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Monthly Archives: September 2007

Twelfth Night

In shock “I have done something other than Halo 3″ news, this week I pulled myself away from the Xbox long enough to see to a most pleasing performance of Twelfth Night at the RSC in Stratford.

It took a while for my brain to adjust to the language of the period but excellent performances from John Lithgow as Malvolio and James Clyde as Feste made this Shakespeare piece very entertaining and funny, something that I don’t always find is the case with his comedies.

Cat helmet

Check it out! With a little poking, prodding and a mini set of screw drivers I have managed to fit the Legendary helmet on my very own bonce.

Glorious, isn't it.

Sweet, eh?

It’s is a glorious piece of tat and comes complete with a load of extras that I’m sure Ali will love to sit through with me, including cinematics, making ofs and loads of behind the scenes stuff.

Away from novelty packaging, I actually took the game online last night for the first time. I played a few levels of co-op and then met up with Mapoo, Pogo and the rest of the Halopalozza core for a few team games. It is as good as we all thought it would be and shooting whiny, American brats in the face just made it even more pleasurable.

The stats page on Bungie’s site is something to be seen, too, as it is so in-depth that it knocks anything that has been done before into the proverbial cocked hat. At a basic level it shows your level and your recent games but prodding deeper you can see how many single player bad guys you’ve offed, the screenshots you’ve taken, other people’s game types, a map of your recent game, the medals earned over your career and so much other stuff that I’m just going to tell you to go there and explore it yourself. You can even tell your Xbox to download stuff from the website!

Living like kings

You may have noticed that today Halo 3, the game that has clogged up my blog for the past week, launched in Europe. My brother and his housemates were enthusiastic enough to brave a midnight launch event and came away clutching Limited and Legendary editions between them.

Not only did the prepare for this by watching a lot of WWE but they then stopped up until nearly 9am in the morning to complete the entire thing through together on the hardest difficulty setting! I salute them, one and all.

Things like this really makes me regret growing up.

Red Ring of Death: Part Three

To coincide with the launch of Halo 3, my Xbox is backed. It’s been away only ten working days, which isn’t a bad turn around considering they warn you to prepare yourself for six-weeks without your 360.

Halo 3

Halo 2, coming after such a landmark game with its recharging shields, supurb AI, amazing setpieces and its “fifteen seconds of fun over and over”, could never have lived up to the weight of expectation. As good as it was, and it was very good indeed, you were never going to get the same feeling as when you stepped out upon your first Halo back in 2001, and that dampened the experience of it in some people’s minds.  True, Halo 3 does have equally lofty standards but by comparison it is not following a game that changed the way we think about FPSs and so it’s definitely going to be given a little more slack.

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Not that it needs it, though. No matter what light you want to try and review Halo 3 in, it will stand up and be counted. In fact, it might just punch you in the face for questioning it.

(more…)

Ban-hammer

After all the rumours floating around the net of early players of Halo 3 being banned, especially if you work for Microsoft, it turns out that it was one of those things that the internet if well renowned for: insubstantiated rumour.

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The one shame of the whole thing is that I didn’t get to play online as they hadn’t turned on the matchmaking servers, for obvious reasons. I did, however, have a mess around in The Forge and had a merry time creating a large array of explosive barrels for my Mongoose to sit upon; it’s quite amazing how high you can fly on one of them if you time your grenades just right. Oh, and I also created a road of grav lifts for said Mongoose to hover along on, rather amusingly.

I have to admit, though, to not actually possessing my copy anymore. When someone offers you a rather substantial amount of cash for something like this you can’t turn it down. In doing so, it made my rather exciting couple of days rather profitable indeed and should at least cover the Legendary Edition that is due to land on my doormat shortly. The things people do to play games early, eh?

Fin

Done. Not as long as I thought it would have been but then again I was playing it on Normal to zip through the story.

I won’t give away any spoilers, but I really enjoyed it, especially the first few levels. Overall it has some fantastic set pieces and moments where you think that you’re just the baddest son of a bitch in the whole universe.

The enemy AI has definitely moved up a few gears as you can see them plotting against you and you don’t feel like you have to babysit your marines as much as you used to, either.

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Favourite moment for me, though (still no spoilers, I promise), was when I was hunting down a Brute and hit pack of Grunts. The Brute was getting pissed with me and was about to lob a plasma grenade in my general direction when I sniped him between the eyes. The grenade dropped from his raised hand straight onto the head of his lead grunt. A cry of panic and a blue explosion later and the whole pack of the were gone as the terrified Grunt had run to seek safety amongst him comrades just prior to detonation. Genius.

Right, now some sleep.

Huzzah for Halo 3! Huzzah for Argos!

Yes, I’ve put the controller down. But again this is only for a tea break and to fill those in who have sent me messages asking exactly how I came across Halo 3. Let me assure you of this: it is nothing to do with any of my contacts at Microsoft, they actually had a fit when I showed them my copy.

I have Spifford Bipton to thank for this exciting discovery. Early this morning, he happened to mention that whilst trawling the Eurogamer forums he stumbled across a thread saying that an Argos in his hometown of Burton-Upon-Trent had broken release dateand was selling Halo 3. Admittedly, you had to go through their website to find this out but it was indeed true.

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As soon as I had reserved it online I then made the half-hour journey up to Burton and to its shopping precinct. Argos teased me slightly after taking nearly 15 minutes to find it but it was worth it when I was informed it was their last copy. How smug/relieved did that make me feel.

Anyway, that’s it. A broken release date, a forum finding and a lot of petrol burnt in my cross-country dashes. It’s been quite an exciting day.

Now, do excuse me; I’ve finished my bacon butty and have some Brutes to shoot. To the face, of course.

ZOMG!!!1!!

I have Halo! Thank you to Argos in Burton for breaking the street date.

More later as I’m off to play it. In fact, the only reason I’m not playing it now is because I’m eating.

Colin MacRae: 1968-2007

Over the years there has only really ever been one motorsport that has truly captured my attention and that was rallying. I consider Formula One a processional farce and whilst Moto GP does have its qualities you can’t beat the sense of risk and skill that comes from watching a car hurtle through unknown country lanes at breakneck speed.

I started watching rallying in the mid-90s just as a talented Scotsman, one Colin MacRae, was coming to the forefront of his sport. His personality and determination were a big draw, along with his iconic Subaru car, and so it now seems strange that this talent has now been snuffed out.  Obviously all racing drivers accept an element of risk but it is so much sadder when they pass away far from the track, and with his young son, too.

Along with Richard Burns’ comparatively, and untimely, recent death it seems that British racing has lost another star.