Holy shit, you’re not even gonna believe how much action I saw during this last blog period . . . so much stuff I got done! Anyhoo, the weekend after my last post the only thing we really had on was to go to a fundraiser party for one of our city’s mayoral candidates. I didn’t really want to go as I hate everything about politics, just a bunch of overpaid, ego ridden fools who can never agree on anything and get shit done . . . and get grossly overpaid for it, helping to further push our country in to debt! But we had friends who wanted to go, and apparently there were going to be a lot of people there that we knew, so off we went. It was alright, I got pretty wasted.
The following weekend was our Thanksgiving here in Canada. On the Saturday we did our newer annual tradition of going to Clovermead with my Mom’s side of the family. Fortunately we got some decent weather, so we all spent a good day together outdoors. The kids were loving all the additions to Clovermead this year, they pretty much wore us right out! The next day we headed down Grimsby way to spend Thanksgiving with my wife’s family. We scarfed down a turkey dinner and even celebrated James’ birthday with them a little early, as the rest of October was going to be pretty busy for everyone. He got a giant Hex Bug and some Lego, giving us a bit of building to do!
As for this past weekend, on the Saturday we had James’ birthday party with all of his little friends. We rented a room at a local arena/community center and got the Lego Guys to come in for the party (yes, the party was entirely Lego themed!). They had a portion of their Mobile Museum there, a Lego soccer set for the kids to try out, along with tons of bricks and Bionicle pieces to build and play with. They also played some Lego themed games with the kids. Afterwards it was time for a Lego cake and then presents (yes, lots of Lego!), and that was it. The next day, as a bit of a last minute thing, we decided to go to Canada’s Wonderland, where we hadn’t been since last summer. In October they dress the park up in a Halloween theme and have lots of Halloween inspired events and activities that they don’t normally feature. The only thing the park doesn’t have running at that time of year is the water park and the few water rides they offer. This time of year is way cheaper too, a mere third of the normal cost! The only problem is that the park closes at 5, so you really have to try and pack in the things you want to do first, so as to make sure you get your favourites done. This time around we were able to get on the newest ride, called Wonder Mountain’s Guardian. We also did Thunder Run, the Vortex, and the Backlot Stunt Coaster. I was allowed to purchase tickets for the 3D movie called The Lost World, as well as the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit. Near the end of the day James was able to get on his favourite ride, the Peanuts 500, and I was able to get on mine, the Behemoth. Another great day!
As for the regular, ever day stuff, James just finished up his latest round of golf lessons last week, and both Beavers and swimming lessons are still going strong. The weather has been kind of miserable lately, but no real downpours, so I’ve still been able to ride in to work every day. I fear though that my time is quickly coming to a close. And lastly, James’ actual birthday finally came to pass this week, he took pudding in to school for all of his classmates, and we then had tacos and macaroni & cheese for dinner . . . that’s my kind of day, right there! I got him a couple of Planes: Fire & Rescue characters, but for his main birthday gift I finally got the go ahead to pick up a Wii U . . . friggin’ FINALLY!! A few weeks ago I picked up a few Wii U games as Best Buy had a great sale going on, and I knew we would eventually be getting the system. I also got him another couple games when I picked up the system, plus it came with the New Super Mario Bros. U/New Super Luigi U titles, so we’ve definitely got a healthy start on some games to play! Overall it was a pretty busy month, but a good one. And here is what I managed to get accomplished during the ride . . .
1) To start things off I was finally able to get back at Goldeneye and knock down the fourth level! In order to do so I did dial down the difficulty level from 007 to Secret Agent, and that made a big difference. Still difficult, but not near impossible anymore. Anyhoo, the fourth level was called “Severnaya – Surface”. Our satellites had picked up increased activity levels at an abandoned observatory complex in this area, as well as an influx of computer equipment and personnel. So I began this mission in the secluded woods amongst a frozen tundra. Quickly I made my way along a roughly plowed road and came to some guard lookouts, which showed no activity. Not long afterwards I came across a scattering of wooden sheds and began exploring them, coming across a few enemy soldiers in the process. Only one of the sheds was locked, so I fully explored all of the others and in doing so found a key that unlocked that one shed I couldn’t access. Inside of this locked shed was a key to a safe, finding this item was one of my main mission objectives. Afterwards I explored a small observatory structure and then came to a shed I hadn’t noticed before, inside was the safe I was looking for! I opened said safe and took the building plans that were stashed inside of it, another one of my main objectives. Not too far away from this location I was at sat a larger communications satellite building, which I then infiltrated. I shut their communications down and then departed, gaining access to the main base by climbing down a nearby ventilation shaft. I finished the level with a time of 24:56 and had a 67.5% accuracy rating.
2) On MLB 2K11 I completed the next series of my season, which saw us travel to New York to engage the turd sniffing Yankees! Here is how the series went down: won @ New York 6-5 (12 innings), won @ New York 3-2, won @ New York 10-2 & won @ New York 7-6. I believe it’s pronounced boo-yah . . .
3) The first game completion I’m going to talk about this time around is for none other than Mega Man 9!! This was a game we started playing many, many months ago, but we stalled on it once reaching Dr. Wily’s fortress. Well, recently we went back at it hard and got the job done. The first stage of Wily’s fortress began on a steel walkway outside of said fortress. We sauntered along and fought small green robot frogs, as well as hovering sentries and rock dropping birds. After jumping a number of chasms and destroying a robot monkey sporting a shield, we began our ascent. We had to climb ladders, as well as use our Tornado Blow weapon to kick-start these heli-platforms that helped us make our way over the deadly spikes spattered throughout the environment. Eventually we entered the fortress and faced more monkeys, as well as green plants that spit bombs out at us. Soon afterwards we arrived at a wide open area where the dragon from Magma Man’s stage attacked, dispatching it easily. Moving on we engaged more of the same enemies before reaching a tricky sequence of rooms. In them were lava flows that moved sideways across the screen. We had to time our jumps perfectly or else it was curtains all in one shot! At the top of this sequence was the boss chamber. Said chamber was split in to four levels, on each one was a small robot spitting bullets and other armaments at us. Using the Mega Buster we had to push these large spiked balls (like a mace) at them and destroy them, eventually whittling down their power and completing the battle. The second stage kicked off in an underground chamber with a real metallic look to it. We immediately began climbing ladders, taking on hard hats and avoiding electrical charges. Also along the way we blasted away at those multiplying eyeball creatures, and many other robotic creations. Avoiding spiked traps throughout all this action we eventually dropped down in to a platformed chamber and fought the halfway boss from Hornet Man’s stage, the flower. Once it was out of the way we continued our descent, reaching an underwater chamber and forging along. We avoided many spikes, navigating the maze like routes, blasting more eyeball creatures as well as robotic swordfish. Coming to the end of the underwater sequence we climbed some ladders and platforms, dispatching more bots, finally arriving at the boss chamber. This boss was a little trickier, it was a large robot in the shape of a shark and the battle unfolded in three sections. First was the tail, which spit out heat seeking missiles, then the underbelly where crab like creatures were dispatched to attack us, and finally the head, in which a large laser cannon located in the mouth blasted away. We took it down with extreme prejudice though! The third stage began in a futuristic looking cavern, moving along we blasted a couple of tough jumping bots, then came to a zero gravity environment that unfolded over a few screens. To move Mega Man as we floated upwards we blasted the Mega Buster to give us propulsion, taking out a few eyeball creatures along the way. At the top of the chamber a ladder led us to more caverns we had to traverse, soon after we dropped downwards and continued along, engaging more difficult enemies like shielded soldiers and robots. Another zero gravity section was in our future, but this one was a tad more difficult! We not only had eyeball creatures to engage, but also the hovering bots that drop down and capture Mega Man, dragging him in to nearby dangers, as well as many spike traps. Once at the top of the chamber we climbed a ladder and reached relative safety. Avoiding spikes, jumping chasms, and engaging many different types of enemies we eventually came to the boss chamber after a long drop. Inside said chamber were two floating piles of goo. These piles would exchange blobs of plasma, which came shooting across the screen and we had to avoid them. The only vulnerable part of this creature was a shared eyeball that shot across the screen after all the plasma was transferred. With the right weapon equipped it was easy peasy, onward ho!! The fourth and final stage of Wily’s fortress started in another futuristic looking cavern. We began making our way straight downwards, taking out hard hats and bypassing these laser weapons shooting from wall to wall by smothering them with Concrete Shot. Soon enough we came to the boss chamber (that was fast!), but waiting in said chamber were 8 portals . . . 8 portals that took us to all of the robot bosses from earlier in the game, who we then had to fight for the second time! We knocked down Galaxy Man, Concrete Man, Splash Woman, Hornet Man, Jewel Man, Magma Man, Tornado Man, and Plug Man. Upon their defeat a ninth portal emerged and we entered it, inside waiting for us was that dastardly fiend with the great eyebrows, Dr. Wily! His first form was a large robotic dinosaur with a huge, horned skull for a head. We defeated it by bouncing back the eggs it was spitting out at us up in to it’s own face. This destroyed the skull, which then revealed Wily in the robot’s cockpit. His second form wasn’t quite as tricky, as it only spit fire and tried to crush us, but with Concrete Shot equipped it was a short fight. The third and final form he took was his usual flying UFO ship, and together with Plug Ball and Hornet Chaser equipped the poor prick never stood a chance!! GAME OVER . . . finally.
4) On NHL ’04 I was able to complete the next five games of my season, which unfolded as such: won vs. Buffalo 17-4, won @ Pittsburgh 21-5, won vs. Nashville 12-5, won vs. Ottawa 12-3 & won vs. New Jersey 15-8.
5) Next up was Trackmania: Build to Race. I continued along on Race mode, the events I completed this time around included: “Stadium C1” (second place, silver medal), “Stadium C2” (second place, silver medal), “Stadium C3” (second place, silver medal), “Stadium C4” (third place, bronze medal), “Stadium C5” (second place, silver medal), “Island C1” (third place, bronze medal), “Island C2” (third place, bronze medal), “Island C3” (third place, bronze medal), “Island C4” (first place, gold medal), “Island C5” (third place, bronze medal), “Desert C1” (third place, bronze medal), “Desert C2” (second place, silver medal), “Desert C3” (second place, silver medal), “Desert C4” (second place, silver medal) & “Desert C5” (second place, silver medal). At this point I hadn’t earned enough “coppers” to unlock any more of the extra tracks in this mode, so I moved along to Platform mode. Basically you run the same kind of races, but you earn your rank by completing said races with the minimal amount of retries. So far on this mode I’ve completed the following events: “A1” (gold medal), “A2” (silver medal), “A3” (gold medal), “A4” (silver medal), “A5” (silver medal), “B1” (gold medal), “B2” (silver medal), “B3” (silver medal), “B4” (silver medal) & “B5” (bronze medal). Getting’ tough!
6) With regards to Mario Kart 7, I completed it as well! I began by exploring the other game modes this title has to offer. First up was the “Time Trials” mode, in which you race around the track by yourself and simply try to set the best times possible. This I only did a couple times as it does get pretty boring, and fast. Next up was “Balloon Battle”, which is a lot of fun! In this mode you are put in an environment with seven other competitors, each racer has a trio of balloons tied to the back of their kart. The goal is to hit the other racers with weapons and pop those balloons, he or she with the most pops at the end of the time limit is the winner (in this mode the overall event unfolds over four separate competitions in various arenas). On my first try I played the team option, where the eight competitors are divided up in to two teams of four, and we lost 15-14. I then did it solo and won the overall event with a total of 26 points. Next up came the “Coin Runners” game mode. It works very similar to the Balloon Battle, as eight racers are put in four consecutive arenas to compete, but the objective this time is to collect the most amount of coins as possible . . . and you can take other racers’ coins away by blasting them and stealing their stash! The competitor with the most coins collected over all four events is the winner. When I partook in this event I won on my first try, with a total of 54 coins. The various arenas you compete in during both of these game modes include Battle Course 1, Big Donut, Palm Shore, Honeybee Hive, Sherbet Rink & Wuhu Town. The final task I managed to complete was to go back to the main Race mode, and complete the Mirror Mode option I had unlocked earlier in the game. In this mode you compete in all of the same race circuits, only you run each race backwards instead. Here is how I fared on each circuit: “Mushroom Cup” (raced with Metal Mario, placed third overall with 26 points), “Flower Cup” (raced with Wiggler, placed third overall with 24 points), “Star Cup” (raced with Rosalina, won the circuit with 36 points), “Special Cup” (raced with Wario, placed second overall with 28 points), “Shell Cup” (raced with Lakitu, won the circuit with 36 points), “Banana Cup” (raced with Shy Guy, won the circuit with 32 points), “Leaf Cup” (raced with Mario, won the circuit with 32 points) & “Lightning Cup” (raced with Donkey Kong, placed second overall with 29 points). And that is all she wrote!!
7) Major progress was made on Batman Origins: Blackgate, the most I’ve made yet! Picking up where I left off I was now in a control room somewhere in the prison, I began by tracing Penguin’s blood trail to a hatch hidden under a pile of rubble. Making my way downwards I explored what looked like the lower levels of the prison, soon enough I had to destroy a couple of circuit breakers that were allowing rogue electrical charges to endanger me in a flooded area of the basement. Coming upon an elevator, I took it upwards and immediately ran in to a horde of thugs! After beating them down I began traversing parts of the prison I’d already been through before, taking out more thugs until I reached the elevator from earlier in the game, which the goons had been using to send weapons down to Penguin. At the bottom of this ride Penguin’s blood trail led to the door of a chamber that I could not breach. In talking to Catwoman soon after we decided I needed to find another way in, so I then backtracked to the facility’s entrance and left. We thought I could gain access by using the secret entrance from the Lighthouse. So I went to the docks that led to the lighthouse facility and made my way along them. After sneaking up on a few thugs and taking them out I found I could not proceed any further because the gap between the docks and the lighthouse was too large to traverse. To remedy this situation I headed to the prison’s Administration building. WayneCorp had been installing new elevators there recently, so the thought was that I could pick up a cable launcher, which would allow me to cross that vast distance to the lighthouse quite easily. I used my grapnel device to gain access to an upper level of the administration building, then began making my way through the facility. It didn’t take long to realize that I was now on Joker’s turf, and soon after he appeared before me. Joker made reference to the warden being in a “tight spot” and then refused to give me the codes to the crypto sequencer device I’d been using to access various locked levels of the prison. Afterwards he let off a bomb and I went down, coming to a while later. Catwoman hailed me and informed me that Joker had cut off ventilation to the guards that were being held captive in the lower levels of the prison, they probably only had a few hours’ worth of air left. I then set off in search of the warden but couldn’t make a clear route, as there was so much damage from the bomb blast. So I pieced together a route and along the way came across the Joker once more, in a hallway where he proceeded to set off his crazy gas! I narrowly escaped and ran in to a thug in an elevator shaft, beating his ass good. Continuing to walk, climb and run through the building, dispatching more thugs as I went, I eventually found a couple of captive guards and rescued them. Next was to crawl through some duct work to a large area containing a good number of Joker’s goons. It took a good while, but I eventually dispatched them all and rescued a couple more guards in the process. Joker pumped some gas in to the area so I then had to escape using more of the duct work. After engaging some more enemies I came to the top of an elevator shaft and beyond it reached a room holding a safe. Inside said safe was the line launcher I was after, using it I began my exfiltration of the administration building (during these travels I also acquired the Red Son Cowl, New 52 Cowl, and One Million Cowl for their respective batsuits, an armour enhancement, and the crypto key Beta). Forging new routes with said line launcher I eventually found the location of the warden . . . trapped in a room rigged with explosives!! So I began searching for another way to get him out of his predicament, and in doing so ran in to Deadshot. He had been hired by all three of the prison thugs’ leaders to provide extra support against threats to their newfound situation, and he had no qualms with engaging me in battle! At first I just waited him out while he blasted round after round at me, flitting from cover to cover. Eventually I was able to make my way up towards his perch, using the bright spotlights around me to mess with his vision. In the end I laid the boots to him and ended the threat. After the battle a cutscene played, of a mysterious person who was watching all of the proceedings going on at the prison with great relish, who also seemed to have a great interest in all of the powerful characters involved . . .
8) The third game we put away this time around was none other than Mega Man 10 . . . two Mega Man games completed in one blog period, astounding!! Much like Mega Man 9, we were stuck on number 10 at the beginning of Wily’s fortress. The first stage of this battle began on a rocky outcropping in the middle of a rainstorm. We made our way towards the entrance of Wily’s fortress, blasting large jumping bots and rocket launchers, soon coming to our first boss chamber. Inside were three robotic spheres that kind of looked like yo-yo’s to me, each one was imbued with a power from a robot boss featured in previous Mega Man games . . . together they would take turns blasting away at us! Once they were defeated we moved on, this time on the inside of Wily’s fortress. We dropped downwards and moved along rocky hallways lined with steel, navigating disappearing platforms and blasting away at all sorts of enemies we’d seen throughout the entire game. During this action we came to two more boss chambers like the one described above, upon exiting the third chamber this stage of the fortress was complete. The second stage began in a rocky, underground cavern where at first we had to navigate a long series of conveyor belts. To get to each one we had to jump over dangerous chasms, and the enemies that harassed us along the way included security bots as well as many varieties of small, irritating robots. After ascending some ladders and battling more enemies we came to a boss chamber. Inside of it was the pair of fire spitting birds that we encountered much earlier in the game (I don’t remember whose level they were from!). After laying waste to them we continued on, traversing some rooms that featured these huge steel pistons coming down at us from the ceiling. Once through that mess we came to the next boss chamber, which featured the octopus boss from earlier in the game also (again, can’t remember whose level it was from, I’m getting too old). Once free from this chamber we dropped down a deep chasm, avoiding spike traps as we went. At the bottom we forged onwards and jumped some chasms, avoiding spikes and engaging hard hats and turrets, before making our way upwards to a cavern with more steel pistons and conveyor belts. Once free of it all we came to the final boss chamber, which contained a new boss, a large robotic abomination named Crab Puncher! A lot easier than he looked though, done and done. In the third stage play began in a slick, metallic looking tunnel. After taking out a lone jumping bot we passed through to a large open air “boss” chamber, with a platform at the bottom of it which we could control. There were two large buttons we could step on that would steer the platform left or right as it sailed upwards towards our destination. Making said journey more treacherous were the hard hats we had to engage/avoid, as well as the many spike traps we needed to navigate around. Once past this section we went under water, using those platforms Mega Man had to jump back and forth on to get them to move on down the line. Along the way we engaged some shrimp bots and hard hats, at the end of this sequence we climbed upwards and came to another “boss”, aka the platform we had to navigate upwards through a maze of spike traps and hard hats. Trooping along after this sequence we passed through a chamber full of turrets and difficult jumps, soon after we dropped downwards and came to the final boss chamber . . . inside this one was an actual boss! Said boss was similar to the one in Mega Man 9 that was made out of plasma, where the goo would fly across the screen back and forth, the only vulnerable part of it being the shared eyeball. However, for this boss it was made of blocks instead, the blocks that comprised the walls and floor of the chamber we were in! This was a tough fight, but with the right weapon equipped we got it done. The fourth stage kicked off in a narrow, vertical space that saw us have to ascend many ladders, avoiding fire traps and engaging eyeball bots along the way. At the top of this sequence we came to a chamber that held 8 portals and yes, you guessed it, within these 8 portals were the game’s robot masters, who we had to then fight for the second time! In order we dispatched Blade Man, Chill Man, Nitro Man, Strike Man, Pump Man, Commando Man, Sheep Man, and Solar Man. Upon their collective defeat a ninth portal opened up and we passed through it, ready to engage the nefarious Dr. Wily!! Wily’s first form was a large robotic hovership, featuring a skull head with a pirate hat perched atop it! Out of it’s mouth were shot these large steel platforms we used to help defeat him (although they could also damage us if we weren’t careful), along with heat seeking missiles. We took him out and in doing so the skull was destroyed, revealing Dr. Wily’s cockpit underneath. We blasted away at him in his more vulnerable form and eventually scored the win, ending the stage! However, there was one more stage to be had this time around, as after this battle Wily took off to a secret pinnacle of his fortress, way up in space! Before we could get at him we passed through a number of stone tunnels, where these small drilling bots came at us through the ceiling and floor. Once through the sequence though, we dropped down to the very last boss chamber. Donning his usual UFO space ship vehicle, Wily appeared alongside a doppelganger. We had to quickly determine which Wily was the real one, and then take the fight to him. With the right weapon equipped this battle was the easiest of them all and we won the day, saving the world from the Roboenza virus! Another Mega Man game in the books, we done be pros, son!
9) Next up comes Jak X: Combat Racing, and I made a good amount of progress on it this time around. The first location I raced at was “Haven City”, the lone event I completed called “Clifftop Battlefield – Artifact Race”. In an artifact race you are placed in more of an arena environment and have to collect as many randomly generated artifacts as possible, the first racer to 10 wins. I won the gold medal for this event. The second location I visited was “Icelands”, where I ran four consecutive events. Said events included “Icebound Citadel – Death Race” (won the race, gold medal), “Mountaintop Highway – Turbo Dash” (a turbo dash is a race where you collect the plentiful turbo orbs along the way and charge them, turning them in to mines for the other races to crash in to, I won the race and scored a gold medal), “Icebound Citadel – Circuit Race” (won the race, gold medal) & “Frozen Speedway – Death Race” (won the race, gold medal). I then headed back to “Spargus”, where I ran a couple of events. First up was “Spargus City – Freeze Rally”. A freeze rally is a 2 lap race where you collect pickups along the way which freeze time, essentially lowering your overall race time. The racer with the best time at the end of it all wins the event. So of course I won and received a gold medal. The other event was “Precursor Temple – Circuit Race”, which I won the gold medal on. Next I went to “Kras City”, where I ran the “Dirt Stadium – Sport Hunt” event. This type of event takes place in an arena environment and is timed. Large robotic vehicles are randomly spawned and it is the racers’ objective to hunt down and destroy them. The person with the most kills when time expires wins! I ended up bagging 10 of them, earning me the gold medal. Next up I went to “Grand Prix” and took part in one of the qualifier events, called “Kras City – Circuit Race”. I won the 3 lap race and scored the gold medal. Finally, once again I headed back to “Spargus” and ran the “Spargus City: Death Race” event, which I won and earned a gold medal on. That’s it for now, but this game is really heating up, I love it!!
10) With only finishing one level per blog period, if that, on Goldeneye, I decided to start another N64 game in the meantime . . . and that choice was Mace: The Dark Age! The story behind this game is that it is the year 1300 A.D., and all through Europe and Asia strife, violence, thuggery, etc. are running rampant. At the heart of this maelstrom is an evil wizard named Asmodeus, who wields the powerful Mace of Tanis. This artifact feeds off the dark energies created by all of this warfare, and provides it’s owner with unimaginable power and the promise of everlasting life. Naturally many other people have come to covet the Mace, and so the challenge is on to step up and take it from it’s owner! This title is a street fighting style game, which pits about a dozen opponents against each other in consecutive rounds of one on one combat. Each fight is the best out of three rounds, make it through all opponents and you have won the game! I have not had much luck on this game as I am not a big fan of street fighting games, I find them very repetitious so I get bored of them quite quickly, especially if they are hard as this one is. Not helping is the fact that this game cartridge was given to me, so I don’t really have any instructions to go by. Anyhoo, I began on the normal difficulty setting and first used Executioner as my character. In the opening fight I lost to Mordos Kull in three rounds. Starting over I utilized Lord Deimos and this is how I fared: won vs. Mordos Kull in 2 rounds, won vs. Koyasha in 2 rounds, lost vs. Taria in 2 rounds (afterwards used a continue and chose Koyasha as my character instead), lost vs. Taria in 3 rounds (used continue and switched to Taria), won vs. Taria in 2 rounds, lost vs. Xiao Long in 3 rounds (used a continue), drew against Xiao Long in 3 rounds, lost vs. Executioner in 2 rounds (used continue and switched to Hell Knight), lost vs. Executioner in 3 rounds (continued) & lost vs. Executioner in 2 rounds. I then gave it another try, again using Executioner to start out. Here is how I fared that time: won vs. Mordos Kull in 2 rounds, won vs. Koyasha in 2 rounds, lost vs. Taria in 2 rounds (continued), lost vs. Taria in 3 rounds (continued and switched to Ragnar), won vs. Taria in 2 rounds, won vs. Xiao Long in 2 rounds, lost vs. Executioner in 2 rounds (continued and switched to Executioner), lost vs. Executioner in 2 rounds (continued and switched to Taria), lost vs. Executioner in 2 rounds (continued and switched to Takeshi), won vs. Executioner in 2 rounds, lost vs. Namira in 3 rounds (continued and switched to Taria) & lost vs. Namira in 2 rounds. At this point I switched the difficulty level over to Easy, as I was already getting tired of the game! To begin this latest round of play I chose Dregan as my character, and here is how I fared: won vs. Mordos Kull in 2 rounds, won vs. Koyasha in 3 rounds, won vs. Taria in 3 rounds, lost vs. Xiao Long in 3 rounds (continued and switched to Taria), lost vs. Xiao Long in 2 rounds (continued and switched to Lord Deimos), won vs. Xiao Long in 2 rounds, lost vs. Executioner in 3 rounds (continued and switched to Ragnar), lost vs. Executioner in 3 rounds (continued and switched to Takeshi), lost vs. Executioner in 3 rounds (continued and switched to Executioner), won vs. Executioner in 2 rounds, lost vs. Namira in 2 rounds (continued and switched to Namira) & lost vs. Namira in 2 rounds. Fuck!! My last ditch effort at beating the game began by choosing Executioner as my character one last time. And here is how it went: won vs. Mordos Kull in 3 rounds, won vs. Koyasha in 3 rounds, lost vs. Taria in 3 rounds (continued), won vs. Taria in 2 rounds, lost vs. Xiao Long in 3 rounds (continued), lost vs. Xiao Long in 3 rounds (continued), won vs. Xiao Long in 2 rounds, lost vs. Executioner in 2 rounds (continued and switched to Hell Knight), lost vs. Executioner in 2 rounds (continued), won vs. Executioner in 3 rounds, won vs. Namira in 3 rounds, lost vs. Takeshi in 2 rounds (continued and switched to Executioner) & lost vs. Takeshi in 2 rounds. And that’s it, I’m done . . . game goes away. I’m going to rate it a 6 here on Gamespot, because for what it is it’s a decent game. The graphics and sound are great, it’s just the overall concept I don’t really care for. The controls are OK, but I did have some issues with the jumping, and also with turning around when you end up with your back to an opponent. Not my cup of tea, but worth a look.
11) By finishing Mario Kart 7 of course I had to set out on a new 3DS adventure, the new game I chose was Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, which I had so been looking forward to as the first Luigi’s Mansion game was bloody amazing! And this game has not disappointed so far, it is SO much fun! Anyhoo, the story behind it is that one night a ghost blows up a purple moon that hangs over Evershade Valley, where professor E. Gadd is busily working away inside Gloomy Manor. Upon the moon’s destruction a purple haze hangs over the valley, and all of a sudden the normally peaceful ghosts that inhabit the region start going berserk! E. Gadd goes in to hiding and immediately contacts Luigi, ghost hunter extraordinaire. The plan is to find all shards of the Dark Moon and reunite them, which will hopefully cause the purple haze to dissipate and the ghosts to go back to normal . . . before they leave the valley and subject the rest of the world to their antics! So far I’ve completed the first four levels of the game, as such: “A-1: Poltergust 5000” (clear time of 19:05, 6 ghosts captured, and 713 treasure collected), “A-2: Gear Up” (clear time of 25:57, 16 ghosts captured, and 558 treasure collected), “A-3: Quiet Please!” (clear time of 8:04, 9 ghosts captured, and 497 treasure collected) & “A-4: Visual Tricks” (clear time of 48:57, 15 ghosts captured, and 485 treasure collected). So much FUN!!!!!!!
12) Lastly, since getting the Wii U up and running on James’ birthday, naturally we had to take it for a spin! The game we chose to start with was the one that came with the system, called New Super Mario Bros. U. The game looks and plays like a vintage, side scrolling Mario Bros. adventure, only with way updated graphics. And the story is a classic one. While dining at the castle, King Koopa and his seven Koopa Kids attack, capturing Princess Peach and flinging Mario, Luigi, and a couple of Toad people off in to the faraway woods. It was then our task to begin a journey back to the castle to get our princess back! So far we’ve completed the first four levels of the game, as follows: “Acorn Plains – 1: Acorn Plains Way”, “Acorn Plains – 2: Tilted Tunnel”, “Acorn Plains – Castle: Crushing-Cogs Tower” & “Acorn Plains – 3: Yoshi Hill”. We were able to find the 3 large gold coins in each level except the last one, where we’ve only found 2. We also defeated the boss in the castle level. Can’t wait to get back at it, Nintendo rules!!
“NNGRR” - The day I posted my last blog I also finished reading my latest literary adventure, titled Star Wars: Crucible. It is the very last book in the current Star Wars timeline, occurring about 45 years after the Battle of Yavin. The story picks up following Han and Leia, as they travel to a section of the galaxy that holds a volatile region called the Chiloon Rift. Their purpose is to meet Lando at the Red Ronto cantina. However, when instead one of Lando’s associates (Omad Kaeg) shows up in his place, the Solos immediately shift to high alert. After their meeting is interrupted by a Mandalorian looking to settle a score with Kaeg, backed by his reptilian Nargon thugs, the trio waste no time in getting out to the Rift and seek out Lando. The reason for Han and Leia’s visit is to try and help with a pirate problem Lando’s been having, making it impossible to run his business of refining the asteroids that roam through the Rift. Upon their arrival Lando is ending a meeting with Craitheus and Marvid Qreph, brothers who are of the Columi species. The pair are notorious geniuses, able to stay one step ahead of just about anybody who dare oppose them. During the meeting, the purpose of which is the Columi’s bid to purchase Lando’s operation, threats are made and things end badly. Not much later Luke arrives, after being tasked by Han and Leia to search in to the increasingly confusing scenario going on in the Rift, and he comes bearing some disturbing information. For the Qrephs are secretly in charge of a company named G.E.T., and this organization has been buying up tons and tons of businesses and corporations . . . almost as if they were planning some sort of galactic dominion! Before the team of heroes can properly investigate the Qrephs though, the brothers instigate a massive accident at Lando’s facility, killing around 30,000 workers in the process. To add insult to injury, not long afterwards they capture Han Solo, for what reasons his friends have no idea. The race is then on to find the Qrephs’ elusive secret base, rescue Han, and bring the pair to justice. However, along the way shit is going to get weird. For a Jedi named Ohali Soroc, who had been out in the region investigating the whereabouts of the rumoured Mortis Monolith but had gone missing not long in to her mission, suddenly is back on the scene. Sent to track her down were the Jedi pair of Ben Skywalker and Tahiri Veila. In the battle to come all of these heroes come up against not only the Qrephs, but Mandalorian mercenary Mirta Gev, and Lost Tribe of the Sith member Vestara Khai. Events all culminate within the Qrephs' secret base, which may or may not be located atop the Mortis Monolith, and if Luke, Leia and the rest of their comrades are able to pull the job off . . . will they be able to make sense of everything that unfolded along the way? This was a cool story featuring a lot of classic Star Wars characters, and kind of served as a passing of the torch story. At the end of it Luke decides he’s going to let somebody else lead the order, while Han and Leia finally opt for semi-retirement. There were some interesting new characters added, such as the Qrephs, and the presence of Vestara Khai added to the evolving saga that is the relationship between her and Ben Skywalker. Solid read!!
I kicked the following week off by finally watching Daredevil, and it’s an awesome flick! The movie focuses on a man named Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer doing pro bono work out of a small firm in Hell’s Kitchen which he shares with his partner, Frank Nelson. In a series of flashbacks we see how Matt lost his vision. For his father (Jack “the Devil” Murdock”) was an aging boxer with a bit of a drinking problem, but he always pushed Matt to become more than him, a doctor or a lawyer for example. His dad also dabbled a bit in organized crime, and although he told Matt he quit the racket, the evidence Matt views in a back alley one day suggests otherwise. Running away in horror Matt ends up causing an accident at a nearby facility, where a forklift pierces a barrel of bio-hazardous material, spraying him right in the eyes!! Waking up a time later Matt is horrified to find out he’d lost his sight . . . but it came with a bit of a surprise. For all of his other senses (along with a new sense of sound based radar), and his body itself, had become many times sharper . . . and he immediately starts to hone his skills and instincts. Matt and his father decide to both put their best feet forward for the future, and for a time things were great. However, when one night the crime boss Jack had done work for asked him to throw a fight, Jack doesn’t follow suit. A short time after the match ended Jack was dead, killed in an alley, with only a single rose left on his cooling body, which Matt crushes in his hand. The story then picks back up in the here and now, where at night Matt goes by the name Daredevil . . . the man without fear. Wearing a costume in honour of his father, made to look like a devil, he prowls the streets and rights wrongs, delivering his own brand of justice not always achieved in the courtroom. But when one day Matt meets a young beauty named Elektra Natchios, his world changes big time, for a couple of reasons. Although a bit standoffish at first, Elektra soon falls for Matt and the two make a major connection. However, Elektra’s father is Nikolas Natchios, a local millionaire who has ties to the fabled “Kingpin” of crime, a solitary being who has apparently consolidated all crime activity across the city. When Nikolas says he wants out of the business, his days are numbered. At a party one evening a romantic night for Matt and Elektra turns violent as the Kingpin makes his move and attempts to have Nik snuffed out, employing a crazed lunatic dubbed “Bullseye” to do the job. Matt dons his garb and aims to protect Elektra’s father, and nearly does so, but in the end Bullseye claims his victim, killing him with Daredevil’s own weapon. This creates a problem as Elektra then swears vengeance on Daredevil, and she is no slouch in the fisticuffs department either! On a rooftop one night she sniffs out her prey and stabs Daredevil through the shoulder, moments later finding out it is Matt beneath the mask and seeing the error of her ways! But soon Bullseye shows up, and in a drawn out fight seemingly kills Elektra. Enraged with grief and guilt Daredevil goes after Bullseye and shows no mercy . . . once that task is out of the way it’s straight to the top. For the Kingpin’s true identity has been leaked, and it is one Wilson Fisk who is holding the reigns to this crime syndicate. But Fisk is huge, and he is mean . . . will Daredevil survive the fight of his life, or will the Kingpin rule over New York City for the indefinite future? This was a very cool film, I love Ben Affleck, especially when he does roles like this. Daredevil is such an overlooked but awesome character, it was great that they chose to do a feature film on him. And with the sexy Jennifer Garner backing him up as Elektra, and Michael Clarke Duncan as the evil Kingpin, it’s a pretty star studded and well casted affair. Bravo!!!
On our way to Grimsby for Thanksgiving James and I watched The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in the van during the trip, and it was awesome! As the film kicks off Peter Parker is doing his usual thing, helping bust bad guys in the city of New York, and things are going well enough with his love, Gwen Stacey. However, around each turn he sees the ghost of Gwen’s father, and continually hears his request to stay away from his daughter for her own safety, and thus Peter is having trouble living with his decision to stay involved with her. Before he can do anything about that dilemma though, he has to prevent a group of thugs from stealing a load of plutonium being transported by Oscorp. During the action Peter saves an electrical engineer from Oscorp named Max Dillon, and let’s just say that Max is more than a little mentally unstable. From that point onwards Max thinks he and Spider-Man are best friends! Anyhoo, after all the dust has settled and Spider-Man has saved the day, he eventually confronts Gwen about his feelings and the pair break up. In other parts of the city though, a couple of other events are unfolding which will truly test Peter’s mettle. In an industrial accident at Oscorp, Max Dillon gets electrocuted to the Nth degree, so much so that he is reborn as Electro, a being able to feed off of and manipulate electricity to disastrous results! Also, Harry Osborn, son of Oscorp’s founder Norman Osborn, returns to town from boarding school as his father is about to pass away from a hereditary disease . . . a disease that Harry will soon start suffering from as well. Before Norman expires though, he leaves Harry all of his life’s work, research and experiments he’s done to try and slow and ultimately prevent his condition. All Harry thinks he needs to complete the process is some of Spider-Man’s blood!! Putting two and two together, Harry eventually realizes that Peter is Spider-Man, and reaches out to him for help. But with the potential dangers associated with giving Harry his blood, Peter refuses . . . needless to say Harry doesn’t take it too well! He breaks the recently captured Electro out of his confinement, and redubs his own self the Green Goblin, using some of Oscorp’s tech to complete his transformation. With these two highly dangerous foes working in tandem to bring not only Spider-Man to his knees, but also New York City as a whole, Peter is more in over his head than he’s ever been! However, after pressing his Aunt May for any information she has on what his long deceased parents were really up to all those years ago when they abandoned him, Peter may finally discover the secret of what they were working on when they perished . . . and he’ll attempt to use that information to claim victory. Can the crafty web slinger pull it off and take this fearsome duo down, or are he and the citizens of his fair city in for a nasty and violent future? These new Spider-Man movies have been getting slagged, but I’ve absolutely loved them! That Garfield kid is so likeable, and Emma Stone is too delicious. I saw something online about the “faulty physics” behind the movie, and I just wanted to tell whoever wrote the article to fuck right off. It’s a super hero movie, what about it is supposed to be realistic? Seriously, let . . . it . . . go! I loved the two new villains, and the intense soundtrack behind the fight scenes really increased the anticipation driving the action sequences. So good!
On the holiday Monday we went to the movies and saw Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, as James had shown a real interest in it! The central character in this film is Alexander, an 11 year old boy who is mostly ignored in a family that features three other siblings. And what’s worse, he continually has bad luck, especially on this day. When Alexander goes to school, while trying to talk up the girl he likes in science class, he accidentally lights the class room on fire. He also finds out that a cool kid in his grade is throwing an amazing birthday party for himself the following day, the same day Alexander is supposed to be having his party. So now nobody is going to his party, not even his best friend! Upon arriving home after his terrible day Alexander can’t get a word in edgewise at the dinner table, as everybody else in the family is sharing their good news. His dad Ben, who has been unemployed for some time, may just land a job designing video games. Mom Kelly is releasing a new children’s book the following day, and if all goes well it could spell promotion. Older brother Anthony is going for his driver’s test the next day, and is following that up by taking his hot girlfriend, Celia, to the prom. Older sister Emily has nabbed the lead role in their school’s production of Peter Pan. And baby brother Trevor, well he is just extremely cute and the apple of everyone’s eye! After dinner Alexander has some ice cream all by himself and makes a wish, a wish that his family could experience a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day themselves, and see what it feels like. Lo and behold Alexander gets his wish!! The next morning everybody sleeps in, Trevor’s soother (the only one he likes) is destroyed in the garbage disposal, Kelly’s car won’t start because Emily left the lights on in it overnight, Anthony wakes up with a massive zit on his forehead and an angry girlfriend on his hands for a phone conversation discretion the previous night, and Ben has to take Trevor to his job interview as nobody else is able to look after him. And that is just the start of the day, from there events snowball and see the family van get virtually destroyed, Anthony being suspended from school, Emily sick and going loopy from ingesting too much cough syrup, Kelly’s job at risk due to a massive misprint in her book, and Trevor painting his face green with a marker during Ben’s not so great interview. Through all the trials and tribulations though, the Coopers stick together and weather the rest of what is to come. In the end, after having the worst day of their lives, the Coopers’ luck finally begins to turn around just a little bit, and a desperate plan to throw Alexander the best birthday party ever just may come to fruition, which would put a positive exclamation mark on one hell of a day! This was an excellent family style movie, great for viewers of all ages. The story was hilarious, and unfortunately all too realistic and believable for those of us who have busy, child filled lives! And with the likes of Steve Carrell, Jennifer Garner, Bella Thorne, Megan Mullally and Jennifer Coolidge involved, there’s some pretty funny talent behind this production.
Later that night I decided to watch the first of my scary movies this year, as Halloween was in the air and fast approaching. The film I decided to view was Evil Dead 2, a cult classic! This film is apparently a sequel to the first film, although it seems more like a slightly rearranged remake. I can’t seem to find a definitive answer on this, but no matter what it’s a great flick. The story opens up with a description of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, otherwise known as the Book of the Dead. It is a book that disappeared around 1300 A.D., and it contains powerful passages capable of releasing evil, dangerous spirits upon the world. Revert to current time and our main character Ash is taking his girlfriend, Linda, to a remote cabin in the woods for the weekend, for a little bit of romantic hokey pokey time! However, not long after their arrival Ash discovers an old school tape recorder and curiously pushes play. A recording of a man, an archaeologist, begins describing how he found the Necronomicon, the Book of the Dead . . . the book which just so happens to be sitting on the desk Ash is occupying while listening to the recording! The cabin they have “borrowed” belongs to this archaeologist, but there is no sign of him anywhere. Shortly in to the recording this person begins speaking some of the incantations found in the book, which unknowing to Ash releases the spirits of the dead in the woods surrounding the cabin. This territory suddenly becomes a very dangerous place! Linda is the first victim. One of these spirits kills and then possesses her, forcing Ash to behead the very love of his life! Surviving the encounter it’s not long before Ash too is possessed, but as day breaks the possession ends as said spirits are forced back in to hiding. After waking up later that day Ash tries to flee, but the bridge on the road leading to the cabin has been destroyed. Ash’s only option is to head back to the cabin and hole up, in an attempt to make it through the night and explore his options the following day. However, Ash is in for a mighty struggle, and when Linda is reanimated yet again by one of the spirits things get even worse, as her severed head bites down on Ash’s hand and infects it! Our hero is then forced to sever his own hand. Eventually a group of four people arrive at the cabin, whom Ash almost kills accidentally . . . and understandably! For his troubles they throw Ash in the cellar. These people include the daughter of the archaeologist who owns the cabin, her research partner (for they are also archaeologists like her father, and have recently uncovered more pages from the Necronomicon), and two locals who had to guide them there due to the blown out bridge. Soon enough the newcomers realize that Ash is not their enemy, and they pull him out of the cellar just in the nick of time. But as the night goes on their numbers start to dwindle, and in the end it’s only Ash and Annie left as the spirits are coming even harder! Their final hope is to retrieve the newfound pages of the Necronomicon, pages that can help send the spirits back to their imprisonment. However, things don’t go exactly as planned and Ash is transported back to the year 1300 A.D., in what appears to be some place in Britain. At first the knights who surround him have imprisonment in mind, but after Ash kills a demon the locals refer to as a “Deadite” (with his shotgun and the chainsaw he now sports on his handless left arm), he is then revered for his powers . . . and that is where the movie ends. This is a frightening but at the same time quite hilarious horror movie that really seemed to set the bar back in the day, as it has always been very well received by audiences and critics alike. I’ve seen Army of Darkness numerous times but not the Evil Dead films that came before it, so it was great to finally see how the events unfolded that sent Ash back in time. Such a good flick, gotta love Bruce Campbell!!
Also that same night (very late that night!) I finished reading the book I was under the influence of at the time, called Alien: Sea of Sorrows. And what a read, indeed! This story takes place many hundreds of years after the last Alien book I read just a short while back, called Alien: Out of the Shadows. The action unfolds on the same planet (LV178) in which Ripley and the crew of the Marion discovered an ancient alien spaceship buried beneath a Trimonite mine, which unfortunately was infested by a nasty horde of some crazy alien species! Since the events of that last story the aliens have gone dormant, with their food sources having run low, and Ripley having destroyed most of their queens. In the centuries that followed civilization sprung up as the planet was terraformed and dubbed New Galveston, a community now hustling and bustling with a growing population. However, a bizarre area of the planet has recently turned to black sand, with these strange silicon like protrusions sticking up out of it . . . the locals have named it the “Sea of Sorrows”. In charge of figuring out what is causing this phenomenon is a higher up named Alan Decker. Before he can proceed too far in to his initial investigation though, a mishap with a piece of survey equipment causes massive trauma to his leg, during the process of trying to get him to safety he experiences some form of seizures in which he blurts out all manner of gibberish nobody can comprehend. Nobody but the Weyland-Yutani corporation, that is! When Decker awakens from his recovery, he is basically let go from his job and forced to see a small number of “doctors”, although the situation doesn’t feel quite right to him. Soon enough he discovers the reason for this, as he is abducted from his apartment back on Earth and brought before a hard assed bitch named Andrea Rollins, a powerful figure working for Weyland-Yutani. She plays back a recording of the gibberish Decker was muttering during his accident, and although it makes no sense to him certain key phrases he would not possibly be able to know anything about, such as the mention of Ellen Ripley’s name, greatly interest the corporation. For Decker, as they have found out, is a long lost descendant of Ripley’s, and furthermore he happens to have empathic capabilities. The knowledge he was muttering during his seizures could only be gleaned because he has made a connection with the dormant aliens laying deep beneath the Sea of Sorrows, who appear to have a shared hive mind and realize that Decker is a descendant of Ripley’s, who the aliens have dubbed the “Destroyer” . . . and they want nothing more than to tear him limb from limb!! With Decker’s future existence in the hands of Weyland-Yutani he has no choice but to agree to accompany a team of mercenaries back to the Sea of Sorrows, and attempt to procure not only a live sample of the alien species for the corporation’s interest, but also any information that can be gleaned from the crashed alien ship . . . and Decker will serve as their guide due to his connection with the creatures! Upon arrival on New Galveston it doesn’t take long for things to go south. At first everything is peachy keen as a team of scientists that preceded the team deep in to the mine find out that there is an entire city located beyond the crashed space ship, giving evidence that the ship had not crash landed there, but mostly likely was brought down during takeoff, probably trying to escape from the aliens! Before they can celebrate this massive find though, the team of mercenaries start losing squads one by one, they soon realize they are up against more numbers than they thought they would be and what’s worse, the creatures pursuing them are evil incarnate! As the events unfold deep beneath the Sea of Sorrows, Decker and his new “friends” must fight for their very existence, but against overwhelming odds will any of them make it back to the surface and off planet, or are they all doomed to become breeding fodder for these powerful beasts? This book was every bit as good as the first one and captures the whole fear and mystique behind this franchise just right. I enjoyed the new cast of characters, but I also really enjoyed how they connected it to that first story, creating more of a detailed time line of events just like you’d find in the Star Wars universe. And the parts written from the aliens’ point of view is pretty cool, it helps us to understand just what makes these creatures tick and how they operate. I so can’t wait for the third and final entry of this trilogy to be released, only a month to go!
Later that week I watched the original Halloween, which I hadn’t seen in a number of years!! The story of the deranged psychopath Michael Myers starts off in Haddonfield, Illinois, in the year 1963. We witness a mysterious person murder a young girl in a home on Halloween night, upon the incident’s conclusion we find out that the culprit was a then 6 years old Michael Myers . . . who just offed his own sister! Fast forward 15 years and the scene briefly shifts to Smith’s Grove, Illinois, where Michael has been incarcerated since this incident all those years ago. The doctor who has been studying him all this time, Sam Loomis, is heading to the facility where Michael is housed for another visit. However, upon reaching the prison Sam and the nurse that is along for the journey are ransacked by the lunatic, who has found a way to escape from his captivity! Michael immediately heads for Haddonfield, the date is October 30 . . . only one day away from Halloween. With the insights Dr. Loomis has gleaned from studying Michael’s behaviour, he knows exactly what the killer has planned. Michael is going to head back to Haddonfield and relive the very crime he committed there in the past . . . as many times as possible! Dr. Loomis soon afterwards heads for Haddonfield as well, along the way he tries to notify the authorities of the terror that is headed their way. However, he is not taken all that seriously as nobody has seen Michael Myers, and there have been no strange incidents reported. But Michael is indeed in town, and due to random circumstance has set his sights on a young teenager named Laurie Strode, along with her friends Lynda, Annie, and Bob. On Halloween night Laurie is stuck babysitting at a neighbour’s house, while Lynda and Annie are preferring to get their party on! As the night unfolds Michael stalks his prey, saving Laurie for last. At first she doesn’t notice anything awry, but the little incidents begin to pile up and put her on edge. Eventually Laurie comes face to face with this evil monster and she is then in for the fight of her life, using anything she can find as a weapon as Michael Myers pursues her through the house. With Dr. Loomis finally arriving on the scene will he get there in time to save Laurie from a violent end, or will Michael Myers claim even more victims? This is a classic horror movie that fits right in with the likes of Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, certainly a must for any horror fans’ collection. Considering it was made in 1978 the film has held up very well, it’s still full of suspense and offers some good thrills. The young eye candy is pretty tasty too, especially the shirtless P.J. Soles! And the film introduced Jamie Lee Curtis to the world, so there’s a big win too. Quality flick!!
Just as the work week was ending this past week I finished reading another book, called The New Avengers: Breakout. The story starts out with newly minted S.H.I.E.L.D. operative Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye), doing his thing aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. Suddenly he notices a red haired beauty who strolls in and acts like she owns the place, and she pretty much fools everybody . . . everybody but Hawkeye that is! He notices the subtle details, as is his way, so after she makes an exit he takes off in pursuit. Hawkeye eventually catches up to her, after a couple sequences of back and forth hand to hand combat he eventually takes her captive. In the process the two develop a quick rapport and attraction, even though they both know they can’t trust the other. This fact is not lost on Hawkeye’s partner, Jessica Drew, formerly known as Spider-Woman. When they learn that this femme fatale is the infamous Black Widow, they are concerned even further by the incident as she has a lot of innocent blood on her hands and is very dangerous. In Nick Fury’s absence Captain Maria Hill tasks Hawkeye, along with Jessica and Luke Cage, with taking the Black Widow down to the Raft for questioning, a special prison where all of the most dangerous super villains are contained. However, in the process of taking her in for questioning a prison breakout is hatched, all of a sudden these few super heroes, with the unknown quantity of Black Widow in their midst, are suddenly faced with the threat of hordes of loose villains on their hands! Showing up on the scene to help out are Iron Man, Captain America, and Spider-Man though, and it isn’t long before they recapture about half of the inmates (of the 80+ that first busted loose!). But that leaves quite a few still out there on the lam. Due to the nature of this incident, Tony Stark proposes a plan to Captain America and the rest of these heroes, to create a new team and dub themselves the New Avengers!! The team consists of Iron Man, Captain American, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Hawkeye, and Jessica Drew (who is secretly regaining her powers). At first they are less a team though, than a collection of individuals in great need of cohesion. Nonetheless they battle through it and, after gleaning some intelligence that suggests Electro was behind the prison breakout, confront him and reel him in. During their “questioning” Electro informs them that Karl Lykos is behind the whole plot. Lykos is a villain capable of transforming himself in to a Pteranodon and is based in the Savage Lands, a strange place in Antarctica that contains all sorts of prehistoric life. So the New Avengers head to the Savage Lands with a plan to end this threat once and for all, but once there they find out that a battle not only against the combined might of all these escaped villains, but also Mother Nature, may be more difficult than they first assumed. They also find Black Widow on site, who escaped during the prison breakout, so what is her role in all of this? As well they find out that S.H.I.E.L.D. is on site in the Savage Lands and up to some shady activity. When the dust settles will the New Avengers be any closer to recapturing these escaped psychopaths, and will they understand any of the events that unfolded along the way? This was a very cool story that gave a lot of insight in to both Hawkeye and Black Widow’s characters, and it was neat to see how she first came to join the Avengers . . . at least in this incarnation anyways. This is the last Marvel book I’ve been able to find, so it’s kind of sad!!
Earlier this week, for my final scary movie of this blog post, I chose to watch the original Alien movie! I’ve watched Aliens about a billion times in my life, but this first one I hadn’t seen in some time, so it was nice to finally see it again. This film takes place way in the future when space travel is common place, the entire galaxy everybody’s own personal playground. The main subjects of the film are a crew of seven aboard the Nostromo, a space craft responsible for hauling larges loads, in this case a shipment of iron ore. The Nostromo is in the process of flying back to Earth, it’s entire crew all deep within hypersleep, a form of induced hibernation that can last for years if needed, with the individual inside not aging as quickly as they normally would. However, suddenly the ship rouses the crew out of their hypersleep, upon investigating the reason why Dallas (the ship’s captain) explains to his charges (Ripley, Lambert, Kane, Brett, Parker, and Ash) that a distress signal was just picked up coming from a nearby, uninhabited system. It is company policy for the crew to respond in such circumstances, and provide aid to the best of their ability. Soon enough the Nostromo lands on the surface of the planet where this transmission originated. Dallas, Lambert and Kane head outside in their vac suits and see what they can find . . . and boy do they find something!! The remains of a crash landed alien space craft lie just over the horizon, but in exploring it’s inner depths Kane encounters a strange creature that ends up attaching itself to his face and knocking him unconscious! Dallas and Lambert immediately bring him back to the Nostromo, where science officer Ash takes a look. Kane is alive, but there is no telling what this thing is that has bonded with him. In trying to extract it from his head they find it has highly corrosive acid for blood, so they are pretty much hooped! Eventually the creature comes off by itself and dies, soon enough Kane wakes up and is back on his feet like nothing happened. But later that night at dinner Kane goes in to spasms and in the end a small, alien creature bursts forth out of his chest, skittering away in to the shadows! After the initial shock of what happened to their crew mate wears off, the group rebounds and sets out to capture this little monster. To their grim surprise though, they find out that this creature grows at an unthinkable rate, and it is fierce and highly dangerous . . . literally a perfect hunter. One by one the remaining crew get picked off by the beast, until just Ripley, Lambert and Parker remain (after discovering that Ash was an android, and played a major part in the crew’s ultimate doom!). A desperate plan is hatched to load up the small shuttle the Nostromo contains with provisions, and escape the doomed ship, taking their chances on an uncertain journey rather than stay on board with the creature. The plan goes well enough until the alien catches up with Lambert and Parker . . . which ends up leaving Ripley all by her lonesome. Does she have the wherewithal to escape with her life, or will she cower in fear before the alien like the others before her, and meet the same fate? And also, what will become of the ship’s resident pussy cat, Jones? This movie is so classic, and so creepy. It really was a fantastic introduction to a world that would eventually grow and keep on growing, and with each evolution just keep getting that much better and that much scarier! For a 1979 flick it holds up amazingly well, the effects and environments featured in this movie are pretty awesome. And then there is Sigourney Weaver . . . need I say more!?
Finally, lately I’ve been listening to a CD I picked up a short while ago, none other than Boston’s Greatest Hits! Boston is a long standing band originating from, you guessed it, Boston! They formed in the mid 1970’s, and were the brainchild of Tom Scholz, who played lead guitar and leant backing vocals to the band’s sound. He recruited Brad Delp (guitar and lead vocals), Barry Goudreau (guitar), Fran Sheehan (bass), and Sib Hashian (drums) to complete the outfit, and soon after a record deal followed. The truth is though that the band actually had a lot of members enter and leave the fold over the years, but this lineup is the one they first had success with in the mid/late 1970’s. Tom Scholz was the band’s main songwriter, but on top of that he was also a bit of a musical innovator. After building a recording studio in his home’s basement, he also designed a set of pedals that would give the band their signature guitar sound, which has been described as almost violin like. And Boston sure did have a signature sound. Their guitars were layered and amazingly harmonized, as were their vocals, which were even further enhanced by Delp’s unbelievable range. There is no chance you’ve never heard a Boston tune before, they are that good! This collection contains 16 of their biggest songs between their inception up until the mid/late 1990’s. My favourite tracks on the album include “More Than A Feeling”, “Peace Of Mind”, “Don’t Look Back”, “Cool The Engines”, “Feelin’ Satisfied”, “Foreplay/Long Time” & “Smokin’”. Essential listening, people!