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    Feb 11th, 2008 at 14:16:50     -    DOOM (PC)

    gameplay: Doom + mouselook = pretty much every other FPS ever made. It's true. Let's look at Halo, for example. Beneath the pretty bump-mapped graphics and expansive levels, there is Doom's Rambo-esque gameplay mechanic, which is to charge into a room and destroy every monster in it single-handedly. Sure, a tactical strategy works well, and is even encouraged once in a while, but the overwhelmingly dominant method of advancement is that of Doom. It just goes to show how it has influenced and shaped this genre.

    Design:

    My biggest complaint with Doom is level design. let me preface my comments by saying that I think Doom's levels are incredibly fun to play through, and maintain a constant level of action that is satisfying. My problem with them is concerned with aesthetics. Whether it is due to the engine limitations concerning slopes and rooms over rooms, Doom does not do a good job of convincing me I am in the places it claims I am in. Doom environments look artificial. During episode 2, this becomes increasingly obvious, as the levels maintain no common theme of texture, and have a design that often leaves the player wondering, "who on earth would ever have created this building?" It is understandable that certain sacrafices on design are made in order to sustain gameplay, but creating more realistic levels would have gone a long way towards helping to maintain a suspension of disbelief.

    Part of this problem could also have been addressed by having a slightly more involved plot. As it is, Doom's plot is basically limited to a few text screen's between episodes. Perhaps including some more story-interludes could help the player get a sense of direction and orientation amongst the vast worlds/levels and erase this sense of not understanding his/her surroundings.

    As I mentioned before, this game has several emergent characteristics. Most of these are based on the fact that the gameplay is relatively simple. This carries over into Doom multiplayer as well. The game definately encourages social interaction, as its gameplay is both simple to pick up, yet difficult to master. In games, where the gameplay is relatively simple, the player feels like he/she has more control over whatever good/bad outcomes he/she experiences. it is because of this, the multiplayer in Doom is fun, as it is based on skill vs. skill, with factors out of the player's control being limited.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 11th, 2008 at 14:22:52.

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    Feb 11th, 2008 at 13:39:57     -    DOOM (PC)

    Summary: Make your way through monster-infested military bases in order to try and stop the invasion of hell and to make it home to earth.

    Gameplay: Doom's gameplay is the first-person reincarnation of a twitch-based 2d fighter. Just like in a 2d fighter, the gameplay is fast, reactionary, and explosive. The player's fast movement speed, combined with the abundance of monsters in a level (especially on the higher dificulties) causes the player to always be moving in a fast, frenetic pace.

    The object of doom is very simple: get to the end of the level and kill monsters in the process. If you do some research on the history of the creation of Doom, Tom Hall, the lead designer at id Software at the time, wanted to have a complex storyline, multiple player-characters, etc. John Carmack, the lead programmer, made the call to simplify the gameplay and make it more streamlined. I think the right decision was made.

    Because Doom has relatively simple gameplay, it actually can become a game of emergence, at times. Although it is primarily a game of progression, (make it to the end of the level, find switch) monster fights always unfold differently each time. The simplicity of the combat system means that it is easy for the player to adapt to. What then changes is the way that a player might confront any given battle.

    Even for a 1993 sprite based shooter, Doom has a pretty amazing atmosphere. The sector-based lighting allows for some truly scary areas. The player might be lulled into a dark room towards a key, only to trigger a monster teleportation. That constant "on-edge" feeling is something that is present throughout the game that really adds to the experience.

    Visually, Doom is an interesting game. There is plenty of controversial satanic imagery present. Although it is there only for atmospheric reasons, it is easy to see how it has caused lots of controversy over the years. To the casual observer, there is little that is emphasized in this game more than killing, and to come across the disturbing images in this game would likely lead to a knee-jerk reaction by anyone who has not taken the time to understand the purpose of the gameplay.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 11th, 2008 at 13:45:40.

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    Jan 27th, 2008 at 21:06:37     -    Chrono Trigger (SNES)

    Gameplay:

    I haven't reached anywhere close to the end yet, but I understand this game contains multiple endings depending on certain actions the player takes throughout the game. I think that more RPGs should do this, but it seems like less and less have since Chrono Trigger. I think its a lot more interactive to have the ending be dependent upon player actions. It means I have more involvement in the story. And the way Chrono Trigger executes it, nothing is really taken away from the MAIN storyline. The creator/writer can still implement his idea in such a way that the player has this interactive control over the end.

    Concerning the story, I think the reason its so enjoyable is that it concerns the apocolypse. It makes the story "heavy" and more meaningful IMO.

    Design:

    Chrono Trigger has some very nice graphics, considering when it was produced. the artwork created by Akira Toriyama is distinct and well done. The game itself takes advantage of several special graphics features of the SNES to produce effects such as complex sprite layering. It really pushes the system to its limits.

    Another nice touch is the active combat system, which makes the timing of player actions more important. No longer does the player have the ability to simply wait (unless they chose the "wait" option), they have to actually decide their actions quickly, making the turn-based system much more realistic.

    The musical score for this game is also very well done. As a musician, I can appreciate the time and energy that was put into it. Despite the limitations of the SNES sound processor, the melodies and harmonies themselves are appropriate, I feel, to the game and help create the atmosphere.






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    Jan 27th, 2008 at 19:09:15     -    Chrono Trigger (SNES)

    Gameplay:

    I really enjoy Chrono Trigger's story. So much so that even if the gameplay was terrible, I would still probably play the game. That being said, the gameplay is far from terrible and really is quite enjoyable.

    It is pretty much a traditional RPG, with basic RPG elements such as leveling, special techniques, equipment, and turn-based combat. However, in the context of when it was released, it was pretty revolutionary. Plus, the elimination of random battles makes the game so much more enjoyable. It encourages exploration and prevents the common Final Fantasy Syndrome (FFS) where you rush through every dungeon as fast as possible, and even seem to be rapidly pressing the A button when you AREN'T accosted by a randomly appearing enemy.

    I like how each area is unique and has many different things to do. These things give the game character and help to mix up the pace and tension. For example, the Leene's square mini-games are enjoyable.

    Another thing about Chrono Trigger, is that it employs the "silent protagonist." Now, this strategy usually only works if the story is told REALLY well, with some amazing character development. The silent protagonist is a way of bringing the player closer to the story, so to speak. It replaces the protagonist's dialogue with the player's own thoughts. I have mixed feelings about this. In a game like Chrono Trigger, it helps because the story is told so well, and the character development is well done. But every now and then, you are left wondering about the thoughts of the character you control. As a gamer, your perspective often changes from that of being in the story, to being in control of what happens in the story. And as your perspective broadens, you find yourself caring about the thoughts of your character, which in a game like this, are absent.

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