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I don’t generally go in for much in the way of anime. You’re better off asking Alex about that sort of thing. The Japanese language and its three distinct scripts are very interesting, however, and… Well, that’s an entirely different realm of geek to the one this blog deals with, so I’ll just stick with saying I don’t much care for most nonvideo-gamey things Japan.

Although…

I quite like Ghost in the Shell. Somehow, by mixing up Tokyo, the future, cyborgs and invisibility suits, Masamune Shirow seems to have stumbled upon the recipe for pure style. Sure, the stories for the movies and the comic were at worst terrible and at best pedestrian, but, well, look at it. Which brings me nicely round to NeoTokyo, a Half-Life 2 mod made by some people calling themselves Studio Radi-8.

I’ve played a bunch of HL2 mods in the past few weeks, and this is the first one in which you shoot a gun. Polaris and Dear Esther were very much artgames. NeoTokyo is a Video Game. You shoot mans.

Pink Crabs - Endemic to Japan

Pink Crabs - Endemic to Japan

And, naturally, you look good doing it. It’s all very GitS (and Akira, apparently? I can’t really comment). There’s only one mode I have seen any server running, Capture the Flag, which is a bummer, but I would like to note that the flag is the cyborg torso from the end of the first Ghost in the Shell film, and it’s called the “ghost”.

It’s quite neat, actually. The person holding the torso is able to see the location of all the enemies, yet cannot attack, so once the flag has been grabbed it basically turns into a game of VIP. This helps to stop the game getting monotonous. The weapon choice is a little weak, in that all the mid to high tier rifles seem to be exactly the same futuristic bullet-spewer, and the shotgun seems fairly useless.

The game all feels very Counter-Strike, what with the one spawn each per round, and (sorta)Terrorists versus (sorta)Counter-Terrorists setup. However, there are a number of advantages I can see:

  1. It looks rather nice.
  2. Not everyone with a mic is a complete dick.
  3. The scout class can do a super jump.
  4. Heads explode just so. Cathartic.
  5. Your guys can turn invisible, with a very nice flash bzzzzp effect.

There are also various vision modes, which are actually pretty useful, and certainly atmospheric. Which is really what I like about NeoTokyo. Atmosphere.

D.

NeoTokyo can be found here. It requires a source game to play.

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