Saturday, January 17, 2009

Modern Macbeth Adaptation

I've come up with the idea for the skeleton of a modern adaptation of Macbeth. It chronicles the rise and fall of Vice President Jonathan Macbeth.
Characters and Macbeth Equivalent:
Vice President Jonathan Macbeth - Macbeth
Second Lady Hillary Macbeth - Lady Macbeth
President Thomas Duncan - King Duncan
Secretary of State Jennifer Baquette - Banquo
Secret Service Agent Arnold Duffy - Macduff
Speaker of the House Malcolm Duncan - Malcolm
Palm Reader Lady Hecate - Hecate/Three Witches
General Plot:Story begins in the middle of President Duncan's second term in office with Representative Malcolm Duncan sworn in as the youngest Speaker of the House in history following mid-term elections. Vice President Macbeth was a retired General who was a critical supporter of the President and important in helping define his foreign policy platform. Following giving a huge speech in Ohio, Macbeth passes a palm reader at the state fair. Lady Hecate invites him in and offers him a free reading. Lady Hecate tells Vice President Macbeth that he will become President one day and that the Secretary of State will beget Presidents. Lady Hecate tells the Vice President that no politician could stop his rise to power. This becomes all the Vice President can think about.

The Vice President returns to Washington and talks with his wife about the prediction. His wife suggests killing the President jokingly. It then becomes all encompassing, all that the Vice President can think about. Macbeth then takes a trip to meet the troops in Afghanistan and meets in secret with an Arabic gentleman who he'll pay big money if he kills the President. Macbeth gives him all the details of a trip him and the President will be having at his cabin in Montana. The assassin sneaks in and shoots the President, as he tries to escape - Macbeth shoots him with a legal firearm making it appear as though Macbeth was defending the President and himself from the would-be assassin. The primary agent responsible for the President was Agent Arnold Duffy. Duffy had been on vacation at the time of the assassination. Duffy immediately suspected the Vice President.

Macbeth then becomes President. The guilt weighs on him and his wife. Macbeth starts to become paranoid. He sends the Secretary of State to a mission in Gaza, knowing that he had information regarding an attack in the area. Secretary Baquette dies in the visit. President Macbeth is concerned about Duffy and has him removed from his post. Around the same time, Duffy finds the information that can incriminate the President. Macbeth goes on a speaking tour trying to build up a good image for himself. The First Lady, while the President is away, commits suicide. The President returns home and continues his descent into madness. He focuses inward and begins to ignore the public, hiding in the West Wing. His cabinet becomes concerned about the President's behavior. Duffy drops off a letter in the mailbox, sending all the incriminating evidence to the Attorney General. The President decides to go out for a speech when Duffy assassinates the President.

The story would end with the Speaker, the late President Duncan's son, being sworn in as the next President of the United States of America.

Thoughts welcome.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sonic Chronicles Review

For Christmas, my brother-in-law got me a copy of Sonic Chronicles for the Nintendo DS. As a ridiculous fan of Sonic the Hedgehog games, and owner of each Sonic collection for the Gamecube, the Sonic Adventure series, and a strong proponent of Sonic and the Secret Rings, this seemed like a good choice for me. It was.

Sonic Chronicles is an RPG created by BioWare. BioWare were the creators of such RPGs as Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and Mass Effect. Sonic Chronicles is a quasi-serious RPG about Sonic the Hedgehog taking plot elements and world setting elements from the Sonic Adventure series and Sonic Heroes. The game begins with Sonic in the Green Hill Zone with Tails getting in touch with him. Tails tells him that Knuckles has been kidnapped by some alien creatures who were going after the chaos emeralds and the master emerald. Sonic is then led on a quest to try to save Knuckles and figure out the agenda of these invaders.

The gameplay is entirely done using the stylus. Pointing and dragging the stylus around moves Sonic around the level. Combat sequences are fun, if not the most challenging. Super moves are interesting in that you follow a pattern sequence to complete them in Elite Beat Agent-esque format. It adds a level of challenge to make sure you can pull off the interesting attack maneuvers. The learning curve felt large when I first tried the game, but turned out to be much easier than anticipated.

The story is actually interesting and characters are developed better than one would expect from a video game based on a character such as Sonic the Hedgehog. Shadow is the most developed I've seen him in any game he's been in, and I've played Shadow the Hedgehog. Big the Cat is a lumox, but enjoyable. Amy and Cream are even amusing. Eggman's introduction into the game is also wonderfully crafted as far as I've seen thus far, I'm currently halfway through the game. The dialogue is cleverly written. One fun option is that Sonic is occasionally given options beyond the standard in conversation - being allowed to make snarky comments and those he's mocking act accordingly leading to some fun interactions.

All in all, if you like simple RPGs and Sonic the Hedgehog, try the game. It's a lot of fun and I'm looking for someone else to trade Chao with.