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Door, monster, treasure…

A little French 3D « Hack’n slash » 😉

Title : Darkstone.

Genre : Action – Role playing game.

Date : 1999.

Developpers: Delphine Software.

Between two Diablo, that many consider as the reference of the “Hack’ n slash”, brings out this very nice little game. As usual, the world is in danger and only the player is capable of saving it… There’s wil have dragon to the menu this evening;-)

Darkstone

Darkstone

In this case, we are fighting a necromancer, Draak who sows the terror in the kingdom of Uma. Obviously, the latter can transform into dragon. The player is thus in charge of overcoming it by getting back 7 crystals to reconstitute the  Orb of Time. Of the classic for the regular customers of the genre “D&D ” (Donjons & Dragons)!

Darkstone - The village

Darkstone – The village

The village is the center of the adventure. We get back the quests there, we buy and we sell of the equipment, the potions, spells, etc. To note that his state changes with the progress of the main quest. Small killing detail: by giving a room to the band onto the central place, it interprets you the “Soundtrack” of the game 🙂

Darkstone - Le groupe de musique

Darkstone – Music band

The hero is not alone in its quest and the adventure is made with two characters, in the choice among 4 classic classes of the medieval – fantasy: warrior, magician, thief and priest. The combination both allows to adopt various types of play, what is very interesting for one “Hack’ n slash” whose ” replayability” one of the main characteristics is.

Darkstone - Petit combat en extérieur

Darkstone – Outdoor fight

The basis of the game is relatively simple. We strike, we launch spells, we pull arrows, all this to exterminate the troops of naughty monsters which populate the various levels and the donjons. Of the classic for the “Hack’ n slash”.

Darkstone - Encore un combat!

Darkstone – Another fight

The player controls a single character at the same time. It is thus necessary to watch the second because the artificial intelligence is not what we make of better. To note that it is possible to play several in network, what is relatively pleasant 🙂

Darkstone - Etape d'une quête

Darkstone – Quest

The player will thus have to chain 7 quests to reconstitute the Orb of Time. These 7 quests are randomly selected among 24 possible. Difficult to make two identical adventures in these conditions 😉 Well, it is always a question of collecting objects or of killing monsters, but from time to time it is also a question of activating mechanisms of opening!

Darkstone - L'inventaire

Darkstone – Inventory

The inventory is classic: protections, weapons, potions, jewels, backpack, characteristics (and yes, we take up levels, as in every “D&D like ” who respects himself). Level equipment, the principle is also simple as Diablo: we always look for the best and the most adapted to its class. Here also, “loots” (equipment got back on monsters) is generated in a random way.

Darkstone - Un sort en 3D

Darkstone – 3D spell

All in all, it is of Diablo, less fervent at the level of the clicks. But where we distance ourselves most from this illustrious model, it is the 3D. Here it is very well done, even if the models are little detailed. The effects of the spells are very nice, but especially the management of the camera is “with first-class attention”. We can give her the angle and the zoom adapted to the situation in a rather simple way. Very pleasant 😉

 

Conclusion:

A very good 3D “Hack’ n slash” which really brings something compared with the 2D games of the same period. Balanced well, dynamic and funny, the aspect hero team is not insignificant one. Simple, effective and stable. In brief, a very good entertainment.

 

See you soon for new adventures!

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DAoC, need for a “no life” break?

You will take a last a blow of MEUPORG (these french journalists… Whether it is on paper or on-line, role-playing games, it is their thing 😉 )?

Title: Dark Ages of Camelot.

Genre: MMORPG.

Date: 2001.

Developpers: EA Mythics.

I caught the virus MMORPG in 2002 further to a contagion in my circle of acquaintances, and there, it’s the drama! The dumping in Dark Ages of Camelot ( DAoC) will last 2 years.

DAOC

DAOC

Who made this attachment? At first, what was determining, the aspect medieval-fantastic role playing game and the enthusiasm of my joint roommate 😉 Then, the community, that it’s on-line or in my circle of acquaintances. Finally and as usual in my case… One of the kingdoms was stuffed with knights:-)

DAOC - Ecran d'entree

DAOC – Start screen

The game is built around the confrontation of three kingdoms:

  • Albion, the kingdom of the Knights of the Round Table;
  • Hibernia, the kingdom of the Celtic and the druids;
  • Midgard, the kingdom of the warriors Vikings.

Every kingdom have a zone dedicated to the game “player versus environment ” (or PvE), while border areas are dedicated to the game “realm versus realm” (or RvR). Finally, the last zone, Darkness Falls, accessible to the three kingdoms, opened only to the kingdom with most forts under control in RvR zones.

DAOC - Camelot

DAOC – Camelot

Thus at the beginning, we choose her kingdom, we build her character by choosing its race and her class (profession) among one of very numerous available. then heading for the adventure. Of course, my first choice concerned to Paladin, prototype of the “tank” and light group support.

DAOC - Malrick le Paladin

DAOC – Malrick the Paladin

Ah yes… In all directed MMORPG group, every character has a role and a very precise speciality:

  • The “tank” attracts and occupies the opponents while taking the knocks;
  • The “damage dealer” concentrates on a target by making a maximum of damages (contact or distance);
  • The “support” worries to keep her group alive;
  • The “crowd control” manage the ennemies via paralyses or effects of embarrassment.

According to the games and the classes, a role can be distributed on several classes either a class holds a single role…

DAOC - Table Ronde

DAOC – The Round Table

The three kingdoms are very different. Albion is green and rainy. Midgard is dark and covered with snow. As for Hibernia, it is bright and green. The weather passes by according to a cycle in the daytime, there is bad weather according to the seasons (rain, snows, fog, etc.). Every kingdom is very “alive”.

In the kingdom of its choice, the main part of the adventure lay in the fulfillment of quests and in the expeditions in group in donjons or open zones corresponding to the level of the characters. We travel a lot 😉

DAOC - Albion

DAOC – Albion

Most of the time, it is necessary to be several, what means finding or forming a group. It is generally simpler when the caracters are of the same “guild” (grouping of players, sharing a blazon, a communication channel), etc. Guilds and alliances group the main part of the social relationships of the game.

DAOC - Golestand

DAOC – Golestand

At high level, it is necessary to leave in several groups to face immense enemies or reach the inmost depths of a high level donjon to acquire equipment and raw materials to make weapons, armors, etc.

DAOC - Shinind sword...

DAOC – Shining sword…

The small business sector (or craft) is an important aspect of the game (at least in the period or I played) to obtain a homogeneous equipment allowing to be the most effective possible. Next to it, were introduced artefacts or objects more powerful than all that the craft could give.

DAOC - Chateau

DAOC – Castle

The big key point of DAoC, it is the RvR (for whom it was outdone as better MMO PvP and RvR of decade, in 2011). The players of the various kingdoms are so in confrontation in border areas.

The RvR is basically a castle conquest game. To conquer it the largest number allows to open Darkness Fall to its kingdom (rich zones) and to weaken the defenses of castles containing the relics of the kingdom. To capture the relics during confrontations of hundreds players and to return them in his own camp allows the kingdom to obtain bonuses not insignificant.

Furthermore, to overcome opponents in RvR allows to acquire additional capacities, making more powerful the player.

DAOC - RvR

DAOC – RvR

Furthermore, the RvR leans on the conception “Rock, Paper, Scissors” classes. Each is strong against an other but weak in front of an other one. The construction of a group must be thus “balanced” if we want a minimum of efficiency.

The team game is very technical, each having its role to be held. At high level of control, a team of 8 good gamers (8 being the maximum group size) can overcome in a few minutes of a “bus” of about forty less experimented players (not optimized groups).

DAOC - House

DAOC – House

One of the big strengths of DAoC have been to supply regularly new contents and objectives for the high-level players (50 being the maximum).

DAOC - Avalon

DAOC – Avalon

Donjons and additional territories with new extensions, with new skills, with new classes, with new capacities to acquire, the possibility of developing its own house, the revision of the RvR game, the graphic revision, the progressive balancing of the classes, etc.

DAOC - Charger

DAOC – Charger

In the end, the player finds regularly something new to make, of new challenges to find, whether it is in PvE or in RvR, so allowing the coexistence of several players’ genres (roleplay, crafts, RvR, etc.).

DAOC - 5eme Anniversaire

DAOC – 5th Anniversary

Except the big events (relics, “raids” on powerful donjons / monsters), events were also set up on the servers. Bringing nothing permanent in game, they allowed the players to live a little bit of particular story.

 

The game was not exempt from defects:

Numerous bugs, imbalance between races, classes and kingdoms bringin bitternesses as in many MMO and as in life. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence 🙂

The most irritating part of the game, except the cheaters, it is certainly the behavior to exclude certain classes of the groups just because they were not useful or not optimal…

 

Conclusion:

DAoC allied rich PvE to high level and intensive RvR… And enormous possibilities in term of adventure. All this allows to meet people, to share experiences of game and possibly to meet close by.

Moreover, I would never thank enough Kunn, Kortac, Uranium, Crawl, Wolfine, Angix, Laen, Thuwan, Nycau, Gastel, Gwenda and many others for all the good moments which we shared during two years in Albion’s Kingdom, on the Orcanie server 🙂

 

See you soon for new adventures!

Master of Orion 2: the intensive course of galactic emperor.

A small desire for greatness? You find that Palpatine is an amateur? This game is made for you 😀

Title : Master of Orion 2 : Battle at Antares.

Genre : Strategy (4X).

Date : 1996.

Developpers : Simtex, Microprose.

Master of Orion 2

Master of Orion 2

Master of Orion 2 is a game of strategy in turn by turn of 4X type (for ” eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate”, a whole program 😉 ). Among the games of economic and technological development, he proposes a wealth and a very particular style, science fiction directed.

Master of Orion 2 - Titre

Master of Orion 2 – Title

Master of Orion 2 places the player at the head of an empire which he is going to lead to the conquest of stars. The party begins after a great war between two advanced races: Orions and Antariens. The first ones having exiled the second in a parallel dimension, they are in their turn going to disappear and to make way so for the emergent races.

Master of Orion 2 - Race

Master of Orion 2 – Race

The party begins with the choice of the race. There we already find numerous pre-created races each resuming a different stereotype (warrior, scientist, spy, diplomat, etc.). We can again personalize her own race by means of a multitude of choices… From the racial feature to the political system.

After that, it remains to configure the party… Difficulty, size of the galaxy, the random events, the quantity of resources, number of empires…

Master of Orion 2 - Map

Master of Orion 2 – Map

The main screen represents the galaxy map. We can see the various stars, the fastest roads there between these, the black holes, the fleets in travel, etc.

Master of Orion 2 - Map Detail

Master of Orion 2 – Map detail

And when we look in detail at a star, we can see the various planets, the gaseous giants and the belts of asteroids. For planets, there’s a big diversity: size, wealth, gravity, climate, etc.

Master of Orion 2 - Colonie

Master of Orion 2 – Colony

To extend the empire, it is necessary to establish new colonies. It’s a delicate stage because a new colony is not autonomous. The food must be often forwarded since the rest of the empire (cargo boats), its maintenance depends on the climate (the more the climate is hostile, the more the maintenance cost is raised). Finally, certain political systems need in specific buildings…

Once developed, a colony can continue to build and to participate in the global effort (research, economy, polution cleanup, etc.), to produce vessels or spies, or simply to produce wealth.

Master of Orion 2 - Recherche

Master of Orion 2 – Research

The way towards stars is made as much by the economy as the research. Good technological choices are necessary to develop his empire because we cannot look for everything. At every technological level it is necessary to choose the only one in a given domain. The unknown technologies can be later acquired by other means…

Master of Orion 2 - News

Master of Orion 2 – News

From time to time, the news announces random events arising in one of the empires (treasure, resource, accident).

During his exploration, the player (or an other one) will discover Orion, the former capital of the eponym empire, and will face his guard. If he gains a victory, besides discovering a very rich planet, he will put the hand on advanced technologies.

Master of Orion 2 - Conception de vaisseau

Master of Orion 2 – Ship design

The ship design to build different type of vessels of various sizes and various utilities. There is for all the tastes and the more we have of technologies, the more we have the choice… Of the small vessel of exploration to the Death Star 😀

Master of Orion 2 - Fleet

Master of Orion 2 – Fleet

Once produced, vessels are grouped in fleets. We can then move them from system to system, where the need is smelt.

Master of Orion 2 - Diplomatie

Master of Orion 2 – Diplomaty

The diplomatic relations are opened from the moment two races got closer enough geographically. The exchanges are then possible (provided that they are not restrained by a racial feature). Treated, pacts of non-aggression, technological exchanges, alliances, etc. There are many possibilities.

Master of Orion 2 - Espion

Master of Orion 2 – Spy

The spies are a counterpart of the diplomacy… Left in defense, they serve to counter the enemy spies. Moved in a nearby empire, it can sabotage installations or steal technologies…

Master of Orion 2 - Combat spatial

Master of Orion 2 – Space combat

Sometimes (often), it will be necessary to come to weapons there. Against a spatial monster or a nearby empire, to invade or self defense. We enter a local view where every vessel is used in turn by turn movements, shootings, missiles launching, torpedoes or shuttles, collisions…

Master of Orion 2 - Combat au sol

Master of Orion 2 – Ground combat

When the invader win the battle in orbit around a colonized world, a ground combat took place (after a potential bombardment).

Master of Orion 2 - Capture de technologie

Master of Orion 2 – Technology capture

In this occasion, he can arrive that the soldiers capture a technology. Defy soldiers 😉

Master of Orion 2 - Heros

Master of Orion 2 – Heros

In the course of the game, it will be possible to recruit or to discover heroes, characters with special capacities, being able to be placed to the commands of a colony or a spaceship. It brings a small not insignificant advantage… Besides a small particular touch.

Master of Orion 2 - Antarien

Master of Orion 2 – Antarian

Antariens is always in aguêts… Regularly, they come to attack a colony at random… To stop them is often very complicated, even impossible in view of their technological advance… And until an advanced level of the game.

Master of Orion 2 - Graphes

Master of Orion 2 – Graphs

Nice graphs allow the player to compare his progress compared with the other empires, it is always good to know where we are there 😉

Master of Orion 2 - Concil

Master of Orion 2 – Concil

There are several manners to win a party: domination by elimination of the competitors, the eradication of the Antarienne threat or further to a vote of the council (diplomatic victory thus). Everything depends on the style of the player!

 

Conclusion :

Another very detailed, very fascinating game, of a big depth and endowed with an enormous re-playability… The whole for a correct graphic quality in the time 😉 Of what to spend hours there only or several during multiplayers prties on the same computer (hot seat).

A game in the interplanetary scale which in spite of a certain complexity (mastered enough) can of “personal” aspects which put you in the skin of an emperor and not on the place of an abstract entity (heroes, ambassadors, interlocutors for various aspects of the management) 😀

The 90s were rich in cult games!

 

See you soon for new adventures!

Privateer 2, Infinity abd Beyond !

As a small desire of trip in space?

 Title : Privateer 2 : The Darkening.

Genre : Space simulation.

Date : 1996.

Developpers : Origin Systems.

Origin Systems was at the origin of big games as Ultima and Wing Commander. Privateer is “Space Opera” in the lineage of Wing Commander, but who, besides proposing some spatial fight, offer many other possibilities, of which trade.

Privateer 2 : The Darkening

Further to a crash, the main character, amnesic, ends up alone… He just has enough money to charter a vessel and dash by chance… From there ensues a scenario which is going to be of use as main thread to the whole game. Although shelf space, the story is rarely binding, what lets the free player make about what he wants.

Privateer 2 Bar

Privateer 2  Bar

Bars are places of meeting which we often find in role-playing games (everything begins and ends in the inn as would say some people). It is often a key point for the exploration of a planet, the meeting with certain protagonists or for special missions 😉

Privateer 2 Vaisseaux

Privateer 2 – Ships

The main mechanism of progress of the game passes through vessel. This one is endowed with characteristics (speed, handiness, armor plating, shields, location of equipments, missiles and weapons). The more there is, the more it is expensive. Thus the money is once again the sinews of war. Certain models propose compromises… It belongs to the pilot to choose according to his budget 🙂

Privateer 2 Equipement

Privateer 2 – Equipment

The vessel is a tool of precious work. It is necessary to pamper it, to improve it… No, it’s not a question of putting to it alliage tires, sound system or neon under wings 😉 It is necessary to make it the most effective possible 😀 It passes by diverse equipments: afterburner, repair robots (R2D2???), decoys, electronic war tools, artillery, missiles, etc.

Privateer 2 Espace

Privateer 2 – Space

Once the formalities on the ground were settled, direction spaces! Sink, cold… But in complete 3D what is not bad for time! The view of the cockpit is very simplified, synthetic material, a small window appears to show the interlocutor during the conversations. We can move of planet in planet thanks to mini jumps following beacons which establish roads. What we make in the space depends on what we planned before the take-off: we took a mission, we bought goods which we want to resell somewhere else to benefit from it or then we want just to go somewhere.

Privateer 2 Combat

Privateer 2 – Combat

On the other hand the space is not empty. Well, when we leave for mission which stipulates that we are going to cross of the world, all right, it is normal to cross of the world… The rest of the time, we always cross somebody… And often pirates! Well, there are bonuses, but at the end of some time of game, we say to ourselves that we settled their account all the same to a good many of them and that there is always so much 😉 Has part it, the combat system is very clear, does well: taken into account by the drift, the detection of collision of missiles, counter measure… It is possible to travel with winger to which we can give simple orders, even cargo boat, which being useful to transport goods from planet to planet (also has a not insignificant fire power) 😀

Privateer 2 Planète

Privateer 2 – Planet

Past the landing sequence, we can move on planets on various key points positioned on the mini map. It is often to advance the main story. The peculiarity of this game, it is the presence of real actors. Scenes on the ground are a mixture of movies and computer generated images (big speciality of Wing Commander). The dialogues make unwind various sequences. And then they are not discount actors… Split Owen, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, David Warner, Mathilda May, Jürgen Prochnow, David McCallum…

Privateer 2 Commerce

Privateer 2 – Trade

An important point of the game is the trade. The price of the goods is not the same from a planet to the other one. That is why he can be interesting to load a carrier (cargo ship) to trade. It is even possible to make some illegal trade… More lucrative, you risk all the same to put yourselves the police in back…

Although the course of the goods is fixed (it fluctuates according to the supply and demand), certain random events can disrupt(perturb) him(it) in a sporadic way. It is then possible to seize certain opportunities. It is necessary to read news to every stage on the ground 😉

Privateer 2 Personnages

Privateer 2 – characters

Finally, the game includes an encyclopedia which complements itself according to the progress. Protagonists, stories of planets, vessels, equipments, factions… There is of what to read 😉

 

Conclusion:

Although it is not the best game of space fight which is, or if games as Epic makes more in the field of the exploration and some trade, Privateer 2 is an excellent synthesis of fights, trade, story, graphic quality… An enormous freedom but which remains accessible in term of complexity!

It is simple, nowadays the games of this kind evolved in two opposite directions: either an interventionist scenario and almost no more freedom, or a binding scenario but a system which becomes too complex to be entertaining.

 

See you soon for new adventures!

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