Category Archives: Gaming

A Review of The Brother’s War

The Brother’s War Review

The Brother’s War, a powerful fantasy novel based on the trading card game Magic the Gathering by Jeff Grubb tells a story of epic warfare, betrayal, love, and the dark side of ambition. It transformed the fictional world of Terisaire as well as those of the two brothers who fought for it, Urza and Mishra, and those around them. Set in an age of unrest between two races of people and the quest for power, the two brothers Urza and Mishra battled each other for ultimate control of Terisaire and each determined to kill the other.
The story begins with Urza and Mishra becoming apprentices to the archaeologist and artificer Tocasia. In the novel, Jeff Grubb used a lot of detail to describe the main characters. He described Urza as a “thin and tall man, with blonde hair,” while Mishra is broad and tall, with black hair. Both of them spent their early teenage years with Tocasia, but after Urza discovered the Mightstone and Mishra, the Weakstone, the two brother killed Tocasia and each went their separate ways. It is this moment that the two brothers would begin their quest for supremacy.

As time progressed, both brothers came to influence a faction. Urza married the daughter of the Warlord of Yotia and became the Chief Artificer, while Mishra became the Wizard for the Fallaji tribes. Both used their influence over the rulers to achieve their own goals, which was to defeat each other.

However Urza married the Warlord’s daughter not because he really loves her, but it was for power and to make machines for the nation. For most of the marriage, Urza neglected his wife to the point that she slept with Mishra, who was his worst enemy.

­­The real battle would not begin until the Warlord betrayed Urza and attempted to kill Mishra. This “betrayal” escalated the war further and when Urza told Mishra to stop it, Mishra said, “So you can betray us again?” From that point on, the two brothers would never trust each again, each fearing that the other would grow stronger and betray them.

Years passed and the two grew even stronger. Mishra united the Fallaji tribes while Urza became the Lord Protector of three great empires in the north. Mishra enlisted the help of the Priests of Gix, who controlled many machines and are half-machines themselves. With their help, Mishra launched a deadly raid into Yotia and in a single stroke took the whole empire.

The final battle, however, would not occur until years into the conflict, when the two opposing armies gathered on the island of Argive. Jeff Grubb described it as, “The night the world ended.” The description of the battlefield is “gloomy and dark.” The two armies “gathered at opposite ends over the dead bodies of elves and trees.” Jeff paints a picture of how the battlefield looks like and it is easy for readers to understand and picture it.

Mishra attacked Urza but fires on his clothe burned his skin and revealed what was inside. To Urza’s horror, Mishra’s internal organs had been replaced by machines and his blood is replaced by oil. Mishra had been consumed by the very machines he had created. When he saw what Mishra had become, he was sure that his brother was gone and he was determined to destroy the abomination that was now his “brother.”

Using a powerful artifact known as the Sylex, Urza destroyed his brother, both armies, and shattered the island of Argive. The rage, pain, memories, and power flowed through him and he ascended into a planeswalker, a near-god being who has the power to travel to different planets (or planes). The novel ends with Urza leaving the land and snow falling, paving the way for future novels in this series.

Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend other readers to read this. The author Jeff Grubb wrote a book with a perfect plot and a detailed description of characters, locations, and events; and most of the times it is easy for readers to understand. You do not have to play

Magic the Gathering to understand this story, and that is what makes this book interesting. However at certain points the book tends to go confusing because there is a great amount of detail, and sometimes it confuses the reader. Also it is not recommended to skip any chapters in the book, as each chapter ties in with the next.

In The Brothers’ War, Jeff Grubb paints a picture of how ambition and the lust power can destroy both men and land alike. Forces that even threatens our world today.

Sources:

Grubb, Jeff. The Brother’s War. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1998

SNES Game Review – Mortal Kombat 3

In 1995 Mortal Kombat 3 was unleashed upon the world. Following the great success of Mortal Kombat 3, the team at midway polished their game to a sleeker, faster, bloodier, more complicated fighting game.
Unfortunatly for Shang Tsung, his master Shao Kahn has enacted a 10,000 year old plan to revive his dead queen Sindel in the Earthrealm, where she can act as a beacon to allow Shao Kahn to leave the Outworld, and conquer the Earthrealm. Billions of souls are instantly stolen by Shao Kahn, sparing only a few because of Rayden’s influence. Now the Fighters must defeat Shao Kahn or risk losing their realm to the lord of the Outworld. Mortal Kombat begins again.

Graphically, Mortal Kombat 3 surpasses any fighter of its generation. Stop motion actors were used for the sprites, beautiful dark backgrounds less concerned with an Asian theme, now portray a stronger western influence. The Effects of special abilities are revamped to include brighter messier visuals that portray even more violence than the previous installments.

Mortal Kombat 3 had impressive brooding fight music, powerful SFX and appropriate announcer sound bytes. Strong hits are accompanied by loud smacks and visceral crunches. Truly Violence has never sounded so satisfying as it does on Mortal Kombat 3

As fighters advanced, so did their control scheme and difficulty. Mortal Kombat 3 builds upon the strong foundation of HI KICK LO KICK, HI PUNCH LO PUNCH, BLOCK, and adds an additional RUN meter as well as “Chain Combos” that are unstoppable after they have begun regardless of hitting an opponent. The learning curve is awfully steep for a fighter because it includes a larger variety of combo attacks as well as a few newly introduced game play aspects such as: multi-tier arenas where an opponent can be knocked upwards into a special arena above the starting ones, a new fatality known as “Animalities”

Mortal Kombat 3 is not an easy game by any standards, it is reserved for seasoned MK veterans as well as those looking for a smarter fighter. Mortal Kombat 3 was marketed towards the Teen audience, despite its massive quantities of violence and gore.

Mortal Kombat 3 expanded upon its predecessors, implemented new features, and polished already impressive graphics to a almost realistic degree. Mortal Kombat 3 deserves a solid 4 bicycle kicks out of 5.

New Play Control! Pikmin Preview for Nintendo Wii

Pikmin came from the mastermind of game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. It was actually one of the lesser known titles produced by the creator of Zelda and Mario. With the port to the Nintendo Wii, many players will get a second chance to experience this underrated Nintendo Gamecube classic title. Here is a preview of New Play Control! Pikmin for the Nintendo Wii.
Story

Captain Olimar is a famous explore from the planet, Hocotate. One day, he decided to take a break from his scavenger job and aimlessly float through space with his ship, Dolphin. Disaster hits when a comet brought the Dolphin down to a mysterious planet. Now Captain Olimar must find the missing parts of the Dolphin with the help of his Pikmin friends before his life support system runs out in 30 days.

Graphics

Pikmin was one of the better-looking titles on the Nintendo Gamecube. Thus, New Play Control! Pikmin still holds up nicely against other Nintendo Wii games due to the unique art style and vibrant visuals. Not to mention that the game will support widescreen display on the Nintendo Wii.

Sound

The music in New Play Control! Pikmin is simply majestic with its mix of exploration and relaxation. In addition, the battle cries of the game will make you feel like you are in a real struggle.

Gameplay

You won’t find another video game like New Play Control! Pikmin except for the original Pikmin and Pikmin 2. The series can be best described as adventure titles with real-time strategy elements.

The main character, Captain Olimar, does not do much by himself. Instead, he commands strange plant-like creatures called Pikmin. These mysterious inhabitants can perform many tasks including fighting enemies, building bridges, carrying objects and breaking down walls.

Captain Olimar can control up to 100 Pikmins at a time. The different types of these plant-like creatures includes red (withstand fire and strong attackers), blue (swimming ability) and yellow (can carry bombs and be thrown high). In addition, these Pikmins have three stages of development going from leaf to bud to flower. The more mature a Pikmin, the faster it runs.

Pikmins lived in a spaceship called the Onion. This building is very important in your mission as it is where you can summon Pikmins, create new ones (by bring pellets and enemy bodies) and hide them from night predators.

Using the Onions and Pikmin, you must frantically search the mysteriously planet of your missing spaceship parts. New Play Control! Pikmin will put you on a time limit throughout the whole journey. You only have 30 days in the game in order to find all missing parts and return home before your life support runs out. In addition, you can only venture out on the Pikmin planet when the sun is up.

The unique gameplay combined with the franticness made Pikmin one of the best and also one of the most underrated Nintendo Gamecube titles. New Play Control! Pikmin will be adding a new control scheme to the game. Since most of the action requires aiming, using the Wii Remote to aim will be a welcomed addition.

Final Product

New Play Control! Pikmin will retail for $29.99. This is quite the bargain for an excellent game, especially since the Nintendo Gamecube version is still going for over $20 used.

So if you missed Pikmin on the Nintendo Gamecube, don’t miss it again when New Play Control! Pikmin comes out in March exclusively for the Nintendo Wii.