Sunday, July 28, 2013

Four Tips for Building a Better Alien Video Game



In the many months since of the Aliens: Colonial Marines video game, Gearbox attempted to fix a few of its many errors in the game by releasing a stream of upgrade patches and downloadable content (DLC). The latest DLC, which was released on July 24th, has been titled Stasis Interrupted and it is a complete campaign that depicts how Corporal Dwayne Hicks escaped the grim fate that was depicted for him in Alien 3. Click here to see a post on the AvP Galaxy site that features video clips that cover the entire campaign.

From what I've seen in the video clips provided, Stasis Interrupted really is the kind of story that Alien franchise fans were hoping for when Colonial Marines was first announced. It's not a perfect story, but it's a significant improvement over the original game's plot and mechanics. The cast of characters in Stasis Interrupted are much more interesting than the ones in Colonial Marines, the Aliens behave more like the stealthy, calculating threats that they're supposed to be, and returning Aliens cast members Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen are given much more interesting things to do with their respective roles. Sadly, the fact that Gearbox has treated Stasis Interrupted as an insignificant afterthought by quietly releasing it six months after the release of the main game is just another line item to be added to the extensive list of everything Gearbox did wrong with its contribution to the Alien franchise. Click here to read my original post about the disastrous release of Colonial Marines.

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions that I have for game developers who will be developing whatever Alien games are commissioned in the future. For all of its improvements, Stasis Interrupted still treated the Aliens as nothing more than moving targets that are meant to be shot. Read on for four Alien attributes that game developers can utilize to make a superior video game experience.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Robotech Double Shot: Love, Live, Alive DVD Arrives this Week, Robotech/Voltron Comic Book Crossover in the Development



Some franchises can be very, very difficult to love. Take Robotech, for example. For an anime series from 1985 that many fans love, it can't seem to catch a break. The sequel series The Sentinels never got off the ground, and Robotech: The Movie wound up being a forgettable mess. The last major entry in the series' canon was Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, which was released on home video back in 2006. That particular release arrived with a bit of fanfare: It was preceded by a series of Robotech comic book miniseries by Wildstorm (a publishing imprint of DC Comics) that retconned a few key points in the saga to prepare for the new Shadow Chronicles addition. Adding to the hype was Toynami's release of a few expensive Shadow Chronicles vehicle and robot collectibles.

Shadow Chronicles finally arrived in the midst of the hype, promising a new series of adventures in the Robotech universe, and then ... nothing. No new animation, no new comic books, nothing. There were some releases for the Robotech role-playing game since 2006, but that meant nothing for fans who don't play RPGs. Now, after seven years, more Robotech stuff is on its way, although not all of it can be considered 'new'. Read on for a rundown on Robotech items that are scheduled for release for this week and beyond.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Beware the Batman Debuts on Cartoon Network



Last weekend was the premiere of Beware the Batman, the latest animated series about Batman that airs as part of Cartoon Network's DC Nation hour. It's the second DC superhero series to exclusively use CG animation, with the first being the recently cancelled Green Lantern.

When Beware the Batman was first announced by Cartoon Network, two details were emphasized: 1) that the supporting cast would include DC C-list heroine Katana and a revamped version of Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's butler; and 2) that the villains in the series would consist of newer and more obscure members of Batman's rogues gallery instead of classic and familiar foes such as the Joker, Mr. Freeze and Two-Face.

So, how does Beware the Batman fare with its interpretation of the Caped Crusader? The premiere episode is a mixed bag, with some signs of potential and a few nagging problems. Read on for my complete review.

Monday, July 8, 2013

V/H/S (2012) Movie Review



With V/H/S/2 set for national release this weekend, I figured that I should finally see the first movie in this fledgling found footage anthology franchise. I enjoy the horror subgenre of found footage, but anthology movies never appealed to me so I wasn't particularly interested in seeing V/H/S in spite of the buzz that it has generated in the horror fan community.

Regardless, I'll give V/H/S credit: It's the first film that attempted to combine the visual style of found footage with the anthology approach to horror. While the end result isn't a success, it has enough interesting ideas to whet the appetite of found footage fans for what a better film could do with the same approach. Read on for my complete review.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Future Remade: A Terminator Reboot is Scheduled for 2015



I consider myself to be a huge fan of the Terminator franchise; thus, I have been closely monitoring what is going on with the franchise and what it might do next. Way back when this blog first started in February 2010, I did a post about how the rights to the franchise were up for grabs to the highest bidder. Now, over three years later, Paramount has announced that the Terminator saga will be rebooted into a new, stand-alone trilogy of movies, with the first film scheduled for June 2015.

As with most reboots, the new Terminator trilogy could be just what the franchise needs to stir interest in a new generation of fans, or it could be the final nail in its coffin. Read on for some thoughts about the reboot--what could go wrong and why, as well as what needs to be done to get the Terminator series back on its cyborg feet.