sexta-feira, 30 de maio de 2008

Clash of the Titans - Round 2

Remember this? After that most awesome of matches (despite the horrible lag), a rematch was bound to happen sooner or later, and yesterday was the day. After a previous a agreement on the day and time (you know, because we're busy people, we're not online 24/7), there I was, logging into Xbox Live at about 2:00 in the afternoon. Father K was online, but when I saw that he was playing Halo 3 I figured that it should be one of the gingers. No problem, it gave me some time to train my moves. Father would come shortly after, and when he did we started playing right away. Guess what, the first round was mine! Hehe, guess that training really did the difference. We were still pretty balanced, though, and overall Father probably won a couple more matches than I did. He was a bit cheap at times, though... (sorry Father, but I had to say this, those successions of punches should be prohibited xD).

Anyway, this was not a matter of winning or losing, but a moment of leisure between two friends separated by lots of land and even ocean. There was absolutely no lag this time, so not only we could play without that handicap, but we were also able to have a proper conversation! It was like talking on the phone, really, but while playing at the same time, and it was great. Now that I think of it, we really talked a lot (it was my strategy to distract Father and kick his ass xD), from games, to the origins of our respective nicknames and pretty much everything we could think of while still throwing virtual kicks and punches.

Also, it was not just a thing between us, for we eventually dragged our families into it. My mum passed by to say "hello" and the littlest ginger, Ted, even played with me, although he was at a disadvantage for not being used to play as Kage. By the way, funny how we pronounce that name differently, Father says Kage as in "cage" while I pronounce it "Kágê", like the Japanese do (by the way, "kage" means "shadow", appropriate name for a ninja). It's just a curiosity, since we were able to understand each other just fine for most of the time, although I would sometimes get too excited and speak so fast that even I wouldn't understand what the fuck I just said, lol.

By the way, this time we saved a lot of replays to show you guys, but unfortunately my cell phone's camera couldn't keep up with the game's speed and this was the best I could get. Maybe Father will have more luck with his high-tech phone.

Also, when you think about it, technology really is amazing. 10 years ago we were playing VF1 and 2 alone in our homes, without having the slightest hint that the other one existed and that we would someday meet on the web and play VF5 together. Fucking amazing, isn't it?

The winter has a heart

Yup, I finished the Heart of Winter expansion for IWD. Wow...that was quick... Indeed this expansion is rather short, specially when compared to the main game, but at least this one left me wanting to play more. Despite the length it was really cool, as gnome pointed out here. The story is engaging, the new areas and enemies give it a refreshing new look, even if they're still made of snow or caves, and overall it was just a good way to extend the original game. About the story, I have a complaint, though. Without wanting to spoil the plot, it basically tells the story of an evil entity wanting to wage war between the barbarian tribes of the north and the Ten Towns (a group of 10 settlements of "civilized" people from the south).

As expected, it's our mission to destroy that evil entity, thus bringing peace to the land (ok, it was still at peace since the war was yet to start, but you know what I mean), but the problem is...I actually wanted to join my nemesis and drive the southern scum out of the tundra. Just think about it, the barbarian tribes lived in piece in the cold north until the fucking "civilized men" came from the south to exploit their lands and take them away from them. Why wouldn't I want to join them in their quest for revenge? I would gladly burn the Ten Towns to the ground and kick their sorry asses over the Spine of the World. ...Does that make me a bad person?... o_O

Anyway, even Black Isle realized that the expansion was just to short, so they eventually released a mini-expansion for it called Trials of the Luremaster. I'm off to play that one, so I can finally see everything IceWind Dale has to offer.

quinta-feira, 29 de maio de 2008

The icy winds blow in the dale...

It's party time again, for I've finished IceWind Dale! Fuck yeah! "Oh, you beat a game, big deal...", you might be thinking, but you have to put it in context. I'm talking about a western RPG (or CRPG, as gnome likes to call them, for me it's all the same because I've never played a "real" RPG), one of those that involve a lot of talking, semi-turn based fighting and overall are just fucking huge and take ages to finish! That's why I'm so happy, because among my 5 Infinity Engine-powered RPG's, Icewind Dale is the first one that I finish, with all the others being forgotten after just an afternoon or two of intensive gaming. This one was not an easy task, and near the end it became boring, specially because the plot turned out to be less engaging that I'd expected and the last areas are a complex system of caves, and I bought the game to see snow, not underground tunnels, but still, my will was strong and I endured those trials.

But I'm not finished with this one yet! Just started playing the expansion, Heart of Winter, and after that I still have the mini-expansion Trials of the Luremaster, so I'll be busy with this game for some time. Also, on a side note, it's amzing how the expansion gave the gave an entirely new look just by increasing the resolution from 640x480 to 800x600. I know, that might seem irrelevant, but in fact it makes a huge difference in this game. Now the game's areas really look like paintings instead of a poorly digitized image.

quarta-feira, 28 de maio de 2008

Naruto Shippuden and Ultimate Ninja 3 first impressions

Yeah, I know I've been talking a lot about Naruto lately, but don't worry, this will probably be my last post for a while. I'll try to keep the following lines as much spoiler-free as possible, but if you're following the series and don't want to know anything about Shippuden you'll probably want to skip to my thoughts on the game (after the picture of its cover). So, I've only seen the first 3 episodes yet, but so far it's being nothing short of AWESOME! With so much filler shit I've almost forgotten how great the story arcs are. It all starts with Naruto's return to the village, and so far I've only seen him, Sakura, Shikamaru, Temari and Gaara(from, the "kids, that is, because the other characters stay basically the same). I already knew they had different outfits, which is good for Naruto because the full-orange one was ridiculous, and although some are almost the same (Shikamaru) or retain the basic aspects of the first ones (Naruto, Sakura, Gaara), Temari has a completely different outfit, much better than the old one, in my opinion.

They've all grown up (just look at the picture above) and Shikamaru also changed earrings, but unfortunately some things stay the same, and Sakura's boobs remain strangely undeveloped. Seriously, I'm worried about the girl, she's cute as hell but she really needs bigger breasts. Anyway, one thing that's worthy of mention is that, since Naruto was away from the village, he wasn't able to participate in the chuunin exam, so from the old group he's the only one who's still a genin (lower ninja). Everyone else is either a chuunin (middle ninja) or a jonin (higher ninja). This is rather ironic, that the most powerful shinobi from the "kids" has the lowest rank, but as of the first episodes the chuunin exam is about to begin, so hopefully he will finally advance in ranking. Also, funny how Shikamaru, the first one to advance to chuunin, earlier in part 1 of the anime, is not one of the select few who are already jonin in Shippuden. Overall i'm really liking this new part of the series and I can't wait to see the remaining characters and the future plot developments.

Now to the game. I have to admit that I had low expectations for Ultimate Ninja 3, for two reasons. First, the previous game was really similar to the first one, and this one seemed like it would be no different, and I hate sequels who look more like expansions than a new game. Second, the first two games were hard as hell! Really, not only the AI was merciless, but some battles also had stupidly difficult winning conditions, like winning with a certain special move or with a certain amount of energy or chakra left. If just winning was already hard, than winning with this conditions was almost impossible at times, and it was really frustrating to defeat the opponent but still lose the battle because the special conditions weren't met. I actually reviewed Ultimate Ninja 2 for PTGamers back in the day, you can read it here. Of course, my international friends won't understand shit, but they can at least see the score and look at the pretty pictures.

Fortunately, UN3 is completely different in this aspect. The game is so much easier, and thus enjoyable, than the last one that this one really seems like a real sequel. Of course that the difficulty level wasn't the only change, and the gameplay itself is a little different. In the previous games, in order to use a special attack, you had to press triangle in order to activate your chakra and then attack, with the resulting special attack being different according to how many times you pressed triangle before, from 1 to 3. In UN3 this is no more. For the ultimate attack you just have to press triangle once, and for the other 2 special attacks you just have to do a simple combo (up+up+circle for one attack and down+down+circle for the other). It might look like a minor change, but it really makes the gameplay more enjoyable, because now you don't waste time pressing triangle 3 times before unleashing your best attack.

About game modes, there are two that stand above all the others, and so far I've only properly played the one that lets you recreate the famous battles from the anime, sort of like a story mode. Unlike the previous games, however, here we don't fight every single battle, but just the major ones. In the first Ultimate Ninja we played from the beggining of the series to the chuunin exam and the second game started there and went to...I don't know, I never finished the damn thing! Anyway, UN3 just covers the main events, divided into 4 story arcs, namely the genin training arc, the Konoha attack arc, the Tsunade search arc and the Sasuke retrieval arc. Each one contains 4 battles, except the last one which has more than that, so it's not a particularly long mode, but it's great to play nonetheless.

In the other main mode, which I'm yet to properly explore, we just run around the village, doing quests and completing missions, I guess. Really, I'm not going to talk about it much because I've barely played it yet, but what I can say already is that, although we can travel around Konoha like in Rise of a Ninja, the PS2 is no 360, and it shows. The village is much more ugly and lifeless than in RoaN, and it only makes that game look even greater. Still, we have to take into account that this game was originally released in Japan back in 2005, so back in the day it probably looked better.

Speaking of Rise of a Ninja, logged into Xbox Live today for the first time with that game and I discovered that if you have a Ubisoft account you can download Shikamaru as an exclusive character. Fuck yeah!

I'll now return to the game because I'm really hooked to it right now. I just hope that they don't take long to release Naruto: Narutimate Accel here (or in America, because UN3 wasn't released in Europe yet, I wonder what the fuck are they thinking!), the next sequel to the series but now based on Shippuden. If not I might have to play the Japanese version, which shouldn't be so bad considering that they're fighting games and I already know the plot, but still it's always better to play in English.

Bye all!

terça-feira, 27 de maio de 2008

Party time!

Let's celebrate, my friends, for I've just finished watching every single Naruto episode from part 1. Every 220 of them! Fuck yeah!!! I don't know how I manage to make it, specially since the fillers were fucking boring, but I did, and know I can proudly say that unlike many I didn't skip directly to part 2 when the fillers started, but managed to watch it all through. Now all that is left is to start watching part 2, or Shippuden for fans. I'm very excited but anxious at the same time, I got so fond of the characters like they are that I don't know how I'll react when I see them after the 2-and-a-half years time-skip. I hope that they maintain their personalities, but if Naruto got a little less stupid it would be a good change, he's suck a dick-head sometimes... I also hope that the girls took this time to *ahem* grow their "attributes"... (gosh, I sound like funnyman that a good of a bad thing?).

Anyway, in the meantime I guess I'll play some Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3. See ya!

Okami soundtrack - Kushinada's Determination

Now, for something totally different from my last post. You all probably know (and if you don't, you should!) that Okami has an splendid soundtrack, but when you think of it you probably only remember those folkloric songs made with classic Japanese music instruments. Not that there's anything wrong with that, those tracks are great, but for me there's one that stands above all else. Just listen to this:

OMFG! Isn't it just fucking beautiful beyond anything else you've ever listened to? It gives me the shivers everytime I listen to it. It's just a beautiful way... (wow, I'm getting a little poetic). The only other songs that put me in this mood are Rammstein's Wo Bist Du (fond memories of wasting Nazi's in CoD2 while listening to it) and Paradise Lost's Prelude to Descent. Yeah, I've said it, these 3 songs make me cry like a little girl...

segunda-feira, 26 de maio de 2008

Moonspell megapost

Because the greatest Portuguese metal band can't be praised enough...

Following Father K's and dxvolt's (you got to come by here more often....) enthusiastic response to my last post, I decided to make a whole post dedicated to the band's previous cd, Memorial, because there are just more than enough songs for a dedicated post (I'm going to post some from Wolfheart in the future). Here they are, 5 tracks for your listening pleasure, enjoy:


The first single, fucking awesome, isn't it? :) Nice riff, cool lyrics, it basically represents what this album is all about. If you like it, you'll probably like the rest.

Blood Tells

With this song begins what I call "the blood trilogy". You'll see why in the next two songs.

Upon the Blood of Men

That choir is a beautiful way to start a song, ain't it? Very nice, melodic track with a great guitar solo near the end.


The term "sanguine" actually has nothing to do with blood, but it always reminds me of it because in Portuguese blood is "sangue". Can you spot the similarity? Also, they speak of blood in the chorus, so it probably has something to do with the song after all.


Beautiful, sad but beautiful. This was the second single and one of my favourite tracks, just listen to it and you'll see why. "Thinking about you..."

segunda-feira, 19 de maio de 2008

Okami redux

So, I've finally beat Okami! It was about damn time! The first time around I got somewhat bored, not the game's fault but my own, since I have a rather short attention span when it comes to games. My PS2's condition certainly didn't help either. But now, with my console revitalized, I decided to finally try to finish it, and just a while ago I was successful in this task. Let me tell you, this game was a blast to the very end, full of unexpected plot twists and with an ending that was truly epic. Even the credits were fucking awesome!

(got to do this to my dog one day) (fuck, he's brown, I'll have to paint him white first...)

Finally I can truly appreciate this masterpiece of a game, for now I can see the whole picture, and to be honest I'm rather speechless... Trying to convey what this game represents through words is a daunting task, you have to play it yourself, experience it yourself, to understand why this title is so special. This is no mere game, this is art, this is excellence, this is awesomeness! And everyone should play it, every gamer worth is salt must play it, for otherwise he'll be missing out one of the best things this industry, nowadays filled with shitware (eheh, I think I've just created a new word), ever produced.

Clover Software, thanks for producing this most awesome of games. I salute you!

(you know someone is a big Okami fan when you see this on his leg)

sexta-feira, 16 de maio de 2008

Naruto vs Sasuke

Inspired by Junlee's latest post about Avatar I decided to post a video about what probably is my favourite anime series ever (yup, better than Dragon Ball), Naruto. This is a nice compilation of scenes from Naruto's last fight against Sasuke (in part 1, that is, for I'm pretty sure they'll fight again in part 2), and let me tell you, no 5 minute AMV can do it justice, for that fight was fucking epic! It lasted 3 episodes if I'm not mistaken and it's just full of greatness. They used every move they got and even some that were first shown in this fight, like Sasuke's final transformation (pretty lame in my opinion, don't like the "wings" or what the hell that is) or Naruto's Kyuubi-powered rasengan (if one rasengan does a lot of damage, a rasengan with the power of the Ninetails does a lot more). It was also really emotional, after all it was a fight to death between two friends whose paths brutally collided. In one word: EPIC!

quarta-feira, 14 de maio de 2008

Moonspell - Night Eternal

What a disappointment... Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad album by any means, but after the great, brilliant, outstanding Memorial, from 2006, I was expecting better from Moonspell's latest work. There are a couple of good songs, like Night Eternal or Shadow Sun, but most are just...I don't know, I just don't "feel" anything while listening to them, they don't mean anything to me (like these music posts don't mean anything to most of my readers). I miss fucking great songs like Finisterra, Upon the Blood of Men or Luna, and I could go on and on with songs from Memorial, I just don't want to flood this post with them. Anyway, gonna listen to it a couple more times, who knows, maybe it'll star to grow on me, after all both At Tragic Heights and Dreamless (Lucifer and Lilith) are somewhat enjoyable and the last track, First Light, actually reminds me of Within Temptation at times.

Night Eternal

Shadow Sun

segunda-feira, 12 de maio de 2008

My PS2 works!!!

Ok, let me put this in context so you can understand what the fuck is going on... Ever since I got my PS2 mod-chipped, which was just a few months after buying it (around 2004 or something), Sony probably put a curse on me, because the damn thing never worked properly again (that, or the guy who did the job seriously fucked up). At first it stopped booting the games right away, usually needing 3 or 4 tries, if not a lot more, before finally properly reading the fucking disc. Eventually it lost the capability to play PS1 games (which, at the time, I thought it was just the PS1 processor inside the PS2 that died), and it started to occasionally freeze. Not in the middle of a game, but right on start-up, the fucking piece of shit would freeze on the console's main menu.

Still, the major problem was not reading the games. This started to escalate to the point of me having to spend 5 to 10 minutes for the console from hell to boot a fucking game (can you picture it? craving to play a game and having to sit next to that pile of shit, putting the dvd in and out, hoping that it would finally play the next time you turn it on? for fuck's sake...), which was the reason why, some months ago, I completely forgot about the system, decided to ignore it until I was able to afford a new, functional, console.

The reason why I never attempted to fix it was because I have limited knowledge of electronics, and according to pretty much everyone on the web, my problem was a dying laser, which could only be solved with a new, expensive, one. Yesterday, however, I decided to give it a go. After opening it up (which was more difficult than opening up a Dreamcast or a Saturn, but still way easier then opening an Xbox 360...), I was impressed by the sheer amount of dust accumulated throughout roughly 4 years of intensive use. Even more scary, there were spider-webs on the mainboard and, even worse, a fucking living spider! Gasp! (I'm arachnophobic, you know...)

After dealing with the arachnid from hell, I proceeded to examine the dvd drive, more exactly the laser, which seemed to be the cause of all my troubles. Just cleaning it didn't solve anything, so I thought about calibrating it (it worked with my Dreamcast). The problem was, I had no idea how to do that! In the older models there this big-ass white cog that you just had to turn in order to adjust the laser, but in my PS2 there was no such thing! After countless hours on the web I finally discovered than in my model there was not one, but two little cogs, hidden below a shit-load of plastic, barely visible and hard to reach. Fuck!

(that's the fucking cog that, if present, would've made my job a lot easier...)

Still, my patience was running strong that day, so I then proceeded to initiate a routine where I would do just a minor adjust, try it out, turn it off and repeat ad nauseam, until I find the sweet spot where it loads the games just fine. Was I successful? Well, if not, I wouldn't have the patience to write this post, would I? It still occasionally freezes and it doesn't boot PS1 backups, but it boots PS1 originals, PS2 games in CD and PS2 games in DVD. Fuck yeah! Looks like spending a whole after-noon around the damn thing paid off! :D

quinta-feira, 8 de maio de 2008

Old-school FPS for the win!

Ah, a game-related post, finally! Sorry for the overload of music-related content lately, but you know how I work, I just post what I feel like, when I feel like. Anyway, with GTA IV on my hands one would think that I wouldn't play anything other than that hallowed game, wouldn't it? Well, you're wrong...

Wait, what game could possibly distract me from Rocktar Games' masterpiece? First it was that brilliant RPG IceWind Dale (yeah, I like to write IceWind with a capital W, satan knows why...) that kept me busy for the weekend, but more recently it was a retro blast from the past. Most people first experienced FPS games with classics like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, Half-Life or, moving to more recent times, Call of Duty. Well, although I eventually have played all those games, my first contact with the genre was through the demo of a pretty obscure title, the perfect example of an "hidden gem" that few have played, called Gunman Chronicles.

This game was originally planned as a total conversion for Quake, then Quake II and finally Half-Life, but eventually Sierra (Valve's publisher at the time) noticed it and decided to give the amateur programmers all the support they needed to release a full retail product.

That may be one of the reasons why it wasn't so well received by the fans, who were expecting a free mod for HL, but trust me, this game really deserves to be bought (nowadays it's rather irrelevant since Rewolf, as the producers called themselves, is long extinct), for it is made of greatness, and 7 years after playing the demo I finally have the full retail version!!!

What we have here is a game that plays a lot like HL. That's the same as saying that it's story-driven (at least more than the usual Doom-like), full of (awesome) scripted sequences and overall it's just a memorable, if short, experience. But don't think it's just a clone, for it has a lot of unique and original ideas!

Not only it features some really original locations and enemies (cowboys in space?), but it has some of the best weapons ever seen in a game! They're brilliantly designed (the machine-gun is just awesome) and, even better, they all feature a shit-load of different firing modes! Just the basic pistol, for example, can shoot slow, accurate, shots; a fully charged shot that looks like a ball of energy or rapid fire that makes it look like a sub-machine-gun, and you can even upgrade it with a sniper mod that, guess what, let's you snipe enemies from afar!

And then there's the MULE, a rocket launcher with 11 different customizations! You can select the missiles to fly straight or guided, to explode on impact or in proximity, to shoot freely or just when locked onto a target, etc, etc... In the end there may be only a handful of weapons, but when properly configured, you have exactly what you need for any and every situation you'll encounter.

Overall, the gameplay is so enjoyable that after finishing it I immediately started a new game. Yeah, it's that awesome! It ends rather quickly, though, but that can be a good thing if you have a tight schedule, meaning that everyone can (and definitely should!) play this game. Also, it's based on the HL engine, so nowadays even the crappiest computer can run it, therefore there's just no excuse for a FPS fan not to try this one out.

terça-feira, 6 de maio de 2008

He lieks little girls

No, this is not an endorsement to pedophilia, just a humorous video to take a break from the last posts ^^

segunda-feira, 5 de maio de 2008

Hate Eternal - Bringer of Storms

Remember when I said that there's only two maing genres of heavy music that I don't like, namely Brutal Death Metal and Grindcore? Well, I somehow have to take that back, for I think I've just found a brutal death metal song that I like. I say "I think" because I don't really like it, as I usually like a song. Instead I find it interesting and strangely appealing, to the point of having listened to it for about 10 times now. I think I'm going to look for the whole cd, just to see what the other songs are like.

By the way, props for the drummer, Jade Simonetto. He's pretty young, specially when compared to the other band members, but he bangs the drums like a pro.

sábado, 3 de maio de 2008

Music DVD weekend!

Ok, not really, since I won't be spending the entire weekend watching my newest acquisitions, but it was the best title I came up with... Anywho, my music DVD collection has just grown larger, thanks to not one, but two new discs! The first was the final piece in my (now) complete Dark Funeral discography.

Yup, that's right, I'm speaking of Attera Orbis Terrarum Part 1!!! (part 2 is coming out this year) This is a rather special release because black metal bands are not exactly known for their dvd's, in fact they rarely release one, so to be able to have an official live record of one of my favourite bands is truly great!

Unfortunately, as I was already expecting, my two favourite tracks, "In the Sign of the Horns " and "Thy Legions Come", are not on the tracklist, but they're the only ones missing, for all the other great tracks are there.

Secrets of the Black Arts

Ravenna Strigoi Mortii

The second is Mastodon's The Workhorse Chronicles, a truly great release featuring tons of content, from the usual concert footage to detailed interviews with the band and that sort of extras. About the live performance, in this gig they played practically every song that matters from their first EP (Lifesblood), compilation album (Call of the Mastodon) and both first and second full-lenght cd's (Remission and Leviathan).

Blood and Thunder

(not from the dvd, couldn't find it on youtube)

Expect fucking brilliant songs then, like Blood and Thunder, shown above, or Hearts Alive, shown below. This one, like the last Iron Maiden song I've posted, is also rated FE (for Fucking Epic)! Really, I'm not kidding, you owe to yourself to watch this, so be sure to play the youtube video that follows:

Hearts Alive

Have you finished watching it? Good, otherwise you've just missed one of the best songs EVAH!!!

Now I can't wait for another Mastodon DVD, because their last album (released after this dvd) is just utterly brilliant, great, AMAZING!!! It lacks something as epic as Hearts Alive, but other than that it's better than all their previous releases put together. Yup, it's that good! In fact it's so good that I think I'm going to make a post just about it! Expect it soon...