Showing posts with label Sci-Fi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sci-Fi. Show all posts

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Title: Crash on Volturnus
Code: SF-0
Author: Mark Acres, Tom Moldvay with Doug Niles
Rule Set: Star Frontiers: Alpha Dawn
Year: 1982
Pages: 30
Number of characters: 4-8
Levels: 1
Rating: ★★★★★

Crash on Volturnus is one of my favorite modules. The player start of as passengers on the Sierra Dawn, where they first encounter trouble en route to Volturnus. After an epic battle and escape, players move on to phase two, an incredible hex crawl on the planet of Volturnus culminating in a final(?) battle with the pirate forces on the planet. Aided by the local inhabitants of the planet, surely the players will win the day.

This module was released with the Alpha Dawn rules set and to my knowledge, was not released independently of that set. I received my set of Alpha Dawn rules peice meal and ended up with two copies of the module. The whole boxed set includes giant maps and wonderful counters, which makes SF-0 a snap to play.

Crash on Volturnus is the first module in the series and was followed up by SF-1 and SF-2. The other SF series modules are unrelated, but are valuable as they are set up for characters to continue their adventures in new settings. The series was also brought back to life by the Endless Quest book Villains of Volturnus in 1983. It was published in relatively short time frame making the series rock solid in game play and feel.

Having played SF-0 several times, there are few game breakers built in to the scenario. First, when the escape pod crashes, the characters only have time to get the survival packs. Several of my players started out with standard equipment packs and used the coveralls as a makeshift backpack tied across their chests before seating themselves. Since the equipment was attached to them, I couldn't justify taking it. The players also started with 4 medical kits, which made them neigh unstoppable in combat. They kept pulling back to heal. Of course, these were the same players who tied their equipment to their chests. I kept running them against random encounters to try to eat up resources, but that was unfulfilling. Eventually, I figured I'd let them run in god-mode and kill everything and everyone. Many of the challenges they faced were thinking scenarios and not fighting scenarios, so it really didn't change the outcome. 

All and all, I found this one module to be the best of the best for Star Frontiers. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

The whole shebang is available over on DriveThruRPG.

Alpha Dawn with SF-0
SF-1 Volturnus, Planet of Mystery
and SF-2 Starspawn of Volturnus

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Robotech: Battlecry (2002) - The Unreview.

Thanks to the blizzard conditions, my son busted out a game that is older than he is: Robotech: Battlecry.

On our 50" TV, the image is a bit blurry but the game is still fun. I always liked this game because it didn't use the 'gon crunching graphics, instead going with the flat looking color pallet of the comic books and TV shows. The voice acting was excellent and the imagery memorable. The story nosedives into a pyrrhic victory, which is forgivable since the game did an admirable job of staying in canon.

The game featured a good story mode and the 1v1 battle mode on a variety of maps. Progress through story mode unlock various Veritechs and paint schemes for a (limited) customized feel.

The game's combat system seems glitch filled at first, but you are in a Veritech. Enemies will hover in your blind spots, behind you or dead ahead and under your nose. If you let them stay there, they will kill you. Enemy bosses are overpowered and you face them after wave upon wave of enemies, with you armor depleted. How can you survive?

Change and adapt. A Veritech is a fighter jet, a hovering vehicle and a flying robot. Jet mode is quick and has the most long range missiles and powerful guns. Gerwalk or Guardian mode can dodge left and right while flinging missiles and gunning down enemy missiles. And of course, the Battloid mode is a killer robot.

By shifting from one mode to another in rapid succession, you can capitalize on the advantages of one mode while actually in another. These tactics don't seem obvious until you play 1v1, which is a little crazy. Starting in fighter mode, you lob missiles, boost for speed and then deploy counter measures before switching to Guardian mode. In this mode, you can strafe, lob missiles and shoot incoming missiles with your gun before going to Battloid mode to hose enemies and missiles will automatic fire or precise sniper fire. You'd do all of that in less than 5 seconds, over and over again.


Oddly, there are no melee attacks.

No console game would be complete without a choice of cheats. Cheat mode can be entered by hold L1 and R1 and pressing left, up, down, X, right, triangle, followed by start. A keyboard appears to enter the codes. 

One shot kills - BACKSTABBER
One shot kills in sniper mode- SNIPER
Quick weapon recharge - MIRIYA
Inverts controls - FLIPSIDE
GU-X ammo recharges faster - SPACEFOLD
Invinicibility - SUPERMECH
Missiles recharge faster MARSBASE
Turns off ALL cheat codes - CLEAR
Unlock all levels - WEWILLWIN
Unlock all Veritechs, Maps and Medals - WHERESMAX
Unlock all multiplayer levels - MULTIMAYHEM
Unlock new paint schemes - MISSMACROSS

These cheats are preserved though saves so be careful. Re-entering a cheat turns it off, which is less than obvious. CLEAR of course turns them all off, too. One thing to keep in mind is that the one shot kill codes can ruin your fun, especially in missions where you need to rescue or keep someone alive. One accident shot and they are dead.

The game contains many glitches, one of which is fun for the user. Completing a space mission with the Super Veritech allows the player to continue to use that loadout on missions which it would be precluded. The moment you save, that option is gone.

I would love to rate this game, but since it is my favorite despite all of it's warts. I won't. I'll just say I won by playing out my favorite children's show.

Do you have any favorite games that have been passed from one generation to next? Let me know over on Mewe or right here in the comments.

Monday, November 12, 2018

I Just Can't Stop...

I just can't stop.

While organizing my desk, I happened upon a book by Robert Pearce. It is an incredible set of ship plans for Traveller. Sure, it says "Traveller", but it could be used for any game system. The detail and scope is amazing. It is campaign fuel for sure.

 Why not take a look yourself.

I know I will be pouring over this book for days to come. For some odd reason, it isn't even for sale. It's free.

Damn. A mighty big thanks to you Mr. Pearce, you made my day.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Spaceship Study

Here are some draft ideas for a spaceship, perhaps a snub fighter. I will ink this one at some point but the design idea was fun verse realistic.

The initial design was rather slight.


A few details that I wanted to look at where the cockpit and shielding for the crew. The movable panels came from details of the drooping nose on the Concorde.


I decided to make the ship beefer. Those rounded rectangles are fuel tanks, not engines. Although parts are rounded, this ship is not aerodynamic. 


Each square is about a meter, so the ship stands 8 meters high. It is loaded out with 14 missiles, a centerline minigun and two large wing tip pods. There are 4 retractable radiators, the items with the 2x3 grids on them.


I hope to revisit this design again with ink, smoother lines and better proportions. This ship would be good in several rule sets like Traveller or Star Frontiers.