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10:35am on Thursday, 8th December, 2005:



Because it takes 5 minutes for each turn on Civ4 on my laptop, I've been playing other games on my PC in the down time. The latest one was Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive, a Wild West game I first played about 4 years ago but which I dug out again because I enjoyed it. It uses the game engine from the Commandos series, and mainly consists of dodging view cones of bad guys or luring them into places where you can get at them. It involves a lot of reloading when you make mistakes, but reloads very quickly so that isn't a problem. The only case where it does get tricky is if you quicksaved it at the wrong point and someone on your team gets killed seconds later. I only had one instance of this in the 25 missions of the game (the main ones take about 2 hours each to play), where bad guys who were running about searching for three of my characters stumbled across two others and shot them about 5 seconds after my save. It was something of a trial disposing of them, but fortunately I didn't have to give up and replay the previous 90 minutes.

Desperados 2 is supposedly due out soon, and I expect I'll be buying it. In the meantime, I notice that the developers, Spellbound, made the game Robin Hood that I saw in the Sold Out bargain bin last week and nearly bought as part of a 3-for-2 deal. On the strength of Desperados, I think I'll treat myself to a copy for my birthday (January 10th; just send money). They do another interesting-looking game, Chicago 1930, but I've never seen a copy in the shops.

Part of the reason I haven't seen Chicago 1930 may be because Spellbound is a German company. I've noticed in the past that games from continental Europe are over-represented in my list of games I like. One of my all-time favourite games, Patrician III, is by a German company (Ascaron), for example. Germany has a very strong boardgame industry, and this seems to have spilled over into their computer games: they tend to be more thoughtful and strategic than the standard fare churned out by US and UK companies. They also tend to be written with the PC in mind, rather than aimed at consoles (although you can play some of them on smaller platforms, eg. Ascaron's excellent Port Royale 2 and Sunflowers' Anno 1503 are both available for mobile phones).

Then again, the developer of the Commandos engine is Pyros Studios, which is Spanish, so what do I know?

Referenced by Robin Hood Not Good.

Referenced by Sequels.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).