Archive for February, 2007


Alien Hominid HD – First Impressions

jwalienhominidhdsmall.jpgAppearing on Xbox Live Arcade tomorrow, Alien Hominid HD sports some very gorgeous cartoon style presentation in this 2D shooting title. This is where Xbox Live Arcade truly excels, in releasing high quality gaming with all the benefits of a modern console system.

Lets face it, Xbox Live Arcade has been in the doldrums for quite some time now, with countless retro release after another, but now we have something to really get our teeth into until Worms is released.


It really is a frantic frolic as you progress through the outlandishly comical universe of Alien Hominid HD. This is the antidote to all our recent woes with the Xbox Live Arcade service and if we see a few more titles like this appearing, we are really in for a treat.

Xbox Live Arcade has the potential to be a really special service, so I have been really struggling to be a happy little Xbox 360 gamer with so many bizarre titles appearing (or in many cases not appearing!).

Long live Xbox Live Arcade. It is time to get all excited again!


HydraIRC – Fantastic IRC Client Software

hydrairc.jpgFor absolutely years and years I have been using mIRC as an IRC client, well to be precise a highly modified version that worked very well when I was in Unreal Tournament clans.

After all this time, I fancied a change and wondered what other alternatives there were. I then stumbled across someone using HydraIRC.

HydraIRC is an open-source IRC client with an attractive and easy to use interface. It supports DCC Chat and File transfers, Connecting to multiple servers, Dockable Floating Tabbed Windows, Autohiding Windows, DLL Plugins, Channel Monitoring, Message Logs, Event Viewer, Themes, Color schemes, Buddy groups, Audible and Visual Notifications , Reg-Exp Highlighting, Favorites and much more.

Once I got my head around the different way you set up certain instructions for the software, I was totally in love with this application. The problems I had such as having many channels (rooms) open at once and missing out on some of the conversation is now no longer an issue as ‘Channel Monitor’ lists all channel messages in one window. You can also change the layout to suit your own preferences by dragging and dropping.

The only downside so far is the development progress. The last update was way back in April 2006, however the program runs fantastically on Windows Vista and has really inspired me to make more use of IRC all over again. For any mIRC users looking for a change, HydraIRC may be a great option for you.

Link: HydraIRC


World Snooker Championship 2007 – Impressions

worldsnooker2007.jpgHaving already reviewed World Championship Snooker 2003 and World Championship Snooker 2004 for the original Xbox, I am happy to see our first snooker title for the Xbox 360.

Expecting World Snooker Championship 2007 to have all the delights that next generation gaming usually throws at us, I am a little disappointed in the lack of polish so far.

It plays very much like the original Xbox counterparts and dare I say it looks very similar as well. There are very noticeable differences with the characters which in particular look much better and you notice a shine like effect on some of the clothing, however overall the game suffers from some very average visuals.

The worst aspect though has to be the commentary! Repetitive in the extreme, with some really (supposedly funny I expect) comments made from the legend that is John Virgo. It just doesn’t come over right at all and instead you are left with that sensation of dread, waiting intently for the sentence to finish.

One major plus is the fact that you can play pool as well as the traditional snooker. Of course Xbox Live online play is also available. I so wanted to find a much improved snooker system, but I am left feeling a little underwhelmed at the moment, but hopefully a few games online will rectify some of that.

I will be reviewing this game for 360monster in the near future.


Simon the Sorcerer Music – Video Preview

Today ScummVM had an important update to its code. With this update, I now have the ability to play my enhanced music tracks for Simon the Sorcerer using the ScummVM software.

There are still a few things that need looking at before I release the full soundtrack, but this has at least given me the opportunity to allow you to see a preview video of Simon the Sorcerer and ScummVM working with my external soundtrack files.

The video shows a before and after preview of how Simon the Sorcerer sounds without and with my version of the soundtrack. Please remember YouTube compresses the video and indeed audio quite harshly so should only be viewed as a low resolution example. The version you will get when it is all released for use within the game will be at CD quality and in stereo!

As always keep checking for more news on my personal website and make sure you pop by my new forum to discuss this project.

Link: ScummVM Music Enhancement Project


Console Monster Podcast #5

Recorded on Valentine’s Day, James Woodcock rips himself away from his girlfriend and Barrie Rogers away from his never ending mistress of delight Viva Pinata and delve into the latest news regarding the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii and debate the issues.

Also featured is an interview with the Compete Blog [38:45] to discuss there post ‘Xbox 360 Wins the Holiday Battle, But Nintendo’s Wii Positioned to Win the War‘ with Max Freiert and Matt Pace.

The debate features: