Monday, September 29, 2008
A Sunday drive with Crownshend
My bother, jRy6, and my cousin Crownshend and I have developed a lively rivalry in Forza 2 on Xbox Live. My brother and I both honed our driving game skills on the PS2's Gran Turismo, but Crownshend got a late start with the genre.
Crownshend has progressed rapidly, but as he's learned to drive with a thumbstick, he's been prone to plunge off the track. Often finding himself hopelessly behind, he developed a desperate tactic to entertain himself: He'd turn around and drive to meet the race leader for a head-on surprise.
Needless to say, this was quite alarming the first few times it happened. It does, however, add an interesting element of strategy to the game. If Crownshend gets quiet for a while or disappears from the track radar, you have to start looking ahead for him. It really keeps you on your toes.
Here's a slideshow of a typical encounter with Crownshend:
I turned the tables on him at least once, at Sebring. He had fallen behind and was in missile mode. Running second, I ran off the track in a curve and found myself way behind jRy6, too. Crownshend was running third and trying to catch up to a target. I came to one of those right-angle turns at the end of a long straight-away. I turned the corner and stopped at the end of the straightaway, perpendicular to his path. I was a perfect T-bone target -- irresistible Crownshend bait.
My patience paid off. He saw me lingering in the turn, and he floored it, aiming for my driver's door. At the last moment, I eased on the gas and stepped out of his path like a matador side-stepping a charging bull, and he rammed the wall in a glorious crash of profanity and sheet metal.
Crownshend is young with fast reflexes, and he's a quick study. He's becoming a better driver, often running even with us and sometimes winning, so his desperation moves are becoming infrequent. But he still sneaks a track missile at us once in a while.
He got us again Sunday night before the Xbox Live maintenance outage shut us down. jRy6 was drafting me, trying to find a spot to pass. I saw Crownshend ahead, bearing down on me at ramming speed.
At the last instant, I jinked left to dodge the incoming kamikaze Crownshend. jRy6, on my bumper, didn't see it coming and -- at the same instant -- pulled right to pass me. I missed Crownshend by perhaps a coat of paint, but jRy6 took the impact full in the face. I heard the crash in my right surround-sound speaker, and jRy6 expressed his surprise with some impromptu longshoremen's ballad as Crownshend laughed like a crazy person.
They were still spinning as I crossed the finish line and won the race!
Well played, Crownshend. Well played.