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crowejohn20's blog

7:48 AM on 10.06.2010

Call of Cthu...Cath..Cu... Cthulhu? Whatever. That game.

Iím playing ďCall of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the EarthĒ at the moment on the PC. Itís a game by Headfirst Production and Published by Bethesda and its pretty good. I've been meaning to play it for a few years now, but never got around to it until I noticed it on steam for a pretty reasonable price. Basically it's a 1st person survival horror/adventure game set in the H.P Lovecraft universe. The game focuses (So far) on player dis-empowerment and investigation. I've no gun or any weapons really, other than my wits and the sneak button.

I'm still only about a quarter of the way through the game and have already noticed a few game ending crash bugs, Although annoying they are totally forgivable as the game is just so much fun, and besides the game has some other interesting and easily reproducible bugs. One set piece in particular has a few issues. In this set piece you, as the player need to escape a hotel, while AI characters hunt you down.

Just before the cut-scene video for this section of the game starts, press the action key repeatedly. Pressing the action key in this way will cause the enemy AI script to run before the canned cut-scene is finished. The user can clearly see this happening as the sound and dialogue will play to match the cut-scene but the game itself will have already started. At this point the players controls are locked, and he can only watch as he is surrounded by enemy AI. The level is now impossible to finish as the AI will have taken most of your health by the time you can control the character again. This bug Iíve found to be 100% reproducible after the first attempt.

There is another major bug in this sequence that I have been able to reproduce 100%. If before the set piece starts you try to move a wardrobe that blocks a door, a door you will later need to pass through, your character will state that ďIts too late, I donít want to move this wardrobe in case I disturb the other guests at the hotelĒ. When the set piece starts the wardrobe will have moved in the direction you where previously pushing. The door that it was previously blocking will be locked. It seems that the door is scripted to open only when the player moves the wardrobe. The player needs to move the wardrobe only slightly in any direction and the door will now be unlocked.

Anyway's fun bugs aside (QA manager looking for staff? ) the game is pretty good. I'm thinking it might have seen a wider audience if the subject matter was a little lighter and the development process had been a little smoother (Apparently it was shut down for a time)

Graphics look a little dated but the character design, animation and voice acting is really great, also you'll be able to run it on a older system, laptop, netbook etc. There are a few niggles with scripted characters and liner bouts of game play (You can't do this until this) but it's totally forgiveable as you are always pressing forward and being rewarded with great set pieces.

I did get a little lost at the start of the game as all the doors look the same but don't all open and it's hard to know where to go without a little trial and error. Still once you get in there and start investigating this and investigating that the game starts to become a little more liner as easier to navigate.

The game relies on a number of filters and screen blurs to show the state of your character. The more bad things you see and do, the more choppy and woozy things get. It works really well even by today's standards for the most part, and it gives you a pretty good sense of panic and fear.

The inventory is a little annoying and its much along the lines of Ressy 4 although the games not as fast paced as Ressy so it works a little better.

Anyway, if you like any sort of adventure game buy it. It's 6 quid on steam and whatever that is in dollars

CJ's 2 word review "Top Banana"   read

2:27 PM on 10.05.2010

Those who can do, those who can't review.

Right! I've been laid off yet again from another game design job, although I did survive 5 solid years and working with Deborah Jones (Not at dark energy). Kids if you want stability, family, friends, or any sort of life that doesn't revolve around broken friendships, endless train travel, getting piss-drunk out of your skull on a Friday night in the attempt to pack some quality free time in before a Saturday morning/Sunday night crunch session. Don't work in games design, in fact don't even work in the games industry, stick to programming databases or stacking shelves, trust me you'll be valued more.....every broken relationship, every birthday missed, family not seen since Christmas.... oh jezz... I'm not bitter... honest, It was fun while it lasted, but I'm tired and need a break, fuck games.

So on that note, and in between cashing the giro every month, I'm going to post badly written game reviews full of grammatical errors and mistakes here on this site. I plan to squeeze some games time in between Jeremy Kyle and another re-run of bloody Friends in the afternoon, I swear I've seen every episode of that series 100 times it's like hypno-toad.

Anyway, here's the first one. I promise it's not dull. enjoy.

Platform: iPhone or iPod Touch
Price: £1.79 from iTunes App Store

Does anyone not enjoy blasting zombies?
Indeed Zombie blasting will NEVER get old. With this in mind I decide to take a look at one of the numerous top down shooters available for the iPod touch and the iPhone, Alive 4 Ever.

The gameís story is based around an undisclosed viral outbreak that has turned the population of a small town into brain dead eternally hungry zombies. The only way to avoid certain death from this infestation is to arm your self to the teeth!

The primary objective of the game consists of rescuing survivors and taking them back to the evacuation point where you spawned. The game also has other objectives, such as a form of time trials for dispatching a specific number of the zombie hoard. The game is surprisingly meaty. Not only does it offer multiple characters and game objectives but 16 upgradable weapons.

The game plays from a top down perspective and the graphics are solid and gory, it can get a little hard to see whatís happening when multiple enemies are on top of you, but this only adds to the sense of panic.

The game features 7 different types of zombie from your standard large bumbling zombie that explode, to your creepy zombie which pops up from the ground and tryís to drag you away with their large tongues. A great feature is that you can play cooperatively with up to 4 of your mates other over either Bluetooth or a Wi-fi connection.

To control the game you use two virtual analogue sticks, one to move and one to shoot. I have to say they work pretty well but the large graphics do take up a lot of screen space, luckily there are options to adjust the transparency of theses options.

All in all you are getting a lot of content for your £1.39 (the thrifty among you might be saddened to know it was just 59p until recently).

UPDATE/20/8/10 - They've just released an update that adds multi-task support as well as a bunch of bug fixes. It's also got 3 and a half stars out of 1911 reviews (App Store UK)


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