The Mouth of Sauron
Diary of a Tolkien Fiend
Sunday, January 29, 2006
  Oops!
In my next to last post, Star Wars Battlefront II, I was wrong about two things.

Number one: the Rancor doesn't just stand there and roar. If you get too close to him, he grabs you and eats you! I was right about not being able to kill him though.

Number two: although it is extremely difficult, it is not impossible to win the Assault Mode in Mos Eisley while playing the villains. I won it once (I had the AI mode set to Elite, though; maybe that makes a difference).
 
Saturday, January 28, 2006
  I Quit Smoking! Yes, again...
My New Year's resolution this year was to quit smoking, so I started using the nicotine patch on January 1st. I actually stayed smoke-free for three whole weeks that time, but alas, I wasn't nicotine-free because I was using the patch, so I relapsed. This time, however, I have decided to quit cold turkey. It's been more than 36 hours since I smoked my last cigarette. Anyway, rather than fill this blog with boring quit-smoking entries, I've started a new blog for anyone who's interested in reading about my ongoing battle to rid myself of this nasty addiction:

[Discontinued]
 
Saturday, January 07, 2006
  Star Wars Battlefront II
I've been playing this game almost constantly lately. In many ways it's just like the first Battlefront game, but there are a few important differences. For one thing, some of the units that I find the most fun to play, like the Jet Trooper and the Dark Trooper, both of whom can fly for short periods using a jet pack, have to be unlocked before you can play them. While I don't really like that change, there is one change to the game that I love... you can also unlock a Jedi or Sith to play (depending on which side you're on). When you unlock a Jedi or Sith, a lightsaber takes the place of the life meter. Unlike a life meter, however, the lightsaber beam grows shorter as time goes by. When it is compleatly depleted, the Jedi/Sith leaves the battle. It can also be shortened prematurely by injuries. But you can prolong your Jedi/Sith's time on the battlefield by killing enemies.

There are also some new boards, like Jabba's Palace, which is pretty cool even though you can't kill Jabba or the Rancor (although there's no need to, because they don't attack you either, it would have added more realism if at least the Rancor did something other than just stand there and roar, and also more of a challenge if you had to fight it). Also, another great feature is that you can now have space battles. Depending which side you choose, you can now fly an X-wing fighter or a Tie-fighter, as well as other space vehicles. I found the controls kind of confusing, however, and this mode was extremely hard for me to play.

The best part of this game is Assault mode, which only seems to be available on the Mos Eisely battlefield (click "Instant Action" then add "Mos Eisley" and choose "Assault"). This mode allows you to play either one of the Heroes or one of the Villains of the Star Wars saga. I assume it's also available in multi-player but I haven't tried that yet. The heroes you have to choose from are Yoda, Obi-Wan (younger version), Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Mace Windu, and Aayla Secura. Of the villains you can play Darth Sidious, Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, General Grievous, Darth Maul, Boba Fett, Jango Fett, or Count Dooku. If you choose a Jedi or a Sith, you have certain force powers. For example, any Jedi or Sith can run really fast for short periods of time, or jump really high (almost as good as having a jet pack, which of course Boba Fett has). You can also throw your lightsaber or use the force push (for Darth Sidious it's a choke-hold). I find Darth Maul the most fun to play, because of his moves and of course his double-bladed lightsaber.

The Assault mode is such a great addition to this game that one wonders why they didn't make it available on more worlds. After a while I kind of get sick of seeing the same scenery over and over. In particular, I would have liked to have played this kind of game on the Death Star or on Hoth. The only thing I don't like about this mode is that, at least in single-player, the heroes always win the battle! At first I thought it was just that I sucked, but then as I got better and really started kicking ass, towards the end of the battle I saw the number of kills by the enemy suddenly jump ten points ahead and stay there no matter how hard I tried to close the gap. Then, just to confirm that I was right about this, I played a new game as Luke, and turned traitor. I started killing as many of my bot teammates as I could, avoiding the enemy or letting them kill me if I couldn't avoid them. The heroes still won. It remains to be seen whether this happens in multi-player mode (assuming you can play it in multi-player; it would really suck if you can't).

Anyway, despite the minor flaws I mentioned, this is a great game and I strongly recommend it, especially if you liked the original Battlefront.
 
The rider was robed all in black, and black was his lofty helm; yet this was no Ringwraith but a living man. The Lieutenant of the Tower of Barad-dur he was, and his name is remembered in no tale; for he himself had forgotten it, and he said: 'I am the Mouth of Sauron.' J.R.R. Tolkien

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