Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

ST7- The Albatrosses And The Bees

Thatís what happens when you donít practice. You have to get out there every day and work at your powers, no matter how your day goes. Get out there and zap a couple of people every day, raze a village with lust, or just start an olí fashioned group hug.
I was going to make a reference to The Simpsons where Homer explained how he first found out about sex (Those two monkeys are killing each other!), but nay! I totally went the literary route and put myself smack into the high brow route. Jolly good show...


Review: Monster Madness (PS3 version)- Monster Madness is one of the few cases where the full game is actually far better than the demo. It has a lot going for it that instantly appeals to me: fantastic 2D art, itís horror themed, itís comedy-horror, the script and characters are genuinely entertaining, the music is worthy of a soundtrack purchase, and itís an IP from a small studio released at a lower price. Its big issues are the length, the physics engine, and just how damned buggy it is. While individual stages are a great length, the package as a whole is short. They intend for you to beat it with each of the characters, but aside from a special melee attack (which I used all of twice in the whole game), thereís no difference between the kids outside of the cosmetic change. Items and weapons donít carry over between them either, so once you have one character upgraded, thereís no incentive to go back to square one with the other three. I applaud them for trying to tackle the Havok physics engine and when it works itís fantastic, but as you progress through the game, the annoyances rack up. Your character has issues stepping over the smallest things (at one point in the game I got stuck on a carpet!), it wonít register picking up items, attacks will go through enemies, vehicles are a mess because they get wedged or stuck on things even more than the character (a tank should not struggle to move over a re-dead zombieís body), youíll get stuck inside enemies (killing you almost instantly), and at one point in the game where youíre on a moving platform my character got wedged inside the handrails and was then flung at high speeds off the cart, into a pit, after which I respawned... over the pit again. There are also bugs in the game saving your rankings/items/or progress that are pretty much inexcusable. When it actually works, itís a ton of fun to play and they made so many of the right design choices that it makes the poor ones baffling. There are several areas that were removed from the 360 version and itís blatantly obvious. Cutscenes will lead you up to an event and then the level will just suddenly end, youíll see objects that you can tell are supposed to be doing something but they instead sit stationary, and they actually removed the final boss. If they were having issues getting these sections to run properly on the PS3, they could have easily added them as optional bits in the new Challenge Events section. The new (thankfully optional) events themselves are pretty hit or miss and range from fairly fun to an uncontrollable mess.
The multiplayer menu is well set up and you have a lot of options for game modes. I donít really see the appeal to online co-op though. Local co-op is fine because you can easily show someone where to go and communicate, but online you just have people holding you back, blocking your shots or not knowing what to do. The versus mode is a LOT of fun but it suffers a deathblow by the camera, which you canít control. Matches donít come down to skill or intelligence; itís almost entirely a matter of who could keep their opponent on screen. Every time you turn or move away to evade, the camera changes angles and will more often than not place your opponent off-screen. Knowing the general area of where someone is off the screen just doesnít cut it. You canít lock the camera to enemies or focus in front of you or affect it in any significant way. Youíre at the mercy of where the camera decides to turn. If you see somebody flailing around and running in circles or ramming into walls, theyíre not freaking out or drilling holes in their brain, theyíre just trying to get the camera to swing back to see something.
Iíd love to see a sequel, but Iíd like to see it with a new engine. This game done with something akin to the Ratchet and Clank engine would be phenomenal. But as the game is now, I canít in good conscience recommend it and thatís solely due to how riddled with bugs it is. The last straw for me is a bug on one of the bosses where he simply just leaves the arena. Without the boss in the room, you canít complete the level and you have to quit and do the entire stage all over again. The first time it happened was right after I used an explosive weapon, so I figured that was what knocked him out of the arena. A bad bug in a released game, yes, but it was something I could work around. The next time I played through the stage I switched to a different weapon, but I hadnít fired a single shot at him when he again just left the arena making it impossible to complete the level. It either comes down to extreme laziness or shear incompetence on the part of production team and is unforgivable in a game being sold.
Sins Committed: Camera issues, Too short, Extremely buggy, Few people online