Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Uncensored "Robocop 3" review for Sega-16

I'm pleased to present the uncensored and unedited take on the Robocop 3 for the Genesis review I wrote for Sega-16. You can check out the pussified version here:

http://www.sega-16.com/review_page.php?id=723&title=RoboCop 3

Anyway, this was a game that caused a lot of anger for me as a kid, just because it's basically defective by design. Enjoy!

Robocop 3 (1993)

Published by Flying Edge/Acclaim Developed by Eden Entertainment

Whenever you hear the title Robocop, it just manages to bring up so many memories and thoughts. Most of them are of the 1987 action/sci-fi masterpiece that starred Peter Weller as Murphy, a murdered cop brought back from the dead as a law-enforcing cyborg warrior. A massive hit when first released in theaters, sequels were naturally the order of the day, of which it received two official theatrical releases which were downright horrible, particularly the third film of which this Genesis video game review is based. But just how bad can a game based on an incredibly horrible movie sequel be? I kind of wish I didn’t know honestly, but part of me feels that it should be a public service for me to warn people about Robocop 3. I can’t stress it enough, this is one of the worst licensed piece of shit video games you’ll come across on a 16 bit console.

A side-scrolling action game, Robocop 3 puts you in the role of ‘ol tin-head, as he makes his way through Old Detroit gunning down crooks, scumbags, OCP thugs, and other assorted lookalike fuckwad villains all scrolling they’re way in your general direction. It doesn’t amount to a whole lot though, as the gameplay itself is more simple and mindless than one can hope to imagine. This makes for quite a boring endeavor, which thankfully doesn’t last long in terms of length, although the game’s difficulty may stretch things out a bit longer…AKA painfully fucking longer.

Robocop 3’s difficulty is something that was panned when the game was first released. The NES version was a bit different, and a bit more fun thanks to in-between level mini-games where you could actually fix Robocop’s injuries and damages, while the Super NES follow-up is basically the same thing you get here with the Genesis version, which was released afterwards. Don’t you think that the powers that be would have taken some time to fix some of the negative aspects of the game when porting it to the Genesis? Well, we are talking about the shitbirds at Acclaim here (who use their defunct Flying Edge label here), so that question seems kind of dumb to ask in retrospect. Anyway, the game’s difficulty is largely due to the fact that your enemies always seem to get the better of you, no matter what. This is largely due to the fact that Robocop’s weapon selection is lame, as well as his turtle-ish slow movements and practically broken jumping mechanics and the game’s stiff controls don’t make things any easier either. I know he’s a heavy-ass fucking robot and of course he’s going to move slow and not jump too high, but come on for Christ’s sake here.

The worst aspect of the game’s difficulty however is the fact that when you come into close contact with enemies, your energy gets depleted so fast that you’ll never know what happened. I mean come on now, this is fucking Robocop for crying out loud, HE’S A FUCKING CYBORG! How has he been made so weak here that if your pixels even come in contact with an enemy you’re dead in no time? The developers took Robocop and turned him into a complete pussy, and it’s a crying shame. If they wanted to pussify Robocop so bad, why not instead of his ridiculous death animation, they instead just showed him shitting himself and running away. That’s right I said it, show Robocop taking a big ‘ol robot dump on the ground and running away in fear. At least that in itself would add some entertainment value (and personally I’d purposely make him die every time just to see it).

Graphically speaking Robocop himself resembles his film counterpart well enough, while the villains are the typical stock type that one would come to expect. The stages look a lot alike from one another, most of the time I myself can’t really tell one stage from another to be totally honest. Robocop’s deadly robot nemesis the ED-209, which makes a relatively lame cameo here, actually looks kind of cool, but other than that, the game’s total look is a complete stale bore. Sound-wise we get the same theme repeated over and over again throughout the game, and the game’s sound effects are more annoying than anything else. In short, Robocop 3 is just a typical licensed rush-job, but the question remains as just what the hell was the damn rush? The NES and Super NES versions were already out way before the Genesis version, and it’s not like the movie was that big a hit to warrant a quickly rushed port.

Finding positive points to speak about with Robocop 3 is hard enough to do on its own, but the fact remains that Robocop hasn’t been treated all that well in the video game world. I remember pumping quarters into the old arcade game when I was a kid, and I remember having a blast doing so. The NES version of the game wasn’t bad either, but after that, any game featuring Robocop just hasn’t been able to do the justice that the character so richly deserves (and don’t get me started on the video game abortion that is the first-person shooter take on Robocop released on the XBox a few years ago). That is, besides the excellent Robocop VS The Terminator, which ironically remains not only the best video game use of the Robocop license, but one of the best takes on his fellow cyborg monstrosity The Terminator as well. You’d be much, much better off checking out that game instead, and even if you manage to find Robocop 3 for dirt cheap (which you can), you’d be better off avoiding it all together.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Superman Returns....again...

Only a couple weeks ago it was announced that British actor Henry Cavill (if you watched “The Tudors” on Showtime, he played Charles Brandon, and starred in an assortment of shitty direct to DVD horror movies as well) would be the next man to don the red and blue tights of Superman in the upcoming mega-budget reboot of the “Superman” film franchise. Yes folks, we’re getting another “Superman” reboot whether we want it or not, and it’s being brought to us by none other than director Zack Snyder, whose comic book adaptation credits include “300” and “Watchmen”. Do we really need another “Superman” movie? Well, believe it or not, maybe we do…

It was five years ago now (and it sure doesn’t feel like it was that long) that Warner Bros. had spent a quarter of a BILLION dollars on Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns”, which for all intents and purposes, flopped in comparison to the studio’s hopes and projections. Reception was mixed at best, with some enjoying it and others pretty much slamming Singer for being two steps away from practically plagiarizing Richard Donner’s original “Superman” film. Though Singer intended to pay wondrous amounts of homage to Donner and the original film, the end result was a 2 ½ hour long snooze-fest which had almost zero action sequences and portrayed Superman as being a “super-stalker”, always seeing what Lois Lane is up to in her new life apart from him…and it actually got to be kind of fucking creepy! Not to mention the fact that evil genius Lex Luthor still can’t come up with a better scheme than land control and Supes and Lois have a super-powered son, and well…well, that was “Superman Returns” in a nutshell. I just saved you 2 ½ hours, so you’re welcome.

Anyway, fast forward to 2008. Christopher Nolan scores a massive hit with “The Dark Knight”, and was eventually appointed supervising producer of a new “Superman” movie by Warner Bros. and DC. Singer’s proposed sequel was scrapped, as well as the former cast and crew, in favor of what was then promised to be a “darker” take on the Man of Steel. That statement in itself kind of sets up a bit of a conundrum though: Superman isn’t a “dark” kind of character. He’s the big blue Boy Scout, and aside from being loved by kids, most comic fans look at him as being an uber-lame character with universe-shattering power. But that’s the problem with being the most recognizable and most celebrated comic book character of all time: he hasn’t changed. I’m not saying he should, but we as a society no longer identify with Superman. We’ve become more accustomed and comfortable with celebrating the anti-hero, that’s why Batman has always managed to stay so relevant for decades. Combine that with the popularity of “dark” comic book movie heroes like Wolverine, The Punisher, Blade, and the like; and it becomes incredibly hard to appreciate a character that is just concentrated awesome good.

With that in mind, Nolan brings in Snyder, whose last foray into comic book adaptations saw him make the unfilmable film that was “Watchmen”: the godfather of dark superhero comics. While that film’s reception was mixed as well, Nolan and the studio both hope that Snyder can put a bit of a darker turn on the Man of Steel, and I for one actually kind of want to see it. So far though, it has been revealed that General Zod will return as the main villain of the film. Zod was last played by the great Terrance Stamp in “Superman II” way back in the day, and was awesome as well. Do we really need to see Zod again? I can understand Luthor being a recurring villain, but Zod again? If they want to put a darker spin on Superman, why not used some his darkest villains? What about Brainiac, the villain who had the biggest impact on Superman’s mythology other than Luthor? Or Darkseid, who for all intents and purposes is a God of death? Hell, even Doomsday, the monster that killed Superman in the comics; why not any of them instead of doing Zod over again?


Believe it or not, even though I’m spouting off all this Superman knowledge, I’m not even a real fan of the character. When I was a kid it was a different story of course, and even today, you can’t pick up a single DC comic and not somehow find him in it somewhere. But that’s okay regardless; he’s just that iconic a character. Everyone knows who Superman is, and everyone knows his backstory…and they know it all whether they want to or not!

He’s that iconic that he deserves another cinematic shot…but if it fails again well…

it may prove that box office busts are so strong that even Superman can’t beat ‘em.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Guitar Hero goes to Hell

Earlier this week, video game mega-publisher Activision announced that they would be discontinuing their once-ultra popular “Guitar Hero” franchise, as well as its rhythm game brethren “DJ Hero”. That wasn’t all though, as Activision also announced that the long-running “Tony Hawk” series is on an indefinite hiatus, and the latest installment in the “True Crime” series has been cancelled. What does all this shit mean exactly? Well, so far, it means pretty fucking good news actually.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the “Guitar Hero” franchise was the toast of the video game world. The first game hit the PS2 and was pretty much an instant hit, mostly because at the time, it was something different in the party game genre. Then, something happened. Activision scooped the franchise up from developer Harmonix and subsequent sequels soon followed throughout the years. Harmonix would get the boot from Activision though, and the reins of the “Guitar Hero” franchise would be handed over to developer Neversoft, famous for the years of producing duplicate and boring “Tony Hawk” games. It wouldn’t be much surprise that the “Guitar Hero” games became boring exercises in yearly release tedium, with a rare exception (“Guitar Hero: Metallica” is spectacular, the Aerosmith and Van Halen-flavored editions, not so much), just like EA’s “Madden” game is pretty much the same thing year after year. The only differences between EA’s “Madden” franchise and “Guitar Hero” though, is that gamers were wise enough at this point to find better things to spend their cash on instead of the same rhythm game year after year. Not to mention the fact that the whole rhythm genre became so oversaturated, what with the now discontinued “DJ Hero”, “Band Hero”, “Rock Band”, “Lego Rock Band”, and “Heroin Hero”. Okay, that last one was from an episode of South Park, but you catch my drift.

What this all essentially means is that Activision knows that some of their cash cows are done being milked…for now that is. We’ve been getting shitty “Tony Hawk” games for years now. Remember “Tony Hawk Shred”? That game that came with the skateboard to stand on that barely functioned? Exactly. Truth be told, I haven’t played a good “Tony Hawk” game since “Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2” on the Dreamcast, and I think that was in 2001. “True Crime” always came off to me a relatively lame “Grand Theft Auto” rip-off, and do we really need any more of those?

Honestly, if it’s one franchise I wish Activision would permanently fold, it’s “Call of Duty”. For so long we had practically the same World War II shooter year after year, until “Modern Warfare” actually came along and did some creative changes. Now they have the massive hit that is “Call of Duty: Black Ops”, which isn’t much of a surprise considering that first person shooters are practically mother’s milk to gamers who are two steps away from having A.D.D. It’s not that I hate FPS games, considering I grew up with “Wolfenstein 3-D”, “Doom”, “Duke Nukem 3-D”, and “Quake”; which have always been like the Four Horsemen of FPS games to me. “Call of Duty”, “Halo” and even “Killzone” just all seem almost interchangeable to me that it gets hard for me to tell one from the other.

Maybe I’ve just gotten a bit more bitter as time has gone on. Maybe I’m just not “with it” with all the new video game tech toys like I used to be. Maybe I’m just a prick for loving the fact that Activision just put the kibosh on a handful of their franchises. No matter what though, let’s all take the time to salute “Guitar Hero” for the fun that it was…and just let the mother burn like a Viking funeral.

R.I.P. Guitar Hero, I miss you like Magic Johnson misses having AIDS.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Another mea culpa: I was wrong about "Let Me In"

Just a day or two ago I assembled a list here that featured a handful of things I was wrong about/shitty things I’ve done. In retrospect, I forgot about one thing that I didn’t make a “mea culpa” for, of which I’m now going to do right this instant. Ever hear of a film called “Let Me In”? It was in theaters not too long ago, and now it’s just arrived on the home video and download market. Now, I’ve decided to grit my teeth and give it a shot. If you don’t know anything about my hesitation to the film, read this:

"This is a record for me in terms of how short a time it's been between blog posts, but there is something that I just have to get off my fucking chest. A couple days ago the trailer for the upcoming vampire flick "Let Me In" found its way online. Despite my reservations about it, I watched it anyway out of the sake of morbid curiousity...and proceeded to scream obscenities at the top of my lungs afterward.

Why did this trailer for what appears to be an adult take on "Twilight" anger me so you may be asking? For those of you who don't know, "Let Me In" is a remake of the beloved and critically acclaimed 2008 Swedish film "Let the Right One In": a film that is equal parts shockingly beautiful, horrific, touching, and manages to get under your skin. "Let the Right One In" is a rare type of horror film that does more than provide shocks and scares to the audience, as it presents the newfound relationship/friendship between an abused and neglected pre-teen boy and a decades old vampire girl who has just come to town. While that synopsis only really scratches the surface of what "Let the Right One In" is about, the themes of alienation, revenge, young love, and heartbreaking loss are what really help set the film apart from others of its ilk.

Seeing something special like "Let the Right One In" be remade for mass American audience consumption isn't surprising in the least to be totally honest, but can't well enough just be let the fuck alone?!?! Besides changing the title and names of the characters (which is understandable to a degree considering the transcontinental translation and blah blah fucking blah), "Cloverfield" director Matt Reeves was hired to helm this remake, which by the looks of the trailer appears to have viewed the original film repeatedly. How can I tell you may ask? Because there are so many shots in the trailer that don't just mirror shots in "Let the Right One In", but flat out just copy them and rip them off for lack of a better term. This isn't anything new when it comes to remakes though, since just a few months ago horror auteur Wes Craven lit into those behind the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" remake for doing the exact same thing. Yes, originality is officially dead in the film making world (don't get me started on remakes again...). Sure, it may have Hit-Girl from "Kick-Ass" as the vamp and the kid from "The Road", but that's as much promise as this thing can hope to have.

So let's go back to just why would anyone want to remake "Let the Right One In" for mass consumption? In an interview with FearNet, producer Simon Oakes stated that,

"...the story was so great, so beautiful, that it should be seen by a bigger audience. So I was always saying to myself, people in Manhattan have seen it, guys like you [genre journalists/fans] because it's in your wheelhouse, in New York, in Chicago, in Chelsea, in Notting Hill, in London but no one in Glasgow or Edinburgh or Bristol or Idaho or Pittsburgh has seen this film. It's a story that needs to be seen by a wider audience. Then it came down to [the question], how do you achieve that? By paying homage to the original."

"Paying homage"? Are you fucking serious? You don't pay homage to something by directly copying/ripping off the shots of the original film! Gus Van Sant did just that for his 1998 remake of "Psycho", before admitting what a mistake he had made in doing so. Plenty of directors, from Brian DePalma to Clint Eastwood, have paid homage to classic directors and classic films in their works by replicating bits of scenes and/or shots, but 99% of the time it's done in an admirable and even affectionate way. From what can be seen in the trailer for "Let Me In", this isn't so, and just comes off as a quick way to take something good, and water it down for American audiences to digest, as vampire flicks these days are all the rage, and here's another way for a studio (in this case Icon) to cash in.

At this point I would say that I may be alone in my feelings about "Let Me In", but I know for a fact that I'm not. Every person I've spoken with about "Let the Right One In" being remade feels the exact same way, and that isn't an overreactive statement on my part either. Granted that tons of great foreign films get Americanized remakes and have for quite some time now. Some you may be shocked to know that "Reservoir Dogs", "Desperado", "The Departed", and "Inglourious Basterds" among others are Americanized remakes, but for the most part they have many factors that are similar to the originals from which they are based, while also managing to do something different in the process. One can tell already just from the trailer alone that "Let Me In" isn't along those lines.

You may think I'm overreacting, you may think that "you shouldn't judge a book by its cover" or "the trailer looks interesting", which I would agree with had I never heard of the original film or seen it. However, I remember seeing trailers for flicks like "Terminator: Salvation" and "Diary of the Dead" which looked awesome, and turned out to be big steaming piles of horseshit. If I'm wrong about "Let Me In" being any different from being a steaming pile of shit, then I'm wrong and we can all chalk it up to me being too much of a film geek/snob, but if I'm right...well, that'll be something of a rarity won't it?

One thing we can all be certain about though, is that no matter what, nobody here is gonna sparkle"

That was a blog post I made a few months ago when the film was due to come out. Now let it be said that, as if you can’t already obviously fucking tell, is that I love the original “Let the Right One In”; it’s not only my favorite foreign horror film ever, but it may well be my favorite foreign film ever PERIOD. With that in mind, you can understand my severe reprehension about an Americanized remake that I felt for sure would kill any of the originality and ballsiness that made the original so goddamn good. Hell, I was sure that it would be awful…

…well folks, I was dead wrong.

“Let Me In” does so much justice to “Let the Right One In” that it’s almost nearly as brilliant a film. Director Matt Reeves was quoted as saying that he wanted to pay as much homage and do as much justice to the original that he could, and he succeeds mightily. The ballsy storytelling, the creeping death atmosphere, and the overall just plain fucked up love story between a bullied pre-teen boy and a centuries-old vampire forever trapped in the body of a 12 year old girl. And just like the original film, “Let Me In” is surprisingly touching and heart wrenching amidst all the blood-letting, and may very well be the best American remake of a foreign film in the history of fucking ever.

If you’ve never seen “Let Me In” but desire to do so, I suggest watching the original “Let the Right One In” first and foremost. It’s still the better film between the two, but make no mistake that the remake is a wonderful surprise in itself.

I was wrong, dead wrong. Do yourself a favor and put both films on your viewing list.

Uncensored "Revolution X" review for Sega-16...bitches.

Here is the uncut, unedited, and uncensored review for the pile of shit known as "Revolution X" for the Sega Genesis that I wrote for Sega-16. The link to the actual, kid-friendly review can be found here:

http://www.sega-16.com/review_page.php?id=712&title=Revolution X

Anyway, on to the review in all its nasty glory!


Publisher: Acclaim
Developer: Rage Software

“Remember, music is the weapon”

Music is the weapon my hairy Irish ass.

Legendary rock band Aerosmith has been kidnapped by a fascist organization that is hell-bent on destroying everything Aerosmith-related in their diabolical plot for global domination…or something. Naturally, it’s up to you to save the band and save the day.

Personally I think we’d all be better off if we just let the bad guys slaughter Aerosmith with extreme prejudice, but that wouldn’t make for much of a game now would it? Or…now that I think about it, that actually sounds like it would be a fun game…at least more fun than this 16-bit piece of shit.

Released in the waning days of the Genesis’ lifecycle, Revolution X is one of a number of Midway’s digitized light-gun shooters (like Area 51 and Maximum Force); the only difference being that this one features a big-name band lending their likenesses and music to the game. Sadly though, the Genesis just didn’t have what it takes in terms of tech to really do the arcade version of the game justice, and the port that we are left with here just feels overly sloppy. Aerosmith songs used for the game’s soundtrack sound so ungodly awful that you’ll mute your TV. Plus the digitized video between stages looks so badly pixilated that Steven Tyler resembles the Rocky Dennis kid from the movie Mask more so than anything else. Then again, these days you don’t need to play Revolution X to notice that, just tune in to upcoming episodes of American Idol (and if you do, there’s already no hope for you), but I digress.

The rest of the game’s graphics are decent enough to be fair considering all the loss in animation frames for the conversion from the arcade game to the Genesis, with some spots in the game looking just plain ugly as a result. Sound-wise, we are given a handful of Aerosmith songs between and during stages that can barely be deciphered as hits like “Dude Looks Like a Lady” and such, which can’t really be blamed too much on the game designers themselves, as the Genesis never really had that great of a sound-chip to begin with. In that respect, much like the game’s graphics, the soundtrack of Revolution X is basically a kind of affair where you’ve just got to take what you can get, or like I said before, go for the best option and just mute your TV.

The gameplay is so ungodly simplistic that it will not take you long to breeze through it. Besides your main weapon, you can also shoot CDs at enemies, which you’ll find in abundance. Yeah, that’s a good idea, kill people with Aerosmith CDs, otherwise known as, “death by Aerosmith” (I’m copyrighting that shit right there). There’s also a good deal of secrets and Easter eggs to locate throughout the game, including finding all five members of the band throughout different stages (which you’ll have to do in order to get the “good” ending of the game). Truth be told though, regardless of having Aerosmith be the featured attraction of the game, there really isn’t much here to hold your interest. Revolution X is enjoyable to a degree, but it doesn’t take long for its novelty to wear thin, and by the time it does, you won’t be anywhere close to completing the game. Granted that doesn’t necessarily take long, which may be a blessing in disguise.

Going back to the fact that you can locate and save the five members of the band, it should be noted that you have to shoot them in order to collect them. Yes that’s right, you must shoot each member of Aerosmith. In the first stage of the game, you can find Steven Tyler in a bathroom stall making out with a groupie. At this part of the game, I make it a point to get my cursor right over Tyler’s crotch and blast away. Yes sir, shooting Steven Tyler right in his wretched nut sack makes Revolution X worth playing in itself. Sadly though, as fun as that may sound, it doesn’t make the fact that you’re actually supposed to save these pricks any better.

Something else I also want to take the time to talk about here is the fact that Revolution X is incompatible with the Sega Menacer. Yes folks, you read that right, a light-gun game does not work with the console’s main light gun that the game was released on. Now Konami’s “Justifier” gun, which came packaged with Lethal Enforcers, doesn’t work with it either, but that really isn’t much of a surprise either. However, the fact that the game doesn’t work with the Menacer is a complete shock to me anyway, just for the fact that this is a fucking light-gun game we’re talking about here, and it doesn’t work with any kind of light-gun! What the fuck kind of shit is that? Granted that the Menacer wasn’t the best light-gun in its time, but the fact that the game doesn’t even offer the option is just plain unheard of.

All in all, the Genesis can do so much better in terms of light-gun shooters (the Lethal Enforcers games and T2:The Arcade Game come to mind) than what you’ll get with Revolution X. Also released on the SNES as well as the Playstation and Saturn, you’d be better off checking out either of the 32-bit versions to find a more polished product, but regardless of whichever console version you end up getting your hands on, you won’t stick around too long for this revolution to conclude, and in all honesty, you really shouldn’t to begin with.

Fucking Aerosmith.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Nick's Mea Culpa's

For my 50th blog edition, I've decided to take the time to admit some of my many faults. Over the years, I've done some screwy and just plain wrong things, and I would like to take the time to apologize to anyone and everyone involved for any shit I've done, and will more than likely do in the future, as well as apologize and admit to things I have been completely wrong about as well. In other words, here's a list of things that I can honestly take the time to say "my bad", I'm sorry, and things I was wrong about...or something along those lines anyway.

My mea culpa's for certain people and other various times:

That time I got drunk and pissed in your sink (this may apply to many)

When I said that Blake Griffin would never amount to being more than a benchwarmer in the NBA

When I thought the XBox 360 was cool

When I thought that Buckcherry would be just what the hard rock genre needed...oh how wrong I was

When I thought Rob Zombie re-making "Halloween" was a great idea

That time I was playing hockey and hit a kid between the legs with my stick and I told him I was just testing how secure his cup was

When I traded my non-functioning Playstation in towards a PS2 at EB Games and told them it worked fine

When I had beer farts and let one rip in a full subway car

When I put a cigarette out in a friend's beer and didn't tell him that I did, nor did he realize it until it was too late (was pretty hilarious though)

That time I said I'd pull out and totally didn't (for all it may concern)

That's all for now, more than likely there will be more to follow eventually...

...maybe :)