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# Friday, 20 November 2009

I once thought that completing wave 50 of Gears Of War Horde Solo (playing alone) is impossible on Hardcore, simply because in Hardcore, you can only tolerate very few hits, and in such an intense action like Horde where swamps of enemies gang up on you, it is hard to avoid being sniped on.

Actually I have tried maps like Stasis, Jacinto and Security, in that particular order, and found the maps to be easier one after another, lately I finally realize why many people had achieved well in Horde, there is a map called "Day One", and there is a near perfect hideout where a Hardcore solo act can be achieved practically.


Actually, I found wave 49 to be tougher than wave 50 due to the presence of more Kantus and Theron guards, while in wave 50 their seats are probably occupied by Grenadiers and Bloodmounts. The Day One map hideout still has a potential threat in Hardcore mode that it cannot alleviate: the ink granade and explosion of Imulsion tipped arrows from Torque Bow.

So what is so special about this Hideout place in Day One? At the end of the Stairway by the green wall, there is a fenced place where you can hardly be hit, there is a small angle from behind but it would be quite unusual, but the best is, Maulers do not seem to be able to hit you at all even when in front of you, only under rare cases that it would, so it is a very safe position. And another good thing is, the weapon spawn area (a rifle or Torque Bow) is still right in front.

So here are a few of my observations which may help you to complete Horde wave 50 hardcore solo, this may not be interesting to you, but it is quite something cool to try I think!

1. Weapon choice: Play using the Torque Bow + Gorgon Burst Pistol combination, you also need to learn on how to make accurate shots in hiding position, especially Torque Bow, a good shot can take down a big guy like grinder in one shot! A key element in surviving higher waves in Horde when playing solo is ammunition, even if the weapon spawing area is just nearby, with waves of waves of Grinders, boomers and Maulers attacking, you may not always have a chance to grab them. The Gorgon pistol can contain a large load and can be extremely helpful in making blind shots when 4 to 5 big guys are attacking.

2. In wave 50, do not kill the mauler if it comes to your shield first alone, it can be your "second" shield preventing the bloodmount from entering or coming to you.
Note that the hideout is still subject to charge attack by lightweight enemies.

3. Give priority in killing Kantus, of course when you are not facing imminent threats from others, do not force the issue, always check around after making a few hits on them, sometimes you worry too much on a particular opponent and give others a chance to snipe on you. Kantus are very troublesome, they move fast and the ink grenade is extremely annoying.

4. Beware when Theron guards are lightening up their Torque bow, if you sense a good hit from it, move your position if you can, the arrow may not hit you directly, but an explosion nearby can still kill. I failed twice at wave 49 end game because of this. Boomer can also do the same but much less often.

5. When there is only one guy left in wave 50, and you can't see it, it could be a bloodmount hiding at the end of the stairways of the other side, I got hit twice from behind by it. The first time I spotted it there, and was looking for a way to shoot it from distance, but in just a couple seconds, it was already behind me! The second time I was not sure who was left, and when looking for it, got ambushed from behind by that Bloodmount.

So is wave 50 Insane possible? I think yes, but the challenge would be Kantus, at Insane, killing it from distance would be very difficult as the hits would be less tolerable. By the way, when I say Wave 50, I also mean completing wave 49 as well, as that could possibly be even tougher when two Kantus may working together to attack in tendem , and that would be very deathly!

Friday, 20 November 2009 00:07:54 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 08 November 2009

After seeing a YouTube video on completing Gears Of War II Horde alone (solo), I am surprised to find out that there is such an easy map out there, Security has a laser fence and a weapon spawing area that is well protected inside, and the movements of the Hordes are rather stupid there! Comparing to Security, my completion on Jacinto was a few times tougher!

So not all maps are made equal, comparing achievements in one map to another can be like comparing apple to walnut.


Gears of War II Horde Wave 50 Completed on Security

Sunday, 08 November 2009 13:27:42 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 05 November 2009

Playing XBOX Gears of War is really fun, I am not really a good player, therefore completing wave 50 solo (playing alone) is tough for me, but from the game forums it seems that a lot of people claims their achievements easily, wonder if people care to spend a few minutes, complete wave 50 alone, take a picture, and share it?

I have created a Flickr group called "Gears Of War Solo Archievements Evidence", for people who really achieve that to upload a screenshot:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/gearsofwarsolo/

But to be honest, playing games like that is bad for health, playing lego is a healthier hobby I think, though much more expensive, the amount for buying an XBOX game is good enough for a small Lego set only.

Thursday, 05 November 2009 23:10:56 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, 03 November 2009

Aside from Lego, there is actually another hobby that has been taking up quite a lot of my time, I am not a teenager who spends days and night playing X-BOX, in fact, I play one and only one game series, but since I am rather old, I need more time to accomplish what most young people can achieve easily - like completing Wave 50 in Horde of Gears Of War, alone in solo mode.


Gears of War II Horde Wave 50 Completed on Jacinto

May be completing wave 50 in Horde is easy for many of you, but perhaps most people would team up instead of going solo, as playing solo should be very tough and time consuming. And Why do I play solo? I guess it is exactly because it is tough.

By the way, it is no surprise that there are adult lego players among Gears of War players, and in fact, there are indeed some extremely impressive Lego Gears of War creations out there, in case you haven't seen them yet, please check out the following flickr group and album:

Flickr "LEGO" GEARS OF WARS group
http://www.flickr.com/groups/1057268@N22/

Album of Flickr user HAZEL- 名もなき詩
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hazel-fantasy/sets/72157608774490041/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hazel-fantasy/sets/72157614701026740/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hazel-fantasy/sets/72157614700837496/

Tuesday, 03 November 2009 20:24:35 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 30 October 2009

I found a great photo by Flickr user legofenris showing two Lego Viking soldiers on a cold night watch, aside from the photographic skill and the nice mix of nature and Lego, which creates a very realistic sensation, what caught my attention is the only element in the photo that seems not to be as realistic as the rest.

It seems to me that the idea is great, just not sure how to create a minfig scale compatible fire though.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/legofenris/3995201932/

Friday, 30 October 2009 23:11:08 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Thursday, 29 October 2009

When I first heard about the games theme from Lego, honestly there were not much excitement, first of all, I am not especially fond of this kind of game (instead I like X-BOX games), and secondly, my impression is that Lego is not a company good at this kind of stuff.

But after coming across 3840 Pirate Code by chance, it somehow caught my attention, and since a local vendor is selling it at HKD 279 (Around 22 Pound sterling), a 1.3X mark-up for a low cost product is truly acceptable, and I think perhaps I can play this with my kid too.


Nice packaging! Why can't all Lego sets boxes be designed this way?

And the result? Well, I would say this set is a jewel, not that it is a great game, but that it is a well-designed model that can be used to play a game in the pirates spirit, and its parts inventory is very interesting!

It is not a set for minifig collector, as there is no real Pirates elements in this set for that sense, the only "minifig" is a skeleton, but the game is about guessing the pirate secret code, and the most cunning pirate will win, the secret code is expressed in a mix of colored gems (6 colors). And guess results and hints can be expressed according to some rules. Honestly, I am really not a fan of these type of games, I would rather play Gears Of War II instead, so I am not going to play it now, and really can't elaborate any further.

The model is very interesting, built out of many high value parts, you got big number of stud plates, panel and other parts that you cannot possibly get in such quantity from a set! An example, for gems alone, you get 72 pieces of them (12 X 6 colors)! Checking out how much each of these will cost in bricklink, you'll know what you have got! By the way, as of now, the parts list are not inventorized at peeron yet, the photo below gives you a good idea on what's in the set.

The building process:



I like the treasure boxes a lot!

 


The dice! The "thing" beside it is used as a tool to remove the tiles easily


Not many left overs, but ok as the parts inventory is already very rich.

It seems to me that the games theme is available in Europe but not in USA, the price I got it in Hong Kong is still ok, the model is good and the parts can be a good supplement for building MOCs.

With my experiences on this 3840 Pirate Code, I think I need to take a serious look into other sets in the Games theme.

Thursday, 29 October 2009 21:21:51 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, 27 October 2009

I found the Lego 6299 Pirates Advent calendar available in a local shop today, checking out a nice review from Eurobricks, plus a quick look at the as usually helpful peeron web site on 6299, I can easily decide whether I would get it or not. My conclusion: Yes, I would get it.

It is true that most of the items can be available from existing Pirates sets and there is no real big surprise, but since I don't own the 6243 Brickbeard's Bounty, I would leverage this lower cost set 6299 to get the Mermaid, besides, the white Clam is also a rare item. With 8 minifigs, if the pricing is right, it is worth buying a set, but I don't think it is a good source of army building, the chess set or Tic Tac Toe (which I have written a review) would be a better choice for that purpose.

But another interesting twist for this set is its availability, it is strange that Lego seems to be not releasing this product in the US, I found a petition thread at Eurobricks, although it is true that US players can get it from Bricklink and other sources, but Lego's marketing strategy on product availability is really unpredictable, checking out history, some Advent Calendars were sold in the US, some were not. While US pricing is usually higher than that of Europe in previous Advent Calendars, this should not be an inventory issue, coz when you can only produce that many quantity, obviously selling it also at a higher pricing market would make sense. Another possibility is the market for either Pirates theme or Advent Calendars in US is estimated now to be smaller than that of Europe, which when reached a certain point, would make the distribution of this line of products at US not viable. Anyway, just some wild guess, for us here in Hong Kong, the shop is selling it at HKD 299, roughly USD 38, a typical 1.5X mark-up for Lego Advent Calenders being sold here.

By the way, I won't rush to buy it, I want it but not very badly, I'll see if more people will import it and offer a special discount sometimes somehow, there isn't too much noise in local Lego Community on it yet, I doubt if it is as hot as some think it is.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009 14:29:57 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Sunday, 25 October 2009

May be you have seen a lot of elegant Lego built structures, but this creation is truly special! At least this is the first time I see something of this kind, this work is not about size or grandeur, but on ingenuity and skills, designing a Lego pop-up structure that can be folded into a box shape is simply astonishing!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYlA3NV0rFA

And the youtube video is nicely done too!

Sunday, 25 October 2009 09:59:19 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Friday, 23 October 2009

When you ask a Lego Star Wars fan on which vehicle is the symbol of the series, I guess many would say X-Wing, I still remember years back when 6212 was so scarce in the market, many would have been willing to pay 2 times the original price to get one, but in comparison, 7658 Y-Wing Fighter has been on cold shelf and even today, some shops have to sell it as bargain item.

The same fate hits 8037, Anakin's Y-wing Starfighter, so I ask myself, is Y-Wing ugly? Is it lacking the exposure or charisma to be a Star? Personally I think the vehicle is great, the two special big nacelles is a unique design, the many small pieces of bricks peppered over the main body reminds me of a sophisticated vessal sailing the oceans, so what's wrong with it that makes it a poor seller?

Could the answer lies in the minifigs? Comparing 7658 to 6212 in terms of minifigs is definitely a big mismatch, 8037 includes a special version of R2 but all Lego Star Wars fans must have obtained Anakin and Ashoka from other sets long ago.

So let's take a look at the building sequence of 8037:

I think 8037 lacks playability, as you got only a firing missile and one of two not so interesting moving parts, and the chamber for Ahsoka is badly designed, not only it is too small, it lacks maneuverability, the sides are also too hefty, and the use of stickers in this case is very disappointing. As far as the Y-Wing itself is concerned, I think it is a great vehicle to have, but personally I like 7658 much better, though for completeness, I need to have a 8037 too.

Two Y-Wings side by side comparison:

 

If having one Y-Wing is good enough for you, I would suggest 7658, it is simply elegant!

Friday, 23 October 2009 21:03:36 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)
# Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Coming to Hong Kong and wanting to buy Lego as well? I think that can be a good idea as Hong Kong offers better prices than many other countries in the region. But even if you just wanna figure out what the Lego shopping experiences is like, I can fully understand that Lego fan behavior.

Lego has no official outlets in Hong Kong, despite that there are many shops in this city, before I can fully set up a google map for that (which is in progress), I would only name 2 sources, which I think is pretty enough for visitors who will not spend the whole vacation running around seeing many Lego shops in town.

The first one is ToysRUS, just visit this link to see the branch locations, I suggest TST branch at Ocean Terminal, where you can try out the Star Ferry, as well as have a great dining experiences there (many good options around): http://www.toysrus.com.hk/inside/location.htm

The other one is In's Point at Yaumatei, Kowloon, which is a shopping center with a high concentration of Lego shops. These are small, and sometimes a one-man band type of shops, price can be negotiable and usually lower than market, many older sets can also be found here. It can be easily accessible through MTR, a few blocks away from Yaumatei station Exit A2. Please note that most shops open at 4:00p.

Address: 534-538 Nathan Road, Yaumatei, Kowloon

Lego Shops Google map which I am working on (in Progress):
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=114499201820180881946.0004765de3f01cab635b7

By the way, feel free to visit my food blog at www.BigInHongKong.com for dim sum options!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009 22:03:21 (China Standard Time, UTC+08:00)