It is probably clear at this point that we enjoy Bombing Run.
I am happy to say that Bombing Run in the imminent Unreal Tournament 2003 is just as good as I hoped, if not the teeniest bit better. The CTF and Deathmatch modes might be great, but I’m not the guy to tell you. I can’t say they’ll get much playtime, demo or retail. Here’s the basic rundown on how BR works.
Each team starts out an equal distance from a bomb in the middle of an arena. The object is take this bomb to the opposing team’s goal, where you can either a) fire it through for three points, or b) run it through for seven. That is the Reader’s Digest version, of course - I didn’t mention that everyone is also trying to kill each other, or that the person with the ball can do absolutely nothing to defend themselves. It’s very similar to One-Flag CTF from Team Arena fundamentally, I suppose, but the sports trappings add a surprising about of flavor. Playing in the middle of the night, our own Gabriel suggested that the bomb should explode after being held for ten seconds, to keep the ball moving from player to player. The alternate fire for the bomb targets a specific teammate for a pass, and is one of the more satisfying things to pull off - we’re of the opinion that this should be highly encouraged, either by the means just described or some other new kind of means we haven’t thought of. Things can impede the throws, big, you know, Egyptian things can, but there is enough solid auto-aim to manage some fairly spectacular teamwork. On servers with Low Gravity on, the things you can pull off in this regard are amazing.
So, it’s very good. For my part, I wouldn’t mind if they went even farther with the sports motif than they do - goals accompanied by player portraits on marquees for everyone to see, some fancy looking statistics, perhaps the names of those who assisted. As it stands, you score the goal now and just sort of futz around for awhile. It couldn’t hurt to maintain the future sports concept throughout, and here’s a genre-appropriate way to handle it. Not only do I envision myself playing a lot of it, I wouldn’t mind watching it either. CTF is great, but Bombing Run’s single focus point - the bomb, as opposed to two distant flags - makes it a natural for spectator sport. Also! The very, very latest nVidia drivers, the 40.really fucking shitties, are not great for UT2k3. I left them in, wondering how bad could they actually be, and back-revved to 30.82 just on a whim. I was shocked by the improvement.
In a bit of strange news, we’ve gotten Battlefield 1942 playable on Gabe’s machine - and without weaves, medications, or costly surgery. After cleaning three viruses and removing no less than twenty-four separate instances of ad and spyware, miraculously he now has juice to spare. It runs better than it does on my machine now, which is a much better device than his in every conceivable aspect, I’m not trying to brag here but it’s true, and I find that troubling in the extreme. I was going to detail why I think people should be able to spawn directly into APCs, using them as mobile forward deployment points, but I’m not sure it’s such a good idea anymore. Well, I felt very smart for a couple of days at least.
i found the sure way to the ground
I’ve had Animal Crossing for about three days now and it’s still pretty interesting. I made a raid on Kara’s town two days ago and returned home with my pockets full of her precious oranges. I sold some of them and planted the rest. It turns out it takes a long ass time for an orange tree to grow. Soon though I will be harvesting them and I’ll have more bells then I know what to do with. It’s hard to get used to a game in which time passes normally. One day in Animal Crossing is one day in real life. I have to wait an entire day for the town store to get restocked with new items. If I don’t play all day and then go in late at night I run the risk of missing out on certain things that only take place during the day. Town’s people scold me for visiting them late at night after not seeing them for an entire day. It’s really not a game for everyone, if fact I’m not sure it’s even a game for me. I keep playing it though. I mean what If I don’t play one day and that was the day when they got the cool golf clubs at the town store. I don’t want to miss out on something like that. Also I have my newly planted orange grove to tend to. God only knows what kinds of exotic and valuable sea shells are washing up on the shores of my beach right now while I sit here and type this post. This can’t be healthy.
What Tycho said about Battlefield not running on my machine is correct. While it’s true that my baby is pretty outdated I don’t think that’s the reason I’m not soaring over Berlin right now. It runs beautifully on Kara’s machine and we have almost identical systems. My machine has been slowly dying for a few weeks now. I have noticed it getting more and more sluggish. Just checking my mail results in groans and grinding noises that sound like the diseased coughing of a dying man. I am a console gamer at heart and I honestly only got a PC because Tycho told me you could play games on them. I still know very little about their inner workings or how many megs of bits I need to run the latest game. Tycho just tells me what hardware I need or what processor I should buy and then he does all the work of installing it and fixing it when it breaks. So now I sit here with my computer moaning along side me and there isn’t anything I can do for it. I mean I ran the defrag and I deleted some stuff off my hard drive or whatever but that’s just a good Samaritan giving a band aid to a man having a heart attack. I have no clue what’s going on in there or what I can do to fix it. He was talking to me about my machine and when he told me they made processors that were three times as fast as mine he got this crazy look in his eyes. Then he started mumbling to himself and laughing. I get the distinct impression that no matter what is wrong with my computer he is going to prescribe a complete overhaul just so he can build a new PC. We will go to Comp USA and he will tell me to buy all kinds of expensive shit that I probably don’t need just so he can install it all. I’ll end up with some kind of water cooled monstrosity that shoots lasers and makes French toast when all I want to do is play Battlefield. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little scared of him when he gets like this.
One last thing. I wanted to shed some light on the way Club PA works. When you donate your information does not go into some kind of machine that sends you your gift in return. No your info goes into my e-mail and then I send it out personally. Last month we had almost 800 club PA members and sometimes I make a few mistakes. If for some reason your gift doesn’t arrive within about a week please drop me a mail. I will correct the mistake right away. I’d also like to hear from you guys about what kinds of gifts you would like to see in the future. What sorts of things would you like to get in exchange for your membership in club PA? Let me know.
UK Developer Bitmap Brothers will always have a special place in my heart for having made the Amiga such a great machine to own. I was elated when I saw they were planning to re-release the classic Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe for the Gameboy Advance, but when I saw screenshots for Gods on the handheld, I had to grudgingly admit that there may be a benevolent force that works the knobs and buttons of reality. I was about to say that now, all that’s required is versions of Magic Pockets and The Chaos Engine, and I’d be set. I guess I’m set, then.
Though it’s tangential to this particular strip, you can be certain that Ikaruga deserves every kindness we invest in it. It is glorious, and the most reverent requiem a Dreamcast enthusiast could hope for. I was originally unsure about the fact that the game foregoes the weapon upgrades most consider intrinsic to the genre, but the fact of the matter is that one simply does not have time to fuck around with that sort of crap. It will be quite difficult enough to manage your polarity through thick waves of enemy fire, without also flitting about for weapon upgrades. Also, and I was not aware of this initially, you actually absorb shots of your own color, ultimately unleashing them in a swarm of deadly homing lasons. This makes veritably every enemy shot a potential power-up, so, shooter enthusiasts: rejoice! I neglected to mention that the game features cooperative play, and you can only imagine my exultation. It’s actually more of a pain then it’s worth in some cases, but it’s still much better than going to the dentist. The ships can bump into each other, and having two players makes it nearly impossible to rack up proper combos using Ikaruga’s freaky combo system, but what are you gonna do. The game is also hard as hell, even on the easiest mode, which is the way it should be. We’ve theorized what the hardest mode must be like, and we think maybe you just get cancer and die.
As much as I like Ikaruga, I didn’t exactly need another game at the moment. There are domestic releases galore, and though this month may not be as relentless as the last there are still manifold options for the refined gaming palette. Let’s be serious though, if only for a moment. The only game on the shelf is Battlefield 1942.
I’m disgusted with Gabe, as his wretched, miserable machine doesn’t have the juice to play it and he appears to be quite satisfied with that. Where is the stand-up, do-right gentleman who bought a Pentium 233 - sporting the mystical MMX - when Unreal was released? He’s in there playing Socom, or some shit. Socom indeed. He hasn’t seen what I’ve seen. He hasn’t seen Berlin, where (in my admittedly limited experience) Russians drive over you with a tank. There are sixteen maps in all, which isn’t a lot compared to, perhaps, a higher number. Let’s say twenty: Sixteen is demonstrably less. But these aren’t, you know, Rocket Arena maps. These are comparatively gigantic, as near to places as we’ve had in this genre, with nuanced terrain and very respectable geometry. I’ve been in the beta for Battlefield, I’ve played Wake for months already and I’m still playing it new ways. Also, I don’t know if you’ve seen B1942’s take on Omaha Beach. I haven’t played it online yet, so I can’t vouch for it in that sense - but with every game that interprets that conflict, that beach gets longer and longer and more daunting and terrible.
Oh, and let’s not forget: We will supposedly see the UT2003 demo today, which has been delayed somewhat from the original May 24th. Like many other sensible people, I’d already acquired an early version of the game - and even in its protean state, there is much to like. I’ll certainly give every gametype their proper run-through, but I’m here mainly for Bombing Run, Sport Of The Future. Maybe I’ll see you out there, my handle is “Tycho.”