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I promise only one more page of these humanizing flashbacks and then we can get back to less dynamic character building! I got the page up a day late again. I’m wondering if we should just officially move the update day to Tuesday instead of Monday, but I’m not sure if Tuesday is just working better for my schedule or if it’s been a more temporary weekly struggle with free time!

I’ve been backing up all my old CD’s lately with the intent to get rid of them in a larger attempt to de-clutter my basement. I came across my old Total Annihilation disc, which was a real time strategy PC game that I doubt many people remember. Heck, I don’t even remember it, really, but what I do remember is its PHENOMENALLY GOOD SOUNDTRACK. Seriously, this CD was in my collection not because I loved the game but because the game disc doubled as an audio soundtrack CD. Jeremy Soule composed it, and gosh that guy has done dozens of great game soundtracks. What’s hilarious is that the battle themes in Total Annihilation are so good that the game had NO CHANCE at matching them in sheer wow factor. I mean, listen to this track! Whatever images pop into your head are going to blow the actual game out of the water.

And what did the game look like?? Ehhh…

Granted I still remember beating it, although I don’t recall being half as enamored with Total Annihilation as I was with Command and Conquer and C&C: Red Alert (Acknowledged!). Oh, and Warcraft 2. The 90’s were good times for RTS games, that’s for sure! Here’s one more Total Annihilation track, it’s SO GOOD. And feel free to share with me your nostalgic music gems.

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  • Sunwu

    You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’
    Oh that lovin’ feelin’
    You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’
    Now it’s gone, gone, gone, oh, oh, oh

    • suburban_samurai

      When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
      A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.

      • Sunwu

        Super tramp yaay

        • Znayx


  • Astralfury

    Wrong the game didn’t look like that. It looked like several hundred tanks and infantry supported by an airforce slamming into the enemy Base like a gauntleted fist to the face. While the soundtrack picks up since the game escalated it in large battles.

    • suburban_samurai

      I do remember it being visually impressive compared to other RTS games at the time. I was honestly surprised at simple the graphics looked when I pulled up some youtube gameplay. Nostalgia=shattered.

  • KungFuKlobber

    Though Bastion eventually came close, my favorite soundtrack for a video game will always be that of the original Command and Conquer.

  • KungFuKlobber

    Although Bastion eventually came close, my favorite video-game soundtrack will always be Frank Klepacki’s brilliant score for the original Command & Conquer.

    • suburban_samurai

      Yeeesssss, I was OBSESSED with the original C&C and it’s Covert Ops expansion. I was actually initially bummed when Red Alert came out and was an alternate history game and not a direct C&C story sequel. I still randomly shout “I’M A MECHANICAL MAN!” on occasion. I also like quoting the commando’s line “That was left handed!”, which isn’t that impressive coming from me since I actually am left handed.

      • clogboy

        I loved that game. But RA2 (Soviet campaign) was also amazing IMO.

  • charles81

    So next he see’s Harumi’s butchered corpse asking him how he could ever be so foolish to ally with the honourless Daisuke and let them murder her!


    • suburban_samurai

      Remember when one of the pages was an animated gif that briefly flashed yori’s mutilated body? I do love my bloody gore, to the point where I’ve been told to reign it in since it’s not tonally consistent with the rest of the comic. But I like drawing it!

      • Din Till

        When was this page?

  • SlugFiller

    Total Annihilation was one of the best RTS games of all times. It broke a lot of the templates that became staple in RTS games, such as expiring resources, and “The game isn’t over as long as a single SCV survives”. Things later games, like Starcraft, patched on the competitive side using specialized maps and modified rules.

    However, not having a large brand behind it (Nor a fancy license like Dune or DnD), it didn’t get as much traction at the time. It was the indie before indie. It did, however, eventually get a sequel in the form of the Supreme Commander series.
    And eventually, it went back to indie, with the release of Planetary Annihilation, arguably the peak in RTS games.

    • z0mb1e

      TA was the first and to my knowledge only macro focused RTS. Every other one I can think of significantly benefits from microing your units, so it was unique in that way. But I also think that’s was why it didn’t take off as much as the Blizzard series’. Very fun times though at LANs and absolutely the best sound track of it’s time!

      • SlugFiller

        TA had a lot of micro, as do its sequels. While large-scale construction wins long-term, the fact is that you can walk into the enemy base early-game with your commander, and use its built-in cannon to instantly kill the enemy commander, getting an instant victory before any units are even built. It was TA’s equivalent of a Zerg rush, and predated it by a good few years.

        It is also one of the few games that actually gives you everything you need to build your own base right next door to your enemy’s base, with little to no issue. The ability to raise buildings in seconds, if you have the resources, really adds a new dimension to combat.

        It also adds a whole new dimension to micro. If you think micro-managing some tanks and planes makes for good tactics, wait until you see managing construction vehicles to build turrets, AAs, and repair each other, all at the same time, inside the enemy base.

        But you have to consider that by the time it came out, both Westwood and Blizzard made a big name for themselves over licensed titles. Not having a big brand name behind it meant it didn’t get the same level of exposure.
        If, for instance, Command and Conquer was made by some unknown company, instead of Westwood, the company that licensed Dune, you wouldn’t have heard about it, either.

        In fact, Supreme Commander, the sequel to TA, would have probably flown under the radar as well, if Gas Powerd Games (formerly, Cavedog Entertainment) hadn’t made Dungeon Siege first, or if it wasn’t published by THQ of Red Faction fame.
        Fact is, brand names matter.

        • RickRussellTX

          > use its built-in cannon to instantly kill the enemy commander, getting an instant victory before any units are even built.

          You might win on a technicality, but using your D-cannon on the enemy commander causes an nuclear-equivalent explosion which is just powerful enough to be instantly lethal to your own commander. An unsatisfying win at best.

          > Supreme Commander

          I *so* wanted to like SC. I went pretty far in the single player game, and did OK against the AI, but putting the AI on medium difficulty was just doomsday unless I seized a super-dominant early position. How it produced so much ordinance in so little time with so few mines is a mystery to me.

          • SlugFiller

            You can fire from outside the range of where the explosion is lethal. I know, because I’ve lost matches that way. But yeah, it’s a risky move, especially since it would only work if the base doesn’t have any half-decent defenses yet.

            As for fast production, there are two solutions to that. First, there’s commander count. Even though a commander is just a glorified level-1 construction vehicle, plus extra energy/material storage, having a second one at the start still makes a huge difference. This is especially visible in Planetary Annihilation, where 1 on 1 fights are usually pretty simple so long as there’s no serious technology gap. Things get a LOT easier if you manage to find a sub-commander. However, once you start fighting 2 or 3 enemy commanders at the same time, it all goes to hell. One time, I had a sub-commander, and went up against 3 enemy commanders, and they took out my sub-commander pretty early. I did eventually manage to take out 2 of them, but by that point my base had taken too much damage, and I wasn’t able to resist an incoming nuclear bombardment.

            The other possibility is material recycling. Some of the early game can be slow UNLESS you start near a forest. You can have your commander recycle the forest, thereby speeding up the construction of initial buildings and units. In some scenarios, this is absolutely necessary to be able to keep up. That’s why, when choosing drop location, I check not just metal extraction points, but also proximity to forests. In fact, deforestation can usually yield matter a LOT faster than an extraction point.

            Of course, story mode in SC did have some cases where the enemies had pre-built bases. Often, you’d need to set up some AAs real fast before things started to go down.

          • RickRussellTX

            Dunno. I fired up skirmish mode on a small map, and while you can score a technical win this way, it’s a sad victory as I could find no way to ice the enemy commander without killing myself. Even with full map visibility, the effective range of the D-gun is very small.

          • RickRussellTX

            Really my biggest issues with SC were twofold:

            (1) Virtually all units are engineered to engage the enemy at extreme range. This makes managing the battle map very difficult. I’ll grant that it’s realistic: extreme range is the name of the game in modern military action, but from a gameplay point of view having an enemy start shredding you and you’ve got to zoom way out and scroll around just to find what’s hitting you is annoying. You end up spending a lot of time manipulating tiny dots on a zoomed-out map, which isn’t very fun.

            (2) WAY TOO MANY units are designed as “counter” units to other units. One of the nice things about original TA is that there are various paths to victory, from close-punching Zeus Kbots to far-reaching naval units. But I felt that in SC I was in a constant battle to get the next tech level in a desperate attempt to end the game of my mouse versus enemy cat and my cat versus enemy mouse. I had to produce unit X because if I didn’t they were going to unleash enough unit Y on me and I’d have virtually no defense because X is best against Y.

          • SlugFiller

            I disagree on the counter units part. I got through most of the campaign with just construction vehicles. The fact that a large enough army of those can raise turrets and AA anywhere in seconds makes for very interesting strategies. It’s not until very late in the game that units appear that outrange your turrets. And shortly after that, you unlock artillery tech, which allows you to hit the enemy base from across the map. I haven’t found any enemy units that “counter” my “raise turrets everywhere” tactic. Except maybe the near-invincible spider mech later on, and even that is better handled with a healthy number of turrets than with an army of units that is annihilated almost instantly.

            The down side of this method is the game’s hard unit limit, as you basically need to advance by creating more and more turrets until there are no more units left, at which point you have to recycle the turrets behind you. Fortunately, PA removed that restriction, allowing you to cover an entire planet with turrets.

            On the other hand, since attacks can basically come from another planet in PA, expect the zooming out part to be even worse. But hey, that’s the basics of war. It’s not localized, it’s spread out across the map.

    • suburban_samurai

      Oh crap, I think I have to play it again! Maybe I’ll just hold on to that disc and see if I can still install it and run through the campaign again. Admittedly I only ever played the single player campaigns for the RTS games I had. Getting into online matches was exceedingly complicated in the 90’s, as far as I recall. And I’m not much of a competitive multiplayer gamer.

      • SlugFiller

        Honestly, if I was making an honest recommendation, I’d suggest skipping ahead in the series, to Supreme Commander, or Planetary Annihilation. The basic mechanics are the same, but graphics, command queues and unit AI have taken leaps and bounds since those old times.

        Just as a random example: In Planetary Annihilation, when creating a building, you can hold and drag the mouse button to issue a command to create an array of similar buildings. This is important if wanting to create a large amount of power stations or turrets, without having to place the buildings one at a time. You wouldn’t find that sort of feature in older games.

        But, if you like putting on your retro glasses, and seeing how games were “back then”, it could still be a ton of fun. It was released only a year before StarCraft, so it shouldn’t feel too aged. (Unlike, say, Dune2, which feels REALLY clunky to control)
        Just remember that, when it comes down to it, you’re playing a 20 year old game.

        As a side note, the game was re-released on Steam late last year, so there’s a decent chance that it should still run on modern computers.

      • RickRussellTX

        It often drops to $1.99 on GoG. Just buy it instead of adding avocado to your next Subway footlong.

  • Flaming Squirrel

    Ooh, you’re asking for nostalgic video game soundtracks? Well sit down! You’re not going anywhere for a while!

    Stickerbush Symphony. For a Super Nintendo game, it’s amazing how well the soundtrack holds up today. And it’s a good thing the song is so soothing, because that’s probably the only thing that kept me from throwing the controller through the TV during these levels.

    Hollow Bastion Theme. This song is upbeat, but still mysterious, exactly the way it should be when you’re staring up at a massive clockwork castle for the first time. I still get chills listening to it.

    Midna’s Lament. Like Hollow Bastion’s theme, the best songs are the ones that compliment the setting and the story, and after what Zant does to Midna (no spoilers!), adding this song in made it a real tear jerker.

    Song of the Ancients: Fate. Nier has, hands down, the best soundtrack I’ve ever heard in a game. No other game has THIS MANY awesome songs all together. Song of the Ancients: Fate is my favorite because it’s, like, the turning point in the game. Where you say, “Screw you, bad guy! I’m not taking your crap anymore!”

    The Wretched Automatons. Because Nier’s soundtrack is so awesome I can’t only use one song.

    Miner’s Melancholy. Because if I can use more than one Nier soundtrack, I can use more than one DKC2 one.

    Imminent Triumph. Because it’s freaking epic. Exactly what I want to hear when I’m taking down giant monsters.

    Gaur Plains. I only recently began playing Xenoblade Chronicles (thank you, Wii U Virtual Console, for keeping me from having to pay $90 for a used copy!), and so far this is my favorite track. It sounds like an adventure. Which this game is. I like adventures.

    • suburban_samurai

      Squirrel, I think you just posted my own music library back at me! I loooove the Nier OST (can’t wait for Automata!). Although I never played Dragon’s Dogma, I do like quite a bit of its soundtrack. Haven’t played Xenoblade yet, either, although I recently upgraded to a New 3DS, and I intended to pick up the 3DS port of the game, which may be the ideal format for lengthy RPGs.

      • Flaming Squirrel

        Dude, we got so much in common! Are we besties now? We should, liek, hang out or something!

        • suburban_samurai

          We’re already besties, Squirrel, It’s coo. *Brofist*

          • Flaming Squirrel

            My birthday is coming up soon, and you, and and J.W., and Yori, and Ina, and Ken, and Cho arE ALL INVITED! It’ll be so much fun because I’ll finally have some friends and we’ll do so much fun stuff ’cause that’s what friends do and probably eat cake ’cause I think that’s what people do on their birthdays and I might have a clown. I think those are cool, right? *skips away babbling incoherently*

          • Xinef

            Don’t forget to invite a Hindu guru and a Christian priest, since Cho is already invited.

          • Flaming Squirrel

            Then it’ll literally be the part to end all parties, right?

          • Xinef

            A party so grand and perfect, no one will ever be able to make a better party.

            That, and the Matrix will be shut down, thus ending the universe as we know it.
            (as we know it from mass media, at least)

          • Flaming Squirrel

            Then again, what happens if my party isn’t at a bar?

          • Xinef

            Then check if there are any bars nearby. Like a bar of soap, or an iron bar. They’re easy to miss, but they could make all the difference.

          • suburban_samurai

            Stop trying to end the world, it doesn’t actually need the help!

          • Xinef

            But I don’t even remember the last time I ended a world!

            … oh wait, that’s not entirely true. There was this spell that had some side effects… although I wasn’t the one casting it, I just taught it to someone else…

          • Flaming Squirrel

            Don’t forget the time you tried to do a fire drill on the Death Star but hit the wrong “Fire” button.

          • Flaming Squirrel

            btw, completely off topic, but I’m trying to figure out how to put Disqus comments on my new Wix website. Care to explain to a non-tech savvy moron how you got it on your site? XD

          • suburban_samurai

            That’s a Joe question if ever I saw one! He’s the website guru ’round these parts.

          • jwkovell

            I don’t use Wix, but it looks like they have step-by-step instructions here:

          • Flaming Squirrel

            Bad luck, dude. Every single bar of soap in my town has been rented out that day. What’re the odds?

          • Xinef

            I wonder what the Wu Tang brothers are going to do with all that soap…

  • Xinef
    • suburban_samurai

      that 15 min Might and Magic 2 compilation is epic.And I didn’t know about phyrnna before, but her music is super catchy!

    • Steve M

      Well, just FYI, HoMM2 works flawlessly under WINE. So if you run linux, dig out those old disks…

      • Xinef

        Sure it does. I’ve played all HoMM 1-5 under wine. You can even run HoMM2 natively on Android (the app is called Free Heroes 2 and requires original game data to run).

        • vancho1

          You can buy Heroes 2 DRM-free from GoG, though I’d wait until it goes on sale. They usually have the entire series with large markdown in one of their big sales.

          • Xinef

            GoG is pretty awesome. Right now I have 504 games there, out of 1541 they have in their catalog. They’re even better than Humble Bundles, since only some HiB games are DRM free, and I’m still angry at HiB since they stopped pushing Linux support as a requirement.

            But I’m still waiting for GoG Galaxy for Linux. I mean I’ve heard it CAN be run through wine, and personally I don’t mind running games through wine as long as they work without issues, but since native Galaxy is likely to appear at some point in the future, I guess I’ll just wait.

  • lilanimefan


    • suburban_samurai

      Nah, I’m sure it all worked out great.

  • Skralin

    This might sound bad but every time Genchu and Hirotomo appear on screen Careless Whisper by George Michael starts running through my head.

    • suburban_samurai

      That’s actually fantastic! Maybe their budding bromance can bloom to a full on romance. Except then it would be an affair because Hirotomo’s already married.

  • IDPounder

    I actually have to cast my memories back a little further, when MIDI was still all the rage. Take a listen to this one sometime (better still with your favorite comestible of relaxation):

    Not only was Star Control 2 one of the best games ever made, but still has a soundtrack I listen to upon occasion, twenty-five years later.

    (Note: listen to the whole thing, not just the first one on the list.)

    • suburban_samurai

      Pounder, I have never heard of Star Control 2 but this soundtrack is boss and now I really want to try it.

      • Xinef

        Star Control series is THE space game with the most cheesy humor. If you ever feel a need to read a sci-fi joke book, where the total annihilation of the universe is the least of your worries. In fact it might be the only way to save the world from the extreme concentration of humor. Then Star Control might be the game for you.

        … oh, and there are space battles with wonky controls. I’m not sure if anyone plays SC for the space battles.

        • suburban_samurai

          Space comedy? Those are like my two favorite words. How does one play this game? Is it on GoG?

          • Xinef

            It is on GoG, there’s a 1+2 bundle and SC3 as a separate purchase. There’s also the “The Ur-Quan Masters” project which is sort of a reimplementation of the game for modern operating systems. Which apparently adds some more music of it’s own.

          • IDPounder

   – your source for Star Control 2 – the Ur Quan Masters, in glorious HD. It’s based off of an early 90’s 3DO port so it actually has reasonably high-definition audio, and even voice acting! SC1 wasn’t bad but 3 was an abortion, so I wouldn’t bother with any of the bundles.

            This game for me has totally stood the test of time, and is proof that good writing and gameplay trumps snazzy graphics. Not to say you can’t have both, but it seems more and more that folks get lazy with graphics and forget the other part. SC2 is in my top 3 all-time, only reason it doesn’t hit #1 is that there are a finite number of ways to play it. Sometimes when I needed to zone out or sleep I’d just leave the solar system map open and listen to that ambient music.

            I do disagree with Xinef on one point though. The space battles are hella fun! I really enjoy the unique handling, weapons and characteristics betwixt the various ship types.

          • Xinef

            I wouldn’t call SC3 an abortion… more like a muppet version of SC2. The puppets are just so bad they’re actually good. And the story and dialogue expand upon the settings well enough. I mean, if someone enjoyed SC2, I’d say they should give SC3 a try.

            As for the combat though… my comment was just a “shot fired” at the wonky controls and the way the camera behavior does not help, with the automatic zooming being more confusing than helpful. But yeah, when I say “I’m not sure if anyone likes something” you can be 100% sure I’m joking.

          • IDPounder

            Xinef we’re bros and all, but I may have to send you to the video re-education camps if you think SC3 is anything but a steaming pile of politically-correct crapola.

  • RickRussellTX

    > NO CHANCE at matching them in sheer wow factor

    Get the version from GoG, apply the patch and go into battle with 1500 units. THE EARTH WILL SHAKE!

  • Hfar

    Man, Hirotomo’s wife was sassy AND pretty. I guess Yoriko does follow after his old man in some regards.

    • suburban_samurai

      I’m actually bummed that we’ve already killed her off. Well, we didn’t actually see her die so who knows? #Stannislives

      • Xinef

        She transferred her soul into Yorikiro.

        • suburban_samurai

          So it’s like a Rose Quartz/Steven Universe scenario, is what you’re saying.

  • Ladon

    These flashbacks may be the cutest things I’ve ever seen in a comic.

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