Reviews

Duke Nukem Forever: First Access Demo thoughts by Allison James

I've seen a ton of people outraged at Duke Nukem Forever. It's of course been in development for ~13 years, going through development hell as 3D Realms, in a quest to make the game perfect, kept messing with the engine it was using. It's won a pile of vapourware awards for its constant date setbacks and rumoured cancellations.But now, in a surreal twist, it's almost here. As in, legitimately. The game is complete and is going to be out (in UK at least) in six days now. It's an odd feeling. What's odder is that, thanks to a preorder perk, I've just been able to play a demo of it now. Playing a game that's been in development since I was 7. Jeez.Now, I went into the demo with very low expectations. Games like Too Human have ruined my expectations of games that have been set back multiple years and are infamous for it, and a lot of people have reportedly cancelled preorders of the game thanks to their poor experience with the first access demo. I can only conclude these people a) have no ability to switch their brains off and just have fucking fun, b) were expecting a Call of Duty/Halo/Battlefield-beating FPS, or c) think they've outgrown Duke. The jokes are juvenile, the FPS aspect isn't the strongest ever, but through this stuff, there was not one point in the demo when I didn't have a big grin on my face.Your first control of the game sees a lovely prompt on screen - Press L1 to Urinate. Yep, you're looking down the hole of a urinal. One piss later, complete with Duke remarks, and you can... well, run into a nearly toilet cubicle, fish out a piece of soggy shit, and start hurling it around the room like a child. Then you can run into a debriefing room, rub all the tactical notes off a white board and draw a big dick with a nazi symbol on it. That's literally all before you get your hands on a gun.What can be noted is that you don't have to do any of this. I'm sure a lot of faux-mature people will scoff, skip it all and be left with the run of the mill FPS. For anyone else, that just wants to have a laugh, they can pick that damn piece of crap up, enjoy Duke's numerous wisecracks basically deriding himself for such a disgusting act, and watch the stains created from throwing it at things quite realistically deforms itself around whatever it lands on!So, skipping all that, your first use of a gun comes in the form of a boss. Yep, no grunts yet, just a huge monster that can fire electric pulses at you and charge at you, on a huge American football field. It's not a difficult boss once you realise where the stockpile of ammo is. Once he's fallen, you can climb up him, rip off what seems to be some sort of breathing apparatus, then score a touch down by kicking his eyeball straight out of his body. Again, for anyone wanting a serious game, it's stupid. But with your brain turned off, it's silly and funny.The second and demo-final mission sees you in Duke's van. You drive for a little while, running over grunt enemies and turboing across a ramp (good feeling), but then the gas runs out. You walk to a very nearby mining facility, where some pig-alien-thing enemies shoot at you in a more stereotypical FPS action sequence. A little while in, a big-ass armed ship comes at you, which you can take down with several RPG rocket shots. You then wander through a tunnel area, using minecarts to bridge gaps and collecting pipe bombs, until you find some gas. A quick climb up a load of scaffolding and you can hop into a minecart, be carried rollercoaster-style back to your car (very fun), and fill it with the gas. The demo ends at that point.Now, that was two goddamn levels. In two levels, I flung shit at a mirror, played on a whiteboard, played American football with a newly defeated boss' eyeball, drove a truck into enemies and turboed it across ramps, used a shrink ray to kill shrunken enemies with a well-placed stamp, killed them long-distance with a sniper rifle, took out an airship with an RPG, performed acrobatics across scaffolding, used nightvision to navigate dark tunnels, rode a minecart through the majority of a level, and listened to silly but often hilarious Duke remarks throughout the whole process.My top three games of the year so far, respectively Portal 2, LA Noire and LittleBigPlanet 2, are safe in their places. I get a strong feeling, howver, I'm still going to enjoy the full Duke Nukem Forever game.But yeah, if you a) have no ability to switch your brain off and just have fun, b) are expecting a Call of Duty/Halo/Battlefield-beating FPS from DNF, or c) think you're above a few silly, juvenile jokes, then don't bother with it.

GMB, Flash, Talast, Lockerz, Commercialism? by Allison James

>A few different things to talk about in this blog entry, methinks. I'll go through them in title order.I applied for a position reviewing games on the popular Game Maker Blog yesterday. Was surprised to be accepted about 20 minutes after applying! Anyway, I posted my first review and the comments seem to be positive about it, so I'll continue reviewing games for it. You can check out the review, which is of Elmernite's Rosetta Stone, here.I've started learning Flash. I have a copy of Macromedia Flash 8 (have had it for ages) so figured it may as well go to use. Part of my reason for wanting to learn flash is the playing figures on popular flash site, Kongregate. Loads of games on it top 100,000. Some have even passed 1,000,000. They offer ad sharing on their games too. While not massive, a game with 100,000 plays, with Kongregate's 35% shared ad revenue, would earn about $200. Not too shabby. It'll be a while, of course, before I make anything worth 100,000 plays in the program, but hell, may as well learn now.Talast is going spiffingly. Unknown Gamer recently moved it to its own server, meaning we (he) can now add plugins and stuff to it. There's a fair amount of reviews on it now, too.I recently got invited to an invitation-only service called Lockerz, thanks to Bobhoil. Some people may remember a former post about Swagbucks. Lockerz is kinda like that, but things are cheaper, the site's currency (pointz, with an "edgy" z) is easier to obtain (two pointz for logging in each day, two pointz for answering an opinion poll each day. Sorted), and it's a very calming site design. Upon registration, you also get to play a game which can earn you about 25 pointz. If you want an invite, comment with your email address, or send me a PM or something with it if you'd rather not publicise it. I'll send your address an invite ASAP.Commercialism. Hm. James Rhodes (of Roket-Games) recently asked if I'd like to make something commercial. If I did, and made it Roket-Games exclusive, I'd get $20 from the get-go and 80% of the cost of the game per sale. Therefore, I'm planning on making Innoquous 4. I wouldn't publicise this information due to tempting fate, but I did it with Innoquous 3 and it actually managed to work. Here's some planned stuff on it:

  • 40 new levels, with the 60 from I1-3. All 100 playable in all three modes from I3, as well as some undetermined new ones
  • Level editor, integrated into Roket-Games for easy uploading and downloading of levels
  • Speedruns of the whole game, possibly of the levels from each individual Innoquous, and individual fastest times for each level in Standard mode
  • Extra in-game items to keep it fresh. This may possibly include things I tried for I3 but couldn't get to work, like moving platforms. New items may be included in older levels too
  • Graphics overhaul. I3's weakest point was its graphics. Colour is definitely still in, but I may ditch the "outline disappears when ball is on floor" thing altogether

There may be more (or less) if I do pull this game off. Oh, one thing on it - it will probably cost $5 or £3 to start with, if all of the points above make it into the game. I'd consider that reasonable, taking into account the amount of work I want to put into it. If you have any suggestions on other additions, think the price should be adjusted, or think I should go with something else for commercialdom instead, feel free to comment. I take all comments into account.Anyway, that's all for this blog. Fair amount covered - guess that makes up for the reduction in quantity. See y'all later!~NAL

Talast by Allison James

PLEASE NOTE This blog entry is no longer valid. All Talast posts have been merged into this blog!This blog is mostly to let you know the reason I'll be blogging less here.I've started a blog which reviews music, films, products etc. I've done this partly to get paid for blogging. It's already been accepted by a company that pays you to talk about certain products and services, so it's going well.Anyway, it's called Talast. It can be found here: http://talast.com/ . If you like it, feel free to comment on reviews, either about their content or suggesting games/films to review. I will occasionally look at indie games, though these will likely only be high-profile ones such as Braid, World of Goo, etc.Why Talast? It says why under the logo - "Taking A Look At Some Things". It was the catchiest name I could come up with while being unique. After all, most well-known sites have abnormal names.On a gaming note, I released a poor shooter called RKF not so long ago. It can be found on my Game Jolt account and on YoYo Games.That's about it. I'll blog about games and personal life here, but it'll probably be less often now Talast is in my life.~NAL