Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Geneforge @ RealArcade

I want to take this time to praise one of the coolest little shareware RPGs you're ever likely to come across. The game is Geneforge, and it is written by Jeff Vogel, the guy behind Spiderweb Software. Jeff's RPGs are all good but especially good is Geneforge. And you can try about a quarter of the game for free, just go to the site linked above and download it. Geneforge has a great story and uses a very cool combat system and character advancement system. The game is real-time most of the time while walking around, but when in combat mode it jumps to turn-based. The graphics and sound are retro-80's, but what counts is gameplay and Geneforge has that in spades.

Not only does Geneforge have a good plot and writing, but it can change depending on the choices you make. You choose a "class" when starting the game, one of either Shaper (summoning mage), Defender (fighter), or Agent (rogue). That choice can have a big impact on strategy and tactics available during the game, so the game offers quite a bit of replay value if you pick a different class. You can also make moral choices during the game about how to treat the people you encounter, and also which faction among several on the island you will join up with.

Geneforge 2 is out (been out a while actually) and I ended up buying it through RealArcade. I haven't gotten far in it yet but it looks to be as cool as Geneforge is. And Geneforge 3 is out for the Macintosh and should be out for PC this fall or earlier, it is in beta now.

About RealArcade, this is a program by Real Networks (the guys behind RealPlayer and some music download site I can never remember the name of, Chord or Rhapsody or something). Anyway they have a deal where you pay $8 a month to subscribe to RealArcade and each month you get a free game. I picked Geneforge 2 as my free game last month. This month I picked Trade Winds 2, which is also a cool game, it's a pirate / trading sim, where you have your ship and it's got cannons and such and you build wealth by trading mostly and winning battles where you can loot the enemy ships. More on that game later.

So, if you like RPG games, with strong stories, that play out differently depending on the choices you make, definitely give GeneForge a try. You can download the demo at either the Spiderweb site or from RealArcade. Both sites have lots of other cool games to check out also.

How is it that you get a "free" game if you're paying $8?
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