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Games, technology, music, silliness. Oh and ninjas. Lots of ninjas.

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Location: Oslo, Norway

I am Andreas. Day time programmer and technical consultant. Night time musician and game developer.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Friendly XBLA warnings

So we're getting Marathon 2 on XBLA. We've got Symphony of the night on XBLA. We've got Alien hominid on XBLA. Naturally we now have expectations of the platform. Even veteran titles like Outpost Kaloki X are full games in their own right.

Then came a bevvy of Digital Eclipse driven emulated titles, the grand majority of which are undeserving of your attention.

I was super excited about Super Contra, foolishly thinking it was the SNES Super Contra. Failure. It's the arcade Super Contra, which is nowhere near as rad as the SNES title (sorry #shmups, but arcade apologists < nintendo apologists in this round). Play the demo and weep. It's hard, but what of it? It's also ugly as sin and plays like poo.

The biggest offender though is EA's new Wing Commander title, Arena. This seemed like such a nobrainer for me. Drop players in an enclosed space, maintain the oldschool fly/shoot mechanics, show Project Sylpheed how it's done. Simple, straight forward arcade space shooting. Add teams and mission types, and you'd have tournament material. Hell, i can list you a control scheme:

Left stick: x/y thrusters
click: toggle intertia compensation (y'know, to let you drift freely when releasing thrusters)

Right stick: pitch/yaw
click: target ship closest to crosshairs

Left trigger: brakes
Right trigger: forward thrust
Left button: fire missiles
Right button: fire guns

Dpad left: change missiles
Dpad right: change guns
Dpad up: Shield power to guns
Dpad down: Gun power to shields

What they've done instead is shit all over Wing Commander. The game would have been fine, had it not been saddled with the WC legacy, because to this day there are two series that pulled off arcade space combat that well, and that's Freespace and WC. This third person pseudo 2.5D piu-piu deathmatch bullshit with thimble sized ships, terrible music, and an overall presentation completely devoid of any personality is unworthy.

If you've never played a WC game; this is not what it used to be about.
If you have; don't play this game. You will howl with anguish.

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