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Burning_Darkness

Burning_Darkness
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Member since: 24.01.2009

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    • cd-wow.com / Online Shop / 17 Readings / 14 Ratings
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      22.01.2013 02:30
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      I won't be going back

      In addition to Amazon, I also like to use other similar sites like Play and cd101 to buy cheap cds and dvds.

      I'd heard friends talk about cdwow for years, so when I noticed that they had a fairly decent sale on I decided to finally give them a try. I ordered a metal cd from them, and it arrived within about a week or so. Not a massively slow delivery time, but nowhere near as fast as the other sites I regularly used. The reasons for this became clear when I noticed that the package had been shipped over from Hong Kong.

      I had been sent the correct cd, and it was in new and sealed condition, but when I turned it over I noticed that it was a re-release on a South American label, and appeared to be a bootleg of some kind. Perhaps it was legitimate- it can be hard to tell with South American and Eastern European reissues, but in any case these tend to be unwanted and people often send them back, as indeed I decided I would do.

      I attempted to contact cdwow several times to expain that I was unhappy with the item and required a refund , but I received no reply to any of my emails to them. In the end I gave up, and ende up stuck with the cd, vowing to never use cdwow ever again.

      The site is easy to browse, their prices are reasonable (but not really enough to make you use them over Amazon), but their customer service appears to be abysmal, and the quality of their prodcs (cds anyway) suspect. obviously this is only a single transaction, but the total lack of customer support is enough to stop me from ever going back.

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    • Asda Iron Brew / Soft Drink / 6 Readings / 6 Ratings
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      22.01.2013 01:42
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      For out for the real deal instead

      A lot of the time, own-brand fizzy soft-drinks are not worth bothering with. Lemonade tends to be fine, as does Dandelion and Burdock, but Cola is a different matter altogether. I tend not to drink the stuff anyway, but the own brands tend to taste utterly awful, and you really would be better off getting a premium brand, if you must drink the stuff.

      Iron Brew is kind of in the middle.

      Asda's Iron Brew as opposed to the trademarked (IRN BRU) is a knock-off of the Scottish fizzy drink that may or may not be made from real girders. It's an odd taste to begin with- sort of orangey, but with a hinto of both bitterness and sugar, kind of like flat orangeade really... only not flat, if that makes sense. Asda's version is definitely similar, but it has a much duller and less tangy taste, and really isnt all that differerent-tasting to orangeade. It's still uite sugary, but unlike a lot of the own brand fizzy drinks it a t least doesnt leave a filmy feeling on the teeth, although it does taste slightly chemically.

      It's not bad value for money ar around 89p for a 2 litre bottle, but if you have a predeliction for this particular rather odd drink, then it's probably worth forking out a little extra for the real deal in this instance.

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    • Space Invaders (PC) / PC Game / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
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      22.01.2013 01:29
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      A decent remake of an all-time classic

      Space Invaders is up there with Pac Man and Pong as one of the most instantly-recognisable early video games, an like all successful games there were hundreds, likely thousands of clones made to capitalise on its' success. Originally a jostick and button-controlled arcade machine, Space Invaders is siilar in some respects to chilling Cold War simulator Missile Command in that you operate as a defence battery, defending against waves of incoming threats, in this case lines and lines of little blocky aliens that advance from left to right in lines across the screen, gradually moving down the screen and speeding up as they do, making gameplay more and more frenetic the longer it goes on.

      The player controls a little mobile gun battery or tank that can move left or right but not up and down, firing single rounds that kill the aliens in one shot. there are also 3 little barriers between you and the invaders, which can be used as cover by you and which absorb shots fired by both you and your foes, although the barriers disintegrates a little more each time they take a hit. It's a nice feature, and adds an extra layer of strategy to the game.

      This updated PC version doesn;t relly add anyting new.. just nicer, shinier, crisp visuals nstead of the ultra-blocky. monochrome visuals of its predecessor, along with some nicely implemented sound effects and a thumping soundtrack that helps keep things tense and exciting.

      To be hoenst though, i much prefer the visuals blocky original, and sound-wise I prefer its simple bleeps and splashes for gunfire and explosions, whilst the gradually-speeding-up bleep/rumble that reminded corresplonded with the aliens' incraesing speed is perfectly tense and exciting in its' own right.

      Whilst fun, it's an unnneccesary remake really, and you'd be better off just finding a free version of the original game to play online.

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    • Missile Command (PC) / PC Game / 3 Readings / 2 Ratings
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      22.01.2013 01:17
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      A superb game, with a dark nihilistic twist

      Originally released in the arcades in the 80s by Atari, Missile Command is a surprisingly ominous and nerve-wracking game, in which you have to defend your cities and missile silos at the bottom of the screen from incoming nuclear missiles raining down from above.

      The original arcade version is of course very primitive, featuring simplistic visuals made up of mere hundreds of blocky pixels, but it works, because it replicates the actual military technology of the time. Like the real-world military tech of the time, the visuals are symbolic and brutally primitive looking, but this works wonders for the player, as it means that the action all takes plce inside the player's head. It's all too easy to imagine that you *really are* sat at a nuclear defence station, deflecting incoming nukes as they home in on cities and defences... the coarse blips and bleeps that make up the sound effects (there is no music, just silence) only adding to the tension and realism.

      the game mechanics are simple, but immensely addictive. incoming missiles leave tracers behind showing their downward path, and you must fire up your own missiles, which explode in the places you designate, taking out any enemy missiles that get caught in the radius of their explosions. Satellites and Jets fly past dropping more missiles at you, and the game requires you to think ahead, planning a move, executing it and moving on to the next threat, and so on.

      It's a futile effort, in that the players always lose- total nuclear annihilation is assured. All you can do is see how long you can hold off for. As said above, due to the symbolic nature of the visuals, its hard not to imagine that that little pile of pixels that just got nuked was not a real city, full of millions of people, now writing in flames. It's a dark and unforgiving game, full of tension and nihilistic horror, acting like made for TV Movies 'Threads' and 'The Day After' to hammer home the importance of immediate nuclear de-escalation and disarmament. Its ultra-simplistic, addictive nature means you can play it for hours, getting lost in a nuclear nightmare that is as fascinating as it is terrifying.

      This later PC version has much brighter, upbeat visuals and animation, as you would expect, plus a pretty decent thumping techno soundtrack to boot. otherwise it's exactly the same, and though playing with a mouse is no substitute for the joysticks and buttons of the arcade machine, its great fun all the same. That said, the original version is by far the best, combining the retro charm of the erly video game days with the deeply ominous atmosphere of the days of the Cold War, and it can be played free of charge, legally, and without having to download, from IGN's website. Give it a go, and tell me the hairs on the back of your neck aren't standing up by the end.

      http://my.ign.com/atari/missile-command

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    • A Christmas Carol 3D (DVD) / DVD / 5 Readings / 4 Ratings
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      22.01.2013 00:55
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      Watch the patrick Stewart version, then watch Toy Story afterwards. But give this a miss.

      This version of A Christmas Carol is another of Robert Zemeckis' lamentable CGI motion-capture films, featuring Jim Carrey as Scrooge.

      At first I had reasonably high hopes for this. It started well, following the dialogue of the original story closely and building up Scrooge's miserly, cantakerous character quite nicely, whilst the stopmotion effects, (which are well known for producing uncomfortably grotesque-looking characters who lurk in creepy 'Uncanny Valley' territory) actually suit the story, populated as it is by Dickensian charicatures, good and bad.

      Things trundle along entertainingly enough, but Carrey is unable to put any of the gravitas or soul into his character, unlike Patrick Stewart and other earlier incarnations, and we never really get very invested in the character, which is a crippling flaw for a story like this.

      It's ok though, up to a point, when, upon being visited by the third and final spirit, portrayed well enough as a grim reaper-like figure, the film derails into a series of madcap chases, with scrooge being chased through the darkened London streets by deranged black horses pulling a cab, sliding across snowy rooftops and banging his head on icicles, and being shrunken down and practically squashed by the mercernary maids and fences whoa re carving up his possessions after his future death.

      It's just awful, clanging loudly with the original material as it tries to shoehorn in a 3D fairground attraction section into a classic victorian morality tale. The story loses all tension and groundedness, and by the end I couldn't care less what happened to scrooge, even less so when he took to hitching a ride on the back of a cab, sliding down the snowy streets in his nightgown as he was towed along, post revelation.

      It's essentially like if someone were to insert a 15 minute car-chase/gunfight/wrestling match scene into the middle of Hamlet- it just completely ruins it. This was never about the story though, but about finding a viable vehicle for exploiting the presently lucrative 3D dollar... a greedy, soulless enterprise that clangs with a most delicious irony here.

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    • The Screaming Skull (DVD) / DVD / 24 Readings / 22 Ratings
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      15.10.2012 21:19
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      endearingly spooky

      Released in the 50s, black and white horror 'The Screaming Skull' had an advertising campaign that was absolutely brilliant. THe trailer, which also serves as the intro to the film was a mock-disclaimer that warned you that the film might well scare you to death, reassuring viewers that a luxurious coffin full christian burial would be provided at no extra cost in the event that they should pop their clogs with fright.

      It's a proper old-school ghost story, in the western tradition, clearly made on a tight budget but not without certain creepy atmosphere. The story concerns a wealthy man who, still devastated by the mysterious death of his first wife some years ago, is trying to start anew with his new fiance, a seemingly innocent yet deeply troubled woman who is unable to adapt to life on her partner's stately estate, sensing something sinister and malevolent lurking just beyond her perception. There's also a creepy groundskeeper lurking around the place; a mute, childlike fellow who seems to be struggling with a dark secret of his own. The new fiancee goes from bad to worse, her sanity seemingly crumbling, and she keeps seeing visions ogf the eponymous sinister screaming skull, tormenting her with ominous cries.

      Its a solid, simple psychological thriller/chiller with some interesting twists, and whilst the skull prop is incredibly basic (like a blown up version of something youd expect to see at the bottom of a fish-tank), it is made to seem decidedly sinister, and there are some great, roving shots travelling around the house and up the creaky stairs, as the tormented fiancee fears she is losing her mind, alone in her partner's vast, empty mansion.

      There are certainly problems with it; the dialoughe is clunky, audio quality is poor, pace is often frustratingly slow and direction can be hamfisted in places, but if youre looking for a spooky B-movie chiller then the Screaming Skull is worth a watch. The cover art is great, too! Keep an eye out for it in pound shops this halloween....

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        24.09.2012 13:07
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        Don't bother

        This book is edited by Martin Lews, best known for his moneysavingexpert.com website- an excellent resouce full of useful tips and advice, such as writing reviews on dooyoo for example. I picked it up for 30 pence in a library sale, fittingly enough, but found it to be far less useful than I had envisaged.

        THe fact that the book is not actually written by Lewis is very apparent, as the tips and adive given are frequently very poor and often not worth bothering with. It tends towards stuff like "save money by just eating old bits of carpet and driftwood that you find on the beach". Obviously I made that one up, but the tone of the book isn't that far off. The point of budget tips as I understand them is to avoid wasteful spending without creating a significant drop in your living standards. Anyone can save money by eg. never going out or living on just plain rice and water. I'm no snob and I try to save money wherever possible, especially in today's unforgiving economic downturn, but somehow this book made me think of the Great Depression of the thirties.

        To be honest, even if you were seriously struggly, living hand-to-mouth, I donf think this book would be of much use to you. THe advice tends to be either blatantly obvious (use charity shops, flog unwanted junk on ebay) or largely useless. It just feels halfheartedly cobbled together: I can imagine a frazzled writer, hunched over a computer in the wee hours, an ashtray full of cigarette stubs, desperately trying to come up with another 12 pieces of advice and just knocking out anything to reach the deadline. That's how it feels, anyway.

        Even when useful-if-obvious advice is given, it's not particularly well thought-out. Fore example, the adice on making money on ebay neglects to mention that you can avoid listing fees by starting bids at 99p or listing on special 'free-listing' weekends.

        I'm sure there msut be much better books of this type out there. Start saving by giving this one a miss.

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        02.09.2012 19:45
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        Terrible

        The original Bubsy game was a Sonic knock of for the Sega Mega Drive and the Super Nintendo. It was pretty average, and the gameplay was often frustrating, but it had reasonably good graphics and was a passable platformer overall. Bubsy 3D for the Playstation however is one of the worst platform games I have ever come across.

        As the name would imply, this time the game is in full 3D, with the player controlling bubsy from behind in much the same way as in Mario Galaxies. I was never a fan of 3D platformers of this kind, much preferring their stripped-down and simple 2D counterparts, but it's certainly a format that can work just fine if properly implemented. Unfortunately, Bubsy is let down by (among other things) some absolutely horrible controls. You can't run and turn at the same time, meaning that you're constantly having to stop dead and angle your character to the left or right before moving again. This on its own would be enough to cripple the game, but there's more to come.

        Jumping is awkward and the level design is tedious and dull. From a visual perspective it's incredibly ugly, with the 3D levels comprised entirely of untextured garish solid-colour bitmaps draped over everything, making it look like the game is not finished. Which is probably true. The game mechanics are tedious and dull, requiring you to jump from one platform to another whilst avoiding the fire of the handful of enemies that appear throughout the game, jumping on their heads to kill them. perhaps the single most annying aspect however is Bubsy himself. The character ENDLESSLY spouts cartoonish nonsense in a deeply irritating voice, and only the fact that you can thankfully turn this feature off stopped me from hurling my tv through the nearest window.

        So, to recap, godawful visuals, horrible controls, boring and derivative gameplay, and an intensely irritating main character all combine to make an absolutely terrible game. Avoid.

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      • Digital Man (DVD) / DVD / 21 Readings / 20 Ratings
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        15.07.2012 00:48
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        Rubbish!

        Ever since discovering the magnificently rubbish Cyborg Cop films, I have been keeping a keen eye out for similar micro-budget, mid-90s Terminator knock-offs in the hope of discovering another hidden gem in Rubbish Cinema.

        Sadly, Digital Man turned out to be pretty disappointing. The 'Digital Man' in question is your standard 90s cyborg killing machine, played here by a 6"5 German martial artist by the name of Matthias Hues. Hues says very litte thoroughout the film, and instead just stomps about in camp body-armour with a ludicrously large laser gun that makes Doom's BFG look like a pea-shooter. Anyway, the film starts with Digital Man infiltrating a terrorist hideout, killing everyone with ease, but on his return flight he is framed for the murder of several soldiers by corrupt generals (one of them played by Paul Gleason, whom you'll probably remember as the insuffereable Police Chief Dwayne T Robinson from the original Die Hard), and his ship deliberately remotely crash-landed in the middle of nowhere.

        Digital Man survives the crash however, and sets about finding a satelite uplink so he can report back to base. He comes across a tiny hick town populated entirely by trailer trash stereotypes, and all manner of high-jinks ensue when our hero tries to commandeer a trailer satellite dish, causing the owner to go after him with a shotgun and resulting in the local obese sheriff getting shot dead. Luckily for them however, a crack team of mercenaries are sent in to find Digital Man and take him down. They all wear even camper body armour, and carry even more ridiculous oversized guns, which are presumably meant to look like the awesome smartguns from Aliens but are in fact, I am sure, just modified leafblowers. When they 'fire' them, a little flame comes out of the barrel, whilst an explosion detonates in the distance. It doesn't work at all. The mercs look almost exactly like the XCOM operatives from the intro to the classic PC game UFO: Enemy Unknown, which adds to the ridiculous daftness of the film in general. All the rendered spaceship models in the film were made on an Amiga, which gives the film feeling of one of those ultra-naff FMV games found on the Sega Mega CD.

        Anyway, our new protagonists set about tracking down Digital Man, but keep getting killed by him one by one, at which point it is reaveled, at least three if not four times, that most of the mercs are in fact cyborgs themselves! The film is reasonably entertaining up until this point, but it soon devolves into endless shots of people running down corridors and shouting, horrendously edited and with no sense of tension or excitement. There is one good part, however, in which Digital Man blows an incredibly irritationg trailer trash couple to pieces by complete accident. It's one hell of a slog to sit through though, and the inevitable one-on-one fight at the end is pretty dull as well.

        There are a few cheesy laughs to be found in Digital Man, but it's pretty damn boring overall, and not a tenth as entertaining as Cyborg Cop 1 or 2, with neither a bumbag-wearing David Bradley nor a Yorkshire-accented Evil John-Rhys Davies to be found. Worth picking up for a pound in a charity shop, but only if you're really, really bored and have an unusually high tolerance for terrible action films.

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          14.07.2012 16:08
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          A crushing disappointment

          The original Jagged Alliance game came out in the mid-90s, around the same time as UFO: Enemy Unknown and its sequel XCOM- Terror From The Deep. Like them, JA was a turn-based tactical strategy game with added micromanagement elements. Instead of fighting aliens however, JA had you controlling a team of mercenaries fighting to free the people of some obscure carribbean island from the clutches of an evil dictator. The gameplay was tense, engaging and fun, and the visuals colourful, whilst the excellent range of mercenary characters complete with some great voice-acting that helped pile on the charm, all of which ensured JA2's status as a strategy game classic. Released in 1999, the sequel, JA2, improved and expanded upon the original in every concievable way without altering the essential game-mechanics, making for a life-drainingly addictive game that retains a massive underground following to this day.

          When I heard that a second sequel was in the works, I was excited to say the least. The box cover-art retains that classic knowingly cheesy charm of the originals, whilst the rendered FMV intro of a remote village coming under attack is a great homage to its predecessors, which were released back in the days when CD space-filling FMV intros were the norm. The new game is a direct, updated remake of the second game, which was fine in my book, as JA2's gameplay was esentially perfect already. The game is once again set upon the war-torn island of Metavira, with the same top-down combat screen and grid-map screen as before, and the same micromanagement elements, such as weapons management, control of silver mines for income, and so on. You hire mercs for the duration of the game now though, as opposed to hiring and firing at will, which sucks. The individually unique merc characters from JA2 all return, which is great, or at leas it would be, were they not all sad shadows of their previous selves. Their character portraits are terrible this time around, and the wonderfully cheesy yet largely high quality voice acting of JA2 has been replaced by abysmal mumbling. None of the same voice actors are back, which is a crying shame.

          The grapics are suitably modern and snazzy, but tend towards the sterile side now. The combat screen is now in rotatable 3D, and looks decent, but the 3D aspect is pointless and confusing and the charm and sense of connection is gone. Worse still, you can now see all the enemies from any distance, which destroys any tension and completey changes the way you will play the game.

          All of this is as nothing compared to the major game-destroying problem with JA3: they did away with the turn-based aspect of the combat, aka the CORE gameplay element that made the game so endlessy enjoyable. Instead, we get a badly implemented pausable realtime system with stackable commands that are largely useless because they become largely obsolete as soon as you unpause the game. Gone is the almost ubearable tension and excitement of mentally dodging richocheting enemy bullets as the enemey soldiers take their combat-turn whilst your troops hide behind cover, awaiting their turn to fire back, and instead what we are left with is a sub-RTS mess that is largely devoid of any real cerebral aspect or visceral punch and utterly fails to suck you in as a result.

          It really is completely unforgivable. Sure, Microprose did something similar with their XCOM sequel Apocalypse, but whilst flawed and disappointing, the combat in that game was still far better implemented than this waste of time. The developers responsible for the original JA games, Sir-Tech, are long gone, and JA3 was made by a different team entirely, seemingly without any understanding of what people loved about the originals. If you fancy playing a game of generic, spinney-rotatey, stealth-strategy-lite then by all means check JA3 out, but if you want a tense, intelligent carefully-paced strategy combat game then stick to JA2, or, its add-on pack, or if you want a real challenge, one of the many mods out there, like the rock-hard Wildfire mod for example. What a waste.

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            13.07.2012 22:52
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            An interesting NES relic

            Released back in the early 90s on the 8-bit NES, Fester's Quest has you playing in as the eponymous Addams Family character fighting off an alien invasion. And why not.

            Essentially it's a top down exploration/rpg-style game in the style of the old Zelda games, albeit with the primary focus on simple arcade blasting action. The visuals aren't bad for the time, thought the gameplay is linear and often frustratingly difficult. Enemies respawn constantly whenever you kill them, which wouldnt be so bad were it not for the fact that many of your gun 'upgrades' down work properly. You start out with a straightforward blaster that fires in a line straight ahead, which works fine, but many of the subsequent weapons you get fire in various patterns that don't work in confined spaces, hitting the walls instead and leaving you almost completely defenceless. You can collect and use weapons like dynamite to help you out, but the game is still far more difficult than it needs to be (although I suppose that was par for the course for an awful lot of NES games).

            There are also some rather interesting first person parts to the game when you enter buildings, more pseudo-3d corridor-slideshows than anything else really and devoid of monsters or items, but still pretty impressive (if almost completely pointless). The game has a reputation for being something of a clunker, but there are far far worse games of its' type out there. Special mention goes to the game cover art too, which is fantastic!

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          • Superman (N64) / Nintendo 64 Game / 14 Readings / 13 Ratings
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            12.07.2012 23:05
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            Awful

            Superman on the N46 is one of those games like ET on the Atari 2600 and Action 52 on the NES that has become notorious for its unparallelled awfulness. Graphically it isn't too bad for its time, with half-decent 3D character and building models as Superman flies about a city. Objects only become visible from a short distance away however, and worse than that most of the city is utterly flat, with only a few buildings actually cropping up here and there.

            These visual complaints are as nothing compared to the game's real fault though- the gameplay. The game starts with a message from Lex Luthor that reads "Superman- to save your friends, first solve my maze". Then the game proper reveals itself in all its maddening, tortourous hideousness. Put simply, you have to fly through floating rings. And that's pretty much it. Just fly through ring after ring after ring, wrestling with the clumsy controls whilst looking at the dull, lifless backdrops. How is that even a maze? And it takes about as much 'solving' as does successfully putting on a pair of shoes. If you miss out two or three rings, you have to start again. You can fly back and go back through a ring if you accidentally go past it, but the time limit is so unforgiving that doing so will cause you to lose anyway. Each stage goes of for several minutes, and if you manage to pass it you come to another brief section in which you have to mash buttons in order to pick up cars or punch out criminals, often with only seconds left on your timer. And then its back to the rings again.

            Superman 64 is zero fun. It's anti-fun in fact. It's an endurance test seemingly designed to drive people into insane, gibbering wrecks. Put simply, it's one of the worst games ever made.

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            04.07.2012 23:29
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            Pretty much what you'd expect from a no-budget 70s film about giant spiders from space

            The original 1975 promotional poster for 'The Giant Spider Invasion' is absolutely fantastic. It's an endearing throwback to the days of classic 50s post-nuclear monster films like 'THEM!' complete with the brilliant tagline of "CREEPING!....CLAWING!...CRUSHING!". Check it out on Wikipedia.

            I can see why any kid back in 1975 would be desperate to sneak into the theatre to see it, and indeed a quick glance at imdb.com turns up numerous reviewers warmly reminisching about their childhood memories of excitedly watching this ridiculous homegrown creeper on the big screen.

            Filmed on location on a budget of what seems like about 50 dollars, the film is about a small wisconsin town that is terrorised by giant spiders that arrive at Earth via meteorites.Tiny at first, they quickly grow to humongous sizes and set about devouring the local populance. The central characters all seem to be drunken, greasy and overweight, from the wobbling, incompetent sheriff to the philandering, girdle-wearing farmer who thinks he's struck lucky with the intergalactic diamonds he finds strewn about his fields amongst the metorite debris. The story is initally typical small-town drama, but before long people are being sucked up into the maws of giant arachnids like nobody's business.

            The spider effects are excellent. By which I mean terrible. One woman is attacked in her kitchen by giant, protruding spider arms in what looks like a bizarre exceprt from an episode of The Muppets. And when we see the Giant Spiders in all their glory, it becomes apparent that they are in fact VW Beetle cars covered in fur with long pipecleaners for legs. It looks about as realistic as it sounds. The direction and cinematography are pretty excruciating, and some shots are so badly illuminated that it's hard to see anything but blackness. The acting and dialogue meanwhile are flat-out rubbish. I wouldnt be surprised to learn that the actors were all just locals wo turned up to audition, like in the legendary Troll 2.

            There's lots of bland, nonsensical exposition in the form of some equally uncharismatic science types wandering around waffling on about black holes. I'm not quite sure what happens in the end. I seem to recall that the scientist chap throws a flare at the head spider, causing it to turn into several thousand gallons of multicoloured goo.

            It's a terrible, terrible film, but as piece of a painfully bad 70s drive-in horror-trash, it's pretty fun

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          • Cannibal Apocalypse (DVD) / DVD / 28 Readings / 26 Ratings
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            10.06.2012 16:18
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            Worth a look for splatter fans and zombie affictionados.

            As has been mentioned elsewhere, the premise of Cannibal Apocalypse is essentially an exploration of the question "What if the A-Team had been cannibals?".

            It stars the legendary John Saxon, who was apparently so repulsed by the film that he has never watched it. The film starts out in Vietnam, with Saxon leading his men into battle with the Viet Cong to rescue a group of American POWs imprisoned in a pit in the earth. The ensuing gunfight is fairly standard 70s/80s action film stuff, except for the fact that a wildly incongrous, Boogie Nights-esque 70s funk soundtrack is played over the top of the action, making for a rather bizzarre spectacle that reaches its peak as a vietnamese girl runs around on fire, but wearing a flame-proof suit so thick that it looks like she has a mattress tied to her back. Anyway, said unfortunate girl falls into the POW's pit, whereupon the captured soldiers immediately begin to devour her, as something has caused them to turn into wild-eyed cannibals during their incarceration.

            The resucued soldiers return to the US, where they end up going on a cannibal rampage. One soldier starts chomping on a woman in a cinema, before going on a shooting spree and holing himself up in a supermarket, besieged by both the local police and the campest, least threatening biker gang of all time. In true Rambo tradition, his commanding officer, Saxon, is sent in to talk him down, with mixed results.

            In short, Saxon starts to come around to his flesh-eating comrades' way of thinking, (whether the contagion is biological or psychological is never fully explained), and they continue their gristly spree (in a van, no less) whilst on the run from the law. A mechanic is killed, and we see a gory and sustained close-up of his leg as our protagonists set about it with a circular saw.... whilst that ridiculous funkadelic music blares away again in the background. Another rather more silly scene sees the head biker getting his eyes pushed back into his skull. Gunfights with the police ensue, and the cannibals end up retreating into the city sewers.

            The film was made in 1980, and there seems to be some subtext at work here; the audience is encouraged to have some sympathy for the cannibals, whilst simultaneously being repulsed by their actions, and they quickly become social pariahs, their hideous transformations perhaps representing the terrible physical and/or mental traumas many soldiers brought back from the war (exposure to Agent Orange, PTSD, drug dependency, disfigurement etc), their conditions and predicament poorly understood or worse ignored by a population that largely wants to forget about an extremely bloody and, by its end, hugely unpopular war. The cannibal vets being hunted like rats in the sewers at the end seems to mirror the Viet Cong guerilla tactics and US countermeasures of Vietnam as well, albeit with the roles now reversed. It could be that I'm just seeing things that aren't there however, but in any case Cannibal Apocalypse is a pretty nasty and unsettling film, but whilst exploitative it's not without a scintilla of intelligence (although I can understand why Saxon would never want to see the finished product).

            Finally, my version of the dvd came with a sleeve insert offering an excellent short introduction/overview of both the film and the wider exploitation-niche of which the film is part, offering a colourful, intelligent, even academic analysis that you wouldn't normally expect to find in such a low-rent goresploitation release.

            A flawed and at times uncomfortable film, but interesting nontheless.

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          • Werewolf (DVD) / DVD / 23 Readings / 23 Ratings
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            07.05.2012 18:05
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            a real dog of a film!

            Werewolf is a staggeringly, staggeringly bad film. Some archelogists find the bones of a strange canine/human skeleton in the desert. They immediately decide to have a massive punch up. One of the archelogists cuts himself on the old bones, and spends the next few days slowly turning into a werewolf. He escapes howling from the hospital, whereupon his fellow archeologists then causally shoot him as he scowls uselessly from the bushes. Worst werewolf ever.

            The head of the archeology team then decides to start turning other people into werewolves for no clear reason. One security guard at the museum is drugged, being slipped a concoction of werewolf serum made from ground bones, whereupon he turns into Chewbacca and proceeds to drive a vintage sedan into some explosive barrels. Werewolf fail number two.

            The film honestly feels as if the director just made it up as he went along. Martin Sheen's broether turns up for a bit, does nothing, then disappears again. The main bad guy's hair is constantly changing colour, length and style from scene to scene. At one point during a bar scene, the camera wanders off and films a random wall mural instead, as if the cameraman couldnt bear the excruciating acting and dialogue for a moment longer.

            The werewolves are totally inconsistent. One minute they are people with hair stuck to their faces, the next they look like someone in a football mascot suit, the next they look like cat puppets covered in glue. People act in stupid ways. One girl is sitting in her open top car with her boyfriend, spies a werewolf in the distance, and immediately decides thhat the best course of action would be to abandon the vehicle and run away screaming, before falling into an inch-deep muddy puddle and rolling about hystericaly until the werewolf catches up to her (which takes about a minute). The dubbing is so bad that we actually hear two different female screams on top of each other.

            The main protagonist is so dull that I can barely remember waht he looks like, let alone his character's name. And his face is on the dvd cover. He teams up with a female journalist played by someone who speaks english as a second language, and badly. Her delivery is totally off, and she gives the impression that she doesnt really understand her lines. When she says "This is amazing!" referring to the skeleton discovery, she sounds utterly bored and sarcastic. It's ok though, because nobody else in the film can act either. Some of the characters can't even walk convincingly.

            Eventually, the film just sort of ends unexpectedly after a werewolf kills someone without ever actually making contact with them. The person just sort of flails about wildly and then lies down still, interspersed with shots of someone in a werewolf suit throwing themselves about for a bit. There is a twist at the end too. But its completely rubbish.

            As has been said elsewhere in other reviews, more entertainment can be had by staring at the film's holographic dvd cover for two hours than actually watching the film. Mesmerisingly terrible.

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