Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Need For Speed: Undercover Review

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Since I do play video games, and it is called the Chip Collection its time for a video game review. It does have a soundtrack, alot of which is electronic.

I have been interested in the Need For Speed series since they released Hot Pursuit 2 in 2001 or so. That game was the one of the first to introduce cops into into the series as a racing hazard, and it mostly was fun and livened up the game. Since then, tuner culture took over the themes of the Need For Speed Series, and they just can't seem to shake it unfortunately. At first it was a great thing, NFS: Underground was a great game on the PS2 and showcased some very fun cars. After this release however, EA has made the mistake after mistake by only allowing "open-world" tracks. These levels are not handcrafted for fun and adventure, like in Hot Pursuit, or even the first Underground, but merely a spaghetti of roads thrown together to emulate real life city driving like Grand Theft Auto. Next, Gran Turismo started to influence the NFS series by introducing semi-realistic handling in their newer game engines. With vehicles that either don't drift around corners well, feel wobbly, or just plain slow combined with extremely boring underdeveloped tracks, you get some of least fun driving experience in a video game I've had in a long time. Off-hand I'd recommend, Need For Speed Underground 1 or 2, Hot Pursuit 2, Dub LA, Burnout 3, or even Juiced 2 Hot Import Nights on PSP over all the other arcade racing games being released today.

Need For Speed Undercover suffers from everything you can do wrong in a racing. Let me tell you about my experience playing this with a list of pros and cons.

  • They start you off with a Nissan 240SX. Nobody really cares about this car, its super old, like GT1 leftovers. NFS is supposed to be about the latest and fastest.
  • The tracks don't have a handcrafted feel. No adventure or exotic locales. Can't drive up steps.
  • Buggy, I drove right through a police cruiser. I have never seen this happen in any game. Traffic is also seen driving through barricades.
  • Too many game play modes, none of them are polished the same way as other NFS games have been.
  • Its too easy. If you choose the lotus Elise, be prepared to go through 3 hours of sprint races where your 12 seconds ahead everytime. These are real numbers.
  • I didnt witness a cop during sprint races until 3 hours into the game. The cops are not as fun as Hot Pursuit 2 (Helicopter barrels, bombs).
  • The physics don't work with the tracks. You can take a hairpin turn at 130mph by just tapping the handbrake. In Underground you actually get to BRAKE and learn the flow of each track. This game needs drifting! It needs the old feel of the cars where you are actually racing.
  • Tracks are too wide, no sense of speed w/ the ground, cars feel slow.
  • No Ferraris
  • Story/Concept for the game doesn't any make sense. Your an undercover cop, but the cops are after you, and your supposed to destroy the city, and gain street cred, and unlock cars you already have enough money for, and....yea.
  • No point to the "leveling-up" gameplay in this one.
  • IF you actually buy an unlocked car it will come out worse than the one you got after upgrades, and waste all your cash.
  • Nitrous self-regenerates (non tactical).
  • Nitrous is NOT available at the start. No start boost where you get your revs lined up and take off.
  • Damage/Wrecks aren't as cool as Burnout 3, a game which came out 4 years ago.
  • Can't buy cars you have enough cash for!!! (must unlock them, and it doesnt tell you how).
  • Music is not very catchy to sing to. Who doesn't sing in the car sometimes?
  • They threw away the crash/physics from the previous pro-street game.
  • Raced the same damn car over and over for 3 hours.
  • The Car Customization still isn't as cool as Underground's. Autosculpt is quite lame.

  • It works okay on my 2 year old iMac
  • The Drum N Bass music supplied is very good
  • Car models are fine overall
  • Highway Races are scary.
  • It recognized my old controller
  • The theft modes or car delivery is very fun/hard, like in Most Wanted, because you play cars you can't own yet.
  • It was fun for about 15 minutes of the 3 hours I played. Yes some of it is fun at least.

Unfortunately I'd be hard pressed to call this a racing game. There is almost no racing to be found in it. Even with the cops added back in the style of Most Wanted challenges, its too few and far between. Please EA just remake Hot Pursuit 2 with Ferraris/Prosche, and bring back the old drifty physics that would make you feel on the edge of no control around a corner. Bring back the adventure style short cuts. Make it a challenging racing game. Make it fun to level up or buy new car (no unlocking). Bring back the insanity of the police helicopters bombing your car. Go back to the drawing board and throw out the legacy engines you spent so much time creating and throw away your mixed ideas for core gameplay. Bring the speed back!!!

Verdict: 6.2 out of 10 (It works, its a waste of time, and mostly sucks.)

Buy these instead:

If you want street car customizations w/ blazing arcade speed get Need For Speed Underground 1 or 2 (Unfortunately f-ing EA took down online server, but its still fun)
If you want the definitive arcade experience & music to sing along to get Burnout 3 or one of its previous incarnations on PS2/Xbox/Psp. (Paradise is a time-waster in the open-world sense.)
If you want cops, ferraris, arcade physics, and rememberable tracks get Hot Pursuit 2
If you want to f-around with the cops get Most Wanted
If you want a real headache through different means get Need For Speed Carbon (hard, drifty) or this piece of crap.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Which is the Best TB-303 Emulator?

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This site has audio comparisons of software, indepth analysis, and is a great resource for trying to find which TB-303 is the one for you!

They even ran it through different distortions as a test. Cool!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Link Load: $45 Analog Synth DIY

 Content Wp-Content Uploads 2008 11 Sx-150-Analog-Synthesizer-Kit
Build An Analog Synthesizer for $45 from Synthopia. Also a video demo!

Jochem Paap, aka Speedy J, wants to make an album that represents not just him, but the global techno community.

Take part in a global collaboration with soundcloud!!
also from Synthopia

 Wp-Content Uploads 2008 11 Noise-Io-Iphone Pro A full featured synth app for the iPhone! Only 9 bucks. Probably

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Koblo Announces Release Of Vibra3000 Mini-Synthesizer!

A synthesizer showdown. Korg Microkorg vs. Micron? A very nice essay to read from the Silouhette

Sonic The Hedgehog VOPM - A virtual instrument.

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This youtube video shows me the first I've seen of VOPM, an FM emulator of the Yamaha YM2151. I suppose it for sega genesis style music! Check out this song of Aquatic Ruin from Sonic 2

Want to try it out for yourself? Here is a link to the KVR info site on VOPM. It looks like they do have a macintosh version now. I'll have to play with this an report back. If it is true to the Sega Genesis's sound chip that will be amazing, although I know nothing is quite like the direct output of the real Sega console! Awesome!

Also check out CHIP32, which has an AU version.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hot Gold Cuts


Available for download ($5) is my new studio album, Hot Gold Cuts!

Inspired by the feel of live recordings, this blend of electronica, lounge, and nasty electric-speaker-rock is set to move you into a new territory at an ever-increasing pace. Dark night cruisers, subspace rippers, organs, and mellow melodies are contained here. Various tracks, like Blackhawk and Hot Gold Cuts give you an updated 70s feel. Rollin Bass is eerily remeniscent of a certain frog puppet and Hyperspace Hotel sends you into deep space.
30Min. 192kb/s High Quality Mp3. 11 Tracks, all new & re-mastered; Contains Album Artwork for iTunes. Chip Collection Recordings 2008.


Hot Gold Cuts

1. Fire Pit Gremlins
2. Night Explorer
3. Rollin Bass
4. Sassy Snappers
5. Hyperspace Hotel
6. Hot Gold Cuts
7. Burned Marshmallows
8. Guitar Cruiser
9. Road Warriors
10. The Alley Rockers with Bats & Lead Pipe
11. Blackhawk

Thanks for supporting Chip Collection and independent artists!