Saturday, June 27, 2009

Regina Spektor Meets the Combine Overwatch and other short stories.

From time to time, I decide to play videogames with custom background music. This usually goes one of two ways: 1: Freakin' epic with each beat of the drum synchronizing with my actions, or
2: Falls flat on it's face with songs about completely innapropriate subject matter.

This time, it was more of 1 and less of 2.

For this venture, I created a Regina Spektor playlist: "Regina Spektor Jamage" (Akin to "Relient k Jamage"). I picked some of her more acoustically busy and intense songs from the albums "Begin to Hope" and "Far", the only ones I own. the funner, louder ones, to the exclusion of her deeper ones, I suppose, but one does not ponder life in the middle of a gunfight. Ok, maybe in movies, but they have a word for people who do that in videogames: The dead guy.

The game? Half-life 2. You play freaky time-travelling theoretical physicist Gordon Freeman *applause* armed with lots of guns, your mission is to free earth from her current occupiers, the evil "Combine". Dun dun duuun! It's better than it sounds. I've replayed this game about 3 times, and this time was my fourth. My current run is on the level: "Water Hazard", possibly one of the most memorable levels of the game for the water-based combat and wonderful blend of vehicular manslaughter with gunfights. So, here is how the playlist broke down, with rather hilarious and awesome consequences:
(PS: if you don't know the songs, check 'em out on iTunes or youtube, then buy the album! It's awesome)

1: One more time with feeling: A goodly portion of this song was going through the menu, loading the game, etc, but it certainly had a good feel to it, as I climbed into my waterskimmer, driving around, getting back into the game, going up against the combine, one more time with feeling.

2:Eet: Beautiful song, really, came in just around when the combine overwatch started dropping down, got some nice synchronization of me thwacking bad guys with piano in the background. And had the lovely instrumental hit just as I was midair, quite lovely.

3: Samson: Investigating the Overrun resistance red barn outpost, very gentle song for shooting zombies, but go figure.

4: Folding Chair: Very peppy, happy song, definately one of my favorites. I gleefully dodged rocket-fire from tanks, swerving dangerously to the beat. And did a physics puzzle or two.

5: The Calculation: Broke into the first combine base on this level, found grenades, killed some overwatch, all that good stuff.

6: Dance Anthem of the 80's: Finished the first base, and hit the water. Then, came something everyone will remember about this level: The "Hunter-Chopper", a helicopter gunship that inspires both fear and loathing (except the game takes place in Europe, not Las Vegas). I was dodging gunfire and bombs, driving for my life to the cheerful lyrics "You-oo-oo-oo-ooh are-are-are-are-are so--oh-oh-oh-oh-oh sweet-eet-eet-eet-eet-eet-eet-eet-eet". Out of place, but hilarious.

7: Laughing with: Went through this song avoiding bombs from the plane. Jerk drops 'em all over the place and on hard mode, they wipe out about a quarter of your health if you run into one. I thought this song was pretty out of place, but then the lyric hit me: "No-one's laughing at God". To paraphrase from the usual suspects: "A friend of mine said 'I don't believe in God but I'm afriad of him.' I believe in God, and I'm afraid of the Hunter chopper." Maybe some sort of Zeus, dropping timed explosives from on high. I certainly wasn't laughing at the Hunter Chopper.

8: Two Birds: This song was pretty appropriate, at this stage you've been driving away from this HELL-icopter for half the level, it was pretty sweet, like a sparring match, the chopper dropping bombs on me, and I quickly swirling around the connect-the-dots of doom. I tell you what though: "Two Birds on the waaaater, one flies away, and the other, swerves through bombs and gunfire." And one of the birds is a giant steel monstrosity with a gun.

9: On the Radio: This one started out as I approached the second combine base, dodging missles from tanks, the line "It feels a little worse/ then when we drove that hearse/right through that screaming crowd" was applicable. Played on as I infiltrated the second combine base. I experimented with the revolver and the machine gun, one-shotting enemies Dirty Harry style one moment, and filling them full of lead the next. Escaped the base, got back in my waterskimmer, and drove off. Then got exploded by the chopper.

10: Better: Reloaded last save, and this time, I escaped the base, but better. As in, not getting exploded by the chopper. Drove on, classic near-death experiences with the chopper. Got killed a few times here, and I don't think a kiss would make me feel better. 

11: Edit: Did some physics puzzles, drove on, more chopper, yadda-yadda yadda. Approached Rebel outpost. Oh yes, the next track had the best part of this whole Friggin' level.

12: Blue lips: Drove into rebel base, and then, my waterskimmer got an upgrade. A gun. As a matter of fact, a gun from a fallen Hunter-Chopper. To quote the rebel: "I always love to bring a little Irony to a firefight!". As I drove off, I heard a Vortigaunt shout: "For Freedom!". Drove on. The Hunter-chopper dropped down over the water to harras and bully me. I filled it full of lead, and it's siren wailed, it pulled a hasty retreat, the siren sounding off like a dog's whine. Drove hard, gunning down dropships and combine overwatch, this song was really great for this action sequence, with lines like "and all the Gods and all the worlds began colliding on a backdrop of bluuuue", and "all the people walked by real fast, real fast, and they never smiled"

13: Wallet. Saw the big empty Arena ahead, the final showdown between me and the Hunter-Chopper was coming right up, I gathered supplies and drove on, into the climax of the level.

14: Fidelity: Pretty chipper song for gunning down your worst enemy, Regina pondered risking herself to fall in love, as The Chopper and I filled the skies full of lead, explosions in the background going off like firework crescendos. This time, there were two birds, and both were metal monsters with guns. The battle ended with the song, as the Chopper flied at me, guns blazing, and I drove at the chopper, guns blazing also, like two knights steeling each other as they race at each other, to see which one will fall. "And it breaks my heart, breaks my heart...." I looked back as I passed the Chopper, it crashed to the Ground in pieces just as she said "Breaks my heart". Maybe I should've been playing the last level of Portal. :P

15: Riot Gear: Nice cooldown song, as I blew through the final combine outpost.

"And in my best Sashimi dress And marble arch supporting shoes I am a vision in my horse-drawn tank" -Regina Spektor: Riot Gear


Lawlii said...

do you by any chance have half life two as part of the Orange Box, with the other like 4 games on it?

if so, have you played portal?

if so, have you beaten that level where the voive tells you it's impossible?

if so, wanna tell me how?

its weird, i was actually coming online to look for a walkthrough, then i was like, im gonna look at my blog. which led to me looking at your blog. which led to me reading about the game that is currently in my Xbox as we speak. i love when stuff like that happens.

Phiasmir said...

Haha, yeah! Life's funny like that. Ok! The impossible level, I'll run through it and get back to you very soon!

Phiasmir said...

Yes, Orange box FTW, I've got it on PC, like most of the cool kids. :P I say most, because you are a cool kid who does not have it on PC. :P

Ok, it's kinda tricky.

1: shoot a blue portal underneath the cube, sending it through the orange portal so it is on the upper platform.

2: Go through the orange portal yourself, so that both you and the box are on the upper platform.

3: above the dematerialization particle field (Blue frizzy fry-all-it-touches thingy), there is a tiny box-like opening. Shoot a blue portal through this opening to create a portal on the other side.

4: pick up the box, then send both you and the box through the orange portal over into the other side.

5: Place box on the button

6: Hooray!

Enjoy the cake.