GerbilMechs 074 : Whispered Truth
13Jan04 (Monthenor): Wow. This is something I should have done a lot sooner. Photoshop's "Save For Web" command cut this comic from its initial 250K to about 100K, and I can't tell the difference on my monitor.
New webcomics are afoot! Just when I was getting a handle on my daily routine, Pastel Defender Heliotrope (from the creator of Unicorn jelly) and Kid Radd appear to fill free time I didn't know I had. Kid Radd already holds a special place in my heart...it's a sprite comic, but from a game that doesn't actually exist. And the artist likes gerbils. He's already linked this site in his news post, and I would be a right bastard if I didn't link him back twice.
Castlevania: Lament of Innocence: Now, I'm in the Internet minority because I liked Castlevania 64. It was fun, and had a little schoolgirl character for me to kick ass with. So when I saw negative or average reviews for the new game I wasn't too worried. It looked awesome, at least.
Playing it is a different story. Firstly, the translation is just a bit off, but I dealt with that for seven hours in Xenosaga. Secondly, the game delights in forcing you to run all the way to one end of the board to grab a key for a door in the opposite corner of the board. Since you are only forced to fight enemies the first time you enter a room, you spend most of the game simply running from one end of a room to the other. The game is indeed pretty, but the layout might as well be randomly generated for all the good the architecture does you. You fight through a room, you enter a hallway, repeat. The jumping puzzles are rare, and there are none of the tough booby-trapped levels like in 64. I can picture the design meetings for this game: "Okay, we want something in 3D, but can we make it flat, too? The terrain was too varied in the last game, that's hard."
I had no problem with the plot, once my brain retranslated their good speaking of the English. The origins of the Belmont clan's feud with vampires were well done, even if their nemesis wasn't actually called Dracula yet. Thumbs down for this game, just read a plot summary somewhere.
Rachet and Clank 2: Going Commando: You may want to reference my review of the last game. Rachet and Clank 2 does all that, only more. There are about 20 new guns, along with some returning weapons from the first game. All the new guns have an experience bar that fills up as you kill stuff, transforming them into a newer, cooler version of the original. Your health also increases to completely insane levels by killing stuff. Your spaceship can be upgraded with better shields and missiles and engines. And all this mayhem is helmed by another humorous plot of corporate corruption and getting some tail. If I had to pick one nit, it's that the ending is rather abrupt and doesn't resolve anything with our heroes.
I must applaud the Challenge Mode for giving each gun yet another experience bar to fill, and the bolt multiplier that speeds your collection of hundreds of shinies back into the thousands.