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… you quickly round the corner and haul ass down the corridor as fast as your little cyber fairy legs will carry you. Shot rips through the walls either side of you … four creatures in pursuit, each have two double barrel shotguns, that’s 16 shotgun rounds being unloaded in your general direction before they have to re-load. You round the next corner. Through the hail of concrete and shot see the health pack, picking it up gives an instant feeling of vitality. Then you turn to face their ugly soulless eyes and whilst they are reloading you open fire sending round after round into their dark orange bills… until finally there is nothing left but white feathers floating in the air…

The main problem with multiplayer console gaming comes with split-screen mode, especially when trying to play a first person shooter deathmatch. As long as you ignore the fact that you are looking at something not much bigger than a postage stamp and have managed to successfully train yourself to use a console controller instead of the preferred mouse/keyboard combo, then main issue is being able to see each other’s section of the screen. This essentially means that you can not sneak up on anybody, or in games like medal of honor you can not snipe without your opponent seeing what you are up to. My housemates and myself have long since discovered that the key to first person shooters on consoles lies in the co-op missions and co-op multiplayer against bots (generally with the odds stacked against us). Timesplitters 2 (on the Gamecube) quickly became one of our favourites with co-op missions working well and team capture the bag, but once we had unlocked Duckman Drake (The big evil white duck unlocked in “Someone Has Got to Pay...” in the arcade league), we discovered a whole new way to play the game:

The basic idea is simple you play team deathmatch in a heavily corridor based level (I recommend the hospital in TS2) against an entire team (10) of ducks on frantic speed setting. Set the frag limit to 100 and use the following weapon set:

  1. Double Barrelled Shotgun
  2. Double Barrelled Shotgun (X2)
  3. Tactical 12 Gauge
  4. Vintage Rifle (Not much use, but can sometimes be handy)
  5. Fire Extinguisher (This is included just to mess with people)

The ducks are low ranked players so they tend to clump in doorways shooting at you and chase after you down corridors. This generally leads to the satisfying situation of standing back to back with one of your team mates covering all the doorways in the room, both with two shotguns and both unloading rounds as quick as possible into the huge white shotgun wielding ducks who keep coming round the corner. The aim is to reach the frag limit with as few losses as possible, and gaining the coolest awards (A good combo would be Most Professional, Maniac, Brain surgeon). Now this may not sound fun, but I assure you it can be one of the most stress relieving activities involving a console.

If you are trying this I urge you to use the ducks! I appreciate that they aren’t exactly skilled players, but until you see four ducks with shotguns in a dark gothic hospital you will not appreciate just how disturbing it is! … and that is really the reason we use ducks, because when you see them, you want to shoot them!

This theory of playing against large numbers of low skilled players just to see how few frags your team can get can easily be translated into use with other games (I use Timesplitters 2 because it is what I know). Generally it works best on console first person shooters as you can see your team mates positions and are sitting next to them so you can ask for help if you get in a tight corner. So when you next have friends over and they are complaining about how lame first person multiplayer is on a console, then give them some ducks with shotguns!

Warning: The ducks will come after you when you sleep and stalk you in your nightmares!!

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