Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Acid Head: The Buzzard Nuts County Slaughter- Horror Film News

Acid Head: The Buzzard Nuts County Slaughter is certainly a mouthful, but with director Tony Watts previous works Vixen Highway 2006 and Frankenpimp it seems weird titles are the order of the day.

The film seems to be a slasher that stars Vivita as an acid scarred goth girl slasher who butchers her way across Buzzard Nuts County then vanishes.  A year later she is back for more vengeful killing. The film looks to have no budget, terrible special effects, bad acting but this all seems very intentional and it does not take itself at all seriously.

Watching the trailer I can only guess that the writers were on acid themselves. Very trippy and B-movie like it introduces Acid Head herself.  Characters are all over the top and wearing very bad fake wigs.  An interesting looking film, it just stands to see if it can carve a place with its bonkers style or if there is just too much of the stuff over actual substance.

Acid Head: The Buzzard Nuts County Slaughter is due for release on VOD and DVD Spring 2012.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Amy (2013) - Zombie Videogame Preview

I just played the demo for downloadable survival horror game Amy.  It has gotten terrible reviews but I was pleased to find it plays and feels like a last generation survival horror game, you know back when they actually featured survival and horror rather than the shooter fests they have turned into nowadays.

The demo starts with a woman named Lana (your character) on a train with a young gifted mute girl called Amy, you are heading towards a city when there is an explosion and your train crashes into the station. Awakening some time later you discover Amy is missing and that the train and the station are in ruins, there are strange zombie like monsters everywhere also. Encountering another human; creepy taxi driver Marcello you do some puzzles (old school style) to turn off power to an electrified gate. Locating Amy you look for an exit to the train station.

Combat and movement is slow and clunky, while puzzles involve flipping switches and solving simple visual puzzles. Amy can be instructed to help you such as directing her to climb through narrow gaps and press buttons for you. I am worried that the game is going to be one long bout of baby sitting, but in the demo at least enemies did not attack Amy, though due to her slowness she did get trapped along with a bunch of creatures on the wrong side of a gate. I thought it was a glitch at first as Marcello kept referring to her despite her being a couple of hundred metres away but no, she is just damn slow at running.

Amy looks, feels and sounds like an old school horror, with cheesy dialogue, bad acting and the normal protagonist who has the misfortune of wearing a pair of high heeled shoes, hardly ideal for escaping the infected. At 800 Microsoft points it is not a bad price either.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Walking Dead Season 1 - Zombie TV show Review

Finally got around to watching the last 2 episodes of The Walking Dead.  Everyone and I mean everyone raved about this show.  A long time ago I saw half the first episode, thought it totally sucked and shelved the series.  Picking it up on DVD I was happily surprised to see the show improves dramatically after the first episode, heck even the last third of the first episode was ace.

The Walking Dead starts with Deputy Rick Grimes being wounded while pursuing a criminal.  He wakes up an indeterminate time later in a deserted Hospital.  Wandering the empty hall ways he comes across signs of struggle, and hundreds of body bags.  Heading out into the Town he soon finds out that while he was laying in a coma zombie apocalypse happened.  Determined to find his wife and child he heads towards Atlanta where he heard that survivors had escaped to.  That is all misinformation though and after a dramatic rescue he hooks up with a group of random people hiding out in the woods on the outskirts of Atlanta including by lucky coincidence his wife and child.

Season 1 comprises six action packed episodes.  Based on the comic book of the same name I expected there would be no surprises but the series soon goes off on a different tangent to that of the comic.  Each episode feels self contained though feeds into the greater plot, all end on cliff hangers except rather disappointingly the last episode of the season which I had thought would make most sense to have a cliff hanger ending.

The comic was known for dweling on the interactions between the humans with the zombies taking a back seat.  The same happens here to a degree, though due to the quality of a lot of the acting of the main characters it is actually interesting whereas the dialogue in the comic books sometimes got really boring. A fantastic thing about this series is that all the characters look like their comic counterparts and feel like the characters from that really brought to life. Andrew Lincoln is superb as Rick, while his best friend Shane Walsh (played by Jon Bernthal) is a great character, with his descent into evil very slowly and subtlety hinted at.  A lot of the secondary characters are interchangeable, especially the female characters for some reason.  Other highlights include Norman Reedus as the redneck Daryl Dixon, and a late entry of Noah Emmerich whose role as a main character in episode 6 steals the show for that episode.

I was worried that there wouldn't be much plot over surviving the apocalypse but there is a general outline for each episode, whether it be heading to a City to retrieve some dropped equipment, searching for somewhere safe to stay or formulating a plan to escape a siege situation.  The last episode in particular was a real highlight going off on a complete tangent from the comic but being awesome with some cool twists setting up plot points for later seasons.

CGI is used lots and lots to simulate zombie deaths and while it is kinda obvious at times it still leads to some cool action.  The zombies all look ace, and are of the Romero slow shambling type, and a great score by Bear McCreary with excellent direction and no scrimping on set design.  I am really looking forward to the continuing adventures of this band of survivors.  Get past the first very generic half of episode 1 and immerse yourself in quality zombie entertainment.


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine - Sci-fi videogame review (X-Box 360)

I realise I have been focusing on games a lot recently, I sometimes feel I neglect films.  I do aim to get my Unlimited Cinema card back soon so I guess I will be seeing more films when that happens.  Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine is a 3rd person shooter set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

I don't know much about the Warhammer 40,000 universe other than it is a universe in a constant state of war. Space Marine takes place on a forge planet (a world entirely devoted to weapons manufacture I think) that has been invaded by a horde of Orks.  Sent in ahead of the rescue fleet are a trio of Space Marines (basically human tanks).  You play as one of the Space Marines; Ultramarine Captain Titus.  Starting off with the goal of repelling the Ork invasion events take a more sinister turn when *spoiler* the forces of Chaos arrive.

The game is  bare bones action, the most you have to use your brain is pressing elevator switches.  Being a Space Marine you are not able to go into cover, your supposed to be super human and the game makes you feel that way.  You have access to both melee weapons (chainsaw swords and power axes) as well as a variety of guns such as a bolt gun, flamer, and several sniper rifle type weapons. The Orks swarm you and while weak on their own try and beat you with numbers.  Being very powerful Orks get ripped apart left, right and centre as you cut a bloody swath though them.  For a 15 rated game it is very gory, at least when it comes to the green skins.  Heads pop, limbs are severed and enemies literally pop in a ball of crimson gore.

To split up the fighting there are several sections of alternate fighting.  In these sections you have access to a jet pack which lets you briefly take to the skies before doing devastating ground pounds.  There are also a few brief turret sections but other than that it is a case of slicing up close enemies while shooting far away ones.  Stunning an enemy lets you do an instant kill on them which rewards you with a health boost at the risk of damage from other nearby enemies.  The emergence of Chaos two thirds in gives you fights against more bullet intensive enemies.  Boss fights are infrequent and not very good, the last boss was a nightmare and nearly ruined the whole game for me.

The game looks good but it is a shame that the location of the Forge Planet is so boring and bland.  It is supposed to be, but still drags with its lifelessness and ruins.  One brief level set in a desert brings a nice slab of variety, as well as a fun train section but other than that it is stupidly large concrete structures all the way.

The plot is straight faced nonsense but features some action packed cutscenes.  Hidden in the levels are audio recordings from various people.  It does give some more human feeling to the story of alien invasion but none of the audio recordings are particularly interesting, I certainly never felt compelled to seek them all out.

A fun game but more variety in the locations and activities you get up to would have been better. Still fulfils the blood lust urge we all get once in a while and is entertaining mindless fun.


Friday, 27 January 2012

Deadlight (2012) - Zombie Video Game News and Trailer

I had never heard of this game until about 1 minute ago, I was watching the downloaded trailers I had stored on my X-Box 360.

The trailer is all CGI and features a weather beaten man standing on a freeway sign while zombies shuffle around beneath him.  The sign starts to give way so the man leaps off it in slow motion. Now using my famed investigative skills I have some more information the sparse trailer does not convey...

The game sounds interesting.  It is set in America in 1986 with the whole population having turned into zombie type creatures called shadows.  One person didn't change and that is the player.  It is described by creative director Raul Rubio as a horror puzzle platformer that has heavy use of physics.

Deadlight is due out this summer on X-Box Live Arcade. Below is the trailer, the version I saw had no voice over and so had more atmosphere than the dodgy gravelly voice provides.

Friday, 20 January 2012

*Breaking News* Resident Evil 6 Revealed

Ok, so not exactly breaking news as it was announced a day or so ago but if your looking to me for real breaking news then there's something wrong with you!

So Resident Evil 6 has been announced.  Set in the Town of Tall Oaks another Raccoon Incident has happened with the whole Town being over run by the zombie plague.  Firstly the good news.

The game looks amazing, really gritty, and violent and best of all zombies return!  I liked the Ganando of Resident Evil 4 but by 5 I was yearning for the traditional zombies again and they are here by the bucket load!  The game seems to be set at night which is again a welcome return to form I must say.  Returning are Leon Kennedy (seen in the trailer killing a zombiefied President), Chris Redfield (still with arms the size of tree trunks), as well as the Presidents daughter Ashley Graham, and Leon's aide.

Onto the badness, the game again seems inclined to partner people up making me worry that the same terrible problems that plagued Resident Evil 5 (utterly incompetent A.I, and boss battles designed for 2 players) will rear their ugly heads again here.  There is a reason I have only ever played Resident Evil 5 once, and that I have not even played some of the DLC due to the nightmare the computer controlled companion is.

Still all in all exciting news.  See the trailer...

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Halo Reach - Sci-fi Videogame Review (X-Box 360)

I have to start off by saying that in general when I review games I only review them based on their single player content.  This is due to having no one to play online with (and I am not about to play with strangers). So bearing that in mind here is my review of the single player campaign of Halo Reach.

Being the last Halo game to be created by Bungie (the team who created the Halo Universe) I expected Reach to be an epic send off and the premise certainly makes it seem that way.  Set before the other Halo games this one chronicles the fall of Reach; the home world of the Spartans (basically genetically engineered super soldiers).  From the very off you know there is not going to be a happy ending because a) in the Halo lore Reach and all the Spartans where destroyed and b) the game starts with a shot of a wasteland with your cracked and battered Spartan helmet laying on the ground.  You play as Noble 6; a recent addition to Nobel team that is composed of 6 different Spartans.  Starting with the discovery of a Covenant attack on Reach (Covenant being an alien collective army) it chronicles the invasion leading all the way to the final escape of Planet Reach by the surviving humans.

I was disappointed upon first playing to find it plays like all the other Halos.  I don't know what I was expecting so I should not have been put off but I have never been a huge fan of how Halo plays.  After getting over this I fell into the pattern.  Once in the groove Halo does become meat headed fun.  The plot is nonsense and doesn't really make much sense as always. more a way to take you from one set piece to another.  With the rocky music that gets your blood pumping along with the sheer joy of wading into a battle and emerging victorious you really start to feel like a bad ass.  For a good third of the game I had this feeling, excited to get onto the next vast mission.  One mission in particular was great just for the change in pace; you start off in a City under attack armed with just a pistol, when you finally meet up with other humans they are really glad to see a Spartan making you feel quite empowered.

Combat is the same as ever, taking enemies out using a combination of brute force, guns, grenades and  vehicles.  All the favourites appear with the exception of The Flood (though confusingly one solider I met was babbling about them).  So you get the traditional Covenant aliens along with the Gorilla ones of Halo 2 + as well as the insectoid ones from Halo 3.  You get all the usual weapons including the cool melee weapons of Covenant sword, and the giant hammer some of the Gorilla aliens wield.

Being a Spartan you get access to different power ups, these include a force field, jet pack, ability to run, ability to project a hologram, and an invincibility.  These were cool additions but didn't really change up any tactics (the force field is ace though).  To break up the pace of the main shooty action there are a few driving sections including a refreshing space battle, and an epic fly through a ruined City.

I expected a dramatic ending to the game, the music is certainly there to make you aware of how desperate and doomed your journey is but I was sad to see the last level was nothing special at all.  It was frustrating more than anything, a long slog through a ship yard that saw you constantly bombarded by grenades and a damn powerful green laser that a lot of the enemies seemed to posses and which kills you in one hit if you get hit directly.

All in all just another Halo game; neither better or worse than any that have come before, great soundtrack though.


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

House Call - Horror Short Film Review

House Call directed by Erik L. Wilson is currently being submitted to film festivals, I was lucky enough to get to see this short (17 minute) film.

Janice returns to her violent husband Dave and murders him.  A year later and her and her new boyfriend Steve have moved into Dave's house and are celebrating their one year anniversary.  It soon turns into a night neither will forget as strange supernatural happenings lead them on a one way path to horror.

With a short run time and four characters it was important that the film not get bogged down in scene setting.  Right away though the four characters are established.  Janice (Aimee Bello) and Steve (Michael Jordan) are shown to be very much in love as they talk about her husband and his crazy Mother.  Most the film takes place over the one night.  Mother (played to super creepy effect by Janet Gawrys) seems created to live in darkness, the contrast between the darkness and herself is sublime, while the husband Dave (Brad Egger) is stereotypical in his white trash sort of way but gets the job done in making him out to be a nasty piece of work.

Often with short films you loose quality and it is to be expected but I was pleased to see here that no quality has been spared, this has the look and feel of a big budget film, helped by the excellent use of a RED ONE camera (better than HD quality cameras).  House Call looks crisp with wonderful use of light and shadow to bring terror and suspense.  One slight fault with this is that sometimes it is just too dark to tell what is happening on screen.

I was surprised at how quickly the film descended into Evil Dead territory, that's not to say the film is cheap and schlocky, just that it takes that story element and makes it serious and almost terrifying. The special effects are great for the most part, especially the blood which looks beautiful.  The ghostly fog that appears now and again is ok also and fits into the film quite well.  The opening and ending of House Call features trashy generic rock which is a shame but thankfully the music used for the actual short itself is much better fitting.

The quality of this short is quite something, that along with decent acting, and a good direction makes an effective package and a well done spin on a traditional revenge story.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Gathering - Comic Anthology: Issue 4 and 6 reviews

The Gathering is a (now) monthly comic anthology that focuses on a different genre each issue.  It is written by a whole host of contributors and gives both established writers and n up and coming ones a chance to shine.  Genres covered so far included romance, heroes, hope and despair, and of course that old favourite horror!  Both Issue 4 and Issue 6 are horror anthologies.

Issue 4: Into the Abyss

Into the Abyss features over 2 dozen short horror stories including one by Glenn Greenberg (of Hulk and Spectacular Spider-Man fame).  There is a lot of variety in both the stories and the artwork, wildly different, all in black and white.  Quite a few vampire stories appear such as Bloodless that tells a cautionary tale of what happens if you don't properly create a vampire.  A couple of zombie stories also appear (always great to read).  The aforementioned Greenberg has a zombie tale with a twist in the form of Prey for the Damned, while later on another twisted zombie tale turns up in the form of Undead Me.

There is just so much variety and so much skill at using only a few pages to create something truly memorable.  A highlight in terms of story telling is The Tree by Brian Defferding and Travis W.Howard that has 24 panels all focusing on a tree throughout history and the evil that has ravaged about it.  Totally text free but really quite chilling.  Another highlight was the realistic The End of an Afternoon's Street Fighting that is apparently based on true events and follows a group of soldiers relaxing after a day of fighting during World War II, the final panel is pure genius.

Not all the stories look great though, 2 in particular are ones from the web, drawn very simply but still having fun stories.  First of these is Lucky Sweater followed by Unfinished Business both submitted from nakedgrapecomics and both silly but still having a horror story at its fun core.

With over 20 stories there are going to be some not quite as good though.  The first story Trapped leads the anthology to a bad start as it is really hard to make out what is supposed to be happening with its abstract art style, after 5 or 6 reads I still could not really tell what happens due to the weird look of the thing.  Another one I did not enjoy much was There's no such things as Monsters that has the look of a newspaper comic strip and tells a quite boring story that thankfully does not drag on for too long.

All in all though I did enjoy this anthology as I usually do.  There is a variety of different art styles, and for the most part the stories are well drawn with clever use of limited space.


Issue 6: Further into the Abyss

After Issue 4 I was looking forward to reading this one.  The strips all seemed to be longer this time around. It starts off strong with the bizarre but entertaining Inflated Evil, but this is then followed by part 2 of the boring Zipper Club that already outstayed its welcome in Issue 4. The comic reaches a high point with the sci-fi horror The Station by Glenn Matchett and David Aspmo about an abandoned space station.  

Elsewhere werewolves make appearance in several strips and it is good to see more zombies.  The Mistress has a film noir feel to proceedings about a woman wanting to kill her wealthy husband.  A charming looking tale set in Hell called Perdition is let down by a confusing ending, while The Knocker just does not go anywhere.  The Tipper Ripper is really fun, but it is end story Jack, Unblinking by Travis M.Holyfield and Chris Page that leaves a lasting impression.  A creepy and sad tale that is quite the twist on a well loved children's toy.

Again there are a variety of art styles used, some of the art is amazing, Ye of Little Faith has art work that makes the whole strip seem like something from a music video, Arcadio Bolanos turns a simple tale into something special.

All in all another ace anthology collection!


The Gathering is a wonderful idea, if your interested in getting a hold of these cool comics then they can be purchased at Gray Haven Comics.  A third horror anthology is due to appear this year, I for one really cannot wait, I may be even tempted to read the non horror anthologies.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Rage - Horror Videogame Review (X-Box 360)

Rage is the long awaited game by the Id Software (who did the FPS classics Doom and Quake).  It is a FPS that features a combination of traditional FPS levels mixed up with driving sections.

Rage takes place in an apocalyptic wasteland.  A meteorite hit Earth destroying civilisation.  A chosen few were entombed in stasis pods (called Arks) and buried deep below the earth, the Arks were programmed to resurface for the Ark survivors to  rebuild society.  Rage starts with your Ark coming online over 100 years since the meteor hit.  With the rest of your group dead in their pods you leave to find yourself in a desert wasteland where bandits and mutants roam.  A few settlements exist where the population try to live, fending off bandit attacks and ruled over by a self appointed governing body called The Authority.  Soon you discover The Authority are tracking you and that their intentions are not friendly.

Rage feels like Borderlands more than Fallout, it is hard not to compare it to these games what with them all being FPS games set in post apocalyptic worlds.  Borderlands in particular as that too had both shooting and driving, item collection and sectioned off levels.  Settlements provide you with side missions, shops, and mini games (including a fun Top Trumps game). The driving sections are really just a way to get your character from A to B, they look nice but are a bit filler to be honest. The action levels are where it is at.

Each level is set in a different location, usually a piece of ruined history.  There are many different Bandit clans, each with their own distinct look to them.  The Jackals are based in a giant canyon and attack with tomahawks and crossbows while shrieking, the Gearheads are armoured in sports wear and reside in a Bank, while the Ghosts have their base in an old 5 star Hotel.  Other locations include a subway station, power station, an old deserted city and car workshop.  Each location has its own distinct look and is fun to fight though with lots and lots of detail packed into the surroundings, as usual it is the obligatory futuristic location that brings the game down, always bland!

The graphics are probably the best the 360 has ever witnessed, character models are very good looking, while everything for the most part looks great.  Texture pop in is an unfortunate issue that persists for the game as is some objects that are blurred (such as photos).  The sound effects are awesome and really give weight to your weapons.  I don't know what it would sound like to shoot someone wearing metal armour with a machine gun but this game gives a good idea!

The different clans and soldiers you fight all behave in different ways.  Enemies usually do one of two things; hang back and try to shoot you from cover, or charge you.  The charging enemies are the most interesting, they duck, they roll, kick off of walls and swing from the ceiling all in one fluid movement as they advance on you making it tricky to hit them.  Your main weapons are the usual fare, they have alternate ammo such as the crossbow firing electric and explosive arrows but are all quite traditional. There are many recipes you can make using parts found in levels.  These can be used to make some cool items such as the three pronged boomerang which can be flung at enemies and sometimes get embedded in their heads, a remote control bomb car, as well as sentry drones, spider bots and grenades.

For all the game does it is a shame that the plot is very weak, and missions linear.  The game on the 360 is spread over 3 discs but I was disappointed to discover (after a poor and abrupt ending) that only 2 discs are used for the main game.  I really loved this game, and for the 14 or so hours I was playing it I had a literal blast, a bad end to a game always leaves a sour taste in the mouth but the game with its solid action levels, decent enough driving levels (there is a whole slew of optional races you can do to get credits to mod your vehicle) and great graphics is well worth experiencing.


Friday, 13 January 2012

Duke Nukem Forever - Action Videogame Review

15 years in the making Duke Nukem Forever is a game many never thought would ever see the light of day.  Has it been worth the wait?

In the quarter of a century since Duke saved Earth in Duke Nukem 3D Duke has become the most famous person in America. He has casinos, burger bars, toys and cars all named after him, he is worshipped by everyone.  An alien mother ship has appeared over the City of Las Vegas where Duke lives.  He is forbidden to engage the aliens by the President as it is not known what their intentions are yet pretty soon the City is under alien attack and it is up to Duke to fight his way through the ruined city to not only stop the alien menace but also to rescue all the 'babes' who have been kidnapped by the aliens.

Duke Nukem is a very average game.  It looks and feels like an early generation 360 game, it feels like it is just going through the paces.  Levels are boring and bland, and the driving sections are so easy and empty that it seems their inclusion is pointless.  Duke can only carry two weapons at a time and has recharging health now (called Ego points).  His health bar can be extended by doing 'Duke' style things such as looking at porn mags, or lifting weights which is a nice touch.

Starting off in the casinos of Las Vegas you fight on to sewers, desert, and the Hoover Dam.  Locations are dull and lifeless, by the games last third I was just wishing for it all to be over, racing through areas praying for the level to end.  Combat is ok, the enemies from the previous games (Pigcops and Hover pack aliens) all come back looking different. Boss fights are all terrible and mostly quite frustrating as Duke gets knocked on his back all the time and punished by the high power of the bosses.

Humour has always been a part of Duke games and here it is no different.  The humour is mostly really lame and focuses on 'hilarious' dick jokes and mickey takes out of other games (such as when there is some Halo armour in the back of a van).  Halo, Gears of War, Half Life and even Donkey Kong are all referenced but when your making fun of other games it would help if your game is actually any good.  The NPC's are quite amusing though they only really feature at the games start (one highlight was a NPC telling himself not to geek out when you appear, then he geeks out and faints in a weird Gary's mod style way)

What does it do well then?  A few sections see you shrunk down to insect size, you have to traverse shelves while avoiding normal sized enemies who try to squish you.  These levels were a breath of fresh air.  I recall a  cool set piece set around a mobile home that ended with it tipped on its side. The weapons all feel solid and there are some nice extras such as a time line of Duke Nukem Forevers development cycle.

The constant sexual innuendo along with plenty of female nudity (both alien and human; the alien queen boss has three giant breasts) really bring this game down and make me embarrassed to be playing the game as nudity can be handled maturely in games.  Duke Nukem 3D is still a great game, I really wished they had just made a modern style game in that ilk rather than spending the last 15 years jamming as many other games gameplay mechanics into one misfitting and meandering shooter.

On an end note; the load times for this game are insane, I literally got in a cycle of waiting a few minutes for the level to load, playing it for 30 seconds, dying, then having to wait another few minutes for it to load, especially frustrating on the awful boss battles.


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Blood Fare - Horror Film Preview

Am doing some admin at the moment and catching up with all the emails I have been sent. One email was about a film called Blood Fare.

Blood Fare is described as a civil war ghost story with a modern twist. From the press release and the trailer it seems that the main characters ancestor was killed during the civil war, upon his death he did not have money to pay the Ferryman who transports the dead to the afterlife and so a curse was placed on his bloodline which equates to a grim reaper looking figure chasing young people through woods.

The acting seemed of a low standard but it is hard to tell just by watching a two minute trailer.  To be honest I have seen enough 'psycho chasing people through woods' films to last me a lifetime, maybe this one is different. It does have special effects by Chris Hanson (did special effects for Hellboy, Underworld, Men in Black) and features some established actors such as Gil Gerard (played Buck Rogers in the TV series). The historical aspect of the film seems interesting, and it certainly is well shot and looks clean and crisp.

Blood Fare I would imagine will be out this year, I will probably check it out, it could be good.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Grave Bandits - Zombie Film Preview

I heard about this film a while ago, but only now have I decided to check it out.  The Grave Bandits is a story about 2 young Filipino grave robbers.  Discovered one day they flee to a nearby island but soon disocover it is full of murderous cannibals.  Worse is that the angry Townsfolk of the graveyard they had been robbing from have followed them to the island and all transformed into zombies.

Going by the trailer the film looks to be a 28 Days Later style one, albeit one set on a tropical island.  It certainly looks professionally done and the location of the Philippines makes it have a unique look to it.

The Grave Robbers is currently in post production so hopefully it wont be too long before I get to check this out.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Shadows of the Damned - Horror Videogame Review (X-Box 360)

Shadows of the Damned is a game created by a true dream team.  The music is provided by Akira Yamaoka (he of Silent Hill fame) while it was created by Shinji Mikami (the creator of Resident Evil) and Suda 51 (responsible for the bonkers Killer 7, No More Heroes, and Flower, Sun, and Rain)

You play as Mexican Demon Hunter Garcia Hotspur whose girlfriend Paula is abducted by the Lord of Demons; Fleming and taken to Hell. Garcia follows, and is joined by rogue Demon Johnson (a magical floating skull who doubles as a torch and motorbike).  To get to Flemings Castle Garcia must fight his way through Hell, forever keeping the deadly darkness at bay.

The game is a 3rd person action one, resembling Resident Evil 4's style of over the shoulder gun play.  It is quite over the top and starts as it means to go on. As soon as Garcia gets to the underworld he gets on a motorbike to ride the Highway to Hell for a fast paced intro sequence (pure Suda 51).  The game is level based, taking place over 5 chapters that sees Garcia travelling from Demon Town to the countryside on his journey to Castle Hassle where Fleming resides. Along the way he battles 1000's of Demons as well as being plagued by images of the death of his girlfriend who is repeatedly being killed in different ways designed to torment Garcia.

Johnson is your weapon, changing to one of 3 different guns that roughly equal a pistol (fires bones), machine gun (fires teeth), and shotgun (fires skulls),  Red gems collected or brought from the shop can be used to upgrade your weapons to make them stronger and faster while blue gems bosses drop upgrade your weapons (such as being able to power up your shotgun to fire a giant exploding skull)

Most levels see you solving simple puzzles such as locating keys for doors, or locating goat heads to hit with your light blast to repel the energy sapping darkness.  Darkness plays a big role, some switches can only be located when you are in the dark, while the light repels enemies.  The Demons you face are all invincible when in the dark.  To break up the simple puzzles and shooting there are some fresh segments.  One level takes place in the red light district of Hell and sees you defending your position from approaching giant Demons using a giant gun called the Big Boner (activated by Johnson calling a sex line in a phone box), while a few levels see you in a 2d side scrolling shooter that has the look of a puppet show.

The game has a rich vein of humour running throughout though does a good job of being serious when it needs to be.  A lot of the humour comes from Johnson who provides a commentary on the locations you visit with a wry delivery.  Books can be found in the game that provides a story of how one of the games bosses came to be in Hell.  These are narrated by Garcia or Johnson and there are lots of comments from the characters as they read. The whole of Hell is shown as a place where Demons happen to live, rather than the place damned souls go when they die.  Also there are some cool nods to Evil Dead, and Ghostbusters that made me chuckle.

Enemies range from weak demons whose limbs can be shot off, to armoured ones, crawling demons, giant cyborg demons and more, all have the same visual style to them.  Bosses are more fun such as skinless George whose presence can be told due to the harmonica stuck in his throat.  The bosses all take different means to kill and are exciting to fight with the exception of the last boss who is very frustrating as it takes so damn long to kill him.

The soundtrack is very Yamaoka and would not be too out of place from a Silent Hill title while the humour and sound effects are obviously Suda 51.  The game has the feel of Resident Evil 4 at times with combat being more fluid and fast paced due to the inclusion of a dodge button and a quick turn.

I had a lot of fun with this title, under looked and certainly has its issues (one type of enemy if not killed correctly causes the game to become stuck) but a real rock and roll action packed blood soaked journey, and Garcia F*cking Hotspur and Johnson are great foul mouthed hilarious characters.  Well worth a play.


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Angry Zombie Ninja Cats (2011) - Zombie Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)

I have not reviewed a zombie indie game for a long time, and with good reason; they are nearly all utter trash.  The title alone almost put me off playing Angry Zombie Ninja Cats.

Cats are evil creatures, so zombie ninja cats you would expect to be even worse. You play as a ninja cat who has to platform itself through nineteen small levels, collecting green jewels, avoiding or killing the zombie cats and then locating the exit. I only played the trial and so don't know if there would be more levels after the initial nineteen but as it is a 80 Microsoft Points indie game I doubt it.

The ninja zombies walk from left to right, if you get near them they flash red and charge towards you.  You can kill them by shooting them with collected flying stars as well as touching them while invincible. Levels are short and not hard at all. Animation is kept to a minimum. Dying involves you vanishing then reappearing at the level start.

Angry Zombie Ninja Cats is colourful and cheap and does feature a very good background song but there is nothing much to the game and could have done with having more of a platforming puzzle element to it. The zombies do groan at you though which is something I guess!


Monday, 2 January 2012

All Zombies Must Die! - Zombie Videogame Preview (X-Box 360)

I had a feeling that All Zombies Must Die! is a spiritual successor to the very average Burn, Zombie, Burn! and so was in no great hurry to trial the demo.  Lo and behold the demo was good though, and has made me want to play the whole thing.

All Zombies Must Die! takes place in a town overrun by zombies. Rather than lame killing zones you instead get to traverse through the town and even better there is a story. The game is split into smallish areas of the town and each one you are tasked with finding the next exit. The exit is always guarded by a robotic barrier which gives you a mission such as kill a certain number of ghouls, or locate an item hidden in the level.

The demo gives you four different levels. The first one gives you an introduction to the game and a shotgun, while the second one takes place around a police station where you are tasked with locating another survivor hiding out. The third area has you exploring houses in a posh part of town while the last area takes place on a bridge out of town and ends with the appearance of a boss; a normal zombie made giant by a puddle of toxic waste.

As you kill zombies you get experience points to level up with. Exploring crates rewards you with extra ammo and experience items (such as finding a psycho's knife). The whole look is cartoony and is similar to the look of Burn, Zombie, Burn! but very crisp and attractive to look at.  The music is really good, one in particular was a homage to the Halloween theme from the John Carpenter classics.

If I get rich or this goes on sale I will definitely buy it, at 800 Microsoft points it is not that expensive.

Update (24/06/2019) - I did eventually end up buying the game and was disappointed to find it became really quite dull and boring quite quickly.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

General Update for January - Happy New Year! Edition

A new year, and hopefully a new lease of life for this blog.  As my job is to end very soon I will for a time (a short time I hope!) be able to devote myself to this place a bit more.  It is not a lie to say I have neglected it a bit, it could do with a dust.  I have a competition coming soon! So there you go, something to look forward to.

I am playing Shadows of the Damned about a Mexican called Garcia Fu*king Hotspur who is on a journey through Hell to rescue his lost love in a 3rd person actioner.  Also being played is the immense Skyrim of which I was 32 hours into when I stopped playing it for the last few weeks.  The very boring RPG The Last Remnant is kinda being played, as is Sam and Max: Night of the Raving Dead which is full of zombies.

I got a few more horrors for Christmas to add to my growing pile.  Quite a few zombie ones such as Children of the Living Dead, Siege of the Dead, Zombie Town, and Zombie Virus on Mulberry Street.  I have two episodes left of Season 1 of The Walking Dead also.

I intend to read more this year, most likely starting with Swords of the Dead (I think it is called) that I was sent quite a long time ago now to review, as well as some horror comics that I have also been sent.  Need to keep up to date with tasks I get sent rather than putting my own stuff first.

Well I hope you have a shocking new year, and if the world does end this year I hope you are one of the unlucky survivors so that you can join me in taking my girlfriend to a green burial site if she should perish.  I will need a gang to get me past marauding mutants and the infected as I carry her corpse on the back of a horse to complete her dying wish. That almost sounded poetic...