No real stats this time. Feels bad!
It’s time to take a look at the classic Mission Impossible films. First up is the original one of course. This started the long streak of success for the films and holds up quite well. It’s still a great action film with tight pacing and good writing. It also has the most memorable “Impossible Mission” set up with the heroes trying to break into the room that has so many different sensors.
The film starts with Ethan Hunt and his team heading into a big gala event to stop someone from stealing a list with the names of every operative who is in the field. Unfortunately it seems like the villains were waiting for them as all of Ethan’s friends are murdered one by one. Ethan is now suspected of being a traitor to the cause so he goes dark. Ethan realizes that he will have to infiltrate the villains circle of trust in order to find the guy who framed him. It seems like he will be alone in this mission but Claire shows up later and says that she managed to get out of the car before it blew up. That’s suspicious but Ethan has bigger things to worry about like revenge. He hires two former operatives to help him and the team prepares for their mission.
One of the big ironies here is that to gain the trust of the villains Ethan Hunt actually ends up breaking into the CIA himself to steal the very list he had been trying to defend earlier. Talk about a full reversal of roles here right? It reminds me of how annoying it always is to see the villains pull off a heist like this in films like White House Down or Olympus Has Fallen and naturally you don’t feel the same way when the heroes do it. It just goes to show how important the roles are here although the guards should have known better than to allow the firemen inside. Seems like a very suspicious setup…at least follow them right?
The main Impossible theme is catchy as always. It’s a tune that is easily remembered and has become very iconic over the years. It shows up multiple times here and even gets a remix at the end. Whenever music pops up here it is definitely fitting, but of course this was the highlight. Mission Impossible also has a lot of great visuals in the film like when the explosion propels Hunt onto the train or when he escapes from the restaurant with water exploding behind him. It could easily pass for a 2010 era film.
Ethan is pretty much the ideal main character. He’s a great field commander who always gets the job done. Even when everyone else is getting bumped off he tries to get in on the action to try and at least save someone. It doesn’t quite work out so well though. Then he quickly gathers his wits and moves in to find the real culprit. Unlike many other leads who freeze or start to panic when things go wrong, Ethan never has a moment of weakness like that. Even when he was talking to the CIA commander early on he immediately realized that something was off. It was the same when someone showed up from the grave trying to plead that he was innocent. Most main characters actually buy this for a moment but Ethan didn’t even entertain the notion. He’s certainly not perfect as he doesn’t see through another deception as quickly as he should have. He let his emotions get the better of him there which was unfortunate, but for the most part he made no mistakes. I also liked the masks he wore in this film as I forgot he used to do that.
Claire is the main heroine. She somehow managed to survive the initial sabotage which was certainly nice I suppose. Her character goes through a route that is a little predictable nowadays, but certainly much less so when this film originally came out. She’s a reasonable character I suppose, but one that can seem a bit sketchy at times. Her husband was murdered so you’d think that she would keep her distance from Ethan a little more of give him the cold shoulder. We have to keep this professional right?
Jim was Ethan’s boss before he was murdered. It’s easy to see why he typically wouldn’t be a field agent since the guy is just so old. The moment someone started tailing him you knew that the guy was doomed. He’s a bit of a generic character, but a reasonably good one I guess. He certainly enjoys living in fancy hotels but claims that he hasn’t lost his edge. I wonder about that, but the bosses in these kinds of films don’t typically end up doing all that well.
Luther is one of the two agents that Ethan hires to help him out on this mission. He’s definitely very well equipped to handle the data hacking and I can see why he became a fan favorite character by the end. He’s pretty confident and also has his morals unlike the other guy. Luther wasn’t going to let the villains actually leak out the codenames while Franz didn’t really care. Franz is the more annoying agent who isn’t always great at his job and only cares about the money. He even comes close to actually murdering someone. You’re definitely not meant to root for this guy.
One character who is an antagonist here, but still a fun character is Kittridge. Of course he isn’t correct in his hunch that Ethan is the mole, but at least the guy is trying to get to the bottom of this mystery. He’s fairly intelligent and comes up with a good plan to try and lure Ethan out. He’s also at the ready when he notices suspicious activity during the climax. Cutting a deal at the end may have been morally dubious, but it did seem like the villains would get away otherwise. He’s not exactly a hero, but he’s a very interesting character and a guy who is quite good at his job. If he wasn’t up against Ethan then he may have had a shot here.
Overall, This film was definitely a lot of fun. It’s probably got the biggest stealth aspect to it compared to the sequels as they became a lot more action oriented. Here we even get a lot of mystery aspects as players keep changing sides and you don’t know who to trust. The mystery angle is played quite well and the writing is always engaging. If you haven’t watched this film yet then now is the perfect time to do so since the new film is coming out soon. You’ll want to see for yourself why this is considered the best secret agent film series at the moment.
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.
Batman has had quite a few video games over the years. I’ve yet to play one that was truly spectacular though. The other games were fairly solid but I’m waiting for a game that will be the next big thing. I got Dark Tomorrow in the hopes that this would be it as the comic driven plot and early 2000s aesthetic would be just what the series needed. Unfortunately a truly dreadful opening ends up severely limiting the game’s potential even though the ending is fantastic.
The game starts off by spoiling the final twist as we see very obvious silhouettes of Ra’s Al Ghoul and Talia. They plan to cleanse the world of humanity. To proceed with this goal they free all of the villains in Arkham to distract Batman. Batman also has to deal with a turf war going on in Gotham and the fact that Commissioner Gordon has also gone missing. Robin and Oracle are ready as backup but Batman decides to handle this alone, that’s how dangerous these villains are.
There’s always a debate about which is more important, gameplay or story. Well, gameplay will always be the most important part of a game and it is certainly what holds this game back. The game just doesn’t tell you anything about the controls and puts in so many red herrings that you aren’t sure what to do. You have extra gadgets that are basically pointless like the flashlight. You can barely move while that thing is one and the light it emits is comically small. You’ve got night vision goggles which are good for a small handful of segments when trying to dodge the trip lasers but you don’t even need to bother with them. I ran through all of the lasers for fun and honestly I didn’t notice a big difference in the amount of enemies that popped up. Then you’ve got the bat grapple 2 different times as one lets you swing and the other lets you shoot up. They are also used quite sparingly. This really feels like the game was meant for pure hand to hand combat and the gadgets were only added since someone in development thought Batman should have them. The Batarangs never get useful and the same goes for the smoke bombs which really don’t fool the villains for a second. The health packs are great though.
The game uses an interesting auto save feature. Basically, you have an unlimited amount of lives and typically wake up in the area that you died instead of going all the way back to when you last saved. However, while the game keeps a local record of your progress, you do still have to save on your own if you want to turn the game off. So just don’t make the mistake of thinking that the game is auto saving even if it does seem that way.
So, why is the gameplay so broken? Well for starters, the game has some really bad puzzle sections that just don’t make sense. The first level has most of these. In one section of the burning street you will try going forward but are quickly riddled with bullets. It doesn’t matter what tactic you try, you will never be able to get through there. You have to instead go through a side road and walk through some burning cars. There’s a small gap there that just seems cheesy. In another level, you are stuck next to a fence and your lock pick inexplicably does not work on the door. The lock pick is another negative as it’s called an ultimate something instead and the game doesn’t even tell you what it does. You will just find out that it’s a lock pick once you use it towards the end of the game. Here’s the problem, the game makes a big deal about it during this gate section as if you are supposed to use it, but you never do in this level. Instead you have to jump on a car and then jump on the roof with perfect precision. If you are slightly off or the game glitches again then you will miss the jump. Due to this, you will likely believe that the jump isn’t possible unless you know beforehand that it is.
Even the combat system is hidden from you. You have two attack options, punches and kicks. You use them to knock the enemies down and then you handcuff them. If you don’t handcuff them, then they will simply keep getting up forever. It’s an odd mechanic especially since you can’t skip the long handcuffing cutscene. What the game doesn’t tell you is that if you hold onto the L button you will unleash a series of rapid kicks and punches which deal a considerably higher damage output and make the bosses child’s play in comparison. You can certainly beat the game without this knowledge and sometimes it’s actually better not to go for a combo since it leaves you vulnerable if the opponent blocks it. I do think that information should be somewhere in the game though.
These are the reasons why the game got off to a rough start. The design of the opening levels where you are stuck in a death loop and the jump over the gate mixed in with the rather choppy combat controls if you don’t know how to combo the hits. However, once you get past the level and master the combat system, then things get fun. The second half of the hand feels like a whole different game. The Arkham level in particular is a lot of fun as you go through a marathon of bosses including Mr Freeze, Killer Croc, Szaz , and Poison Ivy. The bosses are a lot of fun. This is one time where the poor camera angles and the overused cutscenes can be quite fun. It’s pretty satisfying to knock the boss down since you get the full cutscene. Of course, it’s also fun when he knocks you over as well. Once you learn the combos the combat system becomes genuinely fun as well. It’s like an old school arcade game.
Some aspects of the game also shined from the start like the graphics. They are way ahead of their time and look considerably better than any of the other GameCube Batman games. It has a certain comic aesthetic that just works really well with the character models. The first cutscene sets the game on a positive note as it just feels very theatrical. You would not be blamed for thinking that it was a clip from a film. I can’t say as much for the soundtrack unfortunately. I suppose they didn’t put in quite as much effort into this section of the game compared to the others.
The level designs are really large and well thought out. You can be wandering for quite a long time from room to room. Fortunately the game remembers who you have handcuffed until you turn the game off so you don’t have to worry about beating them every time. Unfortunately you aren’t always able to appreciate the levels because of the really bad camera angles. It just keeps on turning whenever you move which really causes you to stop in your tracks or take more hits than you would have liked. It’s pretty distracting and I died a few times thanks to that, but at least there are constant checkpoints.
Then there is the plot which is probably the best plot from any Batman game. We get to see an onslaught of Batman villains throughout and Ra’s can make for a good villain. As par for the course Batman certainly does give him a whole lot of credit but I don’t consider him to be quite as impressive as many of Batman’s other rogues. Oracle did doubt Batman quite a bit in the cutscenes and it was too bad Robin couldn’t help out more, but I suppose the developers really wanted to keep this as a Batman solo game.
There isn’t any real replay value to be had in this game. It’s the kind of title that locks you in next to the final boss so you couldn’t go back and get collectibles even if you wanted too. You could play the whole game again for that, but that’s a little drastic. The value in this game will be in the main story which is really a 50/50 gamble. It’s tough because the climax is so amazing, but I just can’t forget the opening.
I should also mention that the game has around 4-5 endings. I actually ended up with one of the bad endings as I ran into the villains and knocked them all out, but I didn’t deactivate the apocalyptic machine. Apparently that was in the next door over. I also lost to Ra’s once so I actually got to see both endings. Getting to the good ending wouldn’t take very long but I was rather satisfied with the ending I got so I stuck with this one. It’s actually a fairly realistic look at how the situation usually goes if your opponent has a deadman‘s switch.
Overall, Dark Tomorrow is going to have to stay squarely in the middle. The two parts of the game neatly cancel each other out. Dark Tomorrow certainly seems to have divided its team up into various sections and some worked harder than others. If you’re a big Batman fan then I’d recommend checking this game out. Just watch out for the burning level and try to find the truck right away. It’s the best chance you’ve got!
Time to review a film that’s a lot more fun. It still has its flaws to be sure, but Stealth excels in two areas to an extent that is almost unprecedented in live action world. That’s not bad eh? The poster looks pretty intense and it makes you wonder why more people didn’t see the film. It certainly could have used the extra cash so that it wouldn’t flop in the box office.
Ben, Kara, and Henry are the main characters. They’re the three best pilots that we’ve got and these guys don’t mess around! One day, their commander announces that they will be getting a new partner. The twist is that the partner isn’t actually alive and it’s just a sentient A.I. That was certainly pretty scary for the heroes and can they really get along with this thing. Even more important…can they trust it!?
First off, I have to say that the three main characters were not great. Henry seems to be sexist and you have to love how he quickly mentions the race card as one of his first lines. It’s very intriguing. Either way, any chance that he had of being a good character is quickly wiped out when he realize that he’s just interested in having affairs with as many people as possible. That’s a sure way to be an unlikable character. Ben isn’t much better. He’s also a womanizer who eventually starts to develop feelings for the heroine. It’s really unbelievable and it’ll just make you wince. It’s sad because he has some cool moments like when he almost attacks the drone and the ending, but it’s hard to ignore the traits that he had earlier. It was simply too late for him. It’s hard to see what Kara sees in Ben and she does realize that he’s a womanizer. There’s almost no way she can trust him emotionally. It’s better to just stay as comrades and not take the extra step sometimes.
Let’s quickly talk about some of the positives. The action scenes are some of the best in cinema. These are Matrix/Man of Steel type of action scenes. Everything moves by very quickly and I can honestly say that modern action films can still learn a thing or two here. Imagine how epic it would look if Iron Man vs Ultron looked like these scenes in Age of Ultron. The Jets are breaking the soundbarrier left and right and the scenes really get your blood pumping. I still think Man of Steel wins as far as action scenes go, but in terms of pure speed it’s actually close. That’s extremely impressive for Stealth and I could not get enough of the cool plane scenes. If the new Top Gun film coming out looks this impressive I’ll have gained a lot of respect for the plane fighting genre. Still, all movies need to take a look at this and apply it when necessary. At the very least, films like The Flash, Shazam, Ms. Marvel, and Superman should always look like this. Superman already pulled it off so now it’s time for the others to do so as well.
That was one big positive and now it’s time to look at the other one. This film has a dynamite 5 star soundtrack. It’s almost perfect and it’s easily a contender for best soundtrack of all time. The impressive part is that this film was able to reach those heights with lyrical songs. If you know me, you know that I tend to prefer instrumental because lyrical songs tend to be edgy at times or the lyrics are simply not engaging. Here, they only picked snippets from various songs so I can’t actually recommend the whole song, but the parts that were used (Minus the rap song) were very good. Ben actually gets a nifty action song when he appears in the jet and likewise for various fight scenes. As a nice change of pace, we also got a cool techno/stealth theme, which worked very well for the mysterious moments.
It’s certainly not every day that you get a film where the special effects are through the roof and accompanied with a great soundtrack. Man of Steel accomplished that, but the film is certainly legendary. The film also took the high road when it came to the animal violence issue. The dog ran away instead of getting shot and I can imagine that everyone in the theater stood up and cheered when this happened. It was simply an intense scene that was extremely epic and awesome.
All right, it’s time to look at the negatives. The romance is one of them for sure. We get some pretty sad scenes involving Ben and Henry as they flirt with various women. There’s no depth here and it’s all about physical attraction. The actual romance between Ben and Kara also isn’t handled well and I don’t see why it was included in the film. It was really only there to fill the quota that every film should have romance in it. That’s what Hollywood seems to believe at any rate and that’s pretty sad.
Stealth has a pretty boring moment where the heroes decide to head to an island for some R n R. They need the vacation at this point right? It’s really just an excuse for more romance and fanservice so it’s pretty sad. We really didn’t need a breather like that one. Some parts of the film also felt rather random like when some enemies took over a lab belonging to Mr. Orbit. Where did these guys come from and what do they want? It’s a good thing that Ben had his drone at the ready.
Speaking of which, the drone made for a great bad guy. He had an epic design and his strategic planning was intense. As a villain, he really knew what to do and how to keep things impersonal. He does have emotions unlike most A.I. which is also impressive. The whole film is basically on auto pilot so everything moves by very quickly. This is a good thing as the film gets to be more ambitious than usual. Typically, the A.I. will turn evil and the heroes will destroy it. What if, the A.I. turns evil, but then sees the error of its ways? It’s something that’s never really been done before and it’s nice to see this film take that approach. It may seem rather hollow since the A.I. destroyed around 1000 people with nuclear fallout though. I thought that part went by a little too smoothly. The people in that area certainly weren’t expecting to be dead so quickly. The drone ultimately tried to make up for this though and I think he really could have become a great hero for future films if he had stuck around.
I was also expecting Ben to try and avenge one of his comrades. (Who died in a pretty bad way. They told him to slam on the brakes, but he wouldn’t listen…at all. It was clear what the drone was trying to do and he simply didn’t listen) When he fired the missile, I thought it was game over, but Ben is just a forgiving kind of guy I suppose. He was against the drone idea from the start, but he seemed to warm up to the drone by the end. You could almost say that they became friends at that point. The drone does sound a little like Hal 9000, which is pretty cool. He also had character from the start and he adopted the name of “Tin Man” since the heroes kept calling him that.
The acting in this film could be rather bad at times like when the hero yelled at the drone not to make him repeat himself, but acting is an extremely low priority on what I’m looking for in a film so this isn’t too bad. If it’s something distracting or seriously messed up, then it’ll start to hurt the bottom line. One scene that was unintentionally funny was when the general called his politician. He made a crazy speech about what separates warriors from politicians and then he pulled the trigger. You can guess what he was essentially saying, but the scene just felt off. The general was probably insane by the end and he’s a villain to be sure, but it was still an odd end. The politician also got the shaft here as he barely got to appear.
One plot that was not quite as fun as the others was when Kara landed in North Korea. Naturally, there are still a lot of tensions between our two countries and it’s always satisfying to see the U.S. come out on top, but it was rather unnecessary. That bit of the plot really came out of nowhere. I have fun looking into how people predict World War III would play out and an unfortunately large group of people do believe that we would lose, but I’d invite them to watch this film. Perhaps this is how it would go. There’s practically a mini army after Kara and they still have a tough time trying to stop her. Imagine what a whole squad of U.S. troops could do. It’s sad that the government left her for lost there, but at least Ben manned up and went in to save the day.
This may not be a horror film, but there is a twist ending. I won’t say what it is, but let’s just say that it’s pretty intense and perfectly leads into a sequel. Unfortunately, we’ll likely never get a sequel. Ah well, at least the film got to go off with a bang. If it ever did get a sequel, I’d like to see the drone and Ben team up against aliens. That would make for a solid story and it would certainly be engaging for new viewers.
Overall, Stealth was a fun film. I definitely wish that the fanservice was gone and the romance wasn’t handled very well. Taking away those two features would have greatly helped the film. After all, the special effects were out of this world and the soundtrack was dynamite. That’s a winning combo for most films, but it’s one that is very hard to actually achieve. The pacing is also really good aside from the brief rest stop at Thailand. Everything just goes by really quickly, which allows the film to go through many plots and a lot of different action segments. We never got the fight between Ben and the drone that we wanted, but we came close in several scenes. The ring of fire that the drone made was cool and it was also neat to see him figure out how to attain fuel the hard way. I definitely recommend this film. You should be wary of the fanservice since it can be rather overwhelming, but once you get past that you are in for an action treat. I don’t think we’ll see any airplane film have better fights than this one for quite a while.