Do Epic Games have any plots?

Discuss classic and favorite computer or console games here.
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VikingBoyBilly
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Do Epic Games have any plots?

Post by VikingBoyBilly » Tue Sep 22, 2009 21:43

Jill and Jazz and Xargon are so hard to understand. I want to like them, I really really do, but they're just so bland because I don't understand the storylines. In Jill of the Jungle the first two episodes don't even seem to have any purpose. She's just wandering around aimlessly doing what she's doing because she feels like doing it. It isn't until episode 3 that there actually seems to be a significant story-arc, as retarted as it sounds to be saving a prince of the jungle from giant lizard men who want to tear down the jungle and build condos :crazy

Jazz seems to have an overall story-arc about fighting Devan Shell, but there doesn't seem to be any plot development within the episodes. Sometimes in the intermissions and in the titles they trick you into believing there is a detailed story, but then they dont incorporate it into the next episode they're alluding to and it's really confusing (where in the world is this "Gene Machine"???)

The second Jazz game involved time travel, but there weren't any intermissions between episodes. Like, you're just supposed to assume that jazz chased devan into a time machine at the end of episode 1, otherwise the transition makes no sense. The throwback to the first episode of the first game was pretty cool, but that's the only part where I get the sense that they're travelling through time. They could've added a caveman/dinosaur level to really sell the point, but they didn't.

And Xargon. Xargon xargon xargon... :no
The three episodes just felt like 3 parts of the same game instead of a trilogy like Commander Keen and Doom. Some little bits of the story involved finding mystic artifacts to help you fight xargon, but you never get to see the effect of those artifacts so it doesn't feel like you accomplished something special. And xargon himself was such a let-down. He actually looked like that giant face at the end of episode 1, instead of, you know... having a body attatched to that floating face :dead

Some of you guys may see this as treasured classics, and I do enjoy Jazz and Jill to some extent, but, honestly... to me they're just regular games and they're really not enough for me to call them cult classics in my book. But, you know, for some reason, since they are somehow cult classics, I still have them on my computer... It's mostly just for their music though
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Re: Do Epic Games have any plots?

Post by lemm » Tue Sep 22, 2009 22:08

VikingBoyBilly wrote:
Jazz seems to have an overall story-arc about fighting Devan Shell, but there doesn't seem to be any plot development within the episodes. Sometimes in the intermissions and in the titles they trick you into believing there is a detailed story, but then they dont incorporate it into the next episode they're alluding to and it's really confusing (where in the world is this "Gene Machine"???)
well...
In the awesome computer game, Jazz JackRabbit, Gates is the “nerdy-yet- powerful Tortise King Devan Shell (as in Windows) who has kidnapped the beautiful rabbit princess Eva Earlong, and has inhabited the galaxy with his looting goons (i.e., Steve Balmer and his crowd). (This game was released by EpicMegames in the summer of ‘94 before Win 95 was released for sale).

If you recall, Gates made a big pile of money by forcing clone sellers to pay him royalties on every processor in a PC sold even if that PC did not use MS-DOS. DR-DOS was better at that time (i.e., early ’90’s). Thus, Gates cut a real sweetheart deal with all the clone sellers (i.e., Eva Earlong).

The hero of the game is Jazz Jackrabbit, a soldier of fortune who has been hired by IBM (cf, the Big Bright Blue gems in the 3-D levels) to vanquish the tortise King and his goons, rescue Eva Earlong, recover IBM’s fortunes lost (i.e., the Big Bright Blue gems) and save Carrotus, the planet home of the open and free software movement.

Who is Jazz? I figure he represents Linux. This is a great game, but nobody ever figured out what it was really about.

Here is the description for Planet Letni (=inteL): This is Devan’s ENORMOUS super-computer designed especially for building battleships, and figuring where to get lunch on a rainy Tuesday afternoon (i.e., in Richmond). Beware of magents and bugs in the system (i.e., Neptune chip sets).

MS eventually paid Caldera, who bought Digital Research from Novell) 180 million for all the lies the Balmer and his goons spread about DR-DOS not being compatible with Windows. DR originally sued from several billion.

BTW: Devan escapes at the end of the game and he still trying to gain control over all PC and platform gaming.
Take a look at Devan shell and bill gates, and then at Steve Balmer and the Schwarzenguards.


Then of course there was Tyrian and "Microsol"

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Post by Toomuchsparetime » Tue Sep 22, 2009 22:42

Crappy plots aren't just limited to games.

Concept: Oh no there is food falling out of the sky, better destroy it!
Epic Game: Kiloblaster
Movie: Cloudy with a chance of meatballs

:D

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Post by Galaxieretter » Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:33

Yeah I have to agree here. Even ID Software, for as much as they are made fun of for games that have "no plot," has more plot than Epic's.
You need to take it "with a grain of salt" as the saying goes. Epic had more of an attitude of "it's a game... who cares. Play it and have fun, you know the drill." But that's not what makes a game enjoyable.

In fact it's the opposite.

I... kinda liked Jazz Jackrabbit back in the day. I was good at the first episode and when I bought Jazz 2 I got the Jazz Jackrabbit CD.
Honestly the old Jazz games suck really bad. Jazz Jackrabbit 2 had the same "it's a game, who cares?" attitude and I personally liked it a lot. It just wasn't a super well funded game like Gears of War or Unreal and that's why it's lacking depth.

If you take all of Epic's games from that time, ZZT, Kilo Blaster, Jill of the Jungle, Jazz Jackrabbit, Zone 66, they were all vague. In fact some of those engines were awful like Kiloblaster. :dead As mentioned, why am I shooting random junk to these god-awful sound effects?

Now it's the games that Epic didn't make in-house that really rock. Tyrian, Raptor: Call of the Shadows, Solar Winds, Castle of the Winds, etc.
Solar Winds is an often overlooked Epic game.

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Post by Commander Spleen » Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:48

I kind of enjoy an air of surreal mystery in games, where you're not given a clear idea of what's going on. It makes it a bit interpretive. Having everything clear-cut as tends to be the case in modern games, just doesn't interest me as much. Though I suppose it doesn't help that the clear-cut ideas are often uninspired or far too real-lifey.

Take Tyrian for example. Though there is a definite and usually well-defined storyline to it, there are a lot of gaps and unknowns that you'll never know the real answer to. There's so much depth to that universe that will never be explored, and IMKO shouldn't because it leaves so much open to the imagination.

Jazz I actually found tried to apply too much story. The whole 'you're chasing this lad because he's evil' thing got old fast. But in this case I subscribe to the 'it's a game so who cares' camp. Run and gun.

Jill was the other extreme. I found the world fascinating because it took so much imagination to actually make sense of it. And then there are the sound effects and music, which really consolidate the atmosphere.

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Post by VikingBoyBilly » Wed Sep 23, 2009 19:45

I've been doing some excavating of Epic's library and found a game with a very strange and unusual story - Ken's Labyrinth. It's completely insane and random, but the author obviously made a good effort to make an interesting story. Just listen to it (narrated in a french-canadien accent):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNK7Hs9rP14

But as galaxie stated above, this is a third-party game that was only published by epic, so it doesn't really count for much (and the guy who made this crazy thing also made Duke3D's engine :dead )

I've been watching Slowflake's Let's Plays of it and I'm pretty sure I'd rather be watching him play it than playing it myself. :bloody
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Post by Levellass » Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:28

Has anyone read the manuals to these games? I'm guessing no.

Xargon of course, is total garbage. Jill had a reasonable story: Jill didn't pay the rent on her jungle condo, ends up roaming the jungle, get trapped underground, frees herself then rescues a prince.

Jazz had several levels of story, there was the comic manuals in both games and Jazz 1 had an 'online' manual with huge amounts of info in it, including why Jazz visited the planets he did and what most of the enemies were. Seriously? It's loaded with story.


The problem is that with MOST early games, gameplay-to-story-ration. Most games at that time, having just emerged from the arcade era were based on 'Play the dumb game, sheesh!' Jazz was amazing in that it actually had cutscenes (Albeit small, often pointless ones.) As evidence, here are the stories near as I can tell from some ID games I've played:

Dave 1: You're stealing trophies from some house
Dave 2: You're rescuing your brother from a zombie mansion
Dave 3: More rescue, same with Dave 4
Catacomb: Kill stuff!
Slordax: Aliens! Kill 'em!

It goes on. Those are, I think the worst offenders, but most games of that era had a 1-screen story. Face it, people didn't play games in those days for a good plot, what they wanted was to blast stuff. I'm not sure if Epic is worse than anyone else, but I do know things have got better.
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Post by Malvineous » Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:40

Yes I agree, Jill, Xargon etc. might be hard to understand because their purpose wasn't to provide a story, it was blasting stuff, exploring mazes and generally having fun without needing to devote a lot of brainpower to it.

In those days all games were like that, and few people bothered to read what little story there was anyway, so none of the developers invested any time in something that wouldn't help them sell more games. It was always about the technology then ("You play Commander Keen? But it's 16-colour! Xargon is 256-colour! And it has digitised sound effects!") Now that all games are pretty much on a level playing field technology-wise, the focus has shifted.

@VBB: Ken's Labyrinth was written by Ken Silverman (because he was annoyed that his little brother spent so much time playing Wolf3D and thought he could do better.) Ken later went on to design and code the Build engine which powered Duke 3D, Shadow Warrior, Blood, and a few others. (Not bad for someone just out of high school!)

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Post by IMA3HDDMNKY » Sun Sep 27, 2009 11:05

VikingBoyBilly wrote:I've been watching Slowflake's Let's Plays of it and I'm pretty sure I'd rather be watching him play it than playing it myself. :bloody
It's kinda cheesy and ridiculous, but I'd hardly call it a BAD game. It's not good either, mind you, not by a stretch. I guess it's a nostalgia thing for me. Like Snowflake, I've played my share of Ken's Lab as a kid and I still get back to it every once in a while. It's a sort of guilty pleasure. :-)

It obviously doesn't hold its own compared to the classic shooters of the day (Wolfenstein, Blake Stone, etc.) - I wouldn't call Ken's Lab a classic, but it's quite playable if you can excuse the bad graphics and silly sound effects (the 8-ball's "AAAH!" when falling down a hole is still funny, though).

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Post by DaVince » Sun Sep 27, 2009 13:01

Epic Pinball had a plot! :disguised
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Post by VikingBoyBilly » Sun Sep 27, 2009 14:50

Yeah, after watching the entire game it's apparent that Ken's lab has the same "It's a game. Who cares?" attitude as the others. And man, talk about labyrinths, I thought I was getting lost in Wolfenstein and ShadowCaster :stoned
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Post by Levellass » Mon Sep 28, 2009 0:54

(Not bad for someone just out of high school!)
He could have made vertical lines converge instead of staying paralell. He did it with *horizontal* ones!



Can anybody tell me what's up with cheats these days? Jill came with a manual giving walkthroughs to all the levels, Keen's cheats we given out (And seem, in several cases to have been not just for debugging, but player use.) and most of the others had simple 'type in this sequence' codes.

Then in Wolfenstein some cheats set your score to zero. Nowadays people need things like Game Sharks to cheat, and there are all sorts of punishments, such as blocking special features or forbidding 100% completion when cheating.

Is this change all in my head, or have game developers taken a harder line against cheating in their games?
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Post by tulip » Mon Sep 28, 2009 15:46

Epic Pinball had a plot!
That was indeed strange. Pinball with some sort of plot for each table: "Android: Give the android life." Heck, you were supposed to get points!
Is this change all in my head, or have game developers taken a harder line against cheating in their games?
Now you complain, but at the same time you try to dissable the cheats in your mods, or try to make cheating harder! ;-)
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Post by Galaxieretter » Thu Oct 01, 2009 1:38

There's always the cheat-o-matic...

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Post by Commander Spleen » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:36

VBB wrote:after watching the entire game it's apparent that Ken's lab has the same "It's a game. Who cares?"
Well, I got the impression that KL was more of a tech demo than anything else, demonstrating his ability for the sake of acquiring employment.

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