Monthly Archives: September 2009

Summing up three Xbox 360 demos as of late

I sure do miss the days of getting demo discs in the mail with a magazine subscription, but it is awfully nice to be able to pick and choose the interesting ones and then just download them directly to your system. Here’s what I tried this week:

Avatar Drop

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A simple concept, but surprisingly fun. You are in control of your falling Xbox avatar, and the goal is to get through different colored rings and collect points. It’s silly and enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to trying the trial run again with a second player.

Darkest of Days

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Hmm. Honestly, I had no idea what this was, but I had a moment of free time and so I checked it out. I guess it’s a time-traveling shooter, where you are someone sort of important and your job is to hop to and fro to key places/moments in time and protect individuals much more important than you. The set pieces were neat and well-executed (Custer’s Last Stand and the Battle of Antietam, particulary, if my history knowledge is correct), but the graphics seemed unpolished and last-gen. Although I appreciated the usage of “clusterfuck.”

Bioshock

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Yes, I know. I know. It’s almost 2010, and this is the first time I’m playing Bioshock. Call me what you will. Anyways, the demo opens up with a plane crash and then, rather quickly, you are in the magical underwater city that is steampunk and retro and dystopian at the same time. It’s a mix of shooting/hitting creepy people dubbed Splicers and zapping them with magic from your left hand. The atmosphere of the place is beyond creepy, and I liked a lot of the tiny details. If anything, this demo made me realize that I’d probably enjoy this game (though I played it on easy and still had some trouble, but that’s just me).

Cheap exploit for those that don’t want to actually play Scribblenauts

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As found recently on GameFAQs, this cheat/exploit will allow Maxwell to complete any and all action levels in Scribblenauts with ease:

Just type in “handcuffs,” attach them to the Starite, place a “vending machine” nearby, drag the opposite end of the handcuffs to the vending machine and choose “fill,” then move the machine down to Maxwell and empty its contents.

Here’s a video too:

Granted, I might use this trick once or twice if I find myself stuck on a really frustrating level, such as the ones in Stunt Park or Shoreline, but no way would I use this all the way through. What would be the point of that?

An update of sorts, mainly bits and pieces

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Hmm, it’s been a pretty busy weekend/week, and sadly that means I haven’t had much time for videogaming. Between the day job, revealing the website for my forthcoming comic Supertown, and the cursed return of all my favorite TV shows, I just haven’t had the (mental) energy to plop down and game the night away. Sure, I could watch less TV, but The Office and House are too good to not see.

Okay, enough excuses. Here’s some tidbits.

Bought Scribblenauts. It could easily be summarized as “a fantastic toy, but a flawed game.” The very first word I typed in was “LOLcat,” which did not work, but then I remembered I was thinking actually of “keyboard cat.” That did work, and I quickly summoned a dragon to eat it. Feel free to analyze that as you wish. The one nice thing is that you don’t have to play every single level, just a few to open up more, and then you can hop to and fro from the world map. The music is pretty fantastic though.

Beat Shadow Complex. For a second time. This trek though was to get 100% of items, and man it was a bit tricky. Sadly, I had to rely on a guide to get two or three of them, but once you have everything you totally feel like a badass walking into battle. Will probably play through one more time to get the Level 50 achievement, as well as the less than 13% items achievement (which I’m anxious to even try). All in all, a really fun game, and I generally don’t play ‘em more than once so this is obviously saying something.

And I finished up the main campaign in Magic: The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers. Did not take very long to knock Tezzeret on his butt, and I’m still unsure how I feel about this stripped down version. Sure, it’s a wonderful introduction to the trading card game, but man does it feel so empty.

Full reviews coming on all of these games. When? Whenever.

Boob controllage in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2

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Um, evidently via the SIXAXIS controller, one can manipulate breasts in the forthcoming Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2. I kid thee not:

While the commercial itself is amusing, the fact that this is a gameplay feature being highlighted is not. What is the purpose? To appease perverts? Or is there actually going to be a level designed around making one boob bounce higher than the other in a sneak attack to knock out a guard and steal his key to the castle? Somehow, I doubt it.

Puzzling Master to the Extreme

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Puzzling Master (20G): Completed all challenges

Last night I ran through all the puzzle challenges in Magic: The Gathering — Duels of the Planeswalkers, which were fairly basic, easy-to-solve brainteasers in the mindset of the ones previously published in The Duelist. While I liked the majority of them, I felt they were a bit too obvious and wished for, well, for lack of a better word, something more challenging. It didn’t take many tries to reach an answer, especially since there were multiple ways to outdo an enemy. I only used a guide after the fact to see how others handled certain situations.

Don’t mind me though, this is just some moaning and groaning because while Magic: The Gathering — Duels of the Planeswalkers is a fun waste of time, it isn’t the Magic: The Gathering I went through high school playing with friends in the cafeteria. Little deck customizing, odd timing issues when it comes to responding with an activated ability or spell, and bad, bad 80s rock muzac.

Also, I hate online-only achievements (<– silver account).

Scribblenauts comes out today!

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Yay!

::types in confetti and streamers and ice cream cake and go-go dancers::

But I’m not allowing myself to purchase Scribblenauts until Thursday evening so I can get some comics work done this week and not feel guilty about the whole thing!

::types in sad face and spoiled milk and stereotypical drill sergeants yelling about my pansy pants and keyboard cat::

Weekend gaming, mostly in Super Mario Bros 3′s Water World

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The Girlfriend visited for the weekend, and inevitably we dusted off the SNES to play some old-school games like Super Mario Kart, Super Mario World, and Super Mario All-Stars. See a theme? Hint: fat plumbers.

Anyways, after desperately jumping and swimming our way through Super Mario Bros 3‘s Water World, a world we hate with a passion, we realized we missed the chance to skip all that bullshit, and thanks to the Internet, we even found out about another opportunity to get a secret warp whistle back in World 2. This one involved using a hammer to break a rock and then travel through a tree. Amazing. So we restarted, did our thing, and hopped to World 5, where we climbed into the clouds and then called it quits after too much dying.

For a game released in 1988, Super Mario Bros 3 still manages to surprise me now and again.

Also, the Tanooki Suit is overrated. Someone had to say it eventually, and that someone is me.

September 2009 game releases that interest me

Well, here we are, in September, with cloudy skies and cool breezes and the unrefutable knowledge that autumn is closing in. Truthfully, this is one of my favorite seasons for gaming…though I can’t specifically say why. It just feels right to bunker down inside on a crispy afternoon and punch buttons until your fingers hurt.

Anyways, lots of games coming out this month, and though I don’t have the money to get them all (or even maybe more than one), I’d like to mention the ones sitting quietly on the edge of my interest.

XBOX 360

Mini Ninjas – released on 09/01/09

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I had a pretty good time with the demo, but I still don’t think this kid-friendly ninja romp is worth a full retail price of $60/$50.

The Beatles: Rock Band – released yesterday on 09/09/09

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I still don’t think I’d enjoy any of these plastic instrument games (been playing real instruments since I was 15), but if there’s one to change my mind…well, it’d be the one with “Octopus’ Garden” in it. Heard only good things so far, too, which is always a plus. Granted, I don’t have anyone to play with so it’d be a waste. Still, I’m curious…

NINTENDO DS

Scribblenauts – being released on 09/15/09

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Oh man, oh man, oh man. Everything about this game screams FUN. The art style is quirky, the game is meant to be played differently by everyone, and there’s just something about knowing you can totally summon Santa Claus to duke it out with an Elder God that is initially pleasing. This will most likely be my big purchase of the month, but it’ll be worth it, I’m sure.

Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days – being released on 09/29/09

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I know nothing about how this fits into the whole storyline of things, but you can never go wrong with this Disney/Final Fantasy-like mashup.

And that’s pretty much all I’m interested in this month. Sure, there’s some big releases like Batman: Arkham Asylum and WET and Halo 3: ODST, but those don’t really speak my language. Oh wells.

Also, on the radar for October is Fallout 3: Game of the Year edition. Eee. I’m not even allowed to think about that game any more until I get some comics work done. Eeeeee.

Happy Birthday, Dreamcast!

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The Sega Dreamcast, the last console from the company, is celebrating its tenth anniversary today on 9/9/09 for its release on September 9, 1999. Everyone is posting about the news of a new Dreamcast game release, as well as their favorite memories.

Me? I don’t have one, mostly because I never played a Dreamcast before. Is it as magical as everyone is describing? Did I miss out? Somehow, I’m wearing my doubts on my sleeves.

Either way, someone pass me a slice of the birthday cake.

IMPRESSIONS: WET demo

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WET is, from what I can tell, an homage to a number of things: Quentin Tarantino flicks, Max Payne/Matrix bullet time, and the 70s. Highly stylized, the demo covers three aspects of gameplay, and has us in control of Rubi, a gun-toting, sword-slashing assassion on a mission that is not really explained. Also, she drinks Jack D for health boosts.

All right, the first section seems to be a run-of-the-mill action scenario. You’re in a room with bad dudes, and you must eviscerate them all to continue on. The difference? Shooting them sufficiently is only gained by entering “slow-mo,” which happens when you slide, jump, or run against walls, allowing for better precision and multiple targeting. It takes a bit getting used to the fact that you can never just jump normally, that every jump is like pushing off from the bottom a swimming pool, but eventually all Generic Bad Guys crumple to the ground and you’re ready to move on to the next part of the demo.

Rage mode is next. Or maybe it is better dubbed Red mode. That’s what you’ll see most of: red, with some white splashes of blood. Neat look, but it’s just a hectic run from one end to the other, slashing with your sword (don’t bother trying to shoot anyone at this part as it is just unfeasible). The music, however, totally rocked, and for that Red Rage mode was worth it.

Lastly, the car-hopping stage. Quick Time Events are never my favorite thing because I generally have to fail five or six times before I can figure out what is needed. Do I hit the X button once or continue to mash it in? Rubi is riding along car tops, shooting bad guys and avoiding exploding trucks. Visually, it’s amazing. Gameplay-wise, it leaves very little in your control. I’d have liked it more to be the one doing the jumping from car to car rather than pushing a button, but one can’t get everything.

That said, WET isn’t really my sort of game. Too much mindless action, not enough open-ness. And if it’s all just run-and-stab, well, that is something that quickly becomes boring, even if there’s a rockin’ soundtrack to back it up. Oh wells.