feature

Ever have one of those days?

That's what went through my mind when I started playing Gravemind.

Halo 2 has other tough spots; the second hangar bay in Cairo Station, sniper alley in Outskirts, and Nothing But Jackal in Delta Halo. When I first played Gravemind, however, was the first time I backed off my intention to complete the game the first time around, all the levels, at Heroic difficulty or better. After banging my head against the wall that is the opening room of Gravemind, I restarted on Normal so I could get past the level and finish the game in time to write something about it before people stopped caring.

Most of the time in Halo 2, you've got a choice of weapons with which to face your foes, or recourse to go back somewhere and get them, or at least a place to hide. The audience chamber of Gravemind has none of these things. The only exit to the room won't open until you clear all the enemies, so you can't speedrun it. There are no areas that aren't exposed to fire from some angle-- and that includes the upper seating areas that Brutes will lob Brute Shot grenades into. When you start the level, the only weapon you have is a single needler, and the only dropped weapon available to you... is another needler.

UPDATE: I guess Gravemind is popular again all of a sudden, so I'm lucky posting at this precise time; Ducain at High Impact Halo has just made good on a promise to jump to the top of the level, the high building at the beginning of the outdoor areas after the marine rescue.

category: 
game: 
topic: 

N1NJ4 is writing an Insane Walkthrough of Stubbs the Zombie in his Rampancy.net blog. Naturally, it contains spoilers, so if you haven't played the game yet but intend to, be wary. The first level, Welcome to Punchbowl, is up now.

game: 
topic: 

A legendary walkthrough of The Arbiter written by Pvt. Jenkins is up at UNSCDF. Thanks Louis Wu for the heads-up.

category: 
game: 
platform: 

Dean Takahashi, author of Opening the Xbox and gaming columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, has written a feature story about Microsoft's ambitious plans for the Xbox 360.

category: 
platform: 
topic: 

Amped IGO Features has an article up detailing the successes and failures of the original Xbox. Chief among the former, naturally, was Microsoft's acquisition of Bungie Software to bring Halo to their fledgling console.

Thanks 3Suns, who pointed this out in the HBO forum.

category: 
game: 

Frankie's written a Bungie.net primer on the new Team Hardcore playlist, arranged with the input of Major League Gaming. To help Frankie stay alive more than two ten seconds in Team Hardcore, he enlisted the help of MLG's own director of communications, Dolbex.

category: 
game: 
topic: 

For those fans of Halo and Halo 2, or even of the Myth series of RTS games, that aren't familiar with Bungie's version of ancient history, also known as the 1990s, Inside Mac Games has put up a Marathon Primer, and the denizens of the Marathon Story Page are already picking it to pieces looking for small errors and omissions.

category: 
game: 
platform: 

Wideload's Stubbs the Zombie gets the limelight this week in GameCore, the gaming column by William Vitka at CBS News, pointing out the game's humorous angle and nostalgia-driven soundtrack:

category: 
game: 
platform: 
topic: 
game: 

XerxdeeJ posted in the HBO forum that his Halo blog, Tied the Leader, is back following the author's wedding. (Also, belated congratulations to Pinkuh who also did the deed this month-- I just saw the announcement in my XBL mailbox after a long hiatus--Ed.)

game: 

This week on Podtacular there is a special guest host: the one and only Major Nelson. In the show there is an interview with the Major about Xbox 360 and the Xbox Live service, along with tons of great Halo 2 strategy information.

category: 
game: 
platform: 
topic: 

Louis Wu at HBO called 1UP's Broken Halo article a broken record by a whiny writer, but myself I find it hard to shrug off all of it's criticisms, even if they are old hat by this time.

category: 
game: 
platform: 
topic: 

Stosh at Bungie.net pointed out an article by Pat Miller in the latest issue of The Escapist. (If you're not familiar with the format, like I wasn't, the magazine issue itself is the downloadable PDF file linked at the bottom of the page--Ed.) The article is about Bungie's pre-Halo heritage, the Marathon Trilogy, and even includes a sidebar on the Haunted Apiary (ilovebees) alternate reality game.

category: 
topic: 

Couple of good strategy articles linked from HBO this weekend. Overswarm updated the Not So Common Sense Guide with new articles and movies, and LegendaryMark wrote an article on coordinating large matchmaking teams. Both are excellent reads with useful tips.

category: 
game: 
platform: 
topic: 

Major Nelson has posted a link in his blog to an eight-page article at Design Interact about the process used to develop the Xbox 360's color-coded user interface.

category: 
platform: 
topic: 

Pages