Review: SEGA AGES Thunder Force AC (Switch)

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Memories, Golden Space Roast Edition…

1990’s Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis game, Thunder Force III was such a great and very challenging entry in the series that it got an enhanced arcade version in Japan called Thunder Force AC, which has now come back as the latest SEGA AGES release on Nintendo Switch ($7.99). It’s a game I used to play along with a ton of other space shooters on the Genesis as well as developer M2’s second enhanced port of a Thunder Force title (Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar) that’s a must-buy.

You get a flawless version of the game with the new ability to play with three other ships from other titles in the series (you’ll need to play a bit to get to three of them), and the game is another example on a fine example of M2 making a good game even more stellar on Nintendo’s platform. At the time it was released, the game was quite the spectacle with its parallax scrolling, some fancy warping effects, plus a few other neat visual tricks. Oh, and the music was (and is) perfection and thankfully, you get a music player function in this version.

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Review: SEGA AGES: G-LOC Air Battle

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That cornfield chase in the North By Northwest remake gets a little too action heavy…

sega-ages-g-loc-air-battle-switch-description-charI remember walking into an arcade back around 1990 or 1991 and seeing a new machine added to the site’s already impressive selection. It was a large sit-down G-LOC Air Battle cabinet that had a line of about 10 or so people waiting to play. That machine looked like a super-deformed airplane and had speakers on the seat that faced forward, which helped mostly shut out sounds from the arcade save for music and sounds inside the cabinet.

Most impressive was the movement, as the machine would tilt forward, backward, left, and right based on what the player was doing with their plane. The game also featured a red button that shut the movement off if one was feeling the need for speed and all those motions were getting too much to handle. Think of a LOT less painful to ride mechanical bull with a kill switch and you sort of get the idea. Personally, I never saw anyone hit that button, but it did make for a great and safe addition if it was needed.

I didn’t find out about the even more impressively insane R-360 rotating cabinet version until a few years later when a friend played one while on vacation and showed me a few photos taken by his girlfriend where he was upside down or sideways in the machine’s cockpit. She later told me that was the one of the funniest things she ever saw and heard, as he was yelling and screaming a stream of expletives as soon as the machine went spinning, despite the seat belts and safety harness holding him tightly inside and the attendant nearby who helped him secure himself. He denied that screaming part for years, by the way.

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Random Film Of The Week: Predator 2

predator_2_ver1As sequels go, Predator 2 shouldn’t even work as well as it does. But here it is in all its Hollywood circa 1990 R-rated violent glory, still making me laugh both with and at it. Granted, you need a particular sense of humor to appreciate the film as a whole, as trying to pick it apart into chunks of good and bad ends up wrecking the work put into making it completely bonkers yet a total blast to sit down with for a spell.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t available for this sequel thanks to disagreements over his fee (something a little film called Terminator 2: Judgment Day would take care of forever), the film dropped his Dutch character and moves the setting ten years ahead to a sweaty 1997 Los Angeles where a heat wave and gang warfare lure in a new Predator for some urban hunting action. Inspired casting abounds here, with Danny Glover leading the way as Lieutenant Michael Harrigan, a not quite by the book cop who, like others in these sorts of action flicks, has unconventionally heroic means of getting the job done. Reuben Blades, Maria Conchita Alonso and Bill Paxton also play cops working with Harrigan as Jamaican and Colombian drug gangs blast each other as well as anyone that happens to get between them.

(Thanks, Forever Horror!) 

When the bulk of the Colombian gang is wiped out in what looks like a ritualistic sacrifice, Harrigan and his team immediately suspect the Jamaicans. But the loss of one of his team reveals there’s a third party at work here and Harrigan sets out to get to the bottom of things and possibly get some revenge in the process. Little does he realize that the bottom of things is very literally under the steaming streets in the form of a trophy packed alien ship. Continue reading

Spring Cleaning: I Want(ed) My MTV. Good Thing I Didn’t Get It, I Suppose…

MTVA ha ha and ha. I’d forgotten all about my failed attempt to get my 15 minutes of fame way back then. I actually don’t recall exactly what the introduction I sent to MTV was, but I do remember it was partially illustrated, which probably got me this response. Not only did I forget my to put my phone number on that intro, I do believe I forgot to include the hand-drawn business card I’d made (which had my number on it). Oops. The handwriting below that was done well after the show had been cast when I was piling up all the rejection letters I’d ever gotten (most from assorted comic companies) at that point. think that was in 1996 or so, but it’s been a while since I poked through all that stuff. This popped up while going through and old portfolio, but I may dig up the rest one of these days and do a post on that.

Okay, I Need The Last Match On Blu-Ray/DVD. You Need It Too.

(Thanks, bigdumbgoon!) 

Thanks to the one two punch of The League of Dead Films‘ Professor Mortis (or maestro of daily ceremonies T.A. Gerolami) and a hilarious review over at Good Efficient Butchery, I now have a new “must-have” crap movie to track down. Hey, Martin Balsam and Ernest Borgnine are in it so how bad could it be, right? Those clips from The Last Match made my eyes check with my brain to be sure I wasn’t hallucinating and nope, I wasn’t). Granted, this won’t replace an ACTUAL good football movie, but I know what I’d be watching instead of the Super Bowl next year, that’s for sure…

I’ll admit now that it’s a sad passion of mine, these junky, badly made Grade-Z action flicks. But hell – they’re only a tiny part of what I watch, they keep me off the streets and they’re perfectly legal to own (well, provided they’re not bootlegged), so leave me alone or else I’ll bite ya. Besides, overdosing every so often on really bad films isn’t a harmful thing at all… unless you decide to use them as templates for a career (which would NOT be a very good thing). Anyway, the chances of this klunker getting a Criterion release are ZERO, but I bet the fine folks Shout! Factory just might be able to negotiate something and get this on a disc at some point. I’m not into online petitions, but I’ll sign one if someone goes to the trouble of whipping it up to get interest in this stinker.

Random Film of the Week(end): A Shock to the System (1990)

(Thanks, FirstLookStudios!) 

A Shock to the SystemI’d bet anyone reading this who has held any sort of job where they felt (or feel) underutilized, under appreciated or have been passed over for some sort of award or reward has felt that certain twinge deep in the back of their minds. You want revenge for that wrong done to you and for the briefest of moments, a flash of some sort of violent or not so violent payback pops into your head and is gone like the wind before you can dwell on it. Or (in real life) you just make the rest of the day a complete pout-fest until you can slog it on home and bury your sorrows in a quart of Cherry Garcia with a few shots of Disaronno for good measure.

Well, dear reader, drop that spoon and stumble over here for a spell. I’ve got your back here. A Shock to the System is your movie selection for this evening. Director Jan Egleson’s great little 1990 black comedy is a showcase for Michael Caine’s laid back, brooding and maliciously dry portrayal of Graham Marshall, a NYC ad executive with time (and a few people) to kill after he’s passed over for a promotion. Oh, it’s not as grim as it sounds, ladies and gents. In fact, I bet this film will give a few of you all the wrong ideas…

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E3 2013: Castle of Illusion Trailer: From Genesis to a Remake Full of Revelations…

If you’re ancient enough to remember the Sega Genesis version of this classic Disney game, you’re probably pretty pleased to see it back and looking pretty amazing. In a way, it’s too bad this is going to be a digital download only release, as I could see this doing spectacular on a disc with a ton of bonus features, the original game and perhaps (as it’s a Disney property) Capcom’s upcoming DuckTales Remastered just to get people slipping in puddles of drool as they ran to their nearest game shop to pick up their copies. I know I’d run over a pack of old ladies with puppies if they were in my way. OK, I’d more likely leap over them or run around them than stomp on a few bunions. Those old ladies can be pretty spry and those swinging canes and yapping dogs kind of hurt when swung at one’s head a few too many times…

Castle of Illusion Behind the Scenes: Disney & Sega Stir Up That Nostalgic Stew Just Fine…

Between this remake of the Sega Genesis classic and Capcom’s spectacularly remastered DuckTales coming to gamers, I’m almost ready to forgive Disney for it’s transgressions regarding killing off Lucasarts (although it remains to be seen if their new track for future Star Wars games and content will be as successful as they’re thinking and wanting it to be under new development hands). They have the game’s original director aboard as an adviser, the in-progress work looks gorgeous and if this one is as fun and challenging as the original, there’s going to be a new legion of gamers playing this.  Er… as well as an older generation hogging that console for too long and getting dirty looks from the wee ones who might want to play what dad and or mom is waxing nostalgic over.

Say… If you’re one of those aging hipsters, just break down and buy your own console already, I say. You can let your kids have fun without pretending to show them those classics and somehow never letting them actually PLAY the games…

VG 101: Wizardry 6, 7 & 8 Hit GOG.com – Your “Homework” for the Year Is Here!

In the words of the great philosophers… FINALLY! One of the most requested classic PC games on gog.com has been the Wizardry series and today, the company has dropped some big news by releasing digital versions of the final three chapters at a great price point. I’m gathering the first five parts (which don’t need to be played to enjoy these three games) will be coming soon, but for now, a few hundred hours of gameplay should tide you over for a while (and you automatically pass the class here if you finish these before the end of the year). Feel free to dance to that disco music in the video above – I know I was when I got this news. OK, before you keel over from those flashing lights and colors above, here’s some Wizardry 8 gameplay (sans disco effects):

Anyway, Wizardry 6 & 7 are ONLY $5.99, and Wizardry 8 is $9.99 – Grab them all and I’ll see you in a few weeks or so. Or months. I won’t mind if you don’t drop by so much because I know where you’ll be…

Shout Factory Thaws Out 1990’s Captain America (And Its Camp Awesomeness)…

I remember seeing this at a convention and being floored at how cheesy some parts were but overall, it being really fun it was to watch. Cap with those wings on his head straight out of the comic book, battling the Red Skull and a bunch of Nazi creeps worked well for what it was, but of course, Marvel buried this budget flick for ages soon afterward. It’s actually not bad at all and LIGHT YEARS better than the terrible TV series that ran for a short time in 1979. Then again, it seems that Cap has gotten better with age in terms of his film and TV appearances. The most recent flick was sheer fun from start to finish and even the video game kinda-sorta based on that flick wasn’t half bad, warts and all. Anyway, if you loved that new Cap flick and want to check out one that’s in the same vein, defintely hit up Shout Factory’s site and grab this comic book flick if you like your heroes imperfect yet still able to put a boot up the butt of the bad guys