Saturday, June 27, 2009

Negative Comments about Michael Jackson

I have seen a lot of negative comments about Michael Jackson, and this video I found on YouTube says all I have wanted to say.

Classic Movie Review: Space Jam

By classic review I mean the movie is old, I wouldn't go as far to say its a classic movie wise. It IS one of the most watched movies from my childhood, but as i've gotten older I had to go back and watch this movie. So how does Space Jam stand up to today's standards? It's a guilty pleasure.

I have to say for a movie advertising the Looney Tunes and Michael Jordan, there's a lot more Michael Jordan than cartoons for about 20-30 minutes of the movie before you really see the Looney Tunes.

I blame the writers for a lot of this movie's problems, first of all you have four writers. Usually movie's don't exceed two writers, and when they do it signifies how rushed this idea of a movie was. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen had three writers because they had to write up the script before the writers strike. But four! thats ridiculous, It highlights the fact that this movie was actually made to be like a commercial bonanza like "The Wizard" was for Nintendo.

Anyway enough about that, the live action parts of this movie are pretty boring for most of the time and also a bit pretentious. I mean really, if you're including the Looney Tunes don't bore us with an autobiography of Michael Jordan that people who care about him already know. This actually ages the movie somewhat and I gotta say the live action elements are boring, I just wait till the Looney Tunes come back on.

Speaking of which, Bill Murray was terrible in this movie because he was thrown in so randomly. But funny enough, I entertain myself with the idea of Bill Murray being lead in this film instead of Michael Jordan. Entertaining concept to say the least, but man the director didn't know what he was doing. Which is understandable since Joe Pytka hasn't made a movie before or after this.

Okay I have beaten this movie to death, now let me say what I like about this movie. Good Animation, I kind of liked they added Lola Bunny. I'm a sucker for love interests, and I appreciate a closure to the persistent talk that Bugs Bunny was gay. I can't stand those kind of conversations, and they did happen after Bugs was in that opera spoof with Elmer Fudd. And while the animation scenes aren't as funny as the real stuff from long ago, they are light years more charming to watch than most of the live action parts. And even though we know R. Kelly is a perverted A-hole, his "I Believe I can Fly" song in this movie is inspiring and made his debut to the world.

So is this a movie people should see, yes I actually say people should see this. Looney Tunes appeal to kids, basketball to adults, Bill Murray to everyone else.

But to be truthful I give this movie a 2 out of 5, you could be watching worse stuff though.

Aaron’s Retro Reviews: Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker

Hey everyone, it’s Aaron again. Now I hadn’t intended on doing one of these Retro Reviews so quickly, and I also hadn’t intended on doing this game. However, in light of the recent events as most of are well aware of and is even reported on this site, the King of Pop is dead. I could make jokes at his expense, but I chose to do a sort of tribute by playing and reviewing this game, because I think we can all agree Jackson’s music was awesome. That being said I will be totally honest, I’m not going to sugar coat a game if it’s really abysmal. But enough preface, let’s get reviewing “Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker” for the Sega Genesis.

In 1988 during Jackson’s glory days he released a film called “Moonwalker” which was actually a series of music videos on tape. One in particular was the extended video for “Smooth Criminal”, in which Michael plays the role of a benevolent gangster? Who fights other gangsters to save children? Apparently Jackson, while playing guardian to some waifish orphans stumbles upon the Lair of one Mr. Big, who wants to get people addicted to drugs on a global scale starting with children. Michael and a child are discovered overhearing this plot and so Mr. Big has to rub them out. Mr. Big attacks Jackson at his abode, but is eluded when Jackson evokes his magical shooting star powers and turns into a car….yes.., I’m serious. After a chase sequence he arrives at club 30 to meet the children and busts out smooth criminal. After the club scene Mr. Big gets a hold of the little waif girl and Jackson goes to save her. When Jackson is captured, Big threatens to inject her with narcotics but she wriggles loose and so Big decides to waste them both. It is then…sigh…I can’t believe I am writing this…He transforms into a giant robot. Yes…Yes…I know…look it up on youtube, you can’t make this stuff up, and this is coming from someone who’s job it is to make stuff up. Anyway, Mr. Big is defeated in his mountain fortress by Jackson who then turns into an aircraft and the kids are saved.

So Mobile suit Jackson saved the day and defeated Mr. Big, who was played be Joe Pesci (funny guy, loved him in home alone). Then time went on and one would think a plot like this would never see the light of day again…but when Michael took an interest in video gaming the video reappeared in a way similar to herpes, and in 1990 the video game version of this video hit arcades and console across the globe. Anyway, let us begin the analyzation. Moonwalker’s controls are well…like it sounds…about as strange as walking on the moon. There’s a button for simple jumps, a button for you basic attacks, and then…-_- the magic button. The basic attacks consist of kicking and punching? Casting out sparkles. But a strangely redeeming factor is the magic attacks. Charging up slightly will allow mini-mike to fire off his hat and make people explode which is nothing too impressive. But the fun comes when you charge it for a certain amount of time, which causes Mike to unleash his dance attack. This move causes every enemy on screen to bust out dancing to a Michael Jackson tune, with mike leading. After the dance most of the enemies drop dead. It’s a sight I find never gets old.

The game follows the plot of the video for the most part…even most of the “zones” reflect places in the video. You begin at club 30, make your way through the streets, the forest (actually a graveyard), the caverns, and finally Big Boss…erhem…Mr. Big’s lair of drug induced doom. The stages are sort of bland but it was the very early 90’s, many games were blandly isometric. But the music is really good, because it’s essentially Mikes greatest hits in Midi form, so if you like his music you’ll enjoy the tunage. The only things that liven up the game play aside from bustin’ out enemy break dancing fests, are occasionally you run into “shooting stars” which turn Michael into a Fu…Effin Optimus Prime who is mostly unstoppable. The final level of the game is flying through space to finally defeat Mr. Big, and this is the worst level of all. To be honest I enjoyed the game, but this level was just shameful. You really can’t keep track of what’s coming at you, it’s clunky control wise and it leads to an ending that basically is nothing more than” Congratulations”.

So all in all, I actually enjoyed the game…but it’s really more fun for a run through of the first few levels, especially when you dance attack some zombies and re-enact thriller. But it’s not worth completing really, the King of Pop was a great musician…but his creative writing needs…needed a little work. But was this Michaels last dabble in the world of video games? It is now widely rumored that he worked on the music for Sonic 3 but was removed from the project due to the arising of certain allegations and court cases that got Jackson in some hot water. After that to my knowledge that was the end of Mike’s short lived career in the world of the vidya. As for the way his life went after that…well I have no comment, but I will say…remember the good times. Remember the good stuff Michael did…and I will say this game was generally something worth remembering because it was really far out there and weird, and actually sort of fun. So, goodnight strange almost alien to us king of Pop, may you rest in piece, your legacy is preserved.

P.S. Here’s a link to the high rez Sparkster pic, just incase anyone wanted to see the detail. So until next time, goodbye, see you next time Retro gamers!

Hi-Rez Sparkster

Friday, June 26, 2009

Killzone 2 Review

Killzone 2 had some big shoes to fill when it came out. Between all of the trailers we've seen up til then, and the infamous pre-rendered trailer from 2005, people were expecting that world and more from the game. Putting all that aside, let's take a look at the game as it is, for what it is, and put aside all of the hype surrounding it.

Graphically, the game is amazing, if you go back and take a close look at the 2005 trailer then you'll most likely agree with me when I say the final game looks even better! Not only are the textures insanely high-res, not only do the models have near perfect bump mapping, not only is the lighting amazing, but we also have great animation. Characters move realistically, flags blow and sway in the wind, facial expressions are done with such pristine quality that you can see the ripples of flesh moving on their face. If there is ever a prettier game than this, then let that game be called the best looking game, but for now, Killzone 2 holds the title.

In terms of gameplay, it's pretty much your standard First-Person shooter fare, you run, take cover, pop out, shoot someone in the head, go back in cover, rinse, repeat. The controls seemed a little awkward at first, and they definitely take some getting used to, but once you do, it's all good. The gameplay is really amplified just by how nice everything looks, it creates a great sense of atmosphere, and the game does a great job of making you feel like you're actually there.

The story is pretty basic, you go here, shoot some dudes, go there, shoot some bigger dudes, go somewhere else, blow up a tank, get on a turret, shoot some more dudes... basically, it's your standard First-Person shooter fare. However, it definitely benefits from the well done presentation and the intoxicating atmosphere of the game. They do try and make the story as compelling as possible, but the characters are pretty forgettable. Later on in the game, some big events happen that they want you to care about, but you end up just being like "whatever, I'm just gonna shoot some more dudes". Overall, though, I enjoyed the single player for what it was, and it definitely didn't come off as a bad story, and it even had a solid ending to it, but the best part of it wasn't the cutscenes, it was the action. When your commander radios in and tells you some Helghast are coming your way, and then they all come out after you, it's always really cool, and pretty intense.

The multiplayer component is no slacker either, and is probobly my favorite part of the game. Each room can support up to 32 players, and all of the maps are just the right size so you feel not too close to each other, but not too spaced out either. After each match, you rank up. Staring at the lowest rank and working your way up, earning different badges for doing specific things, like a certain number of melee kills, or a certain number of headshots. The whole thing feels very much like Call of Duty 4's online play, but there's more to it than that. Each multiplayer game has a few different modes that it will switch through, and depending on what happens in one mode, it will tie it in with what the next mode will be... for example, both sides are trying to place propaganda speakers on the other team's side, depending on who wins the round, the mode will switch to seek and destroy, and one team will destroy the propaganda speakers that were placed in the last game. This all happens in a single game, without taking any round breaks or anything like that. Also, after ranking up enough you begin to unlock new abilities, like a medic gun, or a cloaking device, or even a saboteur ability, allowing you to disguise yourself as the other team. This gives the online some more depth, and makes it feel a little bit like Team Fortress. This is all topped off by a complete lack of lag, and graphics that match the single-player campaign.

Overall, Killzone 2 is an amazing game with stunning visuals, intense action, compelling multiplayer, and is definitely something any PS3 owner should pick up.

I give Killzone 2, a 5 out of 5.

1 vs. 100 Completely Free Over the Weekend

For anybody who has a Silver Xbox LIVE account out there, and were worried you'd never get a chance to play 1 vs. 100, worry no more!

Starting today on Friday, and going until Sunday, 1 vs. 100 will be available to all Xbox LIVE members, Gold or Silver. So, if you haven't had a chance to play the game yet, or you want to get a friend in there with a headset who doesn't have a gold account, then go for it, man!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson is dead?!

Even with speculation everywhere on how official the news is, the pop star is apparently dead.When I heard it on the news it was cardiac arrest, and then I read later on that he was unconscious in his house.

It wasn't surprising this would happen, Michael's times under the knife to go white would obviously affect his health. The criticism from people probably didn't help either, but the guy was only 50 years old. Too young by my standards, could it have been due to his attempts to go on a comeback tour?

I don't know, but it seems to be becoming official and the world is in an uproar. And even though there are many fans, there are people like me who thought less of him. When we find out what happened to him, then we might understand why he died.

Not only was this guy going on a comeback tour, he was also going to have a new video game coming out too! I guess the pressure he had from people remembering the cases with children and his abnormal transformation got the best of MJ. It probably would have been better if he sat back, he was in pretty deep financial trouble too. Even though it was his own fault, it's sad that talent like he had is gone now.

Depressing that in the last 2 days Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and now Michael Jackson have left the world. This is truly a new generation we are heading into where the legends of yesterday take their leave :(

Mom cancels WoW account

Do you ever feel gaming is very important to you, and that losing it will drive you insane. WELL THEN YOU'RE EMO NEXT TO THIS NUT XD

Budget Movie Review: Little Mad Guy

Hey everybody, this is a first of many reviews that I'll be doing. The purpose of these reviews is to take a look at a budget movie, something that you might find on one of those $1 dvds, and let you guys know if it's any good or not. Most of these will probobly be old martial arts movies, or crappy old slasher flicks, and most will probobly fall under the one or two star range, but I might be surprised by one of them someday. Without any further adieu, let's get into our first review:

Little Mad Guy is a martial arts movie about a young man who's pretty immature, and he practices frog style kung fu, he meets up with his uncle, master Ma, who practices snake style kung fu, and he tries to steal his horse. Later on, another snake style user disguises himself as master Ma, and at this point, we find out Ma is a lawman. The person disguised as Ma has an innocent man get arrested, and it's up to little mad guy to save the day with his frog style kung fu.

Honestly, the story is just so bad, and it's just thrown on top of all of the martial arts, so you'd think that the martial arts in it would have to be good, right? Well, most of the scenes don't... In fact, some scenes used sped-up footage in order to make it look like the fighters are moving faster. This isn't done well, and it comes off looking really cheesy.

The movie also tries to be more than just your average martial arts movie too, by incorporating some comedy elements into it. However, the movie is only funny for about the first 10 or 15 minutes, and then it just gets way too serious. Seriousness would be fine for most martial arts movies, but as I said before, the martial arts in most scenes are just so horrible, that it's hard to take anything seriously, so the movie ends up becoming boring and hard to watch. I will say, however, that the final scene does kick it up a notch, and has a nicely choreographed fight scene. I just wish they put more time and effort into the rest of the fight scenes, instead of trying to be funny.

I watched the English Dub, and I must say, all of the voices are really badly done... this is typical of most martial arts movies, and it comes as no surprise, but it doesn't make the movie any better, either. The best voice actor would probobly be the guy who plays master Ma, and that's not saying much.

Overall, Little Mad Guy has a good ending scene, and a few parts in the beginning that are actually funny. The entire middle section of the movie just drags on and on, and is really hard to watch! I can't recommend this movie to watch in whole to anybody, but if you want to turn on the final scene, or watch the beginning, go right ahead. just don't pay more than $1 buck for it.

I give Little Mad Guy 2 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Id Software and Bethesda Join Forces!

For those of you who haven't heard, or aren't very good at reading titles, Id Software and Bethesda have just joined forces this morning. Well, not exactly, Id was aquired by Zenimax Media, the company that also owns Bethesda.

John Carmack, the co-founder of Id had this to say:
"The teams are very much separate, There is a lot of mutual respect there. There's going to be a lot of communication and cross-pollination. I doubt there's going to be any technology shifts between the two companies, but there's certainly going to be cooperation. And I wouldn't be shocked to see some hints of different things crossing over in different ways. That's just the kind of stuff when you have lots of people who think everybody is working on cool stuff together."

So, will we eventually see a Fallout or Elder Scrolls game running on the, quite amazing, RAGE engine? Probobly not anytime soon, but it sounds like it's still possible in the future. Bethesda has always focused on gameplay before graphics, and makes huge open worlds. Id has always made kickass games, but they're always very liner and focused. I think it'd be interesting to see what comes out of a collaboration between the two companies. I'm hoping for a big open-world action RPG based on Doom. I guess we'll just have to wait and find out.

"Rock Band: Unplugged" Demo Impressions

So, a lot of you long-time listeners of the podcast might know that I'm a HUGE fan of Rock Band. That's not to say the others don't enjoy Rock Band either, but I tend to stay up-to date with what the latest DLC is and I post on the official forums every now and then, too. So, when Rock Band: Unplugged was announced, I was thinking it was gonna be a lot like Guitar Hero: On Tour for the DS, gimmicky and stupid. Well, that's partly true... but it's not like Harmonix didn't try.

I got my hands on the demo from the Playstations store, and the game is played much differently from the console versions of Rock Band. It's played a lot more like Harmonix's earlier titles such as Frequency or Amplitude. There's 4 different tracks, one for guitar, one for bass, one for drums and one for vocals. On each track, there's 4 colored "notes" that you hit using left, up, triangle, and circle and to switch between the tracks, you use the L and R bumpers. This works pretty well for me, but they do have a few different preset options for some people who might have some trouble, as well as being able to set up your own custom controls.

Now, instead of picking an instrument and playing a track, you play all of the instruments at once! In order to do this, you play a section in one track perfectly and it locks itself in, then plays by itself for a little bit. While it's playing by itself, you can switch to another track and play a section there, lock that track in, rinse, repeat. The hit detection on the notes is fine, and I can play stuff pretty well, usually... but they expect you to play perfectly! The real problem with the game is that it's too easy to fail, miss one note in a section and you have to wait for the next section to come up, meanwhile, another track has stopped autoplaying itself, and you're still on a different track, trying to get it to autoplay itself. so you're missing four times the notes if you keep missing track sections.

The game does have a no fail mode in the extras menu, but turning that on takes all the fun out of the game, because there's no challenge. It'd be nice if the game had a balance between the two, because as it is currently, it's either play perfectly, or don't play at all. The game is a multitasking nightmare, and I'd only recommend it to people who are REALLY good at rhythm games.

James Cameron's Avatar showing footage


I've heard about this movie for over a year or two, the guy is legendary and Avatar is supposed to be top of the line all CGI droolfest.

Well now he's decided to show 24 minutes of his movie at a Cinema Expo in Amsterdam.

First of all, I guarantee you someone will pirate this and show everyone. Or maybe Cameron will show it to everybody later on, but 24 minutes! Why, why not show a trailer?!

*the poster is dated incorrectly*

I really don't get this anymore, I understand it is to entice people to go see the movie. But 24 minutes is like showing half the movie regardless of the runtime, whats next?

I remember being able to watch 6 minutes of the Incredible Hulk when the footage came out, it was awesome and made me go see the movie. But just a day or two ago T.J. posted The Last Airbender trailer and went crazy because he wanted to avoid seeing it. Now fans of the movie are going to see the actual movie, 24 minutes of it, and they could hate it or wish it was the whole damn movie.

This practice of showing more than 5 minutes of a movie to entice people to watch it only feeds the piracy crazy and should be substituted by trailers. Those are cool, they're shorter, and they get you excited. Real movie footage only makes you obsessed.

24 minutes! I gotta say, I don't get it.

"Holy Invasion of Privacy Badman! What Did I Do to Deserve This?" Impressions

Hey everybody, Rob here, and just so you know, I'm not just rambling in the title to this post, that's actually the NAME of this game! It really is entitled "Holy Invasion of Privacy Badman! What Did I Do to Deserve This?", and it's for the PSP. For anybody who hasn't heard of this game, you're not alone. I just saw the debut trailer earlier, despite it being posted in May. Since then, I've got a chance to play the demo they've released in the Playstation Store.

So, let me tell you a bit about the game. Basically, you're the ever powerful god of destruction, who is apparently really into making stuff, much like how you're a god in games such as Sim City or Black & White. The twist is, you're making stuff for the side of evil, and you're trying to protect "Badman" who is the evil overlord of your dungeon. Now, this isn't the first time I've seen this concept, games like Dungeon Keeper and Evil Genius have both done similar things before. But, this game seems to have a nice little art style that I just can't get over... everything is so damn cute!

Now, the structure of the game seems to be similar to your typical tower defense game, however, it's a little different. You dig through your dungeon using a set amount of dig power, you make creatures by digging on special squares, and you try and make enough so the heroes that come into your dungeon get killed by them, and never get a chance to capture your overlord. The first stage has you kill one hero before you complete it, but eventually the trial there's two heroes coming after you, and they get healing spells, too. The overlord in the game even makes a small reference to the heroes being from a JRPG. The heroes even yell out Japanese phrases while they're fighting your monsters. It's these little things that make this game so appealing to me, all of the small little comedic touches spice it up and keep it from being dull. I don't know if I could play this game if it took itself super-seriously... thankfully, it doesn't.

At the end of each stage you get ranked on how quickly you beat it, how much dig power you have left, and how many creatures you had left in your army. Depending on these stats, you get a set amount of dig power for the next stage. You can also use your remaining dig power to upgrade your creatures, but this will lower your rank significantly. Also, there's a food-chain aspect in the game, where some creatures will eat other creatures in order to evolve into stronger creatures. It's a big balancing act of what kinds of creatures you should make, and how many, and it makes for some interesting gameplay.

Overall, I enjoyed the game, and it's definitely one I'd consider picking up, especially in this drought of good PSP games. If you're interested, definitely check out the demo in the Playstation Store, and Look for Holy Invasion of Privacy Badman! What Did I Do to Deserve This? on store shelves July 14th, 2009.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Geesquisite Gaming Diary 6/23/09

Decided I should do one of these since I haven't since E3. I talk about some tech issues I've been having and talk a little bit about Bionic Commando and Ghostbusters. Enjoy

Howl's Moving Castle Review (english dub)

It's hard for me to put my feelings of this movie into words, it's a surreal animated movie experience. I have to say i'm laughing at the fact that they put Christian Bale as Howl's voice for the Dub, and yet he did okay for the times he did talk. Howl isn't exactly central, he's more of a symbol of everyone else's progress in the meaning of their lives.

Since this is my first Miyazaki film I have watched I need time to understand his style, Pixar swears by this guy for their movie inspirations. Well, I have to say this movie runs a little too subtly, there isn't a motivational premise for the characters in this film. It's more in the department of closure for everyone around Howl, and also concentrates on an upcoming war.

For me the idea of war with magicians was a depressing possibility and goes with the anti war statement of the film. But it made for an interesting experience even though there may be some noted differences in the English Dub than persay the Subbed original. But since Pixar's Pete Doctor had a hand in translating the movie, I am not so concerned with possible changes that may have occurred with this dub.

So is this a good Miyazaki film? well not quite as the English Dub suggests, but of course if you are interested in this movie I suggest seeing a subtitled original version of it. I did like it, but it didn't stick for me. The animation on some of the "different" characters were weird, but seeing as i'm new to Miyazaki's material perhaps it will grow on me.

So for what is genuine Miyazaki material and what is improvizational dub, it definitely is a nice movie. I have heard Miyazaki has gone back to full traditional 2D from using a little CGI cell shading, something I noticed in Howl's Moving Castle. Good, because 2D animation is a serious medium that needs to be preserved.

Aaron’s Retro Reviews: Rocket Knight Adventures

Hello, I’m Aaron. You may remember me as one of the hosts of the last few podcast’s you’ve listened too. Well, from time to time I’ll also be reviewing some classic early Nineties video games. For what reason…well, hell its fun, and you may learn about a

Few overlooked games from the era, as well as a selection of fan favorites and flops.

So without further ado, let’s get reviewing with this post’s game; Rocket Knight Adventures.

In the late 80’s Nintendo’s Mario pulled video games out of the depression, and became a figurehead to one of the most famous and recognizable franchises in the world. Everyone knows who Mario is just by merely seeing a picture of him. Naturally in order to compete, Sega created their own mascot franchise, know as the Sonic the hedgehog series. Sonic was edgy, cool, and fast unlike the slow bumbling plumber and this lead to Nintendo and Sega’s heated rivalry during the 90’s. With sonic moving unit’s the way he was other companies wanted to created their own cool, edgy animal to bring in the big bucks. Many of them tried and failed, and most of those mascot attempts faded into obscurity. However, there is a character though overlooked that really may have given Sega’s cash-hog a run for his money; and that character is Sparkster from the Konami Classic “Rocket Knight Adventures”.

Rocket Knight Adventures came out in 1993 to little fanfare or notoriety, and was Konami’s toss into animal character ring. However, an immediate difference from other companies was that Sparkster was not designed so edgy; he was actually sort of cute. Sparkster is a possum…well maybe a mutant possum or something, most possums look horrifying. I digress, he’s not just a possum, he’s a knight in a kingdom of other Possum creatures. But that’s not the selling point, the catch is that he’s a “Rocket Knight”, basically he’s got a rocket booster on his back. So what’s so cool about that you may ask yourself? And I may ask “What’s wrong with you!?” Let me put this in perspective for you, picture a knight. Now this knight has a sword and thick armor, so he’s pretty powerful right? Well picture that same knight coming at you at 120 miles per hour. If you don’t think that’s a crazy concept, I don’t know what is. Anyway, Sparkster lives in a peaceful kingdom of medieval/mildly technological possums. One day this army of Pig creatures with vastly superior technology show up and invade the kingdom, and not only that, but Sparkster’s rival, an Ex-communicated Rocket knight called Axel Gear (cool villain name) kidnaps the princess. (so now you have some sort of Mario/Sonic combined angle.) So Sparkster sets out to liberate the kingdom and save the princess…your usual gaming fare.

The game play is fairly straight forward, you can move around left and right, (mostly right) and can jump around, sort of like many plat forming characters from that time. But Sparkster has a sword, no jumping on or killing with fire pellets in this game. The sword can do better damage when making blade to enemy contact, but also can send out damaging sword waves? That can knock out most of the little enemies in one flick of the B button. But the greatest tool of all in Sparkster’s armory is the rocket pack. The pack can be charged at any time by holding down the attack buttons, and when released once the fuel gauge is full it sends Sparkster flying in which ever direction you’re holding. This is not only for getting around many obstacles in the game, but if you get creative you can use it against enemies and some crazy trick shots around the levels.

The level design is another nice feature of this game, not only visually but seemingly every level has a hook or neat little modification so that it plays different than the last. As you traverse the kingdom you see many surreal environments from a vibrant castle village, to a mirror like lava filled cavern, to a dingy industrial city and even outer space. Every environment plays differently, in some you’ll ride in a mine cart, hang from an airship, or fly through a city on an infinite rocket boost. The music in the game is quite catchy, so much so that if you a nerdy 90’s gamer like me, you will find some way to put it on your I-pod. The highlights of the levels are the bosses, which are practically dropped on you at every turn. From battle mechs, to robotic dragons, and even a mad pig computer thrown in for good measure. Even when you think you have defeated the last boss, well…I’m not going to spoil anything for you readers out there, play the damn game. Although…I did kind of blab it out on the podcast….never mind just play it anyway.

Sparkster did make enough money to warrant two sequels, one for the genesis and on for the SNES. Both titled “Sparkster” and released at the same time the two games are entirely different, but the design of the character Sparkster is changed to a more edgy appearance I assume in an effort to compete with Sonic. If you play RKA after reading this review and are looking for a recommendation as to which sequel to play next, I recommend the SNES version as it is more of a spiritual successor to RKA, the Genesis version has less of that charm. After these sequels Sparkster disappeared into obscurity, occasionally popping up in cameo’s in Konami games, and most recently he has made a true reappearance in NAMC: Track and Field as a playable character. But personally I would love to see a new full fledged RKA game, preferably for a handheld for splendid 2-D goodness. In the meantime I’ll have to make due and get my hands on a Sega nomad so I can play some RKA on the go…yes…it’s that addicting.

This is Aaron a.k.a Aaronthewolf, signing off till the next installment of “Aaron’s Retro Reviews”. Oh, and the picture included for this post I made personally…I think its pretty rad. I will eventually have a full rez at my art site...or something.

The Last Airbender Trailer

Look normally I don't post trailers until we do our trailers of the month at the end of each month. I had to let you guys see this though. I am admitting right now I haven't seen it yet. I am gonna wait because it's going to be in front of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I would like to see it for the first time in Imax this week so I'll wait.

Last Airbender is directed by M. Night Shyamalan and is about the story of Aang the Avatar and the characters around him that become is family and enemies. It is based on the popular cartoon series that ran for 3 seasons on Nickelodeon. To me it's pretty much the best cartoon of the last 5 years. Enjoy or wait :). Discuss your thoughts in the comments.

Update: I didn't hold out I just watched it. DAM YOU WILL POWER

Monday, June 22, 2009

Game Review: Ghostbusters Co-Review

Ed's Review:

Ghostbusters hasn’t had a memorable game in quite some time, so when you get the original actors and minds involved with a game you hope for good things. This game did not disappoint.

The design of Ghostbusters is visually beautiful, for all the complaints by developers that the current systems are maxed out this game proves some of the potential the big developers are blind to. The open franchise that is Ghostbusters offers many different approaches that the developers took in terms of missons and the ghosts, nostalgia is clearly there with the original Ghostbusters sizing you up as their trainee. The games pretty creepy at times too, not on the Dead Space level, but when you have ghosts sprinting at you around corners, it gets pretty creepy. The Hotel had a pretty creepy moment, but the Library is probably the best level with its visuals, moments of creepiness, and puzzles. Yes I said puzzles, there are moments where you have to be inventive to get through the level.

A big element of this game is the controls, you’re a ghostbuster with a proton pack. So obviously catching ghosts should be a satisfying experience, it’s not like a shooter where you just shoot and the ghosts disappear. It’s an extreme tug of war to bring the ghosts in, it requires teamwork even with the A.I. to slam the ghosts down and put them in your trap. For me the control is good, it has some variety, and the health and pressure monitors on your proton pack turned out good. I thought having your health on the side of your pack would be hard to read during the hectic moments, I was surprised at how easy I got used to it.

There are other good things, good humor moments, the nostalgic characters and ghosts you meet. The missions are decent, the gameplay is good. So is there anything wrong with this game for me? Well, SOMETIMES the gameplay is repetitive but not too much. The Multiplayer is currently having connection issues, yet I haven’t had them. But I am really being nitpicky about this game when it comes to the negative elements. It’s about 6 to 7 hours of gameplay from start to finish on medium difficulty, I wish there was more. I guess that’s all I can say against this game, it’s going to be a classic game. But the multiplayer is not going to make it as replayable as say, Call of Duty 4, the developers did acknowledge lacking in that department. I’m glad they devoted their time to the fanbase cry for a true ghostbuster’s feel.

I give it a 4 out of 5

TJ's Review:

I think Ed did a solid job of explaining this game I wouldn't say it's classic however but definitely nostalgic. For me the game had a few peaks and valleys where the game was either fun or frustrating Luckily is was fun most of the time but not without it's faults.

I'd totally agree though with Ed that the visuals are pretty great. Especially the library level where the ghost world and our world collide. It was really refreshing to have a game come along that wasn't just varying shades of grey and brown. The levels are full of color and it really makes for an appealing game for the senses. The only thing that is a bit stale visually is some of the level design that seems a bit dated. I'm sure some of that comes from the fact this game should have been out a year ago. Overall though its very nice and the hud on the proton pack is nice although not as good as Dead Space's hud.

I've heard reports of some reviewers thinking the 360 controls for wrangling ghost get a little boring and tedious after a while. I can say that for me that never really was the case. I always had fun capturing goes from beginning to end and thought it was actually the best part of the game. The one thing this game does do perfect is giving you the ultimate experience of what it would be like to be a Ghostbuster and that is something that never gets old. The characters really made you feel at home like this really is a third story. All the performances were really good and while Bill Murray did seem a bit bored even he was better then most of the voice acting out there. A great atmosphere and characters can make a game go a long way.

Aside from the ghost catching and story the rest of the gameplay and design choices don't seem as well executed. Some of the navigation of levels can be a bit unclear at times. About twice in the game I came across places where I would walk in circles for 20 minutes before I figured out where to go next. Some of the weapons also seemed pretty useless and added in to give the illusion of depth. 90% of the game the default stream did the trick. I would definitely look forward to a sequel if the game sells well.

4 out of 5

Frustrating Gaming Moment: Zelda Phantom Hourglass

Yesterday while being with the family I killed time by playing with my DS, I popped in Zelda Phantom Hourglass at a certain point and restarted the game since I had gotten stuck while on the Ember Isle. There was this door I couldn't open, and yet there stood a clue saying blow out the flames to illuminate the path. No, I wasn't foolish enough not to realize it was talking about actually blowing out the flames. I was expecting it meant the volcano and not the tiny candles around the door, I searched the map for some device to use and found none for a while.

So while pondering what to do I watched the Angry Video Game Nerd's review on Transformers for the Famicom version of the Nintendo Entertainment System. And the Nerd happened to point out the microphone on the Famicom, using Zelda to point out it's use in gameplay. So after putting two and two together, I realized of course the DS has a microphone but did it have a use in my situation. If I could blow, I could probably blow the candles, "so were the candles like a lock" I thought.

I tried it and it worked. I rolled my eyes at how simple it was, but for a Zelda fan, This was the first game I touched. And since i'm not a fan of cheating, I didn't look online...yet. Kinda funny it took the Angry Video Game Nerd to realize what I had to do. FINALLY! I can continue the game. It's been great after that, but dang, amazing how groundbreaking it seemed despite the weird looks I got from my cousins. Well how would you react if you saw someone you know blowing at a DS in a way you would for birthday candles.

Ironic, Funny, Priceless.

Impressions on Beastly

On ET I finally had a look at some pics and sets for Beastly, and I have to say I felt a little embarassed. Pink text and focus on the women in the movie isn't exactly helping me be proud of the fact I read this book, it felt too feminine. And I have to say the book is not.

Basically its a story about a privileged teen getting what he deserves by changing his physical form to something people will fear. This teen, Kyle Kingsbury, must find a women who could love him as the beast he is and kiss him to remove the spell in just two years. Note: this is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast, not the Disney version but the original 1940's french film I have seen a scant amount of.

In THIS VIDEO I had a peek at the creature design, and it appealed to me because I could not see how such a thing could work. But once again, it is looking too feminine to the point that it looks like it was "inspired" by the twilight craze. It wasn't, its a pretty nice book you can't put down, the book has very interesting characters with my favorite being Will Fratalli. I really liked him as a character and have heard lots of excitement over Neil Patrick Harris portraying him, I am not too familiar with him but he seems to be a good actor to have in a movie.

But Jeez, Vanessa "sellout" Hudgens and an Olson twin who has to portray a middle aged woman, a witch and and ugly girl. How is this going to work?

I recommend the book, and I hope the movie turns out well.

A review of the Sam Raimi Spiderman Trilogy

Well, since Raimi is back for Spiderman 4 and maybe 5. It got me to think how he has fared so far with the Spiderman franchaise.

Spiderman- The first movie, where I had no knowledge of most of the cast. Tobey Maguire was a good Spiderman/Peter Parker, James Franco and William Defoe were good too. William Dafoe has always played "dark" crazy characters, but I could see a fatherly figure to Peter in him while he essentially shunned his son and hoped he'd snap out of the Goblin phase. Unlike most people I didn't care about Kirsten Dunst, although when she kisses spiderman it seemed like a great moment between the two of them. This movie in general was well executed, I kind of liked the Goblin Suit, and it was a nicely done origin story. It had changes from the original story, but it worked, and the scene with Peter trying to control his webbing was priceless. Overall this movie works good, but it's not quite on the level Spiderman 2 was.

3 out of 5

Spiderman 2- My favorite one. This movie confronted the love story finally and brought over 20 years of loopholed storylines regarding Mary Jane and Peter. But even more important, Alfred Molina as Doc Ock was great. He totally "behaved" as if you could predict what he'd do with his new appendage toys, and when the arms controlled him you saw naieve optimism in his attempt to build the tritium machine again. Spiderman losing the will and control of his powers was certainly interesting to watch, and the train scene. Oh my god the train scene! Watching his suit rip while he was trying to slow the train down made me tense. I almost thought he'd plunk onto the ground below, and the moment after that was wildly hard to believe, but symbolic at the same time. Spiderman giving up the girl was great for me because then it didn't have to revolve on her, but damn he got her back. That was okay for me, as long as it resolved the love interest since waiting to let someone know you love them always kills the movie if it's never resolved early on in a trilogy. This was the best one so far.

4 out of 5

Spiderman 3- Oh my god, what happened? Remember me saying the love interest was resolved, it wasn't. Raimi needed to keep it somehow and put a subplot about Mary Jane's career, that wasn't even the worst thing. Remember in Spiderman 2 when he felt good not having to be Spiderman, that was okay and put some lightheartedness into this movie. Well, because Raimi wanted to make the movie darker he switched it to emo Peter when he got the suit. SO MANY CAST MEMBERS WERE MISUSED OR WASTED, James Cromwell never had a significant part that any no name actor could have done. Topher Grace did as good as he could, but I never could believe Eddy Brock to be so puny. Grace was miscast in my opinion, and Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marco was kinda off. Why? because at the end he became a wild goose chase for Peter and ended up being just a thrown in character for action scenes. There was more Sandman and Harry Osbourne than Venom, with Sandman being a waste and Harry being stupid until he changed heart in light of a small fact his butler failed to tell him. This movie was trying to be something it wasn't, and it was successful box office wise. Wow this movie sucked, and that's too bad too because Venom and Sandman looked good.

1 out of 5

So we know Raimi started out good, got better, but then dropped the ball. Why? well because he and his brother decided to write Spiderman 3 instead of a good writer that hurt it. Thank god they got someone for Spiderman 4, it is partly Raimi's fault who did not want to do another Spiderman movie. So i'm worried about the 4th due to that, and Sony is holding on to Spiderman a lot now that Marvel is trying to take back its franchaises. That is bad considering Sony pushed the use of three villians in one movie, so they are a problem for the franchaise too. One can hope though that the 4th movie will go about face.

Geeksquisite #35 Retrocast: We Learn As We Go

Episode 35

so by the end of the episode we discovered that we want to do more of these retrocast. They are fun to record and so we give you the first of the retrocast. Games,movies,tv, etc. Enjoy.

Note: This was at first just an experiment but by the end we had a lot of fun making what we thought as a pretty good show so look forward to more in the future.

Monster Hunter Freedom: Unite Demo Impressions

Some of you may not know this about me, but I'm pretty big into imported games from Japan. While Monster Hunter may not technically be an import title, since they have been releasing some of the games in the states for a while now, it's always had a very Japanese feel to the gameplay, and I mean that in a good way. Now, they've released a demo of the newest game, Monster Hunter Freedom: Unite on the Playstation Store. Definitely a good idea if they want to get a larger amount of Americans interested in the game, which is definitely what it seems like they're doing with their advertising campaign.

Monster Hunter Freedom: Unite is the US version of what's known as Monster Hunter Portable 2G in Japan. The game takes a lot of elements from Monster Hunter Freedom 2 and expands on them. While I never got a chance to play Monster Hunter Freedom 2, I have played the first one, and it's occupied a lot of time in my PSP.

Comparing what I've played of this game to the first one, there's been a lot of improvements. the first most noticeable one is the map system. In the first game, your map would be limited to the section you were in, and you'd have to blindly wander around trying to find your target. Now, you can see the entire map, and your target is clearly marked, I'm a much bigger fan of this system than the previous one.

Also, I'm not sure if they're only doing this for the demo or not, but there's a class system now. Before, you would simply make a character and buy different equipment, and have a lot of customization options, but it seems now that you can choose different classes, and customize from there. However, it could just be for the demo so you can get right into the action.

The graphics, for a PSP game are excellent. Strong, crisp, detailed textures. Fluid animation. The poly count doesn't seem very high, but the PSP can only do so much. I think the game really pushes the PSP to it's limits, while still maintaining a rock-solid framerate.

Overall, I'm really impressed with the demo, and I'm anticipating the full game. One thing that's pretty nice is the amount of content they give you in the demo. Seeing as how the Monster Hunter games have so much stuff in them usually, it's not a huge surprise, but it's definitely welcome. For anybody who's a big Monster Hunter fan, or anybody who likes a good action game, definitely download the demo and check it out, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Also, don't forget to look for the game, hitting shelves in the next few days.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Comic Review: Scott Pilgram's: Precious Little Life

Scott Pilgram's: Precious Little Life is the first volume of a comic i'd like to call "special". The series is written and drawn by Bryan Lee O'Malley. At first glance I was lead to believe that the comic would be an indie relationship book with people talking about life in bars, libraries, and Starbucks. If you go into this book thinking that, you might just be disappointed. If however you decide to go with the flow you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

Scott Pilgram is a 23 year old without a job and has to share a bed with his gay roommate Wallace. He's in a band and dating a 17 year-old girl named Knives Chau. Life is good and then things get complicated once gets a peak at a delivery girl named Ramona Flowers who he's obsessed over. In his quest to get to know Ramona we find out some odd details that come along with dating her.

The book was such a quick read for me. I read the whole first volume in about an hour but don't let that deter you. Just because it's a quick read doesn't mean it's not incredible. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't read the book but a huge shift happens towards the end of the book. Where you learn what the series is really going to be about. That is when you'll have to make the choice to go with it or abandon it. I'm choosing to go with it because I just have to see where the story goes. I can assure you this series is like nothing else around. I also have to mention that this book is pretty dam funny, I actually caught myself laughing out loud a few times. The book plays with all types of mediums from comics to movies to video games and they all work. The artwork can be both simple and detailed but it always fits the story and emotions just right. I'm sure it helps that the artist and the writer are the same person. I also have to mention that this book is pretty dam funny, I actually caught myself laughing out loud a few times.

There are 7 planned volumes with 5 being out so far. I will be doing my best to cover each volume. I you haven't read this series or maybe aren't into comics I beg of you give this one a shot because I really think it's something "special".

Story: 5 out of 5
Art: 4 out of 5

TF2 Style Bloopers

I have to thank my friend Tom for this one. Thanks Tom. Now this isn't exactly game related but it is in Team fortress 2 style. Enjoy it sure made my day.

The Last Wish of Colby Curtain

Colby's Story

It's rare that I find a story that moves me but then I found this story. A story of a little girl who's last wish was to see "Up". We take so much for granted as adults when all this girl wanted was to see a movie before she died. An employee from Pixar flew out with a copy of the movie and Colby got to see "Up" just 7 hours before she died with her mom and dad with her.

It's so hard to understand why a child has to be taken from us. It's something I could never even imagine happening. At least Colby found some peace in movies.

“I’m ready (to die), but I’m going to wait for the movie"

R.I.P. Colby Curtain