Blog 684: Close, But No Biscuit – James Bond – Part 4

SPECTREĀ is all the more irritating because of the good things it had that it completely squandered. Willingness to retcon away the crap bits — nope, let’s retcon them to be even worse. Dave Bautista as a Proper Henchman — disposed of barely past the half-way mark. Crater Base as a final boss location — blown up after five minutes of screen time and it wasn’t even the finale. It was all me, James! (Smart blood.)

(Transcript is included in the blog post.)

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Blog 683: The Second Last Mission

I hark back to Star Wars: Empire at War every so often, but it’s more an interactive film than much of a strategy game. You build a huge fleet, set it loose, and turn on the autocamera mode — and it beautifully recreates space battles right out of the movies. Beyond that, there’s not a lot to it.

As with many games, it took an expansion pack — Forces of Corruption — to really bring it to life. A larger tech tree, of new pirate units alongside a mix of stolen classic Imperial and Rebel craft, a more involved plotline in a single longer campaign rather than split between two sides… It’s still far from perfect, but it made good progress.

And that expansion brought with it one particular mission that’s a real favourite of mine, despite its flaws: a raid on the Imperial Archives on Coruscant.

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Blog 682: Close, But No Biscuit – James Bond – Part 3

To be honest, I’m surprised I lasted until episode 3 before shoehorning A-ha in there — of course I would say that The Living Daylights has the best theme tune. There are many lessons to be learnt from a Bond film’s opening moments — the starting stunts, the title sequence and, of course, the music…

(Transcript is included in the blog post.)

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Blog 681: The Design of the Warrior

I’ve made no secret that my own attempt at a real game is basically a Nox clone, albeit with a few twists and (hopefully) upgrades. The Warrior of Nox has five special abilities that make him a well-rounded individual, and I’m going to follow that formula with my own All-Purpose Assault Mech (and its inevitable variants)…

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Aside 60: Ludicrous Mech Games

Aside

I was recently reminded of the classic third-person shooter Lost Planet and its hilariously overblown mech sections. I replayed it but had no new thoughts to add to my original review; it’s beautifully optimised, hilariously explosive fun, but suffers from low manoeuvrability. Maybe one thought — I do really love its vehicle art style, which is a perfect blend of rule-of-cool design features and plausible industrial sci-fi (i.e. what I’m aiming for).

Then that put me in mind of Shogo: Mobile Armor Division (spelling aside), another game with overblown giant mech action mixed with on-foot meanderings. I didn’t have any new thoughts about that either, but I had a total blast replaying it — the mech levels are pretty much the best thing since sliced bread.

Basically, I want more of this — so does anybody have any recommendations for other “ludicrous mech games” that I might enjoy? Not simulation-heavy MechWarrior-likes, but silly, large-scale, over-the-top first/third-person shooters. Mmmm.

Blog 680: Close, But No Biscuit – James Bond – Part 2

You know, in transcribing this podcast, I realise how differently I speak than how I write. In real life I stutter and switch tracks, lose my place and thoughts that I was about to say dribble away. To be fair, most of my blog posts spend a week (or even two) being refined and massaged into shape, turning a formless blob of thoughts into some kind of coherent narrative, and the live and raw nature of a podcast means my slow wits often let me down…

On that note, it’s time for part 2 of the James Bond Suite of Close, But No Biscuit! This one even has a musical interlude — check it, Brosno.

(Transcript is included in the blog post.)

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Blog 679: Close, But No Biscuit – James Bond – Part 1

It’s amazing the avenues that technology can unlock. I got involved in a podcast at work, and loved it so much that I bought my own microphone.

Needless to say, I apparently love the sound of my own voice, so when Chris McPhail, one of my illustrious school friends, suggested we unleash the beast of critical evaluation together in front of the microphone… How could I resist? Close, But No Biscuit was born.

(Transcript is included in the blog post.)

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