Sunday, September 13, 2009

on repeat: running to stand still

"Running to Stand Still" on U2's Joshua Tree. How can you not love Bono singing "la la la de day" and lyrics like "cry without weeping, talk without speaking, scream without raising your voice"? I love the ups and downs of this simple song mimicing the frustrations of a heroin addict.

Monday, September 07, 2009

that's quite a complex

So what do I do on a four day weekend? Instead of the other five things that were on my list, I got involved in Shadow Complex, a very impressive game available for a $15 download on Xbox Live Arcade. After finally beating it, I would have paid $50 for this game. Shadow Complex takes 2D gaming to a new level, having 3D images and even 3D combat but the ability only to move up, down, right, or left. It is called 2.5D and it was so much fun.

The story is supporting material for Orson Scott Card's Empire novels, the original "Empire" and the upcoming sequel, "Hidden Empire". Jason is pulled reluctantly into some faction, called the Resurrection, who wish to 'liberate' San Fransico. In essence it is military first person shooter and while I typically do not like games which shoot actual people (aliens fine, bugs even better) the faceless victims did not bother me over much.

Besides the beautiful graphics, there are two other things about this game that make it prime. First, as you gain experience by doing normal things: running, jumping, shooting, etc you level up and your precision increases. By the end, shooting is so easy, you can spend the time you need to do the second fun thing: find all the stuff. The map is rendered in colored sections showing doors, locked or necessitating a weapon and as you move by computer terminals, secret doors, shafts, and other wonderful things for which to search, packs to carry more weapons like grenades and missles, armor portions so you can jump higher or run faster. These are just some of things, the map is immense and there is a lot of backtracking to find all the goodies.

The only thing that bothered me somewhat was the re-rendered enemies even after a save room was hit. But because killing became so easy at the end, this was not really a big deal. There is a lot of play time in this little game and well worth the wasted time to play it. Along with Splosion Man, I am very much enjoying Xbox Live Arcade, finding the smaller games easier to manage and feel like it is money and time worth spent.