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Impie

The Demo Was Better (than the Full Version)

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Can you think of any games where you played the demo and liked what you saw, then played the full version and felt disappointed? Either because the game showed potential as a demo, but failed to deliver; or because the demo showed all there was to see, making a full version feel redundant.

Operation Body Count Was one of those games for me. It's a terrible Wolf3D engine game that you could boil down to Jihadenstein 3D: you enter the UN Towers to wipe out a bunch of Islamic Jihad terrorists. The demo had a title screen that grabbed you with bloody text and an intense news blurb about a terrorist takeover. The main menu was fun because it played a random action sound each time the cursor moved. The demo was a single level, a random floor of an office building populated by uzi-toting terrorists (some of whom would play possum), dead hostages, a couple rats, a couple assault rifle terrorists, and a big badass Arab boss who melted when you killed him. You could blast away the walls with the grenade launcher, too. And the difficulty settings added more baddies to shoot, and even had a random generator that "shuffled" the positions of all the items and enemies to make the map different each time you played. When you killed the last terrorist, it was over; and when you died, the head terrorist taunted you before booting you to the high score screen. It wasn't a good game by any means, but I'd played worse, and it was still kinda fun for a few minutes. Really the demo had everything the game could possibly offer that was interesting.

So I play the full version, and it's a mess. This anti-terrorism game starts you off fighting rats in the sewers for half a dozen maps before you see your first terrorist. The weapon graphics are blown up to 1.5 times their original size and look worse than ever. There are badly rendered floor and ceiling textures. And that office level from the demo? That's 90% of the game, copy-pasted with a few minor changes. The rest is sewers and blown-up floors with no real detail whatsoever. The menu doesn't even have the cool random sounds anymore!

A couple other examples I could think of:

Nitemare 3D. Another Wolf3D clone, but this one had a full shareware episode. It was a kid-friendly haunted house game with puzzles and Universal Studios monsters for the enemies. Not great, but not a bad way to burn an afternoon, and it ended on a cliffhanger. Also the music was pretty jazzy. The full version had two more episodes, both of which were totally unremarkable, lazily designed, and a bore to play through.

Assault Rigs. I suppose this was another case of there not being enough gameplay/content for a full game, but the design changes between the cool urban warfare motif of the demo and the no-detail, watered-down Tron look of the final version didn't help it feel any less tedious.

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Rise of the Triad. The full game is not bad, but the shareware was more remarkable for some reason (the levels are different too)

But honestly, that kind of thing never bothered me too much. Maybe because back then registered games worked more like a expansion instead of be a new experience. Duke Nukem I and Jill of the Jungle are my best examples.

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I liked how the demo of Soldier of Fortune 2: Double Helix had an individual mission selector unlike the full version of the game.

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Impie said:

Nitemare 3D. Another Wolf3D clone, but this one had a full shareware episode. It was a kid-friendly haunted house game with puzzles and Universal Studios monsters for the enemies. Not great, but not a bad way to burn an afternoon, and it ended on a cliffhanger. Also the music was pretty jazzy. The full version had two more episodes, both of which were totally unremarkable, lazily designed, and a bore to play through.

the shareware episode is cool... for the first level. the second level, for some bizarre reason, amps up the difficulty-curve way too high, having you fend off witches which can zap away half your health, skeletons that can seemingly hit you through walls, and stupid closet-encounters that you can only react to if you have the foreknowledge about it. and worst of all, your starter weapon fires projectiles, while the witches and skeletons have hitscans. and there are puzzles which you can get permanently stuck on because you can't pull objects.

i kinda liked it when i was younger, though. but i never figured out how to beat the last level.

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F.E.A.R. It was one of those demos that don't show an actual portion of the game, but are stitched together from various interesting moments. Of course, the full game wasn't as densely packed with memorable scenes.

And a little bit of the opposite (The Demo Didn't Do It Justice): Tron 2.0. The only thing available for singleplayer in the demo was a light cycle arcade. First person gameplay was only there as a competitive multiplayer mode. Only later I discovered that the game was notable for its singleplayer campaign with rich plot and atmosphere.

Conicidentally, both games are by the same company.

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I remember how I loved the demo of Star Wars: Dark Forces. It's not that the full version was a disappointment, but it somehow felt different from what I expected when playing the demo level. Also the game gets pretty hard sometimes, especially with the save checkpoint system.

Rise of Nations and its expansion both have demo versions that show quite a bit of gameplay. You can have unlimited "Quick Battle" (custom scenario) sessions with no tech level restrictions, although not all nations are available. The demo of Thrones and Patriots also includes a substantial part of one of the campaigns. The Conquer the World mode in the full version felt pretty slow to me anyway. It should be noted though that the game has an excellent soundtrack.

I think that many "Apogee model" shareware games had a tendency to show off a lot of cool stuff in the shareware episode, often making the registered levels feel like "more of the same". I would say that Thor's Hammer is a notable example. In the shareware episode, the player character is sent into a village which is essentially a hub level much like in Hexen, and completes obligatory as well as optional quests for the villagers. Eventually the player builds up enough strength to defeat the main boss, a necromancer who has entrenched in a nearby castle. Many quest locations are uniquely textured and decorated with props not used elsewhere, so that orc-infested caves, abandoned mines, catacombs and underground passages all have their own distinctive look. In the registered episodes, the player is given a more or less linear path, and the new levels recycle the already familiar textures, monsters and music.

I liked Nitemare 3-D for whatever reason, although admittedly I did not bother to play much further than the first level. BTW, I think that the original hand-drawn graphics are better than the pre-rendered ones which were introduced in the DOS v2.0 and the subsequent Windows releases.

As for Operation: Body Count, is the demo level a unique one, like in Corridor 7?

Noiser said:

Rise of the Triad. The full game is not bad, but the shareware was more remarkable for some reason (the levels are different, btw)

IIRC the shareware levels also feature some of the enemies and weapons that are actually encountered rather late in the registered game.

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The Darkness II. The demo lasts about 40 minutes and gives you a mildly entertaining mindless corridor shooter, seems like it could go anywhere. Then you try the actual game, and you're done in a couple more hours with nothing particularly interesting happening.

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The only one I can think of.. was one of the earlier Tomb Raider games. With the full version of the game, the controls were all fucked and I couldn't get them set up the way I had them in the demo. It totally threw me off playing the damned thing. Bah.

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Alien Vs. Predator (2010)

I remember they let people check out the multiplayer death match prior to its release. I did have a lot of fun with that. But once the full game came out, it turned out to be pretty sub-par. Though in retrospect, it was not such a bad game. Nevertheless, I was quite disappointed, because I was expecting a lot from that game leading up to its release.

Performing fatalities on people was too much of a risk in death match; it became a conga-line of death, because you could just sneak up on someone in the middle of performing a fatality. You didn't even have to sneak, because they were stuck in an animation. Or you could just be shot to pieces while you're in the middle of ripping out a xenomorph's tongue as the predator, because you're stuck. I think once, there were 5 fatalities in a row when i was playing, which is pretty absurd.

EDIT:

Hmmmm, if Doom 4 will allow people to perform fatalities on one another in Death Match, I wonder how it will work around these "Conga-lines of Death". If you're able to just break away from the animation, than all should be fine I think.

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Strife counts, I guess. I haven't actually played the demo, but I've heard that it was slightly more elegant in its approach to non-linearity. In the full game "the right person to work for" is being shoved in your face, while "the wrong person" is tucked away in some basement. I guess they wanted to reduce the chance of the player meeting the bad guy first and getting stuck while thinking it was the right way to go. Should've just make the screw up non-permanent instead.

In addition to that, the rest of the game doesn't really meet the standart of openness that the beginning had promised.

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I find with episodic FPS games I usually enjoy the first episode (shareware episode) a little more than the 'registered' episodes, but there's games where it is consistently good from beginning to end e.g. the entirety of Quake 1.

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Cyanosis said:

I find with episodic FPS games I usually enjoy the first episode (shareware episode) a little more than the 'registered' episodes, but there's games where it is consistently good from beginning to end e.g. the entirety of Quake 1.

Quake is pretty damn good. Duke Nukem 3D's second episode is also pretty neat, if a bit frustrating. episode 3 is pretty bad, and i haven't played episode 4 so i don't have a opinion on it.

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Avoozl said:

I liked how the demo of Soldier of Fortune 2: Double Helix had an individual mission selector unlike the full version of the game.


You can enable a level select in the full version.

Open the console at the main menu after loading the game, press shift and ~ at the same time.

Type "hash sv_cheats 1" without the quotes then press enter, remember to put the _ in sv_cheats.

Then type "raven 1" in the console, without the quotes, and press enter.

That'll create a new icon when you go to the single player menu with a raven on it, you can select any level from there.

And I'm glad to see someone else who appreciates SOF2. Aside from Doom 1/2, it's my favorite FPS. I'm not sure how many hours I've sunk into it and it's random mission generator, but it's quite a few. If you haven't tried it, I would suggest downloading the Weapons Mod for it.

http://www.moddb.com/games/soldier-of-fortune-ii/addons/weapons-mod-v5

It adds a few new weapons, changes the behavior of a few, and overall it feels better. You do more damage, the enemies do more damage, enemy body armor actually matters. If you shoot a guy who's wearing body armor with a 9mm submachine gun, you'll end up wasting a magazine. And enemy grenades actually become something to worry about. And if an enemy has an M-60, they become a real threat.

And thanks for reminding me about SoF2, I haven't played it for a few years. So I'm going to go do that now.

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Cool, I should try that mod. I've been planning to replay the game since forever.

One thing about it I never liked is how enemy damage gets ridiculously high about halfway into the game. The weapons are the same, but they're suddenly much more devastating. Very meta, always screwed with my suspension of disbelief. Does the mod change that by any chance?

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Maybe sometimes I've played a shareware of a game.. liked it, then (much) later get the full version.. play the shareware part again.. but then after finishing it, never get started on playing the full version parts.

I think with SOF1 I first downloaded the multiplayer demo. Played it all night, liked it a lot, went to the shop next morning and bought the game.. but never played it in multiplayer again. Except maybe once I just was curious if there were any servers still around and played a bit.

With AVP2, kind of the opposite. I played the singleplayer demo, never tried the multiplayer demo. Bought the game, played the multiplayer a lot until the master server shutdown thing. I've played the singleplayer parts through a few times, but it was like.. yea ok, but nothing compared to the multiplayer.

I was disappointed with the new avp, but never tried in demo.

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Perdition's Gate for Doom 2. The 15 levels that come with the free demo version are much better than the later levels that came with the retail version of it.

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The only game I can remember for having a remarkable demo was The Stanley Parable which was completely different to the game and gives backstory to a few inside jokes in the main game.

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Da Werecat said:

Cool, I should try that mod. I've been planning to replay the game since forever.

One thing about it I never liked is how enemy damage gets ridiculously high about halfway into the game. The weapons are the same, but they're suddenly much more devastating. Very meta, always screwed with my suspension of disbelief. Does the mod change that by any chance?


Well, basically with the mod all enemies are dangerous since the start, it doesn't really have a ramp up. But John Mullins is just as dangerous as them, so it never seems unfair. What I think it fixed is that body armor matters, if enemies are shooting you with pistol caliber rounds, it'll decrease your body armor before decreasing health. If they're shooting you with rifles, it'll decrease both. The only increase in difficulty would be when enemies start wearing body armor. But at that point you should have a rifle, and that'll go through armor. And if you don't have a rifle, you need to start getting head shots. But there's really no ramp up in difficulty, they're dangerous on any level.

I generally play it on soldier of fortune difficulty, with 1 save per level (as some of them are kind of long) and with weapon inaccuracy turned on. Because I'm a sadist.

But it does have a 'custom' difficulty setting, where you can select the enemies behavior from amateur to soldier of fortune, select your weapon carry capacity, and toggle weapon inaccuracy and number of saves. But to be fair, during the car chase in the beginning where you're stuck to a turret mounted PKM I do have to turn on god mode when using the mod. Because the enemies are using machineguns and helicopters, and you're stuck in one place, they'll tear you to pieces.

And if you need them, just look at the gamefaqs cheat codes. The game lasts a lot longer when you can have some fun with it. The timescale code is fun. I have .4 timescale mapped to my mouse 4 button, and timescale 1 mapped to mouse 5, so when I jump over some boxes and shoot someone in the head with a shotgun I can watch it in slow mo, then switch back into normal speed. Makes me feel like I'm in a John Woo movie.

http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/477504-soldier-of-fortune-ii-double-helix/cheats

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Not that the retail game was disappointing, but I always have fond memories of the THPS2 demo for the PS1. The problem was that it centred around the game's best level (Marseille), had 2P support and even threw in a limited version of the map editor. Entire nights of drinking in my house were wasted just on passing the joypads around the room, months before the full game came out. And even when I did finally get my hands on a copy, Marseille was still the staple of multiplayer for months afterwards.

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Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure shareware comes to mind. I waited over a decade to play the second and third episodes and was sorely disappointed.

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I'm rather surprised nobody has (jokingly or not) listed Knee-Deep in the Dead yet. :P

On a maybe-related note, I remember enjoying the hell out of the first episode of Xargon way back when and have a bunch of the levels burned into my brain. I played the full version a year-ish ago and can't remember a thing from the second two episodes, though that could just be the nostalgia goggles fogging up.

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Doom shareware.
Farcry (2004). - That island was amazing.
Doom 3 and a certain demo i played of it.
A lot of the Playstation games (ps1).

Actually... everytime a demo was as good as a small yet full game. So one buys the full game and concludes that playing the Demo was a lot more fun.

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Da Werecat said:

Okay, thanks!


No problem. And don't let my comments about the weapons mod making it more difficult dissuade you from replaying it. It ends up making it a lot funner.

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The leaked Alpha of Doom 3, even though it was totally unstable it was good fun and hyped me up big time. While I enjoyed and appreciated the final product, the Alpha pretty much mashed up the best features and moments the entire game had to offer (excluding Hell and the Boss battles) and shoved it into a 5 minute demo.

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MrFlibble said:

I would say that Thor's Hammer is a notable example. In the shareware episode, the player character is sent into a village which is essentially a hub level much like in Hexen, and completes obligatory as well as optional quests for the villagers. Eventually the player builds up enough strength to defeat the main boss, a necromancer who has entrenched in a nearby castle. Many quest locations are uniquely textured and decorated with props not used elsewhere, so that orc-infested caves, abandoned mines, catacombs and underground passages all have their own distinctive look. In the registered episodes, the player is given a more or less linear path, and the new levels recycle the already familiar textures, monsters and music.

Did not expect Thor's Hammer to come up. I thought I was the only one who ever played it. Heheh.

I actually kinda liked the full version of Thor's Hammer 3D because they managed to make all three episodes distinct locale-wise, which really helped it feel less redundant than other games. Even though episode 2 was totally linear.

MrFlibble said:

As for Operation: Body Count, is the demo level a unique one, like in Corridor 7?

I believe the demo map is level 8 of the registered version, but the big Arab bruiser doesn't show up 'til later in the game.

Xaser said:

I'm rather surprised nobody has (jokingly or not) listed Knee-Deep in the Dead yet. :P

I am too, actually, that it took so long for someone to bring it up. I can see how people wouldn't care for episodes 2 and 3, although episode 3 has my favorite official map (pandemonium).

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Jello said:

You can enable a level select in the full version.

Open the console at the main menu after loading the game, press shift and ~ at the same time.

Type "hash sv_cheats 1" without the quotes then press enter, remember to put the _ in sv_cheats.

Then type "raven 1" in the console, without the quotes, and press enter.

That'll create a new icon when you go to the single player menu with a raven on it, you can select any level from there.

And I'm glad to see someone else who appreciates SOF2. Aside from Doom 1/2, it's my favorite FPS. I'm not sure how many hours I've sunk into it and it's random mission generator, but it's quite a few. If you haven't tried it, I would suggest downloading the Weapons Mod for it.

http://www.moddb.com/games/soldier-of-fortune-ii/addons/weapons-mod-v5

It adds a few new weapons, changes the behavior of a few, and overall it feels better. You do more damage, the enemies do more damage, enemy body armor actually matters. If you shoot a guy who's wearing body armor with a 9mm submachine gun, you'll end up wasting a magazine. And enemy grenades actually become something to worry about. And if an enemy has an M-60, they become a real threat.

And thanks for reminding me about SoF2, I haven't played it for a few years. So I'm going to go do that now.

Well I guess there was more to the game than I originally knew, good to see that the main game also has a mission selector. Yes I have already tried the weapons mod, it really does add a lot to the game.

I have already played SoF2 to death though and only pull it out every so many months or even a whole year to play it again, the same goes for a lot of older games of mine just recently I reinstalled KotOR 1.

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Megalyth said:

Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure shareware comes to mind. I waited over a decade to play the second and third episodes and was sorely disappointed.


The first episode is definitely the best, but I honestly had a lot of fun with the retail version. There was enough variation in the 2nd and 3rd episodes to maintain interest. A few years ago, some sadistic bastard made what is probably the only mod that exists for Cosmo, it's overly difficult and not really worth the trouble.

Shadow Warrior was incredibly disappointing. The sheer diversity of weapons, enemies and locations from the demo gave way to some 20+ additional levels, nearly all of which were mediocre. Not only that, but all the new stuff (enemies, bosses, weapons, locales) were underwhelming. The demo was like four massive worlds that were clearly part of an epic story, while the rest felt like generic FPS environments.

Doomhuntress said:

Quake is pretty damn good. Duke Nukem 3D's second episode is also pretty neat, if a bit frustrating. episode 3 is pretty bad, and i haven't played episode 4 so i don't have a opinion on it.


Huh. I found episode 2 to be really boring and same-y, and actually thought episode 3 was much better. Episode 4 has some of the game's best moments.

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GoatLord said:

Huh. I found episode 2 to be really boring and same-y, and actually thought episode 3 was much better. Episode 4 has some of the game's best moments.

Episode 3 were just worse designed city-levels with more moments of tedium because there's a lot of more dangerous baddies running around. Episode 2 had some tedium, too, but i think the theme and cool music more than made up for it. Dark Side in particular felt very sinister and great.

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