Thursday, 14 August 2014

The Inbetweeners 2 - The scoop and digest

Let's remind ourselves of what projects the lads have done.

Will (Friday Night Dinner), Neil (Way to Go and Edge of Heaven), Simon (Fresh Meat) and Jay (Only Fools prequel Rock & Chips).

Our sex pest was also bumbling communications expert Robert Crumper in Orange advert for The Expendables 2.

Along with Jonny Sweet, Simon and Will's creative triumph was writing and co-creating satirical First World War sitcom Chickens.

Like everybody else, I'm sure Will prefers to forget The Harry Hill Movie.

Now, down to business.

When a smash hit comedy (or popular char) comes to the big screen, quality can plummet quicker than a bungee jump.

Thankfully, Malia begged to differ and was largely hilarious.

Others weren't so lucky as Kevin & Perry and most recently, Mrs. Brown's Boys D'Movie rightly bombed.

As for Keith Lemon - oh my fucking God.

Writers Damon Beesley and Iain Morris now direct, so does the clunge uncontrollably drip or become drier than the Outback?

Plot details and/or spoilers will sizzle down under.

Those with four weeks in paradise to kill include:

Simon Bird - Will
Blake Harrison - Neil
James Buckley - Jay
Joe Thomas - Simon
Emily Berrington - Katie
Greg Davies - Mr. Gilbert
Belinda Stewart-Wilson - Will's Mum
David Schaal - Jay's Dad
Tamla Kari - Lucy

Will and Simon attend university, Neil works in a bank and Simon is still with Lucy.

Her sweeter than sweet personality has radically transformed into a controlling, possession destroying bitch.

Neil receives an email from Jay who gratuitously describes his gap year in Austraila as running a top night club, owning a mansion and waking to regular blowies sounds anything but grim.

Jane?  Who's Jane.

They do find him working in the nightclub, as a toilet attendant.

Will chats with backpacker Katie, a former primary school friend and they appear to hit it off.

Jay's palace is a two-man tent in his uncle's garden.  Of course, it's only temporary...

Thanks to Jay's uncle, Simon accidentally proposes over Skype.

Anything is more attractive than lying in a fuck hole so they relocate to a youth hostel in Byron Bay.

Will meets Ben, who proves to be an absolute (cough) tosser.

After learning that Katie is heading to Splash Planet, Will senses an opportunity.

Things don't go swimmingly at the water park as due to the stress of Neil killing a dolphin with a diet of fast food, his 'irritating' bowel syndrome kicks in at the top of a water slide and subsequent events cause the place to close.

Much to the dismay of Jay's quivering lip, Jane's career has moved on.

Lucy tells Simon that Jane is working with horses on a stud farm.  Will decides to spurn his friends to stay with Katie and co.

Jay, Simon and Neil head out in the Peter Andre inspired Mobile Virgin Conversion Unit.

Will struggles to fit in and during spiritual healing, his suggestion to purify negativity is very non-PC.

Before leaving, at least he tells Katie and that dick Ben where to go.

He catches a plane and the quartet are reunited.

The shagging wagon runs out of juice and without supplies, the desert will surely become their tomb.

A few hours later, Jane and her co-workers prevent the grim reaper from knocking but elation turns to deflation because she doesn't take him back.

Cue that lip again...

At Jay's uncle's house, family and revelations await.

Mr. Gilbert has entered Will's mum in more ways than one.  After uncle insults Jane, Jay feebly slaps him across the chops and finally; Simon is delighted to find uni friend Peter investigating Lucy's lady garden so is given the perfect excuse to dump the mental cow.

Vietnam (gun testing) and Bangkok (ladyboys) are visited as the credits roll and returning home with wacky haircuts, Neil is greeted by the pot smoking older woman and Will's mum is now engaged to Gilbert.

Scarpering in pure horror, airport security wrestle Will to the ground.

While far from a colossal failure, this disheartens.

I'd liken it to The Simpsons Movie.  Good in places but could have been so much better.

If fruit machines are feeling generous, 'nudges' instigate a win.  Here, it's an unsubtle way of pushing a friend into a potentially volatile situation.

Jay's crude and lewd variations can be unnecessarily protracted and neglect to be funny.

Simon even remarks with something like 'I lost interest half way through'.

Irony is a cruel mistress.

You expect the script to be recycled in a roundabout way but visual gags drinking from the poisoned chalice of shock was a huge mistake.

Just ask A Million Ways to Die in the West.

With no Carli to obsess over, Simon gives us literally nothing to laugh at.

All the best lines leave Neil's lips and timing proves effortless.

Will consistently fucks things up but his campfire serenade lacks a piss funny moment.

Speaking of which, when Simon resorts to desperate measures in the desert, the result is limper than Neil's toilet truncheon.

For all its failures, there are some laugh out loud highlights.

The sequence leading up to a turd in hot pursuit and Will wrongly accused of sleep raping Katie are moments of comedic brilliance.

Beesley and Morris are adamant this is the end.

Unlike one of Jay's outlandish stories, let's hope they're not bullshitting...

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A long time ago in pixels far, far away... (Original trilogy)

You could build New York from what's available and still have bricks to spare, so the level of detail on those that feature will vary at my discretion.

Atari conceived the first Star Wars arcade in 1983.

This and The Empire Strikes Back in 1985 aptly demonstrated that back then, vector graphics were the cat's whiskers.

Forming the same graphical principle, Denton Design’s Dark Star was technically amazing.

Apart from blasting the shit out of whatever, The Liar (inspired by spaceship Lying Bastard from Larry Niven’s sci-fi novel Ringworld), had a fondness for passing through jump gates, liberating planets and stealing resources.

Despite low detail, it’s as though the Speccy was ‘overclocked’ because vectors managed to zip around at breakneck speed.

Empire was brought in 1980 and trilogy climaxed in 1983, so you’d think the Return of the Jedi arcade would follow a few years later, but appeared before the sequel in 1984.

WHAT?

Hey Chewie, your thoughts?

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr?

(He proceeds to choke me).

(Cough, splutter).  Back the fuck off fur features, it’s not my fault.

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Okay, okay.  Buy me a shit mixture at Mos Eisley and we're even.

Incidentally, Jedi favoured sprite over wireframe models and pioneered by Sega’s Zaxxon, preferred an isometric perspective.

To be fair, much of what happened in the film, made its way here.

Essential retro beast, the Atari 2600 didn't go without.

Based on the Death Star assault stage, Star Wars: The Arcade Game was viewed from some kind of 3D outlook.

Dressed as a scruffy Defender clone, The Empire Strikes Back saw something resembling a snowspeeder attack an endless army of Imperial Walkers.

To be fair, the four-legged monsters did look something like what we remember and bizarrely changed colour when put on a forced diet of laser.

Occasionally, the Star Wars theme beeped away signalling invincibility.

Nailed on rip off Attack of the Mutant Camels always gave me the hump.

Jedi Death Star Battle oversaw the operation of a tiny Millennium Falcon as after a barrier was penetrated and sweet spot was located, expect the Death Star to go boom in a separate section.

Phoenix was a 1980 Galaxian clone thing with eggs, birds and also required the pummelling of a mothership.

In 1981, Namco’s Galaga built upon what Galaxian brought, with exciting beeps and swooping formations.

To add spice, a specific enemy emitted a tractor beam in mid flight and the brave would allow his/her fighter to be captured, effectively losing a life without dying.

You could work this to your advantage as when the game resumed, (exactly as it would if you succumbed to enemy fire), defeating the kidnapping ship would see you reestablish control with double firepower.

The weirdest Space Invader hybrid was the extremely obscure The End by Konami in 1981.

Insects launched from, I guess, a mothership, and apart from shooting, munched on pseudo barriers.

The aim was to survive the swarm and go from there.

Moving on, Mr Tom.

When direct conversions of respective arcade were brought, home computers balked at different results.

It may interest that in 1989, Domark cobbled together all three games for Spectrum, C64 etc, in one mega value pack called The Star Wars Trilogy.

In 1987, Japan, Star Wars and the Famicom simply excelled by delivering content more spaced out then a stormtrooper high on crystal meth.

Vader becoming a shark, pterodactyl or scorpion?  A thing of purest beauty.

Oh yeah, Luke hitched a ride on a whale.

A long drawn out ‘yeah’ leaps quite high and my friend fuck only knows what Namco were smoking.

Unlike this drugathon, the 1991 NES game cared more about the film's plot, with Game Boy and Game Gear ports following later.

Now I present a forgotten set of three…

3D Star Wars was presumably spoofing Return of the Jedi in 1983, as Luke Clearthinker singlehandedly takes on the entire rebel fleet in a crosshair themed shmup.

Before the Griffins and friends got their teeth into the trilogy, claymation sketch show Robot Chicken had already dedicated an episode of similar ilk.

This is referenced in Blue Harvest when Peter remarks “I wouldn't worry about it, Chris.  I don't think people are even aware of that show's existence.”

At the time, a more famous parody was Bored of the Rings and CRL adapted the novel into a text adventure in 1986.

Mildly amusing variations of Tolkien’s famous fantasy chars included Fordo, Grandalf and Bimbo.

Boasting an ‘officially licensed’ Star Wars theme, Death Star Interceptor was a 1985 System 3 Spectrum effort.

The SF-1 dived and climbed in your pursuit to obliterate the Death Star.

Banking left and right was essential as this allowed you to shoot from a different angle.

Hearing your Spectrum announce the static of ‘Prepare to launch’ was great.

Although causing destruction helped, this was all about survival.

Once inside the trench, repeat the previous strategy until a direct hit could be scored in the exhaust port.

That really is it and even by Spectrum standards, must be one the shortest games ever.

Star Wars Droids: The Adventures of C-3PO and R2-D2 was so fucking bad, it induced a chronic state of nausea in 1988.

Amstrad and Spectrum owners were tortured by a piece of shit that even a desperate fly would avoid.

Crash landing on prison planet Aurem, our droids are captured by The Fromm Gang and must escape from hell (this game).

You play Threepio while R2 lags behind.

R2 became playable when logging on to a terminal, which instigated a sub-game to open doors and call lifts.

The clunky controls were horrendous and hatred resonates.

Making the inevitable leap to 16 bits is when the Force came of age and all SNES games were handled by Sculptured Software.

Super Star Wars, 1992

We see the famous slogan, an excellent rendition of the famous John Williams theme rolls and its story melts away.

To save repetition, this is true for each game.

Luke takes point, but Chewie and Han play a supporting role.

Aside from regular blaster, pop guns include seeker and plasma.

I’m pleased to say that the titular weapon of a Jedi Knight isn’t forgotten and when acquired, can be used to deflect enemy fire.

Accompanied by dialogue, cut scenes connect events nicely which lead up to the climatic Death Star scene.

Noises and occasional speech samples ripped straight from the film ensure presentation is authentically smashing.

Traversing over familiar terrain such as the Mos Eisley Bar, inside and out the Sandcrawler, Bantha territory and Cantina fight adds to the occasion.

Regular threat is typical Empire fodder but the Sarlacc pit monster, Jawenko lava beast and Kalhar creature provide end of level tests.

You also get an Imperial Defence Droid and a mutant Womprat.

Mode 7 stages look great static, but in motion are absolutely terrible.

Environs littered with tricky jumps and leaps of faith made one’s blood boil.

Super The Empire Strikes Back, 1993

Lucasfilm already released Empire on NES in 1992, so I suppose many would consider this an uber version.

Presentation and graphics impress more than before as cut scenes, setting, sound and speech are giving high fives.

We play Han and Chewie, while Yoda’s presence permits the Force in the Dagobah System.

On Hoth, a Tauntan can be ridden.

Spiffing.

Legging up Imperial Walkers with a cable is unsatisfying and awkward.

Mode 7 during Hoth and flying the X-Wing above Cloud City remain unconvincing but a lightsaber duel with Mr. Vader is satisfying.

Unfortunately, this is Bantha bollocks because it's totally unfair and frustratingly difficult.

The Snowspeeder becomes a scrolling shmup (if you like), but avoiding enemy fire is practically impossible because your crate is so fucking huge.

Imagine if Mega Mario in New Super Mario Bros was put in the same situation

To top it off, bosses take an eternity to defeat because they possess what seems like endless vitality.

On this evidence, the designers couldn't organise an orgy in a brothel.

Super Return of the Jedi, 1994

They made up for the previous debacle with a definite improvement.

Essential noise bites include Jabba’s laugh, Chewie’s roar and Darth’s breathing.

Tatooine, Sail Barge, Forest Moon on Endor, Jabba’s Dance Hall, Wicket Village and Death Star deserve appreciation.

Princess Lay Her and a wicket expands upon char variety.

A fruitless attempt at 3D with the Speeder Bike section reaches a new fucking low.

We rotate the Falcon as we shoot down the TIE forces and the same vehicle is used with Mode 7 over the Death Star.

Before the space station is destroyed, kicking the bony Emperor’s ass is a necessity.

Giving Luke a shock is fine but I'm not quite sure why he's flying...

This qualifies as being a more balanced affair and importantly, bosses can be taken down quicker than it takes to watch Ben Hur.

Not so 'Super' ports found their way to Game Boy and Game Gear but at least you could play Luke, Chewie or Princess.

For the ultimate on rails experience, hook up with Sega and the Star Wars Trilogy Arcade.

I’m sure those who spent a few quid in 1998 (or thereabouts), had no regrets.

Yavin, Hoth and Endor are chosen to represent powerful 3D excitement as destroying the Death Star, Imperial Walkers and Shield Generator motivate joystick junkies to stay on target.

Duels with notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett and Lord Vader are stages pretty special.

Action now goes portable with the Game Boy Advance.

Star Wars: Flight of the Falcon came to pass in 2003 and contrary to title, also drove you crazy.

The physics in this horror show are a right son of a whore.

In flying sections, laser is kind of inverted so you have to pretty much aim away from the reticle in order to secure a hit.

This is dull - with a captial D.

In regards to driving vehicles...

Survive. Dodge. Repeat.

Or more appropriately.

Snooze. Swear. Repeat.

Visuals move slower than shit and appalling pixelation made this a great game.

Cloud City, Mos Eisley and Death Star bring atmosphere but I'm unsure why anybody would persevere long enough to care.

Sleeping pills?  Who the fuck needs them?

Star Wars Trilogy: Apprentice of the Force came out to coincide with the 2004 DVD boxset.

Just to make this fact more obvious, they used the same cover art.

It’s basically GBA interpreting SNES, but we only command Luke.

He can use the Force and freely swap between lightsaber and blaster at will.

The vast majority of the game is platforming action and at regular intervals, you’re forced to clear the screen of enemies before being able to progress further.

It’s like what you’d expect in God of War or Devil May Cry etc.

This kind of ‘ambush’ is abused to an irritating degree and quickly becomes tedious.

When flying the X-Wing, it becomes a moronic Asteroids clone.

Mode 7 becomes overhead, with trench run and speeder bike chase particularly unexciting.

Imperial Walkers merely stamp feet in a lazy terror tantrum.

Levels are held together by dialogue and digitised screens, animation is smooth and I don't think many will grumble over graphics.  

Fighting Darth at the end of Empire is done well and as per the film, Luke ultimately loses.

We end with something more entertaining than rummaging through a nettle bush.

Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy was brick hot and warmed the cockles of many hearts in 2006, such as PC, DS, GBA, PS2 and 360.

We build and ride vehicles, alternate between chars and using parts from others, create your own favourite pizza.

Archetypal humour, general frivolity, slapstick recreations of famous scenes, co-op play and splendid visuals pleases in every department.

Until next time, may the force be with you.

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Purge: Anarchy - The scoop and digest

It's that time of year again.

We kick off at 7pm and reflect at 7am.

In flashback, the title sequence of the original confirms the purge was first introduced in 2017 and now, we indulge in the sixth.

Plot details and/or spoilers will commit murderous rage.

Releasing the beast includes:

Frank Grillo - Sergeant
Zach Gilford - Shane
Kiele Sanchez - Liz
Carmen Ejogo - Eva
Zoe Soul - Cali
Jack Conley - Big Daddy
Michael K. Williams - Carmelo

21 March 2023.

With a little over two hours before the annual purge commences, violence seekers shake with excitement while others tremble with fear.

Eva and daughter Cali discover their father is dying and leaves a note explaining he's sold himself to the rich for the princely sum of $100K.

I suppose you'd call it a will.

Meanwhile, couple Shane and Liz are eager to reach her sister's house and survive the night.

While stocking up with supplies, a gang of masks startle and intimidate.

They continue on their merry way but a breakdown halts progress.

Faulty engineering isn't responsible and the pursuing gang aren't too far away...

Sirens wail and it's showtime boys and girls.

Now on foot, they don't wait for an apology.

A nameless guy tools up and moonlights as a standard purger, or is he?

We've already met Diego and fuelled with rage, turns into a giant shit stain when he breaks into Eva's apartment intent on probable rape.

Get ready to be happy as he's gunned down by SWAT types, but the women are viciously dragged outside to be bundled into a van.

The mysterious stranger saves them by lining lungs with lead.

Having no choice but to trust, they enter his car (where Shane and Liz have already taken refuge), but a recently wounded guy known as Big Daddy shows what a gatling gun can do.

Due to transport not appreciating armour piercing rounds, this presents a problem.  Eva promises to provide an alternative, on condition that he guides them safely to friend Tanya's place.

Occasionally, an anti-purge resistance group interrupts countdown updates and leader Carmelo is never lost for words.

After negotiating flame-throwing equipped vehicles down a subway, destination is reached.

Inside the apartment, Eva reveals there was never a car.  That's right pal, she spun you a web of bullshit.

Some woman becomes really pissed off and Tanya is killed.

Staying may have been a better idea as they're captured by masks and paid handsomely for bringing them to a rich purger's party.

Money doesn't just talk, it screams...

For the right to cleanse in an arena dubbed the hunting ground, each are auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Serge seizes control as distraught onlookers witness unexpected slaughter.

Resistance fighters (including the once bloodied stranger), turn up to help but are powerless to prevent Shane's demise.

Liz decides to hang about for extra target practice...

Serge, Eva and Cali hijack the mistresses car so his son's passing can be avenged.

Better hurry though, time is ticking...

There's ample opportunity but bottles it.

Big Daddy opens fire and injures Serge.  He tells him that the purge is not removing enough of the poorer class, hence why death squads have been dispatched to make company figures more respectable.

His son's killer repays unseen forgiveness by ending Big Daddy's ability to breathe.

The girls do enough to stall more uniforms and the siren concludes another edition of Millionaire.

Eva and Cali take their protector to hospital as emergency services begin clearing up the chaos.

James DeMonaco impressively delivers a different type of mammal and is altogether better than the first.

Murder is given more meaning and displays a corrupt message.

I note that instead of people unleashing, they now 'release' the beast.

Got to be a clanger as why change it?

Remember Arnie's quote from Terminator 2?

"Come with me if you want to survive."

Didn't think so and why not?

Oh yeah, the writers weren't assholes and stuck fast with 'live'.

Before the gang are brought before the sadistic and rich, a pianist belts out Chopin's Nocturne in E-flat Major, Op. 9, No.2.

It's a beautiful piece of music.

Vehicles can ring Mad Max bells and would it be harsh to bring up Rockstar's Manhunt?

Not really, and this 'coincidence' is taken too far as Sergeant even describes those eager to massacre as 'hunters'.

I didn't dream it and only happens once.

The next could see resistance fighters smashing New Founding Fathers and Edwin Hodge's background could be expanded.

My only worry is that we could go on forever as there's only so much you can do with a limited, albeit thought-provoking premise.

Let's be honest, this doesn't have the batteries to keep going like a Freddy or Jason.

With that said, let's hope the plug is pulled after the third, or the occasion may smell staler than a cesspit.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Dawn of The Planet of the Apes - The scoop and digest

For me, Rise was an unexpected triumph as Andy Serkis, five star acting and interesting story captivated.

Let's not get into Charlton Heston, or the Mark Wahlberg flick...

Rupert Wyatt steps aside for Matt Reeves, responsible for shaky camera favourite Cloverfield and Let Me In, the appreciable US remake of Swedish horror Let the Right One In.

Plot details and/or spoilers will swing from tree to tree.

Those settling unfinished monkey business include:

Andy Serkis – Caesar
Toby Kebbell – Koba
Jason Clarke – Malcolm
Gary Oldman – Dreyfus
Keri Russell – Ellie
Kirk Acevedo – Carver

The Simian Flu virus has practically decimated the human civilization and only a clutch of genetically immune survivors remain.

10 years later, Caesar has set up shop and leads a new generation of apes.

Apart from the odd bear necessity, things are going swimmingly until Blue Eyes and Ash (Caesar’s and Rocket’s son respectively), encounter a human called Carver trespassing.  He subsequently panics and shoots Ash.

Caesar arrives but instead of retaliating, orders Carver and his party (led by Malcolm), to “GO”.

The other half live in a closely guarded tower in the remains of San Francisco.

Remember Koba?

What a handsome dude.

Anyway, he convinces Caesar to pay them a little visit.

HUMAN HOME!  APE HOME!

It’s like…

Leave us be and we won’t attack but if not, your bollocks and lady bits will hang from the nearest tree.

I think that’s fair.  Or maybe he’s being obtuse?

Dreyfus agrees for Malcolm to ignore the ultimatum and hopes that Caesar will listen to reason as repairing a hydroelectric dam should power San Francisco.

Malcolm enters enemy territory but is predictably caught and brought to Caesar.

Permission is granted on the condition that all weapons are surrendered.

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho.  It’s home from work they go.

Ellie and the others gradually create a bond but when Caesar’s cute offspring inadvertently discovers a concealed shotgun in a toolbox, trust is destroyed quicker than crushed polystyrene.

Despite this, Ellie persuades Caesar to allow her to treat his sick wife Cornelia with antibiotics and their stay is extended.

Koba takes some friends and discovers an armoury that is far from a museum exhibit.

He escapes a pair of guards by playing the fool.

Back at Donkey Kong Country, Koba confronts and taunts boss man over his love for humans but is battered into submission when emotions run high.

His life is spared as ape not kill ape.

Koba returns to the armoury and kills the men he initially tricked with an assault rifle.

Carver’s life is also extinguished and 'acquiring' his lighter, the camp is warmed up.

Unbeknownst to anybody, Koba and Caesar establish eye contact and the Alpha male is shot.

Let's hope he falls on something soft...

The blame is naturally placed elsewhere so it’s time for Malcolm's party to get the fuck out of dodge.

Mass panic ensues and the war against humans officially begins.

Despite numerous casualties of war, Koba’s army force entry to the armoury and tool up.

Ash is ordered to kill a human but refuses.  This proves fatal as Koba throws him off a ledge.

Koba declares that any friend of Caesar is an enemy so those still loyal are imprisoned.

Caesar is found by Malcolm who doesn't look too fighting fit.  Ellie begins operating upon the wounded and because of Koba’s betrayal, the horrible realisation that his kind aren't infallible brings despair.

By now, the dam is repaired and San Francisco is seen in a whole new light.

Blue Eyes ensures those doing time are given early parole and they reach the tower’s summit.  Dreyfus informs Malcolm that help is on the way from another military base.

Koba and Caesar resume action and this time, the battle is less one-sided.

Meanwhile, Dreyfus detonates the tower loaded with C4.

This causes a little unrest up above but no matter, Koba is left hanging on for his despicable life.

In desperation, the same spiel is given as before but as Caesar no longer considers him an ape, he lets him plunge to his death.

When you think back of what he did to poor Ash - what a fucking hypocrite, right?

With the news of imminent reinforcements, Caesar is despondent as the opportunity for peace has been and gone.

Caesar greets his garrison and awaits the final battle.

We don't see a post-credits scene, but as text reaches a climax, the sound of apes and ‘somebody’ sifting through rubble is heard.

Could it be that Koba somehow survived?

Ambiguous?  Yes.  Stupid?  Probably.

I’d describe this as entertaining, but fails to emulate the original.

The story flows with gusto, but I just think something more could've been done instead of the emphasis on 'ape against ape’.

Performance capture remains superb and because the digital effects are so convincing, you may forget that humans hide beneath CGI wizardry.

It’s also intelligent for subtitles to dominate actual speak and as a bonus point, sentences are sensibly ‘broken’.

During Koba’s first encounter with the human pair he goes on to murder, one labels him a stupid ‘monkey’.

Urgent news flash script writers - we’re dealing with apes, not bastard monkeys.

Was it done on purpose?  I’m far from convinced…

We've had Rise and Dawn so where on earth do these apes go next?

Providing ‘Day’ is avoided like a zombie apocalypse, George A. Romero may resist sniggering.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Street Fighter II - Super Nintendo

I suppose you motion seekers were hoping for a deeper than deep analysis on Ultra Street Fighter IV?

Focus that!

Pardon my joystick, but that's not essential breathing apparatus.

Even though the original was shambolic, their sequel was indeed the shit.

Capcom's masterstroke became a global pandemic and a cultural obsession was born.

It broke more records than a steroid happy sprinter and was the video game equivalent of Beatlemania.

Backgrounds were beautiful, it sounded great, chars were born celebrities and above all, was smoother than silk to play.

Okay, much was ‘borrowed’ from Final Fight but don’t forget, the scum of Metro City was originally going to be called Street Fighter ’89 but thanks to Double Dragon, they thought better of it.

With every update, genuine excitement built.

Crowds queued behind cabinets like screwdrivers starved of a twist and everybody wanted a screw.

All manner of barefaced clones quickly appeared who ultimately failed to cash in on its unparalleled success.

Apart from our friends in Japan, does anybody select Balrog to play a narcissistic clawed fiend?

Negative.

It may interest that the original 1991 arcade counted 55 megs and coincidentally, so did Fatal Fury.

Weird.

Such an important series deserves the utmost respect so enter not the dragon - but me.

Meticulously studied, immaculately researched and explosively descriptive, prepare for the ultimate dissection on how each conversion measured up to arcade.

I did think about doing this via screens, but as stages selfishly scroll, that would be practically impossible.

Should this score a perfect?  Probably.

Years in brackets state SNES release and not arcade.

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (1992)

Screw the massive PAL borders, when it was announced that Ryu and co were coming home, people fainted in mass hysteria.

This was a landmark in itself as it was the console’s first 16 meg game and kicked off the addiction to import.

The SNES pad was made for Street Fighter as six standard buttons meant there was no real necessity to buy an alternative pad and/or stick to accommodate an enjoyable playing experience.

Even so, a plethora of controllers flew off the production line and trying any motion with a third-party pad was usually impossible as most were unresponsive lumps of shit.

The ‘motions’ needed for dramatic specials proved quite a struggle for some to input the necessary combination in order to pull off whatever attack.

Performing the fabled spinning pile driver was considered something of an achievement and although essentially a glorified Haggar throw, it could grab a hapless opponent from some distance away.

Hitting Blanka with a dragon punch during a cannonball scored massive damage and charging a move before a fight commenced could surprise your rival.

As a ‘cheat’, you could rubber finger the shit out of Ryu or Ken’s crouching light kick for an easy daze.

Something similar could be achieved with Guile’s crouching light punch but wasn’t as effective.

Brocken’s light kick in the original World Heroes) was a far more unfair animal...

Those without a fast rubber finger needed to configure buttons so the ‘strongest’ form of Hundred Hand Slap or Lightning Kick could be pulled off with ease.

Each to their own but I always had L and R assigned as hard punch and kick respectively.

This may have been the default setting?

Ryu’s occasional golden fireball was a famous glitch in the system…

Fighting against the CPU was generally satisfying but 2P marathons dominated.

Finishing the game with any char on Level 7 (top difficulty) without losing a round displayed a special victory pose ending.

If you inputted the code (Down, R, Up, L, Y, B) during the Capcom logo, a charm would signal a special surprise during versus battle as both players could now choose the same char and so not to confuse, the alternative colour would be seen in Champion Edition.

At the time, everybody raved about it because console took advantage of something a coin muncher couldn't.

So that's memories, here we bastard go.

Chars, bosses, backgrounds and specials are here in spirit but the amount of edits were stunningly obscene.

The iconic intro of ‘Cody’ enjoying a KO against another unknown as the famous logo scrolls up on a tower block is missing and instead, char biographies can be seen for those less eager to push start.

What immediately smacks you on the kisser is that colours are far less vivid and parallax scrolling wasn't as smooth.

There is no blood splatter behind vs and no 'stitch' on the said screen.

Background chars are redrawn for a simpler design and aside from less detail; player sprites have shrunk.

When you’re hit in the air, sprites react differently.

Guile, Dhalsim and Honda are condemned with depressing looking jumps.

No ‘backing off’ animation and less fighting moves for all.

Sagat doesn't adopt his Muay Thai stance for standard attacks and kickboxing fans will know exactly what I'm talking about.

A new brick wall bonus stage replaces flaming oil barrels, barrels on conveyor belt have gone but we still get the car smash.

Music suffers greatly, ‘danger themes’ are missing and tunes just speed up.

Sound lacks universal crunch and speech is largely slashed.

Allow me to elaborate…

No voice during 'continue countdown', 'whatever country', ‘you win’, ‘you lose’ or ‘perfect’.

Speech for special moves can cancel out others already in progress and death screams echo.

Depending on speed of projectile, pitch is adjusted to be deeper or higher.

Fucked up, right?

Much of the voice samples are legible but Ryu or Ken’s Dragon Punch sounds like ‘Highyouchen’.  Similarly, Chun Li’s spinning bird kick could be described as ‘chick r chick’.

The actual arcade speech was ‘spin bird kick’.

Amusingly, the samples in the 3DO version of Samurai Shodown were even worse as Galford’s plasma blade was ‘rub m’ brains’.

I’m really not kidding…

Some beaten portraits are different from the arcade and Vega’s gauntlet prongs aren't curled for his winning stance.

Dazed animation and victory poses; or whatever the fuck you wanna call them, are compromised.

Endings were altered for a more basic approach.

For example,

Honda slaps a wooden post;
Ryu dragon punches a waterfall and;
Ken carries Eliza towards the church as if they’re already married.  Yeah, that happens everyday…

Not that it bothers, but the customary staff roll is different.

Don't worry, I haven't even started.

Backgrounds

Ryu

No crescent moon, clouds are static and dickie birds had better things to do then fly about.

Ken

Nothing really of note as the boat still defies the laws of science by bobbing up and down in concrete water.

Chun-Li

Less types of chars passing on bikes and a max of two (instead of up to three).  Clouds don’t congregate, water from tap to girl’s washbowl and hat guy down the back street refuse to move.  Barber pole is incorrectly orange, white and blue and not red, white and blue.

Blanka

Peeps don’t move in large hut and its roof loses detail.  There are less background chars, clouds loop jerkily and lose polish.

Dhalsim

Four elephants instead of six is written in console folklore.  Only two move instead of four and neglect to trumpet, but all four begrudgingly animate after a round is won.

In the arcade, the two foremost never moved but all six did after round ends.

E. Honda

The bath doesn't overflow and water droplets fall instantly from the ceiling instead of ‘waiting' to descend onto bath and floor.

Hey, it matters. Ha ha.

The mosaic’s hand gripping a card after round's end is also cruder.

Zangief

No posters are slapped on metal fencing in the immediate foreground.

The chain attached to the lever lies coiled on the floor and in the background; a chain dangles from the ceiling leading to a smaller coil.

Its parent begs to differ.

The chain is looped from the ceiling and is joined to the said lever.  The same principle exists for the other but is beefier in its coil.

Guile

Guy on crate doesn't tap knee, guy and woman on trolley are missing.  The fighter jet forgot its bombs, small vehicles, red/white poles behind air freight, junk on floor and boarding stairs are all missing.

Finally, the jet is compressed so it's behind the fence.

Balrog

The setting of Vegas is duller, less signs in the sky, the Capcom sign is far less hidden and both cars are now blue, as the one on right used to be black.

Different colours don’t cycle through the Casino sign and show girls not only look different, they're poorly animated, dressed in tankinis and stride separately on either side of screen, instead of together solely on the right hand side.

They originally wore bikini knickers and bra.

After round is won:

Not content with forgetting reefs, the girls' hats release infinite doves instead of a select few.

I wish my wallet was as deep.

The guy who threw confetti is replaced by another and doesn't throw any stuff, while the man in middle wearing mac and hat doesn't get upset.  

Vega

Row of lights underneath the bull don’t twinkle, guitar players either side of bull are absent, audience has been reduced and flamenco dancers refuse to celebrate after a round is won and just repeat purgatory.

Sagat

No obstructive palm tree (which was removed for Champion Edition and onwards).  I wonder why?

M. Bison

Less observers aside, this was always a terrible stage and I mean that with bells on.

Street Fighter II Turbo (1993)

20 megs and a massive improvement.

It’s amazing what they did with half a megabyte.

I remember some stockists wanted £120 on Japanese import.

Greedy bastards.  Screw that for a game of yoga flames.

Who was guilty of trading in the original for peanuts and paying £50 on PAL?  Oops.

The SNES skipped a standalone Champion Edition but was included here as ‘Normal’ mode.

In brief, Hyper Fighting made gameplay faster, added extra specials, together with new suit and skin colours.

Certain specials could be achieved legitimately in mid air like Ryu/Ken’s fireball/hurricane kick and Chunner’s spinning bird kick (very hard).

Also, you could move while performing Zangief and Honda’s slap.

Ken’s Dragon Punch was given extra range and his Hurricane Kick made faster, but both attacks are weaker than before.

Depending on your age, you may remember the illegal hack (known as 'Blackbelt Edition') surfacing in amusement halls that allowed every char to do everything that he/she couldn't, including bouncing and several fireballs on screen...

In those days, nobody cared and didn't damage Capcom one little bit.

Of those 'new' specials...

Chun Li – fireball (Dhalsim’s Yoga fire but in blue)
Dhalsim – teleport
Blanka – vertical cannonball
Honda – a vertical body splash and brought back down to earth with a bottom crunch.

Recycling from others and/or combining standard moves does not constitute an actual ‘special'.

Oh well, that's what they did.

The ability to play bosses was the main carrot to upgrade from the SNES original and mirror matches were of course made available without the need for a code.

However, the same code now unlocked ten stars for super speed in Turbo mode.

Enhanced beyond all reasonable doubt

Altered for the arcade, the VS sign is now identical to Champion/Hyper, (including the red blood splat).

New colours for skin or suit in Turbo, retains Champion Edition and original colours.

Portraits are noticeably more grizzled (as seen in Champion/Hyper arcade).

Some beaten mug shots are different to the arcade.

Music is unchanged but in-fight speech overlaps instead of cancelling each other out.

Counting down when continuing, 'you win', 'you lose', 'perfect' and whatever country are all spoken.

Throwing sounds for Ryu, Ken, Zangief etc are tougher and Blanka growls during a cannonball.

Honda and Guile jump more gracefully but Dhalsim and Blanka weren't so lucky.

In Champion/Hyper arcade, the char models for Ryu and Ken were radically improved during victory poses as they were given an actual face.  This filters back through here and Blanka has a ‘better’ mug.

After each round won on Ken, Vega and Zangief’s turf, the crowd cheers which wasn't heard in either arcade.

Along with brick wall and car break bonus, the barrel conveyor belt thing is included.

Endings have been completely redone to be practically on par with insert coin.

This time, the reward for no loss of round on top difficulty was displaying the original Japanese box art for Turbo or Champion Edition arcade poster displaying Ryu and Bison for ‘normal’ mode.

If the cardboard looking North American/PAL shit was given, I’d put my foot straight through the fucking telly.

Backgrounds have new splashes of paint and different audience members to ensure matters are more consistent to insert coin.

Like before, much still doesn't happen but having said that, extra details can be seen and heard.

Backgrounds

Ryu

Dickie birds fly about occasionally.

Guile

Guy on crate taps knee and foot.

Dhalsim

Elephants meekly trumpet after round and not throughout like the arcade.  Only two move and not four during whatever round, with all four only moving after a round is won.

Chun-Li

A new male cyclist pedals by.

Blanka

A new animated background char stands directly below hut's window nearest the tree.

Balrog

Vegas dancers retain their arcade look, dress appropriately, march together and celebrate correctly with reefs, doves and blinks.  We still have he who replaced the original confetti thrower but now throws his stuff.  The guy in mac also rubs his eyes. 

Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers (1994)

Although it’s practically mandatory for racing games, it wasn't too common for coin gobblers to be connected in a fighting situation.  However, if four cabinets were hooked up together and each configured to Tournament Battle, Super SF2 begged to differ.

Eight players, one tournament – glory awaits.

Those victorious had to swap cabinets which gave unexpected exercise.

This was probably rarer than chicken’s teeth so in most cases, the under-privileged had to settle for the usual.

The intro sees a stone faced Ryu bobbing pre-match in darkness before becoming lit to unleash a hadoken.

Four new chars (hence subtitle), gave many a great excuse to distant themselves from regular brawlers.

Cammy (England), T. Hawk (Mexico), Fei Long (Hong Kong) and Dee Jay (Jamaica) were a mixed bag to play.

In 1998, SNK’s Real Bout Fatal Fury 2 was subbed The Newcomers which sounds suspiciously similar…

Anyway, the old guard learned several new techniques…

Ken ignited his dragon punch and Ryu not only had a new look fireball, but could also burn peeps with a red hot variation.  This was probably a response to the long-running joke of the glitch from the SNES original.

Guile's sonic boom was re-coloured, Chunners fireball was given a makeover and performed via a new posture.  Also, she was forced to charge and not motion her ass.

Blanka got a new sliding ground attack useful for hitting those throwing fireballs and can also hop backwards and forwards.  Backflipping out of his vertical roll made his descent to ground slightly off-putting to an opponent.

The Red Cyclone's burning fist lurched forward and ate fireballs and also smashed peeps with new throws.

Ken invested in a luxury yacht with all backgrounds enjoying distinctly more attractive colours.

Combos are recorded on-screen with extra rewards like ‘First Attack’ and ‘Recovery’ (not getting hit when dazed), while Guile and Vega have new winning stances.

Due to the char roster upgrading from 12 to 16, you’d think we'd have to plough through the lot but sensibly, the formula of 8 random and 4 mandatory bosses remained.

What made your ears tingle was the introduction of Q Sound as most themes are the ‘same’, but vastly improved.

Personally, I still prefer what went before…

It’s been a long time coming but Ken and Ryu actually sound different, as do Blanka, Honda, Zangief and Sagat.

Guile sounds awful, Balrog roars, Vega is a high-pitched bitch and all pronounce defeat differently.

When sprites are on fire, extra effort is now employed so the effect is now translated to standing and crouching, which also extends to brick shithouses Zangief, Hawk, Honda and, er Chun-Li?.

After all, she is the strongest woman in the world and with those thighs; she’d crush any man who were unlucky enough to pound her.

We got a new map and portraits are completely redrawn for the better.

The gruff sounding announcer is replaced by a guy sounding like his balls need to drop and various types of ‘stuns’ appear around our heads.

Stuff to like, much to hate

Despite a huge meg count of 32, the Mode 7 machine took on too much.

New modes Group Battle, Time Challenge and Tournament Battle do spice up variety, but I’m sure remained largely unused.

Yes, that’s the same Tournament thing I’ve already mentioned, without the need of hooking up four consoles to four TVs and requiring eight joypads.

Not that a lead existed but hey ho.

Q Sound technology is unsurprisingly absent but themes are better.

Remember that red blood splat behind vs. in Turbo?  Well now, it's violet.  Er, yeah.

So it's no longer bastard blood then is it?  As they're treating like pussies, they may as well have painted it pink.

Backgrounds still have parallax and do their best to represent their colourful counterparts, but those for the new guard are pretty drab.

The sea for Ken and ubiquitous car smash has turned toxic, hence why we see puke green.

God help the wildlife…

Vega and Guile’s new winning stances made it and crowd cheering seems uninspired for the likes of Blanka, Ken and Dee Jay.

In comparison, the audience forming part of Zangief, T. Hawk and Balrog are even less enthusiastic as the pitch has deepened.

This is effort I don't applaud.

The sound effects have taken a considerable dip in the ocean of inferiority.

Fighting sounds are feeble, speech is tinny but for the first time, ‘Round whatever’ and ‘Fight’ are permanently muted.

I’m no programmer but why?

As for endings, much pisses me off.

They’re mainly like Turbo but extra screens involving:

Ryu’s scrolling face;
Blanka and/or Jimmy showing surprise at his mother’s anklet;
Gorbachev up close; and
Dhalsim riding an elephant…

...are all now fucking missing.

Also, Chunner’s dialogue is no longer spoken at her father’s grave.

Wait up, that’s not all.

Both ‘difficult’ choices are included but observe actual text…

Arcade:

  • Get back to the exciting life of a young, single girl
  • Continue being a detective
SNES:

  • Return to a normal life
  • Continue being a detective
The slight change can be only down to Nintendo and censorship.

I suppose the vague inference of now Chunners is done with Shadaloo and spinning bird kicks, partying is obviously offensive.

Come on, tell me I’m wrong?

It’s frankly pathetic.

What’s even stupider is that in Turbo, an excerpt of her ending text states ‘and I can get back to being a young single girl’, identical to Champion/Hyper arcade.

Bosses are given individual endings for the first time and not generic shit from Turbo.

Dee Jay, Vega and Balrog are missing screens, with the boxer’s final still same in principle but has been completely redrawn not to omit millions of dollars, but his fully clothed bitches.

Get over it Nintendo.  Women can wear short dresses.

This was obviously done on purpose and (sigh) - I give up.

Backgrounds

There are some unexpected surprises...

Dee Jay

Less background chars, not all who are present move and water doesn't twinkle.

Chun-Li

This is complicated...

We get a new cyclist (old guy with beard) and a modified girl type but who we saw before have punctures and only one bike bike pedals by...

The hat down the alley, water from tap and woman's bowl finally moves but... the tap is fatter, shorter and at a different angle so liquid flows directly on the floor and not the bowl.

As for hat, he constantly shakes his leg and occasionally wiggles his arm so apart from poorer animation, is out of sync with the intermittent movement from the arcade.

'Cock a doodle doo' and bicycle 'bell ring' can be heard throughout a round but the bell ring is not twanged after round.

As for the arcade, the cock a doodle doo is only heard after each round ends.

What a pain in the ass that was to explain...

T. Hawk

The majority of onlookers are forced to watch in suspended animation. 

Dhalsim

Elephants now make a racket throughout and after round so exactly per arcade, but still missing those two Dumbos.

Guile

Man and woman on trolley return from long-term sick and even move but still no red/white poles and missing junk on floor.  Steps leading to the plane were removed for arcade so are missing here.

The fun bit is that the guy with his arm around the woman in shades have magically moved a few feet left and the jet's bombs are included.  Consequently, the other peeps have also shifted left.

Zangief

Planning permission for poster advertising on metal fence in foreground has been approved.

Blanka

That background char I mentioned must stink as he's moved to the right and all peeps in hut celebrate the fact by moving.

Ryu

Birds fly, we have a crescent moon and wait for it - clouds finally slide to the left (albeit not as smoothly).  SHORYUKEN!

Cammy

Crows intermittently caw during action and audibly flap after a round ends.  The water's movement is on strike and despite the flames of passion dance indifferently.

Balrog

The lights of Las Vegas illuminate but the floor lights don't.  The new circus like confetti thrower doesn't disappoint with his muck after a round is won and the guy in middle still rubs his eyes.

In the arcade, cars from left to right are blue and green respectively.  Here, they're both green.

Never mind that.  Read on for something very weird.

Goldwin flashes up to form part of the famous Golden Nugget sign and not Nin Nin Hall.

WHAT?

Just so we're clear, the arcade didn't agree.

If you'll fucking excuse me.  WHY?

The said 'Hall' refers to former Capcom designer Akira Nishitani (under the pseudonym Nin Nin), who was more than responsible for essential works such as Final Fight, Magic Sword, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs and Forgotten Worlds.

According to rumour, Noritaka Funamizu who was a right load of Poo.

Vega

Impressively, the brand new detail of fence slamming down before a fight commencing is retained.

Some more good news is that green lights glow and lanterns pulse but background chars, guitarists either side of bull are cut and row of lights below bull are still on the blink.

E. Honda

Just like arcade, the giant lantern from the far left was removed.

Ken

Animation aside, Mr. Masters and his boat kicks ass.

Seagulls don't fuss during a match but aren't so shy afterwards...

(Puffs out cheeks).

While that's it for Street Fighter II, one more sonic boom would be pulled from their SNES fighting sleeves.

Capcom moved onto the Alpha series in 1995.

Acting as a fairly obvious interquel (set after Street Fighter but before Street Fighter II), fans simply lapped this up.

Even though the first had a char roster that counted a modest ten, it adopted cartoonish like animation (as seen in Darkstalkers), offered a more streamlined experience, brought air blocking and expanded super combos by adding multiple types.

They also decided to taunt SNK by adapting the ability to actually cause damage (if one got close enough).

Together with the introduction of new chars Guy, Rose, Charlie and Sodom, being reacquainted with forgotten men Birdie and Adon added relish to a tasty burger.

Most remember the Saturn and PS1 versions but Crawfish Interactive surprised with a belated but admirable effort in 1999 for the Game Boy Colour.

It had fuzzy sound, no speech, beep music and offered no 2P link cable capability, but compensated by having all chars, authentic looking backgrounds and most importantly, didn't play like a tank.

Street Fighter Alpha 2 (1996)

Capcom canned the first and went straight for the jugular with a hugely ambitious port of the far superior sequel.

Unlike SF II updates, this was released in the same year as the arcade.

Deficiencies will only be briefly touched upon, as I'm judging the bitch on its own merits.

The intro was brilliantly preserved with a stunning representation of what originally dropped jaws.  If you want to be hyper picky, the only thing missing is that Ryu and Ken DO NOT physically unleash hadokens at the end.

Ironically, the effect is identical to Ryu's illumination from the intro in Super/Super Turbo.

The grassy field featured is based on the 1994 animated SFII Movie.

Oh, the game's title is spoken after the intro.

32 megs of raw power and all 18 chars.

After meeting specific conditions, your reward will be a match against Shin Akuma but it's impossible to play as him.  Via a code, Chunners will wear her classic get-up...

To be consistent with the craziness of Final Fight in PAL/North America, Sodom becomes Katana.

We get 'Round whatever', 'Fight', 'KO' and 'Perfect' but 'You Win' and 'You Lose' are silent.

Sound effects are fairly meek, speech is keen to impress but themes depress.

Not as much moves in whatever background (especially audience), colours are deflated and while chars look good, animation is crippled.

Chars feel floaty, gameplay is slower and can become jerky if action dictates...

Jikkyou Oshaberi Parodius and Super Mario RPG used the SA1 chip for more horsepower.  Along with Star Ocean, Ryu and chums housed the S-DD1 chip for graphic compression and more sprite data but unnatural pauses inconveniently interrupt certain aspects of gameplay, particularly when a CPU opponent is chosen and after the word 'Fight' is announced.

Call me impatient but seconds take the piss.

Overall, it was an amazing feat for the SNES to pull off but for overall quality, Turbo was the best...

Next time, we'll do it all over again as ports are itching to unleash their might, or in most cases – lack of it.
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