Monday, October 31, 2005

The Staff Terrorizes Countryside

So, in our endless battle against the vile Forces of Sanity, We, the Staff (TM) decided to use the time of year (All Hallow's Eve) to spread some good ol' fashioned Staff-style terror through the land. And a good job of it we did. We all dressed ourselves up in our terror-inspiring battle armour and proceeded to wreak havoc. Here is just one of the results of our handiwork:

Sanity is for the Weak!

-The Staff

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Firefly - The Complete Series DVD

I noticed that Firefly, the television series that this year's best film, Serenity, is a continuation of, was roughly ten bucks cheaper than normal (for $46.99), so I decided to pick up a copy.

The set is the complete series, all 14 episodes including 3 that never aired. This is actually the first TV series I ever picked up on DVD, which is saying a lot, seeing as how I don't like most of what's on TV these days.

If you liked Serenity and want to see where it all begin, this is the place to go.

You can order it at Best Buy here.

Doom 3 (Xbox) On Sale at Best Buy

Doom 3 (Xbox) is now on sale for only $29.99 at Best Buy. Not sure if this is a limited time thing or not, but the game is definitely worth it. You can pick one up in-store, or online here.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I Want this T-Shirt

I saw over at Valve Software's store a great t-Shirt. It's a limited edition Half-Life 2 Deathmatch shirt with the DM logo on the front, and the Half-Life 2 lambda logo on the back.

I don't care for Half-Life 2's multiplayer, or really for Half-Life 2 itself at this point, but I love that DM logo.

Sadly, Valve won't ship to non-US addresses, so I'm out of luck. Perhaps I can leech the logo and find a place around here that will custom do it. That way I won't need to walk around with the Half-Life 2 logo on my back.

The shirt would be great for work. Pester me enough, and there's a clear cut visual aid of what I'd do to ya: Huck a toilet at your head.

Bungie's "Fight the Flood" T-Shirt Drive Results

Bungie raised $175, 280.15 (US) for the American Red Cross to help with the Hurricane Katrina disaster down south.

If any of you bought a t-Shirt, thank you for supporting the cause, and you can read Bungie's article about the results here.

Potential Xbox 360 Launch Titles

Saw over at Console ActionTrip a list of potential Xbox 360 launch titles. If this turns out to be true, the only title I care about is Call of Duty 2, but not enough to want to go buy an Xbox 360 for it alone. I'm surprised Quake 4 isn't on the list.

Generally, I have a feeling it will be best to wait until the next wave of titles in late spring early summer of '06. With any luck Halo 3 will be coming out around then.

Quake 4 (PC) Reviewed at ActionTrip

ActionTrip has reviewed Quake 4 (PC) here, and they give it 81 out of 100.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Winning PayDay Numbers for Oct. 27


I think this lottery's broken, as I haven't one big yet. Stupid everything.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

4 New Call of Duty 2: Big Red One Screenshots

4 new screenshots for Call of Duty 2: Big Red One have been released, and you can find them here.

I've seen conflicting release dates for the game, ranging from Nov. 1st to 15th, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Half-Life 2 Xbox a Platinum Hits Title?

According to the official Xbox Half-Life 2 page, Half-Life 2 will be a Platinum Hits title. That means the game will retail for only $29.99.

I'm not sure if this is true or not, but it is on the official site and the game is also being released one week prior to the Xbox 360, meaning it'll be competeing with many next-gen shooters on the console market. Thus, a lower selling price isn't that surprising.

If so, I'll probably buy the title right off instead of renting first, as that's very cheap for expected play length.

Official Xbox Web Site Re-launched

Today, Microsoft has relaunched their official Xbox web site in preparation for the upcoming launch of the Xbox 360.

To check out the new design and new info, head here.

It should also be noted that the horribly designed Xbox 360 website of old is no more (namely, and now directs to the general Xbox site. In english, that means real answers about the product instead of a bunch of silly flash pics that simply look amusing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Half-Life 2 (Xbox) Gone Gold

Speak of the devil. Half-Life 2 (Xbox) has officially gone gold and will begin shipping on Tues. Nov. 15th to stores everywhere.

The Xbox version of Half-Life 2 will be Single Player only, no Xbox Live Support, and will be a direct port of the PC's Campaign and not a modified version level design-wise as Doom 3 (Xbox) was. Apparently, while it will overall look worse than a top-of-the-line PC (obviously), the lighting quality will be better. Not sure quite why.

The one amazing thing I'm happy about with the Xbox version will be the lack of Steam, Valve Software's junk distribution service. The one thing I'm unhappy about is the lack of any kind of special collector's edition that would have included Half-Life for the Xbox. I really would have liked to have played the original Half-Life on my Xbox, and the system is certainly capable of handling a late '98 shooter.

Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox) Complete on Veteran

I completed Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox) on Veteran (Hard) last night. Overall short, like most expansion packs are. Not terribly difficult either, however the level design is great, a lot of fun.

I'll ultimately go through it on Nightmare, though without the healing abilities of the Soul Cube, I'm almost afraid to... unless they've changed how Nightmare works. Perhaps I'll start it and find out, or perhaps I'll wait a while.

I've been meaning to go through the Halo series again, as I haven't seriously touched their campaigns since last February. I'm also working my way through The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age for the third and final time. I'm basically past the half-way mark.

Star Wars: Battlefront II is due out a week today, and in 3 weeks (Nov. 15th) Half-Life 2 (Xbox) and Call of Duty 2: Big Red One. All of these are renters first, but I figure I'll end up buying the one I like the most, unless they all suck.

I've also been meaning to give Fable: The Lost Chapters a try.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Staff is MIA

We, the Staff (TM) regret to inform the readership that Staff Leader Alpha Nine-Seven, the very hive of Our trademark wit, is missing in action. We received the following broken communique from SL-A97 approximately 48 hours ago:

"...epea...Mayday, all Staff, May*&$^... overwhelme**(&hostile forces... unknown if possible to make rendez*%&#!@(--- regroup at all costs!---Defen&%he blog! Assist Fearless $&^!der! Arbite$*#udgeme$* must survive! Message repea^&%@-----"

Let us all pause and lend out our thoughts to the Mighty Staff Leader Alpha Nine-Seven.

-The Incomplete Staff

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Half-Life 2 (Xbox) Hands-on at IGN

IGN Xbox has put up a new preview of Half-Life 2, including new screenshots and videos. The game will be a direct Single Player port of the PC version, and will be released tentatively on Tues. Nov. 15th.

Half-Life 2 (PC) was regarded as one of the best FPSes of all time, and received rave reviews all around. I've never played the retail game, only the demo, and I do remain skeptical of it.

While I certainly credit Valve Software for creating a game that can play very well and look good on my 3.5 year old system, something id Software and even Gearbox couldn't do (with Halo: Combat Evolved), I must say I wasn't overly impressed with the PC demo.

I found the levels visually pleasing, and Ravenholm had a very good atmosphere the first play-through, however I found the level design very limiting in terms of player choice and freedom, and felt the designers "forced" me along too many paths (including weapon use). This made the demo's second playthrough absolutely boring.

I was also disappointed that the arsenal seemed to be very much the same as the original Half-Life, save the Gravity Gun, and that despite the fact that Half-Life 2 is a title big on boasting about it's realism, you still unrealistically carry around a dozen weapons, something other modern shooters like the Halo and Call of Duty franchises have long since done away with.

The PC version also shipped with Steam, Valve's "Content Distribution" System that violates Half-Life 2's own EULA and forces an off-line game to constantly connect to the net. I simply could not support this and thus refused to buy the title.

Though I've never played the PC retail version, our Staff picked it up on its release nearly a year ago. If he reads this I'd very much like for him to make a post regarding his thoughts on the PC version of Half-Life 2.

For the Xbox version, I intend to rent it first, and to try to go into it with an open mind. It'll be interesting to see if it can measure up to Doom 3 and/or Halo 2.

The Tea Party have Broken Up

Some very, very sad news. After 15 years, it seems that The Tea Party have broken up.

What's also disturbing is the bands official forums, which had a lot of links and such about the break-up that I wanted to post, seem to be down. I don't know if this is a permanent thing or simply a standard site's-down deal.

Regardless, The Tea Party are one of the few bands over the last decade that have generally stuck to their thing and continually evolved their music. They have talent and skill, and a great deal of effort has been put into their works.

The support they've also given to such organizations as the White Ribbon Campaign was also very inspiring.

I'd like to wish all the members of The Tea Party the best in their individual endeavors, you will be missed.

Mass Effect to be Revealed in OXM

The Official Xbox Magazine is going to have the inside scoop on BioWare's upcoming Xbox 360 Action/RPG, Mass Effect.

If you're into print mags (and you know I'm not), look for it on news stands soon.

Personally I'll just wait for a great online publication to "get the scoop."

Winning Numbers for PayDay Oct. 20

The PayDay winning numbers for Oct. 20 are 07-38-39-59.

Morning Post

I want everyone to go to Google and type in the word "failure." Take a look at the number one link, it's hilarious.

Anyway, didn't end up seeing Doom last night. I've seen some very mixed early reviews, and I want to get a more concrete idea of whether the movie blows or not before I waste money on it.

Might try for next weekend.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Quake 4 (PC) Review at GameSpot

GameSpot has reviewed the PC version of Quake 4, giving it an 8.0 out of 10. Essentially they really like the single player, but don't like the multiplayer; a growing trend and rather of a reversal for id Software titles (not that I'm complaining since I mainly play single player for FPSes).

You can check out the review here.

EA and Spielberg Team Up

EA and Steven Spielberg have teamed up and will develop 3 original video game franchises together.

You can read EA's official press release here.

Call of Duty 2: Big Red One Updated Impressions

Team Xbox has posted up their updated impressions of Call of Duty 2: Big Red One. They speak very favourably of the title, and I'm looking forward to full reviews. You can check the impressions out here.

I never played Call of Duty: Finest Hour, however I heard it wasn't that great and was very buggy compared to the PC titles (which were amazing). For that reason, this console sequel is a renter for me first.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox) Review

Please note that I do not have Xbox Live, and thus I am unable to review the Multiplayer portion of Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil and will focus specifically on the Campaign and Extra content.

Doom 3 was released to the Xbox in early April at the same time that the PC version of the game received its expansion set, Resurrection of Evil. Now 6 months later, Xbox gamers have a chance to play the expansion as a stand alone title.

For those readers who are purely console gamers and thus unfamiliar with PC expansion sets, you must understand that Resurrection of Evil is not a new game, but rather an addition to Doom 3 of more levels, a few new weapons and enemies, and a continuation of the original game's story. If you have not yet played through Doom 3 you will want to go through it first, and I will assume for the basis of this review that you have indeed played the original game and know it's story, style, and gameplay.

Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil has the same graphics, sound mix, and action that made Doom 3 so much fun, which is to be expected from an expansion set. Sadly, its weakest aspect is actually the game's story. Not that Doom 3 was an amazing epic, but its story made sense within the confines of the universe.

Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil is set a bit under 2 years after the events of Doom 3. A strange beacon is detected coming from the ruins on Mars, and the UAC sends a team to investigate its source. You play as a Marine Combat Engineer who was with the part of the team that discovers the source of this beacon: what becomes one of your weapons called the Artifact. The Artifact is essentially an anchor for the forces of Hell here in our universe, and when you remove it from its resting place, you unwittingly unleesh Hell on Mars once more. Your team is wiped out instantly, and you're left armed only with your Fists, Pistol, and the Artifact trying to escape the ruins to safety.

Based on all the advertising for the expansion and the events of Doom 3, it makes sense to me that the UAC would send a small team to Mars, nothing too risky. A bunch of Marines with some Scientists would seem about right (think roughly the size of the team from Aliens); however that isn't the case here. It seems the UAC has re-occupied most of the research facility on Mars, and apparently the security force (consisting mostly of Marines instead of rent-a-cops this time around) is double that of the original game. While you spend most of the game in areas you haven't seen before, the whole concept of a massive re-occupation of the Mars facility simply doesn't seem very plausible to me. There are other aspects of the story that I wasn't big on at all, however I don't want to give them away.

Being an expansion for Doom 3, Resurrection of Evil uses the Doom 3 engine and looks every bit as beautiful as the original game does. In fact, it seems to me as though many character models, such as your Combat Engineer, are of higher quality than those found in Doom 3. This may explain why at several points in the game I noticed a frame rate drop during actual combat, something I only noticed once in Doom 3 in the opening, non-interactive in-game cinematic for a very brief instant. I also noted some graphical issues when opening and closing the PDA, with some art staying on screen or not appearing at all when the PDA was opened or closed, something I never saw in Doom 3. Still, Resurrection of Evil is hands down one of if not the most beautiful looking game for the Xbox. The use of lighting to create such realistic and foreboding environments is simply breathtaking.

Audio wise, the game features the same styled amazing sound mix that made Doom 3 so much more real. The prize here goes again to the game's music, or rather lack there of. Like Doom 3, Resurrection of Evil doesn't have any music in its levels; instead it uses ambient noise to give the different areas a sense of life. From the hum of machinery, to the grinding of presses, to the howls in Hell, the "music" in Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil is very immersive. The weapon and monster sound effects are as you remember, and the voice acting is of similar quality; not always perfect and sometimes over the top, but it gets the job done well enough. One grave disappointment I have with Resurrection of Evil is with the audio logs of other facility member's PDAs, or the lack thereof. In Doom 3, many audio logs helped establish the flow of the story and provided another element to the game's unnerving atmosphere. In Resurrection of Evil, there are roughly 4 audio logs in the entire game out of dozens of PDAs. Even the e-mails seemed to have been toned down, with most of them having the same cut and paste message from Security giving a locker code. Sadly these PDAs don't have any of the real flare of the original. Some more Videos would have been nice as well, as there were only one or two as I recall.

Where Resurrection of Evil truly shines is in its simple, addictive gameplay and great level design. I also think that Resurrection of Evil is a more traditional port than Doom 3 was. Doom 3 has many of its levels modified, rearranged, and revised by Vicarious Visions for one reason or another, so there are many differences between its level design and those of its PC counterpart. While I can't be sure, I believe Resurrection of Evil is a straight port, with the exception of chopping up levels for load time's sake. There are many more outdoor areas in the game (Martian atmosphere), and a few of the areas you get to re-visit from the original game have certain different inter-connecting rooms. I believe this is because these rooms were connected this way in the PC version. Much of your time is spent around Site 1, the ruins where the Artifact is found, and the nearby part of the research facility, the Erebus Complex. These levels have a familiar feel to them, and the atmosphere, dread, and fear of the dark are back in full force. Pure Doom, and such strong level design makes it easy to overlook the shortcomings of the expansion's story.

Weapon wise, most of the weapons from Doom 3 are back, and they all seem to feature an increased amount of reserve ammo that you can carry. Since your Marine is a Combat Engineer, he's obviously smarter than the FNG from the original game, and thus figured out that he could attach his Flashlight to a weapon. You start the game with your Flashlight on your Pistol, and there is stays for the whole game. The Pistol is now mapped to the White Button on the Xbox Controller, and though the Pistol isn't the best weapon, at least it's something more to shoot with if you're surprised in the dark than simply hitting that Demon with your Flashlight.

The Soul Cube is gone, replaced by the Artifact. I'm not sure which I like better, both have their uses, though I miss the Soul Cube's healing ability. The Artifact can be charged three times by the souls found on corpses scattered all over the levels. Originally the Artifact doesn't do anything at all, but soon it gains the ability to grant you Hell (Bullet) Time for a short period, and it gains other very useful effects as the game goes on. Suffice it to say the Artifact isn't overly useful early on, but later in the game it's a real lifesaver.

However this brings us to the real lifesaver of the game, the Double Barrel Shotgun. This weapon is amazing, plain and simply. It kills things, and it kills them good. From Vulgars to Hell Knights, it makes things go boom now. The regular Shotgun becomes obsolete once you get it, as do most other weapons in the game. This is your tried and true best friend, especially when used in tandem with the Artifact. Just be careful you don't miss, as the reload time is a bit lengthy.

Resurrection of Evil also marks the first Doom game that I'm aware of that does not have a Chainsaw. While I greatly miss that ripper of fun, it's replaced by a weapon I found much more useful: The Grabber. Very similar to Half-Life 2's Gravity Gun (and for all you Half-Life 2 fans who complain about Doom stealing this weapon design, I say give us back our Pistol, Shotgun, Machine Gun, and Rocket Launcher, as you owe Half-Life 2's very existence and basic weapon design to the original Doom), the Grabber allows you to pick up and move many objects, from stones, to barrels (even the go-boom kind), and even enemy Fire/Plasma Balls and either drop them or hurl them at enemies. Grab an Imp's fireball mid-air and toss it back at him for a one hit kill. Grab a Forgotten One (new, lesser version of the Lost Soul) as it screams in at you and toss it away, killing it. The Grabber is one of the most useful weapons in the game, and is a great addition. You can even take down Hell Knights with it if you keep your distance and be careful.

Speaking of the Monsters, Resurrection of Evil adds a few new baddies to the mix. Replacing Lost Souls are Forgotten Ones, flying skulls that more resemble the classic Lost Souls, do less damage but tend to appear in packs. They often serve only to annoy you.

The mass amounts of Imps are all but gone, in there place is the new uber Imp, the Vulgar. These demons throw green plasma balls at you, can climb on walls, and are faster than Imps. They're much more deadly, and your best bet against them will be to use the Grabber and huck their plasma balls back at them, or introduce them to the Double Barrel. Either option is a one hit kill.

The new big tough monster is called the Bruiser, who is a large mechanical demon with a monitor for a mouth. He looks rather dumb, but has an attack akin to a Mancubus and the speed and size of a Hell Knight. I actually found them to be the most dangerous normal monster in the game, and thankfully they're few and far between.

The final new enemy is a new kind of Zombie, one I call the limper. They resemble flaming zombies that are not on fire, however they move very slowly and have one limp leg which makes a weird dragging sound. They weren't deadly at all but served as a visual intimidation. Dilapidated corpses are somewhat unnerving.

Most of the monsters from Doom 3 make a return appearance, however there are a few (aside from Bosses) that you won't see. These are the Z-Sec with a Pistol, the Chainsaw Zombies, Lost Souls, and the Living Dead (Zombies found in Hell). The expansion features all new bosses, most notably the Hunters, which I won't spoil here.

Finally, Resurrection of Evil also comes with some classic Doom titles: The Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and Master Levels for Doom II. For those who picked up the Doom 3: Limited Collector's Edition, you already have the Xbox versions of The Ultimate Doom and Doom II, however the Master Levels, an expansion to Doom II, are new.

While not ground breaking by today's standards, these are the titles that started it all, for without Doom there would be no Quake, Half-Life, Halo: Combat Evolved, etc. These are simply great additions to the package and are worth playing as the fast paced action of the 10+ year old classics holds up well. They also provide the only offline method for players to play either Deathmatch or Co-op, though the split screen is set up rather strange, like a full 4:3 ratio, and I'm not rather fond of it.

So long as you can get past the weak, implausible story, Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil is a great expansion set, and a worthy addition to Doom 3. The level design is simply brilliant, and the atmosphere that penetrated every aspect of Doom 3 is back and better than ever. With the inclusion of the Classic Doom titles, if you liked Doom 3, you owe it to yourself to pick up Resurrection of Evil, just make sure you've played through the original first.

Fable: The Lost Chapters Ships for Xbox

Fable: The Lost Chapters, the special edition of Microsoft and Lionhead Stuido's epic RPG, has shipped for the Xbox today as a Platinum Hits Title. It will be in stores as early as now, and should run you $29.99.

This one's gonna be a renter for me, if I get around to it.

4 New Call of Duty 2: Big Red One Screenshots

Today Activision released 4 new screenshots for their upcoming sequel, Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, which will be released on Xbox, Playstation 2, and Game Cube.

You can find the screenshots at Team Xbox here.

Doom Movie Review on IGN

IGN has posted a review of the soon-to-be-released Doom movie. They give it 3 out of 5 Stars, and call it "The best videogame-to-film adaptation yet." You can find the review here, and the film opens this Friday.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Morning Post

I won Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox) last night, so look for a review between the end of today and tomorrow night. Overall very positive, great new weapons and excellent level design. The expansion had more levels than I thought, but the overall play time was what I figured.

I'll be moving on to The Master Levels for Doom II, then jump back into Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil on the Veteran Difficulty.

I also got Ed Wood and Fight Club for my birthday, and checked them both out. I'm hoping to chat a bit about them over the next few days. Not reviews, seeing as how they've been out since 1994 and 1999 respectively, but just some thoughts on the pros and cons of each film.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Doom 3 Coming to Sony Playstation 3?

I saw a link to an interesting article over at Planet Doom. Apparently, there's talk that Doom 3 might come over to Sony's upcoming Playstation 3 console.

I've never been a fan of Sony's consoles, as most of their titles don't appeal to me or I can simply find them on Xbox or PC where they tend to be of better quality, however this would be good news for Playstation Doom fans who haven't had a Doom title since Final Doom was ported over to the PS one back in 1996.

Unless there are big changes or upgrades, however, porting over Doom 3 when it will then be about 2 years old may not be the best idea. Personally I'd prefer to see something along the lines of higher resolution support offered for the current Xbox version either as a stand alone update or through Xbox Live on the Xbox 360.

Screenshot posted from the PC version of Doom 3.

Review Round Up

Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox) has been reviewed at GameSpy here. They give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Quake 4 (PC) (Pictured Right) has been reviewed by IGN PC here, and they give it an 8.2 out of 10.

Winning PayDay Numbers for Oct. 13th


Seeing as how this was my birthday, I was really hoping to win big. Lousy Ontario Lotto Gaming Corp, I got squat.

Morning Post - Slow News Week

Morning kids,

Well this week has been a slow news week for anything I give a crap about. Some Bungie guys are in New Zealand chatting with Peter Jackson about the upcoming Halo film, which is great news.

Doom also hits theatres this Friday and Quake IV releases on PC this Tuesday.

Otherwise, not a whole hell of a lot.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Two New Multiplayer Maps for Doom 3 (Xbox)

This is somewhat strange. Two new maps have been released via Xbox Live for Doom 3, at least, I think it's for Doom 3. The reason I say this is because the following link originally mentioned them as only for Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil. Now it's sort of saying both, but it's on the Doom 3 US Xbox page and not their newly launched Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil page. It should be noted the new map link was also originally on this new Resurrection of Evil page.

I also do not have Xbox Live to verify which game it's for, so if anyone does and can leave a comment clarifying it'd be appreciated.

To sum this post up quickly, new maps available for either Doom 3 or Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil over Xbox Live, not sure which. The details of the new maps can be found here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil Impressions

Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox) finally hit shelves here last night and I picked up a copy. I've only gotten to play through the first level and a bit of the second, but my overall impressions are very positive.

Firstly, I think the character models are of higher texture quality than they were in Doom 3. The marines and most notably your character, a Marine Combat Engineer, look crisp with finer details and seem to feature less pixelation as was present in Doom 3.

The sound mix is true to Doom 3 as well. The title music is the same, and the in-game "music" is the beautiful ambient mix. The Doom 3 series truly has one of the best FPS sounds tracks period. Voice acting has been alright, not as good as Doom 3 but not aweful either. Good to hear Jennifer Hale (Bastilla from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic) lend her talents once more.

The game starts off well enough with a quick recap of the tragic events of Doom 3, and how the UAC is sending an expedition to Mars roughly two years later to investigate a strange beacon detected one of the old dig sites, Site 1. This operation is headed by Dr. Elizabeth McNeil (Jennifer Hale), who was mentioned a lot in Doom 3, and there's apparently double the human security force as was present in the original.

One thing that's not made clear, at least as far as I've played, is if the UAC has re-occupied the original Mars facility, built a new one, or brought "quick-set-up" buildings. Regardless, your character, along with his team, finds the cause of this strange beacon in Site 1, a strange Artifact, and once he removes it, the gateway to Hell is re-opened and everyone starts dying... again.

Thus far the story's been average, but the execution and actual gameplay have been true Doom 3 all the way. I've already fought two of the new enemies, Forgotten Ones (weaker versions of Lost Souls meant to annoy you) and Vulgars (Uber-Imps), as well as picked up 2 of the new weapons.

The Artifact is the first new weapon you get, though I actually haven't tried it yet (never needed to thus far, not even sure if it works) and the second is the Grabber, essentially Half-Life 2's Gravity Gun. The Grabber is an amazing weapon. Not only can you move crates, items, and barels around, but you can also grab enemy fireballs and toss it right back at them; one hit instant kill. You can also grab Forgotten Ones as they streak in to hit you and then toss them aside as if they're nothing. I look forward to seeing if this works on those annoying Cherubs as shown in the game's trailer.

Another interesting aspect of Resurrection of Evil is that since you're marine is a Combat Engineer instead of a standard grunt from the original, he's actually smart enough to attach his Flashlight to his Pistol. Now, the white button brings up your Pistol and the Pistol is no longer mapable to the D-Pad.

I have yet to encounter the Double Barelled Shotgun, however I'm very much looking forward to making stuff go boom now. I figure it'll really help against whatever damn Commandos are still around.

Resurrection of Evil also comes with The Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and The Master Levels for Doom II. While the first two also came with the Doom 3: Limited Collector's Edition, The Master Levels for Doom II are new to the Xbox, and they're the only authorized classic Doom product that I never played back in yester-year.

I played through the first level last night and really enjoyed it. It's my first new classic Doom experience in roughly a decade, and it was great fun to go through a new, well designed map and kick the snot out of Zombies and Demons old school style.

Once I finish Resurrection of Evil I'll post up a full and proper review.

Also note I would have posted screenshots, but Blogger feels like being %&$*@#^% retarded right now and won't let me. Stupid free service.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Return to Desolation

And so We return from our exile, to find a land in ruins. The workplace is a battlefield. Uncertainty grips the masses. Former comrades turn on one another, the stress of this hellish capitalist life driving out the last vestiges of their sanity. We walk in a daze through the maelstrom, carelessly plodding through shattered furniture and spilt blood. Fires burn within and without.

We come upon the burnt-out hulk of our once-barely-functioning office, and know this was where it all went wrong. This is the epicentre of this living hell. Impish demons glance at our entrance, immediately hurling obscenities at our already-bedraggled countenance. They flee to the shadows of this burnt-out shell before we can even react.

We come upon the ravaged form of a co-worker, lying mangled on the floor, barely alive. "S-someone had... to s-stop this," he says, "someone had to..." He dies. We turn our head to the sky, visible through the broken roof, and scream:


-The Staff

Monday, October 10, 2005

More Resurrection of Evil (Xbox) Reviews

Two more Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox) reviews have cropped up over the long weekend.

Team Xbox reviews it here and gives the expansion an 8.5.

IGN Xbox reviews it here and gives it a 7.8.

With any luck I'll be able to pick up a copy tomorrow evening.

From what I've read, Resurrection of Evil also ships with copies of The Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and The Master Levels for Doom II. The Ultimate Doom and Doom II I played back in the mid-90's, and copies of these games came with the Doom 3: Limited Collector's Edition (Xbox), however I've never played The Master Levels for Doom II before.

Essentially The Master Levels are an early styled expansion pack for Doom II. There isn't a story to the levels, it's just 21 maps designed by some talented people thrown into a package for retail. Because of that I never wanted to by it back in the mid-90's, but for free it might be fun to run around in them and kill things. The best part of all, of course, is the Super (Double Barreled) Shotgun. Make things go boom now.

Evening Post - Vacation Over

Well kids, tonight marks the end of our vacation. It's been a good week and a bit off. A little relaxation, a little family, and a little beer.

Got to try some Sleeman Steam, the 5th of the 8 brands of Sleeman's (in Ontario) that I've tried. It was very good, smooth beer, nice finish. No Cream Ale mind you, but I liked it as much as a Sleeman Clear, and it's better than Sleeman Original Draught.

The new NHL season has started up as well, which is great. A hockey game is always a great reason to yell at and throw stuff at your TV. Sadly, my Leafers haven't done so hot, loosing their first 2 games. Game 3's starting up now, so hopefully the Leafs can beat those lousy Sens.

Our nation's capital was great, and I highly recommend the new War Museum to any war buff. It was so thorough, so comprehensive, that the Staff and I only got through three quarters of it in 7.5 hours! You get to see the authentic weapons used in World War II from all sides, as well as some tanks and artillery. Really cool, especially if you're a Call of Duty fan. If I have the time later I'll write up an extensive review of it.

Finally, many of you (as in no one) has been wondering where the hell Phil went. Don't worry, he's okay, simply hung over again. That crazy Phil, always so cranky when he's been drinking.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Doom 3 (PC) New Low Price

Both Best Buy and Future Shop are now selling Doom 3 (PC) for only $24.99 (Canadian).

You can order it from Best Buy here, or from Future Shop here. You can also simply walk into your nearest store and grab a copy.

Not sure if this is a temporary sale or not, but my guess is it's the new perma price. If you have a PC that can run the game, I highly recommend it.

When I get around to picking up a new system, I'll probably buy the PC version just to see how different it was level design wise from the Xbox version. For example, as far as I know, the PC screenshot featured does not appear in the Xbox version.

The Staff once again gets topical

So evidently public school teachers over in British Columbia are going to be slapped with massive fines from the BC courts after going on strike. This comes after a BC judge ruled that the teachers were in contempt of court by continuing their picketing. Apparently, BC's libbies ruled that Public school was an essential service back in 2001, ergo strikes were deemed illegal. The reason the teachers are insisting on striking is because their latest contract with the province involves no pay increases for the next two years.

We, the Staff (TM) offer this viewpoint: If public school is deemed an essential service (not exactly an invalid point, that), how then are teachers and other staff members supposed to defend against unfair employment standards and practices? What they are fighting against is not unreasonable; costs of living in this country are always on the rise, and wages must reflect that. Mind you, it is a sad fact that many wages across the country do not reflect cost of living increases.

In the end, We say: Lousy Capitalism.

-The Staff

Friday, October 07, 2005

Halo Movie News

Holy freakin' crap! Peter Jackson is going to be Executive Producing the Halo movie! Peter Jackson!!!!!!! The genious behind the greatest film ever made (The Lord of the Rings, duh) will be exec. producing Halo!

In stark contrast to the Uwe scare of a few weeks ago, this is official and absolutely amazing news! Peter's partner, Fran Walsh (writer on The Lord of the Rings), will also be along for the ride.

Along with this, there's also a new article about the Halo movie companion, which is essentially the Halo bible to maintain consistency within the universe. You can read it here.

Very, very, very amazing news for Halo fans.

New Wolfenstein Game Officially Announced

id Software has announced the next Wolfenstein game on their main page here. They have not announced its title, however it is being co-developed with Raven Software and will be available for both Xbox 360 and PC.

Once again it's based in World War II, but knowing the Wolfenstein series, there'll be Nazi zombies, mutants, or other fun occult stuff to deal with. A rather fantastical look at one of humanity's greatest conflicts.

Check out the web site for the previous Wolfenstein game, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, to see what I mean.

Doom Movie Site Re-launched

Universal Studios has relaunched the Doom movie site. It's very flash heavy and has some interesting FPS themes.

There's also a promotion mentioned where you get either $5.00 off a movie ticket or a free movie poster if you purchase Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox).

Call of Duty 2 (PC) Gone Gold, Demo Available

Call of Duty 2 will be available for the PC on October 25th, and the Xbox 360 version will be a launch title. News taken from Planet Call of Duty.

The single player demo for the PC version is also available, and you can download it here. The requirements for the demo aren't that steep, so any decent mid-range system, or even low range for that matter, should be able to get it up and running.

Quake 4 Official Site Launched, PC Version Gold

The official site for Quake 4, id Software and Raven Software's new FPS based on the Doom 3 engine, is now live.

The PC version of Quake 4 has also gone gold, and will be on store shelves Oct. 18th. The PC version's system requirements can be found under the "About Quake 4" section of the official site.

No word on the release date for the Xbox 360 version, however I'd imagine it'll be a launch title.

More news as it develops.

Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil Ships, 1 Review Up

Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox) has shipped to stores, and will be available shortly. I hear some places in the US have it already, however according to my local EB Games, they expect it to arrive on Tues. Oct. 11 to Wed. Oct. 12 and it'll retail for $39.99 (Canadian).

Gamespot has also posted a review here, giving the expansion a 7.9. The short version of this review, if you liked Doom 3, you'll like Resurrection of Evil. I believe it scored below an 8.x mark because it's Multiplayer options are supposed to be pretty crappy, but the Single Player game, the part I care about, is more of the same.

Bioware Announces New Action/RPG!

Bioware recently announced their next title, and Xbox 360 exclusive, an Sci-Fi Action/RPG entitled Mass Effect. The web site it very basic at this point, however it does have a short teaser trailer up which is very nice.

Bioware is the team that brought us Jade Empire and most importantly, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. In english, this means this title will kick ass. Hot damn, Bioware's doing another sci-fi!!!!!!

Several previews have been posted about the game, and you can find most of the links on Bioware's official site (front page) here.

EA Settles Over-Time Law Suit

I read in the Globe and Mail while I was on vacation that EA has settled it's lawsuit with employees who were suing for over time pay.

Good for you EA, it's high time you actually, you know, paid people.

I don't have any links since I read this in a regular print news paper, but if you poke around the net you'll find something.

PayDay Winning Numbers for Oct. 6th


Forgot to buy a ticket while I was on vacation this week... which means I probably would have won $50,000.00 or something...

Morning Post - We're Back!

And we're back from our little vacation. Good times. Nice, quiet, relaxing, and our Staff made a drunken ass of himself with an escaped convict, a French-Canadian politician, and a spork.

There was also that time he ran back and forth around the hotel hallway in his boxers and a towel-cape screaming "For her majesty, Arthur!" At which point he proceeded to tackle the cleaning lady and attempt to purge her "vacuum of doom."

So anyway, there's a lot of stuff going on since we've been gone, and I'm hoping to get a lot of coverage up through the course of today.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Warhammer 40k: Winter Assault review

So, We, the Staff (TM) have finished playing through the single-player campaigns of Warhammer 40k: Winter Assault (WA), the aforementioned expansion to the RTS Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War (DoW).
Overall, it was a more developed single-player experience from a mission design point of view, with each mission having differing objectives and multiple options available for how to achieve them. The campaigns allowed you to take the perspective of all sides in the conflict, something which DoW lacked.

The story was pretty decent, centering around a derelict Imperial-class Titan war machine that was abandoned on the ice planet of Lorn V. This piece of technology is capable of defending (or destroying) entire planets and star systems. It was abandoned by the Imperial Guard when they retreated from Lorn V after suffering defeat at the hands of the Forces of Chaos. Imperial Guard's campaign follows the Cadian 412th regiment's attempts to recover the Titan, while the Chaos forces' attempt to capture and use it for themselves. The Orks, meanwhile, vie to destroy it in their bloodlust, while the Eldar see past the other races petty squabbling to a far greater threat.

An intriguing feature about the two campaigns, Order and Disorder (Order involved Imperials and Eldar, Disorder had Chaos and Orks), was how you were able to choose which race would be the victor, thus changing how the final mission would play out. This made for a bit of replayability (though not much, it was only a couple of hours more game time to play through as all races), and gave you resolution for each race.

As We mentioned in our
impressions post, a sorely lacking aspect of this expansion was in audio production. Sound effects were all well and good, but the music and voice acting took a nose dive in comparison to DoW. The Imperial Hero, General Sturnn, is voiced with an overacted Patton-esque American accent, whereas every single other voice in the Warhammer 40k games to this point has been British. While the voice did suit the character model (see right), it stuck out like a sore thumb amongst all the other characters. Also, the Chaos Hero, Lord Crull, while sounding villainous enough, was to cartoonish. He sounded like an over-the-top, campy Saturday morning cartoon villain who always bellowed everything he said. His predecessor in the DoW campaign, conversely, had a voice which simply seethed with twisted villainy and conveyed extreme malice, only *without* screaming at the top of his lungs all the time!

The rest of the new voice acting lines, in general, just didn't measure up to DoW's. It was almost as if the folks who were responsible for the original's direction had nothing to do with these recordings. That's how different it felt.

Sadly, the same can be said for the music. They had some dude by the name of Inon Zur score WA, who apparently has a decent résumé of work, including Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Starcraft: Ghost cinematics, as well as trailers for Fantastic Four and The New World. Unfortunately, they evidently couldn't afford anything more than a lame-ass MIDI system using an archaic 4.86 system! There are two types of MIDI-based music: good MIDI and bad MIDI. This was bad MIDI. Whereas DoW had stirring, well-produced themes (one in particular that we liked involved the use of a Gregorian chant), We just can't get over the low production values of WA's music.

These audio woes are unfortunate, as graphically the game is still very impressive (only minor environmental graphics changes were added, such as weather and battle scarring effects). Story-wise the game is an improvement over DoW, but unfortunately the aforementioned audio woes prevented us from getting into these campaigns as much as We should have been able to.

The Staff's overall score for WA (single player only): 7.5/10.

-The Staff

Arbiter's Judgement on Vacation

Well kids, the Staff and I are off on vacation, so there won't be any updates for the next 4 to 5 days or so (try not to get all choked up). But because we know how much you love us, we're leaving you with a little incentive to come back:

I also downloaded and installed the demo for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Winter Assault. The game seems alright, but I need more time with it. It also isn't perfect on my old system. Runs okay, but everything's pretty much set to "Low," and the opening cut scene was really choppy.

Anyway, look for impressions of this when I get back, but more importantly, impressions on and shortly after a review for Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox)!

Serenity Review

In a word: Exceptional. Serenity is by far the best film released this year, and the best film I've seen in a long, long time. Why? Exceptionally written and executed. Serenity is one of those rare films of the calibre of The Lord of the Rings and Gladiator where you actually care about the characters, can empathize with them, and hope to hell that they can pull through.

For those not in the know, Serenity is the continuation of the ill-fated series Firefly, written and directed by Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel). Taken from the official site:
The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on
the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off
small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a
small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family -
squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

When Mal takes on two new passengers-a young doctor and his unstable,
telepathic sister-he gets much more than he bargained for. The pair are
fugitives from the coalition dominating the universe, who will stop at nothing
to reclaim the girl. The crew that was once used to skimming the outskirts
of the galaxy unnoticed find themselves caught between the unstoppable military
force of the Universal Alliance and the horrific, cannibalistic fury of the
Reavers, savages who roam the very edge of space. Hunted by vastly
different enemies, they begin to discover that the greatest danger to them may
be on board Serenity herself.

Serenity's characters, their relationships to one another, and how these relations unfold are among the film's strongest points. The character development is simply exceptional. The crew of Serenity are human, flawed, the good guys who aren't always perfectly moral but try to do the right things for both themselves, and when they can, others. You feel for them because you can understand them. You can understand Mal's struggles, especially his moral ones, because he's making the choices that you'd probably make in his shoes.

There are so many twists and turns to the plot as well, all masterfully executed that they keep both the audience and the crew of Serenity off the loop. By the end of the film, I was actually feeling rather ill simply because I had gotten so into the story, so into the characters that the film moved me. I wanted Mal to succeed. I wanted the Alliance to get tossed on it's ass. I wanted what was right to be done. It's very rare that a film can provoke these kind of emotions, and it's too bad I can't go into proper detail to really highlight all of this because if I did, I'd flat out ruin the plot for you.

From an effects stand point, the film was great. It didn't go overboard, it wasn't a Lucas film screaming "WE HAVE EFFECTS! LOOK AT MY SHINEY TROOPERS!" Everything in Serenity was akin to The Lord of the Rings in the sense that the effects are subtle; they're there, but you aren't thinking they're there. The end space battle is rather amazing as well, something glimpsed in the trailer.

Of course another unique twist to Serenity is its style of sci-fi, its a sci-fi/western. The back worlds, the non-Alliance weapons, are all western inspired and very low-tech, but functional. Somewhat of a stretch, but executed so well that it's a believable "'verse."

If you're into character driven films with a plot that's so polished, so sound that it'll hit you home on an emotional level, go see Serenity. It is hands down not only one of the best films of the year, but one of the best films of the new millennium.

Corpse Bride Review

Recently, Tim Burton released his second stop-motion feature, Corpse Bride. The film is once again an excellent piece of work for Burton, delivering quality, imagination, and a greater progression over his last stop-motion film.
For those of you who have seen The Nightmare Before Christmas in the mid-90's, you'll feel a strong sense of familiarity with Corpse Bride. The production/character design is very similar, as well as both feature's short length. Corpse Bride also has a musical element (once again featuring the amazing talents of Danny Elfman), though this was toned down from Nightmare Before Christmas which was almost nothing but.

Corpse Bride is set in a 19th century European village where Victor (Johnny Depp) is the son of a recently-turned-wealthy family, thrust into an arranged marriage with Victoria (Emily Watson) and her rich-but-fallen-on-hard-times snobby family. As the story progresses, Victor, who is both nervous and clumsy about the whole arrangement, accidentally marries a living corpse, the Corpse Bride (Helena Bonham-Carter) and is dragged down into the Land of the Dead.

The Land of the Dead proves more "alive" than the real world, with active, colourful characters, and Victor is ultimately faced with staying with the Corpse Bride, whom he comes to care for, or to try and return to his real bride-to-be.

Though possessing several songs, the story of Corpse Bride is much more narrative based than The Nightmare Before Christmas, and though a fantastical situation, the characters and themes are much more developed and executed, thus making for a stronger, more engaging tale than its predecessor.

The story, though simple, is powerful in it's theme of right, wrong, and acceptance, and recalling another review I read when the film was first released, in the end you do indeed wish that Victor could end up with both Victoria and the Corpse Bride, as they're both such endearing characters who simply want to be loved.

Corpse Bride is indeed another cinematographical achievement for Burton, and with a running time of only 1h 15min (approx.), it is a film well worth experiencing for its imagination, skill, and shear fun. You won't be disappointed.

Morning Post - Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Demo

I downloaded the Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War demo yesterday and tried to install it this morning. Install Shield keeps looking up when configuring the Windows Installer and I have to restart my system. I've tried twice with two failures, and I've verified that I do meet the system requirments. My system is also freshly defraged and software updated.

If the demo is so poorly programmed that it can't even launch the installer without hanging my system, then this game isn't worth my time, no matter how good it actually is.

It's just like World of Warcraft. Blizzard Entertainment's Beta wouldn't download properly and their tech support was useless, so it doesn't matter how good World of Warcraft turned out to be, nuts to them.

There are many games out there I want to try, mostly on Xbox, so if something can't work properly from the get-go I simply move on to a title that will.

Oh, there's also a demo out now for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Winter Assault, which you can grab here.

I'll probably download this one and see if it'll work, but I'm already not very impressed with the game, as I'm sure you can tell.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Call of Duty Sequel Coverage

TeamXbox has some coverage up for both Call of Duty sequels.

They have a hands-on preview of Call of Duty 2 for the Xbox 360 here, and a hands-on preview of Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, the sequel to the current gen's console title Call of Duty: Finest Hour, here.