Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda.
1986
NES.
Classic review.

Next to the Super Mario Bros. the original Zelda game ranks amongst the best and most memorable of all the original Nintendo games. Since its release 25 years ago, it has spawned 15 sequels and is the number 4 selling series in Nintendo history.
Originally, I stayed away from the Zelda series, being a loyal Mario fan. But soon after Super Mario Bros. 2 came out I tried the Legend of Zelda and instantly loved the game.
It was the first game I played were how you play and what you do actually effects the gameplay. It had a map that let you go anywhere you wanted which was unheard of at the time. Even now, I still need help finding all the castles and hidden secrets.
Fun tip: Try entering the name of Zelda at the registration it starts you out on the second quest.
Fun fact: For nearly 5 years, I have used a wallet that has the above ground map printed on it.
This game has lasting power. It is, in my opinion, one of the greatest and most playable games of all time.

9 of 10.

Taylor.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dead Rising 2

Dead Rising 2. 
Xbox 360

Dead Rising was one of the original games for the 360. It's premise: you're a photojournalist stuck in a fully stocked mall filled with flesh eating zombies. You have three days to survive and unlock the full story.  You have access to something like 3,000 different weapons ranging from salmon to lawnmowers. 
Dead Rising 2 takes place several years after the first. Zombies are common place. Gameshows are made where contestants race motorcycles with chainsaws attached into crowds of zombies for money. You play a character named Chuck, who is one of these racers. This game has more weapons and more moves then the first. 
The gameplay is the same, the story is similar, but there is no camera. 
What 1 and 2 both need badly, is an autosave. The save points are few and far between and you could spend an hour fighting the bosses and leveling up only to die before reaching a save point. Keeping your health up after a fight is not so easy. 
Two new additions to the game make it very playable. The first one is combining two weapons into one super weapon such as taking boxing gloves and taping Bowie knives to them to make the equivalent of Wolverine claws. The second being the able to race and kill zombies online to get money and special weapons. 
In this storyline, Chuck has a daughter who needs daily shots of zombrex, a zombie anitvenom, to keep her from turning into a zombie which is minor annoyance cause you have to find the money to buy the meds. 
This is great game series and number 2 keeps the action alive.  If you like killing hordes of zombie while gambling and fighting psychotic humans this is for you. 

8 out of 10

Taylor

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Some changes this week. I will now be using a 10 point rating system instead of the 5 point I have been using. This will give me a wider range of review scores. Starting this week I will have classic reviews, which are reviews of things that gave been out for awhile. 

This is a list of upcoming reviews. 
1. Dead Rising 2. Xbox 360. 
2. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2. Book. 
3. Lost: the complete series. DVD. 
4. Washington: the making of a capital. Book
5. Bloody Crimes: the search for Jefferson Davis. Book
6.  Duke Nukem 3d. iPhone game. 
7. Angry birds. iPhone game. 
8. The search for Einstein's daughter. Book. 
9. Jackass 3-d. Movie. 
10. Saw 7 and the complete saw series. Movie. 
 
Feel free to send me suggestions on what to review. 

Taylor

The Children of Hurin. By Jrr. Tolkien.

The Children of Hurin
By J.R.R. Tolkien
Hardback. 

There seem to be an awful lot of books being released after someone dies. Here is a short list of authors and how long after they died a new book was release. Below is a small list of authors and the years after their deaths were the books published. 
1. Michael Crichton, 1 and 3 years. 
2. Stieg Larsen, 4, 5 and 6 years. 
2. Truman Capote, 20 years. 
3. Frank Herbert, 21 years. 
4. J.R.R. Tolkien, a whopping 31 books from 2 to 36 years. 
5. Mark Twain, 91 and 100 years. 

I call this the Tupac syndrome. He died in the mid 90's and is still releasing albums at a rate that caused people to think that he faked his death. 
Several authors left outlines or unfinished novels which would have been sequel to their masterpieces.  Bram Stoker and Frank Herbert are two of note. 

The Children of Hurin was pieced together from different sources and notes of Tolkien's... and it felt like it. The story took place 6,000 years before the Hobbit and mainly featured elves, humans and ogres. 
Morgoth, the evil lord who teaches Sauron, captures Hurin, the human leader of an army sent to overthrow him. Hurin so angers Morgoth that in retaliation he curses him to forever see what will happen to his children but be powerless to react or intervene.
Turin (Hurin's son) leaves home and starts a series of adventures where he goes from nothing to a leader or royalty. But always his anger cost him everything. He did this for about 30, leaving his mother and sister in destitute. 
At it's core it is a good story but it lacked the refined feel of a finished novel. Other then the elves, it didn't really feel like it belong in the Lord of the Rings series. 

Taylor

6 of 10. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Last Days of Krypton

The Last Days of Krypton.
By Kevin J. Anderson.
Novel

It is a little known secret that I know more about Superman then most other types of Sci-fi. I don't have a collection of comics or action figures. But I do have more then one superman shirts, one normal and one black, and all 6 of the live action movies in hi-def.
I do wear Clark Kent glasses, that's just a coincidence. (or is it?) I did once jump a building in a single bound, it was in Canada. You probably didn't hear about it, I wouldn't look it up either because no one who could write was there.
"The Last Days of Krypton" takes place a year before Kal-El's birth and his inevitable trip to Earth. Disaster after disaster strikes Krypton leaving the state commissioner Zod the only elected official left alive. Through Zod's trickery and egotism he tries to take over the planet tricking millions Jor-El amongst them. This book paints every character in a new light. Zod is seen at first as a savior then an over protective parent figure then extremely paranoid but never the mega villain he becomes.
Jor-El finds and prevents a series of natural disasters. Each time the threat is great and the time to prevent it less and less. The technology and inventions that he creates are used unknowingly as weapons to keep down rebellion against Zod. By the end of the story Jor-El is seen as the boy who cried wolf for his made up disasters to make Zod weapons and not as the upstanding scientist he has always been written as.
There is not much action in this book. It is very political a major of it is discussion by the government or about the government. It is interesting how Jor-El runs his city state and how the ruling council works if you like reading about the government of ancient Rome with modern technology.
I missed a ah-hah moment where some unknown fact was revealed or the story tied into more events on Earth or in Superman's life. There really wasn't much to tie into the superman mythos that I really wanted.


2 1/2 of 5

Taylor

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Transformers: the War for Cybertron


Transformers: War for Cybertron. 
Xbox 360


This is the ultimate game for fans of generation 1 Transformers. In the 90's I spent many days trying to find Transformers on video, this was before DVD and before eBay became  accessible. At every garage sale or second hand store I searched for the old toys. I wont deny my love dor the original series. 

There have  been 5 or 6 Transformers games since the original on Nintendo. They were all hard to control and it was even harder and annoying to make them transform. The graphic were always terrible and the story was hard to follow and often pointless. You would waste time fighting generic overused villains. 

When you play a transformers you want to blow things up, punch Decepticons and transform. You want to fight evil, see character from the shows and most of all play as Optimus Prime. 

The game has it all. It is the story of how Megatron rose to power, corrupted Cybertron, started the war and united the Deceptions. On the Autobots side it tells of how Optimus Prime met a currier named Bumblebee, what happened to the other Primes, how he became the Autobots leader, what the matrix of leadership is and how it came to be and why they all left Cybertron in the first place (it wasn't to chase some cube through space. Sorry Michael Bay.)

The CG cinematic are great, the one bottom transform is wonderfull. The game play and the endless customization is amazing. The fact that you can choose multiple character for each land and that they have voiced banter makes it seem like you are a part of the action. 

The game is gritty and you get a good feel of what it's like to be in the middle of the Cybertron    war. You feel like a soldier, a robot soldier but still a soldier. 

The action is nonstop and the voice acting is most of the original cast. Yes, even Bumblebee talks. There is always something to shoot of someone to save. Lands require both humanoid form and vehicle forms, both pack weapons and handle very well. 

The designers used the unreal engine so the gameplay is easy to use. Some genius, I use that in a good way, decided to make some of the lesser known characters playable. When playing as Bumblebee or Starscream gets boring it's nice to play as characters Warpath or Silverbolt. Each character design is unique which is a relief since most games just use the same movements and actions and slap another character's shell over it.  

This is the game hardcore fans of the original series has been waiting for. Fans of the live action movies may find the story a little confusing, but fans of the 80's tv show and 1987 cartoon movie (they use the universal greeting) should love it. 

9 of 10
Taylor

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Weezer: Hurley.

Weezer: Hurley.

About 5 years ago we decided to get rid of our Cd's, they take up so much space. With MP3s what's the point. We ripped them onto the computer and sold the majority. The only ones I kept were three from Sublime and all the previous Weezer Cd's.
They consistently are good, they are the only band from the 90's that are legitimately competing with modern bands and still making hits. Their sound has evolved but has remained true to it's original feel.
Before listening to Hurley I read the info page of the booklet. Several warning signs appeared. One, the chorus for the first track was sung by the guys from Jackass, while the guitar was by Chris Pontius aka party boy.
Two, Michael Cera sings and plays the flute on another track. Hearing him sing at the end of Juno made me afraid.
But after listening to the album the songs became catchy and you really didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.
This is a really good album. Not the best but solid with at least three memorable songs. Unfairly, if you download it from itunes it comes with three new songs and a cover of a Coldplay song.

Definetly worth listening to.

4 out of 5.

Taylor.