Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Spyro the Dragon (PS1) Review

With the remastered trilogy coming out in a few months, I went through the original Spyro the Dragon. This was a game that was an alternative to Crash Bandicoot. It has held up well for the most part and plays smoothly for being about 20 years old.

For the core gameplay, you collect treasure, save dragons, and find eggs through over 30 levels in six different worlds. In one of the most razor thin plots, Gnasty Gnorc has turned dragons into crystal after an insult. As Spyro, you can charge, use dragon flame, roll, and glide. It's a game that you can pick up and play and instantly get the hang of it.

Graphically, it's a beautiful looking one. There's nice backgrounds and areas. The dragons and enemies are unique in their worlds. Animations are fluid for the time. It's music is phenomenal. Led by Stewart Copeland, he creates a fantasy world while incorporating a bit of rock from his days with The Police and making movie soundtracks. Sound effects are like watching a cartoon. Voice acting can be a little cheesy, but it holds up a lot better than most other games of the 32/64-bit era.

Spyro's level design is built around his attacks and flying. They make it enough of a challenge that you can figure it out on your first or second try and then you can fly by the level in a matter of minutes. It is a little bit linear, but you have a lot of freedom in movement in the space of the level. You will adapt very quickly to how each level plays.

This is a little difficult, but not on that level of the original Crash Bandicoot. You have a dragonfly that serves as your health and getting hit without him loses you a life. Hazards include water and lava. My only complaints are some of the later levels being a bit too difficult and the flying not being as smooth in those later ones leading to a few lost lives. But if you're looking for something on the PlayStation, Spyro the Dragon is a must for anyone looking 3D platformers from the late 90s.

Score: 8 out of 10

Monday, June 18, 2018

Why The Incredibles 2 Debuted Strong

Without any doubt, The Incredibles 2 was going to start it's first weekend strong. But I don't think it would have been that strong until seeing the numbers for its Thursday night at 18 plus million and Friday's 70 plus million. Just as a note, the original made 70 mil in it's opening weekend. For the new sequel, it broke records for animated films, making 180 million as of now according to Box Office Mojo.

There are reasons why this film had a very good weekend. I like to chalk it up as a film people have been waiting to see for a very long time. It's a sequel that they wanted Disney and Pixar to make unlike the Cars films. A family of superheroes is not a bad idea and expanding on that allows more freedom on how they handle it, the powers they have, and a few other things. In an era now with the glorified Marvel popcorn flicks, you would think Incredibles 2 would lose some sort of identity, but brand recognition helps it out quite a bit.

This is one of those films I intend on seeing this summer. It's got the same cast for the adults and some new ones to boot. Getting in some laughs and serious moments is what I'll expect, especially with Mr. Incredible becoming a stay at home dad while Elastigirl goes off to save the day and bring superheroes back into being relevant. I've always thought the original was good, but vastly overrated. I think this is Pixar's most overrated film, but this sequel might be one that if I do see it, it might be better than the original.

Topping the original is not an easy feat for most movies, but Incredibles might be that one that will for many.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Is Soccer Even Loved?

It's World Cup time. As usual, lots of people will keep their eyes on the teams involved and who advances. Typically, this brings out the ones that may not be huge into the sport and watch a few games. But the point of this blog is the title. Is soccer even loved?

This is hard to judge because Europe and Africa are huge into soccer, which is called futbol in those regions. Ever wonder why FIFA sells so well? Europe buys into it. Now, I don't think America hates the sport. It's just that it's not exactly an exciting one to spend a couple of hours watching. Maybe it's the type of sport that has really high stakes such as the tournaments and World Cup, which gets a decent amount of ratings.

If individually, I could see a handful out of 8 or 10 going for a soccer match. It also has to depend on what happens during a game. Stuff like faking injuries, who gets penalized, the whole nine yards. There has to be a little bit of excitement to say that you saw that on television.  Going to a real game, whether it's high school, college, pros, that would vary. Most would probably see the high school ones and maybe college just because of reading in the newspapers about the one or two kids that are from their area making an impact for their team.

Overall, I would say it's tough get a good grasp on the legitimate love of soccer. Enjoy the time of the World Cup while it lasts because it will be back to the same old stuff after it ends.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bethesda E3 2018 Impression

I'm not really much into discussing E3, the showing for the newest video games. However, Bethesda has me a little interested in some of the titles that are coming out within the next year to two years. It's franchises that I've loved and enjoyed immensely  Let's get into it.

Personally, I don't think anybody was expecting another Doom game. Yet, there will be one. Eternal has the mentality as Doom II. It's going to be bigger. There will be more enemies, diverse levels, and a few other knick-knacks that will make this ideal for anyone looking for other first person shooters. This is should do quite well whenever this comes out.

Wolfenstein has been quite an expansion since MachineGames and Bethesda took over. Youngblood looks to continue what has been happening since The New Order. You have the opportunity to play as one or both of the twin daughters of BJ and Anya Blazkowicz. It's the first in this set of games to have a co-op mode and have you doing the same thing as usual in killing Nazis. I would hope they didn't kill Anya off, but that's a wait and see scenario. It comes out next year, so it lets others get into these set of games and vision what has happened since The New Colossus.

The last ten years has seen a rise in the Fallout series. Now comes the latest with Fallout 76, which is set to release in November according to Cnet. It's also going to be an online survival game set way before any events in the franchise. I can this being successful early on. How much this will catch on is another question in itself. More than likely, it's not going to catch up with Elder Scrolls, but it could hold interest for a while. 

Speaking of Elder Scrolls, there will be a sixth one. I'm sure little details will be given as the game goes through development. Also planned is a brand new IP in the form of Starfield. There is also a new Prey game. Overall, this has me excited a little bit and gives me something the next years when they do come out to play on PlayStation 4. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Battletoads is Back!

No review today, but some interesting stuff to come out of Microsoft's E3 conference. Within the past year, we've seen Sonic Mania, a new Bubsy, and the recently released Shaq Fu sequel. It's like living in the 90s again. Now it's going to keep feeling like that decade with the announcement of a new Battletoads video game.

The franchise made it's debut in the summer of 1991 on the NES and only lasted a few years. All of it's games were developed by Rare and were pretty much an attempt to go after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Years have gone by and there's that question of whether there would be new games. It's slated for next year and that has to be making waves.

Now comes this question. What kind of game is it going to be? If anything, it could be a platformer/beat em up type similar to the original. Then again, it could be one genre, but how that flies with Rare is up to them. As long as it doesn't stray from what made it a bit recognizable, this could be one of Microsoft's bigger exclusives for the Xbox One. Hopefully, it's not as brutally difficult as the NES original.

People envy the 90s, and that's not always a bad thing.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Ultimate Warriors

For the NBA, the script was already in the hands of the Golden State Warriors. It was clear what was going to happen, and it did. They won the Finals in convincing fashion against the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is their third in four years and they were able to do this on the road as well, something other teams struggled to do.

The shake up in the winter said a lot about the Cavs. Getting rid of a number of their players was the tip of the iceberg. How they were able to advance to the Finals is beyond me. They also squandered their opportunity to at least win a game. However, JR Smith's blunder at the end of regulation in Game 1 will be looked at as one of the biggest goofs of all time. It also gave the Warriors the edge which culminated into a win to begin the series.

With the champions, it's through the use of all their developed stars. Stephen Curry was back to being in true form after battling injuries. Kevin Durant was always the X factor for them this year, delivering strong moments and claiming another MVP award. Klay Thompson is the guy you don't think of, but he's the underrated player that pops up whenever the team needs a boost of confidence. Of course, Draymond Green is that physical type of player that isn't afraid to go for the ball. Whether that leads to fouls/technicals is another story. Add in a decent bench, and this adds more to Steve Kerr's early legacy so far.

So what happens? Some things might happen behind the scenes for the Warriors. I see someone getting ousted. In Cleveland, there is speculation LeBron James could go somewhere else. If he does, the Eastern Conference will be a lot different no matter what team he picks. Next year could be Boston or Toronto's shot to make the Finals. The Cavs would have to really start developing players if they don't want a repeat of 2010 through 14.

These Warriors are mighty and strong. Their dynasty has gotten much stronger and will be remembered for years to come.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Trophy for the Capital(s)

Never in my life had I ever seen a team in the Washington DC area win a championship. The last time that happened was at the start of 1992 with the NFL's Redskins Super Bowl. For that franchise, it has been nothing but mediocrity since. The NBA's Wizards have been on the rise the last ten or so years, but can't advance past the second round. Even with the move from Montreal, MLB's Nationals have been disappointing despite success the last six years.

This is where the NHL's Capitals come in. With their win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday, they got their first Stanley Cup wins and their first trophy ever. Similar to the Wizards, they have done well, but have had nothing to show. No joke, they've had best records in seasons and they fail to either the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers, or some other team that sneaks up and gets the best of them.

You could tell after they got past the Penguins this year, it could have been an easy ride for them. Getting through Tampa Bay was not a cakewalk either. I did not expect this Stanley Cup Final to be finished that quick. The Golden Knights were a force to be reckoned with. Unstoppable was what I would say regarding their three series prior to the Final. It is still an expansion team, but this should be the standard for what all teams in any sport should look up to. They did a lot more than MLB's expansion teams from the 90s.

Where does this land for the Capitals? If you're Alexander Ovechkin, you just landed yourself a spot in the Hall of Fame when you're finished. It also means for DC, ending a lot of heartbreak since 1982. Looking at Pro Hockey Reference, they have had so many first and second round exits, the question was whether they would win a Stanley Cup at all. A few other guys have cemented their legacies as well. This is something they will savor for the rest of their lives.

Hockey has a new place for the Stanley Cup.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Star Wars Oversaturation?

In only two weekends, Solo: A Star Wars Story has only made over 150 million dollars domestically according to Box Office Mojo. This past weekend saw it only make 28 million, which was a huge dip. More than likely, this will struggle to make 200 mil domestically. But why?

I like to chalk it up as oversaturation of the brand. There have been four films in the last three and a half years. To compare, there were three between 1977 and 83. There were three between 1999 and 2005. At least there wasn't a franchise fatigue for those two periods of time. Part of the reason why Force Awakens did well was because of three generations of people seeing it. You had the ones from the 70s and 80s, the ones from the 90s and 2000s, and the current ones of today. Part of me thinks Last Jedi did better than expected because of the last time of seeing Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.

The funny thing with Disney is that they were criticized for their constant sequels of their animated films, typically direct to video. That pales in comparison to what they have done with Star Wars and even the Marvel brand. While I believe Marvel films will start to decline at some point, they're not making a new Captain America or a new Thor every year. They're not that stupid, but at the same time, they are with the oversaturation. I hope with Solo, they weren't expecting to make a billion worldwide. If they were, then this was a big misfire that went way off target of expectations.

If there is a silver lining to it, Star Wars Episode IX will be out Christmas 2019. At the very least they can forget this bomb of a film. Disney has nothing to blame but themselves for this. Not every Star Wars project is going to be a guaranteed hit. I would expect IX to do very well next year, but after that, I don't know if any new projects will come up. Maybe a lesson can be learned from doing something like Solo.

Spyro the Dragon (PS1) Review

With the remastered trilogy coming out in a few months, I went through the original Spyro the Dragon. This was a game that was an alternativ...