Dead Space – Atmospheric Madness

I know its a slightly old game, and I’m a bit late playing it for the first time. In my defense I did have a slight addiction to re5, l4d, and cod5waw for a while so I am a tad behind on games. So seeing “Dead Space” on sale online for under £10 delivered, how could I refuse. Two days later and the game was in my hand ready to play.

Now, when the game first came out one of my colleagues got it and was telling me how creepy, atmospheric and brilliant the game was. So I knew that to get full enjoyment I needed to set it up correctly.xbox-dead-space

Step 1) Place game in xbox and boot it up.

Step 2) Turn up sound to a high level

Step 3) Close all curtains in the room

Step 4) Turn off the lights

Step 5) Let the fun commence.

The game (so far) takes part of a damages space ship. The corridors and rooms are all damaged and smashed up, there bodies here and there, graffiti on the walls, and no power to some sections so its completely dark, only illuminated by the torch on your gun. Oh and to make it trickier some parts are open to space so theres no air (How long can you hold your breath).

So I start the game, and within minutes I’m running for a lift being chased by something, luckily i get in the lift in time for the creature to get cut up by closing doors and I’m off. I get a gun a bit latter which is handy as these creatures are everywhere. Only their bodies are basically bullet proof, you have to shoot their limbs off to do any damage. Now consider it, your in a pitch black corridor, a creature jumps out and you have to shoot its limbs off before it runs at you. Add to that the fact they move through the air vents (anyone say aliens?) and can pop out behind you, in front of you, anywhere. You can even see some crawling in the walkways above you. and their shadows move at the end of the corridors you are walking along, so you know you are going to get jumped at some point.

Put all that while sitting in a dark room, with the creepy sounds at a loud volume, and you can imagine how slow i was walking the corridors, “Run? bugger that for a game of soldiers!” I walked with my gun in aim mode, checking every corner and vent I approached. It may take me a while to complete the game, but I’ll do it in one piece.  This is the best game I’ve played since re5 (well shotgun + zombies always scores high).

Fable-2 – Bigamy, Blackmail, & Necrophilia

I spent part of the weekend finishing off the game “Fable 2” on the xbox. Well not completely finishing it off, as theres still a couple of side quests I could do, The main one has been finished, the world saved from tyranny, and all the poor peasants killed by the spire resurrected (I was playing a saintly character, Next time I’m having more fun being evil).  Anyway, as I was playing I realised that its a very strange game, and you can get into some weird situations for a game without even trying. Let me give you some examples from a short session of gameplay.

1) Bigamy

fable-2

Yes, This game allows you to marry as many times as you wish. You can have families all over the place (Just remember their upkeep costs you money.)  You can also have same sex marriages (So its pretty open minded for a game) and some ever weirder ones that I’ll come to in a bit. I discovered this by accident. I had a wife and child in one

village, living happily and content when I accidentally married a gypsy girl.

2) Blackmail

So there I am, with two wives, one child (and an absent husband to both) When i decide to go visit my first wife to see how my child was growing up.  And I could do with resting somewhere to recover my health.  Your family home gives you better bonuses for sleeping there. So I arrive home, to be greeted by my daughter who is runnin

g about all excited at seeing me for he first time. My loving wife gives me a gift of a health potion and a letter some stranger had dropped off for me. “odd!” think I. So I read the letter to discover its a blackmail demand. Someone is demanding 2000 Gold Pieces to keep quiet about my bigamist ways.  Yes dear reader I was being blackmailed in a computer game! What has the world come to.

3) Necrophilia.

Yes, You read that correct necrophilia. I was doing a weird quest that involved me retrieving some countesses body parts for a rather creepy gravedigger. Once he had all the parts he brought her back to life as a zombie (He was very lonely and in love) He had cast a love spell on her so she would fall in love with him and follow him anywhere.  There was a slight problem with this, I’d wandered away from the console to get a coffee. Apparently she fell in love with the first person she saw, and for her to get together with the gravedigger I had to leave.  Since I was AFC (Away From Console) she fell in love with me, and took to following me everywhere. It did not seem nice to kill her, as she had only just come back from the dead, so I did the only other thing I could to stop her following me. Yes, I married her and moved her into a house I bought just for her. It would have been fine if ended there, only being me i wondered “What would happen if you had unprotected sex with a zombie?” Result: another child.  I never got to find out if the child would grow up to be a zombie child (which would have been semi cool) Since the evil soldiers killed all my families in an attempt to wipe out my hero bloodline. They even shot my dog!

The cake is a lie?

Cake or death?
Uh, cake please.
All right… You, cake or death?cake
Cake please!
Here. Next! You, cake or death?
Death please. No, cake!
You said death first!
I know, but I meant cake!
Oh, all right. You’re lucky we’re Church of England… You, cake or death?
Cake please.
Too bad! We’re out of cake. We only had three bits.
Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill – 1998

I had been seeing the quote “The cake is a lie” all over the Internet recently, almost to the same level of saturation as the old “all your base are belong to me“. So I decided to look into why the cake is a lie, if indeed a lie it is. And I do like cake! So a quick  prayer to the god of all knowledge Google granted me the Divine knowledge i needed. It was from a game called Portal, which was a current popular game amongst geeks. Not wanting to loose my “Geek Card” I did my best and got hold of a copy of the game and kick it off.

The game  is a first-person action/puzzle video game developed by Valve Corporation (The guys who brought us Left 4 Dead).  The game is set in the science testing labs of the “Aperture Science Computer-Aided Enrichment Center”.  You wake up in a small room and the voice of an AI informs you that you are being tested and you have to work your way through 19 test stages, where after testing has finished you will be rewarded with cake. The challenges get harder and harder the further along you go, while the AI inspires you with promises of cake.  The problems are solved by teleporting yourself, or items from one place to another by means of portals.  The Test chambers are very clean and modern, but the further you go, the more erratic the AI gets, slipping in the odd threat or gibberish. There are also parts where you can see the rooms behind the test centre, these rooms are all derelict and falling apart. With graffiti all over the place with parts of poems, or “HELP” written in what looks like blood, not to mention hand prints everywhere and loads and loads of :-

the cake is a lie…
the cake is a lie…
the cake is a lie…
the cake is a lie…
the cake is a lie…

After completing the final test chamber (this one with the sign for cake on it) the AI places you on a conveyor belt heading into a furnace, where you will be baked and there will be cake. Here you promptly escape, not to the Los Angeles underground, but the maintenance part of the testing complex. That is implying you wish to escape, you could stay and be burnt alive in the hope of getting cake I suppose. Those of you who did not wish to die and escaped now find yourself lost in the bowls of an underground massive complex, which is falling apart, and guarded by robots with machine guns. You now make use of your portal Gun to try and follow the clues left for you by some mysterious person.  All the time with the AI telling you that your going the wrong way, and if you give up now you can have cake. or my favorite one “they have already cut the cake, I told them to wait for you, if you turn yourself in now you may be in time to get the last slice!”  You eventually (if you can complete the puzzles) get to the control centre where you come face to camera with GLaDOS (The AI). Who promptly tries to kill you, with nerve gas and rocket launchers (some computer systems).  If you can defeat GlaDOS in the time you have before the nerve gas kills you, the control room explodes, and you wake up outside and free……

The Cake is a Lie

There is then one of the best credit sequences I have ever seen in a computer game, where GLaDOS sings a little gcalled “Still Alive” while the lyrics are typed on a text based screen, with asci images. Its good………And it ends with CAKE!!!!

Is it really Winning if you have to Cheat to do it?

Its a straightforward question.

If you need to cheat to win, have you really won? Can you give a whoop of joy and flick you nose at the losers? Can you boast about your skills?  In fact, is anyone impressed?

I’d say NOT!

Now, I can understand how someone playing a computer game, and being stuck at the same bit for a very long time may use a cheat just to get past the point they are stuck at. Maybe they just cant do a complicated jump, or they a bit slow on the old controls so its next to impossible for them to complete the task.  Personally I’d not resort to the easy way out, I’d keep trying until i lost the will to live, Then take a break while playing a different game. But I can understand why some people would.  Playing the whole game on cheat mode I think defeats the purpose of playing the game. I have some nephews who I caught once playing a game from start to finish in “God Mode”, what was the point, they ignored all challenges and just walked through everything.  And as for cheating in a PVP multiplayer game, where you do not gain in points, rank, or anything useful, I can only assume  its to bolster some very flagging ego?

Let me give you an example…

I was amusing myself with some “Verses” Mode on Left 4 Dead the weekend. Now those of you who are unfortunate, old, or live in a draconian anti-technology cult sprung up from the teachings of the Battlestar Galactica series finale may not be aware of Left 4 Dead, so I’ll take a moment to explain. Left 4 Dead is a cooperative first-person shooter video game. Set during the aftermath of an apocalyptic pandemic, the game pits its four protagonists dubbed “the Survivors” against hordes of the infected, zombie-like aggressive mutants. There are four game modes: a single-player mode in which allied characters are controlled by AI; a four-player, co-op campaign mode; an eight-player online versus mode; and a four-player survival mode. In all modes, an artificial intelligence (AI), dubbed the “Director”, controls level pacing and item spawns, in an attempt to create a dynamic experience and increase replay value.  In the Verses mode they players are in two teams of four, and take it in turns to play each level as either the Survivors or the Infected. It adds an extra challange to the game, Not only do you have to deal with the AI controlled hordes of infected, You now have up to four human controlled Special infected (Who respawn when killed after a short period, while the survivers stay dead).

Right, you all up to speed now? Good then I shall continue.

I was in a verses match, and my team was loosing a bit, We had only managed to get one survivor to the safe room in one of the levels, and the other team had got all four in on every level. So I was feeling a bit frustrated, especially since every time I was one of the infected and hiding somewhere to attack the survivors I’d get shot through a wall or ceiling before moving, it was almost like they knew where everyone was. (But that’s just sour grapes right?).  So I was currently dead having been shot through a chimney pot i was hiding behind on a roof top in an out the way position, a place that is impossible to see from the street level where the guy who shot me was. So there I am, a floating ghost for the next 25 seconds until I can respawn. So I’m floating about following the survivors, wondering why one seems to have several dozen pipe bombs, while another has an equal number of fire bombs  (Especially as each person can only carry, 1 pistol, 1 big gun, 1 bomb and 1 medikit) when one of my team mates becomes the tank. The tank is a special super infected that the person doing the most damage to the survivors gets to be randomly during a level. Think a zombieish version of the HULK, only BIGGER! So the Tank catches the survivors inside an office with limited room to manover, and with a few smashes and punches all four of the survivors are on red (almost dead) three are so bad they are lying on the floor and need help to be picked up. The last survivor manages to kill the tank, but he’s on red and limping, it looks like we are going to win this level!

Just as I’m about to respawn as a hunter and rip the last survivor to bits winning the game he uses a medikit to heal himself (Thats ok, without the others to help he can be brought down)  and vola! all four survivors are standing up, green on full health? OK, not 100% impossible, i may have blinked while he picked up one survivor, and that survivor may have picked up the other two, and the three of them may have healed while i was watching the first one.  (Yeah right!) and since they all still have a medikit they just happened to find 4 spares on the floor right where they fell.  So I decided not to respawn after all whats the use, and I followed the survivors as a ghost to see what they did. And I’m glad i did, as the were running i spotted the person playing bill drop his shotgun on the floor as he ran (you can only drop weapons if you pick up a new one),  he’s now holding a sniper rifle to take out the infected waiting to drop down from the higher floors. Oh theres a horde running at the infected, the sniper rifle is dropped, and he’s now armed with a fully auto machine gun? No doubts now, this team is cheating. So I drop out of the game to find a game with decent players.

Now why would you cheat, ok, you are guaranteed to win, but is winning in that way even worth it? You could just not play the game and say you won. You couldnt brag and say “wow, you should have seen how we trashed that other team” since you only won by cheating? The only thing I can think is that they must suck, and be the worst game players of all time, and after loosing every game they ever played must have resorted to cheating just so they could see what happens when you win?

Personally I’d rather suck from my own lack of skill, than try and pretend I’ve got skills with cheating.

WOW! A good update, Let the Zombie Massacre begin.

L4D Logo

So yesterday I was gearing up for a session of Zombie killing with my usual l4d wingman SuperSpiro, Booted up the ole Xbox, connected to XBox-Live and BANG.

“Updates are available for this program… Downloading Updates”

Now the last time my xbox insisted i had an update it took almost a hour to download, so I made myself useful ad headed for the fridge for a cold drink (I never made it to the fridge damn that download was fast!.) So back to the game, Start it up and blink at the menu…. Something is different…….

Not only have they opened up more of the levels for you to play verses on, they have added a whole new game style. SURVIVOR!

Now survivor sees your team of four trying to defend one small area from hordes and hordes of Zombies that just keep coming in waves, Not to mention all the hunters, smokers, boomers, and Tanks! (Yes multiple Tanks). Luckily there is a large collection of firearms, explodable items, and medikits (If you can survive long enough to actually use one). Basically you are looking at a very fast, heart racing few minutes as the horde come at you from all directions.

I’m not saying its hard to stay alive, Lets just point out you get a medal if you make it to four minutes.

Thank you Valve!

left4dead-horde

Micro$oft 0: GothNinja 1

Tales of My delve into the world of Micro$oft repair work.

I had put out requests during the day yesterday for the parts I needed to repair my xbox, and rectify the inherited design flaw of the system.

So i had a half dozen M4 bolts (always get more than you need in case things go wrong) Ideally they should have been about 10mm long thread, mine were about an inch and a half, but no problems that’s what hacksaws were invented for.  A dozen Metal Washers, and a dozen Nylon Washers.

I had the correct tools, Thanks to the DemonP who actually owned some torx drivers, a very handy thing to own, and something I am going to get this weekend.

Step 1) Dismantle xbox to as many bits as you can… Done

Step 2) Remove the badly designed Xclamp from the back of the motherboard, and remove heat-sink… Done

Step 3) Using the m4 bolts, with washers (Remembering to use the NONE CONDUCTIVE ones next to the motherboard)

Step 4) Semi reassemble xbox, mainly to the point its safe to be plugged into the electricity supply, and making sure the DVD player is plugged in to prevent xbox live bans. Plug into power, and switch on. Leave it running for 10-15 minutes without the fan on the GPU to get it nice and hot, so the solder melts back on connection.

Step 5) Switch off and let cool down, The heat-sink will be “oww oww it burns.. .arrrggghh my fingers melted..” Hot.

Step 6) Look at the vast amount of xbox parts scattered about, scratch your head a bit, make a promise to pay more attention to the how you dismantle the next thing you take apart, and rebuild.

Step 7) Power up and Play……

Doing it Yourself

Cost: £0.00  (ok, if you don’t have the bolts that may cost you £1 maybe £2)

Time: Hour or Two tops.

Sending it off for Micro$oft to repair.

Cost: Minimum £60

Time: 3 weeks turnaround

I know which I prefer…

The Culprit

The Culprit