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Geek Toys:
ACT Labs GS
By Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon
Vol. 2, Issue 6
December 16, 1999 

 

The Glitterstream mod for the GS is called Gun Frenzy. It’s definitely a mod in its own rite as it modifies a number of aspects of the game. Thankfully it comes with a handy launcher done all in html. You can play classic Q2 mode, arcade style, or Frenzy. People familiar with arcade shooters will recognize arcade mode; you have a certain number of bullets in your clip and you fire off screen to reload. Frenzy gives you unlimited ammo of whatever weapon you’re carrying (you can only carry one at a time) and lots of health, plus the knock-back factor is insane. Enemies fly across the map when you shoot them. Q2 mode is just like the original.

click to enlarge!

Weird (21k)

Okay here’s the real meat of the article. If you’ve been skimming, stop and read this paragraph, ´cause here’s what the deal is. The system was designed to work with a controller in each hand. You hold the gun in your focus hand, the phaser in your other. In Quake II, for example, you would move forward, and backward with buttons on the front of the phaser, and you use the hat on top to look around (+mlook). The gun is for aiming at what’s onscreen and for shooting. And I couldn’t get used to it. For one, I like both hands on the gun. I know for a fact that very few pistol purists would hold a handgun one-handed, so I hope they aren’t marketing this system to those fine folks. And holding a gun up at arms length gets very tiring very quickly. How the heck do you strafe? Not without manually binding keys.

I think it can’t be done technically, but what I really wanted to see was a way to look around my environment using the gun. Get rid of that silly little phaser. If I aim the gun off the screen to the right, then my view should shift to the right. If I aim anywhere on screen then my view doesn’t shift. It should work the way a mouse works now. Again, technically I think that it’s impossible, because when the gun is off screen you can’t tell where it’s pointed, but that’s the way I would like to see it happen. Call me crazy, but I think this system is just begging for foot pedals. I’ve seen them used in arcade shooters, and I think it could really work here. All I really need is forward/backward and side to side strafing movement. Would that work? Maybe a “hat” on the gun where the hammer would normally be? But still, this only works if I can look with the gun.

I think the Gun System has a chance in the FPS market, but not as it’s currently designed. Just for fun I stuck my wife in front of the computer with the GS, as a test for a non-hardcore gamer, and she couldn’t get used to it either (would you believe she still prefers a joystick?). But I will say the GS definitely has promise. I think the GS is better suited for arcade style games like Area 51. I love that game, why hasn’t it made it to the PC? Waiting for the GS maybe?

The GS is a little ahead of its time but it’s gaining ground. It’s slowly gaining support from developers and the list of upcoming titles that supports the GS is encouraging. I hope the GS does well because I really think it’s a step in the right direction.

 

- Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon currently holds the world record for using the word "exhumed" 15 times in a single sentence.

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Credits: Illustration © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Geek Toys is © 1999 Russell Lauzon. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you cartoonish villian, you.