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IGN reviews Blinx The Timesweeper. Details inside.. (1 Viewer)

Romier S

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IGN posted thier review of the highly anticipated Blinx THe Timesweeper. One of the first games to truly use the Xbox hard drive in a unique fashion. The game scored a very nice rating of 8.8 from IGN:

Link Removed

Some tidbits from the review (and kudos to IGN for finally getting a well written review out there. Some of thier reviews have left little to be desired IMHO):

PLEASE BE AWARE THESE TIDBITS MAY BE ALLOT BUT THIS IS FROM A MASSIVE 5 PAGE REVIEW AT IGN. IF YOU ARE EVEN REMOTELY A BLINX FAN I WOULD SUGGEST GETTING OVER TO THE SITE AND READIN IT! (MUST BE AN INSIDER)


Quote:



Your every gameplay move is recorded onto the hard drive. Proof of this comes in full replays at the end of each level. That's up to ten minutes of gameplay recorded for your viewing pleasure. Of course, if the game just made long replays it would hardly be hailed as revolutionary. Blinx' real innovation comes in the ability to manipulate time.







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An event can occur one minute into the game and then be rewound eight minutes later. That means the game has to remember everything that has happened and is happening in order to maintain the time-control aspects. And for that, you need a hard drive. Being the first Xbox game to do something interesting with the hard drive, Blinx will surely open the door for other developers to get inventive.







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Blinx takes place over ten unique locales. Each one is broken up into three levels and one boss battle. The levels are relatively small, but they need to be. You have only ten minutes to complete a level.







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And in fact, that ten minutes of gameplay will actually feel like a good hour sometimes. Blinx manages to effectively alter your own perception of time.







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Like his TimeSweeper, Blinx' time-control storage has a limited number of slots. This means you can only have a few time powers in hand at any time. You can upgrade to allow more control slots at the shop, which I'll get to a little later.







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Aiming the vacuum cleaner is a problem, and probably the biggest pain in the game. Unlike another vacuum-cleaner game, Luigi's Mansion, there is no second thumbstick function that allows you to independently aim the TimeSweeper. This is the biggest mistake in the game, something that hurts the gameplay.







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The first dozen of so levels seem meant to ease you into the game. Your main concern is beating bad guys. But as the game progresses, the focus is much less on the difficulty of taking out five guys surrounding you (though that is challenging) and more on platforming elements.







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This is definitely a game that will have you swearing out-loud. Not because it cheats you, but because you didn't see that one guy in the corner who popped you with a trash can or you tried to leap out of the way of a rolling, spikey bad guy only to fall off the platform and land on a bed of spikes (not exactly the best way to get a better night's sleep). And it's fine for a game to frustrate as long as it seems fair. And Blinx definitely feels fair in terms of how the monsters react.







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While in the beginning, monsters are just blobs with eyes and balloons with snouts, they get more interesting as the game progresses







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Aside from poor aiming, Blinx suffers from slowness. Not the game itself, but the cat. He's the hero of World B1Q64 (see, Microsoft is creative!) and he runs slower than my grandmother hobbles.







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Beyond running slowly, Blinx has a couple of cool falling animations. When falling down the side of a wall, he tries slowing himself with his paws and goes, "merrrrooooow." And falling a long distance, the kitty will put out his arms and say what sounds like "I'm falling!" but surely isn't that, as he's a Japanese cat







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Going back to earlier levels is absolutely necessary. You'll not only want to grab all the secrets (in the form of cat-head icons), but it's a great way to refill your time controls and replay hearts. Plus you can score extra gold here that can be used at the shops to buy fancy things.







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The camera won't alway co-operate, even when you try and manipulate it manually. This isn't always about seeing enemies. Sometimes you'll want to get the camera at a good angle to view a couple of parallel platforms. But when you let go of the right thumbstick, the camera decides to readjust itself, returning you to your poor view. Terrible.







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Adding cut-scenes would have added some depth to the story and probably encouraged a few more gamers to continue on with the game. Though it's still compelling thanks to its incredible difficulty







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Yes and no. Blinx isn't fun the way a Mario game is fun. It isn't fun in the sense of the traditional platformer, which makes sense since it is anything but traditional. The game is a challenge, a real challenge.







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It's enjoyable from start to finish, even though it can frustrate at times.







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Blinx is one of the prettiest games on Xbox. With stunning lighting, rich color, and amazing details, Blinx can buy me dinner anytime. Not only are the worlds attractive, but all of them seem unique to the game. The entire look and feel of Blinx comes off as original.







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On an artistic level, it was a great choice to place a cartoon kitten in such a realistic world. The contrast makes the worlds look even more real. You could almost reach out and touch them. Fantastic art design and small worlds that you'll never forget







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If anything, the only real problem with Blinx visually is the slowdown. It occurs mostly when there ar 5-6 enemies on screen.

This slowdown is too often and too noticeable to let slide though. It's a flaw and one that needs mentioning. Otherwise, Blinx is in the running for best-looking game of the year on Xbox.







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Blinx isn't the perfect game, but it's certainly the best platformer on Xbox. Calling it a platformer is misleading though, because this is hardly one set in traditional platform values. Blinx gets incredibly difficult, so much so that it probably won't please some folks. This isn't a Crash Bandicoot game where you die a few times on a boss, figure it out, and move on. This one will take time and a real investment to master.








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he is the future of Xbox games. This is the first significant use of the hard drive. The first real sampling of what makes the Xbox unique from the other consoles. Developers will begin to get creative with the hard drive. Maybe not so much next year, but certainly by 2004 we will see a lot more uses of the hard drive than just having the power of TiVo. And for that, Blinx deserves a spot in anyone's video game library. Not only is it a solid, challenging, and beautiful game, but it's also a significant step in the direction of the Xbox. And while not the best game on Xbox, it may very well be the most important one yet.





Final Score: 8.8

I tried to mix some good and bad in the tidbits I posted so you can get a general idea. As noted way above, this review is absolutley huge, well wrtitten and very informative.

I'm quite happy to hear the game is a big challenge. I know allot of people don't like that but I like my games difficult and VERY challenging. Beyond the graphics and the innovative hard drive usage that was the best news I heard about the game!

I gotta tell you, so far this is the year to be a platforming/adventure fan. Mario Sunshine, Star Fox, Blinx Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper. They just keep coming and coming.
 

James Zos

Supporting Actor
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Jan 7, 2002
Messages
725
Hey thanks Romier!


I thought the whole "time control" aspect of this game seemed really gimmicky and maybe not really something I'd be interested in, but then I saw some video of the game in action and it looked really really nice ...
Worth a rental at least.
 

Romier S

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Boy I expected more attention devoted to Blinx considering it is one of the big Xbox titles this fall. Where my fellow platforming junkies at??!:D
 

JamesH

Supporting Actor
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Nov 28, 2000
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I'm interested in this game, but also a bit worried. You could hand IGN crap on a stick and they'd give it a 9.0. It didn't seem like they had many valid complaints though, so maybe the game is better than the score indicates. Pretty much every third person 3D platformer gets camera complaints, they seem to come with the territory. The other two complaints annoyed me a bit.

1. This is an action game. Why complain about lack of cut scenes? If you want to WATCH a game, go play Final Fantasy.

2. If the game is difficult, suck it up. Remember, you are PAID to play these games.
 

Damien

Supporting Actor
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Mar 29, 2002
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i can't wait for this, especially after reading the full review....seems really unique and cool...may buy a guide with it, but that may spoil it as well...this game will give xbox a nice ales boost, they haven't had a must-have exclusive for a while until this one.
 

Andy Sheets

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1. This is an action game. Why complain about lack of cut scenes? If you want to WATCH a game, go play Final Fantasy.
Cut scenes might have been neat back when Ninja Gaiden came out for the NES, but over the years I've come to view them as a cancer to games. I really liked what Tim Schafer recently said, in which he also mentioned how he disliked cut scenes and that developers should try to tell the story through the game itself instead of taking a break in the action altogether. One of the reasons why I'm looking forward to Psychonauts :)
 

Bjoern Roy

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Oct 15, 1998
Messages
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This is one of my most anticipated games. I really love the time concept from some of the videos. Really unique. IMO one of the first really 'new' concepts in a video game in years.

But the comments and hype about how this is only possible with a harddrive is complete nonsense. I don't know if the marketing department came up with this, or if the community and reviewers made this up.

This concept can be realized on ANY system. If properly implemented, i doesn't need a lot of memory. That is, if you want to handle the 'time concept' the way they do, while playing a level. And that is what Blinx is all about as far as i can see.

The only thing that WOULD accumulate quite a bit of memory, is if they stored the recorded replay of EVERY level until you finished the game. But again, this has NOTHING to do with the 'time concept' in general and would simply be a nice added gizmo.
 

Romier S

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IGN in no way shape or form complained about the difficulty said:
Considering that the game literally records your entire play throughout a level (each level has a 10 minute time limit so we are talking 10 minutes of recorded play here) exactly as a TIVO would I'm inclined to disagree with you.
In the game you are able to rewind back to what happened 10 minutes ago and then move forward to the point in time you were originally. Remember also that end the end of the level the game replays the entire level for you to watch. I dont see that being done without a hard drive.
Now, I of course don't even protest to know much about game programming or how things are done but the Xbox has a limited 64megs of memory to work with. I seriously doubt this can be done using only the memory of the system (any system)in question.
 

Dave F

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Umm...James is the one that said IGN was complaining. I was just stating that pointing out difficulty is a valid point to make in a review.

-Dave
 

Adam Nixon

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Feb 21, 1999
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I was hoping for an unequivocal "slam dunk," but the concept of this game sounds too intriguing to ignore. My guess it that Blinx 2 will be considerably more refined, as they seem to be on the right track. I'd like to see more developers try to be inventive --- this is the type of content that can distinguish between systems. Thanks for the heads up, Romier.
 

Romier S

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Umm...James is the one that said IGN was complaining. I was just stating that pointing out difficulty is a valid point to make in a review.
I know Dave, I just grabbed your quote cause it was the closest one there man. No need to get excited:). I went ahead and edited it in the original post. I apologize for the confusion.
 

Morgan Jolley

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(Off topic)

Romier-

I remember renting SSX for PS2 when it first came out and playing through the last hidden level (don't remember what it was called) and then watching my replay of it all afterwards. If I remember correctly, it was somewhere around 9 minutes, maybe even more. I'm not so sure you absolutely need a HDD to do something like that.
 

Jeff Peake

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 12, 1998
Messages
503
I cant wait for this game. XBox needs a good exclusive platformer. Halo is a good FPS, but I think a game like this will sell more consoles.


Wonder if they launched with this title instead of halo, how that would have affected sales...

Jeff
 

Romier S

Senior HTF Member
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Sep 2, 1999
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The technology behind the effect is pretty sweet: Chunks of your game are stored on the Xbox hard drive, which lets the time manipulations replay your game during the rewind effect in Tivo fashion.
I'm not going to bother speculating whether this can be done without a hard drive or not. The fact is the way it was done does require the hard drive.

Could the game be reprogrammed to not use a hard drive and accomplish the same thing? That is something for the developers at Artoon to mull over, not me. I'm not a videogame programmer so I can't speak intelligently on that.

In the end, what counts here is that this kind of manipulation has not been done in a game before and its one of the main reasons that Blinx interests me (regardless of whether the hard drive is needed or what platform the game could be released or is being released on).
 

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