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    Mar 29th, 2011 at 12:52:14     -    Parasite Eve (PS)

    Parasite Eve is a Playstation game that was developed and published by Squaresoft, and was released in Japan (March 29, 1998) and North America (September 9, 1998). It is a sequel to a horror novel of the same name. How they choose to tell the story this time around is by constructing the game as a real time RPG that tried to utilize a survival horror feel.

    =Story=

    The overall story focuses on the premise that the capabilities of the mitochondria in the cells of all living organisms are actually limitless in their powers. One night Officer Aya Brea, the lead protagonist, went to an opera for a date. All seemed to be going well until the lead actress mutates into a grotesque shape of something only seen in imaginative minds. During this process, the people in the opera house begin to be set ablaze by this new threat that calls herself Eve. Coincidentally, Aya is the only person that is not affected. This incident, along with a few others, set New York City into a wide spread panic during the 6 days the game takes place. Itís up to Aya to stand up to this menace and save the world.

    =Gameplay=

    The game unravels itself as a real time RPG with slight realistic symbolisms. Aya is able to use typical weapons youíd normally expect to see a police officer with such as pistols, batons and occasionally a few weapons that may not be standard issue such as rifles, rocket launchers and grenade launchers. Every weapon, with the exception of the batons, has ammunition and do run the risk of depletion, but depending on which weapon the player decides to use, the chances of this happening are rather slim. In typical RPG fashion, as Aya progresses through the game and kills more enemies, she is able to level up and increase her stats such as: HP, Parasite Level (think MP), item capacity, etc...
    Unlike most typical RPGs, Ayaís strength doesnít really increase since she is reliant on her weapons. Due to this, there is also a weapon customization element to the game. There are items strewn about the game that can increase the weapons and armorsí effectiveness. Depending on how the player decides to upgrade their weapons will greatly affect Ayaís effectiveness in combat. Lastly, the game takes place in Manhattan Island and Aya is able to visit multiple locals at any time after she has visited them once. This is only seen in a grid setup with the locations names highlighted as sheís not able to literally roam through all of Manhattan.

    =Play Session 1=

    When I first booted the game up, I was actually surprised to see that the game was a real time RPG since I didnít recall too many RPGs during this time that was real time. Even though I knew about Parasite Eve, I didnít know too much about the elements of the game itself going into it. It took me a little while to get used to, but after going through the first batch of enemies I slowly felt like I was getting used to it. At this time I was pursuing Eve whom had fled from Aya to go underneath Carnegie Hall. This actual level of the game was not too long so it didnít take me too long to find her. Once I did, it only took a couple of shots to promptly end the mission.

    =Play Session 2=

    Day 5 was probably the longest of the days in the game and was undoubtedly pretty close to reaching the climax. This day had Aya going through multiple areas such as a warehouse, China Town, Museum of Natural History and the Statue of Liberty. For the sake of time, Iíll talk about the warehouse. By this point, the game had been relatively easy for me as I hadnít died up to this point. Even so, I wasnít getting bored with the game since I still found some fights to have been challenging in their own rights. When I stepped foot into the warehouse things seemed to be flowing similarly as the previous 4 days. The enemies difficult went up a bit, but it wasnít too much I couldnít handle.

    Not until I get close to the end do I reach my first choke point. I step upon a catwalk that would take me to the end of the level when Iím surrounded on both sides by these spider-like creatures. I had faced them throughout the warehouse, but due to the actual set up of the battle things were a bit more difficult. Like most RPGs, when hit in the back, players tend to take excessively more damage. This happened quite often since at least one of the enemies would always be positioned directly behind me. Not only did they have this advantage, but they had the ability to slow my characterís movement and attacking speed down which made it even harder to dodge them.

    Because of these natural advantages, they bested me roughly 5 to 7 times. After becoming frustrated, I eventually was able to overcome the situation by watching their movements closely and dodging their attacks at the right time. Once I overcame the obstacle I *thought* I was in the clear. This was a mistake. Shortly after this fight was the boss of the level. This was the only boss in the game that killed me more than 2 times (the other two being the last 2 bosses of the game). To be honest, itís not that the way to beat the boss was hard, it just wasnít as obvious as most of the others. It was a giant crab that had a habit of running away from the character. The attacks that it would do were best dodged when the character was positioned directly next to it, but initially it didnít seem that way do to their wide reach.

    Normally I wouldnít be too terribly frustrated about this, but because the closest save point at this point was directly before the spiders on the catwalk it probably shouldnít be said that I wasnít the least bit happy. It took me quite a few tries but eventually after I learned the tricks of the crab I found that either scenario wasnít too terribly challenging.

    =Overall=

    I actually rather enjoyed the game. It made me rather interested in the story overall even though, admittedly, there were some scenarios in the story that seemed rather unrealistic in terms of character reactions. For example, to help Aya escape a barrage of questions from a news reporter, her partner Daniel strikes the reporter while heís on camera. Granted, itís a game, but itís still a game that is based in a relatable scenario. Itís not the biggest issue, but things like this (and there are many) kind of break the immersion slightly. Regardless, it wasnít anything too big to keep me from continuing with the game long enough to beat it.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Mar 29th, 2011 at 12:55:38.

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    Jan 25th, 2011 at 01:44:38     -    Clue: Discover the Secrets (Other)

    A whodunnit styled board game, Clue: Discover the Secrets pits 3 to 6 players against each other in a race to solve a murder. To aid the detectives in their plight, each person will have a set of evidence that let's them know exactly what (or who) wasn't involved in the murder. From this point forward, it's up to the player to use their cunning, reasoning, and sometimes trickery to ensure that they are one step closer to solving the murder.

    =Game Pieces=
    Clue wouldn't be a board game if it didn't have one of its most essential pieces. A board. The board in this instance is that of a mansion (or maybe it's just a big house) with 10 different rooms, one of which being a pool conveniently positioned in the center. The other 9 rooms (in no particular order) are the patio, the kitchen, the hall, the theater (ok, maybe it is a mansion), the observatory, the spa room, the dinning room, the living room and last but not least the guest house. Why there is not a master bedroom but instead a guest house, I do not know. What I do know is that along the floors that the players traverse along lie question marks. This, to me, fits nicely with the confusing set up of a mansion with no master bedroom.

    To go along with the board are an assortment of pieces to be used in multiple ways. These items range from 6 color coded pieces to act as an avatar for the players, a plethora of potential murder weapons, 2 dice, 3 sets of cards (intrigue, rumor, and player cards), a packet of notepads and a single envelope. The player cards and the 6 color pieces go hand in hand. Each player chooses a card and whoever their card depicts is who the player represents, which in turn is represented by the colored avatar. The player card also gives a short description of the character the player has chosen and also describes their abilities. Each character has an ability unique to them that they're only capable of utilizing once per game (more on this later).

    The possible murder weapons act as... weapons that were possibly used in the murder. Nothing much to really say about them. The notepads have all of the rooms, suspects and weapons written on them and cells by the entries which should be used to mark off what the player believes who and what were not involved in the murder. Last on the list are the other 2 cards and the solitary envelope. The rumor cards are evenly distributed to each player. No matter how the cards are distributed, there will always be a lone card that no one is allowed to see. This card is placed in the middle of the pool face down. The cards in the players person act as clues that should be used carefully in order to solve the mystery and/or slow their competitors from solving the mystery before them. Before the players are able to receive their rumor cards, however, 3 cards (1 from each category: suspect, weapon and room) are placed in the envelope at random. The cards in the envelope act as the answer to the mystery.

    The intrigue cards are used to give players special abilities during the game such as add 6 to the end of your roll. They are placed in a stack that is face down to the side of the board. Just because they can, the people at Hasbro decided that this wasn't enough, and wanted to add the possibility of players getting killed. That's right. You can die in Clue now. This only adds to the strangeness of the missing master bedroom since the players who die are said to have been killed by the murderer, when, in actuality, the murderer isn't even safe from him/herself (ironically, this same scenario happened twice on our play through). The lucky participant(s) to meet their fate do so by picking the 8th hour card from the intrigue stack. Once they so joyously meet their end, the player is banished from the game and must show all the cards that they posses. If this wasn't enough, the 8th hour card is then placed back into the stack which then needs to be reshuffled. Other intrigue cards taken from the stack, however, will not be placed back into the stack. There are 8 total 8th hour cards in all.

    Lastly, there are 3 ways a player may select from the intrigue stack: 1) The player decides to land on one of the aforementioned question marks strewn about the floor; 2) If at any time they roll a question mark (instead of each side being numbered 1-6, they are numbered 1-5 with the 6th being a ?) they must then pick a card from the intrigue stack; 3) If a player is moved to a room other than the one they were already in, they then have the option to take a courtesy pull from the intrigue stack. This is the only possibility that pulling from the intrigue stack is optional.

    =Game Rules=
    Now that all the pieces are accounted for, a game can only be so fun depending on how you actually use those said pieces. Like most board games, player order is decided by who has the highest roll before the game is initiated. Once order is determined, it must then be noted to the players that they are only allowed to move their respective pieces horizontally and vertically. Diagonal movement is not an option. Whenever a player lands in a room other than the pool, they are then hazarding a guess about the events surrounding the murder. The player then states a person and a weapon; which then both the person and weapon are placed in the room. At this point, other players must then try to disprove the rumor the player conjured. If one of the other 2+ players have at least one card that is the same as either the accused, weapon or room, then (starting from the accuser's left) the first player with the necessary card(s) must then show their card only to the one who started the rumor. If the one objecting has more than 1 of the cards, they then choose which one card to show to the accuser. If a player happens to have a card, they're not allowed to withhold their information. They must disprove the accuser.

    If a player chooses to go into the pool, they are then declaring that they know the answer. Once they make their assumption, the accused player and weapon is still moved into the suspected room like normal, but the player making the bold statement is able to look in the envelope. Once they look inside, there are only 2 outcomes: 1) They were right and the game is over; 2) They were wrong and they are partially out of the game. Unlike being killed by the 8th hour card, the player that acted hastily isn't dead and still has limited interaction. They are still required to disprove other claims if it is possible but they aren't able to directly participate within the game anymore.

    =Game Play=
    I, along with Lorraine, her friend Diana, Alex and Derrick consisted of all of the people who were engaged in the game.

    First Session - Truth be told... it couldn't have been a better demonstration of how people learning a new game can turn into a debacle. Alex wasn't there at the time so he missed out on all of the awesome that was to be had. It was determined that I would be the player to go first, and on my first roll I had enough moves to go into the patio. I then made my guess of who used what in the patio. No one was able to refute my claims. Due to this drastic turn of events, confusion struck. We all weren't truly familiar with the rules.

    "Am I supposed to look in the envelope now, and say I know who did it?" After a brief moment of silence from my question, it was apparent that not a single soul had the slightest clue. We all stuck to our guns and made our own rules and said that we have enough proof that we know who the killer is. I was right on the killer and murder weapon. I was only wrong with the room. In actuality, Derrick had the card that alleviated the room, but overlooked it and said he couldn't disprove me. Did that stop me from enjoying my first win? You're right. It didn't. At least I knew who the killer was. Location was not of importance to me at the time for I was a winner (in my own mind at least).

    Second session - My how the tides change. Truth be told, I don't remember much about this one. I only remember 2 things. 1) Lorraine's character was the killer, and, for some reason, she was eventually killed...by herself. I for one blame bad parenting. 2) I died. Matter of fact, I was the first to die. Despite fulfilling a typical horror stereotype, I wasn't too thrilled with dying so early. My attention towards the game went along for the ride and died as well. Other than these two things, I can't remember who solved the murder. Oh, also, Alex wasn't here for this game as well.

    Third and final session - Alex fatefully shows up and the game was never the same. Alex was devious and showed us that he had a dark soul. In the beginning we all just wanted to know who the murderer was and didn't care who won, but Alex... he was different. He wanted all of the glory. Not just some. All of it. He would make rumors using evidence in his possession to make us second guess our intuitions. Clue's innocence died the moment Alex stepped in the room, and along with it, Lorraine followed... who just so happened to be the murderer... again. By then, we all began to question her sanity. The game eventually ended between Derrick and I due to Alex having an error in his judgement. This didn't stop him from trying to keep Derrick and I from solving the mystery though. Regardless, Derrick still won. By this point, everyone either wanted to play Halo or a game deemed worthier of their attention span.

    =Overall=
    Clue was a fun game. It can also become boring at times as well, especially for the people who are killed off particularly early. Depending on the people you engage with, however, is when the game either fails or shines. Despite the overall fun that is to be had, it wasn't exactly successful in keeping everyone's attention after a lengthy period of time. I would recommend it to those poor souls who do not have a video game console (or a tv for that matter), but all in all it's not a game that has enough substance to make a lasting impression in people's minds.

    This entry has been edited 3 times. It was last edited on Jan 26th, 2011 at 23:06:09.

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