June 2024 – Page 3 – DReager1.com (2024)

Posted on June 8, 2024 by dreager1


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It’s time to follow up on the Naruto list by ranking all of the Naruto Shippuden openings. Are you ready for this! There are more than double the openings this time so that’s definitely a lot of songs. Well lets dive right in and see how they all stack up!
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20. Opening 11 has some of the most annoying first lyrics in an opening. It’s the kind of opening that can be a little hard to listen too and that throws it really far down right off the jump. I always want the song to be fun to listen to or at least something that I wouldn’t want to shut off right away. It’s just a bit too loud without any real rhythm and the images aren’t the most exciting either.
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19. Opening 18 is a little too quiet for me. I get the emotional vibes its going for but yeah this was not going to go over very well. If you want to go for an emotional tune then it still needs to be fast paced or loud. This is true for the best somber themes as well. This intro is more likely to put you to sleep than to actually get you pumped which is not a good thing.
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18. Opening 10 is definitely on the quiet side. It’s going for a fairly calm beat and the animation is rather trippy. So what this means is it’s easily one of the weakest openings. I couldn’t really get behind it and can’t picture myself listening to it at my leisure. Feels like they were trying something unique with this one so I give them props here but it still gets the thumbs down.
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17. Opening 20 is the final opening so it makes sense that it’s going for more of an emotional feel but it could definitely use some more energy. Ultimately it’s not going to stick in your head as much as some of the other openings. It’s not bad by any means but yeah it’s going in the lower half.
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16. Opening 2, it’s a bit on the chaotic side at first before slowing down a bit. It’s okay but I didn’t find it to be very catchy. The visuals have a lot more foreshadowing than most of the other openings and it’s always hype to see Sasuke getting ready to show up but yeah this one wasn’t going to be one of the all time greats.
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15. Opening 1 is definitely one of the more iconic Shippuden openings. It’s really loud and everything and I like the beat but I feel like the lyrics let it down near the end. It’s going for a rap type style which only works sometimes and I don’t think the singer was quite ready for this one. Definitely works as a return to the world of Naruto visually but it won’t end up being one of the all time greats or anything like that.
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14. Opening 17 is going for a happier vibe which is nice. Naruto finally gets to celebrate and enjoy some peace here. Now there is action and all but for the most part this is a happier title although unfortunately the song isn’t quite able to capitalize on this. It doesn’t flow all that well and the opening ends up being on the lower side as a result.
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13. Opening 12 is going for those somber vibes that Naruto is known for. It’s an opening that works pretty well. The images may not be the most inspired but the fights do look pretty smooth like the cut of the 4th Hokage against the old Raikage. That was pretty solid and the music isn’t bad.
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12. Opening 5 is definitely going for a somber vibe and you will notice this for quite a lot of the Shippuden openings. I suppose a lot of sad things keep on happening here. It may not be quite as rock solid as the third opening but I would still give it some decent props here. I’d like it to speed up a little more by the end though. Even decent amounts of Sasuke screentime don’t allow this one to rise up the ranks.
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11. Opening 13 has some of those somber vibes of course. I feel like this is another opening that I’ve heard a lot of times back in the day. It’s not one of the highest ones but it’s reasonable. It just doesn’t really stand out and you sort of start to forget it right away.
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10. Opening 19 This one has some really fun visuals the whole time. One of the most epic openings showing that things are really getting dicey for Naruto. It’s not one of the all time catchy tunes but it is fast paced and looks really good. So I’d give it the nod over some of the other openings and it ends up closer to the middle.
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9. Opening 7 is another fairly sad one. There’s not as much going on in the visuals for the mot part so it isn’t as chaotic as you’d expect from this arc. Towards the end we get some fun fights though including matchups that would have been a lot of fun in the show… The music doesn’t rise up as much as it could have which keeps it from being higher though.
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8. Opening 4 is going for a fairly happy vibe. Has that slice of life feel to it. It’s not bad, I’d say it feels about average in a sense. The music is reasonably catchy and we have some solid animation here. I liked the various fights going on and the singer does a good enough job here. It is one of the stronger openings from the set.
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7. Opening 8 definitely has a lot of brooding going on. It’s one of those fairly trippy openings but the symbology is good. The song is also reasonably solid so this one ends up doing well for itself.
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6. Opening 6 has some fun English at the beginning which is cool. It’s also basically a Sasuke opening which is extra neat. It probably has the best visuals out of all the openings. The song also gets pretty fast and I would definitely say that it is one of the better openings. Definitely not one that you can afford to sleep on. With just a bit more pop it could have even landed in the top 5.
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5. Opening 15 kicks off pretty strong right out of the gate with the animation and song. It’s one of the best looking intros and the animation style seems a bit different for the opening parallels. Definitely a very strong opening as we approach the end of the show.
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4. Opening 16 has a very iconic intro that I see a whole lot in gifs. The song is pretty catchy too and they went all out with the animation. So this one definitely earns its spot as one of the stronger intros. The road from opening 14-16 is one of the best stretches in the show. Just a lot of high quality visuals and songs all in a row.
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3. Opening 14 is one that I definitely don’t recognize much when I watch it. It’s a very different kind of intro to be sure with a lighter pitched singer. It doesn’t feel like Naruto but in that way it really works as a solid change of pace which I can appreciate. It’s catchy and I could see myself listening to it a lot.
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2. Opening 9 is definitely one of those really strong openings. Great animation right from the jump, a fast song and Sasuke’s around? Yes definitely a pretty big one and the kind of opening that would have you intrigued if you hadn’t seen the show before. It also reminds you just how huge the cast is.
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1. Opening 3 is probably the opening that I’ve heard the most since Pandora spams this one on a daily basis. Still, it’s a solid pick because this is definitely the best opening. Sure, you could say that it’s because I’m used to it but the emotional factor actually works rather well here. It’s also still got its epic moments as well as the opening goes on. Pretty ironic that a filler arc would have the best opening but that’s how it goes sometimes. I definitely recommend checking it out.

Posted on June 6, 2024 by dreager1


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Believe it or not, I actually hadn’t heard of these games before. So playing them in a collection was definitely different although it was pretty fun. It’s definitely got that retro platformer vibe with a lot of fun level designs and colorful characters. I’d be down for a modern remake/reboot at some point.

The 3 games are all fairly similar but I’ll break down the differences. The core gameplay in each one is a 2D platformer. You have a jet pack which you can use to charge into enemies and through obstacles. You also have your close quarters weapon which does a lot of damage. Often times you will eventually have a vehicle or some other kind of assist tech that can really get you places. So definitely don’t lose that or you are probably going to be in a lot of trouble here. It can be tough to defend yourself in those suits so move with extreme caution.

One thing you will notice right away about the first game is that the difficulty level is incredibly high. You are going to absolutely have to pull out each and every stop in order to win without rewinding. I can tell you that I died so many hundreds of times that I absolutely needed it. This is a game where that feature is pretty much mandatory. Without it I would have been in a whole lot of trouble. You are able to save after each level so you can try doing that to potentially dodge the rewinding but the levels are rather long so I can tell you that this will still be a very difficult task.

The second game changes the boost feature so that it’s a separate button now. This makes things easier because you can just spam that without having to hold any of the controls down. Pretty handy stuff I would say. Unfortunately the trade off is that your blade doesn’t shoot any projectiles anymore so you have to get really close to the enemies. Your health bar is fairly low and your attack range is short so this is risky. When possible, use your boost instead. Of course the one drawback is when you use the boost attack, the recoil will often cause you to fall into another attack. So you will definitely have to watch out for that.

Sometimes you would get yourself into a loop where you get hit, rewind, get hit again, etc. Because once you’ve already boosted it’s hard to control yourself and everything is happening so fast. One thing about rewinding that you have to understand is when you are thrown back into the level, you have to immediately do whatever movement you were doing before. If you lose your momentum then you will be slow and will get hit by another attack. Even with the rewind this ended up being very difficult and not many games can say that.

Then we have the third game. I like how this one was the most colorful of the 3 and the characters were super expressive. It plays out more like the first one even down to the story. (Well all 3 don’t have much of a story beyond the Princess getting kidnapped but 3 is really just doing the same scenario as 1) Once again you have to charge up for your boost and your sword shoots energy blasts. I would say that it is the easiest of the 3 games though. I still had to rewind a whole lot mind you but the levels were considerably shorter.

The toughest part was definitely the final level. Defeating the giant mech suit I was up against was tough. I’m still not sure if I was really doing that the right way but it was fun. The third game experimented a bit more with the different fighting styles like riding on a kangaroo type dinosaur robot and then using an aerial one later. Platformers can always have a lot of fun like that but of course the main gameplay is always the best part.

The graphics are pretty solid like I said. The artstyle has really aged well for all 3 games. Meanwhile the soundtrack is also good although not quite as memorable. It’s not quite the next Sonic The Hedgehog in that regard. In terms of length, the games are all short but this brings all 3 of them so that helps a whole lot. You’re still going to wind up getting some good bang for your buck. There is also some replay value in going for the Platinum and I guarantee that won’t be super easy. You have to beat all 3 of the games roughly 3 times and you have to do the boss rushes. With enough rewinds you can pull it off but I was having trouble on easy mode. I can’t imagine what hard mode is like!

I’d definitely be up for a modern reboot for the series some day. The main guy has a lot of potential with the cool design. I also like how he’s not crazy about the princess like some other heroes and just runs off after saving the day. It works for a good contrast. There are naturally tons of stories you can tell within this universe and we just need some writers to step up and give it the ole go. There were definitely a whole lot of platformers back in the day and I look forward to seeing how the next one is.

Overall, Rocket Knight is a pretty fun game. Definitely one of the all time most difficult platformers that I’ve played. I don’t know how kids would have pulled this one off back in the day. It definitely would have taken a whole lot of dedication and effort to memorize all of the enemy patterns and keep it moving. So I give them a whole lot of props there. That being said, a remastered port should always have some quality of life updates and this game succeeded in a very big way. Rewind and Access Points are very huge. I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a fun time.

Overall 7/10

Posted on June 5, 2024 by dreager1


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It’s time for a piece of Naruto history that was always rather controversial. What if Naruto actually messed up on the biggest day of his life and didn’t make it to his own Hokage coronation ceremony? The thing that he has been striving for his whole life! Surely the reason he couldn’t make it must be absolutely massive like an alien invasion right?….hmmmm. Well it was definitely an intriguing decision that’s for sure. I get it, his fans wanted him to get a nice W here and seeing the biggest moment pulled up from under you is rough. So while I understand it..I’m not affected all that much because I found the reactions to this irl to be rather funny.

So the special starts with everyone getting ready to see Naruto. Hinata heads out for the dry cleaning and Naruto prepares to head out. He will be accompanied by Boruto, one of the biggest stars in the next gen world. That being said, they also need to bring Himawari around and that’s where things get tricky. She wants to bring an animal but Boruto knows she’s just going to make him carry it so he tries to stop her. Unfortunately Himawari doesn’t take this well and starts beating everyone up. It’s definitely emotional, I can see her being a lot of trouble as a kid.

Of course Naruto getting one shotted by her in the special is just for the gag. You see it used as a real feat here and there but lets be for real here. It shouldn’t have done anything to Naruto except maybe make him laugh. I didn’t buy any of this and it was a forced way to have him stay home. You know what I would have done if you needed him to miss the ceremony? Have Himawari say she cooked her first ever ramen so Boruto and Naruto stay home to try it out. That could have been wholesome and worked well.

But this is a special about the vibes and finally wrapping up the journey. I’d say it does a good job with this. It’s only several minutes long so it finishes quickly but you won’t forget the ceremony here. It’s always nice to see a main character reach the end game like Ash Ketchum. Of course I’d have been cool with seeing a big fight scene here but that was never likely. The animation looks good enough and so you’ll have a good time here.

Overall, This is a shorter review but the OVA itself is only like 10 minutes long so it’s not like there’s a whole lot to cover here. It’s a fun little short and that’s really all you need to say about it. If you watched the Naruto series then you owe it to yourself to check this out as a true finale of sorts. If you haven’t seen this yet then you haven’t really completed Naruto’s journey now have you? That’s what you really need to keep in mind here.

Overall 6/10

Posted on June 5, 2024 by dreager1


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I’ve always been a massive Godzilla fan ready to see who he will vanquish next. I tend to really prefer the stories of him defeating other Kaiju but the stories involving the government can work well enough. Unfortunately this one goes all in on him just stomping around and not doing much of anything since the story is a story within a story. For the first time I would say that this is a Godzilla comic that I …didn’t like.

The story starts off with a pirate about to be executed. He knows that he has to do something quickly and so he informs the guards that he knows of a conspiracy that even involves the queen of England. This is considered blasphemy because he is in England so they get ready to take him down but then a high ranking government agent shows up. He explains that they have to listen to this and the prisoner will regret it if the story is fake. So the pirate begins his yarn about a giant Kaiju known as Godzilla and other monsters that walk the lands. He has actually gotten to see them and lived to tell the tale. Pretty spooky eh?

Lots of problems here right off the bat of course. For starters, the entire comic follows this story format. It’s not even in the style of a true flashback where I can just forget about the current plot and enjoy the story. No, it’s constantly told through through narration so it’s never actually happening live. This is a framing device that I really don’t like. It means there really isn’t a story. The comic is about someone talking about stuff to a few people and that’s it. So nothing happens live, the fights aren’t fully there and it just ends up being rather boring.

At least whenever Godzilla is on screen I enjoyed seeing him roar and stuff but I really could not care less about the pirates stuff. There’s some in fights with different gangs and everything….but is that the best that they can do? It’s just so very dull and since you figure the pirate is an unreliable narrator at best, you don’t know how much you can even try to get engaged with all of this. I want to say I can see where the author was going with this but it was definitely not the right direction and ended up backfiring big time.

There is only one interesting part of this comic and it’s the very last page. It works pretty well as a twist and cliffhanger. This is a plot thread that I would actually like to dive into because there is a lot of potential here. It means no more flashbacks though. I want to see what is happening in real time like a classic comic. If that can be pulled off then we can work in a lot of espionage and political drama in a sequel. Seriously I don’t think that would be hard and the sky’s really the limit from there. That would be so incredibly hype! But of course lets not get our hopes up for now. Rather than banking on the sequel to be good after this, I would rather place my hopes in a brand new Godzilla comic with a new setting and everything.

In general pirates don’t add much to the Godzilla lore. In fact, I don’t see them as a selling point at all. It’s not like they can hope to fight the King of the Monsters, instead they would just get absolutely crushed. It’s not going to be all that entertaining to just see Godzilla step on them over and over and over again. That’s not a true cinematic experience. Instead what we need is to see Godzilla absolutely devastate every opponent in his path. That would be something to write home about without a doubt.

But yeah there’s not much more to say here. At the end of the day the story is just really boring and that’s the biggest taboo you can have for a comic. Even seeing the cameos from the other Kaiju couldn’t really save it. This barely feels like a Godzilla comic so much as it’s a pirate story that happens to feature him. I was definitely disappointed here and the artwork isn’t anything to write home about either. The art is okay so I’m not going to say that it’s awful or anything but it doesn’t touch a lot of the other stories. What I can say is that the comic ends very quickly at least even with all of the dialogue.

Overall, Godzilla: Here There Be Dragons really made history because it’s the first time that I’m giving a downright negative score to the Kaiju. In general I haven’t given many comics a negative score either so it’s super rare. This one just made every kind of mistake possible. Seriously it’s just not fun and that’s a massive L to take at any point here. I want to have a good time and for that I need a story and some fights. It has to actually be happening though and not someone telling me how hype the whole thing was. So yeah…..this was not the way to go.

Overall 4/10

Posted on June 5, 2024 by dreager1


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“Samus respond….responnnnnnndddddd!!” is something you will hear a whole lot of in this game. It’s the phrase that’s used when you die and I died quite a few times in the adventure. I thought it was kind of hilarious though. It’s the way the guy says the line, there’s something about it that’s just super funny. Hey, you gotta take the humor where you can and at the end of the day this is a pretty good game even if it is held back a bit by the control setup and Samus herself being wildly out of character.

The game starts with Samus responding to a distress signal in the middle of deep space. She enters a ship that has seemingly been abandoned to a bunch of giant monsters and then the Federation show up. The main problem is that the Federation are a bunch of jerks and they’re led by her old captain Adam. Adam explains that Samus will obey his orders now and so he quickly tells her not to use any of her stronger weapons which causes her to nearly die many times. Samus agrees because for some bizarre reason she still wants his approval. What she doesn’t realize is that this place is extremely dangerous.

Here is where you have to separate the story from the writing. The story itself is pretty good. You have a mystery here of who sent the SOS and what kind of crazy experiments were going on in this ship. You also learn a lot more about Samus’ past here and her time with the Federation. It’s all pretty interesting stuff so I appreciate this. Also there are a lot of cutscenes and full voice acting which I am a big fan of. These are all positives and it’s important to keep them in mind. Now where we have the problem is in Samus’ portrayal.

Samus is usually a hardened warrior. Someone who always gets the job done and is tough as nails. In this game she is instead rather nervous at times and less sure of herself. Why would she possibly agree to not use her weapons just because Adam says so? He literally has to tell her she can use the latest guns in boss fights where the enemies are unaffected. I can ignore some parts as gameplay mechanics but most of these instances are parts of the actual story. Samus panicking in front of Ridley has always been the most infamous scene in the game and I can see why. It makes no sense and takes away from her hype character.

So, I like to think this isn’t Samus at all. It’s a very weird portrayal but the game is good otherwise. The gameplay is on point with the platforming and shooting hybrid style. My only issue is they had to force in some motion controls so you have to point at the screen for various eye spy segments and also to shoot missiles. This usually results in the enemy landing a free hit while you locate your Wii sensor.

You do have a quick dodge/counter attack mechanic which is very handy though. I didn’t find out about it until super late in the game but there was no going back from there. It is easily the most efficient way to battle. Just keep tapping every control stick side on the d pad and when an enemy is close you will do a quick dodge. This amps up your blaster to the max and allows you to use the charge shot. You can keep on doing this over and over as you deal massive damage. Some attacks can be hard to time but for most you can just spam this with no real downside.

The game has its difficult moments to be sure though. Like I said, I died a whole lot. The enemies don’t play around here but it’s all rather balanced. There are a few annoying puzzles that will slow you down for a while but they’re not too numerous which I really appreciated. That would have made the whole thing overstay its welcome. In general the game is fairly short. You won’t take too long to complete it but they do manage to still have a lot of story in here.

The graphics have aged well, this looks like a really solid Wii game. It may not be as bright as something like Mario for example but even so this is a game that looks good. The soundtrack is also really good. You will probably recognize every track here. Other M was really inspiring, you will even recognize a Super Smash Bros moveset was really created from this game. It’s easy to see how this could have been the big reawakening of the Metroid franchise if it just got bigger and sold more units right away. I would have been a bit disappointed if it meant that this style of portrayal for Samus would be the new norm but on the whole she is still a good lead so I’d survive.

As a sidenote though, the game has a really terrible map. It’s hard to tell where a room starts or ends when you’re looking at the map. Additionally you can’t go to a specific floor in the map unless you pause, back space, back space again, and then select the floor. There are too many menus on what should be a very simple map screen. I don’t think this was a high priority for the team considering how smooth everything else is.

Overall, Metroid: Other M is a pretty good game. I do think it would have been an easy 8 without the motion controls though. I still think it’s crazy that the game goes out of its way to have you hold the remote sideways so you figure there won’t be any motion but for some reason locks the missiles to the motion side. Does that really make any sense? Well, you’re still going to have a really good time blasting the monsters and saving the world. Make sure you use the quick dodge, it immediately made the whole gameplay a lot faster and more intense. It was a real game changer to be honest. I liked how dynamic the gameplay was because Metroid is a series that you should equate to being intense. Even more than the other big Nintendo flagship titles. There’s so much you can always do with Sci-Fi and I look forward to getting more Metroid titles soon.

Overall 7/10

Posted on June 5, 2024 by dreager1


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It’s time for my next Kirby experience. Typically these games are always a lot of fun. Kirby makes for a good lead and the platforming genre is always on point. Well, this time it’s a bit different because this isn’t your classic Kirby title. It’s actually using motion controls and we already know how that tends to pan out. It’s unfortunate…but I’m afraid that Tilt n Tumble is really not going to be able to stick with the all time greats.

The basic plot is that King Dedede seems to be off to some mischief so Kirby decides to stop him. We have no proof of any wrongdoing mind you, but Kirby has seen this guy around a lot before and he’s usually getting into all kinds of trouble. So why wait for the trouble to arrive when you can do something about it now right? Unfortunately the game’s ending doesn’t give much closure either, we get a handshake but that’s about it. So you’re not playing the game for its story but I suppose in a way it’s rare that you would be doing that.

So lets talk about the gameplay. Basically it’s like Monkey Ball. You have to roll Kirby past a bunch of obstacles so that he can get to the goal. This should be a pretty easy proposition right? Just focus up and get the job done! Unfortunately this is where the motion controls come in. You have to tilt your controller in order to move him and so you can’t even use the pro controller. The motion controls are super sensitive and tilting backwards too quickly will have you use the jump command by mistake.

The game is definitely harder than other Kirby games as a result. I found myself using the rewind feature as needed in several instances. It’s a game you could definitely beat without the rewind, it’ll just take a bit longer for the random points where you roll off the map. That’s always my problem with motion controls, I don’t mind losing because I messed up. But to lose because the controls weren’t precise and I rolled too far off the map? Nahhhhh that’s not satisfying at all. That just feels bad in the end. Whether I win or lose it should all come down to my own gaming skills.

So the gameplay itself had some potential with a proper control setup. I really liked the classic Monkey Ball games for Gamecube after all. They were the right balance of being really difficult and satisfying without ever being cheap or annoying. These were games that always kept you wanting to play no matter how many times you died. It took a ton of skill and you had nobody to blame but yourself. This game is different because half of the times you die, you will feel like you should have lived and the game messed you over. Yeah that might be you being a little on the salted side. I can’t argue with that but we will never know for sure.

The soundtrack is nice and pleasant though. It has all of the fun Kirby themes that you will recognize because of how iconic they always are. Then you have the graphics which are pretty good. The colorful vibes work well with the title as they always do. So I have no issues there and the technical elements really help to balance out the gameplay really well. At the very least it helps to mask my issues with the motion controls a little bit since I have less time to dwell on them. Instead I’m having fun listening to all of the tunes.

One last complement I will give to the game is that all of the boss battles are fun. The ground ones are all reskins so it’s the same boss over and over but I liked how you had to try and jump on him using your motion controls. It’s the one time I thought the style was actually rather clever. Then you had the aerial boss battles where you had to fly around and blast away at him with your air buster. That was a lot of fun and you had to balance being aggressive with grabbing another balloon so you could stay in the air. A lot of balance right there.

Overall, Kirby Tilt is a game that I won’t soon be forgetting but it’s too bad because it could and should have been way better. Motion controls don’t always have to automatically hurt a game but it does feel like more often than not they do a whole lot of damage. Just give me the traditional controls and I’m all set. Check this one out if you have the Switch Online but don’t expect that it’ll be all that great for you. It’s a unique experience but as with many other unique things, it’s a nice way of saying that it’s not as good as the standard option.

Overall 6/10

Posted on June 5, 2024 by dreager1


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Alleyway is one of those games with a very simple premise but if it is executed well enough then there won’t be a problem. The issue is that this didn’t happen so the game isn’t nearly as fun as it should have been. I really feel like this game could and should have been a lot better. All it would have needed was one change too…increasing the gameplay speed. Seriously that’s it.

So the general gameplay here is the kind where a ball is launched up and down and you slide your paddle around to keep it from falling below the screen. This naturally takes a lot of skills and split second timing. If you can pull it off though, you will have saved the world! It’s cool that Mario is the one piloting the ship but otherwise it just isn’t very plot heavy as a game. There are no other cutscenes to be honest and the whole game is really just bouncing the ball around. The level designs can’t really change that much either due to the nature of the gameplay.

They do create some nice shapes in the background though. For example I liked seeing Mario’s head floating around and it shows how creative you can be with the different blocks. As someone who is not very artistic, it would take me ages and ages to actually pull that off. So the visuals are fun, the sprites are used well. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable but I want to say that it’s not bad. It still gets the job done at the end of the day.

The technicals are really not holding this one back at all. It’s just the gameplay which is really not that cool. It’s too easy and you don’t hear me saying that very often. So you just get bored at how slowly the ball is moving around. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll definitely die eventually when you don’t time things right but it’s all so slow paced. There should either be obstacles trying to get in your way or the ball should be zooming around. The game doesn’t capture your attention this way and I tend to like a lot of the block titles like Tetris. Alleyway though? Ehhhh it just wasn’t fun the way that it should have been.

There’s really not much else to say about it either because the gameplay is as simple as possible and there are no other modes. This is the definition of a one trick pony. That’s not a bad thing per say as some of the most iconic games of all time were basic. Take Pac-Man, you can describe that game to anyone very quickly but it’s still a lot of fun that you can play through for hours. Why? Well, it may be simple but it is still really challenging and rewarding. You know that you have to bring out your best if you want to win it all. It’s always very tense as the ghosts speed up.

There is a clear progression of difficulty in the game and that is something that Alleyway lacks. I played a bunch of levels in the game and the speed in level 11 is the same as level 1. Yes, there are slightly more difficult level layouts now since some blocks are blocked by different objects but all that means is that the level will take longer to complete. It doesn’t actually solve the issue of the game being way too easy the whole time. That’s the real problem here.

Overall, Alleyway is one of those games that is just not too much fun to play for long batches. You might have some fun for say 10-15 minutes but not even that. I was over the game very quickly and in large part it’s because of how slow it is. Make the speed 2X and it would be a lot easier to get through. I still need some kind of story to make this one really stand out though. I know you have to cut the older games some slack since stories weren’t always such a huge thing but they really do enhance a game. If you have the Switch Online then you may as well check this one out for free but otherwise you can give it a hearty skip.

Overall 4/10

Posted on June 3, 2024 by dreager1


June 2024 – Page 3 – DReager1.com (28)
It’s time for the next Blahhhhhhcula film. The name just makes that joke too easy! But yeah this is not a good film and you likely knew that going into it. It’s another really cheap vampire film that’s doing its best to impress and scare you but instead it has the opposite effect. You will be rolling your eyes at this one and wondering when it’s over. There’s nothing to really like about this film as it squanders any decent ideas that might have been thrown into the mix.

The film starts with the queen of voodoo dying so she quickly forgets to name a successor. It has to come down to a vote now and everyone knows it will be Lisa which infuriates Willis. He decides to do something about this and messes with some bones until he resurrects Blacula. Blacula quickly turns Willis into a vampire and then decides to go on another murder spree. Will anyone be safe from all of these murders? Lisa will need to watch out since she is now the one with the strongest Voodoo energy. If she ends up siding with Blacula then all hope may be lost.

So lets get this out of the way, the film has a ton of the usual blood sucking right out of the gate. You’ll be grimacing the whole time because this is not what you signed up for. Not at all! I mean that sounds like I’m in denial but you can do a vampire film without all of that. These also have to be the longest blood drain scenes that I’ve come across. Seriously there’s just no end to them. They keep going on and on and on. If you ask me personally the best thing to do here would have been to do a quick cut. You get the initial bite and then skip.

Although it’s clear that the film was pretty proud of these scenes for how drawn out they were. Even the moments leading up to the bites, you got zoom ins on the teeth early on. At least some of the victims were asking for it like the random guys trying to bully Blacula in the streets. It was nice to bump them off but we can do better than the classic bite every time. So right off the bat the film was already doomed thanks to this.

Then the characters aren’t smart at all. Lisa already knows that Blacula is murdering people and yet by the end she wants to help him and everything? Noooo that’s not cool. She still seems shocked when he continues to hurt people but he’s been doing that since the very beginning so there’s no excuse there. He didn’t change, he was evil right from the jump. That’s what I’ve been trying to explain the whole time. Also considering her psychic voodoo powers, she still looks very weak the whole time.

She is easily suckered by her friend who turned vampire and then tries to drain her. Shouldn’t Lisa have some kind of supernatural defenses? So that’s a big strike against her character right from the jump. Then after that we’ve also got the fact that she doesn’t immediately end Blacula when she has the doll. Just stab it or put it in a choke hold. Instead she takes ages which nearly costs her.

All right, one slight positive for the film. I really liked the confrontation between Justin and Blacula where we have a really tense talk. Both of them are casually murdering the other one and it’s a very boss moment for Justin. Not a smart one mind you, since Blacula could have murdered him at any point. Still, it showed that he was ready to stand his ground. The film is really reusing this from other titles but it still hit right. It’s the best scene in the film by far.

In general I was glad that the cops got involved as well. They actually get to fight it out with the vampires which was pretty cool. We get some actual battle scenes although the cops have a bad habit of hesitating. Look, these are vampires, you have to just take them out. Use the stake or it will be used against you. I did wonder why they wouldn’t re-use a stake though. For example one guy uses his stake and then gets rushed by a second vampire so he cuts it in half to use a new one. Many cops just gave up once they used their 1 stake and got wrecked.

Just pull it out of the dead body and use it again. It’s still made of wood so I’m confident that it will work as many times as needed. These guys really need to learn basic combat skills. The whole film should have been the general confrontation because that would actually be an original take. The full might of the police force against the personal army of vampires that Blacula built up. That had a lot of potential over the usual stuff.

Instead what the film decided to focus on in terms of being unique is the voodoo witchcraft nonsense. Those scenes are some of the worst. They’re super dragged out as well with everyone hopping around and feeling the vibes. They don’t add anything to the film and instead subtract from it. So really you are always looking forward to the few police/Justin scenes but every time Blacula or the Voodoo stuff is on screen the film falls down quickly. We also get a random animal violence when a bird is destroyed. The film needs to do better!

Overall, If you really enjoy seeing the blood sucking scenes from a vampire film then this is your title. I still can’t think of any title that dragged them out nearly this much. However, there is no other reason to watch this film and waste your time. Blacula is not a series that will go down in history as being anything decent. It was really a full on gimmick from start to finish and one that didn’t find its footing. You could have had some interesting social themes here or given Blacula a real personality beyond just draining people. At times it felt like the film was going to perhaps go down that route and then he just starts murdering everyone again. So the film couldn’t resist going back to its roots of shock value. If we ever get a modern reboot, maybe it could change things.

Overall 1/10

Posted on June 3, 2024 by dreager1


This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative
June 2024 – Page 3 – DReager1.com (29)
All right it’s time for a pretty spooooky film. I mean it is basically a horror and the enemy is like a creature so I’d say it fits the bill. The movie is definitely an intense one but suffers from all of the usual issues like animal violence and over the top violence in general. This film will have you wincing almost constantly which as you can imagine, can make it hard for the film itself to succeed.

The film starts off with a bunch of doctors/assistants gearing up for their next big game. They run a sort of dungeons and dragons type game in the hospital. After hours they set up all of the rooms and lock down each of the floors. The professor has a virtual system to keep track of everything and coordinates the efforts as the Gamemaster. The first person to get enough clues and free the princess wins. They’ve been doing this for a long time with no problems but one of the girls accidentally mentions the game in front of one of the new hires. Now he wants to play too but the guy’s not very serious and could hold them back. So the characters decide to give him the role of monster to scare people and afterwards he finds out that he’s missing out on a date by being here. So he intends to sabotage the game so that it goes very quickly but what none of them realize is that a dangerous monster is already on the loose, Shakma! Shakma is aiming to destroy all of them as soon as possible so he must not be underestimated.

So Shakma is a baboon and not the most intimidating one on sight. He is fierce and aggressive but you’re jus wondering what would make him scary. Do you really fear such an opponent as this guy? He tends to murder everyone with a quick bite as the first blow and then once the opponent is on the ground it’s over. It’s technically a pretty impressive combo starter because if he bites the right place then it’s all over. There’s really nothing for the opponent to do. So I sort of get that and acknowledge that he fights smart but I still wouldn’t call him very scary. The concept of the Shakma is scarier like when you see him from a distance or on the poster. You absolutely get it but in practice…eh I don’t think he is ready for the big leagues.

Unfortunately most of the characters are super annoying. These are the kinds of people who will just sit back and watch as someone is being torn apart in front of them. I get panicking and everything like when the chips are down but this is just too much. You need to have some characters to root for and this makes them very unlikable. Take the guy who was trying to sabotage the whole game over a date. It’s an awful look because he asked to be a part of the game early on. Yes, he started to have second thoughts about this but he didn’t voice them soooo…I can’t feel all that bad for him. He just needed to do his best and actually participate.

The professor was the most likable character by far. He had a lot of patience and was doing his best to make the game a success. I imagine that it takes a lot of work to set up the whole program each time. So he gets a whole lot of credit there. You were rooting for him to be the one to defeat Shakma. Meanwhile the rest of the students would just keep on splitting up over and over again. Even right up to the end the final 2 survivors decide to split up again. Are you serious?

I dare say that they make the average horror movie characters look smart in comparison. These guys are making so many mistakes that you start to have trouble keeping track of them all. They just keep on coming one after the other. A lot of times the excuse is that they want to look for one of the other teens who got bumped off since they don’t know that he was bumped off yet. The problem with this is after a point you at least need to let the cops know first. The worst part of the film’s logic here is the phones.

Each time they think about calling the cops, they decide to do something first. No, call the cops first and then keep looking around if you want. Every room should have a phone in the hospital or at least most of them. Where were all of the phones when they were needed?? It doesn’t make any sense at all. I felt like I was just watching madness here after a while. The setting of this film taking place in a hospital makes it so that none of this makes sense.

In fact, what about security in general? Sure this is after hours so the staff aren’t around but you mean to tell me that none of the guards were patrolling these floors during the game? Yeah I have more and more doubts as the film goes on. This just doesn’t mesh with logic. The film was doomed already with all the shock value though. I don’t really see the point of the surgery scene from the intro either. We know they work in a hospital so stuff like that happens, why do we gotta see it? Feels like it was just there as a cheap thrill which is no good.

Overall, Shakma is a classic creature feature film to an extent but all the violence is dialed up to 11. It definitely feels like one of the more violent titles that I’ve seen in a minute. In a way it’s probably because of how drawn out each of the murders are. They just keep on going and going. Then of course you have the live surgeries and everything. Nah this film was definitely not for me and loses out to most of the other creature films. This one did surprise me with how the story ends but that’s more of a thumbs up for me and not something I’d raise the score over. It just showed that the film wasn’t afraid to be rather bold and take things in a different direction.

Overall 1/10

Posted on June 3, 2024 by dreager1


This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative
June 2024 – Page 3 – DReager1.com (30)
It’s time for a film about trying to stop the ultimate evil, a human trafficking ring targeting kids. As you can expect it makes for a pretty intense film since the stakes are super high but unfortunately the film never ends up being really solid. The villains are naturally just here to advance the plot but the main heroine fumbles the bag a few times and the story isn’t even narratively solid. There are massive plot holes here.

So the film starts off by introducing us to Karla who has had a tough time managing things. She split up from her husband who is now with a super successful doctor which is making court proceeding difficult since he wants full custody of their kid. Karla is trying to fight this off but then while at the park, her kid is kidnapped while at a crowded event. She manages to see the one who did this and gives chase but how can she stop him?

The actual kidnapping is the part that you have to handle the most carefully because the timeline has to make sense. Yes, people get kidnapped from public spots so that can work but the film writes itself into a corner early on. Karla picks a spot near the front of the show and only walks a few steps away to make her call. Why turn her back to the kid? We call that plot convenience! However, she was still very close and was in verbal contact with him the whole time with the whole marco polo stuff. So what’s the problem?

Later on we get a flashback of what happened with the villains having an extended talk with the kid as they trick him over to the car. Somehow Karla is no longer within visual view which is how the villains’ scheme works. So it shouldn’t have worked from the jump since she was super close and also the length of their conversation doesn’t match with how short Karla’s call was from the last marco polo test. I thought the film was gonna try and do something clever with the kid’s recorder and have it be the one saying marco polo but that’s not the case as we find it on a nearby bench where it had a different recording.

The film knocking itself out right at the jump is pretty bad. Okay so from there we have a high speed chase with the cars driving everywhere and I’m always skeptical how much you can actually do that with how many cars are on the roads nowadays. Still, Karla keeps up fairly well but eventually the villain tells her to leave or he’ll bump off the kid. So she leaves and hopes she can find him again. She does but that’s pretty lucky. So here’s my thing, you can’t let the villain get away like this. It’s similar to the classic hostage situation. “Get into the car or I’m gonna murder you”.

People forget this but dying is certainly not the worst thing in the world relative to what the villains are planning. In fact if the villain has a gun, it’s better to make a move right away because if you die at least it’ll be relatively quick with the bullet. You might even get the gun and live. Similar case here. If he gets away with the kid, the kid’s going to wish he was dead later on. You are obligated to continue pursuit and yeah there’s a very real chance that the kid will die which is a super hard decision to make. You are sparing him the future suffering though which is what you have to remember.

So yeah you can’t just get off the highway there. Ah well, eventually she finds him and then it’s time for round 2. So he gets out of the car with his knife and makes some more threats. So Karla…tosses him a purse with access to $10,000 in funds? The first problem with this is when you give the money up front like that then there is no incentive for the villain to actually honor his end of the bargain. He’s just gonna keep it. Also, this was her chance to just ram him with the car. With the main villain out of the way there would just be one villain left.

Instead she lets the other girl get in the car and surprise…the villainess tries murdering Karla. Karla gets extremely lucky here and fends her off except…she doesn’t finish the villain off? So the villain heads home for a future showdown. The whole movie I’m just shaking my head at this point. You’ve gotta be ruthless with these villains and show them that they can’t mess with you. They will be on a one way trip to oblivion with you.

Karla’s final big miss for me is when she gets to the villain’s base. The kid is somewhere around here so she just needs to find him. So what Karla does is put her big shotgun on the kitchen table and then starts hiding when the villainess returns. This allows the villain to grab the gun and reload it with ammo…..cmonnnnnnnnn. Also, this lady isn’t exactly in fighting shape. Karla just needs to end her here while extracting some information and then that’s it. Getting the info is probably risky though so just bump her off and find the kid yourself.

Karla takes way too passive of an approach to the entire film and gets super lucky the whole time as a result. You’ll be second guessing all of her decisions here. I’m not gonna put much blame on the kid in this case because that’s sort of missing the point here. The kids are so young that they aren’t able to help out much at all. It’s really Karla’s job to take over and save the day. Of course she ends up doing well but I thought that her plans and tactics needed a whole lot of more work.

Overall, This isn’t really my kind of film. It’s certainly not intense enough to get the blood pumping and there isn’t really much of a character cast. The villains are just two psychos who barely even get names since that part’s not important. They’re just evil and serve as the antagonists. Karla’s a nice person and works well as the lead although I would have liked to have seen her do a bit more in the situations I mentioned above. There was definitely ample opportunity to bump the villains off earlier. Some scenes like the cop being oblivious as he’s taken down or the hellocopters flagging the wrong car also will have you scratching your head but those scenes are so over the top that you barely take them seriously anyway. You’re not going to have a lot of fun with this film which definitely hurts in the end, there’s not much reason to ever rewatch it for example.

Overall 3/10


June 2024 – Page 3 – DReager1.com (2024)


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