Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dark Ages

Dark Ages is a bit like the creepy game with a dunce-cap, banished forever to its corner to think about what it has done, only to return and immediately be shunned again. Apogee released this game in 1991, alongside some of their more popular releases. First thing you notice, you're Fabio or something, and you were exiled from your heirloom city by an evil wizard, so you have to learn how to fight and make your way through a bunch of caves and stuff finding random objects like apples to give to a wizard so he can show you the way to the next area. Sound repetitive? There's three episodes of this nonsense.

Gameplay: 4/10
So we're off to see the wizard, gotta cross this river, fall in a hole and die. Get attacked by bats and spiders, die. Touch a cobweb, die. Eventually you're going to learn to not touch a damn thing in this game, and this is one of the only times some extremely stiff controls are actually going to help you to be precise as a laser surgery. They're still stuck on the kick that all video games are pinball machines, so they keep a score tally and high score list. You have eight health points, you regain one when you've collected 10 coins, and if you die, you're given the option to save and restart from your current level, with the same amount of health and everything, liable to die again very easily. Your character (Fabio) can shoot this sonicboom-esque wave thing that barely does any damage at all, and until you pick up the powerups, you're going to need to furiously tap the ALT key if you want to get anything to die. I'm on easy mode and this game is still hard, but just for kicks I tried the third episode, and it's more of the same, except no wizard. The game is much more difficult here and you can't seem to shoot fast enough. Between all this madness, the level hazards whooping your butt, and the terrible game premise, I've taken away 6 points. When you play this game, do yourself a favor and hit F10 followed by =, it'll engage rapid fire mode and you can save yourself an ALT key.

 Graphics: 5/10
Although being pretty lame as far as creativity in the game world goes, they do a good job on the environments. Problem is, I still don't know what half of the enemies or terrain are, and they're the same thing throughout the entire length of the game. -5 points for no noticeable variety.

Sound: 4.5/10
It's the first shareware game to feature Adlib music and sound card support. The noise you make when you attack is much like an old Atari game, and it gets very annoying. The music was good, until I realized the tracks were quite sparse, but they segue nicely. A nice swish would have been a better attack sound, but the music is good. -5.5 points.

Overall: 4.25/10
It's a good thing that most people missed this one. I gave it a good try, mainly because it was super challenging, but I soon realized it was mostly impossible to play. I assume it gave Apogee a pretty sour taste in their mouths, but they didn't choose to remove it from distribution until 2009. For now, take a little bite out of Apogee's history, and download this game from the link below.
http://www.dosgamesarchive.com/download/dark-ages/


6 comments:

  1. probably wont be checking this one out!

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  2. Im probably not gonna try this one :D
    Good job though

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  3. This looks like something I might want to see, If I remember right this came out around the same time as Duke Nukem which is why I assume this might have failed so bad.

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    1. In all honesty, it's not as bad as I say it is, looking at it next to Duke Nukum though, whoops

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  4. This one doesn´t sound too fun.

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