And my avatar pic / headings are gone :(
Finally two good things happened to me - To the Moon finally released on Steam and two, scored me a sweet pair of Sennheiser headphones with a microphone. Why I am so ecstatic about this is because sounds or more importantly, listening to music plays a very important role in my life. It's kinda like saying music is my best friend (well almost). Music (and sounds) for me is like the subliminal message for gaming...you don't realise its wholly there however somehow, you will remember it; or uncontrollably humming a tune where you don't know where you originally heard it. Coming back to the game To the Moon, I was so excited that besides the rave reviews, it was also praised by its musical scores. Its like the music and story are one fused together in perfect harmony. When I booted it up and listened to the opening tune with my spanking new headphones, the opening score immediately captured my imagination of the game. Heck all I have to do is press start to begin however (and strangely so) I didn't. All I did was listening to conjure images. And one of the imagines I created was imagine there was no opening score - what will I do? Press start and move on? I feel it will lose the spirit of this game if this had happened. To the Moon is not in isolation of this marvelous piece of sound as I can remember many, many scenarios of warping through ones mind. To those who played the first Unreal (not Unreal Tournament) where you play the prisoner escaping the crash space craft. Now I bet you remembered quite vividly when you exit the claustrophobic ship to gaze upon the vast world for the very first time. It was like someone smashed you with a hammer and then stars spinning around your head! Well I bet you didn't realise in full details the score that was playing however it was there, playing its subliminal message, hooking you in whilst you scanned the area. Now imagine the same scene without the music; I bet the impact wouldn't be the same. Quake 2 also done this remarkably well yet the musical scores were more of the in your face than just atmospheric sounds. I remember reading a youtube comment when playing the song Operation Overlord describing the song as tank montage or 8 stroggs died listening to this song (referring to the amount of dislikes). Again music plays an important role as people not only associate with the game but even quote the monsters, attributes and so forth. Other words: total immersion. You can also apply this to Halo (how can you not forgot the opening score with those Gregorian chants and those drum beats), No One Lives Forever (and singing evil never dies...love that sixties tunes), the Unreal Tournament Series, XIII (man those are groovy beats to boot), Alan Wake and many more. Well one can say music touches the soul; now add that to gaming you'll have more than you bargain for. Its not to say its the be all and end all however when it envelopes my soul in a subliminal way, I'm not going to say no to that! (Coming back to Earth)...let me finally press start to play To the Moon...and yes I fear those tears running down my face...thank you for the music. (Note: The picture taken was from Ship Sim Extreme rockin in da cruise ship)
First Forgiveness: Pilot boats rarely arrive at your ship to transfer the pilot aboard.The amount of time where those damn pilot boats just sitting there doing absolutely nothing and me, needing to dispatch a life boat, sail to the pilot boat and push it just to trigger the next event cheeses me off. Why I forgive you? At least it gives me training to effectively steer my boat by pushing. And even then there's a good chance that the pilot boat goes on a frantic, uncontrollable spin missing the target by a long shot...then sink just to mock me.
Second Forgiveness: Towing.Towing is one of the hardest things to do in this game. Note that you usually tow behemoths and once the ball starts rolling, theres no stopping. Here I managed to tow an Ocean Liner and after 2 hrs of real time later, moored it only to sink right at the end. Yep a total waste of time. Why I forgive you? Now I know ships don't have breaks, hand breaks even for that matter.
Third Forgiveness: Towing (again).As mentioned above, towing can be pretty hard to do. Just trying to moor it and get a good start can easily take ten minutes (of real time) to get it moving...slightly; with all that rocking and rolling and swaying etc. Why I forgive you? Admittedly I thought I was clever; heading at full speed to hook my rope to the liner as I bypass it. Well as you can see, it backfired as it send my ship airborne and of course didn't even budge the Ocean Prince at all. Other words, there are no short cuts. You need to sway and roll for ten minutes to move that huge piece of crap...if you're lucky.
Forth Forgiveness: Let other ships bypass you first.Here I'm navigating that cargo ship and thought I can overtake that 'airborne' boat. Well, that was not the case. I should have let that boat pass me first. As a result (and look at the map for confirmation - top right hand corner), it jammed my cargo ship so bad that neither of us are moving. That 'airborne' boat is still attempting to turn and me moving forward. Its a no-win situation here and time to restart the mission. Why I forgive you? Well it's like trying to overtake a turning vehicle. I was punished for my stupidity.
Fifth Forgiveness: Chasing fleeing boats.I was on a mission where I need to chase a fleeing fishing boat. Thinking I was smart, I decided to short cut my u-turn by colliding with the land. The next thing is, well the picture says it all. Why I forgive you? There are no short cuts when sailing. I thank you for letting me restart the mission. I drive properly next time. NB: I didn't find the fleeing fishing trawler.
Sixth forgiveness: Sandbanks.On a nice sunny day, I just left the pier on my way to do some inspection where I heard an unnerving grind; like my boat just scraped something underneath the hull literally seconds later. To confirm this, by boat starts to sink. So my question is 'Where in Sydney Harbour is a friggin sandbank in the middle of the ocean?!' Why I forgive you? I don't! There is no sandbanks there! Why did you do this to me? Why? 97% Mr X Azghouls
Title: Halo – First Strike
Author: Eric Nylund
Took place: Wedged between Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2
Year released: 2003
Conversation between Lieutenant Wagner and Colonel James Ackerson (et al) at Facility Bravo 6, Sydney, Australia, Earth.
Ackerson: "Let's try this, then. We are not wasting a single UNSC ship to confirm that we have already seen a dozen times before: Reach is gone."
He inched closer to Wagner. "Everything on it is blasted to bits, burned, glassed over, and vaporised. Everyone on Reach is dead." He jabbed a finger into Wagner's chest for emphasis. "Dead. Dead. Dead."
Reach is still a hot topic for the third novel Halo: First Strike. The importance of Reach and its destruction was a tremendous blow for humanity as firstly, it was the outpost that closely resembles Earth andsecondly, the pride of humanity's fleet. Also hidden among the general populace, houses the infamous Spartan project for which John (Master Chief) was part of.
Starting off with a flashback just before the events when Reach was 'glassed' (a term used to plasma bomb the planet), the book semi-re-enacts the final third of the novel 'Halo: The Fall of Reach' in so many words. Then it branches off to where Master Chief was left at the exact point when Halo: Combat Evolved ends. So without going into spoilers, this novel is regarded as a canon for the Halo Universe.
Being the third novel basing on the Halo Universe, I expected a lot coming from author Eric Nylund as considering it's a sequel to the computer game 'Halo: Combat Evolved', it made me wonder how in the world will Master Chief move on after such devastation. Moreover, considering its part of the Halo storyline, it made me also wonder how effectively it ties in with the (then) upcoming game Halo 2. Kudos to Eric Nylund as, besides some minor errors, has effectively opened and closed some of the storyline to merge the two computer games together.
And here's my gripe as well. Even though they are regarded as canon, it still felt like the novels and the computer games are still miles apart. I cannot effectively state this is also true for Halo 2 as I never played it yet. However what I can say that during my many play throughs of Halo: CE, it felt like Master Chief suddenly forgotten about all the events in the novels; especially his adventures with his fellow Spartan team mates as he's regarded as the sole survivor.
Yet, First Strike had some vast improvements over the previous two novels. The main ones are the more fleshed out personas of the main characters like Master Chief, Cortana, Dr. Halsey and even the ones that didn't appear in the games like Vice Admiral Danforth Whitcomb (a total champion in my eyes), Corporal Locklear (ODST officer), Shiela Polaski and many more. This time, you get to read their inner feelings and thoughts of the situation at hand, especially the virtual world where Cortana 'lives' and Master Chief's / Dr. Halsey's moral dilemmas. That, in itself is worth the read.
Author Eric Nylund (who also wrote 'Halo: The Fall of Reach') has done a tremendous job capturing the Halo Universe. I thought it was a lot better than 'The Fall of Reach' in many ways as besides the combat (for which can be quite tiresome to read at times), there were many improvements like getting into the thoughts of the main characters like Cortana and Master Chief (among others). It was more than an action novel but fleshing out the main characters into a three dimensional beings than just writings on a page. I highly recommend for both Halo fans and new comers alike to the series.
And thus ends the first trilogy.
4 / 5
45% Simon Says Bleed Azghouls
Firstly, happy new year to everyone!
As you may / may not aware, besides playing games, I also love music. If you followed me in last.fm my musical taste can be unusual to say the least as I listen to bands that most likely no one has ever heard of. Nevertheless, I decided to put up my stats for the top five best songs / albums and band for 2011. Remember stats don't lie - they can be misinterpreted though.
Top Five Songs:
1) Poe – Haunted (93 times). This one caught me off guard - maybe it was for my love of the game Alan Wake.
2) Swallow The Sun – Falling World (85 times). Top melodic doom metal track.
3) KMFDM – Potz Blitz! (58 times). Groovy Industrial track.
4) Flesh Field – Uprising (49 times). Pure industrial track - great stuff but too bad the band disbanded in 2011.
5) Curve – Blindfold (45 times). Great shoeglaze track however the second most popular tag was 'sexy'. I can see that.
Top Five Albums
1) Strain - Flesh Field (1179 mins). Pure industrial goodness!
2) New Moon - Swallow The Sun (1013 mins). Top doom metal album.
3) Songs of Moors & Misty Fields - Empyrium (992 mins). Pure genius album from Germany.
4) Endtyme - Cathedral (855 mins). Another great doom metal album from the masters.
5) Blitz - KMFDM (828 mins). Love these guys for ages (15 years +). Not sure why I missed this one - love it!
Top five bands
1) Electric Wizard (2921 mins). All I can say is 'The WUZZZZARD'
2) My Dying Bride (2428 mins). This band will challenge you.
3) Cathedral (2406 mins). No surpise here. Very consistent in my library.
4) KMFDM (2343 mins). KMFDM sucks - nuff said.
5) Swallow The Sun (2004 mins). Doom metal from Finland band (finnish makes good doom metal bands overall).
As I stated before, you may never heard of them - go check them out if you wish.
31% Zenny Azghouls