Monthly Archives: May 2014

The magical video game art of Oliver Frey

The Fantasy Art of Oliver FreyI was browsing through a book shop the other day when I came across a volume that got my nostalgia glands throbbing from just one look at its cover. The Fantasy Art of Oliver Frey is a celebration of the artwork of one of the most famous individuals in the eighties computing scene, and I found myself rushing to the counter to purchase it in less time than it takes to boot a Commodore 64.

Oli Frey painted numerous covers for eighties computing magazines, including Crash and Zzzap!64, and I remember the excitement of seeing his artwork on newsagents shelves, hinting at the possibilities of what delights the games inside would hold. Frequently, of course, the artwork was much more exciting than the games themselves, but Oli’s covers showcased the enticing hidden world to be found in games, something intoxicating to a wide-eyed youngster.

Oliver Frey Amstrad CPC

Looking back at the above picture of giant Amstrad CPCs descending on an unknown planet, the disconnect between weedy eighties computers and a display of awesome power seems ludicrous. But I lapped up images like these at the time – they reflected my own excitement and the feeling that we gamers were at the cutting edge of technology. Even if it was an Amstrad.

Oliver Frey Crash Number 1Oli Frey’s most famous picture is probably this one – the cover of Crash issue one, in which a terrifying alien has Space Invaders for eyes. It didn’t really have anything to do with what was inside the magazine, it was just meant to be an exciting image that was vaguely game-related. This was a surprisingly common theme in early games magazines – often the cover wouldn’t necessarily relate directly to the content.

Oliver Frey King KongHere’s another famous Crash cover of King Kong munching on a Spectrum. Again, there was nothing about King Kong in the magazine, Oli just wanted to create a cool image. And I think you’ll agree he succeeded.

Oliver Frey ChristmasI love Oli’s detailed paintings for Christmas specials, which usually featured the magazine’s editorial team. A few years back, Retro Gamer commissioned Oli to paint a similar Christmas-themed cover for their magazine, and I believe he’s done a few of them since.

Oliver Frey LemmingsThis is one of my favourite of Oli’s paintings – his idea of what a realistic Lemmings would be like if it featured people. I think this image appeared on a SEGA magazine in the late eighties. I love the use of perspective, but it also captures what appealed to me about Oli’s work – there’s a dark undercurrent that made video games seem dangerous, forbidden and exciting, even if they were mostly blocky pixels shuffling around on a black screen.

It’s a shame the hand-painted magazine cover has died out: they’re so much more distinctive than highly polished modern covers. Hand-painted covers were still fairly common well into the nineties, and I remember TOTAL! used them quite often, but they gradually disappeared as digital artwork became easier to create.

Oliver Frey is still making art, and you can order some of his iconic images via his website: http://www.oliverfreyart.com/. I’d also recommend ordering The Fantasy Art of Oliver Frey if you have any love for retro gaming, it really is a wonderful trip down memory lane.

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From The Armchair: Love Hurts in Mass Effect

ArmchairWhat ho, chums!

It’s been fairly quiet in the gaming world over the past couple of weeks, no doubt because everyone is holding back announcements for the upcoming annual mayhem of E3 on 10th June. Add in the fact that I’ve been journeying around the untamed wilds of Scotland for the past few days, and it means that there is likewise little for me to report on the domestic gaming front. Although I can confirm that Scotland is very, very cold. Beautiful, but cold.

However, I did eventually manage to finish Gargoyle’s Quest after much gnashing of teeth and frustrating restarts, and I’m pleased to say it turned out to be a lot of fun after the initial shock at how difficult games used to be. I’ve also made a bit of headway on Castlevania, although that game is astonishingly hard even by retro standards – god knows how anyone ever finished it without a save game system. It is strangely addictive though – despite having my posterior handed to me on a regular basis by Frankenstein’s monster, I still find myself drawn back to the game like an addict to the needle.

Link: charming

Link: charming

I also treated myself to The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: I’ve barely dipped my toe into the pastel-coloured waters of Hyrule, but it charmed me completely from the start. My face was set with a dreamy grin as I guided Link on his quest, quite different from the determined grimace that is a permanent fixture during my battles with Castlevania.

It’s actually been a bit of a games-buying bonanza over the past few weeks after months of abstinence: I’m eagerly awaiting my pre-ordered copy of Mario Kart 8, and I bought Halo 4 in order to finally get up to date with the series and continue my quest to finish all of the Halo games in coop with my good friend Mr Sutton. I’ve also been sorely tempted by Wolfenstein: The New Order and Watch Dogs, although I managed to resist the devil’s subtle whisperings of enticement in the end. But should I eventually succumb, it’s likely that I will be hurling my shilling in the direction of Wolfenstein rather than Watch Dogs: hunting ludicrous sci-fi Nazis is more up my street than GTA with mobile phones.

I did, however, hunt down and buy Mass Effect 3, such is my eager anticipation to see this series through to its conclusion. I’m currently hovering at around the 35-hour mark in Mass Effect 2, and I’m utterly enchanted by it: any of my spare time, of which there is sadly little, has been funnelled in the direction of this frankly quite remarkable game, which deservedly made it into the top five of our Most Agreeable Games of the Generation.

The difference between Mass Effect 2 and its prequel is astonishing: as I said in my review, the first game has a great story but is fatally flawed by repetitive sidequests and dull exploration. Yet the sequel manages to fix pretty much every single flaw in the original, and the satisfying complexity of the game world makes it a joy to seek out quests and study the lore of the Mass Effect universe.

However, I’ve spent most of my time recently trying to cop off with members of the crew.

Miranda: annoying

Miranda: annoying

‘Romance’ in Mass Effect is almost like a metagame in itself. The fact that your relationships from the previous game carry over into the sequel is a genius idea, and it adds weight to your awkward flirtations when you know that your decisions will carry over to the next game. Miranda is currently in a huff with me after I took Jack’s side in an argument, but I’m not particularly bothered as she’s frankly irritating (I’m sure I can’t be alone in thinking that). To be honest though, I’m surprised there hasn’t been an option to bed Jacob, such is the sexual tension whenever my male Shephard sidles into his quarters for a chat and leans suggestively against the desk.

All of this soap opera posturing is highly entertaining, but the depth of the game still amazes me: at numerous points you’re offered decisions that cause the game to continue in radically different ways, and it’s perhaps the only game I’ve played since Fallout 3 that offers such varied ways to continue the story. This will mean nothing to people who haven’t played the game, but I just found out that there’s even an option to recruit Morinth and see that relationship through to its inevitable conclusion. In that case, love really would hurt.

All of these choices, all of these consequences – I’m already contemplating a second playthrough to see how things might have worked out differently. At this rate, and with Mass Effect 3 waiting in the wings, I won’t need to buy any new games for at least another year.

Toodle-pip for now!

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Nail’d is Big Fun

Just hold R2.  ThaNail'dt’s how the instructions to Techland’s arcade offroad racer, Nail’d, should have read.  Jumping over canyons, flying through wind turbines, and riding your ATV or MXB through ancient greek romans are all done at an exceptional, almost unmatched, speed.  You’ll rely on almost inhuman reflexes to dodge incoming obstacles as the scenery blurs around you and you leave your opponents in a trail of dust and exhaust smoke.  It is an exhilarating ride that will have your adrenal glands pumping chemicals and your quick-twitch muscle fibres pulsing from start to finish.  It is a blink and you’ll miss it arcade racer, and its sense of speed never abates. Unless you crash into a ball of flames. And that’s pretty much Nail’d’ in a nutshell.  It’s got an amazing sense of speed that, when things are going right, is almost unrivalled.  But when things are going wrong the illusion that Nail’d is anything more than a slot car racer erupts into a screaming ball of scrap metal and brightly burning flames.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  You see there is a part of me that really appreciates what Nail’d brings to the table.  Its the same part that enjoys the rough edges of other rough not-quite top of the pile racers like Juiced 2 and Milestone’s WRC series.  I like these games because they’re fun, not because they achieved the video game equivalent of a Michelin 3-starred restaurant.

While playing through Nail’d I realised that the way I play, and more importantly appreciate games, has changed significantly over the years.  Years ago I would’ve written a manifesto about how video games are the next great art form, able to tell amazing narratives and truly immerse players in an alternative world.  I would’ve written that I like games that challenge me, both physically and mentally.  And lastly I would’ve written that games aren’t just about fun, they’re about pushing technology to its limits to create new experiences memories for those that experience them.  I was like the video game equivalent of the worst kind of food critic – the one with the Cravat that has forgotten why we eat food in the first place and rather seeks some pseudo religious experience from consuming tiny meals on giant plates.

NaildScreen

Oh how naive I was.  To think that that has almost reversed entirely as I’ve gotten older is paradoxical.  Rather than my video game palate becoming more acquired, mature, I have regressed and crave the sickly sweet taste of unadulterated entertainment over the more refined and textured taste of contemporary artistic video game pursuits.  Of course, like most humans that inhabit a wealthy and prosperous nation, my diet is diverse, and so rather than choosing one, I have the ability to choose them both.  But invariably, while I love a culinary delight every now and then, it’s the pedestrian pepperoni pizza that I keep coming back to time and time again.

Nail’d is almost by very definition pedestrian.  It is an arcade racer that seeks to achieve one thing and one thing only – speed.  And the developer chose its battle wisely, because Nail’d is so fast that all of its shortcomings .  Basically it is front-loaded so full of blistering speed that by the time the taste of travelling at what seems like a million miles an hour wears off, you’re so full of adrenaline that you won’t notice the game’s shortcomings, of which there are many.  But so to not dwell on the negatives let me just say that none of them are meal breakers.  Although the lacklustre menu of modes and the less than tantilising structure of the career mode is disappointing, it won’t stop you from wanting a dessert serving.

And that’s exactly what games like Nail’d do well.  Although not perfect it has this moreish quality to it that enables you to look past its flaws and the absence of any sort of depth.  It provides enough substance to keep me entertained without feeling the need to be an overly taxing or complex experience.  Sitting back and enjoying a couple of ridiculously fast races is perfect after a day of having my brain taxed by the vicissitudes of daily life.  It is the guilty pleasure that the internet-at-large often ignores in favour of the sensitive new age games that are popping up left right and centre  But there is certainly a place for both types of experiences. With video games able to deliver so many experiences limited by nothing but your imagination, it would be a shame to lose that quality, that fun factor , in the transition to a more mature industry with more progressive experiences.  In the pursuit of relevance and maturity of video games as an art form do we need to let go of where we came from and embrace change?  In answering that, I ask you to imagine a world without pepperoni pizza and what kind of an existence that would be.

miles davis big fun

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From The Armchair: So Long, Kinect

ArmchairWhat ho, chums.

Well, what an exciting week it’s been in the world o’ gaming. For a start it’s been an absolute rollercoaster ride for Nintendo: first they announced another loss on the back of dismal Wii U sales, then everyone got excited about the reveal of Skylanders-style figurines based on Mario and his ilk, then it all went horribly tits up when Nintendo of America decided to retreat into the 1970s in regards to gay relationships in Tomodachi Life (a story that even made BBC News, and which I intend to explore a bit further in a later post) and, finally, the company ended the week with a bit of good news thanks to the ecstatic reviews of Mario Kart 8 (which even got a rare perfect 10 from Eurogamer). Phew, what a time to be alive.

But despite all of the excitement in the Nintendo camp, it’s been overshadowed by Microsoft’s momentous decision to ditch Kinect for Xbox One. Only a few weeks ago, Microsoft executives had been doggedly insisting that Kinect was an ‘integral’ part of Xbox One. It turns out that when they said ‘integral’, they actually meant ‘disposable’.

It’s probably a good decision to ditch the unloved peripheral. Kinect has been around for four years now, but the initial excitement around it died off almost immediately – rapid sales gave way to general apathy within a short while, and in its four years of existence, no-one seems to have come up with a way of taking full advantage of its motion-tracking abilities. The idea of including Kinect with every Xbox One was good on paper, since it meant that game designers were more likely to build its functionality into their games, and it also acted as a key differentiator that set the Xbox One apart from its rivals. But now we’re well into the first year of the console’s life, and the Kinect-enabled games released so far range from the rubbish to the utterly abysmal; even worse, there’s no sign of any decent Kinect-powered games on the horizon. It’s hard not see Kinect as an expensive white elephant rather than the key distinguisher Microsoft hoped it would be.

Some defended the system on the basis that Kinect voice commands make it easy to navigate the Xbox One menu system. But others point out that just designing a less-confusing operating system in the first place would negate the need to use Kinect when navigating it. And is it really worth diverting 10% of the Xbox One’s graphical power to running Kinect when that juice could be used to make prettier games?

But Kinect is likely to come into its own when it comes to VR. Microsoft have been quiet on possible VR developments, but I suspect they might unveil something along these lines at the upcoming E3 conference. If they do reveal a VR peripheral, Kinect will be a key part of it. Although as I’ve said before, VR is only likely to appeal to a limited set of gamers, so it’s the right decision to make Kinect optional rather than compulsory, if only to bring down the eye-watering price of Xbox One.

It’s tempting to draw comparisons between Nintendo and Microsoft when it comes to expensive peripherals. The Wii U’s gamepad adds considerably to the cost of the console and, like Kinect, it’s been poorly implemented into most games (although unlike Kinect, it’s also had its triumphs). Indeed, it might be in Nintendo’s interest to release a Wii U without the gamepad in order to reduce the cost and improve flagging sales. But whereas I feel sorry for Nintendo’s financial plight, I struggle to feel anything but cynicism towards Microsoft: the initial reveal of an always-online, secondhand-game-restricted, TV-focused Xbox One smacked of misguided intentions at best and bare-faced greed at worst. And the ever-watching Kinect eye was a terrifying concept from the start.

Perhaps the key difference between Nintendo and Microsoft is one of trust. Microsoft has steadily eroded my trust through a litany of poor decisions, from charging me to watch Netflix on Xbox 360 to unleashing Windows 8 on an unsuspecting world. When Nintendo struggled to produce enough games for the Wii U, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata publicly apologised. When Microsoft back-tracked on yet another design decision by removing Kinect, they fired up the obfuscating PR cannon yet again to bombard us with marketing bumpf. And let’s not even get started on #dealwithit.

I trust Nintendo. But I wouldn’t leave my family alone in a room with Microsoft.

Bye-bye baby, bye-bye.

Bye-bye baby, bye-bye.

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Beware the retrogaming illuminati (and don’t let video games define you)

When I was at school I had a pretty powerful kick on me.  When not out on the oval playing some pretty serious football, we were in the cricket nets kicking the ball as hard as we could at each other in the name of ‘science’.  Juvenile perhaps, but boy it was fun.  After a while I became known for it, the kid that kicks the ball a million miles an hour, the kid that gave Matthew Joy concussion, the kid whose kick you run away from.  It was a badge of honour, in some ways, but in others it pre-determined the young footballer I became and I was typecast as your big kicking goalkeeper – something that stuck with me throughout my entire playing career.

And that judgement is all a natural part of growing up, and in many ways we are not in control of who we are or who we become in the early years. Call it social pressure, but as kids and teenagers its almost integral to forge your own identity through the things you do in order to survive what are some of the most gruelling and tribal years of your life.  Peer pressure grips many, while others have the willpower to go on and be the individual they want to be.  Individual or not, regardless of which clique you fit into there is a pressure, in some way, to fit into some sort of ‘norm’.  Whether it be the way you dress, the films you watch, the music you listen to, or the way you wear your hair, every moment of every day during those formative years, you are being judged superficially and that image in some ways becomes you.   If there is one benefit to growing up its leaving all of that behind.

Games were never like that for me growing up, at least not to that level.  I am grateful that I lived somewhere where we all played games – boys and girls.  The school yard was full of pockets of children sharing stories (and often discs) of the latest Amiga games, tales of their latest arcade conquest.  But it was a very different hobby back then, we played anything and everything that came our way, and never formed little groups based on what sort of ‘gamer’ we were.  There weren’t the indie fans, the strategy fans and the RPG fans.  We were all one collective that loved and shared our enthusiasm for what was for many our childhood pastime with each other.  You played games and that was enough to afford you entry into a conversation.

But with the onset of the internet it all changed.  It was less about what you actually like and more about what you should like.  Finding out that those games you loved as a kid are now deemed ‘bad’ because the retrogaming illuminati deem it so is heart-breaking.  But its the fact that we all follow their line of thinking that is the shameful part.  We the chameleons of the internet shape and mould at their behest, playing the games they deem worthy and constructing our identities around their manifestos.  Chuck Rock you’re out, Bonk you’re in. Your credentials as a retro game enthusiast came down to whether you played Earthbound or not.

No ZOOP for you!

No ZOOP for you!

The strangest thing is these people are adults.  I find it gobsmacking that people well into their adult life feel the need to define themselves by anything let alone video games. And not only by the fact that they play video games, but the genres they play down to the most pedantic of delineators.  As a society of game players we are becoming so self conscious about who we are and what we play that we are often feeling the need to endure games we are simply not enjoying.  We have even rewritten our own histories in an attempt to align our own ‘shameful past’ with the popular opinion of the internet, one dominated by a US-centric version of events.  For many years I played games I had no interest in playing because it was the flavour of the month, in order to seemingly legitimising myself as an enthusiast.  And it was miserable, it was all-consuming, but more importantly it made me wonder why I did this in the first place.  The love of games came naturally, but forcing myself into the model picture of an enthusiast did not – it was less about enjoyment and more about conformity.  So I changed my perspective, read less about what others thought, thought less about what others thought, and played the games that instantly piqued my interest.  I stopped caring about whether I was missing out or whether I was the fount of all knowledge and in doing so remembered just what brought me to games in the first place.  It was escaping all of that and enjoying being in worlds free of the judgement and social pressure that follows us all daily that had me running home to play my latest muse.  And all the pressure fell away and games became that entertaining pastime once again.

And as it bloody well should be because when all is said and done games are made for us to enjoy.  They are escapism, joy, happiness and laughter.  They are business for the few, but a pastime for the many.  What you play may in some ways say something about who you are as a person, but they certainly don’t make you who you are.  There are so many social norms we have to conform with on a daily basis to be part of the club we call modern society – some are necessary and others merely convention.  But video games aren’t one of them and just being involved is enough to join the global club of enthusiasts. So while its cool to where your fandom on your sleeve, don’t let it define you as a person or blind you to the millions of wonderful experiences available to you.  Both inside video games and out.

NerfHerder

 

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From The Armchair: Old Skool Gaming

ArmchairWhat ho, chums.

Last week I found myself in the unusual position of having nothing to play on my Nintendo 3DS. Considering the tottering (although diminishing) pile of unplayed games on The Mantelpiece, this was an almost unprecedented situation. But yet there I was, Saturday morning stretching ahead of me like a great shoe with its lights on, nothing but a lazy morning in bed planned, and no games to play on my 3DS.

Some of you may at this point be suggesting that I should have instead gotten up and gone out for a walk. Or perhaps learned a foreign language. Indeed, I could have simply read an edifying book. But fie! I wanted to play a VIDEO GAME, goddamn you, and I went about exercising my rights as a free Englishman in pursuit of my chosen pastime.

So, to the eShop. Ever since Sir Gaulian’s excellently nostalgic post about the ludicrously audacious advertising for Capcom’s Gargoyle’s Quest – “Graphics so real you’ll forget it’s only a game” – I’ve been meaning to play said game to put this bold claim to the test. I remember when Gargoyle’s Quest came out, back in 1891, when I was but a wee nipper and Nintendo’s Game Boy had only just found its way to Albion’s fair shores. I recall it received excellent reviews, and the game remained on my ‘To Buy’ list for years, but I never did save up enough pocket money. Now that I am comfortably in my 30s, my pocket money has been upped considerably, and I’ll admit it was eminently satisfying to make my childhood aspiration a reality. Following a virtual swipe of the credit card, Gargoyle’s Quest was mine at last, after a wait of only 23 years.

Gargoyle's Quest, mine at long last.

Gargoyle’s Quest, mine at long last.

Emboldened by my purchase, I quickly snapped up 1888’s Castlevania too. Back in the early 90s, I had a rude introduction to the Castlevania series in the form of Castlevania: The Adventure for the Game Boy, which is widely regarded to be the worst Castlevania game ever made. I wasn’t to know that at the time, however, and this sluggish shambles of a game put me off the series for the next decade. Thankfully, I finally warmed to Castlevania through, of all things, the stripped-down mobile version of Aria of Sorrow that I bought for my crumbly old Sony Ericsson phone several years ago, and since then I’ve hankered to play through the series from the very beginning.

Purchases made, I settled back to enjoy a relaxed morning of warm gaming nostalgia. Which was soon interrupted by the sound of prodigious and increasingly amplified swearing.

“What the f**k? Dead again?”

“Motherf**king bat spider!!!”

“You must be f**king kidding me, I have to restart all the way back there?!?”

“F**KING BAT SPIDER!”

And so on, and so forth. Dear me, games used to be hard in the old days, didn’t they? I stopped counting after my fifteenth failed attempt to get through the first level of Gargoyle’s Quest. Yes, THE FIRST LEVEL. I’ll admit that my reflexes may have withered somewhat over the years, but they certainly haven’t withered that much – it’s an undeniable fact that games were rock hard back in the early days.

The complaint that modern games are too easy is an oft-repeated one. But I for one am grateful that we no longer have to put up with restart points that are spaced so far apart you’d need a telescope to see the next one. Or one-hit-kill lava. Or enemies that knock you down bottomless pits for an instant death. Or bosses that absorb absurd amounts of damage and then kill you with one hit. Or HAVING TO GO BACK TO THE START OF THE GAME WHEN YOU DIE. Perhaps modern games are too easy in some cases, and there’s an argument that greater challenge provides greater reward, but there’s challenge and then there’s wanting to claw your own eyes out in frustration.

Thankfully, the Virtual Console has an ace up its sleeve in the form of Restore Points – at any time you can create a save point, meaning that virtually impossible levels become just about doable with a reasonable level of patience. Without the Restore Point function, I would never have been able to proceed to the second level of Gargoyle’s Quest; but I’m glad I did, because it turns out to be a rather fun game (and oddly, it actually gets easier as it goes along, thanks to the abilities you continue to unlock). Some might say Restore Points are cheating. I say they’re the only thing that makes ancient games playable now that I no longer possess the limitless patience and dexterity of an 11 year old.

And as for Castlevania… well, thanks to Restore Points I’m enjoying that too, but if anything it’s even harder than Gargoyle’s Quest. I’ve started to rethink my plan of playing through the series from the very beginning… Maybe I’ll pick up with the series at the point when the developers finally discovered save points.

Welcome to the house of pain: the first boss in Castlevania.

Welcome to the house of pain: the first boss in Castlevania.

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Dream Games – Space Marine 2: The Fall and Rise of Titus

spacemarineRelic’s Warhammer 40K: Space Marine is somewhat of a guilty pleasure of mine.  I acknowledge that it isn’t the deepest and most polished third person shooter of all time, but for me it made my imagination run wild and spurred an interested in that universe that hasn’t abated since I first played the game in 2011.  But if you played the game you’ll know that it ended on a not too-friendly cliffhanger, that if left unresolved, will likely itch at players for some time to come (in a last episode of Press Gang did she or didn’t she escape the fire kind of way.)  Which is why there is almost no game I’d like more to see announced (sooner rather than later) than Space Marine 2.

In fact I wanted the game so much that I wrote an April Fools press release in an email to a fellow Space Marine tragic years in an attempt to trick him that the sequel had been announced (and spoilers for the first game are below):


Relic Announces Warhammer 40K: Space Marine 2 – the Fall and Rise of Captain Titus

Relic has announced that it is working on a direct sequel to its 2011 action adventure.  Warhammer 40K: Space Marine 2 – The Rise and Fall of Titus is scheduled to be shown at E3 2014 in June.  The game’s director has said that “fans will be surprised by how the game both stays true to the adrenaline-fuelled action of the original, while incorporating new gameplay mechanics that take the story forward in unexpected ways”.

 “The future of one of mankind’s greatest heroes is in your hands.”  After preventing an Ork victory on Graia in the events of Space Marine, Ultramarine Captain Titus is being by  tried by the Imperium for corruption and conspiring with the powers of Chaos.  It’s up to you to prove his innocence and continue Man’s war against the forces that conspire to destroy them.  In a first for the Warhammer 40,000 series you take the role of  Inquisitor Thrax, as you take to an open world universe to collect evidence, interview witnesses and retrace Captain Titus’ determined to prove his innocence in a branching storyline.  

And for the first time in the series you will swap between characters as you once take control of Captain Titus.  As the investigation into his crimes progresses, you will relive some of Captain Titus’ greatest victories against mankind’s enemies through his own eyes.

Space Marine 2: The Fall and Rise of Captain Titus is coming to next generation consoles and PC early 2015.


It worked, and while it was funny for a while, all it really did was make me lament more at  the already apparent realisation that we probably will never see what happens to Captain Titus. And that is a real shame.  An LA Noir inspired adventure game put over the top of the trademark shooter/melee gameplay that made the first game so great sounds just peachy.  In absence of that game though, at least I’ll have the memories of mucking about with a good mate over something that we got into way more than any late twenty-somethings should have.

Thrax

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