Saturday, May 31, 2014

CLASSIC DOCTOR WHO: Season #2 The Crusade

We now return to a history lesson, about Richard The Lionheart and the Crusades.  That's whats kind of cool about this old series.  I've so far learned about Marco Polo, Aztec culture, and even the French Revolution.  Sadly, I have forgotten a lot about my world history so it's kind of cool a television show can give you a memory jog.

The TARDIS lands in Paelestine during the third Crusade.  Barbara, who has been getting the worst about getting captured lately, is once again kidnapped.  As The Doctor, Ian, and Vicki scramble to find out were she's at they come across a solider belonging to the army of King Richard of England.  They are promptly taken to the King where they plead with him for help in finding their friend. And so the search for Barbara begins.


It is important to note two episodes of this serial is missing, but they have been reconstructed.  It is constructed just like the Marco Polo series from Season #1, using still images with subtitles describing the action, along with original soundtrack. 

I really like the supporting actors in this one as they do a very good job.  Of note is guest stars Julian Glover (King Richard), and Bernard Kay(Saladin).  They play their characters with passion and emotion.  Giving a lot of credibility to the storyline about two powerful leaders on different sides of a religious war.  Barbara is given a lot of screen time and once again gives a very good performance.  Ian is knighted in the course of events, but isn't really given much to do with it.  The Doctor and Vicki as well really don't have much to do.  It's basically like the major characters had really minor parts.

But I still enjoyed the story for showing me a little bit about the Crusades and what they were about.  That's the miracle of Doctor Who my friends.  It takes you on a journey to another place, just like your there along side the Doctor and his companions.  Something this show stills does for me today.  Until next time.


If your looking for any of the reconstructions you can visit here: http://www.recons.com/

And for more information visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crusade_%28Doctor_Who%29

MOTHRA VS GODZILLA (1964)

When you talk about the rubber monsters of Japan, Mothra was the only one besides Godzilla I have ever heard of.  I remember seeing the original Mothra movie on TV years ago.  Of course,  the only things I remember about that movie was Mothra coming out of his cocoon and the two teeny tiny girls singing.  So when I seen that the next Godzilla movie on my list was Mothra vs Godzilla, I was really hoping for a really bang up battle royal.  Well you get that but not until almost the end of the movie.

The story starts out with some fisherman discovering a giant egg just floating into the ocean.  It seems that a recent hurricane knocked the egg out of the nest of the monster called Mothra.  A giant moth that like Godzilla, was born from all of the nuclear testing of the Japanese.  It doesn't take long before a businessman with way to much money and time on his hands, decide to turn the egg into giant tourist attraction.  Also during some construction work out on the coast, once again they accidentally release a very cranky Godzilla onto Japan once again.  And so once again Godzilla starts his rampage. 



Well, the biggest problem with this movie, is that it starts out so slow.  The beginning is mostly talking about the giant egg.  We are introduced to a reporter, a photographer, and a scientist.  These three end up basically recruiting Mothra to come kick Godzilla's ass.  As with most of the Godzilla movies I have seen so far, the best parts are at he end, when the monsters actually start fighting each other.  Maybe the biggest reason I didn't like the beginning is because of the bad english dub as well.  But even then that beginning was so just so blah.  But if you can hang in there until the end you shall be rewarded with some alright action.  Until next time.


For more information visit:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothra_vs._Godzilla


 

VOLTRON: Episode #7 The Lion Has New Claws

As I've stated before in earlier episodes, the dialog in Voltron was really written for kids in mind.  However, if you look deep and try to find it there is a story being told here. And a very good one.  This was actually a big leap forward compared to the silly Saturday morning cartoon story.  That's one reason why I love anime in general.  The very deep and involving story lines they present.  And I will always give credit to this series for getting me started in that genre.

It's a dark, foggy night at Castle Aries as the alarms sound through the night.  As Keith, Lance, and Pidge arrive at the castle control room, they discover that someone has taken the Blue Lion of  Voltron out of his lair.  The thief is none other than the Princess, who feels like she has to take Sven's place now that he's out of action.  Well her little test run doesn't go exactly as planned and the Lion is out of control.  So now the Voltron force has to stop the runaway Lion. 

Once more on Planet Doom, the evil King Zarkon and his witch Haggar send forth another monster to capitalize on  the fact there is only four pilots left.  You got give the bad guys credit, they are always moving ahead, no matter how many times they get defeated. 

My favorite part of this episode is the inclusion of Nanny, the well.....nanny for the princess when she was younger.  She's gruff, overprotective, and completely hilarious.  She literally pulls a spear out on the Space Explorers when she learn the Princess is trapped in the Lion.  She even puts the Princess over her knee and spanks her.  Once again characters and stories in this anime is what you make of it my friends.  But don't take my word for it.  Watch and let me know what you think.  Until next time.




VOLTRON: Episode #6 The Right Arm of Voltron


You know, its sad that back in the day, censorship really impacted how stories were told.  Could you imagine the impact Voltron would have had if certain things had been left in.  Take for instance Sven.  In this episode we find him in a life or death battle with the evil witch Haggar.  This brings about the character leaving the show but the emotional impact doesn't seem to be there in the American version.  It is just told that he's recovering off world in a hospital for (almost) the rest of the series, but in the Japanese version he is killed.  I know, this was suppose to be a show for kids but it would be awesome if we could get a director's cut of some of these episodes.  It's not the violence I'm after, it's just I like a little more adult themes in my animation I think.  But, hell when you was watching this as a kid, I guess all you wanted to see was Voltron kicking some RoBeast ass, so maybe that rant was totally pointless.


And so the episode begins with the newly risen Castle Aries, being attacked by Doom's robot forces once again. But now the Princess has some help as some of her people has come out of hiding. Seeing Voltron return has kindled a small sense of hope in the people.  Meanwhile, the witch Haggar sets in motion an evil plan to take out one of the Space Explorers to stop them from forming Voltron's robot form.  While hope has been restored, the war between Aries and Planet Doom is far from over.

And so we are left with a cliffhanger that blows a little kid from the 80's mind.  How will they ever use Voltron now?  Here's a hint, watch the ending credits.  Yes, I'm being a smart ass.  I liked this episode because it's like the early days of a plot twist in a kid's show.  There is a story in this show that adults can enjoy, you just have to look for it.  Watch the episode and tell me what YOU think about it.


Until next time.

And for more information visit:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voltron

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

CLASSIC DOCTOR WHO:Season 2--The Web Planet


 Really giant bugs, GROOVY!







Well, folks it's been a little while since I did a Doctor Who article. So I'm continuing where I left off, with the Season 2 serial The Web Planet.  Just after finally taking off from ancient Rome, the TARDIS is trapped in a invisible force that pulls them down onto a planet known as Vortis.  And once again our team of adventurers split up, as The Doctor and Ian go out to investigate how they have been trapped here.  This leaves the girls all by themselves, seemingly safe in the TARDIS.  But the powerful force that has stranded the TARDIS has other planes for all of them.  Gee, let me count the ways, Barbara is hypnotized by the force through her gold bracelet and led out of the TARDIS, then it using some invisible force starts dragging the TARDIS to its lair,  leaving the Doctor and Ian to try and track it down.  I just love how these guys just can't stick together!  Very soon however help comes in the form of  Menoptra, the moth like creatures who seek to reclaim their lost planet from the evil force know as the Animus. 


I don't know, I just love the costumes in this episode.  You've got to love those bug guns crawling around.  You can almost see the poor actor underneath the suit crawling. Also, the ant creatures called Zarbi are really hilarious. An ant with human legs, really!? 

But aside from that, we get to see the Doctor do what he does best and that's to outsmart his enemy.  The parts where the Doctor is talking to the Animus are some of my favorite scenes. Anytime there is a battle with words, The Doctor just seems to come out on top.  I also enjoyed the climax which was very exciting.  However, maybe it was because of the costumes, I was kind of bored with the rest of the episode.  I mean sometimes it just seems like the same setup every episode.  Something goes wrong with the TARDIS, they get spit up, and then at the end somehow all get back together. 

I still recommend this for some classic retro viewing, if you're curious about the history of Doctor Who, like I am.  If you've seen this the episode tell me what you think in the comments!  Until next time.................

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Doctor Ryan Plays: ULTIMA I: The First Age of Darkness (1981)



This game may have some of the most basic graphics you will ever see. But by damned, this still is a wonderful adventure. The only Ultima I had ever played was Ultima Exodus on the NES. It was just one of those series I just never got into. To many games, not enough time. Anyway, I recently got these from GOG.com and am looking forward to trying to get through the series.

 It starts out like this. Far away in space there exists a world known as Sosaria. Here is a world that is filled with magic, swords, dragons, and spaceships????? Anyway, the world is under siege by an evil wizard, known as Mondain. He has a powerful crystal called the Gem of Immortality that gives him unlimited power. He raises an army of monsters to terrorize the land and surprise, surprise, take over the world!!! This was an original story back in early 80's. So all the kings in the world shut themselves up inside their castles and the good people were pretty much left to fend for themselves. But there was one, the ruler Lord British, who would not just stand by and let his kingdom be destroyed. He called out for a champion to go forth and free the realms from Mondain's evil grasp. Soon afterward, a hero did indeed come forward to answer the challenge. Guess who?? 
 
So your mission is to complete quests for kingdoms, all around the world, while searching for a way to destroy the wizard. This actually works really well as you have to explore to find clues as to how you can defeat Mondain. And there are a couple of neat twists thrown in that made this different back in the day. The first being that these people even though they are living in a fantasy world, also have access to very high level technology. And this plays a big part in advancing your progress in the game.
 
The graphics are basically colored pixel stick figures running around a multicolored wonderland of more pixels. The version I played was the updated EGA graphics version from GOG.com and I actually liked it. It was more advanced than an Atari 2600 game and you can tell what everything is. The dungeons are just wire frame graphics with a black background, but even those seem very well done. I really liked the wire frame monster designs. Screenshots don't really do this game justice. 

Sound is basically just beeps and boops letting you know you hit something. No music, which is kind of a downer, but you can listen to your own. I myself was listening to the Myst soundtrack. 

The controls are actually pretty complex as it seems like every key on the keyboard does something. So you will need a list of what keys does what written down somewhere in the beginning until you get use to it. 

Battles are very simple, but somehow very fun. Especially when you build up your stats and start mowing monsters down like a tank. Hell, even vehicles have weapons for you to decimate the local monster population. And also you will be going into space at one point, but I'm not going to be the one to ruin that for you if you have never played the game. 

Also, some of the events in the game are not explained to you. Like there are places you visit to boost your attributes and even can upgrade your weapons. But you can't visit the same place more than once. So if you didn't know this you might just visit one hotspot and never go back to it because you think your done with it. But the secret is, you visit one landmark on the map, then go to a different landmark. That resets the first landmark so you can get the attributes boost. This isn't really explained very well in the instructions either, so I recommend a walk-through to help when you get stuck. 

I recommend this game, because it is a piece of gaming history that set the standard for rpg's to come. I had a lot of fun with it and I think you will too. Until next time stay groovy!! 

 And for more information on Ultima visit: