Thursday, December 30, 2010

Currently Playing List - Imbacore's Best PC Games for Dec 2010

[Note: This post is not meant as a universal "Best PC Games for December 2010" article. I just want to show the PC video game purchases I made this month.]

So Steam has been going on a video game sale warpath this month. I bought several PC games both classic and modern.

In order to meet whatever gaming mood takes me, I've picked PC games from different genres.

My choices after the jump.

Tower Defense:

Defense Grid: The Awakening

>>>Want a freeware tower defense game? Click HERE

First-person shooter-RPG hybrid:

Deus Ex: GotY Edition
Deus Ex: Invisible War

>>>Click HERE for freeware first-person shooters (free to play FPS)

Space Simulator Shooter:

X Superbox (which contains X: Beyond the Frontier, X: Tension, X2: The Threat, X3: Reunion, X3: Terran Conflict)

>>>There's a free to play space simulator shooter. Click here to see my Star Wraith: Shadow of Orion sci-fi game review

Role-Playing Game:

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

>>>Interested in free to play World of Warcraft clones? Click here to see my Runes of Magic review (one of the best WoW clones)

>>>Click here to

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Link to the Full Version of the Freeware PC RTS (Real-Time Strategy) Game Ground Control

Thanks to Deals4Downloads, I recently discovered that in my Ground Control review article, the link to the freeware strategy game led to a nonexistent webpage. I've already fixed this; the article discussing how to acquire the full version of the free PC RTS game now has a link leading to a working Fileplanet download page.

Please take note though that downloading the game now requires you to register with their free download manager service, Comrade. (For more information about Comrade, please click HERE.)

>>>See my review (and the download link) about the freeware PC RTS (real-time strategy) game Ground Control HERE

(Nothing after the jump)

>>>Click here to

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Nvidia 260.99 Video Card Graphic Driver Benchmark Software Results

It has been a long time since I did modified and WHQL driver benchmarks but finally I found the time to test Nvidia's most recent WHQL release. I also included's Xtreme-G version of the same Nvidia driver. Both performed well in my benchmarks, producing richer, crisp colors than earlier Nvidia video card drivers. They exhibited inferior frame rates compared to version 196.21 but their image quality is well worth the framerate drop. (The Xtreme-G version performed marginally better than the vanilla WHQL driver in the tests though; its FPS rates were better by a couple of frames in several of the runs. Not substantial but still worth mentioning, given that modified Xtreme-G drivers produce superior image quality.)

The Nvidia 260.99 video card graphic driver benchmark software results (both WHQL and modified) after the jump.

The Nvidia 260.99 is one of the more impressive drivers I've tested. In the Lost Planet performance test, I was able to discern splotches of green in some of the aliens' carapace, something I didn't notice in earlier video card driver runs.

>>>See the Nvidia 260.99 video card graphic driver benchmark software results HERE (The link leads to my benchmark results page, which shows benchmark software results of Nvidia graphic drivers I've installed and tested.)

>>>Click here to

Monday, December 13, 2010

Half-Life 2: Lost Coast Gameplay Videos and Tweaks

I tried out this freeware DLC first-person shooter (free if you own Half-Life 2 or The Orange Box) and got a surprise. While I've read that this free PC shooter game is incredibly short (it is; it's only 38 minutes or so), I didn't expect this Steam game to be so graphically arresting.

>>>Click here for the tweaks I've made to the PC shooter game to improve frames per second and overall PC first-person shooter performance.

The village of St. Olga is located on the shores of a large, idyllic cove flanked by moss-encrusted granite cliffs. Entrenched on one is a Byzantine monastery, looking so much like a sword thrust into the rocky spire like a weapon from the Arthurian legends, a bastion of hope looming over the rustic town.

Unfortunately, Combine soldiers have built a Headcrab Shell launcher, an alien device that launches metal pods into densely populated areas. Inside the pods are (tada!) Headcrabs, alien organisms the size of melons that look like gigantic ticks. These parasites pounce on any human they find, transforming their hosts into Headcrab Zombies.

It's, needless to say, your job to destroy the infernal machine.

Me playing the the free Steam shooter game on my PC:

The second video and tips on how to improve PC performance and the various tweaks I made to improve the graphics in the above video after the jump.

Interested in improving your PC's performance? You should know! It enables you to save up on CPU and memory resources so you can enjoy stutter and hitch-free gaming (or enable you to record HD videos while experiencing a flawless PC shooter gaming experience)! Click here for tips on how to improve your frames per second (FPS) and overall PC gaming performance.

>>>Click here to

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Twitter Today: Nov 15, 2010

I've been busy these days playing so many freeware strategy games that I'm behind my schedule. The last time I made a proper review was when I discussed Cursed Treasure, a Flash-based free tower defense game.

To update followers on what's going on in the PC gaming industry, I've decided to launch "Twitter Today," (hopefully) daily updates on what PC gaming experts/websites are saying.

The very first IMBACORE Twitter Today after the jump (A guide on how to play a League of Legends hero! Tribes Universe! All Points Bulletin! Can you say "it's raining MMOFPSs!"?):

This line is not shown in the main page

Tribes Universe - The Tribes series just refuses to die. After a slew of lackluster jetpack-based (and other FPS-Z) games, up comes the news that a new MMOFPS is being developed, this time bearing the name of the franchise. (Kudos to Gamespot member MatrixKing giving me a heads-up.)

F.E.A.R. 3 - Launch date revealed: March 22, 2011. The developers of Armored Core are manning the helm this time. Let's hope the horror PC FPS doesn't get buried under a ton of walking tanks designed like those of Mechwarrior's.

Gamespot's Call of Duty Black Ops Game Guide - "Full campaign walkthrough, multiplayer tips, and more." 'Nuff said.

IGN's The History of Halo - For the game's 9th anniversary, IGN delves into the history of the bestselling franchise.

Gamespot's Call of Duty: Then and Now
- Gamespot goes back through time and compares screenshots of four of the best selling Call of Duty games: Black Ops, World at War, and Modern Warfare 1 and 2.

TenTonHammer's League of Legends' Sona Guide - The gaming website just released a guide on how to play Sona, a new "ranged support" hero in the RTS League of Legends (a PC strategy game made in the vein of Defense of the Ancients)

All Points Bulletin - This MMOFPS made waves this year --- the tragic saga of an overhyped game that flopped on its release. Now it's even making more ripples across the gamingverse --- its new publisher is making the game free to play!

>>>Click here to

Saturday, November 13, 2010 Closes

And with it dies a spiritual successor of Tribes 2, a (now) freeware PC multiplayer game. It's sad as I was hoping Fallen Empire: Legions would attract a large following of gamers looking for free, competitive first-person shooter games.

The empire has really fallen. This time though, there will be no legions to rise from the ashes.

The news after the jump.

>>>See Gamespot's article about the shutdown here

>>>More free PC first-person shooter games HERE

>>>Honing your APM more your thing? See more freeware PC strategy games HERE

>>>Or would you rather play free PC RPG games?

>>>Click here to

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Heavenwarz' Supreme Commander Replay Videos With Commentary

One of the things I like about Supreme Commander is that it doesn't require as much APM (actions per minute) as other PC strategy games nowadays. While I'm not bashing Warcraft 3, there are days when I want to play a strategy game that really depends on strategy and not on how fast your fingers fly across the keyboard.

Supreme Commander, with its slow-moving units and maps that span kilometers, fits this type of gameplay. Add to this a futuristic theme and lumbering super units that tower over everything else, and you've got a PC RTS that will make your eyes bug out.

The following are replays uploaded by Heavenwarz (the second part can be found after the jump). The videos have commentaries detailing what each player's role was and the scenarios that unfolded that forced them to switch tactics.

Giant robots, the push for air superiority, covert tactics, in-your-face assaults --- the whole thing is beautiful:

Part 2---and a commentary about how to do a rush---after the jump.

A Supreme Commander rush replay:

>>>Click here to

Imbacore Tweet: Nov 2

This new batch of mice have improved pathfinding. I lay down traps, they take another route. IceFrog should hire whoever made the patch.

Nothing after the jump.

>>>Click here to

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Supreme Commander Intro

Spent three hours this afternoon pulverizing metal, shattering optics, and melting silicon Chris Taylor style.

The scope of Supreme Commander's battles is just staggering. I'll do a skirmish video one of these days. In the meantime here's the intro vid of the spiritual successor of Total Annihilation (I tweaked this video using VirtualDub):

Nothing after the jump.

>>>Click here to

Friday, October 29, 2010

How to Install System Shock to a Windows XP (32-bit) PC

System Shock 2, a sci-fi survival horror PC game released in 1999, has been widely acclaimed as one of the greatest games of all time. However, installing the video game to a Windows XP-powered PC can be scarier than parrying the mad swings of a cyborg-zombie. These are some of the horrors it throws at you:

  • A black screen whenever you press ESC to save your progress
  • A frozen title screen (mouse not moving on the main menu)
  • System Shock 2 moving too fast
  • Stuttering
  • The Shoot - Use Modes Bug --- your character looks up at the start of each game (unresponsive mouse)

The guide after the jump.

Note: It's plain impossible to guarantee that one PC procedure that worked for one will always work for others without hitches. DO THE PROCEDURE AT YOUR OWN RISK. I WILL NOT GIVE TECH SUPPORT NOR WILL CLAIM ANY RESPONSIBILITY IF SOMETHING ADVERSE WILL HAPPEN TO YOUR COMPUTER.

Here's the procedure on how to install System Shock 2 to a Windows XP-powered gaming PC (this guide has been made under the assumption that you have uninstalled System Shock 2 and have already cleaned all traces of the game from your registry):

1. Copy-paste the "Shock" folder in your System Shock 2 CD into a directory of your choice. (No need to install the survival horror game from the CD).

Stop here and you will, in all probability, still experience: the black screen bug in which every time you press ESC, you will be greeted with a black screen, making the game unplayable if you aren't fond of the PC game's quick save feature (alt + s).

2. Install the SS2Tool, which provides (among other fixes) the DDFix tool, another godsend of all SShock 2 fans. If you follow the instructions in the link provided, it should eliminate nearly all the bugs mentioned in the list above. However:

Stop here and you will, in all probability, still experience: a frozen title screen where your mouse will be unresponsive, making the PC game's main menu just an attractive wallpaper.

3. Locate ddfix.ini and CTRL+F for the line "MenuUpdateDelay=" (without the quotes). Change the value (the default is 14) to 25. The System Shock 2 "Title Screen Freezes" bug should be fixed. (Kudos to Kolya and Wef, who provided the fix.)


Stop here and you will, in all probability, still experience: 1.) The "Shoot and Use Modes" bug that renders the game unplayable; your character will still shoot his weapon even if you are in the PC game's Use Mode. 2.) Your character looking up at the start of each game, then freezing. You can walk around but your mouse will be unresponsive, making the survival horror video game unplayable.

4. Install the SS2 Modmanager, a freeware utility that lets you launch the sci-fi game's mods from a single UI. However, the utility comes with a nifty feature: under its "Tools" menu, you will find the fix for the System Shock 2 shoot-use modes glitch:

This eliminates the System Shock 2's "looking up" bug. However, this can be solved easily by ESCaping to the PC game's main menu and then going back to the game by pressing "Continue."

Hope this solves your problems. Have fun and good luck.

>>>Click here to

Thursday, October 28, 2010

System Shock 2 Intro (PC Sci-fi Survival Horror)

I wasn't able to post the guide I promised last night [EDIT: I've already posted the guide. Click here: "How to Install System Shock to a Windows XP (32-bit) PC."] so here's something to tide you guys over: the intro to one of the best PC Sci-fi Survival Horror games of all time, System Shock 2. (Tweaked with VirtualDub. I may have bumped up the brightness too much though.)

Bought this one for a little over a dollar. :D Some dude RMA'd his disc thinking the CD was busted.

Nothing after the jump.This line is not shown in the main page

>>>Click here to

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nvidia Forceware Version 260.89 (BETA) now out

I just learned from Tweakguides that Nvidia has just released a GeForce/Ion driver. Please take note that this version, 260.89, is a beta so install at your own risk.

The download link after the jump.

>>>Nvidia GeForce/Ion driver official page

>>>Click here to

Realtek HD 2.53 now out

Realtek has just released version 2.53 of their HD drivers.

The link after the jump.

>>>Realtek HD official webpage

>>>Click here to

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dwarf Fortress - How to Irrigate a Farm (Stopgap Solution to Produce Mud)

Have you just started out in this freeware strategy god game? Do you need a Dwarf Fortress guide on how to irrigate a farm in an instant? Check out the video below. It is perhaps the simplest, most unimaginative way to make a farm in this freeware sims-like god game, but it helps in a pinch.

There are of course, more complex and efficient ways of doing this but for beginners who are wishing to create a farm quick in this free sims-like game but can't find mud, this should be helpful.

Links to more guides and free-to-play PC games after the jump.

>>>More freeware PC strategy games HERE

>>>Free PC first-person shooter (FPS) games HERE

>>>Freeware PC RPG games HERE

>>>TinyPirate's Dwarf Fortress Tutorials

>>>CaptnDuck's Dwarf Fortress Video Tutorials

>>>Click here to

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dwarf Fortress 101 Tips

So I decided to give the freeware god game Dwarf Fortress a try. While there are a number of handy Dwarf Fortress tutorials out there for this freeware Sims-like game (like CaptnDuck's Dwarf Fortress Video Tutorial series and TinyPirate's The Complete and Utter Newby Tutorial for Dwarf Fortress), I decided to make a list of questions I've puzzled over as a DFort newbie. Hopefully, someone will find this guide made for Dwarf Fortress beginners useful.

CapnDuck's Part 2 of his Dwarf Fortress Video Tutorial series

The list after the jump.

Dwarf Fortress is like a free-to-play Dungeon Keeper. While I've never played that other sim god game, both games involve you constructing underground strongholds, providing the inhabitants with decent accommodations, and laying down traps for invading hordes. This observation barely scratches Dwarf Fortress but I'll soon make a review of this freeware strategy sims-like game if it proves addicting.

Q: The tilesets are great! They greatly imoprove the UI. However, while I can make out the dwarves and bodies of water, I can't make heads and tails out of some of the in-game objects and symbols. Is there a helpful list showing the tilesets' symbols and what they mean?

A: On the game's main menu, press "k." You will see an X appear. Move this over the object you want to identify and the info screen will show you what it is.

>>>More free-to-play PC strategy games HERE

Q: How do I quickly designate rectangular areas to be dug out?

A: Press "d" for designations (the game pauses at this point) then press "d" again for the "mine" task. An X will appear. Move the X to one of the corners of the area you want to mine. Press enter. Move the X away from the square you just designated as the "start point." You should see a flashing icon appear. Move X to the opposite (farthest) corner of the area you want your dwarves to dig out. Press Enter again. Press Escape to go back to the main menu. Press Space to unpause the game and you should see a dwarf go to the designated section.

KaleGotRice's video about Stonesense, a Dwarf Fortress utility that enables players to see an isometric view of their dwarven strongholds

Q: I want to make an underground farm but I can't seem to find mud. How do I make an underground farm without mud?

A: Dig around. You're sure to find underground rivers or pools of water. (Unconfirmed but it's what DFort forum veterans say. Kudos to Laurin!)

Q: How do I construct a wall? According to the wiki, I have to press "b" then "c" to go to the construction menu but the button presses lead me to a different menu.

A: The menu is case-sensitive. It says "b" then "C", not "b" then "c."

Q: I can't seem to rename my fortress and/or my group of dwarves. How do I do this?

See above. Press "F" and/or "G." (For the Fortress and the Group respectively.)

This is all for now. Will add more as I play.

>>>Click here to

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Possible or Impossible? GamePro Scrutinzes Aspects of Halo: Reach

Jetpacks, plasma weapons, and one potential spoiler --- GamePro scrutinizes several aspects of the Halo universe and consults real-life engineers and physicists on whether or not these can be replicated with our current technology.

The link after the jump.

>>>GamePro's article

>>>Freeware first-person shooters HERE

>>>Click here to

Monday, September 20, 2010

FEAR 2 Multiplayer Gameplay Videos

Uploaded two videos to YouTube last night; "FEAR 2 Multiplayer Gameplay - Fun w the Laser" and "FEAR 2 Multiplayer Gameplay Team Deathmatch."

The laser owns. Here I made a 4-kill streak with it:

The "FEAR 2 Multiplayer Gameplay Team Deathmatch" video after the jump.Playing at 250-300+ms ping:

>>>Click here to

Half-Life 2 Video by Marco Spitoni (Beowulf CGI Artist)

Here's another fan-made video of the video game series Half-Life. This time, it's the father of all fanvids; this one's done Marco Spitoni, a CGI artist who worked on the film Beowulf. You gotta watch this. It's awesome.

Teaser trailer from a new animated short fan movie project by Marco Spitoni, based on the game Half-Life by Valve.

This is a non commercial project and contains concepts and designs which are intellectual properties of Valve Corporation. The Lambda logo is a registered trademark of Valve Corporation.

Nothing after the jump; Civil Protection took them all away.

>>>Click here to

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Freeware Flash-Based Tower Defense Review - Cursed Treasure

So I got hooked to this tower defense demo that I downloaded from Steam.

Defense Grid: The Awakening is a sci-fi TD game that pits you (and a talkative AI) against hordes of aliens bent on stealing "cores." Fail to stave off the invaders and the defense grid shuts down. I got so addicted to the concept that I searched the Net for the best Flash-based tower defense game.

>>>Strategy games not your thing? Click here for freeware PC FPS games

Almost all sites agree that one of the best is Cursed Treasure: Don't Touch my Gems, a free-to-play strategy game developed by Iriysoft. And while its Flash-based nature renders it unable to compete with Defense Grid: The Awakening, the game does pack enough features to hook anyone into beating all its levels.

I did. After two gaming sessions.

The review of the freeware strategy game---and a gameplay video---after the jump.

The tower defense niche is a saturated one. No Flash developer would expect his game to attract a significant following if it doesn't have features that elevate it from the competition. In addition to sporting graphics that make it tower (no pun intended) above its peers, Cursed Treasure does have innovative features:

- Three types of towers - while this is nothing new, the skill point system (see "Skill Point system",
below) brings a twist to the usual tower defense. Orc towers ("Dens") throw projectiles. An orc tower can be upgraded either to increase its critical chance or become a ballista (slow; splash damage). Undead towers ("Crypts") unleash spirits to harry invaders. They can be upgraded to cause fear or to generate mana (see "Mana-based skills", below). Demon towers ("Temples") incinerate foes by emitting a continuous beam of eldritch energies. They can be upgraded to become spires that reduce the armor of creeps or towers that abandon the focused beam for a more devastating (but slower) explosive attack, which damage all within its blast radius.

- Skill point system - you can assign three skill points after each level. These grant you incremental improvements like gold generation, lower mana consumption, and critical chance and damage improvements.

- Mana-based skills - you have three of these. The first one clears trees, allowing you to build towers on otherwise unavailable terrain. The second one greatly increases your tower's rate of fire for a brief amount of time. The last one calls down a volley of meteors, killing all but the most hardy of minions within an area.

- Minions with skills - Cursed Treasure features minions with skills. Bards have haste spells, priests heal themselves, warriors have damage reduction attributes, and rogues have a 5-second invisibility skill.

This freeware strategy game wraps all these with an impressive user interface. The art style is distinct and the music and the sound effects are powerful --- my wife got creeped out by the demonic laughter every time I upgraded the temples. The minions---warriors and bards alike---bawl out like newborns every time the undead towers strike fear into them, drawing out sadistic chuckles from me.

The amount of time I poured in the two gaming sessions it took to finish the game however, was nothing to be amused about.

Play this addictive game. On a weekend. Yes, a weekend.

>>>More freeware strategy games HERE
>>>Play Cursed Treasure: Don't Touch my Gems here

>>>Click here to

Monday, September 13, 2010

FireFall, a Freeware PC Multiplayer FPS, to be Released by 2011

This is news to Tribes fans. Scott Youngblood, one of the designers of the multiplayer shooters Starsiege: Tribes and Tribes 2, has teamed up with former WoW lead Mark Kern to launch a free-to-play squad-based MMOFPS.

>>>Free PC FPShooter games HERE

Preliminary screenshots show an art theme that's not unlike Borderland's (and do I see a tinge of Fallen Empires: Legions in there?). The freeware PC shooter also has vistas of landscape common in games with jetpacks and vehicles. I'm not sure about the latter but the jetpacks well, with Scott Youngblood in the Red 5 bandwagon (and the giveaway title), FireFall will be more or less a jetpack-centric game. And what's there to complain about? In the multiplayer PC shooter niche, almost all games involve people running about on foot. FireFall's forebears might have been heavily skill-based but any deviation from the on-foot combat norm is always a welcome breath of fresh air.

Links and resources after the jump.

>>>FireFall's official site

>>>GameSpy's FireFall article

>>>IncGamer's FireFall article

>>>Click here to

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Two Half-Life 2 Mods you Should Look out for

Back in 1998, when first person shooters all revolved around dreary hunts for key cards to unlock levels, a start-up company called Valve Corporation released its first product and so forever changed the FPS industry. Half-Life and its expansions---Blue Shift and Opposing Force---did away with the key cards-centric gameplay and introduced players to an unprecedented plot-centric approach. No longer just mindlessly blasting through levels, Half-Life players were immersed in a catastrophic event involving trans-dimensional beings, zombies, and black ops marines*.

(*It makes you wonder what game developers were doing with the first-person shooter genre before Half-Life arrived. The Wing Commander series had sci-fi simulation fighter games that really had meat to them. The key cards might have been too shiny to resist.)

>>>Free first-person shooter games HERE

The mods and links (Atomic PC's exclusive review of Black Mesa Source, links to both mods' official sites, and Operation: Black Mesa's official trailer) after the jump.

Blast From the Past Using Today's Technology

Fast forward to the present and nearly all video games have taken whole chapters from the way Half-Life was structured. Games now have more eye candy settings than you can whale at. However, only a few surpass Valve's epic story about trans-dimensional invaders and a science facility's struggle to contain the catastrophe.

It's not surprising then that several individuals have started projects aimed at resurrecting the Half-Life experience using today's technology.

The Mods and why you Should be on the Lookout for Their Release

One of the Half-Life 2 modifications is Black Mesa Source, a FREE mod that rebuilds the very first Half-life from the ground up using Valve's Source engine. Thought it still is in the bug-testing phase, all you need to play it (when it comes out) is own a Source-powered game like Half-Life 2 or Counter-Strike: Source.

>>>Tactics and strategy games more your thing? Click HERE.

Cra_py Half-Life: Source it's not

Most people found Half-Life: Source to be a disappointment. Once this mod launches however, you won't need to shell out 10 dollars for a bland overhaul; what media the mod developers have churned out are awesome as evidenced by this trailer:

Another Source-based free first-person shooter project is Operation: Black Mesa, a freeware project (again, provided that you own a Source game) that is recreating Half-Life: Opposing Force. The developers have recently made a media release, assuring fans that the project is still ongoing.

A video showcasing Operation: Black Mesa's effects and creatures:

>>>Atomic PC's exclusive review of Black Mesa Source

It's pretty understandable that after the above August 31 review (and the fact that one of the project's devs mentioned a 2010 release), the Black Mesa Source forums are once again abuzz with activity.

Operation: Black Mesa videos:


Concept art

>>>Black Mesa Source official site

>>>Operation: Black Mesa official site

>>>Click here to

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How Avast! 5.0 Antivirus can be Temporarily Disabled

This is crazy but exactly two years ago and I mean EXACTLY two years ago, I wrote a guide on how to temporarily disable Avast! That handy guide showed a simple procedure to end several antivirus processes in the Windows Task Manager, freeing up memory and improving game performance for gaming PCs. While the procedure was easy, it still was unwieldy, forcing PC tweakers to locate eight or so antivirus processes on the Task Manager interface. Fast forward to the present and Alwil Software has greatly streamlined their freeware antivirus product, presenting a spiffy UI and enhanced tweakability.

Want to know how to temporarily disable Avast! 5.0's real-time shields to free up memory space? Click the link below:

NOTE: Disabling your anti-virus software is a risky affair. I'm only posting this for my personal reference. Do the procedure at your own risk. (It does however, free up your system resources while gaming and will greatly improve performance. I promptly undo the procedure everytime I finish gaming however. )

On the UI, under "Real-Time Shields", Avast! 5.0 now presents users nearly all the processes under a single list, doing away with the need to hunt down all seven from the Windows Task Manager:

You can then choose to stop each Real-Time Shield individually.

There's a quicker way to do this though. Right click on the Avast! 5.0 icon on your task bar. It will show you this pop-up screen:

Under Avast! Shields Control you can now choose to disable the Real-Time Shields. For gaming purposes, I suggest you pick "Disable until computer is restarted." This way after gaming, you can then restart your gaming PC, activating all the real-time shields.

The above process though leaves "AvastSVC.exe" and "AvastUI.exe" running, two process that gobble more than 25Mb of memory. These processes can't be found on the "Real-Time Shields" menu and can't be stopped just by clicking "End Process" on the Windows Task Manager.

In order for you to disable the two, go to "Settings" then click "Troubleshooting":

Once there, uncheck "Enable avast! Self-defense module." This will allow you to disable the two services. Go back now to the Windows Task Manager, choose the processes and click "End Process." Done!

Note: After gaming, I restart my PC, which will cause Avast! to run again. I then go back to Avast!'s Program Settings and uncheck "Disable Avast! self-defense module." I never forget to do this as it's dangerous to leave it checked. Also, I do not surf the Net if Avast! is in any way disabled.

>>>Click here to

Monday, August 23, 2010

Quake Wars Demo Gameplay Video

I spent most of yesterday getting some R&R after attending two birthday bashes. I got nostalgic and decided to try out the Enemy Territory: Quake Wars demo. Happy to see it still has a robust community.

Quake Wars still lives! I played in a server filled to the brim with REAL people and won a "Best in Light Weapons" award.

After the jump: the awesome behind-kicking vid filled with Lacerators, tanks, railguns, and kablooey!s that will drive Michael Bay go running off crying to his momma.

Click the line below to see the vid:

>>>Click here to

Thursday, August 19, 2010

About the Freeware Games on my Site

[UPDATE: Thanks to blogger Alexgophermix, I just learned that EA has revamped their Command & Conquer Classics page. Links to the free games now redirect to the Command & Conquer: Last Decade PC games package. This doesn't change a thing though. Command & Conquer, Command & Conquer: Red Alert, and Command & Conquer: Firestorm are still free games. Reputable sites like Gamespot still host the full versions of these PC freeware classics.]

Some visitor just complained about Firestorm not being free. His complaint reads:

"that link u said was free to download command and conquer game,, is not free man. it asked u to join gamespot or watever the site is and asks for a credit card number.. dont lie about that stuff"

First off, the link I provided in my "Free Full Version PC Strategy Games News: Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun and Firestorm Released as Freeware" article, directs you to the OFFICIAL EA Command and Conquer Classics site. Clicking on any one of those games redirects you to the official host of that game, which is Fileplanet, not Gamespot.

"Freeware downloads commander!" in all caps. In yellow font. On the header. On the OFFICIAL EA Command & Conquer Classics page.

Second, any gamer who has downloaded a fair share of patches, mods, and the occasional freeware knows that downloading files from Fileplanet and Gamespot requires you to register first and that the REGISTRATION PROCESS FOR BOTH SITES IS FREE.

There are two types of servers: the free public ones and the ones for the subscribers. Choose any one of the free ones (take note of the queue times).

Third, Fileplanet now also requires you to install COMRADE, their very own download manager that connects you to other players. It's a bit like Steam's auto-updater, the old Gamespy or Xfire. AGAIN, THE SERVICE IS FREE.


"As of February 12, 2010, Electronic Arts has made the game available to download for free in order to promote their latest game in Command & Conquer series.[2] This version of Tiberian Sun was extracted from The First Decade compilation by Electronic Arts, and has been found broken, as it fails to play the Nod introduction movie, among other newly introduced bugs with the EA's release of The First Decade."

This site does not condone piracy. All games reviewed here are freeware (unless otherwise noted like the retail games I've bought or the demos I've reviewed) --- they are legal to download. My December 20, 2008 article draws out my stance regarding piracy.

Please google and check the facts first before laying down accusations.

Thank you and happy gaming.

>>>Click here to

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Online PC Multiplayer Shooter Booster Trooper Review

Last weekend, Steam temporarily released Booster Trooper for free. I gave it a test run and while it reeks pretty much of Soldat, a freeware online PC multiplayer shooter, the sci-fi trappings, the physics effect, and the 2.5D look give this game a more polished feel.

My Booster Trooper user review after the jump. Unlike most multiplayer games today, Booster Trooper is not a class-based game. Nonetheless, it does offer players quite an impressive arsenal to tweak their pre-spawn loadouts with:

Main Weapons

Assault Rifle - Default weapon; high rate of fire; maximum range; low damage
Shotgun - Single-shot; standard shotgun mechanics: high damage output at close range but effectiveness ramps down steeply as the range between combatants widens
Chaingun - High rate of fire; maximum range; high damage; very slow startup time
Sniper Rifle - Self-explanatory
Rocket Launcher - single shot; very low reload speed; massive damage

Secondary Weapons

Pistol - Didn't get to use this one
Handcutter - close-range melee weapon; high damage

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Grenade - Self-explanatory
Shredder - Sticky grenades that act as mines with short fuses; they detonate after three or so seconds if no enemy comes near them

In addition there are several special weapons that spawn regularly in specific locations in each map.

What surprised me with this one---given the technology it uses---is that beyond the jetpacks (which let players fly around for short bursts before needing to recharge) and the mix of 2.5D side-scrolling action with modern graphics and physics effects, Booster Trooper is a no-frills CTF/fragmatch multiplayer game in the spirit of Soldat and Quake. Why they didn't introduce innovative tweaks like a Tribes-like ski effect (with maps riddled with slopes), deployable turrets, and classes ala Team Fortress or Alien Swarm is something that seems such a waste.

I also do not like the way the soldiers cry out when they get hit. The cries are anemic and somewhat annoying (and disturbing) to hear. This aside, the other audio aspects of Booster Trooper are awesome: weapons are very satisfying to shoot, jetpacks sound as they should, explosions reverberate, and there's something really addictive in hearing a rocket being chambered.

Booster Trooper is not something that I would play for more than two hours each day but I think this is how the designers wanted it to be. A
solid, impressive PC multiplayer shooter that's a perfect escape if you want a quick 20-minute gaming fix. Wham! Bang! Thank you ma'am!

I just lopped off and cauterized one side of your torso with the mother of all lightsabers.

>>>Click here to

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Half-Life 2 (Unofficial) Movie Trailers

Scrounged up some fan-made videos. These are top-notch and can almost fool you into thinking they were made by some major studio.

The Half-Life 2 fan-made movie trailers after the jump.

Beyond Black Mesa:

Things I found amusing/meritorious:

- Adrian Shephard is the main character of a Half-Life expansion
- A strider! In a low-budget trailer!
- They have it down pat:

  • The grenades' trademark red glow
  • The resistance armband
  • The "caste" graffiti in the final frames of the trailer

>>>Click HERE to see Half-Life 2 console command CVar tweaks that I use

Escape From City 17 Part One:

Things I found amusing/meritorious:

- Like in the game, there are structures/objects in the film that have highly-saturated hues. Kudos to the art director/cinematographer.

They have it down pat:
- The firearms and CGIs are perfect, including the PA system
- Like in the game, Combine soldiers emit this high-pitched sound when they die

>>>Interested in free (legal) first-person shooter single- and multi-player games? Click.

>>>Click here to

Half-Life 2 CVar Console Command Tweaks

When Half-Life 2 was launched, it was plagued with performance and stutter problems. Five years later, console commands and patches have fixed these --- I've bought a copy of The Orange Box, and my experience has so far been flawless(except that to my chagrin Gordon Freeman still feels more "glidey" than other FPS protagonists, albeit less so compared to how he moved in the first Half-Life; nausea-inducing, that one).

Being the tweak monkey that I am however, I still scrounged around for Half-Life 2 console commands and PC performance tweaks and found hundreds of CVars on the web. I picked several, applied them, and when I fired up my newest first-person shooter game, well, the changes are nothing to write home about but hey, anything to elevate a flawless experience into a cathartic romp stomping Xen transdimensional beings and Combine soldiers right?

The Half-Life 2 console commands that I use---and how to apply them to the Half-Life 2 exe---after the jump.

No one "owns" these commands as they are common knowledge. However, Koroush Ghazi of has compiled many of the most useful Half-Life 2 CVars and provided parameters and explanations in his Half-Life 2 tweak guide. For a more thorough rundown, I would advise you to visit the above page as the list below is just my personal "quick scan" reference (read: these are settings for my PC; these are not for ultra-low-end systems), just in case my hard drive suddenly goes postal:


+mem_max_heapsize 1024 - memory-related performance tweak; see the HL2 tweak guide

+cl_forcepreload 1 – Forces the game to preload everything during loadup times, eliminating stutter but lengthening the loading process.

+ai_expression_optimization 1 – Forces the game not to render NPC expression that you can’t see. (Much like that Doom 3 cull command)

+ r_threaded_particles 1 – Multi-thread-related tweak; see the HL2 tweak guide

+ r_threaded_renderables 1 - Multi-thread-related tweak; see the HL2 tweak guide

+ mat_queue_mode 2 - Multi-core-related tweak; see the HL2 tweak guide

>>>Interested in free (legal) first-person shooter single- and multi-player games? Click.


+ snd_mix_async 1 – Audio tweak; see the HL2 tweak guide

+ dsp_enhance_stereo 1 – audio improvement tweak

Graphics Improvement

+ mat_picmip -1 (I checked the console and the “highest”---lowest on the number line---Half-Life 2 setting for this tweak is “-1.”)

+ mat_parallaxmap 1 – Graphics tweak; see the HL2 tweak guide for a thorough explanation


-novid – eliminates the intro Valve movie, speeding up startup load time

+sv_autosave 0 – eliminates those annoying autosaves that shatter immersion

I linked all these into:

-novid +mem_max_heapsize 1024 +sv_autosave 0 +cl_forcepreload 1 +ai_expression_optimization 1 +r_threaded_particles 1 +r_threaded_renderables 1 +snd_mix_async 1 +mat_queue_mode 2 +mat_picmip -1 +mat_parallaxmap 1 +dsp_enhance_stereo 1

I then inserted the line into Half-Life 2's "Launch Options" (accessible by right-clicking the game's title and navigating to Properties > General > Set Launch Options) in Steam:

>>>Click here to

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Freeware PC Multiplayer Game Alien Swarm Gameplay Videos

[UPDATED: All seven gameplay videos of the Alien Swarm campaign "Jacob's Rest" are now up.]

Alien Swarm gameplay videos of a "Jacob's Rest" campaign run with three other players. The freeware multiplayer game is a top-down PC shooter powered by the Source engine.

Here's the first one:

>>>Want to see the specs of the budget gaming PC used to run this free to play squad-based multiplayer game?

The rest of the gameplay videos after the jump (I'll upload the last two Alien Swarm gameplay videos later).

Part 2:

>>>Shooting alien filth not your thing? See free PC RPG games HERE

Part 3:

Part 4:

>>>This game not tactical enough for you? See free PC strategy games HERE

Part 5:

Part 6 (of 7):

Part 7:

>>>Still can't get enough? See more free PC FPS games HERE

>>>Click here to

Thursday, July 29, 2010

First Starcraft 2 Reviews

So judging from the flood of Starcraft 2-related articles ("Starcraft 2 Review in the Pipe", "Where are the Starcraft 2 Reviews?", etc) that have been popping up like mushrooms, people are very excited to read about whether Blizzard has surpassed the first Starcraft in terms of gameplay, multiplayer aspects, and presentation.

As of this writing, I found two so far.

The Starcraft 2 reviews after the jump.'s Starcraft 2 review - focuses more on several of the multiplayer aspects, particularly problems that SEA players may encounter

Bit-tech's Starcraft 2 review - discusses the game's units and upgrades and its multiplayer aspects among other things

>>>Starcraft 2 sold out in your local malls? Want to play some freeware (read: legal) PC strategy games while waiting for the shelves to replenish? Click HERE

>>>Click here to

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Alien Swarm Gets its First Update

Updates include:

  • Fixed weapon switch key in the 360 controller config
  • XP and level are stored in the Steam Cloud
  • Fixed duplicate rows in the "Find Public Games" screen
  • Reduced screen shake when you have high ping
  • Fixed dedicated server always starting in LAN mode
  • Fixed custom item button binds not displaying properly on HUD
  • Fixed full network updates causing duplicate client ragdolls to spawn
  • Added console commands to change game access on the fly (make_game_public and make_game_friends_only)
  • Fixed welding icon sometimes getting stuck above player's head
  • Fixed HUD elements being cut off in ultra wide resolutions
  • Removed cheat flag from a number of cosmetic console commands
  • Now firing, meleeing, or reloading while welding will break you out of the weld
  • Fixed spectators earning achievements
  • Fixed infinite ammo exploit
  • Fixed XP exploit

Nothing after the jump.

>>>Click here to

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

3rd-Person Shooter Alien Swarm Released as Freeware on Steam

Alien Swarm, a class- and squad-based game that embroils players in a space marine-vs-alien bugs fragfest, is finally out. What's more, this multiplayer PC shooter is now free to play, the only catch is that you must have a Steam account. The game is powered by the Source engine so expect impressive graphics and physics. (Examples of Source-powered games: Half-life 2 and Counter Strike Source.)

"Alien Swarm is a game and Source SDK release from a group of talented designers at Valve who were hired from the Mod community. Available free of charge, the game thrusts players into an epic bug hunt featuring a unique blend of co-op play and squad-level tactics. With your friends, form a squad of four distinct IAF Marine classes."
Links on where to download Steam and the 3rd-person shooter game after the jump.

>>>More free (legal) PC shooters HERE
>>>Free PC strategy games HERE
>>>Free PC RPGs HERE
>>>Get Steam HERE (registration required).
>>>Get the game HERE

>>>Click here to

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nvidia Fixes GeForce/ION 257.21's Profile Bug, Releases GeForce/ION 258.96 (Beta)

Nvidia's release last June 15, v257.21, was an excellent video driver in terms of image quality. However, it had some flaws in the form of a game profile bug --- some users complained that the GeForce/ION driver didn't save the game profile parameters they set in the Nvidia video driver's control panel. A few days ago, Nvidia released a beta, GeForce/ION 258.96, and from what I've read, the driver doesn't seem to have the profile bug that its predecessor had. Will test this out tomorrow.

The download link after the jump.

>>>See Nvidia video driver benchmark results here

Get the Nvidia GeForce/ION video driver HERE. Please take note that this is just a beta (but hey, if you've been reading the forums---and my post above, WHQL drivers have bugs. :P). Also please remember to choose your video card and the OS you're using in the drop-down fields that the webpage supplies.

>>>Click here to

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Freeware Strategy Games Update: UFO: AI v2.3 Released

The developers of UFO: AI, a freeware turn-based PC strategy game, have finally released the long-awaited version 2.3 of their endeavor to replicate the gameplay of X-Com (albeit with a storyline that's unrelated to the PC classic). I've been following the development of this free turn-based game for two years now and for this version to finally surface is exciting news. The gameplay of its predecessors has been perfect except for two glaring flaws: the lack of an ending and aliens not being able to launch attacks on your headquarters. This freeware version fixes these and more.

This game may be based on an ancient game engine but its gameplay aspects are nearly unparalleled even compared to retail games (small surprise given that the game it tries to emulate has been hailed as one of the greatest games of all time by several reputable websites). I'm even more psyched with this news than Mektek's freeware release of Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries.

Classics: The game engine that put doom and gloom in Romero's heart coupled with X-Com gameplay = epic. (Picture credit: UFO: AI official site)

The link to the freeware game after the jump.

>>>Download the free PC turn-based strategy game HERE

>>>Free PC RPG games HERE
>>>More freeware strategy games HERE

>>>Click here to

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How to Install Mechwarrior 4 Using Mektek's MTX

A lot of people have been asking me about how to install the free PC shooter game Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries. The problem lies with MTX, a software developed by Mektek to act as a "centralized distribution and patching point" for the downloadable PC games it distributes.

While it proves buggy for some, the predominant issue lies in the somewhat lengthy procedure the software requires. Gamers who don't usually tinker with their PC may find the process confusing.

If you are sure you've done things right and you're still experiencing problems, please go to the official forums and post your questions there; you'll get more detailed answers. Please take note that I am in no way connected with Fasa, Microsoft, or Mektek. I did not develop MTX. I'm just another gamer who's putting out guides and reviews in the hopes of helping other people.

However, if you're just simply curious or confused about how to install Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries using Mektek's MTX, read on.

A friendly Bushwacker scans the terrain for enemy mechs

>>>I hit my head with a rock and can't remember what Mechwarrior is. Give me a quick recap on the history of the franchise.

The guide after the jump.

Before reading the guide, I would like to point out two things:

1. This game is really free. Microsoft cleared Mektek to release Mechwarrior 4 as a downloadable free PC simulator-shooter/strategy game.

2. As mentioned before, I am in no way connected with Fasa, Microsoft, or Mektek. I did not develop MTX. Install at your own risk. If you encounter problems using the software, I cannot offer technical support.

Ok with those two things cleared up, here's the guide:

1. Download and install MTX from HERE.

2. It will ask where you will put your Mektek games. I chose the same folder where I've installed MTX:

2. Since I've heard a lot of people were experiencing problems with MTX in downloading the free PC game, I used Mektek's torrent links:

As of this date the latest FULL install is v.0021.

Downloaded using uTorrent):

(Don't mind the patches, I thought I'd be having problems patching with MTX but it turned out downloading the patches using uTorrent was unnecessary.)

3. I put the downloaded .mtx file in a folder I created:

(Don't mind the second and third files; those are the aforementioned patches.)

4. Launch MTX and click Open File.

5. Find the free Mechwarrior 4 .mtx file that you downloaded.
6. MTX will copy the .mtx file.

7. Once it has finished, wait for it to patch the free PC mech shooter.

You can launch the game from your Start menu.


>>>More free PC FPS HERE
>>>Free PC RPG games HERE
>>>Freeware strategy games HERE

>>>Click here to