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BLOG Classic - Due For Shutdown September 2019
Monday, 11 January 2010
1224 - RePost Review - The Condemned
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

Note: This review was written a year or so ago and might/might not have been posted on the old Webstation. Since I've posted a new review of 12 Rounds, I'd figured that I repost this out of mothballs. There's a reason this isn't on IMDB, kids. Discretion is advised.

The Condemned is the third WWE Films release and the trailers made it seem like it was going to be different from the previous two WWE films in that there was a chance of it being a good ol' no-frills action movie starring Steve Austin. While Austin has done some acting before, this was his first chance to show his range and presence on the big-screen in a starring role.

The good news is that Austin has a on-screen presence - that much is known when you see his guest-stints on the Nash Bridges television show as well as the recent remake of The Longest Yard. And for the role of Jack Conrad, Austin plays the role of a no-caring bastard rather well. It's based off something familiar (his wrestling personality) and it works. The bad news is that the film then tries to add another layer of Austin; the fact that he's a former FBI agent left in prison when a previous mission went bust. Whatever happened to Jack Conrad, the man without a past? Flushed down the toilet, along with any remaining appeal left in this piece of shit.

I mean, the premise is simple enough. Ten murderers are dumped on an island and are forced to kill each other until one remains. Sound simple enough... it almost makes seem like Battle Royale, a Japanese flick with the same basic concept that was pretty successful. However, what should have been a straight-forward, take-no-prisoners actionfest ends up being a convoluted message of moral ambiguities and the whole thing becomes a depressing venture. Are we the condemned for watching this... or are we the condemned for getting more moral messages shoved down our throats? It's getting ridiculous.

Of the three movies WWE has released thus far, this one had the potential to be something different. Not so much good, but at least something that can be enjoyed without the use of your prefrontal cortex. But instead, it's just a thinly-disguised commentary on reality-TV and the media moguls who produce them. Hey, we already have a movie like that; it's called Series 7: The Contender and it does a better job than this shit does.

Steve Austin deserves better than this. And so do we. 

Posted by dtm666 at 10:07 PM EST
1223 - 12 Rounds review added to IMDB account
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

It's okay. Read more here: 

Posted by dtm666 at 9:47 PM EST
1222 - Review: Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

I hadn't seen Revenge of the Fallen in theatres. I waited until it was on DVD.


And before watching the DVD, I watched the first Transformers flick for catch up. While the movie was lacking in depth and wasn't really good, it did managed to keep me awake and it was a fun movie if nothing else. So despite all the bad reviews and word-of-mouth (which did nothing to prevent this movie from making a shitload of cash), I went into Fallen with the optimism that it'll be somewhat shallow fun if nothing else.


Two and a half hours later, I suffered irreparable brain damage that may last a lifetime.


This movie is an abomination; there is no cohesive story to follow, no interesting characters to care about, no fun moments to be had, and ultimately nothing of substance that could contribute to the enjoyment of this thing they call a motion picture. This is visual pollution in its most literal form, bombarding you with a powerful exposure in a long winding dose.


Cohesiveness and plotting are not the movie's strong points. There wasn't any one time through the movie where I wasn't scratching my head in confusion, wondering what the fuck was going on. Yeah, I know that a popcorn flick isn't supposed to be heavy on story, but then again, popcorn flicks are generally entertaining. 


This movie lacked decent action sequences; they're all really hard to follow and actually caused a bit of eye strain. It's just a very unappealing movie to look at.


The acting in this movie isn't the worst I've seen, but it certainly helps in not making me give a damn about any of these characters. They're all seemingly impervious rag dolls that can walk and talk, yet can't do either of them right. It's almost a sign of epic failure when the most robotic thing in a movie about robots are the "human" characters.


Just about the only thing I could say good things about is the soundtrack; it's actually not that bad. It's a shame that I can't hear enough of it amid all the loud, ugly explosions and piss-poor dialogue.


Bottom line, this movie sucks ass. It is perhaps one of the more putrid attempts at a motion picture that I've ever seen and I've seen a lot of really shitty movies. If you're one of the few people who hasn't seen Revenge of the Fallen, do yourself a favor and don't watch it. You're not missing a damn thing and quite frankly, you're much better off.

Posted by dtm666 at 1:40 PM EST
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
1181 - DREAMCAST JOY (3 of 3) - Review of Fighting Force 2 (DC) ?
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

At the time this review was written, the Sega Dreamcast celebrated its tenth anniversary. An underappreciated console and the swan song for Sega's days as a console manufacturer, the Dreamcast was known for its many innovations and also for its library of great games. However, even the Dreamcast had its share of crap. And none is more infamous than Fighting Force 2.

Fighting Force 2 is the sequel to Fighting Force, a game on the original Playstation that tried to bring the beat-em-up genre established by games like Double Dragon, Final Fight, and Streets of Rage from the confines of 2D to the rich world of 3D. Most reviewers didn't think much of the game, but it was considered okay for what it's worth. Fighting Force 2 received much more scathing reviews on both the Playstation and the Dreamcast - the version we're reviewing today since that's the version I have... or rather, had.

Around August 2008, I picked up a used Dreamcast and several games along with it. Among the crop of games I got was Fighting Force 2. Of course, when I saw the game, I was ignorant of all the bad press it got... So I pop the game in the Dreamcast and for some reason the [bleep]ing thing didn't read. It just kept going to the Dreamcast menu screen thing. So in any case, I couldn't play the game. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise. I don't know. All I know is that among the small library of games, I had one dud in my collection - in more ways than one.

So based on what I just said, you would think that I have no place in reviewing Fighting Force 2. After all, if I can't play it, how can I review it? That's a good point... but then that's where you're wrong. While I can't review this game as a video game, I CAN still review Fighting Force 2... as a drink coaster.

And it doesn't even get that right.

The Game Room has it all wrong, man. Fighting Force 2 isn't just a horrible video game; it's also a horrible drink coaster, a horrible frisbee, a horrible mirror, and all around horrible paperweight. You can't place a drink on the disc without the fucking thing cracking, you can't toss it five inches before it drops to the floor like a dead bird corpse, and the reflective surface is so cluttered with scratches and fingerprints that you'd wish you spent a few bucks on a real mirror. It's just an absolute waste of money.

Please don't buy this game... ever.


Posted by dtm666 at 8:21 PM EDT
1180 - DREAMCAST JOY (2 of 3) - Review for WWF Royal Rumble (DC)
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

My first experience with a WWF arcade game wasn't the Wrestlefest game (because I've never seen it in arcades around my block) but rather the Midway-produced WWF Wrestlemania arcade game, a strange little beast that involved some of the more popular WWF wrestlers of the time competiting in Mortal Kombat-style wrestling matches (without all the blood and fatalities). For the time, it was a fun little game, but involved little wrestling. Years later, I come across a Royal Rumble arcade machine that I've only heard about and this was more like a wrestling game than the other one was. You could either play in straight matches or compete in the Royal Rumble match itself, which was a crazy experience in and of itself. This ought to be a fun game to bring home, right?

Eventually, THQ did bring it home to the Dreamcast. Unfortunately, chances are not many people got to play it because it was released somewhat late in the Dreamcast's lifespan before Playstation 2 arrived and demolished Sega's hardware dreams forever... which is a shame. In any case, a few years later (more like last year actually), I had managed to pick up a Dreamcast with a few games, which included this game. So I decided to give this game a go to see if it was as memorable as I remembered it... and the end result is... it's okay, but lacking. How lacking? Let's see here...

GRAPHICS: Essentially, Royal Rumble looks really good for the time and essentially looks much cleaner than anything you'll find on the Playstation-1. However, that really isn't saying much. The wrestler models look blocky but smooth, their faces are static and terrible, and the cheesy cardboard audience look particularly fake. On the other hand, I seem to recall the arcade game looking just as bad, so in that respect, this home port is fairly accurate in that regard. As far as the overall presentation goes, it looks fairly nice and the various counters and menus are aesthetically pleasing for the most part. So, all in all, it looks fairly nice although all things considered, it could have been much better.

Also, another thing lacking is the arenas. Don't like that Royal Rumble PPV set? Well, too bad because that's the only set you're going to get. Mind you, that's all the arcade version had to work with and I'm not going to argue on that point, but considering this is a home port, you would think they'd try and at least bump up the package with a couple more arenas, even if they're not related to the PPV. 7/10

SOUND: Nothing special to say the least. You have the various wrestler theme songs, but you only hear them when you win a match. The rest of the time, it's just generic stock music that is neither memorable or even remotely good. Alas, there's also no commentary, which is somewhat disappointing but otherwise not a huge loss. And of course, there's your usual array of stock sound effects for punches, kicks, takedowns, and generic wrestler grunts. Nothing particularly special. 6/10

GAMEPLAY: Just to get it out of the way, the roster featured in Royal Rumble is pretty small. You have about twenty plus wrestlers to choose from and that's pretty much it. Not much else in terms of unlockables; what you see is what you get. Nothing more, nothing less. Again, that's about the same amount as the arcade, but you'd think that they'd be able to fit a couple more guys in there; if not immediately playable, then as "surprise" opponents that become playable when you beat them.

There's two main modes in the game; Exhibition and Royal Rumble. Exhibition is your standard "Arcade" mode where you pick a wrestler, along with a ringside partner who will aid you in double-team attacks, and must fight through all the other WWF superstars before facing off against the McMahons in the final match. Other than that, there's not much else to it. No championships to compete for, no feuds or anything of that nature. Just a series of unrelated matches await you in this mode. That's pretty lame considering more could have been done. And this is a flaw with the game itself, not just this Dreamcast version.

And then there's the Royal Rumble match, in which you have to clear the ring of a number of wrestlers (you can determine the number) that keep coming in until you're the last man standing... anyone who has seen a WWF/E Royal Rumble PPV knows how the match works and it works the same here for the most part. What makes this incarnation of the Royal Rumble impressive is that it is possible to feature up to nine wrestlers at one time. Nine wrestlers at one time is not a bad stretch for a decade-old console, especially when wrestling games on the modern game consoles only feature six wrestlers at any one time. Of course, considering there are times when you will be facing off against multiple opponents at the same time, things can get pretty hectic. It's only too bad that you can't play nine players because that would have been a neat concept.

Regardless of which mode you play, the controls is fairly solid, with a simplistic format that allows you to pull off extravagant moves with ease. Aside from your usual assortment of grapples and whatnot, you have double-team moves you can pull off at certain times. As you fight on, you earn S-points, which allow you to pull off more powerful moves and eventually your finisher. As usual, you can either score a pinfall or make the guy submit... although if you have the option on, you can just go for a quick KO and be done with.

In most respects, it's a really barebones system that is even less sophisticated than what you find on the old WWF Smackdown games on the Playstation-1 and while this is fine for an arcade game, for a home console release, it's quite lacking to say the least. On the other hand, it's much easier to pull off moves than in Acclaim's wrestling offerings on the same system, so there's a saving grace. And as much as I liked those games, I'd feel much better not having to execute some awkward button combination just to pull off a simple move such as an ARMBAR, much less a more complex move like the SASKATCHEWAN SPINNING NERVE HOLD. Whatever works, man... whatever works. 7/10

CHALLENGE: Much like any other game, Royal Rumble allows you to adjust the difficulty setting, but even so, this isn't all that hard of a game once you get the hang of the controls. The only real challenge stems from the Royal Rumble mode, which is essentially this game's version of a Survival mode on steroids... um, maybe that's not the right analogy considering the subject matter, isn't it? I guess not... 7/10

REPLAY VALUE: Not much, I'm afraid. Although the game supports four players, guess what? So do a couple other wrestling games not on the Dreamcast and those game have more variety in terms of modes and match types... which doesn't help this game much either. But on the other hand, the Royal Rumble mode is a fun experience in itself that most players have try at least once... I have yet to see a wrestling game since then pull off the same hectic experience that this game does. 7/10

OVERALL: At its best, WWF Royal Rumble is a game that does an excellent job of bringing the arcade game to the Dreamcast with little effort and is actually an enjoyable little game thanks to its really good Royal Rumble mode. With that said, WWF Royal Rumble is also a weak wrestling title, especially with regards to the other wrestling games of the time which not only boast larger, more varied rosters, but also a plethora of match types and game modes that expand the game experience immensely. Still, this is a fairly good game that manages to entertain for the most part and the fact that this ring can hold nine guys at a time does give it some points for effort. Dreamcast owners looking for the perfect wrestling game will probably have to look elsewhere, because this won't cut it. But if you have fond memories of the arcade game or just want a wrestling game without all the extra dressing, then WWF Royal Rumble should satisfy your needs quite nicely. 7/10

Posted by dtm666 at 6:55 AM EDT
1179 - DREAMCAST JOY (1 of 3) - Review for Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 (DC)
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

First there was X-Men. Then there was Marvel Super Heroes. Then X-Men came back and tussled with Street Fighters. Then it was Marvel's turn. Then other Capcom heroes joined the fray. Now we get to Marvel vs. Capcom 2, where a whole bunch of fighters from both universes show up and beat the tar out of each in pixilated fashion. Most people consider it to be one of the finest fighting games ever made while others (myself included - see my Xbox review of the same game) blast it for being a unbalanced contest of who can pull off the more impressive combo. In either case, you were getting a pretty meaty package that was a blast to play among friends and fun times can be had by all.

Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, like most Capcom fighters, started life as an arcade machine and was eventually first ported onto Sega's Dreamcast console before being shovelwared onto PS2 and Xbox consoles a couple years later. While I have already picked up and reviewed the Xbox version years ago (before it started commanding ridiculous prices on eBay), just a couple months ago, I was able to snag the Dreamcast version for a couple bucks. And after having played the game for a couple days, my thoughts are... well, let's just go on.

STORY: Marvel characters and Capcom characters join together and beat the crap out of each other. After a few bouts, the surviving team challenges the final boss called Abyss, who seems to be the new bad guy. In other words, there's no story to speak of... just like any other fighting game, I suppose. 5/10

GRAPHICS: Playing this Dreamcast version, in all honesty, I haven't noticed much difference in terms of presentation. Maybe it's my setup or maybe I'm just not as inquisitive to detail as I'd like to be, but both versions pretty much look the same to me. Regardless, the end result is the same; the blending of 2D sprites and 3D backdrops, while nice on their own, simply do not blend all that well, especially in regards to older characters whose sprites have been in use since the mid-90s. And the sprites still look a little rough around the edges and this is a common complaint I've had even with the arcade version. This is also more evident when facing the final boss of the game, where this pixelized madness spirals out of control. If only they applied some kind of smoothing effect, it might have looked passable, but as it is... meh. 5/10

SOUND: Whoa. This actually sounds better than the Xbox version for some strange reason - and this is on an older system. The sounds seem a little crisper and louder than the version on Microsoft's black box and seems to sound a little better. I'd feel almost insulted by the fact that the more powerful Xbox system couldn't give me the best sound quality possible, but then I was satisfied with the sound there, so I can't really complain. In any case, the Dreamcast version still sports the same grunts, taunts, and sound effects you've come to know and... love or hate. And of course, there's the soundtrack, which comprises of some weird lounge music. The music in this game is certainly a different breed from previous Marvel-related Capcom games and to be honest, I couldn't really get into it as much as the previous soundtracks, but it's nothing ear-grinding. Good enough. 9/10

GAMEPLAY: Anyone who has played Marvel Vs. Capcom 1 or any of the previous Marvel Vs. games will notice that a few changes have been made to gameplay. The two biggest changes was the reduction of attacks to four (two punches and two kicks - with the two remaining buttons reserved for partner attacks) and also the shift from two-on-two fighting to three-on-three fighting similar to the King of Fighters series. I assume that said change was done to accommodate the Dreamcast controller since it only has four face buttons and reduce use of the trigger buttons (and yes, I know the arcade had the same set-up change - but it's still a valid theory considering arcade games eventually get ported to home consoles) but there's really no adjustment to be made here. It still plays fairly well.

Probably the biggest selling point of this game is the sheer number of fighters at your disposal. Once all have been unlocked (which takes a good long while - people getting this on Xbox Live Arcade won't have that problem), you have a huge selection to choose from and as a result, many combination of teams are possible. Of course, that doesn't mean anything because chances are half of them are useless in any shape or form. Balance has never been a strong point in this Marvel game and your chances of winning are dependent on how much button-mashing combos you can produce.

Controls in this game are workable and responsive. And since supers are easier to perform than in traditional fighting games, it'll be easier for a novice player of 2D fighters to get into. 7/10

CHALLENGE: Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is not so much a game as it is a contest to see who can execute the most hits in a combo. There is a considerable lack of balance in terms of fighters' strength and yet that doesn't come into play. Even so, the AI in this game will give you a tough time. As said, unless you're a combo king, you'll barely nudge a KO win at the default settings. Still, each has his own tastes. 6/10

REPLAY VALUE: Replay comes in the form of the multiplayer aspect and the challenge of unlocking more fighters, features, and other goodies. The usual victims of a fighting game, but these days, it's almost essential. 8/10

OVERALL: Well, you know what? This game is still an unbalanced beast, but it's still a fun game when you have friends around and at the end of the day, isn't that what video games are all about? If you enjoyed the Marvel Vs. Capcom series in general and own a Dreamcast, then chances are you already have this game. And if you don't, don't be dismayed by the high prices that this game commands. With luck and persistence, you'll find a copy on sale for much cheaper and it'll be worth it just for the fun factor and not necessarily for the balance and gameplay. A recommended title for fighting fans... although you'll probably just get the downloadable version off Xbox Live, where all the work is done for you. 7/10.

Posted by dtm666 at 6:17 AM EDT
Friday, 4 September 2009
1177 - Aaaaaannnnndddddd... another one.
Topic: Black Hole Reviews
This time, it's a short review for Capcom Classics Mini-Mix, a GBA compilation of three old NES games made by Capcom, including the only version of Bionic Commando worth playing. Link is in the post below.

Posted by dtm666 at 6:40 PM EDT
1176 - Another game review at GameFAQs - this is supposed to be a hiatus?
Topic: Black Hole Reviews
Seems that finishing off old unfinished game reviews and posting them on GameFAQs is the only thing keeping me in a positive state of mind - besides working and playing the occasional video game. With that said, my review for the SNES version of Space Invaders is up. You can go to my page by clicking here. From there, scroll down until you see Space Invaders and click the tagline next to it.

Posted by dtm666 at 6:20 AM EDT
Monday, 31 August 2009
1174 - Another GameFAQs posting: SSF2T for PC
Topic: Black Hole Reviews
Hello. Another break from my hiatus to announce that GameFAQs is now hosting my review for the PC-DOS version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo from Eurocom. Click here to see that game's review page and click on the only review there.

Posted by dtm666 at 10:11 PM EDT
Monday, 13 July 2009
1155 - LoCL Addenndum
Topic: Black Hole Reviews
Just forgot to mention this, but certain copies of the new SF flick will also include a second DVD titled Street Fighter: Round One - Fight!. Supposedly, this is based on the SF comic produced by Udon. I'll probably check this out and give it a review later tonight.

Posted by dtm666 at 6:58 AM EDT
1154 - Review: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

Oy... just oy...

Okay, I don't know where to start. Really. I just don't.

Contrary to what a lot of people may believe, I actually enjoyed the old Street Fighter flick with Van-Damme. Was it a great movie? Not necessarily, but it was still a fun little action movie with a dose of camp. At the very least, a number of the characters at least resemble their video game counterparts in some form or another.

This... this is just something else...

The Legend of Chun-Li is a basic, cookie-cutter martial arts action movie with a pretty typical plot (girl fights off drug syndicate in order to avenge her father's... kidnapping - weak.) and your usual cookie-cutter action sequences common with kung-fu flicks these days. This is barely a Street Fighter movie - if you were to have changed the title, I probably would have thought it to be nothing more than another wire-fu movie that seems to be the norm with most Asian folks these days, but even at its most bare-bones level, it still manages to be lacking in many different things.

On a sidenote, some of the visual settings featured in the flick are, honestly, quite nice and gives you a nice feel of the cityscape. Sadly, most of the important stuff takes place at night, which really kills the beauty and splendor of many settings.

As a generic action movie, it's a worthwhile moment if you simply turn your brain off. But as a movie based on a popular video game series, it's severely lacking. Practically none of the characters taken from the game remotely resemble the source material and what personalities they do have seems very wooden and not the least bit awe-inspiring. And most of all, there's hardly any Street Fighter-esque fights involved - say what you will about the Van-Damme flick, but at least they were able to translate some moves to live-action celluiod - albeit poorly translated, but hey, they tried. Here, you only get a faintly-subtle Spinning Bird Kick and a fireball. That's it. Weak.

Overall, this just seems like a disappointment for what is supposed to be a reboot of the Street Fighter movie franchise. It makes you wonder why they were bothering to make a movie based on the video game if it's going to have nothing to do with the video game. If you really need your fix of live-action Street Fighter, I suggest tracking down the Van-Damme movie from the nineties instead... or even better, just go online and watch the Street Fighter: Later Years online show. Even that's a better product than this.


Posted by dtm666 at 6:30 AM EDT
Saturday, 16 May 2009
1134 - Star Trek Review (Read - GO SEE IT. NOW)
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

So Star Trek has been out for a week. And Angels and Demons came out yesterday. Pretty difficult decision...

Not really. You should go see Star Trek.

No, really. Go see Star Trek.

It's a fucking good movie.


No... that's a lie.

It's a fucking excellent movie.

What makes it fucking excellent?

I'm not telling. See for yourself.

My new favorite Trek movie.

Just go see it.



Yeah, I know. Not much of a review, but still...


That's an order.

Posted by dtm666 at 9:02 PM EDT
1133 - Really Quick Trek reviews
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

The idea had been to review each consecutive Star Trek movie prior to reviewing this one. However, anyone who has scoured reviews of these movies already know what to expect and to continue with a series for no reason other than to fill posts would be lame. If you really want my thoughts on previous Trek films, here you are quick form:

Trek II - epic film that improves upon the previous borefest. Infamous for Spock dying, Kobayashi Maru, and KHAAANNN!!!!!!

Trek III - a solid film with a predictable ending, even back in the day - still good despite its status as an odd film.

Trek IV - first true Star Trek film that tries to garner a larger audience than the Trekkies that were guaranteed to be there. A very fun movie that makes you feel good on the inside - not to mention proof that Star Trek can be accessible when people in charge put their minds to it.

Trek V - utter garbage. Good intentioned? Perhaps, but the end result is just garbage. Not even a revision would save this crap.

Trek VI - my second-favorite Trek movie, with a great story, solid performances, excellent effects, and a wonderful closure to a classic era

Trek VII - First film to feature the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It's okay at best. Infamous for Kirk dying.

Trek VIII - the best of the Next Generation films. Features the Borg and a couple minutes of footage that would be recycled for a future series.

Trek IX - basically an episode of Next Generation that somehow became a movie. Nothing special.

Trek X - liked it at first, but seeing it years later, it doesn't hold up all too well - basically a popcorn flick more than anything else.

Posted by dtm666 at 8:52 PM EDT
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
1132 - Trek I Review (the brutally quick review)
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

I said I'd have these up by now, but things has caused me to fall behind so... hopefully, I'll be posting reviews of all ten movies before the big day arrive... so let's not daddle.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture reunites the original cast, joined by a couple new faces, aboard a refurbished Starship Enterprise where they must deal with a mysterious cloud entity on an approach vector to find its creator and destroy everything in its path. It probably goes a bit deeper than that, but chances are you won't care.

The first half of the movie has everybody coming back together to go on a new adventure, but by the end of the movie, you're wondering where the adventure is.While it might have been a good concept for a sci-fi flick, it is a painfully dull experience for a Star Trek movie. Everybody seems to speak in monotone voices, there's no life, the colors are dull and lacking in energy, and I could have sworn that I was falling asleep at certain points in the movie.

Not to say that the movie doesn't look good; the refit Enterprise is actually a nice little model and the scene where Kirk is flying around in his shuttle inspecting the Enterprise makes you truly appreciate the details and effort put into making the ship seem as real as possible. But it seems that for all the effort being put into this one scene, the rest of the movie seems to fall flat. If this was a generic sci-fi movie, it might have gotten a chance, but this is Star Trek. It's supposed to be more.

The DVD Director's Cut is actually a slight improvement, with some quick cuts here and there as well as some fixes for the special effects. If you need to see this movie, just get the DVD.

Posted by dtm666 at 6:53 AM EDT
1131 -BLACK HOLE REVIEWS: X-Men Origins: Wolverine... meh
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

I've had the chance to see the new Wolverine flick this past weekend and I thought it was a fairly okay movie. I mean, it wasn't impressively great or anything, but it was better than X-Men 3... so points for that.

First off, for those oblivious to the title, this is an origin story of Wolverine, which means we get to see little Wolvie spurt claws for the first time (in Canada, no less) before we see a montage of him fighting wars. By the end of the movie, he remembers none of it due to what happens at the end. Nice to see they remembered to make him forget, although all things considered, the story isn't really that memorable.

The action, for the most part, is top-notch entertainment. The effects... are inconsistent. Sometimes they look good, sometimes they look terrible, and sometimes they look really... meh. One scene that killed it for me was when Logan is in the bathroom and studies his new adamantium claws... the claws look so bad here and yet in other scenes they look fine... even the bone claws are fairly nice.

Overall, if you enjoyed previous X-Men films or enjoy the Wolverine character, this should satisfy. It's not a great film, by any means, but it's still fairly good.

Posted by dtm666 at 6:34 AM EDT
Monday, 20 April 2009
1126 - Coming This Friday... Trek reviews
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

Beginning this coming Friday, I'll begin posting text reviews on each of the Star Trek movies (starting with Star Trek: The Motion Picture). Each week-day (Monday through Friday) will boast a review for another film up until the big day when the newest Trek feature is released. Sure, my thoughts could be summed up in a couple words, but after having watched some of these movies again in recent days, I'd figure I get my thoughts on paper (or blog, as is the case) before they fade away... so this is the end result.

Some people may note that a couple of Trek movies already have reviews from me and are featured on Rest assured that NO REPOSTS OF OLD REVIEWS WILL BE USED. After all, those were written years ago, and chances are recent viewings will change my mind on them.

In any case, I'll be seeing you Friday with Trek reviews.

Posted by dtm666 at 7:02 AM EDT
Friday, 6 March 2009
1112 - Couple Quick Movie thoughts coming up later this weekend or tonight
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

Just managed to catch these flicks on TV recently and I thought I'd share my thoughts. As an added bonus, I'll probably toss in a 90s flick I saw recently that the Critic just reviewed a short while ago... you can pretty much tell if you know already.

Check back tonight.

Posted by dtm666 at 7:03 AM EST
Friday, 13 February 2009
1103 - Classic Review Re-edit: Friday The 13th (NES)
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

Tonight sees another horror franchise from the eighties get a much-not-needed revival. To celebrate this potential masterpiece/travesty's release, I'm "reposting" my old review of the Friday the 13th game that was posted ages ago. I say "repost" because the review's revised, as a recent playthrough and some forethought has deemed it necessary to update my thoughts on the title, so here we go.

On Friday, February 13th, 2009, Hollywood pulls another classic icon out of the graveyard and into the magic remake cutter. The latest victim - as if you couldn't guess from the date - was the classic Friday the 13th series featuring everyone's favorite hockey-mask wearing, machete-wielding mass murderer Jason Voorhes. As I write this, I have yet to see the movie nor have I read any advance reviews, but regardless of the final product and quality of the flick, it will no doubt be superior in every conceivable way to the old video game for the original Nintendo Entertainment System.
It's a generally-given belief that the majority of video games based on popular movies or licenses will suck the big one. There are exceptions, of course, but they're few and distant. As a result of that, Hollywood has kindly retaliated with a series of really crummy movies based on video games, which also happen to suck the big one. Horror movies, especially those of the classic slasher flicks, are not immune to this horrible curse, as some of us have witnessed franchises like Halloween and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre become represented with poor-quality video games on the Atari 2600 gaming console... strangely enough, these two franchises were the earliest to get modern-day remakes... oh crap.

Several years later, the Atari falls out of favor and in comes the NES, with its superior video games and expanded value. Surely making games based on Jason Vorhees and Freddy Kruger on this system would yield much better quality titles, right? Right?
The producers of both the Freddy game (another story for another day) and the Jason game was LJN, a toy company who also happened to produce video games. The majority of their titles were licensed products, such as the aforementioned Friday and Nightmare games, as well as other stuff like WWF, X-Men, and the like. As such, a majority of their titles were also of poor, subpar quality.

Unfortunately, Jason doesn't fair much better.

STORY: To sum up the story off the top of my mind, you control six camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake who must protect the children (and themselves) from the mass murderer Jason Voorhes as well as a bunch of other critters that have nothing to do with the movies. It's basically the same plot that's been prevalent in all the Jason movies, but it's very vague in the sense that you don't know what movie this is supposed to follow. I could recognize some of the names as characters from the third movie, but it's hard to tell if these are the same characters, because they have huge afros and no faces. 4/10

GRAPHICS: Graphics in this game are pretty simple to the point where they're repetitive. Your six player characters all look the same (save for the color of their clothes, making them seem like some special-case Power Ranger group or something) and follow two simple templates: slow and strong or fast and weak... but let's not jump ahead of ourselves here. It's your basic fair of NES graphics; not ugly looking, but you'll be seeing the same backdrop constantly that you'll forget about the nice paralax scrolling and be fed up with them. As a side-note, I kinda dig the gradual transition from day to night, but I've yet to find a purpose behind this other than for show. 4/10

SOUND: There's only a couple songs that play throughout the game. They can get annoying real fast and they're not that great either. The sound effects don't do much either. This is one of those games where you can play the game with the mute button active. 2/10

GAMEPLAY: The controls for this game are functional, nothing more needs be said than that. The game has some interesting concepts (inventory features, multiple characters, random battles with Jason), but they all tend to have fairly poor execution. The main problem is that the game just takes too long to complete and the repetitiveness of the gameplay doesn't really help matters. Things aren't all clear to you at first and you are left aimlessly wandering around the camp whacking zombies with your knife. And as I said before, your six player counselors follow two simple templates: either they move slow or they move fast. Not much of a difference. Another thing is that this game is pretty damn long and it's an utter nightmare to have to sit through the same repetitive nonsense for hours on end. A save function, which is lacking here, would have greatly benefited this game, but as it is now, Friday just misses the mark. 4/10

CHALLENGE: Friday The 13th, despite its overwhelming challenges of tedium and lack of purpose, is a very winnable game. The downside is that winning the game completely will have cost practically hundreds of hours that could have been used on other things, like watching paint dry. Actually, you know what kills it for me? It's the fact that Jason is so damn tough to kill. I mean, fine - he's the main villain, he should be tough otherwise what's the point? But after many, many, MANY long, hard-fought battles of dwindling his energy down and killing him, only to find out I have to kill him again and repeat the whole damn mess all over again, it just leaves me flustered and annoyed. I wouldn't have a problem with it if the game was fun to play, but it's not. The fact is that beating Jason once is sufficient enough, because nothing changes in subsequent rounds. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. You might find a couple new items here or there and he might move a little faster, but THAT'S IT. Absolutely pointless. 9/10

REPLAY VALUE: There's very little reason to play this game again once you've beaten it... or become tired with it. Whichever comes first. Most probably, it's going to be the latter - trust me. There aren't any comforting features to this game that begs to be played. And while there is certainly a lot of ground to cover, the fact that all the different cabins look the same and offer nothing different, coupled with the lack of any save or passwords system, doesn't really make it worth the effort. It's a one-shot affair... if you even last that long. 3/10

OVERALL: I've played a number of LJN-created games for the NES and found them to be pretty bad to varying degrees. Unfortunately, Friday The 13th is another LJN release that falls below the bar of what makes a good game. On the one hand, it does have some nifty features and concepts, but the poor execution of these concepts, not to mention the repetitiveness of the gameplay and graphics in addition to the lack of any save feature or even a password function doesn't do this game any favors. It's just not worth it to play this game. If you want your Jason fix, go see the movies. This game just doesn't do it. 1/10


Posted by dtm666 at 6:52 AM EST
Monday, 5 January 2009
1081 - MEGA-REVIEW IV: Mega Man In Dr. Wily's Revenge (GB)
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

About time that I'd get back to these... Anyway, this is going to be a short one. Because it's a Game Boy title and it's a short game anyway.

Released sometime in 1990-ish, Mega Man for the Game Boy was similar in gameplay mechanics to the first two Mega Man games on the NES; no slide or charge here. Instead of building new robots, however, Dr. Wily decided to revive some of his older creations (including four of Dr. Light's original creations) and send them after the Blue Bomber.

Starting the game, you can choose to fight either CUT MAN, ELEC MAN, ICE MAN, or FIRE MAN. Each stage is somewhat similar in style to what you'd get on the NES, although the stages are all new and feature a menagerie of enemies from 1 and 2. The most intriguing aspect about this game (and later sequels) is that the graphics almost seem ripped directly from the NES games, which means everything is nice and big, unlike other NES-to-GB conversions where everything is shrunken down to microscopic size and details are lost as a result.

Beating the first wave of bosses allows access to Wily Stage 1, where you will confront another wave of robot masters from Mega Man 2, namely FLASH MAN, QUICK MAN, BUBBLE MAN, and HEAT MAN. While they don't have their own stages, you do get their powers. Once you clear those bosses, you'll fight a new robot called ENKER, who seems like a tough boss at first, but once you know how he works, he is a bit of a pushover.

Beating Enker nets you his MIRROR BUSTER, which basically projects a shield in front of you that deflects enemy shots back at them. This is a nifty item to use, although you'll want to conserve as much of it as possible, as you'll need it to beat the final boss.

Overall, this is a neat little game. It plays similarly to its bigger cousins and stands on its own as a worthy entry in the Mega Man series. The difficulty is there, but it's not brutal or anything so you shouldn't have a problem beating it in a couple days. If you can find it, go ahead and pick it up. It's worth it.

Posted by dtm666 at 6:41 AM EST
Sunday, 21 December 2008
1074 - MEGA REVIEW III: Mega Man 3 (NES)
Topic: Black Hole Reviews

Where Mega Man 2 established the formula for future games, Mega Man 3 added to it with a couple new features and some different elements. Between the two games, I always found this one to be the better game simply due to the fact that it felt like a new game and not a more refined version of the original game... which was the feeling I got with Mega Man 2.

Then again, it doesn't help when I've played 3 before 2... blasphemy, I know.

Anyway, regardless of where this game places on your list, you have to admit that it was still a damn fine game which added elements as well as refined some play mechanics.

So let's start with some of the additions to the game. Mega Man 3 introduced the ability to slide which allowed Mega Man to zip through narrow passageways as well as offer a temporary boost of speed for anyone who wants to dash through a level a bit more quickly. It added a lot to the game and served as an additional means of dodging certain projectiles... a means which Mega Man lacked due to his inability to crouch.

Another addition to Mega Man 3 was the introduction of Rush the dog. Replacing the generic Item-X system of Mega Man 2, Rush aided you in the form of a spring coil (available from the start), a fully-controllable jet board that allows you to reach far-off platforms, and a submarine which allows you maneuverability under water. In one of the rare cases, this version of Rush Marine can jump out of the water, although this doesn't serve much of a purpose other than to get on a platform above a sea of death.

And of course, there's Protoman, who fights you a couple times before letting you pass. He's later revealed to be your brother... oh yeah, spoilers abound.

So like before, Mega Man 3 presents you with eight bosses to fight. As before, defeating a boss earns you their weapon, although to be honest, some of the weapons in this game are rather questionable in their usefulness, but still have some apparent function in the game somewhere.

TOP MAN's weapon is the Top Spin, which allows Mega Man to spin like a top... arguably the most useless weapon in Mega Man's arsenal, as the weapon usage varies depending on your opponent. Nothing sucks more like using the weapon on a robot master only to have it completely drain your weapon energy in one shot (no joke, this has happened to me on more than one occasion.) On top of delivering damage to your opponent, the attack also hurts you which serves as a nice suicide note to yourself. Ironically, the weaon is most useful and necessary against a Wily boss.

SHADOW MAN's weapon is the Shadow Blade, which is almost like the junior version of the Metal Blade in 2. You can shoot up and diagonally, but not down anywhere. Also, the weapon has limited range. On the upside, it's a fairly strong weapon and can be used against two Robot Masters.

SPARK MAN's weapon is the Spark Shock, which stuns certain enemies temporarily. While it's a decent weapon to have due to its freezing powers, its usefulness sags when it is impossible to switch between weapons while the enemy is frozen. Not happy with that move, Capcom.

MAGNET MAN's weapon is the Magnet Missile, which shoots a magnet that attracts towards an enemy. This isn't a perfect seeker weapon, as it only dives towards an enemy's last known position, but for stationary foes and slow enemies, it's not a bad weapon to have. It eats a lot of energy though.

HARD MAN's weapon is the Hard Knuckle, which shoots out Mega Man's fist. You have slight control over the fist by moving it up and down. It has a slow start-up, but it picks up speed and it can pack a punch too... also, it can destroy some barriers.

NEEDLE MAN's weapon is the Needle Cannon, which is nothing more than a chaingun shooting needles. I never really used this one much except for times when I don't feel like tapping the B Button.

SNAKE MAN's weapon is the Search Snake, an improved version of the Bubble Lead. Basically, you shoot a snake that moves along the ground until it falls off a ledge or hits a ceiling. Not a bad weapon, although not many enemies can be killed with it.

GEMINI MAN's weapon is the Gemini Laser, which shoots a laser that bounces off walls... well, what more do you want?

Once you defeat the eight bosses, you'd have to revisit four of the eight stages where you have to fight against versions of a boss named Doc Robot. Doc Robot basically assumes the powers of a fallen boss from Mega Man 2 and fights like the boss. So essentially, it's like challenging old MM2 bosses, but with newer weapons. A neat feature that they should revisit one of these days. Defeating all the Doc Robots (you fight two per stage) opens up another battle with Proto Man (who assumes the role of "Break Man" for some reason), which then takes you to Wily's castle, where a couple other old bosses await you. As a result of all this crazyness, this remains one of the longest Classic Mega Man games to date - with 19 levels total.

It would be pointless to discuss graphics, since outside of the enemies and stages, all the main characters are recycled from past games. The soundtrack is also pretty decent in its own way, but nothing too memorable. However, they did manage to make this game a tad harder than Mega Man 2, which I had always felt was too easy.

Mega Man 3 allows you to carry up to nine energy tanks as opposed to only four in 2 - this would be standard for the rest of the NES games (and Mega Man 9). Also, the password system is different from the rest - there's a logic behind it and with a bit of practice and understanding of some of the formulas, you could make up a number of passwords that will give any number of desireable results. No other Mega Man game featured a password system such as this.

USELESS TRIVIA - Word has floated around that Keiji Inafune wasn't too pleased with this game, as he felt the game was incomplete when it was released. However, if people were pleased with an incomplete game, one would have to wonder how good a completed game is.

Overall, Mega Man 3 is a solid entry in the classic series. It introduced a couple new features that stuck and offered a more enjoyable gaming experience.


Posted by dtm666 at 10:10 AM EST

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