Classic arcade games are still popular among gamers today. This month’s selected games are offspring of some of the more popular ones, with better graphics and more violence.
First up is Trogdor, a game hosted by Homestar Runner and based on a character thought up in a Strong Bad e-mail. The game’s mechanics are similar to those of Pac-man. You play as Trogdor, the man-dragon who enjoys nothing more than squishing peasants and burning down their thatched-roof cottages. In order to be able to burn down the cottages, Trogdor most squish ten peasants in a row while avoiding two knights who constantly roam the field as well as archers who randomly show up at the side of the screen. Upon squishing ten peasants, Trogdor enters Burninate mode, allowing him to breathe fire and granting him temporary invincibility, like eating the big pellet in Pac-man.
Sounds in the game are generally limited to those correlated with direct actions, such as when Trogdor squishes a peasant or when he is killed by one of the knights, which is referred to in game as getting “Sworded.” Occasionally, commentary on the game is made by the resident villain of the Web site, Strong Bad. The game’s graphics are nothing special, but it is funny to watch peasants run back to their cottages after Trogdor lights them on fire, thus burning down their cottages as well. Each level is cleared only when all the cottages on screen have been burned down, with levels getting progressively harder as you move through the game. Upon clearing four levels in a row, a brief cutscene appears in which Trogdor does something, an idea also borrowed from the Pac-man series.
Trogdor is essentially a never-ending game that can never be completely beaten. Realistically speaking, however, the levels eventually get hard enough that they cannot be cleared because of the frequency of the appearance of archers and the layout of the cottages on screen. However, it takes quite some time to get to this point, which provides for quite a high level of enjoyment in the meantime.
Next up is the game called Defend Your Castle, found on xgenstudios.com. The point of the game is self-explanatory. Gameplay starts off with you controlling a cursor with which you must fling the barbarian stick-figures who attempt to assault your castle into the sky, killing them. Once a wave of barbarians has been fended off, you are allowed the opportunity to save your game, buy upgrades for your castle to improve your offensive and defensive capabilities, and make repairs. With the upgrades comes the opportunity to convert the barbarians into allies with whom you can defend your castle by dropping them into your castle, one at a time.
These allies come in four groups: archers, wizards, repairmen, and suicide bombers. The archers and the repairmen operate automatically, so there is no need to worry about them. With the wizards comes the potential to use three different spells, one which kills one barbarian, one which kills a group within a certain area, and one which automatically converts barbarians. These spells take time to charge up, which is reduced by recruiting more wizards, eventually making the charge-time 0. However, you must be careful when appointing positions for converted barbarians, for, if you do not have enough money to pay their upkeep, a certain number of soldiers will be lost.
Graphically, this game is nothing to write home about. The sounds are generally limited to the sounds of barbarians dying, either through explosions or from hitting the ground. Hearing that splat sound over and over can actually get annoying, so I usually turn the sound off when playing. The game is most fun in its early levels, when you have to take a direct hand to prevent your castle from being overrun. Eventually, there comes a moment when you will either be able to fend the barbarians off successfully or not based on how you have made preparations. Once you pass that point, the game quickly becomes boring as it practically runs itself. All’s that is left for you to do is to convert more barbarians into archers and watch the barbarians get slaughtered automatically by your archers. However, I feel that the early part of the game more than makes up for this flaw, so I recommend it. Just start over when you reach that point.
That’s it for this month.