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A Level A Day – “Red Faction: Guerrilla,” Day 5

A Level A Day – “Red Faction: Guerrilla,” Day 5 (photo)

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Monday, December 13, 2010: “Red Faction: Guerrilla,” Day 5

I made a final push this weekend to finish all the critical missions in the Parker, the first of the game’s big sectors. One of my final tasks was a mission to destroy an EDF command post. It was a standard Demolition objective but the site was heavily guarded by drones, the derogatory term for EDF occupying forces. Even though I picked up a few citizen rebels along the way, I died a lot.

What’s worse, they died a lot. While it’s an awesome feeling to have a random, ordinary person pick up a gun and stay blasting away by your side, it feels absolutely awful to have them die on your watch. “Red Faction” doesn’t have any squad-based strategic controls like other games with this mechanic, so it’s not like I can tell them to take cover while I do all the shooting. It’s a kind of a sideways method of generating collateral damage and has a stinging emotional effect. The effect multiplies exponentially when it’s a hostage you save who buys the farm. Here you are, liberating someone who was no doubt only minutes away from a bullet in the back of his or her head and their life gets cruelly snatched away from them on the way to freedom.

Still, I discovered one thing about “Red Faction: Guerilla” when playing this mission over and over, which is that the damage you do is persistent. That means that even when I died and when back to the site of the mission, all the wrecking I had done remained. I finally took down the offending architecture in dramatic fashion, having set some charges which I detonated right before I died. The shot of e dying just as the outpost sustained enough damage to crumble to dust felt like a nice accidental martyr symbol. I went back to that location to check on my handiwork, only to find, guards wandering around the ruin of their former stronghold. I know it was just the game programming at work but it still felt eerie, like they were haunting the place.

From there, I moved onto a rescue mission where I had to rescue Samanya, the female rebel that’s obviously being set up as a love interest for lead character Alex Mason. The whole deal winds up being surprisingly easy. Along the way, I notice that “RFG” plays home to the most cheerful revolution ever. The random chatter from bystanders treats the proceedings like a football game. You can overhear them saying stuff like “I don’t think hose drones are ever gonna forget the name ‘Red Faction,'” and “Red Faction is bringing change to Mars.” Well, if they aren’t bothered, then I guess I shouldn’t be?

The last big mission to liberate Parker comes as a surprise, as it’s the first explicit driving-only mission the game’s tossed at me so far. As the rebe movement pushes into the next sector of Mars, I need to distract the EDF by ramming into and taking out 12 communication towers. It basically amounts to a very fun destruction derby, despite the game’s iffy driving controls. At one point, my ride gets severely damaged and I have to hoof it to a cluster of towers. The stretch of terrain where this mission happens is chock full of little bumps and changes in elevation and cars get to flying and jumping all over me. The whole thing felt a little like “Mad Max.” I’m good with that.

[A Level A Day will be my attempt to give my thumbs more exercise every 24 hours. ALAD will be part diary, part analysis and a smidgen of random observation on games that either slipped through the cracks or might deserve reconsideration. I won’t promise to finish every game but I’ll try to track what I think of as honestly as I can, so you’ll at least know why I’m stopping a particular game.]

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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