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June 29, 2015

VGFlicks: Scott Pilgrim VS. The World (Part 2)

Scott Pilgrim VS The World review
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

Last week, there was a lot of set-up towards the actual plot of Scott Pilgrim VS. The World, and we left off when some weirdo was attacking Scott during a battle of the bands. By the way, how many references to songs, bands and albums did you find? I had around 19 in Part 1 alone. Seriously, some of them are sneaky, so look carefully. You will miss some of the references. So, what happens now?

Compare the comics and the movie. Impressive, isn't it?



That's not 1; that's three fingers. Possibly a 0 and a 3.
Are you so dumb you can't count up to 1???
Scott counters the attack and punches the guy away. This guy, who hides one of his eyes under an emo haircut and has a single chevron on his coat, claims to be Matthew Patel… Ramona’s! First! Evil! Ex! Boyfriend! An Indian who seems to have quite the interest in Bollywood. At first, Scott manages to give the guy quite a beating (up to a 64-hit combo! Not so bad for a loser, huh?) and kick him down, but Patel strikes again. A big choreographed fight ensues, and my, it’s actually quite impressive. Didn’t think Cera could do physical stuff like that? Think again. It’s time to be tenacious and destructive, Scott! At one moment, the two chat once Scott reveals he has no idea why they’re fighting. He didn’t really read the e-mail Patel sent him. Scott realizes he needs to know more, so he stops the fisticuffs and asks Ramona to explain how and when she dated Patel. Because he oughta know. And so the projectors shine down on her.


No,k that's not from the comic, that part was animated for the
film.
Ramona explains that she dated Patel in seventh grade, and only because every other dude was a dumbass white jock. Wow, that sounds like one sucky school for geeks. Anyway, she teamed up with Patel and they took down all of the jocks, mostly thanks to Patel’s “mystical powers”. Which are never explained. Though, nice Bollywood music starts as she explains… She closes her story by saying she kissed Patel only once, and then she dumped him. And thus Patel goes into full battle mode.

He dances and sings.

As he rises off the ground.

Wait, when did this movie become a musical?

Hey Patel, if you're so desperate for love, how 'bout ya screw
one of 'em demon hipster chicks? Just... don't kiss 'em.
Matthew Patel floats, summons demon chicks all while singing this song named Slick, and then he shoots freaking fireballs. Wait, THAT’s the first boss? Shouldn’t he be easier to defeat or something? He even fries freaking Crash and the Boys! (Don’t worry, they’ll respawn.) Thankfully, Scott picks up a fallen cymbal and tosses it at Patel, disorienting him long enough that Scott can deal the finishing blow. End of the fight, end of the song, dust everywhere, smoke on the water, the show’s over. Sex Bob-Omb has won by default.

Did I mention people burst into coins when they’re defeated in the Pilgrimverse? Matthew Patel leaves a measly few bucks. Ah, you were poor and broke, that’s why Ramona wanted to forget you! And you, Scott, yes Patel will probably respawn as well, but… you still technically murdered someone. Will you call your mama and tell her that you just killed a man?

On the way back home, Ramona spills the beans. I mean, being attacked all of a sudden by perfect strangers? Yeah, she definitely needs to explain why that’s gonna happen to Scott. To win her heart, he’ll have to fight and defeat Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends- oh, pardon me, “exes”. Subtle foreshadowing, do your thing… Still, nothing’s stopping them from dating, so they end that discussion on a kiss. (Cue the “Awwwwwws”.)

Nobody likes to have the truth spelled out to them...
And now here’s an out-of-genre experience! We switch to a sitcom, with music and all. Oh, and the laugh track, don’t forget the laugh track! This is taking place on the next day, and Scott has invited Ramona over. Therefore, he wants Wallace to be away. But Scott’s roommate makes sure to give Scott some precious advice: He really, really should break up with Knives. …Oh right, we were almost forgetting her. Knives adores Scott to the point of being at his beck and call, she doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.


Christ! Even the girliest girls in the universe
would say this is cliché. They'd still watch it,
because, hey, pretty boy.
That ultimatum is followed by Wallace watching a marathon of movies starring Lucas Lee, a professional skater who underwent a career change and is now a "pretty good actor". Well, I’d be the judge of that, if only those films actually existed. Though, judging by the titles, I think we’re better off without Lucas Lee’s “acting talent” in real life. Let’s Hope There’s A Heaven? Definitely not my kind of flick. Doesn’t mean it’s not good, just that it’s not my kind. You Just Don’t Exist? A thriller, I suppose? The Game Is Over 2? Thriller or buddy cop flick, who cares? Action Doctor? That one sounds just plain silly. Thrilled To Be Here? …Are there movies you don’t want to rip off, Mr. Lee?

Oh, by the way, Lucas Lee is played by Chris Evans. I’ll resume my review once the girls are done swooning.



...

...

...

Alright then. It appears Lee is currently shooting a movie in Toronto (This could get so meta in so many ways). Scott leaves to go out with Knives, and the two go to the music store, where they discover – to Knives’ excitement and Scott’s despair – that The Clash At Demonhead will be doing a show soon in Toronto. After Knives confesses her love for Scott, he finally drops the bomb; they have to break up. It’s like the sky falls on her at that exact moment. It’s gonna take a while for her to heal that achy broken heart… if it ever heals. I doubt grey duct tape would be able to keep the pieces together at this point.

Damn you, movie! How DARE you give me the feels!

"Hey, Scott? My eyes are down there."
Later, we see Scott at another Sex Bob-Omb rehearsal, and Ramona shows up. She… dyed her hair a shocking blue. A very noticeable difference, but one that shouldn’t matter… right? Well… for Scott, hair is kind of a touchy matter. He… really doesn’t like hair changes or being told that his hair is long. Though, there’s a risk if Scott lets Ramona get too close to the others; Kim dated Scott in high school and could tell her just how much of a Canadian idiot he is. Scott quits with Ramona, so he lets Neil play the bass for now. …Hey, Nordegraf, now’s your time to shine!

Scott, keep working with your guitar. You could write an entire
rock opera with what you're gonna be going through.
Scott brings her back to his apartment, just as Wallace is leaving to stalk his favorite action movie star. He probably believes he can gay him up. (I know this joke sounds borderline homophobic, but in the comics, and even in the movie, Wallace Wells has shown a capacity to turn gay the men he’s interested in. Among them, there was Stacey Pilgrim’s last boyfriend. Hey, I know homosexuality is natural and you can’t “catch it”; I’m not stupid. But that’s what Wallace can do in the series! Ugh, moving on.) So, Scott spends a part of the evening with Ramona in the apartment, and I gotta say it’s not really a success. The topic of Scott’s hair comes up, and with it the story of his break-up with Natalie “Envy” Adams. Obsessed with hiding his hair, Scott puts a winter cap over it and goes to take a walk with his new flame.

They walk all the way to the set where Lucas Lee is filming. There, they find Wallace, impatiently waiting like a fanboy. Ramona seems worried when she hears the actor’s name. …As it turns out, he IS, in fact, her second ex-boyfriend. I hate to say I told you so, Wallace, but it’s confirmed: This guy’s straight! The crew starts filming Lucas’ scene, but he interrupts it to speak directly to Scott Pîlgrim. He walks up to Scott… and gives him a couple punches, before throwing him at Casa Loma. There it is, the second ex battle.

I know this one isn't very clear... here's the same scene, from the comic book.

Now, a bit of context with Book 2 of the series. Scott learns ahead of time about Lucas Lee, so he watches many of his films, so that he’d know who exactly he’s going up against. He could also have looked at the movie posters, they all feature Lucas’ face. Scott encounters Lee near Casa Loma, but not in the middle of filming a scene. A very short fight takes place, which is re-created in the movie, and then the two opponents have a snack and a chat. It might come off as a surprise, but Lee is certainly the nicest of Ramona’s exes. It’s like, you know, he has moved on and stuff. He has learned to let it go. That’s the normal reaction to a breakup that took place long ago. Oh yeah, in both the comic and the movie, Lucas is the one who tells Scott about the “League of Evil Exes” brought together by Ramona’s seventh ex. Oh, also, in the comic he’s still considered evil, not because he still took part in the League, but because he’s a sellout. Oh, the horror!

However, in the movie, Lucas Lee is a lot more villainous. Still relatively amicable (to Ramona, anyway), but more villainous nonetheless. After beating up Scott, he lets his many stunt doubles do the rest. Even though Scott was losing the fight, for some reason he manages to beat all of the doubles. Not like his fight with the actor is any longer; in both the comic and the movie, Scott tricks Lee into doing a skateboard stunt on the staircase rail. Lee accepts the challenges, goes down the rail… and goes so fast at the bottom that the speed makes him burst into coins. Another one bites the dust! So Scott wins by default.



He went so fast he blew up. Let that be a lesson, kids;
never go too fast. NEVER.

Not exactly the best fight in the series, if you ask me.

Ramona has left the place (I suppose she didn’t feel comfortable seeing her current boyfriend and an ex together, the same way Scott didn’t want to leave Ramona and Kim in the same room), so Scott and Wallace go home. On the next morning, Scott finally understands (in great part thanks to Wallace) that he’s gonna have to fight seven evil exes.

Well, took him long enough. Clearly, we are dealing with a genius Scott Pilgrim here.


Someone, somewhere, must be tired of getting called at that
number by random strangers.

Talking about exes, Scott gets a call… from Envy Adams. You could immediately feel the room getting 90% gloomier and 75% colder. That girl is cold as ice… The discussion is short, and anything but sweet, and you can tell Envy is toying with him. When Scott mentions Ramona, though, Envy’s reaction… surprises him, to say the least. Wallace interrupts the call before it gets worse.

You "PONK"ed her all right, Scott.
…which leads to the phone ringing again; it’s Knives! Uh oh. She’s outside, so Scott makes a run for it… through the window… and goes for a walk. Except even then, he can’t catch a damn break. One of the six books should have been called Scott Pilgrim Can’t Catch A Break. He gets attacked by a speedy flying black cloud… though if the laughter is any indication, this might not be a cloud. Scott punches the cloud, and it’s revealed to be a mean-looking girl in a black hoodie. She appears very mysterious, like a ninja, but she seems evil… Wait, ninjas can be evil?

Sigh, why am I always asking stupid questions???

Nevermind, we have more plot to explain!

Stressed out due to all the events, Scott goes to the café where his sister works… but ends up facing Julie. I already stated that she was a bitch, I might add she was probably a sailor in a past life.

Like those???

Wished I could censor my own fucking curse words.
Oh hey, it works!
Not that kind of sailor. No, I meant she swears like a sailor. Thank God she’s got that Black Rectangle Swear Bleeper with her; it censors every curse word she says, and it covers her mouth with a black rectangle when it happens. Hey, can I get one of those? Mine’s defective. Hostie de ciboire de fuck, motherfucking shit, câlisse de tabarnak! In that same café, he sees Ramona, and while he’s trying to reassure her that this whole “evil exes” thing isn’t too stressful for him, he’s just not convincing enough. Then Envy shows up…

Tabarnak.

Why do I feel like this girl is trouble...
Oh right, she IS trouble.
Ramona decides not to stay between the two of them, but remains in the background. The two exes exchange small talk, and some bigger talk. Something about being invited to the only show the Clash At Demonhead will do in Toronto… And of course, big news, Scott later learns that Sex Bob-Omb is gonna be the first part.

Damn.

Is this a disaster in the making? Is it the end of the world as we know it?

Either way, they need to do that show, the publicity is too good to skip. In the middle of that battle of the bands, they have to take every opportunity to show their talent! They need hardcore fans… well, they have one, but they might think she’s, um… too hardcore. Or too stalk-ish. Ramona advises Scott to do the show, since it would be “the grown-up thing to do”.

I'd buy one of their albums. I like indie grunge garage
happy metal rock. 
So, the members of Sex Bob-Omb do their concert at Lee’s Palace, and their performance is met with a thunder of applause- Nah, just kidding, they get a couple polite ones and a “Yeah” from Wallace. Figures. So Scott, Stephen Stills and Kim head to the bar at the back, and Ramona goes to the bathrooms, where she meets… Knives, who has just changed some of her hair to a blue color. Man, the number of weird people the characters meet in this film… it’s just unbelievable. What a mad world…


In the comic, they break up relatively quick. By the end of
this movie, we don't know if they're still together. The actual
ending leaves it ambiguous, the preceding one... not so much.
When she returns near Scott, our "hero" finds out Young Neil is the one who has come to Lee’s Palace with Knives, and she’s using him as a “not-really-boyfriend” to mess with Scott. Thankfully, they don’t have time to make this situation even more awkward, as the show by The Clash At Demonhead is about to begin.

A girl on the drums (again? Is that… a fetish or something?), a blond guy on bass, and finally Envy on vocals (she also did keyboard in the comics). Ramona immediately recognizes the guy on bass as Todd Ingram, her third evil ex.

Holy shit.

I'd list their names from left to right, but you can certainly guess that yourself.

…I have to cut here, see ya in Part 3.

June 26, 2015

VGFlicks: Scott Pilgrim VS. The World (Part 1)

Scott Pilgrim VS The World review
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5


(Here’s a contest: Try to find as many references to music of the past 40 years as you can in all parts of this review. The references are mostly to rock music, old and recent, but can include songs and artists of other genres. Keep a list. If you find 100 references or more, you can consider yourself very knowledgeable in music. References can be song titles, album titles, band names or famous lines from songs. Good luck.)

THEY ARE SEX BOB-OMB, AND THEY ARE GONNA TURN YOUR WORLD UPSIDE-DOWN! ONE TWO THREE FOUR!

Scott Pilgrim VS The World is a movie about romance, rock, life, sex, comics, music, friendship, video games and fighting to the death. But, most of all, before being a movie, it was a comic book in six volumes. And before that, it was a song.


With the film’s release in 2010, it also became a video game, appropriately enough. The series had a large fanbase even before the film came out, and the film directed by Edgar Wright made many people wish they could read the comics. I hunted down the six volumes of the series so that I could read them… I found the first four. The fifth and sixth books couldn’t be found anywhere. Aw, damn. Still, it gave me a chance to read the story of Scott, and this also allowed me to compare the books to the movie. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do here: I’ll review the movie, but I’ll frequently compare with the first four books. I noticed that Edgar Wright tried to be as faithful as possible, cramming as many plot elements from the comics as he could into this 112-minute epic. Did he succeed? Let’s see.


P.S. Major spoilers. I suggest you watch the movie first. I'm gonna be revealing every major plot detail.

June 22, 2015

INSIDE OUT IS AWESOME!!!!

So, I managed to collect enough money to go watch a movie in theaters. Without pop-corn, I told myself, as I had 10 bucks, not 20. ...Seriously, pop-corn is horribly expensive there, and don't get me started on 25 cents for every pack of ketchup powder- but I digress. Yesterday, I drove to the nearest mall that has a theater, I got my ticket for Inside Out, sat in the theater. watched the film...

...AND IT WAS MARVELOUS.


Inside Out is the story of Riley, an 11yo girl who's moving away from her Minnesota home to San Francisco with her two parents. The moving isn't done all that well; having to wait many days for the truck that contains all your stuff isn't exactly great news. Having to adapt to her new world, full of happy and not-so-happy surprises, the stress piles up on poor Riley. Comes a moment where it "breaks", in her, and from that point on it's like she can't enjoy life anymore...

June 19, 2015

12 Characters I'd Like To See As Smash 4 DLC

Ever since it came out last year, people just keep on talking about Smash 4. An awful lot of people are also discussing Amiibos, but I don’t own a Wii U nor a compatible 3DS, so I don’t care. (Plus, I’m too broke to collect those figurines.) Still, ever since a voting ballot was opened on the Smash website, we keep hearing people throwing around their suggestions for downloadable characters. We’ve seen almost every character out there being suggested by someone. And since third-party characters aren’t forbidden, the options are even greater. So, I’m making my own list, 12 characters I’d love to see as DLC in Smash 4. Are they possible? Do they stand a chance? Will the odds ever be in their favor? Probably, probably not. It doesn’t really matter, this is more of a fantasy list than anything else. I don’t care if there is zero way this is happening. But I’m throwing these suggestions out there.

You’ll find I don’t have a clear order for them; it’s just suggestions, I didn’t put them in order from which one of them I’d like to see as DLC the least to the one I want to see the most. It’s just 12 ideas for characters. Some might seem silly for you, others you might agree with… I tried not to include too many characters from certain series I particularly like, so I’d give a chance to other series.

12. Kratos
Admit it, he'd be great.
Let’s make this perfectly clear: I never played any game of the God of War series. But I know about Kratos, the powerhouse who deals with the Gods and their, um… “issues”. And we're talking about big issues here: Zeus screws around on Earth, Hera wants to kill her son (Zeus’ bastard), Dionysus is always drunk or high or both, Hades is ashamed that folks like Loki give him a bad image, and Hermes is probably overworked and depressive. Forget the Disney version, the real myth is intense. With a group of godly morons like this, no wonder Kratos turns out to be an insane maniac who tries to solve every problem by punching it, then attacking it with all of his weapons, then punching it some more. All I’m saying is that Kratos is a messed-up character who would be a hilarious addition to Smash 4. I imagine him being very powerful but difficult to master. I still don’t know this character enough to give him a Final Smash or clear attacks, but damn it would be funny to see a character like that enter the Smashverse.

11. Adeleine (from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards)
A cute painter girl...
An art attacker.
The Kirby fan in me wants more Kirby characters in Super Smash Bros, but very few characters in the series would A) be physically capable of showing up in Smash (head, body, arms/hands, feet), B) be stronger than the average baddie, and C) be good enough to put up a fight. Now, you will say that Adeleine doesn’t fit my own criteria… but I’m still hoping for her inclusion. Now, what could she do? She could probably use her paintbrushes as stabbing weapons, smash other battlers with canvases, summon weak baddies to attack… and I think an awesome Final Smash would have her covering the entire arena in toxic paint that causes every other fighter to gradually gain percentage, until the paint vanishes. That, or she summons monsters like she did in her boss fight in Kirby 64. It’s not impossible to find a gimmick that works for this character in Smash. We just need… well, creativity! (For a moment, I was torn between Adeleine and the Inklings from Splatoon.)

June 12, 2015

Defend Your Castle


This is gonna suck, isn’t it? I can tell when something is gonna suck, and I get the feeling that this is gonna suck. Then again, I’ve been wrong in the past… but this one, I don’t think I could be wrong. This looks sub-par even for an Internet-based game. I really wonder why I paid 500 Wii Points on this and not on something better- Ah yes, wait, I remember. I had bought only for 10 dollars of Wii Points, and I had already spent half of it on songs from the Just Dance 2015 store. Silly me. But hey, at least dancing to Papaoutai was fun, and Gangnam Style was good workout, so… I guess it doesn’t really matter?


Oh well. Defend Your Castle is one of the stranger ideas on the WiiWare section of the Wii Shop Channel. It kinda looks like something put together in a day by a single creator on Newgrounds. With minimal means.

Good thing it starts off pretty simple...
The idea behind the game is that you have a castle, and you have to defend it from incoming invaders (represented by freaking stick figures). At first, all you can do is grab the invaders with your godly powers, raise them high in the air, then letting them fall to their doom. At the end of a level, you can pay points from your score to upgrade your castle, repair its walls, increase its defenses, and all that stuff. As the levels go by, you find that more and more stick figures are coming, and you can’t keep up anymore. At some point, larger beasts come by, and you cannot lift them; instead you must click them three times.

June 5, 2015

Top 12 Sports in Wii Sports Resort

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

I extensively covered Wii Sports Resort in the preceding two posts. This time, I’m taking a look at the twelve sports I like the most in this game. And since there are 24 sections, divided between twelve categories, that means I’m looking at half the content in this game. I wasn’t in the mood to make a Bottom 12 this time around (I prefer to keep those for larger minigame collections), so I’m keeping this a happy list! Hope you enjoy.

12. Slalom Course (Power Cruising)
Hurry up! You have five seconds!
You hold the Wii remote and Nunchuk like handlebars. Your Mii is driving a jet ski, and you have to drive around a water course. Large vertical rings appear on the course, with a countdown starting at 10. The idea? Speed through every ring, as fast as possible (you can get a speed boost by twisting the Wii remote in your right hand), in the exact order in which they’re presented (skipped one? There goes many valuable seconds spent trying to go back and crossing it again), and cross the Finish Line. When you pass through a ring, you get points equal to the time remaining on its countdown. Sometimes, there are smaller rings within the big rings, and you get twice the amount of points when you cross inside those. Yay!  But, most of all, be careful. A bad wave could cause your Mii – and his expensive jet ski – to miss a ring or ram into an obstacle. Also, in order to unlock the final levels, you have to act VERY fast and be VERY precise, because you need to score big. It’s not an easy sport, but it’s an enjoyable one nonetheless. Just don’t throw a fit when you find out you have to start a level over because you didn’t get a good enough score…

11. Golf
FOOOOOR! ALBATROSS! BIRDIE! HOLE IN ONE!
...BOGUEY.
This sport makes a comeback here with the 9 courses from the original Wii Sports, 9 new courses in this breathtaking environment, and three secret courses! (You unlock those secret courses by finishing each of the six sets of three courses with a final score under zero.) Once again, you need a lot of precision in order to get the best score. Thankfully, some holes are close enough from the starting point that it’s simpler to get a hole-in-one. As was the case with Wii Sports, here you can change your golf club at will (unless you’re close to the hole, in which case the clubs that would send the ball too far are removed from the selection), and you can even press 1 to see the terrain’s formation, and adjust your angle so that the ball will go into the hole. Personally, I like how all the golf courses are played on an island located a few minutes of flight away from Wuhu Island. I also like the inclusion of a variation: Frisbee Golf. I’ll discuss that one later.

June 2, 2015

Wii Sports Resort (Part 2)

Read Part 1 here!

Hey guys and girls, welcome back to my review of Wii Sports Resort! …For the Wii. It’s still a pretty basic game, with the main draw being to play sports for fun, Pro mode or achievements be damned. Well… that’s partially true. You can try to play for those, although it’s anything but necessary. And yet, some sports contain some form of progression. That’s odd, but try to follow me on this one: There is no overall progression to this game, no “100% completion” to speak of, and everything is optional… At first, you’ll just unlock variations on the sports, but then you’ll notice some of the variations are divided into “levels” of sorts. Here are some examples:

There are too many.
-When you unlock Showdown in Swordplay, at first only one of ten levels is available, and you unlock each level by beating the one that came before it. For obvious reasons, every new level is harder than the one before. I haven’t been able to beat the seventh level so far…
-In Archery, you unlock Intermediate by beating Beginner, and you unlock Expert by beating Intermediate. Pretty usual stuff, really.
-There are six levels in Power Slalom. All but one are locked at first. And of course, the later ones take place on dangerous waters, because for some reason the makers of this resort island want to kill you. Thankfully, no Mii can actually die, so I guess they resort (pun) to option number 2: Injure or maim the Miis as much as possible!
-Bicycle races start off as six short trips, then two longer trips consisting of three short trips each, and finally a giant race comprising all six parts. You snooze, you lose!

Facing off the champion? Better hoe you're ready!
So, in a way, there is some form of progression in the game (unlocking everything), and yet at the same time there isn’t. You’re not bound to go Pro everywhere or get every single achievement. AND YET… oh yeah, this Shrodinger’s Challenge is gonna get even more complicated. When you become Pro in a VS sport (as in, 1-VS-1), you’ll end up facing that sport’s Champion, and you’ll get some small rewards when you manage to beat him/her. However, most of the time, when you beat the champion you’ll just unlock an extra mode or get another cosmetic award. Just try to imagine that: Advanced Frisbee Golf, advanced Golf, advanced Archery! Isn’t that great? You can play basketball at night now! AT NIGHT!