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1  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars...SPOILERS! on: October 19, 2004, 02:13:23 AM
The Peacekeepers having a more noble, actually friendly peace-keeping attitude was mentioned in a previous episode(s?).  Early in the 3rd season when they go a historical site of a famous PK battle and wind up going back in time to said battle... the PKers were portrayed as a very honorable force in that episode.  I think Aeryn commented on how things went downhill from there at some point.

But the revelation (confirmation?) about the human-peacekeeper link was a nice touch... but also hinted at before early in the 4th season (I'm terrible with FS episode titles... was it "What once was lost?") when Crichton finds an artifact with Sebacean and human writings on it on the Eidolon homeworld.
2  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / RTW: Factions and Units. on: October 16, 2004, 02:03:12 AM
RE: Spartan Hoplites

I played a Greek campaign on Hard/Hard through to 30 provinces conquered and got bored.  Money was simply no object at any point in the game.  I could go through each town and if it wasn't building or recruiting anything, I could afford anything on the menu.  Every turn.  Not to mention having enough to bribe away certain armies now and then.  Even fairly early I was bringing in 10-15,000 Dinari per turn... lots of ports and the Colossus = more cash than you can really use.  Fighting with Hoplites was fun though... and it's made me a better player I think.  It's certainly made using other factions phalanx-capable units easier.

Anyway... I was thrown by the Spartan Hoplites and what was needed to build them.  At first, I thought they might have been a mercenary unit.  Then, while browsing the in-game tech tree in various towns, I realized... you need the highest level barracks the Greeks can build AND it has to be in one of a few provinces... the initial Greek player territories IIRC (Sparta, Syracuse, etc.).  I wonder if there are any other region-specific troops (besides mercenaries) as I liked the idea.  I would have killed to build Cretan Archers out of Crete.  The initial unit I started the game with probably accounted for 1/4 of the kills in my early "Drive the Macedonians Out" campaign.

Building the highest level barracks in other provinces is sort of a waste IMO, as it doesn't get you Spartan Hoplites and only lets you build regular Hoplites with +1 experience.  The XP is nice, but I usually had Nike temples in my key cities providing extra XP, not to mention I'd moved up to Armored/Spartan Hoplites as well.
3  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Rome: Total War Help/Advice Thread on: October 13, 2004, 03:46:54 AM
I think the architectural style of the towns is a slight graphical indication of what each regions culture is.  There are Roman/Greek-looking towns, Middle Eastern towns, and those circular towns that are built up on mounds.  You can see the differences even on the strategic map.

It's just a general guide, but I've found it to be a pretty good one.  I just don't know about the "Barbarian" style towns as they're spread out all over the map.  For example, do the Britons get along well with the Mongol types?
4  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Four Swords-response to the review on: July 09, 2004, 06:51:38 PM
Strictly speaking, you do get a $10 GBA-GC link cable with the game, so I suppose you could say it's a $40 game.  Whether or not the cable is of value to you (I already had one and needed a 2nd) might factor in, of course.
5  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / River City Ransom EX... good game for a newbie? on: July 08, 2004, 04:36:43 PM
I never played the original game but have certainly heard all the praise for it.  Most of the reviews for the EX version seem to be from the perspective of past players who seem disappointed with the lack of co-op play, and odd save routine.

For someone who's never played the game, and for whom co-op play is a non-issue, is this game worth picking up?  I used to love Double Dragon and Golden Axe back in the day, and I assume this is essentially much the same, with some lite RPG item/leveling up tossed in for good measure?
6  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Mario Golf GBA/GCN connectivity? on: July 02, 2004, 05:25:43 PM
I just tried the connectivity between the two (both US versions) and it worked, but it was fairly complicated.  You have to wait to turn on the GBA until the GC Mario Golf main menu pops up.  You then have to press the A button on one of the controllers (seems like it hops back and forth between pressing the GBA A button and the GC A button) to initiate the process.  Plus, at first the menu screen came and went while the GBA was coming on, then the GBA said it couldn't connect.  Then at one point I was staring at the TV screen while what looked like a memory write was going on and thinking "this is taking a long time" while all along it was waiting for me to press the GBA A button.  Sheesh...

All in all, pretty (needlessly) complicated IMO, but it did work.  I'm not sure if that will help given what you've described, but I'd make sure to read the instructions (on two sets of pages... one on just connecting, (GC controller in port 1, GBA in port 2) the other about when to turn things on and what buttons to press) and follow them to the letter.
7  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Game Discussion: Mario vs. Donkey Kong [GBA] on: June 16, 2004, 05:06:20 PM
Thought I'd post some later-game comments in case anyone was still curious...

I just completed the initial 6 worlds to the game.  I've enjoyed it very much and have been challenged without being completely overwhelmed... for the most part.  If we're talking about simply completing the levels and progressing, the challenges and increase of difficulty goes along at a perfect pace IMO.  If we're talking about completing levels well enough to earn the gold stars necessary to unlock the expert levels, that's a whole other ball game...

For the 1st world, I earned stars often on my first run through each level with little difficulty.  World 2, took a few repeats but no real trouble.  World 3 and on... ugh.  The Mini-Mario and Donkey Kong levels for each world were the exception, I earned most of those without much effort.  But for the average levels it was often all I could do to get even half the score needed to get a star.  I'm not sure I even know how to do better.  If I try to get the present boxes that takes more time... less score.  If I skip the present boxes that means I miss out on the few thousand points they represent... often enough to rob me of the star.  Seems you have to be quick and get the presents too.

I don't mean to sound too critical... I like the game a lot and enjoy a challenge, it's just that the difficulty in that regard ramps up a lot after the 1st two worlds.  But at the same time, the Mini-Mario and Donkey Kong levels at the end of each world, which I would assume would be the hardest, were often a cakewalk.

After the initial 6 worlds (plus a challenging level tacked on to the end... a very nice homage to Donkey Kong IMO) I now have access to the 6 "plus" worlds and the "expert" levels.  The plus worlds are an interesting twist on the original gameplay... instead of each level being broken down into 2 parts, you must find a Mini-Mario (who's holding the key) and lead him to the exit.  There is no Mini-Mario level, but you face a Donkey Kong level at the end.  Much like the initial world, I blew through Plus World 1, winning stars on each easily.  The Donkey Kong level was pretty much just like the 1st, but much harder.  It was the first DK level I thought was challenging.

The number of expert levels available depends on how many stars you've earned.  At a quick glance, I've got a dozen open to me now.  I just fired up the 1st one for a few moments and it looked much more complex than anything I've seen yet.

All told, it's looking like there's a lot more to go... although I hope there's a cheat to unlock all the expert stuff as I doubt I'll ever get stars on all of the initial and plus levels to see them all.

*EDIT* - Turns out I misread the expert level menu.  You're shown a total of 12 expert levels, but right now most of those are grayed out.  I only have enough stars to try the first 3 right now.  So um... I've got a long way to go slywink
8  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / The Post your Collections/Favorites/Games finished thread on: June 14, 2004, 03:53:53 PM
I'll do mine the old-fashioned way too slywink

Barely/never touched
Returned/Exchanged
Completed!

Gameboy Advance

Advance Wars
Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising
Donkey Kong Country
F-Zero: Maximum Velocity
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Fire Emblem
Golden Sun
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past / The Four Swords
Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga
Mario vs. Donkey Kong
Mech Platoon
Metroid Fusion
Metroid Zero Mission
Phantasy Star Collection
Poke’mon Sapphire
Super Mario World Advance
Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
Ultimate Card Games
Warioware Inc., Mega Micro-Game$!

Gamecube

1080 Avalanche
Crazy Taxi
Cubivore
Custom Robo               
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem
F-Zero GX
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
Gauntlet Dark Legacy
Gladius
Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee
Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life
Ikaruga
Kirby Air Ride
The Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventure
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Luigi’s Mansion
Mario Kart: Double Dash
Mario Party 4
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
Metroid Prime
Midway Arcade Treasures
Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
Muppets Party Cruise
Pac-Man Vs.
Pac-Man World 2
Phantasy Star Online Episodes 1 & 2
Phantasy Star Online Episode 3: C.A.R.D. Revolution
Pikmin
Poke’mon Colosseum
Rayman Arena
Resident Evil
Robotech: Battlecry
Sega Soccer Slam
The Simpsons Hit and Run
Soul Calibur 2
SSX Tricky
Star Wars Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader
Super Mario Sunshine
Super Monkey Ball
Super Monkey Ball 2
Super Smash Brothers: Melee
Timesplitters 2
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3
Viewtiful Joe
9  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Soooo... are we getting a cel-shaded "Wind Waker 2" on: June 14, 2004, 03:35:45 PM
I'm still puzzled by the E3 showing of the more "Mature" Zelda title supposedly coming in the not too distant future for the Cube.  I haven't hunted for links, but I recall there being a few articles/interviews in which it was stated a cel-shaded sequel to Wind Waker was in the works.

Not that I have any problem with what was shown at E3... I'm simply in the camp that likes both.  Heck, I'd even be happy if they adopted a "Mature Zelda for the Cube/Revolution and 'Celda' for the Gameboy" approach to the whole deal.
10  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / What current consoles do you own? on: June 14, 2004, 12:08:53 PM
Gamecube and GBA-SP here.  I've been almost perpetually on the fence about picking up an XBox though.
11  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / The GBA-SP NES edition on: June 09, 2004, 02:45:58 PM
[shameful admission] I traded in my older platinum GBA-SP (a spare mostly used for the occasional two-player GBA/GC game) and an older game to pick up this new edition.  Yes, I like Nintendo and this design tickled my nostalgia bone. [/shameful admission]

So I figured I'd post my impressions about it here.  I'm pretty ambivalent about Nintendo releasing various colors/edition of the GBA... it's not like they're forcing you to buy them, or including various "features" other than cosmetic differences.  

Since I no longer have my platinum GBA-SP I can't compare the two directly, but I think the lighter shade of the NES edition isn't quite the same... at least it seems more light gray than silver to me.  At any rate, they reproduce the two-tone gray look of the NES very well, along with the gray "grille" marked on the top.  What really sets this GBA-SP apart is on the inside...

If you've seen pictures you know it looks like the original NES controller.  What I couldn't tell from pictures online (or even on the box) was if this was simply painted on, some kind of sticker or laminate stuck to the surface, etc.  Turns out it's some kind of laminate, but it's inlaid and flush with the surface of the GBA, not just stuck on top.  Furthermore, it's textured, giving it a very nice feel.  It's been too long for me to remember if the original NES controllers had that texturing, but it works either way.

All told, for a special edition this is notably more than just a different color scheme.  If the idea of a special edition has any appeal to you at all, this is certainly one to get.  The only thing that I find "upsetting" is the notion that they tried to pass off the two-toned onyx/platinum GBA-SP here in the US as a "limited edition" some months ago that just looked like a manufacturing error in comparison with this.
12  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Best pictures of the PSP and Nintendo DS on: May 12, 2004, 05:54:58 PM
What concerns me about the PSP is the portability.  As Nth Power asked, what kind of cover is there?  All told, it looks like it'll be a lot like the original GBA (if a little "stretched out"... longer, but skinnier), which to me wasn't very portable at all.  I kept mine in a carrying case along with a cartridge or two and it was almost like carrying a clutch purse.

The GBA-SP is just about damn near perfect to me, in terms of portability and what you get out of that size.  Sure, a larger screen is nice, but the GBA is large enough IMO and the SP delivers that in a design that fits in a pocket (jeans would be a little rough) and folds over to protect the screen and buttons to boot.

I can't quite tell if the DS falls into the same category yet.  Maybe more pictures, or getting one in my grubby hands would do it slywink
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