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Archive for January, 2009

Review #250

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Death Crimson OX
Developer: Ecole
Publisher: Sammy
Genre: Rail Shooter
Release Date: 08/05/2001

Originally released for the Sega Saturn in Japan only, the original Death Crimson was pretty reviled. However, Ecole, its creator, listened to gamers, severely tweaked the game and took out several of the elements people hated. The end result was a game people seemed to either really love, or hate almost as much as the Japanese hated the original. I’d actually never played any of the Death Crimson games, which is odd because I love playing rail shooters, even if they are almost universally awful when not made by Sega.

Ecole is best known these days for the 2-D fighting series, Melty Blood, and that “best known” bit a stretch. Let’s take a look back to a little over eight years ago when Dreamcast owners were wondering if they’d get any use out of Dreamcast Gun or SRC Bio Gun past House of the Dead 2.
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DVD of the Day #31 - Grizzly Rage

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Look at this cover of this DVD. Just look at it. Crazy grizzly eating stupid teenagers. And the name! GRIZZLY RAGE. How could this movie not be 86 minutes of bad special effects and fake grizzlies disembowling people with Karo syrup flying everywhere.

Well it wasn’t. It was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. We’re talking on par with Lake Dead The Water Nun or Juiced!.

At least the movie gets into it quickly. Withint he first ten minutes the trigger is pulled. Four stupid Canadians (1 girl, three guys) hit a bear cub with their SUV. Mommy grizzly isn’t far behind and 19 minutes into the film the first casualty occurs. It’s just to bad you don’t see it. You just see a fake grizzly paw, then a guy fly across the screen into a heap on the forest floor with fake blood smeared on his face. He tries to crawl away, but then the grizzly grabs him, one paw by each leg, excutes a giant swing and then mauls him. You never actually see any violence though. You just see a Batman-esque POW, ZAP! or Ka-blooie! appear on the screen except it’s streaks of cgi blood. Awful beyond words.

The next death isn’t for 40 minutes later. It’s just talking until the hour mark. People crying and fighting and apologizing and gaonizing over how to get away from the grizzly. Finally one goes for help, and is slaughtered, but you don’t see him die either. It’s just “RARRRRRGH!” and blood. I can’t tell you how badly I was hoping to see on-screen bear induced eviseraction, but nope. Canada, stop making bad horror movies. You and England.

Finally we’re down to the last two humans who finally get their car to work except the bear pulls a The Great Outdoors, climbs up the SUV and then jumps up and down on it until it crushes the vehicle. The two survivors flee into a cabin, and the girl tricks the bear to going into the cabin, but then runs out and locks the door. HURRAH! THE BEAR IS TRAPPED IN THE CABIN, and the two wounded survivors crawl bloody and wounded towards freedom complete with happy ending music.

Then the bear kicks the door down rushes them both and slaughters both humans quickly. Shot of the bear growling with the words GRIZZLY RAGE shown on the screen. The end.

Yes, that’s really how it ends. Awful movie. I’d give it a 1/10 but it gets half a point since the bear kills everyone dead, which is quite rare in a horror movie.

Is It Worth Keeping: NO.
Rating: 1.5/10

Review #249

Friday, January 30th, 2009

(Alex’s Note) This is part of the “30 Days of Dreamcast” we’ll be running in October of 2009. 30 days, 30 days of Dreamcast reviews. I realize I’m getting things done 8 months early, but I had some free time so I’d rather do things earlier rather than at the last minute. ;-)

Cannon Spike
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Psikyo
Genre: Traditional Shooter
Release Date: 11/14/2000

We’re kicking off our thirty day tribute with a look back at Cannon Spike, one of the more obscure Capcom titles out there. I still remember when it was announced. A shooter in the style of Smash TV with characters from Street Fighter Super Ghouls & Ghosts, Darkstalkers, Mega Man and two new guys? Sign me up!

Even though a lot of people complained that Cannon Spike was too short and massively overpriced for the play time (The original MSRP was $49.99 but it dropped to $29.99 by the time it was released), I still loved every second of the game, limited though they were. However, when I moved to the United Kingdom back in 2003, I left my beloved Dreamcast behind, and even when I moved back to the States, I just never had the chance to pick Cannon Spike back up. I figured this would be the perfect excuse to try out the game again and see how well it holds up nearly a decade after its original release.

So how was it? Does Cannon Spike remain a game I can speak about with passion and conviction as one of my favorite games on the Dreamcast, or has age ravaged this game’s once youthful good looks and charms?
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DVD of the Day #30 - Hamlet 2

Friday, January 30th, 2009

It’s too bad so much of the hype and controversy over this film was only about the song “Rock me Sexy Jesus.” Granted that is a fun song with a wacky Grease-esque dance number, but there’s a lot more to the movie than that. it’s is both a a parody of the “Teacher saves and enlightens a class of misfits” and also an affirmation of that genre.

Poor Mr. Dana Marschz, played by TV’s Alan Partridge (Don’t worry Americans - you probably shouldn’t know who that is). All he wanted to do was act…but he wasn’t very good, so he’s reduced to working for minimum wage as a High School drama teacher where he converts bad movies like Erin Brockavich and The Lake House into plays. His wife is a better drunk, his roommate is a mostly mute ex-WCW World Heavyweight Champion David Arquette (Which makes this his best acting job ever!) and only two students even remotely like or respect him. Cue some budget cuts which brings in some disadvantaged latinos into one of the only remaining electives and bam, it’s like that movie about that one teacher who teaches nogoodniks AP Calculus.

Then Dana is convinced that he should write a wholly original play, which is the titled Hamlet 2. Yes, it really is a sequel to Hamlet, arguably the greatest play ever written in the English Language. It stars Jesus, Hamlet and a time machine and the theme of the play is about forgiving one’s father for their sins and also that tragedy can be avoided because you know, it’s just SO SAD.

What follows is a movie aboput censorship, how America’s heavily flawed education systems prefers to teach conformity and how to blend in to the sheep rather than expresisng oneself or striving for your dreams even in the face of ridicule.

Hamlet 2 is a funny little film but it can be a bit bland at times. Dana is a pathetic almost unlikeable character and as he is your protagonist, it’s hard to care about him. The supporting cast is pretty two-dimensional and the only thing that saves this movie is that when it’s funny, it’s VERY FUNNY. If you can accept that the movie isn’t actually religiously blasphemy and is actually fairly nice to Jesus, you can probably sit through this movie once to say you’ve seen it and to have a good laugh. I’ll probably be keeping this simply because for when other people come over because right now. I’m the only person I know that has seen this.

Is It Worth keeping? Depends. Could go either way.
Rating: 5.5/10

Thanks Tick_Wonderdog

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

I always get into the damndest Internet Fueds

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Okay, I’m part of Amazon Vine. Which means I get books well in advance of when they come out to edit them and then write reviews of the products. Recently I reviewed, “Rubies in the Orchard: How to Uncover the Hidden Gems in Your Business” which was supposed to be a book on marketing strategies. Of course, it turned out to be 200 pages of egotistics ramblings containing no tips or strategies other than, “I, the author am awesome. I am better than all of you. Every company besides mine is evil. Don’t buy from other companies, buy from mine.” It was a 200 page commercial for her products that people are expected to pay $25 for.

So of course I shredded the thing.

Now the author is a bit peeved and whined about my review and is actually getting employees and friends to bash the review. How sad is that?

So it would be hilarious to a) have you all pass the story on and b) check out the drama

Oh and of course, vote for my review with a thumb’s up. ;-)

EDIT: Even better, Amazon has started deleting thumb’s down for my reviews when they are coming from an IP attached to her companies! (Except for her and her husband’s original thumb’s down)

EDIT 2: Now she’s having people who work for her writing reviews and giving the book five stars.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A6QB03JD1UD21/ref=cm_cr_pr_auth_rev?ie=UTF8&sort%5Fby=MostRecentReview

Wow. How much more unethical can a company/person get? DIGG this baby.

Cheap Plug

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Grey Matter preview over at Diehard GameFAN.

Click on through to see my preview of an upcoming PC horror adventure game.

DVD of the Day #29 - Hamtaro - Ham Hams Head Seaward

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Yay Hamtaro! Such a cute little cartoon. I remember watching Hamtaro through fansubs back in 2000 or so before it hit the US and I never thought it would come to the US. But hey, it did and when it hit American airwaves it exploded with popularity. Alas, thanks to Viz’s bad management said explosion dried up almost as quickly as it hit. it’s too bad, as Hamtaro was a great cartoon for small children and there’s yet to be a Hamtaro video game short of amazing.

This second volume (of six) of Hamtaro cartoons contains three episodes from the anime. I’m disappointed that there are only three episodes per DVD and that two of the volumes are exceedingly rare (About $50 used on ebay, but thankfully I own them), but all the episodes are whimiscal and fun, regardless of your age. Okay, well they’re not fun if you’re looking for sex and violence, but if you’re looking for something wholesome and cute here you go. Out of the 296 Hamtaro episodes, only 104 are in English and 18 are in English. Maybe someday Viz will actually do seasons or more volumes, but for now Ham-Ham fans are stuck with these limited DVD’s

The episodes include:

Come Out Bijou: This episode is basically about the Ham-Ham’s curing Bijou’s agoraphobia. Yes. Seriously.

Diamonds of Sugar: Hamtaro wants to eat human candy but he can’t because humans won’t let him. Bijou also wants human candy but it’s bad for hamsters so she can’t have any either. Together the Ham-Hams try to figure out a way to team up and get candy, but they end up thinking stars are candy and that’s where humans keep it so Hamsters can’t get them.

First Time at the Beach: This is pretty obvious. Hamsters + beach = 22 minutes of cute.

You can get the first four volumes of Hamtaro pretty easily and for cheap. Again, this only an hour long and that’s really disappointing as even obscure animes give you more episodes per disc these days. I’m a bit bitter than the series has yet to be completed in English or the dubbed episodes haven’t been collected as a whole on DVD, but what can you do. Stupid Viz. Worth keeping because it’s all the Hamtaro there is, but it’s still sad that indeed, this is ALL THERE IS.

Still the songs and the ham-ham dance are amazing and make the DVD’s worth owning.


If you don’t find this utterly adorable, then you have no soul.

Is It Worth Keeping? Yes, because there’s no other option for Hamtaro fans.
Rating: 5/10

DVD of the Day #28 - Young Frankenstein (Blu-Ray)

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

This is easily my favorite Mel Brooks movie, but I was a bit concerned with buying this on blu-ray. After all, it’s a black and white film. How well could it look? In the end though, the special features made me get this. Mainly because this edition finally brought back the “Pop-Up Video” trivia track that had only been previously offered on TV about a decade ago. There’s also 30 minutes of deleted scenes, documentaries, outtakes, and more. One of the reasons I prefer HD DVD to Blu is because the HD DVD’s really packed in the extras while Blu actually had the same amount or less (Hellboy) than the normal DVD variant.

What can one really say about this film? It’s considered one of the greatest comedies of all time and damn near everyone in the English speaking world has seen it. I’ll admit I like it, but I don’t really think it (or any Mel Brooks film) deserves the hype it gets. it’s fun, but several of the jokes haven’t aged well and compared to modern comedies, Young Frankenstein now seems geared for a younger, less sophisticated audience like pre-teens who will laugh at the penis jokes and slapstick. It’s still en enjoyable film, but it’s definitely lost something over the past 30 years.

But hey, it’s part of the Caine-Hackman theory. Can’t go wrong with that.

The transfer to Blu is actually impressive for a Black and White film, but obviously it’s not as large a jump from standard definition to high definition. As well, the film is noticeably grainy and actually has some flickers in it which obviously aren’t meant to be there. I can live with this in YF because it is meant to look and feel like a 1930’s Universal Horror film and these little accidental touches actually improve that feeling, so I’ll roll with it.

For those that haven’t seen the film, it’s Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman running around as Frederick Frah-ken-steen and Eye-gore in an attempt to re-create his grandafther’s legacy. There’s an amazing cast here that also includes Terri Garr and Cloris Leachman, the latter of who plays the amazing Frau Blucher (NEIGH!). It’s hard to believe that Ms. Leachman was once Ms. Illinois and a Miss America runner-up after seeing her in this role. Of course there’s also Madeline Kahn as well. All three women is this film were some of the best actresses of there generation and thankfully Kahn and Leachman both recieved Golden Globe nominations for their performances in this film.

Again, it hasn’t aged well but it IS a classic and its still fun to watch.

Is It Worth Keeping? Yes.
Rating: 6.5/10

Planet Earth vs Planet Earth

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Recently I imported the Blu Ray version of Planet Earth which arrived today. I picked it up because it the unedited BBC version and it came with a bonus 5th disc. What I had forgotten is that my normal non high def BBC version came with an extra disc as well.

The UK Blu Ray comes with two extra high def documentaries by Attenborough - Desert Lions and Snow Leopards. However, my normal non high def version that I ordered without the whole discovery channel editing and dubbing in Signourney fucking Weaver has a bonus disc as well -Planet Earth: The Future which contains three supplemental episodes: Saving Species, Into the Wilderness and Living Together.

I just popped in the 5th disc of the normal edition and “The Future” is just documentaries about Planet Earth itself and what the staff learned. Still they’re not narrated by Attenborough. Hmm.