Humble Bandai Namco Bundle: The Good, The Dark and The (Very Little) Money

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Here’s a deal that’s hard to pass up, particularly if you’ve always been curious about the Souls series, have never touched the games and have a decent gaming PC set up. Sure, you can go for the minimum purchase and NOT get Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition. But for a measly tenner you get that and six other games with MORE dropping into your Steam library next week for FREE. Yeah, I can hear your eyes popping and ears perking up from here. keep it down and go BUY this bundle. Save the Children gets some of that money you’ll spend as well, so be generous if you roll that way. Bandai Namco will certainly appreciate it and you’ll appreciate the cool games you’re getting even more I bet.

Blu-Ray/DVD Review: Contamination

Contamination MVD7368BRUp until a few years back, I’d never considered Luigi Cozzi’s sci-fi and fantasy films anything more than hilariously terrible pastiches of far better films. But getting older and mellower has made me take a fresh look and appreciate them a lot more, warts and all. I’m finding that while somewhat hampered by budgetary constraints and packed with some truly laugh-worthy visual effects, there’s an earnestness and respectable amount of passion in them that makes up for most of the inadequacies.

Yes, Star Crash still makes me cringe and the two Hercules films are more overly colorful comic book reworkings gone haywire of classic mythology. But you can clearly feel the director’s intent on making movies from the heart even as they bust your gut from unintentional and intentional laughter.

Contamination, Cozzi’s 1980 gorier “homage” to Ridley Scott’s classic Alien has gotten an excellent Blu-Ray restoration thanks to Arrow Video. Not only do you get a lovely AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer in 1.85.1 widescreen, there’s a great set of old and new interviews with the director and Maurizio Guarini of Goblin (who did the film’s score) as well as a fun look at other Italian genre flicks that swiped ideas from blockbusters. As for the film itself, as I hadn’t seen it for over 30 years, it was certainly a fun and bloody trip down memory lane as well as something of a love letter to New York City where some of the establishing shots were films.
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Dark Souls III: The Eyes Have It And You’ll Get It, Alright


 

As in expect to PREPARE TO DIE a lot more than before thanks to FromSoftware’s latest entry in its not at all casual RPG franchise. Not at all for the weak-kneed player who wants some hand-holds and footholds through its gloomy and deadly dungeons, the Souls series packs in death by everything from environmental hazards to many enemy types looking to kick your frightened ass all over those environments. I tend to play these games just to survive the experience and not be a speed-running expert at them. But I know of some extremely talented players who relish the challenge of making double time through the maps as they face danger head on and die a lot as a learning process.

Of course, speed, accuracy and learning each enemy’s strengths and weaknesses is a huge key to enjoying the ride. That said, the geniuses at FromSoft have packed the series with everything from AI that follows you relentlessly to enemies and bosses that are bigger than the areas they try to kill you in and seemingly indestructible to novice players. Nope, nothing casual at all here, kids. In fact, there’s a terrifying element to all the games that borders on horror in some areas, but I’m not calling this a “horror” game series by any means. Just a note that if you’re not playing with a tiny bit of fright creeping into your bones, you’re a better man or woman than I. Anyway, DSIII is coming in 2016. Prepare to… yeah, you know.

Here’s a Musical Monday Surprise Not To Have

(thanks, Guillermo Reyes!)
 

Yeah, wonderful. I woke up yesterday feeling a bit odd and had a VERY slight eye pain and a bigger headache. The headache was from caffeine withdrawal (whee) and the eye pain faded to a slight itchiness. I do have an eye allergy, so I ignored fussing with it and as it was a lazy kind of day, I spent much of it doing not so much and didn’t actually look into a mirror until about 8pm. Wonderful. I have a nice case of what looked like conjunctivitis in my right eye. Nice. I’m gathering it was from the puddle that bus zoomed though during the rain storm a few days back. I thought I was clear, but I got a nice bit of not so clean water hitting me on the right side of the face under my umbrella. Yuck.

Anyway, between that and some other nonsense that popped up yesterday, I’m needing to maybe actually take a day off. Off to get my puffy eye looked and and I’m gathering it’ll be some sort of over-priced eye drop prescription that I’m going to substitute with something cheaper and over the counter. Anyway, yeah. I also need to change the banner and background on the site. I’ll do that later today or tomorrow. Hell, if I’m going to be confined for the next few days, I may as well suffer a lot less than I need to. Boo.

Back in a bit.

Zombi: U Will Want To Play This Wii U Port On Your PS4 & Xbox One


 

Call me only mildly surprised that this is happening, although I’m shocked (shocked! But not really) that it didn’t happen sooner. ZombiU was one of the Wii U’s standout launch games in that it made the GamePad and touchscreen mandatory for the gameplay to work best at what it was trying to accomplish. Looking down at it to check one’s inventory or prepare a weapon or something else only to look up at your TV and see something (or a few somethings!) shambling and scrambling out of the dark was a terrifying thing to experience. Yes, Vita or Windows tablet support for that second screen would be beautiful to see. But even Sony has mucked that up quite a bit by taking so long to implement it into games and only as a means of playing portable games on a larger TV. I don’t own a Surface tablet, so I can’t comment positively or otherwise) on anything Microsoft has done for dual screen gaming. Oh well.

Anyway, without that second screen this might look like another zombie game to skip over if you’re tired of the genre. You’d be sorely mistaken for thinking that based on looks alone. My frightening and sometimes fearfully frustrating (Do I want to go on through that door? Hell nope! Oh… okay. CHOMP!) experience with the Wii U version says that if approached with an open mind by smarter PS4 and Xbox One owners who don’t resort to insults whenever they see a Wii U game, the experience should be quite a worthy one. The rogue-like random elements add infinite replay value and there are some really effective scares to be had. Anyway, August 15, 2015 is the big day for this and I hope to hell it not only does well, but gets some of the all-out naysayers about the Wii U to ‘fess up and admit that there are actually some great games on that system they haven’t played (er, until now that is).

Abyss Odyssey Extended Dream Edition: ACE Work, Now On PS4

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AO_EDEACE Team’s rogue-like brawler/RPG/adventure hybrid Abyss Odyssey was one of those uniquely gorgeous games that catered best to those who spent time mastering the intricacies of its seemingly simple combat system. The game’s lovely Art Nouveau-inspired visuals and realistic animation made it less of a button basher and more a game where practice makes perfect. Capturing enemy souls and using those enemies or the allies you’d also unlock to replay procedurally generated maps added plenty of replay value to what was a nicely challenging game experience.

Now, the PS4 finally gets what’s looking like the definitive version of the game. As you can see from those nice-looking screen shots below (which do indeed look nice, but don’t really do the game much justice at all), the game is Mucha beautiful:

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In addition to some nicely enhanced visuals and smoother gameplay, there’s also a new online PvP mode for those who crave fighting against live opponents. Speaking of gameplay – here’s a short look at the launch trailer:


 

Se what I mean by screenshots not doing this justice? Anyway, go grab this one if your artistic and energetic sides have been activated. It’s a neat little sleeper that will keep you entertained for quite a bit.

Retro City Rampage REALLY Goes Retro: 486 – MS-DOS / Windows 3.1 Version Now Available


 

Vblank Entertainment’s head honcho Brian Provinciano is a truly mad genius in the best possible way. His single-minded obsession with his hilarious “retro” game Retro City Rampage has led to it being released on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS over a few short years. Now, he’s gone and reprogrammed the instant classic and has gotten the game onto a 3.5″ floppy disk for 486 computers along with a Windows 3.1 prototype as a free bonus. If you still have an old PC lying around with a floppy drive, you can (and should indeed) snap up one of the limited edition boxed versions (there were only 1000 total made) and prepare for a nostalgic trip down memory lane with a game that probably wouldn’t have existed back then and if it did, it would be hailed as a fine slice of comic genius or something like that.

Retro City Rampage 486
 

If you happen to own the more modern PC version of the game already and bought it from the developer directly, guess what? You should probably check your Steam account for a nice freebie surprise. Everyone else, run or click like the wind HERE and hope for the best. Like the PS4 and Vita retail editions, this will probably sell out ridiculously fast. Yes, the game will also run on DOSBOX if you have a newer PC. I almost forgot to mention this, so now you don’t need to hit up eBay looking for some aged system to run RCR 486 on.

Stay Strong With More Heroic Bundles From Bundle Stars

Indie Heroes Bundle

Strategy Heroes Bundle

Adventure Heroes Bundle Bundle Stars wraps up five days of heroic game deals with a trio of collections under three bucks for a limited time. Everything’s good in this digital buffet, so help yourself to a backlog-worthy set from one, two, or all three deals before they disappear. Just click on those banners above and prepare to be transported to each sale page where you can check out each deal and see what’s what. I won’t tell you which one to buy, but 24 games for about nine bucks is a solid deal any day of the seek (so you should get all three deals and perhaps the other two while you’re at it. But I didn’t tell you that).

RymdResa: Restful Random Roguelike Inbound August 20

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“We didn’t want to create yet another space-shooter, with laser-beams and exploding aliens. In RymdResa the game play is peaceful, passive and relaxing.”

 

That’s a nice, bold statement from Stockholm, Sweden-based Morgondag, a pair of developers (Vendela Carlberg Larson and Kim Gunnarsson) whose upcoming game RymdResa sure fulfills on that quote quite well. With the space simulation sub-genre packed to the gills with demanding 4X and real-time strategy games focused on deep exploration and and blowing fleets of ships into space dust, RymdResa is a mellower mood trip that’s a laid back welcome from all that blasting. That’s not to say you won’t get blasted by something if you’re careless, mind you.


 

As you’ll see in the videos above and below, the game’s retro scan line look and lovely sound mix (by Tom Croke and Pat Jacobs) are blended quite well and there’s even a computer-y voice (Eric Reed) that talks to you as you slip through the stars like a more friendly (but abstract) HAL 9000. The gameplay in the build so far is interesting, mixing arcade-like controls that are easy to pick up with a (so far) intentionally languid mission structure that has you collecting resources and “spacepoints” and avoiding trouble while trying not to run out of said resources. There are nods to Computer Space, Asteroids, and other classics, but the game’s mix of poetic quotes as you drift about and discover are quite interesting.


 

Thanks to a busy set of things to do this past week, I’ve only spent about a half hour or so with the game so far. But I’ll be going back in to this deep space delight for more because what I’ve played so far has been quite compelling. That half hour got me close to two years in space, two levels and a near destroyed ship when I floated too close to the sun after dinging off a stray asteroid. Memo to self (and other players): RED outlines and highlights around objects mean stay away or else. While currently Steam-bound on August 20, 2015, the game is also set to land on Xbox One, Wii U, iPad and Linux at some point in the future. I’ll be wanting to check out the Wii U version just because that console is getting a load of cool indie love but people seem to be ignoring those games for some reason.

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I’ll run a big 40+ screenshot gallery over the weekend. I’d do it NOW, but I need to tackle some personal stuff. I’d do it sooner than the weekend, but I think I’ll be spending a lot of time in space before that with a nice little indie game you absolutely need to play. Back with more in a bit.

More Arrows In The Air Land Hard This Fall

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Arrow Video’s North American assault on the senses continues courtesy of US distributor MVD Entertainment Group with September and October’s picks guaranteed to get film collectors and genre fans snapping up each of these new releases. Carlo Lizzani’s 1967 spaghetti western Requiescant is first up. Coming to Blu-Ray/DVD September 22, the film is a somewhat obscure revenge tale also known as Kill and Pray. Next up is the 1985 slasher flick, The Mutilator, one of those films you’ll be watching from halfway under the couch if you’re squeamish. I haven’t seen this one since it came out back then, so it’ll be interesting to find out if it still get me like it did in that dingy theater I caught it in.

Go blindfold the kids and family pet(s) now. Below the jump are some flicks not for the kiddies at all! Continue reading