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Title: Magna Carta: REVAMPED...A-FUCKING-GAIN.
Posted: February 10, 2006 (11:38 AM)
[It's official. I hate this game on every possible level. Here's a rewrite, the FINAL REWRITE, that should borrow FROM ABSOLUTELY NO ONE. If it does I will scream. Loudly.]
The Magna Carta is an English document that dates back to the 13th century, meant to lessen the power of England’s monarchs. Long story made short, King John was this jerk that took over after King Richard the Lion Hearted died. He more or less screwed over his family to come to power. He was a lecher, he probably would have been forced out of power if he hadn't died first, and England was in Civil War by the time his rule was over. All in all he was a loser, but he was a loser with unlimited power. The Magna Carta changed that, put checks on his power, and is generally credited with starting the trend that led to constitutional law.
Save for the name, Magna Carta: Tears of Blood has absolutely, positively, 100% NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY OF THAT. But if it did, it would probably be much cooler. Keep that in mind.
Meet Calintz, leader of the Tears of Blood mercenary group, fighting a war against a powerful race of Elvin assholes called the Yason. Of course Calintz has a dark and sordid past with the Yason, one that led him to become an orphan and swear eternal, cliché vengeance against their kind. Of course he trained hard, became a sword master, and decided to confound his enemies by looking like a girl somewhere along the line. Of course he goes on a crucial mission one day, and of course it goes horribly, horribly wrong for a mysterious reason that will be used later for a contrived plot twist, but gives him the opportunity to ‘sacrifice’ himself for his friends, falling into a dark chasm. And, of course, his life is saved by a ditzy healer-girl with doe eyes and ample breasts.
Now, if only the girl had amnesia…oh, wait, she does. Perfect.
Now, we throw in a script that’s guaranteed to have you CRAWLING IN YOUR SKIN. Everyone is sad about something. They’re constantly brooding, using every scene to further delve into their horrible pasts. They’re all orphans. They all lost their loved ones to war. They all love brooding about it at the slightest provocation. The only person who doesn’t routinely go into a whine-fest is the panty-stealing pervert of the group, Chris, and even he has his moments.
I've read enough about King John to know that he was pretty much a certifiable bastard. I like him more than anyone in this game.
That’s assuming you can stomach the fighting long enough to get to those cutscenes, which isn’t the easiest of tasks. Magna Carta’s battle system borrows elements from, Grandia and Radiata Stories, two RPGs with awesome fights. Against all odds, it manages to mess them up.
Like Grandia, you have the ability to see your enemies in the overworld, engaging them from there, eliminating random battles. Unlike Grandia, Calintz becomes extremely near-sided whenever he enters a dungeon. He has two modes of movement: Running and walking. When he’s running, he can only see about three feet in front of him, making you prone to sneak attacks as enemies magically fade in and out of view, appearing as if some thick, invisible fog had set in. There’s also walking, in which Calintz takes out his sword and walks in slow, controlled (and rather prissy, I might add) steps. Like this, his vision is increased ten-fold, but his speed gets cut in half. So if you run, you spend a long time in the dungeon getting ambushed. And if you don’t run, you spend a long time in the dungeon walking around like a little girl.
Walking is better, though, because if you walk, then you have a chance at avoiding the enemies. You want to avoid the enemies. The thing is, most dungeons only have two kinds of monsters, so you’ll be having many déjà vu fights. A game like, say, Radiata Stories, could get away with that by offering superior combat, but Magna Carta doesn’t have that excuse. Magna Carta uses a real-time system that has you attacking with timed-button presses; you run over to the enemy in real-time and attack when you’re in range. Using a weak attack requires you to hit three buttons with the right timing. Doing a less weak attack requires the same thing. And with a medium attack, and with a strong attack. You have to do the weaker attacks in order to get the strong attacks, but if you miss once, just once, you have to start all over with the weak attack. Plus, the enemies will probably use that time to smack you around a bit.
And what are your allies doing at this time? Absolutely nothing. Because you can only control one character at a time, and while you’re controlling that character, the other two stand around idle and watch, or make statuesque distractions for your opponents. But the enemies, they can move all at once. They don’t have to worry about constantly switching characters, they don’t stand still when you thwack them.
I believe the developers intended for the fights to be intense, maybe even fun. They’re not. When you lose a fight simply because you pressed O when you should have pressed X, intense isn’t the word that comes to mind. Irritating, yes. Stupid, hell yes. But not intense.
Now, keep in mind that all of this, every cutscenes and every battle, looks like crap. Jagged edges plague the screen, sharp reminders of the original Playstation’s ugly days. Character movements are downright robotic; they move more like action figures than actual people. Even the battle animations, things that most RPGs are totally badass at, are screwed up. Piffy little light shows, generic combos, fire magic that looks more like a red smoke than fire…and it’s all made worse by the crappy battle system, which forces you to do the same attacks, constantly.
Boring characters, boring story. Boring enemies, boring battles. Magna Carta employs things like a gift-giving system and item-combination in a last ditch attempt to not suck, but its efforts are futile. Item combination just lets you make somewhat-useful items out of completely useless items, and the gift-giving thing…well, that was just dumb to start with. I can’t stand the characters, why the hell would I want to buy them gifts? I don’t give a shit whether they’re happy or not.
I’d like to say Magna Carta could’ve been a better game with more time and effort, but, really, I don’t think it ever had a chance. It’s just a bunch of concepts, and I’m sure they all looked good on paper, but they haven’t been executed worth a damn. Right now, a game based on some lame king that lived eight centuries ago sounds quite good. They could make it up like Monty Python and the Holy Grail or something. That would rock.
Posted: February 10, 2006 (06:48 AM)
I just cannot get over this picture. Everytime I see it, I start chuckling. Yesterday I damn near fell out of my chair laughing so hard. I especially love the little word bubble: "OUR PLAN CANNOT FAIL!" They're so sure of themselves. And they're snowmen with heat vision. THAT ROCKS. I mean, that's like a human having some sort of skin melting eye beam; you have the power to instantly kill any other member of your race.
And the pipes...oh...
Anyway, I've been working on a new Magna Carta review, and it's turning out well. It involves monkeys. Lots of monkeys. Because everything is better with monkeys.
I'm not going to resubmit Magna Carta, I'll just replace the old with the new. And since I know you guys are lazy bums, I'll put it up here, too.
Edit: I just now noticed...I think the HAT is actually talking, not the snowman. Wow.
Title: Feel in Love With a Girl
Posted: February 08, 2006 (03:30 PM)
I got a girl's number! Yay!
But I didn't know her name. Aw.
But I asked her friend, and he told me! Yay!
But I called her and all I got was her voicemail, and it was full so I couldn't leave a message. Aw.
Anyway, I'm pretty cool with the whole deal. I think she digs me; I just asked if she'd like to go see a movie sometime, and BAM! Phone number. And this was in the computer lab, so she knows I'm a computer bum.
My only real worries are when to go see the movies with her and where to get the money...I'm think Valentine's Day, but that might be a little too ham-handed, too serious, like I'm trying to send her the 'I'd like to stick my tongue down your throat' message, which isn't what I'm going for. She's a real nice girl and she has a great smile and she's nice to be with and there's a lot more to her than just her (admittedly hot) body. I don't want to come off as a perv or anything.
Title: New Review
Posted: February 07, 2006 (12:48 PM)
Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects
Lord, I thought I'd never get this done. I've literally been working on this review since it came out, and it just kept gnawing at me. Glad to finally have it done, and I don't think it came out half-bad. Tell me what you think. Please.
Title: The NEW Spider-Man
Posted: February 03, 2006 (02:15 PM)
Well, it's a new suit, anyway.
A lot of stuff's been happening to Spider-Man recently. He died. But he didn't really die. He shed his skin and went in a cocoon. And he came out twice as strong, with the ability to talk to spiders...
Anyway, this is his new suit, built by Tony Stark (Iron Man) It's got lots of new tech, and three extra 'legs' on the back.
Because, you know, spiders have seven legs.
Anyway, I'm pretty meh about it. Know it's not permanent.
Posted: January 30, 2006 (08:19 AM)
Another shitty review for you to read. Yay.
Wait, back it up. Confidence, confidence...sigh.
Anyway I've been working on this one pretty hard for over a week. Wrote it out on paper, then on the computer, then printed it out and made corrections with the pencil. I've got like...twenty copies of this laying around my house. After I was satisfied, I asked Draqq for a critique, which he provided with the quickness (thanks Draqq!). While I was going to wait until the last minute of this round to release it, I'm quite honestly tired of looking at it and I want to start on a Star Fox 64 review.
In any case, I'm quite pleased with it. Since it will amuse me, I'll place the original version of it below. It changed quite a bit from the original draft.
Oh, and one more thing. I know I kinda sound like I'm blowing my horn here, but I did spend a lot of time on this and I would really, really, really appreciate it any input.
[Original Sans the bold and italics. Don't ask why.]
North Korea’s demilitarized zone is hell. President Song, a nice guy who came to power by shooting his father in the head, has nuclear weapons and the desire to use them. The Allied Forces show up for a fight, but they’re not the only ones. South Korea could use bigger borders. China wants some, too. Even the Russian mafia gets in. Five strong, wealthy powers in a single country, and they all want each other dead.
Mercenaries drops you in the middle of it. Literally. You get dropped off a plane.
The objective is easy: Choose from a big, bald black guy, a hot Japanese/British lady, or a mohawkish Swedish brawler. Land in North Korea after a brief briefing, with instructions to hunt down Song and officers, fifty-two genocidal jackasses called the Deck of 52. Get them, get him, get the $100,000,000 (£56,103,153) reward.
It’s harder than it sounds; North Korea’s DMZ is big territory. Mountains. Cities. Rivers. Much ground to cover. You need a car or a helicopter or something; nothing gets done with some solid transport.
But don’t just pick any car. Remember: Everyone hates everyone. If you take a North Korean military car and trying riding into the Allied base, well…
…they’ll probably take you out with a tank. You will learn to hate tanks.
The obvious answer is to find a plain car, but that might not be enough. You can take missions from any faction save North Korea, but the problem is that most missions have you killing other soldiers from other factions, which is bound to piss off their leaders. Working for the Russian mafia gets you in their good graces, true…but it also gives South Korea a reason to shoot you on sight, since the Russians keep paying you to blow up their bases. Making one faction happy means making another furious, and you only get back on the good foot with a little bribery.
North Korea’s the exception. They hate you no matter what.
You’re best off choosing a side and sticking with it. Word to the wise, though: If you can help it, don’t make the Russians mad. They’re your suppliers.
Need something, anything, and the Russians will provide. Health, ammo, cars, air strikes, whatever. Order it online from the MERCHANT OF MENACE (love that name) website, transfer the money, and they’ll have a helicopter over your position in seconds, dropping off your purchase. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Prime case: You’re on a mission to destroy a South Korean installation. You ride in with a SK transport so they don’t notice, but that won’t last when the killing starts. Can’t be helped. You go for it, get out of the car and let loose with the rocket launcher, blindsiding them.
Except for the tank that tank behind the bunkers. You missed him. He doesn’t miss you.
Try again. This time you smart up and bring a sniper rifle, subtler. Find a hill, bring up the scope, and start picking off the Koreans one by one by one.
Except for the tank. The one that moved away from the bunkers and spotted you on the hill.
One…more…time. Screw the transport, screw the sniping. Get close to the base, call the MERCHANT OF MENACE (seriously, I love that name), call a satellite strike, and watch as space missiles level everything in sight, instant kills.
Including that bastard in the tank.
Every mission is like that; every situation has a hundred approaches. Fly down with a helicopter and get the jump on them. Stroll in with one of their tanks and blow them shitless from within. Sneak in Solid Snake style, snapping necks. Hell, if you’re far enough in the game and far enough from ground zero, you can forego the whole mess with a nuke. There’s a hard way, an easy, an easier way, and the best way. Figure it out.