Not having school is nice. It lets you blow stuff up.

Being able to put aside books for a few weeks and blowing off my Japanese studies for the same length of time has kinda helped clear the backlog a little bit.

Despite previously-mentioned glitches with cutscenes, I was able to finish Armed and Dangerous in backwards compatibility mode on the 360 today.  It was a little embarrassing to find out that, back in 2003, I’d played up to level 15.  There are 21, in total, so if I’d given it just a little more of a push back then it wouldn’t have wound up on the shelf for four years.

I try not to think of myself as a graphics snob, but it’s not a pretty game even by Xbox standards.  I’m guessing part of that might be because they wanted to be able to throw lots and lots of bad guys at you at the same time and so they went with rougher models.  The draw distance is also pretty crazy, you can see – and be seen by snipers – for a very long way.

So I’ll cut them a little slack there.  Just saying that, while it’s really quite enjoyable – if, like me, you enjoy mindless simulated violence for hours on end – it’s not a showcase title.  🙂

I’d like to see Planet Moon do some more games in the same ilk as this and Giants, but it seems they’ve been sucked into the hopefully-profitable world of Wii minigame collections.

They went with a great design idea in a few of the later levels – you start off surrounded or heavily outnumbered and your first task is just to cut down the number of enemies so you don’t die right off the bat, then you can start to breathe again.  This has two nice effects – one, you don’t get halfway through a level and THEN get a mass of stuff dumped on you, if you survive the first onslaught you’ll probably survive the level – and two, it gives you a nice hit of feeling like you’ve really accomplished something.

Now, then, I’m playing through Baulder’s Gate : Dark Alliance in Co-op mode with my wife, but since we didn’t want to stay up until super late with work in the morning, we put it aside for the night and I decided to check out another game I’d started and put aside, back in 2002: “Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus”

Sly’s a fun character, and the game is surprisingly pretty, particularly for a PS2 game.  Cel-shading, while the very definition of an “overdone trend”, DOES age well.

Unfortunately, the game designers decided he needed some extra-goofy sidekicks, so he’s got a nerdy turtle buddy and a …I think maybe a hippo? a pink hippo? friend, both with annoying voice acting.

The wikipedia entry for this game describes it using words like “easy” and “short”, so I figured it was right up my alley.  I didn’t remember how far I’d gotten, but I knew I’d gotten some ways into the game so I figured I’d check my saved game, see what level I was on, figure out from there.

As it turns out, I didn’t need to do any complicated math – the game itself keeps track of your percentage completed, and it told me that I was at a whopping 7% done and had played for 1 hour, 27 minutes.

Fortunately for my sanity, I remember quite vividly that I waited for the game to drop to $20 before buying it, so at least it’s not like I dropped 50 bucks in it and then put it aside after an hour and a half.

Now, it may just be that I’ve been playing an awful lot of platform games – and an awful lot of games in general – but I started a new game and was at 21% complete in a little over two hours.  As long as there’s no terrible, terrible surprises, I might even be able to finish it this year.  🙂

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