Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 25, 2010
Ah yes, and then there's the nostalgia that you wish you didn't remember. I hooked up my old pc and finally managed to map a network drive to it, so that I could copy some old files, images and other nonsense over to my current PC. Among which some WoW screenshots from way back when my rogue was still lvl 60 :) More on that later. I also found an interesting file called "Revenant", which was apparently all that I needed to get the 2 Iso files for the game running. The game... wait... let me rephrase that. The Bugged, unpatched (1.22 actually, but still bugged to hell and back), poorly maintained, frustrating, not worth spending a dollar on, piece of shit that eidos interactive DARED release and ignore, (I don't see how this company can still possibly exist if they produce shit like this!) "game" called Revenant... It's been version 1.22 for the last decade or so, yet they never bothered to fix some substantial bugs like black textures under certain video cards, game freezing when talking to a shop owner, game locking up if you defeat the dojo master, and a horrible death, load, save system... Anyhow, let's look at how old this game really is. Minimum Specifications: # Pentium 233 Processor or Equivalent # Windows 95/98 # 32 MB RAM # 400 MB Uncompressed HD Space # DirectX 6.1 or higher (included) # 8X CD-ROM # 100% DirectX 6.1 or higher compliant 8 MB Video Card # 100% DirectX 6.1 or higher compliant Sound Card # Keyboard and Mouse Right, P233 processor or higher. No problem there. Even though I did have to modify the ini file to disable hardware rendering and a bunch of other stuff to even get it loading.
"Way back when", and that would be around 7, maybe 8 years ago I rented this game from the local library, installed it and played it for about two days. At the time it was one of the first "3D" rpgs to come out somewhere after Diablo, and before world of Warcraft was even talked about. It was decent enough in terms of gameplay, it looked nice, it had potential. And... It had bugs. I gave up on the game out of sheer frustration somewhere halfway through the second day because a same game got corrupted somehow, and the last "other" save game was where I had just gotten myself locked in at the dojo master. (whatever you do, do NOT kill him or the dummy, the game will get stuck in an endless loop) Basically, I'd have had to go back and start pretty much all over to 8 hours of gametime back. Which in terms of this game would be 4 hours of progress and 4 hours of loading and saving because of bugs where the game freezes or crashes. A simple word of advice. Do not ever play this game. While it may seem a decent distraction, you'll wish for those hours of your life back and curse Eidos to die in a fire. Bloody idiots can't do shit right. I mean, these are the uninspired guys that made the Tomb Raider game series. How much more proof do you need? At any rate... Finding said .zip file on my old pc I figured I'd give the game a try and see what it was like. Oh woe is me. Started the game, talked to some npcs, got out of town. Get frustrated at the shop owners for having the memory of a gold fish and constantly giving you their LONG welcome AND goodbye speech. Get even more frustrated the first time the game freezes upon talking to one of said shop owners. Get even more frustrated when you find out your latest save game was half an hour ago. Threaten to bring down a fiery meteor onto Eidos headquarters when you find out (belatedly) that dying to some damn monster that hits you for 200% of your health and thus kills you does not mean you can run back to your corpse, but you have to actually go back to another one of those save games which you made 15 minutes ago, or longer. Yes I know everyone was "used to that" back in the days, but in a game like this, it REALLY adds up to the frustration. After spending another half an hour of running around, exploring, and slowly gaining xp, it's time to dig out the walkthough because the directions in this game are poor as hell. You'll end up running in circles (thank god for the run button, at least they thought of that) and going nowhere. Encounter monsters you should not even try to get near, curse at the poor equiqment, curse at the silly small resolution (for most old games it's a charm, but here it's a limitation), and curse as you get two shot by a dragon and have to go back to yet another 15 min belated save game. Finally, after another shop owner freeze or two (at this point I was saving every time I even tried to enter a shop) finally give up and rant about this piece of shit of a game on a blog and wonder what sort of morons Eidos Interactive ever hired as programmers and testing department. If you simply resurrected in town on death (would make sense too) it'd be much less punishing for not saving often enough. And if they could at least have tested their own game and fixed the retardedly common freeze bugs, it'd at least be playable. But no. Seriously, What the fuck. Total waste of time. Screenshot source: Activewin reviews. They must not have played many good games, because they gave it a 82% in their own review. Huh, what? Makes you wonder how long they actually spent on playing that piss of a game, or whether they simply received the screenshots from Eidos with a bag of money and got told to write a smooth review.


Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Revenant. A game that starts very strong and.. subsequently starts really deflating somewhere past the first quarter of the experience or so. I actually really liked it - and completed it at that. It's definitely incomplete, and it becomes pretty obvious towards the latter half when the narrative kind of just .. vanishes.. and you just get more dungeon crawl. There was definitely potential for greatness in there, but one that allegedly was snuffed out by John Romero's Opus, Daikatana.

Allegedly (again), with Eidos realizing Daikatana would most likely flop and with the amount of money they had sunken into Ion Storm (just read up on the crazy sort of things John Romero was up to, it's insane the amount of money they spent), they decided to cut their losses and forced several other projects they were publishing to be hurried out in a very rushed state - Revenant among them. It's a real pity, because there's some wonderfully hammy pieces of voice acting in there, and seeing the size of the world (and the care with which part of it has been detailed), it's clear that a great deal of effort went into a product that ultimately deserved to be released in a far more finished state. It had a great deal of potential; unfortunately it got caught up in the evil that is publisher economics.

Also, for the record, Tomb Raider and most of its sequels were actually created by Core Design (though have been helmed by Crystal Dynamics - the people behind most of the Legacy of Kain games - since Tomb Raider: Legend) whereas Revenant was created by Cinematix Studios. Eidos is just the publisher, and by large have as much good as bad in their portfolio. What with series such as Thief and Hitman and games such as the highly famous Deus Ex.. and on the other hand also having published Kane & Lynch and Daikatana.

On an interesting note, if there's any title you could possibly compare to Revenant in terms of unfinished bugginess, try Sacred by Ascaron - also a hack and slash, though they actually were given the space to keep patching the game up to where it was actually somewhat playable; they even somehow managed to release not only an expansion pack but also a sequel.

As a final aside, do note that I put it as "given space" - some publishers are VERY touchy about the concept of patches, to the point where the developer might not actually be allowed to keep developing patches for their games, or might not get their patches officially released. There has actually been cases where the developer put a bug-fixing patch together but the publisher refused to let it get an official release, so the issues went unfixed.

bbr said...

Yes, blizzard is notorious for withholding patches as well. World of Warcraft is their current work-horse and is getting regular, though staggered patches. Many issues are left alone for months before finally being published with a large content patch.

Diablo 2 (not sure whether revenant came before or after that) just, stopped getting patched for a year or so, while many issues were still open and ready.
I work in the software business myself, so I can see "why" such things are done half the time, but only to a point.
Revenant is still available for sale, thus you'd think the can invest a developer (even a single one) to take a quick look through the code and fix a small few things to make it playable. Sadly, large software businesses are rather focused on their latest releases more so than supporting existing products. It's what (hopefully) will break down EA some day. But that is another story.

Revenant has potential, but sadly, it's gone to waste.

As for baldur's gate, I really should dig that up again some time. Still got a few CDs here of that. Amazing game, and for it's time SO many CDs! (Go for the eyes boo!)
It's alleged follower Neverwinternights, while good, didn't really turn out to be anywhere near as epic.

I wonder if they'll ever make a BG 3...

Never been much of a fan of the whole tomb raider madness. I'm surprised it's not something EA took over with as many versions of that franchise are out there. If not for the big butt and boobs, I doubt the game would have been too popular.
(Blood rayne's and Bayonetta are more my kind of girls anyhow :P )

Kain, hm, Raziel. Think my brother had that on his Playstation at some point. I was busy with final fantasy 7 at the time.

Anonymous said...

I think most cases of Revenant being sold is actually part of release series such as Sold-Out software and soforth which re-publishes old games that the original publisher no longer sells. I'd imagine Eidos just sold them a license to resell it to get some money out of it and then didn't think about it further.

I'd be surprised if the actual source code to Revenant even still exists.

Blizzard actually are pretty incredible when it comes to patching; they actually still come out with patches for old games to this day, and still have their online matchmaking service Battle.Net still running; compared to your average game developer/publisher, that's pretty much plain unheard of. I can't remember any instance of any other developer or publisher issuing a patch to a ten year old game. Sure, they take their time plugging some holes sometimes, but they're actually unusually dedicated to evolving a game experience, even after a game is technically past its life cycle.

As for Diablo II, it was after Revenant - by roughly three quarters of a year or so, so chances are Revenant would've gotten buried by Blizzard's own offering if it'd gotten a full development cycle, rather than the clearly aborted one that it had.

For Tomb Raider.. I wasn't really much of a fan of the original set; caught with it much more after Crystal Dynamics took helm. Part of why I was interested in even trying was due to Crystal Dynamics also having done so many of the Legacy of Kain games in fact. I still count Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance as some of the greatest examples of voice acting and facial expressions in games to this day.