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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Games Played 01/29/2009



RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete (1999)
Developer: Game Arts
Platform: PlayStation
Purchase Date: 06/12/1999


Yes, I know they are mutant flies... Just look at the size of those things.

This is a remake of what some have considered to be the pinnacle role playing experience on the Sega CD - Lunar: The Silver Star. The game's "hero saving the world from evil" narrative is very stereotypical of the genre but its character development is an entirely different story. Game Arts did an excellent job making the player care about the game's diverse cast of characters via meaningful conversations and a rather nonchalant, lighthearted tone to the adventure. Cut scenes are added to this remake and the random battles are replaced with visible enemies on the map. Unfortunately, there are too many enemies scattered across the screen, making for some repetitive gameplay on top of the simple battle mechanics. The game is average at best but the premium packaging for the Collector's Edition is top notch, courtesy of Working Designs.

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

New Game Alert!

I picked up Call of Duty: World at War for the X-Box 360 today. It's a Severity 2 on my Purchase List but a couple of my X-Box Live friends have been constantly reminding me to get the game for multiplayer purposes. Playing multiplayer with a bunch of random folks is mostly a frustrating experience - I am still struggling to find a Culdcept Saga buddy to the point where I am on the brink of giving up - so if getting this game would lessen the frustration for others, so be it. I would have picked up the PlayStation 3 version too if not for that very same reason I just mentioned.

Friday, January 30, 2009

New Game Alert!

My Club Nintendo reward arrived in the mail yesterday. I remember wanting a Game & Watch during my early childhood so even though there are only three games included in this collection - Oil Panic, Donkey Kong, and Green House - playing them brought some tears in my eyes. The dual screen interaction in these games is a nice little reminder of the origin of the Nintendo DS. A complete collection featuring all the Game & Watch games would be heavenly! Make it happen, Nintendo!

Loner's Crazy Display

The thoughts of upgrading my main video gaming display haven't been on my mind for quite some time. For more than two years, I have been very satisfied with my 56" 1080p Samsung DLP: The TV works great, has an outstanding picture quality, and it is future proof where I could see myself using it for the next 5 years. Things quickly changed when my significant other offered to get me a new TV out of the blue and now, I am a proud owner of a new 52" 1080p Samsung LCD. I have always been a fan of DLPs - I love the fact that they are immune to burn-ins and picture degradations as long as the bulb inside is properly maintained. What attracted me this time to an LCD is the 1:1 pixel mapping ability, something that is lacking on DLP sets. With the standard overscan being around 2% for newer DLPs, I figured that it's time for me to try out something different.


Sharper than Culdra's blade!

Though a bit smaller in size compared to my previous display, this set looks incredible in both its aesthetic and function. Its 50,000:1 contrast ratio produces the deepest black I have ever seen across all the HDTVs I have previously owned and the clarity of the picture is unmatched. I have been testing it ever since I got it home on Tuesday and I am still calibrating it but thus far, I have zero complaints. One of the best Blu-ray transfers is Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest and that movie looked exceptional on my DLP but now it looks even better because of the superior black level performance. Though I am worried about the possible image persistence issue that LCD sets are prone to - I always use my personal computer with my HDTVs and older games have the 4:3 aspect ratio - I am willing to brave through it just to be able to have a much improved video gaming experience.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Games Played 01/28/2009

Castle Crashers - X-Box 360
Drill Dozer - GBA
Fallout 3 - PC
Ikaruga - X-Box 360
LittleBigPlanet - PlayStation 3
The Eye of Judgment - PlayStation 3
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix - X-Box 360
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - PlayStation 3


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Neopets: The Darkest Faerie (2005)
Developer:
Idol Minds
Platform: PlayStation 2
Purchase Date: 12/30/2005


He's a proud Neopet.

Don't ask me what a "Neopet" is. I really don't know. I guess they are a bunch of animal-looking humanoids like those found in this game. When I learned about the game somewhere on the web when it first came out, the cover art looked so interesting to me for some reason and the whole promise of an adventure in a fantasy land sounded good. I really didn't care that it was a Zelda-wannabe since Twilight Princess was nowhere in sight at the time. The game is unfortunately not that good. I don't mind it being too simplistic but there is an evil camera in the game that likes to obscure and alter your view at the most inappropriate time. There is still a part of me that adores the game a lot though ... Why that is remains a mystery.

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Games Played 01/27/2009

Resident Evil 5 Demo - X-Box 360
Söldner-X: Himmelssturmer - PlayStation 3
Tube Slider: The Championship of Future Formula - GameCube
WipEout HD - PlayStation 3


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Drill Dozer (2006)
Developer: Game Freak Inc.
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Purchase Date: 2006


Drilling into enemies is fun but seems a bit too violent if you really think about it.

Drill Dozer is a very good platformer that is unique due to its bold graphical presentation and weird gameplay mechanics. You ride a robot with a big drill in front of it that is used to carve through environments and also your unfortunate enemies. Whenever the drill is utilized, a large drill meter that takes up almost half of the screen shows up and with proper timing, you can shift the drill's power up so that it can do more damage. The game is designed around the drill's abilities and this leads to some truly clever stage layouts as well as some truly remarkable boss battles. A must play, especially for those who adore platform games. This one is among the best in the genre.

LIBRARY STATUS: 5 out of 5

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Games Played 01/26/2009

Castle Crashers - X-Box 360
Resident Evil 5 Demo - X-Box 360
Voodoo Vince - X-Box


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Tube Slider: The Championship of Future Formula (2003)
Developer: NDCube
Platform: Nintendo GameCube
Purchase Date: 04/25/2003


Slide that tube!

No, it's not a sick joke - there is indeed a game named Tube Slider. It's basically a F-Zero clone but the game is much, much inferior compared to the classic Nintendo series. The game is very simple to play: Just press the A button to accelerate and when the available, press the B button to use a booster or a turbo. The tracks' backgrounds are imaginative and varied but the tracks themselves, or should I say "the tubes", look too similar to one another. The game is a bit mindless but it can be relaxing to play. I am sure that it would be foolish for anyone to say no to participating in some tube sliding action.

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

Review: Repo! The Genetic Opera


Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)
Genre: Musical
Format: Blu-ray
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Last year, I almost travelled 2 hours to watch the limited release of Repo! The Genetic Opera in the theaters. After watching it last night, I am glad that I didn't waste the time and effort to get to it. Though ripe with unbridled potentials, the movie's operatic vision is just muddled by poor directions and a near-catatonic script.

In Repo!, the future is a bleak place where many are dead and dying due to a strange affliction involving organ failures. GeneCo, founded by Rotti Largo, steps in to save humanity by matching the demand for organ replacements with a catch - those who are unable to pay off their debt to GeneCo would have their organs repossessed by Repo Men... Without the use of sedatives. The film focuses on the company's top Repo Man and how his past is entangled with Rotti's own. Another main character is the Repo Man's 17-year old daughter, Shilo, who has been living her whole life inside a huge mansion. She becomes the vehicle of the film's narrative where the audience is introduced to the unfolding events as she encounters them. The story tries to copy the best of tragedies in the Shakespearean fashion: a) The set up is long and filled with many details involving the characters' past. b) There is a fine line separating the hero and the villian of the tale. c) Almost all of the characters are flawed to a fault. Unfortunately, though the build up gets tasty, the pay off is tragically lacking.

The main problem with the movie is the cast. Mind you, this is a musical but most of the singing done here is downright horrendous. And no, they are not intentionally bad. Shilo for example may as well be played by Britney Spears. These actors were trying so hard to sing that they even forgot to enunciate the words. There are a couple of exceptions - Paul Sorvino sounded pretty good and of course Sarah Brightman brought the Opera into The Genetic Opera. Since almost all of the spoken dialogues in the movie are sung, it feels like you are stuck in a bad karaoke bar for the most part. The next problem is a bit harder to pinpoint since I didn't see the movie in the theater - some scenes are shot out of focus. I'm telling you, it was hard enough to listen to the pathetic singing and the last thing I wanted was to see some Vaseline being rubbed on the camera lens. Then there is the issue with the script. The lyrics are just too overly dramatic, which is befitting of an opera, but without the grandeur voices to sing them, they become flat and uninteresting.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a cult classic that is also a well-made, artsy movie that explores the common sexuality in all of us under the guise of parody. And oh, it just happens to be a musical with a lot of memorable numbers. Repo! The Genetic Opera is bound to be a cult classic - because of its musical theatre origin, like Rocky - that tries to be cool with its futuristic sensibility and morality play. But, it is also a bad movie. I am giving it a rating of 2 because of the two magnificent performances by Sarah Brightman that can be found within. Everything else is not worth revisiting.

RATING: 2 out of 5

Games Played 01/25/2009

Castle Crashers - X-Box 360
Gears of War 2 - X-Box 360
Prince of Persia - X-Box 360
Sonic Advance - GBA


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Voodoo Vince (2003)
Developer: Beep Industries
Platform: X-Box
Purchase Date: 09/27/2003


The last time I checked, they are not supposed to be alive either.

Voodoo Vince may be unique as a character - he is a voodoo doll that is given life by zombie dust - but it is unfortunate that the game is just an average hodgepodge of other established 3D platform games. The major influence seems to be Crash Bandicoot/Jak & Daxter since the game contains the same spinning attack that can hit enemies from all sides. The game tries to be funny but the attempts feel a bit more juvenile than clever. The main attraction here are the voodoo powers that allow Vince to do different things to his own body causing death by the same means to any enemies that are close by. This may sound more intriguing than it actually is: though it is fun to watch Vince getting blasted by a UFO or getting punctured by needles causing his enemies to react to the pain, all of these are just merely the same glorified super power presented in a variety of different ways. To be honest, I can think of better things I can do with a voodoo doll... Too bad I didn't major in Voodoo Practice back in college.

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

Monday, January 26, 2009

Club Nintendo: Loner Gamer's First Reward

Whenever I purchase a game published by Nintendo, I would always visit Nintendo's website to register it as soon as possible. This has been the case ever since the registration pin number was first introduced in 2003. So when Club Nintendo was launched here in the United States on December 15th of last year, my prior registration efforts yielded a lot of registration surveys that I needed to fill out to obtain "coins" that can be used to purchase a limited variety of rewards offered by Nintendo. Back then, the site was a bit buggy because too many people were on it trying to complete the registration process. For a while, I visited the site at a daily interval, completing several surveys per visit but then I unknowingly abandoned that routine until today.


When I was finally done, I raked in a total of 1540 coins!

I just got everything completed about an hour ago and ordered my first reward... The Game & Watch Collection for the Nintendo DS. I am now left with 740 coins - the next thing I want to get is the cool looking Hanafuda Cards and they cost 800 coins. Just 60 more to go! For those who buy Nintendo games and still haven't registered to be a Club Nintendo member yet, there is no reason not to. There are several ways to earn coins including an upcoming ability to gain extra coins by merely pledging to buy a game within four weeks before its release and then buying the game when it is finally out. It's fun and it's free. Join today!


Sweetness.

Dragon Ball: De-Evolution

I am not a fanatic of the Dragon Ball series but I have enough love and respect for them to know that the upcoming release of Dragonball: Evolution can bring nothing but total disgrace to the legendary works of Akira Toriyama that it is based on. So when you read the manga and watch the anime, you always imagine the real Goku to be a preppy white kid, right? The creation of this movie is pretty insulting... I mean, they couldn't even get the hair to look right!


FAIL.


Wow... That is so Goku like!


The Japanese poster pretends that the movie is truthful to its source material.
I feel sad for the poor souls who are convinced by it
only to discover otherwise while watching it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Games Played 01/24/2009

Castle Crashers - X-Box 360
Dragon Ball Z: Shinbutohden - SegaSaturn
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin Demo - PlayStation 3/X-Box 360*
The Maw Demo - X-Box 360
Prince of Persia - X-Box 360

*The X-Box 360 version has deeper colors and a more steady frame rate. The PlayStation 3 version looks a bit more washed out but it still does look very good. The real kicker here is that the 360 version loads three times faster than the PS3 version at the beginning of the game. This counts as another blow to my PS3 revelation early this year.


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:



Sonic Advance (2001)
Developer: Sonic Team/Dimps
Platform: Game Boy Advance
Purchase Date: 02/06/2002


Pure Sonic action, the way you remember it on the Sega Genesis.

Sonic Team is a classic Jekyll and Hyde case. They seem to have the capacity to bolster the creation of the proper Sonic game but they also have the ability to mess it up so badly that the blue hedgehog would never be able to recover from the shame. The latter seems to be happening more often these days. Today, I just want to remember the good and Sonic Advance delivers. It is the best Sonic game post-Sonic CD for the Sega CD and the gameplay is true to the classic formula used on the Sega Genesis games, which means that it has a nice balance between the speed and the platforming sections. The Dr. Eggman bosses are clever and there is a nice homage to the Genesis masterpieces to be found within the game. All Sonic games should be made this way. Just add high-resolution 2D artwork or high-tech 3D graphics on top of the 2D gameplay and we can have ourselves a true current generation Sonic revival. Dimps should be given the responsibility to create the next Sonic game for the consoles.

LIBRARY STATUS: 5 out of 5

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Games Played 01/23/2009

Castle Crashers - X-Box 360
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel - PlayStation 2
Prince of Persia - X-Box 360


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Dragon Ball Z: Shinbutohden (1995)
Developer: Bandai
Platform: SegaSaturn
Purchase Date: 12/11/1995


Master Roshi doesn't need the assistance of a super hero to cross that street.

Continuing their successful and popular action-packed Dragon Ball fighting games on the Super Nintendo (the one for the Mega Drive was quite awful), Bandai created for the SegaSaturn what could have been their best version of the game in the franchise. There are a total of 27 characters to choose from and the game retains the unique split screen with multiple-plane gameplay. What's missing here is the ability to do an energy wave battle where two of those super moves make contact in the middle of the screen and the two players button-mash to determine whose energy wave would prevail thus obliterating the losing opponent. When a character unleashes an energy wave, the opponent can only deflect, avoid, counter, or block to defend against it. This does create a sense of strategy during the fight where you have to keep an eye on the opponent's power meter because you don't want him/her to be able to counter your energy wave but the coolness factor that should have been there is gone, especially if the player has experienced the energy wave battle while playing the previous entries...

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

Friday, January 23, 2009

Games Played 01/22/2009

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin Demo - PlayStation 3
Prince of Persia - X-Box 360*
Söldner-X: Himmelssturmer - PlayStation 3
Sonic Wings Special - SegaSaturn
WipEout HD - PlayStation 3

*I have finally completed the game. I am just trying to finish collecting all the extra "light seeds" before I call it quits.


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel (2004)
Developer: Interplay Entertainment Corp.
Platform: PlayStation 2
Purchase Date: 02/16/2004


The iconic Vault Boy made it into the Skills menu.

Late last year, many were convinced to discover the apocalyptic world of post nuclear holocaust of the Fallout universe because Bethesda Softworks' popularity after the success of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion ensured that the masses would eat Fallout 3 up when it was released. Unfortunately, Brotherhood of Steel - the first console game from the series - failed to make a good impression when it came out. Interplay did a respectable job recreating the world they have firmly established previously in the personal computer releases, resulting in the game's atmospheric setting filled with savagery and rich in mythos. This hack and slash dungeon crawler features the ability to customize the character's attributes, which makes leveling up fun. If the game is less linear in its progression, more complex in its battle mechanics, and more ambitious in its size, it would have been a very serious and powerful entry for the franchise.

LIBRARY STATUS: 4 out of 5

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Games Played 01/21/2009

Bombastic - PlayStation 2
Castle Crashers - X-Box 360
Culdcept Saga - X-Box 360
Pain - PlayStation 3
Prince of Persia - X-Box 360
Sonic Unleashed - X-Box 360
Speed Punks - PlayStation


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Sonic Wings Special (1996)
Developer: Video System
Platform: SegaSaturn
Purchase Date: 08/19/2002


Oh no, not another generic tank boss!

Sonic Wings Special is your typical Psikyo shoot-em'up - the development team responsible for this game later founded the aforementioned game company. The funny thing about Psikyo shooters is that once you play one of them, you pretty much have played them all. With the exception of a limited number of their games, the gameplay design between them is often strikingly similar. The power-ups for the most part look the same and the games normally feature very short levels... You are often rushed towards the level boss in well under a minute. All of the previous statements are true in this game. Thank goodness the core gameplay is fun enough and you can always count on Psikyo to come up with some interesting characters and bosses.

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Games Played 01/20/2009

Castle Crashers - X-Box 360
Radiant Silvergun - SegaSaturn
Söldner-X: Himmelssturmer - PlayStation 3
Sonic Unleashed - X-Box 360
Stubbs the Zombie: Rebel Without a Pulse - X-Box
WipEout HD - PlayStation 3


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Speed Punks (2000)
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe & Funcom
Platform: PlayStation
Purchase Date: 05/19/2000


Don't let the big purple hair fool you. This is a great racing game.

Just like the recently featured Urban Reign, the real value behind Speed Punks to me is associated with what I was going through during the time of its purchase. It had to undergo a major surgery and a day after, I received this as a gift. I was in a lot of pain then and having this game on my PlayStation console brought me some needed relief. The game itself is very enjoyable and it ranks as one of the better kart-racing games out there - yes, that includes the Mario Kart series. The graphics are vibrant, colorful, and still looks pretty when I played it today. You get the usual weapon power-ups and speed boost tokens/pads but the character personalities are quite memorable. The game supports a 4-player split screen mode for those who have many local gamer friends.

LIBRARY STATUS: 5 out of 5

Games Played 01/19/2009

Castle Crashers - X-Box 360
Sonic Unleashed - X-Box 360
Spawn: In the Demon's Hand - Dreamcast


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Bombastic (2003)
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.
Platform: PlayStation 2
Purchase Date: 09/03/2003


The battle mode feels like the more intellectual version of Bomberman.

Bombastic is a highly intelligent puzzle game where you match the top face of the dice with other die on the board to make them explode. It takes a bit of brain power because you have to actually move them across the board using a cute devilish character that rotates the dice one face at a time. A keen understanding of the relationship between the dice movement and what's going to show up on top of it is required. Since the game is fast-paced, the constant stimulation of thought process is truly not something that is appealing to everyone. Add the explosive chain reaction gameplay into the mix and you have yourself a deceptively simple game with a highly complex interior mechanics. A great franchise that is just waiting to flourish with online multiplayer.

LIBRARY STATUS: 4 out of 5

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Games Played 01/18/2009

Castle Crashers - X-Box 360
Shin Shinobi Den - SegaSaturn
The Simpsons: Hit & Run - X-Box
Sonic Unleashed - X-Box 360
Theresia - NDS


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Stubbs the Zombie: Rebel Without a Pulse (2005)
Developer: Wideload Games, Inc.
Platform: X-Box
Purchase Date: 12/06/2005


It is also a good source of all the major daily nutrients you need.

There is no other effective way to topple a fairly successful Utopian society than a zombie infestation, as beautifully exemplified by this game. As Stubbs, you lurch around massive environments filled with potential human victims to eat their brains and turn them into a zombie like yourself. You can create a large horde of followers to make things more chaotic for the next group of people you attack. The game is gory fun though it can get repetitive at times. The 1950s vibe in both visual and aural designs is great but it's about time that we stop associating the apex of social purity with vintage sensibilities. I mean, humanity must have a brighter future on the horizon... Right?

LIBRARY STATUS: 3 out of 5

Monday, January 19, 2009

Games Played 01/17/2009

Castle Crashers - X-Box 360
Sonic Unleashed - X-Box 360
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix - X-Box 360


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Spawn: In the Demon's Hand (2000)
Developer: Capcom Co., Ltd.
Platform: Sega Dreamcast
Purchase Date: 01/06/2001


Many weird and interesting characters can be found in this game.

You don't have to know much about Spawn to appreciate his cool but intimidating appearance. That is definitely the case with me. I am not familiar with Todd McFarlane's works whatsoever but I knew that this game would kick butt just because of what it's based on - It also helps that it was made by Capcom. In the Demon's Hand is a 4 vs. 4 third person shooter/fighting game featuring 37 characters from the comic book. Modes of play include the typical free for all, a tournament mode, and a boss mode that plays a bit like an adventure mode. The graphics are a bit rough but the hectic action is unrelenting and fun even though the character balance is all over the map.

LIBRARY STATUS: 4 out of 5

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Games Played 01/16/2009

The Eye of Judgment - PlayStation 3
Gears of War 2 - X-Box 360
Sonic Unleashed - X-Box 360
WipEout HD - PlayStation 3


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


The Simpsons: Hit & Run (2003)
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Platform: X-Box
Purchase Date: 09/20/2003


Another normal day in Springfield.

Grand Theft Auto III: The Simpsons Edition. That is what this game should have been called. The open world, the mission based structure, and the carjacking all points out to where the inspiration for the game came from. What's different is the its focus on platforming elements. The game's story makes the game worth playing - it's written by the show's writers. The Simpsons TV show is in a state of decline these days. A better way to spend quality time with Homer and the gang is by playing this game. Those who always dream of being able to drive around Springfield will find plenty to love in Hit & Run.

LIBRARY STATUS: 4 out of 5

Games Played 01/15/2009



RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Shin Shinobi Den (1995)
Developer: Sega Enterprises, Ltd.
Platform: SegaSaturn
Purchase Date: 12/20/1995


Sho is no Joe Musashi but he gets the trickier platforming stages to maneuver through.

Shin Shinobi Den is the last true 2D Shinobi games from Sega. Just like the first three Mortal Kombat games, digitized graphics of real actors and objects are mainly used to create the game world. It contains the most refined platfoming action compared to the previous Shinobi games but the boss fight here are underwhelming - you don't get the usual sci-fi tinged monstrosities found before. There are cut scenes in between the stages but they are short and never interrupt the flow of gameplay. They are unfortunately, really cheesy and have a bad production value. The game is more fun the two 3D Shinobi games released on the PlayStation 2 combined but Sega got blindsided by the realistic feel of the characters that the game becomes overshadowed by the highly imaginative Shinobi III.

LIBRARY STATUS: 4 out of 5

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Review: My Bloody Valentine 3D


My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)
Genre: Horror
Format: Theatrical Release
Director: Patrick Lussier

Two years ago, I missed out on what could have been my first Real-D theatrical experience when I watched the flat 2D version of Beowulf at the cinema. I was so disappointed when the HD-DVD release didn't include the ability to watch the movie in 3D even though the transfer was ridiculously pristine. I made sure I wouldn't make the same mistake this time around and opted for the more expensive ticket price - they are showing a non-3D version of this too for some reason - and I must say that the end result was worth it.

My Bloody Valentine 3D is a remake but I have never seen the original so I went into the viewing with nary an expectation. On Valentine's Day, a crazed miner killed a large number of people in a small mining community. The culprit was thought to be dead but ten years later, brutal killings involving pick-axes started to occur again and they are seemingly targeted towards those who survived the last massacre. There is nothing remotely captivating about the set up and the mining getup that the killer puts on is more corny than it is scary. Still, the movie really lavishes on the death scenes that are brutal, gory, and quite effective in 3D. Even with all the nasty fun, I wish the movie had more blood in it because it ended up being too talky. More horror, less chatter please.

The new 3D technology brought by Real-D is definitely far superior than the past theatrical offerings that was big in the 1980's. Everything just pops out and the depth of the 3D layering inside every frame is something that must to be experienced by all visual effects fans. It's not perfect, however. Some of the brighter scenes tend to fuzz out and sometimes, it looked as if the actors were standing in front of a green screen. Even though the film itself is average, the bold presentation is something to behold. I can't wait for the Final Destination: Death Trip 3D that is supposed to come out later this year.

RATING: 3 out of 5

New Games Alert!

I really wanted to buy Call of Duty: World at War yesterday but for some reason the store I went to didn't have it in stock. I did plan to pick up Sonic Unleashed for the X-Box 360 but I didn't expect to find Theresia for the Nintendo DS at retail being an offbeat game that it is - I was originally going to order it online.


"Duality" was the main theme of yesterday's video game shopping experience.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Games Played 01/14/2009

Burnout Paradise - PlayStation 3
The Eye of Judgment - PlayStation 3
Ikaruga - X-Box 360


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


Clock Tower (1997)
Developer: Human Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation
Purchase Date: 1997


Bad idea.

Clock Tower is unique because of its point-and-click interface and its run-and-hide mechanics. You get to play as multiple characters who are being hunted down by a lunatic known as "Scissorman" who is more than happy to snip you where it hurts the most using an overgrown pair of garden shears. You can't really fight the maniac... Instead, you are required to run away from him while trying to find a way to escape your current location. There are quite a lot of places where you can hide too while Scissorman is looking for you. The intermissions that occur during the daytime contain lengthy conversations with a relaxed pace but whenever the night time arrives, get ready for your chilling role as a serial killer's potential victim.

LIBRARY STATUS: 4 out of 5

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Games Played 01/13/2009

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - X-Box 360
Ikaruga - X-Box 360
Rock Band 2 - X-Box 360
Silpheed: The Lost Planet - PlayStation 2
WipEout HD - PlayStation 3


RANDOM GAME OF THE DAY:


The House of the Dead 2 (1999)
Developer: Sega Enterprises, Ltd.
Platform: Sega Dreamcast
Purchase Date: 08/13/1999


What has five heads and likes chomping down on human flesh in a dingy place?

The House of the Dead 2 is a light gun shooter that features tons of nasty zombies waiting to be destroyed. This arcade port contains extras on top of the original arcade game that increase its replay factor, like an "Original" mode with ability to assign additional attributes to your characters and a boss-attack mode. The graphics are still holding up pretty well but some of the muddy, low resolution textures used sporadically in the game look as dated as they did before. As far as the genre is concerned, this is an excellent one and it sits right next to the pedestal that both Virtua Cop 2 and Confidential Mission are on. Sega used to be big on light gun shooters - while Namco was able to find the solution to bring the genre back to the current generation console using their new GunCon, Sega seems to be dependant on the Nintendo Wii for their own light gun revival via the upcoming The House of the Dead: Overkill.

LIBRARY STATUS: 4 out of 5

December 2008 Monthly Gaming Analysis

The results shown below are of course based on the combined data from the Daily Game Log which should provide a clear indication of a game's usage frequency. Bear in mind that even if a game is played twice or more during a particular day, it would still register as 1 in the Day Count column below. In a sense, "merits" are given based on how often a particular game can make me play it again throughout the entire period of the month on a daily basis. A game that makes a gamer play it over and over again or at least spend a lot of time with it... Isn't that what we mostly want from a great game? I don't think it's really fair to count all the way down to the number of hours played since some games only require a short amount of time to properly serve their purposes.

OVERALL BREAKDOWN:




Total Games Played: 64

After 4 months of dominating the top spot, Ikaruga was finally defeated by Culdcept Saga. This was due to how close I was to completing my card collection and with the persistence shown last month, I was able to do just that and more. I still haven't grown tired of Ikaruga at all - even if I take away the competitive Leaderboards element to the game, it would still be a blast to play. I just love the game's ability to provide the player with a complete experience in one sitting - a beginning, a middle, and an end - something that is rare to find these days.

I completed the Gears of War 2 story mode last month, half of it via online co-op. I have never been big on deathmatches but I wouldn't have minded playing them with my friends but they are mostly hooked on the Horde mode. I really can't blame them for that, Horde is addicting in small doses.

I wanted to gain 100% completion with Culdcept on the PlayStation 2, thus its repeated use in December. I am not even close though - this version is harder than Saga. Lego Batman was great - the story mode was funny and I completed both the hero and the villain missions. I just need to go over these completed stages again to look for secrets and the likes. The game is still in my X-Box 360's HDD and I plan to keep it there until I am able to unlock all of the game's collectibles.

Best New Game of the Month:
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 (PlayStation 2)

Unexpectedly Forgotten New Game of the Month:
Söldner-X: Himmelssturmer (PlayStation 3)

I Missed You I Want You Game of the Month:
Theresia (Nintendo DS)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Eye of Judgment Set 3 Boosters

My Set 3 Booster packs have arrived today. I received 80 new cards and out of those, 55 of them are unique with 25 duplicates, which is more than half of the 100 unique cards available in Set 3 - not too bad. I will be experimenting with these soon. Below are pictures of the Booster packs and three of my new summons.