Checking Out CorsixTH

I recently dug out our copy of Theme Hospital, but after a certain point the game just kept crashing.. so I went over to the still-in-development open source reimplementation of Theme Hospital, CorsixTH!

CorsixTH Emergency Incoming Patients with Invisibility

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Left 4 Dead 2 – Cold Stream

Cold Stream is a new campaign created by modder Matthew Lourdelet, who previously created the 2 Evil Eyes campaign.

Having received some well-deserved support from Valve, this became available for players to beta test last night.

I got round to playing it this morning.  We first spawned in the stream itself..  I thought this was a very pretty location with the rushing water and trees..

We decided this first part of the map could maybe have done with a few more pointers on direction, as once you’ve headed into the trees it’s fairly easy to lose your sense of direction..

We also wandered in and out of a small building before realising we were supposed to jump out of the first floor window to carry on.. maybe if this window had been broken it would have given us a clue, but as it was it looked like a recipe for fall damage.  Minor points, though.. and they didn’t hold us up for long 🙂

In the second map, we emerged in a tunnel full of rushing water.  A minor complaint here was the lack of sound for the water.. noticeable in the tunnel where you’d expect to really hear it.  I think it was around here that we started talking about how cool it would be if the water were to push you along, as it certainly looked fast-flowing..

I think the foggy lighting here would be great cover when playing as the Infected.. 🙂

Towards the end of this level we were nearly wiped out by a sneak-attacking tank, who incapacitated most of the team with a massive rock which came crashing down onto the group.  We hadn’t even picked up the bots by the time he got to us, and after I threw the bile on him, he sent me flying past the still-incapped Ellis..

The bile brought enough zombies to kill him off, and we carried on through a building and back into a tunnel full of water.

This time, there was a push behind the water!  Straight ahead there appeared to be a drop to the death, but we headed right and down a set of stairs with more water flowing down them.  I was rather pleased with this bit 😉

On the third level we were surprised with an explosion, sending cars and trucks flying and leaving a large hole on the bridge we were crossing!

I liked how this changed the map right before us, but wonder how this feels in Versus mode.. whether the infected get trapped here, or whether it allows insta-kills over the edge.  I need more friends who still want to play this game 😉

We had noticed a witch crying, and before the explosion I had been looking for her, hoping to beat The Undoer to the kill 😉

She turned out to be standing on a surface below the bridge, with no way up.  I noticed that this bug has been mentioned on the Steam forum dedicated to Cold Stream, along with the bug we got at the beginning of the Finale level..

That’s me, spawned on the outside of the safe room.. oops.

Using the radio in the safe room starts a cutscene with what we assumed was a rescue helicopter that crashes down into the trees.. all which needs some kind of voice acting as it just feels a bit strange.  After this, we were free to run out to look for the helicopter, or an alternative rescue..

A little further along, I thought the game had crashed when everything seemed to stick.. then we realised it was just a slow-motion effect.  At the time this seemed rather impressive, but I’m now thinking it should maybe have been left out.  In games like Homefront and Call of Duty, slow-motion is used to allow you to respond quickly to a threat.. here, it just seems to be used to add to the explosion, and after the second play-through I think this would be more of an annoying delay than something to be impressed by.

For the rescue, again, hindsight comes in..

Presumably attracted by the fire and smoke from the wreckage of the first helicopter, a second helicopter was waiting to rescue us.  I think this should have been the other way round, with us having to wait and hold out against a horde.. this would have been more challenging.  Instead, we almost discovered the ladder by chance, and with the common infected piling on Ellis and Rochelle, we were free to run up the ladder to safety.

Having run through this campaign though, I realised quite how much I miss playing the game.. the adrenaline rush, the need for really close co-operation.. the awesome feeling when you and your friends survive despite the AI director being harsh.. 🙁

Fallout: New Vegas

I’ve also been playing around in the Wasteland over the last few days.. and I’m loving it more than I expected to. 🙂

Victor was fairly giving me the creeps after I’d made my way out of GoodSprings.. turning up here and there.. sneaky sneaky!  I’ve also noticed plenty of mention of places and people from Fallout 2, and I’m wondering quite how much of the old locations I might get to see..

For all the comments I’d heard about bugs, so far, I’ve one had one real problem:  After equipping a disguise, my reputation with all but three locations disappeared, and did not return to normal when I put normal clothes back on.  This resulted in a great deal of NCR hate, with them attacking me on sight despite a couple of good deeds in their favour.  To deal with their hatred, I had to equip a NCR disguise, but this wouldn’t work on named NPCs and they would still attack me.. and in any case, I didn’t want to walk around disguised for the rest of the game.

I braved the forums for a solution, fearing spoilers or a lack of any fix, and found that some disguises seem to screw up your rep.  The fix was an easy one though.. re-equip other disguises, take them off again, and see if your reputation resets.  So I killed a group of Legionaries and used one of their disguises; back to normal.  Phew! 🙂

A friend is slightly ahead of me in the game, and is having fun with Deathclaws.  I remember dealing with a lair full of them in Fallout 1, using up every stim and health item I had.. sniping and going for blinding or crippling the arms was particularly useful.  If they’re as tough now as they were back then, well, let’s say I’m looking forward to the challenge! 🙂

Sacrifice and Mutation

I had been looking forward to the ‘Sacrifice’ since ‘The Passing’ was released for L4d2, especially as it would feature my favourite survivors, the originals.  I was also fairly pleased it was being released for both L4d and L4d2, and getting it on PC meant it was free.  The launch came with a lot of problems, though..

While my download came quickly for the original game, it took two days for my Left 4 Dead 2 download to come down.. crawling along at amazing speeds of 4kb/s.  When it finally finished downloading, it then refused to work.

However, I was in a better position than others.  Heavy traffic like this always seems to lead to authentication problems and issues with other games on Steam, getting “game unavailable” messages.   While I could at least play l4d, Tim’s machine didn’t even start downloading any updates for two days, and he couldn’t play any of his other Steam games because of… “Game Unavailable”.  Not good.

My first play through of the DLC was therefore with just one friend instead of a full human team 😉

Having Bill sacrifice himself and save the team as per the story wasn’t as easy as expected, though we had two bots with us.  After our sacrifice kept being beaten by the rush of zombies, we found the best method involved jumping back down the ladder early.

In this version, the achievement only comes for the Sacrifice instead of the whole team, but it’s easy enough to play through again.

I was slightly disappointed at the way the sacrifice ends.. once you hit the generator it’s all over.
I would rather have liked a Last Stand style effect, just to see how long I could hold out, or even a cutscene with a tank appearing and throwing Bill to his proper resting place in the smaller room.

Due to playing rather a lot of WoW and Minecraft, I’ve sadly let the mutations slip by in recent weeks.  The TAAANNNKK! mutation came this week.. and if you picked the right map and avoided the bugs, it was a lot of fun.

Bugs?  Oh yes..

On the No Mercy map, we found ourselves trapped as tanks on the wrong side of a fence, with no way of getting to the survivors.  We ended up trying to kill each other in hopes of spawning elsewhere, which worked after a few deaths, but by this time the survivors were too far along.  Another game was weirdly imbalanced; on one level my team was held back from spawning for a good while longer than the other team.. and then as survivors we faced three witches where the other team got none.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game that skewed before!

Despite the bugs I would love this to be added as a permanent mode; being the tank feels brilliantly powerful, and it’s a great feeling if you manage to get away as the survivor too.  Just.. maybe fix the bugs, huh Valve?