Category Archives: Reviews

Painted Space Review

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It’s always nice to see old faces return to the OHRRPGCE community. In this case, Eagtile (now know as earrgvark?), the creator of earlier OHR games such as Help Wanted!, dropped off a game that they say is likely to never be finished. Despite only being about an hour in length, I’m sad to hear that this may never be finished up. This is because Painted Space shows a lot of potential for such a short demo.

The story is simple, yet intriguing. The creator of the world “paints” existence into reality. Once He is finished, he goes into a deep sleep. Meanwhile, the inhabitants of this specific world continue to flourish and live their lives.

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You are Isaac, who is one of many beings in the “painted space”. Before being cast out into the world, you select a color and shape of your soul. The colors stand for each type of combat stat (such as strength) while the shapes relate to the type of weapon you master (such as a chain whip). While I only tested one particular build, I imagine that the others may or may not work properly. Either way, it is an interesting concept that isn’t used quite too often in OHRRPGCE games.

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After you make your decision, you take control of Isaac. You discover that, as he gets older, he begins to question his the purpose of his existence. He’s lived alone his entire life; trapped by “abominations” within a forest. Years have passed, however, and Isaac believes he may be strong enough to combat the abominations, and see the world beyond his wooded cabin. Before setting out into the woods though, Isaac decides to first test his skills by visiting a cave close to his home.

Painted Space features a single dungeon that is in a non-linear format. There are branching paths, and tons of loot to encourage exploration. Fortunately, the dungeon is just about right in length, as the multiple paths before you never seem too daunting to traverse.

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The battle system is interesting, but there isn’t enough variety given the length of the demo to really get an idea of how the author envisioned it “as a whole”. There is a color-coordinated system in place (or was “to be” put in place), that gave certain color enemies strengths and weaknesses based on that. For the sake of the demo, however, you are generally fine with sticking to your basic attacks for almost every battle (at least for the strength / claw build I chose). It was nice to see some strategy involved with the dungeon boss too. While he wasn’t incredibly hard, there was definitely a specific way to defeat him efficiently.

If I had to choose the weakest link, it would probably be the music. That’s not to say it isn’t good, it just has a few tracks you might have heard before. The placement of them in itself was acceptable, however.

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Whether you are religious or not, I think we all have questioned our existence at some point in time. The fact that Painted Space challenges this idea from the very beginning was extremely interesting to me. Unfortunately, the prologue is essentially the stopping point for the story thus far. You are simply left wondering what might have happened beyond the forest.

What did Isaac find out about God (or Gods), the meaning of his life, and everything in between? While it’s tough to say from such a short demo whether a completed version would be everything I hope for, there is enough here to say this: Painted Space, given the proper care and polish, could be a really neat title. I sincerely hope that Eagtile-er aardvark continues to work on this project.

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Okedoke Chapter 6 Review (Pepsi Ranger)

Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana

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Chapter 6

Review by Pepsi Ranger

Recap of Things Missed:

After springing the elder Garbanzo (Señor Garbanzo) from his jail cell, and engaging in a long and bloody battle with inmates and guards on the way back to the prison’s entrance, we were just about to escape Pukadonna Federal Penitentiary when something unexpected happened. Dark Blubber, now known as FnrrfYgmSchnish, took a long break from our epic drama to tell other stories of grand adventure involving Puckamons, K’hyurbhis, and other weird things, leaving us the big question: Now what?

Well, it took nearly five years, but he finally managed to answer that question, and in spades, with the inclusion of our most complicated journey yet. But before we can discuss what lay before us, we have to once again look to the journey behind, for certain adventures have been locked in silence, and now those tales must be told.

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Journal Revisited:

Our journey through the prison wasn’t as straightforward as we originally thought. Somehow we had missed a tunnel that an inmate had spent years digging in his cell with a spoon, and we went back to see where it had led him. What we found (once we figured out how to enter his cell), was astounding: a tunnel leading to a hidden village where escaped convicts could live a peaceful, if not almost as sheltered, life.

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“And to think we got here by reading a toilet.”

Could they have dug the tunnels deeper and perhaps found even more freedom beyond their current false sense of freedom, which anyone looking at the valley with surrounding mountains could have identified as having not been much better than what they had escaped from? Sure. If a spoon could carve out an elaborate system of caves into the small isolated landscape where they had built their village, then it could have gone even further to take them to a place of even wider fields in which to stretch their legs and build their thriving mini-Australia. But they didn’t take it that far. They seemed content with their life away from prison guards. If only they had a way to defeat the infamous Bubba Hornet, who had a habit of raping them in their sleep, they’d be truly set. Perhaps, though, that story would remain untold.

When we ventured back, after having learned nothing important, or having done anything worthwhile, like defeating the infamous Bubba Hornet, we found a small break in a cave wall, ascended another ladder that brought us up through a toilet, and found ourselves in a cell on the serial killer floor of Pukadonna, where a pizza was stashed in a cabinet.

That pizza would come in handy one day.

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“Fishy, or the display of mad skillz?”

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“I smell pizza and gym socks up this ladder here.”

Classified Journal Alert:

Long before we even made the trip to Pukadonna, we were traveling around New Hamster, Pennsylvania, searching for items we could use to retrofit our Hippie Van for maximum resistance and offensive damage. On our travels, we encountered a ball pit at the local Burger King that held an unusual secret: a portal to another land called the Burger Kingdom.

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We had mentioned it briefly in another journal from another time, but thanks to the events that happened in Alaska, which we will discuss soon, our need for confidentiality has passed, and we can now mention what transpired on our journey through this mysterious land of meat, cheese, sauce, and bread.

The first thing we noticed as soon as we fell through the tiny colored plastic balls and descended onto the Orb of Teleportation (trademark pending) north of Burger Kingdom Village was that creatures of the Burger Kingdom were a fierce lot, far more destructive than those that lurked the fringes of New Hamster. We were hardly prepared for the chickens and wizard cups that stalked the tall grasses of the Burger Kingdom. Each stroke of the sword was met with the slash of a straw or talon, leaving us with lacerations, plastic burns, and severe paper cuts. It was far more terrible than any fight we had previously engaged in with geckos, pirates, or lost mummies in a haunted house.

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“Deadly drinkware.”

But we pressed on to the south, discovering a town that looked like it was built during a Renaissance festival, complete with thatched-roof houses, overnight inns, and a large looming castle in the center of the square. If we weren’t already so used to backward technology, we might’ve been surprised. But we weren’t. We were more surprised by the giant hamburgers that often attacked us.

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“Burgers so thick you need a fork and sword to eat them.”

Thanks to the vicious battles we endured from the Burger Kingdom’s overpowered enemies, we needed sleep, desperately. We found the inn just south of the field and paid for a room. Unlike the hotels in Wrongside and New Hamster, where we bought room keys for unlimited access, we had to pay the inn per night, and that was gonna rack up the room tab rather quickly. Fortunately, we found an empty house southeast of the inn that had a vacant bed that cost us nothing to sleep in.

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“Ah, the joys of not spending money to sleep. What’s next? Free bathrooms?”

As we continued to explore town, we found a taco stashed in someone’s dresser (a strange find for the Burger Kingdom), some magic sauce on the side of a cliff, and a gold bar behind the castle. The Burger Kingdom was not without its secrets.

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“Hope it didn’t spoil.”

But the strangest secret of all, a secret that to this day remains misunderstood, is why there were so many people walking around in chicken suits.

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“Should we tell ‘em to cluck off?”

We tried not to let it bother us. We were just lost travelers exploring an unfamiliar land. The Burger Kingdom and its concerns were not really part of our mission. But we were curious. And we were heroes on the rise. Certainly, there was something here for us to do, as no land was without its troubles.

Well, we didn’t actually go looking for trouble, as the Burger Kingdom was relatively peaceful if no one disturbed the creatures of the tall grasses, the Cheese Mines, or the Creepy Pine Forest. But trouble sure found us.

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They called themselves “The Swarm.” Although they didn’t specify exactly where they came from or why they were there (they gave us a terrible reason, but the Swarm’s leader later confessed that she wasn’t willing to share the whole story), they were frightening nonetheless. They were heartless, powerful, and savvy manipulators of anything they could get their hands on, including the four elements of cheese, meat, sauce, and bread (which in truth they did not wield at all). But even scarier was the fact they were a group of five teenage girls. Even a squadron of three Mexican fighters and an American witch-lady would buckle at the knees. Yes, the Swarm was an awful foe.

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“The mall? Daddy’s credit card? Statues of the four goddesses of meat, cheese, honey, celery, bottled water, Tic-Tacs, shoes, etc.? Their whipped boyfriends? Media? Are we even close?”

But one by one, by order of the Burger King (the actual king, not the restaurant), we took them down, beginning with “Sailor Moofem” in the Cheese Mines (we doubt that’s her real name—we’re pretty sure it’s Meghan)—

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Then with Lauren in the fields east of Burger King (the restaurant, not the actual king)—

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Then with the two Sarahs guarding the path up Swarm Tower, Smoop and Nancos.

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Once we took the cellphone-dependent Nancos out of the equation, we journeyed to the top of the tower where we found the Swarm’s leader, Bridget, preparing her ascendancy to become the Burger Kingdom’s next overlord.

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That’s, of course, when we decided to stop her. We were heroes, after all.

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“Oh, Señor Rialgo, you disgusting crack-up, you.”

When we returned to the castle after Bridget’s defeat, the Burger King thanked us for our services. We felt a little bad for beating up five teenage girls, even if they were kinda snotty, and we were disappointed that Bridget wouldn’t tell us exactly why she was there (something we’d probably have to travel back in time and visit a place called Alleghany Hell School to find out—maybe one day we’ll hear the rest of that story), but we were satisfied that we did a good service for the Burger Kingdom community. The Burger King, who we were assured could defeat the Swarm on his own if he wanted to, thanked us by giving me a Cheesenormous, the most powerful sword on our journey, and a 66% discount at the Burger Kingdom Gift Shop. It was there that Señor Rialgo could finally buy some decent armor that actually fit him.

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So, that was our adventure through the Burger Kingdom. When we were done, we returned to business in New Hamster, hunting down parts for our Hippie Van, dispatching the Amish, and encountering a rabbity creature we had forgotten about for our last journal called Mr. Pointless. He really fit his namesake.

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Chapter 6: “Northern Exposure” or “Somewhere in Alaska”

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So, with Señor Garbanzo busted out of prison and the Hippie Van fueled for adventure, we set off toward Canada, where the road would take us right into Alaska.

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But halfway through the longest drive of our lives, we started running out of fuel (the van was powered by Mountain Dew), and had to make a stop in the Canadian town of Beaverfoot to replenish our supply.

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Problem: Beaverfoot was having a Mountain Dew shortage. How convenient for us.

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As we explored a bit, talking to priests and goat girls, who, we later found out after Schnee decided to stick by the van, could speak only in Goat, we entered the mayor’s mansion to discover the truth behind the Mountain Dew shortage. Well, sort of. He didn’t know why they were low on Mountain Dew, but he did confess that he had a horde of it down in his basement. He even agreed to award us five bottles of the stuff, the amount we needed for the remaining drive to Alaska, if we could score 1000 points on his trivia game. So, we played.

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“Children starving in Africa, war raging in the Middle East, Beaverfoot short on Mountain Dew—the world needs to get its act together, pronto.”

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“I hear Goat is a Germanic language, like English.”

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“The goat girl fights a lot like Schnee, with boobs and everything.”

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“To get to the other side…? Meah-by.”

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“How many points do we get for that if we guess correctly?”

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The questions were challenging. They covered topics ranging from “Canadian Stuff,” which we knew nothing about on account of us being Mexican (and Virginian), “Frankfurter’s Quest for Soap,” a television show that we occasionally saw broadcast on TVs in Wrongside and New Hamster, and “Other Stuff,” which covered other stuff.

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Eventually, we scored well enough to earn our Mountain Dews. We even tried the mayor’s second round of questions, which were even harder than the first—did you know that Alaska was never part of Canada? Not even in 1959? We didn’t. We’re Mexicans (and Virginian). The fact that we got the answer right was a lucky guess.

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We kept playing and kept testing the limits of the mayor’s private stash, but he never seemed to run out, which convinced us that there was no shortage at all. We began to think that Beaverfoot’s real problem was that the town’s plot device was flimsy and needed some tweaking. Thanks to us airing our grievances with town developers, we’re pretty sure that someday the shortage will be limited, as the problem has implied. But for now, we couldn’t stick around to see if things would change. We had to move on.

Once we decided that we were done exploring Beaverfoot, which was a decision compounded by the fact that giant beavers lived in the hills north of the church, we jumped back in our Hippie Van and continued on to Alaska, and our destiny.

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“This is why soccer isn’t popular in America.”

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“For anyone else, this might’ve been a surprise.”

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“So, er, maybe it’s time to leave Canada?”

The end of the road led us to a forested wilderness at the foot of a shallow hill, and on the hill, the vilest of all of America’s production facilities stood waiting for us. It was here in this government-usurped facility, owned by the duped Fartbean Corportation, that hundreds of Mexicans were taken after their untimely kidnappings and forced into slavery. It was here that Señor Garbanzo was destined to work had he not proven to the government how powerful of an opponent he could be to them. Irony was a cruel mistress bringing him to the government’s front door after all these years, especially given what he was capable of once behind the wheel of a Hippie Van.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

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“If you’re making a run for the border, you haven’t run quite far enough, hombre.”

At the base of the facility, we encountered two guards who did not offer us much of a fight. In fact, they were such wusses that we wondered if stationing them there was actually an invitation for us to enter, and thus, a trap in the making. We entered anyway, because that’s why we’d left Mexico and taken such a long and violent journey north in the first place. To turn back now would’ve been loco.

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“Aw, you’re not supposed to entice us in.”

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What we found did not seem so bad at first. But it got bad almost immediately, as soon as we made our first left down the hall, and through the floor…

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“Ouch.”

We landed two floors down, in another hallway, most likely the basement level, or deeper—we really couldn’t tell where we were. Conveyor belts, teleporters, shallow ledges, and mechanical creatures stood in our way. The conveyor belts and teleporters helped us get around, but the ledges and mechanical beasts deterred us at times. And let us not forget the occasional trapdoors in the floor. And, little is more dastardly than the floods of spilled toxic materials we found accumulating on the floors all over the place. It seemed that wherever we walked, we were on course to discover something to impede us.

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“Clean up on aisle…er, where are we again?”

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“We need to hire a maid in here…”

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“…or call in the robot janitorial staff.”

Sometimes we found a conveyor belt that would take us through a wall and into another room. Sometimes the trap door in the floor would give us a chance to regroup and try a new path. Even the teleporters, while some led us around in circles, would eventually get us to a place we had not yet seen before.

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“Hope this doesn’t drop us into a lake outside.”

And there were plenty of places like that in a place so huge and complicated.

We spent a long time wandering those halls, backtracking, moving forward, backtracking, moving forward…

Sometimes we encountered enemies we did not want to fight, so we’d run.

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Other times we encountered enemies we did not want to fight, yet we couldn’t run thanks to the space we wandered into being so narrow.

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We learned quickly not to take our environment for granted. Small rooms meant enemies would pin us down. Water fountains, which restored our SP in small doses per drink, often hid trapdoors in the floors beside them. And teleporters were helpful, as long as we kept going left.

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Even the single switch we found near a hall littered with junk changed our destiny depending on which direction it was pointing. One way opened the doors on the left side of the facility; the other opened the ones on the right. We also learned the hard way that one side was clearly more important to us than the other, which we had discovered after we’d gone and switched it back.

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The factory was a confusing place, and even the scientists who worked there were lost. Was it a testament to American design, or a government-sanctioned funhouse for the criminally insane? We could not decide on that, either.

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“So, er, this is a conundrum.”

Perhaps it was designed to keep us off our guard. It almost worked when a man dressed as a famous Sith lord met us in one of the facility’s many lobbies.

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But, as our journey became ever-so-maddening, and Señor Rialgo’s bowels became ever closer to bursting—there were bathrooms everywhere, but none accessible to unauthorized personnel—we finally stumbled into a section of the factory where the signs of change were evident. One of the men’s restrooms was occupied, and at that moment when Señor Rialgo’s pants were about to burst, the door opened, and out walked…

Destiny.

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“Oh, crap! No pun intended.”

The rest of our journey was a mishmash of climactic events, ranging from one epic battle to another.

We discovered the secret the government was protecting. And it was dastardly indeed.

So much that we cannot bear to discuss it.

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All we can say now is that we kept slogging through the mess, the evil, the robots, and met destiny in the face, looking at it in the eye one last time.

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The battle it gave us was messy. But we prevailed.

It was a miracle that Alaska survived.

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“They left this part off the travel brochure. Darn you, travel agency!”

Okay, we’re being overly dramatic, but there was definitely fallout of epic proportions. Fortunately, we also survived, and we left Alaska victorious, and a little richer.

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What followed after that was for the ages.

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Review Mode:

Initially I was impressed with FnrrfYgmSchnish’s speedy development of this well-planned game, but soon came to realize that, like they do for all authors, distraction, burnout, and outside priorities posed a risk to his momentum, and the time it took for him to release Chapter 6 (which, as of this writing, has not yet been made official) was an utter slap to the face of those five chapters that came before it.

But, as we also know, time away can make for a better game in time, and nearly five years of planning, thinking about, and developing a single chapter can pay off in a big way. I think that’s exactly what happened for Chapter 6, and, in a sense, for Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana as a whole. Maybe it goes without saying, but the final chapter of this crazy game is perhaps the richest and most complicated of them all, yet FnrrfYgmSchnish (Dark Blubber) pulls it off almost effortlessly.

Sure, there are problems, as there always will be. For as polished as the gameplay and navigation has become, there are still little details that are overlooked: a single toilet or sink lacking flavor text when a thousand others have something to say, characters who bend the laws of their own personalities (some scientists seem a bit stupid, for example), kitchens that have dressers instead of cabinets and other furniture oddities, and entire hidden sections, which greatly add to the joy of exploring in the game, end up having nothing of importance for our heroes or adding nothing important to the story, are just a few examples. But, these occasional slips from reality or breaks from consistency fail to ruin what is an otherwise groundbreaking experience.

Take the final chapter for example. The game has pretty much patterned the player to expect a certain type of design depending on whether the chapter is an odd- or even-numbered segment. Odd-numbered chapters are more straightforward and story-driven with a clear path and a clear goal. Even-numbered chapters are more open, definitely more sprawling, and tend to take at least twice as long to complete as the chapter before it. Chapter 6 does not disappoint in this expectation. Even though the opening town, Beaverfoot, is no more complicated than El Pueblecito or Frogbucket, Alabama, it is merely the header for a much deeper, much more complex place that makes even New Hamster seem like a quick stride around the corner and back again. With its complicated infrastructure of conveyor belts, teleporters, tight, winding hallways, trapdoors, ledges, toxic waste spills, rooms full of unescapable enemies, closed doors, multiple floors, and the occasional NPC zone or barracks, keeping track of it all is a navigational nightmare that doesn’t even begin to make sense until you’ve figured out how things in the facility are supposed to work. It’s only then that finding your way around gets easier. And even this is not so easy, especially when the paths you know you’re not supposed to take are just as enticing as the ones you ultimately have to take, and taking them, while allowing you to find a throwaway piece of treasure (if you’re lucky), ends up throwing you back to the facility’s main entrance where you have to wander those bright and lonely halls yet again.

In a word, Chapter 6 is sheer madness, but in a good way. I think it ties up what we expect out of Okédoké’s gameplay pretty well.

So, that leaves us with one last concern: How does the climax and conclusion fare? We waited so long to even have an ending that we hope it’s at least serviceable to the 12-25 hours we might put into playing it.

Okay, well, let me tell you, the effort put into making the climax worth the journey has not gone the least bit lazy. With two mandatory battles and one optional one taking the final minutes of the game, I can say that, while the battles were not exceptionally difficult, they were epic in scope, and fighting them did have that feeling of closure and conflict on a grand scale. In other words, I have no doubt that our heroes have no greater adversaries than the ones they fight in those last few sections of the game. It seems that FnrrfYgmSchnish took great care into designing and implementing the last three battles of the game to play out with much energy and fanfare. Even the quick events setting up the battles are more elaborate at the end than they are anywhere else in the game.

But even the climax can’t compare to the final stop that FnrrfYgmSchnish pulled when he actually designed the game’s ending. After treating us to a series of action-packed cut scenes that play out the Alaskan facility’s fate, he gives us cell-shaded images with the ending credits that show events from all six chapters, each one depending on decisions the player has made throughout the game. For example, when the credits begin, your first image will depend on whether you sneak past the ghosts in the Chapter 1 ghost town. Whether you get images from the Burger Kingdom will depend on if you visited the hidden land or not. It’s quite clever.

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But he doesn’t stop there, either. We also get a series of epilogues based on the four main characters and several of the minor characters they meet along the way. Ever wondered how the gang wars in Wrongside ended? There’s an epilogue for that.

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And this isn’t to speak yet of the game’s graphics. Even though he sticks with the 16-color palette from start to finish, it’s hard to tell when he’s drawing in 8-bit fashion or something more elaborate, because every so often the graphics, which are normally quite good, go above and beyond the norm. Most notable would have to be the final rooms where pretty much every color seems to have representation, and the final boss, Uncle Sam, which really is an 8-bit sight to behold, maximizes the color and richness of Okédoké’s palette. I’ve tried my hand at 8-bit graphics, and, honestly, I have no idea how FnrrfYgmSchnish got so good at this. He tells me that there may be a 16-bit version of the game someday. I have to wonder: how would that manage to blow my mind? I hope he comes through with that vision.

If anything, the only criticism I would have, both for Chapter 6 and for the game in its entirety, is that the story occasionally gets a little too ridiculous, even when its core humor comes from farts, boobs, and other adolescent male laughing cues. The problem with making a joke game into a joke epic adventure, especially when the joke is kind of one-note, is that you eventually saturate the elements that make it funny in the first place. In Chapter 1, I thought using items from a Taco Bell kiosk in Mexico for healing was pretty funny—do they even have Taco Bell in Mexico? I’m sure the idea of having a Taco Bell in the birthplace of tacos is absurd in of itself. By Chapter 4, however, I’m ready for something different. Sure, the stuff with the Burger Kingdom was a nice change of pace. By then we’re getting our HP from Whoppers, not tacos. But we still have Cerveza healing our SP (magic), which is not funny, just practical, and joints waking us up, and worse, we’re actually fighting “bad weed” enemies. I got more laughter out of Mr. Pointless’s reactions to various elements than I did out of fighting marijuana plants with an attack called “Cannablade.”

But the crazy thing is that just when I think the game’s sense of humor is too limited—I think FnrrfYgmSchnish deliberately sticks to certain kinds of jokes to adhere to this very specific over-the-top theme—he throws in some unexpected sidewinders, like a commentary on cellphones or the blatant miscommunication people have when they speak to others of a different language (in this case, he takes this commentary to absurd heights when our Mexican heroes try talking to a girl who speaks only in Goat). And if that weren’t enough, he even tosses in the dramatic side of storytelling when Señor Death reveals his physical weakness to his teammates at the beginning of the climactic end, a result of him traveling too far north, and we wonder if he’s even gonna make it through the final battle. So, yeah, this game is known for its crude and offensive humor, and some people who think it revels in the muck more than it satires the extreme nature of the human condition may choose to avoid playing it for that very reason. But there is a human story here amid the muck and the fart jokes, and I’m actually surprised at what it accomplishes. Anyone looking for a biting social commentary might actually find one here—if they aren’t busy superficially panning the game for its surface ills or its insensitive treatment of obviously exaggerated stereotypes.

So, do I recommend the full version of Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana? Absolutely not! Only the KKK could possibly like this game.

Just kidding. Anyone who wants a solid game that’s finished, looks great, has lots to explore, has a number of puzzles to solve, and has its share of laughs (personally, I hate raunchy jokes and can do without racist or drug humor, but there is so much else here that I find hilarious—I’m a big fan of ironic humor—that I still think the game is funny overall), should give this one a try. And, even if you’ve played an older version of the game already, the final version is worth starting a new game for, as FnrrfYgmSchnish has gone back to each chapter and made each one better than what we last remembered of them.

I had fun playing this, probably more than I’ve had with any other traditional OHR game in a long time. It’s a fine way to waste a day. If you’re looking for a complete adventure that looks good, plays well, and sometimes redeems itself in spite of how badly the humor might turn off certain players, then give the final version a try. I definitely think it should be replayed from the beginning, and, if you play it, remember that exploration is your friend. There is so much to do, so much to find, and certain story beats will change depending on how you tackle side quests (if you even tackle them). A lot of heart went into this game’s design, and I don’t think it should be missed, especially if you think your own game is lacking interesting design and you want tips for making it stronger. This game does that and more. It’s just well done.

Good job, Fnrrf.

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Okedoke Chapter 2-4 Review (Pepsi Ranger)

Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana

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Chapters 2-4

Review by Pepsi Ranger

Recap of Things Missed:

Last month we embarked on an adventure with El Garbanzo, Señor Death, and Señor Rialgo (whom I mistakenly referred to as “Sir” the entire article) across the border of Mexico and into the United States. Along the way we fought sombrero-clad lizards, scorpions with lightning-fast agility, pickpockets, F-15s, and the Mighty Racist Border Rangers. But our journey was far from over. El Garbanzo’s father was missing, the heat was still scorching, and the worst of our opponents was yet to come.

And somewhere between last month’s journey and this one, Dark Blubber added some treasures to the pathways behind us.

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“Think there be scorpions in this here chest, amigo?”

But while our journey must continue, we can take heart that those stragglers that have yet to catch us can round up those chests we somehow missed (because they didn’t exist yet), for what’s behind us is the past and what lies ahead is the hot little Texas town of Wrongside.

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Chapter Two: “In the Ghetto…”

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Trouble didn’t take long to find us in the streets of Wrongside. Rats dashed out of the shadows and ambushed us, baring their rabid teeth. Cockroaches hexed us with pestilence and their superior skills of reproduction. But most heinous of all, the villain “Mofey” was staring at us with his googly eyes and his Rockwell song of paranoia (with backup music by the late Michael Jackson), threatening to become the money we saved by switching to Geico. Dastardly, indeed.

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“Crap, can’t seem to get that money I saved. Socialism must be creeping into Texas.”

But some residents tried to help. Some warned us of the dangers lurking in the alleys, of rival gangs trying to kill hapless travelers in the crossfire of wars they raged among each other. But in such a steamy town, we were destined to ignore those warnings to search every nook, cranny, and garbage can we could find to uncover the whereabouts of the elder El Garbanzo.

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“Okay, but what if I find a stack of money with googly eyes wandering into those alleys?”

We knocked on some doors to see if anyone could put us up for the night—we had, after all, not slept since our donkey ride and needed some rest. But all we found were no answers and ghetto clubs. So we resolved to search for a hotel.

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“Is OG short for the Olive Garden?”

And the hotel was no easy find, I must say. Even with the town map in our sweaty little hands (well, Rialgo’s hands were fat and Señor Death’s hands didn’t sweat), we had difficulty hunting for it in the labyrinthine streets. We passed police officers, met squatters who once saw an old man who looked like El Garbanzo, and stumbled our way into used car dealerships and caves full of dead, but reanimated gang members. And at one point we even found a Rusty Sword buried beneath the dirt. But no hotel. Not until we searched the next street over.

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When we found the hotel, relief set in. The proprietor sold us a room key for 100 pesos (in Texas, no less, and he didn’t even ask for a conversion table), and his business partner sold us some tacos. Then after we spoke to a skittish woman (whom we think we scared off at the border, but couldn’t tell) and a nice little Jamaican elf, we rode the elevator to the top floor, entered the room, and El Garbanzo raced for the first bed, while Señor Death took the second and Señor Rialgo took the toilet. And it was a relaxing evening to say the least.

The next day, we decided to explore the hotel’s rooftop. And up there we discovered a man in a suspicious hat selling us some suspicious wares. He wanted some weird objects to trade with, but we had none of the things he asked for, so we went back downstairs to gather some more clues about El Garbanzo’s missing father.

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“Not sure he’s giving us much to go on.”

And our journey through the streets and alleyways brought us face-to-face with the leaders of four rival gangs.

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“This battle theme needs more cowbell.”

Two gangs were independent contractors, but the other two were involved in a bloody Geico war. The Cavemen and the Geckos had been ruling the underworld of Wrongside for ages, it seemed (probably for seventy years if I were to make a guess), but not by each other’s side. No, they were bitter enemies. The geckos thought that running gangland was so easy that a caveman could do it. The cavemen were pissed that the geckos had celebrity status (and the sunglasses to prove it) and could speak in British accents. And neither were privy to the doublecrossing Mofey who pretended to fight on both sides of the tracks.

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“So are sex offenders.”

So anyway, long story short, we raided their bases and single-handedly ended their war.

But not before we ventured into the Pirate’s turf and confronted their scoundrel of a leader, Cap’n Crunch.

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“Yargh, me like the peanut butter crunch, Cap’n.”

Oh yes, that Cap’n was a dastardly fellow with his bloody eyeballs and boomerang spoon of death, but it was nothing a nicely timed stick of dynamite couldn’t handle. While his subordinate went below to scrub the poop deck, we handed the leader his crunchy-even-in-milk butt to him on a stick (or sword, rather) and liberated imprisoned cereal brands back to the kids. We felt accomplished.

Once the Cap’n fell, we raided the Cavemen’s turf, the Geckos’ turf, and thought all was done until we wandered into the alleyways of the city’s most fearsome gang: The Ninjas.

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“You’ve got interesting friends, Mr. Ninja.”

The Ninjas, in a word, were pansies. They put up a good front with those stretchy little costumes, but they hit like sissies. And either we were just overconfident going into battle, or they really were all bark and no bite. And their leader, the Mysterious “Mr. Green,” seemed more interested in his pizza than he did in our heads, and really didn’t put up much of a fight. With the exception of Señor Rialgo, we really felt bad kicking him out of town. But in the end we thought he belonged in the sewers, so we silently hoped that he ended up there somewhere.

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“We did it legally, you bureaucrat!”

When it seemed that the worst of Wrongside was a thing of memories and we had enough money to buy transportation out of town, we beat up some gang members and stole their car. We thought the money we saved would’ve served us better elsewhere.

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“You shouldn’t tempt a guy who just beat up a bunch of gang members. Modern day psychology might complain that we have an Iron Man complex now.”

Someone once told us that a new car would take us far, but a clunker would only get us a $4000 credit toward something better. In truth, the clunker got us nothing but broken down in the middle of Alabama in a racist little town called Frogbucket.

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Now, Frogbucket was a small town full of rednecks and Cerveza (we thought for sure they’d be more interested in Whiskey in those parts, but who were we to judge?), but it didn’t stop us from looking for the one man who could fix our car, the one man the KKK despised, the only black Jewish homosexual in town. And we found him in the fringes of town where he hid daily from his redneck stalkers.

He agreed to fix our car on the condition that we beat up the Ku Klux Klan and give him a night of peace. We complied by entering the KKK’s sacred meeting grounds and stomping the Grand Wizard into a chasm. It was fun.

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“What do the KKK and Al Qaeda have in common?”

When we came back to the shop, we proved our worth, and he proved his by fixing our car. Then we returned to the highway and continued on toward the northeast.

Missing Journal Entry:

This is a late entry, and unmarked from typical chronology, but I just wanted to say we did encounter a strange character in our journeys. I probably shouldn’t say where we found him, or why we fought him, but he did drop something called a “Keyblade” when we took him out.

He really was surprised to see us.

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Journey Continued:

So, as we drove down the grassy highways through America’s heartland and day became night, we had more car problems, and stalled again in front of some strange house. We didn’t think much of it, so we decided to check on it for some help.

Chapter 3: “The Middle of Nowhere”

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The house stood on a haunted hill below a crescent moon. Cliffs flanked the rising field and a graveyard died to the west. And upon the ledges, random treasure boxes hid within the clusters of trees, begging us to abandon them with all hope. And we journeyed up the shadowed hill, searched the ledges for life (and found Señor Death’s “Vampire Blade”), and questioned the epitaphs on the forgotten tombstones of things lost to history.

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But in the end we were just procrastinating. We knew that to find our answers, we had to enter the house. And we were fine with that, because we were badass.

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“Aw, it don’t look so big.”

“That’s what she said!”

Inside the house, wandering spirits told us of things we already knew, things like “this is a haunted house,” and “we’re dead.” But one ghost informed us of something different, something relevant: there was a resident who wasn’t dead, and that if we kept searching, we might find her.

Well, we searched the ground floor and found nothing but energy barriers blocking doorways into rooms we would’ve liked to visit, like the bedroom and its savory beds for sleeping in and replenishing strength. No, we were stuck munching on our tacos as we wandered up the stairway onto the second floor, into the main hall where we found our adversary….

Schnee McBoobs.

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“Selling Avon, maybe?”

She caught us off guard, certainly, with her thick glasses and large assets, but we were strong. We resisted her charm for about a second. And then she yanked the floor out from underneath us.

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Señor Rialgo was the first to seek revenge. He dropped down into the foyer, so his return journey was short. Instead of wasting time on the mummies and Frankenstein’s monsters that attacked him, he dashed up the stairs, prepared to give Schnee a piece of his gas, and was instantly zapped by her magic handcuffs…and magic footcuffs, which we didn’t think existed.

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Señor Death fell past the dining room behind the energy barriers and had to climb all the way up through the back way to reach her. And when he arrived, he showed her a thing or two about magic. They became locked in a battle for supremacy, but neither made progress against the other.

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And finally, El Garbanzo awoke in the dank dungeons where spikes and skulls made up the décor, and he journeyed up two flights of stairs and crossed a back hall to reach her. And when he arrived, he found Señor Death and Schnee McBoobs tangling with magic wands and he quickly sneaked away to tend to Señor Rialgo.

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When he freed Señor Rialgo, they concocted a plan to give Señor Death the advantage. But of course, Señor Rialgo jumped the gun, and it was just as well—he unlocked a new ability in the process—Señor Death got the upper hand.

But Schnee had a plan. She summoned the king of the Emo Kids, the Emo Grande, to sap our happiness. And like a coward, she ran up the stairs and onto the floors where the wood was rotten and cracks could be broken.

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“Bet that giant creature standing behind you don’t speak good Spanish, either.”

After we snipped the strings of the Emo Grande’s world’s smallest fiddle, we raced up the stairs and eventually found her locked away in a room. And you know what?

She didn’t fight us. And she didn’t even try to run.

Nope, she joined us. Told us it was all a test. Told us that she had been watching us since Wrongside and summoned us here to help her reach her brother.

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“You did that for us? Aw, thanks.”

We shrugged, found a Heck Klown in a box in another room, and then left the house. Though, we were sure to take a nap before we left. We were pretty tired by then. We were also happy that Schnee fought with her wand now, not with her jiggling breasteses.

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“All right, who summoned the jack-in-the-box from hell?”

When we stepped outside, we found her hippie van outside the door, which she kept hidden in an invisibility cloak, and headed down the highway toward New Hamster, Pennsylvania.

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Chapter 4: “New Hamster”

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When we arrived to New Hamster, Schnee’s brother told us that we couldn’t just drive up to the prison without getting the windshield and tires shot out. So he wanted us to find some Titanium, Machine Guns, a Rocket Launcher, a Satellite Dish, and some Mountain Dew to jazz up the vehicle. He also needed Heavy Duty Wheels to protect them from puncture. So we took his advice and entered the city search for these mythical parts.

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A Word from Our Sponsor:

Unfortunately, due to the confidentiality of sensitive materials previously recorded, we’re afraid that the U.S. Government prohibits the publishing of contents related to the events transpiring in New Hamster, Pennsylvania, and we must therefore pull our original report from this article. However, the government is too busy trying to control our access to healthcare to check whether or not we complied, so we’ll attempt to include snippets from that original 320-page report.

Excerpts from the Restricted Journal:

We entered the borders of New Hamster, Pennsylvania and found a man sleeping in his bed. Stole a Coca-Cola from his fridge; it seemed that New Hamster provided some variety in its soft drinks. Later on, we discovered that certain fast food restaurants provided us with Mountain Dew, which not only helped us in battle, but also helped lubricate our van for the journey into the prison.

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“You keep your bulletproof vests in the refrigerator? Don’t you think the freezer would be better?”

We found that, unlike Wrongside, the city of New Hamster had open access to the sewer system. And we found a lot of our missing junk down there. But not every section connected to the other, so we had to find multiple entrances, including a couple that weren’t in such obvious places. And the creatures that dwelled down there were hideous.

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In Wrongside, we had to search and search and search for the hotel, and we suffered much in the process, so we were happy to discover that the Hamster Inn was pretty close to the city entrance this time. On the same note, we were disappointed that the layout wasn’t as cool (though this one hid a treasure).

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“You should yell at your toilet bowl to ‘keep it down.’”

Gang presence can be found in any big city, and New Hamster was no different. Lurking under the shadows of the hotel were members of a gang called “The Amish.” And because they were the last ones standing after a massive gang war and police bust drove the others out of town, they were self-declared kings of the hill and considered themselves untouchable. So we beat up their Grand Poobah and raided their butter churn toilets for prizes.

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As we traveled the streets, we were surprised at how many drug addicts lived among the residents. Even the Emo Kids were potheads.

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“Why? You afraid they’ll steal it from you?”

The more we explored New Hamster, the more we realized that it wasn’t just a town with tall buildings and seedy establishments, but a place containing surrounding sectors like a junkyard and training center. And in those surrounding places we found another host of helpful things.

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“And I am the Gatekeeper.”

And even with Burger King closed for renovations until 2010, we still couldn’t believe how much there was to do and to explore here in New Hamster, Pennsylvania. We could buy tacos from Taco Bell. Talk to animals at the pound (and rescue one). Buy rare items from a cloaked man with shades at a gentleman’s club. And we could even battle with Nazi incarnations of a famous underwater sponge in places that we choose to keep secret from the wrong people.

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And we did all this unbeknownst to the fact that someone was stalking us, someone with glasses and red lipstick, someone who didn’t want us to find the last piece of Titanium or to make it to the prison up north. Someone who was willing to turn the very statue of Bob the Hamster against us just to keep us from achieving our—

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“Statue shown in actual size.”

Actually, we probably shouldn’t reveal anymore. Now that the healthcare bill has been shot to heck, the government may be watching.

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“Oh great. That just means more Canadians will scurry past the border, you lazy twit.”

Review Mode:

Okay, so now that I’ve finished the game up through Chapter 4, I thought I’d give my quick impressions.

First off, Dark Blubber wasn’t kidding when he said that New Hamster would dwarf Wrongside. It is very large. And when I say large, I mean, I’m notorious for making gigantic maps in my games and even I thought it was vast. Goodness. Vast may not even be the appropriate word. A layer cake of black holes might be more accurate. Imagine the entirety of Village People: The Video Game dropped into a single chapter of Okédoké, and you have a partial idea of the scope that is New Hamster. To give you a better indicator, I entered the borders at about the seventh hour of gameplay. I returned to Schnee’s brother with all the crap he asked for after the twelfth hour. Yes, it’s that big and has that much you can do. In all my notoriety, I don’t think I’ve ever matched that. New Hamster may very well set the record for largest city in the OHR (not so much in size, but definitely in scope). And if it doesn’t, it certainly makes the Top 5. The flood of random battles increases the length, I’ll admit. But with the intricate web of hunting and gathering involved, this place goes on and on, and when you finally do get the chance to leave, you’ll know it so well that it’ll show up in your dreams.

And I can only hope that Chapters 5 and 6 will have quests that make them just as massive.

Also, after playing through the entire game so far, I must say that I’m pleased with the way that Dark Blubber re-balanced the battles. Misses happen much less often than they used to and the pace of a random battle seems to move a little faster. I still think they happen too often, and I find that I run from half of them if not most, and still have enough experience left over to take town a boss. And I also think level ups occur a little too slowly (I ended Chapter 4 at an average level of 18), but neither really ruined the experience. If he didn’t change a thing, I’d still be happy with the existing product.

One interesting thing about items: some tradable items aren’t always worth trading away. It’s a bit of a mind game. Do I sacrifice power now for convenience later? Do I give away this sleek neck accessory to gain some funky hat? Or will I screw myself over if I do this or that? You really can’t know until after you’ve made the choice.

I’ve also noticed that this game features a butterfly effect. Even into Chapter 4, there are consequences to certain decisions I made way back in Chapter 1. And it looks like these things will continue to follow me into the remaining chapters. It really makes the choices you make worth considering.

“And where will that leave the world?”

And that concludes this month’s installment of the Okédoké review. Next month, if Dark Blubber manages to finish the game by then, we’ll review Chapters 5 and 6. If not, we’ll preview Chapter 5 only. And if that doesn’t work, then we’ll just sit by a campfire and wait patiently for him to finish.

Okedoke Chapter 1 Review (Pepsi Ranger)

Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana

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Chapter 1

Review by Pepsi Ranger

An Important Message:

Before I start discussing the game, I want to first discuss an important virus that’s invading pop culture. That virus is something we like to call “political correctness.” It’s a virus that if left untreated long enough can kill comedy. Dead. And once it’s dead, it’s too late to fix it.

In the early nineties, the media introduced “Political Correctness” to helpless victims across the world. Through this epidemic, black people became “African-Americans,” whether they were African, Haitian or English, and “black” became a bad word. The people we used to call “retarded,” have since been called “mentally challenged.” Even though they are still, by definition, “retarded,” political correctness tells us that we’re insensitive if we choose to use that word. And if we’re insensitive, we’re traitors to humanity and can no longer be used as political puppets.

Until these institutions told us what was considered insensitive, no one really had to be accountable to their words. If I told you to sit Indian-style in front of the TV, you’d curl up on the floor with both legs folded over your knees. Nowadays, “Indian-style” is an “insensitive word” (against “Native Americans”) that has been replaced with the intensely childish “crisscross applesauce,” which I would feel stupid to say to you if you were over the age of eight.

But “crisscross applesauce” is politically correct; and while it offends me to use it, it’s apparently non-offensive to Indians, who, last I checked, don’t really use it themselves.

So, what does that leave us with? Some unfunny comedy?

In 1998, a miracle happened. The world was given a wonderful tale of “Boy Meets Girl,” “Boy Gets Frank and Beans Stuck in Zipper,” “Boy Loses Girl,” in a comedy where the mentally challenged were exploited, private detectives had huge teeth, and no one was safe from ridicule. That movie was called There’s Something About Mary, and its amazing success proved once and for all that political correctness is just another tool the media uses for making people feel bad about themselves, and that audiences shouldn’t have to put up with it in their entertainment.

Eleven years later it seems that Dark Blubber, the creator of Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana, understood the importance of killing the virus of political correctness before it spread into his comedic tale, because if it had been given clearance to survive, we never would’ve fought the Mighty Racist Border Rangers or bought power-ups from Taco Bell, and where would that leave us Socially Challenged Caucasian-Americans?

The Game:

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Originally created for the 2009 8-Bit Contest, Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana, or Okédoké for short, stunned the community with not only its near flawless graphic presentation (which resembled a beloved SNES classic called Earthbound) but also its super lengthy gameplay. And keep in mind that when I say, “stunned the community,” I really mean, “stunned me.” It was long in adventure, full of rich characters, and even offered the occasional puzzle. I downed several cups of coffee throughout the two or three early mornings I spent playing it, and it just kept going. For having spent only a month producing it, Dark Blubber really crammed a brick-load of content and possibly solidified himself as one of the community’s brightest new game designers.

For the full account of my early impression, you can read my first review of the game at http://www.slimesalad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2717. It recounts the game in a bit more pointblank fashion than what I plan to do for this review.

Now, as I said, I was stunned. Impressed. Flat out boggled by the presentation. And yet, I was tickled. It was like I was finally playing the game that The Adventures of Powerstick Man should’ve been, the game that I always intended it to be. It followed the exploits of a superhero, ravaged the nature of pop culture through no hold’s barred parody, and it succeeded at being a genuinely entertaining game. And it was done in a month, whereas Powerstick Man took me eight months. And both games had roughly an equal amount of playtime. It was a phenomenal experience to see what could be done in such little time.

Then again, ten years later the OHR has to have games like this. With all the tricks it can pull off now, there’s no excuse for Okédoké to be any less impressive. And its above par, but below excellent Slime Salad rating proves that. Which means, despite how fun the game was for me, I still have to rate it according to the standard that designers are capable of these days.

So from this point on, I will be reviewing the game chapter by chapter (based on the bugfixed update released in early July), and will break it up into three separate reviews.

This month, obviously, will cover the first chapter. And because everyone reading this will have likely played the first chapter by now (and already voiced his opinion about the battles, and especially the battles against the scorpions), I will instead use the first review as a mission log for finding the elusive “Super Boss” that Dark Blubber said existed in the July version (which I actually won’t get to this month because it’s located in Chapter Two, which I didn’t have time to review).

So with that, let us begin.

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Chapter One: “Run for the Border!”

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I began my quest in a town called El Pueblecito, wandering around and buying stuff, as one would expect to do in the beginning of an adventure like this. I spoke to goats, listened to children complain about their fathers refusing to sell them weapons, and bought tacos from a taco vendor.

Switch to Reviewer Mode:

El Pueblecito was a tight-knit town full of sombrero wearing hippies who had goats, taco stands, and the occasional word of advice. The floors inside each house reminded me of old style Game Boy Color floors, and the ability to search drawers and sleep in beds for free was a nice touch.

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“Who said I was coming back?”

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“So cruel. How does he expect you to defend yourself at school?”

Switch to Traveler Mode:

And then I set out for the mountain, heading first into a cave to steal the legendary 20 Pesos it hid in a treasure box.

It was in that cave that I fought my first battle. And won. And immediately returned home to sleep off my battle damage.

Switch to Reviewer Mode:

In my first playthrough following the contest I actually had to run back to town and take naps all the time, revisiting as many as ten times or more just so I had the strength to make it to the top of the mountain without having to use up all my expensive restoration items. Fortunately, Dark Blubber addressed a number of pacing problems with battles and now I find it’s easier to get to the top and beyond without having to sacrifice a whole lot (including precious time).

Switch to Traveler Mode:

The mountain path to the top was perilous, but fortunately I found help in the form of jalapeños and taquitos to keep me strong. I also found comfort in the revelation that enemies were easier to hit than they were the last time I took this journey pre-July.

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“Like hitting fish in a barrel…oops…like hitting a log on a river…um…like hitting a fly with a pea.”

At the top of the mountain, I found a cave. And in that cave, I found spikes amidst the stalagmites. They weren’t painful to step on, mind you, but they irritated my feet a little. And they were everywhere. It was impossible to move down some paths without cutting across rows of them.

Switch to Reviewer Mode:

Every extensive cave throughout the game world has some area where spikes have to be tread upon in order to move forward. I wasn’t particularly annoyed by this convention, because it depleted very little energy. But I did find it strange that it offered you no alternative way around it.

I did like the cave graphics, though. Caves in general are tough to draw and I was especially impressed that Dark Blubber could develop a convincing cave with his limited palette. I also thought the caves brought out the feeling of exploration a little better than the mountain did.

He also rewards us with treasure boxes containing unpredictable items (or unpredictable until you open them) from large cash deposits to deadly scorpions.

Switch to Traveler Mode:

But one path I crossed brought me to a ladder, which led back down through the mountain, down into the red chambers of inner-Mexico, until I once again stumbled out into the sun, and into the realm of the dead, or Ghost Town as it’s called on Google Earth.

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I traveled around a bit, hoping to talk to some interesting conversationalists. But all I found were dead people, and some painfully obvious ones at that.

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“You don’t say.”

I did manage to pillage the town for some gold and hefty sums of pesos. But it left me with a hollow feeling that I could only fill by raiding the local abandoned mine.

It was there that I encountered…him…

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“A ghost with a red hat, silly.”

After already knowing my tale, he decided to join me on my quest to run for the border. But he wasn’t pleasant. And he smelled of death.

Switch to Reviewer Mode:

The thing I liked most about Ghost Town was its hybrid feeling of relief and dread when I’d walk around town. It was a relief to have a place to sleep after spending many steps fighting random enemies in caves and on the mountainside. But it was also dreadful, as sometimes the monsters would attack me after I climbed out of bed. And there were no restorative items for sale (that I found) nearby, so the journey constantly rode me on the edge of a seesaw.

I also thought Señor Death had one of the better entrances in recent OHR memory. Dark Blubber skillfully left me thinking that I was about to fight a boss, and then opened up the curtain and said “Boo! Here’s your first teammate.” It was brilliant.

Switch to Traveler Mode:

We left the mine and the ghost town, and headed for the other chambers of the mountain cave, looking for treasures to plunder. It was to the left that we caught a glimpse of our sun-baked future.

Though we were dizzyingly high on a dusty cliff, we could see the valley from there. And as a reward for our diligent travels, we liberated the contents of two treasure chests, one of which contained a nice, destructive stick of dynamite that some boss was asking for come the future. Then it was time to head back to El Pueblecito, stock up on new weapons and tacos, and to finally head through the scorching valley where we would make that run for the border.

The journey was far from easy, though. Distorted light glowed over the desert sand, sapping us of strength (yes, even the undead Señor Death was having issue), and scorpions and sunburned zombies rushed us from the stalks of cacti. But we pressed on until we reached the northern desert.

Then some fool tried to rob us, but we showed him.

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“But if I don’t give you money does that give me permission to hurt you?”

When the thieves fled, we encountered a flatulent soul by the name of Sir Rialgo, recruited him for the journey and continued on toward a donkey ranch where we eventually sought passage to the border.

Switch to Reviewer Mode:

The desert between El Pueblecito and the Donkey Ranch is considerably shorter than the mountain path and its adjacent locales. But the reduced travel time is countered with tougher enemies, wide dehydration zones, and a mini-boss fight. And as a bonus, the added teammate, Sir Rialgo, is a heavier hitter than Señor Death, causing longer battles to suddenly shrink.

So kudos once again go to Dark Blubber’s ability to balance two non-similar areas.

And I know that some people had issue with the long donkey ride between the ranch and the border, but I personally thought it was funny.

Switch to Traveler Mode:

And then came the moment of truth when we actually reached the border. But little did we know, opposition would come in three different forms.

First, we had common guards blocking our paths. There was a tunnel that would permit us to bypass them. But whether we eluded the guards or fought them head on, it didn’t save us from an encounter with the most vile of all border patrol: The Mighty Racist Border Rangers.

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“Defenders of Voltron? With a ten gallon hat? Or maybe the cast of High School Musical 4?”

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These guys were powerful, but mortal. And we discovered that they possessed a number of special items on their searchable bodies, including a happy little vest called “Kevlar.” And the Kevlar was priceless because it made El Garbanzo several points tougher.

We also discovered that their bladders shrank if we happened to take down an F-15 before their very eyes.

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“You saw that? Aw, shucks.”

But once we showed them how little mercy we possessed, they got the hint and moved on. And so did we…

Into a place called “Wrongside.”

And we’ll pick up our journey from here next time.

Switch to Reviewer Mode:

The Mighty Racist Border Ranger battle is probably what made me such a fan of this game. Until this fight, I only marveled at the scale of the adventure. But with the diverse characterizations they brought to the stage, their strange battle techniques and hilarious encounter dialogue, I immediately saw this as one of the classics of 2009. Plus, any game that pulls off a brilliant parody wins top score from me. A number of crappy joke movies prove that it isn’t easy to do this, so when somebody does it, it deserves the accolade.

I also admire Dark Blubber’s “extra mile” technique that gave the player several options for tackling the border, and for having different responses to each choice.

Conclusion:

So that covers the opening chapter of the game and basic summation of my thoughts. Obviously I could get into more stuff, but it’s late, I have less than 15 minutes left in the month,

Okedoke Chapter 5 Review (Pepsi Ranger)

Okédoké! La Leyenda Mexicana

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Chapter 5 (with Burger Kingdom Preview)

Review by Pepsi Ranger

Recap of Things Missed:

It’s been a few months since we published our last Okédoké journal entry, and much has happened in the world in that time. We’ve had a few holidays, entered a new year, and our most recent opponent flew out of New Hamster to join FOX News as a contributor. Needless to say, life’s been busy. But, we’ve endured, we gathered all the junk we needed to turn the Hippie Van into a Hippie Tank, and now it’s time for us to break into prison.

But before we do that, we must backtrack a little.

Lost Journal Alert:

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Our tangles with the government never cease, and though everything we’re about to write is true, there is much that we fear we cannot disclose for now. Someday, we hope we can tell the whole story as it happened. For now, the government and corporate America don’t want anyone to know of this place, so we must keep the details to a minimum.

While we were busy hunting down the 20 items we needed to retrofit the Hippie Van, we developed a mysterious need for munchies and we found ourselves compelled to snack on some Whoppers at the New Hamster Burger King. And what we found in the ball pit was six o’clock newsworthy. Buried beneath those balls were terrible things, such as ketchup packets, moldy chicken nuggets, and a strange portal to another land.

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What we discovered in that other land may require another journal once our governmental limitations are lifted (or, after we finish Chapter 6), but for the sake of explaining our absence we thought that we should record some of the things we found in the hidden land of the Burger Kingdom.

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First off, the Burger King was a nice guy. He was happy to lift the restrictions off the entrance to the Creepy Pine Forest when we told him that five girls who called themselves “The Swarm,” were looking to take over his kingdom and were plotting their attack from the tower in the Creepy Pine Forest.

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But getting to him took some clever navigation, because his kingdom and his castle were huge. After all the walking around we did in New Hamster, one would think that the secret land that hid beneath it, or beside it, or wherever it fit in the space-time continuum, would require less travel out of us. But no. We still had a lot of walking, a lot of talking, and a lot of stalking to do. Those Swarm girls were up to something dastardly, and we had to stop them with whatever we could. They had mastered the four elements of the Burger Kingdom: cheese, bread, meat, and sauce, and all we had with us were the powers of Taco Bell. It seemed unfair on paper, but according to the movie Demolition Man, we still had a chance to come out on top.

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So, we set out through the Cheese Mines and the Creepy Pines Forest to unravel The Swarm’s stinky little plot, and to restore order to the kingdom of burgers and fries for the great and powerful Burger King.

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But that is where we must leave our journeys in the Burger Kingdom for now. Teenage girls are watching us, and nothing good can come from that.

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Until the day comes that we can revisit this place, we must continue with travels already known.

Chapter 5: “Breaking the Law”

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Now, the trip from New Hamster to Pukadonna Federal Penitentiary was a short and easy drive, until the F-15’s descended from the sky and attacked. Fortunately, Señor Rialgo was handy with the rocket launcher and, despite the danger of firing a loaded explosive from a lightweight Hippie Battle Van, he kept us out of imminent harm. Likewise, Señor Death was handy with the machine gun and stopped the guards from thwarting our journey (Schnee and El Garbanzo helped).

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When we finally broke through the barrier and reached the penitentiary’s front gates, Señor Rialgo was more than happy to send in a rocket with a message attached, saying, Hola, governmental gringos. We’ve come here to party. And party we did. Five guards jumped out from behind the hole we created and launched an attack like everything we’ve faced before.

Needless to say, we slapped them a bit, stole some of their keys, and made our way inside the main building. The theme from Duke Nukem had our vigilante backs.

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The guard at the front desk, however, did not oppose us. He wasn’t that helpful, either, but he didn’t try to fight. Despite the rubble a few feet from his desk, he seemed content with our presence there. El Garbanzo didn’t question his indifference, so we continued on, wandering the cellblock, looking for answers.

We did face opposition in the corridors, not only from dutiful guards, but from inmates, as well. And we understood some of the opposition; clearly, the guards were paid minimum wage to stand in our way, and for that we didn’t argue. But the inmates? We thought for sure that they would be on our side. Here we were, four loco fighters raising hell against their captors, and they tried to stop us? The only explanation we had was that maybe they didn’t like our kind. This theory persisted when we stole cell keys from the guards we battled and used them to open cell doors. The inmates inside, now free, still wanted to fight us. Them, and their possessed toilets. As it seemed, we were in for some trouble this day.

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As we moved around the square-shaped cellblocks, passing through kitchens, buying bread and water from the nice guards, and eluding the dreaded beast known as “Bubba Hornet,” we robbed guards, unlocked gates, raided cabinets, slept in beds, and fought those ungrateful prisoners we freed, hoping that sooner or later we would find what we came here looking for: El Garbanzo’s father. This was, after all, his last-known whereabouts.

We took the stairs behind the main control room to the roof of the prison, hoping to find answers up there. What we found instead was a guard shack with outdated armor and a couple police officers warning us to look both ways before crossing the road. Upon careful examination of our surroundings, we had no idea which road they were talking about, or if they were even psychologically licensed to wear a badge. We returned to the control room disappointed.

Our journey brought us outside to the prison yard, where we encountered basketball players, former Mighty Racist Border Patrol officers, and deposed members of the gangs in Wrongside and New Hamster respectively. Most of them weren’t helpful, but they weren’t revenge-driven, either, so we respected their uselessness.

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At the foot of the maximum-security wing in the heart of the prison yard, we had to introspect about our current circumstance. It seemed that after all this time fighting for Mexican justice we became too strong for our enemies. They could no longer provide us with the protection we needed to make our opposition against them easier. From here on out, it just seemed like we were grinding for nothing.

But we pressed on.

Into the maximum-security wing.

Where we faced murderers and rapists of an extreme nature.

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Psychopaths like Jackson and The Smoker. Villains like the elusive, but secretly captured, Osama bin Laden. Yes, we unlocked their gates and fought them all, hoping to find answers, but also wanting a fair fisticuffs challenge. In the end, what we got were a handful of scars and a hockey mask.

And still no answers.

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With the maximum-security wing emptied and ready for a new batch of bad guys, we continued upward, on to the top floor, realizing quickly that we had nowhere else to go. And it was there that someone could finally give us an answer, some clue to the whereabouts of El Garbanzo’s father.

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Yes, it was El Garbanzo’s father who gave us the clue.

But, his identity was not the only thing he shared with us. He told us what the government had planned. He told us why Mexicans were being kidnapped. As it turned out, they were instrumental to the government’s next big weapon.

But alas, that was all he could tell us before our plan to break him out was discovered.

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To the sound of the dreaded empirical theme from Star Wars, a new player showed his face in that moment, and that new player brought with him a corporate villain who threatened to shut down our escape. That corporate villain was none other than Captain Racist.

Or the hooded version of Ansem the Wise.

…or, the clone of Ansem the Wise, as it seemed that the real Ansem the Wise was killed in an explosion two years earlier.

It didn’t really matter who he was, because we defeated him like we did everyone else who stood in our way. And then we escaped. Or tried. Apparently, our actions went noticed (where our violent break-in to the prison did not), and every guard in the complex came looking for us. With a long walk back, we dodged guards as best as we could until we returned to our van with Señor Garbanzo in tow, and prepared for a safe drive to Alaska.

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And as conflicts predicted, we were met with an even greater opposition: the shotgun-wielding Vice President.

Alas, we were facing the greatest opposition of our lives so far. And the outlook was grim—this was, after all, a man who had no problem shooting his friends—what chance did a group of Mexican outlaws stand?

But a hero intervened on our behalf. A hero for whom we helped first back in New Hamster.

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We shuddered to think what would’ve happened had we not helped him earlier. It was possible that we were facing a world of hurt.

When the dust finally settled, and we could finally put our prison experience behind us, we boarded the van and prepared for our final journey.

Review Mode:

I’ll come right out and say that Chapter 5 of Okédoké, while cool, didn’t quite capture me the way that the earlier chapters did. This is to say nothing of the quality, of course, but that time poses a hazard to interest. Where I was eager to play through Chapters 3 and 4 upon their release, I found that I was able to delay playing Chapter 5 for several weeks. I know that part of this has to do with my understanding of the design. Chapter 4 was a lot of fun for me because it involved immense exploration, offered a design that forced me to make careful decisions about where I went and when, thanks to the challenge, and gave me a reason to stay with it for hours (which having to locate 20 items throughout a massive play area will do that). Chapter 5 didn’t offer this. Instead, it brought me back to the short, straightforward approach that Chapter 3 provided. It was relevant to the story, yes, but it wasn’t the highlight of the game so far.

And that brings up an interesting question. Does time between releases have an effect on player interest?

Despite Dark Blubber’s warning that Chapter 3 would be short compared to Chapter 2, I was still looking forward to it, because I was getting sucked into the gameplay, and in some sense, the story. I saw the haunted house on the hill and wondered, “What could our heroes possibly have go wrong in there?” So, when Chapter 3 was finally released last summer, I was ready to play it.

And Dark Blubber was right. It was short.

But I still played through it. And thanks to the closed-gate/holes-in-floor design, I still thought it was a challenge. And, yes, I enjoyed it.

Fast-forward six months later, and I found that my eagerness to play had waned. Was it because I didn’t think Chapter 5 would offer a challenge? On the contrary, I thought it would offer the biggest challenge so far—it was, after all, about breaking into a prison. And I expected it to come with all the design gems that the first four chapters provided, along with the usual, if not edgy even for an OHR game, humor. No, I think it had to do with the fact that I had already spent 12 hours playing it, and then had to wait three months to check out the next short chapter. Yes, I was looking forward to the next release. But I also felt like I could wait to see what happened.

Now, keep in mind that I played Chapter 4 a couple months before the rest of the community had the pleasure. My impression, therefore, might be slightly different than the majority of people reading this. For everyone else, Chapter 4 and 5 is a package deal, and the experience may be different. I still thought Chapter 4 was a lot of fun.

Going back to Chapter 5’s design, I’ll give Dark Blubber the benefit of the doubt. How can a prison really cater to the same intricate design that a place like New Hamster would offer? You have cellblocks, you have a prison yard, and you have a maximum-security wing. Along the way you’ll find a lunchroom. What more could a prison offer? Besides the infrastructure, I mean (boiler room, shower room, escape tunnels, etc.). More areas would encourage greater exploration and puzzle strategy, as would checkpoints throughout the prison, but I can see why Dark Blubber would want to just get on with the story. If patterns hold, then Chapter 6 (an even-numbered chapter, as well as the final chapter) will likely be the most intricate of all the chapters, and I’d imagine he’d want to save the greatest thunder for that. For that reason, I couldn’t expect Chapter 5 to steal the show.

But, if he were to redesign the place for future players, I would advise considering a few more designer obstacles, like wing divisions, a dungeon a la Hannibal Lecter’s holding cell from The Silence of the Lambs, the aforementioned escape tunnels, and so on—anything that would require the hunting and finding of more keys and switches. That would at least lessen the monotony of battle grinding or running. Right now, the only thing resembling strategy in the prison is the need to steal cell keys from the guards you fight. Without that, this level would be a pure battle-fest, and I think we’re too far into the game to find satisfaction in that.

I also think the rewards for unlocking cells are too minimal to make opening them worth it. Most of the inmates we “free” only want to fight, which really doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Of the ones who just want to talk, they really only want to shoot the breeze. While I like shooting the breeze with people along the way, I don’t like eating up resources just to have the same effect. I’d rather they at least give me something in return for my trouble. On a similar note, I feel cheated when I open a cell to find that there’s nothing inside. I think every unlockable door should lead to something beneficial, even if it’s just to a taco. As of now, there are only a handful of cells worth unlocking on the main floor, and even they are pretty inconsequential. At least the maximum-security floor gives us some boss battles to enjoy.

On its own, Chapter 5 is okay. It starts with an awesome break-in sequence and ends with a revelation, and from a story perspective, it gets the job done. But following Chapter 4, it feels malnourished, and I get the feeling that it’s designed only to further the plot, and not to immerse the player into the game.

I also think that the multiple-release idea is becoming a bad one. I notice that anticipation for a lot of games drops after the second release. Could it be that we forget what happened after too long and we don’t remember why we should care for these characters? Has the appeal just died? Did something new and cooler get released recently? Or is time merely a bubble that can only be affected when released during a certain window? Despite Wandering Hamster’s multiple updates in the last decade, have we anticipated the next release any less than we had in the past? Back in the day, a new version came out every few months (just like Okédoké). And I remember not caring as much about it then. Now, we get an update of Wandering Hamster and all of a sudden the community’s abuzz with cheer. Are we happy because it’s that great of a game? Or are we happy because we’ve been waiting for many years to play the next chapter? For me, my anticipation came with the wait. It also came with a tease. I’m still waiting for Havoc’s first appearance. I think it also helped that Wandering Hamster is a marquee game for the community, one that everybody knows and wants to see concluded. Okédoké hasn’t given me the time or the tease to anticipate the next chapter. And its market appeal is still below classic. If Dark Blubber had waited several years to release Chapter 3 instead of several weeks, would the anticipation be as hot? If he had drawn a fifth set of hero graphics and left it in the editor, would I still be waiting for that hero’s first appearance? I can’t say for sure, but I do know that having to wait three months for Chapter 5 kind of left me stale.

I suppose the question is something that should be saved for another article.

In the meantime, I encourage you, the player, to play this game if you want to know what a fun RPG looks like. However, the ending is so close now that it would make sense to wait until Dark Blubber deems it complete before picking it up (if you haven’t already). While the story was different last summer when we only had two chapters available, I don’t think the anticipation will last if you play it now and then wait for the final chapter. And I double this conviction when you consider how often Dark Blubber goes back and revises old chapters. Unlike some designers around here, Dark Blubber takes his criticisms seriously and will go back and update old areas that everyone has already played, just to make sure that future players will have an enjoyable experience. I’m willing to bet that after this review, Pukadonna Federal Penitentiary will get a few more hall gates, switches, and relevant cells (and maybe new side areas like boiler rooms and tunnels) for the next release, and that the majority of those new areas will never be seen by those who have already played through the chapter. So, my advice again is to wait until the game is finished before you play through it. Chances are, you’ll miss something awesome if you don’t.

Stay tuned for the final journal/review, which should come soon. Thanks for sticking with it so far. I know it’s becoming like a book. I’ll be sure to do a legitimate review for the Burger Kingdom section once it’s officially released. So far, I think it’s fair to say that the Burger Kingdom is easily one of the largest hidden areas of any OHR game. It’s actually the size of most OHR games. But that’s something I’ll discuss more about in the future.

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Ar-Puh-Guh! Review (1.3 Beta)

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Meowskivich’s Ar-Puh-Guh is a game that I really didn’t know what to expect going into it. Having never played it before, all I could go off was the screenshots and reviews I had seen before. Neither form of media really seemed to praise the game, unfortunately, but I always do my best to formulate my own opinions on games that may even be unpopular with most people. In the case of Ar-Puh-Guh, I was pleasantly surprised at many aspects of the game while feeling a bit let down by others.

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Ar-Puh-Guh uses a class-based hero system, and allows you to pick one of them in the beginning. I initially picked the Berserker, but then decided to go with the Warrior shortly after that (more on that later). After class selection, you are pushed into a tutorial map, so to speak, that gives you a general idea of how the game works. I thought the pacing and the explanation of the different elements present were well done.

I do wish that there was a little better explanation on the different types of equipment and items though, because you will often find yourself buying stuff just to see what it does (and many times it not being worth the money). Ar-Puh-Guh features a plethora of different items and equipment, so the issue with not knowing what some things do can be a tad annoying. The author did include an item list with the game, but it doesn’t begin to list everything currently available to you.

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You get the gist of the story during the tutorial dungeon, though it seems to be put on a halt after you leave that area. It seems that there is more open ended-ness to the game at this point rather than a specific objective to tackle. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it felt a bit incomplete in its current form. In some ways it feels like your main goal will be to tackle dungeons, defeat its boss and gather loot. The tutorial dungeon gives you somewhat of a different idea of how things are going to go though. Either way, it seems too early to tell exactly which way the story will go. It leaves a little bit to be desired in its current form, though.

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The combat is somewhat of a mixed bag. I liked the idea of the resting system, which basically forces you to “rest” in combat in order to continue using abilities. Almost every ability costs EP or SP, and the only way to recover EP is by an inn, consumables, or by using the rest command during a fight. While the system itself isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, it is definitely a nice change of pace from traditional button-spam JRPGs. I do think that there are improvements to be made to this system though. I believe that the author upped the speed of battles slightly already, but I think that it still needs a bit more oomph to be acceptable. The average speed of heroes seem to hover around 12 or 13, unless they use heavy weapons and armor, which can drop it down to 7 or less. In theory, the tradeoff of heavy defense at the cost of speed is a sound idea, but all it really does is drag out fights longer than they should really go.

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I only tried four of the nine classes available in the game, but many of them seem underpowered and/or broken. The most questionable class by far is the Berserker. The author claims that it is for advanced users only, but I’m not sure that I’d put it that way. It plays much like the Zerker class you find in many Final Fantasy titles, but has one glaring problem. His abilities use SP rather than EP, and you do not gain SP from resting (even though the Berserker has the “rest” command, which seems pointless if none of his abilities (thus far) benefit from it). In other words, it’s near impossible to start as this class because you have to go back to an inn after every battle or two to get your SP back. I don’t find anything “advanced” in this style of gameplay. Instead, I find it pretty annoying to have to do that just to play the class properly. Perhaps the Berserker gets more oomph later on in the game, but currently he is pretty terrible. At the very least, I would suggest that the author tweak the “rest” command to allot for SP-based abilities (if that’s even possible).

The healer class is pretty bad too. Even if you have the best INT-enhacing gear, his healing ability is less than stellar. With consumables generally being cheap, it leaves no real point to have the healer class when his healing is worse or barely on par with a freaking $1 apple you can eat. I would suggest buffing his healing abilities, and maybe including a heal-all spell at some point too.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Warrior destroys everything. His Whirlwind ability can wreck most things in one hit. With his ability to wear heavy weapons and armor, he’s impervious to most damage (at the cost of reduced speed, of course). I imagine that a group of Warriors could probably steamroll anything in the game with ease. I like the idea of choice with how you build your team, but each offering should stand out from others. I wouldn’t recommend offering a multitude of class options just for the  sake of it. All of them need to work properly for it to be a viable feature.

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Ar-Puh-Guh, so far, seems like a very lighthearted game, with dry humor that reminds me a bit of Earthbound. I don’t feel like the author tries hard to be funny, he is just being himself. I tend to respond to this sort of humor, so I really enjoyed it. The graphics also add to the Earthbound-ish feel. The author has designed some really strange inhabitants of this world, and all of them have a unique feel to them. While the graphics themselves are nothing amazing, the distinction of the author’s style is prevalent throughout the game. I also enjoyed the music and found it very fitting to the feel of Ar-Puh-Guh’s world.

There were a few bugs present in the current form of the game. For example, I don’t believe that the bestiary worked properly. Even though you could “learn” entries, I could never find a way to pull the bestiary up itself. There was also one bounty or hunt that I could not turn in for reward. With the game being in “beta” stages I guess that is okay, though labeling a game as “in a certain stage” doesn’t make up for neglect either.

After playing most games, I usually have no problem reflecting on my overall feel for it. In the case of Ar-Puh-Guh, I’m a bit torn on how to “grade” it, so to speak. There are many things I really enjoyed, but a handful of things that left a little to be desired. I think with proper care, this could become a pretty cool OHRRPGCE title. It is definitely my favorite game from Meowskivich thus far, and am looking forward to what he comes up with it in the future. I just hope that some things I’ve mentioned are implemented before the next release.

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Testuedo & Rogue Double Review

Testuedo are two games that were released by a new OHRRPGCE user named Powerstar. I generally try to avoid writing about two games in a single review, but the content present in them are barely enough to even write a single article. Also, I try to stay open minded about new games, particularly from new members.

Unfortunately, there’s just too many problems present in both titles to act as if there isn’t a serious issue here. It doesn’t help the fact that both games were released only days after the author joined the community (and begged for a team to do the work for him).

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Rogue was the first game that I tried, and is probably the most “complete” of the two. The title screen actually reads “Rouge”, so that must have been the original name for it. I’m assuming that the author discovered that rouge actually means “red” as opposed to a rogue-like character (ie. thief) and then change the title accordingly. It’s possible that he named it Rouge as a way to describe the mass murder that is to take place in the game (more on that later). Either way, he may want to update the title test at some point to reflect the change.

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You play as Tai, who wants to go to the beach and apparently hates dwarves with a passion. On your way there, you pick a fight with some dwarves for no real reason. A little further down the beach, you discover that a group of dwarven bandits have taken over a weapons shop. After you defeat them, the game comes to an abrupt end.

At this point, you are probably wondering what the heck just happened here. I’m going to assume that the “rogue” aspect of the game are the dwarven thieves, but I could be wrong. I think a game about douchebag dwarves would be pretty awesome, but Rogue does a terrible job of portraying that idea.

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For starters, the heroes are not interesting at all. It’s really hard to get excited about the game when the main hero is only interested in going to the beach. Throwing dwarf thugs in there for no reason doesn’t help either. The town that you start in is a wasteland, as there is only one building that is actually functional. None of the townspeople speak, so nothing further is added to the plot outside of Tai’s desire for the beach and his lust for dwarven genocide.

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The combat is dull and extremely slow paced. Both heroes and enemies have a chance to do multi-strike attacks. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of feature if it’s done right, but it gets annoying when EVERY ability is set up like that. It doesn’t add any depth to the combat, and should only be used sparingly. If the author were to remove that and up the speed of the battles, then we may have the beginnings of not-so-terrible combat (even though it would still be dull without other changes to it).

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Having seen enough of Rogue, I decided to give Testuedo a shot. The README included with this game gives you a little background on the story, which was nice for a change (despite the story itself being “meh” at best). I was hoping for a little more meat in Testuedo in comparion to Rogue, but those hopes were shattered pretty quickly. Testuedo has, in fact, even less content than Rogue (if that’s even possible).

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Your mom tells you that a friend is waiting for you in the “underground tunnels”. All I know is that I couldn’t find this place in the current demo. Outside of talking to a few townspeople, that is about all that Testuedo has to offer. The village itself is pretty big, but suffers from the same incomplete status that Rogue did.  Oh, it also features the same boring, multi-hit fights that were in the former game.

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Testuedo features graphics from other OHRRPGCE games, like Vikings of Midgard. The sad thing is that they were not used creatively. With the assets that Fenrir and others have freely offered for use in games, A LOT more could have been done here to make the world come alive. If you are going to use graphics that aren’t your own, do them the courtesy of not half-butting their usage.

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The honest truth is that neither of these game should have been released now. There’s not enough content in both games combined to even make a single, demo-worthy title. I understand that the OHRRPGCE may seem daunting to a newcomer, but you just can’t learn the ropes to it in just a couple days. I’m not saying that you should be able to make an epic-worthy game on your first try, but some effort should be able to be seen regardless of the final outcome.

Both Rogue and Testuedo in their current forms offer the player zero value for their time. What the author needs to do is slow down and play his own work before release. If your game isn’t fun to play for yourself, it won’t be fun to others (and there is NO WAY that the author could possibly think these titles are fun).

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Midnight Rescue Review

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Midnight Rescue is an older, complete game that appears to have never been reviewed before. While the game itself is complete, there are way too many shortcomings to make it worthwhile.

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The story follows Felix, whom finds himself unable to sleep. He decides to get out of bed to see what is on the TV at this “ungodly hour”, when he discovers that his girlfriend, Nikki, has been kidnapped by some thugs. After wondering for a brief minute who would kidnap her, Felix heads out to try and find the girl.  He is apparently the calmest guy in the world, because he doesn’t seem to really be concerned about his girlfriend’s predicament.

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The only logical explanation for his attitude is that he’s either used to her being kidnapped, or perhaps she’s the “clingy” type and would rather her be taken anyways. Regardless, Felix grabs his “BB Pistol” and heads out the door; but not before he forgets to actually grab the gun itself. Don’t worry, it didn’t make any sense to me either.

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After a brief stroll in the park (literally 10 steps), you come to a house where your girlfriend is bound. You are able to free her with a knife from the surrounding area, but the real kidnapper is nowhere to be found. Nonetheless, your girlfriend is hell bent on beating this guy up.

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Felix, being the sissy he is, couldn’t give two craps about finding the guy responsible, and just wants to go home. After your gigantic-headed girlfriend convinces you to come along, you head off to find the guy responsible for everything.

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After another stroll in the park (apparently all of these people live in a hamster-sized park, including the kidnapper), you discover the kidnapper’s hideout. The antagonist’s battle graphic is one of the most terrifying things I’ve seen in an OHRRPGCE game. Not only is he twice the size of other human beings, he has a penis-like appendage (or an extreme outie belly button) that will haunt your dreams for days. Whatever that shlong-like thing is, it defies all reason. You are able to make quick work of him and then the game is basically over.

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All of these events take place in less than five minutes. I commend the author for finishing the game, but simply completing it doesn’t make it great. Felix is a weiner, Nikki has an ogre head, and the main antagonist has a penis coming out of his stomach.  Unless any of those things interest you, it is best to avoid this game.

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The Force of Evil Review

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As most people know, there is a landfill worth of OHRRPGCE games that are genuinely horrible products, whether it be intentional or by accident.  In their defense, most of the games have enough content for you to at least grasp the concept behind the abomination of a game. Surprisingly, The Force of Evil is an exception to this rule. In fact, this game is the epitome of the phrase “over before it started” because there’s literally no content provided outside of a movie that lasts a few seconds. I’ve had farts longer than this game, which makes me sad to admit that it is actually a complete game despite its length.

What really bothers me about The Force of Evil is not knowing why the author uploaded it in the first place. The game teaches you that it is okay for kids to shoot other kids in the head with a real gun. It also teaches kids that excessive swearing within a 30 second game window is okay. Lastly, it reminds kids not to do drugs, but if you do, hide them from your parents. Not only is the humor tasteless, it is not even remotely funny.

Titles like this should be locked away, deep within the bowels of your hard drive and should never see the public light of day. Admittedly, I should have known better than to expect anything out of a game with a file name of  “SHI$.RPG”.

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Doom: Evil Unleashed Review #3

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Doom: Evil Unleashed is a game that I’ve been following for several years now. Each time the author releases an update, I make a point to check out the changes made and the additions added to it. This will be my third review of D:EU, and because of that I will primarily be focusing on the changes, additions, and issues that arise while playing this release. If you’d like a detailed history of my thoughts regarding D:EU, then feel free to check out the first two reviews of it here.

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The latest version of D:EU has received some improved graphics, among other things. I really liked the new title screen and thought it was a huge improvement over its predecessor.  The author added some shadow effects to most maps, which also made a world of a difference. Various sprites have underwent some minor improvements, though many remain untouched from the previous installment.

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The menu UI and leveling system have received major upgrades. The main menu shows up on a handheld device, which is a nice touch. Heroes no longer receive automatic stat increases from a level up. Instead, you have complete control over the allocation of stat points. While neither the menu UI nor the stat allocation is anything groundbreaking, it does break the traditional mold of most OHRRPGCE games.

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The same type of system has been implemented for abilities as well. When you level up, you have a choice of multiple “skill trees” which will reward you with certain abilities depending on your choices. I really enjoyed being able to choose my own path when it came to character progression.

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I wish I could say that everything in this update is awesome, but unfortunately there are many problems present in D:EU. Some of these problems I believe could possibly be game-breaking. I will admit that I did not make it to “the end” of the demo, if there is actually a tangible end to it. For starters, I would have never been able to leave the first area of the game if it weren’t for the debugging keys. There is one door towards the end of that area that traps you in an inescapable wall if you enter it. Although I’m thankful for the debugging keys, I would have rather not used them to progress. I also was never able to find a way to legitimately bring the final door down to fully escape from the first area. I literally walked around for at least an hour trying to find a way to unlock the door but I could never find anything. It’s possible that I missed something along the way, but I have a feeling it could possibly be a bug.

While I enjoyed the skill tree and stat allocation, neither are very good at explaining your options. As I was building my characters, I was confused as to whether Strength increased melee only, or if it also affected firearms. There are also “light arms” and “heavy arms” stat choices, but which firearms fit into what category?

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The skill trees are even more confusing. There are 12 different trees to choose from, which is great if you know what each one offers. D:EU does not give you any sort of clue what the individual trees entail, which leads to a disappointing guessing game in the end. To make matters worse, there does not appear to be a way to “respec” if you screw up. That feature wouldn’t even be needed if there was at least a little explanation as to what each stat/skill category offered your characters.

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Probably the most disappointing part of the leveling system is the fact that it does not factor in multi-level encounters. After I defeated a boss, one party member gained one level while the other gained two. The only hero that I was able to grow with stat/skill points was the one that leveled once. This means that the hero that leveled twice did not receive any benefit from their level ups. I don’t think it is a matter of leveling twice in one battle, but rather having two heroes level in the same battle. Either way, it is an issue that I would definitely fix as soon as possible.

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D:EU still has that “adventure-style” feel to it. The maps are still large and offer plenty of variety.  It is obvious that the author put a lot of effort into making each area’s layout different, but that could  create a slight problem for some players. Because some areas are so big and so varied, you can get lost easily. Outside of the first few events, it is not very clear what you are supposed to do.  If you are a casual player, you may give up pretty early. However, those that are fond of old-school (point and click) adventure games may enjoy this kind of challenge.

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Outside of that, there are still numerous (albeit small) issues riddled throughout D:EU. In the intro, when the scientist leaves the card game, his body never really “exits” the map. There’s also a demon that can be seen outside of the walls at the same time that doesn’t appear to serve any special purpose. Several text boxes are cut short because of poor box positioning. There are a few pieces of equipment that appear to not give you any sort of stat bonuses, yet cost money to purchase at the shop. There are a couple of skill trees that throw a script error if you try to spend points in them, and there are even a couple of rifle ammo boxes that will give you unlimited ammo. While the combat seems to have improved some, there is still a serious issue with melee weapons being way more powerful than their ammo-using counterparts (at least later in the game, when you have access to the chainsaw).

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I think the changes to D:EU are great, though it’s hard to get a real feel for the game because of all of the issues present. I hope that the author continues working on this game, because I’d love to see it finished some day. I do hope that these issues are addressed before the next release though. Some may argue that D:EU is a beta version, and I can understand that. But calling something “beta” doesn’t excuse blatant oversight of issues that could have easily been remedied before release.

In all honesty, I would probably give this game my lowest rating if it weren’t for two factors. First, it is possible that I may have just been to stupid to move the game forward legitimately. If that’s the case and I’m just an idiot, then the game would deserve a slight better rating. Second, Doom was such a huge part of my life as a kid in the early 90s, and I like what the author is doing here. It just needs some more care to really be a great OHRRPGCE title.

standing