7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Old Dark House Review


I’ve had this review in the backburner for quite a while so it was finally time to write this review. It’s a pretty unique film as it’s going for that comedy/horror blend but at times you don’t know which it’s going for. That’s a good thing because it means the blend is working well. Some parts you can definitely tell are being a bit of a parody but other bits are played straight. I wouldn’t call this a great film, but it had some good moments and fun characters. The lead is a good example of a fun character with a lot of humorous moments.

The movie starts off by introducing us to Tom. He seems like a scam artist at first as he tries to get into a club by claiming that he is looking for a friend. He was actually telling the truth though and meets up with Casper. Casper invites Tom to come to his house but says they should travel there separately. His life is in danger and he needs Tom for support. Tom agrees to come, but by the time he arrives Casper is already dead. He is now surrounded by Casper’s rather odd family. All of them have some kind of quirk and nobody is allowed to leave the house. If any member is not present at a specific time every day then he/she will lose their portion of the inheritance. As a result tensions are constantly high and some of them think Tom is here to try and make a claim for it. Can Tom find out who the murderer is before the rest of the family gets bumped off and Tom finds himself 6 feet under?

I’ll give Tom this, he’s a pretty good friend. He goes into what is obviously a very dangerous house just because he wanted to help his friend. It was a long/boring ride all by himself as well and there were not any real upsides to this journey. He was just being a good guy and it ends up costing him his car right away. Tom does his best to tough it out though so the point where he can be a bit slow on the uptake. He was super close to burning himself in acid and just ended up getting lucky. He gets locked in Noah’s arc, gets threatened by just about everyone…..it’s going to be a long trip for him.

I have to deduct some points from Tom for trying to play the field though. Right away he likes Cecily. She tries to get him out of the house before things get dangerous but he is a little slow on the uptake so that doesn’t end up happening. From there Tom is pretty much doomed to stay in the house, but at least he has a friend now right? Well, then Morgana shows up and Tom immediately falls for her as well. You really shouldn’t be falling for two people so easily. You can have crushes on different people at different times, but on the same day? That just shows that Tom isn’t the most loyal guy around. He barely fights his feelings and most times has to get help from Cecily.

The writing was enjoyable and is part of what makes the film work. The characters are reasonable and the humor works pretty well with how absurd it can be at times. Noah’s Ark was definitely the craziest part of the film and probably the only one that will really make you do a double take though. At times it’s hard to believe just how large the estate is. These guys definitely are pretty rich I guess so it’s not a huge stretch but still a little crazy to say the least. Some gags like Tom falling down into the basement are definitely handled pretty well too.

The part about all of the family members needing to be in the room does raise some questions though. Why would they even bother forcing Tom to stay in the house? If they don’t want him to get the money then making sure he is outside makes way more sense. Additionally I don’t see why they always try to make sure everyone is around. The less people in the room the better right? Naturally characters don’t always make the decision that makes sense. It’s not a super serious film like that, but it’s still a fair question. Jasper and his mother look the worst in terms of logic since they know they are in danger and barely seem to care. They really don’t do a good job of trying to hide out or surviving this ordeal.

In comparison Roderick handles this the best. He actually has a gun and talks tough the whole time. He makes a lot of threats and isn’t afraid to call people out. You need that kind of gusto when you’re trapped in a house filled with crazed murderers who can turn on you at the drop of a hat. Meanwhile the least reasonable one was the Uncle who just went around trying to beat Tom up the whole time. Surely he could have picked a better time to do so right? Also he could see that Morgana was the one approaching Tom.

A big part of this film is being a murder mystery so you should try to see if you can guess who the murderer is. There are a good amount of suspects and you get to be introduced to all of them pretty early on in the film which lets you fairly try to guess who the villain is. The film gives you a fair chance to solve this so at the end of the day you’ll need to trust your instincts on this. Put yourself in the main character’s position and just remember that choosing the right answer is a matter of life and death.

Overall, The Old Dark House is an appropriate name for the film. All of the scenes take place in this house once Tom arrives after all and the place is pretty dark. If you are in the mood for a solid parody with a lot happening at all times then this is the film for you. The body count does begin to increase so there are real stakes at play here. There is a sense of danger because Tom can never really let his guard down. This is a strange film, but it surprisingly just ends up working out.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

A Certain Magical Index: The Movie – The Miracle of Endymion Review


It’s time to look at the Index film that came out a while ago. The series has definitely expanded quite a lot with three different shows coming out. Two of them already have 3 seasons which is quite impressive. While the series is mainly an Index film it does bring together the leads of all 3 titles. Unfortunately the film doesn’t really plan out many things for them to do and falters with some fanservice issues which limits how solid the title could ultimately be. It’s an interesting premise with a solid opening act, but it just couldn’t stick the landing.

The film starts off with Touma and Index meeting up with a singer named Arisa. She’s quickly become mega popular over her songs lately and even someone like Touma who doesn’t really listen to music much is a big fan of hers. The three of them get along well enough, but then Arisa is attacked by 3 mages working for Stiyl. Touma tries to figure out what is going on, but Stiyl gives no answers and the heroes are saved by the arrival of a mysterious group of robot riders led by Shoutaura. After everyone leaves with no explanation Touma invites Arisa to stay with him and Index for a while until they sort things out. Everyone is after Arisa and Touma aims to protect her for as long as he can.

Everyone going after the new film character isn’t really a new concept. It’s a convenient way to get everyone in on the action from the jump and works well enough. Arisa is also a likable character who just wants to spread the joy of music to everyone so I have no complaints with her. She also stays strong and sings her song for as long as possible even when the circumstances are getting quite dodgy for her. She never gives up and that’s good since not all of the characters here can say that. There are 2 other important new characters.

The first is Shoutaura who has a personal stake in this. She does not like miracles at all and brings this up quite a lot. Shou is a solid fighter and her group comes in handy on more than one occasion. For a while she was my favorite character but she cracks quite a bit by the end and makes more mistakes than I could allow. I understand her being generally upset and not liking the main characters but by the end she becomes totally crazy. She should have just stopped at trying to murder Ladylee for a while. At least that made sense. Her final target made 0 sense and destroyed her character.

Meanwhile Ladylee is the main villain. She is cursed with immortality and isn’t having any fun so she is trying to get Arisa to fulfill her plans. I don’t think her plan is all that good because there’s no reason why it should erase her immortality. I suppose she needs to try something but ultimately this is a long shot. At least in the meantime she built up a pretty solid reputation and succeeded in life. Even if things don’t pan out nobody should be any the wiser so in theory she can continue her existence.

So, why did the film’s plot not work out so well? Well, as I mentioned the beginning is pretty interesting. You have the magicians and science users all going after Arisa. There’s gotta be a good reason for this right? Well, it’s a bit underwhelming. Basically Arisa has the potential to become a very powerful Angel who could throw the world into chaos. That doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to be hunting her. If anything all this does is make it a whole lot easier for the villains to try to get a hold of her. It also makes Stiyl’s group impossible to root for because they are hunting an innocent girl with no proof that she is bad. If anything they know that she is a nice person in the present and don’t care.

I’ve never been a big fan of Stiyl so it’s not super surprising so much as it’s just disappointing on his part. Meanwhile Kaori also appears briefly and while she is more sympathetic to Arisa’s plot, she isn’t exactly trying to stop her group either. She gets a decent scene trying to stop some rockets but there is no reason why she couldn’t stay to help in the climax except that the film didn’t want her there. I’m also dubious that her slashes could not cut through the random mechs that the villain group was using.

Another problem here is that the film sets up a lot of big fights and character moments only for them not to happen. One case is Accelerator as we see him fairly early on in the film with Last Order, but then he does nothing until the very end. He at least gets a fight right? No, he just gets to slam a tower, but that’s it. There was no real point to his inclusion then but he deserved to do something since he’s such a big character. You can’t throw someone like that into the mix and then not use him. Last Order was fun as always though and did have a good line about why Accelerator should care.

Then you have Misaka who falls into the same boat. She appears early on with her friends and even escorts Arisa through the villain base. (Although they didn’t know it at the time.) After that she doesn’t do anything until the end of the film where she zaps some robots and breaks a tower. This is another case where the whole thing is a missed opportunity. Misaka has broken the law before and has experience being a vigilante. The film should have gone into that as it would have been a pretty interesting plot line. Have her finally get to work with Touma and pals. That would have been really cool instead of doing nothing.

The weirdest part is that Ladylee has two main henchmen who work for her. You’d think that each character would get one right? Well, one of them dies at the very end without being able to fight while the other one is busy dealing with Shou. Both of these characters got some nice build up so it was an odd way to end. At least the main robot got a few fight scenes before he got blown up so it felt like he had an important role. The others…not so much. It just made so much sense to have all of these characters get some action. This is probably the single biggest way in which the film limited its potential. The setup was perfect for a big 3 on 3 fight and it just didn’t happen.

Now, the film wasn’t devoid of fight scenes or anything like that. We got quite a few good ones with solid animation. Stiyl and friends vs Shou was solid as well as Shou’s fights against the robot. The movie’s animation was consistently very solid with the character designs looking good and the energy effects being on point. The soundtrack is also good with a lot of the classic tunes thrown in. Unfortunately my favorite theme from the show didn’t show up but you can’t win em all. That would have helped enhance any scene you throw it into though. We do get a few insert songs from Arisa though which are a lot of fun. Her songs were actually translated in the English version which is cool. Those scenes are definitely a lot of fun.

One area the film struggled with was the fanservice as mentioned earlier. Characters just randomly walk around with nothing on for no reason. Mainly Shou was guilty of this and after it happened multiple times you can tell the film was just being cheeky. It had to throw in random bath scenes and Touma walking in on people too so in general the film was squeezing in as much of this as possible. It’s not as if any of the scenes themselves are all that terrible, but they’re consistent which is still a big problem.

Accidents aside, Touma looked good here. The accidents here weren’t actually his fault. Sometimes they are, but in this film they weren’t so I don’t hold it against his character. He’s quite patient despite being put in a few tough situations like having to pay for large meals that Index likes to eat. You’d think Index would contribute once in a while, but she never seems to help out financially. Touma also does his best to help out during the fights and is in general a good lead. Index isn’t nearly as solid as she just tends to get in the way all of the time. She is certainly not quite as helpful or charismatic as someone like Misaka generally and Arisa looked better in this film.

Overall, A Certain Magical Index: The Movie is decent at best. You’ll get a fun enough story that feels like it could be a two part episode of the show. All of the characters show up and since the music is the same as well it easily fits in with the series. Unfortunately it would be adapting some of the weaker stories with a plot that isn’t particularly strong and more fanservice scenes than some of the episodes tend to have. If you’re a big fan of the series then I imagine you’ll want to check this film out. It still is pretty fun and you’ll be engaged while watching. The weaknesses of the film don’t become as glaringly apparent until you’re done with it. While watching you just keep seeing scenes where you’ll shake your head and think it should have gone another way but there’s always a chance it could change by the ending. Otherwise you really aren’t missing much and you can definitely just go ahead and watch Railgun S instead. That’s still the single best part of the Index series with Misaka showing why she is a one woman army.

Overall 5/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Gravity Rush 2: Juuryoku-teki Memai Tsuisoutan Review


It’s time to look at a really quick manga that adapts part of the Gravity Rush 2 manga. It seems to be about 2 volumes long based on the chapter count. I remember playing Gravity Rush a long time ago so it’s pretty nostalgic to see the characters back in action. Interestingly the series doesn’t cover all of game 2 when I thought it would have. Usually you don’t do that if you’re a one shot or one volume, but 2? I suppose either this series was cancelled or the author just wanted to go in depth on what could be adapted. Either way it’s a fun series although you won’t remember it much after a little while.

Sometime after the events of the first film Kat and Raven get attacked by some monsters. While the monsters don’t prove to be much of a problem they fall into a black hole along with Syd and the three of them get transported to a new world. Kat loses her gravity abilities and Raven goes missing. Kat must now find her friends and prove that her powers aren’t imaginary. In the meanwhile she will have to get along with the civilians of this world and the harsh working conditions that they all have to endure. It certainly won’t be easy but it’s something that she is ready and willing to do. Meanwhile we have some mysterious new villains on the rise who are aiming to sabotage Kat and possibly take over the world.

We don’t really learn what the villains’ plans are in this series. They don’t get time to have any concrete goals and just show up for a quick fight or two. I like their designs though as the main ones seem to be robotic in nature. It’s also good to have some actual enemies for Kat and Raven to fight beyond the little monsters that they always beat up anyway. I’m guessing most of the confrontations with them are probably in the second half of the game which is why we didn’t see them. The bulk of the villain group don’t even appear until the final chapter which is only around 10 pages or so. The cliffhanger ending does help build up a lot of hype for the sequel game though. You really think about checking it out someday.

When Raven shows up again in the series she quickly goes back to being the best character. She’s a fun rival to have around and is the Shadow to Kat’s Sonic. Her abilities may not seem to be quite on par with Kat’s but she does her best against the opponents. We get one nice team up fight with the duo. Admittedly they are fighting a robot who can barely fight back, but I’ll take that over nothing. At least it’s still an action scene to have some fun with. Kat is also a pretty solid character. She’s always optimistic and does her best to help out the town. Once she got her powers back I would have liked to see her stand up to the miners a little more. Surprisingly she doesn’t really do much to resist the villains and just uses her powers to mine more efficiently. I get the feeling that by the end of the game she probably does more about it because it would just strike me as a little odd that she is just going to wait around and watch the whole time.

Meanwhile Syd is a little annoying here. He acts really shady during the game but I don’t think he’s evil. He seems to have some kind of plan that he doesn’t want to share just yet and ends up being more of an obstacle than a help. In general I’ve never been the biggest Syd fan but at least in the first game he would actively help out. Perhaps he would end up doing more as the series progressed though. I suppose there is no rule that you have to help out right away.

The artwork is pretty enjoyable. It can get a little chaotic at times with a lot of things happening all at once, but the calmer pages allow the artist to show off a bit more. Kat and Raven’s designs are very intricate so I imagine that they aren’t the easiest to draw. When you take all of that into account then the series really did an admirable job here. The writing is good as well. The series ends up being pretty vague and distant, but that’s probably hard to avoid given that it is adapting part of a story. You aren’t really given time to care about any of the characters Kat meets in town so the title is at its best when we are getting fight scenes. I do think the writing being better could have let it take off anyway, but as it stands this is still a pretty enjoyable experience.

Overall, Gravity Rush 2 seems like it would be a good game and the manga works as a good intro for if you end up playing the game. I suppose you don’t really need it if you are going to play the game right away though because then you would just be doing some of the same events twice in a row which may get old. I’d like to have an ongoing Gravity Rush manga since that would really allow us to explore the universe more. There’s only so much you can do in a mini series like this one. Nothing really gets accomplished so you have to enjoy the ride. I don’t believe this would have a lot of replay value as a result. There’s nothing negative about the series so it keeps a solid score at the ready, but it’s unlikely you would ever need to read this with how many others there are to check out.

8 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Please Murder Me Review


It’s time to look at an old noir film with a pretty interesting plot. Right from the title you can probably tell that this will be an interesting case though. You don’t really see titles like this much anymore and it does leave an impression. I was expecting the film to be good but I can safely say that it exceeded expectations. This will ultimately go down as one of the definitive Noir titles out there.

The movie starts with Craig heading to his office and beginning a recording. The actual recording is basically the rest of the film so lets head into the past. Craig heads to his best friend Joe’s office and lets him know that he is having an affair with the man’s wife. Well, Craig’s character is officially ruined. Craig wants Joe to have a divorce so he can marry Myra properly. Joe wants a day to think it over, but the next day he is murdered by Myra. She says it was in self defense and since Craig is a defense attorney he agrees to take over her case as she is being tried for murder. If Craig can prove her innocence then they can finally be married but will it be so simple?

So I have to tackle the romance part of this film right away. There is no way you can root for Craig or Myra here right from the jump because they were having a relationship while she was married. No matter how you slice it that is cheating and nothing should have happened until she was officially split. Craig tries to say that he didn’t mean for it to happen, but the reasoning doesn’t matter. You can never put yourself in a position where you may have an affair with a married person. It’s just not done and it’s even worse to the fact that it was Craig’s best friend. It’s the ultimate betrayal and it was a pretty tough way for Joe to get bumped off there.

Craig is a good attorney and pulls out all the tricks, but he still comes off as a bit of a sucker. Without getting into plot specifics he misses a lot of signs in the face of love and by the time he realizes what is going on it is pretty late. That’s why his plan is pretty clever and not one that you would expect to see. Usually the plot is completely reversed in terms of framing and paying for crimes you didn’t commit. This one flips that in a full 180 which was unexpected. The ending actually plays it straight and is a solid conclusion to a great film.

Meanwhile Myra is just as unsympathetic as Craig. She’s really just looking out for herself and in court the prosecutor (Ray) quickly drills down into what actually happened. He was definitely my favorite character in the film. He did a good job of connecting the dots and wasn’t falling for any traps. At the end of the film he does come across as possibly being a little naive but I like to think he was going to figure things out in a few moments. He was likely just trying to make sure that the others did not suspect what happened.

In general the film is a pretty good cautionary tale. You should always have a healthy amount of trust but when weird things happen left and right you do need to think about it a bit. Karma hits like a truck in movies like this where people get their just desserts right away but in real life it’s not always like that so you can’t afford to make the same mistakes as the characters in the film. Craig basically got what he deserved here along with the rest of the characters and if he had stopped to do the right thing in the beginning then none of this would have happened. Another character in the film is Carl who seems just as gullible in his short time of appearing.

The writing is quite good here with the characters all making quite a lot of threats as the film goes on while being subtle about it. I miss how everyone would always pretend to be quite polite back in these days with veiled threats behind every word. The film also does deliver on the noir aspect with a lot of narration from Craig and a bunch of dark scenes. He even works in the dark at times just like you would expect from this era. The film’s pacing is solid as things move quite quickly and I greatly enjoyed the court scenes as always. It’s all played pretty seriously with both sides looking competent in their arguments.

Joe could have played this whole thing a lot better though. Getting murdered aside since it would be hard to avoid that, he probably should have had some more details in his will or something to protect against what happened. Especially if you’re well off then putting extra contingents in your will or in various paperwork before getting married is just a good idea to cover your bases. It probably will put a strain on the relationship right from the start, but it’ll also ensure that you’re with someone who actually wants to be with you and isn’t just in it for other reasons.

Overall, Please Murder Me is a great film and I recommend it to anyone that likes a good thriller with some twists along the way. I believe a lot of viewers will suspect what happened right away but that’s fine because there is a good chunk of film left after the event happens. Technically in my plot summary I probably stopped a lot earlier than most summaries would because you could make the case that the twist is part of the plot and even on the poster. I’d argue that the film works even better if you don’t know this, but regardless you will like it. It’s just a very complete film with a compelling beginning and a satisfying ending.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Ghostbusters: The Video Game Review


Time for another film type PS3 game. This one got a lot of hype since it plays out as a sequel to the original Ghostbusters films which is pretty cool. It’s nice to get some extra closure for the characters and it feels nostalgic right off the bat. The main character doesn’t add much but it gives the others an extra target to talk about so that works out well. It’s a very fun game and I can see why it ended up getting a remake. You really can’t go wrong here.

The game starts with the Ghostbusters hiring a new guy to help them out. It’s been a bit of a tough stretch lately with the mayor hiring someone to keep an eye on the team. (Peck) Peck really doesn’t like the Ghostbusters and aims to run them out of town even if it means losing his job. I guess you have to give the guy credit for persistence because that’s really taking his job to the next level. I feel like a lot of other guys would have quickly faltered once their job was on the line. There’s no time to waste on him though as more and more ghosts have been appearing around town. Looks like the Ghostbusters are going to need to bring their A game here.

It’s nice to see fan favorites like the Marshmallow Man making an appearance here as well. He makes for a pretty intimidating boss in the early levels. The plot is solid and the main villain finally fighting himself instead of summoning more monsters was certainly impressive as well. The game gets to go all out with the supernatural aspect this time around as the characters go to different dimensions and the ghosts really mean business here. All of them are pretty fun even if the romance bit doesn’t really work out so well. I think the gag should have ended with the main character failing once again. The guy was persistent so getting one last rejection would have been perfect.

The game has pretty strong writing throughout as we get quite a lot of solid banter. All of the characters have an answer for everything and they’re constantly bringing up the past to try and mess with each other. You can really see how they are a close knit group that has been through a lot. They all make fun and stuff, but at the end of the day end up helping each other out. It reminds me why we need a proper third Ghostbusters film. Not what we’ve gotten lately. Hopefully the new one is good, but the focus on the kids is an early red flag.

As for the graphics, they’re definitely quite good. Like Terminator Salvation this is a very cinematic heavy game. It feels like an interactive movie to an extent as the story keeps going and you throw in your guns to blast away at the enemies. The gameplay is like your typical shooter only with a Pokemon capturing thing thrown in. The goal is to capture the ghosts in little devices that you carry on hand and then you keep it moving. The game also has various detective portions of the level where you have to find the ghost or solve some kind of mystery. For that you have a pair of goggles that let you see the invisible things in the air. This may sound like a lot, but you’ll quickly master the controls.

You can also buy upgrades for your various guns. By the end of the game your gun has 4 modes. The ones you’ll be using the most are the ooze version and the standard laser. All of them have their perks though. Then the game has a great soundtrack with the iconic theme showing up every time you hit the main menu or lose a life. It helps you not feel so bad about losing because otherwise it is a bit of a long loading screen. Throwing in a fun little song like that was the way to go for minimizing how long it feels.

In terms of length this is another short one at around 5 hours. There are a lot of collectibles to grab and monsters to scan though. If you’re aiming for the Platinum and have to grab these then the game’s play time should likely double for you. There’s a good amount to do and the price is still quite low here so it’s a good investment. What else could last this long and be this cheap to buy? There is also one puzzle that can be a bit tricky so if that ends up stumping you then you may end up being here a little longer than you would have expected. It took me around 10 minutes before I cracked it. In terms of difficulty you shouldn’t have any big problems although one level near the end with fire owls crashing everywhere was tricky. I definitely lost that one quite a few times before being able to take them all down.

Overall, Ghostbusters the Video Game is a solid experience and I recommend checking it out. It’s one of those games that just flies by because of how much fun it is. The characters all act the way they do from the original show and the gameplay is solid as well. Your A.I. partners may die quite a lot so you end up having to carry but that’s fine because you are the new recruit so it’s to be expected. I’m certainly down for a new Ghostbusters game. Building off of the story in this one would work quite nicely.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Terminator Salvation Review


It’s time to look at a PS3 game that I’ve been meaning to buy for a very long time. Terminator’s always been a pretty fun film series and it makes for solid games. Who doesn’t want to try and save the future from the Terminators right? This one is especially well known because it’s supposed to be a pretty easy Platinum trophy game and it’s quite short. It is a shame that it couldn’t be a bit longer, but I thought the game accomplished a lot in the time it had. It feels like a cinematic experience and had more cutscenes than I expected.

The plot of the game follows a man named John Connor. He is the child of destiny and has always been targeted by the machines. One day he decides to finally take more responsibility and heads into a war zone to save some men who have been trapped. The army believes this is a suicide mission and doesn’t follow him so right now it’s up to him and one lady who accompanies him. Can they possibly travel across a vast city in search of these survivors without getting destroyed by the opposing armaments? It’ll be difficult but John is ready to try.

It’s a very enjoyable story. It’s been quite a while since I watched the film so I don’t know how closely it follows the plot, but the game at least did a good job of building up the characters and the world. One interesting thing here is how much of a threat the Terminators are. They don’t appear very often as you usually fight drones. When they do appear you really can’t try to fight them in the open field. They will drain your health away almost instantly with their fast machine gun shots. It’s nice to see them as such a threat because in the films it is usually very difficult to defeat even one of them. They have grown a bit weaker in newer films as the humans can take some of them down, but in the originals you just weren’t going to win. The final level of this game even puts you in a position where winning is nearly impossible.

I actually died the first time in this level because I tried to beat them at the end. The trick is instead to run to the nearby chopper and that cuts you to the ending. If you stay and fight then you die and that’s the overall message of the game. You can’t stay and fight every time. Sometimes you just have to beat a hasty retreat. Espionage is heavily focused on in this game. You hide behind cover and then take shots in order to guarantee success. The mechanics of this are pretty solid. I like to just run in and shoot but the game makes that almost impossible to do. Your best bet is to hide behind things and even then the game can be a little difficult at times. If you pick the wrong route then your only route left may be the death screen. You have to really think about every move you make before you do it.

The best weapon in the game is easily the rocket launcher so I recommend having that on hand whenever possible. Usually you don’t see this weapon very often in the game so save your few shots for when you are in a really tight spot. I liked to save it for when I would actually be fighting a humanoid Terminator. They are easily the trickiest opponents to fight and the rocket only needs 2 good hits to take them down. Otherwise I used a shotgun for most of the game. You’re allowed to carry two weapons at all times so those were my two. There are other good weapons to be sure, but these are the two that really worked out quite well for me.

The graphics here are quite impressive. This is a PS3 game with a lot of effort put behind it. It doesn’t feel like your average movie tie in and is more like a AAA title. The backgrounds look nice and while the game does get a little too dark at times, I believe that is more due to my TV having that issue as opposed to it being the game. The soundtrack is also good with all of the usual Terminator themes you should be used to. You can beat this game in around 5 hours or so and the only replay value is to beat the game again on hard to obtain all of the trophies. The game won’t last long but it goes back to quality vs quantity. It’s short but you’ll feel like you got your money’s worth.

Overall, Terminator Salvation is a great game. It definitely exceeded my expectations of what I was expecting here and I would rank it pretty highly among the others. My favorite is probably still the third Terminator game since I really liked the combat system there and it also adapted one of the most exciting movies which doesn’t hurt. Still, if you’re got 5 bucks to spare then this is a great game to check out. You’ll really get to learn how to play a shooter game very carefully and the skills should transition into others. Before long you’ll be a pro at the ole run and gun style.

Overall 8/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Yugioh 7 Trials to Glory: World Championship Tournament 2005 Review


It’s time for another Yugioh game as I get closer to playing through them all. This one goes back to the whole calendar system which still should not be a thing if you ask me. It’s one of the World Championship titles too which is odd because those are usually all about just taking out all of the duelists a bunch of times and calling it a day. Why mess with a good thing? The actual gameplay is still pretty solid but it feels like there just isn’t a whole lot to do here so you’re spinning your wheels a lot.

There really isn’t much of a plot to be found here. You are playing as a new kid on the block who is going around dueling everyone. As you beat more and more players you feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. There are also tournaments you can enter on the weekend. That’s really just about it as far as plot goes. Keep on dueling and having fun. Unlike the other Yugioh game a day doesn’t end here until you click on the bed and go to sleep. That means you can have a ton of duels in a single day if you’d like. There really isn’t much of a rush either as you can’t even see the calendar so it’s hard to say if there is an end game. There didn’t seem to be any kind of change for me even after playing through a few weeks. It was the same tournaments every weekend and the same duelists on the block.

So I went around town dueling as many people as I could. For the most part the duelists around town are made to be very easy so you can beat them with your starter deck. It makes sense since our deck isn’t all that powerful. You’ve got some great spells and traps like Trap Hole and Change of Heart but most of your monsters are pretty bottom of the barrel so it’s hard to deal with stronger opponents. A good example of this was in the tournament when I fought Mako. That guy’s cards were just way above my own. My spells carried me to a victory in one round but he won the set 2-1.

Around town the characters have monsters with numbers like 800 attack points so there isn’t much of a threat. You don’t directly get cards for winning in this game but you do get money after every duel so that is very helpful. I bought a bunch of packs and in theory the best way to really get a good deck in this game is to keep farming wins off of the weaker opponents. Do this long enough and you should have a winning combo before long.

The problem again is that there isn’t too much of an incentive to doing so. I assume that winning tournaments and beating duelists enough will cause new ones to appear or do something but without knowing that for sure there isn’t a great reason for continuing to duel. That’s often the problem with no story mode. At least nowadays you can duel online to still feel like there is some kind of end game but that wasn’t really an option back in the day. I’d say making some kind of internal goal for yourself like beating every duelist once makes sense, but it’s not quite the same.

The graphics are pretty solid here. There’s not a whole lot for the game to really do with them since not a lot is happening on screen, but I’d say what we do have looks solid. You certainly won’t be confused as to what is happening at any given point or anything like that. The music is also catchy enough to enhance your dueling experience which is all that I would ask of it. It’s not the most impressive Yugioh game out there, but still a solid way to learn the game and have some fun in the mean-time. The actual UI is better than some of the other titles.

Again, it’s hard to really talk about the length since it’ll depend on how you handle this. I’d say that the game is probably about 2-3 hours if you just want to go and duel a bunch of people. If you want to get good enough cards to win some tournaments then you’ll probably need to increase that to around 10 hours. It will really depend on a ton of factors though like what cards you get from the shop or how good you are at building your deck. I imagine that most people’s decks will look incredibly different as they go through the game.

Overall, Yugioh 7 Trials to Glory is a fun game. It may not have changed the world the way that some of the other Yugioh games did, but I’d make the case that it is still a fair experience. You can buy this game for a few dollars at this point so you really can’t go wrong here. That being said, I’d advise you to get one of the other World Championship titles instead. I prefer having the tier system where as you get more and more wins you unlock stronger duelists. It makes for more of a linear campaign and that’s something I always like to see. Now I’ve only got one more GBA Yugioh game to work on, but it is by far the hardest Yugioh game I’ve played so beating this one should be tricky.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts Review


It’s been a little while since I went back to one of the SNES games, but it was time to change that and what better game to jump into than Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts? It’s a pretty classic 2D platformer and a title that holds up quite well over the years. The game’s rather short, but it is very old so that is pretty understandable. The ending is the only thing that limits the game to an extent but I wouldn’t say that it affects the score.

The plot of the game is that demons have kidnapped the princess. The main character must now head off into the unknown in order to save her. To do this he will need to conquer legions of monsters and other deadly foes until he makes it to the castle. It won’t be easy, but this guy does have some experience in this arena. The game has around 8-9 levels and you should be able to clear it in about an hour. It’ll depend partially on how often you die and if you use the rewind feature or not. I certainly spammed the life out of that button but for those of you who do not wish to resort to such tactics you will likely appreciate the difficulty level. I wouldn’t say that the game ever gets unfair, it’s just unrelenting if you make a mistake.

A single error on your part will likely result in your death. I don’t know if you have to restart the level or the whole game when you lose since I never let it get that far but if it’s like most titles then you would need to restart from scratch if you get a game over. So long as you can avoid doing that then you should be fine. As you go through the levels you will encounter various weapons. You can only have one weapon at a time so you really have to think carefully about getting a new one. My personal favorite was the fire ball so once I had that I was not going to go back to a sword or any of the other options. None of them seem flat out worse than the others except for the slow boomerang so it’ll depend on how you want to play the matchup. Once you find your perfect weapon then it’s off to the races.

The graphics are pretty solid and the game actually had an opening cutscene which impressed me. Even if there isn’t a lot of story beyond the intro I’m still glad to have that much. It’s something that was not always a guarantee back in the day. The soundtrack is pretty reasonable. I wouldn’t call it the most memorable tune out there, but it worked well enough if you ask me. I was able to get behind this and the gameplay is always more fun when you have something to listen too.

I realize that I didn’t speak much on the gameplay, but it’s pretty self explanatory. You use your weapon to slay any enemies you get in your way as you aim to get to the end of the level. At the end there is a boss you will face and upon defeating the creature you are able to get into the next level. There are no crazy jumps and the platforming is actually pretty mild next to most of the others. It’s more combat focused than anything else.

There isn’t really any replay value after completing the game though. So the full game should last you about an hour and then if you want to 100% that maybe make it 2 hours. When you reach the end of the game the ending you get will depend on some factor in the levels. The Princess seems to hint that you had to grab some collectibles along the way but I must admit that I did not notice anything like that in my travels. So I got the fake ending where they start you back at the beginning of the game again. No way I was going to do the whole thing again just for a quick cutscene but if that’s up your alley then it’s certainly something to look into.

Overall, Super Ghouls is a pretty cool sounding title and the game is a lot of fun. I really can’t see you not having a blast with this one. It’s really got everything you could ask for in a game and then some. Keep in mind that it’s a short one but if you already have the SNES Online package then it’s effectively free. There’s no real downside to giving it a shot so you may as well do that. We’re getting some new games added to the service soon so I’ll definitely be ready to try those. The collection for the SNES is getting more and more impressive with each passing month.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Yugioh The Eternal Duelist Soul Review


It’s time to take a look at a GBA Yugioh game that I’m pretty sure I played back in the day. I remember going through tons of duels and really getting to master the strategies of taking them all on. The data even reset, but it’s been a long time so I went through the full first tier before doing this review. The game holds up quite well. What keeps it from being one of the definitive World Championship titles is the fact that the loading times are a little on the slow side compared to the others. You can hold B to speed things up, but then it’ll skip your chance to use trap cards which is risky. The game also constantly asks if you want to use the cards in your hand which is a little overdone.

There isn’t a plot in this game. How it works is you go to the campaign mode. There are 5 duelists you can challenge. Once you beat all 5 of them twice then you unlock the next 5 duelists. Beat all of them 3 times and you unlock tier 3. Rinse and repeat through the 5 tiers. So you can expect to get quite a lot of duels in. The duelist in Tier 1 are basically a cakewalk and you shouldn’t have a problem, but as you go through the tiers the difficulty level certainly spikes up. You’ll definitely need to re-tool your deck quite a bit as you go on and will have to hope for good cards through RNG. You get around 6-7 new ones every time you score a win.

Your starter deck is already quite nice though. You get a Monster Reborn card which is still one of the best in the whole franchise. You’ve also got Raigeki which destroys all opponent monsters, Trap Hole which destroys a new monster who has been summoned, Mystical Space Typhoon which blows up a spell or trap card on the opponent’s side of the field, etc. Your deck is quite loaded with the only weak point being the monsters as most of those are intentionally pretty weak. If you get your Summoned Skull onto the field you will be in good shape though. It’s a long process but by the end of the game your deck will be quite formidable indeed. In my experience the best thing to do is to always arm yourself with a ton of spells and trap cards. Those will really help the monsters out. The strongest monsters won’t do much if the opponent is constantly destroying them with effects after all.

The graphics are nice and fit the game pretty well. The UI is on point and everything is pretty streamlined. You can always tell what is happening even if there are minimal effects in the actual game. You don’t really need to be flashy in Yugioh because the gameplay is strong enough to stand up on its own. That being said, it is fun when the games go a bit extra in that like with Tag Force. Those games are really awesome in part because of how flashy they are. this game isn’t quite going to be in the same league. The soundtrack is also a bit on the dull side. You’ll want to put on some background music while playing this one to shake things up a bit.

There’s a lot of play time you’ll need to put into this game so you don’t have to worry about a lack of content. By the time you’ve beaten all of the duelist a number of times in order to unlock the next tier you’ll probably have played this game for 15-20 hours. When you put that into perspective then playing the 5 or so dollars to buy the game is a steal. Yugioh really had a ton of GBA games to the point where they are all dirt cheap to buy at this point. In comparison it feels like they don’t really make a lot of them anymore. That makes sense though because we have the mobile game now so there isn’t a lot of reason to make more of them. The mobile game has everything you could really hope for in a Yugioh title. That one has a ton of content to explore.

Overall, Yugioh The Eternal Duelist Soul is a really fun game. It’s a bit bare bones next to a lot of the other titles in the series, but if you judge the title on its own then it’s as good a game as you can hope for. I expect you’ll have a lot of fun here so long as you enjoy the Yugioh series in general. At the end of the day the actual card game has always been a lot of fun and I don’t really expect that to change anytime soon. Especially the original days where you don’t have to worry about too many combos. Synchro Summoning is about as complex as I get in my dueling strategies, anything past that I don’t really tend to include in my decks.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Jak X: Combat Racing Review


It’s been a long while since I played a Jak game so it was good to see the franchise once more. The racing game always looked like a lot of fun back in the PS2 era so it’s about time that I got to give it a spin. It’s a racing game that’s really worth a purchase because it has the best racing plot I’ve ever seen as well as the best soundtrack. It’s a blast and a half while also being a little longer than the average racing game. That’s a winning combination if I’ve ever seen one.

The game takes place after Jak II and the main characters are all invited to hear Krew’s final will and testament. Since the characters were all involved with his demise in one way or another they decide to attend. Everyone pours a drink and while Jak refuses at first, he decides to drink anyway when he sees that Krew’s daughter drank as well. Unfortunately his initial suspicions were correct as Krew explains in his recording that he has poisoned them all. The only way to get the antidote is to win the world grand prix on Krew’s team. The heroes don’t want to help this guy even if he is dread, but now their lives are riding on this outcome. The heroes swallow their pride and get ready to race.

There are quite a few subplots here in the meantime. On one hand you’ve got the TV announcer who is enjoying the races because he is earning a ton of money. They had all been fixed for many years so with the addition of Jak and friends it is adding some extra spice to the whole event. The gangsters are also watching the races closely since the winner of the tournament will have a very strong standing in the community. It should be noted that most of the people entering these races are gangsters and crime lords.

The actual gameplay is like a typical racing game but with an extra big emphasis on combat mechanics. You obtain many weapons as you go through the course which range from machine guns to rockets. You can also get defensive weapons like land mines and little turrets you can leave behind to blast away at enemies. Then there are boosters to power up your boost meter and little health packs. Usually you will have to choose what to go for as when you get to the item points in the race there will be an option to grab either a weapon or a booster for example. The items are pretty frequent so you can always just alternate or something like that. The best weapon in the game is the satelite as everyone in front of you instantly crashes. It’s an amazing item but one you won’t likely see very often.

My recommendation is if you’re in first place then always go for the defensive item or the booster. You can use any defensive item to block a rocket which is very handy and boosters help you stay in first. If you’re not in the lead then always go for the attack item since you want to be back up there as soon as possible. The races are about 4-5 minutes at times so you don’t want to lose since you’ll need to start it again. In each world you need to collect 50 points to play the Grand Prix. 1st place is worth 3 points, 2nd is 2, and 3rd is 1. SO if you get a lot of 1st places it’ll help you get through the game a little quicker. I never lost a Grand Prix so I don’t know if you’d have to replay the whole thing or not, but each Grand Prix is 3 races so that would be a lot to replay.

Not all stages are typical races though. You’ve got 4-5 other kinds of gameplay. You’ve got time trials where you run into clocks to keep your time up and you try to complete the stage as quickly as possible. Then you have Death Races where you have to blow up a number of cars before time runs out. There’s Traffic where cars will run at you and you have to run through them as you get to the end. Death Matches have you try to earn 10 points in eliminating other players. Then there’s Artifacts Race where you scramble to grab them before the other players and capture the flag where you try to get an orb into your base. There’s also booster mode where you’re at top speed and have to power up as many orbs as you can.

There’s a lot of variety here so the game has quite a lot to offer. It’s clear that this racing game had a lot of effort behind it. The graphics are top notch and I’m glad that they went to the trouble of adding so many cutscenes. It has more of them than the average platformer game which is pretty cool. Then you have the soundtrack which is great as there are a lot of rock themes. Every time you unlock a car you get a great tune and the stage themes are excellent as well. It really fits in with the game’s atmosphere.

The main story mode should take you around 7-8 hours I’d say. After that the main replay value will be trying to get all of the stars and maxing out each car. There’s not much reason to do the latter but I’m assuming you get something for doing all cars. Ironically powering up a car can backfire at times as it’ll go too fast and you’ll crash so my advice is to be careful with it. I did a lot of upgrades in the final world and it nearly cost me everything.

The writing here is top notch so all of the characters are entertaining. There are a lot of twists in the stories and a fun cast of characters. It’s nice to see all of Jak’s friends show up. Not all of them were the nicest to Daxter, but it’s hard to be when he’s always lying and you can’t tell if he’s on your side or not. The opening cutscene of the game is a good example of this as Daxter starts on one of his crazy adventures again. Jak’s appearance ends up hurting Daxter’s credibility, but it was already shot. You really have to experience the story to see why it’s so great. Jak’s the standout, but the reporter and Jak’s friends are also pretty entertaining. They all don’t tend to get along very well but in their defense, being poisoned does spoil the mood.

Overall, Jak X is a terrific game and it reminds me of why Jak is such a great character. He’s the best Naughty Dog lead for sure. Pretty much every line he gets in this game is terrific. He’s really not about to get intimidated the way a lot of others characters do when the villain shows up. Now that’s what I call talent. If you don’t have this game yet then you need to change that. It’s a lot of fun and really changes the way you think about racing games.

Overall 8/10