Dead Space is gruesome fun for gamers

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Nasty creatures like this one are out to destroy you in the "kill or be killed" game Dead Space.

By PHIL SPIZZICA
Staff Writer 

Genre: Sci-fi, Survival/Horror 
Publisher: Electronic Arts
ESRB Rating: M (17+)

After an entire year of patiently awaiting the release of this game, it makes me proud to finally declare it an absolute triumph; it was well worth the wait. In one of gaming’s most hauntingly immersive and frightening atmospheres ever conceived, you must journey into the harrowing darkness in search of much needed answers, as well as any means of survival.

As the game opens, you are introduced to the USG Ishimura, which is an enormous deep-space mining vessel that essentially destroys planets in order to extract ore from the ruins. Unfortunately, the colossal starship is malfunctioning, and its communications, as expected, are offline. You play as protagonist Isaac Clark, an engineer sent as part of a small team to investigate, and within minutes of boarding the Ishimura, it becomes exceedingly apparent as to why no one was around to pick up the phone. I’m sure it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to imagine this, but Dead Space both easily and proudly earns its mature rating. This is a game brimming with extremely grisly violence, nerve-splintering tension, and some truly big scares; in short, it’s not for the faint of heart.

The aforementioned elements are all, of course, totally awesome. And they revolve around some highly polished and truly exciting gameplay. The combat, while ludicrously intense, is still meticulously refined and likely couldn’t have been executed much better. It’s also got an interesting twist; bullets are largely ineffective against your monstrous assailants. Instead, you must make use of one of several weapons, most of which are actually just mining tools, in order to systematically sever the limbs of your opponents until they can no longer move. This strategic dismemberment mechanic ensures precision is key, but it’s made simple enough by the excellent targeting and stellar control scheme. Need to dispatch an injured foe? Merely approach the desired enemy; Dead Space makes superior use of your right heel by enabling you to violently stomp an enemy into the ground, which is as brutally exaggerated as it is satisfying. The combat is wildly entertaining, and each weapon, as well as your suit, can be upgraded in a number of ways to cater to your play style. The game also features devices within Isaac’s suit that enable usage of powers such as stasis and telekinesis. These can be helpful during combat, but they are predominately used for puzzle solving, which is required of you fairly frequently throughout the game. Some of these puzzles are clever, and some are less interesting. But they all add to the experience. From a technical standpoint, the gameplay is highly impressive. Everything is very tight and very well made, and it’s easy to see that. 

The other most notable aspect of Dead Space is its presentation, which is a nightmarish amalgam of gorgeously grotesque visuals and vicious, unrelenting audio work. Everything from lighting effects to ambient sounds to music is executed perfectly for what this game strives to accomplish. The resulting atmosphere is utterly convincing, unnerving, and at times, terrifying. To be honest, the game as a whole is not as scary as I had originally anticipated. Be that as it may, I did literally scream aloud on more than one occasion, particularly during part of a certain sequence near the end that I will not discuss. These parts were fairly few and far between for someone such as myself. However, if you’re someone who is easily frightened, I can guarantee beyond any doubt that this game will make you jump out of your seat. Frequently.

As impressive as Dead Space is, it’s not totally without its faults. While the core gameplay always keeps things exciting, the actual objectives you are tasked with are rather mundane for the most part. Throughout much of the game, you’ll spend your time simply navigating from point A to point B in order to press a button or flip a switch. More variety in this department would have served the game well. Also, while the story is solid and actually kind of disturbing by the end, it is plagued by an equally solid amount of positively laughable dialogue. Many lines are downright painful. The decent actors are able to mitigate the bite of horrid dialogue to a degree, but a more powerful narrative with a much stronger script would have made the game almost flawless.

Nevertheless, Dead Space is unequivocally the most impressive internally-developed game that’s ever come out of EA, and I truly applaud them for it. So turn off the lights, turn up the volume, and prepare yourself; this is an absolute must play for survival/horror fans and the most noteworthy horror release since Resident Evil 4.

The Bottom Line:  9 out of 10

Looking for adventure? How about a trip to Rome?

 

The group who went to last year’s trip standing in front of Buckingham palace.
The group who went to last year’s trip standing in front of Buckingham Palace.

Cumberland County College: Study Abroad

May 26th to June 1st, 2009

 1 Fly overnight to Milan 

Day 2 Transfer to Florence 

Day 3 Uffizi Gallery 

Day 4 Guided sightseeing tour of Florence

Day 5 Free time in Florence 

Day 6 Transfer to Rome and free time in Rome 

Day 7 Return flight home  

 

$2985.00 for students under 23

$3225.00 for age 23 and over. 

 

Students may also register for Art History I or Art History II offered in the Summer I, 2009 as a general education elective or program requirement if desired, or just attend the trip.  

 

Friends and family may also attend the trip if desired for the same price. 

For more information or to register contact:  

Sarah Shapiro

Assistant Professor of Art

Coordinator of Fine Arts & Graphic Design

Cumberland County College

Vineland, NJ 08362

Phone: 856-691-8600, ext. 314

sshapiro@cccnj.edu

The Crucible asks “Which witch?” at FPAC

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Proctor and Abigail meet late at night, after Proctor's wife is wrongfully imprisoned.

By MELISSA PILEIRO
Editor-in-Chief

In today’s culture, rumors can be ugly, character ruining things. In Salem, Massachusetts in the 1600s, rumors were deadly.

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, performed by Cumberland County students, staff and community members last month, is a dramatic retelling of the witch trials at Salem that killed at least twenty-five people. The play is also highly symbolic, acting as a thinly veiled critique of the communist Red Scare  and McCarthyism of the 1950s. America has always been somewhat paranoid of its neighbors, and when one moves beyond the witch hunt that was central to this show, the parallels to the present day are obvious.

The plot centers around a teenage girl named Abigail Williams (played by Tori Moratelli) who is caught up in an affair with an older married man (John Proctor, played by Mark Yecco), and will stop at nothing to have him for her own. All of Abigail’s friends join in on an act of “witchcraft” to help her win John Proctor’s heart, but when they are questioned for it, chaos ensures. 

To avoid trouble, Abby passes the blame to older women of the village, and by the time these women are actually tried for sorcery, it is too late to back out. Everyone in the tiny village knows what’s going on, only prompting more gossip and wild rumors. 

In reality, none of the people actually executed at Salem were genuine witches, but given the culture of the day, it was a serious threat that needed to be dealt with.

Director Deborah Bradshaw has been the force behind many of CCC’s recent theatre performances, including High School Musical, 42nd Street, and last fall’s Rumors. A broadway veteran, Bradshaw said that The Crucible is timeless, and a show she has always enjoyed. “I just love the show. I think we needed a bit of a change of pace, too,” she explained. Most of the Theatre Department’s recent productions have been comedic and light, and this show’s drama and intense emotional moments were a stark contrast that the cast still pulled off wonderfully.

“It wasn’t necessarily difficult for them,” Bradshaw said about preparing the cast for something more serious, “it was just a process. It took time to reach that final point [to perform].”

Cast members spoken to briefly after the show all expressed their joy in getting to work with one another and with Deborah. Audience members certainly weren’t complaining, either: there were over 300 people at each of the night shows, with a little less during the Sunday matinee, and a sold out student performance. Snacks and cider were sold to benefit the drama club during intermission.

This Spring, CCC will be bringing the musical Beauty and the Beast to the stage. For information about the show, the degree programs in Theatre, or how to get involved with the drama club, email Deborah at dbradshaw@cccnj.edu, or call 691-8600, ext. 456.

The chef in charge of CCC’s menu

Viet Hong standing with Johanna McNeil, one of his reliable staff members.

Viet Hong standing with Johanna McNeil, one of his reliable staff members.

 

NADIA ALBIZU

 

Staff Writer

 

You eat it! Now meet the man behind it all. Cumberland County College’s food service director Viet Hoang was born in Vietnam and in 1982 moved to Mount Laurel, New Jersey, where an American family adopted him.  

Hoang graduated from Holy Cross High School, where he played tennis. After high school, he attended Camden County Community College for two years, and then transferred to the Academy of Culinary Arts in Mays Landing, New Jersey.

While Hoang was growing up, his parents owned a deli. There he learned to love food and as a young boy decided he wanted a career in hospitality.

 Hoang works for a contracting company based in West Virginia called Aladdin Food Service. Aladdin Food Service offers a catering service- ready to serve 200-350 guests breakfast, sit down dinners, and buffets. 

Hoang has a great team working beside him who are well trained, have great knowledge on everything that goes on in the cafeteria, and are very determined to keep the sanitation above average. 

Hoang is married to a therapist and has a two-year-old daughter. On his spare time he likes to play tennis, travel, and hang out with his family and friends. One day Hoang would like to take his daughter to his hometown in Vietnam. 

When asked, what his favorite meal served in the Cumberland County Café Hoang smiled and said, “Everything!” 

Hoang and his staff work very hard to serve the students at Cumberland County a tasty, healthy meal.

“It’s a small cafeteria with a lot of good business,” said Hoang. In the cafeteria they have a nutrition chart and pamphlets on how to stay healthy.

Hoang enjoys positive criticism because he is always striving to improve his talent.

“I really love the feedback students, faculty, and staff leave me.”

Dynamic and creative: a teacher with his own method

 

 

Professor Phillips giving advice to one of his students.

Professor Phillips giving advice to one of his students.

 

By BRITTANY WALDER

 

Staff Writer

Need a word to describe CCC Professor Frank Phillips? Try dynamic.

When Professor Phillips walks into a room, his presence is felt all around. He’s a towering figure with a powerful voice that permeates with an enthusiasm seldom felt from people in his profession. Five minutes in the room with him, and it is evident that he loves what he does. If his mere presence isn’t enough to make an impression, his philosophies on life are; he is remarkably grounded, funny, and more than willing to talk about, well, anything.

“My greatest joy as a professor,” he said, “is to give something. I want to challenge my students in a ‘dialogue of exploration.’ It’s a collective growth. It’s not about taking something static. It’s about learning to think critically. “

Professor Phillips began teaching at Cumberland County College thirty years ago, and has had many experiences that have contributed to his success as a teacher.  

He was raised in an environment where his family had an upper middle class view on life.  Despite being poor, he was raised to be responsible, hardworking, and to take nothing for granted.  

After volunteering to serve in Vietnam, Phillips was able to attend college on the GI Bill.  Even though he left home before graduating high school, he eventually got his GED through the Marine Corps and attended Rutgers College.  “I got into Rutgers initially as a business major,” he said. “I thought I was going to make all the money in the world.”

After two years at Rutgers, Phillips left to take a job as a store manager trainee. In less than a year, he was hired as a manger. “That was my goal. That was what I wanted,” he said, “and I was very successful at it. But I didn’t like myself. I didn’t like the way I had to treat people, being in a managerial position. I was able to do it, but I didn’t like firing people and treating people coldly—because that’s what you had to do. You couldn’t accept anything less than excellence.”

“I wanted to do something else, being around people, working with people. I saw the way that people treated people around the United States, and some of the social issues that were going on, and I wanted to have an impact. So I returned to Rutgers.” 

Within a year and a half, he got his bachelors in sociology.  

With his bachelor’s he was presented with the opportunity to help out with a program at Rutgers that gave disadvantaged kids the chance to sit in a classroom and hear a professor speak as a part of a learning environment. 

It was by helping a girl in one of his classes who had graduated from Cumberland County College that he was offered a job at CCC. 

“She said, ‘My professor’s leaving, and we have an opening. You should do it.’” 

At Cumberland County College, Professor Phillips succeeds in making the impact he once hoped to have.  His lectures are energetic and memorable. His voice is commanding. He has the ability to provoke thought on both sides of an issue. When Professor Frank Phillips is standing in front of a classroom, it’s incredibly difficult not to pay attention. 

He maintains, however, that being admired is not his primary concern.  

“The greatest thing I can give my students is the ability to think critically. If I can do nothing else over the course of a semester, I want them to be able to think about something and argue both sides of the issue. If you’re educated and learning, you’ll always have the ability to see it the other way.”

CCC’s Fitness Center

 

A girl working out.

Shiara Battle working out.

By DIANA RUSSELL 

Contributing Writer

Tucked away on the second floor of the Student Center/Gymnasium, occupying a space that once was a stage, is a well known, but sometimes overlooked facility the Fitness Center.  It may be known to all students who have a student ID, but it isn’t really known unless you have exercised on the array of fitness equipment.  The 1,200 square foot facility opened in December of the year 2000 to “support the reinstitution of athletics, meet recreational fitness and for intramurals,” according to Joe Hibbs Director of Student Life.  He further explained that “the design was based on space and money.  Larger was more desirable, but the college also needed office space and room for lockers.”  During the first year of operation, the Fitness Center was run by the Center for Health and Fitness located at College Drive and Sherman Avenue.  This organization purchased the very durable equipment that is still in use today.  

The Fitness Center is used by CCC students and staff who are looking to get in shape for athletic events, lose weight, tone up, slim down, and generally be more physically fit.  This is done in a friendly, supportive environment with upbeat music playing in the background. Four television screens offer a variety of stations ranging from MTV to ESPN. Headphones can be attached to the aerobic equipment so that you can listen to the televisions or you may bring your own personal headphones. On average, there are 50-60 people using the Fitness Center daily, with a slight decline during mid-terms and finals.  Along one wall there is cardio equipment for aerobic exercise, treadmills, recumbent bikes and elliptical machines, and there are fourteen weight machines for upper, lower and core muscle groups.  Other equipment includes a stretch chair, exercise balls, power balls, mats, cardio steps, and jump ropes. Freshman Brett Peter uses the weights “to keep in shape using different machines for different areas of the body.”  Sophomore Andrea Santiago was sent by her softball coach “to start warming up for softball in the spring. I will be doing more hard core work starting in January,” she said.

While there never been numerous requests for free weights, a rowing machine and a better leg weight machine, according to Joe Hibbs there are no immediate plans to purchase additional equipment because of the limited space. For example, if a rowing machine is purchased another piece of equipment would have to be eliminated.  Even a rack of dumbbells, in place of the free weights, would need a workout area. The gym often has to substitute for dance and aerobic workouts.  

Staff members, Sue Law and Tywon Ford, are certified personal trainers who are available to help set up a personal exercise program (an appointment may be necessary).  They both belong to the National Federation of Personal Trainers, and are re-certified every six months. Other staff members include Assistant Director Shawn Ferris, Coaches Jim Marketto, Larry Simonini  and Amy Holliday, and secretary Debbie Iacovelli. In addition to assisting students and staff with equipment use and safe exercise methods, the staff maintains and cleans the equipment daily.  All equipment is disinfected after each use, cleaned every morning and evening, and thoroughly scrubbed weekly.   

The Fitness Center is open Monday through Thursday from 9:30am to 6:30pm and Friday from 9:30am to 4:00pm.  During the summer or college breaks the Fitness Center is closed on Fridays, and it is closed when the college is closed. Students and staff must have a valid college ID and wear proper fitness attire, including sneakers, to use the equipment.  Sports drinks or water in plastic bottles are allowed, and lockers are available. If you have any questions, or need to make an appointment, please call 691-8600 ext 432.  As one anonymous student in her fifties put it, “Why not use the facility?  After all, I am paying for it through my college fees, so I might as well get smart AND skinny while I’m attending Cumberland County College!”

Students e-flock to hybrid courses

 

 

keyboardBy ASHLEY LONG

Staff Writer

 

Students have the option of taking a traditional classroom course or taking a hybrid. A hybrid course is where there is a carefully planned blend of both traditional classroom instruction and online learning activities. Students are able to make meaningful connections with their instructors and other students, without being required to travel to campus on a regular basis, as the majority of the coursework can be completed on the Internet.

Rather than having students sit in a lecture hall taking notes, instructors can teach through more “active-learning” assignments such as case studies, self-tests, tutorials, and online group projects, all of which are available over the Internet.

The most important educational benefits are how hybrid courses help improve writing and computer skills. Hybrid classes also encourage self-directed learning, time management, problem solving, and critical thinking skills in those who participate in the programs as well.

In addition to the obvious academic advantages, hybrid courses are also making it easier for more people to get a quality education. That’s because hybrid courses require limited on-campus attendance, which means they are more accessible to students. “Taking an online course is great, because the flexible class schedule allows me to work more hours at my job,” said Katrina Sansalone.

How does a hybrid course work for the faculty members who teach them? “It works well, but it is a lot of work,” said Professor Julie Stratton. “If I miss something in the lecture, I can easily Email the information to all students or post it to a discussion area. The additional online delivery method sometimes allows for more in-depth exploration through the hybrid portion, as well as having more current information to supplement the text.” 

The structure of a hybrid course allows for flexibility. What kind of student should look into taking a hybrid class? “This depends on the student. Something, hopefully, advisors help in guiding students through when they select classes. If a student works well independently, needs extra time to review material, has no problems with computers (whether it be using them or accessing them) and is looking to be more flexible in his or her schedule, then hybrid does fit that description. Although, I would not completely write off a hybrid course based on that list,” said Stratton.