Get ready for this, because I am about to go all delusions of grandeur on your asses, but wow. There must be a God, and he must be toying with me. I set upon my epic quest top play video games and write about them to my slavering, adoring fans, and he drops bombs like this on me. This game mixes three of my favourite things in games, nay, three of my favourite things EVER:
1) D&D. Second edition, fair, but D&D nonetheless. Many a Sunday were frittered away rolling dice in my youth. Actually, by “my youth” I mean “until I moved out, about 9 months ago.” I also mean “and even then only because I was too far to keep playing with the same group” and also, “I miss D&D.” There, full disclosure. It was like improv but with more swords. Further full disclosure: I was/am a complete improv junkie. I don’t do it anymore, but I should. I should be on Second City. On SNL. I should have been a Kid in the Hall.
I warned you about delusions of grandeur, right? Oh yeah, those three things.
2) Capcom. Yeah, Capcom produced this sucker. Those same guys that gave me an excuse to beat up a blonde Jay Leno impersonator in red pyjamas. That’s the company. But, they’re not as awesome as the other company that ALSO worked on this game:
3) STRATEGIC SIMULATIONS INC. You do not understand the deep man-lust I have for the SSi gentlemen. Star Command was epic. It was also the first of its kind I played, pen-and-paper or otherwise. Endlessly rerolling to get the perfect sniper/grenade guy/esper? PRICELESS. The only other game I loved this much was Warlords. Also SSi. Wait, shit. Wikipedia says that was SSG. Well, they were also awesome, I guess. There remain only three names in video games I’d follow off of a cliff, then: SSi (Strategic Simulations, inc), SI (Sports Interactive — have you PLAYED Football Manager? Because I have. Today. It was awesome. As always.), and SSG, apparently (Strategic Studies Group? Okay). Wait, I am making that list five long, to add Sir-Tech (for Jagged Alliance) and, well, I guess Tim Cain, even though I only liked Fallout. But I liked it a lot.
So. Add those three juggernauts of awesome together, and what do you get?
You get Iron Rations and a Short Sword. FUCK!
To continue my trip into nostalgia, this whole first-person dungeon-crawler thing only did it for me twice in my life. Once was Space Hulk for the previously mentioned Amiga. Scared the stool out of me as a kid. The “freeze time” as it was called was light-years (haaaa) ahead of its time. It was like proto-proto-bullet time, allowing you a chance to make your moved before the genestealers ate your face. The second game that “got” me in this genre was abotu a week ago when I started Etrian Odyssey. And even then, it’s only because I have three hours of public transit a day. And even then it’s struggling to find a place between Picross DS and New York Times Crosswords, for heaven’s sake. I don’t like these games. They’re a terrible replacement for good ol’ pen-and-paper crawls (which are terrible replacements for actually fighting goblins in an old catacomb, surely). This one’s no different. Not even making my own characters could save this game (if you must know, they were Chunk the human fighter, Foxxo the elven thief, Ugala the dwarven cleric, and Daeiei the elven mage). You ever tried to push a cockroach around with a nine-foot-long, five-millimeter-thick cooked piece of spaghetti? I imagine this is how it would feel.
There are no words.
I want to write more, but there are no words left. It’s too late. I’ve fallen into a pit of nostalgic ennui.
Wake me up when they make Jagged Alliance 3.