Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories Review

Its been a long time coming, but I’m finally reviewing Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories (CoM) for the Playstation 2. As you may know, the Kingdom Hearts (KH) franchise fuses Disney with Final Fantasy in such a way that it creates a completely weird and very interesting world to explore. You might be wondering, “Hey didn’t that game come out for the Game Boy Advance (GBA) like four years ago?” Yes, Yes it did and I can safely say that the PS2 version is exactly the same as its handheld counterpart with a few extras.


CoM takes place between the events of KH 1 and KH 2 so you could say it’s KH 1.5 and like most games that try to squeeze themselves between established titles, CoM’s plot has no real bearing on the main story. CoM begins with Sora, the spiky haired hero, looking for his friends Riku and Mickey. On his journey Sora and his traveling companions, Donald and Goofy, stumble upon an architect's worst nightmare called Castle Oblivion.

Inside the the castle, Sora meets members of Orginization XIII who inform him that his friends are lost somewhere inside the castle. In order to find his friends Sora must lose his memories so he can access all thirteen floors of Castle Oblivion. Sora must then weigh finding his friends against losing his most precious memories, as well as, unravel the secret behind Organization XIII and rescue a mysterious girl named Naminé.

Game Play

CoM is technically a card battler, meaning you use playing cards to decide how you attack, but the game cleverly manages to disguise itself as a button mashing melee game. You are given a set number of cards that you can carry and depending on how you chose to level up Sora, you can increase the number of cards you can hold. Every card is assigned a value between 0-9; if your opponent attacks with a card valued at 7 then you must use a card with a higher value or zero to defeat their card, this is called a card break.

You can also combine up to 3 cards to create a number too large for an enemy to break or use the combination of cards to perform special attacks. There are three types of cards: magic cards that let you shoot lightning, ice, or fire, attack cards which let you strike your opponents, and summon cards that let you bring other characters like Simba onto the screen to attack for you. The trick to winning most of the battles is to get enough high level attack cards into your deck so you can mindlessly tap the X button and wail away on all the bad guys. Unfortunately, once you figure out the trick the game becomes a battle against tedium and some gamers might not have the patients or the desire to play all the way through to the end. Granted, there are some amazingly challenging boss fights that force you rethink your strategy, but those are few and far between.


The game takes place in all the same locals of KH1 such as Wonderland, Agrabah, Halloween Town, and Monstro’s belly, but the big downfall of CoM being ported to the PS2 is the level design. In the GBA version CoM was a top down 2-D romp through a maze of rooms with each room missing a wall so the player could see inside. In the PS2 version, you now have the ability to rotate the camera so when you do a 360 degree spin around a room, instead of seeing four walls, you see three walls and a black void where the fourth wall should be.

So why were the game designers so lazy that they didn’t add a fourth wall? Because in Japan CoM was a free game when you bought the remixed edition of Kingdom Hearts 2. If you think about it, why would the game designers spend extra money on making a lot of changes to a game that’s wouldn’t be gaining profit. It’s very upsetting to know that Square-Enix got away with selling a free game in Japan for $60 here in the U.S.


No original music here. The music features everything you heard from KH1, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. This time around the cast from KH1 lend their voices to CoM in order to create a more in-depth experience. The cut scenes look great in fully 3-D graphics and some of the big boss battles made me want to put down the controller and watch the frenzy of dazzling attacks kill me. Because of the fleshed out graphics and the voice overs, CoM comes complete with a theater mode that strings all the cut scenes together into one large movie.

Reverse and Rebirth

The main reason I cared about this game was that after you played through the game as Sora you get to play it over again as Riku, the villain/hero of KH1 who is also lost inside the castle. It’s interesting to see how the two plots are intertwined and how both characters choose to escape the castle, but the real reason I wanted to play as Riku was so I could use his dark powers to blow stuff up.

Final thoughts

I can really only recommend this game if you like Kingdom Hearts. The story, the boring battles, and the poorly designed levels make this game really hard for the average gamer to enjoy, but if you’re a fan of Kingdom Hearts then this is a must buy because it’s fun to play as Riku and its cool to see the cutscenes fully rendered in 3-D. I’m not quite sure how to rate this game. As a GBA game CoM is easily a 4 out of 5 because the controls work better for the Game Boy and the game is much more challenging because you can’t side step every attacks. While the Playstation 2 game seems like a lazy attempt to update a good game with extras that feel tacked on. I would have to give Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories for the Playstation 2 a 3 out of 5.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Heroes Season 4

So Heroes premiered on Monday and I completely missed it. What was I doing with my time? I was watching House...I know bad nerd, but begrudgingly I must admit I made the better decision with House. Now I’m not saying that Heroes was bad, it was fine, I’m just saying it wasn’t anything special. The fourth season kicked off with Claire going to college and trying to be a normal kid, Hiro desperately trying to achieve hero status again, a mysterious new character named Samuel, and of course the ever looming return of Sylar. The show introduced a handful of characters, but the only one worth mentioning is Samuel and even after the the two hour premiere all we know is that his power allows him to control ink and that he has some kind of scheme up his sleeve.

There were two things about the premiere that I had beef with.
  1. It was soooo mediocre-Like I said, the show wasn’t anything to write home about. No startling revelations or a horrifying vision of the apocalypse to mull over, just a lot of loose ends for the viewer to try and interpret. I know the show got a lot of flack because of its crazy story lines and many people blamed the ridiculous plot as the cause behind the show’s lowered ratings, but the craziness is what made the show standout. As for the reason behind the dwindling ratings, I don’t think it was the schizophrenic story that turned people away, I believe it was the poor character development that left people scratching their heads. I mean seriously, they sent that Irish woman from season two into the future and then forgot about her. What happened to her, is she dead because that future doesn’t exist anymore? And lets not forget the wonder twins fiasco, didn’t everyone want them to die because they were utterly useless. If the writers had bothered to make those characters interesting fixtures instead of convenient plot devices I think the show would have done a lot better.
  2. No focus-Heroes is suffering from X-Men movies-itus. Basically, the writers (or whoever makes these kind of decisions) are cramming way too many characters into the show; to compensate for the excess of people, the writers created extra mini plots that feel diluted and are ultimately inconsequential when compared to the main thrust of the series which is stop the bad guy. If the creators focused on two or three seemingly divergent plots (instead of the five that I’ve already counted) then the audience wouldn’t feel like the show was jerking them around just because it can.
What I’ve learned from watching Top Chef is that too many ingredients can ruin a dish, but if you can stick to some classic flavors you wont be in the bottom three. If Heroes really wants to stay on top it should stick to basics by adding depth to its characters and writing plots that have a meaningful impact on the story as a whole.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Contra vs Duck Hunt

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! (catch my breath and wipe tear away from my eye)....Amazing.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hispanic Heritage Month

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month so I’ve decided to round up some of Latin America’s best or maybe worst characters that have been featured in comics and on TV.

El Dorado - Yes, El Dorado was a racist stereotype of a Latin American man because of his broken English and yes, he was only used as a plot device to transport characters to far off locals and to neatly rap up episodes of the Super Friends, but he was one of the first Latin cartoon characters to appear on TV and that has to mean something...right? Blatant racism aside, El Dorado is a formidable opponent with super strength, teleportation, illusion casting, and flight. Oh, did I mention that he has no nipples...I feel like that's the greatest offense of all.

Bane -The man who broke Batman’s back was for years a prisoner in Santa Prisca where he basically became king of the prison yard by building up his body and his mind. FACT: Did you know that Bane’s mental prowess rivals that of Batman? Brain and brawn, now that’s a frightening combination. Bane uses Venom, an experimental drug, to enhance his already beastly physical stature giving him muscles that not even Sammy Sosa could hide.

Ultimate Iron Man -Tony’s full name in the ultimate universe is Antonio. He’s still pretty much the same sleazy robo-suit wearing lush that we all know and tolerate, but lets count Antonio as a plus since he is one of the richest and most influential people in the ultimate universe.

Blue Beetle -Ummmm well, my entire working knowledge of the Blue Beetle comes from the animated series Batman the Brave and the Bold and I really don’t know how accurately the series portrayed his origin. Jamie Reyes happened upon the Blue Beetle Scarab (advanced alien technology) which decided to force itself onto Jamie’s body. The reason for the hostile takeover of Jamie’s body is unknown, but Batman suggests that it was Jamie’s virtue that made him the right person to wield the scarab’s power. The scarab transforms itself into a super charged battle suit which can morph into various weapons likes swords and plasma guns.

Más y Menos - Oh the lovable super speedy twins from Guatemala top my chart. Más and Menos were first introduced in Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans as a pair of heroes who only spoke Spanish. I don't know what the twins were actually saying during show because none of the other characters could translate for them and the creators wisely decided not to include subtitles. Más and Menos not only broke the sound barrier, but they also cleverly broke the language barrier by way of their gestures and sometimes frantic action poses. To activate their power of super speed Más and Menos must be in physical contact with each other which makes their fighting style interesting to watch because of the many different ways they choose to move as a team.

There you have it, my 5 pics for Hispanic Heritage Month. I know there are a lot more Hispanic characters out there in the world, but these were the ones that really stood out to me. If you think someone else deserves to be on the list then jot them down in a comment.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who's got an Emmy?

Doctor Horrible has an Emmy. That’s right, the critically acclaimed Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog has finally gotten the recognition that it deserves and not even Kanye West can steal its thunder. Joss Whedon’s mini web series/movie won Outstanding Special Class- Short Format Live-Action Entertainment Program. I know it’s a really specific and oddly named category, but I think it means anything that’s produced specifically for the internet so think of web series like the Guild. To continue the momentum, Neil Patrick Harris (Dr. Horrible) will be hosting the Emmys this Sunday (9/20/09) and he will no doubt plug Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog like he did at Spike TV’s Video Game Award show. Neil Patrick Harris is also up for a few more Emmys with How I Met Your Mother nominated for best comedy series and NPH being nominated for best supporting actor. So what’s left after you’ve taken over the world and won an Emmy....perhaps an adventure in space?

To read my review of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Click Here.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Katamari Forever Soundtrack

It’s coming, don’t you hear it? It's the rumbling sound of everything created on God’s green earth getting rolled up into a giant ball and then flung into space. Yes, the Prince is back for his latest installment on the PS3 in Katamari Forever. If you’ve never played a Katamari game stop reading right now and go to your local Game Stop and buy a used copy. Seriously, I’ll wait for you to come back....

Alright, the game is pretty simple, as you now know (because you bought the game), you control a giant sticky ball that has the ability to pick up anything. The items that you can pick up run the gambit of the mundane like cars, balloons, and airplanes to the bizarre like ninjas, bears on unicycles, and giant sea monster squids. Now I’m not here to preview Katamari Forever which comes out September 22, instead, I’m here to showcase some of the game's music. As always for the Katamari series, the game features a funky and distinctly Japanese soundtrack that keeps you humming and tapping your toes hours after you’ve finished playing. The music this time around focuses on clever remixes from the previous title, We Heart Katamari, along with some of its own quirky originals. The YouTube clip is an 8-bit remix of A Crimson Rose and a Gin Tonic and is so far my favorite song from the new game...enjoy.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Wahoo it looks like Superman and Batman are teaming up once again for an animated adventure extraordinaire. Superman/Batman: Public Enemies movie is an adaptation of the popular Superman/Batman graphic novel by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. The plot goes like this, a huge asteroid made of Kryptonite is hurtling towards earth and Lex Luther, President of the United States, has accused our heroes (Batman and Superman) of being the cause for this potential catastrophe. Lex offers a 1 billion dollar bounty to the person, hero or villain alike, who can bring Superman and Batman to “justice.” The clock is ticking and it’s up to our super duo to fight off their good friends and old foes, unravel the secrets behind the asteroid, and save the earth from destruction. Here’s a sneak peak of what to expect from the movie. In this clip Lex discusses his plans for handling the asteroid situation with Superman.

WOW!!!! Everyone is ripped! I guess in that universe, Bally’s Total Fitness is a requirement. The animation looks good and the movie features a top notch V/O cast that includes: Jerry O'Connell, Tim Daly, and LaVar Burton (Geordi LaForge!!!) to name a few. From what I’ve seen, this movie is going to be action packed with a huge heaping of comic book cameos so get ready to play the Who’s Who game with a bevy of your favorite characters. Superman/Batman: Public Enemies comes out on Blu-Ray and DVD September 29th. I’m already waiting with anticipation...are you?


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Boxed In Reveiw

Boxed in for the iPhone or iPod touch is your basic move box onto switch open door puzzle game. You take control of a tiny robot and the point of the game is to collect the gears scattered through out the level and to get him past obstacles to reach the portal situated somewhere on the level

Game Play

You move your tiny avatar by dragging your finger where you want him to go. On the ground are color coordinated switches that correspond with the colored forcefields; obviously, you need to push a box on the red switch to make the red forcefield go away. You can’t pull the boxes so if you shove one into a corner you can't get it out which adds a little difficulty to the game. Once you have moved all the appropriate boxes, deactivated the forcefields, and collected all the gears you are ready to move on to the next level.

Final Thoughts

Overall it’s a good solid puzzle game and it’s challenging enough to be fun without me wanting to throw my iPhone on the ground and stomping on it. Thank goodness too because I don’t think I can afford another iPhone. I’m giving Boxed In 4 over worked robots out of 5.

Oh yeah, the full version is free for a limited time so I would download it ASAP.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Marvel vs. Disney Universe

The fan boys are still going crazy over Disney buying Marvel and they all can’t help but speculate how Disney will change the face of their favorite comic company. I too have been thinking about the profound changes that this seemingly unholy union will bring to comic books, pop culture, and the nation’s current economic status. I’ve thought carefully and I’v came to the conclusion that this is Disney’s chance to make a really great video game and they should call it Marvel vs. Disney Universe.

Marvel vs. Disney Universe would be a 2D side scrolling fighting game much like Marvel vs Capcom 2 (MvC2) where it pits characters from both franchises head to head in a battle royal. Like most fighting games the plot doesn’t matter, so I’m not even going to bother justifying why the lovable Disney characters want to pick a fight with the Marvel ones. Here’s what I did, I picked 10 characters from each franchise for various reasons. On the Disney side I tried to be fun and creative with my picks because not every character is suited to be a fighter. Just think about it, other than you’re standard punches and kicks what would Sleeping Beauty do? On the Marvel side, I mostly picked characters that have or are going to have high budget movies because I can see Disney using a game like this as a marketing opportunity.


Snow White-I felt she could have a really fun fighting mechanic. Instead of directly controlling Snow White on the screen, your button combos would trigger one of the seven dwarfs to come out and attack for her. Think of the fighting style similar to Olimar from Super Smash Bros. Brawl (SSMBB), but with very aggressive Pikmen.

King Mickey-Mickey from Kingdom Hearts with his key blades swinging would be excellent. He would also use magic and showcase acrobatics that would make even Yoda from Star Wars: Attack of the Clones jealous.

Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers-That’s right the Rescue Rangers are back! Chip and Dale would fight together much like the Ice Climbers from SSBB. They would use attacks that played of each other and use items like magnifying glasses and acorns to pummel their enemies. They would also use weapons made from household items created by Gadget their rodent equivalent of James Bond’s Q.

Hanna Montana-Yes even Hanna Montana or the next rising Disney star has a place in this game. Miss Montana would would use her guitar to assault the other characters and sing catchy tunes that would put her opponent into a star stuck daze long enough to perform a deadly combo.

GizmoDuck- GizmoDuck is perfect for this game. He would be a silly character that would roll around shooting boxing gloves and he would be able to fly above characters with his helicopter hat and drop lamps on their heads.

Buzz Lightyear-I had to throw a Pixar character into game and Buzz is sure to deliver. He can fly around on his jet pack and use laser beams, rockets and homing missiles to subdue his enemies.

Kim Possible-The teen heroine will wear her battle suit which will allow her to shield against energy blasts and morph her hands into various objects like baseball bats or lacrosse scoops.

The Beast-Eh, I just wanted to throw in a character with a lot of brute force into the game and I think the Beast from Beauty and the the Beast is a good choice. The Beast would have a similar moves to Blanka from Street Fighter.

Maleficent-She would be in her dragon form and she will be the biggest character in the game. Tail whips, green fire, and a bevy of arial attacks would make her a hard one to beat, but her giant size would would make her the slowest and easiest character to hit in the game.

Jafar-This is pre-genie Jafar so he will use his serpent staff for his melee attacks, but don’t worry he will be able to conger up magic spells and shoot fire balls.


If you’ve played MvC2 then you know the characters move sets, if you haven’t check out some youtube videos of the game

Spider-Man-Spider-Man 4 is coming and even though I don’t like playing as Spidy in MvC2 I couldn’t imagine a Marvel game without him.

Iron Man-The billion dollar playboy is back for this brawl and he’s ready to use his high tech weaponry to win.

Wolverine-Everyone is still in love with Wolverine so with a heavy heart I must put Wolverine on the roster.

Psylocke-I picked Psylocke because I love her and I don’t see why I can’t put a character I like into a game that I created.

Storm-It would be a great injustice if I didn't put one of the most powerful and well respected mutants in the game.

Deadpool-Meh, I don’t actually care about Deadpool, but he is getting a movie so he’s in the game too. Deadpool would essentially take the place of Cable from MvC2.

Captain America-Of course Captain America is in this game, it would be unpatriotic if he wasn’t.

Gambit-Gambit has a huge following, but no one seems to know what to do with him in the movies so here’s hoping that Gambit gets a X-men Origins remix.

Emma Frost-The White Queen (not in hooker attire, this is Disney after all) would be a fun and interesting addition to the game because of her diamond form and various things she could do with her psychic attacks.

The Human Torch-Despite what Smokey the Bear says, playing with fire is fun.

The list for characters goes on and on with some of my other favorite picks which include Darkwing Duck, Ariel, Dash from the Incredibles, Dr. Strange, and the Scarlet Witch. I boiled it down to these 20 characters because I thought it would be amusing to see them fight. I also thought the 20 characters I chose had the potential of having well balanced moves without any one character feeling unstoppable. Now I doubt Disney would approve of their warm fuzzy G rated characters going toe to toe with the graphically violent marvel characters, but if by some weird aligning of the planets a game similar in concept happens, then the Marvel merger was definitely worth it. OK maybe I wouldn't go that far and say the merger was worth it, but I would appreciate Disney a more than I do now. If this game were to exist who would you put in it?

Picture [Source, Source]

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Nrrrd Grrrl

Yeah I know this is kind of old, but I just found it and I thought it was pretty good, plus the video is hilarious. It goes to show you that even nerds can find love in the least expected places. This song was created by MC Chris who is also responsible for Fett's Vett (My Backpack's Got Jets).

Friday, September 4, 2009

Lobo is getting one too.

Wow even Lobo, the dirt bag with a pimped out floating Motorcycle, is getting a movie makeover. Lobo isn’t one of my favorite characters, but he does have a massive following. If you don’t know who Lobo is think Gene Simmons from KISS with strength that rivals Superman. Very little has been said about the movie’s plot, but since Lobo is a bounty hunter with questionable ethics I’m sure it will involve him looking for fugitives while having a beer and starting an intergalactic bar fight. Director Guy Ritchie whose previous works include Snatch and that new Sherlock Holmes move will take control of the unwieldy handle bars for this movie. Now I wont have a problem with this movie if they portray Lobo as the violent anti-social jerk that he is, but if the writers turn him into a misunderstood soul with a heart of gold then they missed the entire point of Lobo.

Oh wait hold on a second, I'm getting breaking news. It seems that the Lobo movie is going to get a PG-13 rating and the movie will feature him with a teenage girl as his sidekick....WHAT! Oh no DC, what have you done. Let the fan boys have mercy on your soul.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Marvel Going Once, Twice, Three times SOLD!

It’s been all over the news that Marvel was sold to Disney for 4 billion dollars (now that’s some change). Honestly, I don’t know how to feel about the whole deal. Here’s how I see it, on the one hand, Disney is a HUGE corporation and just on principle I hate HUGE corporations. So when I see the already massive Disney swallowing up more companies faster than Fat Princess can eat pies, I can’t help but get upset. On the other hand I don’t necessarily hate all of Disney, just the marketing department for the teenage angsty parts like Hanna Montana and the Jonas Brothers.

According to all the Market Analysts this was a smart move for Marvel since Marvel’s stocks will go up and their budgets for producing comic books will be much bigger, but I’ll ask, is it worth it? Marvel never seemed to be strapped for cash and even though both Disney and Marvel swear that Marvel won’t change I just don’t buy it. In any merger or acquisition things get changed, that’s just how it works. People get shuffled around and the corporate hierarchy gets scrambled then re-arranged. So even though they are keeping Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter to make sure the comics we love all stays the same, Marvel will undoubtably change.

Now I hardly doubt that Marvel is going to do something stupid like feature Winnie the Pooh in the next issue of the Avengers, but I wouldn’t put it past someone trying to be cute or clever sticking a Disney character into an issue just because they can. Right now, I feel that Marvel’s sale will only impact the people who work at Marvel and the consumers 15 or 20 years down the line after a lot of the current staff is replaced with fresh blood that now have bosses who strongly suggest that they use some of that Disney magic we all hear about. But hey I could be wrong, it worked out for Kingdom Hearts so who’s to say it won’t work again.

Picture [Source, Source]

Article [Source, Source]

You Heard my Desperate Pleas, They’re Making a New Okami

If I’ve ever talked video games with you then you know I love Kingdom Hearts, go crazy for Zelda, and have tried to force you to buy Okami. Just like The Spectacular Spider-Man series, Okami was on the verge of disappearing as a franchise because of its poor sales despite all the game’s glowing reviews (shame on you, unless you own a copy). Luckily, Capcom bought the rights to Okami and decided that the sales of the game were sufficient enough for a sequel called Okamiden: Chiisaki Taiyo.

Okamiden: Chiisaki Taiyo, just like it's predecessor, will borrow heavily from Japanese mythology and mix it with a bit of that weird Japanese humor and the game’s graphics will continue to use the unique cell shaded art style that resembles a Japanese water painting. In the first Okami you assumed the role of Amaterasu, a debunked sun goddess in the form of a wolf, and it was up to you save world from evil demons with a paint brush. If you’ve never played the game it sounds kind of stupid, but trust me it worked amazingly well. This time around, months after the events of Okami, demons have mysteriously returned to plague the world and Amaterasu is once again summoned to save the day. Unfortunately, there was some mix up in the cosmos and instead of getting the fierce Amaterasu they got the cuddlier puppy version of the sun goddess named Chibiterasu.

Now when I say sequel I use the term liberally. I’m pretty sure the correct term for this game is Okami 1.5 since it will most likely be a rehashing of all the same levels from the first game. Okamiden: Chiisaki Taiyo will only be released for the Nintendo DS with game play that focuses on solving puzzles and utilizing partners that Chibiterasu must work with to complete missions. The game will also take advantage of the famous paint feature where by drawing on the screen with the stylist, you can draw bridges, fire, wind, and various other items to clear obstacles out of Chibiterasu’s way. Even though this is not the Okami game that I was expecting, I’m just thankful that Capcom wants to do more with this franchise. Expect this game to come out next year in Japan and for those of us in the States I would have to guess some time in 2011.