Batman ’66 Meets Steed and Mrs Peel Review

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Batman 66 comics have always been pretty fun in the past. They have a nice balance of action and wit to keep you guessing throughout the adventure. That’s why I was surprised when this one actually didn’t turn out to be all that good. It’s still fun for the Batman and Robin scenes, but the artwork took a huge nosedive and the characters that the heroes get to meet aren’t too interesting this time around. Considering that these crossovers are quite limited with how many can be produced at a time, it’s a bit of a shame that we wasted one on these guys.

The comic starts off with Catwoman deciding to steal a large diamond. Bruce Wayne and a rich lady happen to be in the area so Catwoman goes after them next. With the lady’s tough talk and banter throughout, I figured that she was Mrs Peel. No, the real Steed and Mrs Peel show up shortly afterwards to try and handle the situation. Robin and Alfred (Dressed as Batman appear as well so the villains are corralled quite nicely. It turns out that this is a bigger plot that is being led by the villains of the Avengers series.

That is really Steed and Mrs Peel’s only cling to fame by the way. The series they are from is actually called The Avengers so at least it sounds impressive to the average comic reader. Their main villains seem to be a large organization that uses Cybernauts (Androids) to do their evil bidding. These cybernauts are now going to destroy the world once they get the diamonds so Batman and Robin have to stop them.

Here’s why the crossover doesn’t work very well. If you thought that the two men from Uncle weren’t too useful, these chaps are even worse. All they do is bicker and banter throughout their appearances. They don’t really contribute at all except for moments where you figure that Batman and Robin should have had the situation under control anyway. They made for rather boring characters in the story and couldn’t really keep your attention. At the very least, that’s why I couldn’t really get behind these guys. I didn’t really warm up to them by the end either. They had a convenient habit of forgetting everything about the villains until Batman and Robin would find out first. By then it’s not as if it really mattered.

One of the good moments of the comic was when the Cybernauts broke into the Batcave. Of course it was the guest stars’ fault again as they didn’t notice that the villains had bugged them. Still, it was pretty intense since I don’t believe a villain had ever gotten inside before in this continuity. Batman and Robin did a good job of holding the fort even against overwhelming odds. The Cybernauts actually have potential as they are henchmen that are actually pretty dangerous in a fight. You can’t say that about most henchmen.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier the art is pretty bad. Until now the Batman ’66 comics have all looked really good. This one looks very rough around the edges and the art style is really no good at all. The character designs are all wrong and the fight scenes suffer as a result. The comic now has to thrive purely on the dialogue. The writing is pretty strong as you’d expect so at the very least that does help the comic quite a bit. I think this author actually liked Robin more than the rest because he looks good for a change. He gives Batman a few ideas and even saves the day once or twice. He’s portrayed as being fairly close to an equal in this adventure so his fans will like that. Batman still looks like the capable leader he always is as well. He’s just more open to suggestions this time around.

The comic had a decent misdirect with the rich lady from the beginning, but once you knew that she wasn’t Mrs Peel it was pretty clear that she had to be one of the villains. Batman was a little too emotionally attached though considering that they barely knew her. He didn’t take the twist very well although I suppose he put up a decent front. Most of the characters didn’t suspect a thing. Mrs Peel finding out his secret identity was a little iffy, but I suppose that usually happens in crossovers for the mutual hype for both franchises.

Overall, This may not have been the best Batman ’66 comic, but the series does set a high bar. It’s still as reasonably entertaining comic and I’d recommend it if you’ve already read the rest of the issues. It had some decent fights and Batman’s always a fun main character. Beyond that, I’d still never recommend this over any of the other volumes to be honest. The crossover just didn’t work and at the end of the day that takes away a considerable amount of the hype behind the volume. I’m still ready for more Batman 66 crossovers though and the only one left is where they meet Wonder Woman. That should certainly be a great team up so it’ll be fun to read it some day.

Overall 6/10

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Batman ’66 Meets The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Review

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It’s time for the next Batman ’66 crossover event! This time he is meeting up with the Men from UNCLE which is interesting since I know nothing about the latter. From how they’re portrayed in the comic, I definitely wouldn’t call them heroes. They also seem a little outgunned next to Batman since they don’t really have any gadgets and appear to be only as tough as the average henchman. Still, I suppose they get enough one liners to keep them afloat and it’s a solid comic either way.

The Men from UNCLE are sent to Gotham after every villain in Arkham Asylum is broken out of jail. The company suspects that Bruce Wayne is involved since he has access to the prison and has enough money to pull this off. The Agents are sent into a party so they can keep an eye on him. Meanwhile, Batman and Robin are puzzled as to who could do such a dastardly thing and quickly head to the scene. The party is a great cover for them since they can just act natural. Well, it turns out that all of the villains are now working with T.H.R.U.S.H. THRUSH is an evil organization that is quite large so the 4 heroes are going to have to team up to take them down.

Unfortunately we don’t get our hero against hero fight this time. I feel like it’s because there is no believable way that Napoleon or Illya could do well against Batman. He should completely outclass them even without his gadgets. Still, it would have been fun. The difference is that both agents already know Batman from his reputation and the characters team up from the start. To counter this, I would have liked to have explored the “Bruce Wayne is a traitor” plot a little more but it’s the only real missed opportunity in the comic. The plot is mentioned but immediately abandoned as the villains attack and Bruce slips into his Batman costume. From here on out they assume that Bruce is probably a good guy since he works with Batman.

The comic also shows us how differently the two teams handle a situation. The agents don’t mind getting civilians involved. It puts them at a slight risk but the agents claim that the end justifies the means and so as long as it works they will keep up this tactic. They also use guns and outright murder all of the henchmen they fight. Unfortunately Batman never gets to witness this. Robin does, but he just takes them at their word that it’s simply how they do business. Again, Batman would never work with these guys if he knew the truth. It’s a shame he didn’t find out since that could have led to a pretty fun fight.

The comics go by really quickly so you’ll be sad when it’s all over. It was nice that most of Batman’s villains were able to get squeezed in. Of course, most of them don’t get much of a role but at least they showed up. The big reveal for who the mastermind is won’t surprise anyone who reads the main Batman comics, but I suppose for fans of ’66 it may be surprising. Lets just say that this traitor knows a few things about villains. He can’t really fight though so it’s good that the minions were at the ready.

The art is quite solid as always. I really like Batman’s design and all of the characters stick out quite well. The pages are easy to read and the action scenes are engaging. This just makes a comic that is already solid even better. There are no real weaknesses in this story and a strength is in its writing. The writing is top notch as you would expect with Batman being a total law abiding citizen the whole time and getting his share of one liners. The Men from UNCLE can seem a little overconfident at times but they still seem like good characters. I just happen to be on Team Batman and enjoy him upstaging them the whole time, but it doesn’t take away from their characters. I’d be interested in reading a retro version of their tales as well.

Overall, This crossover is really good despite the Man from UNCLE not being the most exciting team up yet. The best crossover might still be the Green Hornet as that one perfectly showed why having team vs team fights can be so interesting. I really hope DC continues doing more of these crossovers. At the moment I only have 2 left. I have one coming up that is even more obscure so it’ll be nice to learn more about the franchise through the comic. That review should be coming up relatively soon. If you haven’t read this comic yet then you should do so ASAP. It’s just a quality story that is both action packed and humorous at the same time.

Overall 8/10

Pokémon + Nobunaga no Yabou ~Ranse Iroemaki Review

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It’s time for a rather odd Pokemon adventure. Do you guys remember Pokemon Conquest? It came out quite a while ago and it was always an interesting concept. The game didn’t really look like it was my style but who’d have thought that the Pokemon characters would go back to retro China. (Or Japan, one of those) Well, it got a one shot manga to bring in the hype. Unfortunately, it fails for the most part due to not having a plot or any really good fights.

There are 6 chapters and they all have some kind of story going on. One of them has Nobunaga, the famed Devil King show up because he wasn’t invited to the party. Some of the heroes get him to come anyway though and they all have a fun party. There was a story with someone being tricked into thinking that Pokemon could evolve into food and training to surpass the guy. There were some comic relief characters who went intro the mountain, etc. You get the general jist of the story.

That’s not to say that there was absolutely no action. It was just kept in the background throughout and any action we got was quite brief indeed. What also holds the manga back is the artwork. Honestly, I thought it was rather sub par. Perhaps being in color made it that much easier to notice its limitations or if we’re being honest, maybe it just wasn’t very good to begin with. That may be more likely to be honest. It doesn’t seem as if the artist wasn’t skilled though. This seems like it was some kind of style and it just didn’t work well for me. It is neat that the whole thing is in color though, most manga never really get the color treatment.

The characters were okay, but all of them were rather generic. They all had personalities and yet they were completely forgettable. It was just fun trying to see how many names I remembered from the Sengoku Basara anime. Of course this version of the characters are certainly very different from the anime so it is really just them in name only. You won’t really have much to say about any of the characters by the time you’re done. This is one of the many weaknesses of the anthology format. You barely get to really meet any of the characters since they appear and disappear so quickly. The series not having a plot doesn’t help either, but there’s only so much you can expect from a one shot right?

I don’t want to be too harsh on the title as it is pretty short so there’s not a whole lot it could have done. There’s nothing downright bad about the manga so that is actually a good start. The worst aspect is the art and even that isn’t unbearable. The main problem is just that the title is boring. That is pretty serious, but it won’t automatically make this a bad manga either. I certainly don’t see myself getting the game anytime soon though. I’ve warmed up to the Fire Emblem style of combat, but not quite enough to buy a full game just yet.

I also have to admit that I’m not a big fan of the Sengoku cast in general. The anime/main series games are the only ones that have made them interesting. As much as I like the gameplay in Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors, the plots are extremely boring. I wish they had used the anime versions for this crossover as I guarantee it would have made the manga a lot more enjoyable. I almost hate to say this next part, but I would have even preferred it if the manga had added an original character to the mix. A random kid from Tokyo or New York or something who has a Pokemon and travels to the Dynasty Warrior era. That would have made for a much more enjoyable time than everyone randomly having Pokemon, but not doing a whole lot with them. It says something when Natsume’s Book of Friends is more emotional and entertaining at the same time compared to this one.

I think the series did try a little though as each chapter was over 50 pages. That means it’s roughly a 300 page series which is pretty good even if all of the “pages” are extremely small. Maybe the format was just built that way, but it feels like someone divided each page into 3 different pictures to make it look more impressive. I’ll assume this wasn’t the case as that seems just a little bit sketchy if you ask me.

Overall, This Pokemon manga is one that will likely be forgotten by everyone almost instantly. It is very short, has no plot, and the art isn’t very good. There are just no real reasons to actually sit down and read it except to add it to your collection of manga titles that you’ve read. I don’t recommend the title because it just comes across as pointless. That being said, if you do read it you can at least take solace in the fact that it didn’t really do anything wrong. It didn’t do anything right, but that’s just how it goes. I wish they’d go ahead and finish scanning the Reburst chapters. Now that was a Quality Pokemon series that even rivaled Adventures.

Overall 5/10

Kingdom Hearts Review

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It feels like I’ve been reading this novel for months, but I have finally finished! As you can probably guess, this book covers the plot of the first Kingdom Hearts game. It does a good job of going through all of the important events and really covering the worlds. This does come at the expense of the fights which is unfortunate, but it’s a great way to catch up with the series if you’re not really a video game player. After all, the plot is fairly engaging on its own and with the movie/TV series probably not coming for a long time, this is your best bet! (Perhaps the manga as well, but the novel seems to handle it with greater detail)

The plot of this story revolves around a kid named Sora. He lived on a peaceful island with his two friends Riku and Kairi. Unfortunately, he wakes up one morning to find that the ocean has turned to darkness and a tornado is ripping the island off the ground. Riku vanishes in the waves and Kairi also disappears. Sora tries to keep himself together, but then he also fades away. He wakes up in a mysterious town where he meets up with strange people who tell him that all of the worlds are connected…and dying. Sora shakes this off and meets up with Donald Duck and Goofy from the classic Disney movies. They explain that they are looking for King Mickey and were told to travel with Sora in the meantime. This is because Sora is the chosen Keyblade Master of destiny who will find the keyholes in all of the planets and restore balance to the universe. Sora gets his game face on and prepares for this endeavor, but it’ll be tougher than he dared suspect.

It’s a pretty fun story that works well enough even if you switched out the Disney characters for made up ones. That being said, it certainly has more of an impact when you throw the crossover angle into the mix. It’s pretty fun to see the characters show up and help Sora out in each world. Sora gets to travel to Aladdin’s world, Peter Pan’s, Alice in Wonderland’s among others. It can be pretty nostalgic to see them and while those characters can’t fight all that much, Sora doesn’t really need any help.

As I mentioned earlier, the one drawback to this novel is that the fights are very short. Most of them are over in a couple of hits and don’t usually last more than a couple of pages. Some of them seem to be over in a single page. I hope we can get some longer fights in future adaptions, particularly Kingdom Hearts II since that should have quite a lot of fighting in it. I don’t mind if they have to skip a few worlds as a result, the action will be worth it.

Sora’s a likable protagonist and a good kid. He loses confidence a little too easily at times which is his main character flaw, but I’ll certainly take that one over most. He seemingly gets over this by the end of the novel, but it’ll be difficult to say for sure until we actually get there. There are quite a few plot twists and villains who like their mind games coming up so that could rattle Sora quite a bit.

I didn’t like Donald or Goofy though. They showed their true colors when they chose to leave Sora after the keyblade vanished. Friends shouldn’t just leave each other so easily. While they eventually went back to Sora’s side, it feels like he can’t really trust them as much as he thought. That test of loyalty was one that they failed. It’s not as if they’re great fighters either. Goofy’s shield and Donald’s magic will never be quite as effective as Sora’s sharp keyblade. It’s just the ultimate weapon.

Riku also shows up and part of the drama with him is that he has been tempted to the dark side. He thinks Sora is having too much fun as he goes on side trips while Kairi is still in a coma. Riku decides that he’ll have to save her on his own and goes through a lot of dangerous quests to get to this point. The darkness starts to overwhelm him by the end though and he loses sight of his goals to an extent. With his character arc coming full circle as Sora convinces him to join the light once more, he should make for a good ally in the coming volumes. While he may have had a point initially with Sora, he was also pretty unfair about it since Sora did try to find Kairi and just failed to do so. Riku had the advantage of having an evil witch on his side….if you can call that an advantage.

Maleficent is one of the big villains here, but her role is greatly reduced from the game. She gets to appear a few times, but comes across as an underling who was being used the whole time. Unless she redeems herself in the sequels, I’m going to say that the author probably wasn’t a big fan of hers. Ansem shows up at the end of the novel as a fun final boss and he makes for a good opponent. We certainly haven’t seen the last of him. Once Organization XIII shows up, it’ll help the series as it will finally have recurring villains who will last for a very long time.

This novel is of a pretty good length so it should last you a while. It’s about 300 words and the font isn’t all that big either. A lot of stuff happens over this time and as I mentioned, the book was able to fit in a lot of worlds. Each of the Disney worlds gets a good amount of screen time. While the Beast may have only gotten to appear without his world, he still looked pretty good since he was able to follow Belle when all of the other main heroes failed to do so. Following someone through a portal is rare no matter what medium you’re in. Characters just tend to hesitate a little too much when the going gets tough.

Overall, It’s fun to revisit the original Kingdom Hearts story and to finish another book in general. It’s been a long time since I played the first title so this is always nostalgic. I remember the series very well so it’s not as if it’s new to me, but it is fun to see how the series was before the deep plot started. Make no mistake, the seeds had sprouted for the plot with hintings all around. The writers likely had a good portion of the sequel all planned out and that’s one of the fun things about the franchise. It’s all connected and you always feel like it’s planned out well. I’ll be reading the sequel right away, but it’s a lot longer than this one so it could take a while to finish. I definitely know it’s going to be fun as well and it may even be better since Chain of Memories had a more engaging plot with higher stakes than this one. If you haven’t played the game, I highly recommend reading this book to get you into the franchise. Alternately, you should take the plunge and finally buy the original game.

Overall 7/10

Little Battlers eXperience Wars: All Star Battle Review

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It’s time to look at a little special that LBX Wars got after the series finishes. It gives us the crossover that we had long been waiting for; the big battle between Ban and Sena. It’s a little under 10 minutes so the special really has to hurry to the fight, but we got two quality fight scenes so I’d say that it did a good job of getting right to what I wanted to see in a crossover.

The premise is a little sad for Sena though as it turns out that he never got the proper approval to leave the island at the end of the series. Luckily, this is how he meets Ban, who has stopped at the island to teach the kids. Sena challenges Ban, but the old hero quickly brings along Jin for support. Sena gets a teammate as well, but ends up getting back stabbed (accidentally) and loses. Sena isn’t totally satisfied so he gets another rematch against Ban and this time it’s one on one. Can Sena squeeze out a win?

Don’t expect anything decisive as the special decides to play it very safe at the end. I’ll still give it credit for having a real victor in the first set though. At the very least, we know which tag team is better. While it was written to show that the loss was really Sena’s fault for rushing in, I don’t blame him. His robot’s specs should be vastly superior to Odin’s by this point so rushing in is a good strategy. Not to mention that being aggressive in combat is usually the best approach as opposed to the “wait and see” tactic that was suggested. I’d also say that Sena did a good job of holding his own for the most part.

It’s still a little hard to get used to Ban’s new design. (Yes, the glasses count as a whole new design) At the very least, he does seem to still have his old personality in tact. He was already drifting from the LBX game in the second series and it seems to be complete here as he mentions that he hasn’t played in a long time. It’s regrettable, but sometimes you live long enough to see yourself turn into the old man of the series. I can’t say that I’d like Ban much based on this, but he was great in the first two series so he still has that going for him. The supporting cast members like Jin and friends all seemed in character, but naturally there wasn’t enough time for them to do all that much here.

One thing that’s noticeable is how the special decided to save as much budget as it could. As such, we get several scenes where it’s just a giant head floating around or a sky view of the island. It’s not bad, but you can definitely see what the special is doing. I’m guessing this was made really quickly with a limited budget so they wanted to save it for the fight. I’d say that was a smart decision and it paid off since both action scenes were quite good. The animation has aged really well as with the rest of the series. We also got to see a lot of the classic tunes return for this special which was nice and nostalgic.

Overall, This was a pretty good special. It’s a shame that it was so short, but finally getting to see the main characters fight each other was fun. If anything, it probably hints that Sena would be able to beat Ban since he didn’t even use his full synchro mode in their fight. That makes sense since Sena was never a fan of it and the world isn’t in danger this time, but it’s something to think about. LBX did about all that it could in the 10 minutes and the one thing that I would have changed was to have a decisive victor in the last fight. That would have definitely been nice to see. I’d definitely recommend this special. You’ll probably enjoy it more if you’ve seen the show, but it could also be a nice way to get into the franchise as a whole. After all, it has the main strengths of why I like the series so much. The high quality action scenes and the solid soundtrack make for a good combo. Hopefully we get a Hollywood LBX movie or a nostalgic anime movie sequel at some point. We just need LBX to live on!

Overall 7/10

Turtles Forever Review


I finally got to see this film again. The last time I saw Turtles Forever was way back in 2012 so it’s been quite a while. That was also before I had actually seen the show so this time I got to watch it with the proper context. It’s definitely a fun adventure and a good way to close out this chapter of the franchise. It could have stood to include a little more action if you ask me, but that’s really the 2003 version’s thing so since this is a crossover, I guess they wanted to limit that a bit.

The film starts off with the 80’s turtles infiltrating the 2003 world and getting kidnapped by the Purple Dragons. After the real turtles save them from imminent destruction, they learn that the old Shredder has built a machine that can travel through dimensions. This Shredder decides to revive the main Shredder who promptly betrays the old version. He decides to eradicate all of the dimensions to destroy all of the Turtles around the multiverse. The Turtles will have to band together if they want to stop him.

The 2003 characters definitely take the spotlight for most of the film, which makes sense since it’s their home turf. Not to mention that they are typically known as the strongest incarnation of the characters anyway. They handle the 80’s characters rather easily and do a good job of making short work out of the minions. Casey and April also get a quick cameo, but since Casey is basically retired from fighting now, the two of them can only watch and hope for the best. Hun and Shredder both have big roles. Hun’s glory days are long past, but he still has his main theme working and does manage to get in the way of the heroes quite a lot. For the Shredder, it’s a mixed bag with him. This was easily not his best portrayal as the film decided to add in extra humor for the 80s characters and the Shredder is defeated several times. Being knocked out by the sleeping gas was a little unfortunate and then we also panicked when the Turtles charged at him near the end. It further proves the fact that he’s an amazing villain when he has the armor on, but he loses a lot of cool points when he’s in his alien form. He was still the most appropriate choice for the main villain of the film, but I would have liked him to have done more.

One slight issue with the film is that there really aren’t any battles. There are some general action scenes as the heroes take on scores on minions who can’t fight back, but no real fights. The Shredder doesn’t get to fight. Hun doesn’t really get to fight. As a result, there is nobody for the Turtles to go up against. I think that a good sword fight with Leonardo would have been cool. Granted, it was already established that the 80s Turtles can’t really fight, but we could have had them fight the original ones.

The 80’s characters were fun to have for the most part. I like the main Turtles. They brought back the pizza gimmick and are so out of touch with reality that they just do whatever they feel like doing. They ignore the danger and it doesn’t even register for them since they don’t have experience with it. Their weapons are a lot smaller than the 2003 version and they all have Michelangelo’s personality. It’s certainly a contrast to the main group. Unfortunately, their villains are less interesting. The Shredder is about as comic relief as a villain can get and is mocked quite a lot by the main Shredder. Krang has an intriguing burping gimmick that gets old real fast.

Finally, the original Turtles are pretty great. They do come off as rather unreasonable and why would they pick a fight with the others instantly, but not try to stop the Shredder when he’s apparently been messing up their city all day? Ah well, it gave us an excuse for a quick fight scene. I also liked how they shoved Raphael away when he tried making fun of the 80s versions. Raphael was pretty out of line there. It’s always nice to see that the original version of a character is hardcore, that’s how it should be and the black and white Turtles got the job done.

Turtles Forever gives some closure to various 2003 characters. Karai finally makes the tough call and distances herself from the Shredder, Hun finally became a Turtle, and Splinter has finally realized that there were other Turtles in the multiverse. I do think that the characters were very slow to pick up on what was actually happening here, but not everyone is cut out for time travel right? It was so unnerving that the Turtles didn’t even take prisoners in this show. They blew up one of the humans who got infected by the ooze and was changed into a monster. I was not expecting that and you have to feel bad for the humans, the Turtles shot and ran over all of them. Even 80s April O Neal didn’t have a happy ending as the villains got to her in the end after the Turtles left. The film was certainly a little more intense than you’d expect in some cases while not as intense in other ways.

The film is decently long so there is time for a lot to happen throughout. We get a lot of reunions and the heroes try to make a bunch of plans. It’s where there are some missed opportunities though. The film is long enough where it could have included a lot of other fights or more plot, but it kind of got stuck for a little while as the plot stalled. I have to admit, the movie could have been ever so slightly better with time management. Still, it accomplished what it set out to do by having the Turtles meet, interact, and then team up to fight the big villain. It’s a formula that works.

The animation is solid as always. The 2003 style just works really well with everyone. Seeing the 80’s Turtles in this futuristic environment was certainly fun. It was also cool to see the Turtles warp to different areas and then the animation would adjust as needed. That’s always one of the best parts of a crossover, letting the heroes see the other worlds. Of course, the best part is seeing the characters fight each other and we did have a brief skirmish with the original Turtles. As always, the music for Turtles Forever is good. We get to hear all of the classic tunes from the 2003 shows like Hun’s theme and Shredder’s classic sound effect. The action themes also work well and it should feel nostalgic since it’s like watching the show again.

Overall, Turtles Forever is a fun action movie and a good crossover event. Naturally, your enjoyment of the film will range based on how big of a TMNT fan you are. I imagine that people who watched both shows will enjoy it even more than those who watched one. It has good animation and a nice soundtrack to go along with the plot. I would have liked there to have been some more action and maybe a little more danger as well, but Turtles Forever is pretty good at keeping the TMNT tone that you would expect. I’m not sure if I can give it the nod over the CGI TMNT film as the best one in the franchise, but it’s very close. I haven’t seen the other one in a long time so it’s hard to say for sure. Regardless, I look forward to the next big (Non Michael Bay) TMNT film and hopefully we get a big theatrical crossover event someday. Hey…you never know right?

Overall 7/10

Marvel Contest of Champions Stats and Records

Stats time!

Level 6
Gold 8635
Silver 125

Characters
Groot 322
Juggernaut 158
Wolverine 141
Vision 139
Spider-Man 135
Captain America 135
Vision (Classic) 115
Colossus 104
Black Panther 104
Scarlet Witch 103

World of Final Fantasy Review

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I finally finished up the Postscript in World of Final Fantasy and completed all of the Interventions in the end as well. I didn’t get to complete all of the townsfolk quests although I did almost all of them and I’m fairly close to completing the Colosseum as well. All I can say about that is that it feels good. World of Final Fantasy was a game where you really felt like going out there and completing it all. It was an excellent game and continues to keep the reputation of the Final Fantasy franchise high. I only really have one complaint with the game and I’ll mention it below. Beyond that, the game was just about perfect.

Lann and Reynn are two siblings who run a coffee shop. Life was pretty quiet and normal for them until a mysterious god walks in and asks for a coffee with a lot of sugar. The strange thing is that she entered the shop while it was still closed and had apparently been there for quite a while. She tells Lann and Reynn that they have lost their memories. The two heroes quickly realize that they have never actually seen anyone in their town and don’t have any memories either. The lady tells them that to regain their memories and find their parents, they will have to explore the world of Grymoire and capture a lot of Mirages. (Monsters) The two heroes do just that as they explore this huge world which crams together all of the past Final Fantasy universes.

Naturally, it’s not all fun and games. There is an evil group of monsters who wish to destroy the universe. They stop the heroes at every corner and there final plan will be difficult to stop. Lanna and Reynn have to beef up their attack strength by grabbing more Mirages, but they will also need the help of their friends if they want to win this round. Teamwork is the name of the game and who can stop these two siblings in that department?

At first I actually thought that this was going to be a fairly short Final Fantasy game. There are 21 chapters and each chapter felt rather short. However, this was not the case as you need to factor time in to grind up the heroes and power up your monsters. Not to mention that after the 21 chapters is a Final Chapter which is quite difficult. There are also many Intervention quests which act as epilogues for all of the characters and there are even some Main Story quests in there as well. That results in a bunch of cutscenes and the game spared no expense as we even get full anime cutscenes at several points in the game. I ended up completing the game in 35 hours, which is a pretty good length. That’s slightly longer than Ocarina of Time and White Knight Chronicles, but not as long as Skyward Sword or the Kingdom Heart games.

There is also a lot of bonus content to do. I don’t think it will take you all the way up to 100 hours, but probably to at least 50 and maybe even more than that. If you want to get the Platinum in this game, you’re going to have to master all of the Mirage Boards and find all of the Treasure Chests in the game. That is bound to take a while. The leveling up part doesn’t sound all that bad to me, but finding chests when minions are constantly attacking you will be quite the trick. I got over half of the trophies so I’m pretty satisfied. I’d like to go and complete the final two town quests and the rest of the Colosseum battles at some point, but that’s probably where I will stop. At some point, it would be fun to have the bragging rights for getting the Platinum here though. I imagine that it will be very rare.

I really think there might be something to the whole “Great Graphics can make a Great Game” argument. Naturally it’s not that simple and I wouldn’t be talking about just the graphics. However, couple that with a great soundtrack and solid writing and then you’ve got a masterpiece. See, an old PS1 game could have a plot that is just as good and a dynamite soundtrack as well, but without the graphics, it could get hurt a little. (Final Fantasy VII comes to mind, but that game had a whole array of issues with it so graphics was the least of its worries) On the other hand, a game can have a fairly boring plot, a nonexistent soundtrack, and unimpressive writing like Knack, but you can still be decently engaged thanks to the good graphics. So, I do think that graphics play a bit of a role and I do find that newer games draw my attention a lot more than old ones. There’s just something very high tech and awesome about new games. That doesn’t take anything away from World of Final Fantasy though. I’m just happy to add it to my collection of other modern games that are awesome. Cyber Sleuth, Pokken, Super Smash Bros for Wii U, Dengeki, etc. They feel crisp and solid through and through.

I mentioned that there was one area where the game could have been a little better. Are you ready for this? Well, I think that Cloud and the others should have turned into their Jiant (Yes, it’s spelled that way) forms at least once. Sure, it isn’t really them and they’re just using the bodies of this parallel dimension where they are all clones, but it would have been awesome. The game could have saved up one of its anime cutscenes for the final battle and we could have seen Cloud fight the leader of the Bahamut army. Obviously this isn’t a negative that will impact the score in any way, but you have to admit that this would have been awesome and was a bit of an oversight. We needed to see big Cloud wreck everybody!

Beyond that, navigating through the Mirages could have been a little easier. It’d be nice to mess with their Mirage Boards without having to add them to the party. That’s minor though and since the loading times are very quick, it’s not much of an issue. The game is also clear on what to do next aside from the Postscript. To save you some time, I’ll just say that you need to capture the 3 elemental spirits from the Colosseum before it’ll let you complete the game. The map will never tell you this and the game never really explains how to catch Mirages all that well. It tells you about how you have to wait for a circle to appear of course, but I assumed that it was like Pokemon. I figured that weakening them would do the trick, but apparently not. Each Mirage has a different catch requirement and I believe you can use a skill to find out each time or you can just go to Reddit and they’ll help you out. Those guys are always willing to lend a hand and they have a large spreadsheet for just that purpose. I think World of Final Fantasy should have gone the Pokemon route when catching Mirages as it’d be a little simpler.

The most convenient ability at the end of the game is certainly the power to travel wherever you want whenever you want to do so. You won’t have to walk around too much aside from when you’re clearing dungeons or catching Mirages. It saves you do much time and it’s a great feature. You can really customize your party roster and everyone’s abilities quite nicely which is another good addition to the series. The whole concept of stacking monsters on top of each other is a new one and I like it. It adds a lot of strategy to the gameplay so you have to really think about who you want to use in battle. I recommend training the small Behemoth dog right from the start of the game. He’ll end up becoming your best monster once you get his XL form. Seriously, I wouldn’t have beaten the final boss without him. He can take down half of the final boss’ health in one shot thanks to his Revenge attack which gets stronger as he gets weaker. Just use the Last Hit technique so he goes to 1 HP and then prepare to one shot any boss that stands in your way. It’s awesome. The final boss used a cheesy technique that reflected the attack in the end, but the damage was done and I got my narrow win. I shudder to think about how tough that boss would have been otherwise. It’s worth mentioning that the game probably has one of the best troll endings. If you don’t decide to play the Postscript, then you’ll be in for quite the experience.

Both of the main leads are pretty good characters. Reynn does spend a lot of time insulting Lann throughout, but he takes it pretty well and it’s all in good fun. It’s just the dynamic that they have. She’s the calm and reasonable character for the most part, but she doesn’t like to be messed with and will enter full combat mode at that point. She actually taught Lann how to fight and defend himself so that shows how she was always a fighter. Lann isn’t very smart and all of the characters mock him as a result, but his heart’s always in the right place. He’s a lot more enthusiastic about saving the day and helping everyone out even if it means going out of his way. He’s also willing to make the ultimate sacrifice when necessary even if he jumps to that conclusion a little too quickly. I’d say that he was the best character from the new ones introduced in this game.

Tama is the animal mascot of the game and she is a fairly strange being who works for Enna Kros. She has the power to stop time and get the heroes to safety and can exploit a lot of game mechanics through her reality warping. She even has the power to create new timelines and mess with the past. The power never goes to her head though and she has a fun gimmick where she will use the word “the” in between words for no reason. It’s a gimmick that could have gotten old if it was misused, but I thought that the game did an admirable job. I actually liked Tama quite a bit and the execution was sound.

Enna Kros is a good high above being, but like most cosmic entities, she never really does much. Her reasoning is that Lann and Reynn are the heroes of the story so they have to do everything on their own, but she should really step in when the going gets tough. That is…unless she doesn’t have the large amounts of power that she wants us to thinks she possesses. It raises a lot of interesting questions. She was fun though and adding extra sugar to the coffee gives her some extra personality.

As for the villains, Brendires is the main one. He is a dark overlord who wants to take over the world. We don’t see a whole lot of him beyond that, but he works well as a villain and has a great design. He’s certainly very powerful since he took down Cloud and Lightning, but I’m calling plot hax on that. Even with a weakened vessel that houses his soul, Cloud should have been able to take him down. Brendires never gave up and had a lot of determination for a villain. He’s easily one of the cooler Final Fantasy end bosses. His two main minions were a little more on the bland side. The winged fighter got some hype for a while, but never did much about it. I do like the fact that she was the only one to get up after being knocked out the first time though. That’s considering that her vessel was supposedly putting up a large fight. The other villain reminded me of Fang from Street Fighter V. His constant rhyming was a gimmick that didn’t work and I couldn’t take him very seriously.

Naturally, all of the old Final Fantasy game characters showed up as well. They were all in character so there’s no need to say much about them. Lightning and Cloud are still the coolest two members. We got a tease about Sephiroth showing up and that could be a DLC quest at some point. It would definitely be neat to see him show up and thanks to owning the Day 1 Edition, we do have his Champion Medal. It’s a fun tribute to his ultimate attack from the original game.

Overall, World of Final Fantasy is a great game. I’d probably put it under both of the Final Fantasy XIII games, but it destroys VII and defeats X-2. It goes without saying that it beats the original as well and I haven’t completed any other main titles at the moment. The characters are good and the plot is engaging. You’ll be breezing through the game because it’s hard to take yourself away from it. It also has a great opening cutscene that is similar to a Kingdom Hearts intro. Even the little dance by everyone at the end is fairly intriguing since you’ll rarely get to see Cloud outshine everyone on the dance floor. If you haven’t picked up the game yet because you’re worried about the Chibi style or just dread playing long games, I’d recommend getting it anyway. It’s fine if you don’t play the post script since the normal ending is actually quite great since it’s so unexpected.

Overall 9/10

Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 2 Review

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It’s been a while, but it’s time to finally check out the next volume in the Scooby Doo team up series. This one brings adventures with more DC characters as well as classics like the Jetsons and the Flintstones. Needless to say, The Mystery Gang is always ready to go and capture some ghosts no matter where and when they are. It’s another solid installment in this series. Now all we need is a team up with the Crime Syndicate so the heroes can unknowingly help them commit a crime for some extra tension.

The first story involves the Flintstones. Scooby Doo and the gang were sent back in time when the Flintstone professor started to mess around with his time machine. He underestimated his genius apparently. Either way, it’s good that Fred and the gang are around because a ghost is haunting the opera. The gang may be a little confused as to how they got to the past, but that won’t stop them from uncovering this menace! I’m not a huge fan of the Flintstones, but the cast seems fairly standard as far as comedy shows go. I don’t like the little kid with super strength, but the others seem all right. Fred Flintstone nearly got to escape and have his fun bowling night, but it wasn’t to be.

It even ended with a cliffhanger as the group was sent too far into the future by mistake so they got to meet up with the Jetsons. The Jetsons was always the cooler show and it also made for a better comic> The gang has to find a way to get back to the past, but it’ll be tricky since another ghost has shown up. The boss of the main Jetson is also forcing him to work on a top secret project which has made his family members a little tense since he hasn’t been home all that much lately. The boss is definitely a good character and he even talks back to Daphne and the gang. His rival is even better though as he laughs and scares the main boss whenever he shows up. This rival seems to be winning the company battle in terms of profits and it is easy to see why. He’s got that natural charisma after all.

Another story featured Superman and it’s always great to see him. The Mystery Gang helps him stop the Prankster, but in the process Superman is exposed to Red Kryptonite and turns into a Super Monster. Lois and Jimmy try to change into their super powered forms, but Shaggy and Scooby steal the elixirs and use it on themselves first. Now they’ll have to defeat Superman and with a little help from Krypto…they can actually pull it off. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang works on putting the Prankster behind bars for good. Naturally, the heroes could never hope to stop Superman without plot hax, but this is a comedy adventure so we can let it slide more. The Mystery Gang likely realizes that Superman is too strong as well. This portrayal of Superman was also good overall as he took down 4 super villains at once without any effort. That’s definitely the kind of strength that I like to see from him.

Later on, we also went to Gotham City where Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy called for the help of the Scooby Doo gang. They have a cursed jewel that has been spoiling all of their robberies as of late. Fred and the others are confident that it is Batman posing as the ghost so they decide to play along. Unfortunately, their guess was wrong as per usual. They will need some help though since the villains start to get serious. This issue had a bigger cast of super heroes than the others which was nice to see. It’s always nice to see Gotham City as well and while all of the stories are fun, they are at their best when the team up is with DC comic characters.

Another crossover was with a group of people that I actually didn’t recognize. Essentially, they are archaeologists who stop Aliens and save the planet on a regular basis. They go along with the Mystery Gang to Monster Island to stop a villain with mad ambitions. Both groups get their turn to shine as the Mystery Gang uncovers the crime while the other guys make sure to blow up the island afterwards. The insults were definitely real this time though and the Mystery Inc was always on the wrong side of it thanks to Shaggy and Scooby not helping their case. Still, it’s why I definitely like Fred as the leader. He doesn’t back down to these guys and continues to talk tough the whole time. Nobody pushes him around! This was actually the best comic in the batch so it broke the “DC Comics are the best stories” trend that I just mentioned.

Finally, we have a story with a talking Beever Squirrel apparently, who is actually a secret agent. You thought that 007 was good? No?….well, this guy’s 000 so he is definitely an improvement. He has scissors in his hat and he can do all kinds of neat stuff with his gadgets. He constantly ridicules the Mystery Gang for their conspicuous attire and vehicle, but he ends up being even worse than them. He was actually very annoying as a result and this was the weakest comic of the batch. The Beever just isn’t a cool guest star and his universe doesn’t seem all that interesting. Who knows, maybe it just gets better over time or something. Still a decent comic though, it just loses out.

The art is fairly good as well. It does a really good job of capturing all of the character designs. All of the characters look as they should be. It’s good to see Harley Quinn in her true costume as the comics have moved away from it. Everyone else looks like how they would be if they had been in Super Friends. The Mystery Inc characters all look good as well and it’ll remind you of the original show. So far the art has been consistent so hopefully the artist stays on board for as long as possible. (Although this collection already had 2 and they both looked rather similar)

Overall, The Scooby Doo Team Up adventures is a fun series. It’s like Batman’66 in the sense that you know what you will get each time. It’s a very consistent comic that I don’t expect to ever have a bad volume. The formula works and that will ensure that the series never loses its course. If you want to see some fun adventures with the Mystery Inc and various DC characters, then this is definitely the title for you. Hopefully the series continues to go on for quite a while. It feels good to be reading an ongoing Scooby Doo series to go along with all the others.

Overall 7/10