Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How to Turn Firefox 4 into Firefox 3.5/3.6

Just installed Firefox 4? Not too hot on all the terrible modifications they made the to the interface? Never fear, neither was I and I just spent the last few hours undoing them. Here's I did to turn Firefox 4 into Firefox 3.5/3.6, or at least a close approximation of them, because change is always a bad thing.

the end result

Step 1: Show the
menu bar

Right-click on the navigation bar and select on "Menu Bar" from the right-click menu.

Step 2: Show the status bar

Actually the status bar is gone, but the new add-on bar serves most of the same purposes. To display it, right-click the menu bar or the navigation bar and select the "Add-on Bar" from the menu.

Step 3: Move the reload button and the home button

Who knows why, but the reload button is now at the end of the address bar. To move it back to the left of it and turn it back into a proper button, right-click the menu bar/navigation bar, and select "Customise". Now, drag the reload button from the end of the address bar back into it's usual spot.

I'm pretty sure the home button is also moved by default in Firefox 4, to the left of the address bar. To move it back to it's normal position, just drag it over.

Step 4: Move the tabs back to their normal place

Again, right-click on the menu bar/navigation bar, and select "Tabs on Top".

Step 5: Add-ons

Install these add-ons:

Firefox 3 theme for Firefox 4+ 1.3.1

Restores the Firefox look you know and..love?

Add-ons Manager Dialog for Firefox 4 1.0b1pre

Makes the Add-ons Manager open as a separate dialogue box, rather than in a tab.

Back/forward dropmarker 1.0

Adds the drop down history menu back to the left of the forward button.

Status-4-Evar 2011.04.06.18

Removes the exit button from the add-ons bar, displays the network/default status on the add-ons bar. Basically, it turns the add-ons bar into the status bar of old.

It also adds a progress meter to the address bar, which I think was a feature introduced and dropped in the Firefox 4 beta. To disable it:

1) Open the Add-ons manager by selecting "Add-ons" from the Tools menu.
2) Click on the options button next to Status-4-Evar.
3) On the dialogue box that pops up, click on the Progress icon at the top.
4) On the URL Bar tab, uncheck "Show progress in the location bar"

And that about does it, I think. Now, let's party like it's 2009.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Retro Backlog Assault: Starfox Adventures

As I've been playing some recently acquired games lately instead of working through my backlog, I thought I'd take some impressions I had lying around for a previously beaten game and fashion them into the first Retro Backlog Assault.

Title: Starfox Adventures
Platform: GameCube

Bought: 05 February 2010
From: eBay
Price: €10.00

Beaten: 25 June 2010
Final Game Time: Unknown
Cost/Hour: n/a

Backloggery Dump:
  • I've rescued Tricky, now I'm looking for some doodads for his mom.
  • 25/02/10 I'm currently stuck trying to pass the third Kraoza spirit's stupid-ass test.
  • 24/03/10 I'm on the hunt for the fourth Kraoza spirit. Getting pretty bored with this now.
  • 23/06/10 I've got the last spell stone. Time to put an end to these sub-par adventures.
  • 25/06/10 Beaten. Not Rare's finest hour, that's for sure.

Starfox Adventures starts off as a pleasant enough, if not terribly engaging experience. The graphics look wonderful, the locations are pretty and the soundtrack accompanies the environment perfectly. If this was a much shorter game, I would have probably had a pretty good time just moving through the game's world, admiring the scenery as I tackled the not-terribly-taxing adventures of the title. This isn't a short game though and the more you play it, the more it falls apart.

The further you get into the game, the more it's myriad of minor flaws begin to grate. After a while, it feels like the game is going out of it way to annoy you in every way possible. Among those methods are:unskippable cutscenes; backtracking galore; a confusing inventory system; a useless world map (great for navigating); lots of annoying, timed mini games you need to complete to progress and a camera that can only be centred behind Fox, as if the C-stick didn't exist. I'm sure I'm missing one or two more.

I have to mention the story too. It's such an incomprehensible mess of gatekeepers, kraoza spirits, warp stones, land walkers, red eyes, temples and fuck knows what else. It's like someone was going out of their way to make up the most stupid, convoluted, videogamey story they could muster. In most of the cut scenes, Fox doesn't look like he has the slightest idea what the fuck's going on and I completely empathise with him.

The main problem with the game though, is that the gameplay just dull. For a Zelda clone, none of the puzzles are terribly tricky; The combat's pretty shallow (In the vast majority of encounters, once you've landed a successful blow, you just need to mash A to win); The Arwing sections are nothing but short, simple afterthoughts.

Star Fox Adventures might be pleasant to look at, but that doesn't make this fairly hollow, monotonous and increasingly irritating experience bearable in the long run.

Backlog Assault: Lego Star Wars

In the last few years I've built up a pretty crazy gaming backlog. This year, I've decided it's high time I do something about it. Join me as I begin to regret more than ever all those impulse Steam buys and 99 cent PS2 bargains:

Title: Lego Star Wars: The Video Game
Platform: PS2

Bought: 19 September 2008
From: GameStop
Price: €7.99

Beaten: 18 March 2011
Final Game Time: 6:00 approx.
Cost/Hour: €1.33 approx.

Backloggery Dump:
  • ??/??/09 - Finished Episode I Chapter 2.
  • 04/03/11 - On Episode III, Chapter 3 now. Looking forward to slaughtering me some Lego younglings later.
  • 18/03/11 - And I'm done. Pizza rolls anyone?

I didn't go into this game with the highest of expectations having played and not really enjoyed Lego Star Wars II a few years ago. There were certainly elements of the second game I liked: the music, the look, the cute cutscenes and the funny, little hidden areas. The actual gameplay though, I just found incredibly dull. The platforming was simple, the combat was basic and aside from a few puzzles here and there, there was barley any challenge to be found in the game at all.

You need next to no skill to progress in these games. If you die for any reason, you instantly respawn, in the same spot, with next to no penalties. All you need to do to get through the game is to keep slogging through the levels, death after death and you'll get there in the end. I suppose this inability to fail is part of the reason the Lego games are so popular, but along with the bland game design, it makes playing these feel like a complete waste of my gaming time.

Unsurprisingly, this game is very similar to it's sequel, just based on the shitty half of the Star Wars saga. :D Though, the puzzles in this one tend to be quite a bit simpler than the second game, making it feel slightly more pointless to play through (and I didn't even get to kill a single youngling).