Category Archives: orange box

Hulk Smash, Sorta

Infuriated by not being able to figure out Portal, let alone any of the games on The Orange Box, I wanted something simple. I wanted to shoot something, or smash something. Smash something… hmmm… the lightbulb over my head went off as I knew I had Sega’s The Incredible Hulk in that stack of videogames Ray had lent me. That’s simple, that’s all about smashing. Yeah, baby, Hulk smash!

From viewing the intro, the game is very much based on the 2008 film of the same name. There’s Tim Roth as the Abomination, and other lookalike actors in their roles. It’s all in place, but at its roots, it is still a Hulk smash game. Or at least it should be.

I got to playing and started smashing and smashing and smashing. But it seemed to be the same old army guys I was smashing and ditto with the walls and vehicles and other various smashables. I soon found that I, as the Hulk, was essentially trapped inside one building. There was some smarts involved in getting out. After a while of trying to jump out, jumping being the Hulk’s default flying power, I started getting frustrated.

I mean, this is the Hulk we’re talking about, right? Come on, Sega, the Hulk, like Winnie the Pooh, is a monster of very little brain. He should not be forced to puzzle his way out of situations, especially in videogames. His battle cry is “Hulk Smash!” not “Hulk put on thinking cap and figure this thing out.”

I was kinda disappointed in Sega’s The Incredible Hulk. I may go back to it, but not for a while. In the meantime I will quench my thirst for destruction with Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and turn the PS3 off for now.

I Enter the Portal

I told you earlier about The Bride’s obsession with Portal and Portal 2. Well, I keep hearing, and not just from her, how fun the game was, so, with the thought in mind that I could always mute the sound and not have to deal with GLaDOS or her cake rantings, I thought I would give it a shot. God help me. I popped the Orange Box disc in. (Yes, I have finally learned how to turn the darn PS3 on by now.)

Unlike the The Bride, I wanted to try all the games on the disc, before trying Portal. I tried Team Fortress 2, and quickly learned that this was a multiplayer game. Hmmm… as much I do want to try that someday, I pass that one up for later, and move on. Keep it simple, stupid should be my mantra, after all, I can barely work the controller on this thing yet.

Then there’s Half-Life 2, divided up between regular Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Episode One and Episode Two. I really don’t get it. I was under the impression that Half-Life was some sort of zombie shooting game. In the first version on this disc I was greeted by a creepy Christopher Lee wannabe with multi-colored eyes talking gibberish at me and then dropping me off at a train station. Wow. How about some background, some instructions or something, huh? Anything?

At this point, I just think the videogame companies are just mocking me. I’m old, I wouldn’t understand. I retreat to the instruction manual. It says I am Freeman, and I’m here to shoot the alien Combine who have taken over the Earth. Okay, I’m down with that, but what’s with the subway station and the vague overhead marching orders. Give me something to shoot, goddamnit! Give me a gun to shoot with, and I’m not talking about the aliens, but that guy who keeps ‘welcoming me to City 17.’

Next. In Episode One, I’m the same guy, only this time I have a gun, but I can’t make it work. When I try it makes a whimpering sound. I’m really getting frustrated here. The intro to Episode Two is at least exciting, lots of shooting alien creatures. And then it starts… and I’m trapped in a crashed train car with no gun. Remember the old Atari days when the game started when you turned it on. To hell with this crap, I move on to Portal.

Immediately the voice of GLaDOS makes me regret trying this. At least I have a gun, but I can’t kill anything with it. But it does make a noise and show a blast when it’s not making portals. But it’s a puzzle game, and much like the cryptic crosswords that give The Bride so much joy, it gives me a headache. Five games, and all of them a total wash for me. I’m glad The Bride enjoyed this. I don’t however.

Yes, I entered the Portal, and then I jumped right back out again…

The Power of Portal

This should answer any questions you have about the difference between my gaming experience and The Bride’s. About a week after we got the PS3 we hit a place right here in Marlton called Play N Trade. It was local and less expensive than a Gamefly subscription, and the staff was friendly and helpful – even to me.

The Bride picked up The Orange Box, featuring Portal and Half-Life among a few other games. I got two older PS1 games (still compatible with the PS3) of old Atari 2600 game compilations. Specifically, I got Arcade’s Greatest Hits: The Midway Collection 2 and A Collection of Activision Classic Games for the Atari 2600. Yep, that’s about my speed. I feel so old. Even the guys behind the counter felt bad for me.

When we got home, The Bride put her disc right into the PS3. As of this date, I still haven’t even tried my two purchases. But from that moment on, until she actually finished Portal 2, I couldn’t even use the TV. She was addicted. Thus is the power of Portal.

I don’t think she even ever looked at the Half-Life portions of the disc. The Bride is not a first person shooter type person, but more of a puzzle person. And apparently, while looking like the first type of game, Portal is really the second.

In the game, you play a young girl named Chell who runs around on preposterous leg stilts to make jumping easier, and a handheld teleportation device. With this ‘portal gun’ you make holes in this maze complex to travel toward your objective. Your opponent in this quest is an annoying artificial intelligence named GLaDOS who keeps promising you cake. Over and over and over again.

The Bride wanted this cake bad apparently because she played day and night, she played every waking moment, she played all the time it seemed. Even in my insomnia-rattled state, she was playing when I went to bed, and she was playing when I got up. And all the time, GLaDOS never shut up about that goddamn cake.

The Bride finally beat GLaDOS and was greeted with an amusing song by Jonathan Coulton, but not surprisingly, no cake. I had noticed The Bride having symptoms of withdrawl at that point so I bought her as a gift… Portal 2

And thus the cycle began anew… I hope there’s not a Portal 3