Tag Archives: under a killing moon

Project Fedora

I just wanted to take a minute to spread the word about a project currently going on that is near and dear to my gamer heart.

One of my favourite genres of games is adventure, and one of my favorite adventure series is the Tex Murphy series. Tex is a Private Investigator in post-apocalyptic San Francisco. The games combine a detective story, film noir-style and science fiction, with engaging puzzles and witty dialogue.

I still remember the first time I discovered the games. It was 1994 and I was in a Radio Shack. I remember seeing the box for Under a Killing Moon and being astounded by the description on the box and the presence of real people in the game (it’s Full Motion Video). I convinced one of my parents to buy it for me, brought the game home and did the 4-disc DOS installation. As soon as I heard James Earl Jones voicing the intro (and quoting Poe!), I was hooked. I played the hell out that game and enjoyed every minute of it. This was the game that made me appreciate noir and cynical characters and fueled my love of video games. When the next two games, The Pandora Directive and Tex Murphy: Overseer, came out in the following years I eagerly played, and replayed, those as well.

Then, after a cliffhanger conclusion to the last game… Tex disappeared. After 1998 no more games were made in the series. It seemed the whole adventure genre sort of faded away after a while.

But now, Tex has a chance to be battle-rezzed. The creators of the series have started a new adventure game company and are planning on making a new Tex Murphy game – but they need help. On May 15th a Kickstarter project started for Project Fedora, looking to raise money to partially fund the new game. So far they’ve raised almost $250,000. The goal is $450,000 and there are 24 days left.

I wanted to spread the word about this for 2 reasons. The selfish reason is that I really want a chance to play a new game from one of my favourite series. The less selfish reason is that I like the idea of supporting independent game developers.

So, if you also love the Tex Murphy series; haven’t played but think they sound fun (you can check out all the previous games at GoG.com); like to support indy developers; or just have a little extra cash burning a hole in your pocket, you should go check out the Kickstarter page. If the new game looks like something you’d want to play, you could pledge $15 (or more) and you’ll get a digital copy of the game when it is released (and warm, fuzzy feelings from knowing that you helped get it made).

My Favorite Games

Since I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t write about druid changes or tree form for a while, I thought I’d make a completely non WoW-related post.

I’ve been a video game geek for a long time. In addition to WoW I still play a number of other games (although not as many as I’d like). There are a few games that I keep coming back to – games with fantastic story and gameplay that are still great despite aging graphics. I tend to go back and replay my favourites every few years and I thought I’d share them since they are older, weren’t terrible commercial successes, and a lot of people may be unaware of their existence. My video games tastes tend towards RPG/adventures. You won’t find any FPSs here.

Planescape: Torment (1999)

Planescape Torment

Best CRPG ever. Torment is a dark, story-driven RPG with excellent dialogue and some of the best writing I’ve seen in a video game. At the beginning of the game you wake up in a mortuary. You are the Nameless One, you have no memory and you cannot die. A floating skull comes along to give you the chant and help you escape. Throughout the game you run into all sorts of interesting characters, become stronger by reacquiring your memories and search for your lost mortality.

The game is very text-heavy, but it’s so well done and every aspect of the Planescape universe is so fascinating that it doesn’t weigh it down. Torment has the same top-down viewpoint as games like Bladur’s Gate or Icewind Dale, but it blows those games out of the water as far as immersiveness and characters go. Even minor NPCs are more fully fleshed out than most playable characters in other games.

If you’re into grindy, Diablo-style combat, you might not enjoy this game as much as me, because the focus is not on combat. Despite this, I think they do a decent job with it and the division of combat vs. story is good.

If you like story-based RPGs you should give this game a look. The only problem is that I have no idea where you can get it for a decent price. If you can find it, it’s worth it. Edit: Planescape Torment is now available on GoG.com! Go buy it!

Under a Killing Moon (1994)

Under a Killing Moon

This is an adventure game with a film noire atmosphere. You play Tex Murphy, a hard-boiled PI living in a post-apocalyptic future. Under a Killing Moon and its two sequels are the only games I’ve ever seen who manage to pull off the use of Full Motion video.

For me, this was adventure gaming at its best. I think I was maybe 12 when I played this game for the first time. Although I had been playing games like Super Mario Brothers, Wizardry and Sim City for a few years, it was games like Under a Killing Moon that made me fall in love with video games. I can’t say what exactly it was about it that thrilled me the first time I played it, but I’ve now gone back to play it at least 3-4 more times and it’s still doing it. The interface is intuitive, the characters and dialogue are great, the puzzles almost never fall into the adventure game trap of not making any frigging sense.

The look and feel of UaKM is different that any other game I’ve played. Both follow-up games are very good as well, in fact most people would argue that Pandora Directive is much better. I love them all, and they are available quite cheap at gog.com. I’ve still got my fingers crossed (12 years after the last game was released) that I’ll have a new Tex Murphy game to play one day.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines (2004)

Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines

The game is set in White Wolf’s World of Darkness, and is a very atmospheric RPG. You start the game as a freshly sired vampire and need to navigate through an eternally dark Los Angeles, making friends and enemies, feeding on mortals, fighting foes and surviving vampire politics.

The character development is deep and allows you to shape your character to your liking. Would you rather charm someone into giving you what you need, steal it, or just smash their face in and take it? It’s up to you. You also get access to skills not usually associated with creatures of the night, such as computer hacking, lock-picking and use of firearms. Depending on which clan you belong to, you get different supernatural powers that will aid you in combat or quests.

This is by no means a perfect game, it does have some bugs along with a fair share of clipping isssues, but if you can look past these, it’s a lot of fun. There are also a number of unofficial patches and mods available. Vampire: The Masquerade is available through Steam. Tip: For the most fun game experience, play as a Malkavian.

What are your favorite games? If anyone knows any gems that are older or less well known, I’d love to hear about them.