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Shooting Them Up: Tyrian 2000 style

Let me preface this by saying: I’ve never been terribly good at the genre of Shoot-‘em-ups. There are a couple of games here and there I have 1CC’d, but I’m sure I’ll get to them in the future. The reason I’ve decided to choose shmups is that it has always tickled my brain in the right ways. The level memorization, the quick reflexes, and excellent variety in difficulty the genre offers. HOWEVER, I think it’s fitting to start with the shmup that started it all for me. Tyrian 2000. Back in 1995 I was only six years old, and somehow this game was appeared on my family computer. To this day I think it still has to do with the fact that my parents got tons of shit from IBM after they had both been laid off from that company; they still received computers for so cheap it’s basically free prices (gotta love those benefits).

This is the first real game that I could clearly remember and reminisce about when I saw it pop up on GoG a couple of years ago. This game was one of the first to get me interested in gaming. It was also one of the first that wasn’t an educational game that I could remember. I believe it was shortly after we had a computer that ran Windows 95 (NON-SEQUITUR ALERT: yes I also loved the shit out of Hover) that I encountered this game. It was easily the best game I had ever played to date. I mean, no other game taught me to make important decisions like picking the higher damage concentrated shot vs. the slightly lower powered spread shot. It taught me the importance of saving funds and to to put off certain upgrades until later. Perhaps I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, so I will use this next paragraph to explain the game to those who haven’t already messed around with the game.

here's you booting up the game. You get to the ship soon I swear.
here's you booting up the game. You get to the ship soon I swear.

Hey guys, welcome to this paragraph. So, Tyrian 2000, it’s a game right? Okay, so basically you boot it up and you have your basic ship: the Talon. You start off with a bit of points (cash) to spend on upgrades. You can choose to upgrade your front weapon, your rear weapon, your left and right sidekicks, your shields, your ship, and your generator (I should mention before I go on that this was for the story mode of the game). The systems for the game were particularly in depth for a six year old. In fact, even by today’s standard of shmups it’s still pretty in depth. It blew my mind. Before the first level you could pick from several different front weapon types. Throughout the levels you killed enemies to earn more points (cash) to spend in the interim of the next level. The best part was, you always had a slightly different array of weapons/sidekicks to choose from. On the bright side, they weren’t randomized so you could memorize the layout and find the best equipment load out to suit your play-style. This element plays into the whole genre style of strict memorization to gain the upper hand. One more thing won’t kill you, will it?

Okay, so maybe YOU can shoot hella bullets
Okay, so maybe YOU can shoot hella bullets

Back to those points (cash). Well, it isn’t totally a high score dedicated game, unless you’re playing arcade, which is a great way for anyone to dip their toes into the genre. Since all your points go into upgrading weapons it is to the player’s advantage to KILL FUCKING EVERYTHING. Yet, if you miss some and don’t get all the point-money in the level, that’s okay too. Not only do you not have to worry about the high score, but also this game is not of the hell of bullet variety. So, survivability is relatively likely throughout the game.


I’ll cleverly segue into my next point: the fact that it is good as in introduction to the genre. As previously stated, it’s not necessarily a high-score dedicated game. So, getting through the story is about the only thing you have to worry about, right? Well to aid you, you’ll be given those shields I mentioned earlier. This adds yet another layer of outright ease to the game. Before your hull takes damage your shield will. Its regeneration is entirely dependent upon your engine, so if you have a low powered engine you might have slow or nil recharge when firing or slow to decent regen when you’re not firing. Yet another level of depth! Finally, by going through the story from start to finish, you’ll have an almost-always ideal set up to get through each of the acts; all of these acts progressively more challenging. For these reasons, Tyrian 2000 can definitely be an excellent intro shmup for gamers wanting to whet their appetite in the genre. However, if you’re looking for more of a challenge, arcade mode is where it’s at.

In arcade mode, there isn’t much of any upgrading between levels; it’s more pick up guns and power ups as you go. You’re given one ship, and one set of shields and a generator. It’s your job to keep track of all your various weapons and upgrade them, and keep an eye out for your particular favorite weapon. For those that graduated from the basics, or those who simply want to shoot shit for points, the arcade mode is the way to go.

SEE? Carrot ship.
SEE? Carrot ship.

I feel like it’s starting to get a little long here, perhaps, so I will finalize every detail I forgot to mention earlier here. First off, it was the first game I encountered that had date sensitive scenarios. I completely forgot that it had various holiday modes that activated on a particular holiday. This past Christmas I booted it up and, to my nostalgic surprise, was greeted by a ship that shot candy canes and encountered holiday anomalies. Second, specific enemies in each level always harbor secret level pick-ups. If you were to collect them, you’d be taken to a secret level; one level even had you collecting beers as extra tough enemies bounced around the screen trying to kill you. Third, you have your custom ships. I never really used this feature, but I do seem to recall a carrot ship. That, unfortunately, was the extent of my custom ship expedition. Finally, in the story mode you have your data cubes. As a child of six, collectible cubes that were obtained from other specific enemies throughout the level intrigued me. The fact that they added another level to the story was just an extra kicker. My little brain could barely comprehend such sorcery.

I could write pages more on this subject, but I feel for the first edition of this little journey, I’ve highlighted some of the games important points, and went over why it was significant to me. I’ll try to make this a semi-regular thing, posting it whenever I have the inspiration. Also, please pardon the sporadic nature of my writing I’m still trying getting into the swing of things. Oh, and if you’re wondering what I’ll do when I run out of shmups, I have the answer for you: I will never run out of them. But, I might switch it up from time to time. Oh, one more thing, if you feel inclined please try it out and let me know what you think!


A pat on the back - you guys deserve it.

I thought today would be easier. I thought today might even be marginally tolerable. But, it isn’t. It never is. But there is one thing that gives me solace: all of you. Ever since the word of Ryan’s passing, the site has been filled with emotions. Support from avid fans from around the world showing their support for the site and, in particular, Ryan’s deep contributions to everyone’s lives. Live streams went up left and right to commemorate this fantastic guy. You all made that possible. There may have been a lot of tears, a few laughs, and maybe even a few smiles here and there. But you guys made it the most memorable day I can remember. I loved reading all the personal stories of how Ryan touched your lives. It only helped to further shape a more perfect image of Ryan in my own mind. It eased the pain. Everyone just proved what this community is made of, and we are a tightly packed unit. The support between users was beautiful. All of it was beautiful. So, from me to all of you I just want to give a big internet style hug and a pat on the back. You guys are probably the best community and you’re really showing it.

I’ve never been a terribly active member of the community, always feeling like I was watching the antics from the sidelines with a smile on my face. Ryan and the crew is what brought me to giantbomb, but you guys were the ones to keep me here. I hope this doesn't come off as insensitive or self-serving, I feel that you all just deserve a very large thank you for being who you are.


It's been real fun Ryan.

I just wanted to say my small piece on Ryan. I joined Gamespot in 2004 and was a fan of the crew ever since then. I would tune in routinely for their On the Spot antics, and always love the endearing silly videos they always made. Ryan’s style was one of the big reasons I grew so passionate about games. After they left Gamespot I kind of lost track of them. I grew somewhat disillusioned with video games. I didn't know giantbomb was a place until about a year and a half ago. You can understand my elation when I discovered that the guys were still around, doing their thing more than ever. I immediately jumped into the community. With the knowledge that they were still around, my love of video games suddenly jumped back into my life. Ryan has been a big part of that. When I was a teenager, I aspired to be more like him, in his critical writing style. As a 20-something I loved his wit and his no-holds-barred attitude towards games. With his loss, I've felt the loss of something special. I never really had a chance to meet him, or speak with him personally, aside from the occasional mention or quote back on Gamespot; some things still stuck with me to this very day. I can only smile with tears in my eyes at the loss of this great man and the memories he left behind. I don't know what else I can say, really. Just... I'm gonna miss him,, dammit. I'm gonna miss him a lot.


That Library Thang. You remember, don't you?

If you may remember I requested the aid of Giantbombers to flesh out our collection of video games at my local library. Well, you may have forgotten about them, because I was beginning to. Today I got a note in my box saying the first shipment of games came in! I got two small stacks of vidya games here for you. Okay, so my work computer doesn't like uploading images so I'll upload the picture later. But, I can tell you what we've gotten so far!

Viva Piñata

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron

Rayman: Origins

Forza Horizon

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

Rhythm Heaven Fever

Journey Collector's Edition

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

LittleBigPlanet 2

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

NHL 13

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

London 2012 - The Official Video Game of the Olympic Games (in the stack but it hasn't been processed yet)

There may be one or two more that I can't remember off the top of my head, but it's begun! Some games were too expensive to purchase; they would take too much of the budget, so we're holding off on those for a price drop. Thanks to all the duders who helped, and I'll keep you updated on the things with the stuff as they come in. I'm losing my train of thought so I'll end it now.


Now here's an idea...

I recently purchased Anno 2070 from the steam sale. I'm quite enjoying myself building an maintaining a city. I must admit I'm not terribly good so far. However, I thought of a plan. After I bone up on the UI and get comfortable with the game, I will do a drink by drink play action blog of my city. It will be complete with screenies, hell maybe I'll throw up a video (if I can figure out how the hell to do it). I feel like these types of games always go in interesting directions the more libations are imbibed. Feel free to give me ideas for other games to do. Or, feel free to tell me my idea is terrible and should never be done EVER.


It's a never-ending journey.

As the year winds down, finals wind up. The holiday kicks into full gear. Insanity sweeps through what little of my mind is left. I stare at my steam library, my gog library, hell, even my console libraries and shudder. I have the biggest back log in the history of back logs. It seems nigh impossible to complete all the games I have, and with more coming out, how will I live up to this pressure?!

Well my friends, it's time for me to selectively single out certain games for play. As of this writing I'm currently working through both Baldur's Gate and BG 2, BGE HD, Far Cry 3, Skylanders Giants, and Zombi U. As for priorities, I think Far Cry 3 takes the top of the list. I'm nearly done with the game, I think I've only got about an hour or two left. That'll be one game down. BGE HD I'm really enjoying, so that should come next on my list. BG 1 obviously should take precedence over 2, but 2 feels like such a better game and I'm having considerably more fun with this one; the decision there is tough to make. Zombi U is next, since I can probably complete this relatively quickly, I think I'm about halfway through. Last, but certainly not least of my active games, Skylander's giants. I want to get a few more skylanders before I dig deeper into this game. Ideally, I would like one of each type to fully complete the game on one runthrough, so to speak. So, since that will be the most investment heavy game, I think I should hold off on that.

On top of those games, for personal enjoyment, I have been running through some games with my fiance. I say this because I do all the playing and she sits back and watches the story unfold. I'm not complaining about this in any stretch, but it just adds to the ever-increasing workload of video-gaming that I have. I mean currently we're working on Dead Space (something I completed when it came out, but she didn't complete but loved the story) so we can move onto Dead Space 2 for her. We're also going through Fatal Frame at an extremely leisurely pace. Fatal Frame is actually something both she and I are fery interested in, and it's given here a few good chill scares vs. Dead Space's jump scares. She generally laughs that I sit there entirely focused on the game, not flinching even slightly at the jumpier moments of the game. I think this is because I'm more focused on completing the goal, and I have a bit more understanding as to how the game is set up and have more of a sense of what will come. But, I digress. What I'm trying to say, is: while these games are definitely on the back log list, they are most certainly low on the totem.

Back Log can be a very disheartening thing. So many games left unplayed, almost feeling undeserved of attention. Yet, these games were all fun in some respect... Well, except for some. I did manage to buy a few complete dev packs from steam over the years. I have a feeling several of those titles will sit on my digital library for all eternity without being played/completed (I'm looking at you Kane and Lynch). Yet, all totaled up, I might have about 300 total games to go through that I really want to play. My strategy highlighted above usually works out pretty well (considering that's generally how I read books and watch television shows), but it'll just be picking the next roster of games to complete. My gaming hobby feels almost like a second job to me. However, I'm not saying that's a bad thing. There aren't many jobs where you could toil for hours, agonizing over the smallest details yet still feel an immense amount of pleasure. I guess, in that respect, I am fairly lucky.

All things considered, I look forward to next tuesday. My classes will be completed for at least a few more weeks, and only having to worry about work allows me a significant chunk of time to dedicate to video games. Maybe I will get through Dead Space, and take a little hiatus before Dead Space 2. Of course we need to finish these before 3 comes out... But I should stop myself before this gets too out of control.


Oh shit, that's right stalker should happen!

After a quick realization i.e. looking at my blog I thought "Hey that's right I didn't make that next post!" So, in turn I think I'll try to make a longer post within the weekend! It really depends on how I want to break up the story though... Well, I think I can do the next story mission and a side quest or two in one go, so I would say Sunday Night will be the grand unveiling. See you there!


The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Epic Day 2: A Quick Scrounge

Waking up feeling refreshed, the morning light gently rolled over the hill of the encampment. I roll up my sleeping bag and head over to see Sid. I take out the flash drive and a greedy glint flicks in his eyes. He thanks me and slides a stack of 1500 rubles. As I slip the stack into my pack, he laughs and tells me I could be a great asset, and more importantly, he caught wind of some new information on Strelok. Apparently Strelok has found a way through the treacherous path to the north end of the Zone, the virgin section. The reason why only a few stalkers have made it to this section, as Sid says, is because there is a section approaching the north where a strange Anomaly occurs. This section starts to boil the very brain of the trespasser in this realm. However, there is a way around it. There is a group of scientists at the Agropom research center working on a means to protect against the anomaly. I should head there to continue the search for Strelok. I started turning my back on my 'employer', but just before I make it halfway he tells me if I'm interested he has a few more well paying jobs. He wants me to bring a suitcase of suspicious nature to a barman over at 100 rads; it's a bar just in the garbage, the neighboring section of my humble beginnings. I quickly say, "sure, as long as it pays well," and Sid retorts that it would be well worth my trouble, if he gets paid well I do too. Before I finally head out, I decide that I should repair my armor and my new shotgun. Better to be prepared for anything than take an unnecessary bullet, or have a misfire. I hastily depart from Sid's office.

My wallet has been filled a little, but I figure I could use some extra spending cash. Thinking back on it, Sid told me about an artifact order that he's looking to fill so I figure I might hunt for that. But first, I decide to check out the stash coordinates on my PDA. I jog over to the stash, and feel a pang of terror as I see a pack of dogs and boars surrounding the small backpack that holds, what damn well better be, a serious supply of cash or weapons. I pull out my shotgun, ready for anything. To my good fortune the boars spot the dogs and rushed them. In the ensuing foray I sprinted to the stash and open it up. I find myself a silenced pistol and some ammo. Not too shabby, it's in good condition and it definitely has more firepower than my old pistol. The harsh snapping and barking of dogs mixed with the guttural squealing of the boars snaps me back to attention and I decide to hightail it out of there before I get caught in the melee.

Rundown and Anomalous, perfect for scrounging
Rundown and Anomalous, perfect for scrounging

On my way back to see Wolf and Sid I find some kind of rundown farm buildings, as far as I can tell at least. My GPS spotted a corpse in the buildings and decide to check it out, I'm in a looting mood anyway. I head into the building with the corpse, and set to looting. Unfortunately, the guy had already been seen to. Nothing. Suddenly, I hear a strange noise behind me. I whip around and fire a blind shot from my sawed-off into the room. I must have nicked a gas can nearby because a flash of bright, hot light blares in front of me, and I go check the wreckage. Walking over to the collection of battered boxes I find, luckily, an untouched set of armor that looks similar to a bandit's garb. It seems to be a bit sturdier, and I will take looking like a reduced amount of damage over looking like a bandit any day. Once I finished my search I leave the building and spot a glowing object just out outside my periphery. Walking closer, I see the distinct shape of an artifact. My heartbeat slowly rises, I know I'm approaching an anomaly and must tread carefully. The closer I get the more I realize that this is the artifact I need for Sidrovich. Gleefully, I pick it up and quickly leave the area, no need to stick around and end up like my poor dead friend.

I look up at the sun, it's directly above me signaling half my day has been used up. I jaunt over to Sidrovich and he casually asks me how things are going. I simply say that I've gotten his order filled. He cracks another smile, the second in one day, that seems impressive. I pass it over to him, while he stows the artifact in a nearby container he gently tosses a small sack of stuff my direction. "Enjoy, you've earned it" says Sid. Never taking my eye off of him, I pick up the sack and empty the contents in front of him. I look down at my spoils, it's a pretty decent collection of items. I got 300 rubles, a dosimeter (for measuring radiation), and a GPS Beacon. Sid says I can keep the rucksack that the stuff was stowed in but I simply drop it on the floor next to his desk and tell him he could keep it, it wouldn't provide me much use. After my brief forage I felt pretty weighed down. I mean shit, I'm carrying about three more guns than I should need to, on top of my old armor. I pass the lot over to Sid. He eyes each item carefully, appraising every ounce of worth from the items. He passes me about 1,000 rubles and says "you won't get a penny less, but you won't get anymore." I tell him I'll take whatever he'll give me, just to keep my pack somewhat light. My stomach rumbles, reminding me that I haven't eaten at all today. I head over to Wolf's camp. He laughs as I approach saying, "Man, you couldn't sneak up on a deaf man with the way your stomach is rumbling." I laugh heartily at his crack and ask him if he's got anything I could cook over the campfire he's got constantly running. Passing me a few sausages and bread he gestures to the fire and remarks, "you can have the food free of charge, as long as you make me something too. I fucking hate cooking." I gladly accept his offer and hunker down for a hearty meal.

That's all for today, I do have more game stuff to add to another post, however, I think I'm going to leave that for this weekend. Expect something from me Saturday or Sunday (most likely sunday night EST). Sorry it's so short and lacking in images too, for some reason GB is having trouble uploading my images, I'm lucky I got that ONE freakin' thing in there. Until next time folks!


Quick STALKER Update

For those few interested in my S.T.A.L.K.E.R. blog, I'm not entirely certain it will be done tonight, lately I've been preparing for my move and have had less time to go back to SoC. Normally I would just spend today playing, but I have work today and my girlfriend is coming this evening after work. Therefore, I think I should have a post up sometime around Wednesday afternoon (EST) since I have an economics exam coming up on Tuesday. Sorry for the delay!


The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Epic: Day 1. Things Go South

Just to get this out of the way, thanks to

Here's a list of Mods I'm using for Shadow of Chernobyl:AMK Mod, Absolute Textures/Structures, LURK Animations for AMK

Difficulty: Veteren

And so our journey begins...

Things aren't too good
Things aren't too good

My journey began in a shipping truck on a dark and stormy night, the cliche air gave the weather itself a furious rage. It seems the weather noticed my amusement and chose that moment to strike my truck down. The truck violently explodes and flies carelessly off the road into a ditch. The world darkens for me.

A dull light begins to penetrate my consciousness as a man stands over me, checking to make sure I'm alive? Or, is he just checking to see if I had any good loot? It's always that way with folks in the zone. I notice through hazy eyes a look of significant interest as he notes my tattoo, must be impressed with it. As he hurriedly lifts me onto his back a throbbing pain strikes throughout my head and I slowly drift back into nothingness.

No Caption Provided

When I come to, I'm in some little shithole of a hovel, on someone's desk as they're poking at me trying to take my PDA. The rush of adrenaline as my PDA, the one object tied to my existence, is taken from me allows me to snap at the man looking it over. The Excitement became too much, my body needed to recuperate; rest would be good now. It's all I can do. The last thing I think is, "I hope this jerk doesn't mind I'm using his desk for a bed."

It's a shithole, but in the Zone, everywhere is a shithole
It's a shithole, but in the Zone, everywhere is a shithole

When I awake again my PDA is beeping at me, low battery? What the hell is going on, I thought I charged this thing already? How long have I been out?! I glance down at it and notice there's a message alert. It says simply: Kill Strelok. When I look up a man, a portly ugly man, stares me in the face and bombards me with the fact that since his guys took such trouble to get me back to him, I somehow how owe him for my life. He finally says his name's Sidrovich and tells me that I can begin paying him back for what he thinks is such a gracious extension of his kindness by getting him some information. He says he needs a flash drive from this Stalker named Nimble, only problem is he's not around. Once he's done blathering I simply sit and consider his request. I mean, it sounds easy enough... He even says he could help me find this Strelok guy for me, so I guess I may as well help him; my needs just overlap on his. I choose to accept the job and he tells me to head over to a nearby camp and talk to a guy named Wolf. He'd fill me in on the details of Nimble's whereabouts. Well, that guy seems like the right place to start. Just before I leave, he shouts "hold on a second! How would you like to make some extra cash?" Well, I could never turn down cash, and I could use it since I seem a little low after my events. I stop and look at Sidrovich. He tells me that he has an order for a particular artifact in the Zone and he would pay me a cut if I could bring it to him; he says he needs a Night Star. I nod acceptance and without a word, I turn around and walk away from my "savior" to have a chat with Wolf.

It's not a bad little camp
It's not a bad little camp

Once I'm outside just ahead of me I see a small collection of dilapidated houses with a small collection of Stalkers strewn throughout. I enter the camp and see a few guys grouped around a campfire, and I mumble to no one in particular, "where's this fuckin' Wolf character anyway?" I suppose one of the bonfire fellows overheard me, as he sarcastically remarks, "he's the tough guy standing behind us." So far, so good. I've found Wolf, bringing me one step closer to Nimble and that flash drive. I walk up to Wolf. He greets me and I return it. I tell him Sidrovich needs me to find one of his crew, Nimble, and get the flash drive he has stashed. Wolf chuckles, he states that Nimble was recently captured by a group of bandits. He sent a crew out to find him and they've located the camp where he's being held. He leans against the wall and says with a sideways glance, "If you're looking for that data, you'd best head over to that crew and help them out." Well, it's an offer I can't refuse. He smiles, takes my PDA, marks the location of his crew on it, and hands it back to me. I decide not to waste any time and head straight for these guys. I'll keep my eyes peeled for that Night Star along the way.

After a short run along the road, I see the guys stationed on a hill overlooking a small encampment. I speak to Petruha, the leader of the group, and he tells me that Nimble is being held at the ahead encampment; there are about seven or eight bandits to deal with. He offers to have us move as a group and I graciously accept. Normally I think I could fight off a group of bandits, but I seem to have lost all my weapons, except for a crappy little service pistol that somehow replaced my high powered .45 cal deal. Fuckin' scavengers. I move ahead of the group opting for a side assault. I crawl through some bushes and encounter little resistance. Once I head into the building where Nimble is being held, all hell breaks loose. I hear from just outside the thunderous sounds of sawed off shotguns peppering the air with their shot, and the return volley of pistol fire from the bandits. A bandit, looking towards the sound in the confusion, take one of my bullets to the back of his head and slumps down to the ground. One down. I turn the corner and see nimble bound in a corner next to a fire, and decide to eliminate the rest of the threats before helping him out. I head up the stairs and see another barrel campfire. I move cautiously towards the room, and with good reason. Another bandit awaited me on the inside. Before he can pull out his weapon, I leaned the corner of the doorway and plugged him. Two down.

This vantage point should work
This vantage point should work

The hail of bullets outside has grown even fiercer, decide to move for the high ground. I head up the ladder into an attic and notice that some of the panels are missing. Thinking quickly, I hop up onto the roof itself and glance downwards. It seems my new-found friends have taken down a couple of bandits themselves, dead bodies are strewn around the camp. There are still a few enemies left, and I use my rooftop advantage to lay down a little justice. With just one bandit left I creep to the edge of the roof, using the chimney as cover and spot a bandit peeking out of a guardhouse on the ground. He fires a shot that wings me and a dizzying feeling comes over me as the pain of the bullet sears through my brain. I back up further on to the roof where his bullets can't reach and wait until I regain my senses. I then adhere a bandage quickly to my wound and sneak back to the corner of the roof. I spot him again, this time I put a few bullets into him before he can fire and he goes down. The camp is bandit free now. I guess I should check in with Nimble.

I head back down to the corner where Nimble was being held, free him, and he thanks me for my efforts. I tell him Sidrovich is looking for that flash drive he has, and he gladly hands it over to me. Fewf, mission accomplished. That wasn't as easy at it should have been. Before I leave, I chat with Nimble for a bit about the Zone, and he regales me with what sounds to me like a folk story. He talks about a Controller who lived in the forest here. He never killed or harmed unless in self preservation, and he would roam the forest aiding the creatures therein. The military, however, grew increasingly annoyed with the Controller's altruistic intentions, as they sought to exterminate the dogs. One day, a maimed, blinded puppy comes across the Controller, and they become close companions. However, the military finally comes upon the Controller and strike him down with horrific precision. The dog, given enough time to escape, returns to the Controller, and it settles in the now blood-soaked earth next to his companion and howls, without end for weeks. Eventually hunger and thirst consume the dog and he passes on, laid down next to his companion. I think this story is a heartwarming pile of horse-shit, but Nimble snaps, "It's true! They've found the bones of the Controller and the Dog!" I guess it's my preconceptions of the Zone, but I don't sincerely believe a Controller can be that nice. The last thing Nimble tells me: just before we arrived he told the bandits about a stash of artifacts and they sent a man out there. He did not tell them that this stash was guarded by fierce boars, but he happily gives me this information, as well as the coordinates. He bids me farewell and to take care on my journey.

I loot the corpses around the camp and find a few medkits, bandages, bottles of vodka, and a big surprise a sawed-off shotgun. At least this will have some close range power to dish out. Anything is an improvement over this pea-shooter I'm stuck with. I decide it's best to head straight back to Sidrovich while dodging a few Anomalies that I happen upon. To the unwary traveler, these anomalies can be deadly, as a few Stalkers I loot learned the hard way. When I return to Wolf, I notice it's getting late. I decide that it would be better to sleep and take care of the rest of the details in the morning; get a fresh start on the day. I unroll my sleeping bag inside one of the houses, crawl in and in the same action fall soundly asleep.

So that's it for my first entry, Let me know what you think, comments/suggestions are greatly appreciated and I'll get to working on the next one. I'm hoping to have these done in roughly a weekly manner, but that may or may not be possible.

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