Island of Lost Souls Review

This review is of the edited version as I believe all airings don’t have the original extreme animal violence scene anymore. Still terrible though and it would be hard to make the review any harsher because it’s so bad.
Poster - Island of Lost Souls_06
Remember that feeling of falling off of your bike and scraping your knee, only to fall again on that same knee? That’s basically what it’s like to watch this film. It’s one of those films that is so horrific, so terrible, so awful that you won’t be able to find anything good to say about this film. The fact that Britain apparently gave it an X certificate before cutting out some of the incredibly terrible animal violence is quite telling. Even the author of the book didn’t approve of the film. It’s really just filled with terrible animal violence and ultimately there is no point to the story. Even the main poster is terrible. This film really couldn’t do anything right. At least films like this make other bad titles look somewhat competent.

Parker is on a ship heading back home, but he notices that the Captain is being cruel to his animal slaves. He punches the guy, but is thrown overboard. Parker is forced to go to a haunted island where more animals are being cruelly tortured and is held against his will for a while. Parker doesn’t mind for the most part and even gives a pass to the evil doctor. After cheating on his fiancee, Parker starts to realize that this place may be having a bad effect on him so when his friends come to rescue them, he doesn’t bother to warn them of the dangers. On the contrary, he sends an old man off to fight the island’s dozens and dozens of inhabitants on his own. Once Parker is sure that the old man is dead, he heads off with the main heroine and one of the villains to try and escape, but it will likely take one more sacrifice. He’s planned for that though…

This film’s another train wreck in case you couldn’t guess by now. The only decent character here is the Captain and even he isn’t all that smart. Going outside on your own in the middle of the night in enemy territory is just foolish and drinking/eating a lot in an unfamiliar place is not a strategically wise move either. He certainly should have taken a bigger crew with him for such an expedition. He is better than the other characters by default though. Parker wasn’t a likable character for many reasons, but one of the main ones is that he is very quick to cheat on his girl friend. After that, he admits that he didn’t really care much about the animals being tortured and was content to leave the island and not do anything about it. He’s what you would call a coward. He’s worried about what might happen if he stands up for the creatures so he chooses to feign ignorance. While the animals are being experimented on, he goes back to his cabin to read a book. I was waiting for him to get knocked off, but that would only happen if this was a modern horror film. Since it’s retro, everyone else gets to die except for him and the main heroine.

Most films lose some stars and points for having mild animal violence. You can imagine how this film became a 0 instantly with the high degree that is featured here. This film is right up there with Sucker Punch as one of the worst films of all time. As bad as Awake was, this is in a whole different level. It’s not that long at least, but still tries to be as unpleasant as humanly possible. Dr. Moreau has an extremely dark ending to try and compensate for how violent and dark they made him, but it certainly doesn’t win the film back any points. There is even a trope for this kind of thing where a villain will commit some kind of atrocity and then that same atrocity happens to them by the end as a form of karmic justice. In actuality, this vicious cycle just means that the film will have the same dark moment twice and further sink it into the ground.

On the surface, you might find it appealing to see a villain like this meet an incredibly brutal end, but at that point, it is just too much. Simply have the villain die in an explosion or something, no need for him to get tortured just to prove a point. Films like this are just extremely toxic and just plain bad for you. Watching rubbish like this for a while will just give you a sour disposition and you’re better off watching something with actual good themes and light hearted moments. This film opts to be incredibly grim-dark the entire time instead.

Overall, there’s not much more to say about this film. It simply doesn’t have any class and you’ll be doing yourself a favor by skipping out on it. Animal violence shouldn’t be tolerated in any shape or form and the film better not have been using any actual animals for this. The whole thing is just unethical and if H.G. Wells typically writes books of such low quality, then I can safely say that he is extremely overrated. Most big name authors are though so I can’t say I’m very surprised. The summary tipped me off from the start that this was going to be a terrible film. Luckily, I think this is the last 0 star film at the moment, but we still do have some really negative ones coming up so prepare yourself. For every gem, there are 5 old banana’s in the trash can just waiting to be picked up. This was one of those, but at least, now I have a film I can easily mention when someone asks what some of the worst films of all time are.

Overall 0/10

Awake Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be read as such. A review of the unedited version would likely be even more negative..which is hard to believe, but that’s just how bad this film is.
awake
It’s time to look at another film that kicked the bucket. What’s impressive about Awake is that it is even worse than the last two films that I reviewed and manages to score a perfect 0. Trust me, that is pretty hard to do since you have to make a lot of mistakes and keep yourself from doing anything right. Awake pulled it off, but unfortunately, that isn’t something that it can really brag about in the future. The concept behind Awake doomed it from the start, but it doesn’t help that most of the main characters are fairly unlikable and/or not that smart though. Ah well…let’s dive into this!

Clay has had a serious medical condition for a while now. He must finally go for the risky heart transplant operation or lose it all. He wants his friend Dr. Harper to do the surgery while his mother wants him to go with the world’s greatest surgeon instead, but Clay refuses. He has a quick marriage with Sam and then decides that he is ready. Unfortunately, Dr. Harper plans to destroy Clay in his sleep and the truly diabolical part of this is that Clay is awake throughout the whole operation. He can try to endure the pain, but his fate is sealed.

There are a multitude of reasons why this film faces the 0 star review that only truly horrible titles earn. For starters, this plot is basically about Clay being tortured. He is strapped to a table and is being cut open while having no chance to do anything about it. He can’t even call for help since he is paralyzed. That’s a terrible plot premise and I can’t stand torture so a whole movie about that was never going to be higher than a 0. It’s just not fun to watch and I mentally checked out after the first 5 minutes. I’m still watching, but mostly looking for little things to enjoy as the reviewing phase of the film was already basically sealed. I could take off the metaphorical reviewing cap and call it a day. The rest of the film wasn’t much better though so even without the premise, it wouldn’t have gotten much higher than a 2 or a 3.

So, let’s try to look past the torture and the fact that the main character can’t actually do anything. What is the point of the film? If Clay can’t actually alter events in any shape of form, then his plot may as well not even be present. He is simply another spectator along with us and just adds in his own words to slow the pacing down. The film likes to stack the deck against him so things continue to go from bad to worse. This review will have full spoilers so you may want to back out now while you’ve still got a chance. If not, prepare yourself! See, Sam never actually liked Clay. She simply charmed and married the guy to get his money after his death. It’s not something that is incredibly uncommon either and it’s why you should think carefully before marrying someone that you met through dicey circumstances.

How did they meet? Well, Sam was the new maid/caretaker for the house. (Clay’s rich btw so he should be extra careful right?) Clay walked in one day to find her rummaging through his stuff and she had probably already stolen a whole bunch of things. Naturally, she quickly used his shallow “love at first sight” against him and he forgot about the whole thing. She very quickly got him to marry her after that and then set him up for the surgery with the leader of this crime unit. The best (Or saddest part for Clay) part is that this was all part of the plan from the get go. All of the villains knew that Clay would fall for Sam so there was never any doubt on that end. The trap was so thorough that Harper didn’t even bother to remove the picture of him and Sam from his office. Whenever Clay would visit, they knew that the main character couldn’t piece together the obvious parts of the puzzle.

Clay’s a terrible character in case you haven’t guessed yet. He never even notices when Harper is subtly mocking him the entire time and taking a lot of shots at the fact that Clay is rich. Ah well, I suppose you can’t be smart and rich. Wait a minute…. I didn’t care for the villains either though. It may have been desperate times for Harper, but to send Sam off to woo Clay shows where his priorities lie. Considering that she didn’t mind the assignment at all, you’ll likely see the backstab towards the end coming right from the get go. Luckily, the cops nabbed them all anyway which is good. It would have been annoying to have seen Sam escape after all of that.

The only two good characters here were the Mom and the World Class Surgeon. The Surgeon talked a good game and was able to help out a lot in the end so that was good. He was pretty confident and definitely could have pulled off the procedure. As for the Mom, she was an actual intelligent character, which was rare to find around these parts. She warned Clay that Sam was just in it for the money and also warned him not to go with the operation under Harper’s supervision. He never had the greatest reputation after all. It’s a shame that it ultimately cost the Mom everything, but at least she outsmarted the villains. If only Clay had been a little smarter with his decisions, things could have been different.

At the very least, Awake had a lot of twists, but while they would only really count as mild shock value. They certainly don’t help to fix this train wreck of a film. You can’t save a bad premise no matter how hard you try. Attack on Titan taught me that the hard way as it had a top notch soundtrack and an excellent director. It ultimately still had to continue with the premise though and that was game over. Having someone go through a surgery while conscious and watching everyone else betray him as he moves through time? That’s not going to slice any life into the film. (See what I did there?)

Overall, Awake is a film that you will definitely want to keep in the shelf. I suppose it can be used as a cautionary tale for rich people, but hopefully they have enough common sense not to marry a burglar who is extremely suspect the entire time. There’s nothing really good about this film at all and not even a reboot can save this one. It’s the kind of film that was doomed right from the get go. Now, if the film had started off with Clay dying instantly as they gave him a bad dose of anesthesia and he returns from the Spirit World as a The Ring esque villain, that could have some potential. It’d probably only get a 2 or a 3, but that’s better than this right? There’s another 0 coming soon though…so prepare yourself!

Overall 0/10

Digimon Adventure 02: Revenge of Diaboromon Review

Digimon The Movie 4
Our War Game was definitely a great Digimon movie and my personal favorite from the collection. Making a sequel to that one makes a lot of sense and Diaboromon was a really cool villain so I was glad to have him back. Unfortunately, they only gave the sequel around 30 minutes to work with which limits this movie to a noticeable extent. It is still a fun film, as a result, there just isn’t a lot of time to do just about anything. It’s very rushed, but we do get 2 big fight scenes so that’ll do. Considering the players in the actual battles, it still has more stakes than 2 out of the last 3 Digimon films.

The film starts off very quickly as Diaboromon returns and decides to wreck havok on the world once again. Luckily, the DigiDestined have learned of his plot so the main characters of the first two seasons have a meeting on what to do about this. They ultimately decide to send in Omnimon to take care of Diaboromon while the other characters handle the rookie Digimon that are infesting the city. Sounds like a good plan, but can Omnimon really win? After all, he only beat Diaboromon the first time because they used emails to slow Diaboromon down from the inside. Otherwise, Omnimon was much too slow to do anything about the villain, which continues to be a bit of an issue for him here. Davis may have to step in if things get dicey!

The film has no time to waste so that’s why things happen very quickly here. As with the last encounter, some of the Digidestined are a little too busy to help out, but most of them are ready this time. TK and Kari are probably the most useful characters aside from the main 4. They may not have super strong Digimon at their disposal like the others (They don’t want to use their strongest forms or haven’t mastered them I assume since they go with the standard modes) but are still able to give Diaboromon a good tackle and dodge his array of lasers for a good amount of time. They handled the situation well and I would have liked the other members to have helped out as well. Perhaps in Tri we will finally get to see the whole team help out.

I’m still not really a huge fan of the animation style used in this film. It’s a style that has been used for most of the Digimon films at this point and makes all of the characters very wavy. It makes for good explosions, but also makes the movie lose a lot of its color. For example, just about everything and everyone are faded out as opposed to the bright colors from the original TV show. It looks more like Seinen character designs as opposed to Shonen or Kodomo. It’s not necessarily bad of course, but the humans lose a bit of their individuality and I’d just like to see more color introduced.

I also think that it could possibly be linked with how Omnimon looks a lot weaker here than he should. He’s portrayed as extremely slow to an extreme level. It may be because of how the Digital World works in the film universe, but it definitely didn’t make him look all that impressive. In the human world he was a bit faster though so it may not be an animation/directing thing and just Digital rules that came into play. Imperialdramon got to show his stuff though and the hyped Paladin Mode was fun to see. With the raw power of a quadruple Mega, he should definitely be a force to be reckoned with. In Cyber Sleuth he had the ability to take out an entire team of 12 Megas in a single shot so even today he is considered to be one of the strongest of all time.

The final fight scene on Earth is quite good after all. The shots of Diaboromon’s true form slowly approaching were handled well and his rematch with Omnimon was good. It’s a shame that his fight against Paladin Mode only lasted a few seconds, but this is where the short length of the film really came into play, similar to the Janemba DBZ film. It also shows how strong the form is of course as it would look less impressive if it was more of an even fight. I’d still take Omnimon over Imperialdramon in a fight any day, but both of them are strong fighters since Imperialdramon has his humanoid mode. If he was stuck in Dragon form, things would be pretty tricky for him.

It’s pretty neat that now most of the kids in the world know about the Digidestined. It should make their work a little easier if they don’t have to hide the fights each time. Plus, since emails can slow down the villains, having the aid of the other kids can really be useful. Most of the adults will probably still be left in the dark since they can’t really comprehend the world of Digimon, but that’s okay. It made for a really fun plot in season 3, but it would need a lot of screen time once again so it would deserve its own movie if the series ever gets that plot.

I think it is safe to say that Tai is the best character here. He’s pretty serious the whole time and doesn’t hesitate to go into battle. Matt’s a close second though as he is also ready for action and has matured a lot over the years. He even acts as the leader a bit although Tai will always be the true commander of the team. Izzy helped out a bit from his end as well with a little aid from Yolei. Of course, the whole situation was Yolei’s fault as well so she was really trying to fix her own mistakes at that point. Mimi and Joe didn’t really get to do much, but at least Joe lent his bike to Davis and Ken so they could make it in time to help out. Ken and Davis were solid characters as well. I definitely agree with Davis that he should have been allowed to go and help from the get go. If Diaboromon had to deal with 2 Mega level Digimon at once, there is a chance that he never would have made it to the human world. The small Digimon weren’t really causing all that much damage anyway so they would have been fine even if they had been left to their own devices. Ah well, they got to prove their worth in the end after a rather long run to make it.

The soundtrack is all right here. As with most of the Digimon films, it takes a rather serious, Godzilla esque tone for the music. There was a nice quick theme that played near the end during the battle on Earth though. I remember that one being pretty solid. I do miss my classic English Dub Digimon evolution theme and hope to see it a bit in Tri or some kind of remix at some point, but I know it can’t always be around.

Also, one thing I definitely like about this film is the fact that the Digimon just hang out with everyone in the real world. I never liked the fact that they were forced to part ways at the end of Season 1, but the films helped to correct that. Now, the Digi Destined can hang out with their Digi partners whenever they want. Even when the Digimon go back to their world, you know that they can always come back to hang out as well. It also gives the humans more options since they can quickly summon a Mega to defend themselves if an enemy suddenly attacks the human world. Otherwise, they’d be defenseless and that would certainly be a problem. The season 2 cast is still basically defenseless without Davis and Ken (I don’t count TK and Kari) so they shouldn’t go too far. I’m still interested in how the 02 cast could lost in Tri, the main two members are fairly tough. Ah well, we’re getting closer to Tri so the mysteries will start to become clear.

Overall, Revenge of Diaboromon was a good way to bring back the fan favorite villain. I’ve always considered him to be similar to Broly in that sense as he is one of the only movie villains to return and it always takes the full cast at their peak in order to stop him. Without the season 2 guys, the DigiDestined would have been doomed against Diaboromon and his new power. He had the complete edge in the Digital World thanks to his army and in the real world his new form’s durability was quite impressive. Omnimon’s attacks couldn’t make a dent in his armor. It was a fun way to say good bye to the original cast until the new Digimon Tri movies. I do wish that the film could have been longer and I’d like the movies to start adding a little more color. It doesn’t have to be a lot all at once as a gradual effect will do, but I like my sharp colors. However, the film still holds its own and I’d put it in second behind Our War Game.

Overall 7/10

Yugioh The Falsebound Kingdom Review

Yu-Gi-Oh!-_The_Falsebound_Kingdom_-_Konami
It’s time to review another Yugioh game, but unfortunately it is easily the worst one that I have ever played. I’m sorry Yugioh fans, I didn’t think it was possible to have a bad one…but here we are. For starters, it doesn’t feel like a Yugioh game at all. The plot is laughable and the gameplay is as bad as possible for its turn based style. It makes Digimon Data Squad and Pokemon Colosseum look like they had lightning fast loading times. It doesn’t help that Yugioh overstays its welcome as well. Prepare yourself for a rocky experience when playing the game!

You can choose to play as Kaiba or Yugi initially. I believe that after completing both stories you unlock Joey’s mode as well. You’d have to be extremely dedicated to do that though since this game is very long and completing both stories could easily result in a 20+ hour long game. Kaiba’s mode sees him in Ancient Egypt. He leads an army, but unfortunately his brother was kidnapped by a guy called Scott, whose clothes look like modern day gear. Kaiba quickly pursues this villain, but he will have to fight off many other armies, bandits, and other such fighters who get in his way. Can Kaiba rescue Mokuba and stop this random guy from messing around with the past?

I didn’t like the plot for a lot of reasons. The main one is that I really don’t like AU stories a lot of the time unless the concept is super good to actually justify having the characters here. There is a plot twist that makes this moot by the end, but also reminds you how pointless the whole charade was. Kaiba and friends didn’t need to be here and this could have easily been a Dynasty Warriors game instead. The monsters felt really out of place as well if you ask me. I don’t like Ancient Egypt as a setting and most of the characters were either generic or annoying. It was fun to see Yugi show up for a quick cameo, but that was it. He was gone as soon as he appeared and then it was back to fighting Scott in a battle of no interest to anyone playing.

This game also felt very low budget. The soundtrack is essentially nonexistent and the only tune that I can recall was very dead and lifeless. Certainly not what you’d like to hear while having a nice duel. All of the cutscenes were just little picture boxes with text after it. Once in a while, the background would change which was a nice little touch and Slifer got a quick cutscene, but that was basically it. The graphics were all right I suppose, but not while on the overhead map. Everyone looked the same there and the creatures were so tiny that you typically couldn’t see anything. Moving on the map was a pain and likewise, using any item took way too long there. Travelling to enemy camps would take forever and by the time you made a move, the enemies were already on top of you. Typically, the best move was to simply beat all of the minions and then attack the castle, but that would mean a very long level for you to play. The quickest way to win is to dash over to the enemy castle, but odds are that your monster wouldn’t be fast enough to pull this off. I was able to do it a handful of times, but mostly my strategy didn’t pan out.

This wouldn’t be terrible…if the combat system was any good. On the surface, it is the classic turn based system that Pokemon uses. You take turns with the opponent on who gets to attack and each battle is a 3 on 3 match. The problem is that everyone’s attacks take a little long since you have to watch the whole animation and every member has a lot of health. You have a limited amount of actions in a battle so if both teams run out, then you have to fight again after a 0 second intermission. It can be 5 seconds if you are fighting from a castle. Rinse and repeat for all of the minions and this can be tough. Especially if you send out 9 teams and the opponent has 9 as well. Personally, I recommend sticking to 2 and just using them the whole time. Even if you lose, the level ups save so you can keep retrying until you win. I also recommend avoiding any optional minions as the mild EXP boost isn’t worth it and just focus on completing the level. Pegasus was extremely valuable and Ishizu was good as well. Kaiba was actually pretty weak, which was a shame.

Items are crucial as well since the computers will constantly be healing themselves. You’ll want to have some kind of healing array on your side as well if you really want to win. It costs a lot of money, but you should naturally have enough while playing through the game. I only ran out after the final level was over and by then I didn’t need to buy any more items anyway so it was all good. Either way, the matches will drag on quite a bit. You’ll need to use some strategy rather than just attacking over and over, but since every character only has 1 attack, prepare to see the same one spammed over and over and over again.

There is some replay value here as you can try to beat the game with all 3 characters, but there’s not much of a purpose to this beyond just doing it for fun. I didn’t find the game to be all that fun at all so I certainly don’t plan on doing that. The game was long enough as it is so it will definitely satisfy you considering how cheap the game is. You can get it for under 5 dollars, but should you? Think carefully on that because it is a Yugioh game in name only. Seriously, there is no card playing to be found here at all and that is rather tragic if you ask me.

Really, this game should have been good, but it really felt like a bad fanfic. The story just makes no sense and is not interesting in the slightest. How did this Scott guy go and kidnap everyone anyway? The game doesn’t bother to explain this at all. The computer also gets sentient by the end and suddenly turns into an old guy with a beard. The concept is cool even if it has been done to death (By other Yugioh games as well) but the design was pretty bad. Fighting against a God card was cool, but it had way too much health so it was tedious to defeat. Not hard, but tedious. If the gameplay had only been sped up 2X, I could have easily seen this game grab a 6. Probably not a 7 anyway since it just wasn’t interesting, but gameplay plays a huge role in any title so if it was as smooth as the average Pokemon game, this review would be quite different.

Overall, The Falsebound Kingdom is a game that I recommend avoiding. It is easily the worst Yugioh game out there and that is even including the odd GX game where you follow a calendar and as such, there is no real plot to the game and nothing to do either since if you miss a day, you miss an opportunity. I can’t stand the day system, but luckily I’ve only encountered 2-4 games that do such a thing. Back to this game though, I don’t see if being surpassed as the worst anytime soon. Even the Duelist of the Roses game for PS2 (Something like that) should be better since it uses the standard gameplay. I’ve had this game on the backburner for many years (And I can see why) so I am glad to have it done once and for all!

Overall 4/10

Orphen Scion of Sorcery Review

Orphen-Scion-of-Sorcery-Portada
It’s time for a game that was on the back burner for a very long time. I got this game years ago, but better late than never right? Since I saw the TV shows not too long ago, it seemed like a good opportunity to finally play the game. It has some unique concepts when it comes to the gamplay, but unfortunately the puzzles, boss designs, and the plot hold this game back a little. It’s still a fun little adventure, but it certainly could have been a lot better. Having to play the game 3 times over to see the true ending was a bad sign from the start.

Orphen is a sorcerer and currently travels along with his apprentice and a heroine who is seeking adventure. Two trolls tell them that a boat is heading to their next destination, but unfortunately, Orphen never learned that you should not trust trolls. The boat is actually heading to a haunted island. The mystery thickens when the ship is attacked by monsters and Orphen is forced to land on the island. From here, you have the option of helping out one person out of the three individuals. You can help out the tough warrior who is searching for his daughter. You could help out the girl who is trying to find the grave of her fiancee to properly mourn him. Or, you can help a kid find his mother who is lost on the island. You can only help one person per playthrough though and then you have to start the game again to help the next person. There will be some slight changes as Orphen partially remembers that he has gone back in time, but quickly forgets after the first cutscene since the game doesn’t know which story you’d pick first and a lot of the dialogue would change if Orphen remembered. No matter who you help, you’ll eventually try to find the Crystal Egg which lets you pass through time. You’ll need to do so in order to locate the missing people and keep the giant monster at bay. Once you’ve helped everyone out, you can finally fight against the true boss of the island.

Unfortunately, the plot goes off the rails by the time you finish it. For starters, the three stories can’t seem to agree on anything. In the kid’s story, the old lady is actually a hero who is trying to keep the beast from waking up and destroying everyone. However, in the lady’s story, the old woman is the one kidnapping kids and aging them into teenagers to further her own ambitions. Likewise, in the warrior’s story, she is also the main villain. The ending sheds some light on this, but makes the rest of the story more convoluted as well. See, this island was actually one big illusion. It may be more accurate to call it a theater stage though. The robot would animate the bodies and have Orphen live through fake quests based on old stories from ancient times. That’s why the characters kept switching roles and personalities. It’s because the actors were playing different characters at that point. Luckily, one of the souls was still wandering around and inhabited the robot’s A.I. assistant and summoned Orphen to destroy him once and for all.

This leads to some painfully long cutscenes with the robot talking very slowly and panicking while the assistant also dies because their lives are linked. Orphen takes this in stride though and the gang is back to their normal cheerful dispositions after leaving the place. They did save the bodies from being used in an endless puppet show so that’s something to feel good about. It was a fairly unnecessary twist though and the whole final act was just really boring and random. Seriously, the plot is definitely not this game’s strong point and it just won’t keep your attention after a while. Seeing the heroes bicker all the time can be endearing I suppose…

Graphically, the game is all right. The character models are good for their time and the boss designs are fun. The levels are also quite big and there are a nice variety of them even if a few like the tower and the boat are overused. My TV has a very tough time playing any PS2 game without the lighting going down to its minimum levels. This made seeing the game a little trickier than it should be, but it has happened so many times that I’m pretty sure its an issue on my level rather than with the game. Nonetheless, I was always happy to see a rare daytime level as most of the stages took place at night. Day-Time levels are better 99% of the time as a good night level is quite rare. Still, they are possible of course, you just have to make sure that it is still light out like in the good ole Shadow The Hedgehog game.

There are actual anime cutscenes in the game which was really impressive for its time. I still get excited to see that nowadays since it is as rare now as it was 10 years ago. There may not have been a lot of them, but it was better than nothing. As for the soundtrack, it is very limited so I wouldn’t expect much from the title here. The minion theme is boring, but the boss track was fairly good. Those are really the only two big themes in the game although a few more will pop up here and there. It’s certainly sub-par though and I expect better from a game like this one.

All right, lets talk about the actual gameplay. There are two different styles to be found. When you’re not locked in combat, it is your standard 3D platformer. You walk through the levels and try to get to the end of them. Sometimes you will have to find items, step on switches, break objects, or solve puzzles. You have an energy sword, energy blasts, and you can jump in this mode. The energy blast is never used once, but it is fun to look at I suppose. The sword is useful once in a while for breaking towers. This part of the game is fun for the most part, but the puzzles are extremely annoying when they pop up.

One puzzle has you reconstruct a music piece using 6 tunes, but only 4 of them are in the pass code. It sounds easier than it is as the combinations that sound right don’t work. You assistant will let you know which 4 notes should be used in the combination, but I spent over 2 hours trying out every possible version and none of them worked. Why is that? Well, to see if it really worked, you actually have to hit the retry note which will apparently play your combination against the lock. What this means is that I actually did get the right answer a few times, but it didn’t count in each instance because I didn’t hit the white note. Now that was just terrible and very annoying. There were other such puzzles that got old very quickly. Even chasing the bunny was a pretty sad minigame as you apparently had to walk slowly to catch him, but the game never even hints at it until someone mentions this fact.

Ah well, at least the combat section is mostly fun. You can equip up to 4 spells to use and one of them is a barrier. You must time your attacks well so that you can block and retaliate while not getting hit. This gets tricky when a lot of villains show up so at that point I recommend just blasting away at them all. The bosses can be a bit long at times, but most of them are fun as well. The only cheap boss is the final one which is very poorly designed. He’ll block anything you throw at him when he feels like it and will occasionally send in minions to attack you. There are so many minions and they attack so quickly that you are sure to get hit by them. I just kept on trying and trying until I somehow landed enough blows to win. A lot of luck was involved and the boss would just randomly not block at times while he would on other occasions. One helpful tip is to remember that you can retry the battle if you are about to lose. That way you won’t have to go back to your last save point. Trust me, it will save you a lot of time considering that the cutscenes can’t be skipped and that they are quite long at times.

There is absolutely no replay value unfortunately. Once you have beaten all of the stories and obtained the true ending, there really isn’t anything more to do here. The main campaign is fairly long though since it is over 10 hours. That will last you long enough to justify the purchase and the game probably would have really dragged on had it gone any further. I can’t say that I was too pleased about having to play the game 3 times over even if it did a better job of making all the stories unique than most titles. I guess the fact that the game could keep on switching everyone’s roles without worrying about plot holes probably helped quite a bit.

Overall, Orphen certainly could have been a better game. The combat gameplay was very unique and it was fun to play around with. The game probably could have done more with it since most of the bosses and minions were a little too similar. For being a puzzle game, there luckily weren’t a lot of puzzles, but some of them were still extremely annoying so that is definitely a good thing. Fans of the Orphen TV show should definitely check it out. Just seeing the gang again should be nostalgic even if the voices are way different here. Orphen’s meanness is also exaggerated quite a bit here, but it was fun to listen to his lines so I was pretty cool with that. To the average video game fan, I recommend it, but cautiously. You can certainly do better and find a game that will grab your attention more, but this still isn’t a bad game. You’ll just slowly find that you lose more and more interest in the title as you get closer to the end.

Overall 6/10

Superman Secret Identity Review

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It’s time to look at another Elseworlds Superman story. I believe Elseworlds refers to any alternate Superman story, but if that’s not true then you know what I mean. This one’s more of a character story so it deals with the Clark Kent aspect of Superman more than the classic hero form. It’s a fun enough story although this is definitely one of the less likable versions of Superman. Time to see how the hero would operate in a more realistic Earth where he is one of the only heroes…or as far as he knows. There is lightly hinted to be a bunch of other superheroes operating, but we don’t get to see them.

Clark Kent has been teased a lot because his parents named him that after the classic comic book character. Clark’s never liked the fact that people keep calling him Superman and then he also gets bullied at school. Luckily, this all changes when he discovers that he actually does have Superman’s powers. It is to a lesser degree as he can still be injured and being near the Sun doesn’t recharge his abilities. Still, it’s more than enough for him to be a hero, but what he really wants is to just lead a normal life with Lois while stopping some crimes as well. Can he achieve this perfect balance when the government is constantly at his heels?

The concept of having Superman in a normal world is always interesting. He would certainly be even more of a threat in the eyes of the government since there really wouldn’t be much that they could do to him at that point. Malloy is the main figure head for the government and he is actually pretty likable. He does his job quite well and really hounds Superman. Even after the two of them reach a mutual understanding where Superman will help him out in any tricky situations in exchange for the government stopping all efforts to find out Superman’s true identity, Malloy continues to mildly try from time to time. Eventually, both of them grow quite old and we even see Malloy retire. The mutual respect between the two was handled well and government agents don’t always have to be completely unreasonable stereotypes. Malloy was certainly much more realistic. Of course, it did help that Superman proved how easily it would be for him to take them all down if he was evil.

I did mention that I didn’t care all that much for Superman here. Well, that’s because the comic went a little too far to make him realistic. After all, this version is aware of his comic counterparts and as such, his personality is quite different. He tends to get angry with everyone a lot easier when they compare him to Superman and loses his cool at his colleagues as well when they make a few small jokes about it. Obviously, they shouldn’t overdo it since Superman doesn’t like that, but he didn’t really handle the situation well. He also started properly using his X-Ray vision after realizing that it would probably be harmful to other people, but I would have hoped that his morals would stop him from even attempting that in the first place. Likewise, the story of his Mom walking in on him in a dicey situation was also rather unnecessary. Beyond that, Superman was all right for the most part in his portrayal as just an average guy, but Superman should never be an ordinary person. He should always be a beacon of hope, a guy with absolute morals. This is not meant to be the real Superman of course, but that’s why he isn’t as likable as he could be.

Lois is also not as good as her comic counterpart of course, but she’s all right. She helps Superman through a lot of his decisions and overlooks the fact that he cracks a lot. She’s dependable and helps him solve all of his problems. Without Lois at his side, things probably would have been pretty dicey for him. Their two kids also get a small role towards the very end of the comic. There wasn’t much of a point to adding them, but since the comic showed Superman’s development from kid to old man, I suppose it was a good way of showing how much time has passed. Since they have powers of their own, he won’t have to worry about them too much.

The comic’s biggest flaw was probably the art. I definitely didn’t like it as it went for a gritty, indie-esque style. There were no flashy colors or awesome double spreads and instead it was just all darkly colored. The style didn’t work so well for the comic. There weren’t any real fight scenes so the art didn’t have to worry about that, but better art could definitely go a long way. The New 52 look may have shifted the tone a little, but it’d be worth it for the incredible character designs.

Still, the plot is more important in this case and the story was interesting. I ended up reading the full trade paperback in one batch since it was a lot of fun to read through. I won’t call it a great comic, but it was a pretty good one and makes for a good read. It’s always nice to read about the various portrayals of Superman and aside from the evil versions which I’m tired of, most of them tend to be quite good. Even if the character himself was lacking, the world around him was interesting. The government stole the show here although it was a shame that aside from Malloy, they were all a little shady and without morals.

Even the TV reporter who pretended to be a nice person turned out to be just another villain by the end. It’s easy to see why Superman doesn’t trust anyone with his secret identity aside from Lois. Meanwhile, he got to end his school days on a high note as he saved one of his classmates which earned him respect from the rest of the class. Even the bully complimented Clark and stopped messing with him after that. It’s always nice to see the bully finally stop once his victim has actually helped him out. Of course, it’s just as satisfying to see the bully get knocked out since it will encourage him not to be a bully at all, but we can always say that this bully stopped permanently after the experience.

While there were no fights, we did get a few action scenes. The big fire next to the school is one example of this and Superman also fell into a government trap a few times which resulted in some energy blasts and buildings breaking. Superman never goes down without a fight after all and you have to give the government some credit for having such large armaments at the ready. If nothing else, America is certainly prepared for any situation.

Overall, Superman Secret Identity is definitely a good comic to check out if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to wake up with Superman’s powers someday. It would mean that you would have a super life with two kids, a wife, and constant thrills by flying around all day. You could eat whatever you wanted whenever you wanted too since you could zoom over to Italy and buy a Deep Dish pizza before zooming to France and grabbing a Pepsi…because why not? The government would be after you, but as long as you weren’t too obvious you would probably be okay. I’m sure we’ve all thought about having Superman’s powers and I don’t even know what I’d do with them first. The possibilities are endless, but one thing’s for sure, I’d be going around the world trying out every limited edition snack that I could find. My super metabolism would prevent me from ever gaining any weight while still enjoying all of the flavors. That’s why the concept behind the story is so good and why it doesn’t work as well for Batman comics like Year One. I’ve never been tempted to wake up as a normal guy in a Bat costume. The gadgets are handy I guess, but not really for everyday life. I wouldn’t mind suddenly being a hand to hand master though.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon Hoopa and the Clash of Ages Review

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Considering that the Pokemon anime messed up big time and probably lost a lot of viewers, it is nice to go back to before that time and remember the more innocent days. This film is fairly recent so it isn’t that far back, but it still counts. The movie was fun although I didn’t care for Hoopa’s true form and didn’t like how they overhyped him the whole time. The manga does a great job of fixing that up although it feels super small, even for a one volume one shot. The whole film is being played on fast forward mode and the manga diverges a little bit for fun. It’s a fun little read.

Ash and friends are enjoying some donuts when Ash is thrown into a portal. He meets up with Hoopa and two guardians who have decided that it is time to bring him back to full power. Unfortunately, this causes Hoopa’s true form to go on a rampage as he starts to blow everything up and summons 6 Legendary Pokemon to defend himself. Ash grabs Pikachu and prepares for the fight of his life. He is aided by 3 Legendary Pokemon as well so now he is ready. Can Ash prove that he is the true Pokemon Master and take these clowns down? Time to find out!

One thing that this abridged version makes very clear is that the plot gets a little repetitive. Hoopa’s jar is broken so he turns evil at the very beginning of the volume, but the heroes quickly turn him back to normal. That’s good…but only a few pages later we see Meowth grab the jar and unleash Hoopa once again. In the film, there was a decent amount of fluff so this didn’t happen immediately, but the manga depicts just how quickly these two identical events occurred. It did help us get to the climax very quickly though so that’s always fun.

The original characters from the film were okay, but mostly just generic here. The two protectors remember happier times with Hoopa and one of them gets to help out a little during the climax, but that’s about it. In the end, it really came down to Ash and his friends to save the day as you may have expected. Hoopa wasn’t quite as charismatic as in the film, but he is still a decent Legendary. I still don’t like the Unbound form though. At least he makes for a good villain. I was also glad that the manga fixed some of my issues from the film regarding his power level. He was definitely very overhyped there, but in the manga version we see that Lugia was wrecking him. Had the fight continued on, I’m confident that Lugia would have won here. He had Hoopa on the defensive right from the start.

The 6 vs 3 fight of the Legendaries was also handled a lot better than in the anime. Who hasn’t wanted to see Rayquaza take on heavy weights like Dialga? I do think that the 6 evil Pokemon would have won in the end since the numbers advantage is important and Latias is fairly weak, but it would have been a good fight. Ash was around as well so his Pikachu can really tip the scales. I was satisfied with Ash’s portrayal here. He was eager to help Hoopa out and didn’t back down from a fight. He was even willing to get zapped by Pikachu in order to save the day. His friends felt forced in though and the classic “The future is now!” saying felt a little tacked on as well since it was a really odd way to start the sentence. Ah well, Ash will get new friends soon.

Now, the writing for the manga could be a little odd at times. At one point, Hoopa asked Ash what he would wish for so he could thank Ash. Ash responded with his wish to become a Pokemon Master, but after Hoopa offered to grant this to him, he quickly backpedaled and said that it couldn’t be done. He could have given Hoopa an actual wish or simply declined as he did in the movie. Another moment was when Hoopa told his Unbound version something. I’m going to quote the dialogue word for word so here goes.

Unbound- “You disappear…I am Hoopa. I will be…the one…who remains!” Hoopa- “Ashkan said…he wanted to help you too. I’ll tell you everything about me. So please…..calm down and listen…They’re all waiting for you….You and I should become one again. Hee hee, Surprised? You can have fun with them too!” Then Unbound turns good and the two of them merge. Not only did this conversation use the classic three dots…too often, but it didn’t make much sense. Hoopa said that he would tell Unbound all about himself, but then he didn’t. The conversation didn’t actually go anywhere. Maybe it was a bad translation or something, but the dialogue throughout the manga isn’t great. The other lines aren’t quite that bad at least, but it definitely is something.

The art is very clear at least. It’s not great art or anything as it stays very basic to make it look appealing. It’s good for kids since they can easily understand what is happening and I’ll definitely take this over vague artwork that you see from time to time, but it still didn’t feel really high quality. A good example of a great take on simple art is Bleach. That series got it down to a T.

Overall, This was a bit of a short review, but there isn’t a lot to say about this manga. It did a good job of covering the events from the film, but it probably should have been a little longer as everything was really glossed over. I am glad that the 6 vs 3 fight was extended a little though and it definitely shows that the author had his priorities straight. These one shot adventures are always fun and a great way for Pokemon fans to experience the movies in case they don’t have the opportunity to watch them. It’s a good adventure and while it is not great, you’ll have fun reading it. Even if you’ve never watched Pokemon before, this makes for a good story. After all, you won’t need any previous context to understand what is happening since it is all self contained.

Overall 7/10

My Hero Academia Smash

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This is a little spinoff to the main series. It very lightly retells the story’s events as a 4 koma comedy title. As with most titles of this kind of series, the jokes can get old rather quickly so there isn’t much of a future for it. It’s not all that bad though, but there isn’t much of a reason to read it. I’ll review the series when I finish it.

Overall 4/10