Some Love for Kindred Spirits

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Posts: 1803
Joined: Mar 22nd '09, 16:33
Location: Hampshire, UK

I've been out of the loop for a good few years now, only just yesterday did I finish a playthrough of Phoenix on TC for the first time. It boggles the mind why I didn't bother doing that when I was 15 (I think I may have lied and said I did - that review I did of Phoenix, on reflection, stinks a bit).

Kindred Spirits sits the squishy nook between Phoenix and Rubicon (I guess that means it coincides with WMaiD's time period), and plays just like an old-school Infinity scenario done really well. The combat is challenging but by no means as trying as Phoenix. I appreciate the improved version of the standard Cyborgs, they make quite dangerous enemies on TC. I also appreciate the absence of an Assault Rifle, it does make me realise how much I rely on the bloody thing. Really, the only thing left to talk about is dotting the I's and crossing the T's.

The exposition level is splendid. I'll never complain about being rewarded for exploration. There's a simple joy to it that Rubicon did so well.

Level 2 is great. The Water set has always been my favourite, and Ryoko applies it so well; this level looks great. I don't think I could spot anything from another texture set. The combat here is easy enough but still fun. I don't especially have any criticisms, I just wish I had a little more pistol ammo! Some of the monsters in the closets in the northwest don't activate until you run by them. I don't know if there's a way to access the third secret skull without rocket jumping.

Level 3 is also essentially flawless. By now, I'm really starting to appreciate the usefulness of the SMG versus troopers. A couple of the secrets on this level are nigh-impossible to locate without just blind wall-tabbing. The reapperance of the M2 MOAH is a let down, to be sure, but I think perhaps you've nerfed it's health, which I think is a good idea. I don't want to give the impression I'm shitting in your hamper, this level is magnificent. With the enforcers in challenging positions and the death-dealing Cyborgs, I did die once or twice on this level.

If I had to find a favourite, I'd have no trouble proclaiming Level 4. I've always loved inorganic structures fused into natural environments. It was something I tried to do in Aeon and I think was executed better in Rubicon and Phoenix (Count of Tuscany and Stone Temple Pilates come to mind as outstanding examples), but I digress. This level is beautiful, and I think it even outdoes the best looking levels of Phoenix. This level is quite challenging, and I like that; it's difficult to make (mostly) vanilla Pfhor challenging.

Since I'm an aggressively cheesy player and will conserve ammunition at all costs (think punching MOAHs to death*), I figured out it's possible to insert the chip and then rocket jump back out of the final room, whereupon you can just wait for them to kill each other. You can jump to some of the monster closets in the final room, where there's some odd texture choices back there (I went up there looking for secrets). At this point I still haven't found the third skull (found one in a little closet in the first section, and a second one in a room revealled by a secret switch). There's also a missing solid line in the southeast corner that makes it possible to fall out of the map, which happened a few times during combat; I'm fairly sure this is an oversight since the third skull isn't out here and there's no way back.

All in all, really solid fun. It feels great to be playing again.

*also think cheesing the final fight on Phoenix using a combination of the secret Invincibility and spamming the secondary trigger on the Katar before stunlocking the black defenders with the IMPs
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