Not enough Family in Microsoft, Not enough Rockband and Too Much Sonic Blast – Welcome to the column where there might be too much of a good thing but we will never know when to stop known as Dare to Play the Game.
Welcome to another addition of Dare to Play the Game. Welp, Puzzle Quest is beaten; Lord Bane has fallen and one lone achievement is left: reach level 50. Sitting at an eyelash away from 48, I would say this falls by the end of the weekend. Lord Bane was actually beaten at level 43 which is pretty good I would say. A few tips to those that might be struggling with Bane but keeping control is the key. If you learn Headbutt from Orc Lord and combine that with Flaming Skulls (wizards) and get a little bit of luck, you will come out on top(Ultimate Troll Rings also work wonders). The other tip for the level 50 experience achievement is to enable the Medal of Selentia as your head gear which doubles your experience from every combat and learn the spell Sense Blood which you grab from Gnolls. Liberal use of those two will enable you anywhere from 200 to 500 experience per combat from the simplest of creatures (we are talking level 20 orcs). Anyhow, I’m basically finishing all of the side quests and at that point I should be level 50. I would hope that there would be some DLC in the future in the form of more quests or better yet; new character classes to play as. Rogues or Necromancers would be very nice counter classes and could present some interesting story clashes as you play through.
Nope, I still haven’t been featured on the Webb Alert. It’s like I don’t exist, except I do; don’t I boys n girls? Yes I do. I’m rich, I’m famous and I live a semi-interesting life. Okay one out of three isn’t so bad. Maybe I need like a catchy slogan, a witty repertoire or just a really cool news story. Or perhaps, I just need luck; like somebody who wins the lottery twice or somebody who has the perfect girl and will soon have two wonderful kids. Love u Sarah :D.
Got a ton of emails today concerning Rock Band. All of them from either customers, or employees, of Best Buy. All tell a very, very similar story: that there’s just not enough copies of Rock Band to go around. One reader attending a midnight launch let us know that his local store’s (Florence, Kentucky) entire shipment was a no-show. Another, at the Columbus, Ohio midnight opening, was given a rain check despite being the very first person in line (he wanted a 360 bundle but the store only received two PS3 copies). Same for Minneapolis. We also got an email from a Best Buy employee, letting us know that no staff at his store are allowed to purchase a Rock Band bundle from the company until January 08. As of now we’re obviously only hearing this stuff in connection with Best Buy (and obviously not all of them), so those with pre-orders anywhere else, breathe deeply with me. You might/should be OK. Those intent on shopping at Best Buy, though, consider yourselves warned, and prepare for any and all shades of disappointment.
I had heard that a couple of weeks ago we would have nothing besides bundles to be sold until sometime next year. Last week, I heard supply was simply not going to be able to meet demand and many people would not be able to enjoy the game. Now it appears to be even worse than expected. So out of mind and off my christmas list it goes. I would imagine many gamers would feel the same way. However, I expect the people at Rock Band will release some statement to the effect of record sell-out or some other gibberish. Course when you are only releasing a couple of copies in some stores; it’s pretty easy to achieve a sell-out. Wake me up when I can get a copy with just the microphone. I have two guitars and no desire for a drum set; so I got the rest covered.
We all know by now that Nintendo of Japan offers its Club Nintendo members way better swag than we will ever see here in the States. But in case you needed more proof, here it is. Currently, Club members are being offered a choice between three gifts that range from so-so to totally awesome. First there’s the so-so Nintendo desk calendar followed by two much better choices: a two-disc Super Mario Galaxy Soundtrack and a Wii classic controller shaped like a SNES pad. Something tells me Nintendo is going to end up with a lot of calendars sitting in a warehouse somewhere.
Wow, I am a part of the Xbox Diamond Club and I got umm….a card with my handle on it! Woohoo! So yeah, it sucks. PS2 Underground was a little better for the time. But Nintendo offers some nice swag babie. If you happen to be in Japan that is. I can understand to those who pick the soundtrack because Mario games always have some nice music and the fact that they included 2 discs usually means that effort was placed into the selection. For me, it would have to be the SNES like controller to use with your VC games. Why they don’t have another selection besides the classic controller in the states is beside me. If you live in Japan and picked the calendar; then do me a favor and transfer your membership to my name. Cause quite frankly, along with your dignity, your ability to receive more swag should be removed.
Poor Microsoft. They’ve really painted themselves into a corner. All these games featuring big men with big guns, it’s gotten the platform a bit of a reputation as a “hardcore” (or, as the marketing types will have you call it, “core”) system. Which is fine for the kind of people who already own one, but not fine for the more casual types, those who bought a PS2 for SingStar or a Wii for…whatever they bought it for. Those types don’t own a 360, and there’s a lot more of “them” than there are of “us”. Which presents a sales dilemma for Microsoft. One they’ve tried to overcome, repeatedly, and one they’ve failed miserably at. Repeatedly. But bless them, they’re still trying.
Microsoft’s Alan Bowman has been out beating that well-worn drum, saying:
A key strategy for us is to give broad choice for people. You need to provide content which broadens your base of users from core gamers to different age groups.
How’s Microsoft planning on doing that? Aside from shameless Buzz clone Scene It? With cartoon-based titles for the kids, and word-puzzle games for the grown-ups, he says.
Well…best of luck with that. On the bright side, things can only get better!
I cringe just a little more and my stomach clenches more frequently every time I see something about Microsoft trying to be more family friendly. Like Viva Pinata Animals. The original game was quite interesting and despite the family friendly feel had a decent strategy game behind it. The new one is a mini game nightmare. But hey it’s more family friendly. I appreciate the 360, I appreciate the games for the most part. I do wish for a few less first person shooters but I want that need to be replaced by more rpgs or classic compilations. (Kinda what PS2 has done in its later stages) Not family friendly games. I understand the need but we have to watch the fine line that we could potentially go over. I also love how they assume that all grown ups want to see is Word-Puzzle games. Cause I’m over the hill and all I want to see is something I can get in the New York Times. I rather see the grown up game where I get to rescue Morgan Webb and take her to a hotel room (to play video games of course), but I digress.
Good to see pictures returned to XBLA, must have been a temporarily thing to redesign that feature I guess. (Maybe enough people complained like me) The first game back is one called Undertow. It is a shooter title set underwater where you can battle in story mode and with up to 15 others in a multiplayer setup. This game has already won awards from its E3 presentation. I will reserve judgment. Water games always worry me and frustrate the heck out of me. Ecco the Dolphin, complete crap. Aquaman, complete crap to the 10th power. Heck, I can’t even like the water stages in Super Mario Bros. So needless to say I’m a little weary. But I really do hope for this one to buck the curve and be a decent game.
Wow, Nintendo is really cleaning out its closet. This is a very early Mario game where you worked to destroy certain things on each level. Certain things like ladders, columns, blocks and blocks all had to be done in a particular sequence. Of course enemies were also present to stand in the way. Interesting thing about this game is that Luigi was present but in a very odd purple and the VC version will actually include a level editor. Wow, it might actually be worth the 500 points then.
I played the Sega Saturn version of the game and to be honest was not impressed. Sonic felt slow and 3d at the time just did not seem to be his thing. The 360 Sonic Game isn’t exactly great shakes either which is unfortunate because the first trio of games on the Sega Genesis were awesome. So I kinda worry about the Genesis version which from everything I read is even worse than the Saturn version. A harmful D-pad as opposed to analog sticks and a very clunky atmosphere highlight or lowlight this dismal attempt at bridging the gap into 3d land. Stay away, please stay away.
Another very good cd title from Turbo land. Super Air Zonk was the sequel to Air Zonk which took the Hudson mascot Bonk and took him to the future to be Zonk. A cute shooter game that sported great graphics and fun gameplay. The music seemed to be more rockabilly this time out and most of everything that made the original fun returned in Super Air Zonk with the exception of parallax scrolling. This would be my recommendation for the week with some kudos to Wrecking Crew for providing a level editor and some thinking. But stay far away from the blast of Sonic, chances are he had beans and you might be in an enclosed space.
College Hoops 2k8
Cabela’s Monster Bass
Final Fantasy XI Online: Vana’Diel 08
Final Fantasy XI Online: Wings
History Channel: Battle for the Pacific
Luxor: Pharaoh’s Challenge
Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of Illuminus
Star Trek Conquest
Petz Dogz 2
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
College Hoops 2k8
Medal of Honor Airborne
Time Crisis 4
Solider of Fortune: Pay Back
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
College Hoops 2k8
Avatar: The Burning Earth
Final Fantasy XI Online: Vana’Diel 08
Final Fantasy XI Online: Wings
Nintendo Wii Zapper with Link’s Crossbow Training
AMF Bowling Pinbusters
Geometry Wars: Galaxies
Soul Calibur Legends
Star Trek: Conquest
Trauma Center: New Blood
CSI Dark Motives
Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
Jon Deere: Harvest in the Heartland
Strawberry Shortcake: 4 Seasons Cake
Petz Hamsterz Life 2
It’s all about Mass Effect, it’s on my christmas list and I pray that I get it or the giftcard amount to go get it. Of course, we already know about Rockband and the fact that even though it is released this week, your chances of getting it in your hands is slim. Other notes of interest include Final Fantasy online madness and a sleeper in Timeshift. Keep in mind that the Phantasy Star game is also online only and if you were one of the few that realized that the original actually had a single player game; you won’t be getting anything further in this add on. Which is unfortunate because I’m one of those people. Then of course there is always the new Avatar game for your 360. This game is of interest because it sports only 5 achievements for a full 1000 points. What is worse? That you can get those achievements in about 5 minutes. All you score whores have fun. BTW, if somebody goes and grabs Swashbucklers for PS2, color me curious but let me know if it is any fun. Doubtful but it can’t hurt to ask.
So I finally did it. I played Orange Box. Played the single player for a little bit and had a lot of fun. I love the graphics and the story is actually interesting. It outpaces Halo’s single player but that’s not saying much. I tried Portal, to be honest it gave me a headache. It’s one of those games where unless you know where you are going, you will end up trapped in a maze and on extra strength advil. I didn’t have the guts to try Team Fortress just yet. But I will get around to it and apologize in advance if I end up not getting it when I do. I feel the need to apologize in multiplayer sometimes. I as many downloaded our free copy of Carcassonne and after two or three local games felt the need to try things out in multiplayer. It was a disaster and I was ridiculed throughout most of the game. Since then I have figured out a few things but I still feel like I’m in the dark despite winning a couple of games against the computer. But I leave you this week with a little bit of advice. Not everybody will figure out a game at first. And some of us are not as adept as you are at a particular type of game. But try to show a little bit of decency when playing in a group. I know Halo and Rainbow Six teach us to teabag every one we see since we have the mental capacity of a four year old. But the next time somebody hasn’t quite figured out the intricacies of how to build a farm next to a city, you might want to be considerate for just a little bit. Might save you in the future when I beat your ass to a pulp in Puzzle Quest with my mage. Take care kiddoes and have a nice day.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)