ROME: Total War

Goodbye (non-existant) social life. The Legions of Rome have arrived to occupy my every waking hour with spilling the simulated blood of my enemies.

Being a huge fan of The Creative Assembly’s Medieval: Total War, it was with a mixture of high optimism and mild skeptism that I installed the latest addition to the Total War stable. The first thing that struck me was the size and scope of the enclosed Campaign Map. Stretching from the deserts of Arabia to Brittannia, it takes in mountains, deserts, forests, rivers and Mediterranean islands.


I was pleased to see this detail carried over to the game. The Strategic map lives up to it’s strategic name. Gone is the region by region move allowance of Medieval. Now, units have an allowance based upon certain factors (including the famous Roman Roads) which is highlighted when you select a unit, Army or agent. The map is littered with choke points, bridges, mountain passes, all places from where you can defend your fledgling Empire from marauding hordes of Barbarians and your rivals. Placing armies in Forests allows you to ambush passing enemies and you can use your armies to block and harass the enemy on the campaign map.

Features from the map are carried over into the battles. If you meet your enemy at a river crossing, you will fight over that river during the battle. This brings and entirely new element to the game which was missing from Medieval. You can choose the landscape to fight over (but be careful because your enemy can too!).

The battle system has been drastically improved and you really feel the benefit of having mixed units. Skirmishers in front of Heavy Infantry, protecting Archers and Cavalry to sweep around and swamp the enemy are essential units. Cavalry has much more of an impact than in the previous title and archers are worth so much more than before. Many units have special moves they can perform. For example Archers can fire buring arrows for increased effectiveness against moral. Cavalry can form into a wedge formation to hit weakpoints in the enemy lines with stunning brutality. Roman Legionaries can take advantage of the testudo or ‘turtle formation’, overlapping their shields to protect against missiles. There really is so much to keep the battles interesting. When playing Medieval, I would often simulate the battle results as each became a simple case of hack and slash through the enemy formations. Not so in Rome: Total War.

There is so much to this game and I have only just begun playing it. I thoroughly recommend everyone to pick up a copy. This is the new generation of Strategy games realised. Buy it, but it, now!



The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

I took Sarah to the cinema tonight to see The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and thought I’d spare you the pain and utter disappointment of seeing this complete pile of crap. Being a huge fan of the books, I was very interested to see what they had done with the transition to celluloid. Douglas Adams must be turning in his grave as this modern classic was raped, as some expected, by the movie version.

The problem with book to movie translations is that, quite simply, books require you to have an imagination. You read the words and create your own pictures and version of events in your head. The Characters take on a life and appearance that you create for them, prompted by the words you are reading. When a book becomes a movie, that is lost. Your version is replaced by another’s vision. The characters you animate with your mind become animated by actors and script writers. What happened here is that my carefully constructed version of The Guide was torn up, stamped on, burned, crucified and screwed into non-existence by this seriously dire effort.

If you are a fan of the books to the extent where you return to them time and again and they remain fresh, original, superb; do not go see this movie. Did you hear me? DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE!

Just don’t do it. If you one with masochistic tendencies or a burning curiosity to see this monstrous waste of time, them don’t come back here and complain that you were not warned. You were warned. DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE!

Five things to hate about this movie:

– Arthur Dent to too young, too clean and too alert.

– Ford Prefect isn’t ‘off the wall’ enough.

– Zaphod Beeblebrox displays just one head at a time, rather than having them side by side as described in the books.

– The Vogons aren’t quite nasty enough.

– Marvin the Paranoid Android seems too clean and futuristic.

Two things to love about this movie:

The Episode III trailer.

The War of the Worlds trailer.

Watch the trailers supplied above and save yourself from wasting your time going to see this.

Of course, there is another side to this. Many people have not read the books and those people may enjoy the movie. They will not have illusions waiting to be shattered or a connection to the story telling process. To those people I say, buy the damn book. Don’t go see this tripe.


Is it entirely pointless?

I went for something to eat with my girlfriend this evening (let’s be pedantic; it was yesterday evening, it is almost 4a.m.) and I mentioned that I had created this weblog during our conversation. The response?

“You’re not one of THEM are you, a blogger?”

“Yes”, I replied, “I suppose I am.”

“Isn’t that totally pointless? When I see a ‘blog I just think, ‘no-one’s interested!”

Sometimes I think she just likes being critical. She makes up for my almost perfection by highlighting any flaw (or supposed flaw) that she can.

“Yes, dear, it’s a ‘blog. An online diary and I write it for ME not for anyone else.” It is here so I can capture my state of mind at any given time and reflect on the events and multitude of emotions, feelings, thoughts, desires, blah.

I suppose that she does have a point (sort of) because there is no purpose to this journal other than a chance for me to waffle as I habitually do. But with that in mind, is there any point to GF or any other website? Is my entire online persona – which I have been working on for two years – a complete and utter, pointless, waste of time?

To answer, ‘perhaps’. Also, ‘but I really couldn’t give a damn if it is pointless in anyone else’s mind’. I recognise, understand and accept the point of view of those who sneer at ‘bloggers’ or people who use forums or partake in any online activity which isn’t work based. The problem, however, is that I couldn’t give a monkey’s left testicle for the opinions of those same people who roll their eyes and are dismissive when something like a blog is mentioned.

It isn’t for you, it is for me. I don’t tell you how to spend your time, so don’t you dare think you have the right to tell me how to spend mine. Take your holier-than-thou opinions and cram them up your arse – sideways – so they don’t fall out and continue to infest good folk with your whiney attitude.

People look at bloggers and they automatically think ‘geek’. I bet people looked at my good pal Bill Gates and called him a geek at one time. Those same idiots are now cleaning up his offices and using his products. Bill Gates, Champion of Geekdom! Note that I don’t aspire to make a fortune or a living out of this or any other venture I may or may not undertake in the future on the interweb, I’m just pointing out that geeks rule the world.

If you do ever read this, Sarah, then please note that this isn’t a rant at you, it is a rant about the general attitude that many people have toward people who own and operate websites in their spare time. It’s an ‘us and them’ thing, so no hard feelings, ok? xx

Time for bed…


It seems that everyone is ‘blogging’, so why not jump on the band wagon?

Welcome to ‘Random Words’, the Devious Tyrant weblog where you will find my ‘Musings on Life, The Universe and Everything’.

This is the second incarnation of ‘Random Words’. The first one stalled and was eventually trashed. But a fresh start is a ‘good thing’, right? I’ll keep this updated with moments from my life, inane ramblings, interesting commentaries (yeah, whatever) and anything else that jumps up and bites me on the ass.

It would appear that all of Gamingforums is blogging, so if you know me from there, feel free to post a comment below. If you have a blog of your own and would like to be added to the Blog Buddies section on the side bar, then add the URL, name and a one line description in a comment and I’ll fix you up with a link. Also, feel free to add a link to this site on your blog.

I’m using WordPress and I must say I am very impressed with everything about it. The interface, the options, the ease of use. It’s all good and far better than any of the other weblog software I have used. If you have your own hosting, this would be the software I’d personally recommend. In fact, here it is if you want to download it and use it for yourself.

That’s all for now. See you next time.