In the middle of all retro games I have had a chance to play I have also been waiting eagerly for the next purchase I have planned for my shiny and new Xbox Series S. And it is going to be after all Diablo II – Resurrected. How have I prepared for what there is to come? Of course I got my copy of Diablo III and installed it again to my newest personal computer. It’s been a while since I played this one the last time. It was actually released back in 2012.
Do you remember Diablo III? This game got the whole internet stuck world wide. It is required as you install the game for you to connect to the server for a moment. This is actually true. I am not telling lies here. There were actually so much weight on the whole internet that it made it a bit slow for us for a moment. Although after a while things were normal again. This happened at the moment when game was released and this didn’t repeat.
After I installed the game I noticed that I would also need to login to my Battle.net account. It still held my hero that I had previously played as. I am aware that it is a bit different to play this game with a controller but not so much different after all. I decided to start a new game and this time I chose to be a Wizard.
I played for some hours and got my player to level up to all most to level 20. After that I increased the difficulty level up from normal to first hard and then to expert. I found out that I am not so good at playing this game as I could be. I do enjoy casting different spells and trying to kill as many monsters as I can to gain more experience points. This game is still lots of fun. I have also bought the t-shirt when it still was available from one Finnish webshop. And I remember travelling to another city to get it. That was probably back in 2013 or so.
Why not introduce the game a bit for those of you that haven’t heard or played it? Diablo III is probably where you want to start if you want to get into some playing modern Diablo games. I don’t exactly know how Diablo II Resurrected will be. I haven’t yet played it. But here we will start from the third game of this series. So Diablo is an action role playing game. There is lots of things going on. The main activity is to kill monsters. Your health goes down when monsters hit you. Sometimes they hit you with some magic. There is different kinds of magic spells that you can use and also that your enemies in this fictive world can use. In earlier Diablo games you had quite strictly mana that you could use for your spells. This is a bit comlplivated in the third game. But you can for now think this power to be almost like mana. So you spend it on spells and it keeps coming back when time progresses (or you have to drink a mana potion or something like that).
There are different kinds of weapons and armor that keep your character to not to take so much damage. Better weapons give you better damage against monsters and other enemies. You can use a teleport to get back to the village. There you can heal yourself to your current maximum health and repair your weapons and armor. A big part of this game is searching through different maps and doing some kinds of tasks. There is a plot but it isn’t the main reason for someone to play this game a lot. There is a lot of fantasy involved. This is a role playing game after all. It takes it’s roots and it is considered to be (or so I heard a speaker at one years “Games Now!” lectures to say) three out of five (3/5) of a “roguelike”. Roguelike is just a term that is used of a game that reminds of an ancient role playing game that was actually named “Rogue”. Maybe that’s enough about these Games Now lectures and it might be a story for another post, maybe, some day.
If you like Blizzards games such as Warcraft and Starcraft which are real time strategy games you will definitely like Diablo games also. They rely a bit more on the combination of fantasy and action mixed with these role playing features. And when I am mentioning Blizzard I have to mention World of Warcraft. It is actually very dependent on online players as it is an online game. I am not after all such an expert nor have I even played it.
Anyways, let’s hope this new Diablo game would be a good one. It will be released next week. The actual release date is 23rd September. So I will get my hands on it the next Thursday. The graphics must be something to see. We are still waiting, of course, also for Diablo 4. And please don’t mind me posting this screenshot. It isn’t the sharpest of all the Diablo screenshots possible but it is a good one from a game nine years old.
I’d like to spend a moment describing my experiences about the second Mortal Kombat game that was released for Sega Mega Drive in 1993. The game has some technical limitations as Mega Drive isn’t, and wasn’t even back in the days, the most powerful platform to release a game like this. Arcade version of this game might have been smoother but we aren’t going to go there today since it’s been too long time for me to talk about that here.
As a software developer graduate I can see some things while playing that I don’t know if they are so clear for people that don’t know computers, technology and programming so well. This small blog post is here for you to dive a bit deeper on how the game is played. I also understand that some people are way better at playing this kinds of games. I have only spent some tens of hours playing Mortal Kombat. Also I like to note that I am concentrating on Mortal Kombat II here instead of all two dimensional fighting games. Yes, there are many of them and I have to mention Street Fighter series here.
This stuff is very interesting for me. I can see how the game kind of “reads” your moves. The opponent, it is this time a computer, reacts to your moves. It can make a move that is most suitable for a certain situation. So the key to winning your opponent is to react with a move that is the best move in your situation. You have to time this move correctly. You have to be in a right position. And this isn’t all there is to it. You can make moves freely. You have to define when and at which position to make the move that is correct move for you to make the opponents health bar decrease.
Fighting games have come a long way since the days of 1993. It is very different to play against the computer than it would be to play against a player. I know that games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter are very popular as genres of electronic sports. So you can have a competition against human players. This is how the game was designed. It sometimes feels like the computer is cheating but what else would it do than read your input and position and react as fast and powerfully as possible.
But to talk more about the game. It’s a great game. I find it very fascinating. The graphics are better than the first Mortal Kombats were. It seems like the development team have done a great work. The game has twelve different characters that have their own strengths and weaknesses. This makes the game even more interesting. To beat the game you have to know how to play with not only one character but many different characters that have their unique special moves and so on. You could actually compare and describe which characters are best against a specific opponent.
I am not sure what the basic attributes of all the characters are. I haven’t touched or even seen the source code. I am not aware if this code is available or is it “open source” or closed code. I know that Mega Drive didn’t have so much memory to use. Graphics and movement took a lot of processing from this gaming console also. When considering that this game was released in 1993 it is a game of very good quality. There is also a port for PC. If you are a big fan I can recommend to getting your hands on Mortal Kombat X. And to be honest I have to say that I just some days ago ordered Mortal Kombat 11 for PS4. I had to do it because the price was, I think, this time good. I hope this short blog post can give you inspiration wherever you are and in what situation with work or studying you might be.
Golden Axe II has been one of my favorite games that I used to play back in the 90s with my Sega Mega Drive. I didn’t own a copy. I borrowed this game several times from a friend. I played it. I played it a lot. Today I have a Retro Trio that can be used to play NES, SNES and Mega Drive cartridges. So, some time ago I figured that I definitely should get a copy of this great game. Finally I made the purchase and it wasn’t even a pricey game. I bought it for 30 euros.
Golden Axe II was released 1992 as a PAL version in Europe. You just have to admire how well this game was made. It is an old game. I think there’s just the right mixture of fantasy and realness. There are dragons, axes and swords, magic and different kinds of monsters. Graphics were good when the game was originally released and they still feel pleasant considering it is a retro game. Playability seems nice. It is a beat-em-up game but you still find a rich environment that includes lots of fantasy elements. This game could have even some role playing game features but I think it wasn’t a time for that kind of a game to be released back in 1992. I think this combination of action, adventure and roleplaying was reached later when games like Diablo became very popular.
I have always been a bit doubtful on fantasy and roleplaying. I haven’t got in to this kind of material so much. I like FPS and racing games more. I just like to concentrate fully on the game and get rid of my everyday worries and stress. So, games involving deep fantasy elements aren’t so appealing to me. I also find fantasy books not so interesting. Maybe some day I pick up one of those Tolkiens books and start reading it. You may like roleplaying, stories and fantasy elements. It just isn’t for me.
One thing I haven’t really written about here in this post is that the first Golden Axe was a kind of a pioneer in artificial intelligence of enemies. It was among first games that used this kind of programmable variety of different kinds of actions. You can clearly see these elements when you are playing also the sequel. In the beginning of the game you have to make your choice about which player you wish to begin your journey with. You have a hero with a powerful axe but not so effective magical attacks and a hero with a sword and very powerful magical attacks. And I think the third hero is something in between of these abilities.
I finished the game in the roughest difficulty setting with the hero that had a sword and more powerful spells. I finished the game in maybe two hours but you have to take into consideration that I have played this game a lot. It is still one of my favorites when there is a conversation about Mega Drive’s best games. It’s a bit sad that there hasn’t been a modernized version of this game. I think it has a lot of potential. I can clearly see it to be improved a bit. It would be so cool if someone would include some elements of character development when for example experience points would be gathered. The levels could be larger. And if graphics and sound effects and music could be updated that would be almost surreal. I have to mention one more time that the world that Golden Axe brings is very interesting and pleasant in all of its details. In every way it would be amazing if a proper remake of this classic would some day be made.
My experience with Golden Axe series begins as I find this series second game for Sega Mega Drive. Mega Drive was already very popular as it had more power under its hood than NES. These memories bring me back to the beginning of 90s. As a kid I didn’t understand so much about ongoing console wars between mainly SEGA and Nintendo. Their gaming consoles got released one after another. First NES was released in 1983. Then there appeared Master System. Then Mega Drive got released. After that SNES was released. This war got started some years after the crisis of video games occurred. In 1978 everything looked fine. Atari 2600 made its way to many homes. There were so many bad games released and it eventually left game developers with empty hands. But this crisis that lasted some years was over as Nintendo released its Entertainment System.
So Mega Drive was the console to have back in my childhood. Golden Axe 2 was the sequel to the game that had been released already on Master System with also Mega Drive version being produced. The game caught my attention and I think it strongly influenced me to buy this console a moment later. Even today I think Golden Axe II is one of the best games ever released on Mega Drive. When I now play it I think it’s still worth playing for some hours. If I could modify it, I’m not sure if it is even possible, maybe it is, I would add some roleplaying features and theability to develop the character that you choose to play as. It already has many moves and characters have different qualities. It was good so see a female character also.
Soundtrack of this game was very inspiring. It brought tension to the game and along with amazing graphical effects affected and appealled to me as a kid growing up. My little brother also loved this game. I don’t know what’s up with him playing all these violent games. It sure was only fantasy for us and all players that ever got involved in virtual axe swinging. Back in the day there weren’t so many limitations as there is now. You didn’t have this large sticker on every damn piece of video game that tells for every human being that “this game is so and so violent, so brutal…” and so on. It left the decision to parents solely. We played these games as the graphics were poor. Only limitations were that we had to study and go to school and to practise some sports. And back then gaming went after those. I don’t know how this relationship with gaming is doing right now in my life. I think it’s not a thing to worry.
So the first Golden Axe game was released on Master System, Mega Drive and also on Commodore 64. Many gamers had also an opportunity to play it in an arcade. It was also released on PC. So there were many gaming systems that it made its impact on. There was second and third game released on Mega Drive. There was a game released on Sega Saturn, but I really didn’t get into that so much. There was also newer game released on PS3 called Golden Axe: Beast Rider in 2008. After that we haven’t seen any new game in the series. This game is all about action in fantasy world. It brings the player to this world that is a mixture of fantasy and medieval. You swing your axe, ride with a dragon, fight against evil enemies and release spells as you collect your mana and health. I recommend this game when you are getting to know Sega Mega Drive keeping in mind that this game and system are both retro stuff. If you hate retro this game is not for you.