Even now, the metamorphosis has begun - common Crackdown disks are starting to spin, and splinter, and light is coming out. The gates have swung wide, and now you may know what we know. In this comic scenario, I am the man being obliterated by his friend and Kiko is the one behind the red lance of energy. I wanted to be angry, but it was simply too awesome.
Gabriel does apologize for the late strip. He got a new machine for work yesterday, a quad-core behemoth that belches smoke like a great engine, but after four hours of fiddling with it he could not make Vista and his Wacom tablet work together without the pen lagging behind. He had to push away his new idol and trot out the old warhorse, but it was too late to satisfy you. I told him that I never apologize for late work, and perhaps even delight in it, but there are those who (for whatever reason!) are simply obsessed with professionalism.
I neglected to mention one other boldfaced item in Monday's post, and that is the effect of Placeables on gameplay.
In CTF and other objective modes, good teams can quickly reach stalemates that strip the dynamism out of the experience - and Placeables can disrupt this. The VIP mode, where you can only score by killing a specific, heavily shielded player on the other team, is unbelievable on small to medium sized maps - and Robert had been holed up, protected by Gabe and Kara, for (seriously!) half the map's duration. On my last run over there, I saw a Power Drainer slowly rolling down the hill. You've seen the Bubble Shield, I assume - it's fairly iconic by now - a machine that creates a barrier that is permeable to players but not weapons. The Power Drainer has the opposite effect - in the bubble it creates, a player's shields are stripped off. A skilled VIP can be a tough nut to crack, as the first half of the round proved. The plasma pistol would have disrupted them as well, but only on him, and he had escorts. The Placeable created an opening.
There are other items (like Service Tags, for example) that my only be of intense interest to me. But there are many other things covered by the new Beta Guide that players or simply gamers in general might appreciate, just to see what happens when a developer understands that they virtually define console multiplayer and grips that duty with both hands. If your party plays in a matchmade game and finds people they actually like, you can offer them the ability to "party up" and move forward with the group. We've already seen this work, and it's amazing. Want to mute all players? Would you like to mute everyone on the service but those in your party? That's actually a menu item. The Halo 3 Beta is essentially a data mining operation that looks like a game to players. Even so, I believe you will be captivated.
When I heard that Prince of Persia was going to hit Live Marketplace, I assumed it would be delivered to coincide with a new title in the main franchise - similar to Turtles - and be a largely straightforward port of Mechner's classic. It's funny that today our deep thinkers sit by streams to deeply consider whether or not ten hours total playtime is too short, when the original Prince of Persia gives you one hour total. In any case, as you are probably aware now, it's not exactly a straight-up port. Indeed, it is quite the opposite. Having played it on my Amiga 500 (while pteranodons soared o'erhead, no doubt) its lavish production made my heart skip.