Friday, July 8, 2011

Finishing up Duke Nukem Forever, and more Pool of Radiance

This week I finished up with Duke Nukem Forever. Lets pick up where I left off last week.
I was wandering around in the bowels of the Hoover Dam. Now at the bottom of it, I run across a HUGE octo-alien.
Flying Octopus...  and a BIG one.
After a fairly easy fight in which you just hide behind some boxes, and avoid his incoming balls of lightning or whatever it is he throws at you, this big bad monster runs off like a coward.

Now I head off into the dam proper, with the intent of shutting down the generators inside.  Apparently, the aliens have tapped into the power the dam is generating and using it to keep their portal open.  Looking up, the stream from the sky seems vaguely familiar.  It reminds me of the view of City 17 in Half-Life 2 after blowing up the citadel.  I didn't take pictures of these myself so I went looking on the internet.  Here is the comparison...

DNF portal
Half-Life 2 portal
Pretty similar anyway.  So off to shut down the aliens power and maybe find out where my giant Octo-alien friend went off to.

There's a tentacle where the lobby used to be...
Good thing I don't have to search for too long.  After running over a running generators and up some scaffolding, I run into a guy that seems pretty content to be trapped inside a crane operator booth with thousands of aliens running around.  He takes me across the room where the coward Octo-alien is lying in wait for me.  Here again we run into another not so epic boss-fight.  It is just about learning the pattern, hide for full health, run out to get ammo from the unlimited supply crate posted right nearby, shoot a bit, rinse, repeat... 
Back again.  Hopefully not to run off again when he loses.
After launching a few hundred rockets into this flying octopus, he tries to draw the whole crane closer before he can sign out with this particular alien species death throe.  His smaller counterparts corpses explode shortly after being killed causing a fair bit of damage, so I can only assume that this monster exploding would be lethal no matter where I happened to be.  So, I do the only thing that CAN be done.  Launch a few hundred more rockets into this guy. 
He doesn't want to go down alone!
He does finally quit trying to pull me closer, and does explode a little, but not serious enough hurt anyone.  So with this guy finally out of the way, I can get through the door behind his corpse and continue on my mission to shut down the power plant.

My head is starting to get about as big as that dead alien down there.
The next areas are filled with the spinning turbines of the power plant.  Shutting down the power is much easier than I thought it was going to be.  An image comes to mind as I stand and look at these spinning generators, and being in a destructive mood, I set about completing my mission.

My inspiration!
At least the tool box will fit!
Things that are spinning rapidly don't take too kindly to anything trying to pass through them.  Thankfully, some mechanic was kind enough to leave his toolbox close by.  The toolbox works wonderfully to stop the turbine from spinning and I can proceed on my way.  The power is still not off though, so there must be parts later on inside the damn where instead of destroying everything I see, I might just be able to hit a switch. 
There's the switch!  I guess easier is not always simpler...
After jumping across an electrified pool, killing a legion of aliens, and watching a friend die, I get the switch off.  Well, the lights are still on, and there are still aliens around...  apparently its harder to get a whole power plant to stop generating power than originally thought.  So instead of wasting time trying to figure out what I need to go do to turn it all off, and pouring over schematics and blueprints to find out where to go,  we decide to handle things in true Duke Nukem fashion.  Lets just blow the whole damn place up!  By placing charges at spots along the bottom side of the dam, and blowing them at the same time, we hope to just bring the whole dam down, and any leftover aliens with it.

This ends up bringing us to an entirely underwater area.  Though you don't move very fast, and have to stop for breath every few seconds, the aliens have no such handicap.  They seem to be able to move around as easy as they do on the surface, though I guess the only ones I saw were the octopus type...  figures they'd be at home in the water too. 

Breathing is accomplished by finding a stream of bubbles and hovering inside the bubble cloud.  Most of this area is just about following the air tube, and opening its valves along the way to continue deeper, placing charges along the way.  Of course, nothing is ever easy.  Upon getting close to placing the last charge, a nasty worm-like alien shows its ugly face.

Now for the worms, this seems to be a staple of science fiction.  For some reason, worms are scary, and giant, and eat everything...  I would have to give credit to Frank Herbert for making the giant worm popular with his Dune books.  These giant creatures have made many appearances though modern science fiction and fantasy.  Dune, Tremors, Lost Planet, even making an appearance on an asteroid in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. 
Giant Sea Worm.  Why do these aliens have to be so creepy?

After the worm was destroyed, the dam was blown.  Down comes the whole thing in huge rush of water, and me along with it all.  Amazingly I survive, and am greeted by the president yet again...  If he was unhappy before with my alien ass-kicking, hes down right pissed the hell off now.

Who does this guy think he is?
Unfortunately, he happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and mister alien emperor himself comes and shows the president what he thinks of his whining.  Of course, after dealing with the president, the emperor sets his sights on me. 
Big guy...  but still no match for the Duke!
The last boss battle was still pretty easy, though it did take longer to complete.  Basically, you have to deplete this guy of his health 3 times before he calls it quits.  Oh yeah, did I mention that just before the emperor dealt with the president, the president launched a nuclear missile at the aliens to try and deal with them his own way?  Well, I'm standing at or near ground zero and have to get out, and quick.  The general who has been around the whole time, giving orders, and generally not contributing, finally does something...
 I'll leave the rest of the ending of this game for you to discover. 

Now that the game is complete, I'll summarize my view of the game.  This game, at least in my opinion, was never meant to be a game changer or a show stopper.  In its 12 years or more of development, it changed hands so many times, went through multiple game engines, and probably many rewrites before getting to this point.  It was meant to finally be finished, and not much more. 

I did enjoy this game for my time with it.  Its probably not a game I would play through entirely again.  Maybe at some point in the future, but not soon.  Its not really a game I would recommend to friends, unless I knew they enjoyed this type of game and could handle the crude humor.  It is definitely not a game I'd recommend to strangers without knowing their stance on language, ethics, and sexism.  If I knew those though, I don't think I could call them strangers anymore.  I had fun, and there wasn't really a point in the game where I wished it would just hurry up and end.  It moved from place to place well, and had pretty good variety of game play.  Between the shooting, the platforming, the shrinking areas, the driving, the underwater...  it was a fairly diverse game.  I gave it 6/10 when I updated the completion status in my collection database.

Now, time to move on....  Pool of Radiance.  I have moved further into Sokal Keep.  Mostly clearing the whole zone, but for one fight.  This fight as well as the one in the slums is a coming of age test.  It is a battle with hobgoblins and orcs of epic proportions.  This one battle usually takes about 25 minutes.  I manage to lose every time, barely.  After a few tries, I went back to the slums to try my hand at tackling the troll fight once more.  This time, after gaining a couple of levels on my party, and a couple more magic items, I emerged victorious!  The battle was still tough, and lost a few through the fight, but managed to keep everyone alive enough to not have to spend 5000GP on a resurrection.

Finally...  and a lot of experience when there's only a couple left alive to learn from it!
Here is a screenshot of the state of my party after this battle.
Those in red are unconscious thankfully.
After heading back to town and resting up and training the people who did get a level, I went to see the clerk for my reward. Clearing the slums was a chore, but I finally managed it and I was eagerly awaiting my reward. The reward was some gold and gems, and another job. This time I was tasked with heading to Podal Plaza and find out any info I could about a powerful magical weapon being auctioned off there. I think I may have to hold off on that one for a little bit.  I want to try my hand and getting past that group of orcs and hobgoblins in Sokal Keep first.

Expand all you want.  Didn't look like a place I'd want to live!
My goal this week is to finish out Sokal Keep and then see what other trouble I can get into.  As for another game to play, I don't know.  I try to keep a couple going so if I get frustrated with one I can walk away from it for a bit and have fun with something else.  I was considering heading into Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony.  Its not a RPG, and it fills the action and shooter that Duke Nukem Forever will leave.  I'll start work on it this weekend.

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