5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Fox 2 Review


It’s time to look at a pretty obscure Star Fox game. Not a lot of people got to play this game back in the day although that has changed to a degree since the game was included on the SNES classic and now it’s also available through the Switch Online. I can definitely see why Nintendo wanted to bury this game back in the day though. While I applaud Nintendo’s effort to make a new kind of Star Fox game, it really doesn’t hold up nearly as well as the original. The gameplay just isn’t that good and that’s always tough to get past for a video game.

The basic plot is that Andross wants to conquer the star systems once again. Fox and friends don’t want to let this happen, but at the same time it’s going to be really hard to put a stop to this. The team splits up and prepares to defeat the opposing planets while protecting their own. This takes you to the hub world which shows you where everything is at. It’s a bit overwhelming but you’ll get the gist of it after a few minutes. Corneria is your home base and if it gets destroyed then that is an instant game over. Your goal is to stop the missilles heading towards it and taking down all of the enemy bases. Personally I feel like the easiest thing to do is taking out all of the bases right away. The villains won’t have time to blow up Corneria if you do that. That’s what I did and the game is over within 40-50 minutes.

The actual gameplay is a 3D shooter. You fly through the air and try to blast the ships out of the sky. This is the worst part of the gameplay because it’s hard to see anything. Your sensor is oddly not in the middle of your screen so you have to find it and then shoot from there. It’s just not very fun and the gameplay feels like it was slapped together. It’s always hard to tell where you’re at or even just moving in general. Fortunately not all of the levels use this gameplay style but it would have to be one of the worst shooter gameplays I’ve tried.

The other style is your ground missions which ties into the final level. You get to run around as a walker and blast various objects. It actually feels pretty similar to Star Fox Assault which is good since that is still the best Star Fox title. You can also switch back to your Arwing if necessary but I don’t see why you would do that. The walker is way easier to move around in and the blasters take down all of the enemies very quickly. The final boss even goes down quickly like this and the gameplay is a lot more fun. This would be a whole different game if you could just play in the walker the whole time. It’s just really solid.

If I had to describe why the gameplay didn’t work, it’s just a little too unfocused. It can be hard to know what is happening right away and it’s just too hard to turn around. The boss against the long snake is a good example of that as he keeps flying around you and it’s so hard to keep up with him. He barely ever tries to attack you so the boss isn’t hard, just a little on the tedious side. I think the first person view is what tripped the game up, it should have been more of a third person camera view like the original Star Fox. That’s always a safer approach if you ask me.

Team Wolf shows up in this game, but they don’t really serve much purpose except to give you a quick dogfight. The level is okay but surprisingly Leon was way more difficult than Wolf. Wolf went down almost instantly while Leon actually beat me the first time. The difficulty level here isn’t as crazy as some SNES games, but it’s still tough enough where you can’t just breeze through the whole thing. You will have to think through your moves and be very careful about how you approach each level. One loss means game over, but the rewind feature on the SNES should help you avoid that.

Meanwhile the graphics are pretty good. In this area at least I’d say it keeps up pretty well with the original game and maybe even surpasses it. I was glad we got little text cutscenes even if the game didn’t have the most elaborate story in it. At least having a bit of a story is better than none right? The soundtrack is also decent I suppose. Not the most imaginative, but it’s got those classic Star Fox vibes that always work well. As for replay value, I wouldn’t really say there is much. You can try beating the game in a different way but there’s not a whole lot of reason to do so. I suppose if you just like the game enough then that’s not a bad idea. Since the game is free it’s not like you need the game to be quite as long though.

Overall, Star Fox 2 is a fairly weak Star Fox game. I have to say that the franchise has had a pretty tough time over the years. The original Star Fox game was decently good, but then we had this one which wasn’t very good. Star Fox Assault was amazing and Adventures was pretty good but then we had Command and Zero which really could not hold their own on that level. I hope the next Star Fox game we get is more like Assault and brings the series into the elite level. The concept is still so much fun and Fox is always a great character to have around. I don’t really recommend this game, but if you have the Switch Online then you may as well check it out. Otherwise I’d say you should just pick up Assault instead.

Overall 5/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Dr. Stone reboot: Byakuya Review


It’s definitely cool to see that Dr. Stone already got a spin-off. At only 9 chapters it is a pretty quick one but that’s fine. I think it would have been hard to stretch the premise out too long or it may have felt a little redundant. Either you have the original astronauts doing a lot of the same things Senku and pals have done or you stay up in space with not a lot to do. This spinoff is definitely pretty emotional though thanks to the addition of a new character.

The series starts by introducing us to Byakuya and his crew as they watch Earth get enveloped in stone. Byakuya figures they need to dash back to Earth. His crew is a little skeptical about this choice but eventually agree to do it. As they head out, Byakuya is forced to leave the A.I. Program behind to guard the ship. The robot says it will wait for the humans to return no matter how long it takes. Will it really be able to stay operational over the next 3000 years?

The first few chapters play out pretty similar to how Byakuya’s story was in the main series. It expands on some areas while cutting out most of the scenes we already saw. The spinoff was timed pretty well since the end of the series ties in really well with the current events in the main title. Somehow I don’t think Rei would show up until the final chapter of the series because she would probably break the immersion for many and would be a little too handy. In general this series is a little less realistic than the main one but it does show you just how advanced the Dr. Stone series could have been if not for the stone wave. If anything I think it shows that it is far more advanced than our Earth.

Byakuya is always a fun character so it was nice to see more of him. He’s quite different from Senku but still has that same determination and drive to succeed. Lillian’s a solid heroine as well and the two of them are the best members of the prequel cast. The rest of the characters are around but they don’t leave much of an impression this time. That’s because there really isn’t enough time for them. The rest of the series is about the A.I. Rei after the humans have gone. She aims to keep the ship in good condition but as the centuries pass it gets to be a difficult task.

I have to admit that Rei’s plot isn’t quite as interesting and since it’s over half of the series that means this isn’t going to be a title with a lot of replay value. Her chapters are almost silent as she fiddles around with some tech and keeps putting upgrades in the ship and on herself. By the end of the series she has her own robot body which is cool. I do think it would be a waste to not have her ever appear again so I would like a cameo by the end of Dr. Stone. I think Byakuya should have been straight with her and told her to come to Earth. Given how resourceful she is I have a feeling that Rei would have been able to pull it off. If anyone could, it would definitely be this A.I.

The art is definitely pretty solid like the main series. All of the characters are pretty well detailed and the backgrounds are solid. It makes for easy reading. I blasted through the series all in one go so it did hold my attention. The writing is solid as always and I’m glad to see Stone getting a spinoff already. Some series take a long time to get any so that’s pretty impressive for sure.

I am still a little surprised that the series wasn’t about showing more of Byakuya’s adventures, but since this was always meant to be a miniseries perhaps the author wants to save that for a spinoff. Ultimately it’s not like Byakuya’s group would go too far since we know how their adventure concludes, but I imagine it could still be pretty enjoyable. Rei’s story is certainly out of the box, but if she appears again then it’ll all be worth it. If she doesn’t return then I admit that will be pretty unfortunate. There’s still so much they can do with her even if she will be overpowered.

The ending does occur at the expense of Senku’s character though. He doesn’t notice a signal from Rei that I feel like he would have figured out right away. He knows that the event isn’t a natural phenomenon and the guy is always super curious about anything like that. Ideally he’ll notice at some point, but I think the series should have ended without her giving that signal. It would have made Senku look a little better at least.

Overall, Reboot is an interesting prequel. You sort of get the idea that it’s going to be like Attack on Titan: Before The Fall where it doesn’t really matter, but hopefully that is not the case. I believe this title would retroactively get a little more interesting if it does end up having an impact on the main title. It would be a nice crossover of sorts. If not? Well, this is still a fun little mini series. I imagine it’ll eventually get bundled together as a one shot volume so if you see it in stores I’d recommend picking it up.

Overall 7/10

Games, 5 Star Games, Reviews, Game Reviews

Major League Baseball 2K7 Review


It’s time for another Baseball game! This one could actually be the last one I review for a while which is pretty crazy. I have two more MLB games, but they haven’t been working. If they don’t start working soon then it’ll be time to cut my losses with them. Baseball is one of the few series where I actually tend to prefer 2K to the main line games. 2K7 is no exception and actually has the best batting mechanics I’ve seen yet. If you really like Baseball then this is the title for you. It’s still not really my sport when it comes to video games because I feel like there is too much RNG, but at least now I can hit the ball back.

There are a lot of modes as always here but the one you will want is the exhibition mode right off the bat. I just wanted to test my skills against another Baseball team and so I dashed over. Much to my surprise I actually put up a pretty good fight here. It started out badly as I was down 3-0 after a few innings. I just couldn’t manage to hit the ball. I checked the settings and the reason for this was that the game was using motion controls. You were supposed to tilt your controller in order to swing. This is all well and good except for the fact that my PS3 controller has no such feature. I switched the controls to what they listed as “Classic” which allowed me to hit the ball normally. It went back to a classic “Press X” control scheme which is way more my speed.

So I started to make my comeback. I was hitting balls left and right. A lot of them went foul but others would actually be home runs. Eventually the game ended with a score of 9-6. I may have lost, but I got really close compared to most games where I lose 18-0 or something like that. At least this one made me feel like I was in the game at several points. It still doesn’t really take away from my main issue with these Baseball games though. My problem is that none of it feels like it’s in my control.

When pitching, the guy will just hit the ball sometimes. It doesn’t matter if you hit the perfect pitch, sometimes the guy will simply be ready for it. Likewise when you’re batting you can be in just the right spot and still not hit the ball. Perhaps it was outside and it just looked like it was in. Even worse is when you hit the ball and it goes out of bounds or straight into someone’s mitt. I know there are ways to angle your hit better and if you don’t want to go out of bounds then you’ve got to work on timing but there is too much that is out of my control for me to enjoy it as much as the others.

Basketball, Football, and Tennis are my three favorite sports to play in video game format and that’s because RNG is kept to a minimum there. What you see is what you get. If you mess up then it’s all on you. Sure, there is RNG present in every game and those are not exceptions, but they don’t feel nearly as frequent as they do in Baseball. No matter how refined the controls get, I feel as though that will always be holding the series back to an extent.

As always the graphics are good though. The players all look lifelike and the Baseball field is very clear. A lot of effort went into this even if it’s not quite up to Madden level. The presentation is also nice with a lot of quick cutscenes showing up between plays or after the game. Even seeing everyone heading into the stadium was a lot of fun. Slowly but surely the games are all starting to have big presentations like this and I think it’s definitely a good thing. It makes the whole thing look and feel even more realistic.

There’s a lot of replay value to be had here so you don’t have to worry about running out of content. That’s never really been a concern in Baseball games though so I would have been surprised if there was a lack of content. You can play endless matches against all of the teams and there are a lot of modes to try out. Considering that the game is only about a dollar or two nowadays it’s really a great deal for sure.

Overall, Major League Baseball 2K7 is probably one of the best Baseball games I’ve played. It’s quite solid for a Baseball game, but still doesn’t solve the things that were issues for me. I think the games need to take a bit of inspiration from the Mario Baseball game for Gamecube. Of course they wouldn’t grab the special abilities or anything like that, but the batting mechanics were quite solid. There you felt like every ball went exactly where you wanted it to go and that’s a really good thing. I’m confident it will happen in a main Baseball game someday.

Overall 5/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Angry Birds Trilogy Review


It’s time to look at the Angry Birds trilogy on the PS3. The game was definitely an odd port when it first came out because you can get Angry Birds for free on the mobile. Why pay the 30-40 bucks for console when you can do that? I suppose playing on console is more fulfilling with the controls for most games, but with the way this one plays out the mobile controls are actually your best bet either way. In the end I bought this game for a few bucks and I’d say that it’s worth the price for the sheer amount of content. You certainly can still get it on mobile but if you look at this port in a vacuum it certainly is worth a buy.

There isn’t really much of a plot here. The evil pig empire wants to take control of the birds base of operations so now the Angry Birds are being called in to put a stop to this. Keep in mind that the cutscenes don’t have any dialogue or voice acting so you have to interpret this as best you can but the games did get a movie so that also helps you get the plot across. You get some quick cinematics at the end of each chapter for the main game but not really any for the two spinoffs.

I’m not sure what the name for this kind of gameplay is, but I’d call it a motion shooter. Basically you have the bird on a slingshot and you launch him towards some constructs which have pigs in them. The goal is to hit all of the pigs before you run out of birds. From the start you can see how many birds you have so that’s how you start budgeting where to fire them. Sometimes you’ll aim for the pigs directly but other times you need to hit a part of the base and get it to all topple down. There’s a lot of factors to consider with each shot and towards the end there is a lot of trial and error or at least I ended up using a lot to get the wine.

As you go through the game you’ll start getting more advanced birds to use. The Red bird is the basic one that you launch into the air. The Yellow one can use a booster after launching so you can really power through some of the obstacles. The small blue one can turn into 3 birds after launch but they are all pretty weak so be careful on what you tackle. There’s the egg bomb bird which can drop a bomb below which deals a lot of damage. Finally there’s the actual bomb bird which blows up after a short time or you can trigger the explosion early. You’ve definitely got a lot of options for the birds and ultimately you will need to master them all.

You’ll have a lot of time to do so because the game has a crazy amount of levels to go through. We’re not just talking one or two hundred, but significantly more than that. I don’t know exactly how many there are but there’s enough content here to last you for an extremely long amount of time. You’d have to be a really big fan of the series to stick around with it for so long though. After a while you are effectively playing the same same stage. While that can be said for many titles, you really feel the repetition in Angry Birds. It’s just unrelenting even if the actual gameplay can be fun. I think it just needs more cinematics or razzle dazzle to make you want to stick around. Otherwise you’ll probably just stop playing after 100 or so levels. That’s what I did at any rate.

There are 3 games here, but they all have the same gameplay style so that doesn’t really solve the problem. My favorite was actually the summer game because I liked the level designs the most but they all have their charms. The graphics are pretty good I’d say. It’s not as if there is a lot in the game that really needs graphics so that probably made it easier for the company to focus on making those sections look good. We also get a few cinematics in the first game, but not really in the others. Calling them “cinematics” may be a bit strong since it’s mostly just stills that try to make you think they’re moving. I’m definitely still glad to have them though.

Angry Birds can be surprisingly difficult as well. Some levels took me dozens of tries to complete so they definitely weren’t your average mobile levels. The spike happens quite suddenly so even if you have a pretty good understanding of the birds and their various abilities I expect you will have some trouble here. I wonder how the final levels would be. They’ve got to be crazy since I was relatively early on in the game when I ended up putting it down. I have this nagging feeling that some of the birds have extra abilities that I don’t know about, but more likely I just wasn’t hitting the right angels.

Overall, The Angry Birds Trilogy is a fun game. It’s just not the kind of title that you want to play in long batches. I think it’s at its best a few levels at a time like most mobile games. It’s just not really convenient to be turning your console on and off so often the way you can on a cell phone. You’ll likely enjoy the game more if you play it on the mobile, but if you do choose to get the console version it is nice to have all of the content available right away. I do think more mobile games should try to port over to console though. It sounds like it should be fairly easy to do so the companies should make at least a bit of a profit in the transition.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Blur Review


It’s time to look at a racing game that made a lot of noise back in the day. There aren’t a whole lot of item based racing games and even fewer ones that go for a realistic angle. The only other one going on at the time was probably Wipeout. This game had been on my radar for a very long time so now was a good opportunity to finally pick it up. It’s a pretty fun game and having a straight forward arcade mode is nostalgic but I do feel like the game was missing something.

The main mode is the career and what happens here is you start off with the first chapter available. Each chapter has 6 races and if you complete extra objectives during these levels you will unlock the boss level at the end with an opportunity to unlock your opponent’s car. Each level has up to 7 stars that you can earn with 3 being the minimum that you need in order to clear the level. These stars are important because they are how you unlock the next chapters.

By the end of the game I got a little over half of the stars and unlocked all but the final chapter. It’s usually not too difficult to get up to 5 stars in a level but going beyond that is definitely a challenge. The game really wants you to ace the levels in order to unlock the final chapter. The star requirements are surprisingly high. Most likely you will need to replay levels a bit if you want to get to the end.

There are a few different gameplay styles to be found here. The one you will see the most is definitely the racing levels. These play out pretty much as you would expect with the goal being to get to the end of the level first. Along the way you will see the mini challenges. Some of these are “fan challenges” which are little icons that will give you an item and 40 seconds in which to use it properly. Then you’ve got the gates and the objective here is to go through them all in time. These give you a star for completion so do your best to clear them all.

As I mentioned earlier there are also items in this game so you will want to take those into account. There are a few basic items. First you have the booster which is self explanatory. Then you have the land mine which you can place behind you or fire in front at short range. It’s a pretty handy item and one of the best in the game. Of course you also have the energy blast weapon or the mini energy gun that can fire 3 times. The wrench item heals you back to full health which I think is a little excessive but it does make this the most valuable item in the game. There are certainly other items to be found but those are the main ones.

Other modes include Checkpoint which is really just a race with yourself as you try to get to the end of the level. These levels can be a little tricky to get the main 5 stars in, you will sometimes want to go for the booster instead of the clock if it’s more of a direct route to the goal. Then there is Knockout where the goal is to take down as many others cars as possible. There is no end to the level so you keep blasting cars until the timer runs out.

The graphics here are pretty solid. The levels have a lot of variety and the cars look great. There is a decent amount of customization like changing the color of the car without it being overwhelming. The soundtrack isn’t really anything to write home about but it supplements the game well enough. This game can be fairly long depending on how many tries it takes you to unlock the final chapter. That’s the thing with racing games, especially ones with items. In the end you just have to get really good at the fundamentals and hope no big item slams you in the end because it’s not like you can spend time farming enemies to get stronger. You do get fans win or lose which unlocks new cars so eventually you will get a car that gives you more of an edge which will be handy.

The campaign is fairly long on its own and the game has a lot of replay value through the PS3 trophies you can earn as well as the multiplayer option. You definitely don’t have to worry about not having enough content for your purchase. In general racing games have levels that can feel a little long since you’re so focused on the road and the other cars so as it is you’ll likely need to take quite a few breaks along the way. This is not the kind of game you can beat overnight in one shot unless you’re some kind of racing prodigy.

Overall, Blur is definitely a fun game. The items work out pretty well and the graphics hold up to this day. The level designs are solid and there are a lot of cars to choose from. I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a quick car game to play and don’t mind having the items to look out for. I tend to prefer the racing games without items but I still enjoy both kinds. Racing games in general are just pretty fun and this one is going for cheap now so it’ll be hard to get a better price than what it’s at. This is your chance to snag it.

Overall 7/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

A Star is Born (1976) Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

It’s time to look at another take on the A Star is Born story. Unfortunately this is the weakest one and it’s not even close. This version tries to take things on a darker path with the characters not being nearly as good as in the old ones. There’s not a whole lot of fun to be had here and the movie relies on edge over substance. Sometimes you just shouldn’t remake a film over and over because you’re going to be tempted to change things. Well, this one definitely changed things all right, but they didn’t do it for the better.

The film starts off with a bunch of guys waiting for the main singer to arrive so they can start the concert off. Unfortunately he appears to be late as always and is holding everything up. He eventually shows up, but is drunk out of his mind as usual and messes things up. He decides to go to a club at night instead of practicing for the gig the next day and meets up with Esther. He convinces her to come along with him to the next show and eventually she starts to get some gigs of her own. Before he knows it more people want to hear Esther sing than him. As John’s career continues to slip hers continues to rise and he doesn’t take it well. Can John clean up his act long enough to be a reasonable character or will he just keep on sinking?

One of the main differences here compared to the other versions is that John actually was still pretty popular at the beginning of the film. In the others John had already started to be on the decline. I’d also argue that this version of him was more irresponsible than the others. John is already doing drugs in his first scene and spends over half of his screen time drunk. It’s really hard to come back from something like that and you can’t blame anyone but himself for his falling out of the limelight. Every scene John is in is pretty annoying especially because he never even tries to improve himself. The guy is given tons of opportunities to do just that until those chances are finally exhausted. He even had more of a solid network of friends compared to previous versions of the character and he still blew it. I couldn’t deal with him after that.

That’s not even taking into account that he randomly cheats on her near the end of the film. This really felt like the writers were trying to make the guy as unlikable as possible and that wasn’t needed with how bad he was. The whole scene was just very mean spirited and I feel like there should have been no coming back for him from there.

As for Esther, she’s a reasonable lead although not quite as nice as the first two. Part of why her character isn’t as good is how quick she is to get together with John when they don’t even know each other. If anything you’d think that he would have made a bad impression on her since his first appearance is wrecking her show and getting into a drunk fight with some random guy. He also very quickly tried to get into her house. She seems to dismiss this as just being quirky and then they get together, but the whole romance plot made no sense. The romance happens very quickly and without any build up. At least the older films tried in this area.

Esther tries to handle the situation as best she can so she doesn’t do a bad job there. If she was dealing with a reasonable man then I dare say that she would have been quite successful. Unfortunately John is anything but reasonable. If he could have tried to work with her at all then this all could have been avoided, but at this point I’m just re-hashing the same point. John’s terrible, we get it. Lets move on. Esther does her best to get through all of this to the point where she is too forgiving and takes away from her strength as a lead. If anything her manager/John’s old manager is a more balanced character as he isn’t afraid to call John out each time and doesn’t reward his bad behavior.

Unfortunately the writing is also pretty bad here which doesn’t help matters. There’s a ton of language since John’s pretty vulgar most of the time. The characters aren’t written in a way where you can root for them. Some of the songs aren’t bad, but overall they’re weaker than the older versions as well. You can really see why John fell out of favor here even aside from the off the stage issues because his songs aren’t that interesting. Esther easily had the best tunes here and comparing their songs were like night and day.

Overall, A Star Is Born is a story that has had some good adaptions, but this is not one of them. I’d recommend staying far away from this film as it’ll just wind up being a big disappointment if you liked the older ones. This film focuses too much on making the characters unlikable and not enough on actually telling a good story. Even the “little” things like everyone doing drugs sets the characters back quite a bit. It’s certainly trying for a gritty look at the story, but that combination doesn’t work. It’s a lot harder to try and forgive John when he is unlikable and gritty. I’d say that the film had potential but it didn’t even start off on a good note so that idea dried up pretty quick. Definitely just stick to watching the original adaptions instead, you’ll be glad that you did.

Overall 3/10

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

The Super Inframan Review


It’s time to look at an old school Power Rangers type film. I have always been a big fan of the Rangers, but never really got around to checking out any of their shows. Well, this is the next closest thing and it does reassure me that this type of series is definitely up my ally. The Super Inframan is a great film that is a lot of fun from start to finish. It’s hard to go wrong with a nice array of monsters and hand to hand fights like we have here. The film may not be all that long, but they fit in a ton of action and quality scenes. There is never a dull moment to be found here.

The film starts with the Dragon Mom returning from her long slumber and she decides to destroy the world. She has amassed an army of powerful monsters ranging from spellcasters to more traditional creatures. Her second in command is a normal humanoid though and while she may sound out of her depth this character is actually a good fighter. The heroes realize that they need some power to counter this so a scientist gives Lei a shot that transforms him into the Super Inframan. In this form there is nothing that he can’t do. Lei decides to stop the villain group no matter what. It looks like this time he will actually have to try.

It’s hard to know where to start here since the film is really good on a lot of levels. I guess we should do the obvious first and that is the fight scenes. They are all really well done with a lot of excellent choreography. One of the standout fights is when one of Lei’s friends attacks the villains on his own. He actually does a great job of taking down dozens of them before he is eventually defeated by one of the monsters using a net ability. All of the other fights are good too though like the climax where it is a big battle royale or the various fights as Inframan. Aside from one match that was just beam spamming from side to side all of his fights were hand to hand as well.

Inframan also has a good array of powers which served him well during the matches as well. He can turn giant, fire off his fists, use laser blasts, etc. It’s really hard to defeat someone like this and Inframan is definitely shown as the strongest fighter except for possibly the Dragon Mom who was dominating him in the fight. Granted, Inframan was a little weakened from his other battles. Lei is a solid lead and I dare say that his dynamic as Lei and Inframan was more enjoyable than Hayata and Ultraman. This is due in part to the fact that Lei has more personality and is just a likable guy. He’s pretty quick on the uptake and always ready to help out. He also doesn’t hesitate to transform and take on the villains at any time.

Then you’ve also got the soundtrack which is pretty fun. Inframan’s main theme is suitably heroic and gives you an extra jolt of energy whenever he is getting ready to join the fray. Now there is one technical level where the film falters and that is the fact that it uses a lot of recycled footage whenever Inframan transforms. This is likely intentional as part of the camp factor, but it’s still got to be noted. Recycled footage is something you really don’t want to use as it feels like stalling for time. I also question why the footage was the triple flip. It’s not like that’s something that Inframan does a lot furing the movie.

The villains are also very solid which speaks to the solid writing and character cast of the movie. The Dragon Mom is definitely one of the best ones. I like her confidence and she is quite merciless. I was not expecting her to actually murder one of the heroes so that definitely surprised me. It’s not every day that you see a villain make a move like that. Whoever did her English voice did a solid job. Then you’ve got her fighting abilities which were sound. Her minions had a cool uniform and the other monsters at her disposal all put up valiant fights. While you aren’t likely going to remember their names you’ll remember the designs and their determination. The human also put up a great fight against Inframan and it was brave to even attempt to fight him. The villains were surprisingly loyal and I also liked how upbeat they were. You’d see them dancing in the background whenever the Dragon Mom was talking.

The heroes are solid as well. There’s less to say about most of them since they stay on the sidelines, but as I mentioned one of Lei’s main friends did a good job holding off the enemies by himself. The other members can also fight even if they never got a big moment to shine. They were still able to contribute and that’s the important thing. There are no annoying characters here. There’s nothing even remotely negative to say about the film. The pacing is on point, the writing is great, the fight scenes are amazing, this is just a very well rounded film and one that I could easily re-watch. There’s a lot of fun to be had here and it’s a shame that they just don’t make movies like this anymore.

Overall, The Super Inframan is one of those super obscure films that deserves to be more well known than it actually is. You’d have a lot of fun watching this movie for sure. On one hand it plays on your nostalgia as you remember what great fun this era was and on the other hand you get to see a new superhero taking down legions of monsters. I liked the suit they used for the Super Inframan and the ones for the monsters as well. It feels like this was probably a pretty big budget film back in its day. Hopefully the Inframan gets revived in some form or another at some point because this franchise still has a ton of potential left in it.

Overall 8/10

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

Getaway Review


It’s time to look at a thriller film from not too long ago. It seems like the kind of film that wouldn’t have really gotten all that well known but I’m sure people would take a second look at the posters and promotions. It’s got that Need For Speed kind of vibe right from the get go which is always fun. The plot of someone being kidnapped and the hero being forced to do everything the villain is admittedly not the best. I never liked the idea of the hostage situation much in part because there is really no winning in that situation. Once you’ve done everything they want there is no reason for them not to murder the hostage and the hero as well. Typically the climax involves a lot of plot hax to compensate for this as the heroes defy the villain but for some reason they don’t murder the hostage. That’s just how it is sometimes.

The film starts off with Brent driving away from some cops and after an extended race scene they crash and he escapes. We then find out through a bunch of quick cuts and time jumps from past to present that his wife was kidnapped and he is now following a bunch of demands from someone who has bugged the car. If he doesn’t follow the orders then the wife will be destroyed. Meanwhile a kid shows up to try and take Brent hostage but he stops her and now she must also stay in the car or the wife will be destroyed. This means that Brent is effectively forced to square off with two villains and that won’t be an easy thing to do. Ah well, looks like it’s crunch time for him!

Getaway does seem to underestimate the audience a bit though with how many times we see the flashback to show us that the wife was kidnapped. I thought it was pretty obvious early on but we get the flashback 10-15 times for good measure. Once the film actually gets started then the plot is able to move. At this point the movie does get pretty fun. Yeah the demands can be annoying as Brent keeps talking tough but ultimately has to follow the orders because there really isn’t anything else he can do. That bit can be a bit repetitive but for the most part the film’s about the chase scenes so you don’t have to worry about this too much.

Brent is first introduced as a mysterious character. Despite being the one forced to do the villain’s dirty work, he’s got the cool shades and doesn’t really talk much. He’s a total wild card and as the film progresses we learn more about him. He may not be a professional or something like the guy from Taken, but he’s a gruff individual who is a great racer so he adapts to the situation well. He’s a solid lead who is willing to do just about anything to get his wife back, but does draw the line at being told to destroy a kid or doing anything like that. He’s not going to turn into a villain. Part of what makes his character work is that we don’t know a lot about him. He’s portrayed as an average joe who’s stuck in this situation.

Then we’ve got the kid who probably got a name at some point but I can’t remember what it was. She starts out as a pretty tough character who has a gun and seems to be a bit of a hoodlum. This ultimately doesn’t seem to stick, but she is definitely a girl of many talents as she is also a genius. This character is probably the most “convenient” one to show up during the movie because what are the odds right? She really makes the difference in solving this film to a great extent. Well, convenient or not she looks good here and is a fun character. She does complain a lot at first and seems slow on the uptake for the given situation, but to an extent you can see why she is upset. The kid just wants her car back. (More like a teenager really but on Wikipedia they just refer to her as the kid so that’s what I figured I’d go with.

There are really no other big characters in this film aside from the villain. The villain has no character beyond the fact that he is always goading the heroes on and is one step ahead of any plans that they may have. He’s not bad, but I can’t really say that I thought about him all that much as a character. He’s more of a plot device and this does lead to a rather unsatisfying ending. This kind of ending can work out well sometimes in the right context, but here it’s more annoying than anything. I’d be down with a sequel to wrap things up though.

The make or break point here will be how much you like car fights/chase scenes. Do you like them or do you love them? Almost the whole film is a series of long car chase scenes. Some will go on for over 10 minutes at a time and you have to be ready for them. Personally I enjoy car fights a lot. They are better than underwater fights, airplane battles, or pretty much any other fights outside of human interactions. If it’s got to be a vehicle then I’ll take a car. I also thought that the car scenes in this film were particularly good. They were better than the ones we saw in Need For Speed or even the original Fast and the Furious film. In part this is because you could really feel the impacts here. When a car got crushed it got completely totaled. There was no coming back from that.

The scenes with the cop cars following Brent also felt more like the Need For Speed chases than the actual movie’s version did. So personally these scenes are what amplified the film for me. They were just a lot of fun and I didn’t get tired of them. I could totally understand how they could get repetitive though so it really does depend on how much you enjoy the chases. It’s really the whole point of the film and you could argue that the rest of the plot is really just a backdrop for it. The focus was and is clearly on the car scenes. As for the technical elements like the writing, it was okay. I wouldn’t really say it was that impressive, but it could have been worse. The special effects were great and so it all balances out into a pretty good film. There’s a lot of replay value here since the film isn’t all that long and the car scenes hold up to the tests of time.

Overall, Getaway is one of those films that is surprisingly solid. I wasn’t expecting anything amazing earlier, but as of now I would probably have this as my definitive car based film. It’s a simple, but effective movie that hits the right notes and keeps the momentum going strong. If you haven’t seen it yet and love a good car based thriller then you really need to check it out. See what you think on if the hostage situation is resolved through plot hax or not. Personally I would have expected the villain to take out the hostage as soon as the heroes begin to enact their plan, but maybe you’ll see why he didn’t do that.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Brave Review


Video games based on movies always have a certain reputation that comes along with them. People just expect these games to not be very good and this is warranted by the multitude of games that came out in the early 2000s…..or did they? See, a lot of games based on movies did come out in that era, but I’d argue that a lot of them were really good. The Matrix, Spider-Man 1-3, X-Men 3, etc. These games were actually a lot of fun and then you’ve got titles like The Incredibles or Superman Shadow of Apokolips (Based on a show at least) which were also solid. Now there have been some terrible ones like Finding Nemo, but I’d argue it balances out well. Brave is a solid game in its own right and I’d recommend checking it out.

The plot seems to cover what the movie did in abridged form although I have not watched the movie yet so I can’t say that with 100% confidence. Basically the main character’s Mom is turned into a bear so now she must find a way to turn her back. Meanwhile there is an evil bear who is spreading evil throughout the world and corrupting everybody. If he isn’t stopped soon then there will be no going back. The lead has to learn that bravery is something that comes from within and the way to save her Mother may have something to do with this. The only thing left to do now is fight!

The gameplay is fairly standard. You start out at the Ring of Stones which is effectively the hub world although I hesitate to say that because there is nothing to do here. It’s a blank field you can run around in and it leads you to the 9 levels. Each time you clear one level then the gateway to the next one opens up which allows you to challenge it. There’s not really much more than that to do here so maybe lets just call it the hub. Once inside of the level the goal is to get to the end. This is done by running and jumping through the obstacles. You’ll have to beat a lot of the levels as it is part beat em up. When you beat all of the enemies the force field will leave and you can proceed forward. The levels are fairly quick and you can knock out the full game in a few hours. I don’t know exactly how long it took me, but it was between 4-6 hours I’d say.

In combat you have two weapons. The first is the sword which the game seems to think is your main weapon but don’t let that fool you. It’s nice and you can slice enemies up pretty quickly but there’s no reason to use it. The reason for that is you have a bow which fires unlimited arrows machine gun style. While the damage is slightly lower it compensates well with how many arrows you’re shooting. You can also run at full speed while shooting which is rare for any game. As a result there is no downside to constantly shooting as you are running. Not a bad idea right? I went with the arrows for the whole game and it was worth it. I didn’t die at all throughout my whole playthrough (until the final boss) which yeah that isn’t too impressive considering what game it is, but it still felt pretty good.

As you play through the game you will find upgrades for your sword and arrows as well as other costumes and tapestries which increase your base stats. You can also buy other upgrades at each save point which are pretty handy. They aren’t hidden all that far away from the main path so I was actually able to get almost all of them despite focusing on just clearing the game the whole time. It’s really not much of a time sink to quickly turn around and grab them so I’d recommend doing so. Additionally if you aim to get the Platinum trophy you’ll need to do this at some point anyway so what better time than the present right?

The graphics are fairly decent. It does look more like a PS2 game than PS3, but it’s not like the character models are blocky or anything. You’re always still sure of what’s happening next and there are a good amount of cinematics here to give you that movie feel. There isn’t really a soundtrack unfortunately so that does keep this from feeling like a higher budget title. I’d say that the main giveaways to this not being a big AAA game is how there are some re-used cutscenes and how simple the controls are. I don’t think simple controls is inherently a bad thing though. With good level design and a solid gameplay option you can really make this work out. Just look at the old Sonic or Mega Man games. There weren’t a bunch of controls but they were still a lot of fun.

If anything holds this game back it’s the length, but you can buy this game for cheap nowadays so I don’t think you’ll feel too badly about it. There is also the replay value thanks to the trophies which keeps this from being too short as well. Brave is just a fun game and it feels like a nice relic of the past. You don’t really see quick cash-in games like this anymore and it’s a shame. It’s not the kind of game you’d buy for 60, but it’s one that is always fun to stumble upon in Gamestop. It’s easily worth the price nowadays.

Overall, Brave is a very good game. I’m not saying it’s great and it’s not going for game of the year awards, but there’s really nothing bad to say about it. The ability to shoot endless arrows is admittedly very cheesy, but it does help this feel more like an arcade game. You can just dive into the game and take down as many enemies as you can. You can even turn it into a minigame with yourself to see how long you can go without getting hit. Some of the last levels will give you a nice challenge there and as I mentioned I did die a few times during the final boss. That one throws enemy after enemy at you so taking them all down isn’t the easiest thing in the world. It’s good reaction time practice since if you jump at the right time you should be able to dodge any attack.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Cricket on The Hearth Review


It’s time to look at a short Christmas film I saw last year. I haven’t seen too many films with a cricket in the lead, but typically it’s worked pretty well since crickets are just a lot of fun to hang out with. This one is a little weaker than the average Christmas title though because the characters aren’t great and the story is a little on the weak side. Still, it’s entertaining enough and makes for a good viewing even if you don’t need to see it again.

So the film starts off with Bertha and a nice young man being together. It looks like this will be a happy little romantic tale, but then he is called into war when everyone is drafted. Unfortunately he does not return and Bertha’s household is quite poor. Her father Caleb does his best to make ends meet as an inventor and falls into the hands of a selfish business man. The guy uses Caleb for all he’s worth but the man endures in the hopes of at least getting enough money to keep Bertha safe. Still, the situation isn’t getting any better and now this owner wants to marry Bertha. What will they do?

The plot may sound pretty terrible here, but there are a few details I left out. Why would Bertha ever even think about marrying this guy? Well, the trauma of losing her man was too much for her so she ultimately went blind. Then Caleb figured that he should try to let her think that everything is okay so he gave her a very optimistic look at things. He was not an accurate pair of eyes for her and he also made the corrupt business owner sound good which was his biggest mistake if you ask me. So as far as Bertha knows this guy is actually pretty nice and has helped the family a lot over the years. It’s all trust based upon a lie which is unfortunate.

Still, you can probably tell that this isn’t really my kind of plot. Everyone’s a little at fault here. Lets start with Bertha, she really shouldn’t have become blind just from hearing a lot of bad news. No matter how tragic it is it’s just hard to buy into that. I’d also have liked her to have stayed strong and not want to marry anyone. The man’s body was never found so if anything this would still feel like a rebound. Bertha just wasn’t a great heroine for me, she was too passive.

Then you’ve got Caleb who goes way to far in trying to make Bertha think things are okay. I don’t have anything against the sentiment of trying to help her get through this, but there are limits to how far you can stretch the truth before it just becomes a lie. He could have at least told her that the owner was no good. I feel like she should have been able to figure it out, but the lion’s share of the blame still goes to Caleb. He really took them down a dangerous path.

As for the cricket himself, he’s a good guy. At least he is actually trying to sabotage Bertha’s efforts, unfortunately the villain was actually quite smart. He figures out that it is the cricket almost right away which is really scary since most people would not have jumped to that conclusion so quickly. He sicks a bunch of animals after the cricket and then destroys them. Why didn’t he destroy the cricket? I dunno, but this guy was definitely pretty merciless. I was not expecting the gunshots at all, especially not in what was otherwise a light hearted Christmas special. The villain may not be a good guy, but he definitely knows how to execute a strategy as well as silencing underlings. The film handles this animal violence as well as it could with the whole thing being off screen as you just hear the gun and the villain laughing, but it wasn’t exactly needed to show how ruthless the guy was. If anything then the film should have given him human underlings to bump off. Nobody would mind them getting shot away.

The animation isn’t bad. It’s definitely got that retro feel to it and flows pretty well from scene to scene. I don’t think it’ll come across as all that memorable, but works out well in what it sets out to do. Meanwhile we get a few songs. They all basically sound the same, but are also solid. I can definitely work with these and it does give the film a grander feel even if the plot doesn’t really warrant it. I’m always up for seeing some songs in a film.

Overall, Cricket on the Hearth is not a film that will really be making my rounds in future Christmas viewings. There just isn’t a whole lot in this film to make it stand out in the crowd or compete with the bigger titles. The characters aren’t all that likable and the cricket isn’t as helpful as you would expect. He loses just about every fight he is in and never seems to be a match for the villains. He just gets lucky that they always choose not to finish him off. The main guy who vanished at sea has a plot twist that everyone saw coming, but I don’t think that quest aged well either. It’s not a bad movie so if you want to check out a quick Christmas film then by all means go ahead. It just won’t really do anything for you and you’ll quickly head back to something a little more classic like Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

Overall 5/10