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EmP How to make an EmP
5 parts anger
5 parts silliness
5 parts ego
Layer ingredientes in a shot glass. Add wisdom to taste! Do not overindulge!
I'm your only friend, I'm not your only friend but I'm a little glowing friend but really I'm not actually your friend but I am.
BigSig Orange by ZaamIT.com

Title: Review #300!
Posted: August 02, 2012 (10:58 AM)


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Title: Silent Hill: The Room -- In Pictures!
Posted: June 26, 2012 (10:52 AM)
Horror games -- good horror games -- go out of their way to make yu feel like you're a/ always being watched and b/ there is always something just behind you. It's supposed to make you feel uneasy at all times. Silent Hill: The Room knows that, but does not know how to employ a subtle touch. So:

..... yeah.
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Title: Burst Angels -- An Anime Review--in Pictures!
Posted: June 10, 2012 (05:09 PM)

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Title: It Starts
Posted: January 16, 2012 (11:01 AM)
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Title: Year in Review 2011
Posted: January 08, 2012 (06:05 PM)
Astonishia Story (January 1st) [PSP]
Hits: 962

So, it was Xmas again and my sister was heavily pregnant with her first child. This meant she could not travel very far and, in our immediate family, she lived the furthest away. Being the selfish child, she demanded we all go and spend Xmas with her, condemning me to three nights on the world's most uncomfortable couch. I didn't sleep much, so instead, I played the PSP a lot, which had been left sadly ignored throughout the majority of the previous year. Despite having access to Ys, I spent my time playing Astonishia Story instead, for reasons I still do not fully grasp.

So, there you have it. I had a cold, energy-draining holiday, and you got a review for a game you've never heard of from it.

Red Dead Redemption (January 8th) [360]

I got R in the Alphas. Remember when we used to have tourneys? Good times, those. So, yeah, we had one and I won. With this review. That, according to Will that week in the RotW, didn't even make the top 3. Take that, you kooky Canadian!

It really was a ramble review. I'll never be a refined writer; my reviews are basically rambling on a word document then trying to make sense of the mess of worlds that stick at the end, but this really came out so much better than I expected. I never wanted Redemption to end, yet I knew it had to at some point, so I procrastinated as much as I could and still didn't complete every side quest or challenge. It gives me an excuse to revisit Marston's world now and then. And shoot people who probably don't really deserve it.

101-in-1 Sports Party Games (January 11th) [Wii]
Hits: 2006

Because, sometimes, you can have to much of a mediocre thing.

The start of this year was just about the end of getting review codes through the post for me, and this would have been a depressing end. Around the end of last year, I got a few 101 game collections, the majority of which were by no means awful, but hardly stand out. What they did do right was make a lot of the games insane enough for you play through just to see what they might come up with next. This collection just had a lot of broken sports stuff thrown in, most of which barely worked.

Medal of Honor (January 14th) [PS3]
Hits: 1175

So, at the end of 2010, I was approached by a gaming site of sorts who wanted to commission me to write a few things for them. I told them I would listen, and sold out a little. I hear it's the in thing to do. Anyway, I was asked to write something on Medal of Honor, which I'd previously done, so figured it wouldn't be that hard. I had a draft done by the end of the day, but they asked me to hold off because they had other things they wanted on the front page that day. I didn't care, so held off. No response a week later, so I gave them a nudge and was told that, that close to Xmas, they weren't bothered about getting new stuff on the page as traffic was culled. I shrugged and waited for them to response. New Year rolled by, and I nudged them again, were I was sent a message telling me I had taken too long to get the review to them, and that further commissions would need to be completed in a much more timely fashion. I didn't bother replying, and HG got a free review. Everyone's a winner.

Xenon 2 (January 23rd) [GEN]
Hits: 1162

Not even going to pretend to be humble about this; I love this review, and it'll probably end up being the best review I've written that no one will ever really read. I wrote it primarily at the end of 2010 for that alpha-marathon I remember caring about once, then deciding to save in for the next year when it was clear I had won. Joe destroyed me in the 2011 race, but I wasn't to know that then!

I'm glad -- happy, even -- that after this I never need to go anywhere near Xenon 2 again. Some things are best left to nostalgia.

ZPK2X (January 24th) [XBLI]
Hits: 1135

EmP: Remember at the start of the year, I said you should buy that live game with the kitten AK47 and zombie hoards?
DoI: Uh
EmP: Then mocked you for liking Unreal more than Quake III?
DoI: That's been going on for years
EmP: Never gets old.
EmP: I made a review intro from the corresponding nagging, anyway.
EmP: I'd forgotten about it until now.
EmP: Ever get around to picking it up?
DoI: I never did.
EmP: Almost exactly a year later, and I still might get the chance to mow you down with a kitten-shooting automatic rifle.
EmP: Isn't that, really, what a Christmas miracle is?
DoI: Now that I think about it, it does sound pretty magical

Cthulhu Saves the World (January 28th) [XBLI]
Hits: 1564

Much like Zeboyd's last Indie game, the dev shot me a message through HG mail to offer me a review copy. Unlike last time, I'd not already purchased the game and wasn't already most of the way through the title. But! Much like Breath of Death, the game rocked.

Stuff like this is what kept me glued to the indie service through the end of 2010 and the start of 2011.

The Ball (February 6th) [PC]
Hits: 875

The Ball turned up on my doorstep one day, much like a lost child nobody wanted and were looking to pass on. I am a charitable soul, so I took it in, played it through my PC (which struggled, alarmingly) and decided the kindest thing to do would be to then review it. I did. And that's how I saved February.

Still don't know why I bolded I remember twice.

Mass Effect 2 (February 28th) [360]
Hits: 734

Here's an odd statement. I put off and put off playing Mass Effect 2 because I know that as soon as I started, I'd play nothing but, and I didn't want to run out of game time so quickly. Hell, even now I have DLC missions I've not played because the thought of having no new Mass Effect to be able to play right now distresses me.

ME2 lived up to this ruinous self hype by being almost effortlessly better than the first game, which I still openly adore. I went into the review know I'd made a bit of a hash out of the review of ME1 by bouncing all over the world in an attempt to prove its vastness, so reined this review right back in. I'd learnt a few things when I took some risks with Red Dead that paid off, so reemployed them here. I'm more than happy with the result.

Thunder Force II (March 15th) [GEN]
Hits: 895

Man, I wish we could have carried stuff like this on. THE PLAN was to release a new Thunder Force review each day, and it's something we more or less managed to pull off. Flanked by site titans like OVERDRIVE (est 1845), MASTERS (obligatory Canadian) LEROUX (Missing, presumed drunk) and DarkEternal (Second best writer with Ādark in his name) we went back to the obscure beginnings, ran riot through the 16bit era and came out the other side with JP-only imports. It was awesome; even if Jason's messing around with the coding then changed the colour scheme of the page and endured me to hours of further HTML coding, and his efforts now have sunk them into oblivion along with anything else I put in score box summery. But there is a bitter rant for another time.

Along the way to our great success there was betrayal, desertion and hissy fits aplenty, but we all looked forward to doing it all again a month later. Sadly, the disastrous Ā'Arnie' week, featuring games made off the back of California's former head of state, never came into fruition, and my grand plan of a theme week each month ended with this one glorious shot. I don't care; it rocked.

(Also, just in case it was in doubt, this won the RotW, and is, as such, THE BEST Thunder Force review on the site.)

Epic Dungeon (March 31st) [XBLI]
Hits: 927

I like to think of myself of a bit of a pioneer. It's one of those things that helps me feed my mammoth ego, but covering the Indie scene really did give me a lot of satisfaction; especially so when I knew people were buying games they would have otherwise never hard of based at least somewhat on what I'd reported. In this case, Joe beat me to the review of this game, but only because I'd gotten him into XBLI in the first place! You have a lot to thank me for, Joseph, and I've yet to see a gift basket.

Hydrophobia (April 14th) [360]
Hits: 934

Sometimes brilliant, sometimes dodgy, it's still such a crazy improvement on the game that first hit XBLA a year or so before, they might as well rename it. The recent update dropped the price of the game by half, fixed more or less every major complaint leveled against it, and left a decent survival horror-like game where your biggest fear is the environment.

Nevertheless, this review was a huge headache for me. I'd been writing pretty well up to this point and it was this review where it all started falling apart. I had horrendous writer's block and, as I always have done in the past, decided the best thing was to power through it. This led to several finished drafts but they were, to be blunt, absolute shit. Hell, this one isn't great; Bloomer rightly pointed out that it has a confusing voice where it jumps back and forth between the old and the new, but, by that point, I simply had to wash my hands of the thing and try to move on.

Beyond Good & Evil HD (April 23rd) [360]
Hits: 928

Despite the fact that this a cheaty rewrite of an older review and I still use large chunks of that review in this one, I really struggled to get this one out. It was probably the beginning of the end of my regular output because I got all kinds of frustrated that I couldn't finish the bloody thing so locked myself away in a corner until all three (I think three?) of the drafts were done. It was about then I decided I wasn't enjoying it anymore. I wrote out of obligation.

There's a little slice of drama out the way. I then won a RotW. Yay!

Alan Wake (April 26th) [360]
Hits: 910

I'm a bit of a survival horror junkie -- have you noticed? As such, I was psyched throughout the entirety of Alan WakeĀes production. Then I purchased the game later than everyone else, because that's just how I roll.

Suskie and Marc (and most of the interested world) played this before me and gave very different accounts of their experiences. Through Suskie's excellent review, he made the game sound fantastic, and through Marc's constant bitching over AIM (which I've missed the most in my time offline) he made it sound like a one-trick pony. I guess I thought they were both right as I took the middle ground.

The second game is reportedly underway. I'm hoping they can build upon Wake strengths and perhaps dial down the trees.

Ravan Squad (May 2nd) [PC]
Hits: 614

This was a bit of a cheat. When I wrote for the original Raven Squad game for this very site, I also worte for another one which has since closed its doors. I reclaimed my earlier works, lest they fall into the pist of Oblivion, and posted them back up here. Or, at least, I did for this one. I had the others on a USB key along with a handful of drafts and recently found out it had died. It also had most of the Year in review on it, so I've had to write this entire list again from scratch with a much fuzzier memory. On the bright side, it means you, one of the three people to read in this far, have to put up with 33% less pretentious bullshit.

Shining Force II (May 10th) [GEN]
Hits: 841

It's taken me years to actually review this game, despite the fact I must have beaten it a good half dozen times while I've been writing reviews, and countless times before that. Shining Force II is my go to game. I have it on a USB key on my keyring so if I'm ever stuck somewhere, and thereĀfs a PC nearby, I always have something to do. This review came off the back of such a game; work was dead, so I spent more time playing Gen roms then doing what I was being paid for.

I actually have a very small list of games I want to review before I throw this crazy reviewing gig in, and, now this one's down, it's now almost exhausted.

B-Team (May 30th) [DS]
Hits: 1030

Not everything has some story behind it. Sometimes I just play a game on a whim then review it. This was one. Rubbish, rubbish game thought it was.

Akane the Kunoichi (July 17th) [XBLI]
Hits: 944

We got a message asking us to review this Indie game because one of us used to be pretty hot on reviewing the Indie scene (it was me before I got lazy!) and so I did. I had heard of Akane's dev team before as I had downloaded the trial of their previous XBLI game, Ace Gals Tennis, and it was rubbish. I expected the worst on this account, but found an extremely worthwhile title included instead.

I should delve back into the Indie scene again should I discover the free time ever again.

NeptuneĀfs Pride (July 26th) [PC]
Hits: 835

Spared the label of Āthe longest review I've ever written by the absolute monster that is Oblivion, Pride is still a huge rambling wall of words that doesn't ever really delve into the obligatory trappings like how the game works or what the controls do. It's a condensed gaming diary, I suppose, that talks about my favourite subject. Me.

But, still, I love this review. It's easily the one I spent the most time on during last year, not just because it's huge but because I spent a lot of time editing it. It used to be a lot bigger, believe it or not, but I scaled it down to what it is now over several rewrites, and I wasn't going to publish the damn thing until I was ready. Hell, it was sitting in storage while I wrote B-Team and Akane.

Pride still weighs on my mind and you can expect something else to come from the game sometime in 2012. ItĀfs a fascinating concept, and I'm simply not done playing around with it and bragging about my results.

(P.S: Second RotW in a row. Watch the record break)

Dead Space (July 28th) [360]
Hits: 910

AKA: The review were Gary forgot who directed his favourite film.

Yeah, that was a gaffe, made better by a quick edit but forever immortalised by a bit of forum banter now stuck to the bottom of the review for eternity. No one to blame but me.

But, yeah, the review. Came out okay, didn't it? I'll assume you said yes, voiceless reader. Thanks, dude.

Trapped Dead (July 31st) [PC]
Hits: 713

I'd like to say it seemed like someone out there in Dev land still loved me when a copy of Trapped Dead showed up on my doorstep, giving me a perfect chance to be momentarily excited. A strategy game set in and around an undead apocalypse? X-Com with zombies?

Except, no. Trapped Dead is an ambitious RTS that plods on like the stereotypical foes that dot the game. One laden with bugs and errors that the games more likely to crash that have you get your brains munched on. Patches were released, but only in German, which made keeping to a review deadline pretty hard going. My German is a little rusty. Or non existent. One of the two.

On reflected, 4/10 seems a little high. Oh well.

L.A. Noire (August 13th) [PS3]
Hits: 1378

Good old L.A. Noire. Like the slightly retarded friend you keep around out of pity, Noire could have (and kinda has) got by on just how obvious it was that an impossible amount of hours were ploughed into the game. The fantastic graphics, the highly professional voice acting and the stellar period-perfect soundtracks all failed the mask the fact that all they had been stapled to was a very pretty game constantly telling you to press X to win.

L.A. Noire is several steps too close to being an interactive movie and too far removed for comfort from being a video game. It doesn't so much as hold your hand, but lifts you up in a fireman's carry and dumps you face first into the solutions it wants you to find. Then, if you manage to mess that up anyway, it doesn't care. You win regardless. What a steaming pile of wasted potential.

The only noteworthy thing it did was allow me to write a review that won me a forth straight RotW victory thus granting me the highest streak record. Congrats, Team Bondi. Rockstar might now think you're a bunch of dicks, but you're alright by me. So long as you stop making shit games.

Fire Mustang (August 20th) [GEN]
Hits: 664

In my attempts to win RotW #5, Fire Mustang threw me for a bit of a loop. Out of games to review, I needed something I could beat quick and decided to jump into the crazy world of 16bit scrollers, pick out a dud, and there tear the sucker to shreds. People seem to love that kind of thing around here -- a sad commentary in and of itself. I was then quite annoyed to find the game was actually pretty good, and that I enjoyed it enough to sink all the time I had to find a new game into playing it. I was stuck, then. A praise review it was. I'd not planned on that.

Someone else won RotW that time around. Suskie even came out of the shadows briefly to try and end my run early, and I salute him for it.

Tropico 4 (November 6th) [360]
Hits: 481

Back in the hazy month of August, Jason and myself sat down to compile a large list of games we should try and get review copies from. It was a list of some size, and many e-mails were sent. One game arrived. This one. I was a little annoyed at first; I'd asked for the likes of Rage and Deus Ex, and I got bloody Tropico 4. Then the game very slowly took over my life. It's still the title I sink the most time into now. Hell. IĀfve not even beaten Deus Ex yet because I spent more time building a civilisation on tropical islands instead, then watching the bastard people turn on me because I feed them nothing but rotten bananas, or sold their homes to criminal immigrants.

I'm currently in the midst of ruining a former partner. I've bought his company from underneath him, and am trying to have one of my pretty islands host the Olympic games, just to bankrupt him a little bit more.

Get to tha choppa 2 (November 29th) [XBLI]
Hits: 514

Man, IĀfm clever. Have you read this review? Go do so, it's not very long, and I think you'll agree IĀfm clever. Yes. Me.

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Title: The writing's on the wall
Posted: December 09, 2011 (01:59 PM)
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Posted: April 27, 2011 (11:44 AM)
Beyond Good & Evil HD

Really fly-through replay that I beat in two mammoth sitting. It's still brilliant


Had I reviewed the game back when I beat it years ago, Iíd have given it faint praise but ultimately labelled it a brilliant 10 hour game unfortunately stretched out into a trudging 30 hour chore. Iím really glad I didnít. Going back to NIER for the replays you need undertake to advance the plot gives you the chance to replay the game without the padding and just revel in the awesome world Cavia died crafting. I needed that big break in between flythrough because, while the replay changes a lot, it doesnít reinvent enough to justify back-to-back quests, but itís a fantastic revisit. I look forward to beating it this time around, letting it sit for a while as I beat other games, then tackling it again at a later date. As such, itís a game that really can claim to last you years.

Trapped Dead

It promised to be a heady mix of zombies and X-COM. ItísĀE yeah, itís not. Not even close. Itís a clumsy RTS with zombie apocalypse overtones. The undead hordes are zombie-ish, the supplies are scarce but the game it set as an RTS, and it feels rushed and unfinished. I shall put in more hours for now before I decide.

Alan Wake

Started brilliantly, then failed to capitalise and instead decided to be the exact same game all the way through to the end, which featured an end of game boss fight on the same level of disappointment as Gears of War 2. I wish it was better than how it turned out

Things I have just bought:

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Title: Red Riding Hood -- A Film Review
Posted: April 15, 2011 (11:05 AM)
If thereís ever been any doubt that Gary Oldman has the talent and the presence to carry projects single-handily, then Red Riding Hood is the film that puts an end to it.

Before he arrives, the film is mired in bad writing and bad performances that fails to seize the stunning artwork and presentation values Catherine Hardwickeís revamped childrenís classic realises. Being a straight male, Iíve not seen or had any interest in her previous work on the Twilight saga, but she proves here she has an eye for the cosmetics. Thereís sweeping fly-by shots of snow-covered mountains and purposefully unfocused snaps of falling flakes contrasting against powerful colours that effortlessly overpower the lacking cast.

Thatís unfair to lead actress Amanda Seyfried who seems determined to make the best of a bad situation and pulls out a believable performance while everyone else around her phones it in. She does her best as the shared love interest of both wealthy Henry (Max Irons) and desolate woodcutter Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) who simply seem disinterested in their roles. While Seyfried struggles to carry them through the trite love triangle, they do little more than grunt indifferently and try their best to look as pretty as they can. Perhaps they canít be blamed: despite their vastly different backgrounds, each character seems to be a near carbon copy of the other and why Seyfriedís character would show any interest in either remains the filmís biggest mystery. When theyíre not both being different shades of moody and unapproachable, theyíre sprouting uninspired lines like "If you love her, you'll let her go" slightly rephrased and repeated ad nauseam as they try to lackadaisically outmanoeuvre each other.

Then, thankfully, Oldman appears stage left as the grizzled wolf-hunting holyman and tries his level best to pull off a coup; to try and give audiences a watchable film. Suddenly, thereís a sense of urgency, and he even manages to illicit a few laughs from a previously humourless, self-absorbed movie. Focus is shifted away from half-hearted performances, Seyfried puts on a red cape in a tenuous attempt to link the film with the story, and Red Riding Hood threatens to turn into a worthwhile experience.

Then fails. When the wolf steps into the spotlight, any sense of danger is exhumed. Off-screen, itís a mysterious collection of rage and murder, leaving nothing but bestial destruction in its wake. On screenÖ. itís a disappointing CGI mishap containing all the apprehension of an aging cocker spaniel. Not even Oldman can save that -- though, bless him, he tries.

As such, Red Riding Hood is a film that starts off poor and despite a slight reprieve around the half way mark, concludes on a further low. Iím sure millions were ploughed into the filming, the locations and the special effects, but it remains a project filled with plenty off huff and puff, but without the ability to blow anything away.
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Posted: March 27, 2011 (02:01 PM)
Venetica: Opened up all of Venice, which is huge, and just sailed off to the African nation. Which is tiny. Really starting to dig the game as it pulls into the final stretch. It actually does levelling combat well; even though you're always upgrading your stats and picking up better arnour and weapons, the main reason you're able to beat tougher fights are because you have to get better at the game.

Then I found that wasn't true at all. I'd just forgotten to manually spend my upgrade points after each level up.

Alan Wake: I'm having to take a break from Wake before I become so sick of trees that I attack them in everyday life.

Red Dead Redmeption -- Undead Nightmare: Reallyt well done. Zombies xcan only be dropped with perfect headshots making the bullet-time like Dead Eye a life saver. Undead Nightmare is brilliant; it has survivalk horror down perfect by making you scrounge and bveg for bullets then makes you feel for evey shot you miss. It's touching, horrifing and still makes time to poke fun at the genre it apes so succesfully.

Kane & Lynch 2: Right at the back end of this game now and I'm really digging it. Ran trhough in hard moide right off the bat which may have something to do with it, but the co-oping transforms the game, too. It's a really depressing, brutal game, using cheap hand-cam POV's, purposfully bad focus and lens flares for kicks and giggles
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Posted: March 20, 2011 (04:30 PM)
Venetica: Delving deeper in, I was stuck for a fair while because youíre told to meet someone at midnight in a specific place, but this condition doesnít save on your quest log. Fine if you go and do so immediately; not so fine if you park the game for a couple of weeks and forget. I stumbled upon it by luck while hunting out rogue headquarters at night. Iím probably around the half way mark as Iím two of the obligatory band of evil bosses down.

Alan Wake: Right near endgame and wandering if Iím ever going to get out of these bloody woods. For a game that took five years too make, it sure doesnít want to make any other backdrops. Still enjoying my time, but itís starting to wane a little now. Loved the fight against the possessed bulldozer; spent all my time tricking it into running over Taken lumberjacks then giggling like a schoolgirl.

I really hope the last two chapters deviate. We shall see.

Dead Space 2: Done little more than die a few times in the opening gambit Rn through an army of Necromorphs without the use of your hands? You bastards, EA!

Frogs vs. Stalks: All finished up. Bloody tricky last few stages that verge on genius. canít give too much credit as the levels are randomly generated.

Kane & Lynch 2: Been on the backburner for a long arse time now. Started it again on a co-op and am having a blast so far. Dialled t right up to hard and am enjoying it much more than I did with solo on normal. Guns are crazy inaccurate, though.
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Posted: March 12, 2011 (06:46 AM)
The time is nearly upon us. Look to the skies in fear.

Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying. Be praying.
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Title: Bright Falls: The prequel to Alan Wake
Posted: March 09, 2011 (09:58 AM)
People seemed to miss this. So, for your viewing plesure, a youtube link that's not an awful metal music video.

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Posted: March 06, 2011 (07:28 AM)
Venetica: This game is best described as Gothic/Risen lite. It reminds me very heavily of PS2 action/adventure game Drakan: The Ancient Gates; buggy but brilliantly unique in how it works and the world it showcases. It works the same in how it has a PCRPG-like quest logs where you can undertake smaller missions for martial and exp. gain. Combat is clever, and thereís always something to do. Proper honest Boss fights, too!

Shining Force II: I play a Shining Force or a Phantasy Star every year or so, and got it out of th way early this time around. Iíll probably get around to actually reviewing it this time around, but the game itself simply never gets old.

Alpha Protocol: Iíve come out of Saudi Arabia and am whacking through my missions in Russia. After a bumpy start where I discarded my SMGs forever and adopted a pistol/assault rifle set up with a focus on stealth, Iíve been loving the game. Started with the rookie set-up, so had to bumble my way through until I could bump up some stats, but am having a blast. My only hang up is that the dialogue and choice system is so good, Iím forver second guessing on whoever Iíve missed something big or messed up unlocking something later on.

Alan Wake: Thank God for Alan Wake. Itís exactly what the horror genre needed and a spiritual successor to the original aims of Silent Hill before they decided to try and explain everything and anything that went on. Not a huge ways in, but really digging how the game thrives on making you completely uncertain what might happen next and leaving you no clue why it might be.

Hydrophobia: Sometimes brilliant, sometimes dodgy, itís still such a crazy improvement on the game that first hit XBLA a year or so ago, they might as well rename it. The recent update dropped the [price of the game by half, fixed more or less every major complaint levied against it, and left a decent survival horror-like game were your biggest fear is the environment

Frogs vs. Stalks: better than youíd think, but not by much. Pretty clever puzzle game that lives on a razorís edge of unpredictability and encroaching unfairness.

Thunder Force II: Bloody awful overhead sections completely overwrite the sometimes genre-perfect scrolling ones. Review incoming shortly.
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Posted: February 27, 2011 (11:32 AM)
Turns out, while I wasnít looking, I was being steadily more popular that you. Yes, you, random reader; because my view figures now total in the half million.

Next stop, presidency of the world.
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Title: Year in Review: Part VI (Original and best!)
Posted: January 09, 2011 (10:27 AM)
Part 6! Holy shit, I've been doing this way too bloody long.

Output's been okay this year seeing as I had to take a lot of time out for health reasons and started the year pretty sure I'd finish up commitments then throw the towel in on reviewing. Now 2011 has dumped the weight of a website on my shoulders and partnered me with phantom fellow staffers toiling away at irrelevance, I'll expect that mindset to battle away with burnout to see which forces retirment first.

Complaing disguised as a director's commentory follows from here:

Fable II (360) January 10th

I think I wrote the first complete draft of this in late 2010, then saved it for cheap alpha-marathon points. I wrote it when bored out of my brain late at night on scrap paper (no PC access) after being surprised at how much I enjoyed Fable II. I remain a staunch detractor of the first game (itís still rubbish, a recent reattempted play through taught me) so assumed this would carry through the series. Itís a reasonable assumption.

The reviewís purposefully abstract in a way that Iím secretly proud of and a way the rest of the world thinks is pretentious prattling. Thos that have read it, anyway. Itís been up now a year and has less than 400 hits.

Syberia (PC) January 16th

Near the end of 2009, I received a game pack that contained both Syberias and Amerizone. As a recovering adventure junkie, this pack presented me a chance to catch up on game I never managed to beat or play. I had Syberia 2 on the Xbox for years, but never got around to playing far in, likewise with Amerizone for the PSX. Now, I had to. It was my Job.

Syberia was the best of the lot by quite a large margin, and it gave me a lot to write about. I could never struggle through enough Amrizone to get a decent idea of it. I got to the second later.

FIFA '10 (360) February 3rd

Masters: I got FIFA Ď10 to review off Jason.
Me: Good for you. I like that one.
Masters: Review it for me, for I am cranky and lazy and I do not understand the offside trap.

And so I did. I figured Iíd later get revenge by making him review again on a semi-regular basis but, alas, I ended up doing the bulk of the work there as well.

Modern Warfare 2 (PS3) February 5th

Everyone else was doing it. I thought I might as well. It was entered in some tourney or another were it got some praise for tackling the gameís ambition to be more than it is, but lost points for exaggerating and spending too much time attacking the gameĎs ambition. Really, I reviewed it because, lets face it, stuff like No Russian and the gameís repeated attempts to be more than a game are kind of rubbish and we endure them because we know weíll get back to shooting bad guys again very soon.

Iíve picked the game back up again recently to root out the two last missions in special ops I didnít three star, and, after finally doing high explosives, Iíve only wetwork left to do. Stupid C4 barrels hiding in the last breachÖ.

Syberia 2 (PC) February 24th

The second Syberia, while not bad, is much more rooted in video game trope than the free-spirited first. I stumble over making the same point a few times during the body of the review, but it is a game hampered by the superiority of its predecessor. Everything aside from the graphics (which remain stunning) is a step back; the puzzles, the writing, the pay-offs.

Light's End (XBLI) April 2nd

After spending years with an offline 360, I finally figured out how easy it was to set Live up (so long as you donít wi-fi, which AOLís shared IP bollocks messes up, anyway) and spent the first afternoon pressing random buttons and going ďOoooh!Ē at what I could do. Though I spent most of my time playing Uno for reasons that still escape me, I did wander onto the Indie section and poke at random games. Somehow, I started a download for the trial version of this. Figured I might as well play it and was mildly impressed with the opening. It was cheap; I purchased the full download, and the rest of the game blew me away.

Really, it can be credited to my love affair with XBLI in a way. Itís not my favourite game on the service, but itís a creative experience no mainstream company will take a big enough risk to see out as a full release. You have to sift through a lot of crap to find these titles, but theyíre there, buried under the poor flash games and the rumble pad apps.

Nostalgia (DS) April 10th

Zig did a readerís choice tourney were the author could list five game they were open to reviewing. Nostalgia was a game I was picking at on the DS and the lowest personal want in the list of five I offered. As such, it was the one that Janus picked. He then no-showed said tourney, as did Suskie who I picked the game for, making me feel like I was the butt of a sadistic joke. So, pretty much as I normally do.

Itís a bit of a fly by. I rushed through the game as best I could and got my impressions down on paper. Itíll do.

Sam & Max 301: The Penal Zone (PC) April 24th

Ony a single word escaped my lips when I found I had another season of Sam & Max to do.


Enchanted Arms (360) May 3rd

Hereís a down side of getting my 360 online. I had a big old gamer score that I could convert to my gold account ensuring I had all my crazy achievements still live and active for the world to see and admire. Well, almost; the first half dozen games I had on there were oddly destroyed losing me much bragging rights. As such, I started playing through some of the ones I didnít hate again to restack them. I had to redo both Gears and a few others. Enchanted Arms was one of these.

When I beat it the first time, Zig had just finished his review on the game, and Midís was long up. A third review seemed pointless, so I didnít bother. On the second play through, I figured I may as well; I had things to say and I thought it came out pretty well. Somebody agreed; it was the first staff review to win RotW after the stipulations to keep it a user only contest receded.

Some time later, OD added his review of the game. If you made it this far in, Leroux, I think you know what you need to doÖ.

Silent Hill: Homecoming (360) May 10th

I had such high hopes for this game. I honestly expected it to be the franchise reinvention similar to what Resident Evil 4 did for Capcom. New developers at the helm ,promises of a this and that, screenshots purposefully picked out to look like the foggy hell that the original games made their cursed town swim in. What we did get is what happens when Hollywood takes a brilliant foreign horror film and Americanises it. This was Silent Hillís Wicker Man; it was much more Cage and THE BEES! than Lee and the performance of his career.

(That line now copywrited for future use)

When Iím not editing his reviews so heavily I might as well stick my name on the end and call it a day. Me and Marc chat a lot about Silent Hill. It might be the only thing we agree on . (He doesnít like Halo; I think Half Life 2 is a wandering around simulation with four billion physics engine puzzles involving see-saws) . Bashing Silent Hill 4+ is kind of what me and Boo used to do with Doom 3.

This was the SECOND EVER staff RotW winner. And won a horror review tourney by about 20 clean points. And cured cancer. Iím a record setter.

Get to tha Choppa (XBLI) May 20th

Impulse buy. Contains not one ounce of Governor Arnie or prawn-faced alien thrill hunters. It features zombies (of course it does; itís an XBLI game, after all) and a decent game spread too thinly over too long a span. It also contains a would be saviour in a helicopter who clearly hates you.

Props to the developers who added this 3/10 review to their website and twitter feeds. Even when Iím slagging you down, Iím bringing you into the limelight, Indie guys!

Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (360) May 22nd

This was another game I revisited to regain lost gamer points. Iím obviously more anal about them than I realised. Unlike with Enchanted Arms, though, I wasnít really looking forward to it. Itís a ho-hum game with two or three goods ideas rehashed until the goodness is wrung out of them.

The punch line? The phantom GP glitch means I can never get the last 200 points to regain the 1000 I used to have.

Wings of Prey (PC) May 30th

Remember when I reviewed IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey last year? Do you? You should; it might have been the best thing I wrote in 2009! Well, Wings of Prey is the PC version the developers promised the people they leased the license from that they wouldnít make. Then they did. As such, I had to write the same review again. More or less. But only differently. Yay!

Sam Max 302: The Tomb of Sammun-Mak (PC) May 30th


Jewel Quest Mysteries (DS) May 31st

World: Youíve not done a pointless DS puzzle game in a while.
Me: I know! Iím starting to feel optimistic about reviewing again!
World: Not so fast! Here you go!
World: ALSO! It has a hidden objects game awkwardly shoehorned in!

Much whisky was drunk.

Uno (360) June 2nd

Unsure of what to review next, I did a readers poll of about five games. I threw Uno in on the end as a joke. ďNo one would make me review Uno!Ē, though I.

You made me review Uno. I still donít know how I didnít see this one coming. A poll for my next review is an idea left unvisited. Forever!

Lego Rock Band (Wii) June 13th

I reviewed this for a tourney Janus drafted up then never completed. It was a selfish tourney that basically asked us to recommend games he might buy with leftover birthday slush funds. Iíll take the chance to declare myself official winner now. Only myself and Ash showed. Congrats to Ash on his second place!

Iíve not actually played Rock Band for months now. The problem is that it was the Wii version I played and, as a male above the age of twelve, I have very little use for the Wii. It did win a RotW, though.


Every now and then, I tried to make good on my plan to kick out an indie review every week or so. I had been playing the hell out of Z0MBIES every time I entertained more than a couple of people and it quickly became universally loved. It ate into every other games time aside from FIFA because some things you do not mess with.

It gets played less and less now, but itís no less a genius bit of parodying that actually gets the idea that satire still has to be good enough in its own right before it can be funny and not just another victim of what its trying to lampoon. A lot of other games still donít seem to grasp this.

Dead Space (360) June 20th

Should have won RotW that week, but Suskie busted out his beat of the year with Alpha Protocal. Curse you, Suskie! It does remind me that I have a draft for the Wii version somewhere. And that I should get back trying to find a stream on the anime. Or find the comics.

A lot of work was made trying to make Dead Space a multi-media success. I, for one, hope it makes it. I kind of dig the Event Horizon vibes and how EA have resisted the call to succumb to b-move clichťs and instead work their socks off to scare the shit out of you. Iím looking forward to Dead Space 2. I look forward to very little!

Resident Evil 5: Untold Stories (360) June 27th

Iím trying to think of a story behind this one, but Iím coming up blank. Sometimes, I guess, I just play a game and then write about it afterwards. Weird.

8-bit Girlfriend (XBLI) July 3rd

Remember this phrase from an earlier snippet?

ďthat actually gets the idea that satire still has to be good enough in its own right before it can be funny and not just another victim of what its trying to lampoon. A lot of other games still donít seem to grasp this.Ē

Yeah. 8-bit Girlfriend fall into that trap hard. It falls hard and it never gets back up again. I wrote this to try and keep the indie game coverage up on one hand and to cover the pesky # slot on the other. If only I had known Id be later flooded with 101-in-1 games late in the year.

Sam & Max 303: They Stole Max's Brain (PC) July 3rd


Godfather II (360) July 7th

Itís the oddest thing. I own more games than Iíll ever play thanks to a compulsive drive to buy and then never use any obscure title Iíll see, yet Iíll still borrow games from others and then bump them to the top of the list. This was certainly true of Godfather II which was lent to me on a whim, and then tidily completed with commendable pace. Iíve even maxxed all the achievements.

Itís not really a great game, either; itís middle-ground and quite broken in execution. But itís done now

Armada 2526 (PC) July 11th

This is the best thing I wrote all 2010 and if you disagree, youíre wrong and I hate you.

Not enough people bought this game, and I take this as a personal affront. Go and buy the game now.

Aphelion (XBLI) July 19th

Realistic 3D sprites in a homemade game was a bit of a shock, but they have been attempted before in games like Zenhack. Sadly, theyíve been kind of poor, but Aphelion pulls them off well. Itís one of the more expensive XBLI games, but itís well worth the investment.

Shining Wisdom
(SAT) July 19th

You all suck for not reading this review; I poured hours into it, replaying the PAL version I own, reading and comparing the awful US script with it as I went. Itís something Iíve wanted to do for the longest time now and I finally got bored of thinking about it and busted it out. It took months -- months! -- and, as such, has been read by seven people and four spambots.

Breath of Death VII (XBLI) July 24th

Best RPG on the indie channel until they released their new one this week? Time will tell!

Like this review. Wrote it in one sitting and focused on how it parodies RPG tropes without falling prey of that it mocks. Somewhat ironically, was offered a review code from the developers after Iíd spent the whooping $1 to purchase the game outright. I didnít demand a refund; I wonder if I should have.

Their new RPG should trickle out as my next review. Hold your breaths and wait!

Sam & Max 304: Beyond the Alley of the Dolls (PC) July 31st


Clover: A Curious Tale (PC) August 9th

Downloaded the XBLI trial of this game before realising that I had a PC review code sitting in my inbox. Deleted XBLI version, downloaded the game, checked to see if it worked okay then, several hours later, discovered it had eaten half my day.

Really good homemade game inspired by a political quote from WWII on how easy it is to lead people like sheep. itís a game that gets more powerful as it goes on. It also has a cynical critic called Gary who complains bitterly about things and a maddeningly smug and arrogant fashion. I liked him best.

Worms XBA (360) August 16th

Another boring one here. I was playing a lot of Worms on XBLA. I wrote about Worms on XBLA.

Halo 3: ODST (360) August 31st

I spent ages writing this one and it languishes at the bottom of the hit list. I, like a lot of other people, kind of expected ODST to suck, so never bothered upon release. I picked it up cheap, eventually, and found the game overly competent and mostly enjoyable. I think sometimes you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try to do something more creative -- which is what Bungie very much did here. Some ideas work, some do no, but those that did will find their way into later works to be built upon and these that didnít have been tried and found lacking.

I donít regret my time spent with it, but recognise it as the weakest in the series.

Sam & Max 305: The City That Dares Not Sleep (PC) September 4th

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Well, at least thatís over.

The third season was, actually, brilliant. Telltale are seemingly hell-bent on reinventing the genre and are doing a great job of it. The entire series is so surreal and so intent on turning convention on its head it becomes a form of twisted abstract genius.

I was glad to have the third season in my inbox. Really! Roll on season four!

Oh, godÖ.

VF CG Portrait Series v.3: Akira Yuki (SAT) September 6th

I signed a contract in blood to review one of these a year in a futile attempt to regain my soul Iíd lost in a previous deal. Starting to think itís not worth it.

Broken Sword (PC) September 9th

It was my birthday. Rather than offer congrats, Jason instead asked me to review a game Iíd played and disliked on another platform. I signed, took the Steam code and then found it was region locked to the US. Dutifully, I bought the game, with my own money, played it, beat it, hated it, wrote this the next morning.

Itís a shame Lewis isnít around anymore, because he likes this abortion of a remix, and I would enjoy belittling him for it. I noticed he wrote a praise review for the title on a different site and mocked him a little about it there.

Top Gun (PS3) September 11th

Contains no beach volleyball. I found this especially odd.

Zombie Estate (XBLI) September 18th

By unspoken law, three in every four XBLI games has to contain zombies. Charitably, maybe one in every ten of these are good games. Zombie Estate makes a very valid stab at being the best of the lot. It even has Replay Value; thatís always a big plus!

One-credit beaten the hell out of this game, but the last couple of stages are hairy as hell. We beat it (two of the four player slots filled) by making a perimeter of turrets and plants and trying to last as long as we can inside it, then hoping we made enough of a safety bubble to set it all up again.

Resident Evil (PSX) September 25th

I wrote this back near the beginning of the year under mysterious circumstances. Then I posted it again here because it was a slim RotW charter and I wanted to make it worthwhile. Still didnít win!

Still, I like this review. Itís sometimes gratifying to look at the reasons why your favourite games havenít aged as well as your nostalgic sensibilities would have liked.

Halo: Reach (360) September 29th

Would have won that weekís RotW had Leroux not posted his entire backlog of killer arcade reviews.

Damn you, Lerouuuuuuuuuux!

Winter Voices: Chapter One (PC) October 1st

Rarely have I played a game I wanted to like as much as this one. It was so many things right; it was creative and artistic and it took its ideas in a completely new direction. It was also pretentious and very quick to congratulate itself on this. The text came in unmentionable clumps that laboured to say a simple thing as complexly as possible, then repeat itself.

Entered this in an obscure tourney where it lost valuable obscure points because Iíd written a news article about it previously alerting judges to its existence. Stupid judges. I won the tourney anyway with honourable partner, Zigfriend. There was no controversy included at all.

101-in-1 Megamix (PSP) October 12th

True is stupid because he could not run this PSN code because he lives in America. Stupid TrueÖ

Tasty Planet (PC) October 24th

Will is stupid because he took the wrong review code and left me with this Indie effort from Canada. Will is double stupid because it still took him forever to review the wrong code that he took while I finished this one up pretty quick. Stupid WillÖ

Mafia II (360) November 8th

Masters is stupid because he said this is one of the best this-gen games available. And it isnít! Itís very average and poorly written in a lot of places. At heart, itís a sandbox game, but itís a sandbox game that, while you can wander off and explore, it really doesnít want you to. As such, moving away from where the game wants you to be is nothing more than aimless wandering around with nothing to do.

I beat this game right off the bat on Hard mode without much trouble. And now I have no reason to ever go back. Stupid MastersÖ

Medal of Honor (360) November 10th

People out there would have you think that the single player is good and the multiplayer bad. This is wrong and people who say otherwise are the wrongest of all!

Iíve suffered through the tripe single player enough to squeeze the achievements out, but still spend a lot of time on the multiplayer. Itís the game that finally got squad based fighting right; even if youíre surrounded by useless idiots, you can make enough of a difference so that maybe youíll lose out in the end, but you can achieve enough to think your efforts worthwhile.

In other circumstances, Iíd be playing it right now. Iíve almost maxed out my special ops multiplayer character.

101-in-1 Sports MegaMix (DS) November 16th

This was about as welcome as the last 101-in-1 games but had the extra taint of being absolute rubbish. The first game had a kooky zaniness to it; this was just has a lot of half-baked ideas of how to make a bite-sized sports game then ensure it has ill-fitting touch screen functions added on.

recettear: An Item Shop's Tale (PC) November 27th

Had been quietly playing the hell out of this game since its release and working towards an eventual review when I thought Iíd played enough of the game. But it kept on surprising me with hoe deep it was, so it took a lot of playing to find that comfortable point. When I got around to spitting the review out eventually, it claimed a glorious RotW spot.

Kozu (XBLI) December 18th

Spite review. Joe might have won a RotW by default had no one showed, so I wrote this in a spare hour. Joe won anyway, but thatís mainly because Jerec never gives me wins on anything since the Metal Slug incident. I regret nothing.
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Title: The king of stats!
Posted: September 06, 2010 (08:08 AM)
Today, I posted my 250th review for this site and earnt one of those milestone thingies. I decided to see how I stood against the rest of you slackers in these terms and was not surprised to find this:

01. EmP. 665

Iím the best thing that ever happened to this website. Officially.
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Title: EmP hates Weather/EmP loves Football. Too much.
Posted: August 25, 2010 (01:02 PM)
Scant seconds before I started typing (using magically skilled fingers that seem to glide -- GLIDE -- over the awful regressed keyboard of this laptop) I received a phone call from a once-close friend who smugly told me that she was sitting, snug and warm, in a studio that I was asked to attend -- for money -- but turned down in order to play football. A glance outside isnít needed to gauge the weather; I can hear the rain trying its damnedest to break through the ceiling. Right now is one of those depressingly perfect moments when you realise youíve picked exactly the wrong choice. Iím already wet and cold, and, in an hour, I need to start playing though a torrential downpour that only England can properly produce (may not be as violent as some, but itís always effortlessly more miserable) on a god-awful Astroturf pitch that may as well be constructed entirely of Mach 3 razors, and officiated by the rejected rejects of the refereeing special classes who, by FA law, youíre not allowed to tell are as awful as they are.

I could do this, or I could listen to music Iíd probably hate and be paid for my time.

Actually, maybe this isnít so bad...

Whilst Iím in a footballing frame of mind, I present to you, my captured audience of three, the official urban slang for FIFA games:

ITCHFACE: The annoying itch you get (on your face) when youíre either deep into an attack or defending for your life. Itchface has several ramifications and is often thrown in as a bluff. donít feel your attack is going anywhere, or you know that your defensive line is going to be breached? Perform a furious itchface and suck away your opponents creditability! As an added bonus, should you plough extra effort and annoyed grunting into the work, you might pull off the hallowed Physiological Itchface where your opponent will see you scratching away like mad and have no choice but to do the same through power of suggestion.

BOBBLEWEASEL: An annoying series of lucky bobbles that often sees you a goal down through no fault of your own. You could make a fantastic challenge on the edge of the area, only for the ball to spin off slightly to the left and right at the feet of a second opposition striker. Your keeper could make an awesome reaction save from the corresponding shot, but, whatís this? The ball smacked someone in the back of the head and trickled serenely over the line.

The bitterest employer of bobble weasel is none other then our own Ben who, after trailing 4-1, ending up winning a game 6-5 after smacking the ball into my area and laughing hysterically as it bobbled from shin to shin like an insane pinball before hitting poor John OíShea and going in the back of the net. Twice. I may never forgive him.

AAARRRGGGGHHHREF!: When you yell at the digital ref for one of his supposed blunders, knowing full well heís just a collection of polygons whoíll never hear your plea. This will not stop you. That dodgy penalty? That moronic decision to not play advantage when youíre through on goal? That offside call that clearly wasnít? Oh, youíll yell at the ref. And the things you say will haunt anyone unfortunate enough to be in earshot for the rest of their scarred lives.

12th MAN: Every now and then the ref will unwittingly get in the way of play and cost you possession or cut out a pass. But you wonít see it like this: youíll know that he may as well throw his black ref top into the stands and shrug on that hideous purple Spurs third kit and slide a through ball to a rampaging Lennon. Know whatís worse? While you can barge the ref if heís in your way, you canít do a sly slide tackle and mow the cheating official down. Believe me; Iíve tried. If I spent as much time practising free kicks as I did trying to kill the ref, Iíd be knocking them in from the half way line.
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Title: Random thoughts.
Posted: August 07, 2010 (02:48 PM)
The other day, I finally got around to watching the film adaptation of Max Payne. This surprised me, but not half as much as when I not only enjoyed the film thoroughly, but got the hilarious joke played on the complain-ready video-gamers who bemoaned the movie the second they saw their first trailer. Jokes on you -- or, should I say, us. I wonít pretend I didnít do exactly the same.

NIER remains a great personal conflict for me. On one had, I love the setting, the characters and the world Cavia (and not Square Enix.) have some lovingly created, but, on the other, the combat is kind of flat, there should be more ways to use Wiessí magic and I might have found myself at a game-ending flaw that sees me trapped inside a dungeon with no healing items (I was too cheap to buy some and assumed Iíd just forage some out on the way. The walked through a desert feeling dumb about this choice) and a boss fight I donít think I can beat without taking enough damage to kill me. Fishing is also a pain.

Star Ocean 4 hasnít got so much as a look in! Instead, Iíve fallen back on LMA Manager 2007 and online FIFA games that Ben seems adapt at avoiding after scoring the luckiest victory this side of a WBA away slaughter fest.

HALO 3: ODST is an interesting idea that is pulled off reasonably well. I like the idea of everything being almost episodic, but the wandering around aimlessly bits that precede this are counter productive. Stranglehold has a lot of people to shoot in slow motion while you slide down banisters and Clover is almost as depressing a game as Alundra was back in the day.

Weíll end things here: What an odd choice of name to depict as a cynical, never-happy critic!
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Title: SquearEnix present NEIR. By SquareEnix. SQUAREENIX!
Posted: July 26, 2010 (03:32 PM)
Know what annoys me? Aside from everything? When gaming website get a screenshot of a game then plasters their siteís name and/or logo all over the bloody thing like a ten-year old who got one of those label maker things for Xmas. Yes, weíre very happy that a publicly-released screenshot has been hosted on your geosite page, by all means, slather your idiotic web domain all over it. Heaven forbid we actually see the sodding screen capture when you could advertise yourself heavily to people who are already on your site!

And that was my first impression of NIER. Man alive, not thirty seconds can pass without SquareEnix splattering their logo all over the show while Cavia gets its only mention for a split second after seeing the SE logo three times. Then, while the vocalised intro for the violent opening plays out, you get to stare at another SquareEnix logo for a got thirty seconds.

No wonder Cavia went under when, should you mention some of their best games, most people are already convinced itís a bloody SE game. Just because theyíve not released a decent game since FFX doesnít mean they can try and siphon the credit away from a small, risk-taking company actually capable of presenting the level of darkness and sobriety they can only dream of.

Iím this annoyed, and Iíve not yet played a second of the game. This does not bode well.

Title: Star Ocean 4 and other news
Posted: July 25, 2010 (01:56 PM)
I've been playing SO4 on and off for a while now, and it's getting by on nothing but its battle system. The plot isn't as clever or unique as it thinks it is, the characters are almost uniquely annoying and the dungeon layouts are often infuriating.

Iím in one right now when, to progress, I had to light urns on fire in a certain order. That was okay: there was a knight statue in the corner who pointed his halberd at the urn I needed to light, I did this, and secret walls opened. Then it happened again. And again. AND AGAIN.

Eventually, I got on the third floor where a huge open plan room stood covered in urns and fifteen-foot poison monsters. Thereís too many urns for a single statue to point out, so I have to rely on the fact thereís four of them in the room. The problem s that a/ they donít all agree all the time and b/ an earlier puzzle tried to trick you by presenting two knights and making on of them a LIAR so you never fully trust any of them. This means several minutes of running around, trying to avoid fights, lining yourself up with pointed spears and swearing when swinging the camera angle around to try and see where itís pointing takes it behind a wall and gives you awesome view of some dank brickwork. Brilliant.

In other news, I recently planed to try and do a XBLI review a week, and have been doing pretty well on this for a while now. However, the rate I've been churning reviews out as of late has left me without anything I can currently write about. For the first time in years, I've extinguished potential game reviews now until I get more gametime on those I'm playing under my belt. It's an oddly refreshing feeling.
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Title: EmPís Hilarious Game Buying Tale.
Posted: July 22, 2010 (03:36 PM)
EmP: ďI will buy games on Ebay that Iíll never play because they are super cheap!Ē

*Buys Infinite Undiscovery, End War, Halo ODST, Stranglehold and, for reasons that still escape me, Sega Superstar Tennis*

EmP: ďWhatís this? Neir for about £10? The hells with that -- Iím going to find Army of Two!Ē

*Notices it was developed by Cavia!


Stay tuned for part two. Where the game arrives, I play four minutes of it, then never look at it ever again.
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Title: They can't even spell X-Com right!
Posted: June 29, 2010 (10:36 AM)


Title: An Area 88 (Brief) Episode Guide
Posted: June 25, 2010 (04:39 PM)

Area 88 is a Japanese anime about Area 88, which is a secret mercenary encampment. There is only one Japanese pilot there. He is the best

A Japanese photographer arrives and takes photos which makes lots of people angry. The pilot and the photographer hate each other until they form begrudging respect because of EXTREME photo taking.


Boris is introduced as the best pilot in Area 88.

Boris ďI am strong, but secretly remorseful despite the openness I display this remorse withĒ

Boris is called a God of Death, allowing the anime to say Shinigami at least one ever two sentences (seriously).

Boris dies.


Japanese pilot shoots down a transport plane. Everyone looks for it thinking itís full of gold.

Itís not.


Japanese pilot is shot down. His plane explodes and he is very sad.

Has a flashback. Best friend betrayed him. Girlfriend has pink hair.


Kitori arrives. She is a GIRL and this surprises EVERYONE.

Even more surprisingly, she isnít instantly killed.


Japanese pilotís friend/betrayer flies his passenger plane into military airspace because he loves deus ex machina. The two see each other, and prelude to a lot of angsting.

Girlfriend pines. Still has pink hair.


AREA 88 ďIndian kid sucks!Ē

Indian kid uses harrier plane to blow up bombers

AREA 88 ďIndian kid is our hero!Ē


There is a sniper. He kills unnamed people.

The sniper is later killed by the people with names.


New characters are introduced. Theyíre not given names and might as well be wearing red shirts. They all die. Named characters all mope then eat scrambled eggs in their memory.


Obligatory American pilot (equipped with pompadour hairdo) fights a friend who is a mercenary in the opposing army.

Friend is killed. American waxes philosophy. Scores lucky goal in World Cup.


Japanese pilot has served his contract and is ready to go home. Heís shot, damaged, and crashes. CLIFFHANGER ENDING! Will he die?



BONUS AREA 88 FACT: In 1989, the original Manga for Area 88 received its only video game adaptation. It was later ported for English-speaking shores and renamed UN Squadron. For no reason whatsoever! The Mangaís cast survived the localisation.
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Title: EmP's Choice
Posted: May 28, 2010 (02:19 PM)
Like Zig has done in the past, I have decided to let you, the unwashed masses, decide on what I review next. Unlike Zig in the past, I'll actually review what the majority decide.


Band of Bugs (XBLA)
Resident Evil 5: Untold Stories (XBOX 360)
Breath of Death VII (XBLI)
Secret of Monkey Island Collectors Edition (XBLA)
Sam & Max 302 (PC)
Uno (Sadistic choice)

Voting starts now. Voting closes whenever.

Title: Achievment unlocked: 400,000 Review Hits.
Posted: May 20, 2010 (03:51 PM)
Current number is at 400,574. Which is a pretty nice number. Perhpas adding a slew of new obscure XBLI games will help the number slowly chug away until Masters catches back up. At least, if he wasn't a complete slacker!
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Title: XCOMing
Posted: April 15, 2010 (06:35 PM)
My thoughts on the next XCOM. Most of you might want to skip to the next paragraph

Obviously, Iím not overly optimistic. Iím not sure how 2K are going to be able to turn whatís probably still the defining TBS into whatís probably going to be a new reworking of the Bioshock engine. Iím not going to write the game off so early though; that would be dumb. The guys bought the license because they think as highly of the original games as me, and that makes me think that they donít just want to milk it for what its worth. Anyway, even if it does suck, itís not going to diminish my enjoyment of my favourite game. XCOM Enforcer was god awful, but it did me no harm.

What you all probably wanted to hear:

I am saving my money and I am going to Boston. When I get there, random people will die just in case they have some input in how 2K Boston are anally raping my favourite game with a double-sided razor. I am obscenely angry and I will blog about it incisively until my fury is sated with blood!


I didnít even really like Bioshock. I liked the first hour or so, but played back when the 360 was stuck with Vita-chambers. All this meant is Iíd play an hour or so in, lose interest, play something else and then come back months later, play the first hour, rinse, repeat. Bioshock 2ís proven theyíre incapable of making any other FPS, but, then, all theyíve said thus far is that itís viewed from the first person. Iím not sure how a TBS the scope of XCOM will work out as such. Environments were randomly generated each battle and, if they actually put that in an FPS, well, thatíd be kind of cool. If they just make the game a rigid FPS with a set amount of stages and obligatory hand jobs to the existing fan base with little titbits of stuff like R&D, then, like Enforcer, itís XCOM in name alone.

Iíll watch with interest from here.
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Title: Where's EmP?
Posted: March 11, 2010 (02:04 PM)
I'm sorry I've not been around to try and bully the judges through the tourney quicker. This absensce is going to have to continue for a while while I stop doing almost everything else in my life right now to focus on my health. I should have done so years ago.

I'll be back with new things to complain about at an undisclosed date.
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Title: EmP Hates: Vol. 1
Posted: March 05, 2010 (03:02 PM)
For three years now, Iíve had this idea in the back of my deliciously inky-black mind that I wanted to do a weekly mini-rant on things I hate. I hate many things, Iím often told, so the source material should be inexhaustible. However THE PLAN often has this one flaw in it; I want to do it so that I get a new one every week and because something always happens at the start of the year, the process is cracked, and I wait for the next cycle to start.

NO MORE! Iím not writing at the pace nor levels that I have been for at least a decade, and so this excuse will hold no water. I have shot the excuse full of holes -- using manly mind bullets, and now excuse is leaking all over my track shoes.

I WILL have 52 of these up by 2011. Mark my words -- for I am EmP.

EmP Hates:

First-Time Parents. Thereís nothing less attractive in this world (aside from Harry Redknapp) than a new born baby, and this is indisputable fact, but New Parents like to parade their first born around like itís some exotic blend of Kate Beckinsale and toffee vodka. BUT! What you get is some kind of lumpy misshapen mutant with a gormless expression and a overpowering odour of vomit and crap. Mainly because the odd little monsterís only real function is to produce both substances with alarming focus.

But the hideous kids are not the focus of my ire. They canít help being toady, creepy sacks of barely human-shaped flesh. Itís the beaming parents who insist theyíre soggy piles of dribbling perfection, and caw and coo as they drool all over my things. Is my DS made for gumming? No, it is not.

But what annoys me the most is how, when you go to their house and they parade the kid around for a few hours, then they want to show you photos. I donít need to see photos -- your ugly brat is only a few feet away. I can see it. Having four hundred photos depicting it in completely identical stages of sleep is completely unnecessary when the real thing is being gently urged towards a bare electric socket with a damp fork placed gently in its mouth.

First time parents, my name is EmP. And I hate you.

Title: Anime review -- Samurai 7
Posted: February 20, 2010 (05:50 AM)

Samurai 7 is a weird take on the well worn (and suitably awesome ) Seven Samurai movie that was made back in the Victorian ages and copied with somewhat less awesomeness by Hollywood when they made The Magnificent Seven and its lacklustre sequel. The 2004 anime adaptation expands on the main parts pf the plot, drawing out and re-writing a lot of the behind the scenes development, shoehorns in new characters then plonks it all down in a steampunk setting where the bandits have transferred their souls into hulking mechs.

And itís brilliant.

While it remains largely faithful to the 1954 movie itís named after, the unique setting and the clever implication of the new cast members significantly add to the experience. Rather then existing in pockets of action, each battle is build towards then celebrated in huge fashion, drawing in screens of foes and enemies armed with plasma cannons and ninety-foot long katana. Because more time is spent establishing the cast of seven, itís easy to establish links with them, making you want to pull for their survival even if film goers already know some of them are doomed. Some things in Samurai 7 are almost predictably faithful to the film, leaving plot elements pre-known to the learned viewer.

But enough has been expanded upon to leave even they with enough surprises and twists to driver them on. Samurai 7 is a homage before itís anything else, and a lot of care and attention has gone into making sure it exists in the same calibre of the film it honours. You can argue all day whether or not it exists on a such a lofty plain, but it makes it no less enjoyable. Homageís of this ilk often flounder, unable to live up to the aspiration, or indeed the nostalgia, that what it attempts to ape. Samurai 7ís brave choice to expand and alter breath new life and freshness into the premises.
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Title: FROM THE ARCHIEVES: EmP attacks EmP
Posted: January 23, 2010 (04:39 PM)
I'm in the midst of clearing out my laptop's memory so as to be fresh and ready fro when I switch back to a desktop. In doing so, I've come across a few documents that I don;t remember doing, and may as well throw up here.

Here, then, is a venom filled attack against one of my old reviews:

Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis.

The attraction of the Jurassic Park franchise has always lain in the dinosaurs.

Gee, thanks, EmP. The attraction of a franchise based around giant flesh-eating lizards is said lizards. That needed clarifying

Let's face it: we all got caught in the hype; the possibility of one of them chewing someone's face off is just to irresistable to pass up. So is the potential to make oodles of cash off it, it seems; Jurassic Park is guilty of squeezing every last possible penny out of its popularity, appearing in literature, the silver screen and, yes, video games.

This is what we call a ramble intro. If I was trying to make a point, I've lost the hell out of it somewhere. There's also two typos in there that have eluded me all these years. Insolence! I think I'm trying to be funny and suggest that JP is evil for wanting to make money from its popularity. Fight da power! And what the hell is with the last sentence? I sound like I'm smoking a pipe and wearing tweed while typing it. "and, yes, video games, Darcy?" Urgh.

Upon hearing about this title on its launch date, I got quite excited about the prospect of a Jurassic Park game that might actually not suck - a lofty aspiration indeed, given the series' past.

So, after just saying that JP is evil for releasing so much, I then go on to say that I wanted them to bring out more stuff before changing my stance before the sentence is even completed.

Shortly afterwards, I forgot all about my initial excitement until I recently had the chance to stealthily 'borrow' the game from a friend, who is probably cursing my name at this very moment.

Nothing says creditability more than "I stole this game and therefore played it illegally". For the record, I did eventually return the game.

Thankfully, forgotten are the earlier attempts which have Jurassic Park as a shoot-the-nasty-dinosaurs snorefest. Instead you're presented with a simulation which gives you the chance to build and run your own park full of dinosaurs. While the game lasts, it's an intriguing and worthwhile task.

See, this right here should have been the into., No attack-the-popular-franchise rubbish, no tales of my stealth thief skills. Could I be any more dull about it, though?

The game manages to feel familiar to other park-building sims, yet at the same time is different enough to be a little more engaging. The standard sim fare is present: build your park with adequate paths, eateries, toilets, and attractions to pull in the public. The difference is that your attractions are huge, extinct lizards.

The answer, then, is yes.

You start with your island of choice, complete with everything any self-respecting exotic park location would come with: trees, mountain ranges, rivers, and so on.

If you ever need to start a zoo containing ten-ton monsters that view you as snacked sized, just grab some trees.

It is your task to turn this rather ordinary-looking slab of land into the most successful theme park in the world. You start with the bare minimum, including basic conveniences such as toilets and food stands, pavement, basic security measures such as dinosaur enclosure fencing, and two dinosaur species ready to produce. All this is well and good, but you need to do three things to ensure the growth of your park: make money, research better accommodations, and produce more dinosaurs to keep the crowds happy. It's not as easy as it sounds, as the crowd consists of a variety of people looking for different things to enjoy at your park, be it excitement or an authentic slice of prehistoric life.

Like you were there, isn't it?

Luckily, you are not alone in your duties -- you have the original Jurassic Park cast at your side as staff. You send Dr. Grant away on palaeontology digs to find new strains of dinosaur DNA so you can breed new species. Also returning is Dr. Wu, who oversees all your research needs, such as the extraction of the dino DNA and research into park-beneficial projects, such as stronger dinosaur containment fencing, vaccines for various dinosaur diseases, and attractions for your park (e.g. balloon rides and safari jeep tours). To ensure the list of returning faces is complete, you'll also gain Dr. Sattler for any veterinary needs that may arise and even have Muldon is on hand as head ranger. All the familiar faces are present in game, which is meaningles dribble for those new to Jurassic Park, but a nice little touch for those already familiar with the franchise.

Luckily, you are not alone -- you have the original Jurassic Park cast at your side. And now, I'll list every single one of them for no reason whatsoever! Then make fun of the people who already know all this despite clearly knowing it all myself! Plus, typo and space error!

Explore the research and development stages and you'll find you have two different sets of research labs set up, which function independently of each other.

Why do I sound like a D- grade paper?

The first allows you to research the various attractions, vaccines, and so on. (You can research a lot of things, actually; it will take you quite a while to exhaust your options on this one.)

Full stop then bracket. Clever.

You have to be clever with your choices here, as each project is equally important.

No they're bloody not! Some things are clearly more important than others. Why do I tell such a dumb lie?

Vaccines are obviously a priority to prevent your attractions from picking up various illnesses, but you need to make money to fund your park, so the rides are vital for squeezing more money from your visitors. Just as vital is upgrading the strength of your dinosaur-holding fences, bulking up your security, looking into a visitor holding centre for your guests should an emergency break loose, updating your various methods of extracting DNA and hatching your assorted beasts, and so on. Keep in mind that all this still costs money, so ensure that the cash keeps rolling in.

Why only offer the most relevant examples when the full sodding list is readily available?

You'll never read this far in the actual review, and nor can I.
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Title: Year in Review: Part V
Posted: January 07, 2010 (01:01 PM)
2009 was a wholly less productive than the year before with significantly less reviews thrown out, but it still only took two extra days to finish the Alpha-marathon challenge. Though Iíll most probably run it as long as Iím associated with the site, Iím not as confident of finishing as I have been in previous years. For several reasons, 2010 is probably going to be a year where writing, here and elsewhere, has to take a backseat to more pressing concerns.

That said, I went and made this huge time-consuming habit of writing up a summary of what Iíd written in the year, so I suppose I should make an effort to carry that on. All five of you whoíll read have my condolences.

King of Fighters: The Orochi Saga (PS2) January 4th [Hits: 591]

The first review of the year was, as always, courtesy of a game that I couldnít fog off onto the freelance crew who, by this point, were getting a little wary of the constant flood of SNK collections that the time of year had bought. Though it could have been worse: I did manage to sidestep the worse offenders late 2007.

The biggest problem here (aside from the usual grumble about playing multiple games to squeeze into one review) was that the title already had a US release and that Jason had already covered it with a decent review that more or less mirrored my views exactly. Desperate not to pen a duplicate piece, I used it as an excuse to ignore many of the things that make KoF an actual game, and talked more about the interlinking narrative. As such, as a stand-alone review, itís not much use unless youíre looking for a completely different perspective then most sane people would for their purchase.

I liked the review, despite this. I enjoyed having a legitimate excuse to write somewhat outside the box for a chance rather than doing so because Iím a pretentious hack.

Perfect Dark Zero (360) January 4th {Hits: 905]

When I let on to Boo that I kind of enjoyed my belated time with PDZ (a game I owned since I had the 360, but did not play until much, much later) I endured the usual belittling. I say usual because, while Boo is crude, heís not very imaginative and, thus, any belittling is the same old rant dressed up in various shades of blue.

I might have agreed more with him had I stopped playing after running through the solo game, but I instead slipped it into our multiplayer play list, and it was a surprise hit. Iím a big fan of the death match games that allow you the option of dropping Ďbots into the mix; it infinitely adds to the lifespan (and explains why our death match multiplayer game of choice remains 007: Nightfire on the old XBOX while Modern Warfare 2 gets sporadic use) But the real bonus was the near broken co-op which is sadistically violent and near-on impossible at even the standard levels of difficulty. A turn off in most games, but one that makes a lot of dual assaults on the game bloody-minded brilliance.

Janus is still a turnip for nuking his superior review of this game.

Trackmania DS (DS) January 5th [Hits: 1038]

For my last review of this year, Jason quite rightly pointed out that I lean on my reputation of being a miserable bastard when I stumble for more imaginative ways to open my reviews, especially when it comes to the DS titles Iíve been buried in. This may have been the first time I used the gimmick. Back when it was probably fresh and inventive. Aside from that, I donít recall much about writing this review. It was a publisher sent one that needed doing, and I did it. I do remember getting a lecture from WQ about the talk about whisky because, in her pink and fluffy world of talking ponies and never-ending end-of-term grades of A despite whining about how sheís no doubt got Fs, alcohol is bad.

Considering this, after rereading the review, I think it turned out very well. Sometimes, something like this happens and Iím able to convince myself, or just a little while, that I am actually as good as I keep telling everyone I am.

Big Bang Mini (DS) January 13th [Hits: 905]

Big Bang Mini is a game I once took to a football match I didnít intend to play in. I was recovering from a broken ankle, but the team was short on subs, so I expected to sit on the subís bench, belittle the efforts of my friends and play enough of the game to get a review from. It didnít quite work out that way. The stand-in keeper got kicked in the head, I had to play the second half on a recklessly high injection of painkillers while one of the playerís girlfriends Ďlooked afterí my DS and review game by playing it non stop for the next two days before I got the chance to steal it back. It was never going to be returned freely.

Itís reflective in just how good a game Big Bang Mini is. Though youíve probably not heard of it outside my words, itís something you should try out, if only to finally discover a competent game built around the touch screen for a change.

The review was entered in Challenge IV (Which Iíd not forgotten to do; it used to be a Xmas one, but was bumped of the last two years by a tardy Alphas. Iíll get to v5 shortly) and did OK. Complaints were centred around overbusy sentences which I agreed with and have since fixed and Masterís usual complaint that it wasnít Halo 3. You kooky Canadian!

These look-back topic always lead me into updating the incorrect game info tabs when I check back on the reviews in question. Bah.

EverQuest II: The Shadow Odyssey (PC) January 14th [Hits: 935]

2008 gave me one Everquest update disk that wasnít that hard to review, what with being my first venture into Everquest. Thus, I could just treat is as an Everquest review, and it was one I felt I wrote well for. This one was a pain in the arse from the offset: my PC blew up and demoted me to a laptop that didnít have half the power needed to run it and, at the time, my freelance guys were either console only or MIA. The publisher was also immediately on my case about where the review was, so this was rushed. Not just to appease the publishers but to get the bloody thing out of the way. As such, the review is nothing more than okay, and Iíve nothing more of interest to say about it.

Crazy Mini Golf (Wii) January 18th [Hits: 813]

This review is mean! That might sound odd coming from me but, after the reread, some of the things I say here are, well, mean. I say this approvingly, of course -- some games simply deserve ire. They actually made a sequel to this game, so if Iím in need of a C next year to hit my alpahmarathon target, I now a good place to vent some fury.

Naruto: Rise of a Ninja (360) January 21st [Hits: 727]

At some point, a conversation much like this occurred:

DE: Watch Naruto. I do, and I want to be able to discuss it with someone.
Me: Never! I only watch obscure dubbed anime, because Iím elitist and edgy.
DE: You watch One Piece
Me: Somehow this has won you this argument. I am unsure how.

So I watched some Naruto and found it a slightly more interesting way to pass time then actually talking to DE. Then, when the game came up for insultingly cheap (about £1, if I recall correctly) I figured I had nothing to lose. I expected the usual 1-on-1 fare that the Naruto license are so fond of spitting out but I avoided stepping on Woodhouseís toes when it turned out to be a weird adventure/RPG/fighter instead. One that looked almost perfect but ran out of idea on what you should actually do before it finished so just slapped on a thin coat of paint over new ideas and hoped no one noticed.

I should really see about picking up the second in the series and see if thatís any better. To EBay!

Sam & Max: Season One (Wii) January 28th [Hits: 486]

Know what I could have done without for a while? More bloody Sam & Max reviews. I made my way through two seasons of the actual game and a few wrap-ups already; I thought it about time I was able to call in a break. Turns out, no. The review was just a rehashing of things Iíd said before; it was all I had left in my tank to wrap it up in different paper and present it as a new gift. The games are great, but itís been nice not having to review another one since.

Yes, I know what Iíve set in motion now Iíve said that.

Assassin's Creed (PS3) February 4th [Hits: 2844]

I think it was DoI who once said that I was destined to write a review that really winds people up at least once a year, be it attacks on Doom 3 or the belittling of FFt and, if that is the case, Creed was perhaps the closest I got in 2009. Iíd played the game a long time before I wrote the review, but on the 360. I only decided to pen the review after I was dragged in to help someone beat it on her PS3 as, for some reason, she found the game quite hard. Turned out she had troubles because she tried to play it like a silent assassin and not a bloody-crazed loon. She also ran in public a lot -- the twit.

I get that people liked the game, but itís tailor made for a good roasting, as Cairo proved long before I stepped up. A lot of my annoyance probably came from the fact that Iím a history nerd and Creed likes to punish you for being knowledgeable about the era itís set in by displaying the plot much in the same was a pre-teen fanficer would go about penning a lemon about Cloud and Squall. This could be overlooked if the game was more than the first five minutes repeated in ever-so-slightly different locations over and over again.

I hear the second game is a lot better and I was surprised by the evolution of Fable2, so maybe Iíll give it a go at some point.

Blacksite: Area 51 (PS3) February 14th [Hits: 481]

Blacksite was a game that caught my eye a long time before it was released. I saw it in a magazine I had bought to read over a train journey. I remember going away with the impression of a somewhat sandbox-y FPS where tower-tall alien monsters could be seen from far off to be avoided or taken on as you pleased while a group of ally troops with KotOR-like intelligence and customisation flocked around you. Itís not. Itís not even close; itís about as linear as youíd expect from an FPS (not a bad thing in and of itself) with allies who do nothing more than kick open the odd door for you and make faux-badarse comments while you shoot everything. (It wasnít until the recent release of Boarderlands did an actual game somewhat meet the mental expectations Iíd dreamt up for Blacksite)

The game was heartbreakingly normal, but my own unrealised hope kept me slogging through until endgame, racking up the kills and waiting for the game to become brilliant. It never really did. Iíve played worse games, sure, but when this is the best thing you can say about a game, then thereís problems to be had.

XCOM (PC) February 19th [Hits:1046]

If any of you care about me at all, if I ever say ďHey, I think Iíll write my SEVENTH Xcom review!Ē, shoot me right in the bloody head.

The story behind redoing the last few XCOMs was because we used to have a feature here that if you reviewed a multi-platform game that was the same on all platforms, you could Ďstretchí so that we showed a review of it on all the platforms. When I penned Enemy Unknown and Terror from the Deep, this function was there and the site benefited from the PC linked one much more, but still got significant traffic for the PSX strains. Then, one day, the feature was pulled and I felt I should replace them at some point. It wasnít hard; I could probably talk about XCOM for months on end and still barely scratch the surface.

Now, though, unless I use the back-up account or start playing the Amiga versions, Iíve finally run out of excuses to keep harping on about the games. Unless I put more hours into the games post-TftD, and I donít wanna!

Gears of War 2 (360) March 15th [Hits: 391]

Jason: Youíve not reviewed anything in a while
Me: Leave me alone! Iím burnt out!
Jason: Remember how you reviewed the last GoW and we threw you a little party?
Me: FINE! Iíll review GoW2!
Jason: Oh, never mind, Suskieís just done it. Now yours is pointless and obsolete!
Me: Then Iíll just make it overly personal and talk about the things that only matter to me!
Jason: Ha! I bet it wonít even collect 400 hits by the end of the year.
Me: Iíll show you!


Me: Crap.

Still, that B button thing was awesome.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (M/D) March 20th [Hits: 722]

True had this cool and oddball tourney where you randomly picked a colour and then you got a goofy subject matter to go alongside it. I pulled a little covered genre, when for education, and savaged a Carmen Sandeigo game because of my repressed hatred for all thing geographical!

It was all a bit last minute. Iíd had another game in mind, a date simulation one, but I lost interest trying to download it in the end, so went for something more obtainable the day before the deadline. I played around with a few freeware puzzle titles and simplistic dating ones before wondering if I could get more than 1kbís worth of words out of the Whereís Wally/Waldo Megadrive game. Then I remembered this, downloaded it shortly after and played the hell out of it for three hours straight. I donít kid about my hatred for Geography -- the subject has long been my Achilles heel. The problem I was left with was how to make a game thatís a slightly disguised learning tool read interestingly.

I played it up for laughs and replayed the first mission, writing it up as it happened and scoring cheap hits every half chance I got. I even threw in huge screen shots and set myself up as the punch line. Despite the mixed reactions of the judge panel (True:100/100. Janus: 55/100) and the light admonishing from Jason in the feedback topic, I really enjoyed writing this one which helped because it was around this tie of the year that writing so much was starting to catch up with me. Hitting something up that I not only enjoyed penning but still liked the outcome helped me drag myself on for a few more months.

Pass Your Driving Theory Test (DS) March 27th [Hits: 387]

Ö.so it probably didnít that next on the cards was another educational game, one I was doing for the publisher so couldnít really rip into and one very tightly focused on a very small nicheÖ.

SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 (PSP) March 27th [Hits: 324]

Ö.and the one right after that was another compilation title I had to play a dozen games for in order to churn out one review. To be fair to both, PYDTT was pretty straight forward to write and I didnít mind that so much, but SNK was a game Iíd been sent without asking for it, and had already been reviewed by Masters for the PSP, tasking me with duplicating an already existing review, and myself some months earlier for the PS2. The collectionís pretty solid, but I had to really drag myself through this one.

Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars (Wii) April 5th [Hits: 517]

The reviewís a little clumsy and unfocused but, for a game I had no interest in, but I can still find myself able to read it without groaning tom loudly. And thatís about the only thing of interest I have to say. Aside from the fact I just noticed that Iíve not reviewed a single Wii game Iíve not been contracted to do so. What a crappy system!

Challenge Me: Maths Workout (DS) April 11th [Hits: 640]

Thereís probably a reason you shouldnít corner me into reviewing educational games in the first place, but when Iím forced into a really bad one, then I, seemingly, spew bile. Labelled by someone as a joke review (in a comment I never appreciated nor agreed with) it was just something I wanted to get out of the way but still had to be written. I wrote it in a sitting after playing as much of the Ďgameí as I could stomach then forgot it existed.

Samurai Shodown Anthology (PSP) April 11th [Hits:1041]

More SNK compilation games, but with a seriously good series to write about. I remember I played a lot of this game on the way to watch a England game at Wembley, planning to play it while travelling, but, instead, getting stuck into Ys: Ark and its endless loading screen instead. When I did finally start, we were all but there so I reserved my focus for booing Frank Lampard instead. I was behind the goal when he toe-poked on in, and I booed over all the cheers. He heard me. He looked. I hope I broke his clumsy, talentless heart.

Playing the games was a pleasant surprise. Iíd spent time previously with the first few entries and had played up until around the time the series started to spiral. Thus, when the newest Shodown in the collection turned out to actually be very good indeed (when I expected a lame effort like the two previous) I played for hours with a loony grin on my face caused either by said shock or insanity over the dragging load times.

Pass your Driving Theory Test again! (DS) April 19th
[Hits: 333]

WQ: Lewis has this tourney were we have to write a review that aims at a deeper meaning. I decided to write an essay about why some ROMs actually benefit the developers who financially lose out from by a practise that deem immoral. I picked this becauseÖ
Me: Ö

*Hours pass*

WQ: And thatís why I feel the world is basically duck shaped. What are you going to do for the tourney?
Me: I think Iíll take another stab at kicking Nintendo in the balls. That should show them IĎm still pissy about not porting FF games pre-VII..

The review did okay in the tourney (despite the big deal I made over Nintendoís Wii being great selling hardware, I made a comment about how the software sales were shit that seems to be invisible if you preside on a judging panel so the biggest and most common complaint levelled was to argue against a point I hadnít even made) and it was fun to be allowed to tangent rant for a change, even if the argument did jump all over the place. Good tangents do -- they should be spontaneous, not planned!

This review single handily resurrected the sale of original Gameboys with camera & printer accessories.

Resident Evil 5 (360) April 19th [Hits: 470]

Resident Evil 5 was a game bought more out of loyalty than desire. I, like many people, expected it to be pretty rubbish and was therefore surprised when I sunk a lot of hours in the game and genuinely enjoyed the co-op function which I assumed would be the titleís real anchor around the neck. I canít remember if mine was the last of the current batch of 5 staff reviews to be published, but it was certainly one of the last. It was only quite recently we stopped play Res 5 as our main co-op title to make room for Boarderlands, but as I have some achievements left to unlock, itíll be a safe bet Iíll return to it someday.

Blue Dragon Plus April 26th [Hits: 383]

The biggest downside to doing these recaps (aside from the huge amount of time you need to plough into them) is that sometimes you come up to a review you really have nothing to say about. This is one of them. It was sent by a publisher despite the fact that Suskie had already reviewed the game stateside, and I had nothing different to really say than he did. So I wrote, and I got in some digs I though were clever and I then I moved on.

But, hey, look! The ďWhile youíre looking!Ē window links to Ys Strategy. That was a killer review that no one else on this site will ever play or review ever-- go read that one instead.

Virtua Fighter CG Portrait Series Vol. 2: Jacky Bryant (SAT) May 3rd [Hits: 363]

It was maybe three years ago that Felix unwittingly released the VF CGI series upon HG when he asked me to add all eleven titles to the database. I agreed to do so, but only on the condition that he review all eleven. Sometime later, about half the titles have been covered by various writers. This is my second.

Itís cute that the idea kind of caught on with a few other people and itís a worthwhile boast to say that HG has the deepest coverage of this titles ON ALL OF THE INTERNET. The question is, will another wave come again this year?

Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge (PC) June 1st [Hits: 605]

Hired Guns was the first game in an age I was really stoked for. If things would have been a little different, then this would be Jagged Alliance 3, a series that took the XCOM route for strategy and does almost as good a job of pulling it off. Sadly, it becomes clear quite quickly off the bat why the developers dropped GFIís effort and allowed the original developers the chance to continue their series instead: nothing in the game works to the scale it was obviously aimed for. Itís an odd happenstance; the game feels like it could benefit from more time (right down to the babblefish translation) and could afford to do so once there was no pressure to get Jagged Alliance 3 by X time. Hired guns could have been a real slap in the face to those that tried to shelve it. Instead, its evidence that itís dismissal from its original role was appropriate.

PDC World Championship Darts 2009 (Wii) June 6th [hits: 337]

Urgh, more darts.

I kind of enjoyed writing about darts games to begin with. I liked that I was writing about something I would probably never do by choice, and I was pleased with how I could get around the seemingly boring subject matter and still manage a review I was happy with. Then I reviewed another one. And another one. And then, this one. Thereís only so many things you can say about darts! As such, the review was mostly old ground covered with new words with some lines hurled in that I quite like. Iím still a big fan if the ending line for reasons Iím still unable to explain.

Osomatsu-kun: Hachamecha Gekijou (M/D) June 13th [Hits: 343]

As is the case with all the cool tourneys we throw around on HG, I dreamt up the Month of the Obscure one in which you could received bonus points for the obscurity of your game or lose points for it popularity. Osomatsu was my cunning pick, and it came second in the individual rankings. Of course, WQ was my partner in this and was the anchor around my neck. In summery of the actual review, weird game was weird, and I got so carried around revelling in its oddness, that itís more or less all I talked about.

Mystery Stories (DS) June 20th [Hits: 651]

The gameís silly, but itís the casual fare that the DS seems hellbent towards steamrolling head first into, and itís certainly not the worst game on the system Iíve ever played. What it really boils down to is a screen full of junk that you have to find specific junk from in a set amount of time, with a thin paint of plot hurled on top. Itís not a bad title, but itís not something Iím likely to ever look at again now the review is complete.

Junior Classic Games (DS) June 20th [Hits: 1149]

I still donít know why this review has managed to pick up as much interest as it has. The hits arenít bad, and the developers even dropped in to the feedback topic with some very kind words and a deserved telling off for including a bloody sliding puzzle. I could have torn into the game because I was outside the target audience, but it was competent and, unlike the majority of brain trainers out there, actually cares about being fun. Iím going to praise it for that -- so there!

Crazy Machines 2: Complete (DS) July 1st [Hits:410]

Lewis got the last version of this game to review and didnít like it, so I wasnít expecting much for this on. That I enjoyed it despite some rather glaring flaws was a pleasant surprise, the kind of which Iím not accustomed to. Itís niche, perhaps, but I fall within that niche, so had a blast with this.

FIFA '09 (360) July 6th [Hits: 365]

Since 2008, FIFAís dominated my multiplying life whereas it used to just be an element of it. Iíll tell you how bad itís got; me and my friend keep a running tally of wins throughout the year and the loser then has to buy the winner a trophy with FIFA ::Year Here:: Champion on it. So far, I own all these trophies and Iím already so far ahead in 10ís game that only a miracle will let my friend catch up.

The review seemed to go over well, which surprised me as, though Iíd hoped it would be a good way to review the game, I didnít expect many people not into football to like it. Itís an experiment that Iím pleased went off well and one I plan to shortly revisit with FIFA Ď10. If the guy Iím currently beating into the ground doesnít murder me with a shovel to the face in the meanwhile.

Cocoto: Platform Jumper (Wii) July 13th [Hits: 255]

I really limped through this one, no thanks to the freelance guys who all, to a man, vanished around this time of year out of what I assume was spite. It was rushed as it was late; I had to jury rig my Wii online and found a library of issues with this that going into will re-invite insanity I liked the game, itís true, and maybe had fate and time been kinder to me I could have done a better review for it. By this point of the year, I was writing on reflex, not enjoying writing for the games I had something to say and enduring the ones I had to go through.

Metal Slug 7 (DS) July 15th [Hits:296]

It was TT time and long-standing judge, Jerec, and his long standing hatred of Metal Slug meant that when the yearly match pitting EmP vs. Boo came up, we had to do something about it. We always come up with some sadistic idea when we go head to head but only pull it off 50% of the time. However, despite the fact that neither of us wanted to write, we were fuelled by spite and each penned Metal Slug reviews. We got the response we were fishing for and were smug for days. Sorry, Jerec -- though you earnt a multitude of kudos points for taking it so well afterwards and even doing the BWHY pick!

Both reviews were last minute things, and, as such, came out pretty well. I got the nod ahead of Booís, which heís secretly quite bitter about, and it would prove to be the only new thing I wrote for the entire TT.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey (360) September 7th [Hits: 1288]

Iíll blow off fake modesty for a second to confide to the handful of people who have read this far that I love this review. I get the feeling many people donít even know this review exists, but it was one I spent a lot of time in writing and one that I thought came out exactly as I wanted it to. IL-2 is a hell of a game that can be customised to suit anyoneís tastes and is so lovingly crafted itís very hard not to appreciate.

I needed it to be something I was happy with as this point as anything I wrote -- here or elsewhere -- was always out of necessity rather than desire. I worked on the notion that IL-2 would be rubbish and the freelance guys would scoff at it, so just bit the bullet and played it myself. The game rocks and I would recommend it to anyone, and I rode my surprise to a quickly drafted review that, after a lot had been filed down, Iíd probably count as the best thing I wrote all of 2009.

Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes (XBX) September 26th [Hits: 322]

For reasons I forget, I found myself playing a lot of Heroes despite the fact it had sat unused for years on the shelf (I think I won it in an eBay auction along with another two games, only one of which I wanted but it was somehow cheaper to buy the package. KotOR2 and Quantum Redshift, I think). I found a willing partner to co-op through the game on and we say it off in a few long sittings, secretly annoyed that we were unable to slay each time we were left to battle a screen of foes while the other stole all the piles of treasure.

Yet another game were the US boxart is pure arse compared to the PAL one!

Risen (360) October 6th [Hits: 1522]

Iím a big fan of this review. Eventually. It underwent three big rewrites, numerous power edits and constant tinkering until I got it to where I wanted it to be. After IL-2, this is probably the review Iím most proud of for the last year.

It wasnít an easy ask; the game is huge and though I got the review copy before the market release, it still meant playing it every available second I had. I didnít mind so much after Iíd gotten into the swing of things and am now well into my second play through. What helps the game so much is that, while the now obligatory moral system is in there, thereís no clear good or bad factions or ways. Thereís just people; some of whom are good and some of whom are jerks. Nothing is clear cut, and choices you make thinking your are doing the right thing, often turn out to be incorrect and you have to suffer the consequences. It makes the little island feel more realistic and alive then a lot of the other WRPGs strive for.

Raven Squad (360) October 19th [Hits: 255]

This was a bad game. Everyone seems to agree on this, but the idea behind it was actually rather good. I wrote for this review twice; I could probably pull off a third because thereís just so much wrong with the game, itís easy to pick apart. Still, it was a blessing in disguise: the review was easy to write, came out in a way I was happy with and the game could then be forgotten about, relegated to the dusty shelf.

Zeno Clash (PC) October 20th [Hits: 266]

Thereís two games Lewis got me really interested in. One was The Path (something I hope to play now my shiny new PC is up and running) and the other was Zeno Clash. This isnít a fair trade; all I got him interested in playing was Fahrenheit. Thatíll teach him.

Zeno Clash is an interesting game that ran off kook, but probably started to believe in its own hype a tad too much come the last third and instead ran off fumes. The first-person based brawling system can under real strain when you had more than one person to fight and endgame disappointed. Still, I think itíll do well when Atlus finally get the XBLA up, and Iím open to re-reviewing it come that time to give it a little bit of an extra push.

Adam's Venture (PC) October 24th [Hits: 291]

Adamís Venture: Do you believe in the one true God?
Me: Does that matter to a two hour long video game?
ME: This game will fare poorly in my newly-found sense of zero tolerance. You get a 2/10. One for each hour I suffered.
Adamís Venture: Just you wait until the rapture!

CustomPlay Golf 2010 (PC) October 30th [Hits: 148]

I barely remember even writing this one! Check out those hits -- that was well worth whatever time I invested in it. I do remember that the developer promised me a lode of games to review, sent me this one then vanished.

Broken Sword DS (DS) August 30th [Hits: 287]

I love me my Revolutions games. I remember a few years back I had a mini falling out with Gamespot regular and sadly infrequent HG poster m0zart when I sincerely said I would buy my forth version of Broken Sword should it ever hit the DS and he yelled at me for being sarcastic. I still have no idea why he thought I would lower myself to base sarcasm. Anyway, the game did indeed release for its forth version, and I did indeed buy it. It was disappointing in many ways and simply failed to stack up to the advantages many of the other platforms are able to offer. The big trump card, the extra plotline and corresponding chapters added in, was exhausted early on and never revisted

7 Wonders II (DS) November 14th [Hits: 272]

The game was put into Gold status months and months before the release, which was always a bit odd. Iíd get an e-mail every month or so telling me Iíd not been forgotten and the game would be with me when it was finally released. By the time it arrived, Iíd half forgotten about it. It was a quick review to write, and an easy puzzle game to write for.

Underwater Attack (DS) November 20th [Hits: 205]

My interest in Underwater Attack came years previous when it was known as Ocean Commander. I had been receiving press releases for the game over the DS and the Wii, and it looked pretty interesting. It festered in the back of my mind until I spotted it with a different name in a bargain bin with the exact same artwork. It was cheap, I picked it up, and was almost instantly disappointed. I can only assume that it was developed at a time when everyone making games for the DS was under the impression that the touch screen HAD TO HAVE a large function in whatever type of game they made. The foundation for a good scroller are present, but the implication of the touch screen kills it dead.

QuickSpot (DS) November 24th [Hits: 297]

Everything reported in the review is 100% true!

No, Marc, I wasnít overly drunk when I wrote this.

Lunar: Genesis (DS) December 27th [Hits: 199]

So, DoI and I had this little back and forth going for a year or so now where weíd make outlandish bets weíd never see through because the winner would have to purchase and review the DS Lunar. It was probably something weíd never see through but after seeing the game going for crazy cheap on Ebay, I figured it couldnít be that bad and Iíd do it for kicks and giggles. I got the game the early end of 2009 and only had the strength to finish the review off right at the end of the year. If I can finish this game off, DoI, you can finally do bloody Quake!

The game is, frankly, awful. It fumbles any new idea it has and mutates genre staples into unapologetic uselessness. The opening third or so of the review had been written for most of the year (the original plan was for it to be a TT entry) and the rest supplied after a few hours had been ploughed into the title coming to the end of the year after I wanted to start 2010 off with as few half-penned reviews on the hard driver as I could. Plus, I needed an L to finish off the alpahmarathon.

Yamaha Supercross (DS) December 27th [Hits: 173]

...and I needed a Y to finish the year off. I picked Yamaha Supercross up around the same time I named Underwater Attack for the same suitably low price and had started reviewing it there and then. I came back to finish the review, found I didnít like it at all, and redrafted the hell out of it. itís still nothing special, but itís a review I donít think a single other review site has and itís this yearís Y. That made all 27 letters and my second straight win. Yay!

Now, for some stat tables!


January -- 7
February -- 3
March -- 4
April -- 6
May -- 1
June -- 5
July -- 2
September -- 2
October -- 5
August -- 1
November -- 3
December -- 2


DS -- 15
360 -- 8
PC -- 7
Wii -- 5
PSP -- 2
M/D -- 2
PS2 - 1
XBX - 1
SAT - 1


Sports -- 6
Action -- 5
Strategy -- 4
Puzzle -- 4
Adventure -- 4
Educational -- 4
Fighter -- 3
Shooter -- 3
Platform -- 2
FPS -- 2
RPG -- 2
TPS -- 1
MMO - 1
Flight Sim -- 1
Gallery -- 1

Title: Mini Reviews
Posted: November 07, 2009 (06:33 AM)
Beneath a Steel Sky:

Sometimes clusmy but often brilliant. A fitting foundation to Revolutions opus, Broken Sword

Fable 2

Despite myself, I can't help but quite enjoy this game. I can feel Venter smirking from here.

Guilty Gear 2: Overture

I can;t decide if I like this game or not. It's an odd mix of Guilty Gear lore mixed with Drakengard and Herzog Zwei. Really bloody weird!

Fairytale Fights

Repulsivly adorable, but very, very samey.

Front Mission

Should be more fun than it actually is.

7 Wonders II

Shouldn't be as fun as it actually is.
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Title: What did you do for Halloween, EmP?
Posted: October 31, 2009 (02:48 PM)
I'll tell you, blog topic header. I sat on my roof with a super soaker and the laptop and shot any kids coming up my driveway. Shot them with streams of water mixed with red food dye.

I put it to you, phantom readers, that I had the best Halloween of all of us.
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Title: Mini Reviews:
Posted: October 12, 2009 (08:57 AM)
Raven Squad (360)

The bastard love child of a dodgy RTS and a shoddy FPS, rasied under powerlines and force-fed lead-based paint chips.

King of Fighters XII (360)

One mammoth step backwards.

FIFA '10 (360)

Friendship-ruiningly brilliant.

Risen (360)

Still yet to get old.

Half Life 2 (360)

Still yet to become worth my time.

Zeno Clash (PC)

Unplayable due to crappy laptop. Forces you to install Steam and, therefore, lame.

Mass Effect (360)

Much like WQ, doesn't care how little free time you have and demands your immediate and unceasing attention.

Title: FAO: Aussie userbase
Posted: August 23, 2009 (11:37 AM)

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Title: EmP on: T4
Posted: July 29, 2009 (10:17 AM)
A while ago now, I was tricked into seeing Terminator 4. I say tricked because when we left the house, I though we were going to the pub. When we drove past the pub, I assumed we were going to a different pub. There was no pub. There was only something that had about the same effect on my poor brain as a cerebral bore coated in pure proof vodka.

I suppose it would be fair to say that if you turned off your brain then T4 isnít an awful film. The effects are okay, thereís action aplenty and no actors in the thing are stand out awful, but the entire film seems to have been penned by particularly de-evolved monkeys. The ones you usually find working under Michel Bay.

In a nutshell, T4 is the attempt to complete the circle, being both the forth film in the series when looked at from a standard sense of continuity, and the prequel for T1 when you start fiddling around in timelines. The first film saw Kyle Reese travel back to protect John Connerís mother from a Monotone Arnie and an Uzi 9mm; T4 sees John Conner looking for a teenage Kyle Reese so he can send him back in the first place. Itís a complex subject matter dealt with in the manner youíd expect from a writing team whose big hook for the last film was ďletís give the updated Terminator a nice pair of tits.Ē Time travel, at the best of times, is a hard subject matter to realistically portray, what with it being on the same scientific realms of realism as zombie Hitler rising from the grave to take flowers to his local mosque, but the series continues to treat it with the depth and maturity found in a brown wax crayon. Anything that tells me steel exoskeletons, flesh, bone, nano-rich liquid metal and nuclear reaction power cores can make the flashy jump back in time, but clothes cannot is fair game for mocking.

Things go so very far beyond this here, though. T4 asks you to check your common sense at the cinema doors in the same way the post-advertisements ask you to turn off your mobile phone.

Itís a shame, because the foundations for a really good spine are ever present from the get go. Sam Worthington shines as the filmís best asset by far as a remorseful death-row inmate who signs his defunct life away for the chance of medical advancements and redemption. Instead, the poor sap gets turned into the first link between humans and machines. Heís pretty much exclusively involved in any of the filmís sporadic high points as he struggles to retain his humanity and clumsily stumbles through any interaction he has when resurrected in the midst of the war against Skynet.

Itís here things start to get a bit silly. For instance, somewhere along the line John Conner started to buy into his own hype as the second coming of Jesus, helped largely by the fact that he seems to stroll unscathed out of battles that see every other living entity in a mile radius obliterated. He also answered the age old question of how he hacks Terminators to send back in time as his own metallic bodyguard services when he decides to hack into a human killing machine perfectly manufactured to double as a high-speed motorcycle. He does this by tripping it over and inserting a USB key.

I can only assume the reprogrammed protectors in T2 and T3 fell foul of a cunningly placed-banana skin.

In trying to keep the paradoxical link between both the first film and the third, the main plot revolves around both sides trying to find and procure Kyle Reese. Conner so he can send him back in time and keep the cycle that prevents him from dying before heís even born and Skynet to end the cycle and change history in their favour. This dual race is somewhat squashed when Skynet captures him with the aid of Robozilla early on in the film. Then.. put him in a holding cell instead of killing him and winning. Itís a little like the Bond villain complex where they capture Bond, then damn him to an overly complex death before turning their backs and assuming that all goes well, but instead of the transgressor being an evil bag of ego, itís a machine thatís supposed to think in pure reason and logic. Skynetís supposed to be a metallic Spock with an army of angry can openers to do its bidding, but plays out more like Shatner after drinking a few too many at an after awards show.

Even a Commodore 16k would have known to cap Reese the second in has the chance for instant victory. Skynet, though, uses him for bait. Then tries to kill him afterwards and rues the fact that it fails to after bringing out an awful CGI Schwarzenegger as a foil which, despite it being an early model Terminator, takes the most over-the-top punishment yet. Even going so far as to shrug off molten metal, the very thing that killed the vastly advanced T-1000. Itís odd that T4 wants you to have forgotten these little bits of information from previous film as it often seems to exist only to recycle little throwbacks and one liners previously championed by the backlog . For all your ďCome with me if you want to liveĒs and ďIíll be backĒs, we're supposed to also forget that Connerís girlfriend was a vet in T3 and, despite the attempted genocide of mankind, has somehow managed to go through medical college and gain the know-how to do open heart surgery with a rusty butter knife, a bendy straw and half a bottle of out of date aspirin between films.

T4 serves as less of a film, and more of an outright attack on the Terminator canon; even the new CGI robots pale in comparison to the early-early 90ís versions of the same machines who donít randomly show up wearing an 80's forehead sweatband like theyíre prone to do here.

Itís an overall boring and predictable film that does a Bale still stuck in throat-cancer Batman mode no favours, and while Worthington does himself credit, itís in spite of the material heís forced to work with instead of alongside it. Terminator is a series thatís long forgot what its actual strengths are and have instead started to incorrectly focus on some of the side dishes instead of the main course; the first two films ran on emotion. They gave you characters to invest in, stacked the odds immeasurably high and made you want to root hard for them to come out on top. All we have here is a lazy script that hopes to get by on name recognition and shiny effects designed to draw your eye away from the vast sea of plotholes, flaws and sheer idiocy that conspire to drag down any glimmer of hope the film might exhibit.
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Title: Achievement Unlocked: 100 x 1000+ reviews
Posted: June 22, 2009 (02:13 PM)
How many of your reviews have over 1000 hits? I have a hundred. Because people dig me.

Title: Achievement Unlocked: 200 Review Benchmark
Posted: June 20, 2009 (08:41 PM)
Today with the double release of Junior Classic Games and Mystery Stories, Iíve stepped over the 200 review mark for HonestGamers. We shall now pause in wonderment that Venter has yet to erect a shrine in honour of all the free labour heís squeezed out of me over the years.

Pause silently, and the galling lack of hammering hits you harder still.

Itís hardly the titles I would have liked to have bought down the big 200, but it could be worse. Review #150 was Nightmare Circus, still easily the worst game I have ever had the misfortune to play.

Whatís next? Retirementís probably not quite on the cards as of yet, so perhaps if I can break into uncharacteristic optimism; perhaps what comes next is a few game reviews I donít audibly groan at the thought of doing.

This is, of course, the kind of thing that happens solely to other people. Stay tuned to see what Iíve been stuck with next. Laugh if you want, I certainly would be if this was happening to any of you.
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Title: Worldwide love for Darts
Posted: June 09, 2009 (01:03 PM)
From an online blog I found on the hit-tracker that linked to my latest Darts review. Not sure why it's been babblefished to hell, but it amused me, so it goes up here. That's how this blog rolls.


What do you weigh? Check it into the open, then be ineluctable to sabbatical feedback or break in in with complete of your own!

Systems > Wii > P > PDC World Championship Darts 2009 > Staff Review

Sign into your narcotic addict account to scrutinize or sabbatical feedback seeking this ruminate on. fundamentally Donít have an account hitherto? fundamentally You can click here to unblock complete. fundamentally It but takes a baby, and itís complimentary!

Review at Gary Hartley
June 06, 2009

History speech pattern, kids: PDC World Championship Darts started its lifeís produce ago in the buttocks limit of 2006 modestly, spawning low-key versions on the unsubstantial PS2 and PC, to a quizzically gain reaction that novel a apportionment of people baffled.

I wonít fake it was a world-changing at any classification, but it showed that playing darts on a diggings soothe could be done far and as a be of consequence of really offered you, the languorous couch-bound boor, hitherto another expedient to let loose on holiday having that lengthy dead and buried due drizzle and wandering down your village boozer to interact with all those non-digitalised people. fundamentally But, also, in what was stereotyped to be its crowning profit from ó the Wii. fundamentally

Rightly fuelled at the good fortune of their commodity, the indispensable annual update offered up the next year made the hurry onto the newer formation consoles, sprawling across platforms like the Xbox 360, PSP and DS. fundamentally With the Wiiís agitation detecting properties, a darts appropriation seemed the consummate affiliation seeking Nintendoís newest soothe. fundamentally

It didnít go into the open for b like onto far.

The throwing contrivance tied into the alien was fatuous and uncomfortable, and the vacation of the appropriation features produced in hellishly elementary methods.

Despite the other versions of PDC World Championship Darts 2008 being dainty steps up from their earlier incantations, the stimulus on the Wii was botched. fundamentally

But just now itís 2009, thereís a latest developer on the denominate and reorient is in the blue blood! fundamentally Thereís some alterations, such as latest pros being bought in (most unblock, James Wade, who gets a kudos because heís a Achates of a Achates, not because he apropos won a big at any classification ó go into the open for b like James!) and the throwing methods have been greatly complicated.

To hurl the dart, you have the wiimote in an savagely dart-like ceremony and have down the A button. fundamentally Itís unsure to engineer the be communicated elbows with of and your essential some shots last wishes as limit up peppering the accommodate randomly, as anything but a prepare hurl last wishes as move your shots all onto the accommodate, but itís doable and a giving move up from the decisive gameís more awkward attempts. fundamentally detracting You convey it supporting you to replicate pulling the dart ago, then purge it brassy, like you were as a be of consequence of really playing darts, letting go into the open for b like of the A important as the shotís power ticket indicates. fundamentally Itís the straightness of your hurl that decides if itís prospering to be on aim, and itís when you fire go into the open for b like of A that decides if youíve onto or underpowered the stimulus. fundamentally Your hurl is despite that prepare effected at the incline of the darts your chosen performer prefers. fundamentally Which is despite that prepare more of a debase in scrutinize of that, the rectifying of decisive yearís wonky aiming aside, terribly lass seems to be latest.

Aiming, how, is a gigantic discomfort as the super-sensitive agitation adept makes mapping a stimulus annoyingly burdensome, day in and day into the open leaving you waggling away in frustration as the crosshair you reason to blurry flashes across the distinguish out with unrivalled make haste.

Credit can be dedicated seeking the pro players playing more like the pros theyíre meant to imitate, but they up manure look like wax models novel into the open in the day-star seeking a lass too lengthy. fundamentally Things like the playerís entrances have been added this year, but theyíre all the terribly lengthy cut-away of the performer in inquiry walking into the open to the terribly chorus of fan-chants and reserve music, flanked at the terribly scantily-clad girls as the decisive complete. fundamentally Unless you have a fatuous mane language, youíre purposes bang into the open of fortunes. fundamentally The create-a -character is up manure start lacking, oblation but the most elementary of creations at seeking someone short of to cast their own image onto the oche and ingest on the likes of Phil ďTHE POWER!Ē Taylor and chums.

2009 has made some giving steps up from its foregoing conception, but that all things it is so budget that it not fairly looks any characteristic of from the starting junket made two years ago on the PS2 isnít something that makes it an hands down favourable mention. fundamentally Which would have made this wrap-up burdensome, if not seeking the filmy alcove entice PDC carries.

For the company of the vacation of you, itís a dartís appropriation, and Iím amazed you assume from this considerably into the ruminate on. fundamentally If you impecuniousness a darts appropriation, thereís no weigh twice series to rely on as lengthy as you can let pass that itís just about as violently opposed to forward movement as the most hardened evangelical tub-thumper. fundamentally Thank you, despite the fact that.

For the fatuous halfway place emphasis on stamping-ground, itís a appropriation usefulness tiring.
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Title: I may not be around for a while. The site will suffer.
Posted: May 25, 2009 (09:08 AM)
Two reasons:

ONE! Yesterday, I all byt broke my leg in an irellevenat football match we were already losing badly and meant exactly nothing. On top of all the other problems I have with my mobility compliments of blown out knees and a laundry list of other manly spoerts-related injuries, I may be looking at a hell of a lot of physiotheraphy. Yay.

TWO! Just been sent a game that's meant to be the next Jagged Alliance which was viewed by many people as the only XCOM clone worth a damn.

Try not to die should I not show up as much, time-leaching, funds-draining website!

EDIT: Turns out not being able to move freely means more time on the laptop. Damn.
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Title: EmP on: Music.
Posted: May 21, 2009 (07:29 AM)
***EmP has signed on***

EmP: I just listened to the entire new Green Day album
Bass: What? Why!
Bass: Are you okay?
EmP: No. No Iím not.
EmP: I just feel... really sad.
Bass: Who did this to you?
EmP: I got home, and I kicked the drum kit. I feel music has, as a whole, conspired against me and now I want it to die.
Bass: No!
Bass: We just got you to start listening again!
EmP: I feel like thereís a party in my eardrums. And everyone inside has AIDS.
Bass: ...
Bass: Wow.
EmP: I envy the deaf.
Bass: Iíll be there in half an hour. Donít start drinking.
EmP: Too late.

***Bass has signed off***
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Title: Best Game EVER! What the hell?!
Posted: April 25, 2009 (07:33 AM)
I rarely go over to FAQs anymore and when I do itís more out of habit than desire, but I went yesterday and saw they were running their lame Ďbest game everí bollocks which, what with FAQs being a snerd haven, is always won by some overrated Zelda game.

The bracket I saw was Deus Ex, Final Fantasy Tactics, Metal Gear Solid and Pokemon Gold/Silver. And Deus lost.

It came very fourth by a massive margin. Deus Ex, a game that turned gaming on its head, beaten by a game that asks you to watch poorly-rendered guards wiggle their butts, a strategy title that involves no strategy whatsoever and sodding Pokemon. Pokemon!

It's meant to be a gaming website, not a hive of infalliable dumbness.

/Nerd rage

Title: The best anime never made.
Posted: April 22, 2009 (05:32 PM)
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Posted: April 18, 2009 (11:53 AM)
Iím going to break character and bitch about things:

1. Video gaming on television or in movies.

Directors, and I know youíre reading because Iím important and well respected in every industry ever, youíre all twits. Yes, twits. I know no one has used that as an actual insult since 1925, but Iíve decided that Iím bringing it back. Its first outing is to belittle you.

Iím reasonably sure that youíve at least seen someone play a videogame in your lives, be it one of your spoiled children, or semi-secret mistress, or that Filipino pre-teen boy you had to bribe with a PSP after he threatened to go to the media -- the fact is gaming is so widespread and accepted in this day and age, itís imposable not to notice it. So, the question is, why do you always portray gaming on both the small and big screen as people having epileptic fits and flinging fingers about the pads so randomly you fear theyíre either electrocuted or in the midst of an uncontrollable spasm.

Even the worst case button mashers playing a hearty bout of Virtua Fighter donít spasm at the pad in the fashion that paid actors trying to convince the watching audience that theyíre not watching someone who is almost certainly homosexual pretend to be someone with at least some foundation in reality. Youíve slowly started to weed out the odd belief that driving on screen should be nothing but the actor constantly making tiny left-to-right-to-left corrections on the wheel and, in itís place, it seems you want to bring a newer, shinier, more modern dumbness.

If the pad's not enough, why do you always feel the need to show that, when two people are playing what is obviously meant to be a multiplayer game, that the image on the TV is clearly that of a single player. In Scrubs recently, despite the entire skit being based around the fact that someone needed a second player to help them through a game of Halo 3, the actual game footage was of another game completely and was shot entirely in the one player mode. The only thing I recall about the motion picture release of Charlieís Angels (aside from the undying hatred I still hold for the girl who tricked me into watching it) was that when a naked Drew Barrymore (pause for vomiting thanks to disturbing mental picture) fell down a bank to inturupt two urban kids mashing at their PSX pads like their lives depended on it, the TV showed them playing bloody Final Fantasy VIII. A one-player RPG that couldnít be further from needing button mashing until Square finally pulls the pretence of interaction and makes all their RPGs overwrought masturbation in the unwelcome trapping of Advent Children.

You donít portray football as people running around in circles screaming incompressibly and ignoring the ball, nor do you portray any other pastimes as something that can only be partaken in by lead-licking spastics still running far too high on a heady cocktail of sugar and caffeine. The idea of these programs and movies is to allow the viewer to slip into a suspension of disbelief and, hereís the kicker, gamers are bloody everywhere now and recognise this as too much to let slip. Thank Nintendo for making it accessible to barely-functioning foetuses and people half a breath away from death, but everyone knows thatís not what happens -- except for you! This has been a very nerdy call out, I concede, but youíre still a bunch of twits. Wear your mantle with the shame it desires. And stop making damn High School Musical sequels.

Title: Movin'
Posted: April 05, 2009 (06:11 AM)
Moving sucks. I mean, it really sucks, but the thing I hate the most is sorting out all my stuff into boxes and deciding what I want to keep and what I should get rid of. With this in mind, I decided to tackle the monumental dumping ground that has become the storage space under my bed which is a vast graveyard of plastic holding boxes Iíve crammed full of crap and forgotten about.

I think I might possibly own every PSX game ever made.

I also found more hats than any man should own, folders crammed full of half-written songs and fiction, enough books to open my own library wing and a billion odd socks. I found old love letters from long forgotten girls, a small army of Dreamcast VMUs (those things rocked), photos so old that I donít recognise myself or the drunk-looking girl often hugging me and about £30 in small change. Iíve found millions of cables, half-built RC cars, forgotten music CDs and a small tribe of pygmies who declared me an evil God and pelted me with the collection of BB guns that has also lain under there in dormant. I didnít find Lasty, which I was thankful for.

I did find my Master System. Hurrah!
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Title: Achievement unlocked: #3
Posted: February 15, 2009 (08:06 AM)
Unless youíre Venter (who has to cheat by having four billion reviews posted) or Zig (who needs to cheat by peddling smut and corrupting the minds of the innocent) I am vastly more popular than you on the internets. FACT.

Last night I overtook Midwinter in the hit tables. Mid was too busy wearing shorts to work to comment.

The blog post is now open to tributes and homage.
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Title: Achievement unlocked: 250,000 hits.
Posted: February 08, 2009 (12:24 PM)
Thems a lot of hits. The public love me.
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Title: Of snow days and curses
Posted: February 02, 2009 (07:57 AM)
Last night wasnít a lot of fun.

I set off for football with that weekís designated driver who I usually employ as heís going that way, anyway and I can hardly give lifts to several people with a motorbike, and all was well. It was cold -- it was bloody cold, well into the minuses -- but such was life When we arrived for the game, it was still just that, cold. Sure, the pitch was frozen and we may as well have been playing on a concrete parking-lot, but weíve had worse.

The snow came like a thief.

It was just there. Gentle at first, visible, but not notewothery. It got progressively worse so slowly that you didnít really notice it until it was coming on so hard that it carried on the whipping wind sideways and you couldnít see more than a few feet ahead of you. Not ideal conditions to play football in, but we carried on as best we could, anyway. We lost the game, but we were overjoyed just to get off the pitch come full time.

Obviously, as the game died, so did the snow and we thought nothing else of it aside from complaining endlessly about said weather on the way home, as we English are wont to do. We took the longer, better travelled route home to travel on roads where the snow would be less built up. Then, driving through town, a fox ran out in front of the car, the driver braked, the snow took hold and we smashed into the curb.

The results: one wheel that should have been round was now a crazy olive shape.

We decided to limp the car the last couple of miles home, probably more to keep ourselves from walking in the freezing weather after a knackering football match previously, so pulled off. The car didnít like taking corners so, now and then, we had to stop it while I got out and pushed it, back and forth, until it was in a position to move. The wheel looked like it was fit to fall of at any second, which made the last stretch of road before home -- one littered in speed-bumps as thereís a school nearby -- a hell of a lot of fun.

And now there's ten times as much snow outside as there was yesterday. This does not please me at all.
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Title: Year in Review -- Part IV
Posted: January 03, 2009 (04:49 PM)
Crazy Pig (DS) 7th January:

Although I probably could have fogged this away on someone else, there was no way I was going to give up a game called 'Crazy Pig'. Alas, my dreams of an old-school Contra-style shooter featuring an insane porker were not to be. Crazy Pig is a very limited collection of mini-games and a side-order of dress-the-swine. Not much you can write about with such a game, but I gave it a go!

Everquest II: Rise of Kunark (PC) 12th January

I did not want to do this game. My poor PC can barely run solitaire and my MMO experience goes as far as Dawnspire, but I'd already flooded DoI with work, Martin buggered off to Spain as he does bi-monthly and PAJ (insolently) hates MMO's. So I bit the bullet, and I'm really glad I did.

Decided to wear my ignorance of the genre on my sleeve. I had to do some research and it's probable that I tripped up on some little details, so I'd rather not pretend to know what I'm talking about.

Got an ego boost on this recently when someone I've not spoken to for a while (and this will be forwarded to her, so she better start making more of an effort!) dropped me an AIM to say that she was thinking about picking Everquest up and was perusing some reviews from google. Mine came up as one of the ones she found the most useful, but she didn't know it was mine until she saw my name at the end. Luckily, I'm modest, so this didn't go to my head.

World Snooker Championship: Season 2007-08 (DS) 19th January

I expected this game to be good. I was very disappointed. You'd think that a snooker game on the DS would heavily ply the touch pad and stylus and, in this case, you would be wrong.

The hardest thing about this review was playing the game enough to write about it in the first place. The review does not lie: I literally wrote chunks of this while waiting for the cpu to take his bloody shots.

Brian Lara International Cricket 2007 (360) 21st January

Figured as the 2005 strain caught me so many hits then it would be good if I covered the second. It didnít do as well hit-wise, but it's a better review than my last attempt and I still managed to mock VM in the process. She hasn't spoken to me since. Next cricket review: Boo-mock heavy.

Ark of Time (PSX) 22nd January

Primarily, this was rewritten from one of the first reviews (I think it might have even been my first ever) because I thought A would be a difficult letter to cover for the Alphabetic Marathon. 'A' now has some four billion games under it.

I stole the opening line from MartinG's sig, and regret nothing!

Sam & Max 202: Moai Better Blues (PC) 28th January

This was late because Jason forgot to forward me the download info. He claims it was Telltale's fault, but I don't buy it.

Final Fantasy Tactics (PSX) 30th January

A lot of you didn't like this, and more of you still have made some pretty baseless claims about my reasoning to pen this review. I just wanted to talk about a game I'd played and why I thought it wasn't very good.

And FFt, really, is nothing special. I got a lot of hate for saying this when I'm often congratulated when I take the same tone on other games. I wonder why this could be?

It's a little less harsh than it was, mainly thanks to Shotty pointing out a few spots where I had gone overboard (I'm not attacking your favourite games on purpose, man, promise!) I'd planned to use it in the Challange, but then all the judges pulled out and I had to drop and rule over the rest of you.

Rumours that Ruder liked it are currently unfounded. It makes Jason very uncomfortable, though.

Art of Fighting Anthology (PS2) 17th February

January couldn't end soon enough. Bloody busy month pretty much drained me of my usual bubbly and enthusiastic demeanour. As such, I spent the start of the second month fogging off all the games I could on my freelance team while I tried to catch up with screens, news and the like. No one could take AoFA, so I had to do it.

This meant having to play through three games to achieve one review as well as having to strong-arm in other people to effortlessly smash at the vs. mode. It's a hard knock life being a game's reviewer sometimes. They're good games, though, and it was nice to talk about a series' evolution and actually have it be important to the review. Usually, we just babble it out to feel informed and self-important.

Sam & Max 203: Night of the Raving Dead (PC) 19th February

Just when I thought the series would never end... it doesn't. Raving Dead's a really cool chapter, though, and Jurgen, the Euro trash vampire villain, was fantastic to go against. I'm a fan of slaughtering the undead, so finding one as cocky as he made his eventual defeat even sweeter!

Just two more left....

Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None (Wii) 21st February

I've always liked that this tale bumps off the loud-mouth American first. "You English would be speaking German if not for ...urgh!" Haha, choke on that, Yank!

Liked this one, but some of the stuff is just far too random, as I tried to point out with the batteries in the flour example. The big problem with pre-release games is, of course, the complete lack of FAQ to cheat from then claim you never used, but, this being a PC port, I didn't have that trouble! Otherwise, I would still be stranded at the bottom of those stairs right at the start unable to progress.

I did like that it included optional/dead-end branches to explore, but these got buried in some of the more formulaic nuisances that game coughed up. Wii owners bored of their Wii Sports should track it down.

Fantasy Wars (PC) 27th February

This was all set to go to Martin until I casually mentioned a Rome-inspired civ-clone had turned up, causing him to rebel. He got that game and I, grumpily, got this. Still, it turned out well for me, it's a great game that reminded me in no small way of back when TBSs were in fashion and actually needed strategy (like X-Com, which I like very much).

It's a crazy addictive little game that will see players into it replaying mission a few times to try and do a little better than last. You will lose units in battles, and this will irk you; I remember fighting a stage three times because they kept killing my favourite siege engine and it was UNACCEPTABLE. I enjoyed playing the stage each time.

No More Hereos (WII) 22nd March

Big gap in reviews as I dared go on holiday to Spain, only to come back and find more games had been sent through for review than I can ever previously recall being sent. Sometimes I think this whole reviewing deal exists only to test my sanity.

If you have a Wii, then you should own this game. There's no excuse not to.

Making it a nice game to review; there's tons to write about. It's awesome in a dorky way.

R-Type III (GBA) 24th March

I bought this in a mind to review it after I wrote for the original R-Type back in the day and never got around to it. It came on holiday with me to Spain and got enough game time to remedy this, but I cut down on what I wanted to ultimately say to shoehorn it into a brevity contest. It didnít fit quite as well as I had hoped and I got a mid-table finish. I'm making mid-table my new grounds, it'll mean more then should I ever manage to break into a top three finish again.

I should go back to this one and finish saying what I want to say now I have more words to abuse.

Mass Effect (360) 30th March

This got written in draft on a notebook while lazing around on a beech for a few days. Now and then someone would hurl a beach ball or Frisbee at me and I'd give them a disapproving scowl. "I'm not here to wind down! I've got work to do!" It was written up a while before I subbed it, but Suskie posted his an hour before I was going to put mine up, meaning I then had to wait for his to drop off the front page so as to avoid two Mass Effect screenshots staring back at people. After I'd noted when I was going to post it on the staff board, no less. Just can't get the staff.

The hardest thing about this review was trying to decide where to start, so, frankly, I didn't and just flew around the time-line haphazardly. It makes for a bit of a jarring read thanks to this, hopefully I'll find the time to fix it up someday.

Bomberman Land Touch! 2 (DS) 30th March

One Day. Two reviews. Sign of mad skill and dedication or that I need to get out more -- I'll let you (silently) decide that one.

Fun little collection of mini-games wrapped up in a loose and silly story that's cartoonish enough to keep you ploughing on. My sister has since stolen this game off me and refuses to give it back. I guess what with her being in Australia, she has a good chance of evading my grasp.

Tom Clancy's GRAW (360) 4th April

This had been kicking around as a draft for ages and I finally decided that if I kept fiddling around with it then it would forever stay on my draft page. I posted it just in time: a few days later, Venter would wipe the site's boards and the seven or so drafts that had been quietly bubbling away on my blog's hidden pages lost forever.

Jason has robbed you of these reviews. I had one for Gain Ground, The Third Age and Grandia! Voice your disgust at his theft.

GRAW is cursed reviewing ground for me. Not long ago I beat the second game and set about writing a review up for it. Work went smoothly and I was pleased. Then my PC died and it all vanished into memory meltdown hell. I'm scared to rewrite. Please don't release a third!

Guilty Gear XX: Accent Core (WII) 5th April

I love me my Guilty Gear -- and, if you're not heartless or insane, so do you. Thus it was with slanted eyes of anger that I struggled through this awful port. It doesn't matter how good a game is if it's completely unplayable, and that's what the primary control scheme for Accent Core is. My biggest concern with the Wii was games like this: once with the gimmicky motion shenanigans tacked on for no other reason than "Because we can".

Like the review, though. DE bitches that I didn't mention a different character every week. This week: Faust.

Sam & Max 204: Chariots of the Dogs (PC) 14th April

All these Sam & Max reviews are melding into one huge rabbit-shaped blob in my head!

Bomberman Land Wii (WII) 27th April

This game was a huge chore. Itís a collection of bloody mini-games, so why is there such a focus on an awful plot that the game forces you to read. What would have really, really helped this one gain some points would be the simply ability to skip past the mind numbing cut scenes that no one wants to see.

By the time I actually got to play the sodding game, I was in such a foul mood thanks to waiting some twenty minutes with only rubbishy, clichťd lines for company, all I was thinking about was what I could have been doing with my time. I donít understand why developers refuse to let go of some of these habits -- how many times must they make the same retarded mistake?

Roogoo PREVIEW (PC) 28th April

The preview code I got was buggy as hell. The options and tutorial screen was blank and odd symbol would sometimes scroll across the screenís headers. It was still scary addictive and I hated that I had to offer the full XBLA version to someone else. PAJ did his usual solid job on the full review, but Iím still silently bitter

Utawarerumono (PC) 3rd May

Blame DoI for this one. A fair while back now, heíd bombard me with AIMs about the anime, which I finally caved and watched (he had to wait for me to finish School Rumble 2, which I will rush for no one!) I dutifully downloaded the series and found it to be great. I even started sending Lasty episodes before he vanished and have recently converted DE into watching (and DE is strictly a Sailor Moon kinda guy). I got the game around the same time, but had to struggle through the mountains of text, so gave up only a little way in until a recent translation patch started doing the rounds.

Dear Felix didnít like this one, but I wanted to try and do something new with my writing as I felt like I was recycling some ideas a lot. Maybe it wasnít the epic blockbuster I was hoping for, but Iím glad I wrote it.

The Secret Files: Tunguska (WII) 5th May

WQ specifically left feedback on this one to note that she didnít like it very much. Ouch!

To be fair, itís not the best thing Iíll ever write, but itís hard to write about a game that canít decide what it wants to be. One second, itís all super serious as you explore a genuinely creepy museum where your father vanished under mysterious circumstances, and then itís cracking inane jokes and making cringe-worthy puns. Yes, these elements can be combined, but itís a very fine line, and one Tunguska doesnít manage to walk that well. Fun game, enjoyed my time with it, but Iíve played better and more ambitious adventure games.

Hurry Up Hedgehog (DS) 6th May

I pretty much rang this one in, but there really wasnít much to be said. Itís a very simple game, so thereís not much to be said about it. I think Iíve given this one of the highest scores on the internet, and I put the reason behind this on actually playing the game and not doing what 90% of the other reviewers did; writing it off as not-a-Sonic-game. Because every game with a hedgehog in, apparently, has to be a Sonic game. By law.

Other reviewers are stupid. Thank god for me.

Sam & Max 205: Whatís New, Beelzebub? (PC) 9th May

This was written on the last day before my computer finally gave up on my and crashed. Crashed hard. I blame Max. Heís always had it in for me.

This was a fantastic wrap-up for not only Season 2, but it wraps up a lot of the loose ends from the first chapter. What I really like is how definite the conclusion is: thereís no chance in hell of that particular door being reopened without a drowning dosage of randomness. Great way to cap a series. Awful place to jump right in.

Iím so past burnt out covering these games.

Ys Strategy (DS) 26th May

Man, did I need the break in between this and Beezlebub. It would have been nice if it was a conscious break and not because my computer had melted, but Iíll take anything I can get. I picked Ys off Ebay when I saw it cheap because I figured quirky titles based around a fan-slavered license thatís unobtainable in NA would be a pretty good title to have covered. That, and Iím a fan of strat games anyway. Ys was okay, but it gave me a lot to complain about. So much that it turned into quite the long review.

Dracula: Origin (PC) 10th June

I liked how this one came out. The game itself was a baffler and I spent a lot of my time on Aim talking to Martin who foolishly decided to let slip how much he loved the book. I then bitched, endlessly, about how the game did almost everything differently to the book.

This is good and bad. Itís bad that some of the directions the Ďinspiredí plot goes in flops, but I appreciate not rereading a plot I already know inside out. Itís a fair trade off I suppose. Fans of adventure games or of the setting should certainly check it out.

Revolution X (ARC) 11th June

Dear, sweet Leroux came up with a cool challenge in which he would match every arcade game written on-site with one of his own. Itís one he ultimately failed at, but I tip my hat to him for trying.

This isnít a great review, but I wanted to get something up so he didnít claim Iíd forgotten him. Observe how I hid foggy memory in technical jargon and talk of outdatedness!

Splatterhouse (ARC) 12th June

For ages have I wanted to write a Splatterhouse review. And then I did. You can find it in the link above.

I donít think all the little stories summing up my reviews have to be epic. Sometimes you should just be happy I write these things at all.

Operation Thuinderbolt (ARC) 24th June

It was a rare chance. Spite Leroux; writing this will make him pen a new review under his tourney rules. Spite Boo; he still sobs over the Operation Wolf thing. Thunderbolt is another one of those titles Iíve always meant to cover, so, thanks to Leroux, thatís two reviews I wanted to write written. Hurrah!

Shadowgrounds: Survivor (PC) 7th July

It says a lot when it feels like a huge break from contracted reviews when I take less than a month between them and it feels like a huge break. This was a fun return, though, which has made me want to track down Crusader: No Remorse all over again. Or at least the original Shadowgrounds at a push.

Prism: Light the Way (DS) 20th July

This is one of those impulse review I sometimes kick out. For kicks. I donít really like tackling puzzle games for reviews, which is why I try and do them when I can. Thereís a lot to be said for trying to write for genres youíre not comfortable doing and far too many people shy away from it, as some of the drop-outs from the BWHY tourney showed. Puzzle reviews are never going to be the best material to work off, but I remain pleased with the finished product here.

Virtua Fighter CG Portrait Series Vo1. 1: Sarah Bryant (SAT) 20th July


Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (GBA) 22nd August

I made the joke earlier, but I really mean it this time: I have not spoken to VM since I wrote this review. I thought about removing the digs at her from it, but sheís not been around to complain, so theyíre not doing any harm. That aside, I like this review. Itís full of ramblely goodness and takes forever to make poignant points, but it was fun to write and I like to believe it reads well, too. Masters actually read this one, or at least claims to have. Juryís still out.

Quake III: Arena (Dreamcast) 31st August

God bless Quake 3.

This is my favourite review of the year, and itís little more than nostalgic waxing, but I thought it came across really well, so expect me to copy it so heavily that all meaning is eventually lost. Everyone likes Quake 3, after all, and if you donít, youíre no more than a grass-chewing hippy. Boo was going to write a joke review based on this, and even went so far as to register for a Bitterman account where he would write how he was always picked on in an Arena and didnít know why. His plans were foiled mere seconds after the account was made by eagle-eyed WQ spotting the account and telling everyone she could find.

Dream Pinball 3D (DS) 9th September

This is he best DS Pinball review Iíve read in the last twelve minutes. I wrote this the day after my birthday with one hell of a monster hangover.

Eldar Scrolls IV: Oblivion (XBox360) 14th September

This oneís a monster. A lot of it is old blog post strung together to create several pockets of my in-game tales to describe the game as best I could, bugs and all! Thereís a forum out there somewhere thatís declared me some kind of anti-Christ because I have one of the lowest scores for the game on Gamerankings, but I still look at the review as a praise. Oblivionís buggy as hell and to go where the game wants to take you means embracing all itís biggest faults. I still sunk a crazy amount of hours into this one , and probably will again someday.

Lewis reviewed it himself recently, meaning I need to get on Morrowind sometime in the year.

Monster Madness: Grave Danger (PS3) 21st September

I had to borrow a PS3 to review this one. Iíd hoped to sneak in a decent play through of Resistance too, but they wouldnít let me borrow games, just the console. Booo! Some of the wordplay in this is good, and I wish Iíd kept the hardcore gamer joke for a review more of you would probably read. Masters definitely has not read this one.

This game is okay. Moving onÖ

Nightmare Circus (Mega Drive) 26th September

Leroux made a tourney about brawlers and I wrote for this. God help me, I wrote for this.

Believe me when I tell you that Iím not spitting out hyperbole, but Nightmare Circus is the worst game Iíve ever played. donít believe me? Try it! Not a single one of you will be able to finish even a single level -- Iíd bet internal organs on it.

Itís a great looking game, but itís simply seven shades of pointless. I could have written twice as much as I did for this already long-ish review and still not covered every flaw the title has.

It was fun to write a scathing bash that wasnít for a game the majority love and get praise for blistering sarcasm instead of the FFt-like burning crosses on my front lawn. Scored an impressive second place to Booís Final Fight review he had openly decided would score 30ís.

Jewel Quest: Expeditions (DS) 28th September

Short, to-the-point and about as well as I can write puzzle games, Iíve come to accept. I guess I was lucky the game threw in a random, goofy plot to try and keep things going along, or I couldnít be mildly snide about anything. I think if that day ever came, my head would explode.

Mah Jong Quest: Expeditions (DS) 28th September

It was hard enough to write a full review on this subject; thereís no way youíre getting a detailed breakdown of this struggle here.

Wrote it on the same day as Jewel Quest, though. Because Iím awesome.

Iím awesome.

Doom 3 (Xbox) 1st October

Lewis does not like this review. Nor do a lot of people. Iíve had some pretty heinous name-calling aimed at me from outside forums and the odd e-mail, but I care not. Doom 3 is rubbish, and now IĎve told you why.

This could have turned into a full-blown rant without a bit of discipline because -- and maybe this shows -- I really do not like Doom 3. Itís the kind of thing that happens when a developer starts to buy in to their own hype and decide they and they alone have the power to reinvent the genre theyíre credited with championing in the first place. Doom 3 is obviously meant to wow you. Instead, itís so outrageously underwhelming in everything it does that it doesnít so much border on insulting as it does drape it around its malformed shoulders like a cape. But youíre meant to overlook all this because itís a pretty game. And it is a looker -- itís just also complete shit. itís ironic that when Quake 4 hit the shelves based on the Doom engine but made by someone not iD, the game was significantly better.

Kolibri (32X) 11th October

When I first started to drum, I had a lot of trouble with off-beat, Now that I teach a little, I have just as much problems trying to put how awkward it is into words or something that can be physically demonstrated. Itís sad in a way that I nailed this thanks to a review intro.

Kolibri is probably the best shooter youíll never play. Itís drop dead gorgeous, completely unique in how it melds in puzzle elements to an already surreal shooter and itís clearly the step up from Ecco the Dolphin so many people clambered for then ignored once they got it.

Ankh: Curse of the Scarab (DS) 12th October

Talk about ballsing up a good thing. Curse of the Scarab might be one of the worst ports out there. It takes a solid adventure game, squeezes it into a tiny screen, adds dodgy touch dynamics, makes the already lacking voice acting tinny as hell then throws in game-breaking bugs and god awful camera angles for kicks and giggles. Itís a bad port of a good game. Getting that across was achieved with depressingly little effort.

Political Machine 2008 (PC) 13th October

Three days, three reviews. Political Machine was a game I tried to fog off onto anyone whoíd show even the slightest interest, but I found myself with no takers (though, to be fair, Scott did the other political game I had received at the same damn time) so battled on myself to find a surprisingly enjoyable game. The review suggests I battled through with Al Gore as my choice, but I think we all know I crafted a EmP bobblehead and ruled the colonies with that. Under an iron fist. I tried really hard to find a way to nuke Michigan.

PDC World Championship Darts 2008 (Xbox 360) 19th October

Darts! Or, if you remember the initial reviews slew of misspellings, drats!

Drat reviews arenít the easiest to writeÖ..

PDC World Championship Darts 2008 (PSP) 25th October

Öwhich is why it sucked that I had to write about them twice back-to-back. What Iím infinitely smug about is how I managed to do so with two very different reviews that still got across what I liked and disliked about each port and the game as a whole. Given the rather limited amount of subject material, this should be the feat that finally lands me that Pulitzer prize.

Boing! Docomadake (DS) 27th October

This was an odd foundation for a game to be made upon: the mascot of a Japanese telecommunications company. Docomadakes are an odd mushroom race often used to headline ďWelcome to JapanĒ videos for dirty foreigners who dare grow over three feet. Itís a little surprising at first that this game found its way out of the land of the rising sun, but then you play it, and you see why publishers would want to port it across. Itís an addictive and unique platform puzzler with acres of cuteness to spare. Odd little game, but a fun one nonetheless.

Doodle Hex (DS) 1st November

The start of November Hell wherein I probably wrote more reviews in a month that you, ignorant reader, did all year. Assuming said reader is someone like Boo or Genj, anyway.

Doodle Hex was a surprise game I was offered shortly after the PDC reviews by the same PR firm who wanted the game covered even though it had been released some months previous. It might have been the most difficult review to write: the system is overly complex in a simple kind of way, but it oozes charm and houses a very unique graphic style. As soon as I had battled through this review, I had to move on to..

SNK Arcade Classics vol. 1 (PS2) 1st November

Öthis one. SNK had been kind to us throughout 2008, sending games to both the UK and US office and quite often doubling these titles up. Insolent Lewis lacked a PS2, making him the only person in the world without that console, so Scott got about half of these while I tackled the other half. We had a review up for this from Jason on the PS2 while Masters covered the PSP release, leaving me to review the game a third time, and did so with little deviation from that already offered. Compilations are not the easiest games to cover.

1 day. 2 reviews.

Wow 2nd November

Booís a bastard and he knows it. I donít remember how exactly he talked me into covering this, but I do remember we was going to review a different .wad that weíd release on the same day. Obviously, being the incompetent swine he is, he did nothing of the sort and made me suffer through this complete joke of a Ďgameí. I like the idea of covering titles like these, though; I have a thing about getting fan-made titles some coverage because I think they deserve it. Every review site and their grandmas lavish attention on the commercial releases, so striking out to titles oft ignored is something I want to do more of in the future.

Wowís god awful, though.

X-COM: Terror from the Deep (PSX) 4th November

A few years back, Jason asked us if we should employ a system on site that would allow us to stretch reviews over several consoles when covering a multi-platform release and we agreed it would be a good idea considering how, since the 16-bit days, most games are pretty much carbon copies. Then, one day, without telling a soul, he silently nuked this.

My PC TftD review was one of the titles I had put down for multiple console coverage because itís the point blank exact game unless I bothered picking at the control scheme, which I didnít. It was also probably the most visited PSX review I had. And then it was gone leaving, to my mind, a big hole were we once had content. Now thereís something covering the gap once again. Pre-warning would have been much appreciated, though.

This makes the third time Iíve reviewed TftD.

Tom Clanceyís Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfare 2 (Xbox 360) 5th November

The cursed review. This is one that would have been completed month earlier if not for a hard drive crash. After said crash, I gave up on the review for a long while until I found a print-out I must have made underneath the printer, then typed up what I had on Google mail and worked on it slowly as hell at work, typing away a little more when I had time to kill. Eventually, a review was born and I subbed it before anything else could go wrong.

7 Sins (PS2) 6th November

The anecdote I the intro is true! Way back when, Jason sunk some money into a site that held uncountable assets for all things videogame, and we all spent a good month trying to gleam as much as we possibly could before our paid-up trial period was out. Venter tackled the PS2 and fell across 7 Sins early as he took the files on in Alphabetical order. ďthis is exactly the game the site should be covering!Ē, he enthused. I politely nodded and decided to keep an ye out for it. On a whim, Iíd done an eBay search on the title around October and nabbed the game quite cheap.

WQ was scared to read this one, bless her innocent little heart, as it may have contained mature themes. It does, I guess, but itís a game less arousing then grocery shopping.

Alisia Dragoon (Mega Drive) 12th November

This got me a joint third place in this yearís AlphaOlympics, which Iím obviously quite happy about, though losing to OD is still bitter-sweet. Alisia is a game Iíve wanted to review since 2005 when the team of Ruder-EmP-Vorty deicedd to do an all-dragoon final and I wrote for Legend of Dragoon. Ruder wrote for Drakengard (JP name: Drag-on Dragoon) which Iíve since covered and Vorty originally wrote for Alisia before switching later on. So now I have them all!

WQ hates this review too. She once told me that all my reviews post 2006 are awful.

Ninjatown (DS) 17th November

Ninjatown is a tower defence game that swims in dorky internet meme and cuteness overkill, and itís all the better for it. I was forced to take a week off work around this time as Iíd actually not taken any holiday and the annual leave was about to run out, so I went up to stop at a friendís house near London and bummed out, playing through a load of the DS games I had to review for. I soaked a lot of time into this one, so it was the first review I spat out.

Last King of Africa (DS) 22nd November

Last King is a pretty cool game made from the corpse of an PC adventure game that openly wished it was an action one. Realising the error in this, the port dropped all the clumsy action stuff and instead highlighted the titleís cooler puzzles and plot. For a DS game, this has some impressive as hell graphics and even the voice acting doesnít sound overly tinny like the DS seem to spit out. One for the fans.

Disgaea DS26th November

This one took some reviewing. Fro years now Iíve had to listen to everyone rave about how awesome Disgaea is while living in a region where it only saw a very limited release. Jason was good enough to send me over this game from the Ďstates (which reminds me that I still owe him something for that -- Iíll nudge you next time youíre on AIM) and it took over my life for a fair while. The gameís infinite, though, which makes it a hard game to judge just when youíve played enough to have a good enough grasp on what to review. Great game, average port.

I actually took this one down to a pub with me one night and spent the entire evening ignoring everyone around me while I slaughtered henchmen by the boatload. I did take occasional breaks to continue drinking though. I didnít want to be rude.

This marked the end of November Hell. I think I spent the entire month doing nothing but review.

Pony Luv (DS) 1st December

They asked me if I wanted to cover this game. They asked me, and I said yes. What the hell was I thinking?

I still see neon pink loading screens when I close my eyes. The horror. The horror.

Big Bang Mini PREVIEW (DS) 15th December

The original intro I wrote for this game was promptly frozen and stored for the eventual full review I need to write when the game is release early 2009. Instead, I wrote another from scratch then decided I preferred the one I used in this preview that no one will ever read, anyway. We really need to do something about the exposure previews get -- I bet half of you donít even know we have any at all.

Football Director DS (DS) 15th December

The game is a lie! This isnít about being a Director at all -- itís a management game! Grrrr!

Itís only an okay one, too. Itís missing out on some tweaks and touches that would make it good and things are frustrating or impossible to navigate. It did give me a chance to showcase my nerdy football knowledge and educate the world on my local(ish) football team, Aldershot.

FarhInigo Prophecy 23rd December

When I wrote this all one scraps of paper while stuck inside a security cage handing out Dell Laptops for several days with Janusí Ďfavourite genreí tourney in mind after I dropped the idea of a jokey horse-sim follow up review. Most of it was written on yellow stickers used to route label big cages of freight, meaning that inky didnít dry on the right and I had to copy down several pages of blurred and smudged notes. It did net me a solid second place finish just behind a tardy Zig -- who should be disqualified for lateness! -- but marginally above OD and Lewis. Who, had they beat me, probably would never let me live it down. Luckily, I also stomped Boo who pulled in another career best of 0.


I'll have you know that the C64 version of Zoom! was the baby Jesus' favourite game. When the game shouts "C'MON BOY!", who do you think he's shouting encouragement to?

It's the boy in the manger. With this in mind, when else should I post such a holy review?

Rumours that I wrote this just to fill in the last letter for the AlphaMarathin win are unfounded and hurtful.

Yearís Stats:


January - 7
February - 4
March - 4
April - 5
May - 5
June - 4
July - 3
August - 2
September - 6
October - 7
November - 10
December - 5


DS - 18
PC - 12
360 - 7
WII - 5
PS2 - 4
PSX - 3
M/D - 3
ARC - 3
SAT -1
D/C - 1
PS3 - 1
XBX - 1
32X - 1
PSP - 1


Adventure - 11
Strategy - 10
Sport - 6
Puzzle - 6
Casual - 4
Brawler - 4
Shooter - 3
FPS - 3
TPS - 2
RPG - 2
Light gun - 2
Action - 2
MMO - 1
Gallery - 1
Compilation - 1
Adult - 1

Phew! Iím out.
[reply][view replies (6)]

Posted: December 25, 2008 (04:48 PM)
Empleh16: I could take it.
DarkEtr: Surely you jest.
Empleh16: I'm an Alphamathon winner; I never jest.
DarkEtr: Bah, it's a fixed competition.
Empleh16: I'm also a Alphaolympics winner.
DarkEtr: You are?
Empleh16: So, really, I'm king of the Alphabet.
DarkEtr: No you are not.
Empleh16: Yes I am.
DarkEtr: At least not the lastest one, the one in which I was cheated of a high place.
Empleh16: And you will address me as sire.
Empleh16: I won either last year or the year before that.
Empleh16: I am the LORD OF THE LETTERS.
[reply][view replies (5)]

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