the Andrew Bailey

Organ Trail: Director's Cut

No, this game isn't a mispronunciation on "Oregon Trail". Organ Trail is what you get if you cross that with zombies. This was a Flash game made around 2010, then it had a Kickstarter. I got this in a Humble Bundle. Don't be fooled into thinking this "Director's Cut" massively upgrades the visuals. This one looks like the original Oregon Trail from around 1980. This one doesn't have deluxe VGA graphics, but they are sufficient to get the job done. While it has pixel art graphics, it doesn't render in low resolution.

Screenshot of a station wagon going down the road at night.

A modern-ish roadtrip during a zombie apocalypse maps well onto the Oregon Trail model. You pile 4 friends into a station wagon, and make your way from DC to Oregon. Because unknown disasters have rendered entire regions of the USA hazardous, you take a rather circuitous route to get there.

You must carefully manage resources and also make sure everyone (and the station wagon) is healthy. Run out of food, and your health takes a hit. I almost immediately set rations to their highest setting when starting a game. Resting heals everyone else in your party except you (why?). Hope you have some medkits handy! Scrap repairs your car, which you do through a timing minigame.

Scavenging for resources and shooting zombies.

I only scavenge during the middle of the day, when zombie activity is low. While scavenging, you can gather food, scrap, money, and ammo. Before you go out, you have the option of which weapon you want to use. Be careful, because you might encounter a boss! When at a city or landmark, you can do jobs. Some have you defending a point, running through the street, or assaulting a building. Get hit once, and you're out!

There are also encounters while driving down the road. The most frequent seem to be tombstones. A bandit might grab one of your party members. Someone might destroy supplies by dicking with something, or they might get sick (typhoid, dysentery, or super dysentery). You might come across a chapel with someone in it. You might hear a rumbling sound from behind the car and get chased by zombie animals!

Screenshot of the car getting chased by a horde of zombie animals.

The sound is the PC-speaker quality, except for button presses, which mimic old mechanical keyboard sounds. The music is a mixture of cinematic sounds and chiptunes making lonely, haunting melodies. I like it enough to listen to it outside of the game.

There are a few versions of this. The Humble Bundle I got this in didn't contain the "Final Cut" expansion, but it looks like it came out a bit later. In addition to Steam, I also have the Android version, which changes a few things. Repairing the car is a strict chance to succeed or fail based on how much scrap you give it (no minigame), and you only have a rifle (no option to select different) during jobs and when scavenging.

This is a good game, even if I can't get through an entire trip in less than 2 hours. Maybe I haven't optimized playthroughs of this as much as Oregon Trail. Even though this feels like that, this feels closer to being a rougelike. It's not as bleak as The Walking Dead, so I like this better.

Posted under Gaming. 0 complaints.