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Clance's blog

Member since: 2007-11-20 05:22:00
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    Well, fuck me! It's been wayyyy too long, Dtoid...

    I've been very busy of late with writing for Gamer Limit and trying to make my band blow people's ear drums, but I've been here, lingering in the shadows and watching you all like an eagle in a long dark coat and big hat.

    For those who don't know me: hello there! For those who do: Well, HELLLLLO!

    So, here's a review I wrote for Fat Princess. It's a bit long, but give it time to settle into your mind like a good bottle of 1996 red. If you like it or hate it, leave me a comment :)

    If you’ve ever dreamed of being a knight in shining amour, traversing dangerous lands and taking on huge, menacing armies in order to reach a damsel in distress trapped at the top of a dark tower, you probably didn’t imagine it like this.

    Fat Princess takes the classic fairytale blueprint that countless stories are based around and throws in giant, cursed cake growing out of the ground, potions that turn characters into chickens, lots and lots of blood and… well, overweight princesses.

    The premise of the title is born from classic team-based gaming – of which capture the flag and team deathmatch are prime examples – although the finished product is dressed up in an entirely cute way that blends the look of most Cartoon Network shows over the past ten years with the cel-shading technique of Prince Of Persia.

    The stumpy character designs and colorful environments are terrifically well rendered, standing out as soon as you load the game up. An overdose of color and character certainly adds a humorous edge to proceedings, while somehow triggering memories of first loading up the likes of Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie; perhaps the trick lies in the way environments seem welcoming and attractive at first glance, branding an image on the brain that demands you return again and again to its realms, in which you can get easily become lost for hours (in a good way).

    It is also worth pointing out that there is enough gore to attract even the most stubborn Killzone 2 fan among us; there’s nothing like seeing cartoon flesh and bones rolling around the floor after a suitably comic explosion or using a carefully aimed arrow to pick off a foe desperately scrambling along with a giant piece of cake in his or her arms.

    She's had enough

    While the meat of the game lies in its multiplayer option, it is very much worth the players while to play through the story mode before jumping online. And if, like me, you prefer going in prepared, have a flick through the tutorial booklet too. This manual uses simple instructions and pencil-drawn illustrations to teach you the basics before jumping in to battle.

    Consisting of seven chapters, the single-player campaign tells the ridiculously charming story of two princesses who, while out having fun together in the Black Forest, stumble upon some giant cake. Unable to resist the delightful appearance of the dessert, the girls tuck in to its delicious sponge and icing. This is when things get eerie; the cake turns them instantly obese, while their respective families believe them to have fallen victim to some kind of Black Forest curse.

    What follows is a selection of levels that introduce the player to the different gaming modes – Rescue the Princess, Snatch ‘n’ Go, Team Deathmatch and Invasion – while loosely relating each battle to the tale being told between missions. A voice not unlike Stephen Fry’s graciously speaks of desperate kidnappings and the impending arrival of a prince, although you never really feel like you are taking part in the story – more moving through each chapter to learn what happens next in the tale.

    At the games heart lies a great sense of humor, with players asked to feed more and more cake to their corresponding princesses to make them larger, heavier and therefore more difficult to be carried away by the enemy. Naturally, the cake is scattered throughout the maps, which are usually full of the kind of chaotic action that can please and frustrate in equal measure. But it’s difficult to get mad at this game at all; though not impossible.

    While the modes that Titan Studios has made available in Fat Princessare highly enjoyable to play, they are certainly lacking on the inventive side. Although it is harsh to criticise a game for using a template that other games of its ilk and even countless first-person shooters have previously utilised to great effect, one can’t help but feel that they played it a little safe. Perhaps they should have pushed further for the kind of outlandish gameplay that the look and feel of the title calls for, rather than leaving us with modes that need no explanation.

    What the game does do brilliantly, however, is take these modes and add a selection of well-balanced classes to proceedings, each bringing their own skills and benefits to teams that can reach up to sixteen players – there are two teams in each round. These classes can be swapped throughout the game by pressing circle at one of the various generators at your team’s base. Characters will then don a hat that relates to the class and become specifically tuned with appropriate skills.

    For example, the Mage wears a large pointy hat and can control fire and, when the class has been upgraded, ice. To upgrade these classes, Workers are expected to collect resources by chopping down trees (which grow back after a minute or two) or cutting into rock for diamonds using their axe. They then carry the goods to what they want to improve, usually needing a handful of trips to succeed. This class is for those who prefer to work toward the greater good during a game; the tasks that need doing that may not be as glamorous as choping heads off. Mind you, those axes can pack quite a punch if you get close enough.

    Rangers wear a Robin Hood-esque cap and feather and carry a bow and arrow. Long-range attacks are slightly weaker than those from the viking helmet-clad warriors – who can destroy enemies in one fell swoop from close range using their sword – but the use of L1 to lock on makes Rangers far more accessible. When upgraded, these soldiers become marksmen with old-fashioned rifles, which cause enough damage to require others to choose the Priest class in order to help allies stay alive.

    You will die a great deal during a game of Fat Princess, of this there is no doubt. However, the Priest – Titan’s version of a medic – can help improve the situation ten-fold by zapping life (represented by classic hearts) back into teammates. They also, like all other classes, have a special ability that can be triggered when holding down the square button. Priests can cause a blast of energy that effects those players within a certain radius. The use of the word “effects” is important here as an upgraded Priest – who looks like an evil Pope – can suck the life from opposing forces. A quick tap of triangle enables this wonderful ability switch to happen, as is the case with all other classes.

    An emphasis on the use of teamwork to reach goals means that this game is best enjoyed when you play with people who care enough to go out of their way to win. Attempting to go it alone will almost always result in death, as facing more than one enemy at a time is a very difficult situation to overcome.

    You’ll find that by moving in groups – you can call others by pressing “up” on the D-pad – you’ll capture strongholds much easier, as more people standing near them switches the color from red to blue or vice versa far more rapidly. These small structures scattered through levels can be used to charge up energy and are the basis for Invasion mode, which requires teams to attempt to dominate maps to drain enemy morale to zero and win. Also, by varying the classes within each group you may just find the best balance to break through the castle gates and actually have a chance of bringing home the princess, which can take a while. It basically makes for a more enjoyable experience.

    At the time of writing, news has surfaced that a patch is currently being worked on to cure some of the problems players have had with connecting to games. This would obviously come as a relief as the issue has effected many people although, personally, I didn’t suffer quite as badly as others apparently have.

    One thing that was noticeably wrong during play was some of the behavior of the bots. More often than not, during a game there will be one or two characters standing still for the duration of the match. At other times they will wander into molten lava and certain death, or merely gather in groups of two or three and stay still as though tied up. Again, these are problems that are sure to be patched as time goes by, it’s just a shame they have marred what has been an otherwise a stellar introduction to the game’s lifespan.

    The different maps on offer are a credit to Titan’s attention to detail. Symmetry is the key for these arenas, with no one team benefiting from a different route to their goal or an awkward patch of water in an awkward place.

    The look and feel changes from game to game, from shipwrecks on sandy beaches to cavenous canyons with narrow rope bridges. One of the standout sections is a Super Mario Bros.-style pipe that appears and dissappears according to the ebb and flow of the lava. Waiting for your moment to jump and be carried to a different section of the map is comically frustrating and somehow tense – you’re usually dropped into a mass of swords, arrows, fire and death.

    fuckin' 'ell

    Fat Princess boasts a soundtrack that isn’t much to write home about – traditional music of an era that resembles baroque plays on repeat, which is quirky and fun but not particularly memorable – until, that is, you run the credits and are treated to something that I’m not actually going to spoil for anybody who hasn’t played the game yet. Let’s just say, you’ll either love or hate it, but should love it.

    Meanwhile, the voice work, as mentioned, resembles that as heard in LittleBigPlanet – except this is not Mr. Fry – and is particularly effective during battle when the polite rumblings of an English gentlemen warn of castle gates being breached, princesses being stolen and classes being upgraded. There is little variation, but it does a great job of keeping players informed and entertained.

    If you’re looking for a team-based game that steps out from the first-person view, away from shadowy greys and browns and into a world of color and hilarious, sugar-coated gore, you should look no further than Fat Princess. Provided you are working within a strong team or, if all else fails, enjoy playing against thirty-one slightly deranged bots, you’ll be sure to laugh and revel in a well-executed kill like never before. It’s one of the best games to reach PSN – well worth its £11.99 price-tag – just don’t expect to be shown too much new, aside from team deathmatch in a glorious pink frock covered in crumbs.

    8.5, 'cause I said so.

    Welllll hellllllllllllo everybody! I've just added the man the myth Samit Sarkar on Twitter... I have no idea what baseball is but I'm already a HUGE Yankees fan. I've just joined, so if you fancy "following" me like a filthy stalker does a ripened arse, please go here and do so.

    In other news BBC have announced that heavy Rain will be available in certain areas of London tomorrow. I know! Very exciting stuff right there, I can't wait!!!

    Just in case anybody and everybody was wondering where the HELL I've been lately... well, truth be told, I've been spending lots and lots of time writing for Of course, I've been spending ridiculous amounts of time browsing the green, black and red goodness that is Dtoid, but my blogging has had to slow down because my best material has had to go into this exciting new site. If you haven't seen us before, by all means come and check it out. If not, more power to you, I honestly find it very difficult to drag myself away from here myself.

    So, YES!
    I finally have internet connectionz at my houses so will be playing with the gang on FNF tomorrow night. I hope it's Killzone 2, I'm rusty but I'll still blow the shit out of some poor bastard who is busy trying to reload his shotgun. Serves you right and you KNOW it does.

    How is everybody!?

    Also, Iraq? Are you sure Konami?

    Happy Easter

    Good day to you my brothers and sisters of Destructoid. First off, a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the greatest community site on the internetz. That's right, Facebook just turned.... joking joking. I don't even have Facebook, probably the only person in the world, so I've decided that I will start telling everyone that I was the first guy kicked off the site and am now bezzie mates with Tom "look at me in my white t-shirt, I'm so fucking Weezer" Myspace.

    I digress, oui oui. So, yes, I have just moved uptown. I was living in the right end of Tottenham, which is still very very very wrong in many many many ways. I am now residing in Kentish Town... That's in North London to all you ignoranuses out there, I love you all without question. It's a nice little place, in a carpeted (ooooh) apartment building that makes me feel like Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta are about to bust around the corner eating Big Macs.

    * near my road, maybe 5 minutes walk. I past this in a van the other day. Jealous? Yes.

    So, why that title about being "out in the cold"? I hear you ask the way little Oliver begged his master for sloppy seconds. I tell you why, chap: I haven't been able to play much of my PlayStation 3 (most powerful console on the market) over the past week. you know what, I played a couple of matches of Fifa 09, offline manager mode, you know how we do... But even that felt a little off as I have no internet connection at the mo.

    Basically, I'm in ALPHA "we are the shiz" TEAM on KILLZONE 2, the most amazing looking game to NEVER hit a 360 this side of the world ending, but I haven't been able to join a match since last Friday. That's a whole week and I'm only on two fucking stripes so far. I ain't even got a star and mother Fs are all gonna be running around with sniper rifles picking off my arse like it was a can of Dr. Pepper on a corner shop shelf. Don't even start, that's not racist, even though I'll probably be done for using black lettering and talking about Samuel L. Jackson.

    Help me help you. Once I get back in to the swing of things, I'll be running maps like it's everyone's birthday, but, right now, I'm gonna be sitting there... not now, I'm at work. Tonight! I'm gonna be sitting there tonight staring at Warhawk thinking: "What teh fuck is going on? I'm craving you so badly, for the first time in six months, and I can't even play you." Damn this cruel place, but I shall return, so don't forget me yet.

    Everyone well?

    Ps. Yesterday was my four-year anniversary with the misses. She's been very good to me! I love her!

    I told the misses I wouldn't be seeing her that night

    Firstly, I just want to say how much fun I am having with Killzone 2, both on and offline. Anybody who has problems with the controls and stuff (I'm looking at you Kojima, you sick bastard), I am sorry you are not having as much fun as me with it.

    So, Friday night. Well, I was planning on having a dip into the online MP but figured I'd play through the campaign first and then get on to that. Eight hours later and that plan had gone well-and-truly out of the window. There I was, 5am and with a pounding headache, trying to take potshots at JackOfNoTrades from about 200 yards and lob grenades into Shipero's path. As time went on I failed more and more, but boy oh boy was it fun.

    In my humble experience, Destructoid seems to attract some very cool people (much like me!) through its hallowed green gates. The private room that I was allowed entry to (cheers, Johan!) became like a second home to me in that short (but quite long, in terms of hours in the day) period of time.

    With each passing game I felt as if I was getting to know Dtoid community members a little more, even if through a communication method known only as "shooting bullets into people's backs". Oh yeah, and me (at one proud point at around 2.30am) yelling "BOOM! Heeeead shot!"... I've been waiting for that moment for too long. I'm not sure who the victim was but Brainderailment was involved somewhere along the line and someone actually laughed. Yay!


    At certain points I almost felt like a horrible bastard calling Takeshi a "crazy Dutch sharpshootin' son of a bitch". Almost. Because the guy knows that I think he's a gem of a man who seems to bend over backwards to get things moving along for this here community. That clan is a mean mofo BTW, dude! I'm proud to be a part of it!

    So, yeah, I had some great times on Friday and I hope to have plenty more in the future. That game is just SO immersive and really does a good job of putting a smile on your face while making you feel like a mad killer at the same time. What else could I need???

    Cheers dudes!

    If you were there, please shed some light on your experience of it below... But, any mention of me being not very good will see me become a different kind of animal next time!

    One of the things I love about EA is the way you can upload your goals on FIFA 09 as soon as you've put them into the back of the net. I haven't bothered to do this before. Yeah, I score cracking goals all the time but I always think I can do a little bit better.

    Last night, around the midnight hour or later, I was having a battle with my flatmate. France Vs. Spain. The score was 0-0 and he was having some joy down my end of the field. Something had to give, so I broke away quickly, releasing four passes that ended with Fernando Torres on the far right and then... Well, what happened next caused me to yell loud enough to wake up even the heaviest sleeping neighbour.

    Ladies and gentlemen, THIS is what happen when you mess with Clance...

    Please note, the clip only contains the last part, which is a shame. But it was the best part.

    One other thing. I'm doing writing for and have knocked up an article about how FIFA stole my heart away from PES. If it sounds like your bag, check it out here

    Much love to y'all...

    OK, howdy, how are we all??? So the major news coming from the world of Playstation 3 and, more specifically, the PSN Store this week has been the release of Flower. But, to my utter dismay, the real BIG news of the week (at least here in Europe anyway) has been completely overlooked... It is, quite possibly, the greatest game OF ALL TIME!!!

    WHAT a name for a game

    That's right, my friends... Gather round and let me tell you this:

    I downloaded the demo for this game (it's only just been released here, been out in the US of effin' A for a good two or three months) just because I was kind of bored. I had no idea what it was all about.

    It's like football but you kick around the ball in rocket-powered cars!!!


    I can't tell you how big and fun just that demo is. I've had hours of laughs and competitiveness with my flatmate on it over the last few days. Boy oh boy, some last ditch tackles made when you boost past your opponent and jump and do all kinds of craziness... Some great goals! Anger! Pain! Total joy!

    I haven't bought it yet but I know that once I am drunk tomorow night, I'm gonna be all over it like peanut butter and jam. I mean, I love Flower but this? It should be illegal for being too much fun.

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