around in rocket-powered armour is cool. At least, that's always been
the philosophy behind the Tribes franchise. For those unfamiliar,
it's a first-person shooter series that straddles the line between
Unreal Tournament and Battlefield 1942 with one major differenceeveryone
gets a jetpack that facilitates soaring and sliding along the z-axis,
letting gamers reach places they could only dream of in other games
of the type.
played a lot of the "best of the best" shooters out there.
Games like Half-Life, Quake 2, and the original Doom series. I've
been playing these games almost as long as I've been playing video
games as a hobby. So I was a little casual when I first sat down to
take a sneak peak at the new game that Irrational Games and Vivendi
Universal Games have put together. A little title they call Tribes:
the first ten minutes I was hooked. This game went from being something
I was vaguely interested in to the top of my must haves list. Vengeance
is a wonderful game on many, many levels. The single player game was
so involving that I first sat down to get a feel for the game I didn't
stop for almost 4 hours. The graphics are wonderful, and the controls
handled extremely well. I can't remember the last time I was this
impressed with a game.
with the jetpack worked like a dream. The controls were so responsive
I was pulling stunts (and surviving) that I wouldn't have tried on
older games. Even more impressive was the computer AI. The levels
are designed on a 3D scale. Things are rarely linear, which means
the AI has to adapt for changes in height as much as it needs to adapt
for changes in direction. I was awestruck when I first got into the
area levels of the single-player game. The AI was bounding over hills,
taking flight to avoid missiles and other area-effect weapons, and
giving me hell.
other game series that try to create a driving reason for why the
carnage exists, Tribes: Vengeance created a believable story for why
the universe is the way it is. I've seen movies with less plot then
Vengeance. Being able to play through multiple levels as different
characters gives the player a greater sense of immediacy. Instead
of reading some text or listening to some recorded speech talking
about what happened you know. After all, you're the one who dared
the impossible. There's even one spot where the player gets to play
two different characters in the same level.
immersed myself in the goals of infiltrating and eliminating an illegal
Tribal base on one on the Empire's planets, I was manning the guns
of one of our drop ships as they circled the area looking for a safe
place to land and let our ground troops for the assault on the base.
It was a fun change from the run and gun action that had so far been
presented to me. Action is what the game is all about and the developers
have given the already fast game play of Tribes a turbo boost by incorporating
some new features and weapons. One of the new features that will make
the difference between high scores and frequent respawning is skiing.
When running over the crest of a hill, hold down the space bar and
tiny jets in your suit's boots engage to propel you over it. Practice
and proper timing of jump jets gets you a boost of speed and help
you fly further than you normally would. A grappling hook can also
be used to swing your way around tight areas or bring yourself up
close and personal to an enemy player. Also scattered around some
maps are jump pads that anyone who has played Quake III will recognize.
These emplacements will fling your player forward giving you a bit
more range and speed as you jet your way across the map. During the
arena levels I got to see several different options the game has available
for cooperative team play. Games like capture-the-flag are a gaming
standard, but the "fuel rounds" were just as much fun. Running
around the landscape finding hidden "fuel" reserves to bring
back to the team depot was a challenge. Even more difficult was stealing
fuel from the opponents while trying to defend your own depot from
graphics are run on an enhanced Unreal Engine and come across as crisp
and clear. I was especially taken with the level design that the developers
put into the game. Everything is colour coded, which is entertaining,
but there are also architectural styles for each of the major cultures
in the game (Imperial, Phoenix Tribe, and Blood Eagle Tribe.) Each
culture has their own armour design to go along with their buildings,
and each is unique. The graphics were not as awe-inspiring as the
very latest graphics engines can render (like Quake 3) but they were
still impressive. My machine had (almost) no problems rendering everything
Vengeance joins the growing list of titles that you have to add to
your collection for 2004. It finds its niche by providing great multiplayer
action, allowing it to join the ranks as an alternative to Unreal
Tournament 2004. While the character animations in the single-player
cut scenes detract from the overall product (I guess Doom 3 spoiled
me), Irrational Studios should be applauded for translating the action
and intensity of the game into a mostly satisfying setting.
beginnerís guide to
incredibly good anime
list below includes our picks of the finest anime ever and two of
the newest which anyone should keep an eye out for and be suitably
impressed. For old anime fans, these are definite must-sees; innocent
bystanders who just happen to watch these just might end up joining
the fold and hence be subverted by the anime studios' plans for world
Robotech (AKA Macross ) was the first anime I ever saw and it continues
to be one of the finest, a good quarter century after it was made.
While the artwork is dating rather badly these days, the story, character
and dramatic pacing remains really really good. And those transforming
fighters are just the coolest things ever. The series is rather long
(85 episodes) but it IS worth it; simply put, there's life before
Robotech, and then there's life after it.
of the Fireflies is the single greatest war story I've ever seen.
Ever. In any genre. With all due respect to Spielberg and the rest
of the world, this is the most moving portrayal of war it has been
this particular person's privilege to see. The story is based on a
novel by a WW-II survivor in Japan, and is so infinitely sad and beautiful
that it defies description. This is too grand an experience to be
comedy, style, and the best director ever combined to make Lupin III:
The Castle of Cagliostrio the greatest Lupin feature ever, and probably
one of the most entertaining adventures possible. The dialogue is
witty and the stunts zanier than Mr Bean, with damsels in distress,
cars driving up walls, and an ending Disney copied... need we say
is quite possibly the funniest animated feature since, ah, the original
Looney Tunes. And it's got tons of action too, to boot; and the cast
is the epitome of eccentricity.
premise, and truckloads of kung fu, romance, action and incredible
humour. And it's just so much fun to watch people transform into...
uh... a whole lot of other things when doused with cold water...
so good they're classics in the making:
Rurouni Kenshin is the definitive samurai experience. Bar none. THE
story of one man atoning for a dark past with a lifetime of protecting
the weak, backed with beautiful artwork, fluid animation, great plots
(except for the filler, of which there's sadly a bit too much) and
a cast that you can't help but love.
Bebop: Incredible artwork, even more incredibly believable characters,
cool heroes, cooler villains, hot heroines, incredible soundtrack
and the best ending possible ever. And supertanker loads of style.
The thing is, Bebop is so good that it's best that we don't start
on it, because it's going to be nigh on impossible to stop.
of Escaflowne is the best fantasy anime I've ever seen. A plot that
is intricate, fast paced and a dramatic roller coaster ride you're
not likely to ever forget. And beautiful, detailed artwork with rich
colours and a style that'll set you thinking Dungeons and Dragons
before you can blink. Did we mention the drama, the action, the romance
and the incredible soundtrack yet? No? Well, now we did.
to Robotech above for reasons for why this sequel, Macross Plus was
so anticipated. Read on and discover that this 4 episode feature (also
released as a single film) is even better than it needed to be - artwork,
music, action, and plot wise. And we loved the characters for every
instant that the director didn't want us to hate them, which means
most of the time. A five star ticket to the action superhighway, with
enough of everything else to rock.
hottest of the newest things to watch:
Samurai Champloo and Naruto. Samurai Champloo has
style and a punkesque groove to the way the show goes AND the animation
to go with it.
thing hasn't been aired yet but what has, has the whole world of anime
fans on their toes. Naruto is FUN taken to a hitherto unseen height,
and is packed chock-full with action to satiate people who thought
Die-Hard was over before it started.
New Year, guys. I'm giving out Gmails as a new year's gift to my fellow
surfers. The first four to ask for a Gmail will get one. As for the
new year, Sites Unseen will undergo some major modification pretty
soon. And check out my blog at niloywrites.blogspot.com
of photojournalism 2004
Shortened link: http://tinyurl.com/3m3pv
The biggest news stories of the year are always accompanied by photographs.
It's no surprise, then, that the collection of photos from the recipient
of the Newspaper Photographer of the Year award include an image of
Iraqis defacing a Saddam Hussein mural. Or that the second-place winner's
entries feature photos of an Iraqi prison. But some of the best photos
in newspapers, magazines, and on the Web don't accompany the big stories.
The photojournalists featured in the National Press Photographers
Association competition have captured amazing flights, local heroes,
and heart-stopping rescues. The winning photographers in over two
dozen categories offer thousands of pictures that are sure to move,
amuse, and enlighten you.
One of the countless reasons why Google rocks.
Clean your soul, online
Confess and see other people's confessions.
Most of us readily associate the names Apple, IBM, and Compaq with
computer hardware. But do you know the names Acorn, Luxor, or Eagle?
Starting in 1973 with R2E's Micral, a computer with a processor speed
of only 108 KHz, this site archives over 500 old computers. Rounding
out the "old" machines is Amstrad's PCW 16 from 1994, a
robust computing wonder that clocked in with 16 MHz and an operating
system named Roseanne. This homage to defunct hardware shows how far
computing power has come in the past few decades.
arrested, handcuffed over scissors
Apparently, she also had a sharply pointed pencil.
Avenge yourself in the New Year!
Annoying co-worker got you down? Recently got dumped by a physically
attractive but intellectually shallow person? Don't get mad, take
a nice little revenge. Dispensing time-worn tips on the fine art of
getting even (and then some!), in this site the Revenge Lady offers
advice with a smile. The Q-and-A column ("put a mouse trap in
his desk") is the real draw here, but you'll also find a handy
guide to the rules of revenge and a life-affirming list of top-ten
revenge stories. And remember, "Let your creativity blossom.
Don't go for clichés like putting gum in important papers.
Yawn. Be original. Enjoy yourself. Give your mark an experience they'll
never ever forget."
and their skeletons
Shortened link: http://tinyurl.com/54tqe
In this "The Skeletal Systems of Cartoon Characters," the
illustrator has boldly imagined the calcite cores of beloved cartoon
favourites. As you might guess, most of these characters sport some
seriously strange skulls. Witness the gaping eye sockets of Buttercup
from the Power Puff Girls. Note the hypertrophied mandible of Fred
Flintstone. Gaze in awe at the bizarre frontal lobe of Betty Boop.
And who knew that Pikachu's tail had vertebrae? This exhibit clearly
debunks the myth that toons are all the same under the skin.