Blue Bayou

I’ve been following all the Halo 2 news like everyone else. Has anyone noticed in the Zanzibar multiplayer demo from E3 that the switch to open the gate looks like the blue screen of death? Coincidence? Not likely. Once the gates open, it’s pretty much death by Warthog.

OK, now I have some questions.

1) What has happened to the pistol and the Scorpion tank?

2) Will the game have all the original game types: oddball, king of the hill, original capture the flag?

3) Will players be able to modify multiplayer games like they could in the first?

4) Will there be a retro mode to play these new levels based on old rules/physics/weapons?

Bill Salem

Alberta, Canada

P.S. I take credit for first noticing the blue screen of death.

For first noticing the blue screen of death, Bill Salem, you win the coveted Xbox Nation Letter of the Month award, which enables you to either drink from the fire hose or take our managing editor Cindy Lum to the junior prom in an expensive limousine chauffeured by a hunky manservant of virtue pure.

Oh, and a Bungie representative was kind enough to answer your questions:

1) The human pistol is still there. It is a scopeless version of the pistol featured in the original Halo. And, of course, the Scorpion is back.

2) We will revisit many of our old game modes and, more importantly, add some new ones.

3) You will be able to play around with rules and game types, yes.

4) We are not discussing all the aspects of multiplayer at this time. But it’s important to note that Halo 2 is a new game, with lots of new stuff and plenty of cool stuff from the original game.

P.S. People laughed at the blue screen of death at the E3 presentation.

Heady Goodness

I recently bought Spider-Man 2 for Xbox and I love it. It is definitely the best Spider-Man game I have played. There is just one thing I noticed that was really odd. I was web swinging around when I came across the Civic Center building and saw a head lying on the steps! It was the creepiest thing! I turned the game off and then came back later, only to web swing for a few hours looking for the place again—but when I found it, the head was gone! You think someone took it? Nah. But is this some kind of glitch or something, or do you think you could find out what caused it?

Michael Schickler

For going above and beyond the call of duty, Michael Schickler, and including an actual picture of the disembodied head in question, you have won the coveted Xbox Nation Letter of the Month award. As a prize for this great honor, you will be photographed with XBN’s King of the Universe World Heavyweight Championship Belt, which you may then show to beautiful women, many of whom will take pity on you before turning you down for dates.

Activision took a look at the picture you sent, by the by, and its representatives were baffled. What you saw, most likely, was a one-time graphic glitch.

Payola, Inc.

Are you on Electronic Arts’ payroll? It appears that way after reading your review of NCAA Football 2005 in the August 2004 (#17) issue.

I purchased this game and I’ve had nothing but problems with it. Mainly, the framerate drops constantly, and I encounter massive slowdown every time the ball is snapped. My players all look and feel like they’re wearing concrete shoes while trying to run a marathon in a swamp. After visiting various forums around the Net—, TeamXbox, IGN, and—it appears that many other people are also having this problem. IGN and GameSpot’s reviews also note the problem with slowdown in the game. I visited EA’s tech support forum to see if this has been reported and I was greeted with this message:

Q: Why am I experiencing graphical corruption?

A: If you are using a high-definition television, be sure that you are using the Microsoft Xbox High Definition pack. This game is not intended for use with a projection television. If you are still having issues with graphical corruptions, contact Microsoft for Xbox support at 1-800- 4MY-XBOX.

Folks, that is laughable. It appears that EA has crafted the very first Xbox game that isn’t compatible with projection televisions. (Yes, I’m playing on a 48-inch Mitsubishi widescreen.)

How is it that your magazine missed this major problem with the game?

Bill Montgomery

Freelance writers—such as Scott DeVaney, the author of the NCAA Football 2005 review—have to play review copies of the videogames they’re sent on the televisions they have at home. And the harsh reality is that they don’t have the time or the ability to test games on different setups.

Xbox Nation regrets the oversight but stands by its score. And for bringing to light a serious question about game reviews, you, Bill Montgomery, have won the coveted Xbox Nation Letter of the Month award. Your prize, a laser death ray, could not possibly be shipped through the post and was replaced by an audiocassette of an unidentified XBN staff member ordering dinner from the place that always gets the food wrong no matter how many times you repeat what you want and how clearly you enunciate.

Return of the Letters Page

I recently traded in my PlayStation 2 for an Xbox. But now, ever since I bought an Xbox, my game selection has been neglected, since I didn’t know what most of [the good ones] are. So I looked for a gaming magazine and fell upon yours. Just want to say that you have an excellent layout and I love your magazine. Bad part is, I am still asking you for help. I need a game like The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, but I also want it to be a very good title. If you could help me, that would be great.

Marc Dale

XBN heartily recommends the following games: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. That is all.

Ha! That’s a little Xbox humor for you there, Mr. Marc Dale. Anyway, if you read this here magazine, you can flip to the back where the 50 best Xbox games are run down in fine fashion. Start your search on page 105 and be joyous.

And what the hey! You have won the coveted Xbox Nation Letter of the Month award. Expect your prize, a Porsche shrunk down to the size and shape of a refrigerator magnet, which is of a question mark, one that no one can remember what videogame it was promoting.

Complainatron 1245

I hate to complain, but someone has to. We have been waiting for Halo 2 ever since many of us finished the first one. I’m glad that there is a set date now, but why is the date so far away when the game is obviously done? I mean, all we see are screenshots and little tidbits of info. Now don’t get me wrong, most of us have been trying to survive on those screenshots, but it’s just not enough. Maybe you could humor us and give us a demo or maybe make the release date sooner? Please?

Matt Staggs

Sadly, Matt Staggs, you sent this letter to Xbox Nation and not to Microsoft, the company that makes Halo 2. This is a shame because if you had sent it to Microsoft, you might have won the coveted Microsoft Letter of the Month award and a cash prize of $6 billion.

As it stands now, XBN can only say, have patience.

Missing in Action

Well, my story all began with me beginning my favorite activity, lying down on my couch and playing Xbox. I walked over to my shelf and looked at my games, Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow, Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow, and (of course) Halo. Then I felt it; I felt as if I was missing something extremely important in my gaming experience. I ignored it for a while, but eventually the sense of absence in my gaming collection just grew larger and larger until I couldn’t think of anything but my missing game(s). So I’ve decided to resort to experts. What do you think are my missing games?

Bob Boberson

XBN’s own previews editor Che Chou speaketh thusly: Bob, you seem like the kinda guy who enjoys his Xbox with a side of testosterone. To that end, you should pick up The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, RalliSport Challenge 2, and Metal Arms: Glitch in the System (because real men prefer shivs, powerslides, and sassy robots).

Congratulations, Bob Boberson! You have won the coveted Xbox Nation Letter of the Month award. For your well-thought-out note, you will undoubtedly receive the respect of people you don’t even know and will never even meet, which is better than any prize with real monetary value we could send you.

Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Xbox Nation.