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3121  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: DAMN you Fox! DAMN YOU! on: April 27, 2007, 04:20:42 PM
Three days ago, I wrote a mini-review for Drive.  I don't have the whole thing in front of me right now, but I specifically recall the following section:

Quote from: Me
Then I learned that the show was being helmed by Tim Minear.  This immediately told me two things:

1) Drive will be much better than I was expecting, and

2) It will be cancelled within the first six episodes.

There was also a bit in there about how cool it was that Firefly's Richard "Jubal Early" Brooks was playing the cop investigating the disappearance of Alex Tully's wife.

Ah, well....

-Autistic Angel
3122  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Why veto? (political thread) on: April 27, 2007, 03:28:46 AM
Quote from: brettmcd
And if [democrats] had any guts to stand behind what they believe in and ran on, that the war cannot be won and all that, they would cut the funding.    But that would be politically bad to do, so they wont.

This argument reminds me of triple-dog-daring a guy to stick his tongue to a frozen metal pole.  If he does, he's a sucker and a moron.  If he doesn't, he's a coward.  And either way, you get to sit back, free from accountability, and mock him from a comfortable distance.

The republicans in this country bragged up a storm about how they were going to remake the world.  The republicans are the ones who spread a lot of rumors to justify picking a fight with Iraq.  The republicans are the ones who planned, executed, and financed that fight for four years, and the republicans are the ones who bear responsibility for the scandalous failures that have ensued, not to mention the reprehensible treatment of the brave soldiers who successfully accomplished every single mission they were assigned. 

And now, republicans are the ones who are triple-dog-daring democrats into the politically and militarily foolish plan to cut funding for troops on the battlefield.  If they do it, they're anti-American defeatists.  If they don't, they're cowards.  And either way, republicans hope to sit back, mock from a safe distance, and hope to God that everyone forgets the fact that they've presided over five years of failed strategies and false predictions.

Democrats have put forth a plan to end this war within the next year.  They recognize that America cannot use military might to force political stability in the midst of a civil war, so they are backing a last-ditch effort to use a firm timeline to put political pressure on Iraqi leaders to get their act together.  In order to criticize this strategy, republicans would first need to scrounge up enough credibility to explain how their plan -- which only came about after severe losses in the 2006 elections -- will somehow find success where all of their previous attempts have failed.

In other words, if you're the one who's stuck his tongue to a freezing pole, you don't really get to complain about the taste of your rescuer's warm water unless you've got a better idea.

-Autistic Angel
3123  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Why veto? (political thread) on: April 26, 2007, 07:42:37 PM
Quote from: deadzone
The thing that really gets me about all of this is that Bush seems to be clearly defying and going against what is a majority view held by American People about the Iraq War at this point in time.

I don't object to idea of political leaders going against the majority opinion.  Someone who devotes their lives to national defense should logically have a better grasp of how to handle it than the millions of people who focus their lives on mundane office work and raising their families.  The problem in this specific case, however, is that this administration has really exhausted the "We Know Best!" argument by using it to justify failure after failure.

I remember thinking that going to war in Iraq seemed like a really terrible idea at first, but then I watched Colin Powell's formal address to the United Nations chronicling everything the United States knew about Saddam Hussein's WMD programs.  He had vials of anthrax and satellite photographs of mobile chemical weapons labs and information on aluminum tubes which could *only* be used for enriching weapons-grade uranium, and I was convinced.  I was willing to put my faith in their judgment, trusting that they had a rock-solid basis for their intelligence.

Today, we know that every single "irrefutable fact" presented in that address was actually intensely contested by our own intelligence agencies.  Some were pure supposition put together by the Office of Special Plans under the guidance of Douglas Feith.  Others, like the story about the aluminum tubes, were outright lies -- the tubes were wholly unsuited for centrifuging uranium, and everybody with an ounce of nuclear weapons knowledge were saying so at the time.

People sometimes accuse me of being a "Bush hater," as though I consciously decided in advance to dislike him and have just been objecting to his policies ever since.  In fact, it was just the opposite: the Bush administration played the American people for suckers, taking advantage of our belief in the inherent honesty, integrity, and righteousness of our government to gain support for missions of extremely dubious national interest, and then botched those missions at a terrible, terrible cost.  I am not angry about body armor shortages or abysmal medical care for our troops because I just mistrust Bush; I mistrust Bush because I've seen how his behavior has hurt our troops.

Why is there such a standoff over the troop withdrawal deadlines in this funding bill?  Because everyone in both political parties recognize that this war can continue to be waged indefinitely, but the only possible ending is the pullout of American forces and a full-blown Iraqi civil war. 

Congressional democrats see that the war is unwinnable and want to represent the wishes of their constituents by bringing it to an end, but are casting about for a way to do it without allowing the republicans to brand them as "surrender monkeys" who gave up "just as we were about to win!" 

Congressional republicans see that the war in unwinnable and are desperate for a permission slip to bring to an end, but they need to find a way to pin responsibility for the defeat on the newly elected democrats rather than on their own half-decade worth of failed policies.

And President Bush....Bush is just running down the clock.  In a perfect world, he'd bring about the victory he'd envisioned and be hailed as the Great Liberator of the Middle East.  That isn't going to happen, so the best available alternative is to try and maintain the status quo through the end of his presidency and pass the problem off to somebody else.  So long as the defeat comes on someone else's watch, he and his supporters will always be able to maintain that he was a principled defender of liberty whose strong core values refused to give in to political pressure.  It's simply the best potential legacy.

I don't see much "good" vs. "evil" here.  There's no altruism or malice involved; it's really just two sides striking the most pragmatically advantageous positions available to them.  The difference between them is that one of the two sides is solely responsible for the preceding five years of incompetence that brought us into this position.  Ultimately, that makes my choice of who to support a lot easier.

-Autistic Angel
3124  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Wii - Browser, any way of hiding the Toolbar on: April 25, 2007, 06:29:06 PM
I'm writing this on my Nintendo Wii right now!

“You know, with the exception of one deadly and unpredictable midget, this girl is the smallest cargo I've ever had to transport, yet by far the most troublesome.”

-Autistic Angel
3125  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Game sequences that made you curse [minor God of War spoilers] on: April 25, 2007, 06:21:43 AM
I would like to nominate several puzzles in Zelda: Wind Waker.  I know everybody complains about the "Tingle Torture," but I think inane filler takes a distant backseat to some of the downright counter-intuitive puzzles in this game.  Here are some examples:

Spoiler for Hiden:
1) A woman on Windfall Isle fills three text boxes talking about how much she wants Skull Necklaces, so much so that the words "Skull Necklaces" are highlighted in bright orange, yet she does not react when you try to give her one.  Why?  Because the actual collector of the necklaces is some other random townie who mentions them one time in passing -- someone who already got rich selling Skull Necklaces, and would therefore no longer need them.

2) One of the tasks on Windfall is to tag four little kids, one of whom is standing at the very top of a tall tree.  You cannot hit him with your boomerang, grappling hook, bow & arrow, or hook shot.  You cannot dislodge him with an exploding bomb.  If you use the Deku Leaf to float down from the nearest wall and STAND RIGHT NEXT TO HIM, you cannot strike him with your sword or smack him with your hand.  No, the only solution is to perform a roll attack against the base of the tree.  As if that weren't already the least likely solution, it also needs to be lined up *perfectly* or you'll just roll past the trunk of the tree -- I know because I'd already tried it several times before checking a hint guide out of sheer desperation and discovering that it should have worked.

3) The first "traveling merchant" I encountered on Great Fish Island traded me a Sea Flower in exchange for my Town Flower and encouraged me to seek out his friends.  I did, but they refused to trade anything new to me.  It turns out that after receiving the Sea Flower, I was supposed to turn around and trade it right back TO THE SAME MERCHANT for something even better.

I don't know if something was lost in translation during the localization process or if these are just examples of careless game design, but they're certainly not the sort or obtuse, nonsensical solutions I would have expected in a modern Legend of Zelda game.  In fact, considering how clever and logical the dungeon puzzles have been throughout the game, I would not be surprised at all to learn that two entirely separate teams were in charge of developing the different elements of the game.

I've played Zelda II, Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, and Majora's Mask from start to finish without ever resorting to a strategy guide or even accepting a hint from a friend.  Wind Waker may be superior to the majority of other adventure-themed games on the market but given its pedigree, it's hard not to be disappointed with its sloppy non-sequiturs and how easily they might have been avoided.

-Autistic Angel
3126  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Bioshock collector's edition on: April 24, 2007, 05:27:31 PM
I would pay $69.99 to drink Ken Levine's bath water.

-Autistic Angel
3127  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Official "ZOMG Hi2u Pokemans Trading!!1!" Thread (Plus Impressions) on: April 23, 2007, 09:21:44 PM
Quote from: Godzilla Blitz
I also had a Magikarp fish, which the pokedex says is the weakest of all Pokemon. There's got to be a catch here, no? Totally harmless at the moment, but I've been training him up a bit in hopes that he'll eventually become something.

Magikarp will eventually

Spoiler for Hiden:
evolve into Gyarados who is a very useful flying/water-type pokemon.  I can't remember off the top of my head when the evolution occurs, but it's natural and doesn't require any special conditions or items.

Quote from: Godzilla Blitz
I've got in my mind that I'm supposed to "collect 'em all", so I've been trying to capture every new type of Pokemon that I come across. Isn't that the way most everyone plays?

Yes.  Certain rare AI characters will want to trade pokemon with you, giving you access to something you might not be able to get elsewhere, and you'll never know what they might want in exchange.  Also, you'll never know when you might want to have a certain type of pokemon for breeding purposes, or to trade with another player!

-Autistic Angel
3128  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: 4-23-07 Weekend Recap Club Edition on: April 23, 2007, 09:09:28 PM
I played a good deal of Zelda: Wind Waker, completing two dungeons and charting several new islands on my sea chart.  I'm now at the point where

Spoiler for Hiden:
I need to find all the Triforce Charts, pay Tingle large sums of cash to mince around and decipher them, and collect the pieces.  I already have two pieces -- we'll have to see how it goes from here.

When Wind Waker is good, it's very, very good.  The two dungeons I finished were filled with extremely clever, inventive, and intuitive puzzles that made excellent use of all the different items I've acquired so far.  The stylized graphics continue to impress -- I still love the way the color temperature of the world is used to such great effect in establishing the weather conditions -- and the animation, particularly of the bosses, is just incredible.

Then there's all the stuff between the dungeons: an enormous, sprawling ocean where everything is at *least* five minutes away from everything else, every single sector needs to be individually charted by bribing the local marine life, and the townsfolk tend to speak in odd little riddles that leave it unclear how, or if, you're supposed to interact with them.  One woman stands on a dock, looking out to sea and pining away for some Skull Necklaces to attract her son's attention, yet has no reaction when I try to offer her one.  People keep warning me about encountering the Ghost Ship if I'm out at sea on certain nights, but in all my time playing, I haven't seen it even once.

And then there are the totally unnecessary gameplay conventions.  In most games, switching between two controllable characters would be a single button push.  Not here...instead, you need to

a) have the Wind Waker assigned to a hotkey,

b) perform a four-note song,

c) watch while Link then re-performs the four-note song,

d) finally take control of the other character.

Is that really necessary?  He can't just "ask" his friend to fly over there and hit the switch?  He needs to perform a mind-control spell every single time?

I don't mean to exaggerate the annoyance factor here.  It's actually a great testament to the quality of the core game play that despite these warts, I'm still enjoying Wind Waker as much as I am.  I just can't shake the feeling that so many of the warts were wholly unnecessary, and that only a little more polish and a little less padding would have greatly improved the whole package.

-Autistic Angel
3129  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Game sequences that made you curse [minor God of War spoilers] on: April 23, 2007, 08:02:29 PM
Quote from: JSL
Just having finished Metroid Prime Echoes I will add the final boss fights/ending. I am thankful they put a save right before the boss, unlike in the first game where you had to go through the metroid room every time you had to restart, ugh. Anyway, the final boss in MP2 has three forms. The first is actually the hardest I think, but the whole fight probably takes close to 20 - 30 minutes. Then the time limit starts and you have to escape, which is normal Metroid fashion. Guess what, there is another boss with two forms that you have to defeat before the timer runs out. So in the end the whole boss fight/ending takes about 40 minutes. I went through it three times yesterday before I finished. It was highly doable though and I didn't really think it was cheap overall, especially as I got better at it. There were quite a few points in Echoes where I was cursing under my breath. That could be why it took me 2.5 years to finish it.

I enjoyed Echoes through to the end, but even I have to admit that the final boss fight seemed needlessly frustrating.  The technique you're supposed to use

Spoiler for Hiden:
(absorbing the small phazon orbs with your charge beam and firing them back at the boss)

only seems to work about one-third of the time; the rest of the time you just take damage and wonder why the hell it didn't work right.

I think Devil May Cry is a perfect example of a popular franchise that I find *far* more difficult than fun.  I tried getting into the original game on three seperate occasions, each involving multiple days of playing and really giving it a some time to grow on me, and every time the boss fights were so grueling that it just seemed like way more effort than it was worth.  The stupid fire-scorpion boss comes really early in the game, and the damn thing is so much harder than everything that preceeded it...why am I putting myself through this??  I'm no action slouch -- I *love* Ninja Gaiden: Black for the X-Box -- but DMC's sudden spikes in difficulty are just too punishing for me.

-Autistic Angel

3130  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: The Official "ZOMG Hi2u Pokemans Trading!!1!" Thread (Plus Impressions) on: April 22, 2007, 06:36:37 PM
Should I buy 2 diamonds or a diamond & pearl?  Main reason for 2 copies is the wifi battles with my son.

You should *definitely* buy one Diamond and one Pearl.  The two versions are 100% compatible for wifi battles with your son, but since each version has a few exclusive Pokemon that the other does not, you'll be able to trade them between the two versions.

Buying two copies of Diamond will still allow you to battle and trade with your son, but you'll wind up missing on some content (admittedly a pretty small percentage) and gain nothing in exchange.  Get one of each.

-Autistic Angel
3131  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / The Official "ZOMG Hi2u Pokemans Trading!!1!" Thread (Plus Impressions) on: April 20, 2007, 10:26:41 PM
I know Pokemon: Diamond and Pearl will have a big online trading system in place, but I'm hoping that trading with people here on the forum will reduce the odds of receiving pokemon with names like "Scrotum" or ";0("

I'll be getting Pearl, so if anybody wants to let me know what sort of Pearl-specific pokemon they'd like to trade for, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for them and pass them your way!  I'd love to receive some Diamond-specific guys in exchange, and the lower level they are, the better!  (I prefer raising them myself -- a Level 25 pokemon raised from birth tends to have much better stats than a Level 25 one found in the wild.

Also, bring on the impressions!  icon_cool

-Autistic Angel
3132  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Weekend Playlist 20Apr: ATB @ Calvin's House Splitscreening Gears of War Edition on: April 20, 2007, 05:13:25 PM
Having finished Metroid Prime 2: Echoes last weekend, I've started playing through Zelda: Wind Waker.  I played some of this back when it came out, but got distracted by something else.  I'm already farther than I was the last time, and plan to play some more this weekend.

I'm also slowly playing Super Paper Mario, running through a chapter here and there between other things.  It's a lot of fun, but doesn't inspire the same sort of long play sessions that an adventure or RPG does.

-Autistic Angel
3133  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / 360 Elite Trade-Ups -- What Do I Need To Know? on: April 19, 2007, 04:14:52 AM
As most people already know, there's a compelling rumor that Electronics Boutique and GameStop will be offering a very appealing trade-in offer for current 360 owners.  The question is: what do I need to know about trading in my current hard drive for the new one?  How can I prevent my downloaded content, gamertag, or credit card information from going to the next owner?  Will my Gamer Score remain even if I don't transfer over all of my save games?   And will a memory card allow me to move over my save games and all my unlocked content (ie. Dead Rising) intact?

-Autistic Angel
3134  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: 360 HD player on: April 19, 2007, 04:02:39 AM
If not for the format war between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, I would feel very comfortable recommending the drive.  It improves the look of normal DVDs, and HD-DVDs look simply *fantastic.*

Unfortunately, there is that pesky format war going on.  I don't regret the purchase of my HD-DVD add-on one bit, but so long as there's a danger that Blu-Ray could prevail, it's hard for me to say that someone else should gamble their money on it.

-Autistic Angel
3135  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Updated 32 dead at Virginia tech shooting on: April 17, 2007, 04:40:18 PM
Quote from: Graham
I never said that the Bush spokesman said didn't say something stupid (which was an assumption on your part).  In fact, you typically like to respond to me when I post something political and make general assumptions.  I don't know if you think I have a bulls eye on my back or if it's just a way for you to get your rocks off, but when you notice a pattern like this, it's usually called an obsession.  I don't usually post anything political, but when I do I can count on AA to come save the day for his liberal cronies.  Prove me wrong and show me a political post I've made that you haven't replied to.

There are people who feel silenced on here because of the loud-mouthing on the boards by particular members.  Quite frankly, I think that the boards were a lot friendlier when there wasn't all this political charged .  I've gotten plenty of PMs when I've made comments thanking me.  It's sad when we can't have a discussion about a travesty where a lot of people get hurt without politics rearing its ugly head.

Graham, if you feel that I'm somehow intimidating people into remaining silent or carrying out some personal vendetta against you specifically, you can always send me a private message or lodge a formal complaint.  The moderators of this forum and the management of this website have always struck me as being a very capable and fair-minded group of people.  You can even post your grievances in a public thread, invite the authors of those "plenty of PMs" to participate, and title it "Autistic Angel Is Poopy!" if you want.

This thread, however, is not about your persecution or my degree of poopiness.  It's about a tragic mass murder, the facts surrounding the incident, and people's reactions to it.  The position I'm taking is that it's disingenuous to accuse Eduardo X, jblank, Poleaxe, or anyone else of "trying to politicize the issue" because they're talking about a political statement that somebody else made.  You don't get to blast people for wandering through an open door unless you're willing to first acknowledge the role of whoever crowbarred it off its hinges in the first place.

When planning your future posts, I think it would be more effective to focus on the merits of what people are saying rather than on your personal opinion of the individuals involved in the conversation.

-Autistic Angel
3136  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Weekend Recap 4-16-2007: The Quick and Dirty Edition on: April 16, 2007, 11:13:43 PM
Quote from: JSL
I dodn't like the difficulty of the game either; I feel it is too hard.

I'm curious, which do you think is more difficult: the combat or the puzzles? 

I found many of the boss characters more challenging in Echoes, but progression-wise, I thought the environmental puzzles were much more intuitive.  There were points in the original Metroid Prime where I was wandering around for looooong periods of time trying to figure out what I was supposed to do next.  By contrast, the goals in Echoes always seemed more straightforward so I usually had a clear idea of where I should go and what abilities I'd need to get there.

(I also played both games with the in-game Hint System set to 'Off' because I wanted to figure out things for myself.  My experience may be different from other people's.)

Quote from: JSL
For some reason I do not like the light/dark world in Echoes either. I can't stand dying and knowing that I was not able to get to a save point, so those 45 minutes are wasted.

Yeah, that happened to me a couple times, too.  Once, I was actually looking for a save point but wound up wandering into a boss battle instead, and lost about a half-hour of progress when I died. icon_cry  Some of those boss battles seem really tough!  A good tip is that Save Rooms are almost always behind red Missile Doors, so when you see one, make sure to head in and chart it on your automap for future reference.

Dark Aether is really dangerous when you first visit, but it gets less and less inhospitable as you progress.  Don't forget that standing in the "safe zones" will constantly regenerate your energy levels!

Finally, remember that you don't have to kill enemies to create ammo.  If you blow open a container with a light shot, you'll probably get some dark ammo out of it.  Use a dark shot, you'll get light ammo.  I found it much easier to maintain my ammunition levels once I figured that out... icon_cool

-Autistic Angel
3137  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Updated 32 dead at Virginia tech shooting on: April 16, 2007, 10:43:27 PM
Quote from: msduncan
I think the first people to politicize it was whoever posted the quote in the first place complaining about his statement.

I must not be understanding this correctly.

President Bush used this tragedy as an opportunity to illustrate his position on the Second Amendment.  You're saying that wasn't politicizing the event.  Then Eduardo X reposted Bush's statement here and said that he didn't think it was an appropriate time for that sort of thing...and you're accusing *him* of politicizing the issue??

Quote from: msduncan
This thread had no politics until that started up.   Instead it's the typical Bush bashing crap.    Can we get a thread started about Oblivion and throw some Bush bashing trash in it as well?   Hell, let's start putting Bush bashing stuff in every thread on the board.   That seems like the cool thing to do these days.

Suppose Bush had issued the exact same statement, but passed over the chance to use the massacre -- the details of which we know virtually nothing about -- to make a political point.  What indication do you have that anyone would have brought the President into this discussion?  Or that it would have turned political at all?  The fact is that Bush injected himself and his politics into this issue without help from Eduardo X, jblank, Graham, or anyone else, and anyone criticizing the politicization of a developing tragedy needs to have the intellectual honesty to target its originator.

And yes: if Bush were in the habit of citing the threat posed by Oblivion gates as a justification for his military spending policies, I bet you'd see his name cropping up in Oblivion threads too.

-Autistic Angel
3138  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 20 dead at Virginia tech on: April 16, 2007, 08:37:26 PM
Quote from: Graham
We really don't need to turn this into a political thread.  It's not the time nor the place.  Don't insert that BS where we don't need it.  Everyone agrees that this is a tragedy, don't make this a political issue where it's not.

Don't be a Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton.

I think your plea to avoid turning this into a political issue would be more effective if you weren't simultaneously invoking the names of two high profile political figures.  There are many people guilty of needlessly politicizing issues and no need for you to name *any* of them in this context, yet you cited the same two individuals in two seperate posts.  If you weren't deliberately trying to provoke a comparison between this tragedy and other current events, what was your point?  Why include that last sentence at all?

As far as I can tell, the very first person to politicize this apparent massacre is President Bush who, through his spokesperson, took this opportunity to discuss Second Amendment rights.  Every political comment in this thread stems directly from that statement -- not from anything said by Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton -- so if you're truly troubled by the politicization of this event, perhaps you should redirect your criticism on the source.

-Autistic Angel
3139  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Weekend Recap 4-16-2007: The Quick and Dirty Edition on: April 16, 2007, 06:40:45 PM
I completed Metroid Prime 2: Echoes with a 93% completion rating.  Considering the fact that I played through without the aid of any sort of strategy guide or hint book, I think that's pretty good!  I found all the super-weapons, but I know I missed one ammo expansion and approximately three missile expansions along with a small handful of scans.

It's easy for me to see how the Metroid Prime series would be disappointing to anyone expecting a traditional FPS, but I love it!  The pacing of the combat and the focus on exploration, information gathering, and puzzle solving do an amazing job of making Samus feel less like a hired gun and more like an investigator.  The way the traditional platforming elements of the classic Metroid games have been adapted and expanded upon for the first-person perpective are simply brilliant, and the effort that's gone into making the "visor view" an integral part of the experience demonstrates a true affection for the subject matter.

I can't say how much I'm anticipating Metroid Prime 3.  Even without games like Zelda: Twilight Princess, Super Mario Galaxy, Super Smash Brothers: Brawl, and Eternal Darkness 2: Pinata Panic, I would purchase a Nintendo Wii for that game alone.

-Autistic Angel
3140  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (4/16) on: April 16, 2007, 03:22:20 PM
I'll *definitely* be buying Pokemon: Pearl.  Hopefully I'll be able to trade with some of you guys online!

-Autistic Angel
3141  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Rogue Galaxy Strategy Guide (Significant errors? Worth Buying?) on: April 14, 2007, 04:40:28 AM
I can't comment on the strategy guide for Rogue Galaxy since I've never seen it.  However, in my experience with the game, fusing two weapons together will always produce a more powerful one unless Toady specifically warns you otherwise.  He literally says something like, "Uh oh, this isn't going to be good.  Are you sure you want to go ahead?"  Following a strategy guide or listening to Toady's combination recommendations may allow you to acquire more powerful weapons in a shorter number of jumps, but you can guess your way up that ladder just fine.

Disclaimer: Completists should know that getting a 100% rating for your Frog Log requires that you successfully create a certain number of Toady's recommendations.  I'm not aware of any reward for completing 100% of all the different sub-goals in the game, but if you want to find out for yourself, you'll probably want to focus on following his advice as frequently as least at first.

-Autistic Angel
3142  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [Wii VC]european games this week on: April 13, 2007, 04:55:59 PM
I was actually just talking to a friend about Actraiser a week or two ago.  I never played it, but I vividly remember that another friend of ours was a *huge* fan.  I'll definitely be looking forward to seeing that arrive here in the States.

-Autistic Angel
3143  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Weekend Playlist 13/April/07 Last Non-Marathon Training Weekend Edition on: April 13, 2007, 04:52:32 PM
I'm about 75% of the way through Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and may have time to finish it some time this weekend.  It's been slow going because I'm not using any sort of hint guide, but I've been very diligent about jotting down where I am when I hear that elusive "power up sound" so that I'll remember to revisit the area later.  I think I have something like 85-90% of all scans and available power-ups, though I'm still missing at least two ammo upgrades and two super-missile systems.

Next up will probably be Super Paper Mario and/or Shadow of the Colossus.

-Autistic Angel
3144  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Hell's Kitchen - Season 3 on: April 13, 2007, 12:33:11 AM
I'll be watching it, too.

-Autistic Angel
3145  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: You know it's bad for Don Imus........ on: April 11, 2007, 08:23:11 PM
Quote from: Daehawk
Minorities dont want this country to appear equal and fair.

True.  They want this country to *be* equal and fair.

-Autistic Angel
3146  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Weekend Playlist: Jesus Christ the Savior is Risen Edition 6/Apr/07 on: April 06, 2007, 01:54:56 PM
I'm playing through Metroid Prime 2: Echoes for the first time and having a fantastic time with it.  I'm a little mad right at the moment because I lost about 45-minutes of play last night after neglecting to save for too long, but that's really not the game's fault.  Hopefully I can remember where I got that missile expansion and the ammo kit I found....

I *love* this series.

-Autistic Angel
3147  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: STALKER GOLD! on: April 03, 2007, 01:47:27 PM
Quote from: IkeVandergraaf
There's a fix to the surround sound problem.  Apparently I'm not the only one who's having it.  It involves replacing a .dll file.  If anyone else is having the same problem, pm me and I'll send you the file and details.

After installing Stalker on my machine, my sound card started behaving really badly.  The problems in Stalker were immediately noticeable since the sound was totally desynched from the video during the opening movie, and the last part of most in-game speech would suddenly cut out.  I tried the tips available on the community forum, such as turning my sound acceleration down and finally off, but nothing made any difference.  I was thinking I could probably just live with it...until I suddenly started to encounter the exact same problem in games like Neverwinter Nights 2 which had always worked perfectly in the past. 

A full format and reinstall later, NWN2 is back to working perfectly.  I'm still trying to decide whether I want to try replicating the problem by reinstalling Stalker.  I guess it's better to try it now since I already have all my stuff safely backed up, but still, it's such a pain....

Has anyone else had any unusual sound problems in Stalker?

-Autistic Angel
3148  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: God of War 2 - Thoughts on Weaponry on: March 30, 2007, 08:35:04 PM
I poured all my points into the Blades of Athena until they were maxed out, then maxed out the lightning orbs, and I stopped there.  Kratos is so unstoppable with just those two that it already felt like cheating -- there wasn't much need to waste orbs on anything else.

Maybe in God Mode I'll try playing more with the Barbarian Hammer or the Staff thing.

-Autistic Angel
3149  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: What are you buying this week? (3/26) on: March 28, 2007, 05:09:16 PM
Quote from: Brendan
Dan Savage appeared on This American Life recently, and was talking about Zack and Cody.  I'd never heard of it, but it sounds like it's pushing some of the wrong messages out there.  The segment is absolutely hilarious though:

I'm listening to this podcast right now, and it seems centered around the question of whether television is significantly better now than in the past -- a position I've been taking in recent discussions with people.  The podcast is really great so far; thanks for the link!

-Autistic Angel
3150  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: IGN's 25 worst game box art on: March 28, 2007, 04:42:38 PM

"What's up?"

"Carol served me with divorce papers today."

"Oh man!  Geez, I'm really sor-"

"Also, I'm trying to think of what we can put on the cover of Phalanx.  We need something that really draws the eye...something that says, 'Hyperspeed shootout!', but in space."

"Say no more, I have just the thing...."

-Autistic Angel
3151  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Second 'Civ 4' Expansion Announced on: March 28, 2007, 04:34:17 PM
Straight from Firaxis:

Quote from: Firaxis' Website
Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword is the second expansion pack for Civilization IV - the 2005 PC Game of the Year that has become a world-wide hit. The expansion will focus on the time periods after the invention of gunpowder and will deliver 12 unique and challenging scenarios created by the development team at Firaxis as well as some esteemed members of the Civ Community. Civ IV: Beyond the Sword will also include ten new civilizations, sixteen new leaders, five new wonders, and a variety of new units that will offer even more fun and exciting ways for players to expand their civilization’s power as they strive for world domination.

Expanded Epic Game: We’ve added more new units, buildings, and technologies to the epic game with a tremendous amount of effort focused on the late game.

New Game Scenarios: The expansion will deliver 12 new scenarios custom designed by the team at Firaxis and some members of the Civ Fan Community.

New Civilizations: The pack will provide 10 new civilizations, such as Portugal, Babylonians, and Netherlands and their associated unique units and buildings.

More Civilization Leaders: Sixteen new leaders will be provided. The list will include leaders for the new civilizations as well as additional leaders for existing civilizations. Leaders such as Hammurabi of the Babylonians, Abraham Lincoln of the United States, and Sitting Bull of the Native Americans will provide the player with even more choices on who they want to play.

Corporations: A new gameplay feature similar to religion that allows players to found companies and spread them throughout the world. Each corporation provides benefits in exchange for certain resources.

Espionage: Now available earlier in the game, this feature offers players many new ways to spy on opponents. Each civilization has the opportunity to fund espionage development, which will allow them to gain intelligence, sabotage structures, poison water supplies, cause rebellions, and much more.

Events: New random events challenge players with unique ways of interacting with the world. Players are presented with interesting decisions to make when faced with events such as natural disasters, pleas for help, or demands from their citizens.

New Wonders: There will be five new wonders including the Statue of Zeus, Cristo Redentor, Shwedagon Paya, the Mausoleum of Maussollos, and the Moai Statues.

Expanded Space Victory: Winning a space ship victory will now require more strategic planning and tactical decision making.

Apostolic Palace: The United Nations will become available earlier in the game providing a way for players to win a diplomatic victory earlier. New resolutions will also be added which will expand the available diplomatic options.

Advanced Starts: A major fan request, this new feature will enable players to "buy" components of a custom-tailored empire and begin play in the later part of the game, allowing them to experience many of the new features of the expansion in a shorter amount of time.

Enhanced AI: The AI has received many enhancements making it tougher to beat on the higher difficulty levels. The ways in which the AI will attempt to achieve victory have also been expanded.

Sounds great!  I'm particularly looking forward to the new corporation and espionage systems -- the latter being something I've always found lacking in the Civilization games -- and the enhanced AI is always a welcome addition!  thumbsup

-Autistic Angel
3152  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Jeff Green's blog mentions Company of Heroes 2 on: March 24, 2007, 10:55:59 PM
I'd love to see the setting of Company of Heroes merged with the RISK-like campaign in Dark Crusade.  The single player campaign missions in CoH were very, very well done, but I think they'd be even more compelling if you were also commanding the overall strategy to secure towns and vital roadways for your military.

-Autistic Angel
3153  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: New Oblivion Patch Out! on: March 24, 2007, 03:27:16 PM
I had to remove a mod I'd installed specifically to enhance the distance terrain, but otherwise everything seems good.  I agree, too: the new distance textures look great!

-Autistic Angel
3154  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Austrailia: PS3 launch?... whatever on: March 23, 2007, 01:47:21 PM
Quote from: metallicorphan
well,here in the UK,the papers(damn them)have just been reporting on how we are paying £125 extra than americans and given the fact that the backwards compatibility has been lowered somewhat..and also it works out that we are paying £10 extra for the games as well

Yeah, but you guys got free 46" plasma screen TVs with your PS3s!

Quote from:
The two London breakfast launch parties this morning for the PlayStation 3 console were low-key--around 300 people came through the doors at one of the two Oxford Street stores that opened early. At the official Sony event last night, inside the Virgin Megastore down the road, Sony made the shock decision to give away Bravia 46" Plasma HDTVs to all those who had been waiting in line for a console.


-Autistic Angel
3155  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PS3] 75% Back Compat for PS3 in Europe on: March 22, 2007, 05:37:58 PM
Quote from: Hetz
Yep, I downloaded it already. It doesn't gimp it at all. All my PS2 games still work.

Does anything run any better?  Better anti-aliasing, higher resolution...anything like that?

The more I read about the 1.6 update, it doesn't appear to do anything for the American system's backwards compatibility, but I figure it's worth asking....

-Autistic Angel
3156  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PS3] 75% Back Compat for PS3 in Europe on: March 20, 2007, 10:58:14 PM
Quote from: Andrew Mallon
Quote from: Autistic Angel
I have a question about the PS3's compatibility.  I know the 1.6 firmware update isn't officially available yet, but perhaps someone knows the answer anyhow.

Suppose I buy an American PS3 and put in Ratchet & Clank -- it should work great!  Then imagine that a firmware update comes out that's supposed to do the whole software upscaling thing, except it doesn't work right.  There's slowdown, graphical corruption, etc...will I have an option to force it back to hardware compatibility mode?

I know there was a recent interview where a Sony rep said that the "Emotion Engine" chip couldn't be turned off...I'm just unclear on whether or not you're allowed to choose your method of backwards compatibility...?

-Autistic Angel

You can't switch between back-compatibility modes. European backwards compatibility is part software, part hadware. If you buy a current PS3, you'll always have the full-hardware compatibility turned on, because the European and US systems have different hardware. 

The real question is, if Sony adds additional image processing down the line, will current owners be screwed since the software emulator won't run on it? What I would speculate that, since the PS3 already does some post-processing on PS1/PS2 images (deinterlacing them), that if Sony were to add additional post-processing like upscaling or FSAA, it wouldn't matter whether the rendering device is the EE or the Cell.

I don't think I understand.  I thought the big advantage to doing software-based emulation (aside from the savings on manufacturing costs) was that it would allow the PS3 to upscale older games to higher resolutions with better post-processing -- FSAA and so forth.  The fact that the software emulators are being created with the assumption that the unit will not have any native hardware-based compatibility suggests that they will be operating independently from any built-in Emotion Engine chip.

If I put a game into a current American PS3 right now, it automatically kicks over and starts using the Emotion Engine chip.  Once the 1.6 Firmware update is released, there should be a new option where the PS3 will check to see if it has a software emulator it can use to "enhance" the experience.  This could be a very good thing, as with God of War II which is listed as working perfectly, or a very troublesome thing, as with Killzone which is listed as having severe problems.

My question is: how would I tell the PS3 that I'd want it to use the superior software emulator for God of War II, but stick with the more reliable hardware option for Killzone?  Or is my understanding of the 1.6 software-based rendering "enhancements" mistaken?

I'm not arguing...I just don't understand how this shift in compatibility is supposed to work. retard

-Autistic Angel
3157  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: [PS3] 75% Back Compat for PS3 in Europe on: March 20, 2007, 08:53:46 PM
I have a question about the PS3's compatibility.  I know the 1.6 firmware update isn't officially available yet, but perhaps someone knows the answer anyhow.

Suppose I buy an American PS3 and put in Ratchet & Clank -- it should work great!  Then imagine that a firmware update comes out that's supposed to do the whole software upscaling thing, except it doesn't work right.  There's slowdown, graphical corruption, etc...will I have an option to force it back to hardware compatibility mode?

I know there was a recent interview where a Sony rep said that the "Emotion Engine" chip couldn't be turned off...I'm just unclear on whether or not you're allowed to choose your method of backwards compatibility...?

-Autistic Angel
3158  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Early game appetizers on: March 19, 2007, 11:50:43 PM
That's not true. You get a whole bunch of new weapons and powers that you didn't have during that first level. (It does kinda suck to lose it all, but that's what fuels your empathy and your inner-Kratos.)

Personally, I don't feel any empathy for Kratos at all. 

He was a god with the power to reform himself and the world that had been so devastated by the brutal campaigns of Ares, and what does he do?  He devotes himself to the exact same course of savage bloodshed and perpetual death that caused the gods to conspire against his predecessor in the first place.  Zeus is kind of a prick, but I can't really blame him for wanting to see Kratos gone.

However much he pisses and growls about how the gods of Olympus have screwed him over, the horrors of Kratos' life have all been the result of his own decisions.  It was his choice to become a warrior, his idea to offer his life in service to Ares, his bloodthristy carelessness that resulted in the deaths of his family, his cruelty and arrogance that turned the other gods against him -- if Kratos had any sense of responsibility for his own actions, he'd realize that his own ruthless vendettas are not the solution to, but the *cause* of all of his problems.

I think God of War III should center on an encounter with Helen of Counselor Troi, a beautiful empath who launches a thousand ships as part of a complex metaphor to help Kratos get back in touch with his feelings.  If he could put as much effort into slaying his inner demons as he does into the outer ones who are always trying to kill him, maybe he could finally make some real breakthroughs...!

-Autistic Angel
3159  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: "You've Obtained The Drigellum of Jack-Assery" on: March 18, 2007, 02:04:07 AM
Quote from: Pharoah
...and you havent even done the Ghost Ship or Super Ghost Ship levels!

Yeah, Rogue Galaxy has been a lot of fun, but I'm a little burned out on the concept right now.  100% of my gaming time for the last several weeks has been devoted to either this or Supreme Commander, so I'm going to take a break and play God of War II for a while.

Quote from: Calvin
I am just about to start the game either tomorrow or tonight, just curious if you could provide a few more impressions or generally how much you liked it and things like that-we had a decent thread going on about the game right after release but after a lot of initial excitement I haven't heard a peep about the game in several weeks.

Sure!  Keep in mind as you read these that I played from beginning to end without any sort of strategy guide or advice, so my experience may have been different from some people's....

1. I really enjoyed the characters in the game.  The voice acting in the game is superb and all of your shipmates have their own side-story which helps develop them into full-fledged individuals.  Some of these stories take the form of quests relevant to the central plot; others are sprinkled here and there as you progress and, while you could probably cut them out without disrupting the narrative too much, they add a lot of personality to the game. thumbsup thumbsup

2. The storyline is good…provided that you reset your expectations from “Knights of the Old Republic” to “better-than-average JRPG.”  The scope of the main plot steadily expands throughout the game until, by the end, it really is amazing to think back on all the different things you were focused on accomplishing in the various chapters.  I don’t watch any anime so you should take this with a grain of salt, but some of the cutscenes are a-m-a-z-i-n-g, and I can truly say that I was always looking forward to the next story point.  The writing team here seems to understand that the best plots are driven by emotion, and even if they're occasionally clumsy in the execution, they get a lot of points for the effort! thumbsup thumbsup

3. The art direction is phenomenal, which is pretty much what I would expect from Level 5.  The cel-shaded graphics are crisp and clean, the combat animations and all the associated special effects look great – especially given how many of them are going on at once – and the game world itself has a cool Treasure Planet motif that keeps everything fresh and lively without sacrificing the emotional core of the story. thumbsup thumbsup

4. The combat system starts off feeling a little overwhelming while you learn how to keep yourself and your comrades alive, soon becomes a great deal of fun as you start bringing in new characters with new fighting styles, and towards the very end of the game, started to feel rather monotonous.  The game does a great job of mixing up different enemy types, each with distinctive attack patterns and special weaknesses, but eventually you’ll see everything the game has to offer and start tiring of the long journeys through enemy-infested territory.  For clarity, I think I’d played for about fifty hours before I started to hit that wall, and when you consider that the combat is about 85% of this game, don’t mistake this for a harsh criticism. thumbsup

5. I don't think the "Revelation Flow" is an effective method of giving your characters new powers and abilities because you cannot see where your choices are going to take you.  It's clear that you need certain in-game items to obtain "Fated Love" and that doing so will unlock access to two new unnamed powers, but there's no way to know what any of them do.  As I played through the game, I felt less like I was making any choices about character development, and more like I was just plugging random items into random slots whenever they became available. thumbsdown

6. In Dark Cloud 2, you could take photographs of things and use them as ideas for inventions.  It was a very creative and unique method for creating new things in the game, and also added to the game play since you’d often find yourself missing a piece and have to think back, “Now where did I see a waterfall I could photograph…?”  This is replaced in Rogue Galaxy by a new system where you talk to people to obtain blueprints for creating stuff in a factory.  Besides the fact that this is a much less innovative idea, the items you create seem woefully uninteresting and nearly useless by the time you can create them.  I once spent about thirty minutes carefully organizing my assembly line pieces to create a spear for one of my party members which was markedly less powerful than the one he already had.  This aspect of the game would have been much, much better if it had been used to create special things that couldn’t be obtained any other way, like stat-enhancing modules you could attach to existing weapons, or pack upgrades to let you carry more potions and elixirs…now *those* would have been cool to make! thumbsdown thumbsdown

7. I did a lot of the bonus hunting missions, but none of the Insectron tournament.  That's definitely something I plan to go back to at a later time -- I just got too involved in the plot and sort of forgot about the whole thing.

And a few spoiler-free tips:

1. If you're about to do something dumb during weapon synthesis, Toady will warn you first and ask for a confirmation.  In all other circumstances combining two weapons always results in one with greater power, so don't fret about straying from his official recommendations.  Even if he says your weapon is really strong and he can't think of anything to combine it with, try something anyway.

2. I played about 90% of the game with my allies set to "Go All Out" where they would automatically use healing and resurrection potions.  You'll want to keep an eye on your reserves and teleport back to a shop to restock from time to time, but at least you won't have to pause the game and heal them yourself all the time.  (The downside is you get so used to your allies healing you automatically, on the rare occasion that you're fighting alone, you might forget to watch your own health for a change.... retard)

3. Jaster is in your party 99.9% of the time.  When in doubt, upgrade his Revelation chart first.

4. Conversely, by the end of the game, you'll really want all of your party members to be as advanced as possible.  When I finished the main plot all of my companions (except one) had the most powerful weapons I could create for them and it really paid off.  Spend some time taking control of the other characters too: they're each different enough that it adds a new spin on the combat.  I'm definitely going to do more of this when I continue playing!

5. Hunter Coins are earned by winning battle challenges and defeating mimics.  Do this as much as possible: you'll want to trade in a lot of Hunter Coins at the Galaxy Corporation...!

6. If you don't die the first time you encounter a mimic, you're a much better player than I am.  This isn't a tip; more of a fact.

7. If you press 'Start' during most cinematics, you'll see an option to skip it.  This is very handy when traveling between planets or cutting past something else you've already seen.

-Autistic Angel
3160  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / "You've Obtained The Drigellum of Jack-Assery" on: March 16, 2007, 11:14:25 PM
End game Rogue Galaxy spoilers:

Spoiler for Hiden:
What the hell is up with Simon?  I'm talking specifically about the end of the game where it's "revealed" (to people who haven't been paying any attention) that the sobbing woman and child who have appeared throughout the game are the wife and daughter Simon has abandoned.  I guess there was some sort of disfiguring accident and he chose to run out on his family rather than deal with the shame of looking like a rat-man alien.

Near the end of the game, when Simon is retrieving his Drigellum, he has vision of the incredible misery his disappearance has caused his family.  I guess that wasn't made clear to him by the fact that they show up on every planet in the game, often weeping in the middle of the most dangerous possible area.  Even if you didn't have him in your party most of the time, he was still present when his wife and daughter first appeared on Zerard, tearfully asking random passers-by if they'd seen him.


Also: holy crap, this game is long!  My final save had a game-clock of 58 hours, and that doesn't even take into account all my deaths or all the bonus stuff you can do after completing the main plot!  eek

-Autistic Angel
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