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Mar 092016
 

I recently attended another great convention this past weekend. Omni Expo added some really cool displays from movies and TV shows.

First there were exact replicas of movie props from Jurassic Park like the truck and supplies, including a cosplayer of John Hammond.

Remember the shaving cream bottle containing the Dino DNA?

Then there was the car from Supernatural. The trunk contained the hunting gear, fake IDs, log book, and even the little army soldier in the ashtray. It just blew my mind how much attention to detail was put into this.

I also had the opportunity to meet actor Kevin Duhaney, who was Ethan the Blue Ranger from Power Rangers Dino Thunder.

And let’s not forget the cosplay with characters from Jurassic World, Star Wars, Mortal Kombat, and Legend of Zelda.

Although I didn’t attend any Q&A panels, I had a great time. What will they come up with at Omni Expo next year?

Dec 062013
 

Welcome back. Well, if you thought the Super Mario Bros. graphic novel was something, you should see this one. It’s called The Best of the Nintendo Comics System and it contains comics about other Nintendo franchises that are just as rare.

It starts with Game Boy: In the Palm of your hand. You remember the original Game Boy? Back then the most popular game at the time was Super Mario Land. I expected this to be about Mario’s adventures in that world, but it isn’t. It’s about all of these characters coming into the real world and causing havoc. What a disappointment, and even though Princess Daisy appears, she is nothing like the modern version.

Next we have Legend of Zelda comics. Now here’s some great material, but once again it’s much easier to reference this to the cartoon series with all of the sword zapping battles and Link attempting to get Princess Zelda to kiss him. However, there are some references to Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, like Link’s friend Bagu, who helped him cross the Saria River.

Would you believe it? There are some comics about Captain N: The Game Master as well. One major difference from the cartoon series is that Samus Aran actually appears and helps the N team on Metroid. What a gorgeous blonde she is.

Another major difference is that Mother Brain’s league of evil also included a villain named Unanos. I have no idea what video game he’s from.

Then there’s a Metroid comic, which is about one of Samus’s adventures in space as she battles Mother Brain and her forces. It’s unfortunate that there’s only one here.

The last group of comics in this graphic novel is about Punch-Out. Now I’ve never played Punch-Out, so this is tough to get into. From what I understand, it’s about a struggling boxer named Little Mac that’s being trained by former heavy weight champ Doc Lewis in order to be the best.

If you thought that the referee in the video game looked a lot like Mario, in the comics he actually wears the hat. Can you believe it?

There you have it. Two awesome graphic novels containing classic adventures based on Nintendo characters. It’s too bad they don’t make comics like this anymore.

Nov 162012
 

If there’s one thing that makes a video game exciting, it’s a boss battle at the end of a level. Whether it’s for the creative look of the character, his or her fighting style, or even the musical score, boss fights are always something to look forward to after getting past a whole bunch of other evil minions as long as I can figure out the strategy. Every boss has one. Unless you have a strategy guide, it’s usually only found by trial and error. These are bosses that truly stand out as big favorites of mine from video games I’ve played, not including final bosses.

#10) Doppelganger from Double Dragon 2: The Revenge (NES): Normally, doppelganger bosses are a cliché, but this evil clone of Billy Lee is so mysterious and sneaky, it’s cool. The Doppelganger not only has the same fight moves; he can also turn invisible and attack by clenching onto Billy, rendering him helpless. How many evil clones do you know that can do that?

#9) Two-Face from Batman Forever (Sega Genesis): It may seem like he’s the main boss of the game, but he isn’t. The Riddler is. Two-Face has a perplexing fighting style because it’s different, depending on which direction he’s facing. I don’t believe he ever used swords and bear traps in the movie, but can you believe that Two-Face can actually restore his life meter just by flipping his coin?

On a side note: I’d also like to include Two-Face’s two girlfriends, Sugar and Spice, because I think they’re both interesting fighters even though the movie doesn’t feature them that way.

#8) Master Necky from Donkey Kong Country (Super NES): This giant buzzard can spit coconuts, but what I like most is that he only peeks his head out from either side of the screen. Necky never shows the rest of his body, even when he gets defeated. It’s hilarious when Necky’s head falls to the ground and still makes noise while Donkey Kong cheers for victory. Is that what a buzzard looks like when it has a concussion?

#7) The Wrestler from Simpsons Arcade Game: Dropping in from a set of stage lights, this strong unnamed character is the first boss of the game. Like most of the other bosses, it’s hard to determine how he fits into the story, especially since this character was never on the series. You’ve got to admit though. The Wrestler is a fun boss to fight on a game like this.

#6) Goldar from Power Rangers Super Legends (Playstation 2): Even though it seems like every boss in this game is defeated by the same simple strategy, this classic character is the most awesome one to fight, and I’m not just saying this because he’s old school. Goldar likes to talk during the battle and he doesn’t fly out of reach as often as he does in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers the Movie game for Sega Genesis. Of course, Goldar could’ve come up with something wittier to say than, “Why did the chicken cross the road? To meet his doom.” Dude, that’s lame.

#5) Horsehead from Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (NES): Armed with a mace, he’s the guardian of Parapa Palace. Apparently, Horsehead’s only weak spot is his head, which sounds very simple. However, I never would’ve known that if I hadn’t seen that episode of Captain N: The Game Master called “Quest for the Potion of Power”, where Horsehead made an appearance. Isn’t the animated version cool? What I don’t understand is why Horsehead never returned on any of the later Legend of Zelda games as some of the other bosses in this game have. Wouldn’t it be neat if he did?

#4) Dancing Specters from Super Castlevania 4 (Super NES): Also known as Paula Abghoul and Fred Askare, this pair of dancers are the stars of the haunted ballroom. As they dance away to the awesome boss music, these ghosts use swords and flying blades that keep Simon Belmont from “cutting in”. You won’t see this on Dancing with the Stars.

#3) Phantom of the high school musical from Scooby-Doo First Frights (Playstation 2): With the aid of his skeleton henchmen, this creepy character has an edgy presence. I think it’s neat that the Scooby gang gets to actually fight a monster before unmasking him, but before doing that you have to hear the Phantom sing and take out his henchmen. What really makes him interesting is the mystery involved. So what if he’s just a guy in a suit.

#2) Nano from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Playstation 2): There are several versions of this boss, but I mainly want to focus on the giant monstrosity at the end of stage 2. I always find giant bosses more exciting because of the intensity. Although it took me a little while to figure out how to fight Nano at this point, I totally found this boss battle interesting. Just aim high, robot goes down.

#1) Lobber from House of the Dead Overkill (Nintendo Wii): Of all the different types of monsters I’ve seen in horror themed video games, this is definitely one of the most original creatures I ever saw. Lobber hides out in the fetid waters and attacks by throwing chunks of its body. That’s just nasty, but my only real concern is that you have to fight a bunch of bats also. They’re harder to aim for than the monster itself. Other than that, Lobber is a villain that’s unique as well as creepy.

Jul 082011
 

There are many sorts of video game types. The most common are action games, where you fight your way through the end of a level to a boss, and adventure games, where you have to search every nook and cranny of each area in order to find your way through the quest.

Normally I have always preferred action games because they are so much simpler to figure out. However, there are some classic adventure video games for the NES I came to enjoy, mainly for the story, once I understand how it’s all put together. But no matter how many times I play these games, I still need the maps, like in the old NES Game Atlas, every time in order to get through them. Here are my top five favorite timeless NES quest titles.

#5) Startropics: This tropical adventure is about a young man named Mike, who searches all over Coracola Island for his uncle, Dr. Jones, who was kidnapped by aliens. (No, it’s not Indiana Jones.)

Armed with only his yo-yo and wits, Mike must fight through eight chapters worth of tunnels, caves, and dangerous creatures. His jumping skills are tricky sometimes, but Mike is real smooth when he automatically jumps to each section.

#4) Metroid: Like Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda, this was yet another highly popular franchise from Nintendo. Here is where it all started, with Samus Aran on a mission to defeat the Metroid on Planet Zebeth and destroy the Mother Brain.

Samus is usually only shown in her suit, but with a special password, you can play her as a hot warrior woman. As simple as the mission sounds, you have to search all over for various items in order to succeed and they are not easy to find.

As for Mother Brain, she appears easy to fight. The hard part is staying alive with those flaming donuts coming from every direction. I was also curious about this character after seeing the more elaborate version on Captain N: The Game Master.

#3) Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest: Unlike some of the other earlier Castlevania games, this is Simon Belmont’s first adventure quest. The task, of course, is to once again slay Count Dracula at his castle in order to restore peace to Transylvania.

In order to get there, you must search for five Dracula body parts (a rib, a heart, an eyeball, a nail, and a ring) scattered throughout the five different mansions as well as a whole bunch of other items and pieces of Dracula’s riddle. They could be anywhere. I admit that Simon is no Van Helsing, but you’ve got to give him credit. He’s a brave man on a mission.

#2) Crystalis: Now this was a more unique epic adventure quest game. As a nameless hero, you explore many caves and towns to search for weapons and items to fight Draygon in a tower in the sky and save the world.

There are also different types of magic the four wise men teach you to help you along if you have enough MP (Magic Points) to use them.

You also get to fight bosses, but you have to know what weapon to use and what skill level you need to reach in order to take him on. Otherwise, the boss is completely unaffected and you’re dead.

#1) Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link: The original Legend of Zelda game was good, but I find its sequel so much better with a more interesting story line. Princess Zelda is under a sleeping spell and only the third triforce can wake her.

But first, Link must return six crystals, each to a different palace inhabited by a boss. That will unlock a seventh palace, which the triforce is in.

Link also has to collect magic spells from different towns to improve his skills.

Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link plays a little differently from the first Legend of Zelda game because you’re not just following a map screen like before.

Although there have been many new Legend of Zelda games later on, I still rank Zelda 2 as my most favorite.

Nov 302010
 

The most common creatures of fantasy adventure are dragons. There are many different types, good and evil. When a dragon is at a village, the first thing that usually comes to mind is that it will burn your house down. That is a possibility, but maybe the dragon doesn’t want to attack. The giant creature could just be walking by and decide to go to the bathroom in your yard. That may be as lethal as dragon fire, if not worse, but that’s no reason to slay it. Even if it did eat someone that didn’t agree with it.

Anyway, here are my ten most favorite dragons, good or evil. How to Train your Dragon wasn’t the first film to feature such a creative dragon assortment.

#10) Draco from Dragonheart: This dragon is honorable and magical since he used part of his heart to save a young man’s life. Draco is a skilled fighter, especially when it comes to catching large spears in midair. Of course that was from all the faking of his own death.

#9) Dulcy from Sonic the Hedgehog (90s series): She joined Sonic and the Freedom Fighters in season two. Dulcy is much different than many of the other dragons listed here. She breathes ice as well as fire, hangs upside-down and sucks her thumb while she sleeps, and is a total klutz. Dulcy is useful for air transportation, but she really needs to work on her landings.

#8) Thoran from Dragons, Fire & Ice: He is a dragon king that fights for peace for humans and dragons alike. Thoran doesn’t speak, but communicates with telepathy. His power comes from his Krystal Aurathon, which is powerful enough to open portals between the human world and the dragon world. No other dragons have that kind of power, which is unfortunate for them.

#7) Queen Narissa from Enchanted: This wicked queen turns herself into a dragon that can climb buildings. Even though it was only for a short time, she was still a cool talking beast. Who’d have thought that Narissa would be defeated by a chipmunk that’s just throwing his weight around, literally speaking.

#6) Granamyr from He-Man and the Masters of Universe (80 series): This old and wise dragon lives in the hidden mountain of Darksmoke. He’s a master of magic and loves his privacy. Granamyr doesn’t really trust the human race, but is truly one of a kind.

#5) Gleeok from Legend of Zelda: Gleeok is a huge dragon with two to four heads and spits out fire and laser beams. He’s a powerful boss on the video game, but I best remember Gleeok’s appearance on the cartoon series. It was hilarious. Expecting to fight Link, Princess Zelda arrives on the scene and fights Gleeok with fruit, which proves to be very affective since grapefruit gives him heartburn.

#4) Tiamat from Dungeons & Dragons (80s series): As the most dangerous dragon in the realm, she has five heads, each with a different power. More importantly, Tiamat is the only creature that’s more powerful than Venger is. I’m just a little surprised that with five heads, she doesn’t have any arguments with herself once in a while.

#3) Smaug from The Hobbit: Now here’s a dragon that is strong, gigantic, and smells really bad. Smaug doesn’t like uninvited guests. If you enter his cave, you’d be ashes in seconds. Heck, even his drool is hot like acid. And don’t bother trying to sneak in. Smaug’s eyes work like headlights, literally.

#2) Dragon from Shrek: When Shrek and Donkey search for Princess Fiona at an abandoned castle, they end up facing Dragon. However, she did turn from bad to good after falling in love with Donkey. Now Dragon is a great ally for air transportation and fire. Too bad she can’t come indoors.

#1) King Bowser Koopa from Super Mario Bros. franchise: That’s right, the Octo-dad himself. Although he’s not officially labeled as a dragon, Bowser has all of the qualities of one, including the look. Think about it. On the video games, Bowser guards a princess in a castle and fights the heroes by spitting fire. Oddly he never breathed fire in the cartoons, but he sure had some cool castles over the years.