Where did people play Marathon, Fink? I know that's a pre-Halo game from Bungie, but I don't know much else about it. It's like one of those allusive games you never heard of until one person mentioned it long after the fact, then people start coming out of the woodwork, admitting to having played it.
Was it a computer game?
Is it fair that I never liked or got into Halo (the first one, I mean) because years before it I'd played Starsiege: Tribes and Tribes 2, arguably much more innovative in the space of flying around multiplayer maps in vehicles and with jetpacks(!)
I'm still interested to know what Marathon is. I realize I could Google it but where's the fun in that?
If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever
Ello xtal =)
Marathon.. Imagine a more maturely written Doom, with a hint of the depth of System Shock but nowhere near the whole basket of goodies. Wander around spaceships, shoot aliens with a few innovative features that would later become mainstream, most notably in the Halo series.
You are being a bit unfair on that, by the by.
Halo for me is a very enjoyable experience on the same intense difficulty/every foe is worthy of caution and respect feeling as STALKER, and the finest co-operative FPS experience to date, if only because System Shock 2's co-op was buggy as all hell. I can't see any resemblance between Halo and Tribes, given that despite its grand multiplayer popularity, Halo's budget/development time is around 90% spent on rich singleplayer experiences. As a multiplayer experience, Tribes 2 has only been surpassed by Planetside. As a story-driven singleplayer shooter adventure with the best AI I've met outside the Zone (of exclusion), Halo simply rawkz the sawkz off any other FPS I've played - from Half-Life to Call of Pripyat, through a well balanced marriage of freedom and linear plot, rich storyline and emergent AI/physics events. Not to mention fantastic visuals and sound.
To summarise; you're being unfair, Halo is touted as a multiplayer game by a rabid fanbase of deathmatch fanatics who never learned to use a mouse and keyboard, but what makes it special is a fantastic singleplayer experience, to be played co-operatively with a friend on Heroic difficulty.
And to those on the previous page, yes, Duke was a crude and childish game. Just like Giants: Citizen Kabuto, MDK2, Serious Sam and a whole pile of other irreverent, foolish but highly entertaining games who knew how to not take themselves seriously. Aside from that, it was also possessed of a weapon/equipment variety and world-interactivity that put its shinier younger brothers Half-Life and Unreal to shame. It was simply a very good game, especially for its time. I can still enjoy running around as Duke. Running around as Doctor Freeman, on the other hand I do grow bored with quite easily.
Most importantly, Duke was made with a sense of fun, for the sake of fun. Instead of trying to pursue a pre-planned plot involving horrendous unnecessary sewer levels or miles of ventilation shafts or sudden gameplay reworks in order to achieve what sounded 'cool' in the writer's head or meet a marketting goal, it just seems to do whatever the fuck it wants hour by hour according to what the developers felt like. It has the charm of a good mod, rather than the polish of a professional game - and I much prefer it that way.
From my perspective it's not an unfair comparison. By the time Halo 1 came out I'd been playing first-person shooters on the computer for 7 or 8 years, it didn't seem exceptional in any way to me. I'm not blind to what it did for the FPS landscape on consoles. It blew things wide open, I know that. When you get past the innovation aspect, what is there? I never had a chance to take on the campaign cooperatively with a friend, so if that's what it's really about I can't comment there. I've tried on three separate occasions to get into the campaign, solo; every time I tapered off. Is it really so important just to be first?
Perhaps I'm subconsciously opposed to pre-Bioshock console shooters. I also don't like the critical circle-jerk favourite, Metroid Prime.
If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever
Now now xtal, the Metroid Prime games are (generally) wonderful things and less traditional first person shooters than most. They have their flaws and stick to a very particular formula (one that I happen to love) but I remember them having such tightly designed levels and effortlessly organic, atmospheric worlds. Torvus Bog, the Phendrana Drifts, the Chozo Ruins, the Pirate Homeworld, Sky Town -- Sky frickin' Town!! The Prime games aren't so much about the shooting as they are about the exploring; working out where you've got to go next and how you're going to get there, pouring over the geometric 3D map and mentally navigating your way through areas to find that elusive spot you remember seeing somewhere. Where most FPSs blow their load on short lived environments, hurriedly pushing you from one to another, the Prime games relish individual locations steadily expanding them in tandem with the abilities and equipment you unlock. This is to mention nothing of the satisfying morph ball and puzzle sections which litter the games as well.
For me they've got this sort of rhythm that I just can't get anywhere else. As dire as Metroid Corruption's opening section is and as staid as the boss battles are it still scratched the itch I developed a few years after playing Echoes (which incidentally has some of the best boss battles I remember playing in a game).
It offers a pseudo-sandbox environment far more open rich with tactical options than any of its peers (excepting, perhaps, the original Far Cry - as FC2's kamikazi AI precluded any tactical play), coupled with combat AI superior to anything I've yet encountered in an FPS. The mechanics of morale between Grunts, Jackals and the Elite squad leaders and the different ways these influence their techniques is fascinating just to watch, let alone to fight against. Limiting weapons to a semi-realistic two forced a certain amount of thought about choices and a constant awareness of ammunition/battery consumption, in a gameworld where the only resupplies are those you loot from the dead of past battles and from your own victims. Some of the best physics-heavy vehicles ever put into a game enrich many of the massive, sprawling levels, including AI who can competently use their own vehicles.
Then the game opens up with the introduction of a third combat faction in addition to the USMC and Covenant, as well as the player-character, becoming as much a spectator's combat-sim as a game in its own right... Add some great acting, humorous writing and some enjoyable while not fantastic sci-fi plot.
Overall Halo makes me wonder why Half-Life is still so fondly remembered. I guess it's the console split. I have trouble comparing Halo to Bioshock because Bioshock itself was simply a carbon copy of System Shock with a new art style, albeit drastically simplified, made easier and far less scary..
*scratches head* I guess that's enough Halo-love. Once again, I feel compelled to clarify that I play very few console games and Halo Multiplayer makes me want to spit blood into the eyes of every other player. Can't stand it. Just a bouncy killfest, lacking any of the subtlety or variety of Unreal Tournament. Halo is all about the singleplayer combat freedom and the fantastic sequence of atmospheres, coupled with the first truly successful integration of co-operative multiplayer into a mainstream FPS.
Metroid: Prime on the other hand was just a bland First-Person version of so many earlier Third Person adventures, from Mario 64 to Soul Reaver to Ocarina of Time.. Which isn't to say I didn't rather enjoy it, I just found it kinda dull when compared to its masterpiece of a predecessor, the SNES's Super Metroid 🙁 That game was like the System Shock of the SNES. Including the rooms full of dead scientists and the desperate survivalism in an open environment.
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