retrospective

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Matt Chat 203: Frayed Knights

This episode is a review of Jay Barnson's Frayed Knights game, an indie RPG with lots of humor and turn-based combat.

You can download the video here. Apologies for posting this so late!

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Matt Chat 190: Divine Divinity

I'm back this week with a retrospective of Larian Studio's Divine Divinity, a 2002 release. It's a brilliant take on the Diablo genre, with immaculate artwork and one of the best soundtracks ever.

Download the mp4.
Support the Divinity: Original Sin kickstarter--3 days left!
Buy Divine Divinity from GOG.com using this link. No extra cost to you, but the show gets a kickback!

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Matt Chat 176: Eye of the Beerholder

Hi, guys! I'm back this week with another fan request: Eye of the Beholder! Produced in 1991 by Westwood Associates for SSI, EOB was an attempt to wed AD&D rules to Dungeon Master-style gameplay. The finished product wasn't the best--apparently the second game is much better--but it's still a fun game well worthy of an episode. If nothing else, you get to watch me flip out about R.A.T.S.!

Download the mp4 here.
P.S. Indie Retro News has a DOS version of EOB with an Automapper and mentions a special Amiga AGA version that also had this feature (who knew?).

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Matt Chat 169: The Eidolon--a journey into the mystical realm of the mind

This week features a retrospective of Lucasfilm Games' The Eidolon, a 1985 game that builds on the fractal routines introduced in Koronis Rift and Rescue on Fractalus!. Unfortunately, this game requires a manual to understand, so many of us pirates back in the day couldn't make head nor tails of it. The story, detailed only in the manual, has us strapping into a sphere called The Eidolon and zapping off into the unconscious, mystical realm of the mind (it just gets weirder from there). The fairly complex gameplay has us shooting and collecting four different colors of balls, each with different effects on creatures (if shot) and ourselves (if hit or collected). It also boasts some of the best artwork at the time, especially animation.

Download the mp4 here.

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Matt Chat 160: Project Firestart, the first survival horror game

This week's episode is a 20-minute retrospective of Project: Firestart, suggested by viewer (and fellow English professor) Chris Oatis. This is a VERY interesting game from a historical perspective, and there's a good case to be made that this is the first-ever "full" survival horror game. There's some contention, of course, since it's not true 3D (it uses a "pseudo-3D" comparable to early Sierra titles). Otherwise, everything that most people associate with the genre is in there, such as logs to flesh out the backstory, limited ammo, cinematic cut scenes, etc. The game is also interesting because it was released exclusively for the Commodore 64/128--in 1989! That decision just didn't make sense, as acknowledged later by the developers themselves. On a positive note, though, it's some REALLY impressive C-64 coding work, since it looks as good if not better than many games for the Genesis or Amiga/ST. You can read more about the game and its impact on the genre here.

Download the video here (only Matt Chat supporters, please).

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Matt Chat 149: Diablo

With all the attention of the CRPG community focused on Diablo III, I thought it only fitting to give a retrospective on the 1996 game that launched the franchise--the original Diablo! Reducing the complex CRPG gameplay mechanics to utter simplicity, Blizzard offered up a mesmerizing clickfest that's enjoyed by thousands today. It also introduced "Battle.net," a value-add that allowed groups of players to co-op or compete online--for free!

Download the mp4 here.

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Matt Chat 137: Kingdoms of Amalur, Reckoning

Hi, folks! I'm back this week with another retrospective--or rather, a review of a new action-RPG called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I usually don't like this genre, but this time the developers have done a good job uniting action with strategy. Above all, else, I like the speed of this game and the excellent control you have over the character. R.A. Salvatore, Todd McFarlane, and Ken Rolston have done some good work here.

Download the mp4.

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Matt Chat 133: Gothic Time

It's Gothic time! Yes, finally, after countless requests, Matt Chat covers the 2001 German CRPG Gothic. Of course, this game launched a trilogy, and apparently Risen is keeping the lineage alive. Lots of fun stuff in this game, and some pioneering stuff like the ability to skin animals (you can even get their teeth and claws!), cook food (grilled chicken!), and much more. Plagued by one of the slowest starts in any CRPG, though, it hasn't attracted the attention that it really deserves. If you can get through the first 3-4 hours of it, you'll be hooked. Just don't blow all your ore at the swamp weed stand!

Download the mp4 here.

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Matt Goes to Stonekeep

This week it's all about Interplay's 1995 miss Stonekeep! Featuring awesome FMV and some truly unique characters (Wahooka!), this is not a game you want to miss if you love CRPGs. While far from perfect (backtracking from hell!), there's enough here to keep you busy for a few days at least. One note: You will definitely want the awesome BOX for this game if you can find it; it's a hologram! You'll also want a copy of the novella Thera's Awakening. But if you can do without those two assets, scoop it up from GOG for a ridiculously low price!

Download the MP4 here.

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