GerbilMechs 098: How It Works

12Jul2004 (Monthenor): This is what comes of untested technology. I don't think the Doctor planned for this. Awaken, NECOWAI, and destroy your foe(s)!

Just when I settle in to a nice consistent style for the gerbils, I have to learn how to draw cats. Next I suppose it'll be six-legged ovoid troop carrier robots. Why do I do this again?

Lots of items to talk about from the weekend, which I shall now elaborate on in chronological order, because my memory is no longer random-access HAHAHA I AM KIDDING. It's late, shut up.

King Arthur is mediocre, almost stunningly so. I expected a really really crappy Hollywood travesty, but it was disappointing in its non-disappointingness. It's two hours of unoffensive generic medieval action wrapped in the thinnest veneer of historical "authenticity". There's no real need to see the movie, but you could certainly do a lot worse. A lot worse.

UmJammer Lammy is the spiritual predecessor to the Dance Dance Revolution revolution. While DDR has an entire arcade cabinet to work with, Lammy uses every pit of the Playstation controller in button-tapping madness. A general plot outline goes thusly: Lammy, female lamb and insecure lead guitarist of rock band Milkcan, wakes up late for her first real concert and must rush around the world, solving dilemmas with the power of the guitar in her mind. And it gets more bizarre from there. Holy crap this game is great. I beat Story Mode in an afternoon, but the lure of freestyling rock riffs will draw me back for quite a while. See, while you can follow the button rhythms the game spoonfeeds you, the real players improvise notes until the game leaves them alone to jam. That's where I want to be. I'm never going to be a rock star, but when I pull off a wicked circle-circle-triangle-R riff (sounds like "weedlyweedlywaaaaah"), I get that much closer to heaven.

Silpheed poses an interesting question: what happens to a superfluous-fire shooter when you remove the superfluousity? The answer happens to be three hours of boredom in space. The game completely eschews the traditional "blow shit up more" powerup systems in favor powerups whatsoever! In another shooter game, destroying wave after wave of attacking ships without seeing any powerups would raise some eyebrows. Silpheed gets around that problem by having long stretches of scenery without any enemies! Even when badguy drones do show up, they almost never shoot any kind of bullets, and the ones that do leave massive gaps in their patterns for you to exploit. Even the bosses (and minibosses) have some sort of ammunition shortage, inflicting most of their damage by ramming into your ship. There is no excuse for this game, especially since I hear it was an awesome game on the Sega CD that got mangled in the port to PS2. Hella lame.

Returner is a movie that I've wanted to see for some time, based solely on a single commercial I vaguely remember kicking ass several months ago. After failing to convince the local video store to get a copy, Morgion bought a cheap copy off eBay. This movie rules. Now, it's not a probably won't be some cult phenomenon that inhabits arthouse theaters for years to come. Probably. But I will say that it's the best scifi action to cross my eyeballs in quite some time. I'd place it in with the excellent Equilibrium in terms of both obscurity and pacing. There are a few gripping action scenes filled in with lots of quiet character study. I was interested in the characters, but you may not find the structure so compelling. It does do a couple awesome things with time travel, if that's your bag.