Sunday, December 27, 2009

Umm....

I really want to post something, but a subject to discuss hasn't come to me yet. Poof....Hrm. Eh, I've got nothing. Merry After Christmas/Before New Years!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Christmas Spirit: Now Accepting Giftcards

I thought I'd spend a moment discussing something near and dear to my heart, especially during the holidays, my loathing of gift cards! The little pieces of plastic that seem to omit the need to actually KNOW what a person likes. Simply get them a gift card to an all-in-one store like Walmart, Target, or Bestbuy and your all set!

I will state right now, I don't dislike gift cards because I believe they are some sort of cruel marketing technique used to break up the social structure, no, I think the overuse of these is due to the consumer, not the producer. I hate giftcards because I think they are lazy, pure and simple. They allow a person to get away with not spending time to get to know a person and their preferences: likes and dislikes. Isn't that part of being a friend, knowing what a person likes?

What happens if I haven't known the person long enough or know a person well enough to get a good gift? Ask them! Whatever happened to going up to a person and asking "What sort of things do you like?". It is almost impossible NOT to be able to get ahold of someone long enough to learn about their personal tastes. Instant messengers, voice chat, email, phones, and those ancient things called letters work too! What if I don't have any of those? Well obviously this person isn't -that- important to you and you shouldn't worry about getting them a gift. Well I don't want to be a dick. Take them out to eat! I have yet to meet a person who would turn down a free meal at Sizzler or some locale restaurant.

What gift cards represent is the impersonal nature that is becoming more and more obvious during the recent years. The holidays are never meant to be a general ordeal, a routine. We have these traditions to help us realize how thankful we should be for all the good qualities in our life, one of them being family and friends. Now I understand there are certain households that leave much to be desired, but even there you can find something to focus on to bring a little light to your holidays. If you absolutely cannot find something, then search for a friend, a place, something that you feel thankful for having, it exists.

So whether your doing some last second holiday shopping, finding a birthday gift, or giving someone a present just because, try to avoid these little pieces of plastic and head farther into the depths of the store of your choice (trust me, you won't get lost).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Am A Statistic!

I have recently finished filling out my voter's registration form and I must say that the occasion holds much higher significance than I thought it would. All was rather straight-forward until I came to the party selection screen. I decided to spend time to go to the individual websites of each party (exempting the Republican and Democrat), so that I would actually make a knowledgeable decision.

The first party was the American Independent Party: the embodiment of pure conservatism. These are the people those wimpy Republicans are trying to be! No abortion, no gay-marriage, no gun restrictions, no liberalism. These men show the god-fearing patriotism I thought only possible in the days when wigs were popular. While I admittingly agree with more than one of their beliefs, I thought that they didn't give enough attention to the contemporary issues that plague our society, next!

Second was the Green Party: what happens when Ferngully becomes a political party. This is the sort of thing Al Gore has wet dreams about. If it isn't quite obvious already, I am not fond of this party. These counter-productive slogan spouters annoy me to no end. They also seem to only focus on the environment with no care for any of the other political situations, next!

The Libertarian Party: We don't need no stinking government controlled business! The first thing that impressed me with this was their website, which was incredibly easy to navigate. Their fevor for the defense of free speech and uncensored internet use got me to click the other topics that I didn't even really have too much interest in originally. Overall they wish for minimalist government involvement with a larger focus on private business running the various services such as: Social Security, health care, and welfare. Due to how horridly managed most government ran services are (I've had personal experience with this), it seems like the obvious choice.

Finally is the Peace and Freedom Party: Female or DIE!. These ultra-feminist really scare me to death. The same problem arises that did with the Independent Party, not enough focus on contemporary issues. To be honest their only focus seemed on the inequality of genders. male < female inequality of course.

While it's quite obvious which party I went with I will provide the link to each website so you could look for yourself if interested. The main problem with the three other parties (though the two biggest culprits are the Green Party and the Peace and Freedom Party), is that they seem to only care about a single issue, which does not a political party make. To be honest, they seem like they'd be better off simply being an activist organization.

Libertarian: http://www.lp.org/
American Independent: http://www.aipca.org/
Green: http://www.cagreens.org/
Peace and Freedom: http://www.peaceandfreedom.org/home/

Why no Democrat or Republican segments? Simply because I have lost the majority of my faith in these two parties considering the job they've done so far.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A New Thing is Good

I've decided to start using my blog to test my ability to write essays according to the topic supplied in a prompt. I will probably ask a few of my friends for prompts, think of a few of my own, and find some on the internet. Though, if you wish to supply me with some of your own feel free to do so. Send the prompts to my email, message me, or send me a PM on Youtube and I'll try to reply to the prompt when I get the chance.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Where the hell did November go?

I've been trying to fill this blog with at least three to five significant posts a month and now that I look at my calender I realize I only have ten days to do it!

The reason for my absence (for the five of you who read this), is due to an onset of horrific headaches that have plagued me for the last month or so. I recently got a prescription along with tips from my doctor on how to relieve stress and lower the chance of them happening. Secondly, I'm going to a chiropractor soon to take care of a few spinal issues I've gotten while working out.

This also is the reason for me lowering my video posting on Youtube to once a week (also because I've noticed I get more views than when I release them in lump sums, yes I'm shameless). I will probably edit and release a video today and sometime during the weekend, but over the Thanksgiving break I might start production on a second video review that I've been wanting to do.

You might have noticed two bits of poetry that I placed on here, probably seemed a tad non-sequitur and that's something I understand. I'm actually going to study creative writing in college and figured I should develop as many styles of writing as possible (this is the main reason for the blog). Yes, I realize they are a bit melodramatic and such, but I've never really considered myself a modern Robert Frost or Edgar Allen Poe so bear with me.

Finally, I probably will go see a movie over the weekend and as such will supply another movie review relatively soon. If not I think I could manage to fish out a video game to review, but I'd much rather write a review for a movie at the moment.

Well, I think I could consider this a legitimate post, so here's one out of four!

P.S. If I got some more comments or messages or something to confirm that people read this it would probably inspire me to write more on it. I'm just saying that I'm a complete attention whore.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Art

Art is
Passion, Expression, Devotion
Love is
Devotion, Expression, Passion
Love is
Art is

My Demented Inner Beauty

This is not a beast of uncontrollable passion, of lust, or of the body at all
My mind is the culprit, cruel, calculating, callous
It strives to control, to manipulate those around me with malicious intent, corruption
A creature with a silver tongue, a slick charisma, and savoring appetite.
An appetite for pain, to torment those who torment me, predatory
My beast is that of cold logic, without love, without love
Beware my beauty

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What To Take Into Account When Making a Sword and Arrow Style Multiplayer Game

I recently went on what I call a "mod binge", in which I download various random mods and try them all out to see if I like any. One of the most recent of these games being Pirates, Vikings, and Knights II. I won't bother on a review of that game, but I will give it a two word review, cluster fuck. Something positive did come out of this experience though, I finally realized that most of these games that rely heavily on melee or archery style combat tend to suffer from the same problems that boil them down into an incoherent blob. So without further delay I'm going to provide a list of things that need to be taken into account when making a sword and arrow oriented online game.

1. Disable The Jumping Ability

Yes you heard me, if I am carrying around 50 lbs of armor and a 10 lbs sword I should not be able to hop let alone jump two and a half feet into the air.(Edit: I recently found out that knights were actually quite mobile in their armor, but I still think their jumping would be restricted. If not, I still think this should come into play.) Even if you disregard the realism issue you come across the major problem, people don't stop jumping. I would be surprised beyond belief if I played a game like this where half the team wasn't constantly hopping around and wildly swinging their swords around like a bunch of seizure induced bunny rabbits with pointy objects. This also adds to the cluster since most of these games also want you to dodge and parry these little pricks while they are jumping over you like your a bloody candlestick. It just makes things too complicated is all. Now I'm not saying all classes shouldn't be able to jump, there's no reason an archer dressed in cloth shouldn't have a modest leap and an assassin's whole concept is agility, but even with them I believe you should provide a stamina bar of sorts so they can't do it constantly.

2. Simplify Blocking

What do I mean by this exactly? Well instead of having to block in accordance to the type of swing an enemy is executing it should rely more on a rock, paper, and scissor concept. For example, you wouldn't expect to be able to realistically block a two handed great sword with a dagger and you wouldn't think it possible to block a javelin spear flying at you with anything less than a shield. I think it should rely more on a timed gauge than going in the right direction as well. It'd be much more practical to simply press block at the right time than focus on going to the right and blocking while someone to your right would enjoy turning the right side of your liver into a sliced dinner.

3. Give Incentives for Someone to Play the Class Like You Intended

Examples being:

Archers or Long Distance Classes: Give a bonus to damage when they attack from a distance instead of at close range.

Assassins or High/Fast Damage Classes: Give a damage bonus for being able to strike an enemy first before they hit or block you (don't give a back-stab bonus since that will quickly devolve into a game of "Ring Around the Rosie").

Tank or High Armor Classes: Give armor or damage buffs when attacking multiple enemies or successfully blocking an attack.

Guns or Mid-Range Weapon Classes: Provide a charge gauge that does a higher damage or provides a more accurate shot when aimed or held for a signified period of time.


4. Provide Areas to Heal, But Do NOT Make Them Instant Heal

Medical stations or pick-ups that slowly heal over time. This makes sure that battles don't quickly spiral downward into simply knowing where each health pickup is and hopping to and fro. Medical classes are also a plus, but again they should heal incremental amounts of health at a time. Inversely, I'd rather not have to whimper out of a conflict simply because I was left with only an iota of health after the last encounter I had and can't find a single way to regenerate my health.

5. Size, Size, Size

Let me put it simply, small scale games are usually not fun in this style of combat. When I pick up a sword nearly as tall as me I want to have a good section of opponents to be ready for a good chopping. The same goes for if I pick up a long bow, or a javelin, or any type of pointy weapon. Now I know that, ultimately, you can't predict how many people will play your game, but simply making the default server limit around thirty or higher can give a hint that you want a large amount of players on a server at one time.

6. Give Damage Indicators

This is more of a personal wish above everything else, but it would be nice to know what I hit and where I hit it when I swing into a horde of enemies. If nothing else it will organize everything a bit better and also help negate some complaints about hit detection.

That's my list of what you should take into account when your making this type of game. Of course, I am not a professional in anyway, so this is all simply a well organized pile of opinions and nothing more. Though, I do hope that someone will eventually see this or at least take these points into account when making or updating their game.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Demographics of My School Students (Part 1)

The different demographics of senior students I've encountered during my final year of high school. I will warn you right now that these will be broad stereotypes and are by no means apply to every single student who fits the descriptions I am about to present.

GED
First off is a little individual I would like to call Ged. Ged is the type of person who really doesn't care much about such pointless concepts like being a good role model for younger students, making the most out of the last year of high school, or in some cases even showing that they've learned anything throughout the years of free education. Recently, I've noticed that these individuals take a liking to brightly colored clothing and accessories, such as multicolored glasses, pink backpacks, or lime green pants. You can also spot a Ged by the large amount of pointless derogatory vocal output they release at random times. Usually this arises from Ged coming across something they can't quite grasp or something they are having trouble with. Usually they address such things as retarded or gay. Another key I've noticed is in the hairstyles, which tend to either be short at least be lifted up with enough hair gel to preserve a small creature for centuries to come.

Peppy
The second subject to focus on is the preppy, peppy college bound youth. While the most prominent gender is female, they can be both boy or girl. These people are pretty close to your generic student. They are incredibly social, adequately intelligent, and they have an incredible fervor for getting involved in school activities. You'll usually see these people in Link Crew and at the various student pep rallies. Usually dressed in rather common clothes, the only real way to notice someone like this is the way they chit chat. They're usually rather light-hearted and almost disturbingly cheery most of the time. In a nutshell these are your cheerleaders, your link crew, and your various pep rally peoples.

Bohemians
Third is of course the obvious metal heads, punker rockers, goths , and music enthusiasts in general, the bohemians of the school ground if you will. Band t-shirts, off-style clothing, and various discussions about artistic concepts, bands, and a little slice of politics and philosophy tend to litter the conversation of these people. One very obvious thing you will notice is that these types of people are very affectionate toward each other and are usually seen in very close vicinity to one another with usually a couple cuddling or hugging. Another thing is that they have some how managed to develop social awkwardness into such a form that it becomes a strength. Another group of people who you'll notice associating with this group are the otaku and gamers, though in the latter category usually only the hardcore and lifer variety do so.

I'll add other groups as I can across them, but for now these are the only ones I can provide examples for.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

9

Around two months ago I sat down to watch some good ole fashion videos on the Internet when the trailer for 9 popped up. After hearing what needed to be listened to and watching what need to be seen I had only one question, when and where! So yeah, I might have a bit of a thing for anything punk, but can you blame me? You have Elijah Woods playing a burlap doll in a post-apocalyptic world being hunted by a giant gear ridden monster with what looks like a wolf's skull for a head! What more do you need!?
The film begins with Elijah "9" Woods falling off some bizarre contraption onto a desk, after awakening he seems to already have full control of his mechanical functions as well as a basic knowledge of what everything around him is, but enough of that. After being intrigued by some rustling window shutters, he opens them to expose the devastated landscape, which is all that is left of....of...I think it's Russia simply because you hear the word "Comrade" in some old tapes shown later in the film. Well taking a peak outside he notices a creature quite like him, but it seems he is unable to speak or call out to him. Cut to outside and Elijah greets this fellow compatriot by smacking him in the face with a spoon, quite nice. Luckily 2, as he's called, is quite forgiving and even rather inventive as he fits 9 with a nifty little voice box. After the movie gives you just enough time to connect to this caring creature he's ripped from the movie by the aforementioned demon dog monster machine. Eventually Elijah decides to go after him and save him with the help of his new found buddy, and friend of 2, 5. And he does, and then he does something incredibly stupid and 2 is offed for the rest of the film, don't you just feel the warm atmosphere surrounding you, choking you?

If you haven't noticed this movie does not want you to be comfortable, it always wants to keep you on your feet and force into your head that this is not a safe world you are peering into. Throughout the film you feel the constant tension that all the characters do at the realization that there is no safe haven from the machines that wish to destroy our little sack puppet friends. While the film is rather reserved on the shock scares, it does supply a steady amount of a tense atmosphere that actually makes you hope that something will jump out at you just so you know what it is your nearly wetting your pants over.

Yet a film's atmosphere can be destroyed if not supplied with good voices to fill the air and luckily the few voices supplied are very efficient. We already mentioned Elijah and he's great, moving on. Christopher Plummer supplies an very appropriate nuance to 1's shaky and xenophobic demeanor, his performance is memorable yet not over-domineering, which actually can be said of all the roles. Jennifer Connelly as 7 provides a strong voice and attitude, a very fresh change from the good amount of pathetic female performances that have plagued cinema as of late, seeming perfectly suited to the strong and independent character she is portraying while still seeming huma..Um....real.

(Semi-Spoiler Warning)

One thing you will notice about the film is that it doesn't not like to provide exposition, actually it loathes it. It wants you to be in the here and now and will only give you the slightest bit of information just so you won't be completely baffled by what your looking at. All of the exposition can be summed up in the scene in which you meet the two silent, and apparently slightly perverted as you see in a later scene, twins who apparently have eyes that work like cameras and film projectors. All of the film's exposition can be supplied in that scene and in this sentence that I am about to provide. Nice scientist makes super intelligent robot, asshole chancellor steals super intelligent robot and uses it to make machines of war to take over the world, super intelligent robot gets pissed after a while and turns robots on humans and asshole chancellor, nice scientist goes underground and makes the stitch-punks to carry on after humans are done. The word subtle is not soft enough to explain the narrative of this film and some say this makes the film's narrative weak, I'm not sure if I can agree. It's true that the most overt form of symbolism and reference is when 2 is placed on a raft and 5 puts a single coin over his eyes before they push him off to sea (If you DON'T get that reference you obviously failed ancient history).

(End of Spoilers)

The end of this film leaves you with a feeling of yearning, you want to know more about this new world that the stitch-punks have at their disposal, and you definitely want to see what happens next after they have conquered this major threat. While most would probably want to shoot me for saying this, this film is in need of a sequel, something to further expand on the many questions a
nd thoughts it leaves you with. Are there any humans left? Are there any other stitch-punks? Is the entire world destroyed or just one group of continents, one country? What bloody country are they even in, they hint at Russia with the word comrade, but who knows!? You know what? I demand that they either release a book, a game, a second movie, or some form of media to further expand on this universe, demand it I say!

We're finally at the end of this review and the inevitable question comes up, how did it content overall? That's actually very difficult to explain, while I usually want to think of how much other people would enjoy this film I think the only way I could do it justice is if I stuck with my own unfiltered opinion. I do think the narrative and story is a bit weak. The acting, character design, world design, and overall atmosphere are an original work of wonder that only further supplies the anxiety and curiosity left with me at the end of this visual masterpiece. The plot is probably the most generic portion of this film, but it isn't so much so that it becomes a major detractor, but it doesn't earn it any bonus points.

Overall Grade = B

Familiar Face/ Rblueboy777 is Credit to Team!

Thanks again for this awesome picture of me!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Knowledge's Place in the Human Imagination.

(I will warn you that this is far off the beaten path of my usual information and does not have an editor's touch. So it might be filled with some grammatical errors.)

Might I provide some food to thought for the couple of individuals who frequent my blog. I was recently speaking with a friend when I came to the revelation that seems to not be spoken about much the mass of society. Simply put, what I mean is the link and interaction of one's knowledge and imagination, the product being a revelation that truly explains way poets and scientist consider the human race a "unique" species. We aren't unique due to our ability to comprehend and acquire vast amounts of knowledge, in a smaller scale even an ape or canine can do that. We aren't unique due to our morality because even the smallest insect has its own moral code in the form of instincts (as well as is possible that a moral code is an evolution or mutation of instincts). No, we are unique because we have the capacity to imagine, to dream, and our ability to use knowledge to focus and concentrate our efforts toward that dream.

I think people who are categorized as either logical thinkers or dreamers are simply a sub-category leading the categorization of "Great Thinkers". For it takes a man who can dream and logically decipher and direct themselves toward that dream to be considered a great thinker and a great man. Anyone who restricts themselves to one of the two sub-categories is only limiting and effectively retarding themselves to a lack-luster method of thinking. Those who try to become great while occupying an even lower category are almost certainly doomed to mediocrity.

Now don't misunderstand me, it doesn't take a libraries worth of information and a strenuous focus on self-examination to be in the realm of higher thinkers. Simply knowing how each connects with the other and using that formula can propel many people to what I would daringly consider a higher form of thinking and self-awareness. While I myself haven't spent enough time to bring detail to the formula I think I could simplify it as such.

First: Dreaming and obtaining a very simple direction in which to head in terms of acquiring knowledge.
Second: Learning the methods of logical thinking and obtaining general knowledge while also focusing on whatever topic you could decipher from your dream if any.
Third: Devoting yourself to allowing the knowledge and logic you obtained to help either concentrate or expand on your imagination and then to focus on it to find a specific path to follow.
Fourth: Follow this path to help specify what types of knowledge you want to obtain to help you reach your dream.

I guess if I were to put it into a metaphor, consider yourself a man on a series of twisting and splitting roads, but a thick fog doesn't allow you to see in front of you and the signs scattered across are written in a language you can't understand. As you acquire knowledge and the methods of logical thinking the veil of the fog is slowly lifted and you begin to understand the signs. As you head further though you notice that the signs begin to become harder to read again and the fog has returned, you acquire more knowledge and use the methods of logical thinking to once again understand the sign and lift the veil. Imagination forms the landscape, the roads, the signs, but logic and knowledge allow you to understand the signs and follow the road.

Again, I need to consider this further and I simply used this as a reference to check back on so that I don't lose sight of this thought. If anyone else considers this useful feel free to take it for yourself and to expand on it. If you do so though please contact me so that I can see what other people take from this. You can find my contact me deathcomesx@yahoo.com if you wish.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A new walkthrough? Really?

Well okay not just yet, but I have uploaded a sort of prequel to the walkthrough on my Youtube page. To be fairly honest I think just about everyone will be satisfied with this new inclusion to my vast archive of media! Check my Youtube page in a couple hours and it should be ready to go!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dark Messiah: Might and Magic

I was scanning through my PC collection when I came across a little devil I got around 2006. I never got pass the first couple of stages and to be honest, I don't remember why. Well I popped it in, installed in, and then the utter horror of this title seeped into me. Is it a bad game? No. Is it an ugly game? Not at all. So what's the problem? This game is brutal!

But lets back up a bit. What is this game about? Well you start with the voice of your character calling out to his master, who actually seems to either teleport in mid-blink, or your character was just declaring defeat at a game of hide and seek in a rather ominous location. Well after a slight tutorial in which you learn the various techniques, including the downright lethal kick, you get sent to a place called Stonehelm. Clever, no? This lovely little castle town's only flaw is being prone to necromancer attacks...wait, what? So, you come to the front gate, and apparently the undead horde is polite enough to wait until you get your credentials out of the way before tearing the ass out of the city. After a few heroic maneuvers (which include running away and firing at a cyclops from over a quarter of a mile away) you're treated as the local man-of-the-hour and taken to Menelag, the town Lord and mage...who promptly gets offed few hours after your character's having met him. The main character seems to have a string of bad-luck that follows him around.


From this point on you begin to fully grasp how downright unforgivable this game is. The game gives you a broad range of class specializations, but I'll save you time by telling you the only one I have managed to work with is a paladin type lad with focus on the healing-debuff spells and the rest in strength. The game's alleged stealth element is downright impossible unless your the type who's actually managed your way through a Splinter Cell game without firing any bullets or alerting as single guard. The enemies scope of vision and hearing is incredible, in the sense that if you start causing a ruckus every damn guard in the tri-county area will flock to the scene to bum rush your ass. The second problem is this game can be rather clever at times, enemies won't hesitate to rush you from your squishy exposed backside and shove a sword straight up happy land. Unless you have a sword and shield, you'd better know exactly what your doing. Finally, make the kick button your best friend. Due to the fact that most enemies take five to twenty power strikes to down on hard and you only two, the kick will be your ticket to victory more time than anything else. Chasms, fire pits, punji spikes, and other downright hilarious traps are generously scattered about and a well timed kick or sword strike can save you from dulling your blade on the impenetrable skulls of orcs and henchmen. Bosses are another matter, these gods of sword and spell will, more likely than not, kill you in a single well placed hit, leaving you wishing you hadn't bought a glass computer desk...as you ram your head into it in sheer utter rage.

I've talked enough about the combat mechanics; what about the visuals? Well, this game is downright pretty. Taking full advantage of the fantasy setting, you get pretty little castles, spires, and dungeons to take in when your not being hacked at by ghouls and cyclopes. The game sprawls across many different landscapes including dungeons, a castle town, island ruins, villainous underground lairs, and...sewers. You clash swords with henchmen, zombies, ghouls...Orcs. Okay, the game isn't really creative in the choice of locations and enemy variety, but it does provide good artistic direction to give every locale a unique flair. The particle effects on weapons and enemies are also very well done, again, taking full advantage of the fantasy setting to go all out with the shiny items of the hacking variety.

Finally, how's the story? How to describe it, have you ever watched a movie that overall had a good story, but provided one too many hints toward upcoming plot-twists, ultimately dulling the moment? That happens to be the one major flaw with Dark Messiah's story. Starting from the ten minute mark on you are constantly reminded that you are an important person, who will have a major impact of the fate of this place. You hear constant chatter of your father who you've never met or heard of yet seems to be a person of great power. By the time it finally comes to expose you as the demon son of an immortal imprisoned evil, it almost comes off as expected. When you ignore this major flaw the rest of the story is adequate enough to enjoy throughout the game, but probably won't be mentioned again during the topic of great game plots and stories.

So how does this game rank up?

Difficulty = (C+) This game can be very unforgiving at times and one wrong move can have enemies swarming you like angry bees with gigantic swords.

Graphics = ( A-) You'll always have an eyeful every glance you take, but sadly the choice of locations and enemies are far from original.

Story = (B) A rather standard story with a bit too much foreshadowing, but overall it will stay you over for the duration of the game and keep you interested.

Replay Value = (A-) The class tree inevitably allows this game to be played multiple ways and the game, for the most part, endorses this. Sadly there are parts that outright restrict certain class specifications and this will funnel you into a narrow selection of rules when choosing how you spend your points.
The multiplayer is pitiful. Don't even try it.

Demographic Reach = (C) The incredible difficulty of this game will scare away casual players, leaving this gem for the hardcore and avid gamers only.

Overall Grade = (B-)

Monday, July 27, 2009

A callout to my editor!

I figured it was about time this man got some recognition for making all my work look nice and professional-like! Here's his Youtube page and Ustream, I hope you all pay him a visit and do horrible horrible things to him!

Copper Chocobo's Youtube


Copper Chocobo's Ustream

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Proposal

Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock manage to bring us an -adorable- little romantic comedy featuring a crazy tribal grandmother, an illegal-immigrant/stripper/priest/waiter, and a puppy.

Sarah Bullock plays Margaret Tate, a condescending and downright villainous executive editor at a prominent book publishing company. Andrew Paxton (Played by Ryan Reynolds), is her assistant/monkey on a leash. After firing long-time employee Bob Spaulding from the company she is almost immediately sucked into the movie's conflict. She's actually sucked in so fast that the scene almost looks like instant retribution from the gods due to her firing of Bob. I think Bob has some bad voodoo working with him. Anyway, the conflict is that she is facing the threat of deportation due to not listening to the nice little American government and leaving the country before her visa was cleared.

Facing the threat of all her career being destroyed, she sees it only fit to hold someone else's neck out under the employment guillotine as well. Of course this person is her assistant, in which she all but forces Mr. Paxton into his hand in marriage since that will legalize her as an American citizen (didn't I see this on Drew Carry once?). Admittedly, they do handle this concept well by having the government agent who's going to watch their every move in the hope of catching a scam and...Oh hi I Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, didn't see you there!

Of course we need to add a little more spice to this film, so lets have Paxton's grandma have a birthday at the same exact time and invite both of them out to Alaska, yes, Alaska. Do I smell a few out of our element scenes, Ms. Tate? So they arrive in Alaska in which we meet Mr. Paxton's lovely grandma (played by Betty White), and his mother. After a couple scenes involving the twist of Paxton's family being millionaires, mixed in with another out of our element scene the plot is off!

Now up to this point the movie hasn't been horrible or surreal in any extreme fashion, hell it's even been enjoyable and managed a few chuckles out of me. That lasts until we meet the waiter/stripper/general store owner/priest Ramone (Played by Oscar Nunez). Honestly film, this movie has enough elements, we don't need a running gag too! To the actor's credit, he does at least manage to keep me from letting out an audible sigh of disgust inside the nice theater, but they milk this joke way too much. It isn't even too bad up until the stripper part, since every scene involving him after that references back to that one scene, a scene that in all honesty wasn't even the slightest bit funny. The film moves along, the father berates the son for not wishing to take over the family business. He lets out his frustration on an unfinished boat while Tate tries to wash the bad joke from her flesh. This leads to an actually rather funny scene involving both of them running into each other bare ass naked.

Let's take this little moment to focus on grandma shall we? I say this because, to be honest, she's actually got a better role than both Reynolds and Bullock, a role which she pulls off incredibly well. I mean ignoring the fatally unfunny tribal dance scene, this lady does pull off the witty, slightly eccentric old granny quite successfully. Her execution of the film's climax is actually rather brilliant.

Back to the film, a few more jokes, a revelation that Tate isn't evil, just bottled up, alone, and frightful. Next comes the obligatory coming clean at the chapel scene, she runs off to face her dues and get deported. Granny actually manages to get an outright laugh out of me by faking a heart-attack to get her son and grandson to stop fighting. He misses her at the airport, but catches her at the office. He confesses his love for her and desire to date...What? At the end it all revolves around to the Immigration Office where both of them say they're ready to face the aforementioned marriage test! Phew, despite how little the film's third act accomplished it was hard to fit that all in there.

So how is this film? While it does manage to get a few laughs out of me here and there and it isn't an awful film, it relies too much on tired cliches and plot formulas. The only thing that brings this film up to passing are the incredible performances by Reynolds, Bullock, and White. Sadly, I don't this film with last a year before simply becoming a section in an actor's resume.


Overall Grade = C

Friday, July 17, 2009

UFC: Undisputed 2009

Now let me be the first to say that I DO NOT play sports games. The only franchise I've played more than once is the WWE/WWF games and that's because I'm a sucker for character creation and WWE knows its character creation (Also who doesn't want to see their character man-handle their favorite heel or face?). Yet I kept hearing constant praise on the innovative new sports title based off the quote on quote "fastest growing sport in the country". So I was suckered into breaking my own personal boycott on the sports genre to try this baby out and I have to say it ended up being a smart buy.

Right on the box is a glimmer of hope when you say the company that made it is Yukes, the same company that made the WWE games. It only gets better as you pop the game and get greeted by a some person who I'm sure is important to the UFC universe....Who tells you how much of a badass you have to be to survive in this game. After all that you get the title screen, so yeah, this game knows how to make a first impression. You're immediately offered to try the tutorial, but being the ultra-gamer that I am I decided to wing it and go straight into career mode.
The character creation screen is rather standard; but passable, you get to choose your weight class, height, skin color, hair, and the like. After this you choose your striking style (Boxing, Kick Boxing, and Muay Thai), and your grapple style (Judo, Wrestling, and Ju-Jitsu). While that might seem like a slim selection, the styles differ enough to add a distinctiveness to each fighting style that makes up for the lack of selection. Though, knowing the large amounts of fighting styles used in UFC, it would have been nice to see other fighting styles as well. After that, you see that important person give an inspirational speech and your thrown into your first match right off the bat.
This is where you'll find out if this game is your cup of tea or not. While each fight will force you to expand your fighting prowess and learn new styles and moves, this is basically the bread and butter of the entire game. You start the match, get it on with a bit of striking, a bit of grappling, and a bit more striking. Being a boxer I tried to throw a fury of fists and lost all my stamina in ten seconds, which was followed by a bit of cranial rearrangement before the match was over.

Luckily I was reassured with a comforting email from that important person who then offered me the chance to pick one of three people to fight (luckily it seems I always get to decide who to fight instead of visa-versa).
While there are numerous amounts of micro-management in the terms of the defense/offense for striking, grappling, submission ect. the matches come down to trying to hurt the person while avoiding the near fatal high kicks and combos that will leave you on the ground in ten seconds if your not careful. You absolutely have to adapt and learn how to block, counter, and time your moves right if you want to win more than a couple of fights in your entire career. The only issue I have is with the various transitions that occur while your on the ground, I found myself having to check back at the move list numerous times to find out how to get out of a certain mount. These transitions are done with a certain movement of the right analog stick and this would work fine if the movements you were supposed to do weren't so long and finicky on how perfect you had to do it. When it comes to me I usually just throw combo after combo, followed with a bit of clinching until I knock the bastard on the floor and throw punches until he goes night-night.
Finishing off with a few side notes, the game looks amazing. Sweat, blood, and various injuries are shown off so realistically that it is actually the first game in a while to make my cringe slightly when I see a two giant gashes across a person's face.The bodies all have realistic muscle structure and anatomy and, unlike other games, the created characters actually are on par with the professional fighters in terms of realism. The punches and kicks feel like they have weight behind them, which helps you understand while a stray elbow can apparently send your fighter into dreamland. The voice acting is also above average, but that isn't surprising since most of the people who voice act in the game are also announcers and T.V. show hosts and as such already know how to make their voice believable and strong.
So how is UFC's report card?
Difficulty = (A) While you will get your ass handed to you in the later matches if you don't know what your doing, the game's learning curve is steady from tip to top and if you actually try to improve as you move on you will be greeted with success.
Graphics = (A) This game is visually stunning, everything from the crowd outside the cage to the pimple on your fighters nose is brought into extreme realism. Though I will warn you that this game is not for the squeamish since all wounds also look incredibly realistic.
Story = (C) It's a sports game, and most sports games seem to think that they don't need a story. You're a fighter who wants to get to the top and your willing to break as many noses as possible to get there, that's your story.
Replay Value = (A) With the multiplayer, custom characters, and various fighting styles, I can see people playing this game for months to come. If you want a game that will give you a run for your money, here it is.
Demographic Reach = (B) Though this game is visually stunning, innovative, and fun, it is a sports title and this automatically puts it into a sort of niche category. The game's complex controls and the amount of attention it requires from you to succeed might steer some players away from it. If you don't enjoy people being the crap out of each other in the most technical fashion possible than you probably will pass this one up.
Overall Grade = (B+)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

InFamous

One word to describe InFamous, refreshing. This game is the newest and easily the most well thought out and executed game of the super-hero genre to date. With equal parts platforming, puzzle, story, and explosion.

You star as Cole MacGrath, a courier. What's a courier? Well basically a mailman for people who think Fed-Ex is too nosey. You learn he has a love-interest named Trish and a best friend named Zeke and that's about all the character history you're given. The game starts with Cole looking worst for ware, being caught in the epicenter of an explosion. Somehow he survives this event and you start the game waddling yourself around explosions to make your way to the evacuation point. That goes down the drain as lightning starts going off around you, blowing the evacuation area to bits and knocking you out.

You are then introduced to the next treat in its constant attempt to sate the nerd hunger. All the cut-scenes are done in a comic panel style similar to Max Payne with a little bit of animation thrown in for good measure. You learn that after the shock Cole has gained the ability of shocky fingers, though he is rather weak at this point. You awaken on the rooftop paradise that you share with your buddy Zeke as you learn of a nearby food-drop. Then the game tells you to jump off a roof...Yeaup. This is where the game basically introduces one of its guiding principles "There is no such thing as inaccessible" besides the water...Since we've all seen what happens when you throw a toaster in water. This means that any building you see you can climb to the tipy top if you know the right way to do so. After climbing and jumping Altair style for about an hour you finally decide to go to the food-drop. After going up to help dislodge it from a local piece of art (causing it to fall to the ground and probably break all the clam chowder cans...jerk), you get your first of many choices. Either shock the bastards and open up your own personal Hometown Buffet or listen to what Sesame Street told you and share.


After this you get your first set of missions and you are introduced to the urban playground you get to do your merry jig about. Your stage is the rather lovely Empire city (rubble, gangs, and starvation aside) in the middle of a quarantine put forth due to the explosion and the emergence of a new plague. This basically means that police who stayed are too busy preventing riots and stopping death to mind the rampant collateral damage you cause with your shocky fists while trying to kill ridiculously agile enemies. They also don't seem the mind you scaling the various buildings around you. In this sense the controls are fluid enough, though I did come across a bit of difficulty trying to attack while leaping from building to building, since attempting to aim while doing this will occasionally cause you to accidentally latch onto a nearby ledge and leave you open to a rocket to the face. Your move-set is constantly increasing via a refreshing gazillion volt jolt from the underground power-stations that also provide convenient flashes of brilliance (apparently, they are rather vague on this), that allows Cole to realize his new dance-steps. This keeps the game fresh as well as letting it supply new and interesting missions and side-missions (and trust me, these very seldom repeat more than twice), that require these new moves.

What hero sandwich would be complete without a set of competent villains though? While it is constantly hinted at that your main antagonist is this fellow named Kessler you start your power-trip (har har), by taking on a gang called the Reapers. Imagine if humans had the capability to survive a combined dosage of steroids, PCP, and acid and you basically have the Reapers. They are led by the femme fatale Sasha (a lady who is probably scariest nymphomaniac I have ever seen). With each island is a new topping of villains that causes further distinction to each pile of rubble you get to climb up and down and all around.


Finally, and probably the most refreshing portion of this game, is the story. This tasty meal is complete with various little spices in terms of plot-twists and story/character development that will hold you by the collar, slap you about, and then make you kiss its foot asking for another. They allow the user to keep this game light though by keeping around a quarter of the story optional via uplink satellite dishes you find about the map (of course I collected every single one of those damn things), but for those who want a story they give you a slew of juicy mind fucks. The final plot-twist, I believe, is the only time I've ever simultaneously thought "what the fuck!?" and "it all makes sense!" at the same time, and that deserves an award of some sort. Final thought is that the story is what makes this game great, the gameplay makes it good, the look makes it really good, the story makes it an orgasmic delight for the mind.

Overall I can honestly say that I will have to strain to think of anyone who won't find this game enjoyable. I think everyone will like this tasty snack that will indulge you, punish you, satisfy you. It will keep you going to your peak and then it will kiss you, tell you what to expect next time, and leave you a drooling pile of the floor fantasizing what to expect on its next visit.

Now lets get to the technical side, the grade.

Difficulty (Played on Hard) = (B) While it can be unforgivable at times, it always seems to award innovative thinking and quick reflexes.

Graphics = (A -) This game is beautiful from top to bottom with each island giving off its own personality. While it isn't the most graphically advanced game, it does do a lot with what it has.

Gameplay = (B) While it isn't perfect and can be a tad frustrating when trying to multi-task it doesn't cause enough frustration to impede on the overall experience.

Story = (A+) This game has one of the most appealing stories I've seen in quite a while. It flows nicely with only a slip hiccup mid-game and is abundant without being bloated or excessive. It supplies you with twists and turns to keep you by the collar and it doesn't let go.

Replay Value = (A-) While the game can differ greatly depending on whether you choose evil or good karma, I don't see people playing this game more than twice through.

Demographic Reach = (A-) I see this game appealing to the platformer, the adrenaline junky, the story-whore, the quick-thinker, and anyone who enjoys an exhilarating game with many ways to reach its slimey tentacles out and hook you.

Overall Grade =
(A-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Next Episode Almost Done

Just need to do the most dreadful part...Producing and editing...Ug.....I'll start tonight.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Episode of the Secret Block in Production

While I can't tell you exactly what game I'm going to review I can say that in terms of ego-stroking it rivals both Moonwalker and Sidekicks and nearly overloads the bullshit meter. I'll probably have it done in a few days or so once I actually start recording and such.

Sophisticated Squeaks


By DarkHarpuia

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kirby's Avalanche

For those who thought Super Mario was the only franchise to blatantly rip off a popular Japanese game, there's Kirby's avalanche. Though a bit more credit could be given to Kirby Avalanche, since it actually provides some very obvious alternations to both Puyo Puyo and the Kirby franchise as a whole. The first thing that gives you a little jolt is the little "Kirby's Avalanche" that pops up before the title screen. To the casual player, this wouldn't seem like much at all, but any avid Kirby fan would know that there has hardly, if ever, been any dialogue in a Kirby game. What it does succeed in doing is setting the mood for what will easily be quite a peculiar ride.

As soon as you start the tournament you'll realize why very few characters in the Kirby universe are given lines; most of them are complete assholes. Even Kirby, the protagonist, the cuddly little pink puff with a gigantic appetite, and quite possibly the nicest character in any franchise, is a fucking dick. He does everything from stomping on a poor tree's roots, interrupting helpful information, to pestering a poor bastard who should be in a mental institution to play a stupid Tetris knock-off. After hearing the sass that comes from his gaping maw, you'll be glad he's restricted to lovable little coos in his other games. Though, in all honesty, it is kind of charming to hear each of your opponent's names before each match (Just in case you ever had trouble pronouncing Whispy Woods).

Sadly though, those sound clips are more then a third of the sounds throughout the entire game. Besides the sound effects you'll hear a maximum of four songs throughout the whole thing. Again, this is very peculiar for a franchise that has had not been faulted for not having appropriate music when needed. What really shocks me is the fact that they didn't decide to add music to fit the theme of each enemy, which seems very basic. True it does change when your about to get your ass handed to you (if you don't know combos this will happen often), but that's not good enough.

How about the cream of the crop, the game play? Well, think Tetris mixed with Connect 4 and you basically have Kirby's Avalanche. The only other thing that needs to be added is when you pull off a combo (get more than four blocks of the same color lined up or line up blocks so when one set disappears it will line up another), your opponent will get a little 'fuck you' in the form of a line of black blocks that can only be destroyed by grouping together blocks near it. This is fine until you get a big combo and half your screen is taking up by these little burnt shits. Don't hope that the computer won't take advantage of this either. On the second level I had that fucking shrubbery pull the half-map-slap around a half-a-dozen times within ten matches. You better learn quick or else your screwed, and there isn't a tutorial to help you along either (I guess they figured if you couldn't get something so simple you were too mentally handicapped to even play the game).

Though, overall, the game isn't that bad. I mean it has its flaws and it hardly even fits the mold well enough to be called a Kirby game, but it's passable. When it comes down to it what you have is a pretty solid Puyo Puyo game with the Kirby facade slapped on the front, nothing more, nothing less. If you like Kirby and you like Puyo Puyo you will like this game, if you like one of the two you will play this game for a bit at least.

Difficulty(Played on Normal) = (B-) This game has a very steep learning curve for those who can't grasp the planning required to master the combo system and it gives very little assistance in teaching you this skill.

Graphics = (A-) For the time the graphics are very pretty, using excellent shading to almost give off a pseudo-3D effect. Like any Kirby game, everything is jolly and candy-colored to keep your eyes interested.

Gameplay = (A-) Despite being incredibly difficult to master, the controls are rather simple and you will be enjoying yourself each and every time you get pummeled.

Story = (C-) Defeat King DeDeDe in a tournament because Kirby's sensitive little ego won't let that damn Penguin have a break! That's about as deep as it gets, this is a very simple game in the story sense.

Replayability = (B-) While I don't see an allure to play this game through more than a few times, the hardcore retro gamers will obviously play through this to get the high score and enjoy every second of it.

Multiplayer = (C+) The multiplayer was an afterthought, it's simply two players playing against eachother. There's no character select, there's no alternate modes, it's safe and simple.

Accessibility (Demographic) = (B) This game's simple premise, colorful presentation, and good use of Kirby content will have many nostalgic fans and young players flocking to it.

Overall grade = (B -)
Video Review

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Emulators are a vicious beast

I swear, N64 emulators are an entirely different species from their docile fathers the SNES emulators. These things love to get choppy, glitching, and all together finicky over what you play. They decide what they want to play and if you don't like it you can go rot in hell! I've been wrestling with several of these to get one game to play well. Trying for six bloody hours and I've only made minor progress, if that! Well I have to go eat, so they've won this round, but it isn't over! It isn't over by a long shot, you hear me!?!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

All Hail Kajy!


My good friend Kajy has just finished making this for me. Surprisingly, I didn't even ask him to put this together, but I'd be an idiot to complain about this. Oh right, yes, I am a furry....Did I mention that before? Probably not.
For those who are wondering, you can find his work here. http://darkharpuia.deviantart.com/ enjoy.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Huzzah!

Well I've been contacted by a good friend with the proposal of putting together a joint machinima that will make my previous attempts at work seem like it was made by a second-grader with down syndrome. I've seen some of his work and his abilities with editing and production far surpass my own. This will also be my second group of videos to actually contain voice actors specifically cast for the video. For the few who've seen my Special Announcement video, Mint (the narrator), will be making a return as a voice actor along with myself and the aforementioned editor. I still have to get together a couple more actors to get it all together (call out anyone?), but besides that it seems like it could be put into production within a month or two. Now this won't mean that I won't put together more videos during that time, but it will mean that anything that takes more then a few hours to put together will be put on hold until this one is finished. I hope my adoring...65 fans don't mind!

P.S. Yes, well if any voice actors would like to possibly take part in my video then feel free to send me a PM or catch me on Skype. I'm looking particularly for a female voice actors, but any males with a natural high tenor can ask too.

Sincerely,
Squeaks
:3

Friday, April 24, 2009

I am giant!

Well today I saw the fruits of my labors being harvested and what a grand harvest it was. In laymen terms I had just finished the first part of my strength training program. One I devised myself to increase my overall strength since it had been a good six months since I've done something of that sort. I did a variation on the 5x5 rule in which in the first week I'd do 5x5 for two exercises (Chest= Flat Bench and Incline) (Back= Dead-Lift and Barbell Row)(Arms=Close-grip bench and EZ-Bar Curl,) followed by two other exercises with a standard 15-8 rep range for four sets each. Next week I did 3x3 and the following I attempted my one rep max followed by 3 reps followed by 5.

I was able to increase my bench press from 200 lbs to 225 and my dead-lift from 300 lbs to 335 lbs. I am not attempting my max for my incline and row until next week since I do not want to attempt a one rep max twice in one workout for two different exercises. The reason I'm estatic is because this is the first time I've put together a strength program that has shown concrete results, which means I'm doing things right. In turn it has sold me on the 5x5 rule in full. I would recommend something similar to this for anyone who wished to increase their strength, but I would probably not recommend the particular exercises to anyone who hasn't worked out for at least a year though since it does put a tremendous strain on your muscles and it could injure someone who isn't used to doing the aforementioned exercises.

Here is basically my workout program if anyone wishes to follow.

Monday Arms/Traps/Lower Abs (I used to skip arms so I put them first to make me do them.)
Triceps
Close Grip Bench (5x5, 3x3, 2x2)
Rope Cable Extensions (3 sets 15-10 rep range)
Straight Bar Extensions (3 sets 15-10 rep range)
Biceps
EZ-Bar Curl (5x5 3x3 2x2)
Flat Bench Cable Curls (In this exercise I laid on a flat bench, got an cable straight bar and did the curling motion while on my back) (3 sets 15-10 reps)
Hammer Curls (With cables or dumbbells) (3 sets 15-10 reps)
Lower Abs
Reverse Crunches (3 sets to failure)
Traps
Reverse Incline Bench Shoulder Raises (Lying stomach first on an incline bench I proceeded to do shoulder raises, this hits the upper traps) (3 sets 15-10 reps)
Cable Row Shrug (Sitting on a cable row machine, but instead I do a shrug instead of a row) (7 sets 10 reps each with 30 second rest between sets)

Tuesday Quadriceps and Calves (I am not doing the 5x5 rule for my quadriceps)
Quadriceps
Barbell Hack Squats
(4 sets 15-8 reps)
Machine Leg Press
(4 sets 15-8 reps)
Leg Extensions
(4 sets 20-10 reps)
Sissy Squats
(4 sets 20 reps)
Body-Weight Squats
(4 sets 20 reps)
Calves
One Footed Body-Weight Calf Press (I simply stand on the platform behind an incline bench and do one footed raises while balancing myself with the bar, I go for the lower range of motion in this exercise) (3 sets 20 reps on each foot)
Leg Press Calve Press (3 sets 20 reps)

Thursday Chest/Obliques/Rear Delts
Chest
Flat Bench (5x5 3x3 1x1)
Incline Bench (5x5 3x3 1x1)
Cable Crossovers or Cable Raises (4 sets 15-10 reps)
Dumbbell Incline Fly (4 sets 15-8 reps)
Obliques
Dumbbell or Medicine Ball Twists (3 sets to failure)
Rear Deltoids
Bent Over Shoulder Raises (3 sets 15-10 reps)
Cable Machine or Cable Rear Delts Raises (3 sets 15-10 reps)

Friday Back/Front Abdominal/Front Delts
Back
Dead-Lift
(5x5 3x3 1x1)
Bent Over Barbell Row
(5x5 3x3 1x1)
Behind The Head Pulldown
(4 sets 15-10 reps)
Cable Rows
(4 sets 15-10 reps)
Front Abdominal
Crunches
(3 sets 25 reps)
Front Delts
Smith Machine Shoulder Press
(3 sets 12-8 reps)
Incline Bench Barbell Shoulder Raises
(3 sets 12-8 reps)

Saturday Hamstrings/Calves (Though I admit I've been neglecting them)
Hamstrings
Yoga Ball Leg Curls
(4 sets of 20 reps)
Sumo Style Dead-Lift
(4 sets 12-8 reps)
Seated Leg Curls
(4 sets 20-10 reps)
Side to Side Weighted Leg Stretches
(I step from side to side, stretching out my inner hamstrings while carrying a weight on my shoulder. (4 sets 20 reps)
Calves
Leg Press Calve Press
(3 sets 20 reps)
One Footed Calve Raise
(3 sets 20 reps)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Trashcans don't = Horseshoes

You know one of my largest pet peeves? The one that probably is the main reason I prefer to stay away from places like pools and parks? Slobs, that's it, slobs. People who can't take the ten foot walk required to throw trash into the proper trashcans! At this point in history it isn't even excusable anymore. Trashcans can be found every 100 feet in most residential areas and every 100 yards everywhere else. Why can't to throw trash away in the bloody trashcan? What's even worse are the people who throw their shit at the trashcan and think because it's close it counts. This isn't horseshoes you scummy son of a bitch!
What causes this sudden burst of anger to arise is simple actually. Yesterday I decided to head to the pool because it was hitting near the 100 degree mark and I figured it I needed to get some sun that wasn't through a quarter inch piece of glass. So I go and for the most part it's quite relaxing. I swim about ten laps from side to side, do a bit of stretching and relaxing in the jacuzzi, all good. After that I decide to rest on one of those nice extending lawn chairs they have. I drift off a bit and when I come back to my senses I realize that I'm almost completely dry and don't feel like getting wet again, so I decide to take a little walk around the pool.
This is when I begin to notice little bits of trash around the pool, no biggy; I pick them up and toss them in the trashcan, fine. Then I go around the eating area and holy mother of pickles. It looks like an entire family of thirty decided to have a full Burger King buffet, complete with alcohol (Do I really need to mention why that's bad? You've all been to a pool right?), and enough limes to permanently dull your sense of taste. The bad part? It was scattered around the trashcan at almost an inch and a half high and probably about two feet in diameter. Being the tree-hugger I am I spent ten minutes, TEN MINUTES picking up every piece of trash and having to actually stack and slip things in to get it to all fit. You see the fundamental problem? I had to clean up someone else's fucking mess because they were too damn lazy to put the trash in the can properly and instead decided to toss it at the can like a bunch of fucken monkeys!
Now I don't mind slobs for the most part, hey if it's your house or your property you can be as much of a pig as you want. When it's a public area though and there is at least a half a dozen trashcans within smelling distance, there is no excuse to be a lazy bastard. I swear these people rank right up there with the dumbfucks who wear their pants at their knees or the people who can't keep their mouth shut if it would save their life. These people are scum, I mean it, I don't care if they're 10 or 90, if they make 3,000 a year or 2,000,000 a year, if you can't pick up after yourself like a proper adult then you need to go back home and watch some Barney tapes! Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere, clean up, clean up, everybody do their share you piece of shit! I'm going to go kill a small animal now..I kid..

Edit: For the life of me I can't spell pool right on the first try.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sonic and The Black Knight

So I happened to have busted my mouse around a week ago and had to leave for the store to get a new one. The problem with this is that I am what you would call a -sale whore-, in that if I see a sale on something I like, even if I currently should be spending the money, I buy it. This disease led me to purchasing both the Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic and The Black Knight, but you know what the biggest surprise was? They were both good, nay they were both enjoyable! I mean we could all guess that the first would be enjoyable because it is Sonic in its quote unquote "golden years", but a current Sonic game, let alone the most recent of them, being good? Unfathomable you say, but I say it is true!

This is even harder to say because, as you could have guessed, I had played the very first Sonic off the mega collection no longer then ten minutes before popping in Sonic and the Black Knight. This led to the first realization (one that comes to an even greater shock to me because I haven't played a Sonic game since Sonic Adventure DX for the Gamecube), the Sonic Team aren't half bad at animation. The entrance captivated me from the very start and just about to the end as well (with a few hiccups provided by rather average, but overall acceptable voice acting.) After that stellar animation it seems that they decided to budget their time to focus more on the gameplay then providing the same stellar animation, the latter switching to a stop motion comic style, but the game seems better for it since this type of cut-scene seems to know it can't last too long on its own and quickly makes with the explaining before shooing away.

Secondly, lets talk about the voice acting. While nothing great in both the script and in the voice actors themselves, it does manage to at least keep you from becoming derailed while speeding through the game. Though I admit that it can be a tad wooden at times, I can also say that I've seen far, far worse. Though besides that there isn't much else to say about it, probably to the games dismay, since it doesn't really supply that many memorable lines or impressive speeches.

Lets go to the story. Oh you remember that whole thing with King Arthur and the Round Table? The part about a noble king who leads a group of valorous knights on the quest for good? No, no you don't, shut up. All of that never happened and is all a lie according to Sonic and The Black Knight. Instead King Arthur was actually an evil prick who can easily be corrupted by the thought of immortality, up to the point that he goes on a complete killing spree of his beloved kingdom. So yeah, the story for this new installation is sort of far-fetched, but to be honest it simply seems to be there to justify the levels you travel through over anything else. Trust me when I say that it gets even more confusing after you beat the first part of it. Sadly, I think Sonic Team needs to invest in some new writers because I've come across fan fiction that had better stories then this. You can skip over it though so all is well (mind you it was very good fan-fiction).

Now lets get to the meat and potatoes, the level design. I suppose you could think of this like....Well remember that one arcade game where you got into the life raft and would paddle in the various directions you wanted to go? Think of it like that, but with now you have the ability to jump and swing a sword that, to my utter surprise, is actually normal size. (Since we all know that most swords tend to be a tad over-compensatory (I'm looking at you Square Enix), So basically the game is like the rail-cart level of Super Mario RPG repeated with incremental difficulty increases and enemies that are definitely -not- ripping of the Twilight from Legend of Zelda. They just have the ability to spawn from the sky or ground, spawn in vast numbers, are covered in a mixture of blacks and other dark colors, oh and they don't talk...Actually it seems that everyone besides the main characters in this game talk in various "meeps" like Beaker. They never explain this either, but I guess they wanted us to figure that they were short on time (I mean hell they released this five or so months after Unleashed).

I seem to have drifted off, what was I talking about? Oh yes, the levels! This is where most will get a rather nostalgic tingling in their tummies since it plays out a lot like the classic games in a sense. You run across a rather straight forward path that, at various points, allows you to split off and travel in various different routes. You have to avoid or confront various enemies and traps (many of which you can do in mid-stride,) and you collect rings.....Well no actually you collect fairies...Which is even stranger because the sword sidekick (Did I mention the sword sidekick? Well this is a review not a synopsis), tells you that these fairies will give you rings. Why aren't they just rings? I mean true they give you five rings a fairy, but that leaves the levels rather bare except for various enemies and traps....That portion of the game I never really will understand. Anyway, you also get to run through a sign at the end of the level, well I like it..I've noticed that most other reviewers talk about the controls being unresponsive, but I never noticed that. Maybe I was too busy drooling over myself in fanboy glee, but they seemed to work quite well in all honesty. I actually only remember one point I got stuck on and that was because I had to fight with enemies that shove you back with their shields while my back was against a collasped bridge (On that note, Sonic Team you guys are assholes), The last portion is that you get rated at the end of the level, but I'm sure we all are familiar with this by now.

A quick note, the level selection screen is also quite rudimentary, which is too its benefit. You select and area, select a level, select if you want to customize your character before departure, and you go. The only prerequisite to playing the next level is that you beat the previous one. Levels that are unlocked are announced so you don't have to go searching through all the areas either. This is where they kept it simple and I thank them for that.

Lets talk about the final portion, the enemies. I do lie though, because unlike the Twilight, who have a rich and detailed backstory behind them these guys are demonic minions from the underworld that seem to enjoy being evil bastards to Sonic and innocent civilians...That's about all we get to know. Luckily you see a better amount of detail in the types of enemies. As the levels progress, new enemies are presented with simply a small hint blabbered by your sword buddy, short and sweet. These enemies are easily identifiable due to their weapons having a rather bright color scheme compared to the enemies themselves. I believe I counted around ten to twelve different enemy types throughout the game, ranging from your basic sword swinger, to pikemen, to axe swingers, to oversized giants that block your way until you kill them (fucker..). They also supply you with a small variety of long range opponents too, but luckily you can jump over them most the time. While not incredibly exciting you can say that they do keep it interesting.

Boss battles are quite different from the normal fray, most put you on a circular track up against a slower, but usually more powerful boss. Though quite basic, the bosses do require you to learn their movements and attacks before going in. Swinging your sword recklessly will only get you past Shadow...Lancelot. Oh right, you fight the members of the Round Table who are actually Sonic characters with their names changed (clever). I say it's clever because I think we've had enough new characters in this little universe, for now at least. This is also one of the weirdest parts due to, well let me go into more detail. Near the beginning of the game you fight up against Aurthur for the first time. They go through great detail teaching you to swing in time with Arthur to deflect his attack and leave him open for a counter-attack. I go into my first real boss battle with this mindset. I'll go in, wait for the signal, and attack. It never happens though, the only time you ever use this method is when going up against Arthur again, and you only do this one other time! Why would you teach me this mechanic if I'm only going to be using it one other time. I think it would have been better suited to be put at a tutorial right before the final battle with Arthur, but that's just me.

Overall, what can you say about Sonic and The Black Knight? It has the right formula, needs work, but overall it's fun. The pure sensation of speed is there and that is probably what kept me playing to the end. The decent variations of levels, special challenges, and the skip button also play massive points in the games favor. Should you buy it? Not sure, but I do think that this game has gotten a rather unfair stigma attached to it. It's fun, it isn't a technical masterpiece, but it's fun, lets leave it at that. I liked it, that's about all I can say.

Yours truly,
Squeaks

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I choose you, Blogasaur!

Yes, well I have finally entered into the realm of blogging. If it wasn't for a shortness of time I'd post something further, but for now I can just say hello!