Saturday, August 25

Sexy Beasts

Okay, I know I kinda sorta made a point to keep all my videogame talk to The Lone Gamer, but sometimes comes a story that just begs to be told, or at least mentioned here in my own Stark Raving MADman voice. Anyways, Metal Gear Solid 4 is a pretty popular upcoming game- the Metal Gear Solid series by Hideo Kojima has gathered a rabid following among even the most casual gaming fan since the first chapter debuted on the first Playstation. Well, it's many years later (in fact, it's been 20 years later... how about that!) and the supposed final chapter is still a ways off. MGS4 is set for an 'early 2008' release, but this early of course hype is being built up.

E32007 saw the release of a long but ultimately lackluster trailer- heavy on voiceovers but light on real substance, which was only momentarily saved by a kick-ass martial arts battle between Cyborg Raiden and the returning villain Vamp. As if acrobatic vampires and cyborg ninja wasn't enough for MGS4, Kojima has seen fit to add several new boss characters to the mix of Solid Snake's final adventure.

And so, in the just-concluded Liepzig Gaming Convention 2007, the latest trailer of MGS4 debuted, introducing four monstrous new enemies for Snake to tangle with in the game- and take it from me, these new foes take the cake for the OUT THERE category.

Meet the New Bosses in Metal Gear Solid 4; The Beauty and the Beast Unit.

Yep, you read that right. The Beauty and the Beast Unit. It's pretty silly, to name an elite special forces hi-tech unit like this, but here's the schtick. These four war machines are cyborgs- there are humans hidden under the cold metal- made not from professional soldiers, but victims of war. All females, the Beautiful Beasts were shell-shocked during fierce combat, inflicting them with serious mental conditions which prevented them from being able to face the real world. Their only recourse was to become weapons themselves... hence, the freaky cyborg body armor and super lethal powers. And hence the name Beauty and the Beast. Slaughtering of proper grammar be damned- it's from some Japanese guy.

The four are as follows: Crying Wolf is the headless quadruped who literally weeps and sobs as she scampers around bowling vehicles and soldiers aside like rag dolls. Raging Raven is the flyer of the group, equipped with wide wings that are as graceful as they are DEADLY (she cuts a squad of men in half during the trailer) as well as a penchant for shouting out "RAGE!!!"

Laughing Octopus is perhaps my favorite of the four, thanks to her scary but sexy design. Crushing metal tentacles are scary... cruel sadistic laughter is doubly scary. Finally, Screaming Mantis is perhaps the freakiest design, sporting multiple arms and having the ability to take control of people. Oh, and she has two little puppets hovering beside her that resemble Psycho Mantis and The Sorrow from previous MGS games.

Yeah, their names are silly- I mean, they're so damn literal- but you just take one look at the slick designs and you just buy it. It's like Bubblegum Crisis crossed with Hellraiser and Evangelion. I can't imagine how Old Snake can stand a chance against these girls... maybe he'll charm them into submission? Given how the Beauties are all ultimately innocents make them possibly strange damsels in distress to be saved rather than enemies to be liquidated with extreme prejudice. Kojima even teases this possibility in interviews- "Can these women be returned to their true forms like in classic movies? You'll just have to play the game."

Anyway, this all points to MGS4 being a truly action-packed game... I only hope it doesn't end up becoming more movie than game, with enemies being defeated or taken down via cinema instead of actual gameplay. The Beauty and the Beast Unit is silly, but freaky cool. I wanna take them on.

Metal Gear Solid 4 is set for a worldwide release on PS3 in early 2008.

Friday, August 24

Avatar Season 3 Trailer

Nickelodeon finally released a clear, clean version of the Avatar: The Last Airbender trailer shown during the last San Diego Comic Convention online. Due to the clamor of fans, the hi-res video showing scenes and snippets from the long-awaited Book of Fire has been made available for free download at Avatarspirit.Net. At about 455 MB, the videos incredibly clear, giving Avatar fans something to chew on and inspect frame-by-frame until the season debuts on September 21.

Unfortuntately, if you go there right now, chances are you won't be able to download since literally THOUSANDS of people are probably downloading the spot, hammering on the site's bandwidth. A smaller version of the spot (33MB) was made available for low bandwidth surfers (and for those who gave up trying to get the large version), but chances are that's being mobbed too right now.
I was fortunate enough to download the trailer (just the small one), and all I can say is... WOW! Lots of Bending action, lots of fan service (surprisingly so), lots of plot threads being bandied around. It's much more exciting and satisfying now that I can tell what's going on! Seriously , it's a really cool thing to have this to tide me over until the actual episodes arrive. Unfortunately, there's really no way to share this since Nick has expressely forbidden anyone to place the trailer on Youtube or on any file-sharing service. So, if you want to see it, just head on over to Avatarspirit.Net and take your chances. In a couple of days, the fever should have died down enough for downloads to be possible again. Now, if you'll excuse me... I've got to go back and watch it again...

Wednesday, August 22

Donut Buy

Recently my Mom has been bringing home these homemade donuts in the mornings. These are your usual, subdivision/barrio bakery-made donuts... no icing or anything except a sprinkling of sugar. But darn... they tasted GOOD. I mean, yeah, they're no Krispy Kreme, but these donuts are probably worth two or three Krispy Kreme glazed donuts on substance and solid mass alone. When fresh and still spongy but having a bite, the donuts are positively addicting. And they cost a grand total of five pesos each. FIVE pesos. As opposed to the thirty-five or so per donut at those expensive foreign shops. Or even at your nearby Starbuck's (and those sugar-raised donuts at SB are nowhere as good).

The only problem is, these donuts are quite in demand- we're lucky to get more than a half dozen a day. If only we lived closer to that bakery, I'd have a bowl of those scrumptious loops on the table everyday for breakfast. As it is, they're only an occasional treat. Makes you appreciate the simpler, but truly finer things.