The Conan Lorebook

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Movie Review: Juno

Juno is a fabulous movie, clever dialog and real depth to characters.  I don't want to say too much about it, as I can't do it justice.  A great soundtrack and songs accompany us through the journey.

There are some instances of language, and, as anyone who's seen the previews will know, the lead character is a pregnant teen.  But the movie has a tinge of realism to it, and smartly deals with a lot of issues facing teenagers.  I joked with Jodi that any teens that went to the show may have learned some lessons, likely against their will.

Pat's Rating system:

  • How much would I pay for the movie? I would be willing to pay theater/popcorn prices to see this again, so let's say $15-20 or so.  I'd probably buy the DVD too.
  • How many times would I rewatch it?  I'd be more than happy to see this in the theaters again.

Game Review: N+

N+ is the new hotness on XBox Live Arcade, created by metanet software as a sequel to their flash game, N.  Lauded as a paragon of substance over style, it is a hit with game reviewers all over.  It has a laughably small download size: 13MB. 

The game prizes control and level design over fluff like graphics.  The biggest problem with the game is that the control feels heavy, and the level design is tedious.

Obviously, they're trying to make it feel "physics-y", where the character has weight and momentum, but it only occaisonally comes off that way.  If you aren't making a gloriously long leap after a run, the character just feels sluggish.

As to the level design, I have to admit that I was only playing the demo, and there are something like 200 levels in the full game.  But they were often merely passable, not clever.  When I see a long corridor of 40 deathtraps that I have jump one by one, stopping each time, I am not enjoying it.  And when I die halfway down that hallway, I'm not only not buying the game, I'm deleting it.

N+, you're just going to have to try a bit harder in the fun department. 

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Pat's Rating system:

  • How much would I pay for the game? Maybe $3-5, if I'm bored.
  • How many times would I replay it? Do I really have to finish it?  It has people hooked, but I just can't see myself trying the same level over and over again like I can with Puzzle Quest.  Multiplayer is supposed to be fun, but that's not enough justification.

Assault Heroes Review

Well, I spent two evenings on this game...and Voila (not sure how you spell that), I have beat it.

 I would have to say, Assault Heroes reminded me of Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved.  You are set in a future time it seems, where you are the last left of and elite force.  You drive a dune buggy and a speedboat throughout the game and you are after a rogue cyborg and have to destroy all his little minions to get to him.

 The game is compromised of four zones (levels) with each seeming to have 3-4 areas.  Once you clear each of the areas, you are able to restart from the finished section.  Also, each level has an underground layer where your little guy gets out of his buggy to do some on foot combat.

 The game play is fantastic.  Your left analog drives your car and your right analog shoots in the direction you want.  You get three different weapons on your vehicle, minigun, flamethrower, and flak cannon, all of which you start with, but you can upgrade them with certain items that enemies drop.  You can throw grenades or nukes from your vehicle too.

There is always a lot going on.  Switching weapons to deal with certain foes better, dodging bullets,  and I always like making the car do donuts.  You can also get out of your vehicle to pick up certain powerups or bonuses that are unattainable by vehicle.  Or if your vehicle blows up, you are on foot until your vehicle reappears (about 1/2 minute). This creates another new aspect of gameplay.  Trying to stay alive while outside of your vehicle, but you do get double points for kills!

One thing I absolutely loved about Assault Heroes is the fact that you heal over time.  So many top -down shooters you have to find health packs or the such to heal.  You heal slow, but none-the-less you heal, and it makes a frantic game great.

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Conan for the Xbox 360

What an appropriate name for a game for an unappropriate website!!!

 Anyways, I have spent the past few weeks beating this game.  First of all I rented the game because I remembered as a kid loving the movies and Arnold. 

 First of all, there is a gratuitious amount of gore (dismemberments, decapitations, etc.) in this game, so, not for the faint of stomach or people who are not a fan of this sort of thing.  

My first impression of the game was this is silly.  The animation was done in strange style.  The back ground is 3-D, but the characters were done in cartoonish aspect, while still trying to hold on to a 3-D image.  After playing the game for a while, it really fit the style.  And the graphics of the gore and fighting are excellently done.  This game is almost a carbon copy of God War I&II, just set in Hyboria.

The storyline in this game is very simple, reminiscient of the Conan movies.  So, if you want to play this game don't get it for the story, get it for the adventure.  This game packs a ton of action.  Very well thought out battle system, multiple fight styles (Sword and Board, Dual Wield, & 2-handed sword), 20-30 different moves in each fighting style, cinematic slow motion of moves, very smart AI, and great environments for use to down your enemies.  Any weapon an enemy has you can use; any spike, boulder, crate, barrel, or stone pillar in the game can be used too.

 The only downfall to this game is the boss battles.  Long (5-6 instances per battle), extremely hard, and no clue what you are doing for the first few tries.  Though the end sequence where you have to push buttons and the right time to get a very cinematic death of the boss is very satisfying.

 Other than the fact that the game is a bit hard and boss battles get ridiculously hard, this game is blast to play, and it only takes about 6-7 hours to beat. 

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Game Review: Super Paper Mario

Super Paper Mario is almost a good game.  It has clever puzzle, excellent control, and a wide variety of levels.  But it also has tedious dialog, annoying restrictions, and a lot of menu work for what is essentially an action game.

The Paper Mario series started out as a cute, stylized sequel to Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.  It took RPG-like elements, experience points, progression, inventory, etc and merged them with a paper cut-out look and feel.  Houses would stand up and fold around you as you walked in, and several of Mario's powers involved him being folded in different ways.

The papery gimmicks are still around, but much of the RPG qualities were dropped for this version. But all the dialog remained!  Some of it was cute and clever, but in the end it got tiresome. 

You have an inventory, still, that you barely ever use.  In fact, it just fills up and becomes annoying. You can store items at certain locations for later retreval, but why?  You really only need health items.

Finally, the levels get kind of tiresome.  Once you get the idea or hook of the level, expect to rinse and repeat at least 4 more times in coming levels.

It was generally fun, and there was a good variety of situations, but it just didn't all come together in the end.

Best moment:  The introduction to Fracktail, the first big boss fight: video

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Pat's Rating system:

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Game Review: Puzzle Quest, Challenge of the Warlords

Puzzle Quest totally rocks! See an overview here. Download at least the demo now. This is the second entry on my "must-buy" list of things on XBLA, along with Assault Heroes. (Is it weird that I haven't bought anything on my must-buy list?) The game is also available for PC, DS, and PSP, and is slated to arrive on Wii, PS2, and Cell phones.

It's like a two-player Bejeweled, with each player taking turns on the same board trying to make at least 3 gems in a row. If you knock out four in a row, you get another turn right away. The gems you clear away will either give you mana for spells or do damage to your opponent. When you have enough mana, you can choose to cast spells on yourself or your opponent with a variety of effects.

Add to that some RPG elements like a lightweight story, equippable items, and character improvement, and you have a rockin' time. Try it today!

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Pat's Rating system:

  • How much would I pay for the game? Oh, probably in the $30 range would be my upper limit. Thankfully, it is only $10-15 on XBLA, so that is well within reason. But should I wait for the Wii version?
  • How many times would I replay it? Repeatedly. The demo doesn't save your progress and only has a 30-minute storyline, and it limits you to level 7, but I've played through it 3 times. Add multiplayer and XBL-multiplayer and you've got something.

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