Malik (8/16/04)

My vacation is officially over and a new week is upon us.  I've taken a break of sorts from consoles to concentrate more on City of Heroes...well, not a total break; I decided to start Super Metroid in my CoH downtime.  Anyway, I've done a bit more upgrading to handle a proper level of CoH.  I don't care what the box says...CoH is not meant for Windows 98 (or 98 Update for that matter).  I was getting booted from the mapserver like mad, until I decided to investigate the Internet abilities of 98 closer...then I learned the truth that 98 cannot handle this behemoth.  So, I spent a little more time this weekend upgrading to XP and all is good.  CoH is playing smooth, Bit-Torrent files are downloading quickly, and Malik is one happy geek.

Anyway, you might have noticed that I was a bit tardy last Friday.  I had a good reason; I was enjoying my last weekday of vacation for...well, who knows how long?  It was time well spent in the realms of CoH...until 98 led me to one too many server loses.  However, that's neither here nor now.  However, since I'm back in the productive mindset, you can rest assured that I will have my usual assortment of posts this week.  I'm hoping to get a belated CoH review up sometime in the next couple of days, assuming I can take enough time off of CoH to concentrate on a review.  Plus, I will have a real issue of Malik's Bitchings up this week.

For now, I've learned an important lesson for anyone who's trying to go through CoH with massive server loses (especially for those who have 98); make a scrapper or a tanker.  That's all there is to it.  Just make someone who can take some damage and plan to solo a lot...I mean who will team up with the incredible-crashing superhero?  I know I wouldn't.  So, on that note, I've made my newest avatar in the form of a spine/invuln scrapper known as The CrimsonHuntress.  I love how CoH will only allow 15 letters in a name, so I'm stuck without the luxury of a space in the name.  However, I think with some work, I can grow to love The CrimsonHuntress more than The Flaming Yuppie.  For now, I'm sending her down a path suited best for soloing, but with room to be a team player...well, as much as a scrapper can ever be.

Anyway, being back at work for the first time in over a week has left me drained, so I'm going to kick back and get in some CoH.


Malik (8/17/04)

Yesterday I was a bit random and abrupt since I had a few too many things on my mind at once. Anyway, I have a bit of news from the weekend that I should've mentioned earlier, and here goes; 

A group of my friends and I went to LanWerx to try out the Counter Strike Source. I never got much play in with the original CS, since I always had a crappy computer, a crappy mouse, or just had too many other game to play. So, I cannot base my reaction towards CS-Source on much more than my experience of watching some friends play CS in the past and my two or three games of CS. So, after all that rambling, I have to say CS-S is insane. The graphics are incredible, the engine is smooth and flawless, and the overall feel is just incredible. Unfortunately, there was only one level to play in, and this started to pay it's toll near the end of my gaming, but it still wasn't enough for me to want to stop. There is nothing to describe this game short of saying; all of your fantasies about what CS could have been on a better engine and with smoother graphics will be answered once you play CS-S. 

On the opposite end of the geek spectrum, I also caught AVP (the movie) this weekend. This is about as opposite as something can be from CS-S. CS-S was incredible, exciting, and left me wanting more...plus it's a game based on realistic weapons and environments and characters. Well, AVP left me wanting my money that I blew on it (or at least some of it...it I bought and snacks, then I would have really felt ripped-off), it had a silly premise, a really crappy story, and...well, it was just not worth it. As for the Alien vs. Predator parts...there weren't many of them. In the entire movie, there is only about 10 minutes of watching an Alien and a Predator going at it (those are the only scenes that really made me excited). After all the hype, this film was ruined by a really lame attempt at trying to bring in a moving plot (which failed in both being a moving plot and in doing anything for the movie as a whole). Also, there was just way too much of humans vs. whatever. I honestly don't go to a movie with a title like AVP to check out the humans...plus, I should have known something was wrong when it was rated PG-13...a rating that A could never go down to and P could never even be seen around...so, how is it that when both are put together, their rating drops? It makes no sense. My only advice for the geeks who feel they must see this movie is this; turn off your brain as soon as you enter the theater. If you think about anything, you will be disappointed...I tried to not think, and when I succeeded, I felt good. However, once my brain turned on, the movie went to crap...here's an example (don't worry, this isn't a spoiler); At one scene, in a room called the sacrificial chamber, the humans, who are exploring an ancient abandoned temple that has absolutely no lighting, drop a green glow-stick down a hole in the floor and see there is a room below. So, when they walk down some shafts and enter a room with a green glow-stick on the floor, they actually have to think about things and consider the situation before saying, "we are now in the room below the sacrificial chamber"...like anyone would not know this immediately upon entering the room just by seeing the damned glow-stick. Blah!

Also, I've been enjoying more CoH with my, now good, Internet connection. Sadly, after joining a large party last night in a hazard zone (a place with a shit-load of enemies), I saw that my computer has another problem. Once the effects started flying, my game started to lag. So, I turned down all of the visuals to minimum levels, and still suffered major lag. Well, long story short, I'm now awaiting a pimpin' Radeon 9800 256MB, that should show up in the mail in just a day or two. Then, my PC should not only handle CoH like a mo'fo', but it should also be Half-Life 2 compliant. I feel good...really good. Sadly, I claim to be a console geek before a PC geek...I think my time playing CS-S and CoH has forever tainted me and sent me to the land of the sold-out...oh well...I'm going to enjoy it with a little CoH. Later.


Malik (8/18/04)

Well...not too much to talk about tonight.  I'm still waiting for the delivery of my Radeon 9800 before I can go too crazy with my CoH playing...which is nothing short of sad, since playing CoH with a lower quality video card is quite a bit like playing Doom on a 386 (for those of us who remember both Doom and 386 processors)...the screen jerks around, you cannot control your direction too accurately, and you get to watch some enemies teleport around like you're suffering a ping of 999, despite having a good connection.  At least I am on schedule for a delivery tomorrow afternoon.

So, to fill in the time while CoH frustrates me, I've gone ahead and started to play more of the best of the Metroid series; Super Metroid.  There is nothing like Super Metroid to show perfectly how a platformer, a 2D adventure game, and how a Metroid title should all be designed.  Sadly, like all other Metroid titles, SM is way too short of a game if you're not in the mood to hunt down all of the hidden pick-ups...but, with such a good game, who am I to complain.

Also, since I've noticed a good number of people coming to the site looking for Tales of Symphonia help, I've decided to open a new part of the forums as a ToS help site.  If you've come here looking for help on ToS, just head to the forums, ask your questions, and I will answer.

That said, I am going to fight my way through another level on CoH and hope that the frustration doesn't kill me.


Malik (8/19/04)

Well, it seems there is some good news today. It's a little off the usual topic, but it still is very near and dear to me. A three panal of appeal court judges on a case judging the legality of file-share networks upheld a prior ruling in favor of file-share services. Blah, blah. What does this mean? It means that file-share services, like Kazaa, cannot be held responsible as long as their servers don't contain the actual material being uploaded/downloaded. On the illegal side of things, it means that people can still go to Kazaa, etc, for their illegal songs, movies, or whatever...but with the risk of the RIAA coming after their IP address. On the legal side of things, it means that those of us who want to download some live songs and other legal files can still find an easy access to the legal files we so desperately want. So, basically, this is good news for all. 

Well, my Radeon 9800 arrived today. This is good news, once again, for me, since my CoH play time has been reduced lately as I struggled with my video card slowing down the game and lessening the overall affect of how sweet the visuals are. Needless to say, I still haven't cut out my CoH time while running on my GeForce 4...although I've had a bit of video card-lag which has resulted in a few uncalled for deaths as the graphics struggled to keep up with the real-time of things (nothing like seeing that you have a decent amount of health left, the game slowing while massive visuals effects fire off at once, and then seeing that your health is actually far lower than you thought when things resume visually, and then not having the time to escape or use a respite to get back in the swing of things). 

Also, like I stated yesterday; there is now a help forum for Tales of Symphonia in the forums. Just click on "Geek Talk" and then look for the help forum for ToS. It's that easy. I can't believe how many people keep coming to the site looking for ToS help and they just ignore the forums. I guarantee that any questions posted will be answered...oh well, no one listens. Blah. 

I also took a little time today to check the state of Half Life 2, and the future is looking good. For those who bought Counter Strike: Condition Zero, and those who purchased certain ATI video card bundles (that involved getting HL2), the Counter Strike: Source will be available for download anytime now, from Steam...maybe it's even available now. The rest of us will be able to download CS:S not too long off now, also. Best of all, checking out the best info I can find, it looks like my PC is 100% ready for HL2 once my video card is installed...booyah! Speaking of which, I should wrap this up and get my machine pimped out.


Malik (8/20/04)

It's Friday again, so I once again present Malik's Bitchings...and I present a sleep deprived Malik.  Sadly, I had to do my day job at about 3 hours earlier than usual, so I am suffering some extreme sleep dep.  Anyway, you care not for this talk, so let's get on to things.

Microsoft is shutting down their sports development studio...the same studio that had all of it's titles canceled earlier this year.  This isn't too much of a surprise considering how EA is now down with the XBox Live thing.  I mean with both ESPN (Sega) Sports titles and EA games both being online on the XBox, there's enough variety to offer for sports titles on the XBox that Microsoft's studio is no longer needed.  Plus, with how the MS selections were usually rather mediocre in comparison, it was only a matter of time.

Also, on game news, Service Pack 2 of Windows XP is fully being whored out by MS.  How is this game news, you ask?  Well, with the new built in Firewall of SP2, many games with online components are getting messed up on PCs that are running SP2.  Supposedly there is a fix in tweaking the settings to allow these blocked games to be allowed through the firewall...however, until I see more of my more computer savvy geek friends using SP2, I think I'll personally skip out...I had enough fun with upgrading to XP and also upgrading my video card to a Radeon 9800 to not want to go through any more hassles.

Anyway, my sleep dep is killing me, so I'm off to abuse the most socially acceptable and legal drug available; caffeine.