Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bark: The season of goodwill?

This news story has a sense of seeming inevitability about it. Pakistan's been a civil war waiting to happen since Benazir Bhutto returned from exile in Dubai. Yet another "victory" for American foreign policy, I'm afraid. I've not been a fan of Musharraf since he jumped so quickly into bed with Dubya after the 9/11 attacks, and he's probably done more to undermine democracy in Pakistan over the last five years than the Taleban and Al Qaida combined. No doubt there'll be conspiracies flying around that Musharraf sactioned the attack, but to be fair, I think there are enough extremists in Pakistan to have carried out the attack without government help. Though in a sense, I suppose the government did play it's part: it's the US-friendly policies of the Musharraf government since the overthrow of the Taleban in Afghanistan that has created such an atmosphere of unrest in Pakistan in the first place.

I had a lot of respect for Benazir Bhutto, despite the accusations of corruption... from what I saw (dating back to her first stint as Prime Minister when she paid a visit to Maggie Thatcher in the early '90s) she always conducted herself with a lot of dignity and, I believe, integrity. So her death is a great loss, if not entirely unexpected.

So what now for Pakistan? Dark times, I fear. But this is what happens when you ally yourself with a military dictator for politically expedient purposes. It's just a shame that it's never the people that form the expedient alliance that end up ulitmately paying the price...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Bark: Sunset

Christmas Sunset 2007

We might not have had snow for Christmas Day, but Nature made a work of art with the sunset tonight.

Bark/Byte: A Gamey Christmas

This Christmas I'm a thirty-something Kevin McAllister. If that name rings a vague bell, that's because it's what Macaulay Culkin is called in Home Alone. Though at least I have more beer and better games to play than he did. (But sadly, no snow)

I think this is actually the first Christmas I've ever spent on my own (the neighbour's cat doesn't count, even though I'm cat-sitting and Bram is very cuddly) and I have to say, it's not such a bad experience. Of course, there's bugger all on TV (except my hero, James May, doing very nasty things to girls' toys this evening) and I have no-one to get into a vicious argument with over a Trivial Pursuit board, but that's probably a good thing. To quote Robert De Niro from my favourite film ever, "I am alone. I am not lonely." I'll probably be watching that later, as I've not seen it yet on my new TV. and it's a great opportunity to really annoy any neighbours who are still around by watching the post-bank heist firefight at maximum volume.

I'm writing this as I'm waiting for my Christmas dinner to cook. Since I'm on my own, I didn't think there was much point in buying a turkey - much as though I like it, I don't want to be eating it for the next three weeks. So I went deer hunting at my local butcher, and got some venison instead; I thought I might as well eat game if I'm going to spend Christmas playing them... get a bit of a theme going. I'm doing it with ramiro red peppers, red onion and button mushrooms as a bit of a casserole, having marinaded the venison first in red wine, thyme and garlic. I'm using the marinade as the cooking liquor and slow cooking it over a low heat for about an hour - coincidentally just how long it takes to roast potatoes. Funny, that. Oh, and it smells absolutely divine. (I've still got 15 minutes cooking time to go at this point) Of course, I couldn't have this just on its own, I've got the goose fat on the go, and I'm roasting far too many potatoes with some carrots and parsnips, with a few sprigs of thyme to help flavour the fat. Goose fat may, in fact, be the most evil substance known to Man, but by golly, it makes great roast potatoes. I'm also steaming some brussel sprouts, because what is Christmas without sprouts? So at least I'm eating well and not existing solely on toasted bacon sandwiches with HP sauce. Though I am sorely tempted to try, believe me. I've got three packs of of the stuff to get through between now and the New Year.

After dinner, I'm probably going to try and put a couple of levels on my new Blood Elf Hunter. Sad, I know, but I genuinely don't have anything better to do. I have to say that I'm finding that tricky patch between Level 20 and Level 30 far easier playing as a Horde than I ever did with my Alliance characters on Zenedar. I've got three alts stalled at level 24 on Zenedar, but my Blood Elf Hunter has already stormed to Level 23 and shows no signs of slowing down. I only rolled a new character because the guys from have finally jumped on the WoW bandwagon (They got on it slower than I did! I can't believe it! Finally! I'm a trend-setter!) and started off on what's commonly thought to be the PvP server most games industry types play WoW on in the UK. I've even seen a guild called "Gank me, I'm famous".

Last night was spent saving the galaxy on Star Wars: Supremacy; for my money easily the most underrated Star Wars game ever made. I find it's seductive pull curious, because you could hardly say it's an exciting game. There's just something about taking a 20 sector galaxy (each sector having ten planetary systems) and applying your strategy to conquer it. I think I'm getting a bit too good at Supremacy now - I won as the Rebels on Medium difficulty (the Star Destroyer difficulty setting at the main menu screen) in just 620 days - the Imperials only having half a dozen systems to my eighty by the time I'd taken Coruscant. I think the key is to try and knobble the enemies diplomats as early in the game as you can, and that allows you to spam sectors with guerillas to try and provoke uprisings, because without diplomats, their only recourse is to use huge amounts of troops to restore order - the production of which reduces the amount of resources they have to build ships. This is a great strategy for the Rebellion in particular, because they don't get a decent starting fleet to begin with, and need longer to build ships capable of fending off a Star Destroyer. I should play again now as the Empire, because I like the thought of having the Emperor and Darth Vader at my beck and call... it's really not good for my megalomania complex.

Anyway. I've got venison to eat and there's beer to be drunk. Have a good Christmas, everyone. I know I will...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bark: Whoops!

You would have thought that if you're going to work with industrial quantities of cyanide, the last thing you would do is fall into a vat of the stuff. At first, I thought he must have been in some evil genius's secret lair, but it appears that you use potassium cyanide in electroplating.

Still, on the bright side, at least the guy can look forward to a new life as a supervillain.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bark: The spirit of Christmas

My dual-monitor workstation at the office is now adorned by a string of Royal Purple tinsel. Wooo.

Bark: Move over T-Rex

The title of meanest carnivore on the planet has now been awarded to the brilliantly named Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis.

Randomly, the journalist who wrote this story, Helen Briggs, was a co-student in the French evening class that I went to about four years ago in Camberley. Nice lady.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bark: You could have fooled me

Human evolution is speeding up, apparently.

Yeah, right.

Bark: On the subject of mindless gore

Following on from my previous post, I think this deserves its own blog entry.

This might rival Plan 9 From Outer Space as the most gloriously rubbish film ever made. Cheers to Mark for pointing this one out to me last night.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Byte: Appeal

I'm still not going to buy it.

Byte: A Top 10 with a difference

Comrade Oskar starts his countdown of his Top 10 favourite games of 2007. Whereas I'm content to do this kind of thing using the medium of words alone, Oskar is not nearly so conventional and boring. No...

Oskar is conveying his Top 10 games using the medium of Action Man figures playing Charades. In their pants.


Stark. Raving. Genius. I can't wait to see the rest.

Byte: Heresy grows from idleness

After just four levels of Squad Command, I felt inspired to reinstall Dawn of War and played through the first three levels of the campaign last night. As most of you will already know, I'm not a huge fan of RTS games. Dawn of War is one of the few notable exceptions to this rule (the others being Haegemonia: Legions of Iron, Star Wars: Supremacy and Company of Heroes). It's quite hard to explain why I like Dawn of War so much. I was never even a big Warhammer 40,000 fan when I was a kid. A lot of my friends were major Warhammer 40,000 fanboys, but I only ever owned one figure: a Reaver Titan, which I was crestfallen to learn wasn't even one of the most powerful Titans... Serves me right for buying on looks, rather than reading up on the stats. But I digress...

Logically, I shouldn't like Dawn of War. It has all the same repetitive base building at the start of each mission that your average RTS has, but there's just something about the way it handles resources and territory that makes it all tolerable. Also, the game is viscerally spectacular. I love watching Dreadnoughts tromp into battle, tossing aside broken Orks and letting loose with autocannons. It's just so great to watch, especially when you've got four squads of Space Marines, fully tooled up with rocket launchers, blowing the crap out of an Ork encampment. Well, it would appear that I was enjoying things far too much, as I spent all night dreaming I was a Space Marine Brother-Captain, slaughtering Orks with a plasma pistol and Power Sword...

This can't be a good sign.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Byte: Give him a squad, see what he can do

I wasn't quite right in my previous post, there was a game out this week that I was interested in, and picked up yesterday.

Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command, for the DS. People only seem to have been reviewing the PSP version so far, with no reviews at all for the DS version having hit Metacritic as yet. Normally, you could take this as being a bad sign for the quality of the game (especially with some of the reviews for the PSP version being hardly stellar), but in this case, I think you can put it down more to the publisher trying to boost sales on the PSP. Whenever you get a game coming out on more than one format, more often than not, the review copies that go out will be on the Sony formats, not the Nintendo ones. I guess this used to be down to Sony historically having the larger market share, but now (with the DS and the Wii absolutely trouncing Sony's current generation of hardware in terms of sales) it kind of makes more sense to put out review copies for the Sony formats, rather than the Nintendo ones, because it's more likely to aid sales. Or maybe in this specific case, they don't expect Squad Command to have much of an impact on the kiddie-friendly DS market, so don't want to justify the cost of sending out the review copies for a small return. They may be right - but it still leaves the people who are interested in the title in the position of needing to take a complete shot in the dark, should they hand over their £30 for the game.

So, in the interests of public service (and because I'm a sucker for turn-based strategy), I bought the game in HMV yesterday and played through the opening few levels last night.

First impressions aren't bad, actually. Obviously, being on the DS means that it's never going to rival the PSP version for looks, but it's graphically quite effective. Units are recognisably scouts or Chaos marines and considering the small resolution of the DS screen, the weapons are modelled quite well.

The interface is pretty good, and the touch screen is used well, allowing you to directly select units, weapons, stance and targetting options without having fiddle about through menus or push loads of buttons. Less impressive, however, is the 3D camera. You can move it around a bit to try and help you look around corners, but the movement range is limited and feels a little like an afterthought. It really falls between two stools: it's neither a fully effective fixed camera (the dithering of objects to make them transparent when one of your units goes behind them isn't great, and also doesn't apply to enemy units, allowing them to hide behind walls, so you can't target them effectively, even if they're within line of sight of the unit) nor is it a fully-functional moveable 3D camera, which would allow you not to have to use the ineffective object dithering at all. It's an annoyance rather than a full-blown impediment to playing the game, because at least with the DS version, you have full-visibility of the tactical map on the second screen at all times, and all enemy units within line of sight are fully marked, but it does make you wish that they'd spent a little bit of extra money sorting out the camera to make it fully rotateable. Or if they couldn't have done that, would adding the ability to do a Sims-style wall drop (where you still see a footprint to show you that an object is there, but you can see behind the object) really have killed them? It seems like they picked the worst of all possible solutions.

A slightly bigger problem is that the game doesn't track units as they move or fire, which can be particularly annoying during the enemy turn, because if you don't happen to be looking at the right part of the map, you have absolutely no clue what's going on. It also is highly annoying when you're doing long distance sniper shots, as you can't track the fire from source to destination, so if it goes awry and hits some scenery (or, Emperor forbid, one of your squad) somewhere, you're left pretty much clueless as to where or why. This is a feature UFO: Enemy Unknown grasped as being absolutely necessary nearly 15 years ago, so for Squad Command not to do it is nigh-on unforgiveable. Really, I mean, that's -2 off the score right there...

There are a lot of things to like, though. Firstly, it's Warhammer 40,000. Secondly, it's turn-based. I know a lot of people would not agree with me on that point, but they're fools, frankly. Thirdly, you're not just restricted to standard aimed, snap or auto shots, with fixed levels of accuracy. The game allows you to take as many of your action points a turn as you dare to make a shot. The more action points you spend, the more accurate the shot is. This is seriously awesome, especially when you start getting sniper rifles. You can just set up end-of-turn overwatch ambushes and snipe cultists from halfway across the map. It's a feature that can make you want to fight battles very defensively, but I suspect that later in the game, when the difficulty starts ramping up, this is something you're going to want to do anyway, as you're restricted to just six units, and you can't reinforce your squad. Which seems pretty mean, when you're typically outnumbered by about three to one. Another feature I liked is that your action points are only consumed by movement or firing. Switching from primary to secondary weapons or turning doesn't eat up any of your action points for the turn, which is a welcome tweak, as there was nothing worse in UFO/X-Com than needing to make a soldier turn to be able to take a shot at an enemy, only to end up being a time unit short of being able to fire.

One thing I've not been able to try yet is the multiplayer, but it sounds promising. You can play head-to-head with a single cart, or go for all-out eight-way multiplayer, on small, medium or large maps. I reckon a single eight-way turn-based multiplayer game on a large map would set you up for the entire evening. I'll have to try and get my DS working with the wireless to try it out (as you can play online).

Overall then, based on the first three levels, Squad Command is a game I could describe as being worthy: not the exceptional piece of gamecraft it could (perhaps should) have been with this license, but it hardly blows chunks, either. I may get around to posting a full review when I finish the single-player campaign, for a more definitive verdict. But yeah... s'okay.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Byte: The Pre-Christmas Lull

Starting (briefly) off-topic, for the first time in literally years, I managed to go a whole month without using my overdraft (unlike last month, when I just dipped into it). I had a margin of nearly £50 to spare, and that was despite me spending £500 on a new TV and nearly £80 on a new battery for the car. So hurrah for that. It might be a little trickier next month, as I've got to get the car MOT'ed and I've got to pay my flat's maintenance charge (though I'm not sure why I bother with that - they never mow the lawn and the place is still under about three feet of rotting leaves). But anyway, something to celebrate, and now I can really start making headway on getting rid of the four-figure balance on my credit card. If all goes to plan, that should have disappeared by this time next year. That'll be a nice Christmas present to myself, certainly.

Well, now we're into December, I can finally think about Christmas as a topic. With all the big games (Crysis, UT3, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3, Mass Effect, etc) having been released already, it seems that the traditional post-Christmas games release lull has actually come before Christmas this year, as there's absolutely, officially, sod all coming out worth buying between now and March.

So now would seem to be a good point to do a recap and go over what were my favourite games of the year, and let you know what I'll be playing to fill the gap between now and Spore (which will, I heartily predict, be the greatest thing in the history of civilisation). So these are my games of the year, in no particular order.

Half-Life 2: Episode 2 - PC
It still amazes me that I'm in the minority on this one. That is, the minority of players who bought this game that actually completed it. According to Valve, only 44% of players have actually completed the game, which is kind of mind boggling when you consider how good the game is. Though even that paltry percentage appears to be an improvement over Episode 1. Anyway. This is my personal favourite FPS of the year, despite a rocky opening couple of hours, the rest is absolutely superb, with the final defensive battle around the silo being the stand out set piece of the year.

Puzzle Quest - DS
Or, as it might be called, Zeldakeeper. A manic cross between old school Zelda RPGs and Zookeeper, Puzzle Quest is apocalyptically addictive, and a great way to kill time while you're in the waiting room of a doctor's surgery.

Peggle - PC
This game, quite rightly, has generated a quite spectacular amount of hype and praise over the course of the year. I disagree with Yahtzee in that the game is definitely more about skill than luck, especially when you get to the more advanced challenges - you can't clear a whole level down to every last peg using only one ball by luck alone, believe me. A grasp of physics and a good sense of timing will get you much further than luck alone. Again, like Zeldakeeper, sorry... Puzzle Quest, it's spectacularly compulsive stuff, and is also as cheap as chips, if you buy it via Steam.

Metroid Prime Pinball - DS
No, really. This is quite easily one of my favourite games of the year. It's the rumble pack that really makes this game. Considering that the rumble pack is absolutely tiny, it really has quite a kick, and the way it's used with to give the kickers and other table features a tactile feel is absolutely brilliant. The DS itself is also perfectly suited to a pinball game (using the shoulder buttons as flippers and the touch screen to "nudge" the table), the Metroid window-dressing is just the icing on the cake. And what tasty icing it is as well. It's Parma Violet flavoured and wrapped around marzipan. Good enough to eat until you get sick.

Race Driver: Create & Race - DS
Yet another DS game. I haven't blogged about this one before, but I picked this up on the strength of Eurogamer's positive review, and it hasn't disappointed. Okay, so the AI isn't really up to much and the graphics aren't all that good, but the real fun from a game like this is being able to create your own tracks and then comprehensively thrash the AI around it. It's also another game that makes good use of the DS rumble pack. It's not really essential to the experience, but it does add an extra little layer to the game.

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade - PC
It's hard to think of another game I've spent more time with this year. That in itself is as big a compliment that I can pay a game. That said, after sinking well over three hundred hours into it this year, my sub is currently frozen, and I can't really see myself re-subbing until the next expansion comes out. At which point I will disappear back to Azeroth, and you'll probably never see me again...

Excite Truck - Wii
It's not big, it's not clever, but boy, it is FUN. It's games like this that were the reason why I bought a Wii in the first place. It's not about the graphics, it's not even about new styles of gameplay, it's about the way you interact with the game. Excite Truck is just so simple and so intuitive, it's hard not to get carried away. Other than Wii Sports, this is my most played Wii game by far.

The Witcher - PC
This was probably my most pleasant surprise of the year. One of the select few games that can be filed under "Games Iain has actually completed", and something's got to be pretty special to join that club, believe me. It took me seven years to get around to finishing Deus Ex, while I completed this in just a couple of weeks. The only game I finished quicker this year was Episode 2. I understand that CD Projekt have been a rather disappointed with the UK reviews of the game - though I have seen from my traffic stats that someone from their office in Warsaw has been reading what I've said about the game (presumably because I seem to be the only UK-based gaming journalist who liked it), so I'd like to reiterate at this point that The Witcher is my personal favourite RPG of the year. The combat's more interactive and interesting than the RPG standard "choose an attack, click and wait for them to thrash it out", the story starts quickly and really picks up the pace in the last couple of acts, characterisation is nice and strong and it's got a genuinely intriguing twist in the tail: I won't give out spoilers, but the closing cutscene really sets up an interesting premise for a sequel. A lot of people seem to have got hung up on the sex and the fact that the script was trimmed down during translation, but I didn't find that it came between me and my enjoyment of the game. There's a lot to be said for a fresh, original game setting, and technically, The Witcher makes Neverwinter Nights 2 (and its expansion pack) look like an ugly, buggy mess. Which it is. Let me put it this way: despite all giddy levels of character customisation and different class combinations you can knock out in NWN2, I'd rather replay The Witcher. 'Nuff said.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - Wii
Ah, Samus, how I love you so. Especially when I can see the reflections of your eyes when I switch to the scanning visor. The Metroid Prime series is one of the most aesthetically perfect franchises ever made, and with the razor-sharp control scheme on the Wii, this is just such a wondrous game to play.

Team Fortress 2 - PC
The only online shooter worth playing. Pixar meets The Dirty Dozen. Great styling, great balancing, and fun in spades. And rockets. And miniguns. And flamethrowers.

Games that should have been in the above list, but aren't (for various reasons):

BioShock - PC
This just failed to grab my attention. It does a lot of things really well, but the whole Vita Chamber mechanic (ironically) killed my enthusiasm for playing the game. It's telling that the recent patch allows you to turn them off, but this would simply make the game even more frustrating to play, thanks to the huge difficulty spikes that you get around Big Daddy encounters. It all smacks of trying to rebalance the game after the fact. This is one game where I really do agree with pretty much everything Yahtzee had to say...

Unreal Tournament 3 - PC
Sexy? Yes. Shiny? Yes. Awesome new vehicles? Yes. Nice new maps? Yes. As good as UT2004? Umm, no. There's just something missing. It's not quite as manically fast as it used to be and the emphasis on the graphics really hampers the game online, and that's where the game should be slick, smooth and brutal as hell. The rendering lag really kills the game, so if you don't have an absolute monster of a rig, you don't get the benefit of the glorious graphics. And what's the point of having a game that pretty if you have to dull down everything so that it's playable in the environment it's meant to be played in? I'm not a pro-gamer, but I do want to be able compete without completely sacrificing graphical fidelity and any sense of atmosphere. A bit of a disappointment, really.

Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer - PC
Obsidian are really doing their best to completely ruin the good reputation they carried over from their days as Black Isle. Even buggier than KotOR 2, and seriously flawed in many ways, not least in terms of the graphics engine and game interface. The characters are uninteresting and if you're going to use the Plane of Shadow, at least find some way of being able to render it without turning melee fights into a morass of completely inseparable 3D models that prevents you from selecting enemies and party members alike. Another game like this, and I won't be going near Obsidian again with a barge pole. At least, not with my own money.

Crysis - PC
I'm still bitter about this going missing in the post. Though at least today I was able to report that fact to Play, and they should be sending me another copy soon, which, hopefully, WILL ACTUALLY ARRIVE...

Mass Effect - Xbox 360
We wants it... my preciousssss. I really need to buy a 360...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bark/Byte: Mucus Factory

I'm back at work today, despite still coughing like a badly-tuned two-stroke engine and my nose continuing to pump out mucus on an industrial scale, breaking some convention of the Kyoto Protocol, no doubt. Predictably, I get into the office to find myself surrounded by other people who are ill, and I start thinking that I was better off working from home... so I bail out of the office at lunchtime and I'm back at the flat, sitting next to the electric heater. I figured if I'm going to spend more time coughing than writing software proposals, I might as well do it in the warm, rather than getting chilled to the bone by the office air conditioning...

It's been quite a hectic week already in the world of games journalism. At the centre of the current media storm are Eidos, publishers of every teenage gamer's favourite pair of breasts and bald pate. Their latest game, IO's sociopath-em-up, Kane and Lynch, hasn't been doing very well in the old reviews department, so Eidos, understandably, wanting to protect their investment, have gone to town with the advertising, throwing large amounts of money at the official website and on advertising campaigns on games review sites, such as Gamespot. All of this is pretty par for the course, you would think, except there's a bit of a kicker.

All the advertising quotes on the website appear to be from previews, rather than reviews, and have been married (rather misleadingly) to five stars. Which has especially pissed off gaming blog Kotaku, because Eidos have made it look like they game the game five stars when, in fact, they don't even review games at all.

Now, I've seen plenty of quotes on game boxes that come from previews instead of reviews, so that's arguably fair enough, but actually having the chutzpah to (apparently) put those preview quotes against a five star score because the rest of the review scores suck, well, that's a wee bit naughty, to say the least. This would all be a mildly amusing sideshow if it weren't all happening off the back of the sacking of Gamespot's long-serving Editor, Jeff Gerstmann. Gerstmann gave Kane and Lynch a 6/10, apparently just after Eidos had given Gamespot a six-figure advertising campaign, and it has been alleged that Eidos threatened to withdraw future advertising revenue from the site unless they got rid of him.

I don't know if this is true, but regardless of whether it is or not, both Eidos and Gamespot have shot themselves in the foot with a 155mm howitzer, from a public relations point of view. Games journalists and publisher PRs have a bit of a symbiotic, perhaps even parasitic, relationship: they both need each other to be able to do their job, yet both have a bit of a conflict of interest. The journalist wants to protect their integrity, yet needs to maintain a good relationship with the publisher to keep getting review code and exclusives, while the PR needs to protect their revenue and game by getting lots of positive press coverage (and hopefully) a good review score. A lot of this is done by making sure the people who review games have an interest in the title and the genre (for example, you wouldn't want me to review a point-and-click adventure, because I have absolutely zero interest in the genre), but this clearly doesn't matter a damn if the game is just plain average, or worse, spews slurry out of its ass like a nuclear-powered muck-spreader.

So, in this case, Eidos has scored a pyrrhic victory: they've got rid of the troublesome reviewer who gave their game a bad review just as they sold a huge advertising campaign to that site, but not only has the review score itself not been changed to something more generous, they've generated so much bad press, they've no doubt harmed sales more than if they'd just left the review alone and accepted it as a fair dinkum score. Gamespot are similarly screwed: regardless of the facts of the whole episode, they've given out the impression that they're susceptible to pressure from publishers, calling into question the editorial integrity of the entire site. That's going to lose them readers, and therefore, revenue.

An ugly episode all round, really.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Byte: Knowing your readership

One of the things I like best about having this blog is being able to check the search keywords that people have used to arrive at the site. They often range from the banal to the bizarre, and occasionally the anguished cry for help; none more so than this search string that brought a user from Portland, Oregon to my humble cranny of the internet yesterday:
terror from the deep.. the last fucking alien where is he?
I feel your pain, my American friend...

The answer is that he's hiding. As you've killed all of his brethren, his morale has dropped so low that he's panicked and is staying put (which means you can't detect the little bastard with motion trackers). The only way to find him is to do a methodical sweep through the entire map, or just get your crew behind cover and wait for the twenty turns or so it will take for him to recover enough of a spine to poke his slimy alien arse out of whichever hole it's been cowering in for the last hour. Your only consolation is that by this point he's probably dropped his weapon, so isn't really going to be a threat to your squad. He's just a time-wasting pain in the bum.