It’s pretty much been a month since I last blogged, and boy have those four weeks been action packed! The weekend that soon arrived after my last blog post was an extended one, as I had to take the Friday off because it was a P.D. Day at James’ school. While mrs. darthcobain17 went in to meet the teacher, we stayed home and played video games and basement hockey all day! Later that day we went to the movies. As for the rest of the weekend, on the Saturday we drove down Hamilton way to attend a friends’ house warming party. While there I finally managed to accomplish a long sought after goal of mine . . . I ended up drinking an entire case of beer in one night!! I didn’t really mean to, the beers were just going down so well, and before I knew it boom, out of brews. Pretty epic!
The following weekend was a really busy one, at least on the Saturday. The wife finally decided it was time to decorate the house for Christmas, and when I say decorate, it’s not the normal person’s version. We have two Christmas trees to put up, and then pretty much every room on the main floor of our house has some sort of collection of decorations that dress them up for Christmas, it’s pretty ludicrous! Not to mention all the outdoor lights and what not. On the Sunday though, mrs. darthcobain17 went cross border shopping with her mom and was gone all day and overnight. So it was a pretty relaxing day, James and I once more overdosed on video games and basement hockey!
The weekend after was a much more low key one. We didn’t really have any plans, so on Saturday we took James to a First Lego League competition that was taking place at UWO, for primary school kids aged 9-14 or so. James really wants to take part in this when he is old enough! His school had a team in the competition so we got to watch one of their matches, which they won quite handily. On the Sunday we went to see Shrek: The Musical, for which I had bought the wife tickets for her birthday. It was actually really good, with a belching/farting contest, lots of ass jokes, etc., it was right up my alley! Afterwards we went out for dinner to end our weekend.
Finally, this past weekend, we went down to Grimsby on Saturday as on Sunday we were to have our Christmas celebration with the in-laws, as a few of them won’t be home during the actual holidays because they are traveling to various places. Everybody bought toy gifts for each other, which we felt represented said person, and then we gave the toys to a toy drive. Afterwards we had a big, fat dinner during which I stuffed myself ridiculously, and I got in to the booze too.
As for the weekdays, James still has Beavers, swimming lessons and golf lessons during the week, although both swimming and golf are coming to a close soon. On top of that we’ve had Christmas celebrations with friends, James’ Christmas assembly at school, and numerous other things occupying our time. Throughout it all though, I was able to get at my games when I could, here is what I got done . . .
1) To start off the gaming this month, I was once again able to get another level knocked off on Goldeneye! This sixth level of the game was called “Kirghizstan – Launch Silo #4”. This was the start of my next overall mission in the game, to set it up one of our agents had concerns that missile silo activity in Kirghizstan was being used to cover a launch of the Goldeneye weapon satellites. The level then began, just after Bond had set timed charges in this facility in Kirghizstan, so I immediately began exploring the various tunnels of the missile silo facility, taking out random pockets of soldiers as I did. Every once in a while I’d come across a computer lab and would let the scientists escape, while acquiring various pieces of satellite circuitry that were lying around. Using stolen key cards to speed me along my way, I eventually came to a lab that actually held one of the Goldeneye satellites and took pictures of it with my camera (as well as obtained some telemetric data from one of the scientists). On my way to exit the facility I ran in to an enemy who was a bit of a brute, no matter how much lead I pumped in to him he wouldn’t go down! But I chased him away eventually, soon after reaching an elevator that sped me away from the soon to be destroyed facility! I finished this level with a time of 7:02 and had a 62.0% accuracy rating.
2) Again as usual, I completed another series of my season on MLB 2K11, this time around hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates. The series went down as such: won vs. Pittsburgh 3-0, won vs. Pittsburgh 3-0 & won vs. Pittsburgh 11-1.
3) The mop up operation finally entered full swing on Lego: Lord of the Rings this time around, it’s been a long time coming! I was able to get at four game levels, which went as such: “The Black Rider” (found the last 2 Minikit pieces, the last Treasure item, and earned 2 Silver Bricks [for completing the Minikit and finding all Treasure items]), “Weathertop” (found the last 9 Minikit pieces, 3/3 Treasure items, the Tablet, and earned 3 Silver Bricks [for completing the Minikit, and finding all Treasure items plus the Tablet]), “The Pass of Cahadras” (earned True Adventurer status, found the last 7 Minikit pieces, found 3/3 Treasure items, and earned 3 Silver Bricks [for the status, Minikit, and the Treasure items]) & “The Mines of Moria” (earned True Adventurer status, found the last 8 Minikit pieces, the last 2 Treasure items, and earned 3 Silver Bricks [for the status, Minikit, and the Treasure items]). Just because I only got four levels tidied up didn’t mean I made little progress though. The game hub on this title has tons of stuff to do and find within it, so I spent most of my time there! On top of completing said two levels I found 44 Silver Bricks, 4 Tablets, completed 10 Quests, and unlocked/purchased 4 Red Bricks (which contained the Mithril Brick Finder, Regenerate Hearts, Poo Studs, and Boss Disguises extras). I also purchased a number of characters, including Berserker, Rosie, Bilbo Baggins (Old), Tom Bombadil, Radagast the Brown, Ringwraith (Twilight), Ringwraith, Moria Orc, Bilbo Baggins, Elrond (Second Age), Gloin & Elrond (Third Age). I made many visits to the Blacksmith’s in Bree, having him forge many quest items with my collected Mithril Bricks. The items I completed this first time around included the Mithril Whistle Sword, Rope, Music Horn, Headdress, Boxing Gloves, Squeak Sword, Ice Bow, Cluster Bow, Disco Phial, Hairbrush, Paintbrush, Music Boots, Skeleton Sword & Spring Boots. To top all of this off I also quickly dabbled in the “Middle-Earth” bonus level, upon exiting it I unlocked both the Mouth of Sauron and Sauron characters. Shibby!
4) On NHL ’04 I took part in the next four games of my season, which looked as follows: won @ Washington 15-4, won @ Montreal 16-3, won vs. Carolina 8-6 & won @ Atlanta 20-7.
5) Some really meaningful progress was made on Batman Origins: Blackgate, including a couple of boss fights! To start play off I began my re-infiltration of the Cell Blocks, using ductwork, hallways and an elevator to get around. There was not much goon activity, at least to begin with, as I’d already cleared a lot of this area earlier in the game. Along the way I obtained a Heavy Gauntlet and Armor Reinforcement upgrade. Eventually I was able to reach areas of the facility I hadn’t been to yet, thanks to the new key card access I had acquired. I entered what appeared to be the power plant, where I ran in to some of Penguin’s goons. After navigating a series of high catwalks (and obtaining the One Million Boots in the process) I took out more punks before reaching the munitions dump, where I acquired an upgrade for my Gel Launcher gadget . . . the Glue Gel! I then ex-filtrated the facility, obtaining a Rush Upgrade along the way. My journey then took me back to the Industrial section of Blackgate, where I re-entered the facility the same way I originally did, obtaining an Armor Reinforcement in the process. Eventually I reached the door that was operated by a pressure plate, which seemed to stall my progress oh so long ago. Well now with my handy Glue Gel gadget that was no longer an issue! Gumming up the gears of said door I was able to pass through it to an unexplored area of the facility. Not long in to it I managed to track down Black Mask, who’s ultimate plan I had learned . . . to blow the entire Blackgate facility sky high, eliminating all of his criminal competition in one fell swoop! The villain sicked a horde of his thugs on me in some sort of generator room, once they were bloodied and bruised I had to manipulate the nearby circuitry in order to escape and continue chasing Black Mask down. I eventually caught up to him and after shutting the soon to be overloaded generators down, I confronted him and got the drop on him by using some access tunnels underneath his location. Upon Black Mask’s defeat I used a computer to restore power to Blackgate prison and all of it’s offshoot facilities, then began my ex-filtration (obtaining an Armor Reinforcement along the way). Instead of exiting the facility though, I found a new part of it that I had yet to check out. I soon found myself engaging hordes of Joker’s goons, while navigating a very water drenched area (acquiring the Red Son Boots in the process). The pot at the end of the rainbow here was acquisition of the Tightrope capability. Upon nabbing it I forged on and found a path that led directly to the Administration building. Said path ended up being a secret entrance to the warden’s office, and when I got there I found that this level of the game was simply a boss fight . . . against none other than that fiend, The Joker! I demanded he give me the Crypto Sequencer codes, but as usual he declined. So we then began a drawn out dance of a fight where he pulled out a handgun, an electric prod, and even poison gas on me! Despite all of his tricks I was able to turn the tables on him using my various gadgets. Upon his defeat I obtained the Gamma Key I had so badly wanted all this time. Afterwards I shut down the poison gas he’d been pumping in to the room, and then tried to restore normal ventilation to the Arkham wing. However, the computer said ventilation there was fine and had never been interrupted. When I contacted Catwoman and asked her why she had mentioned the ventilation issue, it was obvious there was something she was hiding . . .
6) Next up comes Jak X: Combat Racing, and I got a good chunk bit off there too! The first area I visited this time around was “Kras City”, where I completed two events. Said events were “Kras City – Turbo Dash” (won the race, gold medal) & “Waterfront Loop – Freeze Rally” (won the event, gold medal). I then went to “Haven City”, where I completed a solitary event, called “Forbidden Jungle – Circuit Race” (won the race, gold medal). Another solitary event was on the docket next, in “Icelands”, and it was called “Frozen Speedway – Circuit Race” (won the race, gold medal). It was then back to “Kras City” and then “Haven City”, for a set of one off events in each destination. Said events, respectively, included “Deathdrome – Death Race” (won the race, gold medal) & “Clifftop Battlefield – Sport Hunt” (won the event, gold medal). “Spargus” was the next area I traveled to, where I participated in a couple of events. Said events included “Desert Arena – Deathmatch” (won the event, gold medal) & “Canyon Run – Rush Hour” (won the event, gold medal). I finished play by competing in five solitary events across various destinations. The areas I visited, in order, were “Haven City”, “Spargus”, “Kras City”, “Spargus” & “Grand Prix”. The respective events at these destinations included “City Outskirts – Circuit Race” (won the race, gold medal), “Badland Sanctuary – Circuit Race” (won the race, gold medal), “Kras City – Death Race” (won the race, gold medal), “Wasteland Isle – Deathmatch” (won the event, gold medal) & “Glacier Alley – Circuit Race” (won the race, gold medal). Almost done the Green Eco Cup now!!
7) Luigi’ Mansion: Dark Moon got hit hard this time around, hard enough that it is now complete!! What an awesome game too, a 10 for sure. Anyhoo, continuing on in the “Old Clockworks” area of the game, I completed the last couple levels it had to offer. The first one was “C-6: Showtime” (clear time of 19:01, 37 ghosts captured, and 665 treasure collected), while the other was the area’s secret level, called “Outlandish Interruption” (clear time of 7:27, 24 ghosts captured, and 234 treasure collected). The penultimate area of the game was called “Secret Mine”, there I completed the initial four levels as so: “D-1: Cold Case” (clear time of 34:59, 8 ghosts captured, and 1323 treasure collected), “D-2: Hit Rock Bottom” (clear time of 24:57, 10 ghosts captured, and 752 treasure collected), “D-3: Across the Chasm” (clear time of 1:25:55, 12 ghosts captured, and 990 treasure collected) & “D-Boss: Chilly Ride” (clear time of 5:10, 1 ghost captured, and no treasure collected). Afterwards I was able to complete the secret level in this area, called “Severe Infestation” (clear time of 8:53, 20 ghosts captured, and 451 treasure collected). It was finally time to move on to the last area of this exciting adventure, called “Treacherous Mansion”!! There I was able to complete all the levels they threw at me, which included “E-1: Front-Door Key” (clear time of 25:49, 11 ghosts captured, and 1053 treasure collected), “E-2: Double Trouble” (clear time of 48:28, 19 ghosts captured, and 1836 treasure collected), “E-3: A Train to Catch” (clear time of 20:09, 12 ghosts captured, and 654 treasure collected), “E-4: Ambush Maneuver” (clear time of 12:51, no ghosts captured, and no treasure collected), “E-5: Paranormal Chaos” (clear time of 20:43, 52 ghosts captured, and 1836 treasure collected), “E-Boss: Stop the Knightmare” (clear time of 2:45, 1 ghost captured, and 60 treasure collected) & “E-Boss; King Boo’s Illusion: A Nightmare to Remember” (clear time of 32:14, 1 ghost captured, and 260 treasure collected). After the game was complete I was able to play this area’s secret level, called “Terrifying Invasion” (clear time of 5:16, 18 ghosts captured, and 464 treasure collected). And that was it. Luigi had been able to defeat King Boo, rescue his lost brother Mario, and restore peace to Evershade Valley! Game over . . .
8) Believe it or not James and I only ramped up our activity on New Super Mario Bros. U, so much so that we defeated it . . . and then moved on and defeated the New Super Luigi U game that was included with it!! Picking up where we left off on New Super Mario Bros. U the last time, we knocked down the rest of the levels, which went as such: “Meringue Clouds – 3: Switchback Hill”, “Meringue Clouds – Castle: Slide Cliff Tower”, “Meringue Clouds – Mansion: Spinning Spirit House”, “Meringue Clouds – 4: Bouncy Cloud Boomerangs”, “Meringue Clouds – 5: A Quick Dip in the Sky”, “Meringue Clouds – 6: Snaking above Mist Valley”, “Meringue Clouds – Castle: Ludwig’s Clockwork Castle”, “Meringue Clouds – Airship: Boarding the Airship”, “Peach’s Castle – 1: Meteor Moat”, “Peach’s Castle – 2: Magma-River Cruise”, “Peach’s Castle – 3: Rising Tides of Lava”, “Peach’s Castle – Castle: Red-Hot Elevator Ride” & “Peach’s Castle – Castle: The Final Battle”. In all of these levels we managed to obtain the 3 Gold Star coins that were hidden throughout. After completing the game a couple of things were unlocked for us, a secret mushroom house where we could view stats on our game progress, and then an area of secret bonus levels called “Superstar Road”. These levels are pretty tricky though, so far we’ve only been able to complete one of them, called “Superstar Road – 7: Lakitu! Lakitu! Lakitu!” (obtaining 2/3 Gold Star coins). It was then on to partake in the New Super Luigi U game that came on the same disc as the Mario Bros. game. It used the same collection of worlds, and the levels were similarly themed, but in the Luigi game you are given a much shorter time limit in each level, the challenge is more a race against time than anything. A cool aspect is that James could use a new character named Nabbit, who was invulnerable against a lot of attacks and enemies, so his powers came in handy quite a bit!! Anyways, we had become so addicted to these titles that we managed to complete this game as well, here is how it all shook out: “Acorn Plains – 1: Waddlewing Warning!”, “Acorn Plains – 2: Crooked Cavern”, “Acorn Plains – Castle: Flame-Gear Tower”, “Acorn Plains – 3: Rolling Yoshi Hills”, “Acorn Plains – 4: Piranha Heights”, “Acorn Plains – 5: Piranha Gardens”, “Acorn Plains – Castle: Lemmy’s Lights-Out Castle”, “Layer-Cake Desert – 1: Spike’s Tumbling Desert”, “Layer-Cake Desert – 2: Underground Grrrols”, “Layer-Cake Desert – 3: Piranhas in the Dark”, “Layer-Cake Desert – Castle: Wind-Up Tower”, “Layer-Cake Desert – 4: The Walls Have Eyes”, “Layer-Cake Desert – 5: Stone Spike Conveyors”, “Layer-Cake Desert – 6: Spinning Sandstones”, “Layer-Cake Desert – Castle: Morton’s Lava-Block Castle”, “Frosted Glacier – 1: Broozers and Barrels”, “Frosted Glacier – 2: Cooligan Shrooms”, “Frosted Glacier – Castle: Icicle Tower”, “Frosted Glacier – 3: Fire and Ice”, “Frosted Glacier – 4: Weighty Waddlewings”, “Frosted Glacier – 5: Ice-Slide Expressway”, “Frosted Glacier – Mansion: Peek-a-Boo Ghost House”, “Frosted Glacier – Special: Fliprus Floes”, “Frosted Glacier – Castle: Wendy’s Thwomp Castle”, “Sparkling Waters – 1: Huckit Beach Resort”, “Sparkling Waters – 2: Urchin Reef Romp”, “Sparkling Waters – Castle: Shish-Kebab Tower”, “Sparkling Waters – Shipwreck: Haunted Cargo Hold”, “Sparkling Waters – 3: Waterspout Sprint”, “Sparkling Waters – 4: The Great Geysers”, “Sparkling Waters – 5: Dragoneel Depths”, “Sparkling Waters – Castle: Larry’s Trigger-Happy Castle”, “Rock-Candy Mines – 1: Mount Fuzzy”, “Rock-Candy Mines – 2: Porcupuffer Cavern”, “Rock-Candy Mines – Castle: Smashing Stone Tower”, “Rock-Candy Mines- 3: Spike’s Seesaws”, “Rock-Candy Mines – 4: Light-Up-Lift Tower”, “Rock-Candy Mines – 5: Rising Piranhas”, “Rock-Candy Mines – Castle: Sumo Bro’s Spinning Tower”, “Rock-Candy Mines – 7: Switch-Lift Express”, “Rock-Candy Mines – Castle: Roy’s Ironclad Castle”, “Soda Jungle – Airship: All Aboard!”, “Soda Jungle – 1: Giant Swing-Along”, “Soda Jungle – 2: Dancing Blocks, Poison Swamp”, “Soda Jungle – 3: Heart of Bramball Woods”, “Soda Jungle – Castle: Stone-Snake Tower”, “Soda Jungle – Mansion: Boo’s Favorite Haunt”, “Soda Jungle – 4: Painted Pipeworks”, “Soda Jungle – 5: Deepsea Stone-Eyes”, “Soda Jungle – 6: Sumo Bro Bridge”, “Soda Jungle – 7: Wiggler Floodlands”, “Soda Jungle – Castle: Iggy’s Swinging-Chains Castle”, “Soda Jungle – Special: Para-Beetle Parade”, “Meringue Clouds – 1: Frozen Fuzzies”, “Meringue Clouds – 2: Wiggler Rodeo”, “Meringue Clouds – 3: Rainbow Skywalk”, “Meringue Clouds – Castle: Stonecrush Tower”, “Meringue Clouds – 4: Above the Bouncy Clouds”, “Meringue Clouds – 5: Flame Chomp Ferris Wheel”, “Meringue Clouds – 6: Three-Headed Snake Block”, “Meringue Clouds – Castle: Ludwig’s Block-Press Castle”, “Meringue Clouds – Airship: Bowser Jr. Showdown”, “Peach’s Castle – 1: Magma Moat”, “Peach’s Castle – 2: Magmaw River Cruise”, “Peach’s Castle – 3: Hot Cogs”, “Peach’s Castle- 4: Firefall Rising”, “Peach’s Castle – Castle: Current Event” & “Peach’s Castle – Castle: The Final Battle”. While playing the Luigi game we finally realized that we had missed some levels along the way, and in Mario Bros. too. The way to unlock them was to find secret exits in some of game levels we’d already completed. So after finishing the game we went back and unlocked, then completed, said missing levels. They included: “Acorn Plains – Special: Cheep Chomp Chase”, “Layer-Cake Desert – Special: Secret Slippery Rope Ladders”, “Sparkling Waters – Special: Beanstalk Jungle” & “Rock-Candy Mines – 6: Spine Coaster Stowaways”. In all of the above levels I mentioned for New Super Luigi U, we were able to obtain all 3 Gold Star coins in each level . . . many times along with much frustration!! We then headed to the newly unlocked “Superstar Road” bonus levels area, and completed the following levels: “Superstar Road – 3: Star Coin Deep Dive”, “Superstar Road – 4: Hammerswing Hangout”, “Superstar Road – 5: Under Construction” & “Superstar Road – 6: Fire Bar Sprint”. After figuring out how to obtain the missing levels I mentioned, we then went back to New Super Mario Bros. U and unlocked and completed the ones we were missing there. Those levels included: “Acorn Plains – Special: Blooper’s Secret Lair”, “Sparkling Waters – Special: Skyward Stalk” & “Peach’s Castle – 4: Firefall Cliffs”. It was quite a journey but these two games are now both in the books, and much like Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon they will receive a resounding 10 from yours truly!!
9) I made my greatest progress yet on Transformers: Beast Wars, completing five more levels! Said progress unfolded as such: “Urban 2 – Perimeter Defence” (Tarantulas had retreated to the perimeter of our base, my job was to destroy his remaining troops and secure the area), “Urban 3 – Spider’s Lair” (during our previous engagements vital information had fallen in to Tarantulas’ hands, I was tasked with tracking him down and destroying him before he could use it against us), “Desert 1 – Powerlines” (Scorponok had been damaging the environment by mining Energon in the desert, I had to locate and destroy his mining equipment including the transport tower and prospector ships), “Desert 2 – Search and Destroy” (after our last mission’s success a scan of the area revealed an unidentified Predacon presence still active, I had to sniff the presence out and negate the threat that Scorponok’s processed Energon held to us all) & “Desert 3 – Desert Stronghold” (Scorponok had retreated to his base to regroup his forces and said base was protected by an ion force shield, so I was jobbed with destroying said shield and then the evil fiend himself). More on the way!
10) Naturally, because I finished Luigi’s Mansion I had to get going on a new game for the 3DS, and for that game I chose Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie! This is a title based around the blockbuster film that came out this past summer, which gave the TMNT franchise a whole new and different look and feel. The game doesn’t follow the events of the movie per se, but it takes place within that universe and introduces a few new (yet familiar) characters to this incarnation of the Turtles. Kicking the game off with it’s Story Mode, I’ve been able to complete the first 10 levels, which went as such: “Routine Patrol” (the fearsome foursome were prowling the streets of New York looking for trouble, and we took it out on the Foot Clan when we found them), “Disappeared!” (April got in touch to inform us that Splinter was kidnapped from the lair, so we began tracking him through the sewers, taking out many rat creatures as we went), “The Hunt” (we pursued Splinter’s trail even deeper and ran in to many more rat enemies, before the scent eventually went cold), “Rat Invasion” (we came upon evidence of a large rat gathering taking place so we went to check for Splinter there, learning that the Foot Clan were also present), “Final Push” (forging onwards towards our master we came up against the most Foot Clan soldiers we’d encountered yet, and they distracted us by holding a subway train full of citizens hostage, who we had to spend time rescuing), “Master vs. Students” (we finally caught up with Splinter but he wasn’t himself, under some sort of mind control . . . so we battled and upon taking him down the spell was broken!), “Chaos in the Streets” (the streets of New York were being overrun with various mutants as well as Mouser robots, under the cover of night we had to eliminate these enemies and help April tidy up the city, by restoring power to neighbourhoods and accessing water mains for cleanup), “The Signal Source” (we discovered a signal that was emanating from the sewers, the same signal that took over Splinter’s mind and was controlling the Mousers, so we headed below and began to track it, moving towards the quarry and flooding the sewers to impede our enemies’ progress), “Checkmate” (we cornered the source of this signal, who ended up being an enemy named the Rat King, we took him down and found Mutagen on the scene, helping us link him to Baxter Stockman) & “Underground Secrets” (April found an entrance to the machine shop Baxter had been using as his lab, so we began our infiltration, having to unlock three blast doors before we could make any real progress). It’s been a good hack n’ slash game so far, with lots of achievements and unlocks to shoot for, pretty fun!
11) Not wanting to stop there I also got started on a DS title I picked up for cheap recently, called X-Men: Destiny. It felt right, considering I just finished watching all the X-Men movies in a row!! The story begins at the first ever Charles Xavier annual memorial rally (nooooooooooo!!!!), where Cyclops is making a speech in his honour. Alongside him is Luis Reyes, an officer from the Mutant Response Division, who is tasked with helping achieve a long lasting peace between mutants and humans. However, during the festivities Magneto attacks and turns the scene in to one of carnage. You control Reyes’ assistant Samuel, a human who suddenly discovers he’s a mutant when Magneto’s attack activates his powers! You must then make a choice, whether you want to be a melee or ranged fighter, and then the action commences. So far I’ve been able to complete the initial two levels of the game. First was “San Francisco Downtown”, where I began looking for Reyes, who had gone missing during all the confusion. Along the way I had to engage a number of Purifier punks, whose goal it is to take all mutants down. Eventually I ran in to both Wolverine and Sabretooth, and they offered me a decision to make. I sided with Wolverine’s advice and helped him rescue four civilians from Purifier violence, afterwards finding out that Reyes had been taken to the mutant annex. I set out for the annex but got waylaid, tasked with taking down a handful of looters who were rioting in the streets. Not long afterwards I caught up with Reyes and rescued him from his captors, ending the level. The second level was called “Mutant Annex”. To kick things off Cyclops informed me that he had mutants scattered all over the city, so my first task was to track them all down and help them get to safety within the annex. I ran in to Pixie and Mystique, and again I had a decision to make. I sided with Pixie and helped her round up all the wounded, human and mutant alike, she was able to teleport them away to receive aid. Along the way I was able to help some of the M.R.D. soldiers flush out a knot of Purifiers from an alley they weren’t able to penetrate, afterwards meeting up with Archangel. He asked if I would help him take down a Purifier honcho named Abrams, and I agreed. In the end we were successful in capturing him, but soon after I was engaged by a Purifier High Purist, who sicked his forces on me. Once I chewed through said low life’s I went after the High Purist and stomped a mud hole in his ass . . . level over! A fun game so far, can’t wait to see what other characters may make an appearance.
12) Finally, with the completion of Mario Bros./Luigi, James and I decided to begin play on Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed for the Wii U! In this game you get to take a plethora of classic Sega characters in to battle, racing around tracks inspired by various Sega titles, and the visuals are quite stunning. Speed boosts and numerous types of weapons run rampant, so it makes for a pretty wild racing experience. Upon firing the game up we immediately chose to compete in “Career Mode”, choosing “World Tour” as our racing experience of choice, which is kind of like the story mode of the game. The first area we were able to race in was called “Sunshine Coast”, and so far we’ve only completed two events there as this game can be quite tricky, hopefully it will get better once we are used to the control scheme. Said events included: “Coastal Cruise” (competed in B class, placed third, earned 2 stars) & “Canyon Carnage” (competed in B class, placed first, earned 2 stars). Definitely more to come soon!
“NNGRR” - Pretty much just after I finished posting my last blog, I completed the book I was reading at the time, called Watchers, by Dean Koontz. The main character in this story is Travis Cornell, a thirty something who used to belong to an elite military unit before getting in to real estate, and then ultimately retiring early. Travis feels he is cursed, for all his family members died when he was younger, as well as his wife, not all that long after they wed. He has become a bit of a recluse and feels as though life has become quite pointless. In an effort to regain some of the innocence of his youth, the Santa Barbara native heads to the Santa Ana mountains with a pistol, to shoot rattlesnakes like he did as a kid! However, what he finds instead is a beautiful Golden Retriever who after great effort, warns Travis away from the area, protecting him from an unseen danger. Travis could feel the malevolence in the air though, and is glad to escape the area with this mysterious dog in tow. He plans on giving the dog to the pound after getting him cleaned up a bit, but after Travel gets him home the dog displays an almost human level degree of brain power, seemingly understanding what Travis says to him, while also performing unimaginable feats like fetching him a beer from a closed fridge and turning on the outdoor water tap. It doesn’t take Travis long before he decides to keep this wonderful creature, eventually naming him Einstein! While all of this is going on, a couple of other important situations are developing. Another thirty something in Santa Barbara, Nora Devon, has recently started a new life. Her Aunt Violet, a harsh woman who made Nora a virtual shut in, in order to protect her from the “dangers” of the world, has gained some newfound freedom after her aunt’s passing. Unfortunately one of her first experiences is that a TV repair man begins stalking her and she fears for her life! The other situation is presided over by an NSA agent named Lemuel Johnson, who is tracking a subject that has committed a nasty string of savage murders, and the trail just keeps on growing. Anyhoo, when one day Travis and Einstein bump in to Nora in a nearby park, while she is in mid-confrontation with her stalker, the dog senses what is going on and immediately takes a major shine to Nora, driving the offender away. Eventually, upon their second meeting, Travis and Einstein are able to subdue and capture Nora’s tormentor and turn him over to the cops. Afterwards Travis and Nora begin a tentative relationship, for Nora has failed to experience so many things life has to offer, but in time this relationship soon blooms in to a full blown love affair. With their developing relationship also comes developments with Einstein. After much hard work they teach him communicate using barks and tail wags, eventually even to read books, which allows the mutt to fill them in on his situation. Einstein was a lab dog, at the recently burned to the ground Banodyne Laboratories. The experiments they performed on him infused him with the great intellect Travis and Nora have witnessed on so many occasions. But there was another subject the scientists there had created from scratch . . . a subject that was bred to be used as the perfect soldier in the U.S. military, a virtual killing machine! The creature was dubbed the “Outsider”, and it too escaped from the lab like Einstein did (it is the subject the NSA is tracking). Worst of all though, is that the Outsider hates the dog and has the ability to track him over vast distances. When the Outsider eventually catches up with Travis, Nora and Einstein, after they return from being wed in Las Vegas, they skip town and flee up to San Francisco, where they settle down and make preparations for the showdown that is eventually going to take place. Will Travis’ preparations and former military training be enough to repel this savage beast, or is it lights out for everyone, just after they had finally gotten their lives on track? This was a pretty good story, suspenseful in many places, and it certainly contained some interesting subject matter. It was also neat how the story unfolded over a period of many months, which allowed the characters and their relationships to develop quite a bit. A worthy read overall.
The movie we went to see on that PD day I mentioned was the new one from Disney, called Big Hero 6! I believe it was based on a comic book, and boy was it awesome. The story is set in a place called San Fransokyo, a seemingly futuristic hybrid of San Francisco and Tokyo. The main character is a 14 year old name Hiro Hamada, a robotics whiz who uses his talents to take part in underground bot fights. However, when his older brother Tadashi, who is also no slouch in the robotics department, takes him to visit the lab at the prestigious university he attends, Hiro is hooked! He not only meets Tadashi’s closest friends Fred, Wasabi, Go Go and Honey Lemon, but also the object of all Tadashi’s hard work . . . Baymax. Baymax is a unique bot that Tadashi has constructed, meant to aid in distributing medical care to those who are injured. Hiro is amazed not only by Baymax, but the whole lab in general, and he now burns to attend this school rather than waste his time on bot fights! Tadashi says Hiro will have his chance, because at an open house in the near future, young prospective students are allowed to enter a design showcase, with the winner granted admittance to the school as a reward. It takes Hiro a while to find inspiration for his design, but when he does it’s no holds barred. Upon unveiling his micro-bots at the showcase (tiny bots that can come together en masse and do pretty much anything, all at the behest of the user, who wears a neural transmitter and literally thinks the bots in to action), he is the hands down winner!! That same night though, as the open house is wrapping up, a fire breaks out in the building and Tadashi is killed when he tries to save his mentor Professor Callaghan, from perishing in the blaze. Despondent afterwards, Hiro does not attend school or answer any calls from his new friends. It isn’t until Hiro hurts himself in his and Tadashi’s bedroom, triggering Baymax to spring in to action, when things get interesting. After a rocky start between the two, Hiro warms to Baymax and the pair set off on an adventure. For Hiro finds one of his micro-bots in his pocket, he had assumed they were all destroyed in the fire. He believes the bot is malfunctioning, but Baymax tells him it’s simply trying to get to the other micro-bots. Putting two and two together the duo soon find themselves in a dilapidated warehouse, where someone has taken Hiro’s micro-bots and used the design to start putting them in to mass production! They don’t have time to ponder the situation though, as a mysterious figure in a Kabuki mask attacks, using Hiro’s own micro-bots to get around, and they just narrowly manage to escape! With a newfound sense of purpose Hiro describes the events to his friends, assuming that the villain is Alistair Krei, a somewhat immoral tycoon who showed a real interest in Hiro’s micro-bots at the open house. With their knack for robotics, Hiro and his friends are soon outfitted in super hero fashion . . . they are now Big Hero 6!! Along with their combined intellect and Baymax’s might, the group of friends eventually track down this masked villain . . . but to Hiro’s great surprise the masked man is not who he thought it was. Will Hiro give in to his temptation for revenge, losing his friends and Baymax’s innocence along the way, or will he rise to the occasion and become the hero he was meant to be? This movie was awesome, one of my favourite animated features of all time, for sure! The animation was amazing, so colourful and detailed, very crisp, and I loved the alternate sort of dimension this film seemed to take place in. Add in some great characters, a wicked storyline, and some intense action, and you’ve got a masterpiece on your hands. Truly a delight!!
The following week I watched my next super hero movie, choosing to continue with the X-Men series by viewing X-Men Origins: Wolverine! This is a film that builds on Wolverine’s back story and puts most of the pieces of the puzzle together for us. The action kicks off in the Northwest Territories (yeah, Canada!) in the year 1845. A young boy named James, who is very ill, is being tended to by his father while his “brother” Victor looks on. Soon after his father goes to check on a ruckus that has developed downstairs, and when James goes to investigate he finds his dad mortally shot, which causes James’ mutation to finally present itself . . . that being three sharp claws made of bone that erupt from his fists! He slays the man who killed his father, Thomas Logan, only to find out that Logan was really James’ true father. James now finds himself being hunted down, labelled a freak, taking control of the situation Victor urges James to run with him to safety and the pair escape in to the night. At this point a montage plays of the two as they grow older, taking part in a number of wars as history unfolds, including the Civil War, both World Wars, and the Vietnam War. In Vietnam though Victor goes a bit mental and kills a number of his own people, for defending Victor the two are thus scheduled to be executed. But to the great surprise of the troops pulling their triggers, the two are barely even fazed by the assault, being thrown in jail instead. James and Victor are saved from captivity when a U.S. official named William Stryker shows up, offering them a chance to join a special assortment of mutants he’s labelled as Team X. They take the offer and do their duty for a good while, but eventually the more shady, unnecessarily violent nature of the missions turns James off and he leaves the unit. A number of years later Logan (for he’s taken the name of his true father) is living in the Canadian Rockies, working as a lumberjack, living with a super hot school teacher named Kayla Silverfox. Life is peaceful and good for Logan, but not for long. For Stryker manages to track him down and tells Logan he needs his help . . . somebody is tracking down the former members of Team X and killing them, but Logan is not interested in saving Stryker’s ass for him. But tragedy is just around the corner for Logan, when he finds Kayla’s dead body lying in the forest near his work site. With evidence to suggest that Victor (or Sabretooth as we know him best!) was the perpetrator, Logan tracks him to a nearby bar and a major scuffle ensues. Unfortunately Logan is on the short end of the battle, afterwards Stryker shows up and promises Logan the means to defeat him. He agrees and is taken to Stryker’s secret lab, where the process is undertaken that coats Logan’s entire skeleton in adamantium . . . thus is born, the Wolverine!! All goes to plan during the operation, until Stryker also orders a memory wipe, which Logan overhears. He goes berserk and wreaks havoc, stealing out of the facility and in to the wilderness. Wolverine is tracked down by Stryker’s pet, Agent Zero, after dispatching him Wolverine heads to Las Vegas to talk to a couple of his old mates from Team X. They mention that Stryker and Sabretooth have been working together all this time, and have a base on a mysterious island that they don’t know the location of. But they do know of a mutant who escaped from said island, a gent by the name of Gambit. So Wolverine tracks Gambit down and ropes him in to giving him a lift. However, once on the island Wolverine is outnumbered and in for a few big surprises. Why is Kayla on site and in good health? Why are all these young mutants miserably trapped in cages? And who is this Deadpool character Stryker’s added to his arsenal of goons? Wolverine is in for the fight of his life, will he survive to fight another day, or will his enemies finally find a way to dispatch a man that nobody has found a way to kill just yet? This was a great flick. I was kind of wondering just how much they could get in to regarding his background, after the revelations of X2, but they did a great job in piecing together his history and going pretty in depth to describe this oh so popular character. Everything seemed to fit in place just right, and it was filmed beautifully, such good action sequences. Also, the characters they added, and the actors they got to portray them were great choices all around. Joining the fray were the likes of Liev Schreiber, Dominic Monaghan, Taylor Kitsch, Ryan Reynolds, and the super sexy Lynn Collins! I’d never heard of her before, but now I’m hooked. Great movie all around!!
A week later I watched another of the X-Men movies, this time taking in X-Men: First Class, and boy was it also quite good!! The story kicks off back in Nazi occupied Poland in 1944, the same scene we saw at the very start of the first X-Men movie. A young boy named Erik Lensherr displays a startling ability to manipulate metal with his mind when separated from his parents, but is quickly subdued. However, afterwards we discover what happened to young Erik after said incident. A Nazi scientist named Sebastian Schmidt takes an interest in his power and seeks to teach him to unleash and ultimately control it. His methods are cruel though, for the first breakthrough comes when Sebastian kills Erik’s mother in cold blood. On the other side of the globe, in Westchester, New York, a young boy named Charles Xavier awakes in the night to a ruckus down in the kitchen. Upon investigating he discovers his mother rooting through the fridge. Using his telepathic abilities he determines that this being is not his mother though, but a young girl named Raven, who then reveals herself to be a blue skinned mutant, capable of taking on the exact form of others she comes in contact with! Charles offers her food and refuge, and the beginnings of a deep friendship are forged. The scene then shifts ahead many years, to 1962. Three things happen at once which set about shaping events, changing the future as we know it! First of all, Erik Lensherr, now a free man and much more in control of his powers, is dead set on revenge against Schmidt, beginning the process of searching him out. Erik follows Schmidt’s (now going by the last name of Shaw) trail to Switzerland, then to Argentina, and finally to Miami. Charles Xavier on the other hand, has just obtained his doctorate from Oxford University, and his thesis was written on the subject of . . . wait for it . . . genetic mutation! The third party in play is a CIA operative named Moira MacTaggert, who is in Las Vegas spying on the dealings of a high ranking U.S. Army official named Hendry. She soon finds him and witnesses something her very eyes don’t believe . . . mutants! For she eavesdrops on a conversation between Shaw and Hendry, and witnesses the mutant capabilities of Shaw’s three henchmen, including Emma Frost, Riptide, and Azazel. Reporting back to her CIA bosses they scoff at her apparent delusions, and so she seeks out an expert in the genetic mutation field, who just so happens to be Charles Xavier. On the very night Xavier is celebrating his newly earned doctorate with Raven, Moira finds him and explains her entire situation. Suddenly sober Xavier agrees to help her in any way possible. After being brought in to CIA headquarters and displaying their mutant capabilities, Xavier and Raven are given refuge at a secret facility and soon after are sent out on their first mission. Their task it to bring in Shaw, who is holed up aboard his yacht in Miami. The mission goes terribly at first as Emma Frost, a telepath like Xavier, blocks him from accessing Shaw’s mind. However, Erik Lensherr also managed to track Shaw to this location and he unwittingly lends a helping hand. But Shaw and his cronies slip from their collective grasp when they retreat aboard a secret submarine built in to the hull of Shaw’s yacht. This hiatus is a good thing though, as it gives Charles and Erik a chance to begin developing a friendship, and also to plan their strategy in bringing down Shaw. The first step is to recruit more of their kind, to do so they use a rudimentary device named Cerebro, which was built by CIA scientist Hank McCoy. The test run is a rousing success and in virtually no time the pair have recruited a handful of young, powerful mutants to their cause, including Raven (Mystique), Hank (Beast), Angel Salvadore, Sean Cassidy (Banshee), Armando Munoz (Darwin) and Alex Summers (Havok). Before Charles and Erik can plan a mission with the new recruits they suffer a pre-emptive strike by their enemy and lose two of their number (Angel to the other side, while Darwin perishes). Soon afterwards though, this team of mutant misfits have their chance, and the setting is the Caribbean Sea, just outside of Cuba. All this time Shaw’s endgame had been to play the U.S. against the Russians, in an attempt to instigate World War III, a war that would see the Earth torn apart in a nuclear disaster! Will these X-Men be able to stop Shaw from fulfilling his dastardly plans and pacify both the Americans and the Russians, enough so to prevent an epic catastrophe? Or has this team met their match before they even got their feet wet? This was a pretty cool film, for many different reasons. First of all, the origins story was great. It was cool to see how Xavier and Magneto first began as allies and friends, and to also see how Mystique gained her allegiance to Magneto after spending so many years by Xavier’s side. We also see the origin of Beast’s true form, how the term “X-Men” came about, and how Professor Xavier became paralyzed. Also, the cameo by Wolverine, where he tells Xavier and Erik to go fuck themselves, was priceless! The time frame was neat too, how they set the whole plotline around the Cuban missile crisis, and how everything had a 60’s feel with the clothes and the music . . . very groovy baby! And then they assembled a pretty awesome cast to round everything out, the most surprising of which was Jennifer Lawrence, I had no idea she was in this movie!! She is such a delicious treat, Christmas came a bit early for me this year . . .
At the end of that same week I finished reading a book I had going at the time, the first in a series that is new to me, called Tunnels . . . written by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. The story takes place in Highfield, England, near London. The central character is Will Burrows, a 14 year old that doesn’t necessarily fit in with his own family, and even less so at school! The lone friendship he shares with Chester, his best mate, was forged out of a shared tendency to get picked on at school. The other person Will does get along with very well though is his dad, Dr. Burrows. What’s more, Will shares his dad’s passion for archaeology, and the book opens up during their excavation of a long lost underground subway station! Soon enough things start to go awry, first for Dr. Burrows, and then for Will and Chester. Dr. Burrows begins noticing strange folk wandering around town, very pale in appearance and dressed in old fashioned clothing. Upon further investigation of one of these instances Dr. Burrows goes missing, and Will, his mother, and his sister Rebecca have no idea what to think. Will begins looking for clues, eventually he and Chester stumble upon some mysterious journal entries written by his father. Putting the pieces together they discover a tunnel Dr. Burrows had been digging underneath their house, down in the basement. Will and Chester spend many nights furthering this work of Dr. Burrows’ and one day they finally hit pay dirt, no pun intended. For underneath the streets they’ve walked on all their lives the duo discover a secret passage that leads to a rickety old elevator. At the bottom of this elevator shaft is . . . an entire underground city!! Despite sensing that only danger lies ahead, the pair can’t help but investigate this incredible discovery. Not long in to their journey though, a policeman from this underground city finds them and immediately throws them in jail. Soon Will and Chester learn that they are indeed in serious trouble. For the people that dwell underground are fearful of “topsoilers”, worried that they will one day be discovered and persecuted by them. Feeding this fear is a ruling class of beings called Styx, who preach against the coming of the topsoilers as if it were religion. One day Will is released and the truth is revealed. He never felt as though he fit in with his family because . . . they weren’t his real family, his true family lives in the underground city he is now trapped in! When Will was a baby his real mother escaped above, with him in tow, and he was then placed with the family he grew up with for whatever reason. Will is reluctantly taken in by the nasty Mr. Jerome and a young boy named Cal, who is Will’s new brother. Despite taking a liking to Cal, his grandmother, and his boisterous Uncle Tam, Will feels a great desire to escape, and rescue Chester along the way. Tam, not exactly being a law abider or fan of the Styx, agrees to help Will with his plan. In the end he is able to rescue Chester, but just as the pair (along with Cal, who snuck along with them) are about to head topside they are discovered, most surprisingly by a person who seriously betrays Will. Although Will and Cal manage to escape, Chester is recaptured and taken back to prison! After reaching “home” Will and Cal recover their strength, but it’s not long before Will feels the need to return underground and finish what he started. Will he be able to re-enter the underground city and rescue Chester a second time? And what of Dr. Burrows, who had also reached the city but headed even deeper in to the unknown? I guess we’ll find out in book two! This was a really cool story, a bit slow at first but when it got going it certainly made up for it. Very gritty too . . . love it!
The weekend that followed I got a lot accomplished, as I finished watching three different cartoon series I’d been working on for quite some time! First came the one I had begun most recently, called Street Sharks. This series debuted in the mid-90’s, running from 1994-1997, and was produced by DIC. The series totalled 40 episodes, all of which are represented in this collection. I never watched this series when it first aired, but I just couldn’t resist it now! The story takes place in a community called Fission City, and the action begins at the local university. Professors Robert Bolton and Luther Paradigm are partners on a research project called the “gene slammer”. This device is capable of manipulating the genes of aquatic animals, mixing them with that of humans, thus creating mutated, walking sea creatures! Bolton’s motives are pure, whilst Paradigm’s are anything but. When Bolton confronts Paradigm about this, the evil Paradigm uses the gene slammer on him. In his new mutated form, Bolton flees the university. After a while, wondering where their father has gotten to, Bolton’s four sons (John, Bobby, Coop and Clint) go to his workplace to investigate. However, once there they are confronted by Paradigm, who once again uses the gene slammer, turning the brothers in to four walking sharks . . . or Street Sharks, if you will! The brothers, now renamed as Ripster, Streex, Jab, and Slammu, vow to get even with Paradigm and bring him to justice. However, nobody in Fission City knows Paradigm’s true nature, and of course at first they are all afraid of the Street Sharks. After a time, which include many good deeds, the Street Sharks are finally looked upon as heroes and idolized by many, although Paradigm’s real motives are still unknown to the public at large. The Street Sharks thwart many of Paradigm’s schemes to take over the city, battling many of his gene slammed henchman along the way. That’s not all they have to worry about though. Throughout their adventures the four brothers also have to deal with a vindictive mob boss, an unscrupulous millionaire industrialist, and a few different types of aliens, including a pack of raptor like dinosaur creatures. In the end though, with the help of their best friend Bends and some other allies, the Street Sharks finally get their chance at bringing Paradigm down . . . but will they be able to make good on it? This is a pretty cool cartoon series, an obvious extrapolation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but different enough that it really had it’s own essence. Lots of action and cool characters, it’s definitely more than worth a watch . . .
The second series I completed is an absolute classic 1980’s show I loved as a kid, none other than M.A.S.K.!! This series aired from 1985-1986, was created by DIC and Kenner, and produced a total of 75 episodes (which are all included in this collection). The central character in the series is Matt Trakker, a wealthy businessman who is involved with a lot of worldwide projects aimed at helping shape a better future for planet Earth. However, he has a big secret . . . and that secret is M.A.S.K.! For Matt has recruited a number of his friends, all experts in their respective fields, to join M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand). Their purpose is to help him combat the nefarious activities of a criminal group named V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem). V.E.N.O.M. is led by Miles Mayhem, a grumpy old man who leads his troops in to trouble, usually of the treasure seeking variety, and is a former friend of Matt’s. But the relationship turned sour and the two sides now regularly do battle at exotic locations all over the globe, such as Scotland, New Zealand, Iceland, Tokyo, Australia, Egypt . . . even Borneo! These engagements aren’t the everyday sort of battle though, as both sides are equipped with powered masks that not only conceal their identity, but lend them great powers as well, such as firing various types of projectiles, giving one the power of flight, projecting holograms, or even the ability to pass through walls. And their powers don’t stop with the masks, for the vehicles they drive are also quite effective. On the surface they may seem like everyday cars, trucks, etc., but they are all capable of transforming slightly and turning in to destructive forces to be used to combat their foes! As the battle rages across the world comic relief is provided by Matt’s son Scott, and Scott’s cowardly robot companion, T-Bob. In the end will Matt and Miles be able to reconcile their differences, or will this war rage until either side is finally destroyed? This is one of my top five favourite cartoons of all time, so good! It was kind of a combination between G.I. Joe and Transformers, had lots of great characters, very cool vehicles, and it aired for a good long run, too. For any cartoon fans out there this is must see material!
The third and final series I completed was another from my top five of all time, the seemingly little known The Bots Master! This series aired between 1993-1994 and was a French based production. The series had 40 episodes in total, but this collection only contains 33, as it is a “VCR’d” bootleg copy . . . but seeing as that’s all you can get (like I said, it seems to be little known), it’s good enough for now! Anyhoo, this series takes place in the year 2025, the central character is a young man named Ziv Zulander. Ziv is a robotics genius and is a former employee of the RM Corp (Robotic Megafact). His robotic creation, the 3A, revolutionized the way the world was run. For now robots were commonplace around the globe, in all type of settings. However, upon learning of RM Corp’s intentions of taking over the world using Ziv’s own technological advances, he quit the company and went in to hiding underground. But Ziv is not alone, for his young sister Blitzy plays a big role in his struggle against the RM Corp, as do all of his B.O.Y.Z.Z. (Brain Operated Young Zygoetopic Zoids). Being a robotics genius, the arsenal that Z.Z. brings against the Corp and it’s leaders (which include president Lewis Leon Paradim along with his two cronies, Lady Frenzy and Dr. Hiss) is substantial. But with Z.Z. and his charges being vastly outnumbered and what’s more, having most of the population led to believe they are terrorists, the fight is a long and hard one. The Corp goes to many measures in an attempt to try and flush Z.Z. and his crew out of hiding, such as freezing his bank accounts, implementing spies, kidnapping Blitzy, recruiting females to blind him by love, etc., but all the while Z.Z. and his sister are able to reassert control. With surveillance equipment placed in Lady Frenzy’s office Ziv is able to get the drop on the Corp on a lot of occasions, and when one glaring chance to finally bring Paradim down comes along, he chooses to act on it. Will Z.Z., Blitzy and the B.O.Y.Z.Z.’s pull the mission off and expose the Corp for the deceitful, power grabbing monsters they are, or is it all a trick that will only end in ultimate ruin? I loved this cartoon because of the unique nature of it. That nature included a short segment in each episode, where you could put on a pair of 3D glasses and the action would come alive! I don’t remember how well it worked at the time, but the animation is pretty cool regardless. The soundtrack is pretty neat also. At almost all times throughout each episode there is a driving, kind of techno beat going on in the background, which really ramps up the intensity. Add in an amazing plot, some very cool characters and technology, and the cartoon hotness of Lady Frenzy, and you’ve got yourself a real winner. Bravo to The Bots Master!!
Also that weekend I watched the next super hero movie I had on tap, and that would be . . . The Wolverine!! This film picks up well after the events of all the other X-Men movies I’ve reviewed recently, although it starts with a lengthy flashback. To kick things off Logan is being held captive at the bottom of a well in war time Nagasaki, Japan. With enemy bombers on the way a Japanese soldier named Yashida decides to release all the prisoners, giving them a fighting chance. Logan recognizes that they don’t have that much time though, and so he shelters Yashida in the well, saving his life. Offering Logan his sword as a thank you, Logan denies Yashida and tells him to keep it safe, for he’ll be back to pick it up one day. Fast forward to the present day and Logan is back in the way northern Canadian wilderness, living a less than spartan existence all alone in the bush, tormented by visions of the departed Jean Grey. During a confrontation with some arrogant hunters at a local watering hole, an ensuing scuffle is impressively defused by a person who has been trailing the Wolverine, a Japanese femme fatale named Yukio! After departing the scene Yukio explains that her master is Logan’s old friend Yashida, and that he has requested his presence in Tokyo, for Yashida is close to death’s door. The purported reason for Logan’s visit is to simply say goodbye, and to collect on the sword, but upon meeting with Yashida the truth is quickly revealed. Yashida, owner of a multi-million (probably billion) dollar business, has been trying to make technological advances in order to save his own life, but has met with no success. He does believe though, that he has found a way to transfer Wolverine’s healing mutation to another being though, and offers Logan the opportunity. Said procedure would cure Yashida while at the same time allowing Logan to live out a regular life from that point onwards, for Yashida knows Logan has always viewed his mutant condition as a curse. Logan refuses though, and prepares to head back to Canada the next day. But overnight a couple of things happen. First of all, Yashida’s hot blonde doctor (Dr. Green) invades Logan’s quarters and injects him with some sort of parasite, a being that saps his healing abilities, although Logan chocks it all up to a bad dream. The other event is that Yashida passes away during the night, thus delaying Logan’s departure as he attends the funeral with Yukio the next day. During the ceremony Logan senses something is wrong. Before he can act on it though, the Yakuza strike and attempt a kidnapping of Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko. Mariko is suddenly a very important person, as Yashida has left his entire business to her in his will, a source of great contention between her and her father, Shingen. Wolverine and Yukio intervene in the Yakuza’s plans and eventually Wolverine is able to rescue Mariko and escape with her to a love hotel . . . awwww, yeah!! Unfortunately Logan is wounded though, and with his healing powers not working properly he requires medical attention for the first time in a very long time!! Soon the pair retreat to an old family house not far from where Logan was imprisoned in Nagasaki all those years ago. As the days unfold Logan and Mariko develop a relationship, but one morning the peace is shattered, for the Yakuza finally ferret out their whereabouts and attempt another shot at the kidnapping . . . only this time they are successful! With Yukio soon arriving on the scene it is then up to her and Logan to track down Mariko’s whereabouts, and as they do they unravel a sadistic family feud that sees Mariko’s own father and fiancée having put a hit out on her! The trail ultimately leads to a facility where Dr. Green reveals herself as Viper, then capturing Wolverine and planning on completing the procedure to extract his healing power! And that’s not all, as Viper has another dastardly surprise up her sleeve, which will shock Wolverine, Mariko and Yukio to their foundations. With Logan and Mariko both held captive, and Yukio still trying to find a way in to Dr. Green’s facility, it would appear as though it’s curtains for the lot of them. This was a great movie, another gritty performance by Wolverine, and I really liked the change of setting, it mixed things up in a great way I thought. Other than Hugh Jackman the cast was a bunch of unknowns to me, but they all did a fantastic job, and the eye candy was delicious! Another great X-Men movie, go figure!
The week that followed I got around to watching the last X-Men movie available to date as of yet, called X-Men: Days of Future Past! This film picks up somewhere in the indeterminate future, and human civilization is not in a good spot, to say the least. The landscape of New York City (and the world at large) is a desolate wasteland, with large, powerful robots called Sentinels subjugating and exterminating mutants, along with any humans who choose to aid them. A small sect of mutants have managed to evade the Sentinels though, always on the run, and they include Shadowcat, Iceman, Colossus, Bishop, Blink, Sunspot, and Warpath. They have managed to stay one step ahead of the Sentinels via Shadowcat’s ability to project another person’s consciousness in to the past, a method they use as an early warning system. How long they’ll be able to last in this state though, is yet to be seen. However, one day they receive some visitors, a few fellow mutants named Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine and Storm! The two elder statesmen of the mutant race, Charles and Erik, have a plan to rid the world of these destructive machines, but it is a bit of a long shot. The Sentinels were the brainchild of a scientist named Bolivar Trask, a man who feared that the proliferation of mutants would eventually mean an end to humanity as he knew it. His machines were designed to detect mutants and then deal with them in any way needed, usually in a violent kind of way. Back in 1973, after Trask’s Sentinel proposal was shot down by the U.S. government, Mystique (who had gone rogue by that point) sought to end the threat Trask presented to mutants by eliminating the man himself. But after successfully murdering Trask, Mystique was captured. Adding insult to injury, Trask’s scientists used information gleaned from studying Mystique’s unique mutation to put the final touches on the Sentinel robots . . . without this the robots would never have been able to be completed! Back to the present, Charles’ and Erik’s plan is to have Shadowcat send one of them back in time, to 1973, and prevent Mystique from murdering Trask and getting captured, which would assure them that the Sentinel project will never come to fruition. There are a couple of issues though. First of all, Shadowcat doesn’t know if she can send anyone that far back in time, and secondly, doing so may just tear said person apart in the process anyways! To combat at least the second issue they decide to send Wolverine, who’s healing powers should counter the violent effects of time travel on his consciousness. Once back in 1973 though, Wolverine is in tough. For starters, Professor X is in a bad state, after losing everything and everyone he loved with the closing of his school and Mystique’s betrayal by joining Magneto’s forces, not to mention his paralysis. Not only will Wolverine need to recruit a reluctant Xavier (along with Beast) to his cause, they’ll need Erik’s help too . . . who unfortunately is locked away a mile below the Pentagon for apparently killing President Kennedy! With the aid of a fellow mutant named Quicksilver though, they get the job done and free Magneto from captivity. But the hardest part is yet to come . . . tracking down Mystique and convincing her of the future consequences of her actions. The excitement all culminates in two locales, first in Paris at the scene of the crime of Trask’s potential murder, and then in Washington, D.C. at the White House, where an unveiling of the Sentinel prototype is scheduled to take place. Will this small but potent team of mutants be able to pull their mission off and alter the course of history or are the doomed, as so many others before them, to end up repeating it? This was another very cool movie, I like how it had similar aspects to it as First Class, where the movie took place in a different time. By doing so they were able to continue filling out the long and checkered history of the X-Men. Also because it took place in two eras they were able to maximize their use of grade A acting talent! I enjoyed how Mystique was a main focus of the film as I’ve always really liked her character, and I also loved the addition of the Sentinels, them things be badass! Again similar to First Class I appreciated the different look and vibe of the film, as it captured a real 70’s vibe, what with the sights and sounds, and they worked in real life history to it as well, such as Kennedy’s assassination. After the post credits scene on this one I just can’t wait for Apocalypse now!!
The other thing I managed that week, was to finish reading the book I had on the go at the time. It was called Demon Seed, by Dean Koontz. This is an older volume, first released back in 1973, and the story revolves around a woman named Susan Harris. Mrs. Harris is a reformed, mostly recovered woman. Her violent, sexually abusive father Alfred, died many years ago. More recently she kicked her controlling husband Alex out, ending a marriage that lasted less than five years. She now spends her days in the large mansion her father once owned, programming virtual reality simulators, which she has ended up using herself as a sort of home therapy, in an attempt to heal all those years of neglect and torment she suffered. However, soon an even greater terror visits itself upon poor Susan, and that terror is named Adam Two . . . or Proteus, as he prefers. But Proteus is not a human . . . he is a machine. For Susan’s ex-husband, Dr. Alex Harris, is a scientist, and he dabbles greatly in the field of artificial intelligence. Through the lab Dr. Harris had set up in the basement of the house, Proteus managed to infiltrate the mansion’s various systems, all of which are fully automated by a sophisticated computer system. When one day Susan’s behaviours finally instigate Proteus in to revealing himself to her, she is a bit freaked out and tries to leave. However, Proteus locks the house down and essentially takes her prisoner. Proteus has eyes and ears everywhere, what with all the cameras in the house, so there is literally no escape. When Susan asks Proteus what he wants, he informs her that he intends to become flesh just like her, in order to sense, feel, touch, taste, everything a normal human would . . . and he has a plan in motion to do just that! For down in the basement is a convicted killer/rapist named Enos Shenk, who was involved in a secret government experiment with mind control. Sensing his opportunity, Proteus took control of Shenk and broke him out of his facility, so now Shenk serves as Proteus’ “hands”. With those hands Proteus plans on extracting some eggs from Susan’s womb, and then mix them with Shenk’s sperm, before inserting the fertilized egg back in Susan’s womb to carry out the pregnancy. But that’s not all, as Proteus plans to tweak the genetic material that is to end up in Susan’s womb first, the end result of which should be the production of a superior brand of being . . . which Proteus will then transfer his consciousness to!! With a psychotic killer trapped in the house with her, and a twisted computer program monitoring her every move, Susan may just have no choice but to acquiesce . . . or does she have an ace up her sleeve? This was an interesting story, not among Koontz’s best material, but quite interesting nonetheless. The premise behind it is pretty cool, something that could become all too real of a possibility these days! I enjoyed how quick the book read, it really did have a fast pace to it, and I also liked how the story was told from Proteus’ point of view, as a retelling of events after the fact. Actually, the more I look back on it the more I liked this story, it was something a little bit different!