Saturday, 21 December 2013

PC Game Review: MURI

Platform: PC (Steam)
Released: 2013
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Remar Games
Publisher: Ludosity
Buy on Steam

Unlike most gamers who grew up with consoles such as the NES, Mega Drive/Genesis and Super Nintendo, I really grew up as a PC gamer and DOS EGA games was my bread and butter for a long time, especially since my dad had a ton of shareware games on his PC when I grew up. My favourite of these was without a doubt Duke Nukem, a platformer from Apogee, which we nowadays know as 3D Realms. It was honestly the first game I remember playing and since then I've been playing these kind of oldschool platformers at least once every week and I always have fun with them because of not only nostalgia but because there is such a unique feel about them that you didn't find in console games at the time. Just look at something like Commander Keen and compare it to Super Mario Bros., there is a huge notable difference in how it controls, looks and sounds.

MURI is a game made in the style of these early EGA platformers, especially the ones from Apogee such as the aforementioned Duke Nukem though it also borrows slightly from games like Metroid, especially with how alien everything looks and the fact you play some kind of female space hunter. I picked it up the moment I saw the trailer which I absolutely loved since it had a wonderful sense of humor about it and made the game seem very authentic. And that's the keyword here, authenticity.

You see, this game is made with an almost painstaking attention to looking, sounding AND feeling like an actual DOS EGA game and you can see this from the fact all the graphics are using the classic EGA 16 colour palette and are even made in the 320x200 resolution that was commonly used back in the early 90's. Not only that but the animation is made using 16 frames per second which may sound like very little and that's because most games back in the day didn't really have smooth animation and it was one of the idiosyncrasies of DOS games. You CAN choose 32 frames per second IF you are not comfortable with this but I think that ruins the authentic feel of the game completely so I would avoid it if you want this game to remain true to its influences. I also like that there is a slight Lovecraftian feel to the final episode and the enemies in it which gives this game a rather unique vibe to it that I like.

The same can be said about the sound which consists entirely of PC speaker effects. Although they aren't actually PC speaker sounds, they are definitely made to sound as authentic as possible. The game does get very silent a lot of the time though and I really wish it had more sounds to it, such as a simple jumping sound or walking sound which I think would make it feel a lot more like an old DOS game. There's also barely any music in this game aside from the title screen so that would certainly be welcome. I wish this game had a full AdLib soundtrack like Duke Nukem 2 but... you might as well put on some early 90's rock for authenticity's sake. I personally put on the Afterburner album by ZZ Top from 1988.

The controls are also really similar to a lot of early DOS platformers, especially with how you use the Ctrl and Alt keys to shoot and jump respectively although you are free to also use Z and X which I recommend if you play on Windows 8 since Ctrl + Alt does some weird shit there. for some reason.  The jumping is also a little bit weird at first since the longer you hold the button the higher you jump and if you let go you instantly fall back down so it feels like you have not much real gravity to the jumping though you'll get used to this very quickly. The gameplay should feel fairly familiar to you if you've played any Apogee platformers and revolves mostly around destroying forcefield generators to progress through the level and reach the exit and it's about as simple as it can get, although one interesting factor is that the game keeps track of how many items and enemies are left on the level and if you get everything, you get a 100% bonus and the game even tells you when you've gotten 100% completion which to me is a great addition since it keeps my OCD at peace.

So yeah, not much else to say. If you have 4€ to spare and is looking for an authentic retro EGA platformer, then you can't go wrong with MURI. Aside from a few flaws about the game such as wishing it had a little more sound effects, there's not much wrong about it and I really have to commend the makers for making an authentic EGA platformer which you don't see that much of these days.

Final Score: 9/10

- Alyxx