Tag Archives: Snake

Paul’s Preeminent PlayStation Plus Purge – Snakeball

I’m pretty sure I’ve never played the original Snake, having only touched some updated version of it on a cell phone many years back. Snake‘s a pretty simple concept: the player controls a dot, square, or object on a bordered plane. As it moves forward, it leaves a trail behind, resembling a moving snake. In some versions, the end of the trail is in a fixed position, so the snake continually gets longer as it moves. Another common take on the mechanic is that the snake has a specific length, so there is a moving tail that is a fixed number of units away from the head. Either way, the player loses when the snake runs into the screen’s border, a trail or other obstacle, or itself. According to the ever-trustworthy Wikipedia, there are over 300 Snake-like games for iOS alone. Oh me, oh my.

Which brings us to…Snakeball. This one evidently uses most of the mechanics of the late 1970s Snake, with the goal being taking balls and throwing them into the hole at the center of the stage. There are variations on this gameplay, but the main goal stays the same throughout, accompanied by a flashy disco graphic style. Stages take place on disco floors that Tony Manero would greatly approve of. You can select between 16 different characters, all with a bunch of color schemes, and, evidently, if you had access to a PlayStation Eye camera, which I do not, you could snap a photo of your face–or anything else you found photogenic–and plop it onto one of the riders. Developed by Gamoola Soft, this is very much a casual game, which is why I played an hour or so of it, saw what it had to offer, and uninstalled it from my PlayStation 3, as per the goal of these themed posts.

There are three main modes in Snakeball: Snakeball, Challenge, and Ball Frenzy. Snakeball is the multiplayer mode, where up to 8 players can play online; however, since this game came out at the end of 2007 and I was playing it for the first time in 2018, a decade later, there was nobody online to play against. Shocking, right? You can battle bots though it isn’t too exciting. The Challenge mode tasks players with navigating through levels to open up a teleporter and go to the next level, with 14 levels in total to complete. Ball Frenzy is basically a remake of the classic Snake, with 10 levels to conquer. The goal of this mode is to collect all 1,000 balls in the level without crashing and destroying the ship.

Did you know that, for a time there, Trophies weren’t a thing on the PlayStation 3? They kind of only came around after the Xbox 360’s Achievements system began picking up steam as Sony wanted in on the extra stuff action. A lot of games got patched to include poppable Trophies, and all games going forward seem to now have ’em. However, Snakeball was not one that got graced with a patch, and so it is just this very straightforward experience that is mostly fine, but a bit lifeless and repetitive and lacking goals.

I’ll probably play some strange, updated version of Snake down the road. It’s inevitable. However, that said, I’ll probably never touch Snakeball ever again.

Oh look, another reoccurring feature for Grinding Down. At least this one has both a purpose and an end goal–to rid myself of my digital collection of PlayStation Plus “freebies” as I look to discontinue the service soon. I got my PlayStation 3 back in January 2013 and have since been downloading just about every game offered up to me monthly thanks to the service’s subscription, but let’s be honest. Many of these games aren’t great, and the PlayStation 3 is long past its time in the limelight for stronger choices. So I’m gonna play ’em, uninstall ’em. Join me on this grand endeavor.

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2016 Game Review Haiku, #41 – The Temple of No

2016 games completed the temple of no

Go, brave as a bear
To find that special wisdom
That only TWINE knows

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

Hi, my name is Paul, and I’m a spoiled sneaker

I’ve been spoiled when it comes to sneaking. My latest sleuthing through future Detroit in Deus Ex: Human Revolution has definitely proved this. Mostly because I keep getting spotted by enemy units.

In Metal Gear Solid, Solid Snake had his Soliton radar at his disposal, right from the word hide. This showed enemy positions and vision cones, as well as outlines of boxes or trucks or barriers; it only became unusable during alert, evasion, and jamming phases, but otherwise, it was a great way to know who was where and how to get around them, either by crawling on the floor or making one’s way under a table.

In Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, we have a similar radar, now circular and in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, but serving the same purpose. Sometimes it can get cluttered with a hundred and five icon markers, but otherwise, it has enemies in red and shows them clearly coming after/looking for you. Oh look, a hiding spot there, there, and there. Sneaking made simple. Thanks, handy radar!

In Grinding Down fav The Saboteur, we have another circular radar, now in the lower left-hand corner, with red dots for Nazi soldiers. You couldn’t really assess their walking patterns, but you could see just how many threats were in a size-able area stretching several buildings and streets, and that was pretty vital when trying to breach an occupied location.

In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, if you kept crouched and remained in the shadows, you could totally skirt detection. There were also some handy items like Stealth Boys and armor like the Chinese stealth armor, also known as the Hēi Guǐ, which basically guaranteed safety through patrolled sections. Increasing your Perception skill and having ED-E by your side would help detect enemies at greater distances, making it all the more easy to avoid ’em to begin with, especially Deathclaws and Cazadors.

However, in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, if Adam Jensen really wants to know where his enemies are and how far they can see and where they are looking and what their walking patterns are…well, we have too purchase it through an augmentation upgrade, and even then, it takes a few Praxis points to get things back to what I’ve come to know and expect in a radar. See, totally spoiled. Right now, I just unlocked the “cones of vision” augmentation, which helps a wee bit, but not enough to make me a true futuristic ninja. I am constantly getting spotted. All I have is a radar of dots, a handful of specks that do not make sense to me. To better hide, I need to fully upgrade three augmentations:

  • Radar System: Track enemy and friendly troops, turrets, cameras, and robots.
  • Infolink: Communicate discretely on the battlefield.
  • Stealth Enhancer: Provides stealth-related information and allows Jensen to mark and track enemies.

Yeah, too bad I didn’t understand this from the get-go, and I spent some points elsewhere, slowing true ninja progression to a crawl. Naturally, I’m trying to go through all of Deus Ex: Human Revolution in a kind and caring way, not killing a single soul (though from what I’ve read, boss battles have to end in death, mine or theirs), and so sneaking through enemy-infested buildings is my main path, but it’s hard when one has run out of tranq darts and keeps getting spotted by a guy halfway across the room, a dot that did not even pop up yet on Jensen’s radar. Hopefully things get easier with upgrades, but who knows if the game’s even sneakable for much longer.

If only I hadn’t been so coddled over the years…