The Return of Talking Time

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  #31  
Old 11-14-2018, 12:33 PM
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On the subject of the 90s syndicated Fantastic Four cartoon, this is essential reading.



Back on the topic of the game, it figures that setting the tar on fire would be a puzzle solution. And that we're not done with gems or that stupid exploding egg trap. Also I guess that candle is magical 'cuz in the hands of a man who regularly sets himself on fire it should be nothing more than a pile of melted wax by now.

Anyway, Johnny may not be able to break the boulder, but maybe he can push it? He's no Thing but it can't be that heavy, right?
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  #32  
Old 11-19-2018, 11:00 AM
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Questprobe featuring The Human Torch and the Thing #5

Fire in the Hole


When we last left our heroes, the Human Torch was in a cave and the Thing was in a hole and I was stuck. Someone suggested I try to push a boulder but it wasn't happening. Sadly, I had to rely on a walk through to help me out here. Was the puzzle unfair? ...yes and no. One of the solutions relies on either a lot more hard work I want to put in and the other is a little tricky to get but it is also perfectly in character for the character and his powers.

OK, first it turns out I needed to give off the candle to the Thing when he was still sinking in tar. HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT?!? To be fair, I could complete the puzzle without it, but it would have been a HUGE pain.

OK, so now the Thing has the candle. I go back and do everything again and this time I drop the pebble under the boulder to the cave below.



Meanwhile, the Thing uses the fire wall to light his candle. But before that, some early experimentation lead me to accidentally burn out my candle completely and when I was looking for it in my inventory, I made this discovery.



Wow! OK. First, I love that the Thing is wearing FF merch. Also, I love that it's a Mr. Fantastic watch because you know the hands are stretchy little arms. Lastly, I feel like the Thing gives a big heavy sigh whenever he looks at that damned watch. But this is a big deal. I wonder if there's a reason for it. Let's look at it.



This is actually a big deal because, and I don't think I brought this up yet, The Human Torch and get tuckered out if he's on fire for two long. I should try to get this watch to him. So anyway, I light the candle and start checking out the caverns.



I stumble around and over time, I start to realize the geography is mostly a circle with a few dead ends thrown in. I also found the place I entered.



And next I finally find the Human Torch's pebble.



OK, so Torch is up there. I try a bunch of different stuff and eventually I had to look up the solution online and... I kind of love it. The Thing uses his super strength to...



Ha. Classic comic book physics. Perfect. I really wish I thought of that. Of course, I'm also used to this game series giving me it's hypocritical "is no vandal" BS so they wouldn't have to bother figuring out why out super strong heroes can't smash shit. Anyway, lets see how this looks from Johnny's end.



Yeah, the wind is very strong. So strong that my flame is extinguished any time I try to flame on. Let's try getting down there.



Oops, I dead. Yep, it's a bit of a trip and I need to figure out how to get there without dying. So I try to get the Thing to cover those holes but the game can't figure out what I'm asking of it. I also try to get the Thing to scrape off some of the tar covering him to plug up the holes but it doesn't work. In the end, the solution was kind of janky, which was to slow my fall by constantly turning on my flame as it is being extinguished until I hit the bottom. Rough, but I'm alive.



Oh, I waited so long to recharge my flame to descend without dying that the Thing's candle went out. Now we are together, the Torch takes another rest when he is ready, flames on low to provide a light source. I'm embarrassingly easily lost in this very simple maze so I keep alternating between the two until we get back to the wall of fire.

On the way, I have the Thing look at Torch and I get this.



The only member of the Fantastic Four who would use this adjective is a watch in this game. Don't try to get fancy. "Tired", "exhausted" or "worn out" would have been fine. Unless the Torch is literally sleepwalking through the game. That's be an interesting twist.

But yeah, OK, back to the wall of fire and the Torch rests (after getting the watch from the Thing. Then crosses the fire and I save.




Wuh-oh, if history is any example, that egg is about to explode. I better destroy it!



Well, that was to be expected. *sigh* Well, I'll see if there's another way to get it.

Next Time: An egg blows up a bunch, I bet.


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  #33  
Old 11-19-2018, 01:16 PM
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I would still wonder how the Human Torch gave the Thing the candle without it melting or Johnny setting fire to Ben (again), but the Thing just blew up a boulder with a pebble while wearing a Mr. Fantastic watch and it was awesome, so logic-schmogic.

Anyway, I noticed this first with the fire wall, but some of the rooms are set up as sets of comic book panels showing special features. That's certainly a way to minimize the number of unique full-sized areas to draw call back to comic book origins.
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  #34  
Old 11-20-2018, 05:53 AM
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I will hear no words demeaning the Fantastic Four themesong!

And there was another update that makes that statement appear as a non-sequitor.

Well... No Regertz.
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  #35  
Old 11-20-2018, 06:07 AM
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Questprobe featuring The Human Torch and the Thing #6

Escape from the Caves of Doom


OK, last we left off, the Torch was blown up by a "natter energy egg" (seriously, "natter"? You don't have a friggin' proof-reader, Scott Adams?). After doing some research, EVERY walkthrough basically says "Don't bother". Every one. No one tells you how to get it (assuming you can) and they all say "you don't need it." No one actually says "you can't get it" but I kind of wonder if it was a left over that the game makers forgot to do anything with. If anyone can prove me wrong, let me know.

I did try, though. I tried absorbing the flame keeping the Thing from eating the exploding egg, but I only got this.



It's like the trick candles of death traps. Anyway, I move on and the egg explodes behind me.



I move on and then it gets dark. And I hear something strange.



AH! DARKNESS SNAKE!





Haha. We all knew that was going to happen but man, there isn't a fun graphic adventure death I can't resist. The fact that there are no pictures of such events are a bummer. I mean, I don't need to see my hero's corpse, just a snapshot of impending doom would be enough. OK, back to life and back to the darkness (also worth noting: you don't get to descend a heavenly staircase in this game.

I continue down a dark hallway until I find what appears to be a dead end.



Ah, a hole. I don't know how big the hole is, so thanks game (examine realizes it's "nothing special". Not helpful, game.) I try reaching in but the game doesn't know what to do with "reach" or "use" so I decide to enter hole... and the hissing stops.



Ha. Classic comic book physics. Perfect. I really wish I thought of that. Of course, I'm also used to this game series giving me it's hypocritical "is no vandal" BS so they wouldn't have to bother figuring out why out super strong heroes can't smash shit. Anyway, lets see how this looks from Johnny's end.



Flame on low!




Oh, finally, something easy.



Um...



Uh...



WHAT THE ACTUAL FACTUAL FUCK GAME! This isn't "you can't move lever" this is me saying "OK, so pull lever" and the game going "I don't know what you are talking about? You are speaking in nonsense".

And you know what, I don't have the time to try every permutation of this bullshit so I go to an online walkthrough and... Oh dear God.



Wow. Go to Hell. When I said "rock", you asked me to specific "boulder". This is good. After all, there's a boulder and a pebble and both are rocks. You couldn't intuit what that direction I wanted it to go in. Like maybe the one of two directions? The one it isn't currently in? Or if I say "push", "pull" or "move" lever, if you don't want to make any Goddamned assumptions, you could ASK me about the direction, like other times when you had a follow up question.

You gained a lot of good will with the Thing smashing a boulder with a pebble and now you are at a big deficit with this and the hole puzzle, which felt unintuitive to me.

Ugh, OK, what did the switch do?

Well, it took me a while, but at the end of the day it turned out it lowered the wind pressure in the room with the hole. It takes me a while but I get the Torch and the Thing to the hole. I grab the Thing (turns out I can lift him while flying) and fly him out of the hole. I die a few times in trying because this takes a lot of energy to carrying the Thing (which, considering he's at least a quarter ton in weight after an extreme month of fasting, is very impressive) but eventually we make it to the top!



Finally, we are free! Now, there's only one place to go from here... TO THE CIRCUS!

Next Time: The Circus. For real, this time.


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  #36  
Old 11-20-2018, 11:49 AM
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Default I would put "push lever left" in the tags if I hadn't already expended my TP.

That lever puzzle...damn, man. A smarter adventure game would've automatically assumed you want to move the lever in the opposite direction it's already in when you tried to interact with it.

And that gas death...Classic Looney Tunes right there.

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  #37  
Old 11-20-2018, 12:10 PM
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Given how hard of a time Johnnys had at surviving so far in this game, maybe the Circus Of Crime isnít out of their depth.

Also; canít never like the sight of Ben with a shirt.

Seems wrong to me.
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  #38  
Old 11-20-2018, 12:33 PM
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One thing's for certain: The Chief Examiner sure knows how to make puzzles to challenge a superhero who sets himself on fire all the time. Dude stuck Thing in a pit of tar, made a wind tunnel that constantly puts out Johnny Boy's flame, and has some of the cave's dark rooms filled with natural gases.

Remember how much fun getting set on fire in the Bethesda Fallouts and Skyrim 'cuz you didn't notice the air was wavier than usual before firing that gun or unsheathing that fire spell was? That's everyday life for Johnny Storm!
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  #39  
Old 11-21-2018, 11:35 AM
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Questprobe featuring The Human Torch and the Thing #7

Having Fun Storming the Castle


Last time out, we FINALLY got the Thing out of the ground and now the two are hanging out together. Now Torch has taken the Thing back to Latveria and we are ready to take on Doom and his stupid castle!



Oh, right. This guy. I guess now is the time to talk about who this is. This is the classic X-Men villain The Blob!



Fred Dukes was an obese and super strong circus freak until the day the X-Men showed up to tell him he was a mutant and offer him membership on the team. He accepted to school tour because he thought team member Jean Grey was hawt but eventually gave a hard pass and kind of acted like a jerk about it. Xavier, wanted to protect the school's secret and said "Hey, I think it's perfectly moral to erase memories without consent." and before it could happen, the Blob bolted (he actually is fast than you'd think, though not as much as Wilson "He's surprisingly fast!" Fisk).

He ended up returning with an army of circus folk to take down the mansion and Prof. X's fantastic devices and was even able to defeat most of the X-Men and, best of all, just putting a big old sack over Cyclops.



Haw! That's pretty great. Anyway, as you might imagine, he was defeated and from then on was largely relegated to henchman status, usually working for various mutant terrorist cells.

Though after over 50 years of the characters, I'm sure there are times when he is given a good, humanizing story but mostly he's just an also ran villain, albeit one of the more prominent ones.

I should point out that his power isn't just being fat, strong and durable, but also immovable. He has a personal mono-directional gravity field directly under him. If he wants, he can be extremely hard to move as long as he is touching the ground with only the Hulk, Juggernaut and Strong Guy (an actual character name, I'm not just being snarky) being able to break it.



But I'll deal with him in a moment. First, I'm going to get that circus cannon from the Circus of Crime.

OK, who are the Circus of Crime? I basically went over this when I went over who the Ringmaster was in the last game. I won't go into details of each individual member, since rarely do anyone who isn't the Ringmaster have a memorable backstory or much of a personality beyond their skills and abilities.

Basically, they are a gang of criminals who are disguised as a regular circus. Ringmaster uses his hypno-hat to dazzle the audiences while the other member clean out their pockets and purses. It's smallball in the supervillain game but you can't argue with the results.



The Circus actually first appeared during the original WWII-era Captain America comics as Nazi spies who were, being Nazis drawn by some American Jewish artists, very, very ugly.



There was also a Circus of Crime in the old west fighting the Marvel Western hero Kid Colt on a recurring basis.



The modern Circus of Crime was founded by the son (and probably retconned to great grandson due to the nature of Marvel Time) of the original Ringmaster of the Circus of Crime and started his own, minus the Nazi ties (he's a criminal but he ain't a damned Nazi), finding some other criminal Circus folk. The team itself has a lot of turnover, though the Ringmaster, the Clown, and Princess Python (her deal is she controls a mammoth-sized python) seem to be in every incarnation.

Ringmaster also tends to recruit c-level characters (and probably the Hulk once or twice) with hypnosis, which almost always turns bad for him). Though the Circus is a C to D level threat, they do have the advantage of numbers which, combined with their unique skill sets and abilities, still tend to present a bit of a challenge for even A-level heroes.



Wow. You seriously tried to take on the Avengers, Circus? Can't say they lack for balls.

Anyway, I head back to the Circus and, let's face it, we all know how this puzzle is going to go. I want that cannon and the Circus stands in my way. But this is a pretty simple game, so the Thing closes his eyes and grabs the cannon.



And... that's it. I kind of expected that. I feel like a real fight against the Thing would have been futile, but I feel like it would be more satisfying if there was a series of actions to defeat the Circus, which one action leading to another and that you would need both the Thing and Torch to win. Whatever, I'm still pretty worn out from the damned cave so I'm ready to move on. Anyway, I got the cannon, so let's take one last look at the Circus and move on.



BTW, something I didn't realize is that the Human Torch and the Thing have been holding hands since the cave. It's actually been really useful as now I don't need to move them separately unless I need to. Also, it's just funny to imagine.

OK, I assume I will have to take the cannon and use it on the Blob somehow, despite the fact that I assume he should be immune to most attacks. Anyway, let's put it down.



Hey, let's just try to punch Blob, just in case.



OK, to the cannon. Hmm, I actually don't have any ammunition. I put the pebble in there, but I don't think that will work. Waitaminute.



Isn't this what Sadako/Samara sees in The Ring? Also, I'm really surprised that the cannon can accommodate the Thing's ample build but whatever. I'm to fire the Thing out of a cannon at the Blob, which is the best thing I've ever done.

Wait, the fuse won't light. Hmm... maybe I need to find something to help me out here. I decide to go back to the Circus to ask for something. When I get to the tent, I notice (re: get help from a walkthrough) that the tent is outside of Latveria. Now, I just assumed Latveria was the country where we are but what if I say "go Latveria"?





Man, Latveria is in bad shape. Usually the country is presented as doing well due to Doom's evil but efficient/effective leadership. Oh, wow, did the Circus of Crime finally hit a big score. By antagonizing the citizens of a possessive and prideful and very powerful villain. The CoC really has developed some balls. Doom must be really preoccupied with kidnapping a blind sculptress (question: why?) to not take care of business. Also, he apparently has one man to enforce his authority and it's the Blob. That's only a step up from Toad and the Hypno-Hustler.

OK, let's hit one of the shops.



Gunpowder! And for free, even! What savings! Thank you, Circus of Crime!



OK, let's get this party started!




I try a few times. First he bounces of the Blob. Then the castle. Finally I figured out what I am supposed to do (re: I cheated and looked it up) while the fuse is burning.





Um, Blob? You just going to let that (for a lack of a non-pun) fly? Maybe you should try to go in there or chase him around or at least let Doom know about the Thing getting in there.

BTW, MetManMas who just made a Wile E. Coyote reference to my last post is going to get a kick out of this.




Oh, hey, I still have my pebble. Maybe I should pocket it. It's already prove to be a powerful weapon.

It's been a long journey, but we've finally made it into Castle Doom. Will I finish the game next time? I really don't know, though this definitely feels like the last act.

Next Time: The Thing invades Castle Doom.



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  #40  
Old 11-21-2018, 01:30 PM
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So you shot the Thing out of a cannon while Johnny distracted the Blob with attempted fiery murder and left a Thing-shaped hole in the castle. This is wonderful.

Anyway, when you said Ringmaster's parents were Nazis last thread, I did not realize you were talking about a more different Ringmaster who predated the original and went up against Captain America in his good ol' Hitler-socking days. This is like when I found out the Human Torch was originally some android before Johnny took up the moniker. Except that Jim Hammond was the kinda guy who would burninate Nazis instead of being a Nazi, of course.

Also I did not expect closing your eyes to work as the Ringmaster solution again, especially not with the entire Circus of Crime present. They outnumber the heroes by a 4:1 ratio, so you'd think they'd at least try to stop the super strong rock man that's stealing their cannon.

Like, I know they've only got minimal competence when it comes to posing a threat, but they've also got a cowboy with a lasso and a lady with a giant snake there and they're not even trying to hold him down. And if Johnny tried to interfere, Fire Eater could do his namesake or Ringmaster could just hypnotize him into setting Thing's tar on fire.
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  #41  
Old 11-26-2018, 10:47 AM
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Questprobe featuring The Human Torch and the Thing #8

Assualt on Castle Doom!


As we last left the Thing, he was finally able to enter Castle Doom at the cost of his dignity, as he was shot out of a cannon into a wall and left a Looney Tunes-style imprint of himself on it. With thing in the castle, he needs to scour it to find wherever Doom is keeping Alicia, presumably overcoming traps, puzzles, highly trained soldiers, Doombots and finally Doom, himself, the greatest villain of the Marvel Universe.

For those who don't know (or just want more details), Doom is the greatest enemy of the Fantastic Four and one of the most formidable villains of the Marvel Universe in general.



Doom's origin begins in the small nation of Latveria. Victor von Doom was raised by his mother and father by a community of Roma. Latveria was ruled by a cruel dictator so his people were targeted and to save her people, Doom's mother, who was already a sorceress, made a deal with Mephisto, the top demon in the Marvel universe. As you might guess, the deal went badly and she ended up dying and going to Hell. Then his father, a medical doctor, was summoned to try to help the dying wife of the man who was ruling the nation and was essentially to blame for stuff, Baron Sabbat. Doom's daddy failed and the Baron killed him. Doom, now orphaned, found his mom's magic stuff and vowed to get revenge on the Baron.

Doom was actually a genius like no other. Not only did he take to magic very quickly, he was also great at science and soon he was a master of both, combining them to help make weapons to defend his people. This attracted the attention of Empire State University and Doom decided to attend to improve his studies and research... in particular, he hoped to create a device to communicate with his dead mom.

While in America, Doom met fellow genius Reed Richards, the only man who might be better as science than him, despite his muggle status. Doom, extremely arrogant and egotistical, didn't really get on with Richards. When Doom finally tried to use his machine, Reed saw the machine had a flaw and tried to warn Doom, but Doom was too arrogant to listen.



Disfigured (though the nature of that disfigurement is up for debate), humiliated and expelled, you'd think that this would hurt Doom's ego, but that's a no-go. Instead, he accused Reed of sabotage and held a lifelong grudge against him. But we'll get back to that.

Doom traveled the Earth and when in Tibet, was rescued by monks. Doom learned from the monks and their disciplines and eventually became their leader. Soon he created a suit of armor so that no one would look on the countenance of Doom again and began calling himself Doctor Doom (not, at this point, he wasn't a Doctor).

Doom soon took over Latveria and overthrew the Baron. He became a benevolent leader, treating his people well and ushering in Latveria into a golden age. This would be a happy ending except for a few problems, all of them Doom. See, Doom grew up to be extremely arrogant and very ambitious and has the dual goal of ruling the world and getting revenge for slights (real and perceived) against him and with the Baron dealt with, Reed Richards was immediately at the top of his shit list.



While Doom remains beloved by most in his homeland (save for occasional attempts at revolution), the world sees him as a tyrant due to his constant attempts to rule the world and all those times that he tried to kill or defeat or brainwash superheroes. And he did it a lot. Still, despite constant defeats, this also doesn't get in the way of some amazing accomplishments in his supervillain career.

He made a time machine, stole the power cosmic from the most powerful being on Earth, stole the reality warping powers of the Beyonder (who is essentially able to control reality itself), proved he could overcome a mindcontrolling villain by sheer willpower and, probably my favourite, outsmarted the devil himself to save his Mom's soul from Hell. Doom is no slouch and though there are villains who are more lethal or more powerful or even smarter, Doom is never to be trifled with, no matter what weight class you are.



The thing about Doom is that he's basically a jack AND master of all trades. He's basically the second best at everything to the Marvel heroes: he is the second best scientist to Reed Richards, the second best sorcerer to Dr. Strange, his armor is only second to Iron Man's, etc. He's also extremely noble, if in an prideful, villainous was. He never breaks a promise (though some of them come with ironic ends if it suits him) and he doesn't like being "owed" anything. His ego is his most notable feature. I mean, he talks in the third person, he lives in Castle Doom in the Latverian capital of Doomstadt, and every year his nation celebrates Doom's Day.

Recently, he became a superhero too and that's sort of not surprising. Doom has long felt like he was really close to being one, what with his nobility and junk but while there is a lot of potential good in him, his arrogance seems to spoil everything. He thinks he's the only one to make the world a better place and everyone who isn't him is just a bunch of chickens running around with their heads cut off while he's playing 4 dimensional hyper-chess.



Doom is great. And a threat. With his cleverness, it's going to take a miracle for a Joe Palooka like the Thing to find.




....

There is a lot to unpack here.

So much. Shit, where do I begin.

...

OK, Xandu. Let's start with Xandu.

Xandu is...



Um... a magic... guy? And he...



Has demons? And...



A ruby... which... controls people? That seems to track. And...

I have no clue. I think he's a Dr. Strange/Spider-Man villain (like, somehow villain that's specifically or that team-up). Other than that, I got nothing. I mean, at least I can guess from the name what the Ruby of Domination is, which, in the game, looks like a hairy, inflamed testicle.

Also, I know that's supposed to be a really big collar, but it looks like with the primitive graphics that he also might have a parrot on his shoulder.



OK, so that guy is working for Doom for some reason.

Oh, and when I asked "what does Doom need with a sculptress", the game answered with a "fucking duh!". She's making a nearly done Doom statue. Also... I dunno, maybe let her finish. Like, will Doom want to keep her around after it's done? I mean, on principle "fuck Doom" but also practically, it looks like we are at the finishing touches stage. And speaking of.



That... is saucy. Wow. Was this Doom's idea or is Alicia just taking some artistic licence. "I feel to get to the heart of who Doom is, he needs a weird dong shaped like a Florence flask." I mean... I feel like there should be so much more to say, but what COULD I say?

OK, so now I got to do something about this.




Or not.

Well, it looks like I got to figure out how to defeat Xandu without even entering the room. And, you guessed it, I looked up how to win it. This is a great game about online research for me. And yep, the answer is disappointing. Now, it actually would be good if the game gave you a better idea about what it's imaginary geography is. With those close, this would actually be a nice solution. See it turns out that caves under the hills are also located under Castle Doom. There's no way of knowing that but the game wants you to assume it. So I send Torchy in there, then I throw a fireball into the hallway that's leaking flammable gas.



OK, let's see what the damage is.




Ha! That's pretty funny. OK, let's get Alicia before Doom arrives and the game swings into an epic final act!


Wut? OK, but I'm dropping Alicia off her, then returning to give Doom a nice Sunday punch, right?



...

........

.....................

Next Time: .................................................. .



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  #42  
Old 11-26-2018, 11:07 AM
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Hooray! You defeated... uh...
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  #43  
Old 11-26-2018, 02:14 PM
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That's it? You saved Alicia with no actual Doctor Doom encounter and things are all "This story is Happy End!" now? Man, even when doing an actual plot other than "Get Gems" Scott Adams sucks at making game endings. Though Xandu getting a statue of Doctor Doom dropped on his butt was fun

Also, is it just me or was this game a lot shorter than the other Questprobe adventures? I mean, the scavenger hunts through copy/pasted rooms in Hulk's and Spidey's adventures weren't great but they did give the impression that the game world was pretty big.
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  #44  
Old 11-26-2018, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetManMas View Post
Also, is it just me or was this game a lot shorter than the other Questprobe adventures? I mean, the scavenger hunts through copy/pasted rooms in Hulk's and Spidey's adventures weren't great but they did give the impression that the game world was pretty big.
The size of the game seemed to extend only too the underground portion of the game, which took for-friggin'-ever and was the least fun part of the game. So there is some "size" but it seems horribly misplaced, especially considering Castle Doom has exactly two rooms.

Also, our heroes' journey here is apparently thwarting arts and crafts.

Also, also, hey congrats on getting lucky, Human Torch, in not having the statue go the other way during the quake you caused and and therefore not crushing a blind woman to death.
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  #45  
Old 11-27-2018, 11:40 AM
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Questprobe featuring The Human Torch and the Thing Review



Well, that's the end of the game. Really. Yeah. So despite the obvious complaints, this game was another improvement over the previous games. Mostly. There are new mechanics and it adds some new wrinkles and possibilities to the gameplay. It gets rid of some of the stuff I didn't like, too. But it still has some stuff that bugged me and some of the puzzles makes assumptions about your intuitive abilities that are deeply misguided.

But how good is this game? Let's explore this in review form.



Characters/Powers: If you aren't going to use most of the Fantastic Four, these are the two that makes the most sense to use. Despite their constant bickering, these two seem to get paired up a lot in the comics, to the point that they spent about 12 issues as co-stars in the recent Marvel 2-in-1. We don't get to see a lot of Johnny's brash impulsiveness or Ben's curmudgeonly attitude on display but we do get some of the tone of these characters in brief spurts, such as the cartoonish use of Thing's powers. And I guess that's what I'm going to have to judge this on: how there powers enter the game.

It's a little much to call Human Torch's abilities "robust", but for this series, there's a lot of options. I mean, at least I'm not being cock-blocked with ineffectual spider-webs like in the last game. And it takes into account rest. That is a little bit of a pain, but it's not a bad idea and it makes sense. I do wish NOVA came into play slightly more, since that is the Human Torch's ace-in-the-hole and it would be pretty satisfying to vapourize a robot or a building or something. But you can chose to burn just for light or to raise it to do some damage. So not bad.

The Thing is a bit more of a letdown. He has super strength and endurance, both of which come up, but mostly it comes down to clobbering and there's a lot that can't be clobbered: adamantium walls and pretty much any villain in the game. It mostly comes down to one boulder, one piece of machinery and lugging around a cannon.

But I really wish we could have more character stuff. The Thing's powers are generally generic but what makes him interesting his is attitude. I would love to see what old school Lucasfilm would have done with his grumpy, smart alec attitude, but instead he's just another mute protagonist. Again, the closest the game gets in showing the character through actions is some of the slapstick in the game, but that's really about it. It's a shame they didn't choose to do more and make it a bit more fun.



Man, Rob Liefeld doesn't get enough credit for his sex scenes.

Villains This is where the game really fails in comparison to the last game. The selection in the Spider-Man game is great. It has most of the classics. Now with Thing and The Torch, it's fine for it to be not exclusively FF villains. And Marvel has a ton of great villains who are not exclusive to one character, such as MODOK, Thanos, and Mephisto. The Circus of Crime plays that role and are actually not a bad choice. Seriously. They are colourful and many and each one could have a single play mechanic to overcome. But they are just... there. Only the Ringmaster and Fire-Eater do anything and it's basically telling you "you don't get to do that." It would be much more interesting if you needed The Thing and the Human Torch there, and you had to use your respective powers to defeat them one at a time and even use some of their own skills against them. It would be tricky, but it would feel much more fun than "Fuck, I don't know where I am supposed to do next. The internet hasn't been invented yet and this feels like hitting my head against a brick wall so I'm going downstairs to watch Super Friends."

Equally disappointing is the Blob. He's essentially just a troll in a fantasy game who guards the gate. Getting past him is not particularly satisfying. But Xandu is the most disappointing villain of all. It's like the Ringmaster yet again. The solution isn't about overcoming his power in any interesting way and you don't even get to really take care of him.

Of course, while Xandu is the most disappointing villain, at least he was there. The game promises Doctor Doom, Marvel's greatest villain (NO, ARGUMENTS!) and you only get a statue. And there's so many ways to approach Doom: a physical threat, a manipulator, mad scientist with robots and mutants, a sorcerer with demons on his side. But we get NOTHING. I know the X-Men game was cancelled but I can't help but wonder if a slightly longer game was planned but either the plug was pulled or they just realized they used too much memory on the damned underground tunnels. There so much to do with the character and none of it happens.



Gameplay - A lot of this was covered by the powers of the characters but I'll say again there's a lot going on with the Human Torch and not so much with the Thing. One of the bigger issues is that the Human Torch gets to roam free and The Thing spends most of the game trapped underground. And if that wasn't enough, that tunnel is most of the game, making the rest of the games world is basically as claustrophobic and limiting. Spider-Man was a maze but it felt like a big maze that was more fun to explore. The overworld of this game basically is 6 spots and one of them is a big tar pit.

Wisely, the game completely gets rid of the gem collecting aspect. I mean, why do superheroes want to collect gems? There is a bio-gem that apparently you can't get or just shouldn't bother with so that's annoying and is a distraction.



Puzzles - Again, this is one where it is often halfway to a good idea but a lot of them are not as intuitive as Scott Adams seems to think it is. I mean, maybe I'm used to games piecing out it's mechanics so you learn to use them before you have to start getting creative with them, but it also feels like you have to know things that you don't know. Waiting Thing to sink to the bottom of the tar without a clue that's what you need to do is dumb. It takes for-friggin'-ever. Like, a stupid long time. It doesn't even allow you to find a way to sink fast. Also, you can say "wait 5/10/50" but no other frigging numbers.

Burning tar to obscure the laser beams of the castle is an actual good puzzle, even it is isn't obvious that would be the solution, it isn't a pain to learn as it would likely come naturally with experimentation. A lot of the tunnel stuff is a pain, especially once you let your candle burn out.

I like Thing breaking a boulder with a pebble. It's not a terrible puzzle, I just wish there was more of a hint (also, you have to specify "throw hard" which isn't natural. It would be better if it was throw, then if it was just a happy accident, it would be a funny reveal that the Thing doesn't know his own strength).

I hated getting the Torch down the hole. It felt awkward and the solution was "flame on again and again". Obviously, the lever was also bullshit.

Getting past the Ringmaster was a snooze. There were enough steps that getting past the Blob was a bit fun, though I wish it was a little more clear that Blob is scared of your fire. I tried attacking him with fire before but he didn't move.

And the last puzzle is some anti-climatic bullhonky. Completely anti-cathartic and, like the Hulk, no opportunity to actually clobber a villain.



Story As you might imagine from my description, a disappointment. Getting rid of the gems was a smart move, but the setting and events are pretty bland. We learn that Doom wanted a statue, which could have made for a funny reveal but... I don't think it was meant as a joke reveal. And, as stated, it's all anti-climactic. The game feels like it takes as many steps back as steps forward from it's previous game. It's much smarter to end with a villain than playing Willie Lumpkin to the Chief Examiner (who remains an enigma through the entire series. Is he a villain? If so, why is it a victory that we keep helping him out?) but, as stated, the showdown is a disappointment and lacks any sort of (literal or metaphorical) punch. I'm not expecting this to be cinematic or involved but something a little more than "A winner is you!" would be appreciated.



And that's it. This isn't as shameless as the Hulk game, but they didn't use as much as they should have learned from in Spider-Man.

Giving our heroes a specifically heroic goal is great and shedding the gem collecting aspect is smart. Our heroes specifically want to stop Doom to help a person out, which is nice. But all of the fun stuff with colorful settings like Latveria and the Circus are lacking in involvement while we spend too much time in some generic boring tunnels where the puzzles are lacking in fun. I like some aspect, like the Mr. Fanfitbit and switching between characters, but largely the game wastes my time with settings and puzzles that are duller than I would like.

Next Time: A review of the series as a whole and imagining where it would have gone.



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  #46  
Old 11-27-2018, 03:25 PM
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MetManMas MetManMas is offline
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Yeah, this game really was a "better in some ways, worse in others" one. There's a lot more that could've been done with the Circus of Crime puzzle in particular, but it ended up being just another "close your eyes and do a thing" puzzle like we had already seen with Spider-Man and Hulk.

The game promising Doctor Doom in the opening credits for him to only be present as a statue was especially disappointing.

Do like that Johnny Storm's powers actually got put to good use in this game.
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Old 11-28-2018, 11:52 AM
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Questprobe


And that's it. We are at the end of the Questprobe series, the first Marvel graphic adventure games. There haven't been a lot of those types. Telltale made a Guardians of the Galaxy adventure game series before going belly up but I guess superhero adventure games are a bit of a harder sell when action-based games seem like a more natural genre choice. But for all it's faults, I am glad that something like this was made. After all, a lot of superhero stories involve their characters facing enemies where their conventional abilities aren't useful enough and they have to be clever. Even the Hulk to a certain extent, though he certainly has his share of stories where he just proves stronger than the villain could ever imagine. Or stubborn.



Unfortunately, it feels like when Scott Adams started the series, he took an old mission and put a superhero skin over it. To a certain extent, he takes the Hulk's powers and limitations into account but often in a way where we don't get to really enjoy being the Hulk. I mean, being a superhero should feel like you are behind the wheel of a cool vehicle, so constantly hobbling it so it isn't too powerful for whatever puzzles you have feels like the opposite of fun.



And so does collecting gems. These aren't the infinity gems, they are just... some gems. You aren't really given a reason to do it except for the games explanation of "are you a bad enough dude to drive the Hulk?" And my prize for proving this is... being done with controlling the Hulk?

I mean, it feels like the two best things about being a superhero is the power fantasy and the fantasy of using your powers to help others. None of the games really let you deal with that. There's very little reasoning for your adventure, except in the last game and basically it is just a loot hunt? Why would I want my heroes to be doing this? I want them to be helping people. Have them save hostages or stop the apocalypse (or Apocalypse), not just "I'm gonna get paid."



The puzzles also lack an intuitive pattern a lot of the time. Occasionally, I failed some I thought were clever, but way too many times it makes me think that Scott Adams thought process for logic puzzles is alien to human thought, especially in the Hulk game. The Spider-Man game was actually the best at this, but even this had it's failings. You give me a drying agent but if I use it on the guy made of water, I can't beat the Lizard? And somehow making the air so cold it freezes water doesn't defeat, say, EVERY villain on that floor? But at least Spider-Man and the Thing/Human Torch settings were... settings. In the Hulk it was just vague, confusing and made me think Adams wasn't really committed to the Marvel premise. And while the other games have failings, it feels like little by little these games were improving.

And it does make me wonder if, by the end, this series would have improved enough to become... good?

The next game would have been an X-Men one. And it would have looked like this.



Is that a naked Magneto turning X-Men to stone in on Mt. Olympus? Also, man, that one demon has HUGE thighs.



That doesn't look healthy. So I guess you have to unfreeze your friends from personification magic and stomp all over some vague utopia. You know, X-Men. If I had to guess you save the X-Men one at a time and then can switch between them. Which probably means that each one only has some limited movements and puzzles to work with. That said, good line up for a puzzle game, each with powers that could do interesting stuff, especially if Scott put as much effort as he did with the Human Torch.

I don't know what further games would include, but I would expect Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. And maybe he was planning to end with an Avengers or general Marvel Heroes game to allow switching between characters. Or maybe not. I mean, it certainly didn't feel like he had a plan with the Chief Examiner, a character I don't really get beyond being the series MC.



He's got a cool look but that's it. Other than that, he's an enigma and a boring one at that. Which leads me to something I would have loved to see: a bit more of a story and a bit more interaction. Most of the time, if I talk to a character, the game's response is "OK". It would have been nice if there was just a little more color to the proceedings. It doesn't have to be terribly involved but the lack of any substantial talking beyond "You'll never get my gem!" (suggested Steven Universe thread tag) shows the lack of personality this game has. Even before the MCU, I've always felt the Marvel Universe had a certain personality and it is a bit of a bummer that it didn't translate much in these games, even if just a little.

Also, as I said before, more of a stab at an actual story would have been nice. Again, it doesn't have to be substantial but clearer goals, a sense of what the villains are up to beyond standing around and waiting for you to interact with them. I mean, what are the consequences if I don't steal gems from Doctor Octopus or Sandman? Does it power a machine? Is it just a heist and you are stealing back each share? The last game made huge improvements in that area. Sure, it doesn't say what Xandu and the Blob are doing there, but from context, you can just guess "Oh, Doom hired them to help him." You have a clear goal and a reason for your characters to take action and that's really all you need.

JBear posed to me how much the games would have improved over the course of the 12 proposed games. That's hard to say for me. I feel like by 1986, Scott's games were starting to look pretty primitive. I feel like he might have improved a fair bit but wouldn't be able to compete with a lot of the other games of the same genre. Heck, I was looking at a walkthrough of the Hobbit game from 1982 and while it is very buggy, it was quite advanced compared to these mid-80's games.

But I would like to think that with a renewed focus on specific missions and no gem collecting, it would have at least gotten a bit more fun and playable over the course of the series. There remains a lot of good ideas for puzzles in the games and with a bit of reworking, they could have been really solid and fun. I don't know if Adams is the guy to evolve that far, but each game seemed to show a certain amount of progression on how to make them better. #3 might have stepped back in one or two ways, but, overall, it was a sign that the series was willing to change, improve and innovate, even if in small ways.

But I guess we'll never know. Fun fact: the last time Scott Adams made a game, it was a religious game called the Inheritance in 2013. I have no idea if it's good or not or if he ever fixed that "turn lever left" bullshit.

As for me, I had a ball writing this. I hope other people enjoyed it, too. I'm not really familiar with the Let's Play genre of articles so I hope I didn't break any cardinal rules. I probably won't do another one, at least for a long while. I did have one idea for one but the game itself seems like it's a bit hard to acquire for a reasonable price. Also, it's apparently REALLY bad. But I also don't want to say what it is, because if it ever happens, it will be a fun surprise.

Thank you so much for reading and coming with me on this oddball ride!



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  #48  
Old 11-28-2018, 12:56 PM
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Apparently, that X-Men comic was made after the series had been discontinued, so it has an actual ending. The last appearance of the Chief Examiner was in a Quasar* comic, where he and his creator were unceremoniously killed off after absorbing too much power. Dude didn't even face the title character himself.

Here's Chief Examiner's wiki page.

Anyway, don't worry about LPing the wrong way. There are no rules, other than "Let Flawgic know when you start or end an LP". And probably "No eroge" or something. LP how you want to.

These were fun LPs and I look forward to this mystery game whenever you do it.

* I didn't even know who Quasar was until I checked his wiki entry. Apparently he's part of that group of aliens that wanted Phoenix dead or something? Dunno why this guy ever headlined a comic.
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:53 AM
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Thanks man, I appreciate it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MetManMas View Post
* I didn't even know who Quasar was until I checked his wiki entry. Apparently he's part of that group of aliens that wanted Phoenix dead or something? Dunno why this guy ever headlined a comic.
Well, I'm not particularly a fan but that Phoenix stuff sounds like some retconning to me. He appeared in the 70's as Marvel Boy, then quickly changed his name to Marvel Man (not related to the British comic book character of the same name), then eventually turned it to Quasar. He was a SHIELD agent who got "Quantum Bands" from the corpse of the Crusader, a minor alien supervillain looking for revenge against his people and was an occasional Thing/Fantastic Four foe.

Mostly, I think of Quasar as a cosmic also-ran, but maybe folks who know the character better can tell me otherwise. Right now there's a new female Quasar (also a SHIELD agent) with the original Quasar in a mentor role.

I'm surprised anyone even bothered to bring the Examiner back, save for some sort of in-joke.
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Old 11-29-2018, 11:15 AM
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Upon further research, I was mixing up my Quasars. Neutron Quasar was the Imperial Guard guy for the Shi'ar Empire; the Quasar who had his own comic (where Chief Examiner died) was Wendell Vaughn.
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