Thursday, 25 June 2015

How Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Got Away With It

In a modern world, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon of the 80s would have been considered a putrid pile of crap manufactured to sell toys to kids and had nothing to do with the source material. The key phrase here is source material, as in, anything less would be considered an embarrassment. Of course, that's not the case for Ninja Turtles. The 80's cartoon has become the codifying piece of the franchise; when people think Ninja Turtles, they think of this show. Somehow, they got away with turning a gritty black-and-white comic into...whatever THAT was. But if anyone else tries to pull this shit, they get rightfully slammed.

Be it Sonic Underground or Loonatics Unleashed (which was especially infamous since they retooled the show in season two), if it doesn't follow the source material, it's not worth a damn. Yet, The Spectacular Spider-Man had almost nothing to do with the comic of the same name and it was the best thing to happen to web-head since the 90's series. When people talk about The Office, you bet your ass they're talking about the American version. And, for a real mic dropper, the definitive example, Buffy the Vampire Slayer had zilch to do with the movie, and no one gives a shit.

In fact a lot of the more popular adaptions, even if they don't follow the source material, are still considered pretty good, if not better. That's because they're great shows on their own terms. One needs only to compare The Spectacular Spider-Man to Ultimate Spider-Man to see why. It's doesn't matter how faithful you are, if the show sucks, the show sucks. Back to Ninja Turtles, only the 4Kids adaption was faithful to the original comic (at least for five seasons...). Yet, it's considered as good as the 80's cartoon, because it was good show in its own right (again, for five seasons...).

Contrast this, with The Next Mutation and the recent live-action movie. In the modern world, we consider them putrid piles of crap that had nothing to do with the source material, because that's the goddamn truth. When all is said and done, it doesn't matter whether or not you stick to the source material. What matters is if the adaption, on it's own terms, is good. That's why remakes are so notorious. If it doesn't follow the original story, it's considered inferior. But even if they do follow the original faithfully, they might get complaints of being too faithful, they'll be considered a cardboard cutouts that offer nothing new.

So, how did Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles get away with it? Long answer: they took the original concept and did it in an entirely new style that struck a cord, not just with kids, but with those who read the actual comics. Even if they don't consider it better than source material, they can see why other people love it.

Short answer: It was awesome. Period.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The Real Victims of Game Publishing

Konami, or as I like to call it, the Yu-Gi-Oh! company, because that's all they're good for nowadays. It's been well documented that the recent years of Konami, as a video game publisher, sucked. As such, I'd like to talk about the real victims of publisher stupidity: The IPs.

I was very intrigued by Darkstalkers Resurrection, because I finally learned about the game where Morrigan and Felica came from. It's like Fire Emblem & Super Smash Bros. Melee all over again: the character's popularity in Capcom's VS series led to their parent series getting more exposure. With that came a new release, or rather, a re-release that might lead to the revival. ...Except Capcom deemed the release a failure, not because of the positive critical reception, but because it didn't make enough money.

You see, as long as the publisher isn't making any money, don't expect any long-dormant series to get the time of day, except for when to sell toys and t-shirts. Right now, I got Crash on the brain. I wanna play a new game, but there hasn't been one since Mind over Mutant tanked. Activision should have already made a new game, but they didn't. They were too busy with Call of Duty (and Skylanders) to give a crap about any of it's other franchises. Why? Because COD makes money and these other games can piss right off.

Screw this hippie-bullshit, let's just get to the point. If a fan-favorite series isn't making millions of dollars for the publisher, it isn't worth shit to them. That's why we won't get a new Crash Bandicoot game, its why we won't get a new Bloody Roar, and its why we won't get a classic-styled Castlevania game anymore. Nowadays, the only hope for fans of these series lie in the independent development scene and crowd-sourcing.

Mighty No. 9 is already getting hype and is going to make lots of money for Comcept; money that would have been Capcom's if they didn't screw Mega Man Legends 3. Congrats Konami, you've finally made a GOOD 3D Castlevania game at the cost of, depending on who you ask, removing everything that made the series distinct. Too bad Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is going to steal your thunder. And Rare, I would talk about Yooka-Laylee but it won't change that fact that you've REALLY let yourself go.

When it comes to the future of video games, a future where developers can make the games they want and gamers can get the games they want, it's go indie or go home. ...Seriously Konami, go home. You're sick., REALLY, REALLY, sick.

Aile x Opal Update

So, Aile x Opal isn't going so well. The main idea was to remake Reycralibur but with these two as protagonists. I tried to hack out a pilot episode, but I scrapped it in the end because that's not how you make a machinima. Right now, I've got nothing for Aile x Opal, nothing but a few scrapped scenes. If I want to do this, I'm gonna need to do some daydreaming.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Fave Five: Good Super Mario Games (and by good, I mean shit)

When it comes to the Super Mario series, some games are good, MANY are great. It's not blind hype or fanboy bullshit, Super Mario is THAT good, even when compared to more innovative games (like the re-emerging Rayman franchise). As such, what should be considered a shitty game in any other franchise, is just a slight blemish in this series; not "great games", "good games". Spin-offs are another story but, right now, let me tell you about the core series, because even Mario has had some bad days.

1 & 2) New Super Mario Bros. 2 & New Super Mario Bros. U
There's nothing wrong with doing the same thing over and over again, but these two games really push it. Between New two's coin collecting gimmick and New U's reliance on nostalgia and familiarity, they would have been better off as enhancements to their last-gen counterparts. Hell, they were even released in the same year, if that wasn't any indication to how lazy these games were.

3) Super Mario Land
If this game was to be remembered for anything, its spawning the far-better sequel, 6 Golden Coins, introducing Princess Daisy, and eventually spinning off the Wario series. Otherwise, this game, even by portable standards, would have been simply a time-waster. A very short time-waster.

4) Super Mario Bros. 2: The Lost Levels
Much like the last two entries in the New Super Mario Bros. series, this game was too similar to the original Super Mario Bros. Unlike those games, Mario 2 offers new items and more challenging gameplay. Nonetheless, it was replaced by the reskinned Doki Doki Panic, nowadays referred to as Super Mario Bros. USA.

5) Super Mario Sunshine
Remember, "good" game, not shitty game. But still, FLUDD. If there's any reason why some people didn't like this game, you bet your ass it was because of FLUDD. Hell, I still resent that overgrown Super Soaker-knock-off for almost messing up my game in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, then having the nerve to show its shit in the sequel. Nonetheless, it was a minor hinderance on, what was other wise, another good game.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Midnight (Club) Memories

So long, Machinination. It's nothing personal, it's that I like Most Wanted 2012 and you're wrong for hating on it JUST because it has a similar name. This type of unintelligent bullcrap is what I get for hanging around retarded gamer forms. Now, someone actual intelligence would have criticized the game for being too similar to Hot Pursuit 3, as well as Burnout. But what I can say? Gamers are stupid.

Now, If I'm not mistaken, weren't there other arcade racing games besides Need for Speed or Burnout? Yes, it's called Midnight Club and it is one of the greatest, if not THE greatest street racing game series of all time. How can it not? Rockstar made it! I still remember all the fun I've had in Midnight Club 3, more so than any other racing game I've played. In what other racing game can you race in an open world, drive cars AND motorcycles, use power-ups, and create your own tracks? ...Exactly, NONE!

Los Angeles was a nice next-gen installment, but it was also a poor mishmash of Midnight Club and the more story-based Rockstar franchises. Sucks to be me though, that was the last game to be released; the franchise has been dormant ever since. I doubt a new game will be revealed anytime soon, so now I'm stuck with Burnout clones, racing sims, and Mario Kart clones.

The racing genre is all but dead to me.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Fave Four(?): Crash Bandicoot Games

When it comes to Crash Bandicoot, I've never played the Naughty Dog games. Maybe if I had this would have been a proper Fave Five list. Instead, I enjoyed the spinoffs and always wondered why people were up in arms about the later games in the franchise. Now I've realized that I was lucky enough to play the games that didn't suck. Here are those games.

1) Crash Tag Team Racing
I don't like this guy, and the feelings mutual. But then we see this other jerk out in front of us, we decide to have temporary truce. I clash into him and our cars become one. While my new companion drives, I shoot the jerk out in front, turning his car into scrap metal. Me and my frenemy then go our separate ways..., and I shot in him in the back with a chicken. I've said it before, I'll say it again. When it comes to Clashing, Mario Kart ain't got shit on Crash Tag Team Racing. This frenemy mine-style gameplay is something I've never seen anywhere else in a kart racer and I wish other games would take notes.

However, in other games, I didn't have to spend half the game on a bunch of fetch quests as part of a story that I really don't care about. Normally, in a platformer, you're not supposed to care about the plot; keyword being platformer, this is a racing game! I guess Radical Entertainment forgot what game they're supposed to make. Yeah, did I forget to mention this was their first game?

2) Crash Nitro Kart (GBA)
Now this is more like it. I choose a car, I beat the other racers, I race the champions in the boss battle, and I WIN! This is what you call a racing game! Unfortunately, while Crash Nitro Kart on Game Boy Advance is more straightforward than it's successor, its not as innovative either. The graphics aren't very good and the music, while catchy, can also get repetitive thanks to it's endless looping. Ironically, the GBA game was considered the better version, which would be fine if it were the only version but, as multi-platform release, it's just embarrassing.

3) Crash of the Titans (NDS)
Say what you will about Crash of the Titans, but it's DS version, developed by Amaze Entertainment, is no slouch. By the way, Cortex has a niece, Wumpa Island has mutant creatures, and Aku Aku is a facehugger; shark-jumping bullshit indeed.

This the closest I've got to a console platformer on DS, and it was pretty wild; jacking mutants is the most fun I've had in an action game. I also really like the comedic tone, although it is very depressing how Crash Bandicoot has basically become a sitcom. No, seriously, there's even a laugh track. Unfortunately, the music from the Game Boy version, also developed by Amaze, isn't in this game, which just sucks. Not to mention, out of the twenty million mutants of the DS version, only a few of them are from the GBA version, which is just weird. Why can't they be in both versions? I wanna ride a ratcicle!

Once again, this was considered the superior version but I only wish the rest of the game had more variety and features; it could have been better. Then again, Crash of the Titans, as a whole, wasn't very good to begin with.

4) Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure
It's a 3D platformer gone 2D, and it works. Everything about this game, from it's story to it's gameplay, is what I'd expect from a Crash game! This was the first outing by Vicarious Visions, who also developed Nitro Kart on GBA, and it was their best. It really is Crash Bandicoot as a 2D platformer: bashing enemies, collecting wumpa fruit and power crystals, and getting blown up!

The only thing that sucks about this game is that, as a 2D platformer, it doesn't have the same oomph as the other games I've played (*cough*SonicAdvance*cough*). Crash is probably better off as a 3D game. Still, while it's not perfect, THA was the best Crash game I've ever played on a handheld.

This would have been a proper Fave Five list but, as I've said, I never played the Naughty Dog games and the rest of the games I did play were terrible. Give me a HD collection of the first three games and I'll be sure to fix that.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Greatest Sonic Boom Rant EVER!!!

Why? Because I did it!

Right now, the only thing the Sonic franchise has going for it is Sonic Boom on Cartoon Network. It's basically Crash Bandicoot with Sonic characters; a comedy series that gets its giggles from awkward conversations, the frenemy relationship between Sonic and Dr. Eggman, and from taking refuge in general silliness. Kids love it and, apparently, the older fanbase seems to like it too. However, that's mostly because, since Lost World, recent outings in the franchise have once again declined in reception.

Sonic Boom is a "westernized" spin-off franchise, it's not a part of the main continuity of the games and it's not going to replace them. That's a sigh a relief because, as far as reception goes, Rise of Lyric and Shattered Crystal may very well be the worst thing to happen to Sonic since Sonic '06 and the comic has also received a fair bit of criticism. One might think SEGA would abandon the series right here and stick to the TV show. After all, what was the point of Sonic Boom in the first place? A "westernized" branch of Sonic? So your saying that Sonic games need to be more "western-based"? 

Anyway, that won't be the case. Fire and Ice, a third game, will be released this holiday season on 3DS and it sounds like Sanzaru Games has learned from their mistakes. ...Sounds like it. More importantly, whereas the last two games had jack-shit to do with the TV show, Fire and Ice will more closer in tone. That's all I really care about. The TV show isn't perfect, but it's a nice watch and I don't see the rest of this "westernized" series getting any bigger than that.

...Don't ask me if it's doing better than Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Mend, Defend and...DO YOUR HOMEWORK?
OK, fanboy bullshit! Totally unprofessional rant. If I sound like an idiot, I apologize, but I got some beef with ReBoot: The Guardian Code that I need to get off my chest.

First of all, can anyone bring up a memorable CGI/live-action series? I've got Zixx but, unlike Power Rangers, it's not really worth binge-watching. Thanks in no small part to crappy Hollywood movies and CNReal, hybrid series have left a bad taste in everyone's mouths. Instead of making a series/movie look good, it's mainly seen as a cheap gimmick or, in the case of Cartoon Network, an excuse to produce anything but cartoons. For fans of the old series, as well as those who enjoy the works of Nerd Corps, a modern day Mainframe Entertainment, it's kind of a bummer that TGC won't be all digital.

Secondly, what's up with the stock premise? "Four teens discover that they're next-gen Guardians with a mission to save the world, by defending it in cyberspace. When [they] are not trying to stop viruses from overloading a nuclear power station, our heroes are being typical teens; trying to avoid getting suspended for skipping class when they're really on a cyber mission to save the world!"

Two words: Code. Lyoko. This shit has already been done by a 2D/CGI series and, if its fanbase is anything, the Guardian Code is going to be seen as a cheap knock-off. Granted, you can't expect something less stupid from a KIDS SHOW, but ReBoot was one of the few kids shows that can also appeal to an older audience. That's what made it so memorable, not watered-down teenage drama. It sickens me that kids shows these days are so cheep, so low quality, and so unoriginal. Is it really that taboo to write a show for kids that adults can enjoy too?

I should let you know that the original series found it's conclusion in the Zero2Heroes webcomic, ReBoot:Arrival/Paradigms Lost/Code of Honor/whatever it was called. Apparently people thought TGC would be a continuation of that series. After what I've learned, you should be glad it isn't.

Guess we'll just have to see it on-screen, whenever and wherever it airs, and hope like hell that its better than it sounds.