I'm a 20 Year old gamer. I started gaming on the PC back in 94-96ish and before that I just watched my brother. My first gaming love was Jill of the Jungle, a great platformer title from the now Über popular Epic (Megagames) thanks to Gears of war. Since then I've moved on to game on any device and every device that will play games. I'm fairly open about genre, I usually prefer single-player or co-op rather then competitive, that may be because i have ADD and never play a game hardcore more then a week before I move on to my next obsession. I try to be as knowledgeable about gaming as I can, and daily read IGN and of coarse the best gaming site ever, Destructiod!
I've been a gamer my whole life, but I wasn't introduced into multiplayer gaming till I had a revolutionary time slaughtering bots with 4 buddies on Golden Eye, and Perfect Dark. Back then I was in middle school and we were playing on my buddies 13" TV that we each had 1/4th of. Now televisions are giant, so huge in fact that we can each have our own slice of the television that's as big or bigger then the 13" TV we used to split 4 ways.
But what's happening? Game developers are no longer including the option for 4 player split screen. Of all the games on my 360 to come out within the last year none support 4 player split. Halo 3 does because that's how halo always was, halo wouldn't have been nearly as successful without the original having 4 player split screen, and they had to continue that tradition. Think back to 360 launch games though. COD2, Farcry:IP, Perfect Dark: Zero, they all had 4 player split screen. Now it seems we only get 2 players on screen, sometimes not even that (COD4). Gears 1/2 , Resistance 2 , Call of Duty: World at War, even Left 4 Dead (if a game ever needed 4 player split screen that's the one) all only 2 player split screen.
So why do I own 4 controllers then? Is it just for castle crashers? (not that game's not great and all) The amount of fun to be had by 8 people having a Xbox party is far greater then that to be had by 4. only 4 players worked for n64 games because of bots, and most new games don't include those either (I realize gears 2 does) So why is it that games stopped supporting 4 player split screen? Is it because the consoles can't support 4 players at once from a technical stand point? Are the graphics too system intensive? If that's all then turn off settings for 4-players and let us resume our 8 person parties. Or is there some other motivation? Is it to sell more consoles and games or Xbox live subscriptions? While it might promote the sale of more games I doubt it promotes the sale of many consoles. I don't know about you but I don't have 4 televisions in my house for an 8 person party. And then I have to find 3 friends with 360's that can come over for a party, surprisingly enough that's not as easy as it sounds.
What do you guys think? Is there some $$ motivation or is there really a reason it can't be done. Or am I overreacting and should just play online more often. Or do I have a point in thinking that online play isn't really a substitute for 8 friends in a room playing against each other.
The year is 2097. You’re a beginning athlete in the world’s biggest sport. You try to calm yourself as the sounds of welders and the smell of burning steel and electricity fill the air. You’ve run the simulations a hundred times over, you know you’re ready. You have to be. It’s a cold reality, sitting and thinking that your life could be ruined from one wrong move. Your actions during a five minute window decide your future. Scary, isn’t it? These things can’t get to you, though. You have to be calm, and you must remember everything you learned from the training courses you took in Power, Agility, and Endurance. You’ve upgraded your Robot some, though it’s hard to do much when a single level one upgrade costs $760,000. Money like that isn’t exactly easy to come by, but you’ve managed to find it, somehow. You know you can succeed, you can win.
The bell rings, telling you to get into the pilot’s seat. Walking down the hallway, you’re greeted by your opponent. They give you a cold stare and say one thing: “You are inferior.” Any other day, you would have a witty comeback. Not today, though. With so much on the line, you can’t think, and their taunt even throws you off a little. Even their walk screams of a confidence that they will destroy you. You have to clear your mind, you have to win.
Now you’re sitting strapped into the piloting apparatus. Without moving a muscle, you can control your 90’ HAR (Human Assisted Robot), simply by thinking what you wish to do. You effortlessly move your HAR into the arena that has walls made of highly charged electric wire. You make a note to avoid them during the match. Staring at your opponent across the room, and then onto the field at your robot standing next to his, you turn your eyes to the count down clock. You now realize the weight of the sport’s name. The truth contained within that single statement drives your will to win. Two robots have entered the arena for battle. ONE MUST FALL
One Must Fall: 2097 is one of the most unique, feature rich in a class of its own fighter games you will ever play. What’s the catch? It’s 14 years old. OMF was released on June 15. 1994 and since then there’s never been a game like it. The basic story line you’ve already seen but incase you missed it (or skimmed it) OMF: 2097 is 90’ tall fighting robot game. But fighting games aren’t new, original, unique or in anything of its own. I mean hell the SNES/GENESIS that’s like half the games on them it seems. Well, let me list just a few of the things that make OMF everything I said it was.
First off we’ll start simple. Single player.
The single player experience in OMF: 2097 is not the strong point of the game, but it’s also not lacking. When you start you get to select a pilot AND a robot. Each pilot has their own strengths and weaknesses, some are faster then others, some are stronger then others. Some can take a beating for longer then others. After selecting your pilot you then select your HAR. This is a point I find particularly great when you think about it. Being able to select your Pilot separate from your HAR ensures that you get the play style you want, it doesn’t limit you to this robot is this fast and this strong. They change depending on who you choose to pilot it. In reality that means that there are 100 possible combinations, meaning 100 different ways to play. Though I’ll admit that the experience is not going to be a ton different, but it is still different, and it still means the team at Epic Megagames was striving to create something that wasn’t already on the market. Another feature you see here is arena danger. Each stage has it's own danger, from electrified walls, to jets flying in and firing on the arena you're not only fighting the opponent, but trying to avoid the arena from damaging you as well. This feature was also unique at time of release to One must Fall 2097.
The controls in the game are simple, a punch button, and a kick button. That’s all. But the true depth in this title is in the next mode. Tournament mode.
Tournament mode starts you out with a Jaguar HAR and you entered a tournament. In tournament mode your pilot starts out completely free of any stats and you have money to spend on upgrading either yourself or your robot depending on which you would like to do. Each of these things has their advantages and disadvantages. Upgrading yourself will carry through out your entire tournament career and you will always maintain those stats even if you trade robots. On the flip side upgrading your robot sees a more instant result, you notice when your leg speed is increased, you notice when your leg power is increased ect, the gratification is much more instant with robot upgrades then pilot upgrades. So how do you earn more money to but that arm power 3 upgrade that costs $5 million; trashing other robots on the national stage. But unlike in single player, or in other fighting games, winning is not all that matters, it is also how you play the game. Epic took the approach that, hey you’re fighting 1-1 with another robot, some parts are gunna fly, paint is getting scratched wires coming un-done and these things aren’t free. So after each victory you have a repair bill to pay out of your winnings (or after each loss you have a HUGE repair bill to pay for, somehow). So since these battles are also cut throat, best out one out of one, they kindly included a simulator that lets you practice fight any of the characters in your tournament bracket to see what the outcome might be, no repair bill to worry about. One other thing I find humorous is that after each match a woman commentates on the match, about how eh you were, how much you kick ass, or how long your going to be in the repair shop. While you’ll notice pretty fast she’s limited on what she can say, but it’s entreating none the less to get critiqued after each battle, or to hear someone say that you reduced your opponent to not much more then a punching bag. There are 4 different tournaments to enter into, each with differing entrance fees, and difficulty levels and number of contestants. You’ll be playing for a while to be the top dog.
One Must Fall: 2097 also included a 2 player mode playable using one keyboard. But WAY more important then that is the Network\modem game. Back in the day where you had to pay for multiplayer services or you could dial directly to your friends house, OMF: 2097 was (to my knowledge, correct me if I’m wrong) the first fighting game ever to have online multi-player, or even network multiplayer. This is absolutely groundbreaking advancements in the area of fighter games.
To sum up my wall of text, while OMF: 2097 is not a deep fighter like street fighter 2 where you spend years memorizing combos and special moves the ability to customize your robot and your pilot to change to your play style make up for it. The singleplayer/multiplayer has lots of choices as far as how you want to play. And the tournament mode lets you customize everything the precise way you want it and you have to prove that you can handle the heat by keeping out of harms way to rake in the dough. Not to mention this was one of if not the first ever fighting games to include online play, which would have been reason enough to play it. This game without a doubt showed that Epic had what it takes to become the Goliath that they are now.
Now that you’ve read my review, play the game. It’s available as abandonware and played best using dosbox, Tell you what I’ll even save you the trouble of googling it.
There! OMF: 2097 and dosbox and instructions on how to set it up in one download, now your only excuse is….nothing.
Okay so this is a trial post to see if you guys enjoy reading this type of review.
When I think back to my early years the first game I truly remember being obsessed with was Jill of the Jungle, a product of Epic Megagames. Later renamed to Epic Games they're the developers of the most popular game engine of all time (The unreal engine) and the most popular third person shooter of this generation, (Gears of war). But they didn't start big and just appear out of no where. Before Cliff Bleszinski was workin the chainsaw gun Epic games was producing unique PC platformer titles, which brings me to the point of this article, a review of Jill, one of the games that got them started.
Jill was made as a trilogy, Jill of the Jungle, Jill goes Underground and, Jill saves the Prince in 1992. Jill has several elements that make it different from the big platformers of the time like Mario or even Prince of Persia. The first difference difference is quite obvious, the heroine is...a heroine. That's right, no more saving the helpless princess from castle x, This time it's the girls turn to get dirty. While I was only 4 when the game was released, the games stuck out to me, maybe it was because that's what my older brother (10 years older) was playing at the time. But then again there's got to be something to be said about making a game where the chick saves the helpless dude though. It shows that right from the start Epic wasn't out to rip of what everyone else was making, they wanted to be unique.
Jill is a shooting/jumping puzzle game (which is ironic because I can stand very few jumping puzzles now a days). There's 2 different weapons you can pick up, the knife, and the shuriken. One notable thing is though that you can pick up more then one of them at a time. You can hold several knifes, that disappear from your inventory and you have to either wait until they come back to you, or go pick it up if it gets stuck. The shuriken operates a little different, It doesn't return to you but rather bounces around the screen until it disappears, at which point you can send it out again.
There's a fairly wide variety of enemies in the games, each game introducing new creatures and re-using the ones already established. There is a feature that really makes Jill shine here though, You get to turn into them! At multiple times through out the series you get to transform into a fiery bird, or a frog or a fish to help you solve the puzzles and find your way through the puzzles. This is a feature that to this day still very few games have implemented and one that I find very entertaining.
When it comes right down to it Jill of the Jungle (and the squeals) are a fairly unique experience that you'll have a hard time finding a copy cat of. Each game isn't very long, the first one can take about an hour to finish in a straight play through, but there's a little bit of replay value to find some hidden areas and get a higher score. The other two games increase in length and Jill saves the prince features a completely different world map then the first two games.
So were there early signs that they would be great? I think so. The Jill series may not have been earth shattering or massively popular but they did show that Epic Megagames was not out to release cookie cutter copies of every other game that's out, but make a truly unique experience that the players will have a hard time duplicating elsewhere. All three Jill games are available to download from various abandonware sites and are enjoyable played Via DoxBox. So next time you're sitting and waiting for Fable II or Fallout 3 to be released wondering what to play, give Jill a chance to whisk away your evening.
Let me know what you thought of this review. If you want me to do more of them let me know, If you enjoyed this one next I plan on continuing with Epic and doing a review of One Must Fall: 2097, a robot fighting game that you'll never play anything like it.