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biosynth8

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  1. I bought a box with old games at a flea market years ago. It only contained different releases of War Wind and War Wind II! I guess I'll have to try it some day.
  2. I remember reading a review of that game when it came out. I think the score was extremely low.
  3. I can live with those, really. As long as there is no crafting. I hate crafting in video games from the bottom of my heart and there's hardly any way around it nowadays.
  4. You mean The Eternal Clyinder. That's going to be released this year. It's not that obscure, I heard a couple of reports about it. https://eternalcylinder.com
  5. No, not at all like that. It's all public domain. And just one book where the public domain status is disputed made and it got blocked. But thanks for the link, I forgot about that site too and I can use it at the moment.
  6. biosynth8

    Enclave

    That was the first game on DVD I owned. I didn't like it very much, though. I thought it was a bit shallow.
  7. That's a site where you can download public domain ebooks.
  8. True. You know that the whole of Project Gutenberg is blocked in Germany because the heirs of Thomas Mann sued them over offering "The Buddenbrooks" for download? That's the direction we are heading!
  9. I think it's not a grey area in most countries, it's just unlikely that someone cares.
  10. Most people probably never heard of Biosys, a PC game that came out in 1999, as it only saw the light of day in the UK where it was made and Germany. That fact alone leaves me puzzled why it wasn't offered on a wider English-speaking market. Sales were terrible and a planned sequel was cancelled. It's my favourite game to this day, though I haven't played it in maybe 15 years. Most of what I write is form my memories alone. I'll try not to spoil anything past the first hour or so, but it's generally a very short game, so that might be too much already. It's basicly a puzzle-adventure game done in a myst-like style, but with a more or less dynamic environment and survival mechanics. The latter, a common theme nowadays, was extremely rare in the late 90s and early 2000s. I think this is because it was always badly implemented and therefore either meaningless or extremely punishing (Robinson's Requiem, anyone?). Biosys, however, handled the survival mechanics in a relaxed but still realistic way. Health and wellbeing of the player character could become a major issue if you didn't take care, but wouldn't stand in your way if you kept it in mind. Most of it felt natural - except that you were able to sleep everywhere, including a swamp hole, but rain would always wake you up. You play as Dr. Alan Russell, a scientist who wakes up in the middle of a jungle with - how else could it start - amnesia, only remembering what you saw in the intro sequence: You running away from fire through some kind of tunnel. You soon find out that you are trappend in a complex made out of four giant glasshouses, biospheres, containing different biomes. The structure, called Biosphere 4, is a billion dollar research facility, isolated in the Andes. For some reason, you seem to be alone there. Here's where it gets really interesting: First, the main character is somwhere in his 70s. He's an old man. He's still fit, but you have to keep his age in mind as you play the game. Putting him under too much stress, carrying too much weight, pressing on while tired - these things might be detrimental to his health. You might not notice now, maybe he starts getting tired sooner, maybe he seems weaker... Yeah, you can get yourself in an unwinable situation like that. Out of convinience, I once had him eat too much canned meat over weeks. The game wasn't much fun to play with coronary heart disease and high blood pressure. You have a meter that tells you how good your diet is. Chances are, though, you‘ll never look at it before it is too late. Second: Russell's backstory seems to be extremely dark. You soon find out that he once was a major environmental activist, head of an international group on the way to influencing legislation in many countires. Then, out of nowhere, he abandoned his organization, effectivly killing it. Instead, he started working for Subtech, a company developing technology for oil drilling. They bought him by making his dream, the construction of Biosphere 4, come true. And, as it seems, they also keep him quiet by blackmailing him: Russell seems to have hired a hitman to murder an old friend from his environmentalist days decades ago. It gets even worse. After years of paying for the research project and not getting enough out of it, Subtech planned on turning the glass houses into a luxury resort. Ignoring Russell‘s angry protest, the construction of „Club Eden“ started. You find notes written by the foreman complaing about Russell snooping around the construction site, stealing stuff and sabotaging machines. Then the fire happend, with toxic fumes killing every single worker at the site, their corpses slowly rotting (yes, they visibly decay!) there as you play through the game. If you get Russell drunk on mescal, he‘ll shout out how they all deserved it. And that's just the beginning. If that‘s not an interesting character for a PC game, I‘ve never seen one. The game start by telling you: You fucked this up, because you are a terrible human being. Oh, but at least you didn't play Dr. Frankenstein and create a monster, too. Or did you? Of course, many things are not as they seem, but they never are, are they? But there you are, haunted by nightmares (I still know the poems from them by heart) and you are probably going to die from an overdose of prescription medication or by pouring water on electrical equipment. So what is Russell trying to achieve? He‘s trying to get out of his sealed glass domes to escape the wrath of his former boss and possibly justice. But for that you have to get all the systems damaged by fire and toxic smoke back running. You slowly gain control of the enviromental controls, water purification, energy production and so on. Sometimes it can feel like an educational game, making you remember what kind of biome needs what at which time of the year. And it is educational! As a teen I got an A in biology because I could explain how exactly reverse osmosis water filtration works due to this game. Nevertheless, it‘s always more of a quite dark adventure. From todays standpoint, the graphics are rather ugly. The resolution is low, as well as the colors. While I always loved the environments, I thought it was rather ugly back when I bought it in 1999. The puzzels are varied, mainly employing dumbed down real life logic, that is kind of hard to explain sometimes. Most of it is rather simple, though. The game has its fair share of bugs and was never patched. For example the meters for thirst and hunger are swapped, forcing you to eat much more often than to drink. This probably makes the game much easier, because the ways to transport water are limited, open water is often polluted or full of germs and drinking from taps drains hundreds of liters of water from the system for some reason. Some scenes failed to load properly in my version and there were game-breaking graphics issues. I never finished the game. I always stopped before taking the last step at the end. I don‘t know why. Maybe I felt so at home in the environment I could control. So how can you play it today? Well, if you get your fingers on an old copy, forget it with anything more modern than Windows 95. But there is a free version floating around the web, an all-inclusive installer that contains a virtual machine of the OS. That‘s probably not legal, though.
  11. After finishing the game I would correct my rating to "pass". Why? Because it clearly feels unfinished und lazy. The 50-page backstory document you mention is a big part of that. They claim you can enjoy the game without reading it and that's a lie. Like you said, you don't get the slightest bit of information about the backstory in the game. I think a two-minute intro could have changed that. I read the story, it's not really complicated. They just couldn't be bothered to tell it in any better way. There's also a fifth enemy type I forgot about: Some kind of four legged spider walker that eats a lot of bullets but is otherwise completely harmless. It's too immobile to flush you out of your cover. This thing pissed me off, since it's just copy-pasted as a "boss" enemy to a few areas that are supposed to be ominous, creepy and important. It's even used as kind of a final boss for the two different endings. And that makes me feel like the cut corners. They could not be bothered to create a final boss. The two endings are equally lackluster - they are sequences that are about ten seconds long, without text. Without having read the backstory, you don't get what they really mean either. I get it, it's a small independet game studio. But 90% of all games I play are from creators like that. If you can't afford doing anything else, why not at least an into with a textcrawl. They also could just cut the crawler enemy from all other places and just used it as the final boss. It wouldn't have affected the gameplay.
  12. It's clearly a hate/love game. It's kind of repetetive and bare bones, especially in the beginning. While the scenerey is nice, many assets are repeated over and over again. There are only four types of enemies (robots, drones, turrents and flying energy sparks ) and effetivly only four different weapons - of which one is your default pistol that is completely useless for anything and one is kind of useless, so you can make it two. You task is to find data and signal fragments, collect scrap and take bunkers form enemy forces. You seem to play some kind of AI and can transfer yourself to a random robot chassis at checkpoints after you die or as a method of fast traveling. At first, that's kind of easy and you repeat your same tactics over and over again. Then, after about two thirds of the map are conquered, it suddenly gets all tough. Suddenly you can't go in solo, guns blazing, anymore. You have to use a recruitment tool, which takes one of your two weapon slots and take fellow robots along. As much in the game squad management is extremely basic. I haven't even found a command to kick a robot from your squad and the only command, rallying at a selected point, usually doesn't work. While the AI of your allies is braindead, they work as extra fire power and usually do the job. Except if there is a turrent, then they get killed every single time. So the best tactics is to go in solo, destroy all turrents, go back to base and come back with a squad. Tedious, but effective. Especially since the turrents are droppend from orbit and sometimes, very rarely, a second one will appear when you just have arrived with your mates. Still, I think combat is pretty fun in this game. You have to manage raising and lowering your shield and your AOE, while trying not to get surrounded and looking for cover to recharge constantly. The guns have a feel for energy weapons and sound great, especially over long distances. The graphics are dated, but work very well with the gigantic ships and ruins strewn over the landscape. The exploration aspect is kind of so-so. While most objects you discover all look the same and just give you a piece of story you can read through (there are no voiceovers in the game), there are one or two small highlights among them. The story itself is interesting, but the presentation -again- is rather basic. The music could be more present, in my opinion, it's generally hardly noticeable. To sum it up: Very basic game with not much variety but interesting, tactical combat and a nice feel and atmosphere.
  13. After spending some hours with the new expansion, I have to say that they tackled a lot of the issues I complained about. The bland backgrounds are now a lot more lively and they implemented an improved but rather well hidden quick travel feature. That makes the game quite a bit better. They also changed the design of some NPCs, but I'm not sure if I like that.
  14. The atmosphere is great and I liked the story, as cryptic as it is. The voiceacting is very decent. The speech of the last boss is really great and I didn't mind listening to it several times. The update added a Spanish version due to the setting, but I think the English one is better. The enemy design in general is pretty good, though some of the bosses are boring. The controls are good and the designers knew its limits when building the levels. All in all it has quite a lot of content and much of that is good - it's just spread out too thin.
  15. No, it's as I wrote: It's worth a try as it is fine, it just could be so much better.
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