Monday, June 30, 2008

Earth Defence Force 2017: I want to cry

There was one mission that my brother and I just couldn't do on the hard difficulty level yesterday, but I thought I'd give it a go by myself. It involves three waves of giant ants, before two UFOs arrive and drop a load more and you have to bring down the UFOs while avoiding being overrun. The first two times I tried, I died after the UFOs appeared. There were too many ants. But on the third go, something clicked. I ran towards the bugs at the start, and joined up with my colleagues before they died - and then led them away while missiling the big group of ants until they were gone. I did this again with the second group of soldiers, and the third. By the time the UFOs appeared, I had a big group who were all killing the ants that came down while I was able to spend time shooting inside the UFO. Mission completed!

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

Earth Defence Force 2017: they're spitting acid at us!

My brother came to visit last night, and for some reason among playing Samba de Amigo, FIFA 08, Beijing 2008, Ghost Squad and Virtua Tennis, I suggested we put on EDF2017. I bought it almost a year ago, and had never played it.

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.

Apollo Justice Ace Attorney: completed!

So, in the end, it turns out that everything is even more interlinked than first thought, with many key characters being related. It does feel a little odd when it all tied up quite so neatly, really. Certainly it's not the best-written story of all time.

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

Rainbow Six Vegas: smoke everywhere!

Finally managed to get past the theatre, with lots of smoke, and setting Michael up beforehand behind the box with the turret. And they're trying to blow up the Nevada Dam. No idea why. Anyway, it looks like it's bye bye to Vegas ...

Rainbow Six Vegas: big empty theatre!

Or not empty, in fact, which was the problem.

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.

Apollo Justice Ace Attorney: complex relations

So, Magnifi is Trucy's grandfather, and they share a sort of mindreading power that's been passed down. Evidently through her mother. But Apollo also has that power ... does that make him related? A half-brother?

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

Apollo Justice Ace Attorney: from the flames, he arises ...

Phoenix is back! And it looks like he didn't do it, but he did present it, and so there's a travesty of justice here that happened seven years ago. And I'm back to controlling Phoenix, flicking between the present and the past, looking to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that my next leap will be the leap home ...

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

Rainbow Six Vegas: overturned cars!

And so to Vegas itself, leaving my teammates captured and half dead. I very much doubt that's the last I'll see of them though.

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.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Ghost Squad: leave no trace!

Well, of course I'll leave no trace. The enemies' bodies disappear after three seconds.

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.

Samba de Amigo: go to the next stage

Well, when you've just set up your new high-definition LCD TV, what better way to celebrate than plug the Dreamcast in and shake maracas?

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

Rainbow Six Vegas: snake cam!

For my birthday back in March I got this and Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (although receipt of the latter was delayed). Now I've got the chance, I've started playing through this.

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

Apollo Justice Ace Attorney: Trucy's real dad

Finally, it makes sense.  I was trying to work out how Phoenix had a kid of 15 when, from what I can gather, this game is only set eight years after Trials and Tribulations.  I thought I'd have remembered seeing a kid running around.  Hopefully this case (the third) might provide more detail as to what exactly led to Phoenix giving up law ... it's all off on a bit of a weird tangent at the moment though.