Wednesday, 12 September 2012
I have played this before, but fortunately I always got wiped out about 10 seconds into level one, so everything past that will all be new to me. If I can get that far.
Bonus points for starting with a 'plug this shit into your speaker system and turn it up loud' image. I'll do that!
youtube link, listen to it yourself. Weirdly this isn't what the song was supposed to sound like; the developers swapped in better quality piano samples, but apparently one ended up in the wrong octave. Personally I think the song sounds better with the mistake.
This screenful of text seems to be all the story the game's willing to share with me. No idea who Alestes is, or who we're fighting, or why. But it's a shoot 'em up, so it's not like it matters.
I had to cheat a bit to get this animation looking right, because the game flickers between two gradients in the background to create the illusion that there's more colours on screen than there actually is. The rest of the screenshots will have less shades because they'll only catch one of the backgrounds, but this is what it looks like to the player.
listen to it yourself on youtube if you're curious. Orchestra hits are not a substitute for a melody!
Sadly these flying enemy super-fish don't have any animation, and my owl's energy bullet attack is a bit underwhelming. It kills them in one hit sure, but it doesn't exactly glow with pure destructive fury.
The potion turned out to be a power up for my... I dunno, is it an eye beam maybe? Anyway I've got bigger bullets now and can deal out more damage. Also I just learned that this scenery is actually all safely out of my way in the background. I've got the full run of the screen, with nothing to crash into but enemies.
I've lost my weapon power up, though at least it let me continue where I left off. Having to start the level again from the beginning would have been a pain.
Shadow of the Beast level. Which is interesting because this was actually made by Art & Magic, and Shadow of the Beast was made by Reflections.
The bullets are slow and the marbles follow an arc, so I think I can do this. It'd be nice if the guy had a health bar on screen or something though.
Shame they couldn't have thrown in a password, or maybe a save feature though.
It's not technical limitations surely, as I'm dodging bright yellow bullets at the same time. Did they playtest the game before putting the final backgrounds in or something?
There's actually four of them on screen right now, believe it or not. Oh sorry, five of them. I just spotted another one poking his head in on the right.
Hang on I've just noticed I've got the number 03 in the top left corner. That's been at 00 for most of the game, but suddenly it's changed. What could that mean? OH, it's how many seconds of invulnerability I have left, obviously.
Anyway, back during my first attempt I managed to kill the boss and earned myself another loading screen.
Whoa, does that I'm mean I'm actually killing the ghosts of the Bitmap Bros here? I guess it must be a joke about how they're taking the Amiga shoot 'em up crown away from the Bitmap's Xenon 2. Though considering this came out the same time as classic shooters Project X and Apidya, I'm not sure it'd could even claim to be the best shoot 'em up released that month.
You know, suddenly I'm feeling a lot better about my chances in Agony. Sure it's only got three lives and one hit kills, but it's far less frantic and punishing so far than its competition. Maybe with a bit of luck I can even finish it.
That's it then, I'm all out of lives and there's no continues. Game over!
It's funny, but I think the biggest problem with Agony is actually the music and graphics. They get in the way of what actually seems at its core to be a fairly well made shoot 'em up for the time. Sure it's slow paced and a bit simple, but I found it way more entertaining than something like Kolibri, Xenon 2, or James Bond Jr.
By the way if you want to hear that awesome theme performed with real instruments, Norwegian black metal band Dimmu Borgir actually nicked it and released it on their Stormblåst album under the title 'Sorgens Kammer': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDeQI949nIA. Apparently they left it off the re-recording of the album when they found out that their keyboardist had plagiarized the song.