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The Game With No Soul
Some games have atmosphere, some games have a diverse array of levels and monsters, and some games have monsters that are appropriate in colour, brightness, and technology to each level. Serious Sam was not one of these games. Every level was set in ancient Egypt (which is nice at first, but gets boring). The sky is big and blue, and everything is eerily quiet and empty. There are no non-hostile creatures around to test your weapons on. And then come the baddies. You'd think than an ancient Egypt game would have people with spears, jackals, pharaohs, and a god or two. But no, instead we get giant robots, aliens, harpies and headless exploding men, all in horrible, high contrast colours that make them even more pointless than they are already. In fact, pretty much every level is just the same ol' ancient Egypt with a slightly different mish-mash of the same monsters, waiting stupidly to be defeated. Brainlessly blasting repetitive baddies gets really old, really fast. The title character is nothing but a cliché wrapped in hackneyed lines and a stereotypical masculine voice. There are no other real characters besides Sam, and the storyline is vague, boring, and has no bearing on whether you will meet robots or harpies around the next corner.
My all-time favorite FPS
Unreal was an absolute masterpiece! I've always enjoyed LAN gaming, and this game ran so perfectly over the network. Going through each level in co-op mode with my twin sister was so fun that we did it twice! And that's saying something, because we get bored of stuff really quickly. Yes, the single-player levels were great, from quaint and peaceful to exciting and high-tech. Besides the gorgeous single player levels, the multi-player section of the game was so delightfully complete! Many levels, all with the option of bots, and team play. It was a pity there was only one "darkmatch" level. After single player was finished, endless death-matches kept us both busy for hours and hours! This was what made Unreal 2 so horribly disappointing - possibly the best aspect of Unreal - co-op and death match - were missing from its insipid sequel.
The Sidekicks are the Heart of Daikatana
Daikatana is a delightfully interesting first-person shooter that takes you through an incredible array of exciting and challenging levels. With each chapter of the game, there are different sets of weapons and baddies to kill, ensuring that it does not become dull. This, however, is not the most interesting and unique part of the game: what gives Daikatana its soul are the "sidekicks" - to put it more simply, they are sweet little characters that follow you around and help you kill stuff. Sure, they occasionally get shot and "doored", but Mikiko and Superfly give the game its soul - and in some levels you get a break from having to baby-sit them, and, I can tell you, it's pretty lonely. On the downside, there was a little problem that made the sidekicks and baddies sometimes go invisible, but a tech-wiz girl like me messed around with the color settings in multiplayer, and it seemed to fix it. All in all, one of my favourite games!
Silver Surfer (1998)
A thoughtful masterpiece
At last, a cartoon that doesn't insult the viewers' intelligence! Silver Surfer is beautifully animated, with an enthralling plot, intriguing characters, and voice acting so talented that it will enthrall both kids and adults alike. Set against the stunningly beautiful backdrop of space, Norrin Rad - the Silver Surfer - is on a journey to find his home-world, Zenn-La, after it was flung into the farthest reaches of the universe by his former master, Galactus. The cartoon chronicles his adventures, his friends and his foes, but most importantly, his thoughts. The villain of the series, Thanos, is also worth a mention, as his voice - let alone his hopeless love for a cold, unresponsive statue - is enough to make you hate him and love him at once. This masterpiece is by far Marvel's best cartoon.
Bureau of Alien Detectors (1996)
A brilliant, detailed cartoon
Very rarely, except perhaps in the realms of anime and the Marvel Universe, can one find such an intriguing, detailed and exciting cartoon. BAD: Bureau of Alien Detectors is about a team of heroes who track down and foil the schemes of aliens that have come to earth. The characters are actually explored in each episode - there is detail, and depth, without overdoing it the way that Marvel cartoons so often manage to. Perhaps I am overanalysing, but the themes of trust and corruption are touched on as the series unfolds. Each episode is exciting, interesting... even scary and haunting, depending on your age. The good guys have real personalities, and the alien language (shown in subtitles) is unusually interesting for a kids show - one species of alien calls each other things like "tooth for brains". It is almost difficult to take it all in! It is truly a tragedy that B.A.D. wasn't longer.
A fantastic cartoon
This cartoon is about the "Techs", a group of heroes who do battle with the "Bio-mechs". I have heard that it is similar to another, older cartoon called "MASK: Mobile Armoured Strike Kommand", which was developed by Kenner to sell Toys. Despite this, I found Vor Tech a heartily enjoyable adventure, with lovable characters and interesting plots. Like MASK, the heroes in Vor Tech are average people who become stronger, and power-up their vehicles when they put on their helmets and say "engage!" The bio-mechs have been melded with science, but they too were once ordinary people, and have now become villains seeking to lure people to join their "Matrix". Paulina Newstone did a great job as the voice of Dorianne "Frostbite" Harding, the Bio-Mech who only "joined the Matrix" for reasons deeper than becoming big and powerful. Despite the obvious unfairness (there are five or six Techs and only three Bio Mechs), and shortness of the series, Vor Tech will always be one of my favorite cartoons.
Crazy People (1990)
Snickerific, but not laugh-tacular
Delightful as it is to see a movie featuring a tall woman and a short man, Crazy People sacrificed much of its potential hilarity for a schmultzy ending. While the outlandish advertisements were funny, and still make for great interjections today, Dudley Moore's English exasperation wore thin faster than Daryl Hannah's croaky optimism. I was curious as to how a movie can jacknife between foul language and sickly sweet romantic tension so frequently. The antics of the other mental patients were occasionally funny, but there could have been a lot more character development on their part. I guess Crazy People was intended to be taken lightly, and - at times - it is an amusing satire on advertising (but unfortunately does not even attempt to make fun of psychological institutions). The brightness and lightness helped keep this one afloat... but just.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
A brilliant piece of work
From the point of view of somebody who had never seen a zombie movie before Dawn of the Dead (and I doubt there are many besides me), I was impressed and surprised by the quality and entertainment value of this gory treat. Fans of blood, guts, desperate survivors and apocalyptic situations will be glad to know that Dawn of the Dead jumps straight into the action, with neither complicated technobabble nor a long-winded back-story. The actors - who look closer to actual people than the air-brushed clones so frequently seen in other movies - are convincing and engaging as the few survivors holed up in a local shopping mall while zombies roam the streets. Rather than hiding the delightful and clearly expensive special effects in shrouds of colorless gloom, this movie has both bright sunlight and dark, tense moments. Viewers will remain enthralled as the initial fleeing from the zombies gives way to plans, character conflicts and both happy and sad moments. All in all, a brilliant piece of work with a nightmare-like atmosphere.
Doom House (2005)
A send-up of B grade movies
Set in suburban America, Doom House is an amateur film made by - and starring - Lowtax and Fragmaster from SomethingAwful.com. These two clever young men make fun of cheesy B grade movies by deliberately filling this movie with hilarious - and obvious - mistakes. Lowtax stars as Reginald P. Linux, a man looking for a new house after his wife died. (This is revealed in the first minute or so.) Little does he know that the dream house he has just got a great fixed-rate mortgage on is... A DOOM HOUSE! Enter Fragmaster, a cop (plain clothes, so I guess he must be a detective or off-duty... or lazy). Together, our handsome heroes must unravel the mysteries of the Doom House and it's eerie Figurine. The hilarity of Doom House by far outweighs much of the other media on SomethingAwful, and proves that a movie with two actors does not necessarily require a cameraman.