I just completed my recent playthrough of GearHead1. Xiap and his lancemates- the robot Omega 1004, guardian Meskyfer, and combat medic Joyjen- defeated Typhon and the Clan Ironwind army. During the final battle Xiap also managed to shoot down Yjin’s neko, which was a nice bonus.
Overall I really enjoyed this playthrough. I think the game successfully captures the mood of 80s/90s mecha shows; there’s an ever-present feeling of peril and loss without any sort of grimdark affectation. There are so many things to do. The world feels active and vibrant.
Xiap was created as a basic mode character since I haven’t played the game in ages and chose to play it like a newbie. He didn’t learn mecha engineering for the same reason. I didn’t use save file backups or other cheats because I wanted to see how badly the game could kick my arse.
GearHead is a lot more forgiving than most roguelike games, but this is not to say that it lacks challenge, exactly. Losing a prized mecha can be almost as bad as dying; losing a lancemate can be worse than that. Xiap lost plenty of both over the course of the campaign. I guess I just like that feeling of peril and loss mentioned above? The only time I was ever tempted to cheat was during the great Namok bus stop pineapple salad incident, but I kept going and soon formed a new lance (who probably had lots of difficult questions about what happened to my previous lance). It might be a good idea to add a difficulty setting like DoomRL, though I have no idea right now how that would work in practice.
I didn’t encounter any truly game-breaking bugs, but found plenty of small ones. The homebrew scripting language that all the plots are written in is just as hateful as I remember, but fortunately I remember it better than I thought I would. The same goes for Pascal, honestly.
My goal now is to fix problems and polish up the rough edges. I will probably want to add some new content later- there have been requests for the rusty scepter quest, and there really ought to be more than four guaranteed lancemates- but for right now the emphasis will be on making sure the stuff that’s there works well. There are a number of things which I now regard as bad design decisions that will be left in the game because that’s just the way GearHead-1 is. It’s a fine line between problems that ought to be fixed and problems that are essential identity.
Victory file below the fold. Continue reading