Review: Nightmare at Noon (1988)

Home, James

So, if good guys wear black, I guess, uh…

NAN.BR.Cover.72dpiWhile it’s absolutely packed to the hilt with stunts, thrills, and explosions galore (and how!), Nico Mastorakis’ 1988 flick Nightmare at Noon isn’t exactly the brain food of action movies. In fact, if you go in expecting even a decent plot to speak of, your brain may beat you somewhat senseless about two minutes in and turn itself off so it can enjoy the wild ride without you gargling on about what small amount of plot there is. Basically, if you miss the opening credits, there goes the story, and there’s not much there to begin with (and even less if you’re looking).

All you need to know is a secret scientific agency (or not so secret, as they roll around in two black custom vans with their agency’s name on them!) has chosen a small US town to experiment with some nefarious goings-on and it’s up to a handful of gun-totin’ tourists and local heroes to make things right.  So you get Wings Hauser, Bo Hopkins, and Kimberly Beck starring with George Kennedy and Kimberly Ross versus that town full of newly green-blooded raging townspeople and a bunch of well-armed bad guys. A strangely silent Brion James kicks the flick off as the mysterious Albino, but despite all his evil machinations, his total lack of dialog actually hurts the film despite the nearly non-stop action that follows. I gather he was paid enough for bleaching his hair and wearing some contact lenses to make him look albino and decided to charge by the word for dialog or something?

(Thanks, ScreamFactoryTV!)

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HUNTDOWN: It’s Been A Long Time Coming, But It’s Been Worth The Wait

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Here comes trouble, and there goes your free time!

Way back in 2016, I saw a trailer for a wild little 2D game from an independent developer and I was pretty excited because it captured a few nostalgic vibes from both some older games and plenty of crazy action flicks:

(Thanks, Easy Trigger!)

Skip ahead to the next year, and the game went through some changes that made it look even better. I was able to sign up and test out an in-progress version on Steam, and it was pretty great even though some parts were in need of a little refining (as any work in progress would – a demo of a game is NOT a full game experience). Even with the parts that needed work, what was there was such a huge improvement that it was clearer this was going to be even more amazing when it was completed:

(Thanks, Coffee Stain!)

Now (well, tomorrow), the final game is ready for its closeup and wow, does it look too nuts or what? “Hold on to your butts!”, as the saying goes:

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State(s) of Emergency

 Ah, memories…

Since 2002, whenever I read or hear the words ‘State of Emergency’, my brain automatically triggers a little earworm of a title tune from the game of the same name released back then. It can’t be helped either, and goodness knows, I’ve tried hard not to get this song starting up in my head when those words come into eye or ear reach (I guess this video may trigger some out there? Or at least get them a case of earworms):

(Thanks, PAL!)

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Timely, I guess?

Back at that time, I worked in a small independent game shop here in NYC and that game was one we ran as a demo for a few weeks on and off.That attract mode is what, two minutes and nine seconds long? Imagine what that does to one if you’re watching that intro a few hours a day. Would anyone like a slice of baked earworm? It’s quite tasty and there’s more than enough to go around.

Rockstar Games (which was about a 10-15 minute walk away from the store) was coming off a rather massive 2001 with the release of DMA Designs’ popular and controversial multi-million selling Grand Theft Auto 3 and many gamers were expecting State of Emergency (and there goes that tune again in my head) to be the next big thing from the studio. It both was and wasn’t, but an explanation is in order here. By the way,  I liked the game overall, warts and all.

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Review: Daymare 1998 (PS4)

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This is not the “Shall We Dance?” number from The King and I, by the way. Halp!!

DaymereWhile it’s not trying to completely reinvent the wheel (I mean, come on, look at the title!), a few very cool modern elements seep into Invader Studios’ and publisher Destructive Creations’ homage to Capcom’s much beloved Resident Evil series as well as genre films of the 90’s, Daymare 1998 ($39.99) that make it work despite the game sometimes working against the player. Assorted undead-like creeps, puzzles galore, and plenty of tense thrills are all here for those who like the survival horror genre, and while boss fights against too bullet-spongy enemies can be a pain, overall, I found the game quite nostalgic and appealing, warts and all.

First and foremost, some of the controls are needlessly complicated. There’s a basic walk (Left Analog) and light jog (L1) for its heroes, but running flat out requires stamina and pressing/holding two buttons and you can only sprint for a brief time before that stamina depletes. Reloading has what, three modes? Granted, there’s a neat touch of realism in the optional the need to load ammo into clips, then clips into guns. But it also adds a bit too much tension in areas with multiple monsters lurking and the need to switch weapons out in a fast way (there’s a human-like delay here and not a game-like rapid switch). Oddly, boss fights just cough up spare ammo clips for you because trying to search for empty clips and spare ammo during them would be too brutal.

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“Knock-Knock…” Uh, there’s no door, pal – just some room to RUN LIKE HELL.

The Dick Tracy-style system device worn on one wrist is nice looking and all, but can get a little too complicated if you don’t take time to check out all the things you can do with item combinations and get with the crafting. Being very methodical helps here, as well as realizing the game’s throwback nature means it’s going to feel a bit intentionally dated in some aspects, like the arcane save system (there’s no save anywhere feature). Well, if you hoard too much, there are also item boxes located in the darndest places that can force a bit of paranoid backtracking if you suddenly realize you might need space for something extra along your route or need to drop items but want to store them. Okay, perhaps that’s more my hoarding nature in games, but you know what I mean.

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Yakuza 0 – Your PC & Xbox One Are Going On A Trip

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Well, you can tell by the way he uses his walk…

 

 

The only reasons yours truly didn’t request a PC or Xbox review copy of Sega’s outstanding Yakuza 0 for myself was I’ve played the excellent PS4 version already, don’t currently own an Xbox One, and hell, my backlog on Steam just went under the two-year mark a few days ago, only to go way back up thanks to a few new games popping into my inbox which need to be reviewed. Oh, and I finally just got an Epic Games Store account because I’be been offered a few codes for games exclusive to that store. Everything eventually gets a review, but pacing them out by myself is an issue. I’m all for cloning, by the way.

Anyway, if you’ve got Microsoft’s all in-one wonder console ™ and haven’t bought or played this yet, go do so. It’s only $19.99 or FREE if you subscribe to Xbox’s Game Pass Ultimate. Yakuza 0 is an immense game that’s rewarding from a few story and gameplay elements, you’re not going to complete it quickly, and there are way too many things to hold your interest through the game. You’ll see, and if I don’t see you around after that recommendation, I know how to not reach you because you’ll be busy for some time. Trust me on this, as I’m buried in the fantastic Yakuza Remastered Collection on PS4 and yipes, those are three long games to replay, but the improvements are well worth it.

-GW

Samurai Shodown: We’ll Take A Slice On Switch, Please

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A farewell to arms and a few other body parts…

Well, it’s here and Samurai Shodown has landed on Nintendo’s Switch in fine form. Those who pre-ordered the physical version via online sources or walk in to Best Buy or GameStop to buy the game before March 25, 2020 are getting two nice goodies, a free controller skin (seen below) and a digital copy of Samurai Shodown 2, a port from the Neo Geo Mini.

Digital pre-orders just get the Neo-Geo game because the process of teleportation won’t be figured out until about… (checks year 2100 textbook) the year 2093, but even then it’ll be a highly flawed process and only available through some sort of Amazon Prime Plus Plus Premium service, with a 20% success rate. In English, you might want to go out and get some brief exercise to pick up a copy of the game much sooner. Good cardio if you sort of double-time it there and back, I hear. Well, read this post first, of course – I need the traffic before you go out in it.

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Zombie Army 4 Launch Trailer: You Bought A Bigger Boat, Right?

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Hmmm… this could be trouble…

Rebellion is maybe going to cause a rebellion at retail and on digital stores and their up to 4-player Zombie Army 4: Dead War will be the cause. I do need to play it at some point, as back on PS3, the series has always been a sort of reliable insanity for me where you know what you’re getting into from the title and can’t expect anything more than a developer having a bit of gory fun with the subject manner in whatever ways they can. I like that sort of thing because reinventing the wheel isn’t what’s intended, but a new set of spinning rims sure will do you good. Well, that and the zombie sharks in Dead War, which I have some (not so) important questions about, have me quite curious.

To wit:

Are they German-speaking sharks? If so, can players use “Hallo! Bitte beiß mich nicht!” as a command? If they’re undead, does this mean they’ll follow you even more tirelessly because a tired shark who stops swimming will die (allegedly) while a zombie shark will pretty much come at you forever? Am I overthinking this a wee too much? Stuff like that. I’ll wait kindly for the developer to come up with a few answers, but here’s the trailer below the jump to keep you warm while hell freezes over before I get my answers.

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Rustler: Get Medieval in This Hilarious GTA-Inspired Game

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Yep. This needs to be played for this reference alone.

 

First of all, when I went to install the Rustler Alpha demo on Steam, I was greeted with Grand Theft Horse as a title on the game installer, which was magnificent. Indie developer Justus Games knows which side of the bread their butter in on. Second of all, for an alpha, the game is coming together pretty well. It’s just up on Kickstarter now and is there waiting for you to pledge or the drunken sot with the sword in the banner above may come for you. He’ll be right up your alley if you’re not right up his, as it were. That alley will be dark ad have a few rodents in it, most likely.

Gameplay is much the original Grand Theft Auto and GTA 2 isometric top down stuff but rendered in a nicer game engine with some lusher environments. As with the aforementioned games, there’s humor in all the mayhem you cause and yes, the old ultra-violence means it’s not a child’s game for sure. But there’s that nifty cathartic thing going on here that just works because you get immediate results from your attempts at criminal behavior (or, assorted guards and villagers don’t just stand by while you crime away), so expect to fight as you run run or ride a swiped horse away from trouble, or cause more pain for as long as you can. It’s your choice, but the lead’s character’s seemingly perpetually drunken state can cause him to fall off a horse or otherwise be dismounted.

 

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Review: Terminator: Resistance (PS4)

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Hi!  I’m Darryl and this is my other brother, Darryl and we’ll be killing you in a sec…

TRcoverWell, isn’t this a big surprise?

Reef Entertaiment‘s shockingly good Terminator: Resistance ($59.99, PS4) is the best game in the long running series of games based on the franchise since the one-two punch of Bethesda’s two very solid PC games, The Terminator: Future Shock (1995) and SkyNET (1996). What’s so astonishing is this new game’s developer Teyon is responsible for 2014’s RAMBO: The Video Game, which was raked over the coals critically for a number of issues, with being a simple rail shooter where movement was automatic and had too many QTE (Quick Time Event) sequences and some technical woes some of the biggest problems.

The Polish developer (who also has a branch in Japan) has been around since 2006 making a number of games for multiple platforms and to me, they’re a tiny bit like Cauldron, the Bratislava-based developer who made a number of journeyman-like titles across multiple platforms for a few publishers over the years. Whatever budget they had to work with here, Teyon really took the Terminator license seriously, going back to the first two films for inspiration and knocking it out the park as a result. Interestingly enough, there’s a even a Bethesda Softworks touch in the interaction scenes with other characters as choices you make affect a few outcomes and even the lock picking mini-game is lifted from the later Bethsoft-made Fallout games.

 

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Maneater: Watch Out, Folks – It’ll Chew You Up This May

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“HEY YOU KIDS, GET OFFA MY LAWN!!

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Please don’t sing that “Baby Shark” song here.

Way back in 2006, developer Appaloosa Interactive and publisher Majesco released JAWS Unleashed, an officially licensed game that had players take on the role of the shark in an open-world adventure set 30 years after the original film. While it suffered from some camera issues and a few glitches, the game was quite a guilty pleasure many players liked for its shark-driven bloody violence and some pretty wry humor in all the M-rated mayhem caused.

Me, I have both the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions of that older game here, plus an Xbox review build from Majesco that I got at a press event for the game, which was a ton of fun to play, warts and all. The Xbox versions are buried in a pile of games here, but I did locate a sealed PS2 version I should crack open at some point (I’d reviewed the Xbox version many moons ago on a new defunct website).

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I don’t think a bigger boat will help much, to be honest.

 

Flash forward to 2020, and developer Tripwire Interactive has what looks like a much meatier game called Maneater coming this May and man, does it bring back some good and gory memories.

Here’s a somewhat tongue in cheek trailer to ogle:

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