Sunday, 29 August 2010

Crackdown 2

It's been a decade since your lonely skyscraper scaler brought jack-boot justice to Pacific City. In this dash flavoured sequel, the fascistic Agency is still floundering, fighting off science rebels by day and swamped by zombie hordes at night. Players are cast as some sort of legacy clone of the original Agent, complete with an all-new poor draft face, their body swamped in anonymous hyper armour. Likewise, the city is drained of character, rendered as a yawn of identikit slums and dilapidated future space. This world once popped with heavy ink outlines and sizzling neons, now it's just a thick paste of greys and browns. Crackdown's three wildly divergent gang zones are rendered as mulch; barely indistinguishable ruins with sticky window sills.

Your double-front enemies are also faceless, their takedown a tick-list of regurgitated actions and events, with only the barest slither of a tale to unite them. Capture the throw-up fortress, babysit the UV bomb, prevent a troglodyte invasion. There's a hint that yet again this Pacific City pandemonium is Agency created, but the slow-drip story is vapour, never amounting to anything more complicated than a reward cinematic at completion. Crackdown 2 still allows players to sculpt a human weapon, even rolling out all-new abilities for the truly determined, but the fizz is gone. Curious players are better off revisiting the wonderful original.

Friday, 20 August 2010


Hideki Kamiya's Red Hot Man has been drafted for studio represents in Marvel vs Capcom 3. Viewtiful Joe was conceived as a culture clasher between American average joe superheroics and Japanese tokusatsu TV battling, so his presence here is verging on meta.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

M.I.A. - Born Free

Thanks to Miss Disaster. Watch it before the Sri Lankan government ask for it to be pulled under the Prevention of Terrorism Act!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

"Wide left... Hit."

Included within Lions Gate's Region 1 Ultimate Edition DVD of Rambo III is a suite of deleted footage. The junked clips are mostly uninteresting, with the exception of this short sequence. A fleeing Rambo snipes pursuing Soviet regulars while his ex-handler Colonel Trautman feeds instruction. This single scene captures Rambo's Golem like relationship to Trautman better than any other outside First Blood. From an early string of near misses, John's natural murder aptitude kicks in, enabling him to mechanically pick off the Russian squad. Trautman is delighted. Although unfinished, the way this extract is ordered implies that Rambo is quite happy to burn through remainder ammo assaulting corpses. Hit!

The Expendables

Sylvester Stallone speaks directly to lower brain functions. He understands that an action movie can have an outline rather than a plot; that how you dress this frame can more than compensate for a lack of any so-called higher artistic aspirations. The Expendables' base is your standard buddy black op. An elite pack of psychopaths must unlawfully invade a Latin country suffering a crackpot dictatorship and tear everything apart. For spice, the weak-piss Generalissimo is backed by ex-CIA heavies, with abilities that mirror our heroes, looking for somewhere tropical to get their coca crop grown.

Continuing the body horror thread the director hit upon in Rambo, Stallone's Expendables is dressed with traumatic ultra-violence. The film is often concerned with how easily a body can be pulverised until it resembles nothing at all. Accordingly, each of the mission men is assigned a ruinous superpower: Stallone is a quick-hand pistolero; Jason Statham a shuriken sniper; Jet Li a wushu bushwhacker; Randy Couture is a tumbling MMA bone snapper.

Terry Crews becomes an instant action icon thanks to a spot demoing the latest in combat shotgun technology. Crews role spins like a embedded teaser trailer for a one-man army franchise audiences are sure to demand. Nobody is marginalised. Everybody gets a moment and an admiring close-up. Stallone shoots deep-focus faces, daring you to stare at the canyons and crevices lived into these frowned up fizzogs. Stallone's eye is loving and sympathetic, particularly when regarding the brooding confusion of Dolph Lundgren, a satellite crew member who gets a metatext encore. Sylvester Stallone, an actor's director, who knew?

Scott Pilgrim VS. The World (Nega Scott variant) by Martin Ansin

Via Mondo

Friday, 13 August 2010

Infinite Revision

Ken Levine's next game has a name and a teaser. BioShock Infinite sees players cast as a Pinkertons detective scrambling about a steampunk sky-city drunk on a eugenics minded brand of American exceptionalism. Your vested interest is a young lady by the name of Elizabeth, a kidnappee with paranormal abilities calibrated to saving your skin. The series trademark morality issue centres around the physical and mental toll heaped on Elizabeth by relentlessly dragging you out of harm's way. Will you look to your female half for a quick fix and risk harming her, or be the man and roughneck it out on your own? Gender issues and gimmicky metropolises appear to be the only connecting tissue between this installment and the two previous Rapture rotters. Looks like the BioShock brand is to be become a platform for noodles around first person action narratives with an extreme politics twist. Fine by me.

Thursday, 12 August 2010


Hot on the heels of Monday's multiplayer clip is this reveal shill for the next Call of Duty's super-duper balance-buster edition. As if to cater a desire barely formed, the £130 Prestige pack of Call of Duty: Black Ops will include a remote controlled car dressed to resemble the improvised explosive killstreak found in-game. Prop plastique aside, the toy does feature a colour video camera with transmission capabilities for ground-level spying. Pretty swish for a captive market special edition; fully crashable toys beat poorly molded keyrings and flimsy art-cards any day.

Genocide City

Sonic the Hedgehog 2's rushed development time meant many levels and concepts had to be discarded along the way. Among these deleted stages is the worrying sounding Genocide City, a single techno-maze stage that was to be found late in the game. Much of the work done structuring this level ended up being used in the release version for the third act of Metropolis Zone. Still, the weirdly atypical name struck a cord with fans, particularly the Sonic hack scene.

A fan designed version of Genocide City appears in Esrael Neto's Sonic 2 Delta, there the stage uses Chemical Plant's industrial loop de loop geography suspended in space. Disaster Year's favourite interpretation though is the one found in Sonic Hachelle-Bee's Sonic 2 Long Version, Hachelle-Bee imagines the level as a brick cityscape, dwarfed by scrolling castle-scrapers, and adorned with Aztec monster-mouths. This Genocide City resembles the ruin corners of Mega Drive RoboCop Versus The Terminator, particularly the opening stages set in that fiction's dilapidated Old Detroit. Ghosts haunt doorways in Genocide City, the murdered populace infrequently appearing as strung-up mummies dried to a muddy brown. Escape Sonic!

Pixies - Monkey Gone to Heaven

The Clash - Rudie Can't Fail

Monday, 9 August 2010


November's Call of Duty: Black Ops gets itself a multiplayer reel. Following the pattern dictated by Infinity Ward for Modern Warfare 2 last year, this shill packs in oodles of eye-catch for the new toys. Single player's much trailed explosive crossbow makes the leap to competitive play, as does a Predator 2 harpoon gun, and a camera system designed for distracts / stationary reconnaissance. Gun noise has had a pleasantly clacky overhaul that vibes nice with the denied ops mindframe. Most exciting of all though is the remote controlled plastique buggy. Snaking silently up to stationary nuisances has never been so convenient! Deadly excitement is dulled slightly by the realisation that the package is simply an era appropriate re-skin of MW2. The on-screen positive reinforcement blurbs in particular lean far too heavily on IW's model - can't we chase some new nastiness? Still, why junk what works? MW2 still gobbles disaster leisure.

Friday, 6 August 2010

I hear there's a 'smoke cigarette' button

Shinji Mikami tackles the West's kink for third-person sticky cover in a typically delirious fashion. Why plod wearily between hide points when you can blast around on your shins, propelled by a portable jet system? Similarly, why yawn a metric tonne of bullets at something gigantic, when you can simply leap onto its sternum and punch its head clean off? Vanquish will be answering these, and lots more difficult questions in October.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Zombie by Jeff Proctor

Mondo! Jeff Proctor's first stab at a Mondo poster highlights a scene of mind-zapping aqua carnage from Lucio Fulci's 1979 George Romero cash-in; variously known as Zombie, Zombi 2, Island of the Living Dead, Zombie Island and Woodoo. The UK release caught the hysterically literal title Zombie Flesh Eaters and ended up haunting the Video Nasties list. Repeated attempts to get the film a BBFC classification in the late 90s were hampered by obscenity laws - it took until 2005 for a full uncut home video version to be released in Britain.


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Mangle the Returned to Life!

Last night Edgar Wright's Twitter feed provided this, a title screen input code that dumps Mr Pilgrim in a zombie infested horde mode... AGAINST THE CLOCK. Should be a good way to stat boost your heroes for the levelling heavy main game. Ubisoft's ode to River City Ransom is due August 10th. If you watched the clip, you already knew that.