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1  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / SC:CT(XBOX) tonight I should have it, anyone else? on: March 29, 2005, 07:16:14 AM
Here are my first impressions I posted over at OO:

Picked this up today and played through the first two single player missions. I also tried out some of the new co-op mode over Live. The graphics are very, very nice with some great lighting and bump mapping (still not as great looking as Riddick though). The story so far is pretty straight ahead Tom Clancy and ties in well with the first two games. I really enjoyed the Lighthouse mission (same level as in the PC demo). I particularly love using the knife.

The co-op is a blast. As long as Red Storm continues to put online co-op in all of their games (Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon and now SC) every one is a must buy for me. In SC:CT , it consists of a story mode that you can save and pick up later. Some of the moves you can pull off via co-op are pretty sweet. They include a two person rappel, a human ladder, a wall boost and - my favorite - a throw in which you launch your teammate at an enemy for a takedown or to fling them across a pit.

There is also a noise meter tied to your voice mic if you are using one on Live. If you talk too loud when a bad guy is nearby, they will hear you and come to investigate. You really have to whisper and be as silent as possible. This is actually pretty tough as we discovered and we ended up betraying our location a few times. As far as I can tell the co-op story is different than the single player campaign - though I am only a little ways in on each. I also love the adversarial Mercs vs. Agents but haven't tried it out yet to see what (if anything) is new from PT. So far, so good and a big thumbs up on the co-op.
2  Gaming / Analog Gaming / Chess...learning and playing on: March 25, 2005, 08:25:10 PM
The books you mention are alright - particularly Euwe's and Renaud's books, but I'd suggest a couple of other approaches that have worked for me.

Start off learning tactics. Get a good book of tactical puzzles and do a few every day. Two or three move mates and combinations are good to start with. There is a book by Hays called "Chess Tactics for Juniors" that I like alot for basic tactical puzzles. Once these get easy, move onto something more difficult. Even if you miss a bunch at first the key is to do a few maybe 15-30 mins every day.

IMO the two best learning techniques for chess are 1) to play over master games and try to learn from them and 2) review and analyze your own games. If you are playing over the board then write down your moves and have a stronger player go over them with you or just run them through a computer like Fritz. Understanding where you went wrong is key to getting better. You learn the most from losing games rather than winning them. Playing over well annotated games by Grandmasters or Masters is also a valuable and rewarding practice. You learn the right ideas and how to handle different types of positions. Don't worry if you don't understand everything going on in a game. Just learn what you can and go on to the next game. Irving Chernev's "Logical Chess Move by Move" and "Decisive Games in Chess History" would be my first suggestions, then maybe a book of games by your favorite chess player. Personally, I love the old masters like Capablanca and Alekhine.

Check out Dan Heisman's "Novice Nook" column at You can download pdfs (free) of his past columns and they contain some really great insights and lessons on improving at chess. I have all of them printed out and refer to them from time to time. Another author/teacher who you should check out later on is Jeremy Silman. I'd wait on his stuff until you improve a bit more and have done some tactical study and played over some grandmaster games.

Good luck and have fun!
3  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Any Ghost Recon 2 impressions? on: November 20, 2004, 07:17:51 PM
It  is great! I gave my impressions down here...
4  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Ghost Recon 2 on: November 17, 2004, 11:36:27 PM
Quote from: "mikeg"
Did I hear right, you can play co-op over Live?  Me and a buddy can run through the single-player game via Live?   Plz tell it is so.  Definite buy if that is true.

Yes you can play individual missions over Live, but you can't save the campaign like the single player game. Playing the campaign co-op is really just playing the individual mission maps in order. You have the same objectives and enemies as the single player campaign. This is how it was done in Rainbow Six 3. I think you have to unlock the missions for online co-op though by playing them single player first. I'll have to check when I get home tonight. Also, you don't get AI teammates on Live, but it is much more fun even if you only get one other person on your team. Four player co-op is tuly a blast because you can use real overwatch and fireteam tactics.
5  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Ghost Recon 2 on: November 17, 2004, 11:26:41 PM
Quote from: "Rage"


 I know! I know! I'm a heretic. Send the arbiter after me.  :lol:
6  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Ghost Recon 2 on: November 17, 2004, 11:04:16 PM
I picked this up today and played a bit at lunch before I had to go back to work. First impressions: It is great. I really love Tom Clancy games because of the online co-op options. Red Storm is one of the few developers who seem commited to including co-op options in all of their games. GR2 has all of the co-op modes in the original like defend, firefight, recon, and missions. The enhanced voice support for commanding AI teammates is included ala Rainbow Six 3. You can also control specifc actions for your own character via voice. e.g. Saying "Secondary weapon." switches to your secondary weapon slot. You can change to the map, change your rate of fire, reload, etc. all via voice commands -- very cool feature. The graphics show some nice improvements over Rainbow Six 3 and the over the shoulder vs. first person view brouhaha that came up when the game was announced is no big deal. You can change to classic first person view via the options. Actually, I played with the over the shoulder view for the first mission and liked it. When you zoom in the reticle it goes to a first person view anyways. You can also pick up enemy weapons and use them.  Cool  

After about 45 minutes of play time, so far so good. With all of the online options this will be taking first spot in my Live game rotation replacing Halo 2 (gasp!) -- after a week of playing -- a game I think the hype machine ran away with. I much prefer UT2K4 for the gametypes Halo 2 offers.
7  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Half-Life 2 Impressions (Possible Spoilers) on: November 17, 2004, 07:13:45 PM
The original Half Life was my favorite game of all time. I had fears that Valve couldn't come through with a worthy successor, but happily I have a new king of my gaming universe. I stayed home to play yesterday and ended up playing just about all day. I am just blown away by the quality and beauty of the game. The pacing is well measured and the action visceral and fun. The choice of a Orwellian Soviet style City 17 and how they realized it as a setting is genius. All of the little details in the textures and models are astounding in how they support the overall feeling of a level. The oppressiveness and squalor of City 17 is apparent everywhere you go. I am in Nova Prospekt, and I can't wait to finish and go through it again. Though the game is somewhat linear, it still feels like different areas can be approached in different ways (a lot like Far Cry - which was totally open ended in this respect.)

My only wish is for old school multplayer to be added ala HL1 using the new engine and weapons. Gravity gun only matches. explosive barrels and saw blades. hehehe. Of course Team Fotress 2 in this engine wouldn't bother me either.  :wink:

I can't wait to get home tonight and play some more.
8  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Half Life 2: What will you do to play it on the 16th? on: November 12, 2004, 08:59:04 PM
I have the 16th off thanks to a stockpile of unused vacation days I have to burn before the end of the year. At 2 AM Steam wil unlock the files and I will stay up all night and play :-) BTW I got my Platinum box of goodies today. HL2 hat (very cool), posters, soundtrack, sticker, "Hello from City 17" Postcard (now magnetted to the fridge -- much to the GF's amusment) and Prima guide. I don't want to actually look at the guide and give anything away for myself, but just quickly flipping through -- it is really nice looking -- better than regular Prima stuff.  Very meatty too. Also covers Counter Strike Source

I am completely revved up now for HL2. Bring it on!
9  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Halo 2 - It's ON! (impressions thread) on: November 10, 2004, 06:46:16 PM
I am enjoying the single player story as much as the first game, but the multiplayer on Live is sublime and will give Halo 2 some long legs.  Bungie hit a home run with the matchmaking system. It does a great job of matching skill levels and connection speed/location. I had some tense, fun games of CTF last night because the teams were so well balanced.

Has anyone else checked out the stat system on You can see all of your online matches and stats. It seems to track everything you can view in the postgame screen. Seems very well done.
10  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Edit: Make me want an Xbox - and tell me what I should know on: November 10, 2004, 06:31:39 PM

You can get KOTOR and Crimson Skies now for $20 each. I believe there is even a Xbox Live kit with Crimson Skies bundled in if you want to get on Live (I definitely recommend it) Halo 2 is absolutely awesome on Live. In addition to KOTOR 2 and Jade Empire, Ghost Recon 2 is coming next week and should also be excellent on Live. Splinter Cell 3 is coming Q1 2005 and will have online co-op (one of my favorite features in the Tom Clancy games). Mech Assault 2 is also coming at the beginning of January. Right now is a great time to be an Xbox owner. The only PC game that will pull me away right now is HL2 next week :-)
11  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / I'm bored again... need a PC game recommendation on: November 05, 2004, 05:18:56 PM
A seond vote for Painkiller. Much more fun than Doom 3. I'm looking forward to the Painkiller expansion due out next week.

If you like strategy gaming, you might want to give Knights of Honor a look. I imported it via GoGamer since a US version of the game is not currently planned. I am really enjoying it. There is a demo available if you want to try it out. The reviews I've seen have also been pretty favorable.
12  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Zax's UT2k4 Srvr - Fill server Ngt Fri 4/8! Torrent DVD! on: November 05, 2004, 04:54:56 PM
I jumped on the last couple of nights but the server was empty. (This was after 9:30-10pm CST.) I'll try to jump in tonight. What time do you guys usually get rolling?
13  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Need another? on: November 02, 2004, 10:02:14 PM
I am new to CG, but I did hang out some at GG too. I love UT2K4 and would enjoy playing with some good folks if you need another warm body to shoot at :-)
14  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Any one else in JO expansion Beta? on: October 13, 2004, 11:03:52 PM
JO = Joint Operations

I'm in. I agree the expansion is shaping up very nicely. I can't stop playing this game.  biggrin
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