Game Review: Space Siege

Space Siege
6.8 of 10
Platform: Windows XP/Vista
Genre: Action-RPG
Developer: Gas Powered Games

I've said this before, but I'll say it again: Dungeon Siege is the worst game I've played. It's one of those games that all you need to do is get from point A to point B, and kill everything between those two points. Luckily, Gas Powered Games learned quickly from their mistakes and improved Dungeon Siege II, heavily. That's why when Space Siege was announced, the third action-RPG under Gas Powered Games, I was very ecstatic. I thought, if GPG continues their progressive trend on their "siege" franchise, Space Siege would be a monumental game.

Space Siege opens up with an interesting cinematic that promises us a space opera. It shows an armada of alien (known as the Kerak) space cruisers descending upon Earth with intentions of blanketing the planet with what weapons they have. In a desperate attempt to flee from Earth and avoid total annihilation, Humans have initiated a planet-wide evacuation and boarded massive colony ships. Only one ship, however, the ISCS Armstrong, was able to breakthrough the Kerak's blockade. But the Kerak managed to attach a pod full of warriors into the hull of the escaping ship. As the player, you will take on the mantle of Seth Walker, a combat engineer, and it's up to you to repel the alien incursion and save everyone aboard the Armstrong.

Seth Walker having a chat with the Armstrong's A.I. pilot.

Sadly, the interesting part of the story is only limited in the opening cinematic, and the promise of a space opera is a broken one. Basically, you'll just be running around and engage in witless conversation with NPCs, sharing backgrounds and histories with each other that won't come to any fruition. In addition, the twists and turns in the plot are very predictable since they have been used and abused in many science fiction films and other games. Then there's the data pads which have failed to deliver a side story that coheres with the main plot and expand the setting. I wish they could've utilized the pads to give us a hindsight about the Kerak war and the pandemonium that ensued during the evacuations.

Unfortunately, the gameplay is as lifeless and linear as the story. It pretty much shares a flaw with its spiritual predecessor, Dungeon Siege, where your character runs in an uninspired maps with single pathways and gun down every unintelligent being with a motor function. The objectives and missions are very flavorless too. For the most part, you'll be traversing through different sections of the ship in order to rescue a survivor, open/lock a door, or fetch some device for the resident NPC egghead.

I'll frag you into pieces.

On the positive note, I find the absence of an inventory and the non-standard loot drop in Space Siege to be quite ingenious. I always hate it when I stop to pick up a hundred items littered on the ground, and then decide which one should be left behind if the inventory is full. It's just anti-climatic. So, instead of going with the usual inventory/item system of action-RPGs, the developers gave us the parts & workbench upgrade system. What it is basically is that your opponents will drop parts and materials instead of a standard item. These parts and materials, which acts like a currency, can be used to upgrade your character, weapons and HR-V -your loyal robotic companion. It is also used to create health packs, grenades, and other contraptions of destruction that will give you tactical advantage in combat.

The only problem about the parts & workbench upgrade system is that the developers only gave us a few upgrade choices. So at the end of the game you'll have your character, HR-V, and three of your weapons, fully upgraded. The workbench upgrades are also uninteresting as they only increase your character's and HR-V's basic statistics like health and armor, or your weapon's damage and attack speed. It would've been awesome if they gave us a bazillion of cool choices on upgrades, such as adding a chance to stun or pierce through an enemy with your attacks, or even allow the purchase of abilities using parts instead of skill points.

Metallic arm for improved melee damage, check! Losing my humanity, check!

Cybernetics is probably the main reason why I got this game. But I'm quite disappointed because there's only one available part for each upgradeable slot. So if you found a cybernetic eye but didn't like its modifiers, then you could just forget it because that's the only eye you'll find through out the game. It would've been cool if you can make your own cybernetic parts in the workbench. Like the upgrades, cybernetics also gives a boost in your character statistics. Except that they also unlock abilities and allows you to wield powerful weapons. There's also a moral dilemma, of choosing between going cyborg or staying human, presented to the players. But it didn't really affect the gameplay since there are no grave consequences if you opted one side or the other.

There's nothing really worth noting on the technical part of the game. The graphics, like I mentioned earlier regarding the map, is uninspired. You'd be mostly running around in cold, dull gray areas of the ship. There's no contrast, and no area of the ship that really stands out from the other. The audio, however, is pretty decent. I especially enjoyed listening to the sound of the beam weapons, the barraging noise of the assault rifle, and the loud boom of the sonic blaster.

Say hello to my little robotic friend, alien scum.

The controls, on the other hand, is pretty horrendous. Space Siege uses the mouse to move the character, instead of the WASD keys, and to point, click, and kill an opponent or explosive barrels. So it's really cumbersome to maneuver around while shooting the enemies at the same time. In addition, all key controls can't be changed. It would've been very helpful if you could assign the hotkey of one of your abilities (Deadly Strike) to your mouse.

I really thought Space Siege was going to be the "it" game that would cement Gas Powered Games' reputation as one of the leading developers of action RPG. But the game is a step down from Dungeon Siege II. The predictable storyline, the boring gameplay, the dull areas and maps, and cumbersome controls were the factors that contributed to its fall. But I won't discount the unique loot & upgrade system of the game, even though it wasn't fully utilized to its potential. So if you're looking for some action RPG, that would abate your thirst before Diablo III comes out, look somewhere else because Space Siege isn't worth it.

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Game Review: Dungeon Siege II


Featured Band: Laymar

I have zero friends on my MySpace account. But I still keep it around because it's an invaluable source of new music (and even comics). I usually visit the site to search for new and unsigned bands, check out their profiles, and preview thier songs. Most of the time, however, I'll end up with nothing that I really like. But I do get lucky from time to time, and will find an awesome band like Laymar.

Laymar, performing live.

Laymar is a three man, post-rock band from Manchester, United Kingdom. Their line up includes Collin Williams (Guitars/Synth/Keyboards), Ciaran Cullen (Bass/Synth) and David Paul (Drums/Sequenced Electronics). Unlike other post-rock bands, they seem to rely heavily on synths instead of guitars and drums. Which gives their music an electronic edge, and light tint of Depeche Mode and New Order. Unfortunately, they only have one full song on their MySpace page, entitled NU1. But it's enough just to give you an idea how good this band is. So, go ahead and give it a spin.

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New Season, New Comics, New Pull List

I thought I'll have a lower expenditure on comic-books in the upcoming months, with Black Summer done and Captain Britain and the MI:13 canceled from my pull service list. But I recently received an e-mail from my comic-book store, and attached with it is an updated list of their pull service. The new list is impressive, it's now two pages long and includes a lot of new series. In addition, the list is also quite tempting, and I can't help it but mark down the titles that I want to read.

Here are the new titles that made it on my list:

Big Hero Six
I don't know anything about this title. I only had a glimpse of the original Big Hero Six mini-series, back in the late 90s, when my nephew was reading it. But Marvel released a sneak peek of the new mini-series about a month ago, and I was intrigued after reading it. The Tokyo-based setting, the manga-style artwork is something fresh to me. Besides, it was also written by this guy named Chris Claremont.

I've seen a lot of the Runaways graphic novel in our public library. But I didn't really care much about it since it was in the teen/young adult section. I just dismissed it as "kids" stuff. Boy, I didn't realize how much I was missing. Talk about teenage rebellion, comic-book style. It's super hero kids vs. their super villain parents. I'm so glad that they're back, giving me the chance to start this book on a clean slate.

The Merc with a Mouth is back! It is not known to many but my favorite comic-book character is Deadpool. Who in the right mind wouldn't love this guy anyways? Not only he's a wise-cracking, kick-ass fighter with enhanced healing, he's the only one in the Marvel universe that knows he's a comic-book character. The first issue is also a Secret Invasion tie-in. Now, I'm really excited to see what happens.

The Stand: Captain Trips
For a guy who love all things post-apocalyptic, I shamefully admit that I haven't read Stephen King's The Stand. So it's a good thing that Marvel adapted this novel into an illustrated format. Now I can enjoy this great story without being spooked by King's writings.

No Hero
Warren Ellis (probably my favorite comic-book writer) and Juan Jose Ryp, the men responsible behind Black Summer, are teaming up again to bring us No Hero. Honestly, I don't know much about No Hero, except that the characters uses drugs that give them powers. Nonetheless, I trust Ellis and Ryp, and I expect this book to be as great as Black Summer.

I shouldn't have opened that attached file. Because instead of losing two comics on my list I've gained three more. Right now, I just feel like chanting the HYDRA motto: "Cut off one limb, and two shall take its place!"


28 Things I Want For My 28th Birthday

It's almost that time of the year again. The time when I celebrate for being a year older but none the wiser, my birthday. So earlier today I asked myself: "What do I want for my 28th birthday?" I suppose world peace or a bright-eyed girlfriend would make as a nice present. But those are hard to achieve and hard to maintain, and I'm just a simple man who takes joy in material things. So, instead, I just made a wishlist at Amazon, then e-mailed it to all my close relatives and friends. Hopefully, they won't delete it or, worse, mark it as spam.

Here are the 28 things that I wished for my 28th birthday:

Upgraded Music
1. Epiphone Les Paul Guitar (Standard Plain Top, Vintage Sunburst)
2. Marshall Amplifier (100-Watt)
3. Line 6 Tone Port UX2
4. Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi
5. Ibanez Tube Screamer (TS 808 Re-issue)

There's nothing wrong with my current guitar rig. As a bedroom musician, it serves me pretty well. Nonetheless, I still want an upgrade. So if you have thousands of cash stuck in your couch, you can get me any 100-watt Marshall Amplifer and an Epiphone Les Paul Guitar. While I do prefer a burst finish on my guitar, plain would just do too. You can also throw in a Line 6 Tone Port so I can record all the riffs that I can come up with. If you only have hundreds, don't worry, because you can still get me a Big Muff Pi or a Tube Screamer (or both), re-issues of legendary guitar effects.

Enhanced Gaming
6. iBuyPower Gamer Desktop PC
7. Fallout 3: Amazon Exclusive Survival Edition
8. Spore Galactic Edition
9. Samsung SyncMaster 2253BW
10. Xbox 360

If you happen to decide that you want to waste my time and hamper my productivity, then you can pre-order me the special editions of Fallout 3 and Spore. These games, however, won't run beautifully and smoothly on my current gaming rig. So you might as well get me a widescreen PC monitor and a high-end desktop PC built for gaming. If you can't afford any of these, an Xbox 360 is good too. I'm not that picky.

Luxurious Gadgets
11. Canon Digital Rebel XSi (12 MP D-SLR)
12. Archos 605 Wi-Fi (160 GB)
13. Panasonic DMP-BD30K
14. Sennheiser HD 595
15. Swiss Army Watch

I always want to get into photography. But I just don't have the money to buy a Digital SLR. So if you're kind enough, you can start me on my new hobby by buying me a Canon Digital Rebel XSi. Since photography requires travel, you can also get me an Archos 605 so I can take my music, movie and picture library with me, and access the internet from anywhere. But, of course, I can't listen to music on my Archos without a good headphone. So you might as well include a Sennheiser headphone. A watch is also an essential tool when traveling. Mine is eight years old, so I won't complain if you get me one for my birthday. If you don't want me to start a new hobby, then the least you can do is get me a Blu-ray disc player.

Deluxe Library
16. Watchmen (Absolute Edition)
17. The Walking Dead Vol. 1
18. DMZ Vol. 1: On The Ground
19. 100 Bullets Vol. 1: First Shot, Last Call
20. Runaways Vol. 1
21. Lord of the Rings (50th Anniversary Edition)
22. Fahrenheit: 451
23. The Once and Future King

If you're stingy because of the rising gas prices, then this is where it gets easy on the wallet. By the next month or so, I will be donating my mass makert paperback books and trade paperback comics to a children's institution (I forgot the name). If you think I'm charitable enough, then you can reward me with a deluxe edition of a book or comics so I can rebuild my library. But if you really are a cheapskate, getting me the first volumes of 100 Bullets or DMZ will also be appreciated.

Animation Marathon
24. Metalocalypse (Season 1 Boxed Set)
25. Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad (The Complete Series)
26. Spawn: Animated Collection

If you wanted to get me blu-ray disc player but can't afford it, don't worry. Instead, just get me the DVD boxed set of these animations listed above. Metalocalypse and Spawn are pretty good, I've seen some of the episodes and I want to watch them all. Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad, I haven't seen it yet. But a friend of mine told me it's good anime to watch, especially if you're a musician.

Toy Showcase
27. Vinyl Art Toys
28. Ame-Comi Wonder Woman

As as I said a couple post ago, I wanted a vinyl art toy so I can display it in my room. They're cool, they're fun, and they're colorful. But the ame-comi Wonder Woman, I couldn't really say anything about it. Except that, as a collector, I want it just for the sake of having it. So, please, get me some.

I'm not really expecting any gifts from anybody, I never did since I was 10. That's why this is called a "WISH" list. While I do admit that I'm materialistic, I still consider health and life as the ultimate gift. Besides, you can't enjoy material things if you're dead or sick. So as long as I have all my appendages intact and functional on my birthday, I'm thankful.

But if you really do want to buy me gifts. Then here's the summary of my birthday wishlist:
Items that costs $100 to $10
Items that costs $1000 to 100


With A Shirt Like This Who Needs Pants?

There are plenty banner ad models that have already gained the attention of men. Especially the models of True, Busted Tees and Snorg Tees. But perhaps the most popular of them all is Alice Fraasa, of Snorg Tee, who models the "I'm Kind of a Big Deal" shirt. She already have a fan base on the net, and have also done a bunch of interviews. I, however, don't think she's all that. I much prefer the other Snorg model who sports the "With A Shirt Like This Who Needs Pants?" shirt.

I think she's just way more cuter than Alice. She's got this whole fun, down to earth, girl next door appeal. Plus, as I've mentioned in this blog before, she reminds me a lot of this dark-haired, bright-eyed medical student at work (my first crush since I saw Natalie Portman in Star Wars). Unfortunately, I still don't know this model's name. So if someone reading this blog knows her name feel free to leave it in the comments section. Her address and phone number would also be nice. But for the meantime, let's just enjoy the pictures that I've compiled into a slideshow.


Comics Bundle 7/30 - 8/13: President Arroyo is a Skrull

Wow, I finally had time to pick up all of my comics last Friday. They've been piling up in the comic store for three weeks already. But I'd better get used to it since, with my new schedule at work, I won't be able to visit the store as frequent as before. Anyways, I'd like to make an attempt to review some of the comics that I've finished (I still have a lot). An attempt because I suck at writing comic book reviews (actually I just suck at writing, but more so with comic reviews) . So, therefore, I apologize in advance.

Secret Invasion #5
8.5 of 10
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artists: Leinel Yu, Mark Morales, Laura Martin

The heroes are finally getting ready to repel the secret invasion of the Skrulls (which, at this point, is no longer a secret). The Thunderbolts are buckling up and Maria Hill of The SHIELD is hot with her guns and decoy. But the half-alien agent of SWORD, Abigail Brand, is even hotter since she gets to save the day. First, she saves Mr. Fantastic by ordering all Skrulls to abandon ship and then she swoops down to the Savage Land to pick up the rest of the -now a little bit less confused- heroes. Now, I can't wait for the next issue to hit the stands...or the comic-book store.

A spread from Secret Invasion #5 suggesting that some politicians (including Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) and celebrities are Skrulls. Anne Coulter is definitely a Skrull.

Black Summer #7
8.0 of 10
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp

One of the most controversial title finally ends. This is probably one of the best titles in my collection, hands down (Note: I have a very small collection. Just a half-full short-box). That's why I'm a little bit disappointed that it's finished, and that the ending was anti-climatic and predictable. The writing, however, was fantastic. Especially when Tom Noir explained to John Horus as to why super-powered heroes just don't go up and kill a corrupt president. Not only did it close the story, it also made some sense into the rest of super-hero titles of the comic industry.

Captain Britain and the MI: 13 #4
7.0 of 10
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artists: Leonard Kirk, Jesse Delperdang, Brian Reber

As a Secret Invasion tie-in, this title came out strong with the whole "Magic vs. Science" theme. The last part, however, was just a lackluster. First, they killed John, a renegade Skrull who impersonates John Lennon. He's probably one of the coolest character in the Marvel Universe, and the best reason why I continued reading this title. Secondly, I didn't like how the Skrulls were defeated in England. When Peter Wisdom freed Merlin, who was imprisoned in Avalon, he also freed a lot of evil denizens. As payment, Satannish offers Wisdom a boon. Which he used to banish the Skrulls from England and Avalon by saying "No More Skrulls". Unoriginal and not funny. I think it's time to cross out this title from my pull list.

Wolverine #67
6.5 of 10
Writer: Mark Millar
Artists: Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines, Morry Hollowell

Just glimpses, but still no straight answer as to why the heroes died, why villains rule (Millar likes evil to rule) and why Wolverine became a pacifist. But that's understandable if they didn't drop the "big reveal" in this issue. After all, it's only the second part. But it's definitely getting interesting...and also campier. The interesting part: Hawkeye. Even though he's blind, he's still a very capable marksman. Plus, He also have a daughter with Spider-Man's daughter. The campy part: A gang of Ghost Riders and a place called Hammerfall, a pilgrimage site (which very much resembles a comic convention) where Thor died and dropped Mjolnir. Honestly, I want to drop this title. But since I love everything post-apocalyptic, I'm sticking to it until this arc is over.


Mighty Mugg Wolverine

I found this Wolverine toy at a comic store earlier today. It's a part of the Mighty Muggs series from Hasbro. It just looks so cool and awesome, kinda like the vinyl art toys I posted a few weeks ago. Other Marvel super-heroes, like Spider Man and Captain America, are also available. I only got Wolverine since he's in every comic-book title that I currently read (Wolverine, Uncanny X-Men, Astonishing X-Men and The New Avengers). But I'll be definitely getting The Skrull, once they release the 5th wave of toys. Star Wars and Indiana Jones are also available. But since all the cool ones (Stormtrooper, Boba Fett and Darth Vader) were gone, I didn't get any. The store clerk also told me that Transformers and G.I. Joe (excited) will be coming sometime soon.


Savage Dragon for Barack Obama

It is common that celebrities endorse a presidential candidate. But what I didn't know is that comic book characters can also do the same thing. In the latest publicity stunt to surface in the US presidential campaign, The Savage Dragon, a title character from Image Comics, endorses Barack Obama for President. Obama will have a cover appearance in The Savage Dragon #137, which will be out in Sept. 3. This is something I haven't heard of before -it's because I'm a neophyte to comics- so I just find it weird. But I guess, maybe, in a way, this'll help the comic-book industry. You can read this whole article over at The Moment Blog.

Anyways, this topic gave me something to ponder about: Are there any "Politicians Who Are Into Comics"? If so, I'd like to make a list now since that'd make an excellent list type of post.


Top 5 Rockers Who Are Into Comics

Rock music and comic books have a lot of things in common than people think. The foremost is that both serve as mediums for venting disdains against an oppressive force. Secondly, all who partake in both sub-cultures are blackballed by the norm, often stereotyped as outcasts and miscreants.

That's why you'll find plenty of personalities in the rock biz that are into comics. Artists like Kirk Hammett, who chose collecting comics over doing drugs, Andy Hurley, of Fall Out Boy, who was seen loitering in the Wizard World Chicago Convention and Scott Ian, who admittedly said he'd be writing comics if he wasn't in Anthrax.

While most rock artists are only avid readers and collectors of comic books, these five men are even more passionate about comics that they have gone beyond reading and collecting.

5. Sebastian Bach (Skid Row)
Bach's house, as it was featured on MTV Cribs, is a comic-book haven. Not only do he have a fireproof safe for his comics, he also got comic-related toys even in his bathroom. But the reason why he's holding the fifth spot is that he can't stop talking about comics. I've seen him host a couple of shows for VH1, shows that are in no way related to comics. But he'd really try his best to find a way and interject comics into the topic. He'll also do the same thing on interviews, like a true comic aficionado would.

4. John Dolmayan (System of a Down and Scars on Broadway)
Dolmayan, the kick-ass drummer of System of a Down, have been furiously collecting comics. At one point, he even accumulated five and a half-million comics. Insane, you say? Well, not really since he needed that much to open his online comic book store, Torpedo Comics. But what really got him into the number four spot is because he pimped his white Tama drum kit with art of comic book characters. That was one impressive looking drum kit.

3. Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance)
Way decided to pursue a career in the comic-industry after finishing high school, and took Fine Arts in college. But he never got into it until last year (2007) when he wrote a comic book, an Eisner Award winning comic book, entitled The Umbrella Academy. It's probably one of the best limited series of comics that's out now. It's bizarre and funny. Way did a really good job on it, like you wouldn't expect that it was written by a frontman of an emo punk band, and that's why he sits on the third spot.

2. Claudio Sanchez (Coheed and Cambria)
Like Gerard Way, Claudio Sanchez also wrote a well-received sci-fi comic book, The Amory Wars. But unlike The Umbrella Academy, Sanchez's comics is connected to his band's music. In fact, each of their albums corresponds to a chapter in his comics. Plus, his band's name, Coheed and Cambria, are also the name of the two protagonists in his story. While I like The Umbrella Academy better than The Amory Wars, it's just great that both music and comics were used by Sanchez to tell a fantastic story.

1. Glenn Danzig (The Misfits, Samhain, and Danzig)
Long before The Misfits and Danzig, Glenn Danzig was also an aspiring comic-book writer and worked at a comic book store in nearby New York. Now, he owns Verotik, a comic book company that publishes violent and erotic themed comics. He also writes for some of his company's titles such as Death Dealer and Jaguar God. While his comics aren't my cup of tea, he deserves the number one spot for life-long dedication to comics and owning a comic book company.

Well, that's my list of top 5 rockers who are also living a double life as comic-book nerds. Hopefully, I didn't miss anybody. If I did, however, please let me know.


Album Review: Scars on Broadway

Scars on Broadway - Scars on Broadway
7.5 of 10

Back in 2006, I was completely disheartened when I learned that System of a Down will go on hiatus. It's a good thing, however, that the members immediately announced their individual projects. Serj went to record a solo, Shavo formed Achozen (with RZA of Wu-Tang Clan), and Daron and John worked on a project called Scars on Broadway. Even though they'll be releasing their work separately, and not as System of a Down, at least, I had something to look forward to. Now, two years after they announced their hiatus, Scars on Broadway finally released their debut album.

Scars on Broadway's debut is a decent offering to music. Though I can't help but still compare them to System of a Down, only this time their music sounds shaved and dismembered. No more odd-time signatures, nonstandard dynamics, and other bells & whistles that Malakian and Dolmayan regularly displayed in their previous band. Even the metallic weight of their music has been toned down. This time, it's just plain rock songs with straight-forward structures, guitar riffs and drumworks. The lyricism, humor and the crazy vocal stylings of SOAD, which adds extra flair to their songs, however, is not lost in them (although Daron's voice is much more subdued and "normal" than Serj's).

Objectively, Scars on Broadway is a pretty good listen. However, after two years of waiting, it was a disappointment to me. I find them to be a half-baked System of Down. But maybe it's my fault because I was expecting them to deliver the sound like before, or even heavier than before. So if you're a big fan of SOAD, you might want to read more reviews about Scars on Broadway, and maybe preview some of their songs before you dive in. Other than that, if you're not a big fan of System of a Down you'll definitely enjoy this album.


My Top 10 PC Games

PC Gamer started a voting website that'll let us -gamers- to vote for our top 10 favorite games of all time. Then, when the voting ends in September, they'll tally the votes for their Reader's Top 100, which will be published in the November issue of PC Gamer. What's more is that every voter will have a chance to win a high-end Cyberpower PC. A pretty nice incentive if you ask me. That's why I voted for my top 10 right away.

Here's my top 10 PC games:

10. System Shock 2
SS2 is a cyberpunk horror themed game that combines the elements of first-person shooter, role-playing, and survival horror into its gameplay. It's probably the most enjoyable and creepiest game I've ever played.

9. Star Wars: Knights of the Republic
Knights of the Old Republic was set in a time before the movies. As a fan of Star Wars, not only did this gave me a memorable RPG experience but also a chance to take a look at the history of that galaxy far, far away.

8. The Witcher
The Witcher is unlike any medieval fantasy themed RPG I've played. It's grittier and grimier, and the choices you make in this game are much more real. There's no good or evil choices. Just choices and consequences.

7. Thief II: The Metal Age
There is no other stealth-action game that can provide the thrill like Thief II: The Metal Age. Featuring cool gadgets, a steampunk setting, smart A.I. and intelligent level designs. This game is the cream of the crop.

6. Civilization II
Civilization II was my introduction to turn-based strategy games. The first time I played it, I was instantaneously infected by the "just one more turn" malady. As a result, I had plenty of unforgettable sleepless nights with this game.

5. Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn
Baldur's Gate II, an AD&D game, is probably one of the best RPGs of all time. The game features a great character development, an interactive dialogue system, a cast of memorable NPCs, and an epic storyline.

4. Deus Ex
Deux Ex is a FPS/RPG set in cyberpunk world where terrorism is rampant. Unlike other shooters, Deus Ex offers multiple solutions to meet an objective. You can either utilize stealth, dialogue, or brute force to accomplish a task.

3. The Longest Journey
The Longest Journey is more than just an adventure game. It's literature, and it boasts a well-crafted story, which combines the worlds of sci-fiction and fantasy, that is as good as any sublime film or book can offer.

2. Planescape: Torment
Torment is pretty much like Baldur's Gate. The same engine and system. The only difference is that the story, which is set in Planescape instead of the Forgotten Realms, is centered on self-discovery rather than saving the world.

1. Fallout 2
If there was a game that has dictated my life I would have to say it's Fallout 2. I've played this RPG many times, and its post-nuclear setting has got me wanting to be with radioactivity (hence Nuclear Medicine and the title of this blog).

So these are my top 10 PC games. I know that these games -exemplary that they are- won't get to be in the overall top 10. Since the PC games that most people only know about are The Sims, Half-Life and Blizzard games. But, I don't care if these games would make it or not. I like these games, that's why I voted for them. But now that I have casted my vote, It's time for you to pick your top 10 PC games and then cast your vote here.


Wonder Woman: The Animated Movie

The explosion of comics-to-film adaptations has made comic books all the hype now. So that's probably the reason as to why Direct-to-DVD animations has also grown exponentially over the past years. We've already seen Ultimate Avengers, Superman: Doomsday, Justice League: The New Frontier, and Batman: Gotham Knight. Now, finally, we're going to see Wonder Woman: The Animated Movie this coming February 2009.

I can only find a few info about the animation but it seems its Wonder Woman and The Amazons Vs. Ares, The God of War. I'm not sure if Bruce Timm is behind its production but the art seems similar to the Wonder Woman in the Justice League: The Animated Series. Also, Keri Russell (Felicity) will voice Wonder Woman in this animated flick.


Batman's Next Top Villain

The Dark Knight already broke a lot of records and continues to be the ultimate moolah generator for Warner. That's why I'm certain that they're going to milk this franchise until its teats are swollen red, and release a sequel within the next two to three years. So the big question right now is: "Who's going to be the next villain?".

Well folks, I'm not too worried about that since Batman has the most interesting and craziest rogues gallery in all comic book super heroes. Plus, with Nolan's talent, I'm pretty sure he'll pick the villain(s) that would fit right in his grittier version of Gotham. But, for the meantime, if somebody asks me who should be the villain(s) in the next Batman flick, these are my top 4 picks (since all Batman films have featured two villains, I'll also present my lists in duos).

Bizarre Love Triangle: Talia Al Ghul and Catwoman

Talia Al Ghul and Catwoman.

Since Rachel Dawes is out of the picture, Batman not only needs an enemy but also a new love interest. So who's more worthy as a lover and enemy other than the jewel thief in a cat suit and the daughter of Ra's Al Ghul, who's now in command of the League of Shadows? Not only can they kick the Bat's butt but they can also break his heart. Plus, it'll be boon to us guys because, I'm sure, the actresses (hopefully not Halle Berry) who'll play these characters will be really hot.

Mud and Ice: Clayface and Mr. Freeze

Clayface and Mr. Freeze.

Using both these villains, they could use desperation as a theme (where it was fear in the first movie and chaos & order in The Dark Knight). Because both of these villains are desperate, not really evil. They're not out there to wreak senseless havoc or to grab some loot. Mr. Freeze is just trying to cure his wife, while Clayface (if based on the Batman: Animated Series) is trying to cure his disfigured self. But the main reason I chose Mr. Freeze is because I'm hoping that Nolan's version of the villain would erase Arnold Frostzenegger from my mind.

So those are my four picks. Except for Catwoman, I'm not very hopeful that these other three will appear in the Batman films. So now that I've chosen the villains, what's next. Of course, Batman's sidekick. There's no Dynamic Duo if Batman has no sidekick. Then again, there's no room for campiness in Nolan's Batman.


Vinyl Art Toys

I love action figures/figurine. I own boxes upon boxes of them, a total of the ones I bought this decade and the ones I had when I was a kid. I wanted to display them in my room but most of the toys I own are cartoon and comic characters. As a grown boy I find it embarrassing to flaunt my collection in my room. It's also hard to display them without turning any room into a trashy toy store. But that leaves my room looking empty, and I don't want the type of figurine mother's display in the living room. That's when I decided to look for vinyl art toys.

I found out about vinyl art toys three years ago when my clinical instructor and his friend -both of them artists- were sharing pictures of the toys, which they took on a local gallery called Rotofugi. I found the toys to be very cool and spunky but they're not my cup of tea (back then, at least). Now, however, I'm in need of one (or maybe two) to put in my bare room, I may have to visit Rotofugi, or order online, since toys like these are really hard to find.

Here's some vinyl toys that I really want:

Geisha (Octopus) by Tokyo Plastic ($75)

This design is so cute and simple. It's just a regular geisha, except with a spunk accentuated by the headphones. It's genius and perfect for music fans. I bet this would sit nicely on my side table, beneath the lamp and beside my CD player.

Anarchy Teddy by Frank Kozik ($75)

You think teddy bears are cute? Well, not this bear. This one has a simple, chaotic and wicked design. If I have one of these I'd probably put in on top of my chest drawer.

Mainframe by Dean Bradley ($60)

Killer computer with wired limbs and legs for poseability. This would look nice on my computer table and would show how I love computers. I was looking for a night rider version (black with red screen) but that was a limited edition and probably costs a bazillion dollars now.

I don't have the money to get these very expensive toys. So, for now, I'll just dream on.


Neck Deep in Pages

While most Chicagoans are out in Grant Park tonight, reveling in the music of Radiohead and other performing artists at the Lollapalooza, I'm stuck here in my abode, neck deep in books and graphic novels. I didn't purchase all these items today, or bought them in one go. I've ordered these books one to two months ago, on seperate dates, and they've been sitting on top of my drawer, neglected, ever since. So the whole day today, because I can't afford Lollapalooza anyways, I spent my time reading some of these books. The progress was slow but at least I finished a book (Personal Days) and started a new one (Problogger). Hopefully, I'd finish all of these books by the end of the month.