Thursday, 29 October 2009

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and the Damned - Action Videogame Review (X-Box 360)

First off, I know this isn't horror, I apologise, it is violent though, so kinda fits in to the site...perhaps?

The Lost and the Damned is the first of the two downloadable episodes for Grand Theft Auto IV. I played TLATD in 2 parts, Half was played back at the start of the year when it was first released. The second play through was quite recent.

The episode sees you as a biker called Johnny Klebitz. You are second in command of a violent biker gang called The Lost. The game opens with the leader of the gang released from prison and resuming command. Tension immediately erupts over Johnny who is the moral voice of the group, and the released leader who seems determined to make enemies out of everyone, and make The Lost self implode in the process. The game occurs the same time as the first half of Nico's story in GTA IV, and at times the story lines cross over, with missions from IV occurring from a fresh perspective.

I really hated this when I first played it back in February. I had only recently finished GTA IV at the time, and was a bit sick of the whole thing, and worn out. The missions felt a lot harder to me, and seemed to just involve driving to a location and killing everything there over and over again. Due to being in a biker gang, the motorbike is the default vehicle. It's built like a brick wall, so you wont be falling off too often, but I felt less protected than when I was Nico in a car. The new story is much more dark and gritty than previous, and is full of violence and swearing.

Playing this after a half year break has made me realise just how much I actually do like the games engine, the city is a fantastically made place, and the physics for the vehicles are very enjoyable. I really enjoyed the missions, I don't know if they just picked up, or if I was just tired of the whole system in Feb. Missions involve shooting lots, but also other varied things. One mission sees you abducting Nico's brother in a cool cross over, another mission finds you being chased by what seems to be Liberty City's entire police force;. your on the back of a motorbike firing a gun at the chasing cars and helicopters, very fun and satisfying. The last mission in particular was really fun (slight spoilers, but it sees you and your gang breaking into a very heavily defended location).

This new episode sees new things to do in addition to the main missions.  Like the car finding missions in the main game you get a load of bike finding missions, there are gang war missions (I never actually tried any of these) but best are the racing missions. These see you race against 9 other bikers around a plotted course. In a cool move though you are armed with a baseball bat as are the other racers, so the whole thing feels like Road Rash.

There is additional music for this episode, involving classic biker rock tracks as well as additional shows and recreational activities you can do. Obviously there are lots of new achievements to unlock as well. Enjoyed this, it is worth the download price, and extends the reason to visit Liberty City.


Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Headshot - Action Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)

I think this may well be the first X-Box Indie game I have reviewed. Headshot is only 80 Microsoft points (around about £1 I think?).

In this game you play as a sniper, and the whole game takes place through the gun sight on your sniper rifle. As such the screen is black, apart from the circle of your reticule. Many stick figure people walk around on the screen with mild crowd noise. After a random amount of time the crowd will scream and a time limit will appear. In this time you need to search the screen for the stick figure who has pulled out a gun on another stick figure and shoot him before the time limit runs out. If your successful then you go onto the next round which has a slightly quicker time limit, if not it's game over.

The game is very simple, but it is really tense as you wait for the killer to play his hand, the realistic crowd noise makes the whole situation more real. For 80 Microsoft Points you really can't complain about this game. It is very simplistic, but a cool experience.


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Saw VI - Horror Film Review

Saw VI last night. I have only seen Saw I and Saw II previous to this one. This was hella confusing. Where before you had the annoying dying of cancer man Jigsaw, now he's dead (not that you would know it due to him being in videos, and flashbacks lots and lots) there seems to be about a billion people doing Jigsaws work now. There's his wife, a Detective, a druggy, a suicide victim (though half of these are probably killed in previous films, maybe?) all off devising torture games on people judged as not valuing life. I don't know how many of these flashbacks are actually clips from previous films, but the whole of VI feels like it's midway through a series, rather than a stand alone film. This is my fault though, as I have had plenty of time to see the previous ones.

The basic plot for this one is that a man who threatened to stop John's (Jigsaw) health insurance if he went ahead to have some new untested cancer treatment (in the past) is kidnapped and put into a 'game'. He has an hour to play through 4 tests. If he succeeds he gets to see his family again, if he fails, well that's obvious. The tests usually involve having to make choices over friends and co-workers he knows, 'playing God' as it were (this is what John described the mans actions as, deciding who shall live and who shall die based on his health insurance formula he devised). Of course this leads to self inflicted torture, and violence. The unrelated 'game' at the start of the film set for 2 debt collectors is by far the most grim and unsettling violence in the whole film, so all that comes afterwards is tame by comparison. The sub plot requires a knowledge of the previous films in the series.

Saw I had a fantastic twist, Saw II had a clever twist. This has some twists, but nothing mind blowing. What I liked about Jigsaw previously is that it seemed he became this serial killer due to developing cancer and noticing that there were so many healthy people who just didn't seem to value their life. I may be mistaken, but it appears via the flashbacks that even before this occurred he was a nasty, vile man, taking away any mild respect for the man. He is just a horrid person, and all his evil stooges carrying on his work are also extremely unlikeable. As a result I felt more for the victims, no matter what stuff they had done previously, than the annoying serial killers.

The film was ok, it looks great, but I felt I did loose a lot not having watched III, IV, and V.


Monday, 26 October 2009

Horror Update on me

I just wanted an excuse to use the above picture to tell the truth, I think it's hilarious. But yes, horror update on me. Today at work someone who wished to legitimatly insult me actually called me a 'Zombie Freak' which I found kind of funny, especially as this came from a 40 year old man.

Nextly, saw Saw VI today. Review to come soon. It is Halloween soon! Should be a scream. Going to head down to Spooky Stroud to watch Horror films with my only friend (it's a hard life being undead) I shall somehow do an update on my Halloween.

Lastly, I fear my Hamster may be undead. Whenever he is in his ball he rolls up to any exposed flesh on my person and tries to bite it in vain. I guess that Trioxin water subsitute I've been giving it has had dire consequences.

Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop (2009) - Zombie Horror Videogame Review (Wii)

Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop is a vastly different kind of game to the original version of Dead Rising. What is cool is how it has changed to fit itself onto the more casual Wii system, and as a result feels like a completely different game.

The story is exactly the same as before. A zombie plague has been unleashed on a small American town. You play as Frank West a journalist who has headed to the town (more specifically Willamette Mall) to investigate and try and get the scoop. Once there you uncover a plot involving terrorists, and about a town called Santa Cabeza. So far so similar.

Obviously the graphics are no where near as good as the X-Box 360 version, and the amount of zombies on screen at any one time is far less. There is major fogging for the zombies, they can pop into existence in spaces were seconds previously there was nothing. To make up for this there are many different types than the 360 version. As well as the zombies there are also enemy poodles, and even parrots who fly overhead and drop hand grenades on you. Quite a few of the psychopaths from the 360 (psychopaths were Dead Rising's version of bosses) are now instead super zombies. These super zombies are stronger and have powerful attacks compared to the usual zombies. The butch police woman is now a giant zombie armed with powerful tasers, and the Vietnam veteran is now a zombie armed with 2 machetes who charges at you for example.

The whole original game was very time based, you had to keep to a strict time limit to progress the story, and lead fellow survivors to safety. Time is no longer an important factor, the different sections of the game are more level based. Usually you will have a story mission, then a variety of missions were the aim is to rescue a specific survivor. Breaking the structure down like this lends the game a far more arcade like feel. You get a grade for each mission you complete, and are gifted accordingly.

This game guns play a far more important role than melee weapons. You have your guns mapped to the D-pad and use the Wii-mote to aim a reticule at the screen in an over the shoulder Resident Evil 4 type of way. Ammo is plentiful, most zombies when killed leave behind either ammo, or money. Otis the owner of a gun store can be visited at any time. In his shop you can buy new guns, as well as upgrade how much ammo you can carry for each weapon, and buy books which teach you new special moves.

Levelling up still occurs. This time it is less important. You get either more item slots (all accessed via a menu screen rather than the 360's real time selection), and a bigger choice of books to buy at Otis's shop, and that's about it. Health upgrades are done via mixing won protein supplements with juice, so levelling up is not needed for that.

The game is still as violent as it was before, and includes some new weapons, as well as removing some others. The game features all the cut scenes of the original and has the 'Overtime' bonus mode incorporated to the end of the game rather than separately selected. Due to the focus on guns the boss battles are far more easy. A particular highlight was the fight with the convicts in the park. The 360 version of this fight was quite tough, this version has the whole fight take place as an extended quick time event, and as a result is quite fun.

After the game is finished there are lots of extra missions available to try (titled 'Odd Jobs') such as running down a certain amount of zombies in the underground tunnels, or killing a certain amount of zombies just using the football weapon. These are a nice bonus. I recommend this game, even if you own the 360 original. It is different enough to warrant a purchase.


Marvel Zombies 2 (2007-2008) - Zombie Graphic Novel Review

I said in my review of Marvel Zombies that I would definitely be getting the second one, and so I have. Headed to the local comic book store and picked it up. Noticed there are four Marvel Zombies comic books out now, and seems to be a 5th series currently in comic form.

The story picks up 40 years after the end of the first one. The Marvel super zombies have eaten every single thing in the entire universe. They decide to head back to Earth and try and get the dimensional portal there working so they can travel to a place with life. Meanwhile back on Earth the surviving humans are slowly descending into civil war over differences in opinion between the old adults, and the teenagers. The arrival of the super zombies leads to the undead creatures own civil war, as some are filled with guilt at all the billions of lives they have ended (such as Spider-Man) and decide to protect what's left of the human race from the evil super zombies.

Again the dialogue between the super zombies is hilarious, it's hard to explain, but the conversations they have are just laugh out loud funny. The script and artwork are done by the same people as the first, so it all looks fantastic. What is odd is that some of the main characters have been changed up. For example Gladiator is now a main character when he wasn't even in the first one. Thinking logically though, these additions could well be newer zombies created when the original cast attacked alien planets. I really don't have a good knowledge of the Marvel universe. Also in the first book the zombies absorbed powers of the Silver Surfer, yet some of the zombies who didn't do that still seem to have similar powers. These are small gripes though.

The plot is good, but not as exciting as the first, and the book ends on an obvious cliff hanger this time, where before everything was pretty much wrapped up. Again though, I'm definitely going to get the next in the series!


Friday, 23 October 2009

Halloween Films: Top 5

It is coming up to Halloween, the best night of the year. Here is 5 Halloween films you should watch on all Hallows Eve;

1. Halloween/Halloween 2

I count these two films as basically part 1 and part 2 of the same film, due to Halloween 2 taking place literally right after the first film ends.

Psychotic mad man Michael Myers escapes from a high security mental home and makes his way to his home town of Haddonfield just in time for Halloween. There he starts stalking a shy young girl named Laurie Strode (Jaime Lee Curtis), killing off her friends until it's just her left. Meanwhile Dr Loomis; a man who was the Doctor in charge of Michael Myers rushes to the town, he knows that Myers is pure evil and must be stopped. This film was really effective in that you never really have a good look at Myers, he appears in shadows, stealthily taking out his victims, in the end credits his character is named just as 'The Shape'.

Halloween 2 is a much more gory, and action packed film. Having been temporarily disabled at the end of Halloween he now makes his way to the Hospital that Laurie Strode has been sent to. This film features more brutal killings, more nudity,and more action than the first, and has a satisfying end.

2. Murder Party

Another film set during Halloween. I have mentioned this film before on here. Basically a lonely geek finds an invitation to a Halloween party. He dresses up in a ridiculous cardboard robot suit and heads to the party, only to find out it was actually a elaborate trap set by a group of hipsters to kidnap someone and murder them as part of an art installation. Quite a funny film, though expect plenty of dialogue.

3. The Fear 2: Halloween Night

Another film I have wrote about. A young man invites his friends to his grandparents house for a Halloween party where the guests are supposed to dress as their biggest fears. Very silly, and badly made film with terrible effects, but fun in a so bad it's good kind of way.

4. The Nightmare before Christmas

The fantastic Tim Burton claymation  film. The film is set in Halloween town where the Pumpkin King Jack Skeleton has become disillusioned with Halloween, and sets his sights on taking over Christmas with disastrous results. Though set in Halloween town, the film is much more of a Christmas film, but can be watched for both occasions I think.

5. Halloween 3: Season of the Witch

The odd one out in the Halloween series as it is a stand alone story. An evil toymaker (a Ken Dodd lookalike) plans to hypnotise Americas children to murder their parents via hypnotic messages sent out on Halloween. Damn annoying hypnotism sound, but is very Halloweeny, and if you can last the damn noise not a bad film.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Marvel Zombies (2005 - 2006) - Zombie Graphic Novel Review

Marvel Zombies is unsurprisingly a book which involves zombies, and is set in the Marvel universe. I think (but am not sure) that the Marvel Zombies series is a spin off from a Fantastic 4 story in which they travelled to an alternate dimension where a virus had turned the inhabitants of Earth into flesh hungry zombies (I am of course making this up, as I have never read it). In this alternate universe the only people left alive/undead are the hundreds of Super Heroes and Super Villains as keeping their super powers after their change into zombies they easily killed and ate everyone else in the world. What I do know is that thanks to Magneto (one of the last humans left) the Fantastic 4 travelled back to their own dimension, and the dimension travelling machine thing was destroyed leaving the super zombies stranded in their dead world (edit 24/08/19 - all I said there does happen but wasn't the root cause of the outbreak).

The story was released in five parts, which are compiled in the Marvel Zombies graphic novel. Magneto is quickly eaten by the combined super zombies. The super zombies are led by zombie Iron Man, and include mainly Colonel America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Hulk (mostly Bruce Banner, he only changes into zombie Hulk when hungry). The world seems empty of fresh meat to eat, but this soon changes with the arrival of the Silver Surfer who announces the arrival of planet eater Galactus. When Galactus arrives he is furious that his servant has been eaten. The super zombies both good and bad though see Galactus as the ultimate meal...

The book is really quite gory in places, various super zombies lose various parts of their anatomy during the story. The script was done by the same man who does the script for the excellent The Walking Dead comic. Unlike that though, this story is really humorous in places. The super zombies conversations with each other is so absurd as to be hilarious, and seeing well known heroes and villains all zombied up is a great treat for fans.

The artwork is bright and vivid, and the story itself is silly, but cool. Well recommended. I shall definitely be getting Marvel Zombies 2!


Dream of 21st October - Zombie Apocalypse!

Zombie Armageddon dream last night! I was reading Marvel Zombies before I went sleep, so I guess that is what it was influenced by.

Zombie Armageddon had happened. I was with a group of survivors in a house. The survivors were treating the whole thing as a party, eating, drinking, playing loud music. I was worried the zombies outside would be attracted to our noise. I got into the houses attic, and decided I would stay there. I moved food and water up there, I was joined by a couple of others, but the attic was quite small and dusty. A family on push bikes stopped outside the house to talk to the people inside, they drew attention from the zombies, but the house survivors didnt seem to care.

Then I was at a factory, still in use, so quite noisy. There was a big walkway were all the survivors were, it was really clean and clinical up there. One of the factory owners was explaining they had captured some zombies, they were trying to reform them to eat food rather than humans. The zombies were downstairs in the factory, but not restrained, so I didn't feel safe there.

Then there was something involving a ride on a rowing boat down a canal to a swimming pool which I dont recall.

Then I was in another house with a different group of survivors. Again I head into the attic. This attic is really posh, and has several rooms and a balcony, I feel I would be safe here. Out on the balcony I see the world has changed. I can see no zombies, but there are bikers driving around in the city, and gunships flying around. I learn that the zombies have all transformed, they are all docile now. A gunship lands on the balcony and a commander gets out, he informs us we are all slaves.

Then I'm at a fairground/market place. There are zombies doing simple jobs such as handing out balloons, and leaflets, thier owners praise them each time they do this. I'm still not entirely comfortable around the zombies, but the world is returning to normal.

That was the end of my weird Zombie Apocalypse dream.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Silent Hill: Homecoming - Horror Videogame Review (X-Box 360)

Finally got Silent Hill 5 (Also called Silent Hill: Homecoming). I played this through to completion in 2 sittings. I kinda have mixed thoughts about the game, and am a bit confused to what I think of it.

A young man named Alex Shepherd returns to his home town of Shepherds Glen for the first time since joining the Army many years previously. He discovers the Town which used to be so vibrant has fallen into a state of disrepair. Roads have collapsed, the shops on the high street have all closed down, and there are abandoned rusting cars everywhere. He meets a lady his parents knew called Judge Holloway. She informs him that ever since he left the Town has been getting worse and worse, and there has been a huge spate of missing people, so that currently there are only a handful of people still left in the Town!

He returns to his childhood home to find his Mum near catatonic, and his Dad off looking for Alex's younger brother who has gone missing. Alex decides to set out and search for his brother as well, as a nightmare he had about Josh is what brought him back to the town in the first place. The town is full of monsters also, but Alex with his military background is able to defend himself. Through the game Alex uncovers a conspiracy by the Town leaders, and that what is happening is maybe due to the nearby town of Silent Hill...

If this review feels a bit muted it's because that's the kind of reaction I got from the game. It does everything right; it sounds good, looks good, plays well yet it feels stale, and like no effort has been put into it. It does feel very much like a Silent Hill game. But excluding the graphical update this could have well been released on the PS2 or X-Box. The graphical update is actually detrimental. The original scared so well because it was really rough looking, that along with the grain filter created a feeling of absolute dread. Everything looks so smooth and clean now, it looks less like a vision of a nightmare, and more like a USA horror series such as Supernatural.

Many of the enemies are rehashed from previous games, there are not many surprises. The bosses all look quite similar to each other, and can be defeated the same way. The locations are not fantastic, and for the most part you don't spend much time in any location before moving on to a new place so a feeling of being trapped never occurs. The story is different, and has twists, but there were no real surprises, and it felt like the twists were just there because they are expected to be in a Silent Hill game.

The combat is good, you have a dodge button now, which makes the combat more intense, there is a weird trend to have Manhunt style brutal finishers which feels slightly out of place. There are nods to previous games in the series which is appreciated, and there are multiple endings (including the obligatory UFO ending). Akira Yamaoka once again creates a fantastic soundtrack. Alex Shepherd is a good enough character, the games increased combat works for him. The puzzles are fun to do mostly, but nowhere near as complicated as the previous games puzzles.

I love the Silent Hill series, and as long as they keep making them I will keep buying them. This is a good game, it just lacks the spark to make it a great game.


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Halloween II (Remake) - Horror Film Review

I decided to watch this at the very last second. I was actually booking my ticket for a Bruce Willis film when I decided to instead watch this. Of course this led to me getting I.D'd as my mind went blank and I started stuttering as I tried to change the title of one film to another. My reasoning was that I love horrors, so a choice between an action and a horror on the big screen should always have horror in first place.

I've never seen the first Halloween remake. The original Halloweens hold a dear place in my hear, I love them all, and have them both on DVD and Video and also have Michael Myers and Dr Loomis figures. I heard the Halloween remake focused too much on Myers past before he became a killer. However I do like the style of Rob Zombies films (I.E: the excellent Devils Rejects) and was intrigued how he would handle the remake.

The film starts off I guess showing the aftermath of the first film. Laurie Strode has shot Myers dead, a lot of her friends are dead and Dr Loomis (played by the amazing Malcolm McDowell) has been quite injured. The emergency services show up and cart everyone off to Hospital. Myers is assumed dead, and his body is taken off to a secure location by an Ambulance. On the way the Ambulance crashes, Myers escapes the wreckage and walks off into the night.

A year later Laurie is still suffering horrific nightmares about Myers. Dr Loomis is milking his fame at being the Dr who treated mass murderer Myers (his body was not recovered, but everyone assumes he is dead) and is soon to release a book on the subject. Myers himself has been living in the country for the year, sporting a hobo look (massive beard, dirty clothes). The ghost/hallucination of his dead mother summons him back to Haddonfield; Chaos ensures.

I admit I did quite enjoy this film, there are many neat changes on the original. Firstly Laurie Strode is actually good looking, a change from the horse faced Jaime Lee Curtis. She is portrayed as someone on the edge of mental collapse struggling to cope with the horrific night of a year back. Finding out Myers is her brother pushes her over the edge.

Dr Loomis is portrayed as a complete arse. He is shown as having no concern for the victims of Myers, just wanting to be famous and milking Myers legacy for as much as he can. This is a neat twist on Loomis of the original films who was shown as a man obsessed with defeating Myers, wracked with guilt at the monster he had been unable to contain.

Myers himself appears as a much more dangerous figure. He towers over everyone, being about 7 feet tall, and is immensely powerful. His mask is more warped and grotesque than the original William Shatner mask. His motivations for all the killing are weird though. He constantly is followed by ghosts of his mum (usually with a white horse), and his younger self. It seems he is able to project these Hallucinations onto others at times, or perhaps they really are ghosts. He grunts a lot as well, when the original Myers just breathed heavily.

The film is very Rob Zombie. Lots of sleazy characters, lots of brutal violence, lots of dirty blood, and lots of repulsive beauty (the scene with the bath room murder aftermath looks amazing, though at the same time grotesque with all its blood).

A good remake, and the end credits have the classic Halloween theme tune. Obviously not a patch on the immortal original. I recognised parts of all the first 6 Halloweens in this one.


Monday, 12 October 2009

Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass

Sure of course this game isn't part of the Horror genre, it is Fantasy of course, but it does have monsters, and ghosts in it, so feel it deserves a mention. I've always been a bit indifferent to the Zelda series of games. It is a very popular series though, with a massive fan base.

To me a big part of the reason for my indifference to the series is the lack of story, each time it's just 'rescue the Princess'. I also wasn't keen on the puzzle based dungeon designs. however as of late I have been changing my tune somewhat. Thinking back I did really enjoy Zelda: A link to the past on the SNES, I loved Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the N64, and thought Zelda: The Wind Waker, and Zelda: Majoras Mask were interesting departures. I played Zelda: Twilight Princess for about 6 hours, but couldn't get used to the awful Wiimote controls. This game however is different.

The game carries on from where the Wind Waker finished. Your sailing with Zelda and her Pirate Crew exploring new seas. After entering a patch of fog you come across a spooky ghostly Pirate ship. Zelda quickly climbs aboard to search for treasure. Seconds later she screams out in terror. Link attempts to get aboard to save her but he misses, and falls into the sea. He washes up on a beach, where he discovers the ghost ship regulary captures islanders who once taken are never seen again. So he sets off on a journey to discover the location of the ghost ship and rescue Zelda (this involves going to many different dungeons).

The game has one big dungeon. Each time you enter it all the puzzles reset meaning you have to start from scratch each time. This put me off for the longest time from buying the game, as the idea of continually replaying the same dungeon didn't appeal to me. Luckily the dungeon design for this is simple, and each time you reenter the dungeon you have new tools you can use to take short cuts (eg: Bombs to blow up otherwise impassable stone blocks). When you know what your doing it is easy to quickly traverse the dungeon. Like Wind Waker there are many different islands to sail to, the controls are much better this time. You just draw a line on the map using the touch screen to show where you want to go, and then your steam boat heads off.

Most the dungeons are smaller than in previous games. They are a nice size, and pleasent to get through. Overall the game felt much easier then the previous games in the series. The game is completly controlled using the touch screen, rather than being a hassle this actually makes the game more smooth, and easier to select different tools.

The bosses have always been a special part of the Zelda games. The first few in this are boring, and really really easy, luckily they soon improve to amazing fights, and make good use of the dual screens. One boss is invisible, but the top screen shows the boss perspective in first person, so you can use that to guess where he is. Another boss is a giant, and fills up both screens, so they were mostly all a delight to get to.

A good Zelda game, worth picking up.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Zombieland (2009) - Zombie Horror Film Review

Last night I saw Zombieland at the local cinema. Of course I was expecting it to be good as it had zombies in, and it was good, and very funny.

Basically a zombie apocalypse has happened, most of the USAs population are zombies, there are only a few survivors left. The film starts with a geeky loner kid called Columbus explaining the rules he follows which kept him alive, rules such as 'Don't be a hero', 'always check the back seat', and 'Double tap' (eg: shooting a zombie for a 2nd time after it seems to be dead). He is heading to his home town to see if his parents are still alive when he meets a cocky hard man whose on a desperate quest to find a Twinkie before all the Twinkies left in existence are out of date. Pretty soon these two meet up with 2 girls who are heading to an Amusement park.

Though obviously a zombie movie, it has a feel of a road trip movie a lot, it brought to mind Dumb and Dumber a lot to me. There is constant humour throughout, and in places it is hilarious. The geek and the hard man are a real funny combination and play well off each other.

For vast patches the zombies are absent, they only seem to really turn up when the plot calls for it, which makes it seem less real, but then it is a comedy, so reality isn't really at the top of the agenda. The film works really well, and a really funny guest appearance which was totally unexpected. Left the cinema with a warm and happy feeling, a feel good film!


Friday, 9 October 2009

Pandorum - Horror Film Review

Due to the devious nature of my local cinema I had to see Pandorum yesterday. I wanted to see it anyway, don't get me wrong, it's just I really want to see Zombie World first. I shall see that tonight. The trailers for Pandorum made it seem basically like Dead Space (excellent survival horror game set on a deserted Spaceship) turned into a film. It pretty much was this with dashes of Prey (first person shooter set on a Alien Spaceship).

A man wakes up from a stasis machine on a Spaceship. He has lost his memory, and he is alone. From his stasis pod he discovers his name, and he finds his locker, which has his uniform, and a photo of a beautiful woman. Soon after another stasis pod opens up. The man in this one also has no memory, but together they work out he's the commanding officer, and that they are both part of the ships flight crew. The first man realises hes the flight technician, and also that the regular power fluctuations are being caused by the ships generator failing. He has to work through the massive ship to get to the generator to stop it from failing completely and leaving them stranded in deep space. Soon after he heads out though he discovers the ship is full of demonic creatures. Through the film he has to look for answers to all his questions - why is the ship full of monsters? Where are all the ships passengers? (of which there were 60,000 ) Where exactly is the ship heading? and also to get back his missing memory.

The film also reminded me a lot of The Last Man on Earth. The man eventually meets up with other survivors, a scientist whose pod released her 6 months previously, and a foreign farmer who speaks no English. Together they have to evade the horde of Albino like mutants and get to the generator. The ship is gigantic, and seemingly made up of narrow passages and tunnels. Whenever the survivors get cornered there is always a handy passage to escape down. There are many twists, though most are kinda obvious. The film is mostly set in the dark (due to the ships generator being on the blink) but despite this it is always shot well enough that you can tell what is happening. The mutants are never really frightening though. They come across as quite dumb and are easily avoided despite their vast numbers.

It has been ages since I saw a sci-fi horror though, so I did enjoy this, and the cast are all attractive (obviously not the mutants), and the story is intriguing enough to keep you interested up to the end.


Thursday, 8 October 2009

Zombie Apocalypse - Horror Videogame Review (XBLA)

My cheque finally cleared, so I got the X-Box Live Arcade game Zombie Apocalypse. It's a duel stick shooter, in the same style as Geometry Wars. One stick controls your character, while the other controls the gun. It really reminds me of 1 MAD3 A GAME W1TH ZOMB1ES IN IT !!1 (or whatever it's called).

There are 55 'Days' for your chosen character to survive assaults by hordes of literally thousands of zombies, spread over 8 different stages (off the top of my head these stages are Graveyard, City Centre, Carnival, Junk Yard, Log Cabin, Airport, Gas maybe it was just 7?). Each stage has it's own traps you can use to knock the attacking zombies into (such as furnaces at the graveyard).

As mentioned there are 4 characters to choose from, but they all control exactly the same anyway. The default weapon you have is a machine gun with unlimited ammo, but other weapons show up through out the levels. These include flame throwers, grenade launchers, shotguns, rocket launchers, petrol bombs and mini guns. There are many types of zombies, and right up to the end of the game new types are being introduced which helps the game from becoming too boring. These range from normal zombies, to weapon totting ones, to the fantastic Pregnant Prom Queen zombies who attack by giving birth to flying monsters.

All stages require you to survive till all the zombies are dead. It is mixed up a bit. Some levels have survivors you must protect until they are rescued by helicopter. If you succeed you get a smart bomb to use. If you fail the dead survivor turns into a nasty running zombie. Some levels require you to only use your chainsaw (you permanently have a chainsaw sub weapon), while some levels put you in pitch black, with a small circle of light around you. There are a few boss levels in the game. These aren't very fun though. Each boss is the same, a fleshy teethy mound which fires laser beams at you as well as annoying hidden teeth things. The game turns into Smash TV levels of hardness for these stages, it's impossible to stay alive.

The game is also 4 player online co-op. I played this mode once, it was quite fun, but it crashed after 7 levels. A good game, but it does get boring quite fast, I would have liked some semblance of a plot also.


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

XBOX 360 Demos - My Important Thoughts on 2 of them

Without further ado, here is my views of 2 XBOX 360 demos I have played recently.

Firstly; Wolfenstein. The previous game in the series Return to Castle Wolfenstein I found maddingly frustrating. The stealth sections in that game just sucked any enjoyment out of it. In fact I actually ended up snapping the game disc in half I was so angry at it!

My views from this demo are positive though. The demo sees you in a train station shooting Nazis. The combat is good, but nothing special, the games mechanics work well, if it all feels quite similer to other FPS's. You have some magic powers you can use such as bullet time. There was an excellant section in the demo where gravity seemed to have been switched off, the Nazis were all floating helpless in the air, so I was able to kill them in a fun way. I also got my hands on a weird electrical gun which evaporated any enemies it hit. The demo was fun, I will buy the game when I see it cheap, and I assume somewhere there will be Nazi Zombies in it.

The 2nd demo I unfortunatly played was the horrible Darkest of Days. This is a FPS which sees you travelling through time to different periods. The game starts off with you as a soldier fighting Indians at the battle of little big horn. It was ok, apart from the bland graphics. Then a spaceman randomly takes you away to a futuristic lab, within minutes you are transported to a training ground where some horrible man swears a lot and gets you to shoot Nazi holograms. Then you are transported to the American Civil war where you have a dreadful, though I guess realistic gun which can only fire 1 bullet before needing reloading, and takes about 10 seconds to reload.

This game is awful for several reasons. Prehaps it was cut from the demo, but it seems bizarre a man from the 18th Century suddunly transported through time to the future would not find it the least bit surprising, and without a bit of complaint happily joins the bizarre time travellers cause. The graphics are really bland, and almost last gen looking. The games aims are not well signposted. After a stupid automated section where I could look around but do nothing than run in a straight line you are told to use a ditch to escape an ambush. You can go either left or right in the ditch, but one way leads to certain death rather unfairly, and restarting forces you to do the stupid automated run sequence again. I hated this demo, by all accounts the actual game itself is no better.