As usual, we're late. A few weeks ago Metallus reviewed Secret Weapons Over Normandy, but it took us this long to publish it. Sorry. Most people have probably already made up their minds about the game, but I know there are a couple SWON addicts in the audience who just want to hear a bunch of good things about their current obsession. Enjoy.

The Soundtrack Site got a nice update yesterday, including a Day of the Tentacle soundtrack, Fate of Atlantis, Sam & Max, and DOTT CD covers, and some design changes throughout the site. Check it out.

Adventure Gamers has published a Q&A with various game industry designers, discussing the past and future of the adventure game genre. One of the people interviewed was Planet Moon?s Aaron Loeb, producer of Armed & Dangerous. In his portion of the article, Aaron discusses his game's similarities with a typical graphic adventure.
With Armed & Dangerous, we sought to make characters you really cared about, to make you laugh at the story in a way that action games usually don?t, and to give you a sense of being in a crazy, different world. I think the design lessons of adventure games will continue to appear in games for years to come, and may actually appear more and more. I think it?s the way we, as an industry, will be able to make games that people remember for years to come.
Check out Adventure Gamers to read the full quote as well as the rest of the fantabulous article.

If you've been looking for old LucasArts demos to play, spending your time wishing someone would update the LucasArts classics section of Lucasfiles, and just can't find old demos anywhere, now there are some. Gamers Hell has posted a huge collection of classic LEC demo downloads (both Star Wars and classic adventure games) on their LucasArts Demo Invasion page. Woo.

Bgbennyboy's Quick & Easy toolset has been given an overhaul. The original "LEC Quick & Easy" program has been discontinued due to becoming too bloated and pointless. It's now been split into two smaller programs, "ScummVM Quick & Easy," and "VdmSound Quick & Easy." More details about the change can be found at the Q&E website.

Also new to the site are two handy utilities: "Resource File Creator and Dumper," for extracting, modifying, and re-inserting data from data files (like this), and "Index File Reader", a tool that does something or other I'm not sure of. If any of this sounds confusing it's simply because I've explained it poorly. Visit the Q&E website for clarity and enlightenment.

Since Jake was at Grandma's house all week and was without email, we foolishly missed being able to share this with you before Christmas, but it's here now. Steve Purcell, creator of Sam & Max and artist for many classic LucasArts games has sent along his annual excellent holiday greeting card for all to enjoy. Sorry for not sharing this with you earlier. Blame Jake.

Though Aspyr hasn't made any official notice, the Mac publisher has put out patches for both Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast (Download. Mirrored here and here), and Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (Download. Mirrored here and here). The patches, I guess, bring the games up to date with their PC counterparts, and fix some stability issues.

Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas<:MORENEWS:> Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas Happy Xmas.

Pass the brandy......

What would the holiday season be without a two headed thingy? I ask myself this question every day, but thanks to this year?s Double Fine festive graphic, we can rest assured that we?ll all have a happy holiday.

Yes... the two headed baby is making a list, but he only has to check it once? you know? because he?s got two pairs of eyes and two brains. It?s just more efficient.

In case you may have forgotten, the Secret Weapons Over Normandy 2-disc soundtrack is now available from La-La Land Records. I?m listening to the CD right now, and I highly recommend ordering it if you can. The music is really good. That is all.

While we were down, the official LucasArts website unleashed launched their new Wrath Unleashed game page. It's chock full of flashy graphics and game info, but the downloads area, as well as a couple other sections, are still under construction. Still, if you're interested in unleashing some Wrath on your console next February, you should check it out.

Any fans of graphic adventure games, especially ones who have maybe been let down by recent adventures, or who have been hoping for something more from the genre, should definitely check out Adventure Gamers' new series of articles about The Future of Adventure Games. It's a good read worth taking a look at. They'll be publishing more articles in the series over the next 10 days or so.

Sorry about the day of downtime. Our web host decided randomly to change our IP address, so that change to the DNS info had to go and spread througout the net over the course of yesterday for anyone to be able to see our sites.

Anyone who's a member (and you should really all have accounts there), and received the latest LucasArts Insider email may have noticed they ask you to fill out a survey. We suggest you all fill it out, since surely you're all Insider subscribers. It's juicy.

The survey is heavily leaned towards adventure gaming, Sam & Max in particular. There are standard questions about what game systems you own, but then they veer off into crazytown, asking you what your favorite humor style is, if you like mini games in your adventures, if you've watched the Sam & Max cartoon show, and if youre comfortable purchasing games online. Be their guinea pigs! Register with LEC! Complete the survey!

If for some reason you haven?t decided on whether or not to purchase Armed and Dangerous (what the hell is wrong with you?), LucasArts has now released a PC demo of the game. Unfortunately you have to battle FilePlanet for it, but it?s probably worth the effort. Check it, and don't forget to also read our own glowing review of this new original title.

GFN hosted site Nightlight Productions has put up the second installment of Beneath Monkey Island, a radio drama featuring members of the MI fan community doing the voice work.

"But wait!" you say. "The first installment was released, like, six months ago, and I didn't get around to checking it out or have somehow misplaced the file between then and now."

Fear not, for 8 of 12, Nightlight webmaster and project leader for BMI, has put the first part back up for your listening pleasure. Once you've given these episodes a listen, be sure to pop over to the Nightlight forums to rant/rave your cold little hearts out.

Knights of the Old Republic, the moocher of all game awards, has earned yet another honor. named this Star Wars RPG both "Xbox Game of the Year" and "Overall game of the Year." As a side note, LucasArts also slyly informed us that the game has now received an average review score of 94%, which is the second highest rating for an Xbox title to date.

This concludes our required daily praise of Knights of the Old Republic. Please resume normal activity.

Finally a new article. Our own The Scumm Bar's Remi Olsen has taken a good long face-numbingly pensive look at the recently released Armed & Dangerous, and reviewed it, too. Does he like it? We suggest you read the review to find out, instead of cheating and reading the caption over there in the sidebar that says he likes it.

If any of you pre-ordered Armed & Dangerous, tried to play the included copy of Sam & Max Hit the Road, and noticed that the sound cut out part way through, you're not alone. Aaron Giles, author of the XP compatible Hit the Road port, notes that there was an error while mastering the A&D pre-order discs, causing Sam & Max's sound data file to be corrupted. He offers possible solutions on his site, but unfortunately they all require already owning a copy of the old DOS version of the game.

As pointed out on our forums, LucasArts has recently made available a special bundle offer featuring all four Monkey Island games in one pack. To preemptively dash any hopes that this is some sort of collectors edition, the page specifically states that the games do not ship in a compilation box, but instead come in jewel cases and CD sleeves. Most likely that means you'll get Monkey Island 1 and 2 via the "Monkey Madness" CD in a paper sleeve, and both CMI and EMI in their budget jewel case editions.

However, the lack of collectability comes with the upside that it only costs $27.95. That's a damn good deal for anyone, so we expect you to buy them up until LEC is 100% out of stock, forcing them to re-print everything as a lovely deluxe boxed set that you won't be able to afford after buying out all the current cheap ones*. Honestly though, buy them for all your friends for Christmas and then insist over and over again that they play them. Also tell them to read Mojo.<:MORENEWS:>

* You all becoming poor and unable to afford it will then hopefully cause LucasArts to lower the price of this hypothetical deluxe edition (which will never realistically exist, but shh), allowing broke Jake to afford it, and finally throw out his pirated Mac copies of Monkey 1 and 2 that he got from his friend Andrew* in 5th grade.

* No, not tel, a different Andrew.

If you happened to tune in to watch Spike TV?s mind-numbing mess that was the Video Game Awards, you would have seen Knights of the Old Republic walk away with the title of ?Best Fantasy Game.? Darth Vader and Boba Fett were on hand to make an appearance following the announcment. A well deserved award, although the noise pollution and flashy images of this TV show almost gave me a damn seizure. Congrats to LucasArts and Bioware.

LucasArts just announced that in the next couple of weeks they'll be offering a playable demo of Armed & Dangerous for the PC. In the same release they also announced that additional downloadable levels will be coming out for both PC (via the internet) and Xbox (via Xbox Live).

Armed & Dangerous is, as far as we know, now available in stores for you to buy. Assuming we break our recent tradition of doing nothing, we should have our own review of Armed & Dangerous up in the coming days, or weeks, or months. For now, check out these sites' perspectives on the game...<:MORENEWS:>

  • IGN Xbox gives the game an 8.2/10. They say, "Yes, it's all about shooting and blowing things up, but when did that become stale? In our minds, it hasn't. Of course, there are some games where shooting is very boring. Luckily, Armed and Dangerous, believe it or not, is a smart shooter that actually requires some brain activity and/or superhuman reflexes. We also really loved the humor in the game. Without it, the game would still be a good shooter - just not as fun."

  • GameSpot gives it an alright 7.3/10, saying "Armed and Dangerous is a good game, but toward the end of it, you'll likely be far more interested in seeing how the story ends--and the jokes it tells along the way--than in its gameplay. For fans of frantic shooters, this is a game worth renting, but its gameplay isn't remarkable enough to recommend as a purchase."

  • gives the game a respectable 8/10, saying "You can tell the designers were snickering at themselves the entire time they were making this game -- it's a decent shooter in itself, but to this base they've added a vibrant set of eccentric cutscenes and weapons that make A&D a must-play for anyone with a decent sense of humor."

  • Games Domain gives it a 5/5, saying, "What pushes this little ditty into the realm of extraordinary is the sheer amount of brilliant humor that has been poured into the title. No, this isn't potty humor, so don't go expecting Conker-style grade school laughs; rather, the game takes pot shots at everything from Star Wars, to the Arthurian Legends to race relations and vegetarians."

  • The sometimes questionable GamePro gives the game a 4.5/5, and they say "But despite its technical achievements, the real star of Armed and Dangerous is the exhilarating and thoroughly challenging gameplay. You have the choice to go against relentless swarms of foes with barrels blazing or pick off enemies methodically while using the level layouts to your advantage. Some levels require multiple tries, but the gameplay is so tight and well executed that you won?t care."

  • In the print magazines, Armed & Dangerous received a 7.1/10 in EGM, 9 out of 10 in Official XBox Magazine, and an "A" from Play Magazine. Additionally, the game is currently receiving an average of 98% (from 2 PC scores), and 89% (from 5 XBox scores) on Game Rankings.

    Overall, the game seems to have run the review gauntlet and come out pretty unscathed despite a couple 7/10's. Hopefully one of us will be formally weighing in on the game sometime soon. Hopefully.

  • Just saw on Shacknews that Official Playstation Magazine has a short article about the upcoming Battlefield 1942-inspired Star Wars: Battlefront, which is being developed by Pandemic Studios. Here's a clip:
    You can play in the Galactic Civil War or the Clone Wars, meaning you can choose one of four armies to command (Rebels vs. Imperials or Republic vs. Separatists). You can't mix and match sides (e.g., no Republic vs. Empire), but battles can take place on any planet.

    As for the vehicles, Battlefront includes pretty much every major ride you've seen in a Star Wars flick. Yes, even AT-ATs. Yes, even X-wings. Hell, you can even mount a tauntaun. Better yet, certain vehicles carry multiple troops: One player drives as the others man guns.
    A bit more information as well as 3 screenshots (and a tiny thumbnail of what may be early box or promo art) can be found here. OPM promises more information about Battlefront in the next issue of the magazine.

    GameSpot has confirrmed the previous reports that an online multiplayer Battlefield 1942-like war game was under development at LucasArts, called "Star Wars: Battlefront." The original rumor said that the game was for PS2 online, but GameSpot's short report seems to imply XBox and PC as well. We'll have more on this as the news shows up.

    It's been pointed out in a few places that Star Wars: Battlefront sounds quite a lot like the free, user-created "Galactic Conquest" mod/total-conversion for Battlefield 1942. Should be interesting to see if anything happens with that.

    Update: We got word from LucasArts that the game will be developed by Pandemic Studios, makers of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the much-hyped upcoming Full Spectrum Warrior.