Saturday, April 30, 2011
Do we really need another Terminator movie? Did we need Terminator: Salvation? Christ almighty, we didn’t even need Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines when you think about it. Since the “governator” himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger is finding his term as Governor of California coming to an end (presumably right before the people of California line up to lynch him), he’s briefly spoken about getting back into action movies. Yes sir, the pushing 70-years old former action blockbuster star wants to get back in the saddle, and of course, why not start with the franchise that he’s most well-known for in the first place.
Yup, there’s going to be a Terminator 5, whether we want it or not.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love just about everything associated with the Terminator franchise. James Cameron’s first two films are among the most well-revered science-fiction/action films to ever see the light of day. Terminator 3 and Terminator: Salvation; not so much. The story should have rightfully ended with Terminator 2, which was always Cameron’s intention. However, when you think about the timeline of the Terminator flicks, you may be able to understand how the story can continue, even though it may cause your head to explode in the process. Human resistance leader John Connor only exists because his father, a soldier from the future, came back in time and nailed his mother. So in essence that causes a time paradox that seals the fate of the future. I really don’t want to talk about it at great length because discussing time-travel and future imperfects can cause some serious debate and head-fuckery, so maybe I’ll save all that for a later date.
From what’s been talked about with Terminator 5 so far is that the story will somehow involve a Terminator and/or John Connor traveling back in time to the present day shortly before Skynet takes over. But wait…didn’t Terminator 3 end with Connor and his future wife Kate hiding underground as Skynet started to take over? So are we going to have some kind of cross-over here? Is older John going to meet younger John? Is Arnold still going to be rocking biker leather? Is Christian Bale going to come back and scream at random people on the set?
These are the questions that inquiring Terminator fans want to know…you know, besides the obvious question…which is why do we need another fucking Terminator movie at all? Terminator: Salvation bombed and for all the good intentions it had, it was a failure in terms of keeping a franchise going, and even as a stand-alone sci-fi/actioner as well. Director Justin Lin, who has found franchise success with directing the last three Fast & The Furious movies, is attached to direct and has already met and spoken with Ah-nold about a Terminator 5 flick, so no matter what, the sequel is definitely on the horizon.
From a personal standpoint, my thoughts on Terminator 5 are none but my own. Back in 2003, I was so excited for Terminator 3 that I practically shit my pants in joy the first time I saw the trailer for it. In 2009, I generally looked forward to Terminator: Salvation because I thought it would be a fresh start for the series as it appeared that it would take things in brand new directions never thought before in any of the previous films. I was wrong about both of them in the end, so maybe you can understand why I personally don’t want another Terminator film doing more damage to the once highly-regarded franchise.
GET TO DA CHOPPA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Remember Judge Dredd? He's a legendary comic book character that infamously got a shitty movie adaptation in the 90s with Sylvester Stallone in the title role. Naturally, there was a video game tie-in to coincide with the film release, and just like the movie, the game sucked ass. You can read the entire original review I wrote for Sega-16 here:
In the meantime, here's the full-on uncut & unedited review for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
Judge Dredd (1995) Published by Acclaim Developed by Probe
Why did I do this to myself? Why did I waste so much of my childhood on shitty comic book character-based video games during the 16-bit era? Reflecting back on that time, I can’t honestly say it was time well spent (to say it lightly), with shit-fests like Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Wolverine: Adamantium Rage, Justice League Task Force, Batman Forever, and more besides hitting my Genesis just based on the fact that they starred the comic book characters I loved so much. They also have something else in common too, they were all published by Acclaim; the now defunct publisher responsible for bringing a number of licensed video game tie-in’s to video game form. Judge Dredd is one such game, and like the ones I just mentioned above, it’s pretty fucking wretched.
If you’re sitting there thinking to yourself, “who the hell is Judge Dredd?”, then flash back to 1995, because just about everyone else in the country was asking themselves the same thing. Judge Dredd is a surprisingly legendary comic character made famous by starring in the long running British comic book series “2000 AD”; a comic series that has seen great comic book talents like Alan Moore and Grant Morrison tackle the character. American film rights were purchased (it was originally planned as a vehicle for Arnold “GET TO DA CHOPPA!” Schwarzenegger) and eventually it wound up starring Sylvester Stallone in the title role instead. The film itself was practically universally panned by audiences, fans of the source material or not, and because Acclaim could not leave any stone unturned in terms of video game cash-ins, here we are with Judge Dredd.
Now, finally on to the game itself, Judge Dredd puts you in the role of the tough-guy super cop, as he traverses various hazards of the Cursed Earth taking on all sorts of generic baddies and scumbag criminals. That in a nutshell is the overall gameplay, or rather, lack thereof. Walk right, shoot bad guys, rinse and repeat. There are a few weapon upgrades, and you do have the option to actually apprehend and arrest some perps that surrender, but that in itself proves to be kind of challenging thanks to the wonky and unresponsive controls. Even if the controls weren’t so ungodly, it wouldn’t help the fact that the overall gameplay just isn’t any fun. It’s boring and monotonous, and by the time you actually manage to make a perp surrender, you end up shooting them accidentally because your gun is on permanent rapid-fire and you end up losing some health over it. Why does it have to fucking be like that in the first goddamn place? So make that boring, monotonous, and frustrating to boot.
The graphics aren’t anything special, and in all honesty appear to be a little too darkly rendered. Seriously, sometimes it actually becomes pretty difficult to see what all is happening on the screen. I understand that the environment is pretty much a barren wasteland, but come on now, somebody turn on the lights here. This becomes increasingly noticeable once you beat the movie-based levels and reach the areas that are actually based on the “2000 AD” comic and face-off against the Dark Judges on Deadworld. Like I said before, I know this is a post-apocalyptic setting and all that, but at some points in the game it just gets plain goddamn ridiculous.
While keeping the later post-movie levels in mind, the Deadworld stages are worth the price of admission here. They are actually decently designed and pay a nice homage to the actual source material (i.e. not the shit-fest of a film) with the Dark Judges looking appropriately wicked. That being said though, the boss fights in the game as a whole are woefully unforgiving and cheap. There’s no strategy to any of them, just kill them before they kill you. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad if the game offered a bit more variety than the tiresome bore it winds up being, but the end result is just a miserable endeavor.
The game features a password system, which is a plus because Judge Dredd is a pretty challenging game. There are enemies aplenty and it doesn’t take too many hits to gnaw away at your health either, but this isn’t made any better thanks to the game’s shortcomings in terms of control responsiveness and basic overall gameplay. With all that being said, once you run out of lives and its game over, you’ll be too bored and underwhelmed to even bother punching in the password characters to pick up where you left off.
Looking back on the Judge Dredd character, he’s actually gotten a surprising number of video game adaptations on later consoles as well as the PC. Sadly, none of them have been anything remotely better than anything tolerable. It’s a shame really, because Judge Dredd as a character remains one of the most intimidating and unapologetic tough guy, bad ass motherfucker characters to ever be seen in the pages of a comic book, and he deserves a capable video game treatment that would rightfully do him justice. Come to think of it, he kind of deserves a proper film treatment as well. Wait, what? There is a brand new movie called Dredd on the horizon starring Karl Urban? Will it be any good? Could it be any worse than the Stallone version? Who knows? One thing is for sure though, if there’s a video game adaptation of it, Acclaim isn’t around to make it. That in itself is one thing that we should all be thankful for.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
I know it's been a while since I've blogged here, but things have been unusally busy and hectic on my end for the past few weeks. That being said, I hope to be posting again in a more consistent frame of time, so in the meantime, here's a list of various people who in my humble opinion deserve to get AIDS.
Why you ask? Because they're either scumbags, or they just annoy the holy living shit out of me. Enjoy!
People who deserve to get AIDS:
Tiger Woods (he probably already has it)
The assholes trying to remake "The Crow"
Lindsay Lohan (she probably already has it too)
Timothy Patrick Snyder (he knows why)
Charlie Sheen (you knew you saw that shit coming)
Kanye West (because all he does is annoy the shit out of me anymore)
The Student Loan Association
...that's all for now folks! See y'all soon!
Friday, April 8, 2011
Ever hear of a game called "Rings of Power"? Didn't think so. You haven't really missed much, although it is pretty infamous in the 16-bit gaming community for the topless girl easter egg. Yeah, you read that right. Anyway, you can check out the edited review I wrote for Sega-16 here:
http://www.sega-16.com/review_page.php?id=714&title=Rings of Power
In the meantime, here's the uncut & uncensored take on "Rings of Power", 16-bit boobs and all...
Rings of Power (1991)
Published by Electronic Arts Developed by Naughty Dog
Before Naughty Dog achieved massive industry fame for developing Crash Bandicoot on the original Playstation, and before Electronic Arts became the mega-conglomerate-esque publisher they are known for being today; the two teamed up to bring us the RPG dirge Rings of Power. Yes, you shouldn’t be surprised that you’ve never heard of this game. No, it isn’t a “lost gem” of sorts to discover in the Genesis/Mega Drive’s library, nor is it a complete turd of a game either, but saying that it is one of the more challenging RPG’s in the 16-bit classic console’s library may be a bit of an understatement believe it or not.
Back in the day (specifically the early 90s), Electronic Arts ported a number of their PC games to the Genesis, with Rings of Power being one of those games. Taking place on an isometric viewpoint, you play a young sorcerer named Buc (who, presumably, likes to fuck) who is on a holy mission to find the eleven rings of power and transform them into the divine and powerful tool known as the “Rod of Creation” (insert dirty joke here, giggity) in an effort to destroy the evil one known only as Void. With the game’s story background in mind, does anything mentioned here sound familiar at all? Well it should, even back in 1991 before Peter Jackson brought the world of J.R.R. Tolkien to the big screen, gamers and critics alike cited Rings of Power’s uncanny resemblance in terms of story to the Lord of the Rings universe. Other than that though, the game’s story, or rather lack thereof, is pretty inconsequential to the game itself.
Gameplay-wise, Rings of Power is one tough shit nugget to crack. So much in the game is so open-ended here that you will lose track of what you’re doing and where you’re going VERY quickly. Add to that the ton of side-quests and events to partake in, and you’ve got yourself a surprisingly deep Genesis RPG. In fact, Rings of Power may be one of the deepest Genesis RPG’s in the system’s library that isn’t named Phantasy Star or Shining Force. That being said, the in-game map is practically useless considering the fact that it neglects to show you any marked locations, and there are really no prompts to give you any idea about what you’re supposed to do next or where to go next, which makes it really easy to get yourself lost, and above all, incredibly frustrated and feeling like you’re not going anywhere in the game. There was an actual paper map that was made available to purchase shortly after the game was released, and it is an essential item to have if you have the guts to embark on this journey. In other words, get your ass over to Ebay if you have any hope of getting through this game.
Graphically speaking, saying that Rings of Power hasn’t aged all that well is saying it lightly. Even though this is a relatively early 16-bit RPG that attempts to pack a ton of ambition into a Genesis cartridge, the graphical drawbacks really aren’t that much of a surprise to be honest. Still though, later RPG’s to come in the Genesis’ lifecycle like Landstalker and Light Crusader which utilizes an isometric point of view and similar graphics engine managed to do things much better and smoother than Rings of Power does. The game’s music is a somewhat typical mish-mash of 16-bit drivel, and needless to say isn’t anything to write home about in the least.
It should also be noted that the game moves a bit slowly. Well, on second thought, Rings of Power moves VERY fucking slowly. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re walking around in fields made of molasses, which really makes the overall experience not just feel like you’re not getting anywhere, but that you’re going nowhere at a snail’s pace. This may very well be the most glaring flaw of the game, and is what truly makes it or breaks it in terms of the gamer enjoying it. In that case, calling this a bit of a “niche” game for patient RPG’ers really is an understatement.
On a side note, Rings of Power also has a bit of infamy to it, and it has nothing to do with painfully slow gameplay or confusing quest layouts. Mentioned a few weeks ago in a “Lists of Fury” article highlighting the top ten Easter eggs in various Genesis games, number one wound up being the fact that there is a topless girl in Rings of Power. Yes sir, there is a topless girl to be found in the game by holding Down plus the A, B, C, and START buttons on the second controller, and then resetting the console. Next thing you know, there’s a topless blonde chick on your screen in all her 16-bit glory, accompanied by a dog barking in the background. Immature and maybe a bit sexist? Yes it is, but it’s also one of the funniest things ever seen in the 16-bit video game era…and also one of the most fucking random things in the history of fucking ever.
All in all, Rings of Power on the Genesis certainly isn’t the worst RPG you’ll play on the system, but I cannot stress enough just how challenging it is. Even to this day, the game is a pain to traverse through, let alone know what the heck you’re doing. That actually is part of its appeal though believe it or not, as it kind of separated the men from the boys in terms of gamers. Remember, Rings of Power came out before strategy guides and internet tips were the norm like they are today. Back then, you had to rely on your wits and even some ingenuity to find any kind of success with Rings of Power, and even today where it’s incredibly easy to get tips on any vintage video game, somehow this game still proves to be a very challenging, albeit cumbersome and even a bit unfair, take on the RPG genre. With all that being said proceed with caution before you take on this quest. And oh yeah, there’s 16-bit BEWBS!!!
Friday, April 1, 2011
Here's the uncut & uncensored review for the piece of dung known as "Wolverine: Adamantium Rage" for the Genesis. The edited review written for Sega-16 can be found here:
http://www.sega-16.com/review_page.php?id=981&title=Wolverine: Adamantium Rage
Anyway, here's the full-on uncut & uncooked review, enjoy!
Wolverine: Adamantium Rage (1994)
Published by Acclaim Developed by Teeny Weeny Games/Marvel Software
Marvel’s mutant poster child has had some dubious appearances in video game cartridge form to say the least. LJN was behind Wolverine’s solo outing and his appearance with his fellow X-Men on the two abysmal NES titles, while he also managed to appear in two great side-scrolling X-Men games for the Genesis. Somewhere in the middle of all that falls Wolverine: Adamantium Rage, which finds Wolverine trying to piece together elements of his mysterious past while facing a handful of his own arch-villains in the process. The end result here however is something that may find you pulling your own hair out in frustration and possibly disgust, so strap yourselves in folks; we’ve got yet another unbelievably shitty comic book character-licensed game from the fuckwads at Acclaim.
The game picks up with Wolverine punching, slashing, and brawling his way through various multi-tiered stages, all of which typically end with a boss fight. Such a set up is pretty much standard in the world of video games regardless of the era, but how Wolverine: Adamantium Rage presents this is nothing short of patience-draining. The stages themselves are victims of sloppy level design, leading to constant backtracking and nigh-impossible jumps to make as well. I’ve heard some refer to this game as being a bit Metroid-ish in terms of level design, but while Nintendo’s long running franchise has always been challenging, no Metroid game I’ve ever played has come close to being as frustrating as Wolverine is. Also take note that this is possibly the only time the words Metroid and Acclaim have ever been used in the same discussion. That shit won’t ever happen again in the history of ever, I assure you.
If the overly sloppy and frustrating stage design isn’t enough, Wolverine is a pretty tough game to boot. You don’t have much in terms of health since enemies can drain you pretty quickly, yet they usually take a few good hits from your adamantium claws to go down for good. You can heal yourself however by chilling out for a bit, but you can’t afford to sit and wait to get back to 100 percent health for long though considering you’re on a time limit too. That’s right folks, forget about taking a breather to let your health recharge, you’ve got to get this level beat and you’ve got to do it right the fuck right now, you can’t afford to fuck around. This also kind of kills any ideas of exploring the various levels, not like you’d really want to though, considering that you’d be lucky to navigate yourself through any given stage without having to do any excessive amount of backtracking. There’s occasional puzzle-solving to do too, but combined with the cruddy level design it makes the game feel much less like the action platformer that one would think it would be when looking at the game’s case.
Graphically speaking the game doesn’t look too bad. The animation style is very similar to Acclaim’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series which would be released the following year, and features somewhat similar platforming and jumping mechanics; i.e. annoying and practically fucking broken. The boss villain selection isn’t bad either considering that Wolverine only has so many solo villains to pick from. The ones you’d expect to see like Sabretooth and Lady Deathstrike are here, as are others like Cyber and Elsie-Dee, the latter of whom appears and kills Wolverine whenever the time limit expires. The boss battles themselves are very, very hard. In fact, I often feel like my hitting them is having no effect at all on them, but when they hit Wolverine, he loses nearly a quarter of his fucking health! Plus, why is Wolverine presented here as being so incredibly weak? Anyone who’s ever read an X-Men comic, watched an X-Men cartoon, or seen any of the X-Men movies knows that Wolverine is not someone to be taken lightly in terms of combat, he’s like Jules from “Pulp Fiction”, he’s a bad motherfucker. Here he just comes off as close to a fucking little pussy. His attacks look cool, but that doesn’t help when you’re constantly getting your ass handed to you by look-alike droids and having your head shoved up your ass sideways by a douche bag Wolverine look-alike cyborg named Albert.
To close things out here, Wolverine: Adamantium Rage certainly isn’t the worst game to star or feature Marvel’s merry mutant. While it looks pretty good on the surface, its design flaws are what kills the game from being anything close to as enjoyable as it could and should have been. There’s nothing wrong with a good challenge, but what Wolverine offers is so cheap and unforgiving that you’ll probably toss your controller, system, and cartridge against the wall in frustration before you even attempt to take on the game’s first boss. If you want a video game that treats Wolverine right, you’d better look elsewhere, because this piece of shit sure isn’t it.