Child’s Play Review

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

It’s time to look at a film that’s definitely quite iconic in the horror genre. After all, if you’re big on the whole evil doll thing then you have to have seen Chucky at some point right? Well, it definitely plays it straight with the doll running around and beating everyone up. It’s pretty hard to take seriously most of the time as you would expect it to be but he definitely doesn’t waste time. I feel like he threw the first person out the window within the first 10 minutes of his appearance.

The movie starts with Mike finally chasing down one of the big criminals. He manages to take that guy down but the whole shop ends up getting blown up thanks to a bolt of lightning. Before dying, the criminal quickly threw his essence into the doll and became Chucky. Unfortunately for him, a nearby black market dealer found him and threw the guy in a box. He sells the doll for some decent cash over to Karen who quickly gets him as a belated Birthday gift to Andy. Andy is thrilled but little does he know that he has just gotten one of the most dangerous dolls out there. Will he be okay?

Child’s Play starts out as more of a wholesome family movie. Andy does his best to make a nice breakfast for Karen which definitely didn’t work out well but at least he tried. It’s good she didn’t eat that though or she might have a heart attack from all the sugar and butter. The characters are introduced well although Karen took a big risk leaving her post for the doll. It’s also lucky she had Maggie there to hassle the price down or Karen may have actually paid $100 for the doll. That would have gotten dicey pretty quickly.

Once Chucky appears things change of course. He makes for an intense villain I suppose. Honestly, the doll looks rather sinister from the start so I’m surprised that in the movie it is a best seller. Would people really be lining up outside the door to grab that one. I have some serious doubts on that to be honest…very serious doubts. From the film it seems like he kept most of his strength from being human although he still doesn’t weigh much. I wouldn’t say full strength either since Karen is hold her own against him physically when they fight each other. I can buy into him being able to get Maggie out the window although it’s still a bit of a stretch for me. Some of the scenes with him terrorizing the main characters are more on the embarrassing side though. Just knock the guy around and stop being so scared of him.

The first encounter with Karen and Chucky is one where you feel like she could have absolutely taken him down if she had pressed the advantage. He had no weapon at the time and she had adrenaline on her side. The more time you waste yelling, the more time he is able to recover. Unfortunately the whole cast always seems afraid of him so they keep on backing up until it’s just too late. For the other characters, Maggie was fun. Her screen time was limited but she seemed like a good friend who had Karen’s back.

As far as kids go Andy could be a lot worse. He meant well at least but still had a tendency to falter when the going got tough. I’ll give him credit for the punch combo he landed on Chucky though and also for being able to run in and start the flames. If he could have pinned the whole thing on Chucky from the start that would have been nice like matching the shoe prints but it occurred to him a little too late.

Karen’s a solid heroine. Again, she could have been a little more brave when handling all of this though. She did go into a dark alley to try and find out the truth but without proper self defense that nearly ended up quite badly as well. It’s a good thing Mike was around to try and find out the truth. The gun he brought along was quite handy. I don’t blame him for not believing her about the doll but once the doll was around it’s too bad he couldn’t put up a better fight.

The writing for the film seems reasonable. There’s some good dialogue here and the soundtrack helps to build up the suspenseful scenes. The random supernatural guy who created Chucky was really underwhelming though. The guy simply wasn’t too smart either since he let Chucky get the upper hand so easily. If he had kept his guard up then maybe things would have worked out better for him. Why even create a voodoo doll of yourself? In what scenario would that ever be anything but a crippling weakness? Just something to consider…..

Chucky definitely takes names here although for the most part the film isn’t all that violent. Most of the case you figure is pretty safe from the start although of course when a side character shows up you really know that they’re doomed. Chucky doesn’t go on big murder sprees the way some characters do, but he makes his presence known. So I would say it’s better than the average horror film although I still wouldn’t call it a good movie. There are also a lot of moments where the characters are practically asking to get murdered and get super lucky like Karen putting her head right next to the door where Chucky keeps sending out his knife or Mike staying glued to his seat when Chucky is stabbing at him. Not the smartest folks there.

Overall, Child’s Play is probably a bit better than I thought. I expected it to be a little more excessive with everyone dying left and right as they get stabbed to death kind of like the Leprechaun film. This movie shows a lot more restraint which is always good. I still wouldn’t say it’s the kind of film you’d ever re watch though. While the characters aren’t bad, I wouldn’t say any of them are great either. Next year maybe Andy will be satisfied with a video game instead.

Overall 4/10

You Only Live Twice Review


Bond’s adventures continue with some more espionage and thriller elements. Here’s the thing for Bond though, he’s been relying on luck for quite a while now so what happens when it runs out? That’s something Bond’s going to have to think about here as the leader of SPECTRE finally gets to appear. Ultimately this film is more of the same in many respects. It is going for a new element by having Bond stay in Japan for a while but I would say the core of the film is basically the same.

The movie starts with Bond having yet another affair. This one ends a little differently than most as the girl quickly calls in her goons and they all shoot Bond down. Seeing Bond get murdered within the opening minutes was definitely a chilling experience. After Bond gets back into the sub where we find out he faked his death, he is given a new mission. Some kind of space creature/machine has been eating up every rocket sent into space. The U.S. thinks Russia did it while Russia is blaming them. Bond has to find out who the true culprit is before World War III commences. The heroes believe the rocket may have originated from Japan so that’s where Bond is going. Will he be able to crack the case?

I don’t think anyone honestly thought for a second that Bond died in the opening scene but it definitely would have been a pretty interesting twist I gotta say. His distractions would have finally cost him everything. This film is not kind to Bond for the most part though. He looks pretty bad as expected but not just physically here. Lets start with what had to be the most entertaining scene in the film. Bond is faced off with one of the big villains and they slowly start to walk towards each other.

Sizing each other up and all. Then the guy just throws out a punch real suddenly that knocks Bond for a loop. Bond was completely unprepared for the punch and you would have thought that it wouldn’t have been a surprise since a fight was about to start. I guess his reaction times just weren’t on point. Then there’s the fact that he is still confident as ever so he doesn’t mind his surroundings anymore. He meets with one of the big suspects and just assumes he can casually leave.

If not for the heroine showing up in time he would have been gunned in the back without suspecting a thing. There’s another scene where his informant is stabbed to death while Bond was having his drink. You can’t blame him for that one but at least he knows to watch his back because the enemies are everywhere right? Well, that’s not exactly the case either. Bond goes to sleep real quick later on and nearly gets poisoned to death if not for the heroine stepping in once again. This really isn’t Bond’s best day but he hasn’t had one of those in a while so it’s not too surprising.

The action scenes are okay when they happen but I wouldn’t say there are a whole lot of them in this film. The movie tries an interesting sky view for one of the larger action scenes but I wouldn’t say it works particularly well. It feels less like a battle and when the villains jump backwards it doesn’t even seem like Bond connects with them. The Japan backdrop for the movie was nice but they definitely didn’t paint the place in a really flattering light. Bond’s liaison there goes out of his way to say that women are second over here and has what equates to a bunch of female servants working for him. This is one of the heroes we’re supposed to root for eh? Bond fits right in with all of these guys.

You Only Live Twice has more dead time than the average Bond film so at times things can almost get a little dull. I’d hesitate to say that the movie actually gets boring at any points but I would say that it is just a bit more aimless than some of the others. I also thought the countries looked pretty awful just sending their rockets up without a plan. Maybe the first time but sending it again after the others were captured and you don’t even give the pilots guns? The whole thing just made SPECTRE look good of course but at the expense of everyone else.

The leader was decent even if he’s not very smart. You’d think that as the big boss he would have everything going according to plan but Bond plays him like a fiddle. Aki does well as the main heroine and is one of the better ones in the Bond films. That being said, while she does make Bond look poor in comparison with how she keeps on saving him, she also hurt’s Bond’s character further. After the villains get to her Bond wastes almost 0 time in going for the next girl so once again you see how he doesn’t take anyone seriously.

In a way this feels like it should end the SPECTRE arc. I suppose the villain got away but at this point he won’t have the same mysterious aura anymore. Well, I suppose hopefully he can come up with another good plan. This bond film suffers from poor romance, fanservice, and an unlikable cast so the rest of the review would be rather par for the course. It could be a while til the next Bond film but at least as of this point you can’t say that Bond forgot its fundamentals. It delivered consistent performances through and through.

Overall, You Only Live Twice is definitely a pretty interesting title. Bond does act like he has multiple lives most of the time so it’s pretty fitting. As always I feel like the Bond films would be so much better if they would focus on the secret agent stuff and leave Bond’s hobbies alone. Have him act professional once in a while even if it’s just to be a change of pace. I dare say that would go quite a long way. Maybe the Bond films will be able to do this in the future or at least that’s the hope.

Overall 4/10

Samurai Warriors 2: XTreme Legends Review


It’s been a very long time since I played the original Samurai Warriors. I had been focusing on Dynasty for a while but now that I’m caught up with that series it was definitely time to go and check out how this one was doing. Well, it’s definitely a game that has aged really well. You can feel the power behind your attacks and taking down hundreds of opponents all at once certainly never gets old. I definitely look forward to playing the next installment in this series soon.

As with most warrior games you can pick whose story you want to play through. There aren’t a whole lot of options initially but I believe you can unlock more characters as you play through. I played as Kojiro Sasaki. I always like to pick the fire type fighters in these and since Yukimura Sanada wasn’t an option yet I figured this could do the trick. That said, he’s certainly more of an antagonist than I would have figured. Effectively he just wants to destroy a bunch of people but he feels like it’s all a waste. He wants to find someone super powerful to destroy so he goes around on the battlefield until he finds such a person.

I did not warm up to this guy by the end. He’s definitely crazy but would make for a solid antagonist to someone else’s story. At the very least you can’t deny that the guy has some pretty serious skill here. It’s his story so his abilities probably get embellished a bit but he ends up taking everyone out.

The gameplay is fairly standard of course. You go around beating the life points out of all your opponents. You have your standard moves, power moves, and your super attack. I recommend keeping your super on hand for whenever an opponent general shows up because it works as an immediate combo breaker. Just activate it when the opponent lands any kind of hit on you and you’ll be set. The gameplay is very smooth and landing hits is fun. To add some depth here you can power up your weapon at the shop and even buy special abilities that amp up your stats or even control your level ups.

I recommend spending all of your money on this because it’s just a great way to keep your guy ready for action. Your weapon’s important too but the upgrade doesn’t seem to do a whole lot there. The only part of the gameplay where you can tell they haven’t fine tuned it yet is the speed. Your character walks incredibly slow throughout the levels. So it can take a while to get anywhere. I suppose this helps to prevent you from running straight to the goal though. It also adds a little strategy here because moving too far away from your camp is dangerous as a result. After all if your leader dies then you lose the mission instantly.

The game had 5 levels in the campaign I played and I believe it can go up to 7 in some cases as well. It’s fairly short if you’re just playing one character and you should have it beat in around 2 hours. If you do it with all of the characters though then this definitely ought to take a long while. You have no shortage of replay value in this game which is no surprise because that is often the case with any game in the Dynasty franchise. Considering that the games go for around 10-20 bucks now, it’s a good bargain.

The graphics look pretty good here. I always appreciate the fact that there are loads of cutscenes and cinematics everywhere. You’ve got the big budget ones which appear at the beginning and end as well as the mini ones that show up whenever an enemy officer appears. It helps to make these moments feel like a big deal. The attack animations are also on point. As for the soundtrack it’s a little more on the forgettable side but it’s not bad. I’d like to have had more of a signature theme show up at some point. That would have been neat but maybe in the sequel.

The game is reasonably challenging. In particular what makes it pretty tricky here is how long the levels are. If you’ve already polished off about 600 enemies then nothing will be more disheartening than losing at the last second right? There were a few levels where I just had to run for a while to look for health items. The nice sweet spot to be in is when your health is in the red since you can use unlimited super attacks as long as you run a bit. That’s also a good strategy but they take time and it gets pretty intense. You know that a hit could be the end for you. That’s a fun feeling when you come out on top. Fortunately I didn’t end up losing here but that could have been tricky.

Samurai Warriors 2 feels very basic in a lot of respects but it’s part of the charm. You have a pretty direct plot and a lot of good gameplay for each level. In some ways this plot felt a lot more direct than the more extended one in Dynasty Warriors 9. It’s less grand of course but Sasaki’s plot was just interesting and the whole rivalry aspect with Masashi was cool.

Overall, Samurai Warriors 2 is definitely a very good game. I’d call it a great one at that. If you have time then beating it with all of the characters would be a blast since the stories should all be fairly different. I’m far less familiar with the base story here compared to Dynasty as well so it all feels pretty fresh. It seems to take place way after most of the Sengoku Basara anime since the main kings are already gone. The new characters look fun though and I wonder if the rest of the games in this series will deal with the same era and plot like Dynasty or if we’ll be jumping around a little more here. I’m not sure when I’ll get the third game but it shouldn’t be too far in the future I would say.

Overall 8/10

Beyblade Review


Beyblade has always been one of the biggest anime franchises left that I had not seen yet. In fact I would argue that it was by far the biggest franchise I had not started. Not that honor would probably go to Bakugan, Pretty Cure, or Duel Masters. It’s a lot more debatable now though while Beyblade was unquestionably the top spot. Well, it easily lives up to the hype. This initial season was fantastic and really contains everything you could want in such a title. The cast is incredible and you really feel pumped thanks to the excellent action and soundtrack. It’s easy to see why this one hit it big.

There’s quite a lot going on here but the series opens up by introducing us to Tyson. He’s a kid who really likes the game of Beyblade. One day his life is forever changed when a bully shows up and beats the best player in school. Tyson isn’t about to let that slide so he takes that guy down and realizes he has what it takes to compete in the big tournaments. Tyson gradually meets with other skilled Beybladers like Max, Ray, and Kai. Together they form the Bladebreakers and aim to clam the top spot in the world. They’ll have to win a lot of tournaments along the way if they want to reach that title. It means travelling to far off places such as Russia and England and dueling everyone in their path. Not every match is in an official tournament setting either as the Dark Bladers and evil scientists also want to get in their way.

With 50+ episodes you can tell that there are going to be a whole lot of characters and story adventures to cover here so prepare for a pretty long review. There’s so much to cover that it’s always tough to know where to start but lets go with the technical areas here. The animation is quite excellent as you would expect. You really feel the intensity behind the Beyblade battles. It’s all nice and hand drawn which allows the tops to really have a lot of great movement. For the most part the power levels don’t get too crazy but by the end of the series you have dimensional rifts being opened up by the Beyblade’s power so they still shouldn’t be underestimated.

I also have to give the character designs some major props as well. The characters are extremely built considering that they’re just kids. You certainly would not want to mess with these guys that’s for sure since it looks like they could wreck you in a fist fight as well. It helps to add a sense of danger to the series. For example, there’s one episode where Kai has to infiltrate a facility and tape out a bunch of drones and automatic defenses. Between the serious character design and excellent animation in that episode, it got pretty tense. You always knew the series was not pulling any punches.

As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty large. There are a ton of themes here and they’re all pretty great. Sure, there may be one or two songs that don’t land if you were to really go back and listen to all of them but for the most part they’re all pretty fitting and get you into the moment. One song that really sticks out is Kai’s theme. It’s more of a rap song than the others and seems to be about someone underestimating him. It really works well as his “evil” song during part of Kai’s character arc. It just felt like the beginning of a new era and was a perfect way to launch the climax of the series.

The pre arc of the series is really about Tyson meeting up with his future teammates Max, Kai, and Ray. They all get along pretty quickly aside from Kai who’s always pretty aloof. Interestingly Kai is really the team captain for the first tournament which means that he doesn’t get to actually fight much. That’s the only thing that can be unfortunate as until the final tournament Kai is basically on the bench permanently. He only gets to duel occasionally when someone is injured or in a match outside the ring. Since at that point Kai was the big fighter it would have been nice to have seen him duel a little more. Still, we got a lot of different matches this way which was always a lot of fun.

While all the tournaments are leading up to the World Championship you could say that the others are all part of one grand arc. The heroes get to fight Ray’s old team, then they fight Max’s Mom’s team, and then they fight Kai’s team relating to his past. Each team tends to have something to do with one of the members which makes for a pretty good dynamic there. Each arc consistently gives great moments so there’s never an arc that just feels dull. It sort of goes without saying but the final arc is the best one. We get a lot of great character moments with Kai and the final villains just feel like huge threats. Certainly not the kind of guys you can afford to underestimate. It’s also always a good sign for the show to end on the best arc.

The writing with the show is definitely excellent as well. There are countless great moments and one liners. It’s part of what helps make the character cast so great. If I had any issue with the series it would be that the power levels can be a tad inconsistent. It’s hard to see the White Fang being any kind of threat to the All Starz based on what we’ve seen from them. Their feat of busting a boulder was also good enough where you don’t see how Max was able to compete much in the tournament. At the end of the day though it looks like the energy of the Beyblade depends on the owner’s will power so I suppose a lot of that is really subject to change here.

As you can tell I was quite impressed with this series throughout. It really just kept slamming home runs throughout. Same with the character cast and I suppose now is a good time to launch into those guys. First lets go with the Bladebreakers. As the leader of the group Tyson’s a pretty incredible character. For starters he’s never afraid to jump into battle. When the bully attacks his school Tyson is the first person to jump into action. Similarly whenever any opponent shows up disrespecting Tyson or his friends our lead doesn’t take that lying down. He’s always ready to jump in and put an end to that. His skills are also the real deal. Tyson is extremely confident in his abilities but it is absolutely earned. The fact of the matter is that Tyson is always taking care of his business so why shouldn’t he be confident?

He quickly became the leader of the group and while all of their skills remained fairly equal for a while, by the end Tyson easily surpassed the others in ability. His bond with Dragoon is really strong and helped him unlock a completely new level. Then you’ve got his rival Kai who is the best character in the series. Not only are his skills able to match Tyson’s for a while to the point where he even surpassed Tyson, but Kai is also good at fighting outside of the ring. One of his pretty hype moments was when he infiltrated the villain base as I mentioned earlier. Kai’s definitely more of a loner compared to the others and rarely gets in on the team atmosphere. He does mellow out a bit near the end of course but otherwise he keeps that calm and cool persona throughout.

His Dranzer has to be the coolest Beyblade in the series as well. I also liked the Dark Dranzer form quite a bit. The sheer power level on that thing was insane. Naturally you don’t want to be using an evil Beyblade for long but if Kai had kept that then it’s hard to see him losing to just about anyone. There is a brief moment where Kai turns on the team for power and how much you like the character will likely depend on how you feel about Kai’s heel turn there. I was all for it to be honest. You always want to see the rival turn evil at least once and it was a good excuse to see him take on all of the Bladebreakers.

I would consider Ray to be the third member of the group. In most series you’ve got the big 2 (Main Character and Rival) but then there is usually a third character who is under the top 2 but still considerably stronger to the rest. For example I would say that is Gohan in DBZ, Todoroki in My Hero Academia, Shiryu in Saint Seiya, and T.K. in Digimon. Ray can’t quite defeat Tyson or Kai but he’s still a very intense fighter. He takes a lot more punishment than the others as well as he gets beaten up to the point where his clothes are shredded and his hair comes undone. Nothing is able to take him out of the fight as long as he’s still conscious though. His Drigger is a fitting Bit Beast for Ray as well due to his aggressive fighting style.

I was definitely a pretty big fan of Ray. He’s a lot of fun to watch and you always feel like he has a chance at victory. Then you’ve got Max. From the Bladebreakers who can fight he’s easily my least favorite member although I wouldn’t call him bad. He doesn’t take things as seriously as the first 3 and isn’t really one of the stronger members. That being said, he does get a significant power up near the end which boosts his Beyblade’s defense to an extremely high level. You could make a very strong case that at the very end of the series he actually surpassed Kai and Ray. Not that this is likely to stick for the second season but at least the writers threw him a bone. He gets a big role in the tournament against the American team since his Mom is their captain. It made for a lot of drama that’s for sure even if Max usually ended up getting psyched out in the end.

Then we have Kenny who is more of a coach than an actual fighter. He mostly consults with Dizzi before and after every match as he gives tips to the team. I wasn’t a fan of Kenny. Part of the issue is that since he can’t actually play, it’s hard to really buy into him giving the characters such critiques. He wouldn’t really know how to improve their game if not for Dizzi giving him the play by plays. At least in the Dub version. Kenny also tends to complain an awful lot and doesn’t have fun like the other characters. he would have to easily be the weakest main character and one of the lest interesting ones in the whole show.

Time to talk about the White Tigers. They certainly made for a good threat early on. The leader is Lee and he’s pretty upset with Ray for leaving which you can understand to an extent. It sounds like Ray could have explained things better. Of course once you’re in the ring then there’s no chance for mercy. He was a good villain although it was hard to buy him being able to match the American representatives later on. He must have gotten a lot stronger to compete with them at that point. Mariah gets the biggest role aside from Lee and is also one of the most impressive ones. I still remember how she shattered a boulder with a single swing from her Blade. From the whole show that’s still one of the best feats. It’s why it was hard to buy into her not doing so well in the actual tournament but I could definitely see her getting some good wins later on. She’s a fun Blader and one who is easy to root for. It’s clear that she has honed her skills to a great extent.

The other two members Kevin and Gary don’t get to do nearly as much. Both of them seem to be a lot weaker than the main two members. Gary’s your classic power type fighter while Kevin is more about sneaking around an opponent. The fact that Kevin tried to take down his opponents with trickery outside the ring tells you all you need to know about his skills. He was benched from the team for good reason. Not to say he’s awful or anything but he can’t keep up with the other two.

Then we have the All Stars led by Michael. This team was definitely a lot of fun, I’m always up for seeing an American based team appear and make some noise. Michael was also a solid power hitter even if he didn’t get to duel until pretty deep into the arc. I’d say he’s definitely the strongest member of the team even if they sometimes hint that Emily can keep up with him as well. He has a lot of confidence and is a pretty tough blader. While he is no exception among all the side characters who get surpassed by the end he has a solid road to that point.

Emily is the next strongest member of the group and she’s pretty solid as well. She’s more about analytics than high energy and just pushing her way to the top. That said, it’s an effective tactic which seems to work out pretty well for her. She certainly enjoys messing with Max. Then there’s Steven, the Football member of the group. I like his direct, no nonsense style of blading. He goes all in on trying to take these guys down for the count. Steven definitely had a lot of great moments here. Then you’ve got Eddy who is good friends with Steven. Both of them seem to be pretty equal in strength and both have a lot of confidence. Again, you can see why the All Starz are such a great team. Pretty much all of their members are on point.

Judy is the coach of the team and as Max’s mom she gets a pretty big role here. Naturally she is a bit torn on who to root for and at times it seems like she is rooting for the Bladebreakers. It was good to have a parent who is actually here and contributing to the story though. Tyson’s Dad could learn a thing or two. Even Kai’s grandfather to be honest. The guy seems to be a villain with some big plans but he really has almost 0 impact in the series. You could blink and miss the guy’s scenes to be honest. Boris has a much bigger role as a villain. Now that’s a guy who makes his presence in the series felt and has a lot of pretty good master plans. You don’t want to mess with this guy.

We can’t forget Tyson’s grandfather Ryu. This guy’s pretty fun. He definitely loves being the center of attention and at the same time doesn’t care if people think he looks kind of crazy. He’s just determined to have a good time. Ryu can’t fight in the world of Beyblades but he does teach Tyson how to fight hand to hand which is still very helpful. Nobody will get the best of Tyson in the real world. As for Mr. Dickenson, he’s good for scheduling fights but doesn’t really come through when it counts. I wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan of the guy although I do like how occasionally he’ll launch a secret plan. It shows that he is at least fairly cunning.

There’s one group known as the Dark Bladers who to me seem like the most pointless characters in the show. No offense to these guys of course, but in their very first big appearances in the “New World” they all get wrecked by the European champs. There’s no point where you can take them seriously for the rest of the show. None of the characters were all that interesting either. It’s a cool name too so it kind of feels wasted on these guys. They’re like B leaguers thinking that they can actually take on the real characters and naturally that does not go over well.

If anything the big villain team led by Tala should have been called the Dark Bladers. Tala was a great villain. He didn’t get to do a whole lot at times but he has a terrific character design and is definitely a real threat which is what you want to see here. He can definitely hold his own with the other characters even if you feel like he wouldn’t stand a chance at all against Kai and Dark Dranzer. His only chance was with Kai in his normal form. Tala really took away the character chances from his teammates though. For example Spencer seems like a pretty tough guy. In fact his water battle was really good and solidified him as a true threat. He never got to duel again after that though so it was a very brief appearance. Same for Bryan. He’s clearly hooked on fighting and is like a battle machine. A lot of potential there but he never really got to take advantage of it.

Finally we have the European fighters. Oliver is pretty interesting since he seems very two faced. He acts nice to the Bladebreakers most of the time and then suddenly he’ll be insulting them behind their backs. As a result I definitely got to give this guy a thumbs down. The fact that the team did not participate in the tournaments because they were unable to work as a team was also pretty interesting. He is a good fighter though. Then you have Enrique who fights in a Colosseum which is a pretty nice power move. How many people can say they’ve done that in the past right? He’s definitely more of a flirt than the others but he hasn’t let his skills waiver so he clearly still practices. I’m not a big fan but he’s okay.

The other two players are a lot better. Johnny is a pretty tough fighter and he is always ready to rock and roll. From the 4 characters he probably gets the smallest role but he’s always a lot of fun. His skills are the real deal and he’s probably the strongest on the team aside from Robert. Robert is the best of the 4 of course. He’s very emotionless so it can be a bit jarring when he tries to be one of the gang and have some fun at the end. In general the European group is pretty interesting because they are all supposed to be top tier fighters but they spend a lot of their time getting wrecked or dodging the big fights so it’s hard to take them seriously.

The show did a great job of having the power levels slowly go up though. Tyson started out as a local fighter who wasn’t really ready to take on any of the bigger members to being a world champion class fighter by the end. At the end Tyson was taking on multiple fighters at once with no real effort which is impressive. Of course the power scaling means that nobody should ever be able to keep up with him again but I suppose with new technology that helps even things out as the excuse can be that new Beyblades have been created which just have better specs.

Overall, Beyblade is just a great series. You can easily get into it and just watch at any time. It’s got the right balance of action and solid character moments. There are a ton of duels here and the replay value is quite high as a result. These episodes really hold up to a rewatch and have a lot of replay value. I look forward to seeing if season 2 can match this one. After all here we got all of the hype initial meetings but of course sequels are always pretty nostalgic when you get to see all the characters return. Either way this is definitely a must watch anime.

Overall 8/10

Transporter 2 Review


It’s time to look at a sequel to the original Transporter. That film was pretty fun and so is this one. It’s fairly short as far as theater films go so everything is always moving at a quick pace. It’s pretty fun and definitely continues the series on a high note. We even get some rock music during the big fights which is always a good decision. I don’t have many real big complaints for this one. It’s a solid action film that will help you spend 90 minutes and you’ll be ready for the third film. This isn’t quite Mission Impossible, but it’s capturing some of that same energy.

The movie starts by showing us that Frank has accepted the role of being a chauffeur for a rich family. It’s a favor to a friend since usually he doesn’t do this kind of work. Still, he gets along with the kid pretty well. Unfortunately, the kid ends up getting kidnapped by some thugs. Frank already made a promise that he would protect the kid so now he has to get ready to keep it. He’ll have to beat up a bunch of people in order to accomplish this but that’s not really a problem for him. Frank knows that he’ll always get the job done.

The premise is pretty simple and that works well for the series. Right from the start we get some big car chase scenes and action segments. Frank was maybe a little slow on the uptake with the fake doctors but he still managed to make it in time which was good. After that the villains had a hostage situation at the ready so that was hard for him to get out of. From there Frank just has to make the most of his connections and fighting skills in order to beat everyone up and save the day. He is already used to this kind of thing after all. The best scene in the film is probably the opening one. I always like a solid intro where the hero beats up the mob that tries to steal his car. Frank makes it look pretty easy.

The villains aren’t really anything to write home about though. Lola is one of the main villains and her twin gun style is fun to watch. The guns have an almost sci-fi feel to them and they certainly hold a lot of ammo. As a character she’s not very interesting though and seems to mostly be there for the fanservice. At least she’s not disappointing though. I admit that I expected a lot more from the boss, Gianni. Gianni’s first scene is him beating up a ton of people in Kendo and this is obviously meant to show that the guy can fight. You may be expecting a big confrontation with Frank like in the first film. However, this guy really pales in comparison to that villain.

We do get a final fight with Frank but Gianni only lasts as long as he does because of airplane shenanigans. As a fighter he doesn’t look very good and I was surprised at that. The build up just went to waste on him. So I’d say that the villains were noticeably weaker than in the first film. As for the supporting cast, we get the french cop but he doesn’t do a lot here. He’s a fun enough side character though so it’s good that he was around. The kid’s parents have a bit of a subplot where they are disagreeing on things quite a bit. Jefferson is rather distant and Aubrey isn’t having a good time. Ultimately their kid being kidnapped helps to put things in perspective for them. I am glad that we didn’t get a random affair with Frank though. That would have just been a terrible idea for sure.

The soundtrack is pretty solid as I mentioned. The random rock music that shows up was great and I’d like to see more of that. All of the fight scenes are pretty fun as well. While they aren’t quite as sophisticated with hand to hand techniques as in the first movie, they still hold up quite well. I also like how sleek the cars are. Frank’s really got an excellent car with lots of defenses and good top speed. The car chases are also pretty fun and we even get close to some Fast and the Furious stunts here like jumping from building to building.

Some parts of the film are glossed over a bit though. For starters, the virus does get transmitted to a bunch of people. Even though we now have the vaccine there’s no way everyone would get it before the fatal 24 hours. Considering that a lot of the people infected were fairly high rank, there would be a global crisis for sure. The events of the film were pretty timely with what’s going on right now so that was definitely an interesting coincidence. Regardless I suppose the important thing is that the virus was stopped so I suppose the film didn’t really need to stay and think about that too hard. As I said, the film was pretty focused and fast moving so it didn’t really take time to stop like that. In general that’s a good thing so I won’t fault the film here. You can definitely stop and point to things that don’t make a lot of sense like the cop who is able to access secure files at the police HQ. There’s no way such a computer won’t have any passwords protecting it. If you stop and think long enough you can point to many such moments in the film, but at the end of the day it’s pretty fun and that’s what really counts here.

Overall, Transporter 2 is pretty solid. You’ll definitely get your fill of action and thrilling moments. Part of the charm in the series is how fast is moves. There’s always something happening. The ending scene is also pretty fun as a nice cliffhanger/here we go again kind of feel. That kind of ending is pretty ideal. It’ll be tough for the third Transporter film to beat this one. I actually would take this one over the original. The original Transporter did have better villains and was certainly longer but this one had a more direct story. I also thought that Frank was a lot more heroic here whereas in the first he really only helped once he was forced into it. Frank’s clearly changed quite a bit over the years. If you like action films then this is definitely one you’ll want to check out.

Overall 7/10

Dynasty Warriors 3 Review


It’s time to look at one of the original Dynasty Warrior games. I played DN 2 a while back, but it’s certainly been a while since I was able to get back into the franchise so this was nostalgic for sure. I enjoy beat em up games a lot because it’s fun to just mow down armies and also attack strategically. The actual stories of the games can be a bit on the dull side for me though. Sengoku Basara the anime did this era the most justice in my opinion by making it really compelling. Still, the gameplay is enough to keep things going and the title does its best by adding in some fun cutscenes during the game.

So I picked one of the warriors from Wu to play with here. The goal is to unite China so I quickly got on that. The campaign is around 7 levels long. The levels can range from 30-90 minutes with how much time you have to complete it. One of them left me with only about 2 minutes left which was pretty stressful. These levels really don’t mess around and while 90 minutes may sound like a whole lot of time you can easily start getting close to that. You can play the levels aggressively and chase the commanders or you can play the long game and whittle away at the enemy forces. You’ve got options here and that’s part of the fun of the genre. How you play is really up to you.

This is one of the few series where Normal mode can actually be incredibly difficult. I did that one for the first few levels and it felt like hard mode. Not only were the enemy soldiers incredibly powerful but the timer was really not on your side. I would cut it extremely close until I lowered the settings. It is pretty exhilarating if you have time though. One big difference here compared to a game like Fire Emblem Heroes is that you aren’t an invincible superhero here to save the day. You can’t just mow through enemies too quickly and in the meantime your teammates are probably getting wrecked. As a result you do need a plan and usually that means stopping all of the sub generals and then going for the big ones. I also recommend going for the enemy camps since if you don’t blow those up early they can keep calling for backup infinitely. That’s a really good way for your side to lose morale so you have to do whatever you can to put a stop to this.

Another strategy is to go for the enemy boss right off the bat. Some levels prevent this by not having him show up til later on but in others you can literally just run up to him if you’re feeling brave. The downside to this naturally is that you will be outnumbered. It can take you around 2-3 minutes of nonstop running to get there so there’s no way backup will arrive in time and the rest of the enemy generals will follow you. When this works it is quite satisfying though so I recommend trying it out at least once. You need to make sure you really understand the gameplay to pull this off though.

This is a 3D beat em up title so you are naturally going to be fighting a lot. You’ve got your standard attack, power move, super attack, and block button. A really handy combo is 2 standard attacks into a power move which will stun the opponent and then you can do another attack. I recommend saving the super attack until the enemy lands a hit on you. It’s a guaranteed combo breaker and will let you get back on offense. Additionally if you are low on health and really need to get out of there then this is definitely your best option. There is always a pot with some healing items next to each camp so run there if you need too. You will definitely be doing quite a lot of running throughout the game.

If you’re low on health but don’t want to run away then just remember that your super attack meter auto charges once you’re close to dying. You can run around a bit to buy time and in a few seconds use another super attack. If you do this a lot then you should be able to survive even when low on health. Just be careful because the enemies may land a lucky shot here or there and one hit could finish you off pretty quickly.

The graphics here are definitely pretty solid. The game has a very retro PS2 feel to it and that’s in a good way. There are more cutscenes here than I remember in 2 which is nice because it makes the story feel a bit more grand. The soundtrack is quite excellent with a ton of rock themes everywhere. The series has always done a good job of getting that “cool” factor across which is important. The music pumps you up for the battles that lie ahead.

This game also has a ton of content. In general I think beat em up games always do a really good job of including a ton of content in their games. After beating a campaign you can always jump right into the thick of it with another character. Additionally you can replay old characters to strengthen your fighters and obtain some items to boost them as well. If you do play the story mode on higher difficulties it is almost mandatory that you do this or your character simply won’t be strong enough to do much of anything in the final levels. The level ups here make a huge difference in the long run.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 3 is a very fun game. While the story may not be super excited as it feels like you’re treading on familiar ground, the gameplay is as solid as ever. Beat em ups are just a fun genre to mess around in and back in the day I spent a lot of time doing just that in the Bleach PS3 game. Now I don’t stick around with games for nearly as long but if you have time then this is a solid title to pick up. I’m sure you would probably start with a newer title though and I definitely wouldn’t blame you there. I look forward to playing more of the new ones. At the time of this review I’m actually playing a newer installment in the series so a review for that will be showing up soon.

Overall 7/10

All MCU Intro Scenes From Worst To Best


It’s been a long time since this post has been in the works. I first got the idea for it 11 months ago but then just kept putting it off as I was busy with other stuff. Well, Endgame is only about a week away so it’s time to finally go through with this ranking list. I’ll be ranking all of the intro scenes for the numerous MCU films which lead up to Endgame. Choosing what exactly is the intro scene gets tricky as some have multiple scenes before the opening credits, others have none. Other scenes are extremely short while others are pretty long. In the end the criteria I used here was a “scene” is described as whatever happens when the film first opens without a noticeable shift in location. If it’s a continuous scene that goes across locations that’s different like the Avengers car chase scene with Loki. It’s a continuous shot. In contrast, Guardians 2 has a scene shift before the opening credits, but there is a time skip plus there’s no way to connect the two scenes. I can see some of the scenes selected being a bit debatable, but after watching all the film intros again this seemed like the best way to go about it.

I guess one thing you may wonder is what should an opening scene be like? As you read through the rankings you’ll get a pretty clear visual on what I like to see. Basically, an intro should immediately get you hyped for what you’re about to watch. It should be something that’s either fun or exciting. You can also have a bit of a dark opening setting up the villains. If handled right there are many ways you can go about it. What you don’t want to do is start the film off with a boring scene, an emotional one (No time to care about the characters yet) or any kind of animal violence. There are many more things to consider of course, but that’s a basic guide. Now it’s time for the rankings!

Guardians of the Galaxy: This is definitely the worst of the MCU intros. The scene basically covers the death of Starlord’s Mom and then ends with him abruptly getting kidnapped by aliens. There’s a lot wrong with using this scene to start off the film. It doesn’t get you engaged in the story. The Mom has only been introduced for seconds so she has had no development and while tragic, it doesn’t set the proper tone for the film. There’s nothing particularly entertaining about this scene and is one that you’ll never feel a need to re-watch. It does succinctly cover his origin story, but there should have been a scene before this one. Maybe flip scene 2 (Star Lord in a cave) with 1 and you’ve got a better transition.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2: Wow, two Guardians in a row? It’s pretty close between this one and the first to be honest. This one goes for a romance intro as we see when Starlord’s parents first meet up and Starlord starts to be created. The film does set up his whole growing into the earth gimmick early on, but there’s really nothing to this scene. It ages even worse once you know the twist about the Dad. This is another intro scene that really doesn’t hype you up at all. Of course, we do get one more scene in the film before the credits hit so the director probably realized that as well, but I can only judge the first scene. It’s just very weak and was a red flag for the film we were about to experience.

Iron-Man 3: This scene takes place back when Tony was antagonistic so it can be more tragic than entertaining. One guy named Killmonger really needs to talk to someone about his research so Stark tricks him into going to the roof. The poor guy waits alone there while Tony gets his game on. Tony then runs off and in the blink of an eye he managed to make several enemies and threaten the world. This one’s a bit over the top with how obnoxious all of the characters are. While parts of the intro are entertaining, it’s really more mean spirited than anything else. None of the characters are all that pleasant. Even Happy is in a rebellious mood here.

Captain America: Civil War: This one’s surprisingly low on the list right? It’s not a terrible intro, we’re re-introduced to how Bucky was brainwashed. We see the group use their book of codes on him and he is then sent on the mission where he murders Iron-Man’s parents. It’s pretty quick and to the point, but of course it’s a very one sided affair from the start. I do think a genius like Howard should have had some kind of security in his vehicle considering what he was carrying. It’s definitely one of the darker starts to an MCU film. I’m still no Winter Soldier fan though. We’re slowly getting to the better MCU openings as this is a step up from Guardians.

Iron Man: Now we’re at the original MCU film that started them all. The film starts off with Tony at the dessert being escorted somewhere by the military. Unfortunately terrorists show up and blow the cars away. He is then captured and that’s how the scene ends. There’s definitely a very sudden contrast between his happy banter with the driver and crew before they’re attacked. It shows how quickly a good time can suddenly turn into something pretty nefarious. It’s an effective scene that does quickly let you know that things are gonna be rough for Tony. It’s a very realistic scene with effects that hold up quite well. If anything’s weak about the scene it’s just that none of the characters are particularly likable at this point.

Captain America: This film starts off near the arctic as some scavengers are looking for something. It’s dark out, but they are determined and see Captain America’s shield. At long last they have uncovered the super soldier. The scene ends at that point as we cut to the past. It’s a pretty direct intro that builds up some hype for uncovering Cap. Yeah, it can be a bit annoying to know that we won’t be back to the present until the end but I suppose that’s unavoidable. It’s a pretty low-key intro, but one that holds up.

Thor: In this film we start off with Jane and her father following a tornado. It’s really going to help Jane’s data project, but unfortunately they run over someone. Turns out that it’s Thor and now they’re worried that he might be hurt. That’s where the scene ends before we get a flashback to explain what happened. It’s a decent scene as the tornado does add some tension. Tornado watching definitely isn’t for me though. Definitely seems way too dangerous and risky if you ask me. For a film opening it does deliver on some hype but I do think it would have been more fun to have started with the big fight against the ice beings.

Black Panther: This film starts off with an introduction as to what Wakanda is. It then transitions into a scene of T’Challa’s father destroying a traitor and flying back to Wakanda. It helps us get the villain’s motivation as well as a very quick introduction on Wakanda. This is one of those films where it’s a little debatable on if it’s the same scene, but as the narration really isn’t a scene and there isn’t really a big transition I thought it was fair to meld the two. It was a nice twist to have an informant on the inside and the scene does show why you don’t want to mess with Wakanda. It also did produce one of the MCU’s better villains so that’s always good.

The Incredible Hulk: While I’m still not this film’s biggest fan, I will admit that the intro was pretty ambitious and certainly was handled very well. It basically recaps the Hulk origin without having us go through the whole thing yet again. The music is intense and it sets the tone pretty well. We do get a surprisingly violent visual when Hulk breaks into the base the first time, but for the most part the whole thing moves very quickly. It’s got a very Jason Bourne type feel to it that works very well. I’d like this futuristic angle to show up in more MCU titles.

Antman and The Wasp: This one starts off with an early mission of Wasp and Ant-Man trying to stop a rocket. Unfortunately Pym’s belt stops working so she has to be the one to make the sacrifice play. She was long thought to be dead, but now Pym thinks there is a way to save her. It’s a pretty solid intro and continues off of the premise from the first one. Now that Pym knows it’s possible to return from that micro dimension, he’s ready with a plan. It was also cool seeing Janet in costume as a hero. The suits really looked good and you get a nostalgic feeling from seeing the old team in action.

Iron Man 2: This one’s pretty solid in a similar way to the Hulk intro. It starts out by showing us Ironman’s big speech at the end of the first film. This time we’re seeing it from the eyes of Whiplash and his father though. The father ends up dying and Whiplash blames Tony so he starts planning on how he can get revenge. The intro is basically a long montage scene of him preparing his armaments and getting ready to attack. I always like these kind of villain montage credits like how Black Manta had a good one in Aquaman. It shows a level of determination on the villain’s part and one that will certainly serve him well going forward.

Captain America: Winter Soldier: This intro is pretty low key, but fun nonetheless. It starts out with Captain America running around on the track and mocking Falcon. They have some banter in good fun, but at the end of the day Cap is a super soldier so a race between these two is hardly fair. Falcon gives him some media suggestions and then Cap rides off with Black Widow to get ready for a mission. It’s not an opening that is trying to be “hype” so the alternative is to be fun. I think it does a good job. The “On your left” moment definitely became a quality meme and he’s just a fun character. This also introduces the friendly rivalry between Falcon and Cap pretty well.

Captain Marvel: This is another interesting case as there is technically a scene shift here. It starts out with Marvel waking up on a planet with an injury and then she’s back in the present getting ready to spar. I consider the scene to be over after the sparring session as I don’t think the scene is even a minute long otherwise. The sparring session is pretty fun and the intro does throw in some suspense. It’s a good way to start off the movie and the music for the fight was solid as well. It’s nothing spectacular, but I think it’s a fundamentally good opening. There’s really nothing wrong with it and I always do love a good fight.

Spider-Man Homecoming: This one starts off with Vulture getting his guys ready for one of the biggest cleanup jobs they’ve ever had. It takes place almost right after the Avengers and naturally there’s a lot of debris everywhere. Unfortunately in the interest of public safety Ironman has hired his own crew to clean up so Vulture and his guys are kicked out. Most of them were already desperate for cash so now they’re either doomed or will have to go for a life of crime. It sets Vulture up as a pretty sympathetic villain and I do think he did a good job in punching one of the contractors out. He’s a villain that you like almost right away and when an intro does that within 1-2 minutes you know you’ve got a solid one.

Antman: This scene ranks pretty high as it gives us what may be the best portrayal of Hank Pym since United They Stand. The fact that he immediately slammed the guy who brought up Janet was pretty solid. The scene itself doesn’t sound too dynamic on paper as it’s basically just Pym finding out that Stark stole his formula and telling them not to try anything like that again. The slam is just what pushed the scene over since it showed Pym’s resolve. There are times where it’s not good to just sit there and listen to the villains. Pym definitely wasn’t putting up with any of that.

Thor: The Dark World: This one opens up with a pretty big war scene with Asgard and the armies of Malekith. War scenes tend to bore me, but this one spiced things up by adding a lot of fun energy effects for both sides. I think that was the difference here and made it stand out more than normal. It follows the intro scene guidelines to the letter. Starting off with an action scene like this is the perfect way to strap everyone into their seats and prepare you for a fun time.

The Avengers: Now we’ve got the classic Avengers film. This one starts with the tesseract finally appearing to be active and Loki uses it as a portal to enter Earth. From there he quickly takes down SHIELD and escapes as Fury prepares to assemble the team. It’s a great way to start up the film. We are introduced to the big villain right away and it also makes the whole thing feel even more like a crossover from the get go. It’s just hard to top this one and that’s why only a few have. It’s not a big over the top fight or anything like that, but the scene has a lot of energy. It’s filmed well and the music also helps.

Avengers Age of Ultron: This one starts off with the Avengers raiding an enemy base and obtaining the cosmic scepter. They also have a quick skirmish with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver which was fun. It’s currently the only time we’ve ever gotten to see the full team on a normal mission in the film continuity. It’ll likely be the last time as well so that’s why it was a lot of fun. It’s not a fight that they ever had a chance of losing, but it was certainly entertaining nonetheless. I’d certainly be down with a prequel that takes place around this time so we could have more moments with the whole team. The 3 Avenger titles so far have all certainly had great openings.

Dr. Strange: This one starts off with a villain group infiltrating a monastery and murdering some monks before getting some kind of book. That’s when the Ancient One shows up and we get our first big fight scene. It’s a pretty fun fight since she’s using magic to manipulate the environment and as a result everyone has to fight while jumping around and everything. This is always a great way to start off a film and it also introduced the Ancient One well. It makes sense to show us an action scene with her since the rest of the film is mainly with Dr. Strange.

Avengers: Infinity War: This is definitely an opening that I’ve seen numerous times and certainly ages well. Not only does it kick off immediately where Ragnarok ended (Which was a great idea) but it really shows how fierce Thanos is. The opening is basically the entire scene of Thanos showing up and then ending when he blows up the ship. It gave us a lot of memorable lines and seeing Hulk take the full Mcnuggets combo from Thanos was great. There are some logic questions you’ll have from that scene since it doesn’t make quite as much sense when you think about it, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a very powerful scene. This is a villain introduction scene handled to perfection. Really, Infinity War as a whole is basically perfect and really hard to top. There’s almost no way Endgame even stands a chance, but if it can match this then the MCU saga really will be complete.

Thor: Ragnarok: It was a close call between this one and Infinity War, but I have to give Ragnarok the slight edge. It begins with Thor seemingly being captured by Surtur and then he fights his way out as he stops Ragnarok before the event can even begin. The fight is great here and it’s probably the best Thor had looked up to this point. He got to show strategy, speed, and strength. It’s his ideal moment and Surtur’s homeland made for a pretty cool backdrop. Then you’ve got the music that plays during the scene and you’ve really got a masterpiece. It’ll be tough for any opening to beat this one’s.

So, that’s my MCU intro scenes list! Marvel’s definitely got a lot of films here and with the MCU going as strong as ever I’m sure there’ll be enough new scenes for another list in the distant future. While I don’t have any other lists in my immediate plans, future editorials will talk about what it means to be a good hero and likewise, what makes a good villain. Editorials are fun to write although they do take more time than the normal posts for sure. If you’ve seen all the MCU films, would you agree with the list or is yours completely different? Sound off in the comments and remember that intros are one of the most important parts of the film. Arguably the only parts that are anywhere near as important are the ending and the general climax of a title.

Ridge Racer 7 Review


It’s time to take a look at a racing game that I’ve had on the back burner for quite a while. Ridge Racer always looked like a lot of fun and to already have 7 games it must be quite successful. As soon as I put the game in I was impressed because the graphics are out of this world. It might not be a stretch to say that this is the best looking racing game that I’ve played although F-Zero is naturally up there as well. It’s a really fun racing game although I think it could have done a better job of explaining the confusing layout of the menu and advanced mechanics.

The main mode here is naturally the Grand Prix. When you step inside a bot gives you your current stats. This happens every time you enter the mode which may be excessive but I do like the fact that the game keeps track of everything. That even includes play time which is nice as I now know that I played this game for about 4 hours. That’s a pretty reasonable amount of time considering that a lot of big games tend to be that length nowadays like Sonic Forces and Black Clover. Of course there is a lot more to do here that will take you over 4 hours. There are 14 Grand Prixs to deal with. Aside from that you also have a bunch of corporate companies who will challenge you to single races and exhibitions. Clear them all to get your completion % to 100%.

Aside from this mode you also have the shop, event mode, and some kind of super event mode. I usually cover replay value at the end, but since I’m talking about content already I may as well address that. This is the kind of racing game that you can play for a very long time. It also has online support to back it up and local multiplayer. Think of any kind of content that a racing game would typically provide and this game has you covered. It’s really quite impressive when you think about it. Now, whether you will have enough driving skills to tackle all of that content is another thing.

That brings me to the cars aspect. I was only able to clear the first 5 GPs in this time frame because of how this part works. So, you have cars for various categories 1-4 and you use them to clear the events. You start with 1 car for each category and gradually work on obtaining more. The problem is that the ways in which you unlock cars are rather vague. Is it from the corporate sponsorships or should I be doing a different mode for that? The layouts aren’t very user friendly so if you want to find the right car you’ll have to cycle through a bunch of them. All of the cars can also have upgrades and modifications done to them but you can’t see how the stats change for the car. I guess you gotta find that out the hard way? It’s little things like this that will make you wonder if it couldn’t have been done a little better. Personally I found it to be a little hard to understand.

Perhaps there is a better way of upgrading your car but I couldn’t find one. Then everything is also super expensive. Buying 2 cars and 2 packs of boost were enough to make my character bankrupt. I guess I would need to keep replaying the old events to get more money or something, but that seems like it would take a lot of time. Towards the second half of the game the cars just got way too fast and my little car just couldn’t keep up. I prefer when the cars don’t change speeds like in F-Zero or Mario Kart. Have the tracks get harder and the A.I. more intricate but don’t mess with the cars. That just seems like an unfair advantage to me. Also, the game quickly started to re-use tracks which I found to be a bit dubious. I think the grand prixs should not reuse tracks unless it’s the final one or an “All Star” cup of sorts. Otherwise the game is just attempting to pad out the time.

As mentioned the graphics are extremely good. The cars look very lifelike and the tracks are polished to perfection. Whether you’re playing a daylight stage or driving through the night the levels are very well made. There’s one level where you drive next to a waterfall which was a lot of fun. I also enjoyed the soundtrack. It’s a little limited compared to other racing games but the tracks are very fast paced and filled with energy. It really allows you to cut loose and jump into the fray.

We also can’t forget the actual gameplay of course. This game is all about drifting which makes it a little different from the average car game. There are a lot of turns and the only way to get through them is to drift. To properly drift you have to stop accelerating by either braking or simply letting go of the ignition. Once your car starts to turn then you have to gun it once more to correct your path. It takes practice for sure, but after a few levels you will likely be able to handle it. You’ll need to be self taught though as the game isn’t too helpful in this regard. Beyond the boosting it is a pretty straight forward racing game that isn’t too out there. I’ve always been a big fan of the racing genre so it was definitely a lot of fun. This genre is one that can get old if played for too long though so I do recommend taking a few breaks. Don’t try to clear everything in one shot.

Overall, Ridge Racer 7 was quite good. It lives up to its reputation and I was certainly satisfied with the game. I’m not sure if I’ll be getting any other installments in the near future but if I do it would certainly be the Gamecube spinoff. After all, that one actually has a story mode which is really impressive for a racing game. I don’t think I need to tell you readers that this is quite rare. Need For Speed is really the only big racing series I can think of that has consistent plots at this point. If you like racing games then I definitely recommend picking up Ridge Racer. It’s a very by the books title that polished all of the technicals to a T. Its only failing is that the game can be a little too ambitious without letting you know what is going on so prepare to learn everything on your own.

Overall 7/10

Sherlock Holmes: Terror by Night Review


Sherlock Holmes has returned with another film. The villains just can’t get away from his extensive mystery solving skills. He is just not the kind of opponent that you want to risk toying with. This film is definitely a mystery movie through and through as we get a lot of suspects and a jewel that has been stolen. With everyone stuck aboard a train it gives Holmes time to interrogate everyone, but at the same time the villain has the edge of being able to act first. Holmes will have to bring his A game to win this match of wits!

There are a lot of parties on the train of course. For starters we have the lady and her coffin. It’s perfectly natural to bring a coffin on board since someone died after all but it’s rather large so someone could possibly fit onto it. There’s also the matter of the jewel that the rich lady brought on board. She has had it for many years, but this is the year where someone will finally try to snag it from her. To that end she wants Holmes to prevent this. Fortunately the cops are also on board led by Lestrade. Surely no criminal can get past the air tight defense of all these heroes…right? The elites are on the case so the villains should be very scared.

Watson’s old friend shows up which is certainly interesting. It makes sense that Watson will know some people since he isn’t with Holmes 100% of the time, but naturally since this is the character’s first appearance that will make you very suspicious. It’s like when any 00 agent shows up in a James Bond film. It raises a lot of red flags. We’ve also got a very confrontational character who doesn’t like the way that Holmes and Watson are always bursting onto crime scenes. While he may have a point it might also be an attempt to get them off his back. He intimidates Watson so much that the old man almost breaks down.

Then we’ve got the train conductor who really doesn’t want Holmes to snoop around. As far as he is concerned everyone needs a permit and to do things officially. He has a habit of writing things down as well which is awfully suspicious. Then of course we have the ladies from before. There is the rich one who is very adamant about Holmes protecting the jewel, but perhaps it is all an act to cover up the fact that she is attempting to fake the theft. There is also the younger lady who isn’t very co-operative and doesn’t like talking all that much despite seeming to know a lot more than she lets on. We’ve also got the tea thieves, but there’s not much to say about those guys.

Sherlock Holmes is on point as always. He’s still the same genius that he always is and learns a lot about the case right away. He solved it rather easily this time around as it was clear that he knew who the culprit was very quickly. He simply had to wait for some actual proof before coming forward with it. He played more mind games with the villains than usual here and substituting the diamond multiple times is a good way to always have control of the playing field.

Things get a little dicey for Watson as always. I don’t think it was his best appearance although he certainly came in handy towards the end of the film though so that’s a good thing. Useful or not, I’ve always been a fan of Watson and it’s easy to root for him. He may not be a genius like Holmes and his ego can get in the way at times, but Watson always tries very hard. You certainly can’t say that he isn’t doing his best to nab the culprit by the end. Even when the suspects get personal like in this film.

It’s been a while since we have seen Lestrade get some action so I was happy to see him return here. He actually looks fairly good here as he picks up on the final plan of Holmes before anyone else. That’s pretty impressive and he holds around 4 people at gun point. I do think that getting in a car with them is risky though especially since he has the villains driving the car, but this man’s a pro so who am I to point out the flaws in his plan? He also doesn’t let the passengers push him around the way that Watson does. Lestrade always assumes control.

Moran is the main villain here and apparently used to work with Moriarty. Naturally he is in disguise as one of the suspects mentioned earlier. You’ll probably figure out who it is right away but you’ll still be intrigued from start to finish on what his end game is. He’s a fairly good villain and definitely had a solid backup plan as well. He’d probably make the top 5 Holmes villains, but is still a step down from some of the others. His sidekick Sands is not very noteworthy though. The guy only appears for a few scenes and is easily handled by Holmes.

There isn’t much more to be said that I haven’t already talked about in these films. The Holmes movies are very direct so they are short and to the point. This does wonders for the pacing of the film and more importantly, it is backed up by impressive writing. You’ll be hard pressed to find any scene that isn’t written quite well. This is in fact one of the better Holmes films as it feels authentic from the start and isn’t trying to phone the plot in. Some franchises start to weaken after so many films but not this one.

Overall, I highly recommend checking this Sherlock Holmes film out. It’s a solid adventure with a lot of twists and turns. The atmosphere is just right and all of the characters are quite solid. It’s easy to see why this Holmes line of movies is so well known. It has completely earned its reputation and I imagine we will be lucky to ever see another depiction be quite as awesome. The current films do a good job but we’ll see if they can manage it for 10+ like this one did. I do miss how quickly they churned out films back in the day.

Overall 8/10