Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Mad Monster Party? Review


It’s time to look at a comedic horror crossover featuring all of the big universal monsters from back in the day. I have to admit that at first I thought the premise was slightly different. See, it starts with an old man perfecting a serum that blows stuff up and then he invites everyone. So his goal would be to blow them all up right? The film doesn’t go in that direction but I think it could have been very interesting to see him trying to knock off all of them one by one. This is a fun enough movie although I do think it starts to drag on a bit. The premise doesn’t seem like it’s quite ready to handle a full length adventure and could have easily just been 40 minutes or so. I think that would have made the film better.

The movie starts off by showing us that Frankenstein has created a new serum that can blow anything up. He figures this is a pretty solid note to retire on so he invites all of the monsters to come and have a party with him. The thing is, not everyone is here just to have a good time. Dracula has his own plans in all of this. Meanwhile Frankenstein has invited his nephew Felix over to meet everyone. Felix is just an ordinary kid trying to live the good life but is excited to see his uncle after so long. Frankenstein asks Francesca to look after him during the trip but they end up getting quite close. Can Francesca get Felix off of this dangerous island before it’s too late or is it already over for them?

Naturally here a big part of the fun is in how oblivious Felix is to everything going on. The film leads off with a fun gag where the monsters scare the sailors quite a bit so they think Felix is a monster as well. It’s handled pretty well although I was surprised that Felix would then go on to miss a large chunk of the movie. It’s also pretty surreal to see all of the monsters just show up out of the blue. I think a film could actually be a lot of fun if it took this plot seriously and had an ensemble nature like this. It’s hard to picture nowadays since they want every character to have his own film but it could definitely be a blast.

The animation is your classic stop motion style from the creators of Rudolph so you either like the animation or you don’t. Personally I consider this to be one of the weakest animation styles. I’ll take flash or CGI over stop motion any day. That being said, I’ve seen a lot of stop motion films over the years and among those this one holds its own well enough I’d say. They definitely had to get a lot of different character designs to make it work so that’s pretty impressive. They even got unique character models for everyone at Felix’s ice cream shop and those guys don’t appear after the opening. I thought they made for a pretty fun group and I actually missed the store a bit. It was an effective way to introduce us to Felix.

As a character Felix is fun enough. He’s determined to do the right thing and is very polite. I do think his romance with Francesca is pretty rushed to say the least though. As for Francesca, she’s a pretty fun character. She can certainly fight which is always handy and she’s willing to make the tough calls like sacrificing herself to let Felix get away. In general the film has pretty strong writing so that translates pretty well to the characters. They’ve always got a lot of good burns and comebacks at the ready for every situation. In particular I think Frankenstein’s monster fans will be pleased at his portrayal. No, he doesn’t get any witty comebacks or things of that nature but his raw power is given a ton of respect. He’s shown to be far more powerful than Dracula after all. Only King Kong would likely be above him.

All of the characters get their time to shine even if some get bigger roles than others. For example, Dracula gets a big role while the Mummy rarely gets to do anything. The movie had to balance quite a few monsters though so I think it did a good job with what it had. I also still think the sheer amount of iconic characters was impressive. I’ll also give the movie some props for the ending. I thought it threw in a pretty good twist with some wrinkles to keep you guessing. The ending certainly wasn’t an expected one at the very least and makes you re-think the whole movie.

As mentioned earlier, my only problem with the film would be that it just lasted a little too long. I feel like it would lose focus mainly in the second half as the premise started to be played out. You can only make fun of the characters for so long before you need to do something more with the story. A good script can help you avoid that but even these characters had already started to use up all of the witty banter. It’s not something that would make me turn you away from checking out the film but certainly slows its momentum.

Overall, The Mad Monster Party is worth checking out. I always like a good crossover and this one certainly fits that bill. If I was the film one change I would make though would have been to add Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer since he’s so iconic. I know that he’s not a monster but that could have been part of the joke as everyone keeps referring to him as one anyway. There are always more characters you can add though so that’s a pretty minor point. So long as you want a fun film with a lot of good banter then this is definitely one you’ll want to check out.

Overall 6/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore Review


It’s time to look at a fun action RPG. This game was on my radar for a very long time even though I ultimately did not end up picking it out when the game first came out on the Wii U. I just ended up waiting until finally it came out for the Switch and I knew I needed to pick it up. Cut to my video game backlog going under 70 for the first time and to celebrate I got this game along with a few others. The game is definitely a blast and I always love playing a big RPG adventure like this one. It’s definitely a very fun game that is also quite difficult. Without the Bloom Palace and it’s super grinding areas I dare say that I could still be playing this game right now.

The game starts by introducing us to the mass disappearance event. A show was being conducted by two mega famous idols but then suddenly everyone vanished. Cut to 5 years later and people still don’t know what happened. Our main character Itsuki is waiting at the mall for his friend when he bumps into a childhood friend of his, Tsubasa. She is trying to be an idol herself and is pretty close in the auditions to finally hitting it big. Unfortunately, that’s when tragedy strikes. The director is actually being controlled by a mirage and kidnaps her. Itsuki heads in as well and ends up harnessing the power of the mirages to save her. He is bonded with Chrome and Tsubasa also gets a Mirage of her own. They find out that there is a larger war between humans and mirages at play right now and they all have a role in it. Can the heroes find out why everyone at the concert vanished 5 years ago and stop any future threats? In the meantime they also have to work hard because they now work for an actual Idol company so Tsubasa’s dream of being a professional is almost complete.

While this is partially a Fire Emblem game to the loosest extent, it’s totally a stand alone adventure. It’s also a very character driven game so the main story takes a backseat for the most part. Each chapter will have someone get possessed and then the heroes head in to save the victim from going over to the dark side. In the final chapter or two we find out about the real main villain and that starts the climax. In between each chapter is an intermission where you get some dancing instructions and it’s also a chance for you to hang out and complete some side quests. The story may not be the deepest, but it’s still pretty fun. I’m always up for seeing the Fire Emblem characters even if they’re basically just ghosts here.

The game also shines with how it throws in fully animated cutscenes at times. It’s pretty epic when the transitions happen. The normal cutscenes are also pretty solid though as they go for more of a cell shaded look. There are quite a few cutscenes here to be sure so this really feels like a AAA title. The soundtrack is also pretty good I’d say. There are a wide range of themes here and they all work rather well. One of the things I like about RPGs is they are long enough where you get to really know all of the characters and enjoy the wide range of activities in the world. There is a ton of replay value to enjoy here after all and the main campaign is over 20 hours long. If you don’t take advantage of the Bloom Palace then it’ll probably be even longer.

So the main gameplay is that of a classic turn based RPG. When it’s your turn you can choose to use one of your skills or an item. The game has an elemental system so some attacks will be super effective on different kinds of enemies. A pretty fun thing the game does is make those elements secret until you use an attack. So if it’s an enemy you haven’t fought before then all of his elemental resistances will show a question mark. Once you beat him then for all future occurrences you will see the strengths and weaknesses. It’s something that could work well in Pokemon if you ask me since it would give more reason to actually fill out the Pokedex.

You can use 3 characters in a party and when you use a super effective attack then the others can jump in and get an extra attack if they have an applicable skill. As you level characters up and gather materials you can also unlock passive abilities for the cast. These can be quite helpful. For example, there is one passive skill that allows every character in the back row to get a turn as well. What this ultimately means is that you can have 7 attacks in a single turn every turn. You can see how much of an advantage this would be right? Ultimately I only unlocked one of these skills before beating the game though. You need a high bond level to unlock them and that requires fighting with the character for a while or working on their side quests. You also need materials and since I did all of my grinding in the dungeon I didn’t really have almost any materials.

It’s actually something that caught up to me by the end of the game. I got all of my characters to level 99 but without materials it meant that my characters still had really weak weapons. Surprisingly those make such a difference that even being level 99 didn’t help to balance things back out. So if you do decide to train up there then be sure to still go in and fight some real minions. Those materials are absolutely essential and I can confirm that you will be really glad to have them on hand. I really love how in depth the complex the game goes with the mechanics though. Each of your weapons also have passive effects you can unlock which encourages you to fight with the sub weapons as well. Then you can use dust to increase your stats. There are a ton of ways to beat each boss so the strategy is entire up to you. Choose wisely.

The cast also isn’t bad although they’re fairly weak compared to most RPG titles. Itsuki for example is a reasonable main character, but he’s borderline an avatar character because the guy has no real character. He’s a nice guy who’s super humble and always does the right thing. That’s nice and all but he never really shows much personality. Tsubasa is also a fun heroine but shows a similar level of energy. Her thing is that she tends to mispronounce words. It’s a reasonably solid gimmick I’d say. The best character here is probably the rival who shows up a few times to get in your way. He’s definitely not someone to be trifled with.

Overall, Tokyo Mirages is a game that lived up to the hype. The story may not have been the greatest compared to other big RPGs, but I was still entertained the whole way through. The most important thing is the gameplay of course and that was definitely on point from start to finish. I’d certainly be up for a sequel at some point. I’ve definitely got more RPG titles to work on as well so I’ll be ready for another big adventure soon. In the meantime if you haven’t picked this game up yet then you should. Just don’t go in expecting a whole lot of Fire Emblem characters. They help a bit with the lore but that’s about it, no Roy or Ike or anything like that. If you remember your Fire Emblem elemental types for the weapons that should help you quite a bit with guessing what attacks to use off the bat though.

Overall 8/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Dragon Quest Monsters+ Review


It’s time to look at my first ever Dragon Quest manga. Dragon Quest is a pretty huge franchise so it’s certainly nice to finally get a glimpse at it. I do own one or two of the games, but I haven’t had a chance to play them yet. The series always looks like a lot of fun with a colorful cast of characters and excellent gameplay. This one does a good job of getting in what appear to be the main mechanics while also introducing a lot of characters. Towards the end the series really starts to change gears before ending quite abruptly. I feel like it must have been cancelled.

The series starts by introducing us to Terry. He is the world’s greatest Monster Master which is effectively what they call heroes nowadays. He conquered evil and became the best, but one day he vanishes. His main monster was Slib who ended up staying behind. This takes us to our new main character, Kleo. Kleo lives in the human world and has always longed for adventure. Well, he gets his chance when a monster summons him to Dragon Quest world. He is quickly given the task of locating Terry and saving the dragon world. It won’t be easy but Kleo will find new monsters along the way and gain new strength. This will be key because if someone was actually able to defeat Terry then this won’t be an easy foe to take down.

First off I’ll say that what Dragon Quest really succeeds in is building a pretty big universe. The series is only 5 volumes long, but there’s a lot of content here. What the series takes advantage of is how big the overall franchise is. It borderline becomes a crossover by the end as you see characters from the various games show up to help. I mentioned earlier that the series changes gears and this is what I mean. At first it is all about Kleo and his quest on being a monster master, but this changes around volume 3. Then the focus shifts more to the old heroes as they fight an evil from the past. We see all of the old leads, get some big hand to hand fights, and it’s all pretty awesome. I gotta admit that I didn’t really miss Kleo at this point.

Kleo gets written out for quite a while but the other heroes handle the story so well that you barely notice. It also feels like a crossover when a hero teams up with Kleo. They may be from the same world but it feels like they’re on completely different dimensions with various rules of combat. If I could compare it to something it would be Tsubasa since that series mixes people from different realities. Had the series kept going then we could have really run with this concept a little more. It would have been a lot of fun, but as it stands at least these 5 volumes are quite memorable.

Unfortunately the series does slip a bit with the ending. There isn’t an ending. Now, I do like a good cliffhanger ending. I actually prefer for a series to end with a hype cliffhanger than to have everything wrapped up because this way there is always room for a sequel and you can rely on your headcanon to fill in the blanks. The problem here is that the ending is just a non ending which is different from a cliffhanger. There was a big rematch/battle that was hyped up all the way from the first volume and it never came to pass. The villain only appears for a panel or two at the end which really feels like a big shame. I can’t help but feel that something was supposed to happen but never did.

We get an epilogue what if story that has more time warps and alternate reality fighters running around, but it’s not nearly as satisfying. It’s similar to how in End Game the Avengers fight a different Thanos. It’s just not the same guy so it’s not as satisfying a victory. I wanted Kleo to have his proper fight and it just didn’t go that way. Perhaps this series will get a sequel some day although I don’t see that being too likely. You never really know I guess and that’s what you have to bank on.

The artwork is pretty solid. It’s got a nice DBZ effect and since some of the designs are made to be like Dragon Ball it works pretty well. The action scenes are on point and these guys feel pretty high tier towards the end. The larger spells are certainly a force to be reckoned with and the villains even get some super forms. You won’t have a problem blasting through the series as everything is pretty clear and never too cluttered.

Unfortunately the series does have a bit of fanservice randomly added in during the end. One character is always teasing Kleo but it never goes very far at all so I wouldn’t even count that. The only bit is naturally a hot springs scene was included and it’s a little more in depth than I would have expected. Fortunately that is really the only time it occurs but it was quite forced and didn’t need to actually occur in the series. Had we gotten more scenes like that then it would have definitely taken a higher toll on the series.

Now lets take a look at the characters. First up is Kleo who is basically your average kid. He’s always wanted to be a hero and now he has gotten his chance. He always wanted to fight monsters mano a mano but that’s just not the way that it works in this world. Gradually he understands how he is expected to fight here and does a pretty good job of it. I don’t expect he will leave a big impression on you but he’s not bad. Kleo does use more and more strategy by the end and his bonds with his monsters are why he is so powerful. I expect had the series gone on longer he would have gotten even better.

Then you have Slib who is never lacking in confidence. It’s a pretty rough road for him since he used to fight with Terry who was the champ so Kleo initially felt like a downgrade to him. Gradually they got used to each other though. While Slib may be a pretty proud monster, he always makes the right decision in the end. His training also made him even more powerful DBZ style as it even came with a humanoid super form. The banter between Kleo and Slib was always fun.

Then there is Terry who was my favorite character in the series although he lost a lot of ground after the big reveal in volume 2. Basically his mind wasn’t strong enough to stay on the light side and so he got persuaded to join the monsters. We never get to see a whole lot from his side so ideally there was more to it than that, but we’ll never really know. It just makes Terry look very weak. It’s not like he’s taking orders from anyone at least. Even by the end Terry seems like the strongest character in the series but I really would have liked for him to have stayed as the ultimate hero. Even if he was defeated it would have been a very powerful moment. The idea of the ultimate hero losing and a new generation having to step in is always a good one. I guess I can’t say that the series dropped the ball here since it’s the whole premise, but I think the series would have been even better had it not gone this route.

Laran is the main hero who appears for a good chunk of the series. There was actually a hero who appeared earlier and also had a good role, but Laran is the one who ends the series off. Interestingly they work under the old rules too so if they die then they re-spawn somewhere else. While that does lower the danger for them, they still don’t want to die because they they’re leaving the town defenseless. The heroes can never lower their guard and Laran ultimately has to team up with a lot of heroes to take down the final villain. I would have been cool with Laran being the main character for the whole series. There was a lot of potential here and he was just fun.

Maruma is a heroine who shows up later in the series. She was on the villain side, but never even really knew why she was. Maruma is eventually shown the light, but she can be a bit too trusting. Since she doesn’t do much until the final volume there isn’t a lot of time for her to get a role, but she’s solid. Maruma is the kind of character where the template is good and you more or less know how her character would go even if we didn’t see it. Her array of monsters was certainly impressive and one of the strongest groups we got to see.

Pazuzu and the Demon Lord were the two big monster villains. Both of them got sizable roles and definitely gave the heroes a run for their money. In the end Pazuzu was the most impressive one though. Like the various heroes Pazuzu was able to keep coming back to life over and over again which takes real skill. He went through a lot of super forms in order to keep testing the heroes limits and had a solid design. Now this was the kind of guy who could strike fear into the heroes and I’d expect no less from the series.


Overall, Dragon Quest Monsters+ is a pretty ambitious manga title. It feels like the big Dragon Quest crossover that I’ve been waiting for. With so many games it makes sense to have a crossover title like Fire Emblem Warriors. I believe Dragon Quest did get its own beat em up like that so now we have a crossover in the games as well as in the manga. Not to worry though, you can read this one with no prior knowledge of Dragon Quest and still understand what is happening. After all, that’s exactly what I did and it worked out quite well I must say. There are a lot of loose ends you’ll notice in the series like various monster hunters appearing and never getting to do much. I stand by my theory that the series was cancelled. Even though the ideas may not have finished being executed, it was still a really solid ride and I’d recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 7 Doomed Review


Time for some more team ups with the good ole Mystery Inc and some more DC heroes. The series has done a good job of grabbing so many DC characters. We’re 7 volumes in and still seeing new fighters. While you may be skeptical as to how the Mystery Inc will actually be of help, typically they are really here as distractions. Think of them as extra shields to buy the heroes an extra second. Usually that’s all the extra time that the hero needs.

One of the stories has the heroes head to the swamp where they meet up with another one of Shaggy’s relatives. They’re here to look into the Voodoo Woman so they can put the swamp at ease. They have to stop her meddling, but unfortunately she already has a whole bunch of zombies at her beck and call. The only being who can really help them out of this dilemma is the legendary Swamp Thing, but will he really be able to defend against such a powerful villain? Interestingly this comic also squeezes in Solomon Grundy towards the end although he is definitely way out of his league this time. Typically I would actually pick him to win, but in this comic Swamp Thing had the edge from start to finish. There was never any doubt as to how this would end.

It’s a pretty nice comic. It’s always good to see Swamp Thing getting some time to shine after all. The comic also poked fun as how the heroes have also defeated Swampthing in another issue. The space in between the words is the key to really knowing who you are dealing with. This is an example of an issue where the Scooby gang doesn’t really get to do much though. Mostly they just run away from the Voodoo Woman a lot or they’re in awe of how strong Swamp Thing is.

Another comic features the Doom Patrol and this was actually my favorite issue of the bunch. The team is bickering as usual, but the strange part is there enemy seems to keep changing form. At one point a whole group of enemies show up, but they all seem to be ghosts. This is a case for the Scooby Doo gang. There’s definitely a trick involved and they’ll have to figure it out fast. The Doom Patrol was always a fun X-Men sort of group but with a lot more in-fighting. I also like how their leader has a lot of weapons ready inside of his wheelchair. Honestly it’s just the smart thing to do when you’re the leader of a super hero team. This way at least you can defend yourself right? This story has so much action it feels like a real Doom Patrol story with the Scooby Doo gang just guest starring in it. It’s handled really well.

Another story featured Supergirl as she called the gang in to help her deal with the ghosts of her parents. She was quite serious too as she even told them her secret identity which was a bold move. The heroes know something is wrong because the parents keep calling her Supergirl rather than Kara or her kryptonian name. That seems like a scam and of course the heroes are right. I would have liked a more powerful Supergirl villain to have been the main villain here, but it does help reinforce the mystery element of the issue. Supergirl could have looked better here as she spends most of the issue getting outsmarted, but she did call in the crew to handle the mysteries so in a way she won the fight before it even started.

There’s a subplot with her cat and Scooby not getting along, but it doesn’t hold up as well as the main one. The cat is just annoying and Scooby really isn’t much better so they both end up being guilty in this one. The whole temporary superpowers for a few minutes thing is pretty fun even if the time range isn’t nearly long enough to be all that useful. By the time you are really getting into a rhythm you would be taken down for the count.

In our next adventure we’ve got the return of the Blue Falcon. The issue here is that he has been acting awfully shady the last few days. His dog sidekick asks the Mystery Inc for help on figuring out just what is going wrong. Unfortunately they all fall for one of those classic net traps and find out that the real Blue Falcon was actually taken down by one of his old cronies who is now impersonating him. Can the heroes stop this guy or is it already too late? It goes without saying that Blue Falcon doesn’t look good here. He went down off screen and apparently he is so nondescript that someone can easily change places with him and nobody can tell the difference. He’s clearly got a ways to go before he is known as one of the big leaguers. It’s a good comic, but a little less eventful than some of the others. It was nice to see the characters constantly taking shots at him by saying that he was copying Batman though.

My least favorite issue was the one with all of the apes. Basically it’s an ensemble cast with a bunch of DC monkey themed characters. It’s a pretty impressive bunch as they even got some I didn’t recognize like the guy in a cage who can switch minds with an ape. What hurts this one is that I don’t even like a lot of them. Gorilla Grodd and Detective Chimp just aren’t my cup of tea. I also have to question why the Mystery Inc was really called in. They try explaining that it’s because one of the gorillas is a vampire Nazi so that’s like a ghost, but is it really? If I were the mystery inc I would still be questioning that. This is way out of their power levels. Still a good issue, but it wasn’t quite as strong as the others. Also the ending doesn’t really make sense.

So as I mentioned the main guy can switch minds with a gorilla and it is through his amulet/ring of sorts. He somehow manages to switch places with Titano at one point, but how? Unless his powers work differently than how I had interpreted them he would have needed to get the ring on the other ape and I just don’t see how he could have had time to do that. It would have been too difficult and he was out of range. That part just stuck out at me and I read it twice, but still couldn’t put that chain of events together.

In the next story the heroes are confronted with a bunch of powerful spirits. Dr. Fate sends them to the past so the heroes can find a way to deal with them, but it means that they will have to survive some world war II adventures as they try to find the answers. This means that the old school version of the Justice League shows up. Green Lantern’s weakness to wood is still a huge liability to deal with but the others manage to pick up the slack. The solution to stopping the demons ends up being incredibly simple, but I suppose that’s why it was hard to note it. This was definitely one of the strongest stories. It was nice seeing all of the heroes and everyone got to contribute in some way or form.

Finally we have a team up with Penelope Pitstop. I’m not familiar with her character but her gimmick seems to be that she gets kidnapped a lot. As a result there are a bunch of mini mobsters who look after her as well as a real estate agent of sorts. The Mystery Inc are called in to help her as well but with this many bodyguards nobody is sure who should take point so there is a lot of in-fighting. The Mystery Inc needs to figure out who is planning to kidnap Penelope before it is too late. The clock is ticking.

This is definitely the most mystery focused out of all the stories and I dare say that the Mystery Inc is at their best here. They get to do some old fashioned detective work here and they aren’t out shadowed by the other heroes. This time they can actually hold their own since they are in their own element and it ends up working out quite well for them. Penelope is definitely the most obscure of the characters we’ve seen, but in some ways that helps with the mystery since I wasn’t as familiar with her supporting cast. I definitely won’t be forgetting this adventure anytime soon though so it’ll be fun to see if she appears somewhere else in the near future.

As always the artwork here is pretty solid. The characters all look like themselves and the fights can take themselves seriously when necessary. The colors pop out and it’s clear that the artist was putting a lot of effort into the drawings. It just looks really good and it manages to be colorful/vibrant while keeping the serious tone for the heroes’ side of things. I’ve definitely got to give the comic a thumbs up here.

Overall, Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 7 is yet another strong installment in the series. By this point you should definitely know if you’ll like it or not. It’s a steady formula that the series has going on in these adventures and it’s one that works quite well. The Mystery Inc are here for the humor as they get chased and one upped by all of the villains while the DC Heroes come in with a lot of confidence and save the day. That’s exactly how it should be and this works out quite well. The art is good as always so these volumes just go by in a flash. I look forward to seeing who the heroes get to team up with next.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Power Rangers: Battle For The Grid Review


It’s time to look at the big Power Rangers crossover game for the PS4. This one seems to have a similar plot to the Shattered Grid comics so I wonder if it’s an adaption of sorts. Either way as someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about Power Rangers except the fact that it’s an awesome franchise, it was a blast getting to play this title. The gameplay is top notch and the story is exciting. The series manages to capture a lot of energy in every scene and really ends up being a total success.

The game starts with Drakken showing up and murdering Rita. He then decides to wipe out all of the Power Rangers from the various timelines so he can steal their Morphers and take the power for himself. With all of these abilities he will be the strongest ranger of all time and that will put him in a good position to rule the universe. The original Power Rangers are going to have to put a stop to this but they can’t do it on their own. As such they call in the other Rangers and now a battle for the multiverse has begun.

It’s been a long time since I got to play a classic Arcade story like this and it feels good. The last time was probably Street Fighter V. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to just jump into the next fight rather than running around a hub world. This game takes you from fight to cutscene back to more fights. It does make for a rather short story, but a satisfying one nonetheless. The crucial parts you need to have with a story like this is a solid group of characters and exciting music to amp you up for each fight. Power Rangers delivers here.

The soundtrack is top notch. It’s a rather small array of themes, but each one will boost your adrenaline and get you ready for action. Then you’ve got the graphics which are nice and very flashy. Everything looks good both in the actual gameplay and for the illustration cutscenes. I feel like there was a pretty good budget behind this game and the developers effort paid off.

As for the actual gameplay, it’s basically a 3 on 3 Capcom vs style. You can utilize combos with all 3 characters or you can focus with one at a time. Sometimes it is handy to just do the 1 at a time approach because if you summon another character to help at the wrong time your opponent may end up blasting both of you at once. That’ll never happen if you stick to just one character, but typically the positives outweigh the negatives in using the full team. I also recommend going through the tutorial mode because button mashing may not cut it here.

The story mode is actually a little more difficult than the average fighting game as the computers show some actual intelligence. They won’t just walk into all of your hits, you’ll have to try to actually outmaneuver them. I actually did lose once against the final boss and that’s considering that I studied the combos in the tutorial mode and practiced a bunch of them. You’ll also want to do this so you can summon the Megazord. Fighting games in general are more fun when you know what you’re doing so you should just do it. Trust me, you won’t regret it! The tutorial only takes a few minutes so it’s worth doing.

Each character has a unique set of moves so you’ll want to play them all to see who your favorite character is. I got to play as most of the characters through the story and by far my favorite character was Jason. He can be a bit cheesy since he has some of the strongest moves as well as a lot of projectiles. Using him I was able to quickly get to Gold III rank online which felt pretty impressive. It’s just hard to beat those combos and then other characters have some pseudo infinite combos. If your opponent doesn’t know how to stop you from grabbing you can keep on doing that over and over until they lose. Once they’re in a corner there aren’t many options to escape the grab. It’s the kind of game where you can get very good very quickly, but watch out as there is always someone even better out there.

As I mentioned the story is short, but there is still a good amount of replay value here. This is a fighting game after all so you can go online and try out a bunch of matches. There are seasons that shuffle every few weeks/months so it never really has to end. The game is quite new so I don’t imagine that the players would leave too soon. That means you’ll have a lot of time to really practice your skills. You can also work on unlocking all of the titles by playing a lot of Arcade modes and trying each character out a bunch. I guess the bottom line here is that there is enough content to satisfy you as long as you play online. If you only do offline then you’d probably want to wait until the game is 20-30.

Overall, Battle For The Grid is a really fun game. It’s a nostalgic title in some ways as it’ll remind you of the old school fighting games. This one isn’t trying to re-invent the genre, it’s just got very strong fundamentals. When you pick the game up you instantly know what all of the modes are and where you want to go next. The main menu is very straight forward and the interface is super clean. It’s just a very well made game and one that serves as a great introduction to the Power Rangers series. I know it definitely helped remind me what a great franchise it can be. If you don’t have this game yet then you need to check it out. It’s one of the sleeper hits of 2019.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans Review


It’s time to look at the most recent Teen Titans Go! movie. This one brings back the classic Teen Titans for a quick crossover event. While the film doesn’t manage to be quite as fun as the first Titans Go movie it’s definitely still a quality film in its own right. You’ve got action, comedy, and a final boss. What else would you even need right? One thing to watch out for is the opening credits makes the interesting decision of spoiling the entire film. It literally goes section by section from start to finish and shows all of the big scenes. It’s a very odd choice.

The movie starts off by showing us that the Teen Titans have still got it as they beat the Gentleman Ghost. People may doubt their abilities, but they shouldn’t because these kids are the real deal. Things get a little hectic when a portal appears and they’re all kidnapped. It turns out that the Master of Games is kidnapping Teen Titans from various universes to make them fight. The Go Titans are eager to start the battle while the modern ones just want to find a way to save their world. It looks like both of them may have to team up, but can the two groups possibly learn to work with each other in time?

Going forward I’m going to call the original Titans the Gen 1 crew and the others will just be referred to normally since they are the main characters here. The Titans act about as well as you’d expect them to. They’re still treated like comic relief because even they acknowledge that they aren’t serious the way that the Gen 1 guys are. They can’t help but constantly be at the center of the gags. The only one who tries to be serious is Robin and even then he is constantly overshadowed by his Gen 1 version. I’ll give him points for effort though and he’s the only Titan who really understands the gravity of the situation. He needs the portal device and he needed a win to secure the team’s confidence. It’s just a shame that he isn’t able to fight quite as well as the others. The other Titans are all on point except for the fact that Starfire was not taking this seriously enough. None of them were all that serious, but at least they tried in the tournament. Starfire was too busy trying to make friends to do much of anything which was disappointing.

As for the Gen 1 crew, it was fun to see them again. Robin and Raven probably get the most to do here. Raven has a lot of experience with the demonic realm so she coaches the kid version on this. Meanwhile Robin is ready to lead the team and he definitely does not like the baby titans. He’s constantly belittling them and when they don’t listen to reason he is quick to put them down. Gen 1 Robin certainly enjoys being the leader and makes sure to stretch things out when possible. After all this is his chance to lead two different teams to victory so you can bet that he is going to milk this as much as he can. It’s just an opportunity that he cannot miss.

The movie moves pretty quickly through the different phases to the climax so it never drags on. I didn’t feel like any of the humor was all that bad either. I would consider this to be one of the stronger Teen Titans Go episodes if it was on TV. The return of Santa Claus was also a lot of fun. It’s always great to see him as an antagonist and he is one of their tougher opponents. Of course taking on a group this large would be difficult even for the greatest of villains.

Then we’ve got more crossover appeal towards the end of the film. If you managed not to see who was included already then I won’t spoil it for you. Needless to say it’s a pretty solid lineup. I would have liked to have seen them all a little more to be honest, but what we got was pretty neat. Imagine if the whole film was the tournament though and we got to see a lot of different verses duke it out. That would have been really cool and then this probably would have beaten the original film. The animation here does look pretty good, but more standard than the first movie. The colors are a little brighter and there is extra detail either way. There’s no super catchy theme like we got in the first film, but I guess it’s hard for Lightning to strike twice.

Where the film really shines is in how absurd the whole thing is. The Go characters are in full parody mode and they just don’t care what the Gen 1 group thinks. They’re here to have fun and nobody’s going to stop them. That straight forward goal really keeps the film going and it’s why you don’t even need the crossover aspect for this to be a success. The group can hold their own as is. If anything I’m just glad that the Gen 1 group weren’t too obnoxious in trying to question the Go characters at every turn. They quickly learned that the Go characters weren’t going to change and just rolled with it.

Overall, Teen Titans Go vs Teen Titans is a fun film. While it’s a versus title there isn’t a lot of action between the two teams. A good chunk of the action scene is just comedy, but to an extent that is to be expected with these guys. It’s probably the only vs title I would give a pass to because of that. Whether you’ll enjoy this film or not is completely dependent on whether or not you enjoy the Go series. If you like the TV show then you’ll like the film and if you don’t like the show then the movie won’t be for you. This basically feels like an extended few episodes and it’s really a movie for the fans. It brings all the best qualities of the show together.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Magical Dancing Review


Time to check out a dancing crossover manga. It’s always fun to look at a crossover in any media and this is one of those series that I had not heard of before now. It’s not an action series so don’t go in expecting Kingdom Hearts, but it’s nice to see the Disney characters weighing in with their thoughts and tips. It’s a fun mini series and one that I would recommend.

The story follows a girl named Rin who wants to be a great dancer. She is in the same class as the legendary duet Kai and Yuna so Rin gets good inspiration during every class. Unfortunately her dancing abilities aren’t quite on their level yet which puts her in a bit of a bind. Yuna also doesn’t seem to like Rin one bit and even tells her to quit the club. Rin nearly does but then Tinker Bell shows up with a magic book. This book summons random Disney mascots to aid Boo in her time of need. Whenever she is in trouble these are friends that Rin can rely on. Will they be enough to get her atop the winning stage?

At only 2 volumes the series has to move quickly but I must say that it makes a world of difference to have 2 volumes over 1. The extra volume allows for more character development in each of the characters and we also get more Disney stars which is always good. It is a fun story and while it could have certainly gone for a few more volumes you don’t feel cheated out of its potential. I’d consider it to be a page turner. It’s not like it’s got an end of the world plot but the writing is just really solid which makes the experience all the more pleasant. The art is also quite solid which is important. The pages are all very clear and none of the characters are drawn too similarly so you won’t be mixing anyone up here. That is also absolutely critical since some series like to draw a bunch of people the same way and that can get tricky.

As for the characters, the main cast is pretty small, but solid. First you have Rin who is given a pretty tough time at school because she isn’t very good at dancing. She has a lot of enthusiasm, but no matter how much she practices Rin has just never been able to get the hang of the sport. Even Kai is fairly down on her and he’s supposed to be the nice guy. Yuna and the other girls are a lot harsher which is what leads Rin to the book. Rin does admittedly use the book as a crutch quite often in order to save the day, but it’s not like you can become a great dancer overnight. This allows her to buy some time as her skills improve organically. My main complaint with Rin is just that she lets things get to her too easily. She doesn’t really fight back against the other characters and gets walked on quite a bit. I like to think that by the end of the series she has gotten a little tougher though.

I would say that she is a little gullible, but in this case I have to blame the whole class. There is one moment when a bunch of bullies show up to talk some smack. The heroes fire back but then still listen to what the bullies have to say. Why would you do that? They all walked into that trap and I was surprised because literally the entire team was fooled. Fortunately Rin was there to save the day, but otherwise that would have been an embarrassing way to go.

Next up you have Kai who is a little odd. As mentioned, he doesn’t seem all that nice at first in the series but by the end he is very supportive of Rin. I guess he was probably trying to keep up his image, but I don’t know if that’s the best defense. He also makes you feel bad for Yuna because he acts totally oblivious to her and seems to be falling for Rin. Yuna being a bully lowers the sympathy levels, but either way Kai is in a tricky spot. He’s not the best main guy in a Shojo series, but he could have been worse. Then you have Yuna who is considerably better than the average bully character. That’s because she’s not super petty and doesn’t constantly try to sabotage Rin. She may not like the main character much, but Yuna does give her a fair shake. More importantly, Yuna doesn’t go back on her word so when Rin clears the challenges Yuna lets her on the team. Not saying that Yuna is heroic by the end or anything like that, but she’s a quality character.

Naturally we have the Disney characters as well. I was actually surprised at how Mickey acted when he showed up though because he basically just “Noped” out of there as soon as he appeared. Helping Rin out of a tight spot wasn’t really his goal and he always used to strike me as one of the heroic leads. From all of the guest stars he was probably the least helpful. Still, things always tend to work out when the guest stars show up, but some took a more active role in making sure this did happen than others. They also did help Rin learn to take it easy and not always get caught up in the heat of the moment. It’s good advice no matter what profession you’re in.

The ending is pretty open so it’s the kind of title that could easily get a sequel if the author feels like it. Otherwise you can easily imagine how it’ll all play out. If we did get a sequel then I imagine that the rivalry between Yuna and Rin would heat up. Honestly I would prefer that they just stay friends, but that does seem pretty unlikely. That just rarely happens in these kinds of stories even though they have a lot of similarities. So long as Kai exists there will definitely be some tension.


Overall, Magical Dancing is a title that I definitely recommend. There aren’t a ton of dancing titles out there so it’s always nice to have more options. The Disney characters showing up is a nice bonus, but it’s just that, a bonus. The series would have been able to stand up on its own even without them. After all, they are surprisingly the weakest part of the story. They’re fun, but whenever the Disney characters show up the plot has to temporarily come to a halt. Without them the team would have been doomed in the tournament so they were critical in getting Rin to her goal though.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Review


It’s time to look at a crossover that came out pretty recently. I never read the comic although it always looked pretty cool. The film seems to be a pretty straight adaption which is nice and it’s definitely a story that holds up well. I’d consider this to be one of the stronger recent DC films and I’d definitely be up for a sequel since there is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end.

The film starts off with a group of FOOT soldiers showing up in Gotham and stealing some kind of experimental tech. Batman decides to look into it and the next target is determined to be Wayne Tech. He prevents them from stealing the device, but is ultimately defeated by their leader, The Shredder. Batman now needs to figure out how to stop this threat and believes there may be a connection with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They’d better give him some details or he’ll be taking them down.

With a crossover you always want a definitive victor and the film did a good job with that. Batman does fight the 4 turtles and he pretty easily takes them down. The fight is also very early on in the film which I think was a good idea. I like build up for a film as well but I feel like this outcome was pretty obvious from the start (no shade to the turtles) so this just made sense. Batman and Shredder also have a fight with an actual outcome which was cool. I definitely won’t say who won of course, but it was a really solid fight and there were no cop outs. I can’t say I agree with the outcome necessarily but I can respect it. It’s a pretty close fight either way and as a crossover it’s nice to see them battle since they’re both considered to be in the top% of hand to hand fighters in their respective universes.

The animation will take a little time to get used to I’d say. The character designs are a bit off and it’s definitely a step down from the mainstream DC films. Still, it’s probably this way to look more like the comic. Donatello is a little too slim but the others are mostly on point. I’d say that Leonardo definitely had the best design from the 4. The fight scenes don’t suffer from this as the characters just get right into the thick of the action and the fight scenes are nice and extended. There is time for both combatants to really get in on the action. Batman’s fight with the Shredder round 1 is the best part of the movie without a doubt.

This film has pretty solid writing to back it up as well. There isn’t really a weak point here and that’s important. At worst you can say that the breaking into Arkham for the 100th time was a bit old by this point. I wouldn’t have minded sticking to the main plot, but that probably would have made the film a little too short. The scene of Batman deciding that the turtles were getting in his way was also a little forced for drama I’d say. Still, these are extremely minor things.

Batman’s definitely the best character in the movie. He really gets to make the most of his experience and hand to hand combat skills. He may not trust the others much, but at the end of the day he’ll make the right call. Sadly this is one of Damian’s weaker appearances. He just isn’t nearly as skilled as he usually is and only puts up a fight against the Turtles in a bit of a comic relief battle. I feel like in a serious fight he should be able to beat them like Batman. Batgirl doesn’t get a huge role, but she is around for the Arkham battles and helps out. She gets to show off her intellect a lot here.

From the Turtle side, Leonardo’s the best one. He gets a lot of action and is certainly shown to be the most skilled of the turtles. He is always the one to help the heroes make a comeback and also manages to keep his emotions in check when it looks like it is curtains for the others. Raphael also looks reasonably good here. He definitely doesn’t get to have any real wins compared to Leonardo, but he is quick to get in on the action. Donatello and Michelangelo definitely can’t compete. Donatello at least has the planning on his side but Michelangelo is mainly just here for the gags. The comic relief character is usually doomed to be one of the weaker ones in the film.

For the villains, Shredder definitely looked good. It’s always nice to see him in his more serious incarnations. His armor was also top quality to hold its own against Batman’s. (Although Batman’s spikes were definitely shown to be sharper) I feel like Shredder was on the losing end of the bargain though since he has to trust Ra’s to keep his end of the bargain. Way I see it, you should never finish your part of the plan before the other guy has a chance to start his. Then there’s no incentive for the other guy to do his part. Meanwhile Ra’s definitely looks good. I don’t think this plan was his most brilliant one, but he does a good job of making sure it succeeds. He also puts in a pretty good fight which is to be expected since he’s a premiere fighter as well.

There are other sub villains, but they don’t get a huge role. Most of the Arkham guys aren’t even in their right minds since they took the serum. It was definitely a unique choice for the fights, but I think it would have been even better if they had stayed in their normal designs. The Arkham stuff was probably the weakest part of the film compared to the other acts, but at the end of the day it was basically nonstop fight scenes so it was still pretty solid. You can’t go wrong with a good action scene. Naturally the film does get a little violent at times, but it’s never nearly as excessive as some of DC’s other titles. A few people get sliced and diced but that’s basically the extent of it.

Overall, Batman vs the Ninja Turtles is a great film. There’s a lot of action here and a steady amount of good dialogue. I was definitely on Team Batman all the way, but the turtles make for good sidekicks. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d recommend checking it out. It’s always nice to have more crossovers get animated and this was a great pick. I’m hoping we get more such titles at some point. Maybe we can finally get the Superman vs He Man movie at some point.

Overall 8/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Billy The Kid vs Dracula Review


It’s time to look at a really old crossover. It’s definitely not a pairing that you would expect. I’d say that it works pretty well, but as expected Dracula does drag Billy down quite a bit. It’s just hard to make a good film involving a vampire and this one really seals the deal there. The film was so close to at least avoiding the animal violence curse, but it couldn’t help itself. It’s not too surprising since Dracula always goes after the livestock, but it hurts the experience all the same. The character cast isn’t the strongest either.

The film starts off with Dracula showing up and murdering a lady who forgot to open her hand to show off the cross. He then catches a break when Betty’s uncle dies and assumes his identity. He has decided to make Betty his bride and starts preparing this devious plan. Fortunately for Betty she has a friend known as Billy The Kid. He used to be an infamous outlaw, but now he works for the common good. The mother of one of the victims is named Eva and she warns Billy that the uncle is actually Dracula. Billy tries to convince Betty of this, but she won’t hear it. How could her uncle…who she has never seen before, actually be a bad guy? She trusts him implicitly and even allows him to talk tough to her maid. (Eva quickly got a position as a maid) As Betty is a pushover Dracula only needs to worry about Billy now. What can a gun kid do against the king of vampires though?

This film definitely does has its share of fun moments so that does help it surpass the usual Dracula fare. For starters, Billy is a fun character even if he is a little too timid and tends to beat around the bush. Once he had a good feeling that the uncle was evil he should have done more about it. Why give Betty the dangerous mission of constantly antagonizing Dracula if Billy really thinks that he wants to do her harm. Wouldn’t it be safer to go after Dracula himself? Also, Billy’s real confident which is good, but he does not have the skills to back this up.

When he fights with the bully he actually gets completely defeated. I have to admit that I was actually pretty shocked by this. It’s just super rare for the lead to just get owned like that. Then even after the doctor was right about literally everything he decides not to believe her when she says that bullets won’t work on Dracula. This leads to another really embarassing moment for the lead as he goes into Dracula’s lair and gets owned. I like really confident leads of course, but you just can’t afford to be getting wrecked like that.

It does lead to a very interesting scene where we find out that Dracula may be immune to bullets but not to the actual gun. Yeah…this doesn’t make any sense but we can roll with it. Dracula gets completely laid out by the hit to the point where he can’t react when Billy puts a stake through him. Ah well, I’d hold it against Dracula more, but this version of him wasn’t all that imposing anyway. Lets put it this way, multiple characters actively work to sabotage him and he never even murders them. I’m glad for Eva and her husband of course, but why wouldn’t Dracula murder them? They kept laying traps (Okay..not “they” the guy did absolutely nothing in the whole film) for him and telling Betty that he was evil. Taking them out is basically villain 101.

Also, Dracula’s hypnosis is at least one power that he’s still got. You’d think that it would be super effective but Betty is actually able to counter it. At one point when they are in the carriage he makes the face and stares at Betty. It is working for a few seconds until she blinks (Finally, someone realized the trick to stopping him!) and suddenly is back to her senses. You’ll have a hard time finding a weaker Dracula than this one. He has teleportation, but never uses it well and even his super strength feels pretty meager compared to usual. When he gets Billy in the choke hold it takes a while to defeat him. I also wonder what the point of the bat outside was since when Dracula died he turned into a mummy anyway and then the bat died outside. Hmmm.

As I’ve hinted, I didn’t like Betty though. You’d think that she would trust her fiance…who she planned to marry in a few days more than a random uncle that she has never seen before right? The fact that Dracula has any say in her household is beyond crazy. Then he literally puts her under house arrest later on. Betty never actually looks out for herself and comes across as unreasonable. I don’t care how far fetched the story is, you’d think that she would believe Billy. Of course, maybe Billy has gotten beat so many times she doesn’t take him seriously anymore. You’d think hat this infamous outlaw would have looked better here.

It’s rare for both characters to look bad in a crossover but that’s where we’re at. The film’s fun, but it does still have the vampire elements looming over it which hurts. The animal violence scene with the lamb comes to mind as I mentioned earlier and blood sucking scenes also tend to hurt of course. Because of that, it’s unlikely that I’ll see another Dracula film that I actually like, but of course I’ll leave the possibility open. The writing in the film was pretty solid for the most part. The characters may make all of the wrong choices, but that just means they weren’t the smartest characters. Even the sheriff seems pretty iffy as he arrests Billy for self defense. You just know that he wouldn’t have messed with the bully if the roles were flipped.

Overall, This film may have not been a total success, but I really love the concept. This is the kind of film that you just don’t see much anymore which is a shame. Taking two popular icons like this and pushing them together is genius. It’s a fun way to get started with the Billy mythos and I’d be down with watching more of his films. The one gun scene that we did get was pretty fun and the wild west outlaw plot can always work pretty well despite the boring backdrops. If you really like both franchises then this is a film that you’ll want to check out. If you’re also not a big vampire fan then I guess you’ll just want to wait til Billy’s in a different kind of crossover film.

Overall 4/10