Saturday, August 27

The Haunted

Fiona Belli, the heroine of Haunting Ground, performing one of her special moves- laying unconscious and helpless.

Capcom has given us a lot of survival-horror games, primarily through their flagship series, Resident Evil. Usually though, it’s not so much horror as it is monster-fighting action as you take the roles of various take-no-prisoners, kick-butt heroes who take on mutant beasties with both eyes open. And so it was with a bit of surprise and refreshment that Haunting Ground for the PS2 appeared.

Similar to the Clock Tower series, Haunting Ground puts you in the boots of 18-year old Fiona Belli, a lovely (if deathly pale) young lady who wakes up one dark night in a cage, dressed only in a bed sheet and surrounded by the sprawling expanse of a creepy castle. Soon afterwards, she finds herself being chased by a hulking man-monster named Debilitas, and encountering an eerily beautiful maid named Daniella. A mystery voice calls out from the walls, telling her that she will be his. Fiona doesn’t have a clue why she’s here, what this castle is all about and why this crew of freaky denizens are after her… all she wants is to get the hell out of Dodge.
Unfortunately, Fiona isn’t a veteran special forces agent, or even a member of the local martial arts club… she’s just an ordinary college student, home from university before a frightful event that caused her to get into this mess. She can’t really fight save for a weak kick and tackle- the best thing she can do is RUN… and hide, given that there are tons of places to huddle behind, under or against in the shadowy castle. But if things get really hot, her panic level gets bad and things go blurry and wild and then Fiona’s in real deep goo as she’s practically helpless.

But then, not all’s dead roses- assuming that Fiona survives her first hour or so in the castle, she’ll hook up with Hewie, an odd and intelligent albino dog that soon becomes Fiona’s best friend, guardian, constant companion and fellow escapee from this gothic madhouse. Only by befriending and building a relationship with Hewie and using his abilities to help her can Fiona have a chance of defeating her pursuers and unlocking the secret of the nightmare she’s in.

Now, a game where the heroine you play isn’t a deadly femme fatale who can do high kicks and kill with her thighs is different for me, but it’s actually cool. Haunting Ground especially strikes a pretty good tone as a survival horror game, with a refreshing new way of keeping tension and mystery.
First of all, the game is freaking gorgeous. Apart from the incredible CG cinemas, the real time graphics are simply exquisite, with the characters appearing and moving better than most other PS2 games you’ll ever see; Fiona herself is animated incredibly well, and will please fanboys as she’s as bouncy as the DOA girls.
The castle itself is a great gothic maze to explore for some scary fun. And the mechanic of the game being pretty much a deadly game of hide and seek- is pretty slick. Best of all, the cool relationship-building game between Fiona and Hewie, and how you can use the dog to fight back, is just awesome. Haunting Gorund gives back a bit of replay value with unlockable costumes, extra endings and surprises that make going through the adventure multiple times desirable.

Haunting Ground’s graphics and gameplay are simply superb- it’s a great contrast to most other Survival Horror games out, and I highly recommend this to gamers who want a mature adventure romp with suspense and quite a bit of fanservice on the side. Don’t be scared away by the Damsel in Distress scenario; this is a scream of a good time.

Friday, August 26


Whew! The storm that was This Week is finally over. I can finally breathe a bit.

It was touch and go early this morning, as we fine-tuned the presentation and waited for the minutes to tick by. After the client meeting (and pretty much half the day) I was freeeeeee....

My first act of freedom was to hie off to the nearby Subway's and have myself a late lunch (at 4:30PM). Next was to start blogging a bit, seeing as how I've been neglecting the web community for a while.

On my plate.

To start reading the pile of DC Comics Vin recommended to me.

To get the new stocks of comics stuff for this week.

To grab a copy of Haunting Ground for the PS2 and any other new game that catches my eye.

To keep playing Darkwatch.

To watch some anime and dvds over the weekend, including the Kim Possible movie.

To start doing art and pages for Project Hero.

Darn... I'm just as busy in the break as I am at work! WAAAAHHH!!!
Dark Resurrection


An arcade upgrade to Tekken 5 has been announced for release in the next couple of months. It's called... of course, Tekken 5 Dark Resurrection and will feature some newly-rendered stages, customization items and, oh joy, two additional playable characters. But wait- don't expect anything earth-shattering... most probably one will be a playable Jinpachi Mishima, the hulking, demonic end boss with the screen-high fireballs and automatic-dizzy moves (which makes him totally cheap and unbalanced). As for the other, who knows? Rumors are of course flying around at who may be added to the roster- from female ninja Kunimitsu to Armor King (who is deceased so probably no go) to the Ogre from Tekken 3.
Anyway, it's not confirmed if Dark Resurrection will make it to home consoles- or even if it's worth getting for the home if all we get is a cheap playable boss and some spiffy new background effects. We'll just have to wait for the release for the truth.

You can't handle the truth!

Thursday, August 25


I'm still at the office. The fastbreak-nonstop rush of work that has been going on all month climaxes tonight and tomorrow. On the bright side though, I'm looking forward to a good rest over the weekend, to read some comics and enjoy a couple of new games. But I still have to get through tonight. Geh.

Tuesday, August 23


An officemate of mine, one of our graphic artists, passed away early today. It came as a shock to the department since he seemed to be doing fine the last anyone heard from him (through a text... yeah, in this day and age last words can come through text). I didn't particularly know him that well, but I work in the same area as him, and often I've hovered at his shoulder looking over copy for final artwork and rendering. Now that he's suddenly gone, it feels odd. I can't say I'm too affected, at least not as much as people who really knew him were. But then again, when death hits near you just can't NOT be totally unfazed. That's what makes us human and humane, I think.

I didn't know him that much, and anyone else reading here not at all. But I think he's worth mentioning here.

Paalam, Onat. It was nice working with you.

Sunday, August 21

Grasping at the Future

Last night, after the gang's farewell dinner blowout from Jason at North Park, we all spent the night at UCC Coffee having our palms and fortunes read by Andrew.

My results? Well, I'll most probably be spending the rest of my working life in advertising, which is very likely (unless I someday give up on the Philippines entirely and move to the States and become a Star Comic Book Creator... Feh). I'll live to middle age, which is likely given that I don't eat much vegetables, love softdrinks and don't engage in regular exercise but at least don't smoke or drink. I've met one of the two GREAT LOVES of my life- which was probably not a real person (it's a matter of interpretation, fortune reading). We all seem to agree that the first great love of my life was Angel Ace, my own creation and first ever original printed comic book character... which is kinda sad since she's not real, and kinda nice since Angel's the perfect girl. Sigh.
Furthermore, I'll be having an eventful life, and while I'm be in a lot of confusion about relationships, apparently when I do find a person I love, I'll stick with them to the end (which will probably be middle age).

Eerie stuff, and pretty much dead on I think. Well, whatever. I don't think the future's set in stone (I hope), so things may change... a little. Maybe I can just start living a little healthier and maybe I can push my life to late middle age or early old age. Whatever. We play with the hands we're dealt.