-Welcome to this series where I resolve to play my Steam games backlog! Here are my discoveries!-
Game: Rune Classic
Time Played: 1.8 hours
I haven’t had as much time as I’d like with the Steam Challenge this week, due to a new FFXIV patch and my gaming group’s addiction to 7D2D. The random game picker chose Rune Classic for me to try this time around. I’ll admit, I knew nothing about this game. It was another game I got along with a bundle that I just activated on my account because I had it.
I wasn’t enthusiastic about trying it, but I soon discovered it has its own sort of charm. Originally released in 2001, it’s one of those games that was probably absolutely amazing for its time. It has lots of cutscenes, voice overs, decent graphics for the time, and a fairly cool premise for why you’re doing what you’re doing. The story is not deep, but it’s interesting in its own way. I mean, what’s not cool about being a warrior of Odin who is trying to fight minions of Loki to hold back Ragnarok?
What Is It?
This is a 3D third person action adventure game, along the lines of the games that were popular for the time. It reminds me a little of something like Soul Reaver.
The main character is a Viking named Ragnar, who is super manly. How do I know? You can hear it in the way he grunts when he jumps. And by the fact that to regain life points, he rips lizards off the wall and eats them while they’re still wiggling in his sweaty palm. If that’s not manly, what is?
Ragnar can use a variety of weapons and shields on his journey. I thought it was pretty neat that if you kill an enemy, you can swipe the weapon it drops and claim it as your own.
The only thing about this that wasn’t intuitive was that the game would tell you “Press the USE button to pick up…”, but it never actually told you which button was the USE button. I had to fish around on the Options menu to figure out the controls. Looking at the key bindings, they had both keyboard and “joypad” settings. So the text is vague on purpose because the devs didn’t know which you’d be using.
I thought it was neat that you could carry a number of weapons at a time, and even throw smaller weapons (though this only ended up killing me as I accidentally threw my only weapon into molten lava and had no way to fight enemies from there on). Switching weapons wasn’t intuitive — another trip to the Options screen — and I found Ragnar liked to sheathe his weapons at inopportune times, leaving me open to attack when I thought I had a sword in hand.
It was neat that as you killed things, your weapon got bloody. Ragnar also gets bloody as he takes more damage, which is a nice touch.
I learned very quickly that every room in the game is a puzzle, and they don’t always start out with the easy puzzles first. Sometimes you have to really do a lot of searching just to find the next area, breaking through walls or jumping down into pools of water. The devs really like swimming, it seems. Of course, there’s pretty glowy things under the water, so it’s usually a neat trip.
The problem with this is that I often found the jumping to be inconsistent. There’s an obvious max distance Ragnar can jump. But sometimes, the jumps you have to make look much further than the distance you think you can jump. There were certain jumps (even in some of the first areas) that I was supposed to make, but didn’t attempt because it didn’t look like I could make it. When I finally did attempt the jump, Ragnar magically jumped much further than I thought was possible.
Due to this, I wasn’t always sure which way was the right way. I’m not saying that it needed to be obvious, but it was part of the reason I ended up putting the game down. This is no open world exploration — it’s an on-rails obstacle course. While puzzling out the rooms was interesting and fun, there’s only so much of that I want to do before I feel I’ve seen what the game offers.
Odin does eventually give you magic through rune power. This is very limited, though, and seems to have a different effect depending on what weapon you’re using. Once you use it up, you have to find another rune stone to refill your magic meter. I never really found myself in need of the magic, so I rarely used it.
I learned to save my game often because the auto save feature didn’t like to work most the time. I’d see errors like “Can’t autosave because too near to enemy” or something. Gee. Thanks. Then, when I did die, and the game tried to pull an autosave up, it would throw an error about not finding the right file. So I just manually saved and loaded games to get through.
I’m on the wall on whether I recommend this game or not. On one hand, I can see how this was probably amazing for its time — those who played this when it first came out will probably laud it as an amazing classic. It’s not a bad game, it’s just not the type of game I usually play now days. However, if you’re looking for an old skool 3D adventure game, or just want to play a manly Viking who is fighting the forces of Loki, this might scratch your itch.