Saturday, March 26, 2005


The PSP Looks Sweet

The Playstation Portable, aka PSP looks really nice. Played with one in Best Buy today. Almost bought it (for more details see my Live Journal page). Anways, I didn't get it. But if this were $180ish I'd be so there. $250 is a lot to drop on a portable device. I know it does more than just play games but to do much more than games with it right now you ALSO need to drop another $50-$100 on a decent size Memory Stick. Lets say I spend $100 on a big 512mb Memory Stick, well now I got a $350 MP3 player that only has 512mb of memory. Bleh. Or it can watch movies (either using the proprietary disc format or using your PC to convert DVD's to MP4 format and uploading them via USB to the Memory Stick). But still, $350 is a lot for a device that holds so little media. And the 1gb memory sticks are like $150 ish. You can get a 20gb iPod for what $300? Sure it won't play games. But it is a much better song device. I guess I don't know. If they made 4gb or bigger Memory Sticks that were $150 or so, I might be tempted. Maybe in the future that will be a reality, the prices on stuff like that is always falling.

Monday, March 21, 2005


Jedi Academy Final Scenes

Ok just finished Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy. Great game. I played through the Dark Side ending first. Very cool. At the end you get to fight Kyle Katarn and by far he is the most formiddable opponent in the game. I won't spoil what he does that is so difficult or what the ending scenes are like afterward. Then I went back and played the Light Side ending, and it was also pretty cool, you got to fight a nasty Sith Lord evil thingy at the end which was pretty hard but not as hard as Kyle. One thing is, the Light Side ending is way easier than the Dark Side ending. That is because the last level running up to the ending sequence is full of Sith AND Jedi, but if you go Light Side the Jedi will help you fight, but if you go Dark Side you have to kill all of them.

I am not sure how you could finish this game without taking both light and dark force powers. There are certain powers that aren't that useful (or at least, I didn't need them much), but certain powers on both sides are just way too useful. I am not sure how I could have finished the game without Force Grip, it's just way too convenient to Grip someone and then drop them over a ledge. Or Grip them and then run up and slash them while they have no sabre up. And I never would have made it through the last level without Force Heal, it's just too much fighting and not enough healing around and Force Drain just isn't a good enough substitute for Healing since you can't use it in between fights.

I am thinking about playing through again, this time using a female jedi (yes, the game is customized to allow you to play either as male or female protagonist and the cutscenes all change depending on which you take). I'm thinking of trying to take NO Dark Side traits this time and see if it's even possible.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, if you are a Star Wars fan check this game out.


Cops 2170: The Power of Law

I just finished up my review of the strategy/RPG game Cops 2170: The Power of Law and the review is being posted right now over on From the main page you should see the link to the review there.


Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy

I already blogged a first look of Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy a few weeks ago. I'm almost finished with the game now. I got in several hours of it this weekend. This is a really fun first person shooter. Most shooters I get sick of and quit before I get finished with them, but this game stays different enough to be fun all the way through.

Near the end of the game there is a dramatic scene where you have to make a choice between following the Light side of the Force or the Dark side. I saved the game at that point and then took the Dark side path (muhahahaha). I'm pretty sure I'm making it harder on myself, though, because now at the end level I am having to fight both the good Jedi who were once my friends and also the evil Sith (because, you know, I want the Big Evil Power all to myself).

The jedi battles in this game are a hell of a lot of fun. You have a bunch of different Force powers at your disposal and you use those (so will the enemies) to try and beat them plus of course your light sabre. Forget about shooting Force-users (Jedi and Sith) with your guns, they just reflect your shots right back and you and you take the damage. Even grenades are useless, they'll bounce it back right at you. I have managed to kill a few with grenades by using indirect fire (bouncing it off a wall and then having it land near them).

I concentrated at first on the Dark side powers, such as Force Grip (lets you choke people like Darth Vader, and you can lift them up and fling them around at higher levels) and Force Drain (sucks the life out of your enemies and gives some to you). After I maxed those two I started buying up a Force Berserker thing (forgot the actual name of the power) which makes you pretty much invulnerable, but you not-so-slowly lose health points while the power is active. So after the power ends you're really weak, and easily killable. I didn't like that too much so I only put 2 points in that one and the fourth Dark side power wasn't that cool sounding so I decided to get some light-side powers. One power is extremely useful which reduces damage for any type of energy or physical damage, so with that bumped up to max, basically the only thing that can hurt you are the Jedi/Sith using their powers. Also put at least one dot into Force Healing. That way after you kill some things you can at least heal yourself back up to full. There's also a power that lets you absorb Dark Force energy but I found that it's not that useful so even though I bought it up two dots I don't use it much.

By the end of the game the Force powers I used the most were: Force Grip - I would use this as much as possible. What I try to do is get close to a drop-off, a ledge, and lure the enemy Jedi/Sith up to me, then Force Grip them and drop them over the edge. Aaaaaaahhhh! Oh, so sorry, poor Jedi fall down and go boom. Another good thing about Force Grip is that it forces them to lower their light sabre, so if you grip them and then rush up and slash with your light sabre you can get in a free hit that way.

Force Drain also I use a ton. I used the Heal when out of combat but a lot of times near the end game I was having to fight 3 or 4 Jedi/Sith at once. What's really cool is that there are Jedi AND Sith all there together (at one room I think there were like 8 force-users, some Jedi and some Sith) and so it's a massive melee, with everyone wanting to kill me but also wanting to kill each other. During those I would take cheap shots at the Jedi (because I've found that the Jedi are harder to kill, so I tried to take them out first) while they were engaged with the Sith. When you're fighting that many people the only way to stay alive is to use Force Drain to keep your health level up.

Force Push - you have to use this a lot. For one thing it's cool to Force Push people over a ledge and listen to them scream as they plumet to their death. But for another, Force Push will break a Force Grip on you, so if you are being Force Gripped you hit the Force Push button as fast as you can to get out of it.

Force Speed - This is damn useful in a battle against multiple opponents. You can dodge their attacks and maneuver behind the Jedi/Sith to slash them from behind.

Force Jump - basically this is a mandatory power that is primarily useful just to make it through the levels because they require a ton of jumping. The nice part about this power is that it's automatic, if you jump, you automatically Force Jump if you have the force power available. It can also be a life saver in combat if you are being trapped by two or more opponents you can jump away sometimes. By the end game when Force Jump is maxed out you can jump incredibly high.

Apart from jedi/sith the other enemies of the game offer little challenge. Sometimes they can gang up on you and put a hurt on, especially at earlier levels. Also some of them might have powerful weaponry that can majory hurt, like a rocket-launcher. There's some cyber-suit storm troopers that are hard to kill without heavy weaponry. There were also some light-sabre weilding droids that were very tough, and the only way to kill them was with repeated light sabre swipes or throwing the sabre at them. Also there were some jet-pack flying storm troopers that were only hard to kill because they are kind of hard to reach, but you can toss the light sabre at them and bring them down pretty easily. Overall there is a pretty good variety of enemies in the game.

There's a bunch of different types of environments too. You perform missions on planets all over the known galaxy, such as Tatooine, Hoth, Yavin, Coruscant, and tons of other places. You will fight through space stations, star destroyers, ancient temples, high rise buildings in Coruscant, desert planets, ice planets, etc. You have one really cool level where you race along on speeder bikes while other bad guys on speeder bikes try and shoot you down. There's tons of cool levels like that where you have something besides just pure gun/sabre to do. Several mini-games also. For example on one mission your ship gets tractor-beamed by a star destroyer and so you have to disable the tractor beam and then try and blow up the ship while you get away, but the ship comes under attack by tie-bombers (boggle, yeah, I'm not sure why they were bombing their own ship, unless I guess they thought you were in control of it at that point) so you have this part where you man a gun-emplacement on the destroyer and blast away at the tie-bombers.

This game is full of cool characters to encounter also. Luke Skywalker is there as a mentor and he's in a bunch of scenes. Then there is Kyle Katarn, the hero of previous Jedi Knight games. He actually will go on missions with you a few times. There's your buddy Rosch who is a fellow student at the Academy. And you encounter some other characters from the movie like Chewbacca. Not to mention - you get to fight Boba Fett!!

I can highly recommend this game to anyone who enjoys a good first-person shooter and especially if they also love Star Wars. Even if you don't typically like a FPS game, you might really enjoy this one if you are a Star Wars fan because it is just so good. Also on the easy setting the game is very playable for a novice. The graphics are somewhat dated, it feels like a 3 year old game or so, but they still are servicable and look good enough to still be a lot of fun. Plus on the bright side of that they will run on modest hardware.

One note on the graphics - I was getting a weird problem where if I looked at a light at just the right (wrong?) angle my entire screen would flash white. This was very disorienting at first and gave the beginning of the game a bad impression. I ended up having to disable dynamic lighting or some other light-related graphics feature to prevent this from happening. This was on an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, with the latest Catalyst drivers.

Hopefully I can finish up the game this week and post my comments on the end game's story and such. I can still even without seeing that part wholeheartedly recommend this game. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would rate this game a 8.8 or so.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


The Matrix Online Beta

Got a betatest key mailed to me tonight so I went ahead and downloaded the 5.5 gb or so of The Matrix Online Beta. Some short first impressions - the tutorial is fantastic. There's not yet a lot of options for creating characters but it does look pretty expandable and it's not really too bad it does offer some customization. The tutorial features excellent voice acting from people who played in the movies including Laurence Fishburne.

The game just kind of went way down on the "fun" scale though, after the tutorial was over. The "missions" I did were just kind of "eh" and the 3rd one I was assigned was actually broken. I haven't re-tried mission 3 yet but if it doesn't work again I am not sure how to progress from that point onward since I think it's a mandatory mission. And just randomly killing thugs isn't very exciting.

The combat is supposed to be kung-fu matrix-style but it just isn't very fluid. Animations appear kind of choppy and robotic. Jumping, in particular, looks pretty weird and doesn't "feel right." Gun fights were even more boring. I shoot you. Then i sit there and let you shoot me. Then I shoot you. Bleh. Feels too "turn-based" and that's really why it's not exciting enough. If they had used a real-time fighting engine like found in Tekken or Dead or Alive then it would have been much much cooler. Graphics are pretty decent as far as resolution and detail but the scenery is just pretty blandish.

Oh yah one other thing that irked me is that you have to use a credit card to sign up for the beta. I mean, WTF?

I'll probably play it some more before I decide if it's worth playing or not. If it could capture more feel of the movies like the tutorial does, it would be worth it.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Sea Wolves Review

Finished up my Sea Wolves review a few days ago and forgot to post up a link here. Well, anyway, you can read about it here. In short - a somewhat innovative shareware game that might amuse you for a few hours. I recommend trying the demo.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


Planescape: Torment

One of my favorite RPG games ever made was the AD&D game by Interplay's Black Isle Studios called Planescape: Torment. I wrote a fairly gushing review for it here a few years ago. This game is getting kind of long in the tooth and the graphics for it haven't aged that well. The artwork is still fresh and imaginative, but the screen is stuck at 640x480 which can look very grainy on the large monitors most people use today. If I had to rewrite that review, I'd probably bump Graphics rating down a notch or two. Still, this is my number one, most favorite, single-player RPG ever released for any platform. That says a lot.

I actually have a spare copy of this if anyone is interested in trading for it. If you click above on the name of the game it will take you to the Amazon web page and they currently have some copies available through their resellers program. But my copy is new! And it comes with Soulbringer, another RPG that is... eh. Less than stellar.


Dungeon Lords

I managed to get a hold of the press-preview of Dungeon Lords and you can read my preview of it here.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


My Other Blogs

I have two other Gaming-related blogs:

Azeroth Days which chronicles my adventures in World of Warcraft, and also my city of heroes toons which chronicles my adventures in City of Heroes.

Also I have my Knight37's Rants & Raves blog for general-purpose blogging (anything goes).

All of these blogs are published for RSS, so if you use something like Bloglines or FeedDemon then you can have my blogs (and hundreds of other cool ones) delivered to you any time they change and you don't have to keep checking them all the time.

Getting ready to go make a post on Azeroth Days now, I just finished making a new toon on a PVP server. ;)


Jedi Academy First Impressions

Well I have "unwrapped the shrink" so to speak on Jedi Academy and have played the first couple of levels. So here's my early take on this game.

First, the graphics. Pretty good but not great. I realize this is an older title. I have the game set to maximum eye-candy and it still looks kind of, hmm... stark. But it is colorful, I'll give it that. The models movement is kind of robotic or forced, though, they don't look very smooth. Facial modeling is not bad, I guess, for a game its age. So far I haven't seen much of the environments, a jungle, a temple, and Mos Eisley space port. I hope that there is more interesting stuff to come later on.

The sounds and music is pretty good. Voice acting is very good. And the plot so far seems interesting. I really like the fact that we get to meet up with familiar Star Wars characters like Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca. Also Kyle Katarn from the earlier Jedi Knight games.

Controls are a bit difficult for some reason. I'm finding it hard to control precisely where my character is moving and especially where he's swinging his light sabre. Jumping was seriously troubling compared to console action games like say Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, which had very intutive controls. So far there's only been a little bit of jumping but I get the feeling that it's coming in bigger doses later on. Aiming. Don't get me started. The reason Storm Troopers could never kill Luke & company is that they are so inaccurate.

The Force Powers though, are really sweet. You get them right at the start, which is different than some other Jedi Knight games, and they come in very handy. You can Force Push, which basically can shove things around, you can Force Pull which lets you trip levers and things remotely, you can do Force Speed, which makes you faster, or you can Force Jump and jump much higher. Also Force Sense lets you see hidden things. I've decided to go Dark Side on this guy and so I can also do a Force Grip (like Vader did in the movies) where you can choke the living crap out of your enemies.

More details as I progress through...


Currently Playing

I am currently playing the following games:

World of Warcraft
City of Heroes
Star Wars Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy
Deus Ex Invisible War (DX2)
Half-Life 2
Dungeon Lords (Preview/Beta)

If you would like to discuss these games send me a shout.


Welcome to Knight Games!

Greetings, my handle on the internet is Knight37, I've been using that handle since 1996 or so. I have been a participant on the net for quite a while (since 1992 or so). Before that, I was a BBS operator, who ran an RPG & Programming themed BBS in College Station, Texas and later in Dallas, Texas called "The Wyrm's Byte" which started in 1988 and closed down in 1992. Back then I used the name "Berek Halfhand" (from the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series).

The knight37 handle came along because I had an ISP that made me use an 8-letter name for my ID. The name actually has a meaning, and no, 37 is not my age. Can you guess what it means?

I have been a participant on the USENET discussion forums for a long while also. You can find me there in most often, that's my main hang out.

The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my thoughts and feelings about the games that I play. I play a lot of games, and usually I discuss them on Usenet, but I decided I would also like to have a more personal space to publish my ideas so I'm starting up this blog now.

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