Thursday, 16 November 2017

A Bad Moms Christmas - The scoop and digest

Directing/writing duo Scott Moore and Jon Lucas return to bring early festive cheer.

Mila Kunis - Amy
Kristen Bell - Kiki
Kathryn Hahn - Carla
Christine Baranski - Ruth
Susan Sarandon - Isis
Cheryl Hines - Sandy
Justin Hartley - Ty Swindel
Jay Hernandez - Jessie

I will be very, very brief.

Amy tells us she's ruined Christmas.

To see how and why, we have to go back a bit.

In the days leading up to the most stressful time of the year, relatives show up unexpectedly.

Ruth (Amy's mom) - stuck up, super rich and enjoys making daughter feel like shit.
Isis (Carla's mom) - degenerate gambler, stoner, heavy drinker and cash leech.
Sandy (Kiki's mom) - creepy obsessive weirdo.

Predictably, they get right on each other's tits.

Situation moves from one humourless farce to the next, until things come to a head on Christmas Eve.

Amy hits the roof when she comes home to Ruth's swanky party and house is subsequently wrecked, explaining opening scene.

After falling out and/or legging it from respective daughters, moms meet up at church and admit how terrible they are as parents.

Oh my GOD!

For some reason, I'm compelled to play the world's smallest violin.

Inevitable reconciliation takes place and Christmas Day goes swimmingly.

Bad alright

Yeah, and not in a good way.

Original kinda had its moments, but sequel...

Bad Santa 2 was considerably worse, but this is still bereft of quality.

What the fuck?

Exclamation is repeated several times, and for very different reasons - I'm in total agreement.

Carla takes a break from waxing lady gardens by waxing balls of well endowed exotic dancer Ty Swindel, who of course she instantly falls for.

(Sigh).

Plot is pulled from the most unoriginal drawer and unnecessary slo-mo is back with a vengeance.

Women will probably relate to and appreciate shit storm more than blokes, but then again, maybe not.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

16 bits, 2 bytes - Tenth Event

Prince of Persia, Arsys 1992

Disney's Aladdin ripped off core elements of Jordan Mechner's classic 1989 original.

Now that's off my chest.

Featuring new levels, superior graphics and tighter gameplay, remake is definitely not best forgotten.

120 real time minutes (upgraded from 60), is how long you have to defeat the jealous Jaffar and rescue the princess.

Sure task can be done in one sitting, but receiving passwords after each stage is most welcome.

Combat can be literally hit and miss, and blocking attacks forces ass back.

Getting knocked off a platform can have you fall onto a bed of spikes, or depending on height, will break your back.

Traps and puzzles are usually triggered and solved by stepping on tiles.

Later on, rooms contain conveyor belts and teleporting doors.

Enemies become more proficient in swordplay and vary from women, to knights and fat guards.

Drinking potions refreshes health and can increase hit points.

Eventually, player hops through a magic mirror, tearing soul apart.

Freaky.

Pesky clone later hinders progress by forcing Prince to fall into the fiery pits of hell, where skeletons await.

Shadow is merged with to cross otherwise impassable chasm and after dispatching Ray Harryhausen-esque multi-armed monster, Jaffar must be taken care of.

Defeat master swordsman to rescue princess and become the Prince of Persia.

Port of 1993 DOS sequel The Shadow and the Flame belatedly appeared in 1996.

Narration during cut scenes and several levels were cut from far superior original.

Dragon’s Lair, MotiveTime 1993

Gorgeous work by ex-Disney legend Don Bluth couldn't mask 1983 arcade's despicable gameplay.

8 bit interpretations were predictably more basic and although radically cut down, Amiga, PC and Atari ST looked more like laser disc original.

Remember how fast paced and enjoyable the 1990 NES game was?

You do?

Get help, quick.

Stock platformer has a pretty sluggish Dirk swishing sword and throwing secondary weapons at enemies recycled from arcade.

Environs have little variety and against a fairly strict time limit, levels demand nothing more than to find the exit.

Jumping from platform to platform has baddies appearing roughly where you want to land and touching a boss results in instant death.

Trapped inside a bubble with no means of attack, game intermittently becomes a poor man's Gravitar.

Passwords are given after overcoming unexciting bosses, including snake, bat and of course Lizard King.

Balls A-D stick to numbers 1-8, so for arguments sake, password could be A2 B6 C7 D4.

Sounds like a straightforward alpha-numeric situation, but the reality is beyond my comprehension.

Dirk must push balloons into designated underwater pit.

If a ball falls in the wrong place, situation cannot be undone.

When set correctly, you may proceed to the exit

WHY DO I HAVE TO PLAY A GAME WITHIN A GAME FOR THE SAKE OF A FUCKING PASSWORD?

Honestly, which SICK BASTARD thought this was a good idea?

Final nail in demented coffin is you're given NINE preposterous minutes to complete insanity test.

HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Space Ace, Absolute 1994

They knew it would be impossible to recreate arcade's lush animation, so instead, they cooked up an excruciatingly bad side scroller, boasting bullshit controls, no restart points and one hit deaths.

In order to the see the credits, an Ace rank must be achieved on every level.

Oh, space mazes can kiss my ass.

Graphics and sound are quite pretty, but experience is still pure Borf.

Battletoads in Battlemaniacs, Rare 1993

At Gyachung-La Fortress, Professor T-Bird introduces the Total Reality Integrated Playing System, creating artificial world ‘The Gamescape’.

Zitz and Michiko Tashoku (daughter of Psicone Corporation’s CEO Yurkio) are nabbed, so Rash and Pimple roll up rescuing sleeves to stop Silas Volkmire from transforming normal world into his own Gamescape.

Essentially a 'slightly' easier remake of the legendarily difficult NES original, Rash and Pimple now enjoy their own set of attacks and combos.

Skeletons, wasplings and pigs can expect to be on the wrong end of OTT ram horns, hammer and anvil.

Unfortunately, baddies can only be taken down via a special attack.

Yep, pummeling them just with fists is a waste of fucking time.

There’s only one scrolling fighting section; as once again, mini-games take centre stage.

Once the Dark Queen is defeated, we pursue Silas in Battlecopter where his teleporter can be brought down with missiles.

If baddie escapes, expect a slightly different ending.

1994 arcade exclusive (simply called Battletoads), was included on brilliant Xbox One compilation Rare Replay.

Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team, Rare 1993

Straight port of NES game also made it to Game Boy and Mega Drive.

Professor warns Queen’s battleship the Collosus is on its way to do terrible things to Earth.

Rash, Zitz and Pimple can’t be having that, so they pick up Billy and Jimmy at City Hall and take Battlecopter to space.

Design is very much in the mould of Battletoads, as we plough through Queen’s cohorts and take on Abobo, Blag (changed from Big Blag), Roper, Robo Manus, Shadow Boss and the Dark Queen.

Bare-faced Asteroids stages breaks up staple diet action.

Decent'ish' graphics are strangled by hardly any on-screen activity and duller than dishwater music.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Lucasarts 1993

A true classic.

Thanks to Dr. Tongue, the local community is beset with monsters and it’s up to Zeke and Julie (single or co-operatively), to save the day.

Levels requires us to rescue quota of human personalities, ranging from cheerleaders, babies, jungle explorers and barbeque enthusiasts.

Once done, the exit door appears.

If every neighbour is killed and/or all lives are lost, it’s game over.

Peeps becoming werewolves when night falls are counted as being dead.

By drinking a potion, players themselves can transform into hairy beasts.

Evil clones emerging from plant pods (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), vampires, Jason Vorhees types wielding chainsaws, vampires, martians, Frankenstein’s monster, dolls and zombies are all out to get you.

To help out, weapons of mass destruction include watergun, plates, explosive soda cans, flamethrowers and bazookas.

Stages count 48, and titles can be plays on famous films.

Seven Meals for Seven Zombies (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)
Dances with Werewolves (Dances with Wolves)
The Day the Earth Ran Away (The Day the Earth Stood Still)
Nightmare on Terror Street (A Nightmare on Elm Street)

Chopping Mall shares its name with a cult 1986 slasher, but as shopping mall is populated by zombies rather than Killbots, stage pays homage to Dawn of the Dead.

Most bosses have to be killed, while some giant enemies can be ignored.

We get a UFO, giant spider, Tremors style worm and a Titanic Toddler.

Antagonist is disappointing, as the good Doctor is merely a head.

Complete with pink flexible limb hopping about, bonus stage Day of the Tentacle refs Maniac Mansion sequel.

Here's a fairly obscure piece of trivia.

Main characters using trampoline to jump from garden to garden was translated to funny zomcom Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.

Ghoul Patrol, JVC 1994

At the library, Zeke and Julie read a passage from an old book.

For it to work, ‘it is ghosts and demons time’ must be said in reverse.

‘Emit snomed dna stsohg si ti’ is displayed on screen.

Hmmm.

Phrase is actually spelled backwards, not spoken.

So it should be ‘time demons and ghosts is it’.

Anyway, out pops beastie, who along with the help of loyal minions; intends to control all time dimensions.

So plot basically rips off The Evil Dead.

(Laughs).

Rescuing formula stays true to original and Medieval Castle, Feudal Japan and Ghost Ship are some of the environments we'll visit.

Guzzling potion now transforms player into a Grim Reaper.

Although sacking off b-movie charm disappoints, ZAMN follow up is worth checking out.

Syndicate, Bullfrog 1995

Amiga/PC original wasn't particularly gory, but extremely controversial, as success was reliant upon violence.

Principle later found its way onto Jaguar, 3DO and even FM Towns.

Here’s the cyberpunk deal.

Team of four cyborgs are eager to cause destructive mischief on a global scale.

Researching territory, arming, upgrading and agent selection takes place at headquarters.

Complete with wacky hairstyles, new anime style portraits look nice.

Quartet are controlled either individually or as a team and a choosing a Directly Controlled Agent is compulsory.

Funds are acquired by conquering territories and used to buy numerous guns, upgrading body parts (chest, legs, eyes, heart and arms).

Persuadertron device brainwashes humans and controls drones can be made more effective via upgrades.

Coloured bars of Adrenaline, Perception and Intelligence represent speed, shot accuracy and reaction to enemy threat respectively.

Moving direction mixes shit up.

For example, having Adrenaline on the right increases walking speed but drastically reduces health regeneration.  Whereas moving it to the left, permits faster healing, but movement is sloth like.

Be sure API levels are topped up, or upgrades won’t kick in.

Weapons at your disposal include uzi, laser, mini-gun, shotgun and gauss gun (like a rocket launcher).

Some eat ammo more than others, so it’s best not to be wasteful during assassination missions.

In line with Nintendo's then friendly family policy, flamethrower is replaced by a chiller gun.

On the surface, port is good, but...

Redrawn 256x224 graphics look piss poor in comparison to 640x480 original.

Command prompts (now icons), do a remarkable job of looking nothing like what they’re supposed to be.

Controls are unnecessarily convoluted as every button and d-pad combinations are required.

What really puzzles is the absence of mouse support.

Cannon Fodder did, so what the fuck man?

In any case, agents react very slowly to instructions.

With no cursor, friendlies and hostiles are automatically highlighted when facing them.

Not ideal.

Group switching weapons can affect everybody or just leader of the pack.

Also, only the DCA can pick up and drop stuff.

Sheep following the shepherd will regularly get stuck behind obstacles, so player is often forced to hit ‘select’ and switch to single control.

Great AI.

If you lose sight of ‘persuaded’, they’ll wander off to destination unknown. 

This becomes a monumental issue when mission requires them to be escorted to the exit

Best advice is do not bother, unless required to do so.

Here's the deal breaker - you CAN'T save anywhere.

So as a peculiar compromise, passwords have a really bad fucking habit of NOT recording funds, upgrades, equipment and agent’s name.

To compound situation, recommencing mission has game bunging you at some generic restart point.

All you can be sure of is that completed missions are remembered.

NBA Jam, Iguana Entertainment 1994

BOOMSHAKALAKA!

Spiritual successor to Midway’s earlier basket brawl arcade Arch Rivals had fully licensed teams and featured digitised ‘at the time’ NBA stars.

In fact, it was the first ever licensed sports game.

Up to four dunk hungry dudes could participate and with every quarter costing a credit, arcade ate money like nobody’s business.

That's cheeky, but nothing compared to Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone, as purchasing tricks, energy, weapons and power ups from item shop cost real money.

Robbing fucking bastards.

Unsurprisingly, smash hit came home to Game Boy, Game Gear and Mega Drive.

Mega CD looked near on identical to cartridge counterpart, but boasted better music and improved player roster.

So how did SNES version fare?

Ignoring rights issues over character line-up, the main difference is sprites aren’t digitised and don’t grow and shrink as they move around the court.

Inhuman dunks are available once Turbo gauge is filled and crude FMV provides half time entertainment.

Soundtrack is pretty catchy, but there's only a few speech samples, hardly any sound effects and bizarrely, no in-game music.

If gameplay sucked, this could kiss my rim, but two-on-two action kicked fucking ass.

Providing whichever type of multitap adapter is owned, 4P action was the icing on the cake.

Secret characters such as Bill Clinton, NFL Quarterback Warren Moon and Mortal Kombat motion capture actor Sal DiVita can be accessed by entering simple codes.

Arcade update Tournament Edition permitted half-time subs, updated team roster, had new modes, specials and techniques.

Saturn, Game Gear, 32X, PS1 and Game Boy tasted court, 1995 conversion yapped more, had improved visuals and retained 4P action, but still failed to include in-game music.

(Frowns).

Secret celebrities included Prince Charles, basketball legend Larry Bird, Fresh Prince and hip hop friend Jazzy Jeff.

Jaguar version featured Atari’s Vice President of Software Development Leonard Tramiel.

Captain America and the Avengers, Mindscape 1993

Before going bankrupt, Data East only released three licensed Marvel games.

Different NES exclusive of same name, the not particularly well received one-on-one fighter Avengers in Galactic Storm and
...

Choose from Cap, Iron Man, Vision or Hawkeye, and kick the ass of Red Skull's army of super villains.

Sprites may be knee high to a grasshopper, but screen enjoys more action than your usual 2P scrolling fighter.

Shmup and underwater sections break up archetypical biffing and boffing.

Blam! Krak! Smash! and Plam!

Aside from regular baddies, we have to tame mid and end bosses, such as Whirlwind, Sentinel, Living Laser and finally Red Skull himself.

Differences between Mega Drive port are superficial, but unlike its nearest rival, cut-scenes are presented as a snazzy comic strip.

Spider-Man and X-Men in Arcade's Revenge, Software Creations 1992

Game opens up in New York, as Spider-Sense (sounding like a distorted fart), helps web crawler locate and disarm bombs.


Spidey learns Arcade has kidnapped Gambit, Storm, Wolverine and Cyclops.

In no particular order, characters must overcome two Murderworld stages, littered with unique enemies, hazards and bosses.

Less than up for an ass kicking are Carnage, Master Mold, Apocalypse, Juggernaut, Rhino, Shocker and a giant Selene.

Compared to fellow mutants, Storm is tasked to swim her way out of underwater mazes.


Ultimate responsibility falls to Spider-Man to destroy Arcade's grinning robot, and once defeated, physical baddie nukes abandoned building.

Graphics are incredibly dated and music is a mixed bag of bullshit.

Without sounding like a geek (ahem), explosions and gunfire samples sound nigh on identical to Konami's Axelay.

Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage, Software Creations 1994


At Ravencroft, a maximum security institution for the study and incarceration of the criminally insane, Carnage escapes.


Ultimate insanity cuts Shriek free so she can join him on the slaughter circuit.

Black Cat, Dagger, Cloak, Morbius, Firestar, Captain America, Iron Fist, Carnage, Doppelganger, Demogoblin, Deathlok, Carrion and Carnage also form an impressive cast.

1P only Final Fight clone is fun at first, but combo potential is emptier than a virgin's sex diary.

Ignoring a modest selection of bosses, human army come in the form of Linda, Andy, Steve, Terry, Billy, Rick, Marshall etc etc.

Superhero majority assist when hidden items are found and gimmick gets a huge thumbs down from me.

Soundtrack was written by Green Jelly and thrown in for unlicensed measure is an interpretation of Black Sabbath's The Mob Rules.

Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety, Software Creations 1995

Despite title, story follows meat of comic Venom: Lethal Protector.

Life Corporation kidnap Venom and removed five symbiote spawn from alien suit, but father escaped before children could destroy parent.

Venom teams up with his old foe to cure 'game's subtitle'.

2P sequel features thugs, members of the Jury (foundation's elite guards), and soldier types without facial features.

Once item is left by enemies, Captain America, Hawkeye, Ghost Rider and Daredevil can be summoned to help out a limited number of times.

Graphics are worse than its predecessor and succeeds in being even less fun.

X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, Capcom 1994

Mutants are imprisoned on Genosha and forced to work by a brutal army and robot Sentinels.


Charles Xavier sends Cyclops, Wolverine, Psylocke, Beast and Gambit to gather information and prevent Apocalypse from putting sinister four horsemen plans into action.

Characters must complete their own missions and focus then switches to the Genoshan forest.

After kicking Apocalypse's ass, we think it's all over, but Magneto has other ideas.

In preparation for the final battle, skills are tested against Omega Red and Juggernaut in the Danger Room.

Climax aboard orbiting space station Avalon features Exodus, unpleasant mutant clones and Master of Magnetism.

Other bosses fought in entertaining romp are Tusk, numerous Sentinels and Brood Queen.

Pulling off Cyclops' Optic Blast is the same combination as a certain Hadouken.

Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems, Capcom 1996

As port of 1995 arcade Marvel Super Heroes would be practically pointless, we got a mediocre slice of alternative pie.

Six infinity gems control the force of Time, Space, Power, Reality, Mind and Soul.

It is said he who gets grubby mitts on all will rule the universe.

Adam Warlock calls upon Earth’s mightiest heroes to prevent them falling into the wrong hands.

Spidey, Cap, Wolverine, Iron Man and Hulk all have different abilities and can be swapped after every stage.

Not all locations (including Dr Doom's Castle, Egypt, Brazil, Alaska and Mt. Vseuvius) contain gems, hence why new areas open up.

Once got, equipping gem gives licence to exploit its power.

Bosses include Sasquatch, Magus, Nebula and Thanos providing final challenge.

Sprites are largely watered down versions of CPS-2 and gameplay is cumbersome.

Music lacks oomph and why the fuck does Wolverine fire a silencer pistol every time he scores a hit?

Wolverine: Adamantium Rage, Bits Corporation 1994

After receiving a mysterious message about the Weapon-X program, Logan travels to Canada to find out more.

Game begins in the Weapon-X laboratory and almost immediately, all hell breaks loose.

Japan, Nightmare World, Tokyo and several parts of Hellfire Club await.

Before getting to inevitable boss encounter, action adventure forces player to cleave through specific quantity of enemies.

Cut scenes are pretty good and boss variety cannot be faulted.

Lady Deathstrike, Geist, Destroyer Program, Bloodscream, Cyber, Tri-Fusion (Marble, Shard and Shiken), Crystal Dragon, Fugue and Black Queen.

General fodder include guard droids, numerous types of the Hand, roof cannons, mercs, broodlings and soldiers.

Only a basic claw attack exists, but protagonist can also monkey swing, jump, cling to walls, punch and kick.

Acceptable visuals are beset with messy colours and tinny synthed music combines bizarre elements of hip hop.

Make no mistake, this game blows harder than a cock hungry hooker.

Story makes no fucking sense, as Deathstrike tells Wolverine that Shinobi Shaw (who isn't even a boss) wants him dead, but reason is never divulged.

Confusingly, end boss is Hand leader Great Beast.

Using claws often leads to you getting hit, as connection with blade tips must be to the pixel, or strike will be ineffective.  So if you and bad guy are sharing the same space, Wolverine has to run away like an asshole.

Did anybody play test this fuck stain?

Unlike Wolverine on NES, at least damage isn't taken when claws are used.

However, your greatest enemy isn't awkward controls or even ridiculously tough boss Tri-Fusion.

Nope, it's Elsie-Dee.

Not that game or manual tells you, but stages must be completed within half an hour.

Bearing in mind regaining 10 per cent of health takes 60 seconds, you'll be spending a long time standing around doing absolutely nothing.

It doesn't matter about energy or lives remaining, time demon will hand ass an automatic game over.

OH MY... GOD!

Also, time keeps on running, even after death.

What a wonderful game.

The different Mega Drive version delivers further punishment.

Clutching a photograph, Logan vows to 'find out what went on'.  At Weapon-X facility, he breaks free from cryotube, breaks handcuffs he never wore, dons suit and game begins.

I haven't got a fucking clue what's going on.

Handled by Teeny Weeny Games (which later became Perfect Entertainment), this did away with forced enemy clearance and focused more on exploration.

Apart from starting place, we embark on a nightmarish mission of forest, lunar hallucinations, the Inner Circle and dungeon beneath New York City.

Protagonist can double jump, roll and lunge, but cannot grip ceiling.

Bosses tell a different story, as Sabretooth, Albert (nasty robot clone of Wolverine), Bloodstream, Shinobi Shaw and Lurker lie in wait for the truly patient.

Cyber only appears during cut scene and this time, poisoned scratch sends you to the big black.

Those who somehow fight to the bitter end will meet Fitzroy.

Health recharges slightly quicker, but enemies drain vitality way too fast.

LSD's relentless approach is shown via bar on-screen and reaching a certain point resets situation.

When the inevitable happens, robot only takes a life, which I can live with.

Despite some improvements, game remains fabulously horrific.

Level design induces nausea and controls are appalling.

Graphics fall short, stage length hums of inconsistency and animated screens fail to explain story properly.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Jigsaw - The scoop and digest

Title can be one of several different films, including a terrible straight-to-video horror.

Seven years after what was apparently The Final Chapter, the Spiereg Brothers invite us to play another game.

Can X mark the sweet spot?

Matt Passmore - Logan Nelson
Callum Keith Rennie - Detective Halloran
Paul Braunstein - Ryan
Laura Vandervoort - Anna
Clé Bennett - Detective Hunt
Tobin Bell - John Kramer/Jigsaw
Hannah Emily Anderson - Eleanor

Wanted criminal Edgar Munsen is shot by police for pulling the trigger on remote mechanism.

Five bucket-headed victims are forced towards a wall of buzzsaws.  They each spill blood in order to survive, except for one, who's apparently cut to ribbons.

In farmhouse's next room, Billy trundles in on upgraded tricycle with a tape deck and 'confess' pinned to him.

Message reveals petty thief Carly caused the death of an innocent after snatching her purse, so she is tasked to inject one of three syringes to save them from being hung like washing on a certain line.

Ryan decides to stab her with all three, but sadly acid doesn't agree with Carly's face.

Meanwhile, a badly mutilated body is examined by forensic pathologists Logan (war veteran) and Eleanor (Jigsaw enthusiast).

They uncover a computer chip and audio file matches voice of John Kramer.

Impossible.  He's been dead for 10 years.

(Gasps in disbelief).

Munsen is kidnapped and killed off-screen, with his body found inside Kramer's coffin.

Back at the barn, Ryan is immobilized for attempting to cheat while Anna and Mitch get trapped inside a grain silo.

At the expense of severed leg, Ryan pulls lever and frees them.

We're told Mitch effectively killed Jigsaw's nephew by selling him a motorbike with dodgy brakes.

Spiral blade is powered by the same vehicle that killed family member and unable to reach now working brake, Mitch is shredded into burger meat.

Learning of Eleanor's Jigsaw museum, Halloran orders their arrest.

After Anna is drugged, she and Ryan wake up restrained in the company of John Kramer.

Evil bitch suffocated her baby in a fit of rage and let hubby take the blame, who subsequently committed suicide.

John leaves shotgun loaded with one shell saying they've got message 'backwards' and bullet holds the 'key' to their freedom.

Instead of thinking outside the box, Anna attempts to blow Ryan away, but instead - rigged firearm kills her.

Upon discovering object hidden inside bullet casing was destroyed by deceased pulling the trigger, Ryan is left to die.

Halloran pursues Logan and Eleanor and while she escapes, the former is drugged and passes out.

Both awake to collars lined with laser cutters and voice says in order to survive, sins must be blurted out.

Logan admits to accidentally mislabeling Kramer's X-rays, so cancer went unnoticed.  Despite confession, lasers appear to kill him.

Halloran then admits to letting murderers, rapists and other baddies walk free for personal gain.

Drum roll...

Logan suddenly rises and reveals events in barn happened 10 years ago.

No, really?

As he was unconscious during opening trap, John decided Logan didn't deserve to die for making a genuine mistake and saved him off-screen.

For the benefit of those who took a lengthy toilet break or just fell asleep, trademark flashback sequence leaves no stone unturned.

'Speaking for the dead', Logan reactivates Halloran's collar and before door slams shut, lasers open head up like a blooming flower.

Like Saw V, there is no 'game over'.

Dull and duller

One of the victims carries Aujeszky's disease.

Ignoring recurring symbolism, it's ironic that this is one pig of a film.

Hollywood brings dead franchises back for one reason.

Money.

Formulaic and scarcely entertaining, it's as though directing duo (known for Predestination and Daybreakers), didn't have the balls to try something new.

Even with a few innovative traps, entire thing is so incredibly predictable.

It's better than Saw IV and V, but that's not really saying much.

Performances are made from wood and when not losing limbs and/or dying, wafer-thin characters just swear and shout at each other.

We don't have to guess who the killer is, because by the numbers script makes it so goddamn obvious.

Eleanor's museum displays trap replicas of futuristic entries, giving away twist before it actually happens.

How fucking stupid.

Examples include Angel (Saw III), Box (Saw II), and iconic Reverse Bear Trap (Saw).

Instead of copping out with flashback bullshit, Jigsaw should've been resurrected via ceremonial blood ritual.

Oh well.

Dr. Gordon leaving Hoffman for dead at the end of TFC is not acknowledged (perhaps on purpose), so a showdown is surely in the offing.

Now that would be funny.

Continuity

As already established, trap fest took place 10 years prior to Jigsaw's demise.

Fine.  But Saw III was released in 2006.

Eleanor states trap used on Mitch is said to be one of Jigsaw's first, strongly suggesting the past is before the first film.

So apart from creating another timeline issue, they suddenly remembered Jigsaw had another apprentice?

Bollocks.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Happy Death Day - The scoop and digest

Known for Paranormal Activity spin off The Marked Ones and Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, Christopher B. Landon writes (not literally), another page in Blumhouse's history.

Jessica Rothe - Tree
Israel Broussard - Carter
Ruby Modine - Lori
Charles Aitken - Dr. Gregory Butler
Rob Mello - Joseph Tombs

After a booze-fuelled evening, Tree wakes up on her birthday in Carter's room, a boy she barely remembers.

Our girl then spits unpleasant venom at everybody she encounters.

Lowlights include ignoring her father's invite for a bite to eat, ridiculing previous lovers and throwing away a homemade cupcake from roommate Lori.

Also, she's having an affair with Dr. Butler.

En route to party, a carousel toy lures Tree into a tunnel where she's ambushed and murdered by a hooded assailant wearing the mask of campus mascot.

Baby-faced disguise was created by Tony 'Ghostface' Gardner, and smacks very much of creepy walking dummy briefly seen in Dario Argento's Deep Red.

She wakes up the 'next' day with a real sense of déjà vu and disturbed to find events set to repeat.

This time, she ignores the tunnel.

Diversity tactic does nothing to prevent the same outcome.

Carter (who at some point confirms they didn't have sex), suggests drawing up a list of suspects to help solve her own murder.

After passing out during another loop, she learns every murder is making her weaker.

It seems this cat is running out of lives.

Tree catches a news report about serial killer Joseph Tombs, who's been held at university's hospital.

Tombs escapes and breaks Carter's neck.  Knowing the only way to save him is to restart the loop, she hangs herself.

Latest loop is used to right previous wrongs and after snuffing out Tombs' light, she celebrates by scoffing Lori's yummy looking treat.

However, she's still trapped in purgatory, meaning killer is still at large.

Tree visits Lori where cake is offered once more.

Cottoning on that she died in her sleep because cake was poisoned, she realises Lori is actual killer.

In flashback, we see how roommate framed Tombs for Tree's murder.

Now why would psycho bitch want to do a thing like that?

Well it's simple.  She can't get over the fact that doctor gave Tree a repeat prescription of dick.

Cat fight ensues, ending with Lori getting booted out of nearest window.

She wakes to what seems like another loop, but is just now boyfriend Carter playing silly buggers.

Groundhog Day meets Scream?

Yes and no.

Fun teen thriller isn't really a slasher, as gore is practically anonymous.

15 cert is down to theme, rather than content.

A much better, and darker example is Triangle, even if the Aeolus is basically a floating Overlook Hotel.

Universal logo glitching and repeating is clever, Rothe's performance keeps you interested until the end, but killer's motive is very lazy.

Why Tree entered loop in the first place is never explained, so probable prequel will mop up mystery.

References

Lori's surname is Spengler, the same as Harold Ramis's character in Ghostbusters.  Ramis went on to direct Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

Carter's wall displays a poster of John Carpenter's They Live.

Parallels

Carter candidly states situation felt like Groundhog Day.

Mobile ringtone replaces clock radio playing Sonny & Cher's I Got You Babe.

Both begin as assholes, commit suicide at least once and eventually strive to become better people.

Etc etc.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Snowman - The scoop and digest

Although not translated until years later, The Bat kicked off Jo Nesbø's best selling Harry Hole book series.

Tomas Alfredson adapting seventh novel may sound odd, but Hollywood has form for doing things ass about face.

For example, second Alex Cross story Kiss the Girls came before Along Came a Spider.

Michael Fassbender - Detective Harry Hole
Rebecca Ferguson - Katrine
Charlotte Gainsbourg - Rakel
J. K. Simmons - Arve Støp
Jonas Karlsson - Mathias Lund-Helgesen

Summary

After murdering women unsure of who placed bun in their oven, a serial killer leaves calling card of crude snowmen.

Baddie also sends 'Mister Police' letters.

Chain-smoking alcoholic cop Harry Hole takes hotshot recruit Katrine Bratt along to stop him.

Slush

Despite exciting cast, this was TERRIBLE.

Apparently, director says 10-15% of screenplay wasn't shot.

Does that excuse result?

Of course not.

Running time is so disjointed, a particularly nasty acid trip would make more sense.

Ferguson and Gainsbourg are just about okay, but Fassbender gives a career low performance.

As for the rest, why are they even here?

Mathias could've easily shot Hole (again), but instead, chooses to walk towards target.

Oh my GOD! The tension...

Amusingly, killer drowns by conveniently finding the only hole on frozen lake.

Before scarpering, check out these bizarre highlights.

Film is set in Norway, but protagonist is Irish and locals are mostly American.

Piece of shit is filled with vacuous subplots, but Oslo's bid to host the Winter World Cup tops the fucking lot.

A fully clothed Rakel rides ex partner Hole in a sex scene that isn't.

Some asshole thought it would be a fabulous idea to dub Val Kilmer, who by the way, is in poorer condition than a lump of second hand plasticine.

Even if I liked Hot Butter's cover of instrumental hit Popcorn (which I definitely don't), ear bleed serves absolutely no purpose.

Before atrocity ends, Hole accepts another case (alluding to The Leopard), indicating there will be another.

Let's hope threat doesn't come to fruition.

Friday, 20 October 2017

The Ritual - The scoop and digest

David Bruckner brings Adam Nevill's British horror novel of same name to the big screen.

Rafe Spall - Luke
Robert James-Collier - Hutch
Sam Troughton - Dominic
Arsher Ali - Phil

Six months after their friend Robert was murdered in a convenience store robbery, Luke, Dominic, Hutch and Phil go hiking in Northern Sweden to reflect on recent tragedy.

Dom falls awkwardly and does knee in, so to save time, they take a shortcut through the forest.

What a good idea.

Geezers stumble across a creepy abandoned house and stay overnight.

Strange wooden symbols and headless statue suggests evidence of witchcraft.

Also, growls from 'something' are heard outside.

Bright light selfishly disturbs forty winks and along with sustaining wounds on chest, Luke is forced to relive murder.

Phil is found hugging statue in birthday suit, Hutch has pissed himself and Dom is going ape shit.

Experiences and Luke's wounds are dismissed as bad dreams and accident respectively.

As night falls, guilt continues to torture Luke and noises grow louder, as madness draws ever closer.

Hutch and Phil are killed off-screen, with Luke and Dom finding buddies impaled on trees.

Fleeing from evil presence has them inadvertently discover now active ritual camp, where they're knocked out.

Waking up inside cabin, hideous hag notices Luke's wounds and reveals hers, confirming he's been chosen to join the family.

Dom is tied to a stake and prepped for sacrifice.

Meanwhile, a younger female informs 'God' is worshipped because it gives them life beyond their own.

To his relief, Dom's wife appears, but true form hangs ass up high.

Having wriggled free by breaking thumb, Luke goes exploring and torches humanoid like obscenities bound in wood.

I'm not really sure of purpose.

After shotgun blows away selected peeps, we finally get a proper look at Keith Thompson's Lovecraft-esque monster, as giant skeletal moose with human arms for antlers briefly goes on the rampage.

Although creature has ample opportunity to kill Luke, he manages to leave both forest and nightmare behind.

Stylish

Nothing original, but this is a welcome addition to genre.

Elements of Blair Witch, The Evil Dead, The Wicker Man and even Kill List are here for all to see, but this does more than enough to stand out on its own.

Joe Barton's screenplay never slices cheese, performances are excellent and characters have real personality.

What's most impressive about Bruckner's film is how banter is balanced with serious horror.

However, it's a shame final act flushes tension down the toilet and slips into clichéd familiarity.

Man at the helm is obviously no mug and perhaps talent will be fully realised in next project.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Lady Liberty - In video games

I'm not getting into port politics, compilations or alternative names, so format shown is at my discretion.

Enjoy folks.

Miscellany

Chaos Control (PS1)
Aero Fighters 2 (Neo Geo)
Assassin's Creed Unity (PS4)
Shadow of the Ninja (NES)
Cadillacs and Dinosaurs (Arcade)
Submerged moment occurs before gameplay begins, making this a very special spot.
Cobra Command (Arcade)
Before 1992 Mega-CD port, Data East thought it would be a laugh to bring a different scrolling shmup of same name in 1988, which was also ported to the NES.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (PS3)
Blink and you'll miss it moment can be seen in Hunter Killer.
Cyber-Lip (Neo Geo)
Dark Edge (Arcade)
Die Hard Trilogy (PS1)
Final Fight (Arcade)
Last Ninja 2 (C64)
Punch-Out!! (1987) (NES)
Ninja Baseball Bat Man (Arcade)
Ring of Destruction: Slam Masters II (Arcade)
Street Fighter III: Third Strike (Arcade)
Shadow Warriors (Arcade)
Superman (1988) (Arcade)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Arcade)
Twisted Metal 2 (PS2)
Vigilante (Arcade)
Z-Out (Amiga)
Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (PS3)
Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars (Arcade)
Deus Ex (DOS)
Bosses

There may be more, but I only know two.

Zombie Nation (NES)
Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 (PS3)
Film licences

X-Men: The Official Game (Gamecube)
Despite title, this ties in with X-Men: The Last Stand.
Judge Dredd (SNES)
Ghostbusters II

Amiga
NES
DOS

Okay, shit looks pretty cool, but 'joypad' should be a NES Advantage joystick.
Why is Slimer goofing about in end screen?
(Sigh).

Parody

Lady Liberty is a character from Blockbuster Video North American rental exclusive ClayFighter: Sculptor's Cut, an update of N64 game ClayFighter 63⅓.
Grand Theft Auto IV (360)

She moonlights as the Statue of Happiness.
And it's her own beating heart, that makes me cry.
Mission in Lego Marvel Superheroes (PS3) takes Lady Liberties.
Superman (1987) (NES)
Why in the Daily Planet is the Statue of Freedom giving advice to Supes?
The Japanese version features a synthesised rendition of John Williams' famous score, synonymous with Christopher Reeve taking to the skies.
During battle with Crippletron in Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse (PS3), a wheelchair-bound spoof can be seen.
Here's something beyond weird.

Best of Best (Arcade)
Hmmm, nothing like the poster of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.


WTF?

Pièce de résistance

Atomic Runner Chelnov (Arcade)
Unusually, Mega Drive was far more attractive than its coin-op parent.
Crysis 2 (PS3)
Crysis 3 (PS3)
Resistance 3 (PS3)
New York Warriors (Amiga)



Fans of Escape From New York will notice game over screen looks suspiciously like the meat of iconic poster.


Moving on.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (Arcade)

During a live transmission, Krang half inches the statue.
Leonardo calls alien dude a 'bloated beanbag'.
Wow! Nice insult.
Notice how she 'was' green in intro?

Because...

Against Shredder, she's now blue.
I know oxygen reacting with copper and air gradually caused her to change colour, but this is just fucking ridiculous.

Did the Foot get bored and paint her?

At least continuity is retained for ending.
Blimp transporting 225 ton sculpture is amusingly preposterous.
4P classic was needlessly remade in 2009 for Xbox Live and PSN.

Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi (Mega Drive)



Ninja Gaiden II (360)

For the benefit of those who don't know, she's only a large-scale baddie in already mentioned update.



Turning Point: Fall of Liberty (PS3)



Duke Nukem: Zero Hour (N64)

Stage 2 - Liberty or Death
Stage 3 - Nuclear Winter
Thirsty for more?

Okay.

Comix Zone (Mega Drive)
Crude Buster (Arcade)
Considering there are 'two' busters, title has always confused me, particularly as Mega Drive port was released as Two Crude Dudes.
After the War (Amiga)
Double Dragon II: The Revenge (PC-Engine)
WHY is head is impaled on top of what could be the Empire State Building?

My friend fuck only knows.
Flashgal (Arcade)
I know what you're thinking.

Wonder Woman, right?
S.D.I. Strategic Defense Initiative (Arcade)



Spider-Man (2000) (PS1)


Spider-Man 2 (2004) (PS2)
Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage (Mega Drive)
Freedom Fighters (Gamecube)
Guilty Gear (PS1)
Gunblade NY (Arcade)
Marvel Super Heroes (Arcade)
Parasite Eve (PS1)


Having already consumed her sister Maya, Aya confronts Eve.
And.

Splatterhouse (2010) (PS3)
Door guardians pop up throughout the reimagining/reboot of Namco's arcade classic.
I personally hated it, but scene is impressively gross.
Check out Rick entering the mouth of madness.
The final part is in development.
Copyright © 2012-2017 Nukes and Knives™ All rights reserved.