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Odds & Ends / Bourne Conspiracy

Tuesday, Jun. 10, 2008 3:44 AM

The weekend consisted of a bout of food poisoning that manifested on Sunday morning. No, it wasn't anything to do with the salmonella outbreak involving tomatoes.

Legal thorn-in-the-side Jack Thompson, who has sued gaming companies (most notably Take Two and its subsidiary Rockstar Games) so often he was placed on probation, decided that the judge ruling on his circumstances didn't have the authority to do so.

Thompson then went on to accuse the courts of being party to a vast conspiracy against him, a conspiracy that included Florida Governor Jeb Bush, on the grounds that they don't like him because he's a Christian.

I'm not sure what to make of FOX News' E.D. Hill teasing a segment about the meaning of Barack and Michelle Obama's victory fist jab last Tuesday.

"(Was it) a terrorist fist jab?" the tease read.

The subsequent story included a guest who discussed body language and the gesture, but at no point was the 'terrorist fist jab' remark brought into the conversation.

The fist jab has become commonplace among athletes - several variations of it are even in the videogame MLB '08: The Show - and at no time to my knowledge was ever a trait of terrorist groups. It's right up there with Rachael Ray's channeling Yasser Arafat with her fugly scarf.

From the Late to the Party Department, Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones are apparently collaborating on a website where they will tell the respective stories of their affairs with former President Bill Clinton, though I'm sure Hillary would have found time and space to blame them for her losing the nomination race.

Back to videogames. More often than not, movie adaptations are disappointing affairs. Not so with The Bourne Conspiracy, based on the recent film trilogy starring Matt Damon (though neither Damon's likeness nor his voice are featured in the game).

While the game consists of a series of missions and objectives, the game ably captures the flavor of the films through its portrayal of fast-paced combat. Instead of button-mashing and complicated sequences, you have a heavy, slower punch; a light, fast punch; and defensive/blocking stance. As you strike your opponents, your adrenaline rating goes up; a sufficient store allows you to trigger a 'takedown' move - either a bone-breaking arm lock, or a 'contextual' takedown, which relies on the environment and nearby objects for the finishing touch. You might slam your opponent's head into a desk, or grab a fire extinguisher off the wall.

Some reviews have been critical of the gunplay in the game. My only objection here is that Bourne's shots - unless a direct hit to the head - seem to be rather underpowered, sometimes requiring half of a 15-shot clip to drop a single opponent. Aiming is simple - Bourne aims roughly at the center of the screen, so moving the left thumbstick on the PS3 or XBox360 controllers adjusts your sightline, but the only way to see a targeting point is to pop up from cover or stand in the open.

The game encompasses the first film ('The Bourne Identity'), but rounds out the story with flashbacks - previous missions undertaken by Jason Bourne - interspersed with Bourne's subsequent search for his forgotten past. Like the film, it doesn't completely answer Bourne's questions, leaving room for a sequel.

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