Friday, December 12, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Palkia was sitting there. I healed up, and went to fight. Luxray hit with Thunder first, paralysing Palkia and taking off 25% of its energy. But a heavy hit left him with only 5HP left, and I switched to Infernape (killed in one hit, after throwing a Flame Wheel which caused virtually no damage) and then Gyrados. I threw one ultra ball, which Palkia escaped from, but he didn't kill Gyrados that time. I threw another ultra ball, and he didn't escape. I was amazed.
Maintenant, j'ai une pokémon legendaire.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I've worked out what to do next though, and have just beaten Team Galactic's boss, and freed three pokémon that he was experimenting on. They just disappeared, though - I hope I get to catch them again later ...
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The story mode acts as a tutorial to the rest of the game, although it gets quite hard towards the end, with quite funny and self-referential story segments interspersed. The reference to taking the game to the second-hand shop when it was finished was most amusing.
The Treasure's Best levels are quite shooty and action-packed. Some of them start with far too many enemies on screen, and an immediate need for a smart bomb. There's a load of slowdown, but it's not clear if that's on purpose or not. I'd guess it is, because on the rare occasion that I've managed a 100x4 (a hundred bullets, at four times the normal size), the screen's paused for a good second before restarting.
I'm still working through the puzzle levels, and I'm probably halfway through. Some take ages to complete; some are over in a couple of seconds. Some are great, others not so.
And I've not even tried to make my own levels yet ...
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
We've found ways around it. When I play Kieron and John at one of the DS's online games, we set up a Halo 3 lobby on Xbox Live, and use that to talk amongst ourselves. In fact, in a couple of days' time that won't be necessary, since Microsoft are finally implementing party chat on their new dashboard.
This evening I played online Mario Kart Wii against George and Marty, and I had to put my mobile on speakerphone just so we could have a conversation during the game. Rubbish. The game wasn't though - a fair smattering of wins from both sides paying testament to Nintendo's balancing policy, with several close finishes. Great fun.
I then went offline and completed two of the 100cc cups. I still can't get better than a silver on the last of the new tracks though - Rainbow Road kills it every time.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
After hours of effort, Essential Sudoku DS is finally over. Well, the picross puzzles - I'm not going to do the sudokus.
So, what do you think the last puzzle was? Well, let's see ...
Last puzzle! How exciting!
Lots of colours. It looks like it'll be quite spectacular. Let's see, where to start? Well, the sixth column sums to 14 plus one blank, so we know how that fits in. We can see the seventh row too. Hmm, this is rather easy ...
Erm, what is this? I was thinking that at least we'd have a picture of a trophy as the last puzzle. I mean, that would have been obvious, yes?
But no. A pie chart. Great.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I'm disappointed by the current crop of sports pictures. The stick figures look very rough indeed.
Monday, October 20, 2008
However, at lunchtime I tried a couple of deterministic paths - considering that this was a monocolour puzzle, I could test to see if certain spaces were on or off - and managed to complete half the puzzle. And then got stuck; I looked for twenty minutes and couldn't find a move.
This added impetus lead me to do a bit of searching - and I found a clever automatic solver which confirmed to me that there was a unique solution, and I'd got the half I was doing right. Then, after a full 5 seconds of looking at the puzzle again, I found the most obvious clue I'd missed (I had a block of five into which I had to fit a four, and I'd only coloured in a single square), and that led to me completing the puzzle.
So, in the hope that I can spare others of the anguish, here are some hints for puzzle 788 of Essential Sudoku DS:
- On the bottom row, you're slightly limited as to where the 4 can go since there must be a maximum of 3 in any one place on the line above.
- Test the top-right corner; see if setting that to 1 causes any contradictory issues.
- The rows and columns with 5 and 4 together need only one square to be lost from the row or column in order for a single square to be coloured.
- If all else fails, the picture is orientated diagonally from top-right to bottom-left.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
It's not all bad, though. It was at first; it was an uncontrollable mess, with needless "hustle" sections shoehorned into Tubthumping, destroying the amazing original. After a few songs, though, I started to work out how the game measured things, and by placing a finger along the side of the remote, and "shaking" by jerking the remote sideways towards the screen, I've found something that registers almost all the time, and also sort of feels like I'm playing on the Dreamcast again.
Sort of; almost. If it wasn't for the fact that the Wii version has many more songs, and more play modes, than the Dreamcast version, I'd not see this getting much play. As it is, after a bit of practice it works OK, and I can see myself playing it a bit, and it also coming out at parties. But it's a huge disappointment, to be fair. I can't imagine that many people at parties being willing to commit the time to understanding how to control the game; it should be intuitive and immediate, and it's not. A long way from it.
I hope this sells well, though, so that they can bring out Samba de Amigo v2009 using Wii MotionPlus and get it working properly.
The basic rules of cat and mouse: on each team is one mouse (driving a Mini) and at least one cat (driving a much faster car). The winning team is the one that gets the mouse across the line first. It's not exactly fair racing.
Cat and mouse was payed a fair amount in PGR2, but was never a set game mode. The reliance in PGR3 on all cars being supercars rather killed the game off, but it's back in PGR4 and is a fully recognised and organised subgame. And it's great.
I managed to frustrate John rather a few times by smashing him into a wall or spinning him off when he was driving the Mini, but met my match when Jay started doing the same to me. I was on the winning team for the majority of games though ...
The only frustration is that the cars become ghosts if driven backwards or parked for too long. As a result, you can wedge the Mini into a corner, but eventually it'll be able to get out, once your car is no longer an obstacle. I think John may have appreciated that feature though.
Monday, October 06, 2008
The hardest puzzles are those where the picture lies along a diagonal of the square. You end up with only a few coloured blocks in each row and it's hard to start, but once started it's OK to finish. Puzzle 755, a picture of fish bones, was really difficult, because as well as the backbone lying diagonally down the middle, there were random scatterings of black for the ribs as well.
In fact, it looked like this:
Monday, September 22, 2008
Oh, and the last puzzle I talked about didn't require guesswork. It did mean I had to develop a new technique, though, of using different colours to progress down a path until it was proven to be a dead end.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I bought this ages and ages ago, but only ever played half of it before playing something else. As a DS game, see, it's at a massive disadvantage in needing the sound to be heard. I normally play DS games with the sound off, on the train without headphones. It's only that I'm in a hotel room that I've been able to put the time in to play it properly.
I was playing on "Breezin'", the easiest difficulty, and managed to get all the way to the last song on my first go. But Jumpin' Jack Flash is rather hard, espcially the last segment which shows sequences of 14 notes that you have to hit. Ouch. After seven attempts I finally got to the end, with a bit of a poor score but enough to see the end sequence. All the characters from the rest of the game came to cheer me. Hooray.
I'll try on a harder difficulty now ... I can't call it completed when it's only done on easy!
Now I'm stuck in Riyadh, I've had some more time to sink into the game. In particular, I've been playing through the mission mode, which puts tennis into a variety of different Sega games, including House of the Dead, Space Harrier (rather disjointed from actual tennis, it becomes more of a shooter with no returned balls), Monkey Ball (which has little to do with Monkey Ball but instead opts for a pool or billiards feel), and Puyo Pop.
The last of these is quite clever - puyos fall from the top of the screen as normal, and you must hit them with the ball to make them disappear. There's no combos, puyos don't disappear automatically when four group together. It's made difficult by the controls, however, since it's difficult to accurately judge where you'll hit apart from on the serve. In addition, it's really hard to hit anything above the top row of puyos. This last point becomes annoying when the clear puyos, which you can only get rid of by vanishing coloured puyos adjacent to them, start lining along the bottom row. Most annoying.
One of the Puyo Pop stages took me ages to clear - one where you had to keep playing for more than 70 seconds - but after that I whizzed through the rest and mission mode is now complete. There are a far few single-A scores, some double-A, and many AAA. I'm not sure I can be bothered to redo the As though. Back to the single-player tournament, where I'll once again breeze through to win the final, and then lose spectacularly on the bonus round.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Now I'm on a level where you have to run through a twisty passage - or rather walk, since the walls are lined with explosives. Except these explosives are set off by a missile at the start, so you've got to rush. And there are blocks in the way that need to be destroyed, except you can't fire too much at them or you'll set explosives off in front of you and behind you, and you'll die.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Now I'm stuck on a level where there are a mix of destructable and indestructable blocks - and if you hit the destructable ones then the indestructable forms a solid wall between you and the target. Most odd.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
I played some more today, finally maxing out my driving stat so that I'm now a fully upgraded super person. I enjoyed myself so much that I went and bought the extra content, and had a great time driving the buggy around, doing tricks. I managed to do all the tricks needed for the stunt driver achievement, but I still need to work out some way of keeping my car in the air for six seconds ...
I also found a couple more agility orbs and a smattering of hidden orbs. I've got 8 agility left to find, and 81 hidden. I'm now hearing the orb pulsing noises again.
At least when you're playing single-player, your teammates do what you tell them, and they don't press the wrong buttons. On a few occasions we worked out a cunning entry plan into the room, got ready ... and then one person went in early, or opened the wrong door, or even instead of opening the door, threw a grenade into the closed door which bounced off and killed someone else. I won't name names. Mainly because that last one was me.
It works really well, but that could be expected given that the single-player game effectively has two computer-controlled characters in it for most of the story. Oddly, the story and voiceovers appear to have been removed from the coop game, meaning that John and I had to tell Kieron what was going on ... which wasn't helped by the random order I'd picked levels in ...
Thursday, September 04, 2008
The only thing that's frustrating is that I can't work out how to kill the big big boss robot, on the eighth level of the Treasure's Best group. Anything I fire at him just gets reflected back, and then he kills me with two swipes of his sword. I've moved over to the puzzle levels instead for a while, before I no doubt go back and solve it first time.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The first few scenarios were easy; the last one not so. Building upon (ho ho) everything up to that point, the last scenario was to build a city back from poverty to excellence. I had to increase the population, reduce homelessness (to less than 10%), and increase employment (to greater than 90%). Of course, as the population increased, what with my city being a wonderful place to be, then the latter two suffered. After a year, I'd well exceeded my population target, but that just meant it was increasingly difficult to find space to house everyone, and I was having to demolish things like shops and cinemas to make way for more workplaces. Getting rid of entertainment venues, however, meant that the population was fast getting miserable - which then meant they weren't motivated to work anyway.
Finally, in month 19, I built loads of high-rise buildings and got housing up to 95%; I then built around ten fireworks factories all over the city in empty spaces and employment just snuck up to 90% - just enough to complete the scenario, and the game.
Luckily, there's a free play mode, so it's still possible to use this as my mobile game of choice. It's a very cut-down version of SimCity, indeed - but it's an excellent game to have on a mobile.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Bring on the sequel.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
So if I've reached the end of the game, is it completed? Not quite yet - there are a few puzzles which I've not solved, which means I've not found them. I'm missing a couple of items for the inn challenge, which I will probably get from the missing puzzles, and then I've got the bonus puzzles which will be unlocked from that.
Watch this space.
Monday, August 11, 2008
The puzzles in the tower are quite a lot harder, and I had real trouble with the fourth slidy block to get the ball out puzzle. I managed it in the end, but more by luck than planning.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
But the best bit of the evening was Halo 3 coop, playing through Tsavo Highway and taking out wraiths and anti-air guns with all three of us on a warthog which didn't quite make a jump ... Kieron even managed to stay with us most of the time!
Thursday, August 07, 2008
The puzzles vary in difficulty, and the amount you score depends on how difficult they are. If you get it wrong, then the total you can earn falls (again, the amount by which it fals depends on difficulty). I'd getting the vast majority of puzzles first time, though, which is very reassuring.
As for the story - well, someone's been murdered and there's an arrogant detective overseeing the investigation. It amuses me the way that puzzles are thrown at you pretty randomly by some people - you're told to go to the inn immediately, but "before you go, try to solve this ..."
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Sunday, August 03, 2008
The last battle was really obscure too. After a long fight, kiling Galdes, you're presented with a rotating pattern on the floor. I tried casting spells on Galdes's body, even casting four spells at once, but no effect. After a while he resurrects and you have to kill him again - not fun. In the end I worked out that you have to cast spells in each of the circles in the rotating pattern, which bears no relation to anything in the game up to that point. Very daft indeed.
Enough complaining though. A good game indeed, and I look forward to playing through dungeons in multiplayer.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I'll be taking my iPod, so of course I've got Peggle and Phase.
I'll be taking my DS, with Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates being lined up to be completed on the flight over. Since my sister is also going, I've got Animal Crossing: Wild World. My brother and mum also have DSes, so 42 All Time Classics may be fun in the evening. The last spot of my 4-cart holder is taken up by Pokémon Pearl, because, you never know, one day I might complete a Pokémon game.
I'll also be taking my PSP. I've even charged it up, which was necessary since it's not been used since around January when I had a quick go of PES5. PES5 is in the slot, and I'm also taking Loco Roco in the hope of finishing that; Power Stone Collection in the hope of starting that, Wipeout Pure, and the film Borat because I've not watched it yet and everyone says it's funny.
I think this is the first holiday in a long time that I've not packed an Advance Wars game. To be honest, on past holidays I may as well have only packed Advance Wars. Hopefully this time there may be some variety ...
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Then the facility started to crumble, and I legged it.
Monday, July 21, 2008
It's OK. Quite pretty, but a bit too grimy and brown, and it's certainly not the most graphically advanced game ever. The camera is dire, though, and it doesn't swing around behind the car quickly enough when you turn, meaning that if you take a sharp turn quickly you often end up buried in another car, lorry, or anything simply because you couldn't see it was there.
The story's not great either. Eastern European immigrant; cousin already in the US hassled by loan sharks; attractive girl wanting to go on a date. They seem to throw too many things all at once, but at the same time it starts off too slowly. The fun with GTA was always once you got a fast car, rocket launcher, armour. So far I have a crappy taxi and a knife. This doesn't help when the police hassle me because I happen to hit their car - especially given that it wasn't my fault, I couldn't see it ...
But it's GTA, and the sense of freedom's still there. I can still go off around the city wherever I want. Except that my cousin keeps calling me asking that I go to help him out ... and if I don't go now then that's a bad mark against me ... sigh.
I do enjoy rhythm boxing.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Then came the twist; there's a mole in Rainbow, who stole the helicopter after gloating about his success in duping us all ... luckily I managed to shoot the helicopter down so it crashed into the lake. Hooray, game over.
Well, this game is. The final words in the game were "this isn't over, not by a long way". Part of the radio extracts at the end told of how the pilot's body was recovered from the helicopter, but not the mole's. And, in case you weren't convinced by that, there's a big black and red "to be continued" screen.
That'll be Rainbow Six Vegas 2 then. I may play something else first ...
Monday, July 07, 2008
To be honest, this was bought merely so I could play online with John and Kieron; I want to be a Selkie again and see Kieron running around with a bucket on his head. I'm concerned, however, that a lack of miasma keeping us together will see Kieron lost in the midst of a sixteen-enemy fight somewhere while John and I explore carefully ...
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Maybe it's the lack of teammates, maybe it's the lack of voiceover, maybe it's the fuzzyness of the graphics compared to the shininess of EDF's baddies, but it's not quite as immediate fun as EDF was, to me. That may be, of course, because of the weapons I've picked up - I've only just got a reasonable homing missile launcher which can fire off 10 missiles a second, with a reasonable degree of accuracy.
I think the obvious fault is with the controls. I feel like I'm continually fighting to control my soldier, and the vehicles are an absolute nightmare to control - it's far easier to just run around on the ground. This is a shame, since you get the feeling that using the tank or helicopter would add something to the game, but as it is I'll never use them enough to get used to controlling them.
I will, of course, continue to play GDF, but more concurrently with EDF, and not as a replacement.
Now, interestingly, GDF is actually the second in the series, with the first being released over here under the name Monster Attack. I may need to track that one down.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
It's easy to play it as a relaxing experience, watching the bubbles scrolling up (or down, or across) the screen, and popping ones that you want to. There's a deep game hidden within, though, with the combo structure being the only way to reach the really high scores. In order to make a combo, you must hit only those bubbles of the same colour, not popping anything else. This becomes more and more difficult, with bubbles overlapping, and you're then left to try and get the smaller bubbles which get more points but give you less time and are more difficult to hit meaning that you're more likely to end your combo ... it get quite frantic indeed.
My only complaint is that on some of the stages two of the four colours are quite similar, which is something you don't want when you're starting to panic ...
Monday, June 30, 2008
What's more, because of the huge numbers of enemies, I got loads of new weapons. Hooray!
I then went onto the beach landing level, which was pretty easy with my FORK missiles (20 homing missiles launched at the same time), and got another 5 new weapons. Hooray again!
And then I decided to try the level where the walkers are going through the city. It was all very hectic, but by concentrating on one walker at a time I got them down to two last enemies, with my soldiers firing constantly ... and then the screen went black.
No, I hadn't sat on my controller. My Xbox had decided to overheat, cutting the game off and also deciding it wasn't going to let me turn it off either. I had to pull out the plug. It's now sitting on the floor, all by itself, cooling down - it was burning to the touch at first.
So I want to cry. Due to EDF not having an autosave (WHY NOT?) and Microsoft making the most unreliable console in the history of anything (WHY?), my evening of playing has been turned sour. Bah.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I wish I had. It is superb. Well, no, it's crap, in a funky skillo sort of way. It's the closest videogame I've ever seen to a B-movie, with giant ants and spiders, absurdly powerful weapons, and bad dialogue.
We played it for an hour and a half, until we turned it off and realised there was no autosave. And then we played it for two and a half hours more, frequently dying when we put it on harder difficulties in an attempt to gain better weapons. I think we've cleared around 4% of the game.
I think that I still consider the original Phoenix Wright to be the best of the series, before the magatama was introduced. Apollo's bracelet was quite a clever idea, which affected the court scenes rather than the investigation, but it was very limited in its use - and it could get quite difficult to actually work out what you were meant to be seeing and when. Better signposting would have been good. This game probably comes a close second.
But, of my, the end of the game didn't half drag on. I had to present a whole three things during the last part of the trail, and there was just far too much talking. Not quite Metal Gear Solid 4 standards of 90 minute cutscenes, but still. I wish to play the game, not read it.
And so ends the current Ace Attorney series. Take that!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I've come a long way, rescuing scientists and diffusing a large bomb. As I suspected, I've come across my two colleagues who were kidnapped in the opening stages. One died in a firefight, which really annoyed me. I saw him sitting there, so I kept my distance and killed all the enemies I could see using a silenced pistol, with only the last two returning fire at all (and they were nowhere near Kan). And yet, because the game was scripted so, he died anyway - but not before telling me that Vegas is just a cover and the terrorists are planing something bigger elsewhere. Hmm.
I'm now trying to hack into the terrorist's data hub to find out where that is. It's taken me fifteen attempts to get to the stage of the theatre, since there were loads of enemies running through every door once I got down to the stalls. I finally worked out that I could make them appear by going to ground level on an outside corridor and using my snake cam under the door, then go back up to the gods and kill them from there. It still wasn't easy, mind.
Now I'm on stage, and when I order Jung to hack the computer a lod more enemies come through the doors and abseil down from the of. The latter I can understnad, but the I've cleared out all the entrances already; where are they coming from?
In any case, I generally last about 20 seconds before they destroy the computer that Jung's working on. It's a laptop, so why he can't hide behind a crate with it, I don't know. I'll have to try deploying some smoke grenades in front of him so they can't see him to shoot it.
I've finished investigation of the past now, so I'm trying to clear up the present. Everything's interlinked, even more so than normal ...
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Erm, wrong series. It's all a bit complicated now. I was very pleased with myself for working out the two guns and rifling marks puzzles, though.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
It's lovely to have a bit of colour after the browns and greys of the opening arenas. I may have joked in the past about how the C64 could cope with many shades of brown, but the current trend for all action games to be set in dusty grimy locales makes everything look rather samey and dull. Vegas may be grey at times, but it makes all the difference having bright blues and reds inside the casinos.
I've fought through one of the casinos, in order to get to the security room. The layout of the casino is a nightmare for being able to keep track of where the terrorists are hiding; they ought to do something about that.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Saturday, June 07, 2008
I've not played a proper lightgun game for years - ever since, in fact, my last TV (the 28" widescreen CRT) was 100Hz only so my Dreamcast guns wouldn't work on it. Ghost Squad uses the Wii remote as a gun, and it's great. It's surprisingly accurate, and I get the feeling the software's been tweaked to allow for some slightly wayward shots.
It's a well structured game, with multiple choices at different stages through the levels, meaning that each game has the potential to be different. I've played mission 1 four times so far, and the best I've done was to get 40% clear ... yes, I finished all three missions, but I'm not going to claim that I've completed the game just yet!
I get the feeling it'll be a while before I get good rankings on the online leaderboards.
I wasn't great at it, though. I didn't manage to get a single entry on the high score table, and even got a B ranking on one turn. Hang my head in shame. Still, now that I've been reminded how great it is, I have every incentive to play more to get better!
Thursday, June 05, 2008
I've not got to Vegas yet. It's pretty hard, though I'm slowly learning how to hide away and just peep around corners. I was learning the best way to control my team mates as well, until they get taken away from me ...
Unfortunately, that's not the only thing I'm learning. I'm also learning where the enemy starts and their routes, so that every time I die I no longer sneak around every corner but instead just run to where I can kill the enemies easily, over and over again. The checkpoints are rather far apart, and I'm dying far too frequently.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
Apollo's a bit of a wet blanket at the moment, but so was Phoenix at the start of the first game. I'm looking forward to finding out what happened seven years previous, which meant that Phoenix lost his attorney badge. For now, though, I've just finished the first case, and it was lovely and concise, with some great DS features included - examining bottles, moving cupboards, and so on.
But Phoenix has a daughter?
Monday, May 12, 2008
Plus it gave me a Wii Fit age of 26 when I tried it at John's, so I won't hear a bad thing about it.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Some of the later levels in the game were really inventive, although there seemed to be a tendency to make the game harder by simply throwing more enemies around, and upping the score requirements to allow for the fact that multipliers shot up much quicker. This made some of the levels a little bit too dependent on luck, with some attempts finishing after scores in the low thousands.
I've gone straight back to the start trying for golds, and it's pleasing to see how I'm able to obtain these whereas I wasn't before. I got a stonking score for the last of the α levels (over 50 million, whereas the requirement for gold was just 5 million). What is clever though is the way the game becomes progressively harder as your score increases, meaning that the earlier levels still retain a challenge, especially to make a dent on the online leaderboards. For example, my 50 million pales in comparison to the current world best of 17,000 million ...
The last time I completed a game with silvers and started to try for golds was PGR2. Evidently Bizzare knows something about putting goals just within reach ...
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Of course, it was all down to me, nothing to do with John's vast film knowledge ...
Thursday, May 01, 2008
I must be near the end of this now, surely. I played through the fourth case, which was a retrospective of Mia's first ever case - and I saw that Godot used to be Diego. The hair and waistcoat gave it away. Now I've played through the first day of the last trial as Edgeworth, then carried on as Phoenix, and it's all a little far-fetched at times. Some of the needing to present at exactly the right time is annoying too. I wanted to present the weather report when they said it was snowing, but instead I had to present it when they talked about the time instead. Huh.
Almost everything is solved now. I know who killed Misty, I know who else was there, and I know what that other person saw. Just to prove it. Hopefully I can finish this tonight ...
Friday, April 18, 2008
I only played this quickly last night after it had downloaded, just enough to complete the 100m and 500m levels. There are items! And odd flags! One of the items looks stupidly useful - a full air tank. I can forsee myself using that very often indeed.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
A computer programmer's been murdered, and it's difficult to get information out of his boss ...
Maya: "SuPer-Admin Restricted Desktop Access password-protected!? What!? This is madness!"
Phoenix: "No, Maya, that is SPARDA."
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I've also been online for a fair few races, and have ended up with a score of 5100 (up from the starting score of 5000). You win points for coming in the top half of a race, and lose points for coming in the last half. For quite some time I was languishing in the 4000s, but a few victories over Dutchmen and Germans saw me elevated again. For some reason the French seem to be very good at this game. The best bit though is that it's not out in the US until the end of this month, so for a while we'll have blissfully few disconnects, cheaters, and idiots driving the wrong way around the track. Excellent.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Saturday, April 05, 2008
I've managed to work out how to upload photos from PGR4 now as well. Rather idiotically, you can't upload ones that you've already saved; you can only upload them as and when you take them. After my stint in a TVR in career mode, this afternoon I was racing in a Jaguar.
In Tokyo, where an overtaking event was made all the more difficult by an opponent who refused to go slowly (you can see him in the background):
In Tokyo, where it was snowing and the wheels were spinning all over the place:
And in Las Vegas, where my car got infeasibly dirty:
You've got to love the purple and orange colour scheme.
This morning I played through some of the planets in the theta galaxy, and have even managed a couple of golds. One on Rocduo, where I got 10million (the gold required 5million), and one on Flipente, where a score of 53million was not only four times that needed for gold, but is also the fifth best score in the world, according to the leaderboards.
That doesn't say much though. The leaderboards are idiotic, since you need to connect to Nintendo Wi-Fi individually for each planet. It really ought to be a one-off connection, where it takes a few minutes but downloads the current high scores for each and every planet at once. Especially given the nature of the DS, where the opportunities to connect to the Internet are rarer than with home consoles.
Still. Fifth in the world. Huzzah.
Monday, March 31, 2008
To start with, I tried using the bait drone, to attract the enemies away from me. I'm only half way through levelling that drone up though, and it was rubbish - attracting enemies around one time in four, and being useless the rest of the time. I tried moving, or finding somewhere to hide, but it was useless.
In the end I found a way to use the turret drone. I sheltered against the side wall of one of the side star sections, and aimed to the point of the star every time I cleared a wave - so as to destroy the enemy there at its first appearance. Often the turret would take out the rest of the wave, but if not I just had to quickly aim the other way to do so. After a while enemies stopped appearing actually in the star point, so I moved right to the end and cleaned up from there. Just after I got silver, however, enemies reappeared at the end of the point - but I've got silver now, and that's all that matters.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
So, a couple of highlights from the last week or so ...
There was a room full of Covenant grunts, jackals and a gold brute. The first couple of times I went in, I managed to kill most of the jackals and grunts, but the brute killed me in the meantime. I managed to find an invisibility pickup, turned it on, ran into the middle of the room and stuck a plasma grenade to the brute; then ran back and watched the explosion before finishing the survivors.
This is what happens when the Flood panics you. I was carrying a brute shot, and suddenly was jumped on by a couple of Flood. Even watching through the replay it made me jump! I fired at the first one, standing next to me, using whatever weapon I had equipped. Oops. Luckily it didn't quite kill me. The remaining Flood did though.
This is from a multiplayer game a week or so ago. That's me in the red. I've just killed the blue person, who was jumping towards me. Unfortunately, that firey blob to his right is a fire grenade which he threw just before dying. Two seconds later I was dead too; killed from beyond the grave.
Maybe I played more before than I thought, or maybe it was just the solid three-hour session on Saturday, but that seemed a lot shorter than Halo 2. From where I was, I went and found Cortana in the infected ship, and escaped; fought my way into the control room on the half-complete Halo, killed the Spark with four shots from the big laser thing, activated the Halo and ran away. Then I found a warthog and thought I'd have a repeat of the timed sequence from the first game - but it wasn't timed, which made it more fun. The big explosions around me kept me going, though, and the track falling away in front made some parts tricky. But I hit the ramp at the end, jumped into the ship, and ... credits roll.
I'll enjoy playing this through in co-operative.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Last night I was on the exercise bike for three hours as part of my marathon training, so I progressed with the story. I'd played a bit before, working towards stopping the prophet Truth from activating the weapon stored on Earth (though for some reason I've not written about that, it seems), and I carried on fighting on Earth. We stopped the weapon being activated, but a massive portal opened up, and Cortana sent a message on a Flood-infected ship crashing to the ground. I went through the portal to find the Ark, from where the Halos could be controlled, and tracked down the remaining prophet - and the Arbiter killed him. Not before Truth's lackeys had killed Keyes, though. Sob.
While the game's made up of excellently-designed levels, and the way the set-pieces are built around the AI is really clever, it's not really that memorable. I suppose the individual fights are unmemorable in a good way, in that the whole game is actually excellent.
There were some highlights. Taking a Scorpion tank through installations, destroying Wraiths and Ghosts. Flying the Falcons to take out two Scarabs at the same time. Allying with the Flood to get to the prophet, running along and seeing fallen enemies being consumed to join my army. Great fun.
We found a new ring, being built to replace the one destroyed in the first game, and it was explained in a rather long-winded way that we could use this to destroy the Flood and not kill everything and everything. All I need to do is find Cortana, who's somewhere on the Flood-infected High Charity ...
Sunday, March 09, 2008
And then the stupid game-breaking feature came in: a bomb which was impossible to diffuse before it went off. I can understand the bombs; you do need some way to lose, and they do make the game more anxious. But it isn't asking much, surely, to request that it be always possible to diffuse them? Otherwise you get to a stage where the game is deciding when it's game over, with nothing to do with your skill. Rubbish.
I will no doubt be told that it wasn't impossible to diffuse this bomb, but it was. The yellow bomb sat alone, no other yellows near to it. There were only three hexagons underneath the bomb which could be cleared, and when they went no yellows appeared above it. All other moves were on the other side of the play area, so any yellows that appeared there were useless anyway.
How you're meant to collect six black pearls when the game is this unfair, I have no idea.
I was quite happily going through the arcade mode, and then I got to a stage where you must use bikes. I'd resigned myself to only completing half the game as it is (for each arcade mode, you get two sets of medals, one for the car and one for the bike), but even that's not good enough. I'm being forced to ride rickety bikes which fall over if you breathe on them. And the computer cars have a propensity to drive straight into me. Huff.
I won a game of SWOS against the computer.
Now, yes, I was playing as England against the Faroe Isles. I did play eight games before this winning one. I did only score once in those eight games (and then lost 4-1 overall). But let that not take my glee away from me. I won a game!
It's not as good as the old Mega Drive game. It's annoying, the controls are awful, and the computer's just too good. At least I can rest easy knowing that I won a game, and never have to try to again.
As with PGR2 (and the small part of PGR3 I played before getting bored), I'm aiming for the silvers in the arcade mode, and so far have got them all without a hitch. The different types of gameplay are great - I particularly like the 'Time v Kudos' mode, which pauses the clock all the time you're earning Kudos points - large powerslides never felt more satisfying.
The career is much harder though. For each event you compete against three computer-controlled characters, and I've only won two of the five events I've completed so far - I came second in the other three. Interesting I seem to win by far for those races which aren't actually races - Hot Laps, Cone Challenges and so on - but often have difficulty in the street races. It all feels a bit unbalanced.
And there are some really daft things in the game too. Who put the names and nationalities in such large text, so that they can completely obscure the track ahead? Who decided that it was a good idea to only allow the Tourist mode to be playable in multiplayer online? I want to drive around London by myself!
Having said all that, I really do like PGR, and this does seem to be the best yet - yes, even better than PGR2. That's saying something.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
The last event of the circuits was the "dream race" - basically a Mario Kart meets Sonic R meets 100m sprint - which wasn't as good as any of those. I got in front at the start and stayed there, laying bombs behind me, never seeing a shell but occasionally being hit by lightning or a Boo. I never saw any other contestant though.
Hopefully the advanced circuits will unlock further events. But this unlocking idea is daft. I have to get good at the game to unlock stuff. Therefore in order to play the game in multiplayer, I will have had to practised a lot, meaning that I will have a significant advantage over whoever I'm playing against.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I really like the way that the levels are so different. Some are non-stop frantic action, with enemies constantly appearing - even to the extent that some enemies will appear wherever your ship was a second previously, so that you need to be constantly on the move. Other levels are more relaxed and (in the case of those levels with large enemy containers) almost let you take them at your own speed (as long as you don't take too long ...).
I'm very tempted to get the Wii version of this as well at some point, to see how differently it plays. Plus, of course, to unlock the last galaxy on the DS game.
Friday, February 22, 2008
I've now completed the first run of galaxies in the bedroom (missing out the hidden stars and most of the comet stars) and have gone up to the engine room. I've passed 60 stars so I could go and rescue Peach ... but no, I'll let her hang on a bit.
I had trouble with one level - a cosmic comet (so a race against Cosmic Mario) on the Gold Leaf galaxy. The main issue I had was with climbing up what was effectively a staircase of blocks, where I kept misjudging my jumps so I hooked onto the side of a block and had to pull myself up, losing time. I lost six lives - but each time I was picking up an extra one, and when I finally finished I won the race easily.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
So I don't know why I bought Geometry Wars Galaxies. It might have been the cheap price. It might have been the praise it was getting online. It might have been just because I fancied a quick shooter session and I was out and about. Whatever it was, I'm glad that I did - it's brilliant.
One of my main concerns with the original game(s) was the lack of structure. It all felt very random, and I never got the feeling that there was a set wave pattern to the enemies. In this game not only are there many different levels, with defined goals and objectives, but it's clear that the appearance of the enemies and timing of their attacks has been tightly designed. I've played a couple of the levels through more than once and scores benefitted through understanding how the enemy's attacks were structured ... though not to the extent of, say R-Type, where you can move your ship to avoid or attack enemies well before they come onto the screen. There's still an element of flying by the seat of your pants - only partially alleviated by the presence of a drone which tries its best to help you out.
The structure of the game works well too. When you destroy enemies, they release geoms which you must then collect. These geoms, along with any bonus ones you're awarded for collecting a medal on a stage, are then used to unlock behaviours for your drone (one of which is to send it to collect the geoms for you) and new levels. Collecting geoms and defeating enemies also increases your multiplier. This introduction of geoms fundamentally changes the way the game plays - you need to chase enemies down so that you can collect the geoms once they're destroyed, whereas my previous tactic was to run away while firing behind me.
I've cleared the first stage with a gold medal and the second stages with silvers (therefore completing the first level). I think I'll set myself a limit of silvers before I progress - though I have a feeling this might get a lot harder than it currently is ...
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
There were three things you have to watch out for. Firstly, the lasers. But it helps to notice that there's a definite pattern they follow, in particular the three in the middle. They fire in turn. Lure the enemy into the path of the one that's about to fire, and they lose 8 health, not you. The lasers are destroyed by a bomber in two goes,even if said bomber gets hit by the laser in between. Secondly, the poison bombs. I diverted these by building a group of heavy tanks to the west, away from any other units - their value meant that they were targeted rather than anything else. And thirdly, the fighter with Stolos on board, which was ridiculously powerful. I simply lured that down to the south of the map with lots of infantry units (with anti-air units sent slightly north to discourage it venturing up that way), and sent a processin of bombers along the top, destroying lasers as they went. S rank and everything.
I even sat through the awful story at the end, so pleased was I. I then went into one of the trial missions and completed that with another S ranking. Excellent.
Of course, the game's not properly completed - far from it. I have only a handful of the 200+ medals available, for a start. I've only completed one of the trial missions. And the game seems to have got wedged into my DS - it just won't come out.
Mission 25 (called 'Final Destination') was actually quite easy, despite its first impressions - dumped on a map with very few units up against a massive army. Mission 26 is set at the enemy's lab, with big lasers and hundreds of bases. And it's very hard indeed.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Campaign level 22 has been pretty difficult - it took me three attempts to complete. The centre of the map is really a no-go area, since every turn a big bomb is dropped, which halves the strength of any units in the zone. So I took my units around the bottom, built up a massive force of megatanks, and rolled around, supported by bombers at the end for anti-tank dispersement. I only noticed on my third attempt that the opposition had no airports, so as long as I captured the spare one at the start of the game, their air units crashed and burnt after a few turns. No more bombers meant no more need for anti-aircraft guns or interceptors, and my megatanks only had the anti-tank units to worry about. I captured cities as I went, and once I captured the South Eastern base, that was about it.
Only an A rank, given the length of time it took me, but I can live with that.
I've not got used to the way you build up CO powers now yet. You have to have your CO in a specific unit, and all attacks in range of that unit are increased. More attacks in there increase the range and eventually let you use a CO power. I've not got around to that yet ...
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Dark Conflict is great. It's much more concentrated around the campain than previous games in the series - the war room equivalents are trials off the main campaign path - which in a way is a shame since the story's the weakest part. The combat, on the other hand, has been tightened up, and the revised mix of units seems to work very well. I particularly like the carriers, which can produce four seaplanes each over four turns, giving you an instant airforce even with no airports. The ability of mobile workshops to form a temporary airstrip is also genius.
So far, 10 S ranks and 5 A ranks, all from the main campaign.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
It's just great fun.
The idea of the game is to get three of a kind together, by flipping the stage through 90° at a time and letting the fruit ... er ... fall. On the stage I've reached there are two ends where one piece of fruit can get stuck and won't come out. I can't work out how to ensure that I don't get a piece stuck at both ends. I've played the stage several times now and each time I'm left with three pieces of one type, with two stuck a long way from each other.