X-mas02 Shopping Guide
for Video Game Geeks

With X-Mas right around the corner and a few games under my belt, I thought it'd be a good idea to help YOU help OUR morally bankrupt free market economy by helping you decide what shit to buy to help your local megamart get back into the black. -- King Mongo

Grand Theft Auto 3 | America's Army | Mafia | No One Lives Forever 2 | Unreal Tournament 2003 | Morrowind | Arx Fatalis

Grand Theft Auto III
...fucking rocks. GTA3 takes a bigger step towards providing an immersive gameworld than anything I've played, bigger even than Deus Ex.

The main reason is focus -- Deus Ex tried to create a complete living world. People talked to you, sometimes offered you help, sometimes hurt you. But the game doesn't have that consistent level of realism. For example, no one took a shit, hookers didn't give you blowjobs, nobody slept, or left the building they were in... things like that.

GTA3 is different. NPCs are just "faces in the crowd." As you go driving past, you may see a thug stealing some old woman's purse, or a gay guy chased by a cop, but there's never a need for any more detail than that.

GTA3 is a game that fits every gamer's needs -- you can play fanatically for hours, or play individual missions that can be done in 10-20 minutes. Fucking recommended.

America's Army
"Of course, this being the Internet, 90 percent of those playing at any given time are dumbasses, and sufficient numbers of dumbasses will blow the shit out of themselves with grenades -- Christ only knows who will win in the end.

"But, in a situation where the defensive team doesn't fuck up royally, the assault team typically gets whacked." Read more

... takes place in the 1930s or 1940s in a fictional "New Yawk"-inspired town. There's a great game in here, but it takes too long to get to it.

The Cool: Everyone wears pinstripe suits and fedoras, and you get to use a tommy gun. And you drive genuine antique cars.

The Not Cool: It's kind of a drag to drive around a big city in a jallopy that redlines at 42 miles per hour.

Here's the setup. You go see the mob boss, who tells you to drive across town and whack somebody and his whole crew. Exciting!

However, after piling into the car, you start driving. It takes about 30 minutes of real-time to get there, partly because of how slow the car is, partly because any time you run a red light or get seen speeding, the cops pull you over.

You get to your destination and whack the mobsters -- in five minutes. Then you set out for another 30-minute drive back back to the boss...

More video game, less Antique Road Show.

No One Lives Forever 2
"Equally cute is the fact that after your enemies skid on a banana peel, you can run over and pop caps into their skulls...

"There's one game sequence that's most phat, where you're pursuing a unicycle-riding midget on a tricycle being driven by your drunken Scottish henchman while you fire away at sniping mimes. That's good shit." Read more

Unreal Tournament 2003
There's not a lot to say about UT2003. It's a first-person shooter, designed for multiplayer-only competition. Options include:

  • DeathMatch: Everyone tries to kill everyone else
  • Team DeathMatch: Two teams, but otherwise, the same as DeathMatch
  • Capture the Flag: Team DeathMatch, but you get points for capturing the other team's flag
  • Bombing Run: Some new type whack-ass game-shit that nobody plays

Now, let's get this out of the way: UT2003 is the best looking video game available, period.

UT2003 is also a great buy for the adult gamer because time commitment is low: You can get up and running inside of 60 seconds. DeathMatch servers typically have rounds which last 10 minutes, and don't carry over. The typical CounterStrike server has 5-10 minute rounds as well, but rounds carry over, meaning that the game may not end for 45-60 minutes. That's a long time for the harried gamer with two wives to feed.

Then again, if you're an indolent teenager with nothing but spare time, or the indolent "tech industry worker," whose l337 java-programming abilities became a lot less marketable about two years ago, then you'll find lots to love about UT2003. Stocking stuffer.

"Like, there's no grunts or squeals of pain -- just a repetitive attack noise, and then a groan when they die.

"Gimme some location-specific damage on the models, or at least some fucking blood decals on the walls and ground! I don't want a little 'puff' of colored texture to let me know the bad guy's dead." Read more

Arx Fatalis
I like games that transport you into other worlds, where you can live an alternate life, without a nagging boss and ridiculous rent. There are, however, right -- and wrong -- ways to go about doing this.

Arx Fatalis is the wrong way. I'll be up front, I only played it for about 5 hours -- long enough to hate it.

Even though we're talking about "fantasy worlds," we still need to buy the plot. But who's going to believe that the fucking sun burnt out; that trolls, human, dwarves, etc. banded together in underground cities; then thousands of years later, you come along?

Where did you get your tan?

And, the plot took waaay too long to develop. After waking up in a goblin prison with no memory of who I was or where I was (a typical RPG device), and wandering around killing things until I found a human camp that warned of a "growing and mysterious" power, I couldn't be bothered figuring out the rest of it.

AF is a good example of the negative influence that The Wheel of Time has had on the idea of "plot" and "character development." Some game developers think that just because tripe like WoT sells, they too can write shitty plots with unsympathetic characters and sell it.
Weak. Try again.

Complain here, preferably with
"Don't mess with the bull, young man, you'll get the horns!"

King Mongo | Rants | NA!P

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