What's Mecherath Playing This Week?

Not many changes in the video gaming world this week. I get most of my gaming in over the weekend, but since Chris was visiting, I spent more time playing Gonstica than Darkstone or Suikoden. For that reason, today's video game update will be rather short. All of that will change next week though, since none of my classes have too much going on before spring break. Viva la video game!

Suikoden II
Konami of America

        I promised myself that I wouldn't use GameFAQs my first time through this game, and for the first few hours, I didn't. Then I remembered that since I beat the game unaided a few years ago, the rule doesn't apply. I haven't been using the walkthrough to advance through the storyline, except in one unusual circumstance involving an annoying little girl hiding in a corner. I basically just use the site to make sure that I haven't missed any of the 108 characters. I'd hate to beat the game once and discover that I had missed one or two of them. The first time through, I'm quite spunky and willing to spend some time leveling up and playing mini games. If I have to do it a second time, it's going to be real cut and dry. And with the huge number of games I have on my plate right now, I'd rather not go back.

I'm probably less than halfway through the game, but I've already hand picked my elite team of freedom fighters. These are the characters that I put in my party whenever I'm given a choice, and they get top priority for spells and equipment. The main character is obviously on the list, but thanks to the Bright Shield rune, he'd be in my party anyway. I'm also tossing in the main character from the previous game, since I might as well make use of all the work I put into getting every character. Shiro the wolf and Oulan the bodyguard round out the melee side of things, while Stallion, the fastest elf in the world, adds some much needed speed, leaving Rina to handle the magical arts. Thanks to some clever rune combinations, inspired partly by those FAQs I shouldn't have been reading, this combination should be unstoppable. Only time will tell if this is the case though.

Gathering of Developers

        I hardly played Darkstone at all this week. I got through the second chapter, which ended with the arrival of the Darkstone itself. Being an artifact of great power, it decided to curse the entire world. People are turning to stone, the sky is eternally dark, and things are just generally nasty. There's nothing I hate more in a game than limited visibility, and I invariably adjust the brightness on my monitor to make up for things. You're supposed to be able to play through the game four times with the same characters, but the way things are going, I'll probably be tired after one. The prospect of varying quests does intrigue me though, and it should make things a little more interesting.

Actually, if my main character wasn't a sorcerer, I wouldn't mind the limited visibility at all. It's really easy to stay alive in a dungeon, since I can just hide in a corner casting spells, while my meat shield takes care of all the enemies. Out in the overworld though, the enemies are free to walk around and shoot arrows wherever they please, and they usually end up firing them at me. I've been spending all of my character points on magic, so my physical attributes leave much to be desired. I've only got like three hit points, so a single arrow can put me out of commission. Well, it's not quite that bad, but it might as well be. It's still a decently fun game though, and I still place it right between Diablo and Diablo II in coolness.

Return of the Incredible Machine: Contraptions

        I didn't play this game much during the week, but over the weekend, I played it almost as much as Suikoden. I seem to have hooked Avi, because whenever he felt like taking a break from homework, he stopped up and asked to play some Incredible Machine. I was happy to oblige in most cases, since one game is as good as another for spending free time, and we worked through 40 puzzles or so. We're currently on the 11th Difficult puzzle, and the name would imply, they're not getting easier. There are hardly ever any hints on the stages now, and when there are, the information is either useless or obvious. This is frustrating at times, but makes it all the more rewarding when we finally do solve the puzzle. My favorite stages are the really complicated Rube Goldberg machines, which is both good and bad. They're really fun to watch, since the solutions are incredibly intricate, but they really aren't that hard to solve. Since the whole screen is filled with a bunch of bizarre objects, the correct path is usually pretty easy to discern. I'll probably be eating those words the next time Avi comes over though.

Another game update come and gone. Sorry this one was so boring, but I can't really help that I didn't start anything new. I was really close to picking up Hack: Infection, but Wal-Mart was sold out. I should have it before Spring Break is over though.

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