At first glance, I thought the gas reservoir at the back was used to launch the blade, but closer perusal showed that basically, jabbing the knife-tip in and depressing the stopper injected a basketball sized ball of pressurized gas into the target.
As the manufacturer says:
The effects of this injection will drop many of the world’s largest land predators. The effects of the compressed gas not only cause over-inflation during ascent when used underwater, but also freezes all tissues and organs surrounding the point of injection on land or at sea. When used underwater, the injected gas carries the predator to the surface BEFORE blood is released into the water. Thus giving the diver added protection by diverting other potential predators to the surface.
Season Three of The Venture Brothers is in full swing, and so far it’s been immeasurably enjoyable. I’d been waiting for AstroBase Go to get around to providing the mythic framework for their world of “beautiful, sublime failure” and they’ve delivered in spades, what with S0E03 finally answering some interesting questions about Phantom Limb, Master Billy Quizboy and Pete White (questions which were originally posed in “Victor Echo November“). We also get some more interesting Brock Samson backstory, as well as Baby Hank and Dean and the always scarily-amusing Myra Brandish.
The action this season seems to be a little slower than in the past, but if anime has taught me anything, it’s to give every season at least six episodes to develop. Jackson Publick has mentioned in his blog that this season will probably have a bigger payoff for long-time viewers rather newer ones, which is fine by me, as long as we actually get to see more Hank and Dean. Although the appearance of Dr. Henry Killinger and his Magic Murder Bag in the last episode was more than enough to mollify me in terms of “characters for whom I want more screentime”. Now if only Molotov Cocktease would show up again…
Speaking of which (and considering the hilarious OSI / G.I. Joe crossover in this episode), have some Molotov/Baroness fanservice….
So when Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness Episode One came out (which, by the by, makes for one of the longest game acronyms ever), I rushed online and purchased it off of Greenhouse Games… and then kinda left it for the longest time, languishing unplayed, bereft of purpose and unsullied by mouseclicks and rapid spacebar spamming (more on that later). My schedule only managed to unravel itself recently, and I finally finished it.
I’ll give you the Cole’s Notes version. It’s short. And awesome. If you like Penny Arcade, you should be playing this game. If you like twisted humour, dark gods, mimes, or gaslamp fantasy, you should be playing this game. Hell, if you liked Super Mario RPG, you should be playing this game.
I’m glad the PA boys and Hothead gaming came up with this (props to my Vancouver gaming companies). Gabe and Tycho certainly knew they’d be exposing themselves to almost retaliatory game reviews, but really, the only complaints I have is that it’s almost too short, and that the combat curve seems a bit reversed — as in, fights get seriously easy by the time you reach endgame. However, given that these games are supposed to be episodic (more like Sam and Max episodic, rather than Half Life 2 episodic), I can’t really grouse that loudly. Twenty Canadian dollars for about eight hours of gameplay is certainly good value (compared, say, to twelve dollars for two hours of mediocre “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” — seriously, more Punch Drunk Love, less The Waterboy).
Character creation, while not as insanely robust as City of Heroes/Villains, is remarkably good. I came pretty close to duplicating the real-world me in Gabe’s art, and that’s somewhat surprising. Even more awesome is seeing it animated in 3D and then displayed in classic PA-style 2D for the awesomely verbose dialogue panels.
I’d never realized before how integral to the Penny Arcade “core brand” Tycho’s unique writing voice can be. The comic almost always showcases Gabe’s idiosyncratic and wonderful art, but the verbiage doesn’t really come across… unless the panels are drowning in word balloons. Every clickable object in the game world has a brief snippet of text associated to it, and the Tycho-brand humour comes through there. Opening an empty box reveals “It is empty. You feel hollow inside”. Inspecting a garbage can can result in “It’s filled with cats. It’s cool, they’re having fun.”
Gameplay is your traditional click-to-move, and point-and-click-on-anything-where-the-cursor-comes-up-differently adventure style (you don’t find that you mind doing that due to Tycho’s writing, so kudos to the PA boys and Hothead for making one of the more boring tropes of adventure gaming somewhat fun again). Combat was surprisingly hectic, but maybe that’s because I’ve gotten used to WoW’s somewhat less-than-frenetic pacing. The spacebar is featured quite heavily. You have to mash it to power up Gabe’s special attacks, or time its keypresses to match an arrow to a moving rectangles on a circular frame, or (my personal bane) hit it to block incoming attacks (there’s the Super Mario RPG link for ya). There’s a bit more complexity in the Overkill counters (extra damage a character gains when killing an opponent using a special attack), but it never overwhelms the combat core mechanics.
Pandering to their audience (whom they know and have skewered all too wel), the PA boys included a fair number of bonus and unlockable content, such as the Episode Two preview comic, and much of the in-game music — including The Front’s “Final Boss” and quite a bit of (deviously hidden) concept art. I’m looking forward to the next installment, and I’m seriously hoping for no Megaman syndrome… I wanna keep my current levels, overkill counters, and items, not start off back at square one.