Friday, October 31, 2008

Ghouls 'n Ghosts

The keep with the Halloween I decided to make a Halloween relate post. First I though of talking about my favorite band Helloween but that would of been too cheesy even for my standards. Now I will talk about the most horrifying game made. So scary and disgusting that most people won't even bother finishing the game, heck most people can't even reach the second level. Frozen in fear most of the game this game plays games with.... your fucking patience! Ghouls 'n Ghosts is such a hard game sometimes it feels almost unplayable. No Konami code to help you out here its just you trying to keep you underpants clean. I'll be looking at Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts because it is arguably the best one in the series.

Very short look on the history, that I don't know much of. Like most games from the 80-90's they started out in arcades. First there was Ghosts 'n Goblins then came Ghouls 'n Ghosts. From my knowledge Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts is a port to the Super Nintendo with a lot of little features added here and there. Also when it got here in the states they censored once again. Changing the Crosses to Ankhs and changing the Satan's name.

The story is very straightforward even for video game standards. The story starts out with Arthur going to see his presumed girlfriend Princess Guinevere, but all of a sudden the devil himself comes in and kidnaps the Princess. Since Arthur is such a good guy and like any boyfriend/knight of the kingdom would do, he sets off too save her. Why not? He already went to hell and back twice before one more time won't hurt.
So there's Arthur right there, a pretty straightforward guy, girlfriend kidnapped must save. You start out with your regular armor as shown above. First object that makes the game hard is while that armor may seem sturdy one hit and its gone. Not only that but if you lose your armor you are stuck in your underwear and like in real life you don't want to be stuck in your underwear going into hell. You can have some extra magic armor, like the green magic armor with enhances your attack power and give you a shield. After the green armor is the golden armor with lets you charge your attacks for a massive one (a la Capcom). He also has his trusty spear the default weapon. He can also pick up other various items like knifes, torches, hand axes and a few other.
All of those extra items might make the game seems a little more easier but really it only makes a small difference. See you can pick up different and new weapons but most of them aren't as par with your default spear. Even sometimes you think you would need this weapon to make those pesky ghouls easier to defeat but you soon realize that after them your trusty old spear is just better. Some of the weapons are more powerful but are slower or some of them a faster but weaker. Those mechanics are completely useless in the context of the game. The only time I would recommend different weapons is if you have the golden armor then some of the charged shots are actually useful. Once again the spear is the better charge shot for any situation.

Another feature that makes the game exceptionally hard is the gameplay mechanics. First off, your jumps. When you jump you have no directional influence. You might say that doesn't sound that bad but when you are used to having a lot of control in the air like in every Super Mario this becomes problematic. You do have a second jump that you can use to go each direction but still this hardly makes up for no directional influence. This makes that you have to plan each jump, you only have one chance no backing out. If you jump in an area and something dangerous comes out of the ground, your screwed. Second problem with the gameplay mechanics, the enemies respawn. They just keep on coming and coming, never ending so you are always on your toes ready to fight. Sometimes its just better to run past them, but watch out you don't want to get stuck between two hordes of monsters. Lastly the treasure chest are a blessing and sometimes there evil. They are completely random so you could have armor full armor in seconds and sometimes you could get royally screwed by bear traps and Wizards Jesters. A perfect example of the situation, look at the full video. Also little obvious things, you only have 2 hits and no save points.

I myself am proud that I reached the first final boss. Yes the first final boss. If you do manage to make it to Satan's castle and defeat him, it was all for nothing. The whole game you just spent your tears on ripping out your hair in frustration was only an illusion from Satan. Are you fucking kidding me a illusion from Satan!? That's were I stopped playing. Apparently you need a magic bracelet to actually fight Satan... That's just a way to artificially lengthen the game, they don't give a new world, they only slap you to the start of the game so you have to finish it once more. Since Arthur is such a nice guy and someone out there has the patience of a god he saves the princess and you learn it was all a conspiracies against god somehow... Argh I'm losing patience only talking about the game.

A great game if you like ripping out your hair. Today's gamers would cry if they played this game. The game companies are way too sweet and gamers today. You can pick it up on the virtual console for the Wii if you want some self punishment.

Megaman update: I'm at Megaman X6 can't wait to finish it, one of the lesser titles of the series...

EDIT: Thanks for pointing out my image loss, uploaded my own, not grat quality but will look into fixing that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes."

Time to revitalize this blog! Been awhile since I posted in here for obvious personal reasons, which are my exams. Which are gladly over last week only one more left which is situated in two weeks for some odd teacherish reason. This is week is an study/break week for me, no school at all so that leaves at lot of free time on my hands. So why didn't I post earlier after my exams? Well you know when you realize how much you miss something until it's gone? For those who know me I needed to play improv so, there was an 24 hour improv tournament this weekend and I was itching to play and it took me a day to recover. Now I'm back so I can start updating for my legion of fans (2-3 that I know of). Lots of catching up to do, especially in my gaming, see for me my online gaming isn't just about having fun its a way to stay connected with my friends who moved away. Since I wasn't able to play for the last week or two they've been or I've been dragging them to some gaming). Think I would make an epic informative interesting post with my comeback!? HA! Prepare for some small ranting and other quick stuff...

Battlefield 2142: Potatoes can't make me better at this game

I really do like this game a lot, nothing better than organizing a group on teamspeak and doing some kick ass futuristic first person ownage. The game is fully multiplayer, there isn't even an one player campaign mode so don't even plan on buying this one if you want a interesting story. Now things I hate. The learning curve, you start out not knowing what the hell you're doing and two seconds later brutally killed by an unknown opponent. I don't know if it was just me but at first I would die constantly fumbling with my weapons and equipment. Further worsening the situation they added this RPG like system to the game, and I do hate it when Americans try to make an RPG system. You start off with no equipments at all so you progressively unlock them with each rank up. At first you quickly rank up but then the requirements get higher and higher and the time span between rank up and unlocks become bigger and bigger. See how irritating that can get? Still not as bad as I make it seem, it is gratifying finally unlocking a special item.

You can't fix/destroy the vehicles with potatoes either. The vehicles are great, at least some of them are great. The walkers are like these giant robots with legs that are super strong with an high armor. The problem is that it has way to much armor and almost no weakness. Seems like the one in the walker most often will have the most kills in a match. They are also impossible to kill no machine gun will do them damage even a rocket launcher does minimal damage, often airstikes are used to finally bring the fucking tripod wannabe down. When the game loads there are "tips" shown at the bottom, one of those tips are "Walkers have vents in their undersides that are weak to any firearm.". Yes that might be true but it is near damn impossible to get under it for various reasons. 1. the driver will shoot and kill you 2. the co-pilot manning the turret on top of the walker will shoot you. 3. Other ground units will shoot you 4.incoming grenades and fire from your teammates that want to take down the walker will hit you 5. You can't run as fast as the walker can walk. Even if you do manage to get under it you soon realize it was a huge waste because shooting the vents does damage but barely anything to destroy it and it will notice you and take a step forward and insert 20 pounds of led into your ass. There also the flying vehicles, there two vehicles the carrier and the fighter. The fighter is fine but the carrier is a piece of crap. I nicknamed it the moose, know why? Have you ever tried to fly a moose? Well it's the equivalent experience.

Still a great game, but now for a little less ranting.

Batman vs Dracula

I watched this yesterday kinda confused on how I missed it because it was made in 2005. At first looking at the info I though it was the old Batman series from the 90's but soon realized that it was the new Batman series cleverly named "The Batman" .Because nowadays we don't need "The animated series" attached to a product to know what it is. Seriously did they think we wouldn't know that it was animated without it being labeled? Back on topic, I found the concept of Batman fighting Dracula very hilarious, surely this isn't the first time Batman fights Dracula in his history? I was very surprised at the quality and the movie as a whole.

The movie takes on this cinematic look especially in the actions scenes, you see things thing normally seen in movie now used in an animated. For example slowing down a hard hit for a second then speeding it up right when he hits them and in one scene the vampires see Batman and for a second you see inside Batman with his veins and heart. All very little details but those are the small things that make the movie. I'm sure that there are a lot of other little instances like that, but that would require I second watch methinks.

The whole events are very improbable, the premise is that Dracula was though to be killed years ago but they shipped the body to America so it could be buried in a safe place and that safe place is now Gotham cemetery. After the Penguin escapes he revives Dracula by mistake. Now the penguin doesn't play a huge role he really only plays comic relief. The other Bat villain to come into play is the Joker of course and he is awesome in this movie. Never did like the joker from "The Batman" but in this one he is pretty twisted. People are going to hate me for this, but I like better the Mark Hamilton Joker than the Heath Ledger Joker. That statement has nothing do with this film but I just had to get that out.

The movie is way darker than the series itself. Shows a lot more blood than expected, it is Dracula after all. Still they did censor it quite a bit, when Batman gets cut he doesn't bleed or anything, just a scratch. One scene in the blood bank is pretty twisted and creepy, but yet again they censored blood the American way by changing the color. In this scene there a lot of blood it even rains blood at a point. The problem is that because of the lighting the blood is dark and not red almost black. They pulled the same thing with Castlevania for the Genesis, turning the blood green, because green isn't blood its ooze and that a-ok for parents!There a numerous times were they change the blood color so it makes it Ok and I'm sick of it. Still might be just me over thinking it again, the dark colors fit the scene and ambience of it really well. This is the darkest animated film, yes even darker than the uncut version of The Return of The Joker.

In the end it was still predictable, but the actions scenes and the dark feel of an animated Batman makes it worth the watch. It even has small camp value with cheesy lines for the penguin like "Breakfast in bed freshly squeezed" right when Dracula eats someone in his coffin. Well at least there weren't any Bat Credit Cards (For those who don't know or remember, consider yourself lucky). Oh also there's Dracula renaming himself Alucard while in human form! How clever we never saw that in modern media before!

Last note: I will be attempting to complete the whole Megaman X franchise during my week off, already at X3 . So watch out for a Megaman related post! Just to clear things up I won't be searching for 100% just the final boss battle.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I just came back from seeing Religulous (Might I add that I have a hell of hard time saying it). If you didn't hear about it lately, it's basically Bill Maher running around highly religious people and discussing/mocking them in their beliefs. So it's a documentary, but in contrary to getting any facts it's more about taking a look at religion and people in it. There are a lot of funny parts in the movie, reminds me a lot of Erasme's The Praise of Folly.

The movie starts off with Maher explaining the inevitable Armageddon and how many people believe that it is going to happen. That leads in the brief look at how people are using the inevitable Armageddon as an excuse to pollute and destroy. I really would of liked that he would looked into that a lot more than he did. There are only the opening statement and the ending statement that actually advances in the movie in anything, right after the starting statement the movie starts with the interviews.

This is where the movie wins and falls. In the interviews you never actually learn anything useful about these highly religious people and their opinion. Maher just goes on bashing an mocking these religious folk, is it an intelligent debate? No, but sure is funny. Most of the time Maher tries to get his witty/insulting comment by and most of the comes with an hilarious effect. Not only does the movie comedy rely on Maher's comments (because I don't think it could) it goes on in showing small clever clips in a comedic way, often old religious movies. They are all beautifully timed an executed. Now the comedy saves the movie but in the end it never actually accomplishes anything and certainly won't start debate among the religious community like The Praise of Folly or The 95 Theses of Martin Luther did in the fifteen hundreds.

There is one interview with the guy named Jesus, he brings up really good points in religions if you remove the really high religious stuff into it, he even had Maher stumped a few times you could tell. There is also an interview with a funny old priest that really says what religion should be, even Maher seems to agree with him. Not even a handful of informative interviews, but maybe and most probably Maher's method is the only way to get past those thick skulls.

The movie ends with a really good written ending statement worth taking a listen. Too bad the movie doesn't advance and certainly won't cause for much debate, because most people could say he only bashes the people he interviews, which is true in a way. I really liked the film in all, so I would recommend it for anyone looking for a new perspective on religion or just to find a laugh.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Superpowers?

I starting writing a extensive post about Guild Wars but then half way I realized the images I wanted to show people was going to take some sniping, cutting and resizing, so I stopped. It would take me too much work too get all the things ready for tonight and I really didn't feel like it, one of those days you know? So I decided to just make a fun post which wouldn't really need that much thinking, again one of those days... So I opted with something fun, simple and short, which super power would I like to have?!

Sure you must of all dreamed it more than once in your life, having superpowers. Even if it was something as simple as being able to fly or shoot laser beams out of your mouth. Even you might of had a discussion with your friends sometime of what super power would you like best? Since having only one super power is pretty lame compared to some super heroes, I'll be choosing trough different super hero archetypes. Do keep in mind that my super hero knowledge is very limited to animated series and other ramblings from people and friends, since I barely looked into comics, I think because it was never popular in my area.

At first glance I think the most logical choice would be Superman. That guy has virtually everything! Super strength, speed, hearing, cold breath, invulnerable and a handful of cool things with his eyes. Superman is like the poster child for superheroes he has almost everything and his only weakness is kryptonite and magic. Most of the other superheroes has one of his powers while Superman like a plethora of things work with. I'll just go ahead and say it, he's so fucking cheap! He has everything! Almost god like! If I was him I would mock almost everyone with less than four powers! So because he's so cheap, would turn me into a jackass and is the obvious choice, I choose not Superman.

There are some others I though about but quickly changed my mind. First off Wonder Woman has a bunch of useful superpowers, but then I would have to change into a amazonian female and that isn't really a good trade off for me. Another one is SpiderMan, sure he's an awesome superhero but for me, location wise, it would be pretty difficult, living in New-Brunswick doesn't give you much buildings to swing and climb off. Ferro Lad I do like, the idea of being nearly invincible is cool, but don't like the idea of being a martyr isn't cool. Aquaman is cool in his own way he can talk to fish and stuff but being limited to water could be quite depressing, a fish companion can only go so far.

A pretty cool superhero is the Green Lantern, he has a magical ring that can like shoot energy bolts, create energy objects, fly and a bunch of other cool things. He isn't overly cheap like Superman as I aforementioned. The odd thing is that the ring doesn't affect yellow objects for some reason? Now that's just plain inconvenient, why such a discrimination against yellow objects!? The fact is that if I do have a ring, this means I'm in this kind of Space Police fighting for justice. Now I though that was cool but it also means I have to follow the rules all the time and I'm forced to fight crime. I think that would be a real disadvantage with all the people trying to steal my ring and having to follow orders? Ugh.

Not exactly a superhero but a power I do appreciate is Magneto's magnetic powers. I find that so awesome having complete control over metal objects. I don't exactly know the true extent to his powers but they seems pretty god like, he did move a whole bridge in the movie. Even in the animated series he has his own metal castle where he can manipulate everything in it, even turning the metal in liquid like form, which was pretty wicked.

One superhero I do especially like is Thor, he isn't god like, he is a god! He has a bunch of Power much like superman but doesn't get that over cheap feeling to him. The Mjolnir as his mighty weapon lets him manipulate the weather and fly! How epic is that? using a frikin hammer to defeat your opponents! No worries about it getting it stolen, because only you can lift it with your godly powers (The Hulk did lift it once but I'm going to let that go). Another plus side about being Thor is that everything you say will be said in a poetic and/or epic way. So Thor is my choice if were to fight crime.

You heard it right "if I were to fight crime", what does that mean? Well Thor is pretty kickass and embodies the Power Metal persona but isn't really practical in my everyday life and the lack of some real supervillians is problematic. The superhero I would choose for my daily life would be The Flash. The guy might only have one superpower attribute which is superspeed but that's more than enough. I don't know how many times I realized I was late or I just wanted to get somewhere fast. If I had The Flash's superpowers it would make things way easier, I would save gas money, heck even get rid of my license, and I would never be late for anything! Just imagine, need to set up a room for an occasion of some kind? No problem done in 15 seconds flat. I also heard he could read books in super speed, not really sure if that's true, but that would be epic. Again just imagine the incredible possibilities!

Small recap
-For fighting crime: Thor
-For normal everyday life: The Flash

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Downfall of American Cartoons...!

Cartoons nowadays are regarded as child's play it is a whole media specifically centered around the exploit of kids! Sure I could accept that if only it had a wholehearted true alternative towards adult cartoons. Now don't get mixed up now by adult cartoons, I don't mean some kind of kinky alternative. Firstly there are some adult cartoons out there like Futurama, Simpsons and Family Guy. The problem with those, good on their own value, they don't stand in the plethora of kids cartoons that fly in the media of today. One of the negative things that happened to cartoons is Walt Disney. Sure he did amazing things for the cartoon era with his art style and drive but still he ruined it's reputation and place an ugly stereotype of cartoons are childish.

First I have to start with a little history. Cartoons at first were specifically designed to a much wider audience I could even go say it was only aimed for adults. Most of its first exposure was set into movies, not into full movies but in trailers! Not the same trailers that we know now that show the upcoming movies, back then when the theater was relatively new, trailers played a more important part into the movie experience. See back then the word trailer meant what in meant in the sense that it trailed after the movie hence the word trail-er(get it?). Compared to now that are in front of the movie forcing you to watch it. Trailers were often animated shorts of 7-15 minutes. The most probable factor of the fall of cartoons is, with the rise of the television they stopped making trailers and left the cartoons in the dust and all the misconceptions started shortly after that.

Walt Disney now built and empire out of childish cartoons in consequences added further to the misconception of the toons. It was really a way of censoring and "protecting" the children from corruption. You might be hesitant to believe the moronic transformation of cartoons but just take a look at Japanese animation (anime) they didn't transform their animation to a childish perspective mainly because they didn't have Walt Disney to corrupt them(Tho, Astro Boy is heavily taken from the Disney art style). Even more proof everything that passes trough american cartoonist are horribly censored like the removal of all semi foul language and any blood. (See 4kids's One Piece or Dragonball(Z))

With the huge success of Walt Disney, everyone wanted in the cashcow that was exploiting children through animation. Which place the cartoon rep even lower. I would like cartoons get back to at least the Tex Avery era, I really do feel like we could appreciate the cleverness of the scenarios of that era and not the more moronic censored cartoons we have today. We can have a genuine and interesting story and scenario without dumming it down for kids, at least I would think/hope so. Maybe I'm just dreaming of something better or always looking for something a genuine and clever like Red Hot Riding Hood, which I think is Tex's best animation and my personal favorite of all time. It doesn't have any gratuitous adult material and puts even a hard statement from the start, that is "we're tired of this! It's already been done before!"

Taken from that statement, I do still look into the new cartoons from something worthy like its a personal quest or something. A perfect example of that is Total Drama Island , a cartoon of a reality tv show, see they take something so abused in the media but add an original twist to it, like Tex Avery back then. Other finds are are the shorts of Doodlez, reminiscing of Duck Amuck (where Daffy argues and has clever situation with the artist in real time). The show is simple the kid (Dood) is often put in scenarios by choice of the artist, clever and funny. Here's one of the shorts, simply look into related videos if you want more.

Here's hoping for a cartoon revolt. No! A cartoon revolution! (Hehe I just had to plug that somewhere, sometime)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Power Metal + Geek Metal

I'm an avid metal fan I like anything metal. I do specialize in Power Metal it is what I live from I don't think I could pass the day without listening to at least one song. My library is made up of over 150 hours of only power metal. Maybe you haven't heard of Power Metal before? That's Normal because it is mostly more popular in Europe, South America and Québec. Power Metal is a mix of traditional Heavy Metal, Speed Metal and the energy of Trash Metal often with symphonic elements. When I first started to listen to it I heard a lot of times that it was metal for geeks, I often denied for some unknown reason, now that I think about it, really it could be metal for geeks.

Power Metal often utilize over dubbing the vocalist voice to make this epic feel to the song this also includes choirs, in some bands they even have have an opera vocalist. Heavy use of keyboards and often symphonic instruments even sometimes using a full symphony like Fairyland, Dark Moor and Rhapsody.

First observation, a lot of the power metal band utilize Dungeons and Dragons like themes for their lyrics, artwork, style. The most obvious case of this is Rhapsody Of Fire, they are truly inspired by dungeons and dragons even getting the artist of D&D to make the cover art of their albums. My personal favorite is their new album Triumph or Agony shown below. Power Metal is often about concepts and Rhapsody concept is the Emerald Sword saga, which is and epic story which spans withing five CDs. Some continue the story while some might go in deeper into a character either the protagonist or the atagonist. They do end the Emerald Sword saga with the album called "Power of the Dragonflame" but they quickly start up a new story named "The Dark Secrets". Before I didn't see how it was all so cheesy but it is and I love it so.
Another band guilty of this style is Blind Guardian one the pionners of Power Metal, they don't venture into the D&D realm but they do go pretty damn close into the J.J.R Tolkien realm. They don;t only go into J.J.R they also go into Frank Herbert, Peter Straub, Stephen King, Michael Moorcock and more. Still their biggest influence is J.J.R Tolkien you can see that since their first album. They really blew things out of proportions with something never really been done before. In 1998 they released Nightfall On Middle Earth and it was and still is epic, acclaimed by critics and fans, it features 22 tracks not only songs but narrations between to tell the story.Blind Guardian and Rhapsody utilize other media to influence them but some band create their own world and story. Like for example Helloween's Keeper of the Seven Keys, Dragonland's Dragonland (Hyper cheesy) and one of my personal favorites Iced Earth's Something Wicked This Way Comes. Now I know what you are saying but Something Wicked isn't from Ray Bradbury or Shakespear it is and original story. Other groups how utlize the still medievil stylings of valour, honour, comradeship and hope like Hammerfall and Flaconer each song cheesier than the next. Still the cheesiest lyrical theme I ever heard is Alestrom's Captain Morgan's Revenge. A mix of folk pirate music and metal with some of the cheesiest lyrics known to man.

Another geeky thing I realize is Iced Earth's "The Dark Saga". This is yet another concept album based or entirely taken from the comic book series Spawn even Todd McFarlane (the creator of Spawn) did the artwork for the album cover. Symphony X also comes to mind with their album "The Odyssey" a musical transition for the epic poem featuring a 25 minute long song.

Often Power Metal is stereotyped be being about wizards and elves while that might be true it sometimes goes beyond that like for instance Gamma Ray has their album "Somewhere out in Space" which is a futuristic outer space story, dealing with frequent Gamma Ray theme of freedom. There's also Primal Fear and their album Black Sun another album about an outer space adventure. Still cheesy but a different way of cheese.

In all I wouln't call it geek metal, I would call it cheese metal. I mean it is so cheesy yet I love so much I don't know why. I could get you into even more cheesy material like those Viking bands or those pure metal symphonic bands with 5 vocalists with a total of 12 members, but for now I'll restrain myself.