Rogue Leaders: MUST BUY

Matt Barton's picture

I just got my review copy of Rogue Leaders. I intend to write a full-length review in the next week or so, but I can definitely say right now that this is a book that NO, I repeat, NO, fan of LucasArts games will want to miss. It's beautifully produced; top quality, and jam-packed with amazing images, game design plans, interviews, photos of all kinds...You'd have to basically be nuts not to order this one right away. I'm very impressed (blown away, really) and can't wait to delve more into it.

I'll have more to say about it in my upcoming review, but was too excited about the book to keep silent. Get it! And use the damn link below!

Comments

Rowdy Rob
Rowdy Rob's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/04/2006
LucasArts (LucasFilm Games)

LucasArts games may seem like just another game company today, but when they first started (under the name "LucasFilm Games") they blew away the state-of-the-art games of the time on many technical levels. Their first two games, "Ball Blazer" and "Rescue on Fractalus" were JAW-DROPPING technical achievements of their time, even though they probably seem lame today. What they managed to do with the Atari 8-bit seemed magical, and I still consider these games the holy grail of technical achievements on the Atari.

I recall that someone hacked into their server and stole their first two games before they were released, almost causing the new company to close up shop before they ever released a game! I'm ashamed to say that I, as a massive software pirate of the time, had the pre-release copies of both "Ball Blaster" (Ball Blazer) and "Behind Jaggi Lines" (Rescue on Fractalus) in my collection, and showed them off quite frequently. Ball Blazer in particular mesmerized me with it's real-time, smooth, anti-aliased 3D grid. On top of that, the real-time physics were astonishing too.

"Rescue on Fractalus" was also astonishing, of course, in it's real-time fractal-generated mountainscape (unbelievable!). It was also the FIRST (and perhaps only) time a game has scared me! When that first alien suddenly popped up in my windshield, I actually jumped out of my chair! I got several of my friends to play it, getting a good laugh at their reactions when the alien scared them.

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus

What's especially sad about those two games is that they were ready to go in 1984, but weren't released on the Atari 5200 until 1986. I of course made a point to get both of those games on that particular platform boxed for my collection. I also have the Color Computer 3 version of Rescue on Fractalus, which is supposedly the best overall version despite the CoCo 3's mediocre sound.

By the way, someone is working on a version of Ballblazer for the Atari 2600 and is doing a remarkably faithful job of reproducing it!

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

n/a
Chris Kennedy
Chris Kennedy's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2008
Ahhhhh - Matt!

You're adding to my growing collection of books filed under "gotta read that someday."

I don't have Rescue on Fractalus, yet. I have played it though. I have a sealed Atari XE copy of Ballblazer. I've only played that one once. I'll have to sit down with those and give them another spin someday soon. Both games are relatively new to me as my Atari experience was exclusively the 2600 for years before I finally started collecting the systems. This included the "people just don't know what they are missing" realization I had when I sat down and played some Atari 8-bit for the first time just a few *months* ago.

My LucasFilm Games memories come from their adventure games on PC. In one of the greatest moments of my entire life, I sold my entire collection of Star Wars figures and vehicles in 1993 so I could buy a Creative Labs 1x CD-ROM drive w/ a Sound Blaster 16. Despite what we're all thinking right now, no - I do not regret it. I wouldn't trade the fun I had back then for all the extra money I could have now.

Along with that package came several games. I recognized some of them. Those that I didn't recognize were LucasFilm games. The Secret of Monkey Island? Loom? What are those? My only LucasFilm game experience at that time was a little bit of Maniac Mansion and a large helping of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure (which, imho, is one of the best movie-based games ever). I quickly managed to not only fall in love with Monkey Island, but adopt it as one of my favorite games of all time. LOOM was quite different, and I appreciated that. The game was fun to play, and the voice acting (as it was the CD-ROM version) was quite entertaining at the time. I haven't played it since. I may give it another try.

I'd continue to play other adventure games as well as get hooked into a large chunk of Star Wars games - X-Wing, TIE Fighter, and even Rebel Assault. If I started gathering my Lucas-based games together, I would have quite a stack. This book should be an interesting read. I really miss the days of SCUMM.

n/a
Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
If you "miss the days of

If you "miss the days of SCUMM," lol, be sure to check out the latest Sam & Max games. The format is a bit different, but you're sure to enjoy them.

I played pretty much all the LucasArts games, including Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus! I enjoyed them all, and that alien DID give me nightmares as well (somehow, the aliens look much more real in dreams than on the C-64). For some reason, they reminded me of the aliens in V (without the human skin on).

My favorite LucasArts game is probably the first Monkey Island, though I also greatly enjoyed The Dig and Day of the Tentacle. The Indy games were a riot, too. I just don't see games of that caliber being made today. Those games had character. You really LIKED the characters...I can't imagine anyone bonding with Master Chief the way we did with Guybrush or Indiana. Just don't see it.

n/a
Calibrator
Offline
Joined: 10/25/2006
Characters
Matt Barton wrote:

Those games had character. You really LIKED the characters...I can't imagine anyone bonding with Master Chief the way we did with Guybrush or Indiana. Just don't see it.

That may be because the Masterchief is just a shell, while the LA-characters are exactly just that: Characters - and the game mechanics give them enough room to breathe: Preconstructed dialogue lines, different outcomes. The player doesn't have full control.

The Masterchief on the other hand is like an empty wagon on a roller coaster begging you to fill the seat. Everything is your choice but ultimately you only retrace the foot steps other people outlined for you.

I found the first Halo to be an incredibly dull game and can only accept it as a multiplayer arena. Other first person shooters like the venerable Half-Life are much better single player experiences, IMHO.

That being said there seems to be an enormous amount of people wetting their trousers to be Masterchief. The amount of youtube-videos is staggering!

take care,
Calibrator

n/a
Rowdy Rob
Rowdy Rob's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/04/2006
Monkey Island
Matt Barton wrote:

My favorite LucasArts game is probably the first Monkey Island, though I also greatly enjoyed The Dig and Day of the Tentacle.

I have to give a shout out to the first "Monkey Island" as well, being the only graphic adventure I recall playing thoroughly. The light-hearted plot, the (for their time) great graphics, and the easy interface were great draws. I particularly liked the swordfights, fought not with button-mashing frenzies, but with witty insults and comebacks! And I don't recall any "crackhead" puzzles in the game either.

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Monkey Island

I have my own fond memories of the first Monkey Island. I played it back when it came on the Sega CD with my little sister. Eventually we beat it. I've gotten/played every game since though don't recall completing any others. My wife and I played the 3D Monkey Island game on the PS2, but the darn thing's save game corrupted on the memory card when we were in a late stage and we were unable to muster the fortitude to plow through it again.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

n/a
Catatonic
Offline
Joined: 05/20/2006
I'd be interested in seeing

I'd be interested in seeing how these games were designed, like the Grim Fandango design document that was recently released.

Chris Kennedy
Chris Kennedy's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/31/2008
More on Monkey Island

Sorry for the tangent, Matt.

I remember Monkey Island 2 being kinda tough. I am probably due to play it through again as it has been around 14 years since I played it, completed it, and filed it away.

Curse of Monkey Island - while being a divergence from Ron Gilbert's M.I. - had a certain charm about it at times. I didn't like it as much as the old style Monkey Island games, but Murray the Talking Skull was a brilliant addition.

Escape from Monkey Island ....I don't really think I liked it that much. I may play through it again someday, but it'll probably be after the year 2010 at least.

I can't believe I would consider playing through games again with the backlog I have. Too many games to play and too little time.

n/a
Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Offline
Joined: 01/16/2006
Interesting you mention

Interesting you mention Monkey Island II--that's the game the Rough Gaming Guide chose as the best of the series. I find the first one the best all-round, though all the early ones are must-plays. I think there's a 3D one I haven't played yet--seems like I stopped after the one that looked like a cartoon.

Again, the best game that recaptures the magic of those old LucasArts games is most definitely Simon 4. I consider it a must-play for anyone who loves the SCUMM series; it's a f'n shame more people haven't played Simon 4 and know how great it is.

n/a

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.