\:\ \ /::\ \ /::\ \ /:/ _/_ /:/ _/_ /::| | \:\ \ /:/\:\ \ /:/\:\__\ /:/ /\ \ /:/ /\__\ /:/:| | ___ /::\ \ /:/ \:\ \ /:/ /:/ / /:/ /::\ \ /:/ /:/ _/_ /:/|:| |__ /\ /:/\:\__\ /:/__/ \:\__\ /:/_/:/__/___ /:/_/:/\:\__\ /:/_/:/ /\__\ /:/|:| /\__\ \:\/:/ \/__/ \:\ \ /:/ / \:\/:::::/ / \:\/:/ /:/ / \:\/:/ /:/ / \/__|:|/:/ / \::/__/ \:\ /:/ / \::/~~/~~~~ \::/ /:/ / \::/_/:/ / |:/:/ / \:\ \ \:\/:/ / \:\~~\ \/_/:/ / \:\/:/ / |::/ / \:\__\ \::/ / \:\__\ /:/ / \::/ / |:/ / \/__/ \/__/ \/__/ \/__/ \/__/ |/__/ "An adventure in love, life, and raising horses... are you up to the challenge?" ************ INTRODUCTION ************ Hi, everyone! If you're reading this you're probably new to the world of HorseZ, and I'm flattered that you chose me as your guide! My name is Clinton "CloudStrifeHorseSwordZ" Degrassi, and I guess I'm pretty much the biggest HorseZ expert on this here corner of the Internet. But enough about me - get ready, because you're about to go on the adventure of a lifetime! This FAQ may not be reproduced under any circumstances except for private, personal use. It may not be posted on another Web site without advance written permission from me. I believe in open source writing as much as the next guy, but this means a lot to me and I AM prepared to get a lawyer if some punk wants to get nasty with my work. I put a lot of time into this FAQ and I don't want to see it popping up under other peoples' names. Now that the stupid legalese is out of the way, let's play some HorseZ! **************** GAME INFORMATION **************** HorseZ is a virtual pet/adventure/action game developed by MTO and published by Ubisoft. It is one in a series of "Petz" games, including "CowZ" and "DogZ". It is also one of the best games ever made. I couldn't bear to completely forget my old e-namesake (CloudStrifeSwords) when this came out but I thought I could pay respect to two of the grandest games ever made by sticking in an extra syllable and a "Z". When I turn 18 and I can legally change my last name from "Kowalski" to "Degrassi", I figure my name will become an homage to three of the finest pieces of art this generation has produced. ************** REVISION NOTES ************** 11/15/06: Removed comma splice from third subsection of chapter four (pertaining to the illegal night race with Joanie). 11/15/06: Chapter six, subsection 10 mistakenly said the lunatic moon horse turns RIGHT into the corn field when you're chasing him with the fire hose. He actually turns LEFT. I deeply regret this error. 11/16/06: After a bit of internal debate I've decided to remove the cheat codes section from this FAQ. A game like HorseZ needs a clean, unaltered, ethical experience to be truly appreciated. I'd strongly suggest you other HorseZ FAQ writers follow my lead. 11/17/06: TAMAGOTCHI DOES NOT APPEAR IN THIS GAME, EVEN IF YOU DO BRUSH YOUR HORSE ON THE HEADMASTER'S GRAVE AT MIDNIGHT AND LET THE GHOST FEED IT SUGAR CUBES! Please stop emailing me about this cheat, IT DOES NOT WORK!!! 11/17/06: Horses do not shout racial epithets at people, and the People for the Rational Treatment of Haitians are clearly grubbing for money when they say "Neigh" is a slur against their people. 11/18/06: Rumor removed: The developer has confirmed that it "never got around to" rendering a horse's backside, so rumors of hidden CGI film of horses kicking small children in the throat are unsubstantiated. 11/19/06: Fixed mistake that said custom soundtracks were available in the US release. They're actually only available in the UK special edition, which I strongly suggest you pick up. Listening to Staind's "Mudshovel" while grooming and riding really heightens the HorseZ experience. 11/21/06: Big Chief Sullen Sky doesn't let you ride his special horse until AFTER the festival golden of hay. I am sorry for the hours of confusion I undoubtedly caused you all. 12/15/06: After weeks in hiding I've decided to return to my post and help the true HorseZ fans work their way through the story. I understand some of you might question my passion for HorseZ, but it's jerks like you who made me wonder if I belonged here in the first place. Keep the trolling in your mothers' basements, chumps; us real fans care too much about HorseZ to let you bother us. ********** THE BASICS ********** HorseZ is not one game, but a series of minigames encompassing genres like action, adventure, survival horror, and stealth. In between these games you take the role of Jade, a British girl recently inducted into a prestigious horsing academy. As an apprentice horsemaster you'll spend weeks training, grooming, and learning about your horse, and maybe yourself in the process. Some people say the controls are glitched but I believe Ubisoft made it like that to create more of a challenge for hardcore gamers. In Horsez only one direction on the analog stick is "straight"; the remaining seven make you move backwards or in a large circle. This has led to several mean-spirited jokes on the Internet, saying the game should be called "One-Tread Remote Control TankZ" or "Zhit", but some people are just too shallow to see the inner beauty of a true work of art. On a related note, THE RUN ANIMATION ISSUES ARE NOT A GLITCH!!! Ubisoft said specifically that the "run" button would make Jade change animations, but not actually go any faster, so people wouldn't "rush through" the game. How would you like "Titanic" if they chopped an hour off? What would you think about the LOTR trilogy if the characters ran full-speed to their every destination? That's what I thought. Shut up and enjoy the game for what it is, not what it isn't, you Halo-addicted mouthbreathers. ************** THE CHARACTERS ************** Jade: Jade is a 17-year-old girl from the UK. She is very close to her brother but has moved to Scotland to harness her incredible horsing talents. As Jade, you will move through the ranks of the horsing world, making friends, enemies, and lovers along the way. Do you have what it takes to make Jade a superstar, or will she sink into anonymity under your apathetic thumbs? Don't let your own apathy ruin another person's life, reader. You'll hate yourself forever if you do. Spike: When I first saw Spike's name on the screen I thought he was the punk-rockin' vampire of Buffy fame. Unfortunately, he isn't, but that doesn't mean he isn't a diverse, motivated character with a lot to add to the HorseZ universe. His tough exterior belies his fervent love of horses, and if Jade shows him a little care he might even open up to her. A tough nut to crack, indeed, but the prize is a beautiful spirit with undying passion for his craft. (I'm willing to pay one of you aspiring FAQ writers to whip me up a short story where Buffy's Spike is inadvertently teleported into the HorseZ universe. I'll even endorse you when the time comes to post your first FAQ). Ginger: Ginger is a perfect example of why the rest of the world hates Americans. She is loudmouthed, untalented, and not interested in learning. Instead, she only cares about the excellent social scene the Scottish horse training school offers. Let me tell you something now, readers: DO NOT TRUST HER. Putting Jade's academic life on the line isn't a responsible thing to do, even if you DO have to miss out on the party in Ginger's dorm. Esteban: With coffee skin and a wonderful accent, Esteban hails from a place where the sun shines and the men glow. His love for horses is only interrupted when Jade comes into the picture. A possible love conflict? You'll just have to play and find out, now won't you ;) Kew: I really hate to objectify women with sexist terms, but Kew is a rip. She's of indeterminate Asian heritage, and the three R's in her horse-learning become the three W's when she opens her stupid catty mouth. I know that sounds racist, but tell me rage doesn't boil up inside you every time you hear her speak. I'm going to quit writing this now lest my temper get the best of me. ********* THE GAMES ********* As mentioned above, HorseZ consists of a variety of minigames, strung together by the wonderful tale of Jade and her time in Scotland. Since the instruction booklet is only three pages long I thought I'd share some hints and tips on the basic minigames HorseZ has to offer: Brushing: Brushing is an excellent little game, but only if you have GAMING ETHICS. Some unscrupulous characters might tell you to hold the "brush" icon ANWHERE (including above or below the actual horse), hold the "X" button, and let dust fly until the game is over. This is called cheating, folks, and I condemn ANYONE who is unethical enough to do it. Bathing: Pretty much the same game as brushing, but with a different warning: DO NOT SPRAY THE HORSE IN ITS HEAD WITH THE HOSE UNTIL IT DIES. This isn't a Grand Theft Auto game, and you aren't rewarded for going against everything the developers intended this wonderful game to be. In my opinion you should be ARRESTED for ANIMAL CRUELTY if you're one of the jerks who pull this stunt, but until that time rest assured Satan has a special place in hell for anyone who kills their horses by blasting them in the face with a high-powered stream of water for minutes on end. Stall Cleaning: Alright, first things first, ANY immature moron who chuckles at this game needs to be drug out in the street and shot. Horses poop just like everyone else. Do your friends laugh maniacally every time YOU use the restroom? Does the thought of jabbing dirty hay with a pitchfork make you titter with immature glee? If so, Horsez isn't for you. Try a little game called "Maturity". I think it's the sequel to "Graduating Grade School". Cross Country Run: This is the ultimate test of your horsemanship. Much like a real horse, your virtual steed has three speeds, which are accessed by hitting the square button. While some unethical types might be prone to automatically dropping into the highest possible horse gear and letting 'er rip, as the saying goes, remember: Once you're at the highest speed, there's no way to slow down short of coming to a complete stop by crashing into a wall. And, if you sickos were planning on doing something like that just for fun, forget it. Ubisoft refused to pander to your depravity and neglected to put any sort of crash animation in the game. You just stop dead, and sometimes your horse's hooves get caught in the ground and you can't do anything but reset the system. If you're planning on buying just to crash your horse, I'd suggest you hold the reset button a few seconds longer and let your system shut off. Nobody wants you playing this. Resting: This is my favorite minigame because it really shows the potential of open-ended titles. To play it you simply schedule a rest for your horse in the school planner, hit the X button, and watch. When you're done watching the horse stand in a field, totally motionless, you hit the X button again. Instant win, instant gratification. It hearkens back to the days of Myst, only with a bit less motion to distract you. And they say new games don't improve on the classics. 0_o ************************** FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ************************** Before you all start complaining like you're prone to, let me remind you that this is not a walk through. My FAQ is designed to help you, not hand-feed you. Here are a few common questions, as well as my own hints to succeeding in the world of HorseZ: Q:) "Why is the key in the stealth segment all the way across the level on a table in an otherwise undecorated room? This game sucks." A.) It's common practice to leave keys to critical areas of a stable several yards, or sometimes even miles, away. Don't insult other people because you're not competent enough to take care of horses. Q.) "Why does the game go completely silent after I open a dialogue box?" A.) Clearly this email was written by a child, because an adult would know you need to REFLECT on things people tell you. The game not playing any sound after Jade talks to someone is Ubi's way of saying she is contemplating what she just heard. Learn to hold a conversation before you fill my email inbox with your tripe, please. Q.) How do I win the race with Kew in Chapter 3? Every time her horse comes close to touching me I come to a sudden halt and a split second later she crosses the finish line. She goes out of her way to bump me and it feels like the game's doing it on purpose!" A.) Maybe before you start blaming other people you should examine your own attitude towards HorseZ. Ubisoft should make a game that teaches you to have some gall; that seems to be what you need. Go back to your Barbies and write me back when you're ready for a challenge. Idiot. Q.) "What do popularity points do?" A.) Oh, I dunno... maybe you should check the "report card" option in the menu? You know what a report card is, right? That piece of paper you bring home and then your dad says "take another name off the list" and then he tears up a bunch of college brochures? Have fun working at the gas station, Joebob. You aren't cut out for HorseZ. Q.) "Where is the guy I need to talk to to get Ginger's birthday present? It seems kind of silly that the game tells me there's "someone somewhere" and then expects me to walk through about fifteen 45-second load screens searching for him." A.) Oh. My. God. I CANNOT believe you're going to sink to blaming someone else for your own inadequacies. Did your father knock the deductive skills out of you as a punishment for being too ugly? Did your mother run a rum IV straight to her belly button while she was pregnant with you? Carlito is hiding in the third room of the fourth sector of the boy's dorm, just where you'd know he was if you weren't too busy trying to distinguish your face from roadkill. If you were here with me I'd tell you to get out of my sight. Ugh. ************** SPECIAL THANKS ************** Writing this FAQ was a lot of fun (except for the idiot questions), and it wouldn't have been possible without the help of a few people. First I'd like to thank Rodney The Yam for his ASCII help. After that, of course, big props to Bee Jay Bee for hosting the FAQ. Finally, thanks to all my friends and family for helping me realize my passion, except for Mom, who can't get it through her head that Degrassi is a good last name AND a fitting homage to the best television since Buffy. I hope you all found this helpful; keep on HorseZin'!
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.