Ghostbusters: the game

Well, thanks to Joe and Kat, I now have an Xbox 360. And Ghostbusters!
I’ve been playing it in chunks, and here are my impressions.

It looks pretty good! Especially the neutrona streams; I’m sure they spent tons of time getting that right. The new weapons are fun, and so is the jargon associated with them. The controls are simple and work well. I suppose the Ectogoggles can be a lil annoying, walking around with them equipped, but in-game warnings about things you should examine with them make that unnecessary really.

The ghost-wrangling mechanics are good. You feel a definite sense of satisfaction when trapping a ghost. I bet it’s even more fun on the Wii version, if the wrangling is at all similar.

It’s spooky! I was impressed that they managed that. Of course dark foreboding passages are present, but unlike Doom3 that’s not their only tool. The ghosts also have some pretty gruesome back stories, unlike most of ’em from the movies. The story in general is pretty loose, but it sort of makes sense and hangs together so far.

People were right about the ‘social’ aspect of it. Playing through the one-player game, the rest of the Ghostbusters are either with you or nearby, and they give you feedback on how you’re doing. I like Winston’s comments best, like ‘You’ve got a MEAN streak, rook!’

I had worried that the various equipment addons for the proton pack would make it look very unwieldy (well, MORE so, you know what I mean) but they did a fairly elegant job on that. Small details and different colored cyclotron lights let you know which weapon is equipped.
I must admit I don’t really pay much attention to the on-pack status indicators. There’s usually too much going on to spare a glance at them when they’re important.

The game’s difficulty is uneven. I found certain portions very frustrating with a lot of ‘mission failed’ messages. But others (including bosses) were disappointingly easy. There really hasn’t been a difficulty curve…more like an EKG pattern.

I was very disappointed to be hit with an ‘end of KOTOR II’ situation with the latest level. There was no cooldown period at the firehouse between the last level and the start of the new one, so no dialogue saying why we’re going to x and what we expect to find there. Also, if you quit the game at the firehouse before you listen to the dialogue/exposition? When you resume later, you don’t get any of that. You’re just pushed into the next mission. It has happened twice now, and ticked me off.

The lip syncing is frequently off. Peter got the worst lines of the four Ghostbusters. I had hoped for some interaction with the containment unit, but other than damaging it in the intro, no joy there. The destruction of property with your weapons is good, but not all there. You can’t burn through walls for example. The targeting on your slime blower is kinda lousy. You can hose down an area for five seconds and fail to register a ‘hit’ on what you’re sliming. I had hoped for a vehicle segment but no luck there either so far.

Christmas

Merry Christmas, all.

Christmas dinner menu:
Alton Brown’s city ham recipe: ham brushed with dark mustard, plastered with brown sugar, spritzed with bourbon, and then encrusted with pulverized ginger snap cookies. Delicious. Instant hit with everyone.

3 cheese garlic scalloped potatoes: Thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes, layered with cheddar cheese, sliced garlic, and cream, then topped with provolone and Parmesan cheese. Failure. Edible, but a failure. Should not have doubled cream when doubling the recipe; the potatoes just floated in it, and the cheddar just dissolved into it in a greasy lumpy mess.

Creamy peas and mushrooms: Sauteed mushrooms and onions, mixed with flour and light cream to form a sauce, combined with nutmeg, salt, pepper, and a metric ton of peas. Failure: didn’t plan correctly to triple the recipe, turned out more like a metric ton of peas with occasional bits of mushroom to be found within.

My niece was a huge brat as usual. I ended up getting several kitchen gadgets, a couple of T-shirts, a movie, and a few odds and ends.

Denny’s very early this morning was fun. Missed seeing Tigerwolf there though.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM
So we’ve heard for awhile now that High Fructose Corn Syrup is bad for us, but if you’re like me, you’ve never really understood why. This video shows you why, on a number of levels, with a view broad enough that you can instantly make different dietary and lifestyle choices. There’s a summary page at 1:25 or so if you don’t want to kill an hour and a half watching it.

I encourage you all to watch it from start to finish though, because this is a problem that, in all likelihood, affects all of you every day.