Admittedly, not as awesome as hooking up the SNES...

So... this happened.

There's a certain chain of events that takes place once you realize the Playstation 3 has a wealth of lightgun shooters available. You troll Amazon for their Playstation Move listings. You purchase the Little Big Planet 2 bundle, because its cheaper than parting everything out and because its the one bundle that comes with an actual game, instead of a tech demo. You purchase a light gun cradle, because it looks super sweet. You then proceed to let LBP2 sit on the shelf and collect dust because you then went and bought a bunch of House of the Dead games, instead. You play them for a while, trying to ignore the sensation in the back of your brain that, "Mmmaybe this isn't as snappy or responsive as an *ACTUAL* light-gun game and mmmaybe I just wasted a bunch of money..." Then you stop playing for a while.

Then, Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection is released to the Playstation Store and you blissfully repeat the process over again. ...except something different happens. As you play this on-rails compressed collection of some of the most memorable survival horror games ever made, and Code: Veronica, another tingling sensation starts to bubble up in your brain to the tune of, "Man. The original versions of these games is kind've... way better. A lot way better." ...which then of course leads to 30 minutes of ass-deep in the closet looking for the Gamecube, controllers, cable inputs, games, and memory cards. Because hey, remember memory cards?! At long last, this tedious cycle of seemingly unrelated events comes to a close as you hook the old girl up to your 52" HD television it was never designed for and spend the next six hours in sweet, sweet content-OH GOD I FORGOT ZOMBIES TURN INTO CRIMSON HEADS AFTER YOU KILL THEM, FUCK, RUN!

Ah, light-gun shooters...

Along the way, I had another realization that I'm not quite sure how I feel about, just yet. While pulling out Resident Evil, I of course, got a look at my (very small) Gamecube library of titles which consists of:

Between, BG&E, Ikaruga, the two Sonic Collections and Zelda collection, there's a very sizable chunk of my GCN library I've replaced via downloadable services. ...and like I said, I'm still not quite sure how I feel about that. Part of me wants to get rid of the Gamecube versions because achievements and stuff, and to get those things out of my house and get some physical space back. But then... how long are the platform holders of those downloadable services going to allow me access to the digital versions of all those games, even though I've exchanged money dollars in order to be licensed to play them?

So, I guess moral of the story: Don't be wanting to play House of the Dead 4, you'll just wind up hundreds of dollars in the hole, playing old video games you already own?

- You've got guns in your legs! How's that working out for you? That's awesome, man.

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I can't decide if I want my money back or to give you more.

About two weeks ago, I started coming down from the high brought on by Portal 2 and Mortal Kombat
 
Since then I've been looking for something else to play. This started an alarming trend of looking at my shelf of 360 discs for several minutes at a time and coming up with nothing. I first turned to Halo Wars, a game I've not touched in almost two years. Half an hour later, it went back in the box. While the cut scenes in that game are still quite pretty, you can definitely feel folks other than Bungie were at the wheel driving that game and  not in a direction that the series proper has taken. We also live in a world where I've played Starcraft 2 since I last touched Halo Wars and to put it mildly, Starcraft is a far, far superior title. I had also given consideration to Batman: Arkham Asylum, but upon glimpsing at the achievements I have left to obtain, quickly decided, "Pfft. F- that." Borderlands also came to mind, remembering that I still need to finish Claptrap's Robot Revolution DLC; however, the amount of trouble it gave Eurkos as I watched him play through it is still fresh in my mind and I haven't yet decided if I've got the patience to put up with that or not. As more and more information crops up about The Darkness II, I've built up a thirst to go back and play The Darkness again. I super enjoyed that game as I played through it years ago. For all its clunkiness, it was all manner of stylish and I still lament that the soundtrack has never been released through official, purchasable means. The thing stopping me, is there are a number of achievements I'd like to earn during a fresh playthrough that warrant playing the game whilst staring at a FAQ and like the Borderlands conundrum... I'm really not feeling that at the moment. 
 
My  first world problem was finally solved last weekend when I purchased some space bucks which in turn became a fresh copy of The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile. To my unimaginable delight, I found Vampire Smile supremely enjoyable and spent the weekend playing through and finishing Yuki's story. Its worth noting that with Vampire Smile, the knob on the amp gets turned up to 11 and subsequently broken off within the first few minutes. Now I don't know about most folk, but I can only handle that kind've sensory overload in chunks in-and-around an hour. The search for the Vampire Smile cooldown led me to the subject of this post, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair. I purchased CVHD the day it came out and picked Shanoa as my main because a quick search online led me to the realization that everybody else played as either Alucard and Soma, which I found incredibly lame... even if this weird hodgepodge of a game seemed built for them; and also because Order of Ecclesia was some kind've awesome as is Shanoa by extension. But the slow reveal over the couple of weeks I played it thereafter that Shanoa would have very few weapons and spells at her disposal and that 99% of the game's loot drops are utter garbage prompted me to abandon the title with only the surface scratched. I briefly returned during the winter wherein an overabundance of microsoft points led me to purchase nearly all of the game's downloadable stages and characters -- a decision I would regret less than ten minutes later. 
 
But what was done, was done. 
 
Over the course of the week, as I've gone back and forth between VS and CVHD, I've put in ...maybe a good 5-6 hours, playing through as Yoko and even though I've cleared a stages 4 and 5 and pumped up a couple of her spells a few levels, I still feel like I've accomplished nothing. I've fought through stage 6 and battled Dracula at least half a dozen times today only to get pasted by his damnedable third form. Man, f- that guy. Turning to youtube for videos to see how other people dealt with him only compounded the problem as a stage that takes me 10 minutes to drone through with a small amount of effort, this people just barrel through like a damn hurricane because they've got balls gear and any strategy required gives way to sheer brute force. So that's been very little help. As there's no proper experience driven level progression, any sense of character growth is entirely dependent on acquiring badass gear. This becomes a problem when the large majority of the loot in this loot game is worth less than 10,000 shares of Planet Express stock. 
 
   

   
That problem is further compounded when the gear that is actually useful are extremely rare drops in the first place and most of the chests containing the best stuff in each stage are completely inaccessible when playing solo. The simplest solution is probably to group up and play online. Trouble is, I don't know anybody that looking to play this game online and the last time I played with randoms... well, those non-solo chests? There's one in stage two surrounded by several flamethrowers that can only be deactivated by switches in other rooms and only remain inactive so long as somebody is on said switch. A partner stepped on one of those switches, enabling me to open the chest and I got some crappy item because I was playing as Shanoa while everybody else got something super sweet. Duder who was standing on the switch immediately jumped off once I'd opened the chest leaving me trapped, while all the other players went and finished the stage. Super sweet experience, that. 
 
I'm conflicted. The minute-to-minute play is still your standard Metroidvania, which I am all about. But the meat of the fun to be had seems to be locked away from me because the folks at Konami responsible for this weird anomaly of a game didn't stop to think that somebody might actually prefer to play it by their lonesome and since they've already got my money dollars, I very much doubt it matters to them. I fear my disc-based 360 game apathy will endure until well into June and the release of Alice: Madness Returns, which leaves me with a number of weeks to solve Harmony of Despair. 
 
Or not. I think I'm probably gonna buy Moon Diver when I wake up. 
 
 - Hold my legs, Topspin. ...I feel the urge to shoot someone.
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