Sunday, April 29, 2007

Downey sure has a lot to say about Tony Stark

With production now under way on Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. is fully immersed in the world of the Armored Avenger and has come to believe that the character is more human than his fellow superheroes.

Right: The 1st official still of Downey as Stark

"He's a superhero who is just a man," Downey said about billionaire industrialist Tony Stark. "Not that I wouldn't play a guy who got bit by a spider or who has some freaky connection with bats, but I think this is a little more accessible.

"I guess that when Stan Lee created the character back in the mid-1960s -- to see if he could base a superhero on a hard-partying, womanizing billionaire who manufactures weapons, and still make him likeable enough to sell comic books -- he clearly won his bet. Tony Stark is someone who has the ability to be right at the forefront of science and we are finding out more and more nowadays that science and mythology are becoming somewhat interchangeable. Some of the things that seemed really far-fetched aren't any more."

The Oscar-nominated actor believes Stark symbolizes nothing less than the United States itself. "I see him as the best and occasionally worst in Americans and citizens around the world. He's a brilliant guy, an inventor who can't totally separate himself from the repercussions of the weapons he builds. There's a real sense of honor and I know a thing or two about honor."

For Downey, Stark is first and foremost a fallible human being. "He struggles with his lifestyle, he struggles with the drinking. He faces the same issues a lot of people do." No stranger to dealing with issues, Downey is grateful to Iron Man director Jon Favreau for casting him in such a big movie. "I want to show Jon he was right to have faith in me. Whatever questions might have arisen about my life weren't issues with him."

Sources: IGN, AICN, Rotton Tomatoes

Jack was on holiday...

Was in Tralee at the weekend to bear witness to the last of the old gang becoming an old-fogey (30) finally. Happy Birthday Al!
I stayed on Jameson for the 7 hours I was there as Jack was on holiday.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Colonel to play an RTS?

Someone asked me recently why I don't bother much with Real-Time-Strategy (RTS) games? I have played Warcraft II, Starcraft, one of the Command & Conquer games, Star Wars: Battlegrounds and Act Of War is in my current playlist, but I've only invested a small amount, say 3% of my PC gaming life since 1996 to the RTS in comparison to the FPS & 3rd person shooter (75%), RPG (15%) and the remainder with Star Wars flight sims and the old Star Trek point & click adventures.

To me honest I find them slow, meticulous and boring at the best of times. I may have the patience to spend hours collecting materials for and crafting an RPG weapon as I did recently in NWN2, but I know at the end of it I'll have a fine & dandy blade to evicerate the undead and demons from hell for the remainder of the game. Playing an RTS on the other hand requires you to mine all sorts of minerals and extract fuel and whatnot in order to build units to carry out a grand plan that takes only a few minutes to execute and a few seconds to go horribly, horribly wrong and as it does; you have to start from the start all over again. Not for me thank you. See the latest 2IGTV for Mark's take on RTS games.

I said once however, that I'll embrace any RTS game with a premice of a Tom Clancy novel where the visuals look like they've been lifted from a Michael Bay blockbuster and you don't have to refine raw materials for 2 hours before gettin into the action.

Someone heard me...

World In Conflict is an RTS from Massive (of Ground Control fame) due in Q3. As you see from the trailer; it presents a chillingly authentic Cold War scenario where the Berlin Wall never fell. Created by Cold War authority and best-selling author Larry Bond (conspiracy theorist and some-time collaborator and co-writer with Tom Clancy), the story begins in '89 as the Soviets, fearing certain collapse, boldly advance into Europe. NATO responds in force only to be met on a second front: a full-fledged invasion of the American homeland. Players take on the role of field commander, leading the era's most powerful military machines in the campaign to retake America's cities and suburbs (Red Dawn anyone?- go Wolverines!!!). The RTS gameplay features completely destructible 3D battlefields, with a focus on fast, hard-hitting battles (and no mineral mining).

So we have a Clancy-esque story at least and fast-paced no-mining RTS model that gets you into the thick of the action fast, but what about my requirement for Hollywood Blockbuster visuals? Well you remember The Rock?...

"Too late! I've already dropped it!"

Nukes galore and with cutscenes of pre-battle speeches laced with "The only good Commie is a dead Commie!" and other assorted jingoism this can't loose. I'll keep you posted. Here's some more screenshots and some movies in the meantime.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Wife Gets It In The Jugular! - Part 7 in my "Shoot First, Questions Never" series

A man shot and killed his wife at their apartment, apparently thinking she was an intruder who was breaking in, police said.

Clayton County police found Andrea Henry laying in the walkway in front of their apartment just before 5 p.m. Tuesday. She had been shot in the neck. Andrea Henry and her 22-year-old daughter were entering the apartment when her husband, Horace Henry, 60, fired a shot from a .38-caliber revolver through the slightly open door, Clayton County Deputy Chief Tim Robinson said.

"He apparently didn't know that she and their daughter had walked outside for a few minutes," Robinson said. "When he heard someone at the door, he said he called out, 'Who's there?' but he said no one answered. He thought she was an intruder and fired his gun."

Andrea Henry was flown to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta where she was pronounced dead. Police believe the shooting was accidental. Horace Henry, who has not been charged, is disabled and retired.

Robinson said police had no record of domestic problems at the home in the past. Authorities were continuing to investigate, he said.

Source: Fox News

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Days Of Glory - An anti-French, French film!

I hate the French. I hate listening to French spoken, it sounds for the most part like a long stream of diarrheic shit being emptied into a toilet bowl. For those reasons I need a good reason to see a French film. I'll never be so culturally open-minded as to simply want to see it because it's foreign. The quality of French cinema recently has been so good however, even compared to much of Hollywood's offerings in the past few years that I believe I will soon see a day where I may even be waiting in anticipation of a good Frog-Flick.

Days Of Glory is a war-drama, thought provoking and rich in irony. The story centres around a group of some Arab Algerian soldiers of an Algerian Infantry Division whom were trained and led by the French. They were present in the invasion of Italy and southern France to liberate these territories from the Nazis in the closing stages of WWII.

Director Rachid Bouchareb concentrated thankfully not so much on the war they were fighting against the Nazis but the internal struggle between the useless French wankers and the noble Algerians. These men gladly gave their lives for France but didn't even warrant being served tomatoes at for dinner by their asshole French commanders. They were never promoted, given leave and treated like shit. Years later after Algerian independence the pensions of Algerian WWII veterans were frozen by the French government a policy which still exists today, sickening.

I've seen so many Frog-Flicks now that I'm beginning to recognise some of their actors. Unfortunately the film superimposes tired cliched war-movie characters over otherwise fine performances from the actors. Noteworthy are Sami Taxi Naceri, whose character Yassir looses his brother and he goes a bit mental "Why God, why?" etc. and Roschdy 36 Zem who plays Messaoud, the sniper whom you know will die because he makes the fateful mistake of carrying around a picture of his girl and showing it to people.

Days Of Glory won't win any Whopper Awards, but it was certainly something I'm glad I saw and for the most part, enjoyed. It's all been done before, and much better with films like Saving Private Ryan, but it's selling point for me was it's anti-French-ness which I hope will only cement peoples understanding that the French are a nation of ignorant fucking cunts.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***1/2

Friday, April 20, 2007

Turning Point: Fall Of Liberty - Looks like shit!

I wrote about Turning Point: Fall of Liberty in September, then little more than a work in progress.

I found this gallery of screenshots at Gamespy here.

While the concept art (like above) is amazing, the engine and graphics look like complete shit. I'm no longer going to recommend this game until I see serious improvement. For now consider it dead. A pity the concept was so good...

Source: Gamespy

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cubaboy Returns

Cubaboy has returned to the internet after many weeks of absence. He updates us with his latest technology including his iPod, Belkin car kit and his favourite sortware for pirat... er ripping music from CDs he legally owns.

Check it out here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

2IGTV Episode 39

In this amazing 39th episode we have big news on Sci-Fi's Flash Gordon and Bruckheimer's Prince of Persia.
We discuss who the new Incredible Hulk will be animated by and we reveal who will play the Green Goliath's alter-ego, Bruce Banner.
We ask, what's Painkiller Jane like? And just what factors is The Punisher 2 screenwriter taking into account?
Discover that Anna Nicole Smith's movie being cast before her corpse is cold and what screen legend Bruce Campbell is up to next.

Get all this and more here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Connery may say no to God?

God refuses to give up on recruiting Connery for Indiana Jones IV, despite the Scotsman's reluctance to sign on as Henry Jones. Connery insists he's not that interested in reprising his role from Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, but that has not deterred a persistent Mr. Lucas, who says, "We're still trying."

God admits he was stunned when Steven Spielberg told him he wanted to sign Cate Blanchett as Jones' love interest in the new film. "That's who my director wanted and I always bow to the wishes of my director. I approved it because she seemed like a good idea. When I met her at the Academy Awards, I told her, 'Hey, you work for me now!'".

Of course it is an honour for Cate to even speak with him, let alone work for him.

Source: IMDB

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Shooter: Glorious Gun-Porn

I had the pleasure of watching Shooter last evening. Director Antoine Fuqua is no stranger to guns, bullets, explosions and the 'opera' of battle having previously directed such jems as The Replacement Killers and Tears Of The Sun. His skills have increased exponentially with this masterpiece full of red-neck nut-job conspiracy theories, dodgy politics and gorgeous close ups of the movies stars.

Which brings me to the stars; no, not Mark GySgt Bob Lee Swagger Wahlberg (who will make a fantastic Duke in G.I.Joe by the way) or enemy Danny Colonel Isaac Johnson Glover (whom should really get better false teeth) - no the films stars are the fascinating array of weaponry on display here including the distinctive .408 CheyTac Intervention M200 sniper rifle, the M82 Barrett, and plenty of M4A1s and H&K G36s. Well them and the plus of the obvious flaunting of the delectable Kate Mara (right).

A few minor nitpicks mean the film unfortunately falls short of a 5 Star Plus rating (reserved for films that are perfect examples of their genre) these are mainly that Swagger (and his spotter) are Marines but wearing combat utilities with the US Army camo pattern. Also Swagger cocks his Barrett after each shot at a helicopter but the Barrett is a semi-auto rifle and doesn't need to be cocked in this manner. These two errors alone are not enough to damage the rating but when coupled with the most unforgivable error they are; In a scene where Johnson requires an audience with Swagger he uses a Medal Of Honor to get his attention. Johnson asks him "Do you know what this is?" to which Swagger replies "The Congressional Medal Of Honor". Now no Marine (and I doubt any member of the military) would refer to the medal as that. The medal is awarded by Congress and it's recipients are members of the Congressional Medal Of Honor Society, but the medal itself is very strictly known as The Medal Of Honour. Only idiots and uninformed civilians who don't know better refer to it with the Congressional prefix.

These issues aside don't detract too much for the thorough enjoyment of this action flick which I would regard as a little more intelligent than a Mike Bay or Tony Scott movie of the same genre. Think Bourne Identity and The Fugitive (with lots of sniper rifles).

Colonel Creedon Rating: *****

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer

It seems obvious that Obsidian Entertainment were waiting for my recent 2500+ word favourable review for Neverwinter Nights 2 before committing resources to the development of a somewhat inevitable expansion pack. Mask of the Betrayer, is coming in the autumn (and will of course be delayed until Christmas at the earliest) and promises to breathe new life into the Neverwinter franchise.

Karadon poses with swords akimbo before the final battle in Neverwinter Nights 2

Following the final battle against the King of Shadows in Neverwinter Nights 2, Karadon (or whatever the player's character is) finds himself alone and in a strange land; Rashemen. Mask of the Betrayer sets players on a journey that will bring startling revelations about their character.

"Atari's commitment to the Neverwinter Nights franchise and the enormous community is strong," said Nique Fajors, VP of Sales and Marketing at Atari. "We are on track to release the Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion pack this Fall, less than one year since the launch of Obsidian's outstanding sequel, and are confident the new features will deliver a role-playing experience that further engages and satisfies fans."

Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer introduces dozens of new feats and spells, new races, classes, companions, weapons, armor, monsters and modding tools. And, of course, it provides a brand new campaign to extend the life of NWN2.

"Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer's engrossing campaign will conclude the storyline that began in the original Neverwinter Nights 2 and focus on combat, exploration and classic D&D dungeon-crawling," said Feargus Urquhart, Obsidian Entertainment's CEO. "We're also making new advances in story and character development as well as improving upon the acclaimed companion Influence System used in both Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords and Neverwinter Nights 2."

I myself have never experienced a D&D character (PC Game or P'n'P) beyond Level 20 so I don't know what to expect from what is known as Epic-Level questing. I'd appreciate it if anyone could enlighten me as to what the future of the NWN2 incarnation of Karadon may hold assuming Obsidian continue their faithful representation of D&D in game.

Source: IGN

Friday, April 13, 2007


The Bush administration selected a design recently for a new generation of atomic warheads, taking a major step toward building the first new nuclear weapon since the end of the Cold War two decades ago.

The military and the Energy Department selected a design developed by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California over a competing design by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, according to government sources.

The decision to move ahead with the warhead, which eventually would replace the existing arsenal of weapons, has been criticized as sending the wrong signal to the world at a time when the United States is assailing attempts at nuclear weapons development in North Korea and Iran and striving to contain it.

It has been argued that today's aging warheads are harder to maintain and as they age it will become more difficult to ensure their reliability. The new design is advertised as being more robust with additional features to safeguard them against possible theft or misuse.

The administration also argues that a phasing out of current warheads with the more modern design will allow additional reductions in the number of warheads that will be needed. Once developed, it would be used in the Trident missiles on submarines and eventually would replace warheads on the Air Force's missile arsenal.

It has not been determined how much the program will cost. The administration asked Congress for $119 million for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 to push ahead with further design work. Advocates for the warhead say it would give military commanders greater assurance of reliability and could speed the reduction of the deployed number of nuclear warheads from 6,000 to fewer than 2,000 by 2012.

UNETIDA Special Operations Commander, Lt. Colonel "Whopper" Creedon said: "I'm pleased with the new safeguards that will come as standard. If I had a cent for every Broken Arrow or Rogue Spear I've had to deal with in my career I'd be able to buy you all a shot of Jack".


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Iron Man - The Grey Suit - First Picture!

The grey Iron Man armour, Stark's famous first suit from Shellhead's very first appearance in Tales Of Suspence #39 from 1963 will be re-imagined and immortalised on film in next year's Iron Man movie.

This is an exclusive picture comparing the cover of the aforementioned book with the just released picture from Jon Favreau's production.

The story of this armour was that it was created in a Viet-Cong workshop by Stark as a prisoner of the VC and a fellow prisoner Professor Yin Sen. They secretly designed and constructed the suit under the guise of creating a weapon for the VC warlord. No doubt this will be updated for a more modern age possibly a Taliban cave where Stark can cannibalise parts of modern technology and... ...hey that looks like a flame thrower on his wrist! This is beyond cool!

The updated idea is practically confirmed by the casting of Shaun Tuob of Persian stock (whom you see typecast as generic wogs in various Hollywood productions) as Iron Man's arch-nemisis The Mandarin.

Sources: ISEB, Jon Favreau himself

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Scary Vader

More YouTube antics...


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Neverwinter Nights 2: Mega Review

I’m pleased to be in a position where I can now review Neverwinter Nights 2 (NWN2) after harping on about it for so long. I often neglect to do this- a review of something I actually preview here- you people should remind me. Anyhow, NWN2 however is an experience I must share with you, hopefully without revealing anything about the plot for those who may wish yet to play. The story, which unlike an FPS or RTS, is probably the most important element of an RPG, so I guarantee no plot-specific spoilers here.

The first thing I wish to inform you about NWN2 is that it plays like the offspring of a union between Baldur’s Gate (BG) and Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) as opposed to the original Neverwinter Nights (NWN1). This is a good thing! I would say that if you‘re a fan of NWN1, the BG and/or KOTOR series’ then you’ll likely be quite satisfied with NWN2. As good as NWN1 was; both BG and KOTOR are superior to it in many respects and in order to illustrate what I think of NWN2, I must refer to those which have appeared before it and obviously influenced the designers. Furthermore, I’m in a relatively unique position to review NWN2 both on its own merits out of the box and as a comparison to the NWN1 Official Campaign (OC), having just completed that before Christmas. I did not complete or attempt (as yet) any of the expansions or add-ons to NWN1 but I did install the latest patch which eliminated the myriad of retail-release bugs that no doubt plagued users for many months. With all of these points in mind, I hope you will appreciate my insight.

One of the first things I noticed about Neverwinter Nights 2 was that developers Obsidian seemed to address the main gripes I had with NWN1. Most notably you can have more than one companion. Companions make the game feel less like Diablo. Diablo is a good “dungeon-crawl” or “hack & slash” but it has no plot. Companions, their interaction with you and even with each other flesh out the RPG experience for something as story driven as NWN. In NWN1 you had many companions- but you could only ever have one with you (as a henchman) at once. This forced me to bring Tomi Undergallows, the Rogue with me almost exclusively as Paladins don’t mesh well with locks and traps. You had no control over their inventory so if I picked up a “Ring Of Ultimate Thievery” I could not have given it to Tomi which I thought was a bit shit quite frankly. Also your henchman did not speak until spoken to and if spoken to after a certain level of XP was reached during each chapter in the game they would expand a quest that they give you to find an object for them, not too much substance in comparison to your companions in BG who would argue with you or each other in a faithful way to their alignment. I’m pleased to say in NWN2 the companion experience is greatly increased. They have the individual personalities as BG NPCs and you have complete control over them, their spells, levelling, AI routines and more importantly; their inventory. You add them to your party until you have a party of 3 (and later 4) companions. During conversations with other NPCs they will offer advice or suggest action, if you follow, ignore, agree or disagree what they say you gain or loose influence with them and can mould them using the KOTOR2 influence system. The higher your influence with a character the better your interaction with them and you will open up sidequests with that character and other options. If you loose influence or do not take a character with you at all they will grow to dislike you or not get to know you and you will not be able to avail of them fully. Unfortunately you have no “gauge” of how “influential” you are with a character and you may be even shocked with the results at endgame.

But enough about them, what about you? Well in true D&D fashion you have complete control over what your character can become from appearance to what prestige class he or she will aspire to or not as the case may be. There are dozens of decisions to make to create your character and I would advise that you have a plan for your character before you set off. For D&D I normally resurrect Karadon, the noble human Paladin, paragon of virtue, utterly fearless and devoted to the light. Instead of recreating a human Paladin this time round I decided to play a member of the planetouched races; an Aasimar. This gave me some pretty nifty powers and advantages like +2 to WIZ and CHA scores but it crippled my level advancement by 1 which means throughout the game all the basic race characters were one level above me. One thing to note that throughout the course of the game you meet a member of all the basic classes so you’re never without muscle or magic in your party when you need it, so play whatever you want.

The gameplay was pretty standard RPG fare. You start off as a Lvl1 whelp and end up a Lvl20 god after about 50-60 hours or so. You follow quests and sidequests forge alliances and relationships, raid treasure, upgrade your arsenal of weapons, buy & sell stuff pretty much like most RPGs. Your character acts as a small-unit commander and can broadcast commands to the other members, but you can set your own character’s AI to respond to commands you issue while in control of other characters if you so wish. In conversations with NPCs however if you initiate it with another character, the game will default back to the main character for the conversation. Your companions may chime in but you have no control over what they say. You do however have control over what they buy from and sell to merchants and you have a shared pool of gold. Tip: I’d advise you to buy something whenever you get the opportunity, it’s not like you can sell the gold on eBay! Don’t be stingy and buy all sorts of crazy expensive shit for your friends too, you’ll still finish the game with more than a quarter of a million gp! One good change Obsidian made was to the inventory system. In NWN1 you had a number of inventory slots relative to the size of the object, so a gem would have taken up 1 slot but a suit of armour would have required 6 free slots to carry. The magic bag system was also a bit screwy allowing you to carry only a few items. The NWN2 inventory system is based on a one object-one slot system, everything is one slot be it armour, books or gems and your bag of holding can carry 140+ suits of magical plate-mail armour if you wanted it to. Tip: Buy magic bags if you see them especially if you intend to do some crafting or want access to stuff yourself constantly without going to other character's inventories. The World Map from Baldur’s Gate is back, you can now pick on a faraway destination and go there in a hurry if you need to and not have to go through all the other areas like you did in NWN1 which was more than a little annoying.

One thing I must say I thoroughly enjoyed about the game was crafting. Being somewhat creative myself, crafting appeals to this element of my personality and I probably spent somewhere between 10 and 12 hours creating shit for Karadon and his companions throughout the game. Now crafting to a lesser degree appeared in NWN1 where you brought a weapon and a gem or some reagent to an elite blacksmith and he would reforge your blade to something more deadly like an Astral Blade +2 with +1D6 magical damage or some such. A greater degree of crafting appeared in KOTOR2 where you used a myriad of optional focusing crystals and power chargers to create special lightsabers. However I’d never seen anything like the crafting options available to you in NWN2. There are dozens of enchantments alone for arms and armour all which can be constructed basically first from dozens of material options. Some of the items you could even name yourself. My sword was “Karadon’s Holy Diamond Longsword of Lightening” which was a +5 Longsword that did +2D6 against evil and +1D6 Electrical damage; who needs a Holy Avenger when you have this? (Just as well as I didn’t find one). I crafted my full plate armour from Mithral, enchanted it to +5 and made it somewhat resistant to magical attacks. My shield was crafted from the hide of Umberhulks which I slew in combat and thus rendered me impervious to mind altering attacks. Tip: Your companions will be far better at crafting than you’ll ever be, so don’t spend any skill points on your main character for crafting, take control over the others and see what they’re good at making instead. When levelling up your spellcasting characters be sure to choose the “create magical arms and armour” and “craft wondrous item” feats if you want to create superior weapons as they’ll need to cast the final spells to create the desired enchanted item for you even if they don’t craft the basic items. Note: I never found as good weapons or armour as those I created myself.

Only once during a PnP D&D campaign did I ever get a stronghold. I recall that in the middle of some wondrous adventure I suddenly became owner of a castle and had to manage guards, workers and farmers etc. It was an interesting change of pace but getting back out adventuring was of paramount importance. In NWN2 you become guardian of Crossroad Keep which you make your base of operations in the coming struggle. However there’s not much there to begin with, and you must order people to rebuild it using money given to you by the Lord of Neverwinter but mostly from your own pocket. 100,000gp seems like a lot for building a road you'll never see when you have only 250,000gp but you’ll never spend it all before endgame anyway so blow all your money on battlements, towers and even a church. You must make decisions yourself on where and how you want your soldiers to be used from patrolling the roads allowing merchants to trade or enforce outrageous taxes upon the unsuspecting farmers you’ve lured onto your lands; it’s all up to you and you may leave at any point to pursue the main quests, it’ll all be there waiting for you when you return.

I’m not going to say anything about the graphics. I've loaded some hi-rez screenshot links here in addition for you too see Karadon in action and to judge for yourself. Note that if you’re using anything superior to Bellerophron’s archaic Radeon x800Pro, your NWN2 graphics should look superior to these. (These shots may spoil elements of the game to a minor degree) Karadon v Dragon, Karadon v Wraith, Fireworks, Lunch, Miles and Miles of Swamp, Over kill effect of arrow impact, StarGate SG-2, Turn Undead in a graveyard and you're bound to kill something. It’s no Oblivion, but it’s amazing how far advanced they are even in comparison to KOTOR2.

If you have an ear as keen as mine you may recognise that some of the sounds in NWN2 are resampled from NWN1, and why not? They fitted the game fine before so why not again? There are still many new sounds however to go with the myriad of incredible new spell effects from magic users. Voice acting is very good (even from Badgers: Right) considering that the most notable thing that 98% of the cast have done before are bit-parts on various incarnations of the Law & Order franchise, which is a bit weird. TV veterans Rachel York, James Murtaugh & Christopher Murney make notable voice-appearances too. Jeremy Seoule’s magnificent score for NWN1 would be a hard act to follow but one relatively unknown artists David Gray Fraser and Neil Michael Goldberg managed to pull off superbly.

The plotline of the NWN2 OC I’m sorry to say: did not hit the bar set by its predecessor. In NWN1 there was an epic story, the plot hinged on a terrible plague and an enemy from eons past attempting to shape the world for their return, it was full of themes of betrayal, intrigue, hopelessness, at one point you were deep in an enemy city, you had to investigate and piece together part of a grander puzzle and what you uncovered along the way was so ingenious that there were times I forgot that the graphics were so old. In NWN2; yes your character grows from a village boy into becoming a Knight-Captain of an impressive fortress, last bastion of hope for the land of Neverwinter and proceeds to come to a final confrontation with the King Of Shadows (that’s not really a spoiler folks that’s pretty obvious- if not, you’re a retard) but getting there just wasn’t as well crafted as NWN1 was. Don’t get me wrong: it was still very well done and welcome in an age of games where graphics seem to be the be-all and end-all of a game’s success. The game’s “tutorial” levels were well thought out and also provided your “origin” so there was a learning curve as well as advancing the plot. Act I was seemingly endless but gripping. Act II was a bit slow in comparison, not much happened other than you got your stronghold and you had to start building it up. I will say there’s a very good trial sequence that hinges on your use of the conversation skills in court which was impressive (and showcased the abilities of the voice-actors from Law & Order LOL). Act III and Endgame were nothing short of spectacularly executed if somewhat predictable if you know how Obsidian have worked in the past.

There are still a few show-stopping bugs even in version 1.04. The most major of these in my opinion involves a cutscene where this big brutish demon-thingy bashes down a door of a room you’ve barricaded yourself in. The scene repeats itself several times before resolving but it’s most annoying when you come across it. At other times, the game may just cut out for no reason at all and the ol’ Windows error message may appear at random. One good thing is that the game can be updated via an autopatcher system in the game launcher window- the game designers assume that whatever system you’re playing it on is connected to a broadband connection (and let’s face it; it’s 2007, time to expect this as normal now, no more grabbing Patch.exe from elsewhere)- good call Obsidian.

All in all, while I probably spent too much time crafting, it was still a very rewarding gaming experience and one I’ll undertake again a few years down the line. In the meantime however I’ll most definitely be keeping the game on my system to avail of the already thriving online community add-ons, new modules and campaigns etc. that I missed out on from the original Neverwinter Nights.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****1/2

Friday, April 06, 2007

God: "nothing on TV quite like it.”

At the Museum of Television George Lucas spoke briefly about the upcoming animated 3D Clone Wars series, describing the Cartoon Network’s earlier series of Clone Wars shorts as a test. He said that the upcoming animated series would “create the ambiance of the movies in cartoon form,” noting that there is currently “nothing on TV quite like it.”

God said his objective with the series was to “create a pretty good adventure, breaking all the rules.” He described the upcoming animated series as “episodic.” “We don’t have to deal with the Skywalker story,” he said. “There could be some episodes that have nothing but Clone Warriors in them.” Continuing, he said he would produce 100 episodes of the animated Clone Wars series, “then make a deal to show them.”

When asked to discuss the characters his upcoming live-action Star Wars series would focus upon, God said that project was still “years away.” He also suggested that a “second animated series” might be produced before he got around to the live-action series. “It’s one show that splits up into four shows,” he said, “and each show will deal with a different character.”

Finally God said: “For me, the future is TV, the odds are so great, the risk is so high. I just want to have a good time.”

And without a doubt; so will we.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Chuck Norris Becomes Honorary Marine

Last week, US Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway made legendary martial-arts ninja and action movie star Chuck Norris an “Honorary Marine” at the commandant’s residence in Washington, D.C.

In recent years, Norris’ popularity has surged with Marines. Leathernecks worldwide have been known to cite satirical Chuck Norrisfacts” — unconfirmed and exaggerated declarations about the newest Honorary Marine along the lines of “There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.”

“The thing that is so engaging about Chuck Norris is that he’s so straightforward,” said Col. Frank McKenzie, military secretary for the Commandant said. “There’s no artifice about him. He represents a lot of values Marines value.He’s been very active in support of our wounded warriors.” Norris also recently took a trip to Iraq with Assistant Commandant Gen. Robert Magnus, which was considered one of the best-received visits to date, McKenzie said. “The Marines were ecstatic.”

"I suspect the Corps gave the Marine title to Chuck out of fear..." said Lt.Col. "Whopper" Creedon, an officer whom also has had many exaggerated facts written about him. "... fear of getting a roundhouse kick in the face."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Colonel Will Never Give Up!

I'm delighted that the thought of all this coming to an end shocked and dismayed so many of you. You can stop posting, texting, E-mailing and phoning me now. That last post was just an April fool.

The Colonel Will Never Give Up!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Colonel Resigns

It all has to come to an end at some point doesn't it? There was no one catalyst, no one force that pushed me to do this, it's just time. My only regret is that I'll have to go before I get my eagles back.

Yes it's true, from tomorrow (Monday) morning I will no longer be Lieutenant Colonel "Whopper" Creedon, USMC. Special Operations Commander for the United Nations Extra Terrestrial Invasion Defence Agency, I'll just be "Whopper" to you and Mr. Creedon to anyone who I don't know or who's not yet comfortable using my handle.

I have be weighing this decision for a long time but they're a lot of things in the world today I'm not happy with. No good strong candidate for the GOP in the 2008 election which will most likely secure a democratic president, the whole Haditha case will paint Marines as triggerhappy bloodthirsty psychopaths and if that doesn't then the investigation into the expulsion of the MarSOC "Fox" Company from Afghanistan will. I'm even obviously upset that Frank Castle is becoming Captain America and with the season finale of Battlestar Galactica- the list goes on.

I've questioned my loyalty and resolve to continue now and I've decided on early retirement. I've mailed my resignation to Air Commodore Davenport and Lt.Gen. Bob Blackman and hung my uniforms up to rot in a wardrobe but I'd say they'll fetch a good price on eBay one I have the time to post them up there.

This blog will continue in some form or another. A redesign is in order I think. Is everyone happy with blue? I just don't know anymore...