Sunday, December 25, 2011

Power Blade (NES, 1991)

Today I'm going to look at a game that was prominently featured in the first Nintendo Power I ever read: Power Blade. Might have been the first game I ever wanted to play. Back in July 2008, I finally got a chance to play this game, after all those years. I took some screen shots and saved them up to unleash upon the world like a plague of locusts. Now, the time has come.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Movie Review: Avatar


Directed by James Cameron

Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigorney Weaver, Stephen Lang

Rated PG-13 for epic battle sequences and warfare

Avatar was released two years ago. Why review it now, or at all? Because it turned out to be a game-changer in the movie genre; it isn't hyperbole to say that this is one of the most significant movies of the past ten years. As far as cultural impact goes, this ranks up there with other influential and often-emulated sci-fi fare like The Matrix and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and may even surpass them on some level. On the other hand, the movie has been out long enough and been seen by enough people that the need for a review is almost nil. While this is technically a review of sorts, consider it more my thoughts and musings on the highest-grossing movie of all time and on James Cameron's work in general.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Movie Review: The Thing (2011)

The Thing

Directed by Matthijs van Heijningen
Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton
Rated R

For Halloween, I'm checking in with a movie review. The prequel - not sequel, not remake - to the 1982 John Carpenter movie of the same name, The Thing has some big shoes to fill. The Carpenter movie was easily one of the scariest movies ever made. It was (and by extension, this was) based on a 1938 short novel called "Who Goes There?" by John Campbell. Not the 50's movie The Thing From Another World, as is commonly believed. We get all that? Good.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bebe's Kids: The Worst SNES Game Ever

This may be the worst game I've ever played. Much has been written about this game on the internet already, but most of it only pertained to the first two levels, since very few people have ever had the steel balls necessary to forge onward past that. Luckily, I DO have steel balls, and the clanking that they make during sex is what will ruin all three of my future marriages. Thus, I went so far as to actually beat the game, stopping only occasionally to check the walls of my soundproof, padded room for an escape. I'll be covering the entirety of Bebe's Kids in this post, something that, to my knowledge, has never been done this way on the internet. And if someone has done this, let me know so I can ask them how they keep their steel balls from clanking during sex.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Game Review: Final Fantasy XIII

 Paradigm Shift

Playstation 3, XBox 360, 2010

Publisher: Square Enix

Developer: Square Enix

Time to Complete: 35-75 hours

It has been nearly two months since my last post on here... for this, I blame last week's hurricane. To the joy of millions of the elderly, this post-less span now ends with a look at Final Fantasy XIII. There was a sizable - years long - gap between the twelfth Final Fantasy and the thirteenth, so in a way ending my temporary hiatus from posting with this game is fitting. A paradigm shift in the Final Fantasy series that eshews many of the conventions that have defined it over the years, FFXIII is a game that RPG fans definitely have a love/hate relationship with. Having just finished it, what are my (as objective as I can) impressions of this divisive game? Read on.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Movie Review: Toy Story 3

Reprinted from MIT's The Tech -

I originally wrote this nearly a year ago.

Toy Story 3

Directed by Lee Unkrich
Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen
Rated G

The culmination of a series that may well be Pixar’s magnum opus, Toy Story 3 is hands-down one of the best movies of the year. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Game Review: Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core

Crisis Core

Epitaph for a Hero

PSP, 2008

Publisher: Square Enix

Developer: Square Enix

Time to Complete: 15-25 hours

Crisis Core is the oft-maligned prequel to Final Fantasy VII, one of the most beloved games of all time. Released ten years after FF7 and transpiring several years before FF7, this game stars FF7 bit-player Zack Fair. A high ranking member of SOLDIER with a doomed destiny, Zack is a real hero here; he is a selfless and kind character who stands as a stark contrast to FF7's far less likable Cloud Strife. On that note - Why is "SOLDIER" all caps? Is it an acronym? Sadly, even after playing this game I don't have an answer.

FF7 has achieved legendary status in the history of video games. It was an epic story that followed an intrepid band as they set out to save the world, stopping only occasionally to milk Tifa.

Does this game measure up? Read on to find out.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dragonball Z Movie Thoughts (Ft. Brayniac)

Time for a look at the Dragonball Z movie series... and by that, I mean the 13 movies that seemed to, weirdly enough, take place concurrently to the series without being a part of the series. Things happen in these movies that are never referenced in the series and aren't actually possible within the series timeline (with a couple of exceptions). They're still a potentially fun watch, however.

For this look at the DBZ movies I'll be joined by longtime buddy and frequent commenter Brayniac, who will bring an older perspective to the proceedings to counteract my childish rantings. We'll be grading each movie on a scale of 1 to 10 Raditz, with 10 Raditz being the best a DBZ movie can be (but as fans of DBZ Abridged know, it's still inferior to Vegeta). Keep in mind that this isn't my normal ratings scale. A 10 here doesn't equal a normal Perfect 10. It just means it's a 10...for a DBZ movie. As good as it can be expected to be.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thoughts on Dragonball GT

I recently finished watching the entire series... all 64 episodes of it. As a fan of the awesome Dragonball Z, I wanted to check out the "sequel" that got so critically panned by Everyone Who Ever Watched It. I did, with an open mind and a legitimate desire to enjoy it. The show made it pretty difficult for me, though. Here are some of my thoughts as I went along, mostly stream-of-consciousness. Tons of spoilers, if that matters.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Game Review: Donkey Kong Country Returns

Donkey Kong Country Returns

I don't know if you've heard, but Donkey Kong Country has returned.

Wii, 2010

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Retro Studios / Nintendo

Time to Complete: 8-10 hours

Developed by Retro Studios, Donkey Kong Country Returns is Nintendo's attempt to re-ignite one of their signature franchises from the 90's. Similarly to Metroid: Other M, this game is a follow-up of sorts to the SNES age. So does it recapture the magic of the DKC series, or is it a mediocre game where Donkey Kong doesn't jump until he's given the okay from his commanding officer? Find out inside. Also, there will be naked Candy Kong. That'll bring in the ratings!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Game Review: The Mega Man X Series, Part III

The final three installments in the Mega Man X series are a definite departure from the previous six. They enter the realm of 3D and introduce a number of new characters. After the mess that was Mega Man X6, would the series bounce back with the last few installments? Read on to find out.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Secret of Evermore #7 - Metropolis

I used to think the central control area of Evermore was pretty menacing... and then I played Bioshock.

Now that game has a menacing central control area. I don't know if any other game has ever given me such a sense of impending doom.

In other news, now that Hot Dog is a toaster, he doesn't have to worry so much about getting the munchies. After he tokes up, he can just fix himself some toast.

Regardless, PREPARE YOURSELF for the finale of Evermore. Will Hulkster get back to Podunk? Will his dog overdose on pot? Will the final boss be an enormous, wildly vibrating metal penis? There's only one way to find out.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Secret of Evermore #6 - Ascent

The bridge to Ebon Keep has finally been fixed, which eliminates the need to go through the Dark Forest again. This is called "making sure the game has any fans left".
I may have lost Nathan's Hot Dogs sponsorship due to my ties to the Yakuza, and I may no longer be allowed to drink while writing, but this should turn out well.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Secret of Evermore #5 - Ruins

This dude gives our hero some advice. Unfortunately, Hulkster is not a rapper, so he is not packing the heat.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Top Eight 24 Seasons (ft. Nick Vogt)

That's right, I'm going to list the Top Eight 24 Seasons. It's one of the greatest shows of the 2000's, though even fans like me have to admit that the seasons were hit-and-miss. Adding his thoughts to the fray for some of the seasons will be Nick Vogt, Hip-Hop God and all-around champion.

And now, the Top Eight 24 Seasons (Out of Eight). Caution: Spoilers Abound.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Final Fantasy X-2 Tale

Wow, has it really been ten days since the last time I updated this blog? I've been pretty busy rocking the world's face. Soon I'll be finishing Secret of Evermore (for the ten people who read those) and posting a very belated Avatar review that will probably be read by exponentially more people. Among other good things. I return today with a tale. Not my usual substantial post. Just a tale.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Movie Review: Black Swan

Black Swan

My shadow's...shedding skin

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel

Rated R for strong sexual content, drug use, disturbing imagery, dangerous levels of Mila Kunis sassiness

Darren Aronofsky is a director who seems to love to explore the dark side of human nature. And there's a whole lot of that to explore. Humans are dark, dark creatures. Every malignant storyline, villain, monster, and atrocious real-world act in our recorded history was the creation of human beings. It's easy for us to pawn off our dark side on the orcs and demons of our creation in stories, and on some deeper level it probably makes us feel better about ourselves. Countless video games have a villain who turns out to be under mind control by a demon; often they even turn out to be a demon themselves. We need to absolve ourselves of blame whenever possible, and any game directed at children will likely have a really hard time letting actual people be villains. This is why I have particularly high respect for Final Fantasy VI allowing Kefka to be just a really, really evil man. Because in the real world, the buck stops with us whether we like it or not.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Secret of Evermore #4 - Green Fields of Harmonium

In the latest installment of Secret of Evermore, our heroes leap down waterfalls and cross lots of fields. Out of the seven Evermore chapters, this is the last one that I'm naming after a place in my vicinity. It's named after Boston Common which is both fieldy and harmonius. Unfortunately the last three chapters won't be posted until later in the month... got a lot going on right now.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Secret of Evermore #3 - Halls of Antiquity

In the third chapter of Evermore, it's anarchy in the UK as the heroic Hulkster traverses the wonders of this mysterious, ancient world.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Game Review: The Mega Man X Series, Part II

Part two of my look at the illustrious Mega Man X series will cover games 4 through 6. This trio took the series in a bit of a different, more modern (for their time) direction. Zero is playable and the games take on a distinct anime look for these three. A darker atmosphere and more badass demeanor in general sets these games apart from the first three in the series. Join me for a look back at these great relics from the Playstation era.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Game Review: Metroid: Other M

Metroid: Other M

Spero Meliora

Wii, 2010

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Project M / Team Ninja

Time to Complete: 7-9 hours

Ah, Metroid Other M. Here's an interesting one. Released in August 2010, this is the only third-person Metroid game on a console since Super Metroid... which, for those counting, was in 1994. That's sixteen years. Which means the gap between Super Metroid and its console follow-up is so old that it could legally have sex in a large number of states. I had high hopes for this game going in. Did it meet my hopes, or was it an unmitigated disaster the likes of which hasn't been seen since the invention of fetus catapults? The somewhere in between.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Secret of Evermore #2 - Noble's Causeway

Our hero wraps up Prehistoria and heads into Antiqua as Evermore rolls onward. This time, the cryptic title is referring to any one of the major highways that beam straight into the heart of a major city, making trade and commerce more possible on our modern scale and making our attempts at nobility somewhat feasible.

That and Nobilia is one of the coolest locations I've ever seen in a game. What a great idea. I think of the things Evermore brought to the RPG table in the mid-90's, a city of trade was perhaps the idea that was most ahead of its time.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Secret of Evermore #1 - Auburn Mountain

Secret of Evermore was a game I was quite fond of as a kid. It followed in the footsteps of Squaresoft's fabled adventure game Secret of Mana by featuring similar game mechanics and a slightly deceptive title that probably tricked some people into thinking this was a sequel. In my view, Mana is a vastly superior game to Evermore, but Evermore is a lot of fun in its own right.

What I'm doing here is a seven-part series looking at Evermore. This isn't meant to be a review... no need to do that for such an old game. It's primarily meant for people who have played it before. Part one here is named after Mt. Auburn Street in Boston (well, technically Cambridge), a street that has a lot of sentimental value for me just like this game does.

Have at it. Rated T for Teen.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 Year In Review: The Top Ten Movies of 2010 That I Watched, Among Other Things

2010. A year I'm not all that fond of. Well, half of it was good. I could make it a year in review of my depressing and/or awesome personal life, but no one gives a damn. I'll just say this... The mind can make a heaven of hell, or a hell of heaven. Life doesn't suck, it's the perception that can suck. It really is what we make of it.

I was going to do a Top 10 Games of 2010 That I Finished list...

...then I realized I've only beaten three 2010 games in the calendar year. I may do game reviews and all that, but the fact is I am a few years behind on my games.

I can't very well do a Top 3 Games Of 2010 That I Finished list.

3. Metroid Other M
2. God of War 3
1. Super Mario Galaxy 2

...okay, I guess I can. But it makes more sense to do a movie list, given how much time I spent at the movies this year, reviewing things for various papers. So I'll do that, and talk about the year in entertainment. Things I liked this year, and whatnot. Let's go.