Play Abobo’s Big Adventure and Play it RIGHT NOW

January 12th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

We all remember Abobo, right? Introduced in the arcade version of Double Dragon, he became more well-known in the NES adaptation, where he looked less human and more like an angry pile of muscles. He proceeded to be a staple in the series, showing up in sequels, the Battletoads crossover game, the fighting game and the live-action movie. Even when videogame company Evoga failed to get the rights to make their game Rage of the Dragons a part of the Double Dragon franchise, they still had a character in there named Abubo.

Abobo’s been a nostalgic icon for the NES, so it’s fitting that all these years later, he’d be the centerpiece for this Newgrounds collaboration that’s taken many years to put together. Check out the trailer.

With the kidnapping of Aboboy, Abobo must go through a series of different classic NES game styles to set things right. Throughout the excessively violent journey, he deals with:

1) A warped reimagining of the first level of Double Dragon.
2) A Mario Brothers underwater level where he has Yoshi powers.
3) A very one-sided battle with Urban Champ.
4) A dungeon from Legend of Zelda where he must take on the game’s greatest villain: the old man who gives you advice. Using a sword is good enough, but using a piece of meat as a sword does even more damage.
5) After chasing the Amazon with only a pair of balloons, you then take him on in a Pro Wrestling match, featuring some unexpected but not unwelcome help.
6) As Megabobo, you must defeat your robot double.
7) Armed with a machine gun and a code for 30 lives, you blaze through the jungle to face Krang in his most dangerous form ever.
8) You take it back to the ring to face an underdog who has since become a power-hungry tyrant.

You have to play this game. It’s fun and I found myself cracking up many times, especially during the horrific ending. Good show, guys.

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The Eternal Champions Comic: Sooner Than Later God Will Cut You Down

April 18th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

(Special thanks to Fletcher “Syrg” Arnett for his assistance)

With the new Mortal Kombat game coming out tomorrow, it feels right to cover another comic based on a game that tried to ape the series’ success with lesser results. Already, I’ve covered Killer Instinct and Primal Rage. Now it’s time for Eternal Champions, a short-lived backup featured in the UK publication Sonic the Comic. Sonic the Comic was a bi-weekly anthology featuring stories about Sega’s rodent mascot with the occasional backups of other Sega properties. It’s mostly remembered in the comic world for a series of Streets of Rage stories written by one Mark Millar. Eternal Champions got two story arcs and a special one-shot issue out of the deal.

So what is Eternal Champions? The game was released on the Genesis in the early 90’s, followed soon after by an updated version with an expanded roster on the Sega CD. The game had a really cool and inventive storyline… until it remembers the part that it’s a fighting game and it falls apart. The idea is that there’s this being called the Eternal Champion and he’s a big force for good. In the distant future, he comes to realize that the balance between good and evil is way out of whack. Evil’s held its grip over history a bit too much and this will cause a major cataclysm. He notices a handful of beings who were killed before their prime from different time periods. People who would have made the world a better place had their lives not been cut so short.

The Eternal Champion decides to use his powers to bring in these nine souls (more in the Sega CD game) in an attempt to help set things right. It’s like Exiles with time travel. Despite having the power to pull them all from the time stream, he only has the strength to send one of these guys back a moment before their scheduled death. That’s a weird drawback, but okay. I was thinking you could blame the butterfly effect on that, but even if the caveman changes history for the better, the Sega CD endings feel the need to remind you that EVERYONE ELSE IS DESTINED TO DIE HORRIBLY via early-90’s CGI animation.

So how does the Eternal Champion decide who will get his or her second chance? FIGHTING TOURNAMENT, THAT’S HOW! Man, it’s a good thing all of these potential heroes are physically fit martial artists. So not only do they have to murder the fuck out of each other (and honestly, the “Overkills” are more violent than most Mortal Kombat Fatalities), despite the fact that they’re all pretty good people, they have to fight the super-cheap Eternal Champion to prove themselves. Why? Like, if he kicks your ass – and believe me, he probably will – he cancels the entire project and decides to allow reality to crumble to evil. All because you can’t defeat a nearly omnipotent deity with your knowledge of karate. What a dickhole!

Luckily, even the comic is aware that the Eternal Champion is full of snot. Let’s look at our nine time travelers:

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4 Elements: Persona 3 Portable

March 29th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable is published by Atlus for Sony’s PSP. Shigenori Soejima designed the characters for P3P, and also the characters for Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 and Catherine. His style is sharp and clean, fit for animation but just as attractive in the form of still images. He has a nice sense of fashion, and seems to be fond of shirts that ruffle, dark jackets, and black slacks. Shoji Meguro, composer of Persona 4‘s soundtrack, also did a solid job here. The score never interferes with the gameplay, instead enhancing the mood as needed. I like P3P quite a bit, though I’m maybe halfway through it thus far. I keep flirting with writing about it, though, and you know what? Enough pussyfooting. Four things about Persona 3 Portable that I enjoy:

Persona 3 Portable is about personal growth. The central metaphor for the Persona series, at least as far as I’m concerned, is growth as an individual. The characters must embrace their hidden talents or, as in Persona 4, come to terms with themselves before they can be turned into something radiant. In Persona 3, the cast is privy to a secret that most of society does not know. To make it through this horror, they have to depend on and learn to trust each other in battle. They form a group, Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad or SEES, that go out at night to try and make the world better.

The high school simulation puts the interpersonal growth of your character under your control, and that growth directly affects your performance in battle. You are in charge of making friends, and that involves what is essentially a dating game. You can hang out with people, you personally choose answers to their questions that reflect a number of different personality choices, and you can even date people. The role-playing aspect is interesting–if I choose an option I don’t necessarily believe, I get a slight pang of guilt. That doesn’t fit the character I’m choosing to play. These (fictional) characters are granting me a large measure of trust, and betraying that feels wrong.

Your character is the only one in the game that can create and utilize multiple Personas, while other players are stuck with Personas that are a reflection of their own personality in some way. Your character being able to possess several Personas is a nod to the fact that you, the player, are one of several billion possible people. So, since you can’t possibly have one specific personality, you’re given a selection.

Building relationships in the simulation portion of the game gives you greater power when it comes time to dungeon crawl. The stronger your relationships, the stronger your Personas are. It’s a fitting simulacrum of real life. The better your friendships, the better your mental health, and the more self-actualized you can afford to be. It’s like having a safety net. You know that you have help if you need it, and that lets you push forward.

To summon their Personas, the characters place a gun, called an Evoker, to their heads and pull the trigger. Rather than a spray of blood, what looks like broken glass erupts out of their skull and the Persona appears. Aside from being a cool visual, I think this represents something more. To really open yourself up, to share that light that’s inside you, you have to put yourself at the whim of others. You risk being ostracized, embarrassment, and most of all, failure. The gun represents a tool to engineer the death of yourself, of your ego, and that allows your Persona to appear fully formed. Maybe you like to sing at karaoke, but it takes six shots of tequila to get you there. Those shots are your Evoker. The gun is the equivalent of pausing, taking a deep breath, and stepping forward.

Going to high school requires making friends. You can’t make friends without opening up and genuinely building a relationship. Making friends makes you stronger, and more reliable in times of danger. Being stronger allows you to protect those friends. The act of protection forces you to open up and embrace your skill. And so we return to begin again. Everything is related, and all of it is more easily mapped to growing as a human being, than growing as a fighter or magician or whatever.

P3P is a PSP adaptation of a PS2 game, and required a bit of adjustment to fit the smaller screen and new context. P3P‘s story is told by way of a visual novel, which is an interesting way to do this type of game. Animation is kept at a minimum, and dialogue is still spoken, but the visuals are near-static images, and events are explained via stage direction. Rather than seeing someone slam a door, you hear the sound and you read the little caption box.

More than anything else, P3P reminds me of radio plays. Everything hinges on the actors involved and your own imagination. While comic books give you most of an image and let you fill in the blanks, P3P works more like an illustrated novel. Physical action is left entirely up to your imagination, while the look and personalities of the characters is given to you.

Strangely, this makes it even easier to be drawn into the game. The tradeoff between the specificity of animation and the freedom of imagination means that you have much more invested in the story. You create significant portions of the game as you play, and what you create fits into what is already created like a lost puzzle piece. Aigis, a robot girl, breaking into a character’s room is paced according to your own thoughts. While listening to a conversation that’s set around a table, you choose the table setting and the location of where the voices are coming from.

This is largely done unconsciously and entirely on the fly, but it helps make your playthrough yours, rather than something you watch. It’s the equal and opposite brother of Hideo Kojima’s cinematic heavy Metal Gear Solid franchise, where you aren’t so much a part of the story at hand as along for the ride. In P3P, you are the ride. The characters move and think as you want them to. The only time you don’t have a significant amount of control over them is when you’re dungeon crawling.

P3P is full of things to do. I don’t really dedicate a lot of time to playing games any more, and ones that require huge time investments to be enjoyed tend to get sold asap. In P3P, you can pick it up and go out and work on your friendships. Maybe you want to finally hit a certain rank with the Gourmet King, or begin dating Yuko. You can check and see when they’re free and then pursue them. You can get short interactions with them or longer, more involved conversations.

Or you can run through a few floors of the dungeon. The floors tend to be short, maybe five minutes long on average, and are randomly generated, so while they are same-y, they aren’t identical. Each set of floors is themed, enemies vary from floor to floor, and there are lost souls or treasures to be found in each section.

There’s also a quest system that’s handled by an otherworldly woman named Elizabeth. She isn’t familiar with our world, so she requests certain items or to go on dates with you to explore the land. These quests give you bonus items or cash, and provide short-term goals in long-term gameplay.

Part of the high school simulation is building your stats. You have Academics, Charm, and Courage to worry about. These can be increased by studying, doing dangerous things, drinking coffee, getting answers right on a test, or any of a dozen things. Having a high Charm means that you can talk to certain girls or get specific prizes. High Academics helps you score higher on tests.

At a certain point in the game, you can walk a dog. While walking the dog, you may be joined by a teammate, and you’ll have a brief characterization-building conversation. There’s nothing particularly deep to it. It’s just another information delivery system.

These choices, and the others I didn’t mention, make for a well-rounded game. The way I’m playing now, I’m not going for 100% completion and maxed out relationships. Forget that–grinding sucks the fun out of everything. Instead, I dabble and try to get a taste of everything. It’s made for an interesting experience, one where I’m okay if things don’t happen like I wanted or if I miss something. I can always do something else, and it takes no time at all.

The art’s really nice. I wasn’t familiar with Shigenori Soejima’s art prior to playing Persona 4, but his work in P3P is crucial. He has to provide a solid foundation for your imagination to fill in the blanks due to the overall lack of animation, and he does it well.

Characters are extremely well designed, and change as events in the game progress. Junpei has peachfuzz on his chin and a habit of wearing tank tops. Your character likes earphones. Everyone has summer, winter, and other special outfits. Mitsuru’s high class nature and faux French affectations come through in her design. Fuuka is stylish, but subdued. Yukari’s pink sweater and heart choker suggests things about her character. Aigis’s limbs give her a creepy flair, like a clockwork teenager. I think my favorite design is Akihiko’s, with his red sweater vest, suggesting a preppy kid, but his ever present bandage and fighting gloves suggest otherwise. There’s real personality in the designs, but working within the constraints of a school uniform.

I like the way Soejima uses colors, too. Yukari’s black uniform is hidden beneath her pink sweater. Ken’s rocking a black and orange color scheme that works surprisingly well. Aigis is mostly white, save for her major joints and weapons. Mitsuru is black, white, and then red. Black, and to a lesser extent, red, is a dominant color in most of these designs, thanks to the school uniform, but the way it plays with the rest of the colors in these designs is interesting. The designs pop, distinct from each other but clearly related. The palette uses soft gradients and bright colors, and the end result is a game that’s really very nice to look at.

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Mortal Marathon Part 4: The Essence

March 27th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Guest article series by Gabriel “TheJoker138″ Coleman who wants to apologize for the iffy VHS quality in the images.

We start today’s adventure in Outworld, where a girl with her shirt half ripped off is being tortured by a Shadow Priest. Now that’s kind of a weird character to choose for your MK series. I hope Mokap shows up next. Anyway, this is easily the most violent thing (save for fantasy stuff like Sub-Zero freezing people) that this show has done yet, but it’s still not the ridiculous somewhat light-hearted violence of the games. He is straight up burning this woman with a red hot branding iron. He’s trying to get information from her about something called the Essence, which Shao Kahn believes his step-daughter, Princess Kitana, has hidden somewhere in Earthrealm.

Speak of the devil, here come Shao Kahn himself, and with him is another woman, named Qali, who he accuses of being loyal to Kitana, who she has been friends with since childhood. There’s also the small fact that when he staged his coup to take over Outworld, he had her father beheaded in front of his entire army, which is a decent enough reason to hold a grudge. She insists that no, she is loyal to no one but Kahn, but he’s not convinced. The Shadow Priest on the other hand is convinced that the woman he had been torturing really doesn’t know who took the Essence, or where it is, so Kahn has him slit her throat, as a message to Qali. In the shadows, another cloaked figure has been watching this whole thing.

We’re only through the pre-credits teaser this week and there’s already two things I need to talk about. Let’s start with the good. Shao Kahn is awesome. He looks, and acts, like a complete evil bad ass. Meek has toned down his performance since the first episode, but now instead of over-the-top he has a more hateful, rage-filled, burning to every line he says. His voice is completely different as it is in his dual role of Raiden, as is his posture, and just the way he carries himself. In what has so far been a series that has ranged from mediocre to painful as far as acting goes, Meek is the one truly stand-out performance. Every scene he’s in drips with energy, and he’s fun to watch, regardless of whether he’s playing Raiden or Shao Kahn.

He also looks great too. The Raiden costume hides his physique, but the guy is huge. And despite the fact that instead of going full monster face like in the games he is just wearing a skull mask at all times, it’s still miles ahead of the “incompetent bald guy” portrayal of the character from Annihilation.

He makes this look work.

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The Primal Rage Comic: It’s On Like Blizzard!

March 27th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

To go with the upcoming Mortal Kombat game, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the more popular clones. There were a lot of derivatives of the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat games throughout the 90’s, back when they were cheaper and easier to do than now. Many are long forgotten, whether they deserve to be or not (you’re still awesome, Kizuna Encounter!). Yet with the blood-based fighters, there were some who didn’t fall into obscurity without a fight.

Killer Instinct, Primal Rage and Eternal Champions are all interesting in how they almost became big deals. People remember them, but they’re all series that tried to last longer and collapsed before they could for various reasons. You don’t see any modern-day incarnations of those three non-Kombat games despite the way someone my age might light up and say, “Fulgore was the shit!” when the game is namedropped. They all had just enough play in the 90’s to receive their own comic books.

I’ve covered the Killer Instinct comic series before and Eternal Champions will be covered in due time. Today, I’m going to discuss Sirius Comics’ Primal Rage.

Primal Rage is based on the vicious Atari-released fighter from the mid-90’s. The basic premise of the game is King Kong vs. Godzilla as a fighting game. Giant dinosaurs and gorillas created with stop-motion animation duel over their domains. I’ve never been a big fan of the game and despite the excellent animation, you can see why it never truly took off. The game only had seven characters (using five character models and changing the palette on two of them) and no end boss. It seemed a bit barebones.

The story, I’ve discovered, is incredibly metal. A giant meteor crashed into earth, causing a major cataclysm. Tidal waves washed over the Earth. Cities were destroyed. Continents shifted back into one major mass of land. The people who survived lived on in caves, allowing civilization to degrade and turn itself into a series of violent tribes. The cataclysm also caused dormant beasts to awaken and battle, with humans worshipping them. Each one is considered a god of some sort. The God of Good, the God of Evil, the God of Life, the God of Decay, the God of Hunger, the God of Survival and the Goddess of Madness. They would all battle for supremacy until one was left standing.

The miniseries goes for four issues and is written by Christopher Knowles. The first issue, released in 1996, has art by Kevin Rasel. It’s a good-looking comic that’s refreshing in how straightforward it is. Unlike all the other fighting game comics, it actually holds itself down as a fighting game story without losing track of what it’s supposed to be. It starts off in an icy mountain where the side resembles that of a gorilla’s skull. Inside, we see Blizzard, a blue gorilla and God of Good, sitting on a throne in front of his gathered followers and a couple gorillas.

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“You can leave or live with it.” [Catherine]

March 4th, 2011 Posted by david brothers


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The Cipher 01/19/11: I lost my girl to the Rolling Stones

January 19th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

get olga

created: We’re talking good comics strictly here.

-You should be reading Peter Milligan, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Simon Bisley, and Stefano Landini’s Hellblazer. Here, let me help you out–read this and then pick up Hellblazer 275 to see John get married.

B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs Hardcover Collection Volume 1 is a long title for a good book, and it’s got my first pull quote on the back, too. It’s credited to ComicsAlliance, but it’s my words. Go on ahead and buy that. You won’t regret it. Here’s the piece they quoted from.


consumed: When did I start liking video games again?

-More blogs from friends! 4l! reader Taters has a couple you should check out. In Continuity is her general comics blog, while UnMasquerade is a tumblr devoted to heroes unmasking.

-I started playing Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. Tactics is my second favorite FF (after 7), but it’s the one I’ve played the most. I’ve probably put 300 hours into that stupid game since 1998, and I can tell that I’m already hooked on the PSP joint. It’s just exactly what I want out of a game–a little different each time, plenty to explore (in terms of abilities), and pretty much a puzzle game. What combinations work best? How much can I dominate out of sheer skill before I get TG Cid and roll over everything in the game?

-It’s funny, but I never beat a Final Fantasy after 7. No, that’s not true. I think I beat Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. I came close with 9, and I played a lot of 10, but man, that story got super dumb toward the end. I played probably an hour of 12 before I got bored, I worked on 13 and wasn’t impressed so I just skipped it… I enjoyed my six or eight months playing FFXI more than most of the other Final Fantasy games, and I quit that game because it was work and I’d been bamboozled into thinking it was fun.

-All I play now is Rock Band, FFT, Persona 3, and NBA 2k11. Weird, isn’t it? I was completely different just a few years ago.

-I don’t usually buy singles, but I made an exception for Wiz Khalifa’s Black And Yellow. He’s put out a couple of ill mixtapes (Kush & Orange Juice and How Fly specifically), and since I don’t go to shows, the least I could do is kick him a dollar for a hot song.

-Killer Mike is one of the most interesting rappers out right now. He’s clearly studied Tupac, Ice Cube, Scarface, UGK, and a bunch of other cats who mixed their thug raps with real life issues and black empowerment. He keeps it honest, is what I’m saying, and I think that’s why I regularly bump his whole catalog. He drops an ill black power track every once and a while, too. There was that “Bad Day/Worst Day” remix with Ice Cube, and it’s semi-sequel “Pressure”, which also featured Cube. It’s just coincidence that these two feature Cube, but maybe not. They’re the ones that stick in my mind the most, cause Mike holds his own up against a rap legend. I mean, “Pressure” goes SO hard, man, from the beat to the lyrics to that Malcolm X excerpt at the beginning. The video is pretty crazy. His latest joint is called “Burn”, and yes, you guessed it: he goes all the way in from the first line on. He also puts the whole Johannes Mehserle situation on blast.

-It isn’t as strident, but “Grandma’s House” is fantastic, too. “My life dope?” “straight cocaine.”

-Gonna be nearly silent running next week here on 4l!. Light posting at best, linkbloggy type stuff, and comic excerpts. It’s so I can bang your head all throughout February without stressing myself out and Ustreaming a murder/suicide. I’ma show you how to do this, son.

tell her i’m very single

David: Hellblazer 275
Esther: Maybe Superman/Batman 80, but probably just Tiny Titans 36
Gavin: Green Lantern Corps 56, Deadpool MAX 4, Avengers Academy 8, Darkwing Duck 8

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The Cipher 12/08/10

December 8th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

get three coffins ready
created: Just a couple. You can read me talmbout Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning & Brad Walker’s Heroes for Hire or a round-up of the current slate of Batman-centric comics. I’ll have a gang of goodies next week.

my mistake, four coffins

Brandon Graham’s King City 12.

Did you read that? Stellar end to a stellar series, and definitely one of my favorites of 2010. Cripes, man. The first thing I wanted to do after reading King City 12 was to read King City 12 again, but slower. And after that, I wanted to reread 1-12. Which I will do, and you will reap the whirlwind here, but I have to put that off and let it settle for a week. But seriously: if you weren’t reading King City, and apparently it sold like three thousand copies or so a month so a lot of you weren’t reading it, you missed out on some good comics. Only a few comics came close to even touching it this year.

-Takeshi Koike’s Redline is in the middle of an encore presentation at New People, so I saw it for the second time on Monday. I wrote a review for CA after my first viewing, and you know what? I liked it even better the second time around. It’s distilled spectacle, determined to give you whiplash from the hard cuts and harder action scenes. Every single frame demands more attention than you have to give, simply by virtue of being filled with information. The cast is full of character sketches (sexy girls, tv stars, hard-working earth dudes, a renegade cop, a cool dude, a cool girl, a MACHINE GOD), but all of it hangs together perfectly. The sketches are clever enough to support their own shorts, even. It’s funny, it’s frantic, and I’m glad it exists. It’s counterprogramming for all the moe stuff that’s dominating the anime industry, which probably explains the reports of it not doing very well at all in Japan. Buy the Blu-ray when they drop it.

-I bought the self-titled Hard Nips EP. I read a review on the Mishka blog about it and liked the single “Release It,” so I threw four bucks at it. I don’t really have a frame of reference for this kind of music. If it was rap, I could tell you what year it sounds like and who had an influence on the flow, but this is all new to me. I think I like it. I have a hard time with Yoko Sawai’s accent on a couple songs, but I like the way it sounds. It’s very heavy, with deep sounding guitars and vocals that feel like they’re climbing out of the music. If they drop a full album or another joint, I’d pick it up.

-Bilal’s Airtight’s Revenge is unexpectedly good. Not that I don’t like Bilal, but it’s been a good while since I really sat down and listened to some old fashioned neo-soul/R&B sanging cat. He’s hitting those high notes like D’Angelo used to, and the album is overall pretty strong. Clever, emotional, on and on. I like it more than Cee-Lo’s The Lady Killer, which is itself inferior to his Stray Bullets mixtape. Apparently they’re all from the same sessions, which makes The Lady Killer being aight pretty weird. Stray Bullets bangs.

-Redman’s Redman Presents…Reggie is… aight. Kinda disappointed. It makes me want to listen to Red Gone Wild, mostly. Just aight isn’t good enough these days.

-Been listening to a lot of Blur. Really digging Modern Life Is Rubbish and Parklife.

-B.o.B dropped a new mixtape, No Genre. Unsurprisingly, I cosign it. There’s a joint with TI, Bobby Ray, and Young Dro over a flipped version of the Sanford & Son beat. Quincy Jones on production. It disappeared off his official site, though. Label issues?

-Been reading Dragon Ball Z in Vizbigs. It’s been years since I’ve read DBZ in Shonen Jump, but I apparently never read this stuff. It sticks pretty close to the show, so there aren’t a lot of general surprises, but there are a few specific ones. Vegeta turning into a monkey I’d entirely forgotten about, for example.

-I bought Persona 3 Portable. I’ve been playing Persona 4 off and on for about two years now, more off than on, and figured I might as well check this one out, too. Gives me something to do before bed, anyway.

Here’s some vintage Wally Wood. This guy was so good.

i don’t think it’s nice, you laughin’
Esther: Yes: Batgirl 16, DCU Holiday Special, Knight and Squire 3, Superboy 2 Maybe: Batman Annual 12, First Wave 5, Red Robin 18
Gavin: Booster Gold 39, Justice League Generation Lost 15, Knight & Squire 3, Welcome To Tranquility One Foot Grave 6, Chaos War Ares 1, Incredible Hulks 618, New Avengers 7, What If Wolverine Father

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The Cipher 09/22/10

September 22nd, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Quick hits!

Shadow of the DAMNED trailer is heat rocks. Suda51 is dope, Shinji Mikami is pretty straight, and Akira Yamaoka is cool, so I’m basically on-board day one, and I don’t even really care about video games any more.

-Did anybody else look at that Shadowland: Blood on the Streets book the other week? I flipped through it, got to like page four and was like “nope.” Why?

Yeah, naw, I’m good man. You go on and take that somewhere else.

Shadowland: Daughters of the Dragon is similarly wack. Look at the soft batch of an action scene in this preview. Everything about it is a turn-off–the way they just hop off the motorcycles, the stiff art, the absurd fight in a truck that is also a shapechanging warehouse, whatever whatever. Gross.

-I’ve been paying more and more attention to fight choreo in comics. It’s such a basic thing, and I’m growing increasingly certain that getting it wrong is absolutely ridiculous. It’s one-two-three-four–first this, then this, then this, and then this. A lot of superhero artists tend to do it the other way, pinup-pinup-pose-pinup, instead, and it looks like crap every time. It’s sequential art, right? Then it follows that the images we see should be in sequence, rather than a loose collection of images where people are maybe kinda sorta fighting/dancing. This is like drawing cross-eyed people or one leg noticeably longer than the other. C’mon, son. Do better.

-That new John Legend & The Roots? Wake Up!? It’s a cover album and it’s fantastic. That eleven minute version of “I Can’t Write Left Handed”, one of my favorite Vietnam songs, goes hard. Legend divas it up some, but I’m digging it. It’s basically a tribute to the ’70s, and Legend does really well.

-Grant Morrison wrote the superhero comic Bible when he wrote Flex Mentallo. I can’t even imagine why someone wouldn’t like it or what it says about cape comics and superheroes themselves.

-My launch PS2 still works and Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 is still basically the illest game on the system. I’m playing it again after a break of a year and some change. I’m in Rise’s striptease dungeon, but I think that Kanji’s gay bath house takes the prize for greatest stage of all time.

Stuff I Read, Stuff You Should Buy
-I got a big box of books from Vertical, and I’ve made it through 7 Billion Needles (review coming here soon), and Chi’s Sweet Home 1, 2, and 3. I’m currently reading The Crimson Labyrinth and I finished Parasite Eve late last week. They’re all good to great, which is astounding. I know I read a lot of Viz, and for good reason, but Vertical, Inc is pumping out some great stuff while nobody’s looking. Parasite Eve was deeply weird and I never thought I’d say this, but I definitely read a scene where mitochondria masturbated.

Empowered 6, huh? How good was that book? Sistah Spooky is killing me over here.

-Guess what’s on sale? Scott Pilgrim is on sale! The entire series! For fire sale prices! Links: Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 2: Scott Pilgrim Versus The World (v. 2), Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 3: Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness (v. 3), Scott Pilgrim, Vol 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together, Scott Pilgrim Volume 5: Scott Pilgrim vs The Universe, Scott Pilgrim Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour

-Comics Alliance: we beat up on a crappy interview from The Atlantic, I review Empowered, Wildstorm is dead, and here’s some Marvel comics you should read.

I read your comic, now I break weed up on it
“The Immortal” David Brothers, brother!: This week, there’s nathan, but penetra-er, I’ve got no comics this week, but I might buy Matt Fraction and Pasqual Ferry’s Thor because John Workman lettered it.
Miss Esthlizabeth: I tried to find a title that Esther’d never read, like maybe Prison Pit or Preacher, but eh… effort.
“Macho Man” Gavin Jasper: Green Lantern Corps, Justice League Generation Lost, Avengers Academy 04, Avengers 05, Deadpool Team-Up 889, Hit-Monkey 03, Hulk 25, Secret Avengers 05, Darkwing Duck 04

Anything worth reading this week?

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Friday the 13th is Awesome!

August 13th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

You know what rules? Awesome Video Games.

That’s one of the earlier episodes, admittedly before they really hit their stride and got good production values. Awesome Video Games is an internet series brainchild of Fraser Agar. There’s a good possibility that you’ve already heard of the series, but I only got into it recently, so to hell with it. Awesome Video Games is basically a parody of all the live action video game ads, promotional VHS tapes and TV shows from the late-80’s/early-90’s. Back when everyone who played video games was depicted as a totally radical dude with sunglasses. You know, like these guys from the Game Boy comic.

The show stars happy-go-lucky skater idiot Chet and his even stupider and more childish brother Ace. The two are a mix between Bill & Ted, the villain from The Wizard, the host of the Gamepro TV-show and basically every incompetent contestant on Nick Arcade. As they preview and review the newest titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System, they’re usually accosted and annoyed by their father Dad, who mixes aspects of everyone’s father merged with a vaudevillian charm. Often, he’ll scream at them to take out the trash, even — as shown in that above clip — if it’s in the middle of the night for some reason. A lot of the time, he’s there for Chet to point out that parents just don’t get it.

Although they have a zest for gaming, the duo are absolutely horrible at it and have no idea. It isn’t that they’re just bad gamers, it’s that they rarely understand how to even play the game in question. They think that Duck Hunt is about protecting ducks and performing cover fire to defend them from the sinister dog. They’re stoked when a fan letter tells them that there’s a secret SECOND level of Super Mario Bros. that you get to by not turning off the game when you get to the first castle (“No wonder it’s so hard to find. It’s underground!”). And man, I can’t even put their concept of Double Dragon’s gameplay into words.

Hours into discovering Awesome Video Games, I found that they’ve released a DVD of the show, featuring the first 43 episodes (excluding the Christmas specials) and with three additional episodes never released for one reason or another. Also, it has a ton of bloopers, some deleted scenes, commentary, some seriously high-quality animated menus by Retro Mike and a crapload of other extras. I found the whole concept of the show so fresh and entertaining that I felt the need to support them. See also: this post.

To further spread the love, here are some of the better episodes:

Gyromite: As Dad shows he’s a bigot when it comes to the game’s “greedy smicks”, the boys discover a newfound robot friend ROB to help them beat the game. ROB continues to screw up again and again, begging the question: is ROB more sinister than he appears? Short answer is yes. Meanwhile, a new dance craze sweeps the nation.

Game Genie: A very special episode. Ace and Chet’s shady cousin Lester visits and gets them hooked on codes. Sure, it may get their scores high and bring them to the next level, but it’s still an irresponsible gateway into a downward spiral.

Bad Dudes: To help rescue the NES game’s president, the boys dress in the coolest outfits they can find, thereby making Ace extra punchable (in the outtakes, the guy playing Chet is doing all he can to not tear his face off in a fit of rage). Their enthusiasm for badness starts to concern Dad, who wonders if they’ve been behaving wrongly behind his back. COMPLETELY UNRELATED, “the government himself” calls up the boys to see if they truly are bad enough to save the president.

Sonic the Hedgehog: In a remake of sorts of the first couple episodes, Ace and Chet are as excited and inept when it comes to Sonic the Hedgehog and the brand new Sega Genesis as they were with Super Mario Bros. and the NES. But man, the Green Hill Zone his HARD!

Have at it. It’s all good fun.

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