No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

State of the Sickie

I woke up Saturday morning feeling hung-over: head-achey and slightly nauseated. Certainly I'd had a cocktail and half a bottle of wine Friday night, but (for good or ill) that should not be enough to get me anywhere near hungover. Early morning caffeination resulted only in a disappointing BM, but then my innards are dodgy at the best of times. I manned up and we drove to aaronjv's taxdude, who is now our taxdude. Things went smoothly if not well; his back of the envelope calculation has us coming out even with the fed, and owing the state rather a lot.

I started feeling sicker and back-achier and crabbier, and Dr. Pookie let me test out our new electronic thermometer. She greatly appreciated the way I crossed my eyes to read the indicator. I was at 99-something. A couple hours later, I rang the bell at 100. The back-ache was quite severe and very distracting.

Unfortunately, jason_brez had (some days past) invited himself over to make use of our grill, so he could feed us and kyrialyse, who was in town to get her coiffure attended to by her local expert. We told 'em we were still willing to host, if they were willing to be exposed to Chicago-crud. They took the risk, and a great time was had by everyone who wasn't sick (and even that person had a pretty good time). Grilled chicken & zucchini, accented with bread and salad. We talked of everything from Murakami to meth-heads.

Sunday, I spent pretty much all of it on the couch. I generally felt better, but more tired. During my upright periods, I finished Prince of Persia. During my lie-down periods, I almost-finished reading Ivanhoe. My stomach vacillated between queasy and hungry. Dr. Pookie tried to entice it with a Subway sandwich, but it sat there for an hour during a queasy period, and then vanished rapidly during a hungry period.

Still kinda tired and residual achey, so I begged off work for the day.

As for Prince of Persia, I wasn't very thrilled by it. I've enjoyed the series for its puzzles and its 'acrobatic' fights (and the awesome-yet-inevitable story of Sands of Time). I think some of my favorite fights have been in a room full of enemies as the Prince leaps like a flea among them, incidentally using walls and poles to deal out mayhem all over the room. You are very much in control of where you run and how you attack.

OK, the new installment. Moving and running and leaping around is indeed a lot of fun, and this is a high point for this version. Although you can sense the blurry edges of squares and cubes, the environment is a quite freeform and forgiving - you don't have to line up jumps with rigid exactness. Instead, you can just leap and flip about with abandon.

On the minus side, hardly any puzzles.

On the minus side, all the battles are one-on-one (really two-on-one, since Elika is helping you). Basically, they are all boss bottles. And although you have a ridiculous combo tree at your disposal, which goes well beyond 'acrobatic' to 'superpowered,' everything feels very much like you're on rails. Where movement has been made more free, combat has been made less free. Indeed, the bosses all have special moves that essentially throws the game into a canned animation where you have to mash the right button at the right time. This allows them to do very nice animations with significant interaction between the Prince and his foes, but it makes gameplay more like Dragon's Lair. A ground-breaking game... for 1983. Even outside of these canned animations, combat feels like you have to be standing at the right place and hit the button at the right time to launch yourself into the combo-tree animations, which again feel very can. They seldom provide the satisfaction that I always felt when I ran towards a wall with a monster chasing me, ran up the wall and did a backflip to land behind him, simultaneously bringing my sword down on it.

The story was all right, but it was mostly: go there and kill the boss (repeat x 20). The Prince is more obnoxious than usual, and hardly anything he and Elika have to say to each other is useful or interesting. Thankfully, the game prompts you whether you want to hear them yack at each other, and apart from the mandatory cutscenes, you can keep them quiet.

The fake ending is fine, but the real ending that sets up the sequel requires the Prince to, well, do something monumentally stupid.
Tags: bio, friends, game, money

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