Posts Tagged ‘Monolith’

The Placing Of Products: Middle Earth – Shadows Of Mordor

While watching the latest trailer for Middle Earth: God of War-dor, I realised that I’d started to think of the Lord of the Rings references as a sort of product placement. There’s a splatter of blood, a decapitation, a roaring of monsters, and then the narrator mentions something about Sauron. It’s branded decapitation, y’see. In the latest video, a ranger uses ‘wraith’ powers to see into the minds of his enemies, seeking their weaknesses and fears. It seems like a perfect opportunity for more product placement, which is something I’d like to encourage in games as in films. The industry needs a new pair of shoes, after all.

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It Lives Again: Blood Rises On Steam

If I wrote a post every time an old game popped up on Steam, I wouldn’t have time to gather my thoughts about new games, or to drink this delicious cuppa. I’d also be wasting a lot of words on Putt-Putt And Fatty Bear’s Flatulent Festival, along with various other fetid blasts from the past. Blood is different though. It isn’t a difficult game to find but when I spotted that it had emerged on Steam, I felt the butterflies that live in my stomach fluttering into action (assistance required – send a lepidopterist with a scalpel). It’s a brilliant FPS, with credible environments and intelligent enemy placement, particularly throughout the first episode, which I’ve probably played more than any other collection of levels.

Do not buy the sequel though. It’s a rotten mess.

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Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor Has Assassins, No Creeds

I swear I'm not Eziooooooooooooooooooooo

I remember when Lord of the Rings games legitimately excited me. Of course, I was roughly 12 seconds old back then and wanted to grow up to be Legolas (life experience has since taught me that Aragorn is where it’s at and also that far better fantasy literature exists), but there was a time when the prospect of mowing down a million orcs like so many blades of sickly green grass seemed like an idyllic, Shire-worthy way to spend an afternoon. I wondered, then, if Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor‘s latest trailer would rekindle that feeling in me, that wide-eyed reverence of a youth boxed away in the basements of time. Long story short, it didn’t. Kinda made me want to play Assassin’s Creed, though.

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Yesssss: No One Lives Forever Finally Getting Re-Released

'Hey, get off me!' the mime did not say.

Yes yes yes thank goodness hooray finally oh gosh woooo wheeeee yeah excellent fantastic wonderful groovy there should be a parade.

No One Lives Forever, the excellent tongue-in-cheek spy series from Monolith whose rights mysteriously went missing, is very likely about to get an online re-release. Finally. So, where in the world has Carmen Sandiego Cate Archer been hiding all this time? Well, it looks like Night Dive Studios – they of the System Shock 2 and Humongous Entertainment re-releases – got ahold of the series, though they’re not committing to anything just yet.

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You Will NOLF True FEAR: Betrayer Out Now


Once upon a time Monolith made the candy/1970s-colored No One Lives Forever, but then the years passed and the colors drained away. The result? F.E.A.R., which traded NOLF’s yuck-yuck-yucks for some spooky, splattery “oh… yucks.” Flash forward to today: all of the color is gone, with six Monolith vets producing the gloomily black-and-white Betrayer. It’s got scares in spades and thick cobwebs of dread lingering in every corner of its 1604 Roanoke colony setting, but is it any good? Now you can find out. Launch trailer below.

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A Dead Ringer: Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor

Huh? If there’s one thing I didn’t expect the next big Lord of the Rings game to resemble, it was Assassin’s Creed. But that’s all I could think about when watching this footage of Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor (well that, Bacon Pancakes, and this otter). It’s an open-world action RPG, and when Wraith-possessed (sigh) Ranger Talion sauntered up a wall and rope-walked over a courtyard, it was right out of Ezio’s* skillset. When he then used his Wraith powers (sigh-sigh) to scan the crowd, they might as well have added an eagle screech and a wink. Not that it didn’t look like fun, and there’s some stuff in here about a nemesis systems that you should look at, but the inspiration is incredibly obvious.
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You’re Not Allowed To See Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

now that's what I call next-generation

The reason you’re not allowed to see this new Lord of the Rings game, announced earlier today, is because it’s all bound up in a multi-day slow-reveal at Big Game Retailer’s In-Store Magazine, which has not as yet progressed past ‘lone piece of concept art’ stage. So what you’re expected to do is feel a surge of desire for this “next-generation, third-person action game set in Middle-earth that explores an original story of vengeance and redemption” even though you don’t have the foggiest idea what it looks like.

I was going to be terribly stroppy and refuse to post about the Monolith-developed Shadow Of Mordor until such exclusive silliness had passed, but then I read a thing that sounds rather interesting even though the general grimdark stuff was somewhat turning me off. I’ll tell you what the thing is, if you’ll indulge my clearly exploitative lead-in.
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Dark Signal: The Origins Of FEAR

Update: A second conversation with Craig Hubbard revealed a few more details, so I’ve added them where appropriate. The section ‘Mergers And Executions’ now talks more about cut villain Conrad Krige and the game’s improbable original opening (a car chase), while a new section on its famous radio chatter has been added to the end.

In this second of three conversations with the Monolith veterans at Blackpowder Games, whose debut Betrayer is kind of available now, it’s time to look at FEAR: First Encounter Assault Recon. Well, it is if you do things backwards.
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MOBA Of Sauron: The Guardians of Middle-earth

Popular culture is slowly dripping into the MOBA genre. It’s remained fairly resistant to the wider world until now (probably because the wider world is a noob and was shouted at until it logged off), and I can only think of DC’s Infinite Crisis as an interloper from elsewhere. Now it’s time for Tolkien’s Middle-earth to form some lanes and take on Dota 2 and LoL: Guardians of Middle-earth, a console-based MOBA from Monolith, is coming to the PC this month. I have a trailer.
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No One Lives Forever Rights Nowhere To Be Found

Where in the world is Cate Archer? Not even Carmen Sandiego knows. Presumably. We also couldn't find her, only complicating the matter.

No One Lives Forever was basically the greatest. This is an incontrovertible truth of the universe. The unabashedly groovy stealth shooter (and its sequel; though not blah blah blam blam spin-off Contract J.A.C.K) was equal parts silly and smart, with a peeling back of the proverbial weaponized banana peel yielding everything from lowbrow stereotypes to startlingly nuanced dissections of sexism and the criminal mind. Also, it had the best phonetic title acronym ever. NOLF. Just say that out loud. Isn’t it wonderful? It’s like the yelp a dog would make if its nose were being pinched by an enraged yet largely harmless lobster. But anyway, point being, wouldn’t it be great if we could somehow get another from somebody? Please? Well, happily, there appear to be at least a couple interested parties. Problem is, Cate Archer’s performed a disappearing act so formidable that even the likes of the maniacal *lightning crackles* Activision Corp can’t track her down.

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