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He-Man: Power of Grayskull Review
It’s time for a classic He Man game! It’s been a long while since this one came out so you could say that it’s about time I got to play it. The franchise has so much potential for video games so it’s a shame that it doesn’t have more. This one’s fairly short and I wouldn’t say that it’s the highest budget GBA game out there but it still does the trick. I had a good time with it at least. You may finish it at turbo speeds but you’ll have a good time and there are no slow parts in the game.
The basic plot is that Skeletor is up to no good and He Man has to stop him. I mean that may be oversimplifying a bit but that’s what is boils down too. Different characters like Cringer and Teela get captured so you have to save them. Along the way you get to face off with all of the classic He Man villains as our hero takes them down one at a time. Nobody is ready to handle the Man of Might as He Man just keeps going to town on everyone. There is a reason why he is known as the strongest in the 9 realms after all. His power just never stopped rising and with the sword he is unbeatable.
It is nice that they got some voice acting here for the iconic “I have the power!!” moment. That was really cool and I’d like to see them keep that up. That is the only real voice acting here but it started the game on the right note. Now when it comes to sound effects the game is a bit lazy because there is only a single damage effect used for every minion and it’s not the most flattering one. It’s not a deep growl or anything but more of a whimper. Surely they could have switched that up a bit.
The graphics are pretty solid though. I thought they looked good for the GBA era. Each character is clearly defined and you won’t have any issues navigating through the levels. The soundtrack may not be very memorable but it’s not bad either. It’s just a little limited which is what holds it back here. I’d like to throw in some more songs, maybe even the opening to the TV show for the final level but I realize that is pretty much unheard of so it’s not something you’d expect.
The game has 13 levels and they are split between normal platforming levels and racing ones. Racing levels are extremely easy so you shouldn’t have any trouble there. Just keep on moving and you’ll make it to the end eventually. It’s an overhead racer so you’re just moving side to side and jumping. You don’t need to worry about going fast since you’re automatically moving as it is.
As for the platforming levels, usually you have to get somewhere which means beating up a bunch of villains. The villains are limited and don’t respawn so don’t worry about fighting them. Sometimes it’s nice to get them out of the way so you can concentrate but other times you can just keep it moving. Each level lets you know the full stats and what you may have missed there. There isn’t a lot to each level so you could 100% complete it if you want to. The game shouldn’t take you longer than 2 hours and you’ll probably beat it well before that.
The only really tricky boss would be the final one I’d say. Skeletor hits hard and he can also heal himself by using the green orbs in the room. Each orb restores your full health and does the same for Skeletor. So the trick here is to position yourself in front of the orb. When you are going low on health, just use it first so that he can’t. Then run to the other orb and repeat the process. You can win this with pure button mashing as a result and it only gets tricky if you let him get to the max health. That’s when it’s all a bit dicey. So long as you keep outsmarting Skeletor then you should be in good position.
Of course the length is the main drawback against the game so that’s the only thing to consider here. If the game is a lot of money then you may want to wait since 1-2 hours is all you’ll be playing this for. There aren’t any unlockable levels or post game to extend the timer for either so the main story is it. Once you’re done with that then you are done with the game. Also there are no save files so you actually do need to put in a password when you turn the system off. Fortunately someone wrote down the passwords for each level online so you can do that if you forgot to write it down. People are definitely dedicated with writing things down which is always appreciated. Trying to write it on your own would be possible of course but it’s nice to not have to worry about that.
Overall, He Man is a fun game. It may not last long but the fundamentals are there. With more of a budget I’d like some more attacking options and more sound effects but it does well enough. There are no parts that dragged on and of course I like the He Man franchise so that part was definitely a plus. If you’ve still got a GBA or a DS lying around then I’d recommend picking this one up. You can probably get it for a fairly decent price and it’s unlikely that we’re getting a big He Man game anytime soon so you have to enjoy it now while you can. It’s also got that retro GBA overhead fighting game feel that’s hard to replicate.
He Man vs Mephisto
Suggested by Destroyer Mephisto has a lot of cosmic abilities and he is a fierce fighter but I don’t see him being able to take on He Man’s full power. That guy has strength that defies logic and he has gone up against Superman in the past. Mephisto may have better aerial options since he can fly but that just won’t be enough here. He Man drastically outclasses him in physical abilities and a few good shots from his sword or fist would end this. He Man wins.
He Man vs Planetman
Suggested by Destroyer Planetman was always a very cool Megaman character but at the end of the day he wasn’t one of the most powerful ones. He had the potential to be and was given a lot of hype in the anime but didn’t get to appear long enough. Right now I think He Man should be able to claim victory with his blade and ultimately slash through Planetman’s attacks. He Man wins.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation Review
After many years, the original He Man show is finally getting its long awaited sequel. This one was certainly surrounded by controversy right from the jump when Teela ended up being the main character of part 1 along with things getting rather tough for He Man several times there. Still, Part 1 ended up being rather great I’d say and then Part 2 stepped things up further. I think you’ll be quite satisfied with how this sequel series plays out no matter who your favorite character is. (With the exception of Moss Man who is admittedly a little disrespected here)
The series starts off with a bang as Skeletor and his forces attack Castle Grayskull once more. Teela had just been promoted to the Man at Arms role so this is her first chance to prove herself. With He Man and the rest of the army at the ready this should be an easy win and yet it doesn’t go the way everyone had hoped. Skeletor and He Man both die in the carnage. Due to this, everyone learns He Man’s true identity which leaves Teela particularly shattered.
After a falling out among Teela and the royals, she is banished from the kingdom along with Duncan. Teela teams up with Andra and the two effectively work as bounty hunters now. This allows Teela to put some distance between her and the kingdom but deep down she knows that the kingdom needs her. Can Teela find her inner strength to take down Evil-Lyn and the remnants of Skeletor’s army? Also, is He Man really gone for good?
The first arc really goes by quickly. Now, if He Man and Skeletor had actually died then I think the controversy would have absolutely skyrocketed to new heights. If that had happened, then I think it would be fair to say that this really was a bait and switch. That said, there’s no way they would keep the two biggest players out of this. Both He Man and Skeletor return to action before long and we even get some new lore and world building out of it. I’ll touch on all of that as we get through the review but first lets talk about the cast of characters here.
Naturally He Man is great as always. Whether he’s Prince Adam or in his He Man form he tends to steal the show. We see him as a capable hero and a selfless warrior. The show gives him good moments in both forms and he always fights to the end. His single best scene is when he shares a laugh with Skeletor before entering his ultimate mode. Now that was a really intense moment and it also just made a lot of sense. Of course He Man should still be able to use the power without the sword. Now the side effect of him losing his mind is rough but it made sense. The show has characters thinking of new ways to use their abilities and I’m definitely all for it. At the end of the day He Man is as confident as ever and it’s quite deserved.
Unfortunately, as good as He Man looks is as bad as Skeletor does. Personally I didn’t care for his portrayal here all that much. He panics a lot and is suckered by the oldest trick in the book of someone flirting with him. Really…this is what Skeletor has become? I wouldn’t be surprised if some ended up not liking the show just because of him. He does look powerful when he has his own super form but his base form is treated like a joke by the end. You’d think that normal Skeletor would still be able to do something but he really isn’t respected by the cast. He ends up getting outshined by quite a few villains in the show. Throw in how he’s always violent with Evil-Lyn for no reason and he really might be one of my least favorite villains in this show. Maybe…even the worst one?
As for Teela, well she gets off to a very rough start in part 1. I mean extremely rough because she blames He Man for dying and saving the world. That’s the kind of thing you’d expect the school bully type character to think, not the main heroine. She just has a bad attitude throughout and doesn’t really become one of the solid characters until the climax. She can fight which is good but it was hard to get over her blaming He Man for quite a few episodes.
Now she does have a really good moment near the end of the series when she realizes that she can wield the power without agreeing to any limitations. I really liked this part because a lot of times the character would just take the legends in stride. If they’re told to just stay put because that’s the only way they can use the power, or they can only use their power 3 times in a day, the character will listen. Here Teela basically just says “Minez!” and runs off with the power. It’s the smart move to make there. Why listen to the legends when you’ve got the power yourself? This at least helped Teela end on a high note.
Her partner Andra gets considerably less to do in part 2 but she’s not bad. She’s your average bounty hunter genius and tends to bring a lot of custom weapons to the fight. It felt like she didn’t have a whole lot to do and was only here so Teela could have a teammate though. Perhaps in Season 2 she would have more of a role. The cast was rather large so it makes sense that it would be hard to juggle all of them.
Like poor Moss-Man who only appears for a scene or two. It’s not great for his fans but maybe he’ll return at some point. I wouldn’t get my hopes too high for that though. Cringer gets a little more to do here. He’s still not really my kind of character but in his Battle Beast form he helps out quite a bit. It’s just a bit of an issue that he never wants to transform though so it really seems like He Man is mind controlling him in that form. With how the power changes He Man’s mind without the sword, it’s not all that far fetched.
The original Sorceress looks good here as well. The fact that she can’t even leave the castle is an enormous weakness though and she ends up looking bad by the end of the series because of the choice that she did not make. At best you could say there was no way to escape now that she made the contract but at worst you could say that she didn’t think this part through. Her powers always look good visually though and she certainly can fight.
One character who gets a really big role here is the original Man at Arms, Duncan. Duncan may not have He Man’s level of super strength but he is quite strong in his own right and has a lot of good gadgets as well. He’s always got some kind of weapon for the occasion and doesn’t let up against the villains. Even once he is captured the guy is always talking tough. So I was impressed with him, he didn’t really have any bad scenes.
For the villains, next up we have Evil-Lyn. She gets a really big role here which the show starts hinting at early on. She’s always put up with quite a lot but looking back at it, this just makes less and less sense to her. Perhaps she is approaching this all wrong and that’s when she makes her move. I think the show went a bit overboard in how powerful it made her since this leads to a lot of power level issues by the end. That said, I wouldn’t say the show is always amazing with how powerful everyone is, the power levels tend to fluctuate a bit. If He Man is able to go toe to toe with an amped up Skeletor then he should be absolutely decimating everyone else. I don’t want to see it take multiple blows to beat the Mer-Man or for He Man not to instantly take out the Beast Man. Teela and Man at Arms shouldn’t be keeping up with Skeletor’s blasts if he’s fast enough to hit He Man. Things like that.
As a character Evil-Lyn is fun though. I wish she would have tricked Skeletor in a different way as that would have benefited both of their characters though. It may have been the most obvious twist on who the big villain is since many would suspect this from episode 1 or 2 but it was executed well. He Man’s parents King Randor and Queen Marlena also get a role but don’t get a ton to do. They are having a lot of relationship issues as a result of what happened early on. The King looks super unreasonable when he throws Teela and Duncan out of the kingdom and the Queen didn’t really try hard to stop him. They have their emotional moments but if you cut them from the story nothing would really change.
Orko looked really good so I think his fans should have a blast here. His magical abilities have come a long way from his training days and he gets a massive power boost as the show goes on. He doesn’t quite keep up with the best of the heroes but he’s a fun character to have around. Back to the villains, we’ve got 3 more with roles. First is the Mer-Man and his role is the smallest. He seems like a good villain but I’d like to have seen more of him. The Beast Man is a very loyal guy but when asked if he is Man or Beast I felt that he made the wrong choice there. It probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference in how things went though.
Finally we have Tri-Klops and I liked him quite a bit here. He represents an interesting possibility for a third faction of fighters here. Someone who could cause both the heroes and villains some trouble as the series goes on. It’s hard to say how powerful he is. I doubt that he will be a really big fighter physically but I’m sure he has a good amount of tech to back him up.
So Arc 1 is mainly about Teela’s adventures as she deals with her grief. She makes it hard to care about her but the writers likely knew that so just about every episode has a flashback sequence of He Man beating up on some villains. It was a good way to squeeze him into each episode and those were always the highlight moments. The show has a good sense of humor and He Man always had a one liner at the ready. This all made for a nice combo as keep in mind Part 1 would have been an 8 even without part 2. You could still expect a good action scene every episode.
Now we are introduced to a new concept near the end of Part 1 which is that anyone who uses the powers of Grayskull is given a second life. Basically you have fun in the jungle for a while and you can even come back to life whenever you want. The catch is that you can only come back to life once so when you die again your soul is just destroyed forever. None of the previous guardians seem all that heroic to me as they were willing to just stay in this world forever and never came in to help. I was expecting them to pop up at some point but they ended up just staying in this place the whole time. It really wasn’t a great look for these guys who are supposed to be the ultimate heroes. The existence of this world helps give someone a good destructive feat later on but I think this place just shouldn’t exist. It really comes out of nowhere and doesn’t add to anything. It’s also rough for good guys who don’t have the power and have to go to the underworld anyway. Doesn’t seem like a very fair tradeoff. Fortunately one of the heroes realized that and quickly stops one person from being sent back there later on.
Part 2 is really filled with fights the entire time. We get the big army against army fight scene that you’ve been waiting for. With a series like this where each part is only a few episodes, you do see most of the events in the trailers but at least that way you’re always gearing up for the next fight. The show never really stops to catch its break which is good. The pacing is on point.
One thing that pops out at you immediately is how great the animation is. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is absolutely top tier for western animation. I haven’t seen an art style this vivid since Justice League Unlimited. This show would fit right in with the DCAU and can hold its own against any other western show without exception. The fights are really good and you feel the power behind each blow. I thought the show really did justice to He Man’s incredible power and the rush when he gets his power. The first transformation scene was great.
As for the soundtrack, I wouldn’t say it’s super memorable or anything but it gets the job done. The tunes during the action scenes are on point and the show always has a lot of energy. If you count it, the trailer had a great theme with the “I need a Hero” track. Now that’s a tune that’s always in season.
Naturally the show does end with a cliffhanger and it’s an interesting one. I would definitely be down to see how it all plays out but they’ll need to find a way to make it so the villains are a threat. Now that we have He Man and the powered up Teela at the ready, it’s hard to see these villains being a thread without some kind of massive upgrade. I also think depowering He Man again would be a bad move since it just happened so that’s off the table. Maybe have him be busy off planet? Not sure if that works since he is the protector of Castle Grayskull though. Well, they’ll think of something.
Either way we should hopefully get more He Man vs Skeletor moments. Those are really the scenes when the show is at its peak. Each of their fights really ends up being quite the spectacle and as the faces of good and evil in this world, you always want to see them clash. The top notch animation certainly helps with that as well. We also get a cool teamup in the show which is something I was waiting for. If there was a nice He Man moment you were looking forward to or wanted to see, odds are that the show delivers on this. There’s quite a lot of replay value to be had here as well so this is a show you’ll probably go back to or at least to look up the fights.
Overall, I’d definitely recommend checking this show out. It really does a great job of showing the He Man mythos and events. It’s a nice follow up to the original series. Some concepts like the Otherworld may have been best left on the drawing board but I suppose it doesn’t matter much now anyway. I wouldn’t say the show has any real weaknesses. Part 2 covers for any element that may have had you worried in Part 1 and so when you watch it all together, the season works out nicely. My only real complaint by the end is that it went too far in making Skeletor look really bad most of the time so hopefully he can regroup in season 2. It’ll be difficult for the CGI title to even try and match this one.
He Man vs Cringer
Cringer is He Man’s loyal sidekick and definitely not an opponent that you want to take lightly. That said, He Man is known as the strongest in the universe for good reason. Even though Cringer also takes on part of the power, it just isn’t enough to do a whole lot against this kind of opponent. He Man has the edge in battle experience, speed, and power. That’s a combination that is nearly impossible to defeat. He Man wins.
He Man vs Carnage
Suggested by Destroyer It’s time for a battle of heavy hitters. Both of these guys are rather powerful with Carnage having many super forms and He Man being immensely powerful in every incarnation. Ultimately the reason why I would give this to He Man is really due to how impressive he looked against Superman in each of their battles. He has the strength to simply overpower Carnage and has enough speed to block or cut through his attacks. He Man wins.
He Man vs Ben 10
Suggested by Sonic He Man has gone toe to to with Superman on several occasions. That’s not something that Ben 10 can hope to achieve. The kid has a ton of transformations but none of them will be doing a whole lot here. At best he can try to establish a safe distance but he has nothing that can bypass He Man’s durability. He Man wins.
He Man vs Vengeance
Suggested by Destroyer Vengeance is pretty strong. This goes without saying as he has fought Ghost Rider to a standstill in the past and has always had a pretty versatile powerset. He’s no match for He Man though. He Man’s raw power is through the roof and he was even able to damage Superman. If you ask me, that basically means Vengeance might as well be punching the air for all the good it’ll do him here. He Man is completely out of his league and that’s just the way things go. Vengeance would need a massive power up to close the gap. He Man wins.
He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special Review
It’s time to look at the classic He-Man Christmas special. This one is definitely pretty well known as a solid special from back in the day, but I hadn’t gotten to check it out til now. I can safely say that it does hold up remarkably well. You really don’t even need to know much about He-Man outside of the general premise and you’ll be fine here. It’s got a good dose of action and wit which makes for an enjoyable experience. It definitely reminds me of how much I miss the classic show.
The special starts off with Orko getting into a spaceship that he wasn’t supposed to enter and being blasted away. He-Man and She-Ra find out about this afterwards, but by then the mage is already all the way on Earth. Fortunately for him he bumps into two kids and they explain to him what Christmas is. By this point the heroes made a teleportation beam which takes them home, but Skeletor shows up and kidnaps the kids. The heroes will have to hurry and save them before CHristmas passes them by, but can the kids show Skeletor what it means to be a nice guy in the meantime?
This special wastes no time as it throws you right into an action scene. We get to see why He-Man is such a confident guy as he completely wrecks his opponents. He would have actually lost despite his impressive showing if not for She-Ra stepping in. They really do make quite the team as they cover each other’s back from sneak attacks. When they are together it’s hard to picture any opponent stopping them. The character cast is incredibly strong which is part of why the special is so good. He-Man’s always got a good one liner for everything. The puns and witty dialogue just don’t stop and I haven’t seen a film with writing this good in an extremely long time.
Meanwhile She-Ra has a very catchy theme song which plays almost every time she is on screen. It’s got a really great beat to it and it’s something you can listen to for a while. Surprisingly He-Man didn’t have a tune of his own, but I’ll assume that in the show he had one. Both of them have good transformation scenes where they say their catchphrases though. There are a few other heroes but other than Orko none of them are that important. Orko also doesn’t contribute nearly as much as the main two so he is pretty forgettable. His magical abilities seem to be quite weak as just saying a phrase can deactivate them. No wonder he is always getting into trouble.
Then we’ve got an ensemble of villains. The one that everyone should be familiar with by this point is Skeletor. He’s got a really iconic design and he’s strong enough to put fear into any opponent he goes up against. Even He-Man should be a little wary of taking him on one on one. His voice really seals the deal for the character as well. Now, his scenes with the kids may be a bit cheesy but he does need to take them in alive so making them coats made sense. I also do like that he grumbles about everything even if he ends up helping out at the end. A good villain isn’t afraid to help people out if it’ll further his goals and this tells me that Skeletor has a lot of confidence. Just look at Darth Vader, Garou, or Shego. They’re villains to the core, but they did step up to help someone out when the time was right. It’s just something that a quality villain will do. I’ve always liked Skeletor and I was pleased with his portrayal here.
There are other villains though like She-Ra’s main antagonist Hordak. I’m not really familiar with him, but he does have a pretty cool design as well. He seems like a second rate Skeletor, but one who could probably hold his own. He may have lost to the robots, but he still seemed like a pretty cool villain. Then you have Horde Prime who doesn’t actually get to appear but he does have an intimidating voice. I really didn’t know anything about this guy so it would be cool to see him show up at some point. The He-Man universe is definitely filled with a lot of interesting characters. Finally we can’t forget about the Monstroids. These guys had cool designs and were really having their way with the heroes. They were definitely surprise hits and I won’t be forgetting them anytime soon.
The animation here is really good and feels like peak 80s-90s animation. You’ll get a Cybertron vibe from the Monstroids planet as well. The fight scenes hold up and it’s always good to see He-Man and She-Ra just wrecking their opponents. It’s easy to see how they could keep up with the Justice League when they’ve fought each other over the years. A good special should be accessible to new viewers while also being fun for long-time fans and I’d say that this one really managed to satisfy this. It certainly got me more interested to take a look at the TV show from back in the day. I suspect it would be a whole lot of fun and would probably even beat out the various competitors from back in the day except possibly for Transformers.
Overall, This He-Man special is one that I highly recommend watching for Christmas. I don’t care if you’re familiar with the series or not, it’s just good wholesome fun. This style of writing you don’t see much anymore and it’s a shame. I liked the unbounded heroism and confidence that you see in the heroes here. They’re not self aware or parodying themselves, they just know that they are strong enough to keep the peace and stop the villains. It’s why they are symbols of hope in the universe. Hopefully we get a new He-Man film at some point because I’d love to see what these two could do with some modern effects as well.