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3081  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / The Movies: Your Flix, Post here. on: June 27, 2006, 04:13:47 AM
I posted my movie this morning at GameSpot.com, and they made it one of their two "featured videos" which means it's been prominently placed on their main home page and their forum index.  For all I know, though, the featured videos are chosen completely at random.  :oops:

Anyways, you guys can check it out here.

-Autistic Angel
3082  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Further idiocy from someone inside Sony on: June 22, 2006, 03:49:38 PM
I think the issue with Sega is that they'd turned a lot of people off by racing to be first on the market with hardware that proved to be poorly conceived and unsupported.  I can't guess at what percentage of people might have passed on the Dreamcast because they'd been burned by becoming an early adopter of the Sega CD, the 32x, or the Saturn, but after watching Sega release three failed platforms in a row, I had zero interest in the Dreamcast.

By contrast, both Sony and Microsoft have strong reputations in the gaming market that are fairly untarnished.  There have been a few missteps like the PS2's hard drive, and some people might question the success of the PSP, but overall, consumers could reasonably expect that both companies know how to build a successful console.

I think there's a sizeable portion of the market who *would* be willing to pickup a PS3 based solely on the namebrand.  What I can't predict is how many of them actually *are* willing to pay $500-$600 for something that, at best, isn't any better than the $400 Microsoft console that's already available.  Exclusive game franchises are the best way to convince people to make that price jump, so Sony is just trying to spin their little hearts out when they try to claim that losing their lock on Grand Theft Auto IV isn't going to sting.

-Autistic Angel
3083  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / GalCiv2 Expansion Details on: June 22, 2006, 02:51:59 PM
GameSpot has posted an interview with Stardock's Brad Wardell where he talks about some of the new features in the upcoming expansion pack for Galactic Civilizations 2.  Some of the discussion includes:
  • espionage is being completely overhauled to include spy agents who can be assigned to different sorts of missions
  • players can now create custom races for the AI to play
  • new technologies will allow the colonization of previously uninhabitable worlds
  • asteroid fields can be mined to provide bonuses to the closest colonized planet, and some will even provide special or unique enhancements
  • the expansion pack will be available through digital distribution only

I'm really looking forward to this one!

-Autistic Angel
3084  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Prey demo is out... on: June 22, 2006, 02:40:57 PM
Ditto.  Anyone who balks at the large size of the download should realize that this demo is surprisingly long and does a fantastic job of demonstrating what makes Prey such a unique game.  This game wasn't even on my radar until eveyone started making such a hooplah about the forthcoming demo, and now that I've played it for myself, I'll be putting in a pre-order for the full version.

-Autistic Angel
3085  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Dateline's Child Predator Shows- Entrapment? on: June 13, 2006, 07:27:24 PM
Thank you: that's what I thought you meant, but I was hoping you'd make it more clear.  I can't hope to debate whether or not Chris Hansen is "smarmy" or not, but I would take exception to someone who actually did suggest that the only thing as bad as a child rapist is a smarmy journalist.

I thought the interviews with the would-be rapists was the part of the show that made it worth watching.  These guys engaged in some pretty extensive self-delusion to convince themselves that what they were doing wasn't all that bad, or that they wouldn't get caught, *or* that they could somehow talk themselves out of this situation, and I thought it was interesting to hear what they had to say.  For example, many of them professed to be "very religious" and one even taught children in a Catholic school.  I suspect that these guys turned to religion hoping to purge themselves of desires they recognized were sick and wrong, yet there's no indication that they ever made the jump to seeking out professional help.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it's an aspect to this phenomenon that wouldn't have been brought up if the entire show was just the pedophile walking into the house and Chris Hansen shouting, "Get 'im, boys!" while the cops tackled him on the spot.

Besides, I think having the on-camera confessions from several of these guys is going to aid in their prosecution.

-Autistic Angel
3086  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Hell's Kitchen Premier on: June 13, 2006, 12:52:53 PM
I agree that it's a very entertaining show.

Spoiler for Hiden:
That girl Heather is really something else.  I'm still not sure whether she was more distressed about the fact that she dumped a quantity of boiling hot grease over her hand, or about the idea that this would prevent her from continuing to cook with her team.  I don't even know what to say about the fact that she continued to delegate responsibilities from the sidelines until the ambulance arrived.  If she doesn't win this competition outright, I bet it'll be because Ramsey wants to hire her for one of his restaurants personally -- that woman *really* wants to win, but she's got a fantastic attitude that makes her easy to root for.

I didn't see the big deal about that brunette cheering, "Yay!" when Heather's first try at appetizers finally passed Ramsey's taste test.  Yes, it was unprofessional, but she wasn't cheering for herself -- she was cheering for Heather.  That's good for morale.  I would have urged her not to do something like that a second time, but I don't think it was worth chewing her out over.

I wonder why that one guy was completely sidelined during the second part of the premiere.  First he was selected by Ramsey to sit out of the meat eating competition, and then he was assigned to wait tables instead of cooking with his team.  Did Ramsey want to see how the rest of the team could function without him, or was he completely removed from the competition for some other reason?

Finally, I'm surprised that there wasn't at least one or two people who had really snide comments about that one guy who had to leave the competition for medical reasons.  In a show like this, there's usually someone who'll say something like, "Heh, I guess he just didn't want it enough!  He's gotta toughen up if he's going to let a little thing like a mild heart attack get in the way of his dreams!"


-Autistic Angel
3087  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Dateline's Child Predator Shows- Entrapment? on: June 13, 2006, 03:36:31 AM
Quote from: "Devil"
I was disgusted by the people on both sides of the table. I really couldn't keep watching the show because that clown soured the 'real' story for me.

I already knew I hated child rapists going in (no shock). Hansen made me like the 'good guys' a lot less.

You want to drive your point home? Have the cops come out cuff these jerks - end of story. The sensationalism of Mr. Tough guy coming in and making small talk detracted from the real issue.


Okay.  I think it's important to give people the benefit of the doubt, but if you truly feel "acting tough" runs about equal to raping children on the list of "Things That Are Annoying," I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.  For the record, I saw a lot less harm in Hansen's questions than in the would-be pedophiles' intent to have sex with a fourteen year old girl.

-Autistic Angel
3088  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Dateline's Child Predator Shows- Entrapment? on: June 12, 2006, 01:16:11 PM
Quote from: "Devil"
I found myself hating Hansen as much as the guys they are setting up.

He's a real tough guy with 5 cameras on him and a swat team waiting outside.

Smarmy bastard.


Seeing someone whose demeanor you dislike triggers the exact same level of distaste as seeing a Catholic school teacher, a parent of a young child, or a 60-year old man sneaking into a house to have sex with its 14-year old inhabitant?

Sometimes we all write things on the internet that come out a little differently than what we intended.  I know I have.  Perhaps you should consider rewording this post.

-Autistic Angel
3089  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Dateline's Child Predator Shows- Entrapment? on: June 11, 2006, 08:14:37 PM
What surprised me about the most recent Dateline special I saw was how many of the suspects had seen identical sting operations on TV before.  I think my lack of pedophilic tendancies puts me at a disadvantage for trying to understand this mindset, but how badly would you need to have sex with a child to knowingly risk walking into a trap set on national television??

Even if you were somehow able to convince yourself that there's anything healthy or harmless about meeting up with underage children from the internet, you'd think the increasing risk of getting caught would convince you to find a new hobby.

Entrapment or not, the dozens and dozens of guys they're able to catch during these televised sting operations really opens your eyes to how pervasive this sort of online sexual predation is.  :shock:

-Autistic Angel
3090  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Transformers: Cybertron on: June 11, 2006, 08:02:30 PM
I would like to add that although G4TV advertises Beast Wars as part of their weekday morning "Action Blast," they do not appear to be airing actual episodes of the show.  Instead, the network has....



...wait for it....



...decided to reduce every 22-minute episode of the show down to about ten minutes by editing out all of the story elements.  That's right: the braintrust at G4 thought it would be a good idea to remove all of the backstory, character interaction, and plot development that made Beast Wars such a great show so that they could air a solid block of CGI robots shooting at each other for no discernable reason.

If you decide to watch Beast Wars, please try to acquire the series on DVD.  It deserves a lot better than what you'll see on G4TV.

-Autistic Angel
3091  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [War] al-Zarqawi has been killed on: June 08, 2006, 09:23:46 PM
This is certainly good news, but the issue I have is that some people are using al-Zarqawi's death as "proof that we're winning the War on Terror."  If al-Qaeda somehow successfully assassinated Donald Rumsfeld, would these same people be taking to the airwaves calling it proof that we were losing the War on Terror?

-Autistic Angel
3092  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Ground Control II on: June 06, 2006, 02:45:10 PM
Reading over my own post, I think I should have been more clear.

I'm currently trying out Ground Control II, and although I can pause the game by hitting the 'Pause' button on the keyboard, I'm unable to interact with the game in any way except to scroll the map.  I'm wondering if anyone's aware of an .ini toggle or unofficial patch that might add the ability to queue up orders while the game is paused.

-Autistic Angel
3093  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Ground Control II on: June 06, 2006, 12:38:00 AM
Does anyone know if its possible to issue orders while Ground Control II is paused?  If there were ever a game crying out for such a feature, this is it!

-Autistic Angel
3094  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Sony: Who needs marketshare? on: June 05, 2006, 07:30:32 PM
Blu-Ray technology has one legitimate advantage over HD-DVD media: the discs can hold significantly more information.  This would theoretically allow for studios to maximize the video quality without having to sacrifice special features like commentary tracks and behind-the-scenes documentaries.

The biggest downside to the technology is that its marketed by Sony: a company so draconian in their copy protection schemes and so uncompromising in their pursuit of profits that they produce music CDs that install rootkit viruses in your PC and once teamed up with LucasFilm and Circuit City to push DivX players which would require home users to pay money everytime they wanted to watch a movie they owned.  

One popular rumor suggests that PlayStation 3 games will hardcode themselves to the first machine they're put into, becoming unplayable on all other PS3 consoles and eliminating the sale of used games, game rentals, and even loaning games out to friends.  Sony flatly denies any such feature, but the reason the rumor persists is that it's *exactly* the sort of thing Sony would push out onto the marketplace.  This company wants to establish a stranglehold on the world of digital media, and they're fully prepared to redefine the concept of "ownership" to get it done.

I own a PlayStation 2.  My television, DVD player, and camcorder are all from Sony because my research indicated they were the best in their fields for what I wanted to do.  I think that when Sony embraces an established electronic standard, they're frequently able to do it better than most of their competitors.  What I *don't* trust is their attempts to create new standards, especially one that they would retain exclusive rights over.

I'm really hoping HD-DVD is the next standard of choice.

-Autistic Angel
3095  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Microsoft and Backwards Compatibility... on: June 01, 2006, 10:16:03 PM
Just a few days ago, I started playing Indigo Prophecy for the X-Box and I think it's an amazingly fun and inventive game.  I picked up Mark Ecko's Getting Up for $10 at that big Circuit City sale this week, and I'll be keeping a careful eye on the availability of that new Dreamfall game so I can snatch it up before it vanishes from store shelves.  At some point this summer, I also intend to finally play the X-Box "Director's Cut" version of Fatal Frame 2 all the way through.
 
Backwards compatibility means a great deal to a person like me who enjoys playing older games that were missed the first time around.  I guess I'm too far in the minority for Microsoft's bigwigs to care about, but I consider the backwards compatibility feature of the Wii and PlayStation 3 to be one of their biggest selling points (or *only* selling point in the case of the PS3....)

-Autistic Angel
3096  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Hitman: Blood Money impressions on: June 01, 2006, 09:20:08 PM
Quote
Unfortunately, this is the thing that always kills the Hitman series for me. Trial and error gameplay with limited saves (though I'm playing at "easy" to eliminate that, but then you don't even get a notoriety meter) makes it too freeform for me.


Hitman holds a lot of the same appeal for me that the Thief series does: although it's possible to stumble your way through a level, knocking out or killing anyone who discovers you, the challenge is in figuring out how to slip in and out of a heavily guarded compound before anyone even knew you were there.  Any game lets you take center stage as you run and gun your way through waves of opposition; precious few reward you for inconspicuously casing the joint and sliding in and out of cracks in the security system like a ghost.

One of the things that bugged me about the demo for Hitman: Contracts was that I could *not* figure out any way to blow up that damn submarine without raising an alarm and causing collateral deaths.  If I wanted to blow things up, I'd play Black.  I want a game where I can leave behind a dead body in a room surrounded by guards and sealed from the inside....  :twisted:

I do have a question though: the demo for Blood Money had an option for "Simple Strangulation" or "Easy Strangulation."  What exactly does that option do?

-Autistic Angel
3097  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Hitman: Blood Money impressions on: June 01, 2006, 01:15:10 PM
Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
Every level seems to have about a half dozen very non-obvious ways of dealing with your intended targets. Very VERY freeform. So far, I'm finding it very challenging without being obscene. Its good to have a game with a little difficulty behind it.


You've just sold me on this game.

-Autistic Angel
3098  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / DVD Tuesday - 05/30/06 on: May 31, 2006, 03:18:06 PM
Quote
Is this the same Riddick that escaped a prison ship to fight crazy night-demons? The same Ridick that single-handedly took down the TechnoGoth Empire? If so, when did they make a third movie?


There was some animated feature that was put together at one point, but I've never seen it so I can't comment on its length or quality.

-Autistic Angel
3099  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Picked up PoP: Warrior Within ... on: May 30, 2006, 06:53:13 PM
As far as I can recall, I also saved before and after just about every time portal in the game and I still finished it successfully.  I played the X-Box version.

-Autistic Angel
3100  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Picked up PoP: Warrior Within ... on: May 30, 2006, 05:14:53 PM
Quote from: "Kevin Grey"
Quote from: "Autistic Angel"
I don't think it's considered a spoiler if I tell you that the beginning of The Two Thrones actually dares to pretend that Warrior Within ended in a completely different way. I would have thought that a planned trilogy specializing in the intricacies of time travel would have a little more respect for whopping continuity flaws than that.

 
Actually, TTT assumes that you got the relatively rare, *good* ending for Warrior Within. Most gamers got the "bad" ending.


Fair enough: I didn't realize there was an alternate ending to Warrior Within, so the opening narration to Two Thrones was quite a surprise.  I'm happy to hear that I was the lazy one, not the developers.  Cool

-Autistic Angel
3101  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Picked up PoP: Warrior Within ... on: May 30, 2006, 02:37:04 AM
Quote
I would have jumped right into the third one if I didn't think I was missing some decent gaming and part of the story.


That's what I thought, so I played Warrior Within from start to finish.

I don't think it's considered a spoiler if I tell you that the beginning of The Two Thrones actually dares to pretend that Warrior Within ended in a completely different way.  I would have thought that a planned trilogy specializing in the intricacies of time travel would have a little more respect for whopping continuity flaws than that.

I loved the original Prince of Persia for its beautiful Arabian fairy tale setting, its gorgeous animation, its engaging storyline, and its daring acrobatic gameplay.  I disliked Warrior Within because it attempted to reboot the franchise into something X-treme and frequently interrupted the acrobatic puzzle-solving with battles which were about as engaging as fighting the innumerable random monster encounters in a Japanese RPG.  My initial impressions of Two Thrones were very positive, but I stopped playing after only a few hours because I had *just* completed PoP:WW and was worried about ruining the game by burning myself out the franchise.

My advice: you should definitely continue with Warrior Within for as long as you're having fun with it.  Hopefully that'll carry you through the entire game.  However, if you reach the point where you're just slogging your way through because you want to see how it ends, I think you'll discover that it *really* doesn't matter.

-Autistic Angel
3102  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / New Lost Game Coming video games on: May 29, 2006, 12:29:55 AM
Speaking as someone who continues to enjoy Lost, even I have to say that I thought these posts were really funny.  biggrin

-Autistic Angel
3103  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / 9/11 conspiracy video on: May 28, 2006, 05:10:18 AM
Quote
Ehh ... I think most people would rather be paid off and be wealthy than be deep throat.


Why not be both?  What's to stop a person from taking their payoff, squirreling it away someplace safe, and then setting up a rendezvous with a couple reporters in a dark parking garage?

Quote
I would figure that anyone that had a hand in such a secretive operation would have something at stake in its success.


Everybody?  Even the guys who unbolted the streetlights and toppled them across the highway?  What about the guys who closed off the highway so nobody would see the work being done?  Or the insurance adjuster who goes out to look at that big crater in the Pennsylvania prairie and asks, "So where's the plane?"

What about all the "victims" who got on planes headed for the west coast and were informed that they all had to go missing for the rest of their lives?  Are they all sealed up in Guantanamo someplace, or was the Bush administration able to pay enough that they were willing to accept the idea of never seeing their friends and family again?  At that point it would be cheaper to forget about the secret remote-controlled jetliner and just use the real things.

And why pin the whole thing on al Qaeda?  Had *you* ever heard of them before 2001?  Most people hadn't.  Why not pin the whole thing squarely on Iraq and skip the whole spiel about weapons inspectors and U.N. resolutions?  It seems to me like the war in Iraq would be a whole lot more popular if they were actually some sort of reason given for why it was necessary.

-Autistic Angel
3104  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Can you Read This? on: May 27, 2006, 07:56:54 PM


Mr. Eko-Logic says:



"You just made the list."

-Autistic Angel
3105  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / 9/11 conspiracy video on: May 27, 2006, 07:46:04 PM
Right, but none of that was the result of any devious ingenuity or skill -- the neoconservative Republicans in control the house, senate, and presidency have correctly ascertained that the average American is more afraid of giving gay people equal civil rights than of losing their own.  The Bush administration isn't getting away with things because they're just so good at it; they're getting away with them because they control all the mechanisms of power and know how to focus public attention on divisive wedge issues.

The 9/11 Conspiracy Theory shares the same fatal flaw as the Liberal Media Conspiracy Theory: there's just no way that the hundreds or thousands of people needed to pull them off could all be compelled into secrecy.  People like to be famous.  They like to be heroes.  They like to go down in history as the one who revealed the truth to everyone.  The Bush administration is so cocky and arrogant about their ideas and so grossly inept at executing any of them that I just can't accept the idea that they could manage an operation of this size.  Secret remote controlled aircraft painted up to resemble passenger airliners; missiles launched against the Pentagon; streetlights yanked out of the ground and dumped across the highway; large smouldering craters being dug in the Pennsylvania fields and strewn with bits of metal...and *NOBODY* has come forward to say, "Yeah, I was part of the crew that did that?!?"

If the Bush administration is so good at shutting people up, why are their own inspector generals the ones reporting billions of dollars in treasonous war profiteering in Iraq?  Why are we learning more information every day about their so-called "anti-terrorism" domestic spying programs?  Why haven't they been able to buy off the career generals who are stepping up and demanding Rumsfeld's resignation, and if they tried, why have none of those generals said anything about the attempts to shut them up?

If you want to say that the Bush administration is a vile and destructive force to everything inherent to the American system and way of life, you'll get no argument from me.  If you say that 9/11 has benefitted their schemes tremendously by convincing people to unquestioningly follow the same "leaders" failed to prevent 9/11 in the first place, I'm with you 100%.  But I just can't accept the idea that these bungling, arrogant idiots were capable to faking something on the scale of those attacks.

-Autistic Angel
3106  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Rise of Legends Impressions ?? on: May 26, 2006, 07:31:10 PM
Quote from: "Earlier, I"
I am having fun with this game so far. However, it's *very* different from Rise of Nations and I would need more time before offering advice on whether or not I would take responsibility for convincing anyone else how to spend their money.


As promised, I've spent a great deal more time with the game and posted my full review here.  I'll be happy to expand on it here if anyone is interested....

-Autistic Angel
3107  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / 9/11 conspiracy video on: May 26, 2006, 04:12:47 AM
Let me put it this way:

Let's imagine for a moment that Bush administration faked the plane flying into the Pentagon by firing a cruise missile from a military facility at the building.  To help create the illusion, several light poles along the path of approach were pulled up to make it look like they'd been knocked down by a plane, and to help with the cover up all of the surveillance tapes in the area were confiscated.  Witnesses, including cleanup workers who came to clean up the debris field were all either in on it or too busy to ask any questions about how an entire 747 managed to squeeze itself through that hole.  And finally, Donald Rumsfeld was so confident in the flawlessness of this plan that he volunteered to be in the Pentagon during the strike, even though he was "safely in his office on the other side of the building."

Here is my question: In six years, what has the Bush administration ever accomplished that would make you believe they're capable of successfully executing something this complicated?  Seriously, what is the biggest acccomplishment these people have had?  They'd have to be pretty damn good at getting things done before they could worry about getting away with the bad stuff, and when you consider the number of whistleblowers trying to call our attention to all the sneaky, suspicious stuff they're doing, frankly they suck at both.

Regardless of whether or not George Bush, Karl Rove, or Dick Cheney would have wanted to fake 9/11, they're simply not competent enough to have pulled it off.

-Autistic Angel
3108  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / 9/11 conspiracy video on: May 23, 2006, 07:22:09 PM
My problem with this sort of thing is that it suggests we need some serpentine conspiracy theory to get up in arms about.  The reality is that the Bush administration has violated our trust on topics ranging from tax relief to domestic and foreign civil rights violations to our urgent need to start a war in Iraq.  Why waste any time at all piecing together circumstantial evidence with a web of conjecture when the things we can actually prove are continuing to happen...and, apparently, beneath most people's notice?

President Bush said that terrorists are *only* ever hunted with the assistance of a court order.  Then it turned out that he was secretly wiretapping overseas phone calls, but only of known terrorists.  Then suspected terrorists.  Then "persons of interest," but still only when they were overseas phone calls.  Now we know the U.S. government is also collecting millions of purely domestic phone records to map out who is talking to who, how often, and for how long.  How comforting that we have an all-new assurance that *that's* as far as it goes....

Actually, demonstrably breaking the law wins out over forty-year-long conspiracy theories any day of the week.

-Autistic Angel
3109  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / World of Warcraft to PS3? on: May 23, 2006, 05:39:00 PM
There have been a lot of rumors swirling around that Star Wars: Galaxies will be coming to console systems or that World of WarCraft would be released for the X-Box 360.  Failing an official announcement, I remain a skeptic.

-Autistic Angel
3110  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Hitman: Blood Money demo is out! on: May 23, 2006, 05:32:27 PM
Quote from: "Kevin Grey"
That said, I'm not sure much would have changed based on your impressions since most of your complaints seemed to center around tutorials/hand-holding which is honestly the type of stuff I'd expect out of the first level of a game.

I must say, in general, I find most demos to be crap and I can't remember the last time that I played a demo that convinced me to buy a game I wasn't otherwise interested in. I think most demos suffer from being removed from the context of the full game.


I don't want to "take over the thread" by authoring every second post, but I have a lot to say about this demo.  Therefore, please understand that the following are only my opinions and I'm not out to denounce Hitman: Blood Money in the face of any upcoming positive reviews or to change anyone else's mind.  Cool

The demo for Hitman 2 absolutely sold me on that game.  It's a perfect example of transforming an upcoming release that I previously had absolutely no interest in into one that I was eagerly awaiting the chance to buy.  My ideal Hitman game would be one in which they allowed you to play three dozen levels with the same multitude of choices and complexity that you had in that first demo.

System Shock 2 and F.E.A.R. both served up pre-release demos that convinced me to preorder.  Both did a fantastic job of showcasing the game play mechanics that made them such unique titles.  Whatever issues people took with the final products, their demos did a fantastic job of showing off some of their best features.  Thief is something of an odd duck -- like I said, I hated the demo when I first tried it, but after reading weeks worth of rave reviews after the game's release, I gave it another shot and fell in love.  Why?  I have no idea.  Maybe I was approaching the whole thing with the wrong mindset from the start.  Regardless, that's another example of a demo which (eventually) sold me on getting the game.

Other demos have piqued my interest enough to get me to pay careful attention to the reviews (Star Wars: Empire at War), while others still have convinced me not to buy a game at all.  I can see what other people would enjoy about games like Ghost Recon or SWAT 4, but I have neither the reflexes to survive in a one shot/one kill environment, nor the patience to learn the subtle differences between a half-dozen variations on the concept of an "automatic rifle."

At *best*, this Blood Money demo seems to exhibit the worst elements of the franchise.  Eliminating the on-screen hints altogether would still leave us with an exercise in rote, lifeless puzzle solving carried out in an environment only slightly more interactive than the original Myst, rendered with a fancy new graphic engine slapped over the same animations we saw four years ago.  There may be a great game here, but you wouldn't be able to tell it from this demo.

If other reviews are as positive as your OPM article, Kevin Grey, I'll be first in line to give the full retail version a fair shot.  And, by "first," I mean "first to buy a copy from the eighth or ninth shipment sent to my local Electronics Boutique because their new official policy is never to stock more than four copies of any PC game."  I'd love a really excellent version of Hitman, so here's hoping... :!:

-Autistic Angel
3111  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Keeping Games Forever? on: May 23, 2006, 04:21:30 PM
My gaming collection includes original editions of Wing Commander with the fold-out blueprints of the four flyable fighter craft in the game, the floppy disk edition of Wing Commander II which took a little over two hours to fully install, and Ultimas IV - VII Part 2 with their cloth maps and swag (moonstone, Codex of Ultimate Wisdom Coin, etc.)  I've got original copies of games like Castles, Populous, Master of Orion, X-Com and System Shock, as well as a bunch of obscure Origin titles many people have never heard of like Bioforge, Shadowcaster, and Cybermage: Darklight Awakening.  I even own Thief, Thief: Gold and Thief II in those assinine angular boxes Eidos used to use.

I don't collect games just for the sake of having them.  I don't even consider myself to be a collector -- I own these titles because I purchased them brand-new off the shelf and have enjoyed them enough to keep them handy all these years.  In fact, one of the ways I got myself ginned up for System Shock 2 was by playing through a significant portion of the original, and I enjoyed playing my way through FreeSpace 1 & 2 as recently as last year.  Not only do many of these games represent a standard of excellence that was years ahead of their time, many of them pioneered styles of game play which no longer exist.  (Can someone explain why the hell *nobody* can seem to create a good spiritual successor to X-Com?!?)

Not all the titles in my library are classics.  I actually hold onto original issues of Sierra Entertainment's Outpost, the "Dragon Edition" of Origin's Ultima IX, and Quicksilver's Master of Orion III for the specific purpose of reminding myself to avoid getting too excited about something I haven't played.  Considering how hyped up I am for games like Spore and Supreme Commander, that strategy doesn't actually work, but for some reason I find it comforting nonetheless.

Anyways, I believe in holding onto games I've really enjoyed: I hate the idea that I'd never be able to revisit them again, and I actually take the opportunity to do so on a fairly frequent basis.  Other games like Age of Mythology or Devil May Cry which just don't gel with me for whatever reason, I often sell them or give them away freely to others who would get some real enjoyment out of them.

-Autistic Angel
3112  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Hitman: Blood Money demo is out! on: May 23, 2006, 01:44:11 PM
Many people criticize Rise of Legends for releasing such a poor first demo, and they're right to do so.  However, that original demo came out almost a month before the game went gold, so any rational person would understand that its stability and performance might be a lot different in the final product.  I barely played either of the demos, but I'm having a very good time with the full game.

While the producers of Rise of Legends can probably afford a misstep or two because they're fresh off the success of Rise of Nations, Io Interactive already took a pretty big stumble.  It was called Hitman: Contracts.  It's pretty important for them to really whack this one out of the park.

Hitman: Blood Money is already gold.  It comes out in seven days.  I understand that producing a demo is a lot more challenging than simply lifting a single level from a finished product.  Even so, the idea that they would think it was a good idea to release a demo showcasing all of the series' worst flaws is insanity.

I hated the demo for Thief when I first tried it; today its one of my all-time favorite games.  Elixir Studios released a demo for Evil Genius which represented the game play so poorly, the developers basically begged the public to believe them that the final product was a lot more nuanced.  Though I couldn't recommend it to most people, I enjoyed that game a lot too.  I am ready and willing to be proven wrong about Hitman: Blood Money.

Based on the demo, though, I think I'll have to wait for Hitman: Legend.

-Autistic Angel
3113  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Hitman: Blood Money demo is out! on: May 23, 2006, 04:01:06 AM
Wow...now *this* is a terrible demo!  I was pretty interested in getting this game, even considering putting down a preorder for it now that my local Electronics Boutique has cut back their PC stock to bare minimum levels, but now it would take some extremely impressive reviews to even make me consider it.

Hitman 2: Silent Assassin had a fantastic demo.  It must have had a dozen different ways to approach the hit, and I played it for *hours* until I finally got a perfect "Silent Assassin" rating by killing no one except the mark and escaping without triggering a single alarm.  I was disappointed to discover that the rest of the game wasn't nearly so clever and open-ended, but the demo definitely sold me on the game.

Like the Hitman 2 demo, the Blood Money demo lets you play through the first level of the game.  Unfortunately, instead of an awesome full-fledged assassination scenario, this demo is a rigidly linear tutorial level which eliminates any sense of experimentation or exploration by telling you every single step you need to take.  The ironic thing about this tutorial is that it rarely tells you *how* to do it, so when you're told to "Distract the Guards" or "Snipe the Three Men," be prepared to hunt through your keyboard mappings while you figure it out.

The mission starts with you waiting for a guard to open a gate while you listen to your briefing.  Since I can't find any Save Game option so far, my failed attempts to Distract the Guards have caused me to hear that briefing five or six times now.  There won't be a seventh.  I think the fact that I was tasked with sniping three men from a window where only two were visible was the final breaking point.

The graphics are good, featuring some new tricks like soft shadows and normal mapping which give faces a big boost in definition.  The physics, however, haven't improved since Hitman 2 was released in 2002.  Dragging bodies results in the same wildly flapping ragdolls that most other games decided were unacceptable two years ago.  I also haven't seen an environment this untouchable since Final Fantasy VII -- I understand a pistol isn't going to shatter anything it shoots in just a couple rounds, but even some of the windows seem protected by an invisible shield.  It's a bad sign when a game released in 2006 doesn't even appear to feature bullet holes when you plug a flimsy wooden wall.

Out.

-Autistic Angel
3114  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Devil's Right : PSP pwnz DS. on: May 21, 2006, 10:55:03 PM
I'd be pretty sure that guy is kidding, but I was present at a local GameSpot when a customer walked in and started challenging the staff to explain why anyone would want an X-Box 360 for $400 when they could just wait and get the incredible PS3 for $600.  He complained that the 360 is "nothing but an X-Box with slightly better graphics," while crowing that the PS3 is really going to blow everyone away with its *real* high-definition support.  When one of the clerks asked him to name all of the PS3 games he was planning to buy, the customer fumbled before proudly announcing that he knew tons of great games were on the way while the 360 only has "more of the same."

If I hadn't been there myself, I never would have believed someone could sincerely hold such a self-contradictory and ill-informed position.  I can understand why someone would be excited for the PS3 and I can also understand why a lot of people are concerned about its high price and lackluster showing at E3.  The part I don't get is why someone would feel the need to tear down a different system that, in these cases, they clearly don't even own.  Never unestimate the stupidity of the common fanboy, I guess....

-Autistic Angel
3115  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / What are you playing this weekend? 05/19/06 on: May 20, 2006, 12:40:46 AM
I'm currently playing Rise of Legends and Kameo: Elements of Power for review purposes.  I'm enjoying both, but I won't have an opportunity to play anything else.

-Autistic Angel
3116  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / another Crysis video...amazing stuff on: May 17, 2006, 03:39:40 AM
It was revealed at E3 that Crysis will be available for Windows XP as well as Windows Vista.

Quote from: "GameSpot"
Crysis will support both DirectX 9 and DirectX 10, which means that you can run it on a Windows XP PC, as well as an upcoming Windows Vista PC. You'll get the absolute best graphics with a Vista machine, but DirectX 9 still will look good. The version of the game we saw was using a DirectX 9 machine "simulating" DirectX10 by brute force, and it looked amazing.


-Autistic Angel
3117  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Who finished Ninja Gaiden? on: May 17, 2006, 03:28:26 AM
Thank you very much!  smile

-Autistic Angel
3118  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Who finished Ninja Gaiden? on: May 16, 2006, 07:42:21 PM
I beat the original release of Ninja Gaiden on both Normal and Hard difficulties, and I'm now spending some of my free time playing Ninja Gaiden Black through on Normal.  My time has been fractured by trying to do so many things, so I just haven't had the opportunity to finish it yet.

On occasion, I've been known to start a new game and see how far I can make it without saving or dying.  (Continuing the game restarts from your most recent save, so if you never save the game, death means the game is over.)  I typically make it past the giant bone dragon before I finally get tired and simply quit.

I really, *really* like Ninja Gaiden.

-Autistic Angel
3119  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Who won the Hype Battle? on: May 12, 2006, 06:04:02 PM
My vote went to Nintendo for the following reasons:

1) One of my major concerns with the Wii controller had been the idea of trying to set up a sensor net around your television.  Now we know that the "sensor net" is like a single black panel or strip that you put down on or near your television.  Simple!

2) According to every report I can find Zelda, Mario, and WarioWare look and control fantastically.  These are major franchises for Nintendo, especially Zelda, and getting them out near the Wii's release will mean a *huge* launch for the new system.

3) Metroid Prime: Corruption.  I like Zelda, but I *love* the Metroid Prime games.  I would have bought a Wii for this game sight unseen, but the fact that it's there, it's playable, and it contols so well makes this one of my most anticipated games.  The skeptic in me makes me doubt we'll really see this available at the system's launch, but I'm extremely excited for it nonetheless!

-Autistic Angel
3120  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Rise of Legends Impressions ?? on: May 12, 2006, 04:57:03 AM
The only question mark in my mind is your video card -- my understanding is that the Radeon 9700 enjoys full DirectX 9.0 support, but Rise of Legends pushes a lot of smoke, particle, and distortion effects on screen simultaneously during big battles which could be taxing for an older video card.

If you're willing to turn down the graphic options a bit, I feel pretty confident that the game would play okay for you.  Like most real-time strategy games, Rise of Legends is a lot more about the game play decisions involved in expanding your resource base and deploying effective unit tactics.  The graphics are very nice, but hardly as integral to the experience as they might be in a first person shooter.

As far as whether the game play is worth your money, I'll need more time to decide if I would recommend it to other people.  I'm enjoying the campaign structure which seems to combine elements of Rise of Nations' RISK-like territory grabbing with specific storyline objectives, but I'm troubled by the lack of a random map generator in the Quick Battle mode.  Random maps were the bread and butter of Rise of Nations for me.  Without the prospect of infinite new and unexpected map terrains to keep the environment eternally fresh, this game's value has a lot riding on the quality of its campaign.

Similarly, while the three playable factions are as interesting and diverse as those found in StarCraft, the scope of the game play seems to have been pared down to a straightforward brawl for supremacy.  Rise of Nations may not have been Civilization 4 in terms of complexity, but it enjoyed a lot of different game play elements like "Assassin Mode", unique map resources, and non-combat victory conditions which all appear to be completely missing from Rise of Legends.

I am having fun with this game so far.  However, it's *very* different from Rise of Nations and I would need more time before offering advice on whether or not I would take responsibility for convincing anyone else how to spend their money.

-Autistic Angel
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