My Favorite ZX-Spectrum Games

This article is for those of you old enough to remember our good old friend the “Specky”. I thought I would compile a top games list in no particular order.

1. Saboteur 2 (without any doubt) one of the best (if not the best) games to be released on the Spectrum. Here is a vid of the famous motor bike getaway.

2. Jet Set Willy, this game was exceptionally hard, but was one of the largest games available at the times, very few people have ever finished this game.

3. Super Hang on, it was well worth waiting the 15 minutes it took to load this game. Everytime you thought maybe you would finish it, but I think it was impossible to finish

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Is Google Chrome unstable for you?

I really like Googles new browser, but its the most unstable browser I have ever used. And its out of Beta.

So sorry Google, I don’t really have the time to waste, watching the browser crash 2-3 times an hour.

I guess ultimately in my opinion the best browser’s still remains FireFox and Opera. Chrome is the type of browser you want to like (a lot), and its going to be great once Google polish it up under the hood.

How do Mac Users survive without Internet Explorer?

We all know Macs are perfect and people that use Macs like to think of them as im-mac-ulate 🙂

I was just thinking about one very real problem that comes with your Mac, the day you buy it. This is compatibility with the majority of computer users, who mostly all run PC’s.

As a PC user I’ve recently installed non IE browsers. FireFox, Chrome and Opera. These 3 browsers are all great in their own rights, but every now and again a page comes up that has some kind of error on it, and will only open up in IE. As a windows user, I can switch to IE and view the page as it was intended, this is not the best solution, but it does mean that I can complete the reason I visited that site.

A Mac user would not have this option, and that smug Mac user might just loose out completely because of this.

The All Browser Age

We’ve entered into a new age of the Internet, the “All Browser Age” is dawning on us with the launch of Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, FireFox, Opera and Safari.

Primarily due to the lack of conformity by all these browsers to follow to the letter the W3C guidelines, we are now going to have to get used to using not one of these browsers, but perhaps at least 2 or 3 of them.

The main problem is that web developers often build a web site or full blown web application with a particular target browser in mind, meaning that functionality like the ability to download a file from a site, or even navigate around the application, may not work in one browser, but will work perfectly fine in another. Its also hard to tell which browser will get the job done.

Right now IE is the most compatible, because developers spend a great deal of time ensuring that their sites are viewable in IE, but more and more developers are starting to optimize for FireFox because they consider FireFox to much better represent W3C standards. Google Chrome is yet another contender now that renders differently from both FireFox and IE.


Bottom line is the days of one tool for the job are over. Nowadays you need to have at least 2 or 3 of these browsers installed, just in case a site you really want to visit, does not support one or the other.

Far Cry 2 screams action (5/5)

Far cry 2 is a game worth picking up, I would give it a 5/5 rating.

The game runs on an engine called Dunia, meaning “world,earth,living” it was developed specifically for Far Cry 2. This engine has a real future, it performs great on modest hardware, and is really good for uses like mobile gaming, the graphics look great, and I believe the fire in Far Cry 2, was the most realistic fire ever seen in a computer game.

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This game is an action adventure, with some basic RPG elements to it (You have the ability to purchase weapons and upgrades). It is a bit like playing GTA in the jungle, but unlike GTA, you’ll find yourself playing mainly in 1st person view.

In the game you can get around on foot or by utilizing the vehicles you’ll find all over the place. There is a small selection of land vehicles, as you would expect being an African based adventure, you’ll be able to drive around Jeeps till your heart is content, there also seems to be a car that I would say closely resembles an old Datsun Pulser. Water based vehicles are a little less varied, and a bit more awkward to operate. There is also a hand glider, but I battled to locate any, and I think its more of a novelty item than a solid means of transport.

One thing I found interesting is that the “bad guys” speak Afrikaans, a language used in the Republic of South Africa. Whats also interesting is that in the game you get Black as well as White Enemies. But it seems that the accents don’t always match the color of enemy that you are shooting. You’ll get this black guy come up to you speaking Afrikaans like he was a white farmer. If you’re from South Africa this could be amusing for you.

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What I really admire about this game is its performance, even in high resolutions, and with effects turned on, this game performs great, when you compare it to the likes of Crysis. It seems like great care was taking during the modeling of  this game. The game seldom stutters, and the landscape looks amazing. The world does seem alive, not dead like in some games, for example Fallout 3, which I’ll compare because it came out around the same time as Far Cry 2.

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Now onto the things that are not so good about Far Cry 2

The check points guards always respawn
This means that traveling to and from a location means always having a fire fight in, and out of the destination. This gets really annoying, and possibly the reason why so many gamers just want to finish the game as quickly as possible, then uninstall it. Even a quick travel down the road, through a check point means every time you’ll need to open up a can of whip ass.

The weapons you can carry conflict
You can carry certain types of weapons, but weapons can only be carried in certain free slots. Primary and Secondary are the main slots for equipping weapons. This makes it impossible to equip a sniper rifle and an automatic machine gun. Instead you’re forced to equip a rather heavy weight Gatling, if you want to keep using that sniper rifle, this means the rocket launcher goes unused mostly. It would have been better if they had given you the choice of which weapons you would like to equip, I mean realistically speaking if you could carry 2 guns, surely the deciding factors should be size and weight, not class of weapon.

The malaria
Its really annoying, and just a generally bad idea, its also hard to predict exactly how long you can last without getting medication. So usually it means, as soon as that last pill runs out, stop what you’re doing and start the malaria pill quest.

Loads of repetition
You’ll end up fighting a lot of the same enemies. They’re not exactly easy either, and every encounter can be lethal, so you need your wits about you.

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Ratings

Graphics: 5/5 (Excellent)
Playability: 4/5 (Very Good)
Character Controls: 5/5 (Very Good)
Quests and Story line: 3/5 (Average)

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Fallout 3 (4/5)

Fallout 3 is a game of expectations, some people consider it exceptionally good, others see it as exceptionally bad.

I really did enjoy it, and it certainly is a memorable game. I think the game was rushed to market, and thats possibly why, the plot is not as polished as what it should be.

The Good things about Fallout 3

The Difficulty
Perhaps its just my playing style, but I really didn’t have a problem with the difficulty of the game. Enemies were not too easy, and its the type of game where you can lure enemies into traps easily.

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The playability
The game is fun to play, and its the type of game you can easily spend a few hours playing, but then want a rest from it, this is a good thing too, some games are so good they’ll keep you playing all day long.

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You don’t get stuck in the landscape
This might seem like a simple matter, but I’ve played some online games where you can get stuck in the landscape, and then need an administrator to get you out of there. I never once got stuck in the landscape, and it is a complex wasteland out there.

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Plenty of places to explore
The landscape was hand crafted, and this is possibly the reason for this games success, When you’re walking around, and you see something interesting in the distance, you genuinely want to go over there and explore it. Because there are so many side quests, the possibilities are good you’ll run into something interesting.

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You can save your game anywhere
You don’t need to walk back to save points, like in some single player games.

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The Quick travel system
Its great that you can quick travel from just anywhere, as long as you are outdoors. Games like MorrowWind also have quick travel systems, but not to every destination you visit, and you’re still required to walk to a quick travel station. In Fallout 3, all you need to do is hit tab, and select your destination on the map, this is possibly why the game takes quicker to finish than other RPGs out there, but its great someone came up with this great idea.

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The Bad things about Fallout 3

The Hacking and Lock Picking Routings
They’re way to tedious, and because each successful hack or pick gives you experience you’ll want to complete as many of these as possible, there are some tricks to know about hacking the terminals, but it can take a while to get used to it.

First Skill Allocations can be guesswork
The game starts off with you as a baby (yes I know this kind of sucks), you’ll be expected to crawl around the room and listen to a long boring dialogue with your father who calls you “Darling”.  This is the first time you’ll get asked to distribute character points. So you better know what the fuck each skill gets you from reading up about it on the Internet, because the baby book you’re given doesn’t explain jack shit.

Initial Skill Allocation

The psychology behind the G.O.A.T demonstrates lack of serious game planning.
The game clearly states that its not targeted at children or young teenagers. As an adult player the idea of taking this test called the G.O.A.T did not seem like a miserable prospect in the slightest, I wanted to get it over with to move onto the real tasks ahead, but I noticed the game forces you into choosing dialogs where your character tries to get out of taking the test. Actually you can’t even get to the test room, unless you try to fake sick. Your father asks you “So are you ready for the test”, and you answer – “Yes sure lets do this thing” – This is the wrong answer. The right answer to proceed is “No I am sick”.  I didn’t find this amusing, but then since the game is aimed at adults, the whole being a baby, then a teenager was a shit idea in the first place.

Landscape

Butch does not become an alter ego.
Butch terrorizes your girlfriend as a teenager, and beats you up on your 11th birthday, yet you never see him again once you leave the vault.

Dad

You never see your vault girlfriend again
She starts off being very important in the main story line, first as a kid, then as a teenager, but once you leave the vault, you never see her again.

DogMeat

Vault 101 never opens again
Vault 101 where you come from lets you out without any fuss, but you’ll never get back in there once you leave. Its just locked locked locked.

Action Shot

You would be fucking stupid to blow up Megaton
Its an option in the game, but you would really limit yourself if you blew up this town. You would not have access to your apartment and traders if you blew it up.

The Capital Wasteland

Max level is 20
The max level is 20, but then again by the time you reach level 20 , you should have completed most of the cool stuff in the game anyways, its not like a traditional open ended RPG, fallout 3 does end, and soon.

Dog meat is too precious to utilize
Dog meat is a friendly dog, you can get to join your party, he can search for ammo and food, but the way I see it, he is too valuable to loose, so I tended to leave him at vault 101 for better days, unfortunately the game was sadly over before I could find a use for Dog meat.

An Enclave Eye Bot

The game is over before you know it
You get better and better, getting your skills in order, and just as soon as you are “ready to fight” the game ends.

The game is so short, some perks are never realised
I choose the perk, that gives you a guardian angel during VATS, well he only appeared once before I finished the game.

The interface is really clumpsy
Nothing is categorised, and its very old school, you need to pay attention to the shit you pickup

On the main quest

You get schematics for certain weapons, but the custom weapons you can build are below average, and don’t stack up to the standard dropped weapons.
Its a pain in the ass searching the wastelands for components, some of which are rare, only to produce a weapon thats fragile, and doesn’t produce as much damage as shit you can find on the ground like a combat shotgun.

All the guns look old and 2nd hand
With the exception of the plasma rifle, all the rest of the guns (even the laser rifle) all look like they were crapped out of Wall-e’s ass.

PC version is full of crashes
Yup it crashes, a lot

Bad 3d rendering
I found it stuttered a lot and you can’t blame my hardware its capable of some other mean titles without skipping a beat.

Rivet city market unprovoked attacks!
Its amazing but sometimes you’ll get unprovoked attacks while shopping, this means you’ll need to load up a saved game to get rid of the agg.

The underground