Wednesday, April 28

Game review - Quantum of Solace

    Ah, Quantum Of Solace - the game. Typically, movie games don't do very well. They're often rushed to release alongside the movie, usually to capitalize on the movie's success. Sure, there are occasionally good movie games like Return of the King, Spider-Man 2, and even Peter Jackson's King Kong - the game was fairly decent. On the other hand, you got games like ET for the Atari, which is often blamed for causing the video game market crash, Charlie's Angels, which is terrible, and Superman Returns, which I plan on reviewing sometime in the future. So how did this game turn out? Not so well actually.

    Before I begin, you should know that Quantum of Solace is developed by Treyarch, the same company that built Call Of Duty: World At War. They also had over two years to develop this title as Activision decided not to make a Casino Royale game. So on the one hand, this game was built by one of the companies behind the ever so popular Call of Duty series, on the other, they usually make the less popular COD titles. Either way Treyarch should know how to make an epic game, and I had high hopes for this one.

    Before Activision bought the rights to the Bond gaming franchise, EA released eight Bond games. For the most part, these games were just alright. Nightfire was actually pretty good (well, the console version anyway - the PC version is the buggiest game I've ever finished.) I remember playing plenty of Agent Under Fire, the first Bond game on the Gamecube, and I now realize how bad that one was. Apart from that, the only other EA Bond game I've really played was The World is Not Enough for the N64. Decent game, but it holds nothing to GoldenEye 007. When it comes to Bond games, GoldenEye 007 for the N64 is by far the most famous. It's probably the most famous game on the N64 in general, and it proved that FPS games could work on a console. After EA had tried and failed to emulate this success, I was actually excited when the publisher of Call of Duty acquired the rights to the franchise. After playing Quantum of Solace, all that excitement has gone right out the window.

Tuesday, April 20

Movie Review - Cool as Ice

     Well now, what can I say about this one? Well, stars Vanilla Ice. The whole point of this movie is to try to make Vanilla Ice look fails. I have no idea how I could make this movie look good, so I'm not going to try.

     For those of you who don't know who Vanilla Ice is, well, he's a rapper. He was most popular in the early 90's, and is most known for his song "Ice Ice Baby". While most people consider him a joke now, he really helped bring the general hip-hop genre into mainstream popularity. When it comes to his style, at least back then, it doesn't get much whiter.

     I suppose the best way to introduce him is to show you "Ice Ice Baby", so here's a link.

     Yeah...that was popular in the 90's. And now for the movie.

     I'm still at a lack of words to properly describe this mess. It's more half-music video and half-commercial than anything else. The majority of the movie is either Ice rapping, or riding a bike and posing while music's playing in the background. Is it cool? No. Is it entertaining, well...not intentionally. I kept thinking of different things they could be advertising: anti-depressants, cologne, some allergy drug...some lame dating service.

     When the movie is neither commercial or music video though, it's just silly. One of the funniest, but nonsensical moments, was a blatant Top Gun rip-off, where Ice rides a motorcycle beside some girl riding a horse.

     Even though there's no evidence of a ramp, Ice jumps his motorcycle over the fence. This scares the horse which knocks the girl down. She insults him, they argue a bit, and somehow Ice comes to the conclusion that she likes him. I had no idea that scaring a horse with a motorcycle then blaming the rider could be so attractive. Maybe I should try that. [tries it and get's punched in the face] Oh, maybe not.

Tuesday, April 13

Movie Review - Killer Clowns from Outer Space

    Doesn't this movie's title just sound awesome? I mean, Killer Clowns From Outer Space. It just screams of instant classic. How could a movie possibly live up to it's title? Don't worry, this one definitely does. Originally released in 1988, Killer Clowns is one of the best horror movies of all time. It stars clowns, already one of the creepiest entities on earth, and turns them into horror villains from space. If that's not absolute genius, then I have no idea what is. At the same time, the movie perfectly captures the nature of the clown, and makes them genuinely funny. One must wonder why their rock-remix of the famous circus music didn't get any Oscars.

    The movie takes place in a small town called Crescent Cove. We start off with a group of teenagers hanging out in the forest with their cars. Two of them, Mike and Debbie, are talking in the back of one of the cars. These two are dating, and are the first two main characters we are introduced to. An ice-cream truck shows up with it's two hilariously obnoxious dudes driving it. "I'm Jo-Jo the ice cream clown, we'll give you a stick, you'll give it a lick. And it'll tickle you all the way down. Ice cream, ice cream, we brought our goodies here to you! A tasty treat for while you screw! Let's take a break! Cool off those hot lips with our frozen fruity bars! Icy-wicy, fudgy-wudgy bars. And everyone's frozen delight, the lick a stick!" Mike tells Debbie that the ice cream dudes are his best friends. The ice-cream truck leaves shortly. As Mike and Debbie look into the sky, they see a bright yellow light fly across. A drunk hillbilly sitting on his porch with his dog, Pooh, sees it also. "Did you see that little ole sky doggie zip down there Pooh?" The hillbilly brings his shovel along as he heads to the yellow light. The two main teenagers decide to follow it too.

    The hillbilly arrives at a brightly-lit circus tent. "What in the blue blazes is the circus doing here in these parts?" It's tied down with some rather technologically advanced ropes. "I don't know Pooh, you know there's something kinda peculiar around here." As he wanders around, a strange shadow follows him. His dog is captured by a net. He starts shouting stereotypical phrases and repeats "What in tarnation is going on here!" over and over. He punches the tent, only to hurt his hand. "Well I'll be hornswaggled!" He then tries to tear the advanced rope, only to get shocked. "Well I'll be greased and fried!" A creepy alien clown shows up and shoots him with...I'm not sure, but it killed him. Yup, that's why this movie is so incredible, you get such engaging dialogue like that.

Wednesday, April 7

The Easter Bunny is a Scientific Experiment from an Evil Mastermind

    You read the title right, the Easter Bunny is nothing but a science experiment, but a rather dangerous one. You see, he was designed to help this unknown mastermind to take over the world. I have seen the evidence with my eyes - the truth must be heard. Here are the 5 reasons/proofs that the Easter Bunny is an experiment.

5. He's a giant bunny! - Seriously, what bunny is big enough to carry all that Easter candy every year? The world record for the biggest rabbit is about 4 feet long and weighing 49 pounds, and while that's still pretty big, it's nothing compared to a bunny whose able to carry Easter candy for MILLIONS OF CHILDREN IN A SINGLE NIGHT! What kind of genetic experimentation or growth formulas are needed to make a bunny that large? And why aren't the results of these experiments available to the general public? I'll tell you why - the mastermind behind these experiments wants to take over the world. To take over the world, you need some sort of advantage, and by handing these kinds of results over, you lose that advantage. Therefore, somebody is trying to take over the world.

4. He's a smart bunny! - No offense to anyone who has a pet rabbit, but rabbits are stupid. You can't train a bunny to take loads of chocolate and put them into houses. Any normal bunny would either try to eat the candy or just leave it alone. Likewise to the bunny requiring a larger, stronger body to carry the candy, you need the bunny to be smarter too. The Easter Bunny not only has to know where to put each basket, but must somehow break into millions of homes without being caught in a single night. This is Santa Clause level training here; how do you train a rabbit like that? The only explanation is that somehow this elusive mastermind genetically modified these bunnies to have the cranial capacity of the entire country of Japan. Either that or he's invented a device that can directly copy knowledge and skills into an animal's brain. Only an evil mastermind bent on taking over the world can come up with this crap.

3. The candy is drugged. - I'm going to shift focus for a minute. The Easter candy you get from the bunny is drugged. It is specifically designed to be addictive. "But why would someone drug Easter candy?" Thanks for asking Mr. Italic. The answer is quite simple - control. The mastermind has come up with a formula that slowly takes over your mind. You don't even notice the difference yet because the drug still requires a certain trigger. I have yet to discover what this trigger is, but I'm sure he's thought of a way to release it to everyone in the world simultaneously. When he does, all will be under his full control. This drug is also addictive, which must explain why I like those Cadbury Cream Eggs so much.

2. There must be more than one. - This would explain why the bunnies can cover so many houses around the world in one night. "But what's so practical about having many Easter Bunnies?" Well Mr. Italic, the answer is simple...the mastermind is creating an army. I mean, you have an army of wicked smart bunnies that are probably larger than your car. I don't know about you, but the idea of being invaded by this kind of fighting force is just...terrifying. "But where would he get the resources to get these many bunnies?" Because he's a mastermind! This mastermind most likely owns Cadbury, or is otherwise stealing half of their Cream Egg profits. "And if there's so many of them, how come nobody's ever seen one?" That question leads to my last point.

1. The bunnies are using stealth technology. - You might have heard that the military is close to perfecting a stealth suit. This suit would offer any soldier partial invisibility in a combat situation. But how are they obtaining this technology. Like you said earlier, the mastermind has to make his money somehow. He's simply giving them an obsolete form of his own stealth technology. His bunnies aren't only partially invisible - they're completely invisible. Not only that though, because somehow these bunnies have to cover their footprints. To do that, they use hover technology. That's right, their both invisible and hovering above the ground. That's why nobody's ever seen an Easter Bunny, because their flying invisible break-in experts.

    So let me sum this all up. The Easter Bunnies are an army of genetically modified giant rabbits using stealth technology to sneak into houses. They do this to hand out drugged candy designed to control everybody's mind. I can't think of a faster way to take over the world. The biggest problem is that not only has nobody caught one of these bunnies, but nobody knows who their boss is. The truth must be known; this evil mastermind must be found. We only have so much time before the world is taken over by bunnies.

Monday, April 5

Mass Effect 2 = gaming's Empire Strikes Back

I've seen many comments around the internet claiming "Mass Effect 2" as gaming's "The Empire Strikes Back". Now for the most part, they're just referring to how it's darker than the first, and improves the franchise in pretty much every way. As much as I agree with those statements, I've noticed that it's far more like "Empire Strikes Back" than simply being darker and better.

Let me start off by saying MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD - FOR BOTH GAMES. Also, if you haven't played both games, this post probably won't make much sense.

Let me explain by first describing the first "Mass Effect" and "A New Hope." In the first "Mass Effect", you start off by heading toward Eden Prime - a beautiful colony which just discovered a working Prothean beacon. Your mission is to retrieve it for the council. This also happens to be an evaluation mission for Shepard, who wants to be a Spectre. As you arrive however, the colony is under attack, complicating the mission big time. At the moment you have no idea what's going on - you're just thrown into this crazy situation.

"A New Hope" starts somewhat similarly. At first, Luke just believes that he and his uncle are simply buing new robots. However, it turns out that these robots are carrying an important message from a member of the Rebel Alliance, complicating things for Luke. In both cases, the main character is thrown all over the galaxy and ends up saving the Cidital/Rebel base. The reaper known as "Soverign" must locate the Mu-Relay and the conduit to open up the cidital, just like the Empire has to find the location to the rebel base to destroy it. Shepard must find various people and artifacts around the galaxy to figure out what Seren's up to just like Luke must find Obi-Wan. Both have to acquire a ship. In many ways, The first Mass Effect is similar to "A New Hope".

Continuing to the main point of this post, "Mass Effect 2" also shares much with "The Empire Strikes Back." At the start of "Mass Effect 2", Shepard dies by means of being spaced after being attacked by an unknown enemy at the time. Two years later, he/she is resurrected by "Project Lazarus." After that point, the game continues. As the game goes on, Shepard must gather a team and gain their loyalty in order to prepare for a later fight. His/her eventual mission is to destroy the Collectors. Shepard faces traps, colonies under attack, and eventually attacks the Collector Base head on.

Similarly in "Empire Strikes Back," Luke is nearly killed by a snowstorm in the beginning (cold just like being spaced,) and must be brought back to health in a bacta tank. The rebel base on that planet is soon attacked by Darth Vader's fleet. This isn't too much unlike a colony being attacked in "Mass Effect 2". Throughout most of the rest of the movie, Luke is being trained in the force, as he will need it to eventually face Vader. Unfortunately, he rushes in too quickly. He manages to escape, and eventually wins in the next movie.

The trap at the end of "Empire" is similar to the Collector trap about half way through "Mass Effect 2". In addition to that, training in the force is similar to building up a team. In both sequels, the enemy displays a personal interest in the main character. But probably the biggest similarity is that they both have a more intimate feeling than the first entry into their respective series.

In both "Mass Effect" and "A New Hope," the focus is more about being introduced to a whole new galaxy, and saving it. In both "Mass Effect 2" and "Empire Strikes Back," the characters take center stage. Sure, the story is still important, but you learn more about the characters themselves than what else is going on. You learn more about the relationship that Luke has with Darth Vader, just like you learn about the Collectors being ex-Protheans. You see Han and Leia fall in love, just like you see Shepard fall in love with, um...everyone. One could even draw comparisons between Illium and Cloud City - both places independent of the galactic government, yet still try to stay legit. In that line of thought, the Cidital is like Corecant, and Omega is like Tatooine. One could even compare Biotic powers to "The Force".

After thinking about all this, one must wonder if someone high up in Bioware is a major Star Wars fan, or is otherwise subconsciously making Mass Effect somewhat like Star Wars. After all, Bioware made what many still consider the best Star Wars game of all time. The series has it's fare share of Star Trek comparisons too. Even so, there is much more to either game than their Star Wars/Star Trek comparisons, and there's also many things unique to the "Mass Effect" series. In any case, as long as we don't get "Mass Effect's" answer to Ewoks, Jar Jar Binks, winy Annikin or battle-droids (the Geth don't count 'cause they're more like the Borg,) I'll be fine with whatever further comparisons may come with "Mass Effect 3."

Wow, this is easily the nerdiest thing I've ever written.

Thursday, April 1

Game review - Pen Pen's Trilcelon

Alright people, this is a weird one. Pen Pen's Trilcelon is a game for the Sega Dreamcast. It has one of the weirdest titles I've ever seen. I first thought Pen Pen must have been the main character or something, but what is a Trilcelon? The CD case also greets us with three of the most bizarre looking characters I've ever seen. It doesn't help to know that those are the "normal" characters. Without further to do, let's start this game up.

We're introduced to the game by a bizarre video introducing all the characters. After that, you are treated with one of the craziest - and trippiest - title screens ever. From what I can tell, Pen Pen's are somewhat like Penguins...sort of. You have characters like Sparky, a young energetic Pen Pen, Tina, a snob who's Sparky's rival, Jaw, a shark-type freak, Back, a creature loosely resembling a walrus, Sneak, an octopus, Mr.Bow, who looks like he has a serious mental handicap, Ballery, a strange creature somewhat resembling a hippo who tries to be cute, and idea how to describe him.

From what I can tell, this trilcelon is supposed to be some Tri-athelon in the arctic. Being in the arctic, one must wonder why sharks and hippos are around. You have three basic types of races: running, which is where you waddle toward the finish, swimming, where you, er...swim underwater to the finish, and sliding, where you slide to the finish. In both sliding and swimming, you have to tap buttons rhythmically to move, while in running/waddling, you just use the analog stick. The gameplay isn't really that bad, but it's probably the most simplistic racing game I've ever played. Because of this, you'll lose interest very quickly. There's only four race tracks, and there's no real reward for winning a race. It has a 4-player mode, which means you can show off this drug-induced game to your friends - otherwise there's not much of a reason to replay this...thing.

The only thing noteworthy about this game is how incredibly weird it is. Instead of a "Quit game" screen, you get a "good night" screen. The music is, well...just plain weird. The title screen is one of the trippiest I've ever seen. In fact, the whole game is trippy.  I don't know how else to describe this game. It's just...a huge pile of weirdness. Whoever designed this game must have been on drugs - strong drugs even.

Two word review.