Mickey, try stalker? It has much lower system requirements, but is similarly atmospheric, apocalyptic, and Slavic.
Played the original La Mulana for a few hours. Everything about it is better than the remake. Everything about how it looks and feels and sounds very deliberate and that definitely doesn't translate to the updated version at all, to the extent, as I said, that some things just get completely obscured or lost in translation. Speaking of translations, Aeon Genesis' is a lot better than the new one too, not just in terms of clarity, but in terms of... being well written.
Anyway, I think I'll play some The Last Remnant tonight although I feel like it probably gets depressing at some point. I need a happyish JRPG. Really should've stuck Legend of Mana on my laptop, bleh.
--- edit ---
Also holy shit, wrt Gravity's Rainbow and Chrono Cross, William Slothrop's treatise On Preterition is thematically /almost identical/ to Schala's closing monologue in the game's ending.
I got up to the part about the lemming, last night, which is where the On Preterition stuff is. The book has some kid searching for his pet lemming that ran away, and Slothrop starts wondering if the kid isn't sick in the head and if there even IS a lemming. Throughout the book, Slothrop's searching for the 0000 rocket, and it's not really clear if THAT even exists. So the lemming stuff serves as an internal metaphor for what Slothrop's doing.
Then it goes off on a tangent about the lemming trying to walk on water, which is given as a parallel to Christ walking on water and it talks about how, in doing so, Christ validated all the other people who tried to walk on water and drowned. If I'm reading it right, what it's talking about is how all the people who are 'passed over' as the chosen ones are validated by the one who actually IS chosen and succeeds; and at the same time, their failure gives meaning to the one success.
Which I guess is a recurring theme throughout the book, looking back. I'll be re-reading this some day. Some day soon, preferably.
Anyway, take Serge as the chosen, and the other party members -- or even humanity as a whole in the game, really -- as the preterite, and you get a damn interesting context to look at the game in.
--- edit 2 ---http://kotaku.com/5885595/zelda-just-keeps-getting-worse-but-it-isnt-beyond-saving
Zelda article I was talking about. Few points:
1. Zelda was never hardcore. Jesus. It's harder than modern Zeldas, but it wasn't really as hard as Metroid, or a lot of other NES games, really. It was also really forgiving. You die, you get sent back to the start, but you don't really lose that much progress, and getting back to the dungeons is quick.
1b. Also the intent of Zelda was different. As the author said, Zelda 1 wasn't about puzzles. In my mind Zelda 1's more of a strategic action game with an early survival horror bent to it. The emphasis is very different.
2. I actually like Zelda 1's combat a lot. You were limited in how you could move and attack, so you really had to strategize about HOW you'd hit things while not getting hit yourself. The level design in the dungeons was also built around this, in terms of what provided cover and what provided and obstacle to navigating the enemy, and there was a lot of thought put into the movement mechanics as well. Zelda 1's really good and I think it's aged just fine.
3. Showing the players which walls are bombable is not hand holding, it's conveying how the game world worked. The Lost Woods in Zelda 1 was stupid, because you pretty much had to brute force it. That's not interesting. On the other hand, while it wasn't as obvious about it as LttP, things that HAD to be bombed/burned were usually hinted at in some way.
Not indicating what's bombable at all and forcing the player to bomb everything, especially when bombs are a limited resource, just to find the needle in the haystack isn't difficulty. It's tedium, and it's bad design.
4. Zelda 2 was 'difficult' because the controls were loose and the physics were bad, and the half-assed RPG elements never really worked right (experience didn't save, so grinding was sort of mandatory). Zelda 2's dungeon designs were also a lot more carelessly constructed. I LIKE Zelda 2, but it's nowhere near as well designed as the first.
5. The 3D zeldas are handholdy on the map in terms of telling you where to go although they're not really handholdy in the dungeons or with regards to actual puzzles, unless they're some sort of 'tutorial' puzzle for right after you get an item. Midna and Navi mostly worked as in-game logs. You're also free to fuck off and do whatever in all of the 3D Zeldas pretty much whenever you want.
6. Guy mostly seems like he wants Zelda games to be harder to... validate his time playing them. I see a lot of people with this mindset -- gaming as validation -- and I find it alarmingly depressing. Even if you beat the hardest game in the world, you haven't accomplished anything of merit, and if you're seriously looking for gamer cred or something, Jesus, get a life.
7. His points on item creep are good. So are his points about Zelda games having a repetitive gameplay progression, mostly because that goes back to the items too.
8. I didn't really like OoT's collect-everything sidequests. TP wasn't too bad about those. WW really went overboard with the junk collecting though (ZAMG BUTTERFLY MEDALLIONS).
9. With regards to one of the earlier paragraphs, all games feel like a case of... it's a matter of when you get through it, not if. If a game feels genuinely insurmountable, nobody will play it. Games can be hard, but if they're well designed, you're going to feel like you can beat any obstacle eventually, once you learn enough or get good enough. That's what creates the 'just one more try' mindset for a boss. That's how you hook a player -- NOT by convincing them they either have it in them to beat the game or don't.