Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lego Rock Band: hidden orb ... oh, hang on

Lego David Bowie is amazing. What is not amazing is the cramp I'm now suffering in my left-hand little finger.

I was playing a set on the roof of Leg City Skyscraper, and half way through I noticed, at the side of the screen, a pigeon. Except since I was concentrating on the centre of the screen, I didn't. I saw a bright blue, glowing, round thing, and my immediate thought was to go and collect the hidden orb. Which led me to mess up huge sections of the song, and only get three stars.

Damn you Crackdown.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Afterburner Climax: pew pew pew

Or more like BANG BOOM KASPLOOM. Much as Outrun 2 updated a classic arcade game to a modern audience, Afterburner Climax takes the basic gameplay of Afterburner and ramps up the graphics, enemies, movement, and pace. And it's generally a success, although at times it's just a bit too frantic, with smoke from missiles and explosions obstructing the view.

On my first go, I got to the fifth stage. The game then gave me extra continues. On my second go, I got to the thirteenth stage, and the game gave me some extra perks. The more you play, the more options it gives you to fiddle with, ranging from more powerful guns, non-respawning missiles, larger targets and better armour. As you play more, the easier you can make the game. I played through the whole thing five times in the end, but didn't manage to complete all of the emergency instructions in one go, meaning that so far I've only been able to get the 'bad' ending. But that doesn't matter - I'll be playing this again many times over.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Mirror's Edge: completed!

Not the Xbox 360 game, which is still residing on the last level (maybe I'll get around to completing that after Twilight Princess), but the side-scrolling iPhone game. As I said back in October, UGVM bought this en masse in tribute to Owen, and I played a fair few levels at the time. I've now completed it - in that I've completed every level, but will no doubt return to collect more bags and to try speed runs. I'm more likely to do that in this game than in the console version, in fact, due to portability and the fact it's a bit easier.

Mirror's Edge on the iPhone owes a lot to run-and-jump games such as Canabalt, but it's a lot more involved than that, with intricate level designs, enemies to be avoided or attacked, and several instances where you have to reverse direction. One of the later levels sees you running backwards through a former level, which only goes to emphasise how well the jumps and platforms are designed. It's a shame there are only twelve levels (excluding the tutorial) - though the end-of-game message implies more may well be incoming in the future.

What I admire most is the way that the game is designed directly for the interface, and they've made a game that fits in with the main console story, retaining the graphical style and feel, but is almost a different genre. It's fabulous.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: freeing monkeys

Still no ability to swap between realms at will - and the story seems to indicate this won't happen, which is a bit of a relief given the thought needed to do so - but last night's game progressed quite a bit. As a wolf, I restored light to the local spring, and met someone who told me I was the chosen one. That's lucky, really, given that it'd be quite a dull game if I wasn't. I've been restored to human form, and have made my way to the Forest Temple, where I've been helped and hindered by a monkey, giving me a pointer to rescue all of her friends. Each time you rescue a new monkey, you're able to cross ever-longer rope bridges, swinging from simian to simian. I've an entourage of four now.

The movement's improved slightly, but it's still not perfect. It's frustrating, because other games show how precise the remote and nunchuk combination can be, but this was obviously designed for a Gamecube pad, with pointer controls added on afterwards. If I wasn't now five hours in, I may have restarted it on the Gamecube.

The old Zelda problem of not being able to save a particular position in a dungeon rears its head again, by the way. I'm half-way through the Forest Temple, but will need to start from the beginning when I resume (although this is partially mitigated by the design of the temple, with a hub room being close to the entrance).