Wednesday, November 30, 2016

MIDI Week Singles: "Jail of Jewel" - Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (DS)

"Jail of Jewels" from Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin on the Nintendo DS (2006)
Composer: Michiru Yamane
Label: Konami Digital Entertainment
Developer: Konami

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin was the game that came out in 2006 that convinced me to go out and buy a Nintendo DS.  The song "Jail of Jewel" is one of the first songs that I came across in that game that stood out to me on a couple of fronts.  First and foremost, I find the song to be inexplicably catchy.  The melody is one that I have never heard before yet it immediately stuck as one of my favorite songs in the game.  

Secondly it caught my attention because it did not seem to fit in overly well with the area (The Great Stairway) that the song was played.  When I hear this song, the first couple of seconds (0:00 ~ 0:12) do sound somewhat stairwell-esque, but then once the melody comes in, I feel like a haunted art gallery would have been more appropriate, and reminds me a bit of a song from Symphony of the Night that I cannot quite place at the moment. . .maybe "Dance of Gold" but with a drummer?  I may just have to investigate a bit more and report back in another MIDI Week Singles article.  

But really, if anyone in the entire world knows how to write Castlevania music, it is Michiru Yamane, who has been writing music to this series since the release of Akumajo: X (Rondo of Blood) back in 1993 and all the way through 2008 with her work on Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.

And your guess as to the meaning of the song title is probably better than mine, because I currently have none.  I do not recall a jail filled with jewels in the game, or it is more than likely a metaphor that not only went over my head, but is laughing at me all the while.  Stupid Medusa heads.

Anyway, the point is, is that this is one of my favorite tracks both in game in from the soundtrack, hence why we are sharing it with you today.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Game Review: Resident Evil: Revelations (3DS)

After 10 hours and 49 minutes (and three two restarts due to technical difficulties), I was able to complete the main campaign  mode in Resident Evil: Revelations on the 3DS last night (November 21, 2016).  When you break the game down, with the exception of the often sponginess of most if not all of the bosses, I really liked the game and the story it told.  I should also mention that I went into this game, not having played a Resident Evil game since I finished Resident Evil 4 way back in 2006, even though I know that Resident Evil 5 had come out two years prior to the release of RE:R, but I wanted to play the games in chronological order.  Just wanted to throw that out there that anything revealed in RE5 that may have been referenced to here, went completely over my head, but now, down to brass tacks time.

To note, I did not play RE:R with the Circle Pad Pro, which I had completely forgotten about until I went into the control settings and the game asked if I was playing with one.  I played with control setting B, which I found to be the most comfortable and because I liked being able to strafe which made taking corners more tactically aware (hypothetically anyway).  I also inverted the y-axis (no surprise there) and had aiming done in third person rather than first person, which seemed more natural and less jarring since the game is played all in third person.

Jill facing down one of the aptly named "Oozes."
The biggest thing that stuck out to me about Resident Evil: Revelations, was that the story was told from the perspective of multiple characters, with just about half being playable, and over the course of 2004 and 2005 (within the Resident Evil timeline).  The easiest way to describe Resident Evil: Revelations, and the way that it felt to me, was that it was very similar in feel to a Mission Impossible movie (specifically I and III) or series of episodes from ALIAS with a Resident Evil skin; yes, I am an avid fan of J.J. Abrams.  Even the story moves from the present day (present day being 2005 in the RE timeline) to a few weeks in the past, to a year in the past with control over a different character (Parker), as well as taking control over Chris Redfield while he investigates in northern Europe (presumably in Finland with a name like Valkoinen Mökki).  Eventually multiple storylines converge and is the case with most/all RE games, mutated shit hits the fan and spread everywhere.

Now while RE:R is classified as a survival horror, I would say that this only really applies to the first few stages of the game while Jill and Parker are exploring the massive ship, Queen Zenobia.  During these early stages, the player is still trying to figure out the sense of the game, how much ammunition is going to be found scattered throughout the ship (just ignore why there is so much scattered around though), as well as the always-great-to-see potted green herbs.  About a third of the way through the game, it takes a turn from survival horror and becomes firmly rooted in the action horror genre as more and more enemies burst out of the woodwork and bosses become massive sponges for bullets and grenades.

As is the case with many games, this unique boss became a semi-regular monster encountered many more times in the later game, because reasons.
I actually think that the boss battles were where I had the least amount of fun.  Granted the design of the bosses were often well done and even a couple had some interesting backstories that only added flavor to the world and were only found after the battle was over.  The rest of the battle design, felt like it was a straight up John Woo action movie, which would be great if I wanted to play an action game, but I wanted to play a Resident Evil game.

Okay, I will be honest.  I am still chasing that original Resident Evil high of being terrified about running out of bullets, and infrequent slow moving zombies.

The last two bosses in particular were difficult enough for me that I had to stop playing and went back the following day just because I was so annoyed with everything involved with losing a boss fight multiple times in-a-row.  I just felt that a fair amount of these bosses were designed to deplete Jill of what ammunition she had and what limited number of green herbs she was able to carry; each playable character could only carry a maximum of five herbs, but they did heal the health back up to 100%.  But, at the end of each boss battle, I had little ammunition left and more often than not, I was out of green herbs.  I did not feel that there was a lot of strategy involved, they were there for the game to be difficult and to drain character resources.

Screen taken not from the 3DS version as you can tell from the map in the corner.
One area that I felt that the game lacking was in the puzzle department.  There were a number of keys and a handful of connect-the-dot-type puzzles, but nothing that reminded me of the backtracking needed to complete some puzzles in the first two games in this series.  While I did appreciate the various locked doors with various emblems denoting that they could only be opened with a certain key, it almost felt like they were an after thought, but that could just be me kvetching for the sake of kvetching.  
All-in-all, I really enjoyed Resident Evil: Revelations, and while the 10 hours 49 minutes might have been on the short side for a main campaign, I am not sure how much more the 3DS cartridge would have been able to hold considering that the game came out four years ago and how good the graphics were.  AND the music too!  The quality of the music rather surprised me, in that it was much better than I come to expect not only from a Resident Evil game, but also from a 3DS game.  I may have to look into picking up the soundtrack in any form that I can find it in (which now may have to include a rip of the game's audio), but major kudos to Kota Suzuki, Ichiro Kohmoto, and Takeshi Miurta for composing music that was at times overly dramatic, but always great to have in the background for both relieving and building tension.

I should also mention that I did dabble a bit in the Raid Mode, which is basically the "Mercenaries" mode that was present in previous Resident Evil games.  Of what that I played in Raid Mode was probably because I wanted to game to continue on a bit, but then I decided to move on to another game, so I guess you could say that this mode in the game did not capture my attention as much as it might other people who want straight up action in the Resident Evil universe with no storyline.

I also wanted to mention that I am a bit saddened that Capcom decided not to release Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on the 3DS considering how well RE:R was received by most critics and gamers, but that will not stop me from playing the game on my computer sometime in the near future.  Kudos to Capcom for creating an action game with some survival horror elements firmly rooted in the Resident Evil universe.

Clawing At The Ceiling Of His Grave

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

MIDI Week Singles: "Game Over" - The World Ends With You (DS)

"Game Over" from The World Ends With You on the Nintendo DS (2007)
Vocals: Andy KINLAY

This last weekend while visiting friends, I had part of this song stuck in my head (specifically between 0:47 - 0:53 and again at 1:34 - 1:40) and while I knew that it was from The World Ends With You, I could not remember where in the game it occurred or specifically which song on the album that beat came from.  At the time, I could have sworn that it was played during one of the many times Neku and Shiki are running around Shibuya looking for new clothes to buy or pins/abilities to acquire.  Apparently, however, this is the game over music.

I have also taken the time to actually look over the lyrics for the song beyond the opening line of "Tell me who you are, and who you were/" so I will not (and cannot) comment about the overall meaning of the lyrics in relation to the game.  And while Takeharu Ishimoto is credited with writing the music for The World Ends With You, I was uanble to find out if he also wrote the lyrics to not only this song, but the rest of the songs in the game, or if Japanese singer Andy KINLAY wrote the lyrics, or was brought on board to sing.  Mainly, I just wanted to share this song because it was stuck in my head and it's best to share that kind of catchiness with all those willing to listen.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Pak Watch - Zombies and Ghosts

Despite the fact that I haven't really been playing video games since Magic took over my brain, I still take note of the interesting-looking games that I come across.  I've got a backlog of Pak Watch games that I've just been to lazy or distracted to post about.  Better late than never, I hope.

The Final Station
Do My Best games
This is a game where the action takes place on a train, traveling through a mid/post zombie apocalypse landscape.  The story is told indirectly, through the backgrounds you pass through and the stations you stop at.  I really like this story telling device, I think this game looks very interesting.

Ballistic Interactive
still six days left on the kickstarter for this game, and they could use some more money.  I like the aesthetic of this game.  3rd person, flashlight, grey, hunting for ghosts.  It's being billed as an RPG.  Hunt for ghosts in the dark, what's not to like?   

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

MIDI Week Singles: "Pueblucho" - Guacamelee! (PS3, PSV, PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Wii U, 360, XBOne)

"Pueblucho" from Guacamelee! on nearly every system between the 360 and Wii U, (but not the 3DS sadly enough) (2013).
Composer: Rom Di Prisco
Label: DrinkBox Studios
Developer: DrinkBox Studios

For whatever the reason being, I have been listening to the soundtrack from Guacamelee! for about three years now, but I had not played the game.  I mean, I love Metroidvania style games, and the art style here, but I guess I could just sum it up as not having gotten around to it amidst a queue of a few dozen uplayed games.  So yesterday, after finding out that a game on Steam would not play because it was so integrated into Games for Windows Live that it was unplayable, I thought I would start up Guacamelee!, and I am so very glad that I did.  Now I have context for all of this music from composers Rom Di Pisco and Peter Chapman that I have been hearing since 2013.

With "Pueblucho" (which I looked up because I do not speak Spanish, translates to "Poky Old Town"), I liked the song prior to playing the game, but after playing for a couple of hours, when I was able to return to Pueblucho after having been away for a while, I immediately thought, "yup, I'm back home now."  Similar to how the song "Beyond the Canyon" made me feel somewhat safe in Fallout 2, "Pueblucho" has that calming sensation.  To me, it is a simple song, but not simple in its construction or execution, but simple in that I am able to follow the song and can listen to each part individually or everything as a whole without losing any part of the song.  It is all there and I like it.

One other possible reason why I really like this song, is probably because being a trumpet player myself, I am pretty sure that I could cover the trumpet part as it does not play like it was written for Arturo Sandoval.


Monday, November 14, 2016

Star Wars Mos Eisley: Docking Bay 94 (PC)

I guess to say that this is a "Review" is a bit of a stretch, seeing as how what I experienced was simply a developer demo of the Unreal 4 Engine with a Star Wars skin.  I first heard about Star Wars Mos Eisley: Docking Bay 94 back in September from an article on PC Gamer and I loved the idea that Jason Lewis, a developers at Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas, Pillars of Eternity) headed a group of developers and created a walkabout of a portion of the Mos Eisley spaceport on Tatooine.

The first thing that surprised me, or perhaps it should not have considering how heavy Unreal 4 can be, was that this demo was a 6GB download.  The other thing that didn't surprise me, and as warned by the PC Gamer article, was that my system was barely able to handle this, even on the lowest settings, and there are a lot of graphical settings to choose from.  What I decided upon was a combination of medium and low settings as my computer ran at about the same frames per second regardless if I was playing on medium or low.  I did not even consider trying either high or epic settings as I did not really want to see my computer go up in a ball of blaster residue, plasma and bits of plastic.  Most Internet people will tell you though, that my computer should not even attempt SWME:DB94 as my fps was anywhere between 7.33 and 11.24.  I did reach 15 fps a few times, but that was only when I was looking up at the brilliant blue sky with minimal visuals on the building tops with the sounds of the spaceport as active as could be all around me.

As you can probably now tell, had SWME:DB94 been anything other than a walking simulator of sorts, I probably would have been unable to play anything more than the title screen.  Had there been anything else moving around in the walkable area besides R2D2 and maybe one other R-Series Astromech droid that I cannot specifically recall, then I am pretty sure my game or computer would have crashed from trying too hard.  The point is, for what SWME:DB94 was, I very much enjoyed where I was and what I saw.  And now I wanted to share with you all some of the gloriousness (new word) that I experienced.

I really wish that the sandcrawlers had been closer to at least be able to walk around the base, but it makes sense that the Jawas were probably not allowed to bring them within a certain distance of the space port.  But obviously, I tried to explore out as much as I could.

There are a good number of people so much more familiar with Mos Eisley and Star Wars in general who could tell you what structure that is towering above the space port.  I however cannot tell you, and looking at this picture, I actually just now realized that the twin suns are actually present, which was something that forgot to look up for as most of my gazing was done at ground level.

The most exciting part though, was being able to actually locate Docking Bay 94, since apparently Mos Eisley has yet to invest in either road or building signs.  Since I do not know the canon layout of Mos Eisley, I just kept wandering around until I found stairs leading down, then continued on as the decor became more technology influenced and full of red lights.

Here you can see that my computer was chugging along at blazingly fast 7.33 fps.  Honestly though, while the game definitely felt like it was lagging, the animations were still pretty smooth, although in some instances, it took a second or two for the textures to materialize, especially if there was some form of movement going on in my field of vision, such as R2D2 here repairing something that my uneducated mind would say has to do with a shield generator.  However, not seeing any elevators, I am not sure how R2 here made it safely down the flight of stairs I too traversed.  Maybe his hovering capabilities were still functioning at this un-dated period of time?

The last picture I wanted to share, is of the "goal," or at least what I took to be the goal of sorts, the Millennium Falcon.

Actually, my first time coming by here, the Millennium Falcon had not loaded, so I thought I was looking down on an empty docking bay.  I did find my way down to the Falcon itself and was able to explore inside, although the exlplorable area inside was very limited.  Then something happened while I was looking around the docking bay, and I fell through the floor and was surrounded by 8.64 fps of gradient brown.  That was the end of my last time traversing through the available areas of Mos Eisley Spaceport.

Considering that this developer's demo is free to download, I would highly recommend picking it up, as it is still currently available, something that kind of surprised me, knowing both Lucasfilm and Disney's penchant for cease-and-desisting anything perceived as an unauthorized use of their intellectual properties, no matter how innocent or benign.  I would assume that since it is still up, that someone at Obsidian Entertainment has received an official "okay" from someone at Lucasfilm and/or Disney to keep this publicly available.

Frightened of This Thing That I've Become

P.S. December 16th can't come fast enough so I can get my Star Wars fix.

P.P.S.  Because I know everyone is wanting to know, nothing happens if you shoot at R2D2.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Game Review: SOMA (PC)

After 14 hours, I finished the most recent game from Frictional Games.  SOMA was released last year in September and was their highest selling game after Amnesia: The Dark Descent.  I guess you could say that I'm a bit of a Frictional Games fanboy too as I have been excited about the two games they have released since I first played The Dark Descent, so you have been warned that for the most part, this is going to be a positive review.

I will start off on a bit of a frustrated note however.  What issues I did have with the game, were not too often, although they were quite frustrating.  In all, I believe the game crashed on me, at most, five times, which comes out to about once every three hours or so, which is kind of a lot, I will grant you that.  It only became frustrating when the game would crash before I had reached an autosave checkpoint (like when I first started playing and the game crashed about 20 minutes in).  Additionally, and probably because I was running the game off an external hard drive, every once in a while, maybe 15-20 minutes or so (more frequently at times that involved a lot of talking or transitions), the game would freeze for a couple of seconds.  This stutter of sorts would also happen before talk-heavy scenes with the voice repeating the first word a number of times before it picked back up to where it was supposed to be.  I never found that the game skipped dialogue in order to catch up with the events on screen though.  Lastly, before starting the game, I went into the graphical settings and capped the game at 30 fps knowing that my computer would not be able to handle anything higher.  Possibly as a result, my game frequently ran at 24 fps, although there were times when the game dropped down to 10 fps, and despite this drop, was still very playable and happened most frequently in the underwater stages, which only amplified the feeling of trying to move through water while completely submerged.

As for what I enjoyed/liked/loved about the game, I am going to be intentionally vague both with words and pictures.

Like their two previous games in the Amnesia series (The Dark Descent and A Machine for Pigs), SOMA is a first person exploration game focused on storytelling, with stealth elements where you have to escape a force that will kill you if you are found.  This occurs more frequently than I recall in A Machine for Pigs, and is about on par with The Dark Descent, although I found the act of dying less annoying than I did with The Dark Descent.  I did find myself though questioning why I was being attacked an killed by my pursuers here, but only in some instances whereas in other times in made sense story-wise.  I did find the act of dying to be a little immersion breaking, which will make more sense when you play, but I found the "YOU DIED. Press any button to try again..." text to be very old school, which might be what Frictional Games was going for, but I cannot say for sure.

One thing that took a little bit to get used to, but definitely helped to get into the mind set of the character, was the frequent use of low light areas.  Your character will come equipped with a flashlight, but anyone who has gone out in the forest at night with only a flashlight will tell you that the area illuminated by the flashlight is not very much compared to the everything else.

I never found this lack of sight to be an annoyance either.  If you have seen The Blair Witch Project, the use of low light in large open space environments created a great conflicting sense of isolation and claustrophobia all while being out in the open.  This aesthetic was carried through to the indoor environments as well, which only amplified the growing feeling of being alone.

Since I cannot show anything about the quality of the voice actors, I will say that the two primary voice actors, Nell Mooney and Jared Zeus did phenomenal work.  My only critique, was that there was at least one of the male voice actors who sounded a lot like Jared Zeus' Simon Jarret, which made me wonder if it was in fact a different actor, or if I was somehow hearing Simon Jarret; this was over found audio recordings.  But again, the voice acting was damn fine quality work from the two leads, especially in the last act.

Since we are talking about audio, Finnish composer Mikko Tarmia, who composed the music to The Dark Descent and the Penumbra series did a fantastic job with the score for SOMA.  Similar to The Dark Descent, most of the music here worked as background and atmospheric, although the soundtrack seems to contain a lot more melody than I remember being in the game, but that could just be due to how it was played in-game.  There were a couple of themes though, specifically "Catherine's Theme," "Going Down," and "ARK" that when played during their respective scenes forced me to clench my jaw and focus my tear ducts, willing them to not function.

Okay, now for some random bits that I quite liked.  First, when you load up your game, the loading screen is used to give you a very brief description about what you were doing when you last saved, such as, "Simon is looking for a shuttle station to Lambda, where Catherine said she would wait for him."  Nothing too obscure like "Simon is trying to escape" or too obvious "Simon is trying to locate a key card to open the door in the mess hall so he can acquire the note pad that contains the password to unlock the safety switch on the air lock leading to Lambda."  I greatly appreciated this brief reminder, rather than jumping right back into the world after not having played for a day or two.  Secondly, there was a fair amount of papers and pictures to pick up and look at, most of which did nothing.  You might find a picture of a waterfall or a wooded area and since you can turn the picture around, you might think that there is some special bit of information scrawled on the back, but no, there was nothing.  The same with notes, which usually provided background bits of information in order to make the world feel both lived in an real.  You could probably have gone through the entire game without having looked at a single picture, scrap of paper or document, but that would leave the world feeling hollow.

Lastly, like The Dark Descent and A Machine for Pigs, you are given very little information about your situation or and what the world around you is, but it is not a rehash of either of the two games, which is probably why this was not Amnesia: SOMA.  There is no amnesia affected character here (not really a spoiler), but knowing about the world and how the character relates within that world is similar.  There was something that I came across pretty early one that I was unsure of what it was or what it did, and my curiosity got the better of me and a story point was spoiled for me when I went snooping online.

I really want to say more about SOMA, but I know that that would only spoil it for those out there who have yet to play this game.  One final word of caution though: SOMA plays very closely to Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, both in gameplay and in story.  You do not have any weapons.  You can walk and sprint, crouch and jump.  Sure you can pick up fire extinguisher and throw it at the thing pursuing you, but the game is designed for that to not have any effect.  If you tried playing SOMA with speed running in mind, you are probably going to have a bad time as there are a number of sequences that "force" you to sit and listen to dialogue, one scene in particular that lasts upwards of five minutes.  This is a game about exploring not only the environment, but the very idea behind identity.  There are plenty of tense parts here too, and a number that had me saying "Oh, fuck!  Fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck!" as I tried running away from something that I only glimpsed in a flash of electrical discharge in an otherwise darkened portion of a partially lit hallway.  The game also led Conklederp and myself to a fair amount of philosophical discussion that, again, might lead to spoilers.

In the end, the 14 hours (probably less than that if you take the handful of crashes and reloads due to dying) I played SOMA was time well spent.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good game with a great story that makes you ask yourself (and anyone else watching/paying attention) questions that do not include "Who the hell is shooting at me!?" or "Where is that last piece of the crystal so I can 100% this stage!?"  SOMA is a great looking game (even on medium settings across the board), with a gripping story which does take some time to get used to, but that is what I love about the games from Frictional Games.


P.S.  I wanted to share a couple extra pictures I took which I could not work into the body of the article.

This was a keycard that had this amazing reflective back.  I must have stood there rotating the card for at least a minute.

This cargo transport reminded me so much of the Silt Striders in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and I would not be surprised at all if their design was based off those creatures.

I will not say what this is, but I just liked the picture, so here you go.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

MIDI Week Singles: "Fortitude" - BIT.TRIP RUNNER (Wii, PC, Mac, 3DS, Linux)

"Fortitude" from BIT.TRIP RUNNER on the Wii, PC, Mac, 3DS, & Linux (2010)
Composer: Gaijin Games / Petrified Productions / Matthew Harwood
Developer: Gaijin Games

First off, for the composer, Gaijin Games' bandcamp page lists the composer as "Gaijin Games" while the page at Video Game Music Database lists Petrified Productions, who is one Matthew Harwood as the composer.

So I landed on the track "Fortitude," and you can read into that however you want.  I needed to listen to something more upbeat after coming up with the next Game Scores article (in a week or two) and this track got to me emotionally at 2:24.  When that familiar melody that crops up around the first (MEGA!) or second (SUPER!) power up, and I looked at the title of the song, I was filled up with feelings.

This song goes the way of a number of the songs on the BIT.TRIP RUNNER soundtrack, in that they start off with a beat, move into groovey territory followed by the main theme and ending with a light, almost airiness to them that contains very little of the melody or the previous sections of the song.  While a somewhat non-standard musical choice, it does mirror pretty well the music in-game and how the music progresses, or doesn't depending on how you yourself play the game.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Bugging Out With Resident Evil: Revelations (3DS)

Through an odd any pretty annoying turn of events completely out of my own control, I have just recently started my third game on the 2012 3DS game, Resident Evil: Revelations.  Mind you, this has been through no fault of my own in regards to playing ability, but apparently a bug that I have encountered twice on two separate files.

So the bug, because that is the only thing that I can think to call the occurrence causes the playable character Jill Valentine's handgun to inexplicably go missing.  As in one second the gun is there, the next, the gun is gone.  No explanation as to where the gun went or just the fact that it is gone.  Even the character animation returns to model of not having a gun.  It is not as if she is aiming with open palms.  Simply the game does not recognize that the gun is there.

At first I thought that this was a simple glitch, that the game I was playing wigged out for a brief second and for whatever reason did not seem to recognize that the gun was supposed to be in my inventory.  So I exited out of the file, back to the main menu and restarted from my last save, which was at the beginning of the chapter.  Surprisingly, or perhaps not, the handgun was still missing when I returned.  I then decided upon Roy's calculated response and powered down my 3DS completely, then restarted the game.  Same thing.  Aside from the two grenades and combat knife, Jill was unarmed, gun-wise.  By this point I was pretty irritated, having gone three hours into the game and figuring that the only way out was to restart from the beginning on a new file, which is what I did.  Having already gone through this portion of the game, I was able to cut my time in half and reached the second half of the second chapter of the game in just over an hour-and-a-half, where story-wise you actually do have all your gear taken away, but then shortly after getting my gun back, it went missing all over again.  This time, I did notice that the gun went missing either shortly after or right after I tried picking up some ammunition while my handgun ammunition inventory was full.  In my defense, it was a previously un-hidden item and I could not tell what the item was until after I tried picking it up; for all I knew it could have been a green herb.  

Another thought briefly occurred to me, which was this affect of the gun going missing during the same part in the game sounded a lot like an intentional glitch put in by the developers to happen to a game that was pirated.  Over the last year, I have read a number of articles where developers have inserted near-game breaking effects to occur when people pirate their games.  What felt wrong about this hypothesis was that I purchased my copy from Amazon (as in shipped by Amazon through Amazon and not an independent seller shipping through Amazon) back in 2013, so I know for a 99.47% fact that my game is a legitimate copy.

The last thing I tried was to delete my first game file (since the game only allows two files), copied the second attempt (which still had the gun missing), and opened that game to see if maybe the copying process would kick-start the game to realize that something that should not have happen happened, but no, Jill was still missing her sidearm.  The other annoying aspect of this bug, is that when you go to the item box, which from what I can tell functions similar to the item boxes in the rest of the series, the handgun is there and open to in-game modding, but upon exiting, the gun goes back to no longer being in Jill's inventory.  (To note, this modding screen for the gun, can remove the gun from your inventory, but also simply allows you to add modifications to the gun.  Just in case any of you readers thought I might have placed the gun in the item box and forgotten to put it back).

As is the case with any glitch/bug, my pondering took me to the vast resource of the Intertubes, which surprisingly turned up nothing.  Apparently Resident Evil: Revelations on the Nintendo 3DS has either never glitched out on anyone ever, or Jill's handgun has never gone inexplicably missing.  One of the issues with looking up this particular bug could be related to the fact that Jill (and Parker) actually start off the stage without any of their equipment, so it is normal to play the first portion of the stage without a gun, forcing Jill to have to dodge out of the way of each of the Oozes that lunge at and try so suck on Jill's apparently very inviting neck region.  Plus there is the aptly titled Resident Evil: Revelations 2, but even with the "3DS" stuck in there, results for this second game will come filtering back.  The only thing that I was able to unofficially conclude was that there is a specific issue with my specific game cartridge.  

At the end of my rope, I decided that I would hope against hope and contact Capcom with particular issue.  At best, they would replace my physical copy or offer a download code for one from the eShop.  At worst, they would tell me the gun is supposed to be missing at the beginning of that stage and not fully understand what it was that I was trying to tell them.  And now for your consideration, I present to you my communication with a representative of Capcom:

I believe that I have encountered a bug in my copy of "Resident Evil: Revelations" on the 3DS.  To note, I purchased my copy directly from Amazon on May 16th, 2013.

In two separate attempts at playing, both times the bug occurred in Episode 2, Scenario 2.  After Jill meets up with Parker and they acquire their weapons, I have found that the gun disappears from Jill's inventory and is no longer accessible. When I go back to the item box (where you can mod weapons), the weapon is visible and I can remove the one mod that you have at that point, but upon leaving the item box screen, the gun is still not in her inventory.  This has now happened on two separate files (and at two different times; the first was right before entering the bridge and the second was after leaving the room where Jill and Parker get their weapons back) and since the game auto saves, I am unable to restart from a previous save where the gun is in Jill's inventory and is accessible.  The scanner however still comes up, but when I try to switch back to the handgun, the animation and character model act as if she is unarmed.

I have tried looking up this particular issue on other online resources but I am unable to find anything about Jill's gun disappearing from her inventory from the 3DS version of the game.

I am personally at a loss as to what to do, both in the game and with my copy of the game that appears to have a bug of sorts.  I presume that I could just dodge all the enemies until I come across another weapon, but since it seems that this is not supposed to happen, I feel that I am at a frustrating disadvantage.

Surprisingly and to Capcom's credit, I received an actual reply by a real life person less than 24 hours after sending in my complaint/comment/feedback.

Thanks for contacting Capcom Customer Support. We're sorry to hear about your issue with Resident Evil Revelations for Nintendo 3DS. Are you able to progress without Jill's gun? There is a chance that continuing on may allow the gun to reappear. If you are unable to progress further, your best bet would be to restart your progress in the game. We recognize that this isn't the most ideal solution, but as an added precaution you can disable auto-saving in the game by via the options menu. That way, you can save at the end of every chapter in case you encounter the issue again in Episode 2, Scenario 2. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Best Regards,

CAPCOM Customer Support

So kudos to Capcom for the quick response, but kudos taken back for their solution basically being, "Sorry the game broke on ya.  Try not auto-saving and see where that gets you.  Sorry."  And that is where I am right now.  I just restarted, for the second time, on my third attempt.  I have turned off the auto save feature and per Capcom Customer Service Support's suggestion, I will restart from the beginning of the chapter if Jill's gun happens to go missing.  I will also be making a conscious effort to not pick up (or check apparently?) items if my handgun inventory is already full.  And since I have been unable to make it past Scenario 2, Episode 2, I do not know if the missing handgun bug extends to the rest of the game, or is simply a bug that only happens during this one part in the game.  

I will keep you all updated.


P.S.  If it already is not obvious, aside from some of the dialogue (both spoken and written) in the game being somewhat corny and/or badly delivered, which is something that I almost come to expect from a Resident Evil game, I am enjoying the game.  I like the multiple perspectives present in the game.  It makes the story being told a lot bigger than a single character in one location.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Monthly Update: November 2016

Well October 2016 was quite a month and what a month it was.  Actually, maybe it wasn't but that was the first thing that popped into my head when I sat down to type out inner connecting words this morning.

Before I get into anything else, I wanted to mention that we here at Stage Select Start have entered the world of Instagram with out own aptly named Instagram account.  A portion of what we will be posting there will be information about just posted articles, upcoming articles, games that we happen to find ourselves playing, or anything else that we deem worthy to stick up on the mobile Internet.  So head on over to or just search for "Stage Select Start" on your mobile device of choice, subscribe, comment, and the like (eh!?).

I spent a good portion of October playing SOMA, and by a good portion, I mean I only had played 12 hours.  I have also put a total of 5 hours into Resident Evil: Revelations on two separate game files (soon to be a third file now) on the 3DS after encountering a possible game breaking/annoying bug; this will garner its own article next week.  I also have been playing a bit of Spooky's Jump Scare Mansion, which is a free game over on Steam that reminds me a bit of the Windows Maze screensaver of old, but flashier, more doors, and actually fun to play.  The last few weeks of October, Conklederp and I also played a lot of ESO due to The Witches Festival going on until November 8th (bonus XP, and new crafting motifs).  Continuing with the Elder Scrolls, The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim Special Edition came out too and I've been revisiting that land a bit more, finally settling on a female Dunmer for the main purpose of exploring the Dark Brotherhood and Mages Guild quests as I never did those much during any of my previous playthroughs.  Lastly in the video gaming front, after listening to a story on NPR about chessmasters refusing to play against computer opponents, I decided that I should get back into playing chess on a more regular basis so I booted up Chessmaster: The Art of Learning (a DS game) and after losing horribly to the lowest ranking and easiest player, I now recall why I hadn't played in a long time.  I guess that means I just need to play more often then.

On the physical gaming front, our group was sadly unable to make our monthly meet up so Himo and Folly joined Conklederp (Dagnar) and myself for a four hour round of Mansions of Madness.  What I find interesting (and somewhat infuriating on my part) is that I still feel that I am not as confident as the Keeper (like the Dungeon Master) as I would like to be and frequently finding myself looking to the rule book for clarification on rules (Does solving a puzzle count as an action?  What exactly does 'stun' do?  What actions can an Investigator perform in a room with a Monster?).  Everyone had a fun time (even though they all ended up dead in the end by way of their time running out) in the end, which is really all that matters, but I would like my Keeper skills to be better while not frequently second guessing myself about card placement.

On the TV side of things, Conklederp and I are actively watching American Horror Story: Roanoke and just finished season three of Black Mirror.  If you have only watched the previous season of ASH: Hotel, I would say that you should definitely watch the current season as the story is a lot more focused and is currently ranking as in my top three seasons of the show (after season two Asylum, and four Freak Show).  And for Black Mirror, if you haven't watch it, is like a modern Twilight Zone but with a heavy focus on the impact of some technological aspect and its effects on our society. There are only six episodes for Black Mirror, but it's twice as long as previous seasons before Netflix picked it up from the BBC, and each episode is amazing.  Conklederp and I had to force ourselves to only watch one episode a night, but then that allowed us to process each episode and talk about the message and just our personal thoughts.

I cannot finish out a Monthly Update post without talking (briefly) about Nintendo's announcement for their next handheld/console hybrid, the Switch.  But I already spent an entire article talking about it, and the only updates are that Nintendo will hold a press conference on January 21st, 2017 where they will presumably release additional details and a list of launch titles.  To note, I am still very much excited about that system coming out.  And speaking of Nintendo's systems, the Classic Mini is supposed to be released in a week, although the lack of legit pre-order sites is a little disconcerting.

Looking ahead to November, I will be delving more into Resident Evil, possibly moving onto Kholat after finishing up SOMA.  I had also thought about doing a modified NaNoWriMo, but instead of a novel, I would be writing a D&D quest, which is much more up my alley than writing a convincing collection of words on a digital page.  That idea may still pan out, but since I didn't start on Day 1, that ship may have sailed off with a hull full of booty and rum.

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