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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Naughty Bear Preview

Naughty Bear:Xbox360 Game:Developer:Artificial Mind and Movement: Publisher:505 Games

Naughty Bear (3)

I want a Friday the 13th game. I picture a modern HD setting where each level corresponds to a film from the series. In the single player you get to play as Jason's mother in the first tutorial level then upgrade to Jason by the second. I figure you could get the original actors to voice the various camp counselor victims (I'm sure Kevin Bacon is free) and extra achievements for using the original weapons (hello spear gun) as well as killing them in the original order. Heck you could have a multiplayer mode where one person plays Jason and everyone else plays well armed fodder (extra points for skinny dipping after finding your friends dead.)

Naughty Bear (1)

Sorry I got carried away there for a minute... anyway Naughty Bear promises me that Friday the 13th game play albeit with cute, poorly rendered teddy bears rather than topless nubile teenagers. Well you take the hand that is dealt to you.

Naughty Bear takes place on Perfection Island. You play the titular bear who apparently snaps after not being invited to Daddles' birthday party. As a result you stalk the various bears on the island beating the stuffing out of them (literally), setting traps, and frightening them into committing suicide. As a side note, since this is done with teddy bears the game is rated teen. If anything proves the arbitrary silliness of the ratings board this would be the game.

Naughty Bear (2)

Now there have been other games that allowed you to indulge in your serial killer fantasies with a controller in your hand, the infamous Manhunter being the most obvious example. (As a rule you can not mention Manhunter with out using a qualifier such as infamous or notorious.) Alas, Manhunter is hardly alone. The Hitman video games certainly allowed one to set elaborate traps and stalk one's prey. There was a Playstation game where you could set traps in a house and defends it against attackers of which I bought the sequels and enjoyed very much and for the life of me cannot remember the name of despite an exhaustive search of Playstation games on the Wiki, and no it wasn’t Home Alone.)

Naughty Bear (4)

In fact one of my favorite builds in open world RPG’s (Oblivion, Fallout 3) is that of the serial killer. Ramp of the stealth, put on the black hat (and hockey mask), and then go to town. On the surface it appears Naughty Bear appeals to my game play style. Alas there is a fly in this dark ointment… the reviews.

With no demo and gameplay videos that are both uninformative and unimpressive, I am forced to listen to those other voices out there in the ether. And those voices say nein. Naughty Bear got some ugly reviews.While a Metacritic score of 42 is pretty damning by itself, the similitude of the complaints is the most jarring. The reviews complained of game (and Xbox) breaking glitches, repetitive environments, repetitive gameplay, and an overall lack of good programming.

Naughty Bear (5)

While I will occasionally ignore reviews and jump into the pool anyway (Duke Nukem Manhattan) I take this wall of warnings with a heavy heart.It seems like Naughty Bear is a decent concept very poorly implemented. I am still curious enough to pick it up in the bargain bin, but I have no illusions of it being very good.

Final Preview Price $5

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Naughty Bear (6)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Videogame Round-up 7/14/2010 Deathsmiles revealed...

Well I finished my adventures on the Island of Panua. Yes story mode complete in a mere 30 hours. Did I reach one hundred percent completion you ask? Would you believe 22.8%...

I will have a complete review of Just Cause 2 later in the week, but in the meanwhile a helpful hint it is a must buy and in the running for game of the year. Another game that I completed was Aquarium HD which is a fish feeding simulator and the best use of Microsoft points since I bought my avatar a pair of white slacks. (this would be sarcasm though I admit the pants do look nice.) Needless to say Aquarium HD is not in the running for game of the year.

Just Cause A

A correction on Monday's Videogame Roundup, Magic the Gathering is not on the Deal of the Week list after all. Another correction, is that it isn't Lady Gaga's Poker Face that went on sale as a downloadable tune but the Eric Cartman version from South Park... which honestly sounds like a better listen.

In fact Monday's post was full of misinformation. I still have Crackdown 2 at a rent or $10 wait for the bargain bin recommendation and have no plans for another preview. In addition Castlevania for Dummies as of 11:47 EST has not been released on XBOX Live Arcade as part of a very special start of the Summer of staying home and sitting on your ass promotion. I did however find out what a 'Deathsmiles' was.

Deathsmiles A

Before I reveal my heavily researched top secret Deathsmiles information below, let me give a proper preview of this week's game reviews, previews and features that are on tap.

"When demos go bad a story of Too Human, Afro Samurai and Earthworm Jim HD."

"How not to release your game: a story about Alan Wake, Blurs and Split Second's May sales."


Just Cause 2
NCAA Football 2011
N3II: Ninety-Nine Nights
Naughty Bear
Sniper: Ghost Warrior
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

Xbox Live Arcade

Deadliest Warrior the game
Deathspank (not to be confused with Deathsmile)
Ancients of Ooga

Xbox Live Indie Games

Aquarium HD
Bombs Away
UFO Commando
Decay 2
7strains The Infection

Okay now that you have digested all that; Deathsmiles is a 2D side scrolling shooter featuring a Japanese “Gothic Lolita character design". In other words it is a very Japanese game. Deathsmiles is also a straight arcade port from a few years ago and as a result not in HD. Expect lots of colorful sprites, endless waves of bullets and fan service upskirt shots. Or you could just play Aegis Wing while watching Ikki Tousen on a separate set. BTW chances of me accidentally interchanging Deathsmiles and Deathspank in my commentary are running about one hundred percent. And yes those are actual cosplay Deathsmiles characters below.

Deathsmiles B

Eurogamer.net Podcast #26 is out and it is an interesting listen. Yes the sound quality on the Eurogamer podcasts is still pretty spotty, yes it often sounds like the B-roll for Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds is playing in the background (For some reason there are a lot of seagulls and England doesn't have windows that block sound) and yes they use those cute foreign terms and references. Their very special guest this week was Ignition Entertainment's Jamie Firth to talk about Blacklight: Tango Down. Since Eurogamer gave that game almost a worse thrashing than
I did I do admit I was disappointed in the lack of a Real Housewives of New Jersey weave pulling fisticuffs. Instead they talked about the poor sales for certain games that were stupid enough to come out around Red Dead Redemption's release date as well as the upcoming Dragon Age 2 (YAY!). All in all a good listen this week.

A special note; Mr. Firth wisely points out that as European producer he had nothing to do with the actual game Blacklight. (The old it's all the Americans fault gambit). The Eurogamer podcast does make a nice companion piece to my first feature this week "How not to release your game: a story about Alan Wake, Blurs and Split Second's May sales."

G4's feedback above features special guest Geoffrey Zatkin who's scientific study proves that game reviewers matter. Expect Zatkin's research to be trumpeted by the review crew till the sun turns into a white dwarf and the earth becomes frozen lifeless hulk. Between the self congratulatory coverage the panel also touches on the sales numbers from May and one of my favorite topics comes up, the importance of demos. Which leads into my second article planned for this week "When demos go bad a story of Too Human, Afro Samurai and Earthworm Jim HD."

On Metacritic this week NCAA Football 2011 has gotten some good notices
along with the usual is it worth buying if you already own NCAA Football 2010 hand wringing. I will have a full report soon.

Crackdown 2, Blacklight: Tango Down and Ancients of Ooga continue to take a light pummeling from critics. Gamers that plunged their fifteen bucks into Blacklight seem to be taking it pretty hard... while reviewers of Crackdown 2 strangely enough kind of wish it had been a fifteen dollar DLC itself. Ancients of Ooga seems to suffer from being too nice and too easy. (It is an awfully good looking and charming game.)

Ancients of Ooga A

Well as you can see from that giant list above we have our work cut out for us this next week. Will all those reviews, previews and articles get done in the next seven days? Nope... but we should take a good chunk of them out and try to keep it witty and informative. Meanwhile back here at headquarters we are looking forward to starting up Crackdown. (No not Crackdown 2, Crackdown... lets just say I am running a tad behind on my games)

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rider web

Friday, July 9, 2010

Laid to Rest... The best laid plans of serial killers and men.

Laid to Rest: 7 out of 10: Laid to Rest is a real slasher film. A movie truly for hardcore horror and gore fans only and will make viewers, such as myself, who often enjoy a less serious outing really wonder if I want to see a true horror film. (Turns out I do) This film scared me in places and made me look away in joyful disgust in others. It is a film that raises the bar for horror.

Laid to Rest G

On a lighter note let’s pretend you are married to a B movie actress whose claim to fame is a brief appearance as an Orion Slave Woman on an episode of The Star Trek spin off series Enterprise (Season 4 Episode 4 Borderland to be exact). She has large breasts but refuses to do a topless scene and she is seemingly challenged in the acting ability department. Oh and if she doesn’t star in your next project the audience will not be the only people to be denied a nude scene.

Laid To Rest F

Solution? One brain damaged protagonist coming up.... Some people have trouble getting past the um acting of our star (and directors wife) Bobbi Sue Luther but I think poor acting is as much a part of the slasher genre as the false scare or lame back-story reveal and it good to see it represented here. (Strangely I don’t recall a false scare in Laid to Rest and what back-story reveal there actually is turns out to be fairly well done.)

Laid To Rest A

As if to make up for the main lead, the rest of the cast is much better than any slasher film deserves. For one thing they act like a real people would if confronted with such horror. (This is a credit to the script as well; but the cast really does sell this.) Kevin Gage in particular gives a performance that carries the film and what Lena Headey (The queen in 300 and Sarah Conner in the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles ) is doing in a slasher film like this is a true mystery.

Laid To Rest H

The direction by Robert Hall is also top notch with the ability to create tension and true scares. The real star of this show however is the make-up effects that are simply out of this world and make this worth a look just for that reason. (No cheesy digital blood here)

Laid To Rest D

The only real negatives to the film, outside of Bobbi Sue Luther performance (which isn’t really that bad and fits a brain damaged character), is the opening credits and the ending. If you hate quick cuts, shaky cam and techno music all combined together the opening credits will put the fear of God into you. Don’t worry it stops as soon as the film proper starts. The ending is simply disappointing on a few levels. Characters act... well out of character, and the whole thing is anti-climatic and gimmicky.

Laid To Rest C

Overall Laid to Rest is an excellent slasher film for those people who like that sort of thing. But be forewarned this is for fans only; if you don’t like real horror stay far away.

Laid To Rest B

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Random Game: Japanorama

Impact of Towers: Xbox Live Indie Game: Publisher Mr. Square. (or mrsquare as the e.e. cummings style publisher apparently insists.)

Japanorama is an XBOX Live indie thingy (game? no... Utility? not really... Screen saver? not exactly but closer.)

It has nine pictures of japan four of which are reproduced below. They are panoramic pictures but they don't exactly "transport your mind straight to the land of the rising sun!" as the blurb would have you believe.

That is it. Seriously. Why do people bother making this for the XBOX Indie service. Should I post some of my vacation snaps for a dollar? At least my vacation shots might include topless beaches or something else of prurient interest.

Score: Not worth even a dollar.

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Japanorama E
"For some reason the entire exercise reminds me of the Epcot movies that you have to sit through to go on the rides."

Japanorama A
"Boy I'm glad I got this game. I could never see woods like this otherwise. Any other exotic treats in store for the ears and eyes?"

Japanorama D
"Old people and trash in the canal... Japan is a magical place."

Japanorama C
" A street without cars will the wonders ever stop?"

Japanorama B
" Blue Christmas lights in an office park. Please feel free to rest if the foreignness is to overwhelming."

Japanorama F
An example of the kind of vacation snaps I would charge a dollar for... don't worry this one is on the house.


Keira Knightley

I gave an extra point or two for King Arthur due to Keira Knightley, whom also helped keep me awake while watching the third Pirates movie and is practically ethereal in Love Actually.

Keira also has some decent acting chops which is evident in various costume dramas such as Dr. Zhivago and Atonement.

King Arthur A
"Keira Knightley A Picnic gone bad"

Keira Knightley Adulterous
"Keira Knightley Adulterous Profumo Affair"

Keira Knightley at Home With
"Keira Knightley At Home With Nip Slip"

King Arthur B
"Keira Knightley B the Arrow"

Keira Knightley Benin
"Keira Knightley Benin"

King Arthur C
"Keira Knightley C and Shout"

King Arthur D
"Keira Knightley D Fairyland"

Keira Knightley Desmoxytes
"Keira Knightley Desmoxytes Negative"

Keira Knightley Enrique
"Keira Knightley Enrique Smile"

Keira Knightley Ezzatolah
"Keira Knightley Ezzatolah Flash"

Keira Knightley Faenius
"Keira Knightley Faenius"

Keira Knightley Fashion Plate
"Keira Knightley Fashion Plate"

King Arthur H
"Keira Knightley H Dagger at Ready"

Kiera panties
"Keira Knightley Panties of Polka"

Keira Knightley gets mad in Atonement and decides to show her anger by getting all wet and sexy... When woman get mad at me I usually end up ducking toasters.

Someone has a spinning camera and a generic Spanish ballad and Keira Knightly topless. Eh it works for me. Even though if you told me this was a Vanishing Point remake I wouldn't be surprised (on reflection I just found out there was a Vanishing Point remake after all. A TV movie with Viggo Mortensen

Kiera Knightly goes all Julie Christie in this ribald Dr. Zhivago remake.

Kiera Knightly in quite an erotic scene in Silk.

Keira Knightly plays a virgin bride (I think I haven't actually sat through the movie. I'm saving it for when I need some serious girlfriend points.) in The Duchess.

I liked the Edge of Love but honestly I didn't remember this scene. I am watching it again and am somewhat confused with all the triple exposure stuff.

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