Thursday, 14 September 2017

Tales from the Crypt presents: Body Count

Tales from the Crypt presents: Body Count was originally going to be the third Tales from the crypt film with the original Trilogy order being Dead Easy, Demon Knight and then Finally Body Count. If its hard to get info on Dead Easy then its basically imposible to get anything on Body Count no one seems to know anything about what it would have been beyond the title and a very basic plot outline. If the film had been made it would have been about a young guy who while compiling clips for a documentary about violent crimes, discovers his uncle's dubious past. I have never even been able to find out what it was about his uncles past he would find out but I would imagine that it would be that he was a serial killer hence the name BodyCount. I imagine it would be something a little bit like the film The GoodWife (which is based on a Stephen King story) but with it being a nephew finding out his uncle is a killer instead of a woman finding out her husband is one. I also imagine there would have been more gore and more humour to sort of bring it in to line with the whole Tales from the Crypt style. 

I wonder if this film actually had a proper complete script or if there was merly a few outline notes made, at the moment I have no idea how much work was actually done in terms of BodyCount. I didnt really think that there was enough here for a blog post but I wanted to cover this film without going on and on with nothing to really say about it. This potential film is really nothing more than a little footnote in the history of Tales From The Crypt and so thats exactly how I have treated it.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Tales from the Crypt Fat Tuesday/Dead Easy.


Ok so in my last post I mentioned the fact that originally at least there was only  two “Tales from the Crypt Presents” movies, “DemonKnight” and “Bordello of Blood.”. I then went on to talk about Ritual and how it was originally going to be the third film but then it was made to be a stand alone horror film before eventually being released on to disc as a Tales film a long time latter. There was however another Tales Movie apparently  filmed and completed between Demon Knight and Boredllo of Blood but never released. That film was the film I am going to talk about today, it was  “Fat Tuesday.” 
 
The trilogy might have started with Demon Knight the script for which apparently predated the Tales From The Crypt TV series but when they originally decided to make a trilogy of films it was  intended to be the second film in the trilogy. Dead Easy was at one stage intended to be the opening film of the trilogy. Dead Easy and Fat Tuesday are the same script/idea but it seems like they kept floating between the two possible titles. According to Gilbert Adler the reason for Demon Knight becoming the first film was issues they were having with the script for Dead Easy "We were rewriting it, and it was getting scarier and more intense, but a lot of the humor had been lost, and we always felt that was an important part of Tales from the Crypt -- scare people, then let them laugh.''. You might be thinking at this stage that Dead Easy had been dumped but no if you went and saw Demon Knight in the cinema then you would have seen it had a post-credits scene where the Crypt Keeper told everyone that if they hadnt had enough that they could return to the cinema soon to see the next Tales from the Crypt movie “Dead Easy”so for at least a time Dead Easy was going to be the second film in the trilogy.

The amount known about Fat Tuesday/Dead Esay well its not a lot really, most of what is known comes from magazine articles around the time Demon Knight was released. ''The next one is more psychological; than blood guts and gore'' according to A.l Katz ''As a Matter of fqact today we wrote a scene where a shadow figure squeezes through the skull of an old lady and into her brain and thats just where the movie begins.'' Adler was apparently directing Fat Tuesday and it was going into production in febuarary with a $12 million budget. The film was going to be based on a script by J.P kELLY. It was going to be set in the Deep South (possibly New Orleans) It was supposed to be about a man trying to determine what happened in his past and how his memories of this would bring back a malevolent entity if they are ever recalled. The closer the guy gets to the truth the closer he gets to releasing something inside of him. They claimed that they would be creating a unique bad guy one who would be unique and funny and like nothing we had seen before and that would also scare the shit out of people. I have found a scan of this article and I wrote the above by squinting like mad, I will share it below incase you can read it better than I.



I personally think that the plot for the film and what they had planned for us actually sounded great, yet we never got it so why not? Well apparently the reason we never got to see it according to rumors was due to with issues due to the films casting and possible racial implications. Since the script was very voodoo related youd imagine that they would have required a large African-American cast. Well during pre-production there was apparently a bunch of debates focused on whether the film would be commercially viable with a largly African American cast. The story goes that apparently the film was actually completed but the cast was entirely white. This apparently led to “Tales from the Crypt” producer Joel Silver steping in, claiming that he would be branded a racist if the film was released and because of this it was locked in a vault and has not seen the light of day since. It is intresting to think that there is a Tales from The Crypt film out there that we have never seen and I wish I could see it but I figure it will never be shown, I do wish that with the change in times they would either release the original script, noveilse it or remake it with an appropriate cast.

The two pictures I provided above and tried to read are from an article on “Fat Tuesday” that apparently came from a “DemonKnight” magazine that was published when that movie was released. There is also some art which has made its way online and I will post it here because its both intresting and I think its rather good too. Does this art really tell us anything? Well it supports the claims that the script includes a man looking after his child and it also shows that this villian as well as being described as a shadow and as having come out of the man it seems to take the form of an Evil Jester, its hard to draw anything concreate from this but maybe it was a bit like the creature in Stephen King's IT maybe it was an Evil Shadow which took the form of a Jester it sounds pretty intresting to me, I would still love to see it but I guess it will just have to live on as a movie legend.







Sunday, 10 September 2017

Tales from the Crypt: Ritual

OK so I wanted to do a Post about Tales From The Crypt as well its something that is very dear to my heart. I don't just mean the HBO TV series I mean the comic books the 1970's films, the latter films such as Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood, the spiritual successors such as CreepShow and CreepShow 2 all of it put together just becomes this thing which was a massive influence on me. I wanted to become a horror Writer because of them, and even if it will never ever come true I have always had the secret dream that a story I have written would end up becoming the basis for something Tales From The Crypt related, as I think some of my work kind of has an EC Comics Tales kind of vibe to it.

I have decided that I want to talk about Tales from the Crypt films, no not Tales From the Crypt and The Vault of Horror nor the newer HBO connected films such as Demon Knight and Bordello of Blood, what I want to talk about is the films that either never made it to screen or didn't make it to screen as officially branded Tales from the Crypt Movies. I am going to start this today by talking about Ritual.


OK so the first think to say is that Ritual actually got made. Ritual was originally intended to be produced by Universal so that it could be used as the third instalment of a trilogy of Tales from the Crypt  movies. It was actually sort of going to be a replacement for other shelved films but I will talk about them in latter posts. Plans were scrapped for this to be a Tales from the Crypt film after Bordello of Blood the second released Tales from the Crypt movie (not counting the old Amicus ones here) bombed in theatres. Miramax purchased the rights from Universal and removed all references to the Tales from the Crypt franchise, so that it could be released as a stand alone movie.Eventually it was released as a Tales from the Crypt film years after with what seems to be newly shot CryptKeeper scenes with an unfortunately not great puppet. The funny thing being originally they thought the connection to Tales from Crypt might harm it then latter they felt that reconnecting it to Tales from the Crypt might improve sales of it on disc. In all honesty its a half decent film with the highlight of it for me being the fact it features Tim Curry. I personally wish they'd kept it a Tales from Crypt film in the first place . Its basically a retelling of the old film I Walked With a Zombie.If you enjoy films about Voodoo then you will probably like it, at times it does feel very much like a Tales from the Crypt film but then at others it feels a little slow paced and like it lost its mojo maybe some of this is due to alterations made to try and take it away from its Crypt past and treat it like a stand alone movie. I recommend that people watch it, I would also check out the latter filmed Crypt Keeper bits but I don't think its something that your going to keep returning to and you certainly need to watch it with your expectations dialled down.

I do tend to see this as a Tales from the Crypt film as I think at heart despite its original unbranding it always was a Tales film at heart, I don't think it was anywhere near as good as Demon Knight the first of the Tales Trilogy but then the thing is I would actually call Demon Knight one of my top ten favourite films of all time. If we were to consider the official trilogy Demon Knight, Bordello of Blood and then Ritual I would order them from best to worst in that very same order. Once I have talked about more of the potential sequels and kind of sequels I will have to come back and reassess this films place in the rankings but until then.... Good Night Boys and Ghouls.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Megadrive Box art comparison: Disneys Lion King

Ok so I am back onc3e again looking at Megadrive case art and in this case I am looking at the Lion King. I will be looking at its American, European, Japanese and Australian Platinum edition art and suggesting what I like and dislike about them before deciding what my ideal case art would be



So this is the American cover for the lion king, I started by showing this one for two reasons one its the version I actually own and two as far as I m concerned when you think oh The Lion King on the Mega Drive/Genesis this is exactly the sort of thing I think you would see in your head case art wise.

This is the English version all of the European versions basically looked like this but with The Lion King and the back info written in each country's language.  On the one hand I don't think the cover is very game like but then I also find it very classy. Its a newer Megadrive game hence the blue borders instead of the black which I would usually moan about but I think the blue actually looks good alongside all of the red and yellow in the central image. I think the central art of this case would make a great poster for adult fans of this film.

For once I really do not rate the Japanese case art, the fact it has a long slim almost spine down the front of the front portion of the cover is not a good look, it has the same art as the American version but smaller and more pushed to the centre which is the opposite to what a lot of my favourite Japanese cases do. If I had to try and find elements of this case I like, well I like the cartoon young Simba on the back and I like the sort of African pattern border it has but I do think this is the worse of the three cases.


This is the case for the Sega Platinum collection version of The Lion King and I actually kind of like it overall its very adult and sort of upmarket, its a bit like when you get the versions of Harry Potter books which have been published for adults with classy dust jackets instead of cartoon ones. I prefer it to the Japanese version but I don't think I am quiet as taken with it as the English one, I do think that a reversible cover would have been a good idea so you could pick between something like this and something a bit more bright and kid friendly.

I am usually a champion for Japanese Video Game art but I also say it as I see it, I don't think the Japanese art is good in all cases and because it is usually of such a quality it makes you almost dislike it even more when its poor because you have seen just how great it can be.


This is my idea of a classy cover adding my favourite elements of both the English cover and the Australian Platinum collection cover. Personally I think this is really striking but when I showed it to my daughter despite her liking elements of it she pointed out that in her opinion it should be the large sun dominating the front cover but should just have one large Simba shadow on it instead of a large variety of characters and although I don't agree I can see her point.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

SNES review 129: The Great Circus Mystery/ Disneys Magical Quest 2

So The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey & Minnie also known as Disney's Magical Quest 2 Starring Mickey and Minnie, and Mickey to Minnie Magical Adventure 2 is a Capcom developed Disney game for the Super Nintendo. Well as some of the above titles have clearly given away it is the sequel to another game I reviewed quite some time ago, I am obviously talking about Disney's Magical Quest. I owned the original Magical Quest as a kid but I have to be honest and admit that back then I didn't even know the game got a sequel, I never saw it, never played it and as far as I can remember I never even heard of it. When I did start hearing bits about it as an adult thanks to the internet I incorrectly assumed that it never got released over here. 



The game is very much one of those well if you enjoyed the last game here is more of the same sequels, it doesn't really bring much of anything new to the table. The story is a simple one Mickey and Minnie arrive at the circus to find that something has happened, and everything has gone wrong and they set out to uncover the Great Circus Mystery. Its hardly a Shakespearian work of wonder but its not like it has to be if people brought this back in the day it would most likely have either been for the mouse or because they enjoyed the original.

The first thing I thought when starting this game up was that the graphics looked a bit like Magical Quest but I thought they were just a little bit more colourful and sharper, so I did what you might expect and popped the cart out and quickly looked at Magical Quest and yes I do think there is a slight improvement in this area. Playing it though it feels very similar, I am not complaining I loved the first one, and they have tried to keep it fresh to a degree because despite jumping and grabbing and throwing objects in the same way as well as keeping a suit power up based mechanic but to try and keep it fresh they have changed the suits. Each suit has an ability and they are the Sweeper suit which can suck up enemies. A ranger suit which helps you to climb walls. Then there is a Cowboy/Cowgirl costume which lets you ride a horse. The neat thing about the costumes is that although they provide the same power up for both Minnie and Mickey they look different on them, this is both a neat touch and stops you from getting confused when playing this game in two player. Yep that's right I said Two player, this is the main thing this game brings to the table over its predecessor and its a pretty darn good thing to.

I find the music in the game pretty darn enjoyable, there are not only different tunes for different levels but there's that thing where the music gets tense when your fighting a boss and the sound effects although at times a little plinky plonky suit the game and what's happening perfectly well.

OK so the most important thing the gameplay, well I think it controls well and is reasonably fresh at least for a me too sequel. I think overall the game controls well and is for the most part rather easy however I did notice that sometimes the enemies bosses in particular can get a little cheap towards the end of the game, in fact the difficulty does seem to spike at certain points but that's sort of a spike from super easy to more normal so unless its a kid playing or someone who doesn't usually play this kind of thing it should provide too much of a problem.

OK so I guess now its time for me to give this game a score, If you remember I scored the original 7.5 out of 10, well I think despite having gained a two player mode and a slight increase in graphics this game actually just feels a tiny bit worse, its strange all the bits are there and it should be better but it just doesn't quiet click together so I am going to give this game a 6.5 out of 10. If your interested in this game but haven't played the first one then go for that first it will be much cheaper and if your anything like me your likely to enjoy it more. If you need this game then loose pal carts seem to go online from £20 and up, if you can play imports then a Japanese cart will cost you around £10 which is much closer to what I personally would want to pay for this game.


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Megadrive Box art, my love of the Japanese art?: World of Illusion

Ok so everyone knows I love looking at Megadrive box art, its also quiet clear that I am a pretty big fan of Disney based games and also that I most often prefer the Japanese case art. There is a good reason I tend to like the Japanese art and its because they usually try to make the case really flashy on the front the back and the sides and as long as it has the right logo's in a few select places they feel free to just go with it. Our games and those released in America seem more to focus on the idea of sticking to a very set format with art on the front and mostly information on the back. Its like they tried to make it so if you had all your games on a shelf they would look uniform and like part of a collection. Sure I can see what they were trying but I prefer to have excellent art no matter the cost.

If you click right here then you will see the earlier post I did on Disney cases showing of cases for Quackshot and Castle of illusion. Ok if you have already seen that post or your simply not intrested in those games then lets get down to business and look at he cover art for World of Illusion


Ok so this is the European version of World of Illusion and I like it a lot, the main front picture is nice and if I have any issues with this cover its less specific stuff and more regular megadrive European case issues the back is so info heavy and I think the title on the side spine could be bigger. I have a very soft spot for this case art though. I recieved this game one christmas from my Mum and Dad and my mum played it with me in two player mode on frequent occasions it was a game we actually completed togther and it was one of her favourate video games, at one stage she even had her own copy so I couldnt get rid of it. The simple truth is kid or not I would have never traded this game away ever time I looked at it on the shelf it was just a little reminder of the fun I had playing it with her and thats something I will never forget, its a memory I cherish and hold close to my heart even more since she passed away.


Ok so in America they used the same main image but just smaller which I think makes it worse, why shrink such a cool piece of art? The side is also pretty much the same but the back well I like the back of the box a lot more the white area, the cartoon Mikey, the big Caution: This Box Conatains Amazing Magic part all of them just jump out at me. Overall I prefer the European version but this one has its good points.


Now I have to say I adore this Japanese case, its part game case part awesome poster, I actually wish I could get a large print of the picture minus the words just to put on my wall, it screams Disney it also screams Wonder and I dont have a single issue with it. I would happily trade my case for this if not for the emotional connection I have to my own regions

I thought I would knock this case front up so I could let you my reader decide if Europe would have been better off with the Japanese art. I know I was a little lazy and only did the front but some of these custom covers take a lot of time and work and without a plain sample of the case art to work on this one in particular would have taken a very long time to cover all of the Japanese language and logo's up with English. I will return soon to look at more case art but till then ''Be Excellent to each other''.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Nintendo loses lawsuit and has been orderd to pay £7.7 Million.My oppinion on this

So Nintendo have been Ordered to Pay £7.7 Million in a Lawsuit. It all started four years ago when a company called iLife which is based in Texas started proceedings against Nintendo saying that there motion sensing technology in the Wii Remote and later Nintendo products infringed on patents they owned.

At the time it was just one of a whole pile of companies who tried to jump on the bandwagon and sue Nintendo over one aspect or another of the Wii, to be honest this is something that unfortunatly happens someone strikes gold with a great concept or product and other companies crawl out of the woodwork like cockroaches claiming patent infringement and trying to get there hands on some of the cash. Most of these kinds of lawsuits usually end up going nowhere, in honesty most of the time I hear about them and just sort of snort oh great another patent troll and then forget about it however this time things have been a little different. Nintendo have lost this time and have just got ordered to pay iLife $10 million (£7.734 million) by a Texas court, this is not nesciserily the end of the story though as Nintendo have said that they are going to appeal the verdict and that there not done fighting yet.

On Aug. 31, 2017, a jury in Texas found that certain Wii and Wii U video game systems and software bundles infringed a patent belonging to iLife Technologies Inc. This patent which Nintendo apparently infringed upon is one relating to being able to detect if a person has fallen down. The motion sensing technology iLife created and patented was made to detect if an elderly person unexpectedly falls, and also to try to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome. Yes this technology is great in that its trying to help people and increase there quality of life however personally I have issues with the fact that iLife believes their patent covers other uses for the technology. I have read the entire patent and I agree with Nintendo who believe that these other uses are not covered, and that the patent was written in such a way as to be invalid. The patent uses a lot of very open language and terms in a way which I feel it was constructed in an attempt to let it possibly apply to far more than it really should.

It is interesting to note that this is not the first infringement lawsuit ilife have filled in regard to patents. In 2012 they filled 4 different lawsuits on similar lines to the above. They try to claim they are not patent trolls because of the fact that they have actually researched developed and sold there technology. I would argue though that just because you have made and sold stuff it doesn't automatically mean that you cant do a bit of trolling on the side does it? I also think that they try to hide behind the fact that there technology is made to help children and the elderly but lets remember they don't give it away they sell it there a business not a charity so I don't think this should be allowed to work as a shield for them.

So although Nintendo is appealing the ruling, this might be the first company to successfully take some of Nintendo's sweet Wii money off of them, it might also encourage more companies to jump up and decide they can claim this or that has been stolen from them. I think this story has most definatly become one to watch.

It is important to note that despite being awarded $10 million in damages iLife didn't come to court asking for $10 it was actually seeking $144 million (£113 million). I bet they are more than happy with the outcome though. In an ideal world what would I personally like to see happen? Well I would like to see the verdict overturned and see iLife told to shove there claim up there ass, I would like to see Nintendo paid for there trouble and then I would like Nintendo to do the right thing and give whatever they are awarded to a charity. Nintendo actually do a lot for charity and this is coming from me a writer who quiet often gives Nintendo a darn good kicking for there occasional stupidity. Nintendo support the Starlight Children’s Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation amongst others.

It will be interesting to see this one play itself out.

Monday, 4 September 2017

A little bit on how to get the most bang for your £

So as a Geek I am frequently asked two questions one ''where do you get all those things?'' the other being ''how do you afford them?'' Well I figured that this topic was worth a post on here. I am what some people would consider tight and what others would call thrifty. Now I don't earn very much but then I don't really drink, I don't smoke and I don't do drugs, I also have fairly simple tastes. I think however that there are a few areas where I use my money in the most tactical way possible to try and get the most for my money.

If you’re looking to cut back, then maybe some of my ideas and tactics might be worth thinking about. I think the first thing to do is to look at the things you buy and the things you do and ask do I need this? Do I need it now? Do I need a physical version? Could I wait for it to come down in price? Would a cheap alternative tide me by until the price drops?

I remember back when the GameCube was one of the current consoles I worked with a guy in a very similar role to mine at the time who used to be surprised by how many games I had. While he had around ten games I must have had about fifty but there were two main reasons for this. One of them was simply the fact he went drinking two nights a week spending around £40 a time which was his choice and I am not knocking it but the second reason was that he simply ran out and got the game he thought he wanted most on the day of release from the first place he found himself that stocked it. If I really felt like I needed an upcoming game I would look around and try to preorder it from the cheapest place possible and I would do this with as few titles as possible.

The thing is that games simply don't hold there value half as much as they used to do. If you can wait a few weeks from the release of a game then the price will drop, games which were around £39.99 even at the cheapest places on release can sometimes have dropped to as little as £20 in two weeks time. If you can just wait a little while you can save yourself a whole heap of money (yes there are exceptions to this rule, usually 1st party Nintendo games for example hold there value for quiet some time for example).  It always helps to look around for the cheapest price, I would say always remember to look both online and offline and not to limit yourself to looking at just game shops, look at game shops and sites, toy shops, supermarkets etc. I know some people feel that they need to support this shop or that shop but lets be honest here do any of those shops really support you? The truth is no they are simply out to be a good business to make as much as they can, some of them might have this or that loyalty scheme to try and make you feel like you owe them or there special but to put it simply don't give your loyalty away easily. All of these places are businesses looking out for there own interests so what you should do is look out for your own, buy the game you want from the cheapest place you can find and don't be fooled into paying more than you need to pay.

I also find it helps to try to be flexible, if you decide you need Game X and you go out looking for Game X determined to get it that very day then you will end up paying through the teeth for it. This is something that applies to both modern and retro games and also to most forms of media. If you keep yourself aware of what exists how much your likely to enjoy it or not and then just see what kind of floats your way this is usually much cheaper then going all guns blazing after one particular thing.

I also think it helps to decide what your thing is. You see I love horror films, science fiction films and comic books, 80's toys and video games. Now if I tried to really follow all of these and collect them with proper gusto then I would be broke in days so I decided that my number one hobby would be games. This doesn't mean I ignore the other hobbies it just means I make sure my investment in them is minimal. I only buy actual comics if they are old and like 50pence or so other than that I rely on digital comics and I only get those via things like humble bundle where you can grab a whole bunch of them to read digitally. I buy all of my actual reading books from charity shops, the same is true with music and a lot of old films I grab them cheap from charity shops or the preowned cleaned up ones sold by poundland. If I want to watch a modern film I will look if I can buy its digital Ultra Violet code from eBay as a cheap way of seeing it because lets be honest how many films do you buy watch once and then never touch again? Why did I decide video games were my thing? Well its a combination of things one of them is that they really hold there value compared to some of the other things I enjoy but the main thing is that they are the thing that takes me back to my childhood the most, they make me feel like I am still young and free from trouble.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Megadrive Box art, my love of the Japanese art: Super VolleyBall

So once again I return to the topic of box art, in fact I am back on to megadrive box art and to be more precise yes once again I am comparing the art from diffrent regions. Today I want to look at Super Volleyball a Megadrive game which was a conversion of an arcade game about Volleyball strangly enough. This is an intresting game for me to pick as it didnt actually receieve a release in my teritoy.


So this is the Genesis American cover, and well to be blunt I hate it, what an awful front cover is this really the best they could come up with? I know its not the easiest task to make a sports game look cool or exciting but this is just painfully dull.

This is the Japenses cover and despite the fact the Shadow in front makes me think of Ivan Drago from Rocky 4 I think its a pretty good cover for the game.


I might be wrong here but according to my research they got a diffrent box in Canada and they got this, its basically an Americanised take on the Japanese art but with several issues, one its been lightend and this actually in my oppinion makes it look worse and on top of this the shadow man now has a sega seal of quality growing out of his face, still I would take it over the top monstrocity any day of the week.


This is the Brazillian cover which is just the awful American art but even bigger. If this game had made it out over here in Europe I fear that this would have been very simmilar to what we would have ended up with.

Ok so once again I prefer the Japanese art, I guess thats not suprising really, I just think that with a few exceptions Japan provides the best video game art.

If we had gotten a release over here I would have liked something like the following


Saturday, 2 September 2017

Horror Review: Pin (1988)

Pin was released in 1988 its an 80's horror film hence the reason why I am talking about it on this blog. I also think that its a very intresting film to talk about because it contains some very intresting ideas. To simplify the plot of the film its basically about a family, you have the two children Leon and Ursula, their mother and there father. The mum is very obbsessed when it comes to cleanliness she seems to care far more about having a spotless show piece home than she does about her own children. The father is a doctor and he is basically always at work. The dad seems to care about the children in fact you see that he often takes them to work with him. The dad has a medical anatomy dummy and he uses ventriloquism to make it seem like it is talking to the children teachign them and offering words of advice. The kids are quite fond of the dummy who is called Pin and believe he is really alive, the son in particular has a real attatchment to the dummy looking to it whenever he is in need of guidance or friendship.



The film is at first glance quiet a strange one but I also think its a very good one, I really like a lot of 80's stuff but some of it can be a little cheesy and a little over the top where as this film feels like something quiet diffrent. This is the point where I would basically say that I recomend you give this film a watch. If I have sold it to you then give it a bash and stop reading right here as I want to talk about the film some more in the next paragraph. I will end up going into spoiler teritoty but I dont intend to give away every turn and I certainly wont be talking about the ending.

The start of the film is very much focused on the childrens early years and showing how they were treated by there parents and by the world around them and the part Pin played in there lives. At about the 30 minute mark the parents die, its at this point that all of the scene setting is done and things really start rolling.

The character of Leon is sort of a Norman Bates type character, the things he went through in his early life have effected him on a psychological level, he has an obsession with Pin, he doesnt see Pin as just a doll he see's him as a friend, as a member of the family. The acting in the film is darn good  David Hewlitt in particular does a great job of playing Leon, he shows a massive range of emotions he can be vunerable one moment and terrifying the next, he acts with everything he has, its not just in what he says or how he says it, he looks confused or hurt or angry just with the slightest bit of facial movement. Cynthia Preston is also pretty darn good in the role of his sister. 

This film is one of those films that prvoes that horror movies can be darn creepy and get under your skin without having to beparticularly gory or violent. It is one of those movies which pushes its way deep into your  subconscious making you ask questions and making you wonder what is really going on inside the characters head. I didnt initially realise that this film was adapted from a  novel of the same name by author Andrew Neiderman (he also wrote The Devil’s Advocate, which also became a  film). If I listed off all of the things in this film like a creepy medical doll, ventriloquism, a remote house, and a mentally unbalanced individual who is sexually-repressed and has all kinds of strange and dark obsessions then it would proberbly sound like a whole bunch of other spooky tales but I find the film to be a thing all of its own and well worth a watch. There are a few things I would change, I would have left things a lot more uncertain, I feel that in someways the film plays its own hand a little too soon where as I would have left things much more up to the viewers interpretations, I would have wanted to keep people asking and questioning what they have heard and seen. Still as it stands I rate this film very highly.

Friday, 1 September 2017

The good old days or is it simply rose tinted specs.

The good old days. Stop and ask someone who once was a child but now finds themselves in the position of being a grown up, be they man or woman, be they in there 60's or 50's or 40's or even 30's and they will most likly tell you that a certain point in time that they lived through was a golden age.

I was born in the 1980's but despite the fact I spent a good deal of this time period being too young to know a blooming thing about what was going on I still look back at it with a great fondness. If you would ask me I would tell you that the 1980's was the golden age. I tend to think and feel that the best of everything came from the 80's most of my favourate music, television and films come from that particular time period and proberbly a fair number of games as well. I view the 90's as a less great continuation of the 80's and view pretty much everything from the year 2000 onwards as a let down. I am not saying that nothing good has come out after 1999 but I am saying that in my opinion the treasure to trash ratio has certainly taken a big slide in the wrong direction.

I am more than willing to admit that to some degree maybe I have rose tinted specs when it comes to looking at the things that came from my childhood, and maybe just maybe I have grown up to be a miserable old kit who simple yearns for the things he knew and made him smile when he was young and life was less stressful.

If I look around at kids TV now so little of it impresses me in anyway what so ever, there is very little in recent history that I have seen and thought wow wish that was around when I was a kid. If I was to try to point out something I have really liked and wished I had access to as a kid I would proberbly say The Sarah Jane Adventures. Why? Well in short because it was a really great show it would stop and make you think, you would be worried about the fate of the characters, its biggest strength is that I dont think it treated its audience like a bunch of dribbling morons and it wasnt scared of conflict like most modern kids TV seems to be.

Now you might think that I am looking back at the 80's and seeing nothing but the cream of the crop, that I am thinking about nothing more than Transformers but no lets look at something a bit less mainstream to show just how deep the quality flowed. The Sectaurs, a basically all but forgotten old 80's show with human mutant hybrids with there own pet dog sized insects, I bumped into a commerical for there toys online and I rememberd owning one of them and suddenly all of these amazing memories and feelings seemed to rush back and this was from something which at the time I would have considerd a sort of lower teir show/toy and yet I would argue this could own most of the crap kids have and watch nowdays.

I do wonder at times if I am just full of nostalgia for an old time that is long gone, but I dont think this is the case as there are some rare nuggets here and there that I have appreciated in recent years for example animated shows like Adventure Time and the New Duck Tale. I do think though that maybe the case is that the things we enjoy when we are young help to programme our brains to enjoy certain kinds of content, that I simply dont like that much new stuff because I have had my brain shapped to enjoy a certain style of music or film. I guess this is something one could ponder forever but I guess you need to just keep trying things and just enjoy what you enjoy



Thursday, 31 August 2017

Retro Game Purchases August 2017

OK so another month over another month of retro purchasing over. Sometimes I think about stopping doing this because it just makes me see how much I have spent and worry if I am spending too much. Still I think its fun for my readers so I will keep it up.

I started the month with a trip to a local indy games store where I picked up Royal Rumble for the SNES American cart only for £5 and I also got a mystery GameBoy cart, it had lost its label so the seller gave it me for £2, it turns out its Duck Tales so I was pretty happy there.



I also went into a charity shop where I managed to get a copy of Midway Arcade Treasures 3 complete for the xbox for £2. I love compilation discs like this its just a great way to get a whole bundle of stuff for very little.

On the 3rd I walked past CEX and saw Pac Attack for snes cart only for £6 in the window. I turned around and went and purchased it. I mostly got this for my SNES review series but in total honesty nowadays its worth picking up any Super Nintendo cart which is around this price point that is not a sports based title.


I also got a few games via post on this day the following prices include the postage. I got Braines for the Snes boxed but no manual for £6 and Mario Lenieux Hockey for megadrive complete for £3
The 4th was a great day for me because I got two games I really wanted and I did particularly well price wise with one of them. I got Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers for the NES cart only for £6, and what can I say I love the Disney Capcom games so I am super happy with this but then I got Tales of Eternia for psp complete for 50P. I had looked at Tales of Eternia several times and considered getting it but this had been for prices much closer to the £15 mark and I cant say why but something inside me kept stopping me almost as if I knew if I waited I would get it for a much better price, who knows. I also got Thrillville off the rails for psp complete for 50p.



I didn't buy anything else till the 13th of August. I once again found myself looking in a CEX window and got myself 1080 Snowboarding for the N64 (players choice version) Complete for £5 and Final Fantasy Tactics War of the lions complete for PSP for £6.



On the 14th I went to a local charity shop and got Test Drive 4x4 for ps1 complete for 49pence
,Ridge Racer Type 4 for ps1 complete for 49pence and Metal Gear Solid in case but missing manual for ps1 for 49pence.

The following day I once again got some playstation games from a charity shop, I got Theme park for ps1 complete for 49pence and Mickeys wild Adventure (platinum version) complete for 49pence.

I then went to an indy games store and picked up Godzilla destroy all monsters complete for gamecube for £6 and NBA Jam Tournament Edition complete for megadrive for £6. I was really happy with NBA Jam because it didn't just have the box and manual it had like all the little warranty cards and pamphlets it would have come with when it was new.

On the 17th I got two SNES games through the post the following prices include the postage costs. I got Populous cartridge only for the Snes for £5 and Alfred Chicken cartridge only for the Snes for £9. I remember renting Alfred Chicken as a kid and this is the cheapest I have ever seen it so I am happy to have grabbed it.

 On the 18th I once again got a playstation 1 game from a charity shop and once again it was for the same cheap price. I got Ace Combat 3 electrosphere complete for 49pence.

 On the 22nd I went to an indy game shop, I looked through all of the stuff they had and they in truth wanted to much for most things but they had a pile of PSP discs most of which were largely worthless but I managed to find a copy of star ocean second evolution umd only for psp in the pile and paid £3 for it. I already own a complete copy of this game but I figured it was a darn good price. I have put it in an empty PSP case I had and photocopied the cover of my complete copy onto glossy paper to make this loose disc its own case.

On the 25th I went to a few diffrent places and picked things up. In one local indy store I got WWF Warzone for N64 cart only for £1 and F1 Pole Position 64 for N64 cart only for £1. In another indy store I got The simpsons Bart VS The World cart only for NES for £5, WWF Steel cage cart only for the NES for £3 and Top Gun Second Mission cart only for the NES for £2. It is pretty good to get 3 different NES games for £5 or less each. The last visit was an indy store which is unfortunately shutting down, from here I got a bunch of XBOX original games for £6.50 in total, these are Desert Storm, Ford Racing 3, Area 51, Prisoner of war, Riddick escape from butcher bay, Fahtrenheit all complete and then Doom 3 and Robotech invasion which are missing there covers.


On the29th I went to an indy games store and grabbed blades of steel for the NES cart only £2 and also Darkwing duck for the NES cart only for £18...... Wow I admit I spent a lot here on one loose cart but I have wanted it for 20 years, I wasn't going to buy it but I kind of figured with St Canards Darkwings home being mentioned in the new Ducktales show a new Darkwing show is possible and that could drive the price up to levels I wouldn't go and so I grabbed it.



My last purchase of the month on the 31st was Hyper Street Fighter 2 for the PS2 complete for £1... it has the awesome street fighter 2 animated film on it as well and I'm sat wondering if it would play that if stuck in a normal DVD I doubt it.

So this month I spent £113.44 On retro games, which is almost half what I spent the month before, this certainly makes me feel a lot better about my spending. You see I absolutely love my retro collection but I do worry about how much I spend. Sure all of my bills and responsibilities are paid for first but I know that when I am sad or stressed I will buy things I don't necessarily need to help me unwind. As I have said before the thrill of the chase is what I am in it for and this thrill of the chase has a way of acting almost like a medicine or a support, still I guess I should leave this subject for a post of its own some time.

So what was my favourite purchase of the month? Possibly DarkWing Duck just because the whole Disney duck universe is very close to my heart and this is a game I have wanted for a very long time. I am also very happy to have gotten Tales of Eternia for such a cheap price and getting the mystery cart and finding out it was Duck Tales was also very exciting. All in all I would call it a good month.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Friday the 13th has been cancelled, a little bit about what I would have done with it.

It had been said that we would have a new Friday the 13th film this year and now it has been cancelled, there hasn't been an announcement giving an exact reason why but some do believe that its due to the recent failure of the release of a new entry in the ring series. Now if this is true then I see it as being a bit like not buying an apple because you think that the stores oranges look kind of funny, the ring series and the Friday series are both horror film series's granted but there about as far removed from each other as you can get. I don't want to talk about how or why it was dropped really, nope what I want to do is talk about what I would do if I was given the chance to oversee the making of a Friday the 13th film.


So how would I make a Friday the 13th film if given the chance and the resources?  I am of the firm belief that what people want is something that reminds them of the old films, I don't think they want a modern polished Friday the 13th full of famous names a complex plot and state of the art special effects. I think that what a new Friday the 13th needs is practical effects, relative unknown unknown actors with at best maybe the odd familiar B-movie face, lots of deaths and a hard 18/Mature certificate. I know that most studios are now trying to bring out pg13 (12 or 15) horror so that they can fill the cinema but I think that lots of people would actually like to see a return of the 18 horror movie, yes it lowers your potential audience but I think this is ignoring the fact that making 18 films would fill a niche in the market. Sometimes you can make more money from aiming at a hardcore niche market as apposed to trying to court everyone. This is where I think the lower budget would help, the less you spend making your film the less you need to take for the film to be a success, the lower the risk.

I would want to use practical effects for a similar reason in that I think it would strongly appeal to a niche audience, there are certain people and I include myself in this group, people who feel that a good old fashioned intelligent practical effect will always look more real and impressive than CGI.  I would try to make this film as close to being an 80's film made in the modern day as I could and this is because I feel 80's horror has a certain quality to it. I strongly believe that the 80's were a golden age for horror (not the only golden age, I also have a lot of love for the 30's for example).

A lot of the people who have been in Friday the 13th films might have gone on to be very famous but they were not much star wise before they were in the film. There are lots of hungry young actors out there who would probably jump through any hoops the studio puts up knowing even if they take a low pay check then this could be a good stepping point for them.

When you read about a lot of the best old horror films now its clear that they had limited budgets and life on set was hard, look at the original Evil Dead for example, I think that the pain and struggle brings something to the screen with it. Sometimes I think that its a case of less is more. I would want to keep things tight financially, I would want things to be safe but I wouldn't want things to be overly warm and cosy, I would want to avoid ego's and over pampering people.

If there is one area in which I would spend money, well basically I would get Kane Hodder an actor who has played Jason many times on board to play the part of Jason. The guy understands Jason, he understands how he thinks how he moves and who he is. Not only would I hire him as an actor I would pay him to be a consultant.

I also wouldn't make the film a reboot, I would make it a continuation of the original films and ignore that we have ever had a remake. When you have piles and piles of films you can nod your head towards in subtle ways why not do it, as long as you keep these hat tilts subtle and don't ram them down peoples throats I think they'd please the long term fans.

I could yammer on all day but I guess what I am really trying to say is that when you take a film born from a relatively low budget cult classic and try to throw bags of money at it and treat it like some triple A cash cow then your going to loose a good part of what made the original film and its original follow ups so well loved. If your going to take a well loved name and try to make cash out of it now then try to make it in a similar fashion to how it was made back in the day, if it was a classic and the love shined through the first time then it should shine through again if treated in the same way with a little luck.

Friday, 25 August 2017

The Original XBOX One is being Discontinued, my thoughts.

So as of today you cant actually buy an original model Xbox One from Microsoft. The manufacturing of the original version apparently stopped  a few months back and now they have reached the point where there is no surpless left as of today it has become officially unavailable.
 
If for some strange reason you really really wanted to get a new in box original Xbox one then you would proberbly be able to find the odd left over unit here and there in stores, if your incredably lucky somewere might even try to push the last few out with some kind of discount.

For those that dont know the Xbox One S which will effectivly from now be the budget entrance model Xbox One doesnt have a proper Kinect port, if you really want to use one then you need to buy an adaptor and apparently the new Xbox coming out at Christmas will be the same in that way. This is a huge turn around its kind of showing that Microsoft is leaving the Kinect behind the Kinect which they originally pushed as being essential to the Xbox One experiance.

I personally really like what the Xbox has become even if I own the original now discontinued model, and I think a move away from the Kinect is a good thing, I also think the idea of the S being the standard unit is a good move, lets face it the S now costs what the original did anyways.

The fact that both the Playstation 4 and Xbox One now will soon have sort of base models and pro models is something I actually like even if I am going to be stuck with low end models of both. I think its good to have an entry model because it helps people with less money get a foot on the ladder or allows parents to get there kids a cheaper unit. There are often early adopters who will then decide they want to buy the newer better unit and will sell there originals offering those with little cash the option of picking up a second hand budget or discontinued model.

The thing I like about consoles over PC's is that if you can get the money up for a console the name on the console is pretty much a promise it can play any game with that name on the case. So get an Xbox One and you can play Xbox One games, you dont have to worry about meeting a set of specifications or will it work on your particular hardware. I also like console generations to last as long as possible and new versions of a console such as slimlines and ultras often see machines last longer, they give the die hard new shiny kit to play with but they give those short on funds the chance to pick up older kit but still join the current generation. I guess I am glad to see the generation continuing with redesigned hardware and glad this will push down the cost of old kit and let more people join the party, lets just hope the party lasts as long as it can.

Monday, 21 August 2017

My opinion on a female Doctor, the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special and The fate of The Master.

OK so I thought I would do a quick post about Dr Who. There has been quiet a few bits and pieces that I have wanted to post about when it comes to Dr Who but I figured instead of doing a bunch of short posts I would wait till I had enough stuff to really talk about. There will be a few spoilers in here but I will write that its going to get spoilery before it does, there will also be a lot of opinion and conjecture, if you want to comment on this or ask what I think or feel about something Who related then please feel free.
 




So to hit the obvious elephant in the room, Yes the new Doctor has been cast and its a woman. So do I think this is the end of Dr Who? No not at all, lets face it the character is an alien who can regenerate and change his appearance when killed or to be more accurate when either the actor has gotten fed up or the viewing figures are down or the producer is annoyed or well whatever. So lets put it this way if the actress is doing a bad job (not that I think she will) or if the viewing figures drop dangerously low for any reason be it the fact the show actually gets bad or even just too many people find they cant get behind a female Doctor then bang she can just go. She can get exterminated or get poisoned or crash the Tardis or otherwise get badly injured and then boom artron energy shoots from her and new new Doctor. New New Doctor complete with new testicles and instant support from those who were anti female Doctor in the first place. If a female Doctor works it could bring more attention to the show and could have a positive effect on the show and if it doesn't then the show already has a system in place to return things to the original status Que. Do I think Jodie Whittaker is the right Woman for the job? To be fair shes not actually the person I would have picked, I am not anti female Doctor, I just personally would have liked to see someone a little older and well I guess the right word is distinguished as the first female Doctor. I have to admit that despite having people in my head like Judi Dench I cant come up with someone who really fits the bill and would realistically want and be able to do it.

OK so next I want to talk about the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special (2017). In this episode is that Peter Capaldi’s Doctor meets the first Doctor. Obviously William Hartnell passed away a long time ago, and even if he hadn't then he wouldn't still look the same so how have they gotten around this? Well they have cast David Bradley to take William Hartnell’s part. David Bradly played the part of William Hartnell in the BBC docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time, which told the story of Doctor Who’s creation, this film included scenes in which David Bradly played William Hartnell playing the Doctor so if you have seen this you will have seen little bits of how David Bradly would handle the role of the doctor and in my opinion he was very impressive.

Steven Moffat has said that Bradley’s recreation “is so eerily perfect, it could fool you” and having watched the Christmas trailer I can see why he would say this. I have heard some people grumble about someone else playing the first Doctor but its not the first time this has happened in the 5 Doctors the role was filled by Richard Hurndall who in my opinion did a pretty fine job. From what I have seen I think David Bradley is going to do an even better job I really feel that he is going to knock it right out of the park. So I am fully supportive of David Bradley being used to play this role and the idea of the story itself.

OK so the following bit is potentially full of spoilers and my thoughts on them, if you want to avoid this kind of thing then I would say pretty much stop reading now. It has been teased that viewers will get to see the First Doctor’s TARDIS, which has been “beautifully recreated” now if this is true then all I can say is wonderful, I love things like this, I love the idea of there being a new set out there a set which is an early Tardis, I hope it is not smashed up after its use, I am sure there is some museum which would love to display it or failing that heck why not auction it off for a worthy charity?

It has also been suggested that the Christmas special will bring Twelve’s story full circle, showing that his final moments before regenerating were actually the first we ever saw of him, that just before he regenerates he helps to save Gallifrey. I think that seeing Capaldi and the first Doctors involvement in this important moment would actually be really neat. Apparently Bill is going to be making an appearance as well.

In the 1966 serial The Tenth Planet we saw the Doctor come up against the Mondasian Cybermen, for the first time, this episode was set on the Earth's South Pole and if I am not mistaken that is exactly where it appears that Capaldi’s Doctor has landed. Hartnell’s Doctor made his final regular appearance in the serial during this story, but he was absent for most of it. In real-life, Hartnell was suffering from ill health at the time of filming, and didn’t have the energy to deliver his lines however in the story those watching it were led to believe that the Doctor had collapsed and was resting, while his assistants battled the Mondasian Cybermen.

I might be wrong here but I think that this special is going to show that the First Doctor rather than laying down on his behind waiting to regenerate had actually gone off for one last very important another adventure with his future self? An Adventure which shows the two of them and ends first with the part they both played in the events of the 50th Anniversary and finally with Capaldi's Doctor remembering how hard it must have been for the first Doctor to regenerate and to change for the first time and so giving in to it and allowing himself to let the regeneration process start instead of fighting it.


Lastly I just want to quickly say something about Missy well Missy and the Master. In the last episode when Missy killed the Master and then Master killed her I expected to see at least one regeneration. Heck it had been said that Capaldi would regenerate before the Christmas special so I kind of expected to see 3 regenerations and then I didn't see a single one which was a little bit anti-climatic. So obviously we are going to see Capaldi regenerate at Christmas but what about the other two? I was hoping that if it was John Simm's Master's time to die that we would actually get to see him regenerate into Missy, OK we haven't seen it and we probably never will but I can live in hope right? As for Missy well I don't believe that she is dead dead and wont regenerate, the Master is a well Master when it comes to survival, she will have remembered being the previous Master and having shot herself and will from the moment she became Missy have started coming up with some kind of survival plan, maybe she was wearing something which would stop the blast from being fatal I don't know I am just very sure that she or maybe he will be back, I just know that the Master will not be gone for too long.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Dont worry be happy

I choose what some might consider insanity, I choose to dance in the street, to sing out loud even though I can't sing to give my true opinion regardless if it's a popular one or not to laugh when I want to laugh to cry when I want to cry.

My life has thrown me into some pretty dark and depressing situations, I was as a teenager assaulted by two older guys with a knife, I was hit by a hot and run driver and I was beaten to a bloody pulp in a robbery just for starters. Throw on top epilepsy, dyslexia and some PTSD and for years there was a real recipe for some grade A self hatred. It was a burning hatred which made me think I was broken, stupid, evil and deserved everything that had ever happened to me.

I chose to watch weird B movies, to collect and try to maintain the history of retro games, to try to expand my horizons, I chose to be eccentric, I dared to be different. I choose to give zero fucks if other people thought I was strange or if they didn't understand me. I decided to stand proud, to tell the world this is me, I am who I am wether you like it or not.

It was a very dark path for me at times, but as far as I am concerned I am now walking in the sunlight and I am much happier for it, I suppose I am writing this because there is something inside of me that wants to reach out to everyone and tell them "just be who you are, dance when you want to dance, sing when you want to sing, don't let anyone hold you back and don't let anyone tell you who you should be, how you should act, find your own path and do what you need to do so you can love your life and love yourself".

I still have my moments now and then as every living person will but I think I'm on a much better place than I have ever been. There are a lot of reasons for this a wonderful brilliant girlfriend, a great daughter but another big section of it can be pinned on the fact I have just changed my outlook slightly, I have stopped caring what most people think and stopped allowing people to pull me down.

I guess I am saying try to be youself and to be truly happy with who you are.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Why I think First Blood is a Masterpiece.


The first time I saw First Blood or Rambo First Blood as people tend to call it now I thought it was a fantastic film. With repeat viewings I have come to appreciate it even more and would in fact call it a masterpiece.

First Blood tells the story of a Vietnam war veteran who has returned to America after the war and tried to find his place in the world but is unfortunately not wanted and is met with fear and hostility. The main character John Rambo is not just suffering from the external hostility he is also suffering inside because he has PTSD (Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder) and certain things trigger him causing his mind to see and sense the horrors of the war he has lived through.

The majority of the film is basically a small war between a sheriff's department and Rambo. Rambo fights hard and he fights smart but yet you never lose site of the key fact that basically all he wants is to find peace and to be at best treated with some respect and dignity and at the very least just left alone. I think that most people just want to be understood and to have peace so I find it very easy to relate to Rambo, maybe it is even easier for me to feel for the character because I have also sufferd from PTSD?

 I know that recently when the film Split came out there was a huge backlash against it and the way it suposidly portrayed mental illness, having not watched it I cant really comment on that but I do know that I see First Blood as representing some of what its like to experiance PTSD rather well in my opinion. To me First Blood has this at least partial realism that a lot of other action films even including its own sequels do not possess. In most films a guy takes on whole armies of men standing in the direct line of fire so to speak and yet every bullet misses him and he eliminates wave after wave of enemies but this film is kind of diffrent. Yes Rambo wages a war against the sherif and his men but he does it mostly by hiding and taking them out one at a time, he uses his enviroment and a skill set he would have given his background, he sustains injurys and he suffers for them. Some people have tried to argue that he would have died during a long drop in the film in which he hits tree branches but while I admit in most cases it would proberbly kill you I dont think its imposible that he could get lucky, and with all the crap you see him go through you cant begrudge the character a little luck. Beyond this though John Rambo attacks when he has the advantage and then retreats when he doesnt and personally I feel that all of this gives the film a certain gritty realism I dont find in a lot of other action movies, its a real shame in my opinion that later films in this franchise lost there way in this regard (I am not saying they are bad films I enjoy them I just dont think they come close to the original).

The film makes you feel for Rambo, it makes you question the way he is treated, it makes you wonder if this is what it was really like for some of those returning from Vietnam (the sense of rejection not the personal one man wars) it keeps your sympathies very much on his side and this makes you want to root for him to see if he manages to come out of this alive. Its an intresting semi realistic story with a strong central character which really makes you stop and think and in a world full of films and shows that mostly let you sit there passivly gorging on them without ever engaging your brain this cant help but be a good thing. If you have spent your life under a rock and never seen Rambo or its just been a long time since you last saw it then I cant help but tell you to go get your hands on it and watch it as soon as possible.


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Snes Review 128: SD GUNDAM V SAKUSEN SHIDOU

I was always quiet a fan of Japanese stuff not only games but also anime, the very first Japanese animation shows I saw were thanks to my dad and at the time I didn't have a clue what anime even was. As a young kid I loved transformers and having basically watched everything there was transformer wise my dad started to try to find something else to occupy me, I remember he found this video rental place in one of the shopping centres not too far from us and they rented these cassettes called Force Five, eventually when the shop was starting to go out of business he brought me a whole bunch of them. Force Five was basically 5 different shows 4 of which were focused around the idea of giant robots, robots with cool sounding names like Grandizer, Guyking and the StarAvenger. This started a love in me of giant robots which did lead to me buying certain games because of it but often  when it came to imports I was worried about them having text in which would stop me enjoying them. It wasn't like it is nowadays when you can just jump online and put the name of a game in to a search engine and look for the answer to questions such as ''Do I need to be able to read Japanese to play this?'' You also couldn't get a Japanese cartridge of ebay for a couple of pounds like you can now.


The risk of there being a language barrier issue was the reason why I never tried to get my hands on SD Gundam V Sakusen Shidou, I had heard of Gundam but I wasn't prepared to throw down a load of cash on the chance the game would be manageable but in the case of this game language its not really much of an issue at all. You see how big an issue language is depends on the type of game, in an RPG it is pretty crucial but in other genres like fighters, shooters and sports titles as long as your OK with missing some of the story or finer details and just enjoying the game play its not really much of an issue at all. So what kind of  game is this? Well basically the game on first appearances is sort of a cross between something like R-type and Cybernator with cute chibi Gundam based graphics. According to my research the game was developed by TOSE who I have mentioned before (they are a company who have worked on quite a few games but basically remain in the shadows by choice) and published by Bandai (now apart of Bandai-Namco) and was released in Japan in 1992.

The first thing to point out is that a lot of how you feel about this game will come down to a couple of things one of which is how you feel about the whole chibi style itself. Do you like seeing cute pudgy little style characters? Do you mind your death dealing mech being a cute pudgy little mech whose eyes pop out when he is hit? If you don't like this then it will put a serious dampener on how you feel about this game. I need to talk about the games music. At times even though your out there dealing death the music on some levels can be so unbelievably upbeat and happy but then there are actually some quiet tense and menacing bits of music here and there. I have to admit I am a big fan of the music in this game, the tune in the third stage is absolutely great even if it does make me think more of a horror film than mechs. One issue though some of the music ends up being reused so you'll hear some pieces multiple times on your way towards finishing the game but its not to bad when you think how limited some other games are in this department.

OK so back to how you feel about this game depending on certain things well one of them is the fact that for a game that looks so childlike it is actually as tough as nails. If you see cute screenshots and think your in for a walk in the park then you will soon find that you were unbelievably wrong. I personally don't think it ruins the game but I can see why it would annoy some people, regular enemy mechs the cannon fodder so to speak can actually take a decent amount of shots from your starting weapon and are more than capable of hurting you, as for the bosses well they are initially hard but its all pattern based, if you've put down the robots in megaman or bosses in the castlevania games then you will soon notice that the enemies here have a similar sort of thing going on. One for example will stay away from you and fire a certain pattern of rockets before trying to then get in close with an energy sword, once your used to this its not too hard to manovour your way into the gaps in the pattern and start dealing some real damage to him. OK so on to the weapons you start off able to use your sword and shoot little round bullets that don't do a lot of damage but you gain the ability to use a laser gun which is a lot more powerful, a shield to block a sort of rocket cannon and an extend able mace weapon. The shield blocks which can be very helpful and the other weapons do higher damage than your starting weapons, they are all pretty fun to use and you select which one you need from a bar at the bottom of the screen. In all honesty I am not sure if its just time or your actions that fill the bar up but the weapons only seem to last for a bit so its a case of using them then waiting for the bar to build again, so do you want an early choice now like the laser or do you want to wait for the bar to build up more?

As for faults well I think the game controls well but the computer controlled robots seem to be just a little too quick for my liking its like they know where you are and give you very little chance to get away with out taking some damage from them. On top of this you could say that the game is a little repetitive basically offering the same kind of game play from start to finish and if your a skilled player it wont take you that long to finish it at all, you can play it with a friend which I think helps but if you finish it or turn it off will depend greatly on what you think about this kind of game and if you have any love for the source material and its style. I  would give the game a 6 out of 10 but if you cant stand either the Chibi style or the challenge or you find it hard to deal with repetition then I would warn you to stay clear. This game only came out in Japan so if you want to try it then your going to have to have either a converter, a modified system or hardware from that region. On the plus side the game only cost me £3 although I did have to dig through a lot of Gundam listings as there were a whole bunch of Gundam games a lot of which I have been led to believe have a lot bigger language barrier so if you choose to do so then order with care.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Snes Review 127: Legend

OK so where do I start with this game well I guess with a little bit of basic information. Legend is a game developed by Arcade Zone and released for the Super NES in 1994 just before Christmas in Europe at least (was released a little over half a year earlier in America). It is a scrolling beat-em-up hack and slash sort of game with a Medieval European setting, its kind of the closest thing that you will get to Sega's Golden Axe games on the Super Nintendo. The game was created solely by the duo of Carlo Perconti and Lyes Belaidouni, the founders of the above mentioned Arcade zone. Arcade Zone didn't make many games before dying but the founders did go on to make another company and make games for the original PlayStation including a remake of Legend (this second companies name was Toka). Another weird thing to note about Legend is that a company called Pika has gotten the rights to it and is actually making brand new Super Nintendo cartridges of it and one of Arcade Zones other games Iron Commando (the later being an extremely rare Japan only release originally).



So I guess now what I want to do is talk about how Legend originally entered my life. There was a local kid who I kind of knew in passing enough to nod at and say hi to but didn't know properly mostly because he was about 2 years older than me and back in my school days older kids didn't typically hang around with anyone younger than them. Well he had a SNES and he was looking for someone to swap games with and a mutual friend told him I had quite a lot so it might be worth asking me. Well he turned up at my house with Legend and I was impressed with it so I made him an offer. I swapped him 2 Japanese Super Famicom games and my old cheap converter so he could play them, I remember one of them being Super Formation Soccer but have no idea what the other one was. The funny thing was that after this he just kept coming around to mine and we soon became best friends for a good four years he was probably my closest friend and we did a great deal of our gaming together, because of this I cant even play Legend or heck even see the cart without remembering him.

So I am now going to start talking about the game itself and I am going to do so by talking about the graphics. Legend has some great visuals and stands up very well compared to other SNES beat 'em ups. For a start most of the stages have really nice background landscapes which have a sort of watercolour feeling to them which really helps give the game world a real feeling. , The playable character(s) and the enemies are both well animated and are just generally very detailed sprites. The only fault I can really find is that there are certain parts where old backgrounds seem to be reused but I cant fault them too much for this, also this is less of a graphical issue but if your going to go to the trouble of making two player sprites that look different even if they control the same you should give the player the choice to pick which to use instead of just automatically making the sword guy player one and only using the axe based character for player two.

OK so moving on to the sound well I think that most of the music is better than average but its not the stuff of legends forgive the pun, it works but in my opinion it could be a lot better, I guess I was spoiled recently when I played Actraiser. On top of the music you have the obvious battle sounds, basically some metallic crashing/clashing noises and some death cries. Everything works don't get me wrong but as far as I am concerned things could be better.

OK so as for controls well you have an attack button, a jump button, a magic button a special move button (when you use it you throw something but you loose some health for doing so), and the triggers block, both of them block in exactly the same way. This sounds like a lot after all that's basically 5 buttons doing different things but in practise it doesn't seem like you can do as much as you'd think. The main thing the game is really missing in my opinion is a run button or heck even just a double tap run, this game just feels like it needs this adding to it. The game does overall control pretty well though, sometimes when you turn around while attacking it seems a little slow but its never really much of a problem.

The game is not very long, you will soon find yourself on the final stage. The combat is simple but the enemies are aggressive and at times it seems like a new one runs on every second you have killed one. The enemies will try to circle you and will block and if you back off they will chase you, different enemies have different attack strategies and the game has some pretty darn cool bosses. Every single enemy in this game drops a collectible, these include money , health, urns, and keys some add health some add magic but all of them disappear super fast which can make them very hard to pick up with aggressive enemies always being on you.

OK so I have talked about all of the pros and cons of Legend and I think I might have mentioned a certain Golden Axe franchise so I guess once again I am going to end up talking about a MegaDrive game while reviewing a SNES game. Now I have already mentioned that Legend only has 2 player sprites and that they are basically pallete swaps just diffrent colours really and an axe instead of a sword where as Golden Axe gave you 3 diffrent chracters who all both looked and felt very diffrent. The thing is Legend is a perfectly decent game, good even but its just not that memorable, once your done with it your done. With something like Golden Axe though its the little things its the memories like when you realise that youve spent a whole bunch of time fighting on the back of an eagle or when you ride your first dinosaur or the bit where the villagers run past you screaming. Legend shows a lot of promise but in my opinion it just falls short, its not a bad game at all in fact its a good game its just not an unforgetable classic. I would give it 7 out of 10. I spent £10 on a loose European Cartridge of it and to me this feels just about the right kind of price, if you have a SNES and are looking for something you havent played before then this is worth a shot.