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    Feb 20th, 2008 at 16:24:32     -    Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)

    SUMMARY

    Super Mario Brothers 3 is the third installment of the Super Mario Brothers franchise for the NES, so it is almost exactly like the other games in the series – a platform, hop-n-bop game with silly music and cartoony-landscapes. The player controls Mario as he jumps, hops on bad guys, and scurries to the end of each level.

    GAMEPLAY # 1

    This may have been the second time in my entire life playing the NES. I consider myself somewhat of a veteran gamer, having mastered Starcraft and almost any shooter game. However, my first gameplay experience with Mario Brothers 3 taught me that I really suck at one of the most classic video game experiences. It took me awhile to handle the running and jumping without landing beside a creeping bad guy. I began to understand that there is a “sprinting” mechanism by holding down the B button, and started to combine this with my jumping feats. Still, I had a tough time avoiding the evil triangles when I landed.

    The game never gave any background on what was happening. Why was Mario stuck in this desolate and silly landscape? Who are these characters sliding towards me, and why can I only attack them when in a ridiculous raccoon suit? What are their attacks? Where am I going? Who am I? I felt as if the game could have had some dialogue or text to inform me of my surroundings and circumstances. Then again, I may be expecting too much from such ancient technology.

    Overall, the game was not terribly engaging. Nearly every outcome was entirely predictable and at no point did the scenery or gameplay impress me. There was no sense of randomness or unpredictability. YES, I understand this is a platform from an entirely different and far older era of gaming, but this stuff is supposed to be legendary! I also kept wondering the entire time how this version was different from other side scrollers in the series.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 20th, 2008 at 16:26:10.

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    Feb 8th, 2008 at 00:54:05     -    Max Payne (XBX)

    GAMEPLAY# 2


    As I got deeper into the story, the audio began to have a massive effect on the game. Even at the start menu, the crime-story piano sets the tone for the film-noir theme. The "mobster" character from films such as Goodfellas and The Godfather have been imitated perfectly both in the cinematics and gameplay. If Max is to sneak up on some thugs seated around a table, he'll hear a disturbing story about how "Vinne got sent to the freezah" or an argument over handgun preference, tastefully ending in "fuhhghheetabautit." Of course, such conversations can be interrupted by the fugitive cop, and the thugs shout "Whattda hell? Its Payne!" Classic.


    The dark atmosphere and authentic New York mobsters made the progression of the story feel like just a movie. The game has short in-game cinematics, but the best dialogue is seen in the graphic novel scenarios between each level. Max's narration and interaction with key characters is seen in the framework of a comic book. This adds a compelling and unique way to depict events and plot twists outside of the action.

    The environment is highly interactive and somewhat free roaming - if a room or location is blocked off, it always makes sense to the story why this is so. For instance, in the subway system, the bad guys have sealed the station shut, and so the raging storm outside keeps the action indoors instead of on the streets. Vending machines will dispense sodas if used, which blow up in a crackle of fizz if shot. These sequences don't have an effect on the game, but its quite interesting to explore how far the developers wanted to go with making Max Payne as real-to-life as possible.

    DESIGN

    Max Payne is proof that third-person shooters can be brought to new levels, and that carnage and intellect can make an awsome pair. The game added incredible narrative with the comic-book like scenes with authentic dialogue to compose them with. Max's poetic nature is experienced nearly every time his inner dialogue speaks; his sentences are chock full of metaphors and the poetic elements of his circumstances.

    The game moves very quickly and hence an additional feature is added to the combat system to keep up with the action - the ability to engage enemies in bullet time, or slow motion. When activated, the combat zone plunges into an almost underwater-like flow of movement - bullets zip by and the player dives into thin air, even gunfire flashes at a slower rate. The first few levels were rather challenging until I mastered the technique of diving in rooms and around corners. Lunging into a room in slo-mo with double pistols, mowing down a cluster of mobsters and thugs... its a kind of combat style that would make John Woo wince like a little girl. The bad guys even limp or clutch their arm when shot, and the game goes somewhat easy on the gore, even if the game has an M-Rating. Its primarily the situations and references which contribute to the games 18-only rating, as prostitutes, pornography, and drugged up junkies all make an appearance. But hey, its New York.

    The real driving force of Max Payne is its dark nature due to the fact that it is from the perspective of a man who has lost everything. The storyline, as well as the immediate surroundings, set the tone for the kind of level design and atmosphere. The levels never see the light of day - they always take place at night, and the game is therefore constantly in a red or black tone. There are even levels where you play Max's nightmares as he relives the murder of his wife and child in a dream.

    Max Payne is practically an interactive movie, which is my personal definition of a what makes a game immersive and authentic. I don't think theres a thing I would change about Max Payne - if theres one cheesy aspect of the game its the graphics, but if I changed that, I wouldn't be able to run them on my laptop...so there, its perfect.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 8th, 2008 at 00:55:22.

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    Feb 7th, 2008 at 19:03:36     -    Max Payne (XBX)

    SUMMARY:

    Max Payne is a third-person shooter set on the gritty and unforgiving streets of New York city. You play as Max, a rookie cop with a poetic edge. The game begins when Max comes home to his "American Dream" and finds his wife and baby daughter killed in cold blood. Framed for murder and revenge as well as some extra ammo, Max embarks as a fugitive to find the killers and bring them his personal definition of justice.

    GAMEPLAY:

    The game moves very quickly and hence an additional feature is added to the combat system to keep up with the action - the ability to engage enemies in bullet time, or slow motion. When activated, the combat zone plunges into an almost underwater-like flow of movement - bullets zip by and the player dives into thin air, even gunfire flashes at a slower rate. The first few levels were rather challenging until I mastered the technique of diving in rooms and around corners. Lunging into a room in slo-mo with double pistols, mowing down a room of mobsters and thugs... its a kind of combat style that would make John Woo wince like a little girl.

    The environment is highly interactive and somewhat free roaming. If a room or location is blocked off, it always makes sense to the story why this is so. For instance, in the subway system, the bad guys have sealed the station shut, and the raging storm outside keeps the action indoors instead of on the streets. Vending machines will dispense sodas if used, which blow up in a crackle of fizz if shot. These things don't have an effect on the game, but its quite interesting to explore how far the developers went.


    The dark atmosphere and authentic New York mobsters made the progression of the story feel like just a movie. The game has short in-game cinematics, but the best dialogue is seen in the graphic novel scenarios between each level. Max's narration and interaction with key characters is seen in the framework of a comic book. This adds a compelling and unique way to depict events and plot twists outside of the action.

    This entry has been edited 2 times. It was last edited on Feb 8th, 2008 at 00:30:32.

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    Jan 25th, 2008 at 15:42:09     -    Goldeneye 007 (N64)

    SUMMARY

    Goldeneye 007 is one of the very first first-person shooters for Nintendo 64 and became one of the most popular N64 games to date. The game is played in both single player and the ever popular multiplayer. The single player story is an adaptation of the seventeenth Bond movie of the same name, with added missions not seen in the movie. There are a variety of weapons to use, including Bond's signature Walther PPK, and most of the single player missions consist of mowing down waves of Soviet guards with automatic weapons while completing mission objectives which involve the usage of stealth and spy gadgets.

    GAMEPLAY

    Goldeneye has a large variety of mission objectives and locations which sets a precursor for an interesting story progression. While there is no audio for the character interactions, the dialog is authentic to the 007 theme. I'm hesitant to say that the most fun to be had in Goldeneye is the mass killing of guards - their various cries when being shot make killing sprees even more entertaining. Given the technology, the graphics and settings are rather impressive.

    The missions are rather large and spread out, its much more than guns blazing down a series of hallways. Sometimes, to complete mission objectives, the usage of Bond's various gadgets such as a laser watch is necessary. This adds a new element to the shooter genre, as it requires more than weapons to complete mission objectives.

    Goldeneye was very fun to play and each time I completed a mission I could expect an entirely different series of objectives and interactions in the next one. Enemies change in appearance in accordance to their surroundings as does Bond, his outfits change mission by mission, as do the weapons available. This kind of variety is one of the most compelling aspects of the game.


    SECOND GAMEPLAY

    Halfway through the game, and its still as compelling as ever. The game has great replay value due to the fact that you can go back and play missions that have already been completed, which was great because there are some levels I just had to run through again. Suprisingly, the levels never got repetitive, though I'm not sure I could play this game for hours straight. The story was interesting to follow, and I felt as if the missions not seen in the movie made its progression even more interesting, as well as providing even more variety for the mission settings.

    DESIGN

    The game features three difficulty settings - Agent, Secret Agent, and 00 Agent. Each progressive setting means more mission objectives, harder enemies, and less health. However, it is possible to unlock cheats by completing certain tasks under a specific difficulty setting. If you have a gameshark, I must admit, the single player missions are incredibly more fun with cheats. The developers put time into their cheat code design in making it actually enhance gameplay instead of watering it down.

    GoldenEye has a revolutionary rendering of space. The missions range from outdoor jungles and deserts of snow to the streets of Russia and secret satellite facilities, and often are vast in content and texture. Goldeneye does an excellent job of maintaining the secret agent theme and the soundtrack is complete with the signature James Bond music, played throughout the level.

    The player navigates through the menu through a series of secret agent dossiers and has the choice of playing single player or multiplayer. Multiplayer allows up to four players to engage in a variety of free-for-all skirmishes, incorporating different elements of the game to define what the players will experience when facing one another. For instance, you can change what type of weapons will be available, such as all throwing knives or automatics or just the golden gun (a one-shot-kill pistol). Even players new to the game can challenge veteran gamers - it is possible to adjust the player handicap to increase or decrease their health during combat. A few levels from the single player campaign are available in multiplayer, and each participant can choose from a huge variety of characters to play as. In light of these features, it is understandable why multiplayer in Goldeneye is such a timeless classic.







    This entry has been edited 2 times. It was last edited on Jan 26th, 2008 at 17:17:15.

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