Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Vehicle of the Week #2: USS Prometheus

USS Prometheus
When someone thinks of Star Trek, probably the first thing that comes to mind is one of the Enterprise incarnations or Voyager. Some may think of the Klingon B'Rel class (better known as the Bird of Prey) which was a turning point in the show as being the first ship to feature a cloaking field. The massive Romulan Warbird, outclassing even the Galaxy-Class Enterprise in its first appearence is another iconic starship of the Star Trek genre. However, I have chosen to write about a vessel that only appeared once in the actual show, the episode 'Messege In A Bottle' of the Voyager series. The USS Prometheus is the first (and only truly canon) vessel of the Prometheus class. Still, the vessel has featured in a number of novels and is a favourite among the star trek role playing community. Despite the conflicts this may cause, there are some accepted assumptions regarding the class. The Prometheus class was not a widley produced vessel, to an even lesser extent than the Galaxy class (of which there were roughly a dozen known ones). This is likely, again like the Galaxy class, its massive cost. Additionally, the Prometheus is a war vessel rather than an explorer supporting much more weaponry than most Federation starships. Ever the diplomats, the vessel was viewed as too aggressive to see widespread deployment and the few that exist act as a 'home guard' for key systems or border patrols along dangerous routes.
The ship has a relativley low crew capacity for its size as it employs an advanced computer interface to conduct much of its operations. Sporting a mix of phasers and photon torpedoe launchers of the same number as a Galaxy class initially this isn't looking to be much of a warship. What sets this vessel aside from the rest is its regenerative shielding ability. Its shields are, when correctly adjusted, capable of absorbing the energy output from enemy phasers and disruptors. The result is that these enemy weapons end up strengthening the ships' shields rather than weakening them. On top of this is the Prometheus class' ultimate and unique maneuver, a true ace in the hole: The Multi-Vector-Assault-Mode, or MVAM:
The Prometheus class is capable of splitting itself into three seperate vessels, the main traiditonal 'saucer' section and two smaller parts comprising of a portion of the vessels 'neck' and a pair of nacelles (these smaller vessels strongly resemble the prototypes of the Akira class, the most widely used war grade vessel of the Federation). The two smallers ships are fast and nimble sporting numerous phasers while the slow and lumbering saucer section houses the torpedoes. This maneuver can turn a one-on-one fight into a 3-on-one, a useful trick. Additionally, when faced with a situation where retreat is the only option the saucer section can be sacrificed to distract foes with torpedoes set to auto fire whilst the two smaller parts make their escape (as the saucer section cannot jump to warp as it lacks nacelles).
While not being one of the better known vessels, in my opinion it is certainly a landmark of Federation inginuity and brings entirley new tactical options to the art of galactic warfare.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Aleithiometers and Adaptations

The trailer for the film of Northern Lights, the first in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is now online.

I'm rather apprehensive about this film. I love Pullman's trilogy as much as disagree with his anti-God polemic. Any film adaptation would have to be pretty special to do justice to the books. I'm rather worried about the meddling that's apparently going on with the film. The reports are that the anti-God angle is being cut out or at least heavily downplayed, which is a bit like trying to have the Bible without any of that messy God business.

Actually, the God I believe in doesn't bear much resemblance to the God that Philip Pullman doesn't believe in. The thing that really bothers me is that Pullman identifies his pantomime bogeyman "the Authority" with the Christian God. So it might actually improve the story if the attack is on the abuse of authority in general, rather than just (supposedly Christian) religious authority.

The trailer looks reasonably decent, but hasn't really put my mind at rest. It looks like it sticks to the story fairly well, which is promising. But the look of the film seems all wrong to me. The cityscapes with zeppelins flying over look pretty, but they look very much like fantasy/scifi settings, rather than "like our world, but different in many ways". In my opinion, the look ought to be much more like one of a period drama, and be much more rooted in the real world.

It also seems to play up some of the most generic aspects of the novel, such as the whole "She is the prophesied one who must save the world" spiel. There isn't much hint of the more thoughtful and philosophical aspects of the novel - the only impression we have of the daemons in the trailer is "magical animal sidekick" rather than the fascinating externalised soul of the books.

I really hope the film will turn out well. I guess we'll see in December.

Another movie adaptation of a fantasy novel currently in the offing is The Dark is Rising. Christopher Eccleston will be playing the Rider, which is promising. Apart from that - well, this quote from an article The Dark is Changing doesn't bode well:
A joke among the journalists covering The Dark Is Rising set visit in Bucharest over the last couple of days was that the movie has only changed three things from the Newberry-winning novel on which it’s based: they’ve changed the lead kid’s nationality from English to American, they’ve changed the lead kid’s age from 11 to 14, and they’ve changed everything that happens in the story.
It's a while since I read the book, but I really enjoyed it and thought it would translate well to screen. There are certain moments, such as Will in an avenue of trees in the snow setting some wood on fire with his new-found powers as crows wheel about around him, that have stuck very vividly and visually in my mind (maybe not entirely accurately, I'd have to check).

Anyway, it looks like the best I can hope for this film is that it becomes a decent fantasy film in its own right that just happens to have pinched the title from Susan Cooper's book, and just disassociate the two from each other.

I sound like a right whinger, all this moaning about films not being as good as the books! To end on a cheerful note, this Saturday's Doctor Who episode, Human Nature, looks set to be one of the best stories of the new series. The two-part story is adapted by the author Paul Cornell from what's widely regarded as probably the best Doctor Who novels, and the advance word is that it's very, very good. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

New (hopefully) weekly article - Vehicle of the Week #1 - The Devastator

Firstly an introduction. This is my attempt to get a regular weekly article on this blog utilising the creative talents of all it's members. To begin with the topic I have chosen is "Iconic Vehicles" spaceships, tanks, fighters and anything that you instinctively think of when you think about a particular Sci-Fi world. So let's dive right in with my first choice from Star Wars

The Devastator

Imperial 1 Class Star Destroyer
Manufacturer: Kuat Drive Yards
Length: 1,600 metres
Speed: 60 MGLT/ Class 2 Hyperdrive
Weaponry: Multiple turbolasers and ion cannons
Affiliation: Galactic Empire
Captain: Mulchive Wermis (under Darth Vader)

I guess most people would think of the Millenium Falcon when they think of Star Wars, but for me it has to be the big ol' Star Destroyers, and more specifically this one. Why the Devastator? Because after seeing Princess Leia's ship shoot across screen all guns blazing this behemoth fills the screen with twice the amount of guns all blazing! Immediately you know that this ship belonged to the bad guys, immediately you knew these bad guys were powerful and straight away you knew that the other ship didn't stand a chance!! I was totally blown away when I first saw that ship and I soon fell in love with Star Wars. Apart from being exceedingly cool, this ship is a powerful symbol and core element of the Star Wars universe. This ship represents the power to do whatever you want, the ship shows the power to weild authority by force. The simple yet intricate combines elaborate technology with brute force. For me, this will always be the ship of Star Wars.

Imperial 1 Class Star Destroyers (formerly known as Imperator class) are manufactured by and at Kuat Drive Yards for the Galactic Empire and later the New Republic. A combination of size and firewpower meant that these ships could take on an entire fleet and be used to patrol a sytar system on their own, they also had full ground assault capabilities with a fully equipped army and starfighter compliment in their holds. Their power and versatility led them to become the staple of the Imperial Navy, these large ships could hold their own against virtually any threat imaginable. The ships were a continuance of the smaller Acclamator and Venator designs used by the Old Republic in the Clone Wars, the new Empire quickly created these monster to combat any threat and secure their hold on the galaxy. The power in these vessels meant that the Rebel Alliance couldn't engage the Empire in open warfar because they just didn't have anything strong enough to battle them. It wasn't until they were able to capture some Star Destroyers by subterfuge and later gain the larger warships of the Mon Calamari that they could consider fighting the Empire. After the Empire fell Star Destroyers were still produced for the New Republic and they were still in use at the time of the Galactic Alliance, with a few upgrades here and there.

The Devastator was the flagship of Darth Vader before he aquired the Super Star Destroyer Executor. It participated in an orbital bombardment on Falleen, earning Vader the emnity of Prince Xixor of the Black Sun criminal organization. It again used bombardment to subjugate Ralltir. After that it was replaced as a flag by the Executor, but it remained in the fleet and was present at the battle of Hoth and later at the battle of Endor, where it was destroyed.

Well there you go, my first weekly article - i'm sure there was something else I wanted to talk about but there it is. See you next week I hope.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Doctor Who: 42 Review (spoilers)

The title of last night's Doctor Who episode was nothing to do with the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, but instead referred to the amount of time before the spaceship which the Doctor and Martha found themselves on plunged into the sun.

Countdowns in Doctor Who are something of a cliché, but I think this is the first time it has formed the entire basis for an episode. It was like the scenes in The End of the World in series 1 where Christopher Eccleston had to get past giant fans to the conveniently inconveniently-placed "Save the Day" switch, only with a more elaborate obstacle course with added trivia questions, plus people talking in deep voices (always a sure sign of possession by an evil force in sci-fi land).

The story was also something of a mishmash of genre clichés. It was obvious a mile off that the Captain would heroically sacrifice herself to help save the day, and ejecting her and the monster out of the airlock was straight out of Alien.

On the plus side, I enjoyed seeing the Doctor being more vulnerable, and the idea of a sentient sun could have been interesting but was completely undeveloped. All told, an entirely generic but moderately entertaining runaround.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Dr Who - New Series, new species part 2

Hello, I now have masses of free time to fritter away and i thought what could be better than to continue my review and discussion of the new alien species made in the new Doctor Who series. I hope to keep this up every three episodes or so, depending on how many new aliens show up. I am going to limit myself to new species which is why I haven't included the cat people, the face of Boe or the Macra from episode 3 - "Gridlock" By the way, if you've missed an episode then prepare to be spoilered!

As a side note, to make clearer what I'm doing I'm putting my opinion on them as a viewer first, then an in-universe description of the species in italics. Both are based on my viewings of the show and on my own opinions and theories, though I try to base it on as much "factual" evidence as possible.

Pig Slaves

Not to be confused with the mutant Pig created by the Slitheen in series 1, these creatures are a mutation of human and pig DNA created to serve the Daleks. I, at first, did confuse them with the earlier pig mutant and while they don't seem to be the same thing, Russel and the Doctor Who team do seem to have an affinity for walking pigs!! Whilst they are a simple construction and relatively little information is given about why they were made they did create a good sense of danger before the larger threat of the Daleks was revealed.

The Pig Slaves were mutated humans created to serve the Daleks in the most menial of tasks and to serve as extra ground forces due to there being only four Daleks remaining. The daleks used a combination of human and pig DNA to create a subspecies with the physical size and strength of a human, perhaps even greater, butwith the reduced intelligence of a pig mind, making them subservient. the Daleks cared little about them, and used them as disposable footmen, the life span of the pig slave after mutation was reduced to a few weeks. There seem to have been multiple stages of the mutation as one slave Lazslo was able to escape full mutation and still retained his intelligence and some of his appearance, the Doctor was able to save him from the effects of the mutation, stopping him from dying, though he was unable to remove the physical effects.


This was quite an interesting step for doctor Who to take, and also one of the best prosthetics I've ever see, those moving tentacles were just fantastic!! I thought the concept was good and it developed well, and the thought of a new race of benign Daleks was a cool possibility, but as usual they killed it off before it could be developed into something more, though I suppose it might not have worked in the long run, even though it would have been cool. My only real problem with this was that Sec was able to gain the best of human qualities from a man who was willing to sell out the entire planet for his own personal gain, othwerwise I believed in it and enjoyed watching it.

The first and only Dalek-Human was created as a blof experiment by Sec, the leader of the elite Dalek group. the cult of Skaro. The four Daleks were made with the capacity to imagine and develop their own ideas to the advantage of the Dalek race. When the cult emerged from seclusion in the void and found the rest of their species, including the Emperor to be dead they took desperate measures to ensure their survival. Dalek Sec went beyond what the cult had planned and fused himself with a human, emerging from his Dalek shell with a human body but with the organic charecteristics of a Dalek, namely greenish skin, tentacles and a single eye. The human influence on Sec lead him to pursue more peacful avenues to ensure the survival of the Dalek race, the other Daleks disagreed and killed him, ending the experiment and killing the only one of this new species.


I was at first disapointed that these hyrbrids of human and Dalek DNA weren't more like Sec in appearance or that they didn't become all Timelordy after the Doctor put his own fingerprint on them, but obviously budget constraints etc. meant that they couldn't do everything- and in the end they still looked pretty cool with their Dalek tommy guns! I can understand why they killed them off, but i don't understand why they keep killing off good villains/ heroes like with the Racnos in the christmas special, they would have made greta new villains, but they were killed off in one episode - ah well!

The Human-Daleks were the creation of the Cult of Skaro's "Final experiment" to prolong and develop their species. They captured many humans, ones with low intelligence were made into pig slaves, ones deemed to have high intelligence were taken for transformation. In a genetics laboratory all traces of the human mind were wiped clean to be replaced with Dalek characteristics. The Daleks tried to turn them against the Doctor, but he had tampered with the altering process, giving them his own characteristics. The creatures, valuing freedom, turned on their masters and destroyed two of them. In response to this the remaining Dalek, Caan, remotely triggered the destruction of all Human-Daleks wiping out this new species mere minutes after it's creation.

The Lazarus Experiment

Firstly sorry that there's no image of the monster itself, I've searched most related sites, but I can't find one anywhere - if anyone knows where I can get one post a comment and I'll try and put it in. The monster was quite an interesting creation, the idea of it being a deviant of human DNA, a possibility that was rejected by nature, was quite an interesting one, I disagree with the theory, but it was much better than the "oh no! he's mutated!" which is what we usually get in these kind of scenarios. As a creation it was one of the better CG creations, Doc Who CG elements have a habit of being excellent or really poor, this one did pretty well and had a definite "presence" in the episode. My main gripe with it is that it absorbed "life force" - one of the most pathetic devices used in science fiction purely for it's own convenience.

The creature that was formed from Doctor Lazarus's experiment is a one of the kind creation, and while unique it can still technically be described as human, or at least partly human. In an attempt to rejuvinate his ageing body. He used a device to reengineer his DNA to create a younger version of himself and was succesful. However, his DNA continued to reorganize itself, eventually transforming Lazarus into a creature that was a castoff of human genetic code, something that humanity could have become but didn't due to environmental and other causes. The creature was large and scorpion like in nature with purpleish skin and a large gaping mouth and a flexible tails which was used to "feed" off other humans. The Doctor was eventually able to reverse the process, returning Lazarus to human form, but also killing him.

Well that's until the next three episodes are done, 42 is coming out soon and looks to be an interesting one. Enjoy folks!

Sunday, 13 May 2007

A Spiderman Axis of Evil

Probably most cinema goers will have seen Spiderman 3 by now. I have seen it three times myself and believe I have finally come to my own opinion on the film. I could write a full review, revealing the plot in its entirety and giving my two cents worth on it all but, well, I'm on a revision break and just don't have the time for what would be a pretty lengthy piecd considering the scope of the film. Instead, I have chosen to review the villains of the three films. No matter how great a hero may be, without a truly mighty foe to do battle with they'll always fall short of achieving that 'legendary' status. The villain is also insrtumental in determining the plot of the film and how dramatic, comedic, horrific and so on, a film is.

Villain: The Green Goblin

The first villain of the films, the maniacal and mallicious Green Goblin is a genuinly frightful character and probably the most 'scary' seen in films based on comics. Norman Osborn, driven mad during a trial run of his performance enhancers, becomes Spiderman's first villain. He is formed from Norman's innermost desires, swatting aside those who stand in the way of Osborn. While initially he is satisfied to ensure Oscorp flourishes and that he retains control, he later turns his focus specifically to Spiderman and tormenting him in whaterver way possible targetting Mary Jane Watson and his Aunt May. Despite his unhinged mind, he's a cunning villain setting traps for Spiderman, planting the seed of uncertainty in the young heroes mind and besting the web slinger at in every encounter until the very end. Willem Defoe's portrayal of the Goblin is superb, right down to the sinister voice Norman speaks with while donning the mask. I believe this is the greatest villain of the trilogy in terms of the sheer impact he made on the big screen and for doing what villains do - being evil.

Spiderman 2
Villain: Doctor Octopus
Ah, 'Doc Ock'. Another brilliant scientist turned villain, its a trend for comic books. Still, the twist on the nature of his conversion in the Spiderman 2 film was a novel one. His mechanical arms, designed as part of his system to sustain fusion, have a highly sophisticated form of AI installed. There is also an inhibitor chip the ensures the orders are one way (as in, from Octavius to the arms and not vice versa). During a demonstration, Octavius is blasted by a wayward fusion ray destroying the inhibitor chip. The AI can now influence him. He's not as impressive in appearence as the Goblin was, but proves to be a deadly foe for Spidey going as far as capturing him for the revenge seeking Harry Osborn. Octavius manages some form of redemption at the end as he regains control, hinting that in the film version Ock is more a puppet of the AI rather than genuinly evil. Its not that far removed from Osborn's dual personality from the first film and the creation of Green Goblin, a persona that wishes to fullfill the dreams of the weaker 'good' persona. Still, Ock is a fan favourite and keeps us entertained throughout.

Spiderman 3
Villain: The Sandman
Now here's a villain whose had his role dramatically beefed up on his jump to the big screen. Little more than a frequently occuring pest in the comics, more of a filler villain despite his great powers, Flin Marco is the main antagoniser for most of Spiderman 3. Like the previous two films' villains (Goblin and Ock) Marco has a good introduction and character development. A man on the run from the law who desires nothin more than to see his daughter's health restored, he had resorted to crime to get the needed funds. While on the run, Marco stumbles into a particle testing site and becomes the Sandman. As he struggles to regain control of his now sand made body, its touching to see how he despretley grasps at the necklace of his daughter. He has overwhelming power, easily beating a somewhat cocky Spiderman in their first encounter, though Flin makes it clear that 'I don't want to fight you'. He's not in it for being evil, he just wants the money to save his daughter. A black suited Spiderman pummels Flin upon learning he is Uncle Ben's true killer, though as the film reveals at the end it was an accidental shooting as he attempted to take the car. Flin is influenced by Venom to take on Spiderman one final time, and without Harry's intervention would have killed the web head. All in all, I think this is the greatest villain of the third film and second best of the trilogy next to the Green Goblin. His powers are tremendous and his character well designed and thought out. As Flin says, "I never chose to be this way", and "I'm not a bad person, I've just had bad luck". A man drawn onto the wrong side of the tracks through need to save a person he loves, Flin Marco is a villain who touches all the emotional cords.

Villain: New Goblin
Since witnessing Spiderman laying his fathers lifless body down at the Osborn home, Harry has sought revenge. In the second film he struck a deal with Doctor Octopus and almost stabbed the captured Spiderman until he discovered it was his closest friend, Peter Parker, behind the mask. The second film ends with Harry being haunted by his fathers image and discovering the stash of 'goblin gear'. In the third film, following a brief scene with a young smirking Osborn eyeing Parker in the theatre and a dip in a vapour bath of his fathers performance enhancers, the New Goblin is born. This goblin isn't insane, as was pointed out in the first film insanity was a side effect displayed in only one of the test subjects (Norman just got unlucky). However, a lifetime of failing to live up to his fathers expectations and desire to avenge him has twisted the young Osborn. Though this isn't a standard villain. He's not out for world domination, money or anything really beyond avenging the death of his father. Not unlike the way Spiderman started out hunting down his uncles shooter. Equpped with the glider, pumpkin bombs, razor bats and enhanced human abilities that the previous Goblin had, Harry has the potential to be a serious threat enhanced further by his modifications to the glider (enabling it to pursue Spiderman down narrow alleys) and new weapons. Still, Harry lacks the killer instinct the Green Goblin had and Spiderman is a much more seasoned fighter. After a brush with amnesia and spending a portion of the film as his former self, upon his memory returning Harry makes another attempt on Parker's life but this time is totally overpowered by a black suites spidey. In the end, a scarred Osborn comes to Spiderman's aid as he accepts the harsh reality that his father had turned to evil and had died by his own hand. After fending off the Sandman, he fails in his attempt to slay Venom but not before he sacrifices himself to save Parker, skewered by his own glider (like father like son eh?). Like the sandman, Harry manages a level of redemption at the end. Though he was never truly an evil villain, he just wanted to take down his fathers killer.

Villain: Venom
And here we are, the final villain of the third film. Venom represents the only truly evil villain in this film. The film illustrates the shortcomings of Eddie Brock, a young photographer, and the symbiote's powers a displayed through the black suited Spiderman. When the symbiote and Brock become one, the result is venom. He is a creature born of revenge, hatred and envy. Unlike Parker, Brock claims that 'I likes being evil, it makes me happy' as the symbiote's powers courses through him. Such is the power of this combination that Brock himself appears transformed sporting fangs of his own beneath the nightmarish face of Venom. He wants to humiliate and destroy Peter Parker and convinces the sandman to help him. He appears to be more than a match for Spiderman and kills Harry. Still, once Spiderman realises the symbiote's weakness it is not long before Venom is weakened and finished off with a pumpkin bomb. Venom's screen time is short lived, and for such a powerful and famous foe it seems as if he was cheated. The appearence of the symbiote itself from a meteorite has no explenation in the film either which may bewilder those who have not read the comics. While I do like the portrayal of venom himself, I feel of all the villains in the films so far this is the worst given his lack of developement as Venom, the missing information regarding the symbiote and the way that he goes from being an indomitable foe to a pushover. Granted, the soundwaves as a weakness, though parker seems to quite easily knock him back hown a couple of times as he attempts to escape. A villain a pure mallice with great potential, a missed opportunity I feel. Given his apparent demise, I doubt he will return to the big screen, which is a shame considering what was yet to be explored with this character.

And there you have it, my rundown of Spidey's foes. Who will be in the next installment of the Spiderman on the big screen (which will doubtless appear in a couple of years). Hopefully they'll pick one villain, or maybe two, and give them much more development than was seen in the third. While Harry had been developing over three films and a lot of time devoted to the Sandman, Venom just didn't cut it. There's plenty of villains left, Lizard, Mysterio, Shocker, Scorpion, Carnage, the list goes on. I may review the film itself post exams, or maybe one of the other writers here will take on the task. Still, I would like to make on point clear to people bashing the film on chronological points. This is an ADAPTATION, not a direct copy of the comics, and all in all the characters have been recreated with a great degree of faith. Lets face it, they could have done much worse.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

The history of the future - Matrix Online

This is just a quick post for any fans of the Matrix to give you a few links to aid you in finding out what happens after the end of the third film. Well the story continued in an interactive online game - The Matrix Online. The Matrix Online takes place in the turbulent days following the truce between Man and Machine. Despite the end of the war, the Matrix has been far from peacful. New enemies have sprung up, former allies have turned away and great leaders have been lost. Even now, two years on we are still plagued by hostilities and dangerous events have caused the sky to turn blood red and the Matrix itself to become unstable. Want to find out what happens or catch up on events - these links may help

Data Node One - The official game website, complete with news, game info and logs of events going on in the Matrix recorded on the forums

Cinematic Downloads - A player has linked to all the ingame cinematics which will help to tell the story of what's been happening in the Matrix.

MxO Story - A good website providing storyline information and links to other excellent fansites.


Tuesday, 8 May 2007

It's all about HALO

This coming year will be a video game bonanza for the original Sci-Fi genre HALO, featuring a swathe of new releases set to keep it on the video game map for time to come. Considering that only two games have been released thus far the games have ammassed an interest and a fan base that rivals much larger game releases such as the Tom Clancy games and Metal Gear Solid. With more releases on the way across multiple media HALO is set to make it's mark in 2007 through 2008.

The first release will be HALO 2 on PC, though Bill Gates has given me another reason to despise him by making it exclusive to Vista!! The bigger release will be HALO 3 on X-box 360 (none of the new games will be on PC, and when they do come out they will probably also be Vista so I'll try and restrain myself in speaking about them!) sometime around autumn. HALO 2's in depth storyline featuring a chance to take on the role of a member of the Covenant, humanity's sworn enemies was cut short in an ending the left fans frustrated and wanting more - HALO 3 gives player the opportunity to go and (as the Master Chief put it) "Finish the fight." The game promises to resolve all the battles and mysteries from both games in an epic fight to the finish.

The third release will be a new step for HALO in that it will be a strategy game. For the first time players will be able to control tanks, warthogs, fighters and even the legendary SPARTANS in a large scale confrontation against the Covenant marking the beginning stages of the war. Little is known about how the game will work, little has been released other than concept art and a preview cinematic featuring amazing graphics.

There is also an unnamed HALO project in the works. Peter Jackson is developing his own games company and will develop it in conjunction with Bungie, the original creators of HALO. Little else is known about this project.

HALO's strength is that it has managed to quickly spread out into other media. A new comic book series called HALO Uprising is seemigly set around the events of HALO 3 and features the Master Chief and a look at events in the cities affected by the war. Halo already boasts a novelization of the game and three independent novels set around the events of the two games as well as a Graphic Novel featuring short stories set in the HALO universe.

If that wasn't enough there is also a HALO Movie in production, Peter Jackson is involved, but the production has been plagued by several delays so it is difficult to get accurate information on what will happen. The film is currently on hold and little else is known for definite.

Well that's what's going on in HALO. If you don't know what HALO is then you've probably stumbled on to the wrong blog, but if you're still interested I found the Halopedia useful in providing information.

I also saw Spiderman 3 today so I'll pop up a review soonish unless someone beats me to it.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

I hate Lucasarts!!!/ A "Groundbreaking" new game!

Why do I hate Lucasarts? Why do I hate the company that provides videogamers with an experience of the star wars universe. Why do I hate the company that creates games like Knights of the Old Republic and LEGO Star Wars? Why would I hate the creators of possibly my favourite Star Wars character Kyle Katarn, star of the Dark Forces/Jedi Knight games? Why - because I'm a PC gamer that's why and Lucasarts seem intent on shutting us out. Lucasarts once made great games for PC players as well as console gamers, the aformenetioned RPGs were available on PC as well as other consoles, as well as strategy games exclusive to PC like the excellent Empire at War and it's expansion. But now they've decided that PC players for some reason no longer like RPGs and all their new releases are console exclusives, which is extremely irritating for a big Star Wars fan and gamer who now can't enjoy their latest releases. Let's review...

Episode 3, the game (PS2 and X-box only)

Thrillville - Lucasart's new easy themepark maker (PS2 and X-box only)

Lethal Alliance (PSP and DS only)

Indiana Jones - (PS3 and X-box 360 only)

The Force Unleashed - (Next-Gen and Portables only)

And now Fracture, a fantastic new original Sci-Fi game is also console exclusive - I ain't happy!! However, the game does look good and it is Sci-Fi so I will do my best to remain dispassionate as I look at it.

The game is set in 2161 where ecological faliure has destroyed the central portion of the United States, leaving two seperate nations struggling and warring for survival. One, the Atlantic Alliance uses cybernetics and an alliance with Europe to progress and survive. The other, the Republic of Pacifica use genetic engineering and ties with Asia to maintain their edge. Both sides resent the technologies and allies of the other.

As tensions lead to all out war between the two superhuman armies one soldier is placed in the middle of it - Mason Briggs a soldier for the Alliance who uses terrain deformation (noun - a technology developed in the year 2090. Soldiers utilize special weaponry to reshape the earth to their own strategicl advantage) to raise the earth for a better view, create tremors or turn the ground into a vortex which sucks in his opponents.

The game is due in 2008 and looks promising the time and setting are realistic and based on present day technologies which could be taken out of control in a century or so, as well as the global weather changing which initiates the conflict.

So keep your eyes out for Fracture comin next year...if you've got a PS3 you lucky so and so!

Tuesday, 1 May 2007


Or rather, just 'Next'. This film is Nicholas Cage's latest outing on the big screen, and having attended a showing with two of my friends we had mixed responses between us ranging from the complete 'wow that was great' to 'I want two hours of my life back'. The latter statement which is unfair, as the film is only 95 minutes long which is pretty short as far as films go these days.
Since this is a new film I won't dish out spoilers lest you read on and spoil it because the film would be ruined if you knew what was coming like Mr Cage's character certainly does. I will however divulge the main plot.
Cage plays a man making his living as a small time magician in Las Vegas who also gambles at the tables on the side. The twist is he can see the future, but only two minutes ahead and only the his own future (or things that effect his own future). Both blessed and cursed by this power, he is hunted by the American FBI who are in need of such powers to address a matter of national security (yeees, nuclear junk again) and enemies who want to blow him up.
The plot has some real promise, and the film is blessed in that the typical slow starting that sets up most films is not present here, instead a short snippet of his life on stage and in the casino is followed up with ACTION. The film has some great comic moments and truly awesome fight scenes of a unique style comparible only with the Matrix in their logic. The film however, for me, falls short of being great as the cgi used to animate certain elements is....well, shoddy. A few years back it would have been grand, but don't go expecting to see super realistic effects - you'll quite easily be able to pick up whats a real prop and what was editted in a la blue screen. The fight/action secuences, while super cool, are short lived and the film could have really capitalised on this. Finally I feel the film is too short. With such a plot and excellent acting crew this could have been so much more, but you can't help but feel 'oh' at the end. It is a neat ending with a twist, but there is a sense that certain elements could have been explored to a much greater level of depth.
All in all this is a very watchable film I'd recommend to anyone needing a fix prior to Spidey 3, though it falls a bit short for me in terms of being a DVD purchase. Certainly a cheapy dvd purchase, but not brand new on release. This is just my humble opinion and for some (including one of my crew) this is a real gem.

Oh, and the trailers for Spiderman 3, Pirates of the Caribbean At World's End and Transformers look dang fine!