It’s Weekend Justice: the Internet’s #1 audio trainwreck–the podcast that, if you were holed up during the zombie apocalypse in a military bunker, would pull a Miguel on your ass. And you know it, too.
I must say: whoever’s going to play the new Ryan, they won’t have as good a Pissed Off Face as Harrison Ford. That and while we’re waiting, I would be perfectly content with Liev Schrieber in the Without Remorse movie. Just for the record. Source: Hollywood Reporter.
Ah, submarines. You’d never catch me in one. Even though I apparently took some test in high school which told the military I would be perfect for the nuclear submarine corps. Can you imagine me aboard a nuclear sub? Stop crying and hugging your children–it didn’t happen. And where I am now they won’t even let me have anything sharp. So.
Anyway, it’s probably best that we look at the subject from a fictional point of view. Here’s our Top 10 list of fictional submarines. These were chosen by the Needcoffee staff for their notoriety, their influence, their coolness, and any number of arbitrary reasons we could think of.
10. The USS Sea Tiger from Operation Petticoat. Cary Grant, Tony Curtis and a pink submarine under the direction of Blake Edwards. It had to at least place. You know it and I know it. The film’s hilarious. The Tiger gets sunk before it ever sees action, but Grant, who’s got command, refuses to let it go and decides to bring it back into service. Hijinks ensue. Especially when they take on a bunch of nurses who need a ride.
Developer: Grin (PC), Ubisoft (all console versions)
Platform: PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PC (reviewed on Xbox 360)
ESRB Rating: Teen
My Advice: Rent it first. If the rental holds your interest, consider a purchase.
The Ghost Recon series has seen its share of changes since 2000. The first game was a sandbox-style shooter set in Eastern Europe. You could go anywhere and execute your mission any way you liked, adding immense replay value to each mission. Ghost Recon 2 was a console-exclusive shooter on rails, where stealth and tactics mattered less than twitch reflexes and luck. The focused gameplay of the second installment alienated fans of the first game, and rightly so. After all, the only thing the two games had in common was their name–the rest was completely different.
So I waited anxiously when I heard that Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter would mark a return to the careful gameplay of the first game, while also offering some of the arcade-feel that made the second game a little more frantic. This appealed to me, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the game.
The story begins in 2013, when the Ghosts are tasked with protecting American, Canadian and Mexican diplomats while they hammer out the details on a joint-security treaty. As part of this treaty the Americans shipped over a great deal of American military hardware for the Mexican army to use. The Ghosts were sent along with this arms shipment as escorts and trainers, and that’s where the gameplay begins. As the leaders of North America are signing a treaty to work together for their joint protection a rogue Mexican General is stealing the American weapons and leading a large portion of his army in an attempted coup d’etat.
After a few slow weeks, the game release schedule actually has a little meat on its bones this time around. While most of this week’s big releases are franchise titles, there are a couple of original gems in there to keep the jaded contingent interested.
On top of the franchise heap is NHL 06, the latest in the long-running hockey franchise from EA. With a new deke system and the addition of the “skill stick” mechanic to give players greater control over the stick and puck in-game, the game seems set to reward the hardcore player by allowing a much greater variety of maneuvers. Also new is a shot targeting system that looks borrowed from last year’s Gretzky NHL. The defensive AI has reportedly been vastly improved as well, with defensemen now doing a much better job cutting down shot angles and breaking up passes instead of just flattening every player you bring into the zone. With a little tweaking on the rules option screen, you can probably even get a reasonable facsimile of the NHL’s newly announced rules enforcement policy for this season. As with any EA sports game, this one drops pretty much on any game-playing platform you can imagine, so at least there’s something for the PC crowd this week.
Written by: Paul Attanasio and Daniel Pyne, based on the novel by Tom Clancy
Directed by: Phil Alden Robinson
Starring: Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Liev Schreiber, James Cromwell, Richard Marner, Alan Bates, and Bridget Moynahan
- Running audio commentary by director Robinson and novelist Clancy
- Running audio commentary by director Robinson and cinematographer John Lindley
- The Making of The Sum of All Fears
- Creating Reality: The Digital Effects
Released by: Paramount
My Advice: Rent it.
Written by: Larry Ferguson & Donald Stewart, based on the novel by Tom Clancy
Directed by: John McTiernan
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill, James Earl Jones
- Running audio commentary by director McTiernan
- Beneath the Surface making-of featurette
- Theatrical trailer
Released by: Paramount
My Advice: Fans of the movie should own it.
It’s 1984. Captain Ramius (Connery) has been given the command of the newest class of Soviet sub–one that’s got a certain something extra under the hood, if you catch my drift. Ramius has something secret under his hood, too–he and a select group of his officers are trying to defect and take this new sub, Red October, with them. Enter Jack Ryan (Baldwin), an analyst who’s gotten some clandestine shots of the hull of the October and is trying to figure out what the sub’s strange new feature is. Things get especially tense when the Soviets claim Ramius has gone rogue–and now both Soviets and Americans are looking for the poor captain to blow him to kingdom come. Only Ryan thinks he knows what the man’s really up to, and only Ryan can save the life of him and his crew.
Developer: Red Storm Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Platform: Win 9x/Me/2000/XP
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
If that’s your complaint, then this is your game. Ghost Recon (referred to as GR) is a first-person shooter set in the world of Tom Clancy’s novels. As the game opens in the year 2010, we learn that the Russian government has been taken over by a group of hard-line Ultra-nationalists. The Russian war machine is being readied for an invasion, with troop movements and buildups at Russia’s western border. Only one force stands between the Russian front line and the former soviet republics: the Special Forces group known as the Ghosts. They’ve been tasked with running interference against the Russians until the bulk of the NATO force can mobilize. The game puts the Ghosts in your hands, leaving their fate (and the fate of nations) within your grasp.
The rules of the GR universe are simple. There are no hit points. There are no bosses. There are no levels. You and your team of riflemen, demolition experts, snipers and heavy weapons “support” specialists are tasked with completing several goals during each mission. How you achieve these goals depends on your playing style as well as the makeup (and experience) of your squad.
Game play is divided into two sections: the mission briefing/squad selection stage and the actual mission. In the briefing you are given your objectives for the mission and any relevant information about the enemy presence in the area. During squad selection you have the opportunity to select soldiers based on their specialties and their statistics in key areas of combat, like stealth and weapon use. After you have completed a mission you will also be able to use this screen to allocate more points to these stats, giving the player an incentive to play smart and keep a squad alive.
Game play during the mission will be familiar to anyone that has played a FPS game before. Aiming is done with the mouse, while moving and all other functions critical to the mission are done via the keyboard. One particular aspect of gameplay worth noting is the command map function. With this tool you can see a crude map of the mission area and where your fireteams are at the moment. By utilizing a control system on the map itself you can direct your squads to separate waypoints and targets, all while leading one team yourself. Through efficient use of the command map it is possible to attack three targets at the same time, just as a real specops unit would. This gives the game a feel of realism well beyond what GR’s competitors have to offer.
Also adding to the feel of realism are the dynamics of the game itself. Uniforms get wet when you walk through water, and snow crunches underfoot. Enemies will respond appropriately (and differently) to the sounds of snapping twigs or gunfire. Your squad members will seek cover at all times, and won’t fire unless they have a kill shot, or you ordered them to. As you run your weapon becomes harder to control, adding a degree of difficulty to the usual “point and shoot” interface.
Where GR really wins is in its replay value. The game itself has several difficulty settings, as well as playing the “quick mission” option where mission objectives and details are changed. Add to this the fact any mission can be played in the multiplayer arena, and you have a game that guarantees hours and hours of additional play. I’ve logged over 100 hours and the game still doesn’t bore me.
Ghost Recon promised an accurate and exciting view into the life of a Special Forces unit, and it delivered. You should be able to find it at your local electronics superstore for around $40.00, and it’s worth every penny!
Minimum System Requirements:
- Pentium II 450 or faster
- Windows 9x or better
- 128 MB RAM
- Video card with 16 MB RAM and DirectX 8.0 support
- 1 GB disk space