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From Russia with pixels; the coolest picture you'll see today


From the golden archives
Feb 25
// Earnest Cavalli
[Updated with the 2005 and 2010 version! Remember Nex? This odd illustration still ranks amongst the most popular in the Destructoid Golden Archive; stories which I'm slowly restoring from our old publishing sy...
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Nex is leaving Destructoid: This is the end beautiful friend


Dec 04
// Earnest Cavalli
All good things must come to an end and apparently that also applies to whatever it is that I do here.As you may have gleaned from the headline, this is my last post here at Destructoid. I've been offered a job with Wired, an...
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Two new No More Heroes clips (sponsored by TAMPAX Pearl)


Dec 02
// Earnest Cavalli
The clips we've seen in the past from Suda51's No More Heroes have all been tiny snippets rife with hip surreality and stylized everything, but they haven't really shown us much of the game. The denizens of the 'net are hap...

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Destructoid's games of the week for 12/02/2007: Ulillillia edition!


Dec 02
// Earnest Cavalli
"When you stare into the abyss the abyss stares back at you." -- Friedrich Nietzsche I want you all to watch that clip up there. Yes, all 8+ minutes of it. Done? Ok, that clip was the work of a man named...
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Fillerween 2007: Crescent Blue will make kids start reading again


Dec 01
// Earnest Cavalli
Maybe it's the glee over playing in the snow all day like some kind of oversized, clumsy 6-year-old, maybe it's the cranberry and vodka cocktails I've been drinking, or maybe it's the fact that without overweight industry f...
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Little Miss Gamer: StarTropics: I TOO hate gender roles!


Dec 01
// Earnest Cavalli
The Internet is too cynical.Sure, that's as ironic as my saying the Internet relies too heavily on obtuse references to the key figures of the second World War, but any of you disagreeing with me will only further prove m...
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Tekken 6 intro trailer: things were never this bad with the Jaguarador


Nov 30
// Earnest Cavalli
Thanks to Gametrailers user andyelmo, we bring you the above: the arcade trailer for Namco's Tekken 6. Normally this is the point at which I'd gush about how excited I am to get another Tekken, but wow, that trailer was just...
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Rumor: Gamespot fires editor to appease Eidos: W.R. Hearst rolls in grave


Nov 29
// Earnest Cavalli
Ladies and gentlemen, I would advise you to all to duck as there will almost certainly be a large amount of splatter coming from every fan near you as a result of the news I have to share.Primotech has a story up claiming ins...
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Three new PS3 TV spots: Sony's getting better about this sort of thing


Nov 29
// Earnest Cavalli
Sony has a long, storied history with TV ads for this generation of gaming hardware. From the creepy to the annoying to the obviously-aimed-at-slow-children, they've been running the gamut of misfires in trying to promote t...
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Impressive study claims violent media worse than everything but smoking


Nov 28
// Earnest Cavalli
Normally I'd be the first to point out the flaws in any scientific study purporting a real link between violent media and real-world violence, but this report on Yahoo News -- assuming it's accurate -- doesn't seem to have an...
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All Hands On Rock Band: Carrie Brownstein's Slate review


Nov 28
// Earnest Cavalli
Sleater-Kinney is sort of an institution in my part of the world. See, they began in this tiny Northwest microculture and since then have gone on to the sort of bizarre limbo of indie groups where they're simultaneously unkno...
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Penny Arcade, IGN enter verbal kumite, provide idiotic filler for Ol' Nexy


Nov 28
// Earnest Cavalli
There's nothing I like more than kinky sex in dangeous situations, like fellatio in a lion's cage or bondage play with jars of scorpions and firecrackers. Since that has nothing to do with this story though, let's assume I sa...
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Grand Theft Auto IV boxart revealed: All you white people look the same!


Nov 28
// Earnest Cavalli
That clip up there is the just-released, brand-new, other-adjective-indicating-freshness reveal for the final boxart for Grand Theft Auto IV, the latest in Rockstar's series of controversial simulations based on the obvious...
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WGA members eye game writing as possible new gig, sadly


Nov 27
// Earnest Cavalli
Those of you not living in the tremendous shadow of Harry Knowles may not be aware of this, but the Writers Guild of America -- the union containing almost every film and television writer in Hollywood -- is on strike. Since ...
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Deus Ex 3 debut trailer: this is what prostitution tastes like


Nov 26
// Earnest Cavalli
The original Deus Ex is right at the top of my list of all-time favorite games. It occupies a spot sandwiched between Fallout 2 and the Age of Empires series, so saying I'm a fan of Warren Spector's baby is an understatemen...
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Breasts are awesome: uncut Need for Speed: ProStreet promo proves as much


Nov 26
// Earnest Cavalli
Normally I'm really highbrow. I wear a smoking jacket at entirely inappropriate times, fill my pipe with the shredded remains of a Jane Eyre first edition and often refer to cars as "horseless cars." However, neithe...
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'GTA for girls' causes controversy, sky is blue, Piplup still adorable


Nov 26
// Earnest Cavalli
In a completely unshocking turn of events, a game billed as the "Grand Theft Auto for girls" has pissed off people who we're all beginning to assume earn a living being outraged and screaming "Won't someone ple...
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Japan puts the 'rampant consumerism' back in Christmas with Pokemon decorations


Nov 26
// Earnest Cavalli
Courtesy of Siliconera we bring you that picture above from (where else?) the Land of the Rising Sun.Yes, it's funny that Pokémon are so famous, and Piplup is adorable, but I think the real point here is how utterly ir...
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Destructoid's games of the week for 11/25/2007: Is this a cop out edition?


Nov 25
// Earnest Cavalli
It's a video. Watch it.Why?First, because I'm utterly fascinated with both foreign girls AND spunky indie girls; Superbus lead Jennifer Ayache is the epitome of everything I love about women, and as soon as I'm done with th...
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As if gold farming couldn't get any worse, now it funds pederasty


Nov 25
// Earnest Cavalli
As an amateur Internet historian and a professional whatever-I-do-here, most of my skills are completely underwhelming. As often as I tell women in bars that I'm really very hilarious (on the Internet), few seem to offer me i...
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SUBOTRON seeks electronic culture artists for Viennese salon, adoring groupies


Nov 25
// Earnest Cavalli
Every once in a while, in between the e-mails demonstrating all the inventive ways in which women conceal their naughty bits behind gaming appliances, and pictures of Brian Crecente's head pasted on a centaur, we receive miss...
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Turok Achievements unveiled: they're promoting team-killing now?


Nov 20
// Earnest Cavalli
After the jump you'll find the just-released list of Achievements for the Xbox 360 version of the upcoming blood, guts n' dinos FPS Turok. Normally this wouldn't even blip on our radar of actual, useful news but something abo...
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Halo novel becomes NYT best seller, just like my novel Jurassic Park


Nov 20
// Earnest Cavalli
There's been a lot of petty sniping towards Halo from both the anti-Microsoft crowd and the contrarian, anti-mainstream crowd ever since the pre-release hype for Halo 3 began building up, but absolutely no one, regardless of ...
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Destructoid's games of the week for 11/18/2007: Mixed messages edition!


Nov 18
// Earnest Cavalli
Guys, I'd love to spend an hour crafting a deep, engaging story about why my hair hurts this week, but honestly I'm too absorbed in Assassin's Creed to give this whole thing much thought. One of the true joys of a gig like th...
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New Soul Calibur: Legends trailer: Lloyd sold me cigarettes this morning


Nov 17
// Earnest Cavalli
Aerox continues his streak as my favorite tipper for today by sending in a link to the above trailer. I've been following the progress of Soul Calibur: Legends for a while now, mostly as I think it's an interesting experime...
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Game Center CX: the coolest game I hadn't heard about until yesterday


Nov 17
// Earnest Cavalli
Ever since it was revealed to me (yesterday), Game Center CX: Arino's Challenge has become my own personal video game equivalent of the Mo-dettes: absolutely no one's heard of it, it's amazing and bringing it up in casual con...
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EA loses nearly $200 million, begins ushering women and children to lifeboats


Nov 17
// Earnest Cavalli
Earlier today (yesterday?) reader-cum-tipper Aerox sent us a link to this Associated Press piece discussing EA's second quarter earnings. Or, more specifically, EA's second quarter losses. It seems that the gaming behemoth lo...
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Live-action Assassin's Creed: They couldn't find a koala to play with?


Nov 15
// Earnest Cavalli
Assassin's Creed has been a debacle for days now. Between the less-than-stellar response and the childish vagina worship surrounding its producer, one gets the feeling that Ubisoft would rather just forget about the game an...

Destructoid Review: Call of Duty 4

Nov 15 // Earnest Cavalli
Call of Duty 4 (Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PlayStation 3, Windows)Developed by Infinity WardPublished by ActivisionRelease Date: November 6, 2007  If there's one thing the first two Call of Duty games did extremely well it's that they set up an engaging story as a backdrop for their explosive action. The stories have never been as philosophically deep as something like BioShock, and they never challenged your own perceptions of morality like Portal recently did, but they do manage to tap into that same visceral feeling as Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan that gives a real sensation of meaning to the chaotic violence all around you.Call of Duty 4 succeeds in exactly this same way. It's story is exactly the sort of thing you've seen in hundreds of summer blockbusters since the 1980s: madman acquires nuclear weapons, madman uses nuclear weapons, the good guys form a team of badasses whose only tools are bravado, bullets and explosions, and through the might of jingoism and hyper-masculine guns-as-phalli fantasies the ragtag team of heroes saves the world. While the title has an illusion of depth, the in-game choices all boil down to where you'd prefer to stand when you blow the heads off of incoming Jihadists entirely secular gentlemen of vaguely Persian ancestry. That's not to say the game is unengaging, however. This is the sort of title that through the magic of intense pacing and clever audio/visual tricks can easily make a 6 or 7 hour play session seem as if it were only 20 minutes. It's a backhanded compliment to say this makes the game's story blow by in a strikingly short amount of time, but compared to other FPS titles, CoD4's sub-15 hour run-time is (unfortunately) pretty standard -- and often much more enjoyable. In fact, if Infinity Ward's main goal was "engaging gameplay" they utterly nailed it. It's easy enough to create a title where you kill people or blow up machinery, but adding a sense of tension to the proceedings is apparently quite difficult, at least based on the number of FPS titles available on PCs and home consoles that are strikingly generic. CoD4 succeeds in this area for two main reasons: first, many subtle tweaks have been added to create almost primal reasons to murder your opponents. From a storyline with an innate psychology that creates a strong illusion of the same us-vs-them philosophy politicians have been using for years to justify the battles CoD4 mirrors, to tiny gameplay nuances such as the ability to return thrown grenades to enemies with a toss of your own, the entire thing feels like you're in the middle of a battle in the dusty streets of some Arabic town. Adding to that enemies that take cover, shout at you in appropriate dialects and wear the same dirty, scavenged military gear their real-world counterparts are known for, and the game immerses you in a way that few other titles ever have. Secondly, and most importantly, the game never lingers too long on any particular playstyle. In the middle of the campaign, there's a stretch of three missions where you'll go from dropping heavy explosive rounds on Russian soldiers from the TV-assisted gunner's station of an AC-130 gunship, to slogging through the Russian countryside in the middle of the night, to a 15-years-prior flashback where you and another soldier are tasked with crawling through the ruins of Chernobyl with only a sniper rifle and a pistol in a quest to assassinate a local warlord. That last mission in particular, rachets up the tension present in the entire thing to previously unseen levels -- lying prone in a field while Russian troops patrol literally two feet from you is an experience that anyone with even a passing fetish for military ops absolutely must experience.One of the most interesting points of the whole thing, whether it was intentional or not, is that this video game demonstrates a breed of warfare that has, in effect, become a video game. This is most striking in the AC-130 mission, which is much easier than either of the ones that come before or after it. It seems that as the layers of obfuscating technology between a soldier and the people he's killing grows, the connection with reality blurs. As I said, the AC-130 mission is strikingly simple, almost a point-and-click affair, and while it does give you an interesting respite from the rest of the game, it also loses a lot of the visceral intensity of being shot at and seeing your bullet split a man's face in two.  Call of Duty 2 became a darling of the multiplayer set due to its realism that contrasted sharply with the bouncy, fictional reality of the big FPS of its time, Halo 2. Call of Duty 4 manages to beat out even CoD2's stunning experience by adding an RPG-lite experience system similar to that found in the latter-day Battlefield titles. Simply stated: the more you play, the more you'll unlock useful perks for use in game. Whether they be bigger guns or a more resilient soldier, each perk is useful and desirable in its own way. Sadly this also leads to one of the title's biggest flaws: new players have to contend with gamers who have attained perks that make them almost god-like. While it's never impossible to kill an opponent, the difference in abilities is extremely palpable and will turn off many new gamers immediately. I don't know why they couldn't stratify the multiplayer games based on character level as they have in Halo 3, if only to keep players with similar perk levels competing on even ground. Then again, CoD4 probably can't hope for the kind of online presence a Halo draws, so had they split the playerbase in this way, it might be difficult to find games in which to play. Still, having to make the choice between having no one to play with, or having people to play with who can shoot you through walls from 4 miles away, you can see the kind of issue Infinity Ward had to contend with. The graphics in Call of Duty 4 are quite good. While I wouldn't go so far as to say they're the new high water mark for the systems it appears on, they definitely convey the environment convincingly. The developers seemingly spent a lot of time adding tiny flourishes like the vague flickering of the green LED night vision goggles or the imprinting of one's own capillaries on one's vision after staring down a flashbang. There are never any jaw-dropping moments, but the entire thing subtly provides further enhancement to the engaging plot by visually convincing you that you're actually there.As a special aside, I would like to highlight the "death effects". It's typical for these titles to give enemies ragdoll reactions to being shot or exploded, but there's something truly striking (and depending on your slant, either extremely satisfying or disturbing) about the massive splatter and violent spasm following an opponent catching a round from an AK-47 in the eye. It never approaches cartoonish, but it definitely conveys the damage a high-caliber round can do to a person's soft tissue.As much as I'd love to be able to say this title is an absolute must-buy there are issues that mar its surface. As stated above, the game is short. While that may be an illusionary side effect of the intense plot, you'll be wishing for more when it finally comes to its thrilling conclusion. Also, the title is incredibly linear. It offers the spectre of choice in some missions, but when compared to the recent BioShock, you realize you will have seen the entire thing in one play through. Combine these with the multiplayer system's well-meaning but ultimately poorly implemented experience system, and you have a solid title that would serve better as a rental for anyone who wasn't already excited about it enough to buy it at launch.Score: 8.0 
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The first two Call of Duty games were widely praised as the next step in the first-person shooter genre. They had bombastic action sequences, gripping storylines and enough Nazi-bashing to make George Patton squeal like a you...

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Gods of Zul'Aman trailer: Take THAT Joss Whedon!


Nov 14
// Earnest Cavalli
That clip is the cinematic teaser for a just-released 10-person raid dungeon, Zul'Aman. Like previous dungeons sporting the "Zul" prefix, it's home to trolls and their pseudo-Rastafarian, tribal society. You see, w...

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