Mushroom City Stories
Well… there have been two major games in my average day lately, one which has taken over my life like venereal disease.
First… the sucky one: Mario Kart Wii . I used to be a big fan of the Mario Kart Franchise… until the Game Cube. Here was my problem with Double Dash… they uped the sparkly factor. What used to be a fun, enjoyable ride of silliness turned into a manic dash of insanity. Mario Kart evolved into a spinning, tye-dyed mess of obnoxious light and sound. Yet I played it because it was still Mario Kart.
Enter: Mario Kart Wii. I fucking hate this game with a fiery passion. Now, not only are you bombarded not by 7, but 11 other opponents ceaselessly as you navigate poorly designed insanity while dodging weapon after weapon almost every five seconds but it seems that you can drop from first into twelfth in the blink of an eye. And… to make things “more interesting” new weapons have been added… pointless, stupid, weapons… The Pow Block, The Rain Cloud, Bullet Bill… all that is needed is a spinning, angry, dive-bombing sun and the arsenal is complete. Sweet Zombie Jesus… why not just strap a water pack on our backs (a la: Super Mario Sunshine) while we are at it. within the first rounds of Karting I hurled my controller into the couch and stormed off for half an hour (Nadine can attest to this).
The also included old maps… alright… cool… I did miss a few of those. But for the love of Jeebus, make them optional. We are playing this for the new shit, not the old. I will play the old maps if you let me, but I don’t want to be required to.
I played this game and felt like I was jammed into a dryer with a dozen angry midgets and several jars of glitter and set to “tumble dry.” I didn’t need this. I won’t be playing again.
Alright, Second: GTA IV
This has made me so friggin’ happy I am willing to forget the spiky anal probe of Mario Kart.
There are things that I don’t like, and due to my nature I’ll talk about those first: They took away the bicycles that were in San Andreas . I loved those. They were a joy to hop around on and a great escape vehicle and are sorely missed in my humble opinion. Second: They took away character building. Yes, it was a pain in the ass to go to the gym and work out or go to the gun range to improve your skill, but I really felt like it help connect you to the person you are playing in the game. Third: I am not thrilled that you have a cell phone and the internet. D may disagree with me, but I have a love/hate relationship with my cell and internet in real life. I never call people and I REALLY don’t like surfing the internet and I resent being required to use it in the game. Finally: The maintenance missions. I didn’t like the dating and territory claiming stuff from San Andreas because it would so often interfere with my rampages, or relaxed city cruises… and now you are asked to keep ALL of your relationships (friend or otherwise) up… blah…
Anyway, I’ll talk more about it later.
This game is so damn good looking, and the character interaction with his environment so clean you can’t help but fall into Liberty City… It’s Dirty… really dirty. People walk around in it talking to each other, talking to themselves, carrying any number of objects that they drop when startled. Nico Bellic himself is a brilliant testament to design… He is so imperfect. He falls over when he shins himself, he grabs his head when he hits it, he rolls when he hits the ground, staggers when he trips, stumbles when he is drunk… The environmental interaction is a wonder to behold…
I just like this game…
Anyway, enjoy the throwaway comic… it took longer that it looks.
The Adventures of Eyeless Max: More Apologies
I am sorry not to get a comic done this week…however, because of this there is going to be some crazy exciting stuff ready for you in the future. I have been drawing an average of 8 hours a day to make some nifty new stuff…and you will eventually see it.
So, the marathon didn’t scare me off Grand Theft Auto…in fact I’ve been on and off San Andreas again…not alot because of the aforementioned business, but for the odd hour here and there.
Will there be something awesome here next week?
You bet your sweet ass.
Ye Olde School
Well, the fine folks here at Angry Robot may well be insane. This week, and I can not remember who’s brilliant plan it was (not mine), we decided to play through all of the Grand Theft Auto Games as a lead up to the release of Grand Theft Auto IV. I don’t want to go into details because we will go into details about it later in the fashion of the Halo Marathon.
Clearly we are suckers for punishment.
Strangely enough, I am not sick of them. In fact, this has only reminded me of how much I love the games and has made me want to run home and play them… right now! I love San Andreas… I Love BMXing, I Love hanging with my homies (regardless of the fact that if I used that term out side of the digital-world I would have my skinny ass handed to me on a silver platter), I love Cruising the San Andreas countryside on a motorbike, I love flying planes and crashing trains…
I don’t like the dating mini-games… but whatever.
To those who believe that these games instill violence I scoff at you and highly recommend that you go back under your rock and rot and not buy the games for your kids instead of bitching about it and making your kids want to play it more by reminding them of it’s taboo. When I play the GTA (NAMBLA) games I come off more mellow than I could ever wish for. It’s like a cool beer after a long hot day… complete and utter satisfaction.
Don’t Harsh my mellow… or my Mane…
A Day in the Park
I have a problem. I have a Halo addiction and I am told the first step is to admit I have a problem.
So… I’ve been drawing my ASS off… trying to get AS many comics done as I can before my life gets super busy (with an income, as a bonus!) I’ve been trying to come up with comics to do because there has been a shortage of games recently, but with the upcoming Grand Theft Auto 4 (or NAMBLA for those who love acronyms) and others I will soon be rolling in happiness again.
I’ve been craving Battlestar Galactica…
but…I am too cheap to buy it. As a bonus though Nadine and I do have the Ark of Truth, which is admittedly not as COOL as Battlestar, but it’ll do…
Anyway, have a good one.
M is for Mature
Well… this week I was feeling particularly cranky, so I decided to make Eyeless Max so very wrong in so many ways. Any problems with that? Well… shaddup…
So I unburied Crackdown this week in order to play it with D…
We discovered a few wonderful things you can do with co-op mode:
A) Car Surfing: Evidently wind plays no factor in the Crackdown world because while your partner drives you can easily surf atop a vehicle like you are wearing magnetic boots… You can also target the gas tanks of passing cars and, if your firearms skill in high enough, explode cars with a single shot. This is REALLY handy for dealing with cars full of gang members without having to get out and get shot up.
B) Orb Collecting: This isn’t really anymore useful in two player mode, but the extra set of eyes never hurts… you both collected your own orbs so they can’t be stolen from you, which is also pretty neat.
c) Random Road Races: Well, it doesn’t really help progress you in the game… in fact, if anything the pedestrians you will in no doubt slaughter on the way will only HURT your skill…. but it’s so damn FUN!!!
That’s not alot…
but I’m sure D has a few to add…
Attack of the Airbots
Well, in the ongoing theme we have regarding robots of any kind I bring you something new… well relatively. The article is over a year old, but is still pretty damn cool.
It’s a flying solar powered robot without any motor. It’s on the drawing board as a possability for planetary exploration. How? Well find out for yourself… I recommend the video, it’s funny but pretty informative.
The aircraft involves the use of Electroactive Polymer… a flexible material that regains its original rigid state when subjected to electricity. Many of us might remember this from Batman Begins… it’s good to know that among all that baterangs and shark repellent (all right, different movie) there is some real science.
For those who LOVE science you can also take a look at this.
I am a lazy jerk, and though I may have half a brain there was way too much material there for me, but good luck anyway! personally I think the development of a flexible lithium battery is half the coolness of the story… that and the creepy red orifice in the base of this thing. It makes it look like some kind of killer flying space-leech.
Lousy little rat…. ruining television for an entire generation….
So, This week was an interesting week.
Last tuesday I bit down on an almond and chipped a tooth. Let me tell you the story: Five years ago the roots in one of my molars up and died. according to the dentist there was no real reason for it… it just did. I had to have a root canal and my tooth was filled. Two years ago I was eating a piece of black licorice and my root canal broke, taking with it a piece of the tooth behind it. So I had to have the old root canal filled and the newly damaged tooth filled. NOW I get to have ANOTHER root canal and two crowns put in.
All that said… I actually take care of my teeth because every single nightmare I’ve had over the last 5 years involve losing teeth.
The past weekend was also interesting. Nadine and I went to Ad Astra, the book convention. I was honoured to share a beer with a number of authors I hold great respect for and even presented the chance to draw many of them in comic form in an upcoming, top secret project.
Slippery When Wet
So… I’ve taken a week break from Eyeless Max in order to horrify our readers with a drawn representation of my naked body. Not even steel wool will be able to scrub that one out of your brain.
D and I have been going Halo nuts. D has been even analyzing past matches to find our weak points. So let me sum up what we’ve been doing in our matches:
We are sub-par Halo players. We are far from the best on the net, but we aren’t terrible… no random blind shooting in the hope of hitting things. We have been mysteriously winning most of our matches, however. How? well… Any combination of D, Rugatu, Leto, Nadine, Duiker, (and a few others that I’ve most likely forgotten) go online as a team and talk to each other rapidly. We’ve found that we actually fare pretty well against people who would normally have us dead to rights by just sticking together, covering each others asses, and holing up when things are tight…
a) Bubble shields are your friends: Plug up small entrances with ‘em… prevent your enemies from making long distance kills by forcing them to come to you.
b) Keep your distance: Guru players love instant kills with shotguns, hammers, and beatdowns… they wait around corners and don’t move so they don’t show up on the radar, so tread carefully and remember… your battle rifle is an amazing tool for taking them down without getting close… Aim for the head…
c) Go in twos. This way you can cover entrances easier, bump off weakened enemies who just pegged your pal, and move with relative safety.
d) Go for the bigguns: Learn the maps on your own and where the heavy hitting weapons are. If enemies learn that all you use is a rocket launcher they’ll think of you as a threat and find a way to kill you… but if you use it randomly and sparingly enough you can really throw people off balance. Show them you have the power but not the ego to abuse it. keep them guessing…
e) Jayne’s favorite toy: Grenades! that’s right…. they’re everywhere… when in doubt… toss a grenade. They keep your enemy mobile and prevents campers, they flush out corners and corridors, they cause you enemies attention to briefly go elsewhere… they are a fantastic tool. And it’s a great surprise for the asshole hiding in the dark with a Grav Hammer.
f) Finally: Talk… give your pals a running commentary of where you are and what you see. Information is the key… use it.
That’s it kids…. have a good one
A Bit Malletty
Well, we were playing Smash Bros. Brawl and something occurred to us as we wrestled through the co-op campaign… This could have been done on the Game Cube. In fact we even used Game Cube controllers while playing. There was little difference between Melee and Brawl. It made us wonder why a sensor bar wasn’t just released for the Game Cube in the first place and save us a butt load of cash. Aside from the downloading and internet capability the WII doesn’t provide for ANYTHING we couldn’t have gotten from the Cube…. stupid technology…
My cousin Rugatu and I had a better Idea for Smash Bros. than what we played. Call it “Smash Bros. Shooter.” Basically it would take the aiming capability provided by the WII by turning the game into a third person shooter. Wouldn’t that be awesome? We could deathmatch on Unreal style levels using an array of adorable weapons. Would that not be fucking AWESOME?!
The introduction of Snake to brawl made me realize something… real people would NOT survive being walloped by a mallet the size of a barrel. It would not end well and poor Snake, awesome stealth/military ability aside, would have his ass handed to him in the Cartoon world of Nintendo Smash Brother titles.
This Comic took me 14 hours… you better like it, you ungrateful bastards.
Temporarily out of order
Above is a true story…
The Beginning of the End!
So, I’ve been introduced to this fantastic website… a website that lets you design your own avatar and then make comics with them. It’s very addictive. What is the name of this amazing website you might ask?
If you are checking it out, please… check out some of the stuff we’ve been doing (look up Christopher w, Nadine, or Daragh.) We’ve been making series, making friends, and all kinds of other Conan and Terminator related stuff.
The interface is very easy to use. It’s point and click and drag… each character can be given an array of various customizable expressions, different styles of word balloons can be coloured and stretched…
It’s fun… it’s simple
For a moment I feared for my comic career seeing this site. It was described as “YouTube for comics” and about a day into using it I realized that, like YouTube, there is alot of junk out there. But it is entirely worth sifting through because there is some fantastic stuff that is downright hilarious amongst the plethora of inside jokes and nonsequitoria. (I am officially making that a word.)
For an example, this is the comic I made. I am egotistical enough to let you know it became number one on the site for two days:
A word on this weeks Eyeless Max comic… it’s not serious, I have nothing against bitstrips… it’s a joke… lighten up.
I took a new tactic for designing this comic. I took pictures of myself posing in various stances and then drew Eyeless Max in my place. I didn’t trace, but pretty close to it. It was a pain in the ass, but Max looks good. We will see if I keep it up… it was a helluva lotta work.
For now… enjoy this random picture of me I used to transform into an Eyeless Max. I was hideously sick in this picture. I hope you like it.
The "How to" of "Deja Vu"
We talked about Lost Odyssey in the last Robot Sounds. I personally think that the only major difference between the Final Fantasy games and this one is the colour palette. Lost Odyssey is all about the Magic Industrial look and Final Fantasy was about the happy pastels. True… there is a lack of Moogles and Chocobos in Lost Odyssey… but that’s a minor point.
I want this RPG system used in something NEW!!
Lets to an epic sci-fi story or something… I mean people… com’on. Hey Squaresoft and Mistwalker! I am chock full of ideas, hire me!
So I’ve decided to poke fun at this a bit. There are more elements you could jam into a stereotypical Japanese RPG. How about the love story with a beautiful princess/priestess/flower girl? or how about a dozen highly irritating mini-games like catching frogs, jumping rope, or marching? Oh yeah… I’ve got your number now, bitch.
regardless of ALL of this I am STILL playing Final Fantasy Nine and having a ball… I can’t help it… it’s like a drug..
When money isn't enough…
I played Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom recently. I use the full name out of a loathing of acronyms (MIB, FFVII – FFXIII, and others… who talks like that, really?) Part of the game involves killing monsters in order to gain various abilities. This is far from the first game I’ve played that employs similar traits. Something occurred to me; why am I doing this? I mean… why do I need to kill in order to learn abilities? What are they doing with the severed heads of my enemies? Making soup?
So why was there not a comic last week? several reasons…
a) I was on the Master Cleanse…
For those who don’t know, it means only consuming a mixture of water, maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne for ten days. It’s meant to clean your system out of toxins so you can start a healthy diet. For the duration of the cleanse I didn’t want to make a comic… all I wanted to do was BAKE… alot…
b) I was in Ottawa at my Mom’s house…
she claims that the password to her network is “Gandalf” but spelled like “Gandolf”… she lies, it isn’t… and evidently no one on her street has unguarded wireless networks.
My final thought…
I’ve never played ANY of the Final Fantasy game… and now I really want to.
Well… my Mutha Fuggin’ birthday is coming up soon. Today in fact. It’s number 26 and is hugely stupid. It’s a lousy birthday, not really as good as the 25th but it is just that much closer to the third decade.
This comic was an old one I did for University, but new and improved. So it’s like… Eyeless Max Redux. For those who didn’t know, I actually ran a sub-par comic by the same name from three years during my years at Brock. Don’t look them up, you won’t find them.
I personally love this one, even though it has nothing to do with video games. but you know what… I don’t care… bite my ass.
It is, however, in colour… which I am very happy about. I am also getting a bit better at drawing this shit in photoshop as well. I curse you technology.
The Day I Threw My XBOX from the 7th Story Balcony
I already made a comic regarding my hatred of this cartoon character, but I don’t think I fully expressed how angry I actually was.
This is how the incident occurred:
I started to play Naruto. Many people have enjoyed the game, so I felt that if perhaps I gave it chance I might enjoy it. Problems immediately began in the introduction when the Hero, which the game has been named after, started to speak. His voice grated at my brain like someone ramming a wad of steel wool through my ear canal. I don’t know what it is about Anime and this generation of children that has caused us to accept high pitched screeching as a viable form of voice acting, but something has to be done.
But, like a trooper I marched through it.
After that I learned the “Sexy Jitsu” in which you turn into a woman to seduce men. Did I take this as a warning sign to stop?… Evidently not.
In short order I met my traveling companions in the game. One of them was a girl with an equally irritating voice and your typical brooding Emo-Kid who we assume has a dark past that we don’t really give a rat’s ass about.
But even after that I pressed forward.
I got through a few banal missions and onto the REAL story when my frustration finally got the best of me.
I should state at this point that I suck at fighting games… really badly. Give me a shooter and I can reasonably blast my way through them without too much trouble. Give me and RPG and I happily work my way through many a side-quest. Give me a real-time strategy game and I will most likely have fun despite having my ass handed to me on a platter. But Fighters just bring out the beast in me…
I finally hit this particular fight that I just couldn’t get through. I tried it a number of times, but he just kept destroying me over and over… I had to listen to the badly scripted Anime taunting over and over while I did my best to button-mash with some semblance of order.
Finally I defeated my enemy… and then the game made me fight him again.
That’s around the point I whipped my controller into my couch as hard as I could and nearly broke my hand punching my bedroom door.
And the worse part is, I wasn’t mad because I lost. I was mad because the A.D.D., screaming, irritating world of Naruto had disturbed my happy little world of peace and English Breakfast Tea so severely.
Is this seriously what we are peddling to kids as entertainment? What kind of shallow, retarded shit is this? Are we really so desperate for the next toy line that we are ready to ram any old import down the throats of the public?
I blame Shonen Jump.
Forge and Foundry and Frustration
So D and I have been going a little nuts with Forge and Foundry in Halo 3. Together we created a map that every Geek must do at one point or another, an interpretation of Helm’s Deep. We set it up as a capture the flag map with loads of heavy artillery, man-cannons and even an exploding wall (which is way to much fun to commit suicide on.)
My only gripe with it. It’s a HUGE pain in the ass to get anything straight with the tools you are given. It’s like drawing engineering schematics using a crayon taped to the end of a ten-foot pole.
I am really hoping to try a game one day that involves a team slayer match wherein each side has their own “creator” that has to quickly provide a base and weapons.
maybe that’s just my dream…
Well, it’s been awhile, but I’m back and twitchy as ever.
This week the comic was made entirely on Photoshop and it sucks. Unfortunately Technology has conspired against me for the following reasons:
1) My printer is broken, so I cannot run off blank panels or draw them first by hand.
2) My scanner is broken, so I cannot scan anything I’ve drawn.
3) My copy of photoshop is done-busted, and refuses to do several of the important function needed.
4) I am slowly developing a hatred of Photoshop… just give me a fucking pencil and paper.
On that note…
I really didn’t have a plan for the second part of this comic.
But I got a cheap shot in at Naruto, and that in my books it a good reason to struggle with Photoshop for three days solid to come up with a subpar comic.
Anyways, something funnier coming next week.
I am developing my evil laugh this week. I’ve been Practicing at home in the bath, and I am sure my neighbours think I am insane, which they may be right about.
The inclusion of Pinhead is a dedication to my friend Ken, who once carved a pumpkin into him for Halloween (he didn’t use nails, I am still impressed.) I will know doubt get some flak for naming a tetris piece “the most evil” but… screw you, that piece has gotten in my way more times then you can imagine. Curse you!!…
Oh, at the figure to the far right in the first panel is Evil Uhura from Star Trek. I love her. She’s sexy. She’s Evil. She deserves a place beside the most evil of us all.
Sorry I am a bit late. I helped some people move this week and fell a little behind. Rest assured I will be back on schedule next week… hopefully with the sketches I promised two weeks ago. Or maybe I’ll just leave you dangling for those week after week.
Then I’d have something REALLY evil to laugh about in the tub.
Alrighty. This comic pretty much wrote itself. I may be the only one cackling like a moron at the thought of Kirby going on a killing rampage, but I am still highly amused by it. The game suggestion in the last panel was going to be “Leisure Suit Locust: Gears of Love” which I thought was funnier, but was a little afraid that fewer people would get the reference to Gears of War than God of War (as the latter has been out longer with a sequel to boot.)
Does anyone know the Leisure Suit Larry games, or am I the only sad, little man here?
I also get a sick feeling of joy at drawing nintendo characters suffering, I don’t do well with “cute.” Fuck cute… cute can go get mugged in a dark alley and left for dead.
I am slowly becoming more “professional.” I have moved from knowing diddly about photoshop last week, to knowing a little bit this week… hence the fancy new (albiet, a little difficult to read) header for Eyeless Max. Maybe one day this will look down-right polished. we can only hope.
This is the first comic I’ve written in more than four panels… ever…
You better well appreciate it, or Kirby’ll be after you and your loved ones. I promised some sketches this week. I lied. Next week. Same Max time, same Max channel.
The Adventures of Eyeless Max: Mass Effect
I only wish that you were not so filled with minor little problems. Problems like your cursed impossible to navigate inventory lists that don’t tell you who is armed with what when you are trying to sell goods. Problems like the inability to easily examine your teammates when they are not present.
But I will still play you… because I am an enourmous science fiction fan, and finally you are providing me with a rich world full of possibilities.
Sooo… I wish all the games I want to do comics about didn’t involve armour, becuase I HATE drawing armour so very much. Because I SUCK at it. However this was much better that my original comic which involves taking uppers and cats (I fit them into a Mass Effect comic… it didn’t work)
Next week, I hope (key word: hope) to publish some failed ideas and sketches. Maybe one day I will be famous and you can all say “I saw his original work!” but more likely I will get creamed by a bus.
Assassin's Creed: My Bad Idea
I had the idea for this game long ago. “Sure Toku” you might reply, “whatever you say.” But it’s true. I was among many who bought Grand Theft Auto 3 when it was first released and played it to death, wishing there was more. Then I played Splinter Cell and had this wonderful idea, what if there was a game that involved espionage and assassination, but took place on a city-wide scale filled with people? Why wouldn’t that be great? Alright, so my idea took place in a futuristic wonderland, not a medieval landscape… close enough.
After I got over my slight annoyance I started to play the game… and loved it.
It starts off in the present-day and follows a former assassin named Desmond Miles. Desmond wakes up one day and finds himself in a lab as a prisoner. The doctor there has strapped you into something called an Animus. This doctor tells you that somewhere in your genetic memory is a secret held by one of your ancestors, Altair Ibn La-Ahad. So, in order to access this memory Desmond has to relive certain events via “the animus.” We then jump into the memories and play the assassination missions that Altair went on. The story of Altair is pretty heavy-handed and involved, and I don’t think I’ll even try to explain it. It deals with mortality, morality, duality and all sorts of other philosophical questions that warp your perception. My suggestion, don’t do what I did and play this ‘til four in the morning, because after three beers your brain screams at you.
The game has been called repetitive by some critics, and to a certain degree it is. Each assassination mission goes by a pretty predictable formula:
- Get your mission so you can…
- Go to a city and…
- Unlock your viewpoints to…
- Find information so you can…
- Assassinate your target.
The mini-missions that uncover your information about your target are all the same. There are only four sources that you can go to:
- you can intimidate a guy
- you can pick-pocket a guy
- you can eavesdrop on a guy or…
- you can ask a guy.
And really that’s it… There are some B.S. citizens you have the option of saving, but it’s not important to the assassinations, nor does it help a whole lot. There really isn’t a lot of variance in the story, but fortunately the gameplay completely makes up for it.
For me the highpoint of the game-play is the free-running. Last year Crackdown came out and suddenly everyone was leaping across rooftops like anime character. Assassin’s Creed has a much more down-to-earth approach to those rooftop shenanigans. The way Altair climbs and jumps around is more reminiscent of Lara Croft, and feels much more real. Altair can’t fall ten feet and magically grab onto a ledge like John McClane. Because of this climbing and roof-jumping feels much more precarious, and is better for it. Now, instead of being able to leap small buildings in a single bound and survive bone-shattering falls like Crackdown, we are left with something that requires a little more patience and tact, which is the nature of the game itself.
The only problem with the free-running system is it can be a bit glitchy. There are an abundance of moments where Altair gets stuck climbing a wall… and you KNOW he can keep climbing and you can SEE the next handhold, but he just refuses to go for it, and you are just left there hanging over a street like and idiot, made worse by the fact that the crowd below makes irritating comments at you while you dangle.
I have a love/hate relationship with the city populace. Beggars harass you, crazy people push you, people yell at you when you knock them over, they make comments about you, they point you out to the guards. All-in-all they are very well done… I just wish they weren’t so damn irritating. Every once-in-awhile I stealth-knife one or two just to get them out of my way. It’s against “the creed” but fuck! Those goddamn beggars blocking my every move yelling “please sir, I have nothing!” while I am so tactfully trying to sneak up on a target makes me want to jam my Corona through my TV screen –
And if knifing beggars is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.
So… the combat.
I personally like to silently take out the archers on the rooftops, and then let them drop into the streets and waiting for the delayed screams. It’s fun. However, every once in a while some of the other guards will see you do it and then comes the combat. The Combat is… well…alright, though nothing spectacular. So, I won’t say a lot about it. It’s alright, it’s reasonably challenging if you don’t know how to counter-attack. Altair can do some pretty cool shit, but all in all it’s not the selling point. Luckily, if you play right you don’t HAVE to get into combat all that often (although I did unlock that one achievement for defeating 25 guys in a single combat… yay.)
So finally, because everyone wants to hear it: THE GRAPHICS.
yes, there are indeed graphics in this movie, and they are quite good. The mix of the archaic world with the modern images from the Animus works surprisingly well. The look is original, and even though the odd Animus “flash” is slightly distracting, it doesn’t take away from the gameplay. The cities look awesome. They actually look like people may, in fact, be living in them and could very well pass as authentic. There has been a moment or two when I have fallen through the map and died. Oh well… It looks so good, it’s forgiven.
So why am I playing this game like a drug? Because it’s kinda good. Despite all the hype that usually goes with BAD games this is actually quite good. It’s challenging without being impossible, it’s fun, looks pretty and has a decent story. So it’s got the odd problem here and there, but who cares? I liked it.
Even if they stole my idea.
The Adventures of Eyeless Max: Assassin's Creed
I was pleasantly suprised. There is a lot of repetition in the story and game play. From the four assassination missions I’ve been on, you have to enter a city and do the same thing every time. Get information about your target (which is always done the same way) and assassinate your target.
I quickly decided that this is the GOOD kind of repetition… the Shadow of the Colossus Kind.
The game play is challenging and incredibly fun, and the freerunning is almost perfect (I say almost because climbing can still be a bit glitchy at times.) Running across rooftops, though not as superhuman as Crackdown, is actually more exhilarating.
I hope Altair works well here. In the second panel I tried to draw a more defined version of him leaping at my unnamed poker player, but after an hour I got frustrated and decided to draw the swooping “action” version that involves fewer little finicky details… hope you folks don’t mind. Maybe when I am a bit more confident of my abilities I’ll redraw it.
Halo Uprising: A Gorgeous and Rocky Start
So it was with mixed feelings that I plucked the comic off the shelf, dreading what I may find inside. I feel it only fair that first, however, I tell you what I thought of the hardcover Halo graphic novel that had been released a year prior.
The Halo Graphic Novel Published 2006:
Alright, obviously a great deal of effort and money was placed in this. The writers and artists read like the who’s who of the comic world, and the introductions and artwork make me want to rub it all over myself like tanning oil. The graphic novel consists of 4 short stories that take place from various viewpoints and time frames throughout the first two games.
And, my god, one of the artists is Moebius. It has to be good!
Alas, the entire work suffers from one major problem; Master Chief… or the lack thereof. Oh, we get a glimpse of him in The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor. It soon changes into a yarn about how the SpecOps Commander (the jawless alien in Halo 2 for those who are confused) earned his wings. Don’t get me wrong… it’s a pretty cool story, but it is so visually jarring and inconsistent with the games that it is hard to follow. If you look very carefully, you may even see how the Commander loses half his face (bring your magnified glass or you’ll miss it among the chaos.)
The high point for me was Breaking Quarantine, drawn by Tsutomu Nihei. Personally I like the original title Sgt. Johnson Gets The Heck Out Of Flood Central, but really… it’s all semantics. What makes this story so good (aside from being visually scrumptious) is that it doesn’t bother with dialogue or cerebral bombardment. Instead it chronicles Sgt. Johnson’s escape; the escape that we were all wondering about from the original Halo. It’s simple, transcends language barriers (note: Tsutomu Nihei’s introduction is translated) and is confirms what I suspected all along: that Sgt. Avery Johnson kicks ass.
The other stories I can take or leave. They don’t really matter one way or the other. Those who only bought Halo to play online and didn’t bother with the campaign may be in for a few surprises, but really neither comic answers anything that you couldn’t get by just paying attention to the things that came before. They’re both well illustrated, but are fluff.
And anyone who believes that Second Sunrise Over New Mombassa by Brett Lewis and Moebius is in any way “deep” can bite my scrawny ass. What do we learn from it? That The Covenant attack the city for some reason that only one guy knows… but we never find out what. We end up with nothing, just a pretty but word-heavy comic. Just because something SOUNDS intellectual doesn’t mean it is… It’s like techno-babble on Star Trek; it sounds good but doesn’t mean anything.
And now Halo Uprising part 1 of 4: published 2007
According to the back cover, this is the first part of four that is supposed to chronicle the adventures of Master Chief between Halo 2 and 3. But wait a moment, At the end of Halo 2 we see Master Chief hurtling toward Earth in a pod, presumably to kick serious brute hiney, and at the beginning of Halo 3 we see him crash and kick said hiney. So… were does this comic fit in?
Ahh… Who cares, The Chief barges in like he owns the place and starts kicking it old-school right off the bat, so plot-hole forgiven.
But wait, where’d he go?
Oh dear, it seems that we’ve forgotten our previous sins and once again created a Halo comic that is in desperate need of the Man who makes it. Yes, after the first few pages we are abandoned by Master Chief and forced to follow two far less interesting characters. But I’ll get back to that.
Halo Uprising is gorgeous. Maybe not in the Moebius or Tsutomu Nihei sense. But the visuals (by Alex Maleev) are absolutely spot-on to the comic, which is more than I can say for Second Sunrise or Last Voyage. Everything here has been reproduced perfectly from the videogame, and fits beautifully in the comic form. Special note to the guns, which actually look better carried by the comic characters than they do by The Arbiter and Master Chief in the game (when you play co-op, take a look at the other player. Like really, who holds anything straight out in front of them like that?)
There; a little praise and kudos to the artwork. Now the story:
There are two plots going on here. The first involves the Brutes looking for “the key” which is somewhere is Cleveland. I can only assume this plot is cool, because it’s REALLY hard to tell. If the key is anything like what we see emerge from beneath New Mombassa in Halo 3, then my disbelief lies in imagining ANYTHING mysterious could be buried below Cleveland. However, it is only the first part of four and I suppose anything could happen. It could ACUALLY be a key for all I know.
The second plot line, which takes up the majority of the comic, involves a concierge and a lounge singer trying to escape the city, and here is where my trouble begins. I was hoping a bit more from Brian Bendis, but the dialogue is a crime. When these two talk, it is in the least natural, most awkward way possible. There is a moment were the concierge is thinking to himself “I think I am going to throw up on my own shoes” (or something, I don’t have the comic in my hand at the moment) which is a weird but acceptable thing to think, but it is followed shortly by the Singer actually SAYING “I think I am going to throw up on my own shoes.” Someone might be fooled into thinking it’s funny, or clever, or that maybe the strange style of dialogue is even artistic in a contemporary sense… but it’s not… it’s just dumb, and takes away from the story.
These two are not interesting, they do not do anything interesting, and in a story about survivors in war they could have been far more sympathetically written.
But hark! On the horizon! Master Chief returns and gives us hope. For this first installment we are at least left with a good-looking cliff hanger involving our favourite Spartan to keep us reading.
This comic looks SO good and has the potential to pick up. I am definitely going to continue with it and cross my fingers In hopes that something heavy will kill the concierge and the lounge singer before we have to put up with much more of them.
In fact for the very brief time it takes for you to finish it I fell in love with the game. But, it ended far to soon with very little to show for it, and I was left used, lying on the sidewalk begging for more.
Why, oh why must you hurt me so, dear Portals?
So I decided to make my comic about it, it was suppose to be about Eye of Judgement and was debating on making a comment on its ‘eye’ and Max’s lack thereof. However, I soon shrugged that idea off as stupid and made what I think is a better one.
In the last panel I wanted the flying helmet thing to say “psht… I dunno… Hell?” and have Pinhead from Hellraiser poking his head through. In the spirit of gaming I stuck with this instead.
Plus I kind of like the idea of Max having free riegn to wander through the world of video games.