Friday, 25 September 2009

Jushin Liger (1989) Ep. 1

I'll start with the most obvious thing to say about this show, that it inspired the gimmick of a great wrestler of the same name, who uses the cartoon's opening theme as his theme song to this day and who in turn later inspired a live action movie. That's pretty much why I wanted to watch this in the first place, having been a fan of the wrestler for a few years and all. If I'm honest, I wasn't really expecting very much from it.
I was pleasantly surprised! There is a lot to like about this show. Lots of action, it looks nice, dramatic music.
The show starts with some kid dreaming about being killed and eaten by big monsters, before being woken up by his dad. We find out the kid's name is Ken, and he then makes breakfast before going to school, and on the way to school, flips up the skirt of the girl he likes, insults her fat friend, and beats up his own fat friend. Classy.
During class something terrible happens outside! The giant head of Skullgreymon descends from the skies and unleashes a few giant monsters, who wreck the shit out of Tokyo. And this must be the most fragile Tokyo ever, since it takes less than a minute of monstering before it looks like a typical post-apocalyptic cartoon: dark skies, ruined skyscrapers, and so on.
The army turn up, and not only make their usual inept attempt at killing the monsters, they actualy make things worse, as when one of the monsters is hit by tank fire, it splits in two for some reason.
Anyway, more devastation goes on until Ken finally summons Jushin Liger, which only bears a slight resemblence to the wrestler, and looks more like a heavy metal version of Lord Zedd from Power Rangers. A hole opens in Liger's chest, that Ken flies into, before a bunch of bony cable things attach themselves to Ken. Jushin Liger is some kind of living giant robot made of muscle and bone or something. There's then a pretty long (and actually very good) fight scene with Liger beating up/killing the evil monsters, while the real villains also do plot stuff in their giant ship (that really does look like Skullgreymon's head). He usus martial arts more than wrestling, though. One bizzare highlight is that at one point, Ken decides he needs a weapon, and that since he's in a (sort of) giant robot called "Jushin Liger", he'll just summon a sword, and it's called "Liger Sword". And that works.
Liger defeats the monsters, the bad guys run away, episode ends.
As I said at the start, I wasn't expecting much from this show, only watching it out of curiosity, but it actually turned out to be really entertaining, and by the time the next episode preview came on, I really wanted to watch another episode! Unfortunately, as far as I know, this is the only episode that's been subtitled. One last thing: while watching this show, various little visual things reminded me a lot of Go Nagai, then when I looked up the release date on Wikipedia, turns out it was actually by him! Oh ho!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Hatris (PC Engine)

According to Wikipedia, Hatris was created by Alexey Pajitnov in 1990. As well as being on PC Engine, it was also released on NES, Game Boy and in arcades. Like his most famous game, Tetris, Hatris was a falling stuff puzzle game, the "stuff" being hats of various styles, such as wizard hats, crowns, etc. At the bottom of the screen are six identical heads on to which the hats land. Stacking five identical hats on top of each other makes them disappear. Near the top of the screen is a line, which when crossed by a pile of hats ends the game.
The game itself is fine. Unfortunately, that's the greatest compliment it can recieve. While not great looking, it's not particularly ugly, while there is music it's so bland, it's barely noticable. The idea is executed perfectly, and there are no frustrating flaws in any part of the game, in fact, it only commits one crime of game design. The most important one: it's very, very boring. There's no tension, reaching higher levels complicates things by adding more varieties of hat, but still, even when all six stacks of hats are reaching the game over line, you don't feel any motivation to try harder, and once you've reached game over you don't feel as if you've lost anything or that you could do better next time, you just find yourself thinking "oh. it's over." This isn't helped by the fact that even if you start on higher levels, your game is probably going to last at least ten minutes before you're even close to getting game over.
Play it once or twice out of curiosity at the unusual concept, and to see the sort-of wierd graphics, but that's it. This is a well made, but very dull game.