Gorky 17 (PC)
One of the great things about this blog, whether it's just the normal version where I'm digging through boxes of games or this special festive version where I'm purposely hunting out games for a specific reason, is that I've found and played games that I've never even heard of before. Sometimes they're good, sometimes they're not, but either way, my gaming knowledge and horizons are broadened.
I think we all would, Captain State The Obvious.
I'd certainly never heard of Gorky 17. Nor had I heard of Odium, the title it was given for its US release. I didn't think I would be playing it, either... there were a few issues to overcome. I bought it from GOG.com, but had problems downloading it. Then, once I had it installed, I couldn't run it. Eventually I worked out that the game's intro movies don't work properly on modern PCs. So with that problem overcome, it was on to the game.
Gorky 17 sees you in control of a group of NATO soldiers sent in to investigate the appearance of strange creatures in a small Polish city. You're not the first group to try this... the original group disappeared, so you'll have to see if there's any trace of them while you're at it. And there's more to this place than meets the eye...
Ganging up on that poor little dog-tiger thing? Shame on you!
It's a really interesting premise. You control a group of three soldiers using the mouse. It's quite a bit simpler to control the team than I'd expected... just point to a position on the screen, and the three will follow each other to that point. There's none of that drawing a circle around them to select them rubbish that so irritates me about strategy games.
When it comes to combat, the screen zooms in a little, and it reverts to turn-based strategy. In other words, you choose where to move a player, he moves there, then shoots/heals/whatever. Then the enemy monster moves and attacks. And you all keep doing this until either the attacking group is all dead, or one of your players dies. Because you're playing soldiers and not wizards, death means Game Over.
Aaaargh! Oooyah! Come on lads, a little help here!
That's a bit of a problem for me. I applaud the game for sticking within the borders of reality, but that makes it a bit on the hard side for me. If you're attacked by a reasonable number of monsters... say, four... then you're going to use a fair bit of ammo to kill them. Fights last a long time, and the creatures take a fair bit of killing. And you're going to be hard-pressed to find enough ammo to replace what you've used before you're attacked again.
Still, if you like games like this and you love a challenge then I reckon you could probably do a lot worse than Gorky 17. I love the sci-fi-meets-real-world scenario, and for a game that's now over ten years old it doesn't look all that bad. The ease of use makes it all the more appealing, so if you're any good at turn-based strategy games and like the sound of this one, check it out.