Tweety Pie blogged
Dec 7, 08 7:20pm

After the plague, I have returned to Neo, and have decided to go on an e-ramble, and hoping someone can take the time to comment or something, unlike my last man flu-induced take on life. There I am, blog-comment whoring, shamelessly, using commas alot. Wahey, there goes a full stop, very good. Very good indeed. Unlike Crewe when I travelled down to Whaddon Road to watch them, not helped by a pernickety spineless ref who disrupted rather than disciplined the game, although perhaps that aided our game more than Cheltenhams. Clever taking out our only attacking threat only on, knocking big Calvin cold right in front of us, the bastards. Dario should have put Donaldson on instead though, Popey and Miller were tackless. But hey ho that's the beauty of football for you. Unless your six points adrift at the bottom of the table.

No matter, a Burton scout watched me score a twenty-five yard volley after a dribble and orchestrate a load of passing movements. Hopefully I can do what I didn't at Soton, Everton and Crewe and make myself a pathway to a career, maybe. Hopefully, perhaps. If I can make it, I'll be chuffed, but I'm looking to far ahead maybe. I may not make it, and I don't expect to, and hopefully I'd be able to make a living somewhere else, maybe I could write or something, but hey, I'm using commas to much to be published by anyone other than myself, there's always hope. What a self-centred ramble that was, with almost no point from the point I swapped paragraph onwards. But hey.

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jespomo blogged
Dec 7, 08 10:18pm

I've been in France this weekend, mainly to get experience of driving abroad which turns out to be surprisingly easy. If you can drive you can drive anywhere. We took the Eurostar down on the Friday which is so much less hassle than getting the Ferry. We spent about 20 minutes in the terminal before our train was called for boarding, drive straight on the train, read a book for 20 minutes and then you're on the other side, where you drive straight off and into a shopping centre. Easy.

On the Saturday we spent the day in Lille which is a pretty nice place, the only problem with French cities is that places aren't usually signposted in advance so usually when you see where you're meant to be going you've already gone past it, which means we spent around twice as much time driving around as we wanted.

For lunch we decided to do what everyone would do in Lille, visit a Brothel. L'Omnia is a brothel turned porno theatre turned restaurant. Unfortunately the only videos on show these days is a French music channel so that would explain the amount of children inside. Even more disappointing were the staff, they weren't pornstars. Or if they were, they were bad ones.

In the evening we were at the Stade Lille Metropole to get a taste of French Football. Lille vs Toulouse was the match and it clearly inspired Toulouse fans to make the 555 mile trip instead of watching the rugby, a massive 20 away fans turned up, seated in what was basically a zoo cage.

The stadium itself is basically an athletics stadium, LOSC are only there temporarily while their new stadium is constructed. I can't really speak for the Premiership as I've only been to one Premiership game but it seemed to me like the security is much stricter in France. Every single person who entered the stadium is frisked and my ticket was checked 3 times before I could get to my seat.

The standard of the game itself really wasn't too far different from watching a game between two top League One teams, neither side showed anything special. Ligue One has an almost SPL like domination at the top, Lyon have won 7 years running and are top again this year by 5 points. The first half was a little dull, the only excitment coming from some dodgy decision making by the referee and the booing of every touch from Toulouse striker Andre-Pierre Gignac. Obviously some history there.

The second half finally brought some excitement, it got pretty heated as players from both sides seemed to dive and then make the most of it on the floor, both sides picked up bookings, Florent Belmont for Lille getting his for abusing the linesman who made some very poor decisions. Despite being the poorer team throughout the game Toulouse scored first from a freekick that shouldn't even have been given. Lille finally started sending everyone forward after that and got the goal from a long distance driven freekick in the last minute of normal time.

I guess you get what you pay for though as the ticket price for an adult was about the same as it would be to sit in London Road for a Posh match and the quality of football was about the same.

Next Match Attending

Tranmere v Posh
9/12/08 7.45pm
Prenton Park

kratos lille france football brothel other
The Deathwind blogged
Dec 7, 08 9:52pm

(Warning: The following blog post contains copius amounts of giant robot and general nerdery.)

Finally. The end of EX Hard mode is in sight. Episode 42 of 43, but due to my hatred of going out of my way for Battle Masteries I won't be able to go to Episode 43, so for me this is the end. And oh God has it been a hell of a ride. There is a point in any OG2 playthrough where your groups combined awesomeness renders the rest of the game fairly challenge free. For me, this time it was Episode 27 where I discovered Wildwurger L. More specifically, Wildwurger L's Stun Shot. A one use weapon that renders the target immobile for a turn. Sounds useless, right? Wrong. Combined with Armor Breakers, one turn is enough to drag even one of the really strong lategame bosses down to pitiful levels of health. And through this, they can't even counter you or launch an attack on their phase. Yes, that's right, you get an entire turn of absolutely pummeling a boss with no way for them to retaliate. Combine this with Leona Garstein, the only pilot who gets Fury- which lets the next attack bypass any and all shields the target may have- that isn't parading around in a super robot with an epic combination attack (all of which except possibly the Royal Heartbreaker [see header] are essential to any mass sodomising of an endgame bosses), and you have one hell of a gamebreaker.

So satisfying, even if the endgame bosses came down to this procedure:

Cast Strike and Fury on Leona, have her Stun Shot whichever boss needs killng this turn, have Latooni, Ring or Radha cast Enable on Leona, have her cast Fury again, then this time use Armor Break on the poor victim, cast Valor on everyone (and Zeal for those who have it) and Strike on everyone who doesn't have 100% hit rate (or just everyone if the boss has Double Image). Proceed to hit the boss with everything in your arsenal. If it survives, cast Renew on Leona, and have her Strike/Fury/Stun Shot again and continue pummeling. Most everything dies in one or two turns of this, except possibly Neu Reggiseur and Stern Reggiseur, but I won't be seeing Sterny this playthrough (hahaha not enough BMs for Episode 43), and Neu is just a pain in general. Oh well, we live on. Except the poor people that decided that messing with the OG Numbers was a good idea. It just isn't.

On that merry note, I suppose I should write something for those of you who have no idea what the bloody hell I'm talking about. Unfortunately, it's my exams. So far, they've only been slightly harder than a Stunned OG2 boss.

Spanish: Reading was Foundation Tier, writing they let us have dictionaries. Including ones from home if we had them. Cue me with a frackin' huge Collins dictionary and everyone else with the dinky little school dictionaries.

Maths: Maths is my best subject. When we got the scores back, it turned out that over the two papers, half of the year got less than what I got on one. I don't parade this around too much for fear of being lynched.

RE: So, uh, not mentioning any form of deity at all still gets me a B. I love how certain people belive religious belivers share their faith by "Islamic suicide bombers". No, someone actually wrote that. Mind you, I'm not much better, since I was resisting the urge to write "send the bloody Jehovas witnesses to your doorstep" for that question. Oh well. I've played that card already this year.

English: Actually nearly finished this one, unlike every single other English paper I've ever done. However, GRR FIVE MORE LINES. FIVE. >:E

Science: Haven't had this back yet, should have it tomorrow. I don't think I did horribly, but I was annoyed when I found out the relevance of the photography question (hey look, photography is coming back to haunt me!).

History: Not yet, that exam is on Tuesday.

Graphic Products: Not yet, that exam is on Wednesday. I know I'm failing this one, though. =\

Next post to come whenever the hell I feel like it. Time to go back to Episode 42 and the uploading of Header V2.
Dark Arcanine blogged
Dec 7, 08 8:46pm

Yes, I recently read the blog entry (as usual) by my good friend Angie. While attempting to be comforting as she mentioned something about squidgy cheeks, I realised that I too have an oral tale to tell.

A couple of months back, I had the honour of finding out I might need braces. I thought fantastic, most people don't do braces. I managed to make myself feel better over time by reassuring myself that light blue braces would look incredibly sexy on me.

An x-ray later on revealed this wouldn't be my path, yet. They said I needed some teeth out, the baby ones having stayed in forever. I asked how many? The reply was eight.

The idea was to do two visits, ended up being the one. No gas, just a load of needles. The needle was darn big, no exaggeration. It made shots and blood sampling needles look tiny in comparison. It took a couple of hours before he finished, thankful I hadn't given him a mouthful like he just gave to me. I was left with a bleeding mouth for several hours, eating meals was terrible for weeks.

Good news? No more need for braces, or 99% sure anyway. It's all straightening out nicely, not to mention chicks dig gaps in teeth... yes, I tell myself that as well.

I didn't get cheeks like Angie though, so no smexy puffy pics for you... for now...

Anyway, enjoy the pics of the teeth!

kratos musingsthoughts
Wolfwood blogged
Dec 7, 08 11:27pm

What's inside this ginormous box I had to wait a few days to pick up from my local post office?

Why, it's an equally ginormous PVC figure of Hayate Yagami from Magical Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, produced by Alter and now shipping to manchildren everywhere!

btw that last picture made me realize how much I suck ass at taking photographs. And here I thought I was gonna be cool with my DSLR I picked up a year back. :(

Anyways, after much unboxing and plenty of Bob-the-Buildin', the figure is ready for display. I apologize for the overpowering lighting and fairly out-of-place locale to be taking snapshots. I tried my best to get the colors accurate through custom white balancing. =\ And yes that is the dinner table, complete with snacks and tabasco sauce.

Nice little touches like these are appreciated:

Represent! Lieutenant Colonel Hayate Yagami is ranked SS in Lost Property Riot Force 6!

Awww, Hayate even comes with her unison device to help control her l33t powers, Reinforce II ("Zwei"):

Even Reinforce II gets attention to detail! Like most recently released figures, this set was made in China so my hat's off to the workers who had to produce tons of these for Alter. I also suck ass at macro photography. Maybe I should stick with point-and-shoots with macro mode. :(

Don't mess with their Unison! Yes, Hayate's hair color is different since she comes with a whole different head. The only difference between the two "option parts" is the hair color to represent her Unison with Reinforce II.

Well that's a wrap this time! I laughed when I finally received the figure, then cried when I realized I had nowhere to put it. Had to do much moving around, for my room is a nightmare.

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kik36 blogged
Dec 7, 08 5:11am

Well it's that time of year again, a time for joy, peace and prosperity. Unfortunately for those caught up in the recession none of those apply this year. Many people are losing their jobs and can't afford any type of Christmas. I know a lot of friends and family going through some very rough times this year, and I'm just thankful as hell that my wife and I still have a job.

We both work at an aviation company that manufactures avionics equipment such as comm and navigation radios. The aviation industry goes up and down like a roller coaster, so believe me we're counting our blessings. Our company is owned by Cobham for those of you in the UK who may know of the name.

So needless to say after reading stories about companies laying people off by the hundreds we feel extremely grateful that we can afford to give the kids a Christmas at all this year. Even though our budget has definitely tightened up, we will still have a pretty decent Christmas overall.

I don't think I will be getting any games this year for Christmas, but I'm ok with that since I have my own ways of generating games for myself even in the tightest of times. And I have plenty on the shelf that need my attention. I'm thinking '09 will definitely be the year of the RPG in my house while I clean up some of our outstanding debt. RPG's are great for wasting hundreds of hours of time and keeping you occupied LMAO

Lately I have picked up my interest in an on again off again relationship with the oddity that is 'LEGO'. I've always had an interest in LEGO since I was a little kid, but our family could never really afford much of it. In reality the shit's expensive. I remember every once in a while we would go to a family friend's house and their kids had tubs and tubs of LEGO. They would destroy their LEGO.....hammers, lighters, etc and I remember thinking it was such a damn waste.

Anyways I tried through out the years a few times to pick up my secret love only to be humiliated and ridiculed by friends, family, and of course whatever idiot I was dating at the time. So it was with great reluctance that I looked into the LEGO world again. I immediately got interested once again and ordered the Advent calendar and a couple of small kits.....I couldn't help it! LMAO Luckily my wife is understanding.

Well for the most part. I found out LEGO is releasing new Pirate themed kits, and I am a sucker for damn near anything Pirate themed. In fact I hope to be going to the Renaissance Fair this year in Pirate attire. ^.^ Anyway, I showed my wife this nice pirate ship and she just rolled her eyes at me. She doesn't quite understand the draw to them, and to be painfully honest I don't think I do either. LMFAO

She's not sure what I would do with them after they are built.....ummmmm tear them apart.....DUH!!!! LMAO If nothing else the kids will enjoy building them with me as well so I'm sure they will get their use.

Beyond my LEGO fetish coming out, the rest of the year looks to be productive as well. I plan on figuring out the Neoseeker blog page so that I can set it up nice and proper(I need a tutorial). And I plan on rolling out a new game review rating system very quickly. Rather than the 100 point scale I've been using the last year, I will be cleaning it up a bit and dropping down to a 5 star rating instead. I have quite a few games to review including LittleBigPlanet, GTA IV, Penny Arcade Episode 1, Battlefield Bad Company and more....not to mention a few older games such as Warhawk and Dragon Quest. So keep your eyes peeled in the next week as I expect to find the time amongst our Christmas celebrations to make all this hapen!

VulcanRaven blogged
Dec 7, 08 1:09pm

You* were right, the whole album review idea would never work. I just don't have the patience for it. I'll leave it to the "professionals" over at Rolling Stone. I think I have a mild case of ADD.

Today I glued my jeans. The button on my jeans, specifically. The button on my favourite pair of jeans, to be even more specific. It somehow snapped apart last year while I was driving. I won't go into the details about how it happened, but it happened, and I was quite traumatized. Needless to say I was pretty upset, because this sort of thing always happens to my most prized articles of clothing. In elementary school I ripped my favourite t-shirt right down the side after getting it caught on a branch while chasing my cousin through the forest, my prized pair of K-Swiss shoes were stained and ruined in high school, and just a few weeks ago a mouse chewed a hole through one of my favourite sweaters as it lay in my pile of dirty laundry in the basement. It must be karma. Anyway, so back to this button. Well, I was able to snap it back in place afterwards, but it was always rather loose and every time someone yanked at my pants in a sexual manner the button would go flying into oblivion and completely kill the mood. So yesterday I finally decided that I had enough. I went downstairs and nabbed a bottle of super glue off the shelf and glued that *bleep*er back together to avoid any embarrassing mishaps in the near future. Well imagine my surprise when I was putting on my jeans today and the button snapped right the hell off and shot across my room! I was so angry that I even threw some of my textbooks in a fit of rage! So I glued it again, and now I'm here. I haven't worn these jeans again since, and to be honest I'm quite afraid to because I don't want this God-awful button to snap off again, it's driving me mad. I don't want to replace the button altogether either, because it has sentimental value and just wouldn't feel right. This all might have something to do with the fact that they're perhaps a little tight, but I can't help it. Baggy jeans make my ass look bad so I have no choice but to go with these. In case anyone's wondering, they're a size 31.

Tomorrow I'm going to a football game with my good friend Brandon: The Compulsive Liar. He's a good guy, but it's hard to distinguish between what's fact and what's fiction whenever he says something. Oh well. See, he got me a Dolphins jersey for my birthday (one of my few friends to actually get me something, cheap bastards. In fact, I bought my friends all something on my own birthday, and they didn't get me anything!) I'm too nice. Anyhow, this jersey set him back a few hundred dollars, I'm sure, and I'm not one to not return the favour when someone does something overly generous like that. So I got him a ticket to the game with me this Sunday. Hmmmm, Sunday's in ten minutes. I'm looking forward to it, especially the Buffalo Jills. The tickets were a ripoff and probably not worth it, but I figure this is the only football game I'll ever see in my life so why the hell not? Besides, I've been going to work with Brandon for the last two weeks while the University has been on strike, so I've more than made up for the price of it. And Toni, that's why I sent you a text at 6:30 in the morning, I was waiting for Brandon to finish showering, and I was inside his house awkwardly waiting alone in the dark, so I figured there would be no better way to spend my time then to send you a surprise text message.

This is my toe. I had the sides removed last May because it was badly infected. It was the most painful experience I can recall. The freezing needles alone were pretty painful, but the fact that my toe wasn't even completely frozen made it that much worse when the doctor started ripping out my toenail. I bit into my arm, and I started bleeding. That made it even worse. And now to top it all off my toenail now looks pretty damn *bleep*. I love toes... but not my own. And not any other guy's toes, except for The Dude's in The Big Lebowski, but in my defence I thought they were a woman's feet at first.

*By "you" I mean me.

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The Don blogged
Dec 7, 08 8:09am

Artificer blogged
Dec 7, 08 3:52am

I spent some time today making a video tutorial on Firebug, an add-on for Mozilla Firefox that is amazingly helpful for web development. It can help you to cut a significant amount of time from whatever you make, whether it's a blog theme, NeoHome, or your own web site. Check it out!

Thanks to Aya Chan for letting me use her blog as an example. And yes, I know my jokes are not funny. :(

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Tainted blogged
Dec 7, 08 1:26am

The DS' innovative dual-screen design and touch screen interface has brought about a lot of ambitious efforts from companies. Games like Trauma Center: Under the Knife and Elite Beat Agents show how well the unique setup of the DS can be utilized to create a new and fun gaming experience.

But if there's one company who's taken the touch screen design to a new level, it's 5th Cell. The company developed Drawn to Life and Lock's Quest, two games whose gameplay mechanics are almost entirely dependent on the DS touch screen. And the latest offering from that company looks to push the innovation to a new level. The game's title: Scribblenauts.

Scribblenauts is so ambitious because basically, the game is only limited by your own imagination. The game is a platforming collector game, where you collect things called "Starites." But these Starites are not in a place that is normally accessible to you, so you must use some sort of help.

That's where the fun comes in. You get to choose what tool you use. So if the Starite is in a tree, you can spell out "ladder" on the touch screen, and then you could climb it and get the Starite. Or, maybe you would rather have a bird that would fly up into the tree and retrieve the Starite. The possibilities are endless, and that's why I am so amazed at this innovative design.

IGN got the chance to interview the creator of this game, which you can read here. He talks about the limitations of the design process as well as the idea behind it.

IGN: Okay, so in the trailer – that people need to check out, by the way – you can see that you write down a ladder and can then climb up it, right? Now could you also turn that ladder on its side and instead light it on fire and the tree would then burn, since it's all made of would.

Miah: You could, yup. You can flip objects, you can take an axe and cut the ladder in half if you wanted – not sure why you'd do it, but you could if you wanted – and even if it wouldn't help anything in that situation you can do it. That's half the fun of the game really. You can just do anything. It's all about messing around with these objects and properties and seeing what you come up with and how you can solve problems. That's what's really fun about showing off this game to people so far. They look at it and say "Wow. So wait, can I do this and this and this" and then of course, yes, you can.
After reading that interview, I am incredibly excited for the game. The interview hinted at possible online play, which makes me even more excited. I think it kind of sounds like a DS Little Big Planet, but maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. For now, enjoy the interview as well as the attached gameplay trailer.

gaming related scribblenauts ds innovative
chautemoc blogged
Dec 7, 08 5:01am

Here's a better question: why do 955,646 people care? I'm hesitant about drawing more attention to them, but it's hard to resist posing the idea. Sigh. Here, to compensate:

MUSIC. Remember that old thing?

Aya Chan blogged
Dec 6, 08 3:39pm

Well, Tainted (and a few others) figured I should put up a picture of how my face currently looks. To be honest, I think having swollen cheekies makes me look quite a bit younger. Heck, maybe I could even pass for a 12 year old! 8) Unfortunately I had to go out in public earlier to get some cold things for my mouth that weren't dairy related (who needs ice cream when you can have sorbet!), and I felt very awkward walking around like that! Nobody really paid any attention, for all they know I could look like this normally. I'll be very happy once my face goes back down to a normal size, and I can actually open my mouth without causing something to bleed.

Clicky for the picture.

I promise that this will be the last entry based just on me whining about the surgery and what it's doing and blahblah. :P Feel free to laugh at my new and interesting appearance!
RabidChinaGirl blogged
Dec 6, 08 9:57am

You know what, the Xbox 360 looks pretty nice. The Wii really got me to think about white as a cool color, as opposed to your usual black and steel, and while I never got a Wii, it helped me appreciate the 360's design. Nevermind the fact that I have a thing for green. Or have you already figured that out?

I like Metal Gear Solid enough, though it's not my cup of tea as far as games go. I'd much rather see it compiled into a graphic novel (or just a novel), which I would tear into each night. That Snake, man, he is sexy shit. I think Otacon is pretty cute too, but SHH! Don't tell anyone!

So what does every one think about the latest Metal Gear news? Kojima's being pretty tight-lipped, and that doesn't surprise me at all... I mean, c'mon. It's Kojima, if that's any indication.

Honestly, the 360 could use some Metal Gear love. People keep making fun of 360 fans for wanting Kojima's attention, but why? They'll laugh, say that the Wii is a more plausible platform because of a previous relationship with Nintendo, but they also forget that the original Xbox got a bit of affection with MGS 2: Substance. Either way, people need to quit calling other people on their shit if they're going to turn around and act like bitches in the same way. Eloquent, I know.

I'm not going to cry my eyes out if the 360 never sees another Metal Gear game, Solid or otherwise. Those symbols could really mean anything. I'm gonna go ahead and put my money on "crop circles."

On a final note, after the menstrual blood fiasco, I am somewhat tempted to post details of my monthly cycle on here.

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Tainted blogged
Dec 6, 08 4:25am

Well, I've made my fair share of blog posts now, so I figure it's time that I take a break from all my video game related rants. If you were one of the few who enjoyed my little outbursts of rambling, I will be back to them soon. But, for now I just wanted to rant about something that isn't really about video games, per say, but more about the culture surrounding them.

Hi, I'm Eric. I joined Neoseeker in May 2005 under the name dsluva4life2, and then changed my name to Tainted in early 2006. I am the moderator of the Wii Sports section and I used to moderate Mario Kart DS and The World Ends With You. In my spare time I play video games and hang out with friends.

What if I were to have told you this in real life, while we were standing in line at Wendy's? Would you have dismissed me as weird even though you also visit the website that I mentioned? Would you refuse to acknowledge the existence of said site and insist that I am nothing but a nerd? Or would you respond back with your own Neo name and then continue the conversation about Neoseeker?

I'd venture to say that the majority of people reading this blog would choose one of the first two options. I say this because on the one hand, introducing myself as Tainted is a very odd thing to do, and would be very off-putting to anyone, but also because even though we live in a gaming world, society still casts out the nerds and geeks that spend their time browsing the various internet forums at their disposal.

I'm not saying that every Neoseeker member is a loser; in fact, I'm sure that none of you are. (<3) But that is because we don't live our lives as the persona that we take on once we enter the online realm. Sure, online I know a lot about Mario Kart DS and the Nintendo DS in general. But offline I do not approach people with this knowledge like I would online. There is a line in the sand that society still refuses to let us cross.

Gosh, this is making absolutely no sense. If you do not understand what I'm trying to do with this post, you are not alone. I am still trying to figure out where to take this blog, and what kind of revelation I should have. I keep staring blankly at the screen, trying to rationalize the words that I type and hope that I will suddenly get an epiphany and this post will make a lot more sense.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that even though the world's view of video games has changed dramatically as the culture has made gaming mainstream, the people who entertain themselves with Neoseeker and other gaming forums are not outwardly accepted by society.

Let me give you an example. My group of friends are nerds; there's nothing wrong with that, but that's what we are. One of my friends is an avid Runescape player, and another listens to a Nintendo blog religiously. But as soon as they found out that I visited Neoseeker regularly, I became the nerdiest of all of us.

Why? I really, really don't understand their thought process with that. At least I interact with other people when I visit Neoseeker, and I have even met a lot of really close friends as a result. But all they have is +74 farming and useless Nintendo knowledge.

I think that forums should be much more readily accepted by today's society, which is already much more accepting of nerds and geeks than it once was. I think most people have the idea that all forums are inhabited by Pokemon-obsessed preteens, which could very well be the case, but because of the anonymity of the Internet people get to be whoever they want to be. It's just natural that most choose to be themselves, or so I am led to believe.

Did this blog make any sense? I really don't think it did. If you manage to decipher what I wrote here, kudos. I'm off to go flame some n00b who is talking trash about Pikachu.

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Mike Olsen blogged
Dec 6, 08 6:27am

My name is Mike Olsen, I am one of the creative directors on The Godfather II (GF2). In this post I am going to go into the details of the crew / family's significant role in GF2.

If you remember in The Godfather I, the crew played a small, but important role of assisting you in combat. They were trusted, but expendable Associates that were used to lend a hand on key jobs be it helping you take down a large venue or perhaps rob a bank, but when complete they would take their payout (or sadly, die) and you would part ways. In The Godfather II (GF2) the crew plays a much bigger role as they not only offer that much needed additional firepower, but they are also your means for gaining access to locked areas, and (through my play experiences have more often than not managed to) most importantly keep you out of the hospital and jail.

GF2 not only takes the crew mechanic to the next level, but it also introduces the new feature of building up your own family. This time around you will recruit, promote, customize and in time perhaps even "remove" members of your family as you progress through the game in an effort to take over all the crime rings. Your family in many ways is a measure of your success in GF2 as they are detrimental to your victory.

You see, in GF2 you start off as a Don and therefore are in control of your own family. Early on you are appointed only one Soldier slot, but in time you will have a full organization working for you. The GF2 world is sprinkled with recruits eager to join your family, but when recruiting YOU decide who best compliments your family's needs and fits your play style. When choosing who to hire your men you?ll need to know that each recruit comes equipped with three important assets: his Specialty (or in rare cases, multiple specialties ? more on that later); his Background; and his initial Weapon License.

Specialties: There are six specialties that recruits can train, each with their own advantages. A typical recruit is adept in one of the six, but as you explore the GF2 cities, keep an eye out for those more powerful Associates with two (or more) specialties. These guys are a rare, but extremely valuable commodity to your family.

Arsonist: An arsonist is a master of fire. By setting flame to propane tanks, bars, hedges, and other flammable objects, he can create a diversion, take out a large number of rivals or get you into inaccessible areas.

Bruiser: A bruiser is your muscle. His strong arms can help you break down doors, intimidate witnesses, and even one-hit shank enemies from behind. And during a bare-knuckled fight, nobody else compares.

Demolitions Expert: A demolitions expert brings the heat. If a strong door, garage or concrete wall is blocking your path, he can bring it down. More importantly, he can set charges to a building's gas main. When they go off, the building will completely shut down.

Engineer: An engineer has every tool for the job. His blowtorch can cut through fences, letting your crew slip inside unnoticed. He can also cut a building's power, shutting down the lights for a stealthy attack while also preventing anyone from calling reinforcements.

Medic: A medic should be part of every crew. When he's around, falling in battle isn't the end of the world. Given enough time, he can revive you and your other family members.

Safecracker: A safecracker is your key to big money. Every building has a safe stuffed with valuable loot; only a safecracker can get you in. He can also pick some buildings' locks, and help you break into bank vaults.

Backgrounds: There are over a dozen backgrounds that give your crew personality. Ranging from the ladies man (who ogles the passer by's and isn?t afraid to stop and have a drink at the bar) to the big talker (who in time might get on your nerves so much you?ll want to stick a gun in his mouth ;) ).

Weapon Licenses: Each recruit comes equipped with an initial firearm and a max weapon license. Their weapon license determines what level gun they can equip which makes a huge difference in their effectiveness in battle. There are few recruits with level 3 gun licenses, but it's also important to know that you can play as your recruits online earning "honors" which is another way to increase their gun license level.

Now that you?ve got your first recruit, it's time for war. When in battle, you can bring up to three men with you at a time. While in your command they will follow your lead (stealthy, melee only, guns blazing) or you can direct them with a simple command to "go to" a specific location (i.e. to enter a room, guard a door, go around one side of the building while you flank from the other, etc?) or perform their specialty (i.e. crack a safe, kick down a door, bomb a building, etc?). Your crew will protect you at all costs, they will take cover on their own and attack when you are damaged or provoked, but will always follow your orders when you give them direction. However, your control doesn?t end there. Your crew is versatile as not only can they accompany you live on your own jobs, but you can also send them "off screen" (via the new Don's View controls) to attack, defend or even bomb rivals venues. You can send some of your family members to attack in one city while you and your other crew members conduct business in another.

As you progress through the game, you will unlock new family tree slots allowing you to promote your existing recruits and fill in your empty slots with new made men. Recruits initially join your family as Soldiers, but promoting them to Capo and then ultimately Underboss brings with it its own advantages. When you promote one of your trusted lieutenants he not only gains additional hit points he is also able to train another much needed specialty. But the customization doesn?t end there. Just as you are able to upgrade your player's stats and weapons, you are also able to upgrade each individual recruit as well. Investing your money will prove valuable as you can increase their effectiveness in health, shooting accuracy, H2H damage, even how long they stay injured in the hospital or in jail to name just some of the attributes / perks.

Now a little pro tip for all of you thinking about pre-ordering GF2 (which I highly recommend for the following reason). Tommy Cipolla (shown here) is a dual specialty (Arsonist, Medic) recruit that will show up at the Corleone compound (only if you pre-order) and can be hired as your FIRST recruit. However it doesn?t stop there. Not only does he have two specialties and a few more hit points, but he also comes equipped with a level 2 shotgun, a level 3 gun license AND just to the right of the Compound exit is a burnable hedge which Tommy can burn down granting you access to the level 2 Sawed Off Shotgun right out of the gate! This in conjunction with Tommy's medic ability to revive you if you should fall in battle will make taking over NYC a breeze. Oh and BTW, after recruiting your demolitions expert I?d also recommend getting a safecracker early on and robbing as many safes as you can get your hands on. This early cash can be used to upgrade your guys before you get into the next city.

Remember to always keep an eye out for those highly valued "multiple specialty" recruits (we just finished placing these guys last week) and to invest your hard earned cash to promote and develop them. Be careful though. Don?t invest too much too fast as later on down the road you may find a recruit who proves to be a better fit for your family and you might be forced to remove a guy that you?ve put a lot of money into. There's only one way out of the family?death. You might find that at some point marking one of your men for death and putting a bullet into the back of his head is best for you and yours, but remember, "it's only business!"

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