Retro Replay: Fighters Destiny

As much as I love the Nintendo 64, it is not known for having a great selection of fighting games, even if several on that list are worth looking at. An exclusive for the system would pop up though and manage to do some things that no other entry in the genre was trying at the time. Developed by Genki—a team I don’t expect anyone to know off the top of their head, for good reason—their project should have been a memorable success, but Fighters Destiny lives on only in small circles of passionate fans, which is why we are talking about it here.

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First Impressions: Darkest Dungeon

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I heard about this game a little before actually trying it, but most of what I learned was just that its difficulty level could be punishing. It was suggested to me that I try a game on the ‘Radiant’ setting instead, as it would be a little more enjoyable, so that is what I did. The opening video reminds me a lot of a motion comic and the art style looks like Mike Mignola’s work on Hellboy—well drawn and perfect for establishing a setting and tone. There is just enough story to pique interest and get the player started. There is a paragraph that pops up where the game says how it will handle you as a player, which I didn’t have enough time to read, but one part I did catch scared me, “this game expects a lot from you.” I’m never good under this type of pressure.

Though I love the art style, this game probably won’t impress many people with its visual presentation, but for what it is trying, I liked it. There is some solid ominous music that can be a bit heavy at times and helps with the mood. This game is about putting a team of four adventures together and dungeon crawling, and there are a ton of different classes that can be thrown in a group. I got to try out several different ones, because even if your party members don’t die—and that will happen a good bit—they might be traumatized from the experience or have picked up some nasty negative traits from clearing out demonic fiends from various lands surrounding the old family home. It reminds me a lot of playing D&D and is almost as equally frustrating. I enjoyed my time playing this, but there were parts that didn’t work as well for me.

First, there is a lot of reading and many different things to learn and build on, which is cool for having a meaty game and something that people who like it will want to return to, however, I found myself still asking a lot of questions about how to do certain things and get to particular options that were not covered. The tutorial is pretty short and helpful for the basic play, but there will be questions. I personally had some issues with using a controller for this as well, causing me to switch to keyboard and mouse and having to relearn the buttons, as not all of them are shown on the screen.

“You will endure this loss, and learn from it.”

This is a game that a first impression isn’t going to say much about, because I think the surface has barely been scratched. I thought I was doing well at first and then had my first big party wipe, which made me realize how to play a little bit better and to be more selective in what crypt raiders I took with me. Stocking up on supplies can be expensive, but there are some that are must haves, and money is always short. I will most likely give this one another go, but like any good adventurer, I need to do a lot more preparation.

 

 

This article originally appeared on my Patreon page. 

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National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie

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When I tell people that I enjoy bad movies it often comes quickly with an explanation of the various types of ‘bad’ there are in the world of film. Some things are still entertaining, laughable, intriguing for style, or a solid use of a small budget and a ‘no care’ attitude, but then there are the bland horrible ideas that should have never made it past the concept stage. I’m not sure if this particular creation is self-aware enough in realization and that is why the movie barely making it to production is part of the plot, but I doubt it. That might be a little too clever for the atrocity I was asked to review.

Perhaps this thing was just pushed through due to the National Lampoon name, or because someone thought giving it a tiny budget would make them money with the DVD sales. No really, it had a theatrical release, which shocked me too. This thing is just a strung-together travesty of jokes that I thought were kind of funny in high school, or that might be told at parties and by people who think offensive and racist humor is the best thing available. Instead it comes off like amateur comedy hour, or a “how to be offensive 101” course that struggles to even live up to that in some parts.

The first screen is an image of a dog with someone pointing a revolver at it exclaiming, “Turn off all cell phones or we’ll shoot this dog,” which tries to establish the tone before word one, and it’s downhill from here. There is black and white footage of Ellis Island with some inspirational quotes about immigrants, making me think this movie was filmed yesterday with how topical it is, but it was released in 2011 and I certainly don’t remember any promotional work for it. That is quickly turned into a joke with low hanging fruit and the British national anthem playing in the background. We get two white ladies being stereotypically racist with a “non-threatening black man” Bryant Gumble mention before some random dramatic text and a short bit about a kid asking a nun, “what does a priest get when he wants pussy,” and after getting his ass beat, he vows to make a whole movie about nothing but jokes. Congratulations, that lame setup starts a series of skits that will take up the next ninety-one minutes of all our lives. Barely a story, barely a movie.

“But tits plus funny is box office gold.”

Yes, there is nudity, but it doesn’t help as much as most think it would. Nothing really does, and everyone looks bored. I was a bit surprised to see Christopher Meloni not only helped direct it, but was the main character, starring as the producer. It’s like there is a bad taste in my mouth now, even though I loved him on Oz and most know him from Law & Order or Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. In here, okay, he may have not phoned it in, but he could have and no one would have noticed. Mario Cantone from Sex and the City was pretty funny until I realized it was just the same bit, apparently Cyndi Lauper was bored enough to be in a few scenes, and there are a few other comedians some might recognize, but I wonder if any of them will actually admit to doing this film out in public.

The skits or jokes themselves range from kind of funny to groan-worthy eye-rolling and a few just made me uncomfortable in their presentation. No, the KKK member with the African-American ventriloquist dummy who ends up being a guy from Singapore under the hood didn’t offend me, but the lazy way they handle it and uncreative outcomes just make it feel even more awkward. There are midgets in the movie, because when you think what elements go into a completely trying-too-hard to be offensive and shameless project, there is a checklist. The young kids saying curse words and talking about sex is a bit funny at first I guess, but even it falls quickly. Also, I live near Alabama and didn’t know there were that many ways to make the same animal fucking joke that many times, and the Iraqi jokes are so damn bad. I laughed at a few things because they went in a different direction, but even the funnier bits are eventually beaten into the ground and some things wouldn’t be funny to anyone due to poor writing. When the bloopers during the credit roll are funnier than the main attraction, there is a problem.

“What do a gynecologist and a pizza boy have in common? They can smell it but they can’t eat it.”

I’m not really sure who this movie was for, but I’m sure someone out there laughed at most of it, and the few positive reviews I found still had grievances to air while drowning in negative comments from other viewers. It was so similar to Movie 43, but that seemed to have money, time, and at least a little effort put into it. I lied to myself and said Dirty Movie would get better after a flawed intro, but the second half is actually worse. I watched it a second time to be a good critic, give the film another chance, but that simply made the experience leave a deeper stain on my psyche. Also, if a lack of transition causes anyone pause, well, this movie forgot they existed. I honestly had to double check when I saw there was a sequel made in 2012 called Another Dirty Movie. Great, they can dress someone else up as a Nazi and have them tell me jokes about Jewish people. I think I’d rather try to make it through Meet the Spartans again. Okay, no, but close…

 

 

This article originally appeared on my Patreon page.

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Don’t Fuck With the Babysitter: On Resident Evil 7’s Mia Winters

One of the founding fathers of survival horror, Resident Evil has managed to produce some interesting characters in its time, especially when it comes to kick-ass women. Though there are a few damsels in need of saving, Ashley from RE4 being the most notable, and villainesses, like Excella and her side boob from RE5, most of these ladies are armed, skilled, and fighting to keep the world safe from bio-terroristic threats. So as the promotion for Resident Evil 7 began, we were introduced to a character who many thought would fill the role of a new baddie, but turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the experience. This is a look at Mia Winters and what she brings to the game, as well as how she fits into the franchise so far.

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Retro Replay: Spawn: Armageddon

Spawn is a really cool character, just look at him in this game, standing there with his usual outfit, flowing cape, that awesome Agony Axe and big oversized guns. There is a lot of good that comes from this IP, a lot of bad and some simply weird, but I keep finding myself checking out most things Al Simmons is in. I would say everyone should read the first thirty issues of the comic, certainly watch the HBO cartoon, and there is even supposed to be a new animated movie in the works, but time will tell if that ever comes out. Now, if only Image Comics’ icon could find himself in a good video game, he would be set. Maybe this 2003 PlayStation 2 title will do.

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10 Double Dragon Games, Ranked

I know I can’t have been the only one excited recently to see a new retro-styled Double Dragon game coming out, and so soon after its reveal. Not just because I would get a new beat ‘em up to fight through, but because the news offered me the perfect opportunity to replay all of the games. I’ve also been re-watching some of the cartoon, one of my favorites when I was a kid, and while I could go read the comics that Marvel produced for the franchise again, or (if I really get desperate for more Double Dragon) there is that movie we don’t speak of, but those are all just icing on the cake to the games. In this post-apocalyptic world Billy and Jimmy Lee battle against the Black Warrior gang in a series inspired by Mad Max and martial arts films. Certain installments can be a bit frustrating, but I always find myself coming back and trying again, pushing forward to save Marian and bring some justice where I can. Now, since the new release has a few people talking, I want to see if I can encourage some new players to try their hand at being the heroes.

So here is a fun list of most of the console and handheld system games and where I think they rank for the player who wants to experience the series before a new installment arrives. Most of these are ports from the original arcade games, which can be found on Steam as a collection.

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Retro Replay: Super Double Dragon

It seemed like the best timing for this review since Double Dragon IV is about to release. I’m excited to try it! Also, like many others, I always thought Super Double Dragon was supposed to be the fourth installment in the franchise. It makes a lot more sense now though, especially when I realized that this entry was actually meant to be a reboot and reimagining of the first game with a fresh look and much more experience now in dealing with creating games for consoles under Technos’ belts. The Japanese version was even given the title The Return of Double Dragon and this was the first game not somehow based off of an arcade port. With all of that considered, it sounds like this Super Nintendo exclusive should have knocked it out of the park. There are a few issues though…

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