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This "game" barely happens, 18 April 2015

If you want a PS3 game that gives away silver and gold trophies like they were free and rewards you with a platinum after 40 minutes of gameplay then look no further. If you genuinely want a summer-themed sports collection then please keep looking.

Hunting brand Cabella have cornered the cheap and cheerful niche of the video game market and Adventure Camp is no exception. A bunch of generic kids turn up at a summer camp, you pick one, you play though a very brief tournament. And when I say brief I mean bree-ee-eef. I'll go through the events featured on the roster:

Rock, Paper, Scissors - POINTLESS!!! Biking - Could be lots of fun, it's 60 seconds long. Kayaking - Could be lots of's 60 seconds long. Wave Riding - Could be lots of fun, it's 60 seconds long (are we noticing a pattern yet). Skeet Shooting - Requires a bit of skill, controls are good, lacks satisfaction though. Archery - Decent, but the controls are bit stiff. Fishing - Boring. Controls are very sluggish. Hogwhacked - KILL ME NOW!!!

Honestly kiddies, this feels like shovelware from the first wave of Nintendo Wii games. It's a 2006 concept with 1996 graphics. I promise you it will spend no longer than 60 minutes in your machine.

If you love hearing the sound of trophies pop then it's worth a quick play. If you want a more satisfying and wholesome summer sports experience give it a miss.

A pleasant distraction, 8 April 2015

At half the length this TV special manages to be better than the Bizarro movie. Opening in Gotham City we find Batman tackling the Penguin and the Joker in a jewel heist when Supes shows up and offers him a part in the new Justice League. Batman refuses and somehow Supes is teleported away by a mysterious entity. While investigating with the rest of the League they too disappear one at a time until Batman confronts the real villain.

The locations and models featured are fun, but I do believe that Batman has always worked better as a loner and doesn't gel with the rest of the shared DC universe due to the inconsistent tones.

Composer Tim Kelly could have made this felt a bit more cohesive by using the familiar themes but once again he just gives us a cartoon score.

Definitely worth watching, if unremarkable.

Significantly inferior, 8 April 2015

I was pleasantly surprised with the previous Lego DC movie but this one ditches the clever narrative and framing and gives us a very watered-down and simple story.

Bizarro (Superman's cloned opposite) tries to do good around Metropolis but ends up only causing mayhem and embarrassment. Supes then takes him to Bizarro World (get used to that annoying word because they use it as a noun for many things) where he can do no harm.

In the meantime the Justice League go about their daily crime fighting business uninterrupted. For contrived, and forgettable reasons, the League go back to Bizarro World to fight Darkseid who is threatening to destroy (or at least reconfigure) the galaxy with his opposite ray (or whatever it was) - turning the round moon of Earth into a cube, for example.

Bizarro clones his own opposite Justice League and you'll have a hard time remembering who is who because of their virtually identical names, which I am not going to repeat here because I simply cannot be bothered making the effort.

It's very poorly written and deeply uninspired. The first movie had its crazy moments it also had smart humor, while this sequel many just goes for stupidity. It's quick and it's easy and it's also insulting to kids who are capable of consuming a better story.

The movie is also void of any real atmosphere. The Gotham City of the first movie was on par with The Lego Movie in terms of detail and scope. Here we have a virtually depopulated Metropolis and an empty, barren wasteland planet. It's so boring to look at. You'll get no ideas or inspiration for building any sets from this, although Deathstroke's vehicle is pretty cool for all of the five seconds it is on screen.

Composer Tim Kelly also ditches the familiar Batman and Superman themes, instead opting to give us an extremely generic cartoon score.

This movie is pure filler, and ends with a cliffhanger for a 3rd which I hope will be a return to form.

The Solar Express, 4 April 2015

An unfinished Japanese children's story from 1927 in the "Metaphysical & Visionary" section of a bookstore is hardly going to be noticed no matter what the current trend is. We've plowed through magic, supernatural romance, and now dystopian YA fiction in the past decade but something so offbeat is only going to be known to those who look REALLY hard for it. Kenji Miyazawa's (who died of pneumonia at the age of 37) Night on the Galactic Railroad was adapted into this equally obscure and mind-boggling Anime movie that feels like a cross between David Lynch and Studio Ghibli. Trying to figure out what exactly is going on is an exercise in pointlessness as the film is mainly to be enjoyed for its enormously cryptic sense of wonder and quiet epicnness.

On a planet populated by cats living in an almost-perfect early 20th century society a young kitten with a lonely and difficult life called Giovanni is whisked away across the Milky Way on a mysterious and completely empty locomotive. Along the way numerous enigmatic passengers materialize and disappear, including Giovanni's only friend Campanella, who he slowly realizes has died and is being taken to heaven. This is not My Neighbor Totoro, this is dark, brooding, depressing stuff. Not many children are going to be entertained by this.

Directed by Anime icon Gisaburo Suuji this film is surrealist, psychedelic, dreamlike, disembodied, abandoned, existential, and overwhelmingly puzzling. It's a fusion of Christian, Buddhist, and Salvador Dali imagery on acid. It has a captivating and haunting vibe that I know for sure influenced both Chris Van Allsburg and Robert Zemeckis when they wrote and directed The Polar Express. The sudden appearance of the train, the unexpected magical journey, a downbeat hero who needs to overcome his sadness...there's no way that it's just a coincidence.

A fun time it is not. An extremely singular viewing experience it most certainly is.

Nail'd (2010) (VG)
Frustratingly mediocre, 29 March 2015

If there is one retro video game series that just would not work with a current-generation reboot it is Road Rash. As much as I love the Mega Drive games we have come to expect too much from racing games in the 21st century (not matter the mode of transport) for simple punching and kicking on rural highways to be exciting. Whether you love circuit racers like Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed or insane stunt-fests like Burnout Paradise or Motorstorm Apocalypse you are spoilt for choice when it comes to high speed action. nail'd (spelled with lower-case letters) seems to have been lost in the shuffle, which is fair enough as it doesn't stand out from the crowd from a gameplay or technical aspect, but it could have been a lot better if only the developers had refined a few things.

In terms of environment and extremism the game is very similar to Motorstorm: Pacific Rift but also features mild combat between racers (as seen in Road Rash), but the game moves as such a high speed that any fighting lasts only a split second so why did they even include it at all? It's also very inconsistent regarding what makes you crash. Smack right into a rock wall - you're okay. Lightly touch a harmless twig - INSTANT DEATH!!! What? The action and stunts can be very exciting and satisfying but the game moves at such a high speed that it's often extremely difficult to see where you are going or know which way to go. You'll crash and lose a lot, and it will make you very angry.

The soundtrack is extremely generic. It seems that they went the route of Road Rash and went for grungy rock music, but while that did indeed work in the 90s here it comes across as lazy and clichéd. Considering how atmospheric and mesmerizing the soundtrack to Shift 2 is it's sort of strange how I called that game boring and slow, and here we have a game that is extreme and fast that also doesn't work. There IS a happy medium. I'm not completely disagreeable.

You've no chance of earning the Platinum trophies, for many reasons. First of all there's no way anyone is self-hating enough to grind through all of the single player trophies, second the online mode is a wasteland (online trophies should never count towards a Platinum), and third one of the trophies ("And Who's the Best? - Win races on all tracks in all modes) has not been programmed correctly, so you'll never earn it.

In the end it's good enough for a quick play-through of the tournament mode but you'll completely forget about it a week later.

Out of This World (1991) (VG)
It's out of this world, 10 March 2015

I first played Another World on the Mega Drive in 1993 and I was "blown away" by the animation in the game. I suppose it's sort of quaint in retrospect but it really was pioneering stuff at the time. It's a rather short game, but difficult, and this caused it to get a mediocre review from Mega magazine, my gaming zine of choice as a 12-year- old. I should have stuck with it more back then but I preferred Flashback, its spiritual successor, as it had more action.

You play as Lester, a genius scientist attempting a particle acceleration experiment in a remote laboratory. However lightning strikes the lab before the experiment is over, ripping a hole in space and time though which Lester is catapulted after an explosion. He ends up on a desolate alien planet. He is captured by humanoid Vin Diesel-like aliens and imprisoned, but soon escapes and teams up with a fellow alien prisoner to flee to safety.

The game has you solve puzzles and dodge traps through the prison, a cave system, and a tower. It sounds simple but many small details are important and you have to persist through a lot of trial and error. It's a lot of fun exploring the alien world and feeling the lonely atmosphere, plus the simple friendship between you and your alien buddy is kinda sweet.

Another World will always hold up as a groundbreaking video game and it's nice to see each new generation looking back and discovering it. Further adventures can be had with Buddy in the Mega CD sequel Heart of the Alien.

Resident Evil 6 (2012) (VG)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Honestly the worst gaming experience I have ever had, no joke, 26 February 2015

This is not Resident Evil.

When the 5th game in this lumbering, beleaguered series came out in 2009 a lot of fans cried foul, claiming that the game was leaving its horror roots behind and pushing into a more generic, action- based, shoot-em-up approach. I was one of them. But RE6 is so jaw- droppingly, nail-shreddingly, absolutely, abysmally awful that you'll long for the days of RE5 and look back on them with fond memories. I've played many bad games in my life, but none made me as unhappy as this. RE6 will fill you with anger and rage under so much pressure you'll want to rip your TV from its mount on the wall and throw it through the window. How on Earth any of the trash that is featured in this game got approved by anyone at Capcom is beyond my understanding and I'm a man of noble intelligence.

RE6 just doesn't know what it is or what it wants to be. It's horribly bad but it's not a horror. Huge chunks of the game feel like any other generic war game (of which there are numerous) with generic monster enemies. Honestly, this thing may have been innovative and horrifying back when video games first featured genetically engineered mutations but it's completely by-the-numbers now. There are 4 different campaigns, all showing a different angle on the same world-wide catastrophe, all with different formulas relating to the series past. This just doesn't work. It might have been somewhat bearable if the game had a recognizable objective or mystery but it's just "go forward and shoot" while the levels go on and on and on and on and on and on and on...and DOES IT EVER END???

There is a boss in this game called Simmons. I swear the fight never stops. You'll experience boredom, tedium, and frustrations the likes of which a video game has never made you feel before. There's no satisfaction to this. The game makes a fool of you and takes time out of your precious and finite lifespan for the pleasure. The gameplay is slow, confusing, badly programmed, and joyless with cumbersome characters that control like they are drunk, and an epileptic, schizophrenic camera that will not let you orient yourself.

The story is just an incomprehensible mess. You'll give up on it after five minutes, and then when you try to skip through the cut- scenes and action-breaks you'll realize, to your immense disappointment (a feeling that this game will constantly provoke from you) that you can't. Yup, be prepared to spend ages and ages and ages being force-fed this garbage because you can't jump past it and continue with your tedious quest of killing monsters, or zombies, or whatever they are supposed to be. I honestly don't care.

Resident Evil is finished. Believe me, there is utterly nowhere the series can go now. The existence of this trash has killed the franchise. If there were an RE7, no matter how good it could be, it would not make the series recover or the fanbase forgive Capcom. It's just so unbelievably bad that I actually don't like myself for playing it for so long, hoping that it might get better. I should have known how to spot a stinker and RE6 proves itself to be exactly that in the first 5 minutes.

Do no, under any circumstances, subject yourself to this kick in the balls. It's just not worth it. Go outside, get fresh air, plant a tree, meet people. You will never have a more miserable time playing a video game. This is not Resident Evil. This is nothing!

Dangermice, 7 February 2015

If you've seen any random Tom and Jerry short then you've already seen everything that Three Blind Mouseketeers has to offer. The titular trio invade cabin or pantry of sorts patrolled by Captain Katt (who looks a lot like a beagle boy) that has laid a series of traps for said mice to blindly (pun intended) walk into. However chance is on their side and they bumble harmlessly through the room, much to the irritation of the cat.

Forgettable mayhem ensues, which inevitably leads to Katt stumbling through his own traps and hurting himself. Once this cartoon is over I doubt you'll ever think about it again.

Bird is the word, 7 February 2015

This colorful, old-timey documentary is found in HD resolution on the Rescuers Blu-ray, to tie in with their preferred mode of travel, and is a treat for those of you who prefer their documentaries shot on film with footage of, what was then, very exotic locations and animals. It might appear mundane to folks now who have the world at their fingertips online, but for enthusiasts of cinematography it is also a visual treat.

Sometimes the music gets a bit overbearing, and the narrator struggles to present a "story" at times, but it's seeing all the different species in their beautiful, unspoiled habitat.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Taken, with Mice, 7 February 2015

Adapted and embellished from a series of children's stories The Rescuers is certainly an unusual entry in Disney's animated classics canon. Most Disney animations focus on spectacle, fantasy, and iconic, lasting imagery, while the Rescuers finds a comfortable groove in gloom and darkness.

Shadowing the UN building in New York is an organization called the Rescue Aid Society run by mice. A message in a bottle has floated up the Hudson and made it into their HQ. The letter is written by Penny who has been kidnapped.

Miss Bianca, representing Hungary at this organisation, volunteers for the mission of retrieving her and recruits bumbling janitor Bernard as her sidekick. Eva Gabor and Bob Newhart provide the voices, and they have decent chemistry together.

They soon make their way to the Bayou where Penny is being held by her captors and forced to look for a hidden treasure underground. This is where the movie ends up making no sense at all. Why would Louisiana-based crooks be so keen on kidnapping a New York-based girl to do their dirty work for them? Why did they not just get a local kid to do it? Or dig it out themselves with bigger tools? There's no logic to it all all. I kept waiting for an explanation like Penny's dad was the dead pirate buried down there but...nope!

Morose, atmospheric backdrops such as windy and cold New York, tangled forests, and dark, brooding bayous sets apart the Rescuers. It's a very involving style and it makes it perfect viewing for grey Sunday afternoons.

In many ways this movie feels like a prototype of Chip and Dale: Rescue Rangers, and any fans of that show will no doubt enjoy the exploits of the Rescue Aid Society.

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