Sunday, December 16, 2007

Shepherding the Galaxy

Mass Effect has been battling with Halo 3 as my most anticipated game all year. I've been playing Bioware's offering right from Baldur's Gate, though I did come a few years late and I've still not completed Throne of Bhaal. Jade Empire was OK but Knights of the Old Republic rocked and is mentioned in the same breath as Jedi Knight, TIE Fighter and Republic Commando as the truly good Star Wars games. Since Mass Effect seemed to have a lot in common with KotOR I couldn't wait.

The KotOR comparison is quite apt as it is easily the true successor to the Star Wars game. Biotics fill in for the Force and Lightsabres have been abandoned for squad combat. The squad combat is a bit of a problem though. The intelligence of your squad can sometimes be questionable with them making odd decisions during a fire fight. Though that's nothing compared to the enemy AI, during a conflict with a lot of bad guys they are seem to make the decision that running at you then circle you at a distance of a few feet is a good tactic. Once you've thinned their numbers you finally get a decent fight from cover but it's tainted by the stupidity of their colleagues.

The vehicle combat can be a bit unwieldy to start with too. The first time I took the Mako out for a spin I came across a huge Dune-esque worm called a Thresher Maw which promptly destroyed my little Mars Rover. This was a problem for a lot of the early fights, you're thrown in the deep end with the Mako and expected to survive, as time goes on it does get easier with experience plus a couple of the skills you have improve a few stats on the vehicle.

The assignments, or side missions as they're more commonly called, leave a bit to be desired. Apart from each building being one of three layouts there's some missions that have no substance to them at all. Take for instance the group Cerberus who crop up through out the side missions. It would have been nice to to deal with all these little bits of their group and slowly find out more about the higher ups eventually leading to a fairly substantial quest where you take out the leaders. Unfortunately, the leaders are the second group you take out, not that they look or act any different to anyone else, you're just told they are in charge and the rest of the Cerberus quests are cleaning up the remaining mess.

But all this complaining is too much. I am enjoying the game a lot, but its one of those funny games that you can't tie down what exactly it is you're enjoying about it. That said Bioware's new conversation system is a work of genius and a fantastic step forward for the genre, though I have had a hiccup once or twice where Shepherd said something I wasn't really wanting him to. I'm looking forward to the sequel and the downloadable content, and I'm pretty tempted to go back through it and see how it plays when I'm a evil git.

Monday, December 03, 2007


I have to admit I'm getting really pissed of at myself for not posting more often, its not like I'm short of topics either. Plenty of major comic stories going on, and I'm even reading some. Sooo many good games coming out in the run up to Christmas its ridiculous. Halo 3, Call of Duty 4, Guitar Hero 3 and Mass Effect are all subjects I can talk about. I think that's the main problem, I'm trying to complete so much that the bit of time I'm on my computer is spent trying to catch up on the sites I regularly visit. So a quick run down of recent events is in order I think.

Halo 3 rocked and I spent one Hell of a lot of time playing multiplayer. I was kinda disappointed that the campaign was so short but with the way the trilogy finished I feel quite happy with. But I left Halo 3 MP way before I was ready to and there was one reason for that.

Call of Duty 4, my God this game rocks. Right now I'm pretty tempted to label this one as my Game of the Year but we'll wait and see. Multiplayer is immense and the Baboons are one nasty team to come across. Is quite likely to take the thrown from Halo 3 and Rainbow 6: Vegas as my most played online.

Guitar Hero 3. Boss Battles are SHIT! At least in single player anyway, I've yet to play one in multiplayer. Overall I'm happy with it, but it's Guitar Hero so you can't really go wrong. I can't shake the feeling that Neversoft haven't quite got it and 4 will be the one that really shows that, 3 comes across as the "We need an engine that matches Harmonix's". Co-op career was very nice though.

Mass Effect I'm gonna leave a bit longer before I talk about it because I'm about halfway through and liking it so far. Assassins Creed I'm getting for Christmas so that can wait too.

On the comics front Messiah Complex is shaping to be a good X-Men crossover which I nearly didn't bother with due to too much other stuff going on. Sinestro Corps continues to impress but is starting to dwindle with the infrequency of the titles recently. Booster Gold's new title is great and another I nearly missed out on. Top Cow's First Born and Pilot Season are both something I really wished I hadn't bothered with.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sony Bastards

Five or six years ago I laughingly took part in the Sony vs. Microsoft Wars on the side of M$. Truth be told I didn't really care, the fact was I owned an X-Box and my friends and I knew how much shit Sony were spewing when it came to their own console and the pish they let be released on it. Also there was this little thing called a Dreamcast that just couldn't survive the fight.

However, Christmas two years ago I received a Sony Walkman MP3 player. Then my position changed. From the title of this post I bet you can guess which way I went. It may have looked cool but the software that came with it is a piece of shit. At least on every other player in the world you can tell it not to download Album information, SonicStage does it no questions asked. Sure they give you the option to tell it not to but does it actually stop the gathering, does it Hell. Oh yes, it only plays a format Sony invented that isn't compatible with anything else but don't worry SonicStage will convert your entire music collection to that format so we double the file size of your music folder. Also only Sony headphones will work with the thing, any other make is quiet as hell and practically useless.

Part of my job involves tech support for an online Music Provider that sells the songs as protected WMA's. In a meeting with some of the head guys we were talking about the fact we weren't compatible with Ipods and I brought up that we also had the same problem with Sony. One particular higher up said he had been promised by Sony that we were. I assured him we weren't, I own their player and have tested it myself. So Sony tell business what they want to hear even when it is total and utterly opposite from the truth.

Then of course we come to the PS3. Released in time for Christmas 2006, unless of course you happen to live in Europe then you had to wait until March 2007. The debacle of how they're releasing Gran Turismo. There's the different versions, ok Microsoft have been bad for it with the Core and Premium then adding Elite then rumour of replacing the Core with the Arcade version but Sony have been just as bad if not worse. At least it took Microsoft over a year to come out with a different, better version. In under a year Sony have announced they are no longer producing the original release version and only producing the crappy version with less features, once they've sold out of the original then they'll start selling the better model with a 80gb hard drive.

So what sparked this little rant. Well, since getting my new PC a few months ago I've been without the ability to add MP3s to the aforementioned player due to having lost the disk for the software. Today I finally got around to fixing that, only to find that the Sony website insists that you use Internet Explorer to view it. A minor incident I know but it was enough for me to finally have a rant about the bastards.

Monday, October 01, 2007


There's plenty of topics I should talk about right about now. I've watched quite a few films that I've enjoyed and of course there's Halo 3. However, being English it’s far easy to moan than it is to heap praise. So today I'm talking about the first of DC's Direct to DVD animated movies Superman: Doomsday. Supposedly the last movie to appear in Bruce Timm's style but not connected to the DCAU that he shepherded for over ten years.

Now I've never read the original comics of the Death of Superman but this movie takes the direction of telling the whole death and return. The Return is something I have read and it felt odd that where we had four pretenders running around we now have just one and filling both the roles of the Eradicator and then later Cyborg Superman while having the origin of Superboy. It also had parts from all three storylines that make up the Death and Return and as such certain parts felt under developed. Thankfully that didn't try to shoehorn it all in with things like Mongul attacking Coast City which were just too big to cover if they were determined to fit it all in one movie.

Onto the actual movie and first of all the main characters. Once again Superman and Lex Luthor have both been redesigned. Lex has been made a lot thinner which seemed to suit this version and definitely suited James Marsters voice. Superman on the other hand has had some lines added to his face for some bizarre reason and just ends up making him look weird rather than add any gravity to his presence. Adam Baldwin does a great job as the Big Blue though and that certainly made up for the face lines. Lois looks exactly the same as the old version which makes hearing Ann Heche's voice all the more strange in her first scene, I'm not sure whether it's this shock or not but Ann Heche's voice work isn't up to the standard of her co-stars but as the film gets further along that is noticeable improvement. Doomsday also looked better in his brief JLU appearance than he did in the movie.

Then there's the fight scenes. Seeing these animated was great, they are a lot more brutal than anything we've seen before from DC. They were long, nasty and Superman certainly took the worst beating I've ever seen which is only right for the story telling the Death of Superman. However, compared to the final fight against Darkseid in JLU these just lacked any drama and considering the story that's just not right.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Shocking Bio

Bioshock. What can I say about this game that's not been said before... Not much really, it is a damn fine game and you really should play it. It's easily one of the best shooters I've played in a good long while.

That said I have to own up to something, from the start I thought I was playing an pretty average shooter. As the game progresses you suddenly realise how involved with the whole thing is and you sink deeper (pun intended) into Rapture. By the time the twist comes up I was in love with it. The way the plot is slowly fed to you via voice recordings you have to find yourself is brilliant and while I felt at the start that it was really bad way to convey the story it turned into one of the more involving stories in a computer game in a while.

I've heard one or two people bitch about the ending. The end cinematic is not the end of Bioshock, it is the epilogue. From the twist to the last fight is the end of the story and it is brilliantly told. If you've not played it yet or given up due to a shaky start, you really do need to play this game.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ghost Rider

I finally got around to watching Ghost Rider tonight and I think I may be the last person to see it. I went in expecting Nic Cage to annoy the crap out of me because when I heard the news he was cast I couldn't believe how miscast the role of Johnny Blaze was. As it turns out his Johnny was the better half of the main character.

While the Ghost Rider may have looked cool, even in a fight, he acted all wrong. Whoever thought it was a good idea to have the Spirit of Vengeance chortling all the way and cracking one liners needs to be shot. I mean here we've got a demon with a flaming skull for a head and we feel the need for him to talk smack to other demons. How about he just smacks the shit out of them and leave it at that?

The whole Police side story was un-needed and unresolved. We could have spent those twenty minutes or more important matters like showing how bad ass the Rider was or even some character development.

The random attempts at humour such as the Gecko being burnt to death felt horribly out of place. The old cheesy western music was atrocious, its like someone put it there as a place holder and they forgot to replace it. Someone needs to take Mark Steven Johnson away from superhero films. That's two he's fucked up.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

More Then Meets the Eye

Last night I watched the Transformers, to date this is the biggest franchise of my childhood to be remade by Hollywood and it's unlikely to replaced except for the unlikely event Mask gets remade. The film was quite good, not amazing but certainly not a bad movie either.

It certainly had plenty of fanboy moments to keep me happy. The first meeting between an Autobot and a Decepticon certainly proved to me that Michael Bay got the subject matter and the Rangers were pretty cool, especially when I found out they were based on GI Joe.

However, there were some bad points in the film too, the scene in and around the Witwicky's house seemed very out of place for the movie, one friend described as Transformers meets American Pie which sums things up perfectly in my opinion. The guy from Sector 7 was just plain annoying and as Drew pointed out he seemed like he was from a bad 80s kids film.

I did enjoy the film, and I am looking forward to the sequel, but not too fussed about re-watching this one. Still, for the first time in Transformers, I actually liked Bumblebee.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bossy Snake

Today, I finally completed Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. I started it months ago and just never could be bothered with it really. As previously mentioned I got very put off during the sniper fight, but even after that I'd pick it up for a bit, get a bit further and put it back down again for a few weeks while I played something else.

Previously I put it down to the jungle setting rather than the more urban settings used for the first two games. However, now I'm not so sure. It definitely had something to do with it but that wasn't the only problem for me. Believe it or not, and I'm expecting to get lynched for this next sentence, some of my problem lies with the gameplay. The running about and sneaking hasn't really evolved that much since Metal Gear Solid except for the hanging that was introduced in Sons of Liberty. The camouflage was a nice addition and the fact Snake swapped clothes just like that I have no problem with because Metal Gear has always worn the fact its a computer game on it's sleeve.

We also got the introduction of food and that was very cool but the other introduction of healing I'm less happy about. I mean it was good to start with, but having to use it during boss fights sucked hard and really took me out of the moment. While most games are doing what they can to not take you out of the experience such as no loading times etc this menu based healing system seems like a step backwards in some ways. Thank God I was playing the Subsistence version of the game so I had a decent camera too.

However, I have not totally lost my marbles. The one thing that always is amazing in Metal Gear is the story and Snake Eater certainly doesn't disappoint. From start to finish the story intrigued me and is one of the main reasons I didn't abandon the game. Watching Naked Snake go through many of the changes that make him Big Boss was fantastic, and the phone conversation that happens at the end of the credits made my jaw drop.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

There Can Be Only Four

On Thursday I finally bought a Highlander DVD. This was quite an event because every time I saw one I kept thinking about it, I lost track of the amount of times I nearly bought Endgame which thankfully I didn't. Anyway, the one I bought was Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, the animated movie made in collaboration between the American company Imagi and the Japanese animation company Madhouse.

The story follows Colin MacLeod and his 2000 year quest for revenge. This now takes the number of the Macleod clan that have been immortals to four, following Connor, Duncan and the previous animated Highlander, Quentin. If you want to live forever, forget the Spring of Eternal Youth find a member of the Macleod clan and sign up. Colin's a bit more bloodthirsty than the other Macleod's before him especially Duncan and Connor both of whom enjoy life and have civilised through the centuries. Colin on the other hand has lived for the death of his enemy Marcus and as such found himself on whatever side is the opposite to Marcus on a battlefield.

Apart from the quick recap of the story I'm not sure what else to say apart from the fact that I really enjoyed this film and would class it as the second best Highlander film, after the original. The action is fantastic and just what you expect from the company that brought us Ninja Scroll and Blood: The Last Vampire while the American script kept out any of the more out there concepts that can crop into Japanese productions that I'm not very fond of.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Intergalactic Space Nazis

This week starts yet another reality altering universe defining comic crossover. After Infinite Crisis and Civil War both hitting my wallet in a big way I said I was out for the foreseeable future. That didn't last though. Shortly after Crisis I started picking up Green Lantern just in time to see Batman fail recruitment and Amon Sur get inducted into the Sinestro Corps. In the past few years my interest in GL has been slowly growing and I've read most of the important points of the mythos but I wasn't that bothered about this crossover. However, the backup stories detailing some of the more important members of the Sinestro Corps was slowly getting me hooked and then I read the Ion maxi-series which not only was a great look at Kyle's new place in the universe but offered a hint of things to come so I signed up. From here on in expect major spoilers.

The first issue, a one-shot, landed this week and the story kicked off in a major way. Hal and Kyle have both been following up their own investigations into the Yellow Rings and they meet up on Oa, the Green Lantern base world, just in time for the first frontal attack by the Sinestro Corps. Kyle gets taken and many GL's bite the big one and things look bad. However, things look at lot worse when you find what happens to Kyle now that he's in Sinestro's clutches. Mentally tortured and stripped of his defences we're shown that his new expanded powers are thanks to benevolent entity, basically the new Parallax's opposite. This now gone and Kyle scared out of his mind leaves him open to possession by the fore-mentioned opposite and we have a new Parallax. The reveal of the rest of the higher ups of the Corps is more power than the bad guys in Infinite Crisis ever showed.

What really impresses me is that Johns seems to have been building towards this since his first Green Lantern script, the entity of Parallax was questionable but at least made Hal redeemable, making it not the only entity out there makes perfect sense. He's also tied in his own work from Infinite Crisis while also pulling from Crisis on Infinite Earth's and the entire history of the Green Lanterns. I'm glad I'm reading this crossover because it was easily my favourite of the week, and a week that included Iron Fist and X-Factor that is saying something. To be fair Sinestro Corp has always been billed as a Green Lantern story and so far I don't see this being untrue. After the last few pages I had to check the cover to check the name was "Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps" and due to the amount of power there has me worried for the characters which are fast becoming my favourites.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Less to Meet The Eye

In a few weeks the world will be exposed to Michael Bay's vision of Transformers, which I'm not entirely sure about. Bay has a good eye for over the top action, something really needed for this film. However, things can go a bit wrong in his films just look at the Cuba sequence in Bad Boys 2 and most of Pearl Harbour.

That's not what we're here to talk about today. No, it seems Hasbro are moving away from Takara and giving Cartoon Network a shot at a animated show. On a very basic level I'm happy, I've never really given any time to the imported show made by Takara but the few I caught bugged me with their weird and long plotlines. Usually I'm a fan of such things but they just seemed to crawl along like Dragonball Z. All very Japanese, which of course does make sense. On the other hand, there were many things that I mentioned a long time ago that needed to be fixed with Transformers that Takara actually did.

The news that Cartoon Network have released is very worrying for any long term Transformers fans. No longer will the Autobots be fighting their long term enemies the Decepticons, instead they'll be fighting evil humans and "basically turning it into a superheroes story". This is totally against everything that has gone before where the Autobots are a peaceful race and are really bothered about getting back to Cybertron, but have to fight so humans doesn't get enslaved by Megatron and his cronies.

The art is, erm, different for Transformers as well. It's what I call Americanised anime so really its just following the trend the majority of the industry is going. The character design is where things really change. Prime's got a chin that would make Bruce Campbell jealous and the military bot (I want to say Hound but since no names have been released and its just a departure I'm not going to guess with any of the old names) looks like a metal version of The Thing.

The show also seems to be going for a Emergency services theme, Prime's once again a fire truck and there is also the military vehicle and a Ambulance. There's also a small yellow car and a motorbike which don't look to be anything emergency service related but look like they could have sirens as well and I'm willing to put money on the yellow car being Bumblebee since he somehow always manages to be popular. It's an interesting direction and one of two things that make me wonder if they can pull this off.

The other thing is some of the people involved have some good pedigree with shows like Teen Titans, The Batman, X-Men and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. At the end of the day we'll just have to wait and see if we finally get a good Transformers show. I'm not holding my breath though.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Torch and Surfer Show

4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Funny it's called that, because really the Fantastic Four really don't do that much in the film. There's one scene where they actually work as a team, and that falls apart miserably. Really it should have been called The Human Torch meets the Silver Surfer. Apart from those two Sue runs around worrying about her wedding and moaning about their lifestyle not being the right environment to bring up a family and The Thing plays well off of Johnny and is good for a few laughs but really doesn't do much. Admittedly Reed's genius is put to good use in this film and he was much better here than the first film.

As for the actors from the returning cast Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis seem a lot more comfortable in their roles. Jessica Alba on the other hand looked out of place the whole movie, and it was unsettling to see her with totally blonde hair and blue eyes. In the first movie it never bothered me but I'm now convinced she's been miscast in this movie, or at the very least they've tried too hard to make her the traditional Sue Storm instead of just letting her look like herself.

The worst part of the film was Galactus. You see a planet destroyed at the start of the film by something that isn't the Surfer, then he tells Sue that something else is coming with barely anytime left of the film. No real menace was put behind the big G, and for him to then turn up and be a massive cloud was pathetic. I'm entirely aware the regular Marvel Universe version wouldn't work on film, but Ultimate would or even some giant spaceship. Not something that looks like an update of the Planet Eater from Kirk-era Star Trek. The fight between Surfer and Galactus was rather boring to say the least as well.

At least it was better than the first film, and I'm sure with the money we're going to get a sequel and if the rumours are to believed it's going to follow a similar formula and launch the Black Panther. Hopefully there's a bit more teamwork and the end of the film doesn't revolve around the guest star saving the day.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

No Solid, Liquid or Zombies?

I've finally managed to pry myself away from my 360 to play two games from the last generation it's taken me far too long to get round to. What has managed to pull me away from the grasp of Achievement Points and Live? The last Resident Evil and Metal Gear games of course.

Both of these franchises I was relatively late to. Metal Gear Solid I played as the second game appeared and I didn't get to that until it was ported to the Xbox. Resident Evil I arrived even later for. Despite the story really interesting me I'd somehow never played any of the series, sure I once saw someone start 2, and I once tried a friend's copy of the first Resident Evil but I missed the concept of the series and ran out of bullets pretty quickly and died. It took me to owning a Gamecube and Capcom remaking the series on the Gamecube for me to actually play the series properly.

Finally giving into the fact I'd never complete Code: Veronica without restarting I started what many have said is the best in series, Resident Evil 4. It was a pleasure to be stepping into the shoes of Leon again, as Resi 2 was my favourite so far and I found Leon's half of the story was much better than Claire's. It's quite a shock at the start of the game to realise that it's got a lot more gung-ho with Leon shooting anything that moves that isn't the President's Daughter. So far I have to agree with the accolades this game has got and it is one of the best Resident Evil's made to date.

It's a shame I can't say the same for Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Not to say I'm not enjoying the game, because I am, but I definitely preferred the last two games over this one. The references to the previous games (yet to happen when Snake Eater takes place) are great for the fans and playing as the man who will become Big Boss is certainly a thrill but something just seems to be missing. The jungle setting certainly is bold and well implemented but for me Metal Gear works better in an urban type environment. Also something about David Hayter's performance in this game is lacking and his usual performance as Snake just isn't working for me this time. A boss battle that took me nearly two hours is very impressive, however being in the mood to deal with it has seriously slowed my playing time of the game down.

All said though, I am enjoying both games a lot and I'm glad I prised myself away from the addition of Gamerscore for these two additions to some of the biggest franchises of gaming culture.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

How Many Films Into One?

Spider-Man 3 has joined us in a record breaking way and I'm kinda happy. Quick summary, it's better than the second film but not the first. I agree with my mates Drew and Mike in that the first two thirds of the film rock but the last bit is super cheese rubbish. Tobey Maguire seems to have gotten over his need to keep removing his mask whenever he gets into any trouble what so ever, though the habit is still there.

My hatred for Dunst's Mary-Jane increased ever more this time round, ever more the bitch and I thought leaving a guy at the altar was pretty bad. Sandman was a good villain, the transformation scene was unbelievable, although I really wasn't keen on the flying sand storm and his last scene was atrocious.

My main problem is how it would have made two amazing films instead of one pretty good one. Ever since the announcement of Venom being in the film I was worried about villain overkill, a problem most superhero franchises suffer. I hoped beyond hope that near the end of the film Peter would get rid of the symbiote and the ending would be the cliffhanger of revealing Venom. Watching Spider-Man 3 reinforced this belief. The film was doing a perfect job of introducing Eddie Brock and if we can have two films of building Dr Connor's character why rush to Venom and have him fight Spidey in the same movie.

Raimi was doing such a good job of Harry as the new Goblin as well, James Franco seems to have caught Maguire's mask removing disease though. Not to sure about replacing the glider with a futuristic snowboard, the glider is such a symbolic part of the Goblin. There seemed to be a lot of plot holes too, the main being the famous bell tower scene, why did Peter go there? He had no reason to as he knew nothing of the symbiote's weakness. What happened to his spider-sense? Peter kept getting ambushed throughout the film and Venom bypassing it was totally lost despite a line explaining that very fact. Now we get to the spoilers.

In my mind Spider-Man 3 should have been the same film up to the point where Brock got the symbiote and Harry was disfigured then we could have concentrated on some of the sub plots and new characters a little more. I was totally loving this part of the film and thought it was a fantastic realisation of the Peter/Harry relationship in the comics. Harry's more underhanded messing with Parker's head was over far too quickly and Peter seemed to decide to put on the costume and go beat the living daylights out of the someone he thought was back to normal a little to quickly for my liking.

Topher Grace did a fantastic job as Brock and his Venom was great, he deserved more than just the one fight scene, and one he needed Sandman's help with. Spider-Man 4 should have been Venom's movie. Parker trying to regain his popularity, Venom coming along and messing Parker up totally then the kidnap scene from 3 to finish. Parker knows he outclassed so has to go groveling to Harry to help him rescue MJ, the only thing the two could actually forget their differences.

All of which takes us to that final fight scene. Some fantastic moments in it but overall, WHAT THE HELL? Peter and Harry are suddenly best friends and quipping jokes to each other because of something Osborn's butler said. This should have been a fight the two of them forced themselves through for MJ's sake. The clapping at Spider-Man's arrival who we've just been told is hated again, any scene involving the gathered crowd was awful in fact. The shot of Spidey and the flag actually made me winch.

The rumours for the next film have already started and Sony have said they're defiantly making up to six. Hopefully there's truth to Dunst not re-signing and will see if a new actress is enough to get me to like the character. The other main rumour is that one of the two deaths will be reversed. I'm hoping it's Brock rather than Harry for reasons I've covered above.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Man I Love Being a Turtle

I just got home from watching TMNT and man that was good. I came out of that film feeling like a 12 year old again.

The voices of the Turtles were spot on, and even though they were all brand new actors they were perfect for the roles. The action was great, especially Raphael’s fight scene to Black Betty and the big scene versus the Foot Clan. While the CGI for the human characters wasn't 100% for the Turtles and Splinter it was fantastic. The movements were important for a film about ninja's but what really struck me was the facial expressions. All four turtle’s faces were totally individualistic and you could really see the characters of the Turtles show through, from Raph's grimness to Mikey's easy going attitude. Also how the bandanas on the faces actually looked like bandanas rather than just part of their faces which is something that can happen in animation.

Only a couple of times did I start to worry, mostly when Raph was making his speeches towards the end. Apart from that, as you've probably guessed, I totally loved this film.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Happy Birthday from Marvel and Raven

In eight days time I hit my quarter century. It's not been bothering me too much but now I'm getting within breathing distance of it I'm starting to get a little worried. 25, now there really isn't an excuse to not start acting all grown up (like that'll happen though). I mean I can't even decide what to do for my birthday celebrations, a few little things are falling into place as we approach but as yet there isn't a big celebration to be had. I may try to relive last year's last minute night out that was absolute quality.

But in the midst of all this indecision, Marvel and Raven have publicly announced my birthday present. Marvel: Ultimate Alliance is getting 8 new Heroes and Villains added to it. We're getting the option of playing as Cyclops, Hawkeye, Hulk and Nightcrawler on the good side and for the bad guys Magneto, Sabretooth, Venom and most importantly Doom. I'm mostly psyched by Cyclops and Hawkeye, Cyke was my character during the original X-Men: Legends game and Hawkeye is one of my all time favourite Avengers.

This of course gives me a reason to play through the game once again with Drew and Daz. When we finished it the first time, we always said we would go through it again with Arcade Mode on Hard difficulty but never got round to it. Drew's got hard decisions to make between Sabretooth, Hulk and the more likely Venom. Daz on the other hand I think may struggle to pick anyone, Doom may be suitable if they've played up his tech and magic angle. I'm quite impressed with Raven as well, recording a lot of extra dialogue to make the characters fit into the game better. This should prove interesting when the team meets Bruce Banner, Dark Cyclops and the main protagonist, Doom himself. Still giving us 10 new achievements worth 250 points seems a bit of overkill just revolving around the new characters.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Tony Stark that isn't a Total Arse

The Invincible Iron Man. Yet another Marvel animated DVD has joined the recent Comic to DVD range and it's another good one. Although I find it quite strange this one was even made as we're not that far off from a Hollywood Iron Man with the genius casting of Robert Downey Jr, especially since both versions seem to be dealing with a different telling of his origin.

Not that I'm complaining because I did really enjoy this one, far more than the two Avengers films previously released. This being me and as an extreme continuity nut I noticed that this actually seems to be based in the same timeline as the Ultimate Avenger films, the armour bay Stark has is extremely similar to the one shown in the second Avengers film and both the Ultimate Armour and the War Machine Armour were shown in it. Also establishing this link further, the voice of Tony Stark is exactly the same guy as the other films.

Onto the actual film and I've always preferred Iron Man in cartoons than in comics. I'm not sure why but Tony just never works quite as well for me in the books as he does when in motion and after months of evil Stark, proud sponsor of the Super Human Registration Act over in Civil War I thought it'd be nice to get a nice friendly version. We didn't quite get that, instead we get a typical heartless business man who places himself first and everything else second. He lied to his best friend and kept him out of the biggest project ever undertaken, even when Tony and Rhodey are building a makeshift armour Tony totally underplays the fact he wasn't exactly creating this stuff from scratch. As the film progresses Tony becomes more human and all round nice bloke but at the start he is a bit of a bastard.

Of course dealing with Iron Man we have to put up with his greatest enemy, the bottle. I mean the Mandarin, though a drunk Iron Man could make for some interesting viewing. This version of the Mandarin is ten times better than any other and instead of being some mental Chinese bloke, he’s a spirit of an ancient Chinese ruler. His appearance is brief and it is far better for it.

The other characters were quite a surprise, James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes was different to any version I’ve experienced before but then I’m used to him either being War Machine or having fallen out with Stark for some reason or another. Pepper, Tony’s secretary, was a lot older and there was no sexual tension there as there would be normally. Most bizarrely, we have a version of Tony Stark who stands alongside his father in running Stark Enterprises. Also, considering this is an origin story the armour was handled very surprisingly. It was explained well but it does catch you by surprise.

To date this is easily the best Marvel Animated film, let’s hope they continue this upward curve with Doctor Strange and beyond.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

No More Through The Gate

Stargate SG-1 has now finished its 10, and final, season making it longest continuous Sci-Fi series ever. I’ll definitely miss the show and feel bad for Ben Browder for having another show end on him but am I sad about it? Not really. Please be aware any American readers, your scheduling sucks and Sky One has shown the whole thing here in Blighty. This here blogging is going to be very spoilerific.

To be honest, I know I'm a story arc kinda guy but I was hoping for the SG-1 version of Deep Space Nine’s Dominion war. A ‘sod all else and those little happy stories we’re in a war and it’s a nasty one so follow us while we take this galaxy back one system at a time’ sort of thing. Ooo that made me feel all Sheridan like typing that.

Instead the shows leading up to the end of the season certainly didn't leave you with the feeling that it was all going to be over. After Daniel gets taken by the Ori, things quieten down and we get to see Mitchell's school reunion. Daniel returns and despite then unleashing the entire Ori army onto our galaxy we get some wonderful stories involving alternate realities and rebels. I’m not saying these weren’t good episodes, just they weren’t what I was hoping for. Then with two episodes before the curtain falls it all kicks off. In one episode so much ground was covered and it was fantastic. I applaud the writer who came up with Ba’al’s plan, that was an absolute masterstroke.

Then we have the last ever episode of Stargate SG-1. It, erm, wasn't what I expected. Sure I got the explosion I wanted and the start of the episode explains something that has seemed a bit off during the whole Ori storyline in the most shocking manor possible. But most of the episode was a character piece looking intently at our five main characters. It was an interesting way to end the series as nothing concerning the defeating the armies of the Ori was really addressed, but it did make for a good look at what was good about the show.

Then it was all over… well not really. SG-1 have two movies coming, the first ending the Ori storyline and the second a good old fashioned timeline buggered story that Stargate does so well. Plus Atlantis plunges on, a show I really think I need to watch considering how closely I’ve followed SG-1. There’s the 2008 debuting Stargate series that nobody knows anything yet. Plus apparently one of SG-1’s main guys hasn’t given up the fight for his series yet. Though I’m not sure if that’s such a good thing.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm with Union Jack

Because everyone's doing one.

[EDIT] It has come to my attention that Marvel's UK does indeed have a Superhero law, but our superhero's didn't have a hissy fit over the whole thing. So I'm still with Union Jack.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Happy Smiley Counter Terrorists

Rainbow Six, bit of an odd name for a counter terrorist agency but that's what Tom Clancy has given us. We're onto the fifth version of the computer game and this is my second. I'd messed around with the original game but only really got stuck in with Rogue Spear. I became disenchanted with the franchise when they abandoned the planning phase and went all action in an attempt to take on SWAT.

However, I had really loved Rogue Spear and its add-ons so I always felt the need to go back. Enter XBox Live's ability to download demos and I was trying Vegas. After telling myself this was a much needed buy since I first tried it, three months later my Dad came to the rescue and I finally own it.

The game is great and it’s reminding me of the fun I had playing Republic Commando and I'm really starting to like the tactical squad games. The pleasure you get when you successfully take down a room is fantastic. More than once have Michael, Jung and I stormed a room and the dirty terrorist scumbags all dropped seconds later. Also there is a lot of joy from sneaking about slowly killing all involved without alerting anyone else.

Though that brings me onto the problems I have. Sometimes the enemy AI is great, but all too often am I amazed how stupid these terrorists are. Last night I opened a door and shot gunned the guy on the other side for the pure joy of the shotgun. Amazingly, a couple of guys down the hall (out of my view I will point out) failed to really react to my little bit of Rambo. Admittedly they did switch from just standing around to being alert, but it didn't occur to either of them to go investigate what the loud noise was.

As I already stated, I cut my anti terrorist teeth on Rogue Spear and we no longer have the planning aspect. I don't pine for its return but I do miss the level of control it gave me over my team mates. More than once have I wished that they move up from the cover position I gave them. As it stands they only move to cover I tell them too, and therefore I have to be able to see that cover. I also find that when they are on follow in a fire fight they don't make the smartest of moves and I now do my best to make sure they're ordered to do something else other than just shoot people.

The Rainbow series hasn't totally filled the gap it created by removing its planning phase but all in all I am enjoying the game a great deal. I wonder if they've managed to fix the problems with Splinter Cell.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

From Zombies to Policemen Officers

I've been a big fan of Simon Pegg's from Big Train through to Shaun of the Dead. Now we've got his latest venture from him and his two mates Edgar Wright and Nick Frost. Spaced started this wonderful trio and they've still got the magic.

Bluntly put, I really enjoyed the film. Not quite as funny as Shaun but as a whole the film is absolutely brilliant. One of my first reactions was amazement at one or two of the cast members. Shaun had quite a few British stalwart comedy actors but seeing Jim Broadbent and Timothy Dalton as major players goes to prove how far these guys have come since that Channel 4 sitcom.

Pegg's acting is some pretty fine stuff, I must admit I was quite surprised to see him play the straight man here but he does it well. However, Danny Butterman has got to be one of Nick Frost's worst performances. He was brilliant at both Mike and Ed yet here he seemed to be struggling, only really comfortable when Danny was being particulary Edish.

Wright's directing has certainly improved but I think he's heard one too many good comments about his fast cutting in Shaun, it's a little over done in this movie and at times it felt like he was just doing it because he could.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Happy Winter-Een-Mas everyone. For those who have no idea what I'm going on about check out the official website or go google it. I hadn't actually realised how big it was until I did that.

As is becoming tradition on the weekend of Winter-een-mas we're celebrating with booze at Scott's, even though all he has is a PS2 on offer. Though I'm taking my old X-Box round too for more varied gaming. I'm also going to make a point of playing as much multiplayer as I can over the next week, something I usually barely bother with, favouring more the single player experience. I'm probably going to be found on Test Drive Unlimited, Rockstar Table Tennis and Gears of War. I'm more than likely going to be buying Rainbow Six: Vegas as well.

Also in the spirit of the season I post again:

Monday, January 15, 2007


I'm currently on tender hooks waiting for Mass Effect from Bioware on the 360 later this year. However, something has come to my attention as a result of this game and a few other upcoming releases. Game developers are becoming obsessed with trilogies. Is it that they've been looking at Star Wars, Back to the Future and The Godfather and decided that is how it has to be done?

Apart from the aforementioned Bioware game, Silicon Nights are finally going to be releasing their Too Human based on Norse Mythology (which does sound quite cool) and it's slated as the first in the trilogy. XBox 360's "biggest game" Gears of War is part of a trilogy. Knights of the Old Republic is rumoured to be a trilogy, and certainly the second game left a few plot points unresolved but I don’t know if it was originally intended that way, the fact it is Star Wars probably means LucasArts did mean for it to be.

Not only that but this year we've got the end of the Halo trilogy starring Master Chief. Two more games have already been confirmed by other studios expanding the universe, and making me actually play a RTS game.

Bioware and Bungie aren’t new to this trilogy business either. Bungie had the Marathon games on the Mac. Baldur’s Gate was intended to be one but in the excitement and moving technology of Neverwinter Nights the third part, Throne of Bhaal, was relegated down to Expansion Pack rather than a fully fledged game.

Not every game can be a Halo though and have its trilogy play out. Shenmue was a fantastic game, but the second came just as the Dreamcast was about to fall in it’s grave. It was later released on the XBox but low sales figures have left the third instalment on permanent hiatus. Then there’s Advent Rising a game that promised to blow everyone away and proceeded to not sell at all. No doubt there are people who enjoyed it and they only got part one of its three part story.

On the other foot we have Valve with Half-Life that was intended as a trilogy but they have now said that they're just going to keep going while they still have ideas and people are still playing. Notice how there is three Half-Life 2 episodes. Coincidence? You decide.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Microsoft Addiction Points

I knew as soon as I started playing on my 360 I knew I was in danger of getting terribly addicted to Achievements. Thankfully to start with it was relatively low level addiction as I slowly clawed my way towards several peoples scores who I wanted to match. Then Drew got his 360.

Nothing that harsh was said but I did like to point out his little score. So he made it a competition He halved my lead in no time at all. Really I wasn't bothered but then he made a comment about how he was about to take me over in Dead Rising. Low and Behold he took over my 480 and jumped up to 680, and the race was on. Yes, I am well aware of how petty this is but damn it, it gives my need to get 100% in games a bit more of a competitive aspect.

On the plus side I get to appreciate even more how good Dead Rising is. Third time through and I'm still finding new stuff. This game is amazing, the shine is only just starting to tarnish now that I've hit the maximum level.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Gangsters and Tropical Islands

Happy New Year Everybody. A New Year and my first post is about two old topics. I've finally managed to finish two games this week, Far Cry: Instincts and Saints Row.

I'd never got round to the original version on the PC and I realised I needed at least one version under my belt. Far Cry: Instincts was touted as one of the best shooters on the X-Box and saying that to a die hard Halo fan like me is certainly something. It was something I totally agreed with when I started the game, the intro is fantastic even if I did get a bit lost swimming straight away. I thoroughly enjoyed the game, even the bad handling of the vehicles wouldn’t put me off ploughing on. It seems odd to me that both Half-Life 2 and Far Cry go for this style when Halo has proven what can be done because everyone knows how much fun throwing a Warthog around can be. The hang glider section felt pointless too, I really didn't see any point of even doing that since it was far easier to do it via Jet Ski. The game only offered you the chance to use the hang glider twice, the first time the only real time it was needed and I ditched it through not knowing how to control it and finding the aforementioned Jet Ski.

However the vehicle controls are a minor niggle. Much more importantly is the end section of the game. From what I understand from Smith and Daz this was a big problem for Far Cry and Instincts has the same though I've got the feeling it's not as bad. At one point in the story one of the main bad guys legs it to another island and you follow. The minute you land on the new island things go downhill. I can't quite put my finger on what was so bad about it but I loved playing the first part of the game, once I got to this bit I only carried on because I figured I must be near the end. Once again a fantastic start to a game, let down by the ending.

Then we have Saints Row. I've already covered my thoughts on the gameplay so I'm just going to give brief thoughts on the story. Now Saints Row obviously falls under the category of GTA clone but to the extant this game goes to is extreme. More than once during a mission I got a serious sense of deja vu, one or two missions are directly ripped from the Rockstar series. That said the ending for this game is fantastic, though while there was plenty of side missions left to do I felt going back after that would ruin it for me so Saints Row has returned to its owner. Yes the driving’s bad, one aspect of the story revealed in the end sequence wasn't covered enough but decent shooting and a fairly good story do make it worth while.