Saturday, December 29, 2007

Top 10 Baby Names

So the results are in and some baby website has released its lists of the top 10 baby names for boys and girls. And here they are from 1 to 10, reproduced without permission and frankly, to the BabyCenter, if you care? Fuck you.

Top 10 Girl Names
1. Sophia
2. Isabella
3. Emma
4. Madison
5. Ava
6. Addison
7. Hailey
8. Emily
9. Kaitlyn
10. Olivia

Top 10 Boy Names
1. Aiden
2. Ethan
3. Jacob
4. Jayden
5. Caleb
6. Noah
7. Jackson
8. Jack
9. Logan
10. Matthew

I'm not surprised at some of them. 10 and 9 are Matthew and Logan, which is the first two names of my nephew. I know someone who has a Jayden...I think. Jacob's a popular name.

I'm mostly concerned about the girls' names. Olivia? Sophia? I have NEVER met a Sophia. They don't even have Elisabeth?

Noah is number 6 for boys. I was friends with a Noah in high school. One day before school started I ran into a guy who looked like him and after trying to talk to him found out that it was someone else. It was weird because this guy looked EXACTLY like him except more punkish. It was like being friends with someone and then meeting his evil twin. Like a soap opera, except he wasn't carrying my baby. I REALLY need to get out of my head.

Anyway, I have also never, EVER met an Aiden. I'm pretty sure I haven't because I'm certain I'd remember some crazy shit like that. And I'm to believe that Aiden has been the number 1 baby name for 3 years? I call bullshit.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Top 5 List: The Most Badass Video Game Characters

Okay, Sedalb, listen up. It's time for school to start. Here are the top 5 most badass video game characters.

5. Kratos; God of War Series
Kratos is one bad mamma jamma. But, like Devil May Cry's Dante, the game's designers simply try too hard. Don't get me wrong, I think he's awesome. He would've scored number one if it weren't so damn difficult to take him seriously. Besides, fanboys, at least he made the list. There's got to be thousands of video game characters out there; to make the top 5 is still a huge honor.

4. Caim; Drakengard Series
"Furiae! Oh, Furiae!" Going mute was the best thing that could happen to this guy. But once he does he becomes awesome. At the very least he manages not to wet himself as the universe quite literally falls apart around him. Between giant severed heads raining from the sky, little girls that speak in baritone, and horrors too terrible to describe, he keeps his stoic calm. The only thing stopping him from getting higher on the list is the memories of his whiny ass crying out for his girlfriend in the first level.

3. Maria Renard; Castlevania Series
Maria Renard is the cutest little summoner you ever will see, wether she's tossing kittens at the enemy or hiding under a giant turtle shell. But then she burns off 50 hearts to summon a screen-wiping dragon god that kills even bosses nearly instantly. She makes the list mostly for being tougher than Richter Belmont despite being half his age. She keeps her cute charm after growing up in Symphony of the Night and adds some sex appeal to the mix.

2. Slayer; Guilty Gear Series
This one's for all those people who liked vampires before they heard of Anne Rice. Slayer is proof that vampires don't have to be brooding emo kids. They can also be super badass. Slayer is suave and laid back, but brutal in combat, just the way a vampire should be. Wether winning or losing he manages to still look cool and for that he gets a spot in the Top 5 Most Badass.

1. Iron Ox/Honda Tadakatsu; Devil Kings Series
Known as one of the most fearsome warriors in feudal Japan, Honda Tadakatsu was a loyal servant of the otherwise unlikable Tokugawa Ieyasu. In video game land, he's been a tough-as-nails boss and kicked Lu Bu's ass (several times!) in Orochi Warriors. But the incarnation that earns him Most Badass is that in Devil Kings/Sengoku Basara. Iron Ox laughs at Hard Mode; he takes next to no damage from enemies, kills even bosses in no time, and has a special attack that has to be seen to be believed. He's so badass even getting ordered around by a midget can't harsh his cool. That's why he's number 1.



Annotation From The Future:

With regards to number 2, you remember back when Anne Rice was still the worst thing to ever happen to vampires? The lamest vampire to ever un-live was Lestate, not Ed Cullen, and the words "sparkle" and "vampire" were almost never seen in the same sentence.

I've mentioned this before, but it is always astounding just how low the bar can be set. I still remember how people used to mock American Idol, truly believing that it was the lowest American pop-culture could ever get. Then shows like Jersery Shore and Flavor of Love came out and it was like their entire worldview was shattered into pieces. If American Idol was absolute crap, then what is The Hills? How do you even define it on that scale?

Similarly, before Twilight came out we all honestly believed that Rice's brooding emo vampires, crying about how they don't want to drink blood, were the absolute bottom of the barrel. Now we all look back on it as a time when vampires were actually more dignified, more cool.

It makes me wonder and kind of worry, what horrible place could vampires reach in the future, where people will look back and say with 100% sincerity "man, I seriously miss those stupid, sparkly leech people from Twilight."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Video Game Compare Review: Shining Force Neo vs. Exa

So there's two Shining Force games for the PS2, you say? Which is better, you ask? What's that? You didn't say or ask either of those? You don't care? Well that's too bad, because here's another strap-you-to-your-chair-and-pry-your-eyelids-open video game review!


Shining Force Neo
Released in 2005, Shining Force Neo is the first of the Shining Force games on the PS2 and departs from the tactical RPG style typical of Shining Force to deliver a Diablo-style adventure game. Enemies are monsters which spawn from "monster generators". You must destroy a certain number of monsters or the generators will instantly regenerate.

Gameplay: 2/5
Shining Force Neo is a game that is nice to reviewers like me. A lot of 2 and 3 games get the rating because they're decidedly average and are therefore hard to describe. Shining Force Neo gets a 2 on gameplay because it both sucks and is good at the same time. Gameplay is interesting and combat is responsive and fun. On the other hand, monster generators are EVERYWHERE, take forever to destroy, and usually must be destroyed to continue. This gets tiresome fast.

Story: 5/5
Shining Force Neo takes place a couple decades after a war between light and darkness. As usual, the darkness was sealed away but not destroyed and now the darkness is reawakening again. A cliche premise, but well executed with interesting twists and developments. Characters are interesting, if typically anime-ish. I actually felt bad when Max's dad died near the beginning. It's not a Hemmingway novel, but it's as good as you can expect from a video game. My only real complaint is the gameplay will frustrate you so much and the story won't keep you involved enough to keep playing.

Base: 4/5
The "team base" has been in all the Shining Force games and Neo's is particularly good. You can warp back at any time. Although there's very little in base the town attached to it has everything you need, from the "Force Art" engraver (along with levelling up this is how you increase your abilities) to the shop. Nice enough.

Main Character: 4/5
While the story-related aspects of Max are okay (he's the typical average hero) his gameplay-related aspects are also decidedly average. He can equip and use any weapon, cast any spell his weapon has, and equip any armor. It's a tad unrealistic but allows for a great deal of customization.

Total: 15/20


Shining Force Exa
Released in early 2007, Exa is Neo's successor. Unlike Neo, which got a T for Teen, Shining Force Exa is rated E for Everyone. Maybe it's because Toma's dad doesn't die. But I'd like to think the werewolf in bondage would be worth a few points. It doesn't help that the coloration of his facial fur kinda looks like he's wearing a muzzle. But if Xemnas can get past the censors I guess Duga can too.

Gameplay: 4/5
Gameplay is vastly improved over Shining Force Neo. You'll find the same hack-n-slash combat on display here. While monster generators are still in use and prevalent there's nowhere near the numbers there were in Neo and they don't take as long to destroy. Unfortunately, there's your base. It's awesome, but it can be attacked. And it will be. A lot. And you have to switch to your second player to defend it. Sometimes this will even happen when you're in the middle of a boss fight. This gets very annoying.

Story: 3/5
It's possible the story is lighter here because people complained. Like how Aeris's death in Final Fantasy 7 caused Square to turn Final Fantasy 8 into a soap opera. Or how the unrelenting parade of tragedy and maddening despair that was Final Fantasy Tactics caused Square to release what was basically a childrens' book with swords. I don't know. But whatever the case, Exa is a lot lighter. Almost kiddy. Characters are a lot more cliche. Just...meh.

Base: 5/5
Your base is awesome. Everything you need is in the main room so there's no running around town. Better, your base is upgradeable, has a built-in special attack, and a built-in random dungeon generator for when you've played through the game already. Very nice.

Main Characters: 4/5
Your characters are not nearly as customizable as Max was. The boy, Toma, equips swords and the girl, Cyrille, equips crossbows and books and casts magic. On the plus side, you have armor that actually changes your appearance. It did in Neo too, but the change in appearance in Neo was like the change in appearance in Diablo. Barely noticable. It's a lot more noticable here.

Total: 16/20


Verdict: Shining Force Exa Wins!

It was close and in the end Exa was only one point ahead, but in the end Exa wins sheerly for having less monster generators, less annoying five-million-levels-ahead-of-you side areas, and generally just better gameplay. I'd recommend playing Neo for the story, but if you want a game to just play go for Exa.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Youtube Idiot Review: Sedalb

We all know there's idiots on YouTube. Today I'd like to take the time to pay special honor to a special person in what will possibly become a regular feature here.

Let it be known that I do not mine for idiots, but when I come across them I've got to say something. So here is today's idiot!

Comment on the official teaser for Duke Nukem Forever:
Sedalb

Fuck yea!!!

The Duke never disappoints, the most badass VG character is back. That's right, more badass then Kratos, Cloud, and Master chief put together!


While this one post could likely give me an entire month of updates (especially given how often I update) I'll try to hold back.

Sedalb. The Duke disappointed us for TEN YEARS. Or did you forget that? And most badass? Please. I mean, maybe among your examples.

Kratos? Kratos is a badass. That's why I'm going to assume he doesn't mean the God of War version and is instead referring to Kratos Aurion from Tales of Symphonia. Sure that takes us in the wrong direction but it's funnier.

Cloud is the biggest bitchboy ever put in a video game. Do I even need to explain why? At least he didn't say Vincent. Not that Vincent's not a badass, but we want to avoid cliches.

And Master Chief. Again, not that MC isn't a badass but that's your third example? If you're trying to name hardcore video game heroes you suck AND fail. Kratos I could see. Cloud not at all. But by the time you say Master Chief then you're just blatantly dropping names at random.

Let it be recorded for posterity. The main character from Doom RIPS AND TEARS Duke Nukem a new one based solely on the Doom comic. And Sedalb is STILL A MORON.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Manga Review: Not a Review of Yuu Yuu Hakusho

HIEI ANNOYS THE CRAP OUT OF ME.

We get it, Hiei. You're the most powerful character in YuYu Hakusho. Ever. Godmoder.

You know, it's okay when he's doing crazy NPC stuff, like when the villain expects to win by numbers and he shows up like "oh, were those your guys I just beat up?" See, then, it's okay because he's just making the fight fair to the heroes.

He annoys me when he tries to be a hero and fight the villains, because that's when he does stupid shit like "oh, by the way I just cut your arm off and you didn't even realize it because I'm that fast."

Kurama's a godmoder too but at least he gets HURT sometimes. I don't think I've ever seen Hiei actually get hurt by an enemy. The only times he's ever been hurt was actually his own stupid fault for trying to be flashier than necesarry. Sometimes I think of stories as RPG games. And Hiei reminds me of that one character in every game that's played by the powergamer who figured out how to kill everything in one hit while still technically being at the same level as everyone else. When he gets hurt, this is the GM trying desperately to find a way to not let him kill the game. "Dude, GM, he just fried a FIRE ELEMENTAL with a giant dragon made of fire." "Oh...shit...um...spot ruling! Your arm is broken!"

Possibly the worst part is no explanation is given for this power. Okay, Kurama's an ancient fox demon and that's why he's powerful. Genkai's an old woman who's mastered martial arts over her life time and has a tremendous understanding of ki. Yusuke is Genkai's disciple. We get that. But Hiei has been stated multiple times to be nothing special. His evil eye is something he acquired, not developed, and his most powerful move isn't even really his own power. As far as we know he's just some punk demon who woke up one day, decided "I'm gonna go beat people up today," then instantly became infinitely more powerful than any demon, human, or god ever.

And that is why I hate Hiei's character.

On an unrelated note, this review marks the first ever book/magazine review on this blog. And that is why I posted to tell you I hate Hiei's character.

EDIT: Also, as my friend pointed out, Hiei is also a cheap Vegeta knockoff. Good God, they even have the same hair. Just to be fair I also have to mention, Hiei vs. Seiryu is the only way it could've happened. They're both instant-death-or-nothing characters. Had anyone else fought Seiryu, Seiryu would have won. It had to be Hiei and it had to be immediate. That said, that does not lessen my annoyance at that gyp of a boss fight. To put it simply, I hate Hiei for the same reason I hate mindflayers in DnD. He has no other settings besides "God" and "Off."

Friday, December 7, 2007

Video Game Review: Jewel Summoner

Today's game is Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner, an RPG where you capture and control monsters, similar to Pokemon. Unlike Pokemon, Jewel Summoner really sucks.

The story is rather decent if not cliched. I'd like the angst to be turned down, of course. "Tch" is not a sentence. It's not even a thought. Gameplay and presentation is where they lose all the marbles, though.

The art is rather good, admittedly, but all of your attacks look the same. How many times do I need to look at the same burst of fire/water/ice/whatever? Sound and music are okay. At least 75% of the game is voice acted, save for interactions with random townsfolk which are text. Problem? They fall short on the voice acting a LOT. It's passable at best and terrible at worst. Video game makers, listen to me. The Zelda games have never used voice acting and they're still good. Voice acting is good, but not a neccesity. If you can't do it right then just don't bother.

The monsters on display here are uninspired and rather lame. There's not a hint of the variety seen in Pokemon or even Dragon Warrior Monsters. We've got several varieties of kirin, a few dragons, some wolves... a caterpillar... turtles... come on. Even Dragon Warrior Monsters does better than that.

On the topic of gameplay, what's up with the lag? Making a crappy game is one thing, but seriously what's the deal? Video game lag is forgivable sometimes; a high-end game ported to a handheld is one thing, as is a computer game where the specs for every system are different so programmers have no choice but to guess at what sort of resources they'll be dealing with. But this is a PSP only game. The programmers KNEW what the capabilities of the system they'd be dealing with were and purposefully designed a game that the system couldn't handle.

KR Rating from The Future: [2] BAD

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Documentary Review: Okay, We Get It.

You don't like video games.

Look, folks. I have nothing to say about this honestly. I've said it all before and let's face it, none of these people are going to read what I'm writing. But I promised my friend I'd do it so here we go.

Ahem...

SHUT UP. YOU'RE WRONG AND NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY ANYWAY.

"Violence has always been with us, but we've recognized it as a vice, not a virtue."

Oh? Were we recognizing violence as a vice back in Ancient Rome where they forced slaves to brutally dismember and kill each other for the peoples' amusement? Were we recognizing violence as a vice in Sengoku era Japan when it was considered preferable to disembowel yourself rather than accept defeat to a worthy adversary? What about when we stone a woman in Afghanistan because one inch of her wrist was showing for all of one second? How about the sacking of Carthage when they sprinkled the earth with salt to make sure the land itself would die? Several crusades where men butchered women and children in the name of God all over some grudge between two kings?

"We don't want to regulate games or force you to use a ratings system."

And yet you instituted a system where a team of people who would never even play games on their own because they hate them are allowed to have unchecked and unlimited censor control over this art form. A system where a game can be rated based on illegal modifications other people have made, and where a single man can defy the Constitution of the United States by banning free expression. An AO rating means a game can not be sold in stores, which is an instant death sentence for any game, and the Game Nazis at ESRB can hand out this rating at will.

"If men could sit in front of a flight simulator and learn enough about flying planes to fly them into the world trade center then what do you think will happen when a 9 year old sits in front of a first person shooter that rewards him for killing cops?"

Ah yes, Random Cop Killer 64. A rare game, mostly because it doesn't exist. People like this have these crazy ideas of what games are that are totally incorrect. It's like when I was a kid and my dad tried to tell me all rap music was about men smoking weed with their mothers.

What they also forget is that video games didn't make 9/11 happen. The hijackers may have learned to fly planes from playing flight simulator games, I don't know. But they didn't get the idea from the game. They had the idea, the game gave them the knowhow to execute it. Knowhow they also could have gotten from any book or instructor. And Hell, I'll be totally honest with you here: if you're planning on crashing it anyway I can't imagine flying a plane would be all that difficult. You could probably just wing it, considering the only really hard stuff is the takeoffs and landings, neither of which they had to do.

"There's going to be a Columbine-like event, maybe to the factor of ten. Then there's going to be a human cry within the Halls of Congress to ban these games altogether."

And then beautiful unicorns will dance through the meadows and it will rain sugarplums and pixie sticks! Oh, and while we're in Fantasyland, let's have Jennifer Lopez suck my dick and give me fifty million dollars.

By the way, if this is the kind of stuff you fantasize about, you need some rehab, dude.

Top 5 List: Top 5 Ways to Survive a Fiction Story

So you're a fictional character who's finally gotten a story of your own. Great! But studies have shown that many fictional characters who appear in stories end up dieing. But now you don't have to! Just follow this simple advice.

5. Don't be sweet, cute, or funny.
The best way to make the audience hate the villain is to have the villain murder the sweet, innocent cutie. Meanwhile, the jerk everyone hates lives forever. Don't be likable or you will die tragically.

4. Don't burn bridges with the hero.
If you absolutely positively HAVE to betray the hero, don't be a douche. If the phrase "I always hated you" even comes into your brain you'd might as well save us all time and just kill yourself.

3. Don't set up a situation where your death would be ironic.
There was some really crappy movie which name I can't be bothered to remember where one of the characters once said "don't say you'll be right back or you won't." Or something along those lines. Point is, if you ever set up a situation where your death would be an ironic coincidence you will die.

2. Don't be expendable or important.
Above all else, make certain that the enemy knows you're important. If you seem like a random mook you will be killed and no one will care. Just the same, make sure the enemy knows you're expendable. If they think you're important they'll kill you. It's a little arbitrary and totally impossible but there you go.

1. Sleep with the writer.
No fatties.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Video Game Review: Ghost of a Good Premise

Today's game review is of the Playstation 2 title Phantom Brave. Released nearly four years ago (let it never be said I'm not on the cutting edge of the hottest new games) Phantom Brave is one of those games that's a little hard to parse.

In Phantom Brave you play a chroma, a person with ties to the spirit world who uses them to fight. But your chroma isn't like the others who use their spirit energy to blow crap up and do cool stuff. Your girl's power is to summon the spirits of the dead to fight for her.

On paper, this is a good game. The spirits you summon can be merged with other spirits (typically you would merge items onto characters to give the characters new attacks) and upgraded, allowing a good deal of customization.

Phantoms, once created, are summoned into battle by confining them to pieces of the environment, which will alter their stats based on what you confine them to. For example, summoning onto a rock will give the character increased HP and attack, but decreased speed, wheras a flower might give increased speed and intelligence, but decreased attack. This, along with a limited summon time for all troops, means you'll end up needing to use a lot of strategy.

Better, a random dungeon feature allows for extended gameplay beyond the end of the game.

Unfortunately, without spending dozens of weeks building your party you will find most fights completely impossible. Phantoms, dungeons, and equipment are all created randomly, so you'll have to go in and out of the menu option dozens upon dozens of times to get a good one. And oh yeah, customization takes a LONG TIME. Even the simplest of customizations will cost hundreds of mana and bordreax (the game's currency) and, oh yes, you won't GET mana much faster than maybe 20 or 30 a battle and after healing you'll likely end up with no money left. So unless you have the willpower to keep playing this game for years and years you'll pretty much be stuck with a lame party for the game.

The random dungeon feature, while described as "the best way to get money and mana" actually COSTS more money than it earns, since you'll have to pay thousands upon thousands of bordreax JUST TO LEAVE WHEN YOU'RE DONE.

The storyline, of course, WILL piss you off. Your main character catches more crap than a port-a-potty from every single other character and the game through no fault of her own and JUST SITS THERE AND TAKES IT. And even when you finally get to beat up the people who hurt you, they just sort of ignore you and walk away. This is just because the game is apparently not allowed to let you feel any satisfaction with the story at all.

This game has a good premise and can be a good game, but when every single element of the game seems purposely designed to piss you the fuck off it's really hard to care.

KR Rating from The Future: [4] GOOD

Again, I gave the game crap, but when I look back now I think a lot of it might just be the fact that I didn't understand the system. As I said, it is a really cool idea and the spirit merging system provides an amazing amount of customization. For example, you could merge the spirit of a fire-elemental sword onto a character spirit in order to give him increased strength and fire-based attacks. You could even go so far as to merge a potted plant onto a character to give him plant-element moves.

Really, though, the storyline is extremely frustrating nonetheless, and is the one reason this game just can't receive a 5 no matter what.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Website Review: Better than a Dictionary

The words of the day are Free Rice dot com.

FreeRice.com is a website where you try to match vocabulary words to their synonyms. As you play, vocabulary words get harder and harder. The game itself is rather simplistic and sometimes their synonyms are incorrect. But that's not really the point of the website.

What is the point? Unless you checked out the link you're probably wondering why a vocabulary game is called Free Rice. Well, the reason is because for every word you match correctly the site will donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations, to be sent to third world countries. And before you ask, a quick check on Snopes would seem to show they are indeed legitimate.

Now, normally I'm against these sorts of sites. They encourage complacency. Why donate real money, food, or time when you can just play word games for a minute and get the same cozy feeling, after all? But when it is this easy it's hard not to jump at the chance to play for a few hundred grains of rice. Just remember that even if they're real, they're not a substitute for actual aid. I'll never tell anyone to give until it hurts, but give what you can.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Video Game Review: Dracula X Chronicles

One of the things I like about Castlevania is the multitude of enemies with interesting attacks and tactics. In level 3 you'll find the Armor Knight, an enemy in armor that weilds a spear. In a normal game, a spear-weilding enemy would walk around and damage you if you touch it. In a good game, he might jab a little. In Dracula X Chronicles he will stab in four directions, slice for extra reach, and block your attacks. And that's a random mook.

Dracula X Chronicles for the PSP has a simple enough premise. It's a 2.5d remake of the previously Japan-only Castlevania game Chi no Rondo, or Rondo of Blood.

The good is obvious. Enemy AI is good. Presentation is beautiful. All the visuals have been rerendered and voices rerecorded.

The bad news is noticable only after you play a little while. While the presentation has gotten a revamp gameplay really hasn't. And that's not entirely a good thing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Castleroid-maniac or anything. But what the old school fanboys sometimes fail to realize is that old games were not hard because of smart enemies or anything. They were hard because they were poorly programmed with near-impossible jumps en masse, tiny hitboxes on attacks, and often players would die simply by random happenstance such as an enemy that just happens to turn right before you jump or an enemy respawning right where you're standing. Dracula X Chronicles doesn't really change that. Controls are VERY unforgiving and this game will require lots of luck and lots of tries to beat, assuming you can stand the annoying game over screen which, oh yeah, forces you to look at it for a good minute or two.

There's three unlockable games included as well: the original unaltered Rondo of Blood, Symphony of the Night (the first Castleroid and still widely regarded as the best game of the franchise), and a game called Peke that was originally an add-on for Chi no Rondo.

My advice: unlock Symphony of the Night as early as possible and play the shit out of it. You'll enjoy it a lot more than the game they wanted you to play. Hell, if any Castlevania game SHOULD have gotten this 2.5 update it's Symphony of the Night.

KR Rating from The Future: [4] GOOD

Monday, November 5, 2007

Television Review: Cops Gone Wild

You know, I've seen some fucked up shit on Cops before, but at least it's usually from the perps.

I don't think I've ever seen anything more fucked up then the time they tried to arrest a woman simply for...well, basically for not wanting to die. The police went to a grocery store parking lot and held a fake drug deal and when a random bystander didn't immediately jump in and try to stop it they jumped her and told her they were going to impound her car. When she told them she needed the car to take her kids to and from school they threatened to take her kids away and told her she was lucky she wasn't being arrested. For what? Being intelligent enough to know that an unarmed 30-year-old woman isn't a match for 4 heavily armed drug dealers?

Of course, I've lived in the United States long enough to know a good portion of our laws are only meant to keep people from having fun, so it's not that surprising to see the cops do stupid shit when pot or hookers are involved. Shit like pulling over a man and arresting him simply for being in a part of town known for hookers and drug deals. I'm not saying he wasn't after a prostitute, but when you haven't seen the guy do anything you can't arrest him for what he might do. You're not Dick Tracy. It doesn't work for you.

Of course police are also not paramedics so watching them stand around and question a guy who's just been shot in the back four times isn't that surprising, given the ambulance wasn't there yet.

It's all kind of expected. We know the police fuck up sometimes. But guys, when you show ALL THREE of these in one episode, it's going to take a lot more than saving a family of cute* racoons stuck in someone's chimney to save your reputation.

*Also, guys? Racoons are not cute. They're filthy vermin. They are highly aggressive and will attack people and pets, often spreading deadly diseases such as rabies. They break into homes and businesses, causing property damage in their search for food. In the end, you just released a bunch of horrible little monsters back into the world to cause further pain. Way to go.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Video Game Review: Monster Hunter Freedom 2

Yeah, I figured it's time I actually do a real review for a change. And this time it's about Monster Hunter Freedom 2 for the PSP. Monster Hunter Freedom 2 is an odd game to parse. There are few games as beautifully presented as Monster Hunter Freedom 2. There are few games as fun, deep, and rewarding as Monster Hunter 2. There are few games as brain-crunchingly annoying that will keep you screaming at the top of your lungs for the creators of the game to die and burn in Hell as Monster Hunter 2.

Don't get me wrong. As I stated, Monster Hunter Freedom 2 is a very beautifully presented game, with truely breath-taking environments, realistic looking monsters, and a very good audio track that adds to the gameplay without distracting from it. The game itself is also truely massive and reqarding with over 250 missions, 70 monsters, 700 weapons, and 1400 pieces of armor. This can in fact be a very fun game.

On the downside the game itself presents very little new if you've already played Monster Hunter or Monster Hunter Freedom. In all honesty Monster Hunter Freedom 2 plays more like an expansion than a new game. Not that that makes it bad in any way and in fact I would encourage fans of Monster Hunter to buy this.

That said, Monster Hunter -the entire series- is also one of the most mind-numbingly frustrating games ever. Until you have good equipment you will find every boss monster to be so vastly overpowered as to be almost unbeatable. And don't think items will help. (Why must I pose for five seconds every time I drink a health potion, Capcom?) I can not stress the following enough: if you are the kind of person who has a tendency to throw the controller while playing a game DO NOT BUY, RENT, OR PLAY MONSTER HUNTER. You will end up with a broken PSP and an aneurysm.

KR Rating from The Future: [4] GOOD

Monday, September 17, 2007

Six years later, and they won't shutup.

I was hoping I could ignore September 11th this year, but it's now September 17th and people are still talking to me about so I guess I'll take this time to finally say how I feel.

September 11th was a bad thing. Obviously. It's always bad when people die, especially in large numbers. But I can not stand the reactions to it, be it the smug superiority or the hushed reverence. Let's take some time to debunk some of the more common bullshit.

We never saw it coming!
In 1992 Osama bin Laden bombed a hotel in Yemen in an attempt to kill American troops, but only succeeding in killing an Austrian guest at the hotel and a muslim employee. In response he issued a fatwa, stating that anyone near his enemy becomes his enemy.

In 1998, he and Al-Zwahiri co-signed a fatwa stating it was the sworn duty of all muslims to kill all Americans and anyone near Americans.

In 1993 the World Trade Center was hit by a car bomb in its basement, planted by muslim extremists. Osama bin Laden is reported as announcing afterwards that he would attack the towers himself and when he did they would fall.

Prior to September 11th, muslim hatred of the United States grew more and more. Jihadist leaders, including Osama bin Laden, issued repeated threats and demands which were all ignored, leading to escalated threats and demands.

So when you say we never saw this coming, I'm forced to ask...did you think he was joking?

This was the greatest tragedy in world/American history!
If only Osama bin Laden would do it 100 more times then the number of deaths would be ALMOST equal to those from the Rwanda massacre. You know, that thing you never heard about?

To put it even more into perspective, we'd need ten 9/11 type events in one year just to equal the number of people who die every year from drunk driving accidents.

The 9/11 attacks were a drop in the pond. They were the worldwide equivalent of getting a bruise on the playground. And yet six years later you're still moping about September 11th like it was the single greatest horror in world history.

If you want to know just exactly how small it was, take a look at wikipedia's list of wars and disasters by death toll and remember this: September 11th only killed 2,752 people.

Bill Clinton never did anything to catch Osama bin Laden.
Untrue. Bill Clinton did a LOT to catch Osama bin Laden, he just didn't base his entire presidency on it like George Bush has. Osama was indicted by grand jury twice in 1998 following his fatwa and first few successful attacks on Americans and in 1999 was added to the FBI's Most Wanted Fugitives list.

In 1998 President Clinton ordered a freeze on all assets possibly linked to bin Laden and signed an executive order for his assassination, almost starting an international incident when a cruise missile attack failed to kill bin Laden but succeeded in killing 19 civilians. After multiple attempts at assassination and extradition failed, Clinton convinced the UN to impose economic sanctions against Afghanistan in 1999 until they released bin Laden to US custody.

Muslims hate America because they're evil/jealous/whatever other nonsense.
Nonsense. Muslims hate America for a good reason. Following World War II the western world became obsessed with boundaries and stability in countries. We went to the middle east and set up national boundaries, forcing rival factions who had previously kept to themselves to share countries, thus causing unrest. We overthrew their kings, threw out their entire way of life, and installed brutal, tyrannical puppet dictators loyal to us and armed them with weapons of mass destruction to use against their own people. (To quote Paul Mooney, when asked why George W. Bush is so sure Hussein had weapons of mass destruction: "Because he has the receipt.") To enforce the new boundaries we desecrated muslim holy ground by building military bases on holy sites. Finally, we gave their land and their holy city to a group of people who they have hated for thousands of years.

As if that's not enough, America is simply full of itself. There is a willful ignorance of the world around us. The mere fact that the bolded statements I've taken the time to debunk here are so popularly expressed that they needed to be debunked is proof of that. Our understanding of the world around us is based on ignorant speculation and propaganda, yet we still think ourselves the world's police force. How can we fix what we don't understand, especially when we can't even fix our own moral, spiritual, and economic problems?

And THAT - not evil or jealousy - is why a third of the world absolutely despises us.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Video Game Review: More greatest hits: Maverick Hunter X.

It's Mega Man X! The first one! Again! Yes, Capcom has gone back to its roots. Anyone who says "No, they did that in Powered Up." is going to make me really angry and I'll whine and cry and storm away and you'll be left going "What! What did I say!"

The entire game has been redone, although levels and enemies are mostly the same, all the sprites have been made into 3D models, and the backgrounds, while still flat, are now beautifully rendered. The game has also had lots of plot added, with cutscenes and boss speeches. And because I know it'll make the old fans like me happy, I'd like to report that gameplay has been left the same. And once you beat the game you unlock a short, 20 minute anime movie about X's days as a Maverick Hunter and Sigma's descent into maverickdom.

Also, Chill Penguin apparently has the voice box of Gilbert Gottfried. First Iago and now Chill Penguin. I'm beginning to suspect something.

If there's a con to this game it's that it's very short and the fact that it's easier than the original means that you'll likely beat it quickly, especially if you played the original as much as I did. To remedy this, Capcom took a page from HAL's book on extending playability by adding Vile mode, a mode where you play as Megaman's Boba Fett-lookalike enemy, Vile. Unlike Meta Knightmare, however, Vile mode has new cutscenes, redisgned levels, and a vastly different gameplay style which will make Vile mode actually worth playing through to the end.

Speaking of Vile mode, anyone who still doubts the sexual orientation of...well, pretty much anyone involved with the X franchise ever and thinks one or two of them might be straight, will be shut up right quick when they get a look at the...loving detail put into Vile's ass. And since Vile's stand animation has his back to you when facing right (opposed to X who turns his back on you when facing left, which you rarely do) you'll be seeing an awful lot of Vile's ass. Don't think I'm happy about that.

All in all, Capcom actually did a VERY good job. Hey, say what you will about Capcom. Lord knows I have. But I've always said that they are NOT incapable of producing quality work, they just rarely choose to do it. They tend to lose sight of their goals and let their games slip into stagnation quite often (ie. look at the huge gap in quality between MMX4 and MMX6), and their worst games have been truely horrible. But there's two sides to every coin and their good games can in fact be counted among the greatest games of all time.

It's just too bad most of their effort went into VILE'S ASS.

KR Rating from The Future: [5] GREAT

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What pole?




The second most hilarious thing about this picture is that the name of the boat is the Temporary Insanity.

The first most hilarious thing about this picture is that the name of the boat is the Temporary Insanity II. Did you wrap the first one around a pole too, jackass?



I know, I know, there's the obvious question: are jackhammers worse than the cigarette she's puffing on. The saddest thing about this picture, though, is that this was taken just a few blocks from my house.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Top 5 List: What I've Learned That the Villains Haven't.

5. The arms race will never work in your advantage.
As soon as you come up with a weapon that the heroes can not stand up to their tech team will come up with something even better that you can't stand up to. The trick is, don't go bigger, go different. Awesome is hereby defined as someone who leads the heroes through a vast dungeon filled with fire and lava, then after they've got enough energy resistance to make themselves practically immune to fire, hits them with LIGHTNING for instant death.

4. The size of the force against you is inversely proportionate to how scared you should be.
If Saddam Hussein could fuck with the UN for years there's no reason to call a red alert when they come after you. Movies and real life have taught us that the heriarchy of effectiveness goes from Masked Vigilante to Secret Agent to Navy Seal to Suspended Officer to Detroit PD to LAPD to FBI. By the time you've got the UN or Interpol involved an old woman in a wheelchair with a cap gun is a more formidable opponent. The true threat to you is not the army, but a small force infiltrating your compound and killing you in your sleep.

With that in mind, let's work on your security. Ventilation systems should be too small for a human to fit through. The door should not be guarded by idiots who let in anyone wearing the right uniform, but a DNA scanner which can determine 100% who is and isn't one of your guys. Finally, security cameras should be everywhere in your compound. They should face the correct way at all times and should be shielded against electromagnetism and whatever other clever devices the enemy has.

3. You're better off as a human.
Be it Voltron, Power Rangers, or any other show where humanoid villains assume giant monster forms, it's always the same. They're almost always winning when they decide to take giant monster form. At that point the fight usually lasts about 30 more seconds before the villain's horrifyingly brutal death.

Here's another thought. When Voltron Force assembles, or the Power Rangers form the Megazord, that's when you get OUT of giant form and then fly your tiny ass over there, get inside, and blow them up with a nuclear bomb or something. Those giant robots are packed with weapons that can kill giant enemies, but nothing against tiny ones. Seriously, haven't you seen Star Wars? Also, they probably won't even look for tiny you. They'll be looking around saying "Stay tight, gang. He must've turned invisible. He's right nearby, I can smell it! Hey, what's this? He's on the Megazo--" BANG!

My realizing this does, however, make me exactly as smart as the Green Ranger. One of the few good villains out there.

2. Your underlings are not mooks.
I know it might not be evil enough, but your underlings would be more loyal if you didn't view them as expendable. Also, it would be cheaper and more effective to keep one group of hirelings kept up, healthy, well-equipped, and well-trained, rather than just hiring on meat puppets by the truckload. Replacing your workforce with robots or zombies may solve the first problem (loyalty), but it exacerbates the second. Zombies are known to be weak and easily burned. Also, they stink and tend to rot and fall apart. Well preserved, a zombie might last you a month. And robots? The construction of one robot alone is the same as a year's upkeep for 100 humans. And that's not even counting the upkeep for said robot which is even more than a person would cost.

Also, on the topic of Star Wars...how are all the Storm Troopers terrible shots? Really, how? THEY'RE CLONES. They're genetically engineered in a lab. You can give them ANY TRAITS YOU WANT and you chose to make them completely skilless with the only weapon you give them? That's RETARDED. (Also, aren't they cloned from the best shot in the entire galaxy?)

1. When your enemy has racked up a monstrous body count before you, a non-violent resolution is usually in order.
Maybe Superman and Batman have codes against killing, but when you're going up against a foe who has a history of all his villains dying in humiliating and ironic ways, you don't want to invoke the fight-to-the-finish unless...well, never. You WILL DIE. If you're nice enough not to actively seek the hero's death he might return the favor. I'd mention something about movie action heroes like Rambo or Steven Seagal (I use the actor's name because I can't think of any of his characters' names and let's face it, they're all the same anyway) but they'll probably kill you anyway.

I'd actually like to see a plotline in a strip like Dick Tracy or Phantom where the villain, rather than fighting to the death, just suddenly dropped his gun and surrendered, just so I could watch the hero stare dumbfounded. The bad guy could probably just escape right there as the hero tried desperately to figure out what to do in this situation.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

WooTBASH: Week 4

It's been one season and four more weeks and it still amazes me how a bunch of real people who we're watching live somehow manage to react to the animations and greenscreen effects.

The most notable part of this episode, of course, is that Stan Lee is an amazing sellout. This episode revolved almost entirely around tracking down a villain who stole an Esurance check. They were even "aided" on the mission by short animated scenes from their mascot, Erin Esurance. Tune in next week when the Geico cavemen attempt to kill Snuggle Bear. Can our heroes stop them in time to have hamburgers with Ronald McDonald? Spoiler alert: the Hamburglar may have already stolen the burgers.

Of course, Basura went home because she ignored a woman who lost her kid. Stan, get a clue. Hiding a person who has lost a child in the crowd of people to test the heroes' heroism only works when you haven't already done in five thousand times before. Yet somehow Basura still failed. It's unfortunate, but won't get in the way of Stan Lee's master plan to create the perfect superhero by frankensteining together Basura's chest, Parthenon's ass, the Defuser's biceps, and Hyper-Strike's hair. I'm not sure where the head, torso, forearms, or legs will come from. But to complete the analogy he'll need the brain of the stupidest contestant: Ms. Limelight.

I actually find the ending teaser kind of interesting: Dr. Dark has acquired Stan Lee's DNA from his pencil, presumably so he can create Anti-Stan Lee (Eel Nats?) who will draw supervillain comics. Perhaps this will fuel the spinoff series, Who Wants to be a SuperVillain. Is it just me or would that be a way more badass show?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Video Game Review: Suckitude reaches level 10.

And after I heard so much good about you too, Dungeons and Dragons Tactics. You disappoint me. Where to even start?

Character models are ugly. I mean really ugly. I mean giant bloated head ugly. Literally.

The storyline is lame and since cutscenes are non-alignment specific don't be surprised when your chaotic evil sorceror talks like an honorable knight of virtue and justice at all times.

I'd rather not talk about gameplay but I suppose I have to. DnD fans might like this game, which stays true to DnD rules. Unfortunately, it allows no multiclassing or prestige classes, the two additions to normal DnD which allow the most amount of character customizing. Wizards and psions are not allowed to be specialists in this game either. This is okay for wizards, but it renders the psion UNPLAYABLE, since all of the good psionic powers belong to specialists only.

Then there's the inability to sue potions on your team mates, or anyone besides yourself, most likely a sad excuse for forcing you to use clerics. I actually looked in the book because I was certain there was no way they could be stupid enough to make you unable to heal your own teammates. I turned to a section marked "Restoring Hit Points" and found that it consisted almost entirely of the following quote.

Hit points decrease due to attacks and increase due to healing.


Thanks, asshole.




Annotation from The Future:

Those of you who aren't into pen-and-paper gaming might not know this, so let me let you in on a secret. There's a common prejudice among tabletop gamers that computer RPGs such as Final Fantasy and Baldur's Gate all suck. Basically, the belief is that they're all just shallow and pathetic attempts at recreating tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons in a simpler form that's easier for stupid people to use and enjoy. This prejudice is so widespread it's even reflected in the pronunciation of the acronym CRPG as "crappage."

While I don't share that prejudice myself, as near as I can tell the makers of D&D Tactics were trying their hardest to prove it correct.

KR Rating: [1] HORRIBLE

Television Review: How to get more sucking up in your roast.

Ever since Comedy Central took over the roasts from the Friar's Club they've gone steadily downhill. Does anyone else remember back when they were roasting people like Hugh Hefner and Chevy Chase? Back then the roasts were funny, and more than that they actually felt like an honor.

The first roast Comedy Central did, Dennis Leary, was still almost watchable. But even then, it was obvious that it had immediately degenerated into toilet humor and corporate nepotism, with every single roaster being somehow involved with Comedy Central programming. I watched the roasts of Jeff Foxworthy and Pamela Anderson mostly out of curiosity. My curiosity almost got me to watch the Roast of Flavor Flav too, until about three minutes in when he descended to the stage on wires and lead the audience in chanting his name. I was then able to thank Comedy Central's shameless ass-kissing for reminding me why I hate the roasts and turn it off.

I spent the time I would have wasted watching this dreg by debating with myself what kind of celebrity Flavor is. It was a tossup between D-List for "Does anyone know who the hell this guy is?" and W-List for "Why should I care?" but in the end I think I made the right decision when I went with F-List for "Fuck this crackaddict waterhead up the ass with his own viking helmet."

I really liked the commercials too. Have you seen the spelling bee commercial, where Flavor "humorously" misspells boy as "BOOOYYYEEEE!" and it's declared correct? Here's some more spelling humor: Flavor Flav is actually spelled F-U-C-K-I-N-G L-O-S-E-R.

And that's how you do a roast, you pansy ass punkbitches.




Annotation From the Future:

Actually, it's even worse if you know who Flavor Flav is. Seriously, how does a person conjure an entire career out of being the annoying guy who screeches in the background of Public Enemy songs? From what I can tell, he must appeal to the public desire to be stupid and annoying without any consequences, because the idea that people actually think he's cool is too sad for words.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Television Review: WooTBASH.

As you assuredly know, back in July I made a post mocking the contestants on this season of Who Wants to Be A Superhero, hereafter known as Wootbash or "that superhero show". Well, the show's gone through three episodes now and I have to admit that I wasn't really that surprised to find that this year's contestants weren't as lame as I thought they'd be. That said, there's some things I like and dislike about this season.

I like that the show seems to be running longer. What I mean by that is, in the first season they ran two eliminations an episode and the show went for six episodes. (Presumably because they wanted to do an entire season and weren't sure anyone would watch.) The result was most of the airtime was spent on challenges and we never got to really know any of the contestants. This year with the exception of the third episode there's been one elimination an ep, thus stretching it out and giving us more time to get to know the people.

The bad news is that the challenges seem to be edited more erratically. In the first season every contestant was shown one by one and so we got to really see who was doing well in what way. In this season it flashes back and forth between each contestant and it can be hard to really get a grasp on what's going on or how each person is doing.

With all that said, here's my current take on each of the cast.

The Defuser
I kinda like him, kinda don't. As a police detective (both the character and the real guy) he has a real take charge personality which I must admit I find appealing. Unfortunately, when he goes into "cop mode" he has a tendency to miss important details and he sometimes forgets that he's talking to real people. He has a tendency to treat everyone like a suspect and as a result he comes off as kind of an ass.

Ms. Limelight
I'm not sure if it was the inordinate amount of tanning or the peroxide in her hair but something fried her brain. The woman is a ditz. When Stan Lee asked about her character to get direction in designing her new costume she couldn't even name a single one of her superpowers. She was eliminated this episode for being generally cowardly and cracking under pressure like a lightbulb in a vice grip. How the hell did she even get on the show?

Hyper-Strike
Hyper-Strike is the kind of guy who you're almost certain you'll hate until you actually get to know him. He's actually a pretty cool dude, even if he is as my friend says, a "yuppie ninja." Stan Lee was kind of a prick when Hyper-Strike said he didn't like his costume, which is very confusing given how upset he was at Ty'Veculus last year for lying about not liking the costume. You just can't win with Mr. Lee, can you?

Whip-Snap
I don't know much about her still. But that's because she never really does anything. Sidekick material at best.

Mindset
He was eliminated because he chose to have his entire team be attacked by bees rather than intentionally misspell a word. It's kind of cool that he was willing to face his fears and stand up for truth. But still, what a dick.

Basura
I actually do really like her basic concept. Most superheroes are super wealthy and have tons of stuff, but she lives in a dumpster and has to make everything herself. Nonetheless, much like Whip-Snap she never really seems to DO anything.

Mr. Mitzvah
Kind of an interesting backstory here. Mr. Mitzvah's creater, Ivan Wilzig, is actually super-rich in real life and is semi-famous for his charity, the Peaceman Foundation. Apparently something of an eccentric, he has taken to dressing up in a cape and calling himself Peaceman. He got on the show as Peaceman but due to conflict of interests (he didn't want to give up the copyrights to Peaceman) he changed the character to Mr. Mitzvah. Surprisingly, given he's a famous charity worker, he is a humongous douchebag and was eliminated for general dickishness.

Braid
Eliminated because in a challenge to get information from a break-in victim she turned retarded and spent the entire time talking about her powers instead of, you know, HELPING. Aside from that, she was mostly just there and had no real character traits at all, much like the other ladies.

Parthenon
Hold on, my gaydar just exploded. We need you to turn it down a few clicks, Parthenon. We need you at a 10, right now you're at about five trillion.

Hygena
I said she was this season's Fat Momma but she's not anywhere near as likable or even as interesting as Fat Momma.

That's actually another major problem this time around. I mean, what's with these people? Last time they had real character. Whatever you say or however you feel about Fat Momma you have to admit that she had a very distinct personality. The final three: Feedback, Major Victory, and Fat Momma all had very distinct personalities and very good motivations and I think most people can say they really liked them. With a few exceptions, this year all the girls are totally bland and all the guys are dicks. HOPEFULLY we'll see more character as the show progresses but as of now I can't say I really care for any of these people.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Video Game Review: Irrationality to follow.

I'm back with a semi-review, and for once I have nothing mean to say. Rather, I wanted to talk for a moment about a particular aspect of many games: the irrationally unlocked secret. As far as I can tell the first example of this was a rumored secret in Final Fantasy where if you clicked on flower pots it would unlock a powerful weapon in a hidden dungeon. It wasn't true, of course, but it started a trend.

So many games had insane secrets like this. In the NES days a lot of games had hidden areas that you could only enter by walking into random walls and which contained hidden messages from the game's designers. (Fun Fact: This trend started because back in the early NES days video games were still thought of as pointless time-wasters and so it was considered in bad taste for programmers to put any sort of credit on their work. Editors would often even go so far as to remove credit sequences from games. That practice changed, obviously, and many games just used it to provide fun and unique messages or as a throwback to that time.)

The Guardian Legend took the idiotic secret to a whole new level by programming their game so that at one point you can only proceed with the game by mindlessly walking into and out of an unnamed room something like 20 times.

Even today games like Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin contain insane secrets. In PoR, the secret is that if you kill 1,000 of the Old Axe Armor enemies you unlock a special mode where you can play as one. I actually kind of wonder how people found out about this, given the Old Axe Armor is a rare enemy. Most likely Konami released the information themselves, but I like to think it was just some bored kid who decided to kill 1,000 of every enemy just to see what would happen.

I actually kind of like these secrets because they force you, even if just for a little bit, to be retarded and do things no sane person should do in exchange for prizes. It's kind of like being on your very own mini reality show, only with crappier prizes. I would say with less human interaction but no one willing to humiliate themselves on national TV like that still deserves to be called human.

Hmm. So much for not saying anything mean.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Baby Review: My new nephew.

In case you're wondering, the reason I haven't posted lately is because I have a brand new baby nephew. His name is Matthew Logan, he weighs eight pounds and one ounce, and he was born on August 6th. He sleeps a lot and scrunches up his face sometimes. I give him a 4 out of 5.

Annotation from The Future:
My (now ex-)sister-in-law was a bitch. That's all I have to say about that.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Top 5 List: Top 5 Catchphrases That Need To Die.

5. "The problems of the future, today!"
I have to state the obvious, of course, that the phrase this comes from, "the innovations of the future, today" is nonsense. If it's here today then it's the innovation of today. That just makes this phrase worse. I'll admit that the first time I heard this I thought it was kinda clever. The problem? According to Google, so did 15,800 other people. It's not funny anymore, guys. You killed it. To death.

4. "It's over NINE THOUSAAAAND!"
Yes, I think Dragonball is retarded too. No, that doesn't make it awesome. This was funny to make fun of for a while. But then those bastards that I call "people" came along. First there were the 500 different cuts on YouTube. Then there were the music videos. Then the montages. Then the parodies. Then the parodies of the parodies. Then the parodies of the parodies of the parodies. File this one with "All Your Base" and anything ever said in a Monty Python movie ever. They'll all be Exhibit A in the Case of Hell Really is Other People.

3. "SNAPE KILLS DUMBLEDORE!"
File this one with "Aeris dies," because it goes for that phrase too and all phrases like it. It started out as a spoiler shouted out to piss off hardcore fans, long after the point when hardcore fans could concievably not know about it. Then people started using it as a catchphrase. Why? God only knows. Or the devil, since he's most likely the one behind it. I don't think anyone ever thought it was really cool or funny or even that irritating, honestly. It's just kinda dumb.

2. "Worst. _____. EVER!"
We get it! You watch the Simpsons and you think something sucks! SHUTUP!

1. "You know what happens to a ___ that gets hit by ___? Same as everything else!"
The first time I heard this was in the X-Men movie and I had to think about it for about five minutes before I got what they were trying to say. That's how lame this phrase is. It's so lame, it made me feel like I did something wrong. After I figured it out I spent the next five minutes trying to figure out what imbecile thought this phrase was awesome. It was bad enough when it was just one line in a stupid movie. But then I saw it in Bob and George. And then I saw it in an RPG. And then I saw one of my "friends" quoting it out of context. And that's when I killed him, your honor.

On a side note, in the movie Storm says this when she blows up the Toad with a lightning bolt. But don't the X-Men have a code against killing? I'm pretty sure they do. And I'm pretty sure blasting someone with lightning and blowing them off the top of a skyscraper-sized statue is lethal, frog powers or no.



Annotation From The Future:

The true stupidity of number 1 really comes out if you know the backstory behind it. It turns out in the original script for X-Men the joke in question was actually built up throughout the movie. The character of The Toad would constantly brag about how amazing toads were and how his powers made him superior to everyone else. He would jump across a room and shout "A toad can LEAP!" In that context Storm's zinger made sense: a toad might be an impressive animal but in the end they react to lightning bolts the same way everything else does. It's not particularly humorous, but it does make sense nonetheless.

Somewhere along the way Toad's constant bragging about how cool toads are got cut (most likely because it would have been @#%$ing obnoxious), but the punchline that his bragging was setting up got left in. Without that added context the result is a nonsensical line that makes Storm sound like a gibbering moron.

Allow me to put it another way: when you get off of your plane, walk into the propellers! Hahahaha! Who needs setup with a punchline like that?

(If you're curious, the setup was "How do you prevent the casinos in Las Vegas from taking all your money?")

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Television Review: Who Wants to Humilate Themselves on National TV?

It's just a week or so from the beginning of the second season of Who Wants To Be A Superhero, so I thought I'd give my thoughts on this year's picks.

The Defuser
He has darkvision 60' and light blindness. He's an albino drow. Read that bit about how he loves non-lethal weaponry and refuses to use firearms. Clearly he took Stan Lee's denouncement of Iron Enforcer a little too seriously.

Ms. Limelight
The bastard daughter of Cell Phone Girl and Feedback. She has all of the best abilities of all of Hollywood's action stars, which basically means she can do anything as long as it's A. required by the plot and B. badass and preferably followed by a snappy one-liner. Her weakness is that she has weak legs. As the show's website says "If someone tells her to "break a leg," it really breaks!" So in other words, she's exactly as powerful as any normal movie star but with a horribly debilitating, easily discovered weakness? Lame.

Hyper-Strike
Dear Hyper-Strike: you're auditioning for Stan Lee, not Akira Toriyama. Cut down on the anime stuff. Not that I don't like anime, but there's a time and a place for everything. Including cannibalism.

His weakness is that he needs nine hours of sleep every night, which is one hour more than what normal people need. That's barely an annoyance.

Whip-Snap
Her weakness is that she loses all her powers if the temperature goes below 65 degrees. Maybe no one ever told her this, but the average temperature in about eighty percent of the planet is at or below 65 degrees. Unless she fights crime exclusively in Death Valley she's pretty much fucked.

Mindset
He's a hero from the future who is impervious to modern weapons and has telekinesis, but his body is weak, fat, and susceptible to disease. I kinda like this, because it's actually probably fairly close to what humans will be like thousands of years from now: mentally evolved but weak and fat from never doing anything for ourselves and just using our mind powers to get ourselves cheeseburgers. Does that mean he'd make a good superhero? No. Superheroes aren't supposed to be realistic. That's why they're super.

Basura

God, if you exist, let me get through this without busting a vein. She's aided by and can communicate with bugs and her special power is...turning trash into treasure. So basically her power is that she's homeless. Also, she's hindered by the fact that she loses things and her bugs like to fuck. And her palms sweat. First Hyper-Strike and now Basura? Jesus, people.

Mr. Mitzvah
God, if you exist, why do you let people mock you so? This guy's similar to the gay guy from last year, except he's jewish. The major difference is he's "because" instead of "and." Let me explain. See, the gay guy was a superhero AND he was gay, thus providing a positive model to show gays can be cool. This guy is a superhero BECAUSE he's jewish. Being jewish is his only character trait, thus making him exactly like all the other annoying jewish stereotypes in movies you've come to hate over the years.

Braid
Her hair does stuff and if it gets cut off she loses her powers. But Millia Rage is cooler and Samson had better super powers. That's two heroes who already have this gimmick and did it way better and I could probably come up with more. The fact that her nemesis comes from a galaxy called "Damn Nation" is slightly funny though, and is just punny enough to be really comic-book-ish, though it's not PG enough.


Parthenon
He's like...a guy...who has an Atlantean armband...that uses magical rocks to give him powers. This is really painful folks. Is it just me or do all of this year's picks seem way dumber than last year? Also, doesn't Wonder Woman already have a similar superpower and do it way better?

Hygena
She's this season's Fat Momma, I think. She cleans stuff. And she has a magical pearl necklace...and her clean bombs knock people out...and.... AUGkj;jllllllllllllllllllll

Monday, July 16, 2007

Soap Review: Soap, the newest cult phenom. I wish I was joking.

I've been visiting with my mom and her new husband and I went down to take a shower. I decided to take a look for the first time at the bottle of shower gel they have in there and low and behold I found the latest cult sensation, and I don't mean cult as in pop culture.

That's right, folks, I'm here to tell you about the new, the improved, the amazing, non-animal-tested, Oregon Tilth certified organic*, 18-in-1 Hemp PEPPERMINT PURE-CASTILE SOAP from Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. Also, the number 1 ingredient is listed as water so so much for purity, jackasses.

*Fun fact. The FDA has never released an official classification for organic or natural products, so this means about as much as if they'd said "Wom-bom-booie space god love you long time!"

But wait, there's more! The entire bottle is covered with inspirational/creepy (select one) quotes from...someone unattributed. Here's an example from the usage instructions.

"Enjoy only 2 cosmetics, enough sleep & Dr. Bronner's 'Magic Soap' to clean body-mind-soul-spirit instantly uniting One! All-One! Absolute cleanliness is Godliness! For facial packs, scalp & soothing body rub, add dash on bath towel in sink of hot water. Wring out. Lay over face and scalp. Massage with fingertips. Repeat 3 or 4 times 'til arms, legs & all are rubbed, always towards the heart. Rinse towel in plain hot water and massage again. Breathe deeply! Health is Wealth. Within 9 minutes you feel fresh and clean, saving 90% of your hot water & soap, ready to help teach the whole Human race the Moral ABC of All-One-God-Faith! For we're ALL-ONE! ALL-ONE OR NONE! ALL-ONE! ALL-ONE! ALL-ONE!


It's clearly written by people who don't speak english, but more importantly it's clearly written by lunatics. Here's another quote.

Einstein, 1939, after Nazis & Commies united, proposed spacebombs that destroy all, unless we finally teach the Moral ABC's the real Rabbi Hillel taught Jesus to unite all in All-One-God-Faith. As teachastronomers Abraham-Israel-Moses-Buddha-Hillel-Jesus-Spinoza-Paine-Sagan & Mohammed, inspired every 75 years 6000 years by the Messenger of God's Law, Halley's Comet: "WE ARE ALL ONE OR NONE!" "THERE IS NO GOD BUT GOD!" "TEACH LOVE THY ENEMY!" "LISTEN CHILDREN ETERNAL FATHER ETERNALLY ONE!" Israel-Moses-Buddha-Jesus-Mohammed: ONE! ALL-ONE!


Now, I'm too lazy to check if their thing about Einstein is factually accurate. What concerns me more is the fact that all nutcases are apparently legally obligated to speak only in bad refrigerator poetry. It must be the fault of the One World Earpiece Control Frankenstein Communist Computer God.

Lateron we come across a sticker that promises "FOR ALL MAJOR INGREDIENTS WE ARE GOING FAIR TRADE". It might sound oddly noble of what is apparently the last survivor of Heaven's Gate to have "95+% of Our Agricultural Volume Benefiting Farming Families and Communities in the Developing World" until you remember that what this actually means is "we're outsourcing your jobs to ten year olds in Indonesia who we chain to a bench for twelve hours a day where they can choke on the toxic fumes of our soaps, and if they survive we give them a quarter.

Fortunately none of it matters. As we all know, Dr. Bronner will be banished from Heaven for using magic in his Magic Soaps, to stand outside the gates with the dogs and sorcerors. It's all in Revelation, look it up some time.

Also, despite its magical properties and creepy cult message, Dr. Bronner's soap is still to be kept out of eyes, and if the cap becomes clogged you should poke it clear only and not squeeze. If you manage to get the miracle of All-One-God-Faith in your eyes, you should flush them well with water for fifteen minutes and and consult a physician if irritation persists.

All in good fun, Doctor. I'd like to just end this still mean, but I can't, and not just out of a respect for the dead and a fear of being sued by his family and/or melted by their creepy cult magic. But also because, while he (or whoever wrote this bottle) is clearly insane I do agree with the basic message that we as a race need to stop fighting each other and unify. That said, could someone tell me what a teachastronomer is?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Video Game Review: Sinners welcome. Does that include bad game designers?

Saint's Row. I know it looks like just another Grand Theft Auto ripoff, but you should never judge a book by its cover. It is in fact a Grand Theft Auto ripoff after recieving a concentrated dose of white. Not that I don't find it amusing to hit a thugged out rival gangster's car and hear him whine nasally "Oh man, my mommy's gonna kill me!" I just kind of doubt the street cred of a gang that chooses an especially girlish shade of purple as their color.

The entire message of the game is anti-gangstah. Your gang, the Saints, are out to bring peace to the city streets by blowing shit up with rocket launchers and machine guns. Also, by pimpin' out hos. It's all a very complex plan, you see. As you ride on whiny white kids and hos tell you about the importance of staying in school you'll meet such hardcore characters as the gang leader who doesn't like killing and the hardened street bitch who instantly backs down when accused of being a ho.

That said, Saint's Row is almost worth checking out for the fact that it's just one of those games that is so stupid it goes all the way around the bend and becomes fucking awesome. The characters are nutjobs, of course, but the best part is that everyone in this city is apparently insane, possessed of no sense of self-preservation whatsoever, or more likely both. As pedestrians hurl themselves in front of your car the other drivers will suddenly start swerving for no reason and taking out lamp posts. Then a cop drives his squad car into some random woman and jumps out and starts beating her to death with his baton. And then rival gang members show up and shoot everyone. You'll be laughing your ass off even as your car blows up and sends you to a fiery grave.

So maybe the characters and plot are stupid, and maybe the programming is so bad that 15 car pile-ups happen every five seconds. But if it wasn't that way, this would be just another boring clone. So is it really that bad? I mean, the answer is obviously yes, but still I have to ask, is it? ...yes.




KR Rating (From the Future): [2] BAD

The first Saint's Row was what you might call "so bad it's good." Yes, it was stupid, but it was that stupidity that was what we all loved about it, yes even myself. The second game decided to capitalize on this, turning everything up to 11, with minigames where you spray sewage onto your enemies' houses, throw yourself in front of cars, and generally act like a hellion. The result was a game world that made Grand Theft Auto look subtle by comparison. Four years later and here I am, actually looking forward to Saint's Row: The Third, the sequel to a game I once panned.

That said, make no mistake: Saint's Row was a bad, bad game.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Commercial Review: Truth Found

This just in! According to a recently discovered memo from a big tobacco company, tobacco companies chose to uphold their legal obligation to stockholders to keep profits up by not itnentionally sabotaging themselves. Now can anyone tell us why this commercial isn't stupid?

In other news, if you don't drive a Scion, you are a boring sheep person. If you do drive a Scion you are a hideous demon-spawned murderous abomination unto the eyes of the lord. I think the new "Little Deviants" commercials are supposed to be a wacky and humorous jest at how they're shaking up the auto industry. Sorry, guys, but you went a little too far into creepy and lost your message.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Holiday Review: George Washington would shove an M80 up your ass for freedom, bitch.

It's the fourth of July! That wonderful day when we prove once again that America does not deserve to be free from Britain. Come on, people. How pussy of a country are we when we celebrate our nation's independance with a tiny black rock that when you light it it grows a little bit? And don't try to tell me it's symbolic. It's still lame. And oh, sure, there's the big, city-sponsored fireworks. Fireworks which are launched in a cordoned off area 500 yards from anything and chaperoned by a dozen trucks worth of firemen and if the tiniest cinder lands within 50 feet of a human being they close down the whole show and treat the person for severe psychological trauma.

What happened? When I was a kid I remember launching off bottle rockets every night for a week when July came around. One time me and my brother lit an M80 and stuck it in a hole we thought was our street's gas line. Because we were perfectly willing to annihilate our entire city in the name of democracy. Nowadays only shitty spark fountains are legal in my state. And they've added insult to injury by inventing something called the "Rocket Fountain." It looks like a bottle rocket and even says "Rocket" right on the side but it turns out it's just a fountain on a stick. Only a few states still allow good fireworks and those are trying harder and harder to pass laws banning them.

I call for a nationwide boycott of the Fourth of July. Employers, don't give your employees the day off anymore. Everyone, don't buy fireworks. Don't watch fireworks. Take what you have of this day after getting off work to write your congressman and tell him how much his pussy laws suck. Everyone in America should boycott this pussy ass holiday until it starts being badass again.




Annotation from The Future:

Whenever I start to think that this world can't possibly disappoint me any more than it already does, someone comes along and lowers the bar. Just like critics of American Idol never foresaw Jersey Shore or The Hills, so too did I never foresee some of the terrible "fireworks" they've got now.

Allow me to introduce you all to...the California Candle! Just as the Rocket Fountain dashed all of our hopes and dreams by making what looked like a kickass bottle rocket into a pathetic fountain, so too does the California Candle get our hopes up with what looks like a Roman Candle, but is actually a glorified sparkler.

As for the name, I sincerely hope that the satirical implications were intentional, because it's funny as Hell.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Video Game Review: A big Sonic Gems Collection review, to make up for my not updating.

I should probably point out before we begin that I never much cared for the Sonic the Hedgehog games. Hear me out now. Sonic's main gimmick is speed and so most of the levels in his games are designed with a fast-paced run-through-the-level-as-fast-as-you-can style in mind. But at the same time the placement of the traps and enemies seems to be intended more to PUNISH you for running through the stage quickly. There's nothing like running through a series of cool corkscrew turns and loop-the-loops only to smack into a wall of spikes and die to really make your day.

But despite my baseless hatred of a much beloved franchise Sonic is still Sega's mascot. The problem with being a company mascot, though, is that they can shove you into any number of games and no one will complain. (It's the same logic that created Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix.) Sonic Gems Collection is an anthology of such games: games that for one reason or another never became very popular and eventually faded into obscurity.

But what Sega forgot is that when a game becomes obscure it's usually for one of a few reasons: it wasn't marketed well, it was a limited release, or it totally sucked ass. Unfortunately, for most of the games on this anthology it's the latter. These games are for the most part of such a low level of quality that you won't even want to play them at all, much less for the seven hours required to unlock Vectorman and Vectorman 2 which, let's face it, are probably the main reason most people bought this anthology. And that's no good.

Annotation from The Future:

Hey, guys! Lately I've been adding annotations from the future, as you may have seen. For this review, though, it's far too big to just do one at the end like usual. Instead I'll add annotations after each game's entry to talk about that game. To prevent clutter, I've decided to forgo the usual "annotation from the future" tag and instead make them blue.


Sonic the Fighters
Sonic the Fighters is a fighting game starring Sonic the Hedgehog. I know, I was shocked too. There's some kind of lame plot involving Robotnik doing evil things or something like that and because of that all of the Sonic characters have to beat each other up. The plot sucks but to be fair, so does the game. After spending an hour fighting your way through this boring game you'll die against the totally cheap Metal Sonic and since the creators were nice enough not to include any manner of continue system at all you will have to do it all over again.

There's actually an interesting story behind this game. Apparently a designer at Sega AM2 was working on a fighting game called Fighting Vipers when he got bored one day at work and decided to put Sonic and Tails into the game as a joke. Though they were later removed, his coworkers and bosses loved it so much they decided to make an official Sonic fighting game.

Honestly, I gave this game crap but it's really not that horrible. That said, don't get me wrong. It is bad. This is a PS2-era game, but feels like something from the Nintendo 64. The characters do at least have different play styles and moves, but they're just too sluggish. Of course, as I mentioned, the biggest flaw is that there are no continues.

KR Rating: [2] BAD


Sonic CD
Sonic CD is actually an okay game and is in fact one of the few games on this anthology I feel sorry for. You see, most of the other games on this anthology had reasons for dying in obscurity: they were crappy, they were just remakes for the Game Gear and not original games, or they were never really intended to be that big in the first place (for example, the two Tails games).

Sonic CD, however, doesn't deserve to be here. The time-period-switching mechanism provides an interesting touch and this game also features the very first appearance of the current Metal Sonic. You can tell Sega really tried on this game and as Sonic games go it's not that bad. Honestly, the only reason Sonic CD became so unknown is because it was made for the Sega CD.

I've heard bad things about Sonic CD, but honestly, it doesn't deserve any of them. To be honest, I didn't care for it, but only because -as I mentioned in the opening segment- I'm not a big fan of Sonic games. I recognize that this is a good game, and so have other reviewers.

Gamepro listed it as the 12th best platformer made between 1989 and 2009. To be fair, though, they put it above New Super Mario Bros, so clearly they're madmen. There's also the fact that EGM rated Sonic CD the best game of the Sega Mega-CD according to Wikipedia. Granted, calling something the "best game for Sega CD" is a lot like saying you have the "least painful gaping head wound." Still, that's something, right?

KR Rating: [4] GOOD


Sonic R
It's another racing game with Sonic! Well, I shouldn't say another, since we haven't gone over Sonic Drift yet. Unlike that Mario Kart wannabe, though, this is a foot race. Between the well-rendered tracks and decent play style, this is an excellent game. You know, I mean aside from the shitty controls, complete lack of any unlockables, and the fact that it is totally NOT an excellent or even GOOD game in any way, shape, or form.

Sonic R is a strange game. There's nothing particularly wrong with it. The controls aren't as bad as I said they were, the tracks and characters look nice, and the gameplay at least offers something new, even if it does handle a lot like Mario Kart 64.

The main problem is that it just gets so dull so quick. There's nothing to unlock, and while the tracks may look nice they all feel basically the same when you're running on them. The game isn't bad, it just gets old so fast.

KR Rating: [3] MEDIOCRE


Sonic the Hedgehog 2
No, it's not, Sega. I don't mean that it's just a port to the Game Gear, I mean it's not even the same game. The levels are all different, bosses are all different, and the plot isn't the same either. It's not even as good. Or beatable. Does anyone actually know anyone first hand who has gotten past the first level? That's a real question.

I'm still not joking. I remember playing this on a friend's Game Gear as a kid and getting stuck on the boss of the first level. Unlike most other games that seemed hard when I was little, this one did not get easier as an adult playing it on this collection. I am absolutely serious. If you made it past level 1 without cheating then congratulations, you don't exist!

KR Rating: [3] MEDIOCRE


Sonic Spinball
When I ask people what they liked best about Sonic 2, and I do, I always get the same response: the fact that Sonic and Tails are both naked. But when I ask what they liked second best they usually say they liked the pinball segments in Casino Night Zone. In fact, the pinball segments were so popular that Sega eventually released an entire game based solely around them.

What Sega didn't realize is that the pinball segments are only fun for a few minutes, then you get bored and want to go on and finish the level. Unfortunately, Spinball doesn't change that fact a whole lot. Although they did add more stuff Spinball will still get tedious after only a few minutes.

That being said, this is not Sonic Spinball. No, like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 before it, this is merely a crappier remake which was ported to the Game Gear. That means someone took the worst idea ever and made it even worse. That's gotta be worth some kind of Nobel Crap Prize.

Aside from beginning and ending on jokes I'm pretty sure I stole from Seanbaby, this one is still totally true. Game Gear Spinball may not have gotten anyone fired, but it god damn should have.

KR Rating: [1] HORRIBLE


Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble
It's Sonic the Hedgehog 3, only ported to the Game Gear and injected with a concentrated shot of purified suck. Why did you keep on doing this, Sega? I'd tell you more about this game but I find it difficult to give a rat's ass about something so imbecilic.

Games like this are why I feel like Sega is the Apple to Nintendo's Microsoft. Sega was better than the competition from a techological standpoint, but they had no idea what to do with their technology. Sure, the Gameboy looked like crap with its monochrome screen that wasn't even lighted, but it had classic games like Pokémon Red/Blue and Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins.

Meanwhile, Sega had the superior system in the Game Gear, but wasted it. They spent all their time porting over Genesis games instead of making new ones, not once realizing that the technical limitations of a handheld meant those games would invariably have to be WORSE than the originals...and they were.

KR Rating: [2] BAD


Sonic Drift 2
Sonic Drift 2 is a racing game starring characters from the Sonic universe...using go-karts. Let me say that again because I don't think you're getting the full effect. Sonic Drift 2 stars Sonic the Hedgehog IN A GO-KART. The dude can run faster than the speed of sound. What the HELL does he need a go-kart for?

But the fact that this game was clearly designed solely to compete with Mario Kart could almost be forgivable except that this game isn't nearly as fun as Mario Kart. The track is devoid of anything interesting and none of the characters have any interesting abilities they can use either. Plus the game is designed so you can only see the part of the track you're on, nothing ahead or behind, so by the time you see a turn you're already off the road and kicking up dirt.

Just to really make your brain explode, think about this: this game is a sequel. That means not only did someone have the idea for this game, they had that idiot idea TWICE. And both times there was no one in the room willing to smack them in the back of the head and call them a dumbass.

To REALLY really make your brain explode, think about this: this stupid idea actually got made THREE times as of 2010, when Sega released Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.

KR Rating: UP YOURS


Tails' Skypatrol
Tails' Skypatrol is a game starring Sonic's vulpine sidekick Tails. I must admit I don't know a whole lot about this game because the digital manual included on the anthology is completely in Japanese but I do know that it apparently involves witches that ride mine carts and freakishly hideous rabbit things riding giant carrots that blow kisses at you. Seriously, folks, there's a reason this game was never imported to the United States: it's because it's fucking insane. In fact, I used this game in my award winning thesis "101 Reasons Why Japan Should Be A-Bombed Off the Face of the Earth." But don't listen to me. I'm just mad because I couldn't get past the yellow spinning walls in the first level.

I ended up looking up a translation of this game's manual. Knowing what it says makes me feel like I could do better at the game today, but it does nothing to make the character designs less horrible. Also, seriously, eff those stupid yellow spinning walls.

KR Rating: [2] BAD


Tails Adventures
Tails Adventures, like Tails' Skypatrol, stars Sonic's sidekick Tails on his own. Unlike Skypatrol, however, Tails Adventures is a plaform game and doesn't completely suck ass. In it, Tails is spending his vacation on a small island he's named "Tails Island" when the island is suddenly attacked by robot birds. Who are the birds? What do they want? This is a Sonic game, you numbskull. There's no plot.

Tails Adventures is actually a fairly decent game and is one of the few games on this anthology that I consider worth playing. The storyline is light but the gameplay is fun, being based more on thinking and using your gadgets then on fact-paced running through the level. But then again, I always liked Tails better than Sonic anyway, which could be my main reason for liking this game so much. I'm not quite sure what it says about me that even as a child I liked the cute, nerdy fox boy better than the rad to the max blue hedgehog. Regardless, what's most important is that this game's existance along with Skypatrol means that Tails got two video games before Mario's sidekick Luigi even got one. (I'm not counting Mario is Missing.) No wonder the green plumber is so angry.

Back on the topic of how much I loathe Japan, the complaint I had about the story? Only an issue in the western version, apparently. In the Japanese version the story takes place before Tails met Sonic, meaning Tails was actually a hero before meeting his idol, and not just a sidekick. Apparently Japan thought Americans wouldn't "get" the idea of a sidekick having his own life. Basically what I'm saying is that Japan is like Joss Whedon: they make awesome stuff, but they just make it so hard to like them.

KR Rating: [4] GOOD


Vectorman
If you can stand playing this massive tribute to Sega's greatest failures for seven hours - or if you have a Sonic Mega Collection save on your memory card - you can unlock the only game that makes this anthology worth shelling out the money for: Vectorman.

I know most people probably won't believe me when I say that so let me tell you a little bit about this game. Developed by Blue Sky Software and published by Sega, Vectorman is famous among gamers and graphics designers for having near PSX quality graphics on the Sega Genesis, a 16 bit console. Don't believe me? Play this game then go play Megaman X4 for the PSX. It's not quite the same level of graphics but it's damn close.

Now, far be it for me to praise a game solely for graphics, even if it was the best looking game of its day and for many days to come. Did I forget to mention that Vectorman is also a game starring a break dancing robot made of floating spheres that can turn into an atomic bomb AND the final boss battle is a disco dancing competition against the evil arch-enemy? If that's not the definition of COOLEST DAMN GAME EVER then nothing is.

All things considered, Vectorman is the greatest game of the Sega Genesis and quite possibly one of the greatest games of all time. The fact that it's on an anthology alongside such horrible trash as Sonic Drift 2 and Tails' Skypatrol is an insult beyond measure. The fact that it was only even included just to get people to buy this load of crap only makes the insult far worse. I suppose I should just be glad that I get to play it again but unfortunately I'm not that non-spiteful.

The world isn't fair. Here I am, posting on a blog that is regularly read by maybe five people. As of this writing I have 7,930 pageviews total, for all of my posts ever. Meanwhile Lucas Cruikshank, creator of Fred Figglehorn, made videos of himself screeching at his webcam and gets the most popular channel on YouTube, and is now a world famous actor/director with credits on at least 10 movies and TV shows according to IMDb, and people like me continue to help advance his career just by the simple act of saying his name on our blogs and video shows.

Now that I'm depressed again, the point I'm making is that the world is awful, and if you need more proof you need look no further than Vectorman. Vectorman should be considered one of the classic game series of all time that everyone knows and loves, like Pokémon, Super Mario Bros, or Final Fantasy. The fact that it isn't even B-list is a travesty for the ages. The last anyone ever even heard of the series was a failed project from 2003 that hoped to revive it as a godawful third person shooter, with Vectorman played by a robotic Master Chief. Statistically speaking, you probably didn't even know this game existed before you read about it in this review.

Screw it, here's a picture of a cat eating a dalek to cheer us all up.

KR Rating: [5] GREAT


Vectorman 2
It's the second Vectorman! It was just as well rendered as the first and involved fighting giant bugs. Weirdest thing, as a kid I remembered not only liking this one way better but also finding it much easier. When I replayed it as an adult it was the opposite. Vectorman 1 just has more charm. Mostly, it's the minigame rounds between levels.

To be fair, I think the transformation system was much better in the second game. Vectorman's different forms last the entire level instead of just a few seconds, and each adds a whole new feel to Vectorman's play style. Still, I have to say the first was better.

KR Rating: [5] GREAT

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Video Game Review: The old website's greatest hits.

Anyone who's spent time around geeks quickly grows used to dealing with hyperbole. Rarely will a gamer describe a video game as being average. If they like it it's not good, it's TOTALLY AWESOME and likewise if they don't like it it's not bad, it's COMPLETE CRAP.

The point is geeks can be very critical when it comes to their hobbies and this leads to a whole lot of best/worst games ever, a designation which is usually undeserved. Unlimited SaGa is not such a game. It is truly one of the worst games of all time.

Unfortunately, I can't really provide an accurate review of a whole lot of this game. The reason for this is because I've only played this game for about 5 minutes, 4 minutes of which was taken up by me trying to figure out how to get the game to fucking work.

Like most SaGa games you start by selecting from between several main characters. Once that's done you go right into the gameplay! Sorta. You see, you can't actually move around in this game. You start on a map and you see talking heads of the characters for the story. Then you select an area to go to on the map...and then you select another area to go to! At that point you may or may not have another conversation, then you select another area!

When you finally do get into a battle you line up as usual...and then the true fucked up nature of this game is revealed. You see, the creators of this game wisely decided to take out all the tedium of actually trying to play the game. When you fight, all of the commands -attack, defend, special attack, etc- are placed on a wheel which spins at high speeds. All you have to do is press a button to watch the wheel slowly grind to a halt. This is good because it means you feel no responsibility for failing and watching all of your characters die.

The true question is, why do we even have this game? It's bad enough that this game was made, but what made them think we would want to play it? For years the Japanese had 3 more Final Fantasy games then we did, and they still have about 6 more Fire Emblems, 7 more Dragon Warriors, 3 more SaGas, and 2 more Earthbounds then we do. And those are popular games that people love, as evidenced by the massive number of Americans who import those games, even though it means trying to play in a language they don't speak.

So why, if Japan keeps the GOOD games, do they send us this bullshit? The obvious answer is that they hate us. For more evidence see every game Capcom has ever made. The only reason we haven't nuked Japan off the face of the Earth yet is because they're still our only source of anime and Hello Kitty vibrators.

The least the Japanese can do is show a little gratitude. I mean, we put a lot of money into rebuilding their economy after World War II, and all they ever had to put up with was the humiliation of their people and the destruction of all of their customs and a way of life they held dear for centuries. Oh, and also several million deaths and a lasting taint of radiation poisoning. All I'm asking is that we, the people of America, be hailed as great liberators. Come on, Japan, can't you be more like Afghanistan?




Annotation from The Future:

I wasn't kidding about how long I played this game. I literally only played for about five minutes or so. I didn't even get my character out of the first town before I stopped playing. I know that as a reviewer that's probably not a good thing for me to say, but I'm gonna say it anyway just because I love the fact that even though I barely played it, people who did play the game still tell me I'm absolutely right about it. This game really sucks is what I'm saying.