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Metal to the Core

Metal to the Core published on


Uh, spoilers.

Armored Core 3 Portable (PSP)
2009 FROM Software

The Short Version- Remember what I said about Last Raven Portable? I don’t take it back, it turns out that game is just dickishly hard. AC3 is a much more reasonable/satisfying game.

The Long Version-Continue reading Metal to the Core

Demo Demo Panic! Vol. 1

Demo Demo Panic! Vol. 1 published on

A hot new series about complaining about free things

Every now and then, if my PS3 is turned on and for some reason not occupied by Fallout or BlazBlue, I like to log into the PSN Shop and see what I can get free demos of. It’s a good way to test out the latest big name ti-who am I kidding, I own a current gen console and still devote most of my interest to remakes of old stuff or indie games of varying quality. For crying out loud, you want to know what my current PC desktop is? It’s a GameBoy Micro. Well, I’m kind of pleased to say that Thexder NEO seems to carry on many design choices of the NES era. Sadly, they’re choices that probably should have died already.

So yeah. You are Thexder, I guess. In this remake of the classic that nobody I know personally has actually played, you control a transforming robot that flies around and murders aliens and other kinds of robots with his death lasers. Sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it? You don’t even have to aim. The death lasers hate life so much they automatically lock on to the closest possible killable thing. Robots are pretty cool on their own, naturally, and transforming robots only kick it up a notch. So why did I hate the demo so much?

For starters, the game measures your life out with a simple ‘Energy’ gauge. This gauge depletes when you take hits. Duh, right? Well, they also have your weapons tapping the same source, so if you go around recklessly using your death rays, you can run your battery down to nil and kill yourself. So even though the levels are pretty wide open and you can fly about (kind of) freely, your steadily depleting life battery forces you to figure out not just the way out of the stage, but the most efficient way out. I’ve played a few dungeon crawlers and roguelikes, so I can kind of get the appeal of managing your resources for survival’s sake and pushing just a bit further on, but in those games, you have time to consider your moves, whereas in this one, you’re in control of a large hunk of metal hurtling chaotically through the air with a leaky battery. Now, you do have a shield that lessens the damage you take from enemies. It does add a bit more in your favor since you can power on your shields before taking on a cluster of enemies, and you can pick up more juice by killing them. I still kept reaching a point where I would need to blast a block to move on, then keel over dead from energy loss.

Enemies are of the classic “Ok, so what’s that thing?” stable that plagued old games, especially anything involving aliens. I guess having alien species around lowers the bar for recognizable, believable enemy designs. I recall the point where I gave up was about the time I ran into a small dark hallway patrolled by a pair of spinning, colorful dildo things that seemed pretty much invincible and ran directly at you, and lingering too long to let them pass usually lead to small, endlessly respawning ‘thingies’ coming for you.

You know what Thexder needs? A fucking extension cord. It worked in Evangelion. You could even make puzzles around ‘how the hell do I get past this section when my cord hangs up on the sofa?’

At one point I thought I had found a princess or something to rescue. She morphed into a hideous death beast and killed me for my trouble.  Women.

WTF G1: Exhibit A-“Sea Change”

WTF G1: Exhibit A-“Sea Change” published on 2 Comments on WTF G1: Exhibit A-“Sea Change”

Nostalgia is a damn powerful thing, especially for 80’s spawn like myself. The opiates of ‘toys’ and ‘cartoons’ were allowed to intermingle and form some sort of new, more potent form of marketing methamphetamine. That’s probably why our generation has the same problem resisting the urge to banter about My Little Pony and Etch-A-Sketch that the last few generations had with recounting how many Nazis they could kill with only their scrotums and moxie.

But, again, since I’m not part of that generation, all you people are going to have to make do with me regaling you with the story of how, while re-watching a cartoon I grew up with, just how batshit the original source material for the sprawling merchandising machine was.

But where to begin? The Giant Purple Griffin? An episode that basically tells kids gambling is ok, and the only thing better is cheating at it? How about one revolving around a hypnotic superdisco?

No… No, we can do even better than that. We’re going to dive right in and see how the hell mermaids fit in with the Transformers universe!

Continue reading WTF G1: Exhibit A-“Sea Change”

I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire…

I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire… published on

Or… do I?

Last day of vacation here, it’s been a pretty good ‘catch-up’ break for me so hopefully that means the end of the site’s dry spell. I’ve finished chapter 24 of Revolver and updated the first timers’ summary page if anybody’d like to give the comic a shot but don’t have time to read the whole archive right away. There’s also been a few tweaks to the character page, mainly removing incidents of the word ‘mysterious’ for characters whose motivations and natures were revealed months and months ago. Chapter 25 starts Friday. And with a totally different set of characters.

The scene change goes nicely with me being sick of drawing Kenji in his little Sol Badguy headgear thing. (Technically it’s a ‘modern’ Surrenian Army visor, but who paid that much attention to Z’s flashback chapter anyway?)

(Once I ‘fix’ the RK hub page, the comic related blurbs will probably stay there for the most part since I know there’s a subset out there who think the comic promotions are kind of annoying and just want to see more gaming stuff.)

On that note, and since I’ve saving my vinegar for full length pieces, I’ve been enjoying the daylights out of Macross Ultimate Frontier for the PSP, something of a delayed Christmas gift from Jake (longtime readers might be getting the impression I’ve pretty much only got one friend in real life, and that’s a blatant mistake- I have three!) The ‘giant robot’ genre of action gaming is bizarrely empty of quality titles, especially if the stuck-in-the-cockpit perspective of Mechwarrior isn’t your cup of tea. MUF does a pretty admirable job of recreating Macross dogfighting, with missiles twisting everywhere in wild patterns and familiar series background tunes. While the designs in the sequel and prequel series are awesome, the most fun I had was blasting through the classic Macross series since I was a Robotech addict when I was younger. About the only gripe I have for the game is that it looks amazing in action, but when you see the stills on loading screens or when a model moves just the right way, they look really cheesy. Since when you take the poly count down on a Zentraedi battleship, it’s basically a giant death pickle.

Maybe that’s what my next stupid doodle will be. Death pickle. Yeeeeeah.

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