Saturday, February 11, 2017

Shake Your Move Thing

During a jaunt to Sierra Vista, I picked up a pretty sweet prize at a thrift store in the area... a 42 inch television set for ten dollars. They said it could be repaired with a $25 part, but what they DIDN'T say is how difficult it would be to open, or how much space it would take up in my house. So I've got this behemoth propped up on the side of my entertainment center, covering nearly half of it, while I figure out a way to pry off the back cover and replace what's broken. Maybe this wasn't such a sweet deal after all...

In "better use of my money" news, I scored a Playstation Move controller for seven bucks; not a bad catch when you consider how much it costs online. Evidently it's forward compatible with the Playstation 4, turning what would have been a quickly forgotten novelty into a sought after component for fans of virtual reality. VR's not my bag, though... I wanted the Move for one game and one game alone.

Several years ago, I wrote a brief review of Deadstorm Pirates, a swashbuckling shooter I found at a Peter Piper Pizza in Nogales. I took an instant liking to the game, and made it my mission to bring it home as soon as I heard there was a Playstation 3 version.

Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that Deadstorm Pirates is a front-loaded game, with all the thrills packed into the first stage. I haven't played through the whole thing, but the next level is a decidedly less exciting trip down a river with crowds of giant enemy crabs along the shore. They're sick of that meme from 2006, and they want revenge! Hopefully the gameplay will get better in the next three stages, but I wouldn't bet on the lousy acting and script improving much. Yes, Captain Obvious-beard, keep your eyes on the crabs and shoot them some more. Thanks for that clarification.

Namco Shooting Collection comes with two other games, Time Crisis 4 and the headliner, Razing Storm. I don't know that much about the Time Crisis series (I was always a Virtua Cop guy myself), but from what I can tell Razing Storm is vastly different from the science-fiction tinged espionage in the previous four games, with bulky, heavily armored mercenaries blowing up robots and turning buildings into rubble. It's Michael Bay meets Gears of War, and I strongly suspect Namco designed it that way to appeal specifically to an American audience... possibly after some arm-twisting by its parent company Bandai.

Time Crisis 4 is a more traditional Time Crisis experience, except with swarms of deadly insects called Terrorbites added to push the limits of the Playstation 3 hardware and the player's shooting skills. Personally, I'd rather be shooting terrorists than genetically modified bugs, but the series was over ten years old at that point and I guess the developers had to throw in something new to keep the fans surprised.

The Move wand (right) and optional
Navigation controller.
(image from TechReport)
Let's talk for a minute about the Move controller itself. It was offered as Sony's answer to the wireless controller packaged with the Wii, but it's not nearly as intuitive. While the Wiimote was mostly a point and click affair, navigating menus with the Move requires you to hold down a trigger under the controller, THEN flick the wand in one of four directions, THEN release the trigger, THEN press a special button on the top of the Move to confirm your selection. Tiny action buttons on the top of the wand and recessed start and select buttons along the side don't help matters. Start and select in particular are so hard to see that it's easy to forget they exist at all!

To its credit, the Move works pretty well once you've learned how to use it, and if the Playstation Eye camera has a clear view of the globe on top of the wand. It's accurate enough that you can target specific areas of enemies in the three previously mentioned light gun games, and it makes for a serviceable pool cue in Hustle Kings, letting you strike the ball with natural arm movements rather than filling a power meter and tapping a button. I'm still absolutely terrible at pool, but at least I'm having more fun playing it!

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