Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sam & Max Season 1 (Completed)

So I completed season one of the new Sam&Max series and having played the original. And having loved the original in all it's DOS, midi sound and SCUMM graphics-ness, I have to say the new games are a mixed bag.

Season One of Sam&Max comes as six individual games which are all self contained point and click adventures.

Rarely did I have to go to the Telltale forums and look for a hint as to how to proceed in the game as all the episodes give great hints on what your objectives are and what a possible solution might be to most puzzles. For example on episode one Culture Shock, at the start you have to find some swiss cheese, you find some American cheese, but as Max says "I don't like Swiss, because of all the holes you get less for your money" which is a hint to make holes in the American cheese and solve the puzzle.
Puzzles are general adventure affair, although occasions like in the original Sam&Max where you had to use a severed hand on a golf-ball retriever and a fish magnet, are not to be seen anywhere. Which is disappointing, but those puzzles never had any hints to them and I always ended up having to look at a walkthrough so I guess the world can live without them.

Graphically the game looks great, if it had of been made a few years ago it would look very dated now, but I think where the game is now graphically it will still look good for years to come (although some of the character's oddly shaped heads might not).

A lot of Jazz music, voice actors are great, but sometimes the recording of the voice actors is less so, which is unfortunate because that shouldn't happen and could even be considered as careless.

Point and click only, just like it should be for a point and click adventure game (I am looking at you Monkey Island 4).

Shallow and short, even though the six episodes all have an underlying plot that connects them all, it isn't anything to talk about or anything you will be praising the game for. Although with some excellent characters and dialogue I think the writers where probably constrained by the lack of game environments.

The classic Sam&Max quips are very abundant, although Max doesn't actually abuse anything in the game, so Max is playing kind of like how Lion-O from the Thundercats always manages to escape properly using his sword as a sword, simply because the creators want to maintain the goody-two-shoes image.

I have to say again that it is a mixed bag, very few of the environments did I care about, each episode is completable in about two to three hours and even with few environments some like Bosco's Shop become very routine and is obviously used to reduce the game's art budget.

That all being said I am looking forward to Season 2 and hope that Telltale take a critical eye to Season 1 and actually make Season 2 better as opposed to just telling everyone that it will be better.

If you want to get Sam&Max series one then you can get it from Telltale Games for $34.95 and that includes digital download, but if you need something physical they will also ship you a DVD with the games on and the soundtrack as a bonus for just the price of shipping. I bought from Telltale and found the six installers to be a chore, so maybe a better option would be to buy through STEAM for $39.90 which means you don't have to do the whole multiple installer stuff.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dead or Alive The Movie

I just finished watching the Dead or Alive film and was pleasantly surprised. It might even be considered a borderline good drunken party film, although nothing I have seen has ever seen comes close to beating Kung Pow in that respects.

DOA is a dumb action film, but if you are the type of movie watcher that has for some reason watched through a few of those martial arts or kickboxing films with paper-thin plots and acting, you too might actually enjoy this.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Prince Of Persia Classic Combat Guide

So I downloaded Prince Of Persia Classic from XBox Live Arcade and happy bought it as I never liked POP, but POPC has fixed the stuff that used to frustrate me like how the price seems to slide everywhere, progress saving and switch markings, but for some reason I had a problem with the combat. I tried reading a few forums to see what advice people had and as it turns out I wasn't alone in my inability to win at combat and if you look at the forums you will see two clear classes of people, the first are like me, people who are having issue with even the simplest of sword fights and others not understanding what the problem is as they are doing fine.

In brief the combat works like this, you reach a screen or ledge with some guard on and the prince pulls out his sword (the prince is now in combat mode). Pressing the A button blocks attacks and the X button performs an attack. This might sound simple, but the timing of the guard's attacks always seemed to defeat me, over and over I died trying to work out what I was doing wrong, but I get it now.

Combat is kind of turn based, so let me walk you through a senario:
  1. Facing eachother the guard lundges at the prince.

  2. The prince blocks the guards lundge, knocking him off balance. Seeing the guard off balance the prince tries to strike the guard with his sword. Somhow the guard manages to parry the princes's strike and makes yet another lundge for the prince.

  3. The prince again blocks the guard's attack, knocking the guard's sword to the side. The prince tries yet another counter attack, stabing the guard through the chest.
When you press A or X in POPC the command issued isn't imediatly carried out in the game by the prince. So imagine that when you give the prince a command to either block or attack is added to a buffer or list whitch the prince will perform at the next avalible oppertunity. This list will hold a maximum of (I believe) two items. So pressing X and then X rapidly will exsecute two attacks by the prince. So now imagine in the senario above that I have pressed A and then X quickley between sections 1 and 2. So as soon as I seen the guard start to attack I tell the prince to block and then strike. The prince will then block the oncomming attack and then counter attack. And again in the senario above I have pressed X then A in the space between sections 2 and 3 and the prince acts acordingly again.

Now as a side note on the 360 controller the Left Triger and Left Bumper will also block. As well as the Right Triger and Right Bumper will also attack. I suggest using the Bumpers as this will allow quicker exsecution of commands.

And just because I like to embed video in posts:

Monday, June 18, 2007

An Odd Way Of Downloading Torrents

By way of I read about Torrent Raiders which is an XNA project (all bits to run the project are included in the installer) that is part game and part BitTorrent client.

Once you start Torrent Raiders up you are asked to provide a torrent file. Torrent Raiders will then download that torrent's target files to the same folder as the torrent, but you get to play a game as it does it. In the game you have a view of the earth and people who you are connected to show up as spots on the earth. Your job (as somekind of cyber mercenary) is to shoot data packets, collect evidence and bomb the people you are transferring to/from for money.

The project is obviously a comment on digital intellectual property theft and as a game it lacks verity, but I have never seen transfer statistics used in a more creative way. Even the little packets of data in the game look like flying trucks with the name of the BitTorrent Client that the truck came from is Written On The Side.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Video Games Meet Web 2.0

There is this great talk that was posted on GDC Radio Earlier (Direct MP3 Link) about what lessons the video games industry can learn from the internet.

During the talk Raph Koster (I Disagree With His Book) shows this awesome video that talks about what Web 2.0 is.

I think what is missing from Raph's talk is a message that the industry is heading in the right direction as it is, digital downloads will conquer retail (however long it takes), a combination of casual games as well as AAA titles are the way forwards for all studios and the days of incremental sequels are numbered in favour of titles that players want to own the whole series of and not just the latest incarnation.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Exceptional Anime Music Video

There is something about this AMV that I really love.

If you want to know what the audio track is, what awards it has received or anything Here is the corresponding page. The primary anime in this AMV is Pale Cocoon which I found to be very thought provoking, so if you get a chance to watch it, I would recommend that you do.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pacman Championship Edition

Toru Iwatani creator of Pacman has helped Microsoft and Namco Bandai (he still works there) create a new iteration of the original Pacman game. I knew someone was working on a version of Pacman for the world championship that Microsoft is doing, but I wasn't expecting such a dramatic change from the original.

Graphically the game Looks Great with a dark playing world, lots of bright (almost neon) clashing colours. Then there are a lot of nice little graphical touched like glowing characters, trails and sparks that appear when Pacman rubs against a wall, but Pacman-CE is widescreen! So there is a nice large playing area that takes up the whole screen (assuming you have a widescreen TV).

Gameplay wise you still collect pellets, power-pills and avoid ghosts that start out in a box in the middle, but Pacman is nolonger level based, it is continual like GeometryWars where you simply play until you run out of lives or time (levels range from five to ten minuets). To accomplish continual play Namco Bandai has divided the board into a left and right. Once all the pellets from one side of the screen have been eaten a fruit appears on the opposite side of the board. Then once that fruit has been eaten, the opposite side (of the board to the fruit) is refreshed with new pellets (usually in a different configuration from before) and sometimes a new maze configuration.
Difficulty is controlled by the game's speed, although when there are no power-pills on screen the game inevitably becomes harder until a fruit is eaten and more power-pills are introduced back into the game.

Pacman-CE is a much improved version of the original, but it is still £6.80 (800 points) which is a little much. And I haven't ever been a fan of Pacman because of it's difficult, but I still love the franchise if only because the game has spawned one of my all time favourite quotes:

If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music. - Marcus Brigstocke

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Nine Years Of Waiting Is Almost Over, Fallout 3 Is Nigh

The Official Fallout 3 Website has been updated with a teaser video. You can download the teaser in HD from WorthPlaying, FileShack or FilePlanet.

Said teaser uses game assets, no indication of wither F3 will be third person or first person perspective game, but by the very music used in the teaser it is clear that Bethesda knows the atmosphere that the series has. The teaser suggests a Fall 2008 release, but I think we can all count on F3 being delayed.

Random Fact

If a cat is held upside down and dropped from a height of one foot or less, it will not land on its feet.

Sunday, June 03, 2007