Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Infantry Squad of Extraordinary Gentlemen

One thing I like to do with my Sunday mornings is catch up with the latest content on Hardcore Gaming 101. I like the general structure of their historical approach and it's always interesting to see comparisons between the various versions of older games, from a time when it was possible that the same title could be quite different depending on what system was running it.

The site's writing isn't always that good, alas, and the way that most of the contributors are focussed so much on the US and Japanese markets that they are dismissive of the European gaming scene can be both sad -- almost everything is rubbish in comparison to the blessed NES -- and funny; the idea of using a joystick to play a game and pushing up to jump seems to drive some writers into paroxysms of confusion and fury for some reason.

Flaws aside the site is doing something no one else is and it's easy to get lost for hours reading about old games, then following links to other articles, then following even more links to even more articles, and oh look, it's three in the morning and you still have eight tabs open. Oops.

Even though the site has a nostalgic focus, there have been four decades or so of computer gaming and no one person has played everything so it's not difficult to discover something new on the site; for example, having never owned any of the erratically-numbered X-Boxes I would never have found out about the 360-exclusive Operation Darkness had I not been reading the site over breakfast.

It's a turn-based tactical combat game -- they tend to be called "tactical rpgs", probably because of the influence over the genre of Final Fantasy Tactics, but I think they're closer to football management sims -- set during an alternative World War II in which immortal werewolves fight for the Allies against the Axis forces and the vampire cult that aids them.

That would be enough for some developers, and I'm sure you could get a good game out of that, but it wasn't enough for Success Corporation, oh no. The rag-tag group of misfits put under the player's control in this game not only contains werewolves but also features pyrokinetic young women, Frankenstein's monster, Abraham Van Helsing's grand-daughter, a direct descendant of Sir Lancelot, Jack the Ripper Mêlée Specialist, and Herbert West, who is the team's field medic.

I don't even care what the game is like; the bonkers audacity of putting that cast in that setting is enough to win me over. In the past few days I've been planning a follow-up to the World War Cthulhu game I ran earlier in the year and I've also been thinking of running Pelgrane Press' upcoming Dracula Dossier at some point; as of this morning I'm now thinking of mixing the two together to see what happens.

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