Saturday, May 20, 2006


Last week Einstuerzende Neubauten released the fourth EP in their Musterhaus series. This one contains a few live recordings of the band performing together with an orchestra. The first two tracks, 'Wueste' and 'Keine Schoenheit ohne Gefahr' are obvious choices for this treatment, as their compositions contained significant orchestral parts to begin with. The other tracks, 'Installation No. 1' and 'Negativ Nein' are harder, more industrial songs so their transition to this different format is more interesting. Overall the Musterhaus series has been pretty good, although it would help if they bothered to email subscribers when they released a new installment. I missed out on downloading the second one by a day. It's a bit expensive though so I don't know if I'll keep subscribing, although my attitude may well change when I start working again.


I also bought Sin Episodes Part 1 off of Steam last week too. Remember a time when Doom was the best computer game ever made, and all a game developer had to do in order to sell a product was to put in lots of gore and overdone PG13 sexuality? The original Sin came out in just this environment and despite being a terrible game they sealed it's popularity by putting a ridiculously proportioned woman in a kinky outfit on the cover. Developers Ritual have apparently not changed much over the years and have delivered more of the same with this sequel. To their credit the absurd plot, gratuitous violence and embarrassingly adolescent sexuality is presented completely shamelessly without taking itself seriously.

The plot is absolutely retarded. Apparently being a cop (A commando cop! Called John Blade!) in the future means that you drive around looking for suspected drug dealers, and whether they're in a warehouse, a cargo ship, or a big office building, you kick down the door and blow everyone inside to fucking pieces. The villain from the original Sin, the absurdly proportioned Alexis, is back in this series, now with even more polygons and featuring more realistic heaving animations. The developers are so proud of this technological achievement that they obligingly begin the opening cut scene with the most ridiculous cleavage shot ever. Even your partner, the obligatory cute, nice girl, for some reason has a police uniform that shows off her g-string.

That said they've found a fool proof way to package all this into a good game. Sin Episodes uses Half-Life 2's Source engine so it plays like a slightly more mindless action oriented Half-Life, it's a very fun game once you get past the stupidity. A nice addition is the dynamic difficulty, which adjusts itself automatically depending on how hard you are finding the game, and it works pretty well. The business model is a bit of a rip off however. Six or seven hours gameplay for $20 US doesn't seem like a bad deal, but when you consider that there will be nine episodes in all it means you'll be paying $180 for the whole game. I will probably splash out for the upcoming Half-Life Episodes but Sin Episodes will have to depend on how many other games are competing for my attention at the same time.


Joel said...

That Einstuerzende Neubauten album you gifted me is really cool. Tribal at places but some other bits remind me of the quake soundtrack.

Wanted to write a review but can never remember how to spell the name and don't have the cd cover with me at the time.

Jon said...

I'm glad you liked it! I think I spell their name wrong half the time anyway...