Last night, I finished the TRIP in I ’76 and when it was over, I couldn’t help but feel a little disheartened. Part of that may be because the journey was rather short this time around. When I first played the game back in ’97, I had to figure everything out – what worked, what didn’t, how to get through a level, etc. There was a lot of fun to be had just experimenting and playing with each weapon, wondering what the next one would do. That also led to a lot of trial and error, but at the same time, my skill was slowly increasing.
This time around, it’s like jumping back on the bicycle: just hop on and go. I can still remember most of the secrets and tricks to each level, and even the words to most of the cutscenes. Without having to figure it all out again, the game flew by. While it probably took me a good 20+ hours the first time I played it, if I hadn’t been writing a walkthrough (and dealing with persistent crashing), I probably could have made it through the game in a mere two.
But what’s really missing is online play. After finishing up the TRIP, it was time to take I ’76 online. Even though the game didn’t get the sales that Activision expected, there was still a loyal following and plenty of people on I76net and mercnet. Online, it was a different beast. Instead of being limited to just one car or just what weapons were salvaged, you could get a hold of almost whatever you wanted. And, of course, being a competitive game, people did what was effective (read: cheese) to get the most kills. At the same time though, this definitely elevated my level of playing and car design.
Now, I wouldn’t expect there to be a bustling I ’76 community ten years after it was released, but unfortunately, there’s not been a game that’s’ really filled the auto-combat hole. Activision attempted to console-ize I ’76 and spin it off into Vigilante 8, but it wasn’t nearly the same game. I ’82 was a real let down, and final nail in the series’ coffin. But even today, several games have had I ’76 mods made for them, showing that people still yearn for a good auto-combat sim.
If nothing else, it was fun while it lasted.
Pardon my rambling, and on to the point: More updates:
Heavy Gear Downloads – The 1.2 beta patch is up
Interstate ’76 Characters – All TRIP characters included
Interstate ’76 Downloads – SMK Player to view movies added
Interstate ’76 Walkthrough – Finished
Nitro Pack Downloads – Nitro beta patches added
I know there were a lot of keyboard players back in the day, but I couldn’t get into I ’76 without a joystick. I had already broken in my trusty Sidewinder 3D Pro in Mechwarrior 2 and Multiplayer Battletech: Solaris, and Interstate ’76 used a very similar control setup, so it seemed like a perfect match.
For me, it was.
So, I tried to find the closest thing to that Sidewinder that I could – the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro. It’s even close in name. Despite some mixed reviews on Amazon, I have nothing but good things to say about the controller. I didn’t bother installing any of its software, instead just plugging it in and watching it go. Works fine for I ’76. I’ll probably test it out in Mechwarrior 2 soon enough.
But, on to the point, I promised that I’d begin working on the I ’76 TRIP walkthrough as soon as I picked up the joystick. I’m keeping my promise. Along with a slew of random updates on the site, the I ’76 walkthrough is up through Scene 11. I plan to have the rest of it done fairly soon. So y’all come back, ya here?
Club Sega – Fighting Vipers Review
Interstate ’76 – Index
Interstate ’76 – Characters
Interstate ’76 – Trivia
Interstate ’76 – Walkthrough
So, I see that there’s been some recent interest in the older Mechwarrior games, mainly the original and Mechwarrrior 2. Whether there’s actually new interest or people have just managed to stumble upon my site is debatable. Either way, here’s the deal:
I wrote the Clans article about 2002-2004. Sorry, I don’t really have a better date, but things get a little fuzzy after several years.
The gaming mags had always talked about the Mech2 engine being held together with duct tape and bubble gum, and this piece of software had massive development work behind the scenes. Reading interviews available with the team members, I wrote what was on the page. At the time, I was just trying to put the pieces together and understand a bit more about the development of Mechwarrior 2.
Earlier in the year, Eric Peterson commented on my ramblings at his Port of Evil forums. Now, his comments weren’t too detailed, just that “No one in the gaming press had really gotten it right.” His site is unfortunately down (or moved?), as he had a ton of insight to Mechwarrior 2′s development process, which, if I can recall correctly, started when the engineering market went down. He moved from programming simulations in the aerospace industry over to Activision, where he pursued the sequel to Mechwarrior.
It sounds like between internal disputes with Activision about the release date, arguments with the games producer (downright illegal stuff), and Eric having to program the thing – it was just a mess. That being said, it was still the same game. From what I understand now, there wasn’t a changing of the old game and development of a new one, just a ton of little changes that all added up. It’s not that The Clans and 31st Century Combat were completely different games, but that one was a teen-aged version and the other an adult.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Mechwarrior 2: The Clans demo, and it still sits on my hard drive as we speak. I downloaded it off of some German ftp site years ago. Just to add fuel to the fire, I’m throwing it up here for download. It’s legit and it does run. The trick, though, is to put it on a floppy disk first, then install it in DOS. I was never able to get it to install directly off of the hard drive. This is apparently the second demo, which means there might be a first one out there. If you know anything about it, please share it with The Local Ditch. At the end of the day, we’re all just curious about the development of a classic game.
If you were involved in the development of Mechwarrior 2 and want to set the record straight, then contact me. I apologize in advance if it turns out I’m completely off-target.
Download the Mechwarrior 2: The Clans Demo.
It’s unbelievable, but it’s finally happened: The Local Ditch Gaming Emporium has moved to its own .com. If you haven’t noticed, the site is now at http://www.localditch.com.
Along the way, some of the older pages have been given a nice facelift, as well as having some structural work done in the background. Just about everything is compliant with xhtml 1.0 strict, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Even better news, though, is that almost all of the broken internal links have been fixed. So now, the only broken links you’ll run into are to pages that aren’t on The Local Ditch. And let’s be honest, who really cares about those pages anyway? (I kid.)
The news can be found here now, at the main page. This is something that I wanted to do so that hopefully people would actually see when the site has been updated (give yourself a pat on the back) and they wouldn’t have to get through several pages to do so.
To the right are links to the games, in order of popularity. It looks like Interstate ’76 is the current prom queen, so go check out the new site and let me know what you think.
As it turns out, the guestbook was broken, not that anyone would sign it anyway.
And best of all – no more popups. That’s right, say goodbye to Tripod’s slow-ass load times and all of those ads. I’ll miss you least of all, Foxy Bingo.
Deus Ex 3 is still a coming and there are a couple of previews out for it. They don’t have a whole lot of info yet, but the story will be a prequel this time around, taking place in 2027, a few years before JC Denton was around and before anyone was let down by this Invisible War crap.
Players will take the roll of Adam Jensen, a security officer, who happens to be in the right place at the right time. His office is swarmed by a mysterious group and many are killed. Lucky Adam survives and sets off to find out what’s going on.
At this point, it looks like they’re calling for a 2010 release date. In the meantime, check out the artwork.
“Dear LYCOS Tripod customer,
As you might have heard in the media, the management and the board of directors of LYCOS Europe N.V. have decided to liquidate valuable businesses and cease unprofitable activities. Unfortunately the web hosting business which includes Tripod is one of these.
This means that we will continue providing our Tripod services for only a limited period.
We will inform you about any upcoming changes in sufficient time. Though details are not yet clarified, we expect the Tripod platform to be operating during the first quarter of 2009.
As soon as we have further details about the planned measure, you will immediately be informed. We expect this to happen in a few days.
We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. We strive to enable a smooth transfer of your presence. We ask for your understanding that we cannot provide you with further information at this point of time. We also ask for your understanding that you might experience delays in response times from our support team in the next days as we expect an increasing volume of requests.
Please refrain from contacting our support team via telephone in this matter as no additional information can be provided by this channel.
Thank you for your patience and your understanding.”
I need to find a new host. Any suggestions? I’m seriously thinking about a .com, .net, .whatever.
I guess this explains why the advertisements have been so heavy.
Lately, I’ve been on an I ’76 kick. Nostalgia-fueled as it is, the game is still awesome after all of these years. The style, the attitude – no other game really comes quite close to it.
So, off to the good news: I’m finally writing the rest of the Interstate ’76 walkthrough. And to prove my good faith, I’ve added up the walkthrough for all of the Scenario missions today. They still need some finishing touches, but all of the mian info is there.
Who would’ve thought that almost 5 years later, I’d set out to finish the thing? It’s not done yet, but hopefully, I’ll get to it by the end of the year. I’ve been playing through with just the keyboard, and regardless, without my good ol’ Sidewinder 3D Pro, I’m not so hot. Of course the Sidewinder is long gone (and I was only able to get it to partially function in XP anyway), so I’m off to find a cheap joystick with a hat switch. Once I do that, it’s game on.
Ok, I just realized my link to the old Disco Vigilante’s Message Board no longer works. Instead, it links to to “Mistress Destiny’s Forums,” which means I’ve taken the link down. Bell Bottom Blasters is there instead.
Old news has been archived and as usual, there’s a few miscellaneous updates behind the scenes.
I ’76 Downloads – XP fix is available as a download
I ’76 FAQ – More tweaking
I ’76 Message Boards – Changed links
I ’76 – Scenario Walkthrough is up
Sega – Sonic 2 stuff is started