Chessmaster Challenge( Well, this is certainly a weird blog, and trying to provide context will only make things stranger.) Some time ago, LordXavierBritish held a "contest": Photoshop Ryan Davis' face into a sunglasses-wearing pineapple for a free game on Steam. I entered with this (fun fact: I created that entirely with stabbing motions. With SpongeBob, that is the only way), and soon won my prize: a basic chess game with ranking and stuff. So what do I think of it? It's chess. It's fucking chess.
Of course, it's chess with a lot of frills. For example: a profile system. For chess. It includes a bunch of incredibly stupid pictures and a typical character limit. As you can see, I chose the one character who looked normal in some way, since I don't want computers thinking me a mutated freak. That's how they know what to kill. Then again, I did show the computer that I was vulnerable by taking the tutorial. The long, long, long tutorial. Let me give you an idea of how long it is: 29 parts, each one maybe 80-100 pages. Do I have to tell you how much they stretch this out? This game tells you how to set up the chess board, even though it's a computer game that can set itself up. Lazy fucking computers. Actually, I shouldn't insult the computer, since that just gives it reason to do what it's been doing for a long time: assume I'm a moron. Remember how I said that it padded things out? Part of that involves " click this square, asshole" quizzes. Again, why do I need to know this? Why can't you use this time to teach me chess? I'd say that the depths to which it goes to explain chess make you a better player, but I didn't get anything out of it. Maybe it's just me, but I couldn't always figure out what the computer wanted from me on a certain move. I should also mention that these moves were perfectly valid and would have achieved what the game was asking of me. That's all I learned: when the game was too strict. Not anything useful, like how to spot which pieces were best to capture or when an opportunity was open or when your pieces are threatened (the closest it ever comes to that is saying "forking is not a sex fetish, so stop leaving me in the background while you Google that"); just how to set yourself up for failure. Yes, that's an actual part of the tutorial. Yay.
Wait, did I just write an entire paragraph on the tutorial alone? Wow. But what about the chess? Well, again, it's chess. That means I have absolutely no goddamn idea how to play it or win in any capacity. All I know is that there's a class system that would put Fire Emblem to shame (soldiers can promote to paladins? Is this Tear Ring Saga, or am I tripping out?) and the Queen could totally kick my ass. (Of course, that last one applies to real life, as well.) Speaking of kicking ass, the only way I could do so would be if I fought a monkey. That's not a joke. That was actually the first game of chess that I won...and I still got my ass kicked pretty hard. The only difference between a real game of chess and this thing is the strategy; while I don't know what the word "offensive" means in an actual game of chess, my strategy here consists entirely of throwing units at my enemy and hoping that I checkmate them somehow. Oh, I might as well mention that there's a training mode and a ranked mode, and I won both. Are we done here? No? There's a puzzle thing? But that's just more chess! OK, now we're done here!
- The tutorial assumes that you're a dumbass. Sometimes, it's right.
- It's chess. What do I have to say.
- Did I write more about chess than I did about Excitebike?
Speaking of Fire Emblem, remember my Aquaria blog, where I wanted the video in question to become a series? Somebody actually made that happen! Granted, the editing is kinda basic and the guy's voice sucks, but there's a lot of information to be found in these videos! I could imagine citing this in an essay...on Fire Emblem. I guess my point is that more colleges should offer, nay, FORCE people to take Fire Emblem as a major!
Doom 3 ( Fun fact: this is my 1100th game beaten.) But I won't dwell on it too much, since anything not divisible by 500 is really boring. Wait, Doom 3 isn't divisible by 500 in any way possible. You end up with ugly decimals and stuff. Yet Doom 3 is not boring! I know that I'll probably get some crap for this (maybe I should go back to games where I don't say that at the beginning without fail), but Doom 3's pretty awesome.
Then again, it is essentially Half-Life. Don't believe me? Count how many times I say "sound familiar". Maybe drink to each one or something. Anyway, the game begins with a largely silent mook returning to yet another day of work in an exotic science place with more soda machines than science could ever need. Sound familiar? He is then sent to complete a minor task that ends up summoning all sorts of odd creatures whose first instinct is to murder everything they see. Sound familiar? Now all rests on his shoulders as he tries to contact the outside world, only to find out that there are about 20 more parts to the game. Sound familiar? Oh, and it turns out that this type of demon-summoning stuff has been going on for a while. Sound familiar? Also, Grey DeLisle is very clearly in this game. S...what? Who was in charge of that casting decision? Why's Kitty Katswell maintaining a demonic Mars outpost? Anyway, back to the Half-Life comparisons. One part of the game has you escaping deadly neurot-that's Portal. I'm thinking of Portal. I need a Half-Life comparison. Uhhh....the characters don't look too good. I know, I know, but there's just something really off about the way they look. Maybe it's the lip movements or the generic "we let cosmetologist students practice on a slab of ham" heads or the fact that one character in the game appears to have crossed eyes. I want you to think about that. Somebody was most likely specifically asked to give a character crossed eyes. Do I need to say anything else? Why is it that character models in first person shooters age so horribly?
And why this game in particular? They fucked that up, but everything else looks fantastic? How?....Maybe I should back up a bit. This game looks amazing. Keep in mind that I was playing this on the 360 (meaning that the introduction didn't know how to handle layering or aspect ratios), and for most of the game, I forgot that it was an Xbox game. I'd say "then again, I am the idiot who can only win a game of chess if it's against a monkey", but I don't want to detract from why this game looks so cool. I'd say something about textures or enemy models, but it's all in the lighting. I'll give you a minute to clean up the semen from your keyboard. You back? OK. As I was saying, the lighting in this game is really good. It looks realistic, at least given the circumstances (those rovers you Earthlings sent up are full of shit; Mars is a REALLY dark place), and it adds a lot to the atmosphere. For example, how do you make babies ripped from The Fly scarier? (It's not "make it the 1986 version".) You make it hard to see them. I know what you're going to say about it: it introduced a flashlight you had to use manually, which makes the game crap. Shut up. You can switch between your gun and the flashlight with the push of a single button. It's not a big deal. Hell, I actually hated the three levels where the game suddenly took away your flashlight. How am I supposed to see anything when the game is so dark and doesn't have proper lighting....in the form of a flashlight?
Wait, I realized something: this is an FPS, not a survival horror game. That's gonna cause some problems. For example, that demonic burst of laughter in every level is pretty cool if it's 1993, but not 2004, when the series is trying to be all serious and mature (at least compared to what came before it). And remember how that lighting works really well for scary scenes? Not gonna work too well for a game where you're trying to see your enemy. And having little to no ammo? Great if you want to be scared, but crap if it's because it's so stupidly easy to pour all your ammo into an enemy. (And it is.) And those zombies may be scary if it's a survival horror, but in an FPS, they-wait, those still work really well. Finally, somebody managed to make smart zombies and provide some goddamn justification for them wanting to murder you (what with the whole "possessed by Satan Claus" thing). Actually, now that I think about it, the enemies in this game are pretty cool. I've already mentioned zombies and fly-babies, but you also get Cthulhu if he let himself go, walking (and crawling) episiomoties, and everything else you didn't know lurks in your nightmares. But id knows. Think about that tonight, while you sleep with your eyes open. That's what I love so much about the enemies: weird designs and some odd form of consistency (yes, this game somehow manages to make it believable the Cthulhu exists alongside fetus flies). What was I saying before? This game's effing awesome as an FPS!
Oh, you don't believe me? Have you seen the weapons in this game? They're effing awesome! What's not to love about chainsawing a guy in half...besides the fact that you put yourself within one foot of a demon who can burn your face off? OK, there's that, but then you have shotguns and plasma guns and other cool weapons and power-ups. There's even a power-up that just summons screams. It only comes up one or two times, and it serves no other purpose than to summon screams. Again: id knows what lurks in the dark corners of your mind. Oh, and remember the last FPS I played, where the weapons were just as cool, but there wasn't really any reason to switch from your regular assault rifle? (Of course you don't; Unknown_Pleasures was the only person who read the shitting thing.) Doom 3 laughs at such stupidity, and not just because of the ammo thing from before. Turns out that certain weapons are more powerful than others, so there's some amount of strategy in how you handle fights. I don't think I need to go into that. In fact, I don't think I need to go any further into Doom 3. Yea, I could say that there are some weird carry-overs from the PC (you mean I can quick save whenever I want, but that's the only save I'm getting?), or that the levels hold as many cool secrets as they do kinda-useless PDAs, but I think I got my point across. If I didn't, let me reiterate: Doom 3 is awesome. There. That's it. End of blog.
- Imagine if Doom grew up a little. Now call it Half-Life, because that's what it is.
- How does this game function well both as an FPS and a survival horror game?
- Oh, now I remember: by combining zombies and chainsaws. Like Dead Rising, only not shit.