Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Wow does this game take me back. I mean way way back. Combat was probably the most memorable game for me on the Atari 2600. More so even than "Boxing" or the horrible port of "Pac-Man". 

If you have never played Combat on the 2600 then you don't and probably won't understand the nostalgia for this game. You and a friend could play as many as 27 different variations of "Combat" on one cart. Tanks, Bi-Planes, and Jets were all present and accounted for. Most of the modes just involved you destroying the other player how ever you could. The variables came in with the different "Surroundings" as well as all the different types of, i guess you could say, ammo you used. Some bullets would only go a certain distance, some would go farther, some would bounce around the screen. You could play as invisible tanks, the only way to know where you were on screen was the bullet ts coming out of the cannon. 

I can't even count the number of hours that my sister and I would play this game. It helped settle many a family dispute. Who ever wins doesn't have to take out the trash, that kinda thing. My father, and mother would also play against each other some times, which was absolutely hilarious. 

We used to keep a little red notebook beside the Atari that we would log out win/losses in. Which just goes to show that not only do some games not create violence in the home, but they diffuse it. 

If publishers and developers could find a way to harness the essence of Combat into a new generation of video games i would be all over it. I actually think that they are headed in the general direction of doing just that. Think about how Co-Op centered some games have become, not to mention all the games that offer a wide variety of variations on regular Vs. matches. If they could find a way to make a new game that was as readily assessable as that game was, and make it just as much fun to play today as it was then, they would have a hit for sure.

The game has not aged well, that kinda goes without saying considering it was on the 2600. However, if you are as much a game dork as i am (very few are) then it would be worth just seeing where some of these War Games possibly got their start. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Flash Back

Back before life and jobs and responsibility, my friends and I would just make really stupid movie, TV shows, and commercials all day. Some of them were really bad (Bill you know what I am talking about) some of them were really good, some were just straight up crazy stupid funny, and possibly (quite probably) offensive. Here is an example of what i am talking about. This video was recently dug up from the vault and i think it deserves a view or two. No midgets were harmed in the making of this video.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King

I have avoided a post like this for a while now, but I guess I can no longer ignore it.

I... Have never and WILL never play WOW... There I said it. 

Here is the thing, I absolutely LOVE RPGs. I have owned every Final Fantasy game since the original NES version (including original Gameboy, and Mystic Quest versions). As well as countless other RPG's spanning several different systems.  I also have played all of Blizzards previous games like Diablo one and two, Warcraft, and it's sequels (excluding WOW). 

The reason I don't play is I think due to the fact that I have an addictive personality when it comes to games (no, really I do) and I know that should I try the game out, I may not return. It's like the alcoholic that has been sober for 15 years and doesn't go to parties or Bars where there is booze b/c he knows he may just slip and fall back into old habits. I don't play the game b/c I know that I may like it and not be able to stop myself. 

I have several friends that play WOW on a regular basis. They tell me how much fun it is, and how amazing the game as a whole is. I just agree, and sip my ginger ale. I only bring this up b/c of course the newest expansion for the game "Wrath of the Lich King" just dropped and most people that were sucked in before are back into it and talking about the game again. 

Also the more I think about it, the longer I go without playing the game the better. By this point i would be so far behind the rest of the herd that in order for me to try and close the level gap between myself and my friends i would have to "poop-sock" this game for about 2 months in order to get anywhere close. 

I don't talk down to my friends that play the game, they do what they want it is their own business. However when several of them talked about getting the new expansion, I did try to convince them that they didn't need it, and they were better off in their lives not having it. Much like a long sober friend tries to talk a buddy out of that shot of Jager they just got from some chick at the bar. 

So play on my friends that have been sucked back into the Realm of Azeroth. Enjoy leveling up till you can't get any higher, Say hi to the Lich King for me, Have fun storming the castles. I shall never join your ranks on the hills of Northrend, but it is for the best, trust me.

Valkyria Chronicles

I hate to say it but this game just didn't get the time devoted to it that it should have. I rented this one midst the wave of games that came out over the past several weeks, and i just couldn't seem to devote enough time to it. 

That being said, I am not giving up on this game. From the 10 or so hours that i did spend with it, I was quite pleased. The art style is amazing, kinda like watching someone paint a comic book on canvas right infont of you. Playing mostly like a RTS it was able to catch my interest on the PS3 simply b/c there aren't a lot of original games on that system in this style. It also throws in a dash of third person shooter in the way that your characters are controlled. The story was involving enough (a small town caught up in a World War), and the characters themselves were likable. 

Like I said I just didn't devote enough time to it as I should have. I put the blame solely on myself and nothing else. I have sent it back to Gamefly but I anticipate as the holiday gift giving season approaches I will soon own this one. I don't want to commit to a review of the game as a whole but i think saying simply that i will purchase the game, or rent it again speaks to the fact that it is a game worth checking out. 

Batman is Cut!

I don't mean cut like, from the team cut, I mean like he has been lifting for the past several months and been hitting the Bow-Flex a little too hard. The latest (and i guess First) trailer for the upcoming PS3 and 360 game "Batman: Arhkam Asylum" has arrived, and it looks pretty sweet. 

Batman has beefed up and is ready to take on the residents of Arkham (who were mostly put in there by him). From the screen shots I have seen and the trailer, I will keep this one on my radar. There hasn't been a really good batman game in, well forever, so it has a long climb over the empty husks of previous games. At least it looks like it is headed in the right direction. 

Batman: Arkham Asylum official site 

Killzone 2

Just a quick little post about the Beta. Again thanks to Robin Yang of GameDaily, for the Beta code.

I have played a couple of the Multi-Player matches now and my first impressions are pretty good. Other than the fact that I am a n00b as far as this game goes and am not sure of what I should be doing, my experience has been a pleasant one. The game runs very smooth, I have yet to have any major frame rate issues. Also the controls are pretty easy to grasp, being as I didn't play the first one, I have been able to catch on quickly. This game also looks beautiful! Running at least at 60fps everything looks great. The one area that I have played (I don't know if there are more) is very well done. Animations look great, from behind the gun everything looks smooth and everything just feels good. 

The first game was hyped as the PS2's "Halo Killer" and didn't even come close. This one on the other hand... Well it may not be the "Halo Killer" it will certainly make the Bungie (or Gearbox, or who ever) step their game up quite a bit. PS3 Fanboys should be very happy with this game, as long as they flesh out the story and keep the muti-player kids happy.

Left 4 Dead

So I got Left 4 Dead in the mail on Friday of this past week, and was able to get to it finally on Sunday. A friend and I played about 3 hours of the Off-line Co-Op together. We played through the entire first section/movie/area... whatever you want to call it. 

This game is simply put, Fun! We both had so much fun running through the town blasting everything that limped, ran, and jumped our way. I have never in all my years of gaming played a game that created a more authentic feeling of fear. Not that fear like you have playing Resident Evil where you are waiting for the Zombie in the closet to get you, no. It's more the fear of if you see one zombie slowly walking your way, you are pretty confident there are about 100 behind him that are going to rush you very soon. There is also a very real feeling of being afraid of the dark. I was talking to my friend about how this game makes you afraid to be the one that is lagging a little behind. If you are the last one to leave a room or you wander too far off from the others, it could very well be the last mistake you make. The game warns you right from the beginning. "Stay Together To Survive!" So very very true in this game. 

I absolutely cannot wait to play more of Left 4 Dead. I haven't even scratched the surface of the regular sections, not to mention trying it out online as a Zombie. My only recommendation is to try this game on advanced. Sure it is a little harder but it makes it all the more realistic when that smoker starts dragging you away from your friends into the woods and they don't hear you screaming!

Friday, November 21, 2008

KillZone 2 Beta, Here I Come!!!

Big time thanks goes out to Robin Yang @ Game Daily for the Code to the KillZone 2 Beta. I am absolutely stoked to get into this one. Now i wish i didn't have plans tonight... but tomorrow IT'S ON!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fallout 3 on Google Maps

So google maps can do anything. Add in a dash of "nerd-dom" and it can do even more. 

Here you can see where people have gone through and found places in the game for you. If you don't want spoilers (I guess) don't click, but if you are stuck trying to find a location, check it out. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Out of Afrika

So Afrika is coming to the US... as strange as that sounds it's true. National Geographic has picked up the publishing rights to the PS3 game already out in other areas of the world.  

Afrika is pretty much a digital safari. You go out on tours and take pictures of digital representations of real life animals. I am not so sure about this one, but it seems like it would be a pretty relaxing game. Also, who needs anymore reason to buy a game than how GREAT it will look on an HDTV. I may have to put this one in the Queue. 

"I have the key to One-Eyed Willie..."

Wow, where do i begin with this game. Of all the games I played on my NES, this one probably has the most fond memories for me. That includes other big titles like Super Mario Brothers, Final Fantasy, and River City Ransom.

First of all to give you a little more back story on myself, I have always loved the movie version of Goonies. I have literally watch the movie upwards of triple digits. I can give you just about the entire script word for word with no assistance. I really don't know why I latched onto the film like I did but it is quite the obsession. So I vividly remember getting this game the year it came out for Christmas. From the second the title screen dropped in and the first stage started with that rendition of Cindy Lauper's "Good Enough" I was totally hooked. 

I played the game every moment that I was allowed to and probably have an entire notebook somewhere of all the passwords that I would acquire. That's right kiddies, before there was hard drives, or even memory cards, you had to do things the hard way. Beat it in one sitting or get a pad and pen and write down your code, or you were back to square one. Anyway...

I don't think I really ever cared that the game was called "Goonies II" and I never saw the first game, that was released in Japan only. Nor did I seem to care that the story line of the game was a complete fever dream of the movie. I mean really, three Fratelli brothers, and ice world, and... AND a mermaid named Annie!! None of that mattered to me. I was just happy to take on the in game persona of "Mikey" as he went on a quest to save his friends from the evil Fratelli's

The game took you to strange locations not seen in the movie, like the Fratelli's Attic, the "Underworld", a strange Ice level, and the underwater level where you had to rescue Annie. You would collect interesting items along the way. Some were weapons, like the slingshot, the bomb, and the boomerang. Some items helped you out in stages, like the spring shoes, the helmet, and the candle. There were also other random NPC's that would help you along the way too. There was the old man, and the old woman that would either give you info or items. There was the Eskimo and how could I forget "Konami Man". Best thing about the NPC's was that if you hit them either with a hammer or your fist they would usually say "OUCH! What do you do?". That is just some great engrish there. 

I absolutely loved this game. I can't say enough about it. I have played it recently through ROMs on my PC but it just isn't the same. I need to have Nintendo release it on the Virtual Console, then i can get the full pleasure of playing it again with a (mostly) original controller. To me this game hasn't aged a bit. Sure the graphics aren't "Next Gen" but who cares. This game is timeless to me. So if you still have an old NES sitting around your house and a couple extra bucks, you almost owe it to yourself to play this game if you never did in the 80's.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gears of War 2

The hype machine rolled into town and I had a ticket to get on. The view wasn't any different than the last time i took this trip but, the ride was still fun.

So after finishing Gears last night I realized that, as a whole this game is essentially the same as the last game. The environments all feel like Gears, the weapons all function the same, the characters all still interact the same. That being said... I am fine with all of it. I wouldn't want EPIC to change anything really. What i enjoyed about the first game held over to the second. The game is a lot of fun to play in single player and the fun factor ramps up exponentially from there when you add extra players. 

The story is (obviously) a continuation of the first. You are still trying to stop the "Locust" from destroying the whole of human civilization and pretty much destroying the planet. There are several different areas for you to traverse with you squad, including, cities, countrysides, underground levels, and a very very organic level. Like I said before all of which feel like they are part of the "Gears" world. You never get the feeling that this level is just tacked on at the end to give you something else to do. The progression of the game is very fluid. Though you make a lot of stops in different places you never find yourself asking, "How the heck did i get here?". 

As far as how the game controls... pretty much like the first. I did feel however that the controls were a little tighter. I can't really describe it in detail, it's just something you feel as you play the game. There are several different and new weapons to use, most of which make Marcus (and Dom) feel even more like the super soldier they already are. To name a few, there is the "Mulcher" which is a Gatling gun, the "Flamer" a flame thrower, and the "Mortar", which is... well if you don't know what it is then you probably won't play this game anyway. There also are some new Locust weapons but i really didn't use them at all except to get the achievements. The lancer in my opinion is still the best weapon overall to use in the game. Speaking of the Lancer, they added another "Chainsaw Kill" animation to the game, eh... I don't think it was needed but it's still there.

Multiplayer? Well do you have some friends with this game, or do you have an extra controller lying around? Then you will probably be playing this game for a long time to come. Online and off line Co-Op is still there, this time however it is drop-in drop-out, and doesn't disrupt the game. Also there can be different difficulty levels for each player. New to the game is the "Horde Mode". Which allows you and several friends to take on wave after wave of Locuts, in progressing difficulty, for up to 50 levels. The rest of the standard FPS multiplayer modes are there too. Capture the flag is now "Meatflag" where you have to grab an NPC and drag him to a location, only he doesn't come quietly.

I have been trying to think up something negative to say about the game, and I really can't think of anything. I mean I am sure that there are faults in the game, but I guess i just overlooked them b/c the total package is just solid. It feels like more of the same from the first, but as I said that isn't a bad thing. EPIC has created a world that Gears exist in and that's the point. The "Bro-mance" continues through this one, and probably the next game (come on that's not a spoiler the game has sold millions already). I had a lot of fun playing through the regular story alone and can't wait to take friends on a tour of the Locust Nexus, and the busted cities of the world in Gears.

This game has legs (lots of them) and I can tell that I will be playing it for a long time to come. Multiplayer is also an easy way to keep players coming back for more again and again. This game did not disappoint the triple A hype that was behind it I just hope that in the next game that Marcus and Dom can come to grips with their feelings for each other. Now if you will excuse me I have a Brumak to tame.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Heart Beat...

So this past Thursday, my wife and i had another appt with the Dr. Nothing really special except this time we got to hear the Heartbeat of our soon to be determined son/daughter. It is still very surreal that we are having a baby, but this did make things a little more real. 

The Dr. said everything is fine, the heartbeat was strong and fast (as it should be), and everything else with my wife checked out fine. The next appt i will attend is in January when we are able to find out the sex of the baby. I think that will make everything all together real. 

My wife still hasn't been sick. She drinks water like a fish and eats constantly but still hasn't started gaining a lot of weight. But the Dr said that everything is as it should be and we are doing everything right to keep the baby safe and growing properly. 

So as of right now we are about 13 weeks into this and it doesn't seem different for everyday regular life before hand. I am sure that things will rapidly change as my wife's hormones start to get even more crazy and out of control. . . Joy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Super Metroid (SNES)

As far as games for my  Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) goes, this one sits very high on the charts. The first time i played the game was at a friends house, and on his SNES, not my own. 

I owned the first Metroid for the regular NES. For whatever reason, possibly b/c it was the first NES game that i purchased on my own, i always loved the game, even with all of it's back tracking and confusing world layout. I had to wait a very long time before it would see a sequel, and even though some say the sequel came in "Metroid II" for the GameBoy, i don't (and didn't) buy it. That was a game i borrowed from a friend, beat, and immediately gave back. 

Flash forward to some time in 1994 i believe, and there was Super Metroid. Like i said, at first i didn't own the game, but i knew it was out there. I think my initial reason was that "Metroid II" wasn't very good, and that is why i didn't purchase it day one. After playing several hours of the game at a friends house i was hooked. Purchased it at the first chance i had after that, and have been hooked ever since. 

The story is the usual stuff as far as Metroid games go. You are a Samus Aran, bounty hunter extraordinaire. You deliver the "Last Metroid in captivity" to a group of scientist and take off. Naturally the planet then is attacked and the metroid is taken by "Space Pirates" for their own nefarious plans. You then go around the planet collecting bits and bobs for your suit and your weapon. Thus unlocking sections of the planet that were previously inaccessible. The usual back tracking and scouring the planet for items takes place. At the end of the story you face "Mother Brain" (again) and take her down with (spoiler... wait really?) the help of your little Metroid buddy that thinks your its mother. 

This game introduced many of the items that have been present in Metroid games after it. Like the "Super Missile" and the "Grappling Hook". Most all of the other game mechanics and items were polished versions of the previous games items and/or weapons. 

Probably what hooked me the most with this game was the way it looked on screen. Now this is back in the day when a really well done 2-D, go right, game was king. The different environments were all complex and looked drastically different. From the overgrown plant level, to the lava of Norfair, even the Ghost Ship, all felt really well thought out and executed. Also in this version of the game were Mini-Bosses. Besides the usual Ridley, Kraid and Mother Brian, there were other LARGE enemies to take down. Most of which you needed to use a certain item or weapon to exploit a weakness, and pretty much all of them would reward you with another/better item or weapon. Also the music in the game is wonderful. Many of the songs have been taken and remixed by actual bands and are amazing (look up Stemage/Metroid Metal). 

All in all this game still to this day is in my top 10 games of all time. I regularly play through the story and enjoy it every time. As recent as this past summer fell back into the game (on Wii Virtual Console) and went through it for probably the 10th time. 

If you have never played the game and are a fan of the action adventure side scrolling game, i would highly suggest you check it out. You can probably find a copy on ebay cheap or if you own a Wii i think you can pick it up for about $8 (play with the classic controller though). 

Way Back Wednesday's

So i want to do something that i have been thinking about for a while now on my blog. I have an over abundance of "Old School" games in my head that i play or have played over the last twenty some odd years of gaming. 

I have decided to call the section, "Way Back Wednesday's" partly b/c i want a snazzy name for it, and partly b/c i can't think of anything better to call it. 

Since today IS Wednesday, what better day to start it off?

Like Roger Moore instead of Sean Connery...

So despite the fact that Daniel Craig is the new Bond, i decided to use that headline.

I finished playing through the single player story of 007 Quantum of Solace Tuesday. I don't really know what i should have expected from the game but I don't think it disappointed as much as the last several games did. That being said, this game does deliver a limited amount of the James Bond vibe. 

From the outset of the story you get the feeling that you aren't going to truly "Run and Gun" your way through this game. It doesn't go so far as to be the Gears of War 2 "Stop and Pop" either. There are situations that you can't just run in kill everyone and leave the bodies in your wake as you run out the room. Stealth does play a factor in the game as well (achievements please). Sneaking around feels correct in the spots where you need to, the silent kills are pretty brutal despite some of them not "feeling" like you are killing or disabling anyone. The gun play is nice, there are many different types of weapons to use and find through the levels. The sniper rifle as in most FPS's is still my favorite. 

The story revolves around the last 2 movies "Casino Royale" and (naturally) "Quantum of Solace". Before each mission you are given a briefing through the MI6 computer that shows some fancy animations and a time line. I don't know (since i haven't seen the latest movie) if any of it will tie in directly to the story (though I'm almost certain it will) but i always felt like i was missing something. There are people talking about the time line and discussing things that happen and i have no idea why. That and the end of the game's main story kinda ends on a cliff hanger. I guess they are setting you up for the next game? Or maybe the movie itself? Either way i thought there was another stage coming and it simply didn't happen. Time will tell i guess when i see the movie later in the week.

So keeping with the groaners in the game, i have a HUGE gripe with this game. Being that it is a Bond game after all, why is there not a single gadget in the game. None! You can't count the hacking sequences (doors, locks, and cameras) they aren't true gadgets in use. So from what i can tell there are some in the Multi-Player but still... why don't i use them in the main game. I am not expecting a million different things but even the "watch laser" was fun to use in Goldeneye. Seriously, nothing in main game. Did they fire Q?

So did i finish the game, yes. Will i play the multi-player stuff sure. Am i glad that i didn't purchase the game, defiantly. I can't call it a final verdict on the entire game, but as far as the single player game goes, i would give it probably a rent. If you want to play a great Bond game travel back in time to 1996 and play Goldeneye for Nintendo 64. If you are looking for a rental that will pass the time (why aren't you playing one of the million other great games out there) you will probably be happy, for a while. 

So like i said it's ain't Sean Connery, but it for sure isn't Timothy Dalton. 

Friday, November 7, 2008

Gonna go back in time!

So the guys at Criterion have done it again. 
Not only have they brought us new online components for their amazing racing game Burnout Paradise. They also added Bikes, and a day/night switch on time. Both for free i might add. 

Now they are bringing in some new vehicles. With the Legendary Car Pack coming some time (probably early 09 I'm guessing) soon they are adding in the "Jansen 88 Special" a.k.a. The DeLorean DMC12... The thing even fricken hovers! Also in the pack are cars with the names, The Calvary Bootlegger, Manhattan Spirit, and the GT Nighthawk. Not really sure what the other cars are modeled after, but being as the name of the pack is "Legendary Car" they will probably be very recognizable to the average gamer.

This add on will cost you some Microsoft Points or some PSN bucks, but really... flying in the DeLorean around Paradise City... Listening to GnR... its like the 80's all over again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dreams do come true...

*The only version i could find without music but it has German subtitles*

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bond is back... I sure hope so!

In honor of the release of the newest James Bond game AND movie; "Quantum Of Solace", I thought i would profess my love of the movies and (some) of the games. 

Though most fanboys would have you believe that the only game with the 007 moniker on it is "Goldeneye" for the Nintendo 64, it's sadly is not. Bond games date back all the way to the Atari 2600 (represent) and Apple II days. Originally just "James Bond 007" game was released back in 1983 by Parker Brothers. In the game the missions were based on three different Bond movies, Diamonds are Forever, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, and the Spy who Loved Me. Also the game is labeled as a "Role Playing Game" I didn't own this game but i am guessing that being it was on the 2600 (not known for wonderful RPG titles) it is labeled as such b/c you take on the "Role" of James Bond.

Fifteen years, and about 10+ games later, Goldeneye for Nintendo 64 hit. Instantly it was a classic. The game followed almost exactly the plot of the movie. Putting you in the shoes of Pierce Brosnan as Bond. The regular single player story was fun enough but where the game really shined was in the multi-player. 
Get four friends, four controllers (and a TV big enough to matter) and have fun for hours. I can't even count the number of times that my friends and i would go a full weekend of just playing this game. I can still remember each of the maps and could easily find each of my friends at any point in time just based on their screen. Despite what some people will tell you about the nostalgia for this game being better than the actual game, i still find it amusing to play.

So now nine years and many many bad Bond games (Including a rehash of Goldeneye, and a Racing game) later comes the latest attempt to put Bond back on the map. Enter 007 Quantum of Solace (movie and game). 
The movie picks up immediately after the end of the last flick (which is actually the first book by Ian Flemming) Casino Royale. Bond is pissed and on a mission of vengeance. Right on!
The game however is a bit of both worlds. You will complete missions based on Casino Royale AND QoS. Going back to a first person point of view the game already has scored major points with me, and with other excited fans of the series. Developed by Treyarch (the folks that did some of the COD games) and using the COD:4 engine, this game looks amazing in previews.
Accomplishing missions using stealth, gadgets, and down right brute force looks like it is a blast. The cover system borrows a bit from other First/Third person shooters, allowing you to suck up to a wall and the camera pulling back to give you a better vantage point. You can still pull of "007 Movie Moments" but they aren't labeled for you with a Giant neon sign that says "Shoot Here, It's What Jimmy Would Do!". You don't ever have to do them but when you figure out something that would make a great action moment you are rewarded. 
Being that i am a huge movie buff, and a total nerd when it comes to both Bond and the games, i for one can't wait to get this one in my hands. 

"007 Quantum of Solace" the game comes out this Tuesday on pretty much every system, and the movie will be in theaters this weekend. This IS however just a preview based on all that i have heard, seen and read second hand. So i will have more on this game as i am allowed to play it. Stay Tuned!

Gamefly HAS sent me my 360 copy in the mail. I hope to have it by this weekend.