Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 4 Review

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It’s time to look at the next Scooby Doo crossover adventure! The gang is back to solve a bunch of cases, but they may need a little extra muscle to back them up this time. The villains are growing more dangerous and most of them don’t even bother with a mask anymore. It’s unfortunate but the Mystery Inc may be out of their depth this time. As always it is a pretty fun assortment of stories. The franchise has always done a pretty good job of being consistent.

One of the stories involves the Men in Black (Not literally them but same concept) going after all of the alien superheroes on Earth. This is because the Martian Manhunter delivered a press conference to the world where he said that the aliens were going to take over. That’s when the real one shows up and asks the Mystery gang to help him clear his name. They are happy to do so, but it won’t be as easy as all that. Who can they trust and how can they debunk a television broadcast that everyone saw?

There is a bit of a cop out ending to this one, but nonetheless it is a fun story. The stakes probably felt a little higher here than in some of the other stories to be honest. The aliens really needed the help of a good detective and the main characters delivered. Well, most of the detectives did t any rate. This may have been the best story.

Then we’ve got an adventure with Zatanna. Her father is missing so she heads to our usual gang of detectives. They aren’t very helpful though and just recommend that she checks with some other magicians instead. They all meet up with a bunch of spellcasters, but they’ve all been robbed of their magical artifacts and are now helpless. Whoever has done this is certainly a big threat, but the heroes won’t give up. It’s a fun enough comic although I have a hard time believing that all of the magicians would get punked so easily. Zatanna’s always a fun character though so it was nice to see her get a story. The Mystery Inc needs to step up their game a bit though because Shaggy and Scooby always make them look so bad.

Another comic has the heroes go to a concert where the Infinities are playing. They’re a bunch of teenage superheroes who thought it would be smart to use the same name for both their human activities and super ones. Fortunately nobody has suspected a thing yet. A giant robot attacks along with a bunch of giant monsters so the heroes have to stop them. Thing is, the robot is usually a good guy, but he is being controlled remotely by an evil scientist with a criminally devious master plan. The heroes will have to think of something very quickly but what can they do? It’s a fun comic even if I’m not really familiar with any of the characters here. I didn’t like the giant robot but everyone else seemed mostly reasonable. I don’t think I would like the Infinities much either, but at least they can fight so it was good that they were around. This issue was a little weaker than the others.

Then we have a comic where Harley Quinn shows up to join the heroes. Fred and the others are skeptical but allow her to join anyway. It turns out that she is pretty good at the mystery business but the problem is that the Joker is after her. By extension this means that the heroes are also in quite the jam now. Batman is on the way but can they hold out long enough? This comic was fun, but what really took it to the next level was the surprise appearances of Batman and Robin at the end. I definitely wasn’t expecting to see them so that was neat. They do end up stealing the show as you would expect, but that’s par for the course for the Dynamic Duo.

Then we have the worst comic of the bunch. The heroes make it to the wild west where they decide to help out a pair of Donkeys. The Donkey sheriff has a secret identity where he puts on a cape and acts as a Zorro impersonation. The costume isn’t downright terrible but you know what the humor style will be like from the start and it never tries to be anything more than that. I couldn’t really get invested in the comic because the guest characters just weren’t interesting. I suppose they tried their best and it still isn’t a bad comic, but it just wasn’t very eventful.

Then we also can’t forget the appearance of the Space Ghost. He’s all business as per usual while the kid assistants just get captured a lot. The Space Ghost also look just as frightening on the page as in the universe going by how even Fred and the others seemed a little nervous in his presence. The Space Ghost commands respect after all. The villains know better than to mess with him and that’s why they always go after the kids. The comic isn’t really a mystery so much as it is just a fight against the Space Ghost’s usual villains, but it was definitely a lot of fun. The hero’s design has really aged very well.

The art is nice as always. The characters are always on point and it is just very consistent. You will be able to easily fly through the pages on your way to the end. The writing is also on point so you know what you are getting yourself into from the start. If you’re a fan of the Scooby Doo team and their usual antics then you should have absolutely no problem here. If you find them annoying then this won’t change your mind. Honestly, there’s just no saving Scooby and Shaggy at this point since they just aren’t brave enough to hope to stand up to anyone. The team needs to cut them loose. It’s unfortunate of course, but they just don’t add anything to the team.

Overall, This was another solid team up volume. It has the right blend of humor and some action that the franchise is know for. If anything, it probably has a little more action than the show would thanks to all of the superheroes running around. There’s nothing particularly unique about the volume as its just another installment that you could interchange with the previous 2, but that’s why you are focusing on the guest stars. Every time a new issue comes out we have a chance at a new guest star. Hopefully we get many more volumes of this series in the future.

Overall 7/10

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Maze Runner: The Death Cure Review

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It’s been quite a while since I saw the Scorch Trials but I knew that someday I would finish this series. That time is now and the Death Cure actually isn’t a bad film. For the most part it’s actually pretty solid but ends up losing a lot of steam by the time it reaches the ending. There really isn’t much of humanity left to save either.

The film starts with an almost humorous action scene where the main characters steal an entire train, knock out all of the guards and then fly out of there. They are lucky that the guards can’t shoot straight or that they had no cameras active to see the obvious traps that were set out for them. This sort of plot hax will be around for a while so now is a good time to get used to it. The characters have now freed over 100 kids and are ready to sail off to a better tomorrow. The problem is that one of their friends from the first film is still captured. Thomas, Newt, and Frypan head off to find him before also being joined by Jorge and Brenda. They will have to break into the enemy stronghold to free him and will have to risk everything one last time. Can they do it?

There is certainly a lot of action here. We have constant gun fights and miscellaneous explosions occurring off screen. There is even a hand to hand fight near the end. Naturally these kids aren’t exactly master martial arts so it’s really just both sides throwing a lot of punches as opposed to a lot of crispy choreography. The climax is really just one large war zone as the characters try to make it out in one piece.

The pacing isn’t bad either as things tend to move quickly. The heroes are rarely given a chance to rest and so the film is moving a lot as well. I can’t say the writing was all that good though as characters constantly sound like they are in a horror movie with all the needless yelling. The character cast also isn’t amazing and I had some issues with the ending. To explain why the ending is no ot that good without spoilers is a little tricky, but here goes. The whole film series is really about choosing a side. Is the government right for sacrificing around 50 kids to save the human population or should the kids simply escape but also soon humanity along with them? Well the choice was taken out of your hands early on as the government is unnecessarily cruel the whole time. They even go so far as to attempt to destroy one of the kids when harnessing his blood slowly would have been safer and could have saved more people. It’s also worth noting that their cures keep failing so they are gambling the kids lives on just a hunch. Then in the ending we basically realize that all hope is lost. Unless there is yet another lost city in the middle of nowhere but that would be super convenient. It means that the whole trilogy was ultimately pointless for most of the human race.

As I mentioned earlier there is also quite a lot of plot hax to be found here. The villains constantly seem to be on the losing side when they should have this in the bag. The amount of times they yell “freeze” is almost funny because the heroes absolutely never listen and it always results in the villains losing once again. The scene where the bus is surrounded is the worst part as they just watch one of the characters clip it to a construction crane and lift the bus out of there. They probably should have fired their guns.

Thomas is the main character and he is definitely no good. He is said to be a very forgiving character multiple times in the film to the point where he is ready to quickly forgive Teresa after she betrayed the heroes and took a role in torturing one of his friends. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that he forgives everyone but Thomas isn’t consistent about that. We’ve also got a kid who was mind controlled and forced into destroying another kid. The guy seemingly died but now he has returned and Thomas absolutely won’t forgive him. So really, it’s not that he is a forgiving person by nature, he just likes Teresa so he is willing to overlook her faults. He doesn’t handle the romance situation very well either and tends to not make very good commands as the leader. He’s just not a guy that you would want to follow into battle. Especially since he is always admitting that he has no idea what they are even doing.

Then we have Teresa who does not regret turning evil. That should mean she will be portrayed as a villain right? Well surprisingly the film actually tries to make her a little sympathetic with the classic the Ends Justify the Means line of thinking. That didn’t fly back in the day and it still doesn’t. She is on the wrong side and the film did a poor job of trying to show her switch sides or even making her cause look legitimate. As such the character was just pretty bad the whole time. The same goes for her Boss who spends the first two films capturing the kids and putting them in painful experiments. Now she is finally having second thoughts and it’s just way too late for that.

The only good villain is the main chief of security, Janson. He is sticking to his guns literally in this film as he shots quite a few characters and also knows how to fight. I mean, he’s not a great fighter as he can barely go even with Thomas but I suppose it’s a start at the very least. Janson also knows when it’s time to pull back and just win with a gun instead. His demise seems a little hard to buy since he would have known the room better than anyone and what it would take to break the glass though.

Newt was a solid character. He always does his best to support Thomas while also calling him out when the lead starts to act fishy. He has been infected for a while but manages to keep it quiet so as not to distract from the mission. Newt does have his typical blow up moment at Thomas which comes off as rather forced but that’s really his only iffy scene. Then we have the ex bully who still calls Thomas greeny. Honestly I barely remember the character at all so he may as well be a new character in this one. He is the commander of the resistance (How’d that happen?) aside from one old man who is consulted at times. He doesn’t tend to panic as much as the others and saves the leads quite a few times so at the very least he was really good in this film. More prepared than the others at the very least.

One scene that will really stick with you is when the main characters walk into a dark tunnel and are basically unarmed. Even if there wasn’t an army of zombies down there, what could they have possibly done against the villains in such a state? You have to bring a ton of ammo at the very least or some kind of plan. The heroes had neither and would have been doomed several times if they hadn’t kept getting saved. The whole film you are reminded of this as the heroes are just out of their depth for the majority of the movie.

Overall, The Death Cure isn’t a bad action film. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and the series ends on a fairly good note. The ending is a little more hopeless than I would have liked and a certain death didn’t really need to happen since things were so bad already. It also didn’t help Thomas much either since at the very end he writes someone’s name down which basically proves his allegiance once more. If you want to see a film with a lot of action scenes then this is the place to go, but don’t expect it to be the kind of film that you will never forget.

Overall 6/10

20 Million Miles to Earth Review

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It’s time to look at a really old creature feature film. Unfortunately this isn’t one of the better ones and is in fact a particularly weak one. It resorts to bottom of the barrel tropes like animal violence and so the film quickly goes downhill. from there. You just can’t add in animal violence and expect to do well. Also, it doesn’t help that the monster didn’t really have a great design. He looked sort of like the gill man when he should have gone for a more authentic Godzilla design. I suppose you can’t win them all though.

The basic plot is that a group of local fishers are having a good time when they notice a rocket crash land into the water. They quickly head on over to investigate it and they are able to save one of the people inside. The others all died to a plague from Venus, but they still did take the time to take one of the animals over from there. Unfortunately a local boy named Pepe stole the animal and sold him (Keep in mind that the animal is till in egg form) to a local scientist for a pair of fake guns. The army doesn’t know this and is intent on finding the animal quickly. Turns out that they won’t have to look far though as the oxygen on Earth is having a peculiar effect on the creature and it is now growing very rapidly. If it keeps on going at this pace then thousands may perish. (Seems like hyperbole but one of the characters said so.)

It’s very by the books as far as the plot is concerned. The creature goes on a rampage and starts breaking stuff so the heroes have to put an end to it. The humans are all consumed by greed though and so they keep letting the creature get away. They want to contain it rather than destroy the beast because it can be useful for scientific study. This continues even when the monster is murdering people. One guy is literally getting bit to death while they just watch because they don’t want to hurt the monster. The big irony here is that bullets don’t work on the creature anyway so they were worried for nothing. It still makes you wonder about their principles though. The Italian government were the ones in the right here as the Americans just looked pretty bad the whole time. Even once they captured the beast to keep zapping him the whole time they let him break out and then a bunch of other people perished. So much for that eh?

Pepe is also a very annoying kid. In fact, he’s pretty much exactly what you expect whenever a kid shows up. They just tend to be rather annoying the whole time as they hide things from the grownups and keep trying for more and more money. He just holds everyone back. I’d say that the main fisher was probably the best character. He’s the only one who actually wanted to help the people from the crash while everyone else was too busy trying to escape. Certainly not the bravest thing to do in the middle of that. Of course, these characters aren’t here to be likable and they typically aren’t all that smart either.

Take Marisa, the doctor in training. She is in charge of looking after the 2 people from the crash, but one of them is unfortunately dying. The first guy, Calder quickly tries to wake up the second one to get answers, but she keeps telling him to leave the guy alone. Decent advice I guess, but since the guy is dying it isn’t like there is actually going to be a later. Then it makes sense to get all of the answers right away. She goes back and forth with Calder on this quite a lot until a random romance pops up and you wonder why once again romance was forced into a film for no real reason. It certainly didn’t add anything to the film and aside from a few very brief scenes it never actually goes anywhere. It’s just around for kicks.

The actual doctor isn’t very intelligent either. First he leaves the moving egg by itself as he goes to take a nap. Then after putting it in the cage he goes to sleep again and the monster has almost grown too large for his cage. What he does next is leave once again to go talk to Pepe and then decides to take a long trip to Rome. Did he really think that the monster would simply stop growing or that it would peacefully let them take it to Rome? Clearly this guy must be a self proclaimed doctor since I would expect him to be a lot smarter if his degree was actually legitimate.

The writing isn’t terrible, but it’s just nothing inspired. You could take some of the dialogue here and place it into almost any other monster film. It will work just fine because of how generic it is. Anyway, all of that could have been forgiven if not for the animal violence. As if once wasn’t bad enough they decide to go through with this twice. Perhaps it is the only way to show what a threat this monster is supposed to be, but picking on the humans would have been a better way of getting that across if you ask me.

Overall, I have to give this film a hard thumbs down. The creature isn’t very interesting and the characters are nothing special. Not only are they not quite as on the ball as a classic lead from other films, but their priorities are completely misplaced. The fact that they are okay with a bunch of people dying if it means that they get to study the monster just shows that these guys have no scruples. The whole situation makes it hard to root for the heroes, but you can’t root for the monster either so then what is there to do? Not much except to quickly shut off the movie. I’d certainly advise you to stick away from this one unless you want to get bored. If you need to see a film about a monster, go watch one of the Godzilla films. Those tend to deliver on the action front which this one could not. Also, who thought it would be a god idea to make the monster look really old and weak by giving him a mustache?

Overall 2/10

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Review

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It’s time to take a look at the Crystal Chronicles. Final Fantasy has had a lot of different game lines over the years and they all seem to perform fairly well. You’ve got Tactics, Chocobo, Crystal Chronicles, The Rhythym music games, and the main line. By completing this game I have finally been introduced to another segment of the series but it certainly pales in comparison to the classic style.

There isn’t much of a plot in this game but I’ll give you the general premise. You start out by picking what kind of job you want to have and in turn what kind of creature you are. After that you travel with a little circus troupe as you purify the world of Miasma. To do this you must go to each area and take a drop from the Legendary tree. You get to the tree automatically by clearing the level and beating the boss. Eventually you will be able to reach the final stage where you must successfully defeat numerous phases of a final boss until you save the world. There are a bunch of subplots and lore that you will run across over the course of the game as you meet with new people. It’s luck based on when you encounter them so just keep running back and forth in the overworld until this happens. One such plot is a black knight who is going around beating people up. From what I could gather, the big boss known as Raem has been eating his memories which is making him go crazy. There’s also a mysterious little fellow who is always lying and stealing whenever he is around. Most of this is filler as you can guess. You never even get to fight the Black Knight even though he is mentioned and hyped up quite a lot.

The gameplay is that of a 3D action title. You hit opponents with your sword/staff or fire off some magic bolts at them in real time. This also means that you can dodge their counter attacks. By all accounts this should be a real good decision on the game’s part since who doesn’t like fighting in real time? Well, it is good but not all that great. Your hits never feel like they have a lot of weight behind them. It’s a more limited version of the .Hack style. Still, it works well enough in the game and nothing is more satisfying than walking into a room with a bunch of enemies and still managing to pick them all off. Divide and Conquer is crucial here.

I think what really hurts this game at times is how much the multiplayer aspect of the game is stressed. You’re meant to play this with a few others as everyone takes a different occupation and you go through the world. You can do this on your own but then it’s like playing the game 4 times over. You also better make sure your allies are as strong as you since the game stacks the difficulty up accordingly for each player. I played solo and can assure you that it took a lot of grinding to get through the final boss. I had to bear virtually every level twice and a few levels for a 3rd time before I finally got strong enough win. Part of the reason why it takes so long is because it doesn’t go by a traditional level up system like most Final Fantasy titles. Instead you obtain artifacts at the end of each level and you choose which one to keep. This will give you a +1,+3 for one specific stat. There are 3 stats in the game, Attack, Defense, and Magic. Alternately sometimes you can choose to get another heart or another command slot which is essentially a quick select for spells and Phoenix Downs. I highly recommend the latter 2 so unless it’s vs a +5 or something then it’s the best bet. You can’t get any artifact twice so only replay each level a few times. Eventually there will be no artifacts left so you’ll be wasting your time. You only get a new memory from each area once every 3 years so you could replay it for equipment, but it’s usually best to do both in one shot so switch up the areas as best you can.

Also, the equipment is very important here aside from the artifacts so try to get yourself a master class weapon and at least a Mythril level Defense & Belt. That’s like getting multiple upgrades so it will save you a lot of time. Getting to the final boss only took around 10 hours, but it took around 5 more hours to get to a level where I could beat him. As it so happens with many RPG games like this one, by the time I grinded high enough to beat him it seems like I went overboard so I didn’t even have to use any of my Phoenix Downs. I ended with about 20 extra, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry right? The bosses can be tricky so you just want to figure out what the best approach is. The game isn’t very straight forward so sometimes it will be handy to look online to see what you need to do. For example you need to use Cure on the memories in the final level to unlock your super attacks and the minions only respawn in the second last phase if you beat both so just take down one of them. Be warned in the final phase that you can accidentally heal the boss with your cures so definitely try to avoid that.

I dare say that the game’s biggest weakness here is the plot. You can make a case for the terrible level up system as well of course, but you really expect a dynamic plot from Final Fantasy. Sure, we get little cutscenes before each level as a narrator talks about how great the places used to be, but it’s just all very dull and boring. The actual characters have no personality and everyone is just going through the motions. There is never a sense of danger at all and the game simply isn’t cinematic, but at the same time it isn’t colorful like a Nintendo game either. It’s like playing a game full of exposition with nothing ever coming out of it. If you look really hard at the mini cutscenes and optional side quests then sure you’ll probably understand the lore, but there’s still nothing epic about it. I want a real plot, whether it be a slice of life one like in Sword Art Online or an end of the world adventure like Sonic The Hedgehog 2006. At least give me something.

There is a good amount of content here so I can’t really critique the game on that aspect. You can keep playing this game for a very long time if you want to get all of the artifacts. Especially since you won’t know what the level’s mission is until you beat it and that affects which artifacts you get. If you want to see the mission then you need to get your GBA ready and connect to the game. Again, they put too much of an emphasis on this connection part if you ask me. If the game had decided to be a little more self contained then I really think that it would have ended up being a whole lot better. Instead it just limits itself. I can’t see myself going back to the game for any of this, but if you really enjoyed the experience then go for it.

The graphics aren’t very good, but it’s mainly because of the artistic direction that the game went in than with the actual effort. The character designs are on the chibi design and none of the creatures look particularly threatening aside from the final boss. At least that guy seems pretty intense and it’s a monster design that is memorable. Unfortunately the soundtrack isn’t particularly good either. I can’t think of a single good theme in the game and that’s really a bad sign. Final Fantasy is known for its stellar soundtracks so I was actually rather surprised that this one didn’t hold up so well.

Overall, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles really wasn’t for me. The gameplay isn’t bad, but I did have an issue with the level up system and the sheer amount of grinding to beat the game. I’m not usually opposed to grinding, but when your upgrades depend on luck and the game doesn’t tell you much then it can be rather annoying. It becomes a bit of a chore to play the game once you enter the end game as even the old levels get buffed to the point where the enemies are stronger than the ones in the final dungeon. Throw in the fact that the plot was so weak and there isn’t much reason to play this RPG. If you want a good action game then check out Legend of Zelda. If you want a big plot experience then play a main Final Fantasy title. There’s just no room for the Crystal Chronicles and I’m hoping that the Wii game is a little more fun.

Overall 5/10

Yugioh Arc V Review

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I have finally completed Yugioh Arc V! It was definitely a pretty intense Yugioh series and rose up to being one of the best ones. I had a feeling that it would become really good since this was hyped as the crossover series, but the other titles all left a high bar for it to follow. Initially the series reminded me a lot of Yugioh Zexal with the animation and the music that the dub used for it. As the series went on it came into its own though and peaked during the second arc. It’s definitely a very strong title that I dare say is second only to GX. Usually I put the Yugioh rankings at the bottom, but there aren’t too many so I’ll just put them up here. 1. Yugioh GX, 2. Yugioh Arc V, 3. Yugioh 5Ds, 4. Yugioh, 5. Yugioh Zexal. I won’t bother with season 0 or Capsule Monsters as they aren’t even strong enough to really rank at all next to the others. As always this means that the bar is set pretty high once again for the next Yugioh series. It’ll be interesting to see where that one ranks, but either way I do think that it will be quite excellent!

The series starts off by introducing us to Yuya. He is an aspiring Dueltainer who wants to become the best like his dad was. He even goes to a proper school for it which is led by his best friend’s (Zuzu) dad named Skip. Skip claims that Yuya will become a great star through him. That’s when Yuya is challenged to appear against the World Champion on TV to avenge his father. Yuya can’t turn down such an opportunity but is he ready? The pre arc is Yuya taking on all kinds of opponents and improving his act. He can’t just win, he has to claim victory while having fun and helping the opponent to smile. That’s what being a duel tainer is all about!

The intro episodes do a decent job of setting the stage. The pacing isn’t bad, but the supporting cast isn’t great. As with 5Ds, the main supporting cast is written out of the adventure pretty early on and that was a great move. We lost the annoying kids and only kept Zuzu and Sora. The rest were all left behind. Backtracking a bit, Yuya’s tournament is interrupted when the Obelisk Force shows up and starts turning everyone into cards. Yuya is able to fend them off, but his world takes considerable damage and Declan reveals that he had anticipated this attack. Yuya reluctantly agrees to go along with him and so starts the battle of the 4 universes, Standard, XYZ, Fusion, and Synchro. Yuya must duel as hard as he can to stop the evil plans at work here and to save Zuzu who is one of the main targets that the villains are after.

Once the dimension is initially attacked then the series really accelerates into top tier status. The whole 5Ds arc was just amazing and one of the best arcs in all of Yugioh. Everything happened here and all of the subplots that had been growing converged at this point. It was just amazing and in particular the scene where all of the characters met up in the old subway tunnel was superb. The only downside to this is that naturally the next arc couldn’t quite compete as the heroes went to XYZ world and then to the Fusion dimension. Those arcs were fun as well, but they couldn’t even come close to 5Ds. I suppose that it’s not a surprise though since typically the last arc in a Yugioh series isn’t the best one. Battle City destroys Millenium World, The Yubel Arc beats the Nightshroud one, etc. Still, it needs to be said again that Arc V has no bad arcs, it’s just that the 5Ds one took it to the pinnacle of perfection. It’s probably also because Turbo Duels took the place of Action Duels.

I didn’t actually talk about it earlier so I should do that now. Action Duels were invented for this series and think of it as a more interactive style of dueling. Instead of sitting back and waiting for your turn you get to run around in search of the action cards. It’s purely luck based what the card will do, but typically it lets you block an attack or power up your monster. It’s a decent concept, but the luck factor makes it too easy on the writers. Put Yuya in a sticky situation? Have him get an action card that lets him block the attack. You can even get more than 1 Action Card in a single turn which is sketchy. At one point Yuya even starts to use this as a crutch and the way I see it is if you have to run for the action card right away then you weren’t the better duelist in that moment. I think this gimmick didn’t need to happen, but I suppose it is fun to see everyone running around. They just should have tightened up the rules like how in the manga they mention that only a certain amount of action cards are put on the field per duel and you can only use one per turn. Adding some rules like that would make it more balanced. I have no complaints about pendulum summoning though. It’s just insanely OP, but for the most part only Declan exploits that as everyone else uses it to summon fairly weak monsters half the time.

Yuya is the main character of this installment and one of the best Yugioh main characters to date. Jaden is still the best and Yami Yugi is second, but I’d put Yuya right up there at 3rd. 4th would be Yusei, 5th Yuma, and then currently Yugi’s out at 6th. Yuya’s main gimmick is that he’s a performer so naturally he has to stay cheerful a lot. The problem is that this gets tougher and tougher as the villains get serious and do everything in their power to break him. Yuya gives in to his rage several times and even mentions at one point that he’ll just have to save the smiles for later. When his friends are involved you can bet that Yuya will get serious.

Of course it may be a little alarming if you wanted him to stay in happy world, but realistically it’s hard to be putting on a show and grin ear to ear while your friends are being captured or defeated as you duel. You gotta put your game face on and Yuya’s smile card is a pretty terrible spell if you think about it. Yuya has some of the best rage modes in all of Yugioh. He really was at his best when he was dueling seriously. Yuya was always a talented duelist, but by the end he definitely was ready to be considered as a world class fighter. There are few who can go up against him since Yuya has now mastered all different summoning methods. (At least the ones available in his series. I guess there is maybe Ritual summoning, but there just wouldn’t be room in his deck for that) Yuya definitely never stopped in his quest to fight Zuzu and is the kind of guy you want to have as your friend.

Zuzu is the main heroine of Arc V and fortunately she is also a capable duelist. We don’t get to see her duel much at all in the second half of the series, but she got some quality duels before that. Zuzu learned fusion summoning from Sora so she was certainly highly proficient at it. She even did a good job during the big 5Ds tournament later on. While she may have not been able to win the whole thing she definitely didn’t lose without dealing major damage. Considering that a lot of characters ended up losing out by the end of the series Zuzu definitely got a happy ending. As far as the heroines go I would rank her above Tea and Tori pretty quickly. It’s a little closer with Alexis and Akiza, but I think Zuzu would beat them for now as well so at the moment she is the best heroine in Yugioh.

Yuto probably gets the biggest role from the other 3 personas that Yuya has. It’s a little ironic since Yuto was the first one to get blown away, but this lets him act as a Yami Yugi sort of character. Surprisingly he only takes control of Yuya’s body a couple of times during the course of the series, but he’s usually around to give some advice. The thing is while he gives good advice he is always quick to crack when the pressure is on. Then he actually ends up hurting Yuya in a sense since he’s just weakening the hero’s willpower. He’s certainly a very likable character though. He did fight hard to defend his planet so it’s almost a shame that he didn’t get to do it longer. He’s basically Yuya if the hero grew up in a war torn world, but that’s basically the point. His main dragon has the best design from the 4.
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Then we have Yugo who is the polar opposite of Yuto. His world’s a really happy one as the villains haven’t gotten there yet. He lives without a care in the world, at least until Rin vanished. Then he began searching for her across the 4 dimensions. It’s still a little iffy how he jumped dimensions in the first place, but with the universe being so unstable I guess it’s bound to open holes for the others at times. He has an ongoing rivalry with Yuri. At one point I thought they were never going to get to finish their duel, but at least it finally got to happen near the very end of the series. He’s definitely a very talented duelist although I think he may have been the weakest of the 4. That’s not really a bad thing since they’re all so skilled, someone had to be last right? He’s a fun character even if he has a tendency to joke around a little too much when the stakes are high.

Finally we have Yuri who is the only evil member of the 4. He enjoys dueling opponents weaker than him and then toying with them. It’s how he gets his jollies, but his skills are the real deal. He didn’t become the top ranked enforcer for no reason after all. His dragon looks sort of like Biollante and it’s distorted appearance can also make the creature not even look like a dragon at times. He even came close to taking down Supreme Yuya which is no easy feat. Another really good villain and a reminder as to why Arc V was so great. The cast was absolutely stellar.

Celina is my favorite member of the 4 heroines. She’s the most skilled of the group and is always eager for battle. She started out on Leo’s side, but quickly realized that this may not be the right side. She thinks about it logically and makes the hero call. Celina is basically Zuzu but more aggressive so it’s easy to see why she is one of the best characters in the series. It’s just too bad that she never really got to properly duel in the final arc, but she had a lot of screen time prior to that.

Rin might get the smallest role from the girl although you could make a case for Lulu as well. We never really get to see Rin fight in her own mind, but I like to think that she was a decent duelist. She seems like a nice kid. Likewise, I’m sure Lulu was a quality character as well. We don’t get to see her much beyond flashbacks, but I guess it was tough for even this show to give everyone some big duels. She serves more as motivation for some of the characters to stop the villains than as an actual duelist, but it would appear that she can duel since she does have a duel disc and during the mind control saga her abilities were acknowledged.

Kite is the big guest star from Yugioh Zexal. Surprisingly Zexal only got one guest star while every other region got 2. I suppose maybe it’s because Zexal was fairly recent so there was less nostalgia for it. Well, either way he is the best option they could have chosen from their. His abilities are as good as ever and I always love seeing his Galaxy Eyes show up. He can definitely hold his own with any of the other fighters.

Shay is probably the closest thing to a rival in Arc V except for Sora. The reason why Sora may edge him out there is because Shay’s beef is never really with Yuya and they just don’t get to compete much. Shay is an amazing character though and continues Yugioh’s tradition of having great rivals. He is absolutely determined to save Lulu no matter what it takes. He is constantly barred by obstacles in the form of Declan, The Fusion Dimension, the 5Ds Dimension and others, but he never stops. He’s honed his skills quite a lot to always have the power to save his friends. Always training like that is definitely what you would expect from a character like this. His deck is also great since he uses a lot of monsters that are considered weak but when they activate their abilities they get very strong. His top monster only has 100 attack points before its ability activates. Now that’s what I call a great deck that follows his life philosophy of working together to protect your friends.
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Shay’s only competition for best character in the series is Sora. It’s a very close battle for the top, but I’d give Shay the edge in the end. Still, Sora is an excellent duelist in his own right and could even be the strongest in Duel Academy. Unfortunately we never got to see him have a proper duel with Yuri for the title. That rushed, cheesy battle at the end doesn’t count. Sora ended the series with 13 wins and 5 losses which is quite impressive. I always liked his confidence and he became a bit of a wild card for a while before formally joining the heroes. His turn around was also handled well as he didn’t suddenly become a hero or anything, but he did become friends with Zuzu and decided to protect her even though it was against orders. That makes sense and naturally this eventually led to him being one of the heroes. His nice guy act near the beginning was pretty convincing as well.

Declan is the main hype character of the series. He’s portrayed like Kaiba, but I wouldn’t call him a rival to Yuya. It’s an interesting dynamic and the show keeps him in a very mysterious light for most of the show. It’s hard to know on whose side he is on. Is he a villain or a hero? That will be answered by the end, but he isn’t afraid to sacrifice a few lives to save the world so he can be quite ruthless. It’s hard to call him out on it either as Yuya attempts to, but is quickly beaten down. There just aren’t many fighters who can take Declan down as his cards are the very definition of overpowered. Arc V got extremely high tier by the end with the sheer amount of special abilities that each card had. It was just crazy. I’m not really a big fan of Declan honestly, but he is a good character. He wouldn’t be top 5 or anything, but it was great to have what you could call the lesser of 2 evils teaming up with the heroes the whole time. For the most part he is a nice guy though and the show does portray him as a hero by the end even if you may have your doubts on that. He got to be a lot less annoying once he went with the other heroes to the next dimension and they parted ways. At that point he was on close to equal footing with the others rather than being their boss.

Gong is one of Yuya’s best friends and like me he does not care for action duels. As a result, he will go out of his way to avoid using them in a duel. He prefers to win with his Heavy style. Gong’s not a bad character, but I just didn’t care for him. The strong type rarely works out for me and his deck always felt outmatched before he even started dueling. He’s not annoying so I’m fine with him getting a lot of screen time, but I certainly wouldn’t say that he was very impressive.

Then we have Sylvio who is supremely confident, but his skills can’t really back up his tough talk. He’s one of those characters who somehow keeps his confidence even after he suffers a string of defeats. In a way that is quite admirable. He is a fun duelist to have around and at the very least he is good for morale. His deck isn’t even half bad either. Against most opponents Sylvio would have a real chance at victory, but when the high tier opponents come out to play he has absolutely no shot.
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Crow is one of the big 5Ds guest stars and he’s a good character. He can be a bit annoying and tends to not be very nice to the heroes, but his skills are the real deal. His Blackwing combos are pretty similar to how they were back in the 5Ds anime. He gets a lot of hype and even gets to have a proper duel with Yuya where the right winner was selected. Crow just has to be careful about holding those Ls because he seemed a little salty to me.

Jack Atlas also shows up and naturally he gets a bunch of hype. He’s still the Master of Faster so taking him down isn’t easy. His first duel against Yuya is one of the best in the series. Yuya manages to summon one dragon from each summoning style and Jack is still able to counter him. The guy can be rather harsh on Yuya during their duels as he constantly criticizes him being an entertainer, but most likely it’s just because he doesn’t like for anyone else to be in the spotlight. Jack’s always been a critic so I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. From all of the guest stars I’d say that Jack certainly had the best role.

Moonshadow is one of the main characters who never got to be very likable. It’s certainly odd because he is around for most of the series and yet he never really does anything all that important. He can fight and he does save people but half the time you will just be wondering why he is even in the show to begin with. The heroes were doing just fine on their own and this ninja just lacked personality. Ah well, I think he was just a miss for me, but he’s not necessarily a bad character.

We can’t forget about Riley. The character gets 100 episodes of character development as he learns that Declan really is here to protect him. Then…he betrays him just because a girl he’s never even met before tells him that the right thing to do is betray the heroes. This character never really got past that. I get it, Riley’s never been the most outgoing character and getting pushed around is part of his character. It’s still not a good defense for him going against the heroes so easily. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when this happened. I’m glad Declan showed him who the true duelist was and I don’t often root for Declan. Riley was just being incredibly annoying at this point.

We definitely got to talk about Yusho for a bit as he is one of the worst characters in the series. He’s Yuya’s Dad so that’s to be expected since the Dads often look pretty bad in all of these card shows. Still, he ditched Yuya for basically no reason and then never even tried to get back. What’s worse is that he was gone for years and yet he made no headway in the Fusion dimension. You’d think that being there for years with his supposed world class abilities would be enough to save the place, but I guess not. For all of the hype that he always got Yusho never appeared to be a skilled fighter. He also doesn’t seem like a very smart one as even when some biker gang people tried to go after Yoko he was talking about smiles and all that. The guy is so incredibly exaggerated and that may not have been too bad if he hadn’t ditched Yuya, but he did. It’s just hard to simply wave that fact away and you just end up disliking the character. He even attacked Yuya from behind when the hero was so close to beating the Professor. Had Yuya done that he could have saved the world right then and there instead of dooming several characters.

Yoko is Yuya’s Mom and she’s a little more reasonable than Yusho. I’d say a lot more, but she has an annoying running gag during the early tournament. Instead of rooting for her son she decides to root for a local cook named Reed since she is apparently a huge fan of his. Naturally this isn’t meant to be taken seriously as it’s just a harmless gag, but an annoying one nonetheless. Imagine trying to win a tournament for your friends and family…then turning to the audience and seeing that they’re not even rooting for you. That’s gotta sting.
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Skip Boyle is Zuzu’s Dad and he’s actually a lot better than the others. Not only is he one of the only characters to remember Zuzu right away, but I believe he is the only one to remember her on his own. He even skipped out on the tournament because he knew something was wrong. It would have been nice to have seen him duel at some point since it is certainly hinted that he has some skills, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The other local supporting characters from the school weren’t good though. They are the 3 kids who try to give the commentary during Yuya’s duel and they fail quite badly at it. They are just annoying and in particular the one who always yells Goose Pickles is really bad. It’s hard to say what the show was going for here, but certainly nothing good.

Back in the early days of the show we had 3 students from Declan’s school who were tough rivals. These characters were Dipper, Julia, and Kit. Julia certainly got the most screen time and character development from the 3 as she came close to uncovering the mysterious happenings with Shay and Declan and even became a rival to Zuzu. Then some memory stuff happened which caused Julia to forget about all of this and that’s around when her role disappeared completely. She was a fun character though so it’s almost too bad that she was left behind, but I suppose her skills had simply reached their limit. Dipper and Kit never seemed like much of a threat anyway so it’s easy to see how they were left behind.

Reed Pepper is a duelist who uses a lot of food puns to throw his opponents off their game. It’s definitely a valid technique and it was always fun to see him duel. He may not have been the strongest duelist out there, but he lasted quite a while and put up a good fight against the Obelisk Force. Definitely not a character that you could take all that seriously, but his character was still executed well. Then there is Aura who is able to look into her crystal ball to see the future and other such things. There wasn’t much of a point to her character so she vanished right away, but I guess the character wasn’t all that bad. Honestly all of these Arc 1 characters just seemed to vanish right off the face of the Earth.

Iggy was a bit of a bully duelist who thrives on knocking around opponents while dueling. Naturally this would usually be against the rules but in an action duel anything goes so that makes it okay. He’s a decent duelist as well as he was certainly outplaying Yuya for most of the duel. If you think about it, if you need action cards to win in the first place then the opponent is probably the more skilled fighter. I can’t say that Iggy was too interesting, but as a minor villain I suppose that he got the job done.

Leo Akaba, AKA the Professor is one of the big villains of the series. He doesn’t do much until the end of the series as you might expect, but he makes for a fairly intimidating presence while sitting on his throne. He gets an origin story for why he is doing this and at least it is one that I can understand. His daughter was destroyed in stopping Zarc so now he wishes to bring her back. Unfortunately the only way to do that is to destroy 3/4 of the current population in the universe. However, this 3/4 of the population were created through her death so do they count as people? Leo doesn’t really seem to care either way as he intends to get his daughter back at any cost. Naturally this doesn’t change that he is a complete villain, but it’s a good motivation which serves him well as one of the final bosses. He is also a pretty good duelist in his own right and possibly top 5 in Arc V…possibly.

Then we have Barrett who is Leo’s most faithful subordinate. He is even willing to betray Selena in order to carry out his orders. He is a soldier first and foremost. This guy won’t give up on the mission no matter what and as a result he makes for a great villain. He put up a great fight against Yuya as well and proved himself to even be capable of taking on Yuya in his rage form. Definitely one of the best villains in the series.
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Next up is Dennis. He’s definitely not a very good character. I didn’t like him before his big twist and I certainly didn’t like him afterwards. He just doesn’t make for a good character as the guy can be rather goofy and hard to take seriously. His character also goes through too many characters arcs as the last one is just impossible to believe. The guy was simply too sinister to suddenly just roll over and admit that he is a good man. Definitely very cheesy and I like to think that he was still arrested after this.

Aster is one of the big guest stars and he gets a nice role here. He is one of the high ranking officials in the Fusion Dimension so naturally he is a very formidable duelist. He gives Yuya a real run for his money and it’s just very nostalgic to see him. The writers chose well in selecting him as one of the GX characters to make an appearance. His elemental hero deck was also pretty good as expected. Then we have his two underlings Gloria and Grace. They are introduced rather late in the game, but don’t really get to do anything so I almost wonder why a fairly big deal was made out of them in universe. They got a considerable amount of hype and I guess they lived up to it to an extent, but they probably needed one more duel to really legitimize them as a threat. Still quality villains, just underused.

Then we have Alexis who is another one of the guest stars. Seeing as how she is one of the big resistance members her fans are sure to be pleased with her role. Alexis is also one of the only characters who realized that there was something fishy with Leo’s plan and didn’t blindly follow along like the rest of the characters. I am a little skeptical of how the happy go lucky students all quickly decided to join into the cause and become mass murderers, but I guess they will do just about anything if it means playing more Yugioh I guess.

The Obelisk Force deserve a shoutout since they were quite skilled for underlings. They were actually beating named characters in their first appearance and typically you would expect them to be about as strong as Storm Troopers or something like that. They definitely surpassed their limits. Naturally they were nerfed a little bit after that, but were still a fun group of villains. Who says that these guys have to just be around to get stomped?

Roget is a fun character from the 5Ds arc. He is very good at manipulating people and naturally he even does this to Yuya by convincing the gullible characters that they are on the same side. Naturally it wouldn’t work on any of Yuya’s close friends, but the others are fair game. Roget can duel but only does so when absolutely necessary. He leads a very balanced life as all people should. He made for a great counterpart to Leo and even had ambitious plans of his own. I wouldn’t have minded if he had ended up overthrowing Leo, would have made for an interesting plot.

Shinji is the very enthusiastic leader of the 5Ds rebellion and boy does the guy love to talk! He gives speech after speech about the rebellion and how they can conquer the surface dwellers. It’s pretty amusing even if that isn’t really the intention. The guy just has a very one track mind and is quick to say that anyone who opposes him is an enemy. That drive isn’t a bad thing and it isn’t even misplaced, but the guy doesn’t seem to know much about tactics. You can’t just storm the streets and defeat the government in a day. Still, he made the most of his soapbox while he was in the tournament.

Then we have Sergey who is essentially a slightly weaker version of Barrett. His character is fairly similar as well but he is the unhinged version. He thrives on pain which can certainly make for a very odd character quirk. The guy is definitely a threat in a duel though and even manages to defeat Zuzu. Without Sergey Roget may have been in trouble, but that’s why they say that it’s always good to have at least one powerful underling. I don’t care for Sergey much as a character, but he is a tough villain for sure.

Ray was Leo’s daughter and she seemed like a very heroic character. She didn’t hesitate to make the ultimate sacrifice to stop Zarc. She seems to have some mystical abilities or simply great knowledge to use those cards so effectively and then to communicate with Riley afterwards. I still don’t get why she would tell him that letting Leo win was the best answer though. Sure, fusing the dimensions would bring her back along with Zarc so they could do the whole thing over again, but trying to stop him first seems a whole lot less risky if you ask me.
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Finally we have Zarc. He’s the big bad of the series but before he obtained almost limitless power he was just an ordinary duelist who liked the sport. He aimed to become the best player in the world and was able to realize his dream. That was certainly quite the feat. The power did go to his head and he turned evil though so I guess the guy didn’t have a whole lot of will power. He makes for a pretty great villain though even if he doesn’t always make a lot of sense. He wants a good duel and is always looking for one, but then when people challenge him he claims that it’s a waste of time and is constantly insulting them. I guess it just goes with the whole over confidence thing, but you’d think that he would be a little happier about getting to duel so much right?

I do have to quickly mention that the series does have a pretty bad ending though. I dare say that it’s even terrible. I won’t say who, but there are at least 3 main fatalities, but depending on how you look at it millions of people died. The villains planned to merge the 4 universes into one which merges people too. Well, the plan was sort of stopped, but not really leading to a rather odd mismash of things. Memories don’t match, some people are back and some likely aren’t. We’re just supposed to accept this and know that sometimes the heroes don’t always win, but it’s just a real downer. Especially since I liked the 3 characters who were erased. Only now they are stuck in someone else’ body, but not in the more direct way that Yami and Astral were put on. They’re more like Yuto so it will be tough to take direct control and eventually they will be assimilated. It’s a very dark ending and one that I wasn’t satisfied with at all. I’d say to just skip the final arc, but beyond that last bit the actual arc was really very good. I’d say the best thing to do is watch the final battle with Zarc and then turn off the TV. No reason to see the final mini arc that just destroys what the ending should have been.

As to what the final arc did right, the battle gauntlet with Zarc was great. Pretty much every important duelist lines up to fight him back to back. The duel is several episodes long and everyone gets to do their best. My only question each time is why everyone would jump into the duel midway. All that does is lower your attack points to 2000 when if they waited a few seconds later they would have been at full power. It is understandable if you’re trying to save the person, but not if they are about to lose anyway. You’re just jumping into an unwinnable position, especially since Zarc already had a great combo on the field and over 5000 life points. So, a little plot hax there, but nonetheless it was a great climax. I always like it when a bunch of heroes try to rush the final boss. It’s a fairly rare occurrence as well which is likely why it is so special as well. Zarc was a really fun final boss and he will certainly be remembered.

Since this show showed us that a big crossover show is possible next we need to have one where all of the main characters meet. If it wants to be ambitious it can be a long title where they don’t all meet up at first. The first 12 episodes could just be the 5 main characters having their own adventures until suddenly an event occurs which forces them to meet up and duel. I’d suggest another invasion series with dimension against dimension but that just happened so a fresh plot would probably be good. Some kind of tournament is a safe bet and with their dimensions on the line everyone would have to enter. A standard 3 vs 3 team style tournament would be best and that’d be awesome. It likely won’t happen, but I can dream. Regardless, it was smart of Arc V to make the plot one huge war. It definitely ensures that every fighter is always dueling at their peak since the stakes are so high.

I think that’s actually a pretty big reason as to why Arc V is so great. It probably has the longest ongoing plot from all of the Yugioh titles. For the most part none of them are quite as focused as this one. They usually have long tournaments and adventures, but not one large plot that keeps going the way that this one does. Arc V does break it up into arcs of course, but the war is always going whether it is in the forefront or the background. It’s really just one long mission for roughly 100 episodes and it’s just hard to beat that.

As you can probably guess the animation is excellent here. The character models are all on point and the action sequences are great. It’s really at its best when Yuya’s eyes begin to glow with his Zarc mode. The energy effects in general are just great and you can easily tell that this is a newer Yugioh series as the animation is unmatched. The soundtrack is also quite excellent. We get a lot of great battle tunes and even a retro 5Ds selection as well. No GX tunes that I could recognize popped up, but that’s okay. I’d still give the soundtrack a full 5 stars as it hit all of the right notes and also had a lot of variety. It goes without saying that the writing is dynamite as well.
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Overall, Yugioh Arc V is a superb show and will go down in anime history as one of the all time greats. It has over 100 episodes so that gives time for a lot of duels. The plot is very engaging and the show never lets up in just how exciting it is. The crossover angle just helps with that even more. I would highly recommend this show to fans of the genre and to anyone that likes a good action series. The show has no real flaws which is quite impressive and the main cast is really good too. When a series has all of the elements like this one does (Animation, Pacing, Writing, Music, etc) and executes them well, success is basically guaranteed.

Overall 9/10

Family Game Night 3 Review

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It’s time to look at an old party game I have for the PS3. Oddly enough, even though I played the games back in the day I never bothered to actually upload it to the site or anything. Well, it was a good excuse to go back and replay the game for the review, but unfortunately it isn’t as good as I remembered it and I already knew that it was a bad game. I dare say that this could be the worst party game of them all and that’s saying something. At the very least it gives the bottom tier ones some competition.

There are 5 minigames total. That’s already a pretty sad number when you consider that this is a PS3 game. I mean, you could have a little excuse for this if it was for an older system, but for the PS3 I expect more. There is nothing else to do in this game so if you’re looking for some good replay value look elsewhere. I mean, I suppose you could go after the Platinum trophy, but you’ll have to sink in a decent amount of hours for that and with how many luck based trophies there are it could be a while. I think you can cheese most of them through two player mode if it helps. You will also be gathering some Potato Head costumes along the way which I guess should be interesting.

Lets look at the actual games though as a party title lives or dies on those. We’ll start with 2 of the good ones. The first is Twister. It’s pretty self explanatory except they misspelled Dance Dance Revolution. After all this Twister game is nothing like Twister. You hit the right buttons as they pass the screen. It’s the exact gameplay of a DDR game, but without having to actually dance and hit the buttons yourself. It’s an easier way of doing it, but less engaging. Still, on its own I actually like this minigame. There was a reasonable amount of effort put behind it and the core gameplay is just fun. Not to mention that there is less waiting on this one since I believe each player tries to match the notes simultaneously.

The next minigame is Yahtzee. This one must be easy to develop or something since it seems to be the old standby for pretty much all of the party games on the block. Well, that’s not a bad thing I suppose since the gameplay isn’t half bad. The problem is that they add a Hands Down! mechanic where you have to get a certain combo and then fight someone with the same one. I don’t get the point of this and it just takes away some of the fun. It drags the games out more than they should be since it forces everyone to keep going until 2 people have the exact card combination. Of course dragging things out is exactly what this game likes to do as you’ll see in the next 3 games.

Next up we have got Mouse Trap which is basically a movie. You roll the dice and move through the board that has no ending. The goal is to pick up a lot of cheese which you get by landing on a cheese spot. Thing is, you can’t control anything except for dodging some traps by pressing x at the right time. Beyond that, you just follow the dice and keep on rolling until you get your cheese. This can take over 15 minutes, likely longer if you play multiplayer. The problem is that the cheese traps take your cheese away and the odds of getting a lucky roll to land on the cheese 6 times is quite low. At least, it’s low if you want to finish at a reasonable time. I think my problem with this is that you aren’t really doing anything so is it really a game at that point? It’s 100% luck and that’s not cool. There is absolutely no point to the game and it takes too long to finish. Making it more interactive would have helped a lot.

Life falls into the same traps. This one has you on a long, straight board without any real mixups or elements to make it interesting. You want to retire and whoever does so first wins. So, to do that you spin the dice and watch where the road takes you. You do get some slight options like choosing 3 cards out of 9 but they are all random so you can’t see what it is anyway and then you pick your favorite card which will give you some effects. You won’t know which effect you’ll be getting though since you have to wait until you roll the dice for that. Everything is just so random and nothing is explained properly. It’s another really boring auto game where nothing is happening.

Finally we have Clue. This one is a slight improvement over the last 2 but not by much. At least you are trying to solve a case and you can choose in what direction you move. On the other hand, a lot of time is wasted for the many special effects that happen every turn. Whenever someone turns on the lights we get a cutscene and either a suspect is eliminated or one of the players will lose a turn. Either way it takes up time and if someone rolls a house party effect then everyone is reset back to their original positions. This is the longest cutscene by far as it’s almost a full minute and the computer activated it multiple times during our encounter. The minigame is pretty faithful to the board game, but it’s nowhere near as fun.

Family Game Night just didn’t realize how to make the board games fun in video game format and that is the big problem here. The game could and should have been a lot of fun, but instead it is just too drawn out. There are also loading times between every game that take up a lot of time. It’s the same cutscene for each loading time as well which doesn’t help matters. Each game also gets an unskippable intro that isn’t as amusing as it seems to think it is. The game is definitely not optimized.

As far as the graphics go, it’s certainly not PS3 level. I doubt that a lot of serious effort was put into this game. It was probably slapped together very quickly and rushed out to stores for the $$$. Hopefully it didn’t work as I can’t imagine buying it for full price and then realizing how terrible it was. At least Game Night 4 heavily improved upon this game but there is still no excuse for starting out this badly. At least give us a good soundtrack!

Overall, This game is brutal. I’m not going to mince words here, the game is terrible! There’s no heart behind the game and the actual game selection is bizarre. You shouldn’t have 3/5 of the games be all about rolling the dice and hoping that you get the right number. It probably saves on production costs since the games are so similar, but it’s not great from a player perspective. There won’t be any point where you are actually enjoying this game enough to justify buying it. I highly recommend avoiding it and if you want a decent party game check out the Mario Party series. That one gets in a proper balance of skill and luck while also making sure that no minigame overstays its welcome. That’s how you make a party game.

Overall 3/10

Dark Angel Review

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It’s time to look at a PS2 movie tie-in to a TV series that I never actually got around to watching. It seems like a cool premise though. It’s basically Maximum Ride but taking place in a futuristic setting. I can get behind that. The actual game mixes stealth with the beat em up genre for interesting results. Honestly I think it would have certainly been sufficient to have just been a beat em up, but I suppose the stealth aspects make sense with the actual plot of the game.

So the story follows Max (You won’t be able to forget her name since it is mentioned a few times for every single level) as she wants to rescue the other people who was kidnapped by the I-Corporation and experimented on. Among those were her sisters. Max broke out (In the show I’m guessing) but now she must head back to face her fears once more. Logan helps her from the sidelines as he tries to shut off some security cameras here and there. He’s basically tech support and I suppose he does go into the field once in a while. Can Max really save her family?

One thing to note here is that in the future the government fell apart thanks to some kind of nuclear situation so now corporations run the world. I-Corp is one of those along with a second one that I’m forgetting. Both sides are evil and do experimentation so you have to decide who to root for. In this case we are going after I-Corp, but apparently Max destroyed a good chunk of the other side prior to the game so she has done a good job of taking out any corporation that stands against her.

The gameplay is very straight forward when it comes to combat. You can punch, kick, and throw. Jumping is also useful even if the jump isn’t very high. You can run and then jump+kick to unleash a devastating tackle that will knock any opponent over. This is really useful for when a bunch of enemies are after you as they have no real counter to this. If you don’t mind taking a little while you can bear all of the enemies this way. To prevent you from cheesing the game for each level though, some will have a time limit for which you can beat the enemies. Just keep mixing up your punches and kicks to resist enemy throws and you’ll be okay. Whenever possible I would ignore the stealth option and just barrel into groups of enemies. Some groups I just barely beat with 1 second left, but that’s the kind of intensity that you want to see. Also, I didn’t quite understand the stealth part for a little while since the game never explains it.

Basically if you crouch from behind an enemy and attempt to throw them it will result in a one hit KO. This is really useful if there are a bunch of enemies. You can take them all out one at a time this way. Otherwise if you just attack one then every enemy in the room will rush at you which can be around 6 and they can take a lot of health out of you if you aren’t careful. 2 of the last levels mix this formula up a bit though as stealth isn’t optional. If you are spotted then you are sent back to the very beginning. These levels can be a little on the long side so I can definitely confirm that it’s in your best interest to proceed with caution. A good technique for mixing the enemies up is just randomly jumping and then running off to hide. It will change their current pattern into one that may be easier. Of course it could get harder so proceed with caution.

To help in your stealth missions you are given some stealth gun ammo. This is a one hit KO to any opponent so it’s a good way to cheese these stealth missions. It is a tactical gamble though as you don’t get a whole lot of ammo. I believe you get around 20 shots for the duration of the game or something like that. Use your ammo wisely. I had already spent all of mine before the last big stealth mission, but I’d say that I did a good job of making it last when you consider how many levels there are. You also have other gadgets like a walkie talkie to lure the enemies closer and health packs which are self explanatory. As with many stealth games you just want to make these items really count.

As far as the characters go, we have a good cast here. Max is definitely a great main character. All of her dialogue is basically mocking all of the minions as she beats them up. She certainly isn’t above hitting someone who’s down as we even see that in a cutscene near the end so it isn’t just gameplay mechanics. She’s had a tough past but has definitely gotten past it and turned into a good hero. Logan is all right. I’m not a fan, but I guess he is useful. I can’t say much about the sisters as they don’t appear until near the end, but Beka was cool. She’s probably the best character after Max. She can certainly fight pretty well too.

The graphics look pretty sharp. A good amount of budget probably went into the cutscenes as they are full cinematics so no text cop outs. I mean, you get a text cutscene at the beginning of each level as well, but so long as you get both that isn’t an issue. The visuals are quite nice and I just wish we could have gotten more outdoor levels as towards the end they all feel a little cramped. The game had reasonable variety though. The soundtrack is definitely pretty solid. A little on the generic side, but nonetheless the combat themes were quite fast and really suck you into the moment. It makes the battles more fun.

There is no real replay value here though. There’s no level select and no collectibles to acquire. Basically once you complete the game that is it for your adventure. You have no more reason to play at all. With 22 levels I’d say that this game should last you around 4-5 hours. It will depend on how long some of the tougher levels take you as one took me around an hour before I finally had it beat. It’s no walk in the park and the game’s difficulty is pretty fair. It’s just enough to make you try but not too crazy either.

Overall, Dark Angel is definitely a fun game. The TV show definitely sounds pretty interesting if it’s like that. Max is basically a super soldier after all so that should make for some good action scenes. Hopefully the special effects were on point for that. Considering that I got the game for a few bucks I would say that this was a bargain. If you are looking for a quality action game to get for cheap then this is definitely the one for you. It’s just such a solid action game. Who knows, maybe it’ll get a sequel someday.

Overall 7/10

Scooby Doo Team Up Volume 3 Review

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It’s time to look at another volume of the Scooby Doo and DC team up series. It’s been quite a while since I read the last one so it’s pretty nostalgic to see it return. The Mystery Inc definitely makes for a good crossover cast with how confident they are in their deductive skills. No matter how powerful the villain is they just continue to solve the case their way. It’s admirable even if it causes them to get in a lot of trouble. The stories in this volume are all pretty solid even if the final one is a bit weaker than the rest.

One of the stories has the gang head over to Fawcett city when Shazam and the rest of the Marvel family disappears. Granted, Uncle Marvel stuck around along with the cat mascot. Unfortunately they have no idea what happened but the Mystery Inc is up for the challenge. Along the the way Velma and Shaggy even get their own blend of Marvel abilities do they can finally fight with the best of them. It’s a nice payoff for fans who have always been waiting for some kind of power up. Definitely a nice story and seeing the gang get abilities is always fun as well. It’s not like Shazam got beat in an actual fight either so at least it wasn’t a moment of plot hax for him to be saved either.

Another story had Scooby Doo get recruited to help The Galactic Dog Patrol (Not their exact name but it is nice and descriptive) as their main members where all destroyed by an evil villain group. There are 2 groups running around, a cat group and then there is an evil dog. The cats are defeated rather easily but the dog ends up being an issue. Good thing Scooby is here. Surprisingly the issue actually has quite a lot of action so that helped it get past the issue of the human characters not being around. Pretty much the whole comic was a bunch of fight scenes and I can always get behind that. Scooby Doo can get rather annoying though. Even when the villains are making a move and the stakes are serious he actually tries to desert the team. There is being a coward and then there is just being a traitor. Abandoning your friends to die gets into the latter’s territory so the dog couldn’t save himself after that.

Another issue was with the Phantom Stranger. He visits the gang on Halloween and asks for their help. A villain has been defeating all of the cosmic beings of DC. This should surprise no one and the gang takes it in stride. They figure that the Spectre can save them but alas he was defeated as well and then the Stranger is tricked into falling in the cage. Scooby will have to use a forbidden power to save them all but at what cost? It’s good to see Scooby step up even if it isn’t willingly. A pretty fun comic and it’s always nice to throw the gang into a situation or cosmic significance like this.

We can’t forget the issue with Hawkman and Hawkgirl either. They are up against 3 ghost related villains so naturally the Mystery Inc are the first people the cops call. The superheroes actually seem rather offended about this, but it’s not like the cops have their cell numbers. Meanwhile everyone knows how to contact the detectives. It’s a pretty nice issue like the rest. I may not be a big fan of either Hawk character, but maybe that’s why it’s so good as the Mystery Inc puts them in their place.

The Flash issue brings back Gorilla Grodd who is certainly a classic character for his mythos. It was a little less interesting than some of the other stories for that reason though. I can’t really take Grodd all that seriously usually. A slow villain vs a fast hero? This does not compute. Still, it’s not as straight forward as just tackling the guy sometimes (Even if it could be) and it’s still a good issue. Finally we also have the Aquaman team up. His kingdom is being attacked by Black Manta and the Ocean Master so the King has his work cut out for him. Honestly there wasn’t much that Scooby and the gang could do to back him up in this case but they did give moral support and were always willing to yell if they saw something. If I’m giving them a fair trial then I guess I have to admit that they did help in beating the enemies a little bit, but there just wasn’t much detective work for them to do in this case since the villains were already known.

Now this is probably around the part where I have to point out that Shaggy and Scooby are still as annoying as ever. They constantly let the world know that they are scared of what is happening and it’s just embarrassing for the rest of the gang. They are always ready to ditch the others and prove time and time again that they aren’t really heroes. You just can’t trust these guys and it might be time for Fred to cut them loose. It would be tough to fire a friend like that, but Shaggy and Scooby have failed them for the last time.

Fred, Daphne, and Velma are solid as always though. Their roles here naturally aren’t as big as the dynamic duo’s, but they get their moments. Fred actually manages to knock one of the villains to the ground which prevented him from escaping. Velma manages to use her deductive skills a few times to determine who the villain is and Daphne is always around to keep everyone in line.

The art for the issues is pretty good. All of the characters are on model and it’s easy to tell what is happening at all times. The art style goes for a rather basic approach which is smart if you ask me and it’s easy to read through. It can also make for good fight scenes although of course you shouldn’t expect too many of those. It’s just a nice nostalgic style which will remind you of the classic Scooby Doo days. The writing is also good and helps equally in achieving such a nostalgic frame for the volume. These stories could very easily be turned into episodes and nothing would appear to be out of place.

Overall, This was a fun Scooby Doo adventure. I certainly had fun reading it and not actually having any bad stories is always a plus. It’s a rather quick collection so it won’t take you long to finish it all off. I already have the next volume at the ready so I will be reading that one shortly. We’ll see if it can match this one. The team ups deliver on what you would expect from such a crossover. It has the comedic charm of the Mystery Inc while also adding in a little extra action for the DC fans. Now all we need are more Superman and Batman team ups with the gang.

Overall 7/10

Cardfight Vanguard G: Z Review

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It’s been a good run, but Cardfight Vanguard has finally ended. With 370 episodes across both generations that is quite a lot of Cardfights. It’s really comparable to Yugioh at this point. Naturally that franchise has more total episodes and it would be tough to ever match that number, but once you cross 100 episodes you can certainly be counted as a legitimate powerhouse. I’ll be sure to rank all of the Cardfight seasons at the end of the review. Most of them are super close so it’s definitely a tough one to decide. All right, lets dive into Z!

Right away you can tell that this series is going to be intense because you only use the term Z when the series is going to have a ton of action. Vanguard does not disappoint here as action is absolutely what you will be getting. The last season ended with the heroes defeating the main 3 Diffriders and winning the tournament. That may have been good progress in the fight against evil, but Kazumi was never the main threat. The Apostles of Gyze are around now and they need a vessel for their leader. Their plan is unaltered, they want to awaken the 6 Zeroth Dragons to pave the way for Gyze. The members decide to split up and take Team TRY 3 out of the equation pre-emptively. (Pretty smart move honestly) The heroes will have to move quickly to stop their plan and they will need teamwork, but the situation is already quite personal for them so it may be tough to move in with a clear head.

As this season is only 24 episodes (The shortest in the franchise unless you count one of the G seasons that was merged together with another one in the Dub) the plot has to move right away so there is no waiting around here. That’s the bonus of continuing the plot of a previous season. There is no need for build up or character introductions since that was already done last time. As such the villains attack Chrono and Shion within the first 3 episodes. The Apostles really look very impressive from the start here as the heroes just seem like no match at times. The most impressive member would be the one who fought Shion at least when comparing their initial appearances. The show dropped the ball on him a bit though.

Almost every episode has a big fight occurring in this season. As the villains aren’t playing games around you also see a level of desperation among the heroes that hasn’t happened too often in G. At the very least, it usually doesn’t happen quite so soon. One small moment that I really liked here was how Chrono used a Zeroth dragon with no hesitation. Usually when the main character relents and uses the dark power of a villain there is a lot of drama or the character gives it some long thought. Chrono just went for it. For context, he was up against the leader of the Apostles. If he wins this fight he can save his friend and eliminate one of the biggest threats to the world in one move. None of his cards are strong enough at this point, but if he uses one of the evil deity cards that he swiped from another member it will give him a chance.

Dark power like this never comes cheap though. The price for playing a Zeroth Dragon is that if you lose the duel all of your Grade 4 cards will be atomized and so you will be losing all of your strongest cards. It’s a steep penalty since you are essentially powerless in a duel without those. before G you could get away with it since Grade 4s didn’t exist, but now that they do they are absolutely essential. The stakes are high, but it would have almost been selfish of Chrono to not use one just for that. He had a world to protect.

Naturally I was a big fan of Chrono here. He definitely looks like the experienced veteran that he is here. It doesn’t mean that he is now the strongest player in the world but he certainly ranks up there. He takes risks and is always ready to defend his friends. Chrono is the kind of guy that you want on your team for sure. He won’t back down from a duel. Chrono has definitely developed into a character worthy of his mysterious deck.

Shion is still Chrono’s rival but at this point that is rarely evident as he has completely mellowed out into being a friend. I suppose it’s a good change of pace to have a rival who isn’t super rude or obnoxious the whole time. Shion is finally back to being master of the Kiba empire at this point so as you can imagine he feels pretty unbeatable. That’s why his first fight with Valeos was so intense because it was basically unheard of for someone to have the upper hand against Shion. It also showed that the villains recognized him as a legitimate threat. Shion’s role in this season is still rather small but it is a good one nonetheless. He does get his revenge for the earlier loss as well.

Then we have Tokoha who has started to bounce back from the last season. That one didn’t go so well for her as she absorbed quite a few losses and wasn’t really in a right state of mind since Miguel was taken out of the picture. Now she has mainly recovered from this and is back to being a strong contender. Like Shion she doesn’t get too many duels here but still gets to help out in the final battle.
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Kazuma certainly has a large role in this season and is probably the most crucial aside from Chrono. Now that he has his brother back Kazuma is ready to take the fight to the villains. While he is a very strong fighter and Kazuma’s confidence is at an all time high, he still isn’t quite ready to take on these villains yet. Things don’t go very well for him, but I do appreciate the attempt. Kazuma still has a cool deck and a nice theme. Couple that with his character development into a more confident character and he is one of the best members of the main cast. At the very least I think he would be second among the main G heroes.

Kazumi was one of the big villains of the last season since he was being possessed but it’s important to remember that he was a world class duelist even before all of that. It is fortunate for the heroes that he is around. Kazumi’s a nice character and you will get some Itachi vibes from him. Unfortunately he doesn’t look great when it comes to dueling. After all, what better shock value can there be than taking down the former Under 20 champion? Winning and losing are t everything though and it doesn’t change the fact that he is quite formidable.

Arata and Makoto are a little important in this season because of what happened to their friend Noa who was possessed by the dark side. Still, they really can’t fight so for the most part they are stuck cheering everyone on in the background. The characters really weren’t needed to be honest but I guess it would be weird if they had just vanished. They aren’t bad characters, they just aren’t ready for a villain of this magnitude.

Noa is one of the big villains and probably the strongest aside from perhaps Gyze. He was in the shadows a lot for the last season but his presence is always felt. He has the Link Joker deck which is still the best one in the series. The monster is the only one who doesn’t just fade away after being defeated or turns good. This guy can’t stand the humans and does his best to bury them. I would have liked Noa to have dueled a little more to be honest, but I’m certainly satisfied with how much effort it took to bring him down. Having Aichi and Kai team up against you is always a sign of respect.

Kouji is definitely an interesting character. I’m still not really a fan of the guy. He is essentially the vanguard of the heroes but his plans never seem to be very good. The villains always have the drop on the heroes and while he may have been very powerful back in the day, Kouji seems a little outmatched against all of the new villains. He has softened up completely into a nice guy, but never likes to admit to it which leads to him always trying to keep to himself. He’s not as bad as in previous seasons as he has finally stopped doubting Chrono’s ability, but the guy just needs to be cooler. Maybe a new costume would have done the trick.

Saori doesn’t last too long in this season as he was mainly a big character in the last season, but he is still a lot of fun here. He still has one of the best battle themes out of all the characters and he is just a tough fighter. Saori has a lot of doubts about what he is doing, but ultimately just stays on his path. The villain’s confidence is really what makes him a fun character.

Aichi finally gets to duel a little more seriously here which is good. In general I still think the original cast didn’t get to do a whole lot compared to what I would have liked to see. They did have 4 seasons (Aichi only had 3) so I guess that was enough fights. I don’t like how Aichi has basically retired from Cardfight but I suppose as long as his skills don’t get rusty he will always come to help out when it counts. Likewise Kai is also here to fight the good fight. He gets 2 big fights against the villains which is good. Wakamizu actually does give him a good fight, but the outcome is what matters and at the end of the day Kai is still one of those guys that you never expect will lose.

Kamui also looks solid here. He has done a good job of keeping up with the other characters over the years. While he isn’t in the top 5 at this point he still helps out a lot against the villains and it’s always nice to see him around. Misaki finally gets a duel of her own. The series took its time with her, but having her take on one of the big final villains was certainly good. I am a little skeptical on her being strong enough to take on this particular opponent, but perhaps her deck was simply well suited from the job. In a duel you never ultimately know who is going to win. Her tactical style does bring out the best from her deck as well.
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Valeos is a bit of a tragic case since I actually liked the villain quite a bit. He was a credible threat to the heroes and seemed to be the main thinker of the villains. Going after Shion’s OP sword was brilliant and taking it out of the equation definitely helped their goals get a bit easier. That’s why it makes no sense when he suddenly goes insane near the end. The show was slowly building up to this as we gradually got hints of his psyche decaying, but why did it have to happen at all? It came out of left field and seemed to just be an excuse to let Shion have the upper hand. If he didn’t crack then I don’t really think Shion would have been a match for him. Not sure what to think of this guy by the end but at least he had a great intro.

Gastille is essentially the deputy of the villains. Gyze is certainlty still the leader but while he is out of commission Gastille tends to call the shots. He is a powerful villain, but one who doesn’t get to appear a whole lot. Still, he does really well in his brief appearances and I liked him. He’s still not the best villain since Noa and Saori are around but otherwise he is probably the beast. You get a Ren vibe from the guy with how confident he is. Well…okay all of the Cardfight characters are confident, but they tend to show it in different ways.

Taiyou was one of the big members of Chrono’s team for the last few seasons, but his role in this one is rather small. He gets badly injured after one of the early duels and never really recovers after that. You still have to like the guy’s dedication though. He’s very loyal to helping out the heroes and won’t hesitate to throw himself into harm’s way. He eagerly attacks the villains and while he doesn’t succeed, he did put up a good fight.

Then we have Wakamizu who is probably the least interesting villain. He’s technically pretty smart and the villains would have had a tough time without him, but his deck isn’t quite as good as the others. He’s deceptively strong, but I just didn’t care for the guy much. Not a bad villain, but I suppose he was simply outshined. His master Gredora was certainly more compelling even though her screen time was incredibly limited. At the very least she felt like more of a commander though. She was also a villain who actually cared about her subordinates and quickly went to defend Wakamizu after he was defeated. It’s always nice to see villains who also show loyalty and that’s why Gredora was a villain worthy of an army.

Gyze is the big boss of the series. Naturally this means that he is asleep until near the very end though. He gets 2 duels which isn’t bad, but I would have liked to have seen him more. The guy serves his purpose as a big final boss though and puts up a good fight. He just wasn’t ready to deal with the likes of Team TRY 3. He did come close to destroying the world though and I like how even in defeat the world would get destroyed by the sheer impact that it had on space and time. Gyze is definitely not the kind of opponent who does anything halfway. He did have a pretty cool design and his special ability of bringing in all of the Zeroth Dragons at once is really useful.

As always the animation is certainly stellar. The character designs starting from the last season certainly look really good. Chrono and the others look more experienced than they used to be and they also act accordingly. They get the respect you’d expect them to have considering that they have saved the world a few times now. The duels are as sharp as ever and the colors are vibrant. There is nothing negative at all to say about it. Then the soundtrack is just as impressive. I really like the new bumper/music that comes at the start of each episode. It’s a very dramatic theme that has you keep your guard up. It also really supports the feeling of dread that the heroes have. Each character still has a battle theme and most of them are quite epic. Even the few characters whose theme doesn’t absolutely stand out still have a good one. The best theme is definitely the red haired kid’s, but Kazumi’s is also excellent. You have a lot of options to choose from. Cardfight never disappointed on a technical level (Or any level for that matter) and this last season was no exception.
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All right it’s time to rank all of the Cardfight seasons! There have definitely been a lot of great ones over the years so it’s tough. I know the first and last place ones off the top of my head, but the rest get really tough. Still, I gotta make the tough choices at some point so it may as well be now.

1st. Cardfight Vanguard: Link Joker. Pretty easy number 1, this was the best season by far and the season was completely amazing. Really has everything that you could ever want in a single season.

2nd Cardfight Vanguard. The original Cardfight definitely helped get the series on the right track. It’s really rare to see a main character who actually loses as many fights as Aichi. If handled wrong that could have been annoying but overall he learned from his losses and got really good. It was just a great season and is also super nostalgic.

3rd Cardfight Vanguard Asia Circuit. This season probably has less memorable aspects to it compared to the other seasons, but this was the big Psyqualia boom. Everyone had it from Leon to the leader of the kid squad to Ren and Aichi. I still miss Psyqualia to this day so that was a lot of fun and the season was basically nonstop tournaments so you really can’t go wrong there. The climax was also super hype as you would expect.

4th Cardfight Vanguard Legion Mate. This season is tough because I thought it was awesome from the plot to the execution. At the same time it was a little short. I guess 33 episodes is a solid length, but it’s really close between this and NEXT. I’ll give Legion Mate the edge because having Kai as a main character was hype and the loser of each match getting burned was definitely a very real way of raising the stakes.

5th Cardfight Vanguard G NEXT. Definitely the best G season. The tournament was really good and Kazumi was just such an awesome villain It was also really long so we had time for a bunch of fights. We hadn’t had a tournament that was this long and serious since the original Cardfight days. The new animation style also worked quite well for this saga and the first episode was the perfect way to hype up the new villain.

6th Cardfight Vanguard G Z. This season is very close to NEXT, but it mainly loses out because it’s a lot shorter. There’s less chance to quite match the hype that was behind NEXT. Still, a great way to end the series and 6th is certainly nothing to be ashamed about when it’s relative to other Cardfight seasons. A superb show in all aspects.

7th Cardfight Vanguard G Stride Gate. We finally got the payoff to the first G arcs here and it was definitely a lot of fun. I liked the main villain and this is really where Chrono came into his own as a solid main character. He didn’t fall for the mind games of the villains and kept dueling as he knew best.

8th Cardfight Vanguard G: GIRS Crisis. The plot started to get moving with this show, but it was still a little slow. Not a whole lot happened here compared to what you might guess from the title. The heroes were still trying to get recognized as serious fighters here, but it would be a while before the grownups would acknowledge them.

9th Cardfight Vanguard G. Still a very solid show, but pretty much the whole season was just character introductions. While that is similar to the first half of the original Cardfight, we didn’t get a big payoff at the end like the original. There was no Psyqualia equivalent or an antagonist quite as interesting as Ren.

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Overall, This was a really great way to end the G part of the series. By the end of its run it had really solidified itself as an excellent show even without the influence of the main series. I currently have Cardfight Vanguard as a whole in my top 5 shows. If we count G separately then it would likely still be in my top 15, perhaps just barely making it into Top 10, but no guarantees there. Throughout the various sagas the characters got a lot of development and we got a bunch of great characters. The animation and music were on point and this show has met the high bar that the card game genre has set. I definitely recommend checking this show out. Honestly, it’s best if you start with either the first G series or the very first season as opposed to starting with Z, but either way you’ll have a blast here. I look forward to seeing the retro season coming up.

Overall 9/10

Mr. Sardonicus Review

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It’s time to look at an old horror film about torture and violence. If this doesn’t already sound like a one way ticket to Amityville then brace yourself because we’re in for a very slippery film that just keeps on falling down the tunnel. It’s often hard to say when a film like this one first ends up falling as it couldn’t even start on a high note. What I will say is that the film certainly is impressive in how poorly written it was for the 60s. That era usually had quite solid writing.

The film starts with Robert getting a mysterious letter from an old friend. He was close to Maude for a time but then she ended up marrying a rich baron so Robert traveled overseas to get rich by being a doctor. Well, she wants him to come to her manor to chat about old times and if he doesn’t come then she will surely die. Robert hurries over and is so excited to see her again that he ignores the torture and murder happening within the building. Still, there won’t be anyone left to save him if he dawdles too long. Sardonicus will release him and Maude if Robert cures his face. If he does not, then he shall die. Can Robert do this?

Robert isn’t a very heroic character. He is proud of his Knightly ways and cannot bring himself to harm even a villain. That’s why even though a lot of terrible things are happening in the castle he cannot make a move. To do so would be impolite and as a gentleman he must be courteous at all times. Even when he gives his word to protect one of the servants from any future violence he leaves her alone with the villains multiple times as he heads off to enjoy a meal. It’s hard to root for Robert at all since he isn’t even smart. After reading the letter and everything mentioned above, he is swayed by the sob story of Sardonicus. Maude even tells him upfront after this that her life is at stake and Robert jokes that as a wife of course she is worried for Sardonicus. You’d have to have gotten hit in the head really hard right before saying that to really believe such a thing. Robert is just as dense as a brick. Lets also not forget that he won’t even use any of the risky treatments on Sardonicus because he worries for the villain’s safety. Even though such a decision would result in Maude’s death. This is our main character?

Naturally Sardonicus isn’t a good villain either. His sob story amounts to him trying to rob a grave and getting his face defiled for his efforts. Karma occurred very quickly and now he will take it out on everyone else. I can’t say that I feel bad for him and it just reminds you even more that he is a rather petty villain. His excuse for all of the inhumane experiments is to find a cure, but half of them had no actual correlation to his affliction and he later admits that he just does it as punishment. The guy can’t even decide on why he does what he does.

Then we have Maude who definitely isn’t the smartest of characters. Lets just think about this again. Sardonicus is all alone in the castle except for his one attendant Krull. Krull is often sent on faraway missions like heading to the city to recruit Robert. At that point Maude could have easily escaped. Sardonicus is often locked away in his room as well. Now perhaps her father is still a hostage but then that character would have to be so inept that I can’t even comprehend it. Furthermore the film doesn’t even try to make sense with this. Before I get into it I should mention that the same thing applies to Krull. The film tells us a few times that he is a very strong man who obeys Sardonicus absolutely. But why though? He is strong enough to destroy his master and live a very comfortable life. Especially since nobody actually sees Sardonicus anyway so he could just keep on using his money. Instead he let Sardonicus punish him a few times without actually trying to fight back.

All right, time for the real plot hole here. So, Sardonicus is feared by everyone on the island. It’s to the point where the men of the island allow their daughters to be sacrificed to him every year. Why not move away? Why not storm the building? Again, this could make sense if Sardonicus had a lot of people under his influence like in most similar films of this genre. Here he is just a single man with a single attendant. It would be a simple matter for a mob to enter and liberate anyone still alive. At the very least they could easily destroy him. Instead for whatever reason the police refuse to do anything and people don’t even move away. At most this could make sense if Sardonicus had some kind of political clout, but the sob story showed that he was just an ordinary guy who happened to win the lottery and got rich. That doesn’t give him any kind of diplomatic immunity. The film just couldn’t even think its own plot all the way through.

Overall, This was a pretty terrible film. It’s just gritty to be gritty and none of the characters can think for themselves. They just go along with whatever Sardonicus has planned and never stop to question why they are doing this. The plot’s flimsy and the characters aren’t good. The film feels like it lasts for an eternity before it’s over and the whole time you will just be wondering how this got past pre production. The narrator who appears at the beginning and end of the film is also a chore to get through. His jokes don’t land at all and he takes forever to get to the point. I would highly recommend staying away from this film.

Overall 0/10