Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Half-Life 2-ometer

With today being the 10th anniversary of the release of Half-Life 1, it seemed only appropriate to do this now. (Even though it's actually about Half-Life 2. Okay, I honestly had no idea about this anniversary, but the timing was too good to pass up doing this today.)

As I review first-person shooter games, I'm starting to notice something: I keep comparing them to Half-Life 2. And there's a good reason for that. Half-Life 2 is amazing. It's possibly the best first-person shooter ever made, and a lot of developers have taken notice, incorporating some of its innovations into their own games. Because of this, Half-Life 2 is often referred to as "the standard by which other FPS games are measured." Well, why not take that as literally as possible?

Ladies and gentlemen, this... is the Half-Life-2-ometer.


From now on, all FPSes will be ranked on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being better than Half-Life 2 (and, by extension, the best FPS ever) and 1 being somewhere around Super Noah's Ark. Yes, Half-Life 2 does in fact rate only a 9 on the Half-Life-2-ometer. If a game achieves a rank of 10, it will then become a 9 on a new __________-ometer.

Here are more detailed descriptions of these rankings:

10: Better than Half-Life 2.
9: As good as Half-Life 2.
8: Almost as good as Half-Life 2, but missing some polish.
7: Has certain aspects that may actually trump Half-Life 2, but is outclassed by Half-Life 2 in other ways.
6: Coexists comfortably alongside Half-Life 2.
5: Wishes it were Half-Life 2, but it ain't.
4: Not even in the same league as Half-Life 2. Ripping off Half-Life 2 would be an improvement.
3: A first-person shooter that is both dumb and not fun.
2: A bad game, plain and simple.
1: The antithesis of Half-Life 2; it gets everything completely wrong.

Crysis, by the way, rates a 7. I may augment its review to reflect this later on.

And here are how some other FPSes stack up. Keep in mind that this is not a percentage-based system of any sort. There is no conversion rate between my 5-star system and my 10-point Half-Life 2-ometer. 8 points does not necessarily equal 4 stars. In fact, anything in the 7-10 range can possibly be 5 stars. So with that in mind...
  • Bioshock: 6
  • FEAR: 7
  • Far Cry: 6
  • Dark Forces: 8
  • Half-Life 1: 8
Hey, wait a second! Do I consider FEAR a better game than Bioshock? Strangely, no. However, its combat puts Half-Life 2's to shame, whereas nothing in Bioshock really puts Half-Life 2 to shame. So I gotta give it props for that. I told you this wasn't a particularly sensible system.

Friday, November 07, 2008

"REVIEW": Red Alert 3

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, EA continues its long-running RTS franchise in tongue-in-cheek fashion. Red Alert 3 continues the C&C tradition of cheesy FMV sequences with the fanchise's most star-studded cast to date, all chewing so much scenery that if they were beavers and scenery were logs, they would probably be able to build a lot of dams with the end products of their chewing. There are also a lot of women who show cleavage, which is hilarious and very tongue-in-cheek.

Red Alert 3 is actually the exact same game as Red Alert 2, but with 3D graphics. Still, how can you not love a game with armored bears that parachute out of cannons, giant robots, and psychic schoolgirls? It is so wonderfully tongue-in-cheek that I'm beginning to suspect that each of the EA staff members' mouths is actually comprised entirely of a large mass of tongue muscle tissue that fills the oral cavity completely, which is quite prohibitive to talking, but allows for some really classic game design. Sure, it's nothing new -- you just have to command a military against another military, which is very old-hat -- but how can you not love a game where Mount Rushmore shoots lasers and J. K. Simmons chews scenery using his cheek-dewlling tongue?

Oh, I think this game introduces naval base-building and a third faction and co-op mode, but I wasn't really paying attention. It seemed pretty much the same as RA2.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


First off, allow me to congratulate the Democratic party for their rather smashing victory last night. Turns out you guys aren't an oppressed minority fighting desperately for survival in a harsh political wilderness; you just had to wait your turn.

As president, Barack Obama will bring a lot of change -- to television. Here are some of the ways:

  • First and most importantly, with Bush jokes losing their relevance, it's very possible that 75% of television will actually disappear. Unless "Joe Biden has weird eyelids" jokes catch on.
  • The Colbert Report will have to change its dynamic to some extent. The Daily Show will remain more or less the same, but maybe 5% happier.
  • With David Palmer no longer able to be called the first black president, 24 is now officially an alternate reality, and Jack Bauer is officially not real. Thanks a lot, dream-crushers.
  • Then again, "Bill Ayers" sounds like a name straight out of 24. But for some reason I don't think we'll be hearing that name again any time soon... (Hey, when does The Joe The Plumber Show premiere on VH1 again?)
  • Family Guy and The Simpsons might manage to go three whole episodes without one of the characters turning to the screen and saying, "We've been making you laugh for a while, but now I want to take a minute to educate you on the state of the current administration." Iraq War jokes may remain in fashion.
  • The basis of American Dad's underlying plot will change... about a year from now, when the animation gets a chance to catch up. (This is actually kind of a real fact.)
  • Li'l Bush will remain unchallenged as the greatest, most ground-breaking and most relevant political satire in history.
  • Depending on what happens in the next day or two, you might see Al Franken on sitcoms again.

Well, that was a hasty bit of political sub-satire. See you later.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Changing Face of Evil

My friends, we are currently facing an issue that has the potential to shape the future not only of this country, but of the entire world. It is important that we all pay attention during this historic time.

I'm talking, of course, about something that is obviously not the presidential election due to how much I'm setting up this punchline. I'm talking about Pepsi changing the logos and designs of their various soda products.

You may be thinking this isn't such a big deal. People on the internet will whine about it because it's new and therefore can't be as good as the old version, but this goes much deeper than that. Why? Because of this:


Here it is again, in case that wasn't clear enough:


That's right. Mtn Dew. An abbreviation unbecoming of an AIM chat will now represent one of the greatest soft drinks in history. They're trying to sneak this in with the rest of the faux-controversial changes, but it sticks out like a sore thmb. I for one will not stand for it.

So what am I going to do? Uh... this, I guess. Yeah.

Posted by Sir Lemming at 9:29 PM, Mtn Time.