Posts tagged ‘adventure’

12/22/2012

No one expects the unexpected journey!

by wfgodbold

The first of the Hobbit movies is good–far better than the reviews make it out to be, and on par with Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

That said, it does drag on a bit, and Jackson inserted some scenes to better dovetail the Hobbit with the LOTR movies. Mostly, they work. Radagast particularly seemed forced.

Other additions were welcome–the flashbacks detailing the fall of Erebor and how Thorin Oakenshield got his epithet (which, as a title, seems like it should have been written by Kipling) fit in with the story far better than Radagast’s bumbling.

And though the movie is a bit slow in parts, it does a good job of keeping those slow parts to a minimum and moving the story along. I look forward to the second film, whatever its title may be (I was hoping they would take a page from the 007 movies and follow the credits with “Bilbo Baggins will return in The Desolation of Smaug,” but no such luck).

03/10/2012

John Carter of Earth?

by wfgodbold

No. John Carter of Mars!

For an adaptation of a pulp adventure novel first published in 1912, Disney’s John Carter (adapted from A Princess of Mars) holds up very well. The reviewers don’t know WTF they’re talking about (though I suppose it is kind of a hit or miss movie, so maybe 50% is about right. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys movies like this, this is a movie you’ll enjoy).

The actors all do a good job, and get into their roles without going Large Ham on us (even Willem Dafoe manages to rein it in!). I did like that while they used a bunch of recognizable actors, there weren’t any huge stars to ruin it by doing their shtick (e.g., Tom Cruise running, Nic Cage with a weird haircut and a flashlight losing his mind).

The action is great, the setting is great (though it could have been a bit redder), and the effects are great. The 3D was understated (surprising in a Disney flick).

And the movie does its job; for two hours, John Carter isn’t the only one transported to the savage world of Barsoom.

The audience is as well.

05/25/2011

Pandemonium

by wfgodbold

Two months until ATLUS’s latest hits the US market, and Love is Over.

My post on Catherine’s Japanese PSN demo has garnered quite a few hits, and I’m not above exploiting that with a daily game OST selection.

I still haven’t played the full game; the demo was entertaining, and I’m leaning towards buying Catherine when it’s released here (though I’m more likely to buy the standard edition). My mind hasn’t been entirely made up, though.

Pandemonium is a tense track. I’ve no idea when in the game it plays (the demo was only a couple levels, after all), but I’d bet on it being the background music to a tense stage.

I’m probably wrong, though. Given the number of OST tracks on youtube from the game, the cutscenes and stages have a wide variety of music, from Holst’s Planets to Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, with all manner of video game music in between.

05/16/2011

Cathedral of the Lost

by wfgodbold

The Dig was one of LucasArts’ final adventure games; the genre was on its last legs, but they put out this game anyway.

Some of the puzzles were a bit obscure, but for the most part, the game avoided the completely random problems that plagued some adventure games (King’s Quest, I’m looking at you.).

The player controls Robert Patrick Boston Low (voiced by Robert Patrick) as he leads a team sent to investigate an asteroid on a collision course with earth. Disaster ensues, and eventually the team is transported to a distant alien world they dub Cocytus.

04/15/2011

Catherine and Katherine, or Atlus’s bizarre “adult” themed adventure/puzzle Persona spinoff

by wfgodbold

Thanks to the wonders of the PlayStation Network’s region-free store, I was able to download and play through the demo for Atlus’s upcoming puzzler, Catherine (also on Xbox 360!). While the game’s designer claims it’s “erotic” and “adult-themed,” it the CERO-C rating is equivalent to the high-end ESRB T or low-end ESRB M rating.

The main character, Vincent, starts the demo in a dream; we know he’s in a dream, because he’s got ram’s horns, is wearing boxers with little hearts on them, and is clutching a pillow. He finds himself at the base of a wall made of blocks, and something terrible is clawing its way towards him; to escape, he must climb!

And so the player is thrust into the puzzle portion of Catherine’s gameplay; controlling Vincent on his mad dash up the wall requires moving blocks and taking care not to fall off the wall. Failure ends in death! When he reaches the top, he wakes, and the adventure portion of the game begins.

Vincent and his on-again off-again girlfriend/friend with benefits Katherine (seen on the 360 cover art) are having the talk, and she says that her family keeps dropping hints that she’s in her 30s and it’s about time she got married. Vincent is leery of commitment, and after the conversation is seen drinking with his friends and trying to figure out what he should do. After a brief discussion of the recent spate of mysterious deaths (there are never any strings of mundane deaths, are there?), his friends leave, and a younger blonde girl arrives; by this time, Vincent is drunk, and Catherine (seen on the PS3 cover art) seduces him.

He dreams again, and this time the nightmare is worse; the thing chasing him is some kind of giant monster, and if he’s too slow, Vincent gets stabbed by a giant fork (held in hands that look much like Katherine’s). If he makes it to the top of this wall, he wakes again, hungover. When he spots the younger Catherine latched onto his arm, he freaks out, and the demo abruptly ends.

Choices made during Vincent’s talks with his friends, and the text messages he chooses to send to Catherine and Katherine, influence the path of the story; between the multiple endings, Atlus claims Catherine has more than twenty hours of gameplay.

After playing through the demo, I’m interested in seeing how the full game plays. Atlus is pulling out all the stops on the localization, going so far as to make sure that the English voice actors get their lines synched to the characters’ mouth movements.

Update: Looks like Catherine is being groomed as the start of a new franchise. I knew it had done well in Japan, but I had no idea that it turned out to be this popular.

04/05/2011

The Legend of Zelda Main Theme

by wfgodbold

The Legend of Zelda; it doesn’t matter which one you play, you’ll hear this track at some point. While I’ve only completed A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time, I’ve played through parts of the others, and the gameplay is generally solid.

I’m starting to worry about the future of the series, though; The Wind Waker was OoT on a boat (and cel-shaded!), Twilight Princess was OoT with a wolf, and Spirit Tracks was LttP on a train. I suppose when your game series is built on a specific style of play, you’re pretty limited in what you can do with it and not tick off your fans. It’s not like they’re going to revitalize the series by having the next game be a point-and-click adventure game, after all.

At least the main theme is good…

03/18/2011

the theme of GROWLANSER

by wfgodbold

Growlanser was a JRPG released on the PlayStation (and rereleased last year on the PSP); it boasted striking character designs and an involved story. Unfortunately, it was never brought over to the US (though the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th games in the series were); probably because of the sprite-based graphics and anime-style character art.

The series is considered to be the spiritual successor to the Langrisser games; instead of focusing on commanding armies, the focus is on Carmaine and his companions as they carry out missions for the country of Rolandia. This gives the game more of a traditional JRPG feel instead of the wider scale tactical battles Langrisser favored. In the course of completing these missions, the overarching story and villain gradually come to light, until our hero™ is battling for the fate of the world.

The vocal version of the main theme plays during each of the two opening movies (one with male vocals, one with female vocals), and occasionally throughout the game; I believe it also plays during the final battle (IIRC; it’s been a while since I last played the game).

03/16/2011

Earthbound Warriors (Title background version) (地上の戦士(タイトルバックバージョン))

by wfgodbold

Sakura Wars V: So Long, My Love is the most recent main game in the Sakura Wars franchise, and was the first to be originally developed and released on the PlayStation 2 (it was also ported to the Wii). This game was also the first game in the series to be localized for release in the United States; most likely because the game itself is set in New York City.

The game opens with Shinjiro Taiga, a new graduate of the Imperial Naval Academy, reporting to the theater in Ginza (in a scene that mirrors Ohgami’s transfer to the Imperial Assault Force in the first game), where he meets Ohgami, the commander of the force (and his uncle).

Ohgami informs Taiga that he is being sent to study abroad in the US, and the inexperienced young man is sent to join the New York Defense Force, based out of the fictional Little Lip Theater on Broadway. Like his uncle, Taiga’s cover identity is as the ticket puncher.

The New York Defense Force is just starting out, and so throughout the game, the roster will fill out with new recruits until all six members have joined. Along the way, the characters pilot their Star model mecha against the evil forces of Nobunaga Oda, Japan’s all-time favorite villain.

The following track is an instrumental rendition of the game’s main theme, and plays while the title screen is displayed.

03/14/2011

Flowers dancing in the capital (花、帝都に舞う)

by wfgodbold

Sakura Wars 4: Madiens, Fall in Love brings the Tokyo and Paris focus of the Sakura Wars games to a close; this is the final game with Ichiro Ohgami as the player character.

Instead of having ten or twelve chapters, Sakura Wars 4 is only four or five chapters long; it attempts to make up for this by increases the number of endings attainable (to 13, from 6 (ST1), 8 (ST 2), and 5 (ST 3)). Unfortunately, the only reason to replay the game that many times is to see the ending for each of the girls; the main plot in the game doesn’t change.

This left a bitter taste in my mouth, especially after how much better the other games were. While it was nice to see the storyline brought to a conclusion, with General Yoneda’s retirement and the installment of Ohgami as commander of the Imperial Assault Force (he had previously only been the squad leader), I expected a more substantial game for his last hurrah.

That doesn’t make the music any less enjoyable; the opening to the game is a combination of the Sakura Wars 1/2 openings with the Sakura Wars 3 opening, only sung by Ohgami instead of Sakura or Erica. I’ve chosen to spare you that (even though the animation is nice), and have picked a background music track from the game itself, instead of the opening theme.

03/13/2011

Beneath the Flag (御旗のもとに)

by wfgodbold

Sakura Wars 3: Is Paris Burning? was the first game in the series to change the setting away from Tokyo (and the first to be developed for the Dreamcast). Sakura Wars 3 departed from the grid-based battlefields used in the first two games, and replaced them with a free-roaming system (that system was used in the remake of Sakura Wars 1, and has been mostly unchanged since).

The game picks up at the end of Lt. Ohgami’s voyage to Paris, and he’s looking forward to meeting the Paris Defense Force. Unfortunately for him, his cover job is the same as it was in Tokyo; he’s the ticket puncher for the Les Chattes Noires dinner theater. Just like the Imperial Assault Force’s cover identity was the Imperial Opera Troupe, the Paris Defense Force also sings and dances the night away undercover as performers at the dinner theater.

The game’s plot wasn’t as well done as the plots of the first two games, but the characterization made up for its shortcomings. Several Parisian landmarks make appearances during the game; one battle takes place outside the Notre Dame cathedral, and the Arc de Triomphe conceals a gun large enough to launch mecha to wherever they are needed.

The heroes and villains make their required appearances in the opening movie, along with some very nice CG of the mecha in action.

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