Monthly Archives: February 2013

Dungeonland Review

Dungeonland is a style of game I did not play before. Not in the sense of Dungeon Crawlers, but overall style. It is colorful, funny, silly, “simple” yet at the same time it can be very complex. One look at any screenshot from the game and you realise that among the different games where dungeons were dark, mysterious and unforgiving you end up with something that follows the same idea, but looks entirely different. It was not until I played the game with John that it became apparent that the style of gameplay was similar (if not exactly the same) to what we had in The Gauntlet. Before we go into the details let me just say that in the Dungeon Crawler Genre Dungeonland certainly adds a breeze of fresh air, not only with its aesthetics, but also the Dungeon Maestro Mode. While I might be spoiling the ending for you I consider this one of the most intriguing games I have played thus far.

Shadowrun Returns: Soon

You wait your habitual long count of twenty after the door slams, staring up at the crazed ceiling with the odd bullethole and the deep, scorched scar leftover from the Maiden Handgrenaten case. Licksy’s signature mélange of BO and nicostix still assails your nostrils when it’s done. The air exchanger where the lower lobe of your left lung used to be does its job finally. You’d been mentally willing it not to wheeze while the dwarf fixer was in your office—for someone with such delicate feelings you’d think he’d do more to keep in clean clothes.

Cold, hard nuyen in the bank. Time to celebrate.

You tip your size 25 boots off your pre-fab desk and reach for the bottom drawer. The creak that erupts from your straining chair is echoed by the creaking of bones. Goblinization hit you harder than most. When the other juves in school were worrying about getting hair on their wedding tackle you were worrying about hiding the tusks and 80 kilos of extra muscle. Humanis policlub had ties with Shatogunda Corp back then, and the best you could hope for was Dad’s contract being terminated when they found out. That didn’t much matter when Dad turned out to be an ork too. You’d think a megacorp headed by a millennia-old dragon would be more willing to tolerate those caught in the fallout of magic returning to the world.

No synth-drek for you this time. Real bourbon. The hard stuff, still in the vacuum-sealed cylinder, is your reward. It glistens like red gold as it eases into the shot glass. That glass is smaller than your yellowed thumbnail, but the night is still young, the fires out in the Sprawl and gunshots closer to your little stomping ground have only just begun—take your time savoring it.

“Seems a little out of your price range,” a wry, feminine voice says.

In a flash, your Ares roomsweeper is out from under the desk, the bottle protectively in your other hand. Only then does the shot glass shatter against the bare ferrocrete floor. A willowy figure is standing in the corner, inspecting the hung pictures and clippings that are all you have to show for twenty years beating the harsh pavement as if the fragging mammoth of a battle shotgun isn’t even there. Long, silky black hair sweeps down a synthleather overcoat. High-heeled jackboots and slender, delicate hands are all you can see protruding from its folds. Too stiff to be decorative. Too scarred to be a corp-brat slumming it. Armored.

You hadn’t heard her come in. And that just didn’t happen. Not good.

“Dish,” you rumble, and set the bottle back in its protective sheathe. It’s meant to be disarming, but the smile out of the corner of her high-boned face tells you she knows you’re freeing your hands for action.

Blinding fast, she turns. Wired reflexes. You flick the shotgun into full-auto mode and let the ominous hum it emits speak for you.

“You’re Jack Hardt? Private investigator?” she asks, moving her hair out of her black, almond eyes. The chrome of a datajack glistens at her temple, but you’re more wary of the chrome peeking from the end of her left fist. Flick razors. She’s too high tech for a lowlife razorgirl.

“And you’re no five nuyen and a hit street samurai,” you return.

You stumble over your chair to keep her out of blade range as she sweeps forward to drop ceremoniously in front of your desk. Her eyes are looking for weakness, laughing and roving over the beaten up 2.5 meter rawboned body that fate deemed fit to bless and curse you with. She tips her head slightly in respect when she finds none.

“Feel free to speculate on what I am not,” she says, then switches to Navajo, a language from a past no one living knew of. “But it would be better for us if you did not think on what I am.”

The words sink in, and the controlled tension eases from your frame just as your heart grows heavier. The roomsweeper is placed carefully on the desk between you two, and you right your chair to sit down.

“So you’re putting together a run?” you sigh.

Her graceful head dips, and you see the tips of her ears peeking through her hair for the first time, confirming your suspicions.

“How much?” you ask.

Hacker Evolution Duality Review

When I found Hacker Evolution Duality on my desk(top) my first thought was, “Modern Uplink?”. Uplink is a Video Game where you start as a member of the Uplink corporation. Imagine a company that acts as a hub for people in need of hackers. You are an aspiring hacker and you begin with a Windows 95 Computer (well, not really, but it is crappy), a bit of cash and a whole world to “rob”. Before you reach the top you will be at the bottom. And by bottom I mean some dirty mud pit, with just two forks to climb your way out of there. Uplink is a fun game, a challenging game. It takes a lot of thought and preparation. You have to connect to a target server through different other servers, get past passwords, firewalls and proxies, gather, delete or change some data then get out. Depending on who you ended up facing you might have to delete any traces of your presence. What is so fun about Uplink? It feels like you are part of this strange corporation.

Hacker Evolution Duality

The symbol is ever present, but it is never explained.

The Walking Dead: Return to Zombie Monkey Island

Filmmaker George A. Romero is credited with, while not the first zombie film, the creation of the zombie survival and horror genre with his initial work Night of the Living Dead. This has been followed up with five sequels, each featuring another stage in society’s collapse under the onslaught of zombie plague, the standards of which he established as what is now widely accepted fact. Unlike other popular horror series, the zombie genre stands out as being deep and shallow in equal measure, relying less on a sense of fear in the viewer and more on a sense of despair in the face of shambling hordes. It works to drive home the notion that fighting death is futile, and those few survivors left on this wreck of a planet are on borrowed time. There’s also brain smashing.

Perhaps then it is surprising that all this subtext is incidental in the face of Romero’s original intention. He’s gone on record multiple times stating that zombies are just another way of expressing the consumerist mindset. Having worked retail and watched as shoppers shuffle from one rack to the next, wall-eyed, pawing at shit they don’t need, soiling themselves without batting an eyelid, and attacking others who aren’t like them with the intent of bringing them down to their subhuman level, I can only add that the difference is that you’re much more inclined to crush a shopper’s skull and leave a zombie to rot in peace.

You’ll find the same in The Walking Dead Episodes 1-5.

PlanetSide 2 Guide to Taking Over Facilities

PlanetSide 2 is a huge MMOFPS. You play as a soldier for one of the three Factions in the game and your task is simple, conquer. You can try being a single soldiers, and help out wherever you are needed. You can join a Platoon or Outfit to better coordinate attacks and defenses at different regions. You could be a Pilot, Tanker, Scout, Frontline Soldier, Medic, Mechanic, Sniper or anything else for that matter. Each class typically has multiple things you can do with it and as such numerous ways how you can help your team. This Guide however focuses on the essential part of your “work” in PlanetSide 2, taking over locations. The basic premise is simple. Take over “flags” and hold them until you “Cap” the entire location. That is your very basic idea on what you have to do. If you desire to learn more, read on.

PlanetSide 2

Will your attack be just as spectacular and calm?