Friday, 21 July 2017

Film Round-Up #21

Crocodile Dundee (1986 - 2001)
Directed By: Peter Faiman, John Cornell, Simon Wincer Starring: Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, John Meillon, David Gulpilil, Reginald VelJohnson, Hechter Ubarry, Juan Fernández, Charles S. Dutton, Jere Burns, Jonathan Banks

Certificate: 15 Running Time: Approx 298 minutes


Fish out of water films are usually quite a reliable source of mirth and one of the most famous ones when I was growing up was Crocodile Dundee. Apparently born of star Paul Hogan's desire to establish an Australian folk hero and inspired by real life 'bushman' Rodney Ansell, Mick 'Crocodile' Dundee was a beer swilling, bar fighting, croc wrestling master bushman and survivalist and all round man's man. Apparently raised by Aborigines and now hailing from the tiny, remote Australian bush town of Walkabout Creek, he has somehow managed to catch the attention of a New York newspaper who want to do a story on him. Enter the reporter sent to get the low-down - Sue Chartlon (Kozlowski) - who just happens to be a blonde hottie ripe to be impressed by Dundee's manliness, obviously. It wasn't just her who fell for his charms though - the first film was a big hit, quickly earning its stars worldwide fame (and fortune, presumably).

Sunday, 16 July 2017

3D Platform Games #1

Ninpen Manmaru (1997)
By: Tamtam / Enix Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Sega Saturn
Also Available For: Nothing


Most retro gamers these days love the Saturn, and with good reason, but in its day owners were crying out for more 3D games, specifically some of the 3D platform games that owners of the PlayStation and N64 had been enjoying. As it turns out, it was receiving at least a few of them, it's just that us poor old Western gamers didn't get to play them! One example that has gone on to prove quite popular with collectors in the intervening years is Ninpen Manmaru. Unsurprisingly for a Japanese exclusive, it's based on a manga/anime series which stars Manmaru, a trainee at a ninja school. He is a blue bird of some sort, perhaps a penguin, while the other students consist of foxes, raccoons, monkeys, and dogs, many of whom you see in the game's intro and frequent cut-scenes. I can't tell you what they're about of course, but it seems that it's down to Manmaru to do... something.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Film Review #100

Deadpool (2016)
Director: Tim Miller Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Leslie Uggams, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapičić

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 108 Minutes

Tagline: "Wait 'til you get a load of me."


Ever since this recent deluge of superhero films began, most of them have been heavily hyped and eagerly anticipated by fans regardless of which characters were involved, but I don't think this has ever been more the case than it was with Deadpool. I of course knew little about him prior to the hype assault; I'd barely even heard the name before in fact, but it quickly became apparent that he is beloved by his many fans. This is most likely because he's a superhero for 'grown ups' in that he is more of an antihero who makes copious use of profanity, sexual references, and employs extreme violence, usually by way of swords and a variety of firearms, while going about his vigilante-related duties, many of which are carried out in an unusually jovial fashion and injected with lashings of adult humour as well.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Retro News - The Console That Never Was!

As I have no doubt mentioned here more than once previously, my favourite period in gaming is definitely the mid-80's to the mid-90's (roughly), with the odd exception. I have many wonderful memories of this era and most of my favourite games and systems (including, or some might say especially, the arcades) come from it, and it's also where much of my focus goes when planning features for this very blog.

One of the most prolific developers at this time, in arcades as well as on home systems, was Taito who had been one of my favourites ever since my parents had bought me the awesome Taito Coin-Op Hits compilation for my Speccy. In fact, I'd even say they were second only to the mighty Sega in my affections in those days; their generally spiffing titles were nearly always worthy of attention, and I remember thinking on more than one occasion about how cool it would be if they had their own home console. It might not sound terribly realistic for a mere software developer to have their own home system but that's exactly what Sega had done with the Master System, as had SNK with their monstrous NeoGeo 'Advanced Entertainment System'. I still never thought it might actually happen though, so it came as a great surprise to discover not too long ago that they very nearly did have one!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Wonder Boy Series - Part 2

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap (2017)
By: Lizardcube / DotEmu Genre: Arcade Adventure Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: PC
Also Available For: PS4, Xbox One, Switch


Whatever name you might know it by, and it has had a few, Wonder Boy 3 (as I've always known it) is one of those rare games that seems to be universally loved. Not everyone has played it - it was only available on the Master System and PC Engine in its day after all - but those who did were forever taken by its considerable charms and have remained loyal fans ever since, eagerly extolling its virtues to any gamers unfortunate enough to have never been touched by its brilliance. Unsurprisingly, therefore, us fans were more than a little intrigued to hear news of a fancy new remake from those splendid fellow at Lizardcube and DotEmu as well. Would it be a fitting tribute to a much-loved classic or a ghastly desecration fit only to soil its memory?

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Film Round-Up #20

I recently had the opportunity to see an old favourite film of mine for the first time in lord only knows how many years. It was still splendid, I'm happy to say, but it also gave me the idea to seek out what might hopefully be some similarly entertaining films of the same type - i.e. road-based dramas/thrillers - for my latest film round-up. My selections included another old favourite I'd almost forgotten about and I also squeezed in three examples I've never seen before. Check them out :)

Duel (1971)

Though most well known today as Steven Spielberg's first feature, for me Duel has always been the film I stumbled upon on TV when I was a kid that so thoroughly captivated me, and in the process, I suspect, caused my life-long love of films generally as well. It weighs in at a trim 89 minutes and the premise is just as slight - ordinary salesman guy is stalked by large mysterious truck across long, barren desert roads - but it's the atmosphere it builds and sense of mystery that makes it such a gripping film. The trucker, for example, is never seen, and the reason for him (or her, I guess!) terrorising the driver is never discovered, leaving us just as bemused and scared as he is. The choice of vehicles was great too. The driver doesn't have a monstrous muscle car that could easily outrun the truck, and the truck itself is suitably intimidating. Dennis Weaver was also well cast in the central (and almost only) role of the mild-mannered driver slowly being driven crazy by the deranged trucker. It loses none of its impact watching it again today either which is high praise in itself. Still one of the best road-rage movies around... 9/10

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Random Game I've Never Heard Of #13

Hachoo! (1989)
By: Jaleco Genre: Fighting Players: 1-2 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 54,400 (one credit)
Also Available For: None


Bless you, Jaleco, looks like you're coming down with a bug of some sort there. Chortle! Yes I know, I'm very humorous, but the rather odd name given to this arcade-only release is not meant to represent a sneeze - it's actually meant to be a Bruce Lee-style kung-fu cry. You may now have begun to suspect, therefore, that Hachoo! is a game involving unarmed combat of some sort and you would be correct in that assumption, for it is indeed a fighting game; a scrolling one, no less, in the finest traditions of Double Dragon and Final Fight and all of those kicky punchy mostly girlfriend-rescuing escapades. Unlike those, this one is set in ancient China, and the basic back-story reveals, via a series of still images in the attract sequence, the reemergence of some sort of scary (and blue) demon creature. Naturally, you are selected (along with a near-identical twin in two-player mode) to stop this ghastly oaf in his tracks and cast him back into the fiery chasm from whence he came.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

First Look PC #4

Project CARS (Pagani Edition) by Slightly Mad Studios / Bandai Namco (2015) - PC

Driving games have always among my favourites and it has pained me to miss out on some of the more recent ones. One that has looked as good as any in recent years is Project CARS but I don't own any of the consoles it's on and I was far from confident my PC would be able to handle it. An opportunity to find out came recently, however, when Steam offered a special cut-down version of the game for free! It is this, the Pagani Edition. I imagine it is meant as a kind of playable demo for the full game but however it was intended it was a nice surprise. Even more of a surprise, though, is that despite its apparent minimum system requirements exceeding the abilities of my PC, it actually works very well!

Monday, 29 May 2017

Film Review #99

A Walk in the Woods (2015)
Director: Ken Kwapis Starring: Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Kristen Schaal, Nick Offerman, Mary Steenburgen, Emma Thompson

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 104 Minutes

Tagline: "When you push yourself to the edge, the real fun begins."


Bill Bryson has been travelling all over the world and, as detailed in his many superb travel books, has experienced all manner of wonders during his time in places like Africa, Australia, his native US, and all around Europe, so I suppose it's a little ironic that the only film about his travels (to the best of my knowledge) is based on perhaps the least exotic of them all. He is portrayed by Robert Redford and we catch up with him in New Hampshire where he has been living with his British wife Catherine (Thompson) for twenty years after a decade or so living in the UK. Now in his 60's he is effectively retired but also somewhat restless, and after a short stroll on the Appalachian Trail which passes near his home, he suddenly decides he wants to hike its entire length.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

PC Engine Shmups #11

Metal Stoker (1991)
By: Face Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 First Day Score: ???,???
Also Available For: Nothing


Only five minutes ago (okay, a few months ago) I finally got around to playing Granada properly after all these years, declaring it in the subsequent review a highly original title, the likes of which I've seldom encountered. And now, such a short time later, I've found another extremely similar game, and one that was released the same year no less! I'm not sure who came up with the idea first - Wolf Team with their MD (and X68000) tank 'em up or Face with this Engine exclusive - but the similarities are more than a little surprising. I'm not sure if that includes the back-stories as Face's game was only released in Japan. The limited in-game text simply advises you to 'master the controls of the custom CS-05' and also casually mentions that your assignment is to 'clear the indicated zones under various conditions'. What this amounts to, however, is very similar to your objective in Granada - blow the crap out of everything that moves, and some things that don't too!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

First Look PSN #8

Alien Spidy by Enigma / Kalypso Media (2013) - PlayStation Network (PSN)

Spiders aren't anything new to the games world - I've reviewed one of my favourite examples at this very blog in fact - but I'm still surprised they don't feature in more. They do after all possess some unique abilities which are ideal for puzzley platform games, and that's exactly what this multi-format release from a few years back is. The featured arachnid is apparently an alien who has crash-landed on earth (as revealed in a few nice cut-scenes) but neither the slightly vague story nor Spidy's other-wordly origins really affect the gameplay which mostly involves skillful use of aforementioned talents. The stages are standard 2D side-scrolling affairs and it's your job simply to get Spidy to the end of each one which is mostly achieved by swinging around on webs.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Film Round-Up #19

Some could be forgiven for thinking me crazy for braving five Jennifer Aniston films back when I... umm, braved five of her films. I mean, she looks absolutely delightful, usually a bit nippy too (someone turn on the heating for the poor girl), she is a great comedic talent, and is a very decent actress when given the right material, but let's face it - few of her films are better than average. You may therefore think me certifiably insane for watching another five of them! Perhaps I am but what can I say? She definitely has a certain charm, or perhaps two certain charms (sorry!) but let's hope some of the films I chose this time are just as charming...

The Switch (2010)

If you're anything like me you may be wondering just what the rather vague title to this one alludes to. The answer to that can be found in the friendship between the two main characters, Kassie (Aniston) and Wally (Jason Bateman), long-time best friends. Their friendship is threatened, however, when Kassie decides she wants to have a baby via artificial insemination, and at her 'conception party' Wally drunkenly spills the sperm sample of her hand-picked donor, so decides to replace it personally. Sounds like a recipe for trouble (amongst other things - chortle!), although he doesn't even remember doing it the next day. It probably just sounds like another silly rom-com, and it does seem like one at times - the ending is super obvious right from the off, for example - but the premise does actually add something to the story rather than just being a gimmick and gives the stars the chance for a few more dramatic scenes as well as the more light-hearted stuff. It's hard not to question Kassie's decision as Wally does but it helps that both Aniston and Bateman are very likeable. Better than expected... 7/10

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Simulation Games #1

Pilotwings (1990)
By: Nintendo EAD Genre: Simulation Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo SNES First Day Score: ???
Also Available For: Nothing


Despite playing the crap out of my SNES in my younger years I never really had that many games for it. One of the classics I kept meaning to get around to playing at the time, and in the intervening years as well, was Pilotwings but for one reason or another I didn't actually manage it until recently. Better late than never, I usually think in these cases, but I wasn't so sure here. Pilotwings was after all a flag-waving advert for the SNES's famed Mode 7, an early attempt at producing 3D graphics on home systems, and most early attempts at anything in games don't tend to age very well. Then again, F-Zero still kicks arse so hope remains while the company is good. It's also a game notable for it's almost total lack of violence. Okay, you can crash stuff but you can't shoot and certainly can't kill anything, with your objectives simply being to fly stuff well. I guess that makes Pilotwings a simulation game, albeit in a unashamedly arcadey way. It was a bit of a rare and precious gem all round for console gamers then.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Top Five Films For 2017

Deary me, I'm a bit late this year with my now-tradition look at the five films I'm most looking forward to over the coming year. So late, in fact, that one of them is already out (only just though, and I still haven't seen it) - oops! Well anyway, it's looking like a pretty good year, especially for comic/superhero fans with two DC efforts and three from Marvel. Will the DCEU finally be able to make up some ground on the relentless Marvel leviathan? There are also a few good (looking) sequels, remakes, and even some all-original films on the way. It should be an entertaining year for film fans anyway, with a lot to choose from. These are probably the five I'm most looking forward to seeing. What are your choices?

5. Alien Covenant (May)

The franchise remains a treasured one for many but the Alien series been through the wringer a bit over the years. It's still only the first two films that are really good isn't it? I rather liked Prometheus too, personally, but many didn't so I imagine this sequel may well be approached with caution by them. I'm looking forward to it though, especially as it sees Ridley Scott's return to the series for the first time since the original, waaay back in 1979. It looks quite similar to that classic too, except it mostly takes place on terra firma: brave explorer finds room full of eggs, face-hugger says good morning, alien bursts out of chest, many others get picked off one-by-one, etc. I can't imagine too many were expecting much else though, and as long as it's done well I'm confident it will be spiffing. (see official trailer here)

Friday, 21 April 2017

1,000th Post!

I've been writing and posting here at Red Parsley for a long time now - about seven years in fact. A lot more has happened in this seven years than most of the seven years that preceded them, mainly on account of being married which has been my 'relationship status' for eight years now. My wife struggles to tolerate my interest in gaming, even when it doesn't involve the expense of buying all the latest consoles and games, most of which I have very limited interest in. It was, however, rather ironically my wife who suggested I start this blog.


I can't even remember why now - it can't have been because I bored her with game talk or hogged the TV playing all my old classics - it's very unlikely I would've gotten away with that! Oh well, whatever made her suggest it, I did indeed start this very blog all the way back in 2010. I doubt she expected it to last very long; I'm not sure I did either to be honest - I've got a history of getting really into something only to lose interest just as quickly - but here I am still going all this time later.