Halo (Xbox)

Have I mentioned how tedious it is playing this? How little fun I’m getting out of it? How I can’t wait until it’s all over? No? Well, I am now.

Today was spent working through the same three areas over and over again. First, there’s The Big Almost Circular Room (with smaller circular room within it). Then, there’s One Of Three Styles of Tunnel, and finally Jesus Christ Not Another Bloody Bridge. Intersperse these with Boring Lift Journeys, and you have what can only be described as the worst part of any FPS I’ve ever played.

Finally, though, I made it out into the open again. Lets hope that was all the crap for a while, yes?

Halo (Xbox)

Sigh. If “The Silent Cartographer” is supposed to be a highlight of the game, then it really does need putting down. It was awful. More corridors that look the same. Areas of the map too dark to see in (and no, the flashlight doesn’t really help). Wave after wave after wave of the same baddies again and again and again.

Tedious!

I thought things might have improved when I got to the next bit (which starts with more identical rooms and corridors), where you move out into the snowy open areas. You’re given a Warthog! A Ghost! And a tank! And they’re all crap, and progress is easier with just your rocket launcher.

Well, I will make a concession – flying the Ghost is a good idea, because if you don’t one of your marine “chums” will fly it instead. And run you down in it. So that you die. Three times in a row. In the end, I blew it up before they got a chance to pilot it.

Please tell me it gets better. Please?

Halo (Xbox)

And so it gets worse. The same corridors over and over and over and over again on the alien space ship. The way you go through essentially the same hanger 5 times. The fact everything is too dark to see. The annoying little baddies that sound like Ewoks. The way I had to complete almost the entire chapter with just one block of health. That chapter really was horrible.

But then it was onto The Silent Cartographer. I recall from various forums and newsgroups, several years ago, that this chapter was a highlight in the game. It certainly started well, with a beach landing and a big gunfight. However, then it was back into the Warthog and round and round the island I went trying to find a pathway further inland, only to discover it’s behind a tree and you don’t need (in fact, can’t use) the Warthog at all.

And then wave after wave after wave of the same baddies over and over again, in the dark again. Tedious. Anyway, I’ve reached a building now. Lets hope it’s the same rooms over and over!

Halo (Xbox)

I’ve played it before. And didn’t like it. And I tried again on the PC. And didn’t like it. I’ve always found it dull, dark, slow and boring.

So, having bought it at a car boot sale yesterday for the princely sum of £1.50, I thought I’d play it again. Not least because I got the sequel at the same time (for the same price), and I have a mostly unplayed Halo 3 for the 360 sat on a shelf. About time I played the trilogy, yes?

Or no. I just can’t like it. As a FPS, Timesplitter 2 (and 3) and Half-Life (and HL2) kick it into a cocked hat. Its story is yawnsome – aliens attack your ship, you escape and crash land on alien planet, you have to find survivorzzzzzzz. Seen and done before. Before Halo originally came out, even.

And the Warthog is is rubbish. The controls are just ridiculous for it. Why you can’t use a trigger button to accelerate, I don’t know.

But I’m on the alien ship bit, and it’s just wave after wave after wave of tedious fighting in dark warehouses and dark corridors and I’m really not enjoying it at all. At least I’ve gotten further than I’ve ever done previously. That’s something, I suppose.

Psychonauts (Xbox)

It would appear that the Milkman is inside the guard’s head. Well, at least, that’s where I’ve been told to go. Except i couldn’t get in as I was told I needed a cobweb sweeper, which I didn’t own.

So back to the shop, to find that the sweeper was 800 arrow heads to buy, and I had 200. I started to dread the trudge round collecting loads, when I saw you could buy a divining rod to find them for 50 arrow heads. With that and a 20 minutes run round the map, I was up to 900 – sweeper bought, head entered!

Psychonauts (Xbox)

After scaling the tower again, I had to fight a tank that was being controlled by the brain of one of the kids. It was pretty easy though. Then I had to go and find Lila by the lake, only to have her eaten by a giant lungfish.

So I set off underwater to try and get her back, having a huge fight with the lungfish, culminating in entering its mind and fighting through a Godzilla-type level where I was huge and could smash buildings. It was amazing.

Then there was another boss battle, and I finally released the lungfish from the control of the evil bloke stealing people’s brains. Turns out the lungfish is called Linda. Anyway, he/she took me to an island, where there’s a guard who won’t open a gate for me. He says the milkman has the key, but I can’t find a milkman anywhere – and I’ve searched every part of the game map. Hmm.

Psychonauts (Xbox)

I went back into the Brain Tumbler and killed the thing I couldn’t kill previously with my new shooty power. After progressing a bit further, I came across a tower, but couldn’t climb it all the way as I was told I needed to use levitation – something I couldn’t do.

So I could out of my own mind again, and sought out Milla, who could teach me about levitation. This mainly involved getting to a party in her mind, which was pretty easy. I had to race some other kids through a section on the way there, though.

Now I can go back to my own mind and climb the tower again…

Psychonauts (Xbox)

It’s been a while since I last played this, but with Commanders out of the way and most of the rest of my Christmas games now done or being played, I thought I’d go back to it.

Had to get myself some sort of fighting permit, and then set off to see Agent Nein who taught me how to shoot things. And I shot things. Lots of Censors, and then some cats, then bigger Censors, and finally a giant Censor boss.

After that, Nein told be to go back into my own mind to face the creature I couldn’t fight earlier, so I’m going to do that next.

Psychonauts (Xbox)

So this was a surprise. In several ways. Firstly, I’m amazed my wife managed to get hold of a copy of this for me for Christmas. Then there’s the fact she thought to buy it in the first place (as it’s been on my Amazon wishlist for years). Then, and most amazingly, there’s the number of things that made me think about Super Mario Galaxy. It doesn’t lessen Mario, it just made me re-evaluate some of the “new-ness” of it. Even the Psychonauts title screen is like a Mario Galaxy planetoid. Amazing.

So far then – I’ve done the first “level”, inside the army bloke’s brain. I’ve run around the camp loads, found some other areas, talked to lots of people, collected loads of arrowheads, found Ford’s secret lab, leveled up to level 12, learned the “pyrokenesis” power, used it to torch squirrels and birds (and explode seagulls), and entered my own mind. Oh, and got two items from the Scavenger Hunt list.

It’s funny, well written, varied (already), and at least two thousand times better than Kameo. It’s just a slight shame there’s no widescreen mode.

Carcassonne (360)

My friend Ian came up for the weekend, mainly to help explode some concrete cluttering up my lounge, but this evening me, him and my wife played Carcassonne for a few games.

Of course, he had no idea how to play, so the first few games were somewhat hand-holdy (uh, not in that way), but once he’d grasped it, he then wiped the floor with us. That’s the last time I explain all the rules to anyone. Bah.

Sensible Soccer 2006 (Xbox)

The other game was this. And I’m not really sure what to make of it.

On one hand, it’s really trying to be a new Sensible Soccer. On the other, it just seems wrong. Where it works: simple controls, similar pace of game, same menus, same game “feel”. Where it doesn’t: camera angle is wrong. Two buttons? Wrong. No widescreen, borders top and bottom too. 3D players don’t fit.

It isn’t a bad game, by any means, it just isn’t the New Sensible Soccer I was hoping for. It’s just another football game with the same name.

For the record, I played a few matches as Liverpool (losing to Norwich 4-3), and a few as England in the World Cup (drawing them all).

Outrun 2006 Coast 2 Coast (Xbox)

Well, Ye Olde Xbox got dusted off today so I could play two games I bought over Christmas as they were cheap. First up was this. It’s basically Outrun 2, but with the Outrun 2SP levels in addition, and a new single player mode. And it’s lovely. Just as lovely as Outrun 2 was, only more so.

Played Arcade Mode for a bit, and reached goals A, B and C (and failed D), then went into Mission Mode (or whatever it’s called) and did all the first set of Flagman events, and some of the Girlfriend events. I then went and bought some stuff with the “Outrun Miles” I’d “earned”, including some more audio tracks, and another game mode – Outrun 2SP 15 Stage Mode.

Basically, it’s all 15 possible stages, one after another. Ace! I only managed to get as far as 13 though, being about one second from the checkpoint. Bah.