Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia Tips and Tricks One

It’s been a while since I reviewed a Castlevania game. That’s kind of a shame, too. Castlevania’s got some damned fun games in its repertoire, and I’m happy to have played them. I’m very happy to have played Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. So much so, in fact, that I’ve prepared a pair of tips and tricks articles for your benefit! I’m covering attribute training and several of the more obnoxious bosses in the first one, then more bosses in the second.

First of all, the most efficient way to raise your attributes is to head to the Skeleton Frisky room in the Skeleton Cave. I highly recommend having two Mastery Rings acquired by finishing all villager quests, so it’s best to do this one or several New Game pluses in. If you don’t have any, then a Hierophant ring should make it worth your while with bonus XP. There’s no fast way to grind, so if you’re not a completionist like me, you may as well skip this entire aspect of the game.

Rapidus Fio is an essential Glyph, acquired from the backdoor of Dracula’s Castle. It makes everything go faster. Acerbatus (shock/dark) and Nitesco (fire/light) will each level two attributes at once, and Globos will take care of the bonk. There’s no easy way to grind the slash attribute, sadly, so Melio Hasta will have to do. I’ve heard say that the double devil room in the Dust to Dust area is a good spot, and it just may be. Two Mastery Rings results in the Skeleton Frisky room granting 76 to an attribute when cleared. The devils give maybe 20 apiece, totaling 160 with the two rings.

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia

Just so you know where to find all the Glyphs: Acerbatus is the Glyph Albus uses when you fight him, and Globos is acquired from Barlowe or one of the demons in the Large Cave. Nitesco is frequently used by the green skeletons in Dracula’s Castle. If you’ve gone out the back way, you’ve seen them, same with Rapidus Fio. Melio Hasta is found in a Glyph statue in the castle’s Armory area. The Hierophant ring is located in the pass-through wall in the Misty Forest Road area, behind several Lizardmen.

Boss fight time! Wear a Death ring or two, yeah? Just to make sure you get the no-damage medal. Blackmore’s first, because I HATE him.

Blackmore’s obnoxious because you fight him in a confined space, and any attempt to get behind him results in a high-knockback punch to the face. In case you’re wondering who Blackmore is, he’s the faaabulous shadow-manipulator. Melio Falcis/Hasta and Vol Illuminatio are recommended for the fight, primarily for the Glyph Union’s nuke damage. Spam that as much as possible. You shouldn’t have to worry about his first phase attacks, considering they’re rather easy to read and can all be dodged with jumps. When he rears up and fires orbs, stand near him. There’s a select spot where they never fall. Shift between that area and the far left. Once his arse is beaten half to death, his shadow will start pulsating.

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia

Phase two is tough. You’ll likely have to focus more on dodging than attacking. When he readies his claw swipe, get in the left corner. Jump the first, duck the second, and jump the third. In hard mode, he’ll do two more. The full sequence for that would be jump, duck, jump, duck, jump. It’s easy to get flustered by this flamboyant bastard, so keep on your toes.

Your R Glyph doesn’t matter too much in this fight, but I like to use Arma Polkir to zap him while I’m busy dodging. Defensive Glyphs don’t mean much if you don’t want to get hit at all, and transforming isn’t ever really a valid option. Ever. I made the mistake of using Rapidus Fio, and all that helped me to do was run headlong into Blackmore, proc my Death Rings, and subsequently murder myself horribly.

And that covers every single major difficulty I encountered in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. Blackmore and grinding. The frustrating parts, I should say. In the next tips and tricks I do, you’ll be learning all about the proper ways to earn those no-damage medals from the harder bosses: Goliath, Albus, Barlowe, Eligor, and Dracula himself. Also, I’ll tell you how to beat down the Jiang Shi in the Large Cave. Ciao!

Scott Pilgrim vs The World – More Wimp than Jerk

I’ve got nothing against Michael Cera. He’s a cool guy, great in all his soft-spoken roles. I’ve got nothing against the Scott Pilgrim franchise. On the contrary, I’ve read the books and played the game. But even though I saw the movie first, I don’t think Scott Pilgrim vs the World is a good movie. The only reason I think this is because Michael Cera doesn’t properly portray the wannabe lady-killer jock jerky-jerk that Scott Pilgrim is. Instead, he makes Scott look like an awkward wimp that has his badass moments. It makes his relationship with Ramona look forced and stupid. Oh! Synopsis, right.

Scott Pilgrim dates a high schooler. 17 years old and Chinese, Knives Chau is adorable and impressionable. She loves Scott’s band, Sex Bob-omb, and thinks he’s a total stud. His life is great! And then he has a dream about Ramona Flowers and meets her at a party. What else can he do but obsess? Why, he can cheat on Knives, of course. After an awkward seduction, he convinces Ramona to give him a chance. Of course, he waits a bit before breaking up with poor Knives. In fact, his cool gay roommate Wallace Wells has to offer him an ultimatum in order to get him to break up with her. Anyway.
Scott Pilgrim vs The WorldDuring one of their band’s gigs, Scotty boy is attacked by Matthew Patel, the first of Ramona’s Seven Evil Exes. From that point on, our protagonist’s life descends into a real shit-storm of drama. Knives is stalking him, his traumatizing ex, Envy Adams is in town, and she’s brought an evil ex with her. Lucas Lee the pro-skateboarder turned film star came first, though. It seems like everyone wants to kill Scott now that he’s dating Ramona. Worst of all, Ramona’s got some lingering issues with one of her exes from New York. Gideon Gordon Graves, the big bad final boss.

I’m not gonna write out the whole movie for you, because it doesn’t exactly have a complex plot. The movie doesn’t, I mean. It obviously had to omit some of the finer details and backstory in order to shave off enough time to avoid making a modern day video-game oriented Godfather or Titanic. Unfortunately, this also drastically dunks the quality of the movie for those who have read the graphic novels. To be expected, but obnoxious nonetheless.

The entire theme of the books, movie, and game is one collective goofy tribute to retro-gaming. The graphic novels stray from the video-game genre the most, however. In all six books, the plot plays out more like an action hero teen drama more than a level-by level hallway of challenges. The only spectacularly linear aspect to it is the one-at-a-time battles with the evil exes.

Scott Pilgrim vs The WorldSo what can I say? Rent the movie first to test the waters. If you like the theme, the gist of all the characters, and the cheesy humor, then it’d probably be a good idea to get the books. They’re no longer at the peak of their popularity, so you can probably get them for a much more reasonable price. Think of them as a much more aesthetic and detailed take on what the movie presents. If you like those, then by all means, go get the game. You can get it on the Playstation Network or the Xbox Live Arcade bauble for maybe five or ten bucks. It is the full tribute to retrogaming, complete with music by the fantastic soundchip band Anamanaguchi.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about that. Good franchise, good stuff. The movie’s icky because of Michael Cera. That is NOT what I envisioned Scott’s hair to look like in real life. Geeze Louise. Done.

 

Aaron Weiss of CinemaFunk hasn’t read the books, but certainly has the right idea about the movie; nostalgia. It makes you think about back-in-the-day scenarios about comics and 8-bit vids that progressed level by level. I don’t think the movie was too long, though. But then again, it’s kind of predictable/pretentious to expect the movie to be a carbon copy of the books, so maybe reading this review would be better for you than mine: http://www.cinemafunk.com/movie-reviews/scott-pilgrim-vs-the-world.html

Mugen Souls is Overwhelming in Perhaps Too Many Ways

It probably seems out of character to review a cliche-riddled JRPG, but with all the negative reviews I’ve been grinding out, it’s a breath of fresh air. It’s cute, it’s perverted, it’s overwhelmingly obnoxious in all the right ways; Mugen Souls! I’m sure that we in the Americas haven’t heard squat about it, considering it’s so stylistically Japanese. I’m not saying Americans don’t like anime, obviously, but I am saying that non-Final Fantasy JRPGs are hard-pressed to sell. All this hype about Assassin’s Creed 3, Borderlands 2, Dishonored… forget about it.

Mugen Souls is simple and slow. You play Chou-Chou Infinite, the self-proclaimed Undisputed God of the Universe. Discovered floating out in the middle of space by a demon gone angel called Altis, Chou-Chou wants to turn the Seven Worlds into her peons. As it is revealed, she really has no idea how to go about doing this, but she certainly has the willpower to force them into her dominion regardless. From what I’ve seen, gameplay is fairly straight down the line. Enter world, encounter Demon Lord/Hero, subjugate the pair, and move on.

The RPG elements are standard, with several gimmicks thrown in to increase the end-of-battle prizes. Combat is turn-based to a fault; characters and enemies appear on either side of a micro-field, their movement capacity conveyed through glowing blue circles on the ground. You can attack your enemy, use an offensive, buff, or healing skill, defend, or run like hell. Characters can perform link attacks with allies that will take their turn next, providing some bonus damage.

Mugen Souls

Chou-Chou is empowered with a special ability called the Moe Kill. She appeals to her enemies’ fetishes by using one of her seven forms to seduce them, turning them into peons, items, or just royally pissing them off. Frenzied enemies full heal and gain double stats, so watch the hell out. It’s also possible to Moe Kill the field crystal, broadcasting the effect to every creature present, although frenzy makes that quite a risk to take. The formula for doing a proper Moe Kill is incredibly complex for some reason, so I recommend downloading a chart from an FAQ site or something. Between appealing to moods and figuring out which Moes result in items or a frenzy… yeah. Tough stuff.

The character creation feature doesn’t play an important role until you’ve beaten most of the game and acquired the resources/levels to properly train up your custom peons. It’s more of a fun gimmick for those who want to see their own pretty faces flying around and kicking ass. I reiterate: it is not a primary aspect of gameplay, so prepare accordingly.

Mugen Souls

There are also two major problems I’d like to mention, just so you don’t stumble across them and get pissed off. First, some dialogue is unvoiced. It’s not unfinished; some less important bits of chatter are just silent. There’s a lot of talking in JRPGs, after all. Speaking of talking, the English voices for the custom peons don’t exist. Yes, I know. Total bummer that you have to have silent custom characters if you’d rather not turn the voice setting to Japanese. It will turn some of you away, but I don’t want to mislead you, so there you go.

There’s a lot more detail to cover regarding Mugen Souls, so I’m probably going to have to split this into two reviews. I have yet to cover Blast Off Attacks, Fever Mode, field crystal effects, Mugen Field, G-Castle battles, and the Peon Ball. A lot more detail.

 

Hey, check it out! A Mugen Souls review by Kimberly Wallace of GameInformer! Yeah, so, she was overwhelmed by the obscene number of inconsequential gimmicks stuffed into the game, and by the difficulty of using the Moe system. The gimmicks I can’t argue against, as they are many, but Moe Charm levels up as you do, making minion farming easier as time goes on. This IS a grind-fest, so prepare for some carpal tunnel. Here’s the review link: http://www.gameinformer.com/games/mugen_souls/b/ps3/archive/2012/10/18/mugen-souls-review-.aspx

F1 Race Stars Demo Announced, And It’s Available To Download Today! Plus New Gameplay Trailer!

Codemaster’s have today announced that a demo for their upcoming kart game based on their Formula 1 license can be downloaded today on Xbox 360 in Europe and North America! F1 Race Stars features all your favorite drivers in disturbing caricature form and a grand total of eleven tracks to race on, each of which [...]

Sinister and Mister Boogie

Sinister is a once-off horror movie. That’s kind of the issue with jump-startle heavy movies. You enjoy the ride the first time around, but after that, you know what to expect and when to expect it. It’s a damn shame, too. Sinister had a lot going for it. It had an overall eerie tone that built up the jump scares, the visuals were simple but effective, and the acting was pretty darn good. Had some good characters in there.

Ellison Oswalt is a writer of true-crime books, and for his most recent project, he has moved his family into a home close to a crime scene. Rather, four murders and a kidnapping took place in the backyard. He makes a point to avoid telling his wife and two children this, however, as he thought it would disturb them. It does more than that, to say the least.

Ellison discovers a box in his attic containing a projector and several super 8 film reels. These morbid home movies contain footage of families being executed in terrible ways, from being hung from a tree to being tied to a lawn chair and drowned. According to the dates on the reels, these murders all happened in a sequence of what appears to be related murders. In all cases, a single child was found to be missing.

SinisterAfter converting the films to digital files, he begins to notice a strange, recurring symbol, and finds a strange-looking person in the water of the murder pool. He prints several pictures, which leads the audience to discover that creepy-face is going to be the antagonist.

The startle-fest begins before that, though. Their son, Trevor, has night terrors, so he’ll get you first. After Ellison chats with the occult criminologist about Bughuul, it all goes downhill from there. Startle-wise, I mean. The projector starts turning on in the middle of the night, and Elly-baby starts seeing some freaky shit. Eventually, things get so bad that he decides to drop his new project entirely. He burns the reels and projector, then moves his family back to their old home.






Bughuul follows and provides their attic with extended cuts from the morbid morbid movies. The criminologist guy mentioned that Bugpool liked to possess children and lure them into his dimension through captured images. Ellison asked him if getting rid of the images would stop Boggle from coming, and received no legitimate answer. As it turns out, the answer was no. That basically spoils the ending, but you’re in it for the startles, not the plot.

SinisterAnd that’s about all there is to say about Sinister. A 110 minute jump-fest with some snazzy special effects and far too many late-night exploration gimmicks. I have two issues with Sinister, however. The first is that the use of musical cues makes the scares too obvious. It sets them up well, to say the least, but it also gives them away. This leads into my second issue, which is the use of noise to amplify the startles. When a jump-scare happens, the music will get ten times as loud.

I almost feel inclined to provide you with a jump timeline. I’m not gonna do that, though. As I mentioned, Sinister is only good for one watch. Once you know when the scares are going to pop up and the music is going to go DUNNN, then you have nothing to fear from this flick. It’s a great movie, don’t get me wrong, but now it’s out of theatres. If anything, rent it or check it out on Netflix.

John Campea of TheMovieBlog thinks Sinister ruined itself by showing one of the tension builders in the trailer, and I’m partially inclined to agree. I only say partially because Sinister is creepy from the get-go. They start off by showing the hanging of a family, and the creepy projector comes soon after. Regardless of what the trailer shows, a shocking spree it be. If you sit down and watch, you won’t care about the ending. You’ll be more concerned about the musical score’s elevated tempo. In fact, by the end, you won’t even want to watch it again. Probably. Here’s the review link: http://themovieblog.com/2012/review-sinister/


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Dragonborn Add-On Officially Announced With Trailer

The existence of another DLC pack for Bethesda’s sprawling fantasy game hasn’t exactly been kept a secret. Thanks to nosey gamers rooting through the files in Bethesda’s previous update for Skyrim we already had suspicions of what the DLC would be called and what it may contained. For example evidence suggested it would be called Dragonborn and [...]

Body Found in Trash Can in Pleasanton Identified

Ana Flores-Pineda

Ana Flores-Pineda

The May 24th trash container homicide in Pleasanton has finally seen some closure after the victim’s alleged killer, Javier Pablo Sandoval was arrested early Wednesday.

The initial description of the woman found is as follows: “The coroner’s office determined the woman was probably Asian or Latino with dark hair and was about 5-foot-6 and weighed about 130 pounds. She was found wearing an Old Navy shirt and pajama bottoms. She was also wearing blue fingernail polish, red toenail polish and had three ear piercings in each ear with distinctive earrings. She had no tattoos or other markings.”

The body found within the trash can has been identified as 25-year-old Ana Flores-Pineda of Stockton, who was originally located by Stockton police following a missing persons report.
According to investigators, the body had been in the trash can for “a few weeks,” and as such was in a state of heavy decomposition.

Ana Flores-Pineda

Pleasanton police played a major part in ascertaining the identity of the body, working alongside Stockton detectives. They forwarded Flores-Pineda’s DNA to a national database and searched dental records, also releasing a forensic anthropologist’s sketch and several photographs of the victim’s earrings.

A sculptor was due to create a bust of the victim before Javier Pablo Sandoval was linked to the homicide by DNA evidence and arrested.

Javier Prado Sandoval

Javier Prado Sandoval

Stockton police’s public information officer stated that the motive of the murder was linked to domestic violence, and that Sandoval and Flores-Pineda were in what was referred to as “some type of relationship.” It is unknown if the two were dating at the time of Flores-Pineda’s death.

Further details have yet to be released, as the investigation is ongoing. Sandoval has been incarcerated in the San Joaquin County Jail for the time being, pending his trial.

This marks Stockton’s 61st homicide of the year, surpassing last year’s record high, standing at 58.

(Source: Pleasanton Weekly, News 10, Contra Costa Times)

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Veteran’s Day Comes a Week Early To Pleasanton

Nov ’12
4
1:00 pm

Veteran's Day Parade

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6298 and American Legion Post 237 will host the 2012 Tri-Valley Veterans Day Parade on Sunday, November 4, a week prior to Veteran’s Day. The parade will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Main Street in Pleasanton from Old Bernal Road to St. Mary’s Street.

The event will feature military and veteran color guards, marching bands, horses, jeeps, Humvees and other military vehicles, and many other patriotic units. The parade review stand is in front of the Museum on Main at 603 Main Street.

This year’s parade will feature flyovers by a Vietnam era Huey helicopter and a Coast Guard helicopter. The theme of this year’s parade is “Purple Hearts, Honoring Those Wounded in the Service of Our Country” and the parade Grand Marshall is Retired Sergeant Victor Thibeault who served in Afghanistan, was awarded both a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. Thibeault and is a member of the US Army Wounded Warrior program.

Immediately following the parade will be a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Building with a guest speaker and the Pleasanton Community Band. The Veterans Memorial Building is located at 301 Main Street.

U.S. Marines and members of the P-Town Pushrods car club will collect Toys for Tots before, during, and after the parade, along the parade route, at the review stand and at the Veterans Memorial Building. Please bring new, boxed toys for donations.

Phone for more info: (925) 580-6661.

Dishonored… Ah, Rats

Not another over-hyped first person game published by Bethesda…

Do any of you ever feel like you have to watch out for some game companies? Do you ever see certain logos smeared across the front of video game cases and say to yourself, “Ah, crap. Not these guys,” and subsequently avoid said games like the plague? Only two groups do that for me, the worst of the pair being Electronic Arts. They’re not the focus this time around, however. This time I’m talking about Bethesda. Bethesda’s games are buggy, and that’s not subjective. Anyone who’s played one of their games has encountered a glitch, freeze, or crash to desktop issue. And when they don’t make buggy games, they make generic games.

Dishonored. It’s the new first person assassin thriller of the year, right? Shame the only original aspect is its theme and setting, and even that appears to be a cry for help. Set in a plague rat-infested quasi-supernatural steampunk/clockwork Victorian era, Dishonored is here to make an anti-hero out of you. Or is it? No, that’s a joke. You will wind up killing everybody. When the game says, “Be stealthy and have a low body count or slaughter your way through the enemy forces,” what they really mean is “try to be stealthy for a few missions, then realize that having to reload every time you’re accidentally seen is a pain in the ass.”

So that’s one issue. The plot is a cliche all on its own. You’re Corvo Attano, the Empress’s good friend and bodyguard. Suddenly, the old and bald villain stereotype has the Empress assassinated, kidnaps your inheritor-to-the-throne love child, and frames you for the entire thing. Hence the title of the game. Your mission in life from that moment on is to clear your name and rescue the cute little girl that wanted to play hide and seek with you in the intro.

Dishonored

Oh, and by the way, a mysterious and magical preacher called the Outsider wants to give you magical powers. He teleports you to his crazy little realm and talks about how cool he is for a little bit while making repetitive gestures and facial expressions, then kicks you back to the real world and tells you to find whale bone charms and runes to increase your magical prowess. Gotta catch ‘em all!

Between that and your arsenal, you have a lot of ways to kill people. You get a flintlock pistol, a crossbow with standard or sleep darts, “clockwork” mines, and a nice little sword. Magic-wise, you can give yourself dark vision, summon rat swarms, turn unaware enemies to ash when you kill them, blink teleport, and much, much more! Each and every one of these spells is underwhelming except for the rat swarm. Also, mana doesn’t recharge all the way, so you have to spend money on potions if you want to cast offensive spells consistently.

Dishonored manages to turn a sandbox game linear by severely limiting your resources. Each area contains a specific amount of money and items to be picked up. When you complete the area, your acquired loot carries over to the next. However, if you backtrack and do the same area again, you don’t keep the extra resources you collect. Instead, your best run carries over. You can’t even go backwards with your equipment. Hence, too damn linear. The developers even explicitly state that it is impossible to acquire all items and abilities in one playthrough. Screw that! Yes, you’re expected to play through the game multiple times. Probably once for each ending, then more for the rest of the goodies. Nothing like a little playtime buffing!

Dishonored

Conclusion? Dishonored isn’t all it’s built up to be. It’s by no means a bad game, but it isn’t amazing. The fact that it’s linear makes it restrictive to players who like to hoard, empower, and roam, but for those willing to endure these tribulations, Dishonored can provide some action-intensive ass-kicking combat. It’s a far cry from a hardcore assassin game, but for what it’s worth, it’s immersive.

 

I typically don’t link video reviews, but ZeroPunctuation’s one of the only reviewers I could find that didn’t have their tongue down the back of Dishonored’s pants. The main points I’m focusing on here are the painfully linear play and black and white morality, which everyone else is having a hard time finding problems with because they’re far too busy swinging swords and guns and crossbows around while teleporting short distances. It seems games with hype are either beloved or letdowns, eh? Here’s the link. you know what to do: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/6445-Dishonored