Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: Streets of Rogue

And now for something different

I’ve been cutting back on my Streets of Rogue obsession because of a little game called Children of Morta (which I call Children de la Muerta in my brain) by Dead Mage. It caught my attention while it was in development, and I watched in interest when it was released two weeks ago. I was still in the throes of my Streets of Rogue fervor, so I didn’t buy it yet. Then, I started watching NL play it because it was what he replaced Streets of Rogue with. I was immediately grabbed by the art style and the story, even though the narrator sounds like he’s trying to be Wayne June (the narrator of Darkest Dungeon). I also really like that the family is called Berson, and the individual names are Grandma Margaret, John (father, playable), Mary (mother), Linda (oldest daughter, playable), Kevin (younger son, playable), Mark (older son, playable), and Uncle Ben, the blacksmith. Oh, there is also Lucy, the younger daughter, who is (as far as I know) not playable. The graphics are pixelated and gorgeous, and it’s an epic story of…well, I’m not sure, yet, but it’s fantasy, and then to be playing as Linda Bergson. She’s my favorite, by the way, and I’ll get to that in a minute.

I was hooked from watching NL, and I quit watching so I could play it mostly unspoiled. I bought it yesterday, installed it, and I have to say it didn’t immediately grip me. Not because of the game itself or the story or the combat, but because of the controls. I was using k/m, and Left Shift/Q/R as common buttons felt awkward to me. I found out from Ian that you could use controller, which was my impulse in the first place, but I hadn’t seen any keyboard remapping so I erroneously assumed it wasn’t possible. Dark Souls has done this to me, and I’m not entirely displeased with it. By ‘this’ I mean being a console grrl and a PC gamer.

The controller felt much better, but with two weird things. One, the dodge/evade button is A. I tried it as B (forever the roll/dodge button in my brain), but it didn’t work because of weird thing number two. As Linda, you can use the right stick to shoot while you’re moving. In that case, hitting B to dodge is inopportune. I eventually settled on A (the original button), but I don’t necessarily like it.

Either way, I started over with controller, and I played two hours straight. I made it to the first boss and beat it in five or six tries. I came really close on my second try, but then I fucked it up. At no time did I feel as if the boss was undoable, and it’s in part because I saw NL fight it (and beat it on the second try). I did give John, the melee character a go, but he’s very vanilla and boring. Linda is ranged with a bow and arrow, and I like raining different arrows down upon my enemies.


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A plethora of choices and two obsessions

I have an obsessive nature that if I don’t rein in, can run rampant throughout my life. It’s especially apparent when it comes to pop culture. I don’t like much, but when I do like something, I suck the blood out of it. Which is apt because I played as a Supervampire yesterday and died in the Mayor’s Village to a bullshit situation. I was trying to use an item, and then hwen I went back to actually playing, either my fingers were off or the keyboard wasn’t properly responding. Or, what is more likely, it somehow reverted back to Dvorak. Any rate, the Supercops killed me before I could figure out what went wrong.

What game am I talking about? Streets of Rogue, of course. The game I was going to quit before, several times, but then get sucked back in when I win a run. That high is almost comparable to beating a Dark Souls boss, but not quite because there is more RNG at work than in beating a DS boss. Yes, there is some RNG there, but it’s instances, not whole floors. In SoR, I often feel whether I win a run or not is based on items I get, traits I get, and which missions I get on which floor. Also, which character I play. Cop is the easiest (Supercop is cruise mode) with Soldier being a close second. (I would argue Supersoldier is easier than Supercop, especially with Infinite Ammo.) Assassin, once I got the hang of her, was super fun, and Vampire was fairly chill as well once I fully embraced her nature–and was able to chomp on people even when I was fully healed. It still surprises me that I won as the Shopkeeper, but I basically played her kitted out with as many guns as possible. And, since she got great deals on everything, I had enough money to buy ammo every floor.

So far, I have won with Soldier, Cop, Shopkeeper, Vampire, Assassin, and Doctor. I finished the Big Quest with the Slum Dweller, but got ripped apart in the Mayor Village.

Side Note: I’ve seen a recent spike of people using ‘apart’ to mean ‘a part’, and it makes me rage every time. One of my personal pet peeves (in English).

When you finish the Big Quest of the Slum Dweller, you become an Upper-Cruster. The other Super Special Abilities versions of the characters are way overpowered. This one seems like a joke because the only two positives I can see to her is that she starts with a tidy sum of money and she can use the alarm buttons during the later levels to summon a Supercop. This I know by reading about it because I have not made it very far as the Upper-Cruster. With the other souped up characters, I sailed through the game. Either I’m doing something wrong with the Upper-Cruster or she really is just a joke character (a poke at wealthy people being useless). Oh, Upper-Crusters run from conflict so having friends of your own class is not helpful in this situation.

Side Note 2: Teleport-Happy is god tier as a Trait. I didn’t value it much at first, even when Norrtherlion mentioned people telling him it was god tier. You can transport anywhere anytime as long as no immediate danger is president. Why is that a big deal? I’ll tell you why. Because you can avoid much of the mayhem on the Floor 3s, and you can transport to the Exit from wherever (with a few small exceptions). You can also teleport from indoors which you can’t do without it, which means once you finish the last quest, you can just teleport to the Exit. It’s fucking amazing, and it’s the reason I got at least two of my wins.


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Stuck in a rut

I have a habit of getting into a rut because I don’t like change. I adhere to a schedule, and it can be really uncomfortable when it changes on a dime. Small example: Yesterday, I had planned to do the laundry and go to Cubs. I told my mother the night before, but I made the fatal mistake of assuming she knew that meant going to Cubs right after I did my morning routine. Why would she know that, I don’t know, but it was so obvious to me, I didn’t mention it. She was on the phone as I was getting into the car, and she came running after me to inform me that they needed the car in half an hour. I lost my shit even though on the face of it, it seemed like a minor thing. There are many reasons this is like fingernails on the chalkboard for me, but suffice to say I did not take it graciously.

I waited for them to come back, and then after putting the first load in the dryer and the second load in the washer, I went to change. My parents went to take a nap, and I breathed a small sigh of relief. As I was in the bathroom changing, I heard a voice–my brother. He was in the neighborhood and thought he’d stopped by. I had  to talk myself down because I was on the edge. I love my brother, and I love spending time with him, but once a month is about my speed. Four times in a week on top of my parents? No. Admittedly, it was more my parents than my brother, but the fact that he came just as I was going to Cubs was the urine icing on the shit cake.

I told him I had to go to Cubs and invited him along. Then, my mom popped her head out because she hadn’t actually fallen asleep, and she wanted to go, too. Part of the reason I was going to Cubs was to have time alone, which quickly went down the shitter. Then, my mom spent an inordinate amount of time at the medicines, questioning each bottle. I grabbed a smaller cart and went about my business because I was losing my mind.

Side note: My mother has always been an over-talker. We all are, and it’s funny to hear them complain about each other with no self-awareness. I know I talk a lot. I know sometimes, my mouth just gets going and won’t stop. I’m trying to correct it, but it’s not easy. In addition, it’s in dire contrast to other times when I don’t say a word for hours. I don’t seem to have a stasis that is a comfortable medium. But my mom is bad is that she’s also an over-sharer. She likes to say she’s being frank, but she hasn’t yet learned you don’t have to say everything. I think it’s in part because she has to bite my tongue with my father so much of the time that she goes overboard in other times. When we were in Malta for her conference, she would tell anyone who would listen all about my father’s physical woes. If I were him, I would have been seething. She’s done it to me and to my brother as well, and it’s irritating every time.

She also has a habit of narrating what she’s doing no matter how trivial. “I’m washing the apple, and I like to soak it for twenty minutes because that’s the way to get all the (mumble mumble) out.” She’s not exactly sure what she’s getting out, but she knows it’s bad. I don’t care, Mom. That should be an inside voice thing, but she’s becoming more vocal about those kind of things in time.

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Hitting the wall hard–with infinite ammo

I’ve been mainlining Streets of Rogue hard as is my wont, and I think I’m hitting the proverbial wall. I’ve talked before about games I love that I’ve quit playing because I reached a certain point where I just couldn’t get better at it. Nuclear Throne, Dead Cells, Enter the Gungeon, and Hollow Knight all fit into this category. Notice that three of the four are rogue-lites/likes/whatever the nomenclature may be, and that’s what Streets of Rogue is as well, though it crosses over into other genres as well.

I wrote about it last week, and I couldn’t stop gushing about it. It’s strange because when I first started playing, I wasn’t that into it. And yet, I couldn’t stop playing it. I’d die, and then I’d play ‘one more run’–which turned into six or seven other runs. I wasn’t into the game the way I was into, say, Nuclear Throne, but I kept pressing the Q button (to go back to Home Base before starting the game) every time I died.

I didn’t talk much about the things that frustrated me about the game, which I’ll do now. It’s part of the reason I think I’m nearing the end of my time with Streets of Rogue, so I might as well expand on it. I did mention the lack of tutorial, but that’s minor in the grand scheme of things. Another thing that isn’t huge but is more irritating is that the different playable characters are so varied in terms of playability. Of course that depends on style, but for me, the Soldier and the Cop are by far the OP characters. Then, there are the ones that are middling such as the Doctor and the Vampire, and then there are the ones that I just suck at such as the Hacker and the Bartender. I’ve beaten the game with the Soldier*, the Supersoldier, and the Supercop. I reached the Mayor Village with the Cop and killed him, but after running around the level and making a beeline to pick up the hat, a Supercop killed me. That was literally the last second I could be killed before winning the game, which really sucked.

In thinking more about the different characters, I get more irritated because I cannot grasp the playstyles of several of them. I tried the Investment Banker last night, and I quite liked her. I played her because I wanted to unlock a mutator that could only be guaranteed to proc by going into debt with her so the Assassins show up. You need to kill an Assassin to unlock one of the mutators, and I had seven or eight of them waylaying me as the Investment Banker. I didn’t get her at first because her Big Quest (something each character has to do throughout the game, and it’s thematically appropriate for each character) is to make sure she doesn’t go into withdrawal, which meant mainlining drugs all the time. Which costs money. She starts with loads of money, but it goes quickly. What I didn’t realize is that many of the pills also count as being hopped up, but they’re not cheap, either. Now that I have a better handle on her, she’s more fun to play. And, now I understand the trait ‘Status Effects Last Longer’ and why I would choose it.


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Streets of Rogue? More like streets of rage!

In my search for the One True Game, I’ve accidentally stumbled upon a game that while I know it’s not the One True Game, it’s pretty damn addictive. It’s called Streets of Rogue, and it’s made by one man, Matt Dabrowski. I repeat, it’s made by one man. That’s pretty incredible given how polished and in-depth the game is. In some ways. I’ll get to that in one minute. I was intrigued by the description of it as Nuclear Throne/Enter the Gungeon meets Deus Ex because I adore the former (especially NT) and did not gel with the latter. It’s a top-down twin-stick rogue-like (or maybe an actual rogue! Who knows these days?) city sim and a half-dozen other genres. I’m saying this with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek because that’s the tone of the game in general. Very madcap and campy and a load of fun.

Let’s start at the beginning.  You’re thrown into Home Base where you meet the Resistance Leader. He gives you a speech about the mayor and how terrible the latter is. The mayor’s so bad, he banned chicken nuggets after one negative incident with them, so chicken nuggets become the currency of the game. The graphics are pixelated and cute, which can be off-putting for some people, but I find it adorable. There is customization, but very rudimentary. A few different hairstyles and colors, but it makes a world of difference that I can make my cute little avatar a woman. And look vaguely Asian.

There are seven starting characters and nineteen characters you can unlock. That’s twenty-six characters in total. Each of them have special abilities and perks as well as negatives in some cases such as the Zombies and Shapeshifters. I will say that the tutorial is not great. You’re given the basics, but each character is not explained well. I’ve had to look at the wikis more often than I care to admit, which can be frustrating in the middle of a run. Oh! Each character has a Big Quest that you try to fulfill throughout the game. The Soldier, for example, has the Big Quest of disabling all the generators on each floor. Here’s the thing. In looking that up to make sure I got it right, I learned that by completing the Big Quest, you’re granted a Super Special Ability that you can use on a new run if you choose the Super Special Abilities mutator before the run. In this case, it’s free ammo reload at the Ammo Dispenser and the Loadout-O-Matic. I did not know this because the game does not tell you this.

It seems as if I’m beating the tutorial drum a lot lately, but it’s important. I understand that there are wikis and such, but one, they take time to be written, and they are not necessarily accurate. I also understand that for one dude, it’s easier to crowd-source to the community than to do it himself. I also blame FromSoft a bit for this or rather the rabid Souls fans because they have set the standard for a truly incisive community. Blame is not the right word, more like attribute it to. When I played Dark Souls III in real time (as opposed to several years later), it was really hard because the wikis were so sparse! Anyway, now that Streets of Rogue has been out for almost a month, the wikis are more fleshed out. I still can’t find all the answers to my questions, but 90% is better than 40%.

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