Monday, 21 December 2009

SF at the Movies - December 09

OK so the last chance this year for you to see some Sciencey-Fictioney goodness on a large screen - unless you're one of the people of the show Cribs in which case you can do that any time!

On with it eh?

Planet 51

Released 04/12/09

Some astronaut lands on a planet with some kiddy type aliens - possibly some things happen, I'm not sure!


Released 16/12/09

That's more like it! One of the most anticipated films of the year - shot in stunning 3D and not so some monsters can jump out of the creen at you, but rather to give you a heightened sense of realism that makes other movies seem, well...flat! The plot concept has kinda been done before, but the way it is told is fantastic and the imagination going into the natives and the flora and fauna of their incredible world is superbly realised - well worth seeing, and if you've never seen a 3D film before this is the one to see!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

A sequence of sequels

At the recent video game awards it was an opportunity for games to showcase new content. Among the awards and clips were some brand new trailers. The first of which was an announced trailer for Halo: Reach.

The trailer is exciting as it fulfils some of my wishes on the recent wishlist - there's a stack of new characters briefly introduced. Maybe a new vehicle, though it could be an interpretation of the Hawk and though the cinematics were in-game they did show off how cool this game is gonna be and look and I am more than definitely looking forward to this one.

Then came some shock announcements which certainly I didn't see coming - first up, a quick follow on from the astounding first game - it's Arkham Asylum 2!!

And a shock entry which I never even dreamed was coming: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2!!!

There were a few other entries, including a new Prince of Persia, but I'll have to leave it there - I really can't wait for next year now!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Star Wars Legacy: Cade's Crew

I realised I've been telling you all about Legacy and the different force users and Imperials, but I've neglected to tell you about some of the core characters! Despite the wished of many around him Cade is neither Jedi nor Sith and flies around the galaxy on his trusty ship, the Mynock. And on his ship are his trusty crew who have gone with him through thick and thin and all across the galaxy.

Permanent Crew

Jariah Syn
Species: Human
Sex: Male
Homeworld: Unknown
Position: First Mate (Mynock)
First Appearance: Legacy #2 (Broken, part 2)

After Cade was picked up by Rav's pirates, Jariah befriended him and encouraged Rav to make him part of the crew. At some stage they both left and got their own ship. Jariah quickly took to the life of bounty hunting, using powerful and illegal weapons such as Yuuzhan Vong bugs and a pragmatic approach, taking a 'dead' bounty if it made the hunt easier. Jariah hated Jedi because his father was killed by one and this made things tense between the two when Cade's heritage was revealed. But at the hidden temple he dealt with his issues and now he and Cade are closer than ever. Jariah has assisted in a number of important missions, notably the mission to assassinate Darth Krayt and to raid Rav's headquarters. His only real weakness is a taste for the ladies, particularly ones which get him into trouble such as Cade's cousin Annah and even his mother Morrigan Corde.

Deliah Blue
Species: Zeltron
Sex: Female
Homeworld: Zeltros
Position: Mechanic (Mynock)
First Appearance: Legacy #2 (Broken, part 2)

Deliah left her partygoing ways on Zeltros to become mechanic on Cade's ship. She is an expert and her skills are often the only thing keeping the Mynock flying. She is intensely loyal to the crew and in particular to Cade, whom she has had affections for for some time. The two are now in a relationship, though this has been rocky since the return of Azlyn Rae. As well as mechanic she also aids on hunts using her collection of blasters and concealed dart launchers to take down bounties. She encouraged a reluctant Jariah to help them spring Cade from the Sith temple and has kept the ship flying through a number of missions since, though she knows the risks - 'short and interesting' is what she says she wants and that's what Cade is promising.

Guest Crew

Along the way Cade and co have picked up a few extra crew for certain journeys and to help them out - here are some of those who joined up for a short period of time.

Naxy Screeger
Species: Sakiyan
Sex: Male
Homeworld: Unknown
Position: Gambler, informant
First Appearance: Legacy #2 (Broken, part 2)

Screeger first appeared as a bounty Cade was tracking, Cade tracked him on Lok and brought him back to Rav, who he owed. Sometime later Naxy agreed to let Cade and crew into Rav's fortress to confront him. In return they freed him from Rav and took him to a safe place, though they kept him in storage, not trusting him on the ship. Naxy is now free, but Cade has kept him availalble for other jobs.

Species: Wookiee
Sex: Male
Homeworld: Kashyyyk
Position: Captain (Grinning Liar)
First Appearance: Republic #81 (The Hidden Enemy, part 1)

Chak is a long-lived Wookiee who saw the Clone Wars and fought alongside Jedi Quinlan Vos and bounty hunter Vilmarh Grahk. He escaped the enslavement of his people by the Empire and has lived on the fringes for some time. He captained his own ship, but also made money by loaning it to others, such as Deliah Blue. When they were captured by Rav he looked for Cade, who had left the crew and knew nothing about it. He was recruited into the plan to rescue Cade by Morrigan Corde, who used his Wookie spacing knowledge to plan their escape and also made him legal owner of the Mynock to fool the Imperials. After freeing Cade he was good to his word and together they raided Rav's fortress and got Chak his ship back. Chak has since returned to the fringes, waiting for the heat to die down.

Species: Devaronian
Sex: Female
Homeworld: Unknown
Position: Co-pilot (Grinning Liar)
First Appearance: Legacy #14 (Claws of the Dragon, part 1)

Kee is a feisty young mechanic who crews with Chak in his ship. She tracked down Cade, who she and the captain knew of old, and demanded her ship back. She was recruited by Morrigan Corde into the rescue plan, uing her microcurcuitry skills to turn Vong bugs into bombs and spying devices. After getting her ship back she said her goodbyes to the crew and followed her captain to space.

OK, that's it for now - more Legacy soon!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

'Reach' for the stars

Ok this is my wishlist for the upcoming Halo game - Reach. Named after the planet and famous batle on which it is based, the game is an immediate precursor to the original Halo game. Despite the tagline 'Before the beginning you know the end' little is known about the game. The game is due for testing in a few months time and is essentially complete so saying what I want is going to have zero impact - but I'm going to do it anyway.

1. More Vehicles

ODST was a great game and introduced some new vehicles such as the civilian and police cars and the Oliphant garbage truck, but none of them were driveable, which was a pity I felt, though the usual range of warthogs and scorpions were available as well as some stashed Mongeese. But we also saw a few new vehicles in Halo Wars that would be great in game - I'd love to try driving a Cobra (above) around or flying a Vulture into battle, who knows maybe even something new. Storyline wise it woul fit and the game is operating on a new engine so a possibility I feel.

2. Blurry cinematics

Another clever title there - this refers to Blur studios who worked on the astounding cinematics for Halo Wars. OK, it doesn't have to be this studion in particular, but I think they've proved themselves. I'd be keen not to see a return of the in0game engine cinematics. I think the Halo cinematics so far have been brilliant, don't get me wrong, but once you've seen the quality a studio like that can produce you don't wanna go back - Halo deserves beautiful cinematics.

3. New Characters

This is Kelly - she's a Spartan who was at the battle of Reach and has also featured in other books and recently Halo Legends, will she appear in this game - it's a distinct possibility. I really hope - and I'm fairly sure this hope will be realised - that this game isn't going to be a rehash of Fall of Reach (I bought the novel in preparation for the game) and that it isn't just going to feature John-117 and other familiar characters, though I'd be dissapointed if they didn't make cameos. I'm really looking forward to a new set of Spartans and other military forces in the battle.

A fairly short list there - not too much to ask eh?

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Doctor Who - New Series, new species part 24

Told you I'd be back!

Well there's still a few weeks to wait for the next Doctor Who special but the Doctor and his friends haven't been quiet in the meantime oh no!

During the running of Sarah Jane there was an online Alternate Reality Game called Monster Hunt in which a number of aliens had ben copied into digital format and released onto the internet and the viewer had to help Rani and Clyde track them down. They hid on websites owned by the BBC and safe for kids, but they were still quite tricky to find sometimes and so a reasonable challenge - finding these aliens unwrapped a bigger mystery and also unlocked rewards like behind the scenes videos and screensavers.

Also online and on the 'Red Button' service was Dreamland an animated Doctor Who adventure set in the height of Roswell crash suspicion and featuring a visit to Area 51. The animation was done in a quirky CG style, which sometimes caused the characters to walk in a style almost reminiscent of Thunderbirds, but it was still good fun and featured some new aliens, which is good for the blog.


This was the key villain of the Monster hunt. Despite the somewhat cheesy acting of the intro vids to the alien hunting the mystery of this strange creature was held throughout the quest. The narrated comic that kicked off the adventure set him up as villain and as a powerful creature, given that he had captured and 'downloaded' a number of sarah jane villains in his ship. His ultimate purpose when revealed, was quite clever as a threat to Sarah Jane.

The Krulius was an artifical life form, built on the world of Dothon. Part organic, part machine he was dangerous by his meer presence, emiting foul and toxic gas from his face. A creature of battle and destruction he decided on an invasion of Earth. Deciding on Sarah Jane as the greatest threat to his plan he captured and studied a number of her greatest adversaries and prepared countermeasures for every possiblity he could forsee. On his secret battle station he built war machines and an army of aliens like himself. He unfortunately had to download himself onto Earth's internet after his ship crashed, but used this to track down Sarah Jane and trasnsport her to his station, Sarah Jane countered by summoning the Shadow Proclamation and capturing the monster.

The Pilot

This creature played a minor role in the comic but waas still interesting, though he did go along the 'guy working for the bad guy who knows he's a bad guy but ends up turning on him and redeeming himself when it's pointed out just how much of a bad guy the other guy is' role which is quite traditional in SJA stories. As an alien he was well illustrated and defined and added additional intrigue to the story.

The pilot of the Krulius was a native of Ven Kruk Nar, an aquatic world. The pilot was an aquatic creature and required a suit filled with water to survive out of his natural environment, nonetheless he was quite at home in space and piloting a starship. After the ship crashed to Earth he was in danger because his suit was damaged but Sarah Jane aided him and he was returned home by the Shadow Proclamation.

OK - on to Dremland now.


These guys were pretty good as a threat, big giant and scary with weird weapons and the ability to fly, tunnel and get around you pretty much any way they wanted to. What I did like was the Doctor's insinuation that in the future these war maniacs find a way to change their ways and become a force for good in the universe. I did have a few problems with them though, such as their confused motives which were a bit hard to pick out and also the complete Aliens rip-off of the Viperox Queen. Nonetheless they were a good use of the animation and a convincing villain.

The Viperox were a race of conquerors who had defeated the races of entire galaxies in their sweeping conquest. Their key advantage was in their rapid bredding of new drone, they could bring a single queen to a planet and breed an army in short succession. They had a number of other useful abilities such as flight and natural spear-type explosives that sprouted from their arms. Another ability was extremely good hearing, this was used against them by the Doctor who constructed a sonic weapon to halt their invasion of Earth.

Gray alien

I'd have liked it if these guys were named instead of sticking to the traditional Roswell monicker but at least the individuals had interesting names and characters. The story of the two lovers was compelling and made for good drama as the Doctor tried to reuinite them while battling the Viperox and also the military! The flashback to their war with the Viperox provided good context to the episode too.

'Gray aliens' is a term given by humans to aliens who crashed near Roswell in the 50s. One was an ambassador, shot down by pirates, the other her husband, shot down by a paranoid U.S. Military. They were a technologically competent race, capable of using advanced blasters and spacecraft. This did not advantage them when the Viperox invaded with superior numbers. In a desperate measure a biological weapon was constructed, but it was too late to use it. It is unknown what the fate of the race is, but at least two of the aliens survived on Earth.

Skorpius flies

A nifty little side story was created by these guys, when it wouldn't be convenient to have Viperox pop up everywhere, instead there was a hiding threat in the Dreamland vault. I did like these flies as an original villain defeated only by the Doctor's quirky ingenuity. The hive-mind brain concept idea has been done before, but it was still visually interesting and bold.

Skorpius flie are microscopic organisms that form swarms of billions that coalesce into one lviing creature. They are even able to form a brain out of their collective and use combined intelligence to track down and devour pray. When together they have a vaguely jellyfish-like appearance and can evade and track down prey. However they can be evaded by unusual thinking as the Doctor demonstrated by hiding in a box.

OK, that's it for now - I'll be back soon for more of the main show and the end of the tenth Doctor's story/song/whatever.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Another Legacy upload

Again I'm uploading this for posting elsewhere - it's a map of the events that happen in issue 42 of Star Wars Legacy and yes I know how nerdy that is!!

Heroes: You saw them here first!

This post is essentially here to promote the Heroes online comics available at the Heroes website.

I feel slightly stupid doing this as I haven't read any of the comics due to the Beeb's unexplained and annoying decision not to air Heroes in the UK - GRRRRRRR!!

Nonetheless if you live in the land of the free and unrestricted TV you may well watch the show. But you may not follow the wealth of material available online. I've pointed you towards the webisodes, but I've not said too much about the comics. They are a great way to flesh out the story of Heroes and have introduced us to a number of characters who crossed over into the main show. I guess if maybe I can show you the influence the comics have had maybe you'll read them - bit of a problem though, I haven't read them in ages due to the aforementioned issue so I'm struggling to remember who's who!


This character and her brother were introduced in a comic entitles 'Maya y Alejandro' giving fans a heads up as to their abilities and fugitive status prior to their appearance in Volume 2.


This speedy hero and love interest of Matt was introduced in a two part story 'Our Blessed Lady of Acceleration' again we knew her power and her background as a proffesional thief. I really remember this from when I saw her in the show and thinking 'hey, that's Daphne!' Reading the comics does give you that sense of 'I got there first' and does make the show more interesting and valuable I feel.


You might have spotted this character as one of the marines in Pinehearst or an agent for Building 26, but you only know the real story if you go online. Rachel is a teleporter who tried to hide her ability, even joining the army hunting the 'specials' but REBEL 9who also first appeared in comics) has other plans for her. You get quick glimpses of her in the show, payoffs for the full story you find online.

Gael and Bianca

You only got one glimpse of these two as Sylar killed them off, and they got a brief name mention. But these two were featured extensively in a series of comics exploring the inner workings of the company along with a number of other fully developed characters. Seeing these two was a minor thing for casual viewers but a reward for nerds!!

OK, I'll leave it there 'cause I think you get idea - there's tons of stuff online and it's all free so if you want more out of your viewing experience then I recommend the Heroes website - have fun!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Stuff: Terminator

I spotted Terminator Salvation out on DVD and decided it was high time I blogged about it, as I planned to do many weeks and indeed months ago. The new movie took us into the exciting time of the war between man and machine and saw John Connor beginning to take action against the machines and become the threat that would make it worth sending Arnie back in time. Indeed thanks to enhanced CGI stuff Arnie did make a welcome return as a prototype T-800.

But as well as bringing backt he classics the series also brought a host of new killing machines, and that's what we're going to look at.


I didn't really notice the scale and power of this craft until I saw the traditional HK-Aerial (what I assumed this one was) fly into it and then it was like 'woah!' which is always a good moment in a movie. This flying craft seems capable of transporting any number of other killing machines across long distances. This craft is critical in the early stages of the film combating resistance members and capturing humans for SkyNet.


This machine was the money shot in the trailer - a towering hulk of a machine armed with a shoulder mounted laser gun - when you sawe this you knew the movie was BIG. This beast didn't dissapoint, like Arnie it just kept on coming and had a counterattack for pretty much everything they threw at it. Despite it's size it's main purpose isn't as an attack machine, rather it 'harvests' humans for SkyNet's experiment, once it has enough humans it called a transport and left, which added variety to the enemies of Salvation.


I was really impressed with these as it really gave that sense of 'there's nowhere we can't get you' if the machines can come up with motorbike robots they can pretty much come up with something for every eventuality. I really liked how they deployed from the legs of a Harvester so that even if you escape the big guy these will come after you. We got nice glimpses of the terminator vision from them to as they assessed threats in the road and nimbly dodged them.


Continuing the theme of the other robots these machines operate in water makind rivers and possibly even seas dangerous places for the resistance. I did like that Connor and his men were well aquainted with them and easily trapped one to experiment on as if they had done it before. But they didn't stop being a threat, able to lep high out of the water and attack a helicpoter.

Marcus Wright

Obviously a key protagonist to the film. Marcus was an interesting character as he wasn't reporgrammed or mysteriously turned good, he was in fact at least partly human, though largely replaced with cybernetic parts. I don't need to go through his journey through the film, but it was interesting to see Cyberdyne takre a long-term approach, gaining Marcus' body long before the war began and activating him to infilitrate the resistance.

Another cool thing was seeing the innovative resistance HQ and General Ashdown, played by Michael Ironside, known to many as the voice of Sam Fisher.

Well I hope you enjoyed seeing the new robots as much as I did, I'll be look at the new Transformers soon seeing as that's out on DVD too.