Monthly Archives: July 2005

Hollywood Rules and Traits

Just a few rules that seem to dominate Hollywood lately. I decided to leave out the obvious ones (don’t have sex in a teen slasher movie) because everyone knows them, and so many people have written about them.

Doctor Cain’s Law

If the girlfriend of a doctor/med student dies in the course of a movie involving reanimation, the doctor will use the process to resurrect her. (Named for Dan Cain of Re-Animator, and making appearances in House of the Dead and The Mummy Returns – though it is the son in this instance)

Burton’s Reflexes

The unique trait allowing a hero to catch a knife thrown at him and throw it back at his attacker. (Named for Jack Burton of Big Trouble in Little China, though seen in The Mummy Returns as well).

Rule of Survival #1

If you are a college kid invited to a really bitchin’ rave on a secluded island, DON’T GO!!!

Rudy’s Forced Foreshadowing

The brutal demonstration of a particular skill that becomes vital later in the movie. this form of foreshadowing has all the subtly of a wooden axe handle. (Called for the incredible bluntness in which House of the Dead character Rudy says of his ex-girlfriend, “she wanted to focus on her fencing. What good is that?”)

Rule of Survival #2

If you are involved in a scavenger hunt, chances are that nothing on your list can be found in the abandoned army base just outside of town.

Skill Absorption

Unique trait found in many college kids which allows them to be able to use a handgun/shotgun/rifle with marksman skill, even if they have never picked up such a weapon before. This ability is rarely found in anyone who utters the words, “Don’t worry, I saw this in a movie once.”

Rule of Survival #3

It’s okay to be considered a chicken if a dare involves going into a house/school/cemetery where a lot of people were killed years ago… and they never found the killer.

Matrix Skill

Dominant in the Post-Matrix Hollywood films where fighters (especially unarmed fighters) have the ability to defy gravity while the camera spins to a different angle (not necessarily to get a better shot of the action, mostly just to show they can).

My Brother, My Zombie

When faced with the idea that a relative is a blood-thirsty monster, or will soon become one, the living relative will always insist on finishing it, usually saying something like, “No, I’ll do it. It’s only right.”

My Brother, My Zombie Corollary

The actual incident will go down in one of two ways: a) After great hesitation, the relative will close their eyes, aim the gun (shaking in hand), apologize, and fire; or b) The relative will close their eyes, aim the gun (hand really shaking), and start crying, at which point someone else will finish the job.

Rule of Survival #4

When confronted with the possibility of flesh-eating zombies, locations for supplies should include: A) A gun shop, B) Supermarket (for food), and C) The Medieval history wing of the local museum for chain mail so the damn suckers can’t bite you (in a pinch, any dive shop that sells those metal shark suits will do).

Pet Survival Rates

A pet’s survival rate relies heavily on whether it can be more startling for it to jump out at someone alive, or be found dead. In most cases, cats usually live much longer than dogs.

Sci-Fi to DVD alterations

The only real changes between the movie that debuts on the Sci-Fi channel and the unrated DVD release are: A) A LOT more swearing, B) A slight increase in gore, and C) At least one shot of an unknown starlet topless.

Theatrical to Director’s Cut

Most people cannot tell the difference between what they saw in the theater and the unrated director’s cuts (Notable exceptions: Lord of the Rings and Daredevil)

Language absorption

Similar to skill absorption, except dealing with languages. Usually manifests in one member of a group who just so happens to read Spanish/French/Latin/Sanskrit/cuneiform.

Fantastic Four – Game Review from the Casual Gamer

I consider myself a casual gamer. Mostly, that’s because nearly all the games coming out require a graphics card better than the GeForce 4 MX card I got. While I will probably upgrade, someday, for now, it suits me fine, and cuts down on the number of computer games I buy.

I also consider myself a casual gamer in that I’m not one of those intensive “Sit-at-the-game-until-finished” guys that write most of the reviews out there. In truth, there are times I don’t even finish a game.

That being said, I was surprised to find Activision’s Fantastic Four computer game playable on my system.  Curiosity got the better of me and I picked it up. While I haven’t finished the game, I have been so far impressed.

From the moment you pick up the box, you know that it is tied into the new FF movie, premiering July 8th. Carried into the game are the voice talents of the five main actors. But, comic geeks will pick out that many of the villains and secondary characters added for further gameplay are based upon Marvel’s Ultimate line (so far, this has included a cameo by a Ultimates Nick Fury and an extremely repulsive looking Mole Man).

The plusses of Fantastic Four is that each of the FF possess their own unique talents, further augmented by the “Cosmic” key. Thus, if you were playing Reed, you have light and heavy punches, but also extended punches and spinning fists when the Cosmic key is pressed with an attack. Combo attacks are also capable for each character.

While so far, a number of the levels I’ve played have been solo levels (focusing on one of the FF), it is possible to play with two members, or the whole team. This can get daunting for the casual player since often you have to switch between characters to accomplish a particular task. Coplay options are available, allowing for two players to play at once, but no online feature is included, so all gameplay actions come from the keyboard or gamepads.

Also a plus is that it is a loaded game. Upgrades to powers are available for “purchase,” along with character bios, concept art, cover gallery and more. Even on start-up, you have the option of viewing character bios, reading issues of Ultimate Fantastic Four, even hearing samples of the character “theme songs” from the soundtrack.

In addition to the storyline, an arena combat mode is available. This is particularly nice if you wish to make sure you know the right buttons to push for the combos. Additional villains and arenas are unlocked by gathering F4 Secrets in the main game, so you will need to play that to use all the arena zones.

On the downside, the camera actions leave a lot to be desired. Often times I’ve gotten myself into situations where I need to see a particular area, but have gotten the camera turned around so much that I’ve almost become disoriented.

Also, while it is possible to use a gamepad for the game (I use a Logitech Dual Action gamepad), configuration cannot be done from within the game. This is particularly irritating if you want to make sure what button will do what. When I configured my gamepad, I had to restart the game 4 or 5 times to reconfigure it to my liking.

Finally, levels can only be saved at particular points, usually after defeating a boss. While not really a problem for a lot of people, I always find it a bit irksome since it means I have to complete a sequence before I can shut down for the night, or else start over from the last same point.

For the most part, Fantastic Fouris a great game, certainly a lot of fun for the casual gamer/comic geek.

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