Monday, 31 July 2017

Retro Game Purchases July 2017

Well another month over another Retro Purchases thread. I recently started a Instergram Profile to run alongside this blog so if your on there I am on there under the name kerr9000_blog, as I have taken photos for my blog of quite a few things I got this will mean this post might have a few more picturers of my purchases than I usually provide. So my purchases started on the 3rd of July when I brought a small lot of Japanese Super Famicom (SNES) carts for £39, in it there was Castlevenia 4, Joe and Mac, SimCity, Street Fighter 2 World Warrior, Final Fight, Super Mario World and Xandora no Daibōken. It just seemed a good little bundle  I mostly wanted it for Joe and Mac and to try out Xandora no Daibōken which was released here as Whirlo but is actually an absolute pain in the behind to get and often crazily expensive. It is also kind of intresting to see some of the regional diffrences in some of the games like the Blood dripping from the title screen in Castlevania 4 and to see Final Fight in its unsensored form (Nintendo changed the female thugs in to male thugs so you wernt beating up women in the game over here).

I also visted a charity shop where I managed to pick up a few cube games I got Luigi's mansion complete for the gamecube for £3 and spiderman complete for the gamecube for £2
On the 8th I recieved a game in the mail it was DJ boy complete for mega drive for £9 including postage.

On the 9th on my way home from work I nipped in to an independent game shop and picked up
Iron Sword Wizards and Warriors 2 for the NES it was a cart only copy for £5

On the 10th I visited a pawn shop I am really rather fond of, I have gotten quiet a few good bits and pieces there over the last few years and this time was no exception. I grabbed Super Mario World for the Snes pal cart only for £10, Legend for snes pal cart only for £10 and Batman Forever for the Snes pal cart only for £5, they actually wanted £10 for Batman Forever but I managed to talk them down by basically saying it was a rotten game which no one was likly to buy except a nutter collector like myself. The best bit was when I decided to look at there handheld games though, for a start I got Sonic Rivals complete for psp for £3, Taito Legends for psp missing the manual for £2 and Juiced for psp complete for £1. The real deal of the day and possibly the month though was when I got Pokemon Silver cart only for GBC £6 and Pokemon Crystal cart only for GBC £6.

On the 11th I got SD GUNDAM V SAKUSEN SHIDOU. Japanese snes cart for only £3, often with a lot of Japanese games they can be a language barrier issue but this looks like its sort of a cross between something like R-type and Cybernator with cute chibi Gundam based graphics.

 On the 18th I went to a pawn store which happens to be in the same place as one of my favourate coffee shops a coffee shop which has become a very special place for me and my girlfriend. On this visit as well as going for a very nice coffee with a wonderful lady I also picked up an absolute pile of games.I got Super Tennis for SNES boxed but with no manual for £5, Championship pool for the SNES complete for £3 and Amazing Tennis for the SNES complete for £4, not bad but they are sports games so a lot of people wouldnt be that over the moon about them. I also got my hands on some 8 bit games. I got Super tennis for master system complete for £1,Wizards and warriors for the NES cart only £3, Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt cart only £2, Dead angle for Master system complete for £2 and Evildead a fistfull of broomstick for PS2 complete for £1 which I was happy with but here come the real prizes of the day. I got Duck tales for the NES cart only for £6, it is one of my favourate NES games and one I have been desperate to own for a long time but the disney fun didnt end there I also got Deep duck trouble for the Master system complete for £5 which was an absolute corker of a price this game can go much higher than this particularly when complete. Finally I got Mighty morphing power rangers the movie boxed but no manual for megadrive for £10 which what can I say it is walk along beat em up which is one of my favourate video game genres it is also based of the Power Rangers which is a show I am very fond of and its also on one of my favourate consoles. There is also kind of a funny little story here one that makes me feel very lucky I have a wonderful girlfriend who lets me talk and talk about games, I showed her what I had brought on the way to the coffee shop and opend the cases ecetera and if it wasnt for doing this I wouldnt have noticed the cart was missing for Deep Duck Trouble and managed to run back and get it from the store.

On the 22nd I returned to the same store and got the following The Terminator complete for Master System for £3, Air Rescue complete for Master System for £2 Super Monaco GP complete for Mega Drive for £2, Turbo Racing for NES cart only for £3, and Double Dragon for NES cart only for £6. OK not quiet as good as the above but getting a cart of Double Dragon for the NES for £6 was pretty darn impressive, it sometimes goes for up to about £20 online just for a cart.

Then on the same day I was very lucky as my daughter called me from work and managed to get me BattleShip complete for CDI for £1.50 and International Tennis Open complete for CDI for £1.50 (yeah she is a brilliant daughter). I also had something come in the mail on this day and it was the single most expensive individual cart I purchased this month it was Final Fight 2 for Super Famicom (Japanese SNES) cart only for £15, I could talk about this at length but I think I cover a lot of why I wanted this game and why I was willing to pay so much in the review I just did on this blog.

On the 27th I dropped in a pawn store I enjoy visiting and managed to grab Sonice Advance for GBA cart only £3 and Tiny Toons Adventures 2 for the original GameBoy cart only for £2.
On the 28th I decided to take a look in some charity shops with my daughter and I didnt really grab much but I did get a few little bits and pieces. I got Operation Winback complete for PS2 for £1, The Scorpian King for Gamecube boxed but missing manual £1.50, a Playstation 2 memory card for 20pence and Who wants to be a millionare complete for ps1 for 50pence.

I ended my retro purchases on the very last day of July, the  31st by getting the following from an indy games store. I got Shaq Fu for Snes cart only for £3, Mario & Yoshi for Gameboy cart only for £2, Tomb Raider for ps1 disc and case no manual for £1, Final Fantasy 8 for ps1 just the discs for £5
and Alundra for ps1 just the disc for £5. I plan on making cases for the last two games, not perfect replicas that I will pass off as original but just something nice to keep them in. A lot of people speak very highly of Alundra and I have never actually owned a copy of it so I am pretty pleased to have it, sure it would have been nice to have it with a box and manual but I dont like to be picky especially not when I can get a bargain.

So I spent £204.20 this month on games which is quite frankly a shocking amount in my oppinion. I have to admit though that I did get a lot of things I have wanted for years. I sometimes believe it or not find it hard to buy things, I beat myself up for spending money on myself, I tell myself that I dont deserve it, but every time I tried to do that this month my girlfriend told me to stop being silly and reminded me of all the things I do for other people not to be overly mushy but shes just a little bit amazing. Then there is my daughter who supported me and pointed out things she thought id like and even looked for things for me at work. So when I stop and think about it the greatest thing this month is not any of the games I actually got my hands on, its knowing that I have a wonderful family who love and support me despite of all of my excentric hobbies and things I collect.

Friday, 28 July 2017

The death of where I used to rent Videos, how things have changed and ways to recapture some of what has been lost.

I have about a million ideas for blog posts running through my head at any given time, its a slight exaggeration but you get the picture. This is the kind of choice I used to have as a youngster when I went to my local video rental store a place called Cabin Video, now they were not the biggest place but they had every possible wall filled with video cases with different sections for different kinds of films and on top of this they had this sort of rack in the centre of the shop, one side of this rack was filled with VHS horror tape covers in thin plastic cases, you took these cases to the counter and for 50pence they would retrieve the tape from behind the counter and rent it you for the night, regardless of what time you rented it your 50p would let you keep it until 6pm the following night. This led to me spending a great many Saturdays arriving at the shop at opening and then renting a whole bunch of films and dedicating my day to watching them. It was a very strange process basically you would pick a pile of films with nothing to inform you of what the film would be like or about apart from the cover and the small blurb and screen shots on the back. Sometimes I would get lucky and every film I would grab would be a hoot other times they would all be rubbish but most of the time it would be a little bit of a case of getting half and half. A lot of the time there would be friends to watch the films with and popcorn to eat but even when I was alone it was still good fun and if I happened to find a great film when I was watching on my own well this just meant I would have to go to my friends the following Monday and tell them about this new film and just how great it was and then either they would rent it or the next time I had them coming around I would rent it again and show it to them.

So what has me thinking about this? Well although Cabin closed years and years ago it didn't fully shut down in fact it moved a further down the street it was on, gained a new name moved on to hiring DVD's and had a slight change of focus. Originally it had been a film rental business which sold a few bottles of beer and wine along side the movies and the popcorn in its new premises it took on more of a half DVD rental half liquor store sort of business model with the feeling being that the booze sales were really propping up the rental side of things and carrying the business. It was never the same place though, I never saw it in the same way or felt the same way about it, it was strange it was like a friend who you used to love like a brother but who now you feel like you hardly even know, yet you could sometimes see that slight glimmer in them that little bit of who or in this case what they used to be.

Well recently this closed its doors, its not surprising really with the video rental market having died out what with various online services such as Netflix and NowTV. I had expected it to simply just become a shop that sold alchol phasing out the rentals altogether but this didn't happen possibly because the local market is over saturated with places to buy booze or possibly because the place had been robbed either way even though it wasn't really the place I had fallen in love with but it was the last remaining part of it if that makes sense. My home town used to have two very good Video Rental places and its own little one screen cinema and now it has none of these.

I am often asked why I love films so much and its because when I was young it was one of the cheapest and most accessible forms of entertainment, for simple weekends there was the prospect of renting a few films and if I had more money then I might go with a group of friends and go to see a film in our little one screen cinema. I guess that it is at this point in time that I look a bit like one of those sad old farts who is moaning about how things were better in my day and I guess to a certain degree I am but then I can also recognise some of the advantages of what we have now. With Netflix and other such services you can for a small fee have access to lots of films, you don't have to leave your house and if you find out you have made a bad film choice when picking to watch something then it doesn't matter so much. One of the issues is though that you have so much choice at your finger tips, it also means that if a film doesn't instantly grab you then you might decide its bad and move on to another one, now this is an issue because some films are slow burners, they might not seem so great to start with but if you give them time then you will find that after some build up they really get good. If I had turned off every single VHS tape I rented and didn't instantly like within 5 minutes then I would have missed out on some of what have become my favourite films.

I have started playing a sort of new game with myself its a game I call the Cabin video You Tube game, and the truth is its a nice and easy game that anyone can play and if you had a childhood like mine then you might appreciate it. Now services like the aforementioned Netflix and NowTv are full of films but they also give quiet a bit of info on them as well and for this game you need to go in as blind as possible and that's why I like YouTube plus its free which helps. As you might have noticed YouTube is absolutely full of complete films, yes sometimes films get taken down but when they are old budget B movie type horror films which haven't tended to make there way on to BlueRay or in a lot of cases even DVD in most regions then they are pretty much ignored and stay on there forever and these are the types of film you need. So what do you do, well you use YouTubes search engine my personal favourite search being full horror movies 80's then you flick through your options, basically what your looking to do is pick a film simply from its title and thumb nail. Now you need to pick a film without resorting to looking it up online or on the Internet movie database or any other site and you need to force yourself to watch it, no giving in if it seems weird or rubbish inside 5 minutes. If you want to make a real party of this then grab the popcorn and invite your best friends around. Why do I call this a game? Well basically because you will either win or loose, sometimes doing this you are going to find a new film that you absolutely love other times your going to wonder why you just wasted several hours of your life, you might love the film because its brilliant or because its so bad its good but trust me the good times far outweigh the bad and even the bad ones are not really that bad if you have a good friend or two to enjoy it with.

The past is gone for good or bad and nothing we can do is going to bring it back but you can cherish what has gone before while trying to find new ways to mix the old and the new looking to the future while also keeping the nostalgia alive.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

How I feel about the Smash Bros Melee player who assaulted a Gas station attendant being allowed to compete in Smash Tournaments

OK so I just want to say that I have not been in an official video game tournament since I was like 16 or something on those lines it was a Art of fighting 2 tournament in which the top 3 players got a prize and I came 4th so got nothing , I remember little else about it other than a friend of mine came 3rd and I played as King. I have attended various other game playing groups and fun events since but I haven't competed in anything that was more than just a bit of fun or something where the winner got a bag of sweets or something so I wouldn't consider myself a pro gamer or into the competition scene but I have hanged out at various ''geeky'' venues such as Sci Fi and comic conventions a lot of which now days I have attended with my 15 year old daughter. So why do I bringing this up basically because I want to talk about something in the esports world or to be precise something in the Super Smash Bros Melee community.

OK so recently, a top Melee player made his grand re-entry into the game’s competitive scene, basically he used to be considered a big deal, he played a lot with falco but he dropped out of the scene. Now during his absence he assaulted a Florida petrol station clerk. Apparently now this has the Smash Community arguing over if he deserves to be allowed to compete again. Now I don't want to even give the guys name as I don't think he deserves the attention so I will just call him Prick A for the rest of this post. OK so Prick A is arguing that he’s shed his violent past and now is concerned primarily with practising religion, refining his Falco strategy and gaining followers for his new Twitch channel. Personally I hate the idea of a vile prick who hurt people for his own gain gathering any kind of popularity gaming wise or social media wise but the Melee community is divided and hundreds of fans have debated Prick A's past, his actions, and whether he deserves a second or third chance to participate in Melee events and tournaments.

One side seem to think that basically talent and skill are all that are important and they feel that if Prick A wasn't allowed to participate then the smash community would miss out on witnessing his skill. Those against the idea of showing Prick A acceptance say that this obsession with skill is sidelining concerns for safety.

The Melee scene has historically been forgiving of players with violent histories. In 2012, a different prick Prick B was banned after placing another player in a choke-hold. Prick B also allegedly had a history of violent outbursts.yet fans of his play style demanded he be let back in and campaigned with hastags and the like and he was let back in and now he continues to compete in national tournaments, A third Prick, Prick C was banned from tournaments in one country for displaying “poor sportsmanship” and bullying new and disabled players. After a year, and a long apology, he was allowed back in. I know some people might say well you need to give people another chance but just stop and think about the person who was choked or one of the disabled people who had the piss taken out of them, think about them wanting to attend again and knowing the person who hurt them either physically or emotionally will be there and heck if there a good player they will be there with people chanting there name and slapping them on the back doesn't seem very good for the victims at all does it?

Now I also find it important to say that Prick A is not just someone who with one stupid decision decided to assault a petrol station employee nope Prick A actually has a lengthy rap sheet. His court records contain twelve entries reflecting a slew of alleged crimes committed between 2011 and 2016 that range from theft and battery to bogus small-fry infractions. In 2013, a court charged Layton with aggravated battery after his female housemate obtained a lacerated liver and fractured vertebrae in a fight. That charge was later dropped with Prick A claiming he did not do it In 2016, Prick A punched a gas station clerk in the face, which he admitted to, and according to the clerk he threatened to slit the clerk’s throat, which Prick A denies. Prick A took a four-year break from national Melee competition, admitting that he fell in with a bad crowd committed crimes and spent several nights in jail.
Prick A has completed 14 anger management and 14 substance abuse classes since the 2016 gas station incident and has shared proof of this on Twitter, where he also posted an apology which: “YES, I WAS a violent person. YES, I do have an exquisite criminal record. I am not denying any of those facts. I am sorry for the way that I was and the things I have done in my life. I am ashamed for a lot that has happened up till now. I did not mean to hurt anyone emotionally, or the people that I have hurt physically, although none of them are smashers.” Not so sorry that he wants to do much about it though hey? No he would sooner try to gain fame as a video game player and twitcher
There are a lot of Women claiming that Prick A has been confrontational or aggressive to them or to people they know and yes he will claim that they are not telling the truth but I think there are far to many accounts for there to not be a grain of truth there. He claims that he is not threatening with quotes such as the following “How can I be threatening when I’m laughing and having a good time with my friend 1 and my friend 2?” I cant help but raise the answer that plenty of people laugh or find amusement in bullying people threatening people and causing people harm.
You might wonder why I feel so strongly about this, well for a start I have a 15 year old daughter , yes she attends things with me but one day she will branch out on her own and she is a big lover of games and I wouldn't want her in an environment which supports and idolises or excuses guys like this because they can play well. On top of this if you have been reading my stuff for a long time then you will know that I was violently beaten with iron bars while at work and went through PTSD and have suffered for years over it, with this in mind you know whose opinion we should ask? We should ask the Gas Station attendant. I was assaulted 8 years ago and given half a chance I would kill the guys involved as it still effects my life till this day in all manner of ways. I don't care what courses this guy has been through I care about the attendant and where he is now and how his life has been affected, the potential courses of mental health treatment he has been through. In my opinion as someone who suffered a very serious assault I just think that its sick to see a Villain be treated as a hero.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

NEWS RANT: Sperm count crisis and how more free time makes you happier.

Ok so every so often I like to take either a story or a few stories from the news and give my 2cents on them. Ok so the first bit of news I am going to get into is the fact that several sites announced that due to sperm counts dropping one day the human race could become extinct. Now obviously I think there is a fair degree of shouting and screaming going on here in order to try and make people rush to read the news so lets look at the facts here. Major studies have shown that Sperm counts have plummeted by nearly two-thirds since the 70s with experts blaming modern living for damaging male fertility.
Scientists claim that chemicals in plastics, pesticides, poor diet, smoking and obesity are all harming peoples sperm counts.

Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem reviewed 185 studies involving 43,000 men.
There findings indicated that men in Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand have seen their sperm concentration fall by 52 per cent in the past four decades. Apparently though men in South America, Asia and Africa have been unaffected.

''Eventually we may have a problem, and with reproduction in general, and it may be the extinction of the human species''Dr Hagai LevineHebrew University of Jerusalem

 Ok so am I worried at all about the future of mankind, well not really at least not as far as sperm counts and fertility issues go. We already have so many people having kids that they dont really want or need, the world is quiet frankly over populated and I think most of the issues we have are down to over population, if the population shrinks then it would only actually help the world to carry on and well less people less plastics and such will be needed, also I am a big fan of Jurrasic Park so I strongly believe the quote ''Life will find a way''.

The second piece of news I want to talk about is the fact that there was a study in to what makes you happier time or money. To put it simply this study showed that if you used money to free-up time rather than either buying junk with it or just hoarding it you could increase your happiness. In all honesty this didnt suprise me in the slightest, partly because I used to work like 70 hours a week at one point and have no time to myself at all and I was miserable and partly because I was always told a certain gem of advice when I was younger and thats''Be careful how much you work because the one thing you cant buy with the money you earn is more time'' Now it might sound like thats saying that working in general is a waste of time but I dont mean that at all nor did the people who said it to me what they were trying to tell me is that the pursuit of money is not everything and you shouldnt spend all of the time you have trying to get ahold of it at the expense of hobbies and loved ones and other things you can spend your time on.

So basically in the experiment that was done individuals reported greater happiness if they used £30 to save time. So how do you use money to save time well they did it by doing things like paying other people to do chores for them. Psychologists have basically argued that one of the major things which stresses people out is worrying over lack of time and that this leads to lower well-being and also contributes to anxiety and insomnia. It was apparently shown in the study that if you used the money to gain yourself free time it actually helped you a lot more than trying to use your money to buy things such as films or alchol. I could have gone in to this story in a lot more depth but as a person who has gone from a long hours career into a part time job in an effort to better manage my mental health I found this news very intresting and while I am not suprised to read the findings of this experiment I do hope that this makes some people stop and think about how they live there life and manage there own mental health.

So does anything tie these two stories togther? Well they are both about health be it physical or mental, I think both of them just go to show that we as people are not really doing very well when it comes to managing our own health, we concentrate to much on money work and industry and we forget the simple pleasures in life, if everyone just took a little bit more time out to stop and smell the roses I think things would be a little bit better for everyone overall.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Snes Review 126: Final Fight 2

A very long time ago when I did my 23rd SNES review I decided to review Final Fight saying that I needed to get the game out of the way and that the game was important for a lot of reasons and so now I find myself finally getting around to talking about its sequel Final Fight 2. One of the reasons it has taken me so long is because back when I started reviewing SNES games I didn't actually own Final Fight 2 and I swore when I started all of this that I wouldn't review any game which I did not have on cartridge as I wanted to play every single game on the original hardware and for a fair amount of time before I would review them. Well as I am talking about it now its not hard to guess that I have purchased Final Fight 2, I picked up a Japanese cartridge only copy, the truth is my original copy of Final Fight 2 I had as a youngster was Japanese and in fact every copy I have ever played or seen in real life has been a Japanese one, its just much easier and cheaper to pick this game up.

So with some of these reviews I like to tell the tale of how I originally got the game back when I was young, well I originally got a new complete Japanese version from my local games shop called Games World. I didn't spend much on it at all as basically the owner had purchased an entire crate full of them for some cut down price as a sort of delboy get rich quick scheme. I sold a few of them for him on a commission basis, I also purchased a few copies cheap and sold and traded them in to other game stores, this really led to my local area and the closest big towns shops and markets ending up being super saturated with Japanese copies of Final Fight 2 but my biggest regret was not actually holding on to a complete copy, I have no idea why I didn't I guess it just felt like they'd never run out. I cant complain though as all of the money I made from my dealings with Final Fight 2 funded my purchasing of other SNES games and megadrive games and if it wasn't for stuff like this I wouldn't have played as much as I did back then.

OK so back to the game at hand. Like Final Fight, Final Fight 2 is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up produced by Capcom. The first Final fight started life as an arcade game but unlike that Final Fight 2 was never in the arcades instead it was a Super Nintendo exclusive built from the ground up for the SNES instead of being made for the CPS-1 arcade system board like the original and then just ported. The SNES version suffered a lot due to people comparing it to its arcade big brother so this is obviously a problem the second one does not have right? The answer is kind of, kind of not, obviously people will compare Final Fight 2 to Final Fight both on the SNES and the arcade version but they will also compare it to the Sega Streets of Rage Series so unless I want to pretend I am in some kind of pocket universe I am going to at least touch on where Final Fight 2 stands in comparison to all of these.

The original Final Fight arcade machine was loved by pretty much every games player I knew, it was considered to be one of the best side scrolling beat em up's out there a pinnacle of gaming to hold other games up to for comparison. The SNES version was released and was kind of limited, there was only two selectable characters one from the arcade having been dropped, there was also a level stripped out of the game, and the game had no two player mode. So what about Final Fight 2, well its actually much closer to providing the sort of experience the Original Final Fight arcade game delivered than the original SNES Final Fight did. Final Fight 2 has a two player mode, it has a choice of 3 characters and has 6 stages so is essentially the same length as the Arcade Version of Final Fight.

OK so as far as the story of Final Fight 2 goes basically Mad Gear the gang from the first game have returned they have kidnapped Guy one of the heroes from the first games Fiancee and her father who is also his teacher but weirdly Guy is not even in the game, the only returning g playable character from the original Final Fight  is ass kicking mayor and former wrestler Mike Haggar. Two new player characters are introduced and they are called Carlos and Maki Genryusai. Maki is the sister of Guy's fiancee and kind of plays a little like him, she contacts Haggar for help and Carlos tags along because he says he owes Haggar one and also likes to kick butt. So it basically it becomes a globe trotting butt kicking war against the Mad Gear to try and rescue Maki's relatives.OK so a lot of people complain that Cody and Guy are not in the game and yes I have to admit I really like both of those characters with Cody especially being one of my favourite beat em up heroes of all time but I don't think there absence ruins either the story or the game, I find all of the characters present fun to play with and its also nice to see a female character.

As far as Gamplay goes well this game plays exactly like the first Final Fight you scroll from left to right and you punch people to death until you meet a boss who you then punch to death rinse and repeat. Each of the characters feels different  and you will soon find the one who suite you best and the game is really helped by having a two player mode this time around, in fact I would say that is the standout diffrence between this and the first game. As for the controls well you have a punch button and a jump button and then you can either press these together to perform your super move or assign it to a third button. Add to this that the game has good arcade style graphics, good sound effects and a pretty good soundtrack and you would think that this game is excellent right? Well Yes I love this game I am going to stop and throw down a score here, if you can remember I gave Final Fight an 8 so what am I going to give this game? Well you might be surprised to find that I am only giving it a 8.5, look its a darn fine game but it could be much better. If you want to buy it then your best bet if you can play imports then is to buy a loose Japanese cartridge which you should be able to get for around £15, if you really want a boxed copy then you occasionally see a boxed Japanese version for around £30.  It has to be noted that this game is available on the Nintendo virtual console for around the £7 mark so if you just want to play it and legally pay for it then that's your cheapest route. A pal cart on the few occasions I have seen them in various places have been around the £60 mark with boxed pal versions seldom coming up in listings and demanding pretty steep prices. I would think this one is only going to end up becoming rarer and rarer I wanted to pay less for my copy but I just finally figured I needed to jump on this before it became an even bigger more costly pain to get.

OK so earlier I said I was going to compare Final Fight 2 to the Streets of Rage series and so that's what I want to do here at the end. Now Streets of Rage the original one was sort of Sega's answer to the original Final Fight being on the SNES, Streets had much smaller less detailed sprites but it did have several things that Final Fight didn't 3 selectable characters and a two player mode being the main things. Streets of Rage might not have looked as good as Final Fight but you could play it with a friend which was a big deal. I would argue that Final Fight 2 actually knocks Streets of Rage out cold but I think it is a very different story if you compare Final Fight 2 to Streets of Rage 2. When you look at static screen shots Final Fight 2 has better graphics but Streets of Rage actually has more frames of animation, for example if you leave your character standing still you will see them breathing, yes its not something that's going to change the world but these kinds of touches do make Streets of Rage 2 look a lot better in action than it does in a photo. Add on to this the fact that although Final Fight 2 has a good soundtrack Streets of Rage 2 simply has one of the greatest 16bit soundtracks of all time, there are also 4 selectable characters in Streets of Rage 2 but the most important thing is how many moves there are in Streets of Rage 2. Final fight has 1 special move, your grapples and a basic strike/combo for each character compared to this Streets of Rage 2 has 2 special moves, grapples, a basic strike/combo, a charge move and a backwards attack for each of its characters. The thing that stops me giving Final Fight 2 more than 8.5 is because I think that although it was a great game and did deliver everything Final Fight was lacking in it didn't add enough to keep up with the best of the best in the world of beat em ups at that time.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Talia Jane who she is and why I think she is a hero.

So I want to talk about someone I have a great deal of respect for and its a name most people wont have heard of and thats Talia Jane. Now for those that dont know Talia Jane was a 25 year old who worked for Yelp/Eat24, now what got her known was the fact that she wrote an open letter to the CEO of the company she worked for at the time talking about the poor pay they recieved and some of the dire circumstances some of the people who worked there were in. She was fired almost imediatly but clearly the CEO ecetera realised that she was speaking the truth as the wages were soon increased. Now Talia Jane was slammed for her open letter with lots of people calling her a self intitled Millienial saying she wanted something for nothing, how is working a full time job and just wanting to make enough to not cry yourself to sleep because your so hungry wanting something for nothing? Lots of people will say oh they worked hard and there situation is much better so if Talia had just worked harder then she wouldnt have so much to worry about but anyone with half a brain knows this is bullshit. I am not going to go through her letter and every point she raised as it's still out there and it's easy enough to find but I will say that it definitely touched me.

I am someone who never quite made it despite trying really hard, I nearly made it as a Rugby player but I was hit by a hit and run driver and this ended my career, it really messsed up my leg I had titanium plating put in my leg and I can walk but it was the end of my chance at a sport based career. From here I hit university and tried to make myself more attractive to employers but I got a part time job at a pub. I started to work my way up the ranks and I invested a heavy amount of time and effort in to the job but due to being held hostage in a robbery and having my head smashed open with iron bars I developed PTSD and my epilepsy which I had been born with also took a turn for the worse, I essentially reached the point of Deputy Manager and was on the cusp of more but I simply could not hold myself togther anymore and had a breakdown. I clawed my way up from this and I managed to get a very high qualification in the childcare field but I was unable to secure a job with this because of other peoples prejudice, I would get interview after interview to end up in front of a potential boss who couldnt seem to get past the fact I am a man and would just keep saying but your a man. I dont list all of this to get sympathy in the slighest, I just want to show that sometimes you can try all that you want but circumstances, issues and other peoples problems can get in your way, unfortunatly its not always the person who tries the hardest or who puts the most in that gets the most out of life. I could recount the stories of many others I have known and met who have given it there all but fell short but those are there tales to tell or not tell.

We are constantly bombarded by a media which lets face it is paid for and ran by the rich and it promotes the idea that those who try hard will get, that the cream can not help but rise to the top and that anyone sinking in a first world society like the UK or USA is doing so because there simply not trying hard enough and that anyone who speaks up against this is simply a cry baby.

Well let me spell this out simply Talia Jane was and is not a cry baby, you know why? It's simple a cry baby is someone who is scared and she wasn't scared, read her open letter it wasn't all wish is me she wasn't just crying out about her problem about her situation, she was daring to stand up against what was wrong, to tell the truth and put her name on it. How many people spend there lives crying and bitching saying things need to change and never doing anything about it? I think it took real bravery to write the open letter she wrote and I salute her for it.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

NES bad box art: Ironsword

OK so if you have been following my blog for any length of time then you will have most likly realised that I love looking at cover art, often comparing different art from different regions. In most cases it has been megadrive/Genesis cover art and usually I have been looking at which region provided the best art. Today is a little different as I am looking at a piece of NES box art, it's an Infamous piece of art. As I have obviously posted the above picture then you know I am talking about Ironsword. If you look at the case without having played the game you might wonder what the issue is, well to put it simply they put a famous model Fabio on the front cover dressed as a barbarian the main issue with this is the fact in the game you don't play as a Barbarian you play as a knight.

Here is the games title screen and the in game sprite basically matches this so that basically tells you that the people responsible for the case art had either never either tried the game or been in touch with the creators to get any information on what the game was like beyond its title. It was like someone just really wanted to be around Fabio while he was getting oily barbarian loin cloth photos done, usually he was on the front of romance books so who knows, but the cover certainly didn't fit the game and often when you do hear about the game it's for the infamous cover art as it's a shame as it's quite a cracking little title.

This is the sort of thing I would have made as a front cover for ironsword wizards & warriors 2 for the NES instead of the famous Fabio one, seeing as you play a knight in armour in the game I thought it would be more appropriate to have an armoured figure on the box art. Yeah the armour might not be exactly the same as the one in the game and be a little more realistic but it in my opinion certainly fits the theme more. Maybe if the game had gotten something a little more like this it would be remembered fondly on its own merit as apposed to for its quirky cover.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

My Oppinion on the Trainspotting 2 Choose Life speach.

So I just watched Trainspotting 2, now the original film came out when I was a teenager and was incredibly popular and I remember there being all kinds of discussions about it both amongst friends but also in the media. This sequel has come around twenty years latter and is also set twenty years latter so is it as good as the original? Well I am not sure if it is as good but it is certainly in my oppinion a darn good film and it is also a brilliant sort of love note to the original movie, they would work amazingly as a double feature.

Now I find that the original Trainspotting is brilliantly summed up by its Choose Life speach deliverd by the character of Renton (Ewan McGregor)
Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself.

Choose your future.

Choose life.

Now for anyone who has seen TrainSpotting they will know that the above quote is followed by Renton saying he chose not to choose life he chose something else, that something else being a herrion addiction. The thing is though the above speach spoke to me, it didnt make me want to go try and be an addict or anything stupid like that but it made me question the way in which the mass majority of people do the same things, they aim for the same goals and find meaning in the same ways, it made me ask do I really want to choose all of those things? The speach to me at least highlights some of the worst aspects of mankind in this country at the time that film was released, the irony is the fact that a junky can look at the way things are, that he can see how screwed up they are and can decided that he doesnt want to choose this he wants to choose something else. I would argue that he saw how screwed up things were and decided he didnt want to be a part of it all, that following the above template was in fact worse than just shooting up. Now I dont agree with the character dont get me wrong but I do think a lot of the critical elements of the speach ring very true and show just how shallow the mass majority of people are. It was an amazing movie moment and it was incredibly quotable both in parts and whole.

So with Trainspotting 2 being a follow up to the original, and with it showing how the characters involved have both changed and grown but also showing how they now cope with the world around  them you might ask if Renton has any simmilar words of wisdom in the sequel and if so what are they? Well here they are

Choose designer lingerie, in the vain hope of kicking some life back into a dead relationship. Choose handbags, choose high-heeled shoes, cashmere and silk, to make yourself feel what passes for happy. Choose an iPhone made in China by a woman who jumped out of a window and stick it in the pocket of your jacket fresh from a South-Asian firetrap. Choose Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and a thousand others ways to spew your bile across people you've never met. Choose updating your profile, tell the world what you had for breakfast and hope that someone, somewhere cares. Choose looking up old flames, desperate to believe that you don't look as bad as they do. Choose live-blogging, from your first wank till your last breath; human interaction reduced to nothing more than data. Choose ten thing you never knew about celebrities who've had surgery. Choose screaming about abortion, choose rape jokes, slut-shaming, revenge porn and an endless tide of depressing misogyny. Choose 9/11 never happened, and if it did, it was the Jews. Choose a zero-hour contract and a two hour journey to work, and choose the same for your kids, only worse, and maybe tell yourself that it's better that they never happened. And then sit back and smother the pain with an unknown dose of an unknown drug made in somebody's​ fucking kitchen. Choose unfulfilled promise and wishing you'd done it all differently. Choose never learning from your own mistakes. Choose watching history repeat itself. Choose the slow reconciliation towards what you can get, rather than what you always hoped for. Settle for less and keep a brave face on it. Choose disappointment and choose losing the ones you love then as they​ fall from view, a piece of you dies with them until you can see​ that one day in the future, piece by piece they will​ be all gone and there will be nothing left of you to call alive or dead. Choose your future, Veronica. Choose life

I have seen other people criticse the above speach and complain that its too long, that it tries to be too clever, that it over explains itself but I see it in a very diffrent light. You need to remember that the original speach in the films story at least is what Renton came up with while a relativly young man with a crippling addiction to drugs, it was deliverd in a sort of monolog format so there was no clear view of who he was really saying it to it was played as if the character was saying it to the audience as a way to explain his outlook on life. In Trainspotting 2 the new speach is said directly to another character to a female character Renton is intrested in to at least some degree, it is also said to a twenty year old wiser more informed person, someone who has seen and experianced diffrent things, someone who has reached a point in there life where some people ask a lot more questions. I see this speach as a massive pub rant, its everything Renton has ponderd and thought about for a long time pushed out partly as a sort of attempt to woo the person he is talking to but also as an outpouring of emotions such as frustration and anger. Renton is older more cynical and is talking to someone younger who to at least some degree he feels he is trying to save, he is trying to impart all of the knowledge he has gained on to her, trying to tell her not to repeat either his mistakes or the mistakes of those around her, those who have already taken the roads she might soon walk. I think most of us have been in this position venting our own frustrations with the world while trying to somehow help those around us, trying to save them from the pain and frustration we have gone through. I dont think the speach is any less impressive than the original, I think it covers a lot of the things wrong with modern society and would make a great starting point for many discussions in various classes, I just think that we are more used to modern life being scrutinised and questioned in our enterainment nowdays so its not quiet as novel as the original was.

I guess there is a fair degree of irony in me covering this very topic being a blog writter when I am putting my oppinion out there spewing my content all over people I have never met but then heck you made the choice to read this and quiet simply writing stuff like this is a part of my life.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Why you should Watch Batman the Animated Series



Now I am sure I have mentioned in the past that I think Batman is awesome, I have read a lot of Batman Comics, I have played a lot of Batman games (I am currently playing Batman Arkham Knight) One of the things I like the most about Batman is that the character works in a million different ways , for example I loved the old Adam West TV series for the campy wonderful show it was, but then I also loved the Tim Burton Movies staring Michael Keaton for how dark and comic book like they were. Now when I originally heard about Batman: The Animated Series I didn't expect it to be very dark at all it was for kids after all, how surprised I went on to be, the show did have the odd silly moment but it was surprisingly dark and adult at times and dealt with things I really didn't expect it to deal with. The thing is for me the best children's cartoons are the ones that don't treat children like children at all. I for a limited time worked in education and one of the things I was taught that has always stuck with me is that in order to achieve the best from children you need to challenge them, you need to show them dignity and respect and have faith in there ability to comprehend more than people typically give them credit for.

Batman the Animated Series works on multiple levels even if you watch it with very little understanding or attention then it still works as a simple tale of good against evil, one mans quest to make the world around him a safer place for the innocent. Yet pull out pretty much any single episode and there is something much deeper in it. In the episode Nothing To Fear for example the Scarcrow uses his fear toxin on people one of which is Batman, and what does Batman fear, he fears his own dead Father, he fears that he has let him down. This is clearly not the case as Batman has devoted his life to saving people and making the world a better place because of how his parents were murdered but this shows how sometimes our own worst fears are simply figments of our imagination dangerous ideas we have formed, ideas which are unhealthy and have the power to damage us. To me this episode clearly shows not only that sometimes we have to face our own fears but that we also quiet often make our own fears. Now you might say that oh big deal I have come up with this idea while in my 40's but no this is something I thought when I watched the show back when it was first shown in 1992 back when I was around 11, I might be better at articulating the idea now but everything needs to start somewhere. Not only would I argue that the way in which this show treated ideas made it ideal viewing for children back then I would argue that it makes it both just as accessible to children now and watchable for adults.

Here you have a show set in the Batman world which deals with all kinds of situations in an adult maner but also manages to squeeze in a remarkable amount of characters adding layers of depth to there characters which can be very surprising, as the show goes on you feel that you really get to know both the characters and the dynamics they share with each other. The show has some amazing animation but I think that even this is blown out of the water by the sound. The show not only has amazing music but it has some of the best voice acting ever. Kevin Conroy is a fantastic Batman, and of course just about everyone has heard stories about how great Mark Hamil is as the Joker and trust me all of them are true, he has the character absolutely nailed to perfection but it doesn't end with just these two, the show runners seemed to do a brilliant job of knowing just what kind of voice to get for each and every character. One of the things that really surprised me about the show was some of the vocal talent they managed to get, Dick Miller from Gremlins (and other classics) turns up in 2 episodes and David Warner gives an exceptional performance as Ra's al Ghul.

So am I going to suggest a jumping in point or an episode that you simply have to see? Well I would have to say just try and get a hold of the first season and work from there, yes there are a lot of episodes that stand very well on there own but the show also tries to build on itself and parts of it simply work a lot better if you have seen all of the subtle build up to a scene that has happened over the long haul.

Friday, 7 July 2017

The SNES Mini regional diffrences and games I would put on it

Ok so I knew I would be back here talking about the Super NES Classic Edition or the
Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Famicom as the Japanese version is known, well why am I mentioning the Japanese one basically because they get slightly diffrent games. Every version of the SNES mini will contain the  following 16 games:

Contra III: The Alien Wars
Donkey Kong Country
Final Fantasy III
Kirby Super Star
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Mega Man X
Secret of Mana
Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Mario World
Super Metroid
Star Fox
Star Fox 2
Yoshi’s Island
I have previously listed all of the games we will be getting in Europe and you might have noticed that we are getting all of the above games as well as the following five titles 

Kirby's Dream Course
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Castlevania IV
Super Punch-Out!!

So what are the Japanese getting instead of these 5 well there getting the following 5games

 Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem
 The Legend of the Mystical Ninja
 Panel de Pon
 Super Soccer
 Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers

So what do I think about what we are getting compared to what there getting? Well personally I would have preferd to have gotten Super Street Fighter 2 over Street Fighter 2 turbo to me that feels like  we got a bit of a bum deal, its not that Turbo is a bad game but if your only going to get one of the Street Fighter SNES games then why not the newest one with the largest selection of characters? So given the chance I would swap them but how do I feel about the rest of the games? Well I do wish that we got The Legend of the Mystical Ninja as it is a great game, which I find incredibly fun in both single and two player mode (2 player co-operative). If I had to loose a game from our list for this I think I would get rid of Kirby's Dream Course, its not that its a bad game its just that I have a lot more fondness for Mystical Ninja. I think we are really fortunate to get both Castlevania 4 and Super Punch out and I really think the Japanese are missing out here so I couldnt imagine wanting to get rid of these games for anything. I wouldnt really be that worried about getting Panel de Pon or Super Soccer at least not at the expense of other games, I am kind of suprised that we didnt get something like Super Soccer or Super Tennis on the SNES mini because sports games like this were very much of the SNES experiance back in the day but its not like they are hard or expensive to trackdown on cartridge. I would if they had translated it have loved to have gotten Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem on our SNES mini but if we had to loose a game to get it I would find it very hard to pick one for the chop, maybe I would say just dont bother giving us a street fighter at all but thats just me personally, I am sure many people are quiet happy to have a version of Street Fighter 2 on the system. I think the important think to note is that although I think its fun to question what should be on the machine I cant really knock the games they have chosen, it certainly could have been a heck of a lot worse.

Just to end this piece though I am going to pretend that someone from Nintendo told me they wanted to up the list of games from 21 per region to 26 and wanted 5 more games to be recomended for this, this is my list of the 5 games I would recomend in no particular order

Sim City
Final Fight 2
Chrono Trigger
Pilot Wings

Pilot Wings was always one of my favourate SNES games and well its just one of the first games I think about when I think about the Super Nintendo, its also so diffrent to everything else on the machine and I think it really shows the machine off well so I was very suprised it didnt make the cut. As for Sim City the SNES Sim City is just so user friendly its my absolute favourate version of Sim City ever and I could spend an absolute age on it making city after city its just a very relaxing game that is very diffrent to the other games on this mini system. I had to say Final Fight 2 because if there is a genre of games thats missing on the Mini SNES then it is the walk along beat em up, they were so popular during the 16bit era its a little strange to not see them represented, I picked the second over the first one because of its two player mode, although I could easily see the 3rd game take its place, I just personally have a little fondness for the second entry as its the one I played the most out of the two. As for Chrono Trigger its just that the SNES was such a great console for RPG's and you just know that adding another one of these adds hours and hours of playability to the machine. As for Actraiser it is just a brilliant and unique game which I wont go into further as well I only just reviewed it, if you want to know more about it then scroll through my posts and find my review.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

News Rant: Girls as young as 9 are having unneeded labiaplasty, why and what can be done about it?

I know that this is usually a blog about Video Games and other forms of entertainment, but every so often I have looked at news or polotics when I feel it is important to do so, if you are only here for the Games etc and want to skip this post out then rfeel free I wont hold it against you, but I just felt this topic was important.

OK so I wanted to take a look at a few things in the news that had made me just stop and feel the need to rant, this was supposed to be a piece where one by one I tackled various pieces of news and the issues I had with them but then I read one piece and I just couldn't write about anything else. I read the news that apparently Girls as young as nine are opting to have surgery on their well for want of a better term private area. Doctors have apparently said that this is because of body insecurities and they have claimed that these insecurities stem from social media and pornography.

Now I know you might think that I found this article in some uninformed rag but I actually read about it in the Independent. Naomi Crouch, a leading adolescent gynaecologist, talked to the BBC and told them that she is concerned GPs are referring young girls for unneeded labiaplasty(This is  an operation where the lips of the vagina are shortened or reshaped). She said that she is yet to see a young girl who needs the operation and feels that they are getting the operation when it is completely unnecessary, this is not just her opinion Paquita de Zulueta, a GP for more than 30 years, agreed with Crouch’s concerns, also mentioning that this was a modern problem, I feel I should include the following quote from her as its important “I'm seeing young girls around 11, 12, 13 thinking there's something wrong with their vulva - that they're the wrong shape, the wrong size, and really expressing almost disgust,”. I dont know about anyone else but I am deeply troubled by the concept of anyone as young as 11, 12 or 13 looking at any part of themselves physical or emotional and feeling disgust. If a person can so easily learn to hate a part of themselves at such an early point in there life then it is utterly terrifying to picture where this individual might end up, how they might feel about themselves when they are another 10 or 20 or even 40 years older. It has been proven that the emotional scars from bullying can last for a horrific amount of time and that's when its people you can potentially escape trying to rip you to pieces, what about when you have been trained to rip yourself apart emotionally and mentally from the inside?

It is believed that this phenomena is down to  pornography and social media leading to girls having an incorrect idea of how things should look, meaning that people are having the operation out of a fear that the bits they have simply look wrong instead of because they have an actual medical abnormality. A lot of people will probably be shocked by this whole news piece for lots of reasons least of which is the fact that girls from as young as 9 are seeing pornography. All of us want to think that children are innocent, we want to see 9 year olds as playing with My Little Pony and we like to think that they don't have to deal with anything serious, we would like to think the most serious question that enters there mind is should they ask for chocolate or strawberry milk but the worlds not like that anymore and maybe it never truly was. You might be able to keep your kid away from things but other kids will see things and then talk to your kid, as a parent you kind of need to be ready to tackle any question or worry your child might have and this can be a very challenging situation with many parents preferring to try to bury there heads in the sand.

In 2015-16, more than 200 girls under 18 had labiaplasty on the NHS, with more than 150 of these girls being under 15. Now several plastic surgeons have come out to try and say that there is nothing wrong with this and people have a right to seek help to change how they look if it makes them feel uncomfortable, but lets face it this sort of thing keeps them in work so there opinion is hardly a none biased one. The biggest issue is that this is most likely just the tip of the iceberg, I don't see this problem going away anytime soon in fact I would expect the figures to get worse and worse.

What can I say other than its just another troubling sign of the way our world is. People are so media saturated now days peoples opinions are shaped by it without them even realising it, there fears are magnified by it. A great many people are simply so brainwashed by a photoshoped celebrity reality that when they look in the mirror no matter how they look they will see something which does not match this glossy image they have been sold. People will buy all manner of face creams, toothpastes and dieting pills to try and match the blueprints they have been given by the media and when this proves futile they will look at even more drastic measures like starvation diets and plastic surgery and this is just made all the more worrying by the fact that children are now exhibiting this behaviour. The real troubling thing is that children seem to be falling even deeper down the rabbit hole, they cant remember a time before the information overloaded world we live in now, the TV, Internet and Magazines brainwash them and they look to us and in a great many cases they see an almost equally brainwashed larger version of themselves uncomfortable in there own skin, crushed by the weight of everything desperate to fit some ever changing concept of perfection.

It is easy to point at problems, to say that something is wrong and that it needs to change, but it is far more complex to actually do something about it. I may hold a degree in Social Science and have a background relating to child development but this does not mean that I hold all of the answers, this is after all a very large and complex problem and I doubt anyone person could wave a magic wand and sort it out, but I do feel that the first few things that need to happen is for awareness of this situation to be raised and for a discourse to get underway, people need to know about it and they need to talk about it only then can we start to look for ways to tackle it.

A few easy points for consideration are that we as individuals need to think about the way we talk about ourselves in front of children. Are you always mentioning your own weight or unhappiness with your looks in front of children? If so then maybe you need to stop and think that you are in fact adding and structurally enhancing a culture of criticism. Now I am not saying that its wrong for you to want to shed a few pounds or to live a healthier life style but you don't want to perpetuate the idea that your looks make you any more or less important as a person, children pick up on far more than most people would imagine, emotionally beating yourself up in front of one can send the message that its OK to do this. I think we also need to start complimenting the youth of today on none physical attributes, for example there compassion for others, or there sense of humour , we need to teach people and teach them from an early age that there is far more to being a person than simply how you look.We have a hard road to walk and many challenges to face if we want society to be less superficial and if we want young people to be free to be who they are without constantly questioning if there normal but if any road is worth walking its this one.

Monday, 3 July 2017

A look at The WWE hall of Fame 2007

Well it has been far to long since I have talked about the WWE hall of fame. Last time I talked about the inductions for 2006 so no prizes for guessing that today I will of course be talking about 2007. 2006 was a brilliant year in my opinion so I guess we will have to see if 2007 is anywhere near as close by looking at the individuals who made it in. Id like to add that as much as I do try and fact check everything if an error slips through then I apologise in advance, also I try not to go too in depth about wrestlers I don't have any major memory or feelings for , so if someone was an absolute star but there before my time or spent a lot of time in promotions I never had access to then forgive me for kind of quickly skipping over there accomplishments.

Ok so to start things off lets talk about one of the inductee's "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes or to use his birth name Virgil Runnels Jr. You can talk about the mans accomplishments after all he was a three time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, one time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion two time NWA World Tag Team Champion, two time NWA World Six-Tag Team Champion, and a one time NWA World Television Champion but a wrestler is not defined by the belts he held there is so much more to look at than that. I had no idea who Dusty was before his stint in the WWE (at the time WWF) so I could be forgiven for just thinking of him as the big poka dot coverd guy who had a rivalry with the million dollar man, but lets stop and look right there Dusty was given the role of a working man and made to wear poka dots and yet he pulled it off he was an epic face loved by so many who lit the house on fire with his charisma, you followed him from feud to feud hanging on his every word wanting to support him and see him win. Throw on top of this his lengthy stint as lead booker for WCW, yes they were the WWE's rivals but it takes a good rival to keep a company truly on its toes. I personally think the guy is very deserving of the honour of being in the hall of fame. I will always remember the fact that my mum adored Dusty Rhodes, I have many a happy memory of being a youngster and hearing my mum scream at the TV for Dusty to get up or beat someone.

So next lets look at "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, now I have to admit as a kid I thought he was a perfect dick, but as I have said in the past that only goes to show just how well he was playing his part, I wanted to see him get beat up and I would tune in hopefully that this would be the night it would happen so basically the guy did his job Perfectly. The truth is eventually even though he was a heel I started to develop a growing respect for Mr Perfect, I had to admit that he was a very talented athlete who performed perfectly executed moves in a way very few other wrestlers could. When I look back now and rewatch a lot of the pay per views from my youth I get very excited when they announce Mr Perfect because I just know I am going to see some real quality wrestling. Unfortunatly Curt Henning was a Posthumous inductee and so he was represented by his wife Leonice, his four children, his mother and his father the wrestler Larry "The Axe" Hennig. Curt Henning was a
One time AWA World Heavyweight Champion, two-time WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, one time WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, one time WCW World Tag Team Champion but he was so much more than just these reigns he was a fantastic perfomer both in ring and on the mic and he will never be forgotten. Like Dusty above him I love to see his Son wrestle because you can see there father through them as well as seeing the incredible wrestlers they have become (this is true for Curtis Axel, GoldDust and Cody Rhodes).

This year also saw the induction of Jerry The King Lawler who well to me he was just the King, when I was a kid he wrestled a little in the WWE (then WWF) but I would come to know him mostly as a commentator, a great one who despite being a heel commentator quiet a lot of the time would have me in fits of laughter, little did I know he was a One time AWA World Heavyweight Champion, a 35-time AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion, a three-time WCCW World Heavyweight Champion, and a 28-time USWA Unified Champion. I learned more about his past and his place in the industry later in my life and I appreciate the roll he played but have to admit I dont feel quite as much for him as I do fo the likes of Dusty and Perfect I still can more than understand why he belongs in the hall of fame and fully agree with it.

 Nick Bockwinkel was inducted in this year but I have to admit he was someone who I had only really heard of in passing, he was big in the AWA and apparently Hulk Hogan was annoyed by what he saw as Bockwinkels book room politicing. He was a Four-time AWA World Heavyweight Champion and three-time AWA World Tag Team Champion. Lots of people speak highly of him and credit him with helping them in one way or another but there is not a lot I can say about him as really due to my age and what I was exposed to he has largly flown under my radar.

Now back to someone I really appreciate and that is Mr. Fuji (Harry Fujiwara), Now Mr Fuji the devious one might have been a Five-time WWWF/WWF World Tag Team Champion but what I really knew him as was a manager and what a heck of a manager he was, he could get you to hate anybody he took under his wing, and the company could easily and convincingly make anyone a face by getting Fuji to turn on them.  I will always remember him with Demolition Axe and Smash, I will always remember the salt and his cane , unfortunatly he passed in 2016 but he is a very worthy entrant to the hall of fame both for his work as a wrestler and for his work as a manager.

This year also saw the induction of  The Sheik (Edward Farhat), seeing as he started in the 70's a lot of his stuff was quiet a bit before my time but he was one of the originators of what would go on to be known as hardcore wrestling and he was the uncle of the ECW legend Sabu. He didnt only wrestle in America he also did a lot of wrestling in Japan and trained several notable names including Rob Van Dam, and Scott Steiner.  He also trained Muhammad Ali before Ali`s famous boxer vs wrestler match with Antonio Inok. The guy certainly deserves to be in the hall of fame not for a long and wonderful WWF based career but more for his contribution to the world of wrestling in general.

One group made there way in to the hall of fame in 2007 and that was The Wild Samoans, Afa and Sika, who were Three-time WWF Tag Team Champions. Now if you ask me if these men deserve to be in the hall of fame as The Wild Samoans thats where things get a touch tricky. You see yes they worked togther as the Wild Samoans but they also worked as singles wrestlers, as managers, in diffrent teams (not togther)  both of them have quiet a long list of accomplishments and I am not sure if they should have gone in seperatly or as a team thats my only question about there place in the hall of fame. During the late 1970s, Afa Anoa'i opened the Wild Samoans Training Center, and the school's graduates include Paul Orndorff, Junkyard Dog, Luna Vachon, Michael P.S. Hayes, Yokozuna, Bam Bam Bigelow, Rikishi, Sherri Martel, Virgil, Billy Kidman, Gene Snisky, Chris Kanyon and Batista if you stop and take a look at that list even just as there trainer doesnt the guy deserve to be in under his own name instead of in under a team name?  In 1999, Sika started up XW 2000, an independent wrestling promotion based in Pensacola, Florida. From 1999 until 2008 and again since 2010, the promotion has run family-oriented wrestling shows. The point is that clearly both men have put a lot into the world of wrestling and I kind of feel they should have both gotten individual moments to shine in a hall of fame ceremony.

OK so I left Jim Ross till last, he was a longtime lead announcer for WWF/E, WCW and other regional promotions; he was the Head of WWF Talent Relations during the Attitude Era,and he signed many well known wrestlers. Good Old JR is often considerd one of if not the greatest wrestling commentators of all time and for good reason the man is a real head of his field. Is he my favourate not quiet I think I would have to give that honour to Bobby the Brain Heenan but I still hold a whole heap of respect for Ross. Ross is a legend not just in the WWE but in the world of wrestling in general. His career in the world of wrestling started in NWA Tri-State tettitory and stayed there from 1974–1987 (the name for this promotion changed to Mid-South Wrestling) he started as a referee and then became a commentator as well as there Vice President of Marketing. He was also a commentator for Crocket promotions, world championship wreslting, Smokey Mountain Wrestling. The majority of his career was spent as a commentator with the WWE though, and it wasnt just wrestling, when they tried to branch out with the XFL, a professional football league Ross, who had previously gained experience announcing for the Atlanta Falcons was used. Entire books could be dedicated to what the man did for both the fans and the business while in the WWE. The truth is that when Jim Ross was put in the Hall of Fame he fully deserved it but he didnt stop there he did so much after and id like to draw some attention to a little of that. In 2013, Ross began to coach and produce new announcers at the WWE Performance Center in Florida.The man wasnt content with having been possibly the greatest announcer of our time no he wanted to try and make sure that fans in the future would get to experiance exciting profesional commentery. Ross also went on to become an English Language commentator for New Japan Pro Wrestling and to also provided commentary for What Culture Pro Wrestling's iPPV Refuse to Lose, True Destiny and for some of WCPW's Loaded tapings.

I cant be very critical of this year at all, I think it was another very impressive set of inductees  any year that see's the introduction of talent on the levels of Dusty, Curt Henning, Mr Fuji and Jim Ross clearly has a lot going for it.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Snes Review 125: Actraiser

Now what if I was to tell you that there was a game which took the core ingredients of something like Castlevania and Sim City and mixed them together? Sounds a little bit strange doesn't it but that's exactly what Actraiser did, it was 1 half action mixed with 1 half god sim now usually I would string things out and try to wait to the end to give a verdict but I cant help but turn around and instantly say that the game is overall amazing, I wanted to give myself a treat to play for my 125th SNES Review but I also wanted to talk about a game which I feel is missing from the upcoming Mini Classic SNES and this firmly ticks both of those boxes (I will also touch upon why I think they didnt look at putting this game on the system).

ActRaiser known in Japan as Akutoreizā) was developed by Quintet. Now this is the first time I have touched upon Quintet in my review series so I just want to stop and talk a little bit about them. Actraiser was actually there first game, they were a Japanese video game developer, founded in April 1989 with there name being taken from musical terminology. In the world of music a Quintet is a group consisting of 5 members it was used here as there name referring to the 5 elements of game design which they laid out as being  planning, graphics, sound, programmers and producers. They were at there most active during the 1990s, when they had a very strong relationship with Enix (Who are not part after there merger of the company referd to as Square Enix), and really are best known for the games Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma, which is often referd to as  "Soul Blazer Trilogy", one of which I own and will be reviewing at somepoint. The current status of Quintet is unclear but evidence suggests that it rather quietly died around 2000 to 2002 which is a cracking shame, one would imagine that SquareEnix hold the rights to this game although with only one sequel which was released a very long time ago I wouldn't hold out for any more entries to the series.

OK so lets start with the plot, the story in Japan follows God, altered in America and Europe to The Master in his fight against Satan which was altered to Tanzra in Europe and America. These alterations were done because Nintendo of America had a strict policy regarding game content in the early 1990s which prohibited things which might be considered offensive including religious themes and plotlines. The game and its story is so seeped in religion though that this papering over things doesn't really alter anything you might be called The Master but when you travel the globe in a palace situated on the top of a cloud, accompanied by your little angel companion slaying demons, performing miracles creating life and hearing the prayers of your followers you would have to be pretty dumb to not work out who you are and whats going on. The basic story is that you had your behind handed to you by Tanzra and his lieutenants (all of which are based on real life religion or mythological creatures) so you retreated to your sky palace to tend to your wounds but now after several hundred years your back and you need to beat Tanzra's lieutenants one by one to free the people, then you need to answer the people prayers to power up enough to wipe the evil from the land. This is probably why the game wasn't chosen to be put on the Mini Nes Classic, after all we are at a time when people seem to be even more easy to offend particularly when it comes to religion, so it was probably a much easier and safer route picking something not so grounded in the biblical.

With there being two different types of gameplay in this game I guess I need to look at each of them on its own and then talk about how they feel sitting side by side each other. I will start with the platforming combat based sections. The easiest thing I can say is that they are very good, the weapon-wielding combat and the platform jumping feels very straightforward with good clean responsive controls and tight gameplay, you never feel like the controls are letting you down or that your being asked to do anything which is not possible you feel totally in control and you feel powerful. You run, you jump and attack your way through forests, caves and castles and you just simply feel that your right there in the game. There are apples which refill your life meter, and 1ups to grab and at the end of every stage there is a boss battle against a beast and like I said before there mythical so your going to see things like Centaurs and Minotaurs all in all its not to dissimilar to Super Castlevania IV a game I have previously praised.

So what about the god sim part of the game how does that play? Well its fun, simple and kind of laid back. It controls easily, its obvious what you have to do, its fun to play but compared to the above platforming and battling its just really chill, you control a little angel character who controls the direction you build in, your attacked by little devil characters as you build but you can shoot them with your angel they will however keep coming back, to stop this you have to guide your villagers to the lair they are coming from and then they will seal this. Once all the monster lairs are sealed and you have made the people happy they will ask you to banish the evil from there land and you will go back to a platforming level. The two styles of play mesh really well together as one is more frantic and the other is more relaxing, going from one to the other really breaks up the flow and stops things from feeling repetitive. In a lot of games were they tried to do more than one game type at a time   it led to you just getting a game which didn't really have any strengths but both parts of this game could stand perfectly well on there own, infact Actraisers only sequel (on the SNES as well) decided to get rid of the sim part and just try to build on the platforming.

Something I need to talk about with Actraiser is the sound or to be more precise the music. The games score was composed by Yuzo Koshiro, yes that Yuzo Koshiro famous for his work on the Revenge of Shinobi and the Streets of Rage series. The game came out within six months of the SNES's launch and in my opinion it proved more than any other game the audio potential of the machine, with a Soundtrack CD being released in Japan. A medley of the music from Actraiser arranged by the original composer was performed live at the second annual Symphonic Game Music Concert in Leipzig, Germany, yeah its that good, I would say its right up there with the likes of Zelda A link to the past.

Just a quick note about graphics before I some things up, although I will admit that your main character sprite is quiet basic I think overall the graphics present in this game are rather good, you have lots of rich colours with multilayers backgrounds and large bosses, the game has a very good style to it and although its not the best looking game its very functional and I feel it has aged well. The thing is everything within this game just gels together so well, when you have frantic levels you have frantic music, when things are calmer the music is calmer, everything just blends together perfectly and this is why I have to do something you wont see me do very often and that is to give this game a solid 10 out of 10. The copy I have is actually from my own childhood, its a Pal copy and its still got its box and manual, if you want to try it the bad news is the game does tend to demand a price, its usually around £30 for a loose pal cartridge you could get a Japanese cart only copy on the cheap but there are quiet a few diffrences with the game from region to region in terms of difficulty but also you will miss out a bit with the language barrier but you could possibly muddle your way through. This is one game though where I would say sod it its worth every penny, its worth noting the game did make its way on to the Wii Virtual console so it could raise its head again for either the New 3DS or Switch and that would be a cheaper way of experiancing it.