Wednesday, 28 May 2008


I am a diletante. Not afraid to say it. I quite like video games, but (with the exception of some seriously old school stuff like Space Invaders or Asteroids and to an extent Defender, and even then - back in the day - I wasn't anywhere near the top performer, despite spending god knows how many lunch hours and 10p pieces from my mum in the leisure centre cafe, but I did reach a kind of unconscious competence in the end) I was never particularly good at them.

I have recently been loaned a copy of Grand Theft Auto - Vice City Stories by one of the guys at work to try out on my daughter's newly purchased PSP. First impressions were generally good. I found the game much richer than any I'd tried previously. There were a few cheap laughs with a strong whiff of racism hidden beneath the veil of irony, and the odd cliche. The animation leaves a bit to be desired, but the music is good, and I like the ability to switch radio channels.

My main beef, though, and this is the same with Prince of Persia, Warrior Within also (though god knows this game has enough other faults, which is probably a discussion for another day) is that it's too easy to get stuck in a rut. You carry out some difficult task, which has to be followed up by some other stuff, making your 'stamina' ebb away, and if you're unsuccessful you're forced to return to the beginning of the level to repeat the difficult task. I find myself losing interest (and patience) rather rapidly and then trying to enter houses or randomly punch people in the street. Good fun for a while, though it soon becomes tiresome. My other problem is that, through the countless efforts I've made at beating Shaydee in PoP WW I have caused the R1 button (which functions as a 'block' command) on my rumble pad to occasionally stick, because I have been holding it in so hard. At crucial moments I end up lying on the floor refusing to respond to my commands and getting stabbed repeatedly till I die.

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