I love this feeling.

It happens once in a blue moon for me, but that’s a stupid saying, because the moon right now ISN’T blue, yet it still happened. Smile with tongue out

I’ve been thinking about what to do after I’ve finished ULSG. Sure, it’s probably gonna be a little while ’til it’s finished, but it’s always nice to have ideas. And for quite a while now, my mind’s been blank. No ideas for anything new. At all. Well, there was one idea for something a while back, and I’ve jotted a few things down for that, but there was nothing that made me say "Holy shit, that sounds awesome." And you know what? That’s annoying.

That is, UNTIL TODAY!! Or yesterday…! Smile with tongue out

I was poking around for MAME games, and I found a game called "Cyvern", which sounded quite interesting. It’s a Vertical Scrolling Danmaku Shooter. Some people call them "Bullet Hell" games, and they contain enemies and bosses that spit retarded amounts of bullets at you, and if any one of them hits your hitbox (which is usually pretty small in comparison to your sprite), you lose a life. I’m not an expert at these games or anything, but I find them quite enjoyable. Open-mouthed smile

So I downloaded Cyvern and gave it a try (it took a shit-ton of searching just so I could get it running Confused smile). And what can I say? It was pretty damn good! It’s called "Cyvern" because it’s a shortened version of "Cybernetic Wyvern", so naturally, you play as… um… a cybernetic wyvern. Smile with tongue out And you’ve got a choice of three, actually, and they represent fire, lightning and earth… at least I PRESUME it’s earth. Smile with tongue out It’s not QUITE in the same league of impossibility as the Touhou games, but it’s challenging, pretty, and has some great gameplay. Nice music, too. Even if I still can’t beat the preset score of a million points, I still liked it.

But this game, for some unfathomable reason, started some sort of chain reaction inside my brain. The chain reaction seemed to get Jets ‘n’ Guns involved, which is THE greatest shmup I’ve ever played – it’s up there with the crazy-awesome Stargunner. And suddenly, a few hours later, my mind seemed to EXPLODE in a HUGE shower of great ideas for one side-scrolling shooter. I opened Notepad IMMEDIATELY. I fucking LOVE it when this happens. Open-mouthed smile

Yeah, I know. A side-scroller. It seems that I only EVER make side-scrollers, huh? Smile with tongue out Well, I grew up with Stargunner, Salamander, and at least one other shmup that I can’t remember the name(s) of. Later on in life, I found Jets ‘n’ Guns and nearly peed myself when I played it, because I thought nothing was better than Stargunner, and I thought that shmups had died out and no-one knew how to make them anymore. Then I played Galaga Deluxe, and subsequently played Warblade, the 21st century upgrade to Galaga Deluxe. Then I found out about the Touhou games and played several of those. Then I searched for MAME games and played Gradius, Dragon Spirit and finally, Cyvern. ALL of the games I’ve mentioned were amazing. I LOVE shmups, because the variety is insane, and the gameplay is almost always great, as well. So, being a shmup veteran (sort of), I’m making another one. If you have any problems with this, kindly go suck a cock. Smile with tongue out

Thanks to Cyvern, Dragon Spirit and one of my previous attempts at a side-scroller, Dragon’s Alliance, you play as a dragon. Thanks to Jets ‘n’ Guns, there will be more weapons than you can shake a stick at, and you can use said weapons in any combination. Thanks to my brain (I think Smile with tongue out), these weapons can be customised with a massive amount of special Mods, which add damage, fire rate, elemental effects, score boosting, reduced heat generation, increased heat dissipation, etc. etc. etc. Thanks to Dragon Tail (a little Smile with tongue out), you can customise your character and choose their element, which gives various benefits and disadvantages depending on what you pick (the advantages and disadvantages are already so perfectly balanced that I can barely choose between the four, and they accommodate to three different styles of play – aggressive, technical and defensive). Thanks to my currrent disability to make a serious game, it will have plenty of attitude and lulz, and thanks to ULSG, it will have occassional moments where you say "WHAT THE FUCK?!"

86,000. Wink

The ONE THING that’s holding me back, and has almost ALWAYS held me back when starting a new game… are the graphics. I can’t make a game without graphics, and I can’t rely on the MMF library this time. Nor can I really rely on myself, because I suck at everything apart from HUDs. Smile with tongue out The things that worry me the most are the stage graphics, backgrounds and enemy ships. I’m not worried much about the dragons, however. Unlike the time when I started Dragon’s Alliance… I’m prepared this time:

100% Pure Badass - DracoAurarius
(Although I had no idea what to do for the background, you should click this pic. I didn’t wait nearly an hour so you could view this at a resolution lower than what I rendered it at. Smile with tongue out)

DAZ effin’ Studio. If I can pump out renders like this, it may just save my ass when dealing with the dragons. Open-mouthed smile And UNLIKE this render, the sprites WON’T take almost an hour to render. Wink HOWEVER, I didn’t particularly WANT to use DAZ Studio, thanks to its fail animation features, and the fact that the SubDragon is difficult to… um… "unique-ify". Yeah. Smile with tongue out So if there’s no other solution (which there won’t be) I’ll have to use DAZ Studio. But I’m not using the MilDragon. I bet it’ll be noticed in a split second if I use him. Smile with tongue out

Backgrounds and enemy ships, though. Hrm… I’ll probably have to plan the story and all the stages far in advance so I have an idea of what backgrounds and props I’ll need for the stages, and then create/find the right things. The enemy ships aren’t gonna be as irritating, but they’re not gonna be easy, either. Sad smile

Once all the graphics are done, I’m home free! I can program this in MMF2, no problem. Open-mouthed smile Just need to get the ideas down, then I can try making the prototype. I’ve got a good feeling about this idea, so I’d stay tuned if I were you. Wink

UPDATE!!

Okay, it’s about 15-20 minutes after I posted the previous entry. Now someone answer me, WHERE THE HELL DID THIS COME FROM?!


(It’s looks GLORIOUS full-size, so click it now, bitch! Smile with tongue out)

I typed "Dragon Storm" down, and explicitly said, "That’s just a placeholder, I’m not using that." I don’t even know where the words came from. I set a gradient and a border. Then, I flicked through my fonts, and stumbled across that one. It IMMEDIATELY sounded right. Then I rendered a dragon silhouette, and put that behind it. It IMMEDIATELY looked perfect.

And so, Dragon Storm is born. The way that happened was just… unreal.

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THIS BLOG IS CRAWLING WITH CELL!

Here’s another review from Le MongMaster – GUARANTEED to be more honest and unbiased than ANY professional review. Why? Because I don’t get paid to do this, I play the game I’m reviewing for MORE than 36 minutes, and I don’t have anyone telling me what I should write. Smile with tongue out

So, Crackdown 2. I was pretty excited to play the demo when it was released, just so I could get a taster before my already pre-ordered copy arrived. And… oh dear.

The demo left a pretty negative impact on me. It wasn’t… BAD, by any means… hell, it looked and felt a lot more polished than the original… and it played pretty similarly… but there was something missing, something I couldn’t put my finger on. I don’t know… it felt more serious, less fun… and it didn’t help that I didn’t have a CLUE what I was doing. It just THREW you into the game without an explanation of what was going on, which kinda left our four-player team a bit… confused. Smile with tongue out

After playing the demo, it made me think twice about my pre-order. I was thinking about cancelling it… but I didn’t. I thought I’d wait for it to arrive so I could give it a proper chance.

And it arrived a couple days ago. Open-mouthed smile I started playing it as soon as I got the chance, and I was glad to see that the intro cutscene and tutorial explained EVERYTHING I didn’t understand. The story is a bit ridiculous (not like I really care, because THIS… IS… CRACKDOWN!! *kicks a gang member 200 feet into the sea*), but it makes sense, at least. Well… I haven’t COMPLETED it yet, but it makes sense so far – virus appears that turns people into Freaks, the Agency comes up with the Sunburst Defence System to clear out the freaks, then a gang of some sort appears to stop the Agency from putting their plans into action. That’s the basic gist of it, and it all sounds fine to me. Still no proper explanation about the ending of the original, however.

But… that same weird feeling I had in the demo kept me from enjoying the game to it’s fullest, though. Questions like "where’s the fun?" and "where’s the action gone?" kept appearing in my mind. "This doesn’t feel as engaging as Crackdown 1, does it?" "Isn’t this just the same as the original, just with fewer gangs and a bunch of weaklings that only appear at night?" Technically… it is.

Over time, though, the game slowly started to get into its stride. Tactical Locations and Beacons get more difficult, there are a massive amount of enemies, and there is a real challenge to it. And, as it’s free roam, you don’t HAVE to complete the objectives. Do a road race, do a rooftop race, go orb hunting, try to catch some of the Renegade orbs, try some vehicle stunts, get your skills up… and if you’re with another player, mess around with cars/explosives, or pwn a load of gang members!

Then… I realised. I was CONSTANTLY comparing it to Crackdown 1 when I first started. To really enjoy Crackdown 2… you have to FORGET about the original. Just forget it existed. The original was a great game, and sure, the sequel is very similar to the original. There are a few things missing, such as the gang bosses, but… honestly, I don’t care. If there were gang bosses like in the original, I’d find it REALLY boring. You NEED to change things in a sequel, and I think that the Tactical Locations and the Beacons, although pretty simple, aren’t BAD, and give a pretty good challenge… assuming you’re not a pussy and put it on a difficulty higher than Tough. Smile with tongue out

People have criticised this game for being too much like the original – same city, same Agency, same gameplay, etc. But what’s wrong with more of a good thing?! Call it what you will – Crackdown 1.5, Crackdown 2… whatever, it’s still as much of a riot as the original… hell, I think it’s MORE fun! And the co-op is still as fun and as crazy as ever, even with only TWO players. Throwing a satchel charge at an enemy vehicle and taking out about ten people in a HUGE explosion, while your teammate jumps through it and shoots another couple of people in mid-air? AWESOME. Open-mouthed smile

And my new favourite weapon of all time? The UV SHOTGUN. Open-mouthed smile

*after activating an Absorption Unit on top of an oil rig*
Me: Hey, Ped, d’ya know what’s funny?
Ped: What?
*Mongz fires a UV shotgun blast at Ped*
Ped: Waaaaaargh!
*Ped flies off the oil rig and into the water*

I’ve been entertained, and had just as much fun as I have done in the original. I’ve laughed just as much playing this game co-op as I have done playing
the original co-op. And really… isn’t that what playing a game is all about?

Ignore those stupid critic reviews – this game is under-rated, and I bet they never even played it for more than an hour or so. Give Crackdown 2 a try, and give it a chance to get going. And if you were a fan of the original, you HAVE to get it. It’s a blast. Open-mouthed smile