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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Into The Darkness

Babies can be very sneaky when it comes to sleeping: you want them to sleep and they really don't want to sleep. It's a battle of wills that I can't afford to lose. After getting the kids to bed last night, I managed to put about 30 minutes into The Darkness before I was forced to put one of the kids to bed yet again.

The achievements that I've picked in The Darkness have come over the course of three gaming sessions. Last night, I actually remained connected to Xbox Live as I played so as to keep my Xbox 360 happy. Actually, I finally figured out the optimal set-up for having my Xbox connect to the Internet via my laptop. What was the big breakthrough? I figured out how to set my laptop to "silent mode": no loud fans and minimal power consumption makes it quite a bit easier to leave my laptop running as I play games on the 360.

One quick warning before I start discussing achievements: there may be some minor spoilers below. I won't go out of my way to ruin any surprises for those of you who haven't played the game and I'll remain as vague as possible when it comes to the story line and other surprises.

Roadkill [10 GamerPoint]: During The Darkness' intro, I found myself thrust into a high-speed chase and shoot 'em up. Riding shotgun, I shot as many road workers as as I could. At least, I think they were road workers - although these guys were carrying guns and trying to jump into the car. I'm not sure how many road workers I actually shot though I do know of one that I managed to shoot in the face (it was his fault for jumping on the hood of the car). In any case, I managed to pick up this achievement on my first try while playing on the Normal (or Medium) difficulty setting.

Up Close and Personal [5 GamerPoint]: I cleared this achievement by successfully completing my very first execution move. After the tunnel shootout and a ride up an elevator, I bumped into two construction workers. They were pretty pissed off to see me and started shooting. This got me pretty mad so I ran up to the closest guy, placed the muzzle of one of my pistols to the underside of his chin, and pulled the trigger. I was quickly showered with bone, brains, and gamerpoints.

Happy Birthday [25 GamerPoint]: The Happy Birthday achievement was unlocked automatically when I acquired the Creeping Dark power. This was still quite early in the game but that's all I'll say about that. At first, I wasn't sure how much I liked the Creeping Dark. And then I got the chance to bite the face off a sneaky little sniper doing his darnedest to stay out of my line of sight. Biting a bad guy's face off then eating his heart makes for a fun night of video gaming, let me tell you.

Picking Up Stuff [5 GamerPoint]: I found a piece of paper with a phone number scrawled on it. When I went to return a call to Jenny (Jackie's girlfriend), I was given the option of calling the number found on the collectible slip of paper. I did so and unlocked both this achievement and some extra game content too!

Summoner [5 GamerPoint]: I got this achievement for summoning five darklings. This was easy since there are a number of portals scattered throughout the game. I've read that it's necessary to summon Darklings from different portals for this achievement to clear, but I'm not so sure. I believe I summoned a Berserker Darkling from the same portal five times. This was in Chinatown and my Berserker kept dying as the mafia guys used him as target practice time and time again.

Knuckle, Meet Face [5 GamerPoint]: I picked this achievement up pretty early into my foray into the the hardest difficulty setting for The Darkness. After stepping off the lift at the beginning of the game (after the tunnel shoot out), I bumped into the same two construction workers described in the Up Close and Personal achievement above. For some reason, I just couldn't hit either of the workers with my twin pistols and I quickly ran out of ammo. With no ammo left, I was able to perform a melee attack. I quickly rushed one of the workers and hit him square in the face with the butt of my left pistol. Although I was quickly taken down by the other construction worker, I was awarded the Knuckle, Meet Face achievement.

Executioner [10 GamerPoint]: When you find a strategy that works, you stick with it. For me, this strategy is rushing opponents head on and getting into "execution move" range. I needed to execute 25 opponents in order to get this achievement. Since I tend to rush most of my opponents to go for the up close and gruesome kill, the Executioner achievement came pretty quickly. I'd recommend only trying this "rush and execute" tactic on Easy or Normal difficulty: I tried to charge a construction worker on the hardest difficulty setting and was shot down well before I neared my target.

Romantic [10 GamerPoint]: Clearing the Romantic achievement is dead easy. I visited Jenny at her apartment, sat down on the couch with her, and started watching "To Kill a Mockingbird" on the TV. After a minute of so, Jenny turned towards me for a kiss. Another minute or so later, Jenny stated that she needed to pee but was too tired to get up. And then I heard the wonderful sound of an achievement being unlocked.

Keeper of Secrets [10 GamerPoint]: In my earlier years, I might have scoured the game world for 19 phone numbers (out of the 36 possible) required to place calls to the Keeper of Secrets. Make the calls, get told a secret, get an achievement. Well, I just happened to find a list of phone numbers that allows me to speak with the Keeper of Secrets without having to search for anything. I let my fingers do the walking and now you can too by simply calling 19 of the phone numbers listed here. Don't forget to prefix each numbers listed with "555-".

Gatherer [5 GamerPoint]: Lucky me that The Darkness' developers didn't really care whether or not players actually found all the in-game collectibles in order to unlock the "collectible" achievements (outlined here). The only things required to unlock extra game content and earn the first couple collectible-type achievements are phone numbers. To clear the Gatherer achievement, I simply dialed twenty-five of the phone numbers listed here.

The Collector [10 GamerPoint]: I picked up ten more gamerpoints by calling numbers off the same list I used for the Gatherer achievement. The Collector required me to unlock another 25 collectibles for a total of 50 unlocked collectibles if you count the 25 collectibles unlocked for the Gatherer achievement. Nice and easy!

I plan to continue playing The Darkness this evening. I'm going to finish dialing the rest of the collectible phone numbers (17 more to go) before moving on from Jenny's apartment. I made all the calls for the Gatherer, The Collector, and the Keeper of Secrets achievements from Jenny's apartment as she slept on the couch in front of the TV.

It'll be great to finally put down the damned phone and get back to gruesome execution moves, Creeping Dark stealth kills, and a steady diet of devoured hearts. It just doesn't get any better than this...