Friday, May 16, 2008

This week's column

In no particular order

Every once and awhile, I forego the straightforward gaming column and let my random thoughts assemble. Their assembly is not unlike the Avengers, assembling, except none of my thoughts have superpowers or look as good as the Black Widow.

And speaking of the Avengers did any of you stick around at the end of the Iron Man movie credits and see the secret scene? If you didn't, you might consider seeing the movie again ...

Dietrich finishes "Bully"

Contributor John Dietrich, no stranger to childhood bullying, finished playing "Bully Scholarship Edition" for the Wii.

"Nothing I encountered lessened the game's appeal. You still never get weekends, but once you pass all your classes, every day is basically a weekend, because you don't need to be in school. That's when the game's open-world environment really begins to shine.

"My only complaint is that Gary, who's such a force in the first chapter and was an amazing teenage villain, disappears until the grand finale. I wish the writers had kept him around more consistently, because I love hating the jerk and he's a formidable challenge. Also, as always with any great game, it's a little on the short side.

"The missions do get more challenging, but the game was still unable to really get me frustrated at any point. That's a result of me being a good student in the beginning and dominating the classes, thus unlocking major bonuses. If you want to really, really make this game a challenge, skip the art, physical education, chemistry and geography classes.

"The game is definitely endless fun, mostly because you can continually torment whomever you want. Once you beat it, you unlock 'Endless Summer,' which is basically a mission-less chapter with no end where you can cause as much mayhem as you want and finish up any and all loose ends. I appreciate this, because too many games give you a ton of cool powers, but once you get them, you only get 10-15 minutes worth of game play out of them. With 'Endless Summer' you get as much as you want."

Fatality from cute

"Ultimate Mortal Kombat" wouldn't have been possible on the DS unless Nintendo could shove a puzzle game in there. Puzzle Kombat is cute for the first minute or so, but then you realize you're playing a game called "Puzzle Kombat" with a bobble-headed Scorpion. Nintendo could find a way to make "Grand Theft Auto" nauseatingly cute if Rock Star would let 'em.

Phony Outrage Alert

"Grand Theft Auto IV" was barely out a month before it became the target of phony outrage by a Fox affiliate in Chicago. A Fox report about the questionable taste of such an ad in light of the city's crime problem got the game's ads pulled from the side of Chicago buses.

I guess I could buy the story if the ads depicted any acts of violence. But it's a few head shots of "GTA IV" characters. "GTA" publisher Take Two sued the Chicago Transit Authority for backing out of their advertising agreement. Good for them.

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