Jagged Alliance 2 26 May 2024

It's easily one of my favourite games of all time. It's in my top five, perhaps even the top three.

I first came across it in a demo, which for a kid without an income with which to pay for games was a wonderful way of getting exposed to new gaming experiences. 

There were some demos that I'd just love to play again and again. There was a XCOM: Terror from the Deep demo that was rock hard, but oh so compelling and mysterious. When I killed an alien in that I'd pickup their weapons only to be told they were 'alien artefacts' and couldn't be equipped and used. 

These restrictions only added to the mystic and allure of imagining owning and playing the full game.

I loved the Outwars demo so much I purchased the game once I had the chance. Although sadly I just didn't enjoy it as much as the demo.

However Jagged Alliance 2, the full game opened up so much more world and possibilities to explore.

It took me a long time to get the hang of the game, because there's a lot of layers and things to be aware of.

A major one being when I played the demo I didn't realise that right-clicking on a target would increase the accuracy of a shot at the expense of increased action points usage. That made a big difference to my enjoyment!

Training militia in the regions that you'd freed was also a major part of the game I just didn't realise existed for the longest time. I'm not sure if I just didn't read the manual (most likely!) or if I did and was just overwhelmed by the various mechanisms within the game.

For all the many hundreds of hours that I've spent with the game, exploring the maps, interacting with the many NPCs and being thrilled by all the little "secrets" such as being able to craft gun upgrades and even an x-ray scanner to find enemies - for all this I must admit I enjoy Jagged Alliance 2 the most when I'm cheating

What I love about the game is the chatter and personalities of the mercenaries that you hire and command.

It's being in the heat of a battle and wondering if you should try and fire off a shot or escape to cover and bandage your wounds.

It's the thrill of discovering a new weapon or upgrades to your armour to make each of your mercs feel even more powerful and that they're reaching their full potential.

For me the enjoyment comes from being able to give myself infinite money so that I can hire all of my favourite mercs from the start. I'm fine with this, it's the sandbox I enjoy playing with.

Unfortunately cheats aren't available in the retail version of the game, so they need to be patched in.

Using retro computers to play retro games is great for that feeling of nostalgia and authenticity, however that can often extend into the logistics of getting things running (for better and worse).

In this case I had a copy of the Jagged Alliance 2 patch that would enable cheat codes on my modern machine, but was limited in how I'd be able to transfer it across.

After some research I came across Chunk which is designed for exactly this purpose. Using the software I could split the patch across multiple 1.44MB floppy disks.

Unfortunately during the copying process my retro machines floppy drive gave up the ghost! Annoying.

Fine, be that way.

In the end I used my trust IDE to USB cable which meant I could just take out the hard drive from the retro machine and plug it directly into my modern one.

As you can see I'm using an SSD with a SATA interface, as it's generally a simplier and more reliable option these days. Certainly compared to older storage mediums!

Finally! Holding control and typing GABBI enables cheats and then pressing + on the laptop screen gives me lots of merc recruiting cash!

Right, now let's put together the dream team, find some over powered guns and top notch armour and then see if we can blow people's heads off! Lovely :)

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