Succubus (6/10)

Posted on

I’ve been cautiously sampling more Jess Franco films. This one is arty and incoherent. I’m sure there might be more to it but I don’t think I really want to commit time to a re-watch. The basic premise is that an alluring redhead has been picked by the devil to instigate violence against various lovers. The killings are dreamy surreal and you never are sure of the truth. Thumbs up for weirdness at least.

Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire on MS-DOS (4/10)

Posted on

I was actually enjoying this game but, after twelve or so hours of play, I discovered that the GOG version is buggy to the point of being unbeatable. I reached a moment when I needed to find a Neanderthal chieftain only to discover that his sprite wouldn’t render on the map. Something was there and I could attack the empty space, but I was not allowed to trigger the necessary dialogue to complete my quest.

Savage Empire Waterfall
Once again using the Ultima VI engine with tilt-o-vision

Savage Empire uses the fantastic Ultima VI game engine. This, along with Martian Dreams, was the last group of Ultimas that still felt like the Apple ][ games. Unfortunately, the jungle setting does not lend itself to much topographical variety. Everything was the same two or three greens and I could never tell if I could walk through a tree or not. This becomes a source of endless frustration very quickly.

Love comes in many shapes and sizes.

The best part of the game are the various character headshots. These are visible during the many dialogue sequences that the game offers using its highlighted-word method of talking.

By this point in their history, the Ultima games were much more like large, open-world adventure games. Combat and character development are barely part of the game. My problems with this game are mostly with the bugs and the clunky mechanics. There is a great, original game here but it’s just to hard to get passed the technical flaws. This engine needs a video game “remastered” version.

Digital Housekeeping

Posted on

The past week or so I have spent a bunch of time working behind-the-scenes on this WordPress site. My first priority was getting a handle on the new-ish system for creating and displaying sidebar blocks. Since WordPress 5.0, the goal of each subsequent update has been to make as much of the backend operate like the Gutenberg editor. When that change came to the widgets interface it ended up conflicting with a number of plugins that I was using: mainly contextual widget display and the sidebar nav. The side-nav is gone, and now I am using logic within my theme files to determine which sidebar items get displayed. So far it all seems to be working.

My next big change was to clean-up and consolidate my CSS so that I could use a single template to render the various content types on this site. In the process I have re-added a few pages that I had created in Views back on the old Drupal version of this site. Art and Retro-Computing feeds are back. Many of the reviews pages now have alternate views.

I fixed a bunch of little details all over the place and have made it so my artworks exist apart from my posts (even though they are in this main home page feed). The final change which I have yet to get to is making the navigation more mobile friendly. I never look at the Web on my phone, so this is low-priority for me.