Cyber Citizen Shockman 3 The Princess from Another World

Cyber Citizen Shockman 3 The Princess from Another World

Cyber Citizen Shockman is back for the final installment in the trilogy from Ratalaika Games with The Princess from Another World!

Cyber Citizen Shockman 3 was originally released in 1992 and has been resurrected by Ratalaika Games for current gen consoles. After winning the lottery and taking a much needed vacation, our two heroes, Arnold and Sonya, are forced to turn back into Shockman and defeat an alien threat that has ruined their vacation. This starts players on a side-scrolling adventure that looks and feels like they are still in the 90’s.

The game looks and feels like you are playing some of the run and gun classics from 90’s and looks like the continuation of the Cyber Citizen Shockman franchise that it is. For those that are new to the franchise it feels like a classic Mega-Man side scroller but without the thematic bosses who share a name with their power. The bosses in this game border on the extreme in difficulty compared to the stages themselves. This time around the gameplay is less sticky, meaning much smoother controls and animations. Which is great because in the first two installments I felt like I died more to incomplete jumps than anything else.

The game does lean towards feeling tedious as you press on between the difficult bosses and the repetitive gameplay. Visuals hit that nostalgic itch as does the gameplay itself and the story is humorous at times but not enough to keep me engaged long term.

American Sniper in 4k

American Sniper

Bradley Cooper stars as Chris Kyle, the most lethal snipe in American history in American Sniper from Warner Brothers.

Directed by Clint Eastwood and produced by Warner Brothers, American Sniper tells the story of Chris Kyle. Chris is a member of the Navy Seals where he earned himself the nickname, “Legend” with over 150 confirmed kills. Originally released in 2014, the film is finally being released in 4k. The film follows him through one of his four tours in Iraq and the time following with his family leading until his death in 2013.

Typically war films, especially modern ones, typically don’t hold much interest for me but Eastwood’s style of storytelling keeps you glued to the screen. What he does really well is breathing life into his characters that normally would be more bland for the screen. This is done so subtly that you find yourself connecting with characters you normally wouldn’t.

Eastwood’s visual storytelling is fantastic and watching this film 10 years after it’s release proves that it holds up just as well. I was halfway through the film before I realized that this wasn’t a new biopic. The acting is believable and the story is incredibly well told.

Dune Part Two review

Dune

The team behind Dune are back with Part Two, completing the adaptation of the first book of the same name by Warner Brothers.

Paul Atreides is back and this time is no longer fighting for his place among the Fremen in Dune Part Two from Warner Brothers. Playing into the hands of his mother and the prophecy she is trying to force into reality, he begins to leads guerrilla style attacks on the Harkonnen forces stationed on the planet. The end goal is to eliminate the threat entirely and retake his place at the head of his Great House and of the planet.

Prior to this version of the story we had multiple attempts at adapting the book, first a movie that included Sting in the cast and a series produced for the Syfy network. Each adaptation more accurate than the last and the two most recent films are not an exception to that. Where these adaptations consistently miss is on the same point, the story is more than just the first book of Frank Herbert’s series. So far only time will tell if the current vision will include the rest of the films but I sincerely hope that they do. Chapterhouse Dune and Heretics of Dune were by far my favorite installments in the main series.

Visually, these two films are an absolute treat, capturing the world of Dune better than any medium outside the books have done. Sufficient time was given to developing the myths within the story that it didn’t rely on the knowledge of the books before watching and the cast did a brilliant job of bringing these characters to life. My only complaint is that the film was made as two films instead of one long epic viewing. I would have gladly sat for the 5-ish hours needed to watch in its entirety as that is the only way this story should be viewed. Would just need an intermission to hit the restroom. Doing this would have allowed the impact of the film to be better felt where coming into the second half of the story means it feels a little disjointed.

Lunar Lander Beyond from Atari

Lunar Lander Beyond

From arcade to remaster, Lunar Lander Beyond is the latest Atari title to recreated from the ground up by Dreams Uncorporated!

Lunar Lander Beyond is the latest game to get the remastered, re-energized, polished treatment from Atari, with the help of Dreams Uncorporated. The Beyond moniker is similar to the Recharged titles, but has gone even further. It’s like playing a brand new game with the same base mechanics instead of just improving the graphics. We are even given a fully animatic cinematic experience with the gameplay, adding to the world beyond any of the previous reborn titles from Atari. Seriously, this looks and feels like it was designed from the ground up.

Sometimes you play a game and swear up and down you were playing a different title. I have memories of watching my father play Lunar Lander on our Atari back in the 80’s and him kicking my ass at it too. Looking at pictures of games from that time it’s clear that my memories have been of Gravitar after all. Memory can be a funny thing. Again, looking at the pictures it’s clear I have no memory of playing the original, despite my original claim in our review video about the game. Thankfully some followers straightened me out on that and I apologize to anyone that I confused or unintentionally misled there. Compared to the title I thought I had played, this game felt exactly like my memories of that but this time I’m at least more skilled than I was about 40 years ago. The original title was released only in arcades in 1979 and never (at least as far as my research can confirm) released on the Atari itself.

The cinematic visuals are absolutely stunning and feel like you’re watching a cyberpunk-themed anime. Game play is difficult if you are heavy handed like myself and require a lot of finesse. I typically hate games that require a gentle touch but found myself having a lot of fun. The production quality definitely helped with that.

The Beekeeper from Warner Brothers

The Beekeeper

Warner Brothers have released their latest action film, The Beekeeper, staring Jason Statham, Jeremy Irons and Josh Hutcherson.

The Beekeeper is the latest action film from Warner Brothers with Jason Statham as the lead and dominating nearly every scene he is in. The film starts with him retired from his years of service and now as a Beekeeper, literally. He helps his neighbor by removing a wasp nest and is more than happy to do so as they are a threat to his hives. Shortly after he leaves, the neighbor receives an alarming message on her computer and is coerced into giving her financial data to a group of scam artists who empty all of her accounts including a charity she works for. Seeing no way to recover the funds she ends her life. Later Adam, Statham’s character, returns with a jar of honey and finds her dead. He starts a one man rampage targeting the group that caused her to end her life, first by burning the building they worked out of to the ground.

The group he worked for was also known as the Beekeepers. Their creation was to protect the society, or hive, as a whole and were given the training to complete their mission how they saw fit. In an actual hive there are designated bees that are known as the Queen Killer with the sole purpose of eliminating a queen that spawned inadequate offspring. That’s basically him. This is important for the story later on.

When I saw trailers for the film I thought it was going to be a mindless action flick without much in the way of story and really was more of a story for the sake of violence. Like most actions films these days. I was not expecting a film of this depth, looking at society as a whole, an officer having to look at their own roles and coming to terms with discovering which is more important- their own desires or their service to the job. Honestly, there are even more layers of depth to the film but I’m not going into all of the aspects. Even when on his rampage, Adam focuses on the people that are really the problem and not those that are having to work for them. Overall I thought the film was fantastic and quite impressed how well they were able to film the violence in a believable way without making it unnecessarily gory. Even when a guy had his fingers sawed off there was virtually no blood. This could be viewed as a detractor from realism but it really aided the story in allowing you to focus more on the story and action than on the blood splatter that tends to draw your attention away. I had an absolute blast watching the film and look forward to seeing what else this team is capable of.

The Departed Steelbook Release

Departed

The Departed is the latest film from Warner Brothers to get a rerelease in 4K HD and this time with an accompanying Steelbook case!

The folks at Warner Brothers have shared another classic film that I’ve been told is a must watch. This time they are doing it in style with a Steelbook case for The Departed. The film follows an Organized Crime boss, Costello, and the two officers tasked with bringing him down. One is a rat and the other is undercover to infiltrate the organization. It becomes a race to uncover who the other is while Costello works to expand his empire.

For anyone that still hasn’t seen the film, NOW is the time to do it. The only thing I knew about the film was the sound track, specifically Shipping Up to Boston from The Dropkick Murphys. The first time I had even heard of this film was while watching the music video from TDM. Watching the film I was surprised how many big names were attached. Seeing that it was done by Martin Scorsese made it make more sense. Start to finish the cast, the acting, the writing, direction, ALL OF IT, was beyond fantastic. No wonder it won FOUR Academy Awards and over a dozen other awards. This film is one of the few instances where the hype truly does not do it justice. Highly recommend watching, I’m already planning my NEXT viewing.

Justice League Crisis of Infinite Earths Part Two

Crisis of Infinite Earths

Warner Brothers have come back with the second volume of their animated event, Justice League Crisis of Infinite Earths.

The previous Crisis film focused most of the story on Barry Allen as the Flash and him assisting in the construction of a series of towers. These towers would protect various Earths from an Anti-matter wave that seemed to be trying to erase the entirety of reality. Part Two of Crisis of Infinite Earths from Warner Brothers is a direct continuation of the story but this time follows Psycho Pirate. Psycho Pirate is tasked with making each hero confident and to minimize the panic on each world. Being the true villain he is, he betrays the trust placed in him and starts working for the Anti-Monitor. The Anti-Monitor promises Pirate that he will essentially be a god in the new reality and he enthusiastically agrees.

Anytime I watch an animate DC film, if it features Batman, I want him to be voiced by the late Kevin Conroy. Obviously, after his passing that will no longer be an option without the help of AI. Let’s not even get into that can of worms. Jensen Ackles taking over the role sounds like a perfect successor. Troy Baker, while good as the Joker, still doesn’t hold a candle to Mark Hamill. Basically if the original Batman The Animated Series is the gold standard in DC voice acting then this film is a strong Silver. Overall the cast did a fantastic job, it’s just hard to beat the best.

Having never read the original comic story, or seen any of the previous tellings of the story, I went in mostly blind. However I did read the novel close to two decades ago. I remember the novel being great and there being an emphasis on the Flash but not much else. I had forgotten almost the entire story by the time I watched both parts One and Two. Both parts of the story have been great. From what I’ve read, there will only be three parts I cannot wait for the finale. I also hope we see more of these classic comic events getting the animated treatment, especially if they follow this level of quality.

Orion Haste from Ratalaika Games

Orion Haste

Orion Haste from Ratalaika Games is their latest sidescroller shooter that has definite Contra vibes but with a Doom Guy cosplay.

The folks at Ratalaika Games shared another nostalgic filled title with us, this time with Orion Haste. OH is a run and gun side-scroller that pits you against an alien invasion with an array of weapons with unlimited ammo. That’s right! UNLIMITED AMMO! You play as a soldier, who remarkably looks like Doom Guy, who is tasked with ending the alien menace. Along the way you will find extra lives or health and the four weapons. Each stage starts you with having to find the weapons once again and I must say the electric beam is the best option for nearly EVERY fight. It is a never ending beam of destruction. It is great to wield. The only problem with the weapons is aiming. You are limited to up, down, left, right and the left and right upper diagonals. With using a controller with sticks for aiming I hoped for better control. This in turn limits your options when dodging the enemies.

Gameplay looks and feels like the classic Contra games in nearly every way. Even the level of difficulty felt the same. Besides the limited options for shooting the controls are quite fluid. I loved Contra and this hit me in the feels in all the right ways. I had a blast with this one. Thanks to the team at Ratalaika and PR Hound for sharing another nostalgia gem with us!

Outer Terror from Ratalaika Games

Outer Terror

Outer Terror from Ratalaika Games is an isometric horror title that looks and feels like a twin stick shooter without a trigger.

Ratalaika Games has provided us with a code for their latest horror title, Outer Terror. The game looks and behaves like a twin-stick shooter. Only real difference is you don’t control your shots, they never stop shooting. Your focus, as far as controls are concerned, is on moving and triggering different abilities. As you level up you pick among three cards that will either heal you or power you up further. As each stage begins you get an introductory story clip with artwork that is very reminiscent of Charlie Adlard from The Walking Dead. Adlard is one of my favorite comic artists so I am absolutely here for these intros.

When you start the game there are four chapters and based on the achievement list there are others that will unlock later. As you complete chapters you collect money and can use these funds to pay for upgrades. The more you play, the more you’ll earn. The game is full of dodging and as a tip, the more money you pick up, the faster you’ll level up and that means the more upgrades you’ll unlock. By the time I finished episode 1 I had all upgrades finished within the level.

The gameplay art was a bit of a disappointment. As with most RG titles, the graphics look like it was developed for the Super Nintendo and I love them for that. However, with the fantastic intro art I was disappointed that the sprites weren’t rendered in the same style, by the same hands. Gameplay itself is smooth though and once you learn to read the map you can make quick work of some of the episodes. Overall I had a great time and look forward to seeing more of this great art as I play more episodes.

Code supplied on behalf of Ratalaika Games by PR Hound.

Xatrom Command from Ratalaika Games

Xatrom Command

Xatrom Command is a twin stick shooter from the team at Ratalaika Games where you must stop the alien threat.

Aliens have invaded and it is up to you to stop them in Xatrom Command from Ratalaika Games. XC is a twin-stick shooter with blocky graphics where your objective is to kill everything alien you see. Many of these aliens a similar to animals and bugs from Earth, except some of the bosses. As with any twin-stick shooter, it is quite easy to get overwhelmed. Movement is key and NEVER stop shooting. The primary targets are tiny spider-looking things and some sort of four-legged green and purple creature. I thought it was also a bug at first but couldn’t figure out which kind. Later on you fight scorpions, snakes and tarantulas. Not to mention a boss every ten rooms or map squares.

The game is actually quite simple, not just in appearance but in controls. You have one stick to move, one to aim your gun and the right trigger to fire. Again, movement is key. Don’t let the bugs overwhelm you because you will lose health quickly. The good news is the green things that look like bushes regularly drop ammo and health.

At first glance I assumed the game would be just TOO simplistic. Between the graphics and controls there wasn’t much to it. I was wrong. Despite the simplicity I had a great time, so much so that in a single sitting I completed thirty five of the levels and every achievement in the game. Doing so took almost an hour to do total so this is a great one for achievement hunters too!