Street Fighter IV PC

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Street Fighter is a longtime favorite for me, the game combines technical mechanics with fast combination chains for devestating moves, for some players it becomes an elevated mind game where each player strives to out-think the other in how each jab, roundhouse, or throw is executed along with a fury of special attacks.

Street Fighter IV already hit the console scene earlier this year, the PC version was delayed to incorporate online play (Games for Windows LIVE) and most likely to try and stave off piracy as well since it seems like everything and it’s mother is ripped these days. I was fortunate enough to get a review copy sent my way though, I haven’t gotten into the online yet as I’m working on unlocking everyone first but I can say this.

The game is another evolution of the series, the game takes the fluid body mechanics from SFIII and brings them to a higher level of refinement, characters have a more refined array of attacks and specials that can completely shift the pace of the game if chained properly, the dynamics are fairly well balanced with the exception of Sagat and Seth still being quite high powered.

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For gameplay things had to be put to the test, yes it was designed to be used on a keyboard and the Titan DKT did respond easily to key commands but the real arcade feel came through using the X-Arcade solo stick, combos were easy to set off and overall I noticed a huge step up in accuracy compared to playing on the 360, I could execute more moves, time specials with more precision and smash the life out of Seth with less effort, the biggest thing to really note is, Microsoft dropped the ball by restricting who could and who could not produce accessories for their console with that locking code in their USB, I mean really I probably would have questioned what more I could do on the PC review given that.

The last part of course is the performance, the game was ported over from the console so naturally it seems like bugs would be encountered. On a fairly legacy based system things stack up quite well for performance. My Athlon X2 4200 with ATI 3850 is able to run the game in Windows XP at 1920×1200 60fps with full settings minus AA as the 3800 series has a bad implementation that causes a huge performance hit (Get the 4800 series if you’re thinking about a 3850 or 3870, for AA you’ll thank yourself) the game reacted smooth, the install was a breeze and loading times are minimal, really they’re limited to the speed of the HDD the game is installed on. Overall the quality to the console port seems to be on par until you break into the additional visual modes, personally I play on ink post processing all the time simply because I like the visual impression it gives.

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If you have an X-Arcade or have the cash for one, if you have a controller or intend to get one, then really consider Street Fighter IV, we can always hope that one day MVC2 comes to the PC, but until then this makes PC gaming a bit more diverse and a bit more enjoyable and really it is what people need these days, a break from the day to day shooting spree that we’re blasted with in gaming now.

Hulu Desktop

For those running HTPC units at home in an attempt to duck the high cost of cable, it’s always a bit of a pain trying to skin things just right so that people don’t point out that watching a show or movie is being done through Firefox / Opera / Safari / IE / Chrome

Today the folks at Hulu have come up with something new, something a bit refreshing even. The Hulu Desktop application for full screen dedicated access to their show archives in pretty high res for streaming free video.

http://www.hulu.com/labs/hulu-desktop

It’s still in development obviously and yes it did nuke my desktop when I tried it but it still looks pretty promising. One can only hope that they keep stepping it up as it comes along because it would be nice to switch from the AMD Live Explorer to Hulu with a quick alt+tab gesture.

For those looking to sleek down their system the app works pretty well outside of the random failures but the launch speed of the app seems to help to make up for it.

Where did he go

Hey there everyone, it’s been a really busy month for things. E3 planning is always a death trap and on top of that I’ve been reviewing a ton of things for the mothership.

We’ll have some shorthand reviews here of the good the bad and the ugly soon for these items.

Terminator Salvation
Antec P193
Antec Skeleton
E3 2009
Klonoa
The Munchables
Battlestations: Pacific

and more most likely. Sorry about the lack of updates, but yeah, my sanity only goes so far for writing things at times. Enjoy the awesome fan made green lantern trailer and I’ll catch up soon with tales from LA.

Manos: The Hands of Fate

I mentioned it in the AMC B-Movie posting but this really is something that needs it’s own mention.

Manos: The Hands of Fate is probably one of the most terrifying movies that I’ve watched, the dubbing, the cuts and the general story is just mind blowing and because of that I’m now posting it for anyone that feels up to it. This isn’t the MST3K version that most watch, there’s no comic relief, just a thought in your mind of “Make it stop already!!!”

Cheers everyone 😀

B-Movie Bonanza!

Streaming movies isn’t that new these days, but it’s often hard to find the latest hot spots worth checking out. Usually when I want a great B-Movie I often hit up Google Videos, a lot of titles manage to find their way over there and some are just awful. Today though I hit up AMC for my usual dose of TV catchup and found a series of B-Movies listed

AMC / BMC Movies

The current lineup so far is this

Dragstrip Girls
The Hellfire Club
Hercules Unchained
Motorcycle Gang
Saga of the Viking Women
Dark Star
Shake, Rattle & Rock
A Swingin’ Summer
Assassination in Rome
Carnival of Souls
College Girl Murders
Reform School Girl
Rock All Night
Asylum
Corridors of Blood
The Horror of Party Beach
How to Make a Monster
War of the Colossal Beast
What a Carve Up
Creation of the Humanoids
Invasion of the Neptune Men
Planet on the Prowl
Teenage Caveman
Terror Beneath the Sea
Dynamite Joe
The Ruthless Four

Here’s to hoping they get some true winners like Manos: Hands of Fate in there, although honestly I think I couldn’t take that movie all the way through once again.

Also many apologies if these are beyond your regular B-Movie radar, some of these really kind of look like they’re gonna be grade A stink.

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MadWorld – Chainsaw days

It’s been a while since the game came out, but it’s a bit of a cornerstone to Wii gaming, for older audiences the game is slapstick madness in the sense that it’s completely violent and it makes no apologies about it, the game is designed as a mature 3rd person fighting title that grabs it’s rating of M and rides the wheels off of it.

When the title came out it was surrounded with TV questions of “would you buy this for your child?” “do you condone your child playing this?” and so fourth, the issue was that the game wasn’t designed for children and better yet it only proved that parents should be doing their job and researching what their kids beg them for. It was like a sense of whiplash to the parents finally that games are designed for audiences. For those actually wondering, it’s probably not the best game for your child to grow up on if you haven’t been involved in showing them that shoving a sign post through someones head isn’t nice.

On from that, the game deserves the praise it has gotten in the media so far for being such a great looking and excellent controlling game, the game was actually a joy to play through, motions were simple and illustrated on screen without interuption and it wasn’t actually all that absurd. Players get exposed to MadWorld as Jack, a mystery combatant with what seems to be a bit of a side agenda, as the game pans out players rank up by meeting score quotas and taking down bosses, the story of the city and of your investors slowly emerge from that point as you infiltrate the game further hoping to reach the crown.

The game features multiple attack methods such as basic melee combinations but it strives on creative kills, stuffing tires on enemies, shoving poles through them, slamming trash barrels on them and then repeatedly impaling them on spikes for maximum point rewards. Really the game is quite magical in the sense that it goes completely over the top to seperate itself from anything remotely serious.

The other reward for me was the soundtrack, it seems that every now and again Sega really cranks out a superb soundtrack, Jet Set Radio was quite a good bit of fun but MadWorld was the modern violent take on how they can go about a great mix. Unfortunately it was a limited release and goodness if it isn’t hard to track down in any form let alone find it for less than about $50

Overall the game is great, the graphics are great in their high contrast form, the combat is superb and easy to execute, the music is a welcome change and the flexibility of the game shows through constantly without feeling heavily repetitious or like a complete gimmick. For anyone up for a good violent bash MadWorld is a must have for your collection. Personally I’ll be giving it another play through to try and really raise the stakes on my existing scores.

DIY: Repairing a Rock Band Kick Pedal

Rock Band is quite an entertaining game it brings everyone together to click and clack their way to high scores and have a good group moment. Unfortunately people also get a bit carried away and often the casualty to the outing is the kick pedal on the drum kit. For some reason Harmonix didn’t exactly gauge how much people would really play the kit, as a result kicks started breaking like crazy and people started wandering to find replacements or decent fixes.

While there are many popular methods out there to fashion your own MDF plate or even metal plate and screw it in, not everyone is that savy and sometimes a splint and some tape might be the best option available.

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Enter the handy fix, steel hard drive rails, they’re about $2 on the internet (Directron.com) and they’ll do well for this fix, I already had a pair in my parts box so I went ahead from here.

The Rock Band kick pedal generally breaks just before the spring, the plastic is unsupported and just floats for the most part while there’s a huge amount of tension that comes out of the toe portion. Using a rail on each side one is able to form a strong support that absorbs the flex and distributes it through both sides. If your RB1 kick hasn’t broken yet then this is even more ideal so that you can save it before it does.

The first thing to do though is pull off the steel tabs at the top of the rail, these will just get in the way of things later on, once the tabs are off we’ll go forward.

The rails we used were just over 1/2 an inch wide, as a result they dont go far enough over to actually interfere with the spring. place the rail with the edge just supporting the outside of the pedal, basically hooking it as a guide if you’re not sure if it looks right check out the attached pictures, the goal of the rail is to have about 50% of it on each side of the break in the plastic, if the bottom is hitting just slide it until it closes properly, keep in mind that if the pedal can’t make a complete press then it wont register. At this point I used packing tape to secure the single rail just slightly so it wouldn’t flop off, duct tape or electrical tape should work just as well, make sure that it’s secured first before proceeding to do the same to the other side of the pedal, one rail isn’t enough to support it and things will only get strange from there.

If the pedal is being a pain to cooperate you can bunch up some socks or grab a shoe and shove it at the end of the pedal, this should bring it back to alignment with the base section of the broken pedal. If need be ask someone to help hold things still as you strap it down with tape.

Once both sides are secured, start applying longer strips of tape on the top and bottom of the pedal, wrap it about 3-4 times tightly and things should be good to go. Push down on the pedal with your hand and the pressure should be absorbed with no more flex from the breaking point.

This is a bit of a quick and dirty guide but for $2 and some tape I don’t think we can polish that much. This current fix has been steady in heavy use for about 3 months now. I have to thank Franks for the initial info on how to get things working again.

DIY Quad Core PC for under $500

Lately it seems I’ve been building a lot of systems, many being systems on a budget to get the most power for their money right now. While some may leap on me and note that I should just start pimping out Intel and saying the i7 is the only way to go, I’m not gonna do that simply because for under the price of an i7 920 and X58 motherboard you can build an entire system minus OS and we’re about to prove that right now.

It’s not the prettiest of choices but it gets the job done.

  • Case: HEC 6C28BBX585 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Case
  • Power: HEC 585W Power supply
  • Motherboard: ASRock A780GMH/128M AM2+ / AM3 MATX
  • CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz AM3 Tri-Core
  • GPU: Powercolor AX4850 512MB PCIe
  • Memory: Crucial 4GB DDR2 800 (PC6400)
  • Storage: Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.B 250GB SATA 3.0Gb/s
  • Optical: LG 20X DVD -/+ RW Burner SATA

Our Newegg wish list for this system: Link

The ASRock board is a shortcut here, many reports confirm that the model is able to use ACC to unlock the 4th core on the 720BE as such the user is able to score a 2.8GHz Quad core on the cheap and the whole build on Newegg runs $481.93 in comparison the i7 920 with zotac motherboard runs $483.98 not including video / ram / hdd / etc.

I would say that for the college gamer this is a decent rig to have around, it’ll be reliable and it’ll be able to play the newest games for the next few years with maybe a new video upgrade as that 4th year rolls around. Really for anyone on a budget this system should deliver quite a punch.

It would be cool if we could actually produce and test this machine first-hand but unfortunately budget isn’t allowing for that right now.