Broken Sword III

I really don’t like sequels. Really.

But then again: Broken Sword III has been released these days (it was called “Baphomeths Fluch” here in the german-speaking part of the world). BS was one of the greatest classical adventure games I’ve ever played.

It’s not only about the great story, it’s about the tings I learned (quite a lot about the order of the templars) and the great sequences I came acrosse here and then (the scene with this boy, the kebab-guy and the toilet-brush in Syria comes to mind).

It was really great and I think, I played through it at least five times (with enough time between each session to forget how to solve this scene in Paris with the painter, the watchman and this old toilet – how I liked that puzzle!!!)

The second part was good too, but not that good. What I really found a shame is that they have not provieded such a nice booklet as they provided with the first part, where quite a thick booklet was in the package, explaining the rise and fall of the templars. And then was that not-so-great story, the not-so-great humor and so on. All in all a great adventure, but nothing compared to the first part (just like Monkey 3 compared to Monkey 2 or even 1 [part 4 was better again])

And now the third incarnation of “Broken Sword” is out.

I can’t wait to get it (if it’s as good as “The longest journey” has been, I will do the same as back then and buy multiple copies. That’s the only thing that keeps my favourite genre alive. Adventures where the reason for me getting a computer and thus opening the path in my live I am currently walking on) and I really hope that I can get my hands on an english version (that’s quite difficult here in switzerland).

If not, I will buy the german version, but I will use “different channels” to get to the english version anyway.

Can’t wait. Must have!

Review follows ;-)


It just came to my mind: I am through with Super Mario Advance 2 on my GameBoy Advance SP – at least, I’ve finished all 96 goals. No I’ve only to get all Yoshi-coins, but when I think of the dammed special world, I come to the conclusion that I’ll possibly never manage to get those coins.

got it…

If only I’d check my mailbox more often…

When I was writing my article about getting Xenosaga today, the game was already lying in my mailbox for some hours. Anyway: When I found it, I’ve started up my beamer and the playstation and began playing the game. Be prepared for a first kind-of review (nearly no spoilers – I could not really give some as I’ve only played 8 hours so far):

First of all: I like it.
Second: I don’t like it as much as I liked Xenogears (which is not very surprising given the fact that Xenogears is the best RPG ever created ;-)

As usual I am first providing you with the things I dislike:

  • Story: Please: You can do it better than this. The whole thing is much to clear in the first place. Where is the slow unfolding of events I liked so much in Xenogears? And: Misterious Plate floating through the unsiverse – androids freaking out – lunatic professors working for the goverment: That’s nothing new at all. I hope there is more to come and I hope it’s less obvious.
  • Loading times: Too long. It’s not that there are loading screens all over the place – there are no screens at all. I am currently on this ship of space trash collectors (what have I told you about the story??) and where the loading times when changing rooms in previous games by Squaresoft were not really noticable, in Xenosaga, they are: About 30 seconds waiting before a black screen just for entering the passengers cabins? That’s too long.
  • Stupidity: This is related to my complaint about the story and actually I’ve only once came across the problem: On said spaceship, the sequence of events is as follows:
    • From the citchen, go all the way down to the cargo bay where KOS-MOS and the commander are.
    • From there go all the way up to the bridge just to learn that there may be a problem with the catapult which of course is again all the way back down in the ship.
    • When I’ve finally reached the damn catapult (that’s no spaceship. It’s a labyrinth), there seems nothing to be wrong, so I am ordered all the way back up to the bridge where the next story sequence awaits me. Note: Till’ this point, going back and forth did involves nothing more than going back and forth – no enemy encounters at all, so no fights, so: boring.
    • Of course, although nothing seemed wrong, the catapult actually malfunctions during the story sequence (talk about non-obvious story) and I’ve once again to go all the way back – but this time *with* enemy encounters.

      This is boring, stupid and not what I expect from a successor of the best RPG ever.

    • Movie or game? I really like story sequences. I also like long ones with much content. But those in Xenosaga are too long. Many times in those 8 hours the play counter is displaying me, I sort of forgot that I am playing a game instead of watching a movie.
    • Camera perspective: No. It’s not nearly as annoying as in Kingdom Hearts for example. After all, the camera is fixed. And this is so much good at it is bad: Many times I am thinking that I don’t see something and I wish to rotate the scenario – but unfortunatly that’s not possible. However, I think, this is about getting used to it. Before Xenogears and FFX the camera has always been fixed.

      So. That’s it. In all other aspects, the game is just great. Especially I’d like to note the following points:

      • Music. Just Great. Mr. Yasunori Mitsuda did a wonderful job once again. And this time it’s even better as the Soundtrack is played by a real orchestra.
      • Voice-Acting: We are not quite there yet, but it’s waaaay better than FFX or Kingom Hearts.
      • Graphics and Animations: Great. I like them very much.
      • Battle-Time-Counter: On the victory-screen after a battle there is a timer that shows you how long it took to finish the opponent off. This is nice (I’d never have thought that killing a boss may well take 20 minutes)

        If you can: Go and get the game. I’ve not yet rated it relativly to the other RPGs I’ve played so far, but it will certainly occupy one of the top positions just because of the athmosphere, the good music, the balanced gameplay and the really good leveling-up system which is quite sofisitcated but understadable anyway (and does not have the same strange side-effects as the system of FF8 had where leveing up was actually a bad thing


I have just been on my favourite game importers website and I have seen that Xenosaga, which I have pre-ordered on January the 13th has been shipped yesterday.

You cannot beleive how much I am looking forward to monday when I will receive the game!

ScummVM 0.3

ScummVM 0.3.0b has been released a couple of days ago even without the agreement between the project group and LucasArts. ScummVM is a free (as in speech) engine capable of running most of the old Lucas Arts Adventures everyone likes so much.

Why is this important? All the older games (read: all the good ones) came out when computers where powered by DOS (mostly MS-DOS) and had an original Soundbalster ISA Card (or something compatible to it). Even with tricks it’s impossible to get those old games to run with sound on most of the modern systems.

And this is where ScummVM kicks in: The program runs on many modern OSes and understands the format the old games where written in (the actual executable was also just an interpreter back then) and thus allows to play the original games in the new environement. Of course you still need the original game, but who doesn’t?

The sad thing: LucasArts did not seem to understand what the project is acutally doing and tried to shut it down using the dammed DMCA. Forunately the voices of many fans stopped LucasArts from proceeding and they began negotiating an agreement with the ScummVM Group. But just read here (last paragraph of the announcement).

Anyway: I did not have the time to test the new version, but the Release Notes look promising.

Xenogears – Yepp. I like it

This seems to be becoming more game-centered than I intended… However:

Yesterday I did another lengthy session with Kingdom Hearts on my video-beamer and after not being able to kill the boss in Atlantica (Ursula, it’s name), remembering the frustrating hours used up for my tries to kill the fish-boss in “Zelda – Majoras Mask”, I switched my playstation off, entered the Xenogears-CD and turned it on again.

The next 7 hours where most interesting. I began playing just after Fei and his crew where shot down by Bart when fleeing from the attack against Kislev when I arrived at the Thames fleet. From there I played until the fight against bishop Stone in his gear where I screwed up and deceided that two o clock in the morning is a good time to stop playin anyway (why must this always happen to me in fights after a long cut-scene without a chance to save after having seen it? Square should consider giving the possibility to skip a scene if you at least have seen it once).

All Squaresoft RPG’s (with the exception of Kingdom Hearts) have a good deep story, but Xenogears has the best of them. I remember lively when the whole plot araund the Ethos, something the player fears for the whole game, got revealed to Billy. It’s jsut great.

If you find the game somwhere, consider buying it. It’s just great. I would even suggest you to import an americain PS just for Xenogears as the game was never released here in Europe (I’ve imported mine for CronoCross which too is great but not nearly as great as Xenogears).

Kingdom Hearts

Yesterday evening I played another round of Square’s newest RPG, Kingdom Hearts and I have to admit, this is the first Square RPG which I don’t really like. Although it’s from the same team as the Final Fantasy Series, it’s more like Zelda than FF. With one difference: The camera sucks. When playing an action RPG like Zelda, it’s important to have your characters always in view and to know where you will be jumping to. Unfortunatly the camera in KH is quite buggy and thus you run into situations where you cannot see where to jump next. Rotating the screen does not work either as it’s quite jumpy and seems to know better what the user wants than the user does…

And: What I like best about the FF series (at least the newer games) or even more in Xenogears, is the complex story in those games. Unfortnuatly, KH’s story is soooo obvious and simple. And finally to the battle-system: As I said, it’s like Zelda. But in Zelda there is only Link to take care of. In KH, it’s three characters. Two of them are controlled by the KI and they have a tendency to senslessly use Ethers and Potions all the time which would not be that a big problem if only those where not that expensive to get…

After all, the only two things I like in the game are its graphics and its sound effects.

I hope, Xenosaga comes out soon…