DukeMercenaries of GOO

…and so another week skates by, with so many lofty plans (like finishing one of the four longer game musings I’m working on) drifting by the wayside. And what did I manage to do with my week?

Well, not a whole lot.

Truth be told, it was a relatively glum start to the week. Work is going pear-shaped, the ex moved out, and anything else that could go wrong, did. For example: with the extra room in the house, I decided to create a little retro gaming shrine with the spare TV. “Aha,” I thought with a desperate gleam in my eye, “an opportunity to knock some of the Jaguar games off The List.” Alas, my video cable for the Jag has suffered one bend too many, and the only replacement I could find on eBay is now en route from England at the lazy cost of AU$40. Useless Jaguar sitting forlornly by the TV, I seek another platform, and dig out my “useful” Dreamcast (I have two Dreamcasts; one that has the GD-ROM “tuned” for Rez – and plays nothing else – and the other that plays everything except Rez). All plugged in, I fire up Jet Set Radio, keen to give it a concentrated playthrough that I neglected to afford it a few years ago. All seems good, until… it suddenly reboots. And again. And again, at a completely different point in play. So I surmise that the power supply on the “good” DC is on the fritz; looks like a transplant is in order.

There was glum news in the gaming world, too – new gaming darling Little Big Planet got delayed due to Muslim pressures over some background music. Astro Tripper (which, from this video, looks like a HD & tuned-scoring version of Space Tripper) was announced for the PS3, which I fear means that PomPom have turned their backs on the 360 & XBLA. And, despite my giddy excitement the other day, we won’t see No More Heroes 2 until 2010.

But some good stuff did happen over the last seven days; a friend finally picked up Mercenaries 2, leading to many co-op hijinks (and marvelling at the poor voice acting. Again). He managed to snaffle 260 GS inside an hour, and I managed none – but that’s OK. There’s still a lazy 150 points in the wings there that we can work on later.

Scanning The List, I noticed that Duke Nukem remained relatively untouched – if only because I find it somewhat annoying to play, and my current save-point sees me spawning with a mere 4% health, little ammo, and even less of a chance of getting out of the corner I’m stuck in. So I decided, instead, to try and eke out some online ranked kills – after all, there’s achievements all the way up to 500 kills, and my OCD won’t let that go. And – surprise surprise – it’s really good fun. Getting an eight-player duke-match going on the Stadium map is an absolute blast, and there’s a few other maps that are nearly as good. Yes, there’s the lag that seems to affect every XBLA game, but – long story short – I scored 507 kills over the weekend, netting all the online achievements… and actually enjoying Duke Nukem in the process!

There was one more Good Thing for the week… and, as Good Things go, this has lots of sweet whipped cream and a cherry on top.

World Of Goo.

It’s fantastic.

Yes, we antipodeans (and Europeans, for that matter… let’s just say “non-North-Americans”) have to jump through some hoops to get it (install the Homebrew Channel, and then work through these instructions), but the effort is more than worth it. Or just buy it on the PC (but then you’ll miss out on the delightful Wii control). It’s got all the immediate impact and cleverness and greatness of Braid, but comes from a completely different angle, tongue firmly in cheek. There’s times where I’ve completed a level and jumped up clapping; it’s just an utterly joyous experience. And building a Goo Tower, complete with little cute little flag-carrying clouds that tell me that my tower is the tallest in Australia, is like a Goo-ey form of Achievements.

Seriously, just go and get it now.

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