Monday, August 31, 2009

Game Music of the Day - Bubble Bobble

Ahh Bubble Bobble, I remember playing this on my 486 (although a 486 was probably overkill I suppose)! So many levels to play yet the same theme song throughout (resulting in you memorising the theme whether you like it or not!) - somehow this video has more than one song though (including Flight of the Bumblebee), so either the other songs weren't as memorable or the PC players got short-changed in the music department!

Battlefield 2 gets a new patch

It's been a long time (and I can't believe they've finally decided to give a new patch after focusing so much time to their new ventures) but Battlefield 2 is scheduled to receive a version 1.5 patch on the 2nd September.

The main good news is that those with Vanilla BF2 (e.g. myself) get Euro Force and Armored Fury for free in the next update (yay) - although those who bought them might not take too much solace in that fact! Also there have been quite a few other tweaks to the game. Apparently AA is more effective at targeting now and apparently they've made checks to "runway grieving" (don't know how they'll get around that).

In terms of hardware support they've finally allowed BF2 to take advantage of more than 2GB of RAM (maybe finally faster map load times?) and added native widescreen support (which means no more tweaking to get your widescreen monitor to work)

Internode Games has got more info.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Game Music of the Day - Leisure Suit Larry 6

Ah Leisure Suit Larry. To be honest, only the main theme is actually really memorable to me. The rest was appropriately sleazy or 80s lounge music (some of it not half bad). Too bad the recent Leisure Suit Larry games are utter disappointments, and Al Lowe thinks the same...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

All Time Greatest Game Hero

Go and make your vote count! There's 64 to choose from. It's J.C. Denton for me closely followed by Manny Calavera!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mass Effect DLC on the horizon and a movie?

Since I've been playing Mass Effect again I've also stumbled across some random tidbits of information concerning Mass Effect.

Firstly, it appears that there may be some official news very soon about extra DLC called "Pinnacle Station". Check the news out here.

Also apparently the rights to make a movie out of Mass Effect has been bought by Avi Arad, who was behind Marvel movies like X-Men, Spider-Man and Iron Man - although this news is apparently one year old and a rumour at that.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Monk Class revealed for Diablo 3

Blizzard has revealed the 4th class for Diablo III (so that just leaves one more to go right?): The Monk seems to be pretty awesome, in fact the Monk is pretty much what I envisaged him to be in Guild Wars (but unfortunately, in Guild Wars, even though he's got the dancing moves, he doesn't seem to put his Shaolin Kung-Fu to practice)!

Anyway check it out at the official page.

Guild Wars 2 Trailer Released!

ZOMG! ZOMG! I'm so excited that a Guild Wars 2 trailer has finally been released! At least it may abate the fears of some fans that GW2 is vapourware. Of course it's too early to discount that theory completely but at least it proves to the fans that some progress has been made (since the latter part of the video shows in-game footage) and while it retains a similar artistic style to the original Guild Wars it looks like graphics have been slightly improved, with better textures and effects.

I love it how in the video they feature stills from five of the races that will be available in the game - I'm especially liking the Asura at the moment and their technological know-how :).

Also good to hear Jeremy Soule's work again and how he's incorporated the Eye of the North theme into the trailer music!

This new video has also coincided with the release of a new website dedicated to Guild Wars 2. There isn't much there yet but if you want to check it out, it's over here (and is it just me, or does the Guild Wars 2 logo look suspiciously similar to the Dragon Age: Origins one?).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Game Music of the Day - Space Quest IV

Here we go, the 4th Space Quest adventure which sees you once again as space-faring janitor, Roger Wilco, traveling through time, all the while being chased by the Sequel Police. Space Quest IV was made during the era when SCI games were in their maturity, and Creative's Sound Blaster and their counterparts were used to their full advantage bringing better quality music and even voice.

The video we have for show here happens to show the many creative ways you can die in Space Quest IV. I remember it being one of the hardest Sierra adventure games I played and this just goes to show why! Classic themes from the Space Quest games are featured in the video including the main Space Quest theme, the Monolith Burger Theme and the Astro Chicken theme. There is even the Quest for Glory theme in there, but I have no idea which part of the game that crops up!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tales of Monkey Island - The Siege of Spinner Cay Teaser Trailer

The second episode for Tales of Monkey Island, The Siege of Spinner Cay, is out now. Although for those of you who haven't bought Tales of Monkey Island yet or not installed the second episode yet (like myself), here's a teaser trailer of what's in store.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Game Music of the Day - Monkey Island 2

It's no secret that I'm a bit of a fan of the Monkey Island series and it had great piratey music to go with it - a mix of reggae, calypso and sea shanties.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Game Music of the Day - Lemmings


"Let's Go!"

Many memorable tunes from this game although half of them were just remixes of old folk songs or popular ones, e.g. "Three Green Bottles", "The Can Can", "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain", etc.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Game Music of the Day - Earthworm Jim

Earthworm Jim

It's been pretty quiet lately so thought I'd get back into posting "Game Music of the Day"

Today's game music comes from Earthworm Jim. I think I got this game as a freebie with a new computer and even though it was a pretty antiquated genre of game (the platformer) the art direction, sound effects and most importantly, the music was fantastic. I believe they even made a cartoon series based on this (although can't recall which came first).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition Review

And here's the second Monkey Island game review I promised...

Sound (5/5)
Most sound effects are the same although there has been some inclusion of extra ambient noises to give the game a bit more atmosphere. Also the most important addition is this time around, Monkey Island can be enjoyed with voice acting, and not just any voice actors: they actually managed to get voice actors that worked on previous Monkey Island games including Dominic Armato (Guybrush Threepwood) and Alexandra Boyd (Elaine Marley). Voice acting is excellent and helps to bring this classic to life.

Music (5/5)
Michael Land has returned to jazz up the original soundtrack with the introduction of live instruments and it really shows. I just hope they’ll release a soundtrack for this game because it is simply that good.

Monkey Island Special Edition Gameplay Video

Graphics (3/5)
All of the original graphics in the game have been updated to a higher resolution while still retaining the same artistic style. This was most likely done on purpose to make hot-switching between the original Secret of Monkey Island and the Special Edition as seamless as possible. Unfortunately this means the animations haven’t quite improved as the artwork has been simply replaced the existing sprites and Guybrush’s movement looks a bit wooden when compared to more recent adventure games.

Plot (4/5)
For those of you who have watched Pirates of the Caribbean (and who hasn’t) you’ll notice quite a few parallels between the Monkey Island series and the movies: zombie pirates, ghost ships, a young hero who wants to become a pirate, a voodoo priestess, a beautiful governor’s daughter, etc. What the younger generation might not know is that Monkey Island was around quite a bit before the movies came out (and even Ron Gilbert himself has mentioned how he wouldn’t be surprised if Disney borrowed some ideas).

Anyway, the plot revolves around the main character that you control with the unfortunate name of Guybrush Threepwood. At the beginning of the game, he has recently arrived on Melee Island and his goal in life is to be a mighty pirate. Through his adventures he meets Governor Elaine Marley and Guybrush falls immediately in love with her. However it’s not long before Elaine is abducted and it’s up to Guybrush to go rescue her.

Overall the plot could be considered a parody of pirate stories in general and characters often break the fourth wall. The game is great if you love this sort of humour and the only criticism I could make is that some in-jokes will go over people’s heads mainly because they were never around to experience adventure gaming in its heyday (e.g. Lucasarts poking fun at Sierra adventure game death scenes, Loom product placement, etc.).

The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition works just like any point 'n' click adventure game. Interaction with objects and characters on screen is achieved by pointing and clicking with the mouse, you're able to store objects in an inventory, and you use verbs in order to indicate what you wish to do with an object… "Wait, using verbs to interact with objects?" you may ask.

Yes, in older adventure games you actually had to specify what you wanted to do with objects. As the years went by, the number of verbs or actions you could perform started to decrease until you got to adventure games like nowadays where sometimes you'd have no choice on what to do with an object since clicking on it will automatically pick the most appropriate action. Monkey Island on the other hand had a whopping NINE verbs to play with and they've still retained them for the special edition. In order to access the verbs though, you need to open up another menu which means you’ve got an extra click to perform if you want to do anything. Fortunately, hotkeys have been assigned to the verbs and I found myself using these more often (provided I remembered, there are nine verbs after all)!

The hot-switching feature that allows you to switch between the old and new versions of the game in real-time is a nice feature but most of the time, it’s just a gimmick. There were only particular parts in the game that I would check back to the original to either see how far the game has come or how some animations or jokes have changed (e.g. music pausing for dramatic effect when insulting Important Looking Pirates, Carla doing exercises outside her cabin, etc.).

Replayability (4/5)
On one hand adventure games aren’t very replayable (once you've finished it, it's not going to be any different the second time around) however, this is a special breed – this is Monkey Island (actually there is a way to make the end slightly differently, but I won’t spoilt it :))! The hilarious plot, dialogue, and situations you’ll find yourself in makes the game worth replaying, a several times at least.

I haven’t noticed any bugs in the game whatsoever and the interface is clean and easy to use.

Overall - 88%
A great way for the younger generation of gamers to discover the charm of classic adventure games.

If you want to get the game, you can purchase it online off Steam.