Tag Archives: ashelin

Jak Likes to Speed

I recently beat “Jak X: Combat Racing” for the second time with 100%.  It took a little over 3 weeks.  I originally wasn’t sure about getting this game because I don’t usually get racing games and I didn’t know if they were going to try to be too cool.  When you try to be cool, you just aren’t.  But, after much thought, I finally gave in.  It is a Jak and Daxter game, after all, and I’m glad I did.  It ended up being much better than I expected.  It is actually very fun, and it also has a decent plot and entertaining cut scenes.  You’ve done it again, Naughty Dog.

            In this game, Jak, Daxter, and some others are summoned toKrasCityfor the reading of Krew’s will.  (Krew was a bad dude whom Jak killed in “Jak II”.)  After meeting Krew’s daughter, Rayn, and drinking a toast to the deceased gang lord, they listen to a message Krew recorded before he died.  Apparently, he had planned for his death and even anticipated the reactions of everyone there.  He tells them that he loved racing, and he wants them to win the Kras City Grand Championship race or something.  They refuse, as he expected, so he tells them that their drinks were poisoned, so they have to race in order to get the antidote.  (Well, duh.  I could’ve told them the drinks were poisoned.  Idiots.)  Now Jak and his buddies have to compete in the dangerous races while also dealing with the gang of a mysterious man named Mizo.  Wow, what a complicated excuse just to make a racing game.  And why is everyone always out to get Jak?  Poor guy.

            Like I said, this game is super fun, and as you can tell from the title, it is more than just simple racing.  It is combat racing, where you both race and attack your opponents to kill them and thus, slow them down (typing this right now, it sounds rather silly, but it is awesome anyway).  There are a variety of weapons you can pick up, and what you get is random.  The Yellow Eco weapons are good for attacking people in front of you, such as with a gun, missiles, or bombs.  My second favorite is the Peace Maker, which kills the person in first place, and my top favorite is the Super Nova that kills everyone in front of you, but you only have 10 seconds to use it.  Red Eco weapons leave behind mines, oil slicks, give you shields or extra turbo, or they can even make an attack drone float over you that automatically shoots anyone that comes near.  There is also this Saucer Drone that people leave behind that kills whoever it hits.   Can’t even tell you the number of times that thing has gotten me.  Darn me and my slow reaction time!  Anyway, these Red Eco weapons are good to save because if someone shoots a missile at you, you can use it to deflect the missile.  You can’t avoid the Peace Maker so easily, though.  To avoid that, you can slow down and let someone pass you, then, they’ll get hit.  Usually I can’t slow down fast enough, but it works sometimes.

            There are also events other then racing, like Capture the Power Cell (which is like capture the flag, of course) which I hate because my team members are always crappy.  Really, it’s them, not me.  There’s also the Freeze Rally where you try to get through 2 laps as fast as possible by getting tokens to freeze time.  You get a 10 second bonus if you get them all.  There is also a Death Race where you destroy as many drones as you can either by attacking them or ramming into them.  There is also Rush Hour, which is like the Death Race, but the drones all drive at you and you must ram them.  It is hard to keep control of your car sometimes in this one.  In the Deathmatch, you try to kill as many of the other players as you can, and in the Artifact Race, you try to get artifacts before the other players.  In Turbo Dash, you get Power Cells, and then use turbo to charge up and shoot them.  The more you shoot, the more points, but the problem is, Power Cells launched by other racers can hit you.  I found that a good way to win is to stay behind everyone else.  Then, no one can hit you, but you can give them a lot of trouble.  I am a sneaky ducky.

            In each challenge, you can get 3 points.  Gold is 3, silver is 2, and bronze is 1.  Whenever I get gold, I have no choice but to do an obnoxious victory dance.  I don’t know why.  Anyway, the more points you get, the more new challenges you unlock.  With enough points, you can unlock the Grand Prix Qualifiers.  You must get a gold in each of these to unlock each Grand Prix race.  Prix is a weird word.  Why is the x silent?

            Anyway, these challenges take place in a few new locations and a few old.  There is Spargus andHavenCityfrom the previous games.  Spargus is easier to race in thanHavenCity. HavenCitycan be annoying.  And it is so much hillier now.  How did that happen?  Did they have a major earthquake?  Am I not meant to question that?  The new locations areKrasCityand theIcelands.  Yay.

            There are lots of secrets you can unlock in this game, such as the Sand Shark vehicle from “Jak 3”, lots of car parts (Even pink, fluffy dice, which I quite like.  Watch them bounce as I drive.), plus other racers you can use, such as Daxter, Pecker, and even the versions of Jak from the previous games.  There is also concept art and videos.  In one video, it shows one of the opening cut scenes plus the voice actors as they’re doing the voices.  They’re so serious.  I could never be a voice actor.  I’d giggle.  Another video showed the opening scene before the game starts as they were making it.  It starts out with temporary voices, which sounded quite silly, and then it went to a scene with Jak driving, but at first, it just had a version of Jak from an earlier game sitting in the car motionless and expressionless as he drove.  It was hilarious.  I laughed so hard.

            My favorite video is the bloopers, which I guess must be weird mistakes in the cut scenes while they were making the game.  (How do these things even happen, I wonder.)  They are quite amusing.  Several of them involve characters looking horribly mangled and in a few, they have weird colors.  The one I find the funniest, but also terrifying, is a nightmarish, deformed G. T. Blitz walking towards Jak and Daxter with no legs (so I guess, floating), with one arm straight up in the air, and weird colors on his face and eyes, with a mouth that moved like crazy.  That could be one of the scariest things I’ve even seen, but I laughed.  (It would be super scary in real life, though.)  Other things in the bloopers don’t really seem like bloopers.  They show a cartoonish version of G. T. and Razer’s other hairstyles.  He does not look good with bangs.  At all.

            Anyway, I was rather proud of myself at one point in the game.  There is this special thing you can do where you press X (the accelerate button) right when the banner turns from 1 to Go, and you start off at full speed and a full meter of turbo.  It’s hard to time it right, but a couple times when I was almost done playing, I did it.  It was awesome. I.  Am Awesome.

            The first time I played this game, I got 100%, so this time I was determined to do it again to see if I still could.  I got all the medals except for a gold in a circuit race in the Waterworks Circuit.  This course is very hard, with a lot of difficult turns, and I wasn’t sure if I could win this time.  I was going to give up, but then I decided to try one more time.  I was doing okay this time.  I was keeping up with the other racers all right, but not expecting to win.  Near the end, I was around fourth or fifth place, then, I was suddenly in second and had just picked up a Super Nova.  I couldn’t believe it.  I actually stood a chance this time.  So I took out the driver ahead of me with my awesome weapon, then, just sped towards the finish line to victory.  Yep.  I still got it.  I got a crazy case of the awesomes.  I have become very obnoxious during this post, haven’t I?

            After my victory, something funny happened when I was racing for fun in the Frozen Speedway.  This area has very short laps, and one time, the screen said I was in first, but someone (Torn, if you care) was right in front of me.  I thought there was some mistake, then, I realized that Torn was just extremely behind in the race, and I had gotten right behind him.

            Nothing cute to report, but I love how Daxter rides on top of Jak’s car during the races, with his tail up in the air.  I don’t know how he holds on, though.  Especially when the car rolls over.  Wouldn’t Daxter get squished?

            Now, I leave you with some amusing quotes.  Because I’m nice.

            Samos: Oh, and the rocks say hi.  (You worry me,Samos.)

            Razer: Good looks and speed win every time.

            Razer: Fastest around the track and my hair is still perfect.

            Kleiver: (sometimes when you shoot him) So what, I’m a big target.  (He is.)

            I also find it rather funny that Kleiver called G. T. Blitz “Gee Whiz Blitz”.  And you should, too.

 High Speed Duck

Jak Saves the World and Stuff

I recently beat “Jak 3” for the third time, which took a little over 2 weeks (17 hours and 15 minutes, to be exact).  I got 452 Orbs out of 600.  In this game, Jak is banished to the Wasteland because the people of Haven City think he’s responsible for the Metal Heads getting into the city because of his association with a bad dude named Krew in the last game.  He, along with Daxter and Pecker (Pecker is the horribly named monkaw, monkey macaw, from the last game, and I’m not sure why he’s here), are found by the Wastelanders and brought to the city ofSpargus, led by Damas.  Throughout the course of the game, Jak reluctantly helps the city that banished him fight off the forces attacking it while also learning about a new threat, the Dark Makers.  (Errol, a bad guy from “Jak II”, also appears in this game.  He’s now a cyborg because he got horribly injured in the last game.  While he lost much of his body, he did gain an R in his name for some reason, so it wasn’t a complete loss for him.)

            While we had Haven City to explore last time, there is now an enormous Wasteland to explore.  Luckily, to get around this place faster and avoid tiring out Jak’s footsies, there are vehicles you can drive around.  These vehicles, unlike the zoomers, have wheels and most have weapons.  (You can also drive around in first-person, which is fun.)  One vehicle, the Dune Hopper, can even jump quite well.

            This game now has 3 versions of each of the 4 gun mods, so you now have 8 more reasons not to mess with Jak.  The Beam Reflexor’s one of my favorites because the bullets bounce around and hit a bunch of enemies.  You don’t even really need to aim.  Just shoot a few times and let the bullets do their thing.  I also like the Arc Wielder, which shoots a beam of electricity at enemies.  There’s also a Mass Inverter that makes enemies float helplessly in the air and a Super Nova, which is a powerful bomb of death.

            You also learn new moves, such as being able to sometimes turn invisible as Dark Jak, and you also now can break through certain walls.  Better yet, you can now turn into Light Jak and use Jak’s new Light Eco powers, which allows him to slow down time, heal himself, create a barrier around himself, and fly.  Light Jak is pretty awesome.

            One thing I am disappointed by is the ending.  You find out who the Precursors are, and it is rather lame.  I wish now that we had never found out who they were.  Not only are they not as neat as I would expect, it takes away a lot of the mystery.

            Due to complaints in the last game that Haven City was too big, Naughty Dog decided to have the Palace get attacked, causing it to fall and destroy much of the city.  Problem solved.  I don’t think the people ofHavenCityare too happy, though.  People also thought “Jak II” was too hard, so they attempted to make this game easier by decreasing the difficulty level when you fail too many times.  A good idea, and maybe the game is a bit easier, but there are times I think the game is actually much harder.  There is one mission I hate more than any other.  You are driving, and about 6 or 7 missiles are following you, and it starts out easy, but then at the port, you must shoot and drive by decoys so the missiles will hit the decoys instead of you, and it’s really, really hard.  Sometimes, the missiles destroy you within seconds.  You must really hold the acceleration button down, and if you loosen your death grip on it at all, you die.  If you turn too fast, you die.  Heck, sometimes you don’t even know why you died.  It was completely absurd.  That one mission was harder than all the required missions of Jak II combined.  And their plan to make the game easier didn’t work.  They kept adding time.  I don’t need time!  I need the missiles to stop getting so close!  (Based on the dialogue, it sounds like Daxter may have wet himself when he mentioned to Jak “that warm trickle down your neck”.  Eww.  Poor Jak.)

            One improvement is that the extra challenges for getting Orbs are much more fun and easy now.  Sometimes, an Orb appears somewhere, and you have a short time to reach that location.  I enjoyed finding the places.  Sometimes, you have to get through rings within a certain time.  There are races, which aren’t so fun, and you can also shoot targets from the turret in Spargus City, which was fun, and I got the gold score.  The JET-Board challenge is much easier.  I just pressed buttons like crazy and got 100,000 points, beating the gold score of 75,000.  There’s also the Eco Grid game, which is like “Pacman”, where Daxter’s head goes along the thing and eats the orange dots while avoiding the red thing.  I got gold in that.  It was fun.  The gun course, however, isn’t as fun as it used to be.  Now the targets can shoot at you and explode.  I can’t focus as much on shooting if I have to dodge.  Maybe that’s the point.  But, I don’t like it.

            Another thing I am quite bothered by is Kleiver’s lack of pants.  He just has this insufficient skirt, and you can see much of his beefy legs.  To make matters worse, there’s a secret you can buy called Kleiver’s Diaper, where he doesn’t even have a skirt, and you get a nice horrifying view of his undies.  (Other secrets include Jak with a big head or a small head, clean-shaven Jak, concept art, hard mode, redoing cut scenes and missions, and also fast and slow cut scenes.)

            My favorite of the secrets are the model viewers, which has models of every character from the trilogy.  Some of the characters from “Jak II” and “Jak 3” also have dialogue, where they talk about the game as if they were actors, and it is very entertaining.  Krew, for example, says that he had to lose weight for his part and is now down to a “lean, mean 520”.  It also sounds like he ate his personal trainer, but not before he lost a good amount of weight, of course.  He’s also not good at video games and could “play for years on the same level and never win”.  My favorite dialogue is Vin’s, of course (he’s my favorite character, after all), where he goes on a couple of rants, in one complaining that what he does is never good enough, that he won’t shake hands because he’s afraid of germs, and his throat gets dry if he doesn’t drink enough water, which is really random, but okay.

            In Pecker’s dialogue, he threatens to hit you.  Jerk.  Baron Praxis’s dialogue is quite fun.  It makes me dislike him less.  He did the game for the money and also talks about his death scene, where he is shocked that they had him “fly 50 feet through the air and have 20 tons of 50 gallon drums” land on top of him, without a stunt double.  “Are they crazy?” he asks.  Maybe, or maybe they just don’t like you, Baron.

            Anyway, nothing much cute to report, except the Leaper Lizards, which you get to ride around in Spargus.  They are like Flut-Fluts from the first game, except they are lizards.  And they eat kangarats.  Just so you know.  (I felt really terrible when I hit one with my car….)  Still no mini sheep, though.  How absurd.

            I end this post with two things that amuse me.  One is a quote from Pecker, when they are taken out to the Wasteland at the start of the game, “This is an outrage!  I am outraged beyond words!  Although I do have something to say.”

            The second thing is when Daxter calls Count Veger the wrong name.  He’s gone with Count Vulgar and Count Vegan.  I find it funny; Veger, however, does not.

Wastelander Duck

Jak Goes to the Big City

I just beat “Jak II” for the third time.  It took about two weeks, (20 hours and 26 minutes, not including my unsaved time), and I got 150 out of 286 Precursor Orbs.  In this game, Jak, Daxter,Samos, and Keira try out the device they found behind the door in the secret cut scene at the end of the last game.  It opens up a strange portal, and once through said portal, they end up in a city, where poor Jak is thrown into prison and experimented on with Dark Eco for two years until Daxter rescues him.  This game is a lot darker than the last one, but also has a much better plot.  In this game,HavenCityis under the control of Baron Praxis, who claims that they are safe from the Metal Heads outside the city as long as they obey him.  Of course, even inside the city walls, people aren’t safe because the streets are filled with the Baron’s soldiers, the Krimzon Guards.  So now Jak and Daxter are determined to help the Underground stop Baron Praxis and protectHavenCityfrom the Metal Heads.  (Oh, and for some reason, Jak can talk now, even though he used to be mute.  Don’t question it!)

            One thing I love about this game is the awesome story, where you learn about Jak’s past and what happened to the Precursors, among other things.  (There is one big problem I have with the plot, though, which I discussed in my “Proof I Overanalyze” post.  Very confusing.)  And the characters are much better, too.  (My favorite character is Vin who’s quite nerdy and super paranoid.  For whatever reason, he thinks everyone’s out to get him, and his habit of overreacting almost caused him to shoot Jak and Daxter when they tried to save him from the Metal Heads at the Strip Mine.  Luckily, Vin has terrible aim, so our heroes survived.)

            While the last game was comprised of exploring levels and collecting Power Cells to advance, this game is made up of missions.  A character gives you a mission, you do it, and the story advances.  The main place you explore isHavenCity, which is quite big, and to get around faster, you can ride zoomers.  You can just take an unused one or steal one from someone.  The latter is more fun.  I know, I’m bad.

            You have to watch out for the Krimzon Guards, though.  If you steal from them, attack them, or hit them with your zoomer, (or in the case of some missions, they suspect you of doing something naughty), they will chase and shoot at you.  Plus, in some places, motion sensing turbo cannons will come out of the ground to try and take you out, as well.  Then, you must flee until they leave you alone.

            Anyway, in addition to the zoomers, you can later ride around on a JET-Board, which is like a hovering skateboard, but better because it’s a hovering skateboard…in a Jak and Daxter game.  This is good for getting around quickly when a zoomer isn’t available, grinding along rails, and doing tricks.  (These tricks get you points in the arena, which earns you Orbs, so they’re not as pointless as they sound.  They’re pointful.)

            One new thing in this game is when Jak collects enough Dark Eco, he can change into Dark Jak, which is a result of the experiments done on him.  Dark Jak is very powerful and good at going on a destructive rampage to take out a bunch of enemies.  He can learn a few powers by bringing Metal Head Skull Gems to the Oracle.  The last dark power you learn makes Dark Jak giant.  He actually looks quite ridiculous.

            Another difference in this game is that you now have a gun, with four different mods.  There is the scatter gun, with a short, but wide range, which is good for knocking enemies back, a blaster (pretty straight forward), the Vulcan fury (machine gun, hooray), and the powerful Peace Maker.  These are very useful since Metal Heads are much tougher than the Lurkers from the last game.

            Anyway, you get to play as Daxter in this game a little tiny bit, which is fun.  Daxter is little.  Cute Daxter.  (But, not as cute as mini sheep, which I still have yet to find in any games recently.)  You also sometimes use the Titan Suit later on, which lets you break through things, lift heavy objects, and walk underwater.  Yay for it.

            Another fun thing in this game are the secrets, which you unlock by collecting Precursor Orbs.  Secrets include rewatching cut scenes, replaying missions, concept art, and hard mode, which I’ve never been able to unlock yet and sounds pretty impossible, considering the regular game is hard.  There are also silly secrets, like making Jak’s head extra big or infinitesimally small (I always look for opportunities to use that word).  You can also make Jak’s goatee disappear, if you prefer him clean-shaven.

            There are several problems I’ve heard people have had with the game.  For one, they say the city is too big, and the map is confusing.  I never had a problem with the map, myself, and yes, the city is quite big and rather confusing, with many winding streets, but it feels more real to me that way.  I find it quite fun to explore such a big place.  And it is sure more realistic than those towns with three buildings that some games have.  That isn’t even a village.

            People also say the game is too hard, but I don’t know about that.  It can be difficult, but it’s a possible kind of hard.  It’s a game you can beat if you just keep trying.  And I like a challenge.  Fortunately, I’ve had five years to improve since the last time I played, so it’s not as bad.  Actually, the hardest part, I think, are the extra things around the city you can do to get Orbs.  Now those are hard.  I wanted to get 200 Orbs so I could unlock hard mode, but I could only get 150 before I gave up.  Strangely, I have another file with 189 Orbs and was able to get 6 more.  I’ll get you yet, hard mode!  Just 5 Orbs to go!  But, why was I so crappy with my current file?  Maybe I just wasn’t feeling very motivated.  Yes, that’s it.

            And speaking of collecting Orbs, I quite liked the gun course, where you can get a grand total of 36 Orbs.  Got silver for the scatter gun and blaster courses and gold for the other two.  Good times.  I shoot the people cutouts a lot with the darn scatter gun, though, which makes me lose points.  It’s the wide range that gets me.  There are also a few mini games, but I just can’t get the high score on the Onin one.  There’s one game you play as Daxter that is like whack-a-mole, but with Metal Heads, which is fun, but you don’t get any Orbs for playing it.

            One thing I find interesting is the Precursor writing.  It is also in the previous game, but there’s a lot more in this one.  I have the Precursor alphabet in my Jak 3 guide, and you can translate the writing.  (In many games, you can’t translate the writing because it is meaningless.)  It’s fun to translate things.  Some things are boring, like “rugs”, “market”, “peace” on a sign with a picture of a Krimzon Guard (pfft, yeah right), and a really random one that said “doctors”.  I did find a more meaningful, rather sad message in the Power Station, though….  It was not easy to get that one.  Darn moving words!  Stay still!

            On a very random side note, I was walking along once, and Jak just tripped.  And Daxter fell off his shoulder.  Side note number two, Brutter creeps me out a little.  And he looks like he’s wearing a little diaper.  Oh, and on yet another side note, I found a picture of Ratchet and Clank (from the series of the same name) in the part ofHavenCityoutside the stadium.  I knew I’d seen it before, but it took a while to find this time.  But, you couldn’t elude me forever, picture!  And on a final side note, now if you swim too far out in the water, instead of getting eaten by a Lurker shark, a robot comes out of the water and shoots you.  There, now you know all kinds of new, pointless things.

Jak and Duckster