Noodle News!

Bad dust! Bad! Shoo! Shoo!

Sorry about this, it's been a busy, very busy, but not entirely wasted, fortnight. A great and significant insight was that cowboy hats are, surprisingly, a good bribe during the twilight hours, ahh the wonders of an 18th. One Friday night kinda turned into an all day Saturday too, kinda. There's also three other birthdays (one was my grandma's, so admittedly it wasn't quite a rocking party), one or two more birthdays coming up and a BBC camera crew at my school next Wednesday.

Apparently they're following a pupil around 0_o. Look out for me in the background if you want, I'll be the one with the long hair that isn't wearing a dress. Probably. Maybe.

There's also the matter of a triple pronged game attack that has done nothing but further fueled my addiction. Ratchet & Clank 3, Burnout 3 and Star Ocean 3. Should that be a triplet of trilogies arriving in triplicate? Anyway, in order they are described as 'Hahaha. Funny', 'Oh God my eyes. When can I blink?!?' and 'It's 3-am and I don't care.

I've got 20% of the battle trophies, my party is at lvl 21+. It's dark, and I'm wearing boxer shorts'. The later is explained in the following:

1 I'm an RPG sucker for Square even if I don't really think I have that many RPG games

2 This is one of those games where enjoyment depends on how much time you are willing to put into it

3 Some sick, fiendish programer at Square-Enix decided to put no less then one and a half hours of gameplay between the save points in dungeons. Excluding the cut-scenes. DO YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU'VE DONE?!? Lives will be ruined, exams failed, relationships shattered, rabbits unfed. I've been on the same planet for 14 hours now! Let me off! I want to move on!

I could continue

As for the other two? Both have an online multiplayer, one by Sony, the other by EA. R&C3 has an exceptionally informative front end screen for the online section. There's quick match, search, Cities (otherwise known as lobbies), separate clan and buddy lists as well as stats for almost every part of the game. if it had Golden Eye style awards at the end of each match I'd be happy. The gameplay itself is like an amalgamation of platformers, third person shooters and hardware plus some nifty little segments that don't fit in anywhere. Running onto the ceiling using the gravity boots is particularly noteworthy. There's either the normal deathmatch in free for all or team flavors, capture the flag or a siege mode that, to me, feels reminiscent of future cop on the PSone. The idea is that two teams destroy each-other's heavily, and I mean heavily, defended bases whilst protecting their own. Spice is added through the inclusion of nodes throughout the battlefield that begin neutral but can be swayed to either side by application of absolute destruction and a rather handy wrench. These nodes, when acquired can be used as weapon depots, spawn points and places to acquire one of the two vehicles available. It's good fun, causing me to laugh out loud more often then I have previously when playing online. Especially that moment I got turned into a sheep when on the ceiling over a swamp and discovered that when transformed you can neither swim or use the gravity boots. Not necessarily in that order. The biggest problem is that I've never seen more then 30 players online at once. This looks like it'll be more of a Christmas release so fingers crossed for January

Burnout 3 on the other hand is adrenaline on a disc. Sniff it, you can taste the high. Start on the easiest series, the compact, and you'll think 'They have somehow squeezed a NASA super computer onto that DVD 'cause those graphics aren't possible on a PS2'. Immediately step up to the super series and you don't know what's going on. Even when crashing and supposedly stopping there will be no chance for the newbies to figure out what's happening. This game is fast, no wait, it's faster. So fast that it meets fast coming the other way. This is faster then greased lightening, It's the speed of greased grease. That's the speed of grease on a quantum scale, know what I mean? It's not possible to finish the later grand prix without training up some sort of latent pre-cognition thought patterns for the use of during races. The great part is that even if you don't win you get rewarded. The game doesn't use a success/failure system for unlocking stuff. Instead your achievements are banked after every game and you are given a prize at each milestone. How fast you get to those milestones is up to your skills, or mental psyhistorian abilities, whichever comes first. There are of course some special bonuses for the psychically gifted as an incisive to kick ass on the course. Online is incredibly just as testosterone soaked as the single player. Everything that's available privately is right there as a multiplayer option. Crashing? Not a problem. Teams? Sure. Super Japanese uber cars screaming neck and neck through a tropical neon market neither daring to blink, breathe or move in a non stop lightening bolt race to the finish line? you got it. As much as I hate to support the faceless, licensed, corporate superpower that companies like EA are they've actually done a fantastic job in the presentation of the online portion of the package. There's all the standard searches and buddy lists but there's also the opportunity of checking up on buddies playing on any other EA game, in game feedback for reporting other players (positive and negative), cross game messaging and several other little doo-dahs. I've heard that this is nothing the Xbox live doesn't have but from what I've played nothing outside of EA games exist like this on the PS2. I wonder what I'm missing out on Microsoft's online service for their graphical powerhouse. Concluding, if you get into this game it wont let you go.

Next time, more on Star Ocean 3 if it shows mercy and allows my weary soul some rest. And the whole cowboy hat thing is confidential, I'm not telling until I'm bribed and I can actually remember what happened.

It was a good night though, from what I can recall