Friday, 30 January 2015

Ex Machina - The scoop and digest

Its title derives from the Latin phrase 'Deus Ex-Machina', literally 'God from the Machine'.

Beginning in 2000, the multi-genred and cyberpunk themed Deus Ex franchise enjoyed critical acclaim.

Die-hard Spectrum heads should hang their heads in shame if they don't remember Mel Croucher's arthouse game of the same title from 1984.

The phrase is seen on the treasure chest towards the end of Vince Vaughn/Ben Stiller 2004 sporting farce Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.

To really blow minds, it is also displayed after completing Jaleco's rubbish 1991 Final Fight clone 64th Street: A Detective's Story.

Regardless of interpretation, sci-fi is a concept more flexible than a garden hose and consequently, my cinematic duck of 2015 is broken.

Plot details and/or spoilers will unpack data.

Doing their bit, for science:

Domhnall Gleeson - Caleb
Oscar Isaac - Nathan
Alicia Vikander - Ava

After winning a competition set by BlueBook big cheese Nathan, hotshot coder Caleb trips off to conduct a series of 'turing tests' on his employer's latest experiment.

Their relationship is intially awkward but alcohol soon thaws the ice...

It isn't long before we meet sexy fembot Ava and so begins quid pro quo.

Via CCTV, Nathan is able to keep a watchful eye on Ava but power cuts temporarily make him blind.

He believes it is the fault of installation but we and Ava know better.

As each 'session' falls by the wayside, Caleb becomes attracted to artificial intelligence and wonders if forming a relationship wouldn't be so bad.

Mute housemaid Kyoko wanders zombie-like and is harshly treated by Nathan.

Ava dresses up for Caleb which leads him to believe that Nathan purposely programmed her to flirt.

The consequences of Ava failing the test will result in Nathan erasing memory, effectively killing her.

One night, Nathan gets mind-meltingly pariletic and Caleb 'borrows' his key card to access a previously restricted area.

Deactivated robots hang inside numerous closets in Nathan's bedroom and peeling back face, a naked Kyoko reveals she is also AI.

At some point, Nathan is seen getting very intimate with Kyoko...

During another forced blackout, Caleb informs Ava that Nathan plans to reset and effectively kill her so it's agreed that getting Nathan drunk (again), stealing key card and reprogramming facility to open every door is an award winning escape plan.

The following morning, Caleb attempts to instigate another drinking binge but Nathan is conveniently now on the wagon and isn't in any mood to fall off it.

Nathan revels in revealing he surreptitiously hid a battery operated camera, and is more than aware of Caleb's dastardly plan.

Ava was using him and he was the test all along.

When Caleb gloats about already rerouting the door system ahead of time, Nathan knocks him sparko.

Acting as a pseudo tag team, Kyoko and Ava turn on creator by stabbing him in the back and front respectively.  Kyoko is killed in the process, Ava loses arm rather than leg and Nathan succumbs to his wounds, reflecting on astonishing irony.

Ava plunders pieces of inoperative AI to pronounce herself human but leaves Caleb for dead.

The helicopter takes her into human society to adapt and presumably lead a normal life.

Surrounded by dense forest and raging waterfalls, Alex Garland's directorial debut is a well written, hugely enjoyable piece of celluloid.

Many will cite Spielberg's A.I. as direct influence but one completely disagrees.

While Gleeson and Vikander are interesting in contrasting roles, Oscar Isaac steals the show as eccentric genius.

It's morally incorrect to fancy robots, right?

Well considering how stunning Ava looks, opinion may not be an open and shut case...

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Street Fighter II - Gratuitous Gaffes

Capcom's ground-breaking franchise serves a feast of fabulous foul ups that cannot be fully appreciated - until now.

If you guys think I'm going through the banality of typing 'Street Fighter' x amount of times, you're having a shoryuken.

Instead - please observe definition.

TWW - The World Warrior
CE - Champion Edition
HF - Hyper Fighting
TNC - The New Challengers
SSF2TR - Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival
SSF2THDR - Super Street Fighter II Turbo: HD Remix

Mentioning normal Super Turbo and Hyper is pointless.

Although I'm picking on a select few, systems such as Mega Drive and PC Engine were all guilty of the same shit.

Unless stated in description, presume all visuals are from insert coin.

Video games without title screens is like Riggs without Murtaugh, salt missing pepper etc etc.

Er, when did Street Fighter II burst onto arcade CRT monitors again?

That's right, they 'forgot' and didn't remember until the SNES port.

Oh yeah, 1991

Street Fighter Collection 2 (PS1/Saturn)
Etc etc.

Capcom handled the notorious Amiga version in 1992.

No they didn't, as U.S. Gold spread copious amounts of muck.

Year would only be correct if talking about CE or HF, but as neither made it...

Wait a minute, what the @ is that?  I mean come on, it's definitely not ©.

If original developer had jack shit to do home version, don't make out they did.

It's not fucking rocket science.

Takara and Fatal Fury Special on SNES shows how it's supposed to be done.

Easy peasy mistake free squeezy.

Also, Ken got stoned one night, dumped Eliza and married some demented freak called er, Lisa.

Ha ha ha!

Getting back to my point, CE came good.

I'm ready man, ready to get it on.

Continuity errors are rife in films but in pixels?

Have a butchers at spinning bird chick in her original iteration.

Whoever would expect to fight her in orange but no...

Beat her and she's back to 'normal'.

They put things right on SNES.

This was also fixed in CE.

Up steps Zangief, aka the Red Cyclone.

Vest on.

Vest off.

Vest on.

What the fuck happened here?

When first introduced in Alpha 2, he lost the vest and pre-match animation involved wearing, then discarding a new fashion accessory.

Maybe some kind of cute reference or in-joke?

Or was he inspired by Bison?

Yeah, I do go deep.

In 2008, Backbone Entertainment gave SSF2T a HD Remix for PSN and Xbox Live.

His vest wasn't given chance to cause any problems.

Fair enough.

Mike Tyson had various nicknames such as self-proclaimed Baddest Man on the Planet, Iron Mike and Balrog (or M. Bison if you're Japanese).

Portrait bio.

Hair - Dark (starfish cut) with I suppose grey highlights.
Kit - Long sleeved white jumper.
Dislikes - Boxing gloves.

Sprite bio.

Hair - Brown (designer shy crew cut).
Kit - Tatty blue and white shirt.
Dislikes - Bare fists.

Can anybody explain the not so brutal boxer's now toothless grimace?

Didn't think so.

Taken from CE, but also appearing in TWW and HF, his winning quote made no bastard sense.

"My fists have your blood of them."

It took until TNC for portrait to be brought more consistent with sprite.

Giving credit where it's due, compare his victory poses to CE/HF for a marked improvement.


Sorry (laughs).

They also rectified their own mistake.

Even so, I have a question.

How can you get blood on your 'fists' when wearing gloves?


Same but extended principle found its way into Alpha 3.

Now for Shadaloo kingpin Bison.

Are those red eyes? Is he supposed to be the devil?

The colour of his cap bill and cape should be red but...

A quick paint job later on SNES and hey presto.

His cape is still grey rather than blue and star appears to have changed to crime organisation symbol.

Okay, whatever.

As per Chunners, it was corrected in CE.

Again, the same goof with cape.

Switching to first Turbo-charged update on SNES, they opted for consistency.

About his comfort blanket, it's still a grey day.

In TNC, his chin is basically a pair of shaved bollocks, right?

Not anymore...

Briefly travelling to Mexico.

Thunder Hawk seems to have poured a tin of black paint over bad barnet.

It would be more difficult not to notice.

Vega disgusts more than delights.

Here's either/or colour from CE.

Finishing with any boss char rewards with a screen goofier than Duane Dibbley.

During dialogue, he even boasts about stroking his long 'blond' hair and yeah, he's acquired a 'pinkish' drape.

Balrog 'melts' with excitement and Bison with those eyes (again), complete with clobber emitting a hue of orange and red just compounds the situation.

Accepting that removing mask is just for effect in TNC is fine but...

...that shining silver claw is causing a right tanning problem.

Anyway, he did take his mask off during his new winning stance.

The third update actually gave bosses their own endings and jumping to screen omitted from SNES port reveals a big boo boo.

Yep.  He's blond and green, then missing green glove, matador reverts back to brown.

What a shame The Man with the Golden Claw wasn't a famous James Bond adventure.

The fun continues in SSF2TR on GBA.

White on Blonde is an album from Texas but Beige on Blond Bio Organic Weapon doesn't have the same ring to it.

Back with SSF2THDR and hair we go again.

Godammit man.

Considering he's totally custard flavoured in Alpha 3, adding a touch of mud to sprite didn't help.

 That's all for now but sit tight for the grand finale.
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