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A Sudden Revelation

Ever hear of Grand Theft Auto, the multi-million dollar video-game franchise? Ever played any of the games? Don't bother answering that, because in two days you'll probably be home in front of your big TV running over pedestrians and causing random chaos. See I'm not one those lucky few who would get to experience what is quickly being billed as probably the greatest interactive achievement since Ocarina of Time, I'll probably be moping around the web collecting information about the game and playing it inside my head. As a citizen of this fine country I can only do so much, come to think of it I can actually relate to Niko Bellic, the central character of GTAIV, but this is not what this post is about.

A Hard Rain's a' Fallin'...

Going around doing stuff you'd normally be thrown in jail for, this is what GTA has always meant to the average joe, for me its also about something much more; discovery, exploration and atmosphere. I remember logging into San Andreas for countless hours just driving around and absorbing all the sights and sounds of the places, sometimes I'd stumble onto a new neighborhood and sometimes I would be completely lost somewhere mid-mission and not even care that I just let my entire posse go up in flames.

I just read IGNs review of GTAIV and quite frankly I was completely blown away reading about the effort Rockstar North has put into to make the game as immersive as possible, how pedestrians would fumble in the rain trying to open their umbrellas and scouring for respite (I particularly liked the bit about the Sax player) and how the world would change its tone accordingly.

Liberty City...

I don't go out much; my relationship with the city is limited to me walking around the roof of my building at nights. During those hours I just keep staring at the buildings and the dimly lit streets watching commuters, homeless people and rickshaw-pullers curse at each other over some loose change, and a little mood-music doesn't hurt either. I always promised myself that before I go kickin' the bucket I would allow myself to truly explore my habitat with some music playing behind (kind of like Elizabethtown only without Kirsten Dunst leaving all those annoying messages).

I can't believe I actually typed all this down and that too over the Internet...seriously I was just talking to myself about a potential blog post that would end up a disaster and I actually went ahead and did it. Oh well guess I can expect some comments about my perspective...right?

The Sheep That Never Followed...Until Now!

After I lined up my last PC in mid 2004 I realised that I was standing on the threshold to the next frontier in gaming, Doom3 had just been out. Soon the lofty masses of PC gamers cozy on their little chairs in front of their monitors displaying bright colors with never ending light shone upon their faces were about to be chewed up and spit out by the sinister, dark and unforgiving soul of Doom3. Yes I can say that I trod the deliciously disturbing halls of UAC and was unabated doing so, but going through them 20 times or so was a sign of absolute ignorance of the world outside, a world that had suddenly moved on to the greener pastures...of City 17.

The faces of Addiction...

By the time I had developed a masturbatory addiction to the cursed game, I realised that many of my peers had started to shy away from me. It seems my strict adherence to the awesomeness of Doom3 had gotten out of hand, my friends had started rambling about my "state" and insisted that I switch to something else or start a hobby involving lewd images. It was only a few weeks after my monthly exams in November that I realised people were getting geeky about something else. I started hearing words and names that I had never been acquainted with; Striders, Pheropods, Alyx, Vortigaunts, Antlions, Alyx kept popping up from out of nowhere in the middle of every game-related conversation I had stumbled upon or had overheard. It was until I hear the name Gordon Freeman that I knew Half-Life 2 had been out for some time.

I took time from all the "hellish action" and did some researching. Gamespot had awarded Half-Life2 with a spankin' 9.2 compared to the measly 8.5 that was Doom3. This REALLY rubbed me the wrong way. As any stalwart soldier I stood my ground and resisted buying HL2. My stubborn nature carried itself all the way through October 2007. News of the "Orange Box" had been spreading through the inter-web like wildfire. My attention went un-wavered, but something happened in October 10 th, something I really did not expect. Gamespot had posted an entire review for the Orange Box! My surprise may come as a surprise itself to anyone reading this, but let me give you the lowdown on my unusual reaction, Gamespot (and almost any other similar site) has almost always never reviewed any game that may come as a whole package or collector's editions, the most recent being Sam & Max: Season 1 (it only served to fuel the fire of my ignorance), but this one incident actually has nothing to do with my recent conversion.

...Missed Opportunity...

By two weeks I had read or seen every possible review of the Orange Box, and what was most striking about it was the sheer amount of praise that Half-Life2 had been garnering even after three years of release. I have to admit that most of my attention was spent sniffing down deals on a 360 (Go figure!) the release of the Orange Box had really turned my head. "The best deal in gaming available" had become the most common vernacular regarding the Orange Box. I was convinced and ready to make amends to Valve.

In the end my libido towards the Orange Box had to take a backseat, living in an extremely under-developed country really has its fair share of quirks. You see it takes almost six months for a game to arrive in this country (weeks if your pining for a hacked-up copy) and I wasn't getting any younger. Disappointed at the shop I let out a silent yelp and just as I was about to walk away I spotted something, it disgusted me yet I desperately yearned for it, it was...it was...a copy of Half-Life2. I surrendered and snatched it out of the racks, and it took me three years to do so.

...and Deliverance.

I admit that I regret not playing this game sooner, it might just be THE most well-crafted, brilliantly paced and expertly executed piece of software my computer has ever had the privilege to procreate with.

Whew! Now that all THAT'S over I would like to eat something, read a little, study some Chemistry that I had stowed away at the back of my mind for two days and later hack up some Headcrabs! Damn, I've been listening to Blow Up the Outside World for over an hour...guess it's time for a change.

PS: I really sympathize with Reetesh, no one should go through an ordeal like that!

Carrying On with Chris Cornell, Resident Family Man

Take one look around my profile and it wouldn't take a genius to figure out that I'm a rabid "grunge" fan (god I love that term!), heck I would almost always refuse to put anything else on while I'm going through my daily rounds at GameSpot, it's also true that for the time being I'm nether-lip-deep listening to the newest album Carry On by Chris Cornell. No it's not another lame review like my last one but rather a brief overlook on the album and the man credited for it.

Carry On is a great piece of work, it will quench the thirst of anyone who has been following Cornell's previous work. Most of the songs nicely carry on the ethereal and stony vibe from Euphoria Morning (hence the name, Carry On, not too difficult is it?). Almost all of the songs are what one would expect from Cornell, but there are exceptions, some good and some just plain inconsistent (yet inspired). I'm yet to go through all the words and stuff but seeing whatever I've been able to go through I assure you it's all patented Cornell.

Despite most of the reviews I've been reading lately the album is not what it's been labelled it as, it's actually quite awesome. After being bombarded by a trio of by-the-numbers albums by Cornell's previous commitment Audioslave, it was actually quite refreshing to dip my ears in Mr. Cornell's other-worldly, often soothing and sometimes out-of-place collection of melodies.

Not the world's greatest album cover...

Just last night I was watching the MMM interview of Chris Cornell in Youtube it was clearly evident that Mr. Cornell is no longer the angst-ridden man he used to be (whoa, Am I quoting somebody?). The whole thing can be found divided into four parts in Youtube, the interview is based mostly around the album and questions from the audience, but a deeper look on Cornell, his appearance, his choice of words will make you wonder..."what the cheese happened to this guy, didn't he used to hold a [expletive] bullhorn to his mouth and screech like hell?" Throughout the whole thing he kept on speaking about his family, settling down, his family and France. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that Mr. Cornell has at last found solace and happiness, but please don't go overboard looking like a total sap. But actually I really don't care how Mr. Cornell presents himself, as long as he continues making great ear-stuff I'm a happy camper.

GCE with C&C

Yep, that's right, I'm currently in the middle of my GCE Ordinary Level exams but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying myself.  I've been able to hold onto my sanity playing Command & Conquer 3, and might I add that it's probably one of THE most satisfying (and not to mention pretty) RTS titles I've played in quite a while. With only one more subject to conquer (no pun intended), I will return to my regularly scheduled programme of mutilation, be-heading, bad-guy-armor-piercing and a little dose of healthy sports soon, meanwhile keep yourselves busy reading all the wonderful smelling crap available right here in this space .

First Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles footage revealed!

Holy crapola, Capcom has uploaded the first ever teaser for Umbrella Chronicles for the Wii on their Japanese website. The footage reveals recurring characters, Chris and Jill, from the first RE game, in some short snippets and showing Wesker taking off his trademark shades at the end. If the footage shown is actually in-game (which it probably IS, see how Chris kicks a zombie from a third-person camera angle) it displays what the Wii REALLY can do with it's "minimal horsepower". The visuals displayed are a smidgeon better than that of Resident Evil 4 (Gamecube) yet they are nothing short of SPECTACULAR.

PS3 eat your heart out!

UPDATE: I've Just uploaded the trailer in my profile-space, If you're smart enough you will be able to navigate all the way to the link or if you're one of those brats who wants everything spelled out right from the get-go (or if you're just plain DUMB) CLICK HERE .

The Death-Of saga (pt.1): Burning Questions (and that bloke who handled it)

Whatever happened to Burning Questions? This is an insurmountable question on its own it seems. But really folks, doesn't it push your buttons whenever a good TV show, or anything else of that sort, suddenly takes a long trip to nowhere and oddly enough announces several eras later that it is on a "hiatus"?

Sure Burning Questions (BQ) probably wasn't the most mature reading material here at Gamespot, but hotdamn was it amusing! Just like in the movie industry BQ was the equivalent of a corny (yet blindingly good) B-movie compared to some of the other, more focused features. You might ponder as to what the heck is wrong with me ranting about a stupid mailbag, and I reply by saying that anyone who ever treated said column as a properplace of infermationis an idiot himself/herself. It was a total trashcan, filled with all sorts of chunky, smelly, un-intellectual questions from a few boneheaded and clueless people (which I think would also include myself to some extent). Sure there have been a few diamonds-in-the-rough but that's just about it.

It would be nice to see BQ materialize on paper (metaphorically) again, not only because I hate reading the monotonous newspaper but because of all those wacky, goofy and utterly ridiculous "questions", and that punk who suffered the horrible fate of having to withstand and somehow answer them. Seriously I feel sorry for the poor sap; I think it was Alex...something...whatever!

PS: It's clearly indicated that this entry is part-one of an entire saga. I will be posting the second segment soon. For now I'm on a HIATUS. Live with it!

Resident Evil wii NAMED!!!!

NEWSFLASH!!! CAPCOM HAS NAMED THE PREVIOUSLY UNTITLED RESIDENT EVIL GAME FOR THE WII. IT'S CALLED RESEDENT EVIL: UMBRELLA CHRONICLES. NOTHING FURTHER HAS COME INTO MY ATTENTION BUT PLEASE TRY AND CHECK OUT THE CAPCOM-EUROPE WEBSITE AND TAKE A GANDER AT THEIR VOTING POLL FOR THE MOST ANTICIPATED GAME!

I heart Okami...more!

It's official people! I am now a certified fan of Clover Studios! The creative development house that brought us fine tuned games such as the Viewtiful Joe series have delivered their most enthralling game yet, Okami! I cannot recollect playing any more of an engaging game since the early Mario games.

Since the Zelda series (which Okami has mostly been compared with) has always slipped past me, I can say that Okami really one of the most original, innovative and downright charming game to come out in decades. It is pretty ironic (and a pity) that the creative developers, Clover Studios, had to snuff it right after releasing their finest game yet. I am yet to finish the game, but I'm pretty sure it will leave me yearning for a sequel.

Clover Studios have really set an example for others how games can also be art; not just in form but also in substance.

They're Baaaaack!

Man, what an overhaul. Pearl Jam totally ROCKS! Been listening to their new album for two days straight and I just can't get it out of my head. Pearl Jam really pushed their senses and talents to their limits, since each song feels tailored for the sort of vibe they are supposed to create inside the listener.

The album starts off with a large order of 'aggression meat' and finally delivers some mild (often moody) melodies. "Army Reserve" has to be the best song in the whole goddamn album, not that the other songs are bland or anything, but Army Reserve feels like the most complete song in the entire album. Second comes the ultra-groovy "Marker in the sand," this song takes me back to the Soundgarden days of rocking, there is a shockingly familiar flair of one of their songs, "Spoonman," partially because of the drumming. "Comatose" really pushes my buttons, the song is more than enough to piss off a monk, Ed's scratching vocal tunes and some frantic, Soundgarden like guitar work make this song a winner.

After listening to the key songs of the album the rest of the songs fall to their own distinctive positions such as the Beatles inspired, "Parachutes" the ballad, "Come Back" and the slightly melancholy drenched, "Gone." Thanks for stealing my sleep once again guys! Now if I can just persuade Chris Cornell to release another solo album.

Sure NOT to be a 'Wii'nner.

WHAT THE HECK WAS NINTENDO THINKING??? The Revolution was a digestable (and somewhat catchy) name but "Wii?" See, this is what people get when they try to be overly commercial, really bad gut reactions from people. Now please excuse me while I barf and tell people how bad the new name is.

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