Avatar ‘Ion Fury’ – mini review

‘Ion Fury’ is the best old new old game I have played in a while.

What do you mean you don’t know what an old new old game is? Isn’t it obvious? Okay grandad, let me explain.

Back in the day, a series of first person shooters were built on an engine called Build. This Build engine powered many a successful game such as ‘Duke Nukem 3D’, ‘Exhumed’ and ‘Blood’. After a while people were looking for fancy shizz that had polygonal roundness and curvy sumptuousness that Build couldn’t handle so it quietly disappeared into the background. Cut to 2019 and a new game using the same engine was released called ‘Ion Fury’. It was a prequel to a game called ‘Bombshell’ nobody could remember because it was bollocks. Thankfully ‘Ion Fury’ was actually pretty good and garnered much better reviews and a smidgen of success as a result.

Now, two years later, I have been playing through it and it’s a spicy meatball of a game. If you still need me to explain the old new old thing I’m going to need some slides and a hammer.

You played as Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison (ahhhh, ahhhh, see why? Ahhhh!). What’s the plot? Is there really one to begin with? You an ass-kicker and you have to pick up some guns and kick some ass; that’s all you really need to know. If you’ve played any of the aforementioned PC games then you’ll know exactly what to expect: chunky graphics, over the top weapons and more explosions than a Michael Bay boxset on fire. It plays incredibly well, smooth and fast, the developers knew what they were doing and squeezed everything they could out of a fairly familiar and well-trodden scenario. The settings are somewhat similar to Duke’s first 3D outing taking in city streets, skyscrapers and malls with alien bits scattered around for good measure. What really sets it apart though is the difficulty.

This game is hard. I played through it on the second easiest difficulty and even then it was an uphill struggle. You cannot gleefully blast your way through the campaign. You will be saving often and you will need to think about the order in which you do things. At times it was more like a tactical RPG where you carefully plan where you move to, what gun to use and when to retreat back to hide behind that soda machine. The enemies are smart and often they are placed in the position that is most likely to blow your face off in that they have the freedom of a large area with a grenade launcher pointed in your general direction and a fuck ton of body armour and you, even with your strongest weapon, will feel like wet cheese slapping them on their elbow.

It does require a lot of patience because sometimes even the silliest error would make you lose half of your health within a matter of seconds. Thankfully there are numerous checkpoints and you can save at any time.

After playing for fifteen hours I was convinced I was near to the end and they practically slapped a huge NOPE across my forehead because I wasn’t. It was a slog towards the end. I would recommend playing in short bursts, kind of like my company; too much is bad for your health. To put it into context I blasted my way through ‘Doom 64’ in-between playing ‘Ion Fury’ and finished that before I’d even gotten two thirds of the way through this. You certainly get your money’s worth.

‘Ion Fury’ is available for PS4, X-Box One, Nintendo Switch and Steam (steam!).

Avatar ABOFB 29: Egyptian Film Club

Its film review time, so don’t tune in this time out if you want to avoid any spoilers. We deliver in-depth film reviews of:

  • The Embassy is in the Building
  • Dr Omar’s Gang
  • The Babydoll Knight
  • Hassan & Marcus
A Breath of Fresh Beans
A Breath of Fresh Beans
ABOFB 29: Egyptian Film Club
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Avatar The Past – Simple and Chunky

Look at you with your big shoes and your empty wallet. How do you pay for things? With your phone? Your watch? Don’t talk to me about witchcraft, sonny, I was around when Timmy Mallet had a music career.

Recycling; you take something old and you turn it into something new. It’s how the world works now and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I would much rather take the rambling notes of a semi-drunk Ian trying to remember an idea from over ten years ago (vanillla scapegoat, shoulder frog bags, ultra finger groups?) and turn it into a leaflet advertising the many talents of a local spiritual healer. Think of the tens of people who would benefit from my sacrifice. It’s a win win for the world.

When I was back visiting my family for belated birthday proceedings I took to the loft in her house to dig out the last of my junk that is cluttering the place up in the hope of either getting rid of it or taking it with me back to Newcastle. What I unearthed will probably form the majority of my posts for next month because December is a busy month. It’s time to phone it in (no pun intended).

I present to you Bob, my very first mobile phone:

Phhhhhhhhwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwooooooar!

Purchased for a mere £30.00 from (I think) an O2 store at the White Rose Shopping Centre circa 1999/2000, I initially refused to get one on the grounds that everyone else was and I didn’t want to be lumped in with the zeitgeist. Whatever it was that made me change my mind is lost to time. Perhaps it was the whopping ten (count ’em) text messages the internal battery of the phone could hold or the two lines of text visible on the 3cm by 1cm screen. Maybe it was the robust handset that, even in my tiny hands, feels as though you could crack open a tin of beans with it.

I am confident that this little wild cherry will be worth a lot of money in the future as over twenty years later it is still dripping with sex and style, much like yours truly. Once I start strutting my stuff down at da club, when I be all up at da club, waving this honey sausage around like a pair of electrics socks (?) I’ll be a local celebrity.

I am Future Retro.

Avatar Four Word Reviews: Fantastic Television Themes

Sometimes the random albums you are compelled to listen to and review are just average. Sometimes the random albums you are compelled to listen to and review are life-changingly bad. Sometimes, though, the random albums you are compelled to listen to and review are not albums at all. There’s no particular artist, no particular style, no lyrics even. This is one of those albums.

Read More: Four Word Reviews: Fantastic Television Themes »

Avatar ‘Chicken Police: Paint it RED!’ – mini review

“The sun rolled over for the last time of that week. I checked my chagrin; it was sitting on a fence down by the side of the street that I daren’t walk on anymore. The air was crisp and clear, it kissed my cheeks and promised me more than it could ever give. I tipped my hat and headed on my way.

‘Chicken Police’ is exactly how it sounds; it is a video game where you play as Sonny Featherland who is both a policeman and a chicken. These are very important details. Sonny, like all of the characters, has a human body but an animal head. His hands do various non-chicken things like pointing and holding guns. He talks like a character from a detective novel from the 1940’s and looks like a modern day Humphrey Bogart would… if he was a chicken.

At the start of the game you are currently 120 days away from retirement and Sonny has been put on suspension by his hard-hitting police chief. Locked away in his hotel room of an office, he is visited by a mysterious femme fatale who wants him to work a case outside the law for her client. With curiosity gnawing at his mind and nothing much else to do, he recruits his old partner Marty to help him work out just what is happening on New Year’s Eve in the city of Clawville.

‘Chicken Police’ is a very simple point and click adventure game. You won’t find any absurd puzzles here (see ‘the moustache’ from ‘Gabriel Knight III’ or ‘the goat puzzle’ from the original ‘Broken Sword’) as everything is catered to the more casual gamer. You can look at things, pick things up, talk to / ask people questions and eventually interrogate them after a period of time (where you are graded on how quickly and effectively you obtained the information you needed to progress the story). You travel between key locations on the map around the city trying to piece the puzzle together. There is the main plot to follow but you can also visit other places to chat and procure achievements for doing certain things; you know, typical video game fodder.

The visuals are lovely, like a new summer’s morn. All of the locations and characters look almost real despite the aforementioned animal head looking back at you. This is coupled with a moody soundtrack and excellent voice acting by all the main cast. The story is interesting and varied and twists at the right points to lead your expectations into red alleys and dead herrings.

Where it falls down is that it is a little too easy. There are no penalties for failing to ask the right questions (you can even re-do the entire conversation if you want to get a higher rating), you cannot die and when you are trying to assemble the clues into a cohesive structure the game is all too happy to tell you where you are going wrong and nudge you in the right direction. The dialogue is a little clumsy too, where what is being said by the characters doesn’t match the written account at the bottom. There are also numerous instances of double spaces where there shouldn’t be (such an egregious error). Sometimes you’ll ask questions of someone and then press the talk button only to instigate a conversation that was leading up to you asking questions, as if you were supposed to talk first (perhaps even more than once) and then choose to question them. The game doesn’t want to move things along based on what you’ve already done making it a little disjointed.

These are only minor gripes though. For the 5 to 10 hours I spent playing it I enjoyed every moment. It’s more a visual novel with light puzzle sections than anything else. It’s also very funny and I do hope that the developers make a sequel.

‘Chicken Police: Paint it RED!’ is available on Steam, Playstation 4, X Box and Nintendo Switch.

Avatar ABOFB 27: Through the Grey Hemisphere

We talked about forming a supergroup formed only of newsreaders, in the process we discuss:

  • All the newsreaders we could remember
  • The “Grey Hemisphere”
  • It all goes pervy
  • Ian’s creative process

A Breath of Fresh Beans
A Breath of Fresh Beans
ABOFB 27: Through the Grey Hemisphere
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