Thursday, August 19, 1999

Ask Uncle Tusk: August 19, 1999

Ask Uncle Tusk

Okay, so he might look like a mindless heavyweight killing machine with a penchant for extreme violence. You're just going to judge him by that, are you? Just going to assume he doesn't have a sensitive bone in his body? Well, how do you know he's not just a big kitten underneath all that berserker rage and brutality?

Maybe all he really wants to do is help people face up to their everyday Rare gaming problems, offer them a shoulder to cry on when they're trapped by a time limit or pleading for power-ups. So go on, ask him, he won't bite (and we'll pay for the damage if he does).

* * *

August 19, 1999

* * *

Dear Mr. Tusk,

Three questions, but first I must thank you for the humor. Helps the work day flow a little smoother once I read one of your irregular updates. Beauty of a site I must say, keeps the salivation flowing.

So the questions. In PD, is the game going to keep track of any player stats? Example, you paste your face onto one of the heads in the game, will it keep track of wins and losses, accuracy, how many people this character plays against on average, etc? Will it do this for single player as well? Like keep track of head shots, all that jazz.

That's it. Have a good one Tusk.

Uncle Tusk replies:
What humour? I just threaten stupid people with violence. I suppose it's fundamentally amusing in a primeval kind of way, but when I think about stuff like that my head hurts. Let's drag the designer in to respond to your ramblings.

"Those players who like rubbing salt in the wounds of former friends will probably like the stats setup for PD. Nuff said."

* * *

Hullo Tusk!

(Or was it Rust? I say that cause you were gone so long that you were a little rusty and you forgot which letters to put in the thing. (That means you forgot to put my letters in. Shame Shame!))

Oh YES, quite. Like you were actually (and I quote) "trying to scrape up enough editorials to write a decent column." You lying scum! You were sittin' around with yer finger up yer butt while we just sit here pining away... You! Taking a vacation? Tsk, tsk, tsk. If you want my presence you'll have to do better than that! (Trust me. You want my presence... I guess...) That's right. I've seen that you've been on vacation. Boring!

You could be sitting here talking to me! Fun.

Anyways. Here's a couple of things you need to fix. Or answer. Hmm? Why do you need to fix them you say? Don't ask that. The only answer you'll get, is that you're an fur-wearing-ugly-butt so you've gotta do what I say. Hmph!

1. Why don't you people learn to spell?!! You always write "perusing" instead of "persuing," the correct spelling. An' don't even try to pull that, "It's a U.K. spelling," on me. Even if it was, it'd still be incorrect! Ha! I'm so mean... (Wait, look who I'm talking to...)

2. What in hell is a "get"?!!

3. Will Banjo-Tooie be out THIS year? Or perhaps you shouldn't answer that. Or perhaps by my saying that, you won't answer! What am I doing?! (That obviously means answer it, or you won't be the only one welding a knife.)

4. Why don't you update this site more often? You look retarded. (I guess I kinda answered that by saying you were on vacation, huh?)

5. And um... "knackers?" Please don't tell me that it means a woman's... you know...

Hey! Blame that McCalls guy! I didn't read everything, so...

Write me back. Restore my faith in you.

Uncle Tusk replies:
1. We're very sorry for misspelling a word that exists only in your own head.

2. Like a git, but not as bad. Not applicable in your case, git.

3. It was never going to be out this year. Git.

4. Git.

5. Yes, that's what it means. "You've got great knackers" is a fantastic chat-up line.

I'd rather you didn't have any faith in me, if it lessens the chances of you ever writing in again.

* * *

Mr. Tusk.

You kick any and all that oppose you in the ass. You astound us with your cool, dry witty humor. No one can stop you, but you already know all of this. So my question for you is how do you relax after a long day of ass-kicking? Do you throw back a few tall cold ones, or do you just sit and stare at your reflection on your sword, or do you not rest at all and spend your extra time answering stupid questions like this one?

Oh yeah by the way, where's Killer Instinct 3 and are you still in it or are you banned as to give the other competitors a fair chance.

Uncle Tusk replies:
It's been a while since my last "long day of ass-kicking". I try to make my own entertainment, but there's just not a lot happening in the old head-smacking department since those tournaments started to dry up. Makes me sort of wish that there really was a
KI3 in the works. Still, having Maya around keeps me on my toes: particularly when she does that thing of leaping out screaming from behind doors and trying to snap my neck for no apparent reason. Bit disturbing, that one.

* * *

Dear Uncle Tusk,

I am stuck (for about 2-3 weeks now) in a large house/castle. I have found the torch and am now at a room with 2 "spiders" and a locked door. Can't find anywhere else to go, so figure I need to unlock the door. Decided I needed to kill the "spiders", but have found no way to do that either...

I would really appreciate hearing from you if you have any suggestions.

Betty Brown

Uncle Tusk replies:
Including the title of a game somewhere in your mail usually helps. Sounds like it could be Conker's Pocket Tales, but nobody here can remember the bit you're talking about, so it's just as likely that you're one of these cack-spouting lunatics we seem to attract. If not, look for a switch. Switches open doors. You must have missed one in your rush to appear thick in front of thousands of people.

* * *

Dear Uncle Tusk,

In response to Nick's question from your last update, the character in the instruction book of GE is Sean Connery. I know because I have a Gameshark that lets you see pictures of all the other Bonds. If you look on the opposite page you can see him playing multiplayer. On the same page is another fault in the booklet: It says 'Handicap' where 'health' should be. It made me think, exactly how long before releasing the game did you make the book? Anyway, I have a cool idea for you arses at Rare. Why don't you re-release Goldeneye? Add another level (citadel), get all the copyright stuff sorted out, include all Bonds, Dam island, motorbike, silo stuff etc. and it will sell another gazillion copies. I would buy it again! Bet you didn't think of that, eh?! You could spend all the time you wanted on it to get all the copyright stuff done so it wouldn't be a huge hassle. I expect the only problem would be convincing the GE team to take up the development again. Give it a thought please.

See ya.

Uncle Tusk replies:
How long before releasing the game do we sort out the manual? "Long enough for a word to change," says the designer. In fact, long enough for half the game to change, usually. It's just one of those things. Let's get the rest of your rubbish answered:

"You'd buy it again? You'd be the only person who would. And you'd have to buy a gazillion copies, too. We all heard you say that. I hope you've got a fat wallet.

"The amount of time I want to spend on another GoldenEye game would be 'none'; 'copyright stuff' is *always* a huge hassle regardless of the amount of time spent on it; the only problem would be convincing the GE team? And Nintendo, and Eon, and Rare, and..."

* * *

Dear fat boy (yeah you Tusky),

Firstly how come you never show any of my mail? Please would you, my friends would be real jelouse.

Secondly, any info on Banjo-tooie and Perfect Dark? When will they be released?

Thirdly, is it true Castlevania 4, is out in Japan?

Last but not least, I keep asking you this, have Rare any plans for a Zelda type RPG?

Thank you! You a real busha (that means a cool person in Bradford).
Andrew Lisle, Bradford
PS Your not a fatboy I was angry and didnt mean it. Hope I didnt hurt your feelings.

Uncle Tusk replies:
How 'jelouse' do you think your friends will be when I nip round to administer an exclusive plank-based beating? Somehow I expect they'll start laughing. Your questions are, naturally, those of an idiot, except for the
Castlevania one, which is so relevant it hurts. Please never write again.

* * *

Dear Uncle Tusk,

Actually, Eddie Murphy did say "Row his ass" before saying "Paddle his ass." In other words, you were both correct, but I am the king!!!!!!!!!!

Uncle Tusk replies:
You'll look even more stupid than most of the people on this page if you're wrong, but quite honestly I can't be bothered to check.

* * *

Dear Uncle Tusk,

First of all, I hope that you don't mind a letter that expects a serious answer.

Second, I was wondering if those working on creating Perfect Dark have gotten a chance to enjoy some first person shooters developed by other companies. Two in particular that I hope they have had a chance to at least view, or better yet, play are Half-Life and Rainbow Six. The former I think deserves attention because it involves excellent AI, but did not have enemies which sit around. Stationary enemies I believe inhibits the challenge of GE in a number of areas, and while I do not think that all of PD's characters should be zooming around like that, I think at least some of them should. Do not get me wrong, I think that stationary enemies gave GE a very unique flavor at times, but I really think that versitility in this area would add to PD immensely. As for R6, there is no specific aspect that I think PD should borrow, but I think that since it also features realistic weapons that it should observed for a sense of contrast. (Another such game would be Action Quake II).

I was also wondering if anyone on the PD team has had a chance to view or review any John Woo movies. The reason that I bring this up is a couple days ago I was fooling around on the Facility level when I came across the labs with glass doors and large windows. This reminded me of the scene near the end of Hard Boiled in which there is a major showdown with people jumping through similar windows to get to cover, dodge bullets, etc. This event reminded me of an I idea I had a while back. PD will not feature a jump button (and I am completely in favor of this) but what if players automatically jumped over low objects when they ran towards them? I think that this would add a new strategical element to both multiplayer and single player games without making the game's controls any more complex.

Finally I would like to thank you for your time.

Uncle Tusk replies:
Let's put these to the team. Oi! Did you play any other first-person shooters? "Uh, yes..."

Right. And did you watch any John Woo films? "Uh, yes..."

I think that just about covers it. By the way, what would be the point of having 'low objects' in the game if you automatically jumped over them all the time? Surely they might as well just not be there? Nutcase.

* * *

Dear Uncle,

It's been a while since I've checked on your column. Part of me cannot believe the continual onslaught of ignorance. Part of me can: I think I go to school with half of them. Anyway, if you haven't already, check out You see uncle, there is hope! Of course, there's also napalm.
Nephew Jeremy

Uncle Tusk replies:
I prefer good old-fashioned hand-to-hand combat, myself. Much more satisfying to punch out the lights of each and every gibbering dunce in turn than to use one of these new-fangled nancy weapons to wipe them all out in one go without even touching them.

* * *

Hey You,

I'm not gonna address a total stranger as "uncle", so maybe a simple "HEY YOU!" will suffice.

What is it that keeps people from realizing that Rare is too busy and too undermanned to work a sequel to a game that had (barely) moderate success in the market? The only reason KI Gold did as well as it did was the fact that it was the strongest contender in a limited (very limited) market. The Nintendo 64 still has a serious lack of fighting games, and (I bite my tongue as a I say it) KI Gold is still probably the best on the system. Don't get me wrong, the game is fun and has a high replay value, the two most important factors in a game. However, the game lacked the spark of imagination and advancement that other fighting games were showing at the same time. The 2 1/2-D look of KI Gold was (I think) obnoxious at times and the characters held no size scale constant. Had it been a straight up 2D fighter, it'd probably kicked some serious butt, but unfortunately, the game just isn't worthy (for the time being) for another incantation. I'm just saying all this though so you wonderful people will be able to put all your focus on Jet Force Gemini (already got mine reserved, guys...) and Perfect Dark. All I ask, is that all you little, whining punks who do nothing but gripe about there being no KI3 in the works: SHUT UP! Not to sound treacherous, but the KI series just can't hold a finger to titles like Tekken 3 (arcade only, PSX version sucked...) and Soul Calibur (although I must admit that KI was a bit more challenging than both of those...). I think Rare has truly found their niche and they are filling it well with titles like Goldeneye (still the best first-person game of all time, although PD just might change that, I hope...), Banjo Kazooie, Jet Force Gemini and Perfect Dark. Maybe you guys were never meant to make the world's greatest fighting game, but that's okay. Who needs fighting games if we're all completely enveloped by games like PD or JFG? Although a completely original fighting title might be cool from you guys, you're busy enough as it is and I don't want you distracted from your masterpieces!

Good luck as your deadlines near,
PS Take all my suggestions in my survey answers seriously... especially the Joanna Dark swimsuit spread...;)

Uncle Tusk replies:
Now you're asking for it. You've lined yourself up for such a comically infuriated KI devotee backlash that there's not much point in me bothering to come up with any threats of my own.

Yes, we are just a bit busy at the moment, with enough titles on the boil to basically ensure that KI doesn't get another look in before our N64 development draws to a close. You never know what'll happen on future systems, though, and I'll certainly be keeping an eye on the possibility of a KI continuation (because otherwise I'm bound to get replaced by bloody Tiptup or Loggo or something one of these days).

* * *

Dear Uncle Tusk,

Just got a few questions about Perfect Dark for you. (Who'd have thought. - Uncle Tusk)

Firstly I read in a magazine that you could lock on to enemies using c-right, surely this removes either the ability to strafe or the ability to lean while aiming, so how does this work?

Are you going to be able to accurately add colour to the deathmatch characters' faces when pasted from the Game Boy Camera, considering it uses black and white images.

Will the deathmatch bots use crates etc. to provide cover and work together as a team, co-ordinating attacks and covering each other?

William Nicholls
P.S Can you please print a picture of the new Sniper Rifle (not the FarSight).
P.P.S Please include a Surface One style sniping level in deathmatch, the Facility and a mp level editor or random level generator like F-Zero X.

Uncle Tusk replies:
Nice one. More stuff to be fobbed off on the sarcasm-free zone that is the PD designer:

"1. When using a particular weapon it does, yes. Perhaps you should go back and read the article again, but slower this time.

"2. No, we just thought we'd bang any old crap in because we know people will buy the game anyway.

"3. Ideally yes. But we can't promise that they won't run around screaming because the guns scare them or something. Tch! Actors, etc.

"PS No.
"PPS It's already in, it's already in, no and no."

* * *


Although near 50 I enjoy games, especially those for CGB and especially on those long plane flights. However some games are particularly frustrating. Quest for Camelot for example requires you to beat the two final bosses sequentially with no break and this even for my mutant 15 year old has proved impossible. Conker did not at first appear this way and was very enjoyable right up to the islands and the races there-in. Neither I nor the 15 year old seem to be able to beat them and thus though humiliating I must ask for help. I have not gotten past either the long jump nor the hurdles. I hope you can help and it is not simply a matter of having reflexes and timing beyond human.

Thanks in advance,
David Ginley

Uncle Tusk replies:
"Beyond human"? I think you mean "beyond hopeless", you cack-handed divot. "Near 50" referred to the number of vodkas you had before playing, did it? How can you
not be able to complete these games? I cry tears of bitter despair for your appalling lack of competence. Hope that helped in some way.

* * *

Dear Uncle Tusk,

Tell us the story of Banjo-Tooie again... Really, what's the deal with Banjo-Tooie. I've just got Back-into-Banjo and saw the pictures again. In Nintendo Power they always tell the patient subscriber what cames are coming out in the next season, the one after that, and future. They haven't said a single thing about Banjo-Tooie! I know you guys have been busy with Jet Force Gemini
(Looks really cool!) and stuff like that, but what about poor Banjo and Kazooie. They seemed happy that they would be in another game, and yet you neglect them for other games. Please give me the scoop on Banjo.


Uncle Tusk replies:
What 'scoop'? It's coming out next year, and we've got at least three other games lined up before then. Is it so outrageous that we're trying to promote those first? Just as soon as the B-T mob are ready to flaunt their first screenshots or game details, we'll post them. At the moment they've still got their heads down beavering away, and I sincerely doubt that having people with names like 'Funkatator' write in is likely to prompt a sudden screenshot explosion from them.

* * *

Dear Uncle Tusk,

Played GOLDENEYE, got through all the levels on each Agent level. All (including the AZTEC level) except THE CRADLE OO. What is the point of this level? It is painfully frustrating. No skill is required, no matter how hard I try I get whipped. Walking up the walkway from the starting point sees me getting hammered to half health. These black costumed b*st*rds don't miss. The level is pointless and I feel it is the only let down in the game. Make sure PERFECT DARK uses strategy, skill and stealth rather than impossible enemies that get harder to kill on each level. When I shoot a man in the face with an UZI I expect him to die. FYI I erased the cartridge, two nights ago. I'd had enough and decided the EGYPT level was a toss anyway. Stand on squares to stop the guns from opening, really how Indiana Jones can you get. Any tips on beating this stupid level would be appreciated.

Whingeing Aussie

Uncle Tusk replies:
Stop being so USELESS. You wouldn't have any TROUBLE with GOLDENEYE if you weren't such a limp-wristed BABOON. Here's the DESIGNER.

"Indiana Jones never did that. And we all know it's you, Mr. Lazenby, so stop trying to pull the wool.

"If you are really having so much trouble, try tilting backwards as you run up the walkway so that the lockon has an easier time of it. As soon as you see the gun twitch, start shooting, and don't let up until it returns to the zero position. If you want to collect the armour near the start, be quick about it or you'll get slaughtered. It's supposed to be a hard level. However, many thousands of people worldwide have managed to do it, so it is not impossible. The problem seems to be in your mind. Let go your conscious self.

"Incidentally, the cartridge told us it erased itself anyway because you were so crap. Mr. Williamson's influence extends around the globe, I see."

* * *

Dear Uncle Tusk,

Interesting set up for you, after KI Gold. It's funny to read your responses to things that people post. So here is my effort to match up to them.

1) In previous dated "Uncle Tusks", you mention that KI3 is in development and there was no more need hide it from people. Well, I see nothing on the site for KI3 in development, and some info might prove far more cool than I can imagine. Can you help in arranging this?

2) KI Gold was to have taken place before KI1. So who's the old man in the training mode? Why is he so passive against the multitude of characters, most of which look far more evil and deadly than what he's been used to in his own time? Will train anybody, anywhere, anytime...

3) In KI1, the characters were all pretty much balanced. If you learned one, you could move on to the next charcter and learn them, and get just as good with each one. In KI Gold, the weights are shifted, and one character's strengths have turned to weaknesses. Sabrewolf, in KI1, was a mediocre character that turned evil in KI Gold. A good player could make use of him in the first, but a good player becomes undefeated in the second. Even the rock-paper-scissors battle system did nothing for this. Why did the engine progress this way?

4) Why is the A.I. in KI Gold so damn cheap? It stops being fun and just gets frustrating.

5) Why is Gargos easier to beat than Eyedol? I was surprised to find that Fulgore was tougher than Gargos was. Long live Eyedol!

6) What about those endings? Did Thunder ever find his brother? Did he need to? Did Jago ever hit that "higher plane of existence" he was looking for? Did Glacius really make it home? Did Cinder ever get cured? Did he really need to? Did Orchid ever get over that awful breast disease that made all her enemies die from sight of them?

Thanks for the info,
Jeff C

Uncle Tusk replies:
1) Stop it. Really. It's not big and it's not clever.

2) The truth is, old Spinal was so nervous about performing his feeble moves in front of that old fella that I took pity on him for once, escorted the doddering old fool round the back and belted him across the back of the head until he was so dizzy he couldn't see straight. Improved everyone's chances at the end of the day.

3) You really are talking out of your arse now.

4) No, it's great. You're just a soft ponce.

5) Gargos was a bit rusty after 2000 years. Give him a break, eh?

6) Thunder's brother Eagle was dead, Jago's just as soft as you and I never did understand all that mysticism tosh he used to spout, Glacius killed Cinder and buggered off home, and Orchid... well, I've never seen it for myself so I'm not sure what's going on in there.

* * *

Dear Daddy,

Well, the world is going great, I don't understand why everyone is always shooting at me. You probably noticed that I know coherent English now. I thought that was pretty cool. I also know a bit of Swahili now. Habari, bwana! It was all thanks to those nice men in the Falkland Islands. Ah, well. I suppose I'll head on to Africa next and see those Swahili people, or something. Maybe they won't drop big booming things on me. Tell Mommy to
send more money, I'm runnin' a bit short and they don't always take credit there. Where is Mommy, anyway? Last I heard, she was in America with that guy, DJ Combo was it? Wait, did you know about that? Ah, well. I gotta stop writing now. Things are having a habit of melting when I get too close to them for a while.

Your faithful kitty,

Uncle Tusk replies:
Aww, that's nice. He's such a good boy. Much more endearing when he's not here to infest my boots with his fleas and leave snot trails all over the furniture. Yeah, Maya gets these little notes from that Combo guy all the time asking if she's available to join him at his gym for a good workout - poor fool's obviously past it and needs all the training he can get. She must really put him through his paces, too, because she always seems exhausted when she gets back at around 3am. Bless her.

* * *

Yo, Tusk dude,

I have some questions about Jet Force Gemini. Is the cooperative mode three-player (for all three characters)? Are there gonna be any battle modes?

This game is looking really cool and it's a sure buy! I also loved Zelda 64! Congratulations, Tusk! I still haven't found all 100 Skulltulas you so masterfully hid there.
P.S. I bet you're really p*ssed off right now.

Uncle Tusk replies:
Not at all. Intentional stupidity I can tolerate. The JFG co-operative mode is actually 64-player, hence the game coming bundled with a 16-way plug for each controller port. Battle modes, however, are widely renowned as a stupid idea, and seeing as nobody bothered with the ones in GoldenEye we just decided to forget about it. Hope that 'answers' your 'questions'.

* * *

Dear fist-thumpin', arse-kickin', sword-wieldin' (I know, Ryan Mead, don't tell me), warpaint-wearin', big boot thumpin', rippley-muscled Unkie Tusk,

How's thangs? Everyone givin' ya the big-arse sprinkled donut at lunchbreak? No? Beat 'em up for me, will ya? (Those no-good Nazi b*st*rds)... uh, I mean... AHEM. How's life treatin' ya, Tusky boy? I know times are rough now, but soon you'll get that big promotion someday!! Anyways, to the question: How's thangs lookin' for Perfect Dark? I'm betting you won't answer this one straight, but I'll try anyways. I haven't heard anything about the available views on it. On the whole crapload of screenshots I've seen, some shots were of Joanna Dark in 3rd person perspective, and on others, they looked like the best game ever, GoldenEye. You know, the 1st person shooter look, wit da gun out in front. Here's the crappy question: can you have the traditional GoldenEye look, AND have that outstanding 3rd person view, too? Or are all those 3rd person pics just of cinema scenes? Hey, if ya put this one in the site, I'll pay ya 100 bucks-rats!! Someone's already offered that already... How about-crap. I'm babbling. Sorry, Mister Tusk, sir, I did not mean to offend you. No, please! Don't raise the whuppin' stick!! No! ARGH!!!!
P.S. This is to Jim the Evil Postman. You SUCK man!!! That's the best you can do??!! 1:21??!! Oh my god, he really DOES suck!!! Try to beat 1:15, my good man! WithOUT any cheats!!! MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!! AND I have proof of that, so there!!! And yes, Sean Williamson sucks. I'll agree with ya there.

P.P.S. Tusky boy, if you don't print this, you'll NEVER HEAR THE END OF ME AGAIN!!!!!!!!!! (cue evil music)

Uncle Tusk replies:
'Big-arse sprinkled donut'? What are you talking about? What's your first language? In fact, what are your second, third and fourth languages, you jabbering mental case? I daresay I'd have to crack out a whole crateload of 'whuppin' sticks' to stand any chance of beating some sense into you. Let's see if PD's designer has any more luck trying to decipher your idiot babble.

"Those tricky '3rd-person screenshots' were in actual fact stills from the cutscenes, as even the Duke of Edinburgh would have figured out after a few false starts.
"PS We only have evidence of Sean Williamson's crapness on one level. He may well be the best player in the world on every other level, but this one particular level is his Achilles heel, the one thing he cannot do. Whereas you have two things you cannot do: communicating normally and not appearing like a idiot.
"PPS I think somehow we will."

* * *

Dear U.T.,

I'd just like to say that Banjo-Kazooie has one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard in a game. I've seen some midi versions of some songs floating around on the web, and I've heard about the CD, too, but I still haven't been able to find one song: It's the tune from Rusty Bucket Bay, when you go inside the smoke-stack and into the engine room, with all the machinery. It's got a spooky quality that I can't get enough of.

Anyways, if anyone knows where I can find a midi version (or any other version), or just some info about the song, I'd be glad.

Uncle Tusk replies:
Quiet, everyone, quiet! It's a non-GoldenEye/PD question. Let's get a response from the Banjo musician before anyone notices:

"At last, recognition for my pain and suffering as a sensitive artiste etc. etc.

"Errr... the inspiration behind the aforementioned piece was... Errrmmm... I can't remember actually. I think I was trying to write something that sounded mechanical and sort of oily as well. It's not on the CD because there just wasn't enough room for all the Banjo tunes as they totalled well over 74 minutes (the limit on a CD).

"Ahh... the smell of oil on big cogs, there's nothing like it!"

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