Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

Back in 1989, a video game came along and changed the way we view games forever. Disney and Capcom took us on a journey to the land of Duckburg, but that was only the beginning. The real adventure was soon to follow that took us everywhere from the Amazon all the way too the Moon itself. All of this while singing that all too familiar tune.

Life is like a hurricane
Here in Duckburg
Race cars, lasers, aeroplanes
It’s a duck blur
You might solve a mystery
Or rewrite history

DuckTales, Woo-oo!
Everyday they’re out there making
DuckTales, Woo-oo!
Tales of daring do bad and good luck tales, Woo-oo!

D-D-D-danger, watch behind you
There’s a stranger out to find you
What to do?
Just grab onto some

DuckTales, Woo-oo!
Everyday they’re out there making
DuckTales, Woo-oo!
Tales of daring do bad and good luck tales, Woo-oo!
Not pony tails, or cotton tails, no
DuckTales, Woo-oo!

Now I’ve never played the original game on the NES, but I do know about DuckTales. This means that this remastered version of the original game is all new to me and I like it. The Disney fan in me enjoyed watching the television series back in the day featuring the adventures of Scrooge McDuck and the gang scouring the world for legendary treasure. There was also something else I’ve always wanted to do. That would be diving into a massive vault of coins just like Scrooge McDuck. Sadly, there’s no way to perform this act in real life, but I can live the fantasy here in DuckTales Remastered, and it’s awesome!

The first thing that impressed me with DuckTales Remastered are the high definition visuals. Everything from the characters to the jaw-dropping levels themselves look absolutely fantastic. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. All the original actors of the show are also back reprising their roles for the game giving voices to the characters during all the cutscenes. The overall atmosphere gives me the impression that I’m participating in an actual episode of the hit animated series. Now that is a real treat for fans like myself, because this takes the DuckTales experience to a completely new level.

Platforming is the name of the game here in DuckTales, and it’s well executed as Scrooge uses his cane as a pogo stock for jumping on enemies and completes some simple puzzle solving. Considering the fact that this is a Disney game, don’t expect DuckTales to be some easy romp even though it does follow the main 8-bit rule of “If you lose all your lives you must start over”. I would keep that in mind especially in boss battles. These battles can be a bit of chore since memorization of their attacks is needed for survival. Remember that less stress equals more fun.

Throughout my adventure I would come across random treasure chests randomly appearing out of nowhere containing health and other riches. Gems also sometimes appeared as I walked by. This just goes to show that wherever Scrooge McDuck walks money is sure to follow. As I collected the money I was able to spend it in the gallery mode where I can unlock concept art, music, and more showing the rich history of the game. I really like seeing how the game has evolved from it’s 8-bit beginnings to the current generation consoles.

DuckTales may be a near perfect port of the original game, but there is one area of concern that will have fans scratching their heads. This would have to do with the game’s length. The levels in DuckTales Remastered have been extended in some areas, because the original NES game didn’t take very long to finish. This new version of DuckTales can be finished within a couple of hours which might have some fans wondering if the nostalgia trip is worth the $14.99 price tag. I think that some won’t care, because it’s DuckTales. However, others will probably wait for a sale.

As a trip down memory lane, DuckTales Remastered shines with it’s high definition visuals, and making me feel like I’m in an episode of the show. The platforming is fantastic, and at times can be quite challenging, but it’s not entirely frustrating. The game’s length may be it’s only setback, but it didn’t hold me back from buying it. Besides, it’s not very often that I get to “solve a mystery, or rewrite history!”

DuckTales, Woo-oo!

—————

Developer: Capcom, Disney, WayForward
Platform: PlayStation 3, PSN
Players: 1
Price: $14.99

Since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, the rumor mill dealing with anything from “A Galaxy Far, Far Away” was running at a feverish pitch. Not long after Disney signed the paperwork they announced a new Star Wars trilogy starting with Episode VII, directed by J.J. Abrams, releasing in the summer of 2015. While that news was exciting, there was a tremor in the Force that was felt by the fans about a larger Star Wars presence in the Disney theme parks. It was time for answers to all the burning questions, so Star Wars fans all over the world flocked to the Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA. Sadly, there must have been a large Sith presence clouding our vision, because all we got was a tease.

The first bit of news that had fans upset was the lack of Episode VII news. Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn started to tell fans what they already knew about the movie in terms of the director, screenwriter, musical score by John Williams, and release. Then the bad news came. Horn said “I do wish I could tell you more, but…” all of a sudden the “Imperial March” theme echoed through the building, and then came the words that nobody wanted to hear from Horn’s mouth. “There are dark forces. And they are watching.” No surprise here as audience booed in response to that announcement. Not even Marvel movie news, or the presence of Angelina Jolie promoting the upcoming Maleficent movie, could save the disaster that is no Star Wars news.

There is still hope. What about Star Wars Land?

With the Star Wars theme park attraction rumors exploding in the past few months on numerous websites, the big question amongst fans was what can we expect with this upcoming Star Wars Land at both Disneyland in Anaheim and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando. Rumors centered around a Mos Eisley Cantina, speeder bikes on Endor, podracing, a walkthrough of the Millenium Falcon, and even a dueling indoor roller coaster featuring X-Wings and Tie Fighters. Disney had the chance to blow the roof off, and give fans something to cheer about besides a new movie. Unfortunately, all we got was a bunch of crates.

Orange Harvest. This should ring a bell with Star Wars fans when Lucasfilm was shooting Return of the Jedi, and code named it “Blue Harvest” just to keep fans off guard. Even though these crates were nothing more than hollow props, each of these crates did give clues of what to possibly expect while one of these crates contained “top secret plans”. Those “plans” however, were just a bit out of reach of fans to see what’s in store in the near future, but rest assured the Imagineers are hard at work and construction of this technical marvel will begin very soon. We know that once the walls go up Disney will no longer be able to hide their “Potter-swatter” from the masses.

A weekend full of hype was nothing more than just a false hope. We may have received no new Star Wars news at the Disney D23 Expo, so that means that the wheels of the rumor mill express will continue to turn for just a little while longer. I’m sure that one year from now we’ll know more than just rumors as Episode VII draws closer to release, and Star Wars Land will be off the ground and running for it’s eventual opening. Until that time let’s have faith in those who will help bring the saga to life in ways we’ve never seen before, because we all know that Disney won’t Jar Jar these projects.

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Yes, the picture says it all about my back to work blues

Wow, it’s been almost four months since I was last laid off. I can’t believe it’s been that long. Summertime is in full swing, and I’ve been enjoying my lengthy vacation here at home. Movies, theme parks, video games, and having my niece and nephew here for some fun in the sun has been great. However, all good things have to come to an end. This means that I need to start thinking about what I’m going to do about going back to work, because unemployment isn’t going to last forever.

Working as a union electrician can be a tough life. Sometimes the going is good when work is in abundance especially when I was working at the nuke plant in Port St. Lucie. Of course with all the good comes the bad when things get slow. A partial solution to that mess would be for me to head out on the road. I’ve , found some small jobs in Georgia and Alabama, but these are only temporary solutions just to pad my bank account so that I don’t have to worry about going broke. I will say that I enjoy the freedom of working on the road, but I’d rather be home instead so that I can be close to family as well as sort out my personal life.

Part of me wishes that I made a career in the video game industry reviewing games and stuff. Unfortunately that didn’t happen so I need to think more realistically and constructively. So what are my options? Well here’s a few options that have been floating around.

OPTION 1: Fort Lauderdale
Well it looks like a fall outage at the nuke plant at Port St. Lucie is coming up. It’s not like the long outages that I’ve had in the past, but for a chance to work near home for 2-3 months would be nice. Sadly, the company may be only looking for 35 guys to man the job which makes this a longshot for me since I’m near the bottom of the book. Maybe they can add a stipulation for badging within in the last six months which would be right up my alley. There’s also work coming up at the Ft. Lauderdale International Airport and the Broward County Courthouse, but I’ve heard those rumors for the last two years and nothing has happened yet.

OPTION 2: Orlando
Disney’s D23 Expo is coming up next month. At the convention they’re expected to announce a full overhaul to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Star Wars Land, Monstropolis, and Cars Land) as well as the Avatar Land project for Animal Kingdom. These projects are expected to last at least three years which would give me some stability as well as being close to home. Disney always hires union contractors which is good news for me. The bad news is that the pay scale kind of sucks, but I can still make a good profit in the long run. The big question however is when this will all start.

OPTION 3: South Carolina
I haven’t done any work in the Charleston area so an initial signing of their book is needed. I’m hearing about a Google facility which will be a long term job for up to a year. A couple of guys from my local plan on heading there and asked me to tag along. Sounds like some good work as long as the books aren’t  jammed with names and hurricane season misses the coast. The other bad news is that I won’t be able to pick up my PlayStation 4 on launch day. I have it paid off so it looks like someone else will have to pick it up for me and I’ll bring it back to Charleston after Thanksgiving.

OPTION 4: Alabama
Ok, this is the worst case scenario due to the fact that there won’t be any new jobs coming until 2014 at the nuke plant in Athens. Two outages are planned in February and in October. Chances of me snagging those jobs if I have nothing else for the rest of this year are very good, but waiting for these opportunities to come up is not a good idea because it’s a drain on my bank account. I need something before that so here’s hoping it doesn’t come down to this.

Well, those are my options. What do I do? at least I have some time to figure it all out. Here’s hoping for the best. Also if anyone is looking for an editor for their gaming site let me know.

With the release of Monsters Inc. Pixar proved that they were more than just a one trick pony with the resounding success of Toy Story. Monsters Inc. wasn’t just a movie for kids. Adults like me loved it as well. It was a brilliant movie filled with well paced humor along with a heartfelt story. Now Pixar felt that it was time to head back. Back to the day when Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan first met. College! Welcome to Monsters University where monsters truly learn how to scare along with doing all the other things that college is known for.

Monsters University has a lot in common with movies including The Internship and Revenge of the Nerds. It’s your typical underdog movie where a group of outcasts find a way to win despite overwhelming odds. Nothing special. Hollywood has been making these type of movies for decades. These types of movies are quite predictable making the outcome rather unentertaining, however Monsters University finds ways to keep the pace going with good humor as well as a nod or two to the original movie making me say “Hey, I remember that.”

One thing that really bothers me, especially with prequels, is when certain details are not apparently accurate according to the original movie. The Star Wars prequels had some pretty noticeable inaccuracies making the prequels conflict with the original trilogy. There is a minor inference here in Monsters University dealing with how Mike and Sully first met. In Monsters University, we are led to believe that Mike and Sully first met in college, however in Monsters Inc. it is said that they’ve known each other since the fourth grade. C’mon Pixar, you need to check your source material. Even though this is a minor nitpicking there was no need to get lazy and pull a George Lucas.

While some moments in Monsters University are rather predictable there is a moment where the movie really shines. This would be around the last 20-30 minutes. These ending moments go away from the underdog story and focus in on the friendship of the two main characters as they come to grips with reality. This is where the heartfelt moments really kick in as well as a great scene while in one of the magical doors where they both find themselves in a big jam. Of course there’s also a cameo appearance by a popular Monsters Inc. character that’s “always watching.”

Overall, Monsters University is a blast for all ages. The movie is geared more towards the kids, but adults will still find plenty of humor and nostalgic references towards Monsters Inc. The chemistry between Billy Crystal and John Goodman is fantastic. Steve Buscemi also does a great job once again as Randall. As a fan of the first movie, I found Monsters University enjoyable even though it’s not as good as the thrilling original. With that said I still plan to purchase Monsters University on blu-ray.

Sega mascots…start your engines! Sonic and the gang are back again with more racing madness. However these new races are no longer restricted to land. These races now take to the seas and into the air raising a whole new challenge as well as bringing in a much needed change of atmosphere. This is no longer just racing. This is racing…transformed and it’s a blast as I make my way to the finish. I played the heck out of the original game as I drifted through the turns and used a few well placed weapons on the competition as I took the checkered flag. This new Sega racer now takes gaming to the next level and I can’t get enough of all the fun.

PROS:

Not Watered Down With Sonic
The original game was filled with so much Sonic in terms of characters and stages that had me wondering if Sega forgot it’s own history. I cringed anytime I had to use Big the Cat in the original racer and even in Sonic Adventure. Transformed now consolidates the meaningless members of the Sonic cast and brings in more Sega franchise characters including Gilius Thunderhead from Golden Axe, Vyse from Skies of Arcadia, and even Joe Musashi from Shinobi. Even the stages I raced on are not watered down with Sonic and focus more on the company’s rich history which is a huge plus in my book as I fly off the aircraft carrier in the Afterburner stage, or avoiding the dragons in Panzer Dragoon.

Smooth Transformations
When I heard about the idea of transforming vehicles the first thing that popped into my head was “Oh great! Here comes the cheap gimmick.” I thought that this idea of transforming vehicles would come off as rather cheap, but I was wrong. It actually works great. None of the transformations feel “forced.” In fact each transformation works rather smoothly as I moved into different phases of the race. They even have that transforming sound almost like the Transformers themselves. There was a moment in the game where I transformed from land to air and I head the sound and a moment of silence came into play as I was flying through the air and for some strange reason I started singing “You Got The Touch” from the Transformers movie. Sorry, I was just in the moment there, but it was pretty cool.

Fun Multiplayer
Like any cart racing game multiplayer is definitely needed. The multiplayer component of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is absolutely brilliant. I had so much fun racing online with a wide variety of players as we traded paint, hit each other with weapons and all-star moves, and made our way to the finish line. I had a lobby going for hours with nobody leaving as we raced on all the tracks (the ones I had unlocked at the time that is) and had a blast. The competitive atmosphere was great. It didn’t matter how good anyone was. It was all about the spirited competition, and most of all, having fun. Great online family style community where players are not cussing in your face like some other games.

CONS:

I Miss The Original Announcer
If there’s one thing I really liked in the first game it was the announcer. Not only did he give some play-by-play commentary, but he also had some witty remarks during the race which made the game fun and exciting. Lines including “Hey guys, wake me up when you decide to start racing” gave the game a certain sense of charm and I liked it. This new announcer is not like that in any way. Sure he’ll let you know that a certain character has gone “All-Star,” but that’s about it and that’s rather disappointing.

Danica Patrick?
It’s no surprise to me that this game would have special guest characters. Banjo-Kazooie was in the first game along with the ability to race as my Xbox 360 avatar. Now I have NASCAR star Danica Patrick and Disney‘s Wreck-It Ralph. Now I can understand the inclusion of Ralph because it really ties in with the movie where he jumped into different video game worlds so this makes sense. However, Danica Patrick does not. I would have to compare her appearance in this game to the Star Wars characters (Darth Vader, Yoda, and the Secret Apprentice) in Soul Calibur IV. Sure she’s a race car driver, but she just feels a little out of place considering the company she’s in.

IN CONCLUSION

Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed is a fun sequel to the original game. There’s so much Sega history packed into one game that any fan of the company will love. It really fits in as an entertaining break from my other racing games where I use real life cars and trucks. Transformed also has plenty of replay value beyond the single player racing so that I never got bored or fall into that rut of doing the same repetitive stuff. I’m sure that there’s plenty of DLC on the horizon with new characters and stages to help keep things interesting as well. If your a fan of everything Sega then you owe it to yourself to get this game.

Developer: Sega
Platform: Xbox 360
Players: 1-10 (online multiplayer)
Price: $39.99

Recently, I took my niece and nephew to the movies to see the latest Disney and Pixar movie Brave. Uh oh, a family movie in the summertime which means a typically loud movie theater filled with lots of kids (mostly from the summer camps who are being watched by a group of minimum wage camp counselors) along with the usual crying baby or two. I know it sounds like I’m painting a bad picture here, but honestly it wasn’t that bad, and the movie was pretty good too.

Brave tells the story of Merida, a princess who wants to change her fate. Throughout her life she was brought up by her mother to one day become a queen. This meant doing everything proper of a lady and no fun. Merida however just wanted to live her life to the fullest. She wanted to be independent and explore. Merida’s also one heck of an archer who can give Legolas from The Lord of the Rings a good run for the money. When time came that she had to choose a suitor for marriage, Merida wanted no part of it and decided to run away from it all. She then meets a witch…oops I mean wood carver, and makes a proposal to change her fate. Of course not everything goes as planned, but in typical Disney fashion you will get that happy ending.

Other than the amazing computer graphics and scenery, what I really enjoyed about Brave was the main character Merida (voiced by Boardwalk Empire’s Kelly Macdonald). You don’t usually see a female lead in a Pixar movie. Unlike most Disney princesses she is strong willed and more independent than the others. I also enjoyed the triplets who brought all the comedy to the movie with their over the top antics.

While the movie is fun, not everything was great. The problem I had with Brave is the fact that most of the movie was practically given away through the countless amounts of TV spots. You knew just about everything that was going to happen with barely any surprises making Brave pretty predictable. The only real surprise being the animated short La Luna which played before the movie which was nice.

Other than the predictability, Disney’s Brave is a fun movie to see with the family. It’s got plenty of laughs, drama, and archery. The animation is brilliant, and the soundtrack featuring plenty of Gaelic tunes is amazing. It was a great time for myself and the kids at the movies. A piece of advice: try to go see the movie without all the loud and annoying summer camp kids in the theater.