Vermin360's Blog - Jul to Sep 17 (45 followers)
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Jul
25
PermalinkMy Journey into Game Pass - Sam & Max Save the World
The adventure game was once the staple of PC gaming. Sierra On-Line, LucasArts, and other developers thrilled us with exciting journeys riddled with creative and often very challenging puzzles to solve. Then the first-person shooter hit and adventure games were all but wiped off the map as players traded their brains for guns. Fast forward a number of years and the adventure game is seeing a renaissance, mostly in the form of Telltale experiences that favour storytelling over gameplay, with most of the player interaction coming in the form of dialogue trees and the occasional quicktime event.

But Telltale did start off doing things right. Enter Sam & Max Save the World, a Telltale game that I can truly call a game because there is actual gameplay involved. The puzzles were back. And in this game, they were akin to some of those brainscratchers of yesteryear, but the clues are there if you look for them.

Sam & Max Save the WorldUnicornucopiaThe Unicornucopia achievement in Sam & Max Save the World worth 13 pointsHeard 10 different comments about your unicorn.

The original Sam & Max Hit the Road was one of my favourite games of its time. It's right up there alongside Full Throttle and Freddy Pharkas Frontier Pharmacist (say that 10 times fast). It was the perfect combination of gameplay and satire that I first learned was possible through the Leisure Suit Larry series. This more recent entry remains faithful to the characters, and is sure to entertain.

Broken into six smaller episodes, the games span a small number of environments that the player will have to return to multiple times, even more if they get stuck. You have to pay attention to plenty of details - the objects you can interact with in the scene, the descriptions, the conversations, and even Max's autonomous wanderings will help lead you in the right direction if you are observant. But don't worry if you get stuck, as there is a fantastic walkthrough on this site that will have you on the right track in no time. But I recommend playing without it, experiencing the full range of comedy and reminiscing (or experiencing for the first time) what adventure games used to be like before we started handholding so much.

Sam & Max Save the WorldSaved The World!The Saved The World! achievement in Sam & Max Save the World worth 37 pointsComplete all episodes of Sam & Max Save the World.

I was able to complete the game fully in just a couple of sessions, tackling an episode or two each time. Most of the Achievements are obtained by simply completing episodes, but you will want to check out the list to keep an eye open for a few that require some special attention. These aren't terribly tough, but if you didn't know they were there you could easily miss them. If you do miss them, don't worry because you can get them by just replaying the episode in which they are found.

I should also note that in addition to this completion, I also wrapped up the last of my time attacks in Galaga Legions DX for the second completion of the week. This brings my total completions to 139, 6 of which have come through Game Pass. Next time on the Journey, I will satisfy a long-standing curiosity. Thanks for stopping by.

Galaga Legions DXRace Against TimeThe Race Against Time achievement in Galaga Legions DX worth 70 pointsCompleted all Time Attacks!

Stats for the Game Pass Journey so far:
Number of games played: 16
Games completed: 6
Number of Achievements earned: 154
Gamerscore earned: 3,460
TrueAchievements earned: 4,559
Money spent: $23.98
Money saved: $120.79 (based on lowest historical sale prices in $CDN)
Net savings: $96.81
Posted by Vermin360 on 25 July 17 at 20:59 | There are 7 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Jul
17
PermalinkMy Journey into Game Pass - Joy Ride Turbo
Keeping it light and dipping further into the Xbox 360 back compat catalog, today's stop on the journey lands us at Joy Ride Turbo. Basically astripped-down version of Kinect Joy Ride that is game pad controlled, it comes across as a flavourless version of Nintendo's Mario Kart series.

The game features two main modes - racing and stunting. The races are broken into three performance classes, each with four three-race tournaments. The stunting is a small open-world type of experience where finding all the collectibles is the focus.
Joy Ride TurboCup RookieThe Cup Rookie achievement in Joy Ride Turbo worth 24 pointsComplete the 100 HP Series

I wish there was more to say here, but the races get repetitive quickly, and the game severely lacks the character that Mario Kart exhibits. You don't get the feeling of personality that say Luigi, Donkey Kong, or Toad provide on the track. The other racers are very generic, and it isn't as clear to differentiate between them during a race. They do have a nasty habit of banging and crashing into you during the handful of pure race events, making them even more frustrating than the combat events where weapon power-ups come into play.

The weapons themselves are pretty generic as well - three types of rockets, a turbo boost, a gas can to fill all your nitro slots (normally filled by performing stunt rotations and flips), two types of mines, a fake item crate, and an ice maker. I think there are perhaps a couple more but they are not very memorable and escape me at the moment.
Joy Ride TurboCup ProThe Cup Pro achievement in Joy Ride Turbo worth 30 pointsComplete the 200 HP Series

The main purpose of Joy Ride appeared to be a vehicle (pardon the pun) to promote the Xbox Avatars. Your personalized character appears as the driver but the thrill just isn't enough to carry this game beyond a handful of play sessions. To date I've completed nearly all the race Achievements, but will have to grind through collectibles and shop purchases to finish out the completion. I probably will, but I don't expect to enjoy the process.

Next time out, I will be exploring a series the likes of which I enjoyed when I was younger. Back when adventure games were challenging and required more thought than just choosing dialogue options to proceed. Thanks again for reading.

Stats for the Game Pass Journey so far:
Number of games played: 15
Games completed: 4
Number of Achievements earned: 138
Gamerscore earned: 3,175
TrueAchievements earned: 4,212
Money spent: $23.98
Money saved: $118.30 (based on lowest historical sale prices in $CDN)
Net savings: $94.32
Posted by Vermin360 on 17 July 17 at 12:06 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Jul
11
PermalinkMy Journey into Game Pass - Roundabout
Welcome back to My Journey into Game Pass. After a bit of a hiatus around this year's Bean Dive event, we're back in action and exploring more of the Game Pass library. I had considered diving everything in the library as part of the event, but thought that was madness and stuck to my regular backlog and dove just 20 games this year. I could have probably done more, but wanted to get back to this part of my routine.

This time around we're looking at the quirky indie driving game, Roundabout. This was another game that came recommended and was also something I had considered briefly when it was released. This is no ordinary driving game, however. This is more of a puzzle game. Roundabout puts you in the shoes (wheels?) of a limousine driver whose vehicle is constantly rotating. But make no mistake... this is not just an aesthetic detail but severely dictates your ability to navigate obstacles as you complete missions through an open-world environment.

RoundaboutStraight to the Pool RoomThe Straight to the Pool Room achievement in Roundabout worth 29 pointsIn "Ball Bouncers", bounce the ball at least 12 times

The first thing I have to say is that the level design is amazing. The number of times I've frustratingly crashed and burned only to look again and see the proper path to cleverly align my rotation is fascinating. It's not a question of looking for an area wide enough to support the entire width of the limo, but finding the position and timing to effectively dip one end of the car into a corner and turn into the spin to rotate around the obstacles in your path. It's really quite brilliant. And it takes time to master.

The full motion video (FMV) cut scenes are intentionally horrible. They are a throwback to the early '90s when we thought that was a good idea. They are poorly acted and poorly written and the voiceless limo driver steals the show with her array of whimsical facial expressions.

Overall some of the challenges are really tough. I haven't yet acquired many of the power-ups that give you alternative tools to help along the way. I do have the one that will slow down the action momentarily, or allow me to reverse the direction of my spin, and those have helped shave time off my mission runs. I am disappointed that the jump ability becomes available as you play. Not because it's cheesy to be able to jump at will with a limousine, but because it negates a number of the obstacles and allows you to circumvent the main mechanic of the game.

RoundaboutRubberband ManThe Rubberband Man achievement in Roundabout worth 40 pointsUnlock the Reverser Wheel

Meanwhile, I have still been chipping away at the Time Attack stages in Galaga Legions DX and should be adding a fifth completion to the Journey's stats soon. I am also looking for a boosting partner to help knock off the online Achievements in The King of Fighters '98 Ultimate Match for yet another. I plan on logging some more time in the bigger titles I've started but will have another new game to discuss in my next episode. Thanks again for following along, and I'll see you next time.

Stats for the Game Pass Journey so far:
Number of games played: 14
Games completed: 4
Number of Achievements earned: 133
Gamerscore earned: 3,105
TrueAchievements earned: 4,126
Money spent: $11.99
Money saved: $115.81 (based on lowest historical sale prices in $CDN)
Net savings: $103.82
Posted by Vermin360 on 11 July 17 at 10:43 | There is 1 comment on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.