PC Gaming

Iron Harvest: Operation Eagle

Although sometimes I grow tired of a particular game by the time I reach the DLC content, I decided to give the Usonian (USA) campaign a go.
The biggest change is the introduction of aerial units. You can see though, that it’s a DLC, because most of the units are similar for all factions. But US has a few unique ones.

Usonians themselves feel faster than other factions. And their mech infantry doubles up as engineers.

Storytelling continues to be amazing. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, with US first “protecting its assets” (oil refineries) on Alaska, at the outbreak of the Revolution in Russia. Then cosplaying Lawrence of Arabia.


Arabia has just two unique units. Hashashins are close-combat ninjas, effective at countering enemy infantry, most of which weak in close combat. And war camels, as funny as they sound, are able to outrange and supress any infantry, and escape any enemy mech. In a game where all the units are slow, a fast unit is a game-changer.


PC Gaming

Iron Harvest

Completed Iron Harvest.
Third campaign is dedicated to Saxony. As I mentioned, the storytelling is surprisingly good, so we jump back and forth in the timeline of events.
Saxony has the most interesting unique mech in the game, Brunhilde. Not because it looks like WW1 version of AT-AT, but because it’s the only mech more powerful while facing enemies with its side, due to a broadside row of cannons it has.
Eisenhans are fantastic as well. While mech infantry units of other factions are focused on hand-to-hand combat, Eisenhans are equipped with mortars.
The final mission reminded me of Dawn of War 3, which was a brilliant strategy game… until it wasn’t. Last mission, you end up chasing a triffid out of the War of the Worlds with all six of your heroes. At least this mission is not annoying.
So I consider the penultimate mission to be the best one, seeing how huge mechs duke it out.

PC Gaming

Iron Harvest

I’m actually amazed that they implemented an armored train in the game. It moves on tracks, and you need to switch the tracks with infantry, and it also can carry infantry and has a Long Berta like artillery cannon, so it’s actually very useful.
After a few intense campaigns for Polania (Poland), we switch to playing with Rusviet (Russian Empire) forces. But those missions are mostly hero-based, which after you’ve already experienced the more strategical missions is slightly disappointing.
You do get to play one strategy-scale mission with Rusviet, at least. It’s a bit annoying, because there are Tesla Towers (sic) that only one hero can disable, and that destroy everyone else in a couple of shots. So there’s still plenty of micromanagement. But at least you get to experience the Rusviet heaviest mech, Gulyay-Gorod, which is an absolute blast. As well as their version of Katyusha.


Gadd’s Black Pearl Oyster Stout

One of the cans I’ve got from Beer52 random beer box was this oyster stout from Ramsgate. Strangely enough, most of the places that do sell it, sell it in bottles, and not in cans.

It’s a fine stout at 6.2% ABV, not too sweet, not too smoky, no hard feelings. Almost no gas either.

As of the name, some claim that brewers were adding oysters or oyster shells to the beer as a clarifying agent. There are no oysters in this one, though, and they explain the name as “good with seafood beer”.

PC Gaming

Iron Harvest

After failure with Scythe, set in the same universe, I’m surprised how good Iron Harvest is. It resembles Company of Heroes, with it’s squads and cover. But in a fictional World War I setting with mechs.
The visuals are frankly amazing. While trails in deep snow aren’t new, I think it’s the first time I see them in what’s basically an RTS.

Infantry can hide in buildings, and capture heavy equipment, such as machine guns and howitzers.


What’s interesting, they can also switch classes by picking up weapons from the fallen enemies. Kill a squad of machinegunners, and become a squad of machinegunners yourself!

PC Gaming

Descent (1994)

Completed Descent.

Out of sheer stubbornness, and my current inability to play anything remotely intellectual.
Pluto Outpost is one map I don’t hate in the bunch of maps after the 16th level or so. It has a nice design of recurring domes, it’s distinct and easy to navigate.
The game has just two bosses, the one on the 7th level which I mentioned, and then the final boss. I can say that I like the first boss, but not the second one. It’s basically the same design of the boss that teleports from place to place, but instead of firing cluster missiles (“smart missiles”, it fires nukes (“mega missiles”). And there seems to be infinite number of mobs teleporting all the time. Including the hitscanners I hate so much, and the bots the lie mines, that just add to the chaos. There are a few invulnerability pickups, but they don’t help much. So I just bruteforced it, as I had 25 lives left.
The ending is that the corporation doesn’t allow you to return because it’s afraid you were infected by the alien virus. Which leads to Descent 2, I guess?

Honestly, I wish I stopped playing after the first boss. The red enemies and the “minigunners” become absolutely annoying at later levels, as does the progressively complicated level design, and the game has very little to offer after that point, besides more enemies placed in every nook. I wouldn’t mind it if the armor drops were more frequent. But they way they are, it’s either save/load or trying to snipe enemies around corners at later levels. Both aren’t fun much.

PC Gaming

Descent (1994)

Found a secret level. It’s surprisingly useful, as it grants you the Fusion Cannon, the last main weapon. It’s interesting, as this is the only weapon you can charge, but if you overcharge it, it starts to damage you instead. Also, it knocks you back when you fire it.
A problem with the weapons is that out of five weapons, four using the same energy ammo. Vulcan Cannon is the only exception. It’s also the only hitscan weapon you have.

I think the design of all the enemies in the first episode is simply brilliant. It is very distinct. Later enemies: not so much. Some look like a flying dildo.


And it’s not just how they look. They are also very hard to spot, and shoot at you a volley of three rockets. Even if you dodge those, you’ll probably get some damage from the splash. Prepare to die a lot to chip damage.

There are a few fresh ideas on the later levels. None of which is very good. One is the mining robots. Another is that keys are sometimes carried by robots as well.


About Razer Kitsune

Razer Kitsune seems like a joke.

For years I was saying that it’s fine to play fightings on a keyboard. And now they started producing fighting keyboards 🤦‍♂️
Still, it’s an interesting one. Notice how “up” is under the thumb, as a spacebar would be on a keyboard, and “down” is for the middle finger. That’s so you could do QCB/QCF easier.

Would be nice to try it, but considering it’s 300$, and something like a Hori Mini costs 40$, I probably wouldn’t.

PC Gaming

Descent (1994)

The original game becomes a jumble of pixels quite often. There’s a source port, though, that addresses that issue:

DXX-Rebirth downloads

Also curious that the original game ran in 320×200 resolution. That’s why some of the DosBox screenshots look a bit off.
Think you haven’t suffered enough? 3rd level introduces a generator of enemies. Luckily it’s not infinite, it seems.
And on the 6th level, a new horrible enemy appears. A hitscanner. Prepare to die to its chip-damage.
The red hulks start apear more often here as well. And their homing missiles are almost impossible to avoid. I thought previously I didn’t know flares existed. But flares seem to have no effect.
7th level seemed easy at first. Until I reached the final room. I vaguely remember playing this game as a kid that there was some kind of invisible boss that shot homing projectiles at you, and I never managed to beat him. But I thought it appeared earlier in the game.
Death is not the end, though. Despite the game having a proper save/load, it also has a lifes systems. After being killed, you respawn at the beginning of the level, having left all your equipment where you died. Kind like MMORPGs. The only downside is that you loose all the hostages, if you picked any.

PC Gaming

Lack of motivation

I got to admit it, these days it’s hard for me to find much motivation to do anything, really, including playing games. That’s why when I play, it’s mostly retro FPS now, that require mechanical skills, but not much thought or feel. I can do mechanical.


Escape from LA

I guess that watching “Escape from LA” standalone might be alright, but watching it a few days after “Escape from New York” is a strange experience. There’s a 15-year gap between the events of the two movies, and a 15-year gap between the original and the sequel being filmed. But despite it being a sequel, it feels more like a remake because it follows all the same plot twists, just altered a little.


Here the differences begin to show. As I mentioned, “Escape from New York” was a zombie movie in disguise. This is a Western.


Again, Snake is caught and awaiting being sent to another prison island. Again, someone ejects on this island shortly before, this time not the President himself, but his daughter. Again, Snake needs to recover not so much as the daughter, she is to be disposed of, but what she carries in a briefcase. And again, he is injected with something lethal with a strict time limit. There is even a crazy ruler of the island that plans an escape. This time a Latino, and not a black guy, though.


This time Snake uses a submarine and acts as an idiot immediately, without waiting for the final sequence, as with the original minefield run, losing the submarine and thus his means of return in the process. Seeing the ruler, he decides just to take all his convoy head on, by himself. Here the budget begins to show: there are lots of explosions. The whole scene is just ridiculous, with Snake riding a bike on a single wheel, and fighting a guy on a horse for some reason.

Interesting how they tried to incorporate anything fashionable. In the original, Snake had to fight in a ring? Now he has to play street basketball. And the crowd cheers him in the same manner.


What else is fashionable? Surfing? Sure, Snake can surf!


Turns out, I vaguely remember the ending where Snake blasts the entire globe with an EMP, and Pam Grier’s character, which is supposed to be trans, a novelty in ’96.

I also misremembered, thinking that throughout the movie, characters are referencing to the events of “Escape from New York.” They mostly talk about Cleveland, which is never depicted in movies, but was retconned in comics.

The only notably good part is the ending. It ties nicely the ticking virus plot (which turns out to be a fraud, nothing more than a flu), and the holograms from the beginning of the movie, and the fact that Snake refuses to take either side of the American fascists or the socialist invaders from Mexico and Cuba.


Escape from New York

Snake Plissken is a cult character. Although I’ve seen Escape from Los Angeles a couple of times as a kid (and I remember nothing), I’ve never seen Escape from New York. So, I decided to remedy it.

There are still some key elements that Kojima will exploit in the Metal Gear Solid series. Like Snake being tricked into accepting a lethal timed poison under the guise of “antitoxin,” or rescuing the president, where the goal is actually not to extract the president himself, but what he carries. An audiotape with nuclear secrets, apparently.


Also funny how Snake carries that now-iconic gun of his. In fact, it’s just a MAC-10 with a large silencer and a useless scope, but then every gun has a scope in this movie except the M16, which is the only gun that should have a scope. But he rarely even uses it.

It is basically a strange zombie movie, where the “Crazies,” cannibals living in the sewers, play the part. There are two “zombie” scenes. First, when the girl gets dragged under the floor, and Snake has to block a window with a bookcase. Then later, an escape in a car.


Then, there’s a “bum fight”. Snake and a former restler are given bats with nails.



And the most irrational bit is the mined bridge. This is the most irritating bit. This is a prison island. Who would place mines in a pattern that could be avoided with a map? And Snake acts as an asshole without any clear reason, just blowing up a Cabbie on a mine, then Brain blows himself up on a mine without reason too. It’s like they just wanted to get rid of all of those characters, so they wouldn’t need to carry them over a wall.

Interesting how, by the middle of the movie, Snake gets an arrow in his leg and limps for the entire rest of the movie. And how almost every other character has heard about him, saying things like “I thought you were dead” or “What are you doing here?”.

Kurt Russell plays badly. Actually, everyone plays badly, except Adrienne Barbeau.



PC Gaming

Descent (1994)

Another game I thought impossible as a kid. Mainly because I thought you cannot save in this game. I could read English, so I didn’t know you save using Alt+F2, not simply F2, like in Doom.
Also, nowadays I can play it with a mouse, instead of just a keyboard. Which makes the navigation of the corridors much easier.

It is still a mindbending 3D-maze, I give it that. That vertical ring corridor on the 2nd level is still crazy. And the game is still brutal, with enemies placed behind every door, so they can land a shot on you as you open it, and being every curve. But at least the escape sequence is not so gut-wrenching.


As if just having a boss at the end of each level is not enough, you also need to remember where the exit is, and escape in less than a minute. And will there be enemies waiting for you on your way out? Sure thing.
One thing I couldn’t enjoy is the sarcastic tone of an intro. It is brilliant:

There are secrets in this game, hidden walls and such, but the gam doesn’t keep count of them, unlike Doom. For the completitionists, though, there’s an option to rescue hostages on each level.



Murder of Quality, John le Carre

“It was from us they learnt the secret of life: that we grow old without growing wise. They realized that nothing happened when we grew up: no blinding light on the road to Damascus, no sudden feeling of maturity.”

Second Le Carre book, after “Call for the Dead”. This one is a disappointment, because it’s not a spy novel at all. Just quite a regular mystery novel with Smiley as the protagonist. But other than a reference to a middle-class woman as “she was red brick” and a description of the local chief of police in his office as a “water rat on a raft, his hair all wet”, there isn’t much I could get out of it.


Acaia Pearl coffee scales

Acaia produce the top of the range barista scales. When I bought my first scales some five years ago, I considered them too expensive and bulky. But now, when I have a bigger coffee machine and a bigger kitchen, it’s less of an issue. And since my Brewista scales I bought while still in Amsterdam started misbehaving, I decided it’s time for an upgrade.
The Acaia Pearl sells in the UK for about 190GBP. In the US, it costs just 150$. So at first I thought myself smart to buy from there. Then, I considered the taxes and the shipping. So, I thought myself smart from buying from EU, for just 144GBP, including shipping. Then I was told this again doesn’t include VAT, and there may be additional taxes, because why not.
So, I ended up being humbled and buying those for 180GBP from the UK.
Compared to my Brewista, it’s super precise. Not 1-bean precise, but 3-bean precise. It would detect half a gram, basically.
It’s also big. It still fits on the coffee machine tray, and you can squeeze a cup underneath, but just barely. But, I rarely do coffee-by-output anyway, because my coffee machine does volumes.
The controls are wonky. First, they are touch. And to turn the scales off, you need to doubletap the “Off” button. Not long press, that switches modes. Double-tap.
Also, apparently because the top is all plastic, they are also not very sturdy. So they even put a protective film on top. Not very reassuring, but we’ll see.

PC Gaming

Mega City Police

Completed my first run of Mega City Police, with an Engineer. It’s a nice game, it really is. Except the final boss, I’d say, that can one-shot you if you’re not careful. Unlike many other roguelikes, like Hades or Hammerwatch, where after each run you can upgrade your stats somehow, there isn’t much persistent progress, though.


Cosmic Cop / Gallop (cosmccop)

Shoot’em’up from Irem, which will later produce In the Hunt. And the resemblance is clear, from the design of your craft to the bosses.
The special mechanic there is the particle laser, that targets enemies automatically, but overheats, so you need to let it cool.

The game is brutal. One hit, and you’re done, the enemies can literally teleport on top of you, and the projectiles are fast and give you very little space to maneuver. I am not good in those kind of games, to be clear.

I found that the second boss is much easier than the first one. But then just getting to the 3rd boss was a struggle to me.



Ninja Masters (ninjamas)

I continue to discover new games on Neo Geo all the time. This one is from the authors of World Heroes series, but instead of being “inspired” by Street Fighter 2 / Fatal Fury series, it draws its inspiration from Samurai Shodown. The mechanic where you can knock the weapon out of your opponent hands is here, for example.

One interesting detail is some of the characters start with their weapon drawn, while others have it holstered. And you need a rather obscure combination of buttons to draw it.


PC Gaming


Completed Outlaws.

I planned to play this game for such a long time. After all, I greatly enjoyed Dark Forces, and I just finished Doom and Doom 2 without save/loading much. But this game is such a disappointment.
It has this mechanics of manually reloading your weapons bullet by bullet. But this is badly animated. Forgive Me Father had a similar lacking animation, but there I believe it was more a matter of style. But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is the shooting. Enemies can finish you in one or two shots. And since your weapons aren’t very accurate, you don’t have much health, and there are a lot of enemies, you end up dying a lot. And I mean a lot. The “Official Strategy Guide” even proposed to always crouch and corner snipe your enemies. Fun!
The game problems become even more apparent once you get the scope. It allows you to snipe out enemies alright, which for ’98 is quite something. But your bullets won’t fly where you want them through. Sometimes they would pass straight through an enemy, despite you having your crosshair right at him, while other times, you’ll kill an enemy right away, although your bullet should have been nowhere near.
Every level ends up abruptly with a cutscene, as you kill the next outlaw. The problem is, they are very hard to distinguish. And if you didn’t find all the secrets on that level – though luck!
The only two spectacular things about that game are the cutscenes and the music. The music is a clear homage to Spaghetti Westerns, and while the cutscenes mostly show you the death of your current enemy, and the appearance of the next one, at least they add some character to what otherways would be a subpar shooter.
The Sawmill is probably one of the worst levels I’ve seen since Redneck Rampage. They tried to implement a trolley puzzle, where you need to change tracks in order to find all the gears. But instead of tracks it’s a water stream, with a current. So you have to shoot the switches, with a janky shooting controls. Absolute disaster. I mean, the Mine is also bad, a multi-level maze with some not-obvious jumps. But I still think that Sawmill is worse.
Can’t believe this is a game from the same people that worked on Dark Forces. Who thought that having three different shotguns is a good idea? Speaking of Dark Forces, I’m surprised that the authors went back to the key mechanics. “Find a bronze key, open a door, find the silver key…”. I mean, they got it right previously, and now they ruined it. Whoever puts a key in the back of a warehouse?!
Now, let’s talk about the final level. For some reason, the authors decided to make it a “capture level”, that is, a level where you get capture and therefore start barehanded. But that’s not the issue. Nor is the issue that you need to shoot a haystack rope multiple times: there’s a slight visual queue of rope fraying, but not enough. Fair.
There’s a tile in the library. You need to step on it. And it opens a bookcase, which closes after a few seconds. And inside that bookcase there is a unlit fireplace, which you need to interact with to open a hidden passage behind another fireplace in the library. That’s it. That’s the problem. Had to check with the guide this once, because I was pretty damn sure some script bugged on me, or I need to blow something up with a dynamite.
And you get the final weapon, Gatling Gun, just before the boss. There are literally half a dozen enemies you can use this weapon on. Gatling is interesting, because with it, you cannot move at all. And you also can’t reload it. Once you run out of ammo, that’s it.


PC Gaming

Borderlands 3

Gave Borderlands 3 a try.
Gunman class is… interesting. I mean, you start your game with a shabby pistol like everyone else, but then you can also summon a mech with minigun and a railgun to waste everyone, from the get-go. Character design is clearly stolen from Tank Girl, and mechanics are from Overwatch, but that’s besides the point.
After two hours, though, I still felt bored to death.