Monday, 30 July 2012

The Tunnel - Horror Film Review

The Tunnel is another horror in the bustling found footage genre. The first Australian found footage film I believe I have watched. I have yet to see a bad Aussie horror with Road Train and Wolf Creek both using the unending outback to beautiful and unsettling effect. Here though there is no sun, instead the majority of the film takes place in the desolate tunnels below the streets of Sydney.

After a Government plan to use empty subway tunnels below the streets of Sydney as storage for recycled water is mysteriously abandoned Journalist Natasha Warner (Bel Delia) smells a cover up and decides to try and find out why. With rumours of homeless people going missing down in the tunnels she decides to heads off to see for herself with her 3 man film crew desperate for the scoop that might save her career. Down in the dark, in a maze of maintenance tunnels and rooms she finds out that some things are best left unknown.

First off the film is quite well produced, yet also immediately stabs itself in the foot in terms of scariness. Interjected throughout The Tunnel are interview sequences taken after the events with Natasha and her cameraman Steve who recount what happened. This is really well done and make the film seem like a documentary made for TV but also indicates that those two at least survived whatever happened, and so things couldn't have been too bad. I think it is the first horror film of this type in which the characters survive. Usually it is a staple of the genre that found footage indicates footage 'found'.

So is The Tunnel scary? The locations is certainly a creepy place, lots of long narrow concrete tunnels, lots of spooky empty rooms, the remnants of when the place was used as an air raid shelter including a creepy giant bell (that literally rings in the change from normality to horror Silent Hill style). As can often be the problem with these films terror equals confusion as characters charge around pointing their cameras at the floor, screaming, and half seen images. There are some great scenes though, one in which they find a small room with a freshly blooded chair, the intro and outro of the film are both really well done with awesome music being played and the interview scenes look totally authentic. The thing causing all the terror is often seen yet still really hard to discern exactly what it is due to night vision cameras.

I couldn't help but think that the characters were kinda stupid, they were not lost in the tunnels until blind panic made them so, they were always near safety, in fact one character randomly turns up who they had seen earlier in the film in a safe location, obviously this meant the exit was near so was hard to understand just how they were managing to get so lost. This is referred to in part by the tunnel blue prints which are wildly inaccurate.

Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed watching this film, it reminded me a lot of the British horror Death Line and its remake (about a woman accidentally locked in a subway). Not really scary, but well made, with some really good acting, and does feel like a documentary at times as was intended. The Tunnel is out to buy on DVD from August 6th 2012.


Friday, 27 July 2012

Chronicle (2012) - Horror Film Review

Chronicle is an odd one, it is done in the mould of found footage so consists of footage shot by the main characters on handheld cameras and phones. It is done as a real life super hero film that while starts off light hearted gets violent and grim before the end.

Three high school students stumble into a cave that leads to a mysterious glowing sigil which mysteriously grants them ever increasing super powers. At first able to levitate objects, as their powers grow they become able to fly, have super strength and other such things. To begin with the friends are delighted with their new found powers and use them for fun, but increasingly as the realisation of there powers comes all too apparent they start to fall to the dark side as the group fragments with some believing the powers make them above mere humans...

I saw this film a hell of a long time ago in much better, lighter times, I (obviously) have only just gotten around to reviewing it. First off the title is terrible and says nothing about the film. It is refreshing that a found footage film doesn't focus on horror and instead takes a different slant. It is really quite fun to begin with, with light hearted pranks being used for fun, but as it gets darker so did my enjoyment disappear. The three main characters are good if not for main lead Andrew Detmer (played by Dane DeHaan) he is a shy outsider abused by his father and scorned by his fellow class mates. He is predictably the one who goes insane with the power the super powers grant him. His rise to evil is not that well done and gets in the way of what could have been almost a comedy.

I keep talking about the divide in the film but it is really apparent, the later half after the death of key characters is dark and bleak and involves a lot of death and violence that is well done but just kind of unpleasant to watch. The effects are quite cool, and nothing looks fake which is credit to the camera trickery.

A short review but then it has been a while. If you like found footage films and are after something that isn't your typical horror then by all means watch this. As realistic super hero films go I much prefer the awesome Bruce Willis fronted Unbreakable.


Dead Rising (2006) - Zombie Horror Videogame Review (X-Box 360)

Looking through the long and tedious index on my site I realised I have not reviewed Dead Rising. Dead Rising: Chop till you Drop the Wii lite version I have reviewed but not the main course.  I famously turned down a date (kind of) to get home to wait for this game to drop through my letterbox.

Dead Rising sees you as Frank West (a photographer who has covered wars) who ignores a military blockade on the small town of Willamette in order to try and get a scoop on what is going on. He discovers a town over run with the living dead. With three days before his helicopter pilot comes back for him he explores a giant shopping centre to uncover the reason for the outbreak. A reason that involves South American terrorists, shady government scientists and the army itself.

There are a lot of faults with this game, least of all is the fact that save points are few and far between. You can only save in either a bathroom, or on the bench in the survivors save room. Constantly ticking is the clock, if you don't get to locations on time then the games story is effectively over. You can still go rescue survivors, or you can restart the game with all your experience intact. Multiple restarts are really what is needed so that you are strong enough to do your job.

The main quest sees you uncovering the conspiracy but the side missions involve you rescuing innocent civilians trapped in the shopping mall. Usually you must solve some simple puzzles to get the survivors to follow you back to the safe house such as locating alcohol for a drunk, or finding food for a hungry person. It can be quite stressful getting the survivors back to the safe house though as they like to be slow and get picked apart by the many zombies. Least these missions are optional.

There are thousands of zombies in this game, literally. This only ramps up towards the spectacular ending that leads to a very memorable boss fight set piece (to give more away would ruin it). You have access to a lot of items that can be used to defeat the zombies. Some are useless (such as a giant teddy bear, water pistol, and potted plant) while others such as the bowling ball, shears, and pistols are quite useful. Other objects such as traffic cones, gum balls, and tins of paint can be used to distract the zombies.  Crazed humans (known as psychos) appear as boss fights and can be quite challenging. These include an insane clown armed with chainsaws, a Vietnam vet, and a totally crazy super market manager who chases you down with a dangerously modified shopping trolley. The psychos are hard, but the cut scenes they feature in are very well done and entertaining.

The game has it's tongue firmly in its cheek and succeeds in being a very weird place which does not take itself too seriously. As well as the psycho bosses and zombies you also encounter cultists, and armed humans (who are no fun to battle). You are able to visit every shop in the giant shopping centre and do random things such as dress up Frank West in various humorous clothes (baby outfits, woman's clothes, and idiotic sports outfits for instance). The story is typical zombie fare but well done and surprisingly serious considering the rest of the game. You never feel over powered, the sheer amount of zombies just does not allow that.

While a mode where there wasn't a constant time limit would have been nice the game succeeds as an oddball zombie title that delights more than it frustrates. If you love Dawn of the Dead, if you like zombies then this game is for you!


Thursday, 26 July 2012

Exmortis - Horror Videogame Review (PC)

Another day and another terrible free to play horror point and click, this time Exmortis found on Newgrounds. I found these free to play horrors via a Youtube video of the (apparently) most scary free to play games. If these are the cream of the crop the free to play horror genre is in a very bad shape.

You wake up in a forest, seeing a house you head towards it. Inside you discover you are trapped, you must explore the small house to find out a way to leave.

This is a much better game than The House as it is actually a game, not a series of clicking rooms. You can explore the house and look for clues such as diaries and symbols. What completely and utterly ruins this game is how dark it is, it is literally impossible to see over 60% of the game, I had to resort to a guide just to find out where doors are. I have no idea why it is so dark, it doesn't make it scarier, it just makes it intensely frustrating not being able to see anything much at all.

I had no fun with this, maybe if I could actually see anything it might have made a better impression on me. Not scary, just irritating, had good intro credits and sound effects at least.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The House and The House 2 - Horror Videogame Reviews (PC)

The House and The House 2 are free to play browser based horror games. They are the very definition of point and click as that is all you do in each of the small games. First on for The House...

The game starts with some very badly written dialogue talking about an abandoned house. There used to be a family who lived there but one day they 'suicided themselves'. Quite how anyone would believe a wife, husband, young son and daughter all decided to commit suicide I do not know. Anyway no one has been in the house since. For an unknown reason you enter the house.

There are around 5 rooms in the house you can visit, you must explore each room in turn to piece together the story of what happened.  There is virtually no game here, and what there is is terrible. Each room has two to three different objects you can click on such as photos, letters, and light switches. You have to repeatedly click on these objects until spooky things happen such as a bouncing ball appearing, humanoid shadows, screams, and things rushing past the screen. I guess the fear comes from not knowing just when a jump scare is going to happen.

The House is really boring and outstays its short welcome, it took around ten minutes to explore the whole house, each room has pretty much the same thing happen. Being black and white it looks the part but the repeated clicking on the same old objects repeatedly until something happens got old very, very quickly.


The same message plays at the intro of The House 2, though better written this time around. Again you are entering a house that no one has been in since the family killed themselves though this time around there seems to be a more supernatural reason why the family ended up dead.

It is the same format as before; explore 5 rooms clicking on the same objects repeatedly until anything remotely interesting happens. I never actually go to the end of this one, I couldn't work out how to proceed from a room (the 4th room) and after a few minutes I decided I had had enough and quit the game, no feeling that I was missing out on anything.

I really hoped they would have fixed some of the faults with The House but alas it was not to be. The House 2 is just as boring and bland as the first game, cheap jump scares again the order of the day.


Monday, 23 July 2012

Zombie Latex Make-up Kit - Zombie Face Make-up Review

For someone who can't stand to be dirty or unclean I jumped at the chance to review this zombie makeup kit all too soon not realising it would involve covering my poor face in latex, fake blood and grease paint. Still it is done now, and all in the name of this blog of mine.

The kit contains everything you need to make yourself look like a zombie (or a bloody commando in my case) and it is an easy zombie makeup kit to use. I have never applied makeup to myself being the strong manly man I am but found it surprisingly easy. The kit contains literal heaps of fake blood, 2 sponges, a brush, and a makeup crayon as well as some green flesh, black, green, brown, and grey greasepaints, and some liquid latex.

The back of the packet contains instructions on how to apply it, but I pretty much free styled after a while coming up with the look which while you would agree looks nothing like that on the website, I had fun applying it (in a way) and found it all simple to use. It would be ideal for use at Halloween, maybe with zombie costumes (can you tell I got this to review on certain conditions?).

The makeup costs £5.49 and can be found with the good guys at Joker's Masquerade (who mainly deal with  fancy dress costumes).  On an end note the makeup is an utter nightmare to remove, but that is true of all these type of things. Looking to make yourself into a zombie and want to look better than just a rubber mask look no further than here as despite my troubles with it, it is very easy to use and in the hands of anyone remotely used to makeup would be an awesome addition to your zombie costume! You really do get a lot of stuff for your money it has to be said. It must be also said that the Joker's Masquerade site is legitimately a great site to check out if your after any type of costume, there is so much stuff on there.


Dead Space 3 - Why I think it will be no good as a horror game

Previewed at E3 the demo of survival/action horror Dead Space 3 left many people worried. The games creators (Visceral) have stated that the heavy action preview didn't reflect the tone of the game well and that they only chose an action section as horror doesn't demo well. That is kind of rubbish as they themselves have previously demoed Dead Space with a very successful horror section. So here are my reasons I fear Dead Space 3 will suck...

1. Co-op play

I don't know why everyone is so keen to jam in co-op play into games nowadays. First of all on a personal note I don't know anyone who plays games and so I never get to experience co-op. Resident Evil 5 proved that co-op games just are not scary, with another person comes not only company that far reduces the horror, but also double the firepower. The scariest thing about Resident Evil 5 was how terrible the friendly A.I behaved making battles far more difficult as a result. Visceral promise that you can still play the game on your own without the need for incompetent A.I but that doesn't change the fact that at least plot wise you are going to be lumped round with some jack ass wildly reducing any chance of fear. The Dead Space games were all about the isolation of Isaac Clarke.

2. Cover based shooting against human enemies

The preview centred on Isaac shooting at humans using obstacles as cover whilst doing so. Gears of War did this very well, but Gears of War is an action game. Dead Space is (again) supposed to be horror. I fail to see how having to fight humans armed with guns can replicate fighting hideous The Thing style mockeries of humans. Sure the usual necromorphs are sure to return but it is worrying that Visceral have decided more action is what the game needs.

3. The suggested removal of weapon secondary functions

In the first two Dead Space games you could only hold 4 weapons at a time, this led to stressful choosing of which wildly different weapon should be carried around. Each weapon had a secondary function, all very useful. From what i can gather Isaac is now able to carry all the weapons at once with the penalty being that secondary functions have all been scrapped. If you have a tool for every problem you come across this again I fear will reduce any chance of horror.

The Dead Space games have never been particularly scary, but they have been atmospheric. The second game was not as good as the first due to an increased focus on action rather than suspense, and a bigger game world that didn't feel as focused as the ship setting of Dead Space. It was telling that by far the best chapter of Dead Space 2 was the one that visited the ship from the first game. I fear that going further down the action route will completely ruin the series. Resident Evil 5 proved this point, as while that was good it was also lost.

Here's hoping that Dead Space 3 will be another great game, I am just quite worried for the future of the series. Still, time will tell I guess.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Batman: Arkham City (2011) - Action Videogame Review (X-Box 360)

Earlier today (technically yesterday) I reviewed Batman: Arkham Asylum, and now here is the review of the sequel. Batman: Arkham City is regarded as one of the best games in the series, I'm not sure why.

Set a few months after the events of the first game and Arkham Asylum has been shut down. The new Governor of the Asylum (Hugo Strange) has convinced the Mayor to create a new facility using part of Gotham City itself as a prison. The slum area of the city has been fenced off and converted into a giant holding cell patrolled by a private security firm. The conditions in this new place are said to be horrendous, with stories of mistreatment and political prisoners. Bruce Wayne is one of the prisons biggest detractors, and it is at a public rally that he finds himself arrested and thrown into Arkham City. There Hugo Strange reveals he knows that Wayne is the Batman and that he will not be able to interfere with Hugo's plans whilst trapped in the prison city.

The game area is a lot bigger this time around, mostly being made up of slums. You start the game with all the gadgets and abilities gained in Asylum, and on top of these moves a whole new bunch are thrown at you. Much like the first game you go from plot point to plot point using a mixture of stealth and combat. Here's the mix though; I didn't actually think this game was much good, I thought it was very disappointing and a step backwards.

I kept likening this to The Suffering. In that game you had a fantastic survival horror set on a prison island, then The Suffering: Ties That Bind ruined it by having you run around a city aimless for the most part. The same happens here, being more open it looses its atmosphere, locations are too small and spread out to far apart, the city itself is boring to glide around. The riddles that were so fun in the first game are ruined here by the sheer amount of them, you can't move for Riddler puzzles that for the most part are no fun at all to solve.

Main bad guys this time around have changed up a bit. Principal villain (more so than the seldom seen Hugo Strange) is the Joker, but a Joker who is dying, he contacts you via radio throughout the game. Two-Face, Catwoman, the Penguin (a fantastic addition, and the cockney accent is perfect), Solomon Grundy, and even Ra's Al Ghul all appear while the many (and mostly fun side quests) see you going after lesser criminals like Zasz. Being set over one night again sees your suit gradually get more and more torn and beaten about, a cool touch though this is a bit over done here.

The story was ok, but the plot twist for the Strange story was so obvious that it left me saddened. The Joker story was a lot better leading to a subdued ending. The game is a solid follow up to Asylum, it is just a shame that the locations are less interesting. The less said about the terrible Catwoman sections the better. A real shame.


On a side note the DLC 'Harley Quinn's Revenge' is terrible and nowhere near worth the 800 Microsoft points being asked for due to how short it is, and how it just reuses old locations.

Breath of Death VII (2010) - Fantasy RPG Review (X-Box 360 Indie)

Breath of Death VII is a retro style old school RPG. It tries to capture the spirit of those games so you have random battles and simple graphics but the game also makes fun of those style of games at the same time.

The game is set on Earth after Armageddon destroyed the world. Out of the ruins rose monsters who have now got to the stage of fantasy civilisation. You play as a skeleton called Dem who teams up with Sara (a ghost) to investigate some ruins. There you discover a robot who had been programmed to retrieve some magic crystals. Deciding to find these crystals for yourselves you head off to quest, in the process recruiting two additional characters in the form of geeky Vampire Lita, and a French zombie Prince called Erik.

This was one fun game, sometimes it is good just to put on some podcasts and go and grind for a while. It helps that each area you go to in the game has a set number of random encounters so what I would do is just hang by the save point and kill all the enemies in the area before being able to explore the maze like levels at my leisure. After every fight you get all your health back, and save points give your magic points back.

Though set in a human-less fantasy world there are nods to the civilisation that came before. Locations you visit are many times ruins, but they are ruins of modern cities so are full of roads, rusted cars, houses, lamp posts and traffic lights. A mournful tune plays during dungeons which give them a sad feel that is at odds with your cheerful and silly characters. There are many enemy types which include everything you would expect; zombies, goblins, ghosts but also more novel ones such as haunted cars, zombie cyborgs, and possessed chemical beakers. Boss fights appear quite a bit but the bosses just appear, they have no story reason, I guess this fits into the old style gameplay.

At around 6 hours long it is shorter than I would have liked of an RPG, but sensible seeing how it is a budget game (and I believe just 80 Microsoft Points) If you want a blast from the past and fancy some RPG in the vein of old school this is for you.


Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) - Videogame Review (X-Box 360)

I discovered purely by chance today that the new Batman film is out at cinemas, while I don't know if I will see it or not that reminded me of a half completed review of Batman: Arkham Asylum I had written so thought I would finish it off...

I recently played Batman: Arkham City and while pondering whether to review it on my horror blog or not realised that the first game had not received a review. Batman has always been a dark superhero (well not always, tights are hardly scary) but the style of the game deserves a place in these pages.

After capturing super villain, the Joker, Batman returns him to Arkham Asylum (where all the crazies are kept in Gotham City). A series of events leads to the Joker escaping and taking control of the island; releasing all the prisoners. With guards being murdered left right and centre Batman must find a way to apprehend the Joker and restore order to the Asylum. In addition to this a dangerous chemical named 'Titan' has appeared which turns people into hulking crazed brutes. Trapped in an insane asylum with some of Gotham's must dangerous villains it is going to be a long night for the Dark Knight...

Arkham Asylum is a third person game set in the Metroidvania style (having one big level with new items opening up new areas). The Asylum has a real sense of place, alarms blaring, recorded messages calmly giving out emergency instructions, dead bodies littering the ground, scenes of destruction telling tales only implied. The opening of the long journey to the centre of Arkham Asylum with Joker in custody creates a sense of just how well protected the place is. When all Hell breaks loose you get a real sense of the trouble Batman and the guards are in. You got to feel for the guards, by the end of the game the majority have been killed by the crazies. It doesn't help that prior to the game all the criminals from Blackgate Prison were transferred to the Asylum after a fire broke out there.

Arkham Asylum shows Batman at his darkest, this is a Batman who is not afraid to break bones which is perfectly displayed in the fights you can get into. Usually swamped by enemies you can easily counter their attacks, and leap from enemy to enemy, the end of a fight sequence results in a brutal looking slow motion finisher. Not based on the films this game reinvents the look of the villains but keeps their stories the same. Main villain is the iconic Joker (expertly voiced by Mark Hamill who also did the voice of Joker in the cartoons) he taunts you throughout the game via the loud speakers set up around the island. With everyone being freed you come up across a host of the rogues gallery. Scarecrow is really quite creepy in his guise here, after a does of his fear gas sees you hallucinating that a fifty foot tall monster scarecrow is trying to kill you. A thrilling chase by Killer Croc in the sewers is a later highlight, while Bane, Poison Ivy and serial killer Zasz also make key appearances.

Gameplay revolves you heading around the island always onto your next mission target. Combat comes in the close up and personal style and is mixed up with stealth sections. These usually involve you entering a room that has a lot of armed guards in. Being human it does not take long for the guns to kill you so you must swoop up onto handily placed Gargoyles and take out the thugs one by one via your many gadgets (remote controlled batarangs, explosives, and swooping down and surprise tackling them. As Batman you have your cape and can use this to glide which helps you avoid the enemies. Bosses appear quite a bit but unfortunately they are all pretty much fought the same way, and all behave identical (except for one boss) even the end of game baddie is just a variation on the hulking Titan enemies.

The fiction for the game is rich though, and the world feels like a real place. As you progress you unlock bios of all the major characters and plenty of fan service is provided, usually in the form of the Riddler puzzles (which form the game's side quest) that point out the fan service (such as a museum that has Catwoman's whip, Penguin's umbrellas, and the Ventriloquist's puppet in display cases). Even the enemies who are not in the game are mentioned. Locations are more varied than just the prison as well and include a mansion, giant greenhouse, the prison grounds, and the caves around the island. As you progress Batman's suit gets more and more battered, it gives the feeling that this is all happening over the one night and the perils Batman is suffering to restore order.

Batman: Arkham Asylum
succeeds in making a very solid believable game world that makes you feel like a super hero, you are the Batman, and enemies react in fear to you as a result. Fantastic dialogue, incidental details with a solid adventure back bone make this not only the best Batman game ever made (with the exception of the best video game ever made; Batman Returns on the SNES), but the best super hero game out there.


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Liebster Blog Award

This is mostly a blog post about myself, so forgive me for talking toot. Thanks to the people over at Horror Shock Lollipop I am the proud owner of a Liebster Blog Award. What this actually means is that I need to go and spread the award, and give it to 11 other blogs I think are worth a look at. Well while I go and pin this kinda meaningless badge to my site here are the rules for receiving the award...

The Rules:
A. Each person must post 11 things about themselves
B. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you
C. Create 11 questions for the people you have tagged to answer
D. Choose 11 people and link them in your post Go to their page and tell them
E. No tag backs

So first off here are 11 things about me:

1. I own a giant African land snail named Gary
2. I often suffer from insomnia
3. I love zombies, as in really love them.
4. I spend far too much time playing videogames.
5. I have close to 1000 unread books, unplayed games, and unwatched films waiting for their day in the sun
6. I have a some would say useless yet extensive knowledge of videogames.
7. I love reading about the two World Wars.
8. My interest in horror I think I would attribute to my Father whose library of books about the supernatural and U.F.O's captivated, and terrified me as a child.
9. An article about Resident Evil 2 got me into zombie films.
10. Like everyone I have extensive zombie outbreak preparation plans
11. I don't think I know of 11 blogs I can give an award to

Here are the questions the tagger set for me to answer:

1. What's the best horror-themed or spooky attraction you've been to?
l went on some walk through horror attraction at Morecombe once when I was younger, it was just darkness and random noises but it really terrified me, white as a sheet when I escaped.

2. If you had to come up with a new type of monster, what would it be and what would you call it?
A giant Demonic supernatural snail, created  to battle a giant cyborg spider. It would be called...Gary.

3. What's the worst film you've ever seen (any genre)?
I will stick to the genre of zombie films and say the amazingly bad Ghoul School

4. Best book you've read (any genre)?
At the moment I would probably say Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

5. If you could create a theme park ride, what would it be?
It would be a long tunnel you would have to run through while being chased by actors dressed up as zombies. If they caught you they would be allowed to eat your brain as punishment.

6. Would you rather have a zombie attack or an alien attack?
Zombie attack obviously!

7. What's the food that scares you the most?
The dreaded Ghost Chili, spooky!

8. What music do you love / hate?
Going through an old school late 90's Nu Metal phase at the mo, music I hate would have to be Drum and Bass thanks to my neighbour who insists on playing it constantly.

9. Would you rather live underground, in the sea, or in space?
Underground, in a cool zombie proof bunker

10. Spiders: Creepy or cute?
Cute, they always look so lost when you encounter them in the house.

11. If you could have any "super power" you wanted, what would it be?
The power to rewind time and undo past mistakes.

11 Questions for the tagged chosen to answer:

1. What is your favourite zombie film?
2. Place to go in case of zombie apocalypse?
3. Apocalypse weapon of choice?
4. Song to slay the undead to?
5. Where would you go if you could time travel?
6. Has anyone actually ever been to the Moon?
7. Just what is the meaning of the mysterious radio signal known as UVB76?
8. What do you think is the very worst way to die?
9. Where in time is Carmen Sandiago?
10. Film most excited about seeing in the future?
11. Chicken or the Egg?

The chosen 11:

Czr's Dungeon of Horror
The Monkey Rodeo
Doctor Carnage's World of Horror
The Devil Made me Watch
Head in a Vice
The Cyn and the Horror Movies
The Year of Halloween
Horror on Hayling
Devouring the Zombie Films of the Living
Surviving the Pre-Pocalypse
The Zed Word

So there you have it, I can now display my hard won (and random) blogging medal with pride.

Inside the Whore - Horror Film News

Back at the start of June the poster for horror film 'Inside the Whore' was revealed (pictured above). The film is a sequel to 2010's 'The Whore' and stars, and is directed by Norwegian director Reinert Kiil. It stars a host of horror actors such as Jorgen Langhelle (from The Thing remake), Vegar Hoel (from Dead Snow), and Viktoria Winge (from Cold Prey 1 and 2). Also starring is a reality 'star' Anette Young of Norwegian Big Brother fame so should be some quality acting.

Though a sequel the film seems quite interesting in that in the film the sequel to the first film is being created. This film focuses on the film crew making the sequel who start to notice bad things going on when people start dying on and around the set in various brutal ways, so Scream 3 set in Norway then? Hopefully this would be better than that too polished work.

I have not heard of this film or the The Whore but an interesting sounding premise means I may well give this a look. Inside the Whore is released in Autumn later this year.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Torchlight - Fantasy RPG Videogame Review (X-Box Live Arcade)

I really need to get back into doing my blog updates, has been hard as of late. Torchlight is a dungeon crawler much like Diablo.  Proving popular on the PC this budget title was ported to the 360.

Choosing from 1 of 3 characters: Alchemist, Destroyer, and Vanquisher (or as they actually are; Mage, Barbarian, and Ranger). You start in the Village of Torchlight. The nearby mines were a rich source of Ember (a valuable mineral) lately the Ember has become corrupted leading to an infestation of monsters into the mine making it inhabitable. You are tasked with going down to the very bottom of the complex (all 35 floors) to find out the cause for the corruption.

Starting off in the mines you then travel to dank caves, mystic ruins, a prison complex surrounded by lava and more. Around every 5 levels you get a new location, and this helps to relieve the tedium. Most areas end with a boss battle against some type of big meanie. This is quite a simple hack and slash, enemies swarm you and you fight them with a variety of weapons types. There are hundreds of different weapons in the game ranging from axes and swords to staffs, guns and bows. My character was a Destroyer and I concentrated on 2 handed fighting. Each of the 3 classes has a variety of moves and skills they can learn as they level up, even at the games end there were still a lot of abilities I had not yet unlocked.

Joining you, and the most novel thing is your pet. Your pet follows you around, attacking enemies, but can also be sent off on its own to head back to Town and sell any items you have given it.  With the amount of loot dropped in the game this is a handy time saving diverse which means you don't really need to warp back to Torchlight unless you have finished a quest. Unfortunately the quests are very basic and boring with about 3 different side quests repeated repeatedly. You must find a rare item, or kill a rare enemy, and that is it for side quests. The main plot is really just an excuse for you to fight and was not interesting in the slightest.

As you fight downwards you encounter a rich variety of monsters to face. You come across zombies, lizard men, skeletons, dragons, goblins, bats and many other fantasy tropes. My favourite enemies were the pygmy warriors with their spears, they would often turn tail and run which was amusing. On the other hand the Cat people sorceresses were very annoying with their high level magic. Even towards the end there are constantly new enemies types appearing ensuring things are spiced up a bit.

The game is not particularly hard, I usually died as a result of not keeping an eye on my health, and the punishment for dying is really quite minimal. Can be a bit frustrating in later levels when you are constantly swamped by lots of enemies which sometimes resulted in some slow down.

As the first dungeon crawler I have ever played I had quite a fun time, the soundtrack is mournful, but also dramatic and fits the game well even if slightly at odds with the cartoony graphics. I did find myself getting quite bored at times with the repetitive action meaning I could only play it in short chunks. After the game is completed you unlock an infinite levelled dungeon so there is a heck of a lot to do. Not a bad game, will look at Torchlight 2 with interest when it is released later this year.