Stolen Pixels #68: Poetic Injustice

By Shamus
on Feb 27, 2009
Filed under:
Column

I’ve been playing Overlord. Go and read my comic about it or feel my wrath, peasant.

Or don’t. That’s okay too, I guess. I mean, it’s there, and I worked hard on it, and I’d be upset if it didn’t get the attention I feel it deserves. Some people say I don’t react to rejection in a positive, productive manner. Sometimes fire is involved, is all I’m saying.

I’m more of a passive-aggressive supreme undead overtyrant, really.

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201434 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.

From the Archives:

  1. Ben says:

    Reminds me of Dungeon Keeper, the first and greatest Evil Sim. I expect you’ve had billions of people telling you to play it, Shamus, but you really should.

    • Shamus says:

      I did give DK a try a few years ago, but I couldn’t get it to run with sound. (DOS version.) Or it crashed too often to be playable. (Windows version.) I should try it again and bring the newer versions of DOSBox to bear against the problem.

  2. Ben says:

    Ah, if you can then I’m sure you won’t regret it. It’s one of my all time favourite games. DK2 is really good as well. It introduced scenarios such as (my favourite) having to build your dungeon INSIDE the Hero Stronghold, using secret doors to live inside their walls, sending imps out secretly to claim their rooms one by one, cutting off their gold supply…

  3. J SMith says:

    I liked Overlord and got it soon after it came out on PC. Unfortionatly the addon is only avaliable on disk in Germany (Or worldwide if you have PS3 or XBOX) but only online everywhere else, and as such requires activation. Not having an Internet connection at home and having an aversion to ‘activation’ in general meant I missed out on it and Codemasters missed out on my cash.

    Oh well, hopefully they wont make the same mistake with Overlord 2, due out later this year.

  4. Good read my comic about it or feel my wrath, peasant.

    I’m sure that your comic is indeed quite “good”. But how, exactly, do I ‘good’ something?

    Leslee

  5. wererogue says:

    I loved Overlord – it’s like Pikmin meets Dungeon Keeper, except with more of the actual opressing and less of the hanging around in a dungeon.

  6. Julian says:

    Nice poem. Try a Villanelle next time, they sound SO much more evil.

    • Shamus says:

      Julian: I considered playing around with some other styles, although a villanelle would probably be way too long to fit in in the given comic space and still have room for images.

      I could probably do one in the side text, though.

      Hmmmmm.

  7. chabuhi says:

    Overlord remains one of the best games I’ve never heard of. I finished it months ago, yet I can’t get myself to delete it. Maybe I was under a rock when it was released, but it had completely escaped my attention. And my all-seeing eye usually – uh – sees … all.

    And, to Ben’s comment, Overlord only caught my attention because of its kinship to Dungeon Keeper. What a fantastic game that was!

  8. KarmaDoor says:

    I heard of the game before it launched, but nothing about it when it finally hit store shelves. I really ought to just hit up YouTube more than read reviews. At this point, I might as well wait for the Wii version. (Yeah, I know a sequel is in the works.)

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Yeah,it sounds like DK,but the twist is that you are a good guy after all.Bah!Disemboweling peasants simply isnt the same when you are doing it for the greater good.

  10. Apathy Curve says:

    @ Daemian

    I would argue that disemboweling peasants is its own reward, but I’m always looking on the bright side that way…

  11. Osvaldo Mandias says:

    Good comic, hombre.

  12. Samrobb says:

    Personally, I loved the Seussian tone of the poem. Was it intentional?

  13. Is it possible to play a FEMALE Overlord? Or would I be stuck playing yet another dude?

    (Loved the comic, by the way. I’m going to print it out and put it on my refrigerator so I can laugh maniacally whenever I’m eating my alfalfa sprouts.)

    • Shamus says:

      Leslee: Sadly, you are stuck playing that dude.

      If you oppress villagers enough, you can take a bunch of their women and have them hang around your throne room in skimpy clothing. No, you can’t gather up a bunch of oiled young studs to stand guard. You also can’t get rid of the females one you have some. And they can get in the way a bit. (And you can’t kill them, even though you can kill other women in the game.) When I hear lamentations about the lack of female gamers, games like this come immediately to mind. The possibility of a female player was never taken into consideration.

      I think the option to play a witch-queen of some sort would be fun. Hm. Maybe in the sequel.

  14. Scourge says:

    Unfortunately not in the squel either, but perhaps/hopefully in the add on to it.

    *sigh*
    I got overlord as soon as it came out, not because of the gameplay or something but because I read that the daughter of Terry pratched worked on it and supplemented the jokes.
    And they are clearly shining though.

    “You there! Show yourself!”
    “He could be halfling.”
    “He is nearly twice as tall as them.”
    “Well, two halfling standing on top each other.”

    At least they are obvious to me. I greatly enjoyed the humour of it.

    Also, the ten female slaves are gathered (Literally) by a quest in the first town you visit.
    And the addon, meh, I bought the original and I couldn’t buy the addon seperately when it came out, meaning I had to buy the game AGAIN, for the full price of 50 bucks or so of course.
    No deal, so I missed out on that. But I can’t wait for the sequeal. But I will wait there some and see if it will spawn an addon.

  15. Jos says:

    @11
    From what I’ve heard (and I could be wrong), the Wii version is not a remake of the first, nor the actual second. It’s a sort of side-game about the li’l Overlad going through puberty. Or something.

    About the Overlord’s gender, yeah it sucks that it has to be male. So I’ve decided to take the view that since it’s pretty hard to tell underneath all that armour and that the inhuman minions who are the only ones who see ‘him’ without armour on may not be very good at spotting a human’s gender the Overlord is actually a woman much like Samus.

    This does open up a few plot holes later on, but come on. What kind of evil Overperson would I be if I can’t even bend reality to my will? ;)

  16. Apathy Curve says:

    @Shamus

    “You also can’t get rid of the females one you have some. And they can get in the way a bit.”

    So… it’s a highly realistic simulation, then? =oP

  17. Jason says:

    Shamus, so far you have made me want to buy Fable 2 and Overlord. I don’t even own an Xbox 360, but I’m buying these games because of you

  18. acronix says:

    Jason, Overlord is available for PC, unlike Fable II.
    I don´t know if recommend you to get it with the expansion pack “Raising Hell”, tough, since I personally didn´t like it as much as the original. It adds some new puzzles and a few enemies along some jokes, but it is much darker. Not more serious, just darker. Unless you find it at the same price, that is. It adds a bunch of 4 hours of gameplay. And the elven hell. That was the best part.

  19. Mike Lemmer says:

    @ Apathy:

    Not just that, but if you try to hit your Mistress, she will kick your ass without breaking a sweat. Nothing like seeing your badass Overlord be slapped around by a medieval secretary for mistreating her.

  20. Nabeshin says:

    What is it with evil Overlords ALWAYS having helmets with obscenely large and unweildy spike/horns/protrusions?
    Sauron, Arthas, Insert any other “Gosh I’m so evil I have to compensate for something obvious” character?

    Just once, I’d like to see a bad guy that LOOKS NICE. Like Mr. Rogers nice. SOMEthing different. But why should art imitate life?
    *grumbles*

  21. Jason says:

    Yeah, I know it’s on PC, but I’m getting a 360 for my b-b-b-b-birfday. So I’ll be getting some games anyways. I like games that offer more than just Shoot the Badguys to collect powerups. Actually one of the first games I’m going to buy is Legends of Wrestlemania. Andre the Giant fighting Stone Cold Steve Austin?! HELL YEAH!

  22. Alan De Smet says:

    I loved the idea of Dungeon Keeper, but I got a few levels in and it was all fighting-other-dungeon-keepers all the time. Which turned it into a bog-standard RTS game. I never got to a level where I would be building inside of a good-guy fortress. Maybe I should go back and give it another whirl.

    Overlord is cute, but the demo didn’t leave me convinced it had enough meat to enjoy for the long haul. The reaction here is positive; if it’s gotten cheap enough, maybe I’ll get a copy.

  23. Alan De Smet says:

    To clarify (since I can’t apparently edit my old post?), the first few levels of Dungeon Keeper were fun. I had a blast killing off heroes. So I do know there is more gameplay. It just seemed to disappear a few levels in.

    Update: Heh. So this comment I’m free to edit. My previous one, made moments ago, isn’t. Presumably because “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” I’m at a complete loss for why the spam filter liked this comment, but not #27.

  24. Somebody Else says:

    Nabeshin:
    To prove just what an irredeemable geek I am, and in order to grant your wish, I give you:
    http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?catId=cat1300347&prodId=prod1550008&rootCatGameStyle=

    He may not look “nice” as in “hey, old chum, just popping down to the pub for a pint, then I’m gonna go hug my grandchildren”-nice, but he does look “shining golden armour and generally heroic”-nice.

    I did like the poem, it was quite sublime. More accurately, the way that it rhymed. Certainly witness of a mind in its prime. Not reading it would indeed be a crime, unless it so happened one didn’t have time.

  25. Yar Kramer says:

    Yeah, there needs to be more “play as an Evil Overlord”-style games like Overloard. For that matter, there need to be more PC games which aren’t designed only with the top 5% of all computers in mind …

    Maybe something with the customizable City of Villains, so you could make your avatar Mr. Rogers … or Mother Theresa, for that matter (since we’re going for the Evil Empress option as well). I know affecting a Texan drawl and dressing in bright cheery colors are on the Evil Overlord list … Speaking of which, it should take into account other elements that the List mentions. Like, say you have the option of going around and oppressing various groups, and the game keeps track of how much you oppress them, and the one you oppress the most might form the core of the Resistance. You could design the uniforms of your Legions of Terror, and if you give them face-concealing helmets the Heroes might use a stolen one to sneak into your Fortress (also, an “individually tailor-made uniforms” option, which would give away the presence of stolen uniforms by their poor fit).

    The slaves, in addition to their gender not depending on that of your character, should be similarly customizable. In one playthrough of this theoretical game, I’d want to make a harem which would be populated by damsels in distress who, instead of being scantily-clad, would wear full-body rain ponchos.

    Also, have other characters remark on the inappropriateness of your outfits, or the Legions’ or harem’s uniforms; easy enough to implement with some sort of “appropriate for this character’s station” metric for each customizability-option, with inappropriate elements carrying more weight in this system … Miscellaneous “messing with the Heroes’ heads” options … Maybe some sort of Machiavellian “loved versus feared” system replacing “good vs evil” that most games seem to do badly, with the population’s loyalty (a separate figure) not rising above a certain level under “hated”, but being tough to maintain under “loved” … Really, the possibilities are endless. Which, now that I think of it, would also apply to the dev-time if anyone actually tried to make something like this.

  26. Nickless says:

    I’d go with two sliders. Loved vs. Hated and Feared vs. Disdained, or something along those lines.

  27. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @Nabeshin

    Well,kerrigan remained cute even after she turned into a zerg.

  28. Yar Kramer says:

    Nickless: Interesting idea! Thing is, using two different emotional metrics can lead to contradictions (loved and feared is one thing that comes to mind). The metric I came up with would probably work better because it pairs an emotional “meter” (loved vs. feared/hated) with a nonemotional one (how obedient your subjects are).

  29. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Love and fear isnt really contradictory.For example,one can marvel a volcanic eruption and at the same time fear it.

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