Saturday, February 25, 2006


I've been sick for two days. I had a dream on Thursday morning where I was explaining something boring to myself, and then I woke up and felt incredibly tired and hurty all over. Missed a work night. Yesterday, felt a little bit better, but still had a hard time moving. Missed another work night. Today, my coughing hurts. But I suddenly became hot and sweaty, and I regained all my energy. This is obvious a continuation of the disease, soon enough, it will go onto hallucinations. Bu I'm going to work.

On my sick days, I found these, so enjoy:

Sunday, February 19, 2006

There can only be One: The continuing story

And I thought all the stories about squirrel attacks were weird:

Gang attacks teenager with swords, allegedly over love

I should really link to every story about sword-wielding maniacs when they come up. There should be one every twelve hours. Goody.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Visuals: Marvel VS X-Men set!

Visuals is something I hope to do frequently, where I review some of my favorite art from various sources, mainly collectable card and miniatures games.
I was introduced to VS two years ago, via advertisements, and eventually the fan community. And while, due to lack of places to get the product, I have never played the game (which is unfortunate, as it looks and sounds genuinely fun and engaging), I still pay attention to the new releases. And, this being a card game, each new set brings a new batch of art. There are a number of artists who contribute to each set, including some recognizable names(like Andy Kubert adnd Chris Bachalo). And this month, a new edition to the Marvel side, The X-Men, is here. You can peek at all the cards in the set here. Here's my favorites:

For background, the card featured on the left is Savage Beatdown from the very first Marvel set, which is widely recognized as one of the best cards to ever be printed. Artie is insinuating that any and every player should take him over that gem. Whether you heed him or not...depends on your gullibility. He's a con man, that Artie.

Winner of the world's happiest mutie:


Probably where the X-Men keep their stash.


Really effective use of lighting. Making a guy in a Victorian-era suit creepy is a laudable task indeed.

Winner of most suggestive names:

Probably where the X-Men force children to make cheap plastic trinkets.

Even Wolvie's gotta light one every once in a while.

Winner of most disturbing art:

God, Blob is such an arrogant prick.

The reason VS isn't for recovering alchoholics:

Winner of most naked:

Although it's appropriate...I never thought they would let something so bloody be in a card game that can appeal to kids.

Despite the fact that Pyro looks like a palm tree or a Cheesestring, this picture is pretty cool.

I don't know what this art has to do with teamwork, but I know what it has to do with other, er, "team efforts".

Now this picture's just silly.

*Sigh* Wouldn't this card be even more awesome if it was who it was supposed to be? X-Statix fans know what I'm talking about.

Probably where the X-Men surrender.

I really don't know why I like this guy so much. I guess I just love me some brains in robot suits.

Uh, guys, you're being attacked. Why are you just standing there? It's not like you're looking at a Picasso or a mime.

T&A, yay!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Truly WHA?!?

Alan Moore was probably spinning in his grave after this...and he's not even dead.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Werner Herzog Bandwagon

Which I must jump on.

From Wikipedia:

*Once walked on foot from Munich to Paris to visit an ailing friend, critic Lotte Eisner. The experience is recounted in Herzog's book Of Walking in Ice (ISBN 0934378010).

*Once ate his own shoe after losing a bet to fellow filmmaker Errol Morris. Morris was interested in making a film about a pet cemetery (Gates of Heaven) and Werner believed Morris was not ambitious enough to do so. This story was the subject of a documentary by Les Blank called Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980).

*On January 26, 2006, Herzog helped to rescue actor Joaquin Phoenix when his car overturned after a brake malfunction on a winding road in Laurel Canyon, near Herzog's home. As Phoenix described it: "I remember this knocking on the passenger window. There was this German voice saying, 'Just relax.' There's the air bag, I can't see and I'm saying, 'I'm fine. I am relaxed.' Finally, I rolled down the window and this head pops inside. And he said, 'No, you're not.'"

*On February 3, 2006, it was reported that Herzog was shot by a crazed fan during a BBC interview. Herzog was chatting with Mark Kermode about his documentary Grizzly Man, when a sniper opened fire with an air rifle. Kermode thought a firecracker had gone off. Herzog said afterwards, "It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid." [1]

Chuck Norris has a rival.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Capcom Classics Collection Review!

Call me a conservative gamer. I started in the SNES age, and even in this age of graphical marvels and sophistication, I still kinda prefer the arcade-style straightforward, simple, but hellishly fun (and usually difficult) games of old. So, it came as no surprise to God and Jesus that I exploded orgasmically when I found out Capcom was selling a collection of 22 arcade classics in one collection. I had to have it. And when the time of release came, and it was only $30, well, the only way I wouldn’t buy is if my grandmother was dying of cancer and needed all my money or my torso would be devoured by a rabid tiger from India. And, as luck had it, that event did not occur. Now I own 22 Capcom arcade titles on my PS2.
Okay, now you’re wondering what I thought of it. To make it quick and to-the-point: I love it. So much fun is to be had. However, I need something to fill a full article, so why not go over each of the 22 games in painful detail? That’s the stuff. So, done with the intro trivialities, I can go on to the games:

You know, it seems really odd that a Japanese company would make a game about American planes shooting up the Axis hordes, but then this is the same company that would later make a game about an alien annoying the hell out of people for kicks, so maybe it isn’t all that odd in the end. What sets 1942 apart from the other vertical flying crap shooters is that you can perform a loop-the-loop. What exactly this aerial feat is meant to do for you is still unclear. Maybe I need to log in some more time in this one.
Overall, not the best on the disc, but still decent enough for a 5 minute Jap-shooting spree before moving onto the big boys…

The sequel to 1942 is far superior to its predecessor, for more than one reason, the main being your ships new ability to CONTROL THE WEATHER. A historically-accurate fact, I’m sure, American fighter crafts now can cause lightning strikes and large tidal waves to appear and massacre the Axis scum, quite evidently showing how God was clearly on the American side. Or it’s a just a stupid bomb in the game. I prefer the first theory, because it has more Jesus in it. A great game overall, especially with a buddy to double your God-powers and loop-the-looping for no reason.

1943: Kai
Wait, another 1943? What makes this one different? Well, according to the instructions and game facts and stuff, it’s faster and more difficult. Okay. Pretty much cut and paste the above opinion. Let’s move on.

Bionic Commando
Bionic Commando is a cult game on the NES, infamous for awesome gameplay and an exploding Hitler head. The arcade version featured in CCC lacks the latter, and a little bit of the former. The grappling-hook is fun to use, for sure, but the enemy soldiers and stupid bees and pointy things get a little too many cheap shots in for my taste. And the level design isn’t all that great. And all this could’ve been saved by an exploding Hitler head.

Nothing is as fun as just shooting swarms of faceless soldiers, nothing. And so Commando earns its keep. It’s a bird-eyes-view version of Contra, basically, and as such you’re going to die, a lot. Thank Moses for unlimited continues, because I doubt any of you would keep playing the damn thing if you had to start over again and again. Even the well-trained man in the art of losing at arcade games is not that persistent.

Exed Exes
Exed Exes is a lot like 1942, except replace all the Japanese fighter jets with bees and floating skulls. Exed Exes is surprisingly fun, almost feel like Galaga, if Galaga had you collecting tomatoes for some reason. I became strangely addicted to this, partially due to its hypnotic repetitive background tune. Definitely exe-cellent. Oh my God, I didn’t just day that.

Final Fight
Now here’s fun in a bag. You walk your mayor/wrestler, ninja, or non-descript guy across the screen and beat the shit out of every punk you see, sometimes with a lead pipe, or a samurai sword. You pick up priceless gems, cash, and food that are stored in trash cans, obviously because they were useless items to the people of the city. Some may say it is repetitive. I say those people are booger brains. Plus, this is the only game where you beat up a transvestite and an autistic guy. I learned this from the unlockable character profiles, and they are facts that will stay with me forever, or at least until I learn something even more useless, which should be in another five minutes. Even better, the final boss rides around in a wheelchair and attacks you with a crossbow, and he’s not even a cripple. Probably does it so he can push the buttons to open the doors in the mall or to win the Special Olympics every year, just to be a real jerk.

Forgotten Worlds
Whoever designed this game is on the kind of weed that is sent to only a select few over the decades, possibly by gremlins. You’re two commandoes (named Unnamed soldier 1 and Unnamed soldier 2, showing the creativity of their parents) as they shoot down lizards on jetpacks, robot walkers, some very phallic critters, and Cossack-dancers that look like flying Michael Jacksons for cash so they can buy awesome power-ups from the hot satellite shop owner. Even more f’ed are the bosses: a rotting dragon corpse, a odd red thing that may look erotic to some, the sphinx, Sun god Ra and his ‘jaws of death’, a giant armor-wearing ‘God of War’, Cleopatra’s big-ass sarcophagi, two loin cloth-sporting statues and Satan himself, who for the first half of the battle refuses to get off his chair, the lazy-ass. You must want to play the game already, and you should, because it’s awesome, one of the best games on the disk...

Ghosts ‘N Goblins
What is to be said of G ‘N G aside from ‘IT’S FREAKING HARD!’ And yes it is. I’ve yet to reach the third level. And yet…the game is fun, very fun, even as it repeatedly serves your ass on a silver platter. Shooting zombies with lances is a good time.

Ghouls ‘N Ghosts
The sequel that will nipple-twist you until you cry, and that’s no lie. It took a special kind of sadist to make this game as hard as they did, with its constant barrage of enemies and traps, and precision jumping. But, like its prequel, it’s still hella fun. Added for this game, aside from the obvious graphical improvements, the armor upgrades with the super shot, and the ability to shoot up, both of which will not stop you from dying a million times. Masochistic fun for the whole family.

Packing six-shooters and tracking down criminals in the Wild West is the shit, really. This is quite a bit like Commando, except it’s automatically scrolling up and each button shoots in a different direction, allowing you to take out ne’er-do-wells from your stationary spot. It’s freaking hard, but it also has a ninja boss. A cowboy ninja? Capcom obviously has a better idea of history then I do.

Legendary Wings
Here’s a weird one. It starts as your basic vertical shooter, only now featuring two people with wings and guns. But, enter a danger zone or the boss area, and its sidescroller city filled with orange balls that grow when you shoot them and your usual assortment of baddies. This one is sort of middling, as it can be a good time, especially with a buddy, but the levels are fairly straightforward. Not the best, not the worst. But, hey, you can get wings without Red Bull.

Remember Commando, from a few paragraphs ago? This is the sequel to that, and it kicks your ass and ass in general. You now have a variety is crazy weapons to shoot the hordes of soldiers with, like a Contra-style spread gun, and a flamethrower (my favorite), and it has awesome boss battles against huge military vehicles (obviously, your enemy military isn’t with the times in creating monsters and cyborgs for use in combat). There really is nothing else to see, grab a buddy and a flamethrower and plow through this. You won’t regret it.

Pirate Ship Higemaru
Apparently one of Capcom’s earliest titles and it shows. I don’t know, maybe I am expecting more from a game featuring pirates, but running around throwing barrels at them just isn’t very exciting. Had there been a few ninjas thrown in (why not? There’s a ninja in the cowboy game), maybe I’d like this one a little bit more. Otherwise, it’s just the Adventure of Lolo’s mediocre daddy.

Section Z
I’d probably talk more about Section Z’s gameplay, but the story just stood out like…something that really, really sticks out. Take a gander:

As a sole astronaut, you must penetrate the alien Balangool space craft...

Stop right there. Balangool? I’ve heard some silly alien species names in the past, but this makes about NO.8. Okay, maybe the story isn’t that silly or noteworthy, but this game sure is fun. Horizontal shooter, jetpack guy, yadayadayada. However, I’ve heard about the NES version of this bastard, and how it’s actually superior to the arcade original. Really? I might have to check that out. But, right now, I’m stuck with the fun arcade version. Sucks to be me.

Son Son
Another early Capcom title, this one answers the eternal question ‘Who the fuck is that monkey girl in Marvel vs. Capcom 2?’ This game features Son Son and pig-armed-with-a-pitchfork Ton Ton running forward constantly, while you jump up and down platforms to collect food and shoot bats, piranhas, things that look like kangaroo skeletons and armadillos, angry bomb-wielding Chinese guys, and evil wizards riding clouds and carrying shields. I find this to be surprisingly fun, and it is quite possibly the easiest game on the collection (but still no walk in the zoo). You may want to take a round of this after Ghouls ‘N Ghosts or Commando kicks your ass for the 50,000th time.

Street Fighter II
Ah, the fighter to start them all. If you’ve been playing games for a while, you’ve probably played this and helped its 8 stereotypes crack skull. Still pretty fun after all these years, but it has some balance issues, which is fixed in….

Street Fighter II Champion Edition
…Champion edition, also featured on the disk. It also adds the 4 boss characters to your playable roster, which is great if you love Mike Tyson knock-offs, pansy-ass Spanish guys and being cheap with M.Bison (but I still love them all) or if you’re tired of making Dhalsim’s yoga limbs stretch. Still fun, but aside from the two additions above, it’s not that much different from Street Fighter II. This didn’t stop Capcom from also including…

Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper fighting
…this game, the definitive Street Fighter II, with the best balance and being uber fast. Also included in all three SFIIs is a ‘deluxe’ mode that allows you to pit the different versions of each character from each edition against each other, obviously inspired by last year’s Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, allowing people who can actually tell the difference between them figure out which ones were unbalanced.

Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts
My favorite member of the G’NG family but that’s probably because I can actually make it to the third level in this one. You lose the ability to shoot up, but gain a whole slew of super-duper-explosion-inducing power-ups, which do absolutely nothing to make the game any easier. And, of course, once you are able to beat the game once (which I doubt any of you will), you will learn that you have to beat it AGAIN to face the final boss, because you need a specific weapon that wasn’t available to you the first time through. Now, that’s just cruel. I mean, really. I’ve seen evil armies from the pits of Hades with gentler torture methods using hot prods laced with explosives and tacks. And yet, I am still compelled to play it. I’m starting to turn into that guy from Little Shop of Horrors.

I’m not a big fan of this game. Continuing the trend of games that are really, balls-breakingly hard, Trojan has your sword-and-shield clad freak traversing downtown Las Angeles (yes, it is always that abandoned) to fight hordes of other freaks. You can guard and attack high and low, but I have yet mastered the ability to do either in a vaguely effective manor. This means I’m getting whacked in the shins by bikers all day long. And getting whacked in the shins hurts. I’m going to cry.

Last, but not least, is Vulgus, another one of Capcom’s early games. And liked Exed Exes, you spend the entire time shooting giant robot bugs. I’m starting to think that Capcom has it in for insects. Why else would they force you to blast so many of the buggers in this endless game? Okay, I enjoyed shooting down the bugs. But…I mean, who doesn’t? This isn’t exactly amazing stuff, but it is a good waste of time. You could be curing cancer or something, but wouldn’t you rather shoot bugs? Of course you would.

As you can see, for $30, you get a wide array of titles; from the amazing to the amazingly poopy; from pleasant to suicide-inducingly tough; from shooting soldiers to shooting ninjas in the Wild West to shooting bugs, and lots of ‘em. So, if you enjoy quarter-eating abominations like these, you buy. And if you don’t, screw you, you’re stupid. I don’t actually mean that, but I kinda do. Seriously, everyone should like Final Fight. Everyone.

Friday, February 10, 2006


I'll probably have a new article up by the weekend. Until then, go outside and do something with your life.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Spider-Man Goes to Winnipeg!

(This is an old article I wrote on an amateur website. I'm posting it to keep you busy while I do nothing)

There have been many wacky anti-drug propaganda over the years, but that's really not important. What is important is that while comics, specifically Marvel, haven't forgotten Canada's existance (mostly thanks to our pals Len Wein and John Byrne), it seems that most of the superhero action in the Great White North takes place in the 'bigger' places, like Toronto and Montreal. The Prairies are apparently not important enough to be portrayed in comics. Well, until Marvel decided to team-up with Canada's Crime Stoppers (the police equivalent of 'Squeal on your neighbours for cash!' McCarthyism) to produce an anti-drug comic set in the capitol of Manitoba, Winnipeg! Yes, in a once-in-a-millionbajillionquadrillion event, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man makes a stop in the mosquito-ridden, crime-filled Prairie city. Oddly, this comic was written by Dwayne McDuffie, who would later go on to write for DC animated properties like 'Static Shock' and 'Justice League'.

We begin this story rather normally, with Spidey battling Electro in a Warehouse. The wall-crawler has the upper-hand in the beginning, until he Spider-senses a fairly generic-looking crook behind him, distracting him long enough for Electro to blast him into submission (take a note on this thug, he plays an important role later in our little drama, as obviouly hinted when he uses the thought bubble to say an cryptic message.)

When Spidey comes to, he notices the crime he smashed with his flying self is filled with hockey pucks, and an invoice that said they were to be shipped to Winnipeg. So, naturally, Spider-Man assumes that's where Electro is heading next. Going back to Peter Parker, he phones up ol' JJJ, asking for train tickets to the 'Peg, apparently to cover the big science fair. Jameson, convinced, sends Parker on his merry way.

In Winnipeg, Peter finds a community rink where the big science fair contender, a girl named Beth, is practicing. There, he meets Herb, the coach (who is apparently based off a real person). We then learn of Alan, who is a real athlete. However, he's been slacking off as of late, for reasons....UNKNOWN! Peter then decides that the kids will enjoy a visit from Spider-Man. Cut to 'Winnipeg Mall' (which, believe it or not, doesn't really exist. They had the galls to send Spider-Man to Winnipeg, yet they don't even do the research on what any of the malls are called. Geniuses!), where...Gasp!...Alan is taking cigarettes and beer from some very shady punks, much to the dismay of his teamies.

Spider-Man clings to the walls and watches as one of the punks hands Alan one of the pucks he found in Electro's crate, and it's full of pills! DANGEROUS pills no less! It's time for a Spider-intervention!Alan comes face-to-face with the wall-crawler, and agrees to come with him on a journey of, I mean knowledge.

Spider-Man lectures Alan on how alchohol is the most prominent drug used by kids his age. Then we see the drug-pushing punk, Ben, from before, now looking as if he's getting older men to buy beer for him. Of course, there's more going on here, MUCH MORE! Spidey and Alan follow Ben all over the city, selling drugs all over the city, and then into an ominous warehouse (Spidey's past luck with ominous warehouses should give you a clue what comes next). Spider-Man follows him in, and finds more crates filled with pill-filled pucks. But, right on cue, Spidey-senses are-a tingling....

And look! It's our old buddy Electro! Apparently, he came to Winnipeg trying to avoid superheroes (what? The Alpha Flight don't count anymore?). While outside, Alan and his teammates are confronted by that generic thug from before with the punk kids, equipped with blades!Spidey and Electro duke it out once again, but this time, interrupted by Generic Thug and his punk army threatening the kids! Generic Thug says he just wants Beth, for reasons....UNKNOWN! When Spidey shoots down that concept (and if he didn't, what kind of superhero would he be?), GT tosses Beth and has his punks throw a barrage of knives at Spider-Man, which he dodges with ease. Spidey proceeds to ensnare the punks, but where's Generic Thug?

Spidey looks outside, but there is only an old lady...or so he thinks! It is actually GT in disguise, and he is able to escape. Now that Spider-Man's done with that..back to Electro! Now, here comes the scene that makes this whole mess worth it...

So, Electro's ready to jolt Spider-Man's system again, but instead of fighting back, Spidey tells Alan and Beth to take care of his nemisis. How you ask? With hockey pucks, because rubber is an insulator, thus rendering Electro's powers worthless. The kids shoot...and bean Electro in the noggin, knocking him for a loop. How Electro ever got over being beaten by a couple of kids from Winnipeg is a mystery for the ages. In the end, the crooks end up in prison, and the day is saved. Hurrah!

Afterwards, right on cue, the 'Aces' win the hockey game (what hockey game, and to what importance, is pretty much unexplained.)Alan has certainly learned his lesson. When offered drugs, he does Nancy Reagan proud and JUSTS SAYS NO. Meanwhile, Petey on the phone, telling JJJ that he's going to cover the science fair in Frederiction. Of course, this is to keep an eye out for Generic Thug, just incase he strikes again. It says 'To Be Continued', but I have never, ever seen or heard of this mysterious second part. Anyways, who cares? It takes place in Frederiction, the poor man's Winnipeg. Which is even sadder, considering that Winnipeg isn't the richest of cities.

There you go, Spidey's most bizarre adventure has been revealed. Revel.