web analytics
May 182016
 

We all enjoy a good audio book once in a while. Back when I was a kid the only kinds I preferred were the ones where you could follow along in a storybook while listening to a cassette tape or sometimes a vinyl record.

The main ones I still have are based on 80s pop culture I grew up on. That’s what made these books on tape so interesting and it’s very helpful that there’s always some sort of chime that lets you know when to turn the page. Usually audio books don’t have a book to follow let alone a signal to turn the page.

Let’s start with the series sets where each book was sold separately. The Smurfs had four different stories based on certain episodes; A Winter Smurf, The Smurf Champion, There’s a Smurf in my Soup, and The Smurf-Eating Bird. What really kept these interesting was the nice tune that played at the beginning and end of each story as well as the three-second tone that signals to turn the page. No other books on tape do that.

Ducktales had several stories as well based on particular episodes with the original voice actors and musical score. My favorite is Scrooge’s Treasure Hunt, which is basically from part 2 of the series pilot Treasure of the Golden Suns.

There was also a set of five stories on The Gremlins. I don’t remember these too well, mainly because I’m not as much into The Gremlins as I used to be. Moving on.

Next is a series of books based on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Unlike any other books on tape based on popular shows that stay loyal to their series, this group is nothing like the actual He-Man animated series. The stories and action are edgier. Some of which are featured in comic book style format. At first I struggled to get into these because they were so different, but now that I’m more into the fantasy genre these storybooks are awesome.

It wasn’t just TV shows that became books on tape. Movies have too, like The Muppets Take Manhattan and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Of course due to time, the story lines were trimmed down quite a bit, but still remain faithful to their source material.

There are other books on tape about 80s classics I’d like to blog about. So check my blog for part 2 for more.

Feb 042015
 

One of my most favorite games on the Nintendo Wii U is DuckTales Remastered. If you remember the original NES Ducktales game as well as the animated series from the 80s, this is definitely a game to look forward to.

The object of the NES version was for Scrooge McDuck to travel to five different locations, which are the Amazon, Transylvania, African Mines, the Himalayas, and the Moon. Then he collects a treasure after defeating a boss. Afterwards, the treasures get stolen and he must defeat Dracula Duck and race Flintheart Glomgold to the top of a pillar. Then that’s it. The game is beaten.

Ducktales Remastered is basically the same game, but with new additions like two extra levels and an actual plot. A really awesome addition is the voice acting. All of the surviving voice actors from the original Ducktales series reprise their roles. The characters even speak during the game play, which makes it more interesting.

Wendee Lee, who I met at Anime Festival Orlando 2011, voices the role of Mrs. Beakley in place of the late Joan Gerber.

The story starts with the Beagle Boys taking over Scrooge’s money bin. You go through the place, rescue Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and fight Big Time Beagle by clobbering him with a safe on the ceiling before being given the option to select a level. That is an intro that helps the story line make sense.

I’m so glad that each stage has a map screen because in order to proceed forward, you have to find items that are scattered throughout the area. I used to enjoy exploring the stages in the old game to locate hidden gems and it’s certainly paying off here.

After collecting all five treasures, Scrooge must go to the other new stage, which is Magica de Spell’s home on Mount Vesuvious to get back the treasures and his kidnapped nephews to face Dracula Duck. Before it was just the Transylvania level again.

I should point out that among the special unlockable features there’s a section of the music score from both versions of the game. It even includes 8-bit versions of the two additional levels. So maybe they did exist in the old game, but were later removed. Are there any theories on that?

The boss battles are the most exciting. Before it was simple with just five pogo jumps to beat them. Here, only some of the bosses take five hits and the others take more. It also includes random dialogue and more elaborate attacks.

Dracula Duck is the final boss of course, but Magica gives him more power every time he gets pogo jumped on. The effects are amazing. I love it.

Then we have the epic climax. Scrooge must race Glomgold to the top of the mountain, but it’s not just up one chain this time. It’s tricky with the breakable chains and fast rising lava.

This is truly a great Nintendo Wii U game and I’m not just saying that because it’s a 2D-platform game, which is surprisingly a rare type of video game nowadays. It’s so wonderful that a classic franchise was brought back and still stayed true to its precedent. Do you suppose any other classics like Chip ‘N Dale’s Rescue Rangers may do the same someday?

May 142014
 

If there’s one Disney TV special that stands out as a lost gem, it’s Sport Goofy in Soccermania. In this feature, Huey, Dewey, and Louie are on an underdog soccer team and their Uncle Scrooge provides a crummy trophy for the tournament since he’s too stingy to buy a new one. Come on, $1.49 isn’t that much.

After discovering that the trophy is actually worth millions, Scrooge is determined to win it back by sponsoring the team, which reminds me of the animal soccer team from Bed Knobs and Broomsticks. He also finds a coach to help the team, Sport Goofy, who is an excellent choice since he’s athletic, wise, and patient.

This got me thinking about some of the early Goofy cartoons when he learned how to play different sports. My most favorite was when Goofy was learning how to ski. That was hilarious.

Soon after, the Beagle Boys find out about the valuable trophy and decide to enter the tournament. Even though they never played soccer before, that doesn’t stop them from trying to cheat their way to victory. The Beagle Boys in this feature are all alike and don’t stand out as individuals like on Ducktales.

Speaking of Ducktales, this TV special is like a precedent to the series. For instance, the story takes place in Duckburg, Scrooge has a money bin (though it looks different), Huey, Dewey, and Louie have the same personas as on the Ducktales series (except that they all wear red), and even Gyro Gearloose and his little bulb make a cameo appearance.

This special was certainly a Disney classic. I’d also like to point out that Sport Goofy in Soccermania premiered in 1987, shortly before Ducktales began. That helped familiarize me with Ducktales more efficiently.

Apr 012014
 

He is another awesome voice actor I met at MegaCon 2014, who has had many classic characters that I grew up with and here they are.

Dr. Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog (90s version): This is Sonic’s archenemy. Nowadays he’s called Dr. Eggman, but has always been a mad scientist bent on world domination. This particular version of Robotnik is edgy and vile unlike the Anime versions that are a little more comedic. Whatever the case, Sonic always gets the best of him.

Leatherhead from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (80s version): He’s a mutant crocodile with an attitude. Unlike other versions, this one is from a swamp in the South and has the persona of a fisherman. I can still remember his catchphrase, “I guarantee.” It’s priceless.

Shang Tsung from Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins: Like the first Mortal Kombat movie, he’s a master sorcerer and the main villain. In this animated feature he’s mostly calm, but keeps attempting to break the rules of the tournament by having his warriors attack the heroes before it begins. On a personal note, I thought this voice sounded very similar to Dr. Robotnik.

Ed from The Lion King: He’s one of the hyenas that serve Scar. Ed doesn’t talk much and isn’t very bright. He’ll laugh at just about anything, just like a hyena.

Fuzzy Lumpkins from Powerpuff Girls: This pink fuzzy creature is a hillbilly with a musket. He turns red and violent when angered, which is very easy to do because he will shoot anyone or anything that even touches his property. Fuzzy isn’t much of a villain compared to ones like Mojo Jojo, Princess Morbucks, or Sedusa, but don’t take him lightly.

Zummi Gummi from Gummi Bears: Zummi is the wise spell caster of the group. Though he often stumbles on his words and tends to forget things, you can always count on Zummi for wisdom.

Mayor Manx from SWAT Kats: He’s the Mayor of Megakat City and has been for ten terms. Manx spends most of his time playing golf. He leaves all of the paperwork to Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs and takes all of the credit. There are times when Mayor Manx tries to rent out Megakat Towers to investors and it always ends up in failure. I can’t help but feel sorry for him whenever that happens.

El Capitan from Ducktales: I remember this character well. He’s mysterious and exceptionally greedy for gold. The reason I say exceptionally is because he lived for over 400 years on will power. At the end of the five-part pilot episode, El Capitan was last seen attempting to dig up the Treasure of the Golden Suns after it collapsed and sank into the earth. He was never seen or heard from again after that, so what could have happened to him?

It was a blast to have met Jim Cummings. What are some of your favorite characters that he voiced?

Mar 282014
 

Among the many stars I met at MegaCon this year was voice actor Rob Paulsen. He has had a ton of great characters over the years, many of which I grew up with. It was so awesome to have met him. Here are some of these classic characters.

Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (80s version): As we all know, Raph is the rebellious turtle with the Sais, but this version is different. He is actually comedic and often uses rude wisecracks when either faced with danger or tolerating dumb situations. Since this is the main version of TMNT I grew up watching, I was surprised that this take on Raph’s persona didn’t happen in any other version.

Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012 version): Of course, he’s the inventive genius turtle with a Bo staff. This version of Don is different than most. For starters, he has a gap in his mouth and there’s no mention of how he lost that tooth. Don is also in love with April, but nobody thinks the relationship will ever work. Is it because April is a human and Don isn’t?

Arthur from The Tick (90s version): He was once an accountant before he became the Tick’s sidekick. Although Arthur is often timid and can’t fight his moth suit allows him to fly and he’s also more sensible than the Tick. He’s a devoted sidekick, but somehow I just don’t see Arthur going solo.

Caped Chameleon from The Tick (90s version): This superhero is one of my most favorites in the series. He can walk on walls like Spiderman and blend with any color surface or object except plaid. It’s hilarious when that happens. He still makes a good ally. Unfortunately, he’s not featured often in the series.

Yakko from Animaniacs: He’s the oldest of the Warner siblings and is very witty. He’s quick with a joke and his most common wisecrack is, “Good night, everybody.” Yakko says it whenever a situation is on the verge of being inappropriate. I used to not understand that.

Pinky from Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain: This lab mouse is the Brain’s imbecilic sidekick that’s the comic relief of a world domination plan. Brain often clobbers Pinky when he says something dumb. That mainly occurs when Brain asks, “Are you pondering what I’m pondering?” Then Pinky’s answer is something completely unrelated.

Dr. Otto Von Scratchansniff from Animaniacs: He’s a psychologist of the stars. With the Warner siblings as his most common patients, Dr. Scratchansniff is the main adult they drive crazy. He is close with the Warners and eventually he becomes their father figure. Unfortunately, the Warners’ antics caused him to rip out all of his hair. He also never takes off his glasses. Why do you suppose that is?

Bobble from Tinkerbell franchise: This is one of the tinker fairies that work with Tinkerbell. He’s a nearsighted inventor that’s both refined and smart. What really stands out is that Bobble always wears goggles with water drops as lenses. How do they stay in there, and how does that really help his sight?

Corky from Snorks: This Snork Patrol officer is a dedicated defender that can play a fanfare with his snork, but tends to be a workaholic. Still, it makes you glad that he’s on the side of good. At one point, I thought he sounded a lot like Ninjor from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but it turns out that it’s not the same voice actor.

Gusto Gummi from Gummi Bears: He’s an artistic Gummi Bear that lived alone on a desert island for 12 years. In season three, he and his pet toucan Arty join up with the other Gummi Bears. Sometimes Gusto takes his art a little too seriously and forgets what’s important, but his heart is always in the right place.

Hard Drive from SWAT Kats: This colorful villain has a surge coat that allows him to smoothly and easily travel through anything electrical and can absorb data like a vacuum. Without it, he’s just a common thief. There’s no mention of how Hard Drive acquired that surge coat, but he is hard to catch when he has it on.

DECKS from Wake, Rattle and Roll: He’s a robot entirely made from audio/video equipment and the name DECKS is an acronym for Digital Electronic Cassette-headed Kinetic System. DECKS’s persona is much like a surfer, which makes him likable. Of course it doesn’t hurt that he can also show cartoons at anytime, but there is a limit of two per episode.

Gladstone Gander from Ducktales: If there’s one character that represents the phrase “Lucky Duck”, it’s Gladstone. He relies on his luck to get through life because good things always happen to him, no matter the situation. The most common situations involve money since he has none. However, Gladstone is no gambler. His luck includes winning contests and raffles, as well as finding money on the street. Even though Gladstone only appeared in two Ducktales episodes, I heard that he was a popular character in the Donald Duck comics along with Scrooge McDuck and Magica de Spell.

How’s that for a list? Do any of you have favorites you’d like to mention?