Skyrim EP33: Aquaman!

By Shamus Posted Friday May 16, 2014

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 81 comments

Link (YouTube)

So that’s Markarth. I guess. I wish I’d played through this quest before we covered it in the show. There’s obviously a lot wrong with it, but really charting out the wrongness and identifying the failure points requires more than just watching Josh glitch his way through an endless procession of inventory screens and dead bodies.


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81 thoughts on “Skyrim EP33: Aquaman!

  1. Majromax says:

    The quest isn’t… bad, exactly, but it’s forced.

    *) It starts out as the comments to the previous video noted, in medias res. That’s “good” for dramatic tension (at least if the player sees the setup), but it misses emotional development and fails to give the player a reason to care in the first place.

    From the player’s point of view, the Forsworn have until this point been moderately annoying enemies that aren’t terribly distinguishable from bandits. We’re supposed to develop a degree of sympathy for them, but when the player’s first impression is “hey, you tried to stab me in the face” that’s a tougher sell.

    *) The player is captured in a cutscene, then depowered with all of that shiny loot taken from them. That strips the player of agency, both literally and symbolically, which runs counter to the open-world nature of the game. It also takes the main narratives of the game and stomps on any sort of pacing the player had developed. Alduin’s about to nom the world? SILVER MINES! I’m sure a full-on civil war can also wait!

    *) The quest tries to say something about political intrigue, but it’s not the right quest for the game. The setup in the abstract is interesting; we’re essentially seeing a form of colonialism where the Nords, with Imperial backing, have pushed out and repressed the natives of the region who (in part) have formed a terrorist splinter group. Should the player value stability at the price of oppression, or freedom and terrorism/other sorts of oppression? Unfortunately, the game mechanics are about stabbing people in the face, so we don’t have any kind of in-game way to resolve this.

    *) There’s no emotional catharsis. Either the player expressly does the bidding of the person responsible for captured-in-a-cutscene, or the player starts a prison riot and frees a terrorist/rebel leader. Either way, there’s no way for the player to overturn the power structure entirely or even expose the situation for what it is. This quest is less dynamic than the Riverwood love letters.

    1. Fr33Lanc3r.007 says:

      Although I still like to go through the quest, help the forsworn escape and betray them just before they leave…that and collect all that awesome silver ore (my smithing level jumps significantly after this quest).

    2. JackTheStripper says:

      It’s pretty damning that the most dynamic quest in Skyrim is the “A Lovely Letter” in Riverwood. The one quest they showed in a demo of the game that was supposed to give a little taste of what Skyrim would have to offer.

      1. Ivan says:

        Let me add to this that there are so many obvious opportunities for this sort of thing that they were simply too lazy to flesh out. Also I’m going to spoil the entire quest so don’t bother reading if you’re worried about that.

        I know of one Daedric quest in this city that was complete bullshit. It starts off with this sort of Daedra hunter asking you to join him in his hunt before leading you into a house. The daedra then reveals it’s self to be some uberpowerful demon-god, locks the door, and forces your quest giver to fight you. With no way to escape you have to do as the daedra says and kill him. Next you’re drawn down into the bowels of the house where you find a shrine to the daedra where you’re told of a priest that has defeated the daedra in the past, desecrated the shrine, and crippled his powers or something like that. In order to restore it’s power you need to bring this priest back to the house and torture him until he breaks and make him serve the demon lord.

        Well now I’m thinking that I obviously can’t beat this daedra on my own, but this priest can, I’ll just get him to help me!

        So I go off to find the priest, he accuses me of being a messenger of the demon but he doesn’t do anything to me and goes off to confront the daedra so whatever.

        I go back and watch this big speech about how the daedra is a fool for revealing himself again, and how “I beat you before and I’ll do it again”. And so the daedra goes on to launch this bombshell “But I’m not alone this time”. I’m given this mace and told to beat the priest up who immediately starts cowering even though I’m just standing there like an idiot. At no point in this quest am I given the chance to do exactly what the vast majority of players would want to do and that’s give a big FU to the daedra!

        Hell I could just walk out and leave but now I have this stupid enormous heavy mace in my inventory that I can’t drop because it’s a quest item. Ignoring that though I just spent half an hour doing this quest only to leave it completely unresolved.

        Seriously though, how hard would it be to add three more lines of dialog where the Daedra calls me a traitor, the priest gloats that the daedra’s plan failed, and there’s a big flash of light, an echoing “NOOOOOOOOOOoooo…” and the quest is over? That’s really all I wanted out of that quest, but obviously I’m in the minority ant it’s really every players dream to be some daedric prince’s bitch.

        In any case, the only thing I had left to do was to reload a save and pretend that none of this ever happened… until I end up bringing it up again.

        1. Lachlan the Mad says:

          Maybe I’m just defending that quest because that mace happens to be my favourite weapon in the game, but I expect that Bethesda’s motivation behind that quest was the appeal of daedric quests to the fanbase. The fanbase knows that when a Daedra tells you to go and do a thing, you get a friggin’ sweet item out of it. They’re expecting too many fans who get that “Daedric quest = sweet items” and not enough roleplayers who think that “Daedric quest = ancient evil who must be stopped”.

      2. Ronixis says:

        And yet even in that quest, I have a completely reasonable plan that I can’t do: tell the woman about both of the fake letters. (The wiki said that you can, but I tried it multiple times and she’ll only recognize the first one.)

    3. The Other Matt K says:

      All I remember about this quest is that a guy frames me and has me locked up. In the course of being locked up, I happen to kill off another jerk. Since I did so, the first guy is super grateful to me and apparently shrugs off my complaints about him having sent me to jail. So grateful, in fact, that when I sneak into his house the next night and murder him, I walk out of his house and am immediately accosted by a courier who is delivering the ‘inheritance’ I had been left by the guy I killed a few minutes previously.

      Skyrim is a weird place.

  2. Destrustor says:

    Rutskarn, unless I’m remembering wrong, the reason Helseth wants you dead in the Tribunal questline is because he doesn’t want you to fulfill the nerevarine prophecy, since it’s a plan by the emperor and Helseth is obviously a backstabbing jerk who cares more about Morrowind than about the empire’s stability.
    When you kill the assassins and confront him, he basically goes “Oh, okay, you got me, champ! Now, since even the best assassins in the land can’t kill you, how about you work for me instead, so that I don’t have to waste any more ultra-expensive assassins and you don’t have to get hassled by them anymore? Win-win, right?”
    He accepts defeat and immediately switches his plan. Since he can’t stop you from doing whatever you want, he decides to “guide” you to do what he wants instead (Or, if not ‘instead’, at least ‘also’)
    So, since what he wants from you is to stop being a hero, he can’t exactly send his men to do that in your place, because that accomplishes even less than nothing anyway.

    1. Corpital says:

      I never killed Helseth and always helped him. Why? Well, killing the very first assassin was an awful hassle, but after that you have a full set of VERY good light armor very early in the game. So without my buddy Helseth, the early to mid-game would have been so much more difficult.

      1. Destrustor says:

        Sleeping in one of the beds at the Balmora fighter’s guild makes that first assassin a joke; he spawns IN the bunk bed you’re using, where he immediately gets stuck and can’t attack you properly. When you kill him, he lays down on the floor, where his body juts out of the bed just enough to loot him.

        It’s basically the only way I know to get the unique ebony dart he carries, because the normal encounter has him throw that dart somewhere during the fight, most likely breaking it.

        1. Michael says:

          His first attack is always with the dart. Those things hit hard. I remember being one shot by them before.

  3. Ardis Meade says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I love the way that Shamus stops using the short forms of Chris and Josh’s names when he scolds them. It’s like a minor version of seeing your friends mom bust out their middle name.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    That was the best anti drug PSA ever.

    1. ET says:

      More like the best pro-drug PSA ever, amirite? :P

      Actually, on the topic of drugs, does anyone know of any games that don’t just model them as the trivial, instant-effect, nearly-harmless things that most games do? I think it would be an interesting mechanic to explore, if they were modeled more complexly. Like, not realistically, because that would just make your vision all wacky, and not give you combat-strength +2 (and ultimately just be depressing…), but just in a more thoughtful way. Like, maybe they could add some random distribution to the effects the drugs gave you, to simulate different purities, or if they were tainted with other chemicals, and they could be on a slower delay, like maybe lasting for one to ten minutes, so that you had to plan their use ahead of time, instead of just injecting fifty syringes into your eyeballs in the middle of combat. About the only one I can think of is the ‘stimulant’ in Teleglitch, which makes you faster for about a minute, with the tradeoff of a blurred GUI and vision.

      1. Ilseroth says:

        Depends on what you mean.

        I mean, there are several quests and stories in the elder scroll’s series that talk about how pervasive and horrifyingly addictive Skooma is and it’s effects; they just don’t bother to make the player affected by it in the same way.

        If you are talking about an affect on gameplay in particular, not many of really depict it that way. I know there has been some games where alcohol played a substantial role, but the names don’t come to mind.

        1. Tizzy says:

          I never played Morrowind or Oblivion… But, from reading around on the internet… Was skooma changed from something you smoke in a glass pipe to a drink?

          If so… lame!

          1. Raygereio says:

            I never played Morrowind or Oblivion… But, from reading around on the internet… Was skooma changed from something you smoke in a glass pipe to a drink?

            Not sure what’s supposed to be lame about that. But let’s not get into that. The smoking part wasn’t changed, but dropped.
            Skooma – the consumable item, has always been a potion that you drink.
            In Morrowind there were also clutter items called Skooma Pipes (which kinda looked like a tiny hookah). These pipes or any reference to smoking skooma haven’t showed up in Oblivion and Skyrim.

            1. ET says:

              Wow, I totally didn’t even think about the missing hookahs in Skyrim. I honestly just kind of absent-mindedly imagined a skooma/moon sugar pipe of some kind, whenever I saw the khajit traders sitting on the ground…Which means I’m a racist against khajits apparently. ^^;

            2. Kal says:

              They were actually part of the alchemy kit if you had one rather than just clutter. Can’t remember what they replaced but could have been a calcinator. I found them to be a neat thing to carry around with my drug-addled character instead of the official items.

            3. Michael says:

              They’re still smoking skooma in the Redwater Skooma den. I think I remembered seeing Skooma pipes in Oblivion, but I’m not sure.

        2. ET says:

          Yeah, I was talking about gameplay. The thing is, there’s a total mismatch between the gameplay effects, and the in-game lore. Other games too, not just Skyrim. The Fallouts at least had some addiction and withdrawal mechanics, shallow as they were. Pretty much every other game I’ve ever played, the drugs are just temporary buffs that were off harm-free in about a minute, while the lore either depicted it as some horrible vice, or was completely absent. :|

          1. Bryan says:

            Stonekeep had an interesting (given the engine) take on it. There weren’t any explicitly alcoholic items, but at least two different kinds of berries, if too many were eaten too quickly, made your character start to randomly decide to turn 90 degrees, walk forward or backward, etc., all not actually under your control.

            (And I mention the engine, because this was more or less a Wolfenstein 3D style of graphics, where the environment was all cubes, but even more constrained movement-wise, where your character could only stand on the edge of a given cube, and look either N, S, E, or W. So all turns are exactly a quarter of a circle, and all movement is in units of a floor square.)

            Anyway, berry-intoxication or whatever it was made fights *extremely* … uh … interesting. Especially since those berries also healed, so when I got a little over my head in the last dungeon, and went on a Josh-style healing-item binge, it turned out … much, much worse than expected, when I randomly blundered into another two or three groups of enemies, trying to figure out what was actually happening.

            The effect eventually wears off, so the best way to fix it is to find a narrow corridor with doors at both ends, manage to get the doors closed, and just let the character wander. (In this state you won’t open doors without player input, you’ll only blunder into them. And not take damage from it, thankfully…)

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Do drugs in original fallouts*drink*(and to a lesser extent fallout 3 and new vegas)count?They gave you short bursts of stats,with long lasting withdrawal effects.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          I may be paranoid,but it seems to me that whenever I mention the original F game,moderation filter flags that comment.Or maybe its because I always follow it with alcohol imbibing.

      3. Peter H. Coffin says:

        Hmm… Well, let’s play with this a little bit. How do we model drugs in a way that influences gameplay in an interesting but slightly realistic way?

        Booze is probably what most people are familiar with. It’s got an onset time of about 15-20 minutes in the real world. Maybe we make that about a minute in game. Keeping to scale, that means the effect of one drink would wear off in about 3-4 minutes of wall time. Which means we can add effect “per dose” and take them away at a regular rate. And we can adjust for body mass pretty well by screwing with the thresholds. So “drink 1” might be for a small, light character, and might be all the way up to 2 for a heavy giant of a player. Assuming frame rate of 30 FPS

        1: 1-frame delay on control inputs, not including POV.
        2: 2-frame delay on control inputs, not including POV. In combat, base damage increases to 125% and critical hit chance decreases to about 75% normal. incoming damage reduces to 95% of normal
        3: 4-frame delay on control inputs, POV changes rate limited (player cannot spin rapidly, huge mouselook changes mean only about 90-degree change of view and it takes 30 frames to accomplish. Character heading changes slightly (1-2 degrees) every second in a random direction (left or right). In combat base damage increases to 150% base, critical chance is 25% of normal, chance of critical failure (out and out miss if game provides for that, only 25% adjusted damage if not) doubles or 10%, whichever is greater. incoming damage is 75% of normal
        4: as above, heading skews 5 degrees per second, double vision (everything but UI and targeting reticules doubles. “real one” (for targeting purposes) switch every 15 seconds), combat critical failure 25%, incoming damage is 50%

        When character is recovering and dropping a threshold, we simulate hangover by increasing graphic bloom and randomly increasing or decrease each audio effect by some large amount. Hangover ends when below 1 threshold again, or intoxication transits from a lower to higher threshold.

        In multiplayer games, comedic bubbles over the players head happen at threshold 2 and above.

        1. Octapode says:

          WoW does some fun things with being drunk, IIRC, including lowering the apparent levels of enemies so you can think you can take them, random direction-changing as you walk, slurring your chat, blurring your screen and, if you drink too much, making you vomit.

          1. Trix2000 says:

            Oddly enough, it also messes with your movement while riding/flying, even when theoretically it shouldn’t affect your mount.

            1. syal says:

              Well, you should still affect your mount.

              …now I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever seen someone drunk drive a horse in real life.

              1. Lisa says:

                I have. How well it goes depends on the horse and what the rider is doing. In one case, the horse obviously knew its rider and knew which way to go home, while the rider was just trying to stay upright and not control anything.
                In another case, the horse was skittish and the rider determined to be in control. That ended up with a rider in a heap on the ground and the horse disappearing into the distance….

        2. Kana says:

          On the topic of alcohol, I think they actually mentioned this in the Bioshock season. Namely, you make it realistic and a player guzzles an entire bottle. Nothing happens, so they drink the whole bar, 20 minutes later they pass out.

          Then you wake up in bed with a Big Daddy and no pants, and regret all your life decisions. :(

  5. lucky7 says:

    I’m still slightly confused as to the nature of the Wood Elf. WHY was he trying to punch a man to death, and so willing to do it he survived death-zone falls?

    1. TMTVL says:

      There’s a sort of randomly generated encounter where you run into a skooma dealer. If you talk to him, he’ll try to sell you some, and you can ask if that’s legal. Doing so provokes an attack, but I guess in this case the fight with the guards set him off.

      In-universe? I dunno, maybe he was high on skooma or something.

      1. lucky7 says:

        It’s some damned good Skooma, then.

      2. Tizzy says:

        Sure. Becaus skooma dealers love law and order…

      3. Michael says:

        Yeah… that’s not the dealer. That’s one of the random X NPC runs up and tries to kill you.

        IIRC, there’s one for each race, though I’ve never seen the Imperial, Breton or Argonian. I’ve seen that Wood Elf, high on skooma, trying to punch me to death, but it’s pretty rare. Orc, High Elf, and Nord seem to be the most common.

    2. Thomas says:

      So willing to do it that he would continue trying to punch you whilst being completed submersed in water! This guy is the Blue Knight of the Skyrim universe, ’tis but a drowning

      “You’ve dug your own grave.” If his burnt, pierced and hacked lungs hadn’t also been flooded with water, I suspect he would have called it a draw

  6. WaysideMaze says:

    You don’t kill Azura in Tribunal Ruts, you kill Almalexia.

    Point still stands though; Skyrim has invincible hobos, Morrowind lets you kill gods.

    1. lucky7 says:

      Don’t knock the hobos: what with all them dragons running around, you need every edge you can get!

    2. Rutskarn says:

      Shit, did I really say Azura? My bad.


      1. hborrgg says:

        suck snow?

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Yes,a bastard from the north.

      2. You were probably thinking of The Elder Scrolls: Curse of the Azura Bonds.

  7. hborrgg says:

    Various thoughts:

    -So, Cidna Mines has tons of silver veins you can mine while there, and you get to keep any ore you get when you are released. This actually makes getting arrested in markarth pretty lucrative. (also, can someone remind me whether or not the secret passage stays open if you get arrested after completing this quest?)

    -wow, that orc is guard of the year. Apparently they chose the one person in the prison who wasn’t a forsworn to be the forsworn king’s personal guard.

    -Amid all the other plot holes in this quest I think you guys forgot to complain about how Madanaach apparently had a key leading to freedom this entire time and waited until just now to reveal it.

    1. Hector says:

      And that’s probably the weirdest thing about this entire quest: it gives the outright impression that the world is waiting for you to show up.

      This is actually a fairly big problem with the RPG genre, but for Bethesda more than most due to the nature of the game. A bad game can wreck its credibility when everything seems conveniently timed to happen for the player’s benefit. A certain amount of contrivance can be lived with, but you have to make it look and feel like the player just tipped the balanced or accidentally walked into an existing situation.

      This is one area where New Vegas really shined. There was a direction to events, and your involvement happened not because you just showed up at some point, but because you chose to get involved. Or not. But Markarth is an example of the ugly hacks that occurred, as the quest is forced on you by random chance. The player gets roped in, but there was never any reason for it, or for any of the actions of the principle players, and no reason for them to do so right when you show up.

      So the assassination just happens to occur the second you walk in the front gate, regardless of when that is day or night. The investigation leads you to the Silver Bloods and the assassination there just happens to occur while you’re present. (…and it’s never explained why they carrying out public murders at the Silver-Blood’s orders if they were planning to knife them in the back first thing, or why the Silver Bloods would trust their personal safety solely to said killers, or why said killers didn’t just use some poison rather than trying to bust in with swords and spells.) Then, other Forsworn try to kill you despite it basically being a suicide move and you may be willing to help (adventurer, etc.) Then the guards, rather than trying to arrange a smart move, gank you with the Power of Plot (even though the Silver Bloods should logically have tried to enlist you already). And then Madanach just *happens* to have a convenient means of escape he just wasn’t using.

      Oh, Madanach. Yeah, I get what they were trying to do, but Maddie just doesn’t work as a functional character. I like the idea. You can see what they were going with – but there’s just nothing to work with. He comes off as annoying and even petulant. Nothing he says or does shows him to be a scarred survivor pushed to the wall. Heck he seems more like an annoyed scholar, when he should be a bitter but still inspiring man. By this point we should have heard whispers of this character – rumors of why incredible he was, and the scene should have been set to make us impressed with his strength of will. And our decision here should have launched a three-quest adventure either way.

      A good comparison would be the final major quest of the Dark Brotherhood line. Despite having some slight issues, we knew what we were going after: the Emperor of Tamriel himself. It was quite a major event, and one which had been built up substantially by the nature of the quests up to that point. Almost the entire questline was about this moment. And the they gave it just the right twist by having the Empy himself act a bit different from expectations. He shows himself to be a very human, even ordinary personage – but there’s nevertheless a real nobility and intelligence around. It also puts a subtly different aspect to the questline retrospectively, as you discover that forces larger than either of you are at work. Finishing this opens up new options for you and gives you a small option in how you want to complete it (Empy’s last request…)

  8. McNutcase says:

    Hate to say it, but: Aquamer, not Aquaman.

    Other than that… man, I wish I enjoyed Skyrim. It’s just kind of like eating an entire loaf of bread at once. Bread is great and all, but eating the whole loaf will leave you bloated and unhappy.

    1. Matt Downie says:

      Or like eating 14 loaves of bread at once in the middle of a battle.

    2. hborrgg says:

      . . . Mermer

      1. el_b says:

        his arrow pun had me all aQUIVER

  9. Ilseroth says:

    While I do enjoy the elder scrolls games; it seems kinda obvious that noone really… cares about the story line there at Bethesda. Or rather, I suppose, they don’t care about the characters.

    they want to tell a story, but they don’t care about any of the people in it. It’s sad too, the characters they do the best in characterizing are characters like Lydia. She has practically no lines of dialogue but since she has a couple snarky remarks and is the easiest long term companion to get most people will hear them.

    Another issue with them is the simultaneous lack of direction and consequence. The game is simultaneously “open world” but has practically no open world activities. They tell you can go anywhere and do anything you want but really that just asks which linear questline you want to pick up first. There is no consequence to taking one before another, even if logically there should be.

    Which brings up the annoying thing about Skyrim. They have all that content and they seem positively terrified that you may not be able to do every single quest. Practically no quest cancels any other one, and if it it does it stand out simply because something you do actually kind of, you know, matters. sort of.

    1. Hector says:

      And none of them basically ever interact at all. Barring a few bugs, quests basically never interact at all. Morrowind, by contrast, features some interesting crossovers between a few quests. Doing certain content could change the way some quests came out, most notably in the interactions between the Thieves’ and Fighter’s guild quests.

      Even little things, like Oblivion’s Knights of the Nine requiring you to journey around to each temple and request absolution if you had been naughty, were a great way to establish character in a living world. A very strange world with some ugly hacks, but still.

      1. Michael says:

        I loved how the three great houses would send you out to assassinate the non-players running through the other two house lines at the same time as you.

        Telvanni would get crosswise of the Mages guild, and they were at each other’s throats a couple times.

        The other fun one was that the Thieves Guild were always fighting with the Camona Tong, but if you chased through the entire fighters guild, you’d end up working against the Thieves Guild because the Tong was playing you. There were even multiple Fighters Guild endings, based on what you figured out as you were going through the chain, as I recall.

        And… then we get to Oblivion and Skyrim, where the guilds are all separate little quest lines that don’t affect anything.

        1. Wide And Nerdy says:

          At least those quest lines are quest lines. I’m playing Morrowind for the first time, just made Archmage. All there is in terms of an actual story is a couple of master wizards telling you “Trebonius is an airhead, someone should do something about him.” Followed immediately by Trebonius just assuming the next time you see him that you’re angling for his job so that he challenges you to a fight to the death. And whats worse, I didn’t get to finish investigating the disappearance of the dwarves because I guess I worked through the ranks too fast.

          Contrast the College of Winterhold where the story is “We found an object of power. We don’t know what it does but we need to find out because there are other interested parties. (Ancano, the Psijic Order, the Imperials Mage Guild.) And the town near us hates us because they think we destroyed them.” Its not Shakespeare but at least its a story.

          Incidentally, I always wondered why the imperial mage you encounter in the winterhold quest is so paranoid but now that I’ve played the Mages Guild I understand. Its nuts (entertaingly nuts, but still nuts). I don’t understand how the Mages Guild could possibly function when people are constantly scheming to kill each other and steal each other’s books and research. At least House Telvanni is honest about it.

          Furthermore, you talk about quests reacting, but so far hardly anyone in my own guild treats me any differently. Ajair is still demanding to know where her ceramic bowl is like I’m still her lackey (hated hated hated being a lackey of a Khajiit btw, that alone makes this quest infinitely worse that all other quests in the history of RPGs).

  10. Nick Powell says:

    Yeah… imagine how much better this prison would have been in Fallout. You’d be able to just directly fight your way out, or manipulate one of the guards, or forge crude weapons from silver and stealth out, or start a rebellion and sneak out in the chaos.

    It had so much potential…

  11. Tizzy says:

    How the hell does Ruts know Skid Row songs off the top of his head? Really not his age. I’m embarassed enough that I know this song, now I feel really terrible for him.

    1. ET says:

      Well, I Was like five when the song came out, and I know it. I think there must be some kind of technology for replaying music, which is not being performed live. Can’t think of it’s name right now, though. :C

      1. Tizzy says:

        Maybe. But there may be better uses for that particular technology. Life’s too short to replay Skid Row songs.

        1. el_b says:

          im saddened to hear that some people arent skid row fans myself lol.

    2. Rutskarn says:

      I’ll do you one better and say I’ve done that song karaoke.

      1. Tizzy says:

        That I can respect. Good choice for performing, for sure.

  12. djshire says:

    I remember Blood, and yes, that is what the cultists shouted…all the time.

    I thought Blood was the best of the BUILD Engine satire FPS games (the other 2 being Duke Nukem and Shadow Warrior, but there were probably more).

  13. Blood was amazing, and I’m afraid not liking it does push one over towards the negative end of the You-Suck-O-Meter. :)

    If you feel like mucking about with your computer a bit to get it to work, Blood is abandonware now, I believe.

    GoG has “Blood II: The Chosen,” which didn’t have as much “fun” in it (no Dark Carnival, for example), it did have a version of the ball from Phantasm, which was cool, as well as four playable characters. It sadly ends on a cliffhanger, so if you want closure, steer clear.

    1. ET says:

      Man, those screenshots look awesome! You get a pitchfork and dynamite; One of the weapons is a friggin’ voodoo doll! Chris was understating how cool these weapons are! :)

      1. There’s also an aerosol can and lighter (though that might have come with an expansion pack). You could also kick zombie heads around like footballs.

        The game had a bigger emphasis on puzzle solving than other FPS’s of its era, and by that I mean giving you multiple routes and “solutions” (usually blowing something up) to get through each level. There were LOADS of secret areas, and I don’t think I got 100% on very many levels.

        The rats freakin’ sucked, though. Killing them without taking damage was a bear.

        1. Asimech says:

          The aerosol & lighter was base game, the expansion added the napalm gun. Don’t know if it added anything else.

          Edit: Just checked the manual and the “napalm gun” is called “incinerator” and was also in the base game.

          It’s also one of the few games where there isn’t a pistol. Instead you had a flare gun.

          Mandatory mention:
          Blood 1 played bits from the CD mixed in with the midi music in certain spots if you had the disc in. It changes the tone of some of the places.

    2. GragSmash says:

      True fact: As a bored teen I found Blood by typing “” into the web browser to see what happened. Love that game.

  14. RTBones says:

    Random Useless Stats, Current Episode

    Number of Spiders Fus Rho Dah’d: 1

    Number of Users Who Played Us Met: 1

    Number of Users Who Played Us Taking A Trip Over Fus Rho Dah Falls: 1

    Number of Users Who Played Us Dying Over Fus Rho Dah Falls: 1

    Number of Field Goals Scored: 1

    Number of Guards Fus Rho Dah’s In One Shout: Approximately 3

    Number of Horses Stolen: 1, but honestly, it was going to happen anyway

    Number of Times Bounty Added for Stealing the SAME Horse Multiple Times: 2

    Number of Guards Chasing Us Fus Rho Dah’d: 1

    Number of Wood Elven Skooma Dealers Launched via Fus Rho Dah: 1

    Number of Tables Cleared via Fus Rho Dah: Sadly, 0, but we were right out of tables this episode.

    Number of TImes Meatbag of Holding Abandoned: 1, but really, it happens all.the.time.

    1. Michael says:

      Hilariously, he only got bounty on the horse once. When he jumped on it at the stable there was no “bounty added” notification.

      1. RTBones says:

        Dunno – 18:26 in shows him getting a bounty as he’s climbing on the horse. Unless that is for some other “action” he did as he was running away.

  15. #49 Fan says:

    I’m disappointed that when the skooma addict screamed “Why won’t you die!?” nobody replied with “Nanomachines, son!”

  16. ? says:

    Both Forsworn and Nords are traditionalists, so naturally they prefer customary shivs over those newfangled pickaxes and fire magic. Artisanal hand-made shivs, only in Cidna Mines! And caramel-latte-frappa-mocha skooma!

    1. ET says:

      AKA, “heart-attack in-a-can”. :)

  17. Sougo says:

    Man, where IS Mumbles for these kind of episodes?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Punching nerds in real life.

  18. Phantos says:

    What does it say about Skyrim, when it’s the only game where its’ best moments are where it stops functioning as intended?

    1. Thomas says:

      Bethesda are even bad at being bad?

    2. Michael says:

      Skyrim… and the Elder Scrolls games in general are more of a toybox than a normal game. If you go in looking to entertain yourself, it can be a lot of fun, but if you go in expecting to be entertained, you’re going to suffer.

      Stuff like this quest only works if you go, “screw it, I don’t care, I’m playing along.” Which isn’t really an endorsement of it.

      When you step back and try to make decisions for yourself, everything goes off the rails. Partially because, this is The Elder Scrolls, and your only meaningful choices are “kill that dude”, “don’t kill that dude”, or “kill and eat that dude.”

      There’s also the part where, with Oblivion, they decided to let the NPCs behave without set scripts… which lead to them killing each other… so instead of tweaking the math so the monks at Waynon Priory knew that maybe, just maybe, murdering their longtime friends for a rake was a bad thing, Bethesda decided to make a lot of critical NPCs immortal, so they couldn’t be killed by homicidal monks… and pissed off players. And the ability the player had to go, “screw the system, Ima murderin’ this dude,” was removed from the game.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        With something this complex, at some point you just have to put a hard fix in rather than endlessly toying with your complex systems and hoping it all works out in playtest.

        If you want, you can download one of a number of mods that makes everybody killable. It wouldn’t matter to me. If there is no scripted reaction to a death, then there’s no point in killing that person. The world doesn’t react meaningfully. Sure there’s the generic mooks you kill to accomplish your goals but in terms of “I want to kill this guy” there’s no point if there isn’t any reflection.

        So if you, say, want to make Maven killable (something I’ve thought about a lot and something that is sorely missing from this game because Riften is the kind of hive of scum and villainy thats just begging for a hero to clean it up or a templar to purge it.) You need to write stuff for that. Her death would have a huge impact on Riften. Everybody in town would have a strong reaction to it and there may even be a power struggle. If her accidental death went unremarked upon or only had token dialog mentions or worse, Maven was merely replaced by one of her daughters who then goes on to do all the same stuff, you’d feel cheated especially if that also cut off quest opportunities.

        It takes a lot of work for Bethesda to make such a character meaningfully killable and there are a lot of characters like that. At some point, you have to get your product out the door and this game has a LOT in it. Shamus himself said this was something like three or four times as much game as most games (or three or four times as much content, I forget which.)

  19. @4:00
    I’m a model. You know what I mean and I do my lil turn on the catwalk…

  20. Lord ZYRK says:

    Aquaman Wood Elf: “You’re out of your league.”
    Did no one else notice he’s making a pun? He’s literally a comic book character.

  21. Lachlan the Mad says:

    I’ve had that glitch where NPCs were able to walk normally underwater before, although in my case it was a rabbit instead of AquaMer…

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