Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Beatles Rock Band: Completed!

Completed the story mode on normal difficulty, that is. This is a fantastic package, put together in a way that really showcases the band. It helps, of course, that the music's superb - but the way that the story mode draws on the live tours and the Abbey Road mythology adds immensely.

I shall be playing this much more in the future.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Broken Sword Director's Cut: completed!

The added story was just as good as the original; it fleshed out characters superbly. The goat puzzle was made easier too, I'm sure of it.

Having said that, the story seems rather tenuous now. Maybe I'm just older and wanting a bit more sophistication.

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box: completed!

I had this delivered from the US, and have now finished the story along with the majority of the puzzles contained in it - I've missed two somewhere, and searching the town after the end credits hasn't shed any light as to where they are.

It's ... as good as the first. The puzzles may be a little easier in general, but there were a couple that caused me to stop and get stuck - the knight's tour puzzles in particular. I dropped a few picarats due to dodgily-worded puzzles as well; the one that sticks in my mind was the one where it said that New York was three hours earlier than San Francisco, when it actually meant later. Huff.

Thoroughly recommended, though - and I can't wait for the next.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars: missing a sword

I'm astounded by this game. The amount they've managed to pack onto the DS cart is amazing; the game runs smoothly through huge cities, and there's so much to do. The city can at times feel slightly sparse, but not to the extent that GTA Advance or even the original GTA did. There's so much detail in the streets though, with buildings looking distinctive - there are even some with scaffolding on, and builder's bucket pipes down the side.

The game does just about everything right. You can lose the cops who are chasing you by getting them to crash (complete with comedy dying siren sound). The rampages are well thought out and fun; and the way you throw molotov cocktails is an excellent use of the touch screen. The PDA on the lower screen works well too, especially with the use of email to drive the story forwards.

I've worked out you can put the GPS directions on the main game screen, which makes navigating much easier. Having said that, I've found that actually I'm having difficulty navigating normally - I'm not learning the cities like I did with previous GTA games.

The missions are based around a really stong story, and almost every one has a twist to it, making it run not how you'd have expected from the introduction. The people that you're acting for are a varied bunch too - I've acted for three potential leaders of the Triads so far, but I've now heard from an undercover cop. If anything I'm finding the missions too easy, because of the aiming system meaning it's easy to dispatch enemies given a decent gun. That may well change soon.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Mario Kart Wii: on to 150cc

I hadn't played this since the last time I blogged about it - November last year. I've no idea why - limited time in the country can't have helped, and there have been various other things tempting me away. After watching my brother playing it on Saturday, I decided to go back and try to get a gold on all the remaining 100cc grands prix - and did so. Once again, Rainbow Road almost proved to be my undoing, but luckily in the previous race I'd taken out my main opponent on the second-to-last corner with a blue shell, so they had to get seven points more than me in order to win. My slow-but-steady sixth place on Rainbow Road was enough to clinch it.

The 150cc races are hard.

I also played around a bit on the online time trials. There are some rather good players out there.

Friday, April 03, 2009

My Xbox 360 is broken

After around 5 minutes, the screen locks up and I get artefacts all over it. I wanted to play Half-Life 2 as well.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Loco Roco: completed!

A new PSP battery which means I can actually play games again ... and it turns out I had only a couple of levels left to complete. I've not 100% completed every level - as in, there are still some muimuis I've not found, and there are many levels which were completed without 20 loco rocos, but I've explored a lot and I'm more eager to get onto the sequel, with new levels rather than going over the old ones. My tastes in gaming have evidently changed; it's all about the thrill of the new at the moment.

The last few levels weren't that difficult, but trying to keep the loco roco number up on the last stage (and boss battle) was tricky - there were sections where the big loco roco was bobbing up and down in wind, and barriers with spikes were rising and falling, and you had to time tilting the level with the loco roco bobbing down while the barrier was raised. I went from 15 to 9 strength because of that.

Completed, but the songs are still in my head. Any pointers to where I can download them from would be great!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mr Driller Drill Sprits: to the moon and back

Despite completing 1500m, I can't get down to 1000m on the two 2000m stages, in New York and on the moon. The moon stage is clever, as it introduces items, such as extending the maximum air, filling the air gauge (which can be very handy indeed), providing a shield, speeding Mr Driller up, or slowing the descent of blocks. At times this can be useful, but I find myself trying to get to the items even when it'd be best not to. I need to get better at evaluating when there are too many obstacles in the way - and when I'm likely to kill myself by burrowing under unstable blocks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Super Monkey Ball Lite: wibbly wobbly

It's impressive for a phone game, sure, but the controls just feel a little too imprecise. There'd be no completion of Expert 7 on this. Not that there was often completion of Expert 7 on the GameCube, but still. It's not a bad game by any means, but it's not convinced me - yet - to go and buy the full game. Maybe one long train journey ...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sprung: completed!

I was right, I was close to the end of the game. It was frustrating; it was clich├ęd; it did rely on trial and error in order to work out the correct response since there was normally no indication of what to aim for. I finally got Becky and Brett together (again, playing from Becky's side), and ended with 72% completion on the item collection. Whoopdie-doo. I don't think I'll go for 100%, I might find myself accidentally throwing the DS down the loo.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ico: take my hand

After the Singstar party, my PS2 was all set up and ready to go. My PS2 game collection is rather poor though, and nothing appealed - until I noticed the special editions of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus sitting on the shelf above. I've played Ico very little, and Shadow not at all. I decided that today should be the day.

Ico starts off slowly, with a long cutscene. You get thrown into a murky world and have to work out the controls. The world's not actually murky, but playing it on my HD TV certainly made it look so. I worked my way through the castle, until I found the girl in white. I knocked the cage down the tower, and rescued her from the shadow monsters. I then couldn't find a way out of the room. Huh.

Never mind, I thought, I'll come back to that later. I'd been playing for 40 minutes or so. I turned the console off, and then thought ... hmm, I wonder if the game does save at checkpoints?

Evidently not.

We're spoilt now, with autosaves and save-anywhere mechanics. The reason it didn't occur to me that the game might not have saved is that when I paused it, there was no way of manually saving. Oh no, it appears that to manually save you've got to sit down on a bench, which at that point I hadn't found. It forces you to play a certain amount at a time. This is a problem for me - gaming tends to be half an hour here and there, and I can't leave the PS2 on all night to pick it up again in the morning, like I used to do with games on the Mega Drive.

After all, I'm paying for the electricity now.

So, at some point I've got to play the entirety of the start of the game again. I hope it's worth it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Singstar: under the sea

As in, that is where I wish my head could be this morning. Why does Singstar necessitate a vast quantity of alcohol? Why do I wake up the next morning able to talk in a mere whisper, having flashbacks of genius, repulsion and amusement?

Sharon's rendition of Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid will be remembered forever. Partially because I filmed it. Ken and I sang A Little Time by The Beautiful South. Justine videoed that, which is good in a way since I never would have believed just what I did.

The evening brought forwards talents unknown. Justine tied with Helen; the latter part of a choir. Sharon can't rap. An really does feel for Sharon, you could see it in her eyes as she sang Babe. She was Sonny.

But I shall say no more. What happens in Singstar stays in Singstar.

There was one important thing that happened: I thrashed Ken at Wii Tennis. And then refused his fiver which he bet me all those months ago. I am smug.

Until I see the videos again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Loco Roco: bum dum de daaaaa dum dee diddly dum bum bum

I love the way they sing. I love the way they bounce and slide and coo. I love the expressions on their faces.

I hate the way the battery dies after five minutes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Drawn to Life: completed!

Nothing particularly hard in the entire game, in fact - the last boss took a few tries to work out how to actually hurt him, but once I'd worked out his weak point to attack for massive damage, the fight didn't last long.

The game had some nice touches in it - drawing in the main levels was great, especially when the later levels started to reuse a large number of designs at once. The end of the credits finishing with my signed name was a pleasant surprise. I've no desire to go back to it to find new palettes or stamps or songs, though. It was a good length as it was.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Drawn to Life: losing the darkness

Not the band.

I'm not sure what to make of this. The actual core game - the platform bits - are pretty good, with some clever level design ideas. The need to fiddle with jumping mechanics in the second world and the addition of underwater sections in the third is a shame, though, as it gives you the impression that the designers weren't confident with their concept. They should have been, since the idea of having to explore levels to find characters and paper bits works well with the way the levels are laid out.

The fact that you design the main character is great, and it really brings the game to life - even if it does rather limit the animation available. Designing blocks and lifts and so on is equally fun, though the limited palettes (and my lack of artistic ability) make my efforts clash with the background something horrendous. For some designs, the drawing's done for you, and instead you're left to colour in. I'm better at those.

The storyline, and endless back-and-forth fetching and talking mechanic that makes up the hub world, however, is rubbish. I don't care why I'm finding little cat-like animals in the levels, I just want to find them. According to the progress screen I've not completed ten of the fifteen levels. Nothing too hard yet, other than the bosses which represent not so much a difficulty curve, but a difficulty cliff. Luckily I've been collecting extra lives like nobody's business.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Burnout Revenge: I am elite

I've not even touched on the level 9 and level 10 events, but I can't rank up any more. Hooray. I don't think I'll ever perfect every event, but I'm aiming to at least get a medal on everything in order to complete this.

Oh, and I played online. I am rubbish.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mr Driller Drill Spirits: hitting the bottom

I completed the 1500m stage! I broke my last record of 1150m with three lives left, and lost my first life at 1250m. The last 50m were an urgent rush as air ticked down and I wasn't sure I'd make it ... but I did.

So, 2000m? Hmm.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Burnout Revenge: getting there ...

See? That's only six more perfect events and one star from somewhere else ...

Having said that, it's getting a bit tricky now. I'm playing through the level eight stages, and they're making my eyes hurt with their speed.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Invalidity gaming

I've not only played on Burnout Revenge. Other things I've been playing are:

Boom Blox (Wii)

A late Christmas present, due to HMV delivering it late. It's great in multi-player, and some (but not all) of the single-player modes are good fun as well. I'm not too keen on the shooting gallery ones, but the throwing games, in particular the mining games, are very clever. For mining, you're given a set arrangement of blocks, and you have to firstly blow a hole inside using a bomb, then throw a rubber ball to hit as many blocks as possible. Effectively, you've got to use a highly explosive device to blow up as small as hol as you can, then throw the rubber ball into that hole ...

Tomb Raider: Underworld (Xbox 360)


I love Tomb Raider games, in general. I don't ever recall them being quite so fiddly to control though. Maybe it's the 360's control pad, but When I played Legend on the GameCube, I don't recall getting stuck on ledges or not being able to turn around properly.

And as a minor clautrophobe, the fact that this is all set underground, so far, is a bit freaky. Plus it's so dark. The puzzles are clever enough without the designers hiding the switches in the gloom!

Having said all that, it's a good Tomb Raider game, so far. The opening level, teaching the controls, was done well, with Croft Manor being set alight and Lara having to escape. I do like the fact that Lara's house in the games has been redesigned to look like that of the films.

I haven't played Tomb Raider: Anniversary yet, but I did complete the original Tomb Raider on the PlayStation, so I'm not too worried about that ...

Loco Roco (and Loco Roco 2) (PSP)

Another Christmas present was LR2, which I've opened and tried but since I've not completed LR1 I'll not start properly just yet. I've played a few more levels of LR1, now up to 5-4, but the battery in my PSP seems to last no time at all any more so I may need to replace that before I can finish this ...

Mr Driller Drill Spirits (DS)

I still haven't completed the 1500m stage of this.

Mr Driller Online (Xbox 360)

Using the items makes this much easier. I think I've got most of the realistic achievements now.

Pop (iPhone)

It's like the Wii game, but better. I can see me playing this a lot over the next year or so.

Skybound (iPhone)

There's a minigame in WarioWare: Touched where you have to draw a line under a ball to make it bounce upwards constantly. This game is almost the same as that, but with a bit more finesse in the presentation and mechanics. Another ideal hospital waiting room time waster. Something I've needed a lot!

Burnout Revenge: massively overpowered

Since I came back from Australia, I've had a bad problem with my ear, to the extent that I get dizzy if I stand up, feel nauseous if I bend over or move around too much, and therefore can't really do anything except sit and watch TV - or play games. Not so much the Wii games, mind you, since that would be far too much exertion.

I've just finished a session on Burnout Revenge, which, if you remember, I've played quite a bit before. It's not that difficult a game, though my personal goal of perfecting every event makes it a lot harder. In previous posts I complained about the checking traffic system, and while I still think it's a bad idea, it's maybe not the utter disaster I first thought it was. You do slow down by hitting cars a little, enough to cost you time on the hot laps and speed run events. And there's a certain strategy in hitting cars into the path of your rivals to score a takedown.

I'm now the tenth rank, "dominator", which I believe to be the penultimate rank before you complete the game. I've got to collect 122 stars before I do that though. I've completed (fully) the first two ranks, and have only a few stars at most on the next four. I've just started the event on the eighth rank. I've noted that the events I have trouble getting perfects for are those where you're racing the clock, not other cars. I'm obviously a good tactical driver, but not a very fast one.

One thing that has helped my progression was the completion of challenges on one of the locations - I managed to drive an entire race without crashing, which means I've not got one of the game's supercars. The EA racer, in fact, with a boost speed of 209mph, meaning I can catch up to rivals pretty quickly. Maybe too quickly - when you're in sixth with half a lap to go, it shouldn't really be possible to win the race ...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Braid: completed!

As it turns out, there are no new abilities to take back with you, just some very clever puzzles. Like, for example, using the table in one of the jigsaws as a platform in the level, allowing a jump over a massive gap, and getting the monster down onto the ground level, or rewinding time while stood on a time-proof platform so that keys move themselves to other sides of barriers, or using fast rewind to get back somewhere before a platform arrives.

The end of the game is pretty clever. You start at world 1-4 and go backwards to 1-1. The whole world goes backwards in 1-4 to 1-2, and then in 1-1 you see the princess and have to flee a wall of fire. Monsters go backwards but the princess goes forwards. She runs along the top, you run along the bottom, and it's pretty tight to get through some of the gaps before the fire burns you. And then at the end you stand on a time-proof platform and the princess goes to sleep on her bed - and I spent ages trying to work out what to do then. It turns out you have to rewind the entire level. I think I missed some nuance of story.

Sorry if I've spoilt it for you.

Good game, especially for the price, but I won't be going back to get the speed-run achievement, I don't think. There was far too much waiting around in the game (for things to rewind, and so on), which would be frustrating.