Archive for March, 2008


Ludo – Hotel Dusk: Room 215


Adventure games have found a comfortable little niche on the Nintendo DS, and they rarely come as stylish and well presented as Hotel Dusk: Room 215.

You play ex-NYPD door to door salesman Kyle Hyde, a man who spends his days glaring at people and drinking too much bourbon. He is, of course, no ordinary door to door salesman, he makes a living on the side working for an old pal in the NYPD “recovering certain items … if you see what I mean”, which I initially took to mean “I rob banks”, or “I kill people for money”. Instead, in the manner of a true adventure game protagonist, he picks up items and places them in his inventory and some idiot pays him to do it.

You are sent to Hotel Dusk to recover a porn magazine and a red box, within an hour you have found both items and it’s on to unraveling Kyle Hyde’s sordid back story, which means talking to people, and then talking to them some more. Once you’ve finished with the talking you’re going to have to get someone else’s view on that, which means walking to the next prescribed encounter and touching the screen every now and then to move the conversation along. Occasionally you will be presented with a choice of responses so that you don’t fall into a coma, but these simply trigger a three or four line detour in the conversation. The puzzles, when they happen, are fun and make good use of the stylus controls, but there aren’t enough of them to break up the formula.

That’s not to say there isn’t a lot to be gained from Hotel Dusk. The characters are brilliantly drawn and animated, adding extra depth and meaning to the reams of text you’ll be reading. The game is for the most part extremely well written and the characters that inhabit the rooms of Hotel Dusk are the real stars of the show, from hippy ex-con turned janitor Louis to the perfectly lovely old woman who would seem ordinary if it weren’t for her massive eye patch. There’s a story in that eye patch, and everything else for that matter. Everybody is suspect and the game oozes thick treacly intrigue from the outset. Just be warned, this is as slow-burn as a game can get. As an indication it took me an hour to complete the initial section, which spans half an hour of game time.

If you’re looking for more action and excitement in your adventuring then investigate the Phoenix Wright series, but pay a visit to Hotel Dusk to for a more mature and lingering mystery, just make sure you can devote enough time and patience to solving this lengthy and involving game.

Things that happened while playing this game.

– Drew rude pictures in the notebook.

– Got stuck and walked around the hotel knocking on every single door, twice.

– Fell asleep.


Ludo – Coming soon!

Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and a ‘hot air balloon’ from Garry’s mod are all on the way so stick around and shoot the breeze with us.


Dante: Today in Garry’s Mod – Part One

Garry’s Mod is the place to be if you like crackpot inventions, Man vs Horse investigates:

Project 1: Boat

Everyone builds a car in Garry’s Mod, there’s even a tutorial that tells you how to do so. Well I, Dante, abhor cliche and thus decided that other forms of transport would be investigated. Noticing the small lake present in our chosen level one idea jumped to the forefront of my mind… a boat!

Now there are boats in the Garry’s Mod toolbox already, they’re three types of decrepit rowing boat that are found by the side of the canals in Half Life 2. However none of them look very seaworthy, plus they’re kind of small, and this thing was supposed to carry Ludo, preferably without capsizing too often. The solution was simple, we would build a catamaran.


Isn’t she a beauty? Yes I know the nail gun is ugly, but you know what? It’s a lot easier to use than the weld tool, we went through three boats before we figured that one out. Note the thrusters (each mapped to different buttons, so I can steer) and the ‘safety cage’ of doors, so Ludo doesn’t fall off when it starts moving. I don’t really care much if he drowns, but it makes for better pictures if someone is on board, and I’m sure as hell not riding in this death trap.

And here he is, our intrepid adventurer, ready to set sail, figuratively speaking of course.


And thus began the maiden voyage of the MVH Boatmadeofdoors!


Look at him go!


And now for the obligatory artsy underwater shot.


And for those wondering, here is a Ludo’s eye view of proceedings.

Nails coming out of the floor, walls made of doors. Health and safety would have a field day.

I was so proud of my, ugly, ugly creation. So ungainly, yet it worked! A triumph of substance over style. Ludo however, had other ideas. While I was busily nailing things to other things he was playing about with textures, trails and paint and against my better judgment, decided to create a more ‘pimped out’* version.

Nonsense! ‘Tis a thing o’ beauty, yarr! - Ludo

Look at it!

Not only is it hideous but the layers of paintwork appear to have somehow destabalised it, resulting in this:

“Anything can happen in the next half hour!” Stingraaaay, stingray!

Still, somehow in failure it has achieved more grace than it had in life.

Anyway, you people out there, have you any cool Garry’s Mod creations? Any stories of disastrous failures for you ambitious inventions? Does anyone read this thing at all? Use the handy comments function for such musings.

Coming Soon – Project 2: Hot Air Balloon.

*NB: Ludo has never actually used the phrase ‘pimped out’ in his life, he’s knows better, also I’d hit him if he did.


Ludo – Gears of War


The future, according to Gears of War, is a hard old place. In the future humanity as we know it has ceased to exist, having been seemingly replaced by a race of huge, heavily armoured testicles fighting an endless war against an unstoppable alien host.

It’s tough to love the hulking behemoths that make up Delta Squad: Gears of War’s wisecracking team of tough-talking central characters. They’re just too damn manly. So manly in fact that you’ll begin to have suspicions about them. It’s as though Marcus and Dom have made mad cathartic love amongst the last ruins of human civilization and are spending the entire game desperately trying to get back into their respective closets. This might initially be hard to twig as all Marcus Fenix really says for the entire game is “ah shit”, or “copy that”, but it’s all there once you realize, in those glances exchanged between reloads, in the way one tenderly revives the other when he falls. It’s Brokeback Mountain, in the future, with aliens.

In fairness for all we know they might not be aliens at all, they could be mutants, or vampires, or just extremely ugly humans. Nothing in the game is really explained, and at any given point it’s never quite apparent where you’re going or why. Fortunately this hardly matters as the guns are big and satisfying and the blood is globulous and plentiful. Honourable mentions go to the now infamous chainsaw bayonet for its spectacular melee attack, and the torque bow, which is a longbow that shoots arrows, but this is the future, so once your arrows hit they detonate after a few seconds sending pieces of your enemies everywhere. If that’s not to your taste then there’s the Hammer of God, a giant space lazer that rains fiery death upon your enemies at your command.

Despite the difficulties that arise from trying to make your grey character shoot another grey alien in an immensely detailed but ultimately grey environment Gears of War manages to be rather enjoyable to play. This is thanks mainly to an extremely well implemented cover system. One button handles all of your cover activity, allowing you to deftly shift between the many obstacles placed conspicuously throughout the levels. You can blind-fire or pop up for more accurate aiming, and you can go ‘over the top’ to make a mad dash for more advanced shelter. The game especially shines in co-op play, providing branching paths that cross and interact, making for some fascinating strategic interchanges with your partner. The game is a good length too, never letting its core mechanics grow stale. It introduces new ideas that keep the gameplay fresh and exciting all the way up to the end.

Unless you’re especially interested in the fiercely competitive multiplayer scene Gears is a solid gold rental for a rainy weekend, especially if you’ve got someone to play with. Alternatively, pick up the PC version if you have a machine that can run it, it contains a good amount of extra content, and is the only way to see Gears at its manly best.

Things that happened while playing this game:

-Watched from a distance as Dante, playing as Dom, grenade tagged a Boomer, rolled backwards into a wall and died gloriously in the explosion.

-Bludgeoned a locust to death with the butt of a revolver.

-Shouted “they’re coming out of the walls!” when first swarmed by wretches.


Ludo – First Post!


Welcome to Man vs Horse, answering humanity’s most pressing questions! Expect a tide of articles about all things screen-based, from game reviews to films, television and whatever pressing nonsense that we feel warrants Ludo and Dante’s attention.

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