Revisiting Adelpha: Outcast 1.1

As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

A few months ago, I posted the news that Outcast: Second Contact — a high-resolution remaster of the 1999 game Outcast — had been released. This was exciting news, since the original Outcast was the subject of one of my first ever History Lessons posts; a game I played for the first time in 2009 and absolutely loved. Before trying the new version, however, I wanted to revisit the original, this time taking advantage of the 1.1 update that developers Appeal / Fresh3D released in 2014, which allows for modern resolutions (the original’s awkward 512×384 is difficult to display on today’s monitors), improved performance, and fixes issues relating to processor speed. It is, in theory, the ultimate way to play the original game, and I’m planning to directly compare it to the Second Contact remaster.

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Infernal Medicine: Another Solium Infernum Diary (part 4)

Readers unfamiliar with Solium Infernum may wish to read my original post about the game, as well as my first, massive Solium Infernum diary, Hell Or High Water, before continuing. And you should definitely read part 1, part 2 and part 3 of Infernal Medicine to get up to speed. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Things are heating up in Hell. Last time, The Magistrate’s plans to win by being the richest archfiend around hit a snag when Beowulf cursed his praetor Morax, temporarily blocking his special combat moves just before his duel with Anonymoeba’s champion. Anonymoeba began to focus on secret objectives, and opened a dialogue with Codename Duchess to end hostilities so he can direct his aggression at Kivah and The Magistrate. Codename Duchess continued his attempts to win two vendettas against the same archfiend, so he can use his Playing For Keeps perk to claim Blood Feud and eliminate them from the game. So far, he’s managed one win against Anonymoeba. And Baleygr, who has a huge territory but lower income, planned an eventual assault on the Pit of Tartarus, the last remaning unconquered Place of Power on the map. His plan involves some diplomatic action against The Magistrate.

Here is what happened.

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History Lessons: Dragon Quest

Other History Lessons posts can be found here. For some context, you may wish to read the post about Final Fantasy first. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Well, this is getting ridiculous. When I wrote my History Lessons post about Final Fantasy, I outlined an ambitious plan to give the same treatment to the rest of that series (or at least the older entries). Now, nearly two years later, instead of finally tackling the second Final Fantasy game, I decided I really should go through the Dragon Quest series (known as Dragon Warrior in the United States until 2005) too. Maybe I’ll be finished with all of these in a decade or two.

But there is some method to my madness. Dragon Quest was released before Final Fantasy (1986 to Final Fantasy’s 1987, although the games didn’t come to the United States until 1989 and 1990, respectively), and is widely regarded as the game that set the mold for the entire genre of Japanese-style role-playing games. It could be cited as a direct inspiration for Final Fantasy, and it spawned its own long-running series (eleven main games plus a bunch of spin-offs) to rival the behemoth that is the Final Fantasy franchise. While I played some of the original Dragon Quest — which had to change its name to Dragon Warrior in the United States to avoid infringing on the trademark of the tabletop game DragonQuest — I never got far, and I’m less familiar with the series as a whole than I am with Final Fantasy. Playing Final Fantasy for its History Lessons post sparked my interest in the evolution of the Dragon Quest series as well.

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Infernal Medicine: Another Solium Infernum Diary (part 3)

Readers unfamiliar with Solium Infernum may wish to read my original post about the game, as well as my first, massive Solium Infernum diary, Hell Or High Water, before continuing. And you should definitely read part 1 and part 2 of Infernal Medicine to get up to speed. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Six archfiends wish to ascend the throne in Hell. Four of them are chronicling their schemes here. The story so far: Codename Duchess has been trying to win vendettas against other archfiends so he can take advantage of his Playing For Keeps perk, which lets him claim Blood Feud — an all out war — after only two vendettas, instead of the normal three. He failed in a vendetta against Beowulf, but managed to start a new one against Anonymoeba. Anonymoeba has struck a balance between expansion and boosting his own power, using his Seer perk to learn secrets about his opponents. His spies, however, conspicuously failed to mention Codename Duchess’ Playing For Keeps perk. As Codename Duchess’ vendetta began, Anonymoeba used his personal legion’s Mountain Walk ability to strike at Codename Duchess’ tail and steal a Place of Power from him.

Baleygr has been expanding aggressively, claiming vast tracts of territory with his legions that grow in power as his own archfiend’s power grows, thanks to his Master Archer and Master of the Sword perks. He’s just managed to start a vendetta with The Magsitrate. The Magistrate hasn’t expanded at all, instead focusing on getting as rich as possible. But his praetor Morax did (barely) manage to win a duel against Kivah’s praetor Haagenti, and he hired the expensive and powerful Sons of Typhon to try to defend against Baleygr. At the same time, he played the Infernal Perfidy event, which sent the Infernal Inquisition through Hell, killing every legion that wasn’t a personal guard and disrupting everyone’s battle plans.

Here is what happened.

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History Lessons: Nahlakh

Other History Lessons posts can be found here. As always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

I first learned about Tom Proudfoot’s games years ago, probably around 2007 or 2008. At the time I was looking for some free, classic turn-based role-playing games, and found mentions of his work somewhere online. The first game of his I tried was Natuk, which is the more polished sequel to Nahlakh, but I eventually got bored of it. Later, I also tried a game called Helherron, which is not by Tom Proudfoot but draws heavy inspiration from his games. I eventually tired of that as well, although I was very surprised to see, when looking it up now, that its developer has resumed work on it after a decade of inactivity, which a bunch of new updates this year. Perhaps I’ll take a look at it again soon.

But I didn’t know about that when I saw a discussion of Tom Proudfoot’s games on the GOG forums, and decided to take another look at them. This time I wanted to start at the beginning, with his first game, Nahlakh.

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Outcast: Second Contact Released

One of the first History Lessons posts I wrote for this blog was about Outcast, back before I even had screenshots in my posts. Spoiler alert: I loved it. It’s a wildly ambitious game that was way ahead of its time and still feels distinct from the modern games that eventually adopted many of its ideas. Later, I posted about a Kickstarter attempt by the original developers to fund an HD remake, in the hopes of eventually making a sequel. That Kickstater campaign failed, but the team went ahead and made the HD remake anyway. Titled Outcast: Second Contact, it’s available now on Steam, as well as PS4 and Xbox One (the original was PC-only).

As usual, I’m hopelessly behind and short on free time, so I haven’t had a chance to play it yet. In fact, I’ve started playing Outcast 1.1, an earlier update that the developers made to the original game to make it play nicer with modern computers and allow higher resolutions. I’m hoping to compare it directly to Second Contact so I can report on what’s changed, and which version you might prefer. So I’ll write about that… eventually. In the meantime, I wanted to announce Second Contact’s release in case any readers are interested. Many players, myself included, missed Outcast the first time around, so this is a great chance to discover a great game.

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Infernal Medicine: Another Solium Infernum Diary (part 2)

Readers unfamiliar with Solium Infernum may wish to read my original post about the game, as well as my first, massive Solium Infernum diary, Hell Or High Water, before continuing. And you should definitely read part 1 of Infernal Medicine to get up to speed. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.

Six archfiends are vying for control of Hell. Four of them are chronicling their machinations here. Last time, Baleygr had rapidly expanded his territory but feared he could not muster the resources to take advantage of his perks, which strengthen his legions as his own archfiend’s power increases. Anonymoeba spent time growing his own powers, drew his first secret objective, and was racing Baleygr for access to the high-value Place of Power known as the Pit of Tartarus. The Magistrate was biding his time, trying to accumulate as much money as possible. And Codename Duchess had established early military strength, engineered a little war against Beowulf with the hope of eventually claiming a Blood Feud, and given the order to attack.

Here is what happened.

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