Archive for December, 2008

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin – War in the Pocket

December 31, 2008
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin takes a page from the Fallouts, Gears of Wars, Halos and Battlestars and tells a darker sci-fi tale than is expected from a series known for smiley C.O.’s painted with primary colors. This time the palette is muted, the character design has a rougher edge to it and the story questions the worth of humanity in a world decimated by meteorites. Amidst the destruction bands of marauders kill and pillage the few survivors left, and rival countries take the chance to wipe each other out. There is one savior in the maelstrom of violence, Captain Brenner of Razulia, who finds and recruits Will, the game’s naive protagonist, into his army of do-gooders. Along with Lin, Brenner’s headstrong lieutenant, the ragtag group battles rival countries, insane generals, and a mad scientist. It’s a straightforward story with a few twists and characters told well enough to grip anyone familiar with the aforementioned sci-fi titles. The writing drifts into childish “Hope conquers all!” maxims more often than I’d like, otherwise it’s another excellent script in a handheld Nintendo game. (See: Hotel Dusk)

The turn-based strategy differs from Final Fantasy Tactics and its ilk, employing a rock-paper-scissors style of weakness and strength to its characters. Unlike Pokemon which cruelly requires you to memorize convoluted character details Days of Ruin grants you each unit’s stats and the like on one of the DS’ screens. Throw in differing terrain, capturing bases, Commanding Officer powers (like granting your units +2 move points so they can move farther), and special mission-specific events like rockets raining from above and baby, you got a stew goin’.

For a series so renowned for its difficulty I found the curve very forgiving. The first several missions (there are 26 in all, as well as several extra ones) teach you all the basics and each consecutive episode offers a few advanced techniques until you’re left on your own. Even then you can access a little “hints” section at any time in the menu for a comedic sideshow – it’s rarely anything laugh-out-loud hilarious, they’re more like omake , fourth wall breaking and all – detailing some possible tactics you can use, making for a very user-friendly experience. Of course, the final few missions are controller-throwing hard. Er, except in this case the system is also a controller, so please have patience. With hard work and guts anything is possible!

Oh, there’s also a host of other options like online Wi-Fi multiplayer and a create-your-own map mode which I didn’t touch yet. I see myself perhaaaaps returning to the game to complete the extra missions but unless anyone’s up for an online match I had a great run with the story missions. Addicting, snappy gameplay, memorable characters and a decent plot – ooh, and tons and tons of techno/rock/industrial music – is all I need in yet another great Nintendo DS game.

Valdareee valdaraahhhh

Happy Holidays – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze

December 25, 2008
sirtmagus: OH YES
sirtmagus: The New Line Logo!
JohnnyMora: I like New Line’s logo :3
sirtmagus: Are we watching MORTAL KOMBAAAT?!
JohnnyMora: Always gets me ready for crap
JohnnyMora: I was about to say
sirtmagus: Too bad they’re DEAD. LOLOL
sirtmagus: Wait, in memory of Jim Henson? :c
JohnnyMora: yep
JohnnyMora: He did the suits for the original, I think.
sirtmagus: what a way to start your kid’s flick.
JohnnyMora: This intro made me so hungry
JohnnyMora: and jealous
JohnnyMora: I loooove pizza.
sirtmagus: New York: Pizza and Guys Nodding at Each Other.
JohnnyMora: I wish I lived there~
sirtmagus: It’s okay. Hope you like $12 movie tickets.
sirtmagus: DAVID WARNER?!
JohnnyMora: As long as the pizza’s cheap.
JohnnyMora: YUP
JohnnyMora: And Ernie Reyes Jr.
sirtmagus: I know where to get good $1 pizza.
JohnnyMora: Liu Kang’s  younger brother
sirtmagus: Does Raph avenge his death?
JohnnyMora: lol
JohnnyMora: Kino
JohnnyMora: You bastard
JohnnyMora: Put that wench in her place!
sirtmagus: OH MAN. That was a burn.
sirtmagus: A PIZZA burn.
JohnnyMora: Oh gosh
JohnnyMora: BOXES
sirtmagus: NYC’s worst criminals.
sirtmagus: Wear flannel.
JohnnyMora: what did he think he’d be able to do?!
sirtmagus: KARATE.
JohnnyMora: and quip
JohnnyMora: Quip kwon do
sirtmagus: So much crime going on tonight! And they’re all white.
JohnnyMora: “Help?”
sirtmagus: WHOA
JohnnyMora: well
JohnnyMora: this is a children’s movie.
JohnnyMora: Blacks not allowed.
JohnnyMora: AWESOME~
sirtmagus: The Turtles just walk down some stairs for their entrance, huh.

Happy Holidays – Disney’s Hunchback: Take Him Out to Lunch, Jack

December 19, 2008


John: I am prepared, d00d

John: looong wiz

Tim: k let’s rock this bitch

John: say when

Tim: nowww

John: Mmm chanting

John: Classy beginning

John: Where’s Escaflowne

Tim: Classic logo.



Tim: It’s Brazil!

John: drama


Tim: Those’re some detailed houses.

John: this zoom in is fantastic

John: how did they do these shots?!

John: some of the most complex I’ve seen in an animated movie

Tim: Is this the second Disney movie set in France?

John: uhhh

Tim: I half-expect Belle to walk in.

John: I think Sleeping Beauty might’ve been French

John: she does

Tim: WUT

John: She’s an easter egg

Tim: ohhhh. quite the egg.

John: this puppet rocks


Tim: Clopin will tell you~

John: this is atmosphere, meng

Tim: These gypsies have terrific eyebrows.


Up, Up and Straight Up My Ass – Superman Returns: To Be Boring

December 8, 2008

Look, up there in the sky! It’s a reboot! It’s a sequel! No… it’s another tepid Superman movie.


Superman was in limbo (or the Phantom Zone, if you prefer) for almost two decades after the world at large recoiled from Superman IV in disgust after waking up from a decade’s worth of coke-filled binges which are the only explanation I can think of for Superman’s Pryor prior success. All we were left with was a steaming crater that was filled by the worst television series ever. After Burton swooped in a few years later and reinvigorated the idea of superhero movies and a collection of sweaty-palmed DC editors decided to kill off Superman in the early 90s, the cogs were set in motion for Superman’s eventual big screen revival.

Burton, the superhero “it” boy, was originally approached to direct a movie supposedly titled Superman Lives! written by Kevin Smith. The nitty gritty of how doomed this venture was is best detailed by Smith himself in An Evening with Kevin Smith, but a few gems polar bear mentioning. Burton wanted to basically turn Superman into a sci-fi space opera with Superman (played by Nicholas Cage?!) wearing a redesigned, futuristic suit and fighting against the monster Doomsday on Krypton. And somehow this would all involve giant spiders and a Superman that never flew.

Fortunately, that project collapsed. And so did the myriad of rumored attempts between that and what eventually became Superman Returns. There’s no real way for me to know what really did go down, but IMDB listed fauxteurs McG and Brett Ratner as directors that made it into pre-production. Most of the scripts apparently dealt with Superman’s death and return, because he isn’t already enough like Jesus. The most cockamamie thing I heard from this period was that J.J. Abrams had been tapped to write a script that involved Superman and Kryptonian civil wars and Lex Luthor would be an FBI agent that was secretly a fellow Kryptonian or some nonsense like that.

After all that failed, WB asked the one guy that seemed to have the best track record with superhero movies at the time: Bryan Singer, the man who had built X-Men up into a respectable franchise. Although Singer was already committed to X-Men 3, who could blame him for abandoning ship and choosing to tackle Superman instead? Superman’s an ICON. You don’t get a crack at interpreting Superman every day and he’d already made two successful X-Men movies, why bother making a third? I’ll always have to wonder, though, what kind of world we’d be living in if we’d gotten the Singer-directed X-Men 3 and Ratner had followed through on Superman. Because what ended up happening was just tragic for everyone.

In space, no one can hear you bore


Mirror’s Edge: They Missed a Spot

December 5, 2008

Here's lookin' at you~

Mirror’s Edge is one of the most difficult, controversial titles to talk about this year. And I don’t mean controversial in a GTA/Saint’s Row/Manhunt “Oh my god what are our children playing?!” sort of way. I mean in a way that divides people and brings up certain aspects of game design and game criticism that are becoming hard to ignore for anyone that takes these sorts of things seriously. Has Mirror’s Edge come to pit father against son?


Up, Up and Straight Up My Ass! – Superman IV: The Quest for Euthanasia

December 1, 2008


Now that my senses have returned to me (someone must have slipped me some tainted moratanium!) I can move on to the sorry business of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Where do you even begin with a movie so steeped in bad vibes? THIS is the movie that killed Superman; it beat Doomsday to the punch by about 5 years. That seemed to imply this movie was so bad, so TOXIC, that the mere release of it marred Superman‘s chances at the box office seemingly up until this very day.

But could it possibly be worse than Superman III?!

Wow, what an awe-inspiring title