Pulse Cannon 08.12.04

Pulse Cannon
Michael O’Reilly

Wow what a week. I start not one but two new jobs this week. One being a paying job, the other being this here column on this here brand spanking new website. And since my other job is an overnighter I have been adjusting my sleep schedule to find the right balance of awake during normal hours and sleeping in. It’s really not that bad though, I have always been a person who sleeps in on weekends and stays up well into the wee hours, so this just legitamizes it. Doing it night in night out does put a crimp on the social plans, epecially when your woman works afternoons. Ah well, on to the reason you clicked on the link, my spiffy new column, the Pulse Cannon.

Since this is my first column I’m going to describe where I’d like to take it in the future. Jamaica. There that was easy. Ok, seriously, this is going to be a column where I tell you whats what and you sit there and like it. No not really. It is more likely that you’ll read what I have to say and tell me where to go. Until that happens though, what I’m going to do is write about the games I’ve played in the past week and describe to you my thoughts. Sometimes these thoughts will be
amusing, sometimes you may have even had them yourself, but hopefully it will always be entertaining. Afterall, why else would you read my
column? It won’t be for the news, I’m pretty certain of that.

Now then, onto what I’ve been playing in the past week.

This weeks list includes:
ESPN 2K5 (XBox)
Madden 2005 (Xbox)
Starcraft Broodwar
Spiderman 2

So a few weeks ago my brother went and picked up ESPN 2K5 for his XBox and we’ve been playing it quite a bit ever since. I personally really
enjoyed the feel of the game, as it felt natural to me. So much so that when I rented Madden to do the yearly “Did I pick the right game” test, I found it difficult to get into the gameplay. The games are more alike this year than they have been in the past, with Madden finally ditching the press a button to bring up your recievers control scheme.

All the similarities just make the differences seem that much bigger in my eyes. Graphics for one thing. It just amazes me how horrid Madden looks when compared to ESPN. Tackling and various other animations just look better in ESPN. Plus the coaches don’t look like the undead in ESPN. The running game in ESPN feels better than Maddens does, but passing is much sharper in Madden. This is of course my own personal opinion, you may find yours is the opposite.

I will give Madden this much though, they really made things interesting when it came time for a last second field goal to win the game. Hearing your kicker’s heartbeat and having the opposing team call a time out to try and freeze him were both really nice touchs. Also, the announcing in Madden is just vastly superior to that of ESPN. You will probably still wind up killing the announcers in the options after 5 games, but at least it will last 5 games, unlike ESPN where 2 games in you could tell things were gonna get ugly fast.

Before I picked up Madden at Blockbuster I was really in need of something new to play, and as a bunch of guys I chat with online were challenging each other to some Starcraft, I found myself reinstalling the best RTS game of all time and joining in on the fun. Battle.net is still a fantastic way to play a game online, and I soon slipped back into that really comfortable pair of shoes that Blizzard produced way back in 1997. I was never a great Starcraft player but the guy I played wound up being worse than me, so I had fun toying with him. We both picked Terrans and wound up in a stalemate for most of the game, with him slowly building up enough money to build a single nuke, which he then dropped on me thinking it would end the game. Since I hadn’t been going for nukes I had built up a sizable force of Battlecruisers and I sent them on their merry way to end the game. He demanded a rematch, and since I don’t like getting nuked I decided I would return the favor, and show him how it was supposed to happen. Again we got into a bit of a stalemate, with him again trying to nuke me into oblivion with one whole nuke. I happily returned the favor, lining up 5 ghosts all around his base and systematically decimating his base one nuke at a time. I think it will be awhile before I play him again, he’s avoiding me. Like I said though, I’m not the greatest Starcraft player who ever lived, so I foolishly accepted another persons challenge soon after destroying my first foe, and was promptly slaughtered. There’s always someone better than you I once read. That just proves it to me.

The other game I’ve been playing is one I reviewed for 411, the last game I reviewed for 411 as a matter of fact, Spiderman 2. I’m ignoring most of the missions these days, just happy to be swinging around town stopping the occasional purple crime and looking for hideouts as I go.

One thing I’ve noticed about the game is just how much timing is required to pull many of the combo’s off. The web hanger for example, is just a pain in my butt, but others can do it so effortlessly they always end a fight with it. Also, it appears I’ve yet to grasp the basic principals of speed when it comes to webswinging. Some missions, like the photo missions require you to get around town pretty damned fast, and I’m just not getting it done. Some of that is just taking the right route, but another part is clearly getting some speed in my webswinging. Ah well, just something to work on while playing the game.

So there you have it, the first Pulse Cannon. If you have any moments in gaming that you’d like to share, feel free to drop me a line. Also, if you’ve found a game that you think everyone needs to be playing, let me know and I’ll see if I can’t get around to playing it and seeing just how crazy you really are. Till next time, powering down the Pulse Cannon.