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GoatLord

Why was Daikatana so bad?

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I've watched a review of the game and I know it's detested almost universally. But who has played it and can attest to its apparent crappiness?

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Is it time for another Daikatana thread?

I'v only played the first green level, and honestly the design isn't terrible, but c'mon... Robot Frogs? Who the fuck thought that was a goo... Oh... John Romero.

And +1 for the name Superfly Johnson. Only in a Neo-Cyberpunk setting like Daikatana's does someone exist with the birth-name of Superfly. Much less Superfly Johnson, which I'm pretty sure is, all in all, a penis joke.

BECAUSE BLACK MEN HAVE BIG FAT COCKS. Or so I am told.

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I haven't played it, but I have a little doubt: Why are almost everyone so offended about things like "John Romero's about to make you his bitch" or "Suck it down"? I mean, it's not really a big deal, just marketing, which is irrelevant if the game is good. And the thing is, apparently this game wasn't good, so then we have: a)aggressive publicity and b)a bad game. Maybe that's the reason(s).

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GoatLord said:

I've watched a review of the game and I know it's detested almost universally. But who has played it and can attest to its apparent crappiness?


Took me an hour to get through the first level. Its pretty much the first and second level that are fucking awful. After that, everything gets so much better. More like Half Life better, less like Quake better. Its just not nearly as fun as Half Life or Quake, yet made with the same engine basis.

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I don't know if many were so much offended by the marketing as they were embarrassed by an ad that was basically saying, "Hey, remember that guy that helped program Doom? Yeah? Well, how about sucking his cock. Literally. Because he has a new game out or something."

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GoatLord said:

I don't know if many were so much offended by the marketing as they were embarrassed by an ad that was basically saying, "Hey, remember that guy that helped program Doom? Yeah? Well, how about sucking his cock. Literally. Because he has a new game out or something."


I didn't even know about the marketing campaign until someone on Doomworld told me.

Time to dig up the most recent Daikatana thread:
http://www.doomworld.com/vb/everything-else/69469-daikatana-1-on-squareenix-humblebundle/

Here are my notes from my first hour of play:

Wow... dialog, dialog dialog. Thankfully its all in cut scene form with voice over. There's no way I'd be able to read all of this. All of the dialog is done between 2 men instead of showing what had happened in the past.

'I'm just a guy teaching kids how to fight with a sword.'

The death scene could have been touching with a closeup on the face, but the graphics weren't the best. So why even have cut scenes. Oh well.

Have you ever experienced a cut scene so long you forget that you're playing a game?

I'll be honest here and say I don't care for the enemy design. Frogs that get you to look down and dragon flies that get you to look up. So you'll never know what's hitting you until you look at your feet and then look up and then at your feet and then look up. At least with the dragon flies you can hear them. The water is green making me think its poison. The frogs spit and poison you. They're green on the green ground. The buzzing of the dragon flies will make anyone go crazy. At least with cacos and imps you didn't need so much aim as toads and dragon flies.

I do like the fact you can destroy the dragonfly eggs before they hatch.

I'm shocked there are such loading times on my PC. Half Life 1 has 0 load times.

Ah there's the turret. Here's the thing when you die it zooms in on your death and not what killed you. Sometimes it'll focus on me dead then a dragon fly will come in and it'll focus on the dragon fly even when the turret killed me. Ah the turret is straight ahead. Silly me for missing that one.

Running by turrets just means more turrets to run by. Cool.

Die wait to load. Die wait to load. Instakilled by turrets.

Ah barely visible fruit is health in this game. Good call. I guess its realistic, but it doesn't stand out and well for the first time I need to focus to pick up something. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing.

But the health packs you don't need to focus on to pick up. Wow. Consistency.

Maybe its me, maybe I need to lower the difficulty. Well then. I feared unskipable cut scene, but no I hit everything and then hit ESC and I can skip the cut scene. Whew thank goth.

I'm shocked no one tried to remake this game in the source engine.

Dragonflies a literal army of dragon flies coming out of a building. Wow.

LOL The game says you're protected by the megashield in front of the door well don't go into the doorway because it just kills you megashield and all. I get this sense from playing the game that its just saying fuck you player. Don't walk into the laser door when you're too busy looking up and dodging projectiles!

Well down in the moat, it hurts you to drop down, I can't figure out how to climb down the ladder. There are enemies in the water and your ion blaster hurts you if you use it under water. Well fuck.

Holy shit. So you can barely see one green thing from another green things, turrets are virtually instadeath, you need to carefully pick up fruit but not med packs and there's a constant buzzing. Death causes waiting to load even on modern systems.

I didn't get it before when I'd watch youtube play throughs. Now I get it. It is just a big fuck you to anyone that plays.

edit: holy shit that was an hour?

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Doominator2 said:

It was only bad for the people who became John Romero's bitch (AKA, people who actually played the whole game)

Nah, people who paid the MSRP $59.99 for it were the ones who, in the immortal words of John himself as he once posted them to Usenet, were to "drink from [his] knob."

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This sounds pretty frickin' bad. Can anyone shed light on how/why John screwed up so bad?

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He screwed up because he didn't understand project management. His ideas weren't awful; the execution was mediocre because the game was too ambitious for the team he had.

I'm playing through the first episode very slowly. I'd like to be a little quicker, but I keep getting stuck because of confusing design decisions (Half-Life had the rule: do the opposite of the signs - this doesn't). So far the game feels like a Quake II mod.

To anyone having problems with turrets: shoot the control boxes connected to them. Bye-bye turrets!

Question: how are there voice-overs? My Steam copy doesn't seem to have voice-overs. I'd really like those. Reading dialogue in cutscenes where I can't control the pace really sucks.

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Aliotroph? said:

Question: how are there voice-overs? My Steam copy doesn't seem to have voice-overs. I'd really like those. Reading dialogue in cutscenes where I can't control the pace really sucks.


Did you turn down the cinema volume in the sound options? That slider controls voices, including your partners' (useless and annoying) in-game banter.

As for 'how did it go so wrong' by far the best expose of the game's development I've read was written by Geoff Keighley for Gamespot. It's no longer hosted by Gamespot but archive.org still has it.

Bonus: dotcom-era web design. I had completely forgotten that webpage ads were ever that small and unobtrusive.

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SuperflyJohnson said:

Did you turn down the cinema volume in the sound options? That slider controls voices, including your partners' (useless and annoying) in-game banter.


The cinema volume is set the same as the music volume and I can hear the music just fine.

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Aliotroph? said:

The cinema volume is set the same as the music volume and I can hear the music just fine.


I confess I haven't installed the Steam version yet although I do have it. I will try installing it tomorrow to see if I get voices. In the meantime, have you tried using the unofficial 1.3 patch I linked earlier? I recall they added some new options for sound in 1.3 so one of those might affect the voices as well.

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I kind of wonder if Romero's idea to split id into sister companies -- one focused on design and the other on tech -- would have been best for all involved parties. Hell, you could even make a pun from it, id Software and ego Software.

Ion was unsustainable and ended up crashing and burning around 2005 (and was already on its last legs in 2003) due to its overambitious pure design focus. id has become extremely stale and became a once-a-decade tech demo company with little regard for inspiring design. Both approaches are heavily imbalanced and have brought ruination to both companies*.

*Yes, I know id is still around, but they fucking suck in their current state and are not doing too well. I'm sure Zenimax is ready to pull the trigger if Doom 4 doesn't sell like hotcakes. Their real purchase was the powerful IPs, not the crumbling studio.

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I think that Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka's infamous review of the demo influenced the opinion of a lot of people for decades to come. Not that he was wrong.

A part of the review too good not to quote:
JOHN ROMERO: "Alright team, I've got a fabulous idea for a game! I've been listening to what the gamers want and are looking for, and I've got some killer thoughts! This will be the best game ever created!"
ION STORM TEAM: "HOORAY!!!"
JOHN ROMERO: "First of all, we'll need to make our own engine. A superb engine, featuring advanced effects like T&L, dynamic LOD, curved surfaces and-"
POD PEOPLE: "John xyblah grawh rawwwwr!" (translated: "John, you are our bitch now!")
JOHN ROMERO: (shot by evil Pod Peoples' ray gun) "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"
ION STORM TEAM: "John, are you okay?"
JOHN ROMERO: (slowly getting up from the ground) "I LIKE BUGS AND FROGS."
ION STORM TEAM: "What?"
JOHN ROMERO: "'SUPERFLY JOHNSON' IS A GOOD NAME FOR A BLACK MAN."
ION STORM TEAM: "We quit."

A part of the review too good not to quote:
ION STORM TEAM: "John, what should we do about health? Should we just stick with the traditional health kits?"
POD PEOPLE: (quietly chanting) "Lame healing fruit... lame healing fruit... lame healing fruit..."
JOHN ROMERO: "WE NEED LAME HEALING FRUIT."
KILLCREEK: "John, I'm really worried about the direction that this project is heading-"
POD PEOPLE: (shoots Killcreek with their Gamma Ray Gun)
KILLCREEK: "I HAVE BREASTS."
JOHN ROMERO: "WE NEED MORE FROGS."
ION STORM TEAM: "We quit."

A part of the review too good not to quote:
ION STORM TEAM: "Should we spend a lot of time on making these maps or what?"
JOHN ROMERO: "NO. WE WILL MAKE THE GAME CRASH BEFORE ANYBODY CAN SEE THEM. SAVE YOUR TIME."
KILLCREEK: "I HAVE 10 FINGERS AND 10 TOES."
JOHN ROMERO: "MORE FROGS."
POD PEOPLE: (laughing in glee)

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GoatLord said:

This sounds pretty frickin' bad. Can anyone shed light on how/why John screwed up so bad?


The N64 version is far worse or so I hear. Since they share the name everyone says oh its THE PC version that's bad.

Here's my take on why its so bad:
-Small green enemies on green terrain.
-Uncertainty of what to do less than where to go. Even watching video play throughs, sometimes I still don't know what to do.
-Getting stuck in areas.
-Buzzing, constant buzzing of enemies.
-Non humanoid enemies.
-The load times my goth the load times. Half Life 1 has instant load times.
-Upgrade system introduced in level 3 that I can't understand.
-All weapons have a way to hurt you. Not that big of a deal, but I've died from my own gun a few times.
-10 minute cutscene with no mouth movement. Thankfully it is skipable.

Most of those things are in the first two levels only.

With the N64 version people complained about allies that don't exist in game are in the cut scenes. Long slow elevators. Switches that require your allies that aren't there.

I've been replaying Quake to compare the two and Quake is just so smooth and fun. Dai-Katana is fun in small bits, but not extended periods of time.

The Gameboy Color version is fucking awesome.

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The reason for the load times is because the speed of the progress bar is tied to the damn ticking sound it plays. The 1.3 patch mostly seems to correct it by turning off the sound.

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The level loads were actually tied to vsync; before 1.3 the way to deal with it was just to play without vsync.

I don't think the tick sound was doing anything wrong other than be annoying (and really, how is THAT out of place in this game).

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The game isn't "so bad". It's mediocre and the execution of certain features leaves to be desired, to say the least. As someone said, the project was too ambitious and eventually grew over their heads. However, the notion that it's absolute rubbish is typical anti-hype, bipolar internet bullshit (much like the hate DNF and ACM get, for example).

I played through DKT on coop mode (and with the unofficial 1.3 patch) a couple of weeks ago and it was okay by and large, some good aspects, some bad ones. Nothing I would want to replay any time soon, but glad I finally did it. The cutscenes don't play on coop (whether this is a good or bad thing may be debatable); however, the benefit is that you can respawn when you die, and more importantly, you don't have to deal with the retarded NPC AI.

The first episode is the most annoying one - I think this is what most people base their opinion/dislike on. It's pretty hard and you don't have any upgrades, yet. After the first episode, the design gets better. Second episode is Hexen-like, you have to find a number of items in a hub environment. Third episode is nice actually, good style and quite enjoyable. Forth, so and so. Each episode has its own set of weapons and enemies, something that you don't see in many other games.

Apart from the AI (on single player), I think the gameplay suffers most from being somewhat torn between classic FPS style and a type of realism where everything is, well, less meaty and requires better accuracy which clashes with the controls and speed. I mean, being the Q2 engine and all.

Not a great game, maybe not even a good one, but still not as bad as many people claim it to be, IMO.

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SuperflyJohnson said:

The level loads were actually tied to vsync; before 1.3 the way to deal with it was just to play without vsync.

I don't think the tick sound was doing anything wrong other than be annoying (and really, how is THAT out of place in this game).


According to one of the guides on Steam, the vsync issue causes the screen to wait for each tick to play. That sounds about right in terms of its behaviour. Not sure I understand how that could happen.

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I just played 2 hours and made it through one goddamn level (Crematory). Not because of the difficulty.

Seems like with Superfly Johnson, he randomly gets crushed a lot. It also seems that when he's with me, suddenly the level design gets very hall room hall room-ish. The thing that really slowed me down was not knowing to blow up the door lock. I keep firing rockets at the door panel. Door panel is not the door lock above. Then it took a while to realize that I need to rocket shoot grates. Now I know for next time.

Once the level was complete it told me I had finished the level in 4 minutes.

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geo said:

I just played 2 hours and made it through one goddamn level (Crematory).


If you hang around the beginning of that level you may have noticed a familiar organ tune playing in the background (in the room with Mishima's portrait on the wall before you go outside).

For the curious, it's e1m1.

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SuperflyJohnson said:

If you hang around the beginning of that level you may have noticed a familiar organ tune playing in the background (in the room with Mishima's portrait on the wall before you go outside).

For the curious, it's e1m1.


I'm not sure that I've heard any music other than the menu music.

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geo said:

I'm not sure that I've heard any music other than the menu music.


Well that's a shame since the music is arguably the least bad thing in the entire game, exempting multiplayer which is pretty good but rarely given a chance. The music is in mp3 format; originally the game was going to use Redbook audio off the CD, and there's still a console command you can use to enable that if you wanted to listen to your own music CD. It shouldn't be enabled from a fresh install, though. Only other thing I can think of to check would be the obvious music volume.

I'm waiting for the 1.3 download server to come back up so I can behold those beautiful neon green swamps and derivative brown sewers once more.

edit: scratch that, found a mirror. I made myself sit through the intro again. It's still excruciating.

Turret protip: you get cumulative xp from destroying the turret before its control box. This can be done easily if you rush up and hop on top of the turret before it has a chance to hurt you much.

My voices are there, so the Steam version seems up to par with retail at a glance.

I still need to play that GBC version. It's hard to imagine someone outside of Ion (or even outside of Romero) could take the IP seriously enough to give it a professional and polished treatment.

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