I’m so sorry I missed our date today. I know, I know, but it’s been a strange diary, even by my standards. I was on my way to see you, trying to mind my own business, when a tiny Sumo wrestler approached me and asked for my help. Of course, he actually meant he wanted my father’s help. I’m nothing to these people – nothing! I do all the work, all the rolling, yet it’s my father who gets the praise, the fans, the glory. I don’t know how much longer I can stand it.
But my father forced me into helping him again. He made me roll this Sumo wrestler around the town picking up food that had been left lying around. I got hit by a train several times because chicken legs had been left on the railway line, but I’m okay. Just a bit sore. This guy ate and ate. He even ate some children I ran into by mistake. Oh God, darling, I’m a murderer! I don’t want to do this! I don’t want to live this life! I want to be good! I want to paint! Maybe teach! Not this endless rolling, rolling, rolling. I’m a thief and a killer!
My father had only given me five minutes to get this Sumo guy up to size and by that time I’d failed. Everything went black and my father appeared above me, terrifying to behold. And then the laser bolts shot from his eyes, something I’ve seen before. He was so mad at me! I ran, trying to evade his terrible discipline, but some of the bolts hit. It was burning agony like I’ve never felt. My poor raw hide! He hit just the spots left raw by the train hits. So I tried again and again I failed him and his rage was no less brutal.
And again I tried and this time I realised I had to take the Sumo wrestler to his match before the five minutes was up. He beat his opponent and my father was all sweetness and light and let me go. I ran all the way to the cinema, but by the time I got there, you’d gone. I’m really sorry.
I know we’ve talked about this, how I should run away, let one of cousins take over my duties, that the way my father treats me is wrong. But I can’t help going back. He’s my father, and he’s King of the Cosmos and I’d never be able to hide. I love you, but like it or not, this is my life. I hope you can accept that. I’ve learned to, in time I’m sure you will, too.
Maybe you should come round for dinner one day, so I can introduce you? Please, reply soon. I miss you.
PRO: It’s Castlevania!
CON: In 3D!
Not played this before despite having it for years, but I’m home sick, so thought I’d give it a go.
Starts with some annoyingly long cut scenes. I really don’t see the point. Maybe fanboys will get some sad geek shivers at seeing this Belmont being given a whip, but… hang on, hang on! I’m a geek and I didn’t get any sad geek shivers. Cut scene failure, then.
Once into the game – oh, sweet interactivity! – you run around whipping monsters and jumping around. Unfortunately, while you can normally whip what you want to – as long as the camera is gracious enough to show you your target – jumping is incredibly imprecise. Which probably explains why there’s not a lot of it. Just enough to be really very annoying, mind.
Anyway, I got to some red skeleton guys who kept coming back to (un)life while a giant eyeball shot laser vision at me and I died. And I didn’t fancy restarting from the last time I bothered saving, so I gave up.
Plus, I’ve already got a Dual Shock finger blister. Stupid dangerous Sony controllers.
An aptly named game if ever there was one.
Because everyone who’s played Katamari Damacy loves it. Well, everyone I know. I’m sure there are people out there who don’t like it. Weirdos.
I’ve just played through a few levels of this and it’s really not very different from the original. The Katamari still feels big and unweildy, the graphics are still pastel and blocky in style, the level design is still, superb the soundtrack is still great, the cut scenes are still hatstand mad and the presentation is still wonderfully quirky.
It’s the next chapter, basically, not a whole different book.
But it doesn’t matter because I love Katamari.
I’ve not failed a mission yet, but I’m getting really fed up of all the people I indulge complaining about how small my balls are, A man could get a complex.
And if you don’t know what Katamari is all about, then I really don’t know why you’re reading this. Not in a “get out, you’re not worthy, you non-gamer!” type of way. I just really can’t imagine that anyone’s going to come to this page who doesn’t know what Katamari Damacy is all about.
But if you need to know: You play a tiny Prince who has roll a knobbly ball around that picks up everything that touches it, as long as it’s smaller than the ball. The aim of the game is to roll a lot of things up. And that’s about it. From drawing pins to the stars themselves, anything’s fair game as long as you’ve got your ball, or Katamari, to the required size. The challenge comes from working out paths through levels to get as much as possible as quickly as possible.
And it’s all a great big bundle of joy.
Ah, and another good thing about Fahrenheit is that the following conversation can now take place -
Friend: “Have you head of Theory of a Deadman?”
Me: “The band? Yeah.”
Friend: “What are they like?”
Fahrenheit: edutainment at its finest.
“I love you, Lucas.”
Where the fuck did that come from? Is someone on the team a Kevin Smith fan? Did they just want to throw in a Clerks reference?
Talk about love at first sight. Well, second sight, I suppose. Possibly third. But you know what I mean.
It makes no sense at all.
Anyway, I completed it. Fucked up a trigger torture section right at the end and got a bad ending, but went back in afterwards and got a better one. Not sure if there’s a super-great-mega ending.
Anyway, despite my moaning, I think the good outwieghs the bad. It’s pretty short – I played it for a couple of hours last night at most, and then today for… um, seven or eight hours, I suppose. And while there are some really, really annoying parts… a lot of annoying parts… so… what the hell is so good about it? It must be the interactive story stuff. It can’t just be the story, because if it were a TV mini-series it would be laughed out of town. And I suppose some of the action sequences aren’t annoying and can be quite exciting.
Phew. I’m glad I’m not a games reviewer, because I’d be stuck with this one. Maybe I could just rewrite the press release a bit and shove 8/10 at the end. Would that work?
Okay, imagine playing Metal Gear Solid.
Now take away the radar.
“Ah, they did for that Metal Gear Solid 3!” <- Reader's voice.
Yes, but then take away all your gadgets for tracking the position of guards.
And then make the guards invisible.
And then play it blindfolded.
That’s what these sections of Fahrenheit are like. Apart from the blindfolded bit. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think it makes any difference whether I keep my eyes closed or open, it’s all utterly random.
So, all I’ve done today is moan about this game. And yet I’ve been playing it most of the day and I’m still going. Why? Because I want to know what happens. And when it’s good – Tyler visiting the bank, say – it’s very, very good indeed.
I can’t help but feel that the whole “the story is under your control” thing is bollocks, mind. Apart from a few choices that probably don’t make much difference – such as which character to send to the bank – it all seems very, very linear.
Oh dear lord.
Another random-as-fuck “Don’t move or I’ll shoot” bit.
Did anyone actually play these fucking sections before they were released in our homes?
Won’t somebody please think of the children!
Well, I got past the book puzzle. I didn’t complete it, no way, I just left the building. The game asked me if I was sure I wanted to go, which is rather like asking a drowning man if he’s sure he wants the life belt thrown to him.
(Did I just make ‘life belt’ up? One of those round floating things on string, anyway. You know.)
(Maybe it’d better if I’d used a man in the desert and a drink of a water as an analogy.)
Anyway, I’ve just got past some terribly annoying action sequences and I’m still playing.
I’ve gone back to it.
But I’m now stuck. Completely and utterly stuck.
Some sterotyped Chinese chap wants me to find him a book. In a huge building full of books. I think I’ve found a code number to identify it, but I can’t see any way of applying that code to the environment in order to find the book.
I’ve been taken random books of shelves and giving them to him, just on the off chance, but he keeps telling me it’s the wrong one. Which isn’t a surprise.
I’ve just been walking around the building hoping inspiration will strike. But that doesn’t look like happening any time soon.
I almost dozed off just now, which isn’t a good thing to do while playing a game.
The controls are shit, there’s an enforced first-person bit where it ignores your invert settings for the camera, the lip-syncing is awful and now this.
What am I missing? Nobody else seems to have had problems completing the game. What. Am. I. Missing?
I’d been looking forward to this.
It seemed okay when I played it last night and I was looking forward to spending the day with it today, having nothing better to do.
The adventure bits are clunky, but fine. The real-time conversations just make me panic and choose an option randomly, but I guess that’s okay. The rhythm action style prompt-following action sequences are slightly annoying. I tend to avoid them, if possible.
So I could cope. The story’s interesting, though it seems to be a lot more linear than I expected. Quite enjoyable overall.
But then there was a flashback bit which I couldn’t work out how to do. It went like this.
10. RUN FOR TWO SECONDS ACROSS A MILITARY INSTALLATION
20. CLOSE UP OF GUARD SHOUTING “STOP, OR I’LL SHOOT”
30. GAME OVER SCREEN
40. GOTO 10
I eventually figured it out, thinking I must have just got past the most annoying part of the game.
But… but… then there are the trigger pulling bits. You have to hit the left and right triggers alternately as fast as possible. And I have always, always hated games that made me do that with buttons. With triggers it’s even more painful. Literally. The first few were quite short and I grumbled through them. But then they got longer and harder and my fingers started to feel like they were going to fall off…
So, I was on the edge after having to do SIX of those events in a row.
And then I got to a bit where I had to keep a line in the middle of the screen at the same time as doing adventurey bits. My brain and fingers and thumbs can’t cope with that sort of challenge, especially when sore and annoyed. And I’ve got the bloody game set on EASY, for fuck’s sake.
So I turned it off, my head full of CAPS RAGE, fully intending to track down the person responsible for those sections and express my displeasure in a physical fashion… but in the hour or two since that happened something odd has happened. I want to go back and try again. I have no idea why. The game just keeps annoying me. But I want to go back.