Thursday, February 26, 2004

Run Away!

Just when I was sure that I wouldn't find a free turn based strategy game for linux, out comes the UFO: Alien Invasion tech demo. Inspired by the "X-COM" series of games, UFO:AI puts you in charge of a squad of 8 with different strengths and weaknesses, bound together by the common goal of eradicating the alien infestation and using their own technology against them. OK, there's basically no plot, but keep in mind: this is only a tech demo.

Don't let the phrase "only a tech demo" above fool you into thinking that there is no gameplay to be had. The demo comes with three missions, full of alien-killing, civilian-saving fun. It's built on a modified version of the Quake2 engine, so although the graphics are nothing to wet your pants about, they're not ugly at all. As far as I can tell from the limited amount I've been able to play, this seems like a game that could shape up to be very interesting.

Black & white? That must be like half the work!

Last week I mentioned that I was looking forward to trying out the Cube CTF mod. I did succeed in downloading the mod, playing it is something else. Seg fault, no dice. I did, however, find a totally awesome Cube mod: Death Illustrated. The creators decribe it as "deathmatching inside a three dimensional comic book", which is certainly pretty dead on. See, the game is black & white (except for a few things, like blood, which are still in color) but that isn't the only bit of comic-book flavor here: The textures, all black and white, seem to be hand drawn in most cases. I'm not sure if they are hand drawn, but it adds a whole lot of atmosphere to a game already full of the stuff. The lighting is great, something about it brings to life the eerie tone of old black & white movies, and it's sort of creepy. The last game that made me feel the way I feel when I play Death Illustrated was Heretic, back in the day, and that's quite a compliment from me.

It's hard though, to try to imagine the game without seeing it. Honestly, I knew of Death Illustrated's existence and premise for weeks before I actually downloaded it, passing it off as "Cube in black & white". My thirst for all things Cube-related drove me to download it (as well as Quad, which I haven't tried out much yet, I'll explain why later), and yeah, now I love it.

In fact, I'd be playing DI (or trying Quad) right now, if not for the fact the my monitor is dying very quickly. I woke up yesterday morning and noticed that my monitor seemed very dim. I turned up the brightness, a half an hour later it was as dim as ever. Now, as I'm typing this, I can barely see the words on the screen. So, as you may imagine, I ordered a new monitor. I'm also taking this opportunity to pick up a new graphics card, maybe now I'll be able to play Legends...

Thursday, February 19, 2004


I'd really like to say that I've been playing Legends all week and enjoying the hell out of it, but I can't. I can't even tell if I enjoy it yet because now that I've finally finished taking forever to get the game to run halfway decent on my system, there's never anybody on a server to play with. If I can actually find a server with some people on it, and my experience isn't marred by lag or a slow framerate, it seems like it could be a very cool game. We'll see.

I've been finding it harder and harder lately to stop myself from starting up Cube to see if there's a good game going. More often than not, there is. I've been meaning to try tracking down that Cube CTF mod, I'm a huge capture the flag fan. The only problem is I have to navigate a site where all the content is in german to try to find it, I just hope the mod itself isn't entirely in german. If it is, I just hope I can remember the bit of german I learned in middle school.

Speaking of things in german, I really can't wait that much longer for Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose. I don't even think there's a release date yet, and I'm pissed. I've never played Xenogears, but I'm thinking about trying to find it just to hold me over. See, I enjoyed the hell out of the first Xenosaga, all the way until just before the end. Then it happened: I had spent a week doing nothing but playing Xenosaga and was intent on making it to the end, and I had made it, but what's this? Shitty pop music? With WORDS? The soundtrack, albeit almost nonexistent, had given me no troubles for the previous 98% of the game, why start with the cheese now? Shitty ending music aside, it was one of the best times I've ever had playing a videogame. I hope Episode II can live up to that.

Thursday, February 12, 2004


When I first heard the concept of Wario Ware Inc Mega Microgames, I thought it seemed like a novel idea. Hell, it might even be fun. Boy was I underestimating the power of that little Game Boy cartridge.

When Mindy first opened up the box on her birthday, I looked over her shoulder as she booted up the game and promptly skipped the opening sequence (something I never do...) going straight into the game. Boy is that shit hectic. If you aren't familiar with the premise of the game, it is as such: Each round of the game consists of a set of "microgames", which only last about 5 seconds. You'll be brushing teeth, playing short bits of Nintendo classics, and other things that you really need to see to realize the fun factor, all at a very fast pace. Like I said: Boy is that shit hectic. The idea, which could have ended up as something horribly unplayable, works perfectly.

Anyway, I'm currently in the process of downloading Legends. I wish it would hurry the fuck up because the game seems damn cool. I've heard it around that Legends is some sort of clone or attempt to create a free version of Tribes 2 (a game I've never played) but I don't know how true that is, nor do I really care. Assuming I can get it to install (I read of a few people having install problems over at I'll have more on that later.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Like This Is Any Better...

I swear, If is wasn't for good stuff like Penny Arcade and the occasional interesting thing on Slashdot the internet would be entirely useless to me. Anyway...

Speaking of Penny Arcade, it was basically on their recommendation that I bought Wario Ware Mega MicroGame$ for Mindy's birthday. I checked out a few other reviews of it, and it looks pretty hectic. I (or hopefully Mindy) will have more on that later. Oh yeah, and something about me getting Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance for Mindy's B-Day as well, I haven't seen too much of it yet though, not a huge MK fan...

While we're on the topic of GBA games, I picked up Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising, and although it hasn't cured me of my Final Fantasy Tactics Advance addiction (by the way, does every single GBA title need to have advance in the name?), it is a pretty good game. The turn-based gameplay and "save whenever the hell you feel like it" feature make it nice to pick up for quick bouts of strategizing, and the ability to play a two player game on one Game Boy is pretty nifty as well. I'll definetely keep playing it, whenever Mindy and I aren't playing Crash Nitro Kart.

Yeah, so Crash Nitro Kart is mostly Crash Team Racing upgraded to look like a PS2 game. Everyone's been talking about it, it's fairly obvious. I'll still stand here and defend it as a good game, well, because Crash Team Racing was a good game. Anyone who's been around here for a (drunken) four-player CTR match will attest to that, and the gameplay holds up for Crash Nitro Kart. I have to admit though, I'm really wishing I had a Game Cube so I could get me some of that Mario Kart: Double Dash goodness....