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12:22 PM on 02.23.2008

Sam and Max Season 2, Episode 3 review

No Brainer

I will make this short and sweet, if you like the series so far then you will not be disappointed. I think this is the best episode of the season so far, on par with the best ones of the first (4 and 5). This time Sam and Max will have to stop an invasion of German uber-cool emo Zombies.

Instead of recycling the same characters again (no Soda Pops this time, finally, and even Bosco has been given a deserved break) Telltale brought back some of the most compelling ones from the last season : you'll shoot another episode of "Midtown Cowboys" and will have to face Agent Superball again. I believe the developers are being successful in creating a serial cartoon-like universe, much like in the Simpson or South Park.

The puzzles are getting better and better, and this time the episode even feels longer than usual... pop-culture references abound as always, with my favorites being the famous "Frau Bruckner!!!" one from Frankenstein Junior, and the various punches at the Survival Horror genre.

If you have Gametap then you have probably already played it, if not it's still well worth the price of admission.   read

7:06 AM on 02.19.2008

10 (PC) games that should be in every "Best Ever" list but rarely are - Part 1

I have been a PC gamer more or less since I realized my Amiga 500 got way too old to handle new games (around the time Monkey Island 2 came out on 11 floppy disks)... I have played most of the major titles on the platform, over the last 18 years or so (yes, I'm that old) and I like to read all the "Best game... EVAR!" lists that regularly appear on the various websites. While it's hard to disagree with most of the picks, some of the best games I played never (or rarely) make an appearance, so I'm making a small list of the titles I believe should deserve better recognition...

10) Dune - Cryo (1992)

The Westwood "sequel" (Dune 2: Building of a Dynasty, or Battle for Arrakis) always gets the proper recognition it deserves... after all it single handedly created the RTS genre: without it Blizzard wouldn't exist and a million of Koreans wouldn't know how to spend their free time. The original title instead it's rarely remembered, has nothing to do with it, and it's a pretty hard title to pigeonhole, but it's undoubtely one of the most fascinating and immersive games to ever come out on PC.

Loosely based on the plot of the first Dune book, you are young Paul Atreides, son of the noble Leto , just arrived on the planet with family and servants with the task of harvesting the precious Spice for the emperor, in competition with the evil and sneaky Harkonnen, already present on the planet at full force. At the beginning Dune plays like an adventure, you move around the Palace and the planet, talking with the various characters and advancing the story.

The story in itself it's one of main draws, whether you have read the book or not : the character are well portrayed and you will come to care about your family and friends, and loathe the slimy Harkonnen. But the real protagonist it's the planet in itself: Dune is a real treat to navigate, with impressive night/day cycles, the awesome Sandworms, the Fremen caves. Graphics are excellent (a marvel in 1992), even after all these years the art direction really shines, with the atmosphere of the book and the movie fully realized. There are a lot of nice touches, like a mirror in which you can see your eyes getting fully blue as you get exposed more and more to the spice.

As you get into the story the gameplay gets more complex, giving you a full map of the planet in which you will have to accomplish a series of evolving tasks, making the game also simple management sim and then a simple turn based strategy game. The best thing is that none of them seems forced or awkward, everything is fully integrated with the main game and the latter parts of the game are the best, a far cry from the lame "minigames" of modern titles.

Great atmosphere, art direction, story and varied and immersive gameplay make Dune one of the best games I have played on PC.   read

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