Malik (3/8/05)  

I didn't get around to posting yesterday because I was too caught up in the whole vacation thing before I put in the massive work to modernize the site.  Anyway, that's just how I am.  As they'd say on Naruto, that was my ninja way.  So, you might be noticing about now, if you're a repeat visitor to the old Geek-Asylum, things have been modernized.  I'm quite proud to be stepping out of the 1990's with the old frames, and into the modern age with some flash menus, a real logo, and a lot of streamlined features.

I also have some good news, from a more personal side of things.  I bought Grad Tourismo 4 this weekend.  If you've paid any attention to my posts for the last couple of weeks, I swore I'd not buy another game until I beat the horribly tedious Xenosaga 2.  Well, put the two facts together and I can say two important things.  The first being that I beat this crap-fest.  The second is that I've started a review, which should be ready to publish in the next few days, depending on will to write about such a horrible game.

While the game, itself, is really bad, I do have good news; the plot is amazing.  In fact, the game ends with a really cool series of events that can be called nothing less than one of the best cliff-hanger endings in a video game.  If it wasn't for how bad of a game engine X2 used, I'd honestly want to play a whole additional game right now to see what happened.  However, the engine was bad, so I'm left instead feeling like I can't wait for a more intelligently designed Xenosaga 3.

On top of putting some nice time into GT4, I've also gone back for another play through GTA:SA.  This is the first GTA game I've ever gone back to less than a year after I first played through.  Take this how you want.  I take it as a re-affirmation of how hella cool GTA:SA is as a game.  I mean the variety of solutions for each mission, combined with a deep and interesting plot makes for a damned fun game.

Anyway, the post will be on the short side today.  I am putting way too much time on re-newing the site's look to have time for a post.  I mean I've gone through almost 170 pages to add in the new menus, the logo, and the total elimination of frames.  I'm am worn down.  Also, to top off my needed updates to the general look and feel of this place, I had a security problem with my forums.  This doesn't amount to much, especially since I don't secure my forums much as it is.  However, the look of the forum may be off for a day or two as I try to correct the style after the required security update is installed.  I am working on this, but I like to give myself some time to fix a problem since more problems tend to pop up.  Of all times, this happens around my one day of total updating...for better or worse, I'm getting a web-master style workout today.


Malik (3/9/05)  

Beyond the news that game stocks are doing pretty darned good, there's not much news...once again. While the stock thing could be interesting for those who actually invest stocks and all of that (hehehe...I called it a sorta experiment when I started...hehehe), it's not the type of news I like to talk about on this site. I mean there's geek related, and then there's non-geek stuff that touches into the geek realm. The last one I just don't like to do. 

So, my major upgrades have been up and running for a day now. I personally can't say which I like more; the old look or the new look. I mean I could, but I'm biased since one makes it a lot easier for me in the long run. Plus, the fact that I invested a good chunk of time in the new scheme also makes me unlikely to complain about it. So, if you feel like sharing on this transition, or if you notice any problems, go ahead and send me an email or share it on the forums. 

So, after I finished with the upgrades yesterday, I took far more time than I should have to play GTA:SA. I was planning on playing some GT4, but I just couldn't break Rockstar's spell. They pwned me. 

They pwned me so much that I went from about 10 missions done in Los Santos to being a good deal through San Fierro in one day. I know I said it in my review and countless posts, but this is one hell of an awesome game. Not only do I still find myself going back to play through for this second time, but I'm enjoying watching every cut-scene again. In fact, I think this game was made for a second play through. The first time you play, it will be fun, but also very frustrating at points (like the low-rider race in Los Santos). The second time through, that same race which took a good dozen attempts before only took two tries...and the first one was because a cop chase came across the track and took down five of the racers (including me), leaving one guy with a huge advantage. 

It's almost like this second play through is on a higher difficulty setting (if that was possible) since I've seen more missions messed up by cop chases so far this time than I saw the entire first game I played. At least with knowing the basics this time, it's even more least for now. I'm at the dreaded mission in which I need to fly a radio controlled plane for Zero (the one with a very low fuel gauge and a plane that has almost no control), and that could change my perspective in a hurry. Plus, after that, I'll still have pilot school to "look forward to". However, I'll just hope that my piloting skills are still pretty good when I take these horrible missions on.

It still makes me wish that Rockstar could've thought out the plane controls better (especially the complexity of them and the sensitivity of them). However, I'll stop my bitching and wait to see how my second play through actually handles these situations.

Also, I'm half way through the review of doom...yup, the Xenosaga 2 review. I aim to have it up by Friday, at the latest. Since there's no real news this week to bitch about, and since that game makes me really bitchy, let's call it the Malik's Bitchings for this week.


Malik (3/10/05)  

There is a bit of news today over at Gamespot that some may find interesting about E3 and the GDC. Unfortunately, I am not really one who finds this interesting. I mean E3 is cool, but this stuff is only a tiny bit of a preview of the previews yet to come about the show. In other words, it's slight info on what should be found at E3. Yeah...I prefer to actually know the news and not the news that news is coming (since that's pretty obvious). 

As for the GDC stuff; I never really could get interested in the GDC. It's not as much of a chance to learn of what's coming up as much as it's a chance to learn what's coming to E3. That, and a good chance for the developers to stroke their egos. Yippee. I personally need more than a hint of what's to come. 

On the continuation of me bitching, I love the stupidity behind technology. My TV Wonder card was made by idiots. Last night I set up the equivalent to a VCR on the device to record South Park. So, this morning, when I turned on the PC, instead of seeing that my show was recorded, I see a warning. This warning says that I may not have a DVD player on my PC...I selected for South Park to record in DVD quality. I had the option of a ATI specific file type, which could only be played on the ATI video player (and while the video capture is nice, the player is crap-tacular compared to something like MS Media Player), or as DVD quality to be later played on anything that handles MPG-2, which is almost every player I have on my machine. However, since this warning box came up, which suggested I installed the ATI DVD player program, the recording never happened. However, this warning did not surface until the recording process was ready to be initiated (which meant I was not at my PC at the time), so I couldn't just close it and start the recording. 

So, ultimately, my complaint is that this type of shit should not happen. I mean a warning that would interfere with a scheduled task should not come up when the process is ready to begin. It should, however, come up when the scheduled task is scheduled, and thus when the user is present to take care of it. Luckily for me, Comedy Central re-runs South Park into the ground. However, I should've been able to see this episode already and not have to wait for the re-run. 

Anyway, I'm still caught up in my second attempt with GTA:SA. I played more last night, and I'll player more tonight. I cannot get enough of this game. Actually, I'm doing the missions for Zero, so I may reach my limit today. I say that since my next mission is the damned remote controlled airplane mission. This mission was my second biggest complaint on my first play through (my biggest complaints; flight school, the radio controlled airplane mission, the low-rider race). Maybe, since the low-rider race was so much easier this time through, flying may not be so annoying...yeah...and on the second play through, the cops give you presents rather than trying to arrest you...blah.

I'm almost done with the Xenosaga 2 review. I really want this thing over with, so I can share some of my most bitchy complaints to the world. I just hate this game that much...that, and I don't want anyone to make the same mistake (buying the game) I did. Expect it tomorrow.


Malik (3/11/05)  

Let's start with something I usually don't have...NEWS! Yes, real honest news is finally coming forward. Just click on this link, or check out the news section via the nifty buttons above or below this post.

Also, something else...damn, it's a busy day for me...a review of Xenosaga Episode 2. I finally finished and can fully rip apart this game in a fair and honest review that touches all of the problems (and the two good features...plot and visuals). Just check it out to understand why I considered my 2.5 weeks with this game as some of the lowest times in my geek life.

Also, my friend Bastich checked out a movie that I feel like I need to share about. Infernal Affairs. It's a Hong Kong crime drama that is beyond description. Unlike the often translated HK works, this is not a martial arts celebration. Instead this is a wonderful example of how a suspense film should be made without the usual hand-holding that American suspense films give you. In fact, this is a movie that is absolutely amazing, if you decide to think as the movie goes along.

IA basically has a plot that runs along the lines of this; a Triad leader decides to send one of his youngest followers (who has no police record, yet) to the police academy to serve as a mole. However, in the same academy, another student shows such excellent promise that we is sent to become a mole within the Triads. Ten years pass, and it just happens that the Triad mole is working in the police on the case that involves his Triad boss, and the police mole is now working for that same Triad leader to gather info on how to bring him down. The movie becomes an awesome experiment in psychology and suspense as the two moles use their knowledge of both worlds to stay one step ahead of the other.

Eventually the moles become known (that they exist, but not who they are), and it just happens that the police ask the Triad mole to find the mole in the department, and the police mole is asked by the Triads to find the mole in their organization.

If this sounds like a good premise...well, a description fails to say how awesome this movie is. This is the first movie I've seen in a long time that not only made me think, but made me happy to think while watching it.

Also, I'm still playing GTA:SA. In fact, I played one mission last night. It was "Supply Lines". This is the dreaded radio controlled airplane mission. You have to take out 5 delivery vehicles with your built in machine guns without being destoryed or running out of fuel. To make things worse, you have to return to where you started, with enough fuel to get there. So, I played it 8 times last night. 4 times I simply failed while trying to find a better way to do it. 3 times I defeated all of the delivery vehicles and ran out of fuel only (no exageration) 2 or less seconds from the landing spot. The final time...

Well, I found a cool suggestion at This suggestion may spoil your experience, but please check this out if this mission angers you. You start by shooting the two closest vehicles. Don't kill the drivers. Just shoot the van and the bike to get the drivers to chase after you on foot. Now, without missing a beat, move to the most west vehicle. Land in front of it and unload. It will blow in no time. Now, while on the ground, don't move. The first two guys will run to you, eventually. When they arrive, use enough gas to turn towards them and fire. You now have two left and a shit-ton of fuel. Now fly towards the last two, but if they are too far out, just land on their routes and they will come (this part was my own unique twist). When they do, fly or sit and take them out (the van is best to kill while you're on the street in front of it). Just be careful since the motorcycle will try to run if you mess up, and chasing it wastes a lot of fuel (I waited for him to get trapped in a red light related traffic jam). Now you will have about 1/2 a tank of fuel left, and all you have to do is fly home. Done!

My first attempt with this method beat this mission. It may take two or three attempts, since it's good to know the routes of the final two vehicles. However, this will beat the mission in a freakin' hurry. Then you're on to far better places and missions...until you must go to flight school (no easy solutions, that I know of, for this one).

Anyway, check the news and the review. I'm off to a great weekend. Peace.