Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

VOD6- 100 Percent Juice For 100 Percent Golems

Youíll have to forgive the Sins for not being quite as attached to the golems as Murdoch is. To the Sins, they ARE just abominations that reanimated a waste product and engaged in a bit of identity/intellectual property theft.
And on the contrary, Murdoch makes the best damn piŮatas youíve ever seen, so he actually rocks at parties. Plus if you spike the punch, heíll pick fights with the magicians and birthday clowns.


And on the Sins conquering the video game world front:


If you have LBP, please try out the level and send me some feedback! Questions or suggestions are totally appreciated. Send me an email/IM/PM, post on the forum, comment in the game, send me a note on PSN, your choice! Thereís even a tidbit about future comic developments ďhiddenĒ in the level to encourage you to get out there, learn, and then lord it over other Slapeggs that you know Sins seeecrets!


Long Cuddly Review: LittleBigPlanet- LBP is in some ways so much more than I expected but in other ways a lot worse than it could have been. Iíll break it into two parts for the gameís different modes. As a flat-out rule, if you can play the story mode and not be overcome with a sense of child-like wonder and giddiness, you are a heartless monster. The game is ludicrously adorable in an all-ages sort of way, itís cleverly written, and the narration by Stephen Fry couldnít be better. The gameís ending alone blew my mind in shear cuteness, meta-quality, and turning everything in on itself. Unfortunately some of the core gameplay mechanics are pretty buggered up. Youíll frequently outrun the camera (which often kills you, especially when doing multiplayer), the camera doesnít move out enough or scroll properly at many points, jumping is floaty and inconsistent, platforming feels like youíre on ice at times and youíll slip off of things through no fault of your own, you have great difficulty in jumping up or on curved surfaces, and most of the times you die, it wonít be your fault and it just feels frustrating and cheap. They have a lives system which just flies in the face of the whole concept of exploring, having fun, and trying stupid things to grab rewards and bonuses. Even after youíve beaten a stage and you return just to collect the bonuses you missed, youíre kept to the punishing lives, so if thereís something all the way at the end of the stage thatís difficult to get to, you may have to play the level from the beginning all over again many, many times. The game really has trouble handling itself along the Z-axis. Sometimes your character will automatically adjust to changing depths, sometimes it wonít, sometimes it will go out of its way to unnecessarily move you along the Z-axis onto a hazard or into a pit and it gets maddeningly annoying. The sad thing is that the game isnít really improved by having multiple planes to travel along or that at most a foreground and background would have been fine so the midground just seems to exacerbate the problems. There are a ton of things to collect in the game, but it never comes across as a Nintendo-style collectathon slog because you can actually use everything you collect in other modes to customize or add to your creations and characters. Unfortunately, things are often hidden where you canít see them, practically forcing you to buy the strategy guide if you want the full experience. There are several levels where Iím missing a single item and I just have no idea where it could be. Itís fantastic to play an online game that is cooperative and really fosters a feeling of community, friendship, and fun, but itís very laggy and not all that well implemented at times. The game will lock up when people join, take several minutes to load a simple level, disconnect you, or refuse to spawn your character. The camera freaks out when the group gets separated a little and will often focus on the wrong person. Say two of you have completed a puzzle and are at the top of the area but a third person died along the way and was respawned at a checkpoint farther back. The camera will often snap to the third person, move the two people that completed the puzzle offscreen and kill them, and force the whole team back to the start of the puzzle with the third person. Communication is often slow without a USB keyboard so many of the teamwork puzzles become exercises in frustration because you canít explain what each person needs to do. So if you find someone that knows how the puzzle works, everything moves smoothly, but if youíre playing with first timers, they can easily botch the whole thing, ruin the puzzle, and make it so that the other players lose out on the rewards. This just fosters a lot of bad feelings towards the new guy and it really just isnít fair for anybody involved. Unless youíre playing with someone on your buddy list, you just have no control over who you join or who joins you so you never know what youíre going to get. Finding teams is also a bit uneven. There are times Iíve waited ten minutes and not a single person joined me, but then if I quit the level and reloaded it, I might be joined by three people almost instantly. On a personal level, Iím often left with an odd sense of using people. There are some items that can only be collected when playing on a team, so youíll make a game, gather your team, solve the puzzle and collect the items, but now you no longer have any use for them and you either have to kick them all from your game or quit yourself. You feel bad for doing it but thatís how the game works. I often say good-bye, quit myself, and then reload the game. I just feel guilty booting people that havenít done anything wrong.
The level creator is a mixed bag as well. Be forewarned, it takes patience to make a good level. Most of the uploaded levels are garbage and you can tell the creators didnít playtest them. I easily spent over five hours making and testing my level, changing things, rebalancing it, tweaking the position of items, and fiddling with settings to get it to a point where it wasnít a cakewalk but if you figure out what needs to be done, you should be able to beat it. For the most part, working with the gameís machinery, materials, and items works fairly well, but youíll run into times where youíll be pulling your hair trying to find that one thing thatís breaking your level. Everything can be running fine and then youíll add an item in an unrelated spot later in the level, and something in the start of the level will stop working for no good reason. The Envy enemy in my level worked great for the first few hours of creation and then it just... stopped. It wouldnít attack, it wouldnít move, and sometimes it would just fall to pieces. I got rid of it, posted it again, and then it worked fine. There seems to be a big problem with the level creator deleting things from your level as well. Important stuff, not just tweaking things. My level could be working fine, Iíd save and stop playing, and then the next time I started the game, buttons and switches would have just disappeared, enemies would kill themselves or ignore their programming, or things that were securely roped together or hung from the ceiling would be missing their strings or winches and would break. There are also odd delays in undoing moves (which youíll need to frequently do). If you do something minor like place a block incorrectly, some times youíll be able to undo the move in a second or two and other times it will take several minutes for it to undo. You just wind up sitting there staring at the undo screen, slowly going mad and beating yourself up. Once you finally complete a level, the sharing process is a bit wonky. The same levels will constantly show up when you do searches (and they arenít even really that good) and other times, absolutely nothing will show up when you search. I did a search for ďNESĒ and got zero results. Now this OBVIOUSLY is incorrect for a game that draws in so many geeks so I ran the same search again and got a slew of results. But when you do find a good level, theyíre often fantastic. I recommend a lot of the video game level remakes. There are some wonderful Mega Man stages remade in LBP and they work just fine. And of course, thereís my level!
Sins Committed: Bad camera, Slippery controls, Bad jumping, Laggy, Slow loading, Deletes saved data, Crashes, Bad online organization