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Archive for March, 2009

Let's Go Jungle! (Arcade)

March 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Let’s Go Jungle! is a fixed-lightgun rail shooter. Aliens was a fixed-lightgun rail shooter. Because of this you may assume that Let’s Go Jungle! is totally awesome like Aliens. It’s not.

Players take on the role of a young couple who are left stranded on a jungle island when giant spiders kill their (grotesque racist caricature) guides. With no way to defend themselves but two AK-47s and the power of love, players must set out to kill pretty much every living thing between them and the nearest Ramada.

Power of love, you say? What’s that about? Apparently, this game was designed with actual couples in mind (which is dumb, no woman has willingly gone in an arcade since 1983) because in between acts the protagonists get all lovey-dovey and you get rated on how good you are as a couple. Seriously. If you both shoot the same creature? You understand each other as true friends. Protect your significant other from that lunging monster-leech, and you’re clearly a loving partner. This can get a little uncomfortable if you aren’t playing with your real SO, especially since the sit-down cabinet has privacy drapes.

Gameplay is pretty lackluster. The guns are ridiculously hard to aim accurately and don’t want to aim at the far sides of the screen. There seems to be some smoothing that distorts how your aim tracks as well. There are a few fun quick-time events where players must move the guns around to do stuff in-game, but they’re way too easy and don’t add much to the whole affair. The graphics are pretty, but look oddly like those of the Sims games.

Overall Let’s Go Jungle! is a pretty forgettable game. Not as fun as its premise would imply, or as exciting as it’s genre demands, it’s like a real trek through dense forest: frustrating and tedious.

4/10 (It’d be lower but player 2 is kind of hot)

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Mad Housewife White Zinfandel

March 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Basically hobo wine for non-hobos, white zinfandels have been the guilty pleasure of the middle class since time immemorial. Bottled and served before it’s old enough to drive, as sugary as orange Faygo, and the color of really cheap perfume, white zinfandel is a tasty dinnertime, snacktime, anytime wine with no artistic merit or complexity. If you can’t justify buying that bottle of Tres Banditos, and Asti is too expensive, you probably want to go for some white zinfandel.

Mad Housewife, which seems to be positioned as wine for alcoholic homemakers, makes a pretty bleh zinfandel. The wine is pretty fizzy, and despite some initial sweetness has a kind of bitter, chalky aftertaste. It’s totally possible the bottle I got was skunked; it certainly tasted pretty funky. Then again, it could just be nasty cheap wine. White zinfandel usually toes the line between sugar water and vinegar pretty closely, and this stuff tasted like it just skipped a bit too far to the side.

Let me just say I am no wine snob. I make lemonade with chablis. I like Boone’s Farm. I didn’t like Mad Housewife, and since there are approximately a million different brands of cheapo white wine to choose from, I don’t see much reason to give it another shot.

2/10

Skype for the iPhone

March 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Skype for the iPhone. The first thing I noticed is it’s VERY unstable. No matter what I do in the app, it crashes within the first minute or so. I even tried resetting my phone thinking it was just a glitch. Nope. Crashes almost instantly. How can you release an app like Skype for a device like the iPhone and not at least iron out stability issues? It’s unusable as it stands right now.

Aside from the usability of the app based on stability, there are some worthy mentions about the Skype app. The interface is pretty nice. It’s intuitive and familiar if you’ve used Skype before. It has some nice features such as importing contacts from the iPhone contacts list and using a picture from the camera roll as your profile pic. It’s also got the standard iPhone interface for input as well which is decent.

I called my wife on our cellphone with skype out and also dialed the test call which is available upon the install. The call worked and was somewhat decent but sounded kind of tinny and there was some slight echoes. Skype has always been like this but it seemed a bit worse than usual.

Overall, I think this will be a cool app once they fix the stability issues, but until then I have no need to click on it and will refrain from doing so. 4/10

Inkheart

March 31, 2009 Leave a comment

I just recently watched Inkheart with some friends and was surprised that behind the corniness, and sub par acting, there was actually a decent story underneath.

Inkheart stars Brendan Fraiser, the current cheeseball fantasy/adventure actor that gets all of these roles. Basically Brendan’s character “Mo” is a silver tongue, which means he can read a fictional book and make the stuff in the book actually happen. This being the setting for the film, lays the ground work for a slightly different twist on the heroic save the world/girl genre.

All in all, Inkheart is definitely a movie that the kids will enjoy, and if you can get past the corniness of it then you will actually enjoy watching the film. 6/10

Amazon.com WidgetsInkheart

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic

March 29, 2009 Leave a comment

There’s a good game hidden inside Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, but you have to ignore the hype to play it. The box for this game would have you believe you’re playing some kind of 5th-grade Might and Magic fanfiction, a dark, edgy game with blood and guts and killing and evil and death and also grit and nastiness. You won’t be. The game has blood and stabbing and whatnot, sure, but it’s not extreme or edgy or any of that. It contains wizards with silly voices, maidens fair, cuclopses (cyclopi?) and all that fun stuff you’d expect from a fantasy game.

If you actually were expecting BloodKillHackcorpes: The Deathening, well, you’ll be let down.

DMMM casts you in the mold of a generic fantasy hero who gets bounced around between incontinent old men performing quests. You get a hot spirit familiar who lives in your head because, you know, Halo, and you find and master an array of weapons. You also level up, learning various traits to become stealthier, stronger, or more magical. It’s basically a fantasy Deus Ex, which suits me fine- it’s certainly better than Deus Ex 2, so it works as a sequel, at least as well as Bioshock worked as a sequel to System Shock.

The big hook of this game is supposed to be combat, and it is pretty great. There’s an Errol Flynn pirate movie swashbuckling feel to fighting in this game, as you hurl debris, trip your enemies, and kick dudes off of things. Or into things. Or over things. Kicking quickly becomes your most valuable attack, due to its power to propel your enemies into the many, many, many environmental traps that abound in this game. You can also block, do special melee attacks, and cast all sorts of fun spells. You can even sneak, which is a viable option because enemies can dish it out at least as well as you in most cases.

So if you can ignore the “there’s blood and murder and EEEEEEEVILLLL” hype, this is a pretty fun FPS-RPG-action title. Just remember that F makes your dude kick, and you’ll be fine.

7/10

ScummVM iPhone

March 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Remember those old Lucas Arts adventure games you used to play when you were a kid? Sam and Max, Secret of Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle, etc? Well now you can relive those old adventure games while on the go.

The ScummVM project has been around for several years and the good folks involved in this project have ported ScummVM to several devices and platforms including the iPhone. ScummVM is a game engine interpreter, which basically means it’s an outlet to run the old games that you once played through a newer game engine. Think of it like an emulator of sorts, but not.

The touch screen interface of the iPhone works very well in conjunction with the old point and click style adventure games and they have added other features such as swipe gestures, accelerometer support, and a built in keypad. In order to get ScummVM you must install it from the cydia iPhone app repository. You must jailbreak your iPhone to get this. Jailbreaking an iPhone is very easy and shouldn’t cause any harm to your phone or iTouch (though I’m not responsible for any damages, etc. etc. that “could” happen if you want to try this out 🙂 )

All in all, the iPhone is a great interface for games like this and ScummVM rocks. If you are feeling brave, then jailbreak your iPhone and relive your childhood memories of when games were actually good and humorous. 7/10

Trace iPhone game

March 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Trace is a very cool game which is available on the iPhone’s apps store. It’s a platformer as well as a puzzle game. I believe I got this one for free but I can’t remember, I would probably still pay a couple of bucks for it though if I had to.

In Trace you draw your platforms using the touch screen of the iPhone. You move your character (a stick person) through the level using touch controls and maneuver through objects by drawing platforms at various locations, lengths, and steepness.

There are several levels and some of them can be very challenging. The game is also fun for kids so if you feel safe handing your son or daughter the phone for a bit, they will get a kick out of it too. All in all, a very well done and thought out game. I hope they add more content in the future. 8/10