Wednesday, October 28, 2009
So I finally got this game! Yay!
While My Life as a Dark Lord is a direct sequel to My Life as a King, gameplay is completely fresh and unique. Oh yeah, and that bit about playing as the "bad guy."
At the beginning of a stage, all you get is a tower with a staircase at the bottom and the big heart balloon that houses your dark crystal. You also have a certain number of points to spend (In the picture a blue heart at the upper-right that says "500" is your indicator).
Your goal is to protect your crystal from all the adventurers that come along. Use your points to add floors and summon monsters in them. Watch what types of adventurers are approaching, and you can plan the best way to fight them.
Melee beats Ranged beats Magical beats Melee. Pretty standard 3-way setup. But you have to add floors and monsters in real time. New adventurers approach 1, 2, or 3 at a time. You need to prepare floors that will be effective against them. You are awarded additional points for beating each adventurer, so you can continue to add to your tower as the stage progresses.
The chart on the left of the screen shows what types of floors and monsters you've placed, and which adventurers are attempting to climb your tower. Yellow indicates generic typed creatures/floors/adventurers. Blue is magic-type. Green is Ranged Type. And Red is Melee Type. The icons also empty as HP is depleted, so you can see how high an adventurer is getting and gauge whether he'll reach the top before your monsters can stop him. Hopefully you have enough resources to react if they can't!
So far, I feel like this game has engaged my critical thinking with each stage, as it continues to introduce new adventurers and offer me new types of floors and summons. Getting a feel for what type of defense is best against which adventurers takes some experimentation. The game is also humorous, as the Dark Princess tries in vain to be the most fearsome bad guy ever, but nobody will take her seriously. It is highly polished, with lots of dazzling effects and a great depth of detailed artwork drawn up in a charming style.
I've had nearly 2 hours of gameplay out of it so far. Very excited to keep playing!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I am personally looking forward to this goofy game but I don't know if I'll be able to afford it...
addendum: Found another great post here:
Friday, October 23, 2009
We've given it a title: Reclaimers of Rhuidia
And Thallian recommends I use my more sophisticated character designs rather than the simplistic ones I've been showing in the past. Here are some sketches. Enjoy!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Some things I don't personally like much is that every one of my favorite companies is starting to release games with nudity in them. I feel that porn denigrates women. It reduces our ability to appreciate them in appropriate times and places by making things that should be kept for bonding in marriage commonplace. It also exposes kids and teenagers to feelings that they have trouble dealing with and no defenses built up against. It weakens marital satisfaction by creating unrealistic expectations of spouses. Therefore I am saddened by some of my favorite game IP's going into the Nudie land, such as Dungeon Siege, Bioware's Dragon Age Origins (derived from Baldur's Gate, one of my favorite games) and of course certain MMOs (Age of Porn anyone?). I currently refuse to buy anything that has nudity or an M/R/NC17/X rating, (I haven't yet, honest, believe it or not) and I encourage you to do the same. "All it takes for evil to take over the world is for enough good people to do nothing" as the old saying goes. If enough consumers did this it'd send a stark message to the industry and Hollywood. Fortunately some companies like Turbine haven't gone this route yet but if they do I'll boycott them too.
That said I like where a lot of games are going. I'm happy about experiments in phasing (like WoW), scalability and accessibility (like Lotro's skirmishes), and other fun things going on. I like the new Sandbox games coming out and skill based games becoming more prevalent. There's a lot to look forward to soon. All of it hinges on the games being actually fun rather than having some zingy new feature, but all in all I'm optimistic.
In the MMO world I am currently interested in all of the new ones that launched, but I've mostly just been reading about them on your blogs instead of playing due to my limited time and money. I upgraded my subscription to Lotro to take advantage of the deal going on, cuz I want that goat darn it! And I have been doing lots of other random things. I played DnDOnline on Saturday with my wife's sorceress and got her to lvl 2. Levels are hard to come by in that game. The dungeons are very hard even on solo for a caster, but easy even on hard mode, for a melee fighter with lots of armor. Thanks to MBP for pointing out crowd control is possible with mesmerize type spells. I shall invest in those.
In Lotro I've been trying to get my jeweller some Galadhrim rep so he can churn out Lothlorien rep items for the kinship and friends. I also got my first radiance gear with Rumples and am still working on getting 2.5.5 group together and getting the rest of the dungeons' radiance gear. (I enjoyed my runs through Fil Gashan and Forges but got no gear, just exp and quests done)
In other news a lot of MMO's came out in September and some (Champions Online, Fallen Earth, Dawntide) I really wanted to play badly but have no time and even less money, thanks to paying 20 dollars to upgrade each of my Lotro lifetime subscriptions for the expansion. Still I look forward to learning more about them all, and Champions is on my list still if it survives that long. (Prolly in January now) Tonight I shall play with Anton in Neverwinter Nights on his world and this weekend who knows....(Prolly chore time :P)
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Theres a great article on the escapist about it here. Offer good till October 25th.
Not surprisingly, you make more money letting people pay whatever they want than you do forcing them to accept things on your own terms. But not always as Tobold pointed out and linked to us Camels and Rubber Duckies
I personally think these startegies are great for promos in a dry season, but if you did it initially then you are a fool. And if people know you're going to do it eventually, then it becomes less effective again because they will just wait until you crack so they can get the game cheap. I know I did that with DnDOnline.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Here's a special cake for a special friend, who helps me smile each day while I endure the drudgery of work. Here's to you Anton! Good on ya and thanks for all you bring to the blog! (Yes ok this might be a cop-out cuz I'm too cheap (i.e. see broke) to get you anything this year... would you like a spare license of an old rpg? NWN2? I have a one with your name on it...)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
First up is the brightest gem of the bunch and the most often passed over by those who want a shiny package. It has a touching story, better jokes and narrative, and great puzzles nad gameplay, topped with decent although not stunning (usually) graphics. I give you Lufia 2! Yeah its ok if you never heard of it. But you've heard of it now and you should go check it out because this game is wonderful packed in wonderfulness. I particularly like the new characters added to the plot that you aren't expecting like Dekar who is beautifully oblivious to his everything (death, danger, destruction) except his own awesomeness. The improved "Old Cave" is also in this game which allows you to run a dungeon that changes each time and has changing treasures, but if you get any blue box treasures you get to keep those ones. You also start at level 1 each time you enter it, though you level a lot faster than you do in the normal game for some reason.
While I'm at it, I'll tentatively recommend Lufia 1, but only to those stalwart souls willing to play a much harder, older, much less ADD friendly game. The storyline is fantastic but the graphics totally suck. The music is pretty good at some places but annoying in others. The ending is very touching. For both games and they tie into each other well. Start with Lufia 2 as it is actually the prequel to Lufia 1 anyways story-wise.
Next on the list is Earthbound or EVO I can't decide so they are both next! EVO is about evolving into something better and eating everything that stands in your way. Eventually you get to the end and have to fight some nasty alien thing that is working with other aliens trying to do... something I have no idea so I can't ruin it for you. Then the Spirit of the Earth itself gives you a kiss and its happily ever after. Play the game. Its very inventive and fun whether you believe in evolution or not. You get to make your own dinosaur, and this came out eons before Spore I might add.
Earthbound is about a kid, and his girlfriend, and a geeky genius kid who has no relation to either of them initially, and a kung-fu kid who lives in an awesome city in the clouds. And a lot of very varied environments and the invasion of many aliens into each one. (Both overtly and covertly)
A very humorous British game and very creative. Not your typical run-of-the-mill game. Expect to be weirded out and amazed.
Secret of Evermore (and Final Fantasy 5 If you are brave)
Secret of Evermore is a very hard game. It says Squaresoft but it was developed by a U.S. company contractor. The dialogue, plot devices, gameplay, everything is very different, except the real time combat feels a bit like Secret of Mana. You use components to cast spells on your foes with alchemy. You are in a fictitious world called Evermore which grants each person in it their utmost desires, which can really be a problem when there's nothing to oppose them, so it generates its own evil to oppose them too. you have to find a way to destroy the world and get the normal people in it back to the real world. Your dog can change into a cave-dog or a toaster dog or a poodle or whatnot. Lots of fun.
Final Fantasy 5 I hesitantly recommend this one for you junkies out there but be warned, this final fantasy is actually hard and really really really long. and Really grindy. You WILL have to go "gain 10 levels by killing feral chocobos" before you're allowed to beat the next boss or whatever. Still the plot is unique and neat and involves an evil being who, as usual, wants to destroy everything but this time he wants to suck you into a dimensional vortex where the world you explored is all mish mashed up, pretty interesting and long final level.
Ok no more square games: next up is Tales of Phantasia. Side Scrolling, monster slashing, totally unconventional combat system for the time and good plot to boot. This wasn't released on the Game boy advance until 2006 so you can go pick it up in the used games store still I bet. Tales of Symphonia is a beautiful game for the Wii. I haven't tried the second one yet though so I can't recommend it. Anton hates the combat though I think or something about it. I and all my bros loved the combat but we hated the camera. (It's 4 player at the same time but the camera is always on the lead dude) It's always something right?
Fire Emblem (get the GameCube one, it has the best story) This game is turn based strategy where if anyone dies, they stay dead. That goes for your enemies too, none of this: "just kidding I wasn't really dead" crap we get from Squaresoft and Blizzard all the time.
The story is well done and changes a bit depending on who survives. Along with that you get some choices that influence the plot in your conversations in and outside battle.
If you want a farming sim/rpg go to Harvest Moon, though I didn't like the first one as much as later ones.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Now I'm faced with an evil evil task. Picking my top 5 favorite normal Nintendo games EVAR. Hmmm.
Lets start from the very best one:
1. Final Fantasy! Yes I did go there. Sorry. This game was the bomb. And it recently on sale on the Wii for 500 wii points(5 bucks) The best things about this game? You could make your own party from four of ANY kind of class. You totally hose yourself, or slightly overpower yourself. The most balanced parties still had a hard time in some areas of the game though. I personally thought the "fighter fighter white mage black mage" was the best one, though also very boring in some regards. You need the black mage cuz some creatures cna only be hurt effectively by magic. you need the white mage to endure long dungeons and battles. And the Fighter is both a tank AND dps. Don't get me wrong, the black belt does have better dps and the thief is a waste of space until he class changes, so there are tempting options, and the red mage can help a lot instead of a fighter if you are a spell addict, buuuut. I still stand by my decision that this is the best class combo.
2. Star Tropics! Oh my goodness, short but super challenging, incredibly fun, and awesome storyline in which you save the universe from aliens. What's not to like? Plus it has puzzles, creative combat and was better than the first Zelda! Why wasn't there a sequel is what I'd like to know.... The music is freaking awesome btw.
3. Contra! No, no cheating.. I saw that. Dirty Konami and their easy cheat codes. Honestly. Is this game even possible to beat without cheating? I think not. Still its fun with the 32 extra lives cheat to see how many times you can get your friend killed by scrolling the screen too fast upwards and still manage to beat the game.
4. Battletoads! Pure funnny awesomesauce. This game rocks. Unfortunately no matter how good you are, you probably needed a game genie to provide something to beat the last tow levels because every time you run out of continues you have to start @ the beginning of the whole game again. And combat was pure inspiration in this first issue of the series. Very funny the whole way through, including the end.
5. Super Mario Bros 3! I have to give the prize to this game. It was a tough choice between this and Mario 1, which started it all for Miyamoto, or Zelda, which created its own genre of game. However, Mario Bros. 3 was the best of the Mario's in 8 bit and it shows. Suits and Flutes aside. you can choose which world and what order you want to do things, and you had items and an overworld and all kinds of neat new things in this Mario game, not mention catchier music and a funny ending. Genius. If I'm allowed to add two more though I'll add one Super Mario Bros because it got Miyamoto a permanent job and Zelda 1 cuz it was amazing too. Zelda 2 was too hard though. (Although beatable) I loved the white block secret where you could squat on a white block an fall into the background behind the stage. I also liked the giant fish who loves to come eat you whole. I also liked Bowsers kids being introduced and all their personalities and worlds and airships. Tons and tons of variety. The Tanooki suit is the bomb. Too bad it never came back later in other Marios, along with the hammer suit and the frog suit.
Wii Fit Plus Oct 4, 2009
A Boy and His Blob Oct 13, 2009
Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes Oct 6, 2009
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Oct 13, 2009
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Nov 10, 2009
Harvest Moon: Animal Parade Nov 10, 2009
New Super Mario Bros. Wii Nov 15, 2009
Need for Speed: Nitro Nov 17, 2009
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles Nov 17, 2009
and the day after Christmas inexplicably: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers Dec 26, 2009
on the PC:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Dragon Age: Origins (Pete and others have done several screenshots and articles on this already, I won't be playing cuz its rated M and that's something I just don't do)
and for the bargain gamer who likes turn based strategy you should consider: Elven Legacy
..maybe it'd be good for my dad... Or maybe Wii Fit Plus....
Monday, October 5, 2009
The Atari was fun but eventually it died out and people thought the days of console gaming were over. Along comes Nintendo with Super Mario Bros. which incidentally also launched in Arcades (though it's such a long game I don't that was very appropriate for poor mothers if their kids were good at it and always got the one-ups.)
On top of that Nintendo's console is a smash hit with numerous titles and someone else tried to get in on a piece of the pie, namely Sega with their "Master System".
(Yes Sega, much later on lost the console wars but not until they had fostered some fabulous gems and even after they lost and allied themselves to their old enemy Nintendo they continues to make a mix of really fun (Monkey Ball) and really crappy (later Sonic titles))
So I'll start with Sega's top 5, in no particular order:
1. Altered Beast (2 player): Yes its an arcade port but its great because its a wonderful game and you don't have to pop quarters any more. You start out as a human each time you revive from death, and you have to gather power orbs from killing undead to become a werewolf and kick some serious butt. Simple idea, great gameplay and creativity.
2. Golden Axe (2 player): Similar to Altered Beast except you pick from one of three heroes and try to chop your way through the side scrolling levels without dying. Minimal Mario skills required. Massive axe and sword skills a must though.
3. Choplifter(1 player I think) You control a helicopter and are trying to save people running on the ground and at the same time destroy/or avoid enemy fire from all over the place. Very varied and fun levels.
4.Double Dragon (2 player on most systems)
This was not a Sega exclusive either but was an awesome game and a great complement to their system at the time. Sega had purposely take the "rugged rebel" look and attempted to make it their mantra after all. In Double Dragon, not only is there co-op, there's friendly fire! You can easily get into a fight with your partner and waste all his lives. In fact, the clincher at the final boss of the game is you defeat him and them fight your partner in a battle to the death for the girl. Little boys like me loved this game.
5. For the last entry several titles vied for entry such as R-type and Strider but I'll save Strider for the much better Genesis version, and give the prize to Rampage! (yes the one in the arcade again) Rampage was pure awesomesauce. You got to break down buildings and be King Kong or a Godzilla (Lizzy) If you aren't familiar with the title there is hope for you yet. There is a Rampage title out for the Wii for those who can't get enough and I've played it and it's decently fun to throw cars and destroy buildings in 3D.... or you could just find it in your local pizza parlor if you're lucky ;). (P.s. this game also has friendly fire if you play multiplayer)
Friday, October 2, 2009
Ah the Atari, in all its pixelated goodness. I remember having such good times with thee... no not like that ewww gross.. Anyways I am scrambling my brain here trying to even remember all our old Atari games I played back in the 80's. Air Sea Battle, Crash Em', Pitfall, and I'm trying to think what the very best ones were. Well Here's some of the best of the old classics:
1. Pitfall 2! This game was remarkably big for an Atari game. AND the monsters remembered where they were if you came back to their rooms. AND you could accidentally skip the item the beat the game and end up back at the beginning and have to run through the entire game again, thus going insane. How cool is that? A better review is here:
"The original Pitfall established a new standard for adventure games, but Pitfall II pushed the envelope even further. Heck, Pitfall 2 cartridges even include their own chip set! The result is expansive levels with varying scenery, high-resolution graphics, and first-rate audio. An incredibly catchy soundtrack plays throughout the game - probably the best music ever composed for the 2600. Pitfall II takes place mainly in deep, multi-tiered underground caverns, and there's a pool of water at the bottom which Pitfall Harry can actually swim though. A whole new collection of hazards includes monkeys, rats, frogs, bats, birds, scorpions, and electric eels. Unlike the first Pitfall, there are no "lives" and no timer - in fact, the game never really ends. Instead, there are scattered checkpoints, and losing a life sends you back to the last one (after deducting some points). Developer David Crane pulled out all the stops with this one. I only wish he had incorporated a much-needed "duck" move to avoid those pesky bats. Still, Pitfall II is a well-conceived adventure and a technical marvel. © Copyright 2005 The Video Game Critic."
courtesy of http://videogamecritic.net
My favorite was the Andean Condors which swooped in occasionally and the crocodiles of course that you can walk on parts of.
2. Combat/TANKS! Incidentally There was recently a recreation of this game only with way better graphics on WiiPlay. So if you bought Wii play you have it already. Try it out if you haven't yet. My favorite thing to do in this game was to inexplicably move the trajectory of your bullet after you fire it by turning your cannon. Ahh the memories of blasting each other to pieces....
3. Air/Sea Battle: The most varied fun you can get on Atari IMO. I loved this game. You could attack planes of all shapes, sizes and speeds, or be a turret, or a depth charge dropper against submarines, or whatever. Tons of different modes to play. I wish modern games offered this kind of value proposition for fun. (Oh wait.. some do)
4. Have you noticed how colorful those Atari games are? Gotta love it! Next up is Crash Em! Man this game drove me nuts. The whole point is to avoid smashing your car into the bots and pick up dots for points. If you get all the dots you move to the next level. There is no end to the game. Period.
5. Frogger + Space Invaders (I can't choose, they're both great) Both of these games are legends, and both of them are insanely frustrating after a little while. I'll go with Frogger for the picture because Space Invaders was really a Arcade Port just like Pac Man, Galaga, etc...
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Today is DOS REALM day! Tomorrow is Atari day!
1. DOS Realm: Castle: I played this on our old IBM pc clone which was our first computer ever!
There's a great article about it here on gamespy but I will provide my own synopsis. Castle is a role playing game where you explore an old castle and start with next to nothing. You have to do a bit of exploring, a bit of puzzle solving, and a bit of choosing to run or fight. And monsters stay where they were when you left the room. Take that Zelda... :P
2. DOS Realm: PAC-MAN! I played this on a arcade machine before even had a computer.
This game was a quarter sucker of death. But I loved it. How those ghosts get your adrenaline rushing and you can sometimes get away but never forever.
3. DOS Realm: Janitor Joe! Evil robots have taken over your work and you are the janitor late at night. Can you escape or will you get vaporized? Yes you can jump on their heads and ride them but then what will you do? Fun for all ages! Great music too.
4. The Gold Box D&D first edition games! Pool of Radiance! Curse of the Azure Bonds! Secret of the Silver Blades! Pools of Darkness! Collect them all! :) These games let you create your whole party, rest wherever you want, fight whoever you want, and die hardcore anytime. You could even die permanently in certain ways and have to reload. You want hardcore, we got it. No map for you! If you want a map you gotta make it on paper as you explore.
5. Fantasy Empires! I tried to find a screen shot of you running your little hero around but alas! You can build half-ling stonethrowers, elven archers, dwarven barbarians, or human infantry/pikemen, and orcs and goblins too I think. Then run your armies around and become the individual guy until he dies, then instantly switch to another! Tons of fun against friends.
6. Last but not least, the last of my top six which are in no particular order, is Stronghold! Gotta Love it! Build all day, or focus on armies and conquest, or take a balanced approach. Choose dwarves, elves, hobbits or humans? Choose thieves, warriors, sorcerers, or whatever! All your units gain levels! And yes it does get old after a while but only after you've had a ball with it.
CDC Games, a business unit of CDC Corporation (NASDAQ: CHINA) and a pioneer of the "free-to-play, pay for merchandise” model for online games in China, announced today it has completed a successful Closed Beta Test of The Lord of the Rings Online™(LOTRO) which revealed users experienced an average playing time of 3.9 hours per session.
In addition, LOTRO reported a registration number of 2.9 million users accompanied by a high activation rate. During certain weeks of the closed beta testing period, LOTRO has ranked in the Top 10 for highly anticipated games and most downloaded games in many of the popular games portals such as 17173.com and Baidu, China’s top search engine.
"We are very satisfied on our successful Closed Beta Test where we accomplished our goals of fine tuning the game for the China market,” said Monish Bahl, CFO of CDC Games. "The game went through extensive testing, and we are quite pleased that the game is now ready for the final phase of testing. We also believe that the value proposition of LOTRO, which incorporates our pricing strategy, is expected to help us increase our market share from other games in light of the current competitive environment.”
Granted all these users are Chinese and aren't going to be paying as much as their American and European counterparts but they will still be paying money to Turbine that they wouldn't be paying to it otherwise so I think Turbine has definitely got some reason to rejoice here. They are the second major western company to launch an MMO in China as far as I know, Blizzard being the first. (Provided they get out of beta which I'm pretty sure they will)