Now Playing: The Last Dynasty (1994)

Site is still nowhere near ready, a proper site name, domain, and some other little design changes will be coming soon, but just going to throw this out there now anyway because it’s on my mind and that’s the whole point isn’t it?

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So let’s see…The Last Dynasty. A combination space combat sim/fmv adventure game. Doesn’t that sound amazing? (Well it did to me!) The first thing you will notice about this game upon going to install it is that it will ONLY run on Windows 3.1. Being a classic PC nut I have a virtual drive with Win 3.1 on it for just such an occasion, so no big deal there.

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Look. I even changed the theme to HOT DOG STAND just for you.

The next thing you’ll notice within seconds of starting the game is that the story and acting is just unbelievably bad, and we’re talking about 90s fmv games here, so I mean it’s really, really, really bad. I doubt this thing even really had a script. It felt like it was all improv-ed in single takes. To begin with you are shown a brief, random scene of two spaceships shooting at each other (in space!), but that is quickly replaced by a blurb saying “1995 – Earth”, where you are treated to a “comically deceptive” bit that is meant to look like an official rocket launch of some kind, but the camera zooms out and it turns out to really just be two random guys in their backyard launching what looks to be a large model rocket. Who are these guys? What the hell are they doing? Well gosh, maybe this little video clip will help clear things up? (This happens directly after the scene I just described. No other information has been given so far.)

    That said, there was a certain humor to the outstanding shittiness of it all, so I continued. The game goes on to explain that you (Mel something?) and your buddy Doc are secretly aliens, except Doc actually knew all along, apparently, despite having acted so shocked and confused by your unexplained attempts to contact aliens and the revelation of the existence of aliens, and that you are the heir to some fancy-pants space empire.  How they became a fancy-pants space empire when you, having just arrived, seem to be the only member of their entire space fleet, I don’t know (seeing a pattern here yet?). On top of that, you are also secretly host to half of “The Great Knowledge”.  Oddly enough, it’s never clearly explained just what that is, just that your long lost brother holds the other half. Your brother has apparently already been captured by the enemy though, meaning they only have to capture you to win the war somehow. You don’t seem to ever meet the brother so his existence seems to be entirely pointless, but sure…anyway…EVEN WORSE is that the big bad guy has now created a clone of you, which again, for no explained reason whatsoever, will somehow help him get The Great Knowledge? I don’t even know. The only good news seems to be that you are the proud owner of some kind of hereditary awesomeness at piloting spaceships. Yes, they literally tell you that you are genetically good at flying spaceships. So off you go to try to befriend the local space rebels so they’ll fight for your bafflingly defenseless space empire…

So after all that nonsense you jump right into the space combat. You would think from the HUD that this was going to be some pretty complex cockpitting…

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…but in reality, it was incredibly basic. Most typical functions of a space combat sim are taken care of for you. You can pretty much entirely ignore most of the meters and gauges on your screen and just rush right in blasting. Even the speed of your ship is automatically managed for you by default so literally all you have to really do is point and click on the enemies over and over again. I guess this must just your special spaceship genes at work. After the little tutorial flight and first practice battle you’ll find that this is quickly counterbalanced by some extremely vague and confusing mission objectives. One early mission involves the simple act of landing on a planet. Unfortunately when you approach the planet an enemy satellite called a Changer scrambles your computer when you get too close, making you unable to land. The satellite is right in front of you, marked as an enemy, and is very obviously the source of all your problems at the moment so naturally you should just shoot this thing, right? No, once you destroy the satellite you are suddenly treated to infinitely spawning waves of enemies, because of course you are. Turns out that what you actually needed to do was NOT destroy the satellite and just sit there for a few minutes until a space barge with a few guard ships appears off in the distance. You have to go beat the guards and then just slowly follow the barge, which is also marked as an enemy and destroyable, which just continues heading to the planet as if nothing is wrong. It’s only AFTER you’ve followed the barge for a minute or two that the game announces that hey you should totally follow that barge past the satellite, which doesn’t actually do anything to solve the problem of the satellite jamming your computer, but I guess now you can just look out the window to follow the ship down to the planet. I don’t know why you couldn’t just look out the window and look at THE PLANET to find a way to land on the planet, but sure, great, fun times. Anyway…a few missions like this are beginning to make me regret playing this at this point, but I have yet to see this adventure game part so I press on a little more until I get to that…

This was what finally put me off the game entirely. Once you start the the adventure part you’re told that you can switch back and forth between adventure mode and space combat missions at any time, which sounds interesting and all, but there didn’t seem to be any actual reason for the feature. Apparently the adventure section of the game is just one single stretch of “adventuring” that can be completed, which also completes the game I guess, in its entirety without jumping back to the space combat. No idea what the point of that is. Anyway, the adventure part mostly just involves wandering around in a large space station looking for your pesky clone, who is a great danger for reasons I still don’t understand. Can the bad guys just kill you and “The Great Knowledge” will magically fly into the clone? Or is “The Great Knowledge” something that can just be cloned? Haven’t they already won then? Why do I even bother continuing to ask questions about this game? Anyway, you wander around a lot of big empty hangar type rooms and corridors, most of which are nearly identical looking and completely devoid of anything interactive. There aren’t even puzzles really, just an endless series of “find the item you need for that locked thing from 30 rooms ago” scenarios, which are simple enough, but most of the time is just spent aimlessly wandering and most of your effort is just spent trying to find your way back and forth through all the identical looking corridors. It was just plain boring as shit and I couldn’t take it any more after going at it for another hour or so for some fucking reason. I’m not even going to bother with screenshots of this part because you can probably imagine a hundred generic, identical looking doors and walls all on your own. And so ended my grand adventure with The Last Dynasty. Put simply, it was a complete waste of time and obviously I do not recommend it even to fans of cheesy old fmv games. I don’t know if it was just trying to be too many things at once and became stretched too thin in all areas or if it was just a plain old lazily crafted bag of shit and like many of the questions I was left with by this mess of a game, I will probably never know. I give it 1 out of 5 Power Gloves.

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3 thoughts on “Now Playing: The Last Dynasty (1994)

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