Tag Archive: video games


Game show video games are still one of many genres I’m fascinated by. While Jackbox Games are still plugging away with twice-yearly Jackbox Party Packs, the competition has mostly dried up. Hell, we haven’t had a proper Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy! game since the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era. (No, those crappy freemium mobile apps don’t count.)

So I tend to go back to the glory days, when GameTek was still around making loads of these games as probably their #1 source of income. I already covered the Game Boy and Game Gear versions of Jeopardy! in the past, and thought, might as well come back to the well once again.

Surprisingly, for the NES, there were four versions of Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune on the system. It honestly would’ve done fine with just two, but it must’ve been a huge cash cow for them to keep making. Either that or being given away as consolation prizes on the show gave them a good reason to do the equivalent of a “roster update” for those games.

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This time, I’m covering a fairly obscure one from the Jeopardy! collection: Super Jeopardy!. Released around 1991, this was based off of the fairly short-lived version that actually aired on primetime TV.

I’m going to assume my audience knows Jeopardy! the game show (here’s the Wikipedia page if you don’t), so I’ll talk about what Super Jeopardy! was.

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Super Jeopardy! was a 13-week special Tournament of Champions featuring the best players of the current version of the show at the time (plus one champion from the Art Fleming era because the first Tournament of Champions winner passed away) playing for a whopping $250,000. Instead of playing for cash, they were playing for points in the main games. Continue reading

I’ve come back from the dead… and what timing, as it’s time again…

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Mountain Dew Game Fuel at this point is a standard flavor in the soda’s arsenal, alongside favorites like Code Red and Whiteout. What was once an exotic rarity that I had to hunt at stores left and right to try, is now fairly common. Despite that, I do actually anticipate these “special flavors” each year and see which big corporation threw enough of their weight (in dollars) around to get on the bottles this year.

It’s pretty much tradition on this site for me to cover these unique Game Fuel flavors. I first covered it when they did Halo 4 in 2012. I covered the special “purple drank” flavor to advertise the new Xbox One in 2013. I covered the “fizzy lemonade” special edition (which was my favorite) in 2014, and finally when they did back-to-back Call of Duty promotions with an unremarkable flavor last year.

So who’s on tap this year? Call of Duty for the third year in a row? Battlefield? An unexpected contender like Gears of War 4? Nope, It’s one I never thought I’d see.

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YO HE GOT THE MANGO SENTINEL

EA and Respawn’s Titanfall 2 is the candidate this year, and the special flavor is “a burst of Mango Heat.” Since Citrus Cherry is the de facto standard flavor that’s always available, I no longer need to cover it. But how about the special mango flavor? Does it hold up? Continue reading

Back in the mid ’90s, when Sega slowly was losing its competitive edge against veteran Nintendo and newcomer Sony, they were also publishing a fair share of their games on Windows PCs. This isn’t as well known as their other stuff, considering most of them were ports of existing Genesis and Saturn games.

Most of their games was ports of stuff like Comix Zone and Tomcat Alley. But then a certain blue hedgehog burst onto the PC scene, and I don’t mean by strange fan games made in Klik’n’Play….

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Sonic & Knuckles Collection was released in 1997, and was the second Sonic game to reach PC, the first being two different ports of Sonic CD. It was smart for Sega to port The Best Sonic Game* to Windows machines, for people like me.

I was strictly a Nintendo kid pretty much until the late ’90s, when I got my first PC, and later getting a Dreamcast in 2000. Because of that, the Genesis is a system that I owned but didn’t really experience properly, thus I never got to play Sonic 3 & Knuckles until this PC release.

…Well, that and the water levels in Sonic 2 scared me so bad that when I got Sonic 3 and got to Hydrocity Zone, I got so scared that I asked to take the game back. Damn you Yukifumi Makino and your scary-as-fuck drowning music!

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Nooo don’t send me down there

I have not one, not two, but three copies of this game. The first one I got was part of a Jack in the Box promotion, which had a few other Sega PC games like Sonic 3D Blast and Ecco the Dolphin. The others were a complete-in-box copy and a CD jewel case copy that came in a Sonic three pack with Sonic CD and Sonic R. That’s probably more copies than I need of this game, but hey.

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If you’re like me, you probably have a massive backlog. I can’t blame you, Steam sales are the bane of our existences. This means you’ll sometimes buy games and wonder why you got them, like Chrome. I almost wrote something about that but I couldn’t stomach it after two levels.

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This is just a small excerpt of some of the games I’ve bought on countless Steam sales and never played or finished.

So let’s see what else I got. Alan Wake is too well-known, writing something about the six Star Wars games I own would be a bit too popular, I don’t think there’s anyone interested in me talking about the Wallace & Gromit Telltale series…

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A-ha, here we go. A game from a Finnish developer who’d later be known for the fun Trine series of games: Shadowgrounds.

This game holds a bit of a memory because of how Steam was ten years ago. See, Steam was a different beast back then. There wasn’t much outside support outside of a few indie games, like the wonderful Darwinia and the one-note, forgettable Rag Doll Kung Fu. Frozenbyte’s Shadowgrounds was one of those early adopters of Valve’s content delivery service, though this was during that period where games like these were still sold in physical boxes in stores. Though it would likely be shoved into the bottom of a GameStop bargain bin these days before being thrown out.

(Story spoilers within! If you wish to play it yourself spoiler-free, it’s on Steam for the low price of $6.99, or $12.99 for this and its sequel Shadowgrounds: Survivor!)

Set on the moon Ganymede, you play as engineer William Tyler, who’s sent out on a mission to repair some generators with some colleagues. Until stuff goes wrong. Armed with only a pistol, you fight loads of aliens as you solve the mystery and see what happens. Along the way you meet allies, and try to make sense of this mess.

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This a top-down shooter. It reminds me of Valve’s Alien Swarm, though European readers may liken this more to Team17’s Alien Breed series of games. You have a crosshair that aims in the general direction of enemy targets, and it plays fairly straightforward: Shoot the aliens before they attack you and kill you.

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Sometimes you get bored and lack motivation to do something. What do you do when you’re me, a guy who writes silly things on the internet and looking for dumb stuff to write about.

That’s right, time for some thrift store shopping~

I will admit that most of the items I found are random curiosities more than anything. There are some fairly common and interesting things in here, however, and may be something to write about in a future blog post. If all else fails, it’s a good document of all the junk I get and how I got it.

I roamed around the Oak Grove/Oregon City area for this, checking two chain thrift stores and a Goodwill, plus a special hobby shop on the edge of Oregon City. So let’s rock.

Four CDs (99 cents each)

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There’s a post-it over Quake III Team Arena because the CD key would otherwise be visible. Granted, it probably doesn’t mean much these days…

My first hit was a local chain thrift store. I thought I was gonna strike out, but the CDs I got have some interest.

I had Quake Mission Pack 1: Scourge of Armagon, but not the second expansion, Dissolution of Eternity. Now I do. I remember not hearing too many great things, but hey, might as well get it to complete my Quake collection.

I also snagged Quake III Team Arena, aka the “holy shit Unreal Tournament is SUPER POPULAR let’s make this hasty expansion” game. Again, mostly to complete the collection. Nowadays Quake Live pretty much fills the Quake III/Team Arena void, so this are more for collection’s sake.

The third and final game is Shellshock Nam ’67, one of the many Vietnam War games that came out in the early to mid 2000s. This game is notable for being made by Guerrilla Games, the guys who’d be later known for the semi-popular Killzone series. This was the sole game they made independently before Sony bought them around 2004. I don’t know if this game’s any good, but it can’t be that bad, can it?

Then there’s the last one: A Cheetah Girls Karaoke CD. This is probably the weirdest of the lot, but I bought it because it’s a Karaoke CD that supports the CD+G format for Karaoke machines (and related devices, such as the Sega CD and 3DO). I wrote about it briefly a few years ago, you can check that out here.

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Alright kids, time for me to get a bit “technical,” as it were. This is one of these posts where I’m gonna talk briefly about a game mechanic and how it actually benefits the player subtly. For those who came here for other stuff, come back in a few days.

One of the more entertaining parts of the whole game. A shame it's underutilized.

One of the more entertaining parts of the whole game. A shame it’s underutilized.

I recently beat id Software’s Rage, a solid first-person shooter/driving game hybrid. I was looking to play something after trying to beat Modern Combat 5, and this seemed like a prime candidate. Earlier in the year, I had ran through Doom 3 again, just to see if it was bad as I remembered it. It actually wasn’t awful, and is a pretty good game. Hasn’t aged gracefully in the graphics department, but what has?

Anyway, Rage has two mechanics that aren’t mentioned, but really help out the player. Most first-person shooters have it so when you reload, you can’t cancel out of the reload, leaving you vulnerable to attack. Secondly, the reload animation has to play out fully before you can fire again. Again, putting you at risk of taking damage, and in a fast-paced shooter, it can be frustrating to have to wait for your dude to slowly slap a magazine into their assault rifle and pull the charging handle before shooting again.

Rage doesn’t do either of these. If you start reloading mid-magazine and hold down the fire button, the reload is immediately canceled so you can expend the rest of the magazine. Secondly, if you’re reloading from an empty magazine, you can skip the rest of the reload and get back to shooting quickly. You can see this in the video I shot from one of the Sewer levels, and is more noticeable if you skip ahead to 1:53.

It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a huge help. Rage has you fighting between the quick and melee-heavy mutants, common grunts, and big boss monsters. The last thing you want is to have to watch a painstaking long reload sequence and die because of it.

Imagine having to wait for your dude to slap the magazine into his pseudo-AK while this monster blows you to bits. Hardly fun, right?

Imagine having to wait for your dude to slap the magazine into his pseudo-AK while this monster blows you to bits. Hardly fun, right?

Honestly, I think reload canceling and skipping long reloads need to start being a thing that’s not reserved as some kind of skill or perk. A lot of FPS games take a simple concept – reloading a firearm – and don’t do much with it. Outside of games like Receiver, which take the concept of firearms and expand on it, most games just take reloading for granted. Think of many other games that were released in the same year as Rage, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Bulletstorm, and Homefront (ugh). None of these don’t give you this same advantage. At most, tweaking a reload involves an exploit such as a melee attack, and in most cases just restarts the reload sequence, taking you much longer to get back in the fight, leading to some frustrating deaths online and off.

Is Rage’s way of handling reloads unrealistic? Yeah. Is it some revelatory thing? Not really. But I think had id not done this, Rage would’ve been a more aggravating experience. Their last major game, Doom 3, had lengthy reload times, but that game has a slower pace to it. Imagine that slower reload on Rage, it would’ve been an absolute mess.

As for Rage itself, it’s worth playing. The wasteland concept is a bit played out – especially since this game came out two years after Borderlands was a hit – but the action and driving’s pretty good. Not only that, you get to take missions from John Goodman and Steve Motherfuckin’ Blum. Can’t get any better than that, can it?

Oh, and this guy, who's voiced by Paul Eiding. Better known as Colonel Campbell. I'll give someone credit for going for notable VOs as opposed to famous people all the time.

Oh, and this guy, who’s voiced by Paul Eiding. Better known as Colonel Campbell. I’ll give someone credit for going for notable VOs as opposed to just getting Hollywood actors for everything.

For a while, I wasn’t going to upgrade to Windows 10. But then a friend convinced me of a few cool features, and I decided to finally take the plunge since it’s free as of this writing. Since my current PC was on Windows 7, I missed out on all the cool apps that came out during the Windows 8 era. After perusing the store, I found a few interesting games. Boy, I wasn’t expecting this…

It's time for STERN MILITARY SOLDIER POSE

It’s time for STERN MILITARY SOLDIER POSE

Modern Combat 5: Blackout is probably the most generic title for a game ever. This is the product of Gameloft, a French-based development studio known famously for their mobile phone and handheld games. Naturally, this is a “port” from iOS/Android devices, supporting cumbersome touch screen controls.

While I haven’t played the previous entries in the Modern Combat franchise, I am familiar with it. One of the games, Modern Combat: Domination, made it to consoles and I remember Giant Bomb covering it once. At the time, it looked like a mish-mash of Call of Duty 4 with a pinch of Counter-Strike‘s elements. By default, I go into any new game I play with mild skepticism and low expectations just so I don’t hype myself up for disappointment, so I wasn’t expecting much here.

This is a hell of a way to start a game...

This is a hell of a way to start a game…

You play as Phoenix, a mercenary for works for some corporation. With the help of a bald marine named Bull, you two storm through San Marco, escaping from evil terrorists, and eventually escaping a helicopter in a boat chase sequence. Pretty exciting for the beginning of a Call of Duty clone.

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Afterwards, Phoenix wakes up in Japan, taken over by raiders during some terrorist attack or something. I’ll admit, I barely remember the story of this game, and that’s coming from a guy who played through Battlefield 3 and 4, which had really unremarkable generic campaigns. But from what I gleaned from a wiki for the series, it’s basically double-crossing between various factions, and a surprise plot twist that the CEO of the Gilman corporation is also a mercenary soldier who caused the double-crossing. Hardly oscar-caliber story writing, but I got what I paid for. (Nothing.)

One of the many classes you can choose from. You get Recon to start, and the rest require you to either grind or pay up.

One of the many classes you can choose from. You get Recon to start, and the rest require you to either grind levels or pay up to unlock.

Modern Combat 5 has a leveling system, and unlockables. There’s a create-a-class option, weapons can be upgraded by using them in the game to unlock attachments and better weapons, and each class has special skills that are upgraded using SP. SP is gained between some missions, leveling up, and between events Gameloft put up. One thing I liked is how the rankings persist between both single player and multiplayer, which I wish more games did.

Multiplayer is typical military FPS in a post-Call of Duty 4 world: You have perks, you have a powerup you can use, there’s killstreaks like recon drones and EMP strikes, and you get XP for kills. There’s the common FPS gamemodes: Free-for-All, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and an unusual TDM variant called VIP where the VIP is always visible on the minimap and killing them rewards more points than killing other players. Fun, but a VIP kill is 5 points and the scorelimit is 50, making the matches go by faster than expected.

Huh, I guess my dad was right about combat drones. Never thought they'd look like this, though...

Huh, I guess my dad was right about combat drones. Never thought they’d look like this, though…

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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.

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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…

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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.

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It’s that time of the year again…

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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. 😛

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. 😛

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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.

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