Monday, 24 October 2016

Return Of The Gruesome Games - Isle Of The Dead (PC)

Only a week to go until Halloween, but my training finished on Friday, which means I finally have more free time to spend putting together some more Gruesome Games posts! Let's get right on with it with this PC game from 1993 that nobody seems to like but me!

Isle Of The Dead (PC)

This 3D First-Person shooter was released around the same time as Doom, and seems to come under a lot of stick for being more like Wolfenstein 3D, which is a bit unfair as everything pre-Doom was pretty much based on Wolfenstein! It's not that great a Wolfenstein clone either mind you, but it does enough differently to deserve more credit than it gets from most people these days! 

It might have made a difference that I knew a couple of things before I started playing though, due to reading a couple of reviews of the game a while back, so I'll try to prepare you with some knowledge too should you wish to give this game a go after reading this post!

You start the game on a beach next to your recently-crashed plane. There's a few random items scattered around, like a jacket and a first-aid kit, and pressing the ' G ' key (Get) will pick these up. Then you'll want to head into the plane to check out the first major difference to Wolfenstein...

Yup, that's right! The game is also part point-and-click adventure! The plane is a good place to work out how the interface works, so start by picking up the wire cutters on the first screen you see as you enter, then turn round till you see the screen above and click on the rather-hard-to-see machete (it's directly to the top right of the cursor in the pic, sticking out from behind the chair) to collect that. Spinning round to face the other way, you'll see more dead bodies, and clicking on the pocket of one will have you picking up a phrase book. Push forward and you'll enter the cockpit, where there's a flare gun and a compass to collect, but the compass is still attached by wires to the flight controls! Pressing ' I ' (Inventory) will show you whats in your pockets, so click on ' Use ' then the wirecutters. This can be a bit fiddly, but if you click use and the wirecutters until you see 'Use Wirecutters On...'appear at the bottom, close the inventory and click on the you have that too!

Now you can exit the plane again, and work your way round the side of the island, stopping to pick up the items strewn around, until you come to the row of trees barring your path along the beach in the pic above. If you look closely, you'll see a difference in the tree line (that sort of blurry area the machete's pointing at)...this can be cut through with the machete, opening a path through! Follow the edge of the beach round, cutting more patches like the one you just cut, until you've worked your way right round to the other side of the plane. Here you'll find a shotgun, and as long as you've picked up the ammo dotted around along the way, you'll now be better equipped to face the enemies that are lurking in wait behind the other tree patches...

Zombies! What a surprise, eh! Especially given the title of the game! Anyway from here on, I'll stop giving you clues and just talk about how I found the game! Shooting is pretty much as you'd expect from a Wolfenstein clone, but if you're only using the knife you'll find yourself dying pretty quickly, as the zombies sap your health at a rapid pace! Hopefully, now I've shown you how to get a gun you'll last a bit longer though, and not be seeing the next screen so much...

Because if you see this screen, you'll be plonked straight back at the start of the game, and have to go through all that faffing about all over again! This is another sore point with many folk playing the game nowadays, but I can forgive it seeing as I didn't pay anything for the game! The chap above seems to be the main villain behind the zombie outbreak, and if you manage to find the village and chat to the chief, you'll find out a little bit more about him...

Despite the trickiness of battling the enemies, the fiddlyness of picking up the items, the lack of a decent map, and the often very bad taste humour of the game, I quite enjoyed playing this somewhat under-rated, but far from brilliant oddity! The point-and-click gameplay adds an extra element of interest to the basic shooty-bang of the rest of the game, but it's not implemented very well, which is a shame as with a bit more polish it could have been really good! It's definitely not as bad as everyone seems to think it is though...

I found enough to keep me playing for a fair wee while, and the general crappiness of the game gives it a nice B-Movie effect...a sort of Troma-movie-esque guilty pleasure of terribleness!

If you go in to the experience of playing the game expecting nothing but rubbish, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised like me! I mean, it is rubbish, but definitely the so-rubbish-it's-almost-great style of rubbish! 

If you fancy giving it a go, you can find it for download by clicking here where it comes handily set-up to run on modern PCs if you select the easy set-up option. And be sure and come back and tell me how you got on with the game in the comments below!

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