Cowboy Bebop series (1998) and movie (2001) review

The bounty hunters, who are gathering in the spaceship “BEBOP”, will play freely without fear of risky things. They must create new dreams and films by breaking traditional styles. The work, which becomes a new genre itself, will be called… COWBOY BEBOP

Series Rating: 5 / 5
Film Rating: 3.5 / 5

 

Cowboy Bebop. Probably the first major anime I introduced myself to when I was younger, outside of Dragon Ball Z and Yu-Yu Hakusho anyway (didn’t see much of the latter). One of those series I found myself coming back to on a couple of occasions, including recently. I wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered. Well, it wasn’t. It was better.

Despite its episodic structure, in the sense that each episode is sort of stand-alone, there is an overarching theme to the whole thing. It’s all about the weight of the past, and the ways it affects the present. Every episode has that aspect of it to some extent. Whether it’s a character’s past mistake or broken relationship, a misdeed done by a government or corporate agency, old vs. new technology, or even a callback to a past cultural influence such as the western cowboys, Japanese samurai, or the Jazz/Blues music of the 70s exploitation era. It all affects one or more of the major characters in each episode in some way.

Each episode tackles this central theme in a different way, while also building upon the central protagonists who are in (almost) every episode themselves, or the galaxy they inhabit. This is a setting where mankind has acquired the technology to colonize a few planets in the solar system, thanks to jump gate technology (which itself had at least one catastrophic event with its development, which has affected individuals in certain episodes), and the development of various forms of spacecraft, small and large (including one ship design giving it the look of a tommy gun), capable of entering and exiting planet atmospheres and flying in space. And aside from ship technology, it is also possible to change one’s identity if one has enough cash (woolongs). Some episodes show a man going from skinny to fat, from a white guy to a black guy, a man to a woman, etc. Primarily with the intention to evade authorities and bounty hunters (the latter of which exist because there isn’t enough of a police presence on a solar system scale to track down all criminals).

Just as the criminals can’t outrun apprehension from the hunters or the authorities forever, neither can the protagonists, or anyone for that matter, outrun their past forever. The past only serves to chain us down until it is confronted and resolved. Yet one may find themselves in a position where resolving the past is impossible, or so one could think. There are multiple ways to resolve the weight of the past, each way leading to a different outcome. After all, the criminal could always just turn themselves in, an option that was presented in at least one of the episodes (though they never seem to take that option). It’s more about figuring out a way to let oneself be reconciled with their own past. Otherwise, being so hooked up on the past, you’ll be unable to appreciate what you have in the present. And if you stay hooked up on the past long enough, the stuff in the present you could’ve appreciated may be gone, just like the past.

And incredibly enough, this is a mature series. And by mature, I don’t mean in regards to the violent content or the sexual content or the nudity (the latter of which is only present very briefly in one episode). I mean mature in the themes themselves. Past weight and consequences aside, have you noticed a trend in most anime films that are out there? The same kind of trend that occurs in most films over the past few decades? This series is not one about “the coming of age,” or, “realizing/fulfilling one’s destiny,” or, “overcoming impossible odds through comradery and personal discovery,” the latter of which is something I tire of seeing, because it’s fucking everywhere, in virtually everything that is classified as an action/fantasy/adventure film. It’s about adults, who are likely past their prime, trying to rediscover a meaning in their life, to try and make a living in their self-employed conditions and harsh lifestyle. Adults who have no more life-lessons to be learned. Because normally, a situation like that acts as the motivation for the protagonist to do any of the previous traditional film/series arcs. We need more series and films with mature content like this, without any quest or destiny to be fulfilled. We need films and shows that teach us to be mature in their own way.

But anyway, funnily enough, the first episode I ever saw of this series is the same episode a few people I’ve become acquainted with coincidentally first saw. Heavy Metal Queen. And yes, it’s still one of my favorites, with this space trucker chick who blasts heavy metal music, plus that awesome sequence where Spike Spiegal is attempting to hop from one ship to another, by ejecting himself into space without a suit. My other favorites include Mushroom Samba (the “Edward” episode that’s also all about 70s blacksploitation, and a bit of Django), Gateway Shuffle, and Wild Horses. That being said, all the episodes are great.

As for the characters, the major characters are all solid. Spike and his Bruce-Lee inspired martial arts and philosophy, Jet being his stubborn hard-ass self, Fey being dangerous seductive manipulative and somewhat self-destructive, Ein just for being there, and Edward. Edward completely steals the show from everyone else, for two reasons. One, she is so wacky and unique and fun. Two, the English voice actress for her is unbelievably great. We’re talking greatest dub for one of the greatest animated characters of all time great. On-par with Mark Hamill’s dub of the Joker.

There’s a reason this is considered not only one of the best gateway anime series to watch, but also one of the greatest of all time. Accessible and deep, and ages like fine wine.  Some episodes are hilarious, others great solid action/drama/noir/thriller entertainment, others pack an emotional gut-punch.  It doesn’t answer every question raised or hinted at, and that’s perfectly fine, because it’s good to leave people wondering about some of these things, to have some mystery about the past, and how some characters will turn out in the end. And unlike most anime, it’s also refreshing to see one that has a definitive end.  With it’s mismatch of different genres and episode structures, and managed to pull things together in such a perfect concoction, it’s a true lightning in a bottle series.

 

 

 

And then there’s the movie Knocking on Heaven’s Door.

It does a bit of development on Spike’s character, but it’s not really anything any true fan didn’t already pick up on from the series. But it does have those bitchin’ insta-noodles, and the callback to the battle on Titan (and no, this has nothing to do with that series Attack on Titan, though I’ll eventually get around to watching the latest season of that), with another dimension to it. Another example of how fucked up things were in that war. The show and the movie never does enough to show/tell all with what happened there, and that’s a good thing. All you need to know was that it was hell, and there were some weird biological/chemical/nano experiments utilized on some of the soldiers in some of the battles. It’s more of a background thing among a bunch of other background elements in both the movie and the series. It has enough subtle world-building moments to compare to the series.

I want to like the movie more than I currently do. It’s a decent enough stand-alone (fitting in with the episodic nature of the series). Not the best entry, maybe not the worst (though the worst is better than most anime can approach). But it is a real slow burn at times, especially during the first half. The filmmakers really wanted to indulge in having that extra time they wished they had to pad things out, going from a 25 minute episode, to a 90 minute movie. It’s just that you can really feel the slow crawl at times.

Thankfully, the film kicks into high gear at two separate points, from Fey chasing the hacker arcade guy, and leading to the fight on the subway; then the breaking out of jail all the way to the finale. It made getting through the slow portions worth it. That’s not to say the slow portions were entirely bad, they had some decent moments too. Like Edward and Ein going trick or treating (this movie should be watched annually for Halloween!).

There are two aspects of this film that make it truly memorable. First, the fights between Spike and Vincent, especially during the finale. It’s some of the best martial arts sequences ever put to animation, and I challenge anyone to find grounded fight sequences in any animated film that does it better than this (CG does not count, and fuck anyone who tries to pull that shit; you won’t find any grounded fights that use CG anyway; sorry if that’s coming off as harsh, I’m boozed up for this review [not while I was watching the movie]).

Second, the sequence where Spike is flying his ship and dodging the military aircraft. Holy God. That whole bit is a masterpiece in animation. You can feel the weight, you can feel the change in gravity and momentum. They put so much effort into making these aircraft seem real that it’s insane. This sequence doesn’t get anywhere near enough of the appreciation it deserves, especially for a non-CG animation sequence. I’m sure there are other anime films/shows that have reached the level of this sequence, if not surpassed it. But it’s more than a pleasant surprise to see something like that in this movie. I also appreciate that it doesn’t dumb down the military aircraft/pilots just to have the protagonist have a chance. They use some intelligent maneuvering, and it’s never anything really over-the-top.

And that’s one of the things I appreciate about this anime flick. Just because it’s an anime (let alone an animation) doesn’t mean they have to go full bonkers with it by doing stuff that defies the laws of physics and couldn’t possible be done in a live-action film. They keep it grounded, which makes it all the more investing for someone like me. Plus there aren’t enough solid R rated animated flicks out there, especially ones that don’t do R-rated stuff just for the sake of having an R-rating, or for the sake of being exploitative, and really cartoonish. That’s not to say I don’t get enjoyment out of animated flicks that do just that (Dead Leaves, Heavy Metal, Golgo 13: The Professional, Redline), it’s just refreshing to see one that makes an extra effort to stay in grounded territory when it comes to the action.

So I’d say that extra half star is partly for appreciation of what the film contains compared to other animated flicks out there, and also partly just for being a Cowboy Bebop flick, with the same director, and same voice actors. The film didn’t do a disservice to the show, but I can’t say it’s outstanding in it’s own right. It’s just there, as a stand-alone extended episode. And that’s perfectly fine.

I do have to admit though. Considering this was originally released in Japan September 1, 2001, 10 days prior to 9/11, and it has a Middle Easter character responsible for developing a bio-weapon (and the vaccine for it), terrorist bombing killing hundreds of civilians, plus brief imagery of the twin towers, it got a bit eerie. It makes some of the more subtle themes and background stories somewhat relevant, though you have to pay attention to catch it.

 

 

 

PS: Just to get ahead of the curve, fuck you Netflix for fucking this up.

 

American Deep State (2019) review

So I received a message from The Strasson Group to watch an early screening of and review their film American Deep State: The Movie.  A documentary about the Deep State and its war on Trump since the 2016 election, and up to when the film was released.  Well, this might not be the review they were hoping for.  Might not get paid for this as a result.

Rated: 1 / 5   2 / 5 *

* : with a big caveat, see below

So the film begins with the usual bru-hahah, mention of the 18th amendment with the whole “equal treatment under the law” thing which it of course is building up to be bullshit by today’s standards (assuming those standards were ever met to begin with). Plus talk of the JFK assassination, and mentioning how every conspiracy theory around the assassination involved the CIA to some extent. Then mentioning how the Trump administration blocked the scheduled release of declassifying the Kennedy assassination documents and delaying their availability to the public, even after all these years (makes you wonder who is alive today that was involved, or if it’s more about an organization that was involved and still around today). And it talks about all the organizations these conspiracy theories bring up about it, including the mafia, the KGB, CIA, FBI, Fidel Castro, Lyndon B. Johnson, etc. Guess what group this documentary decided to leave out? The people running the Fed, the big banker groups like the Rothchilds and such. That’s a big thing to leave out if you’re going to cover several bases in brief, especially when Kennedy was preparing to sign a bill that would remove the Federal Reserve and the dollar currency and replace it with something else.  After all, he took some inspiration from Hitler’s methods of making his country nationalist-socialist by removing the big Jewish banks and making his country a powerhouse (something Dinesh D’Souza’s Death of a Nation documentary can attest to, that JFK and the Democrats were inspired by Hitler’s policies for a time, up until the headlines reported on the holocaust atrocities). Consider my skepticism raised at this point.

The first portion of the documentary covers the conspiracy of the JFK assassination (not exactly original at this point, it should be taken for granted that most are skeptical at the very least about the official story).  But this does have the advantage of utilizing sources of the newly released government documents (as of 2017; still excluding the documents under classification that should’ve been released), which the film indicates that the CIA was directly involved with the assassination.  Now I just wonder if the documentary is going to imply a rogue CIA group acted alone on this, or if some other organization is pulling some CIA strings.

It portrays the Kennedies in a positive light, which is a mistake.  No documentary should ever assume anyone they cover is pure and innocent and well-intentioned, especially if they’re a politician (or even a lawyer).  They even have a “Moment of Silence” bit for the Kennedies.  Well, considering I usually watch these movies quietly, they’ve got that.  But too offset all this, here’s a bit from Lexx (Season 4, Episode 4):

 

Anyway, 30 minutes into the film, and it finally gets to more recent events.  It’s a by-the-numbers coverage of Trump vs. the Deep State which anyone who has read any headlines from websites like The Gateway Pundit, Daily Caller, Blacklisted News, youtubers like The Red Elephants, Black Pilled, Black Pigeon Speaks, etc. basically has a decent idea about.  But this documentary goes a bit on the in-depth side of it, but not in the most efficient way.  It utilizes a bunch of still photos of websites, stock news footage, etc, yet never really utilizes graphics, still photos of heads with names and line links to organizations and/or other people.  It’s more tell than show.  Not the best method for a documentary like this, which is basically a glorified youtube movie (like Europa: The Last Battle, except that film was done better).

There’s also a lot of lines that are all, “likely this” or “possibly that.”  Comes off like Michael Moore at times.

The music tracks that continually plays throughout the film get tiring real fast as well.  They needed something more subtle and atmospheric, as opposed to booming choir vocals.  I swear, it gets so distracting at times it becomes difficult to hear the narrator.  Plus the audio tends to cut off abruptly at times between scene changes.  Did I mention this isn’t made all that well?  But in all fairness, the narrator sounds good and speaks clearly, when you can hear him.

It also briefly covers heavily worn ground about Trump’s election, and how no one really thought he would be elected (again, covered by Death of a Nation, and even then it was getting to be old news).  And stuff covered by that documentary Clinton Cash.

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Trump getting wiretapped, controversy with Comey, war on terror during Bush administration, bullshit with the Obama administration, radical Islam, news media working hand in hand with the liberal agenda, MI6, etc.  All that stuff, and they don’t mention a few significant figures.  The big one being George Soros.  Why the fuck isn’t that asshole mentioned, when he’s financially responsible for half the shit going wrong in the United States?  In fact, why isn’t ANTIFA mentioned either?  Both of them have links to the Deep State (you could say George Soros is one of the main members of the Deep State, and he’s one of the financiers of ANTIFA, let alone illegal immigration).

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Bottom line, this film doesn’t cover anything new or relevant enough to preach to someone like me who they believe would be a choir boy (plus it’s too simplistic).  And it’s not made well enough to pull anyone in who is of the opposing side.  The quality isn’t that great, it runs for too long (2 hours and 40 minutes total; Christ, I could be watching Ben-Hur, the Charlton Heston version), and it’s just not all that investing with how it’s done.  Make no mistake, there is enough content to have a decent historical informative documentary.  But the execution is poor.

It’s not as informative as it should be.  It’s not entertaining.  It gets boring real fast (and annoying soon after).  And despite me being on the side of the stuff this documentary preaches, I can’t recommend it.

 

 

PS: So about that 2 / 5 rating.  I feel bad about previously giving it a 1 / 5 rating (a rating less than what I gave Ghostbusters 2016).  Especially with the monetary donation they gave me (which was honestly more than I was expecting).  Considering I don’t exactly disagree with the points the documentary makes, and because they asked nicely, and money sways people, I’ll boost the rating up a point.  That being said, I still don’t recommend the documentary.

Amazons (1986) drunk review

I guess I’m not done doing these types of reviews.  Not yet.  Maybe not ever, unless my liver gets fucked up somehow.

I’m in the mood for some 80s sword and sorcery flicks.  But not the ones that are in the top 5 that hold the highest standard for the rest.  Those would be Conan: The Barbarian, The Beastmaster, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Deathstalker, and Red Sonja (I honestly haven’t seen that last one; I tried once, but couldn’t get into it).  No, not those ones.  I’m talking about the more lower tier flicks, that look like they have a backyard budget and are always shot on location, in a forest.  And the only thing they really have going for them aside from the genre are the hot chicks willing to show their skin.

I have seen a couple of these that actually aren’t half bad.  But most of them are pretty fucking terrible.  Let’s see where this one falls.

If nothing else, the 80s sure knew how to make some great posters that were too good for the films they represented.  I miss those.

 

Not sure how I feel about the soundtrack so far.  Sounded bad at first, then it got a bit better the longer it went.  Foreshadowing of this film being a mixed bag?

Executive producer Roger Corman.  Whoah boy, we’re in for it now.

I swear, I didn’t mess with the editing at all.

Weird editing choices with the women warriors practicing their staff swinging.  “Huh!  Hyah!  He!  Hye!”  I swear, some of the shouting gets cut-off mid-shout.  Almost sounds like what you would hear playing a 16-bit videogame.  They should’ve made a sword and sorcery side-scroll beat-em-up done in thee same vane as Streets of Rage.  Oh wait, they did, Golden Axe.  Well, I want an all-female scantily clad version damnit!

There’s an evil king named King Kaloomba?  What the fuck?  Well in that case, I wanna know where King Koopa is!  I mean, I could be mishearing this, maybe it’s King Kalunga or something, not that it doesn’t sound any less ridiculous.

The lighting hand effects.  I gotta make a meme-gif out of that.

Phahah!  The sounds they make during this battle scene!  I swear, some guys are yelling, “Get out of here!” to the enemy.

I love how these women try to act badass, yet some falling rocks make them react like an elephant seeing a mouse.  It’s actually kind of adorable.

The soldiers talking to their king after they got beaten up by the Amazons, “[The Amazon women] fought like demons!”  Heheh.

And yeah yeah yeah, the typical, “There is no mercy for failure” speech.

Ok, as much as I like some of the cheesiness, I’m not really getting into this movie.  I don’t give a shit about the plot, I’m not spending enough time with any of the characters to give a shit about any of them.

Are those guys who look like women, or are they women without tits?  They’re hot either way.

Hah!  How they are so casual with how they practice with their spears (or whatever you call those weapons).  As in not putting much effort into it.

Oh yeah, and just like that they know where to look for this long lost sword no one’s been able to find.  Because of some vague vision that doesn’t give any details.  Whatever.

Maybe his name is Kolungo.  I don’t know, their pronunciation of his fucking name seems to change every time they say it.  Goddamnit, now I’m too curious about the name.  What the fuck does IMDB say about its spelling?

According to IMDB, it’s spelled Kalungo.  I don’t know if it’s the booze or that most people in this film don’t know how to pronounce the fucking name.  Then again, it’s not like they knew how to be consistent with pronunciation during that time period.  It’s not like they had dictionaries, or the Internet, let alone books.  Well ok, maybe the did have books, but fuck if they knew how to read them.

Hah!  A white female James Earl Jones!

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They stare at each other like they’re about to have an arm wrestling competition.  “You want me to do what?”  “Kill her!”  Fuck that!  I wanna see these chicks arm wrestle each other!

Ohhh, I see.  This one blonde chick (amongst all the other blonde chicks who look so similar I have a hard time telling them apart; and that’s probably the first time I’ve ever said that about a group of people who were white) has a fake metal hand, or something.  Apparently they were so advanced about replacing sliced off hands back then, that they could muster some finger movement while they were worn.

“I raised you as a tool Tashi.  An instrument of vengeance.  I never loved your father.  And I never meant to love you.  But I do.  Are you my daughter or aren’t you?”

Well, that’s a nice inspiring family speech.  18 minutes in and we finally get some character development and some protagonists (kind of) to get attached to.  Plus some motives about wanting to kill a woman who is a part of their tribe for vengeance.  Not sure why she didn’t try this at an earlier time, especially considering it sounds like this mother has been holding this grudge since before her daughter was born (it makes less sense the more I think about it)… You know what, fuck it.  I’m supposed to be drunk enough to not think about this shit.  Hang on, I need to chug a few more shots.

Ok, back to the movie.  Horses.

“It’s time to ride, not talk.”

Oh how I would love that to be a line used in a sexual way.  “Stop talking, start riding me!”  Or, “Stop talking and let me mount and ride you!  Maybe not in that order!”

Huh.  Interesting plot twist that I might care more about if I knew this character (or her daughter) better.  The mother being in league with the evil King Doodoopudu or whatever the fuck his name is.

Whoah!  What the fuck was with the lion montage?  And with lion masks that looked fucking weird on these people?  That came out of the blue.

Oh wait, no it didn’t.  It was supposed to show the lion in his room turning into a human female.  Who is naked.  Alright!  Our first nude scene of the Sword & Sorcery flick!  How long until there’s more?

Jesus Christ!  Apparently the two lead actresses were so jealous of lion lady’s good looks that they decide to not only bare their breasts and asses int he next scene, but to swim in the water too.  Phahahah!  Are they condensing the mandatory female nudity requirement at this point in the movie?  It’s shameless enough to seem so.

And they fight the pervs who were looking in on them and trying to pierce them with their swords.  Oh shit, but the men best them, and strip them, and try to rape them.  And then lion lady saves them, in lion form.  On top of that, we get what will probably be the best moment in the movie when a topless chick kicks the shit out of a perv and kills him (I think, based on that hilarious groan sound he makes).

Why the fuck are these villains so keen on having these protagonists get the sword that can kill them?  Am I the only one who thinks this is fucking ridiculous?  Ah whatever, titties.

Hah!  Ok, this has gotta be it.  The most hilarious part of the movie.  When she’s wrestling with this snake, and overacting in how it’s strangling her.  Pretending that this isn’t a friendly domesticated snake.

Whoop, more tits to show.  And it seems more pointless than last time, and that shouldn’t be possible.

What the fuck!?  What the hell is up with this movie?  Every time some girl flashes her tits there’s pervs in the bushes waiting to ambush them, and then do exactly that?  You’re not supposed to be representing people like me who are watching this movie, let alone showing them getting their asses kicked!

“I will only let someone stand by my side who is strong.  Like you.  And who will let me fondle her tits.”

I made that last sentence up, but seriously, that’s exactly what he does when he says that.  You know, I seriously misjudged this movie.  For the first 20 minutes, I thought the women were going to dress only slightly scantily, and remain that way throughout the rest of the film.  I only thought that because I’ve seen films like that.  I don’t know, maybe I’m too used to seeing modern shit films that frown upon this sort of thing.  Glad to have misjudged this.

Speaking of which, now we get a sex scene.  And not just any kind of sex scene, oh no.  This has got to be the most unique sex scene in the history of film-making.  The main villain antagonists are the ones who have sex with each other.  And we see it in all its softcore porn glory.  Seriously, when the fuck has that ever happened?  When have we ever gotten a movie where we see the villains go at it.  Never!  You know why?  Because it makes me want to root for the antagonists!  You know what that means?  If the protagonists get into a hardcore lesbian sex scene where they scissor each other and moan.  Then again, Roger Corman may have a thing against lesbians.  I doubt it though, considering that weird shower/sparkle/massage scene in Forbidden World (1982).

Alright, after seeing this slave prison cell caravan thing with a topless chick in it, I’m convinced this film is going overboard with the nudity.  Yes, it took me this long to realize this.

Ok, how far am I into this 76 minute movie?  Only 38 minutes?!  Fuck me, I need to ease up on the comments.

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Alright, now I’m getting bored with the tits.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this movie needs to ease up.

Fuck these guys!  I don’t care who they are, or what their reasons.  When they indiscriminately start sacrificing hot topless chicks by knifing them, they become permanent villains in my eyes.  Someone kill these fuckers!

Whoop de doo, a rescue from people who sacrifice hot chicks to a tree.

“With the sword I can conquer even the Where-Ways.”  Yeah, you can conquer wherever.

Hey, 3 minutes have passed without nudity being show.  Guess things are getting interesting again.

If this horse turns into a man, I swear to God, I’m going to start watching spaghetti western flicks again.

The sword of Azandaddy.  Who’s you’re daddy?  Azan is your daddy.

“Three will enter, one will leave.”

Fuck you, and your Mad Max wannabe rip-off dialogue!

I’m bored.  Can we get a lesbian sex scene yet?  Preferably one that involved more than just kissing?

These two women are so desperate to find a sword.  I take it back, we don’t need a lesbian sex scene.  We need one or two guys capable of pleasuring both these women.

“Hell?  Hell will be my greatest conquest.  Then I’ll be in Heaven.”

Ok, I have to admit, that’s a badass line.

You know, a crossing across the rope over a cliff scene isn’t all that tense when you keep showing the river below them.  Because, you know, in 80s flicks like these, water seems to break their fall just fine regardless of height.  You want to give us tension, make it a pit full of spikes or snakes or rapists or something.

The third who will enter is a literal lioness.  At this point, I’d be up for that kind of beastiality.

Friendship.  Didn’t see that coming.  Give me a hug.

What the flying fuck!?  This lioness chick can throw a knife to kill a bitch and then instantly transfer back into a lion before the body hits the floor?  And start a woman vs. lioness wrestling match?

I’m convinced the lioness should’ve kicked this chick’s ass.

No tits being shown over a span of 10 minutes.  It’s like there’s a bell curve with this flick in terms of nudity.  Appropriate.

Morons.  They should’ve been charging the palace/fortress/set/whatever the fuck it’s supposed to be during the first sorcerer lighting bit.

Where-ways again. Or We’re-Ways.  “It’s the only way.”  Balgor, folklore, butt-whore, whatever.

Flashing white light.  We gonna get a dance floor scene?  No?  Then fuck off with that shit.

Hah!   Ghost attack!

I fucking hate getting the fucking hiccups when I’m fucking drunk!  Or at anytime regardless of my state!  Fuck hiccups!

Did she just fucking kill that guy by hitting him with the hilt of her sword while he was behind her on horseback?  That’s stupid.

“You cannot defeat me!  I have the power!” 

Fuck you.  He-Man has the power!

She shouts, “Where are you!?”, and then a horse sticks its ass into the frame.  There’s a joke in there somewhere.

This final fight between the Amazon chick and the evil King Koopahka is kinda lame. Until they resort to this very weird edit trick that’s beyond words of describing.  I would’ve preferred they just sped up everything, but whatever.

I swear, I didn’t mess with the editing at all, again.

And the protagonist decided to try overacting.

I’d like to know about the guy with the mustache.

“Someone is killing my tree!”

Can’t say I’ve heard that line before.

Ok, this final final fight scene is also kinda lame.

What the fuck!?  PHAHAHAHAHAH!  Oh my God!  That’s got to be one of the most hilarious death scenes in my life.  The bitch villain accidentally kills herself by chopping down a tree which then falls onto her.  You can’t make this shit up.

WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????!?!!?!!?????????????!!!!!!!!!!?????

This bitch that died in the cave came back to life?  Alright, fuck this movie and the assholes who decided to give it a happy ending.  Especially when they did that without having the decency to give us a lesbian sex scene.  You know what?  Just because of that shit, I’ve decided how I’m going to score this movie.

Rated: 1 / 5

Fuck this movie and it’s contrived happy ending.  I don’t care how much tit service it decided to give, among all the other so-bad-it’s-good shit.  That ending pissed me off!

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Making Fun of Mark Zuckerberg

There are times when I’m tempted to talk trash about that piece of shit of a human being… ok maybe I just did.  The point is I don’t normally make direct personal attacks just for the sake of personal attacks.  That being said, I enjoy the hell out of it when others do.  And when they make fun of Zuck for getting so pissed about memes that make fun of him to the point where he uses technological resources against them, this tends to get exceptional.

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From Dissenter:

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From YouTube:

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From BitChute:

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Shadow Tactics: Blade of the Shogun (2016) review

shadow tactics

Rated: 3.5 / 5

I question how much I actually enjoy stealth games.  Aside from Thief I and II, I don’t normally go out of my way to play these sorts of games.  On the other hand, certain RPGs like Deus Ex, while not primarily a stealth game yet can be played as one, do end up causing me to take the stealth-tactic route.  Mainly because it seemed more logical to me to not try and be a one-man army, since games like those try to have a sense of realism.  Plus they subtly encourage you to try more pacifist tactics, lest you risk causing hostages to be butchered or something.  I don’t know, maybe it’s because of some subliminal shit that causes me to take the stealth approach in those games.  Or because I’m not that great of a shot (at least compared to online players), so I just play like a pussy.  But since this game was getting rave reviews, I thought I’d try it out.  And overall, it’s not too bad.

There are 13 missions in the game, each one getting progressively longer, complex, and challenging.  First mission is a great intro to the game system, the 2nd mission is a decent progression.  But from the 3rd mission and onwards, it doesn’t pull any punches with the difficulty.  You have to learn the capabilities of the characters inside and out, just as you’ll need to learn to utilize the controls for quick maneuvers to get the timing right, plus to utilize the ability to see the line of sight of specific soldiers/samurai/civilians.  Shadow mode for simultaneous character actions, each of their special abilities, knowing when to move by quickly, or crouch and move; when you should kill someone, when you should just try to avoid them, etc.

In other words, I strongly recommend using a controller for this one, rather than a mouse and keyboard.  This game seems more designed for control pads.

If it wasn’t obvious, this takes place in medieval Japan, during a time when the way of the samurai was ending.  So of course there’s going to be some challenge to their traditional ways, especially with the questions asked to or about the Mugen character (one of the five party members you’ll have through much of the game).  And, of course, they have to throw in a bit of women power (mainly with this one character who can disguise herself to blend in with the enemy), but they thankfully don’t go overboard with it.  It’s the same kind of thing you get with the film The Last Samurai, except the war-mongering samurai are given a more antagonistic light this time around.  Two significant events happen in the game to thematically represent this way of life coming to an end, signified by two major characters having their lives ended.

Theme aside, the game controls fine for the most part.  I found myself frustrated at points for not being able to pull off these plans I had in mind to get through a section, but that’s mostly on me.  Overestimating the capabilities of my characters, underestimating the number of enemies and their patrol routes (I needed to learn more patience, even if the whole thing seems like trial and error), and just getting angry knowing that, in hindsight, there was a better way to go about completing a portion of a level (if not the entire thing).  However, there were a few times where the NPC movement seemed glitched, with one or two guys being stuck together or to some object on the map and being unable to move.  This was rare, and I think it only happened at 3 points throughout the entire game, but it was noticeable when it did.  Nothing game-breaking, thankfully.

There are some caveats though, which I noticed during the last 3 missions.  Sometimes there’s a portion of the map that juts out just enough to stop you in your tracks unless you go around.  I’m not talking about a section of a cart or something, I’m talking about one or two fucking pebbles that your character should be able to just fucking walk/run across, but can’t, so you have to learn to go around these things and not hug the walls too much or else you’ll get stuck and then get caught by the asshole NPC you thought you were about to avoid until that shit happened.  So, you know, little frustrations like that, which again aren’t game-breaking, just irritating.

After the first 2 levels, I’d say each stage took me roughly 2 hours each to beat (on Hardcore difficulty mind you, I’m not that much of a pussy to settle for normal mode, especially when it felt like the game was pulling it’s punches, let alone beginner mode).  Which gives this game a playing time of roughly 25 hours.  A solid enough length for a game of this type.

And even after you finish a level, you can replay it again to complete challenges (of which there are 9 per level).  If you beat a level on hardcore mode, there’s a chance you will have completed at least 2 of the 9 challenges on a first try.  For the first level, I completed 8 of the 9 challenges (including a speed-run of beating the level in under 11 minutes).  I enjoyed them, at first.  But then I came to realize some of these challenges are just downright stupid.  For instance, one of the challenges in the first level is not to kill anyone.  You can knock them out, but they’ll come-to after about 40-60 seconds (I never timed it).  And it seems impossible to get through a level only by knocking people out.  But then I figured out the trick.  Knock someone out, dump their body in a well (I think there’s only 2, at most, in this level), rinse and repeat for everyone else in the way.  But this gets really fucking tedious when you realize there’s only 1 well that you can use for this purpose for a good portion of the level, so you’ll be knocking guys out, carrying their fatasses for up to a minute at a time trying to get back to this cocksucking well, dumping them, and doing it again and again, having to travel further and further distances while doing this.  When a challenge gets that tedious, I tend to stop giving a shit about them.  Seriously, don’t worry about the challenges, at all, during your first playthrough.  Don’t go back to those missions and repeat them just to do those challenges until you’ve completed the game.  These challenges have the potential to increase the amount of times it takes to complete a mission exponentially, sometimes for ridiculous reasons.

Or so I thought.  But then it turns out there was a way to do this quickly without needing to KO all that many people.  This hot shit Korean gamer (you fuckers and your god-mode Starcraft skills) makes me look bad:

So it’s watching this video that made me realize I’m nowhere near close to being a master at these types of games.  I may be capable of beating them, but I’m not capable of being great at them, at least not on my own without looking up how someone else “did it.”  This is one of those games that every stealth game ultimately ends being in a glorified sense: a puzzle game.  It’s not just about figuring out a way to progress though a stage, it’s also about figuring out the best most efficient way to do it.  And I will admit, I am not the best at figuring out that stuff on my own.  It infuriates me, but that’s on me, the game isn’t to be faulted for that.  You hearing me you asshole game journalists who bitched about the difficulty in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice!?

But anyway, if stealth games like these seem right up your alley, I say go for it.  It seems like one of the better ones released in recent years that I’ve learned about.

 

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Things that piss me off about the Movies and Shows ever since 2012 A.D.

I’m singling out the year 2012 for a few reasons.  While I do believe the issues that plague films and affect the whole medium negatively didn’t just spring up out of the blue in the year 2012, I do believe that’s when they started to become prevalent (and has been in overdrive ever since 2015).  If we’re to be honest, the seeds were sown ever since the origin of films, but that’s going beyond the scope of what I will cover here (though I do intend to tackle that scope once I’ve gotten a good enough grasp of it to continue my War On Film Culture series; the stuff I’ve been uncovering threw me for a loop and realized I had much more to learn than I expected before I could take one more step forward with that series).  I’d rather deal with the stuff that pisses me off rather than talk about the how/why it all came to be.

And make no mistake, this is by design, and intended to destroy the current state of culture and mold it into something far worse and unsustainable.  At least the 70s culture had the excuse of, “We’re sick of being restricted and clean and held back by religion and tradition.  We want freedom of expression!”  And in that time period, it wasn’t done entirely at the expense of those who still wanted their clean moral values (I mean, shit, most of the 70s films that were all about freedom of expression tended to end as depressing as possible, arguably leaving the subliminal message of there is such a thing as using too much freedom in an irresponsible way).  Today’s excuse is that some groups, groups most responsible for creating much of the good shit we’ve gotten over the past century, have had it too good, and must be made to suffer for it at their own expense for the sake of the other groups.  As opposed to, you know, just letting things continue to progress as they were during the 90s and (20)00s.  Because no longer does Hollywood and mainstream media want to reflect the state of society, they want to engineer one.

 

 

 

 

Thing #0: Films With a Wimp as the Protagonist

How to Train your Dragon with Hiccup, Ronald the Barbarian with Ronald, She’s Out of My League with Jay Baruchel’s character, etc.  There’s too many of these types of films that has a protagonist who is a wimp compared to everyone else on a physical level, who ends up in a better position than all the more traditional top guys who women traditionally drool all over.  The kind of guy who gets the girl in the end, gets rich, bests some top guy at something, etc.  And this doesn’t just apply to those physically weaker than the average, it also applies to guys who are different from everyone else on a personality level, or because they have some sort of belief, in a lower social/economic class, etc.  And I get what they go for, that everyone has the potential to be special and be far greater than the sum of his parts.  That’s fine and all, but what about the rest of the guys?  What about the guys who are more physically fit, more normal (or hell, even a bit above normal) who have their own trials and tribulations and success stories?  How often are we treated to films about them?  I’m sick of films with wimp protagonists being the norm.  I want the non-wimps back! Especially in kid flicks!

 

 

 

 

Thing #1: Men who are Dumb Ass Mother Fuckers

Now don’t get me wrong, we’ve been getting Dumb Ass Mother Fuckers (DAMFs) probably before we’ve ever been getting Bad Ass Mother Fuckers (BAMFs) in film.  After all, The 3 Stooges was popular (and I argue it still should be).  Just about every famous sitcom ever made has DAMFs in it (Cheers, Seinfeld, Two and a Half Men, Last Man Standing).  The problem is that the ratio of DAMFs compared to BAMFs has increased exponentially over the past few years.  To the point where you have to make an extra effort to find not just a movie, but a TV show, that has just one BAMF in it.  Or hell, forget about BAMFs for a moment, why not just have a reasonably intelligent and independent man in your average movie?  Who is fully capable of accomplishing things on his own (yet still needs help some of the time, but not most of the time, and not in every episode of every show; and not every 10 minutes in some movie).  You know, like how it used to be?  Why is there such a prevalence of DAMFs?  For the reason involving thing #2.

 

 

 

Thing #2: Strong Intelligent Independent Women

“What the fuck!?  How can you say that’s a bad thing you asshole!?” you may ask.

Well the answer to that is easy.  BECAUSE IT’S BEEN DONE AT THE EXPENSE OF BAMFs!!!  Because ((they)) feel that it’s necessary to prop up women at the expense of men.  And again, this wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the ratio was balanced.  But that’s not good enough.  They don’t want the ratio balanced, they want it rigged.  And they’re teaching people in schools to accept it as being rigged.  The problem is that it’s not a natural thing, as much as they may hate to admit it.  They don’t want to admit that women, on average, aren’t as strong and intelligent and independent as men.  Not even when men become fucking trannies who identify as women and kick their ass at sports (it’s shit like this that doesn’t ever make me feel bad for trannies whenever I see/hear jokes about them).  Or even better, they don’t even want to admit that sometimes women need men’s help, sometimes vice-versa; they don’t consider (or just downright don’t believe) that sometimes men and women need each other, because they each have different traits that can be used together so they can benefit from one another, outside of one have a dick and the other having a pussy.  That’s why Mary Sues are the archetypes primarily promoted as strong independent women.  They’re not interesting, and they suck as characters!

And the worst part is that they didn’t think films from the past with strong women were enough, not even when taking into account the difference between women in film prior to the Hays Code, during it, then that time period after it during the mid-60s all the way up to 2010, and then the time period that followed (basically 2012 to the present).  They didn’t appreciate Ripley or Vasquez in Aliens.  They didn’t appreciate “The Bride” in Kill Bill, or Trinity in The Matrix, or the lesbians in Bound.  Among the other movies back then which I’m 100% sure didn’t consist of any woman who could be considered strong, intelligent, or independent in any way shape or form.  Even more ironic, these hypocritical feminists attack the one thing they should be proud of having as women.  Femininity.

Since they don’t want to appreciate the forms of representation they’ve had in the past, they’d rather have over-representation of the toxic kind (ironic, considering they believe the past primarily consisted of toxic masculinity).  And this is done at the expense of men, by ensuring their representation is beta males at best, and all alpha males must be either the villains, or DAMFs.  Because there’s no other way, otherwise such men are considered toxic.

Speaking as a woman I would be inclined to agree with Clint on this one. When are people going to realise that positive discrimination in favour of one group will always disadvantage another. Although I see no reason why women should not be able to obtain higher rank, I do believe that they should earn it. If women continue down this slippery slope they will forfeit both respect and credibility. You ask most women with children who also have to work full time at a mind-numbingly boring job if they wouldn’t rather stay home and bring up those children properly. The reason for high rates of obesity is due largely to the fact that girls are not taught to cook at school as it is considered demeaning, and mum is working all day leaving her no time to teach . Boys run around with gangs because there is no one at home to give them time, care and stability. It is time that we stopped treating women who want to stay home with their children as second-class, citizens, mindless Cinderellas. What could be more noble than raising one’s children in a secure loving home, and giving your life to teach them the skills they will need to live healthy, happy lives themselves. I expect I shall be inundated by angry Feminists for my tirade but just let me say this. I gave up a wonderful job which I loved in order to care for my son, and I have never regretted.I was fortunate to have been able to choose. We should make it easier for women to mind their own children if they wish. Oh, and one more little thing, if mothers could spend more time with their sons the little cherubs might grow up to have more respect for women than some of the ignorant “men” who commented on this item! Now the men will troll me too, Hey Ho!

bella donna

She’s interested only in pushing her agenda and has no regard for the lives it will cost, particularly if those lives are men. Taking her own inadequacy out on the world.

elvisleeboy

 
 

 

 

 

Thing #3: China

Fuck you China, and your production companies that infest Hollywood.  And fuck you Hollywood, for selling out to them.  Fuck Hollywood for catering more towards the International market than the U.S. market.  They have lost their American pride, and have no loyalty to the country they reside in, or the customers living in it, no more than the cell phone sweatshops in China give a fuck about their citizens when they give them cell phone, which can only connect to a restricted web service, which is likely monitored more heavily than our cell phones in the U.S. by the NSA.

I’m sick of these fucking untouchable oriental characters in mainstream Hollywood films, who seem to have diplomatic immunity plot armor.  It makes me want to dress up in black face, impersonate a police officer, get a pistol, and blow them away from a distance while saying, “It’s just been revoked.”  And I’m also sick of the pro-China ads (either blunt or subliminal) in these fucking flicks.  You think China has much pro-America sentiment in their fucking movies?  I expect each country to talk trash about the others in their own fucking movies!!!  I wanna see Americans get made fun of in Japanese flicks, Chinese flicks, British flicks, Australian flicks, Indonesia flicks, African flicks (if anyone on that continent is capable of making any good ones), Indian flicks, etc.  Just as much as I wanna see all of those motherfuckers get made fun of in an American movie.  I wanna see all of us talk trash to each other and have fun doing it!

 

 

 

 

 

Thing #4: Diversity Over-Representation

Because they didn’t think shows in the past like Star Trek: The Next Generation (let alone Deep Space 9, or Voyager), or Babylon 5 didn’t have anywhere near enough diversity quotas filled.  These fuckers legitimately believe that full-blown desegregation is healthy for society, and thus this theme must be both bluntly and subliminally represented in EVERYTHING!  Films, shows, commercials, schools, companies and employment.

“But why is it such a bad thing?”

Because, like pretty much every other thing on this list, it’s done at the expense of white people. People like George Peele, Spike Lee, and others making Hollywood films that bash white males in one form or another in at least 70% of mainstream films being released today (and that’s being generous, it’s more likely 85%).  They intentionally push the idea that all-white (male) groups are a bad thing, yet don’t really do anything about groups that are all-black, all women, all oriental, etc.  They want you to believe it’s healthy to have racial and gender diversity in groups, and that it’s unhealthy for the groups to be homogeneous on a racial level.  And yet they are not only hypocrites about it, but also ignore the statistical evidence and the everyday examples showing that this is simply not true.  Plus, the whole, “Diversity is our strength,” line is just one more way of saying that nationalism is wrong.  And why shouldn’t they preach that?  They make more of a profit from a global economy than a national one (see Thing #3).

“The first victim of equality is fairness.”

 

 

Thing #5: Humor That Is Safe, Juvenile, And Limited

Humor is always done at the expense of some individual, a type of individual, or some group, or race, etc.  Which is why they are hated when they are aimed at anyone other than, uh, non-PC people.  I’ll just let Duckman take this one.

I know you all came here to see Iggy Catalpa, because you think he’s funny, because you like his style, because you just plain like him, right? But you just think you do. Because you were manipulated into thinking you do by him: King Chicken. He did it the same way they manipulate us into buying toothpaste, car wax, even politicians. All pre-packaged, the least offensive, most appealing alternative. But it’s precisely when humor is offensive that we need it most. Comedy should provoke. It should blast through prejudices, challenge preconceptions. Comedy should always leave you different than when it found you. Sure humor can hurt even alienate but the risk is better than the alternative; a steady diet of innocuous, child proof, flavorless mush. Demand to be challenged, to be offended, to be treated like thinking, reasoning adults and raise your children to be the same. Don’t let a comedian, a network, a congressional committee, or an evil genius take away your freedom to laugh at whatever you want.

 

 

 

Thing #6: Remakes, Reboots, Spin-Offs That Fuck With the Source Material For PC Reasons

You know exactly what the fuck I’m talking about.  The latest and most obvious example is The Little Mermaid remake, where they decided that in a reality where mermaids exist that live under da’ sea, where there is very little sun, the mermaid humanoids can have dark skin and not be pale at all.  The all-female Ghostbusters flick, and Ocean’s 8, and how all Ghostbusters have to be women.  How they make Maleficent go from antagonist to protagonist when she got her own movie.  The racial changes made to various superheroes adapted from comic books.  The revised version of Batgirl. What they claim to be doing with the newer 007 film.  These changes are not made for the sake of putting a creative and entertaining spin on the characters.  They are done to re-invent the culture that spawned their original/older/superior incarnations.  And why do this?  Destroy the existence of old-fashioned role models many identified with in the past in any way possible, and less people will want to choose them as their fiction role models, thus having less people want to identify with them.  Because they want these iconic figures to inherit traits they want their viewers to also possess.

I feel like comics are the medium that have really inspired me the most; and they have helped me to understand myself and the world, and have really answered a lot of questions I’ve had about life.  […]  I’ve always found myself turning to fiction because I believe that narrative provides a world where you can simulate feelings and experiences in a safe way.  It teaches you how to empathize with other people and […] really show you how to deal with life rather than just telling you.

[…]

And I feel like to reach your full potential you need to get a handle on yourself.  You need to learn who you really are on the inside in order to become the hero of your own story.  So society says that it values individuality and that it encourages individuality.  But that’s not really true, let’s get real about it.  Society pressures you to be just like everybody else.  And a lot of people just go wit the flow because there’s a lot of instructions for being normal, it’s pretty easy.  But being an individual, the instructions really aren’t as obvious because it’s different for everybody.  And that’s ok.  It’s kind of like a puzzle that you have to figure out, and try to have fun with it as best you can, even though it can be really confusing.

[…]

It’s a hard road.  You’re going to have people coming out left and right out of the woodwork trying to take you down, trying to make you feel bad for being who you are.  And the thing is that even though it’s a really hard road at times, I want you to know that it really is the most fulfilling thing you can do in your life.

[…]

So what I want you to do is a simple thinking exercise.  It’s free, anyone can do it.  What you need to do is pick a character that you love.  Something from your childhood always works, but you can also use someone that is resonating with you now.  […]  You can use any character from any medium that you feel comfortable with, including history and even mythology.  […] 

[If you love that character, and identify with that character, you learn to love yourself by default.]

So if you think that comparing yourself to characters that you love is a really fun and interesting way to learn more about yourself and embrace your true self, you may be interested to learn that you can also do this with characters that you hate.  Because as Carl Yung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”  An axiom which is very uncomfortable and entirely true.

[…]

I believe that once you know your true self, and once you have an understanding of the inner materials that you’re working with, you can step beyond any limitations that you find by identifying characters who have traits that you want to possess in your own life, channeling that energy.

If all major characters in all major mediums possess the same type of traits (promotion of feminism; shaming white alpha men; condemning the traditional and old-fashioned role of a married woman who stays at home to care for the house, the kids, and the husband, while also condemning the traditional family unit; etc), then the general audiences watching all newly released films that only contain these types of characters will tend to look primarily for those limited and intentionally designed inspirational traits.  Even when one has to look at statistical data to show that society is not benefiting from this in any way.

And this is why they wish to remake material that was famous/popular/hip at a point in time, if not all the way up to today.  To attack them, destroy them, and ensure the traits they once possessed are no longer there, so they can possess different traits, and thereby teach different lessons to viewers.  That is why they won’t focus on creating new material while pushing those traits and those figures.  Because those traits suck.  But put those traits on established characters who have been built up by more talented artists who put more hard work and effort into those characters than these NPCs couldn’t ever dream of approaching, and it will garner more attention.  Historical figures and mythology are not immune to this either.

And this is far more devious than the previous things, though they all arguably contribute towards this (almost) final one.  And that is why they all piss me right the fuck off.  Fuck them, I’m just going to go on collecting physical copies of the older medium with the better characters and the better stories, with the better themes and role models. Especially since Disney tends to alter their films on their streaming services to fit this agenda.

 

 

 

Thing #7: Absence of Films and Shows That Are Daring, Innovative, or Take Risks

Should be obvious at this point why this is the case.  And that is why the industry is so fucking dull.  Take a chance.  Go back to nationalism, pride in country, putting women in their place, joke about anything and everything, let writers have independent freedom and allow audiences to freely decide what will be a success and what won’t, make men smart again and be good role models (let alone have good father figures), and stop pandering to China.  On that last note, make some anti-China films to offset all the shit that’s been coming out that’s pandered to them.  Let films leave an impact again.  A good impact, not a bad one.  Stop brainwashing people with this shit. And if nothing else, at least balance the fucking ratio so that there are just as many films with women being all, “I don’t need no man,” as there are with women who are the opposite. Though if we’re to be honest as to what a healthy society needs, the balance should be more in the favor of the latter, especially when built off film types from the 60s-(20)00s.

 

 

PS: And to a lesser extent, I’m also irritated at how Christians are generally depicted as terrible people in film.

System Shock (1994) and Quake (1996) review

So in celebration of cocksucking California passing bullet legislation, I figure I’d talk about the best defining first-person-shooters ever made, outside of Doom (made after Doom).

Surely everyone has heard of Doom being the first major defining first person shooter game, which is still awesome to this day.  True, Wolfenstein came before it, and was made by the same company (iD).  But let’s face it, Doom in superior to Wolfenstein in every way.  But there are at least 2 other first-person-shooters which have defined the genre and made it what it is today (well, one would hope; plenty of today’s games could take lessons from these).  Recently played through both these games.  So let’s start with the earliest one.

System Shock (1993)

Rated: 4 / 5

While Doom may be the first major first person shooter, it was limited in how the player could move.  In that the player could only turn on a 2-dimensional plane.  They couldn’t look up or down, only side to side.  Well, System Shock not only allows the player to look up and down, but also to crouch, to lay flat, to lean left or right, and even enter a virtual world where they basically get full 360 degree freedom of movement.  All this just one year after Doom hit the market.  Quite a feat, even if the controls were clunky as hell (this has since been mostly rectified thanks to the Enhanced Edition which grants the ability to play in a fashion more similar to shooters of today; believe me, you’ll want to play it this way).

And what else did this game accomplish?  It’s arguably the first FPS game to have narrative immersion.  You aren’t just playing the game just to get guns and ammo, and rack up a body count, and discover secret rooms, gain a high score, etc.  In this game, you are actually involved in a developing plot, with a flawed protagonist (you) against an antagonist partly made because of your past misdeeds.  It has warnings of the future, about AI, about cybertechnology (in the same vane as the Cyberpunk universe, except in space, on a space station).  And it’s also likely the first game to have “logs” littered throughout to give you insight as to what happened on sections of the space station prior to your arrival (just about every FPS game nowadays incorporates this).

And I’ll be damned if I wasn’t invested into what was going on.  The last third of the game is quite a ride.  And it’s great when you’re first starting out, because it’s like a survival horror.  Especially when you learn of the fate of the crew, and what SHODAN did to them, and what the origin of these mutants are.  But you get stronger as the game goes on, becoming more of a threat to SHODAN (the AI), which initially thought of you as insignificant in the grand scheme of eliminating all human life from the world, and replacing it with a new race of machines.

Honestly, when it came to the “Grenade” and “Patches,” I don’t think I even used half of all the available options throughout my entire playthrough.

If there’s any fault I can give this game, aside from the clunky control scheme and interface, it’s the level design.  Don’t get me wrong, it works just fine, but you can’t help but think that it was designed more for gameplay-sake than narrative sake.  In that the designs don’t make all that much sense in terms of how one would want to design a space station.  Alien: Isolation did a much better job by comparison (to make a more recent example).  That, and you could find yourself lost on what to do and where to find something if you miss it early on (like some notepad that has a passcode on it, or the numbers on certain screens).  That being said, the stuff that you can get stuck on isn’t anywhere near the worst I’ve seen from FPS puzzlers, especially from that time period.  Even Doom and Duke Nukem 3D had levels which players would find themselves stuck on for a while.

Regarding the difficulty (at least on Normal mode), it started out challenging, but after a while the game mostly feels like a breeze until the last couple levels.  If you spend enough time picking up ammo from each enemy you take out, and each crate that you find, you’ll have more than enough for whatever meets you later on.  Especially once you get the lightsaber (yes, this game has lightsabers).  You’ll be using bullets, and energy (the latter of which can be recharged through one-time use batteries, or an energy core located in various areas).  Every now and then, there will also be a first aid station that fully recharges your health (and you’ll be provided consumables for health as well).  Overall, it took me roughly 15 hours to beat.  That being said, there is a hard mode where you are given a time limit for beating the game.  7 hours.  Go longer than 7 hours, you lose.  Good luck with that.

Aside from the historical impact this had on gaming, it’s still a solid experience to this day.  Though it does end a little too abruptly once you beat the final boss (I mean, there’s no epic explosion or anything; it literally cuts to the epilogue after you hit SHODAN with the last bullet).

And did I mention they’re remaking this game?

 

And for the next step in the evolution of FPS games:

 

 

Quake (1996)

Rated: 4 / 5

This was the game that set the standard for every FPS game made afterwards, in my opinion.  Especially if you play with the HD graphics.  That’s a bit tricky to do though, for a few reasons (more on that later).  You move around like a normal modern FPS, shoot guns and collect ammo like a normal FPS (none of that “press a button to pick up the ammo pack” bullshit, you just walk over it to collect it), etc.  And it doesn’t try to be as ambitious as System Shock control-scheme-wise.  There’s no laying prone, or leaning left or right.  It’s just move, run, and jump, and that’s it.

Source

While there is a story, it’s not something that will be at the forefront anymore than it was in Doom (made by the same company, iD).  This game is all about the gameplay and shooting the shit out of demons, pure and simple.  Over the course of the game you get more guns to shoot, and more enemies to shoot at.  However, it’s not as diverse as Doom.  By comparison, the variety of enemies will seem limited.  In Quake, you get 8 weapons and 7 enemies.  In Doom, you basically got 8 weapons and 10 enemies.  But what it lacks in diversity compared to Doom it makes up for in some of the best level design (and enemy placement within said levels) I’ve ever seen in an FPS.  The design is tight, every door, hallway, secret, platform, enemy; it all seems designed with intent, with everything very well thought out.  Masterminds designed the levels for this game.

And while there isn’t a story per-se, you do get the sense that you’re in a sacriligious place.  A place outside of your world, your own dimension.  Why are you even there?  Why even visit a place like this?  Well, reading the instruction manual, pretty much for the same reason you visit Hell in Doom: demons are invading through a portal, so it’s time you return the favor and invade their world, and throw them a very big hello party, courtesy of humanity from Earth.  Our protagonist doesn’t like illegal aliens invading his fucking turf.  So, naturally, he decides to gear up and blow some of them away.  It’s a challenge of his manhood and masculinity, which is why the gun is always front and center, like it’s your massive erection, blowing out bullets and beams and shells and rockets.  And if you’re into it enough, you might also get a stiffy and cream yourself in the ecstasy of all the carnage.  At some point you’ll probably scream like you’re having an orgasm.  Like Trent Reznor does.

And to stand apart from most other shooters, this is more of a gothic horror.  It’s like you’re in a fucked up medieval castle that’s out of time in some hellish realm with hints of sci-fi thrown in.  It’s rather unique.  And to make it even more unique, the soundtrack was done by Nine Inch Nails (NIN).  And to make their presence even more significant, there’s a Nailgun, with ammo packs containing the NIN logo.  It’s more atmospheric rather than in-your-face; it conveys a more subtle horror and disturbance that slowly seeps into your skin.  The music is every bit as important as everything else contained within the game.  It would feel incomplete without it.

Unfortunately, incomplete is the standard version people tend to get nowadays with this game.  Whether you purchase it on Steam or GOG (I prefer the latter), the soundtrack is missing (because of rights issues).  Well, that’s no completely true.  GOG did manage a workaround, though you are forced to play it with the inferior graphics (more sprite-based than 3D model based).

So on that note, here’s the 3 main ways you can play it once you purchase it on GOG (assuming you’re not using an alternative method):

Quake GIF
Quakespasm mod, which allows the music to be played, with tweaks (see below).  Full 3D models.
Game GIF
Standard GOG version, with no music.  Sprite-based models.
Quake GIF
Horrendous GOG workaround that doesn’t look great at all, but does allow the music to play.

Otherwise, if you can manage to play a version of it with the best graphics and the music thrown in, it’s a great experience.  The only downside to it is that there’s only 2 boss battles, when clearly there should’ve been 5.  There’s basically 5, uh, “dimensions,” with each dimension having a certain number of levels.  Only in the first dimension is there a boss at the last level, and the fifth dimension is basically a glorified (get to the final boss of the game) level.  There were some production troubles that prevented them from having the time and budget to program in the other bosses, so they scrapped them and made the last levels of dimensions 2-4 basically be like any other level, except progressively more difficult.  Not necessarily bad, as the challenge is still great and the level design is impeccable as always.  But it’s just tragic to think of what could’ve been.

 

Mods (for Quake only)

Ok, so first things first.  While there are a couple bits of software out there that basically do the same thing, this is the one I used.

Quakespasm

Download this, put in the files/folders (from the GOG download) needed in the Quakespasm folder, and you’re good to go.  Will run in the best quality.  However, it still won’t include the music, not right off the bat.  Still needs some tinkering to get that to work.  You’ll need to either copy-paste over the mp3 music files the GOG game has stashed away in one of the folders and put them in the Id1 folder; each music file should be titled track02.mp3 or track02.ogg (.ogg is the best format), with the “02” number being anything from 02-11 (there is no track01, there isn’t supposed to be).

how to use quakespasm

And honestly, that’s really the only mod you’ll need.  However, if you want more levels out of quake, there are several fan-made campaigns which add a crapload of content, including cutscenes (in a similar vane as Red vs. Blue, except these guys try their best to take it all seriously).

 

Nehahra

This is a fan-made campaign that is absolutely massive.  If you want to check out fan-made content, this is the absolute best place to start (though the cutscenes do run for too long in my opinion).  There are others in existence, to be sure, but this is the best starting point.  Unfortunately, I don’t think it works with Quakespasm (at least I couldn’t figure out a way to make it work with it), so you’ll be dealing with the more sprite-based graphics.  It’s still good.

 

 

PS: And yeah, I know, I didn’t really have much to say about these games other than just recommending them.  I’m not the best when it comes to video game reviews, I’ll admit.  Difficult to summon the willpower to discuss the graphics, audio, gameplay, story, and replay value.  I tend to be more about philosophical aspects, or food for thought, when it comes to my reviews, and games tend to be difficult about that stuff because they’re more about challenging yourself, and seeing if you can take on that challenge and succeed, and have fun along the way.  Adding a narrative is a bonus.  If you want a solid review for each game, I provided videos to LGR.  He is second to none when it comes to reviews for games like these.  So consider this article a recommendation for the games and the LGR reviewer.  That being said, there may come a day where I come across a game that is so narrative dependent, so devoid of any real gameplay, that I may just end up reviewing it like a movie.

 

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