Monday, January 25, 2010

DoAX2 - Day 70 - WHAMMIE! Edition

Remember that old game show, Press Your Luck? The one with the video board that had squares for money, BIG money and the turn ending, money stealing Whammies? Well today I got a little overconfident and ended up landing on a Whammie. See, I got into a really good roll gifting to Christie. 2 million dollar suits down, Ptarmigian and Grekle, with just the Thrush left to go. So of course, what did I do? I tried to gift her the Thrush. WHAMMIE~!

It didn't work, and since I was on Day 12 of my vacation already, I spent the rest of the time just playing volleyball. Down to $9 million after today's spending binge, my mad volleyball skillz are only helping to stem the bleeding. Ohwell, at least I have Christie down to 3 more suits! THREE! That's it!

Hitomi on the other hand is still annoying me. Hitomi now has 26 of 32 suits, I marked off two on my spreadsheet that she apparently, does not actually have. I hate when that happens. I will say that I started playing at quarter of 2 today and did not stop until quarter of 3. I only wanted to run through a 15-20 minute session but I got sucked in against my will.

Friday, January 22, 2010

16 Reasons To Get A PSP









All these are shots from the upcoming Dead or Alive Paradise for the PSP. The red head that is not Kasumi in the above shot is the new character, Rio. As much as I love Dead or Alive Extreme 2, I would kill for Dead or Alive Extreme 3!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Best Shows You Failed To Watch: Dollhouse




Debuting last January on FOX, Dollhouse was the latest show from Joss Whedon, the genius behind Firefly, Serenity, Buffy, Angel and Astonishing X-Men (issues 1-25, catch the motion comics off of Hulu!) I've tried a few times to properly write this and explain just what the Dollhouse is, since while it starts out simple it quickly gets much deeper. See, the Dollhouse is a business which sends out people that have been imprinted with buyer-specific personalities. As the perfect companion for the rich and famous, since Dolls would honestly, truly love back without ulterior motives.

The first few episodes of the series, thanks to the expected bungling of FOX management, stick to that bland premise of dolls being sent out on engagements without much of a larger picture. If you gave up on Dollhouse back when it aired the second, third or even fourth episode, I would not blame you.

You did however, rob yourself of what became an amazing sci-fi show. Netflix the series on DVD, watch it from disc one all the way through the second season to the final episode. Unlike Firefly, Whedon was given enough time to wrap up the story and tie it off with a neat little bow. Firefly alumni Summer Glau (River Tam) and Alan Tudyk (Wash, and Steve the Pirate from Dodgeball) make cameos as the series goes on. While I want to say more about this, I'm worried about mentioning spoilers. Just trust me on this, everyone that I have convinced to keep watching has ended up thanking me later, and make absolute certain to see episode 13 from season one. Unaired by FOX, episode 13 is the "Days of Future Past" for the Dollhouse universe, starring the Felicia Day. Oh, and that episode gets referred to during season 2. Watch Dollhouse. You missed it the first time, but thanks to the magic of seasons on DVD, you can fix that mistake.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tekken - THE MOVIE



The fact that I could pick out most of the characters is only due to playing Tekken 6 recently. No King shown but he's so iconic I'm sure he'll appear in a cameo. Highly doubt Kuma/Panda/Roger will be shown since those three are a little, well, out-there. Even for Tekken.

At the very least, this should be better then Legend of Chun-Li, DoA or the King of Fighters movie.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dead or Alive Extreme 2 - Day 69 (Teehee)

Oh Day 69, how I have been looking forward to this moment. Too bad the reality is nothing like what my fantasy looked like, especially since today did not involve Kasumi at all. Instead Hitomi continued to hate me, Tina had my back (and a pair of 375,000 swimsuits) and Christie is, at this rate, going to be the first girl with 2 friends. Now that would be an upset.

Ideally I'd get Christie's achievement and then Hitomi's right after, but I have yet to successfully gift to Hitomi. I had a GREAT rhythm going before for gifting to her but now, like my skill at the piano, it is gone. Gone and never to return.

On the bright side I figured out the Pool Hopping mini game. Yeah, it's an easy game, just tapping the colors that correspond with the floats that the girls are walking over, but I could never get the right combination of "quick tap"/"hold" to successfully pull it off. Well today I did! And it was not worth it!

Waiter! More Volleyball!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dead or Alive Extreme 2 - Day 68

Started a new vacation fresh with Lei Fang. Tina as my partner yet again and the goal is to gift more expensive suits to Hitomi and Christie (whom already has 2 of Lei Fang's million dollar suits). That was the plan at least, what ended up happening was far more frustrating.

I got Christie to like me easily enough. Considering she can ONLY be gifted during the morning, Christie takes longer then all the other girls. Which makes it odd that it's been Hitomi giving me problems. I waited until Day 6 to gift her a suit, after buttering her up throughout the previous days, and sure enough, she rejected me. got her back up to maximum love notes on day 8, and again, total rejection. The second time she ended up hating me.

I called it a day after that debacle. Final tally: 2 more suits for Christie, 2 more suits for Tina. So I got SOMETHING done at least.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dead Or Alive Extreme 2 - The Saga Begins For The Second Time

The quest: To find the Holy Grail. No, not the Holy Grail from Castle Anthrax, rather the Holy Grail of Completed Xbox 360 Games. 100% in Dead or Alive Extreme 2. Without using the casino glitch for money. That's right, nothing but tons of volleyball and jetskis to buy all the suits that I need. It's painful, especially the music. When a game includes Hillary Duff AND the Baha Men in its soundtrack, you know it's going to hurt.

That being said, after 67 days of playing, over 200 hours, I finished Ayane's suits. Every girl has all 33 suits of Ayane, in theory, since when I played today and cleaned out Hitomi's inventory she was missing two of Ayane's suits. Thankfully, I also noticed she has 2/3rds of Lei-Fang's collection. A faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

As my schedule settles down, I'll be playing this on a regular basis, updating every day I play. So (re)join me for this exercise in futility.

Tomorrow I'll be recording another video entry, discussing Guilty Gear 2's assault on the English language, the film Daybreakers and yelling at you all to check out Dollhouse on DVD.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What I Bought This Week

Perhaps the most boring title ever. I should liven it up a little, perhaps "What I Bought This Week With Money I Stole From A Luchador." I ended up buying my second copy of Dead or Alive Extreme 2, and then THAT copy was bad so it was back to Gamestop to get it replaced. I've been shopping at this one Gamestop for long enough that the staff pretty much know what to expect from me. Turning in DoAX2 and asking for another copy though, sent this one girl over the edge. I've explained to her my gaming style before, and now I believe, she really gets it. Took an extreme (HA!) example, but she now understands.

I also picked up Project Slypheed, another game you've never heard of, and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. I've talked about that one before, I'll re-post that particular review tomorrow. What else...oh right, the pre-orders. I pre-ordered Super Street Fighter 4 (a good game) and Dante's Inferno (An amazing, absolutely stellar game with an equally great story that is remarkably true to the source material....amusing that Dante's epic poem was about his quest to rescue his smokin' hot wife from the Devil....armed with Death's Scythe which he gained by beating the unliving snot out of Death himself.)

That's what's coming down the pipeline starting tomorrow, with the (re)debut of the DoAX2 Diary!

Video Blog - January 11th

Friday, January 8, 2010

Coming Soon!

Take special note of the very first line of the song.


Guilty Gear 2: Overture





Forget everything you know about the Guilty Gear series. What once was an incredible 2D Fighting game series, the fore bearer of Battle Fantasia and BlazBlue's fighting systems, is here, in it's next-gen debut a bizarre mixture of hack'n'slash action and a RTS. The only thing more bizarre then the actual gameplay is the story, which for the life of me, I could not understand. I understood the plot of Final Fantasy Tactics in one go, and even more impressively, I was able to catch the subtle undertones that James Cameron worked into Avatar. Yet I'm still unsure as to what exactly was going on with this game. First though, some background information.

BACKGROUND
Developed by Arc System Works, Guilty Gear: Overture is a bad joke that got carried a wee bit too far. Sammy Software, the same Sammy that merged with SEGA, ended up with the Guilty Gear license, how? Well, I'm not sure since any and all information on this has been removed from the internet, but I'll wager it has to do with sake and betting on pro wrestling. So what does Arc System Works do with their next gen Guilty Gear? They sabotage the license and purposely make a very different game in an attempt to get full control of their creation.



PLOT
As I mentioned above, the nuances of Avatar are easier to figure out then this game. It takes place 5 years after Guilty Gear, Sol Badguy (the hero, which is Ironic. Incidentally, a thousand forks when all you need is a spoon is NOT Ironic), is traveling with  Sin, the Robin to Sol's Batman. Ky Kiske needs their help to combat an invasion of dolls armed with giant wrenches that speak in a very flat monotone controlled by the evil Valentine (Basically BlazBlue's Rachel is a direct copy of this character).  Eventually, it becomes clear...clearish... that the insidious THAT MAN (No really, that's his actual name) is somehow tied up in all this and his name is spoken in the same tones as He Who Shall Not Be Named.

Exactly how Rachel ends up becoming a giant mechanized Emo witch that shoots lasers is never fully explained. Yeah. Don't skip the cut scenes or anything that way you too can try and decipher this plot. The Da Vinci Code is simpler to understand. Not the actual code, no, try and understand how it made over $200 million.

GAMEPLAY
This is why Guilty Gear: Overture is such a bad game. The first 6 levels are basically tutorials of all the many, many different controls you need to master. You control your "Master" directly, hacking and slashing enemy troops using combos straight out of the previous Gear titles. The goal is to use your master to help push your servants forward across the battlefield, taking over control nodes which give you more resources to get more servants and thus, push even further across the battlefield until you get the chance to take down your enemies "Master Ghost", which is explained as being a physical representation of their soul.

To complicate things further, your servants come in multiple varieties creating a Rock/Paper/Scissors match up that in the heat of battle, you will pay no attention to whatsoever. There's servants that buff, servants that have ranged attacks, those that are fast, totally average, tanks and those that I still can not figure out why anyone would use them. You can organize them into squads and direct them around to different points on the map which in later levels, you have to do in order to overpower the AI or get around the mosh pit that always forms in the middle of the map.

There's even items you can use in battle to give you an edge. Area buff items, personal buff items, direct damage items, health potions, mana potions, it's amazing the sheer amount of things you need to keep track of in order to make it through a level.



CONTROLS
 Gah! Trying to aim at a specific enemy, juggle your inventory, manage your servants and block when needed is a pain and will cramp your fingers. While the individual control really isn't that bad, it's certainly right along with lines of the Dynasty Warriors games, it's trying to jump from all the different actions that makes you get all jumbled up. Very similar to the classic console RTS control issue come to think of it.


GRAPHICS
For a Xbox game, it looks pretty good. For a Xbox 360 game, it's full of graphical glitches, drab environments, bad, jaggy polygons that make up the enemies and far too much lens flare. In fact, the enemies resemble characters from Tobal No. 1, the Square fighting game from the PS1 era. I kept flashing back to that game for some reason. It could be the jaggies, or it could be acid flashbacks. One or the other.

MUSIC
Best part of the Xbox 360? You can burn your CDs to it and play your own music.

ACHIEVEMENTS
There's some easy ones for going through the campaign, then some easily boostable ones for playing online (which NO ONE is playing at the moment. I wonder why?) and then you get the big ones. The Free Mission achievements. What these are is a whole mode where you can take any character through the campaign missions, instead of being stuck with whomever the plot dictates. You have to beat every Free Mission with every Master, including the totally useless Dr. Paradigm, the lizard-scholar floating in a bubble. Yes. Lizard-scholar that floats in a bubble.Meghan Fox has more range then this guy.

You're still not done. Nope, then you need to beat the Campaign on Hard, which yes, is actually hard. If you can get all "S" ranks on the missions then well, good for you! But you won't. Which means another playthrough on medium going for all S ranks.

If you can find this game, I implore you to buy it, bring it with you to the parking lot, drop it behind your rear tires, and then run it over as you pull out. Go back into the parking spot, running it over one more time to be sure (Rule#2: Double-Tap), bring it back inside and throw it at the stupid clerk that sold it to you in the first place.

And finally, because I can do this now, here's a gameplay vid of Guilty Gear 2 in action:



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Review Repost: Overlord (Contains FF7 Spoiler!)


Overlord




Reviewing good games, with my style, is actually rather difficult. I live off of ridicule, scorn, and the whole "Why did you play this" attitude. That makes reviewing the bad games really easy. Why else would I have even touched Dash of Destruction or Deadliest Catch? Those games are so easy to mock, it's like playing hide and seek with Helen Keller.

What can I do if the game isn't good...or bad...but instead, is downright evil? After much soul searching with my buddy Jack, I figured that who better to discuss Overlord then well, the Overlord himself?

It might amaze you to know that the Overlord actually hails from the Netherlands, which is an actual country and not what a Catholic schoolgirl calls her oh hey! And here's the Overlord!

Overlord:Do you realize how early it is over here?

Dog:It's 3 PM here....so your on the other side of London...which means it would be...9 PM. At night. That's not early you liar.

Overlord:That's just one example of how downright EVIL~! I am.

Dog:....that wasn't evil. In fact, it was really lame and annoying. Your game is supposed to showcase what it's like to be evil so why the...well it's insulting to call that a half-baked attempt...

Overlord:Once you've done all the evil things that I've done, it's the small things that really stick out. In fact, there is nothing that can shock me anymore, not since I burned down the elven Sacred Grove, the source of their immortality and doomed the entire race. A moment you can relive in my game for yourself.

Dog:I'm sure I can find an evil act that will shock even you. That though is pretty mean. How can you doom a race and yet also have the option to give stolen food back to the halflings...or to give the elves their stolen statue back?

Overlord:Well Triumph Studios, the firm that were programming my biography for you to play through, decide to have the options for both good and evil, as opposed to strict evil. This is a mistake that is going to corrected for the sequel, Overlord 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Dog:Will the controls still be as awkward in the sequel? I can't tell you how many times one of my minions got stuck on a tiny piece of the landscape.

Overlord:That simply gets across how hard it is to be the Overlord. You try maintaining strict control of a legion of underlings, with 4 different varieties no less. How can I easily organize fighters, rogues, ranged attackers and healers all in real time? Life doesn't have a pause button you know, and what stupid person really expects your enemies to just stand and wait for you to take your turn and attack?

You send the minions around with one stick, move me around with the other. How is that hard? Are you just stupid? Your stupid aren't you?

Dog:I think you meant *you're* stupid...

Overlord:SILENCE PLEBIAN BEFORE I INCINERATE YOU WITH MY BALLS OF FIRE!

Dog:But your magic sucks.

Overlord: Well yes, level 4 Wizard and all that, but what few spells I have are incredibly helpful and they add a whole new dimension to the gameplay. And you can incinerate sheep. Or elves. That never gets old. I like to imagine I'm causing Orlando Bloom to go Boom! Every evil Overlord in an RPG hates twinks.

Dog:Okay, now how is your game an RPG?

Overlord:I have stats, you buy weapons and armor, take a mistress, buy upgrades for my castle and view it through an isometric perspective. That and I say it's an RPG. I'm bigger then you so I'm right.

Dog: So your game is Fable starring the Gremlins?

Overlord:NO! My game has real choices you can make, with much more interesting puzzles and dungeons to get through! PEter Molyneaux is a hack that just can't cut it as evil in this business!

Dog:He did charge people extra for a mini game collection to earn fake money for his not even released yet game.

Overlord:Ohhhhh. That's evil. I like that. Still doesn't shock me or anything, nothing can be that evil.

Dog:What about the horrible graphics in your game? Is that some sort of assault on our good taste?

Overlord:Listen point dexter, my graphics are fine, especially for an older title. This was before "Glitches" of War remember, and the focus here is on the gameplay, not just being good looking that Solid Snake guy.

Dog:But music is timeless, so why does yours suck...oh...that's a large axe you have there...did I say suck? Why is it so awesome!? I can listen to that same few notes being played in your tower day after day! In fact, I will!

Overlord:I'm glad we understand each other. So gameplay, graphics, music, is there anything you have yet to praise me on yet?

Dog:The achievements for your game, who came up with them?

Overlord:Willy the Mailboy. He figured rewarding people for crushing the opposing heroes was a good way to get them hooked, before they realize that they have to play the game twice *and* hunt down every upgrade for the tower, while making their mistress happy, slaughtering thousands and thousands of sheep for days on end and then destroying the townfolk of Spree! With this training as obedient slaves, I can then muster an army of gamers to take over the world! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Dog:....is helping you take over the world necessary for an achievement?

Overlord:...no.

Dog:Then no one's interested. Oh, and before you go, I found an act so evil, so vile, that it will reduce you to tears.

Overlord:Try me mortal.

Dog:suit yourself. Here you go:



Overlord:WHY!? WHY DID SHE HAVE TO DIE!? THIS INTERVIEW IS OVER!

Dog:Going to cry now?

Overlord:SHE CAN BE REZZED! I NEED A PHOENIX DOWN!

Who I Am And What I Do

I am Dog of Thunder, a mild mannered college librarian by night and a gamer by day. I have been playing games of all kinds since my aunt first had me sit down and play her NES. A while later, one of my uncles showed me Dragon Warrior 3 on the NES (the Orochi dungeon sequence) and I was hooked for good. Other games have drifted in and out, CCGs such as Magic the Gathering and Warlord, table top games like Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Mordheim and the ilk, and even good old pen and paper RPGS, Dungeons and Dragons, Vampire: The Masquerade, Fallen and for one unforgettable weekend, Tales from the Floating Vagabond.

I especially enjoy horrible games. The reviews I've posted so far, X-Blades, Dash of Destruction, Pimp My Ride, Deadliest Catch, are all for games so bad that most people don't spend more then 10 minutes on them. These games give me strength. I find them much more amusing then say, Fallout 3, an AAA title that is still sitting on my shelf, waiting to be played. Whenever I play a good game, I get a message over Xbox LIVE from someone that is in shock over the mere sight of me playing a good game. Usually it's a sarcastic message asking if I'm alright.

My favorite message was when I was playing Operation Darkness and one of my friends sent this for a message: "I was thinking of picking that game up, but now that I see you're playing it, I'm nervous." Operation Darkness, which I'll cover at some point, really isn't *that* bad, but I can understand his trepidation. As the 33rd person in the world to finish X-Blades, I think my taste can be questioned. :-)

My taste, what I like in gaming, movies, and TV, is the reason for this blog. Sharing with all of you my slanted perspective on things. I'm not overly cynical or jaded, just someone that enjoys unintentional comedy much more then intentional comedy. So check back from time to time as I embark on an epic odyssey, exploring the truly wretched in the world of the Xbox 360.

Review: Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm

Dog's Dumpster Diving Review

Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm

or

The Cure For Insomnia




For starters, I need to address that cover art. First off, any game involving seamen in any way, should not be rated "Teen." Secondly, notice the two guys clinging on for dear life as the waves are tossing them around? Awesome right? Just screams "I am a man!" doesn't it? Well the game is nothing like that.

Background

To fully appreciate this putrid piece of [Gamespot] I need to explain the awesomeness that is the show, The Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel. To be honest, anything involving Mike Rowe is automatically awesome. He's like Bruce Campbell in that regard. Oh come on, you know it's true. Don't lie. You've got a man-crush on Mike Rowe.

Rawr.

Mike narrates the episodes which follow the crews of various crab fishing boats in the Bering Sea, perhaps the deadliest patch of water on Earth-2. For you non-Geography minded people, like Ms. Teen USA candidates, the Bering Sea is the body of water in the northern pacific that lies between Alaska and Russia. All those funny little islands that stretch off Alaska like a tail? Those are the Aleutian islands and they mark the region that the show(and the game) take place.

Each of the ships, there's about 5 main ones the show follows, are big on familial connections. The main ship, with regards to the game, is that of the Northwestern, captained by Sig Hansen, another manly man of a man.
Studly.

What makes men like Sig so impressive, is that crab fishing for the Alaskan King crab is the most dangerous form of fishing in the world. As of 2005, for every 100,000 fishermen that head out, 300 don't make it back. 80% of those 300 died of hypothermia or drowning. None of them died by clinging onto a space shuttle.

The design team at Liquid Dragon Studios actually spent some time out on the Bering Sea with Sig Hansen aboard the Northwesternto learn what conditions had to be created for the game and how they are girly men with no hair on their chests.

When I told my wife that I got the Deadliest Catch game from Gamefly, she perked up a bit and asked if it was like the show, fighting off killer 20 foot swells, decks as slippery as an AIG executive, the worst weather in the world and a freezing, biting cold that would make a lesser man curl up in a ball and cry for his mommy.

I told her, "No, you just sail around, drop crab traps, pick them up, and then go back to harbor to sell them."

She asked why I play this crap.

I told her that some men are fit to face the worst Mother Nature has to offer, stare Death in the face and laugh. Then there's dorks like me that sneeze in direct sunlight and start to burn.

Did I put off talking about the actual game enough yet? Yes? Alright, onto the actual game!

The Menu Screen
Gets a special call out for the truly epic profile shot of the main ship captains, featuring Sig Hansen, the pinnacle of manhood, above a ship being tossed around in the sea to the tune of "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi. Best. Menu screen. Ever. In fact, keep it on this screen, because if you don't, it means you're actually experiencing the

Gameplay
Oh boy. For starters, there's a mandatory tutorial (like the one ZeroDesolation played for Command&Conquer 3) that introduces you to the basic controls and various gameplay situations. Lesson 1: The boat is slow. Lesson 2: Your crew works slow. Lesson 3: Whenever Sig pops up on the screen, he's going to verbally smack you for being a stupid girly man.

Get through the tutorial and you get to be the crab boat captain of your own vessel! Wo0t! Select a crew, buy supplies and head out into the open sea where you spend an hour laying crab traps, simming forward 2 days, then picking them up! AWESOME! Did I mention you have to wait for your crew to prep each and every trap!? No?! Well they do! No wonder the Russian boats are so much more productive, your crew needs the threat of the gulag to get motivated or something.

Sometimes, to mix things up, the weather gets bad and choppy. That's when the "seasick cam" (Named by the same guys the Medal of Honor team uses apparently), is in full effect. Your ship gets tougher to control, but that's um, about it. On harder difficulties, some crew *can* be washed overboard, but it kinda loses any dramatic effect because of:

Graphics
They suck.

Sound
What little music the game has, is actually really cool and rather mood setting. No really, it is. I know, as shocked as you are.

What really grinds my gears about the audio is the stupid seagulls. Your ship, quire realistically, is being followed at all times by a flock of seagulls, no matter how far you run away, there they are. Squawking. Constantly. It will drive you insane.

Achievements

Very do able achievement list actually, despite the fact that you have to upgrade your ship with all the...upgrades...hmm..awkward...and finish a season with your entire crew having high morale. Oh, and play an online game with 8 people in it (counting yourself). Besides those three, the list really isn't that bad. Long, boring and soul crushing, but not bad.

Don't let that fool you into thinking your man enough to tackle this game though, these rough waters? Only real men need apply. If you think have the guts and the testicular fortitude to hang with beer guzzling, cussing, roughneck bastiches, then by all means, pick this game up. Grab a copy with your man card. The one you had to turn in after Bambi's mom got shot. Wuss.

The Ninja Gaiden 2 Rap



Dog's Dumpster Diving Rap

Ninja Gaiden 2

or

Ninja > Half Breed Demon






Yo! Let's kick it

Ninja Stars baby
Ninja Stars baby
All right stop collaborate and stew
Dog is back with my brand new review
Something grabs a hold of me tightly
Flows like the Dragon Sword through me and nightly
Will it ever stop yo I gotta play
Turn off the lights and I'll pray
To the extreme Ryu rocks a combo like a camel
Light up a stage and wax a chump like a candle
Dance go rush to the combat that booms
I'm killing your brain like a hundred hit combos
Deadly when I dash a Flying Swallow
Anything less than the best and you're on the gallow
Love it or leave it you better start practicin'
You better know this game ain't playin'
If there's a problem yo you betta solve it
Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it

Ninja Stars baby
Ninja Ninja Stars baby
Ninja Stars baby
Ninja Ninja Stars baby

Now that the party is jumping
With the bosses kicked in and the blood is flowin'
Quick to the point to the point no faking
That camera beats you like a pound of bacon
Screwing you if you ain't quick and nimble
I go crazy when that sucka kills me
And forced to bust out with a souped up ninpo
I'm on a roll and it's time to go solo
Rollin' like Clint in Gran Turino
With my reflxes old so my game can blow
The girlies need not apply
Did you stop no I just drove by
Kept on pursuing to the next stop
I busted a left and I'm heading to the next boss
Genshin is dead, he ain't a hoss
Yo so I continued to the next level
Girl came by, lookin' fly
those polygons make a man die
Jealous 'cause I'm out cutting heads
Ninja reflexes sharp, can't mess my threads
Leavin the chumps all over the walls
Because they're AI so tight you be hurtin' in the balls
Sword be stolen opening hell
I grabbed my new Talons and all I heard were yells
Splittin' spleens like Wolverine
Graphics are whack
Except for when the level's packed
Ain't no way unless I counter attack
Confronted all the dope Greater demons
Whacked them with a crowbar just like Gordon Freeman
Yo, Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it!

Ninja Stars Baby
Ninja Ninja Stars Baby
Ninja Stars Baby
Ninja Ninja Stars Baby

Take heed 'cause I'm a lyrical poet
Gamplay is sweet don't you know it?
Crank up the audio, enjoy the sound
Enough to shake and kick holes in the ground
'Cause my style's like Hanzo's and Leo's
Control is slick with moves like Neo's
Conducted and formed
This is a hell of a concept
Listen to the hype and you want to step with this
Play on the fade 'n' slice like a ninja
Cut like a razor blade so fast, hit like Bob Orton's Cast
If my rhyme was a drug I'd sell it by the gram
Keep my composure when it's time to slam
Mad ninja skills get me the key
Open the door cause I gotta flee
Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it

Ninja Stars baby
Ninja Ninja Stars baby (oh-oh!)
Ninja Stars baby
Ninja Ninja stars baby (Wave your arms!)
Yo man let's get back to the game
Word to your mother
Ninja Stars baby (Make some noise 360voice!)
Ninja Ninja Stars baby
Windmill stars baby


We ain't done yet, stay in that chair and enjoy the chorus


YO! It's the ninja machine -- Gonna rock the town without bein' seen
Have you ever seen a ninja Get Down? -- Slammin' Jammin' to the new swing sound
Yeah, everybody let's move -- Dog is here with the New Jack Groove
Gonna rock, and roll this place -- With the power of the ninja bass
Doggie, ya know I'm not playin' -- Devistate the show while the ninjas are sayin:


Ninja, Ninja, RAP! Ninja, Ninja, RAP!
GO GO GO
Go Ninja, Go Ninja, GO; Go Ninja, Go ninja, GO!
Go Ninja, Go Ninja. GO; Go Ninja, Go ninja, GO!
GO GO GO GO



Lyrics, fill in the gap -- Drop that bass and get the NINJA RAP
Feel it, if you know what I mean -- Give it up for those heroes
Just flowin, smooth with the power -- Kickin' it up, hour after hour
Cause in this life there's only one winner -- You better aim good so you can hit the center
In it to win it, with an army of one -- Ninja that you gotta adore it's the:

Ninja, Ninja, RAP! Ninja, Ninja, RAP!
GO GO GO
Go Ninja, Go Ninja, GO; Go Ninja, Go ninja, GO!
Go Ninja, Go Ninja. GO; Go Ninja, Go ninja, GO!
GO GO GO GO



Villains, you better run and hide -- Because one day you might not slide
Choose your weapon but don't slip --Dog's in control with the flex of the mic grip
Rockin' the crowd the way it should be rocked -- With the Miami drop that you like alot
Hittin like a Ninja when the bass kicks in -- You better check your level
The power of the Ninja is strong -- Fightin' all the crooks until they're all out cold


Go Ninja Go Ninja Go!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pimp My Ride Review

After a long hiatus, Dog of Thunder is back in the hood to share with you his thoughts on a title available for $20 or less at Gamestop.

Dog's Dumpster Dive Presents

Pimp My Ride

or

No b*tches or 'Hos Were Slapped In The Making Of This Review




First off, as of today, we are 15 days away from the 1 year anniversary of my first review: Saint's Row. Just felt like mentioning that since today's game is similar to Saint's Row. It has driving in a free roam environment...and uh, "bling" and well, it's about Pimping, so I'm sure it also has pornstars, fluffers, 'hos, big purple hats, and things going on in the backseat of a car. Right?

No? Pimp My Ride has NONE of that but Saint's Row does? Alright, so what do they have in common?

Cars. That's it. Saint's Row has a more authentic "street" experience then this game. When a game that allows you to make a pasty white guy with asthma and a poor complexion join an inner-city street gang has more of a "street" experience then you, there's something wrong. Like Red Dwarf: Back to Earth sort of wrong.

The "wrong" in this case is that Pimp My Ride does not involve actually pimping. That might actually have been an interesting game. Nope, instead this is a game based directly off of Pimp My Ride, the MTV show that features Xzibit taking crappy rides of photogenic, average kids in LA and taking them to the garage to get PIMPED! This process usually involves a new paint job, a new engine, custom details based off of the kids interest, a sharp spike in their insurance rate and then their ride gets stolen because they live in LA, driving a PIMPED out ride. I really want to see a Pimp My Ride follow up special.

The Studio That Is RESPONSIBLE THIS
Eutechnyx, a European game developer. That's ironic because "bling" in Europe is straight teeth. I keed, I keed. I love Europe. They gave us X-Blades. No, what makes Eutechnyx special is that their specialty is racing games. Big Mutha Truckers, Fast and Furious, and another 360 title they are responsible for: Hot Wheels: Beat That! This falls under "facts Dog wishes he knew before playing this game."

For your personal amusement, a direct quote from the Eutechnyx website, I suggest you don't take that sip of coffee just yet, wait until after you read this so you don't spit it over your keyboard:

quote:
Our driving and racing game technology is respected throughout the gaming industry. We have particular expertise in high level mathematics and physics, essential in recreating the complex dynamics of vehicle movement.


Just keep this quote in mind. I'll refer back to it in about 500 words.

The Plot

I've put off the actual game discussion long enough, so here's the plot. You're a "Pimp in the Making" in Pimp City that has to Pimp Out rides for photogenic, generic teenagers in Pimp City. Xzibit is on hand to guide you through the process, because when you think Pimp, you think Xzibit and not, say, Snoop Dogg, or Ice-T, both of whom really were Pimps.

Anyone else find it ironic that Ice-T plays a cop on Law and Order: SVU now? Just me? The guy that rapped "F*ck the police" and all? No? Alright, moving on then before I really start dating myself.

For the record, this is a Pimp:



This is a Pimp:


And this is even a Pimp:


This is NOT a Pimp:


Gameplay

In order to Pimp Rides, you have two game phases. The Cash Roam, and the Pimping Phase. In Cash Roam, you get to drive around Pimp City, breaking billboards, parking meters, collecting cash tokens and Ghost Riding Your Whip.

Ahem. For the white boys in the audience, or those that don't watch Girls Next Door like I do and missed the episode with Kendra (the Hood Bunny) explaining what "Ghost Ride Your Whip" is, here's a definition from UrbanDictionary:

quote:
Ghost Ride The Whip - To "ghost ride" or "ghost riding" is when a driver places his car in neutral, or cruises at a low speed approx. 5-10 mph everyone in the vehicle opens all the doors and walks along side the car, steps on the hood or the roof of the car while dancing to heart pounding rap music.

"Ghost riding" was invented in the Country Club Crest of Vallejo, Ca by rap artist: J Diggs, then was popularized by E 40 in his hit video "Tell me when to go". The "REAL" Ghost ridn' can be seen on "Treal Tv #2", J Diggs shows where it came from and how to "ghost ride your whip.

Ghost riding started off as a neighborhood expression, then later a city thing, to a Bay Area thing, now a worldwide expression of having fun and has become the culture of many youth in today's world starting from the Bay Area in Northern California


In the game? You have two variations of Ghost Ride. One is called "Ghost Ride Your Whip" and you have to follow a series of button presses on the screen. It gets more complicated as you go, but not by much. The best part is seeing your character actually dance. When that's the best part, you know I'm really stretching for a compliment.

The other Ghost Ride variation is called Hot Steppin'. You press the A button when it passes through the bar at the bottom of the screen. That's it. Moving on!

So once you finish the Cash Roam, which is boring as all get out, you get to PIMP that Ride! In 2 minutes! There's a two minute timer that is merciless. Jabootu help you if you want to get a perfect pimp. That involves finding the "Secret" supplier during the cash roam, finding his shop in the Pimp phase, succeeding in all of Xzibit's challenges (which are "Get to this spot in 30 secs" events, transporter times in Red Faction Guerrilla are more merciful then these events!) AND getting to the supply shops in time. HAVE FUN!

Oh crap. I forgot to mention the "Please the Crowd" event in Cash Roam. You press buttons that appear on screen. See a pattern?

Of course the real crime with this gameplay, beyond the brutal time limit for Pimping, is that it NEVER changes. You always do the same things, for every car. This game repeats itself more then Andrew Dice Clay and his one joke.

Controls

As promised, remember that Eutechnyx quote referring to their specialty in driving physics and control? I really wonder what game they were talking about because in this one, the control sucks. You drive so fast that you feel out of control. Your car can not go over the smallest of bumps. This will get annoying. I promise. In fact, this one little control issue almost brings the whole game down, but when you're already in the lowest circle of hell, that doesn't mean much.

Sound

YO! I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE BLACKS AND THE BROWNS!
WHY THE HATE? YOU REMEMBER THE END OF THAT MOVIE SAW, WHERE THOSE TWO DUDES WERE DYING AND THE MAASTERMIND WAS LYIN' THERE THE WHOLE TIME?

We get it. Kill Whitey. Now shut up and switch to the othe...oh. my. god. There's one song? Per section? And each section has...three cars to Pimp...oh god....hey wait a minute, the song restarted once I got done with the event and...NO I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE BLACK AND THE BROWN! I'M A WHITE DUDE FROM SUBURBIA! BOW BEFORE ME AND MY LACK OF ATHLETIC ABILITY!

Achievements

Knock off all signs/parking meters/coins, finish all levels, complete all Cruisin' events, Perfect Pimp all Cars.

What? PERFECT PIMP ALL CARS!?

^#$&^%#$#$

Dash of Destruction Review

Dog's Dumpster Diving Review

Doritos Dash of Destruction

or

The Best Things In Life Are Free....Right? RIGHT?

See? I've already put this game in perspective! Doritos Dash of Destruction: More Fun Then Being Stomped On The Nuts! Thankfully, this game is 10 lbs. of awesome in a 5 liter bag, so really, you'll enjoy yourself anyways! Before I dig into the substantial meat of this game, some background information on the years of blood and sweat that went into making this masterpiece, this shining pinnacle of gameplay that shall stand as an avatar of the XBLA for all to worship.

Background
Doritos had a contest in 2007 called "Unlock Xbox" in which gamers could submit ideas to Doritos and the finalist would be made into demos courtesy of Ninja Bee (The Cloning Clyde, Kingdoms for Keflings, Band of Bugs people). From October 29th 2007 to November 18th 2007, gamers could play the demos and vote on their favorites. The winner? A game submitted by Mike Borland: Dash of Destruction.

Mike's prize was getting to work with Ninja Bee to get a full fledged XBLA game out of his concept. Originally supposed to be released in the summer of 2008, it was pushed back to December 18th, 2008. Reasons for this delay range from Jonathan Blow complaining that Dash of destruction would overshadow the release of his opus (which is Latin for "only quality game one will produce in their lifetime"), Braid but others speculate that Capcom pushed for the delay so that its release of Bionic Commando: Re-Armed would not go unnoticed beneath 20 tons of steel jawed T-Rex.

Plot
You have two separate stories to choose from, which is one more then games such as Lost Odyssey or Final Fantasy X. You can choose to be a delivery truck driver tasked with collecting Doritos from points around the city, not unlike the quest system in World of Warcraft. Or even better, you can be a twenty ton Tyrannosaurus Rex who's only job is to eat the delivery truck and presumably, the delivery truck driver. For the record, that's a more substantial plot then WarTech: Senko No Ronde. More choices then Lost Odyssey and more logic then WarTech? Score 2 for Dash of Destruction!

Gameplay
As the truck, you just zip around the city, dodging the T-Rex, beating your rivals to Doritos and surviving. It's simple, it's addictive, and by the time the game finally ends, you'll be wanting more. Admit it. 5 levels is just not enough. You really could've gone for 10 more levels right? Now compare that to X-Blades, which is a game that I could've gone with 10 *less* levels. A minimalist approach to game design is truly being ahead of the times. Bravo Ninja Bee. Bravo.

Oh but wait! There is more! You get to BE the T-Rex! Hunt down the delivery truck once it gets hung up on the pond/lake/blue graphic thingie and you get a point. Eat enough trucks before your rival T-Rex and you move on to the next level. Word on the internets is that you can unlock a secret cow level in this campaign. Not that you need it, since after each level your T-Rex gets upgraded so you go from this:


To This:


Now that's one bad muthatrucka.

Control

This game must take place in Canada, or given the creator, the frozen tundra of Pennsylvania, since the roads are ice slick. You'll slip and slide, but thankfully the controls accurately recreate this dangerous, hard to manage situations. The drama is only heightened as you can stop on a dime, provided that dime is 12 feet ahead of you and slightly to the right, no, the other right.

The Bad MuthaTrucka controls much the same, since it is made up of wrecked Doritos Delivery trucks. Everything moves along these icy, hazardous roads, so the playing field is level and it takes all your skill to out maneuver your target. Or get them pinned against the frozen lake/pond/blue graphic thingie representing one of the four natural elements and eat them that way. It's strategy really, more then that involved in Star Trek: Legacy. Score more for Dash of Destruction!

Achievements

You need a second controller for all of them, since there is only local multiplayer. Mike was going to include online multiplayer, but Cliffy B threw a hissy fit, saying something about how now no one would play GlitchsGears of War 2 once this Quadruple A title hit XBLA like Bangkok Dangerous.

You get achievements simply for story progression, which makes this game better then The Last Remnant.

Wrap Up
It's free, it has more choice then Lost Odyssey, better achievements then The Last Remnant, and you get to relive all the greatest delivery truck moments from The King of Queens.

And finally, you get to get to play as one bad muthatrucka.

X-Blades Review

Every so often, when a butterfly beats its wings in Tibet and Nicholas Cage readies another crappy movie, Dog of Thunder sits back and reflects on why someone would name their son Trapper. And when he is done with that, he composes a soliloquy on a budget title from his collection
X-Blades

or

From Russia With Thong




Oh boy. Where to start with this one? You know that game you and your friends came up with in 2nd grade over your juice boxes and shark shaped fruit snacks? The one that would be so wicked awesome? With all sorts of enemies to slash, magic spells and those super special forms you can turn into to? And then a spike trap or two like in Indiana Jones? Remember that game?

This is that game.

Let's have some background info on just what, exactly, gave birth to X-Blades before we talk about the game itself, believe me, this makes the game all the more hilarious. And no, as far as I know, it was not put together by a bunch of 8 year olds.

The Developer: Gaijin Entertainment

Gaijin Entertainment is obviously not a Japanese developer, oh no, they belong to that other land famous for creating anime based games: Russia. Here, in all its unaltered glory (I swear to Jabootu I did not touch this) is the origin of the company:


2001 - In this year three persons, Anton Yudintsev (president), Kirill Yudintsev (creative director), and Alexey Volinskov (technical director) have established the company Gaijin Entertainment. A little bit earlier, these talented people had the time to get experience in development of computer games; we shall specifically note one of their many creations - Doom 2D, which became most known among old gamers.


Glad to see we're in good hands! Doom was a great game! Oh wait...Doom 2D? What the hell is that? The Most Informative Article I Could Find in 2 Minutes of Searching
At least this game was lovingly sent over by an experienced publisher:

The Publisher: SouthPeak Games

The same guys that blessed us with Two Worlds, which is actually a cult classic at this point, Roogoo for the XBLA, Monster Madness....Legendary...hmmm...and the forthcoming, Velvet Assassin. I would make fun of them as I planned to, but this was released today: They made a huge profit in 2008

Now that we have a little bit of background established, which frankly, doesn't need me poking fun at it, since you too can google Gaijin Entertainment and enjoy, let's break down the run away Game of The Year!

Plot

Straight from the main X-Blades site:

"Long, long ago, in an age that only the gods can now remember, the universe was ruled by two powerful beings that were revered and worshipped by all races - but the ‘brotherly’ relationship between these two creatures was always in question from the beginning of time, simply because no one knew who the real number 1 was. While the Enlightened was on the side of good, helping his people how and when he could, the Dark One was quite the opposite, full of hate and devilish works - and so the never-ending battle between the Enlightened and the Dark One persisted for centuries. Humans suffered terribly thanks to this constant combat between the two – combat which shook the universe to its very core. Finally, thanks to a trick, the Enlightened succeeded in banishing the divine power of the Dark One, imprisoning it in an Artifact - but in doing so, the Enlightened lost his own divine powers, because the two divine beings were inseparably linked to one another. This is how two Artifacts came to be hidden in a huge Temple - and how the Enlightened prevented the downfall of the entire universe. However, these two artifacts contain total, absolute power - both good and evil. Any human being who comes in contact with the powerful stones will be horribly cursed - and the power of darkness will once again be awakened.

The game begins when a map which has been lost for countless years suddenly turns up - and it shows the location of the artifacts. The adventurer Ayumi starts searching for the immensely valuable stones. Powerful forces against which she is helpless threaten to awake in her body. Now it's up to her to discover what the secret of the curse is - and at last defeat the darkness."

In the opening, Ayumi informs us that she's a treasure hunter, following an ancient map to a lost artifact and that she works alone, otherwise she'd have to split the loot. That rings a bell....what does it remind me of...Tombs....Raiding of said Tombs...dual wielding pistols...nope, can't think of anything that's a blatant rip off of.


After a few levels there's a confrontation with a large wolfman, after which Ayumi is either infected by darkness, or her entire body is going through the menstrual cycle like that chick on House three weeks ago. Once that happens, periodically a bloody egg gets loose....errr...the "curse" takes effect and it's all dramatic and why am I talking about the plot? Have you seen that thong?

Graphics

They suck. Remember the old Tomb Raider joke about how 80% of the game's polygons went to her boobies? All the care and design went to Ayumi. The environments all look the same, you even backtrack through them! The enemies have very little variety (oh wait, we're getting to that!) and look like they're from Vagrant Story. No wait, that had some decent graphics, let's say Granstream Saga (Has nothing to do with Unlimited SaGa). You can almost count the polygons that make them up, which is really sad since the main characters all look like hand drawn anime characters.

The spell effects are equally atrocious, with zero dynamic lighting, zero variety, and they blend in with the smoke trails left by certain enemies. This is the same system that powers Gears of War!?

Control

Actually, not bad at all. Unless your trying to do a combo....or a precision jump....in which case you need to get used to the controls a little bit since it's a case of being perhaps *too* tight. Much like the side of Ayumi you're forced to watch all game. Once you get used to them, you too can execute the highest sword combo, "the dancing swords all-round strike!"

Burning Finger doesn't sound like such a bad name now..

Gameplay

Do you like Hacking and Slashing? I mean, do you REALLY like Hacking and Slashing? Do you REALLY, REALLY like Hacking and Slashing with LESS VARIETY THEN DYNASTY WARRIORS? Seriously, at least Cao Cao has different combos, a musou move and if you get bored of him, you can use one of 49 other characters. Ayumi has no real combos, no real variety to her attacks since the "Fireball" and "Ice Blast" look nearly the same, function the same except that the Ice Blast freezes, and in order to use Magic, you have to build up rage by hitting all the peons. Over and over.

The prices for some of her more powerful skills are so exorbitantly high that you'll be nearly done with the game before you can afford them. At least the very first skill she learns, Earthquake, is useful. Since you'll be relying on it, a lot.

See, the whole point of the game is to explore the Ruins. Each "room" is its own separate level. You get trapped inside with enemies that respawn until you kill enough, which is helpfully shown by a health bar. That's um, it. Really. Every now and then you get a boss fight, some of which are a complete pain since you have to kill all the minions, hit the boss before the minions respawn, and repeat. One of them took me 22 minutes. Of doing the same thing. Over and over and over and over and over. All because of the ridiculous health pool of the boss! We've progressed since Perfect Weapon.

Innovation

I have to cite this...this is just too good...straight from X-Blades.com, which yes, has a separate section titled "Innovations":

"X-Blades" is an opulent action spectacle in Anime style for fans of short-duration combat games. Two gun blades are the trusty companions of the heroine Ayumi - and she uses them as an effective sword in hand-to-hand combat and to shoot various projectiles. Her attack potential can be increased by a wide range of spells which are progress-activated. This is where the RPG character side of the game comes in: when Ayumi has collected enough experience points, she can activate various skills which will decide whether she becomes a good or a bad character. This development leads to two different game endings.
The Anime-style level design gives "X-Blades" its unique atmosphere and flair and around 40 fantastic Indoor and Outdoor Worlds gleam resplendently in a lavish maelstrom of color. The optical effects of the action and magic are really striking, thanks to the use of modern cinematic stylistic devices like Bullet-Time and Motion Blur.
The opponents in "X-Blades" leave nothing to be desired - also designed in Anime style, around 30 classes of them await the heroine - and apart from that, she also has to destroy nine Boss opponents (including a gigantic Wolf Entity and a Giant Spider) with the help of various combat strategies.

....

Does your intelligence feel insulted?

Gun Blades as innovation? Anime-style? Fighting a Giant Spider and a gigantic "Wolf Entity" are NEW!? Motion blur is new!?

BULLET TIME IS A NEW INNOVATION!!??

AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

Achievements

Simple achievement list. Really, the full 1k can be done in perhaps a weekend. Grinding is required for some of them, and the complete a level without being hit is easy, but 6 levels? That gets annoying. I fully intend to get the full 1k in this, but then again, I hate myself.

The Wrap Up
Stay away from this game, unless you like completely derivative games with the depth of the kiddie pool.

Unless you get the Russian PC version. Cause then, well, Ayumi is nekkid. After all, this whole game was just an excuse to stare at a painted on thong for 8 hours.