Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: WWF WrestleFest

Technos Japan were best known for their beat 'em-ups in the 1980s. Their first was Kunio-Kun, which was ported to the US and reskinned into Renegade, giving it a Warriors movie-esque vibe with biker gangs and such. This would later be reused in their follow up games in River City Ransom and Double Dragon.

WWF WrestleFest released into arcades in 1991. It was largely the same as the previous game, Superstars, but improved drastically. It now had support for 4 players and the use of credits to refill the life bar. They could now use credits to power their wrestler up. Moves wise, the player now had access to tag team double team moves. Moves were now more wrestler accurate and different moves could be implemented given the position of the wrestler and their remaining health The roster was now:
  • Hulk Hogan
  • Ultimate Warrior
  • Demoltion
  • Sgt. Slaughter
  • Big Boss Man
  • Ted DiBiase
  • Jake Roberts
  • Earthquake
  • Mr. Perfect

In the first new mode, Royal Rumble, a player picks one of the roster of wrestlers and takes part in the Royal Ruble match. The player can win by throwing the opponent over the ropes, pinfall or submission.

Making a return from the previous game is the "Saturday Night's Main Event" mode, where the player picks 2 wrestlers from the roster to form a tag team. They then fight through a series of increasing difficulty tag matches until the face off against the Tag Team Champions, The Legion of Doom at WWF WrestleFest. Once the player wins, they compete in tag defense matches in a never ending loop.

Out of the two, I really think WrestleFest is by far the better game. It took what Technos had built on in Superstars and improved on it a hundred fold. The animation, sound and gameplay feels much better. The challenge is increased. If your arcade has this, definitely check it out.

Nerdversity Reviews: WWF Superstars

Technos were formed in 1981 by three former employees of Data East. Their most famous work, Nekketsu Koha Kunio-Kun. It was ported to the US and home computers under the name of Renegade, which would spawn a number of spin offs including River City Ransom and Double Dragon.

In May of 1989, Technos teamed up with the WWF to release an arcade game. The game was called WWF Superstars and featured an immense roster including:
  • Hulk Hogan
  • Macho Man Randy Savage
  • Hacksaw Jim Duggan
  • Ultimate Warrior
  • Big Boss man
  • Honky Tonk Man

The game was a tag team style, in which the player would pick two wrestlers that would come to the ring in carts, akin to Wrestlemanias III and VI. The player would then wrestle in a series of 3 matches until they reached the tag team title match against The Mega Bucks, being Andre the Giant and Million Dollar Man.

The final match is increasingly difficult as Ted DiBiase has some of the best stats in the game and Andre cannot have grapple moves done to him, nor is it wise to attack him toe to toe, as he will simply beat you each and every time. If the player wins the match, they move on from New York to Tokyo and then, if they win the next series of 3 matches, the game is over,with the winning wrestlers declared champions.

As a wrestling game, it's fun and there's a fair few classic wrestlers to play with in the game. The challenge is mastering them all. As this is a Technos game, the wrestlers move and act like they are in a fighting game. Also to note, in the above screenshot, that is Billy Lee from Double Dragon as a cameo in the crowd.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Silent Hill Arcade

Silent Hill is a survival horror franchise made by Konami. It's set in a quiet American town by the name of Silent Hill and features many psychological horror elements, as well as puzzle solving and combat.

The arcade game is a spin off. It's a 2 player rail shooter game that features the characters of Eric and Tina. Eric used to live in Silent Hill and is now searching for clues regarding a boating accident in 1910 that claimed the life of Hanna, a little girl. As a result, she is now a monster. As Eric defeats her, she returns to normal.

The gameplay is an on rails shooter with a light gun. Reloading is done by shooting off screen. It also has a multiplayer element, in which the players can work together. In Japan, progress can be saved on an e-Pass.

The game can be found in some arcades. It's not bad overall. It might be worth a play if you can find it. 

Nerdversity Reviews: X-Terminator Slot Machine

Harry Levy is a maker of arcade machines here in the UK. He specialises in making prize themed slot machines and pusher games for arcades in holiday zones. These are different to regular slot machines as they are not only themed around movies, but are redemption machines, meaning they dish out tickets instead of coins. This is why they are popular with children.

One of his recent creations is the X-Terminator machine. Now, it's painfully obvious that this machine is clearly inspired by the Terminator series of movies. The upper board features artwork based on Arnold Schwarzenegger's T2 character and a T-800. It also has banners for the win rates and icons, as well as the larger reels for the bonus game.

The machine itself features artwork based on the terminator franchise. Each Machine is labeled X-T and then the number. Icons on the reels feature such things as a Skynet logo, chips, a shotgun, motorcycle and a skull.

These are prize redemption machines, so no cash to be won here. The artwork is great and the theme works.

Nerdversity Reviews: Power Rangers Legacy SDCC Communicator

In 2013, Bandai released the first collectors items in the Legacy line. These were collectible and rare items that were aimed at adult collectors. They also had deals with SDCC and MCM London to release exclusive repaints at SDCC and certain items early in the UK at MCM

This is the SDCC exclusive communicator. First thing we should note is that this is a collectable sleeve and there are only 500 in existence. The front of the box has the classic LEGACY logos and COMMUNICATOR in gold letters. The rest of the box is taken up by the black rangers

The sides of the box are the same. Just the LEGACY COMMUNICATOR logo on both sides in grey. Plain black background too.

The back of the box shows the black and white rangers holding their weapons. It has a lightning bolt on the background and underneath, we have the MMPR plot line. Underneath that, we have the limited edition number.

The communicator is the largely the same as the standard release. The only difference is, that on one line, Zordon now says "SDCC command center". Other than that, it's identical.

Due to the fact that it's extremely limited edition, these can fetch anywhere from $120 to around $200 on the secondary market. I haven't seen any cheaper than that. Of course, purchase of this may be subject to the individual. If you are the kind of collector who wants everything, go ahead. If not, then you can skip this.

Nerdversity Discussion; Marvel Comics and Super Sentai

In 1939, Timely Comics came into the scene, bringing with it a new generation of superheroes, including the original Human Torch, Captain America and Namor. In 1951, they changed their name to Atlas comics, finally becoming Marvel Comics in 1961, where they modernised the hero genre and bought it back.

So the question many of you are wondering here, is what does Marvel Comics in the 1980s have to do with Super Sentai and Tokusatsu in general?

After Shotaro Ishinomori had had runaway success with the likes of Kamen Rider, Gorenger and JAKQ, Marvel was impressed and worked with Toei in 1978 to create SUPAIDA-MAN, which was also a success, even Stan Lee himself said that he preferred this one, compared to the 1975 Spider-Man TV series with Nicholas Hammond. It was also the first Toei made tokusatsu series to feature a transforming robot, which Spider-Man would use to fight giant aliens with. The plot wasn't at all like the comics, instead, the suit and powers were given to him by an alien race from the planet Spider. As of Spider-Verse, Marvel have considered this carnation Canon to Spider-Man and inhabits his own version of the Marvel universe. 

Marvel's first joint production with Toei was a series called Battle Fever J in 1979. Now, it was the first series to use the term Super Sentai, unlike Gorenger and JAKQ, thus, from 1979 - 1994, it was considered the FIRST Super Sentai team. Marvel had wanted this show to be an adaptation of Captain America, with the red hero, Captain Japan being a solo hero, teaming up with other heroes. 

The artwork of the series was done in the style of John Byrne, an artist on the X-Men comics. The costumes even have a vaguely Marvel Comics look to them, with Battle Kenya emulating Black Panther and Miss America being similar to Captain America. Marvel have since confirmed that Battle Fever J is part of the Marvel Universe, inhabiting their own timeline. 

Denziman was the second Super Sentai Series done with the Marvel copyright and licensing attached. However, Marvel had no direct input this time. Instead, Toei followed on from the success of Battle Fever and made an ensemble cast. However, the inspirations from Marvel are still there. Denziman was inspired by Hulk, Thor and Silver Surfer, with the main villainess. Queen Hedrian looking almost identical to Hela from the Thor comics.

The last of the Toei and Marvel made Super Sentai was Sun Vulcan, released in 1981. Like with Denziman, there is very little influence or direct involvement here, as it's a direct sequel to Denziman, but the old Thor influences are there after the appearance of Hedrian.

That wasn't the end of the saga. In 1983, Marvel's Japanese division had plans of bringing Spider-Man and Sun Vulcan to the United States and to produce comics following their adventures. However, since they couldn't find anyone interested in snapping it up, even HBO said no, The project was finally cancelled in 1985. However, when then Marvel executive Margaret Loesch couldn't find a buyer, she found herself in charge of Fox Kids. she was offered Power Rangers in 1992 by Saban and the rest is history.

Nerdversity Reviews: Star Tugs Bigg Weekend (Part 2)

In the last part, we took a look at company itself and the first carriage of the event. So, lets jump straight into it and take a look at what surprises lurk in the second carriage.

Moving round into the second carriage, we are greeted by a third of the four main villains of the series. This the model for Zak, one of Zed Stacks. Once again, modeled after a 1920s gangster. 

The next model is of the ocean going tug, Hercules. Here, we also see molds and such for the spare parts on his deck, Presumably these got broken off a lot and had to be replaced regularly.

One of the secondary characters was Burke. He was named after the infamous highwaymen "Burke and O'Hare". His character was that of a scrap dealer. 

Next up is Zorran, Leader of the Zed Stacks and the chief antagonist of the series. His character was that of a shrewd gangster who'd stop at nothing to get money, even if it meant piracy from the Star fleet. 

Sadly, as the trust are unable to get a hold of the actual models for Grampus and Top Hat, they are in possession of the molds and face masks for the characters and as such are on display here.

The next model that is on display is that of Big Mac. Sadly, what you see is what you get with him. There are no extras or accessories that came with him

The next model on display was that of Alligator Tug and secondary character, Billy Shoepack. His character was that of one that lived upriver and loved explosives. No accessories with him either.

The next model on display was that of Warrior. Warrior was characterised as strong, yet a bit stupid and clumsy. The model looks to be in great shape and sadly, no accessories on display.

The final of the main villains on display was that of Zebedee. Once again, modelled after a 1920s gangster with stubble on his face. His colours are primarily black and brown.

The final model on display was the latter half of the duo, Burke and Blair. Blair here, is seen in the same brown colour scheme as his partner, with the same hat on. This time, he has glasses on. His character is that of a scrap dealer. They are named after Burke and Hare, who were serial killers in the 19th century, who sold corpses to doctors in Scotland for dissection.

This exhibition is made by fans for fans. In it, not only are there loads of props, but also loads of information on how these types of show are made and the filming techniques used. Yes, it's not for everyone and it is a bit of a trek for most people in the UK, but it's definitely worth a visit.