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4. Re: Steamships Ahoy - Bloody Good Time Oct 30, 2010, 15:13 SBlat
I like it. It's an updated, faster playing and more polished sequel to The Ship.

Most of the gamemodes revolve around the idea of everyone being assigned a target, and everyone knowing they've also been assigned as a target to someone else (but with no idea who your hunter is). Then you have to go and kill your target. You're given a mugshot, name (everyone gets a random character name when they join), and location on your HUD, plus a marker on the map, and you need to make the kill without getting caught by security and without messing up and making them aware you're the one hunting them. Also without getting killed by your hunter. You can kill your hunter in self-defense if you figure out who it is, but everyone else is off limits and deducts points from your score if you guess wrong.

So everyone's running around trying to get their specific target, paranoid that everyone else they see is out to get them, and it's a pretty fun idea. You also have to occasionally stop to eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom (and are vulnerable when doing any of these), there are environmental traps to help you kill your target without bloodying your hands, and there's all sort of extra ways to get points like pickpocketing (or killing a pickpocketer), using different weapons depending on how many points they're assigned on a given round, and boasting. Some game modes only give you one target per round, so you have to try to get the most points possible out of the single kill and then spend the rest of the round avoiding getting killed yourself.

Unfortunately they don't mention a word of this in the sales pitch, or any of the trailers, etc., and instead pitch it as a pure deathmatch game with wacky weapons. So some folks are running around just killing anyone in sight, presumably deleting the game in frustration when they discover they're losing (it might even kick players who kill too many "innocents"). It could do with more on-screen admonishment to point out that you've killed the wrong player and only have one valid target. Or a better tutorial than the singleplayer/bot mode with popup hints that you have to push 'G' to dismiss.

It only has three maps, but they seem to be pretty well designed, with plenty of traps and multiple locations, both on sets and behind them. The eight different characters seem to be diverse enough, with a good spread of them being used when I played. The weapons seem to be numerous and are entertaining.

I didn't really notice any big bugs in the couple of hours I've played, aside from a Steam bug that required me to delete my ClientRegistry.blob and reload before I could join any multiplayer servers. It uses the Source engine, so it's pretty solid and doesn't feel like a console port. That said, it's pretty much guaranteed to not get any more content (or even bugfixes) in the future, unless that single remaining cofounder happens to know how to model, texture, map, and program.

I imagine that without strong developer support it won't keep enough players online to stay fun for too long, but right now it's busy and fun and it's only $5.
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