So I was looking around on the $5 bargain shelves at the local Liquidation World, shuffling
through the usual crap, when I spotted a little surprise: Sacred, a little-known but
generally well-received Diablo II clone from 2005, with a sequel on the way. The
computer-edited screens and uninspired character portraits on the box didn't really
draw me in (an ugly Valkyrie who's topless except for two apparently sticky "nipple shields"?
SIGN ME THE FUCK UP!) I've kinda been clamouring for PC RPGs this summer, and God knows I've
spent more money on shittier games, so I decided I'd snap it up. Little did I know
my epic quest was only beginning!
My computer hasn't been running too well in the summer heat, so I'm not gonna hold that
against the game, but it's still a pain when an installation involves more decompression
than actual moving of files, cause it means I'm gonna have to wait an hour for it to finish while my computer
whirrs and blows more hot air than a jet engine. Add to that a hour-long wait to download and
install patches and I'm really starting to expect much. Finally, after a final settings
check, I'm ready to double-click and start my adventures in... uh... "Ancaria".
Man, this disc check is taking a long time.
What the hell do you mean "disk verification error"? I just installed the fucking game! I
haven't even taken the disc out of the drive! Well, great. Now I'm downloading a no-cd crack
so I can play the game I just bought. And people ask why I play console games.
This is more like it! Rousing music, a sorta-cool menu, and a fair number of character
classes with some... well, okay, crappy voice acting. Let's see. Dark Elf? No thanks, I have
enough brooding gay characters in Final Fantasy. Seraphim? I'd rather not be wasting all my skill points
in "whoring" just so I can afford more hair extensions. Vampiress! Seducing and biting young
maidens to form a harem of the undead. That's what I'm talking about. I hit "OK" with my
ass-kicking boots and threw away my last package of bubble gum.
SHIT ON A SHINGLE. Pictured right is what I was greeted with a second after starting the game. The game starts
up as normal but the screen almost immediately fades to black, with
"gameplay" and audio continuing as normal. It's not a bug, either. I finally decided to do
some research and check a few help sites, and everywhere I come to the same answer: copy
Fair enough, I was using a no-CD crack at the time. Ahhh! But what about when I was using the
actual disk? Well, Ascaron Entertainment, in their infinite wisdom, added two layers of
protection into their game. While most companies would be content to use software that
detects their disk being used in a virtual drive, Sacred blocks users that have virtual drive
programs on their computers at all by tossing up a bullshit "disk verification error" message.
That wouldn't be so bad if they would just say "VIRTUAL DRIVE DETECTED: FUCK YOU" instead of bullshitting me.
And if you bypass that? You get the infamous "fade-to-black" problem that makes the game
unplayable! And if you decide to uninstall your virtual drive programs? TOO BAD! No amount of reinstalls
will make the game work on your PC.
I'm kinda pissed. The game may have only been five bucks, and for all I know it sucks, but thanks to
Ascaron's overzealous copy protection, I just wasted an afternoon installing, patching, and
troubleshooting their goddamn game only to find out I'll never get to play it unless I format
my PC. And forget me, what about people who paid 40 bucks for this game back when it was new only to
find out they bought a phony "disk protection error" in a five cent jewel case? They got the same thing this game gets:
NO FUCKING SOCKS.