Latest Entries »

Doom 3 was a pretty cool game for 2004. I replayed it recently since it had been several years and I was initially down on it, but after replaying it, I have some newfound respect for it. While not as groundbreaking as Half-Life 2, it was still a good game. Though it’s hardly a “masterpiece of the art form” as the box quote says.

I even have that PC Gamer issue, they were actually serious with that quote!

I even have that PC Gamer issue, they were actually serious with that quote!

Alas, from what I gathered, the Doom 3 modding community was sparse compared to classic Doom, even compared to its competitors like Half-Life 2. But one particular mod stood out, and it’s not surprising it exists considering id Software’s legacy:

It feels like 1993 and 2004 combined into some freakshow.

It feels like 1993 and 2004 combined into some freakshow.

Classic Doom for Doom 3 was one of those hyped mods in its heyday. Boasting a small team of developers at Flaming Sheep Software, these guys aimed to remake the 1993 classic on a modern engine. Of course, what better way to show off the modding skills of Doom 3‘s engine than with a remake of the original Doom?

So much for doing a UV-Max run...

So much for doing a UV-Max run…

There’s only four difficulty levels in this one, similar to Doom 3‘s skill levels. Alas no Ultra-Violence, but I’ll play on Hey Not Too Rough, the equivalent of “Normal” difficulty.

Surprisingly the development team made an intro to explain why you’re going in. It’s so corny, filled with amateur voice acting and really jerky animation. Basically they give a reason for Doomguy to enter Mars and kill demons, eventually fending for yourself. Granted, the intro can be skipped, but it’s fascinating to put a story on why things went to hell. It’s a sight to behold.

2016-01-30_00051

Then you’re thrusted into E1M1: Hangar, with just a pistol. A remix of At Doom’s Gate starts blasting through your speakers. It’s time to kill some demons!


 

Since I played a lot of the first episode of Doom – and I really mean I played a lot of it– it’s interesting to see the similarities between the original level and the Classic Doom remake. Everything’s dark and gloomy much like Doom 3 is, there’s GUI switches just like in regular Doom 3, but it has a mix of the original Doom‘s weapons and reused weapons from Doom 3. It’s a strange mix.

They even kept the swastika  in E1M4, oddly. Bet the Germans were not too pleased...

They even kept the swastika room in E1M4: Command Control, oddly. Bet the Germans were not too pleased…

While it does recreate most of the levels faithfully, some items didn’t make the cut. There’s no radiation shielding suit, so enjoy trudging through the toxic areas and taking damage. There’s no automap, so it can be easy to get lost in some of the later levels like E1M6: Central Processing’s blue key maze. Finally, the partial invisibility that appears in E1M5: Phobos Lab has been replaced by Doom 3‘s berserker, which is a bit strange. It’s like the team couldn’t find a way to code in the original game’s items, and just worked around it.

At least they brought back monster infighting...

At least they brought back monster infighting…

While the mod starts out pretty well, by the time I got to E1M7: Computer Station, it felt like they ran out of steam. It was too wide open, too boxy, and had problems where monster closets were not only easily visible, but looked out of place considering the rest of the scenery. Not only that, some of the levels require you to climb ladders, which is somewhat difficult to do in Doom 3‘s engine. That isn’t a big knock against it, but it started out very promising. They even remade The Military Base, the secret level! It’s just a case of inconsistent level design.

I'll give them a gold star for trying, but this doesn't look nearly as good as the earlier levels.

I’ll give them a gold star for trying, but this doesn’t look nearly as good as the earlier levels.

As for the music, it’s rockin’ remixes of Bobby Prince’s stuff from the original game. A lot of the more subdued tracks in the original Doom’s soundtrack keep that same atmosphere without trying to overdo it like some metal remixes I’ve heard. Then again, I would’ve been okay with them just throwing in the original music or even those remixes from the 3DO version, as long as it sounds good.

The mod ends with E1M8: Phobos Anomaly, fighting the ol’ Bruiser Brothers – a pair of Hell Knights in this case – before finishing with a hilarious cutscene of Doomguy ripping through enemies while some guy narrates the ending text screen from episode 1 in a weird voice. I’ll give them points for originality but this is hilarious to watch, which is probably not the designer’s intent.

Alas, the mod team decided not to continue remaking the later episodes of Doom. Which is sad, because I would’ve loved to see them try to remake later levels like the Slough of Despair with it’s hand-shaped level layout, or Mt. Erebus’s wide open absurdity. Hell, it would’ve been funny to see them tackle Doom II and try to figure out Sandy Petersen’s abominations like The Chasm or Nirvana and make them actually look like realistic locations.

In spite of the hilarious cutscenes and mixed level design, Classic Doom for Doom 3 is a pretty fun mod all things considered. Remaking older games on newer engines is a nice treat, and still being done today with stuff like Black Mesa. They did a good job here, and it the only Doom 3 mod I’ve heard of that’s not some co-op multiplayer mod. It’s worth checking out if you’re looking for more Doom 3 stuff to play. You can download it from their ModDB page here.

If I missed any cool Doom 3 mods, post them in the comments! I’m always up for playing more mods for games, especially the underrated Doom 3. At least it was better than Far Cry was.

Doom screenshots taken from Doom Retro by Brad Harding, which is a happy medium between a pure classic Doom source port and a pretty port with all bells and whistles. You can grab it here.

Please note: Classic Doom for Doom 3 requires Doom 3 (natch). You can get it on Steam, which the mod supports. Despite the name, Doom 3: BFG Edition runs on a heavily modified engine from the original Doom 3, and thus this mod will not work with it.

Hey kids, what time is it? No, not Howdy Doody time, but something better:

20160123_074028
Yep, it’s Loot Crate time! For January 2016, they went with an Invasion theme, full of sci-fi and other assorted goodies.
They also seemed to change the shape of the crate again from last month, presumably to keep it in line with the non-shirt versions. It makes it more difficult to keep neat and even, but as long as they can stack, I’m not bothered.
Let’s open our space rock of a crate and see what’s inside…


 

The Fifth Element replica multi pass

20160123_074436
This is a replica of the ID card from The Fifth Element, complete with a fake ID for Milla Jovovich’s character Leeloo. (That seriously sounds like a name I’d hear in a comedy film like Kung Pow: Enter the Fist.)
I will shamefully admit The Fifth Element is another one of those movies I’ve never seen. Maybe it was because it was critically panned upon release, but also because most sci-fi doesn’t do much for me unless it involves time travel. Though this replica item is a nice treat for fans of the movie. I’ll throw this movie on the “to watch” pile…


Alien Facehugger plush

20160123_074256
Aww, how cute. It’s an Alien Facehugger plush. Alien is another one of those movies I’ve never seen in their entirety. I’m familiar with its legacy, from the movies, to that weird ’90s toy line with the screeching “ALIIIIIIENS” commercials, to the video games. I still need to finish Aliens vs. Predator.

View full article »

For regular readers of this blog, you may have noticed a drastic increase in posts about edible video game goodies over 2015. You’re not the only one. I’ve blogged more about fruit snacks and Red Bull tie-ins than actual game stuff, and that’s not counting my yearly Mountain Dew Game Fuel roundup. It’s actually interesting to see more of this stuff than before, this wasn’t much of a thing over the past ten years. Either that, or I wasn’t paying attention back then.

I didn’t think I’d be making another one of these to start 2016 off. But I thank my mom, my #1 fan, for finding these out of the blue. Or in this case, red:

Mario with the best kind of gift: CANDY!

Mario with the best kind of gift: CANDY!

It’s more of those Mario 3-Dees gummies. I wrote about these last year alongside Plants vs. Zombies 2 fruit snacks, and it seems they’ve taken a holiday theme this time around. I probably should’ve written about these before Christmas, but hey, better late than never, right? :P

This is almost art. At least, to me.

This is art. At least, to me.

Like before, Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong all embrace the packaging, with three distinct flavors: strawberry, cherry and raspberry. Thank god there’s no watermelon gummies, just the good flavors in this one. It’s weird to see no green gummies, but they probably would’ve been less than pleasant flavors. Like watermelon.

When I wrote about these last time, I praised how impressive these looked for gummy candies. I lived in a world where younger me would be lucky to find candy that even remotely resembled the thing it’s based on, and not just be some amorphous blob that kinda resembled the product. But I gotta hand it to Au’some for making them look like the iconic Mario characters, like before.

As for the taste… they taste like the flavors advertised. It’s great, because when it comes to candy, those are three flavors I can always get behind. It’s even better when they’ve been sitting in room temperature for the past two weeks I’ve been putting this post off, as they’re nice and soft.. Though, I am baffled by the ingredients on the back mentioning pear juice as an ingredient.

My apologies for the fairly short post to start the new year proper. I’ll definitely have something a bit more meaty to post in the future. But for now, I’m going to enjoy 2016 the best that I can, and write about more interesting stuff, as I have been for the past four years. Here’s to a wonderful 2016!

Another month, another Loot Crate comes my way. As I continue with what will possibly be my last blog post of 2015, I have come up with a tentative name for these sort of things: “The Crate Chronicles.” Since Loot Crate is probably one of the more popular things in terms of nerd culture, this is more of a personal archive for myself, since most of the stuff inside is already well known on the web.

So let’s tackle this month’s Loot Crate…

20151221_061510.jpg

I almost didn’t get this crate, I found it in the trash. My dad had accidentally put it in there, thinking it was just an ordinary package. Thankfully there was no signs of damage on the box, so I was able to recover it before it would’ve suffered an untimely demise.

Oddly, the box is in a different shape this month compared to last month’s, I wonder why…

20151221_062113

Oh, this little thing. An ammo box advertising the UNSC, the main military group of the Halo franchise. As part of the Galaxy tie-in for this month, there’s a bit of Halo 5 stuff in here. There’s also a code for some unlockable items in the game, but alas I’m still stuck in the Xbox 360 world so it’ll have to wait until I actually get an Xbox One and have some interest in the Halo franchise again. My experiences with Halo involve playing a leaked beta build of the PC port many a year ago, and co-oping through Halo 3 with a friend, which was interesting in itself, that’s all I’ll say here.

20151221_062210

The rest of the goodies are inside the box, and it’s a bit more galaxy-themed: A Funko Pop! figure of Han Solo from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a pair of socks featuring BB-8 from the same film, and a patch of the crew insignia from Galaxy Quest.

I’m not super big on the Funko Pop! Figures. I don’t have a lot of space in my house for collecting stuff like that. However is a nice little figure. While I like socks with designs, I don’t know If I’d be wearing these ones around.

I have a shameful confession to make: I’ve never really seen the Star Wars movies in their entirety. Well, except for one: The Phantom Menace. (It was part of an eighth grade field trip. I barely remember it.) While I am familiar with some of the tropes and quoted lines of the iconic series, I’ve never really seen the other movies outside of clips here and there. Hence why I wasn’t as excited for The Force Awakens compared to my friends.

I will likely rectify this problem soon. If anything, so I can at least feel like I’m not completely out of the loop. It’s one thing for the younger generation to not seen Star Wars, it’s another for a grown man like me to have never seen it!

20151221_062529

Because of course I have to do my best “triumphant pose”.

The last thing that came with this was a cool shirt by artist Drew Wise. I did my best (worst) triumphant pose with it on, because of course I would.

This is a pretty nice crate. While I may not be super-interested in all the things featured, it’s a nice Christmas gift. Thanks, Loot Crate. Can’t wait to see what you got in store for 2016.

It’s the holiday season, and what better way to celebrate than playing something Christmas-related? How about a game based on one of the best damn action movies of the 80s, Die Hard?

I don't care what anyone says, this is a Christmas movie in my book.

I don’t care what anyone says, this is a Christmas movie in my book.

Okay, I may be stretching it a bit here. But it’s better than trying to find some Christmas-themed game involving Santa Claus. It’s also appropriate, considering Die Hard‘s legacy.

There have been many Die Hard games over the years. There was the top-down action game for the NES that’s been featured by the Angry Video Game Nerd and Games Done Quick, the multi-genre Die Hard Trilogy, even the Sega brawler Dynamite Deka which was rebranded as a Die Hard game when it hit stateside. But we’re gonna be talking about a little-known budget shooter that featured our old pal John McClane, Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza.

Love how they don't even bother to show not-Bruce Willis' face.

Love how they don’t even bother to show not-Bruce Willis’ face.

This game had an interesting history. Starting out as a “Die Hard TC” for Duke Nukem 3D, it eventually made the leap from the aging Build engine to the new GoldSrc engine in 1999. Development on Nakatomi Plaza went silent in 2000 as rumors went around 20th Century Fox did a cease and desist on the project. Eventually the game got re-announced the following year with the license proper, as well as another upgrade, this time on the fancy new Lithtech Engine. The engine that was used in The Operative: No One Lives Forever, and… lots of budget games I’ve actually talked about before. We’re talking CTU Marine Sharpshooter, Vietnam: Black Ops and…

But enough about that. Let’s get into the game itself. Nakatomi Plaza is a loose retelling of the original Die Hard‘s story. If you’re reading this and you’ve never seen Die Hard, stop reading this and watch the film NOW. Alternately, you could read the book the movie’s based on, Roderick Thorp’s Nothing Lasts Forever, which I heard is actually a good book. If you have seen Die Hard, then continue. Preferably read this while listening to that GuyzNite song about the Die Hard franchise.

Since this game’s hits all the famous parts of the original movie, I won’t go into a play-by-play of the game, only for some of the changes. Because I’m going to assume, like before, that you’ve seen the film already.

The game starts out exactly the same as the film: John McClane arrives at Nakatomi Plaza thanks to Argyle the limo driver, meets up with Mr. Takagi, Ellis and Holly Gennaro, before Hans and his terrorist buddies come in and wreck stuff, leaving John with his 9mm Beretta, shoeless.

It's weird to be playing an FPS with a left-handed protagonist. What is this, Counter-Strike?

It’s weird to be playing an FPS with a left-handed protagonist. What is this, Counter-Strike?

View full article »

Ever have that feeling where you wake up and find out something surprising? That happened to me a while back as I was combing through my scant emails while watching stuff.

yearoflootcratewinner

I won a free year of Loot Crate. I’ll admit, I was shocked. I rarely win things. I envied a friend of mine who usually stumbled upon getting free stuff all the time. I don’t even remember what contest I entered to win this, but hey, I’ll happily take free Loot Crate for a year.

For the unaware, Loot Crate is a simple subscription service where every month you get some geeky goodies based on a theme. It’s $13/month usually, though you can go for longer subscriptions that’ll save money in the long run. If you’re into fairly geeky stuff, this might be something worth looking into.

20151123_153606

So simple and mysterious… I wonder what’s inside…

The theme of this month’s was Combat, based on various ways to fight the world. As I only casually followed Loot Crate, I didn’t know their stuff was based on a theme every month. This is pretty neat, as it only hints at what’s in the box.

Now for the highlights:

Blizzard Entertainment “Cute but Deadly” blind bag!

20151123_155709

Ah yes, the wonders of mysterious toys in sealed bags that may or may not have something interesting in them. Blind bags are fascinating as hell to me, mostly in part due to Ashens’ videos on it. While I’m not a cheeky brit with a mangy old brown sofa, I am a bloody yank with a stained TV tray, so let’s go and check this out.

All of these are based on Blizzard franchises. I’ll admit I don’t follow much in terms of Blizzard games. I’ve dabbled in a demo of Diablo or StarCraft years ago, but I never really followed their stuff like StarCraft II, Hearthstone or World of Warcraft. But whatever, the mystery of the blind bag is intriguing. Let’s crack this sucker open.

View full article »

There are many things that I’m always fascinated by, and one of them is portable versions of big console games. It’s surprising to see studios small and large try to squeeze as much power out of handhelds and hopefully make a good game out of it. I collect these on a rare occasion, and thought I’d dig one out of mothballs I bought awhile back and give it a spin.

Let's OWN THE CITY! As opposed to what, Own the Parking Lot?

Let’s OWN THE CITY! As opposed to what, Own the Parking Lot?

Let’s hop in a ride and drive the mean streets, because we’re checking out Need for Speed: Carbon – Own the City for the Game Boy Advance. I mentioned buying this in an old “I bought stuff!” post from a year ago, and I wanted to see what a racing game looks on the ol’ GBA. This is an EA Canada joint, and came out on the GBA, PSP, and DS as the spinoff portable title alongside the main game. Usually the portable version is different in some ways than its console brother, so let’s check it out.

nfscarbonotc-intro1nfscarbonotc-intro2nfscarbonotc-intro3nfscarbonotc-intro4

The story’s fairly silly: You were in a race alongside your brother Mick, and a multi-car pile up by some unknown assailant caused the death of your brother and made you get amnesia.. What follows is a typical revenge plot as you work with Mick’s former crewmembers, Sara and Carter, as you climb your way to the top and dominate districts and solve the mystery.

So let’s take a look at how this looks on the Game Boy Advance…

nfscarbonotcgameplay

If you think it looks bad on a screenshot, imagine this in motion!

Oh. Oh dear. I’m not a graphics snob by any means, but wow this game looks pretty bad, even by GBA standards. Feel the thrill of going 100 mph while it looks like a casual stroll through a city road. The game runs pretty slow for a racing game. Now I know the Game Boy Advance is not a 3D powerhouse, but something is really wrong when this runs at a snail’s pace. It doesn’t help that I can barely see anything. It’s hard sometimes to see what’s ahead of you, and most of the roads are made at 90 degree angles that make it hard to make good turns. Doesn’t help that this perspective also makes swerving past traffic and other racers difficult.

One of the few modes where being in first isn't guaranteed a win.

It’s impressive how the 3D looks, but it looks like a pixely mess where I can’t see crap.

But enough about how it looks, here’s how it plays. A accelerates, B brakes, L activates Nitrous – provided the car has it unlocked, and R is the handbrake. There are four race types: Circuit, Sprint, Elimination, and Hunter. Circuit and Sprint are simple races. Elimination removes the last place driver at each lap. Hunter is a strange one: Every skill or trick you do fills up a health bar, but hitting anything or stopping loses health. It’s less about finishing first and more about finishing skillfully.

View full article »

It’s that time of the year again…

20151019_172505

You know it’s time when you see the ol’ kitchen stove…

Mountain Dew gets buddy-buddy with major game developers and makes a fancy Game Fuel dedicated to a major game. This year, Activision gets the choice for the second year in a row, this time for Carl on Duty: Black Cops III – Revenge of the Urkel- er, Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

At this point, Mountain Dew has made the Citrus Cherry a standard flavor. No longer seasonal, you can get the stuff at any time anywhere. I noticed this as I found bottles of the normal Citrus Cherry at a Safeway, rather than the 7-Eleven like I usually do. You can also get Game Fuel Citrus Cherry in small sized bottles over at Amazon, which is where I first heard about it. Since this change, they’ve had various game-related promotions with Game Fuel this year, such as items for Batman: Arkham Knight and Warframe.

At first, I thought Mountain Dew retired the seasonal flavors, which would’ve meant an end to what has become a yearly tradition on my blog. But thankfully that wasn’t the case, as I found the new special flavor in the usual locations.

I’ve written about Citrus Cherry every single year since I started this. It hasn’t changed in taste whatsoever. It’s got a cherry taste with a citrus-y tinge that reminds me of Squirt or similar citrus-heavy sodas. At this point, I’m not even gonna bother talking about that flavor, and skip ahead to the new special flavor for BLOPSIII.

20151019_172713

Jesus, this is hella green. Am I gonna change into some mutated being after drinking this?

The new Berry Lime flavor certainly tastes like berry. At times, it tastes like I’m drinking Mountain Dew mixed in with a berry lime candy or something. Much like the Citrus Cherry, it has a very strong fizzy aftertaste which took a little getting used to. I’ll certainly say that it’s not the worst soda I’ve had, but this is definitely the weakest promotional flavor. To be fair, I’m not a regular Mountain Dew drinker, so maybe it’s an acquired taste. But I’d rather they bring back the Lemonade from last year instead, at least that tasted good.

It took me a second to realize this cover looks the exact same as Black Ops 1's cover, but WITH MORE FUTURE!

It took me a second to realize this cover looks the exact same as Black Ops 1’s cover, but WITH MORE FUTURE! It’s getting harder and harder to tell these damn things apart.

Much last year, you can “FUEL UP FOR BATTLE” and punch in codes at dewanddoritos.com to get XP boosts in the game’s Zombies mode. You don’t even get special items like last year’s Advanced Warfare promotion, so it’s much less cooler this time. Maybe Treyarch had no time to make dumb fancy cosmetics for it.

So, I already said how I felt about the Call of Duty series in last year’s entry about Game Fuel, and it hasn’t changed. Moreso this year since it looks more like an Advanced Warfare 2 rather than something cool and unique. Even Activision is likely aware of how derivative it looks, since I hear more about the new Zombies mode than the base campaign or the multiplayer. I bet it’s not awful, just underwhelming these days. Besides, if I wanna play some futuristic Call of Duty-like game, I could always play Titanfall.

So, this is where it gets a bit interesting. Now with Citrus Cherry being a normal anytime flavor, I could in theory write about the various game promotions throughout the year, no longer making this a yearly fall tradition. But I’m more interested in the special flavors than anything. In the case of the times where I wrote about Monster and Red Bull sponsored drinks, it was just normal cans with game branding. Hell, right now I could buy a Rockstar Energy that advertises the recent Mad Max game. But that’s not nearly as interesting to write about, compared to these special flavors.

I can’t wait ’til next year to see what experimental flavor they bring out next, likely for the next Call of Duty game. But for now, I will FUEL UP FOR BATTLE alright, just not this battle. I’ve been more of a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive guy anyway.

(In an ideal dream world, CS:GO would be the next Dew and Doritos promotion. At least I’d proudly have a gun skin that had silly Mountain Dew/Doritos branding…)

Before, I wrote blogs about the stuff I bought under the relatively boring “Game finds” title. I wanted something more punchy, more entertaining. Then the name came to me. It’s sillier, but I like it more.

So, re-introducing a semi-regular feature on the blog: I bought stuff!

prge1

This one will be all the stuff I got at this year’s Portland Retro Gaming Expo. I could go into great lengths about the PGRE itself, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I did get to enjoy classics like Outrun and Crazy Taxi, I saw some pro-level Tetris being played, I saw people play multiplayer Star Wars Battlefront 2 over Xbox System Link, and I met the guys who made Game Sack. This was a good year as always, and I anticipate the next year being bigger and better.

I will publicly admit that all but 2 of the things I bought were recent 360/Wii/PS2 stuff, mostly shooters. You could call me a “fake retro gamer,” but I’ve gotten to the point where either I have everything I want, or the things I want are ridiculously expensive to me. Like I’d totally want the Spyro the Dragon trilogy, but I ain’t paying $20-25 for each game, especially when I bought the entire trilogy on the PlayStation Network for a buck a piece. I am not a man who can throw hundreds on Turbografx-16s, Steel Battallion controllers or even a complete copy of Panic Restaurant (though I give Chris Kohler guts for even offering $800 for it). So instead I go for the cheaper stuff, and that’s usually games from a generation or two back.

It’s probably the best time to start grabbing Wii, 360 and PS3 stuff. As people start gravitating towards the prettier PS4 and Xbox One, some games are gonna get harder and harder to get. So I got a fair share of stuff and junk. Let’s see what I bought.

20151019_184552

A 5 for $10 deal of the following:

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (360)

  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (360)

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360)

  • Gears of War 2 (360)

  • Call of Duty 3 (Wii)

So one booth, Another Castle, was doing a ridiculous fire sale on Sunday. One of the aisles had 2 games for $5, or 5 for $10. Most of them were shooters or sports games, and I thought I’d grab some of the few that I missed out on for a good bargain.

GRAW and GRAW2 were pretty solid third-person shooters for their time. I don’t expect them to have aged gracefully, but the first one was the big action game people were playing on their 360s ’til Gears of War came along. Since I had gotten Future Soldier earlier in the year, I thought I might as well grab all the Ghost Recon games on the 360.

I had beaten Modern Warfare 3 in the past, back when I had a Gamefly subscription. Hell, I even wrote a blog on the shoddy PC port after dabbling in it on a Steam free weekend. This was basically the fifth game of the set. It was either this or EA’s Medal of Honor reboot from 2010, and I decided to go with the ridiculously over-the-top shooter as opposed to the copycat.

I always wanted to try Wii versions of popular 360/PS3 games, like Call of Duty 3. It felt like it was built for the Wii first considering the ridiculous quick-time events involving fighting enemy soldiers. Here’s hoping I can get used to waggle motions, as I had difficulty playing through Medal of Honor Heroes II with it’s weird first-person shooter/light gun hybrid control scheme.

Funny enough, the only Gears of War game I owned was the first. Heard great things about 2, and good things about the later ones. I bet this would be fun in co-op.

View full article »

About a day or so after I finished writing the last post about Counter-Life, I took a nap. When I woke up, I found out about this:

More CS:GO music kits.

Not only more of them, but practically doubling the total number of music kits from 16 to 30. I nearly fainted after that. This time it seems we’ve hit a big variety sampler pack, from returning artists to film composers, and even an interesting collaboration between Valve and a record company. In addition to the new music kits, they added “StatTrak” versions that keep track of the times you’ve become the MVP in competitive matches. It seems a bit silly, almost like a joke someone made to Valve without saying they were kidding afterwards.

Since I’ve written about the previous ones before, it’d be remiss of me not to continue the tradition. (You can see what I thought of the initial nine music kits here, and the later additions in February 2015 here.) Like before, I’m gonna write how I felt about each one, mentioning some of my favorite tracks, and whether or not it’s worth the $5-8 to grab, with a quick verdict at the end.

Now in the last collection, I had made videos of the new kits, but this time I passed on doing that. It’s not that it wasn’t fun to make, it’s that considering my meticulous nature for making these things, I would’ve been here all weekend working on something that’s already been eclipsed by other YouTubers for lesser effort. So instead I’ll be linking to the pages of the music kits on csgostash.com. just click on the album cover to be whisked away to a page where you can listen along.

So without further ado, let’s get started…

View full article »

If you haven’t noticed, I really like maps and mods. Mainly because I believe in new content being made by creators rather than developers packaged into $15 chunks. But also because people make really good mods.

Some of my favorite mods tend to be ones that only change that gameplay slightly while leaving the original content intact. Stuff like Police Brutality: wildweasel presents Terrorists!, like I mentioned in my Doom mods article a while back. So this time, I cover yet another one of those kind of mods.

So what happens when you take the world of Black Mesa in Half-Life, and throw in the guns from Counter-Strike? You get Counter-Life.

Gordon Freeman is a cold-ass motherfucker.

Gordon Freeman is a cold-ass motherfucker.

I remember this mod in its early days, back when I used to lurk on a Half-Life mod forum. It makes sense that this exists, considering the popularity of both.

“FOR GOD’S SAKE, OPEN THE SILO DOORS! SOME CRAZED MADMAN WITH A MAC-10 WANTS ME DEAD!”

So the story is identical to Half-Life: You play as Gordon Freeman, except instead of an HEV suit, you have a kevlar vest and you get to fight with more realistic weaponry. Basically this is more of a weapons mod than something like They Hunger, which not only had new weapons, but new levels and enemies as well.

The arsenal from Counter-Strike 1.6 is in full force here, from the classic USP, AWP, and Deagle; to the lesser-appreciated TMP and M249. Though there are some new weapons, such as the M4A1 having the M203 grenade launcher like in Half-Life, as well as a rocket launcher that almost resembles a LAW.

This is the weirdest rocket launcher I've ever seen...

This is the weirdest rocket launcher I’ve ever seen…

In addition, some of the weapons have features not in CS, such as the P90 having a zoom in scope, or the Glock 18 actually functioning like its real-life counterpart as a fully-auto pistol and not the weird Glock/Beretta 93R hybrid it’s been since the beginning. So while it’s not a 1-for-1 conversion of CS‘s arsenal, it works. Hell, in older versions, you could have akimbo USPs and Deagles, in addition to the Dual Berettas. Man, those would’ve been fun to use…

Silly Barney, why are you just leaving stacks of cash lying around?

Silly Barney, why are you just leaving stacks of cash everywhere?

So how do you get these guns? Well, in Counter-Strike, you’d go to a buy zone and buy weapons with money you earn. In Counter-Life, killing enemies give you cash that you can go to a Health Unit or an HEV Charge station to buy guns, ammo and other important things like health and armor. There’s also money strewn all over the place, so you’ll likely have plenty of cash to buy what you need. When you get to Xen, the Longjump Module in Half-Life doubles as a mobile buy zone, where you can refill ammo when you need to, but by then you can’t buy new guns, so make sure you got the weapons you want before you jump to the border world.

This probably looks weird to everyone but Gordon, just seeing a floating menu where you could buy stuff.

This probably looks weird to everyone but Gordon, just seeing a floating menu where you could buy stuff.

There is a catch to this weapons system, though: You can only have one of each weapon type. One pistol, one shotgun, one assault rifle, you get the picture. This means like in CS, you have to drop weapons to buy new ones. I’m not a big fan of this, because I believe in having bottomless pockets to hold practically everything. But it’s not a deal-breaker, it just means planning for what weapons to use in the next area. It doesn’t take long to adjust.

The only other gameplay difference involve the NPCs. Barney’s been upgraded from using a dinky Glock to a more powerful SPAS-12, and the grunts have powerful assault rifles and shotguns. I’m not sure why they made the changes, but I approve.

Man, this place has heavy god damn protection...

Man, this place has heavy god damn protection…

While I enjoy the mod, there are problems. In addition to the weapons system, ammo has to be bought at the health stations, which can be frustrating when there’s long gaps between finding those to refill. Not only that, with their new guns, grunts are literal aimbots and will kill you extremely quickly with their new inventory. Armor ends up being ineffective in these cases, which sucks having to fight them in later sections.

Get your quicksave buttons ready, cause you'll be using it a lot.

Get your quicksave button ready, cause you’ll be using it a lot.

That’s Counter-Life in a nutshell. There’s a multiplayer mode that converts some notable CS maps like Assault, Oilrig and Prodigy as well as one of the billion Dust clones that came out during its heyday, but any multiplayer for GoldSrc/Half-Life engine games these days are deader than a dodo. It also seems redundant considering Counter-Strike in itself is a multiplayer game. Perhaps if it had a co-op/survival mode instead, maybe then it would’ve been fun to play.

Your 5.56mm bullets are no match for the Gargantua's massive flame arms!

Your 5.56mm bullets are no match for the Gargantua’s massive flame arms!

Thankfully the mod is not lost to time, it’s on ModDB and was updated to be Steam-compatible around 2008. The developer has moved on to other projects, though I can’t see what else you could add to this besides support for other Half-Life levels. It’s worth a look, even though Counter-Strike: Condition Zero Deleted Scenes is basically this but with extra polish. On the other hand, Counter-Life is free and requires only Half-Life to run.

Eh, I hate making choices. They’re both great, give both of them a spin. It’s a shame there was never a Counter-Life 2 for Half-Life 2. I’d totally play that with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive‘s weaponry…

Sometimes I can get into a groove and write stuff for weeks straight. Other times, especially during the summer, I get into long gaps where I write at most once a month. Maybe I’ll find some inspiration while grocery shopping.

In addition to buying relatively unhealthy things, I found two things I just had to have: One was the return of New York Seltzer, the other was this:

These fruit snacks are NEW! NEW! NEW!

These fruit snacks are NEW! NEW! NEW!

Mario Kart fruit snacks.

2015 is becoming quite a year for video game-related food and drink. First the Mario gummies and Plants vs. Zombies 2 fruit snacks, then the Destiny Red Bull, now this. These ones are actually made by a notable company (Kellogg’s) rather than some off-brand company I’d never heard of, so these can only be good.

The cover is taken straight from the recent Mario Kart 8, which makes sense considering its popularity. But don’t expect anything not Mario-related in this set, as much as it would’ve been nice to have Link from The Legend of Zelda in gummy form.

The box I had opened had 3 packages with Mario and 7 with Luigi. THE YEAR OF LUIGI SOLDIERS ON

The box I had opened had 3 packages with Mario and 7 with Luigi. THE YEAR OF LUIGI SOLDIERS ON!

These fruit snacks feature Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Toad, a Koopa Troopa shell, and the famous Star as our options. All good options, though them making the purple one a regular Koopa Troopa shell instead of the evil blue shell seems like a slight misstep, but this is a fine lineup. At least I can bite the head off Yoshi like the crazed maniac I am. :P

As for how they taste, they have the typical taste of fruit snacks. I can’t say each character has a discernible flavor, but they taste like your average fruit snacks. At least this time each character applies to a color, which made it easier to get a proper set.

Man, this would've been nice to have around when I was a kid....

Man, this would’ve been nice to have around when I was a kid….

Since these are made by Kellogg’s, on the back of the box has inspirational options for kids to get outside and have fun. I like this idea, but I find it somewhat strange. Like if this was on a box of Corn Flakes or Froot Loops, I could understand. But it’s on a box of somewhat unhealthy fruit snacks. Kind of a double standard there.

Props to Kellogg’s for making fruit snacks based on a recent video game and having them taste good. Then again, it’s really hard to screw up fruit snacks, unless you do what the Angry Birds people did and label them “fruit gummies” in order to make a bait and switch. I still haven’t forgiven them for that one.

Since we’re slowly approaching autumn, it can mean many things, like pumpkin spice everything and the changing of colors. But hopefully I’ll be getting back in the groove of writing things. In the meantime, enjoy this quick little thing I wrote. More “substantial” stuff coming in the future. At least, as substantial as it can get for a blog like this, anyway.

One day, I was checking out some YouTube videos, until I had stumbled upon this one by RottKing/Pordontae:

I was gonna write something about that Doom level set featured in the video, but I realized there wasn’t anything particularly unique about it. Some of the levels feel bland and featureless, other levels don’t have a sense of balance, that sort of thing — E2M9 has a fight between one spider mastermind and three cyberdemons, for crying out loud! — This is the epitome of a 1994 level. But that’s not the main reason why I liked this level set. It was the random sounds that the creator replaced.

Playing this level made me realize how amazing the Doom mod scene was during the mid-to-late ’90s.

Modifying an existing game wasn’t really new, but Doom was one of the few to openly embrace it in its early days. This lead to many creative levels, some made by people who’d later become famous in their own right.

Though this wasn’t always the case. Since the tools were fairly new, most people were making fairly dreadful levels, usually plagiarizing parts of the original Doom levels, or in some cases created tutorial levels.

(video from rybacksda on YouTube, playing through it with all secrets and all kills on Ultra-Violence, aka “UV-Max.”)

This above is an example of what most people had to offer. For 1994 standards, it was great to have another level to play, but it’s very tough to play today unless you’re like me and have a liking for crap. :P

View full article »

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve had difficulty at times coming up with good, interesting stuff for this blog. Then I found out some video game is cross-promoting with a beverage company. To the 7-Eleven!

Well, that's one way to get people to buy your stuff.

Well, that’s one way to get people to buy your stuff.

Bungie’s Destiny teamed up with Red Bull to partially promote the upcoming Destiny: The Taken King expansion. Unlike the many years where I’ve covered Mountain Dew Game Fuel, this is merely just a rebranding of the existing product to tie in with an upcoming game. Oddly, this is only available at 7-Eleven. It’s weird how 7-Eleven is always the place where I find the dumb video game drink stuff…

This is probably weirder than the time Pizza Hut teamed up with Xbox to make an app...

This is probably weirder than the time Pizza Hut teamed up with Xbox to make an app…

I’ve covered video games doing promotions with energy drinks before, like Call of Duty: Ghostchasers III did with Monster Energy back in 2013. You can read about that here. But Destiny is a different beast. It’s as if Halo and Borderlands had mated and had a baby. I played Destiny during the early beta days, back when all that was available was Earth and that one brief time where they had a mission on the Moon. I liked the idea because not only did it have standard linear missions, but it also had free-roaming exploration akin to most MMOs. But it didn’t seem like something I wanted to jump into immediately since a lot of people were pretty down on it not long after release. Though I figure the game still has a modest following if Bungie and Activision are throwing advertising dollars at Red Bull for this.

The cans feature a code under the tab where you can redeem it for bonus rewards in Destiny that are timed exclusively to this event. Granted, they’ll be freely available to everyone in 2016, but if you want it right now, you’ll have to grab a can of Red Bull. Assuming it’s a code that hasn’t already been redeemed that is. I heard that the codes aren’t randomized very well, so people were redeeming the rewards by just guessing the codes.

View full article »

I have a certain fondness for Wolfenstein 3D. Back in the early 2000s when I was just a middling teenager, I was playing a bunch of cool level packs for Wolfenstein. Hell, the first online blog post I ever made was talking about an old Wolfenstein 3D mods website that I thought was cool. Yeah, it’s kinda plain compared to Doom and Quake, but damn it, I still had fun going through mazes killing things.

I’ve played practically every major Wolfenstein game barring the Muse Software prequels and the most recent The New Order. I was even a hardcore Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory player back in the day. But I didn’t know that there was a Wolfenstein game I missed…

They don't make game covers like these anymore...

They don’t make game covers like these anymore…

Mission Pack 2: Return to Danger and Mission Pack 3: Ultimate Challenge are unofficial third party expansions to Spear of Destiny, developed internally at FormGen and released in 1994. If you were craving more Wolfenstein and were ignoring Doom for some reason, this was one of the few ways to get more digital nazi killing. That, along the Wolfenstein map generator mentioned on the box, gave you seemingly endless opportunities to expand your Wolfenstein 3D experience.

Both episodes have similar stories: Hitler recovered the Spear from B.J. Blazkowicz, and it’s up to B.J. to fight Hitler’s Nazi regime and recover the Spear twice more before he brings hell demons to Earth. It’s corny stuff, but back in those days FPS games were never known for having great stories.

Well, I hope you like blue because there's a lot of it.

Well, I hope you like blue, because there’s a lot of it here.

So what’s different in these Mission Packs compared to vanilla Spear of Destiny? Surprisingly there are a bunch of changes in this game. New levels (natch), new sprites, new textures, even the enemies look and sound different. So already this is looking promising, right? Oh, if only.

View full article »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 295 other followers

%d bloggers like this: