Monday, 31 January 2011

Crush Series - Part 6

Alien Crush Returns by Tamsoft / Hudson Soft (2008) - Nintendo Wii

It's scary to think that it's now 23 years since Naxat dreamed up the genesis of the Crush series. There have since been several sequels, both official and otherwise, the last of which was the little-known Jaki Crush, itself now almost 20 years old, but that was it. Until now! Yes, in a move of special magnificence, Tamsoft have resurrected this great series and what better way of doing so than to remake the original? Alien Crush Returns is more of a sequel than a remake really though and they've even managed to tack on a backstory this time! Apparently "an elite squad of space marines sets off to investigate an alien spaceship trapped in Jupiter's gravity" or some such nonsense. Sound familiar? How they've managed to facilitate a pinball game with that story I don't know, but the game includes a story mode, arcade mode, ranking mode and versus mode (1-4 player), and as well as multiple tables, including bonus tables as always, and lots of other sweet features like multi ball, reverse ball, etc.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Saturn Shmups #1

Mass Destruction (1997)
By: NMS Software  Genre: Shooting  Players: 1  Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Featured Version: Sega Saturn  First Day Score: 205,425
Also Available For: PlayStation, PC

The poor old Saturn had a bit of a torrid time in the UK and US but it met a little more success in Japan and it's the titles released only there that have made the system something of a collector's favourite. Among the most prestigious and desirable of the sexy system's Japanese exclusives are the large number of amazing 2D shmups it was blessed with, most of which could not be fittingly represented on any other machine of their time (and yes, that includes the PlayStation - hee hee!). So, for the first game of this new Red Parsley feature focusing on the shmups released for Sega's 2D powerhouse, I'll very sensibly start with... one that has 3D graphics and was released in all major territories around the world!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

First Look GameCube #1

Animal Crossing by Nintendo EAD (2001) - Nintendo GameCube

Actually, this time it's not strictly a first look as I've already played this game quite a bit, but I've never 'taken the plunge', so to speak, and bought it myself. As some will know, I grew up as a Sega fanboy and much of my console gaming has been done on their systems, but an old friend of mine is the same except with Nintendo. He's the sort that buys every incarnation of GameBoy and DS the day they come out and plays every release of every Nintendo IP to completion, etc, and out of all of them the one he is most obssessed with is... Animal Crossing! After he showed it to me a few times I started to see why too - it must be the most chilled out game ever! I guess I'd have to categorise it as an RPG but it's more of a 'life simulation' really, and is quite unlike anything I've played before!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Arcade Shmups #5

ASO - Armored Scrum Object a.k.a. Alpha Mission (1985)
By: SNK  Genre: Shooting  Players: 1-2  Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: Arcade  First Day Score: 20,480 (one credit)
Also Available For: Nintendo NES

You know, the history of videogames can be funny. As genres were born, some examples of their games were forgotten almost as soon as they appeared while others went on to be remembered as landmarks, even legends in the years to come. The ones most fondly recalled were generally the most playable, not necessarily the most innovative, and that brings me to ASO (or Alpha Mission as most will probably know it). I must confess that I'd never seen or played it before undertaking this feature. I had vague knowledge of its sequel on the Neo Geo, but this original? Not a clue. When I started playing it though, I was rather pleasantly surprised for, as it turns out, ASO is a very innovative game considering its age! Is its obscurity a blip in history or is it deservedly ignored?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Top Five Alex Kidd Games

Yes, yes, okay, I know - there are only five Alex Kidd games, so how can this be a Top Five? Well, actually, contrary to popular belief, there are in fact six Alex Kidd games - Sega sneaked out another one which never left Japan, but I'll look at that one in a later feature. This feature, instead of selecting the five best Alex Kidd games, will place his five best-known adventures in order of greatness!

5. Alex Kidd in High-Tech World (1989)

The well-informed among you could be forgiven for not considering this a true Alex Kidd game as it was actually nothing to do with him in its Japanese form, instead being based on some obscure anime show and being converted to an AK game for its overseas releases. It's also the game I was most intrigued by prior to this feature as my entire knowledge of it was pretty much restricted to a single screenshot and tiny review in some magazine of the day (C&VG's Complete Guide to Consoles, as I recall). As it turns out, that intrigue was somewhat misplaced, with the game focusing on Alex's attempts to find eight pieces of a map to a new arcade which has opened in town. Unlike the other games in the series, this takes the form of an arcade adventure which does involve lots of familiar platforming action but also sees Alex talking to other characters, searching furniture for items which he can use elsewhere, etc. It's not a bad game I suppose, but it's not a huge amount of fun and just seems like a bit of a chore at times.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Film Review #20

The Road (2009)
Director: John Hillcoat  Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Michael K. Williams
Certificate: 15  Running Time: 107 Minutes

Tagline: "In a moment the world changed forever"

Let's face it - as a race, we Humans are pretty stupid. For all our marvellous inventions and innovations, we still have all the violent and aggressive instincts inherited from our less-evolved relatives down through the ages and it's only a matter of time before we end up destroying ourselves. A good few film-makers have had this notion before and the results have been mixed - for every Terminator or Mad Max there's been a Steel Dawn or The Postman, but this latest effort comes from a very highly-regarded source. Adapted from Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer-prize winning novel of the same name, The Road is another post-apocalyptic drama, but rather than featuring wars or heroic deeds, this film is simply about a man and a boy and their struggle to stay alive.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Ultimate: The Collected Works - Part 1

Jetpac (1983)
By: Ultimate Play the Game Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: ZX Spectrum First Day Score: 6,220
Also Available For: BBC Micro, Commodore VIC-20

Most gamers who grew up in the UK around the same sort of time I did (you know, the 80's 'glory days'), probably had one of the 8-bit micros that were doing the rounds at that time and for me it was the ZX Spectrum. I got into gaming late though, and missed the Speccy's early years which also meant I ended up missing most of the games released by the now legendary Ultimate and, to my eternal shame, I've never got around to playing them since either. This is once again where good old Red Parsley comes in handy for me as it provides a great excuse (not that one should be needed, admittedly) to rectify this glaring oversight! To that end, this series of features will look at all of the games released by Ultimate and I guess it makes most sense to start with the first game!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Master System Shmups #4

Bomber Raid (1988)
By: Sanritsu Denki / Sega  Genre: Shooting  Players: 1  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Sega Master System  First Day Score: 78,100
Also Available For: Nothing

As much affection as I have for the Master System, it didn't really fare too well anywhere except Europe (and Brazil), and its paltry but loyal core of proud and loyal owners were enveloped by the congealing mass of NES owners in Japan and the US. A testament to its failure in the two most important markets is the fact that this very game represented the final official release for the console in Japan, and at a time when the system was only just becoming established here in the UK! Bomber Raid was released exclusively on the Master System too so there's a good chance a lot of American and Japanese gamers missed out on it altogether, but did they miss much? And perhaps more importantly, was it a fitting farewell for the lovely little console in its native territory?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

First Look Xbox 360 #1

Split/Second by Black Rock Studio (2010) - Xbox 360

Playing this game was actually something of a landmark for me. It was at the R3Play gaming expo when my good friend, Luke, beckoned me toward the unknown - an Xbox 360. That's right, playing this game represents the first time I'd ever played any game on a 360! I remembered seeing adverts for Split/Second in magazines but I didn't really know anything about and neither did Luke as far as I know, but we courageously took up the challenge nonetheless and picked up the 360 controllers (wow, wireless!). The next few minutes (well, I think it ended up being about an hour!) was a gaming session sufficiently awesome enough to even convince me to finally buy a current-gen console, for it turned out Split/Second is a super-fast, super-exciting arcade-style racer of just the type I like. It kind of reminded me of a cross between Motorhead (the PS1 game, not the band) and Burnout (before EA screwed it up), particularly the latter as far as the awesome handling and drifting is concerned, but it's definitely no pretender. This is a fantastic racing game with a lot more to it than you might at first think, and I'm eager to discover all of it for myself!

RKS Score: 5/5

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Top Five Supercars

Yes, Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, Porsche's, and God-forbid, Bugatti's are all well and good, but just how practical are they for everyday use? Actually, before even getting that far, who can afford them? Fear not, however. If my experiences in the south of England are anything to go by, there are some cheaper and more realistic alternatives to be found which can rival the power and excitement of the more exotic supercars, but at a fraction of the price. Judging from what I've seen on city streets, these are the best five:

5 - Citroen AX
Available with up to a 1.4L engine, this classic old Citroen has been replaced by the Saxo for quite a while now of course, but it still has enough charm and quality to warrant a purchase, and with some models producing as much as 95bhp, who could argue?

Friday, 21 January 2011

Single Screen Platform Games #5

Bomb Jack Twin (1993)
By: NMK Co., Ltd  Genre: Platform  Players: 1-2  Difficulty: Hard
Featured Version: Arcade  First Day Score: 169,260
Also Available For: Nothing

Poor old Bomb Jack. After an exceptional mid-80's debut his future looked bright and he could've been one of the very first platform heroes but despite a couple of sequels, he instead faded into obscurity. One of the sequels, Mighty Bomb Jack, appeared only a couple of years after the original and took the addictive bomb-collecting, enemy-avoiding gameplay and introduced scrolling stages as well as numerous bonus collectibles. A year after that, Elite offered their own unofficial sequel, creatively titled Bomb Jack 2, which strangely took away Jack's power of flight, instead requiring him to leap from platforms to adjacent platforms. The next game in the series was also sadly the last to date and it was... Bomb Jack Twin.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Film Review #19

The Visitor (2008)
Director: Tom McCarthy  Starring: Richard Jenkins, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Jekesai Gurira, Hiam Abbass
Certificate: 15  Running Time: 104 Minutes

Tagline: "Connection is everything"

Thomas McCarthy is a talented fellow. He's primarily an actor, featuring in films like Meet the Parents, Good Night and Good Luck, and 2012, as well as a few TV shows too such as Boston Public and The Wire, but he is also a talented writer and director, and it's these ventures of his in which I am most interested. As many will probably not be aware, Tom's screenwriting abilities have brought us the superb Pixar adventure, Up, but he also wrote and directed one of my very favourite films, The Station Agent, a low-budget but superbly crafted exploration of loneliness featuring some fantastic performances from its four main actors. The critically-acclaimed film, his directorial debut, went on to win numerous awards and plaudits and showed great potential for any future projects, but his sophomore effort was a long time coming.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Crush Series - Part 5

Jaki Crush (1992)
By: NAXAT Soft / Compile  Genre: Pinball  Players: Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo SNES  First Day Score: 1,748,500
Also Available For: Nothing

To be honest it was probably a bit of a niche franchise, but most gamers who actually played any installments in the great Crush series ended up loving them. However, even many fans believed the last game in the series was Dragon's Revenge on the MegaDrive which isn't even really a true Crush game anyway. Until fairly recently I also believed this to be the case but it seems Naxat pulled a sneaky move and released another final offering. This time they jumped ship to the SNES and the game never appeared outside of Japan either, which I guess would be why not many Western gamers have heard of it. It was a strange decision though, considering the success of particularly the first two games - another installment of crazy, supernatural pinball action would've gone down a treat! Then again, if the game continued the downward spiral started by Revenge, perhaps it was best left in Japan...

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Exploring the PC Engine SuperGrafx

For anyone who grew up with an intense interest in gaming there were of course always some systems they liked and some they didn't like, but I'm willing to bet there was also one which they were always intrigued by, one they wanted but probably never even got to see nevermind own. A system that seemed to take on an almost mythical aura of wonder and excitement. For me that system was the PC Engine SuperGrafx.

The original PC Engine was an amazing machine itself, like the Holy Grail to a videogame-obsessed teenager like myself. All the hype and excitement surrounding it in the pages of magazines like C&VG built it up and up - even my dad was impressed with it! But then reports started surfacing of a new, more powerful PC Engine. What could possibly be better than the amazing Engine? Well, as many of you may well know by now, it was not well received and few games were ever released for it, but even in spite of that it retained its mysterious and enticing aura in my mind and it has remained ever since. Until, that is, I attended the Replay gaming expo in Blackpool where I was excited to see this very console nestled menacingly between a standard Engine and and a NEC PC-FX. Finally I had been granted the opportunity to use a real SuperGrafx in the flesh (so to speak) and I seized it!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Run 'n' Gun Games #2

Rolling Thunder (1986)
By: Namco  Genre: Run 'n' Gun  Players: 1  Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: Arcade  First Day Score: 86,120
Also Available For: Nintendo NES, Atari Lynx, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

Good old women, you can always rely on them getting themselves into some sort of trouble, can't you! In the case of this mid-80's Namco classic it's Leila Blitz, an agent of Interpol's espionage unit, Rolling Thunder, who's gone and got herself abducted by a highly mysterious society called Geldra. Now it's down to you as Albatross, a fellow Rolling Thunder agent, to defeat Maboo, leader of Geldra, and rescue her before she's ravaged or something else equally dastardly. This involves making your way through ten stages filled with apparently infinite hooded 'Maskers' as well as several other kinds of enemies. The stages are all based in various parts of New York and are split into two groups of five - after you've completed the first five stages, they'll repeat but with more numerous and more aggressive enemies.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

First Look PSP #1

Gran Turismo by Polyphony Digital (2009) - Sony PSP

When a game gets delayed over and over again, it's rarely a good sign, so considering this game was first announced when the PSP itself was announced at the E3 show in 2004, it must've had some major problems! When it finally did appear five years later however, its name still carried a lot of weight, and after seeing it running I was sufficiently impressed to buy it. The thought of getting stuck into an extensive championship mode while on the train or hiding somewhere at work was an exciting prospect so I gleefully loaded the game into my PSP (which required the usual firmware update of course... *sigh*), and it was nowhere to be found! That's right, Gran Turismo for the PSP has no Gran Turismo mode! I honestly couldn't believe this so I looked into it, but sure enough - there is no such mode here, just arcade or multi-player.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

First Look Spectrum #1

Starfox by Realtime Games Software Ltd (1987) - ZX Spectrum

While writing my recent review of Star Fox (SNES), I was reminded that it's actually not the first game to bear that name. I do have a vague memory of its existence but I never played it whilst a Speccy gamer. Did I miss out? Well, at first I thought definitely not! This Starfox is a faux-3D space combat/adventure game in which you must travel around your star system protecting it from an invading alien horde. There are also natural dangers lurking here and there too but luckily your ship can be upgraded or repaired by finding and docking with a space station. Prior to knowing this, or indeed anything about the game, however, I was just flying around aimlessly getting shot at! A bit of research later and I actually learned how to play the game. I still didn't get very far of course but I certainly have more desire to try. I've a feeling it could get pretty involving...

RKS Score: 3/5

Friday, 14 January 2011

Top Five PlayStation Racing Games

I've always been of the opinion that fancy graphics are far less important than a well-designed game. I think my continued love or retro games and enduring disdain for modern gaming is evidence enough of this, but there's always been one exception - driving/racing games. Try as they might, developers in the 80's and early 90's were rarely able to fashion both a playable and convincing into-the-screen racer outside of the arcades, and I can probably count on the fingers of one hand how many I personally liked. That is until the CD-ROM-based consoles appeared. The Need For Speed on the 3DO was perhaps the first indication of what this medium could do for the genre but it took the release of the Saturn and PlayStation for it to reach full bloom, with the latter system producing both the most numerous and most impressive examples yet seen.

I personally got into PlayStation gaming late, sticking loyally with my good old Saturn for as long as there were games made for it, but eventually I had to join the ranks of the competition. When I did, a majority of the time I spent on it was spent playing driving games. I certainly didn't play all of the ones on offer but of the ones I did play, here are in my opinion the Top Five:

Special Note: A big thanks to Martyn Carroll, Facebook friend and editor of the original version of Retro Gamer magazine (and contributor to the current incarnation) for providing me with a working PlayStation emulator for this piece. Yes, I own the originals of the games featured here, but I needed the emulator to get the screenshots, so... thanks Martyn, I owe you one!

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!

If I review any PS1 driving games in my upcoming feature that get really high scores, they don't appear in this Top Five because I hadn't played them before! (a.k.a covering my arse!)

5. Total Drivin' (1997)

I bought this game cheap with no prior knowledge of it on the off-chance it might be worth the risk. Luckily it paid off! Whilst far from the pinnacle of the PlayStation's graphical achievements, it is pretty innovative in other ways. The championship mode, for example, features races in various locations around the world and consequently on a variety of surfaces. To this end, there's not just one type of racing here but five - Rally, Sports, Indy, Buggies, and Dakar Rally! One of my favourite things about this game is that your opponents aren't just bunched up behind you waiting for a mistake - the better you race, the further ahead you'll get. You can even lap them if you're fast enough! This is a great and underrated racing game with a lot more variety than even Gran Turismo.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Overrated! #3

Star Fox a.k.a Starwing (1993)
By: Argonaut Software / Nintendo EAD  Genre: Shooting  Players: 1  Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo SNES  First Day Score: 15,100
Also Available For: Nothing

I don't know about you but I thought the 16-bit console era was a fantastic time to be a gamer. Both Sega and Nintendo's offerings each had some unique and desirable software and each continued to push their hardware further and further. Then, at around the mid-way point of their war with Sega, Nintendo decided to up the ante with their 'Super FX' chip. Created by British developer, Argonaut Software, the chip was essentially a graphics accelerator which could be incorporated into a standard SNES game cartridge but allowed far superior graphics to be used. Specifically, for the first time the painfully slow SNES CPU could produce in-game polygon graphics and throw them around at a pretty decent speed. This would surely give Nintendo's machine a crucial advantage over Sega's powerhouse and also allow games that the MD couldn't hope to rival. But did it?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Film Review #18

The Secret Of My Success (1987)
Director: Herbert Ross  Starring: Michael J. Fox, Helen Slater, Richard Jordan, Margaret Whitton, John Pankow, Christopher Murney

Certificate: PG  Running Time: 106 Minutes

Tagline: "There's no such thing as an overnight success. Brantley Foster took two weeks"

I'm sure most of us had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do after school or college but those lofty career aspirations don't always work out how we planned. A similar problem befalls the star of this feel-good 80's comedy. Landing the lead role fresh from the success of Back to the Future, Michael J. Fox stars as Brantley Foster. Aiming to escape the confines of the Kansas farm on which he grew up, Foster graduates from college and moves to New York after lining up an apartment and a decent executive position. After arriving for his first day at work, however, he finds himself laid off before he's even started after his new employers fall victim to a hostile takeover. Having no luck with subsequent interviews elsewhere, his last chance is to ask him uncle for help, Howard Prescott (Jordan), who just happens to be CEO of the Pemrose Corporation...

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Thunder Force Series - Part 6

Thunder Force AC (1990)
By: Techno Soft  Genre: Shooting  Players: Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Featured Version: Arcade  First Day Score: 564,850
Also Available For: MegaDrive (variation), SNES

Despite having two quality prequels, it was Thunder Force 3 on the MegaDrive/Genesis which really saw Techno Soft's innovative franchise take off. So much so in fact, that later in the same year that they lit up the MD's release schedule, its amazing success convinced them to take the unusual step of quickly creating an arcade version too! Developed by the same team and released by Sega on their own arcade hardware, the game was to all intents and purposes a 'Directors Cut' of Thunder Force 3. Whilst initially appearing to be a direct port of the MD game, it is actually home to a few unique features. Aside from some slight cosmetic changes, however, it takes a while to discover what is new here.

Monday, 10 January 2011

First Look NES #1

Hello and welcome to a new Red Parsley feature! As regular Red Parsley readers will know, my game reviews tend to be somewhat on the lengthy side. This is purely because I like to get the details as accurate as possible, but it does end up making each piece a rather time-consuming affair. This new feature will consist of much shorter reviews and my general first impression of the game in question. Some of them may be expanded into full reviews at some point, others will not. Hope you like them!

Booby Kids by Nihon Bussan Co., Ltd (1987) - NES

Having recently had a look at an entertaining maze game starring Doraemon, I thought it would be nice to see the game from which it was derived, and I was quickly able to see not only where the two games are similar, but also where they're not. The amusingly-titled Booby Kids is not set in such confining mazes as the later PC Engine game but it does have some things in common with it. Enemies are dealt with by digging holes and then burying them inside, and both games feature the same objective - namely, to collect all the items in each area (which look like pumpkins this time) to unlock the exit and progress to the next area. The graphics are actually pretty nice here featuring some appealing scenery and sprites and I particularly like the cheerful music. The game is very entertaining to play too, and unlike Doraemon's game it actually offers a decent challenge. The only problems here are somewhat sluggish controls, which I guess I could live with, but also that the whole stage resets when you lose a life. This is a real shame as it pretty much makes this a one-life game. A nice surprise initially but with a sizable flaw.

RKS Score: 3/5

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Maze Games #2

Doraemon Meikyu Daisakusen a.k.a. Cratermaze (1989)
By: Hudson Soft  Genre: Maze  Players: 1  Difficulty: Easy
Featured Version: NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16  First Day Score: Infinity
Also Available For: Nothing

Having recently introduced some Red Parsley readers to the wonder that is Doraemon (a post met with overwhelming indifference it seems!), I thought it might be timely to feature a game based on his antics. In fact, there are currently over 50 videogames based on or featuring everyone's favourite robotic cat, but this is one of the few to make it out of Japan. Well, kind of. For there was once a rather obscure arcade game called 'Kid no Hore Hore Daisakusen', better know in the West as 'Booby Kids' (snigger) which received an NES port. It was later also ported to the PC Engine (or rather a game based on it was released) but the sprites and theme of the game were altered to incorporate Doraemon and friends, naturally, given their popularity in their native realm. However, this version was then released on the TurboGrafx-16, but since most Americans don't know who Doraemon is, all the original graphics were put back into the game and it was released as 'Cratermaze'! This review, however, will focus on the Doraemon version of the game. Because I like him.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Exploring the Commodore 64 - Part 2

Having now had my first taste of the much-loved Commodore 64 (I was going to say 'recently' but it's actually an alarmingly long time since the first post - here), I figured it was time to revisit it and try a few more games. Like the first post, the games featured here were all available elsewhere but were probably most famous as C64 games, especially a certain few, but unlike last time I'm somewhat more familiar with these games, having played them or similar games elsewhere, which should actually prove better for familiarising me with the C64's abilities. One thing to note is that, as you may have noticed, all the games selected are arcade-style games. I thought this would be okay since I'm just seeing what the C64 is like as a system and I don't really have time to learn the intricacies of some of the great strategy and adventure games the system offers such as The Sentinel, Forbidden Forest, Citadel, etc, but I certainly intend to play them eventually, at which time I'm sure you'll hear about it here! For now though, here's my first impressions of these games:

International Karate (1986)

I've long been a fan of the supreme IK+ on the Amiga but I must admit I've never played this prequel before. As far as 8-bit micro's are concerned I was always an 'Exploding Fist' fan but if the time I've now spent on this is anything to go by, I've been missing out! IK+ is great fun but is pretty fast-paced, even manic at times, with its three simultaneous combatants. IK is a little more sedate. Since it's just one-on-one contests, you're afforded more time to try to out-fox your opponent and score a knockdown. I greatly enjoyed this one with its finely-honed gameplay, good selection of moves, and nice, varied backgrounds, and it will definitely see more play!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Top Five Movie Moments #3

#3 - Gladiator (2000)

Hello and welcome to another Top Five Movie Moments. Having recently watched this amazing film for the umpteenth time, I did toy with the idea of reviewing it (maybe I still will one day), but I guess it's safe to say, with a film of this prominence, you've either seen it or don't want to. Therefore, I decided to do a Top Five Moments from it instead, but even this ended up being somewhat predictable! Nevermind, obvious or not, they're still pretty awesome scenes among a movie full of them. Hope you like them! :)

Spoiler Alert: the Top Five Movie Moments featured here obviously assume that you've seen the film in question or don't mind knowing about its most prominent moments so don't come whining to me if they ruin a film that you haven't seen yet!

5..."People should know when they're conquered"

There's nothing like a good battle to open a film like this but it has to be careful to not be so good as to make the rest of the film seem like one long comedown.  Luckily, as most of us know, there was plenty of drama, intrigue, and action to come after this impressively shot scene pitting Marcus Aurelius' Roman army against the stubborn Germanic tribes. Far from revelling in the glamorous image many hold of the Roman Empire at its peak, Scott instead gets down and dirty, showing the battle to be as horrifying as they really were (though not to the extent of losing the film's '15' rating), with hundreds of muddy, bloodied soldiers, clashing in what looks like a disorganised mess (although this could never be the case with Scott directing!). A good few severed limbs, cut throats, and goodness knows how many other horrible injuries later, Maximus and his men emerge victorious, revealing what we needed to know before we go any further - that the hero of the title is not only a highly effective and respected leader, but a formidable warrior as well.