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Video Game / Alpha Man

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Alpha Man is a humorous Roguelike game set in post-apocalyptic New York's Central Park, which is overgrown with flora and full of dangerous fauna. Many items in the game and the general setting is loosely based on the tabletop RPG Gamma World. The main character begins with randomly selected mutant powers and can find a large variety of tools (anything from a cheese grater to a light sabre) and berries that give special effects, but by far the simplest solution to killing enemies is to hit them with a melee weapon. The creatures are varied and humorous, from "Prairie Chickens" to "Snails" that assault the player's brain, "Purple Mold" that makes the player sick, to specialized characters like "Elvis Impersonators" that hit the player with belt buckles. It is shareware, but considering it was originally made in 1995 if you send any money to the address, you're not likely to get it back.

It has its own short wiki (around 40 page entries) as well as an entry in the Roguelike Wiki and the Mutant Future Wiki.

Anyone can download the game now at web sites like this one (you'll need DOSBox or something similar if you can't run DOS programs normally).

Some tropes used in the game:

  • Antidote Effect: Many items in the game are useless except in very specific situations, or against specific enemies.
  • Blind Jump: Don't teleport into a wall, and don't teleport to a place if there even might be a wall there. You won't get a second chance.
  • Bottomless Bladder: You eat, you drink... but you never need the restroom, even though a Porta Potty exists in-game (and is as disgusting and useless as you might assume).
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Everything. In addition to the mutated animals, all of which are dead-set on killing you (but not each other, oddly) you can die by overeating, by being struck by lightning, by touching a rosebush, by using a suicide machine...
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The game has several items you have to gather before you can go to the main stronghold. Some are optional if you're lucky or prepared enough.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Averted when using the Jackhammer, but you still can't move outside the larger game map.
  • It's Up to You: Yeah, the game attempts to lead you through the plot, but you don't have to follow what it recommends.
  • Joke Item: While some items are useful only in specific situations since you are making the best of junk found lying around, some things are junk, like the Prosthetic Leg. Go ahead and try using the item, if for nothing else than the flavor text.
  • Lethal Joke Item: Many examples. You'd think a Tickle Gun wouldn't be effective, but against some enemies, it can do 20 HP of damage.
  • Mr. Exposition: The tape recorders.
  • One-Man Army: Around level 10, you start being able to take down a Tyrannosaurus Rex with a dagger
  • The Many Deaths of You: Died by exploding berry. Died by using a Kevorkian machine. You can even be killed by your clothes if you wear a Neutron Suit...
  • Schizo Tech: It's not uncommon to be wielding a laser pistol, wearing plate mail, and spraying down hostile mold with Mr. Clean.
  • Shop Fodder: Averted. There are no stores and no place to sell useless items.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Grinch's castle, of course.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: If the player does nothing to stop it, in seven days The Grinch will unleash Nerve Gas, killing all people (but not the fauna. When this happens, none of the nearby animals die).
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Your character survives on Spam and Beef-A-Roni, and dies if he goes without eating too long. Note that the entire game takes place over seven days—during which time anybody should be able to survive without eating. Maybe the mutations force your character to eat a lot?