M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, January 12, 2004  

Battle of the Game Sequels

I've been playing two different computer games the past week or so. Both were Christmas gifts. Both use binary computer code to allow the user to affect events on the screen. That's about all they have in common.

One of the games is Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne from Rockstar games.

The other is Super Breakout by Atari.

Max Payne 2 hit the streets late last year. Super Breakout came out late in the 1970s.

Max Payne 2 tells the compelling story of a tormented NYPD homicide detective who must unravel a mystery whose threads appear to lead to the highest echelons of power, in between long periods during which he shoots absolutely freaking everyone.

Super Breakout tells the compelling story of colored, rectangular bricks that disappear one by one as a smaller square gets bounced up at them again and again.

Max Payne 2 came on two CDs, took a half-hour to install, and won't even run on one of our computers because the processor isn't fast enough.

Super Breakout came on one CD that also included five other games from the skinny tie era, as well as lengthy video clips of interviews with an Atari founder. Otherwise they could have just put it on a cassette tape.

In between levels of Max Payne 2 are beautifully painted if rather overwritten panels from an onscreen graphic novel. These take the place of cutscenes in other PC games.

In between levels of Super Breakout, the screen is blank for a short time.

In Max Payne 2, the player controls the title character's movements through a realistically rendered, three-dimensional game world. He can briefly slow down time, replicating the effects of adrenalin in a pitched gun battle against numerically superior enemies. Max can dive and roll in bullet-time, and occasionally he comes across bottles of painkillers that mitigate the effects of the few bullets that do hit him.

In Super Breakout, the ball bounces faster off the orange bricks. And if it hits the top wall the paddle gets smaller. There are two balls bouncing around in pockets inside the brick wall, and they come into play if enough bricks disappear. I think this is what differentiates Super Breakout from Breakout.

Max Payne 2 allows the player to customize a wide range of visual elements, from distance fogging to flying debris to the number of bullet holes that can exist at one time.

Super Breakout offers an "enhanced" mode, which means the bricks have texture.

Max Payne 2 will, as alluded to previously, only run on Trash's computer, which is in our bedroom. I only play it after she's in bed, and I have to use headphones so as not to keep her awake with persistent gunfire. It's so addictive that just sitting down in front of it is committing a good half hour. And this will only represent a fraction of the overall story arc, although that may be a result of how frequently I get my ass killed to death.

Each game of Super Breakout is its own self-contained narrative. You get three balls, and three balls only. You blow them, you're done. Game over, man. Ideal for alt-tabbing over to for a two-minute break while working on some other project.

Advantage: Max Payne 2. Sure, Super Breakout has been around longer, but it's too much work to make up film-noir dialogue in my head that quickly:

"Ah, Ball. My sworn enemy. You killed the brick that used to be next to me."

"Yes, and you're next."


"Ah, Ball. I assure you that you will not find me so—AAAH!"

"Ah, Ball. Perhaps you would care to—OW!"

"Ah, Ball. Let us—CRAP!"

Now that I've mentioned the titles of these games so many times, I know I'm going to get slews of Google hits looking for—whoops, I almost said that word. The word that begins with "W" and continues with a "alkthro" and ends with a resounding "ugh." The one that keeps showing up after Jedi Knight II in my referral logs.

I suppose I should toss those searchers a bone, if they were kind enough to click through. So here's my w*lkthr**gh:

After pressing the "serve" button, move the paddle from side to side in such a way that the ball doesn't get past it. If the ball does get past it, press "serve again." The game ends after three balls. Continue until Pac-Man comes out.

You're welcome.

Today's best search phrase: "Indian curses using coconuts." I can see this. You want to put an Indian curse on someone, but all you have in the pantry is coconuts. Sure, we all know about the curses involving pasta shells or evaporated milk, but if you don't have any lying around, you might as well make use of the coconuts. Godspeed, my friend.

posted by M. Giant 2:02 PM 0 comments


Post a Comment

Listed on BlogShares www.blogwise.com
buy my books!
professional representation
Follow me on Twitter
other stuff i