Saturday, 31 December 2016

TV Shows #12

Extant (2014-15)
Developed By: Mickey Fisher Starring: Halle Berry, Goran Visnjic, Pierce Gagnon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Hiroyuki Sanada, Grace Gummer, Michael O'Neill, Tyler Hilton, Camryn Manheim, David Morrissey, Brad Beyer, Jeannetta Arnette

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 40-44 Minutes (per episode)

One trend I've noticed in the last ten years or so is that a lot of film actors/actresses have moved on to the small screen as stars of new TV shows. One of the first instances of this I remember is Kiefer Sutherland in the super-awesome 24 - a casting choice that surprised me a bit in the day, even if Mr. Sutherland was no longer the draw he had once been - but it must have worked as the show was a smash hit with his performances regularly singled out. Soon, other former and current movie actors were doing the same, but one recent example that still surprised me a little when I first saw it advertised was Extant. How on earth did they manage to get an Oscar winning actress like Halle Berry to appear in what was apparently a sci-fi TV show? By giving her an executive producer credit? I'm not sure if that's what did the trick but who cares? It's never exactly a hardship to see the lovely Ms. Berry again, and a new sci-fi show is always welcome around these parts. Surely the two combined will result in a show of true majesty?

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Merry Christmas!

Okay, I'm a bit late this year - I think I usually am actually - but this is just a quick post to wish all my readers, whether occasional or regular, a very Merry Christmas! If you celebrate it, that is, obviously. It's been a challenging year here in RKS Land, and one that has regrettably seen the fewest posts at RP since I started the page back in 2010. I was hoping to at least hit the 100 mark but I have recently started (another) new job which has resulted in quite a bit less free time than before.

Nonetheless, I have a huge backlog of game and film reviews in mind so there will be plenty of new posts here over the coming months - once I get around to writing them of course! So please, continue to drop by and leave comments and feedback, either here or on the various social media platforms I spam my new posts. In the meantime, I hope you have all had a wonderful festive period and year in general. May the next prove as good or perhaps even better. Happy Holidays one and all! :)


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Top Five Atari 2600 Shmups

When you think of shoot 'em ups, the Atari VCS/2600 probably isn't the first system to enter your mind, but a surprising number of its games tasked you with shooting things. I suppose most videogames did generally back then but even so, I thought it was high time I took a look at some of the best examples available for Atari's iconic console. Many of them were clones of popular arcade machines of the time such as Space Invaders and Galaxians, naturally, but I think I've ended up with a nicely varied list in the end. Here are my choices - did I leave out your favourite?

Games-Related Top Fives Disclaimer: I've traditionally stuck to the games I know and love so far, and these game-related top fives reflect that. One of the purposes of this blog is diversify my gaming experiences, to play games I haven't played before, so I will do new game-related top fives in a few years to see how different they are!

5. Mega Mania (1982)

There are loads of Space Invaders clones on the VCS as you might expect but this one is my favourite I think. As normal, rows of enemies appear above you and your job is to shoot them all down. It doesn't get any more complicated than that. What I like about it, though, is that the enemies move across the screen looping from one side to the next, but even more that you can angle your shots as well. That makes it quite a bit easier to take out moving enemies as you might imagine, but it's still not easy as they can move pretty quickly and change direction regularly. Each stage has a different type of enemy too, with their own movements. Some even loop from the bottom to the top of the screen as well as left or right so it's necessary to dodge them as well as their shots, and you don't get long to take them out as your energy level is slowly falling as well. It is a little repetitive and a background would've been nice, but it's also good fun and very addictive.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Steam / GOG Downloads #3

Colin McRae Rally (2013)
By: Code Masters Genre: Driving Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: PC
Also Available For: Android, iOS

Since the age of the PS1, not only have driving games been far more prevalent but a sizeable portion of them have also been rally games. You might think the title that kick-started this was Sega Rally but as far as I'm concerned it was Colin McRae Rally. The series debuted in 1998 and was a more realistic take on the popular motorsport which in the years prior to the game's release had been dominated by Mr. McRae in his iconic blue Subaru Impreza. It was justifiably a smash hit and led to many sequels which gradually changed names to 'Dirt', presumably due to the tragic and untimely death of the star after whom the series was originally named. But now that original name returns. Does that mean we're in reboot territory? That's what I had assumed prior to playing it at least, but let's see.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

TV Shows #11 - Part 1

Sons of Anarchy (2008-14)
Developed By: Kurt Sutter Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan, Johnny Lewis, Maggie Siff, Ron Perlman, Ryan Hurst, William Lucking, Theo Rossi, Dayton Callie, Jimmy Smits, Drea De Matteo, David Labrava, Niko Nicotera

Certificate: 18 Running Time: Typically around 50 minutes per episode but ranges from 39-90 minutes

Much like many of you I'm sure, the list of shows on my watch list is long. Netflix alone features tons but recently removed from that particular list is this one. It's about a motorcycle gang and is well regarded but that was about the extent of my knowledge prior to watching. Fortunately, that was sufficient. The gang (or 'club', as they apparently prefer) is known as SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original) and is based in the small fictional Northern Californian town of Charming. There they are involved in various rackets, mostly illegal, but the bulk of their business comes from running guns, supplied by the 'True IRA' based in Belfast and sold to other criminal gangs around the NorCal area. The club was founded in 1967 by John Teller and some of his friends who became know as the 'First 9' but at the start of the show, only club president Clay Morrow (Perlman) and Piney Winstone (Lucking) are left.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Indie Games News/Previews #9

Xydonia by Breaking Bytes (2017) - PC

If there is one type of doujin game that's always guaranteed to grab my attention it's a side-scrolling shooter so you can imagine how pleased I was to stumble upon this one a while ago on Facebook. It's the work of three self-proclaimed arcade junkies from Italy known as Breaking Bytes and has recently been the subject of a Kickstarter campaign which I'm pleased to say was successful. The game is still under development but the alpha has been made freely available and does a great job of showcasing what they've included so far. In fact, it looks more or less finished to my eyes - the presentation is superb, featuring an intro sequence, lots of options, the choice of three pilots, three weapon set-ups, and even assist characters, and the whole thing is really polished already. It isn't quite finished yet though of course - only the first two stages are included here, and they are quite brief, but they're sufficiently splendid to make the game look very promising.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Arcade Classics #9

Mappy (1980)
By: Namco Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 33,150 (one credit)
Also Available For: NES, MSX, Game Gear (ports), PC, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2, PSP, Nintendo DS, Game Boy (on compilations)
Download For: Wii Virtual Console, iOS

When you think of gaming mouses you might well think of Mickey's mighty fine adventures before any others, but coming long before he started lighting up the 8 and 16-bit consoles was a plucky fellow that went by the name of Mappy. Unlike his more famous Disney relative who just goes around doing as he pleases, Mappy is much more responsible and actually works as a police mouse, or 'micro police' as the game calls him! His job is to retrieve stolen property from a series of mansions, but there's a problem - the thieves are still there! They come in the form of pink cats called Meowkies (or 'naughty folks') and their boss, a larger red cat called Goro (or 'boss the big bit', whatever that means) and they are keen to keep hold of their loot, so Mappy's job will not be a very easy one.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Flicky Flicks Round 2

Having enjoyed the first round of Flicky Flicks, the guys and I soon turned our keen gaze to round two which, as chosen by Chip as the first round's victor, would consist of the films of Stanley Kubrick. This was not initially met with huge excitement by me as I've never really been that keen on his films. I know he's one of the greatest directors of all time and all that stuff, and his films are technically brilliant, but I just haven't really enjoyed watching them that much in the past. I guess some film snobs would therefore say I'm not a 'true film fan' but that's fine, I don't mind. As it turned out I've quite enjoyed this round anyway though, which consisted of a couple of classics I hadn't seen before. As before, the winner will be revealed at the end!

Paths of Glory (1957)
Director: Stanley Kubrick Starring: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Richard Anderson

Nominated By: Hipster Ben Running Time: 88 Minutes

It's two years into the First World War and the French and German forces have reached an impasse, both stuck in their respective trenches and unable to make any headway. The ambitious General Mireau, however, decides to send his division to take a strategically important position known as 'the Anthill'. Commanding the mission is Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) who knows it's next to impossible but tries anyway. The general is furious when it inevitably fails and demands that some of the soldiers are court martialed and executed for cowardice...

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Splendid MegaDrive Music #4

James Pond: Underwater Agent (1990)

I've long felt alone in having a soft-spot for the first James Pond game. Many love its sequel, Robocod, and justifiably so, but the original? There are many things I like about it - the jolly graphics, the environmental theme, the fact that it takes place underwater (well, James is a fish and all) - but one of its less appreciated features as far as I can tell is its music, composed by Richard Joseph. Much of it is somewhat more befitting the character's secret agent status but my favourite is this, one of two level themes that get alternated. It's might be a little strange but it suits the game well and also makes me smile every time I hear it. What more can you ask for?

(full James Pond review here)

Special Note: I didn't record this great tune myself, I'm just an admirer, so all credit to, firstly the original composer, and secondly the YouTube user who uploaded it!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Steam / GOG Downloads #2

Instant Dungeon! (2013)
By: Simple Interactive Genre: Maze / Puzzle Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: PC
Also Available For: Android, iOS

Like many of you I'm sure, I have amassed quite a large collection of games on Steam, Good Old Games, and similar services over the past few years, and also like many of you I suspect, I have yet to play most of them. It's about time I did though, and I figured that good old Red Parley gave me the perfect excuse as always. The first I have chosen is this, a cheapie purchase I saw on Steam which looked like one I might enjoy. This is mainly on account of it being an overhead-viewed maze game, a genre I generally find very appealing, and one that I was glad to find indie developers haven't forgotten about either.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Film Review #93

Central Intelligence (2016)
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan, Aaron Paul, Danielle Nicolet, Alrahim Wright, Jason Bateman

Certificate: 12A Running Time: 116 Minutes

Tagline: "Saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson"

You know, I don't think there is any actor I have heard more about in the last couple of years than Kevin Hart. Some people seem to love him, some seem to hate him, but however you feel about him he certainly seems to be cropping up rather a lot lately. Personally, until very recently I had never (knowingly) seen one of his films so my judgement was reserved for the time being. I am, however, something of a fan of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson so I figured this recent release would be the perfect film with which to break my Hart duck. It starts off with their final high school senior assembly - Calvin 'Golden Jet' Joyner (Hart) is the star pupil - super popular, winner of just about everything, and voted 'most likely to succeed' by his classmates; Robbie Wheirdicht (Johnson) is... well, the opposite - an awkward, overweight, lonely loser.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

San Francisco's Gaming Gem - Part 3

Okay, just a quickie (giggity) for this somewhat belated third and final part of my look at the wonderful Musée Mécanique in San Francisco. I've already written about the museum generally and also taken a closer look at some of the games I played, so to wrap things up, here is a selection of some of the photos I took while there. It certainly doesn't show everything they have, and it looks like they've already made some additions since my visit, but it still gives you a good idea of the wonders housed within. If you get the chance, you really need to check this place out...

Monday, 7 November 2016

Computer Shmups #4

N.O.M.A.D. (1985)
By: Ocean Genre: Shooting / Maze Players: 1  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: ZX Spectrum  First Day Score: 10,355
Also Available For: Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64

It seems like a loong time ago now that I spent most of my evenings in front of my trusty Spectrum. In retrospect, they probably would've been better spent doing homework but never mind! One of the first of its games to ensnare me, and one of the very first video games to ever do so therefore, was this one which was actually a freebie that came bundled with the computer. It's a flick-screen multi-directional shooter set within TALOS, a man-made asteroid which is apparently 'spreading evil through the universe' thanks to its chief occupant, the 'unspeakably vile' Cyrus T.Gross. To combat this terror, the 'rulers of the Free Worlds' have sent in N.O.M.A.D. (Nemesis Organisation Mobile Attack Droid), a floaty shooty robot to blow everything up and kill him. I guess we're ignoring whatever judicial system is used in this part of space for now then, so let's get killing!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Film Round-Up #18

After making his acting debut in Guy Ritchie's first two films, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, Jason Statham quickly made a name for himself as the latest arse-kicking action star. I think he surprised quite a few moviegoers with that move - he had just seemed like a fairly normal cockney bloke beforehand - but he proved very convincing in the many action scenes his subsequent films featured, showing off some superb martial arts skills as well as some fantastic stunt work. The first of these that I saw was The Transporter but many similar roles soon followed and in nearly all of them he seems to be an ex-something-awesome like a SAS soldier or Special Forces operative or MMA fighter or something. He could easily be playing the same character in a vast majority of them, in fact, but they are still often highly entertaining if you ask me. Here is a look at the five I've seen most recently:

War (2007)

The first time we saw Statham and the great Jet Li on screen together it was in 2001 for The One, an interdimensional adventure but this time things are rather less floopy. Statham is John Crawford, an FBI agent who becomes obsessed with catching a ruthless, highly skilled assassin known as Rogue (Li), a former CIA operative now working for the Yakuza, who brutally killed Crawford's old partner and best friend three years earlier. Like most obsessions, this adversely affects near enough every other aspect of his life but he's determined to bring the ultra-elusive villain down. For us that unsurprisingly means a shooty kicky action-filled 100 minutes or so. Statham's take on an FBI agent is as aggressive and rule-bending as you might expect and, similarly, Jet Li's Rogue is a man of very few words, instead showing up now and then looking all sinister and doing sinister things as well as effortlessly kicking a few arses when the fancy takes him. It's a good pairing and there are some really enjoyable scenes, like Rogue playing the Yakuza and Triads against each other, but we never really seem to get the fireworks that you feel is inevitable. Still worth a watch though... 6/10

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Retro News - Daytona Returns to Arcades!

Well, there have been whispers for a little while and now it's been confirmed by Sega themselves - the mighty Daytona is coming back to our arcades! Whether you love or hate the original Daytona USA it's impossible to deny how much of an impact it had back in 1993/94 and the years immediately following its release. It was the first title to use Sega's awesome Model 2 board and it was a smash hit, soon ranking among the the highest-grossing arcade games of all time.

In fact, it was so successful that it's surprising it took Sega so long to return to the franchise, with Daytona USA 2 arriving in the arcades in 1998 and then Daytona USA 2001 for the Dreamcast in... well, 2001 I guess! Both were pretty much just more of the same but with new licks of paint so they weren't quite so successful, but the Daytona name is one that has continued to shine brightly, for Sega fans in particular, right up to the present day. It's been a long time since then though.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

PC Engine Platform Games #5

Chan & Chan a.k.a. J.J. & Jeff (1987)
By: Hudson Soft Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 First Day Score: 54,100
Also Available For: Nothing

Or Kato-chan & Ken-chan to give the game its full name, but us oldie gamers here in the UK have always known it by its abbreviated name. Whatever name you know it by though, it was one of the Engine's very first releases, and for that reason it garnered a great deal of attention in its day. Was it worthy of it? I've always thought not but I hadn't spent a great deal of time playing it until this review to be honest, despite owning it for many years. Time to find out for sure, I guess! My first stop is finding out just what in the hell it's about. The answer to that, it seems, can be found in the TV show on which the game is apparently based, which was a Japanese variety show starring the two oafs of the title. Here, it seems they are on some sort of quest, but quite what it entails I couldn't say. The US version of the game (known as JJ & Jeff) casts the two characters as detectives investigating a kidnapping, so I suppose we should assume a similar kind of objective here.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Film Review #92

The To Do List (2013)
Director: Maggie Carey Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele, Scott Porter, Rachel Bilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Andy Samberg, Donald Glover, Connie Britton, Clark Gregg

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 104 Minutes

Tagline: "She's going from straight A's to her first F."

As you may or may not have gathered by way of the subtle innuendo of the tagline, The To Do List is the yet another one of those high-school sex comedies. I'm not normally a big fan of them to be honest, but I was enticed by this one due to the presence of Aubrey Plaza of whom I've become a bit of a fan in recent times. Here she plays Brandy Klark, a teenager just finishing high school. She's a smart, straight A student and valedictorian of her school, but also somewhat lacking in social graces and seen as a nerdy loser by the 'cool' kids who include her older sister Amber (Bilson). Nonetheless, she does have a few friends, chiefly Fiona (Shawkat) and Wendy (Steele), who along with her sister convince her that she needs to gain some sexual experience before starting college. And so is born the list of the title which features a great many sex acts that Brandy intends to try out over the summer, many of which she hasn't even heard of.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Retro News - New 3D Sonic Speeds Our Way!

Sonic Utopia by Murasaki & Mr Lange (2016) - PC

Crikey! No sooner do I get excited about a new Sonic game in the old 2D style of the classic MegaDrive games but now along comes a new fan-made 3D game as well! If you are anything like me this might initially be a prospect that strikes fear into your heart. I still haven't played too many of Sonic's three-dimensional adventures admittedly, but the ones I have played have not been tremendously appealing to me, right from the very first one no less (I can't remember being much more disappointed in a game than I was in Sonic Adventure). Many of them have been competent 3D platformers but most haven't really felt like Sonic games. This new title, however, looks a bit different. It is the work of a small team who have just released it for 2016's Sonic Amateur Games Expo (SAGE), an event for fans to show off their Sonic-related projects, and it is... wonderful!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Retro Gaming Zoo #2

Humans are stupid. Animals are always better than stupid humans, everyone knows that, and it's something that's also true in the world of video games. A tremendous variety of weird and wonderful animals have starred in games over the years and here I'll be taking a closer look at some of them. Next up is:

Creature #2 - Flicky of Flicky
Type of Creature? Bird  Realistic Portrayal? Yes

After the recent tomfoolery with a certain chat/film group to which he lends his name, I figured it was a good time to take a closer look at Flicky, the plucky blue avian star of Sega's 1984 arcade game and subsequent conversions. He is very bird-like too, which is surprising for the day. He can run around and has a decent flappy-assisted jump, both are which are invaluable for collecting the helpless little 'Chirps' around the short looping stages and avoiding the hungry cats that also scamper about the place, and that is about the extent of his ambitions too. He's just doing what any responsible squawker would do. I'm not sure how realistic the actual stages are since later ones seem to take place in space, and I'm not sure how adept any bird would be at holding a net to catch catapulted Chirps either, but as a character Flicky is definitely very realistic for video game standards. Happily we got to see his likeness again along with many of his colourful brethren, and on their apparent home turf too, in Sonic 3D: Flickies Island, but nothing since then. Come back Flicky/Flickies! :)

Is His Game Any Good? Yes, it's mighty good! The most celebrated version is that found on Sega's own MegaDrive which was actually slightly superior to the arcade original (although in fairness, it was released some seven years later!) but I have yet to play a version of Flicky that isn't tremendous fun. Check the full review here.


Sunday, 23 October 2016

Arcade Racing Games #5

Continental Circus (1987)
By: Taito Genre: Racing Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 2,101,460
Also Available For: Amiga, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, MSX, ZX Spectrum

There were quite a few racing and driving games in the arcades of the mid-to-late 80's so developers often had to do something to make their game stand out, but Taito managed to do that by accident with this release. It's clearly an F1-style game so what's with the 'circus' in the title, so many of us thought back in the day. It soon transpired that this was actually a translation error with the intended title being Continental Circuit. A few cabs made it to the US with the corrected name on them but for most of us it was a game that was often met by a childish smirk. Was it actually a good game though, or would attempts to play it be met with even more mirth? Well, the Spectrum version wasn't too bad as I recall but I never had the chance to play the arcade original back then. Upon recently being reminded of the game, I decided it was time to find out.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Nintendo Unveil... the Switch

Nintendo have found themselves in a strange position in the market in recent years. Back in NES and SNES days their systems were flooded with third-party titles. Some were exclusive, others not, but there was always plenty of choice. Starting with the Wii and continuing with the Wii U, though, they seemed to have branched off from their competitors, leaving the bulk of the third-party releases for Sony and Microsoft while their own systems, under-powered in comparison to the others, were left with some fantastic first-party titles, some gimmicky releases to take advantage of the unorthodox controls the machines employed, but little else.

That brings me to the new system, known until today as the 'NX', and one to which I had devoted more than a passing thought over the last few months. Foremost in these thoughts were wonderings about whether Nintendo would continue their trend of recent years or go back to their old ways, and all was revealed yesterday at the system's grand unveiling. It will be known as the Nintendo Switch and, at first glance, it appears my fears have been realised, for their new home console will actually be more akin to a dockable portable system. As you may well have seen in the video already, the 'console' itself seems more like a tablet which can either be docked, with games played on TV, or undocked and used wherever you like with parts of the detachable controller clipped to the sides so as to not rely on pesky touch-screen controls. This does seem pretty cool in the video, admittedly, but my first reaction was one of disappointment. Would Nintendo once again be using a hardware gimmick to sell their new system?

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Retro News - Star Control Returns!

Star Control Origins by Stardock (2017) - PC, PS4, Xbox One

So there I was aimlessly wandering around the world wide web when I happened upon some news I had long hoped for but almost given up on - Star Control is back! This may not mean a lot to many of you but, as any regular readers here will know, I have had a great deal of affection for this series for many years, going back to the original game, and its sequel has been my favourite game of all time since its release. So this long-awaited news has been met with much excitement by me and the series' other loyal fans as you might imagine! It's not a fan project and it's not a conversion of a previous game like the splendid Ur-Quan Masters. No, this is an all-new, full retail release... at last!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

TV Shows #10

iZombie (2015-16)
Developed By: Rob Thomas / Diane Ruggiero-Wright Starring: Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley, David Anders

Certificate: 12 Running Time: 42 Minutes (per episode)

Okay, I'll just come out and say it - I really don't like zombies. I don't like zombie films, I don't like zombie shows. I think zombies are stupid. First they were stupid mumbling stumbling oafs but more recently the trend has been for zombieness to be the result of a virus/pathogen of some sort, usually also bestowing super speed, strength, athleticism, endurance, etc on the infected party. Either way, they're stupid and their films/shows are stupid too. This new show, however, takes yet another approach. Well, kind of. It's loosely based on the comic books by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred of which there were 28 issues between 2010 and 2012, but definitely only 'loosely' as about the only similarity between them from what I can see is the general appearance (though not name) of the main character. Here she is called Olivia (Liv) Moore and was until recently just a normal medical resident from Seattle. That was, until she attended a boat party and got herself infected.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Retro News - Hewson Are Back!

Hyper Sentinel by Hewson Consultants (2016) - iOS, Android, PC, PS4, Xbox One

I'm sure pretty much everyone into gaming in the 80's was well aware of Hewson Consultants. Their many releases, mainly for the 8-bit home micros, were of a consistently high quality and they made quite a name for themselves as purveyors of the utmost splendour, but sadly they shut down only a couple of years into the following decade. But now they are back! Well, kind of, for announced earlier this year was a Kickstarter for a brand new game bearing the Hewson name. I had planned to cover it here at Red Parsley back then but, of course, it's taken me ages to get around to it as usual. In the intervening months the project sadly failed to reach its target and seemed to be over before I'd even posted about it. Happily, though, that's not the case and it's looking pretty good!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Currently Playing...

Hang-On by Sega AM2 (1985) - Master System

If you are visiting this blog intentionally there's a pretty good chance your days of console gaming go back as far the 80's, perhaps even late 70's. My first was Sega's magnificent Master System which remains one of my favourite systems. The version I was fortunate enough to have featured two built-in games - Safari Hunt, to make use of the bundled Light Phaser, and the mighty Hang-On for those times you don't fancy shooting poor rabbits, bears, and armadillos!

I have already taken a look at the decent arcade version here at Red Parsley but this MS version was the first one I encountered and it remains my favourite. Obviously it's taken a bit of a hit with regards to its visuals. The biker sprites are smaller and less detailed here, there are far fewer on-screen colours, the roadsides are more spartan, and it's not as fast, but it's not a bad effort all things considered. That nighttime stage still looks super cool too! The audio is more or less the same as the original, although that's mainly because the arcade version had very little - there's no in game music and few spot effects as you race. The aesthetic differences were irrelevant for me at the time anyway though, as I'd never played or even seen the arcade game.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Wes Anderson Presents: The X-Men

Okay, I don't usually post funny videos from YouTube here - I don't even watch them very often if I'm honest - but I can't resist posting this one here. If nothing else it will keep reminding me that it exists! But what is it? Well, I'm sure you all know the X-Men films, or at least know of them. What you may not know is that my favourite film director for many years now has been the great Wes Anderson. I could probably make a whole post here about why that is but for now let's just say it's because he and his films are awesome. He also has a very distinctive style, and this short video is a fan-made 'trailer' of what an X-Men film might be like if Wes directed one! It's likely to appeal only to fans of Mr. Anderson's work, and those people will love it, but it's still pretty cool even if you don't know him. Check check check it out!


Sunday, 9 October 2016

Mobile Games #10

I Am Level (2014)
By: Smiling Bag Genre: Platform / Pinball Players: 1 Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Featured Version: Android
Also Available For: iOS

It was long ago now that I initially discovered this game - more than two years has passed, in fact. It was soon installed onto my Android phone; I played it for a while, and enjoyed it, but then my phone went and broke. It didn't take too long to replace it - how could it these days? - but my progress was obviously lost in this and all other games I had installed (which was only a few, luckily). I had originally intended to review it back then but gadzooks if it hasn't taken me all this time to finally get around to reinstalling the game (I had to buy it again, too!) and playing it through. It didn't take me long to make up my previous progress and only a little more to surpass it, so I guess it's time to resurrect that review as well. If I can remember where I put it, that is. Oh, wait a minute...

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Flicky Flicks Round 1

I believe I've briefly mentioned in passing the chat group over on Facebook known as Team Flicky. It consists of six members - Chris (Chip), Dave (Grumpy McUnt), Mark (Pinbot), Geoff (Neptune King of the Sea), Ben (Hipster Ben), and Me (Randar) - and amongst our many mutual interests are movies. It was therefore recently decided that we would form our own film club known as Flicky Flicks for which we would all choose one film based on a particular theme, then each watch all six films and name our favourite. Whoever nominated the most popular film would get to choose the next theme. I can't remember how Michael Douglas was chosen as our first theme but anyway, here are the six films we chose and mini-reviews from us all for each film. The winner will be revealed at the end!

Romancing the Stone (1984)
Director: Robert Zemeckis Starring: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Alfonso Arau, Manuel Ojeda

Nominated By: Pinbot Running Time: 106 Minutes

Joan Wilder (Turner) is a very successful but lonely romance novelist moping around New York feeling sorry for herself when her she receives a phone call from her sister who's gone and gotten herself kidnapped by some dastardly antiquities dealers who are now blackmailing her (Joan) into travelling to Colombia to trade a map she had surreptitiously been sent in the mail for her squawking sibling. Of course, it’s not long before she ends up in trouble. Until, that is, the splendidly-named Jack T. Colton (Douglas) arrives just in time to save her. And so begins their epic adventure through the Amazon in pursuit of the lush green gem of the title.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Retro News - Yet More Wonder Boy?

Wonder Boy Returns by CFK (2016) - PC

Holy smokes, it's a glorious time to be a Wonder Boy fan, for not only do we have the two Wonder Boy III games on their way (one new adventure apparently inspired by it as well as a remake) which I have covered here already with much enthusiasm, but now news reaches me of yet another game to feature the infantile whippersnapper. This time it is seemingly based on the original Wonder Boy, a game I recently reviewed here at Red Parsley and enjoyed a great deal, and is being handled by CFK, a Korean publisher responsible for releasing tons of titles in their native territory, mainly for consoles and handhelds.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Single Screen Platform Games #14

Mario Bros (1983)
By: Nintendo Genre: Platform Players: 1-2 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 58,740 (one credit)
Also Available For: NES, Apple II, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

Despite being among the most well known video game characters of all time, some people are still unaware of Mario's earlier exploits. His first appearance was of course as the heroic Jumpman in Donkey Kong, I don't think there are many gamers who forget about that, but one game that does often seem to get overlooked is this one, the original Mario Bros. I first played it many years ago on my Spectrum and I seem to remember a fairly strong feeling of indifference at the time. Coming back to it now though, and the arcade original no less, might well elicit a different reaction. One thing I didn't know before is that the game is apparently set in New York's sewers. I suppose it makes sense now that I think about it but it's still unlike any sewer I've ever seen. Not that I've actually seen too many but you know what I mean. This sewer is apparently infested with many strange creatures and it's down to the heroic plumbing duo of Mario and Luigi to exterminate them.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Splendid Amiga Music #2

Okay, time for another embarrassing confession - I have never played the Secret of Monkey Island games... (silence, occasional tumbleweed)... Yes yes, I know, it's a shameful state of affairs. In my defence, I've never been a big PC gamer, I got into the Amiga really late, and I was never the biggest fan of point 'n' click games to begin with, but it's still unacceptable. Another chance for the mighty Red Parsley to avail me of my oversight for sure. I do, however, have the game's theme tune in my vast game music collection and, having just heard it again while writing a review, I felt compelled to post it here. So behold, for the nostalgic pleasure of the game's many fans, and to treat the ears of other ignorant oafs like me, it is thus:

Special Note: I didn't record this great tune myself, I'm just an admirer, so all credit to, firstly the original composer, and secondly the YouTube user who uploaded it!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Film Review #91

Kickboxer: Vengeance (2016)
Director: John Stockwell Starring: Alain Moussi, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dave Bautista, Sara Malakul Lane, Gina Carano, Georges St-Pierre, Darren Shahlavi

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 90 Minutes

Tagline: "Without rules, without referees... the fight is to the death"

I've long been a fan of Kickboxer in all its cheesy 80's glory, and even a couple of its straight-to-video sequels (though definitely not all of them!), but even I wasn't sure what to make of the news that the series was getting a remake/reboot. Its story of a brother seeking revenge against an evil Muay Thai master for the crippling of his sibling was a reasonably engaging one but is it really a story that needs retelling? Most of its fans like the film for its action, as well as the scary Tong Po, not for its story, so it was a slightly odd decision to be sure. It would most likely need new actors too, so why not just put them in an all-new film? Perhaps a whole new series could be born. Oh well, the reasoning behind it doesn't really matter now I guess, it's here and who knows - it could be frickin' awesome so let's give it a chance.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

San Francisco's Gaming Gem - Part 2

Oops, it's now been almost exactly a year since I went to California which means I am long overdue with this post (no surprise there I guess!). Anyway, having already revealed the wonders of Musée Mécanique generally, I thought I'd also take a quick look at the five games I spent the most time playing there (besides skee ball of course, which is the greatest thing ever). Here they are:

Sprint 2 (1976)

I've long been a fan of the splendid Super Sprint so it was a real thrill to find this, the original Sprint (the '2' denotes a two-player version) lurking amongst the more modern machines. Naturally I gave it a go and quickly found it... rather tough going. As you can see, the cars are teeny things but steering them around the circuits isn't too tough. The black and white graphics are tidy and the controls are smooth enough. What makes it tough is its mandatory 4-speed transmission. It's not always easy to constantly shift up and down in any normal racing game but it's even tougher here with ultra-concentration needed to get around within sight of the other cars. I guess I'd get used to it after a while but... jeez, I made a mess of it on this occasion (my ranking was 'granny' - boo hoo)! It was still wonderful to even have the chance to play it at all though - there can't be too many of these machines left at all, never mind ones working this flawlessly, and it does still play really well considering how old it is.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Crap Games #10

The Spirit of Speed 1937 (2000)
By: Broadsword Interactive / Acclaim Genre: Racing Players: 1 Difficulty: Hard
Featured Version: Sega Dreamcast
Also Available For: PC

One of my favourite genres on the Dreamcast was that of driving games. There were many superb examples with several available early on, and I bought all but one of them. The one I didn't get, and indeed had never even played until recently, was Spirit of Speed. This was mainly due to the rather harsh reception it was met by upon its release. Actually, that's putting it mildly - I don't think I've ever seen a racing game get so consistently, mercilessly savaged by magazines, websites, and players the world over! Despite this, it's still a title that has always rather intrigued me. Not too many games give you the opportunity to race in classic old 1930's speedsters like the ones found here after all. Whilst possibly somewhat restrictive, it's also a unique premise. Besides, it can't be that bad, surely?

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Top Five Elements

I'm sure most of us at least remember the periodic table - no school chemistry class would be complete with it - but how much do you know about the many elements featured on it? Probably about the same as me, but I've been belatedly reading up recently and have learned lots of interesting stuff about them, not least that there are now some 118 of them! Here are five I found the most impressive :)

5 - Iridium

As well as sounding like something from Star Trek, Iridium is also among the rarest of all elements on earth. It's a shiny and very dense metal (the second densest of all elements, in fact), is resistant to nearly all corrosion, and is found most commonly in meteorites, which means the tiny amounts in Earth's crust likely arrived from the depths of the cosmos. Time to launch a mining expedition?

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Film Round-Up #17

I'm sure most films fans who grew up around the time I did remember Kickboxer very well. Released soon after the much-heralded Bloodsport, it confirmed Jean Claude Van Damme's status as the most awesome action star to come along since Arnie. What many don't realise, however, is that it spawned a surprising number of sequels, most of which were straight-to-video efforts and none of which would be graced by JCVD. Rumour in the day was, he refused to star in any sequels for some reason (not just Kickboxer but any his film). How true that is I don't know but after catching the original again on Netflix a little while back, I decided to find out just how bad these sequels were. After all, it's long been known that straight-to-video sequels lacking the original star(s) are always bad, right? Let's find out (snigger)...

Kickboxer (1989)

It seems like a long time ago that I first watched this but seeing it again recently was the catalyst for my renewed interest in JCVD films. He plays Kurt Sloane, the younger brother of world kickboxing champ, Eric (played by real-life champion, Dennis Alexio). Looking for a new challenge, they go to Thailand to fight the champion there, Tong Po (played by JCVD's buddy, Michel Qissi), who of course destroys Eric! Seeing his brother confined to a wheelchair, Kurt vows revenge and soon finds himself under the tutelage of famed trainer, Xian Chow, who teaches him the ways of Muay Thai (while his hottie niece, Mylee, provides recreation). I'm sure you can guess what comes next but Kickboxer was a more than decent couple of hours of training/fighting action which was great to see again. Much of the scenery is really nice and there are some superb scenes. Who could forget our hero's drunk dance leading to barroom brawl?! There aren't a great deal of fights but the ones that are here are nicely done. Van Damme looks about as good as he ever has too, and Tong Po makes for a highly intimidating bad guy. See if you can avoid cheering for 'Nok Su Kow' to take him out! ... 8/10

Monday, 5 September 2016

Arcade Shmups #24

Hotdog Storm (1996)
By: Marble Inc / Ace International Genre: Shooting Players: 1-2 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 483,360 (one credit)
Also Available For: Nothing

As I'm sure everyone in the world already knows, hot dogs are well lush. I eat them regularly. I even have special spicy crunchy sprinkles with which to garnish them. Mmmmm, I have some in the fridge right now actually, maybe I'll go have some. Yes, why not? Any time is a good time for hot dogs after all! Hmmm, anyway, sorry about that, I seem to have lost my train of thought. Something must've reminded me of hot dogs for some reason, but on with this review which is of... Hotdog Storm? Ohhh yeah, I remember now! Well, despite the mouth-watering distraction, this is a game that apparently has precious little to do with fast food, name (and awesome title screen image) notwithstanding. In fact, it's a totally bog-standard vertical-scroller. If it has a backstory I'll be a purple feathered ostrich if I know what it is, but it's a short game, featuring only five stages of action between you and... whatever victory promises.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Splendid MegaDrive Music #3

Gauntlet IV (1993)

There are several things this MegaDrive exclusive does to improve upon the already-splendid Gauntlet and one of them is its music. Neither the arcade version nor the mighty fine Speccy conversion on which I spent so much time featured any in-game music, but some cracking choons have been added to this MD version courtesy of Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata.

They all have cool names like 'March in the Dark' and 'Adventures of Iron' and they really do add a lot to the game in my opinion. Some are like rousing battle anthems, others create a sense of mystery, but one of my favourites is one called 'Whisper of Phantom'. It takes a little while to get going but... check check check it out:

Special Note: I didn't record this great tune myself, I'm just an admirer, so all credit to, firstly the original composer, and secondly the YouTube user who uploaded it!

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Film Review #90

Straight Outta Compton (2015)
Director: F. Gary Gray Starring: Jason Mitchell, O'Shea Jackson, Jr., Corey Hawkins, Paul Giamatti, Aldis Hodge, Neil Brown Jr., R. Marcos Taylor, Carra Patterson

Certificate: 18 Running Time: 147 Minutes

Tagline: "The world's most dangerous times created the world's most dangerous group."

If like me you were around in the late 80's, surely you can't have failed to notice the rapid rise of gangsta rap? Even if you had no interest in this abrasive new musical style - and indeed, some even refused to class it as music at all - it soon reached such prevalence that you would hear it whether you wanted to or not. At the forefront of this rise were N.W.A - self proclaimed Niggaz With Attitudes - who pioneered so-called 'reality rap', and it went down a storm. Actually, a storm is a very apt metaphor as not only did N.W.A achieve almost overnight superstardom but their controversial lyrics and behaviour also attracted a great deal of negativity culminating in protests as well as attention from the law enforcement community. As with any meteoric rise, however, there was also the inevitable fall, and this biopic shows us both.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Cover Art: Sega Mark III - Part 2

I haven't posted as many cover-art comparisons as I would have liked here at Red Parsley yet, but even without having featured many systems (yet), I don't think many would argue that the one with the greatest differences in regional cover art must surely be Sega's Master System. Despite their dreadfulness, I have a certain affection for the covers our MS games had over here in the UK, but while doing the comparison posts it became clear that many of the Japanese Mark III games are quite superb. I therefore thought it might be swell to share what I believe to be all of them here with you splendid fellows. I've already posted Part One, and here are the rest of them which, I believe, constitutes every Mark III game officially released (as well as one unofficial title), with the exception of a handful of My Card games which didn't have cover art. Hope you like them!

Nekkyuu Koshien...
Out Run...

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Rail Shooters #1

Star Wars (1983)
By: Atari Inc. Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 70,979 (it's hard via emulation!)
Also Available For: Atari 2600, 5200, Atari 8-bit, ColecoVision, Apple Mac, Apple II, Amiga, Atari ST, PC, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, BBC Micro, Electron, Enterprise 64

Atari's arcade heritage has always been impressive and has long been looked upon fondly by gamers who were around in their day. For most, their day was the early-to-mid-80's; a period that saw some truly wonderful games released, many of which bore Atari's proud name. Of them, one of the most memorable was undoubtedly Star Wars. Not only was it based on the insanely popular film whose sequels were still being gifted upon lucky movie fans the world over (having arrived between Empire and Return), but it was also something of a technical marvel and, even more remarkably for a licensed game, it was even rather good too! I would hope there's no need to detail the back-story here (although I do know a few people that haven't seen the Star Wars films), but suffice to say, Atari were sensible in basing their game on the exciting climax to the first film, namely the daring attack on the mighty Death Star.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Top Five Michael J. Fox Films

He may have sadly been absent from our screens for a good few years now due to the tragically-early onset of Parkinson's Disease, but the name of Michael J. Fox is still one resonates strongly with most film fans, especially ones who were around in the 80's. This, of course, is mainly due to the Back to the Future films, but he has starred in a surprising number of other films too. Here I've taken a look at what in my view are the best of them. Don't agree? Let's hear what your favourites are!

5. The Frighteners (1996)

This early Peter Jackson movie was sadly Michael's last big on-screen role, but was it one to remember? To be honest I think more people remember it due to Jackson's pre-LOTR involvement than MJF's these days but it's not a bad film and he is pretty good in it. He stars as Frank Bannister who is somehow able to see and communicate with ghosts. So of course, he tells them to haunt people, then sells his services as an exorcist! This is all well and good, but when the ghost of a serial killer starts offing locals, both living and dead, Frank must use his abilities to investigate and stop the evildoer. It was a film perhaps more notable for its special effects than anything else in its day but it definitely has more than just that going for it. As well as Mr. Fox, Star Trek alumni Jeffrey Combs is a standout as an eccentric FBI agent, as is Jake Busey, and we even get a cameo from R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket's hardcore drill sergeant). It has perhaps aged a bit now but it's still a fun romp and there are some interesting ideas here.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Memorable Gaming Moments #3

Test Drive Unlimited by Eden Games / Atari (2007) - PC

As a gamer, have you ever been in that situation where you don't really know what to play, or perhaps don't even necessarily feel like playing something, but are bored and/or feeling a bit down and need to cheer yourself up? Sure you have, everyone has, and I'm no different. There are a few games which I rely on during these times. Not many, mind you, but the one I've found myself returning to time and time again since I reviewed it last year is the awesome Test Drive Unlimited.

An open-world game it may be, but it still has structure and objectives. Thankfully, however, there are no real time-restrictions or limitations on when you should do this so one of my favourite antics has become thus: set off from my lovely home, smash into a few innocent road-users to get the attention of the local law enforcement authorities, and then spend as long as possible avoiding capture!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

INPUT Magazine - A Retrospective

Oh hey, RetroKingSimon here. Since I started Red Parsley I've been the only person ever to write or post anything here, but today I'm happy and proud to present Red Parsley's first ever guest writer - programmer, developer of Nebula Retro (a mobile game reviewed here a while back), and Facebook friend, John Blackburn, who has written this fantastic piece. Take it away John:

INPUT magazine was a computer programming course published as a partwork by Marshall Cavendish in 1984-5. INPUT must surely be one of the most advanced and impressive partworks ever published on any subject. With 52 editions adding up to 1600 pages, it's huge! And the quality of writing is superb throughout.

One of the first programs I ever wrote. Just a few lines of code produced a
beautiful sunset pattern complete with perspective lines. My grandma was
amazed art could come from "those numbers"!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Gravity Games #5

Thrust (1987)
By: Jeremy Smith / Superior Software Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: BBC Micro First Day Score: 28,850
Also Available For: Electron, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 16/64, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST

I don't think it is particularly unfair to say that the BBC was never really considered a 'proper' gaming system by most players of the day, but of the games it did host, one of the best known must surely be Thrust. It's a little odd since it isn't an exclusive, but it was originally made for Acorn's iconic micro prior to being ported to several other systems and it remains best known there as well. As you might have gathered from its inclusion in this series of features (as well as its name), Thrust is a gravity game not entirely dissimilar to the likes of Gravitar, and like Atari's classic, players find themselves in command of a small, roughly triangular vessel which is slowly falling towards the landscape below. Using it, your mission is to assist 'the resistance' in its fight against the evil Intergalactic Empire by collecting 'Klystron Pods' which are needed to power their 'battlegrade starships'.

Friday, 5 August 2016

TV Shows #9

The Returned Season One (2015)
Developed By: Carlton Cuse Starring: India Ennenga, Sandrine Holt, Sophie Lowe, Mark Pellegrino, Jeremy Sisto, Michelle Forbes, Mat Vairo, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Douglas, Tandi Wright, Dylan Kingwell, Kevin Alejandro, Agnes Bruckner, Leah Gibson

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 43-46 Minutes per Episode, 10 Episodes

There have been a number of American shows in recent years that are remakes of foreign (often European) shows. The Killing is a great example, but the one I've watched most recently is The Returned. It's based on a French show called Les Revenants which itself is only a few years old and is set in a small, close-knit American town. However, like all small American towns in films and TV shows, it's a much more eventful place than it might first appear. For one thing, a surprising number of inhabitants have died over the years. Some perished in a flood when the local dam burst 29 years before but many others have been lost in a variety of incidents, some accidents, others not. This in itself isn't that strange, but what is strange is that now, some of them have inexplicably started returning without having aged a day.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Was the Saturn a Flop?

It's a fairly safe bet that most of us retro gamers have a lot of love for Sega and their mighty Saturn. A good few of us probably owned one back when it was first released and I'm sure many more of us have owned one since. It's been a particular favourite among collectors for many years now and, now that I stop to think about it, it's a console I've rarely heard a bad word about.

Recently, however, I saw an eye-catching article about it on the Sky News website, heralding the achievements of a talented engineer who has 'saved the console from extinction' by finally 'cracking its security systems', allowing the system to read from and write to other storage mediums such as flash drives. It's a grand triumph to be sure but one that was of limited interest to me if I'm honest.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Puzzle Games #20

Kero Kero Keroppi no Daibouken (1991)
By: Character Soft Genre: Puzzle Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo NES First Day Score: 14,400
Also Available For: Nothing

There are several members of the animal kingdom whose presence in a game is usually a good sign of its quality. Everyone knows if a game stars a monkey or a penguin, it's likely to be good, for example, and frogs have a pretty good track-record so far too. I was therefore keen to check out this game after seeing its smiling amphibious star beaming out from its cover, who is, I believe, named Keroppi. It's hard to be totally sure as the game was perhaps unsurprisingly a Japanese exclusive, but he shall henceforth be referred to accordingly anyway. After muddling through a couple of options screens (which allow you to choose one or two players, and whether to start a new game or enter a code), it quickly becomes clear that his game is not only a puzzle-based one but also aimed at younger players too. As Keroppi (probably), it's your job to rescue what appears to be a female frog named Keroleen (so identified by her large eyelashes and what look like pigtails) who has become 'trapped in the castle'.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Film Round-Up #16

I'm not sure why but I've always enjoyed watching serial killer films. It's a bit weird given my aversion to horror films, but 'normal' serial killers? That's just fine by me. I have of course seen the most famous ones such as Seven, Natural Born Killers, the Lecter films etc, but I recently decided it was time to watch some new ones (well, new to me at least). Here, consequently, are the wondrous titles I selected:

God Bless America (2011)

I hadn't heard of this one prior to this feature but I now get the feeling it's one that a lot of people might be able to relate to, myself included. It stars Joel Murray as a seemingly normal salesman, but one who has become sick with the state of American society. Upon receiving several bits of bad news in quick succession, he decides he has nothing left to lose and goes on a killing spree, soon finding himself joined by a like-minded schoolgirl (Tara Lynne Barr). Their targets? Bratty 'reality' TV stars, disruptive cinema patrons, bad parkers, and all the other kinds people that they (and I, and no doubt many of you too) so despise sharing the world with. Okay, so maybe killing them is a little extreme but how many of us haven't felt like doing something similar at least once in our lives? As you might've guessed, it was intended as a black comedy, and it is indeed mighty amusing to people with a mildly twisted sense of humour like me. Murray and Barr are both great in their roles, as are most of their targets I suppose since they are indeed annoying, and their quest is a very satisfying one for anyone with a similar outlook on life and society. Is it too much to call it cinematic wish-fulfilment? ... 8/10

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Retro News - New 2D Sonic Speeds Our Way!

Sonic Mania by Sega & Others (2017) - PS4, Xbone, PC

I don't usually cover special game anniversaries here, I'm not all that bothered by them to be honest, but news reached me today of a special one. Or rather, one that was accompanied by some special news. The recipient of this grand gesture is the incomparable Sonic the Hedgehog who is now 25 years young, and that means, besides making me feel rather old, it's time to celebrate! Sega's chosen method of doing this is to release not one but two new games starring the Blue Blur. The first of these is a new 3D adventure codenamed Project Sonic 2017 which is due for release sometime that year for PS4, Xbone, and Nintendo's new system, the NX. Of much more interest to us is the other title.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Currently Playing...

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger (2002)
By: Krome Studios / EA Studios Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Microsoft Xbox
Also Available For: PlayStation 2, GameCube, PC

Let's face it, as much fun as most of them were, the heyday of fuzzy animal game characters was definitely in the 16-bit era. By the time the PS2 and Xbox arrived with all their almost-realistic human characters and corresponding blood and violence, controlling a cute animal seemed a little childish didn't it? I guess that's down to personal preference but they certainly weren't seen as often. One of the more recent I've come across (outside of indie gaming) is this effort by Krome Studios which was actually the first part of a trilogy starring their feisty marsupial.

It's interesting that they've actually gone for an extinct animal for their game but the Australian setting in which he dwells immediately opens up a number of possibilities. The story is as silly as you might imagine and involves Boss Cass, an evil cassowary (a kind of bird if you didn't know) who wants to become the supreme ruler of Australia. This, he will apparently achieve, by activating 'the Dreamtime' for which he has stolen the five mystical talismans. While attempting this, Boss Cass traps all but one of the thylacines (Tasmanian tigers) in a portal to the Dreamtime before his plan is foiled and the talismans are scattered across Tasmania. Unfortunately, this still leaves the thylacines trapped, however.