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Earthworm Jim, Or Why Nostalgia Can Be A Bad Thing May 14, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Feature, Rant, Retro, Wii.
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What happened here then? Back in the day I used to love this game on the Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis, for the Yanks) and it was probably one of my post-played games on the system. I was attracted to it by it’s unique, cartoony visuals which stood out at the time. The character designs were great and I enjoyed the slapstick humour – things like whipping a crow with your body resulting in an explosion of feathers and a beak always raised a smile. Earthworm Jim 1The platforming aspects were decent and overall the gameplay was fun.

Fast-forward fifteen years or so and I have 800 spare Wii points on the Shopping Shopping channel. while browsing through the available Mega Drive games I came across Earthworm Jim and decided to buy it, remembering how much I had enjoyed it previously all those years ago. A few minutes later and I find it to be a very frustrating experience. The movement and controls in general felt clunky and awkward. The enemies annoying and cheap, the first boss in particular was a right pain in the ass and just seemed to soak up the damage I was doing to him. The visuals and sound effects (especially the whipping noise) were still as good as I remembered, but on the whole, it wasn’t the brilliant platformer I loved back in the day.

Of course back when I first played it I was a hell of a lot more forgiving for all the negatives previously mentioned, and very naive. Earthworm Jim 2Looking back on the game, and from what I’ve got after playing it again, it’s just an average platformer living off it’s impressive visuals and quirky characters. I wonder how well received a similar game would be today on  XBLA or WiiWare, for example. Would people be as forgiving now as they were back then? Surely not. I also played the sequel on the Mega Drive but my memory of that is rather hazy, all I remember was a section where you became a blind cave salamander for some reason or other. Incidentally my experience with this game on the Virtual Console has probably put me off of buying the sequel when it is inevitably released. Also, it’s worth adding that the Earthworm Jim cartoon was fantastic. Pokemon aside (that was in a league of its own, obviously) this was probably the most faithful game-to-cartoon adaptation I ever watched, the theme tune was great.

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RE: All The Ed Zitron/Eurogamer Review Of Darkfall Nonsense May 12, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Rant, Stuff.
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4 comments

Pile of shit

Random Gaming Irritations #759 March 31, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Fallout 3, Feature, Gaming Irritations, Rant.
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2 comments

Releasing an unfinished, untested, broken and unplayable product for sale aka Fallout 3’s The Pitt DLC:

The initial release was full of floating exclaimation marks, unfinished textures, graphical glitches and became unplayable after a certain point due to the game crashing. How did it get released in such a state? Thankfully Blethesda sorted it after a day or so.

The Problem With Fanboys… March 9, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Feature, Peoww, Rant.
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6 comments

…is that they are fucking idiots, to put it bluntly. My Killzone 2 review went up on Peoww yesterday and was posted on N4G and resulted in the comments section becoming full of upset fanboys who simply couldn’t comprehend the fact that I scored it a 7/10 – which anyone with half a brain knows is a good score. I was always aware at how defensive, dismissive and touchy fanboys can be Sony fanboys losing to Manchester United in the 2008 Champion's League final on May 21stwhen something they hold dear is criticised in any shape or form but here, as Rich from Peoww put it: “You’d have thought we’d shat on their mums”. I scored the game a seven because that what I felt it deserved and it was a reflection of the enjoyment I got out of the game. It was above average, but not a great game. It would half received an eight hat the single player campaign not basically been such a copy-and-paste from so many other games. Click below to swim through the bitter tears aka fanboy comments

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Random Gaming Irritations #214 March 6, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Gaming Irritations, Rant.
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Games that don’t pause when you press the home button on a 360 to bring up the guide. Gets on my tits and it’s even worse since the NXE update due ti it being a hell of a lot more laggy.

Random Gaming Irritations #758 February 4, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Gaming Irritations, Rant.
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Games which ask you to select a save location every time you start it up. I’m looking at you, Battlefield: Bad Company.

Random Gaming Irritations #253 January 22, 2009

Posted by Matthew in Gaming Irritations, Rant.
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Games whose brightness settings require you to adjust the settings on your television rather than it’s own in-game settings.

IGN US Horrifies Me December 8, 2008

Posted by Matthew in Rant.
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Lex Luthor
Amazingly, IGN US have shat out a review that actually manages to be worse than their terrible, hyperbole-filled love-fest GTAIV review – previously the worst review ever. The review in question is for World Soccer Manager 2009 Football Manager 2009 in which it received a “2.0 Terrible” rating. Here are a few quotes:

“The game’s incredibly complex menu system is very difficult to navigate, even with the on-screen help box directing you through the process. In short, this game is extremely difficult to simply pick up and play. If you’re unfamiliar with the franchise expect to spend a significant amount of time simply trying to figure out how to navigate the menus.”

Jesus fucking wept. Anyone who has ever used a computer should have minimal trouble finding their way around the menus.

“Although the game’s database of more than 350,000 real-life soccer players is certainly impressive, only the most diehard fans of the sport would be able to appreciate having such a massive pool of talent to sift through, and the casual fan would almost certainly find the task overwhelming – I did.”

Diddums.

“Then there’s the sound, or lack thereof. There is no soundtrack that plays while you work in the game’s menus”

Perhaps DJ Cowabunga shouting over some shit EA Traxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx is more your thing? Oh and you’re playing this on a PC, open up Windows Media Player if you want some fucking music.

The reviewer then goes on to close it with this gem:

“I couldn’t imagine why anybody would prefer Worldwide Soccer Manager to FIFA 09 or Pro Evolution Soccer 2009.”

I could imagine why anybody would prefer it over FIFA and Pro Evo. They want to play a football management sim. Simple, really, although it seems to be some sort of alien concept to the reviewer.

Alternatively, IGN UK gave it a “9.1 Incredible”. Given that I have played Championship Manager/Football Manager games in the past*, I know which review makes more sense. If only some poor, uninformed soul from IGN UK had reviewed NFL Rugby For Pussies in Safety Equipment Filled With Jock Cunts Coach 2009 in the same way. The resulting shit storm would be amusing.

*Football Manager 2008 caused me to destroy a perfectly good mouse in a fit of rage during one of those matches when it is literally impossible for your team to score, meaning that the computer is blatantly going to score the winner in the last minute of injury time.

Battlefield: Bad Company – Things That Need Fixed (NOW) August 17, 2008

Posted by Matthew in Rant.
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Bad CompanyDespite the fact that BF:BC is currently above Halo 3 and COD4 in my most-played online game, there is so much needing fixed its not even funny:

  • This has been said by many people before but the 4-men-to-a-squad system is poor. Let me talk to the whole team rather than just the three members of my squad, even if it means something like push-to-talk e.g. Halo 3.
  • Barring the hand grenades the power and splash damage of the explosives is pathetic. If I fire a rocket at someone and it lands a few feet nearby I expect it to kill them. Don’t even get me started on the helicopter missiles.
  • Sniper rifles are massively underpowered- especially the M95. A headshot with this should be a one hit kill, not just cause the target to flinch and brush it off. It is powerful enough to destroy trees but not opponents?
  • New Conquest maps please, rather than altered Gold Rush ones.
  • Sniping glitches ever since the most recent update. Sometimes when I move while zoomed in, the crosshair moves but the actual scope doesn’t. Also, as you can see in the picture above, my arm becomes randomly detached and hovers in mid air(!)

That is all.

GTA 4 Irritations May 4, 2008

Posted by Matthew in GTA, Rant.
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3 comments

Rose-Tinted Specs

So I’ve spent a lot of time with GTA 4 (over 22 hours) and I can’t help but think that all those PERFECT SCORES it has received from over-excited reviewers are a bit off the mark. There are so many things in it that annoy me, off the top of my head:

  • The start up screen seems to go on for ever.
  • Trees look like dirty, used toilet paper.
  • Shooting while driving is clunky and awkward.
  • Clothing system hasn’t changed since Vice City.
  • Spawn points in multiplayer are truly awful, especially in Cops & Crooks.
  • Walking up stairs takes for ever.
  • Niko has the turning circle of a large oil tanker and appears to be riding a unicycle when he does so.
  • Sunglasses seem to randomly vanish after cutscenes.
  • Longer missions need checkpoints so badly its not even funny.
  • Camera shits itself when you try to target an enemy standing next to you.
  • The game doesn’t pause when you press the home button to bring up the Xbox Guide – lazy.
  • No way of manually saving without time advancing 6 hours
  • Glitchy and somewhat bug-ridden.
  • At night time it is FAR TOO DARK.
  • Police ignore you when you crash into them, but if you drive through a toll booth without paying, they hunt your ass down.
  • The aiming system is still awful. Crackdown’s system pisses all over it.
  • Melee combat is pretty dire.
  • Tapping “A” to run? That’s what analogue sticks are for. Waste of a button that could be used for something else.
  • Cover system is straight from 1998. Takes roughly 5 minutes to come out of cover and shoot.
  • Scripted car chases. Seriously, 3 games in (5 if you count the PSP spin-offs) and we are still doing that?
  • “Follow this person, but don’t get too close or too far away” missions. See above.
  • The whole friends system. If I wanted that I’d go and play the Sims, thanks.
  • Disappointing soundtrack. I can count on one hand the amount of songs I like. Why did they remove custom soundtracks?
  • A.I. is still as dodgy as ever.
  • Inability to run while talking on the phone. It’s like Dead Rising all over again.

Despite all that, I still love it, I think it deserves a 9 at best. It is still a fantastic game but by no means perfect and I still prefer San Andreas.