Sunday, 28 December 2008

Fallout 3 - Action RPG Videogame Review (X-Box 360)

Finally completed! After 37 hours I have laid that almighty beast to rest. What a great game! Made by the same team who made the snore fest Oblivion, and it really shows. Oblivion failed for me as I just found it so damn boring, first person combat with swords isn't fun, and the Po faced fantasy setting left me cold, plus the broken level up system which saw me get 65 hours into it before being completely stuck.

Fallout 3 has guns, lots of guns, guns of all sizes and types, from the mini nuke launcher to debris launchers - this game has it all. The game takes place in a post Armageddon DC. A place of ruins, and of mutants. Your character lives in a vault, locked away safe from the evils of the world. Soon your peace is shattered when your father vanishes to the outside world, following him you emerge into the broken world.

The game is all about choices, will you be good or bad? The choice is completely yours. Everything goes, from selling children into slavery to nuking an entire town, it's all possible.

I really enjoyed the game, the V.A.T.S system makes combat an entertaining feature. The main quest itself isn't too long, but there are lots and lots of optional quests, of which I didn't experience all of them. The best thing about the game is the world. There is an amazing number of locations which you don't even need to visit, but the option to do so is there, and visiting these lets you create your own story in your head.

If you hated Oblivion you will love this. If you loved Oblivion you will definitely love this, buy it!

An Update (December 2010): This is a bad early review I did for this game.  With the abundance of DLC for this game my playtime extended to around 80 hours and that is still without me having done everything there is to do in the gigantic world.


Saturday, 27 December 2008

I Am Legend - Zombie Film Review

I Am Legend is a film based on the book of the same name. It is the third film to do so. First there was Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth in the 50's (I think), then in the 70's there was the excellent The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston and now this starring Will Smith.

Like the others it concerns a man who appears to be the last man alive on Earth. Everyone else having mutated into monster like creatures allergic to sunlight. By day Will Smith searches New York for food and supplies, and works on a vaccine to the virus everyone has. By night him and his dog hide in his fortified apartment building. The film is much like the others, everything from the flash back to pre-virus Earth, and general plot are the same. That's all I can say really, the worst film version of the book, but still a good, solid film.

The extras on the DVD were amazing. They comprised of 4 short animated stories, all very very dark and bleak. They had so much atmosphere to them.


Monday, 8 December 2008

The Possessed - Horror Film Review

The Possessed is clearly a film made on a tight budget. It looks terrible, has mostly terrible acting, and the plot is all over the place. Characters seem to teleport from location to location which makes things more confusing than the near empty plot.

The film starts with a hideous music video. After this bizarre intro a small flat is shown. The depressed female singer of the music video calls her boyfriend into their bedroom before committing suicide in front of him.

Several months later her boyfriend, and the other band members visit a psychic, the best character of the film. The psychic is a flamboyant theatrical man, wearing clown make up, quite freaky looking. The band members have visited him to find out if their dead band member 'Cassidy' is ok for them to start up the band again, having stopped it after her death. The psychic seems to get possessed by the spirit of Cassidy and tells the members that their all going to die. They ignore him as a crank and head off to their friends recording studio. Soon the spirit of Cassidy arrives and starts her killing spree...

As mentioned the film is extremely badly acted with the exception of a few characters. I really don't understand what the point of the film was, but I still enjoyed watching it. The special effects are quite bad, I still guess I recommend it though.


Obscure - Horror Videogame Review (X-Box)

Obscure is a survival horror which was released on the Playstation 2, X-box, PC and maybe Gamecube a few years ago. The game is unique in that it is actually a 2 player game. If you don't have a friend to play it with then the 2nd character is controlled by A.I, and you are able to switch between the 2 characters with the touch of a button.

The setting of the game is a high school. A group of students hide behind after school one day to search for their friend who has vanished. The school has a long history of missing students, so they figure that seeing as the last place they saw him was the school gym that it's likely he is within the school grounds somewhere. Unfortunately the night they chose to hide out in the school is the same night that the school suddenly becomes over run by strange monsters. As well as the 5 students being in the school, several teachers have also become mixed up in the madness.

The game is a mix of puzzles and combat. The combat is not really a strong part of the game. The enemies are allergic to light, so at first seems a bit similar to 'Alone in the Dark' (The Dreamcast and PSOne version at least). There's some clever touches such as smashing grubby windows to flood rooms with sunlight. As the game progresses the sun goes down, so for the 2nd half of the game this cant be done. There are 5 different characters you can play as. They all have different special abilities, but you never need a specific characters abilities, so any 2 will do.

The puzzle elements are quite simple, and the map you have always clearly shows you where to go next, the game is also quite short. Despite this I had a lot of fun with it. The story while not original was sufficient to keep me wanting to play. The A.I is kinda terrible at times, I assume it would be more fun in 2 player.

There is a sequel, I believe it's called 'Obscure: The Aftermath'. I think its on the PS2, X-Box, and possibly Wii. If you see the game cheap - get it!


Murder Party - Horror Film Review

It's been over a month since my last post, I really need to keep this updated. I have quite a big list of things to write about now in the world of horror.

Murder Party is a horror laced with lots of black humour. A 30 something nerd (Chris) is on his way back from his job as a hated traffic warden on Halloween when he happens across an invitation to a party titled 'Murder Party'. Being the lonely guy he is, and having no better option other than to sit at home and watch some newly purchased horror films he decides he will go. He makes a Knight costume out of a cardboard box which is hilarious looking in its pure rubbishness, then heads to the address on the invite.

The party is in a rough industrial area of New York, eventually he finds the place; an old dilapidated warehouse. Inside he comes across the party. A group of odd art students. Their costumes are quite cool, ones dressed as a baseball gang character from The Warriors, a girl dressed as a Replicant from Bladerunner, as well as a Vampire, Werewolf, and a Cheerleader.

After talking briefly they pounce on Chris, after a short tussle he is knocked out and awakes tied up to a chair, the art students reveal they are going to kill him as part of an art installation there doing to impress their idol who is going to give a grant to the one with the best art installation idea.

Most of the film happens from this setting. Chris spends a lot of the film not only tied up, but also gagged, so it is a credit to the actor playing him that he comes across as such a sweet and likable character despite hardly having any lines at all.

The film as mentioned is darkly humorous, the art students are fantastic characters, and as the film progress become increasingly bitter and shallow, showing their own insecurities as they are killed off one by one, mostly by hilarious accidents. Also the fact that during the entire film Chris never takes off his amazingly funny cumbersome, cardboard Knight costume is a very cool touch

The films obviously been made on a budget, most the action takes place in the one location, but despite this the acting is of a very high quality, and the look of the film is very sharp. The plot is quite simple, but the life the actors put into the characters make the film seem such a breath of fresh air. The film is quite bloody and violent, especially later on, but is only a 15 which I found surprising. A surprise hit I thought.


Friday, 28 November 2008

Spongebob Squarepants: Once Bitten - Random Zombie Appearance

I love Spongebob, and today I saw a zombie themed episode, woop!

In 'Once Bitten' Squidward gets bitten by Spongebob's pet Snail Gary - who had been acting strangely. Patrick identifies Gary as having mad snail disease, and tells Squidward that anyone bitten by the Snail will turn into a zombie. Gary wanders off, and soon is biting people in the town left right and centre.

Hysteria ensures as everyone bitten, and a vast majority who haven't start to think they are zombies. Soon the survivors are all holed up in the Krusty Krab.
Spongebob, pursued by zombies led by a zombie Squidward manages to get there as well.

While the Krusty Krab is under siege by the zombie hordes the survivors start to doubt whether they themselves are not zombies and just haven't realised it.

It all comes to an end when one of the survivors steps forward and introduces himself as an expert on Snail diseases. He explains there is no such thing as mad snail disease, and that Gary had been biting everyone as he had a splinter in him. Realising this the zombies all turn back into their normal selves.

Was a fun little episode.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Zombie Smashers X4 Guitarpocalypse! Review

This Xbox 360 community game goes to show that not all zombie games are good. Calling this game a Zombie one does Zombies a diservice anyway, as Zombies only feature as a power up.

The game is basically a Smash Brothers clone. You can choose one of about 10 characters, all who have a guitar they can attack with, as well as the usual punches and kicks. Upto 4 players can fight at once. The Zombies as said before only appear as a special move, so not worth getting at all! Boring!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Dead Set (2008) - Zombie Series Review

I got the DVD of Dead Set in the post today, this was a good end to a bad day. The DVD has good presentation, and the episodes are easily selectable.

The extras are tied to each episode which is handy, rather than having big chunks. I love extras in small slices. It is for this reason I shall never watch the Lord of the Rings extras, there's just too much of it. Here the extras are all short at a few minutes long each.

The extras are split between interviews with the cast, special fx reveals, and deleted scenes. The interview with Charlie Brooker is absolutely hilarious and essential viewing!

Dead Set: Episode 5 (2008) - Zombie Series Review

Whew, just seen the last episode of Dead Set, it was fantastic! I knew what happened in it, as a friend had explained to me in detail as I was unable to see it on the Friday it showed. The episode was everything I had hoped it would be. For once I wont ruin much, other than to say it is possibly the best episode of the series!

It is a fantastic end to a series that seemed to arrive completely out of the blue. I knew about it about a week before it began. I had no interest until I discovered I now have E4. Damn worth getting on DVD.

Monday, 3 November 2008

The Last Stand - Zombie Horror Videogame Review (PC)

The Last Stand is a fantastic flash web based game in which you play as a survivor of a zombie apocalypse. You stand behind a cruddy barricade on the right of the screen and must use the mouse to shoot zombies advancing from the left until daybreak comes. The zombies come at various speeds, mostly walking, but some sprinting. If your barricade breaks before daylight your dead.

Daylight takes place on a stat screen. You have 12 hours to which you can allocate to different tasks - repair the barricade, search for survivors, and search for weapons. This cycle repeats until you inevitably get eaten. A really fun, surprisingly gloomy quick game, though not too much to it.


Thursday, 30 October 2008

Dead Set: Episode 4 (2008) - Zombie Series Review

A fantastic episode of Dead Set today! Only one more left now. The plot is so well suited to a short series!

The boyfriend and moany woman head out by boat to go to the Big Brother studio. The moany woman is attacked, while the boyfriend runs off into woodland.

At the studio the producer and evicted finally kill Davina and make it to the control room where they contact the Big Brother house and get rescued by them. The producer makes a plan to escape the confines of the house and its grounds and escape to a port. The episode ends with the boyfriend making it to the Big Brother grounds, but looks like he may be mistaken for a zombie in the cliff hanger ending.

There was a lot of action in this episode, plus a fantastic guest appearance by zombie Brian (winner of a previous Big Brother). Very funny in places, surprising seeing as how bleak and downbeat a lot of the programme is, and how seriously the zombie invasion has been portrayed.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Dead Set: Episode 3 (2008) - Zombie Series Review

Wow. So just watched episode 3 of the ace Dead Set. More action than yesterdays slowish paced one.

The plot mostly centres on the Big Brothers contestants trip to the shops. While there two psychotic police officers turn up, plus lots of zombies.

Meanwhile back at the house the bitten fat woman turns into a zombie and kills the cross dresser looking after her. It's up to Joplin and the blond woman to sort out the mess.

The producer and evicted housemate are still trapped in a room, and Davina is still rampaging outside it.

Lastly the boyfriend of the staff member, and his moany woman companion discover via E4's live coverage of Big Brother that there are still other survivors alive.

Another good episode, only two left and it will all be over. I'm not going to be able to see the last episode as I am off to Wolverhampton, will need to work out how to set my video player to record it.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Dead Set: Episode 2 (2008) - Zombie Horror TV Series Review

It turns out the first episode was actually a double length one. The normal length is about 25 minutes. This episode was less action than the last one.

It followed three different sets of people. The Big Brother producer, and latest evicted housemate hang out in a room under siege by zombie Davina, the staff survivors boyfriend out in the middle of nowhere hooks up with a very moody woman and spend several hours trying to get a car started. The main story revolves around the Big Brother contestants and the staff survivor.

In this episode some of the survivors head of for a nearby chemist to get medicine to help cure one of the contestants who has been bitten. I'm assuming the bitten woman is going to turn into a zombie. Joplin is still my fave contestant, while the Big Brother producer is still the funniest character. Look forward to tomorrows episode!

Having spoken to different friends of mine one loved the programme, while the other said she thought it was rubbish, I think it is ace, and have already preordered the DVD of it (released next Monday).

Monday, 27 October 2008

Dead Set: Episode 1- Zombie Series Review

So the first of the 5 part horror series Dead Set started today. I was really impressed with it.

The plot concerns a zombie outbreak, I love zombies, I love them a lot. The story takes place at the Big Brother studios. During eviction night the crowds who have came to watch have all been attacked and turned into flesh eating zombies. The contestants inside the house don't know that anything has gone wrong, so are carrying on as normal, while outside a lone survivor desperately tries to escape the undead.

The zombies are of the running variety, and the way the program is shot is deeply similar to the way the zombie attacks in 28 Days Later, very fast quick changes used to create confusion. These zombies seem to spend a hell of a lot of time eating dead bodies, and seem to get very preoccupied with doing that.

There are a few guest stars. Quite a few ex housemates appear as themselves having a reunion party. These include Bubble, and others who I cannot recall their names. Best guest appearance is Davina Macall playing herself. Thankfully she is killed, so it's fun seeing her die. She appears later as a zombie, which is really entertaining, I think shes gonna have more screen time in later episodes. Thankfully the program was quite bloody. There was lots of brains and entrails and blood shown, which is needed really.

Later episodes are bound to be much more action packed, so I cannot wait!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

The Omega Man - Zombie Horror Film Review

The Omega Man like 'The Last Man on Earth' before it, and 'I am Legend' afterwards is based on the novel 'I am Legend' about a man trying to survive in a world where he is the last human.
In 'The Omega Man' a man made bio-weapon has swept the globe infecting everyone. Most the worlds population died instantly, but some survived, but only as 'others' - psychotic albinos allergic to light.

Charlton Heston plays Robert Neville a scientist who survived the epidemic by using a experimental antidote. His days are spent cruising the deserted city gathering supplies, and hunting for the 'others' nest so he can eliminate them. His nights are spent barricaded in his fortress home playing chess with himself, and getting drunk while foiling the 'others' attempts to break in and kill him.

He meets up with a small band of humans who are only in the early stages of infection, and so not yet deranged. They give Robert a purpose in life, and after successfully creating an antidote he plans to leave the hellish city and head for the hills with them. But things might not go according to plan...

The music in this film is amazing, it is so beautiful 70's style western music. Specially during the action sequences where rather than have balls out fast paced music there is really meloconic haunting themes which really make you care for the character of Robert and want him to win.

An ace film, recommended. Better than 'The Last Man on Earth', and that itself was a classic film.


Saturday, 12 July 2008

Figure Review - Resident Evil Anniversary Collection 'Licker'

The Licker figure is of course a figure of the iconic Licker creature from Resident Evil 2. The first sudden glimpse of this creature passing a window leads to a headless corpse, and a FMV scene of the Licker dropping down from the ceiling.

The figure is more a statuette than a figure. It is in a fixed squatting position, with its razor sharp tongue extended to the side.

The figure is quite detailed, showing all the muscles, on the back of the figure the Lickers spine is exposed, and coated in blood.
The claws of the Licker are deadly looking, and suitably large. Another good figure from the Resident Evil range.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Resident Evil - Zombie Videogame Review (Playstation)

When this game first got announced I didn’t own a console capable of playing it. I remember scrutinising the previews in CVG (Computer and Video Games magazine) thinking it sounded like the best game ever. It is true to say this is the game which I brought a Playstation for.

The games plot concerns a special Police Group called S.T.A.R.S Alpha Team who have headed into the Arkley Mountains near Raccoon City to search for the missing S.T.A.R.S Bravo Team who in turn had headed to the mountains to investigate a serious of strange murders in the area.
There they discover a big mansion - a big mansion full of secrets…and zombies (and other assorted freaks of nature).
After lots of blood, mayhem, and a few back stabbings a few of the gang escape, and that is the game : ).
The intro to this game is fantastic. It is a live action sequence (with possible real actors!) and involves the Alpha team arriving in the woods of the Arkley Mountains and being pursued to the Spencer Mansion by a pack of zombie dogs.

The game is classic survival horror, and one of the first of its kind (well the first good one of its kind). It contains all the classic staples of the survival horror genre – clunky controls, mixture of puzzles and action, fantastic atmospheric music, and plenty of scares.

You ask someone to name a scene in a game where they got scared, and most people will mention the unforgettable ‘Zombie Dogs leaping through the window’ scene, which still makes me jump to this very day.
There are many many zombies in this game. Zombie crows, Dogs, and Humans. All with the one desire – to eat your flesh. You have a variety of weapons to defeat these – everything from knives all the way up to the mighty Rocket Launcher. A personal favourite is the Magnum – one hit is all it takes to blast a zombies head clean off!

The locations are great. A big Mansion, Gardens, Caves and a Laboratory, suit the zombies well, and give some classic Fulci locations. The moans and groans of the undead are cool, and they look good, even now, the game has aged quite well for an early Playstation game.


Thursday, 10 July 2008

Castlevania: The New Generation/Bloodlines (1994) - Zombie Appearances in Videogames (Megadrive/Genesis)

Some games don’t actually feature Zombies! Can you believe that? But some games do have Zombies, even if they only have a token appearance. The game in question for zombie cameos this time is Castlevania: The Next Generation (or Bloodlines if you’re American) on the Megadrive/Genesis. The game sees you pursuing Countess Bartley across Europe as she gathers up the pieces of Count Dracula in order to resurrect him once again.

The enemies in this game mostly consist of skeletons, and various other types of creature such as bats, beast men, and knights. Zombies show up on level 1 as the first enemy you face. Level 1 is the ruins of Castle Dracula (or I guess the ruins of Castlevania unless Dracula lived somewhere else before Castlevania). Anyway as either John Morris or Eric Lecarde you enter the castle grounds. After a brief courtyard walk you enter the entrance hall of the castle itself. Zombies constantly run up to you from both directions, they don’t actually have an attack, I assume they try and bite you or something. Some of the zombies have flies buzzing round their heads which is a cool touch. Being the first enemies of the game they are very weak. They fall apart with just one strike of the whip or pole arm.

And that is it for the Zombies appearance in the game as far as I recall! The rest of the level has mostly skeletons, some fish men, some bats, and a sub boss of a demon hound, and the main boss of a possessed suit of armour.

Level 4 (The German Steel Works) has a Frankenstein sub-boss, but I don’t count him as a zombie (anyway he’s like 15 feet tall) and there are a few mummies on Level 3 (The Leaning Tower of Pisa), but they don’t count either.

The game is good, a bit zombie light, but then zombies are not the point of the game, I see them as an added bonus.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Day of the Dead (1985) - Zombie Horror Film Review

I recently re-watched George Romero's amazing Day of the Dead it was better than I even remembered it! I originally thought Night of the Living Dead was the best of his films, then Dawn of the Dead but now I definitely think this is his crowning achievement.

The film has a fantastic score. The music is one of the best things about it. So good that the band Gorrillaz sampled the opening in their fantastic song M1-A1. The plot is good, and quite original I feel.

The world has been destroyed, over-run by zombies. In a military bunker a team of soldiers, and a team of scientists have been living in disharmony. The new leader of the soldiers - Rhodes is a nasty piece of work, he sees the scientists, and their experiments as a waste of time, he wants to leave the bunker and the scientists to rot.

The good characters are mostly a likable bunch, while the bad guys are suitably horrid, so it is fun to see the events play out. The plot is decent. The special effects are superb! I had to look away the first time I saw this film, as I was repulsed by the gruesome effects. Now ten years later and suitably desensitised I love them.

Special mention must go to the amazing intelligent zombie Bub. Though many people reckon I look like him (I don't!) he is a great character, and much better the heap of crap intelligent zombies Romero jammed into the terrible Land of the Dead.


EDIT 2015: I wrote this review a long time ago and to be honest it sucks. I hope to one day redo this review and give the film the love it deserves.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Zombie Song No.2 'The Pain of Being Dead' by Send More Paramedics

A nice self-explanatory (god, spelling!) song about...the pain of being dead...

The Pain of Being Dead

The pain of being dead, a suffering you would not believe
A half-life dwelt in hell, no mortal mind could ever conceive
Victims of a power outside of any human control
Abhorrent flesh is now a prison to my suffering soul

A sickening twist of science seals your fate
Your neuron juice can ease my pain
I can't endure the pain of being dead
Unless I eat your fucking head

Eat your head

Only the taste of brains can ease the pain

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Urban Dead - The Diary of a Survivor - Day 1

Urban Dead is according to the website:

"A free-to-play browser-based multi-player game where you play the survivor or victim of a zombie outbreak in a quarantined city centre, alongside tens of thousands of others."

I had much fun playing it last year, I'm still on there as a Zombie, and due to Brain Rot am currently seeking out a Brain Rot Clinic to get turned back to human. Anyway I digress. While playing it I kept a diary of my exploits. Here is part 1 of...the Zombie Diaries

Day 1

Today I awoke from my catatonic state, my name is Edwin Carnaby, a 25 year old rookie cop. I awoke in a Police Station which I did not recognise. I was wearing my uniform, with a flack jacket, and had my pistol holstered, I also had my radio. The station was very crowded, no one saying much, just hiding from the...bodies.

There was a corpse in the room I awoke, not wanting to look at it, I pushed it out the window, bizarrely I felt as if I had gained experience. I had to leave the building, so going outside I headed South. I came across a walking corpse, my god it stank, an over whelming hatred for the pitiful thing overtook me, and I loosed off a volley of 6 shots at it, I was shaking too much to focus, all my shots went wide. To make myself feel better I walked up to it, and punched it square in the face, I felt its nose break under my fist.

I got to a museum, it had 2 other survivors there, I rested there for about 4 hours before heading back out. Remembering 'Shaun of the Dead' I headed for the nearest pub. Another 2 survivors were here, I discovered a mobile phone which I pocketed, but it had no signal. I decided to spend the night at the pub getting drunk. My first real day in the city of the dead...

Friday, 23 May 2008

Resident Evil 4 Poster

Wow! My Resident Evil 4 poster turned up at my work place today, so I dutifully put it up when I arrived home, pride of place on my upstairs landing. It details at the forefront Leon Kennedy, in the background, the murderous Ganado's.

Here is the Resident Evil 4 title, located appropriately enough at the top of the poster. Also a picture of the Capcom logo, located in the bottom right hand corner;

The left side has a male Ganado armed with axe, and a female Ganado. The right side has some Ganados standing behind the mayor of the Ganado village - Bitores Mendez (on a side note, it's a damn shame they never made a figure of the mayor, he is a great character). The centre is of course the amazing Leon Kennedy.

The poster is good obviously, and a decent size.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

The Giant Book of Zombies - Zombie Horror Anthology Book

The blurb from the back first:

"The Giant Book of Zombies brings together twenty six-spine chilling stories depicting the Zombie in every guise - from the traditional Voodoo rituals of the Caribbean to the terrible abuses of future science."

The copy I have is quite old, was given to me by a friend at the time. It had a bottle of Vodka spilled on it the first time I got it, so it has a strange hybrid smell of Vodka and musty paper that still lingers to this day.
It is comprised of 26 short stories by various writers. Includes such famous authors such as Edgar Alan Poe, H.P Lovecraft, and Clive Barker. The book works really well, as the stories are so varied. There are futuristic stories, voodoo related ones, classic horror ones, each one different from the last.

The best story in my opinion is 'Sticks' by Karl Edward Wagner, a story about an artist who finds inspiration for his paintings in the shape of a lot of Blair Witch type stick shapes he finds in the woods, close to an abandoned house. Another good one is Lisa Tuttle's 'Treading the Maze', a bittersweet story that had me in tears by the end of it.

Mostly the stories are all good, I thought that Clive Barkers 'Sex, Death and Starshine' was quite poor, and didn't seem to go anywhere, also the last story 'On the far side of the Cadillac Desert' by Joe Lansdale was I feel too ambitious for a short story, so felt quite rushed.

The quality of stories is quite good overall, and most of the stories have a sense of lingering dread about them. This book has a special place in my heart as the very first zombie book I ever read.