacking in : straight fun minus all the ultra-serious bullscheiße.

Das Links :
Wolfenstein 3D (Full version with Super Upgrades) / Site
Wolfenstein 3D : Super Upgrades / Original Ad
Spear of Destiny CD (Alternate) / Spear : Resurrection
Blake Stone : Aliens of Gold (Alternate) / Site
Blake Stone : Planet Strike (Alternate) / Site
Corridor 7 (CD Version) / Site and Downloads
Body Count

Catacomb Abyss Series
8-Bit Killer

Handbücher und Hinweisbücher :
Das Hinweisbücher
Wolf3D FAQ

Editoren und Utilities :
Wolf3D Stuff
Wolf3D Dome
Diehard Wolf3D Bunker

Ports :
List of Ports
Wolf3D GL
Wolf3D SDL

Ebenen :
Das Levels
Das More Levels

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Pray to your Iron God!
Posted February 29, 2012

Fans of Helloween and Gamma Ray know Guitarist/Original singer Kai Hanson's exploits all too well. Barely a German Power metal band can be mentioned without citing his prodigious influence. All his bands have his signature guitar style. Which is to say they are drenched in awesomesauce; Guitar-edition with a hint of cilantro, with the iWail and iShred set to maximum volume on an infinite loop. Which makes Iron Savior Hell-rocking World-Warring German Power Metal aka Eating brautwurst in a beerhall filled with beermaids while sitting on a live electric chair cranked to 11. Jawohl!

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The force is strong with this one.
Posted February 29, 2012

Let's be honest. Any real geek worth their scifi book collection would jump, potentially maim a few people, or burn down a church at the opportunity to fly a Tie Fighter from Star Wars. Among all flying things, they easily make the coolest noises; that RRrrrrreeeeeaaaaahhhhhhhhh sound that kids work so hard to perfect. The fact that they're led by badass Darth Vader only adds to it. So, you can imagine the Star Wars geek level of freakout when LucasArts finally got around to making a space flight sim X-Wing where you fight Tie Fighters in vicious dogfights of pure epicness. Then, to up the ante, they soon after released Tie Fighter where you can finally fly a Tie Fighter and take out the stupid rebel scum and make them pay for blowing up your boss's Death Star, forcing you to have to now commute through space traffic to work. Payback's a bitch suckers!

Both games weave a great story arc through the Star Wars universe, tying together various story points of the movies that weren't explained fully. All that is great. But, after your mission briefing where you're supposed to go destroy some rebel transport ship, nothing is better than getting in, finding out you're a couple minute's flight from this ship, setting all power to thrusters, setting the transport as your waypoint, watching the distance meter count down rapidly with you on the edge of your seat, and then finally getting close enough that you can transfer power back to shields as ships race howling by in front of you with lasers blazing every which-way, and you pulling a tight turn as your target tries to slip you with you letting loose a infinite flurry of lasers at the bastard. It... Gets seriously addictive.

The movies don't do this aspect justice at all. These are the dogfights that all dogfights should be measured by. Dozens of ships on each side. Lasers of every color flying everywhere. All this with fantastic Star Wars tunes pumping in the background. PC Gamer voted it one of the best games ever for good reason. If you have even the least inkling of like of the Star Wars (original) trilogy or flight sims then you simply owe it to yourself to play these masterpieces of gaming.

Links :
X-Wing - Collector's CD & Tie Fighter - Collector's CD
Editors & More editors & Even more editors!

Manuals :
X-Wing - Collector's CD / Reference card
Tie Fighter - Collector's CD / Reference card

Hintbooks :
X-Wing - Collector's CD
Tie Fighter - Collector's CD

Patches :
For Windows XP

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Get a grip!
Posted December 30, 2011

When Dave Lombardo left the world infamous Slayer, everyone wondered where such a drumming legend would go off to. After all, how to you follow up being in one of the most awesomely evil thrash metal bands of all time? Well, Grip Inc is one good way. Capturing the savage groove essence of bands like Sepultura with the same unbridled raw aggression, Grip Inc is a Thrash fan's wet dream. Brooding great guitar work, nasty gritty vicious vocals by a singer who later committed suicide, and, of course, one of the all time greats in metal drumming, Dave Lombardo. Not so good for driving. It'll probably make you start seeing point values on people (old ladies in walkers are 100 points by the way). That said, it is good for a game like Heretic where running down enemies no-holds-barred is par for the course. Enjoy, and have a wickedly metal new year!

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Ultima Underworld 3
Posted December 30, 2011

After the fantastically deep Ultima Underworld 1 and 2, Warren Spector getting fully caught up in his new System Shock series, and Ultima designer Richard Gariott's involvement with the advent of the new MMORPG craze, no one was around to carry the bright torch into a new game. French company Arcane Studios took it upon themselves and decided to take on that responsibility. Unable to secure the rights to an actual Ultima license, they went and developed the awesome spiritual successor under the title Arx Fatalis. All the good parts of Ultima Underworld now coupled with a decent 3D engine, Arx is a fantastic straightforward kicakss-quality RPG with no bullshit or nonsensical fluff. Just what the world needs more of.

Downloads :
Arx Fatalis (ISO)
Patch 1.21
Manual (Right-Click and "save as")
Strategy Guide (Right-Click and "save as")

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Habla Espanol?
Posted November 30, 2011

Making sure I don't miss any weird countries in Europe producing great metal, we round-robin over to Spain and the band Dark Moor. Spain was once known for thier great steel of Toledo and their sweetass castle Acazar, but, maybe the Spanish language doesn't translate well to metal. At least, I would say that if not for the band Dark Moor. Dark Moor is like Disney's Haunted House "Doombuggies" formed a metal band and wrote asskicking melodic-as-hell powermetal songs about HP Lovecraft, Elric of Melnibone, and other Dungeons and Dragons-worthy topics, as any good metal band should. Solid no-fluff powermetal band with great neoclassical influence.

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...On a Magic Carpet Ride
Posted November 30, 2011

Before Peter Molyneux became renowned for his Fable series and had people making fake Twitter accounts for him, he had a number of homeruns under the Bullfrog banner. Some better known than others like Dungeon Keeper. Of the lesser-known sort was Magic Carpet. Overshadowed at the time by far less graphically intensive Doom 2. But making Doom 2 look kiddie-pool depth by way of comparison.

Ok... Prepare yourself for a run-on sentence of massive proportions... Here goes... Basically, you're wizard tasked with the arduous job of restoring equilibrium to each of 50 worlds using spells you find to capture mana by killing enemies and possessing villages to upgrade your castle to store more mana whilst fighting off other wizards who also want to do the same forcing you to annihilate them into oblivion. Phew!

This sounds complex, and, frankly it is. At first... Let's just say that RTFM wouldn't hurt. There's a lot of subtlety and nuances to this game that make it stand out to a staggering degree. But, trust me when I say it quickly becomes intuitive by a few levels in. Like an old leather glove that fits to your hand just right. There's really nothing that needs altering in this game. The formula is simply perfect. It's major critical failure at the time it was released was just that it was way too much game for the PC's of the time to handle. Back in 1994 it came on CD-Rom, incorporated reflections, shadows, a destructible environment, dynamic music that changed based on what you were doing seamlessly. It came packaged with a pair of red/blue 3D glasses for a stereoscopic views that's only since been added to modern games and movies. And it actually fucking works! Not stopping there, they also had a "Magic Eye" stereogram mode, if you can even see those, much less view them in real-time 3D during a fast-paced game. And none of this says anything about the wailing awesome gameplay. Wailing awesomeness that only people with a couple thousand dollar PC could even play respectably which doesn't really lend to market saturation.

You start out with literally no spells. You quickly grab the ones contained in red jars throughout the level that allow you to possess mana, create a castle, and shoot a fireball. New spells are released by flying over certain parts of the level, encouraging exploration. The downside? This also tends to release traps and other monsters. But more to kill I say! Meanwhile, each level typically contains villages that can also be possessed adding to your overall mana pool. As your mana pool increases, your castle reaches capacity and must be expanded up to level 7 to store more. The villages prosper if left alone and expand, eventually getting an archer army to protect it. Attack them and the archers come after you and you're tagged as "the bad guy". Your castle has balloons that go to collect possessed mana in the world. Normally mana is gold to show it's neutral. As you posses it, it turns to your wizard's color, and assuming your castle is not full, they'll go very nicely pick it up for you. Not to say they'll succeed. If they get destroyed along the way by monsters or bastard enemy wizards, then they drop their mana ball to be possessed by the aforementioned douches.

And, honestly, if there's ever been a game with enemy AI that makes you want to crush it into the ground, it's this game. For the fact that the enemy wizard AI can and will do exactly the same devious sort of shit that you would. And it will piss you off when it does! And killing them is no small feat either. As long as any wizard has a castle, any death causes them to respawn at the center of it. So, killing them is this process of attacking their castle, taking it down a level, causing all the excess mana to spill out onto the ground, you frantically flying around to posses it, the enemy scumbag doing the same, and repeat. This is, of course, until you piss off the enemy AI enough and he declares vendetta on your ass, and comes after you to do the same exact thing. It sounds tedious, but it is oh-so-satisfying when you finally grind a wizard down to nothing and pulverize him with a Meteor spell right in the smacker, and the game reporting that he has died. It is seriously an accomplishment.

These are the main parts of the game, but it's not everything either. The game has so many small details that add to it, like forests which burn down due to fire spreading, touchy villagers who will quickly refute you mana if you even so much as accidently attack them during a heated firefight that lobs a stray fireball into their midst, triggers that open up new spells and enemies as you fly around. And, when the game says "World Restored, Press Space To Continue", you're maybe a third done with the level in actuality. There's tons more to do, and the good stuff, new spells and enemies, typically only open up far beyond the point where it tells you you're done, so don't tap that key too quickly!

It's all a dizzying array of things to take into account simultaneously. It's pretty much a strategy game played in action format and the closest thing done similar to it to this day is the great game Sacrifice. But it becomes immersive fast, with you jolting after looking at the clock and finding you just spent 3 to 5 hours in a row playing this fantastic game, it's now 4am, and calling into work sick is a veritable certainty. Of course, that time will be well utlilized to play more (duh!). Simply innovative in every possible way. Not to be missed!

A technical note or two :
- This game works best in DosBox with the sound settings of Sound : Soundblaster / Music : Soundblaster Compatible.
- In the game hit R to switch to high-res, and F4-F7 to turn the various options on.

Downloads :
Magic Carpet Plus (ISO / Manual / Reference Card)
Magic Carpet 2 : The Netherworlds (ISO / Manual / Reference Card)
Official Guide to Magic Carpet 1 & 2 (Hintbook. Useful! Right-Click and "Save As")
FAQ (Short and worth reading)

Mutiplayer :
NetBIOS.exe (needed for multiplayer)
Setting up multiplayer in DosBox
Specific commands to setup Magic Carpet multiplayer (Combining the two links above. See post by "miscreant".)
Maphack.exe (Tool to make your own maps out of image files for multiplayer

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Dead Birds of Metal
Posted October 31, 2011

Ah, Black Metal. It comes in so many flavors; all dark and vicious. Of the more melodic sort enters Netherbird. Hailing from Sweden, they add that Swedish Death Metal quality to black metal ala Dimmu Borgir, producing a necrotic black-feathered offspring that's just as good and arguably better. And, wisely, the band was nice enough to just flat-out give all their albums away, figuring people would just loot them anyways. So, enjoy, free-of-charge (as usual), this awesome death-harbinger in bird form.

Links :
Netherbird blog (includes albums in both MP3 and WAV formats)

Albums :
Shadows and Snow (2011)
Monument Black Colossal (2010)
Covered in Darkness (2009)
Promo (2009)
The Ghost Collector (2008)
Blood Orchid (2007)

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90 Degrees at a Time
Posted October 31, 2011

In the early days of computer RPG's, prior to the advent of 3D rendered landscapes along the lines of Morrowind, Oblivion, and Arx Fatalis, there were, of course, the standard 2D representations that the Ultima series made famous. As the programmers got more inventive, they started to peak holes into 3D views. Not with their fingers, that doesn't actually work unless you're one of those Dim Mak masters. But let me tell you, they faked it pretty well. The hitch? You only got to move in orthogonal (90 degree) increments.

Now, this sounds pretty restrictive, but these guys worked veritable wonders with it. For your lack of ability to move how you want, you got some damn good puzzles and hella-fun stories to play through. And the gameplay value has yet to really be topped. This started with the legendary series Dungeon Master. It later was copied by Westwood studios for it's series of Dungeons and Dragons RPGs titled Eye of the Beholder, The Might and Magic : World of Xeen, the amazing Lands of Lore series, peaking with the utterly orgasmic Wizardry series, and ended with the pathetically lackluster Stonekeep; living proof that improving graphics does not at all improve actual gameplay. The gameplay was compelling enough on it's own that Dungeons and Dragons PC game company even made a random game creator called Dungeon Hack. Capable of creating some devious and simultaneously fun dungeons for a random night, no plot even needed.

In the "Huh, what?" virtually-unknown category came contenders Captive, Xenomorph, Anvil of Dawn, and even a dip into the Terminator franchise with the game Terminator 2029, which is known to chew up seasoned players and spit them out ala cartoon chewing up a box of nails and shooting them out machine-gun style. Even the well-known Warhammer series adopted this style of gameplay with the also bitchin-tough Space Hulk, combining it with a timestop strategic gameplay, where you could give your guys orders to carry out. This is of course, before the AI comes in, raining gailforce on your parade and forcing you to reconsider your strategy. All in a great day of knuckle-biting fun!

Even Raven Software of famed Heretic and Hexen series got their start by copying the Dungeon Master formula via Black Crypt. This style of gameplay is popular enough to this day that one guy even extended the Dungeon Master series named directly Dungeon Master Java, replete with level editor. And there's the nice iPhone RPG simply titled The Quest. Both great with gobs of fun to be had. Even Minecraft directly borrowed from this game lineage, and it's creator Notch indirectly admits it. So, have yourself a nice chill night with any of these fine entries into the RPG Hall of Fame. Once you do, you'll start to find the errand-boy spoonfed standard-faire of modern RPGs downright insulting.

Dungeon Master(s) :
Dungeon Master (Alternate / DM Enclyclopedia)
Dungeon Master 2 (Alternate)
Chaos Strikes Back (Alternate)
Dungeon Master Java (Alternate / Modifications / Eye of the Beholder Levels)
Dungeon Master : Return to Chaos (Alternate)
Dungeon Master... Again!

Other Game Links Eutopia :
Eye of the Beholder Trilogy
Eye of the Beholder (Alternate)
Eye of the Beholder 2 (Alternate)
Eye of the Beholder 3 (Alternate)

Lands of Lore (Alternate)
Lands of Lore 2
Lands of Lore 3

Might and Magic : World of Xeen (Alternate / Alternate 2)
Might and Magic : Clouds of Xeen (Alternate / Alternate 2)
Might and Magic : Dark Side of Xeen (Alternate / Alternate 2 / Alternate 3)
Might and Magic : Swords of Xeen (Alternate / Alternate 2 / Alternate 3)

Wizardry 6 (Alternate / Game Advice / Fan Page with Editors and Patches)
Wizardry 7 (Alternate / Game Advice)
Wizardry Gold (Just Wizardry 7 for Windows / Portal Site)
The Ultimate Wizardry Archives (Includes Wizardry 6, 7, and Gold)

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Collector's Edition
Dungeons & Dragons: Order of the Griffon (TG16) (Manual / Walkthrough / Walkthrough #2 / Let's Play (text))
Dungeon Hack (Alternate)
Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures (Alternate / Expansions Modules / More Expansions)
Dungeon Craft (Expansions / Extra Graphics)
Space Hulk (Alternate / CD Version / CD Version Alternate)
The Legacy : Realm of Terror (Fantastic Lovecraft-inspired game / Alternate / Alternate 2 / Hintbook)

Das Underdogs :
Terminator 2029 (Expansion)
Ishar Trilogy (Alternate / Alternate 2)
Captive (Alternate)
Xenomorph (Alternate)
Anvil of Dawn (Alternate)
Hired Guns (Alternate / Alternate 2)
Abandoned Places (Alternate / Alternate 2)
Abandoned Places 2 (Alternate)
Black Crypt
Moraff's World
Stonekeep (Alternate)

In case of dead links :
Abandonware Ring

Manuals and Hintbooks :

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Summer Shredfest
Posted July 17, 2011

It's the peak of summer and to celebrate the awesome weather here, here's my personal playlist of soaring, wailing shred-happy guitar-work that is fantastic to listen to on a bright sunny day. All these guitarists deserve mention : Vinnie Moore, Andy Timmons, Tony Macalpine, Reb Beach, Joe Satriani, Edu Ardanuy. All world-class shredders. Mostly unknown except by guitar nerds. Get yourself a Corona with a lime, a pair of sunglasses, and crank this stuff up!

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Ninja Please!
Posted July 17, 2011

Now that hell's frozen over officially and Duke Nukem Forever has come out, it's not difficult to see where Duke draws his influence from. That being previous 3D Realms games such as Duke Nukem 3D, Redneck Rampage, and Shadow Warrior.

Duke had his fair share of interactivity, but Shadow Warrior ninja-kicked this up a notch and threw a few shurikans into to to nail it to the wall. Cool challenging puzzles that DNF borrowed directly like a closed-off room where you can use a remote-control car to bring the key to one small opening just to name one specific example. The list goes on and on... These games are all about these little experiences they give to you, not about "beating the boss and saving the day" like the typical borderline-gay one-dimensional emo superhero.

Also, Shadow Warrior, like Duke and Redneck Rampage, has another quality that's sorely lacking in most modern FPS's; That being a sense of humor. Like DNF and Duke Nukem 3D that came before it, Shadow Warrior doesn't even attempt to take itself seriously. Unlike most modern shooters where you've been tasked to "save the world" and it all rests squarely on your shoulders, these Build Engine games turn that on it's ear and proceed to unload a can of whipped cream in it, then laugh mockingly and run away. If you're saving anything, you're either doing it for selfish reasons, like Duke's car getting shot up, or in this case, an 80's movie plot with an ex-bodyguard going after his previous corrupt boss. Standard fare, not-so-standard-fare fun.

As if this extremely polished FPS wouldn't be good in it's own right, the whimsical little jokes and references just add to the fun factor. Something that can't be said of ultra-serious, ultra-expensive, ultra-graphically-intensive, and ultimately ultra-boring games like Cysis. Throwing 50 spoilers, body-kits, and custom whistling exhaust on a Lamborghini does not make it more fun to drive. All the physics in the world can't make up for infusing a game with some good ol'-fashioned fun. Which is the point of games, isn't it?

Downloads :
Shadow Warrior High-Res (3.4 Master-Faster)
Shadow Warrior (Original)

Glorious Links o' Wonder :
Official Site.
Shadow Warrior Central. (Portal with Tons of User-Created Levels)
Walkthrough / Secrets
Shadow Warrior High-Res Patch.
Retexturing Project.
Addon Levels.
Ultimate Level and File Portal.
More Addon Levels. (Official)
JonoF's Shadow Warrior Port.

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The Darkest of Angels
Posted June 11, 2011

In the heyday of thrash there were the obvious choices of the time : Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Overkill, Exodus, Death Angel, Testament, Sepultura, etc. But, of course, there were some acts that really never got the recognition they deserved. A notable one of the unsung hero category is Dark Angel. Described as the "LA Caffeine Machine" or a more aggressive version of Slayer, these guys brought it in a way that's hard to match the intensity of. Before Gene Hoglan was raking in the dough by playing for Metalocaplyse and doing drum clinics, he got his start here with some absolutely wicked drumming. The rest of the members were no slouches either, with relentless savage riffs (246 on one album alone) and some great tenor singing-style. Their career was short-lived, but the albums they did put out are Thrash Metal gold. Listen for yourself and you'll hear. Mosh!

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I Checkmate Your King... Biotch!
Posted June 11, 2011

Chess. The intellectual's strategy game of choice. Older than dirt and still thriving. And there's good reason for that. Plainly it's a deep game. Tactics and strategy at their most pure. Sure, there's tons of good strategy games that are basically Chess on steroids like Advance Wars, Nectaris (aka Military Maddness), and Daisenraku VII which is like Advance Wars on steroids, but they all originally cribbed off of Chess. Of course, there's also the fantastic Japanese game Go which has too many possible moves for computers to mimic effectively. But this is absolutely not a problem with Chess. In fact, the programming of various engines has become so advanced that the engines now regularly exceed the average ELO rating of Grandmasters.

Now, most people think computer chess and their ass arriving on a silver platter for dinner comes to mind. And that's just Joe-Average Chess Engines. But, these chess engines are so badass that they make Gary Kasperov cry and then kick his puppy to drive it home! I will tell you this though. play against these, and every other Chess game will seem like a frolicking hopskotch through a field of daisies on a bright summer day. The upside of this is that playing these will make your Chess game go up in a hurry. And, while it's fun to kick your friend's and family's collective butts in Chess, you'll be challenged to find a more skilled opponent to push your brain against. To that end, there's these free interfaces which use these Hal-9000 engines; Notably WinBoard and Arena. Arena is far easier to set up but has slightly less overall control. Winboard gives you totalitarian control, but at the expense of complexity.

To help you out a bit, I've already spent a few weeks getting all these things packaged up nicely for you, so, for the most-part, you can just download them and have happy good times getting run over by these ridiculously high-powered engines like a M1 Abrams Tank going over a worm. That said, let me make a few notes so you don't get too stuck :

- These engines work off of what are called Chess Fonts. Basically they're standard True-Type fonts that Windows uses but, in this case, the GUI interfaces for the chess engines use them to display all the pieces. To install these Fonts, you just unzip the .TTF file and copy them into the Windows\Fonts directory. Windows will say "Installing Font" for all of 2 seconds and it'll be done. Yeah, it's really that easy.

- WinBoard has a weird way of dealing with multiple user accounts on Windows and it basically forces you to deal with it. It's not nonsensical, but just overblown a bit. Like you and your roommates really want drastically different chess interfaces. But, anyways, in the Winboard download below there is an "Application Data" folder with a few files. You need to find your Application Data directory (In XP under your "Documents and Settings\[User Name]" directory. In Vista under Users\[User Name]\Appdata\Roaming) and dump these files in there to get the look above by default. Some more info here.

Downloads :
Winboard (Chess GUI) (Original Unmodified Version)
Arena 3.0 (Chess GUI)
Microsoft Chess circa 1992
Chess Fonts Collection
Chess Engines (My Collection : Baddest of the Bad)
Chess Engines (Another Collection : Still Bad)
"Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess" Book

Wonderous Links Galore :
Chess Variants.
Chess Engines.
Chess Fonts Page.
Winboard Forums. (Look as shown above)

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Don't be Suicidal!
Posted April 29, 2011

Unless it's the band Suicidal Tendencies. Let's be frank... Being whiny, emo, apathetic, butthurt, downtrodden, and crying in buckets is not going to solve a damn thing. So you've got to give a band like Suicidal credit when they capture that crowd and dump a proverbial bucket of cold water over their heads lyrically and manage to add some awesome thrashy riffs, solos, and funny campy videos on top of that. At least, sometimes they do. The rest of the time they get pretty whiny. So, here's the best songs I've found by them, sans nancy-boyishness. Enjoy!

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ROTT in Hell!
Posted April 29, 2011

After the success of Wolfenstein 3D, id briefly considered doing a direct sequel in the form of Wolfenstein 2. Being that their previous creative Director Tom Hall was now at 3D Realms/Apogee, Tom took it upon himself to have id outsource the work to them. Then mid-drift, id pulled the plug on the project to concentrate on the release of Doom, and the project metamorphised into something unrecognizable. You can see the influence of Wolfenstein 3D, with Nazi-esque guards and whatnot. But then, there's all the whacky randomness. Things that just make absolutely no sense, like Gravitational Anomaly Disks, God Mode where the guy mumbles as he kills people with full-on deity handpower, Dog mode, and a Shrooms powerdown. I am not joking. And of course, you need to add some robed koolaid drinking cult to kill (the Koolaid didn't work).

Don't get me wrong. It's actually a good straight-forward shooter. And that's what makes it's weirdness redeemable. But, just wait until the first time you kill a room full of people in Dog mode where you bark in successively higher pitches "bark Bark BARK BAAARK!!" with people just exploding into showers of ludicrous gibs and you're going to have a hard time not laughing. Or kill a fleet of enemies with Excalibat; a mystical green-flamed baseball bat straight from the pit of hell's dugouts which shoots out waves of exploding baseballs. This is a real game, no joke. Seriously, I think they added shrooms as a powerdown as a reference to the massive doses of them they were taking during development.

And, the boss fights are pretty memorable too. Most especially the NME aka "Nasty Metallic Enforcer" who looks like a dirty trashcan with wheels, but makes a sound that will be tatooed on your brain forever after, like a robotic gyro turning quickly. Right before it proceeds to hand your ass to you on a silver platter. It's the most bizzare and insane fun you'll probably ever have playing a first person shooter.

Links :
WinROTT (Allows to run ROTT natively in Windows in high-res)
Official Site with Editor and Addon Extreme Level Pack
ROTT Goodies Pack
ROTT Level Compilation
Return to ROTT (Doom Mod)

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Firewind : Epic Power Metal
Posted March 29, 2011

So, last month was Frenchy-French month, and this month, we're going Greek. No, that doesn't mean this blog goes in your butt. It means that this Wagnerian opera-level epic band Firewind hails from the land of Socrates. Kostas Karamitroudis, figuring rightly that noone could pronounce that name, changed it to Gus G. From there, Gus G., influenced by the uber-shredder Joe Stump while at Berklee, used Firewind a vehicle to showcase his jaw-dropping guitar work, becoming a more serious project and evolving into 6 awesome power metal albums. All the band members are strong here, but Gus really stands out to a profound degree. So much so, that he has filled in for the mighty Michael Amott of Arch Enemy and Carcass legend in concerts, and is now filling the very large boots of viking guitar god Zakk Wylde. Solid full-speed power metal with a dash of virtuosity thrown in for good measure.

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Dark Forces Finds Your Lack of Faith Disturbing
Posted March 29, 2011

After the game Doom came out, the clone wars began. No no, not the Star Wars Clone Wars. The First-Person-Shooter clone wars. Most were total crap. To not have mind-blowing graphics is completely acceptable. But, to have less gameplay value than a busted rock is just plain pathetic. If this is the best that some of these people can do, I am not impressed. Honestly, you'd be better off dumping a box of Cheerios on the ground and playing with them. Far more entertaining than these. However... There were definitely some that not only were as good as Doom (John Romero is screaming blasphemy right now), but even exceeded the core run-and-gun "electrocuted cat running over velcro" lightning-fast gameplay of Doom. Dark Forces was most definitely among them.

Dark Forces started out as an idea to grab some of the pie opened up by the venerable id Software. Originally it was intended to even license the Doom engine, but that idea very quickly ended and the team went on to make their own that added a lot of features not seen in Doom. Rooms above rooms. The ability to look up and down. Atmospheric effects like fog. Polygonal models. A flashlight in 1995! But all this wouldn't mean a thing if it weren't for one aspect.

Star Wars universe. There is simply no feeling better than forcefully planting a Stormtrooper firmly on his plasticy ass right after he says "Hey! You're not authorized to be in this area!" blaster-style. Seriously, it never gets old. If it did, you're doing it wrong. Then there's the later epic boss fight between you and Boba Fett before you take his damned jet pack for your very own! Psyche! But you do fight Boba Fett in what's one of the best, albeit short, boss battles ever. And to call the forced fistfight with a Kell Dragon memorable is like calling a nuclear bomb an effective means of clearing out an area. And the whole time, you're using weapons to mow down en-masse all the baddies from the movies that you know and remember; that is of course, if you're cool, unlike this guy.

Then there's the little touches that just add to everything. The raging scream as you fall to your death. Robot mice that comes out of the wall that you can shoot for their batteries. That's right! Mouse. You've got my batteries. Give 'em up bitch! Ovehearing smatterings of Stormstooper conversations before you rush in and lay waste to them all! Awesome Star Wars soundtrack bristling with intense rushed-forward energy. Fantastic story unfolding of Darth Vader's plan to build an army of Dark Troopers; AI Robotic troopers that will hand your ass to you on a silver platter, complete with that little cruddy piece of garnish. Badass real-man silent-type main character with cajones. The kind of guy who probably has a Stormtrooper tied up in his closet to punch when he's having a bad day.

Then, to make matters even better, it continues with the equally fantastic Jedi Knight which starts out with a Han Solo-esqe deal gone wrong, some guy dead on the bar table and another running away for his life. We all know Han fired first, so it's equally satisfying later when you run into Gweedo and get to mow him down with extreme prejudice. Then the bartender mentioning to get out because you always cause trouble and the endless list of Easter Eggs like Sam from Sam and Max making a cameo are frickin' great. The list of good things I'd have to say about this game would fill a phone book, so instead of me blathering on like an idiot, I'm going to just tell you. It's all... simply perfect. Go download this ASAP and give it a play. Go on! Carpe ludus! Stop drooling and Seize it!!

Links :
Dark Forces
Jedi Knight : Dark Forces 2 (Disc 1)
Jedi Knight : Dark Forces 2 (Disc 2)
Jedi Knight & Mysteries of the Sith expansion (Alternate)
Daemon Tools Lite (For mounting .iso's)

Dark Forces Stuff :
Dark Forces XL (GPU-accelerated remake) (Older Page/Forum/Video)
Dark Forces Community (New Levels, Editors, and Any Other Info You Could Possibly Want. Still active!)
Dark Forces Wikia
Dark Forces Fan Site With Detailed Info
Dark Forces FAQ
Dark Forces Moby Games Entry

Jedi Knight Stuff :
Manual - Mysteries of the Sith
Jedi Knight Community (Under JK/MOTS Section. Blah blah blah... Good Stuff Here)
Jedi Knight Wikia
Jedi Knight Site With Detailed Info
Jedi Knight FAQs
Jedi Knight Moby Games Entry

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Daisuki Ishiwatari : Metal To Drive the Speed of Light To
Posted February 27, 2011

This guitarist, game designer, and artist of the famed Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series makes wailing metal that makes you want to drive down windy roads at mach speed while breathing fire and shooting lightning bolts out of your eyes. It has that sort of breaking out and pushing harder than you ever have before feel, while somehow managing to not blow an o-ring. In fighting game terms, if the last combo hit 3 times, this time you need to hit 6, and drain your opponent's life to negative in a mouth-dropping blur; just to catch that look of crushed hope in their eye, right before they toss the controller at the ground.

Put another way, this music sounds like guitars exploding and shooting out more guitars, while throwing guitars at the wall. A 50-Megaton nuclear explosion of guitars! Literal proof that you can never have too much guitar!

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The Elder Scrolls : MMORPG's Without All the Annoying People
Posted February 27, 2011

The Elder Scrolls series stands out as one of the all-time best RPG's ever to grace the PC with it's prescence. Deep, engaging, emersive gameplay. This series has all the good stuff of any MMORPG, minus all the stupid and annoying people. Not to mention, some douche isn't going to come along and player-kill your character (but the AI will be all too happy to do it for you).

You start out being able to pick your race and class, old-school D&D-style, or, alternately, you can take a quiz that helps assign a class based on your values. Either way, you start in a dungeon (as usual), and have to fight your way out, going up levels the whole time, and getting some crappy rusty swords, that are nonetheless badass. At least, until you later, 40+ hours into the game, acquire some +18334 Sword of Genetically-Modified Biotechnological Warfare Cyborg Termite-Slaying, which then turns the game into your own personal bloodbath. Rawr! Power!!!

These aren't very good games at all to attempt to beat. Grinding through them as fast as possible takes all the fun out of them, like some wicked killjoy evil clown that just popped your balloon. What they are good for is a steady diversion to come back to time and time again. You can seriously milk these games forever. Why pay for a costly life-vampire WoW account when you can get these games for free and just play them to your heart's content, kill a few hours, and call it a day?

The games, while cliche in their stereotypical fantasy setting, are still loads of fun, even to this day. Good straight-forward hardcore RPG sandbox games. The closest thing to a living breathing world in digital form that isn't a MMORPG.

The series peaked with the stunningly epic Morrowind, which was modded and expanded to all getout, due in large part to giving away the world editor with the game. Messing with a game has never been made simpler. Well... In Epic RPG proportions anyways. As large as the gameworld in Morrowind is, it's less than 1% of the size of the world in Daggerfall. Don't let that fool you though. The game is huge and humbles people to their knees who throw around the term epic with reckless abandon. If your neighbor thinks his pimped Honda replete with 2x4 wing is epic, this will smack him in the mouth with unbridled new levels of epicness. Did I mention it's epic?, It is still sold for ~$10. It is indeed that good.

Oblivion saw the series start to wind down the bath drain in a blood-frothy death spiral. All the non-linear goodness washed away by uber-shiny graphics which contributed absolutely nothing to the gameplay. Seriously, even the boards are shiny in that game. Go outside sometime, and attempt to find yourself a shiny board. Enough said. I rest my case. Of course, there is the Morroblivion Mod, which turns Oblivion into Morrowind using the Oblivion engine, if you own both games. Skyrim comes out this November 11th. Let's just say I'm dubious whether it's going to be more of the same dumbed-down formula that Oblivion delivered in coffin-covering spades. Let's hope not!

All that said, I have one extra copy of Morrowind GOTY Edition kicking around to give away to whoever first asks me. Supplies are limited (there's one). Act now! You snooze, you lose. Don't blame me if you find yourself crying into your pillow at night over missing out on this.

Links :
Elder Scrolls Site
Arena (Info)
Daggerfall (Info, Beginner's Guide/Daggerfall XL (GPU Accelerated Version))

Morrowind Mods :
Morrowind Info
Morrowind Upgrades
Even more Morrowind Upgrades
Morrowind Expansions
Morrowind Mods and Downloads at ModDB

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Adagio : Crepes ala Metal
Posted January 30, 2011

The French gave America wine, cheese, The Statue of Liberty, and helped us fight for and gain our independence from Britain during the Revolutionary War. But... Metal?!? Who would've thought the French could be metal? Let alone kickass metal? Well, there's a first time for everything I suppose. And these guys deliver asskicking in spades. Amazing dark and melodic progressive metal. High quality stuff all the way. It's a good way to kick off a new year with some awesome metal that surely the Elder Gods (in France) have created. You're probably supposed to drink wine while you listen to this, but, shh! I didn't tell you that...

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Shmups and Emulators
Posted January 30, 2011

Let's face it. Old-school 8 and 16-bit console games were the best. NES, SNES, Sega Master System, Genesis, Turbo Grafx 16 (most underrated system ever), Neo Geo, Gameboy. It was the era where gameplay trumped graphics, which always forced the game designers to be interesting, fun, whimsical, and inventive. None of this "All flash, no cash" or "Style over substance" bullshit here. This mentality led to a golden age of console games where fun was the highest priority. And most gamers with some broad realworld experince would agree that these games, to this day, are among the best. Sure, there's been a resurgence of rerelease of these games and their like through Virtual Console (Wii), XBLA (Xbox 360), PSN (PS3), and iPhone/Android. And, of course, there's the purist ideal option of getting your hands on the actual console and cartridge, rubbing the contacts with alcohol, and playing on the real-deal, complete with nostaligic frustrating "watch helplessly as you fall to your death for the 15th time in a row into a bottomless pit/Run into enemy shot/Oops! Touched the spikes!" (yeah, I am talking about Super Ghouls and Ghosts) slow-down problems.

But, for many people, having the ability to get all your gaming in via PC is arguably even more ideal. This is one of those gray areas morally, because, obviously if the company is still making money off it, pirating it is cutting into someone else's profits, which they rely on to keep their business going. But, assuming you own the cart and just want the convenience of having all your games in a single place, or, if you're a pirate, and just don't care about all that messy crazy morality stuff, then emulators are king. So, to avoid any potential legal nonsense (aka "The 8th Circle of Legal Hell"), I'm only listing the best of the best sites for the emulators themselves. You're on your own for getting the actual roms. I'm not going to baby you and list rom sites here. But, trust me when I say that's not even remotely difficult. You're more likely to go outside, pick up a rock, throw it at the ground, and miss, than to not find roms for all the old-school systems. It is stupid-easy.

Also, to celebrate Nintendo's contributions to gaming history, here's a documentary on them.

Shmups :
Solar Striker Remake
Shooting Witches
Nobody Shooter
Warning Forever
Banshee - (Video of gameplay) / (Requires HWA emulator being installed first)
Tyrian 2000 (Alternate)
Not August

TIGDB Shmups List
Free Shmups List #1
Free Shmups List #2
Free Shmups List #3

Emulator Sites :
Zophar's Domain
Emulator Zone
Retro Games
Emu Paradise
Wikipedia List
Emulators on OSx
Amiga Emulator and Games

Romhacks :
Lunar IPS Patcher for Romhack Files
Romhacks for Japanese ROMS
Romhack Wikipedia Article
More Romhacks than you can shake a stick at (Mario, Zelda, Megaman, Final Fantasy, Metroid, Castlevania, oh my!)
Go ahead. Just try to shake a stick at this. It's mocking you!
Super Mario World Romhacks
Super Mario World Central
Super Mario Forever (Evil Evil game)

Editors :
Metriod 2 Level Editor
Super Mario World Level Editor
Way too many Level Editors to list
Even more Level Editors (not joking)

Misc Games :
DraculaX (Alternate) (TG16)
Blade Buster (NES)
Mario Forever (PC)
Super Mario X (PC)
Sonic Fan Remix (PC)

USB Convertors :
PS2 to USB Convertor #1
PS2 to USB Convertor #2
PS2 to USB Convertor #3

USB Joysticks :
NES USB Joystick
SNES USB Joystick #1
SNES USB Joystick #2

Joystick to Keyboard Utilities :

Game Music :
Best site for Game Music
Video Game Music Archive
Overclocked Remix
EmuParadise's Music Archive
Benevolent Demise - Video Game Metal (Vol 1 and Vol 2)

TG16 Bonk Series Music
Castlevania 20th Anniversary Premium Music Collection
Doom 1 and 2 MP3's (NES)
Classic DOOM 3 Original Mod Soundtrack (PC)

Shirts :
Game Shirts at 80's Tee's
Game Shirts at Teenormous
Game Shirts at Nerdy Shirts
Castlevania Shirt (Castlevania II)
More Castlevania Shirts

Misc :

Every issue of Nintendo Power (and More!)
Hardcore Gaming 101
Castlevania Artbooks

Wikias/Shrines :
Castlevania Wikia
Castlevania Dungeon
Ninja Gaiden Wikia
Metroid Database
Metroid Wikia
Metroid Headquarters
Bonk Compendium
Megaman Wikia
Sonic Wikia
Mario Wikia
Earthworm Jim Uncylopedia
Earthworm Jim Wikia
Ghosts and Goblins Wikia
Ghosts and Goblins Shrine

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Ode to Chuck Schuldiner
Posted December 3, 2010

Death. Are you the end? I think not for metal.

Oh Chuck! Your metal savagry lives on.
You ignite the senses with your wild wicked riffs.
You make grown men weep with your delicate melodies.
You are stealthy in a subtle ninja-like way.
Worming your way into our ears like a graveworm in a fresh cadaver.

You begun a revolution in metal,
Espousing Death as metal's highest virtue.
Woe to thee that disrespects your metal street-cred!
You will be bludgeoned with pointy guitars!

You begun with primal viciousness.
You ended with a frosty cold night's embrace.
Your unbelievable range of musical focus is legendary!
Your fingers burn your fretboard with unmatched intensity.

You fought your cancer with epic metal might!
And fell prey to your own ironic namesake.
You will be remembered, oh dear metal brethren.

This month, your contributions are recalled,
on the anniversary of your death.
Live on, oh metal brother!
In Death, your name is immortalized!

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Arcanum : Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
Posted December 3, 2010

With a name that means "Deep Secret Wisdom", Arcanum is arguably Troika's crowning achievement. Considered by many to be even better than his extremely highly-regarded Fallout series and the Baldur's Gate series, garnering a rabid underground following and claiming an extremely difficult to achieve 90% and Editor's Choice Award out of PC Gamer in 2001, an 80 in Mobygames, and a Gamespot rating of 8.5 (out of 1767 votes!). Arcanum is a nonlinear masterpiece of isometric RPG gaming.

Set in a nontypical Steampunk fantasy setting, the world, previously dominated by magic, has undergone a fantasy-equivalent of an industrial revolution, adding primative technology to the world. There's an inherent tension to the mix, weaving through the entire story-arc. People prioritizing the old ways (The tight-assed Republicans of the world) don't like the new Obama-esque technological new ways and vice-versa. You know they really secretly want to do each other one day and then go to war complete with broken bottles and chains the next.

The game plays almost exactly like Fallout and Diablo, allowing the player to move around by selecting with the mouse. There's a ton of skills, spells, and character classes to upgrade the characters with, allowing for a massive amount of replay value. This is one of those games you can play 5 times and have each pass play out differently. There's some malignment regarding bugs, polish, and balance factors that are mostly fixed by patches on the linked sites below. Let's be honest though, no game is perfect, and there's always going to be naysayers and gripey bitchy people crying with their god-damned bleeding hearts about various inane crap. That said, the good far outweighs the bad here providing for an Ultima 7-like gameplay experience that ends up being a more than worthwhile experience. It will not be time wasted for you, that much I can say with certainty.

Enjoy and Happy Festivus! (Commence with the airing of grievances).

Download Here.

Manual, Guide, Mods, and High-Res Patch all here.
Newest Unofficial Patch.
Prima Official eGuide Main site.
Fan Blog providing a detailed look into various aspects of the game.

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Musical Prelude to a Post-Mortem
Posted November 30, 2010

Coroner is one of those underrated gems, that when you find you just want to show off to everyone, knowing that if you didn't, they may never find this band of their own accord. Seriously, this would likely even be the case with me if it wasn't for Headbanger's Ball in 1989 playing the video for "Masked Jackel", exposing me to the world of European metal. Ex-roadies of Celtic Frost, these wicked-talented guys struck out on their own, doing more with 3 members than most bands can with 5 (let alone Slipknot with 9). These guys have enough talent in one finger to push planets out of alignment with their metalness. Amazing neoclassical stuff with no compromises in brutality or the thrash quality of their work. Take a quick tour here. You'll hear it. Great stuff to wheel fresh corpses around to.

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Posted November 30, 2010

X-Com. That really should be enough said. X-Com's a game that melds macrocosmic and microcosmic strategy into a whole that people are trying to outdo even to this day. In X-Com : UFO Defense you play a corporation that's attempting to dominate the alien forces that are secretly spying on Earth (and probably abducting rednecks and conspiracy theorists).

You start out with a view of the planet Earth and start by locating where the UFOs are landing. You start with 3 ships that you have to send in to capture the UFO. Once you get one, you switch to a 45-degree offset view with individual troops. In turn-based fashion, you proceed to send your guys in to kick alien butt and chew bubblegum. Though, more typically, you get your ass whipped by a bunch of aliens with mind-control devices and ray-guns. Eventually, once you get your tactics proper, you capture and kill all the aliens in the UFO, grab one of their bodies for a autopsy, and grab some loot in the form of hyper-complex alien technology to research and equip in further missions.

Just good tactical stuff. So good, in fact, that it still comes in #1 of the best games of all time. Check it out and break off some cold hard alien justice! You know you want to be a hero. That's why your mom still has the picture of you as a kid in your Superman underoos on the fridge. All your friends know. Don't kid yourself. It's ok. We like you anyways...

The sequel returns after a BP oil disaster for you to put the Deep Water eldritch abominations back in their hole. Yeah... Good times!

A note with these versions : X-Com : UFO Defense is setup to run straight in Windows. X-Com 2 will need to be run in Dosbox. Do that and you'll be fine.

Download Here complete with manuals.

Best site for info.
Site with some editing utilities.

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Halloween Metal : King Diamond
Posted October 28, 2010

King Diamond - Sleepless Nights
Uploaded by RoadrunnerRecords. - Explore more music videos.

King Diamond - Welcome Home
Uploaded by RoadrunnerRecords. - Explore more music videos.

There is a guy in metal who single-handedly represents the spirit of Halloween in a way unmatched by any contemporaries. And that guy is King Diamond. His songs have all the good stuff you'd expect from a good horror novel. To list all the aspects would require a frickin' encyclopedia, so instead, I just threw together a playlist of 6 videos that will sum it up better than words could possibly attempt to. So, here you go. Cozy up to them. Best served with tea with just a little bit of blood.

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Scariest Game Ever
Posted October 28, 2010

Lists of the top 10 scariest games (List 2, List 3, List 4) routinely mention one game in particular : System Shock 2. The reason is easy. It is, quite simply, a badass game. High-Octane Nightmare Fuel. Most games are content to throw an unexpected enemy or two at you and call it a day. On a scale of candy-ass to I-eat-live-frag-grenades-for-kicks, this game definitely ranks at the later end of the spectrum. The game draws from some of the scariest movies ever like Event Horizon and The Thing, setting a stage for grand horror that other games have been trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to capture in the same way. Dead Space and Bioshock both rip this game directly, but not to the same level of effect. The game's purpose is this : System Shock is a series formulated with the single goal of scaring the shit out of anyone who plays it. That's it. That's all. The best thing about this game? The sound. This game easily has the best implemented sound of any game ever made. Doom III really tried to borrow from this game's unbelievable use of sound to create terror and failed miserably. It really is that good.

You start out on the Von Braun, a direct nod to the German scientist who helped design the rocket that put Neil Armstrong on the Moon, the first faster-than-light starship. As you'd expect with any great new-fangled technology, things go horribly horribly wrong. And then some. And then some more. As if technology that peeks holes in space ala-HP Lovecraft wasn't toying with the fringes of space and time enough, you have an evil AI named Shodan (Ripped from the Harlan Ellison (Creator of the Terminator mythos via Outer Limits (Original Series) episodes "The Soldier" and "Demon With a Glass Hand") story "I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream") hellbent on smashing you like the meddlesome bug you are. Of course, you're just trying to stop it, not because you are a Schwarzenegger-esque one man army, but because that's the only chance of you surviving. Yeah, your situation is that bleak. If you really want the full effect (read as : you are a man), I recommend playing this game at night in the dark at full volume (or headphones). Wear diapers. I will not be held accountable. You have been warned.

Links :
System Shock 2 (Original Page in Polish)
Alternate download site, Alternate #3, Alternate #4
Mods, Texture, and Model upgrade patches
Additional Fan Missions
Site with Windows Themes, Level Editor, and Various fanworks
New 2.4 Patch (Released September 2012)

Manuals :
Manual (Reference Card)
Official Guide

Some other honorable mentions, not surprisingly all based on Lovecraftian Mythology, are Legacy : The Realm of Terror (alternate), Alone in the Dark (alternate), and Realms of the Haunting.

And because it's Halloween, here you go. All H.P. Lovecraft's and Edgar Allen Poe's fiction. And every episode of The Outer Limits (New Series). Trick or Treat! Mwahahahahaha!

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Run Wild!!!
Posted September 5, 2010

Ok, since this month is my birthday, I'm going to be totally unashamed in just flat out promoting my all-time favorite band ever, Running Wild. Four words : Pirate themed metal band. Seriously, there's not enough good things I can say about this band. They've got it all metal-wise : Rebellion (who was more a rebel than freaking pirates? Who? Noone, that's who), amazing melodic riffs, great lyrics (yes, despite being a German band, they do sing in English. Though, I did find out the hard way while seeing them live in Germany that they don't speak in English between songs. Minor issue though... Not complaining.), and 13+ consistent albums. Their music ranges in between hard rockin' stuff like old Motley Crue and fast as lightning Iron Maiden, and usually a bit of both for good measure. All their stuff is good. You could not go wrong to pick up any album by them on any given day and go to a random song and give it a listen. Best band ever! Good enough, that the ex-members went off and created their own spinoff band X-Wild. Unfortunately, they closed up their plundering and pilaging ways in 2009 after the singer/guitarist started his own pussed-out new band Toxic Taste (an apt name), which promptly tanked, and means what's out is all we're ever going to get. It's ok if you get choked up about this. So, for you folks, my kickass readers, I whipped up my personal favorites into a playlist. Enjoy while Running absolutely crazy Wild! Flick the parrot off your shoulder, don your eye-patch, drink your tankard of rum, and raise your fist! Fuck yeah metalheads! Yarrrrr!!!

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Evil is Good!
Posted September 5, 2010

With a tagline like Evil is Good, it'd be hard to imagine the game Dungeon Keeper being bad. Well, bad in a bad way. You got me. Good. Err... Anyways, in Dungeon Keeper you play an evil dungeon lord who must set up a lair and protect it from the candy-assed mickey mouse do-gooders. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! Evil creature don't exactly get along. Spiders will eat the flies for instance. The Horned Reaper will kill any other creatures you put it near, necessitating building it it's own sanctum and being brought out only when the good guys raid your nice slime-drenched dungeon. The Dark Mistress must be tortured to be happy. Throw them in the torture chamber and they get up on the table and scream in ecstasy. You might want to turn down the volume for that, lest your roommates think you're watching hardcore porn (unless you don't care, in which case turn it up!). Who said dominatrix chicks are easy to deal with? This game's dark tongue-in-cheek sense of humor easily parallels the awesome B-movie Army of Darkness. Mount the image using either Virtual Clone Drive (tutorial and info here), Daemon Tools Lite, PowerISO, or any other tools for mounting ISO files. If you get stuck in the game, there's these detailed guides to help you out. If you need any more convincing, this Gamespot review and average score of 9 out of 10 from 1500+ people should do it. This game is simply good for the sick, twisted, demented part of your soul. And, honestly..., how is that bad?

Downloads :
Dungeon Keeper Gold (Alternate)
Dungeon Keeper 2 – Silver Edtion (Alternate)

Guides :
Dungeon Keeper – Official Guide (Hintbook. Useful! Right-Click and "Save As")
Dungeon Keeper 2 – Official Guide (Hintbook)

Dungeon Keeper 1 and 2 – Editor Guide

Sites :
KeeperFX (Highres mod)
Dungeon Keeper Map and Tools Base

And, just for good cheer, here's a few more sources of f'ed-up humor.
Bash Top 100 IRC Comments (100-200)
Saga of Bloodninja
Emails From an Asshole
Best of Craig's List
Random funny as hell images (You need to go to the location bar and hit Enter to get the whole list to show. The designer is ...dumb. Note : no boundaries on these. You've been warned.)

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What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse...
Posted August 8, 2010

In a direct nod to Castlevania, the bitchin' American Melodic Death Metal band Black Dahlia Murder, wrote a song to commemorate their love of video games. Metal and games. There is no finer combination. Rockin'! (Note, that you are morally obligated to play Castlevania II : Simon's Quest while you listen to this).

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Best Web Game Sites
Posted August 8, 2010

Goldyard (Moved to Hosted Games Page)

The Sites :
Vizzed - Retro Game Room (NES/SNES/SMS/Genesis/TG16)
Virtual NES
Virtual Gameboy
Adult Swim.
Armor Games.
Albino Black Sheep.
Shockwave Games.
Deathray Games.

Lists :
List of links #1.
List of links #2.

Individual games :
Infinite Mario Bros!
Abobo's Big Adventure.
Tower of Heaven.
Super Puzzle Platformer.
Chip's Challenge.
Castlevania - The Blood Way.
Another Castlevania.
Yet another Castlevania (Fullscreen).
Rush Hour.
Malstrum's Manor (mentioned previously).

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Iron F*cking Maiden!
Posted July 12, 2010

So, uh... yeah! New Maiden comes out August 16th and the entire album is scifi-themed. No, I am not playing with your emotions. Would I do that? Seriously, I don't even think there's anything more I need to say. Feel free to start drooling...

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The Divine Difficulty - Platform's Inferno
Posted July 12, 2010

Platform games. Most people thinking of the history of gaming immediately think of a few characters : Mario, Link, Sonic, Megaman, "that guy" from Ninja Gaiden (he's a ninja... You're not supposed to know his name, just that he can kill you). The golden age of early platform games. The good stuff. Of course, these franchises have been continued, and the new upcoming Sonic is a direct throwback to this now-retro era of gaming. But, let's be honest. Those early games were hard as fuck! Catridge ninja-starred through the wall hard. Broken NES controller hard (do you have any idea how damned durable Nintendo equipment is? It fucking survives aerial bombing). So hard, that there's even a term for them : "Nintendo Hard". Anyone who's ever played Super Ghouls and Ghosts knows exactly what I'm talking about. So many hard games came out during that era of 8 and 16-bit gaming, that a list of Classic Game "Screw-You's" was even compiled on TVTropes.org. Scary enough, but there even 2 levels beyond "Harder Than Hard" in difficulty : "Platform Hell", and "Masocore" (Kaizon Mario World is an example of this. Think self-inflicted torture, but with video games instead of whips, chains, and razors).

"Platform Hell" is oh.. about fist-fighting polar bears difficulty. "Masocore" is more like naked fist-fighting a bunch of hungry great white sharks that really do have frickin' lasers on their heads. "Platform Hell's" only commercial foray was the Japanese Mario 2. Most people who have played the 2D Mario games know the second Mario, and have probably thought it's a little weird of a departure from the formula, but probably have not given it another thought. Well, the truth of the matter is what we got was a port of "Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic" with Mario characters replacing the characters from that game. What Japan received was a redone Super Mario Brothers with the level cranked up to bastard. I mean.. You've played games, but a game that literally hates you and your whole family?!? Figuring the American market was too fragile for this kind of bitch-ass-hard difficulty, they gave us the watered down version and kept their beast for themselves (I theorize they were calling us wusses for that whole pesky Nagasaki thing); at least until Super Mario All-Stars came out and it was released as "The Lost Levels".

Beyond that, for free, the best example of "Platform Hell" is "I Wanna Be The Guy" with Megaman 2 intro music. IWBTG is difficulty of slapstick proportions. "Crows developing cold-fusion"-Ridiculous would be a good way to describe it. Everything tries to kill you. At one point the moon in the sky comes after you. You probably thought it was just a harmless background image. And then... You're toast! IWBTG spun off an number of sequels, all equally hard, if not harder. Watch these videos and judge for yourself. The default minimum difficulty is Medium which will label all your saves to "Wuss" and give you a pretty pink bow in your hair. They go up to "Impossible" which aparently only a handful of people in the world have successfully completed. I wonder if these people have jobs. It only has a single save point which comes and attacks you. If you don't kill it, you can't save at all. Yeah... Have fun with that one...

So, in celebration of both platform games and the origin of these games here's a documentary hosted by Tony Hawk on the History of games called "Video Game Invasion". The guy Eric Zimmerman in this I actually shared a cab with at the GDC I went to. Pretty frickin' cool if I don't say so myself!

Download Here.

Oh! And before I forget... here's enough platform games to keep you busy for over a month. I claim no responsibility to any loss of productivity, signifigant other, mobility, pet antfarm, job, or other stuff due to these.

"Jinsei Owata no Daibouken"

'X' - Shoot, 'Z' - Jump, 'R' - Reset

I Wanna Be The Guy and Fangames (yeah, there's a lot) :
I Wanna Be The Guy.
I Wanna Be The Guy : Gaiden (Official Sequel).
I Wanna Be The Guy Fangame.
I Wanna Be The Tribute.
I Wanna Be The GB.
I Wanna Be The Shrine Maiden.
I Wanna Be The Star.

Browser Games :
Time Fcuk.
Don't Look Back.
You Have To Burn the Rope.
Meatboy Map Pack.
Syobon Action.
Raider Ep. 1.
Raider Ep. 2.
Super Mario Hard Level.
Super Mario Crossover (play as other NES characters in Mario).
Tuper Tario Tros (Tetris meets Mario).
Infinite Mario Bros.
Professor Fizzwizzle.
Jetpack 2.
Dr. Dobb's Challenge 2.

Downloads :
Prince of Persia (Site with Editors and Mods).
Flashback (CD Version).
Jazz Jackrabbit 2.
Jazz Jackrabbit - The Secret Files.
Jazz Jackrabbit - Holiday Hare.
Halloween Harry.
Zombie Wars.
Commander Keen Series.
Street Fighter X Megaman (US Version / UK or EU Version).

Indie Downloads :
Treasure Adventure Game.
Ninja Senki.
Warlock Bentspine.
Eternal Daughter.
Banana Nababa.
Halo Zero.
Legend of Princess.
Cave Story. (Deluxe)
La Mulana (with it's infamous "Hell Temple" / Alternate).
Syobon Action.
Super Mario 1.0.
Robot Glacier Fortress.
Castle in the Darkness.
The Iconoclasts.
The Apocalyptic Game About Penguins.
Maldita Castilla.
The Soul Of Dracula (Original Page).

Other games :
Streets of Rage Remake (Site with mods).

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Quoth the raven : Nevermore!
Posted June 2, 2010

For goth metal, picking the best comes easy as pie : Nevermore. Starting in the ashes of the band Sanctuary, 5+ octave singer Warrel Dane took the remains of his band when his amazing guitarists and drummer jumped at the then-booming Seattle grunge scene (it's ok if you throw up a bit in your mouth when I mention that), and with then-tour-used-only God-Guitarist Jeff Loomis, formed what would go on to be a gothic and technical metal masterpiece, Nevermore. Since then, they've put out 6 untouchable albums. Well, make that 7 this coming June 8th, when their newest album is due out. Dark. Brooding. Viciously angry. Sorrowful. Elegant. Beautiful. Snarling. Death and ecstasy combined. All are good adjectives of this soon-to-be-released album. Give it a listen, I'm sure you'll agree. All I have to say, is Poe would be proud.

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Ultimate RPG!!
Posted June 2, 2010

When it comes to the introduction of RPG's on the PC and other systems, the historical timeline between the introduction of Gary Gygax's (RWD - Rest With Dice) Dungeons and Dragons in 1974 (and, yes, I do have an original copy, so I can keep my geek union card) and the advent of electronic RPG's, you'd be a glorious fool to not mention repeatedly Ultima. There are other great ones too, such as Wizardry, Dungeon Master, and Might and Magic, but top of every list is going to be Ultima. Ultima placed you in the role of "The Avatar" always out to save the world (aka hero's curse), from the Big Baddie, The Guardian. The series spanned 9 main games with a series of spin-off games such as the Ultima Underword series; the series that single-handedly got me into PC gaming to begin with. My exact words the first time I ever saw this played were, I quote "A computer can do that?!?! Fuck Nintendo!". The series has inspired countless other RPG's and even impacted the shores of Japan in their much-loved Final Fantasy series. Newer games such as Arx Fatalis the Elder Scrolls series, starting with Arena, were so obviously copied from the Ultima model, that you might as well just point your finger and call plagerism. Even the first texture-mapped FPS from John Carmack of id Software, The Catacombs, was created after hearing about Ultima Underworld through a conversation between John Romero and Paul Nereuth of Blue Sky Productions (John Carmack's response was "Texture-mapping? Hmmm... I can do that!"). You would seriously be hard-pressed to find a RPG that was not influenced from Ultima.

To this day, when I look back at the landscape of western RPG's, few satisfy with the likes of Ultima. The series ended with the somewhat maligned Ultima IX, dumbing down the depth of the series a bit, but nonetheless, a great game in it's own right. You see very few 3D RPG's these days with an entire world of hand-placed items, right down to each individual fork. And the dungeons (isn't this the point of these games?) are nothing short of wicked and devious. The whole series, most notably Ultima Underworld I and II, Ultima VI, Ultima VII (providing the base for Ultima Online), and Ultima IX, are just some of the best RPG's you could ever hope to play. So, throw your dice in closet and break out about 300+ hours to finish the notables I mentioned. You're going to need it!

Ultima Complete Collection DVD. (Alternate Part 1, Alternate Part 2).

Ultima IX Hintbook and Walkthrough.

Other sites devoted to the series :

Official and fanmade patches for the whole series.

German fan site with some English. Maps and walkthroughs here.

Bootstrike's site with need-to-be-seen-to-be-believed speedruns.

Site devoted to the entire series.

Ultima Collector's Guide.

Yet another great fan site.

Mostly Ultima IX fan site with articles on it's original plot. Ultima Wikia
Lots O' Ultima Hintbooks

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Chris Poland : Best thrash guitarist ever
Posted May 4, 2010

Looking back at the history of various guitarists in thrash metal, there's a number of clearly memorable shredders out there : Dimebag Darrel, Chuck Schuldiner (one of my personal favorites), Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine. The list goes on. But one of the most unnoticed, and ironically most melodically dangerous, was ex-Jazz guitarist Chris Poland. Between his noteworthy stint with Megadeth on thrash metal "Went down in history" albums "Peace Sells" and then later "The System Has Failed", he went off and recorded a solo album that's wall-to-wall guitar wailing; chock-full of melodic hooks and catchy rhythms. Just an amazing album for fans of scorching solos and mind-bending fretwork. Shred!

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Post-Apocalyptic Gaming Goodness
Posted May 4, 2010

There's nothing that brings out that pure sense of inner glee like the death of the better part of the world's population. Of course, that could just be me though. Post-apocalyptic movies rank right up there in lists of top scifi movies ever. Weirdly, post-apocalyptic games, especially good ones, have been few and far between. I have yet to see one that better captures the raw "fighting to survive" aspect like Fallout 1.

You start out in a bomb shelter who's water supply unit has malfunctioned, forcing you to go out, after years of isolation, into the radiated wilderness to locate another chip. Right away, you're sucked into a land where hordes of idiot mutant rednecks are looking to bend you over, Deliverance-style, just for your guns, ammo, and 5 minutes of fun. The game, like real life, is unforgiving, morally ambiguous (killing children gets you the childkiller label), and forces you to make choices that end up being the lesser of two evils. It's gritty, obdurate, hardened. Not for the faint of heart. But for those who have their twigs and berries still attached, it would be difficult to find a more believable and memorable RPG.

To get Fallout 1 going, download, install, and before running, install the 1.1 Windows patch from here. If you have trouble running or the screen blacks out, go to the install directory, and right-click on FALLOUTW.EXE and go to Properties. Click on the Compatibility tab, and check the box next to "Run this program in compatibility mode for : " and "Run in 256 colors". Be sure to also grab the "Fallout1 Hi-Res Patch" patch, install, and in the Options screen, click SCRN at the top, and change the resolution to any known resolution (1024 x 768 for instance). Happy non-radiated-to-death and cornhole-intact gaming.

Fallout 1.
Fallout 2.

Patches including High-Res Patch.

Other site for Patches.

Modding Info.

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Domine : Italian Metal about Elric of Melnibone
Posted April 2, 2010

Fantasy series don't get much more evil than Elric of Melnibone; a story about an indifferent albino emperor of a dying kingdom, forced to use magic and potions to keep his strength up, who, through a pact with the Lord of Evil Arioch, finds an evil entity black sword;The black sword that every other fantasy series copies, but fails miserably; later betrays his own people to their absolute destruction, and gets swept into the epic hands of fate as a pawn in the the gods of evil's giant worldwide chessgame. The sword, called Stormbringer, that has influenced countless bands and games and controls Elric more than he controls it, leads it's wielder on a series of unparalleled dark epic fantasy. Well, now power metal fans get an entire band devoted to this completely outstanding series. And for fans of both metal and fantasy, this gets the devil's horns straight up!

And, for people who want the real thing, go here.

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The start of Tactical Strategy Games
Posted April 2, 2010

Any fans of the great series Advance Wars (and, technically Famicon Wars before that) should know, or at least heard of, the amazing tactical strategy games Military Madness for Turbo Grafx 16 (known outside as Nectaris). For those that have been living under a rock, since gaming arrived, or those who only play games with the latest "flash and dazzle" (aka Trendy Gamers), these games are like Chess on steroids. Great games to push your brain against, or better still, have a friend over and play hotseat against each other. Pure intellectual fun.

Nectaris / Military Madness

For extensive info, there's :


And, in the best combination of metal and gaming I've quite possibly ever come across, I found this guy's Metal rendition of the Metroid soundtrack. Geek metal. Awesome...

Metroid Metal

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Heathen - Badass technical thrash
Posted March 10, 2010

Great old thrash from it's heyday. The twin guitar solos are the stuff of soloing legend. These guys just released a new album that's 110% metal from end-to-end. Check that out ** Here **

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System Shock
Posted March 10, 2010

System Shock would be one of the greatest games ever in gaming history if it were not for the totally contrived and worthless control scheme. Sometimes I seriously think it was designed as a psychological test to see what a human's stress threshold is. But, despite that, I'd heard so many good things about the underlying story and the scenes that the game puts you through that make it like being thrust into one of the greatest scifi stories ever told, that I came up with the most hackneyed control method I've ever even heard of anyone attempting.

Basically, I'd grab a gamepad and use it for movement in the left hand, and use the mouse to interact with things with the right hand. It's sounds ridiculous, but it did work well enough for me to get through a good portion of the game. But all that is changed now. Enter (after 16 years from it's initial release) The Mouselook Patch.

I have narey a clue on how this was programmed. Either this guy had the source code to the game or, in a scary display of hacking ability, he actually went in and hexedited the machine code to add support for this. I really don't know as it stands, but the end result takes this game and cranks up it's playability by 10. It's game designers clearly took notes from Star Trek : The Next Generation (one of my all time favorite shows) as evidenced by the cyborgs ("Q Who" ), AI gone horribly wrong ("Arsonal of Freedom" and others), and *Spoiler* Destroying a laser by putting up the shields and firing it ("Contagion" ). All this is carried out in first-person as if you're the person living through the story. Hard game, but one of the greatest ever (It later led to and was the spiritual successor to BioShock). So, in typical fashion, I bequeath this unto you, the gamer :

System Shock (Run in DosBox for Windows XP, Vista, and 7)

Mouselook Patch
Hintbook / Walkthrough

Also, for a limited time (until id asks me to take this down), I'm offering Doom 1 Mousepads and Mugs ** Here **. Get one while you can and show what a fan you are!

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Gun Barrel : German Metal to kick ass to
Posted February 9, 2010

To hear some more by this kickass band, go ** Here **. Especially the song "Wanted Man". Check it out. And then go kick someone's ass. Trust me! Better than therapy...

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Best site for Indie Games
Posted February 9, 2010

This is one of the best sites for sampling Indie Games. You can sort by various categories, so it's easy to find something you'll like. If you play one game a day, you'll be busy for the next year straight.

1. - Indie Games DB

After that, there's this :

2. - Game Tunnel
3. - The Indie Gaming Source
4. - Indie Games Blog
5. - IndieDB
6. - Pixel Prospector

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How can you not love Scatterbrain?
Posted January 27, 2010

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Posted January 27, 2010

Ok, I have to add an update to the previous entry. Tonight I found ZDoom which is literally so good that I had to come back and list a link to it. It has literally none of the problems WinDoom has (though WinDoom is kickass). A note, if you do use WinDoom, is you must delete the file frontend.dbg and set the options Video Mode to 640x480, Check "Use Mouse", and Check "Start Doom and Close Frontend". If you don't, the mouse won't work and my key redefinition will be nonexistent. You'll still need to download the WinDoom link to get Doom and Doom2 wad files. Happy asskicking!

Doom Ports including ZDoom

And for those who want online Multiplayer, there's this :

and :

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Ultimate damned doom of doomy doom
Posted January 25, 2010

Well, it is now 2010 but despite that, I still think one of the best games ever made was Doom. So I spent way too much time over the past week locating a working copy of WinDoom and then modifying it so it actually works. This was, for the record, a royal-pain-in-the-ass. (Begin technical discourse) For one, the front-end has no ability to redefine the keys which necessitated me manually going into the INI file itself and messing with the key-values by raw trial-and-error. Oh yeah, good times! And to make matters worse, the key values don't correspond to any known normal key values, either scan codes, Windows Virtual Keys, or DirectInput key values. (end said discourse). So, anyways, I finally got them to work, and here they are for you to enjoy in all their glory. WSAD for movement, Q for Open. Easy stuff. Run by either clicking on Doom or Doom2.bat. That'll bring up the frontend and you just have to click Run Windoom to run. Best part : Doom can run in more than twice it's normal resolution of 320x200. Metal...


In other news, I also found the MOTHERLOAD of Doom and Doom 2 levels and add-ons. I offer no support on these, so you're on your own if you want to screw around with them. I personally recommend the Doom 2 level voidshp2. It's hard as fuck, so be forewarned. I'll give $10 to anyone who can show me them beating the level with 100% everything in Ultraviolence (PrntScn will save a .pcx screenshot). I'm totally serious. I've done it, though I was on top of my game at the time, and it took me 1 hour and 45 minutes. So, here you go. Fuck productivity!

All the levels you could ever play in a lifetime.
Doom - ModDB
Top 100 Doom wads of all time
OldDoom Wads
Ed's Doom 2 Site
Doomed: Doom WAD Reviews

Editors :
"Instant Doom Levels - Create Your Own Carnage for DOOM/DOOM2/HERETIC" Ebook and Tools.
DoomBuilder (GameDev Info)
WadAuthor (Alternate with Serial Number)

And, just in case that's not enough, here's files for Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, Quake, and Wolfenstein 3D :
Motherload-Squared Mirror
Motherload-Squared Mirrors List
DoomWorld Mirror
Doom Links Galore!

Some of the best Heretic levels ever :
Heretic Treasure Chest
Curse of D'sparil
Town of Witchcraft
Fortress of D'Sparil
The Crypts
Hordes of Chaos X
Thief - The Trail of the Arch Heretic
The History of Fruit

Some of the best Doom levels ever :
A whole slew of professional Mega-Wads
Another great Mega-Wads list. Best of the best
DoomStation Megawads
Cacowards Annual Best Wads Winners
Community Chest, Community Chest 2, Community Chest 3, Community Chest 4
Ghoul's Forest, Ghoul's Forest 2, Ghoul's Forest 3 (More Info)
Plutonia 2
Alien Vendetta
Scythe 2
Twilight Zone 2
Deus Vult
Deus Vult 2
Memento Mori (Info)
Memento Mori 2 (Info)
Doom The Way id Did
Doom 2 The Way id Did
DoomWorld 1994-2003 Top 100 Maps
WolfenDoom (Alternate / Alternate 2)

Bitchin' Mods :
Brutal Doom (Version 18 with Metal Soundtrack and Real Gore)

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Merry Thrashmas
Posted December 11, 2009

Ok, I was going to put a link to just a motherload of Megadeth that I found, being that I consider this officially to be Duke Nukem month and Megadeth did 2 sweet songs for Duke's soundtrack. But since I also found that the kickass Thrash Metal band Powermad, arguably the most underated thrash band in history, is basically giving away their brilliant 2 albums for free, I figure I'll just drop a nuclear bomb full of metal on you. So here you go, and don't say I never gave you anything you greedy damn metalheads! Merry fucking xmas, or *cough*, Thrashmas! Oh, and by the way, barbed wire does count as tinsel. Tell your spouse I said it's cool.

Hell at Hand : Megadeth does Duke Nukem and lots of other unreleased tracks.
Megadeth Full Album Listing

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Duke says "Blow it out your ass" this xmas
Posted December 11, 2009

Grab your balls of steel and play this kickass game. Otherwise Duke will come and pipebomb your ass!

Time to Kick Ass and Chew Bubblegum :
Duke Nukem Atomic (Alternate Download)
High Resolution Texture Pack v5.x
High Resolution Texture Pack v4.0 (Alternate / Alternate 2)
Duke's Big Package (MasterFaster 11.6)

Come Get Some! :
Official Site
Metropolitan Mayhem (5th Episode)
The Duke Nukem Repository
Duke Stuff (GameFront)
5,147 Duke3D Maps (All-In-One Package)
Best-of-the-Best Duke3D Maps (All-In-One Package)
Duke Nukem: Nuke It 1000 (1000 Levels)
More Duke Levels and Mods
Even more Duke Levels and Mods (ModDB)
Yet more Duke Levels and Mods
The King's Duke Nukem 3D Maps Links
Disney's Haunted Mansion in Duke3D

*** Duke Nukem Forever 2013 (Trailer) ***

Groovy :
Duke Nukem Wiki
Duke Nukem 3D Walkthrough

Hail To the King! :
Enhanced Duke Nukem 3D (Not needed if you use the HR patch)
JFDuke3D (Not needed if you use the HR patch)
Duke Plus (Not needed if you use the HR patch)

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Thrash Metal Documentary
Posted November 8, 2009

Unfortunately this is in Swedish (though all the band interviews that you probably actually care about are in English) and the part 2 is hacked up due to the best quality one being taken down due to copyright restrictions (skip to 1:40 video 2 in the playlist and then watch video 3 until 3:00 to get the whole content), but otherwise, a great documentary! Metal!!


Part 2 (kind of) :
(skip to 1:40)

(until 3:00)

Part 3 :

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Halloween game : Blood
Posted October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween from your evil friends at Evil Soft. Blood is end-of-life (but technically still subject to copyright). Play in DosBox.

Links :

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Halloween Metal
Posted October 14, 2009

Ok, since EvilSoft's main purpose is creation of the combination of Horror, Metal, and Games, this is my personal scary metal music for Halloween. There's more scary atmospheric music out there, but this is distinctly a metal Halloween mix. Enjoy! And don't forget the blood... \m/,

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Best free game sites
Posted October 14, 2009

The games :

Manuals :

Dos Emulator :

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Austrian Death Machine...
Posted October 4, 2009

Best new band I've come across in a while...

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Time Fcuk...
Posted October 4, 2009


Lode Runner Online for Free...
Posted September 28, 2009


Dungeon Master Remake...
Posted September 21, 2009


Screenshots :

Shadowgate-like game...
Posted September 14, 2009

Malstrums Mansion.

Play here :

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