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9:09 PM on 02.09.2010

Quickie 3-Game Review

I moved recently and gave up on Gamefly 'cuz I was under the impression my nightlife would improve in a new area of the country, thereby rendering my console useless for a while.

Swing and a miss...

Strolled into Blockbuster a week ago. Left with WET and Dante's Inferno.

This isn't meant to be a true review as much as simply tossing a bone out there in case someone's been neglecting their console and video games for bit, or perhaps to someone on the fence as to whether or not to give these games a try.

For starters, WET is fun. It's more fun than it is technically impressive. It wouldn't surprise me a bit to hear countless D-Troiders label this title a "rent-only." But I also imagine upon reading that most D-Troiders would turn their nose up at the game. A lot of times when we hear something isn't worth buying we immediately figure it probably isn't worth playing either.

Most of you would agree - it's sincerely worth playing. It's sloppy as hell and repetitive in nature, but I got a huge kick out of it. There's definitely more that could have been done with it, but you can't help but appreciate what little they gave you. The grainy visuals, the soundtrack, and the story all make for quite an entertaining experience. Think Kill Bill with a twist of Matrix. It's just fun, plain and simple.

Dante's Inferno didn't look like my kind of game... 'til I saw the commercial for it. True, it's yet another ad comprised mostly of cut-scenes that never make it into the game, but I think it was necessary for this title. What should easily impress you most about this is that the graphics are simply stunning. The visual representations of hell are pretty fucking twisted and beautiful at the same time, and I found myself at times just stopping the game's character in his tracks to marvel at the scenery. Morbid, creepy, and relatively disturbing, you can't help but give the creators of the game major kudos for bringing their interpretation of hell to life. It truly seems like a piece of art.

Gameplay lacks a bit, no one's gonna argue about that. The main characters moved seem mapped right over each even when performing something different. And the AI the enemies are granted doesn't help things at all. In some spots the game is reduced to mere button-mashing, distancing the character a bit, and then more button mashing. But some of the ways you're allowed to disperse of enemies are so graphic that you can't help but enjoy yourself. Very graphic. Very twisted. For every way the game annoys you it'll bounce back and visually amaze you.

If there's anything the above-mentioned games lack, it's just good ol' fashioned mechanics. WET has an awesome story and feels like you're playing through a Tarantino flick, but you're always left feeling like you wish you had another set of moves or a better environment to operate inside. Dante's Inferno feels a lot like an old school session of Double Dragon from time to time, but just traversing the inner circles of hell to dazzling visuals was enough to keep me entertained.

I returned today to pick up Bioshock 2.

I drove home with a sense of urgency.

I honestly felt no words ever did the first game justice. It was clearly one of the most unique experiences I'd ever gotten from a video game.

An hour in, and the same can be said for the second installment. I won't even bother with details. If you're playing it tonight you're enjoying yourself.

Peace.   read

12:17 AM on 09.20.2009

The Forgotten: Rogue Squadron III... (and the "lunchbox")

It may seem a bit retarded to write about a game that isn't truly considered old yet. And I'm old enough (and lucky enough) to have seen a lot of classics.

I watched video games go from a black and white display to color. I watched Pong give way to Asteroids on the Atari 2600. Intellivision. Caleco. I played games on the dinosaurs of the gaming console world in my youth. The arcade my parents owned and operated became my after school babysitter. Pac Man, Defender, Space Invaders, Joust... Please tell me someone out there remembers a game called Berzerk. It was a childhood favorite. Centipede, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong Jr. Got the NES in fifth grade... You get the picture, right?

With what seems like an eternity filled to the brim video games, from cabinet to console, one of the ones I feel worst about leaving behind is Rogue Squandron III: Rebel Strike. It's only been maybe five years since I last played the thing, but it seems like eons ago.

"The force, Luke. Use it... quickly."

As opposed to further rambling focused on the Star Wars franchise and how its awesomeness knows no bounds, I'll just say I'm a fan and move on... And it also explains my love and adoration for the game mentioned above. To go from dreaming about piloting an X-Wing Fighter to actually controlling the ship's arsenal and flight with two thumbs was extraordinarily surreal. The Nintendo Gamecube, now mocked by my XBox and Playstation 2 owning friends and referred to as the "lunchbox," did the game as much justice as could possibly be served at that point. Surprisingly superb graphics and smooth gameplay made this game an instant winner for me before I'd even mastered the controls.

This game was a must for any Nintendo-owning (or PC-owning) Star Wars fan. Scenes and lines from the movies had you thinking "I feel like I could take on the whole Empire myself."

And the Battle of Endor? Yeah. Instant wood. The screenshot below doesn't do it justice (because it's early in the level), but it was easily one of the better dogfight type environments I'd ever been exposed to. Playing the level in Boba Fett's unlockable ship or the Millennium Falcon made for a nice challenge, as could be said for all the levels.

What set this game apart from the earlier titles in the series was the multiplayer mode, so you were no longer sitting there hogging up the entertainment but instead flying side-by-side with a friend... perhaps an XBox owner who was now shutting his trap and ceasing in his mockery of the cube-shaped "lunchbox" he was now playing on. And when you found a buddy talented enough to blow through each level with flying colors, racking up gold medals all along the way even with you piloting a less-than-agile Millennium Falcon? Jackpot. Delivering the final blow to the Deathstar in the last level and making it out alive would result huge sighs of relief. And it never seemed to get old.

In '04 I moved a couple thousand miles from home and entered the world of XBox Live to keep playing games with displaced friends. I've not seen my Cube since.

God I miss this game. I hope someone out there can relate.

May the force be with you...   read

10:12 PM on 09.06.2009

It Must Be Love...

"Please don't... Please... do not do that."

I talked to her. I laid a gentle hand on her. I begged, I pleaded... I sat there on my knees and stared at her, lovingly but with a sense of urgency on my face. I let out the most frustrated sigh ever known to man and felt my heart sink like a freshly torpedoed sea vessel. The muscle below my right eye began twitching uncontrollably and it helped eject a single tear that had built up on my bottom eyelid. And as it streamed down my cheek I leaned back with my arms outstretched, lifted my head towards the heavens and uttered "Why?... Whyyyyyyyyy?"

My XBox died a couple weeks ago. No warning sign. No "Dear John" letter. Not even one final fling for old times' sake. I hit the power button only to be greeted by three little flashing red arcs... the infamous Red Rings of Death.

Later on that night I cried and became borderline-suicidal over its demise. I held it in my arms, performed CPR, said things like "Don't you leave me... *sniffle*... I'll never let go," and went though an entire box of Kleenex as I sobbed and shared stories of the good times we'd had together to a living room full of friends. I then surfed the web looking for similar horror stories and possible remedies, and found three options.

So while everyone was out in the living room I roamed to the bathroom to grab towels. I came back out to other room where my big-screen and gaming accessories are situated. I wrapped my lifeless XBox in four towels... whispering gently "You're gonna be okay... You're gonna make it" through a tightened jaw and quivering lips.

While it was wrapped I waited patiently, pacing like a family member outside the ICU in a hospital.

I picked up my acoustic guitar and played a soothing Jack Johnson tune to it.

I put my ear up to it, and felt for a pulse.

The withdrawal symptoms had already begun. I tapped my foot repeatedly and chewed my nails. The thought of all my buddies playing round after round of Halo without me promptly forced rage-filled jealous thoughts.

Long story short, it came back to life. She came back to me... for a little while anyway.

The rings showed themselves again and I'm sending her in. I got the shipping label today, and Monday I'll place her in a box and mail her away to operated on.

I'm trying to cope. Sergio Mendez's "Never Wanna Let You Go" will be playing in my head as I leave the post office, wishing her a safe and prompt return. In the meantime my friend Blue will be running the show. IT's true, folks. You don't know what you got 'til it's gone... Tell you're console you love it before it's too late.   read

3:54 AM on 09.01.2009

Giving Credit Where It's Due... NOT To Goldeneye.

I enjoy perusing past community blogs and seeing what people have had to say about games of yore. I get off on nostalgia, and it's cool to read about the games that have infused people with such memories. I think we all have a deep-seeded desire to identify with people who've played a certain game and just know what it meant to them and the place in time it represented.

At least I hope we do. I don't wanna be alone on this one... although bashing Goldeneye will probably ensure it.

I was sifting through pages of past c-blogs concerning their earliest exposure to multiplayer gaming. If you had to name one game that started it all (if you're within the 25-35 age bracket) you'd probably say Goldeneye. And that's totally fair. The game could easily be considered the fore-father of FPS multiplayer gaming and a vast number of past blogs from this site (and many others) back this idea up nicely.

I played it casually... for about a year. The campaign never got old, but splitting the screen into four and gunning down friends just seemed off. It was choppy. And sloppy.

Then something else came along.

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil came out a year after Goldeneye. And at that point my career as James Bond ended. No tears were shed.

We could debate which game had the better campaign mode and although it'd take a week or so, I think I'd win this one. Weaponry, graphics, sounds, AI, environments, difficulty, boss battles... Kindly place a check-mark next to Turok and we'll move on.

Multiplayer? *grabs megaphone and climbs atop soapbox* Turok was better. *gets booed, but remains*

1) Weapons. They were toned down tremendously in multiplayer and they were still far superior. The Firestorm cannon was nowhere near as fierce, and the Scorpion Launcher fired one missile at a time instead of three consecutively. Didn't matter. Each weapon had its place and it brought a special balance to the multiplayer experience. Even if your enemies reached the more powerful guns before you, there were still ways around being killed. Aim the Charge Dart gun at a foe, zap him, and then switch to your Pistol and aim for his head. The Assault Rifle in Turok was the fore-father of the much-used battle rifle from Halo, FYI. Fires the same exact way. And I wouldn't have the faintest clue as how to snipe in today's games had it not been for the scope afforded by the Plasma Rifle in Turok.

2) Levels. At first glance they seemed overly simple, when in reality they were sheer genius. Whether close-quartered or spread out there was always a place to stalk or just leap into a mess of action from, and the location of weapons ensured that each player had a different approach. Goldeneye's levels were cramped and un-befitting to multiplayer action.

3) Options. The best thing about Turok's multiplayer mode was being able to modify things, most importantly speed. The default setting made for good play, but then once you got things down you could adjust the speed at which your character moves. Tired of running like a scared little girl from a freshly launched Cerebral Bore? Up the speed and you're suddenly rounding a corner to shelter easily. Or in the weapons menu just turn the thing off. Either or. Goldeneye had one speed, and it virtually guaranteed things were all too sloppy.

I don't expect this opinion to be popular, and if it is then rest-assured it's because no one wants to agree with it. Yes, Goldeneye was great. It spawned the multiplayer aspect and gave us a new way to play competitively. Turok 2 improved upon it but no one noticed because Goldeneye's grip wouldn't free you long enough to see it. I'm just tired of it being credited for something when another game did it better. I'd be doing myself a disservice if I didn't share what spawned my undying love for the multiplayer genre and nurtured it for 6 solid years.

If you've still got a 64 I implore you to snag Seeds of Evil, four controllers, and a few buddies and have a go at it. Turn the game's speed up a notch or two once you get familiar with the controls and surroundings. Learn each weapon and perfect them, and bring the pain.

You can thank me later.   read

1:48 AM on 08.30.2009

Spartan Laser, I Was Wrong About You.

I played Halo 2 online from October 2004 'til November 2007. I played approximately 5600 matches in that span, and tended to enjoy each and every one. Win or lose, I find it thoroughly fascinating and its appeal never seems to wear thin.

I am a Halo fanatic... I will always be one. At age 65 I fully expect to still be playing it.

Halo 3 brought the usual weapons, along with something new we'd never encountered before. Behold, the Spartan Laser. I remember stumbling upon it the first night I jumped into the multiplayer mode way back when, in the level named Snowbound. I picked the thing up 'cuz from afar it looked a lot a rocket launcher, and I was already envisioning explosions and dead bodies flying through the air. My pulse doubled, regardless of whether rockets came out of it or not.

I had no idea what to expect the first time I fired this thing. The 3 seconds it takes to charge turned me off initially. I remember thinking that leaves a whole lot of time to get cut down to size by an enemy before even being afforded the chance to unleash whatever this weapon had inside it. I'm certain I missed at least my first four or five targets. We can assume I killed not a single foe the first time I strolled around with a Spartan Laser on my shoulder.

And I'm fairly certain I swore the thing off for a while, retreating back to the safety and familiarity of a battle rifle.

It's amazing what a little practice can achieve. Once your timing is down and you realize the weapons range and limitations, the weapon becomes one of the most devastating things in your arsenal. Decimate vehicles, on the ground and in the air. Snipe single soldiers... or even a group of them in one shot. When the weapon fires, you know it, your foes know it, and the American people know it. It echoes. And it strikes fear into the hearts of men (or kids) playing.

*Red laser = red smoke... Nice attention to detail*

Just thought I'd share this story and one of my favorite screenshots, and take a moment to thank Bungie for their continued creativity in placing destructive weapons in my hands.

Never judge a gun by its cover.   read

9:22 PM on 08.25.2009

"Hack the Planet"

I'd tried seeking an answer to this question in the forum... only to be told I was off-topic and should be posting it somewhere else. Nevermind that I was asking the question in the "bar" section... and nevermind the fact that two posts directly below my question revolved around things like some dude brewing his own alcohol and the Maury Povich Show.

Go figure.

My question is video game related... one that was played in this movie.

Hackers. Circa 1995 (I think)... Cool movie. Decent actors (one of which is a surprisingly young Angelina Jolie). Good soundtrack. It was one of those flicks you could throw in if you worked as a cashier behind the counter of a video store and not have angry parents come up and complain about they're kids hearing or seeing it.

Happy Gilmore was not one of those movies. I found that out the hard way. You shoulda seen this one particular mom size into me. "Yeah, but they're bleeping the cuss words out, see?" That didn't change her feelings at all.

Anyway, about 20-30 minutes into the Hackers film Johnny Lee Miller's character steps up to this video game displayed on a huge screen. He's at some techno-themed club, and trying to impress Jolie's character. So he steps up to this game and promptly beats her long-standing score on it. All I can recall of the game is that you're moving an object (a ball I think?) down a track filled with obstacles and walls at a high velocity, but the graphics were sick and the game looked like it could have been really fun.

Anybody know whether the game was real? Or was it just a fictional piece to add to the tone of the movie?

It looked fun.   read

7:06 PM on 08.24.2009

I Suck at Games: My Mother Does Not

In 1984 my parents owned and operated an arcade in a small town in Michigan. At age seven I was spending time after school pumping quarters into video game machines, mostly Pac Man, Dig-Dug, Berserk, Space Invaders, Joust, and Donkey Kong Junior. My memory fails me as to whether or not that Popeye game was out at that time, but it eventually became one of my favorites.

The Midway classics... I was exposed to them nice and early. And for that I am thankful.

One game always eluded me... or rather, I eluded it. I could never quite get 25 cents worth of gameplay out of it. It is known as one of the most challenging arcade games ever assembled: Defender.

"Maverick's supersonic... I'll be there in 30 seconds"

The game's difficulty level was ridiculous. You're goal is to shoot these aliens spacecraft before they run off with the people (or Humanoids) that you're attempting to save from mutation and, you know-... the whole anal probe thing. Aside from that you've got four or five different other alien spacecraft firing away to your vessel. And the screen continuously scrolls, and although you have control and can quickly reverse your direction to fly back the other way it just seemed like you always had entirely too much ground to cover. It kept you busy. I'll just put it that way.

In 1984 this game was a hit. There was always someone standing at the Defender cabinet. Always. And at this particular arcade, half the time the person standing there was-... my mother. My mom, the glorious woman that put of her college education to give birth to me, played Defender. And she was good. It wasn't unusual for a crowd to be gathered behind her watching her play.

"Back off, kid... I'm not your mother"

This just blows my mind. Not that my mother played video games, or that she was good at them. But she was good at Defender, yo.

To this day she's still pretty proud of having one game that she can hold over my head and tease me about.

And I take it gracefully.   read

9:17 PM on 08.23.2009

Seeing Red... Again.

It had happened once before. It was brief though. Two of my roommates and I were playing Halo 3 online, just enjoying the ability to ramble around through Team Slayer levels as a team and create some mayhem. Winning some. Losing some. As long as there was cold beer in the fridge and a never-ending amount of contests to be found online we were content with life.

I'd had my new Box for maybe a couple months. I bought the green Halo-themed one. I thought it was fitting considering Halo represents all but 5% of my thirst for gaming these days.

And it showed itself, briefly. It peeked at us. Phil, a bystander who's Box had seen its demise the year before, uttered an "uh-oh." Two other friends, the ones playing, stood there frozen... perhaps trying to gauge how severe my reaction would be. I leaped from the couch with cat-like speed and hit the power button, exclaiming aloud "Whoa-whoa-WHOA."

"She's done," a friend utters.

"No she is NOT," I reply with some unwavering level of certainty. For some reason I felt connected to the thing spiritually. I'm no fanboy. I'm not an XBox fanatic. I was raised on NIntendo and stayed loyal for as long as I could. I moved to California, 2000 miles away from my buddies, and needed an XBox to play online with 'em. It's as simple as that. But each console I own feels like it's a part of me... Strong with us, the force is.

And that was it. I hit the power button again, the console fired up, and the ring was gone. It displayed itself for maybe a total of five seconds. Never saw it again. I play 5-8 hours a night; I once played for 12 hours straight, with nothing but cigarette breaks and trips to the fridge for a beer. The thing has held up quite well considering how extensively it's used.

Until last night. When I went to fire the thing up, three little arcs of red flashed. All I could was sit and stare at it... twitching just under my left eye a bit.

I don't have a lot to do with my life right now. 2009 has been brutal for me. Job-loss. Vehicle break-down. The end to a budding relationship. Friends I've known since college moving away seemingly just as soon as they'd moved out here. Abandonment issues. Slight bouts with depression. No pity-party here, just being real.

I blow off all the steam I have in this world by hitting the power button to that console, and right now it's dead. I dunno whether to try the towel thing for a week just to get by, fix the thing myself, or send it in. I can't be trusted to make my own decisions right now.

Sorry about the rant. I had to vent.

And forgive future posts. I'll be looking for ways to keep my mind off it 'til the thing is up and running again. *silent prayer*   read

11:51 PM on 08.22.2009

Memory Lane: Karate Champ

Talk about nostalgia.

I was fartin' around on the internet earlier looking at Killer Instinct cabinets for possible purchase. The wait for a new game has clearly taken its toll and despite what an excellent idea it would be for XBox to buy the rights to the game and release for play on XBox Live, it doesn't seem destined to happen. So I've been pricing cabinets. I think it'd be cool to have one.

Then I come across this.

I'm immediately transported to another place in time... where I'm probably ten years old. I'm scrounging underneath furniture and sifting through couch cushions for quarters, even sneaking a handful from atop my father's dresser if the urge was too much to resist.

Karate Champ. Circa 1984. Although I was going through various addiction levels later on, say, '86 to '88. It would literally take finding no more than four quarters for me to walk five blocks into the quaint downtown area of my small hometown and play this game. The memory is so vivid right now that it's scary. I adored this game. It got so bad that coming across one single quarter, the ability to play one single session, would prompt the stroll to the arcade.

There was an Aladdin's Castle arcade in the mall in Battle Creek, Michigan that housed this game as well. It sat directly across from Chi Chi's where my family dined nearly every Sunday after church. And even as I got older I'd still stroll over to that arcade to play this game while waiting for our food to arrive. I once made a single quarter last over what had to have been ten minutes... You know, one of those scenes where you're totally in the zone, your timing is so precise that it almost seems automatic, and before you know it there's a crowd gathering behind you watching your score reach never-before-seen levels. 20 years ago, and I remember it like yesterday.

Anyone else remember this game? It was beyond classic.

I found a cabinet for $500... Looks like Killer Instinct may have to wait.   read

1:27 AM on 08.22.2009

The Cable Guy - What an Obscure Reference

The movie was mostly labeled a flop at the time. As a Jim Carrey fan I by no means adored it or anything, but over time I've grown to appreciate it for the darker, off-kilter role Carrey played in it, as well as the time the film represented. There's a scene where Carrey's character, "Chip Douglas", stands up atop an enormous satellite dish and enthusiastically orates the future.

"Soon every American home will integrate their television, phone and computer. You'll be able to visit the Louvre on one channel, or watch female mud wrestling on another. You can do your shopping at home... or play Mortal Kombat with a friend in Vietnam. There's no END to the possibilities!"

Most of that statement has come true in one way or another. And the only reason I found myself thinking about it was because of an extended online Halo 3 session last night. I played well into the morning hours, losing friends one by one as they retired to bed and dozed off.

If you stay up late enough you'll come across some deep Australian accents. The majority of these Aussie folks are quite enjoyable to play with, even more so than most of my American compadres. Fun-loving, carefree, and not filled to the brim with 100% ego.

Stay up even later, say 'til 9 or 10 in the morning, and you'll encounter French folks. And I could be wrong (I'm in no way bilingual) but some players from Germany as well. The language barrier prevents us from really knowing what one player or team is saying about the other... but if I had to guess, it's probably the opposite side of friendly.

Just a passing thought/observation I guess. Cable Guy came out in '95. It's not like I doubted the things being predicted above, but I just couldn't envision them. Particularly when it came to gaming.

For the record, I'm glad they came to fruition.   read

3:42 AM on 08.06.2009

Put Down the Games and Nobody Gets Hurt.

Dear Activision,

I hate you. You are bad people. And you made me cry. I popped in the latest James Bond title and your logo flashed across the screen, and that's all it took. How you secured the rights to publish this game is beyond me, but I'm sure it involved blackmail, sexual favors, and things of that nature.

I'm demanding the release of this game from your list of published titles. You don't have to give it back to EA... Just put it in someone else's hands. It's not so much the gameplay that made me cringe, although one-button fight sequences do very little to enhance the combat scenes and are typically lame, and the blatantly obvious location of explosive materials or canisters parked directly behind every group of bad guys ensures that you can play the game blindfolded and still deal a healthy amount of damage to your enemies. What I fear most is your true-to-your-word exploitation of every title you get your hands on. Before this most recent James Bond release I'm sure you already had a group of monkeys in a room brainstorming ideas for a new one... before the next movie is released or even thought of. Probably a "greatest hits" type deal where you get to play all the funnest levels of the games that came prior. We give you $60, you give us material we've already played through... because some of us are actually that dumb.

While I'm at it, I'll also insist you release the Spiderman titles and Transformer games. Both represent pieces of my childhood that I prefer not to have raped by your utter lack of ingenuity and creativity... Of course it's too late for that, but in another developers hands I'm sure the games could be restored to something enjoyable and challenging.

You can keep Call of Duty... for now. It seems to be the only game you've gotten right, although it's fairly sad that Modern Warfare remains more popular online that your most recent installment. Better knock that off. And if you even think of releasing more than one per year just realize people are going to pick up on the exploitation bit. We're onto you... some of us anyway.

And FYI: Every time you release a Guitar Hero title an angel plummets to Earth.

Anywho, yeah. Just give up the rights to the above-mentioned games and I'll stop diligently hoping for your company's demise.

Sincerely and hatefully,

Dice   read

6:04 PM on 07.17.2009

Killer Instinct: A Love Story

Leave it to an impromptu session of Soul Calibur played at a friend's house, on the GameCube of all devices, to spark up nostalgia. I last recalled playing the game nearly a decade ago on the Dreamcast console, and immediately remember how a seemingly never-ending line of friends and co-workers would line the couches at my apartment for a chance at glory... be it born from finely-tuned techniques and hours of late-night practice, or mere button-mashing and plain dumb luck.

(This is not, however, what inspired the sweet euphoric afore-mentioned nostalgia.)

I lost a match to one of the lesser qualified competitors the other night, one who managed little control over what buttons his thumb vigorously tapped while lifting and tilting his controller as if there were a radio-controlled penis he was trying to command towards some digital vagina on the TV. Whatever the case may be, I got beat. I was using Hwang, too. It never happened much back in the day, but whatever, I'm rusty. And button-mashing, in clinical studies, will occasionally lead to victory in Soul Calibur.

As I hung back following the loss, perhaps sulking a bit over a freshly bruised ego, I centered my thoughts on where they had been while playing earlier: Killer Instinct. My inspiration for using Hwang to begin with, even way back when, was because he reminded me of Jago - the quickest drawing swordsman in video game history. The first time I saw that signature leaping kick followed by three upward swipes with his sword, I knew I had to learn it. Weeks later I was doing with ease, watching 12-15 hit combos flash across the screen.

This, folks, is what nostalgia means.

To be playing one game, although in the same genre, and be completely reminded of another even though you're not even playing it... and it's been years since you've seen it. To have a move or maneuver remind you of a character you once loved and adored. To have a memory transport you to another place and time.

During my years at college my roommate and friend since 6th grade would blow off our studies and wander down to a pizza shop across campus. We'd usually burn one down on the way, grab some thick Chicago-style pizza and a soda once we were there, dine like kings, then roam down the stairs to the basement where an outdated but technically sound arcade was sprawled. And it was there that any and all laundry money, a massive heap of quarters, was fed into the Killer Instinct cabinet. Didn't matter what day of the week... Didn't matter if final exams were around the corner. Sounds cliche but I majored in Killer Instinct.

The beauty of that game could not be centered in any one direction. The graphics were splendid. The moves were fluid, and putting combos together from front to end left you with dozens of your own hand-crafted options to attack with. And look damn slick doing it. Watching an ultra combo for the first time put an awe-struck grin from ear-to-ear on my mug, birds started chirping, Sinatra started singing, etc... True love.

My buddy had his favorites: TJ Combo and Sabrewolf. Their styles were similar, as were their button schemes. I originally had my own favorites as well in Thunder, Fulgore, and Glacius. But found that learning the other character's moves was just too fun and challenging to ignore. Cinder, Orchid, and Jago soon followed. When the SNES version came out, although nowhere near as pleasing to eye, I learned the rest of characters and their respective moves. And with them my love for the game grew even larger.

Good times. I'd write a poem about this game if I had the time.

The rumors surrounding a possible KI3 in recent years have left me foaming at the mouth. The wait has become painful. And sometimes I'll realize how the second installment of the game seemed like more of a step backwards then anything. Maybe a third isn't even necessary... particularly if it isn't styled with the right hands and right ideas. I dunno. I just miss this game. I miss it like a long-lost love, as if a woman I should have proposed to years ago. The game is just too unique to ever forget about.

At this point I'd give up hopes for KI3 for a chance to play the original on my console. Just scratch the third title and give me the first one, with everything the same exact way it was played in the arcade.

I'm ready to love again.   read

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