An Ultimate Fall

As most of you might know by now, 2009 is shaping up to be another tremendous year in gaming.  A new Modern Warfare, a sequel to theexquisite BioShock, Ghostbusters, The Sims 3, and so on and so forth.  With such an elite list, one might forget a game or two along the way, and that's exactly what happened to me.

I completely forgot about this game.

  

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance II is slated for release in Fall 2009.  The story will involve the events that took place in the Civil War comics, where Captain America's side fights against Iron Man's side.  Needless to say, I am extremely hyped up about this one.  I adored the first MUA (beat it twice) and I'm a huge super hero geek to boot.  This game, along with The Sims 3, skyrocketed at the top of my most anticipated games of 2009.

Speaking of The Sims, I'm still enjoying the second game a whole lot.  Also, I've purchased Guitar Hero Metallica and have actually completed the vocals career on the medium difficulty setting.  I'm now going through the guitar career on medium as well.  What do I think of the game?  Well, if you're a Metallica fan, you will go bonkers for it.  There is so much stuff in here that any hardcore fan would be hard pressed to miss out on.

Last but not least, there will be a video blog this weekend.  Got loads to talk about.

Thank you for reading.
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Addiction Rekindled

Yesterday, I did my top 5 favorite PC games and listed The Sims 2 at #2.  Shortly thereafter, I had this tremendous urge to reinstall the game and 3 of its expansion packs (University, Nightlife & Open for Business) and play some of it.  However, I shrugged it off, thinking back to how long PC installations take and that I didn't want to sit through it.

So, I jumped onto the 360 to play some Legends of WrestleMania.  The game is quite good, even though the quick-time button press mini-games are getting a bit old, especially when it comes down to a Superstar's finishers.  I love the way they present each match with a little video taking you back to when it actually occurred.  These videos are tremendously well done and, for the most part, sparked up nostalgia and sent shivers down my spine.  It's not game of the year material, but it's still enjoyable.

Anyway, I was playing along when, all of a sudden, my controller shut off.  I turned it back on only to have it shut off on me once again.  Thinking that it was the batteries, I changed them and it worked for a little while.  Then, it shut off once again and wouldn't let me turn it back on.  I checked the battery holder and it seemed very loose, which surely caused the controller to shut off constantly.  I just turned the console off and watched the hockey game and Quantum of Solace instead (great movie, by the way).

This morning, I wanted to head out and get myself a new controller, along with Guitar Hero Metallica.  However, it was raining cats & dogs outside, which prompted me to rethink my strategy and stay home instead.  What did I do?  Yep, you guessed it.  I installed The Sims 3 and all of the expansions and played that all afternoon... and all night.  I'm addicted again.  Man is this game fun.  I just couldn't stop playing, only taking a short break to have dinner and get ready for work tomorrow.

I don't know if I'll keep on playing The Sims 2, since I'll be dropping by Future Shop on my way home from work tomorrow to grab a new controller and GH Metallica, and also due to the fact that I have a boatload of games to finish (RE 5, Killzone 2, Legends of WrestleMania) and to play (Uno Rush, Rock Band 2's DLC for Ten by Pearl Jam, The Pitt DLC for Fallout 3), but I'll surely try to make some room for this wonderful game.

Hope you guys have a good week.  Thank you for reading.
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DBoy's Favorites - PC

After all of the lists I've seen from various people around the site, I've decided to compile my own lists of favorite games. Yes, I wrote lists, plural, since I'll be doing a top 5 for every video game system I've owned in my life, PC included. These lists will then be compiled to compose my top 10 favorite games of all time.

Next up, a non-console system that has its own fair share of great games, the PC.

PC

It would be impossible to do a list of specs for this section.  The PC has evolved tremendously over the years and at a much more rapid rate than its console counterparts.  So, let's just jump into the top 5 right away.

5. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (2003)
This entry might be a shocker for some folks out there, but for me, Max Payne 2 was an exquisite blend of great storytelling, unforgettable characters and solid gameplay.  While Max borrowed his bullet time from The Matrix movies, it worked quite well and offered an alternate option when fighting hordes of bad guys.  Since then, the mechanics has been over-used in many other shooters.  I absolutely loved this game (finished it twice) and I cannot wait to see what the third installment will bring to the table.
Here's some bullet time action from the game.

4. Diablo (1996)
Ah Diablo.  How can I forget thee?  Instead of doing my Assembler or Cobol projects for Programming class, I would trudge through your dungeons, fighting off baddies while pounding on my mouse buttons until it couldn't take it anymore.  In fact, I went through so many mice while playing you that Blizzard should send me a check.  With all jokes aside, Diablo was a tremendous and addicting game that just sucked me in from the first time I played it.  If you haven't played Diablo yet, what the hell are you waiting for?!  Oh, and the 3rd installment can't come soon enough.
Face to face with the man himself.

3. Half-Life 2 (2004)
"Wake up, Mr. Freeman. Wake up and smell the ashes."  Unforgettable words pronounced by the G-Man at the start of Half-Life 2.  Words that would haunt you throughout Gordon Freeman's journey through a devastated City 17 in search of the truth.  With a fully fleshed out story, creepy enemies and an impressive array of weapons to choose from, including that infamous crowbar, Half-Life 2 still remains one of my favorite shooters of all time.  The creepy atmosphere within the game, along with some pretty disturbing appearances from the G-Man, cannot be denied.  Such a fantastic game.
Here's the game's cliffhanger ending (OMG SPOILERS!!)

2. The Sims 2 (2004)
They should have subtitled this game Addiction.  Although some of you might be surprised to see this game so high on the top five, don't be too shocked (orappalled ) by its presence.  The Sims 2 was my drug game back in 2004.  The day it was released (September 14, 2004 to be exact), I took the day off from work to pick it up, since I had played the holy high hell out of the first game and couldn't wait to get my hands on this one.  I got home around noon with it, installed it while eating a sandwich, and started playing around 12:30 PM.  Aside from the occasional bathroom break, I wouldn't budge from my chair.  When I finally looked up at the clock, it was 10:30 PM.  I hadn't eaten dinner or done anything else the entire day except play The Sims 2.  Many people will complain that it's not a real game or that it's too casual, but I disagree entirely.  I love this game to death and I can't wait to see what the genius known as Will Wright will come up with in The Sims 3.
Such addicting music, don't you agree?

1. Unreal Tournament 2004 (2004)
Online multiplayer games have never been my forte.  I usually end up getting doing badly instead of the contrary.  However, there is one game that I am quite good at, and it just so happens to be, in my humble opinion, the very best multiplayer game ever made.  That game is Unreal Tournament 2004.  Not only did this game procure me with hours upon hours of fragging goodness, it also allowed me to meet some incredible people too.  Let me explain.  One night, I was playing a game of Onslaught (best game mode ever, by the way) and doing quite well when one of the guys on my team asked me if I wanted to join his clan.  I wasn't really interested but I did accept his offer to attend one of their practices that evening.  The rest, as they say, is history.  I ended up joining the clan and I got to know some stellar people in the process.  I still talk to most of them today, even though the clan was dissolved back in late 2005.  I will never forget those times and those people and the tremendous camaraderie that reigned in our clan, win or lose.  I could go on and on about this game and the times I had with it, but I'll leave that for another blog.  Just know that UT 2K4 is my favorite PC game of all time, bar none.
Here's some Onslaught on my favorite map.

There you go, my top 5 favorite PC games.  This list was quite hard for me to compile, since there's a ton of great PC games out there and choosing just 5 is a daunting procedure.  I hope you enjoyed nonetheless.

Next time, the PlayStation 2 takes center stage.

Thank you for reading.
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DBoy's Favorites - NES

After all of the lists I've seen from various people around the site, I've decided to compile my own lists of favorite games. Yes, I wrote lists, plural, since I'll be doing a top 5 for every video game system I've owned in my life, PC included. These lists will then be compiled to compose my top 10 favorite games of all time.

Today, we'll take a look at my top 5 favorites on the NES.

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

Manufacturer: Nintendo
Retail availability: October 18, 1985 (USA); February 1986 (CAN)
Retail price: Control Deck bundle: $199.99; Deluxe Set bundle: $249.99
Units sold: 61.91 million
Best-selling game: Super Mario Bros. (packed in with the bundles) (40.23 million); Super Mario Bros. 3 (stand-alone) (18 million)

Wiki page

Back in 1985, after the infamous video game crash, Nintendo released their Famicom system in Japan.  It sold tons of copies and was a tremendous hit over there so, naturally, the next logical step was North America.  My parents bought me the console for Christmas 1986, when it was released in Canada.  They got me the Deluxe Set bundle, with ROB and the Zapper.  From that moment on, the console would provide endless hours of entertainment for the entire family.  Here's my top 5 favorites on Nintendo's history-making system.

5. Ice Hockey (1988)
Not a lot of people would select this game in their top 5 favorites on the NES, but for me, Ice Hockey deserves a spot on here.  My buddies and I would hook up and play it for hours on end, creating our own tournaments and doing best of 7s until one of us was declared the winner.  These tournaments would last entire afternoons or evenings and would always end up in teasing, shouting and mocking.  However, it was all done in good fun and in the spirit of competition.  Oh, and for those who are curious, I'd always choose Canada and have 2 small, one medium and one big player on my team.
You can sample the hard-hitting fun here.

4. Baseball Stars (1989)
For a baseball game back in the 8-bit era, Baseball Stars was, by far and wide, the best thing on the market.  You could create your team, create players (this was the first game to allow you to do so) and play an entire season of baseball, while the CPU would calculate statistics, such as batting average and home runs, as you went along.  Hell, the game even featured an all-girls team, dressed in pink.  I used to play entire seasons as the Montreal Expos and created each and every player from the team.  This is, by far, my favorite baseball game of all time, hence why it's at number four here.
Here's some gameplay footage.

3. Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (1987)
Does this game really need an introduction anymore?  Punch-Out!! still remains my father's favorite game of all time.  He used to spend countless hours trying to beat Iron Mike, all the while cursing up a storm when he'd get knocked out by that thunderous uppercut.  One day, I was outside, hanging out with some friends, when he came rushing out the door yelling "Denis! I finally beat him! I beat Mike Tyson!"  My friends and I went rushing inside the house and saw the evidence.  I'd rarely seen my father smile so broadly before and with tremendous pride in his eyes.  As for myself, after going through 2-3 controllers and actually punching my fist through the wall in our basement, I beat Iron Mike... and then paid for thegyps to repair the wall.
Tyson goes down!  Tyson goes down!

2. Super Mario Bros. (1985)
No favorite NES games list would be complete without the game that started it all.  Have you guys ever stopped to wonder where Nintendo would be right now without it's portly plumber?  Mario Mario is the most recognizable video game character in the world, has sprung countless sequels and spin-offs and continues to make Nintendo a household name.  My entire family, including my mother, who would never even get close to a video game system, finished the game.  We would then do speed runs against each other to see who would finish it the fastest.  Many people have called SMB the greatest game of all time and, although I don't particularly agree with that, it is a pioneer game that shaped today's industry in ways we can't even begin to enumerate.
Check out this speed run of SMB.

1. River City Ransom (1990)
In my opinion, River City Ransom is one of the most underrated and underestimated games on the NES.  I can't even recall the number of hours I spent playing this game.  I'd restart the story over and over again, either by myself or with a buddy, while trying to get all of the weapons and goodies available.  Aside from being a beat 'em up, RCR was also incorporated some RPG elements.  You were able to buy things in the stores which would increase your abilities, allowing you to punch, kick, throw or jump better or faster.  You could also learn special techniques by reading books, such as Acro Circus, Stone Hands and Dragon Kick.  Man did I love this game to death, and I keep hoping that there will be a quality sequel to it one day (forget RCR 2, that was garbage).
Gameplay footage of my favorite NES game.

Hope you enjoyed this look back at my favorite NES games.  Please remember that these are my personal choices.  Next time, I'll take a look at my favorite PC games.

Thank you for reading.
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DBoy's Favorites - Intellivision

After all of the lists I've seen from various people around the site, I've decided to compile my own lists of favorite games.  Yes, I wrote lists, plural, since I'll be doing a top 5 for every video game system I've owned in my life, PC included.  These lists will then be compiled to compose my top 10 favorite games of all time.

Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

Intellivision

Manufacturer: Mattel
Retail availability: 1980
Retail price: $299
Units sold: 3 million
Best-selling game: Astrosmash (1 million units)

Wiki page

While all of my friends were getting Atari 2600s for Christmas, my father decided to buy me an Intellivision because, in his words, it "looked better".  In fact, it did have better graphics and sound than the Atari 2600 did.  Thankfully, it also had great games.  Here are my five favorites on the system.

5. Night Stalker (1982)
You could say that this was my very first shooter.  In Night Stalker, your objective was to rack up the biggest score possible without getting killed by bats, spiders or robots.  Problem is, you needed to get to your gun first, because you couldn't shoot without it.  If you got bitten or shot, you'd die, lose a life and respawn in your base, located in the middle of the maze.  Naturally, the robots were worth a ton of points and got tougher as you progressed through the game.  Some took more hits before they blew up, other would destroy your base, leaving you nowhere to hide, while others would shoot bullets which swallowed yours up.  The maze layout never changed, but it was still great fun trying to beat my score at every game.
Here's some gameplay footage of Night Stalker.

4. Utopia (1982)
Before Sim City, there was Utopia.  This was designed as a two player game (there wasn't an AI opponent), but I used to play it by myself to see how big of a score I could get.  You were given an island where you could construct buildings, such as schools, farms and factories, build fishing or PT boats, or promote rebel activities on the other island (which was useless when playing alone).  Each round lasted the amount of time you wanted it to, as you would input that number at the beginning of the game, as well as the number of rounds you wanted to play.  Your score would be determined by your population.  If they liked what you were doing (were well fed, had housing, etc), it would increase.  Sometimes, rain clouds, storms or even hurricanes would come along and destroy your crops or buildings, which obviously had an impact on your population.  The game was incredibly fun and addicting without being too complicated.
Here's some gameplay footage of Utopia.  Please note, however, that this footage is from the Aquarius Computer and not the Intellivision, since I couldn't find any.

3. TRON Deadly Disks (1982)
This is actually an excellent movie to game adaptation, and one of the first.  In TRON DD, you play as TRON, as he takes on wave after wave of enemy disk throwers, who would come through "doors" on each side of the grid.  If you threw your own disk into the doors, they'd become accessible and you could go through them to escape difficult situations.  However, after two or three waves, a RECOGNIZER would come along and close all of the doors, unless you shot it directly in the eye with your disk.  This was quite a daunting task, however, since the gap to the eye was very thin.  Naturally, the enemies would become harder to kill and more mobile as the game progressed.  Some would break your disk, while others would electrocute you, and so on.  I loved playing this game with my father, who was an absolute master at it.  He would play an entire afternoon and would rack up one hell of a score to boot, while I sat there, amazed.  Man I miss those days.
Check out TRON Deadly Disks right here.

2. Lock 'N' Chase (1981)
I guess I have Pac-Man to thank for this game.  In Lock 'N' Chase, you play as a thief who breaks into a vault and tries to steal all of the coins, while collecting other goodies that randomly appear while he does so.  You'd see money bags appear in the middle of the screen (4 for each level) and other accessories such as hats, clocks or telephones, depending on the level you were on.  You're pursued by 4 policemen, known as Super D, who try to stop you in your tracks.  The thief can lock the Super D behind doors for a short while before they break free.  He only has 2 doors to work with however.  Although I was quite good at this game, it was my aunt (yes, my aunt!) who kicked all of our butts at it.  She would get to the final level and complete it over 20 times afterwards.  To this day, I still wonder how this frail, gentle woman could be such a bad ass at Lock 'N' Chase.
Check out some gameplay footage here.

1. Triple Action (1981)
Three games on one cartridge.  That's what Triple Action was all about.  Unlike Utopia, this was exclusively a 2-player game.  You'd compete against a friend in 3 different games.  One pitted 2 tanks against each other, where you tried to shoot the other player down before they did it to you.  The walls surrounding you were bouncy, which allowed for some very cool (and cheap) kills.  The second game saw you race against your friend, each on your own section of road, while you tried to accumulate the most mileage before crashing.  The third game, and my favorite of them all, was biplanes.  You'd dogfight against an opponent while doing crazy turns in the sky.  First player to make it to 15 won the match.  You could also go the pacifist way and try to shoot the orange air balloon that took off every once in a while, but where's the fun in that?  My cousin and I would play this game all night long when he'd come over and laugh ourselves silly in the process.  We'd call our games "Snoopy vs. The Red Barron" (I was always Snoopy) and had a riot each and every time.  Each time we meet, we talk about those sessions and laugh ourselves silly once again.  Such great memories.
Here's the Biplanes section of Triple Action.  Sadly, I couldn't find a video with all 3 games in it.

I had great fun doing this blog.  I had a huge lump in my throat while watching these videos, thinking back to the early 80s and the great times I had with theIntellivision.  I still have the system somewhere in my attic, and this made me want to go look for it and dig it out.

In my next blog, I'll be revisiting the NES and my 5 favorite games on the system.

Thank you for reading.
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Vacation Update

I apologize for the lack of blogs, either written or in video form, on my part.  I've been basking in the glory of this week's vacation, doing very little except sleeping, eating, watching movies and, of course, gaming.

Hence, it's time I gave you fine people a small update.

I can't bring myself to finish Killzone 2.  The game is, in Mr. Art Green's words, soulless.  The story and characters couldn't be more lackluster and shallow, the combat dwindles down to take cover, shoot, take cover, shoot, run to next checkpoint,rinse , lather, repeat.  Some people say I shouldn't be expecting too much from a shooter.  Why so?  Gears 2 had some great characters, Halo 3 had a good story and F.E.A.R. 2 had intense and gratifying firefights.  Last time I checked, all of those are shooters and they're also sequels.  Good thing KZ 2's online is superb and doesn't make me feel like I wasted my money.  I still do not understand how or why this game got such high scores and great reviews.

Aside from KZ 2, I've also been playing my fair share of NHL 09 and Rock Band 2.  I've also been thinking of picking up Resident Evil 5, after hearing most of my friends praise it.  Thing is, I don't really want to play the game by myself and, since the game was conceived with co-op in mind, that's the way I'd like to play it.  So, if any of you guys are ready to team up with a RE noob like myself. let me know.  Oh, and Legends of WrestleMania comes out in less than 2 weeks.  Sweet.

Movie wise, I watched W., Oliver Stone's portrayal of George W. Bush's political career.  I usually enjoy Stone's work, but this movie is utter garbage.  His presentation of an innocent George Bush, a man who has no idea of what is going on around him, is pathetic.  It's almost as if he's trying to extract pity from the audience for this imbecile.  The only bright side to this "movie" is Josh Brolin's performance.  Aside from that, this pity fest for America's worst president is just too painful to watch.

That's about it for now.  Hope you guys have a great weekend.

Thanks for reading.
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