Welcome to Pages of Fun!

This is the personal Web site of Robert Wm. Gomez. I am an artist, musician and nerd living in Chicago, Illinois who has been maintaining this site (in one form or another) since 1996. Enjoy your visit!

Ion Fury on PC (9/10)

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Ion Fury is more than the nostalgia cash-in that its marketing might suggest. It an FPS that gets to the core of what a great FPS should be: a combination frantic firefights in environments that test a player’s skill and clever level design that rewards exploration. Missing from all this is a deep and thoughtful story but I didn’t really miss it. Too many games these days try to be movies instead of games. I appreciate the effort, but the writing in video games rarely is even on par with a Disney channel sitcom. Gameplay is king and Ion Fury has it in spades.

The game is built using an updated version of the 3D Realms Build Engine. It still looks like Duke Nukem 3D but the resolutions are higher, the controls a much smoother, and the sheer amount of stuff in the game is increased. You are still mainly just looking for key cards on your path to the final boss battle(s). And, you know what, I didn’t care. The levels are incredibly designed, the enemies are just smart and varied enough, and there are plenty of stat challenges to shoot for. Finding all the secrets without a walkthrough is probably impossible but when you do find one is a truly rewarding. This was an unexpected gem.

Nightmares Come at Night (3/10)

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The only thing this Jess Franco movie has going for it is its score by Bruno Nicolai. The rest is a mostly incoherent mess cobbled together from footage from other movies. Shots are repeated, others linger for way too long. It’s all a means to pad the length. He does manage to give it a story but this was most likely made as an excuse to getting a lot of nudity on the screen and way too much nudity is Jack Taylor.

Man, Ergo - Woodcut

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This woodcut’s title is based on a Van Der Graaf Generator song title but it’s only tangentially related to the song.

Control on PC (7/10)

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In Control you are in control of Jesse. She’s been plunked down into a giant, oppressively designed government building and there are glowy monster-men attacking her. Not much else is explained. Only after a few hours of playing do you start to get a feeling for what’s going on. Something about a long lost brother, a voice in her head, and a mysterious force called The Hiss.

It’s not terribly engaging but at least the combat mechanics can be fun. You have a selection of weak pistols but mostly enemies are taken down with Jesse’s multitude of psychic powers. The most useful of which is her ability to launch objects at enemies. It’s pretty much a gussied-up version of the Half-Life 2 gravity gun. There’s also a shield, a dash, possession, and levitation but those are only have limited use. It’s a bit of a Metroid thing where a few zones are only accessible with a specific power.

In the end I was mostly just frustrated with the third-person perspective and all the running around. Apparently there is some sort of Alan Wake tie-in and that would explain the similar game play feels. But there was just too much obtuse story telling for my tastes.

Titan by Robert Kroese (6/10)

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Libertarian disaster porn that moves along nicely until the actual disaster hits (figuratively) about two-thirds into the book. At that point it becomes pages and pages of characters explaining inflation and banking in unrealistic monologues that would bore John Galt. The Mandibles told a very similar story much better.

Last House on the Beach (6/10)

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A group of young theater students and their chaperone (played by Florinda Bolkan) are held captive by a trio of bank robbers on the run. Despite the awfulness of the robbers, there never felt there was really any tension or suspense. However, it’s worth sitting through if only to get to the crazy ending in which the girls get their revenge with various garden implements.

Dishonored 2 on PC (8/10)

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It’s time to return the steampunk world of Dishonored in which you sneak around and strangle everyone who crosses your path. Dishonored 2 should be commended for allowing players to complete their goals in a variety of ways. I usually prefer the stealthy, non-lethal approach, but if you want, you can murder everyone in sight or even ignore the enemies and run to the end of the level.

As you play you begin to acquire super-powers allowing the player to teleport, see through walls, etc. The teleportation power is the first one you get and it is by far the most useful. I felt like I was cheating because I was allowed to zap myself above and around obstacles. The challenge became trying to collect all the charms strewn throughout the world without ever being detected or using lethal takedowns.

Once again I finished the game without ever killing anyone, but I still was tagged for 2 or 3 deaths along the way. I wish there was a progress screen so I would know mid-level if I accidentally hid a sleeping enemy in a killer rats nest or whatever. There was also a glitch where bodies weren’t where I left them when loaded a save, causing them to be detected by guards. I really don’t have the patience to replay the game and attempt a perfect run especially since the various endings are just quick voiceovers that change slightly based on your actions. I got my “good” ending and that’s enough for me.