Harm Bunnies in Yahtzee's Newest Game

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Harm Bunnies in Yahtzee's Newest Game

But they're not cute bunnies, oh no. These bastards have it coming.

The life of a critic ain't easy. There's always that part of you that thinks you can do it better, if given the chance. Part of what makes Yahtzee's Zero Punctuation videos so entertaining and insightful is that unlike most game critics, he cut his teenage teeth actually making games. Sure, they were relatively simple graphic and text adventure games with clever titles like 5 Days a Stranger and Rob Blanc III: The Temporal Terrorists. Even after he began weekly skewering mainstream games, Yahztee released a game here on The Escapist called Trilby: The Art of Theft. Having mentioned he was working on a new game called Poacher in an Extra Punctuation column a few months back, Yahtzee is now happy to say his project is finished and ready to play.

Download Poacher here and follow the self-extraction instructions. Note, some browsers may flag the .exe file as malware, but I can assure you that it's not. If you are uncomfortable downloading an .exe from Yahtzee - and let's face it, you probably should be - then please refrain from clicking the link above.

Poacher is a 2D platformer, but it's got a surprising amount of character packed into its pixels. You play as Derek Badger, a Yorkshireman with an outrageous accent and a shotgun. Simply jumping Badger around and turning rabbits into a brief explosion of pus and bile is deliciously fun, and there is a fair bit of puzzling and platforming to get through. Good times.

Don't let the simple pixel art fool you, there's a lot more to Poacher than meets the ol' glassies!

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Oh Greg, how can I worry about a Yahtzee link when you endorse it?

The Extra Punctuation that talked about it was interesting, so I'm downloading as we speak.

"Consult the Book of Armaments!"

I hope there's a hidden Holy Hand Grenade in the game for giggles and so I can shout; "One, Two, Five!" and throw it at a particularly vicious looking bunny!

Oh cool, Norton won't let me run the installer because it's "high risk."

Just a few more months and I can stop using that program... ugh.

Oh, this looks good and all but, does anyone knows if he's still working on Fun Space Game: The game?
I still want to see that thing, anyway off to download Poacher I guess.

Greg Tito:
Sure, they were relatively simple graphic and text adventure games with clever titles like 5 Days a Stranger and Rob Blanc III: The Temporal Terrorists.

Greg, Greg, you give the Chzo Mythos series (or the X Days a S series) faaaaar too little credit!
I saw the trailer for this a while back (coincidentally http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2YEe167Gso) and it looks intriguing, will download this as soon as my Lent embargo on gaming is off!

BlackFrost55:
Oh cool, Norton won't let me run the installer because it's "high risk."

Just a few more months and I can stop using that program... ugh.

People still use Norton in this day and age?

Trapped in the room where you encounter the infinitely respawning bunnies after the first Dark One...idk what to do, I'll go back to it later.

My AV thinks it's malicious and removed it. What are you guys trying to pull here?! :P

fun, but why do people keep using z, it completely fucks up controls on my keyboard, why not not use c or v?

I loved the Trilby series! Can't wait to try this out!

Jeo:

People still use Norton in this day and age?

I'm using a computer I bought off of a friend after he got his Alienware, and he ran Norton on it. He renewed it before selling it to me, so I've been stuck with it. It's not a bad program or anything, but it's annoying when I try to download some freeware that it doesn't recognize. I sent them an email asking to put it on the safe list, who knows when they'll get back to me.

Using the space bar alongside the 'z' and 'x' keys is incredibly awkward and frequently leads to pressing the wrong button. Especially considering that I have yet to figure out anything useful to use the aiming up system for, it'd make much more sense to put the jump action on the up arrow key to both mesh with the more common control scheme and to prevent the actions from expanding into three clusters. I only have two hands so asking me to occupy three different locations on my keyboard to play your game is more than I'm willing to endure without complaining about it. If shooting up and down must be included, they can safely be bound to the 'q' and 'a' keys (or similar) since their usefulness is limited enough that stretching the fingers for them is not unreasonable.

The coins are completely useless. Why are they even included? It's bad enough that they fade away if you leave them long enough, but you can amass as many of them as you could ever want by camping one of those dark pools that spawn those baddies that follow you and drop coins when killed. Either one of these facts completely destroys the usefulness of the coins as a worthwhile score-keeping mechanic and you've got both of them present in this game.

Combining that spirit cannon thing into both a more powerful weapon with limited ammo and a key to unlock specific doors causes the latter effect to completely override the former. Thus it can never really be used in combat since one must always be afraid that they'll come across a door they need it to open in the next screen and be unable to use it since they expended all of its charges. If you must include both of these effects into the same item, at least have the courtesy that Metroid Prime 2 did and allow me to unlock the doors if I happen to be out of ammo by charging the weapon up.

Also, there's a graphical glitch where the trajectory of the shotgun bullets displays on the screen if you hit something, but not if you don't. Either of those outcomes would be fine if it were consistent, but flip flopping between the two of them just makes things look weird. Another glitch comes up if you're holding down a horizontal movement key when you enter a room - you don't actually start moving in that new room unless you release the button then press it again (this one's a bit more annoying since it's rather common to want to keep moving in the same direction through a room transition, so one does not intuitively release any movement keys).

Finally, the save rooms are awkward in that it's possible to inadvertently save into a slot you don't mean to if you mess up a jump. Yes, you'd have to be a pretty un-dexterous nimrod to actually do it, but the possibility remains. Saving over the wrong file is a massively huge imposition and it's not okay for a system to provide any situation in which it might occur (imagine a word document replacing every sentence in your open file with a string of profanities then saving itself and removing all backups if you happen to type the character sequence "Yahztee" into its text - sure, it'd almost never come up, but even one time is far too many). I'd consider a room design where you walk on a roof over each hole, then have to turn around and walk five or six tiles in the other direction to fall into it.

All that being said, I'm enjoying this game a lot (I wouldn't bother to complain about it if I didn't)! The upgrade system and the story make for a really interesting flow and I'm looking forward to seeing how it ends (and especially towards scouring the world for all the hidden pick ups to make my way to that coveted 100% finish).

*The preceding text completes my initial review and first impression (approximately 10% into the game). However, I will continue to edit this post below as I continue my play through and find more stuff to comment on*

Using a sprite which was previously seen as a boss I defeated to create an impassable barrier is quite asinine. I've already killed one of these giant rabbits, why can't I continue to kill them (especially since I can stand above them and fire down into them as long as I care to and they never even notice my presence)?

On more than one occasion, I have noticed items (e.g. health pick ups) falling through those thin floors that you can jump up through but still stand on.

Respawning the enemies as soon as you leave a room really destroys a lot of any sense of progression. At least wait until I'm three or four rooms away before you bring the enemies back. I put a lot of effort into killing them, having them repop without so much as a whisper of my departure makes me feel like none of that matters (this also further exasperates the problem with the validity of the coins).

looks like space game finally came out and it has bunnies! oh wait, this game has nothing to do with space. where is that space game yahtzee?

Space, z and x is not a god combination of keys. Ctrl, alt and space or z,x and c would've been better.

BlackFrost55:
Oh cool, Norton won't let me run the installer because it's "high risk.".

Same here

Downloaded the installer, but my computer doesn't recognize that it exists, so now I can't open it, move it, or delete it from my desktop. *sigh*

Why do people struggle with z, x and space? Ring finger on the Z, middle on the X and thumb on space :)

Fun game so far, I must be insanely bad at it as I keep dying early on to the same things, but to be fair it's been a while since a game has been difficult to play through, they seem to just spoon feed you story content now whilst you fondle your controller.

So far the game is awesome! smooth controls, engaging story and very funny.

The keys are fine. I would never use ctrl and alt, as the windows key ruined this combination of keys. Since the space bar is a large key and the jump is the most used command, it makes sense.. One other possibility would be z, x and c (and the line of keys above, if needed). Nothing beats 'configurable keys' though :P Especially considering some people don't have a qwerty keyboard and these keys might be far apart.

I attempt to play, but whenever I attempt to open the program it tell me:

poacher: poacher.exe - System Error

The program can't start because OpenAL32.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.

I reinstalled the game 3 times and I continue to get this message. What should be done to remedy this issue?

Alright, I've had a chance to play a bit of this, and I have a few things to say. First, this game is rather difficult. Artificially difficult, in fact, which is the bad kind of difficulty. It's mainly due to the fact that enemies respawn when you leave a screen, which means that if you, say, get knocked of a platform and fall to the screen below, you've now got to wade back through all the enemies you just killed, and it's beyond frustrating. The only reason I can see for having enemies respawn like this, besides deliberately trying to piss the player off, would be to restock on grenades to clear out those crystals that sometimes block the way, but that's hardly worth the hassle. Why not just have something in the environment that continuously spits out grenades, or something else to that affect? Also, the controls are a little bit awkward, and could be easily improved by making "C" the jump button instead of space (or, better yet, giving us control customization options).

Besides those issues, though, I do like it. The dialog is entertaining, and there's nothing about shooting squeaky little demon bunnies with a shotgun that isn't an amazing concept for a game.

BlackFrost55:

Jeo:

People still use Norton in this day and age?

I'm using a computer I bought off of a friend after he got his Alienware, and he ran Norton on it. He renewed it before selling it to me, so I've been stuck with it. It's not a bad program or anything, but it's annoying when I try to download some freeware that it doesn't recognize. I sent them an email asking to put it on the safe list, who knows when they'll get back to me.

Your antivirus program should be able to be configured. You can resolve this by disabling the components called the "Web Shield" and the "File System Shield" while you download the program.

Also, you could just kill the process in the task manager and delete the entire program. If that doesn't work, boot up in safe mode and purge the directory it's in. Then get something like Avast or AVG.

I have problems with antivirus programs too. So much so that I ended up building my own.

Baron_BJ:
I attempt to play, but whenever I attempt to open the program it tell me:

poacher: poacher.exe - System Error

The program can't start because OpenAL32.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.

I reinstalled the game 3 times and I continue to get this message. What should be done to remedy this issue?

OpenAL is an audio API that many open source games use for their sound, or at least that's the gist of it.

If you have a x64 bit operating system then you have OpenAL64.dll

The one you are missing is for 32 bit operating systems.

http://connect.creativelabs.com/openal/Downloads/oalinst.zip

This link has a zip for the installer that will give you the dll you need. Hope it works for you.

Terbasmin:
Why do people struggle with z, x and space? Ring finger on the Z, middle on the X and thumb on space :)

Quick answer, my previous laptop did *not* like such control schemes. For instance, when playing Cave Story it was impossible to shoot whilst jumping to the right {A ridiculous handicap on a game such as that, never did quite beat the bonus dungeon...). Something to do with how the keyboard's wired I guess; it just would not accept Z, X and right at the same time. There's probably some other combination that would have worked though, and I think it'd be OK if I'd plugged in an external keyboard (the combination worked fine on the old desktop, and have not tried on current laptop...)

Slanzinger:
will download this as soon as my Lent embargo on gaming is off!

Congratulations, more self-control than I have. It's fun but it gets really hard really fast.

Does the shutgun fire buds every now and then or is it just me?

Flame Sama:
Trapped in the room where you encounter the infinitely respawning bunnies after the first Dark One...idk what to do, I'll go back to it later.

My suggestion (should you want it) hide in the bottom right shoot up as those rabbits appear and when free jump and fire left to try to deal with those rabbits, that's how I got through it.

QUINTIX:
Does the shutgun fire buds every now and then or is it just me?

You seem to see the lines whenever you are reasonably close to a wall otherwise its all invisible.

SoranMBane:
Alright, I've had a chance to play a bit of this, and I have a few things to say. First, this game is rather difficult. Artificially difficult, in fact, which is the bad kind of difficulty. It's mainly due to the fact that enemies respawn when you leave a screen, which means that if you, say, get knocked of a platform and fall to the screen below, you've now got to wade back through all the enemies you just killed, and it's beyond frustrating.

Have you gotten to any of the areas where enemies constantly spawn on screen yet like the uper water areas or the library. Oh the library was a pain.

I'm currently ~45% through the game (I'll try to be spoiler light) and it can be a real pain at times, respawning enemies, tricky timed wall jumping segments, you don't want to stand still when the oil starts up again not to mention the underwater and dark areas I just finished. I'm enjoying it quite a bit but that's not to say its not a tricky and occasionally frustrating experience. I'm just glad the save points are so common and I'm not killing rabbits back at the start every time some thing decides to take a bite out of me.

My GOD that worm boss is annoying. Not hard. Just annoying. It takes too many shots and ends up just hurting my thumbs, at which point I make a mistake, which is going to happen because it takes dozens and dozens of shots to kill....

That said, I'm quite enjoying this.

ps. Why does every level involving libraries, or The Library's have to kick my ass so hard?

Braedan:
My GOD that worm boss is annoying. Not hard. Just annoying. It takes too many shots and ends up just hurting my thumbs, at which point I make a mistake, which is going to happen because it takes dozens and dozens of shots to kill....

That said, I'm quite enjoying this.

ps. Why does every level involving libraries, or The Library's have to kick my ass so hard?

Have the books started to hit back? ;p

Just make sure you're hitting him in either of his 2 weak points and it shouldn't take too many shots to take him out.

Harker067:

Braedan:
My GOD that worm boss is annoying. Not hard. Just annoying. It takes too many shots and ends up just hurting my thumbs, at which point I make a mistake, which is going to happen because it takes dozens and dozens of shots to kill....

That said, I'm quite enjoying this.

ps. Why does every level involving libraries, or The Library's have to kick my ass so hard?

Have the books started to hit back? ;p

Just make sure you're hitting him in either of his 2 weak points and it shouldn't take too many shots to take him out.

Jesus, the books too? I only got to the part where more of the little dudes start falling on you again and ragequit.

I've just been shooting him in the head... is that wrong?

BlackFrost55:

Jeo:

People still use Norton in this day and age?

I'm using a computer I bought off of a friend after he got his Alienware, and he ran Norton on it. He renewed it before selling it to me, so I've been stuck with it. It's not a bad program or anything, but it's annoying when I try to download some freeware that it doesn't recognize. I sent them an email asking to put it on the safe list, who knows when they'll get back to me.

Good evening this is Jim from Norton Anti-Virus Technical Support. We received your complaint and wanted to let you know that we'll be happy to fix your problem on Saturday, the Tenth of Never. Have a nice day, and go fuck yourself.

Ah yes, I remember this now. Was wondering when I'd hear about it again. I'll make sure to give it a whirl sometime soon.

Jeo:

BlackFrost55:
Oh cool, Norton won't let me run the installer because it's "high risk."

Just a few more months and I can stop using that program... ugh.

People still use Norton in this day and age?

Welcome to the esc- never mind.

You have been here for Three years?! and only just made your first post now?!

OT: I'm probably going to get this, looks like a fun little game to sink some time into. Good job Yahtzee :3

Jeo:

BlackFrost55:
Oh cool, Norton won't let me run the installer because it's "high risk."

Just a few more months and I can stop using that program... ugh.

People still use Norton in this day and age?

I use a Mac so I can afford to be high and mighty about viruses. Seriously though, I hear avg is good

Well google Chrome calls the link dangerous, but Microsoft security essentials seems to think it's O.K. So there you go. Should be safe, really.

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