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Archive for Joe Martin

Games I Own: No One Lives Forever

Posted on 11th Feb 2009 at 09:24 by Joe Martin with 19 comments

Ah, No One Lives Forever. Definitely one of my favourite games ever and it has been ever since I played the singleplayer demo ages ago. The demo was three full levels long, which I remember thinking was unprecedentedly lengthy at the time.

Mostly though, I remember being wowed by one level in particular that takes place on a pilotless passenger plane, which you have to jump out of without a parachute. The aim of the next level is to grab a ‘chute before your freefall comes to an abrupt end.

Essentially Austin Powers: The Game, Monolith’s super-spy extravaganza is set in the middle of the sixties and casts players as Cate Archer – the only female operative in the secret Unity organisation. Also, after a string of assassinations from a group known only as HARM, the only operative actually left alive.

What makes NOLF such a great game, other than its length, is the sheer irreverence that it treats itself with. Everything is a stereotyped caricature of itself, from the leather cat-suited Cate, right through to the cycloptic Russian assassin, Volkov.

Games I Own: No One Lives Forever

To dismiss No One Lives Forever as nought but a humorous shooter though is to do it a great disservice, in my opinion. There’s so much more to the game than that.

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Games that break themselves: Hitman 2

Posted on 9th Feb 2009 at 06:58 by Joe Martin with 12 comments

Joe Martin
I bought a game last week – the Hitman Triple Pack. It’s got Hitman 2, Contracts and Blood Money in it, all for £15.

It’s an odd, old purchase admittedly, but the buying habits of game journos tend to be quite different from regular customers in my experience. I already get sent and get to play all the new games as they come out, so any money I spend in stores is dedicated to collecting older games I missed out on before.

Hitman 2 though is a game I have a turbulent and colourful history, mainly because of one aspect of its game design. I've tried to complete it four times now and each time I've given up when I got to the Japanese levels.

Playing Hitman 2 over the weekend, I again got to the second Japanese level (the one with the ninjas, where you have to infiltrate the castle) and I thought of giving up on it again.

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Games I Own: Call of Cthulhu

Posted on 5th Feb 2009 at 13:30 by Joe Martin with 4 comments

Joe Martin
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of The Earth is one of my favourite games and I love it to bits. It’s tense, dark, truly and deeply frightening and possessed of the same permeating sense of atmosphere and macabre fiction as the HP Lovecraft novels it is based on. Created by Bethsoft, it really is great and there’s one chase sequence in particular that I’m sure was a major inspiration for Mirror’s Edge.

But, Call of Cthulhu is one of the worst games I’ve ever played. It’s frustrating and unrelenting, too difficult even at the best of times, with an inspirational chase-sequence that’s harder than Superman’s right hook and a story that both jumps the shark and leaves you hanging unresolvedly around.

The basic premise for the game is typical Lovecraftian horror, with players cast as a 1930s private eye who travels to Innsmouth to investigate a missing person. What at first seems to be a small American town drenched in depression and perpetual thunder, soon becomes something a lot more fearsome, with murders and dark sacrifices slowly coming to light.

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Games I Own: Baldur's Gate 1

Posted on 2nd Feb 2009 at 10:38 by Joe Martin with 9 comments

Joe Martin
There are four stacks I have in my assortment of computer games at home - two piles of DVD jewel cases, one stack of games in smaller CD cases and three or four small wallets of individual CDs. Badlur's Gate 1 is in the stack of CD cases and is one of only two games I own that have cardboard cases.

Before we go any further though, a clarification is in order; I don't actually own Baldur's Gate 1 (and its packaged expansion Tales of the Sword Coast) - they belong to my brother. I nabbed them from him when he stopped playing games as much as I did.

In fact, let's move from clarification to confession: I never really liked Baldur's Gate.

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This was meant to be a Fallout 3 DLC review

Posted on 31st Jan 2009 at 08:30 by Joe Martin with 70 comments

Joe Martin
Joe has lately been trying and failing to review the new downloadable expansion to Fallout 3, Operation Anchorage. It seems that Microsoft just doesn't want to let him though and is fighting back with every worthless inch of Games for Windows Live. Now Joe has had enough.

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Games I Own: Gabriel Knight 3

Posted on 28th Jan 2009 at 11:15 by Joe Martin with 5 comments

Joe Martin
As I said in my previous post, I'm tackling my games in no particular order other than that which I happened to dig them out of the pile next to my PC at home. The last game on that list - the one buried at the bottom of the pile, is Sierra's Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned.

That said though, I don't actually dislike Gabriel Knight 3 - I like it a lot. I remember playing the demo off a PC Gamer cover disc and then going out to buy it as soon as it was released.

As a fan of all the usual old-school adventure games, part of what I liked most about Gabriel Knight 3 was that it was a modern and dramatic take on this genre. It was 3D, it was scary and it felt really engaging. It didn't matter that I hadn't played the first games in the series - this one was enough to draw me in.

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Games I Own

Posted on 27th Jan 2009 at 14:12 by Joe Martin with 0 comments

Joe Martin
So, this marks the start of the blogs, does it? Well, that's fantastic. I've long been saying we need somewhere to cut loose around here and the idea of having a more informal platform to sound-off than the columns page sounds great to me.

To be honest though, there is one problem. I already have a blog. It may be a Wordpress one, not a marvel like this one created by Jamie, but it does the job for me when I choose to update it with personal rants and updates. Which makes me think of what I can put on this blog that won't just end up there.

And it's at this point in the blog post that I jump into an entirely separate point that I can't be bothered to introduce properly. Blogs are better for that type of stuff than articles.

So, I made a list of all the games I own at home the other day. I was waiting for a game to install and it seemed a good way to pass the time. Strictly speaking they aren't all the games I own - there are countless titles that have been lost or sold over the years, plus a good dozen or so that I didn't care enough for to bring with me when I last moved. All in all though there are 108 games that I have with me.

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Yes, Games Critics Understand Innovation

Posted on 1st Dec 2008 at 07:39 by Joe Martin with 27 comments

Joe Martin
In reply to Keith Stuart's blog over at The Guardian about the critical reception to Mirror's Edge, Joe puzzles over the role of the reviewer and whether comparisons between games and film journalism can ever be fairly raised.

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What The Hell Is Wrong With Japanese Games?

Posted on 6th Jun 2008 at 03:05 by Joe Martin with 58 comments

Joe Martin
Why is it that different countries seem to produce such different games and what does this mean for the games industry? In a world where Japanese RPGs are a large enough part of the market to have their own acronym, what can the western world bring to the table?

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This Isn't About Monkey Island, Honest

Posted on 7th Mar 2008 at 10:45 by Joe Martin with 103 comments

Joe Martin
Joe Martin wants to know what it is that makes a hardcore gamer. Prompted by the death of somebody close to him, Joe examines what hardcore is and invites readers to share their stories about what game it was that first hooked them.

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SilverStone Fortress FT05 Review

SilverStone Fortress FT05 Review

The Fortress series is back - another awesome aluminium case with...
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