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I'm not sure what I should be putting in here, but I'm a full-time graphic and web designer. Yay?
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My buddy Iane came over with a 12-pack of beer and we sit down to play through a couple of hours of Bioshock yesterday. Lights are dimmed, volume is cranked and alcoholic beverages are consumed. Fun times are to be had by me, since I'm doing the playing.

Anyway, we progress through the start of the game pretty easily since it's basically the same demo we've played over and over until we swap levels and find ourselves in the medical pavilion. We make our way through, picking up several new plasmids along the way.

We're instructed to find a key in a dentistry office. Okay, no problem. I shoot down an annoying turret that was blocking my way and crawl into a window. I'm in the office and unlock the door behind me so I can move in and out easier next time. I start searching the room; nothing. There must be something I missed.

Moving around, I notice a back room with a dentistry chair billowing fog from the intense cold in the room. I move in slowly thinking some crazy doctor must be in there waiting for me to innocently step in so he can charge me 100$ for a 10 minute cleaning.

Slowly, I creep into the room's door frame. The back wall can't be seen; the fog is too thick so instead, I stick to the left. I start making my way forward and rummage through a few cabinets and waste baskets. My HUD freezes and thaws while I wait. There's nothing here. Damn.

Okay, no problem. I keep searching random bins and picking up medical supplies on the floor when my HUD goes white again, presumably from freezing. Once it thaws, I turn around to head out the door and THE CRAZY DOCTOR IS ABOUT A FOOT AWAY FROM MY FACE JUST BLANKLY STARING AT ME WHILE HIS HEAD TILTS! A buckshot and about a tenth of a second later, the doctor was down but my heart was just pounding.

By far, one of the scariest moments I have ever felt from a game. Holy crap. Just thinking about it is still sending shivers down my spine.

I've since finished the Medical Pavilion level and made it unto the docks and thankfully haven't had any other "OMGWTF" moments like that since.








I get home after work last night and remembered I had left my Xbox download the new Stranglehold demo overnight. Awesome.

So what's it like? Let me sum it up by saying that it feels like Max Payne re-visited, without the moody, edgy feeling. In resume, pretty bland. Granted, this was just from a demo and it's probably not indicative of what the final version of the game will be like but it was a letdown.

Here's basic rundown of what it's like.

You start off the demo with a fairly long cutscene; some cop's been murdered and they want to send in an army but of course, the valiant hero steps in and runs off on his own. You find yourself in an ally with nowhere to go but forward. Running up a flight of stairs, you encounter your first enemies and are taught about bullet time, jumping, etc. The basics. You take them down in slow-motion and continue along.

Now that's all fine and dandy, but that's all the game is. Sure, you've got variations like the snipe shot where time slows down a crawl and the camera follows your bullet into the enemy's spleen, but I'm not sure it will be enough.

One nice feature was the standoff. Basically, you're surrounded by bad guys and you have to take them down one by one. The game slows down and you can only face one enemy at a time. You have to aim, shoot and dodge the bullets at the same time. It's really satisfying to see your character take down six guys at a time.

Once I finished the demo, I let the introduction video run and what I've seen looks promising. The level chosen for the demo wasn't the best choice since it's bland and repetitive. Oh look! Another chain link fence! I haven't seen those since that last turn! And hey! Is that debris on the ground? I think it is!

Oh, speaking of debris. I have to hand if off to the devs though. Everything in this game is either destructible or damageable. That does include walls and pillars which is pretty damn cool. If you do end up downloading the demo, watch the intro sequence where I think shotgun rounds are being pumped into a cement pillar and it slowly eats away at it. It looks damn awesome.

I'm starting to ramble on about nothing so I'll cut to the chase. Will I be buying Stranglehold? I don't know yet. I'll have to replay through the demo again to get the feel right, but it looks like a game that would keep me interested for a while. I'll post some more later.








Having nothing good to play on the 360 for some time now (I didn't really like Forza 2, I'm sorry), I decided I'd go back on some of my older games and get me some achievements. I fired up Crackdown again in an attempt to actually complete it, and to get my agent up to his maximum stats.

It took me some time to figure out the best strategies to level up so here are some of the things I've discovered that will hopefully help you reach the elite agent level.

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Strength
To level up your strength, simply roundhouse enemies in the face. That pretty much summarizes it. You do have the alternative option of killing enemies by throwing objects at them but it's much more time consuming and just not as fun.

Driving
Leveling up your driving skill is a pain because Crackdown simply isn't a car game. You don't have to drive since your character can basically fly from one rooftop to the next. So how do you level it up? By running over enemy soldiers.

Spawn at the Agency and grab the SUV. It has the best turning ratio and won't get stuck in between cars or other debris. Exit at door 3 which will lead you near Wang's HQ. There should be a ton of enemies outside. Drive near enemies slowly. You don't need to ram them to kill them, a mere touch will take them down. Keep going until your SUV blows up and repeat. I was able to get about 10-points per run.

When an enemy car approaches you, the occupants won't exit the car until you come to a complete stop. Park yourself next to one of the enemy's doors and hit the handbrake. As soon as the door pops open, start charging towards the car and you should easily be able to run down at least one of the occupants.

Explosives
This skill is fairly easy to level up. Select a spawn point in Wang's territory. As a weapon, select the Grenade and Rocket launchers and scout the rooftops for clusters of soldiers and pop a grenade or rocket at them. That's pretty much it. It shouldn't take you too long.

If you can manage to get hit squads to come after you, fire a rocket at the middle car and blow them all up at once. Be mindful of civilians though.

Firearms
This one is a pain. Grab your default assault rifle (the one with the scope) and machine gun then spawn in Wang territory. All you have to do now is snipe. And then snipe some more. Headshots will yield allot more experience than simply gunning down enemies so take your time and make sure the shot lands and you'll get there soon enough.

Agility
Grab the orbs. Do the races. That's it. You also get a little bit of experience by sniping enemies from afar but it's really not worth the time and effort. I haven't reached the max level for this yet and it's a pain the ass.

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That's all for now. I'll edit this as I progress through my skills. Also check out the GameSpot guide.

I still haven't finished Crackdown but it's my weekend 'task'. If anyone wants to join me, I'll be on Live as daedalx. Later.