Reviews written by registered user
zaisjr

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35 reviews in total 
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MediEvil (1998) (VG)
0 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A lot of hype with far too many issues., 28 February 2013
3/10

Over the past couple years I have been playing older games that are in my collection. I have had the habit of purchasing popular games that are on sale or at second-hand stores for good prices. But I have always been a busy person so I haven't had the time to play video games. I have recently been able to play all of these games I purchased back in high school and college.

Recently I came across Medieval. The game had decent reviews and a few sequels so I figured it must have a decent game. How wrong I was.

Medieval is plagued by the same issues many other game franchises are when they are first released. The camera angles are decent, until you have to make a complicated jump, walk on a thin path, or focus on surrounding enemies. Far too many times the camera has spun away from my character when I am trying to make a jump. Far too many times my character has died because the camera refused to tilt at the very moment I needed it to. The fighting system can also become frustrating when using arrows and spears. Wasting valuable weapons because your character likes throwing them at thin air is one of the most frustrating issues any game has. A better aiming system would have been appreciated.

So do I think you should skip this game? It depends on if you can stand the above issues. If you can, then this game might be decent for you. Medieval does have a very nice feel to it. The sound is fantastic and the music fits the game perfectly. The storyline is quirky yet quite interesting. It's all so ridiculous yet it still works. But the technical issues with the game stopped it from being great.

Unknown (2011/I)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Another thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat!, 28 February 2013
8/10

Unknown is one of those movies that takes you in one direction for a long time only to completely throw you off track near the end. I was worried at first because I thought this movie was a ripoff of "Lady Vanishing". But this film takes the mystery of the main character to another level.

While this movie has an interesting plot and keeps you on the edge of your seat, it isn't flawless. What keeps this movie from getting a 9 or 10 for a score is that it does have some moments that are quite unrealistic. This isn't always a big deal in thrillers like Unknown, but this movie actually has a sense of realism that is spoiled now and then.

What helps to carry this movie is the strong acting and resulting strong character of Ernst Jurgen (played by the great Bruno Ganz). His performance stands out and helps carry this film.

Unknown is a thriller with enough turns to keep you intrigued while helping you forget any of the movie's deficiencies.

Camille (2008/I)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Odd, ridiculous, silly but very sweet and sad., 18 February 2012
7/10

When I first saw this movie, I only saw the last 25 minutes. I thought it was hilarious and a typical Hollywood piece of crap.... until I watched it later on from the beginning.

I won't spoil the ending for you, but if I told you what happens in the end you too would probably think this movie was horrible and ridiculous. "Camille" is quite far-fetched and strays from the normal love story, except for it's another movie where a female character believes she can change her man. What surprised me about this movie is how deep of a character Camille really is. Her emotions and free spirit kept me interested. I always considered Sienna Miller to be overrated, until the movie "Camille" came along. She is from England yet her southern drawl is quite convincing. Her character is well-written. She's is the stereotypical foolish southern girl who is foolishly in love with a petty thief who is just interested in escaping to Canada to get away from the authorities. While I didn't find James Franco to be very convincing (not that I ever have), he did do an adequate job of playing the inconsiderate bad-boy. Sienna Miller, however, draws you into the story. You can feel her heart break when she finally realizes that Silas truly doesn't love her. For the rest of the movie you can't help but feel terrible for this innocent woman who only seems to be full of love. The supporting cast is also complete. David Carradine (Cowboy Bob) and Scott Glenn (another underrated actor) compliment Sienna Miller and the story perfectly. There is some great cohesiveness going on between the actors in this feature. I would definitely recommend this movie for people who can suspend disbelief for the corny parts of the movie but who love heart-wrenching films. It's a true gem for romance-seekers out there!

Groundbreaking game that is more challenging than Myst, 27 June 2011
8/10

I started playing this game a couple years after it came out. I found it very difficult and couldn't get very far. I was annoyed by the multiple discs, something that was later remedied with a DVD version. I eventually forgot about it. Then the economy went sour a couple years ago and I found myself not being able to afford new games or afford to go on vacation anymore. I decided to pull out my old games that I never played or defeated. Riven was one of those games and I'm glad I finally finished it. Riven is very difficult at first and will frustrate people with limited attention spans. You are faced with constant puzzles and have to accept that you aren't going to figure them all out at first. Some of the first puzzles you encounter won't be solved until the end. The atmosphere of Riven is absolutely amazing, especially for 1997! It sucks you in and feels very foreign, but is awe inspiring. Just like Myst, Riven is full of strange sounds and beautiful landscapes. The music and sound effects make you feel like you are really there. This is definitely a game to be played with a nice sound system. The music isn't as memorable as Myst, but still better than most games of that time. This game is perfect for anyone who likes books, beautiful sceneries, complex mysteries, and the other Myst games. I hope you enjoy!

Myst (1993) (VG)
2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A classic game that has been forgotten, 26 June 2011
9/10

Myst was revolutionary for its time. In 1993 most people who had a computer did not have a computer that could handle more than 20 megabytes of RAM. So video game programmers didn't have much to work with, unlike today. Myst was revolutionary because it had the best sound and music of any game before. It also had the best visuals ever seen. I played the original version of Myst and was originally frustrated and confused. The original version doesn't give you any explanation of the storyline and just throws you into it. This was hard for people with short attention spans but great for people who love solving puzzles. The story slowly unravels and eventually you start to put the pieces together. Unlike other click and point adventures, this one is clever and has an original feel to it. You feel like you are truly in a different world. Myst isn't for everyone. If you only like games full of action and that are fast paced, this isn't a game for you. Even the re-releases of this game won't change that. I have also played Real Myst which was definitely refreshing, but still not the type of game that Doom fans would normally love. Real Myst did, however, do a better job of tying into Riven. It also contains an extra age not shown in the original Myst and explains more of the history of Atrus's family. I recommend the Myst series of games to anyone who likes a good story, likes solving mysteries, and who is patient.

Splinter (2008/I)
4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Should have been awful, but a nice surprise., 13 May 2011
7/10

In order to explain my review, I first need to tell a story. A family friend had an antique clock that stopped working. He took it apart and fixed it. However, several key pieces were missing after he put it back together. Logically, it should never have worked properly. But it ended up working just fine and still works to this day to the best of my knowledge. That is the best way for me to explain this movie. It shouldn't have worked, but it did! The movie is quite unscientific and is not void of plot holes. The characters aren't well written. The movie doesn't follow the clichés of most horror movies. It doesn't rely on sex like most horror movies. It is a low budget film with only a handful of actors. None of the actors are A-list actors. This film should have been awful, but it ended up working just fine.

I won't spoil this film for you. It has one of the most original antagonists, especially since the main antagonist of the film technically isn't an antagonist. That's probably the best way I can describe "Splinter" without giving away the plot. This film has a great protagonist played by Jill Wagner. She carried the film quite well and definitely broke away from the cliché women of most horror movies. My rating for this movie is also inflated because this film almost completely takes place in a gas station yet somehow overcomes this shortcoming wonderfully.

I am probably a hypocrite for giving this movie a decent review, but I notice that my review is reflected in other reviews here. This movie should not have worked but did.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Remarkeably fair and informative!, 13 May 2011
9/10

I was given a copy of this film because I have been treated for late stage Lyme disease. It seems like most literature and videos out there are incredibly uninformative and biased. There is a lot of bad information out there and there is a vast amount of unchecked scams in regards to Lyme disease. So when I received this movie as a gift, I assumed it was going to be full of lies and misinformation. Instead I have been surprised by how thorough this film was about Lyme disease. This is a must see for everyone! I'd like to inform anyone who reads this that I have a decent education in biology and also work in the health care field. I studied Lyme disease in college and thought little about it. But then I contracted Lyme disease. It took six months to get a doctor to treat me. I was diagnosed with TMJ and given Tylenol. Then I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Then Shingles. It wasn't until I asked a chiropractor for a consult that I was diagnosed with Lyme. She didn't even charge me or touch me and she was correct in her diagnosis. I went to a third doctor and tested positive for late stage Lyme. Because of the refusal of doctors to either treat or test for Lyme, I will probably be affected by this disease for life. I never had TMJ, Shingles, or a brain tumor but my insurance would cover those. This film tells our story. It finally explains why your doctor may be afraid to treat you, even if he/she wants to. It isn't meant to scare you rather to inform you. It shows the chaos that has ensued because of the lack of research on Lyme disease and the lack of action being taken by the CDC. This film illustrates how serious this illness is and clears up misconceptions. While this film is trying to inform the public about this illness, it is also trying to motivate the world to push for more research. It isn't asking for money. It isn't asking for political affiliation. It is seeking the truth and trying to help those afflicted with this merciless illness. It shows arguments from all angles and actually backs up its claims with scientific research, not empty claims.

What amazes me more than anything is how thorough the research is on Lyme disease in this film. This is truly the best documentary I've ever seen. Many journalist reviews agree that this is truly a well-planned out and put together documentary. I highly recommend it!

Final Fantasy II (1988) (VG)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A very rare and unique gem for Final Fantasy fans!!!, 17 March 2011
8/10

This review is for Final Fantasy II, the original version. This is not a review for the American Super Nintendo release, which truly is Final Fantasy IV.

For the longest time you could only find Final Fantasy II on the internet through emulators. The few Americans who got a chance to play it were in for a real treat. This game was the beginning of the Chocobos and the beginning of the Cid era. This game is where Final Fantasy began to have some swagger to it.

Unlike the first Final Fantasy, or any Final Fantasy game for that matter, this game rid itself of the standard leveling system. Players don't level up from experience, their skills level up instead. So if you have a character who you constantly use for physical attacks, that character's physical attacks will level up. If you constantly use a character for magic attacks, that character's individual spells will level up. All of your characters can also use magic. While it is basically impossible to make a good hybrid character, the option is definitely appreciated. This type of leveling really opens up your strategy options.

The story is less rigid than the first Final Fantasy. There are also more twists and dramatic points. The characters are much less watered down than the first Final Fantasy installment. The game also isn't as vague as the first Final Fantasy. Unlike it's predecessor, Final Fantasy II does a decent job leading you to your next mission or item. Instead of having to travel the globe speaking to every single character or guessing where you have to go next, this sequel does a nice job guiding you around the game.

Final Fantasy II is not without shortcomings. The game still had the average graphics of its predecessor. The music was forgettable, but still decent. The game was also stretched out longer than it probably needed to be. You still weren't allowed to save in the dungeons, which would have been a nice improvement.

This game is definitely an improvement over the first Final Fantasy game. It's not for everybody, but definitely worth playing if you want to see origins of many Final Fantasy influences. It might also be beneficial to play the Final Fantasy Origins version of Final Fantasy II. This Playstation version upgraded the music, graphics, game play, and added a game saving feature to help out in the dungeons.

Final Fantasy (1987) (VG)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The beginning of a legend, but nothing fancy., 17 March 2011
6/10

Final Fantasy is a household name, as far as video games are concerned. There's hardly anybody on this planet who isn't in some way familiar with this franchise. Many sequels, spin-offs, and movies have come from this franchise and it all started here.

When I first played Final Fantasy, I was amazed at how unremarkable it was. The first game in the series is not a bad one, but it's nothing that special as far as presentation and graphics. The reason why it became so famous is because so few people in America were used to this type of role playing game. Aside from the Dungeons and Dragons fans, very few people were familiar with the strategy and leveling systems of Final Fantasy. This game introduced them to a whole new world and to a unique experience.

This is the only Final Fantasy game in the series where you can choose your characters by class. There are no characters forced on you. While the game is unique, it still doesn't look that great. While I understand that it was a Nintendo game released on an 8 bit system, the graphics were still average at best. The sound was somewhat annoying at times and the game play was sluggish. The spells had very vague descriptions and often weren't very effective. You also weren't able to save your game when you were in dungeons, so it was very annoying if you died after three hours of fighting in a dungeon. The game also did a poor job of explaining what you needed to do next. There's a difference between suspense and downright guesswork.

Even with the negatives, Final Fantasy is still a classic. I definitely recommend playing the Playstation version, released with Final Fantasy II as "Final Fantasy Origins", because of the many nice upgrades to the game. After playing this game and hopefully defeating it, you will definitely appreciate the many improvements Square-Enix has done to the Final Fantasy franchise.

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A remake of one of Wes Craven's weakest films, 10 March 2011
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Over the years I have loved to watch Wes Craven's writing and creativity grow. He really gained momentum with the later Freddy films, later making a masterpiece with "New Nightmare" with what should have been the last Freddy movie ever made. He hit a masterful stride with the Scream movies. But then things took a turn. He started remaking his old films. After successful remakes of "The Hills Have Eyes" parts one and two, he decided to remake his first horror film, "The Last House on the Left". This is puzzling because the original movie wasn't very good in the first place. My assumption was that the remake would be a much better movie, but it wasn't really an improvement.

The premise of "Last House on the Left" is a great one. A group of criminals is on the road performing vile and disgusting acts. Then the irony sets in. They look for a safe haven, but this haven ends up being the home of a victim's parents. Now instead, the vile criminals are begging for their lives. Sounds great huh? How could anyone mess this up? Well, it happened.

The film starts with the same old clichés. An irresponsible teenager is hanging out with a foolish and careless teenage friend. These two teenage friends make horrible decisions one after another, a common horror cliché that became outdated and frustrating back in the 90's. These two female teenagers make a poor decision and go back to a run-down motel with a teenage pot head and continue with more foolish decisions. What they don't know is that the teenage boy is the son of an escaped violent criminal. This boy's father, uncle, and father's girlfriend are all sick and twisted individuals. These sick individuals make their intentions known immediately, that they will kill these two girls so that they don't blow the cover of the fugitives. Instead of killing the girls off at first, these fugitives take them on the road and try to get out of the area. One girl tries to escape and the vehicle crashes in the forest. We are then treated to more of a drawn out inevitability, that these two girls are going to face a horrible fate. But instead of seeing that fate right away, the momentum of the film keeps stalling. Then we are finally treated, rather punished, with a stabbing and then a long rape scene. I watched the unrated version of this film and almost vomited from the graphic nature of the rape scene and the longevity of it. Perverts and rapists probably loved it. But I was nauseous for a couple hours after that scene. It wasn't needed. Now the hope was that the revenge by the parents would be redeeming for this film. But it wasn't very redeeming at all. The criminals come to the home of the rape victim and are fed and housed for the night. Then the parents figure out that these criminals raped and shot their daughter. Tension rises and you just can't wait to see the punishment coming. The revenge arrives, but comes along very sloppy and unconvincing. The parents just don't seem all that enraged and the revenge sequences stumble along. Aside from the last scene in the movie, the revenge scenes become too frustrating. Unlike many other revenge films, the protagonists don't seem so motivated or enraged.

In summary, this film should never have been re-made, not like this at least. The music and the cinematography were effective, but the rest of the film didn't cut it as a good revenge film. The movie could easily have been an hour long, but instead dragged us through two hours of mediocrity. This is a movie to bypass.


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