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Mar 312012

Before Mortal Kombat had its first movie, the success of the original fighting game led to Mortal Kombat the Album. This techno album includes the Mortal Kombat theme performed by The Immortals. The album also has a song about each individual characters, all performed by The Immortals as well.

If you’re expecting musical scores from the video game itself, forget it. All of these tracks are different and have never been featured in either of the Mortal Kombat movies, except the theme of course.

Some of the songs are about the character’s fighting skill, like Johnny Cage (Prepare Yourself), Kano (Use Your Might), and Sonya (Go Go Go).

The rest of the characters have songs that are more focused on their backgrounds. They include, Sub-Zero (Chinese Ninja Warrior), Liu Kang (Born in China), Scorpion (Lost Soul Bent on Revenge), Rayden (Eternal Life), and Goro (The Outworld Prince). These songs are all upbeat, but some are catchier than others.

Sorry, but Shang Tsung doesn’t have a song on this album. Instead, the last track is a remix of the Mortal Kombat theme. It’s not nearly as good as the original. Then again, can you imagine if Shang Tsung did have a song? What would it be?

This is definitely a creative album, but it’s only the first of several in the Mortal Kombat franchise. I’ll be talking about other albums on my blog later on.

Jan 022012

That’s right. The speedy Sega icon has been around for 20 years and still continues to grow in popularity. At Holiday Matsuri 2011 there was a presentation about the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.

It all started in 1991 with the first Sonic the Hedgehog game for Sega Genesis. Originally, Sonic was actually based on Mario with his basic running and jumping skills, but made simpler. Mario needs two buttons to run fast, but Sonic only needs one and he runs much faster than Mario, which makes the platform game play a whole lot smoother.

A year later there was Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for Sega Genesis, which contains more of that smooth platform action and introduces Sonic’s young partner Tails the fox. Tails keeps up with Sonic with the use of his two tails that work like helicopter blades. I admire Tails’s abilities. With Sonic known as the fastest thing alive (according to the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon), that’s the kind of speedy skill one would need to be an equally matched ally.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was also the first Sonic game with 3-D bonus stages as well as Super Sonic, which was based on Goku from Dragonball Z. I never would’ve thought of that.

With the success of these titles, Sonic became a cultural icon and had four cartoon shows. First there was Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (1993-1996), which is the wild and crazy version about Sonic and Tails having fast paced comedic adventures.

At around the same time was Sonic the Hedgehog (1993-1994.) This version is edgier with characters that are not featured in the video games.

The third cartoon series was Sonic Underground (1998-2000), which only features Sonic and his siblings Sonia and Manic on the search for their long lost mother. I didn’t like this version as much because it’s nothing like the video games or the other two shows. Seriously, why would Sonic need a guitar to fight evil?

Last, but not least, is the Anime version Sonic X (2003-2006). This features Sonic, Tails, and other new characters on the search for Chaos Emeralds before arch nemesis Dr. Eggman does. He was always known as Dr. Robotnik before, but in Japan he was always called Eggman.

One of those “newer” characters is Knuckles, who started out of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 for Sega Genesis. He’s a bad dude that’s very gullible, which is why Eggman always manages to trick him into doing bad things, even though Knuckles is actually a good guy.

Another interesting part of the presentation was some of the old Sonic commercials. Ones like for the Sonic 3 toys at McDonalds, which I have the Knuckles toy, and for the first Sonic game when the announcer asks, “Why can’t he be like that good boy Mario?” Remember that one?

When Sonic CD came along for Sega CD, it featured some Anime cut scenes much like Sonic the Hedgehog Movie. Though I was a bit disappointed that Sonic the Hedgehog Movie wasn’t mentioned in the presentation.

Other Sonic games followed like Sonic Heroes for Playstation 2. Not much was mentioned about this one and I never played it, but I remember the trailer very well because it was one of many previews on the TMNT  (2003 version) DVDs. It features four teams of three characters, all of which were on Sonic X. They include Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as well as Rouge the double agent, Rose that’s a rabid fan of Sonic, and Shadow the Hedgehog who is not evil, just misunderstood. Here’s the trailer that I found on YouTube.

Many video games based on the Olympics were unsuccessful, but that changed when Mario and Sonic Olympic Games was released for the Nintendo Wii.

For the first time, two of the biggest franchises were brought together to compete in a series of athletic events. There was mention of a concern that many of the characters were not dressed for it.

For instance, why would Mario and Luigi compete in overalls? At least Peach and Daisy decided to wear athletic attire. It would be very difficult to play sports in a long dress.

One of the most recent Sonic games was Sonic Generations for Playstation 3. It contained many bits and pieces from other Sonic titles, the levels are more graphical and you can play as two different Sonics, the classic and the modern versions.

I did enjoy this presentation. Sonic has certainly come a long way over the years. What’s next for this blue hedgehog and his friends? Only time will tell.

Nov 282011

With the newest Muppet movie The Muppets now out in theaters, one of the main things I noticed was that many of the old Muppet characters return for they haven’t been seen in years. Ones like Thog the giant blue monster, Uncle Deadly, the Muppet Newsman, Link Hogthrob, Dr. Strangepork, Marvin Suggs, and singing duo Wayne & Wanda. They were all Muppet Show classics back in the day.

As a Muppet fan, I also happen to remember some other old Muppet characters from various features and specials with old footage. Here are some of my favorite rare Muppets.

Taminella Grinderfall: She’s a classic Muppet witch, who was only featured as the main wicked witch in some of the Muppet fairytale specials from the 60s and early 70s. Taminella is powerful, but has a comedic persona when putting up with silly ogres like Sweetums and Charlie.

King Goshposh: He’s another classic fairytale Muppet. Goshposh has had several different names, but is always featured as the king, naturally. He’s a laid back kind of ruler, who loves parties and presents. Goshposh started as a regular sized Muppet back in the 60s. Then later on, he became one of the larger Muppet characters until his final appearance on The Muppet Show when he was in a sketch with guest star Twiggy.

Featherstone: This sophisticated Muppet was always featured as the king’s royal advisor, but was later remade as a queen during his appearances on The Muppet Show. The change was pretty odd at first, but every king does need a queen.

Splurge: There have been quite a few large Muppet monsters over the years. Splurge was the very first one created. He has a tendency to crash through walls while trying to get anywhere. I guess it’s because he’s not bright enough to use a door. Splurge also loves radishes, even though we never actually see him eat any.

Wilkins & Wotkins: Back in the 50s and early 60s, these two made many coffee commercials together as a comedy duo. Wilkins loves the coffee and Wotkins doesn’t. So Wilkins uses every trick in the book to make him like it, even blow him up with a cannon.

Miss Mousey: Do you remember the old folk song, Froggy Went a Courtin’? This girl mouse was first created as the Miss Mousey character when the song was featured on The Muppets Valentine Show special. Of course Kermit was the Froggy, which would explain his relationship with her. After that, Miss Mousey made appearances on The Muppet Show during the first two seasons as a singer and as Kermit’s dance partner during the At the Dance segments. Whether Kermit still has feelings for Miss Mousey is unknown.

Annie Sue Pig: In season three of The Muppet Show, she was included among the regulars as a young singer. Miss Piggy only saw Annie Sue as a threat because she’s young and cute. However, Annie Sue is totally modest about her own success and admires Miss Piggy. After The Muppet Show ended, Annie Sue completely disappeared off the radar. What could’ve happened to her?

Rock ‘n’ Roll Monster: This was the first Muppet character to be featured on The Ed Sullivan Show back in 1966. It starts out as a tiny piece of fur and grows into a three-headed monster that totally rocks while singing Rock it to Me. After the song ends, the monster shrinks back down, only to be eaten by a Muppet bird. Talk about a one-hit wonder.

Floating Face: This character is definitely one of the most unique Muppet oddities. He also goes by the names “Nobody” and “Limbo”. It makes sense because he’s only a pair of eyes and a mouth and only appears in eerie graphical sketches and short films that are totally old school. Here is one of those sketches from Sesame Street (circa 1971) that I found on YouTube. I can only imagine what that face could really look like behind those shadows.

All Characters from Muppet Musicians of Bremen: They include Leroy the donkey, T.R. the rooster, Rover Joe the dog, Cutgut the cat, and four human Muppets, Mordecai Sledge, Lardpork, Mean Floyd, and Caleb Siles. These characters were all made specifically for that TV special.

It’s the same principle with all of the characters on Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. Although some of the animal characters from both specials made appearances on The Muppet Show, they were only featured as extra chorus members.

Oct 312011

Happy Halloween, everybody! Vampires and zombies are not the only top monsters of the horror genre. Another classic beast is the werewolf a.k.a. lyconthropes. The curse of the werewolf is easily spread like a zombie virus, courtesy of its sharp claws and teeth. When the full moon is out, the victim becomes a wild beast that’s out of control and allergic to silver. These are my most favorite werewolves.

#10) Scott Howard from Teen Wolf: Scott is an underdog teenager, who comes from a family of werewolves. Sure, the full moon causes his transformation, but it can also be triggered by anger. However, Scott is always cautious about anyone seeing him wolf out in public, even when it can be useful.

On a side note, Michael J. Fox played Scott Howard on the original Teen Wolf movie and Jason Bateman played the role in the sequel, Teen Wolf 2, but it was the cartoon series I remember best.

#9) Velkan (Will Kemp) from Van Helsing: He was a werewolf hunter along with his sister Anna until their latest catch broke free and attacked. Now Velkan is a werewolf that can smoothly crawl up walls, run long distances, and has the strength to kill vampires. The transformation was graphical because both his clothes and skin get ripped up. Now isn’t that just creepy?

#8) Jack de Wolfe (Joey Fatone) from Red Riding Hood: Now here’s a unique werewolf. He’s a shape shifter with a huge appetite for human beings. However, Jack’s transformations are limited to only his eaten victims, but mostly prefers the form of his very first victim.

#7) Ginger (Katherine Isabelle) from Ginger Snaps: She was a gothic teen along with her sister Brigitte. After being attacked by a werewolf she becomes more dangerous, not only as a wolf girl, but also as a girl who is not afraid to take vengeance on her tormentors with deadly results. However, Ginger does fear the extra hair from her scratches and the tail growing from her tailbone. Of course, who wouldn’t be?

#6) Fangface from Fangface: Unlike most werewolves, he is eager, friendly, and heroic, like a superhero. Fangface’s transformations are entirely based on whether he sees the sun or the moon. That can be easily controlled with any pictures of the sun or the moon. The only time Fangface gets out of control is when anyone mentions food, which makes him want to eat his friend Pugsy. Rubbing Fangface’s paw is the only way to calm him down if that were to happen.

#5) Professor Lupin (David Thewlis) from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: During Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts, Lupin was the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. When the moon is out, he becomes a werewolf with the posture of a human and not as hairy compared to other werewolves. This curse prevents Lupin from teaching, but still remains to be a great ally in later Harry Potter films.

#4) Oz (Seth Green) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: As a human, he’s a young bass player and Willow’s love interest. Every night of the full moon, Oz becomes a dangerous werewolf. What’s really touching is that Willow still loves Oz for he is still a good soul. It’s too bad the relationship didn’t last after awhile.

#3) Free from Soul Eater: He’s an immortal wolfman with amazing powers that control ice and snow. However, Free likes to brag and is a bit of a klutz, which makes him hilarious. However, Free is still a very dangerous opponent because he’s a lot tougher than most keshans.

#2) Fangster from Ghostbusters: He’s a futuristic ghost werewolf that’s strong and muscular as he is scary. Like his other ghostly comrades, Fangster can sneak into tight places by materializing into spirit form. However, he never reveals his human form and the closest Fangster has ever come to infecting anyone with the werewolf curse is by turning dogs into savage werewolf slaves with a magical arch built out of bones.

#1) Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) from The Wolfman (2010 version): This was the latest remake based on the old movie monster. Talbot was an American citizen, who was summoned to England to search for his missing brother, only to be attacked by a werewolf and possess the curse. Now he’s a graphical beast that smoothly slashes up innocent people at random with his claws. Even though that movie was slow-paced, it still makes me think of how far this mythical monster has come over the years in both movies and TV shows.



Honorable mentions: Believe it or not, werewolves have left their mark on video games also. In the Super NES game Zombies Ate my Neighbors, the werewolves were fierce, but were easily defeated with silverware. Now isn’t that just silly?

The video game I remember best from this category is Werewolf: The Last Warrior for the NES. The hero is a man, who becomes a werewolf by picking up red ‘W’s. (Blue ‘W’s weaken him.) The more wolf he is, the more powerful he becomes in order to fight evil. Here’s an example that I found on YouTube to help set the mood for the werewolf’s howling success.