Tuesday 27 March 2018


The ones before Professor X.

While the lack luster title doesn't really allude to much, this old movie is actually a story about telepaths and relies a lot on the acting, regularly reused props and deafening, off setting sounds to tell the story.

This is a particularly memorable scene.

There's no CGI here, but the special effects are fun when they happen (and gory... ultra gory). Despite a few question marks in the plot, it's an entertaining enough tale and a nice reminder of how things were done.

Alas the main character is a bit drab, but a young Michael Ironside and an elderly Patrick McGoohan make it very watchable. If you are in the mood for something a bit different, old fashioned, with just a tad of horror, this one might be worth a peek. I give it 2 security cameras out of 5.

Sunday 25 March 2018

Lethal League

A fantastic take of a fighting game.

Firstly, I must give thanks to Wrothak who got me a key to this for free because it is hands down one of the most enjoyable and most addictive "fighting" games I have ever played. Think King of Fighters, but instead of martial arts you fight using an anti-gravity ball that gets faster and faster.

Each match can host two to four players (or AI) and you are free to assign teams or just go free for all. Yes, you can have cooperative matches! For solo players there is also a 10 stage challenge mode. I'm currently stuck at stage 5. Fricking Candy Man (who happens to also be my fav character).

When it goes fast enough, the ball looks more like a laser.

The BEST part is that getting hit by the ball is an instant KO. If only one team remains standing, then the stage is reset and play resumes until all opponents have used up all their "lives". This is so refreshing coming from games where you just attack attack attack and slowly whittle down an enemies HP.

The controls are simple, the music is groovy, the art is good, and the game is fun. Sure there are few characters and no real story but this one is definitely worth a try. As I'm not yet done with it, I currently give Lethal League 3.5 home runs out of 5.

Friday 23 March 2018

Neverwinter Online: The Lost City of Omu

Apparently less dinos = more fun.

The Omu ruins is a pretty good Chult map after Soshenstar, especially since there are far less dinosaurs waiting to pounce on you from annoying aggro ranges. Their replacements, the normal aggro range gorillas, aren't so bad provided you know how to side step.

King Kong makes a cameo.

Also great is the Undercity with its short cuts and shrines. It's a fun though claustrophobic place to explore and each entrance comes with a campfire. This makes channel hopping (which brings you to the last campfire you visited) a most viable "recall" travel method. You'd probably do it anyway just to chase the hourly Tyrant HE around.

I've now finished the middle tree of the campaign progression which means I have access to all the weeklies - most of which are easily completable. The Fane isn't that tough (definitely not as bad as Ras Nsi's first encounter), but it is moderately lengthy.

A new, old friend shows up unexpectedly too.

Anyway, I've a bit more to go with boons and hunts to unlock. The hunt drops here seem quite scarce, but I haven't been actively pursuing them enough to compare with the previous area. I'll let you know how that goes

Wednesday 21 March 2018


A good mascot for "Too Much Information".

An evil magician threatens the kingdom and you must stop him in this very verbose point and click adventure. While dated graphics wise, the animations are quite fluid and the story is good, with a decent twist near the midpoint(?).

All spoken lines are voiced (not very well), and the detail on every scene is extreme; and this is part of the problem. With every mundane object being "active" it is easy to get overwhelemed by information, especially with all the pixel hunting going on.

I almost quit here. Effing sprites.

It doesn't help that you have 10 default different actions such as "Look, Take, Throw, Put, Open, Talk to..." and have additional ones for each item you pick up. You can "shine" a ring or "lick" a dead rat. A sword can "attack, thrust or carve up".

Said actions are also not interchangeable. You can't "put" acid on the floor or "throw" acid on the floor or "use" acid on the floor but you can use "pour contents of beaker" on the floor. Irritating is an understatement.

Set in a magical, fantasy land also makes it hard to use logic to progress. Do you know that tentacles can physically grab a teleporter and let you carry it around if you get no hints? No? Lucky I just told you then because the game certainly won't! Good luck assembling mystical artifacts too.
It's like it was designed be unfair, and for that reason alone I give it 1 bullshitting sprite out of 5. If you are after a dated point and click adventure, go with Beneath a Steel Sky instead.

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Command and Conquer

Where engineers are your most deadly weapon!

You'd think that the Earth being invaded by alien fauna called Tiberium might unite mankind but no, this game is all about the war between the Global Defense Force Initiative (GDI) and brotherhood of Nod terrorists (or just Nod) and you get to play commander for their forces.

Now, I'm terrible at RTS games so I found this really challenging from the get go. There are no difficulty options either, just a slowly expanding arsenal array to build and deal with on the field. Really, it's more like a puzzle game because if you don't do the "right" moves fast enough, then you are put into an unrecoverable losing state.

I really hate those obelisks.

While it's easy enough to load when you find yourself there, the AI doesn't ever surrender - meaning even it will try waste as much of your time as possible with its last unit/building before you get a "Mission Accomplished".

Other than that, game play wise is mostly fine (though I don't get why aircraft can't scout). It has an easy to understand HUD, entertaining (though poorly acted) mission briefing videos and music track, and delivers good challenges. Good to see that the commandos are also almost as OP as the guy in Renegade.

The Command and Conquer: The Covert Operations expansion just adds more missions for each side rather than story, and feels like they just wanted to have more skirmishes with both sides accessing their full tech trees which in the original game only happens right at the last 2-3 missions.

While I did finish the original GDI campaign, I couldn't fight through the expansion as I got tired of being nuked. Only so much fun can be had from loading a saved game after all. :P

That's my big problem with it. It's fun but only to a certain degree due to the required repetition to get things "just right". I give it 2 engineer rushes out of 5 and can only recommend it to RTS fanatics.

Saturday 17 March 2018

Treasure Adventure Game

Enjoyable and fun, until it starts to kill you! :P

While the advertised quest is to simply collect 12 treasures, the story and world in this pixel platformer has some surprising depth and decent game play, featuring a good variety of 8-bit music, puzzles, and boss fights.

The talking animals are a cute idea too.

Its also quite lengthy thanks to all the parts where you will undoubtedly get stuck and go backtracking. Fortunately, travel methods improve in speed as the game progresses.

Lastly, while not as hard as Super Meat Boy or IWBTG, there is still a fair amount of difficulty in this game, enough for me to wave off anyone who isn't into platformers. For everyone else though, this itself is quite a treasure. I give it 3 bumbling henchmen out of 5.

Note: Treasure Adventure World, the reimagining of this game, has better graphics if the pixel stuff bugs you too much. You can get it on Steam. :)

Friday 16 March 2018

Beneath a Steel Sky

Australia... in the Future!

This point and click adventure has very simple controls (left mouse/right mouse/F5 for options) but is quite well made. Despite the obvious age, the backdrops are decent, character motions are fluid, and almost all lines of dialogue are voiced (though some incorrectly).

Obviously made before the Opal card system.

The script is also quite humorous though it's definitely for a mature audience and the midi tracks are decent background music. While I didn't run into any logic holes (can't progress because of unobtainable item), it is quite easy to get stuck in the game through three things:
  • Dialogue - only when your character knows about things do other options become available elsewhere
  • Pixel Hunting - the bane of this sort of game, where "the correct spot" is only a 2x2 pixel cluster on the screen
  • Online World - logging in to the virtual reality system gives you a variety of abilities, all of which aren't very user friendly

For the most part though, some thinking will get you a long way. Despite getting stuck a few times, I quite enjoyed this game and can recommend it to others who enjoy this genre. I give it 2.5 Joeys out of 5.

Thursday 15 March 2018

The King of Fighters 2002

Brawling for the sake of brawling!

Instead of having any story whatsoever, this fighting game instead has 42+ characters, which is a massive line up. Each match is 3 versus 3 (apart from the boss fights), has mostly well animated sprites and generally has good, blood pumping music for each round.

I'm not sure about the fighters being "balanced", as the hit boxes are quite spot on and the time limit of 60 seconds per round makes it tough to be aggressive with the fellas who have shorter range or more defensive moves.

My sparkles are better than yours!

Fortunately for rookie button mashers like myself, defeat/continue gives you a choice of options to make your next time slightly easier after your score is reduced to 0. Maybe your power bar is always full, or the enemy AI is dumber, or the enemy only has 1/3rd of their HP. That's a pretty good system for player enjoyment I think.

Definitely fun but also definitely short if you are just going for the "once through" like I am. There is obviously more replayability if you are a hunter of secret moves and such. I give it 2 evil android guys out of 5.

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Tyrian 2000

Space Invaders ... to the max!

While it can be played in arcade mode, Tyrian 2000 actually offers a 5 chapter story mode which was far more appealing for me to play. In it Trent the protagonist is put through the ringer in a crazy story of evil corporations, aliens and fruit cultists.

Also, regardless of your mission - be it scouting, escaping, or destroying a sun, the game play of "destroy everything without dying" holds true. This is because the more things you explode, the more money you get to upgrade your ship. The customization options are vast and is one of my favorite parts of this game.

One of the simpler level boss fights.

The music is awesome too, and the occasional choice between missions is also good. Where it gets messy is in the action portion, as later missions have so much crap flying on the screen. There are also a few missions which become a memory game (looking at you Chapter 3 Finale) because you need to know before hand where to position yourself to not die.

A fun enough diversion, though the death repetition can be a turn off. I give it 2 super carrots out of 5.

Tuesday 13 March 2018

FEAR: Perseus Mandate

A solid shooter with a few supernatural jump scares.

I've played most of the FEAR franchise long ago, but I can't remember ever playing through Perseus Mandate which possibly speaks for its memorability: ie. it's not, as you are literally the "B Team". Given it is a standalone expansion, you are expected to have played the main FEAR game prior and will be left with a few questions to the story if you haven't.

Like why things go to hell all of a sudden.

Like the original though, the FEAR AI is fantastic. The regular enemy squads work together to actively flank you, make good use of suppression and cover - leaning to fire and occasionally blind firing (gun around corner only). They do talk a lot though which is both entertaining and silly.

The musical queues are also good and not repetitive, and the boss fights can be quite challenging especially towards the end. All up, it's fun, immersive and I highly recommend it (though you probably should play the original first). I give it 4 turret mines out of 5.

Monday 12 March 2018

Spore: Getting Uber

[Part of the Direbug Saga]

Getting out of the center of the Galaxy was more difficult than getting in, with Buglybugs using far more consumables getting away from the Grox while trying to find the right path home. It was smooth sailing once he cleared their boundary though, and was very pleased when crossing back into Bingfish territory.

After reporting to Mother Paylise at Pyrachs the alliance quickly moved to increase their defenses against the Grox, with the Spikelors developing a mega bomb for offense and an Uber Turret (flying, shielded, 50,000 HP drone) for planetary defense with Pyrachs and Tiffan being the first to have them installed.

You can custom build cities too. Less red lines the better!

Despite the distant threat, Buglybugs finally got the reward he wanted most from Mother Paylise - a well earned vacation!

Saturday 10 March 2018

Spore: Steve in the Center

[Part of the Direbug Saga]

The unrelenting Grox sent wave after wave of fighters at the allied fleet, and at 85% to the core all his allies are dead and Buglybugs must duck onto a small moon orbiting a gas giant to hide from the pursuers - putting down a colony for repairs.

Evil cyborg space goblins!

Having used only under a third of the prepared supplies, he was in good shape though - and soon continued on the mad dash through the Grox Gauntlet. It was still terrifying with ever shortening travel distance allowances, but soon he made it... and the Grox all backed off.

There in the swirling core, Buglybugs met Steve (a human?) who congratulated him on getting this far, proving the Direbugs are worthy of advancement and gifting him the Staff of Life (instant terraform). Steve also mentioned to visit the third rock from Sol sometime, before vanishing and leaving Buglybugs the unenviable position of having to run the gauntlet in reverse to return to Pyrachs.

Spore: Journey to the Center of the Galaxy

[Part of the Direbug Saga]

Having stabilized the sector, Buglybugs spent a bit of time buying consumable supplies and gathering a fleet composed of the Rammo, Spikelor, Dubel, Gibolobs and Sir Beakenstein for the next mission: to find the Grox and reach the center of the galaxy.

After leaving the outskirts of the Bingfish Empire (25% to the center) the fleet encounters absolutely nothing until they are 80% to the core. At this range, the dense gravity wells are affecting the propulsion drives, lowering the acceptable travel range from planet to planet.

The map is huge!

This is also where the edge of the Grox (cyborg goblins) Empire, and they fiercely defend their territory with pretty powerful ships. Rather than stop and fight, the fleet tries to outrace them to the center...

Thursday 8 March 2018

Spore: All Oscae, Sector Secure

[Part of the Direbug Saga]

With only the Oscae remaining as a nearby threat, Buglybugs gets his allies to swarm them from all sides, including his new buddies the Time Flies and Sir Beakenstein (space vulture who donated 40k cash and was proactive in seeking an alliance).

This frees him up to do other tasks, such as save the Gooplets from an eco disaster, the Lillo from a Grox scouting party, purchasing the final tools needed for full terraforming from Pyrachs and upgrading the ships pulse weapon from the Bingfish.

With a fair bit of effort, he also upgrades Tiffan to a T3 score and puts another colony down to pump up the purple spice production. The resulting funds are used in part to purchase a planet from the Bordooshio and the Dubel's homeworld for a cool 10M.

Winning through global warming!

During this time, the Rammo had conquered the Oscae home world and the Time Flies finished them off. The Direbug Empire, now only surrounded by friends, was secure.

Spore: Chibby Corgel Catastrophe

[Part of the Direbug Saga]

After saving Pyrachs from the Chibby invasion, Buglybugs repairs all the planetary defenses and then bank rolls his allies into war - sending the Spikelors and Dubels against the vast Chibby Empire and the Rammo against the Corgel.

He also upgrades his ship with a Dubel cloaking device and worm hole key, and then larger bombs, a mini pulse laser, and better ship armor thanks to the Spikelor. He then goes for the weakest enemy - the Corgel, and wipes them out via the tried and true terrorformed (reverse terraform) tactic on their home world.

Corgel: Extinct!

This frees up the Rammo to battle the Oscae while Buglybugs leads the charge against the Chibby, capturing and destroying planets one after another until they too are removed from existence. For this he is now known among the planets as "the Omnipotent Warrior Hero".

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Spore: Crouching Elephant, Hidden Dragon

[Part of the Direbug Saga]

Terraforming Tiffan (improving the score) is a lot of work. Meteor showers and an asteroid are pulled in from space (Dubel tech) to increase the warmth of the planet, followed by planting flora (small, medium, large), 2 types of herbivores and one carnivore - in that order - for each T-rating ring.

Buglybugs manages to get the planet to T2, and puts a second colony down on the same planet. The reason for all the attention is Tiffan produces a very rare purple spice and sure enough, selling one haul of the stuff quickly puts the Direbugs funds over a million!

It's not all good news though, as a new warrior Empire - the Oscae (soldier dragons) appear near Tiffan and demand taxes, even after Buglybugs tries appease them by destroying some turrets of the Time Flies (sentient clocks with wings) for them. On the other side, the Rammo ask for help against against more Spode zealots - the Corgels (six eyed elephants).

Green space is friendly, red space isn't.

Buglybugs cannot assist though, as he is recalled to Pyrachs to defend against an invading Chibby fleet!

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Spore: New Kids on the Block

[Part of the Direbug Saga]

With the Flixxels defeated, Buglybugs suddenly runs into new races back near the home planet Pyrachs - the Stomachio (Red Slaad), and Dubels (scientific clown spiders) who both open contact by donating thousands of spore bucks... and the Chibby (pink cyclops ducks) whose first contact is to attack!

Probably wouldn't ally with actual Slaads though...

After upgrading to a mega laser thanks to the Spikelors (those dinos love developing weapons), Buglybugs helps the Stomachio in their war against the Chibby by attacking their home world. The mega laser doesn't quite cut it, but the terrorforming does. Buglybugs absorbs all the moisture of the T3 planet leaving it as a dry T0 husk.

For this both the Stomachio and Dubel agree to an alliance, and the Dubels give an interstellar drive level 4 along with specific terraforming gear that Buglybugs needs to terraform one particular Direbug outpost on Tiffan. In addition, they now dub him "the All Powerful".

Monday 5 March 2018

Spore: Flixxels End

[Part of the Direbug Saga]

Despite the loss of their home world, the Flixxels still manage to send an invasion force close to Pyrarchs itself - forcing Buglybugs to pause his assault to stop them. Just as well since he could also help the Spikelors with an eco disaster, and is rewarded with an upgraded laser blaster.

Upon returning to the Flixxel sector, he paid his Gooplet allies 56K spore bucks to launch a simultaneous attack on the zealots and made good use of the laser which was much faster at conquering cities than destroying them with mini bombs. More cost efficient too, since said cities now work for the Direbug empire.

Ultimately the Flixxel are defeated, and what remains of their race now serve as slaves or cattle. Exactly what they deserve!

Flixxel: Enslaved!

Saturday 3 March 2018

Spore: Terrorforming

[Part of the Direbug Saga]

Angered by the Flixxels, Buglybugs goes on the attack - destroying the Flixxel base on Ramrourna and another on Natosieger, though the latter surrendered before being bombed to oblivion.

The allied fleet then attacked the Flixxel homeworld, and even with a pirate fleet supporting them (Buglybugs has an ability to call them apparently), the defenses were just too strong. Numerous turrets, SAMs and unending fleets of Flixxel fighters crushed the attackers and put Buglybugs on the run.

Despite his ship being on fire, Buglybugs didn't leave the planet yet as he was faster than his pursuers. He quickly checked what gear he had left and found the terraforming equipment still intact. While improving a terrascore of a planet (levels to support life) was challenging, destroying said terrascore was easy.

With an evil grin, Buglybugs put his cloud condensers at maximum and used almost all the energy left in his spacecraft to transform the lush T3 Flixxel home world into a T0 near uninhabitable, ocean planet.

Drown you bastards!

All but one city was washed away with the rest of the rest of the flora and fauna, and with most of the turrets gone in had no hope to survive the bombing run afterwards.

Friday 2 March 2018

Spore: Farewell Murglbrg

[Part of the Direbug Saga]

Increased space pirate raids lead Buglybugs away from the colonizing task and onto defense. The Spikelors help by upgrading the ship armor and auto cannons, the same tech they use to wipe out the Murglbrg. :(

Murglbrg: Extinct!

Having lost an ally (to another ally, damnit), Buglybugs works on getting more - easily convincing the Yoburt, and beginning to run missions for two new races: the Tuunk (space chickens) and the Bingfish empire (battletoads).

The Bingfish in particular are grateful for aid against a Grox raiding fleet and give the mega proton missile tech to the Direbugs, which is great since the normal missiles were somewhat weak.

The legendary Buglybugs is then tasked with Mother Paylise to find where the Grox come from, suggesting they originate near the center of the galaxy. This would have to wait though as the Flixxel zealots launched an attack on the Ramrourna outpost, conquering it.

March 2018 Status

Status update time and once again I'm doing that thing where I'm adding things to my to do list, even though the previous items are still there!

    Complete web comic chapter 1 (procrastinating)
    Finish board game prototype I'm happy with (planning "Game 19")
    End the year with less weight (+0.5 kg from last month, running total: -0.5 kg)
    +Finish the Direbug Saga
    +Clear 20 games from my back log
    +Draw 12 drawings of anything
    +Learn 5 more songs  
    +Complete NWO: Lost City of Omu (x2)

Ah, procrastination my old friend. In my head, I'm treating the 12 drawings task as a warmup before I get into the web comic thing but I secretly know I'm just putting it off. Knowing me, I'll probably complete the 20 games task (which is around half my current backlog list) before the web comic one. Definitely going to gun for NWO's latest module too.

Weight wise I'm trying a routine change of waking up 20 minutes earlier to exercise. We'll see if that does anything, other than make me sore. It's also hard to out train all the cookies and ice cream. :P

Song wise I've got a leg up on that already, since I have a short list of targets. For those that need it I'm going to try make my own version easier. Not that many readers will ever hear me play/sing these but in case you are curious, these are said potentials:

Karma Chameleon by Culture Club
Dust in the Wind by Kansas
Take on Me by A-ha
Carry on my Wayward Son by Kansas (soft version)
Darkest from Thunderbolt Fantasy
Rapture from Juuni Taisen (piano only)
Raimei from Thunderbolt Fantasy (unlikely)

Thursday 1 March 2018

Spore: Command and Conquer

[Part of the Direbug Saga]

Even the great Buglybugs, slayer of giant monsters must answer to Mother Paylise - and she was not happy about the quality of spice being produced (or not produced) by the outposts he has been establishing on low terra-score worlds.

To this end she changed his directive of reaching the galaxy center to shoring up and expanding the current Empire planets first. Much money was spent upgrading the cities on Pyrachs and Rabotek, upping the spice production and vastly improving income from trade.

Since terraforming was expensive, Paylise also ordered to claim any T3 (the best) worlds that were not owned by space faring races. Two such worlds were found - owned by the Spike MOMO (blue dinosaurs) and Antler Guys (sentient moose).

Not sure if that hologram was trying to surrender.
It was ignored anyway.

Buglybugs bombed them to extermination and colonized their world with Direbugs.