Wednesday, August 30, 2006


OK so I was asked the question: what do I give Malice? I played this game a while ago so my recollection is a little bit hazy. Here goes anyway. Malice was touted as an Xbox launch title and was originally voiced by Gwen Stefani. Let's just say, neither of those things happened. By the time it made it to market, the Xbox was well along the way and Gwen was out of the picture (and more accurately, the sound). I played the Xbox version because the game was originally designed for the Xbox by Argnonaut software. Honestly, the game felt somewhat unpolished. The textures were kind of muddy and the camera was typically a bit of an issue at times. However, I felt compelled to keep playing. So much so, that I finished the game. My friend Adam (who asked me what I'd give this game) was playing it roughly at the same time as I was. What I remember was that it was short, it was reasonably fun but I hated the whole Beach of Souls thing (when you died you went to this beach with other dead people). I didn't really get that at first so it just made it ... well, strange. I also discovered a bug in the game... I finished off a boss and you are supposed to get a key that appears in the center of the room. Well, I beat him and for some reason, the key did not appear. Well I wasn't sure what was going on so I wandered around trying to figure out what to do for a LONG time. I don't think there was an FAQ out for the game at the time but when I talked to Adam he said yeah a key appeared and blah blah....well, fortunately, I had a save that wasn't too far back (a level or two) and I went back to that and redid everything and this time it worked ok. This is the second time I've discovered a major nasty bug in a game (the other time was Dragon's Lair 3D). All in all, I have fond memories of Malice and I would give it a 6.5 out of 10 - better than average but there are better games out there. Obviously, unless something strange happens there will be no sequel.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Tak and the Power of JuJu - Finished

So I can now add another game to my list of completed ... Tak and the Power of JuJu. If you mix the letters up you get Jak and the Power of TuTu, which very well might be the next game in the Jak & Daxter Series (or is it Takster?). Man, these names are so similar. If it wasn't for the JuJu I might be confused.

I started playing this platformer close to when it came out ... I dunno, a bazillion years ago ... but I gave up. I got frustrated and confused and stopped. The level design in this game is probably its worst enemy.

Getting to the final boss...well ... that took some work. You need to collect 3 moonstones. OK, been there, done that. BUT here's the catch. Getting each of the 3 is very different (this is good) but their approach to getting them ranges from super simple to super hard (this is very bad). Fortunately (or unfortunately) I did it from hardest to easiest. The final boss battle isn't overly hard in certain ways ... I just hate the "cheap" deaths that cause you to restart. And you need to restart the entire battle. That gets frustrating, fast.

Overall, I had fun. .... 7.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Physics Hardware, so what's next?

With Ageia's new Physx chip, game players are looking at more realistic explosions and interactions with the game environment.

I wrote about this in the Expositor on August 12, 2006.

So my question is, what's next? An XML chip to make your Internet pages blindingly fast? A Google chip that connects you directly to the mothership of digital information?

What do you think?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

E3 Cancelled? Wow does that suck

So readers of my blog know that I went to E3 this year for the first time and was just stoked about it. Apparently, it's a good thing I made it this year because they are talking about cancelling E3 - or at the least, making some major changes. I thought removing the booth babes was as big a change as they were going to make but apparently that was just the tip of the iceberg.

So now, they are slightly changing the name "E3 Media" something or other... moving it to July and making it much much smaller.

OK I understand that the publishers are putting out all this money for little return. Or are they? How do they know? Do they think because the Internet gets information into the hands of the hungry so quickly that a trade event is no longer required? Have they forgotten one of the biggest reasons that I went was to meet the people behind the games? There wasn't much there in terms of games that I hadn't already seen or knew about so that wasn't the big deal for me. It was being in the presence of such gaming greatness that was the draw for me.

If they do make this smaller show a reality, maybe they can keep the Gamestop employees out - that should cut the attendees down by about 1/2 and leave more space for journalists and true game extremists such as myself.

Oh E3, such fond memories we will have. Hopefully the new version will be better but so far, I'm not holding my breath.