Gothem Episode 1: The Knight Awakens

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Wildcard Stream Vol. 70 - Superhero Games

Ignoring fires, identity theft, and threatening Mario at his birthday party. And these are the good guys!

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Feb 8, 2024
Part of Series: Wildcard Streams
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♦ Livestream of 4 ZZT worlds. ♦

♦ Stream Contents ♦
• (0:00) "Punisher" by The PC Pirate (1993) []
• (18:51) "X-League (v1.2)" by Kevin Anderson []
• (36:06) "X-League II: Search For The Diamond Sword" by Kevin Anderson (1993) []
• (55:03) "Gothem Episode 1: The Knight Awakens" by Jerry Ellis (1997) []

A handful of superhero games for this week!

Punisher isn't anything too exciting, find the "Mega Chip" that Kingpin has stolen and get it before he sells it to... Iraq? Damn. What a game.

In practice it's a very basic action game with big empty rooms that have creatures and other hazards sprinkled around. The board titles imply that there is a time travel element involved, but you genuinely would have no idea normally. As an action game, it's minimal, but the challenges are easy enough to deal with that it's playable even if it's not all that exciting.

The final showdown has a few enemies guarding Kingpin that home in on the player and can't be killed, which is actually a surprisingly effective way to prevent bullet-spam from being effective. It's a smart technique, and definitely the most interesting part of the game.

Afterwards, two X-League games that half-heartedly rebrand the X-Men. Fires have broken out across the town, and you need to use your molecular copying powers to put them out. Or not. You don't really do any fire fighting honestly. The game is more of a pseudo-puzzle in finding the right items that allow you to do do something elsewhere, but it's never all that clear when you can do something new. A bug on one board caused a soft-lock as well. Eventually you discover Backdraft started the fires and fight him in a volcano to rescue your friends. The end.

Its sequel has nothing to do with any of that though, and seems more like the name was slapped onto a different idea. You find a map to Carlsbad caverns, a strange medallion, and a note about a powerful diamond sword contained within. This one ends up lacking compared to its predecessor as the caverns are quite empty, and require finding hidden crystals throughout, some of which require others to be found before you can find them. Mix in a few board connection errors, and
too many flags being used, and the game becomes unplayable as intended.

On the bright side, the big demon you fight at the end is kind of cute.

Finally, Gothem, a Batman fan game by Jerry Ellis, the author of the beloved and bizarre ZZT Baloo game. When the Riddler has the mayor assassinated just before the election that he is also running in, it seems like there's no hope for the city. Batman has been framed for the crime and needs to prove his innocence. But oh boy is "innocent" not the word you'd use to describe Ellis's Batman. A wild cast of characters and incredible dialog make this one quite the experience, and a lot of fun to play just to see what will happen next.

Just be aware that the original unmodified game does have the misfortune of containing some slurs that always seem to ruin the easy recommendation these games would get otherwise.

Thanks again to The Green Herring ( for the thumbnail art

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♦ Originally streamed on February 4th, 2024 ♦

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