Pulse Cannon – Sept 15

Pulse Cannon
Michael O’Reilly

Hello again and welcome back to the Pulse Cannon, my little window on the world of gaming. This past week went by even quicker than normal due to rescheduling, and as a result I’m now writing this column every Wednesday. Update your calendars, work it into your datebooks, it’s the Pulse Cannon every Wednesday from now on…until it gets moved again.

Anyway, this week you will again hear of my own exploits in gaming since nobody was kind enough to email me theirs. Since the World Cup of Hockey ended last night (Woohoo Canada by the way) I’ll give some more impressions of ESPN NHL 2K5, as well as Street Fighter Collection for the PS2 and perhaps some more Psi Ops.

Now then, regarding ESPN Hockey, I spoke last week about how I had all but mastered the difficulty setting I had the game set to. Well it turns out that I was wrong, as I didn’t actually save the game on the setting I thought I had, and had actually been bragging about owning the n00b level. I found this out as I was going in to up the difficulty as I mentioned I was going to do. It annoyed me too, because I had done everything I figured I needed to do to save the setting, but there it was on Easy. It just shows me yet again that Visual Concepts really needs to get off their behinds and do some work on the front end of the game. I’m happy to report that the next difficulty settings is noticably harder than easy, but it’s a learning curve thing, and since I’m an old pro I still won most games I played this week. Not all though, so I think it’s getting a lot more realistic as the difficulty goes up.

Second on the agenda this week is Capcom’s Street Fighter Collection for the PS2. It felt good to play a real Street Fighter game on the ps2, it’s a joy I haven’t been able to feel since I got rid of my ps1 Street Fighters (Foolish i know, but who could count on Capcom to NOT release more versions of their games?). In any event, they finally did release a Street Fighter game on the PS2, 2 of them in fact in this one compilation. Both the previously unreleased Street Fighter 3 (on PS2 anyway, I know it was on Dreamcast. But sorry, that system doesn’t count. The joystick sucked) and the old classic Street Fighter 2 make it to store shelves in this version. And after giving them both a whirl, I’m amazed at how much the game improved from Street Fighter 2 to Street Fighter Alpha 2. I can’t even play Street Fighter 2 anymore it plays that awkwardly for me. And Street Fighter 3 seems to go back to the older way of fighting, more realistic perhaps (Or as realistic as Street Fighter can get) but not as fluid or as enjoyable as the Alpha series. I really don’t like the “Older” look of the returning characters either. Maybe I just liked the anime style of the Alpha characters, but they all look horrible in SF3 for the most part. To me at least. I’ve heard many people exclaim how gorgeous this game looks, and how smoothly it moves, and I see some validity to that. But no, it’s not a beautiful game. It’s not pretty it just looks that way. So I guess I’ll resume my search for a copy of Street Fighter Alpha 2 and 3 for the PS1.

And I’ll finish up this week by talking some more about my new favorite game, Psi Ops. I’ve actually hit a wall in the missions here, but its not due to level difficulty or bad design, its actually good design thats killing me. I’m enjoying my powers too much, picking dudes up and
throwing them around the room tends to get noticed by people. And smart people will bring friends with them to see whats going on. Smarter people will hit an alarm if they sense something amiss (Seeing a fellow guard flying through the air for an unknown reason would tend to cause that feeling I believe. For almost any reason actually.) This is what’s been stopping me from advancing too much deeper into the game. I’ve discovered that there are more things I wish I could do with my powers. When I pick up a guy and throw him it doesnt kill him right away. That’s alright I suppose, but I want to be able to just pick a guy up and slam him into the ground, turn him into a puddle of goo. It’s actually kind of strange. If I pick a guy up off a tower and throw him he doesn’t automatically die, he might survive. But if I take control of him and jump him off that tower he’s deader than dirt. Still, I am enjoying this game even when I die and have to start over again. I really hope this one gets a sequel.

Speaking of games that I want sequels to, another one I wanted a sequel for is getting it this very week, Sly Cooper 2. I’ll be grabbing it and and doing the review, so look for that shorty. Then the week after that look for some more impressions of Rome Total War, if it gets to stores on time (as my mind compells it to.) And of course the Star Wars Trilogy hits DVD next week, along with Star Wars Battlefront, so I don’t know, you may not hear from me for a few weeks. At anyrate, send me your thoughts on the games I’ve mentioned or others you think are gems that should be seen by all. Until next time, this is O’Reilly powering down the Pulse Cannon once more.