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May 032017
 

Big Hero 6 was a great superhero movie with the potential for a sequel, or a TV series. Unfortunately, neither is happening any time soon, at least that I know of. However, there is the next best thing, a video game that continues the story. Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay for Nintendo 3DS takes place shortly after the events of the movie.

It turns out that Yama has returned and reprogrammed an army of robots all throughout San Fransokyo in order to take revenge on Hiro. I’ll admit that Yama is not as memorable of a character. So to recap, he was the bot fighter champion at the beginning of the movie that Hiro defeated. Yama has gone to extreme lengths just for being a sore loser.

Of course, it’s up to the Big Hero 6 to stop him. The members split up to clear each area of robots. Each character has different special skills to go with his or her basic attacks and double jumping abilities. However, you cannot pick your character before entering a level. The game provides a particular hero for each area.

Hiro has electromagnetic gauntlets and can cling on to walls, where there happens to be a glowing magnet to cling on to. When there are too many enemies in one place, Baymax comes down to assist, which is automatic.

Wasabi fights with his plasma blades that are very affective in more ways than one. His smooth moves make him a big favorite.

Fred has his special suit that allows him to spit fire and jump really high. However, the control is pretty stiff when it comes to just slashing away at enemies. Luckily, Fred’s jumping attacks can take the robots down more efficiently.

Then we have Go-Go, who has great speed on her Mag-Lev discs. Though her basic attacks can be tough to keep under control. Just by pressing the attack button, Go-Go jumps all over the place and doesn’t always hit her mark. But I like her more efficient jumping attacks, especially against the shorter enemies.

Although Honey Lemon is part of the team, she is not a playable character, which I find disappointing. On the bright side, she does provide chem-capsules that are scattered throughout the stages to increase special effects on enemies when they get too tough.

There are boss battles too, but they are actually more difficult than the rest of the game. A strategy is required and there’s no mention of what to do? How are you expected to know without checking YouTube?

My only other concern is that you got to search for stuff that’s hidden in every level. They include a missing cat, all the letters in the word “HERO”, and five red health capsules. However, you can revisit levels any time and it’s all worth it when you get the upgrades.

Overall, I really like this game for being a simple platformer. I’ve also got to admit that the timer icon of Baymax trying to grab a soccer ball is cute and funny.

Feb 222017
 

Normally when it comes to shooter video games, the most common genres featured are action, horror, or movie based games like Transformers and Jurassic Park. Well here’s a shooter that’s more cute and cartoony. It’s called Chicken Shoot for Nintendo Wii.

The object of the game is to shoot as many chickens as you can as they fly by. Some of which contain weapon upgrades. However, unlike other shooters, there’s not even an ounce of bloodshed. When a chicken is shot, the content is reminiscent of Looney Tunes or any of the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the 60s.

As you proceed through the levels the scenery takes place in different countries from Scandinavia to the Himalayas to even Antarctica. Why would a simple farmer travel that far and wide just to shoot chickens? It just doesn’t sound logical if you think about it.

The control is a little tricky but real simple once you get the hang of it. For instance, the traveling is not automatic. You have to move the Wii remote like a mouse to move in any given direction. Luckily, each stage only takes place in a small-condensed area.

Speaking of moving the Wii remote, quickly moving it off screen is how you usually reload your ammo. In this game, you just press the ‘A’ button. It took me a while to figure that out because I’m used to how other shooters reload.

At this point you might think Chicken Shoot isn’t too challenging. Well in later stages, not only do you have more chickens to find and shoot, more of them throw eggs you have to shoot before they hit you. Supposably there is a life bar, but it’s not real visible.

There are three different modes to choose from. They are the arcade mode, the classic game mode that is merely shooting against the clock in stage one, and the Catch an Egg game.

Catch an Egg is a mini game where you catch eggs in the hen house before they hit the ground. Sounds easy, but it’s not. Once again moving the Wii remote like a mouse does the control.

This was certainly an interesting game for its cute humor and game play. It’s one of those rare titles that a certain genre is not well known for, but still stands out just the same.

Jan 252017
 

It’s been a while since the Fatal Fury franchise had a movie. Years after the Anime feature was the live action movie The King of Fighters, which is about top martial artists competing in a tournament that takes place in another dimension.

One of these fighters is CIA operate Mai Shiranui (Maggie Q). She has some of the most amazing moves. In addition to that, when a fighter enters the other dimension, his/her clothes change like how they’re dressed in the video games. Though I must point out that Mai’s outfit is not as skimpy as it usually is.

They can also use projectiles like in the video games. Unlike other live action video game based movies, this one uses them pretty regularly.

It turns out that the King of Fighters tournament is made possible with three relics: The Kagura Mirror, the Yagami Necklace, and the Kusanagi Sword. And the tournament is hosted by Chizuru Kagura (Francoise Yip, who I remember best as Nancy the gorgeous biker girl from Rumble in the Bronx).

 

The mysterious and power hungry Rugal Bernstein (Ray Park) steals the relics and uses them to enter the other dimension in order to awaken a creepy entity called Orochi and gain unlimited power. Rugal is a tough villain, but what is the deal with his eye? It’s very distracting with no explanation behind it.

Chizuru is intent on stopping Rugal, so she tasks Mai. Helping Mai is fellow participant Iori Yagami (Will Yun Lee). It’s not mentioned, but he appears to be Mai’s boyfriend.

Mai also seeks help from Kyo Kusanagi (Sean Faris), who is the son of former participant Saisyu Kusanagi (Hiro Kanagawa). Kyo is against it at first because he doesn’t believe that the other dimension even exists. Kyo does join once he finds out that Rugal is involved, since he has a personal vendetta with him.

Another big skeptic helping out is CIA agent Terry Bogard (David Leitch). I didn’t recognize Terry at first because he wore a suit and tie most the time. Then I remembered who Terry was once he entered the dimension wearing that sleeveless red jacket. Terry even finds a red hat that says “Fatal Fury” on it. Isn’t that interesting.

It turns out that Rugal is summoning every fighter in the tournament to the other dimension and killing them. There were exceptions, though. Attractive participants Mature (Monique Ganderton) and Vice (Bernice Lu) end up as Rugal’s servants. All he had to do was kiss them on the lips. This guy sure is persuasive.

This was certainly a great movie with cool martial arts action and awesome music to go with it. Since the Fatal Fury franchise is making quite a comeback, I should start catching up on those video games.

Nov 302016
 

If you thought that the album Nintendo: White Knuckle Scorin’ was an obscure Super Mario Bros. title, check out this one. An old computer game called, Mario Teaches Typing is basically another typing program to help improve keyboarding skills, but in a more creative setting.

You can choose between three characters, Mario, Luigi, or the Princess. Their running and jumping skills are all equal, so it doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference.

Then there are several different levels, where you can only proceed forward by typing the correct keys. The first is a basic outside area with Koopa Troopas and bricks to bash. On occasion, there’s a random block with a symbol to type that brings you to a coin area in the clouds. It doesn’t do much, but it’s cool to see. To get through, you have to be able to type at least 10 WPM (words per minute).

The second level is an underwater stage, where you’re being chased by a bloober or Big Bertha. The faster you type, the faster you swim. However, the typing is more difficult because you focus on the numbers and other symbols, not to mention that you have to be able to type at least 30 WPM to get through.

The third level is in a castle where you run past thwomps and swim through quicksand. As for the typing, you move straight to full sentences. In case you were wondering, those sentences have nothing to do with the Super Mario Bros. franchise. By this point, you might think that there’s a new level to unlock when you reach the next goal. Apparently, there isn’t. As you continue to improve, you stay with the castle stage.

Even though there is a fourth setting, it’s not anything too special. You just move up a scrolling sheet of paper that Mario looks over and reacts to. I should also point out that there are no boss battles either. That would’ve at least made things a little more exciting.

Now let’s move on to the music. When I first played this on my computer at home years ago when it was new, there was no music. Then when I saw it on other computers at school, I noticed that there was music for each level that came straight from Super Mario World. Once again, that was the most hyped Super Mario Bros. game at the time.

I should also point out that Mario speaks in this game. Voiced by Ronald Ruben, this is actually the first time Mario speaks with an Italian accent. He never did in any of the Super Mario Bros. cartoons and in the earlier games, Mario had no voice at all. It’s pretty interesting if you think about it.

Considering that it’s really just a typing program, Mario Teaches Typing really isn’t too bad. Sure it’s not in the same league as other Super Mario Bros. titles, but it’s nice to look back on for nostalgic purposes. Though I can’t say the same about the sequel Mario Teaches Typing 2.

Aug 172016
 

Remember the old classic arcade games of the early 1980s like Asteroids, Space Invaders, Defender, Frogger, etc.? Well here’s a movie that puts them all together with a modern twist called Pixels.

Home theater installer Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler) was once a video game wizard and even entered an arcade world competition. The secret to his success was memorizing the patterns. Unfortunately, Sam lost on the final game, Donkey Kong. You’ve got to admit that it’s a hard one, since remembering patterns isn’t always the key to succeeding like many video games we have today.

After the competition ends, the footage from it gets put in a time capsule and sent out into space in hopes of finding alien life. Thirty years later, aliens did find the capsule and saw it as a declaration of war, even though that was not Earth’s intention at all. It often seems like any gesture of peace toward extraterrestrials ends up mistaken for war. Like on Mars Attacks when a dove was released, then the aliens go crazy and shoot everyone.

When the aliens arrive on Earth, they attack in the forms of the old classic video game characters, starting with Galaga, then Arknoid. Luckily, Sam’s best friend Will Cooper (Kevin James) is the President of the United States, since Sam’s expertise in gaming is the key to stopping these aliens from destroying the planet. Sam needed that connection so he would be allowed to share his knowledge with the government despite that everyone thinks that President Cooper is a buffoon.

With the assistance of conspiracy nut Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gad) and Lieutenant Colonel Violet Van Patten (Michelle Monaghan) a new squad is formed called the Arcaders. However, it also includes Sam’s old nemesis and arrogant gaming champ Eddie Plant (Peter Dinklage).

The next game the aliens attack with is Centipede. The look from the original game was pretty tame, but this new updated look is cooler and edgier. The battle was exciting and smooth once Sam and Ludlow had the opportunity to take action themselves, even with the giant spiders jumping around.

It’s also neat that even though the aliens don’t show their true forms, they disguise themselves as celebrities from the 80s like Ronald Reagan, Hall & Oates, and young Madonna. Even Max Headroom (Matt Frewer) makes an appearance. Remember that character?

The next game is PAC-Man, a true classic, but as a twist PAC-Man is the enemy. Sam, Ludlow, and Eddie drive cars that represent the ghosts in a wild action sequence. If you thought that it couldn’t get any more exciting, think again.

In the climax, the Arcaders face their greatest challenge yet, Donkey Kong. What are the odds that it’s the one game Sam struggles with most? On the other hand, it’s so awesome that you get to see the game play from such an intense angle.

Although it’s definitely not something you would expect from an Adam Sandler film, Pixels was a creative movie about a love for video games that has plenty of nostalgic value as well as Adam Sandler’s brand of comedy. It’s especially humorous with Q-Bert’s antics.