UN Squadron Box art
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By the time you read this, I will have a copy of Final Fantasy XIII in my hands. So, since I don’t want to do a game for Quality Control that would take time that I could otherwise spend studying or playing Final Fantasy XIII, I’m picking UN Squadron for my Quality Control. Additionally, since this game is based on an anime and manga series (Area 88), I’m also going to do a review of the first OVA series (presumably the one that came out contemporary with the game). That review will, of course, come out later. First, though, we scramble for the review. (See what I did there? Fighter pilot joke). (more…)

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Moving on to our Nintendo Power recaps, we come to issue #30 for November of 1994, and our cover story is Final Fantasy II, otherwise known to the rest of the world (and most gamers today) as Final Fantasy IV. Oh, and the Chocobo on the cover, even though it is black, isn’t the wrong cover. It’s flying, and in Final Fantasy II/IV Black Chocobos are the ones that can fly.

Letters

This month they were asking for letters from people asking who they’d like to play multi-player Game Boy games with over the link cable. About half of them don’t specify a game, but a few do. A few writers specify the game they’d like to play against that person – usually something in the same “field” as the person works in. For example, one person wants to play Bo Jackson’s Baseball against Bo Jackson, NASCAR Challenge against Bill Elliott, NBA All-Star Challenge against Michael Jordan, and so forth. The semi-exception being one player who wants to play multi-player Tetris against Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev because, and I quote “I would like to study his strategy and maybe even beat him.” I like that. (more…)

Cover art for EGM issue 75Alright then. We’re going back, after a long hiatus, to my Electronic Gaming Monthly recaps. This time we’re skipping ahead some to issue 75, for October of 1995. Our cover story is Mortal Kombat III for the Sony PlayStation and… Street Fighter: The Movie – The Game for the Sega Saturn. I can tell you right now which one I’d rather play.

Editorial

Danyon Carpenter has this issue’s editorial column. As the 16-bit generation comes to an end, it’s going out with some pretty impressive games. Secret of Mana and Secret of Evermore, Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, among other games for the SNES. The Genesis on the other hand is getting Vectorman, Comix Zone and other good games. So, Danyon advocates hanging on to those soon-to-be oldies-but-goodies for your 16-bit systems, something that I can definitely agree with. (more…)

When I was a kid, I picked up a used copy of Ghouls & Ghosts for the NES. I picked it up after hearing Adam Sessler, a game critic I respect immensely, gush about the game on Extended Play (which might have still been “GameSpot TV” at the time). I played it, found it frustratingly hard, and turned it in. When I came to the last issue of Nintendo Power which I did a Where I Read for (Issue #29), I decided now, with the aid of emulation, to give the 16-bit version of Ghouls & Ghosts another try. This way I’d actually stand a chance of beating a level and would be able to pass some sort of judgement about the game.

The Premise:

You are Arthur – King of the Britons. Queen Guinevere has been kidnapped by demons, and you must travel across the land trying to rescue her. (more…)

Movie Poster for the film Troy
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Ever since the dawn of cinema, people have aspired to adapt the great myths and legends of history. The tales of the Arabian Nights, the legends of Heracles, and most significantly, the Illiad and the Odyssey of Homer. However, the technology required to tell the second to last has been a little lacking. However, the Lord of the Rings films, with the technological development of the Massive Engine, when was used to show the massive battles of the books, now the time has come where Homer’s works can be given the adaptation they so richly deserve, in a live action format.

This film is not that adaptation.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this movie isn’t bad. It’s just not the Iliad. The film attempts to hit the bullet points of the Trojan War – Paris flees Greece with the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta. King Menelaus is not pleased by this development (as you can imagine), so he contacts his brother Agamemnon asking him for help getting her back. He in turn contacts all of the kings of the various city-states he’s turned into vassal-states and tells them that it’s time for them to fulfill their end of the deal and bring along troops to go with him to Troy, and get his brother’s girl back (and also to get control of Troy). (more…)

The cover art for Justice League: Season 1 on Blu-Ray
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If you’ve been following my reviews on Bureau42, you may know that I enjoy superhero comics, particularly judging by my reviews of DC: The New Frontier and similar works, as well as allusions to superhero comics in other reviews I’ve written. So, I missed Justice League when it first aired on TV. I missed it when it came out on DVD. However, now it’s finally out on Blu-Ray, and I’ve finally seen it. I’m pleased by what I’ve seen. My mind was not blown, but I did enjoy what I saw.

The series does what some of the best Justice League comics runs have done, such as Grant Morrison’s, and kept the league to a tight lineup: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman (II – Diana Prince), The Flash (technically The Flash II as we see Barry Allen’s origin story, but we’re not doing prior incarnations here), Green Lantern (IV – John Stewart), Hawkgirl (I – Shayera Hol) and the Martian Manhunter. (more…)

Bones Season 1 Cover Art
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I enjoy mysteries. I read Sherlock Holmes novels as a kid. I read pulp detective novels and Agatha Christie novels as a teen. As a grown up I’ve found myself drawn to the current trend of forensic detective TV series, like CSI on CBS. After missing the boat early on, I’ve picked up the first season of Bones, and have given it a watch.

The show focuses on Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (played by Emily Deschanel), a woman with a doctorate in Forensic Anthropology who works at the Jeffersonian Institution (not-the-Smithsonian). She’s also a novelist, and probably on-spectrum (and it doesn’t help her mental state that she was knocked around the foster kid system for a while). She’s partnered with FBI Special Agent Seely Booth, an ex-marine sniper (played by David Boreanaz), a more intuitive kind of guy. Togeather–wait for it–they fight crime! (more…)

The Cover art for Battlefield: Bad Company
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Well, it’s a new year, and with the new year comes more opportunities to clear more titles off my Pile of Shame. First up is the spinoff of EA’s Battlefield series, aimed for the Consoles – Battlefield: Bad Company.

The Premise:

Private Preston Marlowe has screwed up. After going in a joyride in a helicopter, destroying a General’s limo in the process (along with the helicopter), Marlowe is assigned to B Company of the 222nd regiment, also known as Bad Company. The unit has the highest mortality rate in the Army, and is made up more-or-less entirely of bad apples. His squad is not an exception. It consists of pyromaniac George Gordon Haggard Jr., Terrence Sweetwatter, and Sgt. Sam Redford, who volunteered to be in the unit if it would get him out of the Army early. When the squad discovers that enemy forces in this war have hired the mercenary company “The Legionnaires” – an infamous mercenary company that is always paid in gold, they decide to go on a Payroll heist. (more…)

The Cover art from the PS3 version of Burnout Paradise
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So, I’ve previously reviewed Need for Speed: ProStreet and Carbon. Both were pretty decent racing racing games, putting aside the very significant and major flaws I pointed out in my reviews of both games. Well, in my review of ProStreet, I said I’d give GRID a try. As you can tell from the title of the review, I haven’t. What I have tried is Criterion’s more arcade style, open world street racing game Burnout: Paradise. I’ve basically made it through career mode (I’ve gotten my Burnout License), so it’s time to give my thoughts on the game.

The Premise:

No particularly story in this game. You complete various racing events in the fictitious city of Paradise City. As you complete racing events, you upgrade your license. As you upgrade your license you unlock additional cars, as well as unlocking cars by taking them out (by which I mean force them into a wreck) while driving around the city. (more…)

Shawn Michels: From The Vault cover art
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Now, once again I have another wrestling DVD review this week, though this one takes a different tack from my other reviews, because I’m not doing a match-by-match recap this time. Why? Well, the review will explain.

The Premise:

The DVDs recap some of Shawn Michaels’ wrestling career, from his tag career, to the beginnings of his solo run, to his return to the WWE. (more…)

"The Devil Came On Horseback" Movie Poster
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This review is going to differ from my usual review format, mainly because in this case, the film I’m reviewing, which is a documentary about the Genocide in Darfur, asks a few questions, and I’m going to try to give some opinion based answers.

The Premise:

Brian Steidle was a captain in the US Marine Corps who, after his term of service was up, left the Corps and became an unarmed monitor for the African Union, tasked with monitoring the cease-fire between the Sudanese government and rebel groups. There he observed the Darfur genocide, documenting it with thousands of pictures and hundreds of reports sent to the AUC commanders, which were ultimately classified and ignored. (more…)

The Teaser Poster For Miami Vice
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I’m a fan of the Miami Vice TV series, or at least the first two seasons of the show. So, when I heard that a movie was being made of the TV series, one directed by Michael Mann, who helped create and set the tone for the series, I knew that I had to see it – but I missed in theaters. So, for almost a year it had been sitting in my Netflix queue, and was meaning to bump it to the top and watch it. Well, now I’ve finally watched it.

The film follows James “Sonny” Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs, undercover cops on the Miami PD’s Vice Squad (not their actual name). After one of their informants that they had entrusted to the FBI for safekeeping ends up dead, along with his family, they work to investigate a mole in the FBI by infiltrating a Colombian drug cartel. However, the danger that Tubbs and Crockett face ends up going beyond them, and enveloping Gina, Trudy, and the rest of the team as well. (more…)

Wisconsin Death Trip DVD Art
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I’m back from my little vacation from blogging, and I’m returning with a review of another documentary – and not one from Frontline or another episode of a PBS program (not that there’s anything wrong with that). With historical documentaries these days, film-makers tend to go either the History Channel route (scenes with reenactors inter-cut with talking heads), or the Ken Burns route (narration and readings of writings from the time with possible scenes of reenactors).  This film takes the Ken Burns route, but with different subject matter than the type of material Burns covers.

The Premise:

The documentary covers 1 year in Jackson County, Wisconsin in the 1890s. During which much of the county, particularly the area around the town of Black River Falls, goes more than a little bit mad. The documentary is told through articles in alocal paper in the county, read by Ian Holm. (more…)

The Theatrical Movie Poster for "For All Mankind"
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The space program has always fascinated me, particularly because my interest in Science Fiction, particularly through series like Star Trek – which in turn lead me to an interest in the space sciences and some terrestrial sciences as well. So, when I heard about a documentary about the space program that I hadn’t seen before, and one that was coming out from the Criterion Collection, I had to check it out.

The Premise:

Using footage from all the Apollo missions (plus a bit of the Gemini missions), the film depicts the journey from Earth to the Moon, to the explorations of the Lunar surface, to finally the trip back home. All of this is accompanied with interview audio from various astronauts in the Apollo program discussing the program, and what it felt like to go to the moon. (more…)

Movie Poster for Joe Kidd
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Last week I had a review of a Western adapted from a short story by Elmore Leonard. This week I have an review of a Western film that was actually written by Elmore Leonard.

The Premise:

Joe Kidd (Clint Eastwood) is a bounty hunter who has given up his old profession and instead has taken up raising horses. However, he ends up finding himself caught in the middle of a struggle between some Mexican revolutionaries and a cattle baron by the name of Frank Harlon (played by Robert Duvall), who is out to claim their land. Kidd must decide whether to side with Harlon and get paid, and get revenge for attacks on his own land, or to help the revolutionaries. (more…)

3:10 to Yuma (2007) Movie Poster
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This week I’ve got another western movie review for you. The last review in this genre was a somewhat older film in the genre with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This week I have a more recent film in the genre for you with the 2007 version of 3:10 to Yuma, starring Russell Crowe & Christian Bale.

The Premise:

Christian Bale plays Dan Evans, a rancher and Civil War veteran, who is barely scraping by – and it doesn’t help that Glen Hollander, who Evans owns money two, is actively sabotaging his efforts so he can claim Evans’ land. Evans finds a possible way to save his land, and his self respect, by escorting captured bandit Ben Wade (played by Russell Crowe), to the town of Contention where he will be put on a train to Yuma prison. However, Wade’s gang, lead by his psychopathic lieutenant Charlie Prince is out to rescue him. (more…)

Japanese movie poster for the 1954 Release of Gojira
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My review this week is of another film that Bureau42 has already reviewed – the first Kaiju movie ever, Gojira. In case the fact that I’m using the Japanese title hasn’t clued you in, I’m reviewing the original Japanese version, instead of the US theatrical release that included new footage featuring Raymond Burr.

The Premise:

A nuclear test in the Pacific Ocean awakes a pre-historic creature which begins attacking shipping, before venturing onto land and attacking populated areas. (more…)

Burn Notice Blu-Ray Cover
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So, I’ve previously reviewed the first two seasons of Burn Notice. While I wait for season 3 to come out on DVD, I’m going to get started on another spy themed TV series – one with more of a James Bond (pre-Daniel Craig) theme.

The Premise:

Chuck is in charge of the Nerd Herd (Not-The-Geek-Squad) at a Buy More (a Not-A-Best-Buy-Circuit-City-Or-Comp-USA consumer electronics chain). His old friend-turned-arch-nemesis from College, Bryce Larkin, sends him an E-Mail that ends up uploading the contents of the Intersect, a classified NSA & CIA database (which Larkin has also destroyed) into his brain. Chuck ends up under the tender loving care of a beautiful CIA agent (whose cover is his girlfriend) and a rather nasty NSA agent (who presumably killed Larkin), while both agencies try to get the Intersect out of Chuck’s head, and deal with various international plots in and around LA. (more…)

The Cover art for "Devil May Care"
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It’s been a while since my last book review on my blog, in part because it’s been a while since I finished reading a novel. But, finally (okay, after two weeks), I’ve finished the most recent James Bond novel, by Sebastian Faulks, which continues where Ian Fleming’s last Bond Novel left off. Is Faulks a worthy successor to Fleming (or at least the other non-Fleming writers to take on 007 – John Gardner and Raymond Benson)? If he isn’t, how good is the book?

The Premise:

It is the dawn of the “swinging ’70s”. James Bond has been on leave for 3 months since the events of The Man With the Golden Gun (the novel, not the film). However, he gets pulled off his leave early to investigate an heroin smuggling cartel which is suspected to be run by pharmaceutical mogul Julius Gorner, a man who has a unique deformity, one hand is large and furry like an ape’s – but it doesn’t have an functioning opposable thumb. He also has a passionate, fervent hatred of the UK, and only 007 stands in his way. (more…)

So, Technorati wants me to prove that I am the writer of the blog by putting a unique verification code in a blog post, to be specific, they want me to fit “THQNTUNF68J8” into a blog post. I’m not entirely certain how I can do so organically, but there we go. Hopefully they’re satisfied with it.

Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid Movie Poster
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This week I have another review of a classic motion picture for you – or at least a motion picture that is widely regarded as a classic of the Western genre. It’s also the film that helped bring Robert Redford to the big time, and named the Sundance film festival – Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. So, as I always ask when reviewing classics, does the film hold up, or has the years undermined its supports? Oh, and as a quick aside – I’m probably going to cut back on my blogging for a bit – at least for the rest of the term, as my work schedule and class schedule isn’t conductive for the rigorous schedule I was blogging before.

The Premise

Butch Cassidy, along with his friend, The Sundance Kid, is in charge of The Hole In The Wall Gang, a notorious group of outlaws who have previously been robbing banks and trains across the West. When a train robbery goes spectacularly pear-shaped, Cassidy & The Kid head south, to Bolivia, where they will end up finding their destiny.

(more…)

This week’s Nintendo Power, issue #29 for October of 1991, finally has some better cover art – for Star Trek! Oh, and this is a good one too – they’re finally getting back up to speed. It’s original art too, not stock art from Paramount either. I can tell they’re using a model, but it still looks good anyway. It helps that they’re using the Constitution Class refit.

Letters: Our themed letters this issue are based around parents who hyjack their kids console, in that they’re gaming enough that the kids have to try (and fail) to chase them off the NES.

F-Zero Guide: We have notes on the games controls, and which tracks you’ll have to race on which circuits. We also have notes on the various vehicles and their pilots, including Captain Falcon. (more…)

The Cover of EGm #64, featuring DoomThis week’s issue of EGM, #64 for November of 1994, is a doozy – 398 pages (including the cover), just short of 400 pages. We’ve also got one heck of a cover story, the 32X version of Doom. Now, due to the length of this issue, I may end up skipping a few games if they’re games that just don’t interest me. In particular, I’m going to skip the sports section entirely, and for the system specific coverage I’m going to skip games that were reviewed earlier in the issue (and possibly games that don’t interest me).

Editorial: Since this is, basically, the second-to-last issue of 1994, it’s time once again to speculate at where the video game industry is going, particularly considering that the game industry going to enter the 32 bit era soon. (more…)

Get Season 2 of Burn Notice on Blu-Ray
Get Season 2 of Burn Notice on Blu-Ray

This week we finish up the Burn Notice reviews (for now), with a review of the show’s second season. I haven’t watched Season 3 yet, but once I do, you can expect a review.

The Premise:

Following the conclusion of Season 1, Michael finds a few answers about who burned him – sort of. To be more accurate, he’s lost the FBI surveillance and instead has found himself in the care of Carla, his new handler. So, while now trying to make ends meet by helping the helpless, he now must also try to find out who Carla is working for, and what they want to do with him. (more…)