Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Summer holiday gaming

Since Peterborough Passport Office is staffed by the most wonderful people ever, I'll be off on a holiday on Friday. This evening, therefore, I've been trying to decide what to take with me to play by the pool. After all, books only last so long ...

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

Super Smash Bros Brawl: Pika!

It's great.

It's really hard to control though. I tried with the GC controller, and I may need to change the jump button since I kept on trying to press A to jump. Particularly when playing as Mario.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates: I'm going to eat you little fishie

I was full of dread when I realised that the flooded complex required movement of water to progress. Luckily it wasn't on the scale of Ocarina of Time's Water Temple, and I was able to meet with Meeth and get to the boss quite easily. Beating the boss was another matter. In the end I resorted to using Gnash's arrows, letting everyone else die and then running from one side to the other shooting the boss from a distance. It took a while but he eventually went down. As did the water level.

Then the facility started to crumble, and I legged it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Grand Theft Auto IV: handbrake oversteer

I started GTAIV, despite not having finished Vice City or even started San Andreas. Well, I've no longer actually got those last two any more ... must be rectified. Though I'm not sure I can face starting VC for the third time, since I'd be playing it on the 360 instead of my original Xbox.

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.

Wii Fit: all over the place

I've not been using this regularly, which is very bad of me. My weight's been roughly constant (slight decline) and my fitness age has been increasing, with last night being a highlight since it was 30, a year younger than me.

I do enjoy rhythm boxing.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates: I am a Selkie!

Further through the game, after a key character has died, I've now got a party of four traipsing around, including one of each tribe. The king's apparently under the spell of an evil yuke, who's pretending to be one of my party. I'm now battling through a flooded complex after finding my lilty friend, and have found a big fish who I wish to be rid of. He is killing me lots.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Rainbow Six Vegas: completed!

I was pretty close to the end, in fact. A coupe more of those hateful hacking sequences, which I got past with liberal use of smoke grenades (one of which was really easy with the use of the smoke, since the enemies rappelled down, couldn't see us, so just stood there while we shot them one by one with thermal vision on), and then we found Irene, who went down in a hail of bullets. As with all evil genius candidates, she let us know what was happening just before she snuffed it, so I knew I had to get to the roof to disarm the missile. Well, not disarm it as such; Michael stuck some C4 on it and then after it launched it blew up. Bad luck terrorists!

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

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates: I want to be a Selkie!

It plays much as FFCC did, but with only one character on screen - although apparently that one character represents two, since both appear in the cutscenes. The dialogue is dreadful; the pictorial representations of the characters are abysmal and without the charm of their 3D counterparts. Despite this, the story's holding together quite well, with sufficient intrigue to keep me playing despite the obvious need for tedious levelling up and item collection that'll come later.

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

Global Defence Force: they've taken London

On Steve's recommendation, I've set up my PS2, dug out a memory card, and tried Global Defence Force, the predecessor to EDF2017. I've cleared ten or so stages now, and ... well, it's pretty much the same game. The menu structure is the same, the lack of autosave, the categories of weapons, the ability to play cooperatively. The "Hard" difficulty level is perhaps slightly easier. There's a much greater variety of locations, with the very first being set in London, and travelling the world, going into the subway, to Tokyo ...

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

Pop: the bubbles, I see them everywhere

This is a very clever game indeed.

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 ...