Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Dark Escape 4D - Gruelling Terror

Project Zero, Penumbra, Dead Space, Amnesia, Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, Forbidden Siren and F.E.A.R. all contain a shock or several.

System Shock 2 deservedly haunts, Doom 3 encourages pants to be soiled and while internet freebie Slender was undeniably effective, the novelty soon peters out.

After P.T, we are all looking forward to actual PS4 game Silent Hills...

If you're old enough to remember, be careful when handling something Soft & Cuddly.

Apart from how much they cost to finish, arcades have never terrified - until now.

Developed by Nex Entertainment in 2012 for Bandai Namco, this is bar none, the most frightening arcade game ever devised.

I demand a sequel.  RIGHT NOW!

PS3 Move and GunCon 3 owners should be familiar with Nex as accurate ports of Time Crisis 4, spin off Razing Storm and Deadstorm Pirates all came bundled on a single disc.

The swashbuckling yarn was given an arcade upgrade in 2014 as Special Edition added two exclusive stages.

Body-Shocking 3D Horror Shooting obviously contradicts title.

As I played '4D', confusion understandably reigns and in 1983, this had us believing the same thing.

What?  You want proof?


4-dimensional graphics reaching out of your 48K Spectrum.  Good one.

Turning day into menacing night, the fourth dimension is time.

More recently in 1991, peculiar polygons fought beyond misleading box art.


"Now then.  On with the show."

Part the curtain, step inside and take a seat for an experience your heart, mind and soul will never forget.

You will leave the booth shaking like a leaf and buzzing more than a sex toy.

A fruit loop scientist plays the kidnapping game to determine the effectiveness of his deadly bio weapons.

Ha ha ha!  How original.


Players remain anonymous but are assisted by a NPC throughout.


I could divulge her identity but...

Differing from Play Mechanix's Terminator: Salvation but like Razing Storm, firepower is swapped at set periods, ranging from magnum, uzi and grenade launcher.

Shooting off screen to reload is unnecessary as ammo is generously infinite.

The camera pans where it pleases and automated sequences ooze fantastic tension before serving relentless moments of shock.

Occasionally, action becomes ultra slo-mo and matches the effect of any Hollywood blockbuster.

There's a 'good' and 'bad' ending but I'm not explaining the politics of achieving either.

When wearing the goggles provided, beasts don't need a second invitation to get up close and personal from a gorgeous 46" full HD monitor.  Stereoscopic visuals can be turned off via the push of a 2D button as the possibility of 3D imagery affecting eyesight cannot be completely ruled out.

The bench violently vibrates so parking change isn't advised unless you want coin to leap from where you sit, nearly as much as heart will from chest.

Blasts of air breathe from behind to chill hairs on the back of one's neck.

5.1ch Surround System, 7 speakers and a woofer producing low frequency tidbits, ensures a state-of-the-art experience.

Its 'real time panic-detection system' kicks in when both hands grip gun and in-built sensors detect heart rate. Those of a nervous disposition are punished further as each panic attack is recorded.

Brilliant.

First time players will concur the knife is twisted with unerring precision.

Evidence of actual dread is displayed on screen so when BPM exceeds 100, claiming 'I wasn't really that scared' is unlikely to impress...

As adrenaline flows more aggressively than Niagara Falls, it's difficult to meet the challenge of remaining calm.

Agoraphobia (Pursuit), Necrophobia (Dead), Achluophobia (Dark) and Entomophobia (Vermin) are stages filled with genuine alarm.

For anybody who doesn't know, classic C64 shmup Phobia fed on 8 bit fears in 1989.

Maybe it's just me, but I always thought agoraphobia was something to do with wide open space?

Just ask Helen Hudson (Sigourney Weaver) in 1995 thriller Copycat...

Anyway, conquer the lot to unlock grand finale.

Take a look at this incredibly handsome chap.


Ugly has never looked good.

In recent years, arcades like Terminator Salvation and spiritual sequel Aliens: Armageddon (from a cabinet and gameplay POV), both contained action violence described as mild.

During the height of Mortal Kombat mania, it was common for one on one fighting games to display something like Killer Instinct.


So if Dark Escape reduces legs to quivering jelly, how come restrictions imposed by UK law for amusement arcades aren't contravened?

It's simple - not a single drop of the red stuff is spilled and gore is substituted with green 'blood'.

While not quite the same thing, Evil Dead II anybody?

However, we are still suitably warned.


Very intimidating stuff.

This message appears after pushing 'start' so before play has actually begun.

Ass about face?

Probably.

In-depth analysis will follow and although difficult, please contain your excitement...

Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Expendables 3 - The scoop and digest

Leave your brain outside the cinema door for what hopes to be a rapturous (and if you believe the trailer), one final ride.

Patrick Hughes has the directorial burden of emulating what Stallone and Simon West previously orchestrated.

Plot details and/or spoilers are loaded with ammo.

Going out with a possible bang include:

Sylvester Stallone – Barney
Jason Statham – Christmas
Dolph Lundgren – Gunnar
Randy Couture – Toll Road
Mel Gibson – Stonebanks
Wesley Snipes – Doctor Death
Antonio Banderas - Galgo
Kelsey Grammer - Bonaparte
Harrison Ford – Drummer
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Trench
Jet Li – Yin Yang

Barney and his crew intercept a train and bust out former member Doctor Death before his ass is transported to prison.

They arrive in Somalia to scupper a shipment of bombs.

Amidst gunfire and explosions, the arms dealing big cheese is spotted and revealed to be former Expendables co-founder Stonebanks.

Before making his escape, Caesar is shot by Stonebanks who is subsequently taken to a nearby hospital.

Barney retires Christmas, Toll Road, Gunnar and Doc from his team as wearing the guilt of their deaths is something that doesn’t really appeal.

Going it alone, he meets with Bonaparte who helps enlist new mercs.

This part reminded me of The Mean Machine when Burt Reynolds recruits various inmates to play against the guards.

Nightclub bouncer Luna, weapons professional Mars, computer whizz Thorn and ex-marine Smilee all the make the cut but sniper Galgo (Spanish for greyhound), fails in the selection process.

Much to the disgust of Barney, CIA operative Drummer informs Stonebanks must be taken alive so he can be tried for war crimes.

Tripping off to Romania, Thorn disables security systems and Stonebanks is captured during another arms deal.

Before Drummer’s package can be delivered, his men halt progress by introducing missile to van.

The young are kidnapped and via video link, Stonebanks presents Barney with the clichéd challenge of ‘if you want them, come get ‘em’.

Galgo’s gab is given the green light to tag along and four familiar faces provide extra firepower…

In what looks like a dilapidated and derelict casino, the kids are saved but uh oh, Stonebanks has rigged the place with C4.

Proving not to be a Thorn in their sides, a battery powered gizmo jams the signal which buys them about 30 minutes before detonation.

I suppose it’s longer than the average Smartphone…

Drummer’s evac team (consisting of Trench and Yang), arrive in a helicopter and obliterates heavy artillery and enemy contingent.

Barney vs. Stonebanks.  Final Round.  Fight.

After exchanging blink and you’ll miss it blows, our villain is shot dead.

With time conveniently called, Barney puts on the afterburners and makes it to the chopper.

Holy shit!  We never saw that coming.

During the customary piss up, Caesar is fighting fit and new recruits are officially accepted.

Oh yeah, Trench and Yang are gay.

Er, what?  WHAT?

This doesn’t fire more blanks than a territorial but compared to the sequel, you cannot help but feel robbed.

In regards to so-so action, the beginning, run up to first seeing Stonebanks and climatic firefight is all you really get.

I’m guesstimating 20 minutes and with a running time of over 2 hours – that’s a shocking return.

If that's unfair, please consider The Raid series…

Sure there’s energy but violence has definitely felt the impact of achieving 12A certification.

Despite this, there’s more crunch than Taken 2.

One thing that pissed me off is when Ford complains he can’t understand Statham’s Cockney accent.  Am I the only asshole who thinks that reeks of American bullshit?

Even Statham looked angry.

Ubiquitous banter impresses, Banderas’s over zealous yap largely succeeds in providing the laughs and Stallone tells a decent enough story.

The regulars do what they do and young blood may inject freshness but for me, were just plain irritating.

Gibson portrays a fairly ruthless villain, which is in complete contrast to Machete Kills.

In-jokes:

As greedy bastard Bruce Willis’s financial demands couldn't be met to fund a new vest and toupee, when Stallone asks of Church’s whereabouts, Ford replies ‘he’s out of the picture.’

‘Short notice’ from Arnie is a nod towards Ford's limited preparation and after sizing him up, Ford's remark of ‘very short’ ridicules Li's height.

He retorts with 'I thought Church was asshole', or something very similar. 

Couture asks Snipes why he was locked up and the droll answer of ‘tax evasion’ has to be applauded.

Reference guide:

Arnie revisits classic lines ‘get to the chopper’ and ‘I lied’ from Predator and Commando respectively.

Stallone refers to Snipes as a ‘maniac’, as per Demolition Man.

When scouting for a new team with Bonaparte, Stallone sees Thorn rock climbing and claims ‘I could do that’.  Thank superior outdoor action adventure Cliffhanger for that one.

‘I am the Hague’ is more than likely a variation of ‘I am the Law’ from the appalling Judge Dredd.

A flash or stun grenade is designed to disorientate and cause discomfort to one’s hearing tackle.  In ensemble cast driven corruption thriller Cop Land, Stallone’s char Freddy Heflin is deaf in one ear.

Fair enough, he suffers from no such impairment but the temporary principle remains when in the vicinity of such an explosive going off.

Mistake:

Call it picky, but a frustrated Gibson sarcastically asks his cronies “How hard can it be to kill ten men?”

He forgot about Luna…

There’s already talk of a fourth and hiring John Malkovich, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Carl Weathers, Tom Hardy, Rutger Hauer and Tom Cruise would do more good than harm.

Let’s hope that some don’t see red at such a proposal.

My own wish list for rumoured female spin-off dubbed ‘The Expendabelles’ are Sharon Stone, Angelina Jolie, Milla Jovovich, Uma Thurman, Linda Hamilton and Kate Beckinsale.

I of course would say Sigourney Weaver, but she’s already committed to the adaptation of children’s fantasy novel A Monster Calls.

Whatever happens, balls must be grown to ensure the next is a 15 or the franchise should be deemed literally expendable.

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, starring in 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 Katie and that dick Ben are told 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 remarks 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 fizzles out into nothing.

Simon resorting to desperation in the desert is limper than Neil's toilet truncheon.

Although disappointing, there are some laugh out loud highlights.

The sequence with 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, hear an excellent rendition of the famous John Williams theme rolls and 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.

A section involving 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 and Wicket Village are environs to gladly feature.

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 blasts are kind of inverted so you pretty much have to aim away from the reticle in order to secure a hit.

This is dull - with a captial D.

In regards to driving vehicles...

Dodge. Survive. Repeat.

Or more appropriately.

Swear. Snooze. 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 system 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 who are paid handsomely for delivering 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.
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