Thursday 29 September 2022

September 2022: COVIDED

Well, it finally happened: I got Covid for around a week this month. Itchy throat, headaches, lots of flem with sudden, violent coughing and blocked sinuses that made it hard to breathe. Not fun at all. Ultimately only ended up taking 2 days off though, being able to work from home the rest of the time.

Being sick doesn't stop the world from carrying on though: Queen Elizabeth II died, and Russia's conflict with Ukraine continues with Putin ordering a mobilization while also increasing the penalties for desertion or refusing to serve. In what looks like desperation, Russia is trying to "legally" annex the parts they currently control. This is most likely in response to Ukraine's counter offensive which is best viewed in this "200 days animated" tweet (its the big blue chunk towards the end of the animation).

Meanwhile China's scored a win with an agreement to buy Russian gas at a 50% discount. According to the Russians, the USA is to blame for the whole gas shortage in Europe. I wonder if they'll also get the blame for the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage leaks? Private talks between those two nations is currently focused on a different issue though: that of avoiding the use of nuclear weapons.

Most Viewed Posts:
Warframe: Xoris and the Steel Path
The Croods and A New Age
Warframe: Steel Path Conquered

Wednesday 28 September 2022

Warframe: Saryn and Trinity

The double-locked frames. Not only do you have to RNG the bosses that drop their parts, you need to first farm keys to fight said bosses! To be fair, Mesa falls into this category too. :P


Collected from Kela De Thaym on Sedna (after you've done enough of her arenas) Saryn is all about spreading her toxic spores which is her first ability. Shooting said spores or killing the spore carrier spreads the disease to other nearby enemies and so forth. She can also shed her skin and make it explode with toxin, toxify her melee strikes to always hit spores and lastly basically fart which infects enemies with a viral status (HP takes more damage) plus high direct damage to enemies affected by spores.

While she shines in endless type missions where you have big rooms full of respawning bad guys, her contagion is less useful in missions that aren't that type as often victims will die without being able to pass on their spores forcing her to start the disease from scratch. She's also less effective if grouped with a competent team as they'll probably kill the disease chain before it can propagate too far. Decent frame, but situational.


Collected from the Ambulas boss facility on Pluto (that you can only get to by killing other Ambulases on Pluto, aim for the legs!) Trinity is designed as the healer frame, and her number four power is arguably the best at it: an on demand shield and health recharge to allies in range provided you have energy for it. This does mean to be effective you'll be watching the team stat bars more than any other player.

Alas her other powers are lack luster: immobilize a single enemy and make them immune to damage but anyone that attacks it heals themselves, mark an enemy to pulse renewal energy to nearby allies, and link to an enemy so that any damage done to Trinity goes to them instead. Ideally you'd want to use these on tough eximus enemies but due to their over shield mechanics, you can't until you hurt them severely. This means the link and energy pulse are near useless as foes should be getting killed, not left wandering about for a temporary buff.

The healing thing is also self defeating for as you shoot that single target whom you can't kill, everything else will out damage your healing - meaning you should focus on killing? Now that more and more frames have self healing (thank you Archon shards) Trinity is really becoming more and more irrelevant.

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Warframe: Inaros Prime and the Void Raider

Woo, my first prime warframe! I'm not really doing reviews on Primeframes as other than being shinier and a little tougher than their original counterparts, they are pretty much the same so "Inaros Prime" is just Inaros: but with one key difference - he has a unique and somewhat hidden quest tied to him!

Much like how you get unique voice lines if using Yareli while talking to the Vent-Kids (who view her as a surfing goddess), the Void Trader Baro-Kiteer views Inaros Prime (and only the Prime version) as his "God King". Every two weeks, when he appears at a relay he offers a single quest key to Inaros Prime users to do the Void Raider quest - which is a 10 wave solo only defense in the void where you must defend Baro Kiteer himself AS Inaros Prime to get some nice rewards. Personally I use specters to help with that.

Just thought I'd post this more as an FYI because it's one of those things that's easily missed!

Monday 26 September 2022

The Batman (2022) and The Invisible Guest (2016)

Two crime solving movies!

The Batman (2022)

When a smart (and ultra sneaky) villain starts murdering people and leaving riddles addressed to the Batman, the police quickly involve the in/famous masked vigilante (played by Robert Pattinson) to help solve the case. This dark and gritty Gotham is nice as are the peppering of action sequences throughout but the movie is far too long for its ultimately average plot. There are so many scenes that linger too long for no purpose and regardless of the setting or time of day, everyone aggressively whispers to each other instead of talking like normal. I also felt the music composition was a bit weak. Only recommended for Bat or R-Pat fans who might be able to endure the long running time.

The Invisible Guest (2016)

In this Spanish mystery thriller film, a man (Mario Casas) accused of murder talks to his lawyer to try establish a defense for his upcoming criminal case. There is almost zero action here and the plot makes heavy use of flashbacks yet it is leagues better than the Batman, as you get invested quickly as the plot moves at a good pace and the "puzzle" of the crime does get your mind thinking throughout. Highly recommended.

Sunday 25 September 2022

Warframe: Caliban and Ivara

The half sentient and the archer.


Only after completing the New War can you start collecting parts for Caliban from Narmer bounties, but don't be too annoyed if the blueprints don't drop too quickly because you'll need a lot of those Narmer isoplasts that also live in the same reward table to build him, as well as anomaly shards you can only get from Veil Proxima using your railjack. It is quite a lot of work to get all the things you need!

Your reward is an odd looking frame who can spin like a top, stomp for some AoE, summon a sentient melee ally or do a quick, arcing beam blast - none of which feel very unique nor useful. The ally is ho hum, and there are other frames that do those other abilities better. Not a good warframe at all and definitely just mastery fodder for me.


You have a slim chance to get Ivara's blueprints in any spy mission, provided you unlock all three vaults in a single run so unless you are super lucky and/or patient (I was only lacking 1 part after completing Steel Path and Empyrean space), you may have to grind a little to get her and like Loki she is designed as a stealth frame. It's nice that an enemy radar is included as her passive.

While she can only turn invisible if walking, her ability to do so is an on/off toggle unlike Loki's activate every 20 seconds or so (so he does become visible while recasting). She can also pickpocket extra loot while doing this which is a plus. All her other abilities are bow related since she is "the archer" after all: she can summon an exalted bow, control the trajectory of her projectiles, and pick from a bunch of trick arrows (noise, sleep, stealth or wire) at her disposal.

Pretty neat, but definitely designed for a slow and methodical pace. To that I ask, have you played Warframe lately? If you aren't solo the odds of a slow and methodical pace happening are near zero. My biggest problem is she can't regain energy while stealthing so while she can sustain her invisibility until her power runs out - it will run out eventually. Comparatively my Loki actually regains energy while invisible or if you are a Wisp then simply continually jumping or bullet jumping means nothing can see you. Cool frame, but I've already got ones that cover her niche.

Thursday 22 September 2022

Warframe: Nova and Wisp

Two of the best warframes, which is a problem because I need more frame slots.


Easily acquired from the Raptor boss on Europa, Nova is all about anti-matter which she can throw like a slow fireball, open a worm hole teleporter with, or create little orbiting spheres that reduce ranged damage and actively attack enemies if up close. Her last ability "Molecular Prime" is the best though, as you make enemies brittle and slow OR fast depending on your build. She's also a bit brittle herself if her orbiting spheres aren't active or are being used to attack so there's a little bit of caution required.

Just for testing I took her into one of my problematic Steel Path interception missions where I ended up needing a second player, and with "slow"va I almost pulled out the win. I then took her to an archon hunt interception where she trounced the opposition. Definitely a powerful crowd controller who excels at weakening the enemy but does require a few ability mods to get her working out of the box.


Unlike Nova, Wisp is very functional out of the box but is a pain to get the parts for (except for feet because she doesn't have any) as they come from the Ropalolyst boss on Jupiter which can be a lengthy fight. On top of that, you need 1200 Hexenon as well so expect to be on Jupiter a long while. Your reward is that Wisp is amazing. As long as Wisp is airborne or bullet jumping, she is invisible which kind of makes her ability to summon a duplicate to draw fire a little redundant, though you can teleport to that duplicate.

She also can put three types of motes than any allied Tenno can pick up, which either heal them, make them faster (dps boost), or shock nearby enemies. No need to be fussy, put one of each as that's how many can be carried! Lastly she can open some powerful breaches: one that blinds enemies for crowd control and one that "opens a door to the sun", letting her fire a damaging beam with infinite punch through. Ultimately super useful in almost every situation and her motes just make her exponentially more so per player in her squad.

Tuesday 20 September 2022

Samaritan Interceptor

That would be a funny title, but no - this is a two movie review! :P


A super powered individual (Sylvester Stallone) finds it hard to stay in retirement when a kid who is one of his biggest fans, begins snooping to prove that he is his long vanished hero. It's an ok story with decent but back-loaded action with only a medium budget (or that's what it felt like anyway). The kid is the most annoying and obviously gets himself into trouble a lot, but he has to be I guess. An OK watch for Sylvester Stallone fans but it takes awhile to warm up.


Unlike Samaritan, this movie is action all the way and stars Elsa Pataky as the last line of defense on one of the USA's nuclear warhead Interceptor bases when it comes under siege. Despite the bad guy talking too much, multiple plot and defense holes all over the place and a good dose of silliness, this is an entertaining movie if you turn of your brain. Turn off your brain hard. Since I like silly action flicks, this was fine for me but your mileage may vary.

Sunday 18 September 2022

Warframe: Nidus and Styanax

The infested and the hoplite.


While the component blueprints of Nidus are just behind a grindy RNG mission, his main blueprint is only rewarded at the end of the Glast Gambit quest which involves numerous games of "the Index", easiest described as grid iron but with coins, guns, warframes, and lots of violence. It also demands hundreds of thousands of credits per game which you will default if and of your games ends in a loss. Prep well before attempting, or bring friends (but they too must risk their own credits). I left this mission alone till after New War.

Once you build this infested mass that parades around as a warframe you will notice he has no shields, but that's ok because he is freakishly tough regardless and all his powers grow the more mutation "stacks" he accumulates and at 15 stacks, he can ignore death (once). He can use ranged tendrils to pull enemies to one spot, stomp to increase stacks based on number of enemies he hits, link himself to an ally to strengthen them or to an enemy so that they take any damage he would instead and lastly he can summon a swarm of maggots to eat everything. Lovely. Let's not forget that contact with a Nidus also spreads those Helminth cyst things to other warframes - easily cured but worth pointing out.

Yep, he can be very strong BUT this is very reliant on him "warming up" those mutation stacks of his which work best in a defense type situation. It is also reliant on your allies letting you infect enemies to power up. This is what killed it for me, as most other frames are "drop in and kick ass". Here it feels like I need five minutes of stretching before doing anything, so ... nope to Nidus for me.


As of this post the Styanax is the latest warframe introduced into the game and if you logged in on his release you'd have gotten him for free. If not, its ok - just do the Veilbreaker quests and challenges to earn the currency needed to buy his parts. With a good amount of shields and armor this warrior kicks ass right away. He can taunt the enemy while letting all friendlies regenerate energy and shields, he can throw his physical shield(s) to repel baddies and armor strip them which also heals him, throw a spear to impale an enemy on terrain - which then creates a black hole that pulls other baddies close before exploding, or my favourite - throw multiple barrages of javelins from the air to absolutely deck anything unlucky enough to get in your way.

You can move and aim while doing that last one, and its better airborne where you really feel like you are unleashing missile hell on those below. It looks really pretty from a spectators viewpoint too. Alas, "warrior" is a role pretty much most of the other frames already fill so while there's nothing really wrong with the Styanax, he's really more just a matter of preference - and I ultimately preferred frames that I've been using for a longer time.

Friday 16 September 2022

Full Metal Alchemist: Scar's Revenge

After being left out of the first movie entirely, a serial killer who hunts State Alchemists comes to town and starts hunting everyone's favorite alchemical brothers. This second outing fixes the main flaw I had where the main character is near unlikable. Sure, he still has moments of trying too hard to copy his anime / manga form but all up he is much better this time around.

There's also a lot more action and pretty decent sequences at that, despite the CGI having the same "we're on a budget" look. The main flaws which are more pronounced here are the slow trigger fingers of anyone with a gun, because I failed to count how many times I said "shoot him in the head" out loud. This is probably a left over from the manga where people have soliloquys at gun point. What might fit on a single panel on a page does not translate well into minutes of talking on the silver screen. It's almost to the point where the rifle men should be getting tired of aiming for that long.

Fans unfamiliar with the story might also wonder about an unexplained block in one fight sequence, but its a blink and you'll miss it thing. All up, much better than the first movie but it ends with a "to be continued" sign so expect to be left hanging.

Wednesday 14 September 2022


Much like Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island, Paleo is a cooperative game for up to four players who take control of caveman tribe members trying to survive through a decent bunch of modular encounters. Unlike Robinson Crusoe this game is much easier to setup and play and apart from survival your main objective is always to draw a mammoth on the cave wall.

It doesn't matter if there's a giant river you need to cross, or if you are in wolf territory or have an enemy tribe warring against you - you must always draw the mammoth to win. Unfortunately cave people aren't that smart so it will take some time to do that. During the day the scenario cards are shuffled out to each player in their entirety, then using only the card backs as guides players must pick one out of three to explore with plenty of opportunity to not do your card and help someone else instead usually to get resources, build gear or draw the damned elephant.

Once you run out of cards or choose to sleep (which means you can no longer help others but also means you can dodge the rest of your hand if you feel they are all "bad") you are finished for the day, and once everyone is in that state - night descends. This is when you must spend all those resources to feed and/or protect your tribe, suffering skull tokens for each failure and each death. Gain five skull tokens and you all lose. All the components here are quite nice, as is the art on the cards.

It takes a bit to get used to the card iconography but once you get it the gameplay loop goes very fast and is quite fun. You will start remembering card backs as you play though which means player experience has a tangible effect, for good or ill. "I'm sure there was an elephant on this sort of card for this scenario," sort of deal. That said you'll get at least seven games out of this, and number seven is quite a bastard, but if you enjoy cooperative card games this one is worth looking into!

Monday 12 September 2022

Warframe: Hildryn and Protea

Later game female frames.


If you ever felt your warframe doesn't have enough abs, then Hildryn is probably the bodybuilder you are looking for. Her main blueprint is locked behind rank 3 of the Vox Solaris syndicate though which means it might take awhile before you can get at her, and even when you do - you'll need to collect her other components by facing the Exploiter Orb a minimum of six times. Remember too that you can only fight the Exploiter if you've done the Thermia fractures event which isn't on all the time.

Once you get her, you'll quickly find Hildryn's gimmick is shields instead of energy. Yep, she spends the thing protecting her to do more things! These include flying around (slowwwwly), link shield power to boost allies shields or -tickle- damage enemies, powerup her exalted Ironman blaster which you can toggle to use instead of your secondary or pillage enemy shields to recover your own while clearing status effects. Just remember to do that last one while you have shields, because without shields you have no power to steal more shields. She really takes this shield maiden thing seriously huh?

While Corpus seem to be her chosen prey it balances out against the infested who have no shields for her to pillage. Despite that, Hildryn is quite readily usable "out of the box" as long as you have some shield mods (which by the time you get her, you will). It's also funny that energy leech eximus enemies will just look at you and cry.


While you can potentially meet Protea early on with The Deadlock Protocol quest (which also gives the handy Xoris) getting her parts will take a bit of doing: you'll need to hunt down Corpus treasurers who spawn on Corpus ships, kill them to take their coin of which there are three versions, then use said coin on a golden hand in one of the Corpus ships (can only use one per mission), defeat the specters of Granum void within the time frame (the Xoris helps a lot, and also pick up any little gold pyramids that add 10 seconds to the count down), and if you do well in there and win the original mission too you have a 11.11% chance to get one part of Protea (based on the coin you used).

Phew! Got all that? Great, now you can get this time engineer frame who can toss grenades that either kill enemies or protect allies, deploy short lived but powerful turrets, pull out ammo/energy/life pickups from her shapely bottom, or drop a temporal anchor which gives you a few seconds to deal damage before time rewinds (only for her) which somehow deals the same damage again, but restores anything she might have lost in that period. Including her life.

That last one is particularly amazing visually, but in reality? I hated her kit. As per her lore she is more geared for defense but there are better defender frames out there. The ammo/energy/life poop is her best skill, and since that is subsumable by the Helminth well... she's worm food.

Sunday 11 September 2022

Locke & Key (3 Seasons)

A grieving family moves into an old house where they begin to discover magical keys that do all sorts of cool and dangerous things, often needing them to solve problems that they created in the first place! While I laugh at where some of the keys were "hidden", the story starts off quite well and most of the characters are likeable enough.  

Alas it slowly degrades as things happen that just aren't explained or worse, characters become stupider - because the writer's couldn't handle what I call "the Flash syndrome". They get all these powers that are super handy and... forget to use them? Also, in Season 3 they are still blindly testing new keys with no contingencies which is really moronic.

Still an entertaining series though, and one with an ok ending despite the convoluted path it took to get there. If you like the "dark fairy tale" vibe (but not too dark because the creators still tried to be kid friendly) then definitely check this one out.

Thursday 8 September 2022

The Night Cage

Drips with the theme of darkness.

In this cooperative "horror" board game, one to five players find themselves in a pitch black and crumbling maze with only a candle to light the way, a motif well represented by the board itself. Working together they must collect a key each and ALL make it to an exit before time runs out.

This is trickier than it sounds as a) there is a limited number of tiles which acts as the timer, b) some tiles are monsters that turn off your light and make the tiles run out faster and c) other than the exit door, players cannot move through each other or hold more than one key.

On your turn your choice boils down to move or stay (if your candle is still on), and staying gives you some nerve tokens which you can then use to sprint or stop the darkness from closing in. When you move, you light up what you can "see" (one step away with a candle) and remove any tile no one else can see. This means the maze shifts constantly, and monsters (who don't move when lit) thankfully wander off once you lose line of sight on them.

Ultimately it's more a game of planning ahead and opening paths / clearing ways for your team mates, and since we are pretty good at that we've not yet lost a game of this, even on the advanced mode. Still quite exciting though, especially when the darkness starts closing in and it is fast to teach. Just a little slower to setup each round. Thumbs up!

Wednesday 7 September 2022

Warframe: Steel Path Conquered

PSA: Veilbreaker  has been released! Log in to the game before September 22 to get the newest warframe, Styanax, for free! Now onto the post...

Just hours before the Veilbreaker update I managed to finally complete the Steel Path! Huzzah! The little planet decorations now adorn one of my orbiter's shelves. I thought I'd post what worked for me but with the new changes these might be moot now anyway...

A perma invis 1 forma Loki with a 3 forma Xoris and a 1 forma bleed Nataruk was the main stay since both are basically AoE and infinite ammo. While I mostly used the firewalking Loki variant I also used regular Loki with irradiating disarm for some of the hijack missions. I did make heavy use of specters though, with Frost, Moa and Osprey being the champions in defense and mobile defense and a Vauban being instrumental in interceptions too (I'm literally out of specters and salvage now).

Big thank you to veteran and crazy fashion framer, theclownpriincee, for assisting with the interceptions on Mercury and Ceres and those maps were too small for me to outrace the horde. Turns out actually playing a Vauban and using the vortex grenade skill is an easy way to recapture points as "lifted" enemies get no capture.

As energy siphon is a permanent aura mod for me, I only used a Taxon sentinel throughout the whole thing because it "looks" where the closest enemy is - a good way to tell if something is behind me without radar. More importantly it has a max vacuum mod to help collect all those health and energy orbs because I don't use the item versions of those restoratives.

Operator wise I just stuck to the Naramon school (low 5/18) the whole way and the Sicorro that you get from New War is good enough to solo SP Ropalolyst with some patience. It is not good enough to defeat a steel path Void Angel though (thank you again theclownpriincee)! Archwing wise a mix of Velocitus and Mausolon (from the necramech) was fine, as was the Odonata starter wings - just have to use the "4" (repel) a lot for the space mobile defense one.

I did use Revenant for the two Deimos bosses though as his "1" (enthrall) can skip through some Zealoid Prelate phases and his "2" (mesmer armor) can keep him alive through the freaking long fight against Lephantis (longer than Ropalolyst).

I used the Mausolon again in this fight as well as my 1 forma radiation tomb finger kit gun sidearm "Chernobyl" while waiting for the Archgun deployer timer to cool down. While I brought that pistol to every mission it really only got used against Lephantis. With the Veilbreaker changes to ammo I'm not sure how feasible that is anymore.

Stuff I didn't use: any health / energy restores. Any bonuses past rank 6 intrinsic everything (no on call crew etc), no lich/sister support or gear because I've not yet managed to kill my first one, and no necramech because at this point I am stronger outside of it.

Special note with Disruption on Lua: this is an utter piece of garbage since you need four conduit "wins". Definitely get help here. I was lucky enough to squad up with two others since it was a steel path alert and we still almost lost with one guy becoming perma-dead and only being able to "win" one out of four conduits per round. If you can't kill the exploder in time, you can still win by keeping him away for two minutes. Loki's switch teleport can help, but only when their red aura is off!

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Tekken: Bloodline (Season 1 - Netflix)

Where people are super durable.

This (currently) six episode animated series centers around Jin Kazama and the Tekken game franchise. As it's a fighting game, the plot here is predictably only a little more than "main character is too weak and has to go train and fight a bunch of people" which is fine. The animations are actually very fluid and I'm guessing most of the moves used actually follow what is in the game.

The slow speech is a nuisance though. "You must... fight... to win... honor... for... your... heritage." If you imagined that was a dying man giving his final words, surprise! That's pretty much how one of the main characters speaks ALL THE TIME. The others aren't much better. I'm not sure if this was something lost in translation (I watched in English) but it was a poor way to extend an episode run time.

The only thing more irritating than that is the disconnect between the character models and the background. For some reason all the characters have the same "there's a giant floating pyramid or cube above them, just off camera" light effect regardless of where they are. A shady forest. Dark tunnel. Night time. Mountain top. Volcano. All the same. I'm still going to watch season 2 if it ever is made though! :P

Sunday 4 September 2022

Rampage and the Man with the Iron Fists

Action movies that are unbelievable? :P


When cutting edge, experimental genetic alteration experiments end up in the wild it turns a number of creatures into gigantic, angry mutants. Luckily the protagonist primatologist (played by Dwayne Johnson) is on the case, complete with cheesy lines and death defying feats of "no one should have survived that".

In all fairness I'm surprised they managed to get an OK script for something that's based on an old cooperative arcade game which soley focused on destroying cities. With decent CGI it's certainly entertaining as long as you turn your brain off.

The Man with the Iron Fists

Jungle Village becomes the cauldron of wire fu martial arts and ridiculous weaponry when various clans vie for control of a caravan full of gold that comes through. Embroiled in the middle of it all is a master weapons blacksmith (RZA) who happens to be supplying all sides.

"Spectacle" is probably the best word to describe this, and while the plot is so / so it features many good action sequences (even if some are hilarious)  and a good amount of gore which always gets points from me. I'd say Rampage is better than this movie, but if you like martial arts and wire fu you should definitely check this out afterwards.