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Showing posts from November, 2009

Feast of Souls by C.S. Friedman

My very first book review, and it's for one of my favorite authors.

C.S. Friedman hasn't written a whole lot of books, but what she has done has just about all been top shelf science fiction.

A few notable favorites would be Madness Season, where an immortal creature that can assume the shape of any animal, but is allergic to sunlight and must survive on the nutrients in the blood of other creatures (a vampire basically) must learn how to survive in a universe where the human race has been enslaved by a reptillian hive-mind race. And the Coldfire Trilogy, which features a planet that was started as a human seed colony, except the colonists found upon landing that there were forces that would act on conscious and unconscious thoughts and effect the physical world. Thus if you had a doubt that something might not work, it would be amplified, and definitely not work. Hundreds of years later, it's become a fantasy world, where people use guns in favor of swords, since they are m…

First Anime Review: Claymore

Lately I haven't been watching as much anime as I would like. It just seems that with all of the current shows, movies, books, and comic books that I've been reading, anime just fell to the sidelines. No more!

I'm almost completely through Claymore, and it's been a very unusual experience. The premise in a nutshell is that there are shapechanging monsters called Yoma, that have an insatiable hunger for human flesh. This is an anime though, so surely some spunky kid with crazy hair will show up and pummel them all to death whilst jumping ridiculously high.

Not quite, this isn't that type of anime. There are problems with Yoma, they can regenerate superficial damage without slowing, they're strong, they're fast, and they can take on the shape, personality, and memories of someone after eating their brain. Often a Yoma will come into town, kill someone, eat them and assume their place, and then slowly whittle the population down one at a time. During t…

Prototype Status: Beat

For the longest time I was stuck on a ridiculous boss fight in Prototype, so I shelved it for a couple of weeks. Of course as is usually the case, I brought it out to show it to a friend, and tore through the boss like it was no big deal, so I finally beat the story over the weekend.

A major complaint that I've had with the game, and indeed, many other action games as well, is that boss fights all require you to play the game in an entirely different way. In Prototype, you are typically the toughest thing out there, and you regularly square off against multiple opponents at the same time, while tearing them apart with brutal melee attacks. Then you get the boss fights, a number of which mostly involve you just running around, trying to get a heavy object to throw at them very hard. Becuse if you were to get within melee distant of them, they just use some attack that instantly stuns you. As I said, this seems to be a problem with most action games, not just Prototype. I was …

I Subjected Myself To The Entire Prisoner Remake, And All I Got Was This Stupid Blog Post

Spoilers ahoy!

Against my better judgement, I decided to hold it out and finish of the Prisoner mini-series, I mean, it was only four more hours. So, much like the first 2 hours, there's not really enough here to hold you attention. What's going on in the Village just isn't that interesting, and neither are the people in it. Jim Caviezel has about as much charisma as a carbon rod.

There was one good part, where he is teamed up with another villager, and told to observe people (spying) that might be dreamers, like himself. He discovers that all observers work in cells of 2-4 people, and that none of the cells are aware of any of the other cells. So, the entire village could be observers, with everyone being under scrutiny by a cell. There's even a elementary school class on covert surveilance. Really, I wish the entire mini-series had been about this aspect of the Village, instead, they play with it for 45 minutes, and then discard it.

Now, here are the big spoiler…

I Don't Like Wrestling, But I Liked The Wrestler

I've been hearing a lot of great things about this movie from people that I trust, so I decided to watch it, even though I don't really care for wrestling. Mickey Rourke plays Randy the Ram, a professional wrestler, who's heyday was 20 years ago. Now he works at a grocery store unloading trucks, lives in a trailer, and wrestles for small change on the weekends.

It's touching, and depressing, a bitter sweet look into the life of someone that knows that his way of life is self destructive, but can't manage to live any other way.

The only other thing that I've got to say about the movie is that while the wrestling may be fake, the character of Randy the Ram really gives it his all, stashing razer blades, so that he can cut himself to simulate actually being cut, letting his opponent put a dozen staples into him with a staple gun. The outcome may be predetermined, but that doesn't mean that he's not putting his heart into it.

Micro Reviews: Tekken 6 and Wet

I've always been a big Tekken fan, not one of those fans that hangs out at an arcade mopping the floor with all challengers by using Heihachi's 40 hit unavoidable, unblockable combo. Rather I've always been the kind of Tekken fan that enjoyed the ridiculous and zany costume and character designs, and would sit on his couch with his best friend, doing round after round of 8 member team battles with all randomly chosen characters.

This puts me in an apparently different category from most Tekken fans, in that each new iteration of the title just has better graphics, and new characters/costumes as far as I can tell. They also throw a new play mode or two in with each game, a lot of the time this just isn't important though.

As far as I can tell, this game has a lot more playable characters than most installments of the game. It also has a strange ranking system, as you play through the arcade mode with a character, you start off as a beginner, but as you win challenges,…

I Have A Confession... (Doctor Who)

I watch Doctor Who, and I like it. I can't even tell you why, as I contemplated writing a post today, I asked myself what I did last night: Played Borderlands, and watched the latest Doctor Who special, The Waters of Mars. "Well, I've already made two posts about Borderlands, but I don't want to admit that I like Doctor Who, what to do?"

So, I'm swallowing my pride, and admitting it: I like Doctor Who, the new one, with that guy with too much hair gel. I don't always feel this way about Doctor Who, just after the sillier episodes, where I ask myself a couple of times why I like it, but then that part of my brain just shuts up and I start laughing.

The show has not even the slightest sense of consistency, it's at times scary, creepy, light hearted and witty, or just corny beyond all belief, sometimes going through multiple mood shifts in a single episode. This last special started off trying to pull off the creepy vibe with the first human habitat on Mar…

The Prisoner Remake: 45 Years Later And Even Jesus Can't Replace Patrick McGoohan

A remake of the Prisoner has been in the making for many years, and as is usually the case with such projects, it tends to disappoint.

I managed to make it through the 2 hour premier, but only by finding something else to occupy my time while I watched it in the background. Let's just get this out of the way, The Prisoner is boring and generic. We start off with the Number Six, being played by Jim Caviziel waking up in the middle of a wasteland, with dogs barking in the background. He shortly finds a man who is half dead, and asks him to deliver a message to 554 to let her know he escaped. Six passes out, and wakes up in the Village. He's been partially brainwashed it appears, whereas most of the other villagers are completely brainwashed into their numerically designated existances, barely even understanding the concept of a world outside the Village, let alone believing that it actually exists.

Ian McKellan plays the role of the new Number Two, who is now a unstable psyco…

Death Race: Jason Statham Gets Naked

Death Race is a modern remake of a cult sci-fi movie from the 70's starring Sylvester Stallone and David Carradine. I'm going to stop there, because other than the name, this movie has very little to do with the original. Honestly it's more of a mashup of Running Man and Mariokart than anything else.

In a futuristic world, the hot sport is Death Race, where life term convicts are placed in heavily modified death dealing cars, and put on a race track together. Win five races, and you get a full pardon. The thing I like about Death Race is that the game itself is actually fairly well thought out, it has rules, beyond just make it across the finish line at any cost. Each Death Race even is split up into three stages, which occurs over a number of days, it's only important to come in first in the final stage, other than that, you can just focus on taking out rivals, and surviving. Each vehicle has an arsenal of defensive and offensive weapons, which are electronically…

The Prisoner (1964) Finished

After watching the last episode of the Prisoner over the weekend, all I can think of is that I'm a little disappointed. The Prisoner was a bumpy road, with some episodes being a little hard to get through, and others being just wonderful. The last episode is just confusing though, so very much happens that it was very hard to follow, and a lot of what happened just didn't seem to make any sense. I'm just left with more questions, which is okay.

Really I never expected there to actually be an ending, I fully expected a world where No 6 is still on the island today, instead they have him escape, but in the most non-sensical way. Still, I highly recommend the series to anyone that wants to watch some mindgames.

The Prisoner: 45 Years Old And Hardly Dated At All

From the title of this post, I'm sure you've figured out that I'm talking about the original TV series, and not the remake that's airing next week. Also, I'm sure you were able to intuit that I'm really enjoying the series.

The premise is thus: The title character is a member of the Brittish Intelligence agency, and one day spontaneously decides to resign. While packing for a "I just angrily quit my job" vacation, some mysterious men gas his home, and kidnap him. He awakes on an island with no name, in a village with no name, populated by people with no names, just numbers. The two consistent characters are the Prisoner, who assumes the number six, and Number Two, who is the adminstrator of the island. Saying that No 2 is a consistent character is a misleading however, as the character is replaced just about every episode, and even frequently changes genders. No 2's primary goal is to extract information from No 6, most specifically, they ar…

Additional thoughts on Borderlands

Even after completing the main story mode in Borderlands, it has demanded my attention more than other game at my disposal. I've barely started Brutal Legend or Dragon Age: Origins, not to mention I still have Red Faction: Guerilla and Prototype both begging to be finished. The trauma of being blown up still prevents me from going back to Dead Space just yet, and similarly Bioshock is off the docket until I've had more time to recover. They're both just so immersive, intense and scary, spending more than a few minutes with either of them makes me feel like I'm about to have an anxiety attack.

Borderlands has lots of action, doesn't require a lot of thinking, but it still gives you the compulsive desire to play just a little more, get one more gun. Because of it's quest based gameplay, it's very easy to just pick it up and play for ten to thirty minutes. Even if you don't have time to complete a quest, you still will get plenty of loot to sell at the…

On Super Robots, And The Wars They Fight

Super Robot Wars is a videogame series that has been going on for a very long time in Japan, but due to licensing problems, very few of the games have ever been localized for North America. I think it's fairly obvious that the games are pretty much about giant robots smacking the ever loving snot out of each other. Typically the games are in the form of turn based tactical RPGs, although there have been a couple of fighting games, and some other genres represented throughout the series.

The licensing issue that I mentioned are all because of the various games' cast of robots. Instead of creating a cast of entirely original robots, the SRW series has traditionally pulled a lot of robots from various animes, with permission of course. This becomes an issue when they try to import the games because while they've secured the rights from the appropriate holders in Japan, the North American rights to those same properties are often held by different companies, who also want …

Supernatural

Supernatural is essentially about two brothers that travel back and forth across the country, seraching out things that go bump in the night, and bumping them right back. Okay, so I more or less stole that from Hellboy, but it's no less apt for it, just replace bump with kill and you'll get the idea. For the most part I feel that Supernatural is at it's best when the boys are tracking down random baddies and putting the hurt on them. The overarching storyline can still be fun, but it's not where the show shines. In the current season, we see that Sam and Dean have both worked to kick off the Apocalypse by releasing Satan from his prison, now all that's left is for Satan to possess his vessel, and the archangel Michael to possess his, and then they duke it out. The twist here is that Dean is Michael's vessel, and Sam is Satan's. Naturally the boys aren't too keen on letting a couple of angels possess them, then duke it out, leaving the winner in a persis…

Stargate: Universe

We're up to the third or fourth episode on this one, and I'm enjoying it quite a bit. To recap, this is the third Stargate tv series, and it's supposed to be "Dark" and "Edgy", or in other words, a way to milk an existing franchise, and still try and fulfill the void that Battlestar Galactica left in all of our space opera hearts. In this, it fails. Any attempt to compare it to Battlestar is going to paint this show in a negative light. It... I'm trying to put into words exactly how it's different from BSG, and the best way I can think of to describe it is scale. In the very first episode of BSG, twelve worlds approximately the size of Earth are scoured of all human life, in the first episode of SG:U a group of 40 or so people make an emergency one way trip through a Stargate and end up on a mysterious ship. As for dark and edgy, so far, every episode has pretty much ended with the crew managing to stay alive just in the nick of time without hav…

Visitors Should Always Be Feared, And Sometimes Mercilessly Slaughtered

Watched the first episode of the V remake over the weekend, here's my thoughts:

A remake of another alien conspiracy story from the 80's, this time in a serial format. V stands for Visitor, and they are an outwardly benevolent and peaceful race, here to solve all of Earth's problems, in exchange for some resource that they need, which is of no consequence to us. In reality they are actually lizard people that wear organic human suits, and have sent people to Earth to get into key positions of government to smooth the way for an eventual takeover/genocide/seriously bad things. So, that's the basis, the first episode was kind of a mess, obviously trying to squeeze as much of the basics into the first episode in order to get people coming back for the next episode, and in that respect it seems to have worked. I am certainly committed to seeing the second episode, and it seems that most of my fellow watchers are too. I think it would have worked out better if they'd had…

Weekend Watching: They Live

I'd originally intend to write up a synopsis and review of everyhing I'd watched this weekend, but that quickly got out of hand, so I'm going to make a separate entry for each movie and shows. So, to start with, the only movie I watched this weekend

John Carpenter's They Live - This is only the second time I've ever watched this movie, and I was surprised to find that it's a solid sci-fi flick, even given it's age and the fact that the movie's hero is played by former WWF wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper. It concerns a race of aliens that live amongst us, and secretly conspire to keep the human race subdued through the use of some kind of mass hypnosis. Our hero, a down on his luck steel mill worker, stumbles across a resistance cell as it's discovered abd put down, but not before he can get his hands on a magic pair of sunglasses. This glasses allow him to see through the hypnotic veil, which gives us a couple of amusing scenes where he looks upon his…

Vin Diesel's Wheelman Mini-Review

I had some time to sit down with Wheelman last night, and I honestly can't decide if I like it or not.

At least superficially, the gameplay resembles the Driver series, as it started on the playstation 1. You are tasked with being the driver for various illegal oddjobs, such as bank robberies and drug deals, with the focus being on driving, and very little on foot gameplay (I haven't done anything on foot except run to my next car in the first few hours of play). It does have a couple of new tricks that it brings to the genre though: First, and most important, are the vehicle melee attacks. It sounds really odd, but it's actually pretty cool, while driving, if you flick the right stick forward, or to either side, the car will move quickly in that direction, if there's a vehicle in the way, it will ram it for goodly amount of damage, moreso than just running into them, if there isn't a vehicle there, it's just a quick way to move over a lane, useful for dodg…

Borderlands: Mad Max Rolls d10 For Massive Damage

So, I finished the story campaign of Borderlands last night, so here's my thoughts:

Borderlands is an extremely fun and addictive game, in spite of some flaws and short comings. The game starts off with you taking on the role of one of four treasure hunters that have to come the desert planet of Pandora in search of the mythical Vault, which is believed to hold untold amounts of alien technology, which would make any one who finds it rich beyond belief.

Fighting occurs in real time, just like any other shooter, there's no cover system though, and you'll spend a lot of time running backwards away from enemies while shooting them, at least in the beginning of the game. The game is structured much like World of Warcraft, in that you find someone who gives you a mission/quest which usually involves going to a particular location, killing something(s), or finding an object, then returning to the quest giver, and claiming a prize of experience points, money, and/or an item.

Here is…

A Genealogy of Transformers and GI Joe Toys

This is an email I sent to someone after seeing Rahsan Ekedal's very awesome drawing of Baron Karza from the Micronauts comic/toyline (Below)


I just love the relationship between Japanese and American toys, especially during the 70's and 80's:"Ready for a toy history lesson?
Okay, GI Joe started off in the 60's with the 12 inch tall, and later 8 inch tall, figures. In the 70's a Japanese company licensed the molds for the Joe figures, and created their own toyline called Henshin Cyborg, it was moderately successful, but a big stumbling block was that making vehicles and playsets for those size figures wasn't feasible at a decent pricepoint. At this point, they decided to try and make a smaller figure, and created the Microman line, these figures were 3.75 inches tall. The story behind these toys, was that the Microman were tiny aliens, and they landed on Earth and hid amongst us, also in the toyline were robots that turned into Microrecorders, tapes, microsc…