1997 Failure Follow-Up

My success in getting the shooting gallery to work is only spottily repeatable, and I still have yet to get the chase to terminate correctly. Even if I managed to get that to randomly work after repeated failures, I’d be wondering throughout the rest of the game if I was missing crucial events through the same bug. So Blade‘s a bust. It’s time for Dust.

Failing at 1997

Moving on, then. I’m already a week behind schedule, and I want to make some time to finish up the last few games, so lets go for something short. Adventure games usually qualify. It’s hard to pad things out when every interaction is a special case.

Unfortunately, we seem to have entered the danger zone, where the games are too old to run without problems on a modern system, but not old enough that I can easily get around the problem with a robust and stable emulator. The first game that I pulled out of the Stack for this week, an ill-regarded exercise in wackiness titled Armed & Delirious, consistently crashed to the desktop during the intro cutscene, with a popup reading “Unexpected Error”. No tweaking of the compatibility settings helped. Online searches turned up no patches and no record of anyone else ever having solved this problem, and precious few mentions of anyone even encountering it. Such is the doom of ill-regarded games.

After giving that up, I switched to plan B: Blade Runner, a point-and-click adventure loosely based on the movie of the same name. Blade Runner: The Game doesn’t tell the same story as the movie — or, for that matter, as the novel it was based on (again loosely) — but instead puts you in the shoes of a different cop/murderer hunting for a different set of synthetic humans. It’s more or less a sci-fi police procedural, and I’ll probably be comparing it to my recent experiences with Police Quest if I keep on playing. I have to say, it’s a pretty slick package, if low-fi and over-antialiased by today’s standards. I’m particularly impressed by how smoothly the FMV scene transitions are integrated into the action (something probably helped by the fact that I copied all four CDs to my hard drive).

Operation of the game seemed trouble-free at first, but then I hit a wall, ran out of ways to progress. The last thing I did to advance the story was chase a suspect through an abandoned building. The chase ended at a locked door in a room with no other hotspots. Lacking anything better to do, I left, then tried out the shooting gallery back at HQ, only to find that there was nothing to shoot — no targets ever appeared. Growing suspicious, I hit up the net for information. Walkthroughs confirmed that the chase scene was supposed to end with a triggered event: when I reached the locked door, the guy I was chasing was supposed to jump me from behind. I’m hoping that this is the same sort of trigger that was supposed to make the targets in the shooting gallery appear, because I’ve solved that part. An old FAQ suggested that it had problems on fast systems, and that I should use a slow-down program like Turbo to cut the system speed down to somewhere between 30% and 50%. I had to set it to 1% to get the shooting gallery working — and until that happened, I wasn’t even sure that Turbo was having any effect at all.

But I still haven’t completed the chase successfully. Going back to the locked door after having left it once has no effect. I’m probably going to have to do the chase over again — and since my only save is after that point, that means starting over from scratch. If it doesn’t work, I suppose it’s time for plan C. (Or rather, plan D. I don’t have any unfinished adventure games from 1997 beginning with C.)