The TBoD Podcast – Episode 46 – A Klaus Call

Wassup fools!?!

dungeon-keeper

TBoD is back. After a week off due to illness (both mental and physical) and a celebration of new life we have returned for your listening (dis) pleasure. We do our best to catch up on two weeks worth of exciting gaming news including;

Evolve – a 4vs1 shooter from the team behind the awesome L4D,

BF4 – Resuming the stream of DLC coming out from Dice/EA and the implications on the buggy game itself,

Uncharted territory for Seth Gordon, the front runner to bring Drakes adventures to the big screen,

Titanfall – We couldn’t ignore the Xbox/PC exclusive this week of all weeks,

Sonic Boom – The return of the blue blur with a new look,

Destiny – Is the pressure going to get to Bungie as Activision/Blizzard announce expectations,

Elder Scrolls Online – Cause we can.

As always we have our regular segment “we called the dog…” in which eremenko talks about SpaceBase df-9

As always likecomscribe, hit us up on twitter, facebook etc keep an eye out for our streams and stay safe kids.

– menko

A Klaus Call <—– right click and choose save as to download

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Heroes in a Half-Assed Shell.

Dude, you paid 15 bucks for this game?  NYAH NYAH

Dude, you paid 15 bucks for this game? NYAH NYAH

Step One before reading this blog:  watch this video. Get turtle’d up.

Recently Activision, and developer Red Fly Studio released the latest offering to the Ninja Turtles gaming crowd:  TMNT Out of Shadows.  Unlike previous releases while Ubisoft had the licensing for the series, this game is not a remake, or port of the classic ninja turtle games – but an entirely new game.  And seeming how I’ve been moving at a turtle’s pace as far as my posts here on TBOD go…this felt appropriate.

Still drawing heavily on the series’ roots as a co-op brawler, Out of Shadows still offers that hack and kick goodness we’re all used to, but adds a rather hefty spectrum of combos, counters, special weapons, and an upgrade and level system that rivals most RPG’s out there.  Each turtle has his own level progression tree, and series of up-gradable abilities that encourage replay.

Now, being the TMNT fan that I am, I instantly gobbled this up as soon as it hit, and dove right in.  As a kid I would read the original black and white comics by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, watched the cartoon(s), and had just about every action figure.  At first glorious glance it was obvious that Red Fly had put some serious fan service into the look, and feel of this game.

The Turtle’s underground lair is essentially your in-game UI menu, and each selection will tour you to different areas such as the dojo, to throw-down against Donnie’s robot Foot Soldiers solo, or as a team.  Learn combos, and get much needed practice to succeed at the rather difficult campaign.  I’ll touch on combat later, but the game uses an attack/counter formula similar to the Batman: Arkham series, but one that is much faster-paced.

Other areas within the Turtle HQ include, A concept art gallery, The main campaign selection map, and the one that made me nerd-squeal: Donatello’s workshop, where you can purchase and upgrade cool weapon mods, and other inventions by the notorious  tech-tinkering turtle.

The coolest addition to HQ which fans of the classic games will love, is an old-school arcade machine where you can play out mini versions of the campaign levels in side scrolling beat ’em up bliss.  Each mission for the classic style game is unlocked via campaign.

The combat system for TMNT Out of Shadows, is to put it “lightly” a gong show.  It’s fun, and rather challenging – but the games wonky camera (which you constantly fight with to prevent extreme close-up angles when it collides with walls.) makes for some rage-quit inducing moments sometimes.

In a nutshell the core combat function is rich, and offers some great animations, and the ability to call out team KO’s and other attacks that really show the brothers true calling, which is kicking the shit out of thugs and ninjas in tandem.

For the first time ever, the player is now able to take control of each turtle on the fly – using the D-Pad.  This makes for some very cool opportunities to practice each turtles unique combat style, speed, as well as how to utilize team attacks to your advantage.  Early on, you’ll learn that the Dojo I mentioned earlier is your best friend as training is important to get a feel for each character before braving the unforgiving campaign.

The health-system is a tad on the stagnant side, offering hidden, and sparse pizza boxes which serve as single use med-packs that you can keep in a mini-inventory along with throwing stars, and any power-weapon you might have purchased from the workshop.  Pizza can be used to either replentish your health meter, or can be cashed in to revive a turtle if they are KO’d.

Due to the sparse nature of health, it creates a frustrating situation where it’s virtually impossible to keep each turtle “healthy” nor recall which of them has a pizza in their inventory.  When you revive a turtle, they respawn with little to no health, thus wasting the precious pie entirely.  I recommend taking the selfish route, especially when you are being swarmed with enemies.  There is one particular moment I was stuck at for some time as a shit load of robots systematically killed each turtle that I was not controlling, leaving me alone against the raving horde of mechanical teeth and claws.  Online co-op can help you get through a difficult situation however – so all is not lost.

The game’s story is based on the Nickelodeon series, which is not a far cry from the animated series I grew up with, so there’s plenty of familiarity with characters like Baxter Stockman & his robots, the foot, etc.  All I can say, is that it’s a ninja turtle storyline, and it works pretty well and will give fans some real nostalgic nerdgasms,  But don’t come here looking for a grandiose dramatic epic.  It’s designed to reawaken your inner 8 year old…and it does it’s job well.

Well enough until the clunky camera shits on your parade when fighting in narrow spaces, or areas with lots of background geometry to literally trip-up and catch the mischievous camera, which seems on a quest to make you want to seriously kick a baby seal in the face.  (Hey, I’m Canadian.)  My best words of Splinter-esque wisdom would be:

“A warrior, will face many dangers, and enemies.  But if his soul is pure.  His presence a shadow, and his ability to rotate the camera quickly before being suckered by a Foot Soldier is true… He shall succeed.”

At first acquaintance TMNT Out Of Shadows is a fun and great offering to the series, that offers plenty of good ol’ gaming nostalgia, with a heaping helping of new school features.

After about an hour, you’ll likely light your XBOX on fire out of rage – but soon enough run out to get a new console so you can let this game give you heavy doses of joy and pure livid anguish again, and again in no time.

Uh….Cowabunga?

TBoD Podcast – Episode 17 – Your Love is Like Brad Medicine

Teabag Or Die – Episode 17 – Your Love is like Brad Medicine

Right click and Save Link As to download episode.

This week we are joined on the show by Bradley from the belting North East Media and gaming (Nemandg).

The three of us discuss;

In XBone Zone

– Don Mattircks dramatic departure from Microsoft to join the ailing Zynga.

– The implementation of a new “Rep” system for Xbox live.

– The Activision rep that claims MS have to convince gamers their console is worth the extra hundred bucks.

In the all new section PSForeplay 

Sony agreeing a deal with UK mobile networks to make it easier for us to blast our cash on games.

Mark Cerny gets all nostalgic discussing PlayStation past, present and future at Gamelab in Barca (oh the difficult life of a game dev).

In gaming news we blather on about;

– BioShock infinite DLC

– Shoei Yoshida’s stance on the inclusion of PSeye (or whatever they are calling it)

– Google attempting to break into the console market

and finally what would an episode of TBod be without our weekly Destiny Jizz Fest.

Eavesdrop in on our comms and as always let us know what you think in the comments below.

eremenko

Destiny Awaits

The day is finally here. Since Bungie were forced to release details pertaining to their latest IP Destiny due to a legal issue way back in November, gamers around the globe have been eagerly waiting to see more concrete evidence of the latest title from the creators of the Marathon and Halo franchises today we were treated to just that.

Bungie_-_Destiny_(logo)

Is this your Destiny?

Friday saw a behind closed doors press conference in which Bungie unveiled the latest sci-fi shooter they and publishers Activision hope will take the world by storm, little was known about the project ….. until now. A short five minute vid-doc has been released which shows not only a lot of concept art but also gives us a glimpse at a tiny amount of the games engine. The focus of this short video seems to be to get the idea behind Destiny across and set the community talking about the game. Many of us will be salivating  at the idea of an open world, massively multi-player shooter from a studio already established as game changers in the field, however with Activision now firmly at the helm how will this new offering stack up against our beloved Halo? Well at present it’s hard to Judge it’s difficult in fact to even tell what Destiny is yet. Bungie is calling it a living world, persistent in a way that players of MMoRpgs will be more than familiar with, what they seem to be striving to create here is a World of Warcraft for the CoD generation. This is an idea that both appeals to and terrifies me in equal measure, the current popularity of free to play MMo’s is a little disturbing as it signifies (to me) a movement away from quality stand alone titles to games which are driven by the principle of “pay-to-win” where the more you spend the better you are, now I’m not a penny pincher I’m happy to pay for expansions and special editions should the rewards be significant however I have no desire to splash the cash in order to get a minimal advantage over my friends or opponents. Anyhow back to Destiny.

bungie_thumb

Never forgotten

So the trailer (for want of a better word) opens with some intriguing insight into the future setting of the game, an Earth ravaged by war and brought to the brink of destruction by alien forces thus far unknown. Enough humans have survived (thanks to the appearance of the mysterious giant floating globe known only as “The Traveler“) to found a new city and begin the rebuilding process. This city it seems will be the base of operations for the elite of the survivors (us the players) to go out and re-take what we can of our planet and the others that were once under our control, unfortunately it seems the alien aggressors are wise to our plan and want to make things as difficult as possible for our rag tag bunch of re-claimers.

2377624-bungie2

“The Traveler” Mysterious and massive (nobody say anything about forunners!)

We are treated in the video to a lot of stunning concept art work, a touch of the atmospheric music and even small moments from the game engine. A few soldiers running, some others gathering in the last bastion of humankind, not exactly something you can sink your hungry teeth into true, but given that the title is rumoured to work with both current and next gen consoles, I wouldn’t read too much into that and I would expect that we will be seeing a lot more actually gameplay footage in the coming months. At the moment we are aware that there will be three classes in the game but I get the feeling Bungie are holding out on us here too and extra classes will be unveiled all in good time (hopefully we wont have to pay for each one individually). We are also privy to a couple of quick shots of spacecraft and what appears to be a customization feature for our own space faring vessels. Fair enough this vid-doc doesn’t reveal much we couldn’t have already surmised for ourselves but what it does serve to do is increase excitement levels and makes sure that we haven’t forgotten about our old friends Bungie in the wake of 343’s Halo 4.

– eremenko

Bungie have rightly earned a place among the titans of the gaming world thanks to the consistent quality they have produced over their history, most notably the Halo series, so the hype surrounding their latest title, Destiny, has been more than tangible this last week with a reveal promised and delivered to us this Sunday just gone. So now the info is out there, how does it stack up? Will Bungie preserve a perfect legacy?
du4Ge73
Firstly let me say, for me, the actual trailer for Destiny itself was 85% an anti-climax made up mostly of, albeit very pretty, concept art and ‘this game is going sweet’ talk whilst revealing fuck all. Bit of a fail in my book. The idea sounds cool, an open world shooter does sound pretty epic, the fact it’s set in a post-apocolyptic / sci-fi type of timeline which again I’m sure I will love and the 3 seconds of actual gameplay footage looked pretty nice too. However my bungie fanboy glasses are certainly still in their case, sure the graphics looked great, but also quite familiar in respect that you could spot other franchises such as Star Wars and of course their own Halo as blatant influences,   I guess I was expecting a little more of a radical shift in design style although I’m not sure why.
df51188019f803f7b86fff2c15f7868d
I think George Lucas is gonna sue somebody 
The Traveller concept is probably the most intriguing thing to me, but again sounds almost exactly like a Forerunner type of affair, ultimately from what little I’ve seen I wouldn’t call Destiny a game-changer but more of a game-blender. Personally I expect that much from Bungie that I guess I was bound to be a little let down by the trailer.
Oh one more thing, the whole idea of Destiny content coming on an annual basis, whether you say it’s by choice of Bungie or Activision, ultimately is not beneficial to quality, can anyone say Call of Duty. Sure IGN said that Activision wouldn’t push Bungie for yearly releases but is that reflected in their track record? I’m not saying I think Bungie will become the next Treyarch I just fear it could happen.
original
 In summary I’m not going to judge Destiny until I’ve seen more or even better played a little, so far it looks pretty great, but not the expected amazing. I’m sure future info will prove me wrong but colour me underwhelmed for now, oh and wait for me to eat my words in the future.
– The Quim Ninja

Random Access Memory Lane Part 5: The Final Boss

So we have finally come to the climax of our epic recollection of our own personal ghosts of gaming past. There are so many games that we haven’t had the chance to talk about like Road Rash, Desert Strike, Tomb Raider, FF7, Nebulus, World cup italia 90, Tennis Ace, Alex the Kid in Miracle world, Splatterhouse, Ghouls and ghosts, Another world, Turtles in time and Speed Ball are just some of the titles I considered boring you to sleep with. Alas we decided to narrow our selections down to five and without further ado onto the last.

For my final choice I opted for a game that was again released in the bumper year of ’97 (coincidentally the very same year our beloved Bungie was formed) I didn’t mention this or my compatriots game in my previous posts run down of titles from the same year as I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for you, our lucky, lucky readers. (MS Dosser: – unfortunately I did like a nob)

george a romero creator of the fine of the dead series

Mild mannered old man, or horror movie legend?

The game I’m about to discuss has an age rating on it so for argument’s sake lets say I didn’t play it til around ’99. After the original ’96 title received critical acclaim this extended version was released to tide fans over whilst awaiting the sequel. A first for me, despite having seen George A Romero‘s 1978 classic Dawn of the Dead a few years earlier, I had never before had the chance to go toe to toe with a horde of flesh-eating, brain-dead Zombie Bastards.

resident evil directors cut box

(Resident Evil Directors Cut 1997 PS)

You had probably already come to the conclusion that I was going to be talking about the RE series. Like me, many of you would have screamed yourself silly when that first iconic dead head craned his neck and rose to meet Chris/Jill after being so rudely uninterrupted from his less than conventional snack. From that moment on this game kept me on the edge of my seat right up until the glorious rooftop climax. Capcompreviously better known for the hugely successful Street Fighter series and Megaman games you would probably never have guessed that this (almost) spoof of Western horror flicks would become their biggest and most profitable franchise to date. However with the popularity of the PS amongst adolescent teens and young men the walking dead were always destined to become a massive hit.

first zombie resident evil

The first VG zombie?

The opening sequence was most unusually filmed footage with real life actors!! Far from lending the game some gravitas this shoddy B-movie style intro actually detracts somewhat from the horrors you would find within the Arklay Mansion. That said I still love everything about this cheesy intro (from Barry’s blatantly stuck on ginger beard to Chris woodenly shouting “No! Don’t go!” at a rapidly shrinking badly animated CG helicopter) and I wouldn’t change it for the world. So you escape the attentions of the first Zombie and try to find your missing fellow S.T.A.R.S (special tactics and rescue service) members from the Raccoon city police department, things can surely only get better right ….. right? Nope.

Barry Burton

Al from Home Improvement

Pretty soon you get the hang of dodging or killing the shambling, moaning, biting, rotting corpses wandering the hallways of this mountainside mansion. Should you decide to try to take out each and every T-virus victim you are going to run out of ammo pretty quickly (Unless you are playing on noob mode), which you will soon live, or not, to regret. In the early stages of the game running from Z-heads is not the most of your worries and you will find yourself spending most of your time searching through files for clues (some of the most important plot points come from reading through various documents and diaries known as files) rifling through drawers for ammo and searching high and low for the various jewels, crests, crank handle and keys required to gain access to the other areas of the mansion giving the game something of a puzzle/mystery adventure. As you delve further into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Bravo team and the Umbrella corporation’s sinister experiments you find yourself up against odds stacked increasingly against you.

zombie dog resident evil

Sit Ubu Sit …. good dog.

The Zombies become the least of your worries when you discover what other mutants the mad scientists have created from the labs hidden deep within the mountain under the mansion. Cerberus the infected dogs are one of the earliest to be introduced, their movement speed combined with your characters slow aiming makes them incredibly difficult to take down without taking some serious damage.

Hunters come next, a kind of mutant frog zombie thing with razor claws that will slice you to pieces given half a chance. If you think that’s the worst of it you’re wrong, as giant spiders, snakes, bloodthirsty sharks and more await you down each and every corridor and lurk in all the dark corners.

The villains are brilliant (I wont name names in case you have yet to discover who it is but most of you know who I mean) and the spooky atmosphere created here is topped probably only by the brilliant Silent Hill and the game will have you jumping out of your seat time and time again (especially if you insist on playing it alone in the dark). I know it’s not without its drawbacks, the clunky animations of the square chunky character models stand out against the lush static backgrounds and I know many who would criticise the games slow pace, you could wander around for hours searching for a key and not encounter any enemies. Every time you enter a door or climb a set stairs you are treated to a painfully slow first person animation depicting the opening door or ascending of stairs, for some this is an unwanted distraction, for me however this along with the frozen camera angles (which at times seem to be designed deliberately to make it impossible for you to see your foes) just adds to the tension, an important aspect for any horror title movie or game. Yes the voice acting is a joke and the way the characters gesticulate wildly whenever they speak is borderline hilarious and completely unnecessary … we can tell who is speaking thank you very much but these are minor flaws and they have little impact on the game.

Resident Evil is one of the best titles, not just of the 128 bit generation but of all time. It has been so influential to many games that have come since (Alone in the Dark, Silent Hill, Eternal Darkness, Project Zero, Obscure to name but a few). A series which has spawned many sequels, prequels, Hollywood movies even novelizations and reboots over the years, most notably a full remake on GameCube and DS and continues today. With the forthcoming RE6 looking to bring together some of these games’ most beloved characters I think there is life in this old viral mutant romp yet.

I have to give thanks Capcom for preparing me for the inevitable Zombie Emergency from a very early age.

-” So I ate his face Itchy …. tasty ….”

-Elth

The last game on my list I know pretty much every gamer holds dear to their hearts and undoubtedly gave a lot of you your first proper case of ‘Nintendo Thumb’. It’s a totally obvious choice so by all means call me a noob in the comments, that’s fine because this game pretty much invented everything in every game I play now in one form or another. Its Goldeneye 007.

goldeneye box artWhilst you lot finish your silent nerdgasms at your desks and public fist pumping on the bus I’ll give you a brief history. For those 3 people who don’t know it was released in 1997 and developed by Rare, who also created the brilliant Donkey Kong Country mentioned earlier in this series, Goldeneye is a stealth game that takes place during the James Bond movie of the same name released 2 years earlier. At first it was destined to be a Virtua Cop inspired on-the-rails shooter but given the strides in console technology the viability of a more Doom based 3D shooter meant that the Goldeneye we love was born.

This game’s accomplishments have been trumpeted from on high and still echo round the crevices of gaming culture today and I think it’s important to just recognise how this game was able to become so influential. I am sure this was down to the fact that Rare were given as much time as they needed to develop this game and were under no pressure to get it released to coincide with the movie. Which if released today, for a game such as this is a scenario that would just not be permitted with the likes of EA and Activision banging the drum at developers to make sure they row or face a lashing. This game proves that time is by far a developers greatest resource.

So now we know how (complete with sly corporate dig) the question now is why was this game so bloody good. Personally as much as I loved the single player, I mean that  moment where you hurl yourself off the Contra Dam sticks with anyone who played Goldeneye, but as usual the multiplayer was where the real fun started for me.

It is even more staggering that Martin Hollis the lead designer said that the multiplayer was “a complete afterthought”. Good job you put it in there Mr Hollis because every console shooter has only really moved a couple of inches since from your vision and in fact in some cases have taken a step back by not even allowing split screen multiplayer.

The N64 brought you the ability to have up to four players at once in split screen mode and with Goldeneye being the first proper multiplayer console shooter it paved the way for those early LAN party style play sessions where automatic gunfire ushered in the birth of talking smack for a whole generation. Living close to school I spent many a lunch time and even more revision time for mock GCSE’s glued to my TV trying to, often unsuccessfully, kill three of my mates whilst another few lads watched on awaiting their turn.

The only rules were winner stays on and no one can be Oddjob.

Oddjob’s villainy stemmed from never being able to go on any rides at Alton Towers

The game modes were genius and still directly translate into almost every modern shooter. Take the always tense and quite often very campy You Only Live Twice, whereby a player has two lives and once you lose those lives your out, you lose and are subsequently mocked by your friends. A modern parallel that immediately springs to mind is that of the Call of Duty series Search and Destroy mode which just added an objective which everyone ignores and got rid of a life. Similarly the License to Kill mode is a one shot one kill game which is basically Halo’s Team Swat and The Living Daylights is an objective game whereby you must control a flag and hold it for as long as possible… sound familiar? It should because this mode exists in pretty much every FPS out today.

Continuing with the theme of firsts, the guns again were right up there, Goldeneye used realistic models of guns which if you look at most of its contemporary PC shooters like Quake they were much more pretendy, as were the guns in the N64’s coldly received Turok. Proximity and remote mines made an appearance which as far as I am aware had not surfaced before, which personally led to some of the most ridiculous infinite proxy mines custom matches and now are seen throughout most realistic military shooter in the form of claymore’s and C4. Oh yeah it had throwing knives too, nuff said.

Most notably though is the console appearance of the zoomable sniper rifle which, along with MDK that Elth mentioned last post, Goldeneye is credited for popularising. You just have to look at any game with guns in it and this feature is as standard.

I could go on about the level design for an age but I wont as I know this is getting a little long and gushy but I will say Archives and Facility were a triumph and especially good for those remote mine insanity sessions I mentioned earlier. The variety of levels was great too and it didn’t matter one bit about the extensive use of gray-scale throughout most of them. Back then this game was cutting edge and it felt like it every time you played, nowadays its firmly planted in the history books as the game that pushed the console shooter snowball off the top of the cliff. Epic cannot even describe my love for this game and it’s perfect in every way.

Just ignore the fact you can’t jump.

-MS Dosser

Well that’s it, the rose tinted glasses are off and our look back at our most memorable games as a youngster has come to a close. Did you play Resident Evil or Goldeneye? What did you think of them or indeed any of the games in the previous posts? Please subscribe and leave us comments, you can also follow us on Twitter @TeaBagOrDie.