Monday, May 19, 2008

Game Log #5

The horror...

-After stopping by the local used game store and picking up a used copy of Silent Hill 2 (in a crappy plastic box with nothing but a photocopy of the disc on the front), I beat the whole game in what was more or less a mad day-long marathon. I have alot to say about. I may even write an article at some point on my thoughts about the game. All I know is that I'll probably be picking up Silent Hill 3 and 4 very soon.

Up next, possibly the first two Tenchu games (which I purchased for $3 each at said store). Also, trading in my old PSX for some extra cash. Not much, but at least it's something.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Electric Bibleland: Wisdom Tree Funpack #1

Sometimes, people make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes involve making Christian-themed video games. Whenever that happens, we're there. This... is Electric Bibleland.

Color Dreams: Licensed by Awesome
Everyone knows this, right? A familiar sight to anyone who ever owned a Nintendo system, the Nintendo Seal of Quality (now simply called The Nintendo Seal in order to reflect Nintendo's "WE'LL TAKE ANY PIECE OF SHIT GAME YOU WANT TO SELL" attitude) has appeared on every cartridge and game box for Nintendo's hardware. Well, not exactly. You see, the Seal is there to say that Nintendo has licensed and approved this game for release, which applied to just about everybody. Everybody, that is, except for Color Dreams.

Founded in 1989 by former child porn actors Eddie Lin, Phil Mikkelson and Dan Lawton, the Color Dreams crew didn't have the cash or technical know-how to license their games from Nintendo. So, like any brilliant cadre of illegal porn stars would do, they decided to go renegade, maybe even underground, and bring their games to the public unlicensed. No Nintendo Seal of Quality for us. We're EDGY. Color Dreams themselves went on to spawn a bunch of shitty shit including Baby Boomers (an early edutainment title about premature ejaculation), Robo Demons (the only shooter in the world where your main weapon actually fires AWAY from your enemies), and even an entirely different label (Bunch Games), used as a front to release even shittier games so no one would associate Color Dreams with anything but QUALITY.

As fun as it would be to write an article about Color Dreams alone, this is Jesus Time. We can't bother ourselves with this ungermane secular bullshit when we're here to talk about THE LORD (John 14:23). So, knowing that in the future one David D. and company would be in desperate need of an article to write, Color Dreams formed another, totally new and exciting label. Hoping to break into the a new, more different market (being that Nintendo was bringing the hammer down on retailers stocking unlicensed games), Wisdom Tree was formed to tap into the demographic of religious parents who probably don't own an NES in the first place.

It was a different time back then. Video games were manufactured by SATAN Inc. and sold to our children by scary pimps who stood in shady street corners. If you owned a Nintendo, gay Mexican atheist immigrants would come to your house and KILL YOU. Then steal your job. But back to Wisdom Tree. Thanks to the wonders of emulation (fuck if I'm gonna pay for any of this shit), children all over the world can again experience the joys of playing video games that are exactly like other video games except they have Jesus in them. Much like Christian Rock music, you'll notice a running theme in these religious games articles: most of these games are clones of other, more well known gaming franchises. But don't let that discourage you! Read on.

Spiritual Warfare

Have you ever thought about how awesome it would be if you took your old, worn out Legend of Zelda cartridge and pooped on it? Apparently Wisdom Tree did, too. But unlike you, a boring underachieving nerd, Wisdom Tree payed attention to the inspirational poster at the dentist's office and acted upon their dreams of mass produced cartridge defecation. Spirtual Warfare is a game with a plot so complex and spiritually fulfilling, you'll only find it on the wikipedia page. As far as I can tell, it's a game about finding the Armor Of God (starring Jackie Chan) while throwing produce at scary warez pimps in order to turn them into red-headed robed men who like to kneel a lot.Along the way, you'll also battle down syndrome suffers in green overalls, down syndrome sufferers who hide behind rocks and throw devils at you, and men in wheelchairs in your epic quest to do... something. You don't need to know what that something is, cause whatever it is, God's cool with it. Wisdom Tree PR and God are pretty tight, ya know? Gotta keep an eye on their target demographic.
Spiritual Warfare is 1:1 The Legend of Zelda. Swap the swords with the different fruits. The bombs show up as bizarre golden pots that just explode for some reason. For all those relics in Zelda that allowed you progress (i.e. Power Bracelet, The Raft, etc.), Spiritual Warfare's got it's religious counterpart. How about Anointing Oil? The Belt of Truth? Samson's Jawbone (seriously what?) And of course, what better analogy for rupees than dove icons that represent how spiritually awesome you are?
I find your lack of faith disturbing, Appleheadman!
Some of you (ye of little faith, as it were), are probably asking yourself "Wull Dave, what does all of this have to do with the bible?" First of all, you shouldn't address a question to me and instead send it to yourself, cause that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. And second of all, ever heard of a little thing called bible quizzes?Apparently this man has! This is a game about being touched by an angel. An angel who's only purpose is to make sure our hero (who is apparently this horrible, terrible looking man) is up on his bible factoids. Spiritual Warfare is a game about faith and love. It's a game about being Zelda without actually being Zelda. It's a game about feeling strong about right and wrong; maybe even about being a Real American. But most of all, it's about you, the player.

ExodusYou know you're in for a treat when you boot up Exodus and you're treated to a loading screen. That's right. An NES game with a loading screen. Obviously that means Wisdom Tree was pushing the hardware to it's limits all Hideo Kojima-like and bringing the NES to a whole new level, right?Great job, guys!

I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about Wisdom Tree's fucking amazing music. The music in Wisdom Tree games are so good, you start to think of them as being the same song. Because they're that good. The games all use this really bizarre minimalist music style that either vaguely copies some public domain worship song or trails off into psychotic nonsense. Whatever the case may be, you better get used to them, because whatever piece of music you hear at the beginning of the game is what you're going to be hearing for the rest of the game. I mean, cause really, what other songs could you need besides "Father Abraham" on loop in a puzzle game with ostensibly 80+ levels?

I say ostensibly because that's my fancy way of saying that I didn't play through this whole game. I didn't even really play up to level 80. I just know this because the developers included a wacky level skip feature at the start of the game. I have to assume it's sort of a silent apology to all the evangelist children around the country who got this box of poop for Christmas. Exodus is a game about Moses being in a mine somewhere doing something. It's basically a gigantic Boulderdash ripoff, except you get to shoot HEATHENS with W's that come out of your Moses Wand . The goal of each level is to snag all the bottles of M, which is either milk or Moses Juice (hopefully the later). Along the way, you'll avoid HEATHENS who take something like 5 shots to kill (I mean CONVERT) and pick up power ups that don't seem to really do anything.And I don't want you guys to think this is some sort of weakass linear casual game made for the uneducated casual gaming masses. Exodus is about making complex moral decisions, like deciding if your zombie midwife soldiers should kill ALL of the babies or just the boy babies, and then watch it all play out in a gripping, detailed cinematic cutscene. Exodus is a game about choices. It's a game about physics that are so excellent that they don't need to make sense. It's about reassuring parents about the religious content by throwing in random esoteric bible quizzes. But most of all, it's about you, the player.

Up next, we bring you 3 more exciting Wisdom Tree games, all of which are actually collections of 3 games. Also, Left Behind!?: ETERNAL FORCES!? Stay ever vigilant, and remember: it's not a real game unless your pal and mine, J.C., is right there with it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Game Log #4

Since last time, I:

-Beat the inverted castle in Symphony of the Night. Fun game, ridiculously easy final boss fight. Might have had something to do with how high I had leveled up by then. Started a file as Richter and made it to the Marble Gallery. I'll probably play through the game again with Richter at some point, but other matters are more pressing.

- On a whim, I decided to pick up where I left off on my last attempt to replay Half-Life 2 (thus making it my third of fourth playthrough). I picked it up about halfway through the ride to Nova Prospekt. I think for some reason this time, I'm really noticing what a handicap using a console controller is on this sort of game. It's still totally playable, but the feeling of "this would be a hell of a lot easier with a mouse" is there. And it wasn't, really, the last few times I've played the game.

- Played some Ikaruga, got the shit kicked out of me.

Up next, maybe I'll actually play Dragon Quest 8. But don't count on it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Game Log #3

I purchased a 1600 point XBLA card with the intent of buying Tetris Splash. After a few sessions alone with it as well as a couple multiplayer matches against my mom (an avid Tetris player herself), I can say that it is indeed a Tetris game. And Tetris is hard to fuck up. There's not much to say other than that. The music is pretty damn nice, that's a plus. Of course, the game only being 800 points, I had 800 left over. What did I buy?

- Streets of Rage 2 was probably the most successful of my XBLA purchases on Saturday. I was a pretty obsessed player of the original back in the Genesis days, but somehow I never got around to the sequal until just now. It's interesting to see a beat em up with distinct characters who are different gameplay-wise, which never happened enough back in the day, and true to the first one, I pretty much stuck to playing Blayze the whole time. She has a hadoken in this game. Beat that, Axel.

- And then shit took a complete turn for the shitty shit shit when I bought Doom. To say this version of Doom fails ay everything you could possibly want it for would be a severe understatement. To be fair, the emulation itself is just fine in the sense that the game looks about as good as Doom normally looks. But that's where it falls apart. The first nettle that alone pushed me over the edge was the complete nonsense local multiplayer. Multiplayer was pretty much the reason I bought Doom, especially local multiplayer, as it's not like you can really do that anywhere else. The screen for playing locally is just completely bizarre, and that's what kills it. The best way to describe it was if you had two very small TV's side by side so that you can see both, but they don't take up even half of your field of vision. Now imagine what you're seeing, except inside the TV screen itself.
Words do not exist to describe how frustrating playing any game like this is. And then the online multiplayer is complete butt due to Microsoft's amazing XBLA online. And then you have shit like the controls in this game. Imagine if you took the controls for any 360 shooter (Halo for example) and eliminated the right sticks ability to move vertically. I guess it make sense being that Doom never had mouselook until ZDL and Legacy and such hacked it into the game, but this control scheme just comes off as bizarre and disorienting. And so, I ragequit the game, only to find that any time I try to exit the game through the game itself, it freezes up. This is a complete fuckup, and the fact that Microsoft found it acceptable to put this shit out is amazing.

So aside from my XBLA experiences, I also had an experience with the demo for Operation Darkness. I really didn't spend enough time to be conclusive on it, but I got the vibe that I get from just about any SRPG I play: there's probably a hell of a lot of depth to be had, but I'll have to spend a hell of a lot of time with it to grasp it.

Friday, May 9, 2008

I Can't Swim So I Dog Paddle

To facilitate video games and their rise to the art fourm of which we all hope they'll be respected as some day, finding (as Sean Elliot would say) a storytelling language native to the medium is nessecary and proper. And those games that have tried it thus far have provided for me new experiences that a cutscene-laden game like Metal Gear Solid 2 or Okami couldn't replicate. And yet, that type of gameplay is something I would never want to completley leave behind. I feel like I'm in this strange in-between space where I advocate the evolution of storytelling in games while at the same time dreading the day where the old troupes of game storytelling are gone for good.

Which brings me, in a roundabout sort of way, to video game to movie transitions. You have the new Bioshock movie coming from Gore Verbinski. I don't know really what to think of the idea, as I'm not inherently against the concept of adapting a story or concept into a different artform. But at the same time, I feel like the way video game to movie transitions go at this point, it's just not going to work. Video game movies projects tend to have two possible outcomes. The first is simply the use of the name and perhaps a few elements from the source material to create a completely unrelated product. These ones always confuse me. From a financial standpoint, it makes sense. You take an already generic, mediocre script and just throw it out into a movie, it might not do so well. If you can slap a well known name onto it, you'll get that much more. You have the sort of fans who will like it no matter what. You have the sort of fans who will hate anything Hollywood produces based on their beloved product, but they'll see it anyway, because they have to. All those irate Transformers fans? They saw Micheal Bay's Transformers movie. But from an artistic standpoint, why would you need it? Why make a Max Payne movie when you could make some other generic neo-noir flick with a similar concept?

And then you have the second outcome, which is the very literal sort of retelling and representation of the events of the source material. It's the kind of thing you have folks like Uwe Boll doing, and it's not like he's making anyone happy there. This might have worked for a game like Mario (ironically), but in this day and age, with our new games that emphasis the players experience, something like this just can't work. We have games like the Grand Theft Auto series that are well know for both the intended narrative of the main story and the narrative that you create through your own experiences in the game. But back to Bioshock. I always get a little annoyed when people refer to games like Half Life 2 and Bioshock as cinematic. Both games do share characteristics of movies, but I personally think both games are excellent examples of how video game narrative can do things that movies can't.

And that's why I think that a Bioshock movie made under the current style that video game-based films are made in would completely miss the point. Bioshock is a game that's about your experience in Rapture, not Brad Pitt's. The way the story is told, the embedded narrative, it would seem awkward in a straight-up adaption. Giving the unnamed, faceless protagonist a name and a face would cheapen the experience. So what do I think Gore and crew should do? I don't know. I'm just babbling here. Perhaps we could see someone else's story set in the Bioshock universe? A film that stayed true to the universe and concepts of Bioshock could be great. But at the same time, I'm certainly not calling for a generic b-grade unrelated story with the Bioshock name slapped on the front; no one wants that. I feel that if video games keep evolving as a story telling medium, any attempts at adapting those games into movies are going to have to evolve as well.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

You're Not the Cool Kid

You fuckers are making this cat sad.

This is something I've gotta talk about. Something that I have to get off my chest. Today I got into a semi-argument about whether or not Lucky Star (a show I have admittedly not seen much of) is more of a pandering otaku series than Azumanga Daioh, and whether it even matters. Long story short, the conversation brought up something that's bothered me about nerds ever since I started on the dark, bizarre path of dork hobbies. That something is the "geek hierarchy" phenomenon. More to the point, how vicious and willing to form cliques many geeks are.

My theory has always been that if "nerd" meant "people who wear red or blue shirts", the blue shirted kids would be constantly looking down their noses at the red shirted kids. The kids with red shirts and white stripes would be the constant butt of the solid red shirted kids' internet meme jokes. And then it'd just keep breaking down to microscopic levels from there. I should know, being an anime fan. Now, I'm definitely not an old standby in anime fandom, being someone who came in with the Pokemon crowd. But I've heard the stories of the old old old days of fandom (mainly thanks to AWOs numerous interviews with OLD PEOPLE). I've heard all about the sci fi con staff looking down their noses at those kids and their "jap crap" cartoons in the viewing room way the fuck in the back of the con. Oldschool anime fans know all about this kind of shit.

And yet it's anime fans that set off this post, really. The person (who shall remain nameless, and probably does not read this blog) was very obviously part of this very specific generation of anime fans who came in after the Starblazers and Battle of the Planets guys but long before Gundam Wing and DBZ brought in the new crowd. I've noticed that a lot of this sort of geek clique tendency as it pertains to anime fandom mostly comes from these type of people. 20 year olds who already sound like 50 year old literary sci fi con jerks. Can't stand those dirty 15 year old yaoi fangirls; the Naruto headband crowd; the cat ears, the Yaoi paddles and, of course, the handwritten signs. I hear this a lot from this 3rd (4th?) generation set of fans, as well as the neophytes who've grafted onto Fast Karate and AWO within the last few years and decided to violently turn their backs on anime fandom and be cool people.

And I definetly don't mean that as a diss on said podcasts. But the whole fandom around those two seems to have created this bizaro new breed of anime fan, most of whom are in high school or maybe early college and have already adopted a curmudgeon old man approach to a fandom that's existed far longer than they have. It's an attitude that I've always taken as somewhat joking in those podcasts, but which is a very real attitude elsewhere. A certain member of the Fast Karate forums mentioned how he'd like to pile drive one of those "stupid headband-wearing freaks" into the ground. I like to think of myself as pretty good at noticing internet sarcasm. I don't think any of that was present in the post.

And it is prevalent in every other nerd culture you can think of. Video games are another example. The stereotypical hardcore AMURICAN gamer with an Xbox and a Halo book in his backpack is at all times disgusted with your average dweeb who swears by Squeenix and Level 5. Play Guild Wars, and you can expect some thrown stones from WoW players. And you can bet it's vice versa there. You can even go beyond video games. You have old sci fi fans who won't except anyone into their circle who isn't lugging around an oxygen tank. It's cross-hobby as well, when you consider that the aforementioned gamers usually aren't so kind to that "weaboo cartoon shit". Literary sci-fi fans used to (and still do) hate those newbie Star Trek fans and their high tech "moving pictures". You even see it with those retards who try to come up with concrete differences between what "geek"means and what "nerd" means so they can affirm themselves as being part of the cool club. And then everyone has a good laugh at the expense of furries, but we'll leave it at that.

So I guess all I'm asking is that we try not to be such douches to people who aren't exactly like us. I don't mean to sound like I'm down on nerds, cause I'm absolutely not. I'm a card-carrying member of the geek squad, and I fully admit that dickheaded behavior is present in all walks of life. It's just when it's like this, you know? So fucking lame and petty. Who are you trying to kid? We're all dorks here. It doesn't matter how cool you think you are outside of your nerdy hobbies, you're still no better than anyone else in this scenario. Can't we at least try to get along?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Game Log #2


My time is still being stolen by Symphony of the Night. 8 hours in, I've made it to the Inverted Castle. I have to admit that I was originally put off by the concept of the Inverted Castle before I played the game. I assumed it was a cheap way to extend a short game by another couple hours without the need to spend more time designing new levels. But by God, they got it right. Amazingly so. Adding the new music to the inverted areas alone was neat, but they went all out with adding new things to find, new enemies, changing up the look of some of the areas. It's damn impressive, and really puts to shame the GBA and DS sequels in many ways.

A few more scattered thoughts:
  • I'm not sure what Digital Eclipse rationale was for how they created the launch screen for the XBLA version of the game. Rather than integrate the necessary fields (exit, achievements etc.) into the original start screen, they created an ugly looking tombstone screen with said options, featuring what I assume was the music in the launch screen of the original version. When you hit "play", it takes you to the "actual" launch screen with the same music. It's not a big issue at all, but I just find it a bit cruddy.
  • Maybe I missed something here (entirely possible), but the Grand Fallooon fight was pretty anti-climatic. Oh, I had heard all about the giant ball of corpse boss fight in Symphony, and I was excited for it. And the fight itself was a hell of alot of fun (minus the nagging slowdown). Easily one of the most fucked up, nightmarish things I've encountered in a game. But you're reward for this fight is a mediocre sword that does extra damage to "holy" enemies. It seems to me that you'd reward the player with some amazing ability relic or some such for the fight, but no. I assume it makes some sort comeback in the Inverted Castle. That'd be fun.
  • I wish the developers had made your inventory more organized. It's nothing I didn't deal with in Dawn of Sorrow, but searching for the weapon or shield you want amidst the billion items in your inventory that can be equipped to one of your hands is downright annoying. Especially in battle, though the Doppleganger soul in Dawn did some to fix that.
Oh, this game. More fun than a barrel of HOMOSEXUAL monkeys. Soon to come, my first article about the hilarities of religious gaming. Whenever I feel up to writing it. Left Behind: Eternal Forces? Prehaps.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Game Log #1

After having my house nearly destroyed by a tornado (it actually missed my house by several miles), I'm here, on this blog, writing this first actual Game Log. And what, pray tell, have I been playing?

I finally bought something on Xbox Live. I felt like I had to get my money's worth, so I decided to get something I knew you couldn't just buy on some $10 collection for the PS2 with twenty other games. So, with a twenty point card in hand, my first choice was Symphony of The Night. SoTN is a game that's been on my "Need to Play" list for years now, mainly as a result of my undying love for Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow. Call it Metroidvania, call it Castleroids, call it whatever the hell you want. The gameplay style is my cup of tea, and I gravitate towards and game of that style that I find (Super Metroid, Cave Story, etc.) Combine that with the rather complex item systems and RPG stats, and you've got one damn fun game. I knew about SoTN. About how director (now series producer) Koji Igarashi essentially formed the basis that every hand-held Castlevania would follow with SoTN. I had to play it. And after years of not actually doing it, I did. I admit that some of my experience of this game is definitely colored by my past experience with Dawn of Sorrow, and I've noted several comparisons (good and bad) during my playtime. Thusly, I can't at all consider this a proper review of Symphony, but rather my experiences as someone who loves a game from the same series years later. That sounds like complete gibberish, but I'll go for it. Some notes on my experience thus far:
  • The game is far more freeform than Dawn. Dawn had a very set structure overall of New Area-> Boss Battle-> New Item Gained From Boss Fight-> Enter Next Area By Means of New Item. I have to imagine that part of this is because of the game obviously being geared toward a younger audience (it's on the D.S., the style is a little more kid friendly animesque, etc.), because Symphony is all over the place. Sometimes you'll find highly important items in rooms you'd very easily have missed. Sometimes you'll find very important items needed for completing the game in the games one shop.
  • The item system is excellent. It completely reestablishes part of the biggest draw for me to DoS: collecting new items, finding the best combinations therein. But so far, item combos seem to be an area where DoS fell flat in comparison to SoTN. There were cool effects you could get from using a specific set of equipment at once in DoS, but none really to the extent of Symphony. By wearing all of the Alucart (typo?) gear, my luck stat gets a +30 stat bonus. The Alucart gear is all the whole weaker than many of the items I had by the time I found the set in the clock room, but the added bonus of increased drops and increased chance of critical hits makes the sacrifice more than worth it. The shield rod is only a decent weapon until I equip a shield in my left hand, which gives it a fierce attack boost. The number of equipment I've found with added benefits (i.e. the Blood Cloak, which converts damage taken into hearts) is pretty amazing as well, and left me wondering where the hell all this was in Dawn. I'm really getting a feeling from this game that there's a lot to master and, even better, I actually want to.
  • I need to remember to save whenever I get my hands on a rare item. I found the Medusa Shield early on, and I died a few minutes later before getting to a save point. I haven't been able to get it again since.
  • As I'm pretty terrible at preforming moves in fighting games, I'm terrible with the magic system in Symphony. Albeit I don't have many spells yet, but I can barely use the ones I have.
  • I sort of had mixed feelings on the soundtrack. I think overall it's great; absolutely fits the mood. My one problem is how completely ugly some of the synthesized orchestra material sounds. Most of the stuff with real instruments (guitar, organ, etc.) sound just fine.The orchestra often sounds like something I could do on my $200 Yamaha keyboard. That's not to say the voices never work. They just often times sound really off putting. On some of it (such as the theme to the second area of the game after leaving the entrance to the castle) sound like they'd be absolutely amazing if it was a real orchestra preforming it. And it's not even that I'm inherently opposed to synthesized orchestra sounds. Some of the old RPGs like Chrono Trigger sounded crazy good with what limited hardware they had. Maybe it's just a preference I have for the sort of voice the SNES chip has, and not so much for the sort of voice most cheap keyboards have. Still, that Colosseum theme is rockin' good.
  • Game Over screen: SO SLOW.
Those were the few thoughts I could muster in relation to this game so far. I'm still relatively early into the game (just got the mist transformation relic), so I haven't completely decided how I feel about the game. So far it's been a blast, which is somewhat more than I can say for my return to the world of Crackdown today.

I really don't know what to think about Crackdown at this point. I like it, I really do. But that like used to be an intense "this is freakin amazing" feeling, and even now I feel it's burning out all candle-like. The highly visceral feeling I get from the game is still there, more or less. And who doesn't get an awesomeness overload anytime they blow a field of cars into the sky with their rocket launcher? Or how about finding that next agility orb, or knocking some innocent civilian fifty feet away with a kick?

It's all still there, but the nagging voice of "this is it?" is getting louder by the minute. Because really, there's nothing else to this game. The environments barely pass for interactive or even interesting save for the propane tanks and other destructibles strewn about the city. The game itself is a sequence of set pieces designed to make you look cool. And for what it's worth, they get the job done. But that job really only counts for so much. It's sort of unfair that you have to compare this, a budget title more or less, to Grand Theft Auto, but you sorta have to. The multitude of other things GTA (which is really the template Crackdown is working from, make no mistake) has is really the draw. The combat in both GTA and Crackdown are admittedly pretty shallow. This is much less so, I think, with Crackdown, but it's still pretty unfulfilling. I can personally make the excuse for GTA that because it's a combination of so many things, the combat, the open world, the driving, the missions, the great story, all the other little things, the mediocrity of the combat and the broken controls (which, thankfully, appear to be fixed with IV) don't matter in the context of the game itself. Crackdown really doesn't have much at all going for itself other than the immediate gratification of the carnage you can create.

I've lost all desire to actually play through the main story. The game's "bosses" are really the most disappointing aspect. I really have no interest in fighting them at all. Give literally a regular thug from the game a bigger life bar and maybe an explosive weapon, and you've got a boss. Killing bosses is an exercise in patience, while the only damage you'll be taking is from the billions of bullets from every direction in the mission areas. About the closest I got to a creative boss fight was demolishing panels in order to blow up floors in a building and draw the boss out. And even that ended in "gun this dude down as quick as possible". The strict combat focus really wouldn't bother me if it wasn't such a "point at this guy and fire till he's gone" sort of deal. And then there are the little things that just bother me about the game. Like how half of my pile of burnt-out cars just disappear anytime I walk a few steps away. And how in this city I'm in, everyone, even the minivan-driving soccer moms seem to be listening to Mexican rap music. My, what a strange world.

And whats weird is that beyond all that, I'm still into Crackdown. I LIKE making shit blow up. I like the obsessive orb hunting. I even like some of the racing. The problem is that blowing shit up, at this level, isn't keeping me in as much as I wanted it to. I'll try playing it again when I get the chance.

NOTE: I'd just like to mention that this particular Game Log is a lot longer than (hopefully) the subsequent Game Log posts will be. I wrote these after being well into both games I mention here, so I had a lot of writing to do about each. I hope to keep a more timely schedule so I won't have to write a billion paragraphs about what I played today. Cheers.