Monthly Archives: September 2009

Brains!

I’m just going to go ahead and dedicate this entire post to zombies, those poor shambling bastards never get their due.

So Yesterday saw the release of the downloadable title Zombie Apocalypse for both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

cue creepy music

cue creepy music

Made by nihilistic studios (makers of Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, and more recently Conan) the game is a run and gun top down arcade shooter in the vein of geometry wars or asteroids. Published by Konami, the game certainly doesn’t lack polish, however will high production values make this bloodbath worth your $10?

Gameplay wise Zombie apocalypse works on a very simple formula, one stick is used to make your character run around, while the other is used to direct your fire. It’s exactly like geometry wars or super stardust at it’s core with the hordes of zombies increasing in number and variety of zombie types as the levels progress. The weaponry featured is your standard fare of flamethrowers, machine guns, and rocket launchers you would expect. One interesting item is the zombie bait, which is a teddy bear which utters darkly comical phrases while it attracts the attention of the zombies which pile around it before it explodes. It’s a satisfying moment, as you hear the bear saying “I’m stuffed with love…and C4” followed by a shower of zombie limbs flying through the air. Also to keep it interesting are the environmental hazards, which each of the 7 levels have at least two of. The hazards are fun to watch as zombies are crushed, grinded, incinerated, and otherwise mutilated in a grand humorous fashion. I also feel compelled to note that there are occasional boss levels through the 55 levels the game offers. However, these are fairly stilted as they are all the same monster in the same arena and really provide little more than a brief reprieve from cutting down hundreds of your slow and mindless adversaries.

Visually the game is refreshingly detailed for the likes of a downloadable content. Though low poly, the models look excellent from the distance the camera views them, while the game holds up without any problems while there are dozens of models on screen. The environments are colorful and interesting and hold well to the game’s theme. Flame and explosion effects also look very nice. Though it may seem like I’m gushing, to be fair I wasn’t floored by these visuals, the game looks good however I won’t go so far as saying it looks stunning. Considering there is downloadable content available such as flower this game certainly has a ways to go before reaching any serious accolades.

Audio is once again, competent. The zombies sound like zombies, the environments have an eerie and atmospheric sound effects like sirens in the distance and the like. The menu’s similarly have a creepy zombie movie esque theme playing, it’s not too complex though and certainly gets redundant quickly, but it does serve to put you in that zombie flick mood. Apart from that the characters each have two or three voice clips for the end of a round, which are mildly comical and provide you with an ever so small shred of attachment to the characters…but it isn’t a whole lot.

There isn’t really any story to speak of in this one, what little story is there is provided in single sentences that precede each level. Really though, all these provide you with is the sense that life is pretty fucking dismal when zombies have overrun the planet, which probably wasn’t a point they needed to drive home too much.

Overall the game is an enjoyable one. And if you are a fan of the genre it’s not to be missed. The game clearly takes inspiration games like left 4 dead and dead rising, as well as the classic 70’s films. compared to Burn Zombie Burn this game is a revelation, the controls feel good and the gameplay has a good deal of variety to it considering the nature of the arcade shooter genre. It’s not a masterpiece, and it’s safe to say you will find yourself frustrated with some of the levels as the difficulty progresses and there are just too many goddamn zombies doing too many ridiculous things all at once (between firing shotguns, throwing kitchen knives, puking  all over the place and giving birth to little flying demons) it gets overwhelming. However the experience is a lot of fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Whether single player or with an additional 1 to 3 companions either locally or online the game provides a lot of frenetic high energy mayhem that provides a lot of bang for your buck.

Rating: 8.5/10

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the water’s always greener on the other side of the bridge

Out of the shop I set off to catch the bus. This part of Bank St I can either walk all the way down to Billings bridge station or catch the first bus heading there. It’s win win really cause the time difference is negligible. So away I go, cross the intersection. the rhythm from my headphones runs through my head down my neck all the way to my toes and my foot motions to the ascending melodies of Passsion Pit.

this girl is beautiful, fine features and short cropped chestnut hair

Cross the street and lo and behold, the bus has arrived. Guess I didn’t need the exercise that bad anyhow (right?) and at least I’ll shave a bit of time off my trip.

she’s boarding too! how serendipitous, all I need is my opportunity and I’ll strike up a scintillating conversation and the rest is academic!

Sit down, crack open the libraries latest offering for me, True Faith, one of the very first works by Garth Ennis. Ennis is an inspiration when it comes to comic writers as far as I’m concerned, No one can replicate his voice. By the third page I’m immersed, his biting wit and grim cynical characters make it clear exactly why he’s the legend he is today, the foundation is in these pages like the brick and mortar of a skyscraper, lacking flash but rock solid.

Cynics vs. Catholics

Cynics vs. Catholics

she’s sitting right across from me, what do I do? who the hell chats with strangers on the bus anyhow!? I’m gonna come off like a complete weirdo, but she’s absolutely stunning.

The thing I love about Garth Ennis is that he manages to set the tone free of a lot of interior monologue or caption use. The most acclaimed writers classically speaking (most notably Moore and Miller) use a lot of captions and tell the reader an awful lot. Ennis uses that sparingly, and even in his early work you can tell he would rather immerse you in the atmosphere of the story than take you out with narrative. I’m totally stunned I found this in the library, I’d never even heard about this book and as it happens it was his second published work which he wrote when he was 19 years old (which is needless to say humbling to compare yourself to as an aspiring writer, luckily I don’t aspire to achieve the greatness of a Garth Ennis) and predates his groundbreaking Preacher series. the bus is arriving at Billings Bridge now.

I’m peering up at her over my book, admiring her quietly. Oh, Fuck! she looked at me, she looked right at me! her eyes met squarely with mine for what felt like minutes. what do I do!?

What was that? Oh, you've got no balls?

What was that? Oh, you've got no balls?

I look down quickly, mark my page, and close my book and get off the bus. As I’m leaving I can’t help but shake my head to myself.

You’re a complete pussy.


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waking up early is only useful if you’re actually productive in the morning

I’m amazed I have successfully got up early every school day since classes started. That being said, I almost never leave my house before noon. Having all afternoon classes, I keep thinking maybe by getting up early I’ll get things done in the morning…this is no the case. I think a day-timer is in order, the key to keeping your day productive seems to lie in the illusion that you need to do things by a certain time and that getting everything done matters. Maybe I’ll get myself a day-timer, then again maybe I won’t…

This past weekend I finally got around to reading Scott Pilgrim vol.1 Scott Pilgrim’s precious little life. I gotta say I openly hate manga and manga styled comics, but reading this has seriously made me rethink that philosophy. If you’re not familiar with the content, Scott Pilgrim is a manga inspired comic series by Bryan Lee O’Malley focused on the title character. He is a 23 year old Torontonian slacker who is in between jobs and in a mediocre rock band. The focal point to the story seems to be his relationship issues, where he is caught in a love triangle between his 17 year old asian girlfriend knives chau and intriguing hipster delivery girl Ramona Flowers. Knives with whom he has a subdued and innocent relationship consisting of talking about high school drama and holding hands on the bus quickly becomes completely Scott crazy and leaves Scott struggling as to how he can break it off as he inches closer and closer into the world of Ramona Flowers. The first volume is capped with Scott’s encounter with the first of Ramona’s 7 evil ex-boyfriends. In this meeting Scott battles the ex-boyfriend in a boss battle inspired by video game and rock opera themes, which leaves me thinking Scott Pilgrim could just be the geeks dream I’ve been long waiting for in print form.

buy me at the closest comic shop, it's THAT WAY!

buy me at the closest comic shop, it's THAT WAY!

I seriously loved that book though, I can’t wait to read more of them. Not being about science fiction or super-heroes it really goes out of my comic book comfort zone but I can honestly say it was an incredibly fun read. I would recommend it to anyone wary of the comic-book/manga medium and sorta wants to ease into it.

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It all begins here

This is it, my first entry. Well I won’t be drawn in by the pitfall of most novice bloggers by overcompensating with a bloated first entry (though fear not, there will be much overcompensation to come since I am well rounded in things I lack) but I will take the opportunity to state formally that this blog isn’t really intended to have any over-arching theme or point. This blog, in particular, is mostly intended as a soapbox for yours truly to simply speak frankly to all that will listen…or read rather.

Hope you keep reading, as I intend to keep writing.

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