Category Archives: Free Time

All kind of things I do in my free time

Game of the Month: Sonic and the Secret Rings

I recently decided to look for a nice single player game that I could play on our Nintend Wii. I somehow didn’t feel (yet) like playing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I had seen a lot of nasty things the game threw at my wife. And it is also one of these very time consuming games. Even if you resolve to play only for a few minutes you lose your sense of time very quickly. A few hours later you realize that you should have gone to bed two hours ago which you will regret badly in the morning.

What I really was looking for was a simpler game that you could play for a few minutes to relax and have some fun. Sega’s new game Sonic and the Secret Rings caught my eye. After reading the test in nRevolution and watching the trailer on the Sega website I decided to buy the game.

The game arrived via mail on Tuesday and I tried it out the same evening. The game is a bit like Cow Run game included in Wii Play. You have to hold the Wii Remote horizontally and tild in to the left or right to move your character Sonic to the left or the right. And you have to run into items (e.g. rings or pearls instead of scarecrows) to succeed. But that’s where the similarities end. You don’t need to tild the Wii Remote forward to accelerate, Sonic speeds up by himself. And he can run really really fast! Breaking and jumping is controlled via two buttons to allow precise manoeuvres like quick short and slow wide jumps. The tricky part is to attack enemies: you have to jump spot-on wait until Sonic locks on the foe (a red mark er appears) and dash into the enemy by quickly moving the Wii Remote forward. It is as tricky as it sounds and takes a bit of time to get used to. Fortunately there are a lot of introduction levels in the Lost Prologue chapter of the game. Each of them teaches you how to use one of Sonic’s skills.

After mastering enough of the introduction levels you are able to play through the first main chapter and things get more difficult. You have to avoid obstacles, collect items, defeat a lot of enemies, manage difficult jumps and avoid getting hit. The goal changes with each levels. Sometimes it’s just good enough to get through. In other levels you have to beat the clock, collect a lot of rings or defeat a certain number of enemies. With each level you play Sonic gains experience points depending on how much he got hurt. After a certain amount of experience point he gains a level and thereby skillpoints and special skills. Special skills increase Sonic’s speed, attack-power and manoeuvrability. And you’ll need all the help you can get if you are up against one of bosses, the extra mean and large monsters.

I really like playing this game. It reminds me of of the good old 1980ies video games: your reflexes and timing are all that you’ve got to save your virtual life. But it’s also much better: nice looking and fast 3D comic-style graphics, cool rock music, a lot of levels and automatically saved game data. You can also retry a level as many times as you want without having to wait for the game to reload. This keeps the frustration at a bearable level if you miss that last just jump … again … or get defeated by the same enemy for the 42nd time :-|. It feels of course really good when you finally give that nasty monster a good beating :-).

I like about the Nintendo Wii: a lot of fun while playing instead of photorealistic high-definition boredom.

Wii vs. Playstation 3 – 1 : 0

My wife and I went to Cambridge’s city centre for a bit of shopping today. Because I was considering to buy Sonic and the Secret Rings for our Nintendo Wii we visited various shops which sell video games. All of these shops had Sony’s Playstation 3 units in stock although the console is sold for only two days in Europe.

The Nintendo Wii on the other hand wasn’t available in any shop even though it came on the market in last December. It looks like it’s the darling of the public in Great Britian, too.

We Will Rock You

While thinking about possible presents for my wife birthday’s last december I had one of my better ideas: I bought tickets for the Queen musical We Will Rock You. We wanted to see it ever since we spotted the posters in London’s tube stations. But we never managed to settle a date and order tickets in advance.

Yesterday the day had come and we were both full of expecation because we are both big queen fans. We took the train to London in the morning, had lunch add the borrow market and finally took the tube to the Dominion Theatre. Reading the program we bought I realized that the remaining members of Queen will celebrate their sixtieth birthdays soon. I’m therefore very happy that we went to their concert with Paul Rodgers in the Hyde Park in 2005. It was probably our last chance to enjoy at least Brian May and Roger Taylor performing live.

But let’s get back to the musical:

  1. The music was of great. No big surprise here. Thanks to the diversity of the songs Queen recorded over the years they could find the right music for every part of the show.
  2. The performers were great. I was especially impressed by Jenna Lee James who played the main female character Scaramouche.
  3. Besides good music there was a lot of british humour in it including funny references to current events. They even poked fun at the members of Queen.
  4. There were also touching moments dedicated to the memory of rock stars who died young: legends like Elvis Presley, Jimmy Hendrix and of course Freddy Mercury.
  5. The simple but taking story is about a world ruled by a powerful coperationg called Globalsoft. They control everything including the music business which is dominated by cloned boy and girl bands. Rock ‘n’ Roll and music instruments are banned. And only a few rebels are trying to bring both back.

My wife and I really enjoyed the time and are considering to watch the show a second time. If you like Queen’s music you must see it!