The Rainbow Six 3 Companion Demo Disc

Before online gaming, back in the days when dial-up was the only means of internet access for many, there was the demo disc. The demo disc was a means for gamers to try out games and see if they were worth buying. Nowadays, almost everyone downloads demos of games through their consoles over high-speed connections, and the demo disc died a sad, quick death. But who knew a simple demo disc for a tactical shooter would be one of the only ways to get exclusive downloadable content for another game?

Cover of Rainbow Six 3 Companion Demo Disc

This is Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Exclusive Companion Demo Disc. I found it for a few dollars at a nearby Goodwill. While I like the concept of demo discs, and occasionally have collected a few, I was ready to ignore this little item. Until I found out something interesting about this particular disc.

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Mods and maps: Chronic, a Quake III Arena map

So about a few months back, I was watching website Giant Bomb do their weekly Thursday Night Throwdown multiplayer session, where they were playing the 1999 shooter classic Quake III Arena. One of the hosts said “Remember when Interscope Records put out a Quake III map and models?” I was thinking such a thing did not exist and they were merely joking. They weren’t.

The map is called Chronic, and it’s a deathmatch map. Resembling a city block straight from “the streets,” it has cars, a few buildings, and loads of Eminem ads. Apparently this particular map was made as promotion for the then-unreleased Marshall Mathers LP, complete with ads for the album, for Eminem and Dre’s common sponsors at the time, and even snippets of music from the album. Although, it’s clear this guy wasn’t a great mapper. Some problems include the bots constantly walking back and forth into the telephone booth teleporters, as well as sound glitches where the music track would play more than once and have this really loud overlap. Also, a good chunk of the power-ups also require the player to rocket jump, meaning this map was clearly made for veterans of the game and not for newbies.

Yes, there are Eminem and Dre avatars for the game. Complete with unique dialogue. Much like everything else in the map, the mapper seemed to not know how to do bot dialogue well, as there are a lot of unnecessary underscores in a lot of the text. Presumably this was done to get around certain chat restrictions, but I’m not sure. Other than that, it’s just a simple-ass Quake III multiplayer map. There’s not much else to say about this one.

If you want to try the map out yourself, you can download it here. Quake III Arena is required to run it, and you can get it on Steam if you’re one of the few who never played this classic multiplayer shooter. I can’t blame you if you haven’t played it, Unreal Tournament was better anyway.

Budget Hell: Elite Forces: WWII Iwo Jima

Man, remember when World War II games were really popular? It just seems like just 5 years ago when everybody was clamoring for shooters that involved shooting them Nazis. Then Call of Duty 4 happened and now it’s everybody clamoring for shooters that involve shooting them Insurgents. Or Koreans.

Let’s go back a few years. Even before Call of Duty was a thing and Medal of Honor was the only WWII shooter in town, developer 3LV Games and publisher ValuSoft graced us with this wonderful game: Elite Forces: WWII Iwo Jima. A sequel to Elite Forces: WWII Normandy, this is a first-person shooter that presumably takes us through the Pacific theater in WWII. What I get instead is probably the worst World War II shooter I’ve ever played. And I played Medal of Honor: Airborne.

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The horrors of MTV2’s Video Mods.

Video games and pop music are two unlikely things that somehow go great together if they’re done properly. Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero, Rock Band… Then there’s the weird video game homages in music, like Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Californication.” Which was more of a crazy animation experiment by some college kid than an actual video game homage, but it was cool all the same.

Complete with appropriate graphics at the time! Still looks better than an Xbox!

Around 2004, some guys must have saw that Californication video while on a 2AM drinking binge and thought that these ideas should be combined into a TV show. The result is one of the most bizarre combinations of music and video games that I’ve seen since some anime character appeared in some Japanese creepy idol-managing simulator: MTV2’s Video Mods.

One of the lesser-known shows of MTV2’s library, which consisted mostly of Beavis & Butt-head reruns and that one show that Seanbaby worked on (oh, and music videos), Video Mods was a strange concept: Some dudes would make a music video of a popular song and put it in relation to some recent video game. It sounds weird on paper, so the best way to explain it would be to show one of these “video mods”:

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Mods and maps: Mission Impossible: New Dawn

(This is a blog post I originally wrote in late 2010 on my original blog. I’m reposting it here.)

I’ve always considered myself a fan of PC gaming. The best thing I’ve loved about PC gaming can be summarized in one word: Mods. Ever since the days of hex-editing levels in Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, mods have been prevalent in PC gaming society. While gaming has shifted more towards a console focus in the past five years, mods are still present today. Two years ago, I did a dedication to Half-Life‘s tenth anniversary by covering a bunch of Half-Life mods. While I never got to cover every single one due to time constraints, I always wanted to go back and record some new videos for some of the mods I didn’t cover. Maybe later this year.

So on a Friday afternoon, bored with little to do, I decided to rewatch Mathew “Film Brain” Buck’s review of Mission Impossible II. Remember that action flick that got parodied a lot in the media around 2002? Yeah, I never saw it and don’t intend to any time soon. But that film reminded me of this mod for Max Payne 2. It was called Mission Impossible: New Dawn.

Unlike other games like Half-Life or even Quake, Max Payne modding wasn’t as prevalent. Most of the mods I saw just added music tracks and Matrix-like action movie moves to the core game. Or, in the first game’s case, the famous Kung-Fu mod. I remember Mission Impossible: New Dawn being a big freakin’ deal back then, it was going to be a complete Total Conversion of Max Payne 2 to resemble the Mission: Impossible movie series. This was made around 2004 or so, before even the third movie was in planning stages.

Now that I reinstalled Max Payne 2 recently, I decided to downloaded the mod, to see if it held up after all these years. And… it didn’t, really. Although, I expected that to be the case. Since games evolve at such a rapid pace, games tend to age faster than other mediums like TV shows or movies. But in the case of this mod, it’s about average quality when it came out, and still average today.

The cutscenes look really stiff. Even by 2004 standards, they look stiff. Models standing around, barely moving their mouths, awkward camera angles, and models not even animating properly. I know something’s wrong when the first Max Payne did animation better than this. I do have to give the mod team some credit, there’s a lot of homages to MI2. There’s some decent voice work in here as well, despite the voice over for Ethan Hunt does a crappy job at sounding like Tom Cruise. It even has music from the films, and oddly enough, music from Crimson Tide, Paycheck, and Metal Gear Solid 2 of all places. Now if only I could make sense of the plot, which is more action movie than it is Mission Impossible.

So I decided to record some footage of me playing it to give you an idea on what this mod looked like. This is from about halfway through the game, and is on the easiest difficulty (Medium). As you can tell, I suck at Max Payne. But oh well, I just wanted to show you the quality of the mod, not my “l33t gameplay skillz, dawg.” Look as it even takes the Gunkata concept from Equilibrium, but it doesn’t work well at all in the game and is absolutely dumb.

Unfortunately I cannot tell if the mod team worked on anything before or since this project. But it’d be funny to know some guys who worked on a dinky Max Payne 2 mod now work in a development studio working on some recent budget Xbox Live Arcade title or something.

You can give the mod a shot here. It requires Max Payne 2 to run, and since Valve had their Steam summer sale recently, there’s probably a bunch of gamers who want to find new ways to enjoy the Max Payne games. The Fileshack mirror works and that 2-3 of the others don’t, not sure on the rest.

Man, this makes me want to find some other mods and write more about those. I used to play PC game mods like a madman, it was my way to extend the replay value out of these games. Hell, my early blog posts back in the days of Livejournal mention me covering some Wolfenstein 3D mods back in 2001. That shows you how old I am and how long I’ve been on the internet.

(Edited on January 2, 2019 with more up-to-date links.)