Monday, April 17, 2006

Somebody Find Me An Easter Egg

I love Easter.

No, not due to any religious slight on my behalf (those of you that know me will attest to my rather agnostic viewpoint on life), but merely for the four days of unadulterated, blissful, and lazy Sitting Around On My Ass that can be enjoyed at such a time.


Disgustingly (but joyously all the same) I spent Easter Friday with Lara Croft. As in, 14 hours straight. I didn't once look outside, let alone go out into it - I mean hey; even Vick's (the convenience store on the ground floor of my building) was closed, so why would I venture into The Outside?

Lara was, on that day, all she promised to be. I had her deftly maneuvering via my fingers' slightest touch, and I totally creamed the first five levels with only a few minor design niggles encountered along the way. Sadly, this all came crashing to a burning heap later in the weekend; more on that later.

Saturday was also spent In Side. More Xbox360 games to be played, more disgustingly-bad-for-me food to be consumed, and more Vodka and Coke to be ingested. To be honest most of Saturday is a blur now, however it served it's purpose for me, being able to perform slovenly and slothful acts of nothingness, as befits a religious-inspired holiday. Right?

Saturday night however, was most fun, spent playing Morrowind Oblivion on the Xbox360.
For those of you who don't know what this is - tough. I can't be bothered explaining it fully. Aside from saying it's the most amazing, life-sucking experience to be had on the couch (with a controller in your hand). *ahem

Basically, it's a game with incredible life-like environments, is totally free-form (meaning you are able to go wherever, whenever, you like amongst the immense game world), where you have a main quest you can follow but can also simply wander around and see what comes across your way. The game page is here.

Bart, my good friend from the Netherlands, happened to be on Xbox Live at the same time, and so we chatted away over our headsets whilst both playing Oblivion. He's put a good many more hours into it than I, so far, and therefore he's already seen a lot of what the game has to offer.

For me, however, it was all wondrous and new.
So taken aback, was I, by what was unfolding in front of me, that I was regularly stopping to take pictures (with my actual camera, off the TV) like some kind of Oblivion Tourist. The poor guy (Bart) had to politely listen as I continuously stumbled across jaw-dropping sights in the game and stopped to take a snap (and explain them to him in detail). I swear I could hear him quietly chuckling away to himself, and we quipped that if the game were co-op (two player) he would've left me behind a long time ago whilst I continuously stopped to sniff the roses!

Anyhow, the fruits of my photographic labour can be found here should you wish to take a look. I highly recommend you do, the game is simply amazing.
Think of an environment where there are day/night cycles, where the sky turns pink above the wispy grey clouds in the morning, and reflects off the water. Where at night the stars come out (alongside the sounds of crickets and other night creatures) and they track across the sky in a fully working astronomy. Where you have the living bejeezus scared out of you as you're the unfortunate victim of a sudden thunderstorm, complete with bolts of lightening, torrential rain, and claps of thunder storming at you through all 5.1 channels of Dolby Digital Surround Sound. Where fauna, flora, and wildlife abound for your reaping pleasure.

All this, and I haven't even got to the first part of my main quest yet!! (Visiting a monk's settlement to deliver an amulet). However, this is testament of the free-form nature of the game. The creator's tag line is "we create worlds for you to live in".. couldn't agree with them more. There goes my life (again).

You can view a list of review accolades here.

And finally, at about 5am, I decided to call it a night. I left myself resting at a shrine until I return to the world of Oblivion.. can't wait.


Normally the Day Of Rest, this particular Sunday was instead simply Day Three of a Four Day Holiday. After an annoying trip into town (the shops were all shut!? bloody religious rubbish!) I decided that more gaming was on the cards. I'd got my exercise for the day (hehe) so now I could lounge about and not feel guilty.
But, rather than leap back into Oblivion, I decided to attack the next level of Tomb Raider Legend.

Oh dear.

Lara has betrayed me. She made out to be something she is not, and therefore I've officially dumped her. It's over.

Why is it over? And what on earth did she do to me?

Well, obviously it's not really her, but the designers (as Bart correctly pointed out to me last night) who are to blame. I'm stuck at the end of the 6th level, where one traditionally fights the 'boss' of the level. In this case it's a massive Hydra (water snake). In a nutshell, there are four posts in a cave, made of metal, each with a hanging weight on them. Here's what's supposed to happen:

You shoot at a post, making a noise. The Hydra gets curious (in between spitting toxic liquid at you, and thumping down on top of you) and comes over for a closer look. Whilst he's investigating the noise, you're supposed to stash your guns, grab out your grapple line, hook a lever, pull it, and have the hanging weight drop on the Hydra's head.
Times four. As in, do it FOUR TIMES (four posts).

Trouble is, the game rarely registers your attempts to pull out your grapple line in a timely manner. So, whilst you're fumbling about mashing the buttons, having Lara look like she's experiencing an epileptic fit, the Hydra's curiosity of the noise is satisfied and instead he see's you messing about with your gadgets below him and attacks you! AARRGHH!!

The absolutely horrid part of it is that sometimes you manage to get it all done in time, and therefore you gain a glimmer of hope that you can do the same for all three other posts.. but sadly when standing in front of post #2, instead of repeating your success of the previous post, Lara just stands there performing some kind of spasmodic dance as the Hydra smashes you to a pulp.

I cannot tell you how many times I've attempted this. What also doesn't help is that the framerate drops to about 15fps due to the sheer size of the room, and the huge size of the Hydra, thusly confounding any efforts on your behalf further.

**The irony is, that quirky bugs, or things that a software developer puts into a game for their own sake, or to enable them to fly around the levels testing without getting hurt etc, are called 'Easter Eggs'. If only one existed to get me past this fkn incredibly annoying and pathetically frustrating stage, to allow me to continue on. I was literally scouring the net on my own 'easter egg' hunt. I found zero. How did you fare with yours?

I am totally annoyed, and utterly frustrated, so much that I now refuse to play the rest of the game. This particular spanner in the works has completely spoiled the entire game, and I refuse to pay, let alone play, any more.
Lara's going back to whence she came: my local EB store for a full refund.

I HATE CRYSTAL DYNAMICS, the developers. Did they even bother to playtest it before they published it? FUCK YOU.

(That feels better)

Today, in fact. After a leisurely awakening at about 12:30pm, I decided to go into town for some more exercise, and to make up for the fact that all the shops were at Church yesterday (presumably).
Trouble is, my wallet ended up getting more of a workout than me. Bugger.

I finally took the plunge and purchased the latest title in the fighting series Dead Or Alive (DOA4) for the Xbox360. Haven't had a chance to chuck it into the console yet, but I shall do as soon as I've finished typing here.
Apparently the 'physics' are extremely life-like.. *cough

..but of course I'm gonna be playing it for the tactical and competitive aspects. *ahem

Aside from jiggly bouncy-ness, I also sadly happened to wander past my favourite budget clothing store: JayJays. And, as usual, I purchased a number of garments that I most probably didn't need, but hey it's winter coming up and I'll need to stay warm, right?
You can see the fruits of my shopping labour here. I also decided to buy a beanie from Rip Curl (more-so to cover up my bed-hair!) for days coming that are cold, and where I can't be fucked doing said hair.
There's also an awesome Mooks jacket (the ones with the fur on the hood) on sale at Rogue in Melbourne Central which I think I'll have to return for.

And so, after a quick visit to a local Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown, I'm home to enjoy the last few hours of my long weekend.
The wind outside is blowing a storm (I guess this warning from the BOM is correct:)
Warning Summary: A gale Warning is current for Port Phillip and Western Port.
A severe weather warning is current for the Central District for localised damaging winds.

So what better time than to batten down the hatches, pour some Vodka down my own hatch, and give my fingers a workout.

Happy Easter to you, and yours.
Bah humbug.


At 1:12 am, April 19, 2006, Blogger sambo_nz said...

Well, I coudln't resist two things:

1) Having another day of Leave off work (woohoo!) and
2) Going shopping again.

I decided to buy that new Mooks furry jacket (really like it) and a pair of light coloured cargos from..


Don't tell anyone I bought them from there. I loathe the type of guys that shop there (the ones with their collar turned up at bars) but they were on special and I've wanted a light coloured pair for some time now, so.. ahh well.

Jacket and cargos can be seen here.

Also finally took the plunge and bought Fight Night Round 3 for the Xbox360.
God I suck at it - I think it's gonna take me a while to get the hang of the controls (since I can't button-mash!!).

At 11:56 am, April 20, 2006, Blogger sambo_nz said...

Had a great online session with Dead Or Alive 4 last night (thanks wtftrauma, NightAvatar76, and LYCAN 666).
Aside from getting our asses handed to us on a plate by JeDax, it was great to be able to explore the depth of the gameplay.
I honestly thought DOA4 would simply be a button-masher, but as was quite obvious last night, there's a hell of a lot going on, and to see a skilled player in action is both lots of fun and amazing to watch. (..the counters, the combos, the choices of attack and defense)

Sadly, I managed to pick up an achievement for '5 Straight Losses in DOA Online' but hey.

I really look forward to putting some more time into the game. Good purchase!


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