Monday, August 31, 2009

August 15th Radio Show now online

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box: A review

I've been looking forward to this sequel to Professor Layton and the Curious Village ever since I found out that it would be hitting American shores. Part 2 of the first of two trilogies of Professor Layton titles, the Diabolical Box brings 150 new puzzles and a handful of minigames to the table.

The same gorgeous art style reminiscent of Miyazaki is used and the storyline is very engaging. Level 5 has delivered again with this title and if you're a fan of puzzles you definitely need to pick up this title. One nice touch: you don't have to have played the original game. This title is a standalone and you can start with this one or the Curious Village without any confusion. If you're not familiar with the series let me fill you in. You play as Professor Layton and his apprentice Luke. The Professor teaches archaeology at a university he and Luke solve mysteries on the side using their natural talents at puzzle solving. As you move about the various setpieces you uncover hidden puzzles. Solving them earns you picarats and help move the story along. Puzzles include math puzzles, logic puzzles, matchstick puzzles, word problems and the like. The meat of the game is the puzzles but they're wrapped up in a very immersive over-arcing stageplay.

A few puzzley minigames have been added as well. Each is presented as a puzzle but can only be completed as you collect pieces from each chapter of the story.

Some of the kinks of the first title seem to have been worked out. For example, I found that in the Curious Village some of the puzzles were worded a little ambiguously and I wasn't sure what sort of answer the game required to solve the puzzle. Also, in the first game the memo screen and the puzzle screen were one in the same which sometimes limited you to the amount of information you could doodle and still see. The memo page has been improved with a transparent overlay that gives you the entire bottom screen to scrawl out notes on. Much better.

I also like how Professor Layton is always teaching Luke what how a "true gentleman" behaves in various situations. You can't go wrong giving this game to your kid.

Overall, The Diabolical Box is a hard buy. Interesting puzzles, engaging story, beautiful artwork, immersive voicework; all add up to a hours of enjoyable gameplay.

Wolfenstein RPG (iPod Touch):HAPPY GAMING With Vanilla Assassin

Here comes another killer game for the iPod Touch in the form of Wolfenstein RPG. For all you freaks and geeks who miss that old dingy-awesome Wolfenstein 3D, you'll love this incarnation of the game.
The sound of the doors clanking shut, brought back old memories and so did the maze style levels and the portraits of Hitler on the wall. Only in the RPG version you can punch Hitler's portrait-face to a pulp.
This game is turn based so your enemies have the same amount of movements allotted to them, as you took, i.e. you take a shot, they take a shot.
The fun factor is totally there and the graphics are smooth, chunky and pumped-up compared to the original. Once you look through the controls they become intuitive and work well. There's even a "cross pad" for direction on the screen with which you move around.
I purchased this game for $2.99, which was quite a steal. It could have easily been priced at $9.99.

Any of you iPod Touch or Phone fans out there who are on the fence about this game and have not purchased it, DO IT. NOW.

Happy Gaming,
Vanilla Assassin

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Catacomb Abyss

The Catacomb Abyss

"You stand before the gate leading into the Towne Cemetery. Night is falling as mournful wails mingle with the sound of your pounding heart. Equipped with your wits and the Secret Knowledge of Magick, you venture forth on your quest to upset the dark schemes of Nemesis, your arch rival."

If that intro didn't creep you out then I don't know what will. All those spelling mistakes make my heart bleed with confusion.

The other day i dusted off and cracked open and dug deep into the bowels of my gaming vault. What i found was an old game which i haven't played for years. And i mean YEARS! The Catacomb Abyss!

Forget Duke Nukem or even WofenSTEEEN 3D. Before all that, came a little game which was developed by 'id'. I remember the Gadget savvy Gooch let me borrow a floppy and on it was "Comet" and "The Catacomb Abyss".

This PC game was the Daddy of FPS. When I first copied and loaded this puppy up, and realized that i was some sort of mage who can shoot fire from my hands and kill ghoulish zombies while running around in a maze collecting several colored keys and potions, and things were getting VEERY NASTY in the Catacombs, I was hooked. At the time I had never seen a game quite like this. What really scared me in this game was a section of the cemetery called Garden Of Tears. EEESH.

Don't try jacking up your volume because this game DON'T NEED NO MUSAC. All it requires in terms of sound effects is just that, SOUND EFFECTS.

Dare you challenge the great Nemesis as Novice or Warrior? This skeleton has fangs the size of can openers and his head is engulfed in flames. he must be in constant pain because his eyes are a hue of red.

If you can get your hands on this game, give it a shot. Just for old time sake.


Vanilla Assassin

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Archives available onsite

Just click the button below to listen to our August 22 show featuring the debut of our Japanese correspondent.