Site Menu
  Steve's XP Legacy Games Corner
  Game Walkthroughs
  Adventure Game Reviews
  Role-playing Game Reviews
  Editorials and Interviews
  Galleries (Private Area)
  RSS Feed
  About and Contact Details
Recent Articles
Riven Riven


 by Steve Metzler
Hadean Lands Hadean Lands


 by Steve Metzler
Tesla Effect Tesla Effect


 by Steve Metzler
Diablo II Diablo II


 by Steve Metzler
Dag Scheve Dag Scheve


 by Steve Metzler
Puritas Cordis Puritas Cordis


 by Steve Metzler
Gray Matter Gray Matter


 by Steve Metzler
Dark Fall: Lost Souls Lost Souls


 by Steve Metzler
Tex Murphy: Overseer Tex Murphy: Overseer

 by Steve Metzler
Fallout 3 Fallout 3


 by Steve Metzler
Dark Side of the Moon Dark Side of the Moon

 by Steve Metzler
Atlantis II Atlantis II


 by Steve Metzler
Overclocked Over-


 by Steve Ramsey
Seven Games of the Soul / Faust Faust


 by Steve Metzler
The Immortals of Terra Perry Rhodan


 by Steve Ramsey
Where Have All the Puzzles Gone? (Part II) Puzzles (Part II)


 by Steve Metzler
Where Have All the Puzzles Gone? (Part I) Puzzles (Part I)


 by Steve Metzler
Archived commentary

Tuesday, 23rd December, 2008

Hoping next year is a good better one
Just a quick thank you to our readers, who gave great support to our bourgeoning site over the past few months. Much appreciated.

We've gone a bit quiet over the past few weeks, and I'm going to lay all the blame for that squarely on the doorstep of Fallout 3. It's been a long time since an RPG consumed so much of my time and energy, and the last game to do that was probably Divine Divinity, way back in 2003. Hopefully, we'll have one of our comprehensive game guides up for Fallout 3 early in the new year. I did say comprehensive, right? So probably around mid-February. But we'll be in touch with some new content way before then, I promise.

In the meantime, here's wishing you all the best for the holiday season and the rapidly approaching New Year.



Wednesday, 10th December, 2008

The silence out there is stony
That was a joke, BTW. 'my proofreader' is, like, me.



Monday, 8th December, 2008

Fallout 3 review updated
In the rush to get that review up my proofreader let me down and failed to spot a spelling error in the third sentence. Kind of detracts from the impact of the opening paragraph, you know, so just had to fix it. And while I was in there, also realised I had neglected any mention of you being able to recruit NPCs into your party. Oh, and there was also the matter of forgetting about Dogmeat...

Just wanted to add another observation outside of the context of the review. I've seen at least 5 or 6 other Fallout 3 reviews bemoaning the fact that the weapon accuracy outside of V.A.T.S. isn't good. Well, duh! That's because it's *designed* to be that way, people. It's an RPG, not a first person shooter. Behind every shot is a computer 'dice roll' that statistically determines your chance of hitting the target, based on your skill level and other factors. Not only that, but your target's armour may also 'save' them so that even if you did manage to hit, your shot may do little or no damage.

I suppose there is consolation in the fact that with Fallout 3 being such a high profile game (and admittedly an FPS crossover), it might entice some of the action crowd into the realm of RPGs. But only time will tell.



Sunday, 7th December, 2008

Fallout 3 review posted
Well, it's a bit of a hard slog for us indy reviewers. On the day Fallout 3 was released in North America (28th October), there were at least 20 reviews already sitting up there on metacritic. And it's very difficult to compete with that level of in-your-face immediacy. Yeah, we have to buy our own review copies, which is actually not a big deal since I've been doing that even when I could get review copies for free. But all that takes time and has to be done after the game is released. What does matter to me is the long wait for all the gamers out there that are trying to decide whether or not to buy the thing, and want some opinions that aren't influenced by the rather nasty symbiotic relationship that has developed between the publishers and the mainstream sites that depend on them for advertising revenue.

I could go on... but we'll leave it there. And for what it's worth, here is our review of Fallout 3: Fallout 3 review

I hope you find it useful, and take it in the spirit in which it was written.



Saturday, 15th November, 2008

Fallout 3: war story
Making good progress, and might be in a position to review the game next weekend or thereabouts. I just attained level 8 in quite spectacular fashion. Got a super mutant with a head shot, and as he started to topple backwards the level-up screen popped up. Then after levelling up and closing the screen, the dead mutant continued his backwards slump onto the floor. Did break me out of my suspension of disbelief, but was very entertaining nonetheless.

I remember that when I completed the original Fallout, my character was only at level 9 (I had built a diplomat type character that could talk his way past even the final battle). I wonder if I'll be able to pull off a similar stunt with Fallout 3. Though... this possibility is doubtful as I haven't been able to talk my way out of combat yet.

Three Cards to Midnight update
Looks like Three Cards to Midnight, originally scheduled for a November release, has been put back about 2 months. No problem with that at all if the game will be better for it. Here's the latest news update from Aaron Conners and Chris Jones:

TCM Updated Release Schedule

In other TCM news, Adventure Gamers have posted a hands-on preview:

Three Cards to Midnight hands-on preview at Adventure Gamers

Well, I dare say that sounds like a casual game to me, as much as the author tries to dance around the elephant in the room. But I will probably play it anyway. Hopefully the story and puzzles will make it worthwhile.

Mirror's Edge
This first person take on parkour looks refreshingly different. It was just released on the PS3 and XBOX, and the PC version is slated for January. It's getting pretty good reviews too:

Mirror's Edge at

Might just pick this one up for a change of pace.



Monday, 3rd November, 2008

Fallout 3: first impressions
Picked this one up on Saturday, and have logged about 8 hours of play at the time of writing. This fantastic game can largely be summed up in two words: old friend. Based on what I've seen so far, Bethesda have done a very good job of bringing the venerable legacy of RPG gaming that is Fallout into the new millennium, while still managing to preserve nearly everything that made the original games so much fun to play. So all the Fallout mainstays are still there: the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. primary stats system, the perks (a lot of the old ones, and of course some new ones), and roughly the same skill system. So that's what I mean by 'old friend'. Those of you familiar with the series will feel right at home.

Fallout 3 screenshot
Springvale playground

One thing that has changed though, I suppose born of necessity caused by the move from 2-D isometric to 3-D first person, is the shift from turn-based to real-time combat. However, even the effects of this sea change are largely mitigated by the preservation of the 'targeted shot' albeit in a slightly different form. You see, it's not quite possible to play this thing like a shooter (though some will inevitably try), because even though you could be aiming directly at your enemy's head, you are likely to miss the next shot entirely because behind the scenes it's actually an RPG 'dice roll'. So Bethesda have introduced V.A.T.S. (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System) to compensate. It allows you to pause the game completely, queue up a series of targeted shots (limited by how many action points you have remaining), and then let the action resume. Your character is then shown in third-person 'bullet time' executing the actions you queued up. The whole thing is excellently done, and makes the fighting quite strategic.

Fallout 3 screenshot
Megaton at night

Well, so far I've explored a bit of the wasteland, cleared an abandoned school of some pesky raiders, and disabled a nuclear bomb. And that was all before lunch. I must say I'm having an absolute whale of a time with it! The sheer scale of the thing just amazes me, though I suppose we have come to expect these expansive worlds from Bethesda. Hopefully, I won't become as sidetracked as I did with Morrowind, where I completely lost sight of the main quest. If all goes well, you can expect a review in a few weeks time. And now, please excuse me while I go kick some mutant butt...



Monday, 27th October, 2008

Walkthroughs rule!
You'd think that on what is primarily an adventure and role-playing game review site the most popular articles would be reviews. But you'd be wrong. One of the first things I did when I set up this site was to get Google Analytics up and running. It gives me a daily account of, among other things, what pages are being hit the most. And the tale that these statistics tells is quite an amazing one. By a factor of 4, the most popular article on the whole site is a walkthrough for an adventure game: The Lost Crown. And the rest of the list is quite telling too. In order of hits, here are the top 10 articles on

The Lost Crown Walkthrough
Arcanum Walkthrough
Outcast Review
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Walkthrough
Fallout Walkthrough
Secret Files: Tunguska Walkthrough
Atlantis 2 / Beyond Atlantis Review
Willowbrook Stables Walkthrough
Wanted: A Wild Western Adventure Walkthrough
Fallout 2 Walkthrough

I'm gobsmacked by those results! My Google PageRank is a measly 1 out of 10, yet people are somehow finding those walkthroughs (and Steve's XP Games Corner, natch ;-) All I can say is, thanks for the visits folks, and keep em' coming. Meanwhile, we'll try to keep the pipeline filled with walkthroughs, not to mention reviews (you can be sure the very prolific Steve Ramsey is working on his latest effort as we speak). Fallout 3 is being released in Europe on the 31st of October, and that's next on my agenda.



Sunday, 26th October, 2008

Dark Side of Luna Crysta
This was another game from the late 90's that some thought was pretty good, but I found it to be little more than a blurry nightmare of an implementation gone all wrong:

Dark Side of the Moon (Second Opinion)

As it turns out, this was to be Southpeak's last outing. It's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea project went belly up in 2000, and the studio closed it doors.



Thursday, 16th October, 2008

Walkthrough time
Apologies for the rather long delay since new content was posted, but I've had my head buried in an old LucasArts classic for the past week or so, and have a comprehensive walkthrough to show for my efforts: Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge walkthrough

After not having replayed an adventure title for 15 years or so, you don't remember any of the puzzle solutions. This is definitely a Good Thing™, because it makes it just as fresh to play as it was all those years ago... and now I'm not sure whether it's this game or Day of the Tentacle that is my favourite LucasArts classic :-\



Saturday, 4th October, 2008

Fallout 3
Like most die-hard fans of the Fallout series (I've done reviews and comprehensive guides for both games. Just have a look at the indexes ;-), it is with no small amount of trepidation that I look forward to Fallout 3, finally arriving on a screen close to you after a nearly decade-long hiatus. I suppose what we're all worried about is that since Bethesda bought the IP to Fallout from the now defunct Interplay... well, that Fallout 3 would turn out to be something like Oblivion with guns. So I was poking around on the site today:

Official Bethesda Fallout 3 site

...and while my fears haven't been totally allayed, they have been somewhat assuaged by the material I found up there. Specifically, there are 5 demo videos on the Downloads page that give you an excellent idea of what the gameplay will be like, as one of the developers walks you through early segments of the game. A word of caution is in order though, if you're real anal like myself and don't like to have your game ruined: these demo films are *complete spoilers*. I would recommend viewing just the third one, Gameplay Demo Video 3 - The Wasteland. Make sure you download it in all its 120MB high def glory. It gives you a very good idea of what the combat is like without spoiling too much of the game. Whereas the first two games featured very strategic turn based combat, Fallout 3's is real time, but with a subtle wrinkle thrown in: you can pause the combat at any time to queue up one or more targeted shots (a mainstay of the original games. They don't have as high a success rate as a normal shot, but they do more damage if you do score a hit). It all looked good enough to keep this skeptic happy. So if the story is up to scratch too, we might just be in for a real treat that will do justice to the series.

Fallout 3 is due out on the PC, XBox 360, and Playstation 3 in North America on the 28th of October, and in Europe on the 31st.

Witcher update
The enhanced version of The Witcher was released on the 19th September. So I finally took the plunge, registered my original copy, and downloaded the enhanced version last night. The gameplay is improved in two main aspects:

  1. The load times between areas are much shorter
  2. The inventory is organised better, in that your alchemical items are separated from the other items

I'm not entirely convinced yet that it was worth a 1.5GB download, but we'll see. I was just at the beginning of Chapter 2 before I gave up play to wait for the enhanced version, and I'm going to start over from scratch as I wasn't happy with the way my character was developing anyway.