Monday, 30 April 2012

Puzzle Quest - Gameplay Part 3 - Capturing/Misc

Capturing Enemies

Once you've earned enough gold you can go into your citadel and build a stable. What this does is allow you to capture any enemy you've defeated at least three times. Like so...

Here we have an Ogre ripe for capturing (though in this case it's not a random encounter and thus I can't remember if it counted as a kill or not). Now capturing is much different than your usual battles. You have to solve a puzzle. Every enemy type has a unique puzzle to it. Some are fairly simple, some are not. For example, here is the board for capturing Ogres...

The idea, as you've probably guessed, is to destroy all the gems with no leftovers. Those good at these kind of puzzles should be able to figure it out, but I'm not so I'm cheating and looking them up. Once you clear the board you've successfully captured the Ogre and you get a little message...

Like the message says, build a Mage's Tower in your citadel and you can learn "Thump!", which is a handy offensive spell. I will talk about the Citadel and everything you can do within next time, which should hopefully be the last time I need to talk about Puzzle Quest. 

One more thing about capturing though, you can capture certain enemies that you can use as 'Mounts'. They give you an extra spell to take into battle as well as allow you to travel the map quicker (sadly, it doesn't seem like you can just fly from place to place, even if my mount is a Griffon). Quite handy

Random Thoughts

I enjoy this game as a brief distraction. I basically skip through the actual "cutscenes" but the problem I'm having with it is that it's getting a bit too long. Granted, I'm doing most, if not all, the side-quests that I can. But the gameplay is started to get a bit samey, and right now the only enemies that give me trouble is the bosses. There's not much variety to music so I've resorted to muting it and just playing my own tunes over it and the map is starting to fill with random enemies. Once I had to fight four battles in a row trying to get to a destination. According to my Raptr, I've played 17 hours of Puzzle Quest in the past month. The game is getting to the length of an actual RPG, but it doesn't really have the variation or exploration of one.

I'm using Puzzle Quest as a 'secondary' game, so I'm not forcing myself to rush through 'Super Mario 64', but I'm quickly finding myself trying to rush through this instead. The sooner this ends the better, not because I hate it, but to prevent myself from hating it.

Oh well, back to Super Mario 64 for now... 

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Super Mario 64 - The Birth of 3D Platforming

Song of the Day

Inside the Castle Walls

The Birth of 3D Platforming

Since the early 80s, platform games has been the king genre of home video game consoles. The aim of the classic platformer is to get from A to B while jumping over obstacles such as enemies, gaps, barrels, spikes and various other traps. While there was plenty of platform games by the time the NES rolled around it would be a certain plumber in 1985 who created the blueprint of what a 2D platformer should be. It helped that 'Super Mario Bros.' was the biggest selling game of all time until recently (Wii Sports holds the record now-a-days, due to it being packed with every Wii...).

I'm sure just about all of you have seen this screen at least once...
SEGA would find success with their own 2D platforming mascot Sonic the Hedgehog. Both the Mario and Sonic franchises were the kings of their respective consoles, but it would be the transition into 3D that would truly see who the superior franchise was.

In 1996 Nintendo released Super Mario 64, a launch title for their new Nintendo 64. The game was a critical and commercial hit, it pretty much wrote the rulebook as to what 3D Platforming should be. However, it was not the first attempt at a 3D platformer. There was a few games in the 1980's that could be classed as a 3D platform game, but being the 80s, most were pseudo-3D at best. In 1990 a game was released for the Atari ST (though later ported to the Amiga). The game looks dated to hell 22 years later, but it can be considered the first 3D platformer game. I've never played it myself, but the way it's described you have a 3D field and you have to jump onto a platform which acts as a trampoline to allow you to jump to the next platform until you reach the level goal.

The levels were "abstract". You don't say...
It even has a few things that would be a common 3D Platform feature, such as a movable camera and the ability to move in any direction. Despite this, it is not particularly remembered as a game that influenced the genre. A game was released in 1995 called Jumping Flash. It is considered to be the gameplay continuation of another game called Geograph Seal, which was never released outside of Japan. Both games are a hybrid of a first person shooter and 3D platformer. It was released originally on the Playstation to some fantastic reviews, but it was soon to be completely overshadowed. It's another game I've never played, but it is available on the PSN under it's 'PSOne Classics' banner.

Jumping Flash! PlayStation Trying to shoot a frog
The precursor to Metroid Prime? (Image: MobyGames)
There was a few other games released during this time, 'Bug' for the SEGA Saturn was very similar to the classic platformer, but it did allow you to walk in all directions. "Fade to Black" was the sequel to "Flashback" and featured a fully 3D characters and environment. However, despite retaining some of it's platform-like features, it resembles a shooter more than anything as well as the inability to jump.

Nintendo, SEGA and new boys in the console war Sony were in a rush to get a 3D Platform game for their respective new consoles. After all platformers were still big money-makers in the gaming world.

Sony would put their trust into Naughty Dog, seen as a risky move at the time as they had just released 'Way of the Warrior" which was not a well received game at all. But, with the backing of Universal Interactive Studios, Naughty Dog's game would be 'Crash Bandicoot' and it would go on to sell over 6.8 million copies. 

File:Crash Bandicoot1.png
We'll be seeing this fella soon enough...
SEGA had their own game in development for the Saturn. It was to be called 'Sonic Xtreme', developed by SEGA's American studio, STI. The game was eventually cancelled however, after much squabbling with the Japanese team. 'Sonic Xtreme' was to be a very different kettle of fish compared to previous Sonic platformers, however in the end the SEGA Saturn didn't even get a proper Sonic game. It wouldn't be until the Dreamcast, and 'Sonic Adventure' that we'd see the blue hedgehog in 3D.

File:Sonic X-treme engine test screenshot.png
This is apparently what it would have looked like...
Finally, with the release of the Nintendo 64, 'Super Mario 64' was released changing the entire game on 3D Platforming. It was not the first one, not even close, but it terms of lasting influence, it may as well have been. Carry on plumbin' Mario!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Super Mario 64 - Progress Report II

Song of the Day

Bowser's Road

Progress Report II

(all level images taken from (


Cool, Cool Mountain
Stars - 7/7
I thought this would be the first level I'd have trouble with, being the first level I had not played much, but for the most part I managed okay. Except for one star...
File:Penguin race.png

THIS GOD DAMMED PENGUIN CAN GO TO HELL. Seriously, I'm terrible at these slides the last thing I want to do is have a race on them. Especially with this bastard. No matter how good you are at this, you will fall behind at some point because Nintendo decided to give him rubber banding. This means that no matter how well you do, he will always catch up. This penguin also on two occasions managed to knock me off the damn the stage. I no longer likes penguins (as evident of my notes reading "F**K PENGUINS" and nothing else).

File:Bowser in the Dark World.png

Bowser in the Dark World
Star - 1/1
Bowser gave me no trouble, predictably since he tells you how to defeat him. But collecting the red coins seemed to really get me for some reason. Mainly the last one, I was long jumping when I didn't need to and then using normal jumps when I shoulda long jumped. Basically, playing it at 5 in the morning makes me stupid. More so than usual. After a sleep I managed to get it in one shot.


Big Boo's Haunt
Stars - 7/7
Star #5. after defeating Big Boo (for the third time), they decide to put the star on the roof. Honestly, it's as simple as long-jumping to the side and then crawling to the star, but dumb-me just could not figure it out. For ten minutes. Which is a long time to be doing the same exact thing in a Mario game. Other than that, easy enough level. Thus completes the ground floor of the castle!

File:Hazy maze.JPG

Hazy Maze Cave
Stars - 7/7
I HATE this level. It's, to me, the dullest thus far and I just didn't enjoy most of the stars. The one that gave me the most trouble was Star #2 (the red coin one), mainly because of that stupid elevator and the barrier before the third red coin that kept knocking me off because I couldn't tell how far it was away. The camera is the worst enemy of this level, which is something I'll be talking about later. I may have complained about each level before this one, but I still enjoyed the majority of them, but this level is largely forgettable. Except Dorrie, he's a cool dude...

File:Bibi 64.png
Everyone knows dinosaurs are a man's best friend...

Secret Stars

Vanish Cap Under the Moat
I have no idea why but this gave me real trouble. My tired brain (it was another "5ish in the morning" deal) just would not comprehend the moving platforms. When they reach the top, they flip over and go back down, the idea is simple, move to the next one before it does that. Twice I managed to do it correctly only to panic and fall off. There is three 1-up mushrooms at the beginning of the level, by the time I finished I had nearly 30 lives (I entered with 2...). That was after I started ignoring them. Not my proudest moment...

File:Cavern of the Metal Cap.png

Cavern of the Metal Cap
Now this one was easy! Just hit the big green switch and get the red coins. The swerve is that some of them are underwater, and to make things easier you can use the Metal Cap to turn into Metal Mario, who can walk underwater with ease. Metal Mario is the best Mario.

Star From the Toad in the Basement (he's in the same room as the entrance to Hazy Maze Cave, if I remember correctly)
Catch the Rabbit #1 (I didn't have too much trouble catching him, but I did notice there will be a second time. I envision it being much harder and more annoying...)

Star Total

Tomorrow: A look at the Birth of 3D Platformers...

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Super Mario 64 - Progress Report I

Song of the Day

Bob-Omb Battlefield/Whomp's Fortress BGM

Progress Report I

(all following Level images are from
File:Bob-omb Battlefield 64.png

Bob-Omb Battlefield
Stars Obtained - 7/7

File:Whomp's Fortress 64.png

Whomp's Fortress
Stars - 7/7


Jolly Roger Bay
Stars - 5/7
Stars To Get - Through The Jet Stream*, 100 Coins
*Note - I can't actually get this one yet until I unlock Metal Mario. 

Secret Stars

File:The Princess's Secret Slide.png

Princess Peach's Slide
Stars 2/2
Note: Star #2  requires you to complete the slide in less than 21 seconds. I figured this one would take me a few attempts so I wrote down the times for each attempt I took. It wasn't as painful as I thought it'd be though.

Star 1 time - 0'21"3
Star 2 Attempts
  1. 0'21"4
  2. 0'21"3
  3. 0'21"1 (this one was heartbreaking)
  4. 0'20"9
I was rather happy with myself with this one, I'm usually rubbish at these slides (fun fact: Cool, Cool Mountain was as far as I played to in the past...sigh).

File:The Secret Aquarium.png

Secret Aquarium (in the Jolly Roger Bay room)
Stars - 1/1 

File:Tower of the Wing Cap.png

Wing Cap Tower
Stars - 1/1
Note: This was the one star that gave me real trouble. I'm terrible at controlling Mario with the Wing Cap. I actually gave up at one point and went to get the "Mario Wings To The Sky" star in Bob-omb Battlefield before I eventually got this one.

Star Total - 23/120

Random Thoughts

Well I'm already at a higher star total than I've ever been before, so there's that. I'm still unsure if I'm going for all 120 stars yet though, if there's any stars that troubles me enough that it stalls my progress then they will be left. Otherwise I will be actively trying to get as much stars as possible.

I have a few ideas for articles, the first of which will come in Friday's update. I'm planning to make this a five or six part, with the sixth basically being the final "clean-up" report. 

Also, the music in Jolly Roger Bay is so chill, I could listen to that forever.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Puzzle Quest - Gameplay Part 2 - Battles

Song of the Day

Background 1 - Marc Durell


Warning: I go a bit mental with pictures in this update...

So, last time we talked at length about the World Map and a little bit about the character, but it's now time to see what the meat and potatoes of the game is like: battles.

Usually when taking a quest from a city you'll have to go somewhere and fight a monster. Quest places are signalled by sparklies. Go to the sparkly place and click on it, a little menu will pop up. One of the choices will enter you in a battle. You can tell because a little animation will play and something like this will pop up:

Before every fight you will always get a little description of the enemy you're about to face, usually by telling you the spells it can do as well as it's strengths. If it is a special enemy then it will have a second paragraph detailing what is unique about it. In this case, it's stronger to fight and it has an additional spell in 'Rend' (which can damage you for five damage without ending his turn). Press 'FIGHT!' and you get to the actual battle screen...

The order of battle is decided by our 'Cunning' rating, whoever has the most gets to go first. In this case the Troll gets to go first. Now to people who are new to Puzzle Quest might think this looks like Bejewelled, but don't be IS Bejewelled, just wrapped up differently. Your aim is to get at least three gems in a row. Do so and you can collect the gems power. There are eight different types of gem:

Green Mana

Red Mana

Yellow Mana

Blue Mana

These will act as your MP in this game, collecting enough of these will allow you to use your spells. No mana, no spells. You'll probably end up spending most of your battle time collecting these.

Although most of your levelling up will be done by completing quests and finishing off enemies, you can earn additional EXP by collecting three or more of these.

Like all RPGs, you need to earn gold in order to buy upgraded equipment and the like. You can earn extra gold by collecting these, though I tend to only collect these if there is nothing else.

These can act like any of the coloured gems. It can also be used to get four/five in a row (more on that later) and it gives you a multiplier. See one of these and use them immediately.

Collecting three or more of these and you will deal damage to your enemy. There is two kinds of skulls, this one that deals 1 damage, and a "glowing" skull that deals 5 points of damage and explodes all the gems surrounding it.

If you're good at Bejewelled, or just puzzle games in general, then you'll have no problems getting to grips with this game. However, there is a handy option for people with bad eyesight or just not very good:

If the game feels that you're struggling it will point out a match for you. This can be turned off in the options if you want. The only problem with it is that it doesn't always give you the best possible outcome, use it as a last resort if you can't see anything better.

It is possible to get four or even five in a row. Like this!

Getting these give you a bit more mana/coin/exp/damage while also giving you an extra turn to play with. Getting five in a row will also create a wildcard on the board, giving you a chance to earn mad mana with your extra turn.

So, now you know everything you need to know about battling...except the magic spells. Let's bring up the battle screen again:

Each spell costs a certain amount of mana, very rarely will it ever just be one type of mana either. You can carry six spells into battle that you've learned through levelling up and one spell from a captured enemy (in this case it's my mount, a Wolf...more on that in a future post). Since I'm a Warrior most of my spells deal in damage, for example 'Throw Axe' deals damage according to how many Skulls are in play, Cleave is the same but with Yellow gems, "Enrage" ups my 'Battle' skill etc. This Troll has two very annoying spells, Regeneration heals it by 4 points (but it doesn't end their turn) and Rend, which I mentioned before. 

I had intended to this battle to show off what would happen if I lost, considering I was struggling to beat it, however I managed to actually defeat it this time (the strategy? Hoard all the blue gems to prevent it from healing. "Wild Lore" also removes all the Yellow and Blue gems from the board). If you lose it doesn't really matter, you get whatever gold and experience you earned in the battle and you are kicked off to the map again, but you can try and try again until you succeed. There is no real penalty for losing a battle.

If you win however this pops up:

And when you finish a quest...

Now there is another battle mode, 'CAPTURE', but I feel this has gone on long enough. Next time I'll be wrapping up all the gameplay mechanics I've still to talk about. Until then, so long!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Super Mario 64 - An Introduction

Super Mario 64
Year: 1996 
Platforms: Nintendo 64, Virtual Console
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

Super Mario 64. Released as a launch title for the Nintendo 64 along with Pilotwings 64, Super Mario 64 managed to sell over eleven million copies and later became the second most popular game on Wii's Virtual Console (behind the original Super Mario Bros.) Super Mario 64 was arguably the first 3D platformer, but it was definitely the first successful one. The game was praised by critics, gamers and even key figures in the gaming industry as a revolutionary game.

Despite the fact that everyone knows this game, I have barely played it. This is mainly due to the fact I had a Playstation as a child, I only played this game for the first time a few years back. Although I did own the cartridge for it, I gave it to a friend when he got himself a N64 because I'm nice like that and yes he was meant to give it back at some point. Instead I'll be playing the Virtual Console version, using a Gamecube controller. I've never played past Jolly Roger Bay before, so this will largely be a new experience for me.

Since a lot of people have already played this one I won't be going into great detail about the game itself, I'll talk about my general progress in the game and mention the stars I get. However, I will have little articles accompanying each report just to give a bit of background of the game, Mario and Nintendo in general.

So, join me in a day or two when I'll start my Super Mario 64 adventure! Until then, allow me to play you out...

The Intro

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories - Finale!

Song of the Day

In The Air Tonight - Phil Collins

Progress Report XI

Story Missions Complete: 59/59


Mission 55; Domo Arigato Domestoboto: We see a very drunk Lance and Diaz having a discussion, it seems Lance has borrowed money from Diaz and will pay him back "with 25% interest or we'll work for you". Lance has a plan to ruin the Mendez Brothers, but before he can tell Vic about it he passes out on the sofa. Vic heads outside and bumps into a man who says that the high-tech gear is ready outside the Mendez Mansion. So, we drive over there and get into the van.

This is one of the more unique mission in VCS, here we get to control the Mendez Brother's own Domestobot (a robot servant that's been mentioned repeatedly during the series, but it makes it's first proper appearance here). It kinda looks like a R.O.B. 

Except a lot more useful.
Our goal is to find the vault where Diego and Armando keep their bonds and destroy it. The Domestobot has five "arm-settings", by pressing the shoulder buttons you can scroll between them. They are: Grabber (for grabbing), Lighter (for FIRE!), Sweeper (for cleaning), a radar detector (for finding the vault) and a dildo ( know...). The catch to this mission is that Armando will shout orders to you and you have two minutes to complete them. They range from cleaning a specific room's floor, to grabbing him a drink or lighting his cigar. Once you perform a task for him you have a bit of breathing space to try and find the vault. It's rather easy to find, go downstairs, find the store room towards the back of the Mansion, go to the basement and you'll see the vault. After that you have to crack the code, it's the usual "code-breaking mini-game" we've seen in many video games. The code is always the same, 8423, but you have 18 attempts to get it right so it's easy enough. Once you open the vault, change to the lighter and set the bonds on fire. Armando will destroy our robo-buddy, but it's still mission completed!

Pictured: The moment Armando became a true villain. Rest in peace Robo-Buddy.
Mission 55; In The Air Tonight: We return to the hospital where we see Barry, Phil Collins and the transformed Reni. The three have a discussion (which includes Reni suggesting Barry get implants of his own...) before Phil and Barry head off to the arena. We'll be joining them soon, but first we have to drop Reni off at the airport. She fears Diego will always seek to kill her, so she's going back to Europe. Right enough, we do get chased by Mendez's goons. Just drive fast and you should get to the airport unless you're driving a car made of paper. Before she leaves she decides that she no longer wants to film advertisements, she's getting into the adult movie industry....

Until Liberty City Stories, Reni!
Now for the second half of the mission, we gotta drive to the arena where Barry is panicking. It seems the Forelli's are not going to give up trying to kill Phil. Our job this time then is to keep an eye out. Cutscene Vic notices a man on the lighting rig, cutting a cable. The rest of the mission is to prevent them from succeeding from cutting enough cables, or else Phil Collins dies. This is simple though, although you don't have any weapons they die in two punches. While this is happening, the intro to a live version of 'In The Air Tonight' is playing.After a certain amount of goons are killed, we get transported to cutscene-land where we see Phil make his entrance, walking slowing onto the stage whilst singing. After a little while we're back punching Italian gangsters in the face until we see Phil reach his drums and we get treated the rest of the performance.

Afterwards. after some more banter between Phil and Barry, we see the last of our two favourite Englishmen in Vice City. Barry has decided he's going to have to pay Giorgio back, and has lined up a series of gigs for Phil in order to pay it back (much to the chagrin of Phil, who was looking forward to a holiday). After this mission we are able to pay $6,000 to see an uninterrupted version of Phil's concert...but you don't have to pay six thousand bucks. Here it is:


Mission 57; Light My Pyre - After the awesomeness of Phil Collins' gig, this mission is a bit of a downer. It can also be incredibly frustrating. Louise pages us saying she'll meet us at Lance's place in order to have a "real date" but when we get there only Lance is around. Lance tells us to forget about her, but then Mary-Jo bursts in and says that the Mendez Brothers have kidnapped Louise. Man, girl can't catch a break can she? Lance originally refuses to help, but after some tough words from Vic he reluctantly comes along. When they get outside they are greeted by a car of Mendez's men with an ultimatum, get out of Vice City and Louise will live. To hammer home the point they shoot a rocket at Lance's car, which sends him in a violent rage and he gets on the Biker's Angel to give chase. This leaves us with no vehicle, though there is a PCJ-600 nearby, which I would suggest for this mission.

The idea is that Lance is so pissed off over his car getting blown up that he refuses to acknowledge all the people shooting at him, so it's up to us to protect Lance. The motorcycle is the way to go, just for the ability to shoot forwards while driving it. However, Lance is a stupid idiot and WILL drive into you and WILL drive into your bullets. You have to be careful. He will not help you in anyway.

Pictured: The rare moment when Lance isn't getting in your way...
Just destroy the red dots as they appear on the radar and stay close to Lance. After the third car of goons, it seem they only spawn if Lance reaches a certain amount of distance away from you. If you're unlucky with the police they can really screw you over if you're on the bike. If Lance reaches Prawn Island alive then you've completed the first half of the mission. After the cutscene showing Lance driving right up to the Mendez Mansion, head to the film lot and pick up the armour from behind the building before heading up to the mansion. Don't bother with killing the guards, they can respawn right behind you and take you down with ease. Use Lance's tactic, drive right into the mansion and head to the back door. A normal car would be better for this, just to offer more shelter.

After we head inside we're greeted by Armando Mendez, who claims it is futile to try and save Louise and Lance, they're already dead. And now it's our turn. Armando wields a flamethrower, you get hit just a little and it will wreck your health. There is armour and health pick-ups on the floor, but you also have to deal with Armando's goons. If you have full armour and health, and you have the Equilizer, just stand there shooting him until he dies. It's a bit of a cheaty way out, but it works. Otherwise try to avoid his flamethrower and take a shot or two when he pauses.

 After he dies we go up to the room where Louise and Lance is. Louise says that her and Vic could have had something special, asks us to make sure Mary-Jo looks after her baby before passing away. Lance tells Vic that she wasn't right for him anyway, it is family that matters. Never invite Lance to a funeral.

Mission 58; Over The Top - We visit Ricardo Diaz at his mansion where he informs us that Diego is hiding in a compound in Downtown. To go in from the ground would be suicide, so he suggests the much safer, sane way...go in to Fort Baxter (the Army Base) and steal an attack helicopter. Of course! We'll need help on this on, Diaz suggests Quentin (aka, Lance), but Vic has someone else in mind...Phil Cassidy. We visit Phil at his warehouse, drunk and distraught over the death of Louise. Phil agrees to help, saying Vic will need a decoy in order to get into the base. 

We drive Phil's truck (full of his 'boomshine') to Fort Baxter. There, Phil's plan is to drive the truck into the base (jumping out of the car so he doesn't explode with it), which should act as enough of a distraction to allow Vic to sneak into the base. Once we jump into the base we have to Solid Snake our way to the control building, avoiding guards and spotlights. Luckily this is rather simple to manage, just stay out of eyesight and you should be okay. Once you get to the building you'll have to kill a few hard working soldiers to get to the gate control. After this you have a time limit of three minutes to reach the attack helicopter before they take off with it. Again, simple enough, the soldiers don't give you much hassle. Get to da choppa and fly it over to Diaz's mansion to win.

We get one final pager message from Jerry telling us that it's time to settle things. Thus begins...the final mission.

Mission 59; Last Stand - On Diaz's roof, Vic and Diaz have a discussion, Vic reminds Diaz that this will erase all of his debts, and that he's not doing this for anyone but himself. Diaz is happy enough, he'll basically run the drug game in Vice City once Diego is dead. It's time to finally end this. We fly the attack chopper towards the compound, that seems to only have two floors with glass windows...hmm. We have to kill all the guards on the floors, luckily we have infinite rockets. They die pretty easily...


Once all the guards are dead, a cutscene will play showing a couple of new guards successfully shooting down the Hunter. Vic manages to land on the roof, that has a handy stockpile of AK-47, Rockets and Armour. We're asked to head downstairs, where he have to kill two floors worth of armoured guards. Use the AK/Assault Rifle for this one to keep your distance, though there is more armour pick-ups after each wave. Once the second floor is taken care of, we'll see Diego and he'll run away. A cutscene will also show Martinez arrive on the roof of the building, order the people on the helicopter to take down Vic. This part can be annoying, however I found a good way to kinda cheese it. You have to kill two guards, hide from the helicopter and then attack the helicopter. I've found using the Spas-12 (a fast-firing shotgun) works wonders, on both the guards and the helicopter if you can free aim it right. Once the helicopter is destroyed it's time to head to the roof to end this.

Jerry gets the drop on us, but like all good villains he's gotta taunt Vic first. However, then Diego shows up, also pointing a gun at us. We now have to kill them both. However, GTA has one slight problem with "boss fights"...they really are no different to regular fights except the people you shoot have more health. It's rather anti-climatic to just shoot both Jerry and Diego as they both go down easily enough. After they are dead, Lance will arrive in a helicopter to "help", but it's already over, we've beaten Vice City Stories.


The Vance Brothers rejoice in their victory and agree they need to get out of town and lie low for a while. Lance reveals he's bought 20 kilo's of cocaine to sit on while they lie low, so they can sell it when they need to, but Vic refuses to be brought back into the drugs game. He's going to send money to their sick brother Pete and the two brothers fly off, presumably to lie low (though you can continue to play the game afterwards without the distraction of missions). 

The whole 20 kilo's of coke thing? Well...that's what starts the original Vice City, with Vic dying over it. But that's in two years time, for now we celebrate!

For winning we now get a Hunter attack helicopter to use whenever we want, as well as the "Winner" outfit...

Frankie would be proud...
So...that's it...almost. I still have more empire building to talk about, but that will come in a couple of weeks. Vice City Stories is probably my least favourite of the GTA III era of games, but it's far from terrible. If you have a PSP, or a PS2, and you're a fan of GTA then you could do a lot worse than Vice City Stories.

I'll leave you with a few final GTA stats...

Final Money Amount: $757121
Mission Attempts: 92 (that's 33 failures, for those who hate maths)
Total Playing Time: 14:49
Days Passed In-Game: 54
Empire Sites Owned: 21/30 (will be 30/30 when I write up the final Empire Building part)
People Wasted: 1497 (...yikes)
Cars Exploded: 169
Total Wanted Stars Obtained: 200
Times Arrested: 2
Times Killed: 10
Bullets Fired: 11310
Total Distance Travelled (miles); 337.78

That's it for Vice City Stories for now, next up on the list...SUPER MARIO 64!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories - Progress Report 10

Song of the Day

Heart of Glass - Blondie

Progress Report X

Story Missions Complete: 54/59

Mission 50; Farewell to Arms: We arrive at Diaz's mansion to see him lecturing Gonzales. Diaz tells him that he works for him now and any deal Gonzales does in Vice City must go through him (thus setting up the beginning of Vice City). He asks Vic to show Gonzales what it means to be a friend of Ricardo Diaz. Basically, this is a rail shooter mission in a helicopter, Gonzales is driving the truck (loaded with weapons) to the airport, and we have to protect him from attacks from the Sharks. Your gun is powerful, as long as you don't aim like an idiot you should be able to take care of them easily enough. The only time you might have trouble is when Gonzales stalls his vehicle, he quickly gets surrounded by Sharks and he will take a whole lot of damage. After taking care of them, and the upcoming roadblock, it should be plain sailing to the airport (or, "plane" sailing...heh heh...). 

After he reaches his destination we have to help his men defend the entrances to the airport. This is just a case of shooting everything with a red arrow floating above it, while the helicopter flies between all the posts. Even when you succeed though, Sharks will get into the airport but Gonzales' plane is getting ready to take off. Just continue to blow up the Sharks and he should escape Vice City easily enough.

Mendez pages us, saying we need to talk...

Mission 51; Burning Bridges: Armando is happy that we've paid our debts and returned the money to them and he is giving us a reward! Basically, in exchange of us fleeing Vice City and handing over our business interests to them they will spare our lives! How thoughtful...but the Vance Brothers are having none of it. However they get knocked out by Diego and his men. We awake, without our weapons, beside a few oil tankers. We get attacked (in-cutscene) by a few of Mendez's goon, one of whom accidentally shoots a valve off and sets them all on fire. However, Lance is stuck behind the flames and we have to rescue him. There is armour and a pistol at the beginning, and if you are an idiot like me you could get lost. Good advice is to follow the men, if you see red arrows your going the right way!

We have to shoot the valves off the tankers whilst defending ourselves against Mendez's goons. Be sure to pick-up their weapons since you have none. The biggest threat will be the two bastards shooting from the helicopter, but they can be locked-on with the SMG. There's another guy towards the final valve with a sniper, but since he is AI, he will struggle to actually hit you with one. After shooting the third valve, grab the motorbike, grab Lance and enjoy the explosion as you escape.

We're now at war with the Mendez Brothers, this pretty much starts the run-up to the end game. Lance says he has a plan to deal with them, and he knows exactly who to ask. Immediately after the cutscene we get paged by Lance telling us that the faeces is about to hit the fan, but he's got us covered...

Mission 52; Blitzkrieg Strikes Again: We arrive at Lance's place to see our old friend Phil Cassidy doing...uhh...something. Vic is surprised to see him but then there's a knock on the door and hey, Umberto Robina is here! Lance arrives soon after saying that the Mendez Brothers are planning an attack on their businesses, and he thought he'd get help from our friends. Vic is surprised that Lance actually did something right for once. This is just like the first Blitzkrieg mission, except you have to defend three businesses. 

This mission is rather simple, especially if you have lots of businesses nearby to Lance's apartment, and you remembered to stockpile weapons from the Ammu-Nation in the mall. The assault rifle will tear apart everyone with ease. Lance will contribute some funny banter (sorry, 'The Lance-erator'). After you've defended the third business Lance will say that Phil and Robina have also been victorious. We've won! But Lance feels that we should take the fight to the Mendez Brothers and end this for good...

This unlocks new mission for Lance and Diaz. We also get paged by Reni saying that he needs us desperately. Well, Vic doesn't like to keep a waiting, so let's go!

Mission 53; So Long, Schlong: We arrive at the film lot to see Reni all distraught. He's upset because Diego Mendez is mad at him for introducing us to Diaz. It turns out our silent enemy and our favourite German avant-garde film-maker had a little fling. Reni has decided to have another sex-change...his fourth. While he drives to the hospital we have to kill all the Mendez goons that come into the film lot looking for Reni. If they discover he's not there before he pages you it's mission failed. He'll page you eventually saying that he's been caught near the Malibu club. Grab a car, drive over to where he is, kill all of Mendez's men and now drive Reni to the hospital. You will be chased, and Reni will shoot at them, but it's better if you just concentrate on getting to the hospital fast and accident-free.

Mission 54; Lost and Found: We're back at Lance's apartment for this one, apparently Martinez has been on the phone threatening to 'visit' Louise at the hospital. Lance would rather Vic help him with a deal he's working on, but Vic refuses and goes to pick up Louise from the Downtown hospital. Once he gets there, they apologise to each other and Vic asks her if she wants to do something fun and business-free, but right then Lance pages him to say that he's trapped in a burning building and to bring a helicopter. Louise says that there's a helicopter on the roof, so we'll just borrow it to rescue Lance.

Fly all the way over to Ocean Beach and Louise will point out Lance on top of the building. Land on top of it and he'll get in, Apparently we just fell for a Martinez trap, Jerry wanted to divide the brothers and kill them separately. The men who attacked Lance are riding off in boats with our money, so we have to fly the helicopter over them so Lance can shoot. It took a while for me, but eventually we got ahead of them and Lance took them out pretty quickly after that. Then we have to position the helicopter just over the boat so Lance can jump in. He'll ride off and now we have to drop off Louise at her sister's apartment. Phew.
Now, apparently there's a pager message from Phil Cassidy thanking us for taking care of Louise, but I never got it for some reason.

We've met every important Cast member in the game, so none of that today. Also, I have the final part of the Empire Building to talk about, but I'll leave that for after I'm finished with the story.

Next Time: The Finale!