Thursday, 21 May 2015

First Look PSN #5

Dustforce by Hitbox Team / Capcom (2014) - PlayStation Network (PS3)

I've played a few environmentally-themed games in recent years but this one is probably the first that actually makes you do the menial labour yourself. Dustforce takes place within a world that has been tainted by 'dust and disorder', you see, and it's your job to cleanse its 50+ stages using one of the four selectable janitors. This is done simply by running over all the dirty areas (which only seem to be covered in leaves - surely not that big a deal?) which are dotted around all surfaces of the side-viewed, scrolling landscapes, including the walls and ceilings, and also by smacking up all the poor creatures living there. That means you'll need a fast and agile janitor and luckily all four of them are, to varying degrees. Time to get cracking with your trusty broom!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Film Round-Up #9

I think anyone around my age will have grown up during the heyday of the 'action movie star' era and, like me, these lucky (?) people almost certainly revelled in the brainless, unrealistic mayhem and sizeable body-count the various stars left in their wake. Whilst never reaching the heights of Arnie or Sly, one of my favourites was always Jean-Claude Van Damme. Like many, however, I've generally only seen his earlier films (as indicated by the Top Five I did a while ago), so I recently decided to fix that by catching up some of the lesser-known later entries on his filmography. Here are the first five I watched, with another five likely to come later!

Hard Target (1993)

Van Damme was the actor credited with bringing HK legend John Woo to Hollywood and this film was the fruit of their labour. It's set in New Orleans where a bunch of trigger-happy rich dudes spend their time hunting homeless men for sport. When the daughter (Yancy Butler) of one of them comes to town looking for her father, she bumps into Chance Boudreaux (JCVD), the most well-kempt homeless man in the history of the world. Of course, when he helps her look into her father's disappearance, they become the target of the next hunt, led by the obsessive Emil Fouchon (Lance Henriksen). Cue lots of running, shooting, kicking, and explosions (as well as a decent number of doves) as Emil and his snarling henchmen chase the stupidly-named Chance and Nat across Louisiana. The most interesting acting performance is by Henriksen and the best non-action scenes are those featuring him, but the lashings of action are of the standard you would expect from Mr. Woo - brash but stylish and entertaining. Hard Target is neither his nor JVCD's finest hour but it's a passable enough, if silly effort... 6/10

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Computer Platform Games #7

Frak! (1984)
By: Aardvark Genre: Platform Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: BBC Micro First Day Score: 10,600
Also Available For: Electron, C64

A little while back I took a look at the finest platform games with a prehistoric setting, and one that was up for consideration was Frak. That was until I realised it's not actually very prehistoric-ish at all. Besides starring a caveman called Trogg, there isn't much else that fits the necessary criteria. Trogg's job, you see, is to collect three keys on each of the three stages that make up the game. These consist of a few large and many smaller platforms which might look as though they've been arranged in a bit of a jumble, but they've actually been very deliberately placed to make it as tricky as possible to finish each stage by taking full advantage of Trogg's somewhat limited movement. He ambles around the screen slowly, jumps awkwardly, and can't fall more than about a nanometre without losing a life.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Arcade Shmups #22

DonPachi (1995)
By: Cave / Atlus Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Arcade First Day Score: 2,160,960
Also Available For: Saturn, PlayStation
Download For: PlayStation Network

I've now reviewed quite a few shmups over the years here at Red Parsley. Some of them have been very famous, others less so, and there are obviously tons of them I still have to visit at some point too. One whose name I probably hear more often than any other, though, is DonPachi. Actually, that's only almost true; it's usually DoDonPachi, this game's much revered sequel, that gamers rave on about, but as usual I prefer to look at the series in the right order. One thing I found myself wondering, however, was this: do all the ever-passionate shmup fanatics only seem to mention the sequel because this first game isn't much cop? To be honest, I doubted that before I even played - Cave are practically worshipped by most shmup fans after all - but I was still very interested to find out.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Favourite Speccy Loading Screens - Part 4

Oh, hello again. As some of you may well have noticed, I've recently been posting selections of my favourite Spectrum loading screens. Actually, I imagine rather a lot of you have noticed as they have turned out to be among my most popular posts for some time! I suppose visually-stimulating posts are always popular but, whatever the reason, I'm very pleased to now present the fourth part of the extensive gallery...

Friday, 1 May 2015

Film Round-Up #8

Recent months here in RKS-Land have been somewhat frustrating from a blogging point of view. Well, from several points of view actually. Work has been very busy and my laptop hard drive spluttered to a halt which left my blogging in a similar state of inactivity. In order to address both of these issues, I've subsequently been watching quite a few films lately; enough, in fact, to start doing a few 'themed' Round-Ups starting with this one. Behold, therefore, a selection of five sci-fi films I've recently watched (or endured, in some cases):

Skyline (2010)

Though it may be bereft of big star names, the promotional stuff for this one still made it look at least promising. Glowy blue lights? Giant spaceships over cities vacuuming up humans? Huge grotesque aliens systematically 'harvesting' all life on earth? Only a colossal oaf could stuff up a premise like that, surely? Sadly, the team behind it managed just that, although I'm not really sure how. The small cast might not be household names but they aren't untalented, and the special effects are superb (which shouldn't be surprising given the directors, Colin and Greg Strause, are former special effects artists) but it's just not... very good. The story focuses on a small group of friends in one apartment block in LA who wake up after a party to find big spaceships everywhere and scary aliens taking out anyone stupid enough to be seen by them, but that's about it. There are no explanations, just 90-odd minutes of running around the building being scared. I suppose there's a mild curiosity to see how things pan out but the film doesn't even have the courtesy of having a proper ending. I guess that was to allow for the forthcoming sequel... 4/10