Halo 3 grublings, A fine Wine, & Centipede – Welcome to the column that earns its living as a backup to the Tequila worm known as Dare to Play the Game.
Welcome to another edition of Dare to Play the Game. My air conditioning busted on Saturday and my house got up to 82..83 at one point. Thank goodness it wasn’t the summer yet but it wasn’t fun either. I took quite a few cold showers so I could store up my energy. I also went out on Saturday night, by myself and spent m…st of my time in a Sonic parking lot in Missouri City. The good thing about all of that is I spent roughly 45 minutes talking to somebody pretty darn cool that kinda called me out of the blue (I had asked her to call me but that was two days previous when it happened). Now if I could just find a way for us to go out on a date. I also set up my final “date” for my current situation at Angleton courthouse; May 14th at 8:30 in the morning. Closing a big chapter in my life. I’m honestly not sure how I’m going to feel afterwards.
Ode To Morgan Webb
“So when exactly did you feel like you were expendable, just the same as everybody else? What do you guys do after you get laid off? Birthday parties?” Anyhow, I have a tendency to see Morgan in a lot of Star Wars related pictures. It could be because she has a secret addiction to Han Solo or wants to dress up like Princess Leia (I’d pay to see that, I’m think Jabba the Hut scene and they say I have issues!). Or it could simply because she resides on the geek network and they just like to naturally torment her. Probably the latter but they are fun nevertheless.
Quick news stories of interest
In its latest weekly update, Bungie fills fans in on the progress being made on the most anticipated game of the year. The public beta begins May 16, and Bungie says it isclose to finished, so strap on your helmets and prepare for a downpour of Halo teasers.
First up, Bungie explains why some people are having troubledownloading the Blastacular map pack for Halo 2. Apparently, there was initially a glitch in Xbox Live’s billing system that allowed some users to download the maps for free. The bug has been fixed, but now anyone who tries to circumvent the system is locked out of downloading the content at all, even legitimately. So if someone is complaining about not being able to download the pack, don’t feel too bad, as thereis a good chance they were trying to pirate it. There are also some isolated instances of Xbox Live not believing some users are old enough to download the material. Bungie says this is caused by a disconnect between Microsoft’s services for the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 and is a result of the developer insisting the packs be available to ownersof both consoles. The problem is being corrected as this is typed, though, we are assured.
Next up, Bungie says it is busy testing a new multiplayer feature for the beta: Saved Films. The developer doesn’t go into details, but it sounds like a video replay feature. There will be a limited version of Saved Films included with the beta, but Bungie says it will become “pretty amazing” by launch.
Split screen play will be included in the beta, although only in two-player form. They’ve even gone to the trouble of taking HD monitors into account, so the game will maintain proper ratios and allow plenty of playing area for split screen.
Bungie drops hints about an extremely large map that until recently was barren but is now a moody, atmospheric delight. It’s the largest map in the game, and we’ll probably need a vehicle to get around it.
The update also does some rumor busting, shooting down reports that Microsoft was forcing the developer to make Halo 3 1080p running at 60 frames per second. It is unrealistic to expect all the game’s action to be running at those numbers, Bungie says. It will display 1080p on the Xbox 360 Elite, though.
Let’s take this in a couple of parts, first regarding Halo 2 map pack. I find it a little odd they are still releasing DLC for the previous gen console even if its for their last flagship game. Even more odd is the fact they are charging for it. But the truth is if you look at what people on live are doing, it’s three things; playing Rainbow Six Vegas (or Gears of War), looking in the video marketplace to see if any porn has been added, and playing Halo 2. The game is still popular. My copy sits sealed on a shelf and collects dust. (I bought it during the most recent Black Friday). No offense, if somebody can find a glitch in the old billing system for the map pack and get it free; more power to them. Personally I still need to get on and get whatever DLC is remaining for Links 2004 (the old xbox golf game). If I remember correctly they still have 3 or 4 courses you can download. Some free, some pay. I’ll take all please, I wish Links would get updated. I’ve never been big for the Tiger Woods series.
Onto Halo 3; Video replay should be interesting. It will nice to see yourself get shot into a million pieces. I have a small hope and that just maybe via headset you can add commentary to the action. Making your own Red vs Blue episodes and then share them with others via the memory unit. Oh yea! Split screen support is back and compensating for HD units like mine is a nice touch. That’s one of the things when people are demoing Halo they always like to show. I never cared for it much myself but I appreciate them putting it in. Speaking of HD capability; 1080p should be quite the pretty package. It only makes sense with the Elite making waves that their flagship game series showing off the 1080p resolution. 60 frames per second was just a pipe dream. But if they get anywhere close it should be quite the treat.
EA Brings Wine Tasting to the DS(from ign.com)
A quick glance at the latest game announcements in this week’s Famitsu revealed the usual assortment of casual oriented games for the DS. There was the expected kanji trainer from Ertain, who also stepped up with a match stick puzzle game. Kokuyo unveiled the latest in itsbusiness series, this time promising to train players in how to run their own restaurant business.
And then we saw it. Right next to a preview of a DS weight training guide (this Dorasu-published title actually wasn’t a surprise as it had been announced before), a preview of a DS wine sampling guide. Yes, the system that has English language trainers, cooking navigators, and (soon enough) gardening guides will now accompany on your tasting toursin wine country.
Set to be published by Electronic Arts (the non-game craze hath affected all), Sommelier DS takes its name from the formal name of a professional wine steward. The game serves as a guide to all things related to wine. Included are over 1000 domestic and international wine types, searchable by name, price and origin. And for those who want tobe a real sommelier, the game provides lessons in proper wine drinking and storage.
Real life Japanese sommelier Chisa Hamadachi is supervising this latest non-game, which is set for Japanese release in July.
I like doing this from time to time. DS here is so closed off; there are tons of games but the DS in Japan is a lot more like a Palm Pilot than a game machine. They really do release any title imaginable. Luckily these titles are compatible over here as long as you can decipher what is going on. Take this title by Electronic Arts for those of us who like to taste wine (before, after and during our meals). I’m not sure who will find this useful but expect it sell enough copies regardless. My initial worry with the DS was that in this title you actually poured wine into the DS sensor and it told you what vintage and year. I mean heck they got games where you blow into the darn thing. Hey if it’s in the game, it’s in the game.
XBOX Live Arcade – May 1st: Catan & Centipede/Millipede
I’m quickly coming to the conclusion that Live Arcade is going to render me broke. Ever since TMNT Arcade and Symphony of the Night came out, there has been a steady stream of worthy releases that warrant my attention. This week is no different with three games coming to the XBLA.
The first release is Catan, based on the European board game: Settlers of Catan. The idea behind this game is that you have to colonize a newly discovered island. You can also trade resources and seize territory from opponents. One of the big draws to the game is that the AI is extremely tough and difficult to beat on a regular basis. Sounds like a neat idea, might be worth looking into. This one will cost you 800 points. I really like the idea of turning board games into Live titles. Maybe this will lead to games like Monopoly and Scrabble being released. The Game of Life would be pretty sweet too.
The next two to be released are Centipede and Millipede. However, I’ve had a few conflicting reports that suggest they will be released as a dual pack and a couple seem to imply they would be released separately. The price, a mere 400 points. I sincerely hope it is a dual pack; Millipede will not sell on its own. Most people know the story of Centipede, a shooter where you face an army of arthropods, spiders, and other things that go bump in the night while shooting some shrooms. Millipede was slightly different but had the whole scrolling playing field thing going for it. Both of these will include the classic renditions along with Evolved versions. It will be interesting to see the recreation but it was the right move to include the classics.
Arcade Classic of the Week
Ha, and you probably thought I was going to choose Qbert. For shame, for shame. (popular, scmopular). Okay, how many of you have heard of Qix, raise your hands? *crickets* Somebody…anybody.. Well I remember playing this one when I was a kid and never quite figuring out the true strategy to master it. It was released in 1981; and you’ve probably seen variations of it from time to time. (just maybe never experienced the original game). The objective is to claim most of the playing field. This is accomplished by drawing rectangles until the area is completed. This is hampered by a Time Meter and also Sparx that would enter the playfield and travel wherever there wasn’t any unclaimed space. It’s one of those games that can be described as extremely addicting if you let yourself get into it. From the outside it looks like a very simple game but not after you play a few games and the speed gets faster. This will be part of the upcoming Taito Legends 2 release for the PS2 and XBOX. I am getting Taito Legends 2 but after reading the Wikipedia article I’m not sure which version I’m getting. One word, Cadash (they had to make that one exclusive to the XBOX, and I ain’t convinced that it will be made 360 compatible).
Legend of the Dragon
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly
Ultimate Board Game Collection
Winx Club: Join the Club
Spyro: A Hero’s Tail
Legend of the Dragon
Shrek the 3rd
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
Have you heard Spiderman 3 comes out this week? Not sure which system, but apparently it could be multi-platform. *sarcasm* It’s weird how what would be Gamecube releases are now coming out for the Wii. Examples; all of the Wii releases this week are also PS2 releases. Mortal Kombat Armageddon which comes out at the end of May for the Wii was a XBOX and PS2 game. Shows you that outside of some fancy gimmicks how similar the Wii is to the Gamecube. It also shows how much of a marketing genius Nintendo is. Outside of that, a couple of new Spyro titles hit and it might be an interesting title but Legend of the Dragon hits PS2 and Wii.
Some Final Thoughts and Mutterings
well since XBOX released a new compatibility list; I trotted off to my local EB Games and took the time to talk to Ginger my friend who works there. I ended up getting Mortal Kombat Armageddon, Conker: Live & Reloaded & Breakdown. I was looking for Return to Castle Wolfenstein & Mercenaries but could not get complete copies. I also looked at Phantom Dust but after reading the back cover, I decided against it and went with Breakdown. MKA has been a really fun game so far, and it might be worth doing a review of it since the Wii version comes out in a month. (since they are pretty much the same game). Speaking of reviews, I did turn in 4 dvd reviews this past weekend for Gamebox 1.0, Loonatics Unleashed Season 1, Pure & Venture Bros Season 2. Well, have fun kiddoes.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)