Due to my 2016 ban on aquiring games, I hadn’t been keeping up much on gog.com. Turns out, during my absence, they did add a some oldies of interest. Which is heartening to see; it’s great that they stock all those indie titles but for us their primary contribution to gaming will always be keeping the classics alive.

Tanks outside a small colony.

First up is Imperium Galactica 2, the space-based 4x strategy game featuring realtime battles. I wrote about it many years ago and had mostly positive opinions, apart from complaining about how hard it is. I recall doing fine on easy mode, but on medium I always ended up overwhelmed by massive enemy fleets. I’m not sure if the game is really that unforgiving or if I was just playing incompetently. I guess I needed more industry to churn out more ships. Or more research centres to more quickly gain advanced tech, resulting in more powerful ships. Quantity, or quality? Or maybe both.

I do think it was probably a mistake to give one particular race (the KraHen) massive boosts to warship production, then make them immune to spying and unable to interact with anyone via diplomacy. In other words they have a big military advantage, while other means of slowing them down are unavailable. That seems a bit imbalanced to me. Apparently their one weakness is sucking at research but that never seemed to stop them steamrolling me.

Still I wish I had time to give it another try. I recall the colony-management, which was basically simcity in space, is quite engaging. Here you manage the usual 4x stuff like factories and research labs, but also you have to place utilities like housing, police stations, even parks. Plus you have a 3D view of each colony, and could zoom in for a look up close. Somehow these factors made your colonies feel a bit more important and real, opposed to a bunch of numbers and static images.

Then the battles were like something out of a RTS (a genre then in its heyday). Okay, a very simplistic one. Still, these features meant that, while I wouldn’t go as far as calling this game superior to (say) Master of Orion 2, it stood out from the 4x crowd.

Castle Brunwald – a sprawling, tough-as-nails, pain in the arse.

There’s also Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It’s an early member of the Lucasarts family, and I recall it being rather more unforgiving than their later adventures. For one thing, you can die (and probably will, repeatedly). There’s also the issue of the game letting you permanently leave an area containing some item that will get you past a later puzzle or problem. This doesn’t, I think, result in an unwinnable state, as there’s always an alternative route out of a location. That route may, however, involve more of those difficult and annoying fist-fights. Resulting in much angry button-mashing. You can of course go back to an old save, but the item may be well hidden, or you may not even know exactly what it is you need.

Okay, I admit I’m paraphrasing Rik’s review here. I don’t think I ever got past the castle (I tried telling the butler I was selling fine leather jackets). Indy’s second point-and-click outing, Fate of Atlantis, is definitely a lot less frustrating. The fighting is still there, but entirely optional, and you can’t permanently lose access to useful items.

Oh dear, now I’ve complained about another game being difficult. From now on: only writing about walking simulators.