Category Archives: jeff

Justice League Heroes Revisited

When I got the PlayStation 2, my first order of business was playing Justice League Heroes. As I mentioned, I really enjoyed playing this game a few New Year’s Eves ago and wanted to play again.

I jumped right in, and after a half-hour or so of button-mashing I finally figured out what buttons to push and what combinations did what. Of course I was only on the first level so it was just Superman and Batman and I was only fighting Brainiac’s minions and rescuing citizens. Fun, but slow going. I did find a nice tactic in having Superman carry around a car to beat the baddies with. But that’s as far as I got. I played a few more times but couldn’t get any farther than the confrontation with Brainiac (another of his minions actually). I needed help, as I am, after all, The Non-Gamer. I needed Jeff.

Jeff, as I’ve mentioned before, has some sort of supernatural gaming skill, mad mad skilz when it comes to videogames, so I waited ’til the next time he was over and urged him to play.

With Jeff’s help we got quickly through the Superman/Batman phase and into the Martian Manhunter phase against the Queen Bee, and even into the Flash/Green Lantern phase taking on The Key. And that’s when I realized what I liked about the game so much. Unlike DCU Online where you deal with more new player characters than anything else, here you are established characters fighting real villains in a semi-accurate DC Comics continuity.

Now while we saved the game at the point where we stopped, I think I still may need Jeff’s help to move forward. Either way, I definitely give Justice League Heroes higher marks than DCU Online. I can’t wait to get back to playing. Thanks, Jeff!

Trapped Like a Cat in a Box

Blade Kitten was one of the first free demos I downloaded from the PlayStation Store. Cool name, cool anime look, and it seemed like it would be fun. Somehow, I just never got around to trying it out. Once I did, I was very happy I downloaded it… until I got trapped.

First of all, Blade Kitten is something very different in the videogame world. It’s not based on an anime, or a comic book, or even an animated movie or TV series – it’s based on a webcomic. I was pleased and surprised too. The webcomic (and the game), coincidentally by game designer Steve Stamatiadis, follows the anime adventures of Kit Ballard, and half-cat, half-human bounty hunter, as she pursues her prey, troublemaker Terra-Li on the artificial planet called Hollow Wish.

I rushed into it blindly, with some tutorial help showing and telling what to do, but markedly, as usual, with zero instructions. I was actually doing well, taking names and kicking ass, and then I got cocky. I somehow made my way past a laser beam and into a box that I couldn’t get out of. So for an undetermined amount of time I mashed buttons, yelled at the screen, and listened to the catchy dance rock music until I gave up.

Maybe I’ll go back and try again, or play from the start and just avoid this part, but I think I will go back. I had fun. Or maybe I’ll have Crystal, or Jeff, or Ray get me past this part. Either way, this was a very good download. And if you want to know more about Blade Kitten in all its various forms, the official website is here.

The Better Bloodrayne

I don’t really know all that much about BloodRayne. What I know, other than two terrible movies, and one fantastic fan film starring Vera Vanguard, a review of which can be found here.

Recently I downloaded BloodRayne: Betrayal. I was thinking it would be cool. After all, what’s not cool about a hot chick killing Nazis and vampires, really, it sounds like the perfect game. The problem is, this game is really nothing like that at all. It’s not even as cool as previous BloodRayne games I’ve learned. Older versions of the game were actually similar to Tomb Raider in style, this one is a sidescroller (see, I’m learning the lingo), like Rolling Thunder or Bionic Commando. To me, the novice, this seems like a step backward in evolution. I definitely prefer Lara Croft to this weak 2D anime.

Like many games, I was unable to get very far. The game keeps it simple, half-human half-vampire BloodRayne is recruited by good vampires to fight bad vampires, but apparently not simple enough for me. This game would have been marked for deletion along with the others among The Rejected, had Crystal and Jeff not taken a liking to it.

Jeff, in his usual manner, got on the game and started kicking its ass. He was cruising across this side scroll whupping vampire butt left and right, though mostly right. The vampires good and bad were blowing up like Pookas and Fygars in Dig Dug. Have I mentioned how awesome Jeff is? Well, actually he might not be that great of a gamer, but he can sure make me look bad, not a hard feat.

As far as BloodRayne goes, I think I’m going to stick with Vera Vanguard. Like Jeff, she’s much cooler than this game.

Christmas in the DC Universe Online

When last we left The Red Sun, in the DC Universe Online game, he had escaped from Brainiac’s ship and was wandering around the Metropolis (at least I think it’s Metropolis) police station trying not to tick off other online players whose characters, flagging their names behind them, whizzed to and fro. Yeah, I was lost again. Basically I was at the “Now what?” point.

Eventually after wandering in circles for awhile, and trying to talk to characters who were not player-controlled, I learned that Super-Gorilla Grodd was attacking again, this time with a plan to turn humans into apes. Again? But that trick never works. Despite all that, I learned how to fly, and use the map, and got myself to the big battle.

Battle is kind of a misleading. Massacre is more like it. They beat me down, bad. Luckily Jeff came over and gave me a boost with the game. He played his way through quite a few gorilla soldiers, and got us (I know, but I’ll get to play after he’s done) to the next level. Coolness, thank you, Jeff.

In the midst of battle throughout Metropolis (yep, it’s definitely Metropolis), we kept seeing Christmas trees, which I thought at first were a nice holiday decoration. I’m guessing that’s what the massive update was before we started playing. It could have been that or the two new (buyable) updates for speedsters and Green Lanterns, of which there were many, far too many actually. I guess everyone abandons their old characters when new powers become available.

We soon learned that the update was probably a special Christmas present for DCUO players – a new adventure called “Season’s Greedings” featuring Orange Lantern Larfleeze who has come to Earth to strike back at Santa for leaving him empty-handed this year. The new quest involves collecting stolen gifts and fighting Larfleeze’s orange constructs without being trapped in snowglobes or turned into orange energy snowmen.

What a pleasant surprise! It sure beats being clobbered by big monkeys any day. Merry Christmas!

…And Breaking the Hero

Okay, last time, I had finally succeeded in creating a character to play in DC Universe Online, called “theredsun” AKA The Red Sun, a Mon-El clone with fire powers. I was all set to start playing in the DC Universe, woo hoo! And then the game started.

I don’t know what I did wrong, or if I did do something wrong, but I started out on Brainiac’s spaceship. I had to get out before I could actually start playing. The narrative, the computer, or whatever, kept telling me I only had to take out a couple guards and I could go. But no, that never worked out. There kept being ‘just two more guards’ and then I had to find the exit. It never seemed to end.

I must have been flying or walking around this stupid ship for hours, when Jeff finally showed up, figured stuff out in a few minutes and finally got The Red Sun off the ship. Damn gaming veteran. I’m jealous and frustrated, yes, but also thankful. I think I might’ve died on the ship if he hadn’t come along, and lord knows what that would’ve meant, maybe starting the character creation process over again.

Off the ship, I found myself in a city, and at a police headquarters, which seemed more like the place I should’ve started. The weird part, and Jeff informed me this was how online games worked, was seeing other costumed folk wandering aimlessly around. All of them had their names floating above them. This I thought was funny, and I wondered what would happen if I just followed one of them around constantly.

By this time however, we had other non-videogames things to do and had to leave it go. So I guess I just missed out on getting a cyber-punch in the nose. Good place to stop though, and hopefully the game saved.

Ultimate Alliance 2 by Two

The last time I tried to play either one of the two Marvel Ultimate Alliance games I became frustrated quickly and gave up on them. This time, I did it the right way. I brought help.

Jeff was hanging out and staying over the weekend, so we were talking comics and gaming as per usual, and the conversation turned to the PS3. After hear about the free subscription thing in October for DC Universe Online, I had purchased it and was hoping Jeff -in his formidable gaming experience- could help me set it up. It took forever to install, and then update, and then update again. And I think I signed away my home in the terms agreements.

Anyway, I gave up on it after a while, I guess I just don’t have the patience for videogames. As we were in the mood though, we turned to Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. The second one was chosen over the first version as there were more characters to choose from, or at least that’s what the voice of experience said.

Jeff knew the game backwards and forwards. He had apparently beaten it while we were on vacation a month or two back, both Ultimate Alliances, that is, yeah, both. But, on the positive side, having someone familiar with the game, who knows what’s coming, knows all the tricks – and most of all, knows how the controller works, is a good thing for an extreme novice like me. We moved pretty quickly through quite a few levels, and I actually got to see some of the story unfold, which made me like the game even more.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is based in part, at least early on, on writer Brian Michael Bendis’ Secret War mini-series from Marvel Comics. These events in the comics led indirectly to Civil War, and in this game they do as well. There’s enough story presented in the game to get the point, but much like a Stephen King movie, having read the book helps a lot in fleshing out what’s really going on. And for the hardcore fanboys out there, just to avoid confusion, the game also avoids the Secret Invasion storyline.

Regarding Civil War, long story short (and you can follow this link if you want the whole enchilada from Wikipedia), as shown in the game, some irresponsible superheroes in a live reality TV show, inadvertently destroy Stamford, Connecticut. Legislation quickly flies through Congress to have all superheroes registered with the government, as weapons if you will, that must be trained and monitored. The superhero community quickly divides along the lines of pro-registration and anti-registration, with Iron Man leading the former, and Captain America the former.

These lines are mirrored in the game, as once you pass a certain point in the story, you must choose whether you are for or against registration. And from that point on, you may only use the heroes who are on the side you’ve chosen. It’s an intriguing obstacle, and also lends to having two possible storylines and endings to the game. I haven’t gotten that far yet, but I like it.

As Jeff promised, there are lots of characters to choose from. The ones I had the most fun with, or in other words, the ones that I figured out how to control and do what I wanted, were The Thing, Ms. Marvel, Luke Cage, and Spider-Man. I did try out a few others too. Iron Fist was kinda cool, and Deadpool was lots of fun. It took some time to figure out Mister Fantastic and Deadpool as they seemed to be a bit complicated to control – maybe that was just me. Iron Man and the Human Torch looked pretty cool too, but Jeff kept playing them, ahem.

The dialogue that goes on in the game as the characters are fighting opponents is a lot of fun, especially as one would expect, Deadpool. And the interaction in the inbetween scenes is good too. It’s very funny and surreal watching Reed Richards trying to talk sense to Deadpool – my absolute favorite part of the game.

I like Ultimate Alliance 2 a lot, and it verifies my thoughts that all gamer novices need a gaming mentor when they start to play. It really makes me wonder why so many PS3 games are only one player – they should all be two or more players. I really think there is merit to the mentor idea though, once I played for a few hours with Jeff, I was able to get farther later on by myself.

Infamously Better

One of the reasons I have never been much of a gamer, and the PS3 with its aversion to multiple player games is a big culprit, because I dislike the ‘turn wait.’ That is to say, I don’t like waiting for my turn at a game when the other player is infinitely better at it than me. This reared its ugly head back in the Nintendo days when The Bride and I used to play Super Mario Bros., and her turn would last for hours. It was also the reason I preferred Dr. Mario as we could both play that at the same time.

The night I talked about a while ago when Jeff and Crystal came over and played the demos, they just didn’t whup my butt at Zombie Apocalypse and Nucleus, they also tried their hands at Watchmen and my favorite, Infamous. I was not disappointed by the long long looong turn wait.

In Watchmen, I had gotten past the wonderful Dave Gibbons motion comic animated art from the original Watchmen comics that form the introduction, but had barely moved anywhere in the prison break. I did find it annoying that whoever you picked to play – Rorschach or Nite Owl II – the other would just stand there doing nothing. Not realistic. Jeff and Crystal ripped through the prison break like they were the real characters.

Then they moved on to the Infamous demo. I had never gotten past zapping folks and cars with electrical powers, and riding to the first station atop the train. For those who don’t know, that’s really not far. Fun, but not far. That keen mutant skill, of both Jeff, and Crystal, derived from years of gaming experience, kicked in and soon they were sailing far ahead in the game and fighting bad guys that I had never even glimpsed in my hours (yes, hours) of playing this game.

The Bride who had watched me play the same two or three scenes from Infamous multiple times, was treated to almost an entirely new movie never seen before. The turn wait was starting to get to her as well, so then they moved on to Little BIG Planet 2. Three people can play that at once.

This turn wait was much longer. I went to bed. When I got up in the morning, I swore I was gonna practice. Years of experience can’t be that hard…

The Zombie Apocalypse and Why I Hate Jeff

One of the games hat I downloaded a demo of from the PlayStation Store was called Zombie Apocalypse. It seemed a natural based on my desire to “just shoot stuff.” I mean, come on, what’s better that shooting zombies? Shooting zombies is the basis for so many fun things – the Night of the Living Dead movies, the House of the Dead games, and even government disaster contingency plans. When I saw this one available as a demo, I went to downloadin’.

The characters provided as your controller-controlled protagonist are intriguing and would do better in a role-playing game than as videogame fodder, but still it adds some charm and flair to the game. Essentially, like most zombie scenarios, you’re left alive and zombies are attacking – you fight back. Every time I tried this one, the zombies descended on me quickly and I died almost immediately. Even if I had a gun, or a chainsaw, it didn’t matter – I became one of the walking dead rather quickly.

I had moved on to other games in the meantime. Jeff and Crystal came over one night and we gravitated to the game console and were looking for something to play. I wanted to show them the demos I had downloaded. First Crystal one-upped me in Nucleus, showing me new games and new levels I was unaware of. See what I mean about needing a PS3 mentor when you’re a beginner?

Next, I showed them Zombie Apocalypse, mostly because the title jumped out at them as much as it did me initially. Crystal first reaction to the player characters was pretty much the same as mine, she thought they would be great for the Call of Cthulhu tabletop rpg. She lasted a bit longer than my sixteen second record. She even managed to tear up some of the zombies with her chainsaw.

Then Jeff took the controller. He immediately began to mow through the zombies. After a bout a minute or two, Crystal and I began to object. Jeff shrugged it off as years of experience and having watched the two of us play first. As he continued to trash the dead and even perform new abilities like save innocents and offer bait to the zombies, I got angrier. I had been watching people play videogames on this thing for months and I’m still not any better at it.

I’m convinced Jeff is a mutant, and his mutant power is an unnatural ability to play videogames. I’m going to report him to the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters, or better yet, tell the Sentinels where to find him… after he tells me all his gaming secrets…

First Contact, First Blood, Lego Batman

The night the PS3 came into our lives, we had folks over. Friends Ray, Jeff and Crystal were there for the installation and helped with all the technical stuff. They also went to the store to pick up accessories, as well as a game or two and maybe a Blu-Ray to test out the system. They knew I wasn’t thrilled with the purchase, so stealthy steps were taken to soothe me.

First they, and The Bride, got a Blu-Ray, our first Blu-Ray, Megamind, a film that I actually liked. Those of you who know me, know that’s hard to find. We watched, I was amazed by the crisp, clean, clarity of the picture, and was somewhat soothed. This was close to what I wanted (a Blu-Ray player or a Roku), after all.

The second purchase was a game, one that preyed upon two of my favorite things – comics and Legos. It was Lego Batman The Videogame. We’ve talked about me and comics before, but Legos I have always been fascinated by. It was a toy I never had when I was a kid and was always so jealous when I saw the other kids with them, so as an adult, I became a collector of sorts. Nothing hardcore, like with comics, but I have a couple building sets, and of course all the Lego (and Lego knock-off) versions of my favorite superheroes. Sigh, it worked. Sure, what the hell, let’s play this.

I love the animated Lego commercials and OnDemand has something called The Lego Channel where you can see animated shorts featuring Lego versions of Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and yes, Batman. These are just darn good fun. The introduction to this game is similar to that, and quite enjoyable. The game itself is also like that, but let’s face it, once you’re playing – you can only do cool things if you know how to do cool things.

Like the bits on the Lego Channel, there is no dialogue so that anyone from any culture can understand what’s going on. The problem is, with no English, it also makes it hard on nimrods like me to play it properly. Yes, I do know about the online instruction manuals on the PlayStation Network – and once I figure out how to navigate that, I’m sure that’s a useful suggestion. And I sure hope you like the Danny Elfman theme music from the Tim Burton Batman movies or you’ll have to play this one on mute.

The game itself is kinda hard once it starts. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Why? Controllers. I think this will be a recurring theme of this blog, I just can’t get my head around the controllers. I am quite honestly better acquainted with Atari joysticks, and maybe a little less so with NES controllers. To me, the PS3 controller is like giving an MP3 player to a caveman. I can push buttons, but I have little idea what they do. So I just push all the buttons and move the levers every which way and hope for the best.

I love the mime personalities of all the Bat-baddies, especially Clayface. It’s a hoot, until you’re actually in play. I was able to play a two-player game with The Bride that first night while Crystal was there to walk us through everything and tell us what buttons to push when. Hey, we actually got through the first level.

I have to admit though, I had more fun using my Batman to beat on The Bride’s Robin. Yeah, that’s pretty cool being able to fight other players. And when you ‘kill’ them (as much as there’s a kill in Lego Batman) they just fall apart into their component Lego pieces. That always breaks me up, pun intended. When I play by myself days later, I get nowhere near as far as I did that first night, but I loved busting up Robin, over and over and over again. Too much fun.

There is hope, of course, that I will eventually learn to play correctly. As soon as I figure out how to get this disc out of the damned machine…

Big Brother Babies

I love reality television, and I love “Big Brother,” but I gotta say, the eleventh season of the series has bee filled with idiots. Oh, I know what you’re saying out there, especially those detractors of the format – they are idiots. No, I mean bigger idiots.

I’ve mentioned before how much I hated the opening ‘back to high school’ concept of “Big Brother 11,” but it’s gotten worse. I was enraged when last season’s Jessie returned and even got the first Head of Household and continued to have control of the house for a few weeks. And I’ve also talked about how much I dislike Jessie.

The rest of the houseguests are so distasteful that I have to be honest, up until his eviction last night, I was rooting for Jessie. If it couldn’t be Ronnie, I wanted Jessie to win. Ronnie of course was evicted for playing the game. It occurs to me that most of the cast this season seem blissfully unaware of the rules of the game, and that it is a game. Newsflash, idiots, “Big Brother” is a game.

This cast also seems incredibly immature. Have we ever had housemates before that rifled through and stole each other’s belongings? Sabotaged production? Blackmailed the producers? Demanded bath and beauty products to behave? Didn’t these idiots sign contracts before entering the house? I’m thinking CBS should take some legal action once this season is over against those individuals who jeopardized their program.

This is how they come across… Lydia and Kevin switch sides like the wind blows. Chima is just a spoiled brat – the nerve of her saying she needs to speak to the producers! If Jeff and Jordan put their heads together they might be as smart as Jessie on a bad day. Russell is a time bomb who needs anger management badly. These are the impressions they are giving on national television. Is that what they want folks to think of them? I would love to be a fly on the wall when they see the video of their time in the house.

The biggest question I am concerned with this season now that Jessie and Ronnie are gone and the rest of them have proved themselves idiots is… will Julie Chen make it to the end of the season before her baby arrives.

And please, Natalie should take a shower. I can smell her through my television.

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