Feb 20, 2011

SSFIV: YT'ed spars with Rightbackbill

Hello again, I was privileged enough to get a spar session against the fierce Irishman Rightbackbill a few days ago. RBB mains a very technical and agressive Gen but plays other characters as well. We played 10-15 sets of matches and he offered to upload a few of them to the Streetfighter4forum.com youtube channel, which I of course didn't mind at all, despite the savage beatings he gave me. ;) He uploaded four of the matches and very politely added a couple of my wins, but I want to show his badass Gen so here is the first video from the sets. If you want to watch the rest, and more battles uploaded by the forum users at Streetfighter4forum.com, visit the youtube channel linked above. :) If you see this RBB, thanks for the fun matches!

Feb 16, 2011

World first Grammy award for a computer game!

Hey, delicious news for you this time. I'm very happy to report that The "Baba Yetu" main title theme for Civilization IV was not only nominated for a Grammy award this year (Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)), but won it as well! While Civilization IV was released back in 2005, it was included on the fresh release "Calling All Dawns" (Which won an award as well!), and thus qualified for this year's nomination. If I'm not completely mistaken now, this is the first time a music score for a computer game has ever got a Grammy award, how cool is that!

The Baba Yetu is originially a Swahili Christian hymn, more precisely a translation of the Lord's Prayer. I have loved this particular piece of game music since the first time I started Civ IV, and found myself unable to start the actual game, cause I was struck stunned listening to the menu music. The Civ IV interpretation of Baba Yetu has also been a feature of the Video Games Live project concerts for years.

Included are the Video Games Live concert version of the song (cause I think its the best, and its introduced by the composer), and the originial nominated song. :) Change the youtube videos to at least 480 for better audio compression!

 VGL version (dont mind the 15 sec ad at the start):

Nominated official version:

Feb 15, 2011

SSFIV spar session

Heyhey, I had a good spar session with Sunsunmcnasty again this weekend, haven't sparred with him in a very long time now. He gave me a lot of help when I was trying out Gouken as my secondary char, and plays a damned mean one himself. He was kind enough to tape our session and youtube it for me, so here it is. Despite us having a bit more input lag than usual it was real good playing you again, Sunsun! Must do again soon. Oh yeah, I'm the Guile player.

If you are interested in fighting games and looking to get connected with a great community, you should visit Streetfighter4forum.com!

Feb 9, 2011

Comments re-enabled. (again)

So... commenting on the blog once again no longer requires blogger.com etc accounts. I'll try to keep watch on the spam. :) Make some noise! To celebrate, why don't you let me know what you think of the current layout and what I should change?

Feb 6, 2011

Review ratings explained

This is just to explain what lies within the scores I rate games by on a 1-10 scale:

1 - No, don't. Seriously, whatever ideas you might have about this game, don't come back to me crying when you tried this game despite seeing this rating here. You WERE warned.

2-3 - This game fails on so many levels it just can't be forgiven. There might be a good game in there somewhere, if you love the particular genre and want it bad enough. But you will have a very hard time seeing it through all the bad this game will throw at you.

4-6 - The game could do a lot better, for any number of reasons specified. The game MAY offer you something though, if you are a fan of the genre or just happen to like it for.. reasons I can't think of. While there might be a solid game in there, it is well hidden behind poor presentation, mechanics or design choices.

7-8 - Now we're talking. Games rated 7 or 8 do a lot of things well. Any game given these scores or higher will have pretty solid gameplay or otherwise satisfy a buyer. Typical flaws with games given these ratings will be game bugs, annoying weird design desicions from the developers or odd glitches/sometimes poor performance or game crashes.

9 - Games rated 9 are high quality releases in almost every aspect you might look at, and you can be sure to enjoy these titles. These games can easily be recommended to anyone looking to burn a few quid, you will be entertained.

10 - Perfection. Game of the year stuff. I encourage anyone having second thoughts about these games to discuss them with me, as far as I am concerned these are instant classics that will be played for several years to come. These games will be remembered by everyone even remotely interested in games for at least 5-10 years to come.

Changes in the pipeline

I've for a time been less than pleased with the overall layout of the blog and the art, and I will be experimenting a bit over the next few days to see if I land something more.. good.

Edit: It has begun... New template sits well with me, need to sort out how to center the header and do some other tweaks. Like.. a new header, 80 warriors are so 2010. And I don't just write about WOW anymore.

Short Review: Who's That Flying ?

I have another indie review for you today! From UK Developer Mediatonic, here is "Who's that Flying?" !

Who's That Flying ?? (WTF from now) is a side scrolling schmup as they like to call it these days, a side scrolling shoot'em up game just like you remember them from the NES (Or SNES/Super Famicom) days. The game is available on the PC from Steam for a tenner, and  for PS3 and PSP (Not price checked. Maybe Xbox? not heard anything about a release on it, dont shoot me please if its there and I missed it.)
In WTF you take on the role of a superhero assigned to defend Earth. Which would be good except you are on trial to the superhero council or something, for not doing your job defending Earth well enough. There was an alien invasion y'see. The game plays out with the player re-enacting parts of the defence of Earth, as the trial of our hero proceeds.

WTF gives you no nonsense sprite based graphics that will (not tested) probably run on any netbook or low spec PC you try it on. The graphical style is simple and cartoony, but it does the job well. The music and sound effects are very basic but nevertheless does its job as well, getting you in the mood for blasting Earth invaders. There's nothing fancy to see here, even the cutscenes between missions are terribly low resolution.

What the game scores top on presentation wise however is humour, the cutscenes have a lot of tongue in cheek superhero humour, and.. a lot of humour for us lesser beings too. From our hero air-posing for magazine shots, to the evidence room, and between mission briefings, the laughs aren't far away if you enjoy some simple humour.

WTF is a side scrolling shooter, and a very basic one at that. However, the controls are superresponsive and the action is fast paced, with some special moves thrown into the mix that you might expect from a superhero, but not a shoot'em up game. As Earth's superhero defender, you yourself are invulnerable, but the cities you defend are not. So, you can smash into all aliens you see and can even destroy the lesser varieties with a fancy melee move, but any aliens that slip past you will do damage to your city instead. Let too many aliens past, and it's game over.

Initially the game might not seem so tough, but after the inital stage warming you up to the mechanics things get bad, fast and you are forced to make use of your powers as often as possible. Powers? Yes, you're a superhero, of course there are powers. Our saviour of Earth's standard attack is a repeat fire laser 'blob' that goes in a straight line (If you know Megaman, you know what to expect). However, by defeating a full wave of alien invaders boosts our hero's superpower thingie. As soon as that is charged you can unleash rapid fire 'blobs' or different strength lazer attacks that cut through anything. Already after the first stage you are faced with stronger aliens that require softening up with firepower before you can 'grab' them and finish them with a special move.

I love all of this, enough so I don't even mind the game is strictly singleplayer. There are no multiplayer options, at all.

WTF is something as rare as a recent date western shoot em up, and not only that, it plays damn well and is tons of fun to play. Nostalgics will love revisiting the sidescrolling genre, and the brutality of the gameplay, and experts can set their eyes on high or perfect scores to unlock extra goodies. Despite being a strictly singleplayer game I feel safe recommending WTF for anyone looking for some cheap entertainment and solid shoot'em up action.

- Very solid arcade shoot em up gameplay
- Fun story mode between missions, and humour in general

- Very basic graphics and sound. This could be pro, whichever way you look at it. Any PC will run this game flawlessly.
- True schmup enthusiasts will not be overly challenged by this game
- I'd love some co-op options

Overall, a good release for anyone who likes shooting things up, worth picking up for the price. If you don't know shoot'em up games however or am no fan of the genre, this won't get you into it.

Feb 4, 2011

Short Review: Magicka

Magicka is a low budget release available from Steam for €10. In it, you are thrown into a world of dungeons and dragons, orcs and goblins, ghouls and ghosts.. kings and.. oh sod it. A wonderful story of references of all kinds oldschool and retro.

This game finds itself in an odd place as far as the actual gameplay goes, being a refreshing mix of all things point and click adventure, hack and slash, and Monty Python. As you take on the role of a magician on a most heroic quest, you see whatever you do from a birds eye perspective far up in the sky much akin to action rpgs such as Diablo, Crusader, Gauntlet, and countless more. Nothing new there. The mission at hand is to save humanity as always (most imporantly, the mages), but in order to do so, things get more interesting. Instead of having a basic set of spells as you start, and learning more through experience or skill books discovered, instead you have access to 8 schools of magic to summon destruction from. This right here is the core, and genious of this game. The possibilities you have for mixing together fanciful spells of destruction, salvation, or a mix of both if you feel like it, are limitless.  Need to cross a lake? Cast several charges of frost over it and slide safely across. Need to .. surround yourself with healing landmines? Shield and life. Just like you can heal yourself or others with life magic, you can just as easily set yourself, your friends, or any npcs (even plot characters) on fire as well. If you want to heal someone and electrocute them at the same time in a single beam of wonderful magic, then you can do that too.

The game features a single player campaign, multi players doing the same campaign (doesnt work), or challenge levels single or multiplayer ( again, multiplayer doesnt work). I realize this is a crushing sentence over what stands for about 50% of the game's playability, but really, the multiplayer part of this game fails in OH so many ways. Wanna host a multiplayer game? Crash to desktop, or in the best case, manage to host, BUT to keep your lobby up you transfer more data out than NASA does on a busy week. You system is crippled completely trying to host a game. Want to join one? NO, or .. if you are lucky, accepted into a lobby, but then you get a black screen freeze while the game is launching. If you are one of the very few that actually got into a game, and have played it, then hit yourself with a hammer. You should have played the lottery instead and you'd be a rich man. This is SUCH A SHAME. Man, I would give a leg to play this with 3 other mages firing beams of destruction, landmines, fireballing npcs, zapping themselves.. I really am gutted that I can't, because it became apparent right from the tutorial level that this is a frickin awesome concept! You really feel allmighty, or.. death incarnate, as youre playing this baby in the single player modes.

The game is presented in modest 3d top-down graphics. I have to say, considering how basic the graphics are, I am very surprised this game doesnt support netbooks or most integrated laptop graphic cards. You need, for reasons I dont understand, a fairly strong, current generation graphics card to play this game. You won't even be able to launch it on a netbook or most laptop, devs have even warned about trying, its not meant to be.  This game looks like something you'd expect from a indie developer 5 years ago, but it sure doesn't play like it. This kind of system requirement is a big let down, it makes no sense this shouldn't be able to play on most all current or last gen computers.

The sound work however has a lot of charm. Listening to the npc's talk almost makes me want to forgive its other violations with most of the wizards you talk to speaking what seems to be a language mixed of english, swedish, norwegian, probably other languages I dont know, and random gibberish words. You'll love talking to the NPC's from the first moment in the tutorial when you are told "We redan started the dunkadunka" (We already started the party). Supporting the wonderful voice work is non impressive ambient sounds and fairly non inspiring music (with one or two highlights), however.

Another big selling point of this game is all the references made absolutely all the time to old classic games and movies. If you've been around a while, you will spot a reference of some sort every minute at least and feel giddy about it, its guaranteed. From the King's Quest steam achievement that I wont spoil further, through exploring locked doors, to all the other references thrown about at every bend of the road, you will be amused.

I am very torn in my opinion about this game. It is a truly wonderful concept that shows it works wonderfully as you play through the missions in single player. The game does however suffer from such a number of gameplay bugs and poor performance, and especially nightmarish online performance, that it greatly reduces my enjoyment. I will say this: If you have a great computer and used to love games like Gauntlet, or Diablo, but dont mind a slightly more strategic approact, this game is well worth your €10 regardless of the limited online playability. For the rest, I think there is a demo available on Steam, try that and see if it plays okay on your computer. If it does, then YES, get it! Again, even if you cant in its current state play this reliably online, you WILL have fun with it, easily worth the €10 price tag.


- Very creative system for spellcasting.
- Seemlingly endless references and black humour

- Terrible game engine, despite looking like something you'd expect 10 years ago, this game wont run well except on current generation graphics cards.
- Terrible netcode, even after more testing after the most recent patches aimed at improving online play.