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10th December 2019: What A Dreadful Dirge

Oh what a journey I've been on trying to find some comfortable way of playing Dirge Of Cerberus. As stated before, I bought this old PS2 game after finding out it was playable with keyboard and mouse. Yet no matter what I did, I could not get the game to play as I wanted it to, either on the emulator or my actual PS2.

Firstly, I tried to get the emulator to work using the game's built in mouse and keyboard functionality, but it just wouldn't have it at all. I even tried other USB plug-ins, that people had reported having some success with in the past, but they wouldn't work on my machine. Maybe they were built for a different OS.

So, just to make sure keyboard and mouse actually worked, I tried the game on my PS2. Sure enough, the controls do work, but the mouse moved so slow I could barely get Vincent to turn with several sweeps across my mouse mat. My newest mouse may have had more success, as it has way more DPI than the crappy mouse I originally tried, but the PS2 would not detect that one. Typical.

So back I went to the emulator for my third attempt at trying to get mouse and keyboard to work. In this attempt, I changed the bindings that were set up for the controller, and rebound them to the keyboard and mouse. Now this way worked, to a degree, as the game assumed it was still picking up commands from a controller. However, it was still impossible to control as using the mouse motion to emulate the analog sticks was all kinds of janky, with delay and weird stuttery movements all over it.

With no choice than to play with a controller, I thought I may as well use the emulator as I could get some screenshots that way. This too caused its own issues. Using the software renderer, the game looks as it originally did, but the frame rate was unbearable, even using all kinds of speed hacks. Using the hardware renderer, I could get the game to run at its original 50fps for the most part, and could crank the graphics quality up. Though this threw up a weird problem with the skydome failing to render properly on the right half of the screen.
In addition, no matter what renderer was being used, most of the cut scenes would display in slow motion. I would understand if the emulator was killing my computer, but the CPU never went above 30%, and the graphics card usage didn't go above 70%, so I have no idea what was going on.

Still, some cut scene slow down didn't really stop me playing the game, so I soldiered on as best I could. But, as I suspected I would, I grew more and more frustrated with trying to play a shooter with a controller, and after the Shelke and Azul battle about a third of the way through the game, I decided to call it quits. I just was not enjoying it at all. The Shelke fight in particular exacerbated the problem, as she could move around way faster than I could even turn the camera, making it really hard to keep track of her.
Though I beat her first time, my shooting accuracy was shocking, and I had to use most of my healing as she could easily hit me as I tried to track the camera around to find out where she was. I just couldn't be arsed to force myself through it, especially not as I originally watched all the cut scenes on the internet a good decade ago.

Weird background graphics

Weird background graphics

Shooting the shit out of some aircraft

Shooting the shit out of some aircraft

Vincent channels his inner Chuck Norris on this Deepground soldier

Vincent channels his inner Chuck Norris on this Deepground soldier

How does he actually remote control that thing anyway?

How does he actually remote control that thing anyway?

I wonder where they got the inspiration for that weapon

I wonder where they got the inspiration for that weapon

Defeating Azul

Defeating Azul

I desperately needed to finish a game to avoid equalling my worst game-completing year since starting this blog. As the PS2 emulator was warmed up and ready to rock, I checked some lists on the internet to see what other games for that console I had missed, that looked like they might be fun. One such game that popped up on a couple of lists was called What's The Switch?, based on a 2000s cartoon called Kim Possible. I had fairly vague recollections of the cartoon, but thought it would be interesting to pick it up as it had a link to Dirge Of Cerberus, being that Kim's voice actress, Christy Romano, also voiced Yuffie in that game, as well as a lot of other Final Fantasy VII stuff.
So while I might not be able to complete Dirge Of Cerberus, I could definitely give this one a try.

The game is a fairly simple action platformer, though with increasingly frustrating platforming elements. I'm not sure if it was the emulator, my control pad, or just the game itself, but many times when I tried to jump or use the grappling hook, there was a slight delay on the character actually performing the action. It was embarassing, and annoying, to repeatedly just fall off the end of a ledge I was running towards because the character did not jump when I pressed the button, even though she still had a step or two left of ledge space.
As the levels progressed, and more hazards were introduced like lasers to dodge, or moving walls or platforms to jump or swing to, I got more and more cheesed off with the controls.

The fighting parts were more entertaining, if somewhat very simplistic. This is understandable, as this is essentially a kid's game. Even so, if there was a selection of different enemies on screen, who all needed their own techniques to defeat, things could still get a bit challenging. The hardest fighting parts for me were easily when I was trying to fight a bunch of enemies in the foreground, while some untargetable enemies in the background were throwing things at me like grenades or missiles, which were easy to miss as they approached.

It seemed like all the voice actors from the cartoon reprised their voice roles, which was cool, but while it sounded like the cartoon, it really didn't look like it, as the graphics in this thing were shockingly shite. I think they'd tried to make it almost pseudo 3D in appearance, and the way they'd designed the characters in order to accomplish this really spoiled the whole look of the game. They should have really stuck to 2D sprites and made them really match the way they looked in the cartoon.

Still, it's a much needed game done, and one that only took a few hours.
Now, I'd better go and play on my PS4, as I bought it in October and I've not touched it yet.

Shego insults Drakken

Shego insults Drakken

Preparing to fight some ghost monkey things

Preparing to fight some ghost monkey things

It's a typical mind-swap story

It's a typical mind-swap story

Shego packs a punch

Shego packs a punch

Bad graphics choices

Bad graphics choices

I don't think legs bend that way

I don't think legs bend that way

Someone's been playing Trine

Someone's been playing Trine

Smashing the end boss's monkey machine thing

Smashing the end boss's monkey machine thing

21st October 2019: The Frustration Unleashed

I played the original Force Unleashed back in early 2010 on the PS3. If I remember right, I quite liked the early parts of the game, but lost interest later on with both the gameplay and the lore, as I didn't like how many Imperial enemies could neutralise your Force powers, when no such enemies existed in the films.

When the sequel came out, it got worse reviews than its predecessor, so I never considered it until I picked it up on sale from GOG about a year ago.

As I'd not completed a game for 7 months, I needed a fairly short game to get through, so went with this one. Well, I'm glad it was a short one, that's all I can say.

For a start, the keyboard and mouse controls that are supposed to be in the game do not work. I read online you have to disable all the controllers in device manager for this to work, but it did nothing for me. So I had to play with the controller, and its incredibly slow camera rotate speed. Urgh.

I also had trouble trying to unlock the frame rate, which in the original game is fixed at 30fps. I found a modified .exe, which did indeed let me run at 60. However, I had a lot of weird bugs and glitches in the game, especially going up elevators, which ended up being the fault of that modified .exe. So in the end I played with the original 30fps locked version of the game. But even that still threw up problems, as the cut scenes seemed to want to run at over 4000fps, and kept stuttering. I had to run RivaTuner to cap those at 30 as well, just to make everything work.

Even after getting it to seemingly run right, and using the original .exe, I still had some glitches and crashes. This was most evident in the level where the rebel fleet turns up at the planet Kamino, and you have to repel Imperial boarders in a hangar. Three times I had to clear that level. The first time, when the game told me to remove the boarding clamps, it crashed. The second time, I killed all the enemies, but the game never told me to remove all the boarding clamps, so I was just stuck in an empty hangar unable to proceed. Pain in the ass.

I really had no fondness for the story or characters in this game either. The original Starkiller at least had some character development. This clone of him is very one note, and very boring. I don't remember what Kota was like in the original game, but his constant orders and irritating tone really pissed me off while getting through this.

I supposed it doesn't really help that I'm really off Star Wars lately, ever since that ridiculously awful Last Jedi spoiled the entire franchise for me.
But at least it's a game done at long last.

Tickling an Acolyte

Tickling an Acolyte

Stormtrooper loses his head

Stormtrooper loses his head

This very annoying boss has very bad breath

This very annoying boss has very bad breath

Wrecking some droids

Wrecking some droids

Pushing some Stormtroopers around

Pushing some Stormtroopers around

Fighting my way through to Vader

Fighting my way through to Vader

Frying up a Sith Lord for dinner

Frying up a Sith Lord for dinner

Before playing Force Unleashed II, the game I had originally intended to blast through was Bloodrayne Betrayal, which had been installed on my computer all year just waiting for me to get around to it.

The first Bloodrayne game was one of the few games I ever bought for the PS2 back in the day, and though it was quite janky, I've always remembered quite liking it. Well, apart from the end boss fight, which took ages, that is.

I bought Bloodrayne 2 on the PC not long after finishing the first one, but for some reason that I can't quite remember I had trouble with the camera controls, and so ended up watching the story on Youtube instead. Thinking about it, I could probably go back to that one now and see if I can get it working. I could do with an entertaining Bloodrayne game after trying this one...

I so very much wanted to enjoy this, but alas it was not to be. It just seems that the entire game was made to frustrate me. My primary antagonist here was the backflip mechanic. Now, the controls for the game provide a regular jump button, and also a backflip button. This is a fact I have no problem with. However, while playing, if you change direction and immediately press the jump button, then Rayne will also do a backflip. So there I am trying to just jump around while slashing and shooting enemies, and the stupid dhampir just keeps backflipping all over the place. Drove me mad.

It did not help that I found a lot of my commands would be ignored, almost as if the game would not do one action until the animation for the previous action had completed. So if I tried to dodge just while Rayne was finishing up the last few animations of slash attack, then she would not dodge and I'd get hit. It sucked how many times I died to that.

The game became most annoying when I hit any kind of prolongued platforming section, especially after starting to play as the bird. When I play an action platformer, especially when I'm playing a cool character like Rayne, I just want to go thundering into enemies and smash some skulls, not fart about jumping over saw blades and avoiding spike traps.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when, on chapter 7, I started to get some hard crashes. I'd not really enjoyed the game up to that point anyway, and I promised myself a while back I would no longer play games I do not enjoy. The crashes just pushed me over the edge, and I uninstalled.

Now is not the time for a cuppa

Now is not the time for a cuppa

Must have spotted a scary bug on the ground

Must have spotted a scary bug on the ground

Monster looks horrified when Rayne gives it a hug

Monster looks horrified when Rayne gives it a hug

Rayne and monster strut their funky stuff

Rayne and monster strut their funky stuff

Been thinking a lot recently about buying a Playstation 4, mainly because the first part of the Final Fantasy 7 remake comes out early next year, and I'll need a PS4 to play it. In addition, there are a few other PS4 exclusives I'd love to play, like Horizon Zero Dawn and Spider-Man.

Some people may think it's an obvious choice to pick one up, but I think about my previous Playstation consoles, and how little use I've managed to get out of them over the years, and it just makes me wonder if I'd get my money's worth out of it. My worry increases when considering how much I've struggled to find game time even on my much-favoured PC platform all year.

So I guess in an effort to convince myself a PS4 would be worth it, I've been looking at picking up some old games on the previous consoles from ebay, just to try and get some use out of them.

Speaking of Final Fantasy 7, the first game I've found for the PS2 is Dirge Of Cerberus, which I never really fancied playing years ago, but immediately ordered recently when I found out it is playable with keyboard and mouse. That's pretty cool for the PS2. Granted, my plan will be to try and emulate it so I can grab screenshots, but my old console is always ready to jump in if needed.

My PS3, which will soon be entertaining some Deadpool hijinks, needed a little bit of TLC before I got any more real use out of it. After 10 years of barely any use, the battery on the motherboard had given up, and it no longer remembered the date and time every time I turned it on. This meant I had to take the whole thing apart for the first time ever in order to replace it.

Here we go

Here we go

The old thermal paste barely even covers the CPU

The old thermal paste barely even covers the CPU

There's the little devil

There's the little devil

30th September 2019: Resident Evil Maps

<Old Stuff>

By far the most popular things on my old site were all of the Resident Evil game maps that I made. My Resident Evil 1 Directors Cut maps were made in August 2011, which was a few months before I started doing my original computer gaming blog, and therefore they were never included in it.

It makes sense that they are the first things I bring back as part of my <Old Stuff> series of blog entries.

I got the Director's Cut of the original Resident Evil for the PS1 back in the 90s, but back then I only got to the underground section, and never actually finished the game. For some reason in mid 2011, I made up my mind that I was finally gonna get through it. And not only that, I was gonna make some detailed maps as I went on the adventure.
I started with Jill in normal mode, as that's what I tried way back then...

These maps were used by JPTR when making their Resident Evil mod for Skyrim called "The Evil Mansion", which can be found on Nexusmods and Steam Workshop. You should check it out. It looks freakin' awesome.

Jill standard mode, mansion 1st floor, 1st visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 1st floor, 1st visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 2nd floor, 1st visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 2nd floor, 1st visit

Jill standard mode, courtyard

Jill standard mode, courtyard

Jill standard mode, guardhouse 1st floor

Jill standard mode, guardhouse 1st floor

Jill standard mode, guardhouse basement

Jill standard mode, guardhouse basement

Jill standard mode, mansion 1st floor, 2nd visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 1st floor, 2nd visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 2nd floor, 2nd visit

Jill standard mode, mansion 2nd floor, 2nd visit

Jill standard mode, mansion basement

Jill standard mode, mansion basement

Jill standard mode, underground

Jill standard mode, underground

Jill standard mode, lab B1 & B2

Jill standard mode, lab B1 & B2

Jill standard mode, lab B3 & B4

Jill standard mode, lab B3 & B4

After going through Jill's normal mission, I decided to go through the Chris advanced mission, just for shits and giggles. Though it was more challenging (yes I'm talking to you, Hunters!) I much prefer this mode as it forces you to go to a lot of the parts of the mansion you could just skip passed during normal mode.

Chris advanced mode, mansion 1st floor, 1st visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 1st floor, 1st visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 2nd floor, 1st visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 2nd floor, 1st visit

Chris advanced mode, courtyard

Chris advanced mode, courtyard

Chris advanced mode, guardhouse 1st floor

Chris advanced mode, guardhouse 1st floor

Chris advanced mode, guardhouse basement

Chris advanced mode, guardhouse basement

Chris advanced mode, mansion 1st floor, 2nd visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 1st floor, 2nd visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 2nd floor, 2nd visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion 2nd floor, 2nd visit

Chris advanced mode, mansion basement

Chris advanced mode, mansion basement

Chris advanced mode, underground

Chris advanced mode, underground

Chris advanced mode, lab B1 & B2

Chris advanced mode, lab B1 & B2

Chris advanced mode, lab B3 & B4

Chris advanced mode, lab B3 & B4

9th June 2019: Surviving A Blizzard

I don't think I booted a single computer game during March and April, with all my spare hobby time going into finishing my Warhammer 40K Tyranids. But in late May, I got hit by the same nostalgia wave that hit me around the same time last year.

Not only was it the anniversary of TB's passing, but the beta test for Classic WoW also started, and nearly every streamer I watch on Twitch dove into it. I don't know what came over me, as I never thought I'd play the game again, but I decided to re-install it. I couldn't help it. I just had to scratch that itch.

While all the streamers were going back and doing the same things they had done nearly 15 years ago, I went back into the game with a different objective: to do some things I'd never done.
See, while I've surprised myself by playing the game again, I still point blank refuse to pay any sub fees, as I just don't think the game is worth it. As the free account level caps your characters to 20, this left me with just one thing I could do, and that was to play through all the start zones that I had never played back in the day.

Up first was the Worgen start zone. Now I did make a Worgen at one point, named Kreethen, but I never finished the intro story and I think that character remains at level 7 on my original account. I made a new one named Kreethy, maybe a distant relative, and got cracking.
The story was alright I guess, though with some crowbar moments. The biggest problem I had with it was all the lag. At first I assumed the Classic beta had stirred up some new interest in the game, and a lot of people were jumping back in, like me. However, when I moved on to my next character all the lag was gone entirely, which was odd.
Kreethy ended his journey at level 15.

Kreethy singes some eyebrows off

Kreethy singes some eyebrows off

Catapulting myself onto a ship

Catapulting myself onto a ship

Secondly, I started a Gnome called Huejackman, named after my original character Huejun. Back in the day, the Gnomes shared a start zone with the Dwarves, and I had played those quests several times on my alts. But in Cata, the Gnomes were given their own little intro area that I had never done. While I liked using the little dude, I ended up getting spat back out into Dun Morogh at level 5. Frankly, I was expecting more. Oh well.

Huejackman gets smacked around

Huejackman gets smacked around

Up next was the turn of the Draenei, as I had never done their start zones either. My only Draenei before this was a Death Knight, as I had really liked using my main DK Undeadbarry, and I created the Draenei just to do their start quests again.
I chose to make this character a female named Kallisto, but only as it wouldn't let me use Xenia or Karynna which were my first picks. I did end up regretting this decision, as the female Draenei has very annoying battle yells, and I couldn't find a way to turn them off. What was worse, was that these start zones were the longest and most boring of this little return to the game. There was just so much running backwards and forwards through large areas, constantly being sent back to areas I'd already been to. Thankfully, this character reached level 20, though only 2 quests before the end. But that meant I could mount up for those 2 quests and boy did it feel good.
It was definitely obvious that these areas and quests were designed earlier in WoW's development. They certainly gave me more of a classic WoW experience than I had expected. There were so many kill quests and fetch quests with poor to moderate drop rates. It felt like 2005 all over again.
The only real interesting thing was that this character was a pally, and holy shit they play so different now from when I played as Jackgooty back in vanilla.

Blood Elf dies very dramatically

Blood Elf dies very dramatically

This guy's missing his log

This guy's missing his log

Can't come back to WoW without spanking some Murlocs

Can't come back to WoW without spanking some Murlocs

Crimson are the rivers, bleed our grief into the sea

Crimson are the rivers, bleed our grief into the sea

Not an area for arachnophobes

Not an area for arachnophobes

I have the power!

I have the power!

Up next was my first ever Pandaren, who I called Vizna. This was a breath of fresh air after the slog that was the Draenei zones. Though there were still a lot of the usual WoW kill and fetch quests, they all just flowed so much faster, and were situated much closer together. Like the Worgen quest line, there was a much better story that ran through the whole area.
My main issue was the fact that I'd chosen a hunter. I'd read that the hunters now get their pets from level 1, which I liked, but I didn't realise that you couldn't control it until level 10, which irritated me. But oh well.
Vizna ended her journey at level 14, after joining the Horde and travelling to Orgrimmar.

Training for the Karate Kid reboot

Training for the Karate Kid reboot

Vizna hitches a ride while her companions walk

Vizna hitches a ride while her companions walk

Well at least the virmen eats healthily

Well at least the virmen eats healthily

Runnin' and gunnin'

Runnin' and gunnin'

You gotta be kidding me

You gotta be kidding me

That's one big ass turtle

That's one big ass turtle

Last on the list was the Trolls, who like the Gnomes were given their own little start area back in Cataclysm. As I'd never played a monk class, I went ahead and created one called Kraputkin, who in my head canon is actually Kropotkin's drunk and bad tempered uncle.
Just like for the Gnomes, this little area only got me to level 5 before it spat me back out into the rest of Durotar, so that's where I called it. I didn't really get enough time with the monk to differentiate it much from other classes that use energy, but the start area was definitely fairly quick and snappy, unlike the Draenei zones.

Though many things are different with the game now compared to when I used to play it, it was still a huge nostalgia trip to spend these hours playing it again. And to be honest there was certainly a pull to subscribe just for one month so I could play my proper characters again. But when I take a step back and not let the nostalgia cloud my vision, it's just so obvious that the game is just too dull to be worthy of me putting any more money into it.

So while it's been pretty cool and relaxing to chill out in the game, the way I feel right now is that I'll never visit Azeroth ever again. However, it must be noted that two weeks ago I would have said the same thing. I've also recently bought the first two Warcraft games from GoG, which may trigger another urge to come and play this in the future.
So while it will take something special for me to play, especially subscribe, again, I guess I can never say never.

High kick somehow works on a crab

High kick somehow works on a crab

What's going on with Vol'jin's arm?

What's going on with Vol'jin's arm?

Kraputkin waves goodbye to WoW

Kraputkin waves goodbye to WoW

It was also a Blizzard game that last had my attention back in March before my little hiatus from gaming, being the first ever Starcraft, which has been available for free on Battle.net for some time. It's a bit strange that I'd never played it before, but for some reason the classic Blizzard games always passed me by. Before playing this, the only games I'd ever played from that company were Diablo 2 and World Of Warcraft.

If I remember right, I got near the end of the Terran campaign, but I was really struggling to stay with it. I don't know what it is, but for the last couple of years I've really had a hard time staying interested in RTS games. Rewind the clock and at one point I'd have been all over this game. Maybe it's because I'm getting quite old and being able to concentrate is no longer a thing that comes easy to me. I don't know.

Anyway, this is a very typical classic RTS affair, which makes sense considering when it was made. It would be quite easy to never play it again, but I want to continue just to experience the story. I mean I've already got the basic idea of what goes on, and I know how Starcraft 2 ends as I watched some streamers play that final expansion when it came out. But it will still be cool to do it myself.

I'm sure I'll get back into it once all my painting is done and my love of computer games kicks back in.

Defending the area from the Zerg

Defending the area from the Zerg

My aircraft paint the town red

My aircraft paint the town red

Back in March, I gave the League of Legends match history web site a little check, and I found that the filters seem to work again. Well, at least a little bit. This allowed me to get some scores for my champs when I played the last few ARAMs. So here's some sad pointless stats from when I last played.

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