Sunday, 18 March 2018

Under The Lens

During today's trip to the Digital Comic Museum, I stumbled upon a strip that shows I'm probably right to have a slight distrust of scientists, who despite often being highly intelligent, often forget to go about things sensibly! In this tale, two of them show a general disregard for common sense...

This comes from Charlton Comics Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds Issue 1 (August 1956)

Script : Joe Gill?
Pencils : Charles Nicholas
Inks : Vince Alascia
Letters : Jon D'Agistino

Originally uploaded to the museum by fett so thanks go to them! 

As a little extra bonus, here's a page of ads from the back of the comic too! :-) 

Friday, 16 March 2018

Random Retro - Monster Hunter (Playstation 2)

I've had the Playstation 2 version of Monster Hunter for years, but I was told by a friend not long after I picked it up that it was pointless playing it offline, as the whole point of it was online play. Quests wouldn't pay as much offline, and tackling the bigger monsters would be far too tricky alone , so it would be a lost cause and I should probably avoid it..

And so Monster Hunter was stuck on the shelf after a very quick play to make sure my copy loaded at least, and was forgotten about for several years.....

2018 happens, and everybody is going crazy for Monster Hunter World, and as I've yet to get a machine capable of playing this new entry in the franchise, I decided to hunt out my copy of the original and give it another look to see how it plays offline. Just a quick ten minutes or so to see how it's aged, I think to myself....

Two hours later, I find myself struggling to switch off a game that has quickly become a favourite, and one that I realise has obviously influenced quite a few other games I love (especially Dragon's Dogma!) .......

Starring as an up and coming Monster Hunter with big ambitions, you start the game in a small village and obtain quests from the Village Elder, who at first tasks you with collecting meat and food for the village and learning the basics of surviving out in the field.

Soon though, some more aggressive types of monster start to appear than the the herbivores you've been chopping up for steaks, and you'll be asked to dispose of these terrors to keep the villagers safe and uneaten!

Once you've killed these monsters, you can strip them for meat, hides and bones, which you can then use as food to top up your health or as crafting materials to build better tools and weapons to make you an even better hunter! You can find other items by searching under trees, in bushes,etc. or mining rocks, catching bugs with a net or fishing. You can then combine these finds with others to create potions or other items that will also help you be better equipped to take on the larger monsters that you'll eventually be asked to hunt down!

It all makes for a very enjoyable journey through the many different areas, collecting the materials to upgrade and arm yourself so you can access even more areas and take in the sights. I said I put the game on to see how it's aged, and the answer to that is beautifully! I was pleasantly surprised to see the realistic forest settings and nice little graphical touches, such as the shadows of clouds flitting over the mountains creating a very realistic atmosphere, and streams of light shining through the gaps in the trees....

The variety of different beasts is great too, from the very dinosaur-like Apceros and Velociprey, to the very deer-like Kelbi, and the weird-but-cute Melynx, a race of cat people that surprised me by mugging me when I stumbled into a cave and proceeded to steal all my stuff! There's a cool little guy who waddles around near a big tree and takes my monster bones as trade for mushrooms too, and he reminds me of the odd creatures that populated the countless fantasy films I watched as a kid! 

I've only been playing for a few hours, but already I've stumbled upon some bigger creatures too, like the Rathalos, a giant fire-breathing Wyvern who isn't very happy about me trying to steal it's eggs....and this is making me slightly concerned that maybe these creatures might be a bit too tricky to take out playing solo, and that my friend might have been right to say that the game lacks a lot by no longer being online enabled!

But, at the same time, I'm very glad that I've came back and revisited Monster Hunter, and even if I do get absolutely devastated by the Rathalos, or even a small group of Velociprey, at least I can have fun roaming around these gorgeous landscapes, roasting my meat whilst some comical music plays to tell me when it's ready to eat (or, if I stop it cooking early, ready to be used as bait!), crafting my armour and then chilling out with a bit of fishing....

It's actually a huge shame that it's taken this long for the West to wake up to Monster Hunter, and I wish I had discovered it back when I was still able to connect my PS2 online, as it would obviously have been even much more fun then....but even so, Monster Hunter on PS2 is a game still worthy of a visit, especially if like me you can't join in the fun with Monster Hunter World yet! So stick on your leather vest, arm yourself with a bone-knife and go hunt down a copy! Meanwhile I'll still be here trying to shift these bloody Wyvern eggs without breaking them.......and enjoying every controller-throwing, rage inducing minute of it!