Been another month of living, and another month of gaming! The weekend after my last blog we headed to Hamilton on the Friday night, to have our first ever all you can eat sushi experience with our friends Johnny and Megan (at Sapporo). It was delicious! The actual sushi was alright, but it was all the other stuff you can order that got me going, so much food and so little time! Afterwards we went out for a number of beers before heading back to their place and eventually passing out. The next day we visited the mother-in-law and had some Valentine’s Day festivities, playing some games and eating a fair amount, as usual. James literally ate candy and chocolate all day long, it was ridiculous!
The next weekend Johnny and Megan came down to our place for the Friday night, we ordered Thai food while James was at Fri-Y, and then proceeded to get drunk while watching the hockey game! Afterwards we followed it up with another viewing of Walk Hard. The rest of the weekend we just kind of pissed away. The weekend after that we put James in Fri-Y once again, and then went to one of our home sushi joints (168 Sushi) where we once again gorged ourselves on a bevvy or creations all ordered from the convenience of an iPad! Great idea, fyi. The rest of the weekend we spent mostly at home, mixing a little shopping in here and there.
As for this past weekend, mrs. darthcobain17 was gone for both the Friday and Saturday nights on a girls weekend thing, so James and I had a whole bunch of time to ourselves! Naturally we watched a lot of TV, played a ton of video games, watched old cartoons on DVD like Inspector Gadget, and of course ate entirely too unhealthily. Unfortunately it all came to an end much too quickly, and it was time for another school/work week to begin.
Regarding the actual school/work weeks, they were action packed, even more so than usual! James has been continuing to see his tutor, to give him a little extra polishing for school. Beavers is also going strong, they even had their annual banquet where the kids all get to race their Beaver Buggies against one another. James lost his first race by just a hair, but in the consolation round managed to win one, which he was super excited about! His latest round of golf lessons finished up just last week, he managed to graduate to the red level . . . just blue and black to go, I do believe! I’m not even going to mention anything about my Toronto Maple Leafs, as they have suffered an epic collapse this season yet again, it’s been quite disillusioning. Angry. Another thing that has made me angry is the weather. This has been the coldest winter here in recorded history, with weeks on end of -20 and below type conditions. Because of this an ice dam built up around our eaves trough and skylights on our TV room roof, causing a fair amount of water to back up in to the house. I had to have a roofing company come in and get rid of the dam, so it’s all good for now, but these things always seem to leave me on edge for quite a while afterwards. I can hear the birds chirping, feel the sun getting warmer, have noticed that extra bit of daylight we seem to be getting lately, and the temperatures have gone up quite a bit recently though, so I think the spring isn’t too far off. Can’t come soon enough for me at this point though!! Anyhoo, while all this was going on here is what was accomplished . . .
1) I completed the next level on Goldeneye, said level was called “St. Petersburg – Statue Park”. Upon the close of my last mission 007 found out that we had lost contact with the helicopter we’d been tracking, most likely because the bug had been discovered. I was also told that Natalya had chosen to return to her native St. Petersburg despite our agency’s protestations, and had promptly gone missing, presumed kidnapped by Janus. My task was to investigate these issues. To begin I was airdropped in to Statue Park in St. Petersburg. Navigating it’s bizarre, cluttered landscape I had to dispatch many Russian soldiers before meeting up with a contact named Valentin. He was an ex-KGB agent and informed me he was able to arrange a meeting for 007 . . . with the head of Janus! So I headed over to the statue of Lenin, where I was to meet this character . . . colour me shocked when I found out this person was our presumed dead agent, 006! Alec gloated about this revelation before telling me that he had left Natalya at the gates to the park, beside the helicopter I was also after . . . and that they were rigged with explosives! So I then backtracked, taking out Janus thugs along the way, before finally reaching the helicopter. I saved Natalya at the last second, before the helicopter went kaboom. Afterwards I searched for the aircraft’s flight recorder, before returning to the gates to collect Natalya. I found her captured by the head of security, Mishkin, though, who then escorted us out of the park. I forgot to record how long it took me to complete this level, along with my accuracy rating, but I had to try it a few times before I successfully beat it so I imagine my final numbers were both pretty quick and accurate!!
2) Yet another series is in the books on MLB 2K11, this time we travelled to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks. Here is how that went: lost @ Arizona 10-7, won @ Arizona 3-1 & won @ Arizona 7-1.
3) Only three games took place on my season of NHL ’04, and the results were as such: won @ Florida 13-5, won @ Tampa Bay 17-4 & won vs. New Jersey 6-4.
4) A major stride was made on Jak X: Combat Racing, as I was able to tidy up the “Blue Eco Cup” series of events! To begin play this time around I visited three consecutive areas and ran a single event at each one. The areas in question were “Spargus”, “Kras City” & “Grand Prix”, and the events in question, respectively, were “Badland Sanctuary – Death Race” (won the race, gold medal), “Dethdrome – Rush Hour” (won the event, gold medal) & “Timberline Track – Circuit Race” (a qualifier event, won the race, gold medal). I then headed to “Icelands”, where I completed the “Mountaintop Highway – Freeze Rally” (won the event, gold medal) & “Ice Pit – Deathmatch” (won the event, gold medal) events. It was then time for another trio of single events, this time at the “Spargus”, “Kras City” & “Haven City” locales. The events in question included: “Spargus City – Turbo Dash” (won the event, gold medal), “Seaport Strip – Death Race” (won the race, gold medal) & “Waterworks Circuit – Freeze Rally” (won the event, gold medal). My final challenge was to complete the ultimate event at “Grand Prix”, the three race series that broke down as such: “Sewer Raceway – Circuit Race” (won the race), “Frozen Speedway – Circuit Race” (placed second) & “Western Tour – Circuit Race” (won the race). Overall my point total was 28, good enough for the overall win, woot woot! Three quarters of the way there now . . .
5) I forged on with the Predacons on Transformers: Beast Wars, clearing out the next three levels of the game. Said levels unfolded as such: “Desert 1 – Advance Forces” (we had found Cheetor’s Energon mining machines active in the desert, my task was to head there and defeat his advance troops, ultimately destroying the Rock Blaster device), “Desert 2 – Mining Machine” (we wanted the Energon rich desert for our own cause, so I was jobbed with annihilating all of Cheetor’s defenses and then planting a bomb in his mining base) & “Desert 3 – Cheetor’s Base” (with our Energon resources boosted by the previous mission, my last task in this area was to destroy Cheetor in a boss fight, which I did after searching him out amongst the desert terrain).
6) Per the usual I got the next two levels, the final two levels, in the books on X-Men Destiny . . . not that I was able to beat the game though!! Grrrr. The seventh level was titled “M.R.D. Headquarters”, and to kick things off Magneto finally showed up on the scene. Cyclops, Pixie and I explained the situation to him, that Bastion was inside of the computer systems and had overridden control of the Sentinels, who were now rampaging across town. Reyes had gone inside the M.R.D. communications tower, so I decided to follow him in and offer support, ultimately hoping to shut the Sentinels down while the others held them off for us. I began by hitting the streets, taking out tons of Purifiers and Sentinels, eventually running in to Pixie. She informed me that our enemies now had a type of belt they could use to teleport with, but we came up with a strategy to combat this. I then forged ahead and took out four squadrons of their elite troopers, before encountering Mystique. Together we destroyed a Sentinel. Afterwards she tasked me with finding three more of them and leading them back to her, so she could finish them off. Moving on I took out a few walker tanks before finally reaching M.R.D. headquarters. I navigated the corridors within, dispatching turrets and M.R.D. soldiers, before reaching a large locked door. After visiting two security stations and taking out the resistance at each of them, I manipulated them to open up the door for me, thus entering the communications tower. The last level was called “Broadcast Tower”. I immediately began infiltration of said tower to kick the level off, talking out more M.R.D. soldiers and turrets. Soon enough Emma sent me a message that Cyclops was down and although Magneto was holding the Sentinels back, we had to hurry. Not long afterwards I ran in to Reyes, who had the codes to shut down the Sentinels, but he couldn’t get through the security doors. Together we set out and as I burst through said doors, he would input the codes at the various computer stations positioned throughout the tower. Along the way we ran in to enemies masquerading as Wolverine, Emma, Mystique, Archangel, after dealing with them we finally reached the top of the tower. Unfortunately, at this point Reyes revealed that it was him who was behind the whole plot, and he then proceeded to attack me from the comfort of a large suit of armour!! I defeated Reyes easily enough but afterwards Bastion took control of the suit, and that is when shit got heavy. He is one tough boss to beat and so far, after many attempts, I haven’t even come close to sealing the deal . . . nor do I think I will. Game over . . . for me!!
7) We didn’t get a lot done on Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed this time around unfortunately, but we did at least get back at it for a little bit anyways. We decided to start on the “Grand Prix” mode once more, this time on the “Mirror Mode” feature we had unlocked by completing all the original Grand Prix events last time around. The first circuit we completed was called the “Dragon Cup”, in it we took part in the “Oceanview” (placed 3 and 10 respectively), “Samba Studios” (1 and 10), “Carrier Zone” (1 and 10) & “Dragon Canyon” (1 and 10) races. Overall I won the circuit with 38 total points. The second circuit was the only other play we were able to get accomplished, and it was called the “Rogue Cup”. It consisted of the “Temple Trouble” (1 and 10), “Galactic Parade” (6 and 5), “Seasonal Shrines” (1 and 10) & “Rogue’s Landing” (5 and 6) races. Overall I won the circuit with 31 points, but it was close!
8) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze is indeed done . . . done as in I cannot win the Shredder boss fight! But not for lack of trying though. Fuck.
9) We branched out a bit on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U this time around, exploring some of the other modes by trial and error. To begin with we dabbled in the “Classic” mode, which I had begun to explore on my own last time around, only this time we tried it with the two of us instead. Afterwards we moved on to “Events” mode, which features a linear sequence of battles for you to complete, each with it’s own set of challenges/objectives. So far on this mode we’ve been able to complete the “A Lurking Menace”, “Pokemon Multi Battle!”, “Visiting Onett”, “Getting Healthy”, “1988”, “Full Speed Ahead”, “Wrecking Bros.”, “A Fairy Nice Trip” & “Mirror Magic” battles. The last mode we explored was called “Stadium”, which features some off beat challenges to attempt. The first of these was called “Home-Run Contest”, which tasks each player with trying to hit a sack as far as they can with a baseball bat. Our best showing was 1010.2 feet. Then we attempted “Target Blast”, in which you have your character launch a bomb and see how many targets you can destroy with it’s explosion. We dabbled in all three stages available for play in this challenge. Finally we took part in “Multi-Man Smash”, in which you have to successfully fight off various waves of enemies. We tried the “10-Man Smash”, “100-Man Smash” (our best showing being 51 enemies defeated), “3-Minute Smash” (our best total being 36 enemies defeated), “Endless Smash” (our best total being 61 enemies defeated) & “Cruel Smash” (just 1 lonely defeat . . .). It’s really cool how this game has so much more to offer than most fighting games, so much more variety.
10) Some decent progress was made on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1, which saw me complete the next two levels of the game. The fifth level of the game was a bit of a detour, called “Encounters”, which set me three challenges I had to complete before moving on in the game. Said challenges included: “The Abandoned Substation” (I had to free captured, doped up Muggles from the Snatchers, whom I battled at said station), “The Ruins” (continued on and rescued more Muggles/battled more Snatchers, this time at a set of ruins instead) & “The Dark Caves” (had to battle more Snatchers, all while trying to navigate a series of caves that featured a fire breathing dragon stalking their depths!). With that out of the way I was then able to move on to the sixth level of the game. On the streets of London our infamous trio wanted to get in to the Ministry of Magic in order to get at Umbridge and her horcrux, but we were in need of disguises. To kick-start our plan I got under my invisibility cloak and stalked Reg Cattermole, Mafalda Hopkirk and Albert Runcorn through the streets, ultimately taking them out and bringing them back to our hiding place. Along the way I had also collected Polyjuice potion, which we then used to transform ourselves in to the likenesses of our three prisoners. Once our disguises were in place we headed to the public bathrooms that would send us to the lobby of the Ministry. Once inside we made our way to the lifts and things were looking good until Ron and Hermione got dragged off by another wizard. To regroup I decided to backtrack to the security office and find out what floor Umbridge’s office was on. With that new information I headed back to the lifts (my Polyjuice potion had worn off at this point, so I was back under my invisibility cloak) and then made my way to level one. After flitting through the halls I located Umbridge’s office (she wasn’t there) and explored it for a bit, before nipping back out in to the hallways and exploring some of the other offices on the floor, trying to determine her current location. Once gleaning that she was in the courtroom, I headed back to the lifts and went straight down to the basement. After skulking by many Death Eaters I arrived at the courtroom, along with Ron and Hermione, so we then overpowered her in a duel, taking the locket and then heading back the way we’d come! We managed to escape via the floo network, although Ron was injured in the process.
11) Our action on Mario Kart 8 has come to a close! When I left off last time we basically just had to explore any other game modes that this title might have to offer, and as is the usual with this series, there isn’t much substantial after you get through the main “Grand Prix” mode. We dabbled shortly in “Versus” mode, but spent most of our time in “Battle” mode, where we liked to take part in the Balloon Pop event. This is a great game overall, would have gotten a 10 if it had more modes to offer (this one doesn’t even seem to have the usual Mirror Mode that is a staple in most of the series), but I’ll probably give it a 9 instead.
12) More progress was made on BeyBlade: Evolution, the first thing I did this time around was beat Kyoya in a battle at the Vacant Lot. I then headed to Bey Stadium, to have another crack at a tournament. This one was a race to four, so the first one to score four points wins each round. I began the tournament by beating Toby, and then won the tournament by defeating Gingka in the second round, huzzah! Next I beat Kyoya at the Vacant Lot yet again, before defeating Masamune at the Park. I then headed to the Plaza, where I first tried my hand at the Aim and Shoot mini-game, then lost a battle to Kenta. My next flurry of activity all took part at the Vacant Lot. I began by playing the Balloon Break mini-game, then lost a battle to Masamune before beating Kyoya, finishing up by playing the new to me mini-game called Memory Quiz! It was then time to head back to the Bey Stadium once more for another tournament. This time it was a race to three points, and I won the overall thing by defeating Dashan in the first round and then Gingka in the second! My last bit of action took place at the Park. I beat Gingka in a battle, before playing the new Maze mini-game. Afterwards I lost a battle to Kenta but then defeated Gingka. Before signing off I headed to the B-Pit and purchased many new BeyBlade parts with all of my winnings!!
13) Since finishing (but not completing) a couple games on the 3DS, it was time to choose something new to play. My first choice was Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay! This game picks up after the events of the Big Hero 6 movie, as Hiro is contacting his team about some cool new upgrades he’s designed for their various suits. During this conversation though, they pick up activity in the city, activity involving a whole bunch of bot fighters stirring up mayhem all across San Fransokyo! Our inclination was of course to go and check these disturbances out, and that is where the game begins. So far I’ve been able to complete the first six levels of this title, which went as such: Level 1 (With Hiro I patrolled downtown San Fransokyo and took out many bots, eventually calling in Baymax for help who afterwards detected a break-in at Hiro’s workshop, leading us to believe the whole bot uprising was some sort of a diversion. I completed this level in 14:05, finding the hidden Mochi and all four HERO letters, defeating 23 enemies), Level 2 (I took Wasabi out for a spin this time, stomping through the streets of San Fransokyo and destroying more bots. I completed this level in 7:23, finding the hidden Mochi and all four HERO letters, defeating 43 enemies), Level 3 (It was Fred’s turn for action this time around, I did pretty much the same thing with him as I did with Wasabi. I completed this level in 10:30, finding the hidden Mochi and all four HERO letters, defeating 40 enemies), Level 4 (It was finally time to take Go Go out for a spin, I laid the smackdown on more bots with her as I continued on through the city. I completed this level in 10:58, finding the hidden Mochi and all four HERO letters, defeating 26 enemies), Level 5 (In this level I took over as Hiro again, asking Baymax to perform a high altitude frequency scan, to try and figure out where all the bots were coming from. While he was doing that I forged onwards, battling bots, and when Baymax eventually showed up he said the source of the bots was coming from a location near the train station. I completed this level in 16:55, finding the hidden Mochi and all four HERO letters, defeating 35 enemies) & Level 6 (Playing as Fred once more I bet Wasabi I’d make it to the train station before him, during my journey to said location I encountered heavier resistance than usual. I completed this level in 11:27, finding the hidden Mochi and all four HERO letters, defeating 63 enemies). More to come fo sho!!
14) The other game I got started on for the 3DS was Lego Ninjago: Nindroids! This game features action inspired by the third season of the Lego: Ninjago TV show, which sees New Ninjago City spring from the ashes of the original, but since destroyed Ninjago City. This new city is a technological marvel but the ninjas have a major problem . . . the evil Overlord has also risen and is working towards domination, backed by his powerful army of nindroids! Our special group of ninjas is of course tasked with stopping this fiend’s plans from reaching fruition. So far I’ve completed the first 12 levels of the game, which included: “Going Up” (completed 9/10 challenges, unlocking the Kai [Teacher] character), “A Clean Escape” (completed 7/10 challenges, unlocking the Cole & Spitta characters), “No Way Out” (completed 8/10 challenges, unlocking the Zane & Cowboy characters), “Ninja Copter!” (completed 10/10 challenges, unlocking the Jay & Mummy characters, along with the Studs X2 red brick), “Mad Machines” (completed 5/10 challenges, unlocking the Kai character, along with the Big Heads red brick), “OverBorg” (completed 5/10 challenges, unlocking the Sensei Wu character), “Street Sweep” (completed 8/10 challenges, unlocking some Studs, along with the Studs X4 red brick), “Robot Rumble” (completed 9/10 challenges, unlocking the Cole [Teacher] & Dareth characters), “Kaifighter!” (completed 10/10 challenges, unlocking the Kai DX & Elf characters, along with the Minikit Finder red brick), “Escape the Overlord” (completed 8/10 challenges, unlocking the Rattla character), “Stop, Thief!” (completed 4/10 challenges, unlocking the P.I.X.A.L. [Good] character), “Surrounded” (completed 7/10 challenges, unlocking the Snike & Zane [Borg] characters) & “Sneaking In” (completed 6/10 challenges, unlocking the Zane DX & Chopov characters). In between and after these levels I used my collected studs to purchase a number of items. Said items included the Studs X2, Big Heads, Studs X4 & Minikit Finder extras, along with the Cowboy, Cole (Teacher), Kai DX, P.I.X.A.L. (Good), Sensei Wu, Rattla, Spitta, Mummy, Elf, Snike, Zane DX, Chopov & Dareth characters. A good start, no doubt!!
15) As for James and I, with progress on Mario Kart 8 complete and us winding down a bit on Sonic, we decided to start a few new games, a couple of which were very recent acquisitions. The first of these new acquisitions was Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker for the Wii U, which James was super excited about as Toad is his very favourite Mario Bros. character! This game features Toad (and Toadette) in their very own adventure. Out on a treasure finding expedition Toadette is captured by this giant bird and flown far away. Using Toad’s unique skills (and his trusty headlamp!) you are then tasked with solving a number of puzzle like levels in order to locate your kidnapped mistress and get her back. We’ve made major progress on this game so far, our play began on “Episode 1”. There we completed all 18 levels, which went as such: “Plucky Pass Beginnings” (3/3 Gems, collected the Golden Mushroom), “Walleye Tumble Temple” (found 3/3 Gems, didn’t break the bridge), “Touchstone Trouble” (found 3/3 Gems, cleared the level in 3 touches), “Mushroom Mesa” (found 3/3 Gems, destroyed all enemies), “Double Cherry Palace” (found 3/3 Gems, collected 70 coins), “Shy Guy Heights” (found 3/3 Gems, slipped past all the Shy Guys), “Spinwheel Library” (found 3/3 Gems, collected the Golden Mushroom), “Mine Cart Tunnel Throwdown” (found 3/3 Gems, defeated all Para-Biddybuds), “Spinwheel Bullet Bill Base” (found 3/3 Gems, collected the Golden Mushroom), “The King of Pyropuff Peak” (found 3/3 Gems, collected 45 coins), “Piranha Creeper Cove” (found 3/3 Gems, collected 70 coins), “Briny Bowl Swimming Hole” (found 3/3 Gems, collected the Golden Mushroom), “Turnip Cannon Jungle” (found 3/3 Gems, cleared the level firing just 1 shot), “Pop-Up Prairie Town” (found 3/3 Gems, collected the 1-Up Mushroom), “Drop-Road Dash” (found 3/3 Gems, didn’t defeat any Para-Biddybuds), “Bizarre Doors of Boo Mansion” (found 3/3 Gems, cleared the level in 4 touches), “Blizzard on the Star Express” (found 3/3 Gems, collected the 1-Up Mushroom) & “Wingo’s Watchtower” (found 3/3 Gems, collected 70 coins). Our best showing in the Coins Galore bonus level that pops up from time to time was 212 coins. We then moved on to “Episode 2”, which sees Toad get captured, so Toadette has to rescue him this time, and this is where our progress has temporarily halted. So far we’ve completed the first 10 levels, which went as follows: “Chute Scoot Slopes” (found 3/3 Gems, collected the Golden Mushroom), “Stumper Sneakaround” (found 3/3 Gems, defeated all Piranha Creepers), “Mine Cart Sunset Rundown” (found 3/3 Gems, collected 140 coins), “Sinister Street Signs” (found 3/3 Gems, defeated all Mud Troopers), “Floaty Fun Waterpark” (found 3/3 Gems, defeated all Goombas), “Drift-Along Canyon” (found 3/3 Gems, didn’t take any damage), “Sliding Slab Shuffle” (found 3/3 Gems, cleared the level in 4 touches), “Spooky Specters at Shadow Manor” (found 3/3 Gems, collected the 1-Up Mushroom), “Draggadon’s Revenge” (found 3/3 Gems, didn’t take any damage) & “Spinwheel Cog Ruins” (found 3/3 Gems, collected the Golden Mushroom). In the Mummy-Me Maze bonus levels our best showing was 110 coins. As you can see, in each game level there are 3 Gems to be found, along with a bonus objective, which varies. So far we are loving this game, it is a ton of fun!!
16) The next new game we started was one I’ve had in the queue for quite a while . . . Lego: Pirates of the Caribbean, for the Wii! This game relives the events of all four of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, only in the typical Lego stylings. Our quest began on the “The Curse of the Black Pearl” chapter, where so far we’ve been able to knock down the first 4 levels. Said levels included: “Port Royal” (found 3/10 Minikit pieces, unlocked the Mr. Brown, Will Turner, Guard Dog & Jack Sparrow characters, and earned 1 Gold Brick [for the level completion]), “Tortuga” (found 1/10 Minikit pieces, unlocked the Mr. Gibbs, Cotton, Anamarin & Marty characters, and earned 1 Gold Brick [completion]), “The Black Pearl Attacks” (earned True Pirate status, found 2/10 Minikit pieces, unlocked the Jack Sparrow [Waistcoat] character, and earned 2 Gold Bricks [completion and status achievement]) & “Smuggler’s Den” (earned True Pirate status, found 2/10 Minikit pieces, unlocked the Elizabeth [Undergarments] character, and earned 2 Gold Bricks [completion and status]). Yet another great Lego game is in store for us it seems!
17) The last new game we started was Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U, which James was also very excited about! I had played the 3DS version of this game quite a while back, as it came with the system, and enjoyed it very much, so I was looking forward to see what they did with the Wii U version of it and so far we’ve not been disappointed. The plot behind the game is that Mario, Luigi, Peach and Toad are out for a walk one day when they come across a strange pipe in the ground. Suddenly a fairy comes popping out of it, and she seems distressed. Not long afterwards Bowser also shows up and snatches the very away, which he has apparently been doing with all the fairies! It was then up to our foursome to go after him and free these creatures from his tyranny. We began our adventure in “World 1” where we completed all 8 levels, the action unfolded as such: “1-1: Super Bell Hill” (earned 52540 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “1-2: Koopa Troopa Cave” (earned 56360 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “1-A: Chargin’ Chuck Blockade” (earned 16250 points, and collected 1/1 star), “1-3: Mount Beanpole” (earned 75140 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “1-4: Plessie’s Plunging Falls” (earned 69050 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “1-5: Switch Scramble Circus” (earned 55020 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars), “1-Toad: Captain Toad Goes Forth” (earned 30400 points, and collected 5/5 stars) & “1-Castle: Bowser’s Highway Showdown” (earned 58930 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars). Moving on to “World 2” afterwards we’ve only been able to get at one level there so far, which was “2-1: Conkdor Canyon” (earned 29710 points, found the stamp, and collected 3/3 stars). This game is very consistent with the Super Mario Bros. U game, only instead of being a side scroller it has more depth to it, hence the 3D in the title. Pretty cool!
“NNGRR” - The last few months or so, James and I have been picking away at a cartoon I never watched when it aired but had always wanted to . . . Mega Man!! This is a cartoon series that was based on the Nintendo video game franchise of the same name and aired from 1994-1995. The series lasted 27 episodes and this 4 disc collection contains them all! The series kicks off with a bit of back story, touching on how Dr. Light and Dr. Wily used to be colleagues, expert scientists in the field of robotics. When a prototype they are working on doesn’t quite perform to their expectations, Dr. Light plans on scrapping it and starting over. However, Dr. Wily, who has a more nefarious agenda in mind, steals the prototype and escapes from the lab, later reworking the prototype in to becoming his first robot henchman . . . Proto Man!! To counteract this threat Dr. Light builds his own bots, a boy bot named Rock and a girl bot named Roll. Dr. Light also has a few other robot prototypes in his lab, and in a raid by Dr. Wily and Proto Man, all five of Dr. Light’s creations are taken captive by this fiend! Rock tricks Dr. Wily and ultimately escapes with Roll in tow, but the three other prototypes are lost for good and reprogrammed by Dr. Wily. They turn in to his next three henchman, now known as Guts Man, Cut Man, and Ice Man! Upon returning to Dr. Light, Rock is redubbed Mega Man. His task is to defend their city, and ultimately the world, from the evil machinations of Dr. Wily and his robot crew! Along the way Roll offers her assistance as does Rush, Mega Man’s robot canine companion! And Mega needs all the help he can get, as Dr. Wily’s penchant for producing evil bots soon goes in to overdrive. Joining the roster of ne’er do wells is Snake Man, Elec Man, Pharaoh Man, Bomb Man, Wood Man, Gemini Man, Spark Man, Dust Man, Air Man, Gyro Man, Hard Man, Fire Man, Top Man, Gravity Man, Star Man, Shadow Man, Ring Man, Drill Man and Magnet Man. I may even be missing a couple! Wily’s schemes vary and include him trying to reprogram Mega Man in order to take control of the Blue Bomber himself, shrinking the world’s cities and demanding ransom, terrorizing the population with a freeze ray, using a meteor to super power his robots, even infiltrating Dr. Light’s school to learn how to properly build an anti-gravity device! Throughout these schemes though Mega Man is on the case, and he repels Dr. Wily at every turn. Unfortunately the series ends with no closure of any kind, as apparently it was supposed to be renewed for a third season but wasn’t, but it’s an amazing ride nonetheless! This could be one of my top ten cartoons of all time, to be honest. So good!
During the week that followed my last blog post I watched a movie I’d found in the bargain bin at Sobey’s . . . A Night at the Roxbury!! This film is based on the old recurring SNL skit that featured Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan bobbing their heads to dance music, and hitting on chicks in the most awkward of manners. In this film they star as Steve and Doug Butabi, brothers who are obsessed with going out clubbing and trying to score . . . although they have never had any luck in doing so! They have a few major problems in their life. First of all their dad Kamehl, owner of a fake flower shop, is always busting their chops about work and responsibility, with Doug seeming to take this offense the hardest. Also, they are mostly looked upon as losers and despite all their trying, can never get in to the club they really want to, called The Roxbury. Finally, a girl named Emily, who is the daughter of the guy who owns the lighting shop next to Kamehl’s flower shop, is in love with Steve and both sets of parents are pushing for them to get married. However, Steve and Doug have other plans, as Doug has a master scheme to open up their own night club and in the process shrug off loser-dom, becoming the virtual epitome of what they hold so dear! There’s only one problem, they have no cash and they have never even been inside of the hottest clubs in town, the aforementioned Roxbury. However, one night fortune favours them when Hollywood actor Richard Grieco slams in to their delivery van from behind, in his less than street legal Ferrari. Not wanting any legal trouble Grieco agrees to get the Butabis in to the Roxbury, once inside they are introduced to the owner, an eccentric millionaire named Benny Zadir. During their conversation Doug mentions some of his ideas to Benny, who likes what he hears, so they all then leave for a private party on Zadir’s estate! Tagging along are Vivica and Cambi, a couple of gold diggers who saw Steve and Doug meeting with Zadir and figured they were rich businessmen! They show the Butabis the ways of love, much to their eventual chagrin. However, in the days after this most glorious of nights, the Butabis are cock blocked in seeing Zadir by his weasel limo driver, Dooey. And with their dad cracking down on their work life, plus Emily working overtime on courting Steve, the brothers soon fall in to despair. After a big blowout Doug moves out to the pool house and the two stop talking. In the weeks that ensue Steve finally hooks up with Emily, soon enough they are planning go get married. As for Doug, he stays out late every night, boozing it up, and becomes a shut in during the day. With the wedding day having finally arrived and Steve holding some major doubts, will Doug shake off his anger and help bail his brother out, or is this just the beginning of even darker times ahead for the Butabi brothers? I don’t think I’d ever seen this movie in full all in one sitting, just bits and pieces at a time, so it was finally nice to sit down and watch it from start to finish! It’s pretty funny, a stupid kind of funny of course, which Will Ferrell thrives at. Anything he touches turns to gold!! I have such fond memories of these characters and the SNL cast from that time period, that this is just a pleasing watch all around.
The week after, James and I finished watching a DVD volume of the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, called Showdown in Dimension X!! This volume encompasses the last half of season two, spread out over 13 episodes. The action starts with a two part episode that features the fearsome foursome, with the help of April and Casey Jones of course, take down a Kraang scheme to unleash giant slugs from Dimension X loose on New York City! After that debacle the tone of the series then shifts towards the subject of Karai and how she is actually Splinter’s daughter, not Shredder’s. Leonardo informs Karai of this fact during one of their usual scuffles and although it doesn’t appear to bother her at first, eventually it weighs heavy and she yearns to know the truth. While Karai comes to terms with her lineage there is no shortage of action though. The turtles have to deal with a new favourite role playing game that comes to life, Baxter Stockman becoming even more of a nuisance after Shredder mutates him in to a fly, the return of the Newtralizer, the shenanigans of a new mutant named Pizza Face, a formidable new henchman of Shredder’s called Tiger Claw, an ancient China Town ghost, among other issues, the least of which includes some visits to the Kraang home world of Dimension X! As the season comes to a close Shredder lays a trap for the turtles, but it fails and Karai ends up getting mutated instead, in to a crazy snake/serpent type of creature. Swearing vengeance on not only the turtles but his nemesis, Splinter, Shredder once again allies with the Kraang in a bid to take over the world, destroy his arch enemies, and get the Kraang’s aid in mutating Karai back to normal in the process. As things wrap up the Kraang invasion of New York City has begun and the turtles are spread way too thin. In over their heads, with Splinter missing and injuries plaguing the group, they head out of the city in order to regroup and come up with a plan of action. This was a pretty cool collection of episodes, featuring the introduction of some cool new characters not to mention the mutations of some previously existing ones! And the danger seems pretty real in these episodes too, the series takes on a darker tone near the end of the season, with the Kraang invasion and all. And I love how they ended the season with the turtles heading out of town to regroup, which mirrors the sequence in the original live action movie all those years ago, very cool! Can’t wait for season three . . .
Later that same week I watched the Ghost Rider movie, which I had already reviewed quite a while back in one of my previous blogs. Because of that I’m not going to post any pictures from this movie, as I have enough images on my profile to begin with, and I don’t want to begin doubling up! Anyways, the movie starts off with the tale of an ancient myth, the story . . . of the Ghost Rider! Every generation has one, an individual who serves as the devil’s bounty hunter, cashing in on evil contracts. However, when one day the devil was to gain possession of a contract that would gift him 1000 evil souls, the Rider stood his ground and refused, escaping Mephistopheles (the devil) and hiding the contract where he hoped it would never be found. Fast forward quite a bit and the story moves along to feature a teenager named Johnny Blaze. Johnny is a motorcycle stunt driver and he makes his living at a carnival, riding in a show alongside his dad, Barton. When Johnny finds out that Barton is dying of cancer he is approached by Mephistopheles, all he has to do is sign a contract that guarantees his dad’s cancer will go away . . . in exchange for his very soul! The deal is done and Barton is cured, but the cruel joke the devil plays is that Barton dies the next day anyways, during a routine stunt gone wrong at the carnival. Johnny is furious and ignores the fact that he is supposed to skip town with his girlfriend Roxanne, he just keeps riding his motorcycle until he eventually runs in to Mephistopheles. This is when the devil passes along the power of the Ghost Rider to Johnny and promises he’ll one day be knocking on Johnny’s door, as he’ll have some tasks in store. We then fast forward once more, to current times, when Johnny is an adult man and is the hottest daredevil in the world! However, he is not without his share of demons, naturally. He keeps pushing the limits during his performances, as he seemingly can’t be hurt no matter how bad he crashes. When one day Roxanne shows up at one of his events (she is now a news reporter), the constant grief that surrounds Johnny is temporarily lifted and he wrangles a date out of her! However, it just so happens that the devil has other plans in mind for Mr. Blaze that night. He is finally coming for Johnny, for he requires the services of the Ghost Rider! Mephistopheles has a predicament. His own son, a fiend known as Blackheart, has come to Earth to find the lost contract. Helping him out are three fallen angels named Wallow, Gressil and Abigor. Not wanting Blackheart to have the power of the lost contract, Mephistopheles tasks Johnny Blaze with stopping this fearsome foursome. Johnny’s first transformation in to the Ghost Rider is a rough one, but he fights these beings off, in the morning waking up in a cemetery being tended to by an older gentlemen named the Caretaker. This man seems to be aware of and sympathizes with Johnny’s plight (and his voice sounds all too similar to the one that narrated the action at the beginning of the film, what!?!). Eventually desperation sets in for Blackheart and he takes Roxanne captive, forcing a showdown between him and the Ghost Rider. Heading in to battle with Johnny is the Caretaker, who reveals himself as Carter Slade, the Texas Ranger that originally hid the contract on Mephistopheles all those years ago! Does Johnny have what it takes to defeat these powerful, more numerous foes, or will he end up losing Roxanne a second time? I really like this movie, I found the story a good one and the effects were awesome . . . the Ghost Rider looks so bloody cool! And I like Nicholas Cage, people either seem to love him or hate him, so that made the movie even better for me. A delightful re-watch all these years later!!
A couple days later I followed Ghost Rider up with the second installment that I had not yet seen, called Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance! This story begins somewhere in Eastern Europe, where a man named Moreau arrives at a monastery and discusses with one of the monks their job of protecting a young boy named Danny. The monastery soon falls to invaders though, Danny and his mother Nadya escape at the last second and are aided by Moreau, although Nadya does not trust him and spurns said aid. With the pursuit of Danny and Nadya temporarily disabled, Moreau decides their protection is a job that can only be handled by . . . the Ghost Rider! It’s been quite a few years since the events of the last film and Johnny Blaze is in Eastern Europe, attempting to lay low, literally trying to hide from his demons. Somehow Moreau knows he’s in the area, and so he searches Johnny out. Johnny is quick to deny Moreau help in protecting this mother/son duo, but after Moreau offers to have his monastery expunge the demon inside of Johnny Blaze in return for this favour, Johnny readily agrees. After some coaxing Johnny is able to make the Ghost Rider appear, he then sets off to find Danny. It’s perfect timing as Danny and his mother just got chased down by the same thugs who attacked the monastery! This first encounter doesn’t go well though, with the Ghost Rider being bombasted with grenades while the thugs take off with Danny in their possession. The next morning, after sneaking out of the hospital, Johnny confronts Nadya and convinces her to let him help track Danny down and get him back safely. While out on their search Nadya let’s Johnny know the truth. In exchange for saving her life, Nadya let the devil impregnate her with what would eventually turn out to be her son, currently the subject of so much attention. When Roarke (aka the devil or Mephistopheles) uses a human form on Earth it soon breaks down as he is too powerful for it. However, his plan is to perform a ritual that will transfer his essence over to Danny’s young, much more than human body, which will give Roarke way too much power for humanity’s own good! Soon back to the task at hand the Ghost Rider attacks Roarke’s hideout and a massive battle ensues. Ultimately Danny is returned to Nadya safely, but when they return to Moreau’s monastery they are in for a rude awakening. After Moreau cleanses Johnny Blaze of the Ghost Rider’s spirit, the monks announce they are going to execute Danny as he is too large a hazard to the world! Before the monks can execute their plan though, a twisted being named Blackout, a creation of Roarke’s, intervenes and recaptures Danny. It is then up to Moreau, Nadya, and a Ghost Rider-less Johnny Blaze to put a plan together and stop Roarke’s master plan from coming to fruition. But with no otherworldly powers at their disposal, does this threesome have a hope in hell, or will they end up as nothing but fodder for the ultimate evil? This was a great follow up to the original Ghost Rider movie, building on the character and the legend. The story was another solid one, and the effects were ramped up a notch, I love it when everything is lit ablaze!! The addition of Idris Elba was a big plus too. Unfortunately I don’t think there is much more Ghost Rider on the horizon for us though . . .
Around the same time I finished reading the third book in The Expanse series, called Abaddon’s Gate. At the end of the last story whatever the protomolecule had been constructing down on the surface of Venus had finally reached completion and shot up from said planet, off in to outer space! It eventually came to rest in orbit around Uranus, where it presented itself as a manner of ring. In the short time it’s been there the various factions of civilization have sent out military ships to secure the area, and scientific ships to study this bizarre construct, which they eventually determine is some sort of gateway . . . to who knows where! With the forces of both Earth and the Martians on sight, the OPA decides they have to represent as well, if they are to legitimately be taken seriously as their own governmental entity. One party that wants to go nowhere near the ring though, is Jim Holden and his crew of the Rocinante! However, they are left with no choice when a cease and desist order comes in from the Martian government, who want to reclaim their “stolen” ship. The foursome are miraculously saved at the last second though, by a famous documentary team who wish to go out to the ring and record the events for posterity. This team just so happens to be able to talk down the Martians from their reclamation of the Rocinante, and for this Holden agrees to fly them out there. Not long after all parties involved arrive and are in place in the vicinity of the ring though, all hell breaks loose! Without warning one of Earth’s large vessels explodes, afterwards a recorded message from Jim Holden is broadcast, who claims ownership of the disaster, stating the ring is his and nobody else’s. However, Holden and his crew had nothing to do with this disaster. But knowing a reprisal is undoubtedly on the way they are left with only one choice, to pass through the ring. Not wanting to let their quarry slip away the Earthers, Martians and OPA all send a ship of their own through, in pursuit of the offenders. However, although the ring is not sentient it is programmed to react to threats, and the sudden arrival of these ships are indeed deemed some degree of threat. The ships are contained within what is deemed a slow zone and their pursuit of the Rocinante is in effect negated. However, while trapped inside the slow zone many events begin to unravel. Holden acts on his feelings surrounding the visions he is getting of Miller, visiting the station within the ring and getting a glimpse of what it’s all about. The Earth, Martian and OPA forces all pool their personnel and resources aboard the OPA’s massive ship, the Behemoth, where a justified mutiny will turn the course of action there in an all too violent manner. A number of poets, celebrities, religious figureheads, etc., all who were out at the ring in an attempt to help make sense of the phenomenon are also involved in the events, and help shape what is to come. And finally, the true identity of the attacker who framed Holden for the bombing of Earth’s ship is needled out and dealt with. But in the end, after so many lost lives and too much wanton violence, are they any closer to understanding just what this protomolecule is and what it’s trying to accomplish? This was yet another excellent entry in this amazing series, I like how each book has continued on with a consistent overall ark to the story, but at the same time have all been so different from each other. There were quite a few cool new characters introduced in this story, along with the demise of some special ones, this story sure is a gritty one. Now for the long wait until the fourth book is finally released!!
As this past weekend came to a close we watched a movie James was super pumped about, which I was able to pick up at HMV recently for cheap . . . Gremlins 2: The New Batch!! We decided to watch the original Gremlins film with him just a short while ago, during this blog period (I didn’t review it as I’d already reviewed it on this blog, within the last couple years or so), and he absolutely loved it! I hadn’t seen this second entry since it aired on cable when I was a kid, so I was excited to watch it again all this time later as well. This story picks up not long after the events of the first film, and it begins with a trip to China Town in New York City. A wealthy developer named Daniel Clamp is approaching Mr. Wing (Gizmo’s owner, who Mr. Peltzer “obtained” Gizmo from not all that long ago, to disastrous results) with yet another offer to buy his shop. For Mr. Wing owns the last store in China Town holding out from selling, preventing Clamp from constructing an all new, state of the art facility that would revamp China Town and bring it in to the modern age! Wing refuses once more, but when Clamp’s men notice Wing has a bad cough they figure the end is near anyways, and so they are not dismayed about having to wait him out. Soon enough Wing dies and Gizmo is orphaned. He is left with no time to mourn though, as Wing’s shop is almost immediately demolished and Gizmo barely escapes with his life. Taking shelter in a nearby alley Gizmo thinks he is safe, until some weirdo captures him and takes him away! The scene then shifts to Billy Peltzer and Kate (soon to be Peltzer) Beringer, who are now living in New York City and working for . . . that’s right, Daniel Clamp! Billy is an upcoming architect while Kate is a tour guide, offering tourists insights in to the workings of New York City’s most modernized skyscraper. Little does Billy know that in that very building, in a genetics lab where all sorts of animal experimentation is going on, little Gizmo has found a new home . . . a new home he wants no part of. When a delivery man who has recently been to said lab makes a stop in Billy’s office, Billy hears him whistling an all too familiar tune! Billy questions the man on this and then immediately heads down to the lab, under the guise of being a copier repair man. Once inside the lab he wastes no time in finding Gizmo and stealing him away. However, after tucking Gizmo away in one of his desk drawers afterwards, Billy is forced to abandon him there for the night when pressured in to going out for dinner with one of his higher ups. At the last second Billy tasks Kate with picking Gizmo up and taking him home with her, but before that can happen all hell manages to break loose! A faulty water fountain sprays Gizmo with an errant stream and from that point onwards, with the new Mogwai being more on the rambunctious side, it’s no holds barred as these creatures have the run of a skyscraper that in itself could serve as a small city! It’s not long before this new batch have hatched from their cocoons and are terrorizing the Clamp building’s inhabitants, and what’s more they waste no time in figuring out there are many sources of water in the building with which they can use to increase their numbers. The Gremlins also get in to the aforementioned genetics lab and drink a lot of different potions, which mutates a small number of them, lending them additional powers. At first nobody believed Billy about these Gremlins, but soon enough Daniel Clamp himself is personally asking Billy to help save the day. Will Billy and Kate’s previous experiences with these pint sized monsters be enough to pull them through, or are they finally in over their heads? This was a fantastic follow up to the original movie. It shifted the scene, the season, and the manner of the action greatly, but behind it all was the same lighthearted horror/comedy that made Gremlins such a wonderful film in the first place. Both Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates are back to reprise their roles as Billy and Kate, but there were also some great new additions such as Christopher Lee, not to mention cameos by Hulk Hogan, Bubba Smith, Dick Butkus, and Leonard Maltin! I’m seriously hoping they make a Gremlins 3 at this point, as I’ve heard rumours that it may be in the works . . .