Archive for the Failures Category

Quick re-jig

Posted in Failures on April 5, 2010 by Krazmaz

I’m going to remove all the short stories from this blog, as what’s the point of having them here as well as the other place, eh?

I plan to overhaul this…I’m in the mood. FOR LOVE.

And hauling.

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I have no mouth and I must scream

Posted in Baseless Musing, Errors of the moment, Failures on February 8, 2010 by Krazmaz

Nothing to do with that particular and excellent sci-fi short story, unfortunately, but something else entirely.

No. Now, as we all know Vampire’s are the in thing. They’re sexy, forbidden, able to swan around in the daylight and all sorts of things that make little sense but are apparently quite appealing to a, uh, certain demographic. However! Popular culture never stays still for a moment and of course the roving eye of the canny media magnate type person is ever, uh, rover. Hence, they are now looking for the next big thing in the ‘teenage girl’ romance novel with fantasy parts market.

Or whatever.

Basically, the smart money is apparently on fallen angels and, to be honest, I can see why. They’re like vampires, only almost exactly the same. And also on possibly even shakier ground as to their source material, but hell.

What has this got to do with anything, you ask?

Well, a while ago I read about all this in a newspaper and thought to myself “Hey, I am filled with enthusiasm by the prospect of reviewing/mocking one of these books. Which one looks good? ‘Hush, hush’, you say? My my.” And then thought no more of it. Now I have a copy. Oh dear.

And yes, I do heartily enjoy a bit of the old ‘Blogging Twilight’. It fills me with plagerism. I mean enthusiasm. Bah, I ain’t gonna lie. But hell, who reads this anyway? Me, basically.

Anyway, I’ve run out of ideas right now. I’ll be back with an actual first impressions and shit like that later. For now, I have sausages to eat, a thingy to go to and some kids to drop off at the pool. Whatever.

Game developers

Posted in Baseless Musing, Errors of the moment, Failures, Game talk on January 26, 2010 by Krazmaz

If you ever think that giving an enemy in one of your games a homing weapon is a good idea take a step back and remember that people play games for fun, on the whole. If this doesn’t sink in do not make things worse by making the same weapon constant fire and capable of knock back. I mean seriously guys, what the fuck? And also don’t let it interrupt the player and – heaven forfend – trap them in an infinite loop they can’t escape.

Dear god.

One man’s love ballad for the Alien

Posted in Baseless Musing, Errors of the moment, Failures, Game talk on January 16, 2010 by Krazmaz

I love AVP. And by AVP I’m not talking about the comics or the horrifyingly bad film (though the sequel was – hnngghh – ‘better’) I am talking about the game. Not the Atari Jaguar beat ’em up game (it was the Atari Jaguar, right? I forget), not the Monolith sequel or the rather exciting looking new one that’s coming out.

No, I’m talking about the Rebellion version. The game that placed Rebellion on some sort of pedestal in my brain ever since I played it (that and the fact they’re Oxford based and own 2000AD).

A game so old it came in a CARDBOARD BOX on a CD (gasp) AVP is still damn fine. Beyond damn fine, in fact, it is amazing. I could just be gushing in a hyperbolic fashion but I’d say it’s among one of the better if not best FPS’s I’ve played.

And I’ve played a bunch.

But anyway, to get specific, the ‘A’ that makes up the AVP is the titular alien of movie fame. And it is Goddamn sweet. People have often talked about how playing the alien was a, well, alien experience and I might be inclined to agree.

You see, while many FPS’s and in fact the other two races in the game itself have your character standing on the ground and picking up weapons with which to do harm as the alien you are the weapon and every flat surface is the ground since, when crouched, you can crawl over everything. And crawl shouldn’t imply a reduction in pace; you move like shit off a shovel whether you’re standing up on the ground or crawling across the ceiling.

It’s liberating. The alien has the most palpable sense of speed I think I’ve seen in this kind of game. Again, it could just be wistful hyperbole but having just played the game it was still a rush to go halfway through a level in barely under two minutes.

But of course, you can’t run forever. At some point all those marines that are busy screaming and shooting at you – not to mention the civilians crying and running away from you – are going to need dealing with and you’ll find the alien ably equipped to deal with them. You have claws, a tail and that marvellous second set of jaws. They’re all amazing. They all kill in pretty much one hit.

This, I feel, is very important. You’re very, very fast and you kill marines very, very fast but unfortuantely you’re made of wishes and tissue paper and everyone but you has a gun or a molotov and are really quite relaxed about blowing themselves up or shooting their friends if it means killing you (seeing the AI do that still amuses me, as does watching them walk off ledges; it’s an old game…). This balances well.

If you get the drop on people, come at them from angles they don’t expect and do so taking full advantage of your speed – you know, playing an alien like you’re supposed to – and you’ll be an unstoppable blur of destruction. Try to close the six feet between you and guy with the minigun and you might at least take some of their armour off when your acid-blood filled body parts splatter over them.

So yes. Your claws kill in one. Humans, at least, go down easy. Predators not so much. For them you can crack the tail out. Just hold down that right mouse button, watch that barbed beauty coil up and pow, he’s down. But what is he doing on his knee, fiddling with that little thing on his arm? Why is he laughing? What’s so funny? Oh right.

You’ve seen the end of predator. You know where that’s going. So you got to put that dude out for good and the best way of doing this is, of course, by biting his head off. Man that’s satisfying.

The headbite is possibly the most satisfying thing in this game and maybe even of all time. This time I’m not even kidding. Get close enough – and not even that close – and make sure the head of your target is in the middle of your screen. Teeth appear, you click and their head disappears. Not only that, but your health goes up and there’s a very, very cathartic noise. I can’t even describe it.

The headbite is somewhat of a second nature to me now I must admit and is just so damn good. It’s also the recipient of one of my favourite cheats in any game;  the snipermunch. An instant kill, health-charging attack is one thing – it’s quite another with the range limit removed. Hur hur.

But I prattle too much. This is amazingly incoherent, even for six in the morning so I shall wrap up with but two points. The first is dull: aliens can also maul bodies for health. Awesome. Good feature. I hope for the love of God the new game is even half as good (the marine co-operative looks interesting, but my heart always belongs to the alien).

The second is that this game is now on Steam. Go and get it. I implore you!

But hell, I talk balls so what do I know.

Daybreakers

Posted in Baseless Musing, Errors of the moment, Failures, Movie Talk on January 12, 2010 by Krazmaz

Good

– Representation of an all-vampire world pretty slick
– Sam Neil
– Vampires are fucking vampires

Bad

– The Plot (sic)

Representation of an all-vampire world

The PSA’s about when the sun was coming up, the blood in the coffee, the ads for vampire related services, the day-driving enabled cars. It was all rather well thought out, I reckon, and well done. The blood in the coffee also features in a pretty nice little scene.

Generally, they got the atmosphere and the tone right, which was very nice. The blood harvesting, the stuff the military wears to go out during the day; it added.

Sam Neil

Okay, so he had about ten minutes worth of total screen time but hell, when he showed up he was great.

Didn’t end so great…but hell.

Sam Neil!

Vampires are fucking vampires

It might be passe to rag on the sparklies but dear God was it good to see vampires who act properly in sunlight (e.g. flames and screaming).  Not only that but sometimes they walk on the ceiling, they don’t have reflections (even if that’s only used once for one shot) and EXPLODE when staked (which might explain the proliferation of crossbows, an otherwise rather impractical weapon).

Most importantly, however, they’re not over-emotional tortured souls who just want to be loved. They’re Goddamn monsters. They’re like people – with all the attendant up and downs – only that they’re hiding a somewhat viscious predatory streak. I generally liked the way they did that (again I refer to the coffee and more particular a scene that relates to it later).

Although, why do vampires have to dress as if they’re going to a funeral all the time? Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean black is your only option.

I did like that most everyone smoked like a motherfucker though; I mean, why not?

The Plot (sic)

I am not entirely sure what happens in this film. There’s a vampire world, which is awesome, then the main guy meets some humans and helps them and there’s a cure for vampirism somehow and his brother shows up and then some vampires get cured and they drive off. I’m not sure how this film ends. Is that good? Is this a happy ending? A lot of people did die and nothing really got explained. And why was that guy a bad guy (yeah, that guy)? He just showed up. Ugh.

Too many beers and not enough sleep for this.

I wouldn’t overly recommend the film. The art direction is very good – the blood harvesting thingy is marvellously dystopian – and the vampiric world is solid, but the film itself (and the dialogue, oh God) is somewhat bleh.

But that’s me.

At ODST

Posted in Baseless Musing, Errors of the moment, Failures, Game talk on December 18, 2009 by Krazmaz

Get it? Get it? I guess not.

But hell. I’m going to talk about ODST, why? Because I’m playing it and because I can; what’s the point of a blog if I can’t blather needless, pointless drivel into the face of no-one? Exactly.

Now I’ve never really done much proper game-talk before, but let’s give this a shot.

ODST is and is not many things. I will list them, then go over them.

Not:

– That long.
– Possessed of new weapons (in my view)
– Breaking the mould

Is:

– Actually fun.
– A Halo game where I give a damn about the characters
– Still immensely satisfying

That just about sums it up, but let’s look into these things.

That Long

It’s not. It’s very short. I am a man who is capable of burning through games it’s true and it’s a strange sign of the times but games nowadays in general are waaaayyy shorter than they once were. That means that the price is somewhat…irksome. But I got it used anyway, so hell. Long story short, it’s a short story told shortly.

Possessed of new weapons

The pistol does not count. It’s a badass pistol I’ll agree and I love its pants off (headshots, wonderful) but it just serves as a covert, ODST-esque replacement for the battle rifle. I miss the battle rifle sometimes but I still have Halo 3 for that and in this “sneaky sneaky” kind of thing the silenced pistol makes sense. And, again, headshots!

Breaking the mould

But who cares? I mean really. Some people I think complained that it wasn’t doing anything I’ve seen people complain of Halo’s style getting ‘stale’. This I do not unerstand. It’s an FPS. You’re in first person and you shoot. You have a shield (or ‘stamina’ in this – health is back, too!) that regenerates when not being shot. You kill many, many things. I fail to see how this could get stale. That’s like saying Dwarf Fortress gets stale because all you do is micromanage tiny ASCII dwarves or GTA (any of ’em) gets stale because all you do is run around, shoot and steal cars.

That’s not getting stale. That’s how these things work. I breath, that ain’t got stale yet. Yes the formula can sometimes seem overused and people can get bored but that’s the secret of good game design, making the fundamental part of any particular game compelling/fun enough that its inherent repetition is not seen as a flaw. I think ODST gets this right, personally. Shooting things is fun, was fun and will remain fun.

Actually Fun

As just said. The game is fun. This links into the next point but it’s just a good game. Not great, not groundbreaking, just fun. It was exactly what I wanted and while it ain’t perfect it mostly certainly entertains, which, at the end of the day, is the goddamn point.

A Halo game where I actually give a damn about the characters

I like the rookie! That could just be because I have a soft-spot for silent protagonists (I still love you Gordon, even after all these years) but the body language he shows in the cut scenes and his relentless drive to murder everything he finds endears him to me far more than having him prattle on during his story ever would.

That, and the fact they got a bunch of dudes from Firefly doesn’t hurt. I kept thinking Alan Turdyk’s dude was called ‘Vickey’, but I was wrong. Actual soldiers doing actual, soldiery things I find more engaging than armoured supermen singlehandedly saving the world numerous times. The struggle of an ordinary man against extraordinary odds; that kind of thing. It’s why I like the Imperial Guard (hah).

Still immensely satisfying

Headshots! Oh, and the firefight mode is great fun. Co-operative modes like that (Horde-esque, you might say) need to be in more games like this; they never go wrong. It’s just a great way to unwind and especially with Halo. Sometimes you just want to shoot things with or without friends, and here you can!

Good times.

So yeah. In the end I’d say it’s a fine game. If you can pick it up cheap do so. Don’t expect to be ‘wowed’ by the story, just expect not to be irritated. Which, given Halo 3, is probably a step up…(who the hell was that chick who got spiked to death? Was I supposed to care? Ah I know, daughter of the dude from the first game, I just…really don’t care about her. Tweleve year old girls bossing me around, honestly).

Well, that was inarticulate…

Disregard!

EDIT: A further thoughtl Bungie have seemingly finally gotten round to making their characters distinctive, and I am glad for it. Compared to the ODST’s in Halo 2 or hell even 3 the ones in ODST actually look like what I imagine elite, maverick drop-troopers would look like. By which I mean they all look individual with their modified kit and so on.

More to the point, from what I’ve seen of Reach, this characterisation has been oddly retroactive. I guess people wanted to blend together after Reach got glassed or something. But glibness aside, Kudos to them – looks might only be skin deep but they help.

I am never going to get to play Dragon Age

Posted in Baseless Musing, Failures on November 13, 2009 by Krazmaz

I sit here, in a bar, abusing their wireless to download Dragon Age on steam. However, the wireless is abusing me.

I sit there, sipping my curiously flat Grolsch (to be followed by a free, end-of-keg pint of Pride, whoo) watching as the download rate creeps tantilising up to something approaching a decent rate, before plummetting back down to, say, 70kbps. Then lower. Then higher. Then lower again. It’s like trying to get it up when your blood has rebelled against you and is enjoying watching you twist in the wind.

Add to this the fact my laptop has, for some reason, decided not to show me my battery level. I could be about to run out, I don’t know. When it starts beeping obnoxiously, then I’ll know, for now I have no idea.

Oh well. 10%. Only hours and hours to go.

Fuck.