Monday, September 15, 2014

Borderlands: back to the start

I never did complete Borderlands with the UGVM crew.  We were doing quite well, having travelled through the Arid Badlands and the Dahl Headlands.  But then Nicholas arrived and I couldn't commit to a regular time to play, and it all fell apart.  We kept a spreadsheet to keep note of who had passed which mission, and this informed us who should host each time - since the host defines the story progression.

I've started again with John and Kieron.  It's not the ideal game to play with our group.  The potential for Kieron to wander off and get lost is huge, and there are often times when a specific action is needed which doesn't get done because nobody is actually paying any attention.  After six hours play, Kieron still hasn't bothered to understand how you pick up and turn in missions, and John doesn't know what his special skill does.

But it's great fun.  There are frequent breaks in action while the two newbies faff around in the shop trying to work out how to buy new weapons, but once we're on the road it's very amusing watching Kieron pummel enemies into the ground as a berserker.  At the end of our first play session we had levelled up to 8, and had been repeatedly killed by Bone Head who seemed to be able to one-hit kill us.  Our constant individual running into the same arena didn't help.  In our second session, we completed a couple more side-missions, levelled up a bit more, then actually hatched a plan before taking him on.  I threw a turret and shield down and helped to regenerate health; John had a weapon which set Bone Head on fire; we set up at opposite ends of the arena so he couldn't shoot us all at the same time.  Despite this, it was still a bit tense, and it was almost a disaster as after he died a couple of his henchmen were still running around to kill us.

But now we have vehicles.  The first vehicle mission was to jump the creek and open the gate so that we could access the rest of the Arid Badlands.  Somehow Kieron and I glitched through the gate, meaning that the game told us we'd passed the mission when we hadn't.  John didn't actually open the gate, and we were left in limbo for a while until we did it all properly.

We've got a fair few missions on the go at the moment, but we finished with the Circle of Death arena round 2 - a hard fight, but made easier with incendiary weapons.  We may need to level up a bit before going further though ...

Friday, September 05, 2014

Populous: the Beginning: a love affair with balloons

Level 13, Aerial Bombardment, saw the introduction of balloons.  There were two enemies - the greens, who were building up on the other end of my island, and the yellows, who were on a separate island which was much smaller.  The yellows knew of building balloons; the greens knew earthquake.

It wasn't long before the yellows started to attack one end of my island, coming over a large cliff with their balloons filled with fire warriors and spies.  My village was severely damaged, and I had to quickly rebuild my firewarrior and priest training huts.

The greens were leaving me alone, which I ensured by raising a tall cliff across the island.  No boats meant no access.  After a few more raids by the yellows, I was able to train us a decent number of firewarriors, and I placed then across the cliffs which the yellows were travelling over.  This was a remarkably successful tactic, and it meant that I was able to collect a fair few of the enemy balloons myself after dispatching the occupants.  This meant that my defences became ever more strong, as firewarriors' reach increased.

It also meant I could take my shaman, along with a lone firewarrior, in a balloon to start to terrorise the greens.  I first concentrated on killing all the firewarriors and destroying their training hut, which meant that nothing could touch me as I hovered above the sea - other than the shaman, of course, who kept coming over and getting hit by lightning for her trouble.  Much use of tornadoes, lightning, erode and hypnotise later, and the greens fell.

I prayed at the nearby vault, and gained the earthquake spell.  Back to the cliff, and I find that several yellow balloon parties have been foiled, meaning that I can grab loads of balloons and fill them with firewarriors for a bodyguard party.

I pray at the second vault, learn how to make balloons, then build a land bridge across to the yellow's island so I can get a huge army of warriors and priests over, to join my firewarriors.  The limited size of the yellow island had ensured that their army wasn't too large - even though they were mostly firewarriors - and the level was completed.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Mario Kart 8: edging to the end

I've written very little of late, but that's mostly because I've been on holiday and haven't played a lot.  In fact, my only gaming has been to continue working through the daily puzzles on Layton's Azran Babe, and the odd grand prix on Mario Kart 8.  We did have a tournament on MK8 while away, which I won.  Of course.

I am slowly three-starring the 150cc grands prix, which are really tricky.  I've tried the mirror-mode levels, which seem to have easier opponents but are tricky if only due to the fact I now know the courses off by heart.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Gaming Moments: J

Jaguar XJ220 (Mega CD)

It wasn't as good as Lotus Turbo Challenge on the Mega Drive.  Sure, it looked better, but I still remember the first time I tried to control it.  I couldn't.

Jet Set Radio (Dreamcast)
Jet Set Radio HD (Xbox 360)

I spent hours just trying to get off the tutorial, doing an endless grind around the central bus station.  Made all the worse since I did it twice, once on each console - but there was an achievement for the 360 version so I felt I had to do it again.

Journey (PS3)

A game filled with moments, but I think my pick comes early in the game, at the bridge.  The structures tower above you, and it took me (and my companion) a while to work out that our path wasn't just across the base but we had to somehow get up there.  Learning the floating mechanic in that way together was amazing.

Then there's the snow, but I can't put the words together to describe that.

Jungle Strike (Mega Drive)

Mainly played via the PSP, to be honest, since that added save states.  The last level is set at the White House.  Just as you think you've completed the game, tanks roll in and you have to protect the president's helicopter as he escapes.