The Civil War, Antietam, and an AR 55 assault rifle. One of these things does not belong with the others.

8monkeylabs and Phantom EFX have released a demo for Darkest of Days, a time traveling FPS which casts you as a survivor plucked from certain death in order to serve as an anonymous guardian of history thanks to advanced technology. Although history remembers you as a dead man making you prime material for recruitment, you’ll soon be on the front lines in defending the timestream from someone else’s idea of history.

The demo knows how to get things started with a bang and the engine wasn’t kidding about boasting about filling the screen with lots and lots of soldiers (i.e. targets) for you to fend off. It includes the intro battle in which you relive your final moments at Custer’s Last Stand, a training level, and a jump to the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War to save someone who shouldn’t be in the fight.

And because you’re working for a highly advanced group of time travelers, you might also have to take care of things the old fashioned way: with superior firepower…such as an assault rifle for breaking through Confederate lines…

Oh yes.

By the way, that circle thing that winds up around the reticle and the green block? That’s the game’s version of “active reload”. By hitting the reload button as the bar passes through the green area, you finish reloading your weapon much faster. It varies depending on what you have, but in the case of the Springfield rifle, it cut roughly 2/3s of the time needed to get it ready for another shot.

But along with that awesome moment, the demo also has a few iffy things…some of the voice acting is a little bland and there are some invisible walls that are a bit too obvious…but the overall atmosphere in staging a big battle piece if great stuff. That, and this is only a small piece of a game that will take you from Antietam to Pompeii to WW2. The game is due out for both the PC and the Xbox 360 in September.

Movie review: G.I. Joe – The Rise of Cobra

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Fans of the cartoon should park anything that they love about the series from the 80s, and basically everything that they know about the characters, at the door if they decide to see this movie. And fill up on lots and lots of popcorn. Some cheese nachos might not be a bad idea, either. For everyone in general, just park your brain at home because you won’t need it here.
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So I took a superhero test…

…and it turns out that I might have a future in rescuing kittens from trees because…

Noble and true, you are the hero other heroes aspire to be. You are a natural leader, selfless and kind, who will put the lives of others above your own, and are steadfast in your pursuit of justice.

As part of the promotion for Cryptic’s new MMO, the upcoming Champions Online, they’ve provided a clever quiz for you to take in order to see just what kind of hero or villain you might be. Unlike their previous work with City of Heroes/Villains, Champions Online is actually based on the long-running pen and paper system developed by Hero Games which is replete with its own pantheon of super-powered characters.

So why not take a break and take the quiz. Punching through it again, and being a little more creative with my answers, it also turns out that I might also have a future as a Bondsian megavillain with wicked powers, because…

You are pure evil, and hate personified. You don’t care anything about your fellow man, and are guided only by your desire to rule over your inferiors, i.e. everybody but you. ‘Mercy,’ you ask, prior to grinding an enemy beneath your mighty heel, ‘What is mercy?’

Achtung! Wolfenstein leaked! And the PC pre-order leaves nothing to be excited about.

On Wolfenstein’s official forums, id Community Manager, Pete Sokal, has posted up news that a build of the Multiplayer portion of the game has been leaked. From the announcement, he says:

It was brought to our attention on Friday, 7/31 that a build of the Wolfenstein Multiplayer was leaked and is now being distributed illegally through breach of NDA and mirrors posted on the internet. I must warn anyone involved that Activision’s legal department is taking this matter very seriously.

In short, if you see it out there, do your best to resist the temptation to grab it. On the other hand, it would be nice if PC players were given another, more legal, kind of handout in the form of a decent pre-order incentive, or even a Collector’s Edition.

PC gamers have apparently gotten a lot less love than their console peers when it comes to pre-orders. Console gamers can look forward to goodies such as early access to upgrades and two thousand pieces of gold with which to purchase others in multiplayer. PC players receive the obligatory Gamestop guarantee of getting the game by August 18th if they opt for overnight shipping…just like everyone else. I remember when the CE edition for RTCW came in a collector’s tin with a cool poster and a neat patch.

Come on. On Bioshock’s release, its CE came with a Big Daddy and a free replacement was quickly offered in case it was broken, not to mention the downloadable art and music that were made available to everyone. I’m not asking for a B.J. Blaskowicz action figure, but something other than the box and manual would be nice.

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Bioshock gets a Big Daddy statue, Modern Warfare 2 comes out with night vision goggles, and Wolfenstein comes with this cool action figure…not.

Robot tuna

This writer has to confess that he had pretty much no interest in ever seeing “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” until reading this review in Empire Online.

Read the whole thing if you want, but there was one line that piqued my interest:

“G.I. Joe has a robot tuna.”

There were no other details in the review about the tuna. Do the good guys employ the robot tuna, or does Cobra use military fish for evil?

Do weaponized tuna explode after being caught by tuna fisherman, disrupting the world’s fish supplies and forcing people to eat more red meat, gradually increasing the free world’s risk of heart attack and stroke until Cobra is ready to strike?

Ridiculous, right?

No.

Turns out a little research, AKA a Google search, turns up a 2008 article in Information Week about how the real U.S. Office of Naval Research awarded a grant to some Massachusetts researchers to develop an actual robotic tuna.

The device is intended to mimic the bluefin tuna’s anatomy and swimming prowess, and according to the article, could be used by the U.S. military for underwater surveillance missions.