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1841  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 20, 2004, 08:57:01 PM
This is one creepy game!  I thought the game couldn’t get any creepier after the Hotel in Santa Monica…I was wrong.  I have to give an A+ for the under-your-skin freakiness factor.  

Don’t read anything after this sentence if you don’t want to be spoiled by several location and mission names plus some additional spoilers (up through some of the missions in downtown):


The two faced sisters (Santa Montica):  I saw this one coming, but it was still very cool and high on the creepiness factor when they started “talking with each other”

Haunted Hotel (SM):  creepy!  I haven’t jumped that much since the Undying and System Shock2.

9th Circle “Plaguebearer HQs” (downtown):  straight out of dawn of the dead meets 28 days later meets 9 monkeys. ..creepy!

2nd Plaguebearer in the sewers (downtown):  freaky.

Find the primogen (sp?) Malkavian (Hollywood hills):  holy crap…house of dementia + insane asylum + malkavians + fetish masks = major creep factor.  

I haven’t exactly felt like a badass vampire jumping out of my pants on ¾ of the missions I’ve done lol.  Excellent writing.  And yay, I have a nerdy hottie as a ghoul (make her change outfits :twisted: ).
1842  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [TV] LOST tonight - 11/17 on: November 19, 2004, 11:07:41 PM
Wth?!  I don't remember that lol!  I must be getting the PG version of Lost sent to my digital cable box.
1843  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 19, 2004, 04:17:40 PM
I had planned on only playing for an hour last night, but before I knew it 3 1/2 hours had gone by in the blink of an eye.  I was well beyond my window for any amount of decent sleep before work.  It takes a great game for me to completely lose track of time like that.  The last time I’ve pulled almost an all nighter on a work night was with Rome:TW.

I played a malkavian last night, and for anyone who hasn’t had the chance to experience the unique dialogue, it’s phenomenal.  You can tell that their writers put in a lot of work developing the very clever malkavian dialogue options.  It also adds another layer of challenge to the game because not only do you have to discern what your dialogue options actually mean, you have to help the people you speak with understand wtf you’re trying to tell them.  I’ve experimented with half of the clans up though the first couple of quests in Santa Monica, and none of them have anywhere near the interesting dialogue of the malkavians.  I can’t stress how clever the writing is for them, especially all of the terms they use for everyday objects and people.  The dialogue options range from hilariously clever to cryptically sarcastic, incredibly insightful to intellectually evil.  At some point in time, I’d definitely recommend giving a malkavian character a try.  

“I cast my shadow in other locations…I am no longer here.”
1844  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Chronicles of Riddick Movie on: November 19, 2004, 03:35:46 AM
I had to go see CoR solo when it came out since my family and friends turned their noses up at this one.  I enjoyed it for what it was, complete with the bad acting, script hiccups, and the occasional laughable dialogue exchange.  I still have no clue what Judi Denche was thinking when she agreed to play a role in the movie, she seemed so out of place in that sea of bad acting.  I liked it though, and some of the scenes were pretty damn cool.  It'll go right next to Blade in my fun to watch, bad acting, silly script DVDs section.
1845  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 11:43:56 PM
I'm playing a tremere too, very fun.  The aoe lifetap attack is pretty wicked.
1846  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Monday Night Football opening last night on: November 18, 2004, 11:38:54 PM
After hearing about the promo all day on the syndicated sports radio shows, and hearing callers from all over the country call into ESPN radio angry and offended, my expectations were definitely high when I got home.  When I had the chance to see a replay of the spot, my first reaction was "wtf...that's it??  That's what they're pissed about, some evening soap opera chick and her back?"  I can understand where someone would think it was just stupid and had no place during MNF, but to be shocked and offended, I'm definitely out of touch with mainstream America.  I guess I need to reconnect with my "society of friends" heritage to understand.
1847  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 11:04:42 PM
Thanks Rage, skipping spoken dialogue works perfect with a tap of the spacebar.

Once again I can't help but get the early impression that this is another Troika gem that lacks that next level of polish to be a masterpiece.  I enjoyed Arcanum and even played through ToEE twice when it was a bug ridden mess.  Most of the glitches, bugs and AI scripting problems I've seen in Bloodlines were hammer-over-the-head obvious.  I just don't think they put a lot of effort or resources into quality assurance and testing.  I bought the idea that they didn't have enough time with ToEE to implement the changes they had already caught themselves, but not with Bloodlines, they've had a reasonable amount of time to QA the game and make changes.  

I'm really enjoying Bloodlines, but if they had just cranked up the quality and polish a couple of notches, the game would be amazing.  Things I'd like to see improved in the next few patches:
- npc AI scripting
- get with Valve and figure out how to optimize the engine better. If HL2 can run at 1600x1200 on my rig with better graphics at 30-60fps, Bloodlines should at least get somewhere near that ballpark
- main menu (don't make us have to exit the game to change resolutions)
- add more video options, as it is there's really not that much to tweak to try and improve performance
- fix positional audio
- figure out what's wrong with the rendering during the cut scenes and fix that (to include vamps floating across the floor when they're supposed to be walking and robot-like jerky animations)
- add a cancel option during the character creation process that takes the player back to the choose a clan screen, not make them go back to the main menu and have to select "new game" again
- add in a way to skip cut scenes
- consider improving firearms
- fix the scripted sequences that break if you're using certain disciplines
- stealth and obs. are very strong and seem too unbalancing to me.  I stopped playing my first character because of this and started another...forcing myself not to use stealth or obs.  plus they break some of the scripted events, which is annoying, resulting in a reload.

That's all I can think of at this time.  Certainly not as bad as ToEE (from what I've seen so far), but enough to make me scratch my head and think that QA is just not a priority for them.
1848  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 05:29:25 PM
Quote from: "dmd"
Quote from: "Demosthenes"
Quote from: "Jocke"
Is the combat similar to morrowind? I really liked morrowind but the boring combat made me give up on it.

That's what I was thinking.  I'm happy to say that the combat is more like Prince of Persia than Morrowind.  Still awkward at times, and certainly not HL2 but workable.

Could you elaborate a little?  I've never seen PoP in action.  Is combat like a fish slapping contest with little numbers floating up when a hit is scored, or is it dynamic, where you're able to move around, fps style?

That's exactly what is throwing some people off, you can move around like in a FPS, but you have stats tied to your melee and range abilities that will result in misses even though you have the target dead in your sights.  So to answer your question, it is dynamic in that you can move around and the action is realtime, but it's rpg skill based too, so you're going to see some things in combat that will seem a bit off (until you understand there are stats driving the combat engine).  MW was similar in that you could aim at a target, swing at it, but miss or do poo poo damage because your stats stunk.  If you're looking for a true FPS experience, like HL2, you won't find it in Bloodlines.  It's definitely an rpg that uses a FPS engine.
1849  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [TV] LOST tonight - 11/17 on: November 18, 2004, 05:07:44 PM
I'm surprised the french woman's line: "There are no monsters" hasn't been brought up yet.  To me that's the first statement or real clue we've had as viewers as to the possibilities of what is or isn't happening on the island.  She also mentioned that "the others" succumbed to "the infection", which either was real or real enough in her mind to kill them.  Sayid asks her point blank, "When you said 'it killed them all', that was you, you're the one who killed them?"  And her reply was something like "I had to they were infected."  

This episode provided several decent clues about the story, and additional questions:
1.  The french woman is alive and real.
2.  She has managed to survive for 16 years, how?
3.  What is "the infection"?
4.  What is black rock, and have any of the current survivors been there?
5.  How did she not get the infection?
6.  When she said "there are no monsters", what then is the truth behind what they've been seeing?
7.  When Locke said he had been to the center of the island and had seen the heart of the island, had he actually been to black rock?  Is he a carrier for the "infection?"
8.  The sedative that she gave Sayid, was there anything else in those shots?  
9.  What if there is a prime carrier of the infection, and she was it for her group, and Locke could possibly be it for Jack's group?  That might explain why she didn't want to go back with Sayid and expose the new group.  It would also explain why she said he couldn't leave and go back to his group.  Her last comments when they parted were something to the effect of "keep an eye on them now."
1850  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 04:45:26 PM
Is there a way to skip the cutscenes?  It's been driving me nuts not being able to skip them, especially starting over with new characters.  I haven't been able to skip dialogue or fast forward through it either.
1851  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / [TV] LOST tonight - 11/17 on: November 18, 2004, 04:13:42 AM
The noob characters came out of the woodwork tonight, they were everywhere!  My wife and I kept our own running commentary, "Look!  There's another one! And he speaks!!"
1852  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 03:28:16 AM
You're right, changing the resolution from 800x600 up to 1600x1200 hardly changes fps on my rig.  Unchecking high quality audio helped.  Thanks for the suggestion.

As far as the game goes, I'm really enjoying it.  Too early for me to stack up against any reviews.
1853  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 01:01:01 AM
Thanks LE.  Gonna try lowering the audio again, since I didn't restart after I unchecked high quality and environmental sounds.
1854  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire the Masquerade Bloodlines Impressions on: November 18, 2004, 12:54:44 AM
I knew Bloodlines wouldn't be as well optimized as HL2, but sheesh, it's night and day.  I can run HL2 at 1600x1200 with most of the options at their highest (except shadows), and still get 20-40 fps using fraps.  I knew something was off when the game defaults to 800x600 at startup.  I immediately changed the res to 1280x1024, didn't touch any of the other settings, started a new game, and right from the first cut scene the fps are in the teens (I have an alienware P4 3.2, Geforce 6800 GT oc, 1mb ram).  I tried running around the first street, and the fps ranged from 15-27.  There really aren't that many video settings, so I tried the obvious and lowered the resolution to 1024, which didn't increase the fps even slightly.  So I went ahead and cranked it up to 1600x1200, and I was getting the pretty much the same fps, minus maybe 2.

I shut down shadows completely which gave a boost of about 4-5 fps.  I tried dropping the LOD slider to zero and back to full, but the fps difference was so minimal I just kept it at high.  Tried the same thing with particle effects, and that did seem to help while using disciplines. I tried unchecking the high quality audio and environmental effects, but neither seemed to have any affect on the fps.  

Anyone have good tips for boosting fps?  I couldn't find the option for lowering AA, where is that?
1855  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Half Life 2 - the reviews are in on: November 16, 2004, 12:08:11 AM
Quote from: "AgtFox"
Quote from: "Jafisob"
Quote from: "Hetz"
I am very excited about Bloodlines as well and will be picking it up tomorrow.

Huh?  Bloodlines is out tomorrow?


That's the best news I've heard all day.  I knew I'd find something good in this thread.
1856  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Halo 2 - It's ON! (impressions thread) on: November 15, 2004, 08:47:21 PM
Quote from: "Purge"
Given his wife's tendancies to kill him, I'm not sure it was a mistake.   :lol:

I've caught her cracking a little smile as she says sorry, so think you're on to something.  I started calling her tk'er last night because she was dropping marines and friendly covenant without remorse.

Quote from: "Eco-Logic"
Quote from: "Roguetad"
The highlight of the night was when I respawned helpless high on a structure after my wraith was shotdown. My wife flew up in her wraith, I jumped on top of the canopy, and then we continued the fight (her flying carefully) with me gunning on top as a ride-a-long grunt. Fun game.

I believe you're talking about The Banshee, not the wraith.  If you had a wraith in the air I you should have taken video of it slywink

That would've been funny, but no, you're right, I meant the banshee. smile
1857  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Halo 2 - It's ON! (impressions thread) on: November 15, 2004, 08:17:48 PM
The only game I can think of where my wife would actually come find me and ask if I wanted to play was Halo. So when Halo2 came out, it was a given that I’d bring it home. So last night (Sunday) my wife was driving home from working at her store, I had just finished watching football, and was getting ready to jump into EQ2 for the night. Before I had the chance to hit the EQ2 launcher, she walks through the front door, walks upstairs, and the first words out of her mouth are “time for Halo”. She doesn’t mess around when it comes to that game. I’m psyched because she’s actually into a videogame, so there’s no way in hell I’m going to tell her no. I shut down the computer, gave it a nostalgic last look since I knew I wouldn’t be seeing it for the rest of the night, and then it was game on!

For a non-gamer she’s pretty good, and controlling a FPS without a mouse and keyboard can be tough. We’ve played 2 nights now, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the story. My wife on the other hand could care less about the story, and will even get up and go into the kitchen to refill on drinks or snacks during the cut scenes. I keep telling her she’s missing out on the story line, but she just fires back “after a day of working retail, I just want to blow things up, that’s all I care about”. I’m not sure what that says about working in the retail industry, but she certainly could care less about Halo2’s plot.

Without giving away any major spoilers, we’re now far enough into the game where we’ve switched sides a few times. At first I thought the decision to do this (similar to Blizzard’s rts single player campaigns) was genius. Unfortunately, it can be a little confusing managing the friendly fire during these levels, and I now have to watch out for my wife unloading on me as much as I do the bad guys. Dual-wielding a pair of covenant laser pistols (the blue v-shaped ones), she can drop my shields down in less than 2 seconds, and then put me face first into the dirt a second later. Thankfully the character we’re playing on those levels has a stealth ability, which I use as often as possible to avoid friendly and enemy fire. Playing co-op on those levels with my wife is like having a terminator plopped into those levels, whose only goal is to lay waste to everything in its path. I usually either trail behind her or get out in front of her as fast and far as I can on those levels. When we’re playing master chief the friendly fire is not an issue.

Bungie has tweaked the vehicles in Halo2 I think for the better, adding some new moves, speed bursts, or other interesting additions. The only downside so far with the co-op campaign is during the levels where you get to use a tank. It’s only a 1 person tank! What were they thinking?? Sheesh. At least give the option for another player to man the main gun, or a machine gun, or something! The computer AI marines can sit on the “jump seats”, but a human player doesn’t have this option. My wife decided to go unconventional last night and rather than walk behind the tank and use it for cover, she decided to go urban and patrol in front. She died many times walking point for my tank, but she was having fun, and that’s all that matters. The highlight of the night was when I respawned helpless high on a structure after my banshee was shotdown. My wife flew up in her banshee, I jumped on top of the canopy, and then we continued the fight (her flying carefully) with me gunning on top as a ride-a-long grunt. Fun game.

EDITED: because I don't know the difference between a banshee and a wraith.
1858  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 11/10/04 on: November 12, 2004, 12:08:13 AM
That's a pretty big leap to go from talking tough to Sawyer to making the decision to methodically torture him.  Sawyer is a glutton for punishment, and it's clear that his moral struggle has created the feeling that he deserves to be punished and/or hated.  His comfort zone right now is to be hated, mistrusted, and as George said on Seinfeld, "I'm trying to be the bad seed, the chicks love it!"  

"No wait, I'm the bad seed!  I'm the bad seed!"
1859  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 11/10/04 on: November 11, 2004, 04:01:07 AM
Based on the previews for next week, whoever called the french girl being the one who knocked Sayeed out looks to be correct.  Looks likes there's some type of lab facility as well, complete with meds of some type based on the injection he was about to receive.
1860  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Apprentice 11/04/04 - WHAT THE HELL?!?! on: November 08, 2004, 09:42:04 PM
They never did mention how much the invoices were for the contractors.  I'm guessing the "good fellas" invoice was insane (they even had the uncles show up and start "supervising").  For anyone who has any experience working with contractors, every single "good fella" on that job site would appear on that invoice in some form or another.

In every other project that had a cost associated with it, they've always factored that into the net earnings or final outcome.  I'm guessing both teams blew that 20k out of the water, and they intentionally forgot to mention the contracting invoices.  Actually I was really curious about the project costs, and was thinking the "good fellas" crew would crush that team when the invoices were deducted from the appraisals.
1861  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / WoW Patch Now!!! on: November 08, 2004, 09:23:33 PM
Nice metal thong, I can only imagine how effective it must be in combat...and comfortable...and cold in the winter.  Why even wear anything if you're going to wear that?  Go celtic and fight naked!
1862  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Apprentice 11/04/04 - WHAT THE HELL?!?! on: November 07, 2004, 05:29:13 PM
Quote from: "Greggy_D"
Another thing.......NO WAY each team got all that work done for 20 grand.

And those little shit-ass houses appraised for over 400k!!!!!!!!  :shock:

In a suburb of NYC, I believe it.  Heck, sh*t-ass 2 story houses like that in the San Fran Bay Area go for 600k+.   I rented a little dinky house in San Jose from 2000-2002 that was listed on the market for 625k (1 story, 1.5 bath, 3bdr).  

Most houses outside of Wash DC but inside or near the 495 beltway usually start somewhere in the 400k+ range and go up, even for little 1 story ranch houses.
1863  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / WoW Racial Traits Revealed!!! on: November 06, 2004, 12:45:23 AM
Quote from: "Rage"
Most people for some reason have this fanatical aversion to gnomes.

It's because they're pure evil, just below clowns.  Little freaky bastards!  A happy day will be when my kodo gets to stomp all over their oversized, bug-eyed heads (how in the world can their little freakish bodies support those gargantuan heads?).
1864  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Apprentice 11/04/04 - WHAT THE HELL?!?! on: November 05, 2004, 03:54:23 AM
I don't know what that one guy was thinking when he had his little meltdown right when they were dismissed to go back upstairs.  If Raj was smart, he should've grabbed that meltdown opportunity with both hands and yanked it into the boardroom with him.
1865  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 10/3 on: November 05, 2004, 03:51:42 AM
Quote from: "disarm"
with all the talk of personal desires being fulfilled, i'm surprised noone has mentioned the fact that the cave-in happened right when charlie started yelling at jack.  coincidence?  or manifestation of charlie's anger?

just something more to think about...

Good insight!  Now my brain is starting to get confused again, things are...getting...foggier...again.
1866  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Wanderers invite you on: November 05, 2004, 03:46:55 AM
Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
Man, I'm going to have to come to your server just to enjoy Rittch again.

LE - you're always welcome to come play with us again.  Oh, and the comment I quoted above will most likely earn you stalkee privileges.

I'll conclude with my newest WoW proverb (based on recent official info):
Don't hate the moo moos just because they have sweet rides.
1867  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 10/3 on: November 04, 2004, 11:00:09 PM
Quote from: "Geezerone"
Locke has a mystical/religious view of the island.  "The Island will provide what you are looking for." is what he said to Charly on the previous episode.  I think that Locke believes that whatever happens to anyone on island is because that person wants it to happen.  That's why he is so nonchalant about Jacks cave-in.

If you were in a similar situation as Locke, wouldn't you have a similar outlook on events?

If I were Locke, I'd be working Kate, forget the metaphysical and supernatural stuff.  Sure he's a little old for her, but he's fit, in good shape, a natural leader, he could do it!
1868  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 10/3 on: November 04, 2004, 07:41:51 AM
The purgatory theory doesn't seem to fit with some of the events:

- the US Marshall that lived long enough to have to be put out of his misery.  Was that his purgatory?

- the pilot that woke up in the cockpit and then was promptly yanked out and eaten by something.  I wouldn't want that purgatory.

- the pregnant woman who's about to give birth any day now.  Giving birth seems like an odd purgatory.

There does seem to be a definite push towards redemption for each character, but I'm hoping the driving force behind the self-reflection is more natural than supernatural.
1869  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Day After Tomorrow on: November 04, 2004, 06:09:53 AM
Quote from: "Jeff Jones"

{extremely goofy spoiler}

Did I just watch a movie, that had a scene where one of the heroes battled wolves on a Russian barge in the streets of downtown New York City, wherein after defeating the wolves he runs from falling temperatures, into a room where the falling temperature chases him to, and he then yells "SHUT THE DOOR!" (I guess to slam it in the face of the falling temperture) Is that what I saw?

Even for a popcorn movie, that was one reeeeally bad script.

The pursuing temperature drop was right on par with the animalistic growling fire in Backdraft.  I liked the spiderweb effect of the freezing as it chased them through the door...very dramatic :roll:

Note to Dennis Quad: with The Alamo and The Day After Tomorrow recently behind you, you might want to get some help picking your next project.
1870  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines Hands-On Preview on: October 29, 2004, 10:27:51 PM
Nice preview Ron.  Thanks for taking one for the team and flying out to get the inside scoop Tongue

I already have this preordered, can't wait.
1871  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST - 10/27/04 on: October 28, 2004, 04:03:52 AM
I was also confused by the logic in the "we're being pursued by a swarm of bees so lets rip our clothes off" decision.  Why didn't Locke and Pippin (or is it the other hobbit?) rip their clothes off too?  That would've been funny if the two of them strolled into the cave with their shirts off as well.

I thought this episode was kind of a snorer.  I'm not sure if they're intending him to look like this, but Jack seems borderline nutso at this point.  With the split of the 2 camps, I hope they don't start doing a Lord of the Flies rip off.
1872  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Best Actor/Actress Cast for a Role on: October 26, 2004, 11:11:15 PM
Jude Law as the mentally challenged confederate soldier in Cold Mountain.  He showed a lot of depth to both master a north carolinian accent and to convincingly act retarded.  

Oh wait, you said best, my bad.
1873  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Best Actor/Actress Cast for a Role on: October 26, 2004, 09:09:14 PM
More recently on tv, Terry O’Quinn as Locke on the show Lost.
1874  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines on: October 24, 2004, 09:05:51 AM
Quote from: "olaf"
I want to know how buggy and play balanced it is.  After Arcanum and especially TToEE I have zero faith in Troika to release a reasonably bug free, balanced game.


They shouldn't have an excuse now, like they did with ToEE.  They can't blame major bugs and balance problems this time on Atari forcing them to release early and not using their latest build.
1875  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines on: October 24, 2004, 05:07:31 AM
How much does your clan choice at the start affect how the world and npcs react to you during the course of the game?

Does it feel more like a shooter with some rpg, or vice versa? Or does it strike a nice balance between the 2?

How much do the disciplines change gameplay? Are the gameplay differences enough to warrant going back through and playing as another clan and/or same clan with different specializations?

My most important question:
According to all of the game footage and screenshots, it seems that when women are embraced and become vampires in the Vampire: Bloodlines world, their cup size increases to epic proportions, why is that?
1876  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Ninja Gaiden is way hard on: October 23, 2004, 10:50:48 PM
I enjoyed the game (for the most part), but the number of reloads I had over the course of the entire game was staggering.  It reminded me of games during the late 80s and early 90s that were very unforgiving.  The difficulty of the bosses seems to vary by individual, but there were several that caused me to reload 15-30 times (1st fight with pink demon chick, 2 worm things, helicopter, stupid tower "boss").  For the ones I listed, I had to actually walk away from the game because I wanted to throw the cd out into the street.  

It is a cool game, but a lower difficulty option would've been appreciated.  When I completed it, I remember thinking "Yes!  I did it!  Finally.  I'm never playing that f**king game again!"

It's a hard mofo, and if your twitch arcade skills have atrophied since the late 80s and early 90s (as well as your patience), it's not going to be a fun experience.  

Don't neglect the flails, they are mighty helpful against faster foes (like the black ninjas, ghost fish, and the undead hordes).  Towards the end you can rack up a ton of essence by using a flail just outside a zone gate against ghost fish.  You end up racking up insane amounts of combos, which make your essence totals go through the roof.  Very important for making sure you're stocked to the max with potions.  In fact, you really need to basically farm for essence in order to keep a full stock of potions.  You definitely dont want to roll into a boss fight (some levels have multiple boss fights!!) with a limited supply of potions.  

There are 2 platformer jumping puzzles (one near the end that's timed) that are...frustrating, to put it nicely.  The timed one in the end had me spewing forth obscenities at the screen as I reloaded it over and over.  
Oh and don't get me started about the weird-ass ending.  Dude, take the girl, don't jump into the rainbow.
1877  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Apprentice 10/21 "Exorcism of the Gerbil" SPOILERS on: October 22, 2004, 07:22:27 PM
After she was fired I was hoping she would climb inside her wheelie suitcase and the vallet would roll her out to the cab and put her in the trunk.
1878  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / November 2004 - greatest game rush ... ever? on: October 22, 2004, 07:15:16 PM
I'm still trying to devote time to all the good October games I picked up.  But for November, my must buy list (pending horrible reviews) is:

Vampire Bloodlines (preordered)
WoW (preordered)
EQ2 (preordered)
Halo 2 (preordered)
Pirates! (if the reviews are good)

On my holiday wish list (games I can wait until December to buy/get):
PoP:WW (xbox)

Now I just need to spend more time with Rome:TW, Warhammer DoW, Sims2, Xmen Legends and Crusaders:KUF before November!  This has been a great 2-3 months for gaming.
1879  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST 10-20 [SPOILERS] on: October 22, 2004, 05:54:29 AM
When Jack told the story about operating on the little girl, he mentioned that he made a mistake and tore the spinal nerve sac open while he was closing up (not paying attention to what he was doing) and the spinal nerve bundle "poured out like spaghetti".  I'm guessing tearing open a nerve bundle in the spinal cord while finishing an otherwise completed procedure is not a good thing.  He did mention that he was able to fix everything, but man, talk about a malpractice suit in the making.  For a few hours that girl's spinal cord was fubar'ed until he somehow managed to fix his huge mistake.  

That's a major Homer "doh!"
1880  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / LOST 10-20 [SPOILERS] on: October 21, 2004, 04:34:21 PM
As much as I miss the X Files (in its prime), I’m actually hoping that the plot doesn’t devolve into a potentially hokey fantasy or magical premise.  Welcome to magic island, where your fears and your dreams come true!  Maybe the island was cutoff from a larger land mass, and has done kind of a Galapagos Islands on steroids with all of the freaky creatures (not sure how you’d explain the polar bear).  I’m really enjoying the show, but I’d also hate to see it end up like a 2004 version of Fantasy Island.  

My wife is on board with the popular “they’re already dead” theory, but I’m not buying into that one yet.  The hot pregnant woman about to give birth and the US Marshall agent who died don’t really fit into that theory well.        

I think it would be hilarious if the writers never expected the show to make it past the first pilot season, and are now scrambling to actually figure out (like all of us are) what the heck is going on with their story.
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