Saturday, October 30

Ultimate Longing

GAH. Dead or Alive Ultimate for the Xbox is out but I have to WAIT. I frickin' hate waiting.

Well, I actually tried to order it online, but eventually I decided to cancel the order due to some difficulty with completing the payment. BAH. Another reason why I cancelled is there may be a chance that a copy will arrive in the next week or so. I've already reserved a copy, so that would be a waste if I didn't avail of it. Plus, bootleg copies of DOAU may arrive as early as this week or the next weekend.
So, while I'm waiting for my game to arrive, all I can do is content myself with visiting forums and message boards- despite the totally INFURIATING way a lot of posters can be so BRAIN DEAD.

A restored and enhanced version of the original Dead or Alive. Gorgeous new graphics and improved animation, 21 awesome new interactive stages, almost 200 costumes to unlock, moves and tricks aplenty... all this and 60 frames per second bikini fights. Yes, I can wait. For a little while longer.

Friday, October 29


I arrived at Megamall to the horrible sight of hordes and hordes of jologs gathering for the Octoberfest. The numbers of rowdy, loud, surly, ill-mannered, irritating black T-shirt wearing chupankers made the walk to Comic Quest a harrowing affair, what with razor-sharp goatees and glaring satanic symbols gleaming at you every which way. Today is pay day, a Friday, a Sale at Megamall and the Octoberfest concert night... NOT A GOOD MIX.
So, after dinner with Vin, Charles and Pointyman (Jason managed to catch up right near the end), I hied off onto the MRT and home.

The long weekend looms before me. It's a time to rest. It's also a time to work on K.I.A. And to try and see if copies of DOAU have made it to the pirate game stocks. Don't get me wrong- I am going to get an original copy, but the sooner I get and play it, the better. Heh. Anyway, I'm glad to be home relatively early so I can get some rest for a headstart into the weekend.
Invasion of the Mini-Monsters

This afternoon a mob of tiny ghouls and goblins ravaged the office, in a storm of ruffles, masks, spandex and plastic. Yep, the Halloween celebration finally arrived and we all readied our collected treats, toys and candies to give away. The kids came in their funny costumes ranging from a bloodied little guy to a cute bumblebee fairy. Along with the many bags of candy and fun stuff from each department, there was a cotton-candy machine and a cart of dirty ice cream waiting to take the kids' orders.
It was loud and fun and loud. Hopefully once the kids go home we can finally take down all the Shelob-goo webbing that's covering the place. Whew. Happy Halloween, everyone.

Thursday, October 28

Retro Refreshed

The last time I saw the RPG The Bard's Tale was on my old, old, old PC when I was a kid. It was a turn-based RPG, where you form a party of adventurers to explore the monster-filled streets of the city of Skara Brae. It was pretty cool since it had nice (for the time) animated images for the monsters and characters you encountered, and the fighting was cool since you could really kick ass with some of the more powerful spells (Mangar's Mind Blade ROCKS for killing armies of nomads). The Bard was simply one of the many character classes you could choose to form your party- their songs aided your fight by upping your stats, healing you or whatever. Well, the Bard gets to be the hero in the recently-released update/successor game to the Bard's Tale name... or actually, he gets to be the anti-hero.

The new Xbox Action RPG, The Bard's Tale, is about as different from its old PC namesake as night and day. This one-player romp puts players in the boots of The Bard, a smarmy, snarky rascal who happens to be a pretty powerful adventurer with his creature-summoning songs. He's not a white knight or a crusader- the Bard is out to make a buck and get himself some coin and cleavage... if he saves the world along the way, it's a bonus.
Similar to games like Bioware's Baldur's Gate and Knights of the Old Republic, The Bard's Tale allows the player to choose branching paths through the game in his interactions with other characters. Depending on whether he elects to be decent or abrasive, the results vary... but are almost uniformly funny.

Reviews have so far commented on the refreshing nature of the game's story, which takes playful jabs at the conventions and cliches of RPGs and fantasy adventures. Also of note is the voice acting, which stars actor Cary Elwes as The Bard, and Tony Jay as the Narrator (who often verbally spars with the Bard along the way). I'm looking forward to this game... yep, DOAU has the cleavage quota down pat, but a cool RPG with a smarmy lead can't hurt. Heh.
My next pho- er, gadget.

Sony has officially announced PlayStation Portable launch information. The PSP will launch in Japan on December 12, for 19,800 yen (US$185). The PSP package includes the PSP system, AC Adapter and Battery Pack. The battery life has also been confirmed, the PSP uses rechargeable Li-Ion battery which can be used for 4-6 hours for playing games, and 4-5 hours for watching videos. 21 titles will be released throughout December 2004.
Trick or Treat

A real Jack o' Lantern graces our department on All Hallow's Eve.

Halloween only became a popular occasion here in the Philippines thanks to advertising and marketing. And of course, in no small part to the Filipino's love for the supernatural and the spooky. Every year, come late October and early November, pretty much every local TV show has their Halloween special. Talk and magazine shows take up topics about ghosts and ghouls (my favorite being the Magandang Gabi, Bayan show that features creepy indigenous Pinoy spooky stories like aswang and coffins that lurk around at night.
Subdivisions and villages have recently begun holding 'Trick or Treating' events, letting kids dress up in their costumes and go around collecting candy and other goodies from welcoming houses. It's also happening in offices, with our particular office inviting kids to come and show off their latest duds and spooky threads.
That's the reason why the office is pretty choked with faux cobwebs, pumpkin balloons and creepy posters. Ironically enough, the Creative Department is the most conservative in terms of decor... but we DO have a real Jack o' Lantern in the place (made from a real pumpkin and used in a print ad). And we're making it a point to get out and buy some treats so the kids will have fun in this ghoulish occassion.

We gave our janitors the month off in preparation for Halloween.

This weekend, I'll hope to kick back and relax, watch a spooky show or two, finish up K.I.A. and dream about DOA Ultimate. Happy Halloween, to one and all, and a solemn All Saints' Day on Monday.

Wednesday, October 27

It's OUT.

Some lucky bastard in Korea is playing DOA Ultimate right NOW.

Despite fears of another delay, the latest Dead or Alive seems to be on track. As the pic above shows, Korean gamers already have the game (along with some cool extras) and are by now probably playing to their hearts content on Xbox Live.
On the US front, several top gaming websites such as IGN, Gamespot and Gamespy have posted their DOAU reviews; almost uniformly citing the game's awesome graphics, animation, playability, easy-to-get-into-gameplay and online features. The only flaws so far mentioned are the exclusion of more extra or new characters and the moves and tweaks from DOA3.
The US should be getting their games by tomorrow, or in a few hours... as for us, I am crossing my fingers for late this week, or hopefully mid-next week. We'll see.

Tuesday, October 26


Last night, the gang celebrated the return of the Alfars from their three-week US vacation with a late dinner at Country Waffles.
Over good food and bottomless drinks we chatted the night away as Dean recounted their experiences in America, from travel travails to battles with high-class food and a wonderful visit to the Magic Kingdom.
On a sour note, Dean lost his cellphone to theft and now has to find a new one. Which is a great excuse for me to talk about phones again... heheh...

Welcome back, Dean and Gig!

Dead or Alive Ultimate arrives tomorrow in US stores. From all indications, there will be no more delays, and the game may be shipping as I write this. There have been several delays in the past that involved issues with the game's production, but with the game having gone GOLD already, it's all in the hands of marketing and distribution now. Unfortunately, while US gamers get it tomorrow, I am not sure when I'll get mine. Maybe later this week? Sometime next week? I've already reserved my copy at a store, and they have said that they have ordered the game already. Crossing fingers that I don't have to wait too long for DOA fighting bliss...

Sunday, October 24



I just got myself a copy of the latest blood-fest from Midway, Mortal Kombat Deception for the Xbox. It's going to keep me occupied until Dead or Alive Ultimate arrives within the next couple of weeks.

The story of the game continues the events in the last game, Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance. When every other warrior has fallen in battle, Raiden the Thunder God confronts the two fiendish sorcerers Quan Chi and Shang Tsung himself. There is a terrific battle (shown quite spectacularly in Deception's opening cinema), but ultimately not even Earth's greatest ally can defeat the two villains. It seems that the Deadly Alliance has triumphed. However, right after they win, Quan Chi and Shang Tsung have a falling out, and start fighting among themselves.
The ruckus is suddenly joined by an ominous third party, with the arrival of the monstrous Dragon King, Onaga. Awakened by the sorcerers' machinations, Onaga has returned to claim his place as the ruler of Outworld. To stop the beast, all three former enemies rise up and join forces to fight Onaga. But it is all in vain as the Dragon King seems invincible. Raiden, in a last ditch effort to stop the monster, sacrifices himself in a massive explosion that destroys the entire fortress where they are all standing. But this final effort too is in vain.
Onaga lives, and now rules Outworld from his dark temple. It is only a matter of time before he extends his influence to the other realms. The scattered fighters of Mortal Kombat, both heroic and villainous, must battle and face Onaga in this latest, and most crucial fight.

Deception's roster of fighters is half-available at startup; you'll have to work at unlocking the majority of combatants through gameplay. The lineup includes a lot of veterans, and several new faces (none of which really stand out). Most of the characters seem to have gotten a bit of a design makeover, with intricate costumes and detailed character models. Like DOA, the many arenas often have multiple levels to which fighters can get thrown into. Unlike Dead or Alive though, there are also Death Traps which can end a round immediately once a fighter is thrown into them and crushed or burned. However, oddly enough, while it ends a round, it does not necessarily end a fight (EH?)- if a fighter gets impaled in the first round, he or she will still fight in the second round. ODD.
Aside from the regular fighting modes, there are three new modes of play- Chess Kombat is an Archon-like board game which mixes a bit of strategy with rounds of MK fighting. Puzzle Kombat is a Tetris clone with SD versions of the fighters, and Konquest Mode puts you in the shoes of Shujinko, a young fighter who will grow up to become a powerful martial artist. It's in Konquest that most of the game's secrets and unlockables are found (unfortunately). As before, secrets are either found or bought or unlocked in the Game's Krypt, mixed in with tons of fluff like production photos, video files, designs and other crap.

But even all the crap and extras can't help a clunky gaming engine. ULTIMATELY, MKD is all about dial-a-combo gameplay which basically favors you using the longest and best combo over and over, grotesque characters and gratuitous blood and gore (which is amazingly still being hyped up after all this time) and new minigames which really are more diversions than anything else. Not as clunky as the previous game- just more of the same with a couple of more waffle to pad things out. Bottom-line, if you liked the earlier Deadly Alliance, you'll probably go ga-ga over this. Otherwise, it's just more of the same.

I'll probably play through MKD to unlock the available fighters, but I'm pretty sure I'll set it aside once Ultimate arrives. For now though, it's playable but really not my bag. Give me Streetfighter, DOA, Tekken or Virtua Fighter anyday.

Mortal Kombat Deception is available for Xbox and PS2. A Gamecube version is scheduled for release early next year.