Saturday, June 20, 2009

Left 4 Dead Review (+12)

This is my Left 4 Dead 5 second review, with 5 page thorough included. + is a positive point about that area while a – is a negative point about that area.
This is a link to my full 5 page review.

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Left 4 Dead is a game published by Valve and released in North America on November 18 2008. Using the source engine and a very cunning AI director the game produces the feel of a zombie apocalypse quite well albeit a little cartoony at times. The AI director places items and zombies randomly throughout the levels, which increases replay value. The game features 4 campaigns with 5 levels each, single player offline (campaign only), online cooperative, versus mode, and survival mode.

Characters (86/100)

+ Well made dialogue
+ Lovable and relatable
+ Hard to get tired of
– Zoey can get annoying
– They're squishy
– Clothes can make them look like zombies at times (sorry Bill)

Infected (90/100)

+ Easily Identifiably
+ Make the game fun and challenging
+ Fun to play as
– Hunters can leap an infinite number of times in succession
– Tanks can stop you from reloading/taking pills even against walls
– Witches are sometimes put directly in your path and must be killed



Level Design (73/100)

+ They're pretty long
+ They're easy to memorize ergo hard to get lost
+ Can't fall to your doom unless you want to
– Very linear (needs entire level randomization instead of just item randomization)
– Easy memorization leads new players having a hard time keeping up with seasoned players
– It can be possible to get stuck in a level if you step on piles of many physics items (items that can move) or in some cases on locations where physics items are touching nonphysics items (items that can't move)

Items (79/100)

+ Weapons for all kinds
+ Good amount of items you can shoot to explode
+ Well thought out throwing weapons
– Not a large amount or variety of weapons
– No body armor or the like
– Pills are either overly abundant, or inexplicably absent (a lot of times a run through the hospital will yield zero pills)

Multiplayer (85/100)

+ 3 well made modes
+ Increases replayability
+ A lot of fun
– Griefers, lone rangers, newbies, oldies, idlers, etc can all bring a game down
– No versus survivor mode (it would be cool if the survivors could respawn as well in this case)
– Sometimes servers shut down without warning or the server is modded in a way you won't like (though I had fun on one with super low gravity and near invincible zombies)


Add modding the game (PC only) and factor in the ever awesome (and sometimes quite malicious) AI director the overall result is quite well.

All in all I believe overall Left 4 Dead deserves a solid 95/100

Seeing as the average was 83/100 that means the value added by bringing these things together is +12.


This is a link to my full 5 page review.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

'Antennas Up' Album

When did nerd music start becoming so cool? Honestly. I thought 80s game music was truly like an underground techno drum and bass thing. So, please tell me when it became a part of funk. Oh, you haven’t heard? No one gave you the memo. Oh, that’s right. Its not on MTV, FUSE, or VH1 yet. So, I guess its not valid yet. Well, the best thing you didn’t know about is Antennas Up.





For those of you not in the know Antennas Up is a lil indje band out of Kansas City, Kansas. The group is comprised of Kyle Akers(bass/vocals), Bo McCall(guitar/vocals), and The Ryantist(drums/vocals). They are fun type of funk group. Like get up and booty shaking type funk. Right now they have one self titled album. I have to say I am usually doubtful of promoting funk. Its not always the type of music everyone can enjoy. Sort of like ska. But I got to give Antennas Up some credit, I haven’t found a funk group this catchy or well received by my friends in awhile.

The coolest thing about Antennas Up may not even be their nerd inspired backdrop beats. No, instead they are part of the growing number of bands completely using the internet to the fullest extent. They have a Twitter, a Facebook fan page, a Myspace Music Page, and their album is available on iTunes. Its just amazing the amount of free net promotion these guys are milking it.

Back to the group. I totally dig the way they sound. I give them all credit for staying true to the 70’s funk sound. I also have to admit, I was expecting to see a black guy in the band. Just from the sound on the vocals. Surprised I was but not disappointed. The beat is always solid and there isn’t a single track on the album you can’t dance to. Maybe “Piano Song.” But overall, it really is just your typical feel good and get on your feet album. Another cool aspect of the album is the fact that each track flows right into the next one. So you almost feel like you’re listing to one long evolving song. My only complaint is the very thing I praised. That sometimes I feel like I am listening song with a few different lyrics and a different game beat in the background.

I’m going to have to give them a 3.5 out of 5. While they have definitely made their way onto my favorites list, I think its only because of geeky nostalgia and my eclectic music tastes. I don’t know how well they would do with non geeks or audiophiles. Which don’t take as I expect them to go mainstream. I just don’t think they have a broad appeal is all.

Performing "She's Evil" Live In Studio On Afentra's Big Fat Morning Buzz





"SP4C3SH1P" and "Don't Wait Up"







Myspace Music Page

Twitter

Facebook Fan Page


Antennas Up Swag

BUY THE CD!!


Review Posted by: Sage Gnosis

'The Arcade' Album

The 80’s seem to be the decade that doesn’t want to die. From the leg warmers to bright neon vomited colored clothing, the 80’s doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. This becomes more apparent in today’s music styling as well. Just take a look at Hyper Crush. Who is Hyper Crush? Hmm, how do I put this? Oh, I’ve got it. Picture this, the Black Eyed Peas and 3Oh!3 have a baby raised in the 80’s. That sounds about right. And their album The Arcade is, if not musically, lyrically a homage to the 80’s.





Hyper Crush was recently one of may bands to perform at this year’s Bamboozle. Well, I missed out on Bamboozle so I decided to look into the bands that I hadn’t heard of. And boy was I surprised when I heard Hyper Crush. I felt like I was watching an episode of VH1’s I love the 80’s. That and I couldn’t handle all the bright colors. Did someone tell them neon was the new black? Or did I just miss the memo at some point? >.>

In all seriousness, I don’t know what to make of this band. I went to there web page to find out some boring bio info about the group. Well, Hyper Crush is composed of three members. Donny Fontaine, Holly Valentine, and DJ Preston Moronie. Although I don’t know if that’s their real names. Huh? Yeah. Let me give you a sample of their web page bio. The members met during a fistfight at Denny's in San Fernando. Holly was a waitress that broke up the fight. Donny started rapping in the summer of 1956, at some point winning a "freestlye battle" at the Country Manor Home for the Mentally disabled. Preston is an advocate of sexism and domestic violence. He is also a convicted felon and "full time" alcoholic. Holly was born in the "Jungles of South America". Holly fled to the United States after killing several Police Officers. Anyone else see some issues here? Well, at least this adds a fun and nonsensical flare to a band that’s chocked full of 80’s nostalgia.

Ok. So the album. Their only known album is The Arcade, which was released on April 29th, 2008. Yes, I know. I am a year behind. Give me a break. Anyway, their genre can only be explained as a mash-up of hip hop and electronica. Which is cool. Pretty much every song has an ill beat and I’d say a third of the songs are club ready as is. Some just need a good remix. The rest? Well, you could sneak them into an 80’s night and I doubt anyone will notice the difference. Which brings me to my next point. Their music style is dated. Not in a bad way. But it isn’t like you can say their sound is any kind of ground breaking.

As much as I like them I have a problem with some of their songs. Their most original sounding ones, like “Infinite Youth” and “Mueve Low”, are some of the weaker tracks. The track “Boom Box” has a very similar beat and lyrical styling to that of “Boom Boom Pow” by the Black Eyed Peas. While some other strong tracks I could’ve sworn were 3Oh!3 tracks when I had my iPod on shuffle. These tracks saving graces from being biters are the fact they are chocked full of 80’s references. Especially their strongest track “The Arcade.”

I’m give The Arcade a 2.9 out of 5. While the album is very enjoyable, I can’t shake the feeling like I’ve heard these songs before. Some of the songs even share similar lyrics. Also, how any times do you need to give group members and your band’s name a shout out in a song? I do recommend picking it up. But I suggest you give the songs a good listen before hand.

"The Arcade"


"Robo Tech"



Facebook Fan Page

Hyper Crush Swag


The Blog

Official Hyper Crush Web Page

Free Music Download Form

Myspace Music Page

Review Posted by: Sage Gnosis

Mel Kano

Synopsis

Shinjou Shouryuu is a healthy 17 year old high school boy. Many of his kouhais wonder why such a great guy doesn't have a girlfriend. Ask him and he'll tell you that between school, work, and saving his kouhais from bullies doesn't leave him much time to go on dates. So he instead goes online to "F.I.L. GATES". There in the chat room his alter-ego, Kakeru, is infatuated with the girl called Hal. Hal sends a message reminding him that Sunday will be the 6 month anniversary of when they first met (online) and that she wants to meet him in person! And let's just say it's not your typical first date.





# of chapters available: 12
Score: 3 out of 5


In a nut shell

Mel Kano is a pretty fun manga by Oshima Towa. Like the synopsis suggests, Mel Kano is a series about couples who meet on “F.I.L. GATES.” From what can be gathered “F.I.L. GATES” is a type of super Craigslist. Or it may be better to say its super web 5.0. It operates as a store, a Craigslist, a social networking site, dating site, etc. Basically all of your favorite sites rolled into one. Now while the basic set-up is different couples meeting in offline for the first time, the story does return Shinjou and Haruka. However, this time its them being enlisted by “F.I.L. GATES” secondary company “F-Eye.” “F-Eye” works to maintain the integrity of “F.I.L. GATES” through covert means. Hilarity ensues since Shinjou and Haruka are blackmailed into working for “F-Eye” at first with their chat conversations. It is here where the story revolves around Haruka and Shinjou working on cases for “F-Eye.”

Humor


This manga’s humor operates off of situational based comedy. Which works really well since it is intermitted with decent action and romance. The most humorous aspect of the series is Shinjou’s and Haruka’s relationship. Online they are sweet hopeless romantic sweet talkers. Offline they are both rude, abrasive, and just not how they are online. What’s funny is when the two get into arguments, they use texting and chatting in internet caf├ęs to make up. Because the only way they know how to sweet talk is online. One of the most humorous situations is on Haruka’s and Shinjou’s first case. Apparently girls kept going missing after meeting on particular guy on “F.I.L. GATES.” The guy knocks the girls out and dressing them as otaku figures and then keeps them prisoners. And how does he dress Haruka? As a cat girl.

Art Style


I happen to like the style of the manga. Its drawn in a pretty traditional shoujo style. What do I mean? Even the bad ass scruffy boys look cute. The clothing is pretty trendy. It has a light airy style. I wouldn’t say its anything new. Although Oshima Towa has great character design, I wouldn’t say they’re memorable.

Characters


Shinjou is your typical bad ass super strong guy. The hilarity continues that he is the exact opposite online. He is headstrong and sometimes a jerk. However, he is loyal to a fault. Haruka is pretty much a perfect match. Except she has a much stronger sense of justice, which compared to Shinjou makes her almost a saint. She also goes looking for danger, unlike Shinjou who handles the danger that comes his way.

Overall Mel Kano is pretty cool. I enjoy the fact that it’s a romance story mixed with light action and hefty comedy. I give it a 3 out of 5. I mean, I almost think that is too high of a score. But I think it’s too early to really score it too hard. I mean there are only 12 chapters out right now.

Read Mel Kano at OneManga

reviewed by: Sage Gnosis