Tuesday, May 07, 2002 21:06
I think the reason why I don't update this log more is because my energy is
devoted to either buying or collecting (more like vacuuming) games. Not playing
them, because sometimes that makes me frustrated. Ironic that. (Yes, ironic
meaning incongruity) Also making the gamelog is a multi-step process. If only
it was as easy as a "virtual billboard". But until I am making money from my
activities, I'm not devoting any money to making it easier. I've been
frequenting some BBS on video games. And posting too. I try to contribute
something new. Maybe my energy is drained away there.
Okay, enough about the process, lets get to the games. I recently bought Zettai
Zetsumei Toshi (PS2-jp, "Do-Or-Die City", my translation). It's a new type of
genre, urban survival adventure, or something to that effect. Mixed into that
is a "friendship simulation" where your survival partner is one of two young
women, Mari or Natsuumi, of the cute, polygonal persuasion. (You are a mid 20s
guy.) Also, it turns into a Metal Gear Solid Survival mode when you are hunted.
You even get to ride a bicycle. Funny.
So what do you do? You are a earthquake survivor, and your aim is to be
rescued. Along the way you meet people (you can check your relationship via the
handy in-game dynamic "relationship map"), pass though urban natural disasters.
You live on water. Water is very important. You can only run so far before your
body's water runs out, and you start taking the HP hit. Therefore, you are
always running from water fountain to water fountain. There are still after
shocks, so you have to assume a crouch position just so you don't get thrown
off your feet.
Is it original? I think the main new thing is the realism. Bridges collapse,
walls break, even building crumble right before your eyes. You can get crushed!
Puzzles change when buses. Some of the physics is a little wrong, for example
if a ten ton piece of building hits the ground just ten feet away from where
you are standing, wouldn't the resulting ground shock catapult you? Maybe the
physics is scripted, because I saw the "right effect" in some shots. Buses
sliding downhill and rolling over. Cars being tossed from a falling bridge.
Round objects actually rolling.
The funniest part is the improbability of the puzzles. Your hero can jump and
grab onto ledges, no matter what speed or angle he's coming from. (If he misses
it's instant death but still...) You can make stuff by combining what you find
along the way, ala MacGyver. You get shot at. Not very realistic, but at least
it is seamless meaning things happen for a reason.
I got ending 1 in 5 game time hours (a day and a half in real time). I kept
dying from jumping puzzles. I'm assuming that there is 4 main endings, and at
least one sub-optimal ending. In fact I got one suboptimal ending already but I
had to throw it away. See the thing is, it is your save game that accumulates
your endings. Usually in other games all you have to do is beat a game a
certain way and the ending is saved as a system setting. But in this game you
have to build on your save game. In other words, you will be doing the same
puzzles at the beginning of the story at least as many times as there are
endings. No reusing save games here. The second day, I got my ending 2 in about
3 hours and 33 minutes (game time). Not bad, but I think I can optimize it a
Roughly speaking, I think it is necessary to understand Japanese in order to
solve some puzzles but the action puzzles require no translation.
Once you've completed an ending, you get a photo gallery. But you don't have a
camera, it's your photographer acquaintance and earthquake survivor Jinnai
taking the shots. You get to see what he sees when you're away from him.
This gets a thumbs up for interesting story, great action and
"use-common-sense" solvable puzzles. Play this game after Ico, and you'll see
how there are different, but equally entertaining approaches to 3d based
Oh. Finally I get to play Halo (XBox-jp). I played the demo at Sofmap for about
2 hours. Yes 2 hours, with none of the kids asking me to "kawatte" ("let me
play, let me play"). I am impressed. I got used to the controller setup,
running, strafing, aiming. I must say that it is very colorful and exciting.
XBox definately has the graphics capability. I am definately going to get an
XBox after these things occur: I convert my Pokemon Silver Blue GBA into a
TV-based handheld (via a kit); I buy a used Nintendo 64 and play Mario 64; XBox
used gets to less than 20,000 yen; I finish some of my other unbeaten platform
games on PS2. In other words, maybe around Christmas 2002. Nevertheless, I can
see I have a couple of games I want to buy for that system, Halo, DoA3, Gun
Valkyrie, Panzer Dragoon. I'm sure there are others. Too bad I have to import a
DVD remote controller to make it a Region 1 player. Too bad I can't play US
Speaking of next generation consoles, how 'bout Gamecube? Well, my sights are
set on getting the DVD-based unit. I don't know, I just like having more
features on my gaming consoles. But its running 40,000 yen new and there aren't
any used units for cheap at my favorite used shop, Game Shop Plus. Heh. For the same reasons
above, I'm not getting a Gamecube soon. Plus the only games I want for it are
Super Smash Brothers Blitz (?), and Pikmin. Heh. Yes, Xbox is higher on my
list. I love some Nintendo games, but I like the variety and realism you can
get with other consoles' games.
Recently I have been just vacuuming games. It seems there was a flooding
disaster at Super Potato Nipponbashi gaming shop and some of the used Dreamcast
games got water-soaked damage. They sure do have that mildew smell. :-( I
picked up DoA 2 (DC-jp) for 286 yen. I picked up 3 other games at the same
price. Bargain! Sale! But I haven't tested if the water-logged DC CD-ROMs
actually work. Hm. Maybe I should. Just as soon as get my database of games up
and running. Yeah, that's coming along, right. Other games... I picked up that
VW Beetle racing game (N64-jp) and Zelda: Ocinara of Time (N64-jp) for about
1,000 yen each, new. I was looking for Mario 64 but it is still being sold
4,000 yen new at Sofmap. That the cost of a plain N64 used!!! Must be a quality
Oh yeah, I was trying to find a new Dreamcast console, not to buy it but to see
the availablity. There are none to be had at the Sofmap. What will I do when my
consoles die? I never really thought about it. Just gotta frequent the used
game shops I think.
Came across an demo unit of Spelunker (NES) two days ago. A boy's dad was
playing, I thought he had some technique. At the same used game shop (Super
Potato Classic?), there were NO Nintendo 64 used games. This is wierd.
Other than that, with Doom 3 PR (product relations) just gearing up and Unreal
Tournament 2003 (this is a dumb name) just around the corner, PC gaming is
three genres for me: Unreal Tournament, 2d fighting and reading adventure
games. www.unrealplayground.com caters to the CTF gamer, and I frequent their
server a lot because they actually include new maps into the rotation. UT is
fresh again. I am at a loss at how I can buy UT 2003. Well, if I make my list
of games and DVDs that I can't live without...