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Egon Superb

Contributor

Featured articles

Final Fantasy XIV Online

Unfinished fantasy.

Madden NFL 10

Gridiron that's as fast as it is physical.

Ten years of EverQuest

A veteran of five of them looks back.

Madden 07

Padding out an old game.

Look at that gloss. Great meaty beasts of men dripping in vibrant colour. Why isn't Rugby done like this? It's a much more exciting game than this padded American poppycock. Who doesn't want to see high-definition ear biting and ball stamping, or hear a giant Welsh hooker whispering scabrous dirt about his opposing number's mum across their surround sound set-up? Well, apart from the Americans.

Kudos

You wanna live like common people?

Save for the abysmal sex-sim Singles, there's not really been any challenger to The Sims in terms of megalomaniac life-control simulators. Presumably this is because of the tremendous amount of work it would take to produce enough assets as well as the difficulties of tying together a 3D world and a mass of behind-the-scenes information, rather than the distaste of most developers for games where you spend most of your time encouraging your naturally filthy avatars to perform their ablutions.

Archlord

There can be only one.

As a doctor, it would be inadvisable for me to drink. I could operate badly, get my anaesthetic quantities wrong or puckishly prescribe laxatives for every ailment. But, as my comrades in the medical profession (or indeed anyone currently undergoing a lengthy medical tribunal process) will know, access to medicinal alcohol is regular, tempting and often. Along with the barbiturates, amphetamines and those funny blue pills that make the world go jellyfishish.

CivCity: Rome

Rome was debilitated in a day.

The process must have gone something like this: Firefly contacts Firaxis, asks nicely to use its Civ franchise name; together they work out a city-based structure using all the familiar aspects of Civ, applicable to cities at any stage of civilisation; they decide on Rome as its historical connotations make it the best place to start the franchise, and they decide on a hands-off city-building structure, as that's the best way to watch all the little people doing their thing. Oh, and they throw in a military section as an afterthought. Now what do they call it?

Heroes of Might & Magic V

No more heroes any more.

There's something cosy about the Might & Magic series. Something a bit tea and cakes on Granny's knee; all warm fireplaces and chintzy doilies. Something conservative, something that flies the Union Jack, something that reminds us of a much better past, something warm and something very, very familiar. Perhaps it's the fact that in the twenty years since the series started, it's changed about as much as David Dimbleby or Horlicks, even if everything else from the era is gone.

Who'd be a worshipper? You scrimp and save, pray and dance, and then get allocated a random "humorous" name by your puerile god, before being squished to death when he accidentally drops a tree on your head. Even then your body is forfeit, dropped into the sacrificial altar (if yon deity has time) so the godhead can get to grips with the really crappy fireball throwing technique.

Heroes of Might & Magic V

From zeroes to heroes.

Kieron showed you earlier in the week how Arkane studios is making a very different sort of first-person fantasy game, the frankly bemusing Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. Well, Heroes of Might and Magic has always been a very different sort of strategy fantasy game, drawn from the long heritage of the M&M games. However, number five also promises to be a very different Heroes game, coming as it does from a new studio and new publisher. Despite their promises of faithfulness to the brand, the community seems wary of what they may produce.

Auto Assault

We're addicted to brake fluid. Don't worry, we can stop any time.

Some things are better balanced; strawberries and cream or Eric and Ernie, for example. We think it's an issue of complexity, that certain things on their own are just too simple; that people want a certain level of complication to take up those spare brain cycles, and are willing to try anything that sucks them in just enough. Certain gamers, get this, don't like car games. Others, perverse imps that they are, just don't like simple shooters. But combine the two, chuck in a few thousand other people, and they'll play it. Hence the shooty-car MMO genre (sorry for the excessively analytic lingo) and hence Auto Assault.

What is it that makes perfectly normal human beings threaten life and limb (with thromboids) and sit watching a brightly-coloured figure automatically hit thousands of things? As a psychologist (amateur - I read my horoscopes once a week), it’s my professional opinion that computer screens put out some form of pink radiation that hypnotises, sedates and stultifies the recipient. I can’t find any other reason why people indulge in said overly repetitious avatar-based interaction, except perhaps the outlandish concept that they may derive pleasure from it. And Lineage 2, RF Online, Neocron 2, Shadowbane, The Sims Online and the execrably revamped Star Wars: Galaxies are all strong counter-examples to that.

Ankh

It walks like an Egyptian. But can it talk English?

Blimey, sand. We've not seen that since Blackpool, or at least Call of Duty 2. It's nice to get away from those grinding mills of Normandy and all those first-person shooters, knot a hanky on your head, suck a whelk and relax with a nice old-fashioned adventure game. This one's even set in a vaguely original locale, Egypt under the Pharaohs, replete with humorous mummies, camels with the hump and toothless crocodiles.