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Sunday, September 17, 2017 by LotBlind

Divine Divinity... Marble Marble... Rumbly Rumble... Metal Metal

I remember about the only one – the first one – of the idiosynchratic Larian Entertainment's Divinity RPG-hack-'n'-slashers I've played that it had a distinctly imbalanced skill tree. That's no wonder, since their aim was to incorporate a large smörgåsbord of options suiting the three main playstyles, with both ranged and melee combat fleshed out, all the while dealing with obnoxious publisher interference during development. All of this and seemingly a lot more carries over to what was really the third in the series after Beyond Divinity, generally considered a small dip after Divine Divinity. To 2009's Divinity II: Ego Draconis (later burnished and glazed into 2011's Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga), the critics responded in similarly lukewarm ways, especially when it came to the Xbox 360 version. This is ironic because most of the time, it's the PC port that tends to suffer from developers' attempts at branching into controller-controlled territories.

To return to those skill trees: There obviously can't be dozens of abilities each perfectly go-with-able, especially when no strict class-limiting exists. I also am yet to see a game balanced for speedrunning instead. Thrusting at enemies through the three-dimensionalized tracts of Rivellon and embracing the philosophy of the helicopter (a dual-wielding style), Marcel Kalmes makes short [...er, by 14:16,] single-segmented 2:03:37 work of the realm's unworthy would-be lords and masters. We might as well append Israeli's professional-grade verification to Marcel's own notes to give clues as to wherefrom the none-too-shabby improvement.

Don't lose your MARBLEs now, but... stop the MADNESS! Now that that's out of the way, we may proceed into a terse biography of Elipsis, the speedrunner and person we all know through six links max (as we all know each other, apparently). He has a couple of published runs for a boat racing game, another weird one that was timed at 0:00 (that's gotta have been a Jedi mind trick), and another two that prove his fingers are all, individually and collectively, a ninja. His YouTube channel evidences having been around since that mythical time of yore when it was actually considered okay to handicam your cool gameplay videos. The only saving grace, really, is this crab. And this 0:02:43 for the NES Marble Madness if you're into that sorta thin'. I don't see anything left to explain about these ~2 seconds off. Just like the last time, all those reactions and all of that deep deep catharsis is conveyed in an touching, yet dignified, spoken commentary accessible by switching to audio track two in a player like VLC.

If the name, in general, of PS2's Rumble Roses, is not enough to cue you in on it, the brazen initials have got to be: this game is going for "R-Risqué" and sure knows its thing. It's about fantasy wrestling exhibitions where every fighter is, in the most flagrant fashion, a she, and possesses of a side personality, an evil – or in some cases good – twin. It threw me for a loop seeing the term "professional wrestling" applied to this in the Wiki article. Isn't the default for all "professional" activities to be very much the real thing, no tricks and no gimmicks? It looks like what silly old me always knew as show wrestling has attempted some kind of facelift (which is appropriate since it sounds like one of their moves) by tacking on this possibly quite specious prefix (which is appropriate because that's what the matches themselves are, a pre-fix). To clear our, no doubt, mistaken conceptions we'd have to summon someone who gives a measurable amount of damn. That's not going to be the runner, 'Tigger77'. Forgetting they'd surely get paid more if they were to drag it out a bit, they've went ahead and stomped their sleazy opposition right in their resting bitch faces on a character called Sgt. Clements, for whom changing attires to the two kinds of swimwear (I said "knows its thing") can only barely avoid coming as an upgrade to her modesty. Let's collectively count some blessings guys, the smut exhibition itself only takes 0:01:57, but the dirty thoughts, aye, they'll linger...

Of all these anarchistic phrasal amalgamations, "Otherside" seems a relatively popular one. It's evocative for sure: it suggests, in sufficiently vague fashion, a spatial juxtaposition of some kind pointing out the more alien and mysterious half (way more so than just "the Other Side" could ever convey!), but because space is often used as an analogy for experiences or states of mind, there's hardly a limit to what the proposed dichotomy could be. You could make it "the Otherside [Entertainment] of the gaming industry" a là that company that keeps getting more limelight cause I can't stop thinking about it apparently; "the light side vs. the dark side", or some elder gods in actual Star Wars lore, would you believe it; or you could euphemize the woebegone bridge-underations of the accustomated vein-pricker as verily did Anthony Kiedis in a musical poem by this name.

Or then it's a dimension where aliens thirst for the secret of Metal Morph-osis so they can Terminator their way in to establish a competitive multinational corporation making acquisitions through bribery, blackmail and guerrilla interventions... or whatever it is they had in mind... Yeah! What's shocking is the run is by Patrick 'P "The Man" J' DiCesare, yet it doesn't have that kind of uniformly piddle-on reviews we've grown to assume. At least it has to be as unfair as an asymmetric seesaw, right? Well, the customary audio commentary hitched onto this 0:37:14 certainly gives something by way of an explanation. You're excused for thinking Origin, adulated for their Ultima series and Wing Commander, wasn't capable of making a splash with traditional action titles like the one in question, but they did come up with the perfectly decent Crusader soon after, scurrying back to those PC systems that they were definitely more at home with so... I guess not really.

Saturday, August 26, 2017 by LotBlind

That DEATH Cat's Gonna Make Me Fall Prey (2017) to Gift Falsehood Hollow!

If and only if you're a giant weeaboo, you will no doubt feel patronized for me telling you this, but Yu-Gi-Oh! is some kind of anime, probably also a manga and most certainly a video game (or a hundred billion). It's apparently more mature than Pokémon with something called Shadow Games and talk about DEATH. Yu-Gi-Oh! isn't actually something you play per se but there is a heavily featured trading card game (represented as holograms in the series itself) called Duel Monsters. What does the title mean you ask? It means "courage to lie to a bear!"... or "superior chase skills!"... or "help affair to grow!"... Yeah, we've been here before, haven't we? I created this spreadsheet to actually translate the name randomly every time you load it up. Have the blast you know you're supposed to!

I don't know who the characters are being challonged to the DEATH game in these three, but I have no trouble placing 'AntonioPeremin' in my convoluted mental maps and charts. He's taken some of the few PC Yu-Gi-Oh! games and won at single duels like he was in a rush to the opera or something (Paul Morphy style). Here's the breakdown for y'all:

If and only if you're a collector of obscurity and curios like those 18th century men-of-the-world procuring for their "Wunderkammers" discoveries and samples from far abroad, chances are you're not all that familiar with 2010's Deadly Premonition. Despite this, it seems to enjoy the status of their best-known title amongst many mostly this-year's-edition titles Access Games have produced for mainstream publishers such as Square-Enix and Microsoft. The non-westernized name was Red Seeds Profile which points at a central motif. There's a murderer, known as the Raincoat Killer, whose idiosynchratic trail special agent York is combing for the slightest of clues in small town Greenvale and outskirts. The game's most notable feature was its dynamic representation of the town with NPCs and business establishments each operating on the clock with the day cycling and the weather shifting. York himself must take care of his corporal sustenance and sleep, often resorting to caffeine to stave it off another couple of hours. Aside from roving about the place on wheels or off, talking to the townsfolk while trying to piece it together, surreal survival-horrory sequences (not the critics' darlings I'm afraid) are interwoven along with excerpts straight from the protagonist's sprawling subconsciousness.

Due to the reality-miming mechanics, I'm sure runner 'StiWii Rage' would have, at times, had to deliberate on the minutiae of the 3:21.07 itinerary here followed through hitchlessly in one fell sitting. I wouldn't be averse to see what it looks like in 100% mode seeing as many more chores and assignments await the sleepless in this harrowed, mesmerizing microcosm. All fans, new and old, be aware! The game's main creative engine, its Hideo Kojima if you will, Hidetaka Suehiro is now pitching a new and rather appealing design called The Good Life, up for pledges and investments on Fig.

I have to be fair... 0:06:58 for an immersim, despite their abundancy of hack-prone doors (and the occasional illusory floors and ceilings) for players to pick their way through, is certainly shorter than... well any of the others isn't it, including System Shock from a few updates ago. Thus it's not entirely inane for speedrun laymen across gaming news dispensers to have elected what we shall have to call Prey (2017) out of all those recently afflicted by speedrun radiation (what causes the gameplay to mutate) as that recurring headline item from our (celerial) sphere. It does, however, make this a bit of a rehash. Between the game's ubiquity and 'seeker__''s perfectly adequate run comments, there really isn't much left to say. As my comrade ktwo pointed out in verification, it's not likely this is the last it'll feature even in our own feed.

But for any troglodytes out there, the 2017 Prey has been compared to System Shock 2 and Deus Ex more so than Arkane Studio's own past works, such memorables as their first, Arx Fatalis, and Dishonored. The least resemblance of all "related" games is borne to the 2006 First-Person Shooter with its Native American lead, provoking accusations of Bethesda having put out a money-grubbing false reboot, and further ire from those who had subscribed to the idea they were getting the Prey 2 promised by Human Head Studios' best-of-show-ing 2011 E3 presentation. Rumors circulate about the politics of Human Head's falling out with its publisher, and do those ever come comely? Regardless, Arkane's again bagged treasured above-80 metascores and, no doubt, deafened a part of the crowd to the hubbub. If you're still sitting on the fence, I think I'll just leave you with the most glowing and... umm... least glowing two reviews I could find, both for the PC version. I wish reviewers were more mindful of mentioning which difficulty setting they took as it can change the experience quite radically.

Friday, August 18, 2017 by Worn_Traveler

Modes of Transport

Cars, airplanes, rockets, hookshots, super arrows, teleportation, and good old walking are just some of the ways we get from Point A to Point B in video games. Sometimes we stay in bounds, other times we break the game’s reality and forego collision detection and other such impediments. Today’s runs all feature different means of travel; some direct and some indirect.

We start with Kid Icarus. Pit is the protagonist of Kid Icarus and like the mythical Icarus, has wings. Unlike Icarus, these wings don’t melt when getting near the sun. Also unlike Icarus, they don’t seem to work for flying. Pit’s legs and feet work great though, which is good since there’s a lot of jumping in this game. Maybe the wings help Pit get higher than the average hero? Regardless, 'Darkwing Duck' has Pit hopping and shooting through Angel Land in 0:22:22, which beats the previously published time of 25:23. The lower time comes from newer strategies and a skip or two.

Our next mode of transportation is… a beetle? No, it’s not a Volkswagen and it’s not alive. This beetle has a 200cc engine and decimates the tracks in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Jose 'UchihaMadao' Karica goes through all of the tracks in a blistering 1:35:36 on Hard mode. I’m not big on racing games but I enjoyed watching this one. Give it a shot.

Golden Axe gives you several options for travel. One can walk, run, and ride on the back of several Bizarrians (that’s what the instruction manual calls them). These creatures can swing their tails and breathe fire (but not at the same time). There is also a village on the back of a turtle and one level involves riding on a massive eagle. While we’ve had a single player run here for a while, Steve '8-Bit Steve' Lynn & Anthony 'Sync' Hawkes decided to team up using Tyris-Flare and Ax-Battler to stop Death Adder and his minions. They kick and stab their way through this arcade port in 0:08:09. The teamwork is definitely worth a watch.

Sunday, August 13, 2017 by LotBlind

Shockingly Pink, Shockingly Tasty

The times are extremely interesting for the retinue of cyberpunk masterpiece System Shock and fans of so-called immersive sims in general. If you've been buying once-lost adventure and RPG titles from GOG recently, there's a chance you've been enjoying enhancements coded in by a certain Night Dive Studios and their sub-contractors (contractees?). Modern resolutions and compatibility, bug fixes and improved UIs all spring from company founder Stephen Kick's desire to make the sequel, System Shock II, legally available again after having been limboed between two rightholders since the venerable Looking Glass Studios tapped out in 2000. Since then, Night Dive has updated a large variety of games and is even giving the first of the Shocks much more than the standard doses of electrotherapy having set out to completely rebuild the game from ground up. They're collaborating with old Looking Glass staff on it so definitely not looking like another Thi4f. Nor is the unrelated System Shock 3 in the works by Otherside Entertainment, an unbelievably qualified superteam dedicated to leapfrogging "immersims" of the past and delivering us from the dark ages of triple-A stagnation for good!

Now that you know something about Night Dive, whose handiwork System Shock: Enhanced edition, too, is, let it also be known that it's officially been given the treatment, abusing every inch of the mousepad now that mouselooking is a thing. We have 'PvtCb', the runner behind the old "classic" System Shock run as well, doing the honors. The game is on my to-play list and so I don't wish to delve into its secrets too deeply, but in a nutshell, you embody a hacker whose audacity and superior know-how incur an involuntary assignment aboard Citadel Station, where it is the station's central A.I., the unforgettable Shodan, he will struggle to outwit. The run is with deaths and resets, in single-segment mode and on the default difficulty. The mouselook makes it much smoother and enables new tricks so it's only 0:10:37 long where the classic version ran on for half an hour.

Sam 'Samtastic' Locke is one of our frequent-er frequenters when it comes to run submissions. He's been systematically chewing through the valid categories for the two main Oddworld titles in a pleasantly esthetic, necklace-like pattern: Oddysee, Oddysee, Exoddus, Oddysee, Oddysee, Exoddus, and his latest two for the remaster Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty!. If we wanted to project some into the future at conscious and malicious risk of putting him on the spot, the logical continuation would be either reeling back with Exoddus, Oddysee, Oddysee etc. OR going for the other remake, Soulstorm, then N'n'T, N'n'T, and one more for Soulstorm. Seeing as Exoddus' remake is yet to emerge from the Oddworld processing facilities, this would force the cessation of activities until given the opportunity to tick it off later down the [Monsaic] line... but it's one of those two options... or letting everyone down. Everyone.

Speaking of being let down, if your childhood memories are particularly photosensitive, them being exposed to the cold steely light of reality an immensurable disaster, you might have been distraught at the sight of Sam's last New 'n' Tasty into-pulp-stomping. Here's your spiritual Aloe vera: an 0:54:46 effort of a far more normal-looking (but exactly as mis-Mudokon-ic) glitchless category played on Hard.

Meanwhile, in the anthropomorphic discolored cartoon corner, pink being the color of passion (just ask Steven Tyler), more and more unseemly debris has eroded off Pink Panther Pinkadelic Pursuit level times under siege from 'wesen''s oceanic swell. The land mass of this 2002 platformer has now shrunk to a profile not unreminiscent of a well-cared-for bonsai tree. All but two levels (The Railway Line and The Stone Age) have been updated bringing the table to 0:10:58 with the pile of snipped leaves on the side amounting to well over a minute converted rather alchemically into time. The runner *thinks* they might be done with the game, or at least the PC ILs now, so who knows where the ebb and flow will continue its inexorable work at cliff-polishing, or bonsai-pruning depending on which analogy appealed to you more. Unless hydraulic shears are a thing.

Friday, August 4, 2017 by Anonymous

Was the Third Dimension Invented Before or After Color?

(this update was requested to be published anonymously)

Catapulted back to pop culture fame by Toy Story, the line of generic action figures endearingly called Army Men garnered enough attention for 3DO to license the toys for their own video game series that continues to this day. Utilizing strange tactics such as rolling through minefields and sidestepping tank rounds, 'ZEN_Ivan' combats Army Men 3D on the PlayStation in just 0:24:00. The game is actually a remake of the first title in the series released on the PC and the Game Boy Color, and follows the fate of Sarge as he seeks keys to open a portal to the unknown while saving POWs along the way. Controlling a lone veteran soldier battling against the entire beige army may seem daunting, but thankfully this soldier can take a rocket or two to the face.

Team Ninja, formed from Tecmo game developers, seemed destined to reboot the classic Ninja Gaiden series. Known for Dead or Alive, they used their expertise with 3D fighting games on home consoles to re-imagine Ninja Gaiden as a 3D hack and slash similar to Devil May Cry. It was decided early on to tie the game, simply titled Ninja Gaiden and released exclusively on Xbox, into the Dead or Alive universe while maintaining its lineage as a prequel to the NES storyline. A year later it was remade for the Xbox 360 as Ninja Gaiden Black, with improvements to the engine and additional content. It's in this definitive edition that 'JTB123' takes on the role of Ryu Hayabusa to slice and dice his way through numerous foes. The game's 16 chapters are cut up into 33 segments for a total time of 1:34:43. This being the PAL version we'd normally see it placed alongside the NTSC run already on the site, but given the drastically lower time it gets to stand alone (next to the single segment run).

Speedrunning lends itself more towards certain genres; however, rather than limit the hobby, it's encouraging to see runners engaging in games rarely explored for speed. Rome: Total War incorporates real-time tactics in a turn-based strategy game, and sports epic battles supporting thousands of individual units. Foregoing those with an auto-resolve option we're left with a display of menuing prowess, making the game look more like an entry in the Civilization series. Ignoring Rome completely for 0:03:11'AntonioPeremin' commands Greece in a short campaign where the goal is no longer to take the city but be first to control any 15 provinces while fending off Macedon and Thrace.

BTW: The bloopers reel for Ikari Warriors was never actually published... because this was felt to be appropriate for a bloopers reel! It's right here now.

Sunday, July 30, 2017 by LotBlind

99.99% Fail Rate Means You Did It

...and it only took you 10 000 attempts!

In that childish and annoying race to be first at all things, Jordan 'Greenalink' Greener makes a semi-continuation appearance with Blaster Master Zero, a 0:08:26 run that forced us into drastic renovations (i.e. digging out a new virtual room for Switch runs). In Zero, you're given that old supertank Sophia III of every adolescent's daydreams, playing as either Jason or one of additional DLC heroes, in what'd pass for a 16-bit version of the same game (although on the SNES it would have been called Super Blaster Master for sure). The new features feature buttons and levers, more powerful weaponry, more bosses, and Green's choice of Unlimited Mode that unlocks everything from the get-go. 'Cause race to be first. In his comments, Greenalink not only describes all the speedrun-informing gameplay adjustments made by Inti Creates (known for Shantae, Mega Man Zero, Azure Striker Gunvolt... and Mighty Number Nine), but also curses the flippancy of random boss patterns so you don't have to!

First to write about a Switch run.

The name "Knytt" suggests cognacy with Knut or Cnut, and perhaps it had that in Tove Jansson's mind. She, the famed author of The Moomins, introduced him in Vem ska trösta Knyttet? ('Who Will Comfort Toffle?') as an existentially-socially anguished antihero whose perpetual confinement is only dismantled when he overcomes his misgivings and takes matters into his own hands. Ever since, Knytt has represented anything small and fearful. Believe me, it has. Ever since Niklas Nygren's first Knytt game, he has also represented another one in a long line of similar 2D-platformer protagonists. Ever since Knytt Stories, he has no longer been that de facto protagonist having been usurped by another character from the same universe (I think), Juni whose name translates as 'June'. Stories supported and encouraged modding while launching with only the tutorial and one full story called The Machine. It is The Machine that is today raged against for 0:14:24, on a PC, by a feller called 'Gliperal'. Best ending. All's best that ends best?

First to write about the Machine story.

My cohort 'ktwo' is not entirely unknown in the three realms of slick, speedy, and swimming speedruns. Of the three, this clearly belongs to the swimming camp... which is a kind of summer camp where they specialize in teaching you all the different strokes. A stroke is what you'll have when you realize what kinda game this is and what the bastard's went and done to it: it's like watching one of those brutal heavyweight knockouts on pay-per-view. There's people proud of having completed the game PERIOD. There's those who'll place beating it ON ONE CONTINUE highest up on their ludological resumes. Then there's the speedrunner who realizes what a waste of time death really is, lose you your powerups and all, and decides to shed mortality instead of the mortal coil.

Ikari Warriors was bullet hell before bullet hell was a thing. A labyrinthine mess of enemy spawn locations and unsympathetic drop RNG. Loads of grenades and suddenly changing music tracks. It's a game that never went all-out on either [NES-grade]-realism or total abstractness either so the ef-dup helicopter sprite isn't so jarring in the end. Also not jarring is ktwo's recording which seems to have none of that static buzz that I've grown to expect of all NES videos. Clearly he's playing through an emulator! Unlike in the arcade, you can only aim in the direction you're moving, thus the imperative to minimize oblique gunfire, thus the limitless opportunities for riskier and rewardier strategies. Really what we need to take from all of this is whenever someone throws out a categorical "impossible", they probably won't be the one to do it in 0:27:26.

The run comes complete with audio commentary. AND there's hardly anything the Strategy Guide won't tell you. AND there's a bloopers reel. AND I'm the first to write about it on the SDA front page.

Do you see that below this paragraph? It's the absence of a dislike button.

Monday, July 17, 2017 by Worn_Traveler

SBD for You and Me

Hello friends. Do you need more teleportation in your life? Have you grown weary of walking in the light? Do you yearn to hide in the shadows and find your way through testing chambers, risking certain death if you are seen? Are computers and moving platforms your only friends? If any or all the above apply to you, then please sit down and watch the following instructional videos on how to optimize your clone-life experience. These training videos are from the Stealth Bastard Deluxe Clone-Life Instructional Video Series. These vital instructions have been prepared by Vincent 'Badaxis' BILLET. The preparer has updated previous training videos and created new training content as well. Even more importantly, these videos are considered top of the line and are for a large part world records too.

The first test video series is of the basic, ordinary, NG-ish type of video that can be viewed in 0:53:42.40. These brief instructional videos are updates to our training and encompass your basic existence. We have a lot of testing chambers here and it is easy to get lost so be sure to know your way around with these excellent tours of the facility.

Have you gone through these chambers already and crave something new? Try using some content that you can add to your basic form. These downloadable additions can be viewed in a fast 0:09:10.28

Still not enough? Grab your item carrying unit of choice and try out the equipment tour. Want to know more about this special package or what the equipment does? Please watch these videos in a smashing 0:25:05.13.

We hope you have enjoyed these courses on clone-life existence. Perhaps someday you will meet whomever you are a clone of... Or will that just be another clone too?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 by LotBlind

Just an announcement...

Here is an interesting survey for speedrun fans and runners created by some members of the greater speedrunning community. If you have the time, please help them out with your thoughts and opinions! Note that the deadline is this Friday, the 14th.

The second thing happening this Friday is there will be some server downtime due to shifting the physical server location. No need for panic! Any more than usual at least.

Actual updates coming soonish...

Monday, May 22, 2017 by LotBlind

The Stragglers

Daylight had broken. Almost. The last fading embers, transformed from a youthful, pale birch into gaudy, poignant shades of the upper tiers of rainbows; sizzling in the extreme, a devilish red; now softening ang graying like the twilight of man; committed their nightly act of untroubling, lay unstirred, eagerly prepared an un-ceremony for a final self-effaced donation to that which remained. Here took the nightwatch measured sips of sanguine vintage, reflecting on how much bogus philosophy was actually warranted by eighteen "cartfuls" of runs, laden three abreast and issued four times a fortnight, but deciding that like the wine, the night's accomplishments deserved to be relished a tad longer. Switching sides, the man peered leaned a benumbed foot against the age-rounded crenelations of a castle built on swampy grounds, and slowly swept along a merlon as swept his tongue against those in its cave. Unsure how much of the illuminating scene was allegorical, how much of it sheer bogus, eyes shifted from the open terrain down towards the moat and the drawbridge, whence emanated the familiar creaking of the windlass as one last trolley was being released on its dusty way.

Then he died or something. Look, it's not like the mood wasn't about to get trampled flat anyway by the final batch runs from 2017's Big PushTM where dreams became reality. Very select ones at least. If you squinted while rapidly flicking the lights on an off. One of the runs has a JRPG-type vaguely olden times high fantasy setting but the other two, by Jove!, could hardly be pneumatically compressed into an artefact of the pre-Renaissance.

I don't even know where to begin. I'd best get Steve 'Elipsis' Barrios's offering of The Typing of the Dead: Overkill's Bitch difficulty premier (in 1:17:27) out of the way first. Sega published the fifth House of the Dead in 2009. I hadn't even heard there'd been a fourth one at any point, but that's because the fourth never got home-ported until 2012. The year after there was Typing: Overkill, a kind of conjoined head where the mutants (don't say the Z-word!) wear nametags that you type on your portable keyboard to put them down. The dev team for this one was founded by two virtual entertainment luminaires and Fellows of the Royal Society of Arts, the Oliver Twins... except their company filed for bankruptcy before they were finished; Sega, however, granted a continuation licence and funded the new team called Headstrong Games which then rounded the second Typing game off. The art direction was defined by a new wave 2007 exploitation film called Planet Terror which itself imitated the 70's Grindhouse B-theater tradition. The grotesque, the shocking, the repugnant were the order of the day. One of the boss fights is against a semi-decayed ton-and-a-half mutated stripper still wearing, barely, her old "uniform". Bare-ly. The original rail shooter and its edumicative twin are anathema to all things right and priggish in their use of language as well: they shared with the South Park movie the Guinness record for most swearing in its medium for some time until dethroned by Mafia II. And there's a very handy link to...

The original Mafia from 2002, many a "Patsy's" favorite of the series. A taxi driver called Tommy Angelo, law-abiding shuttle for law-abiding fare between the districts of Lost Heaven – a combination of the Frisco and the Windy City of the 1930's – runs into a couple of mobsters fleeing from thugs serving a competing family. After tearing them to a safe turf, he's fed some dough and offered work on the basis of his skills at the wheel, but he's scared of the thought and declines. Not long after, Tommy finds the same goons on his tail and turns to his new-made friends for protection. Thus begins his ill-omened allegiance with the dark side of society. It's a pretty poignant story with a typical arc and familiar characters but what the game really nailed was its mimesis. Despite being pretty leisurely most of the time starting from a languid cinematic intro set to the dramatic orchestral main theme, the environment, the people roving the streets, the bootleg unlicenced copies of the authentic "boilers" of the era (a T-Ford by any other name is still a T-Ford), and the accent we've grown to expect, all make the joyride a titillating one. A joyride, in fact, is something you might not oppose to taking a few times between missions just to see what you've missed.

Even in a speedrun, a lot of that atmosphere is kept listening to the car radio and the guys "beating their gums" as they plan how they're going to send a hapless louse's mother flowers, but achtung! It's in German today. Handling many missions with more elegance, showcasing a few new discoveries, and further distilling car RNG some, 'Chris-X' puts the run to its "big sleep" 13:17 faster than the previous segmented record in 2:42:43. This, by my count, would make the fourth such SDA run, the first having been aired in 2005. That was ALSO by a German runner by some coincidence. I'll leave reading things into that to our home audience.

Wait a second. This is by a German TOO. A guy called...  Chris-X? Where have I heard that before? If I tell you this used to be the longest run (Dune 2000's run times are erroneously added together to make it longer in the per-length listing), would you be able to guess that it's a JRPG? I would. Grandia. It's Grandia. It's a large oven-heated pizza that comes in three different styles, and don't you dare just slap it in the microwave cause it leaves it soggy and anyway it's your responsibility. Seriously though, the name evokes the exact right image: it's a super-buffed traditional PS1 sample from 1997 and it goes on and on and on... There's typically a lot of fighting so if you don't like that, or if you're actually paying the writing that's adequate on the macro scale but ear-rendingly cringy on the micro (as was par for the course in earlier translations between Jap-Eng and actually also Eng-Jap) any heed, here's your exit now! Run! Run while you can, from this biblical 10:25:05 behemoth. A run like this can contain major detouring or grinding that all pays off in the end, but there was just the one really obvious one. It's pretty good if you wanted to treat it as a let's play, a massive 3:06:57 faster than before. That's what it was for me when I did the Pre-Release Check for it: I couldn't find it in me to finish the game but now I'm entitled to have opinions about it. ;)

So the Push comes to a close... Lastly, I would like to announce a new section of our Knowledge Base created by the industrious Greenalink: a comprehensive guide to getting imported, ostensibly incompatible cartridges and discs to run on Western versions of their consoles. He's put in lots of effort, and so I wanted to wait until this update so more people are likely to catch the news. You can see the link for this directly on the Knowledge Base front page with a neat picture to boot. Right next to it, there's another guide to hacking the console for better/different A/V output formats, in the works, being compiled by the same benefactor. It's like Christmas come late! (I got nothing! *futile fist-shake*)

Updates will resume their normal pace in a few weeks' time. Until now and then! Cause that's the normal pace. Every now and then. It was funny before I wrote it.

Friday, May 19, 2017 by LotBlind

Quest for Glololollololory

I've long since unofficially dubbed (and will officially, once elected Head of Enough Many Things) the less monotone version of Robin Hood from the Quest for Glories "Trollface". It's cuz of that win screen... I say less monotone because of the clothing but also for the blank sheet of a perfectly malleable RPG character. I've written on the series before so I'll just summarily summarize it as: choose class, choose skills, build skills, apply skills, win the day. The writing each time became more vivacious and deep. In Shadows of Darkness' story, a Lovecraftian summoning ritual is undergoing preparations in a remote, secluded land of Mordavia. Trollface is striving to machinate a good outcome pressed between two powerful wizards. He will meet strange fantasy creatures specifically from Slavonic myths this time. The fighting also made progressively more sense game by game. By the time we got to Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness that was meant to be the 3rd game but was ultimately deemed too arduous an ordeal for the protagonist at that phase of his character development (no joke!), we had a significantly less arcane system of sliders (like a manager sim) for marking out just the general strategy for each fight.

Not partial to one or the other, Paul 'The Reverend' Miller tackles the adherents of Chernobog as every one of the four classes. All but the Paladin have existing entries; however continuing the high-percents streak from a few updates back, we collect all the "you're doing it right" -points along the way, which are given for completing a set of side quests that is unique for each class. This extends the standard Mordavian tour to:

0:43:05 for the Thief (stealing your time),
0:38:44 for the Wiz Kid (the antwerp maze is like a pinball machine)
0:38:09 for the Paladdin (one of Aladdin's pals)
and 0:43:11 for the Fighter, whose karmic onus for being boooriiing is a kill bill encompassing the entire bestiary, including monsters only encountered at random.

Just so we're not overwhelmed by Trollface's noticeable but ultimately narcissistic chivalry, we might as well hark back to the kind of games he's remembered for in 'Gametown' (Spielburg of Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero): Bribing a bear with sweeties that are certain to induce cavities (that's why they live in "caves", which is cognate); dismissing one of his own troll kin twice (no piety!); eavesdropping like a real bitch; running around with a dagger in his pocket, roguishly; "confuse-a-catting" a minotaur; trespassing, vandalism, inflicting injuries, and being generally suspicious for allocating so many points into "stealth". And that all happens before the popcorn even has popped if your microwave is old, in 0:03:43. The 31 seconds are saved in dealing with the minotaur and in better execution. The minotaur skip was actually first discovered in the EGA version of the same game, whose major-skips time is suddenly down to 0:01:35, which is before that old microwave's done more than spin the bag three or four times. Again, we wave goodbye to another 34 seconds playing as the magic user.

Lori and Corey Cole's new title, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption, is not long from release according to their blog. Last chances for those pre-order discounts!

[Old News]