December 31, 2008

The Final Post of 2008

It's the last post of 2008 ever! After today, there will never be another 2008. The year is gone forever. FOREVER!!!! So... happy new year!

Also, I neglected to mention that Installation 04 turned one last week! (Well, technically we're 3 if you count Gameweb...) Huzzah for us! We got over 13,500 hits this year! Thanks everyone for your continued support!

May your days be many and may those many days be bright.

December 28, 2008

Review: Fallout 3

Fallout 3 is the RPG you should buy this season. It's really, really, really good while at the same time being really, really, really hard- but in a good way. That sounds strange, I know, but it's not the fact that the enemies are huge and powerful and tough to kill. The world itself is what works against you. And what a world it is. It's massive. Smaller than Oblivion, though you'll never notice, it's one of the most realized worlds in gaming. Then again, Bethesda had a lot to work with.

When you boot up the game, you're greeted with a harsh vision of the post-apocalyptic future narrated by the soothing voice of Ron Pearlmen. You begin the game by literally being born and growing up in Vault 101. You journey into the outside world in search of your father who has left the vault. And what a brutal world it is. The main element of Fallout 3 is survival, which I'll get to in a moment. First I want to talk about the other important element: the combat. You can play the game as and FPS if you want, but you'll really be missing out if you do. The VATS (Vault Assisted Targeting System) combat system is awesome. You don't' know how good it is until you really try it. I saw plenty of gameplay videos of it and thought it looked lame. Now that I've used it I can say that it's awesome. Basically hitting the right bumper when enemies are nearby zooms in on them an you can then target an individual body part with your gun. The game gives you a percentage chance of hitting and, once you've selected what you want, then you simply pull the right trigger to confirm. You can target as many parts as your AP meter allows (when it runs out, you'll need to wait for it to recharge before you can use VATS again). You can use VATS with melee weapons only up close and you can't target specific parts, but it's still fun to watch the camera zoom out and see yourself beating some dude with a baseball bat.

You can tell Fallout 3 was built with the Oblivion engine. Even so, it's not fair to compare the two or dismiss Fallout 3 as "Oblivion with guns." Besides, even if you did, Oblivion was awesome, so that's not really an insult. A lot of what you remember about that game is still present here though, minus the magic of course. You can spend hours getting lost in the game world and becoming completely sidetracked from the main quest. I love games you can get lost in! There's just so much to explore and discover about the world. It's hard to explain if you've never played anything like it. There's a lot to love about the game including the realism (except for the over-the-top gore). If you take drugs, you become addicted just like in real life. If you take too much damage, you're body gets crippled just like in real life. If you drink radiated water, well you become radiated just like in real life. What it doesn't do like real life is death, but that's the way I like it. At least you're not invincible.

There are a couple of things that irritate me here and there, namely the third-person view. Didn't Bethesda promise a reworked third-person perspective that plays like Resident Evil? So much for that. There's really not much else I can fault this game for. Its pretty brilliant and with all the downloadable content coming next year, it should tide me over just fine until the next Elder Scrolls. I only wish the characters weren't so robotic when they talked. Oh, and Bethesda, do yourself a favor and hire more voice actors.

Before I get to the breakdown, here are some tips for surviving the wasteland. Unfortunately, I learned them too late and had to start my game over because I simply could not survive.

1. Explore. Finding locations earns you experience which, like so many other things, is hard to come by. Plus, its damn fun. Searching every nook and cranny of a location will often end with you finding something worthwhile.

2. Horde stuff. All that useless crap you find everywhere can be sold for money. Since there's so much of it, it really adds up. A lot of weapons are in bad condition as well. You never know when your pistol will break on you. Always have a backup.

3. Conserve. Conserve ammo as much as you can because it's a precious commodity. Conserve medpacks and purified water because if you don't you'll end up having to eat radiated food. Conserve the weapons themselves by switching them out every so often. They'll be less likely to break.

4. Sleep and save. Sleeping will heal you completely every time. If you find a bed in the middle of nowhere, use it. It'll also save your game. When there is no bed, save often. You'll probably find yourself dying a lot so don't depend on those autosaves. Who knows when the game will save itself and, trust me, you don't' want to have to do the same task 12 times.

5. Level up wisely. As of now, there are only 20 levels in Fallout 3. You can only spend so many points on skills and SPECIAL attributes. When you start the game, save before you exit the vault. If your not happy with your character within the first 30 minutes, load it up and try again. The worst thing you can do is distribute skill points evenly. Put them where you know your going to use them. Once you assign them, you'll never get them back so choose wisely. Likewise, make sure you choose perks that pertain to your play style.

Visuals: 9- When you first exit the vault you get one of those "whoa" moments. Nice effects.
Controls: 10- Simple, effective, great.
Gameplay: 10- VATS is especially great.
Sound: 10- Great music and sound effects.
Replay Value: 10- It really has none. You'll never complete everything there is to do.
Overall: 10/10

Best RPG of the year.

Review: Gears of War 2

Like Fable 2, I've been dreading writing this review but for all the opposite reasons. I basically have nothing but praise for Gears of War 2, thus making this one of my shortest reviews ever.

Gears 2 is a true sequel. Some games throw some new stuff into an old formula, slap a number on it, and call it a day. Basically, most sequels are the original with a shiny new coat of paint. Gears 2 is not one of those games. In fact, Gears 2 is a rare game that not only lives up to the hype but actually exceeds it. Sure, the game looked good at this year's E3. Sure, I was dying to play it. But this is basically the same basic scenario that plays out before every big release. My expectations were not overly high and so I went in expecting just what I mentioned before, Gears 1 with a new coat of paint. I was sorely, sorely mistaken. What you get is a rare breed of game that is a true sequel in every way. Everything I can possibly think of was improved in this game. The soundtrack is leaps and bounds above the first game, new gameplay mechanics don't feel gimmicky or overused, there are new weapons and vehicles and characters, it has a legitimate plot that made me so interested in the Gears universe that I went out and bought the book, it's got an epic cliffhanger ending, and it proves that Gears is still the best looking game on the planet. In your face blu-ray! But most of all what Gears 2 does right that so many games do not is have a sense of scale. They absolutely nailed it with this game. When Cliffy B. explained that Gears 2 would be "bigger, better, and more badass," I stopped to think what he could possibly mean by that. Better. Well I certainly hoped so. More badass. Yeah, I could see how they could make it happen. But the one that had me hung up was bigger. Bigger how? Plenty of sequels turn out to be bigger. They simply add more content. Yes, Gears 2 has more content, but that's not how it's bigger. Gears 2 is also bigger in another way. For the first time I've played a game where I don't feel like it's me against the world. I don't feel like I am the guy and everyone else is secondary. I don't feel like the course of events depends on me alone. Everyone is there for a reason and everyone has a job to do. When you first start off, the game feels identical to the first. After the little tutorial is over, you're introdused to the game's massive scale. There are massive battalions of both friends and enemies, there are epic battles, and even when Delta Squad is doing their own thing, I still get the sense that grandiose battles are happening elsewhere. Eventually everything comes together. You'll battle the Horde underground only to receive backup from your buddies topside. There are many battles where you're so outnumbered you need help from your allies, all while you watch another fight unfold in the background.

Gears 2 is certainly a ride not to be missed. And it's a longer ride at that. I was pleased with the length and each chapter is identifiable from the last. All this great stuff doesn't mean Gears 2 has no flaws, it does, but they're overshadowed by all the good. Once again, Gears 2 would be the multiplayer experience if it weren't for Left 4 Dead. Horde mode is great and it's much appreciated that companies like Epic still support split screen. As always, the game is a blast to play with a friend, especially when you split up. This time around, each player's experience is actually vastly different depending on what path you choose. There are a few moments that let you down, like when you wanted to fight the Brumack in Gears 1, but, on a whole, Gears 2 is the best game experience of the year. If you buy just one game this winter, make it Gears 2. You'll thank me later.

Visuals: 10
Controls: 10
Gameplay: 10
Sound: 10
Replay Value: 10
Overall: 10/10

A perfect 10. Epic Games lives up to their name with this one. One of the only games ever made that's truly worthy of the word "sequel". (Of course, at some point I'll probably realize I'm wrong and change my mind.)

Review: Fable 2

While Doegab continues his delightful winter vacation, I am left to man the helm. Continuing on with the Holiday reviews, (I guess the only thing that makes this a "holiday" review at this point is when I'm posting it because Fable 2 came out way back in October.) I've decided to review Fable 2. I've been putting this one off for a while because, well, it pains me to say the things I'm about to say. Fable 2 is a strange game indeed. I hate it when games don't live up to the hype and I also hate when they're full of empty promises. Unlike the first game, Fable 2 takes the route of the former. Yes, Peter Molyneux made good on his promises this time around. Everything he promised actually made it into the game, just not as you'd expect. Maybe it's a good thing the first Fable was so much of a disappointment because, looking back, it ended up being the far superior game. Don't get me wrong, Fable 2 is a decent role playing experience but the role playing experience it was supposed to become.

What we have with Fable 2 is essentially a dumbed-down version of the original Fable with a few bells and whistles that make it seem better but ultimately add nothing. So, it's Fable with a new coat of paint... only less fun. I commend Molneux for trying to implement some truly unique mechanics into his game, but it seems the execution is way off. One button combat seems nice on paper but I actually find it kind of boring. It's supposed to make the action flow faster, and it does, but it also seems too simple. Except, that is, if you're trying to doge. Whoever had that idea to design the controls so you hold X to block but then have to tap A+direction to strafe is a complete moron. But basically what it comes down to is mashing buttons. No strategy needed at all. Simply mash buttons until everything is dead. Mash button to use sword, mash button to use magic, mash button to use gun- and feel free to mash away all you want because your ammo and magic is unlimited.

Oh, your also invincible. Ever since games began to evolve into something more complex then blob of colored blocks killing blob of different colored blocks, gamers have always realized that having your character die and then simply restart isn't very realistic. In the real world, if you die, your gone forever. Then again, that wouldn't make for very fun gameplay, would it? But the other extreme isn't much better. Having your character get knocked out for all of thirty seconds and having you loose a random amount of experience that you can easily gain back in another thirty seconds isn't realistic either. Nor fun. This makes the game way to easy. Mash buttons, health depletes, get up, mash buttons, health depletes, get up, and on and on and on ad infinitum. Playing through Fable 2 reminded me of a game of Gauntlet, except less fun. Which reminds me, the multiplayer sounds good as well but doesn't quite measure up in the end. I like the idea of playing mindless mash fest with a friend, but the camera is kind of wonkey when you do and the game doesn't let you even use your own freaking character. Nope, you have to use Mr. Default man in a variety of flavors with a variety of default weapons. In fairness, you can give Mr. Default all of your skills but then again if your going to do that, why not go ahead and let me play as my obese pirate why don't you?

To keep the game's simple theme intact, the developers seem to have opted for the same communicate-with-gestures interaction. It actually seems to fit better now that the game is simpler as a whole. The weapons and magic I can't say the same for, however. I don't know about you, but I liked having a lot of nice spells and weapons to choose from. Now we get about 6 spells and 6 swords that are upgradable. For example you can get a katana in steel or iron, or an ax in steel or iron. You can upgrade your magic to shoot more lightning bolts. That's fine and dandy, but that didn't mean you had to take out everything else. Why can't we upgrade 20 different swords and 20 different spells?

For all the bashing I do of the game, it does have a few things going for it. It's more expansive for one. Not as expansive as I would have liked, but it's far less linear then the first game. That's something, right? There's no map (come to think of it, the world is kind of small by today's RPG standards), but the breadcrumb trail is nifty. It doesn't always work as it should, but it's not annoying like I thought it would be and always eventually leads you on your way. Your dog isn't bad either. He can actually help you in combat and he seeks out dig spots and treasure for you (more the treasure hunting than the combating, though) though you can never get rid of him. His barking does get annoying upon occasion. There are also some cool throwbacks to the original game for fans to uncover, including the entire plot which is basically the same thing all over again.

So what do I think of Fable 2 overall? I've never been so disappointed with a big budget game. If you played the first game, you'll be sorely disappointed. If you haven't but are a fan of the genre, it's a decent RPG if you can put up with all of the mindless gold-collecting minigames. Either way, though, unless you're absolutely dying to try it, I say save your money. There are tons of better RPGs on the market for much less money. Save your money for something better and if you get an itch for some Fable goodness, just play the first one again or pick up a copy of The Lost Chapters if you haven't already.

Visuals: 8- Art style is pretty good, graphics don't look a whole lot different from the last game.
Controls: 6- It's hard to score this. Simple, yes, but in the process they're more complex.
Gameplay: 5- So very broken.
Sound: 8- One of the game's stronger suits, though I'm not a big fan of the score... still.
Replay Value: 7- Again, it's hard to score this. There's a bunch to do, but once you finish the main quest, there's really no reason to keep playing.

Overall: 7/10- I GENEROUSLY give this game a seven. It tries hard, though it fails often, but I respect the fact that it tries when most games today might not. It's not bad- just average.

The most overrated game of the year.

Kids have become smarter I tells ya!

Watch and be amazed as this one-year-old girl identifies various video game characters while eating a (rather messy) cookie:

December 25, 2008


Woot! Can't think of a better way to say merry Christmas then, well, Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2008

Head to Head: PC vs. Console Gaming

In this first installment of Head to Head, where Doegab and I battle it out about which thing is superior, we tackle PC versus Console gaming.

PC Gaming: Why is still has the edge over the console gaming

Yes, as of late PC exclusive titles have gotten thin, the market has shrunk, and ultimately console games have gotten stronger. Yet I still feel that PCs have undeniable advantage over their clunky console predecessors. For all of you who disagree with me, I'm sure I can help you see the light, and finally understand why PC gaming is still the best type of gaming. =P

To start off I'm not one of those crazy PC gamer elitist that nerd rages at the thought of someone owning a console system. I own an Xbox 360 myself and love playing it. However, when it comes down to it, if I want to play a great RTS like Medival Total War 2, it is simply impossible to transition over to a console system. Don't get me wrong, it's still possible to play SOME RTS games on a console system (Command and Conquer comes to mind). However it is simply easier to use a mouse and key board combination to play certain types of games.

Which brings me to my next point: they key board and mouse combination. In my opinion the keyboard and mouse combo is simply superior to the controller, in any type of game. As I mentioned before, it is superior in RTS games for micro managing, but it is also superior in FPS games for quicker and more accurate gun fire. Not to mention if I want to play an MMO or RPG that has a large number of spells or attacks, where key bindings is almost necessary. Although simple mouse clicking will also work just as well and still more efficient than a controller.

Xbox live is nice I guess, but online PC games are nicer. The online service for most PC games is free and highly customizable. It's also entirely possible to use microphones to communicate with PC gaming as well by using free programs like Ventrilo or Skype. Also for the record, PC gaming mics are about half the price of the console game mics, and the more expensive PC gaming mics are much more comfortable than the console mics as well.

But the absolute best thing about PC games are the mods. Vanilla games are always nice, but mods make them better. Some mods even fix problems that where implemented when the game was released. Mods can also increase the replability of games by adding more features to them....for free! But that's okay, keep going on your Xbox market place and buying extra features for games, like the Oblivion Horse armor! You do that while I hop on my Oblivion character that has wings and is a werewolf thanks to the Oblivion mods I just downloaded for free.

While graphics on the gaming consoles have improved, the PC still is, and always will have better graphics than the console systems. If you truly want to have the prettiest looking games, you go with a PC not a console.

And while nowadays both the consoles and PCs share a variety of games, why would you buy the same PC game on a console. On the PC, the game is not only 10$ cheaper, but can also be modded. Ultimately, while the console systems do have some exclusive titles, the PC still has more exclusive titles especially in the RTS and MMO area of gaming.

Also why would you pay to download retro games on your consoles and play them. Just get an emulator on your PC and download all the free retro games you want. You can also get an emulator for basically any gaming console or handheld system, with the exception of the most recent ones.

Yes PCs do need to be upgraded, but if you take GOOD care of your PC, it should last at least 5-7 years. Around that time you where going to upgrade your console system any way right? Well spend a little bit of extra dough on a PC and in the end it will save you more money and pay it self back.


Console Gaming: The Reason Why PCs are Still for Porn

While my friend here makes a few good points, I still think playing games on a console is more worth it than playing PC games. Let's take a look, shall we?

I will admit that some types of games play better on the PC because, well, that's what they were originally designed for. It's always interesting to see how a game plays on an interface it wasn't designed for. Yes, a lot of genres were born on the PC, but have you ever tried playing a platformer on a computer? Not optimal. That's why games like Halo Wars, EndWar, and Stormrise have me excited. They're trying to break the PC mold and deliver an adequate experience for console players in a new, unique way. No, they won't play the same, but who's to say that's a bad thing? MMOs never quite worked on a console but that's what games like Champions Online hope to change. It was designed first and foremost with console control in mind and looks absolutely stellar. And I realize the main reason MMOs were not made to run on consoles is mostly because console controllers don't have enough buttons. For me, that's a negative of PC gaming. The controls are so utterly massive and confusing because they can utilize every single key on the keyboard if they wanted to. They even made a special Doom keyboard for Doom 3 just so you can remember what keys to press. I like to think that console gaming simplifies games in a good way. It makes developers away that they have to pull off all of their gameplay mechanics using fewer buttons, thus making games the same amount of fun but more enjoyable to play. If I ever did want to play a PC game like Crysis, I'd just plug in my Xbox 360 controller and be done with it. Oh, that's right the game won't play right because it was designed for 150 buttons.

Playing games on consoles is a different experience. Instead of sitting at my desk staring at my 20" computer screen (unless you're a real nerd with some kind of ungodly setup), I'm sitting on my couch in front of my HD home theater system chillin with my pals over Xbox Live. Yes, there is online play on the PC and it's free but you're missing out on the experience. Hell, as long as you have an internet connection you can still get the experience (minus the playing online of course). Does your PC have the XBL Arcade? I don't think so. You go ahead and play your ROMS while I play games like Castle Crashers and Braid. The main reason why games from 20 years ago are re-released is because they're re-released better with more features. Can your emulator play Street Fighter 2 online? I didn't think so. And guess what? While you're paying $13 a month to play your MMOs, I'm paying $50 a year to play anything in the Xbox 360 catalog. And, as long as you have an internet connection, your getting constant updates for your games. Some free, like the excellent Crackdown title update that added several new modes and the Burnout Paradise update that added new challenges and motorcycles (!), some not free. Guess what though? If you want the Shivering Isles you're going to have to pay just as much as I did. And if you don't, well then you're involved in some sort of illegal activity and should be arrested.

And what happens if I want to play something like MGS4? Nothing. Nothing at all because I can't. It's not so much a problem for Xbox games because of Microsoft, but if your a Sony fanboy you're out of luck. It does irk me that PC games are usually $10 cheaper than console games but that's alright because by the time you're playing Gears of War or Halo 2, I've already played it six times and spoiled the ending.

Most of all, if you buy a PC to play games, you better be damn well sure you can afford it. Nowadays you can pay $200 for an Xbox which will always play Xbox games, or you can play $1,000+ for a gaming PC that has to be constantly upgraded to make sure it still runs your games smoothly. With the money I save on that I can afford to pay for Xbox Live and horse armor. Unless you own a PS3, of course, then you can play 60 player deathmatch on Resistance 2 for free.


December 20, 2008

Top 10 best songs of the 90's: VH1's list sucks I'm doing it better

VH1 utterly and completely failed on their top 100 list, but more importantly they failed on their top 10 list on best song from the 90's. Take a look:

01. Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
02. U2 "One"
03. Backstreet Boys "I Want It That Way"
04. Whitney Houston "I Will Always Love You"
05. Madonna "Vogue"
06. Sir Mix-A-Lot "Baby Got Back"
07. Britney Spears "...Baby One More Time"
08. TLC"Waterfalls"
09. R.E.M. "Losing My Religion"
10. Sinéad O'Connor "Nothing Compares 2 U"

What the fuck, Britney Spears, Madonna, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and the Backstreet boys shouldn't even be on the top 100 list! All the other ones aren't bad, and while I don't appreciate Whitney Houston's music she does have a lot of talent and an incredible voice. However, none of these songs are top 10 material. I don't blame VH1 completely though, people did vote on this list and they did have to comply. I don't blame the people entirely who voted either, its not their fault they where born stupid. Mostly I blame society and the goverment, for slowly decreasing the average IQ of the human species every day.

But that's okay because I've come up with an entirely new list to counter the VH1 list of horrors. Mind you, many of these songs where on the VH1 list, they where just very low ranked, and some weren't even on the list!

10.Korn: Freak on a Leash

To be honest, I really, really, REALLY despise this band. However, this is one of the few songs by them I can actually listen to. Despite being probaly the song I least like on the list, I still think it deserves the #10 spot simply because of the popularity and influence it held in the 90's. Freak on a Leash was #69 on VH1's list.

9.Third Eye Blind: Semi-Charmed Life

It's catchy, happy, and it's all about having sex and drugs, what's not to like about it? VH1 ranked this song 34 on there list, it was followed by the Spice girls "if you wanna be my lover" at 33. WTF where the voters thinking....

8. Alice in Chains Rooster

Great song from possibly the greatest grundge band of the 90's. This band's song
rofl stomps on Nirvan's "Smells like a teen spirt". While Layne Staley my have not had as much of an influence on Grundge as Curt Cobain did, he is still in my opinion a far better musican than Curty will ever be. (that's right I called him Curty). Alice in Chains was on the list with their song "Man in the box" at #50.

7.Oasis: Wonder Wall

The 90's just seemed to boom with great bands from england. Oasis was one of them, and it's unfortunate that the band had so many internal conflicts that stiffled them during the 90's from producing more music. Wonderwall in my opinion is a classic that we will hear being played decades from now. It was #35 on VH1's list.

6.Beck: Loser

Beck is a great band over all. Most of their songs are about everyday problems that most teenagers can relate to. Loser is no different, and its pure randomness and awsomeness puts it at #6 on this list. Sadly, Loser was only #22 on VH1's list.

5.Pearl Jam: Alive

Do you know that Pearl Jam means semon? Well now you do. Anyway Pearl Jam is also another note worhty grundge band from the 90's. Alive starts off with a mother telling her son that he never really knew his real dad. Then it turns into a song about incest between a mother and son, bet you didn't know that either right?

4.Smashing Pumpkins: 1979

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was possibly one of the greatest albums from the 90's. From that album emerged 1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins, one of their most memorable and greatest songs. The Smashing Pumpkins weren't even on VH1's seriously.

3.Radiohead: Paranoid Android

A song inspired by a character from hitch hikers guide to the galaxy, but a great song none the less. Radiohead released this song on the Album "OK Computer" which was one of the top selling albums in the U.K. and U.S. Radiohead's song "Creep" (which I should mention is one of their most mediocre songs by far, and unfortunetly most popular.) was featured on the list at #31, followed by NSYNC "Tearing up my heart". Rofl buckets.

2.Sound Garden: Black Hole Sun

Amazing song from an even more amazing band. Chris Cornell (lead singer) was one of the most influencial music figures from the 90's. Not to mention he has probaly one of the best "rock voices" of the century. This song was on WH1'S list at # 25.


1. Temple of the Dog: Hunger Strike

What do you get when you combine Pearl Jam and Soundgarden? You get Temple of the Dog the greatest one-project grundge band to emerge from the 90's. By far their best song is Hunger Strike, which combines the instumental talent of both bands as well as Eddie Venders and Chris Cornells vocals. Simply orgasmic...

Temple Of The Dog Hungerstrike Music via

PC Gaming is dead, but you can revive it!

Well the title isn't completely true,PC gaming isn't dead, but it has seen better days. Any good games these days on the PC can be obtanined on one of the three console systems, and you don't have to shell out hunderds of dollars to buy or upgrade your PC to get these games. However if your looking to find some new entertainment for your PC, look no further than the past. On this post I'll cover some old PC titles that are both inexpensive and highly entertaining.

Never Winter Nights 2

I just picked up this game for the first time yesterday at Best Buy for 20$. NWN 2 is one of the most impressive RPGs I have ever played. It has an incredibly strong plot that will keep you addicted to the game,and the choice system is one of the deepest I've ever seen in any RPG. Never Winter Nights 2 is a highly customizable game: there are a variety of skin tones, hair colors, and even voice overs you can use for your character. With 17 races to choose from, 12 starting classes, and 16 prestige classes you can have literally hudreds of combinations for creating a character. The combat my seem a bit sluggish to even the most avid RPG fans, but it is addicting and simplistic none the less. Despite being a couple of years old already, NWN 2 still has impressive graphics and is definitely well worth the 20$.

Blizzard Games: Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo

Blizzard has left a legendary mark on the PC gaming world. Now, finally after years of only concentrating on World of Warcraft, Blizzard is going to release Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2. However, that doesn't mean you still can't have fun with their older titles!

Starcraft takes place in the future where three races are vying for power: The Protoss (aliens), Terrans (humans), and the Zerg (Zombie parastic aliens?). Starcraft is a very addictive rts, with a strong story line and easy learning curve. Do you know that it is the most popular RTS in Korea and Japan? That's right, even after 10 years after it was relased, Starcraft is still being played in tournaments across asia. In my opinion, that alone solidifies why this is possibly the greatest RTS of all time. Granted the graphics are a bit dated, but what do you expect from a 10 year old game? The Starcraft battle chest is currently sold in stores for 20$, it includes both Starcraft, and Starcraft Brood Wars.

These days , Warcraft is a house hold name seeing that World of Warcraft is the most sucessful MMO of all time with 11 million subscribers. However, few of those players ever played Warcraft 3 and its expansion, the Forzen Throne. Although it is not as good as Starcraft in terms of RTS play, its online custom games are what really keeps the game alive these days. The Warcraft Battle Chest is currently sold in stores for 40$, and includes both Warcraft 3 and Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne.

I can't comment on Diablo as much since I haven't played it as much as the first two. None the less I do have some experince playing this highly addictive game. It has a strong online community that will keep you occupied even after you finish the main story line. The Diablo Battle Chest I have actually NOT seen in stores lately, and is on back order online, crazy as it may sound. However if you are lucky enough to come across it the current price is 40$ and it includes both Diablo and Diablo 2.

Total War Series

Yes, I realize neither of these games are that old, but there cheap and fun none the less! The Total War series in my opinion are the greatest RTS games of all time. You choose from one of 21 fractions during the Medieval era. From there you manange your countries economy from a map view overlooking all your cities, and when it is time for battle you zoom into a battle field and lead your armies to victory! The complexity of the game is astounding, and there is a very strong community which constantly makes mods for the game. Warning though: the game does have a bit of a steep learning curve. Rome Total War is currently 20$ and it comes with the barbarian expansion. Medieval Total War is 30$ and comes with the Kingdoms expansion.


Yes, I know it's old, but for 20$ and free online play with mods, Halo for the PC cannot be beat. The single player is good too, but what really makes the game shine now days is the online play, which Halo for the xbox did not have at the time. This game is so well known its self explanatory, everyone knows what it is about by now.

Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2

Both great Star Wars RPG's. KOTOR 1&2 are highly in depth games with strong plots and astounding character choices that literally influence those around you and change you appearnce. Currently there are mods for both games, and there is even a mod being made to "finish" Knights of the Old Republic 2. In my opinion Knights of the Old Republic was better that the sequal, and I would buy it first since they don't even make the game anymore! Thats right you have to either buy it used or from some random store that still caries it. KOTOR 1 is about 25$ depending where you buy it from, and KOTOR 2 is 20$.

Guild Wars

This game isn't that old either, but it is a free MMO. Guild Wars is a game with great PVP features and a strong community. It does lack a little bit in the PVE area, however it is a good alternative for those who don't wish to pay 15$ a month to play World of Warcraft. The original Guild Wars is only 20$, the expansion packs are more, but if you aren't satisfied with the game you are not forced to buy them.

December 19, 2008

Top Ten Cartoon Theme Songs

After all, what is a great cartoon without a great opening theme song? This month I've compiled a list of the top ten best cartoon theme songs.

(And now I will proceed to pick up the slack for one of our very lazy team members. *cough*Doegab*cough* He only got through 10 and 9, but I don't agree so I'm taking this list over. ~ N-man)

10. The Power is Yours!

Number 10 goes to Captain Planet, one of the most annoyingly catchy themes out there. What could be better than a theme song that shouts out random states of matter? Not much. It's nostalgia factor lands it on the list, but lower than another particular show from back in the day because, well, Captain Planet's a fag. (But then again, what cartoon character wasn't back then?)

9. Gotta Catch 'em All!

The original Pokemon theme, and the original theme only, sure does bring back memories for some. Personally, I remember waking up for school every morning when I was a kid and watching Pokemon. Perhaps your childhood memories aren't as nice. Perhaps Pokemon reminds you of being raped as a child and it makes you ever so sad. In any case, this theme invokes emotion.

8. King of the Hill

Nope, no clever title here, just awesome theme song. No, not even dry humor. Seriously, just listen to it and you'll see why it's on the list. It's really, well... good as a standalone song. Something that can't be said for a lot of these.

7. Chicks Dig Giant Robots!

Oh, Megas! How cruel the fates were to thee! Such a brilliant show; such a memorable theme. It's strange, yes, but when even the theme song is this humorous, you know the show's got to be good. Also, I just now discovered there is a "full" version of this song that's three minutes of pure awesome. It's very rare apparently.

6. Dear Journal...

Yup, it's Doug. Everybody loved Doug! (That is, before Disney f'ed it up.) More emotions, more rape, that's what I'm talkin about! Also, the scat thing whatever that is is pretty cool too.

5. Long Ago in a Distant Land...

I, Aku, the shapeshifting master of darkness unsealed an unspeakable evil. But, a foolish samurai warrior welding a magic sword stepped forth to oppose me. *Cling *Clang *Clash Before the final blow was struck, I tore open a portal in time and flung him into the future where my evil is law! Now the fool seeks to return to the past and undo the future that is Aku.
RIP Mako. Also, the actual song is good too.

4. What are we gonna do tonight?

The same thing we do every night Pinky, listen to our awesome theme song. Narf.

3. Grab on to some Duck Tales!

There were many an old Disney tune I could have put in this spot. Ultimately, I thought Duck Tales was the best example of Disney's awesomeness back in the day. This is their all-around best catchy theme song.

2. Thunder Cats- Ho!

How can you not like this theme song? Seriously, it's catchy as hell and it has the easiest lyrics to remember: "Thunder, thunder, thunder, thunder cats HO!". Also can anyone explain to me what type of cat the hairless, grey, elf eared character is supposed to be? (Doegab's words- he placed it at #10. I say that this, one of the catchiest and most memorable themes of all time, earns the silver prize as my number two pick.)

And now... the number one pick. Are you ready for this? Are you sure you're ready for this?


1. Seriously though,

Futurama takes top honors for having the best cartoon theme song ever. It's simply awesome. Catchy and awesome. And, yes, being Fry Roll'd is a thing. I didn't make it up.

Oh, and one more thing. I hate it when people say things should be higher on a list. At least they got on a damn list so be happy with that.


Again, it doesn't make it on the list but it's still awesome. Some day, you'll make it Kappa Mikey. Some day.

*EDIT* Did not realize how gay that last freeze-frame looks. I apologize.

December 18, 2008

Review: Meteos Wars

The original Meteos was released three years ago for the DS and I'm sorry I missed it. I know it's saying a lot, but this new version for the XBL Arcade is probably the best puzzle game I've ever played. I must say, nobody makes puzzle games like Q and Popcap. While I do love me some Bejeweled, I have to give the edge to Q for coming up with a phenomenal puzzler.

As far as I'm concerned, Meteos is leaps and bounds above Q's other megahit puzzle game Luminies. Meteos certainly has style, atmosphere, and, oddly enough, a fairly well-crafted story. It sounds strange that a puzzler would have a story that's not just tacked on, but it makes sense in context. The simple of it is: there's this evil planet called Meteos that launches these meteor things at planets until the planet accumulates so many that it crushes under its own weight. It's your job to save said planets by blasting those meteors to outer space.

That's where the brilliant gameplay comes in. You've got your standard puzzle grid full of blocks that fall from the sky periodically. You can move your cursor around and highlight various columns of blocks with the right stick and use the left stick to change the block's position in the row. Blocks can only be moved up or down a column and you can't highlight rows. If you match three of the same blocks vertically or horizontally, they become thrusters and launch themselves and all the blocks stacked on top into space. The thruster block(s) become ash and eventually turn back to regular blocks if they don't quit make it all the way off screen. Of course, there's a lot more to it and you'll soon realize the gameplay is a lot deeper than you realize.

What's really interesting about Meteos is that each planet is totally unique with its own backstory, blocks, inhabitants, and music. You'll soon find out that each planet actually plays very differently from the others. Blocks fall onto the board to the rhythm of the music which changes depending on the race you play as. Gravity also changes which cad dramatically change the gameplay by making blocks harder or easier to launch.

It's hard to descried the gameplay without seeing it. It looks like this. Also, notice the "devastating" laser.

In Meteos Wars, the main premise is to do battle with opposing planets (which is also exactly how the multiplayer works). Your objective is to blast your blocks into space where they will then fall onto your opponents grid as those ash blocks. Simple, yet brilliant. If one or more of your columns becomes full with blocks, you loose, so you basically must fill your opponents grid with blocks before he fills yours. New in this version (I think) are bombs and special attacks. Sometimes your special attacks can be useful, like dropping a hail of useless blocks on your enemy's grid. Other times, I don't see the point. There's one in particular that blasts lasers at your foe which clears entire columns of blocks. I find it particularly helpful when someone uses this on me. Likewise, the bombs simply destroy blocks on your grid. I don't quit understand how these seek to punish you by helping. The only thing I can think of is that it prevents you from shooting more blocks at the other guy. You can also speed up time which, according to the game, somehow helps you win. All it does for me is fill up my grid with bricks faster. Granted, a few gameplay mechanics seem backwards, but they really don't detract from the overall experience.

The game has a Vs. CPU mode if you don't feel like playing against other people. The multiplayer portion supports local, ranked matchmaking, and unranked. There are a few challenge modes to see how much of a score you can rack up with given constraints or how fast you can clear the board. The six stage mission mode puzzled me at first (no pun intended) because it was so short. I was just getting the hang of things on easy and it took me all of twenty minutes. Now I see that the game becomes brutal on harder difficulties. I haven't been able to beat it on normal. Maybe I'm not good enough, or maybe the computer is too good. Either way, there's a ton of planets to unlock by playing it if you ever get through.

Meteos takes the style of Q's other game Luminies and adds far better gameplay for what I can only describe as the ultimate addicting puzzle experience. If you like puzzle games, don't give this one a second thought. $15? What a steal! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to hunt down a copy of Meteos for the DS.

Visuals: 9- Beautifully colorful in HD.
Controls: 8- Controls well. I can see how it was made to be played on a touch screen.
Gameplay: 10- Simply my favorite puzzle gameplay ever.
Sound: 9- Effects are great and music is typical Q. (That's a good thing.)
Replay Value: 10- Until you get bored of it which is basically never.

Overall: 9.5/10
Intelligent design and unparalleled style make this one of the greatest puzzle games ever made.

December 16, 2008

Dragonball... Evolution?

Since when did they add the "Evolution" subtitle? Anyway, I'm starting to think this would be a decent movie if it had nothing to do with Dragonball. Seriously, it looks awesome except that it's based on Dragonball and is nothing like Dragonball. At least they got Piccolo's voice right. Sigh.

Review: Dead Space

Well, it's time for the holiday reviews to come rolling in. Just in time for Christmas, it's the survival/horror game Dead Space! Nothing says holiday cheer like hordes of alien zombie creatures!

Dead Space is the first survival/horror game I know of that's set in space. It's also the first any type of game I know of developed by EA. Yup, they published and developed this one. Oddly enough, it's also shrouded in obscurity. Despite the barrage of media coverage (it was heavily hyped at E3 and the Sci-Fi channel even had an hour long special on it) not many people seem to have heard of it. Well, I'm here to tell you that Dead Space is worth your time.

The game centers around a space mining vessel called the Ishimura that cracks planets open and mines their resources. You, however, start the game off on a small dingy ship that is sent to investigate a distress signal from the Ishimura. Apparently, someone of importance to you is on the ship and you're looking for her. How original. Actually, the game is very original besides that. Once on board, you discover these crazy mutating alien things that turn people into crazy mutant alien zombies. In space. The ship is massive and obviously meant for long term living because it's sort of like a floating city. Each area you visit has a different and unique feel to it that creates an excellent sense of atmosphere. I must admit, the game does a good job of establishing a new universe. That, my friends, is not an easy task.

How does it play, you ask? Very well actually. It centers around the theme of what they call "strategic dismemberment." Basically you have to slice off the limbs of your foes to kill them. Shoot off the legs, they'll crawl at you with their arms. Shoot off the head, they'll run around wildly trying to get at you. And by golly are there a lot of them. They range from deranged babies to invincible supermutants to brutes with exploding arms. The whole mining ship thing is quite convenient because all (or most) of your weapons are mining tools made for slicing things. One of the best parts of the game is its weapons. They're absolutely a blast to use. Creep through spooky corridors with your plasma cutter to light the way, then bast plasma blades at your enemies to slice them to bits. There's also a gun that shoots saw blades, one that shoots bolts of plasma, a flamethrower, and a regular machine gun that's actually the least effective of the lot. Oh, and there's quite a few more toys to play with- each with a secondary fire. You can even upgrade your guns and your suit for a price.

Now to a more serious note. The gameplay itself is well done. It's got an eerie over-the-shoulder perspective that most games of the genre have these days. It works well to set the mood, but the controls seem a tad bit more complicated than they need to be. Each button has multiple functions when you pull down on the left trigger to aim. It's not that much of an issue but I found myself forgetting how to do this or that or doing something I didn't mean to by mistake, thinking it was something else. When your not shooting up space zombies, the game has a few puzzles to challenge you. These mainly focus on your slow time and telekinesis abilities. Most aren't that tough, but they're well done especially the portions set in zero gravity environments and vacuums.

One of the areas about the game that I must give the biggest praise to is the lack of the HUD. Many games have promised it, but none have made good until now. This game truly has no HUD. Everything you do happens in-game in real-time. Inventory? Projects from your suit. Mission log? Suit. Lost? Click the right stick and a pathway projects onto the ground from your hand showing you the way. It's really awesome. Everything you would ever need to know, from the ammo of your gun to your health, is done in-game with no floating stuff on your screen. Your health even glows on the spine of your suit. You never leave the action and, because it's done in real-time, it creates a sort of tension that adds to the atmosphere. You can be attacked at any time while, say, checking your inventory. That's how survival games should be.

The other aspect that I must give a lot of praise to is the sound. It's excellent. Like, really excellent. You really feel like you're there... on an abandoned ship... with space zombies. The game is not heavy on music, but the sound effects? Top notch.

I have to give credit where credit is due. EA has developed a top-quality game that's definitely worth your time. Sure, it may be just another survival/horror game (The horror part is questionable, I don't find it that scary, but some do. Although there are a few parts that make you crap your pants.) and everything in it may have been done before, but the way it's presented is what makes it special. Space, mining, dismemberment, HUDless- all these things combine in a beautiful way to make the best game this year that you'll never play.

Visuals: 8.5- Some textures look grainy up close, but excellent art and lighting design.
Controls: 8- Great for the most part, though a bit more complicated than they have to be.
Gameplay: 9.5- Awesome.
Sound: 10: Genius. The game's strongest suit.
Replay Value: 8- After you beat it, you can play through again on a harder difficulty with all of your collectibles and upgrades intact.
Overall: 9/10

Best game that no one will play.

December 15, 2008

Un-April Fools?

While I work on some insightful and well-written game reviews, I thought I'd post this in the meantime. Remember that April Fool's joke from last year. You know, the one about an Oblivion expansion including a remake of Morrowind? Yeah, well... turns out it was less of a joke than I thought.

December 13, 2008

Star Wars: The Old Republic First Game Play Video

Finally, Bioware has released its first gameplay video on the upcoming Star Wars MMO

December 7, 2008

The biggest Rick Roll ever

I saw this live on Thanksgiving morning. Words cannot describe its epicness.

December 1, 2008

New Dragon Ball Z Special “Doragon Boru Ossu! Kaette Kita Son Goku to Nakama-tachi” review

Before I start with this review I feel obliged to explain why this movie came out and why its name is so long. Well as some of you Manga fan boys (and girls) may know this year marked the 40th anniversary of Shonnen Jump in which Dragon Ball Z has been one of the mangas to reappear monthly due to its unwavering fans. This new DBZ special Doragon Boru Ossu! Kaette Kita Son Goku to Nakama-tachi which sadly translates to Dragon Ball: Yo! The Return of Son Goku and Friends! would make any true DBZ fan really ponder on if they preferred Dragon Ball GT (which was horrible). Now before I totally right this one off as a waste of 35minutes, I would like to say that with all of it’s set backs I was happy to see DBZ back to being written by Akira Toriyama and not lame ass Funimation. In keeping to the original DBZ theme and style I applaud this movie,This is unfortunately the only thing I find going for this anime with a plot a 5th grader could have mustered up and villains that look like they came strate from Sesame Street (until they fused) I found this movie a real disappointment.

The Movie starts like GT never happened and two years after Goku defeated Majin Buu. As the movie starts Goku, Chichi and the family are around the table watching Goku stuff his face when Gohan gets a call from videl inviting the gang to Hercules a.k.a ( Mr. Satan) new hotel to celebrate the beating of Majin Buu. When they arrive there a mysterious sayian pod crashes on earth and reveals Vegeta’s long lost brother Tarble (get it vega..table… vegetable? … o dear) who seeks vegeta’s help to fight two of Freeza’s remaining men who were stationed on a different planet when Freeza died. the two aliens named Abo and Cado described by Tarble as being as strong as Freeza. In comparison to Buu the Sayian fighters treat this fight as a fun sparring match for the children (Goten and Trunks). Long and short of it Goten and Trunks manhandle the two aliens until they fuse. Goten and trunks fuse as well, becoming Gotenks and defeat Abo and Cado. Goku and friends then go back to eating in what is left of Hercules hotel. There in a nutshell is Dragon Ball Z Doragon Boru Ossu! Kaette Kita Son Goku to Nakama-tachi, A nice little movie to reminisce on the good old days for the die hard DBZ fans, but for anyone else they might prefer getting there backs waxed by a infuriated Hungarian butcher who lost his pet goat.
Rating: 6 of 10
Links to the movie on YouTube: (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) (part 4)