Archive for the 'First Person Shooter' Category

Vega Baby – Part 2

card_charlej_small.gifContinuing his review from last time, Charles digs deeper into RainbowSix Vegas..

The AI in the game uses different scenario based voice commands and you get this sinking feeling regarding the yell for reinforcements. And everything is three dimensional. The first time the enemy drops into a room using fast ropes, if you aren’t using tactical overwatch moves, everyone is going to get wiped out. At the very least it has you closely examining every dark corner for a sniper, and every high ceiling casino floor for fastroping terrorists.

vegas2.gifSquad level tactics is a topic I wrote an online manual for another, turn-based play by email game three years ago (ed – Charles is writing an article on Laser Squad Nemesis coming soon). Using this background in a first person shooter with a co-op mode by itself is highly addictive.

Add in a real world friend in the same room, who knows the same basic moves and everything turns into a precision event. Every room sweep is a blast, and we are totally sucked into the experience. My palms sweat as they grip the wireless controller, and seeing a good sized splitscreen with 1080i detail makes it easier to pick off the waves of terrorists that we wade through. One level’s kills – 35 for me, 40 for Ben. That’s after we worked three hours to clear the single stage (Dante’s). Brutal yet somehow strangely relaxing.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Tom Clancy’s second best move was to get into interactive gaming. In the late 1980s, Red Storm Rising was a game that was actually encouraged to be used by aircrewmen as training in both sight recognition of Soviet warships and in basic antisubmarine warfare. With his franchise rights for Rainbow Six going in several different directions, the accuracy and detail payoff tremendously. This is a game with multiple replayability in co-op and single player mode.

And that’s not even covering the XBox Live experience. But after playing with a good, skilled friend, I think the Live with random teammates will pale in comparison.


A New Heaven and Earth

card_rick_small.gifWith gamers pricking up their ears over Halo, Microsoft looked to fully dazzle them as they continued the story in the second edition. Oh yes, and that little bit of spice they call Xbox Live.

You’ll have to forgive me but I can honestly say Halo didn’t do it for me. The Xbox was interesting, but before people across the world discovered Xbox Live it didn’t really draw attention from Sony’s consoles. No, Halo looked very nice and had a great story but I wanted more, the thrill of looking a real opponent in the eye, of judging my skill on a world stage, and of connecting to friends across the globe.

Ironically, when Halo 2 was released on my birthday I did not really give it much of a look. As I said, the original nevber really clicked with me, so I could not see the sequel doing it either. And Top Spin was keeping me busy when-ever the kids slept!

halo3.gifThankfully, some spare birthday money and a slow games month led to a compulsive Halo 2 purchase along with some beers and ice cream. I took it home and popped it in, expecting to be back on TopSpin with an hour. Surfice to say, Topspin didn’t get played that night and not for quite a while after.

So what was it about Halo 2 that took me away from tennis court heaven. As I have already alluded, it was the online play. From the off you could tell it was a product of breeding, which led to a rapidly growing Halo 2 community that I had never see before on such a global scale.

The robustness of lag free online play, seamless matches and ingenious ranking systems soon meant I was playing every night with my family and friends. And every so often we would clan-up and gird ourselves against screaming american teenagers, and win (sometimes).

Then there was the gameplay itself. Balanced weapons, amazingly designed maps and perfectly crafted game types. Graphically it stood head and shoulders above anything else out there, and its sound effects and voice-work were tight and crisp. I still get a shiver when I hear those monks singing the Halo 2 welcome. Everything went together just right.

Now we wait for Halo 3. No longer happy to limp on with poor 360 emulation support of Halo 2. So we are being fed by the bright light of the next-gen games, we flutter from game to game with one question only; will this game fill the void that Halo left empty.digg.gif The only answer can be to hold up and wait for 2007…lets go for a wii.

Golden Gun

card_weekes_small.gifWhere do I begin with this game? This is the first console game I expirienced on my first console, the N64. And it can only could describe as a natural wonder!

I popped in the cart, turned the system on and wala, that famous screen with the 007 logo and all that official copyright info, quicky followed by that chilling heartbeat. Cut to an agent on screen only to discover he has teriminated you. Classic Bond stuff, straight out of the movies. From the menu system text to the mision briefing tips this is the bond universe universe through and through.

goldengun.gifThis experience continues as you play the first level. Live action James Bond. If Nintendo was ever worried if it had delieverd on its promise of N64 graphics detail then this game certainly solidifed the meaning of 3d graphics power!

Not only did it look amazing, the well placed levels and gameplay drew you into it more. Often you would find yourself just looking around at the details in the environment, all the textures and colors in the fire-arms themselves, the rendered clouds in the sky. Each level demanded different tactics. Sometimes stealth someimte quick thinking. It was all so amazing.

But, like many others, it was the multiplayer levels I enjoyed the most. Playing split screen with my sister, nepwhew and friends. TIme had obviously been spent planning the mutliplayer level layout and weapon balancing.

This all adds up to what has become the grandaddy of all modern day console first person shooters. It did things that no other games were doing in those years. It was a game way ahead of its time!

Vegas Baby – Part 1

card_charlej_small.gifBen, one of my Navy flying buddies is staying with me as a geoBach (Geographical Bachelor). He is midway through refresher training for his role as a carrier-based helo Combat Search & Rescue (CSAR) air-crewman. Think The Guardian because that was Ben’s exact job when he was training in Pensacola.

He and I went through jet training for the S-3 Viking as enlisted backseat guys together in 1990. A few years back he transferred to a training command for an instructor tour, so Ben’s kids and wife are still back in Pensacola.

vegas.gifThe fun we get from playing Rainbow Six: Vegas is extraordinary. Never mind the stunning graphics as this Tom Clancy inspired FPS is brought to life on a wall-sized HDTV 1080i LCD with Bose wave acoustic sound ripping machinegun fire and explosions, it’s the cameraderie I get from sitting next to one of my best friends and doing in the bad guys with a team effort. He’s had the training through his CSAR experience, mine was privately held in the deserts of New Mexico, but we both are able to adapt to calls of:

‘Loading… Moving… Supppressing the hallway’

He and I will play from about six to nine at night, each of us talking to our significant others on our bluetooth headsets as we pause the game to answer calls. Believe me, if we were where they were, we wouldn’t get the chance to spend so much time in front of the 360, so we savor the opportunity.

Counter Strike

cs1.gifMaybe because it was a community sponsored mod that Counter Strike had the stones to enter the controversial terrorism arena.

The purity of the game was simple. A first person shooter with two sides: terrorists and counter-terrorists. Each side had their own tactical advantages. But more importantly each had their own particular thrilling and tantalising experience.

Let me set the scene; ! stand with five men in pre-game, our objectives clear and familiar, we choose our weapons from the available arsenal, we grab some body armour, ammo, grenades or flashbangs and we’re set.

This is no random match making but a long standing clan, We all know our purpose and we all have a role. Some hang back for covering fire, some push forward with the heavier weapons. Once we have our positions, we wait. Wait for the other team to make their move, to give away their position or blindly run past. Without headsets the preset voice commands somehow added to the tension, ‘stick together team’ “enemy spotted”.

Whether freeing hostages or diffusing bombs, the whole experience is heightened by how easy it is to die. Body armour can help but still a death in counter strike is a quick one without respawns.

The longer you survive the more of the mission falls in your lap alone. You fight on with the rest of your dead team silently egging you on. The sweetness of a miracle victory is never sweet than when you are watched by five of your fallen team mates.

These are the moments that give counter strike a soul. Pouring time into this game never felt like anything but pure value. I still look back with honour that I was part of the Counter Strike world.