Tuesday, 31 January 2017

January 2017 Retro Purchases

So it was the start of a whole new year, I cant say I have sat and considerd what retro things to get this year because in total honesty I havent. Sure I read articles and blogs and learn about games I am not that knowledgable about or check rough values of things but I have a very laid back attitude to retro game shopping, I almost figure if I am supposed to have it then it will basically bump into me.

My first retro game purchase of the month was on January the 3rd when I went in to a local pawn shop and got Lego Starwars the original Trilogy for the Gamecue complete for £5. I have said before that I tend to like getting GameCube games because you dont see them so much and that has remained true, I guess with the Cube's relativly low sales compared to the PS2 its not surprising but I really preferd the cub as a system personally So I always relish getting more games for it.

The next time I got anything was on the 9th, I got two DS games complete and sealed for £10 each
they were Lumious Arc 2 and Hoshigami. In the past I have played and finished Luminous arc and I have seen the second one a few times for about £15 second hand so figured seeing it for £10 new I should get it while I can Hoshigami was there with it and was a bit of an impulse buy, I have to admit having now read more about it I kind of regret this decision just a little bit.

Just before christmas I had seen Tecmo World Wrestling NES (cart only) for sale in an indy store for £10 and had conemplated it but left the store and decided to look around, I found it cheaper online, I found it for £5 including free postage to be precise and so I orderd it there and then, will it arrived on the 9th, I might have paid for it in December but I count it as a January purhcase because I dont like to say I have a game and I spent £x on it until I have really felt it in my hand and have it sat infront of me.
The last thing I did retro game wise on that day was to nip out to a local charity shop where I picked upVexx for ps2 for £1 complete.
 On the 10th I got a small pile of boxed complete ps2 games for £6 for the bunch from a local seller these game were, Summoner 2, Batman Begins, Misssion imposssible operation surma, 24:the game, shadow or rome and Forgotten Realms Demon Door. None of them are exactly worth there weight in gold but sometimes its just nice to get something new to look at to keep the old collecting wheels turning, besides its nice to buy of people sometimes just to let them know your in to thing like this and make connections, maybe in the future they will be selling something else and youll have the spring board of ''Oh I had those games off you before...''.

 On the 16th I got Exhaust Heat for the SNES boxed complete for £3. I already own a cartridge of this game but how often do you really get the opportunity to get a boxed SNES game for this kind of price?
On the 19th I went to meet my girlfriend for coffee, it was in a semi local town so I spent a bit of time looking in varius charity shops and pawn stores, this only led to one purchase but it was one I am very happy about.I got Fire Pro Wrestling for the GBA complete for £3.50 from a pawn store. I am really happy about this as the Fire Pro series is a series I think is awesome and this is one of the few titles in the series which actually got an English release.
On the 23rd I grabbed 2 PSP titles from a pawn store I got Midnight Club 3 complete for £1 and Flatout head on, the disc and case but with its manual missing for £1. I know there not exactly games that are going to set the world on fire but I certainly think that one day people are going to look back on the PSP and wish they had grabbed more or less anything they had the chance to get.
On the 24th I was going to go home after a day of work, but I decided to have a lap of all the local charity shops, now there is this one shop that I am not very keen on, basically they sell all games no matter if in perfect condition or torn to shreds for £5 regardless of what they are. So with the basic idea of supply and demand I think you can guess that what they have most of the time is 12 dog eared copies of fifa because the blooming things never sell for such a crazy price, yes you could buy one just to donate to charity but if I wanted to just donate I would just donate. So I was very pleasently suprised to find amongst all the rubbish that they had a darn near perfect copy of We Love Katamari complete for ps2 obviously for £5 and so I snapped this out of there hands pronto. I have wanted this game for a long time and I am very happy to have it but it did raise the issue that now I own every UK released version of Katamari apart from the PS3 version which made me kind of want to get that too.
On the 26h I went to a pawn store and had a look at the games they had on offer, Now I did have my sights on a few things that under closer inspection proved to be counterfit carts but in the end I found an actual legitimate cart I wanted and that was SWIV cart only for the gameboy colour for £2

I didnt really get much this month and I suppose it was just because I didnt really see that much I wanted, so what was my favourate purchase well that would either be We Love Katamari or Fire Pro Wrestling. So what will I end up getting next month? No idea but then I guess thats a large part of the fun, just going out there having a dig around and seeing what I come across.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Puppet Master, why and how you should watch them

''Political Satire is one of the hallmarks of a healthy society'' Spoken by Toulon in Puppet Master III Toulon's Revenge. Now its not often I watch a horror film and hear something said like the above which I think is so full of wisdom that it makes me stop and tip my hat to it. It was this that made me think I wanted to write a little something about the Puppet Master films. Now recently I have purchased Blue Ray releases of the first 3 Puppet Master films (as in the first 3 released) and I have to say I have enjoyed them, I had previously had a few of them on DVD and back in the past I had rented them for 50pence a night from my local video store. I see the early entries in the series as key principle players in the VHS rental horror scene but I dont think they are always rememberd by that many people or perhapse as kindly as I feel they deserve. This is where my talking about them comes in to the equation, basically I want to draw attention to these films and try to persuade you to give the series a try.

So I guess the best thing to do to start with would be to try to tell you why you should watch Puppet Master so here I go. If you were either a child of the 80's or have enjoyed other 80's horror films then you should definetly give Puppet Master a chance because it is without a doubt pure 80's horror, it just has that feeling which horror films now days dont give you, so if you havent seen it and want to see more of this kind of thing it will be right down your street. You have killer puppets, yep thats right its not one puppet you have a whole bunch of puppets and in fact who you have will vary slightly from film to film, by and large every film contains what I would refer to as the core group, but then with each new film they seem to try to throw a new puppet in with a new personality and new ways to kill. Other than laughing the puppets are largly silent but they all feel so unique and so individual in no time at all you get a feel for them and will work out who your favourate is and youll relish every moment they are on screen. You just dont get characters like this now days mostly because if a little creature or monster needs making it tends to be done on Computer and I just dont believe they have as much life to them as old fashioned props, puppetering and stop motion animation technics.

Ok so now I have tried to sell you on the films overall I guess something I need to do is to discuss the order in which to watch the Puppet Master films, Well I guess you have two orders in which you could tackle them, one would be the obvious one watching them in order of release this is helped by the first 5 of them being numberd but after this you need to know the order, the other answer is to watch the series in chronological order. In order to help you I will provide both ways of ordering the films below:

Chronological Order 
  • Retro Puppet Master
  • Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge
  • Puppet Master: Axis of Evil
  • Puppet Master X: Axis Rising
  • Puppet Master: Axis Termination
  • Puppetmaster
  • Curse of the Puppet Master
  • Puppet Master II: His Unholy Creation
  • Puppet Master 4: The Demon
  • Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter
  • Puppet Master: The Legacy
  • Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys

Release Order
  • Puppet Master
  • Puppet Master II: His Unholy Creation
  • Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge
  • Puppet Mastter 4: The Demon
  • Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter
  • Curse of the Puppet Master
  • Retro Puppet Master
  • Puppet Master the Legacy
  • Puppet Master Vs Demonic Toys
  • Puppet Master Axis of Evil
  • Puppter Master: Axis Rising
  • Puppet Master:  Axis Termination

 Now I think its important to say that these films dont have perfect continuity in fact there is one issue I can remember where a film tells you someone died in a particular year to then have a film about what he was doing 2 years latter turn up as a sequel. If your the kind of person who is going to throw your toys out of the pram because things dont line up perfectly then this might be an issue but trust me if you can just laugh at or ignore little hick ups and enjoy the films on there own merit then I think you will enjoy them.

I think its important to note that the films are not all the same idea played out again and again, sure there are Puppets in every single one and people die but the puppets are sort of the villians in some movies and the good guys in others. For example Puppet Master the original first movie is pretty much a slasher type affair, a bunch of people come to a hotel to investigate and they get picked off by the puppets who are working for there clearly evil Master, in Puppet Master 3 however the villians of the movie are the Nazi's and its the puppets who are the heroes working for there Master protecting him and helping him to seek revenge on the Nazi's for the death of his wife.

If I have pursuaded you to give the whole series a watch brilliant, if it doesnt sound like your kind of thing then that is fair enough, if your sitting on the fence and unsure then I would Recomend you pick up Puppet Master 3 as this is the one I consider to be the very best of them, if you just want to watch one to decide if there your kind of thing or not then this would be the one. It is an easy film to watch it seems to pretty much explain everything you need to know and despite having a 3 in the title it doesnt require you to enter the film with any knowledge of what has gone before in order to enjoy it.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Snes review 112: Stunt Race FX

OK so this is a game I want to talk quiet a bit about, I wanted to talk about it a long time ago but I figured that I had to hold some things back, I also clearly needed to talk about it after StarWing/Star Fox, I also wanted to talk about Dirt Trax FX. So with those out of the way and quiet a long gap since them here I am talking about Stunt Race FX, or Wild Trax as it was known in Japan. To sum it up quickly Stunt Race FX was a 3D cartoon-style racing game developed by Nintendo EAD with assistance from Argonaut Software, it was of course published by Nintendo themselves

Nintendo originally wanted to make a franchise out of stunt race FX but this idea was dropped, a sequel on the Nintendo 64 called Buggie Boogie was planned and I think work even began on it but it was cancelled, which I honestly think is a crying shame a this game had a flavour which in my opinion made it very different from other racing games this is part of the reason for e being eager to review it.

The story of Stunt race really starts back in 1991, Nintendo began developing a custom 3D cartridge chip called the Super FX chip with Argonaut Software so that it could be used in Super NES games to create polygonal 3D graphics. The first game that used the Super FX was StarWing/Star Fox, which obviously became a big success and birthed a whole franchise that still exists to this day. After the release of Star Fox/Star Wing, Nintendo and Argonaut began experimenting with what else they could do with a Super FX chip. A title began to take shape originally refereed to as FX Trax a polygon based 3D-animated racing game featuring both stunts and racing. This was the title that would go on to become Stunt Race FX.

In Stunt Race FX at first you would think you have a pretty standard racing game, there are a number of circuits there are time trials and there is a selection of vehicles but stick with me and I will talk about the game what it has to other and why I think it is more than just a standard racing game. Ok so lets starts with the vehicles themselves. The vehicle roster is not that big in fact in some ways its more like the selection you'd expect from a walk along beat em up in the way that each choice is strong in one trait while being a little weaker in another. You have the monster truck with massive tires, high acceleration, and the ability to drive through patches of water without it effecting you but with the disadvantage of having a low top speed. Then there is a little yellow coupe which in all honesty can be described as the nice average vehicle, an average rate of acceleration and an average top speed. Last but not least there is a red formula one type of car this car has the highest top speed but has slow acceleration. OK I guess this is a spoiler but its not exactly a big one but there is also an unlockable vehicle, a motorcycle which breaks the above rules in that it is just basically good at everything, it could be criticised for being over powered but it is an absolute blast to play with. There is also a large semi-trailer this is driven from a fixed 3/4 perspective. It is obviously slow to move and turns slowly as this kind of vehicle would but dont worry your not racing with this its used for a sort of bonus level so its kind of a nice bit of something different thrown in to break up proceedings.

One of the problems with early 3D games like this was that they never looked very realistic, sure they tried to look realistic but with very square cars and such built from obvious wire frame style shapes, quiet frankly it was pretty much a waste of time trying to be too realistic back then and thats why I love Stunt Race FX it sods realism and makes itself in to a giant cartoon. Yes the cars are made of basic shapes and its obvious but the game embraces this by putting large eyeballs on all of the cars roughly where the headlights would usually go, and I am not talking about painted on flat lifeless eyes no these are active cartoon eyes which blink and look around, they are so active and full of emotion that they bring the cars to life. I know it might sound silly but this really made me warm to the game, maybe its the fact I grew up on things like Tomas the Tank Engine and Tugs so I have been pre-programmed to like vehicles that have been given eyes and personality who knows.

OK so the game itself consists of three championships which consist of four races and a bonus level each. Now you would think that for each race you get given a certain number of points and then where you come in the championship and if you can progress on to the next one or not is determined by your points total, well this is not how it is done at all nope basically your finishing times are all added together with the quickest/best total time winning.

Now the courses are split up into different areas, there is a mountain area, a city area, etcetera and they are filled with changes in elevation, and the odd hazard things like falling rocks for example. Then you have halfpipes, which if you hit wrongly can send your car flying over the edge of the course, on top of this there are a few which have pieces missing out of them, which make you have to ride along the side of them to stop yourself falling off. You have a damage meter and if you take enough damage from hitting walls or other cars or hazards then your car will explode but don't worry there are red crystals that you can drive over to refill your meter (if you do take to much damage and this happens though you will be forced to restart the level). There is also a boost meter, which works just how it sounds press your boost button and you go faster but the meter drains,if your skilful you use this carefully to maximise its potential. There are also blue crystals which appear on the track and if you manage to collect these you can refill your boost bar.

The game controls well, everything is nice and simple you have one button for acceleration, a button to brake, you steer with the dpad and the shoulder buttons help you to perform tighter turns, then there is the boost button and a button that both toots your horn and makes you hop, used correctly at the right moments this can be used to help you bounce over the opposition.

Now you have probably noticed that for a game called Stunt Race FX I haven't actually made much mention of stunts well as well as the racing there are stunt tracks, there are four of them to be precise. Each of these stunt tracks begins with you in the back of a semi and has you running through segment of the course collecting stars. There are a bunch of obstacles ranging from simple mounds to elevated platforms that you have to deal with. You have to manage to collect every star before the timer counts down in order to unlock the next course. This can be quiet hard as to reach certain stars you will need to be travelling at the right speed and at the right angle to make a jump that will take you to an otherwise unreachable platform which has a star on it. There is also a bit where your in a sort of mini demolition derby with the goal being for you to ram three other cars until they blow up in the quickest time possible

Now I guess I have been going on about the game in quiet an excited manor, this was after all a game I got nice and early I got a US import copy before it was even out here and I played the living heck out of it, but I am not completely blind to its faults, I will admit that it does have some, after all I hate people who deny the faults of any company or product so even though I love this game lets talk about them.

I said that I like the cartoon way the game looks but it has to be noted that it is a bit of a slow game at least as far as frames per second goes the game only floats at around 15 frames per second, I guess this is because the graphics and what's on show actually required a lot of grunt work from the both the Super Nintendo itself and the FX chip, and it is noticeable.

Now when you grew up playing games in the pal region you kind of get used to the idea that your game is not going to fill all of the screen but Stunt Race FX's main viewing area is very small, in fact it only accounts for about half of your full screen, its also important to mention that even though this game has a two player mode but obviously your playing area is stupendously small during this well unless you have a TV big enough not to care, but no matter the size of your screen you are going to notice that the already slow frame rate drops even more in two player mode. Given this I don't think it makes a very good two player game really. I also think this game is a little bit disappointing in the sound department, its not like the music or sound effects are like nails on a chalk board though its more like they are just a bit plain, a bit average, fit for purpose but ultimately forgettable.

OK before I give a rating I want to just talk a little bit more about Nintendo and Argonaut. So with the Team of Nintendo and Argonaut hitting gold again even if not commercially this team must have gone from strength to strength right? In short No. Argonaut and Nintendo had done some good business together true, Star Fox had been huge even if Stunt race was not quiet as big but unfortunately it was not a team which would go the distance. Argonaut pitched a 3D game starring Yoshi to Nintendo even going so far as to mock up a prototype for it. However, Nintendo did not accept the pitch though, one Argonaut employee speculated that this was because the company did not want to let third-parties use its characters, which might have been the case but if it was then this is something that has clearly changed with Nintendo entrusting the likes of Retro with the Metroid series. Rather than accepting defeat though and simply putting there idea to bed Argonaut decided to retool the prototype turning it in to an original game, this game would go on to become Croc: Legend of the Gobbos.

Bad blood seems to have originated between Argonaut and Nintendo over two issues one was Nintendo's refusal to pick up the Yoshi pitch the other was the cancellation of the nearly completed Star Fox 2 which Argonaut had done a lot of work on and were apparently not paid a penny for. Members of Argonaut have claimed that the Yoshi Game prototype influenced Super Mario 64, with claims that Shigeru Miyamoto actually made some form of apology for ripping there idea off, add to this that it has been claimed a bunch of StarFox 2's ideas and even code were implemented in future Nintendo games both StarFox and none StarFox related all without any acknowledgement or payment. Lets just put it this way if even a fraction of this is true Nintendo were basically being dicks, lets remember at this time they had agreed to do business with Sony to then back stab them and run to Philips which I think kind of does make this all sound believable. I think this whole situation is a real shame as I think together they could have done so much more.

OK so I would have to give Stunt Race FX 8 out of 10, yes it is not without its faults, I would have liked to have seen a sequel which addressed some of these but alas it was not to be. The game has its limitations but it is a darn fun game full of charm and this would make me strongly recommend it. One of the best things about it if you own an actual SNES is that if you want to get yourself a copy of the game then it doesn't actually cost very much at all, if you look around you can get Cart only copies for prices starting around £6, heck sometimes you can even find a complete copy for around £15, and the truth is usually games this cheap on the Super Nintendo now days tend to be ones that are either sports titles or just general piss poor. Now I also have to admit that it is good to have a game like this to get my teeth into as yes the SNES has a large library of games but not all of them have stories or facts around them which are worthy of conveying, trying to review a large library of SNES games can be a very hard task especially when there is so little to say about some games and this has really been one of the factors which has held me back in my challenge to review 150 games, lets hope that I can find a few more like this to give me the strength to carry on.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Wrestling: It has been announced that Kurt Angle is being inducted in to the WWE Hall Of Fame:

It has been announced that Kurt (Steven) Angle will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame (2017) during the WrestleMania 33 weekend. Now I have to admit that I am utterly thrilled about this. Kurt Angle is one of my favourite wrestlers of all time, in fact I would go so far as to say he is my favourite singles wrestler ever. I remember watching him through the years, I remember watching his first few matches I remember watching his awesome match against Shane McMann, I remember watching his brilliant angles with Brock Lesnar, in fact whenever people try and tell me Lesnar can not wrestle I tell them to look up the matches between him and Angle they are absolute spectacles. I even watched TNA just to see Angle (I admit once Angle drew me to it there were other individuals I enjoyed but without Angle I wouldn't have even given it a moments notice).

Before Angle joined the WWE (at the time WWF) he had already made a very big name for himself he was a two time National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, then he won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 1995 World Wrestling Championships followed by winning a freestyle wrestling gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Angle is one of only four people to complete what is called an amateur wrestling Grand Slam (junior nationals, NCAA, World Championships, Olympics). You may wonder why I am mentioning all of this when I am talking about him being inducted into the hall of fame for an entertainment based wrestling company but the truth is that his background is very important, it formed a large part of the basis of the various characters he portrayed over the years in WWF/WWE. I know someone will question my use of the term characters and claim that Kurt Angle was always just Kurt Angle but its far more complex than that and to say Kurt was only ever Kurt would be selling him and his contribution to the company short. Let me explain myself, during his time with the WWE Angle was so many different things, he was a hero, a villain, a serious wrestler, an overgrown naive man child. The man has worked as a face and as a heel and has done well as both, he has dealt with serious and silly story lines. It was pretty obvious from his back ground that he would be a good technical wrestler and it would have been very easy for him to have a decent career based purely on this fact but he actually proved himself to be good on the microphone, to be able to act and to be able to sell moves both in the sense of making his moves look painful without needlessly injuring others but also while being able to make other wrestlers moves look like they are effective.

Now days Brock Lesnar lends the WWE some level of credibility, when people start all of this ''oh the WWE is fake its all guys pretending to slap each other'' people look at Brock and see him as legitimately scary they see his background, they know he has actually competed in the UFC and they kind of stop and go ''oh well I guess some wrestlers are legitimate tough guys and athletes'' and in a way this seems to raise the actual stakes of the company and with Angle having been a legitimate Olympic wrestler this is exactly the kind of thing his name and presence did as well after all he had competed at the Olympics and own gold with a freaking broken neck that's not something anyone with half a brain can say is not incredibly impressive.

This is not the first honour to be bestowed upon Kurt Angle as in 2006 he was named by USA Wrestling as ''the greatest shoot wrestler ever'' and ''one of the top 15 college wrestlers of all time''. He was inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 for his amateur accomplishments (and he is also in the TNA hall of fame but I am sure the WWE would like everyone to forget that little nugget of information). Add the Olympic gold to this and he is pretty much one of a kind when it comes to legitimate shoot wrestlers who have gone on to make it in the world of professional wrestling, this is why I think it is more than time for him to be put in the WWE hall of fame, in fact I would argue putting Angle in does more for the WWE by making there hall of fame look more legitimate than it does for Angle himself as an individual.

A far as the WWE(WWF) goes well Angle made his official debut in November of 1999 and received his first major push in the company in the following February. Now I don't want to do a play by play of the man's whole career but I do want to briefly talk about the start of his time in the WWE as I think it shows just how much and how quickly he understood the business.

Angle made his televised WWF in-ring debut on November 14th at the 1999 Survivor Series at the defeating Shawn Stasiak In his initial push, he remained undefeated for several weeks, before losing to the debuting Tazz. Angle's character at this point was "American hero" gimmick based on his gold medal win at the 1996 Summer Olympics. In his promos, Angle presented himself as a role model and stressed the need to work hard to realize one's dreams, stressing what he called the 3 I's, "Intensity, Integrity, and Intelligence". In his promos and ring entrances, Angle was always seen with his Olympic medals (actually replica's of them to be precise). Despite Angle being legitimately good and essentially pushing good values and morals he was being booed. The way he had been billed as the first 'real athlete' in the WWF, seemed to really piss people off and Angle expertly played this, instead of getting disheartened that he was being seen as a sort of baddy and getting heat he played to this, he realised something which is key to the world of professional wrestling any loud and passionate reaction from the crowd is a success, if they turn up and pay big money to see you every night it doesn't matter if they are paying to scream that they love you or that they hate you, your getting a powerful emotional reaction from them and your doing a good job.

Angle had a great many amazing matches and moments and I could talk about them all day but I think for now I will leave this with a list of his on paper accomplishments within the WWF/E (I could of course go in to what he has done elsewhere but that is another story).

  • World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • WCW Championship (1 time)
  • WCW United States Championship (1 time)
  • WWF/E Championship (4 times)
  • WWF European Championship (1 time)
  • WWF Hardcore Championship (1 time)
  • WWF Intercontinental Championship (1 time)
  • WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Chris Benoit
  • King of the Ring (2000)

Thursday, 19 January 2017

My recently completed Games

I used to do a post about what Games I had completed that month, some months I would just have finished a short indy game, sometimes I would have finished a full sized game and heck sometimes I would have finished a handful but then I found there were a few months when I didn't finish anything new at all. In some cases I had spent my time playing games that didn't actually have an end, or I had played and finished a game I had already finished so didn't have a lot to talk about (I finished Xcom on every system it was released for I loved it that much for example) and in some cases I just didn't finish anything. So am I brining this type of post back well the answer to that is a little complex, I am going to talk about a few things I have finished in the last month or two right now, but I have no solid plans to make this a regular feature, I just know that some months I watch a lot more films or I spend my time in other ways so I guess I intend to do this kind of thing whenever there are enough games I have completed that I want to talk about.

So what have I completed in the last 2 months, well I finished Halo 5, the first chapter of the Walking Dead Michone (on Xbox One), Steam World Dig (on 3DS), Pokemon Sun (on 3DS) and Angry Birds Star Wars 2 (on my windows phone). So already its a bit of a strange mix of games.

So I am going to talk about why I played these games, what drove me to finish them and what I think of them. Well I guess I will start with Angry Birds Star Wars 2. I think most people will have played some form of Angry Birds and the truth is whether it is the original or one of the Star Wars ones they are basically the same game. Its lots of little levels that you can finish in under a minute but yet the fact there is the chance to improve your score in each level sees you playing them more times than you probably realise you have. They have that quality where you always feel you could have made a better move and that if you have just one more go then you will do better. I know some people don't tend to consider mobile phone games like this really games they will say that they are simply time killers and yes I do agree there is some truth to this, I have mostly played this game while on buses or while I simply have a minute or too to kill but it is really nice to have something that doesn't need dedicated hours and hours of investment, something that you always have with you and can pick up or drop at a moments notice. Yes you can get simple time killing games on handheld consoles but there is the cost factor to consider. Mobile phone games frequently are either free or extremely cheap. I enjoyed this game so much that I ended up downloading regular old Angry Birds and Angry Birds Star Wars (the 1st one). I suppose I wanted to mention this as I wanted to make it clear that I am not snobbish about what counts as a game and if someone is a gamer or not. If you play Video Games on any platform be it Computer, Console, Tablet or Phone you are a gamer, if its an interactive form of entertainment something that requires the viewer to interact with it in one way or another then its a form of game.

I had began playing Halo 5 about a year before but had not really got that far into it, I guess I partly completed it as I noticed it was sat there filling up a massive 90gigs on my Xbox One hard drive and I wanted to install new things so I thought hey if I finish this I can delete it and clear up some space. I thought it was a pretty good game but it just didn't grab me, I tend to play Halo games like I play COD games a level at a time bit by bit. I really didn't seem to enjoy this Halo as much as some of the ones in the past, I think only two things really made me push to the end to finish it one was Nathan Fillion's character Buck, listening to his comments while playing really helps to liven up the dull bits, the other was the fact I had completed every game in the Halo series before this and I didn't want this to be the one that beat me whether it was from difficulty or disinterest. The fact that Master Chief (John 117) is not that interesting a character, the fact he is a bit of a blank slate doesn't help, it also doesn't help that the Halo series seems to feel very dragged out at times, with games seeming to present a story and then you reaching the end of one game for it to just kind of let things end in the middle of the story with no real satisfying conclusion. Yes I know that you do get multi part stories in both the world of games and films but there is a way to do it where an individual film or game feels like both a complete story and a part of a larger story and the story in Halo 5 just doesn't feel like this it feels like it should be called Halo 5 Part 1. Will I play Halo 6? I don't know I guess probably, in the hope that it is better but I certainly am not champing at the bit desperate for it.

Now Steam World Dig on the 3DS was something I enjoyed every single moment of. I had played it before but I had never finished it, it was on sale for something like £1.49 on the 3DS so I grabbed it, something I didnt realise was quiet how story driven it was. Its not a long game it took me about 5 and a half hours to finish it, I was kind of surprised it was as short as it is, it didn't particular feel like I was getting near to the end of it, I just suddenly found myself at the end of game boss and then it was done, I actually beat the boss on my second attempt and I hadn't upgraded my character as much as you can do. Steam World Dig has one of those sort of styles of play you see in Metroid and Castlevania games where your constantly finding and earning upgrades which will give you skills you didn't have before allowing you to access areas you previously couldn't. It might not be a long game but it is an absolute gem of a game and I think even at its full price it is a very worthy purchase, I certainly enjoyed it a million times more than I enjoyed Halo 5. I guess Halo 5 has more post game value what with the multiplayer but I don't really like playing many games online really especially not first person shooters as they just tend to be populated by screaming dick holes who ruin the fun for normal people.

So as for the first chapter of the Walking Dead Michone what can I say? Well the TellTale Walking Dead Games are award winning games and rightly so, they are excellent little slices of entertainment which always treat there source material with a lot of respect, if you have enjoyed other TellTale walking Dead games then you are bound to like this one but it doesn't actually bring anything new to the table, basically if your a big Walking Dead fan be it a fan of the comics, the show or the other games and you want more Walking Dead then you will like this. If you havent played one of the Walking Dead games and you are wondering if you would enjoy this well then basically all you need to ask yourself is do you like Horror, and Zombies and do you like point and click style games where you get to make decisions and then see the outcome of your choices unfold? If so then give this a bash it is a great little slice of entertainment. I do think though that if you have played a lot of them then the TellTale style of game is starting to get a little old and maybe something needs doing to freshen them up a little, I have played all of Walking Dead Season 1 and 2, The Wolf Among Us, Back to the Future and little bits of other ones and I am just starting to feel like I am a little worn out when it comes to this type of game, I purchased Michone episode 1, 2 and 3 in a bundle but I don't honestly feel like I am going to rush into starting the next one, I feel like I need a big long breather and to play some different sort of things, I wont be rushing to get the next Walking Dead that's for certain.

I am probably a little bit late to the table giving an opinion on the whole Pokemon Sun and Moon thing in honesty. I think if someone wants it they will probably already have it and will also probably have already completed it but it is worth talking about at least briefly. Now I was a bit taken back when I was told that there would not be any gyms in this game and in honesty I do miss them, but they have been replaced with Island Trials which tend to work a little differently, they are based on fighting wild Pokemon instead of going against a gym leader and it does tend to give the game a different kind of feel. I still think I prefer the old gym set up but its good to see that Nintendo are not afraid to try something new with an old favourite and I applaud them for it. I think the game provides a good solid story and I like the fact that the location it is set in is quiet different from the games before it but at the end of the day it still feels like your usual Pokemon game, its a good 35ish hour slice of light RPG fun and unlike some other games I have mentioned I couldn't put it down until I had seen the end. I didn't however care that much about after game stuff, it just didn't really make me feel the need or desire to complete my pokedex and grab every kind of monster you can get, I enjoyed it but I was happy to see it end and felt no need to try and extend my experience. I have in the past invested some crazy hours into Pokemon titles with dex filling and breading and making sure that I have completed every possible task in the game.

If I was going to reward one of these games and single it out as being the best of the games I have recently completed then I think it would be Steam World Dig, but maybe a lot of this is to due with over saturation when it comes to certain themes or genre's of game as much as it is to do with overall quality.

Monday, 16 January 2017

SNES Review 111: Super Street Fighter 2 The New Challengers

Well the last review I did was for Mortal Kombat 3 which was the third Mortal Kombat game on the SNES and today I am going to talk about another third fighting game from a series on the SNES , I am talking about Super Street Fighter 2 The New Challengers. Yes the first Street fighter on the SNES was Street fighter 2, the second was Street fighter 2 Turbo and this was the third, they wernt exactly totally new games they were like new enhanced versions. I am not the first one to mention this but back in the day we kind of came to believe that Street Fighter 3 would never happen, after all Capcom just seemed to keep making new version after new version of Street fighter 2 seemingly unable or unwilling to use the number 3, little did I know that years latter I would find myself in the same position with Street Fighter 4 seemingly getting version after version on the Xbox 360 and PS3.
I remember seeing the new characters and hearing about them long before I ever got to play the game the two that particularly excited my friends and me were Fei Long and Cammy, the truth was no one was particularly excited for T-Hawk as none of us tended to use the bigger slower guys and DeeJay just didn't seem appealing, all of us were interested in the introduction of a second female character especially because she would be an actual British character, finally we had a character who came from where we did. We also really liked the idea of pitting what was basically Bruce Lee in all but name against the fireball throwing likes of Ryu and Ken. In honesty once the game arrived I used T-Hawk very little although I did enjoy DeeJay as a character a lot more than I thought I would. We all wanted the same things from the new version and that was more more and even more. When Super Street Fighter 2 hit the arcades and we got to have a bash there was some sense of disappointment with the fact that it ran slower than Turbo and Hyper Fighting's top speeds on the SNES and Mega Drive and the SNES port also ends up not being as fast at its fastest speeds as those games but I don't see this as being an issue now at all, in honesty I think when Turbo and Hyper Fighting are ramped up to there top speeds they actually run so fast that some of the playability is lost and it becomes a bit of a mess, so this is not something that bothers me these days in the slightest. Some people debate the fact that Super Street Fighter 2 is slower on the SNES mentioning the fact that you can increase the speed and claiming its top speed is similar or equal to turbo and although yes you can change the speed and make it faster no it does not become as fast as turbo, if your after raw speed then this is not the Street Fighter 2 for you.
The main mode is your typical arcade mode just like the previous versions of Street Fighter II you pick your warrior and then go on to defeat twelve others in order to see your fighters ending. Now most of you reading this will have realised that I said defeat twelve others when there are sixteen fighters in the game, basically you don't fight every single character, you fight 8 different characters and then you fight the four bosses with Bison being the last one as per usual. Your fights are also broken up with bonus stages you know the one where you get to smash up some poor dudes car (and others) what with the vehicle destruction in both the Street Fighter games and Final Fight I think Capcom really likes giving you the chance to punch auto-mobiles. Along with the four new characters came four new stages one for each of their home countries, this wasnt all though the older characters weren't just left as they were, nope many of them received new moves, new animations and balance related tweaks, the graphics also seem a little brighter and crisper in my honest opinion.

OK so I gave world Warrior 8 out of 10 and then I Gave Turbo 8.5 out of 10 and as I have already said I see The New Challengers as an even better game or at least version of a game so I guess I have backed myself into the corner of giving this game a 9 out of 10. In all honesty this is just about as fine a fighting game as you could get on the SNES hardware, should you buy it though? Well that all depends how much you want to spend, it is on the Virtual Console for around £8 so that is an option, if you want an actual cart though so you can play it on its original hardware then your looking at paying around £30 for a European Cart, if you can play imports you might be able to find a Japanese copy for around £10 to £15 which is what I own. In comparison I recently grabbed Street Fighter 5 for £15, so it all depends on if your wanting to collect it as a retro game or just play some Street Fighter.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

My Personal Thoughts on the Nintendo Switch 2017 Presentation and if I will or wont get a Switch at release.

So I kind of rocked backwards and forwards unable to decide if I was going to write a post about this or not so that kind of explains why this is a little late compared to other peoples but as the Nintendo Switch Presentation has come and gone and I have now watched it (not live it was at like 4 in the morning and I couldnt be botherd to get up that early). I guess this is a quick what did we learn and how do I feel about it piece. It is proberbly important to note that I have had a little time to chew things over, I have read other peoples oppinions and will have took a few of these on board some proberbly mellowing my oppinion and some getting me even more grouchy about certain issues. One of the reasons I didnt know if I should do this or not is because whenever I give an oppinion that is not 100% Nintendo positive to the point of propoganda I seem to get a lot of hate directed at me, and well I am always going to tell the truth as I see it.

The launch date was announced as March the 3rd 2017 this was done nice and early during the presentation, which is good because its one of the things people are obviously the most keen to know, I would say the second most important thing people wanted to know was its price and Nintendo supplied this as well. There had alwready been a lot of speculation about the price with various websites offering place holder prices and one particular sight GameSeek offering preorders for £199.99. Well it turns out that its UK price is going to be the much higher £279.99 although for anyone lucky enough to have preorderd one from GameSeek they have agreed to honour the preorders at the price they originally stated. So what do I think of this price? Well considering its £279.99 without a game and it looks like the RRP of a lot of games is currently around the £60 mark with some being available to preorder from certain sights for about £40 I think its kind of expensive, lets make this clear if you pay RRP for the machine and then manage to get a game for £40 thats still basically £320 for the machine as well a console is useless without at least one game to play on it, I would have been much happier if they had even made some limited game as a pack in title just so you could see the machine run and mess around with it a little and then pay for an actual title a week or two latter. Some of this is just the typical technology tends to cost more in the UK crap as the Switch is going to be $300 in America which if you do the maths is actually a heap tonne more reasonable.

I will admit that I dont think I am going to buy a Switch on release and this is coming from a guy who had a GameCube days after release, a Wii the night it came out (I cued for it) and a Wii U reasonably quickly too, in honesty the price is just a bit more than I wanted to pay. I had saved up enough to get one (I saved about £350 in total) and I had kind of flip flopped from a strong Yes to a no, to a maybe and backwardss and forwards but I seem to have finally rested on not now. I have a Xbox One, a PS4 and a Wii U and I have titles for all of them that I have either not played or just barely dipped into ,I am not in need of a new machine really and the price point simply is not good enough to tempt me to be stupid and buy something I dont need just because it would be darn cool, a price point of £200 for a stand alone machine or £240 with a game proberbly would have been enough to do this in fact if it was £200 and the games were £40 I would proberbly have grabbed a machine and two games on launch. I guess most people will have a price in there head that they were ready for and if it meets yours great but it didnt meet mine, and bluntly if you didnt have a price in mind and would have paid anything for it then wow your crazy.

A lot of people have been arguing that the Switch looks under powered whilst others have been defending it by saying that we havent seen the specs yet, but lets face it we have seen the graphics and as nice as they are from the way they look and the type of titles we are being shown I have to say we are proberbly looking at specs that are either around the level of or even a little lower than the PS4 and Xbox One, now specs are not everything admitidly but when you could grab a second hand Xbox One and some of its greatest hits that have been released in the last few years for less than a Switch with nothing well it kind of makes you stop and consider what your best course of action is.

Lets look at this at the most basic level and I wont cheat by picking a second hand console or an old inferior model or even second hand games but lets look at what £279.99 can get you, it can get you a Switch with nothing to play on it or you could get a Xbox One S brand new from amazon with Minecraft for £214, a copy of Rare Replay for £13.45 (a collection of some of the best work of a brilliant developer) Forza Horizon 3 for 24.99 (One of the most highly rated driving games released in recent years) and Skyrim Special Edition for £27, I added this one both because it is a fantastic game but also because people seem to be pretty darn excited that despite being quite old now that it is heading to the Switch, oh and you have 55pence left over for some sweets. I am not saying this trying to stop anyone from getting a Switch as it is up to all of us as indivudals to decide if we are excited enough for it and can afford it and if it is the thing we really want to spend our money on, in fact I am confident I will own it one day just not at release or in the imediate future.

So why dont I comment a little bit on the games now and my thoughts on them. Well lets start with 1 2 Switch. Well it looks like 1 2 is bacsically to the Switch what Wii Sports and Nintendo Land were to the Wii and Wii U respective. 1 2 Switch is basically one of those games which kind of demonstrates tha hardware and the abilities of your principle control method in this case the Joy-Con controller(s). In honesty it didn't really make me stand up and pay attention when I watched the presentation and I really dont see it as being worth the amount that it looks like they will be selling it for, it feels much more like it should have just be something thrown in with the console as a sort of demonstration piece. Wii Sports I spent ages on and really did seem to see as a game in its own right where as Nintendo land I soon grew bored of and just saw as a minor distraction and 1 2 Switch lookss like it would fall in to the latter category obviously this is just a speculative oppinion based on a quick bit of footage of it pre-release so it could end up suprising me when I finally play it, I dont want to pretend I am capable of reviewing things that have yet to be released so it needs to be noted this is all just pure speculation.

As for Splatoon 2, yeah it looks like more of the same but that is in no way a bad thing, it was great to see Nintendo unleash a new IP on us with Splatoon and its great to see it continue with new weapons and added moves, I think at its very worst this is just going to be more of the same great game and I dont think thats a bad thing at all, I am glad to see that it is an actual sequel and that there not just re-releasing the Wii U one on the Switch going well no one had a Wii U hardly so its proberbly new to lots of people anyways right? Which is pretty much exactly what they are doing with Mario Kart basically releasing the Wii U one again but with all its DLC included, yeah this is not something I really appreciate but I suppose I can see why they are doing it. With the way they seemed to have half heartidly given up on the Wii U in the middle of its life one of the things us Wii U owners kind of consolidated ourselves with was that we had enjoyed some great games along the way and everyone else was mising out and that one day everyone would want to play these games and so would have to track down Wii U's and well now it just sort of leaves some of us asking the question why did I bother with the Wii U it wasnt that well supported and everyone is going to get its best bits on the new machine anyways.

I could go on to discuss other games but I have hit the nail on the head in one way, we have all seen how quick Nintendo will shrug and let a console fail some of us have seen this with the Cube and the Wii U and it cant help but make you look at this console with a sense of trepedation. Sure Nintendo are blowing there own horn about how strong Third party support will be but they have done this in the past for it to then just dry up quickly, it seems this had been one of Nintendo's biggest problems since the N64 days and it hasnt really gotten any better. If you are going to get a Switch it has to be on the strength of the first party Nintendo games which are often some of the very best games made, but unfortunatly there are seldom enough of them to sustain a serious gamer leaving Nintendo machines in a state were they are best purchased as extra consoles and not primay ones.

Yes I havent mentioned Zelda but lets face it that is coming to the Wii U as well and if history has taught us anything with Zelda games released on 2 machines they are always more or less the same and the one for the older machine is the one that becomes a collectors item.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Philosophical: Moral Panics and dealing with change.

OK so I have touched on the subject of Moral Panics many times in the past, I have discussed things such as the ''Video Nasties'' the Horror comics of the 1950's, Violent Video games but its a subject I feel I just have to keep returning to, why? Basically because I think it is an important topic one which needs to be discussed for multiple reasons a number of which I hope will become clear by the end of this post.
OK so what is a Moral panic? Well I will offer up the following Quote/Definition for clarification ''A moral panic is a widespread fear, a fear which is most often an irrational fear, a fear that someone or something is a threat to the core values, the safety, and the interests of a particular group of people, a community, or even wide spread society in general.''

To talk about moral panics it is probably best to start of by talking about the man who is credited with both coming up with the phrase ''Moral Panic'' and with the development of the sociological concept, this man was called Stanley Cohen. Stanley Cohen was a South African Sociologist who was born in 1942 and died in 2013. Cohen introduced the social theory of moral panic in his book Folk Devils and Moral Panics which was published in 1972.

In this book, Cohen detailed his study of the public reaction in England to fights between the "mod" and "rocker" youth subcultures of the 1960s and '70s. It was through studying these youths and the media and the public's reaction to them that Cohen developed a theory of moral panic that outlines five stages of the process.

  1. Something or someone is perceived and defined as a threat to the social norms and the interests of the community or society at large.
  1. News media and members of the community/society then depict the threat in simplistic symbolic ways that quickly become recognizable to the greater public.
  2. Widespread public concern is aroused by the way news media portrays the symbolic representation of the threat.
  3. Authorities and policy makers respond to the threat, be it real or perceived, with new laws and/or policies.
  4. The moral panic and actions by those in power that follows it results in social change within the community.

Cohen also suggested that there are five key sets of actors involved in the process of moral panic. They are:
  1. The threat that incites the moral panic, which Cohen referred to as "folk devils";
  2. Enforcers of rules or laws, like institutional authority figures, police, or armed forces;
  3. The news media, which breaks the news about the threat and continues to report on it, thereby setting the agenda for how it is discussed, and attaching visual symbolic images to it;
  4. Politicians, who respond to the threat, and sometimes fan the flames of the panic;
  5. And the public, who develop focused concern about the threat and demand action in response to it.

The truth was that Cohen found that rather minor fights between groups of Mods and Rockers in beachside resorts were highly sensationalised by the media they were blown out of all proportion. One headline was “Wild ones invade seaside town – 97 arrests”. In this case the real truth of the matter was that there was not 97 arrests the number had been highly exaggerated there were in fact only 24 arrests, which when you do the maths it means that the media had in fact decided to make out 4 times as many people had arrested. Cohen found that this media reporting in fact led to increased policing which actually intensified the problem.

So why is this being brought up on a blog that's about gaming, horror films and other geeky pursuits you might ask well that's simple. The first proper research in moral panics might be the above case, at the very least its the first known research where this term and concept is used however when you look at things both before and after this point it is easy to see lots of examples of moral panics.

I have seen people argue that the concept of Moral panic goes back as far as World War One when the British wartime government used the media to portray the Germans in a certain manner in the hope of provoking a response from them, however I think you can go even further back than that, it all depends on how you view this. Think of the Salem Witch Trials for example and I would argue that there is an element of Moral Panic there.

Some people perceived certain women as a threat to social norms because of either certain practices they engaged in or in some cases just how they looked, these individuals were the folk-devil's, a panic was stirred up by those with power or social influence and if you think about it from that point and follow the steps you will see how it could be seen to fit all of the patterns of a moral panic (yes there was no media in the way we think of it today but there were town meetings and councils and gossip etcetera).

Historically society looks for things to blame and there are those who resist change and/or anything which is out of there comfort zone or anything which they choose to see as wrong. If like me you are a geek and you enjoy video games, or horror films or even comic books then it is important to realise that all of these areas of interest have been targeted by moral panics.

As a child born in the 80's I have lived through a fair few moral panic's in some cases I was aware of them in other cases not so much. In the 1980’s a moral panic was created in the media over HIV/AIDS. I was too young to really understand this, my basic memory of it is school pushing sex education right down our throats, they seemed very keen to push a massive fear of aids into all of us, to scare us into using condoms or even avoiding sex altogether now being scared in to remembering that sex can be risky and that sexually transmitted diseases exist might not be the worst thing to happen but then I also remember some media outlets nicknaming HIV/AIDS the ‘gay plague’ stigmatising a specific section of the population as being the primary cause and carriers and to put it mildly this was not cool in the slightest, anything which leads to one group of people unjustly being looked down on is simply wrong and should not be accepted in a civilised society.
The irony was that the next major examples of Moral Panic I can think of are the video nasties panic and the violent video games panic, in both of these cases it was suggested that young impressionable minds might be corrupted by them witnessing blood and violent acts in various forms of media, that these images might somehow blacken our hearts and cause us to become monsters.... this was suggested by the very same media which had effectively tried to make us hate a whole group in society based on there sexual preferences.

This is the point where this whole post should begin to make some sense. I have raised the point of moral panic's because I think people need to stop and think about what is written in the media, who is writing the things that you read, why are they writing them, who do they work for and what is there agenda both as an individual and as an employee?

The world around us is in a constant state of change and some people are better equipped to deal with that, some people embrace new ways of thinking and new challenges, other people feel that the world is slipping away from them that it is becoming less there world, less the world they grew up , less the world they feel safe in and to this end they will try to do anything they can to try to halt progress to try and keep a hold of what they know, but in truth you cant do this if you try then it will just slip through your hands like grains of sand. I hope this has given you something to think about dear reader.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

SNES Review 110: Mortal Kombat 3

Now lets be honest Mortal Kombat had been a very popular game and all of the fuss its blood and gore caused basically just made it be seen as even cooler and more desirable. So it wasn't surprising that there was a Mortal Kombat II or that a third one was announced. I can remember when I first heard there would be a third Mortal Kombat and boy was I excited, Mortal Kombat 2 felt like a giant leap from the first game and all I couldnt help but get excited at the prospect of a third game I just thought what if the third entry is as big a leap from the second as the second was from the first.

Well Mortal Kombat 3 came to the arcades in 1995 both developed and published by Midway Games it was converted to the snes by Sculptured software (who would be latter renamed Iguana West and then Acclaim Studios Salt Lake City before finally closing in December 2002). I will say before continuing that Sculptured Software did a great conversion much like with Mortal Kombat 2 the blood from the arcade version and all of the gory finishers made it across fully intact and any faults with this game are pretty much faults with the game itself and not this conversion.

So the first thing most people ask about sequels and this is especially true of fighting games is so what new things does this one bring to the table? Well with Mortal Kombat 3 the first thing I noticed was that there was a "Run" button, which comes with a"Run" meter. You can only run forwards but it allows you to close the distance between you and your opponent quickly and I find that it helps when you have a character who is better at close combat. Apparently this was introduced to the game due to fans who had felt that the Mortal Kombat games always seemed to favour those who played more defensively. Mortal Kombat had never really seemed to pay much attention to the idea of combo's sure you could string a few small pieces together or juggle a little bit but now there were what were called "Chain combos",sequences of moves that cannot be interrupted once one hit connects; some of which end with an uppercut or other move that knocks the opponent into the air, so you can add your own juggle on to the end of this. This feels to me like it was an effort to move beyond the initial Mortal Kombat shock and awe sell it with the blood and an attempt to try to give the series a bit more depth, to try and help it compete with the Street Fighter games on a technical level.

There were a lot of other things added. There was the idea of the fight being able to break out of its initial arena. In certain levels if you uppercut your enemy or he uppercuts you through the ceiling then you are both taken to a new area where the fight will continue, its a nice touch.

Lots more ways of finishing matches were added not only were there new Fatalities,new Friendship moves and the return of babealities but there was also the introduction of Animalities, where the character transforms into an animal in order to kill their opponent, as well as some new Stage based Fatalities. Some of these things are gruesome, some are just plain funny but they all feel like they belong in the game (I am not one of those people who wants Mortal Kombat to be a purely serious blood bath, I think you need humour in it to balance it out).

I know that in general one-on-one beat-em'up's dont really need the best stories, after all your just looking for a reason for people to be punching other people in the face, thats why so many of them are based upon fighting tournaments, now the original mortal kombat was based on this with a little more added basically the idea that the fate of the world was dependent upon who won this tournament. Mortal Kombat 3 decideds to overly complicate this though, the plot goes a little something like this Shao Kahn frustrated at the continuing failure of his minions to win dominion over Earthrealm either through the tournament or otherwise decides that he needs a new plan,

Shao Kahn decides to send Shang Tsung and his Shadow Priests to Earthrealm to resurrect Sindel his wife who died thousands of years ago, because he will then be able to stroll into the Earthrealm and reclaim his bride as his own, somehow doing this will cause Earthrealm and Outworld to begin to merge, this merger will cause billions of humans to drop dead and loose there souls and will allow Kahn to pretty much do whatever the hell he wants including sending his soldiers to kill any remaining humans and well just generally taking over the earth. Clearly he never cared about his wife and was quite happy to be rid of her, maybe she was always nagging at him and asking him to take out the trash or take his shoes off when he came home, or take his helmet off indoors as its only now he has realised her rebirth will create this situation that he seems to remember he once had a wife. It all sounds like a convoluted B movie plot and is kind of to much as far as reasons go for one character to punch person after person.

Graphics wise I cant really complain about the game its pretty good overall sure the sprites have been shrunk a bit in the port and lost a little bit of clarity but considering the power difference between the arcade hardware and the SNES this is very understandable and at the time of its release the graphics here were very impressive in my opinion, I still think Mortal Kombat II looked a little better though, but still nothing here gets in the way of the playability. The sound is also nice and solid the music is good and the sound effects such as the punch and kick sounds have a nice solid quality to them. The game handles very well and its just as fun to play with a Super NES controller as it was in the arcade.

My main issues with this game are sort of a mix of the tangible and intangible. On the one hand I find the character selection to be kind of questionable. There are a number of brand new warriors that have been brought into the game, and I personally like the cyborgs Cyrax, and Sektor they are definitely a welcome addition, but I have to admit that I miss some of the fighters who have not been brought back this time the prime example being Scorpion, there are after all some rather bland new fighters who take up space I would have rather seen being filled by a classic. The other issue is that this game just doesn't feel as good as Mortal Kombat 2 and as this is a feeling there is no real way I can explain it, maybe its just don't to the fact I feel a lot more nostalgia when it comes to number 2, it was at a point when the series felt like it was at its prime and it felt a lot better than much of what was out at the time, by the time the third game came out lots of other fighting game series had either got a good start or kicked it up a gear, after all the PlayStation was out at this time so we had been introduced to the likes of Tekken and Battle Arena Toshinda etcetera.

I ended my review of Mortal Kombat 2 by concluding that I would give it 8 out of 10 an that if you caught me in the right mood then I might go as high as a 9, unfortunately I wont be going that high this time in fact I feel that despite this game technically having more it kind of feels like a step backwards like a worse offering and so I would have to give this game a 7. No its not a bad game I would recommend trying to get a hold of the second one instead myself and to be fair when I reviewed the second one I did recommend that if you had a Xbox 360, a PS3 or a Decent PC that you looked at downloading the Mortal Kombat arcade collection as it has the first 3 games on it, and not ports actual arcade perfect versions and this is still true. I also went on to mention that there was a modern Mortal Kombat game, will since that review there has been a sequel game and then it has had a special edition with lots of extras, this special Edition is called Mortal Kombat XL and I would strongly recommend it. It has a lot of characters, a whole heap of finishing moves and some very interesting special guest characters, there is Leather Face from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the Xenomorph from Alien, the Predator from Predator and its just a darn good game that you can now get for under £20 new if you look around. It is hard to recommend an old loose cart of MK3 when you could use your money for this instead. If however you simply need a cart of MK3 for your snes how much are you looking at? Well for a loose cart your looking around the £15 to £20 mark, its worth noting that when you look up MK3 you will see a regular and Ultimate Version, it is the regular I have reviewed as that is what I own, the ultimate version was a latter release with more characters and often goes for more money it has added characters and such, this is not something I will ever actively be searching for so it is highly unlikely I will ever provide a review of it. (If I ever saw one for a few pounds id grab it but its not something I am looking for cheap or that I am willing to pay the going rate for).

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Philosophical: The Quest for Self Relevence.

So lets get philosophical for a moment here, I was watching Boston Legal, the very first episode of it to be precise and there was a speach by William Shatners Character Denny Crane about there being a point in a mans life where he starts to be a little less who he was, where he starts to feel like he might be irrelevant and so he searches for anything to make him feel relevant again to prove that he still has it. I recently finished William Shatners Autobiography ''Up Till Now'' and in it he talked about how he could relate to the character of Denny Crane after all he had been William Shatner the actor who was loved and celebrated as Captain James T Kirk one of the greatest science fiction heroes of all time and after this he went through a period where he did lots of little projects diffrent bits and pieces and some people started to use terms like ''has-been'' and to claim that he had become a sort of parody of himself that he had become somehow less. Now I need to make it very very clear here that I absolutly adore William Shatner I dont think he ever diminished I think his star has only glowed brighter and brighter with time in fact I see his work as Denny Crane to be some of the best of his career.I do think that there is something to this quest for relevance though.

The thing is I dont think the quest for relevance is something that starts when your older I think its something which is always there it just becomes more central at times, seems somehow more important. When I was younger back at university I got apart time job, now I did get a certain sense of who I was from being a uni student but at this job I set my sights on the role of supervisor because something in me told me that if I got that role it would make me someone. I got the role about a year after I had been there so I was at Uni and I was a supervisor at work and I was around 20ish. I finished my degree and was a graduate but I never pressed this fact with work, I did think about using my qualification to look for something else but decided that manager was just a push away from me, I figured if I could get the manager job without using my degree then I would have proved I could make it twice once through education and once just through pure hardwork. It was a bout a year latter and i was a manager, then I should have left but I kept pushing up the ranks becoming a higher graded manager and then deputy manager of the whole work place, then I found myself being sent to run other branches for the short term when there were isues eceetera and then I was on the verge of being given my own branch to run, then I got ill, I got ill and I had to give up my job to concentrate on getting better.

When I left work I left my title behind I stoped being Deputy Manager Kerr and simply became Kerr or in a way as I saw it more as unemployed ill waste of space Kerr. You see I had allowed so much off my sense of identity to become linked to the role I had taken on, I had focused so much of my sense of pride and self worth on this job title. I had given this company my everything, I had worked myself sick and endured more than I care to currently talk about but what had I actually gained from it? Well with each promotion there had been a pay rise, but there had also been a massive rise in responsability, a rise in preasure and a rise in expectations. The diffrence from assistant to supervisor had been a 20 pence pay rise, a badge that said supervisor and a tiny bit more respect on the one side with roughly twice the pressure, twice the work load and twice the expectation on the other. If the safe was down money it was now my fault, if a sales assistant cocked up it was now somehow my fault, if something broke down I had to find a way to fix it, and the list goes on and on.

Am I saying dont progress at work? I guess I am saying think long and hard about why you want to progress, think not only about what you are gaining but also about what you are loosing. Remember though that you are not your job title, you can trick yourself in to feeling that the label you wear at work gives you real life relevance that it makes you something but you are at the end of the day only what lays under that uniform, and what is more if you decide to give your life worth based only on one thing such as your job or your part in a relationship or status as a university student or any other single thing then you run the risk of falling to pieces if you loose this one single thing that you have determined makes you who you are, that makes you worthwhile.

As a student of Psychology let me offer this advice, the human personality is a huge and complex thing, there are so many reasons for each and every one of us being the person we are and if you try to simplify who you are, to crush it down to nothing more than a small label then you cheapen it and you cheapen youself. If you want to know what makes you relevant its not your job or your house or your money its whats in your brain and what is in your heart. You dont need a label to have worth, you dont need a shiny badge to have respect you simply need to be yourself. The people in my life who I respect both at work and socially I respect or dont respect because of the way they are, give them a badge or take one away from them and it wont change my thoughts or feelings about them in the slightest if I thought they were great to start with I will still think they are great, if I thought they were a prick then I am still going to think they are one.

So who am I, I am Kerr the father, Kerr the son, Kerr the boyfriend, Kerr the writer, Kerr the Survivor, I am smart, funny, silly, loving, kind, insightful, a little bit crazy and a lot complex. Every single person is a list like this in fact there a much longer list a list far to long to ever truly read or write and this is worth so much more and so more important than anything that can be pinned on a uniform or written in a simple summary. Hold on to what makes you who you are, value yourself on every single part of who you are and value those around you in the same way.

I could end with some huge quote from a philosopher like Aristotle or Plato, or I could even quote the famous song lyrics and  make refrence to ''I did it my way'' but in truth I think the whole point of this is better summed up by a quote from the fictional charater “Bill” S. Preston, Esq. (From Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure)

“Be excellent to each other.”

Thursday, 5 January 2017

SNES review 109: Wings 2/Blazing SKies

So the title I am going to talk about today is actually a game I accidently purchased twice, how do you accidentally buy a game twice well in this case it has something to do with the fact that it has a diffrent title in each of the 3 regions 1 of which essentially makes it a sequel to an Amiga game. In Japan the game is called Sky Mission, in Europe it is called Blazing Skies and it is in America where it has sequel status and is calledWings 2: Aces High. For the purpose of this review I have been playing the two versions I own the European and the American.

Now the first thing that attracted me to this game was the fact it involved planes, there have been some flying games I have absolutly adored but in both cases when I decided to buy it there was really 2 main factors one was the low price and the other was that it had the Namco brand on it.I have said before that you just have to see certain video game companies logos and you automatically feel safe in buying one of there products and I find that this is usually true with Namco, there is a big issue here though Namco didnt make the game they simply published it, it was made by a Studio called Malibu Interactive who have a far worse pedegree than Namco, in fact I can only think of about 2 of there titles that I actually enjoy one of them being Ex-Mutants on the MegaDrive. I guess this is an example of how having the right publisher can help a title because if I had realised this game was by them I would have been far slower in reaching for my wallet. I am not even sure of how this became a sequel to Wings as that was both made and publised by Cinemaware although I believe by the time Wings 2 was released they had gone bankrupt so maybe the rights were brought up or something, either way its not really anything to do with it and is pretty much just a game about the same sort of thing which is a sequel in name alone.

So as far as the story goes all you need to know is that its set during World War I and basically your overall mission is to destroy Kaiser Wilhelm II's factories, out fly his best pilots and generally do your best to put a significant dent in his war efforts. As the game is set during World War I, you'll be using biplanes from that era and there limitations are pretty much stuck to, there are no lock on missiles or fling like a nut with no fear of stalling here and there is no radar system, sure this makes it close to the truth of what it would have been like but in some cases it doesn't make for the best of games.

This game has three different kinds of missions. There are the dogfighting ones basically plane against plane in the sky try to knock as many of them out while trying to survive yourself. These missions become harder and harder as the enemy AI/Pilots improve as the game progresses. You will really have a tough time on your hands moving all over the place trying to outmanoeuvre the enemy Since your flying a WW1 era biplane you can only shoot at enemies that are directly in front of you and some of them can be pretty darn tricky when it comes to getting them to stay still long enough for you to get enough shots of to down them.

Then there are bombing missions, in these you fly far overhead an area and you drop bombs on strategic military sites while watching out for anti-aircraft attacks coming from soldiers on the ground. You get shown a photograph of the target before the mission so you know what and where you are bombing but there is one important thing to remember and that is that you can not physically turn your plane around during these missions so if you miss something then you've missed it.

There are also what the game refers to as "strafing runs". In these you fly your plane at a low altitude and you have to wipe out targets that are described during the mission briefing. This doesn't sound so tough but you seem to fly like a bat out of hell so its very easy to miss lots of things and fail the mission.

Now I guess it sounds all nice and varied but in truth it just doesn't feel right, it feels boring, the graphics do the job but don't really do anything to excite you and there is no effort through the music or sound effects to really grab a hold of you, the controls work but also it all just feels kind of clinical and laboured, the dog fighting seems to play out kind of slowly, even the worst of enemies seem to be to good at avoiding you and it takes an age to just shoot down what you need to finish the stages even near the beginning of the game, this game commits the cardinal sin of gaming in that it simply is not fun. I found myself wanting to put this game down almost straight away, in fact I wanted to go back to one of the flying stages from Empire Strikes back and just play that a few times instead as that seemed to capture the thrill of dog fighting in a way this game didn't even come close to. You might think that I am just being a bit of a dick and simply prefer Sci Fi, well I am a huge fan of a lot of science fiction things but I have enjoyed other games involving old fashioned planes, heck Pilot wings was one of my favourite SNES games, I adored the plane flying in that.

I cant remember what I paid for my English copy of this game but I know I got the American one for £5 or less and in all fairness I think that's the kind of price it needs to be, its simply not fun or particularly interesting past the oh look there is a game I haven't played before buzz you will initially get when you see/try it. If you want it then remember I would only give it about 3 out of 10 and think your cash would be much better spent on well most other things... Online you can find pal cartridge only copies of this for about £7 but frankly I think that's to expensive for this game.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

My opinion on Call Of Duty Titles in general

 So I was working on another SNES review and I took a break to read a friends blog, its another blog about games one I would highly recomend its DS90Gamer's blog the link can be found in my list of blogs and sites I recomend. Still I digress, I noticed that in his introductionary panel he states that if you are looking for views on Call Of Duty ecetera then his blog is proberbly not for you, well I thought some people might be intrested in my views on that series so here goes. (Yes I realise I talked about the No Russian level once a long long time ago).

I will start by saying that I have played every single Call of Duty going so this can be considerd a somewhat measured oppinion, there are a few things I should make clear though, one is that I dont tend to play them much in multiplayer the main reason for this is the fact that they just seem to attract such hollering dick bags. I have no desire to hear a shrill 12 year old from America scream about how he shagged someones mum last night while spouting more profanity than the saltiest of sailors and no I am not a prude I swear at times, I tell rude jokes and I enjoy various comedy shows like SouthPark and Family Guy so I am not some old fuddy duddy who wants everyone to speak queens English I just dont want to spend my leasisure time doing what feels like babysitting a load of young teens who are most likly so into this game and trying to act big because there mums and dads dont give a shit about them and have simply locked them in there rooms with the latest game so they can go about there own business.... To this end most of my time spent on these games has been in solo or split screen modes, I think the games have by and large told decent stories with good set pieces but I also do not think that they have changed that much over the years, there have been odd inhancments of course and then there has been basic changes in setting with them basically moving on to a latter point in time whenever they think there fan base has become fatigued, but the thing is they have now worn out all of history and have started having to go to the future, this is what happens with successful horror franchises once you have hit the nail on the head a few too many times you have to start going to the future or going to space or going to hell so whats next Call Of Duty Hell where you shoot the devil in the face while having pro American sentiments pushed at you? It is either that or they start remakeing the old ones which we have kind of seen this year with Call Of Duty Infinite there future based game having a special edition that comes packaged with a remake of Modern Warfare one of there older but also most popular games in the franchise.

I would say that I dont know how many years Call of Duty can have left in it but then I know it has a very solid fan base who seem to buy it every year on release at full price, well as you can proberbly tell from what I have written so far I dont cue at midnight or buy it on release, I typically wait for it to be under £20, I didnt get black Ops 3 until it hit £13 second hand and I have to admit I havent even tried it yet as I purchased something else the same day that I wanted to play more. I did however grab Infinite Warfare a week ago for £22.49 yes its a bit more than I usually pay but it was a version with  download codes and various bits and pieces, the normal version was £20 but I guess the bigger shinier packaging swayed me, so have I played it Yes I have. I installed it and I played the first mission and then decided that I was a little bit bored, most of the Call Of Duty games I have finished but I have tended to play them one level at a time, I play a level I turn it off, then the next day I play another levelel ecetera, so I feel that in this way I cant really say there great games there semi enjoyable time killers, I really dont understand the massive hype that seems to surround the release of each game.

This is when I have to do a little bit of a 360 in some ways, I am proberbly never going to bother with Infinite Warfare's multiplayer, I also think it will be a long time until I finish the story mode but I have to say I am happy having paid my £22.49 just for the Zombie mode alone. So what makes the Zombie Mode so cool and so much better than the rest of the game well for one it doesnt take itself very serious at all, the introduction to it is done in a brilliant way which reminds me of old classic horror movies with a host who very much reminds me of the work of Vincent Price. The game mode itself is set in the 80's and is full of 80's refrences lots of 80's music is in the background while you play, its basically a hoard/survival mode the more you play the longer you seem to be able to last  you get used to the layout, you get a feel for the way the zombies behave but you also get points that make you level up and also points that level your guns up, so after a few goes you can add something to a gun that makes it a little more powerful or that makes it work better for you. The thing is with this game is that yeah a go on it might only last 5 or 10 minutes maybe 15 if you are getting really good at it but it has that just one more go factor so you end up playing more and more of it, you can blow a few hours away without even realising that you have its simply that fun.

So I guess that is everything I wanted to say out of the way, I can certainly understand why some people dont like Call Of Duty and although I cant understand why other people love it I think that one of the best things about people is that we are all diffrent that we all have diffrent ideas and enjoy diffrent things so If you love it and it makes you happy then good for you, dont ever let anyone rob you of the things you enjoy or make you feel bad for liking something but do me a favour if your going to play online dont be a hooting dick hole.