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Keno

Play this fun casino game for free and try to win as mush cash as possible!

Category:arcade

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Roulette Royale

Place your bets, spin the roulette wheel and win big in this modern-day casino classic!

Category:arcade

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Ultimate Keno

Play this fun casino game for free and try to win as much ingame cash as possible!

Category:arcade

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Algerian Solitaire

Algerian Solitaire is the new solitaire game for everybody! Move all of the cards from the outer piles to the eight foundation piles in the center.

Category:casino

Algerian Solitaire online game


 

Catchy Bouncy

Join Lucas the magician and all of his friends in this fabulous casino game. Can you master each one of their challenges? They like to mix together classic games like slots and pachinko.

Category:animals

Catchy Bouncy online game


 

Fantasy Slots

Tap spin to play. Pay out table shows winnings. Increase winning chances by increasing numbers of winning lines from 1-5. _Increase pay outs by increasing the bet from 1-10 credits. Collect chests and fortune wheels in any of the bet lines, to fill up the meter and get a chance at the mini games. This is Fantasy Slots.

Category:casino

Fantasy Slots online game


 

Farm Slots

Tap spin to play. Pay out table shows winnings. Increase winning chances by increasing numbers of winning lines from 1-5. Increase pay outs by increasing the bet from 1-10 credits. Collect chests and fortune wheels in any of the bet lines, to fill up the meter and get a chance at the mini games. Try Farm Slots.

Category:casino

Farm Slots online game


 

Freecell Solitaire

FreeCell Solitaire is a HTML5 Game. Enjoy this stylish version of the classic FreeCell Solitaire!

Category:casino

Freecell Solitaire online game


 

Fruit Slots

Like excitement? Then Fruit Slots is the game for you. Play this game and have fun at the highest level! YOU can be the big spender. And if you?re lucky you can get the spinning wheel and win BIG.

Category:casino

Fruit Slots online game


 

Gold Miner Slots

Tap spin to play. Pay out table shows winnings. Increase winning chances by increasing numbers of winning lines from 1-5. _Increase pay outs by increasing the bet from 1-10 credits. Collect chests and fortune wheels in any of the bet lines, to fill up the meter and get a chance at the mini games. Enjoy Gold Miner Slots.

Category:casino

Gold Miner Slots online game


 

Mahjong Deluxe

Mahjong Deluxe is a HTML5 mahjong game. Enjoy this stylish mahjong game with wooden tiles!

Category:casino

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Mega Slots

Very exiting slot game, with 6 wheels. Win horizontal or diagonal with 3 or more items of the same kind. Get the spinning wheel, and win even more. Try Mega Slots.

Category:casino

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Pirate Slots

Tap spin to play. Pay out table shows winnings. Increase winning chances by increasing numbers of winning lines from 1-5. _Increase pay outs by increasing the bet from 1-10 credits. Collect chests and fortune wheels in any of the bet lines, to fill up the meter and get a chance at the mini games. Try Pirate Slots.

Category:casino

Pirate Slots online game


 

Pocahontas Slots

Enjoy the legend of Pocahontas. Lots of gold coins are waiting for you in this cute slots game. Spin the slot, match the pictures and test your luck!

Category:casino

Pocahontas Slots online game


 

Refuge Solitaire

In Refuge Solitaire we have to sort the outer piles to the 8 decks in the middle. 4 of them in the order King-2 and the other deck from Ace-Kind. In addition we can move the cards in the tableaus on top of another as long as it has the same suit and is one lower or higher than the current value of the card to reach other cards.

Category:casino

Refuge Solitaire online game


 

Scratch Fruit

Scratch Fruit is an Instant Win game. Just scratch the silver part to discover if you win some prizes, but it's just for fun!

Category:casino

Scratch Fruit online game


 

Slot Fruit

A funny fruit Slot Machine. Spin Spin Spin and win!

Category:casino

Slot Fruit online game


 

Sudoku HTML5

Play Sudoku HTML5, one of the most popular puzzle games of all time. Sudoku is the most fun brain game you will ever play in your life. Available for mobile and desktop devices..

Category:casino

Sudoku HTML5 online game


 

Three Cards Monte

Three Cards Monte is a HTML5 Gambling Game. Enjoy this stylish version of the 3 cards monte gambling game!

Category:casino

Three Cards Monte online game


 

Tic Tac Toe HTML5

Tic Tac Toe HTML5 is the most famous strategy game. Enjoy this classic game with the 3x3 scheme and two variant 5x5 and 7x7 where you have to place 4 marks instead of 3.

Category:casino

Tic Tac Toe HTML5 online game


 

Bob The Robber

Steal treasures, avoid cameras and take out guards in Bob The Robber 1, a fun stealth puzzle platform game! Bob knew his destiny from a young age. He trained hard for years to learn his trade. After years of practice Bob decided to sneak into the casino and steal the treasures!

Category:Adventure

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Blue Casino | Yakpi

a great classic game on your phone or pc: The Blue Casino. Challenge your patience and intelligence in this card game famous around the worldd.

Category:Bejeweled

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Jackpot.de / MyJackpot.com

Try to hit the jackpot in this free social casino experience!

Category:[]

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Casino Cards Memory

Match all identical cards before time runs out! Train your memory with Casino Cards. Find the same cards.

Category:Puzzle

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Casino Classic

Casino Classic features:
- 3 game modes
- lucky wheel

Category:Puzzle

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Pharaoh Slots Casino

If you enjoy free slot machine games, then Pharaoh Slots Casino is the game for you. Just spin the wheels and try your luck! No money is required to play it. You win virtual coins. You will experience the full range of emotions without the fear of losing money. Play free slots with Wilds, Free Spins and Bonus game.

Category:Arcade

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Lucky Slot Machine

Lucky Slot Machine is a HTML5 Casino Slot game with 10 type of symbols.

Category:Arcade

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Baccarat

Baccarat is a card game similar to Black Jack made popular by Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale. Play against the bank and try to get as close as possible to 9 points.

Category:Social

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21 Solitaire

21 Solitaire is a Black Jack variation with 4 different game modes. The game includes basic modes for beginners and casino gameplay including side bets for the more advanced players.

Category:Puzzle

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Casino Royale

This is a Simulator of Slots Machine. The Free Virtual Casino

Category:Hypercasual

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15 Horrible Levels That Nearly Ruined Great Games

For as fun as every game could be, there’s always one specific level or section that spoils your enjoyment. So while certain classics can be joyfully reminisced about, there’s always that one level (or two) that tilts you to this day. Let’s take a look at 15 such games that had these kinds levels.


GoldenEye 007 – Protect Natalya


goldeneye 007


Escort missions are always a highway to misery but GoldenEye 007 made escorting Natalya resemble Bond’s legendary car roll in Casino Royale. First, if you get too far ahead – like in the Jungle – some random enemies might pick her off. She’s constantly in the line of your fire, which makes for accidental kills more often than you’d think. The least Rare could have done was make Natalya somewhat durable but alas, it didn’t.





 

Everything You Need To Know About Online Keno

Keno is a game of luck that’s been around for many centuries. Although it originated in China, its name has French (Latin) roots and bears the meaning of five winning numbers. The game itself is similar to the lottery, as it allows you to win big even if you place a small bet.


Even though online casinos typically feature one or two online keno variants, it still attracts millions of passionate players worldwide, making it one of the most popular casino games.


Keno casino game

Keno casino game

If you’re just getting started with online casinos and wish to play keno, our short guide will introduce you to the game’s basics.


Keno Rules

As mentioned, keno is a luck-based game, meaning you can’t influence or predict the outcome. In online keno, all numbers are drawn using an RNG (random number generator), so any strategy is futile.


Here’s how the game works:



How to Play Keno in an Online Casino

Before we show you how to play the game in an online casino, we’d like to point out that there are online slot games dedicated to keno. If you wish to learn more about them, read the Keno Slots 101 guide.


Below are step-by-step instructions to playing online keno:



  • Find a reputable online casino and create an account.

  • Select your preferred payment method and fund the account.

  • While you’re there, claim a welcome bonus if there’s one you can use on keno.

  • Go to the game lobby and start the game.

  • Place a bet, select the numbers, and enjoy!


  • That’s it! As you can see, keno is a pleasant and straightforward game to play. So, if you feel like today is your lucky day, go ahead and visit an online casino!


    Types of Keno Bets

    Even though there is no clear winning strategy in keno that would ensure a win, you can choose different bets, boosting the potential payouts. Here are your options:



    Helpful Keno Tips and Tricks

    While the most important aspect of playing keno is choosing a safe and reliable online casino, some tips might come in handy. Take a look:




     

    The Dirtiest Game Console May Surprise You

    Have you ever realised just how much dirt and bacteria accumulates on your console and game controllers? Neither did we, but research from Betway casino now reveals exactly how dirty our consoles get!

    By analysing PlayStation, Xbox and Switch consoles and their controllers, some intriguing results were uncovered.

    Which console is dirtier?

    We’re all so used to washing our hands before we eat, but how many of us actually wash our hands before gaming? We certainly don’t!

    Even if your own personal cleanliness is top-notch, consoles and controllers can soon get dirty. Dust piles up, sweat sticks to the controllers and crumbs from food soon breed germs and bacteria.

    Question is: which console gets the dirtiest?

    PlayStation is the king of filth

    In a shocking revelation, research shows that gaming consoles have 3x more bacteria than a toilet seat with PlayStation leading the pack as the dirtiest console out of the three devices analysed.

    Swabs on PlayStation consoles revealed 73 colonies of bacteria, while rival Xbox showed 63 colonies and Nintendo Switch 55 colonies. Click on the controllers or devices to below to see the results.

    Dirty Thumbsticks

    Controller analysis was even more in-depth, with researchers taking swabs from different parts of the controller, including handles, analogue sticks and triggers. Unsurprisingly, it’s the analogue sticks that have the most bacteria build up with PlayStation’s DualShock amassing an eye-watering 190 colonies of bacteria, more than double that of that Xbox controller.

    Click on the names of the consoles and labelled parts to find out more.

    It also looks like PlayStation gamers are more trigger happy with 33 colonies of bacteria on the DualShock triggers discovered, compared to 15 on Xbox triggers.
    Maybe we just game more??

    How To Clean Your Controller

    There’s no need to panic. These levels of bacteria won’t cause any major problems, but if you’re looking to clean your controller, we have some tips!

    1. Make sure your controller is not turned on.
    2. Use a tooth pick to carefully clean out any gunk around the buttons and triggers.
    3. Use a lint-free cloth with a small amount of water to clean your pad, or 1 part water and 1 part rubbing alcohol. You do not want to get any moisture into your controller, so only put a small amount on your cloth.
    4. Finish by wiping your controller with an anti-bacterial wipe.

    Happy gaming you dirty lot!

     

    Surprising Secrets Valve Doesn't Want You To Know

    Back when Valve made video games, Counter-Strike combined collaborative and competitive gameplay styles into a new, objective-based team game with a unique terrorists versus counterterrorists gimmick. Valve's latest addition to the series, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, introduced gun skins — purely cosmetic textures that add nothing to the gameplay — available for purchase.



    CS:GO skins have spawned third-party "not gambling" sites. By law, kids can't actually gamble, but naturally all the "not gambling" these kids did netted Valve a whole lot of moolah during the three years before the company sent out cease-and-desist letters to the third-party sites.


    Let's say you're a poker chip manufacturer. (In this thought experiment, your name is Jane Valve.) In your factory, you make poker chips, which you call skin chips. Some of the skin chips come in cases — if a customer acquires one and wants to see what's inside, that person can pay a case-opening fee to your company.


    In addition to manufacturing skin poker chips and cases, you make a gadget called an API, which lets skin poker chip purchasers, like online casinos, shuffle chips around in bulk and give your company a cut every time. Suddenly, after three years of quiet complicity (and amassing millions of dollars from gambling-related transactional fees), your company announces that every single casino in town has ten days to shut down, quit using your API gadget, and either abandon the skin poker chip game altogether, or face court for violating the company's official anti-gambling policy.



    For Valve, it seems clear that money often speaks louder than ethical obligations.


















     

    Casino Games That Are Perfect For Beginners

    casino games

    casino games

    Getting into casino gaming can be tricky for beginners, as the scene can be intimidating unless you have someone who is already familiar with it to act as your guide.

    Thankfully there are a few games that are at the more accessible end of the spectrum, so here is a look at the best places to start your casino journey as a newcomer, whether you play at land-based venues or visit the ever-growing online gambling ecosystem.

    Image Source: Pixabay

    Slot machines

    In terms of simplicity and approachability, slot games are a good way for beginners to ease themselves into the casino experience without being overwhelmed.

    While there are still quite a few gambling words and casino slang terms associated with slot machines, the premise of most mainstream examples is uncomplicated enough for new players to dive in unhindered.

    All you need to do is choose how much you want to bet, pick the number of paylines to apply the bet to, and start spinning. If the reels fall in your favour and you match icons along your chosen paylines, then you will receive a payout.

    As you get deeper into the slots market, you will discover games with bonus features, wilds and even built-in mini-games that mix things up. There are also myriad themes available, covering everything from Ancient Egypt to the latest blockbuster movies, so there should be a slot to grab your attention straight away.

    The one thing you should pay attention to is the RTP (return to player) percentage offered by a given slot. The closer this is to 100%, the more of the money that is taken in by the machine which is subsequently paid out as prizes.

    If in doubt, try out the demo versions of popular slot games online, as these let you see what each has to offer without risking real cash. For beginners this should be the introduction they need to feel at home.

    Roulette

    While it may look superficially complicated, roulette is actually one of the most straightforward table games to play at a casino.

    There are different regional versions, but the main idea is to select a number from the grid, place your bet and hope that the ball wielded by the croupier lands in the corresponding spot in the spinning roulette wheel once the round is underway. You can also place a bet on whether the spot it lands in will be red or black, or if the number will be odd or even.

    Roulette is popular at bricks and mortar casinos as well as online, and in most cases you can find tables with low minimum bets so that you do not have to get in too deep from the get-go. Croupiers will usually be happy to explain the rules if you are unclear on anything, and web-based iterations will have unambiguous instructions to avoid confusion.

    Blackjack

    Stepping into the world of card-based casino games is definitely the biggest step for beginners to take, and while you may want to take the time to learn more about games such as poker before playing for real, it is definitely simpler to step up and try your hand at blackjack.

    The key to the game is to get 21 cumulatively with the cards you are dealt, or as close to it as you can without going ‘bust’, which means exceeding 21. The value of number cards is obvious, and the King, Queen and Jack of each suit is worth 10, while each Ace is worth either 10 or 1, depending on which is most desirable in the context.

    Once again, you can find free online versions of blackjack which you should experiment with before diving in headfirst if you want to learn the ropes without taking any risks, although croupiers and other players should be able to assist if you need it.

    Video poker

    With video poker machines found in most casinos, and the online equivalent being virtually identical to this, you should consider the digital version of this internationally popular card game as the perfect entry point for newcomers.

    The reason that playing video poker is better than stepping up to a table with real people is that you will not be under the same pressure and scrutiny, and you can get to grips with the rules without feeling like you are spoiling the fun for everyone else.

    Most importantly, remember that when playing casino games you should be having fun, not getting stressed, so only choose experiences that you actually enjoy.

     

    Intacto Review and Opinion

    Intacto (2002)
    Director: Roberto Fresnedillo

    review by Paul Higson

    My supernatural fascinations lie with the borderline, scientifically plausible and irrefutable, dreams, telepathy and coincidence. Some regard 'coincidence' as the little sister of luck, but the latter has always been seen as the more fantastical of the two despite the overly common yearning for it in the common individual. Both can have a positive and a negative value and when someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time it can be either a terrible coincidence or appalling luck but when the millions are won it is only luck that takes the credit. Coincidence has been the more fruitfully explored of the two in the moving image, particularly in Julio Medem's 1999 film, Lovers Of The Arctic Circle, and to successfully comedic value in the early 1980s' Channel 4 comedy series Chance In A Million, where high coincidence transformed it into the ultimate 'situation' comedy. Luck has been crying out for exploration but no one has had an idea as to how to play it. Roberto Fresnedillo's take, in his directorial debut, is to make a transferable commodity of that which is normally intangible and abstract, make of luck an item that can be bought, stolen or won.
       Like the impermeable Mr Willis of Unbreakable (2000), most of the participants in the ensuing gambling games become aware of their priceless or broken supernatural gifts following survival in extreme circumstances. They are unaware of, or unable to take, their luck seriously until the enormity of the situation makes one's fatefulness so obviously determinable from that of another person, the sole survivor of a plane crash, the only one escaping a genocidal spree alive or a nasty car crash with all their limbs intact. But 'intact' is a relative term. Fresnedillo conducts experiments with the kerygma. Let's assume it has a balance, proposes the director, can be turned inside out, how about that which was informative and presentable become ugly and confused. What happens to a person when they barter it, do they condemn themselves? Everyone is different, yet is unable to alter or be guarded against making certain decisions that will decide their fate ultimately. The director cleverly secludes details for later, cranks up the mystery that is not necessarily there, gently rocked is one in the casual pacing, hoodwinked by the obscurity of the played out details. And yet there is something missing overall.
       Federico (Eusebio Poncela), an earthquake miracle 30 years on, finds that his life as a luck thief for hire in a casino run by a holocaust survivor is becoming dull and unrewarding, even though he is the potential heir to the enterprise. He means to cut and run but Sam (Max Von Sydow), the casino owner and his mentor, a man with an octopus of a reach who has amassed a fortune away from the usual casino definition learns of the coming desertion and instead divests Federico of his own inner parcel of luck, leaving him a helpless, vengeful, selfish and cold creature, shopping for someone with a good quantity of luck to exploit as a stepping ladder back into a position wherein he can bring about the fall of the mighty Sam. The sole survivor of a plane crash, Tomas (Leonardo Sbaraglia) is obviously blessed with an above average quota of luck, even his girlfriend was allowed to miss the plane. Though the young man will be heavily compensated, there is evidence about his person that he is connected with a robbery, obviously there are different branches of luck, his had no interest in money and had refused to serve him up a winning lottery ticket. This is useful to Federico who helps him escape the hospital and leads him through a hidden world, a noir maze of weird gambling stages and black markets for fortune procurers, in backrooms, courtyards and deep forests that bring encounters with other dangerously charmed and often glum individuals, each port of call taking them a step closer to a final confrontation with Sam. With Tomas under his charge, Federico stumbles upon the precise circumstance that might totter the empire, as Tomas must 'gamble' his life in order to save his loved one, her lesser cache of positivism having fallen into Sam's hands following the deceitfulness of Federico who had employed it as a bargaining chip unbeknownst to the younger man.
       Also along for the ride is Alejandro, a retired bullfighter, played by Antonio Denchent, and Sara, a guilt-ridden, emotionally and physically scarred police detective. Both have substantial experience of the dark side of chance. The fact is that luck is never without a gloomy aspect, nobody can be untouched by it, those manufacturing and steering the course of their own luck must become cruel and monstrous in the process, though the film suggests that it is rarely done so by intention. Luck has become for them an essential element to their survival in the underworld that they have found themselves in. Those selling their luck are pathetic creatures committing a lazy suicide and those homing in on the magnetic dark core are just as self-destructive, unflinching in the face of the horrors around them.
       Where the film falls down is in the avoidance of any cinematic showiness, the sets are bare and unimaginatively dressed, little in the way of wished for Spanish colour, though there are those who would say neither is important if plot is fulfilling enough. The camerawork too is unobtrusive, again some might argue preferably so. Certainly, it all quickly lulls one into a relaxed mode paving the way for several effective shocks, but one can also become too relaxed during those spells. As well judged as the scripting is, it is too gently unexplained at times. The casino has no flourishes of its own, Sam's underground lair an inner sanctum of cold walls, the back rooms and cellars equally featureless and although an expensive painting is highlighted at one stage, the homes of the participants and the family are relatively bare of any realistically lived in quality (though admittedly they are a morbid bunch with no interest in anything but the ultimate gamble). As I say, much of it is deliberate in order to set the viewer up for the sudden and painful horrors, flesh snagged on barbwire, brains on a motorway and, the films centrepiece, a daring run though a forest, the participants blindfolded, their hands behind their back. During the forest challenge the camera cruises supremely, the editing importantly spot on, the audience gets nervous, gasps, jumps as the contestants collide with or become snagged on the trees, you have to leave your seat if you want to escape the tension, otherwise it will have you. That sequence alone makes the film worth every penny of catching it in a cinema, I can't vouchsafe it will have the same ability to jolt on the small screen where cowardly renters may well button pause and catch their breath after each nasty collision.
       Poncela boasts a disarming resemblance to Will Self that is awkward to overcome particularly when the character is so sullen of expression. Other trickery includes the desert location of the casino that would appear to actually have been filmed on the island of Lanzarote. To the critic who sang discrepancy and asked who was luckier, the youth who survived the crash or the girlfriend who missed the plane... wake up, fellow, anyone can miss a plane but how many can solo survive a crash with only scratches? It is a film that's stocked with sterling performances, a genuinely original fantasy take, a well-composed and delivered plot with rare, prized jolts. It is a work of great promise and it will be interesting to see were Fresnedillo goes from here and with what.

    Intacto Review and Opinion

    Comprar Intacto Review and Opinion

     

    Jack and the beanstalk Review and Opinion

    Jack And The Beanstalk: The Real Story (2001)
    Director: Brian Henson

    review by Donald Morefield

    The highlight of Britain's terrestrial TV viewing for Christmas 2003 was this wonderful updating of the fairy tale, offering an agreeably postmodernist and contemporised adaptation of the traditional story, while retaining all its best-loved elements. It opens in present day England, with the discovery of a gigantic humanoid skeleton (thought to be a dinosaur, at first) buried at the construction-digging site of a planned casino. The builders' boss unwillingly alerts the American corporate CEO Jack Robinson (Matthew Modine), a billionaire bachelor plagued by nightmares about a family curse suggesting he will die at age 40. What the troubled Jack doesn't know yet is that his right-hand man, company manager Siggy (Jon Voight, with a smirk and a funny pantomime accent), is privy to the Robinsons' darkest secrets - including a cruel betrayal, the theft of a unique fowl, and a cold-bloodied axe murder...
       Yes, it's the one about a desperate farmer's cow traded for a handful of beans, the magic goose that lays golden eggs, and the (supposedly) greedy giant who can "smell the blood of an Englishman." Here, though, the theft of the talking goose (and an animated harp) brings drought, poverty, and depression to the world above the clouds. While visiting the location of his stalled casino project, Jack finds himself being stalked by the mysterious Ondine (elfin yet intense Mia Sara, veteran of Ridley Scott's Legend, 1985) who turns out to be a messenger and guide from the fantastic realm in the sky. She knows more about Jack's ancestral lineage and relatives than he does, and she tricks him into accompanying her up the lofty tower of a newly grown, giant beanstalk, to face trial in the magic land where time passes more slowly than it does on Earth.
       As you'd expect, this glossy miniseries is a determinedly commercial project with the trappings of big star names in supporting roles - including Vanessa Redgrave playing Jack's aunt (actually a 400-year-old countess!), Daryl Hannah as the blue-skinned giantess Thespee, Richard Attenborough as Magog, ruler of the giant deities, plus some excellent CG visual effects realising the beanstalk and digital compositing for the creatures, landscapes and giants. It all moves along briskly enough, without surplus footage or story padding, and cleverly replays the essentials from different perspectives, showing both the giant and the original Jack in a differing light, both good and bad. The truth behind the fairy tale is revealed as morally complex, even as it advocates simplified answers to both the rural blight affecting the giants' fantasy world, and the problems of Jack's impending mortality and distinct lack of romance in his life.
       The happy ending is not quite as contrived or generically obvious as you may immediately suspect. And so, despite a few concessions to younger viewers (the storyline never dwells on its monsters, and the violent scenes are only implied), this is a charming and wholly affectionate recounting of the popular classic. Those who missed the TV airing might like to know it's now available on DVD.

    Jack and the beanstalk Review and Opinion

    Comprar Jack and the beanstalk Review and Opinion

     

    Casino royale 2006 Review and Opinion

    Casino Royale (2006)
    Director: Martin Campbell

    review by Joshua Rainbird

    Casino Royale is Daniel Craig's first outing as 007 and, whilst it retains Dame Judi Dench as the formidable M, it should be considered as a back-to-basics reboot of the whole series. Many of the trademark features are here: stylish locations, beautiful women, ugly villains and fast cars. However, when I was told that Craig was not a 'gadget Bond' I hoped that he would be cast as a spy who thinks on his feet and fights with his fists. I was not disappointed. Craig has managed to shrug off the need for gimmicks in favour of brute strength, but I might hasten to add, not ignorance. He's an ambitious, and sometimes clumsy assassin, quite unlike previous portrayals, with maybe the exception of From Russia With Love. Therefore a quick note of caution: the death and torture scenes in this movie are bloody and realistic, a welcome departure from the tired-looking fantasy-fests of Moonraker and Die Another Day. This is not a movie for younger audiences, it was wrong to certificate this as a 12A, it should be a 15!

    At the beginning we find a naïve spy struggling to earn his 007 status: two kills are needed. The first is messy and brutal, the second is a neater dispatch of the almost ubiquitous talkative villain, shot in an atmospheric monochrome that not only enables the viewer to assume it's a flashback but also seamlessly launches into a startling opening credit sequence. Like a brilliantly coloured Matisse-collage Bond stalks his victims through a kaleidoscope of animated assassinations which bears the typical excellence of previous Bond-movie opening titles, it perfectly unites with Chris Cornell's rock theme adding to this Bond's polished, not suave, hard talent.

    And Craig plays it with a lean and hungry look: a Bond whose shirts get bloodied and whose face gets cut. His solid physique is such that it can soak up the blows, you can believe this man's explosive strength could play the All Blacks' at their own game, and win, but even this is insufficient when faced by the dextrous free-running feats of Molakka, played by parkour founder Sebastien Foucan. This is by far the best part of the movie and even for hardened parkour fans the stunts are spectacular, even improving on the great HMS Belfast leap featured in Jump London. Furthermore, the scenes are aptly edited to create an action-packed story sequence, only mildly let-down by the ridiculous stunt extras who for some reason always want to intercept men with guns leaping around in dangerous places. Just get out of the way! So, with bulldog spirit we see Bond in hot pursuit, just falling short of the tic-tacs and cat-leaps needed to catch his quarry, until eventually he succumbs to hitching a lift instead because James Bond has always had more brains than brawn.

    But even here there are changes. This new Bond has a razor-sharp mind that can outwit an accountant, not with the predictable puns that dogged Roger Moore or Connery's salvos of regurgitated trivia, Craig has a better ace up his sleeve - he uses logical deduction, with detailed observations that would shame Sherlock Holmes. He can read the 'tells' whilst maintaining his poker face. However, this does not mean he is cold and cerebral, rather that the humour is more subtly placed: during a difficult dinner he is counter-analysed by the cerebrally waspish Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) and asked, "how was your lamb?" he replies quietly, "skewered, one sympathises." Transcending cheap gags doesn't mean you cannot flirt because the jokes are now his defence mechanism, weapons he uses to needle his torturers, and Craig delivers them with an almost pitiable audacity.

    So what is Bond's flaw? It was said that Pierce Brosnan gave the character an edge of vulnerability. Craig has refined this. Whereas Brosnan's Bond was an old warhorse not quite ready to be put out to pasture, Craig is a young stallion who favours seasoned mares. He professes to sleep only with married women presumably to avoid messy commitments, a choice no doubt the emotionally detached M will encourage. Yet that's not his flaw. For the man has insight and knows his limitations. He just chooses to stretch them in pursuit of his goals. So he is prepared to gamble if he's been dealt a good hand and has tallied the odds, and when he meets the frigid Vesper, and melts her ice, he's prepared to fold, sacrificing everything, even the 007 status he has struggled to secure. Craig is a Bond who tries to keep his head when all about are losing theirs and like his Vodka Martinis - often he's shaken and occasionally stirred! He's a spy who's prepared to risk all on the turn of a card and lose. After all, like all gamblers, he believes he can always win it back later.

    And so it is with the Bond franchise. They've shuffled the deck with Casino Royale and whilst the first two rounds were won, they tried to bluff their way through the latter half. On screen, trots a horse down a sun-kissed beach and the film takes a disappointing hiatus from which it never really recovers. The cinematography is as pretty as the girl with the all-too-familiar sweeping vistas of wealthy playgrounds in the sun but the formula shines through recreating already established routines. Craig emerges from the ocean in Ursula Andress' style and we are led through some clever, perhaps too clever, dialogue, ponderous love scenes, and introduced to arguably the dullest crime-boss, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), since Aris Kristatos (Julian Glover) in For Your Eyes Only. Le Chiffre will only be remembered for his cliché villain's eye. Even Bond's heroic attempt to intercept a terrorist intent on destroying a plane seems pedestrian. I'm not saying that it isn't well thought out or cleverly executed but, except for the well-scripted torture scene, the latter half of the film was just a sum of all its standard parts, and it lacks gestalt - that unique Bond magic.

    The casino scenes are torturously long involving seemingly meaningless close-ups of poker faces that felt like the director was using them to kill time. Thankfully someone had the wisdom to call for a few action breaks in between. And now that the bit of flirting with the now vulnerable Vesper has ended, a laboured slush of implausible romance sets in like an unshakeable loser's streak. Cue noble virtues and ignoble passions and one too many twists in the plot. "You don't trust anyone, do you Bond," says M hoping he has learnt his lesson, wouldn't it be better if he hasn't? And then it strolls towards a disappointing grand finale during which only the incongruously dramatic music carries any sense of tension as a small building collapses.

    Overall, Casino Royale is a film of two halves, where the former far outshines the latter. The character of the new Bond, which is fresh and original, is firmly established in this movie, however, one couldn't help feeling they didn't go all in. So they've pensioned off Q, bravo, not even John Cleese's feet were big enough to fill Desmond Llewellyn's shoes. And those dreadful puns after a person is killed always seemed crass, but there were more cards in that deal that needed burning. Maybe there are more aces up the Bond franchise's sleeve but I'd like to see them revealing their hand rather than calling my bluff.

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    District 13 Review and Opinion

    District 13 (2004)
    Director: Pierre Morel

    review by Joshua Rainbird

    District 13 (aka: Banlieue 13, District B13) is a welcome addition to the new breed of action films that uses real stunt-work rather than relying on computer generated graphics. Like in Ong-Bak, the actors perform the stunts, work out the action sequences and risk everything without the use of safety harnesses or wirework. Whilst these films have simple storylines, the camera work is snappy, with frame-changes quick enough to satisfy even the shortest attention spans of the MTV generations.

    Set in a walled-in suburban ghetto of a near-future Paris, District 13 has become a hell where the hospitals and schools have already closed down, and the police would love to withdraw from. Rival gangs in pimped-up motors speed through the empty streets. Guns are commonplace. Even the supermarché has sentries posted. Within this concrete jungle one apartment block stands clear of graffiti, the home of the ghetto's own Mr Clean - Leïto (David Belle), an urban gymnast who vaults across rooftops at breathtaking speed.

    However, Leïto has created a problem: in his eagerness to clean up the neighbourhood he has stolen a million euros worth of cocaine, and that's a lot of drugs to flush down the drain when a dozen hoods come asking for it back. Headed by man-mountain K2 (Tony D'Amario) the thugs quickly shoot a path to Leíto's door and then the action begins. Bullets spray as he flies through the door, leaping over banisters and tic-tacking off walls with economic precision, hotly pursued by the quickened hoods. The villains, after a desperate chase and a few broken ankles, soon find they are unable to catch him on foot. And no wonder, parkour is Belle's sport, he invented it and he has perfected it, but don't expect the fancy flips or somersaults that you'll find in YouTube videos as he leaps from tower-block to tower-block. His skill is clean and efficient, using seemingly effortless moves to achieve his near-superhuman feats, he's like Spider-Man without the webs, secret identity and safety features, it's death defying and real!

    But District 13 is a cruel world where honest people are twisted by state abandonment into games of survival. The police appease the gangs with uneasy truces that gnaw at their souls, justice needs resources as well as courage and both are scant within the ghetto. So, when the cocaine-driven crime-boss Taha (Larbi Naceri) acquires a neutron bomb, as easily as he kidnapped Leïto's sister Lola (Dany Verissimo), a special kind of detective is called in to retrieve it. Enter Captain Damien Tomaso (Cyril Raffaelli), a latter-day Fantômas, a doppelganger who assumes the identity of his recent victims with chameleon-ease. Once in, he can single-handedly clear out a casino full of gun-toting heavies with his bare fists, and a few well-placed slugs, when his sneaky tricks are outwitted. Yet this super-cop also has a trait that his superiors will exploit for their own ends - a middle-class education that has instilled in him an idealism alien to District 13. Damien values the republican tenets that built modern France, he is incorruptible. Therefore teaming him up with the passionate Leïto will bring its challenges as Mr Clean hates dirty tricks and is not afraid to kill cops in his passion. Can the two heroes forge a fraternity in a world where equality and liberty have been denied? It's an uneasy partnership.

    And this uncomfortable dichotomy permeates the filmmaking too. It struggles to create realism by portraying a world that is similar to our own. We have seen similar walls erected to control people - the Gaza Strip, and the townships of Soweto in apartheid South Africa. The characters are playing in-mate roles within a binary system, like subjects trapped in one of Irving Goffman's Asylums: Leïto and Lola don't want to give up their home they just want a better standard of living. This creates a plausible world that then nests a surreality of oversights. Within these walls, where are the women? There are hints of prostitutes, but apart from Lola and one of Leïto's briefly seen elderly neighbours, District 13 is a vacuum populated only by testosterone-pumped patriarchs. They were none in the gangs, none in the police, not even a gangster's moll.

    And the closer you look you see other dichotomies. The acting is patchy - Belle and Raffaelli were more wooden than the props they landed on, they would have been better suited as stunt-doubles rather than given starring roles, however, D'Amario just about convinced me as the formidable K2. Consider the action-choreography: ignoring the conveniently placed pipes, parkour is used with naturalistic effect, but the combat sequences seem over-rehearsed and delivered with rigid control. Then there is the borrowed plot: standard and linear, with no real surprises, except for the shock of Leïto's actions when locked in a cell. The characters, too: apart from Leïto whom some would label an antihero (I prefer anti-thug), were of singular dimension and seemed to be hired in from gangsters-'r'-us, and yet the script is slick and polished. Even the music has two qualities: on a portable TV it sounded like a tinny remix of Jean-Michel Jarre but with a surround-sound woofer it injects drum-and-bass action. Lastly, don't trust the dubbing unless you want a Hollywood B-movie, the subtitled police scenes have a subtle darkness!

    So overall District 13 is a bit like graffiti: over-designed, urban and edgy, colourful in places, and exciting when fresh. Whilst it's more than a tag saying, 'parkour was here!' the mural never quite covers the wall.

    Disc extras are where this Momentum DVD excels. In additional to the standard fare of outtakes, extended scene and trailers of new releases, there are some enjoyable extras that will complement a library of any free-running fan. Parkour vision - an interesting but unfortunately brief documentary about parkour and lapining narrated by notable Urban Freeflow regulars including Blue, EZ, Sticky and Bam. Nice displays of precision jumps and tic-tacs in both rural and urban settings. Best of all there is a documentary featuring Stephane Vigroux (Higher Ground), the injured free-runner who missed out on Jump London. In this, he talks about the early training with David Belle and Sebastien Foucan and the struggles he had not only with overcoming his ligament injury but the conflicts amongst the pioneering traceurs as parkour diversified. His main focus is on the tenacity and humility needed to maintain optimal physical condition. It shows him training Forrest in équilibre (balancing) and sâut de précision (precision jumps).

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    Star trek, 2009 Review and Opinion

    Star Trek (2009)
    Director: J.J. Abrams

    review by J.C. Hartley

    Re-launch, re-branding, franchise reboot, re-imagining, whatever, once they were called remakes but such are the negative connotations it would always have been necessary to coin a new term. And, creatively speaking, these are not remakes. Re-imaginings, I love the clumsiness of a term which I'm sure nobody uses, are nothing new. The Avengers (1998), the refashioning of the British TV series, was re-imagined with none of the wit of the original, only the chilly pairing of Fiennes and Thurman. Lost In Space (1998) was re-imagined with disturbingly pointy bosoms. Superman Returns had a nauseating messianic subtext. And, I'm sorry, but Casino Royale had some flabby writing, none of the wit of Peter Sellers' section of the 1967 version, and I actually preferred Quantum Of Solace.

    With a new generation, a charmingly retro Enterprise, and a host of other TV spin-offs, it was hard to see where a new Star Trek movie could go to reinvigorate a flagging series. The answer turned out to be back, back in time, only with a twist.

    Attending at a huge spatial disturbance the USS Kelvin is attacked by a Romulan vessel the Narada. The Romulan Captain Nero (Eric Bana, Hulk) kills the Kelvin's captain who has left his First Officer George Kirk in charge. Kirk successfully evacuates 800 personnel including his wife who is in labour with their child. Remaining on board the Kelvin to fight a rearguard action, Kirk hears the birth of his son who they name James Tiberius after his grandfathers.

    James Kirk (Chris Pine) develops into a self-destructive young man. Rescued from a bar brawl by an old friend of his father, Captain Pike, he is urged to join the Star Fleet Academy which he subsequently does. Facing a hearing in front of the entire Academy, accused of cheating in the geeky Kobayashi Maru test, Kirk first clashes with Spock (Zachary Quinto, Heroes) the half-human half-Vulcan programmer of the test. A resolution to the hearing is forestalled by a general mobilisation due to a distress call from the Vulcan home-world. Kirk is grounded but smuggled on board the Enterprise, a new flagship under the command of Captain Pike, by his friend Dr McCoy (Karl Urban, Chronicles Of Riddick). Also assigned to the Enterprise are Spock, and Uhura (Zoe Saldana, to be in James Cameron's Avatar and the adaptation of Andy Diggle's The Losers), a high-achieving communications officer whom Spock has mentored and Kirk fancies. An intervention by Kirk saves the Enterprise from destruction by the Romulans but they witness the destruction of Vulcan by the Narada. Pike is taken prisoner by Nero to obtain security codes to allow him to attack Earth, and, in a confrontation with Spock, Kirk is marooned on an ice planet where he meets two characters who are no strangers to fans of the series.

    In an interview in Empire, J.J. Abrams seemed to suggest he was not overly aware of the original series and not out to make a tribute, a suggestion that was either a piece of distraction, or open to misinterpretation, in that this new Star Trek is a remarkable tribute, a translation that is a work of some creativity in its own right. The references are subtle and telling. Captain Pike is of course the same Pike, as originally played by Jeffrey Hunter (Martin in John Ford's The Searchers), who starred in the original Star Trek pilot The Cage, later cannibalised for The Menagerie episode. Volunteering to attack the Romulans, having been trained in hand-to-hand combat, Sulu reveals to Kirk that his area of expertise is in fencing, surely a reference to his exploits in the TV episode The Naked Time. The planet where Kirk is marooned is Delta Vega which featured in Where No Man Has Gone Before. There are also references to The Wrath Of Khan, generally seen as the best early Star Trek movie, the Kobayashi Maru test originates there, and its unpleasant brain-nibbling parasitic cockroach crops up here.

    There are some admittedly dodgy bits. As soon as someone suggests a time-travel scenario to explain the Narada's presence everyone immediately accepts that as the correct explanation. Uhura boasts about her 'oral skills'. And the monsters of Delta Vega come across as a bit of CGI flimflam to open out the action.

    The cast are excellent, Quinto's Spock has received plaudits but Karl Urban's Dr McCoy is an uncanny impression of DeForrest Kelley from the original series. With all this ability on show it is easy to overlook Chris Pine who discovers likeable depths under Kirk's swagger, without ever needing to get his shirt ripped off. Simon Pegg is an admirable Scotty. The aliens in the Academy are introduced naturally without any of the look-what-we've-done-with-our-makeup-box gawping, apart from one of Kirk's girlfriends whose green flesh-tones go nicely with her underwear (She-Hulk adaptation anyone?).

    The film is pretty much non-stop action, which is essential, and a sequel is already planned. The Star Wars: A New Hope style well-done-everybody style ending is a bit corny, as is Spock talking to himself, but that doesn't go on too long. Thing is, like the Chinese meal of popular comedy, 20 minutes after you've seen this movie you're wondering where it went. There is, in retrospect, very little which is original and very little substance. The great Viv Stanshall deplored comedy impressionists, complaining that they only offered 'recognition' and much of the joy of this film comes with that. I am sure a new generation who know nothing about the old Star Trek will love this film, and rightly so, but having seen it and loved it I don't think they'll find much more to say about it. But, be assured, it's great and exciting and a splendid way of spending a couple of hours.

    Of course Nero's time-travelling has altered the fabric of time itself, and whatever the crew of the Enterprise, and everyone else, might have been, has also changed. So Spock gets the girl, and who knows where the sequel might boldly go in mangling the grammar of future reviews?

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    Birds of prey, danger girl Review and Opinion

    Birds Of Prey: Sensei & Student
    Gail Simone and Ed Benes
    DC Comics / Titan graphic novel £10.99

    Danger Girl: Odd Jobs
    J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell
    Wildstorm / Titan graphic collection £9.99

    reviews by Jeff Young

    The comicbook realm of female superheroes is, perhaps almost by definition, a world full of guilty pleasures. Here, tough but sexy girls with supremely implausible bodies in spayed-on or revealing costumes offer a mix of athleticism and sensuality that's clearly designed for maximum appeal to the hormone-charged fantasies of teenage boys, and both the scripts and artwork might walk the tightrope between ultra-feminism (as the super-powered ladies match up to the macho antics of their male counterparts) and unacceptable sleaze. After 1990s' variants such as the spiky Tank Girl and (in a different but parallel medium) the phenomenally successful Lara Croft, it seems as if a new trend for retro super-heroines has surfaced in recent years. However, the coverings may well prove to be deceptive as the packaged content delivers little that's prurient yet much that's satirical or ironic.

    Gail Simone's Birds Of Prey concerns itself with a group of female supporting characters from the milieu of Batman, but unlike the caped crusader, they are more concerned with international and global crises, rather than simple making the streets of Gotham safe from villainy. Barbara Gordon (the police commissioner's adopted daughter) was the original Batgirl until the Joker crippled her. Now, as Oracle, she's an online info-guru and adviser to a whole cadre of heroes. Black Canary was a member of the Justice League of America, and the 'sidekick' of bowman Green Arrow, until their broken relationship ended a long-term partnership. Helena Bertinelli is a mobster's daughter that survived a mafia massacre and became the vigilante Huntress, while both kung fu warrior-woman Lady Shiva and expert poisoner Cheshire are mercenary assassins, and only very reluctant allies of Orcale's crime fighting associates.

    As the book's title suggests, this story-arc begins in Hong Kong, where both Black Canary and Lady Shiva are visiting their aged martial arts' instructor on his deathbed. They discover their old sensei has been poisoned, and they suspect Cheshire was responsible. While they investigate further, and confront their teacher's killer, Oracle finds herself in trouble when her computer system is infected with a dissembling virus (which gives out disinformation, and results in embarrassing mistakes for Batman and - the new - Batgirl, who both unwittingly follow Oracle's tips), and the henchmen of a corrupt US senator kidnap her...

    With stylish art by Ed Benes, Michael Golden, Joe Bennett, and Cliff Richards (no, another one, of course!), Birds Of Prey serial looks fabulous. Strong colouring add to the impact of dynamic fights and the rapid pace of development in the main storyline ensures that flashbacks and quirky comic asides never let out interest in the characters' moral and ethical conflicts falter. A grim nightmare of a prophetic dream sequence for Black Canary, and the climactic showdown between a scheming Cheshire and the vengeful Shiva, play out with abundant sensational thrills and are resolved most satisfactorily. It's also worth mentioning the epilogue, which features a guest appearance for Wonder Woman in a fitting, but nonetheless amusing, matriarchal role.

    In marked contrast to the, occasionally lurid, verisimilitude of Birds Of Prey, we have the droll babes of Danger Girl: Odd Jobs, which serves up campy fun and glamorous action with a couple of spy girls. Owing much to the kitsch appeal of Modesty Blaise (and not forgetting The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.), some of this the material resembles a PG-certificate, comicstrip version (sans nudity) of an Andy Sidaris adventure movie. The blonde and brunette heroines, Sydney Savage and Abbey Chase, are joined by feisty but often inept teenage office-assistant, Valerie, a cute redhead who dreams of becoming a 'Danger Girl' - with numerous guises (an obvious Lara Croft mode, in particular) in Delusions Of Grandeur.

    There is also a rather silly TV-episode style intro, Mod Bods, which showcases quaintly retro girlie variations of everything from Adam West-era Batman clichés to The Monkees' farcical sketches, for the quintessential action-girls getting a bimbo-makeover flavour, where bikinis and high heels are de rigueur for apprehending baddies. "Not the onslaught of cheesy one-liners!" exclaims the villain as he's kicked in the head by one of the sassy, yet overly talkative, heroine. Hawaiian Punch (which, uncannily, reads just like an un-filmed Sidaris script!) sees the Abbey and Syd averting a holocaust when nuclear submarines are hijacked, while Viva Las Danger concerns a magical Egyptian jewel and a sinister plot to attain immortality, and features distinctive painterly art by Phil Noto.

    Yes, of course, there are visits to casinos and Abbey and Syd get into disguise to join a scantily-clad chorus line, but there's also some wry amusement to be derived from the clowning of hapless 'danger man' Johnny Barracuda, the guy who thinks he's god-gift (singer, dancer, womaniser), when he's really a harmless jerk, and the heroines' dialogue is always entertaining despite all the archly-stereotypical main characters and frequently hackneyed plotting.

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    The Biggest Falls From Grace That Are Now Gaming History


    Top 10 Falls From Grace in Video Game History








    by
    Taneli Palola
    , posted on 12 July 2016 / 35,809 Views

    While I've been doing research for my History of Video Games series I've also had the chance to see the rise and fall of countless video game publishers, developers, franchises, and creators who at one point or another were at the top of the video game industry. They had the eyes of the industry on them looking to see what great things they would do next, only to fall flat on their faces trying to replicate former glory. It's often a fascinating journey to watch unfold, and today we're going to count down ten of the most memorable ones.


    Some of the entries below are certainly still around - some even have managed to find success after falling flat - but they are far from the heights that they once reached by creating some of the greatest games and platforms in video game history. Looking at critical reception, commercial success, and general perception by the public, the following ten entries are some of the most spectacular falls from grace in our industry.



    10. LucasArts



    Between 1987 and 1998 LucasArts created some of the greatest adventure games of all time, from Maniac Mansion in 1987 all the way to 1998's Grim Fandango. Following the release of these and other games (like Secret of Monkey Island, Sam & Max Hit the Road, and Full Throttle), LucasArts was arguably the best developer in the world when it came to adventure titles. However, after 1998 things began to change.


    Between 1998 and 2014 LucasArts developed 75 games for various platforms. Of those 75, 59 were based on Star Wars, and of the remaining 16 five were based on Indiana Jones. That's 64 out of 75 games. Not exactly a very good track record for a company that once developed some of the most imaginative original games of all time. Things got even worse when the company was acquired by Disney in 2012.



    In 2013 it was announced that LucasArts would cease all internal development of games, and became just a licensor for its existing properties. This meant that all of the games that were in development at the time were cancelled and around 150 employees were let go as a result. Today, less than 10 people remain within the company that was once among the best developers in the world.



    9. John Romero



    John Romero was at one point in the 90s quite possibly the most famous video game creator in the world. He was one of the main driving forces behind the popularization of first person shooters in the early 90s, thanks to his work on games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. He was the rock star of video game world at the time, and rode a wave of momentum generated by his role in producing some of the most influential games of all time into huge levels of hype and goodwill for his first game after leaving iD Software and founding Ion Storm.



    That game was Daikatana, one of the biggest commercial failures in video game history, and a product of an endless string of poor decisions that ultimately made Romero something of an unwanted developer in the industry. Since then he hasn't done much of note, although he is currently in the process of trying to get funding for a new FPS called Blacklight through Kickstarter.



    8. Silent Hill



    One of the greatest and most influential horror video game series ever created, Silent Hill has certainly seen better days. Starting in 1999 on the PS1 Silent Hill quickly earned both critical acclaim and commercial success which continued with both Silent Hill 2 and 3, with Silent Hill 4: The Room being in many ways the point at which the series lost its way. After this 4th game the series went on hiatus, and it was during this period that the series' original development team, known as Team Silent, was disbanded.


    By the time Silent Hill returned in 2007 the games were no longer being developed internally by Konami. Instead, they were contracted out to a number of different western studios. The results have been just as varied as you'd expect, with most new Silent Hill games being forgettable attempts at capturing the greatness of the earlier titles without really understanding what made them great in the first place.



    However, it seemed like the series might finally make a triumphant return when Konami released an interactive teaser titled P.T. This turned out to be for a new game called Silent Hills which was being developed by Kojima Productions as a collaboration between Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro. However, due to various issues between Konami and Kojima which eventually lead to the latter leaving the developer, the game was cancelled in 2015, leaving fans of the series to wonder what could have been.


    Since then the series has practically disappeared; Konami apparently has little-to-no interest in actually making video games anymore, let alone great ones. It's difficult to say if Silent Hill will ever return but, considering the current state of Konami, it's not going to happen anytime soon.



    7. Sega



    In the early 90s Sega was on, or near to being, top of the world. It was the only console manufacturer that was able to challenge Nintendo's home console dominance until Sony came along, it was responsible for one of the biggest video game series in the world at the time (its flagship Sonic series; more on that later), and its Sega Genesis/Mega Drive platform had just become (and still is, of course) the company's best-selling console of all time. Unfortunately for Sega it was all downhill from then on.


    The first warning signs actually emerged quite early on - in 1991 - when Sega released the Sega CD peripheral for the Genesis. Admittedly, it wasn't a complete disaster, as it did have its share of great games and the CD was quickly growing in popularity at the time, so there was a clear justification for its release. The 32X on the other hand had no such excuses when it came out in late 1994 with the intention of bridging the gap between the Genesis and Sega's next console, the Saturn.



    The problem here was that Saturn was already very close to release at the time (Saturn actually released before the 32X in Japan), so nobody cared about the 32X, making it a huge failure in just about every way. It had a very small software library and it cost more than the Genesis itself at that point in time. It was soon discontinued as focus turned to the Saturn. Unfortunately, the Saturn proved to be yet another misstep from Sega.


    Everything about the Saturn was marked by panic and fear on Sega's part. Sony had recently announced its entry into the console market with the PlayStation, and Sega was clearly worried about the impact it would have on its upcoming new console. As a result, at E3 1995, Sega announced that instead of releasing on the originally planned date in September that year, the console would be available immediately at select retailers. Sega wanted to capitalize on an early US release, but ended up upsetting a number of developers and retailers who were caught badly off-guard by the sudden announcement.


    As the Saturn's fortunes went from bad to worse over the next few years, Sega placed its hopes on the next home console - the Dreamcast. However, the company once again stumbled in how it handled the transition between the two consoles, basically abandoning the Saturn long before the Dreamcast had even been officially announced and leaking rumours concerning the Dreamcast to the public, effectively discouraging gamers from purchasing the Saturn.



    With the Dreamcast at least Sega finally did some things right, but it was seemingly far too late in the day. Despite a successful US launch and a great early (and legacy) reception, interest in the console quickly began to wane as Sony's PS2 neared release. Ultimately, Sega couldn't recover from a string of bad decisions between 1994 and 1998, and in 2001 it exited the console market and shifted exclusively to game development. Sega is still a successful company and has a number of great franchises under its wing, but it's hard to not see that as a major demotion from being the second biggest console manufacturer in the world.



    6. Konami



    Up until a few years ago Konami was a respected developer and publisher that was generally praised for the classic series it had been responsible for in years past and present, including Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania, Contra, and many others. In addition Konami was synonymous with one of the most well-known and beloved video game creators in the world - Hideo Kojima. And then the rumours of the company's internal implosion began to surface.


    The problems within Konami first came to light during the development of Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain. Reports stated that Hideo Kojima had been involved in a falling out with Konami, and soon all mention of Kojima was removed from the game's marketing. Eventually Kojima ended up leaving Konami for good - the rift between the famed developer and Konami management being irreconcilable - and since then the company has been repeatedly criticized for its treatment of employees.


     [embedded content]


    After the release of MGSV Konami hasn't exactly treated its franchises with respect either, instead leveraging their name value as a means to sell pachinko machines. Konami has since more or less abandoned its traditional video game business, deciding instead to focus on mobile gaming. Meanwhile, most of the company's IPs are left to rot in a corner somewhere, brought out only when it requires an easily recognisable name to sell something with. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most well-known falls from grace in the industry in recent years.



    5. Sonic The Hedgehog



    Sonic has gone through more than a few rough periods over the last 20 years or so. From 1991 to 1994 the series was one of the biggest and most beloved video game franchises in the world, with numerous hugely popular and well received releases coming under its banners in a very short time span. Then Sega started to experiment with the series with games like Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic R, and in doing so discovered 3D, which has been employed with some extremely varied results in Sonic games.


    At first it seemed like the series would have a decently painless transition from 2D to 3D, with the two Sonic Adventure games being quite well received and providing a good foundation from which to improve upon. Unfortunately, everybody involved with the series seemed to have forgotten about the 'improve' part when games like Shadow The Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog (2006), and Sonic Unleashed began to come out. 


    The series had apparently finally found its footing when Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations received mostly positive reviews, giving people hope that maybe Sega did know what it was doing. Even after so many poor entries into the series Sonic games were still selling very well, with Generations moving over 4 million copies across all platforms. Of course, Sega then followed this up with Sonic: Lost World and then finally hit rock bottom with Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric.



    These last two releases seem to have finally been enough for even the most devoted fans of the series to give up hope, as neither game managed to reach 1 million copies sold. Sega itself has confirmed that Sonic Boom is the lowest selling game in franchise history. Basically, Sonic The Hedgehog has now reached its lowest point both commercially and critically in its 25 year history. Quite a sorry state of affairs for a game series that was once among the biggest in the world.



    4. Spyro The Dragon



    It's sad that I have to include Spyro the Dragon on this list, but there's no denying the fact that the series has fallen far since the PS1 era when it was one of the highest profile platforming franchises around. The first three games sold over 12 million copies combined, but then Insomniac Games left the series behind as it moved from the PS1 to the PS2. Of course, that wasn't the end for Spyro, although it probably should have been.


    Since then the series has bounced from publisher to publisher, until it eventually ended up in Activision's hands, where Spyro has become pretty much just a side character in the Skylanders series. The first Skylanders game at least still carried his name, but since then Spyro's been relegated to the supporting cast in a spin-off series to his own games. 


    As a side note, originally I also intended to include Crash Bandicoot on this list, but then Sony announced the remakes of the original trilogy at E3 this year, which at least makes it possible for the series to make a comeback at some point. Spyro, on the other hand, shows no signs of receiving such treatment.



    3. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater



    Remember when Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was still one of the biggest and most critically acclaimed series around? You know, about ten years ago or so. Funny how things change. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 on the PS1 is still one of the highest rated games of all time, while 2015's Pro Skater 5 is one of the lowest rated titles on every single platform it was available for.



    There really isn't much more to say about this one. The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series hasn't really been viewed as anything other than the butt of jokes for years now, not because it couldn't still be great, but simply due to a string of poor releases over the last ten years. Maybe one day someone will figure out how to make the series successful again, but I wouldn't hold my breath.



    2. Duke Nukem



    The more I think about it, the more I realize that in many ways the reputation Duke Nukem had as a great series was based almost entirely on a single game – Duke Nukem 3D. The first two games were 2D action platformers which helped popularize the genre on PC in the early 90s, but they were never going to be huge games. Duke Nukem 3D blew up and the series quickly gained incredible levels of popularity, but outside of a handful of spin-offs 3D Realms was never able to capitalize on its success.



    The development hell that took place during the creation of Duke Nukem Forever have been well documented, with a number of game engine changes pushing the release date back further and further until it became a meme before the term meme even took off. Until, against all odds, it was actually released in 2011, only to prove to be a dated relic of the late 90s without a clear identity of its own. It was trying to be too many things at once, taking inspiration from both the fast-paced shooters of the past while also striving for realism in some of its mechanics.


    It's now been five years since the last new release in the series, and while it's always possible for Duke to make a comeback it just feels like time has passed this series by. 



    1. Atari



    Once the biggest video game developers and console manufacturers in the world from the late 70s to the early 80s, Atari had the entire industry in the palm of its hand and controlled the vast majority of video game sales in North America with the Atari 2600. And then the mistakes began to pile up. The company's follow-up consoles - the 5200 in 1982 and the 7800 in 1986 - were failures both commercially and critically, especially in comparison to the 2600.


    The market itself was becoming oversaturated with horrible games, a situation Atari was in many ways responsible for. The firm tried to make a few comebacks over the next decade, most notably with the misguided Jaguar console, but it was never really able to get off the ground with any of them. Atari was then split into two soon after the 1983 video game market crash - into Atari Games, which lasted until 2003 under various owners until being dissolved by Midway Games, and Atari Corporation, which went defunct in 1996.



    The Atari that exists today is barely a shadow of its former self. The video game giant of years past is now just a name brand adopted by Infogrames in 2009 after it acquired the rights to all of Atari's assets. Since then Infogrames has published a handful of poorly received games based on old Atari properties and entered the social casino gaming industry.


    To make matters even more confusing, Atari SA is the parent company formerly known as infogrames, while Atari Inc is the video game developer owned by Atari SA. Furthermore, Atari Interactive is another subsidiary that acts as a publisher for the company's PC games. At least I think that's how it goes. Basically, the Atari(s) that is/are still around has/have very little to do with the Atari that was once at the top of the video game world. It's a disappointing end for a company as important to the development of the whole video game industry as Atari.



    Those are, in my opinion, the biggest and most notable falls from grace in the history of video games thus far. Naturally there are many more that have taken place over the last several decades, so if you think I missed any let me know in the comments. As always, thanks for reading.


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    5 Big Rumors About 'Grand Theft Auto 6'


    5 Rumours about Grand Theft Auto 6








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 23 April 2020 / 4,131 Views

    Come September it will have been seven long years since Grand Theft Auto V was released and for the game’s millions of fans worldwide the big question has been when will the next instalment be with us.

    Unfortunately, the answer is perhaps one that not even Rockstar Games can tell us just yet, but the best guess seems to be that it won’t be until 2021 at the earliest. The company is notoriously secretive about every aspect of its operations, but that hasn’t prevented the rumour mill from really getting into gear about various aspects of the game. So here, in no particular order (and with absolutely no guarantee that any will turn out to be true!), are five of the most often repeated ones which we picked up from gamesradar.com amongst other sources.



    One of the Main Protagonists will be Female

    In the past, the principal characters have been male, with women hardly getting a look-in. The shift to a female protagonist is a move that has been hinted at in the past by Rockstar. One thing’s for sure, though, they’ll hope it will avoid the controversy that the makers of Doctor Who stirred up when Jodie Whittaker was cast as the thirteenth Doctor, as reported on cheatsheet.com.


    The Casino Will be Bigger & Better Than Ever

    The opening of the Diamond Resort & Casino in July 2019 was acknowledged as a great addition, so it’s sure to be built upon. Perhaps the developers will even look at real online sites like www.bonus.ca where potential players can discover the best joining bonuses on offer and include these kinds of incentives at the Diamond. There may even be the possibility of more than one casino operating in GTA 6, to reflect the choice that players receive in the online world.



    We’re Headed South of the Border

    It’s thought that the hit Netflix show Narcos is proving to be a big influence on the storylines and that’s going to mean some of the action, at least, may be heading for Mexico. As a side-issue, this could also mean extensive use of subtitles.


    The Story is Going to be in Chapters

    From the narrative style of most Tarantino movies to a technique used in Red Dead Redemption 2, splitting the story into defined chapters is certainly a thing these days. So it’s a fair guess that this might also be under serious consideration.




    There Will be Separate Criminal & Law Enforcement Storylines

    Finally, word has got round that players will have the choice of following a life of crime in a sandbox-style empire building game or fighting on the side of law and order in a noirish thriller scenario. That may just tread on the toes of many who see it as forsaking GTA's traditional plotlines though.


     


     


    So these are the key five rumours identified to date, along with others like the possibility of VR or AR also playing a part. But we’ll just have to wait and see exactly what Rockstar have up their sleeves when it’s eventually revealed to us.


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    The Real Reason Endless Games Are So Popular

    The dominance of video games in popular culture has been clearly established in the modern world. Now surpassing even the profit of the film box office, video games have solidified as one of the forms of entertainment perhaps most indicative of our technological age. Of these, there are some experiences which quickly burn out, only to fade from our memories.

    There are others, though, that stick with us, which offer seemingly endless entertainment, even when the systems themselves are apparently simple.

    Why are these neverending games so popular, and which examples best reflect the society of today?

    Many endless games find their inspiration in traditional forms of gaming. Cards, for example, can be used in a wide variety of games. Despite the relatively simple set of 52 classic playing cards from which we work, there are many players who derive near endless enjoyment from just one or two card game variants.
     

    The appeal is here is not an endlessly expansive world of opportunities, but rather a base system which engages us in a way we continually find enjoyable. Today, even in the age of complex online MMORPGs, these systems ultimately reign supreme. On certain sites, we can play live casino games online which offer similar systems in their variants of blackjack, baccarat and poker. We can also play games like gin rummy and hearts with friends or family, or even enjoy a game of solitaire by ourselves endlessly; such is that personal level of appeal.

    While this means that a high level of complexity is not at all a necessity for continued engagement, more complicated systems can be used to help bridge the gap between appealing base systems and fresh content. MMORPGs like World of Warcraft are a strong example of this, as a bridge between the appeal of old and the capabilities of new.

    The basic systems of Warcraft are one much like cards with added twists.

    Some people enjoy playing cards, whereas others prefer the cycle of hunting, leveling up, and tackling increasingly difficult challenges. In this way, the enjoyment from the base levels of these systems might not hold up on the same level as cards, but ever-developing additional content alleviates this issue. This means the limitations can be overcome, and the overall experience is that much more enjoyable for it.

    The other side of this is that there are components of both of these modern and traditional types of games which benefit from experience. For traditional games like cards, there is the skill part of the equation. A newer player and an experienced veteran might be playing on the same table, but a difference in experience means that they aren’t necessarily playing the same game.

    For the MMO example, this still exists, though it also offers the benefit of character building. With each hour spent within a virtual world, a player character can become more powerful, reflecting both the growth of the player and the total experience of a time spent adventuring.

    Endless experiences appeal to us because they represent our capacity as humans for infinite growth. Whether on a strictly skill-based level or holding a digital representation of this growth, endless games add another element to gaming which we value so much – that of progress.

     

    These Are the 5 Greatest VR Games We've Seen So Far


    The 5 Greatest VR Games So Far








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 03 August 2020 / 2,999 Views

    The following article was produced in cooperation with Peco Medija.


    Virtual reality is now a household name when it comes to entertainment technology. Tens of millions of households now own a VR headset. Sony alone had sold over 5 million of its PSVR headsets by the end of last year. The Oculus Rift and Valve Index are also frequently sold out, with news buyers being put on waiting lists.


    All of this might explain why Facebook bought over Oculus in 2014 and is also heavily investing in VR content studios. It means that virtual reality will soon become a truly mass market product. While much of the world is also trying to figure out tech trends like security and privacy as described here, VR is emerging as the forerunner in trends when it comes to entertainment. Oculus has even announced a second version of its highly popular Quest model.


    Microsoft, initially slow out of the starting blocks, now has something called Windows Mixed Reality, which is set to be the company's version of virtual reality. It means that multiple tech giants are now in the race for VR.


    But what are the possibilities of VR? What does one do with a VR headset? The biggest thing right now, of course, is gaming. There are dozens of VR games out there that can keep you hooked to your headset for hours, and below are some of the best ones.


      


    Half-Life: Alyx


    Half-Life: Alyx has been hailed by many as the best VR game to-date. It comes 13 years after the last Half-Life release, which was a smash hit and cult classic, and had fans clamouring after a new one for over a decade. Half-Life: Alyx sees not Gordon Freeman but his ally Alyx as the protagonist, with the player controlling her movements, right down to each individual finger. Just as in previous Half-Life games you can also throw objects at enemies, but this time using your own hands! Alyx is known to have sold out all of Valve's Index headsets within a span of two months and received rave reviews like this one.


     


    Beat Saber


    Beat Saber is one of the most popular VR games to be released so far and can be played by all ages, making it a great source of family entertainment. This rhythm game basically involves the player cutting blocks of music notes with a virtual saber, which is of course controlled by the VR controller, making you feel like a sort of musical samurai. Being an acclaimed rhythm title, the score is also incredible, and the developers have even released an album containing the game's music.


       


    Superhot VR


    Superhot - and now Superhot VR - is an extremely addictive time-bending FPS that began life as a browser-based game up until just a few years ago. The VR version is particularly immersive, with all of the first-person slow-motion dodging of projectiles and killing of enemies from the original release being heightened by VR. 


     


    Astro Bot Rescue Mission


    Astro Bot Rescue Mission is often credited with being PSVR's first must-have system seller. And you can see why. The cutesy platformer is the best rated PSVR game on OpenCritic, garnering universal critical acclaim for its innovative take on the platformer genre and polished execution throughout.


     


    Resident Evil VII: Biohazard


    Watch any scepticism as to whether a game released for multiple platforms without VR can really be anything special in VR wither away by playing Resident Evil VII using PSVR. Not only is the experience amplified in VR, it's arguably the best way to play the game. The gore and grime, the grotesque atmosphere of the mansion, and the jump scares and terror are all elevated to a whole other level in VR, making this a must-try for PSVR owners... providing you have the stomach for it.


     


    Some other very interesting VR games that didn't quite make the list if you're looking for additional suggestions: Asgard's Wrath, Rez Infinite, Polybius, Moss, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, and the really funny Trover Saves the Universe. Which games would make your own personal top 5 list? Let us know below.


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    How Minigames Get You Hooked on a Video Game


    A Game Within the Game: The Instant Appeal of Minigames








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 16 July 2020 / 2,498 Views

    The following article was produced in cooperation with MB Peco Medija.



    If there's one thing that the video game industry is constantly on the lookout for, it's more ways to engage players. With an amazing array of gaming titles released every year, competition is getting harder and developers are constantly improving their games. More detailed graphics, engaging gameplay, and added features like bonus playable characters or weapons are all part of the race – along with fun minigames hidden within the main game.


     
    The Purpose of Minigames


    When done right, minigames are one of the best ways to generate extra hype for a title. They're considered the perfect blend between an Easter egg and an extra game, which is usually received with excitement by players. It's also a chance for a studio to showcase the talent and skills of its developing team, as well as test run some elements they might be considering for separate release or heavier incorporation, especially within a multi-title gaming franchise.


    Most importantly, minigames offer an opportunity for gamers to unwind for a bit outside of the intensive struggle to meet the main game objectives. That's why they're usually a stark departure from the main gameplay and as a rule rely on widely established rules – more often based on puzzle logic, a popular sport like Super Mario Party’s mini baseball, or well-known card games. This approach is certainly not new; popular RPG minigames like Triple Triad, the 3x3 grid card game featured in Final Fantasy VIII that saw many fan-made variations, dates back to the 2000s.



    The Minigames That Made Us


    Perhaps the most well-known example of this kind of spin-off franchise that largely relies on minigames is the Mario Party series, which dates back to 1998, with the latest instalment Super Mario Party releasing in 2018 for Nintendo Switch. Able to be played by up to four players and including a 2 vs 2 and a 3 vs 1 mode, the Switch title is loaded with no less than 80 different minigames, including battle tanks and mini baseball. Banana Blitz is another beloved minigame compilation title, with the new revamped edition featuring 10 of the series' most popular ones, including Monkey Target and Whack-a-Mole.


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    Pazaak, the card game featured in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, is another classic. A perfect blend between blackjack and deck building, it added an extra RPG spin to the gambling genre. In regular blackjack, you're allowed to hit for another card or stand when you're happy with your hand, in order not to bust by reaching more than 21 points. As explained by Betway, some variations allow the player to split when they're dealt two of the same card, to double their bets or place a sidebet on the dealer’s potential blackjack as insurance. Meanwhile, Pazaak, true to its deck-building origins, also added a side deck of special cards like Plus or Minus Cards and Flip Cards to make things more interesting.


     


    The Future of Minigames is Seamless


    Yet minigames are at their best when they can be seamlessly incorporated within the wider game narrative. It's no coincidence that some of the most popular representatives of the mini-genre are found in Red Dead Redemption 2. First released in 2018, the popularity of RDR2 shows no signs of decline. As Rockstar Games has announced, RDR2 sold a whopping 29 million units across the globe by the end of 2019, which rose from 26.5 million units sold in the previous quarter. By contrast, Rockstar Games’ most popular title, Grand Theft Auto V, sold 20 million units in 2019, to reach a total of 120 million since it was released in 2013.


    [embedded content]


    Among the many things that make RDR2 so popular is the fact that the four minigames it has incorporated stay true to its western theme. Any outlaw worth their salt will spend some time gambling at a saloon, and Arthur Morgan is no exception. Poker and blackjack – in their regular mode, unlike Pazaak – are a staple of the game, while you can also take your chances with Five Finger Fillet or go for something more relaxed and play dominoes with your buddies. The minigames in RDR2 signal the best way forward for the genre; they're based on well-known real games, tie in well to the main story, and offer some necessary respite from the violent Wild West open world of the game.


    These are necessary qualities for any minigame aimed at entertaining players without disrupting gameplay too much – so any developers out there, take note!


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    Best Casino Slots Inspired by Video Games


    Best Video Game Inspired Slots








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted 4 days ago / 3,245 Views

    Note that the following is a guest editorial.



    Video games have evolved tremendously over the last five decades. Today, some virtual reality games are so sophisticated that the experience is hard to distinguish from reality. In fact, the rate of development that video games have undergone can even make people like Elon Musk consider and debate whether life is a reality or simply a simulation.


    The popularity of video games in all their forms is so immense that these games have crossed over to a multitude of other entertainment industries. This includes the film industry, pop culture, and even the gambling industry. Plenty of video slots in both online casinos and land based casinos are based on video games and video game characters. In this article we'll take a look at a couple of the top online casino slots that are inspired by video games.



    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Slot


    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was in a league of its own in terms of popularity when it debuted on consoles and PC in 2007. So it was only a matter of time before an online casino game developer capitalized on the popularity of the game and developed a video slot themed around it. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Slot is brought to you by CryptoLogic (WagerLogic previously) and it certainly does justice to the video game.


    It's a 5 reel slot with 25 paylines and features a pretty impressive cash jackpot of $50,000. In terms of special features, you get all the standards like free spins, wilds, bonus rounds, scatter, and so on. Whether you like betting huge or playing with small stakes, this slot is well worth a spin since it offers a huge betting range between 0.05 and 10.00 coins.


    Want to give Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Slot a try? Check out GamblingMetropolis to find out which casinos you can play this game at and the best offers that you can take advantage of.



    Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Slot


    The origins of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider date back to the 1996 original by the game development company Core Design (which was owned by Eidos Interactive at that point). Lara Croft, the infamous British archeologist who travels around the world and wanders where no other human has set foot before to unearth lost ancient artifacts, was an instant hit and the game went on to become a major franchise with movies, novels, and more all being based around the character. More recently Lara returned to the video game spotlight thanks to Crystal Dynamics' acclaimed reboot.


    When it comes to the online casino industry, it was the online casino pioneers Microgaming that were the first to make a Lara Croft-themed video slot. This is a simple video slot with a couple of in-game bonuses like free spins rounds and the Tomb bonus round, which really keeps the experience exciting and adventurous.


    This video slot has 5 reels and 15 paylines. An RTP of 96.56% makes it pretty well-paying too. The max jackpot is 7,500 times your stake. The slot's features include wilds, scatter, auto play feature, and free spins. The important symbols to note are the Tomb Raider symbol (which is the wild) and the Lara Croft symbol (which is the scatter). The main bonus round is triggered when you land 3 or more of the Idol symbols.


    If you're looking to try the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Slot, we recommend you do so at an eCOGRA certified online casino.


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    15 Horrible Levels That Nearly Ruined Great Games

    For as fun as every game could be, there’s always one specific level or section that spoils your enjoyment. So while certain classics can be joyfully reminisced about, there’s always that one level (or two) that tilts you to this day. Let’s take a look at 15 such games that had these kinds levels.


    GoldenEye 007 – Protect Natalya


    goldeneye 007


    Escort missions are always a highway to misery but GoldenEye 007 made escorting Natalya resemble Bond’s legendary car roll in Casino Royale. First, if you get too far ahead – like in the Jungle – some random enemies might pick her off. She’s constantly in the line of your fire, which makes for accidental kills more often than you’d think. The least Rare could have done was make Natalya somewhat durable but alas, it didn’t.





     

    Why 'Super Mario Sunshine' Is Seriously Underrated

    Super Mario 3D All-Stars has been out for a few days, and reception has been warmly received all told. The compilation of Mario's most iconic 3D outings did come with its fair share of minor controversies, but on the whole it is a diehard Nintendo fan's dream of having the best platformers ever on a modern machine. Ever since its release, critics and Mario purists have been tauting the same line: If you ignore Super Mario Sunshine, you'll have a fun time with some of the plump plumber's greatest adventures. It's a stance I noticed a lot of fans have been drawn to, and honestly it makes me disappointed.

    Super Mario Sunshine might be the black sheep of the series, but there's a lot of underrated, even amazing elements that have improved the entire Mario franchise for the better, and I will help you see the bright summer sunlight as I break down why.



    Mario surrounded by ghostly manta rays leaving trails of electric slime
    Electric slime slathering ghost manta rays. I have no joke, that is bonkers.

    Wait, Super Mario Sunshine is Bad?

    First, it is odd that the community has come around to finding such contention with Super Mario Sunshine. It was critically acclaimed when it launched in 2002, sitting on an impressive 92 Metacritic score at the time. Reviews celebrated how the game built on the foundation of 3D-platforming goodness the groundbreaking Super Mario 64 established, some even declaring it a natural evolution of the red plumber's energetic jumping formula.


    One of the harshest reviews came from Game Critics, which balked at how it was just the same game from 1996 but prettier and with a gimmick. It is telling where the industry was at the time since the same review cited that critical acclaim from other outlets seemed to come more from nostalgia than objective quality, which can be healthily argued. The review also mentioned that the industry was at a turning point after the release of more mature titles like Grand Theft Auto III, which in 2020 feels delightfully quaint compared to where the industry and the medium is now.


    This isn't to discredit the critical voices of 2002 at all, it's just an observation that the zeitgeist at the time was pushing demands for innovation and prestige; the kind of climate that makes something like Super Mario Sunshine a testament to Nintendo both dancing to the beat of its own drum and confident in its own inherent quality. At the time, the greatest crime this game committed was just being more of the same with a few extra bells and whistles, destined to be a mere imitation of something better.


    And yet Super Mario Sunshine has returned on the Nintendo Switch with a visual touch-up, alongside the 1996 classic that introduced the world to the joy of moving in a 3D environment and the 2006 space adventure that propelled the series to dizzying new heights. What exactly is it about Super Mario Sunshine that has made it endure?



    Mario encountering a giant turtle using a yoshi egg for a shell
    Not exactly what I think of when someone says ninja turtle but here we are.

    Super Island Vacation

    The first thing that sticks out with Super Mario Sunshine is that it's the very first main title in the series to feature cutscenes; the very first honest attempt to tell a more in-depth story. The story in question: a simple vacation going horribly wrong. Mario, Princess Peach, and a few her loyal Toad servants arrive at the tropical paradise of Isle Delfino only to discover it covered in sticky tar-like slime. What's worse is the island's source of light and joy, the Shine Sprites, have vanished, and it appears whoever responsible has framed Mario as the culprit.


    After a surreal opening where our hero is put in jail—a ballsy move in retrospect for a company so defensive about their flagship mascot—he is charged with one of the stiffest sentences of community service ever. Mario must scour the island of this sludgy goop, retrieve the Shine Sprites, and catch the real perpetrator. Until he does, Mario is not allowed to leave Isle Delfino.


    Almost 20 years since the character came on the scene, this was the first major entry that didn't start out with the bog standard rescue mission to save the princess from Bowser. The key location isn't the fantastical Mushroom Kingdom but an island resort with its own local inhabitants and quirks. The different levels you explore aren't self-contained worlds of artistic whimsy but notable landmarks and tourist attractions that have real tangible presence and geography on the island. The central conflict is a bit of a mystery: who is the mysterious Shadow Mario that is committing slanderous vandalism against our beloved hero? Just on paper alone, this was a lot of experimental and bold moves Nintendo was making.



    Mario standing on a sandy beach with sunglasses on
    Insert "Deal With It" caption here.

    Send A FLUDD, Gonna Drown 'Em Out

    It's only when we get into the level design, structure, and pacing that some elephants in the room get addressed. In the case of Super Mario Sunshine, that elephant is a talking water pump. Within the first five minutes of the game, Mario gets FLUDD, a superpowered power hose that shoots water and can also convert into a jetpack. This is used to help fight back against the slime infesting the island and give Mario a bit more maneuverability with his distinct jumps.


    When it comes to why Super Mario Sunshine is so derided, FLUDD is the major target of scorn. Most critics claim that giving Mario a jetpack harms his platforming ability, this is the guy who is known for jumping after all. FLUDD was seen as a gimmick to make the game easier as well as pad things out with some light resource management: needing to refill the water tank every now and then.


    There were other elements that alienated fans of Mario 64 as well. The levels do a lot more handholding with more direct instructions like cutscenes and signposts. And for all of the game's cinematic trappings, the actual game starts to feel padded halfway through, with the actual finale being introduced then stretched out to cram in a few more levels and courses.



    Mario in a hotel surrounded by ghosts
    Wait, you wanted the other plumber with a gadget on his back? Well, work with what you have.

    What's So Great About Super Mario Sunshine?

    Now to actually qualify my statement about this game actually being great. Keeping the entire adventure to a tropical island resort meant that a lot of the challenges and boss battles Mario faced had to fit this specific framework, leading to some true outside-the-box level design. Highlights include a boss fight in a haunted casino where the key to winning involves using hot peppers and fruit, a sequence where you perform high-pressure water jet dentistry on a giant eel, and a showdown with a giant robot using a rollercoaster ride to your advantage. That kind of imaginative chaos just wouldn't have been possible without this aesthetic restriction.


    Better still is that very imagination is still grounded in Nintendo's iconic polish and movement fundamentals. Detractors of the game love to bring up the "secret" sequences, levels where Mario has to get to a goal without using FLUDD, as "the only good parts," but it shows just how firm a foundation the game has. For all of the pearl-clutching of FLUDD dumbing things down, it never takes anything away and adds greater appreciation for those areas where you need that extra boost.


    In its own coy way, the very trappings of the game suggests the appeal isn't necessarily challenge but the setting itself. Why would a place meant for relaxation have death traps to begin with? This becomes doubly apparent when you remember that Isle Delfino is a vacation resort, and the antagonist of the game is a little kid whose big plan amounts to getting Mario arrested and thrown in jail for large-scale vandalism. in terms of tone and pacing, this isn't the end of the world but a simple farcical odyssey.



    Mario facing a giant ghost on top of a large roulette wheel
    I got 500 coins on purple!

    Even the game's cinematic storytelling aspirations helped widen what a Mario story could be. If Super Mario Sunshine hadn't proved it was actually possible to thread a story between its levels, we may have been denied the moving children's storybook structure of the Star Festival and the introduction of Rosalina, a character with arguably the most tragic and beautiful origin story in the entire franchise, in the series' next installment, Super Mario Galaxy.


    In fact, this is not the first time Nintendo made a big change in this series. There was another time they had a Super Mario game that was a drastic change to their formula. It added in easier elements, unique worlds, locations, and characters never seen before. It was even derided for being too easy and straying too far from its core. That game was the international release of Super Mario Bros. 2. That game gave us playable Princess Peach, Shy Guys, and many more elements that have gone on to become staples.


    This gets to the heart of why Super Mario Sunshine is so divisive. When people demanded something more challenging and thoughtful, the game was content with just being lighthearted fun. When more critical voices demanded evolution and refinement, the developers experimented with jetpacks and a tropical island setting. It was one of those rare times where Nintendo decided to loosen their collective ties and get a little weird with their franchise, which has only made its odd design decisions stand out more among its peers.



    Mario on the back of a large bird made out of sand
    Trust me, without FLUDD this would have been absolutely impossible.

    But now with 14 years of perspective, a lot of those odd design decisions hold up. The more serene atmosphere and low-stakes scenario works in Super Mario Sunshine's favor, giving it its own identity when compared to its other entries. I am glad more players are able to experience it with fresh eyes outside of the tumult of its original release.


    Plus, it's the only game in the collection where Mario can wear a pair of sunglasses and ride a Yoshi, making it the best game in the collection bar none.


     

    Things Only True Fans Noticed In The Death Stranding Trailer

    Death Stranding has a real star-studded cast, with two actors in particular being notable for their involvement in one of the biggest and longest-running film franchises ever. We're speaking, of course, of Mads Mikkelsen and Léa Seydoux, both of whom have played characters in James Bond films



    Mikkelsen was the lead antagonist of 2006's Casino Royale, playing the sadistic mastermind known as Le Chiffre. With his eye that wept blood and his taste for torture, Le Chiffre as played by Mikkelsen is easily one of the most memorable villains in the franchise's history. Seydoux, on the other hand, notably played Madeleine Swann, daughter of international terrorist Mr. White, in 2015's Spectre. Madeleine was Bond's love interest in that film, eventually riding off into the sunset with him. Seydoux is currently attached to return to the role in the next movie, making her one of the few Bond girls to get a second appearance.


    Beyond this neat connection, it will be interesting to see if Mikkelsen and Seydoux take on similar roles in Death Stranding. Could Mikkelsen's Cliff pose a threat to Sam's mission (it seems so)? And where does Lea Seydoux's character, named Fragile, fit into all of this? It's no secret that Kojima is a huge fan of the 007 movies, so it would certainly make sense for him to take some inspiration from them — heck, we even see Lindsey Wagner's Amelie bleeding from the eyes, just like Le Chiffre.



















     

    Bad News Just Dropped For Fans Craving More Cuphead

    In September of 2017, Cuphead was initially released to PC and Xbox. The 1930s animation style, fast-paced gameplay, and extreme difficulty left fans captivated. The game left its mark on the community, taking home Best Art Direction, Best Independent Game, and Best Debut Indie at The Game Awards 2017. It has picked up many more awards throughout the past three years and eventually became playable on MacOs, Switch, and Playstation 4 as recently as July of this year.



    In 2018, developer Studio MDHR announced that DLC titled The Delicious Last Course was set to release in 2019. The studio decided they needed to push back that date, and in a new announcement trailer in 2019, said the game would be coming in 2020. Now it appears this was not the final delay.



    NEWS

    The official Studio MDHR Twitter account has announced that Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course will be delayed until next year. Here's their full statement:




    While the Delicious Last Course is a continuation of Cuphead and Mugman's grand adventure, it's also a conclusion to the story that began on that fateful day at The Devil's casino.



    In true Studio MDHR fashion, we aren't content for this final chapter to be anything less than our best work. Throughout development, we;ve challenged ourselves to put everything we learned from making Cuphead into the quality of The Delicious Last Course's animation, design, and music.



    Meeting this standard has been extremely challenging for us amid the global pandemic that has affected so many of our fellow developers. Rather than compromise on our vision in response to COVID, we've made the difficult decision to push back the release of The Delicious Last Course until we are confident it will delight the Cuphead community the way we feel it should.



    We know many of you have been waiting to return to the Inkwell Isles, and our goal is to make the trip back there next year a truly magical one.



    With warmest regards,



    Chad and Jared Moldenhauer




    The original tweet can be seen below:











    WHAT THIS MEANS

    This shouldn't come as a huge surprise to players, as we've seen multiple games now delayed due to the global pandemic. However, this is a huge letdown for so many people that fell in love with Cuphead and can't wait for more to be released. Unfortunately, a small, independent developer like MDHR doesn't have the backup funding to push out a game as easily as a Triple-A studio like Activision or EA. Even a larger developer like CD Projekt Red was forced to delay their release of Cyberpunk 2077 to December 13, 2020, because of the pandemic.



    Based on the announcement, it seems like they would rather take more time to ensure that the game is at the level that they want it to be, rather than release a subpar addition to what is already an award-winning title. If you're one of many who are highly anticipating this new addition, it would be best to stay patient. The studio seemed to avoid giving any details of when exactly it could come out, vaguely stating "next year." 



    So don't hold your breath, but take relief in the fact that MDHR are going to make sure this DLC meet the high standard of the original, whenever it is released. 


     

    The Most Stunning Japanese Games Coming To The PlayStation 5

    Whether you are a PlayStation or an Xbox fan, you need to see these fabulous Japanese games for the new console—PlayStation 5!

    Japan is not known only for its sophistication, technological superiority, and its robots. Since 1973, Japan entered the video game market; its impact was spotless over the industry. It introduced a large array of games, arcade games, racing games, and even online casino games Japan Conquered almost all genres in the early stages of video gaming.

    PlayStation 5 is available since November,12th (in some regions you might need to wait until November,17th) it’s released with a variety of games and PS5 exclusives! Among the myriad of games, 5 stunning Japanese games deserved their spots and attracted spotlights to them—stick to the end to see the future of the legendary series Resident Evil!

    Top 5 Upcoming Japanese Games for PS5

    Here are 5 flabbergasting Japanese games you should play on PS5 starting with:

    Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition

    The sixth installment in the Devil May Cry franchise, this is a PS5 expansion for the original game developed by Capcom.

    Its gameplay is similar to the other series, with an eminent concentration on fast paste duals. The fighting mechanics are dynamic and smooth, supported with a multitude of moves and finishers to make slaying demons much enjoyable!

    Ghostwire: Tokyo

    Do you like paranormal superpowers? Or you may like killing ghosts and hunting spirits? If you’re interested in both, lucky you! Ghostwire: Tokyo is a first-person perspective action-adventure game developed by Tango Gameworks.

    The game will be available worldwide in 2021; they did not give a defined date. However, it might be closer than we think.

    The plot of the game is interesting, abnormal entities known as Visitors (which are spirits) wreaked havoc in Tokyo, and your sole aim is to unveil this mystery—and kill them all of course!

    Demon’s Souls

    With its first edition published in 2009, Demon’s Souls is not new; however, the PS5 edition is stunning with buttery-smooth gameplay, which deserves a try.

    Demon’s Souls in an open-world action RPG game, and similarly to other RPG games it offers a multitude of character customization, a gigantic list of various craftables, quests, and way more things to discuss in one post! It is, by far, one of the best RPG games of all time. Pair this with an overpowered console such as the PlayStation 5, and you’ll witness a tremendous gaming experience.

    Final Fantasy XVI

    Final Fantasy XVI (or Final Fantasy 16) the sixteenth installment in the Final Fantasy series! It’s an upcoming RPG game, blended with never-ending action, for PlayStation 5.

    It is developed by Square Enix—a Japanese video game company— and produced by Naoki Yoshida, the director of Final Fantasy XIV.

    Until now, there is no predefined release date for Final Fantasy 16. However, many people and gaming communities are expecting to see it dropping into the market by the end of 2021, or at some point in 2022.

    Resident Evil 8: Village

    Resident Evil Village is the brand new installment in the Resident Evil series and the sequel of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. The game is developed by Capcom, which announced it at the PS5 reveal event in June 2020. The game should see the light in April 2021 if Capcom didn’t face any delays.

    This is the future of Resident Evil following the RS7 path it is also played in first-person perspective! After the major remakes for RS2 and RS3, which are still in third-person, apparently Capcom is changing its strategy and focusing more on first-person horror style.

    The game story is set a few years after Resident Evil 7 incidents, in a village in Europe.

     

    The Real Impact Next Gen Consoles May Have On Esports

    In November 2020, both Microsoft and Sony released their next-generation consoles. The PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X are striving to drive the gaming industry into a new, high-powered era. Regarding their specifications, both developments have taken significant strides forward, with each surpassing the potentials of an average PC. Although their respective hardware varies, there’s a widespread sense of anticipation that the PS5 and Series X will have a positive knock-on effect on the eSports market. So, let’s take a look at how vastly both consoles will alter competitive gaming.

    The Potential to Elevate the Industry

    Fundamentally, one of the most significant improvements that have come to fruition following the release of the PS5 and Series X relates to frame rate. By definition, the term refers to the speed at which images are consecutively displayed on a screen. Generally, the rate that delivers the highest-quality gaming visuals is 60 FPS. The PS4, however, didn’t have a defined frame rate, but many of the titles offered a stable performance at 30 FPS. In comparison, the PS5 is capable of delivering both 60 FPS and 120 FPS, which is a drastic improvement. The step up to 60 FPS will enhance smoothness and in-game inputs, meaning that controller actions will be more rapidly translated.

    [embedded content][embedded content]

    Crucially, this means that console-specific eSports are now better placed to battle the dominance of PCs in the competitive gaming sector. In recent years, some of the market’s most-played titles, such as Fortnite, have been playable at 60 FPS on desktops. As such, consoles no longer offer a less-developed aesthetic. Furthermore, this may also impact eSports-related sectors, such as competitive gaming betting. With gamers now able to enjoy modern-day titles to an equal standard, there’s scope for console eSports to reach new heights, and that includes attracting enhanced numbers of eSports bettors. As described by online casino and sports betting aggregator Legal Betting, prospective bettors can bet on an array of eSports markets, including first kill, map, match, and tournament winner, as well as handicap betting.

    Will Consoles Overtake PCs from an eSports Popularity Standpoint?

    As touched on above, PCs are currently the leading platform in relation to eSports participation. One of the primary factors behind the popularity of desktops relates to in-game accuracy. On consoles, gamers are limited to device-specific controllers. However, on PCs, variation is at the heart of desktop playability.

    Source: Unsplash

    As an article by Gamer Assault Weekly states that a mouse and keyboard setup is exponentially more accurate than alternative systems. For open-world shooters, this enhanced accuracy is a must-have for gamers. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has awarded the highest prize fund of any title in 2020 at around £6 million, and it’s predominantly played on PC. Fundamentally, this is because of the accuracy that competitive gamers can enjoy through mouse and keyboard controls.

    Furthermore, it’s also worth taking into consideration that sector’s most popular titles and their platform compatibility. Along with CS:GO, Dota 2 and League of Legends are also industry-leading games that are exclusive to PC. If next-gen consoles are to upset the market’s existing balance, then it’s essential that both the PS5 and Series X place eSports-friendly titles at the heart of future developments. However, it’s believed that gamers will have to wait until 2022 before they see next-gen-defining games on Sony’s latest release.

    Bringing Balance, but Can They Compete?

    Ultimately, there can be no doubt that the next-gen consoles add much-needed balance to the eSports industry. Concerning performance, particularly in relation to frame rates, video game devices are no longer lagging behind PCs. That said, it’s still unclear if that will be enough to rival the dominance of desktops.

     

    The Five Best Japanese Villains In PlayStation Games


    The Five Best Japanese Villains in PlayStation Games








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 11 November 2020 / 3,724 Views

    This article was written in collaboration with Anna Nilsen.


     


    Without Japan’s contribution to the world of gaming, today’s video games simply wouldn't be the same. Over the years, many memorable games and characters have come from the Land of the Rising Sun, and with the imminent release of PS5, now is an excellent time to look back at some of the best characters from the country's PlayStation games. There are, of course, numerous Japanese heroes and heroines in PlayStation games, but it's often the baddies that are the most memorable characters.


    So, here is our selection of the five best Japanese villains who feature in PlayStation games.


     


    5th - Alma


    One of the most formidable bosses in the action titles Ninja Gaiden Black and Ninja Gaiden Sigma is the terrifying Alma. She's a tough cookie to beat, as she has six primary attack methods. She can unleash energy balls, rip up and throw pillars, charge at you with full speed, grab your legs, use a combo flip kick, and use her almost-inescapable bubble grab to stop you defeating her.


     


    4th - Ash Crimson


    Japan has a varied love of gaming, whether it's on home consoles, in arcades, or even online live casinos like Casumo. This applies to genres too, from puzzlers to RPGs, and one that's particularly popular is the fighting genre, with the King of Fighters series traditionally being one of its stalwarts. Unlike other main characters in the King of Fighters series, Ash Crimson is an evil character. His personal fighting style uses green-flamed pyrokinesis to attack enemies, and he's well-known for attempting to steal powers from other characters, leaving them helpless. Strangely, the western market’s response to the character was largely negative due to his appearance and fighting technique. But in Japan he's regarded as one of the best fighter villains of all time. Crimson has so far appeared in a staggering 14 different games.


      


    3rd - Elysion


    Elysion is one of the baddest of bad-asses from the action RPG game Dragon’s Dogma. Leader of the nihilistic cult Salvation, he creates death wherever he goes. Blinded in one eye (by his own hand), the powerful magician is skilled in Dark Magic. You're sure to shiver as you watch him raising skeletons from freshly-deceased humans, but it is perhaps his resemblance to Darth Sidious from Star Wars that makes his very appearance enough to make you want to hide behind the couch.


     


    2nd - Berthold Gregor


    Although other Japanese video game villains are more well-known than Berthold Gregor, he is unquestionably one of the most heartless and evil baddies ever depicted in a PlayStation game. Gregor hails from the cult classic Valkyria Chronicles series of strategy RPGs. He features in both the first game and Valkyria Chronicles III, as well as the Valkyria Chronicles anime series. The radical imperialist supports both the emperor and the Empire, and he will go to any lengths to protect it. According to Gregor, any country that does not bend to the will of the Empire deserves to be obliterated, and his fanatical beliefs enable him to carry out particularly cruel acts on his enemies.


      


    1st - Albert Wesker


    Originally included as a supporting character in the first Resident Evil game, Albert Wesker soon became one of the series’ leading antagonists. He loves to manipulate story events from the shadows and is well-known for being sadistic, cunning, intelligent, and power-hungry. The fact that Wesker wants to make the human race as we know it become extinct is enough to demonstrate his evilness. A traitor and enemy to most of Resident Evil’s heroes, this super-villain has appeared in an incredible 27 different games, including Umbrella Corps, Capcom Super League Online, Resident Evils 4 and 5, and many more.


    More Articles






     

    Everything You Need To Know About Online Keno

    Keno is a game of luck that’s been around for many centuries. Although it originated in China, its name has French (Latin) roots and bears the meaning of five winning numbers. The game itself is similar to the lottery, as it allows you to win big even if you place a small bet.


    Even though online casinos typically feature one or two online keno variants, it still attracts millions of passionate players worldwide, making it one of the most popular casino games.


    Keno casino game

    Keno casino game

    If you’re just getting started with online casinos and wish to play keno, our short guide will introduce you to the game’s basics.


    Keno Rules

    As mentioned, keno is a luck-based game, meaning you can’t influence or predict the outcome. In online keno, all numbers are drawn using an RNG (random number generator), so any strategy is futile.


    Here’s how the game works:



    How to Play Keno in an Online Casino

    Before we show you how to play the game in an online casino, we’d like to point out that there are online slot games dedicated to keno. If you wish to learn more about them, read the Keno Slots 101 guide.


    Below are step-by-step instructions to playing online keno:



  • Find a reputable online casino and create an account.

  • Select your preferred payment method and fund the account.

  • While you’re there, claim a welcome bonus if there’s one you can use on keno.

  • Go to the game lobby and start the game.

  • Place a bet, select the numbers, and enjoy!


  • That’s it! As you can see, keno is a pleasant and straightforward game to play. So, if you feel like today is your lucky day, go ahead and visit an online casino!


    Types of Keno Bets

    Even though there is no clear winning strategy in keno that would ensure a win, you can choose different bets, boosting the potential payouts. Here are your options:



    Helpful Keno Tips and Tricks

    While the most important aspect of playing keno is choosing a safe and reliable online casino, some tips might come in handy. Take a look:




     

    Are These The All-Time Best Superhero Games?


    DC and Marvel’s superhero characters have a stretch that reaches far beyond the pages of the comic books that spawned them. One of the most popular uses of characters like Batman, Superman or the Hulk is the many online PlayStation and Xbox games that build on the narratives created in the comics. Here is our list of all-time best superhero games.


    Spider-Man: The Movie

    Spider-Man The Movie GameSpider-Man The Movie Game


    Activision‘s Spider-Man: The Movie from 2002 remains a classic, even after all these years.


    Building on the success of the previous version of the game, this one is notable for its better 3-D environments, particularly the outdoor ones where swinging between buildings and over rooftops is pretty exhilarating. Just bear in mind that nearly 20 years on the graphics do look somewhat dated.


    If you choose to play, you’ll notice that the characters are voiced by the stars of the movie, William Dafoe and Toby Maguire.


    The gameplay essentially revolves around completing levels by overcoming groups of baddies in hand to hand combat, outfoxing them by special Spider moves. It’s not that easy to complete any of the missions and its enduring legacy is built on the fact that there is a lot to learn before you can finish the entire game.


    The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction

    superhero games The-Incredible-Hulk-Ultimate-Destructionsuperhero games The-Incredible-Hulk-Ultimate-Destruction


    Also from the 2000s, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, the PS2 game, is a bit lighter on plot features than Spider-Man. Instead, it focuses on sheer destructive power and fighting fun – as you might expect from a game centred around an incredibly strong and angry green monster.


    Not only can Hulk cause mayhem with his fists and feet but he can also weaponise pretty much anything in his vicinity – picking up cars, trucks, buses and streetlamps to hurl at perceived enemies. Expect lots of carnage as you make you way through all the missions and level-ups to completion. This is splendid, cathartic fun and a great way to kill time if you have nothing better to do than cause damage!


    Captain America: Super Soldier

    superhero games Captain America: Super Soldiersuperhero games Captain America: Super Soldier


    Another classic third-person action game featuring a Marvel hero is the excellent Captain America: Super Soldier from SEGA released in 2011.


    Broadly speaking, the plot of this game is for the patriotic character of Captain America to defeat an arch-villain named Armin Zola. There are plenty of weapons and moves at your disposal, as well as an excellent Vibranium Shield, used to fend off bullets and other attacks from enemies. There’s plenty of levelling-ups and upgrades to your armoury as you go too.


    This is one of the quirkier games on our list but worth checking out if you haven’t already.


    The Dark Knight Rises Video Slot

    The Dark Knight Rises CasinoThe Dark Knight Rises Casino


    The use of comic book characters in video slots is commonplace, with gambling behemoth Playtech striking a licensing deal to use them across many traditional and progressive prize slot games.


    One of our favourites is The Dark Knight Rises, which is a few years old but still available at most new slot sites with Playtech games.


    Built on the narrative of the third film in the Christopher Nolan trilogy, this game is as much about winning money as it is about entertainment. However, its use of free spins and a Fusion Reactor Bonus game that awards special multipliers to be applied to all wins in the bonus round is compelling stuff.


    Just remember to play within your budget and responsibly at all times.


    batman-arkham-knight-screenshot-2batman-arkham-knight-screenshot-2


    Batman: Arkham Knight

    The follow up to Arkham Asylum, 2015’s Arkham Knight from Rocksteady Studios, is a supernatural-infused Batman game with plenty of fighting action and a storyline that can take well over 12 hours to complete.


    Batman here is voiced by Kevin Conroy, whilst Mark Hammil features at the Joker. A very dark version of Gotham City is brilliantly drawn out and there is plenty of investigating to do, exploring every nook and cranny of Gotham, whilst searching and destroying baddies.


    The best part is finally getting access to the Batmobile! Arkham Knight is one of the best superhero games ever created. It’s a real treat worth investing time and money in if you like the darker side of the Batman stories.


    These are just five of the hundreds of games available for superhero fans right now. Of course, the Marvel and DC characters are the gifts that just keep on giving. So, expect plenty more in the coming years.



    Source link


     

    Intacto Review and Opinion

    Intacto (2002)
    Director: Roberto Fresnedillo

    review by Paul Higson

    My supernatural fascinations lie with the borderline, scientifically plausible and irrefutable, dreams, telepathy and coincidence. Some regard 'coincidence' as the little sister of luck, but the latter has always been seen as the more fantastical of the two despite the overly common yearning for it in the common individual. Both can have a positive and a negative value and when someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time it can be either a terrible coincidence or appalling luck but when the millions are won it is only luck that takes the credit. Coincidence has been the more fruitfully explored of the two in the moving image, particularly in Julio Medem's 1999 film, Lovers Of The Arctic Circle, and to successfully comedic value in the early 1980s' Channel 4 comedy series Chance In A Million, where high coincidence transformed it into the ultimate 'situation' comedy. Luck has been crying out for exploration but no one has had an idea as to how to play it. Roberto Fresnedillo's take, in his directorial debut, is to make a transferable commodity of that which is normally intangible and abstract, make of luck an item that can be bought, stolen or won.
       Like the impermeable Mr Willis of Unbreakable (2000), most of the participants in the ensuing gambling games become aware of their priceless or broken supernatural gifts following survival in extreme circumstances. They are unaware of, or unable to take, their luck seriously until the enormity of the situation makes one's fatefulness so obviously determinable from that of another person, the sole survivor of a plane crash, the only one escaping a genocidal spree alive or a nasty car crash with all their limbs intact. But 'intact' is a relative term. Fresnedillo conducts experiments with the kerygma. Let's assume it has a balance, proposes the director, can be turned inside out, how about that which was informative and presentable become ugly and confused. What happens to a person when they barter it, do they condemn themselves? Everyone is different, yet is unable to alter or be guarded against making certain decisions that will decide their fate ultimately. The director cleverly secludes details for later, cranks up the mystery that is not necessarily there, gently rocked is one in the casual pacing, hoodwinked by the obscurity of the played out details. And yet there is something missing overall.
       Federico (Eusebio Poncela), an earthquake miracle 30 years on, finds that his life as a luck thief for hire in a casino run by a holocaust survivor is becoming dull and unrewarding, even though he is the potential heir to the enterprise. He means to cut and run but Sam (Max Von Sydow), the casino owner and his mentor, a man with an octopus of a reach who has amassed a fortune away from the usual casino definition learns of the coming desertion and instead divests Federico of his own inner parcel of luck, leaving him a helpless, vengeful, selfish and cold creature, shopping for someone with a good quantity of luck to exploit as a stepping ladder back into a position wherein he can bring about the fall of the mighty Sam. The sole survivor of a plane crash, Tomas (Leonardo Sbaraglia) is obviously blessed with an above average quota of luck, even his girlfriend was allowed to miss the plane. Though the young man will be heavily compensated, there is evidence about his person that he is connected with a robbery, obviously there are different branches of luck, his had no interest in money and had refused to serve him up a winning lottery ticket. This is useful to Federico who helps him escape the hospital and leads him through a hidden world, a noir maze of weird gambling stages and black markets for fortune procurers, in backrooms, courtyards and deep forests that bring encounters with other dangerously charmed and often glum individuals, each port of call taking them a step closer to a final confrontation with Sam. With Tomas under his charge, Federico stumbles upon the precise circumstance that might totter the empire, as Tomas must 'gamble' his life in order to save his loved one, her lesser cache of positivism having fallen into Sam's hands following the deceitfulness of Federico who had employed it as a bargaining chip unbeknownst to the younger man.
       Also along for the ride is Alejandro, a retired bullfighter, played by Antonio Denchent, and Sara, a guilt-ridden, emotionally and physically scarred police detective. Both have substantial experience of the dark side of chance. The fact is that luck is never without a gloomy aspect, nobody can be untouched by it, those manufacturing and steering the course of their own luck must become cruel and monstrous in the process, though the film suggests that it is rarely done so by intention. Luck has become for them an essential element to their survival in the underworld that they have found themselves in. Those selling their luck are pathetic creatures committing a lazy suicide and those homing in on the magnetic dark core are just as self-destructive, unflinching in the face of the horrors around them.
       Where the film falls down is in the avoidance of any cinematic showiness, the sets are bare and unimaginatively dressed, little in the way of wished for Spanish colour, though there are those who would say neither is important if plot is fulfilling enough. The camerawork too is unobtrusive, again some might argue preferably so. Certainly, it all quickly lulls one into a relaxed mode paving the way for several effective shocks, but one can also become too relaxed during those spells. As well judged as the scripting is, it is too gently unexplained at times. The casino has no flourishes of its own, Sam's underground lair an inner sanctum of cold walls, the back rooms and cellars equally featureless and although an expensive painting is highlighted at one stage, the homes of the participants and the family are relatively bare of any realistically lived in quality (though admittedly they are a morbid bunch with no interest in anything but the ultimate gamble). As I say, much of it is deliberate in order to set the viewer up for the sudden and painful horrors, flesh snagged on barbwire, brains on a motorway and, the films centrepiece, a daring run though a forest, the participants blindfolded, their hands behind their back. During the forest challenge the camera cruises supremely, the editing importantly spot on, the audience gets nervous, gasps, jumps as the contestants collide with or become snagged on the trees, you have to leave your seat if you want to escape the tension, otherwise it will have you. That sequence alone makes the film worth every penny of catching it in a cinema, I can't vouchsafe it will have the same ability to jolt on the small screen where cowardly renters may well button pause and catch their breath after each nasty collision.
       Poncela boasts a disarming resemblance to Will Self that is awkward to overcome particularly when the character is so sullen of expression. Other trickery includes the desert location of the casino that would appear to actually have been filmed on the island of Lanzarote. To the critic who sang discrepancy and asked who was luckier, the youth who survived the crash or the girlfriend who missed the plane... wake up, fellow, anyone can miss a plane but how many can solo survive a crash with only scratches? It is a film that's stocked with sterling performances, a genuinely original fantasy take, a well-composed and delivered plot with rare, prized jolts. It is a work of great promise and it will be interesting to see were Fresnedillo goes from here and with what.

    Intacto Review and Opinion

    Comprar Intacto Review and Opinion

     

    Jack and the beanstalk Review and Opinion

    Jack And The Beanstalk: The Real Story (2001)
    Director: Brian Henson

    review by Donald Morefield

    The highlight of Britain's terrestrial TV viewing for Christmas 2003 was this wonderful updating of the fairy tale, offering an agreeably postmodernist and contemporised adaptation of the traditional story, while retaining all its best-loved elements. It opens in present day England, with the discovery of a gigantic humanoid skeleton (thought to be a dinosaur, at first) buried at the construction-digging site of a planned casino. The builders' boss unwillingly alerts the American corporate CEO Jack Robinson (Matthew Modine), a billionaire bachelor plagued by nightmares about a family curse suggesting he will die at age 40. What the troubled Jack doesn't know yet is that his right-hand man, company manager Siggy (Jon Voight, with a smirk and a funny pantomime accent), is privy to the Robinsons' darkest secrets - including a cruel betrayal, the theft of a unique fowl, and a cold-bloodied axe murder...
       Yes, it's the one about a desperate farmer's cow traded for a handful of beans, the magic goose that lays golden eggs, and the (supposedly) greedy giant who can "smell the blood of an Englishman." Here, though, the theft of the talking goose (and an animated harp) brings drought, poverty, and depression to the world above the clouds. While visiting the location of his stalled casino project, Jack finds himself being stalked by the mysterious Ondine (elfin yet intense Mia Sara, veteran of Ridley Scott's Legend, 1985) who turns out to be a messenger and guide from the fantastic realm in the sky. She knows more about Jack's ancestral lineage and relatives than he does, and she tricks him into accompanying her up the lofty tower of a newly grown, giant beanstalk, to face trial in the magic land where time passes more slowly than it does on Earth.
       As you'd expect, this glossy miniseries is a determinedly commercial project with the trappings of big star names in supporting roles - including Vanessa Redgrave playing Jack's aunt (actually a 400-year-old countess!), Daryl Hannah as the blue-skinned giantess Thespee, Richard Attenborough as Magog, ruler of the giant deities, plus some excellent CG visual effects realising the beanstalk and digital compositing for the creatures, landscapes and giants. It all moves along briskly enough, without surplus footage or story padding, and cleverly replays the essentials from different perspectives, showing both the giant and the original Jack in a differing light, both good and bad. The truth behind the fairy tale is revealed as morally complex, even as it advocates simplified answers to both the rural blight affecting the giants' fantasy world, and the problems of Jack's impending mortality and distinct lack of romance in his life.
       The happy ending is not quite as contrived or generically obvious as you may immediately suspect. And so, despite a few concessions to younger viewers (the storyline never dwells on its monsters, and the violent scenes are only implied), this is a charming and wholly affectionate recounting of the popular classic. Those who missed the TV airing might like to know it's now available on DVD.

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    Casino royale 2006 Review and Opinion

    Casino Royale (2006)
    Director: Martin Campbell

    review by Joshua Rainbird

    Casino Royale is Daniel Craig's first outing as 007 and, whilst it retains Dame Judi Dench as the formidable M, it should be considered as a back-to-basics reboot of the whole series. Many of the trademark features are here: stylish locations, beautiful women, ugly villains and fast cars. However, when I was told that Craig was not a 'gadget Bond' I hoped that he would be cast as a spy who thinks on his feet and fights with his fists. I was not disappointed. Craig has managed to shrug off the need for gimmicks in favour of brute strength, but I might hasten to add, not ignorance. He's an ambitious, and sometimes clumsy assassin, quite unlike previous portrayals, with maybe the exception of From Russia With Love. Therefore a quick note of caution: the death and torture scenes in this movie are bloody and realistic, a welcome departure from the tired-looking fantasy-fests of Moonraker and Die Another Day. This is not a movie for younger audiences, it was wrong to certificate this as a 12A, it should be a 15!

    At the beginning we find a naïve spy struggling to earn his 007 status: two kills are needed. The first is messy and brutal, the second is a neater dispatch of the almost ubiquitous talkative villain, shot in an atmospheric monochrome that not only enables the viewer to assume it's a flashback but also seamlessly launches into a startling opening credit sequence. Like a brilliantly coloured Matisse-collage Bond stalks his victims through a kaleidoscope of animated assassinations which bears the typical excellence of previous Bond-movie opening titles, it perfectly unites with Chris Cornell's rock theme adding to this Bond's polished, not suave, hard talent.

    And Craig plays it with a lean and hungry look: a Bond whose shirts get bloodied and whose face gets cut. His solid physique is such that it can soak up the blows, you can believe this man's explosive strength could play the All Blacks' at their own game, and win, but even this is insufficient when faced by the dextrous free-running feats of Molakka, played by parkour founder Sebastien Foucan. This is by far the best part of the movie and even for hardened parkour fans the stunts are spectacular, even improving on the great HMS Belfast leap featured in Jump London. Furthermore, the scenes are aptly edited to create an action-packed story sequence, only mildly let-down by the ridiculous stunt extras who for some reason always want to intercept men with guns leaping around in dangerous places. Just get out of the way! So, with bulldog spirit we see Bond in hot pursuit, just falling short of the tic-tacs and cat-leaps needed to catch his quarry, until eventually he succumbs to hitching a lift instead because James Bond has always had more brains than brawn.

    But even here there are changes. This new Bond has a razor-sharp mind that can outwit an accountant, not with the predictable puns that dogged Roger Moore or Connery's salvos of regurgitated trivia, Craig has a better ace up his sleeve - he uses logical deduction, with detailed observations that would shame Sherlock Holmes. He can read the 'tells' whilst maintaining his poker face. However, this does not mean he is cold and cerebral, rather that the humour is more subtly placed: during a difficult dinner he is counter-analysed by the cerebrally waspish Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) and asked, "how was your lamb?" he replies quietly, "skewered, one sympathises." Transcending cheap gags doesn't mean you cannot flirt because the jokes are now his defence mechanism, weapons he uses to needle his torturers, and Craig delivers them with an almost pitiable audacity.

    So what is Bond's flaw? It was said that Pierce Brosnan gave the character an edge of vulnerability. Craig has refined this. Whereas Brosnan's Bond was an old warhorse not quite ready to be put out to pasture, Craig is a young stallion who favours seasoned mares. He professes to sleep only with married women presumably to avoid messy commitments, a choice no doubt the emotionally detached M will encourage. Yet that's not his flaw. For the man has insight and knows his limitations. He just chooses to stretch them in pursuit of his goals. So he is prepared to gamble if he's been dealt a good hand and has tallied the odds, and when he meets the frigid Vesper, and melts her ice, he's prepared to fold, sacrificing everything, even the 007 status he has struggled to secure. Craig is a Bond who tries to keep his head when all about are losing theirs and like his Vodka Martinis - often he's shaken and occasionally stirred! He's a spy who's prepared to risk all on the turn of a card and lose. After all, like all gamblers, he believes he can always win it back later.

    And so it is with the Bond franchise. They've shuffled the deck with Casino Royale and whilst the first two rounds were won, they tried to bluff their way through the latter half. On screen, trots a horse down a sun-kissed beach and the film takes a disappointing hiatus from which it never really recovers. The cinematography is as pretty as the girl with the all-too-familiar sweeping vistas of wealthy playgrounds in the sun but the formula shines through recreating already established routines. Craig emerges from the ocean in Ursula Andress' style and we are led through some clever, perhaps too clever, dialogue, ponderous love scenes, and introduced to arguably the dullest crime-boss, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), since Aris Kristatos (Julian Glover) in For Your Eyes Only. Le Chiffre will only be remembered for his cliché villain's eye. Even Bond's heroic attempt to intercept a terrorist intent on destroying a plane seems pedestrian. I'm not saying that it isn't well thought out or cleverly executed but, except for the well-scripted torture scene, the latter half of the film was just a sum of all its standard parts, and it lacks gestalt - that unique Bond magic.

    The casino scenes are torturously long involving seemingly meaningless close-ups of poker faces that felt like the director was using them to kill time. Thankfully someone had the wisdom to call for a few action breaks in between. And now that the bit of flirting with the now vulnerable Vesper has ended, a laboured slush of implausible romance sets in like an unshakeable loser's streak. Cue noble virtues and ignoble passions and one too many twists in the plot. "You don't trust anyone, do you Bond," says M hoping he has learnt his lesson, wouldn't it be better if he hasn't? And then it strolls towards a disappointing grand finale during which only the incongruously dramatic music carries any sense of tension as a small building collapses.

    Overall, Casino Royale is a film of two halves, where the former far outshines the latter. The character of the new Bond, which is fresh and original, is firmly established in this movie, however, one couldn't help feeling they didn't go all in. So they've pensioned off Q, bravo, not even John Cleese's feet were big enough to fill Desmond Llewellyn's shoes. And those dreadful puns after a person is killed always seemed crass, but there were more cards in that deal that needed burning. Maybe there are more aces up the Bond franchise's sleeve but I'd like to see them revealing their hand rather than calling my bluff.

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    District 13 Review and Opinion

    District 13 (2004)
    Director: Pierre Morel

    review by Joshua Rainbird

    District 13 (aka: Banlieue 13, District B13) is a welcome addition to the new breed of action films that uses real stunt-work rather than relying on computer generated graphics. Like in Ong-Bak, the actors perform the stunts, work out the action sequences and risk everything without the use of safety harnesses or wirework. Whilst these films have simple storylines, the camera work is snappy, with frame-changes quick enough to satisfy even the shortest attention spans of the MTV generations.

    Set in a walled-in suburban ghetto of a near-future Paris, District 13 has become a hell where the hospitals and schools have already closed down, and the police would love to withdraw from. Rival gangs in pimped-up motors speed through the empty streets. Guns are commonplace. Even the supermarché has sentries posted. Within this concrete jungle one apartment block stands clear of graffiti, the home of the ghetto's own Mr Clean - Leïto (David Belle), an urban gymnast who vaults across rooftops at breathtaking speed.

    However, Leïto has created a problem: in his eagerness to clean up the neighbourhood he has stolen a million euros worth of cocaine, and that's a lot of drugs to flush down the drain when a dozen hoods come asking for it back. Headed by man-mountain K2 (Tony D'Amario) the thugs quickly shoot a path to Leíto's door and then the action begins. Bullets spray as he flies through the door, leaping over banisters and tic-tacking off walls with economic precision, hotly pursued by the quickened hoods. The villains, after a desperate chase and a few broken ankles, soon find they are unable to catch him on foot. And no wonder, parkour is Belle's sport, he invented it and he has perfected it, but don't expect the fancy flips or somersaults that you'll find in YouTube videos as he leaps from tower-block to tower-block. His skill is clean and efficient, using seemingly effortless moves to achieve his near-superhuman feats, he's like Spider-Man without the webs, secret identity and safety features, it's death defying and real!

    But District 13 is a cruel world where honest people are twisted by state abandonment into games of survival. The police appease the gangs with uneasy truces that gnaw at their souls, justice needs resources as well as courage and both are scant within the ghetto. So, when the cocaine-driven crime-boss Taha (Larbi Naceri) acquires a neutron bomb, as easily as he kidnapped Leïto's sister Lola (Dany Verissimo), a special kind of detective is called in to retrieve it. Enter Captain Damien Tomaso (Cyril Raffaelli), a latter-day Fantômas, a doppelganger who assumes the identity of his recent victims with chameleon-ease. Once in, he can single-handedly clear out a casino full of gun-toting heavies with his bare fists, and a few well-placed slugs, when his sneaky tricks are outwitted. Yet this super-cop also has a trait that his superiors will exploit for their own ends - a middle-class education that has instilled in him an idealism alien to District 13. Damien values the republican tenets that built modern France, he is incorruptible. Therefore teaming him up with the passionate Leïto will bring its challenges as Mr Clean hates dirty tricks and is not afraid to kill cops in his passion. Can the two heroes forge a fraternity in a world where equality and liberty have been denied? It's an uneasy partnership.

    And this uncomfortable dichotomy permeates the filmmaking too. It struggles to create realism by portraying a world that is similar to our own. We have seen similar walls erected to control people - the Gaza Strip, and the townships of Soweto in apartheid South Africa. The characters are playing in-mate roles within a binary system, like subjects trapped in one of Irving Goffman's Asylums: Leïto and Lola don't want to give up their home they just want a better standard of living. This creates a plausible world that then nests a surreality of oversights. Within these walls, where are the women? There are hints of prostitutes, but apart from Lola and one of Leïto's briefly seen elderly neighbours, District 13 is a vacuum populated only by testosterone-pumped patriarchs. They were none in the gangs, none in the police, not even a gangster's moll.

    And the closer you look you see other dichotomies. The acting is patchy - Belle and Raffaelli were more wooden than the props they landed on, they would have been better suited as stunt-doubles rather than given starring roles, however, D'Amario just about convinced me as the formidable K2. Consider the action-choreography: ignoring the conveniently placed pipes, parkour is used with naturalistic effect, but the combat sequences seem over-rehearsed and delivered with rigid control. Then there is the borrowed plot: standard and linear, with no real surprises, except for the shock of Leïto's actions when locked in a cell. The characters, too: apart from Leïto whom some would label an antihero (I prefer anti-thug), were of singular dimension and seemed to be hired in from gangsters-'r'-us, and yet the script is slick and polished. Even the music has two qualities: on a portable TV it sounded like a tinny remix of Jean-Michel Jarre but with a surround-sound woofer it injects drum-and-bass action. Lastly, don't trust the dubbing unless you want a Hollywood B-movie, the subtitled police scenes have a subtle darkness!

    So overall District 13 is a bit like graffiti: over-designed, urban and edgy, colourful in places, and exciting when fresh. Whilst it's more than a tag saying, 'parkour was here!' the mural never quite covers the wall.

    Disc extras are where this Momentum DVD excels. In additional to the standard fare of outtakes, extended scene and trailers of new releases, there are some enjoyable extras that will complement a library of any free-running fan. Parkour vision - an interesting but unfortunately brief documentary about parkour and lapining narrated by notable Urban Freeflow regulars including Blue, EZ, Sticky and Bam. Nice displays of precision jumps and tic-tacs in both rural and urban settings. Best of all there is a documentary featuring Stephane Vigroux (Higher Ground), the injured free-runner who missed out on Jump London. In this, he talks about the early training with David Belle and Sebastien Foucan and the struggles he had not only with overcoming his ligament injury but the conflicts amongst the pioneering traceurs as parkour diversified. His main focus is on the tenacity and humility needed to maintain optimal physical condition. It shows him training Forrest in équilibre (balancing) and sâut de précision (precision jumps).

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    Star trek, 2009 Review and Opinion

    Star Trek (2009)
    Director: J.J. Abrams

    review by J.C. Hartley

    Re-launch, re-branding, franchise reboot, re-imagining, whatever, once they were called remakes but such are the negative connotations it would always have been necessary to coin a new term. And, creatively speaking, these are not remakes. Re-imaginings, I love the clumsiness of a term which I'm sure nobody uses, are nothing new. The Avengers (1998), the refashioning of the British TV series, was re-imagined with none of the wit of the original, only the chilly pairing of Fiennes and Thurman. Lost In Space (1998) was re-imagined with disturbingly pointy bosoms. Superman Returns had a nauseating messianic subtext. And, I'm sorry, but Casino Royale had some flabby writing, none of the wit of Peter Sellers' section of the 1967 version, and I actually preferred Quantum Of Solace.

    With a new generation, a charmingly retro Enterprise, and a host of other TV spin-offs, it was hard to see where a new Star Trek movie could go to reinvigorate a flagging series. The answer turned out to be back, back in time, only with a twist.

    Attending at a huge spatial disturbance the USS Kelvin is attacked by a Romulan vessel the Narada. The Romulan Captain Nero (Eric Bana, Hulk) kills the Kelvin's captain who has left his First Officer George Kirk in charge. Kirk successfully evacuates 800 personnel including his wife who is in labour with their child. Remaining on board the Kelvin to fight a rearguard action, Kirk hears the birth of his son who they name James Tiberius after his grandfathers.

    James Kirk (Chris Pine) develops into a self-destructive young man. Rescued from a bar brawl by an old friend of his father, Captain Pike, he is urged to join the Star Fleet Academy which he subsequently does. Facing a hearing in front of the entire Academy, accused of cheating in the geeky Kobayashi Maru test, Kirk first clashes with Spock (Zachary Quinto, Heroes) the half-human half-Vulcan programmer of the test. A resolution to the hearing is forestalled by a general mobilisation due to a distress call from the Vulcan home-world. Kirk is grounded but smuggled on board the Enterprise, a new flagship under the command of Captain Pike, by his friend Dr McCoy (Karl Urban, Chronicles Of Riddick). Also assigned to the Enterprise are Spock, and Uhura (Zoe Saldana, to be in James Cameron's Avatar and the adaptation of Andy Diggle's The Losers), a high-achieving communications officer whom Spock has mentored and Kirk fancies. An intervention by Kirk saves the Enterprise from destruction by the Romulans but they witness the destruction of Vulcan by the Narada. Pike is taken prisoner by Nero to obtain security codes to allow him to attack Earth, and, in a confrontation with Spock, Kirk is marooned on an ice planet where he meets two characters who are no strangers to fans of the series.

    In an interview in Empire, J.J. Abrams seemed to suggest he was not overly aware of the original series and not out to make a tribute, a suggestion that was either a piece of distraction, or open to misinterpretation, in that this new Star Trek is a remarkable tribute, a translation that is a work of some creativity in its own right. The references are subtle and telling. Captain Pike is of course the same Pike, as originally played by Jeffrey Hunter (Martin in John Ford's The Searchers), who starred in the original Star Trek pilot The Cage, later cannibalised for The Menagerie episode. Volunteering to attack the Romulans, having been trained in hand-to-hand combat, Sulu reveals to Kirk that his area of expertise is in fencing, surely a reference to his exploits in the TV episode The Naked Time. The planet where Kirk is marooned is Delta Vega which featured in Where No Man Has Gone Before. There are also references to The Wrath Of Khan, generally seen as the best early Star Trek movie, the Kobayashi Maru test originates there, and its unpleasant brain-nibbling parasitic cockroach crops up here.

    There are some admittedly dodgy bits. As soon as someone suggests a time-travel scenario to explain the Narada's presence everyone immediately accepts that as the correct explanation. Uhura boasts about her 'oral skills'. And the monsters of Delta Vega come across as a bit of CGI flimflam to open out the action.

    The cast are excellent, Quinto's Spock has received plaudits but Karl Urban's Dr McCoy is an uncanny impression of DeForrest Kelley from the original series. With all this ability on show it is easy to overlook Chris Pine who discovers likeable depths under Kirk's swagger, without ever needing to get his shirt ripped off. Simon Pegg is an admirable Scotty. The aliens in the Academy are introduced naturally without any of the look-what-we've-done-with-our-makeup-box gawping, apart from one of Kirk's girlfriends whose green flesh-tones go nicely with her underwear (She-Hulk adaptation anyone?).

    The film is pretty much non-stop action, which is essential, and a sequel is already planned. The Star Wars: A New Hope style well-done-everybody style ending is a bit corny, as is Spock talking to himself, but that doesn't go on too long. Thing is, like the Chinese meal of popular comedy, 20 minutes after you've seen this movie you're wondering where it went. There is, in retrospect, very little which is original and very little substance. The great Viv Stanshall deplored comedy impressionists, complaining that they only offered 'recognition' and much of the joy of this film comes with that. I am sure a new generation who know nothing about the old Star Trek will love this film, and rightly so, but having seen it and loved it I don't think they'll find much more to say about it. But, be assured, it's great and exciting and a splendid way of spending a couple of hours.

    Of course Nero's time-travelling has altered the fabric of time itself, and whatever the crew of the Enterprise, and everyone else, might have been, has also changed. So Spock gets the girl, and who knows where the sequel might boldly go in mangling the grammar of future reviews?

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    Birds of prey, danger girl Review and Opinion

    Birds Of Prey: Sensei & Student
    Gail Simone and Ed Benes
    DC Comics / Titan graphic novel £10.99

    Danger Girl: Odd Jobs
    J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell
    Wildstorm / Titan graphic collection £9.99

    reviews by Jeff Young

    The comicbook realm of female superheroes is, perhaps almost by definition, a world full of guilty pleasures. Here, tough but sexy girls with supremely implausible bodies in spayed-on or revealing costumes offer a mix of athleticism and sensuality that's clearly designed for maximum appeal to the hormone-charged fantasies of teenage boys, and both the scripts and artwork might walk the tightrope between ultra-feminism (as the super-powered ladies match up to the macho antics of their male counterparts) and unacceptable sleaze. After 1990s' variants such as the spiky Tank Girl and (in a different but parallel medium) the phenomenally successful Lara Croft, it seems as if a new trend for retro super-heroines has surfaced in recent years. However, the coverings may well prove to be deceptive as the packaged content delivers little that's prurient yet much that's satirical or ironic.

    Gail Simone's Birds Of Prey concerns itself with a group of female supporting characters from the milieu of Batman, but unlike the caped crusader, they are more concerned with international and global crises, rather than simple making the streets of Gotham safe from villainy. Barbara Gordon (the police commissioner's adopted daughter) was the original Batgirl until the Joker crippled her. Now, as Oracle, she's an online info-guru and adviser to a whole cadre of heroes. Black Canary was a member of the Justice League of America, and the 'sidekick' of bowman Green Arrow, until their broken relationship ended a long-term partnership. Helena Bertinelli is a mobster's daughter that survived a mafia massacre and became the vigilante Huntress, while both kung fu warrior-woman Lady Shiva and expert poisoner Cheshire are mercenary assassins, and only very reluctant allies of Orcale's crime fighting associates.

    As the book's title suggests, this story-arc begins in Hong Kong, where both Black Canary and Lady Shiva are visiting their aged martial arts' instructor on his deathbed. They discover their old sensei has been poisoned, and they suspect Cheshire was responsible. While they investigate further, and confront their teacher's killer, Oracle finds herself in trouble when her computer system is infected with a dissembling virus (which gives out disinformation, and results in embarrassing mistakes for Batman and - the new - Batgirl, who both unwittingly follow Oracle's tips), and the henchmen of a corrupt US senator kidnap her...

    With stylish art by Ed Benes, Michael Golden, Joe Bennett, and Cliff Richards (no, another one, of course!), Birds Of Prey serial looks fabulous. Strong colouring add to the impact of dynamic fights and the rapid pace of development in the main storyline ensures that flashbacks and quirky comic asides never let out interest in the characters' moral and ethical conflicts falter. A grim nightmare of a prophetic dream sequence for Black Canary, and the climactic showdown between a scheming Cheshire and the vengeful Shiva, play out with abundant sensational thrills and are resolved most satisfactorily. It's also worth mentioning the epilogue, which features a guest appearance for Wonder Woman in a fitting, but nonetheless amusing, matriarchal role.

    In marked contrast to the, occasionally lurid, verisimilitude of Birds Of Prey, we have the droll babes of Danger Girl: Odd Jobs, which serves up campy fun and glamorous action with a couple of spy girls. Owing much to the kitsch appeal of Modesty Blaise (and not forgetting The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.), some of this the material resembles a PG-certificate, comicstrip version (sans nudity) of an Andy Sidaris adventure movie. The blonde and brunette heroines, Sydney Savage and Abbey Chase, are joined by feisty but often inept teenage office-assistant, Valerie, a cute redhead who dreams of becoming a 'Danger Girl' - with numerous guises (an obvious Lara Croft mode, in particular) in Delusions Of Grandeur.

    There is also a rather silly TV-episode style intro, Mod Bods, which showcases quaintly retro girlie variations of everything from Adam West-era Batman clichés to The Monkees' farcical sketches, for the quintessential action-girls getting a bimbo-makeover flavour, where bikinis and high heels are de rigueur for apprehending baddies. "Not the onslaught of cheesy one-liners!" exclaims the villain as he's kicked in the head by one of the sassy, yet overly talkative, heroine. Hawaiian Punch (which, uncannily, reads just like an un-filmed Sidaris script!) sees the Abbey and Syd averting a holocaust when nuclear submarines are hijacked, while Viva Las Danger concerns a magical Egyptian jewel and a sinister plot to attain immortality, and features distinctive painterly art by Phil Noto.

    Yes, of course, there are visits to casinos and Abbey and Syd get into disguise to join a scantily-clad chorus line, but there's also some wry amusement to be derived from the clowning of hapless 'danger man' Johnny Barracuda, the guy who thinks he's god-gift (singer, dancer, womaniser), when he's really a harmless jerk, and the heroines' dialogue is always entertaining despite all the archly-stereotypical main characters and frequently hackneyed plotting.

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    The Biggest Falls From Grace That Are Now Gaming History


    Top 10 Falls From Grace in Video Game History








    by
    Taneli Palola
    , posted on 12 July 2016 / 35,809 Views

    While I've been doing research for my History of Video Games series I've also had the chance to see the rise and fall of countless video game publishers, developers, franchises, and creators who at one point or another were at the top of the video game industry. They had the eyes of the industry on them looking to see what great things they would do next, only to fall flat on their faces trying to replicate former glory. It's often a fascinating journey to watch unfold, and today we're going to count down ten of the most memorable ones.


    Some of the entries below are certainly still around - some even have managed to find success after falling flat - but they are far from the heights that they once reached by creating some of the greatest games and platforms in video game history. Looking at critical reception, commercial success, and general perception by the public, the following ten entries are some of the most spectacular falls from grace in our industry.



    10. LucasArts



    Between 1987 and 1998 LucasArts created some of the greatest adventure games of all time, from Maniac Mansion in 1987 all the way to 1998's Grim Fandango. Following the release of these and other games (like Secret of Monkey Island, Sam & Max Hit the Road, and Full Throttle), LucasArts was arguably the best developer in the world when it came to adventure titles. However, after 1998 things began to change.


    Between 1998 and 2014 LucasArts developed 75 games for various platforms. Of those 75, 59 were based on Star Wars, and of the remaining 16 five were based on Indiana Jones. That's 64 out of 75 games. Not exactly a very good track record for a company that once developed some of the most imaginative original games of all time. Things got even worse when the company was acquired by Disney in 2012.



    In 2013 it was announced that LucasArts would cease all internal development of games, and became just a licensor for its existing properties. This meant that all of the games that were in development at the time were cancelled and around 150 employees were let go as a result. Today, less than 10 people remain within the company that was once among the best developers in the world.



    9. John Romero



    John Romero was at one point in the 90s quite possibly the most famous video game creator in the world. He was one of the main driving forces behind the popularization of first person shooters in the early 90s, thanks to his work on games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. He was the rock star of video game world at the time, and rode a wave of momentum generated by his role in producing some of the most influential games of all time into huge levels of hype and goodwill for his first game after leaving iD Software and founding Ion Storm.



    That game was Daikatana, one of the biggest commercial failures in video game history, and a product of an endless string of poor decisions that ultimately made Romero something of an unwanted developer in the industry. Since then he hasn't done much of note, although he is currently in the process of trying to get funding for a new FPS called Blacklight through Kickstarter.



    8. Silent Hill



    One of the greatest and most influential horror video game series ever created, Silent Hill has certainly seen better days. Starting in 1999 on the PS1 Silent Hill quickly earned both critical acclaim and commercial success which continued with both Silent Hill 2 and 3, with Silent Hill 4: The Room being in many ways the point at which the series lost its way. After this 4th game the series went on hiatus, and it was during this period that the series' original development team, known as Team Silent, was disbanded.


    By the time Silent Hill returned in 2007 the games were no longer being developed internally by Konami. Instead, they were contracted out to a number of different western studios. The results have been just as varied as you'd expect, with most new Silent Hill games being forgettable attempts at capturing the greatness of the earlier titles without really understanding what made them great in the first place.



    However, it seemed like the series might finally make a triumphant return when Konami released an interactive teaser titled P.T. This turned out to be for a new game called Silent Hills which was being developed by Kojima Productions as a collaboration between Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro. However, due to various issues between Konami and Kojima which eventually lead to the latter leaving the developer, the game was cancelled in 2015, leaving fans of the series to wonder what could have been.


    Since then the series has practically disappeared; Konami apparently has little-to-no interest in actually making video games anymore, let alone great ones. It's difficult to say if Silent Hill will ever return but, considering the current state of Konami, it's not going to happen anytime soon.



    7. Sega



    In the early 90s Sega was on, or near to being, top of the world. It was the only console manufacturer that was able to challenge Nintendo's home console dominance until Sony came along, it was responsible for one of the biggest video game series in the world at the time (its flagship Sonic series; more on that later), and its Sega Genesis/Mega Drive platform had just become (and still is, of course) the company's best-selling console of all time. Unfortunately for Sega it was all downhill from then on.


    The first warning signs actually emerged quite early on - in 1991 - when Sega released the Sega CD peripheral for the Genesis. Admittedly, it wasn't a complete disaster, as it did have its share of great games and the CD was quickly growing in popularity at the time, so there was a clear justification for its release. The 32X on the other hand had no such excuses when it came out in late 1994 with the intention of bridging the gap between the Genesis and Sega's next console, the Saturn.



    The problem here was that Saturn was already very close to release at the time (Saturn actually released before the 32X in Japan), so nobody cared about the 32X, making it a huge failure in just about every way. It had a very small software library and it cost more than the Genesis itself at that point in time. It was soon discontinued as focus turned to the Saturn. Unfortunately, the Saturn proved to be yet another misstep from Sega.


    Everything about the Saturn was marked by panic and fear on Sega's part. Sony had recently announced its entry into the console market with the PlayStation, and Sega was clearly worried about the impact it would have on its upcoming new console. As a result, at E3 1995, Sega announced that instead of releasing on the originally planned date in September that year, the console would be available immediately at select retailers. Sega wanted to capitalize on an early US release, but ended up upsetting a number of developers and retailers who were caught badly off-guard by the sudden announcement.


    As the Saturn's fortunes went from bad to worse over the next few years, Sega placed its hopes on the next home console - the Dreamcast. However, the company once again stumbled in how it handled the transition between the two consoles, basically abandoning the Saturn long before the Dreamcast had even been officially announced and leaking rumours concerning the Dreamcast to the public, effectively discouraging gamers from purchasing the Saturn.



    With the Dreamcast at least Sega finally did some things right, but it was seemingly far too late in the day. Despite a successful US launch and a great early (and legacy) reception, interest in the console quickly began to wane as Sony's PS2 neared release. Ultimately, Sega couldn't recover from a string of bad decisions between 1994 and 1998, and in 2001 it exited the console market and shifted exclusively to game development. Sega is still a successful company and has a number of great franchises under its wing, but it's hard to not see that as a major demotion from being the second biggest console manufacturer in the world.



    6. Konami



    Up until a few years ago Konami was a respected developer and publisher that was generally praised for the classic series it had been responsible for in years past and present, including Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania, Contra, and many others. In addition Konami was synonymous with one of the most well-known and beloved video game creators in the world - Hideo Kojima. And then the rumours of the company's internal implosion began to surface.


    The problems within Konami first came to light during the development of Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain. Reports stated that Hideo Kojima had been involved in a falling out with Konami, and soon all mention of Kojima was removed from the game's marketing. Eventually Kojima ended up leaving Konami for good - the rift between the famed developer and Konami management being irreconcilable - and since then the company has been repeatedly criticized for its treatment of employees.


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    After the release of MGSV Konami hasn't exactly treated its franchises with respect either, instead leveraging their name value as a means to sell pachinko machines. Konami has since more or less abandoned its traditional video game business, deciding instead to focus on mobile gaming. Meanwhile, most of the company's IPs are left to rot in a corner somewhere, brought out only when it requires an easily recognisable name to sell something with. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most well-known falls from grace in the industry in recent years.



    5. Sonic The Hedgehog



    Sonic has gone through more than a few rough periods over the last 20 years or so. From 1991 to 1994 the series was one of the biggest and most beloved video game franchises in the world, with numerous hugely popular and well received releases coming under its banners in a very short time span. Then Sega started to experiment with the series with games like Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic R, and in doing so discovered 3D, which has been employed with some extremely varied results in Sonic games.


    At first it seemed like the series would have a decently painless transition from 2D to 3D, with the two Sonic Adventure games being quite well received and providing a good foundation from which to improve upon. Unfortunately, everybody involved with the series seemed to have forgotten about the 'improve' part when games like Shadow The Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog (2006), and Sonic Unleashed began to come out. 


    The series had apparently finally found its footing when Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations received mostly positive reviews, giving people hope that maybe Sega did know what it was doing. Even after so many poor entries into the series Sonic games were still selling very well, with Generations moving over 4 million copies across all platforms. Of course, Sega then followed this up with Sonic: Lost World and then finally hit rock bottom with Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric.



    These last two releases seem to have finally been enough for even the most devoted fans of the series to give up hope, as neither game managed to reach 1 million copies sold. Sega itself has confirmed that Sonic Boom is the lowest selling game in franchise history. Basically, Sonic The Hedgehog has now reached its lowest point both commercially and critically in its 25 year history. Quite a sorry state of affairs for a game series that was once among the biggest in the world.



    4. Spyro The Dragon



    It's sad that I have to include Spyro the Dragon on this list, but there's no denying the fact that the series has fallen far since the PS1 era when it was one of the highest profile platforming franchises around. The first three games sold over 12 million copies combined, but then Insomniac Games left the series behind as it moved from the PS1 to the PS2. Of course, that wasn't the end for Spyro, although it probably should have been.


    Since then the series has bounced from publisher to publisher, until it eventually ended up in Activision's hands, where Spyro has become pretty much just a side character in the Skylanders series. The first Skylanders game at least still carried his name, but since then Spyro's been relegated to the supporting cast in a spin-off series to his own games. 


    As a side note, originally I also intended to include Crash Bandicoot on this list, but then Sony announced the remakes of the original trilogy at E3 this year, which at least makes it possible for the series to make a comeback at some point. Spyro, on the other hand, shows no signs of receiving such treatment.



    3. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater



    Remember when Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was still one of the biggest and most critically acclaimed series around? You know, about ten years ago or so. Funny how things change. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 on the PS1 is still one of the highest rated games of all time, while 2015's Pro Skater 5 is one of the lowest rated titles on every single platform it was available for.



    There really isn't much more to say about this one. The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series hasn't really been viewed as anything other than the butt of jokes for years now, not because it couldn't still be great, but simply due to a string of poor releases over the last ten years. Maybe one day someone will figure out how to make the series successful again, but I wouldn't hold my breath.



    2. Duke Nukem



    The more I think about it, the more I realize that in many ways the reputation Duke Nukem had as a great series was based almost entirely on a single game – Duke Nukem 3D. The first two games were 2D action platformers which helped popularize the genre on PC in the early 90s, but they were never going to be huge games. Duke Nukem 3D blew up and the series quickly gained incredible levels of popularity, but outside of a handful of spin-offs 3D Realms was never able to capitalize on its success.



    The development hell that took place during the creation of Duke Nukem Forever have been well documented, with a number of game engine changes pushing the release date back further and further until it became a meme before the term meme even took off. Until, against all odds, it was actually released in 2011, only to prove to be a dated relic of the late 90s without a clear identity of its own. It was trying to be too many things at once, taking inspiration from both the fast-paced shooters of the past while also striving for realism in some of its mechanics.


    It's now been five years since the last new release in the series, and while it's always possible for Duke to make a comeback it just feels like time has passed this series by. 



    1. Atari



    Once the biggest video game developers and console manufacturers in the world from the late 70s to the early 80s, Atari had the entire industry in the palm of its hand and controlled the vast majority of video game sales in North America with the Atari 2600. And then the mistakes began to pile up. The company's follow-up consoles - the 5200 in 1982 and the 7800 in 1986 - were failures both commercially and critically, especially in comparison to the 2600.


    The market itself was becoming oversaturated with horrible games, a situation Atari was in many ways responsible for. The firm tried to make a few comebacks over the next decade, most notably with the misguided Jaguar console, but it was never really able to get off the ground with any of them. Atari was then split into two soon after the 1983 video game market crash - into Atari Games, which lasted until 2003 under various owners until being dissolved by Midway Games, and Atari Corporation, which went defunct in 1996.



    The Atari that exists today is barely a shadow of its former self. The video game giant of years past is now just a name brand adopted by Infogrames in 2009 after it acquired the rights to all of Atari's assets. Since then Infogrames has published a handful of poorly received games based on old Atari properties and entered the social casino gaming industry.


    To make matters even more confusing, Atari SA is the parent company formerly known as infogrames, while Atari Inc is the video game developer owned by Atari SA. Furthermore, Atari Interactive is another subsidiary that acts as a publisher for the company's PC games. At least I think that's how it goes. Basically, the Atari(s) that is/are still around has/have very little to do with the Atari that was once at the top of the video game world. It's a disappointing end for a company as important to the development of the whole video game industry as Atari.



    Those are, in my opinion, the biggest and most notable falls from grace in the history of video games thus far. Naturally there are many more that have taken place over the last several decades, so if you think I missed any let me know in the comments. As always, thanks for reading.


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    5 Big Rumors About 'Grand Theft Auto 6'


    5 Rumours about Grand Theft Auto 6








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 23 April 2020 / 4,131 Views

    Come September it will have been seven long years since Grand Theft Auto V was released and for the game’s millions of fans worldwide the big question has been when will the next instalment be with us.

    Unfortunately, the answer is perhaps one that not even Rockstar Games can tell us just yet, but the best guess seems to be that it won’t be until 2021 at the earliest. The company is notoriously secretive about every aspect of its operations, but that hasn’t prevented the rumour mill from really getting into gear about various aspects of the game. So here, in no particular order (and with absolutely no guarantee that any will turn out to be true!), are five of the most often repeated ones which we picked up from gamesradar.com amongst other sources.



    One of the Main Protagonists will be Female

    In the past, the principal characters have been male, with women hardly getting a look-in. The shift to a female protagonist is a move that has been hinted at in the past by Rockstar. One thing’s for sure, though, they’ll hope it will avoid the controversy that the makers of Doctor Who stirred up when Jodie Whittaker was cast as the thirteenth Doctor, as reported on cheatsheet.com.


    The Casino Will be Bigger & Better Than Ever

    The opening of the Diamond Resort & Casino in July 2019 was acknowledged as a great addition, so it’s sure to be built upon. Perhaps the developers will even look at real online sites like www.bonus.ca where potential players can discover the best joining bonuses on offer and include these kinds of incentives at the Diamond. There may even be the possibility of more than one casino operating in GTA 6, to reflect the choice that players receive in the online world.



    We’re Headed South of the Border

    It’s thought that the hit Netflix show Narcos is proving to be a big influence on the storylines and that’s going to mean some of the action, at least, may be heading for Mexico. As a side-issue, this could also mean extensive use of subtitles.


    The Story is Going to be in Chapters

    From the narrative style of most Tarantino movies to a technique used in Red Dead Redemption 2, splitting the story into defined chapters is certainly a thing these days. So it’s a fair guess that this might also be under serious consideration.




    There Will be Separate Criminal & Law Enforcement Storylines

    Finally, word has got round that players will have the choice of following a life of crime in a sandbox-style empire building game or fighting on the side of law and order in a noirish thriller scenario. That may just tread on the toes of many who see it as forsaking GTA's traditional plotlines though.


     


     


    So these are the key five rumours identified to date, along with others like the possibility of VR or AR also playing a part. But we’ll just have to wait and see exactly what Rockstar have up their sleeves when it’s eventually revealed to us.


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    Intacto Review and Opinion

    Intacto (2002)
    Director: Roberto Fresnedillo

    review by Paul Higson

    My supernatural fascinations lie with the borderline, scientifically plausible and irrefutable, dreams, telepathy and coincidence. Some regard 'coincidence' as the little sister of luck, but the latter has always been seen as the more fantastical of the two despite the overly common yearning for it in the common individual. Both can have a positive and a negative value and when someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time it can be either a terrible coincidence or appalling luck but when the millions are won it is only luck that takes the credit. Coincidence has been the more fruitfully explored of the two in the moving image, particularly in Julio Medem's 1999 film, Lovers Of The Arctic Circle, and to successfully comedic value in the early 1980s' Channel 4 comedy series Chance In A Million, where high coincidence transformed it into the ultimate 'situation' comedy. Luck has been crying out for exploration but no one has had an idea as to how to play it. Roberto Fresnedillo's take, in his directorial debut, is to make a transferable commodity of that which is normally intangible and abstract, make of luck an item that can be bought, stolen or won.
       Like the impermeable Mr Willis of Unbreakable (2000), most of the participants in the ensuing gambling games become aware of their priceless or broken supernatural gifts following survival in extreme circumstances. They are unaware of, or unable to take, their luck seriously until the enormity of the situation makes one's fatefulness so obviously determinable from that of another person, the sole survivor of a plane crash, the only one escaping a genocidal spree alive or a nasty car crash with all their limbs intact. But 'intact' is a relative term. Fresnedillo conducts experiments with the kerygma. Let's assume it has a balance, proposes the director, can be turned inside out, how about that which was informative and presentable become ugly and confused. What happens to a person when they barter it, do they condemn themselves? Everyone is different, yet is unable to alter or be guarded against making certain decisions that will decide their fate ultimately. The director cleverly secludes details for later, cranks up the mystery that is not necessarily there, gently rocked is one in the casual pacing, hoodwinked by the obscurity of the played out details. And yet there is something missing overall.
       Federico (Eusebio Poncela), an earthquake miracle 30 years on, finds that his life as a luck thief for hire in a casino run by a holocaust survivor is becoming dull and unrewarding, even though he is the potential heir to the enterprise. He means to cut and run but Sam (Max Von Sydow), the casino owner and his mentor, a man with an octopus of a reach who has amassed a fortune away from the usual casino definition learns of the coming desertion and instead divests Federico of his own inner parcel of luck, leaving him a helpless, vengeful, selfish and cold creature, shopping for someone with a good quantity of luck to exploit as a stepping ladder back into a position wherein he can bring about the fall of the mighty Sam. The sole survivor of a plane crash, Tomas (Leonardo Sbaraglia) is obviously blessed with an above average quota of luck, even his girlfriend was allowed to miss the plane. Though the young man will be heavily compensated, there is evidence about his person that he is connected with a robbery, obviously there are different branches of luck, his had no interest in money and had refused to serve him up a winning lottery ticket. This is useful to Federico who helps him escape the hospital and leads him through a hidden world, a noir maze of weird gambling stages and black markets for fortune procurers, in backrooms, courtyards and deep forests that bring encounters with other dangerously charmed and often glum individuals, each port of call taking them a step closer to a final confrontation with Sam. With Tomas under his charge, Federico stumbles upon the precise circumstance that might totter the empire, as Tomas must 'gamble' his life in order to save his loved one, her lesser cache of positivism having fallen into Sam's hands following the deceitfulness of Federico who had employed it as a bargaining chip unbeknownst to the younger man.
       Also along for the ride is Alejandro, a retired bullfighter, played by Antonio Denchent, and Sara, a guilt-ridden, emotionally and physically scarred police detective. Both have substantial experience of the dark side of chance. The fact is that luck is never without a gloomy aspect, nobody can be untouched by it, those manufacturing and steering the course of their own luck must become cruel and monstrous in the process, though the film suggests that it is rarely done so by intention. Luck has become for them an essential element to their survival in the underworld that they have found themselves in. Those selling their luck are pathetic creatures committing a lazy suicide and those homing in on the magnetic dark core are just as self-destructive, unflinching in the face of the horrors around them.
       Where the film falls down is in the avoidance of any cinematic showiness, the sets are bare and unimaginatively dressed, little in the way of wished for Spanish colour, though there are those who would say neither is important if plot is fulfilling enough. The camerawork too is unobtrusive, again some might argue preferably so. Certainly, it all quickly lulls one into a relaxed mode paving the way for several effective shocks, but one can also become too relaxed during those spells. As well judged as the scripting is, it is too gently unexplained at times. The casino has no flourishes of its own, Sam's underground lair an inner sanctum of cold walls, the back rooms and cellars equally featureless and although an expensive painting is highlighted at one stage, the homes of the participants and the family are relatively bare of any realistically lived in quality (though admittedly they are a morbid bunch with no interest in anything but the ultimate gamble). As I say, much of it is deliberate in order to set the viewer up for the sudden and painful horrors, flesh snagged on barbwire, brains on a motorway and, the films centrepiece, a daring run though a forest, the participants blindfolded, their hands behind their back. During the forest challenge the camera cruises supremely, the editing importantly spot on, the audience gets nervous, gasps, jumps as the contestants collide with or become snagged on the trees, you have to leave your seat if you want to escape the tension, otherwise it will have you. That sequence alone makes the film worth every penny of catching it in a cinema, I can't vouchsafe it will have the same ability to jolt on the small screen where cowardly renters may well button pause and catch their breath after each nasty collision.
       Poncela boasts a disarming resemblance to Will Self that is awkward to overcome particularly when the character is so sullen of expression. Other trickery includes the desert location of the casino that would appear to actually have been filmed on the island of Lanzarote. To the critic who sang discrepancy and asked who was luckier, the youth who survived the crash or the girlfriend who missed the plane... wake up, fellow, anyone can miss a plane but how many can solo survive a crash with only scratches? It is a film that's stocked with sterling performances, a genuinely original fantasy take, a well-composed and delivered plot with rare, prized jolts. It is a work of great promise and it will be interesting to see were Fresnedillo goes from here and with what.

    Intacto Review and Opinion

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    Jack and the beanstalk Review and Opinion

    Jack And The Beanstalk: The Real Story (2001)
    Director: Brian Henson

    review by Donald Morefield

    The highlight of Britain's terrestrial TV viewing for Christmas 2003 was this wonderful updating of the fairy tale, offering an agreeably postmodernist and contemporised adaptation of the traditional story, while retaining all its best-loved elements. It opens in present day England, with the discovery of a gigantic humanoid skeleton (thought to be a dinosaur, at first) buried at the construction-digging site of a planned casino. The builders' boss unwillingly alerts the American corporate CEO Jack Robinson (Matthew Modine), a billionaire bachelor plagued by nightmares about a family curse suggesting he will die at age 40. What the troubled Jack doesn't know yet is that his right-hand man, company manager Siggy (Jon Voight, with a smirk and a funny pantomime accent), is privy to the Robinsons' darkest secrets - including a cruel betrayal, the theft of a unique fowl, and a cold-bloodied axe murder...
       Yes, it's the one about a desperate farmer's cow traded for a handful of beans, the magic goose that lays golden eggs, and the (supposedly) greedy giant who can "smell the blood of an Englishman." Here, though, the theft of the talking goose (and an animated harp) brings drought, poverty, and depression to the world above the clouds. While visiting the location of his stalled casino project, Jack finds himself being stalked by the mysterious Ondine (elfin yet intense Mia Sara, veteran of Ridley Scott's Legend, 1985) who turns out to be a messenger and guide from the fantastic realm in the sky. She knows more about Jack's ancestral lineage and relatives than he does, and she tricks him into accompanying her up the lofty tower of a newly grown, giant beanstalk, to face trial in the magic land where time passes more slowly than it does on Earth.
       As you'd expect, this glossy miniseries is a determinedly commercial project with the trappings of big star names in supporting roles - including Vanessa Redgrave playing Jack's aunt (actually a 400-year-old countess!), Daryl Hannah as the blue-skinned giantess Thespee, Richard Attenborough as Magog, ruler of the giant deities, plus some excellent CG visual effects realising the beanstalk and digital compositing for the creatures, landscapes and giants. It all moves along briskly enough, without surplus footage or story padding, and cleverly replays the essentials from different perspectives, showing both the giant and the original Jack in a differing light, both good and bad. The truth behind the fairy tale is revealed as morally complex, even as it advocates simplified answers to both the rural blight affecting the giants' fantasy world, and the problems of Jack's impending mortality and distinct lack of romance in his life.
       The happy ending is not quite as contrived or generically obvious as you may immediately suspect. And so, despite a few concessions to younger viewers (the storyline never dwells on its monsters, and the violent scenes are only implied), this is a charming and wholly affectionate recounting of the popular classic. Those who missed the TV airing might like to know it's now available on DVD.

    Jack and the beanstalk Review and Opinion

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    Casino royale 2006 Review and Opinion

    Casino Royale (2006)
    Director: Martin Campbell

    review by Joshua Rainbird

    Casino Royale is Daniel Craig's first outing as 007 and, whilst it retains Dame Judi Dench as the formidable M, it should be considered as a back-to-basics reboot of the whole series. Many of the trademark features are here: stylish locations, beautiful women, ugly villains and fast cars. However, when I was told that Craig was not a 'gadget Bond' I hoped that he would be cast as a spy who thinks on his feet and fights with his fists. I was not disappointed. Craig has managed to shrug off the need for gimmicks in favour of brute strength, but I might hasten to add, not ignorance. He's an ambitious, and sometimes clumsy assassin, quite unlike previous portrayals, with maybe the exception of From Russia With Love. Therefore a quick note of caution: the death and torture scenes in this movie are bloody and realistic, a welcome departure from the tired-looking fantasy-fests of Moonraker and Die Another Day. This is not a movie for younger audiences, it was wrong to certificate this as a 12A, it should be a 15!

    At the beginning we find a naïve spy struggling to earn his 007 status: two kills are needed. The first is messy and brutal, the second is a neater dispatch of the almost ubiquitous talkative villain, shot in an atmospheric monochrome that not only enables the viewer to assume it's a flashback but also seamlessly launches into a startling opening credit sequence. Like a brilliantly coloured Matisse-collage Bond stalks his victims through a kaleidoscope of animated assassinations which bears the typical excellence of previous Bond-movie opening titles, it perfectly unites with Chris Cornell's rock theme adding to this Bond's polished, not suave, hard talent.

    And Craig plays it with a lean and hungry look: a Bond whose shirts get bloodied and whose face gets cut. His solid physique is such that it can soak up the blows, you can believe this man's explosive strength could play the All Blacks' at their own game, and win, but even this is insufficient when faced by the dextrous free-running feats of Molakka, played by parkour founder Sebastien Foucan. This is by far the best part of the movie and even for hardened parkour fans the stunts are spectacular, even improving on the great HMS Belfast leap featured in Jump London. Furthermore, the scenes are aptly edited to create an action-packed story sequence, only mildly let-down by the ridiculous stunt extras who for some reason always want to intercept men with guns leaping around in dangerous places. Just get out of the way! So, with bulldog spirit we see Bond in hot pursuit, just falling short of the tic-tacs and cat-leaps needed to catch his quarry, until eventually he succumbs to hitching a lift instead because James Bond has always had more brains than brawn.

    But even here there are changes. This new Bond has a razor-sharp mind that can outwit an accountant, not with the predictable puns that dogged Roger Moore or Connery's salvos of regurgitated trivia, Craig has a better ace up his sleeve - he uses logical deduction, with detailed observations that would shame Sherlock Holmes. He can read the 'tells' whilst maintaining his poker face. However, this does not mean he is cold and cerebral, rather that the humour is more subtly placed: during a difficult dinner he is counter-analysed by the cerebrally waspish Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) and asked, "how was your lamb?" he replies quietly, "skewered, one sympathises." Transcending cheap gags doesn't mean you cannot flirt because the jokes are now his defence mechanism, weapons he uses to needle his torturers, and Craig delivers them with an almost pitiable audacity.

    So what is Bond's flaw? It was said that Pierce Brosnan gave the character an edge of vulnerability. Craig has refined this. Whereas Brosnan's Bond was an old warhorse not quite ready to be put out to pasture, Craig is a young stallion who favours seasoned mares. He professes to sleep only with married women presumably to avoid messy commitments, a choice no doubt the emotionally detached M will encourage. Yet that's not his flaw. For the man has insight and knows his limitations. He just chooses to stretch them in pursuit of his goals. So he is prepared to gamble if he's been dealt a good hand and has tallied the odds, and when he meets the frigid Vesper, and melts her ice, he's prepared to fold, sacrificing everything, even the 007 status he has struggled to secure. Craig is a Bond who tries to keep his head when all about are losing theirs and like his Vodka Martinis - often he's shaken and occasionally stirred! He's a spy who's prepared to risk all on the turn of a card and lose. After all, like all gamblers, he believes he can always win it back later.

    And so it is with the Bond franchise. They've shuffled the deck with Casino Royale and whilst the first two rounds were won, they tried to bluff their way through the latter half. On screen, trots a horse down a sun-kissed beach and the film takes a disappointing hiatus from which it never really recovers. The cinematography is as pretty as the girl with the all-too-familiar sweeping vistas of wealthy playgrounds in the sun but the formula shines through recreating already established routines. Craig emerges from the ocean in Ursula Andress' style and we are led through some clever, perhaps too clever, dialogue, ponderous love scenes, and introduced to arguably the dullest crime-boss, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), since Aris Kristatos (Julian Glover) in For Your Eyes Only. Le Chiffre will only be remembered for his cliché villain's eye. Even Bond's heroic attempt to intercept a terrorist intent on destroying a plane seems pedestrian. I'm not saying that it isn't well thought out or cleverly executed but, except for the well-scripted torture scene, the latter half of the film was just a sum of all its standard parts, and it lacks gestalt - that unique Bond magic.

    The casino scenes are torturously long involving seemingly meaningless close-ups of poker faces that felt like the director was using them to kill time. Thankfully someone had the wisdom to call for a few action breaks in between. And now that the bit of flirting with the now vulnerable Vesper has ended, a laboured slush of implausible romance sets in like an unshakeable loser's streak. Cue noble virtues and ignoble passions and one too many twists in the plot. "You don't trust anyone, do you Bond," says M hoping he has learnt his lesson, wouldn't it be better if he hasn't? And then it strolls towards a disappointing grand finale during which only the incongruously dramatic music carries any sense of tension as a small building collapses.

    Overall, Casino Royale is a film of two halves, where the former far outshines the latter. The character of the new Bond, which is fresh and original, is firmly established in this movie, however, one couldn't help feeling they didn't go all in. So they've pensioned off Q, bravo, not even John Cleese's feet were big enough to fill Desmond Llewellyn's shoes. And those dreadful puns after a person is killed always seemed crass, but there were more cards in that deal that needed burning. Maybe there are more aces up the Bond franchise's sleeve but I'd like to see them revealing their hand rather than calling my bluff.

    Casino royale 2006 Review and Opinion

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    District 13 Review and Opinion

    District 13 (2004)
    Director: Pierre Morel

    review by Joshua Rainbird

    District 13 (aka: Banlieue 13, District B13) is a welcome addition to the new breed of action films that uses real stunt-work rather than relying on computer generated graphics. Like in Ong-Bak, the actors perform the stunts, work out the action sequences and risk everything without the use of safety harnesses or wirework. Whilst these films have simple storylines, the camera work is snappy, with frame-changes quick enough to satisfy even the shortest attention spans of the MTV generations.

    Set in a walled-in suburban ghetto of a near-future Paris, District 13 has become a hell where the hospitals and schools have already closed down, and the police would love to withdraw from. Rival gangs in pimped-up motors speed through the empty streets. Guns are commonplace. Even the supermarché has sentries posted. Within this concrete jungle one apartment block stands clear of graffiti, the home of the ghetto's own Mr Clean - Leïto (David Belle), an urban gymnast who vaults across rooftops at breathtaking speed.

    However, Leïto has created a problem: in his eagerness to clean up the neighbourhood he has stolen a million euros worth of cocaine, and that's a lot of drugs to flush down the drain when a dozen hoods come asking for it back. Headed by man-mountain K2 (Tony D'Amario) the thugs quickly shoot a path to Leíto's door and then the action begins. Bullets spray as he flies through the door, leaping over banisters and tic-tacking off walls with economic precision, hotly pursued by the quickened hoods. The villains, after a desperate chase and a few broken ankles, soon find they are unable to catch him on foot. And no wonder, parkour is Belle's sport, he invented it and he has perfected it, but don't expect the fancy flips or somersaults that you'll find in YouTube videos as he leaps from tower-block to tower-block. His skill is clean and efficient, using seemingly effortless moves to achieve his near-superhuman feats, he's like Spider-Man without the webs, secret identity and safety features, it's death defying and real!

    But District 13 is a cruel world where honest people are twisted by state abandonment into games of survival. The police appease the gangs with uneasy truces that gnaw at their souls, justice needs resources as well as courage and both are scant within the ghetto. So, when the cocaine-driven crime-boss Taha (Larbi Naceri) acquires a neutron bomb, as easily as he kidnapped Leïto's sister Lola (Dany Verissimo), a special kind of detective is called in to retrieve it. Enter Captain Damien Tomaso (Cyril Raffaelli), a latter-day Fantômas, a doppelganger who assumes the identity of his recent victims with chameleon-ease. Once in, he can single-handedly clear out a casino full of gun-toting heavies with his bare fists, and a few well-placed slugs, when his sneaky tricks are outwitted. Yet this super-cop also has a trait that his superiors will exploit for their own ends - a middle-class education that has instilled in him an idealism alien to District 13. Damien values the republican tenets that built modern France, he is incorruptible. Therefore teaming him up with the passionate Leïto will bring its challenges as Mr Clean hates dirty tricks and is not afraid to kill cops in his passion. Can the two heroes forge a fraternity in a world where equality and liberty have been denied? It's an uneasy partnership.

    And this uncomfortable dichotomy permeates the filmmaking too. It struggles to create realism by portraying a world that is similar to our own. We have seen similar walls erected to control people - the Gaza Strip, and the townships of Soweto in apartheid South Africa. The characters are playing in-mate roles within a binary system, like subjects trapped in one of Irving Goffman's Asylums: Leïto and Lola don't want to give up their home they just want a better standard of living. This creates a plausible world that then nests a surreality of oversights. Within these walls, where are the women? There are hints of prostitutes, but apart from Lola and one of Leïto's briefly seen elderly neighbours, District 13 is a vacuum populated only by testosterone-pumped patriarchs. They were none in the gangs, none in the police, not even a gangster's moll.

    And the closer you look you see other dichotomies. The acting is patchy - Belle and Raffaelli were more wooden than the props they landed on, they would have been better suited as stunt-doubles rather than given starring roles, however, D'Amario just about convinced me as the formidable K2. Consider the action-choreography: ignoring the conveniently placed pipes, parkour is used with naturalistic effect, but the combat sequences seem over-rehearsed and delivered with rigid control. Then there is the borrowed plot: standard and linear, with no real surprises, except for the shock of Leïto's actions when locked in a cell. The characters, too: apart from Leïto whom some would label an antihero (I prefer anti-thug), were of singular dimension and seemed to be hired in from gangsters-'r'-us, and yet the script is slick and polished. Even the music has two qualities: on a portable TV it sounded like a tinny remix of Jean-Michel Jarre but with a surround-sound woofer it injects drum-and-bass action. Lastly, don't trust the dubbing unless you want a Hollywood B-movie, the subtitled police scenes have a subtle darkness!

    So overall District 13 is a bit like graffiti: over-designed, urban and edgy, colourful in places, and exciting when fresh. Whilst it's more than a tag saying, 'parkour was here!' the mural never quite covers the wall.

    Disc extras are where this Momentum DVD excels. In additional to the standard fare of outtakes, extended scene and trailers of new releases, there are some enjoyable extras that will complement a library of any free-running fan. Parkour vision - an interesting but unfortunately brief documentary about parkour and lapining narrated by notable Urban Freeflow regulars including Blue, EZ, Sticky and Bam. Nice displays of precision jumps and tic-tacs in both rural and urban settings. Best of all there is a documentary featuring Stephane Vigroux (Higher Ground), the injured free-runner who missed out on Jump London. In this, he talks about the early training with David Belle and Sebastien Foucan and the struggles he had not only with overcoming his ligament injury but the conflicts amongst the pioneering traceurs as parkour diversified. His main focus is on the tenacity and humility needed to maintain optimal physical condition. It shows him training Forrest in équilibre (balancing) and sâut de précision (precision jumps).

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    Star trek, 2009 Review and Opinion

    Star Trek (2009)
    Director: J.J. Abrams

    review by J.C. Hartley

    Re-launch, re-branding, franchise reboot, re-imagining, whatever, once they were called remakes but such are the negative connotations it would always have been necessary to coin a new term. And, creatively speaking, these are not remakes. Re-imaginings, I love the clumsiness of a term which I'm sure nobody uses, are nothing new. The Avengers (1998), the refashioning of the British TV series, was re-imagined with none of the wit of the original, only the chilly pairing of Fiennes and Thurman. Lost In Space (1998) was re-imagined with disturbingly pointy bosoms. Superman Returns had a nauseating messianic subtext. And, I'm sorry, but Casino Royale had some flabby writing, none of the wit of Peter Sellers' section of the 1967 version, and I actually preferred Quantum Of Solace.

    With a new generation, a charmingly retro Enterprise, and a host of other TV spin-offs, it was hard to see where a new Star Trek movie could go to reinvigorate a flagging series. The answer turned out to be back, back in time, only with a twist.

    Attending at a huge spatial disturbance the USS Kelvin is attacked by a Romulan vessel the Narada. The Romulan Captain Nero (Eric Bana, Hulk) kills the Kelvin's captain who has left his First Officer George Kirk in charge. Kirk successfully evacuates 800 personnel including his wife who is in labour with their child. Remaining on board the Kelvin to fight a rearguard action, Kirk hears the birth of his son who they name James Tiberius after his grandfathers.

    James Kirk (Chris Pine) develops into a self-destructive young man. Rescued from a bar brawl by an old friend of his father, Captain Pike, he is urged to join the Star Fleet Academy which he subsequently does. Facing a hearing in front of the entire Academy, accused of cheating in the geeky Kobayashi Maru test, Kirk first clashes with Spock (Zachary Quinto, Heroes) the half-human half-Vulcan programmer of the test. A resolution to the hearing is forestalled by a general mobilisation due to a distress call from the Vulcan home-world. Kirk is grounded but smuggled on board the Enterprise, a new flagship under the command of Captain Pike, by his friend Dr McCoy (Karl Urban, Chronicles Of Riddick). Also assigned to the Enterprise are Spock, and Uhura (Zoe Saldana, to be in James Cameron's Avatar and the adaptation of Andy Diggle's The Losers), a high-achieving communications officer whom Spock has mentored and Kirk fancies. An intervention by Kirk saves the Enterprise from destruction by the Romulans but they witness the destruction of Vulcan by the Narada. Pike is taken prisoner by Nero to obtain security codes to allow him to attack Earth, and, in a confrontation with Spock, Kirk is marooned on an ice planet where he meets two characters who are no strangers to fans of the series.

    In an interview in Empire, J.J. Abrams seemed to suggest he was not overly aware of the original series and not out to make a tribute, a suggestion that was either a piece of distraction, or open to misinterpretation, in that this new Star Trek is a remarkable tribute, a translation that is a work of some creativity in its own right. The references are subtle and telling. Captain Pike is of course the same Pike, as originally played by Jeffrey Hunter (Martin in John Ford's The Searchers), who starred in the original Star Trek pilot The Cage, later cannibalised for The Menagerie episode. Volunteering to attack the Romulans, having been trained in hand-to-hand combat, Sulu reveals to Kirk that his area of expertise is in fencing, surely a reference to his exploits in the TV episode The Naked Time. The planet where Kirk is marooned is Delta Vega which featured in Where No Man Has Gone Before. There are also references to The Wrath Of Khan, generally seen as the best early Star Trek movie, the Kobayashi Maru test originates there, and its unpleasant brain-nibbling parasitic cockroach crops up here.

    There are some admittedly dodgy bits. As soon as someone suggests a time-travel scenario to explain the Narada's presence everyone immediately accepts that as the correct explanation. Uhura boasts about her 'oral skills'. And the monsters of Delta Vega come across as a bit of CGI flimflam to open out the action.

    The cast are excellent, Quinto's Spock has received plaudits but Karl Urban's Dr McCoy is an uncanny impression of DeForrest Kelley from the original series. With all this ability on show it is easy to overlook Chris Pine who discovers likeable depths under Kirk's swagger, without ever needing to get his shirt ripped off. Simon Pegg is an admirable Scotty. The aliens in the Academy are introduced naturally without any of the look-what-we've-done-with-our-makeup-box gawping, apart from one of Kirk's girlfriends whose green flesh-tones go nicely with her underwear (She-Hulk adaptation anyone?).

    The film is pretty much non-stop action, which is essential, and a sequel is already planned. The Star Wars: A New Hope style well-done-everybody style ending is a bit corny, as is Spock talking to himself, but that doesn't go on too long. Thing is, like the Chinese meal of popular comedy, 20 minutes after you've seen this movie you're wondering where it went. There is, in retrospect, very little which is original and very little substance. The great Viv Stanshall deplored comedy impressionists, complaining that they only offered 'recognition' and much of the joy of this film comes with that. I am sure a new generation who know nothing about the old Star Trek will love this film, and rightly so, but having seen it and loved it I don't think they'll find much more to say about it. But, be assured, it's great and exciting and a splendid way of spending a couple of hours.

    Of course Nero's time-travelling has altered the fabric of time itself, and whatever the crew of the Enterprise, and everyone else, might have been, has also changed. So Spock gets the girl, and who knows where the sequel might boldly go in mangling the grammar of future reviews?

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    Birds of prey, danger girl Review and Opinion

    Birds Of Prey: Sensei & Student
    Gail Simone and Ed Benes
    DC Comics / Titan graphic novel £10.99

    Danger Girl: Odd Jobs
    J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell
    Wildstorm / Titan graphic collection £9.99

    reviews by Jeff Young

    The comicbook realm of female superheroes is, perhaps almost by definition, a world full of guilty pleasures. Here, tough but sexy girls with supremely implausible bodies in spayed-on or revealing costumes offer a mix of athleticism and sensuality that's clearly designed for maximum appeal to the hormone-charged fantasies of teenage boys, and both the scripts and artwork might walk the tightrope between ultra-feminism (as the super-powered ladies match up to the macho antics of their male counterparts) and unacceptable sleaze. After 1990s' variants such as the spiky Tank Girl and (in a different but parallel medium) the phenomenally successful Lara Croft, it seems as if a new trend for retro super-heroines has surfaced in recent years. However, the coverings may well prove to be deceptive as the packaged content delivers little that's prurient yet much that's satirical or ironic.

    Gail Simone's Birds Of Prey concerns itself with a group of female supporting characters from the milieu of Batman, but unlike the caped crusader, they are more concerned with international and global crises, rather than simple making the streets of Gotham safe from villainy. Barbara Gordon (the police commissioner's adopted daughter) was the original Batgirl until the Joker crippled her. Now, as Oracle, she's an online info-guru and adviser to a whole cadre of heroes. Black Canary was a member of the Justice League of America, and the 'sidekick' of bowman Green Arrow, until their broken relationship ended a long-term partnership. Helena Bertinelli is a mobster's daughter that survived a mafia massacre and became the vigilante Huntress, while both kung fu warrior-woman Lady Shiva and expert poisoner Cheshire are mercenary assassins, and only very reluctant allies of Orcale's crime fighting associates.

    As the book's title suggests, this story-arc begins in Hong Kong, where both Black Canary and Lady Shiva are visiting their aged martial arts' instructor on his deathbed. They discover their old sensei has been poisoned, and they suspect Cheshire was responsible. While they investigate further, and confront their teacher's killer, Oracle finds herself in trouble when her computer system is infected with a dissembling virus (which gives out disinformation, and results in embarrassing mistakes for Batman and - the new - Batgirl, who both unwittingly follow Oracle's tips), and the henchmen of a corrupt US senator kidnap her...

    With stylish art by Ed Benes, Michael Golden, Joe Bennett, and Cliff Richards (no, another one, of course!), Birds Of Prey serial looks fabulous. Strong colouring add to the impact of dynamic fights and the rapid pace of development in the main storyline ensures that flashbacks and quirky comic asides never let out interest in the characters' moral and ethical conflicts falter. A grim nightmare of a prophetic dream sequence for Black Canary, and the climactic showdown between a scheming Cheshire and the vengeful Shiva, play out with abundant sensational thrills and are resolved most satisfactorily. It's also worth mentioning the epilogue, which features a guest appearance for Wonder Woman in a fitting, but nonetheless amusing, matriarchal role.

    In marked contrast to the, occasionally lurid, verisimilitude of Birds Of Prey, we have the droll babes of Danger Girl: Odd Jobs, which serves up campy fun and glamorous action with a couple of spy girls. Owing much to the kitsch appeal of Modesty Blaise (and not forgetting The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.), some of this the material resembles a PG-certificate, comicstrip version (sans nudity) of an Andy Sidaris adventure movie. The blonde and brunette heroines, Sydney Savage and Abbey Chase, are joined by feisty but often inept teenage office-assistant, Valerie, a cute redhead who dreams of becoming a 'Danger Girl' - with numerous guises (an obvious Lara Croft mode, in particular) in Delusions Of Grandeur.

    There is also a rather silly TV-episode style intro, Mod Bods, which showcases quaintly retro girlie variations of everything from Adam West-era Batman clichés to The Monkees' farcical sketches, for the quintessential action-girls getting a bimbo-makeover flavour, where bikinis and high heels are de rigueur for apprehending baddies. "Not the onslaught of cheesy one-liners!" exclaims the villain as he's kicked in the head by one of the sassy, yet overly talkative, heroine. Hawaiian Punch (which, uncannily, reads just like an un-filmed Sidaris script!) sees the Abbey and Syd averting a holocaust when nuclear submarines are hijacked, while Viva Las Danger concerns a magical Egyptian jewel and a sinister plot to attain immortality, and features distinctive painterly art by Phil Noto.

    Yes, of course, there are visits to casinos and Abbey and Syd get into disguise to join a scantily-clad chorus line, but there's also some wry amusement to be derived from the clowning of hapless 'danger man' Johnny Barracuda, the guy who thinks he's god-gift (singer, dancer, womaniser), when he's really a harmless jerk, and the heroines' dialogue is always entertaining despite all the archly-stereotypical main characters and frequently hackneyed plotting.

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    The Biggest Falls From Grace That Are Now Gaming History


    Top 10 Falls From Grace in Video Game History








    by
    Taneli Palola
    , posted on 12 July 2016 / 35,809 Views

    While I've been doing research for my History of Video Games series I've also had the chance to see the rise and fall of countless video game publishers, developers, franchises, and creators who at one point or another were at the top of the video game industry. They had the eyes of the industry on them looking to see what great things they would do next, only to fall flat on their faces trying to replicate former glory. It's often a fascinating journey to watch unfold, and today we're going to count down ten of the most memorable ones.


    Some of the entries below are certainly still around - some even have managed to find success after falling flat - but they are far from the heights that they once reached by creating some of the greatest games and platforms in video game history. Looking at critical reception, commercial success, and general perception by the public, the following ten entries are some of the most spectacular falls from grace in our industry.



    10. LucasArts



    Between 1987 and 1998 LucasArts created some of the greatest adventure games of all time, from Maniac Mansion in 1987 all the way to 1998's Grim Fandango. Following the release of these and other games (like Secret of Monkey Island, Sam & Max Hit the Road, and Full Throttle), LucasArts was arguably the best developer in the world when it came to adventure titles. However, after 1998 things began to change.


    Between 1998 and 2014 LucasArts developed 75 games for various platforms. Of those 75, 59 were based on Star Wars, and of the remaining 16 five were based on Indiana Jones. That's 64 out of 75 games. Not exactly a very good track record for a company that once developed some of the most imaginative original games of all time. Things got even worse when the company was acquired by Disney in 2012.



    In 2013 it was announced that LucasArts would cease all internal development of games, and became just a licensor for its existing properties. This meant that all of the games that were in development at the time were cancelled and around 150 employees were let go as a result. Today, less than 10 people remain within the company that was once among the best developers in the world.



    9. John Romero



    John Romero was at one point in the 90s quite possibly the most famous video game creator in the world. He was one of the main driving forces behind the popularization of first person shooters in the early 90s, thanks to his work on games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. He was the rock star of video game world at the time, and rode a wave of momentum generated by his role in producing some of the most influential games of all time into huge levels of hype and goodwill for his first game after leaving iD Software and founding Ion Storm.



    That game was Daikatana, one of the biggest commercial failures in video game history, and a product of an endless string of poor decisions that ultimately made Romero something of an unwanted developer in the industry. Since then he hasn't done much of note, although he is currently in the process of trying to get funding for a new FPS called Blacklight through Kickstarter.



    8. Silent Hill



    One of the greatest and most influential horror video game series ever created, Silent Hill has certainly seen better days. Starting in 1999 on the PS1 Silent Hill quickly earned both critical acclaim and commercial success which continued with both Silent Hill 2 and 3, with Silent Hill 4: The Room being in many ways the point at which the series lost its way. After this 4th game the series went on hiatus, and it was during this period that the series' original development team, known as Team Silent, was disbanded.


    By the time Silent Hill returned in 2007 the games were no longer being developed internally by Konami. Instead, they were contracted out to a number of different western studios. The results have been just as varied as you'd expect, with most new Silent Hill games being forgettable attempts at capturing the greatness of the earlier titles without really understanding what made them great in the first place.



    However, it seemed like the series might finally make a triumphant return when Konami released an interactive teaser titled P.T. This turned out to be for a new game called Silent Hills which was being developed by Kojima Productions as a collaboration between Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro. However, due to various issues between Konami and Kojima which eventually lead to the latter leaving the developer, the game was cancelled in 2015, leaving fans of the series to wonder what could have been.


    Since then the series has practically disappeared; Konami apparently has little-to-no interest in actually making video games anymore, let alone great ones. It's difficult to say if Silent Hill will ever return but, considering the current state of Konami, it's not going to happen anytime soon.



    7. Sega



    In the early 90s Sega was on, or near to being, top of the world. It was the only console manufacturer that was able to challenge Nintendo's home console dominance until Sony came along, it was responsible for one of the biggest video game series in the world at the time (its flagship Sonic series; more on that later), and its Sega Genesis/Mega Drive platform had just become (and still is, of course) the company's best-selling console of all time. Unfortunately for Sega it was all downhill from then on.


    The first warning signs actually emerged quite early on - in 1991 - when Sega released the Sega CD peripheral for the Genesis. Admittedly, it wasn't a complete disaster, as it did have its share of great games and the CD was quickly growing in popularity at the time, so there was a clear justification for its release. The 32X on the other hand had no such excuses when it came out in late 1994 with the intention of bridging the gap between the Genesis and Sega's next console, the Saturn.



    The problem here was that Saturn was already very close to release at the time (Saturn actually released before the 32X in Japan), so nobody cared about the 32X, making it a huge failure in just about every way. It had a very small software library and it cost more than the Genesis itself at that point in time. It was soon discontinued as focus turned to the Saturn. Unfortunately, the Saturn proved to be yet another misstep from Sega.


    Everything about the Saturn was marked by panic and fear on Sega's part. Sony had recently announced its entry into the console market with the PlayStation, and Sega was clearly worried about the impact it would have on its upcoming new console. As a result, at E3 1995, Sega announced that instead of releasing on the originally planned date in September that year, the console would be available immediately at select retailers. Sega wanted to capitalize on an early US release, but ended up upsetting a number of developers and retailers who were caught badly off-guard by the sudden announcement.


    As the Saturn's fortunes went from bad to worse over the next few years, Sega placed its hopes on the next home console - the Dreamcast. However, the company once again stumbled in how it handled the transition between the two consoles, basically abandoning the Saturn long before the Dreamcast had even been officially announced and leaking rumours concerning the Dreamcast to the public, effectively discouraging gamers from purchasing the Saturn.



    With the Dreamcast at least Sega finally did some things right, but it was seemingly far too late in the day. Despite a successful US launch and a great early (and legacy) reception, interest in the console quickly began to wane as Sony's PS2 neared release. Ultimately, Sega couldn't recover from a string of bad decisions between 1994 and 1998, and in 2001 it exited the console market and shifted exclusively to game development. Sega is still a successful company and has a number of great franchises under its wing, but it's hard to not see that as a major demotion from being the second biggest console manufacturer in the world.



    6. Konami



    Up until a few years ago Konami was a respected developer and publisher that was generally praised for the classic series it had been responsible for in years past and present, including Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania, Contra, and many others. In addition Konami was synonymous with one of the most well-known and beloved video game creators in the world - Hideo Kojima. And then the rumours of the company's internal implosion began to surface.


    The problems within Konami first came to light during the development of Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain. Reports stated that Hideo Kojima had been involved in a falling out with Konami, and soon all mention of Kojima was removed from the game's marketing. Eventually Kojima ended up leaving Konami for good - the rift between the famed developer and Konami management being irreconcilable - and since then the company has been repeatedly criticized for its treatment of employees.


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    After the release of MGSV Konami hasn't exactly treated its franchises with respect either, instead leveraging their name value as a means to sell pachinko machines. Konami has since more or less abandoned its traditional video game business, deciding instead to focus on mobile gaming. Meanwhile, most of the company's IPs are left to rot in a corner somewhere, brought out only when it requires an easily recognisable name to sell something with. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most well-known falls from grace in the industry in recent years.



    5. Sonic The Hedgehog



    Sonic has gone through more than a few rough periods over the last 20 years or so. From 1991 to 1994 the series was one of the biggest and most beloved video game franchises in the world, with numerous hugely popular and well received releases coming under its banners in a very short time span. Then Sega started to experiment with the series with games like Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic R, and in doing so discovered 3D, which has been employed with some extremely varied results in Sonic games.


    At first it seemed like the series would have a decently painless transition from 2D to 3D, with the two Sonic Adventure games being quite well received and providing a good foundation from which to improve upon. Unfortunately, everybody involved with the series seemed to have forgotten about the 'improve' part when games like Shadow The Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog (2006), and Sonic Unleashed began to come out. 


    The series had apparently finally found its footing when Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations received mostly positive reviews, giving people hope that maybe Sega did know what it was doing. Even after so many poor entries into the series Sonic games were still selling very well, with Generations moving over 4 million copies across all platforms. Of course, Sega then followed this up with Sonic: Lost World and then finally hit rock bottom with Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric.



    These last two releases seem to have finally been enough for even the most devoted fans of the series to give up hope, as neither game managed to reach 1 million copies sold. Sega itself has confirmed that Sonic Boom is the lowest selling game in franchise history. Basically, Sonic The Hedgehog has now reached its lowest point both commercially and critically in its 25 year history. Quite a sorry state of affairs for a game series that was once among the biggest in the world.



    4. Spyro The Dragon



    It's sad that I have to include Spyro the Dragon on this list, but there's no denying the fact that the series has fallen far since the PS1 era when it was one of the highest profile platforming franchises around. The first three games sold over 12 million copies combined, but then Insomniac Games left the series behind as it moved from the PS1 to the PS2. Of course, that wasn't the end for Spyro, although it probably should have been.


    Since then the series has bounced from publisher to publisher, until it eventually ended up in Activision's hands, where Spyro has become pretty much just a side character in the Skylanders series. The first Skylanders game at least still carried his name, but since then Spyro's been relegated to the supporting cast in a spin-off series to his own games. 


    As a side note, originally I also intended to include Crash Bandicoot on this list, but then Sony announced the remakes of the original trilogy at E3 this year, which at least makes it possible for the series to make a comeback at some point. Spyro, on the other hand, shows no signs of receiving such treatment.



    3. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater



    Remember when Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was still one of the biggest and most critically acclaimed series around? You know, about ten years ago or so. Funny how things change. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 on the PS1 is still one of the highest rated games of all time, while 2015's Pro Skater 5 is one of the lowest rated titles on every single platform it was available for.



    There really isn't much more to say about this one. The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series hasn't really been viewed as anything other than the butt of jokes for years now, not because it couldn't still be great, but simply due to a string of poor releases over the last ten years. Maybe one day someone will figure out how to make the series successful again, but I wouldn't hold my breath.



    2. Duke Nukem



    The more I think about it, the more I realize that in many ways the reputation Duke Nukem had as a great series was based almost entirely on a single game – Duke Nukem 3D. The first two games were 2D action platformers which helped popularize the genre on PC in the early 90s, but they were never going to be huge games. Duke Nukem 3D blew up and the series quickly gained incredible levels of popularity, but outside of a handful of spin-offs 3D Realms was never able to capitalize on its success.



    The development hell that took place during the creation of Duke Nukem Forever have been well documented, with a number of game engine changes pushing the release date back further and further until it became a meme before the term meme even took off. Until, against all odds, it was actually released in 2011, only to prove to be a dated relic of the late 90s without a clear identity of its own. It was trying to be too many things at once, taking inspiration from both the fast-paced shooters of the past while also striving for realism in some of its mechanics.


    It's now been five years since the last new release in the series, and while it's always possible for Duke to make a comeback it just feels like time has passed this series by. 



    1. Atari



    Once the biggest video game developers and console manufacturers in the world from the late 70s to the early 80s, Atari had the entire industry in the palm of its hand and controlled the vast majority of video game sales in North America with the Atari 2600. And then the mistakes began to pile up. The company's follow-up consoles - the 5200 in 1982 and the 7800 in 1986 - were failures both commercially and critically, especially in comparison to the 2600.


    The market itself was becoming oversaturated with horrible games, a situation Atari was in many ways responsible for. The firm tried to make a few comebacks over the next decade, most notably with the misguided Jaguar console, but it was never really able to get off the ground with any of them. Atari was then split into two soon after the 1983 video game market crash - into Atari Games, which lasted until 2003 under various owners until being dissolved by Midway Games, and Atari Corporation, which went defunct in 1996.



    The Atari that exists today is barely a shadow of its former self. The video game giant of years past is now just a name brand adopted by Infogrames in 2009 after it acquired the rights to all of Atari's assets. Since then Infogrames has published a handful of poorly received games based on old Atari properties and entered the social casino gaming industry.


    To make matters even more confusing, Atari SA is the parent company formerly known as infogrames, while Atari Inc is the video game developer owned by Atari SA. Furthermore, Atari Interactive is another subsidiary that acts as a publisher for the company's PC games. At least I think that's how it goes. Basically, the Atari(s) that is/are still around has/have very little to do with the Atari that was once at the top of the video game world. It's a disappointing end for a company as important to the development of the whole video game industry as Atari.



    Those are, in my opinion, the biggest and most notable falls from grace in the history of video games thus far. Naturally there are many more that have taken place over the last several decades, so if you think I missed any let me know in the comments. As always, thanks for reading.


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    5 Big Rumors About 'Grand Theft Auto 6'


    5 Rumours about Grand Theft Auto 6








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 23 April 2020 / 4,131 Views

    Come September it will have been seven long years since Grand Theft Auto V was released and for the game’s millions of fans worldwide the big question has been when will the next instalment be with us.

    Unfortunately, the answer is perhaps one that not even Rockstar Games can tell us just yet, but the best guess seems to be that it won’t be until 2021 at the earliest. The company is notoriously secretive about every aspect of its operations, but that hasn’t prevented the rumour mill from really getting into gear about various aspects of the game. So here, in no particular order (and with absolutely no guarantee that any will turn out to be true!), are five of the most often repeated ones which we picked up from gamesradar.com amongst other sources.



    One of the Main Protagonists will be Female

    In the past, the principal characters have been male, with women hardly getting a look-in. The shift to a female protagonist is a move that has been hinted at in the past by Rockstar. One thing’s for sure, though, they’ll hope it will avoid the controversy that the makers of Doctor Who stirred up when Jodie Whittaker was cast as the thirteenth Doctor, as reported on cheatsheet.com.


    The Casino Will be Bigger & Better Than Ever

    The opening of the Diamond Resort & Casino in July 2019 was acknowledged as a great addition, so it’s sure to be built upon. Perhaps the developers will even look at real online sites like www.bonus.ca where potential players can discover the best joining bonuses on offer and include these kinds of incentives at the Diamond. There may even be the possibility of more than one casino operating in GTA 6, to reflect the choice that players receive in the online world.



    We’re Headed South of the Border

    It’s thought that the hit Netflix show Narcos is proving to be a big influence on the storylines and that’s going to mean some of the action, at least, may be heading for Mexico. As a side-issue, this could also mean extensive use of subtitles.


    The Story is Going to be in Chapters

    From the narrative style of most Tarantino movies to a technique used in Red Dead Redemption 2, splitting the story into defined chapters is certainly a thing these days. So it’s a fair guess that this might also be under serious consideration.




    There Will be Separate Criminal & Law Enforcement Storylines

    Finally, word has got round that players will have the choice of following a life of crime in a sandbox-style empire building game or fighting on the side of law and order in a noirish thriller scenario. That may just tread on the toes of many who see it as forsaking GTA's traditional plotlines though.


     


     


    So these are the key five rumours identified to date, along with others like the possibility of VR or AR also playing a part. But we’ll just have to wait and see exactly what Rockstar have up their sleeves when it’s eventually revealed to us.


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    The Real Reason Endless Games Are So Popular

    The dominance of video games in popular culture has been clearly established in the modern world. Now surpassing even the profit of the film box office, video games have solidified as one of the forms of entertainment perhaps most indicative of our technological age. Of these, there are some experiences which quickly burn out, only to fade from our memories.

    There are others, though, that stick with us, which offer seemingly endless entertainment, even when the systems themselves are apparently simple.

    Why are these neverending games so popular, and which examples best reflect the society of today?

    Many endless games find their inspiration in traditional forms of gaming. Cards, for example, can be used in a wide variety of games. Despite the relatively simple set of 52 classic playing cards from which we work, there are many players who derive near endless enjoyment from just one or two card game variants.
     

    The appeal is here is not an endlessly expansive world of opportunities, but rather a base system which engages us in a way we continually find enjoyable. Today, even in the age of complex online MMORPGs, these systems ultimately reign supreme. On certain sites, we can play live casino games online which offer similar systems in their variants of blackjack, baccarat and poker. We can also play games like gin rummy and hearts with friends or family, or even enjoy a game of solitaire by ourselves endlessly; such is that personal level of appeal.

    While this means that a high level of complexity is not at all a necessity for continued engagement, more complicated systems can be used to help bridge the gap between appealing base systems and fresh content. MMORPGs like World of Warcraft are a strong example of this, as a bridge between the appeal of old and the capabilities of new.

    The basic systems of Warcraft are one much like cards with added twists.

    Some people enjoy playing cards, whereas others prefer the cycle of hunting, leveling up, and tackling increasingly difficult challenges. In this way, the enjoyment from the base levels of these systems might not hold up on the same level as cards, but ever-developing additional content alleviates this issue. This means the limitations can be overcome, and the overall experience is that much more enjoyable for it.

    The other side of this is that there are components of both of these modern and traditional types of games which benefit from experience. For traditional games like cards, there is the skill part of the equation. A newer player and an experienced veteran might be playing on the same table, but a difference in experience means that they aren’t necessarily playing the same game.

    For the MMO example, this still exists, though it also offers the benefit of character building. With each hour spent within a virtual world, a player character can become more powerful, reflecting both the growth of the player and the total experience of a time spent adventuring.

    Endless experiences appeal to us because they represent our capacity as humans for infinite growth. Whether on a strictly skill-based level or holding a digital representation of this growth, endless games add another element to gaming which we value so much – that of progress.

     

    These Are the 5 Greatest VR Games We've Seen So Far


    The 5 Greatest VR Games So Far








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 03 August 2020 / 2,999 Views

    The following article was produced in cooperation with Peco Medija.


    Virtual reality is now a household name when it comes to entertainment technology. Tens of millions of households now own a VR headset. Sony alone had sold over 5 million of its PSVR headsets by the end of last year. The Oculus Rift and Valve Index are also frequently sold out, with news buyers being put on waiting lists.


    All of this might explain why Facebook bought over Oculus in 2014 and is also heavily investing in VR content studios. It means that virtual reality will soon become a truly mass market product. While much of the world is also trying to figure out tech trends like security and privacy as described here, VR is emerging as the forerunner in trends when it comes to entertainment. Oculus has even announced a second version of its highly popular Quest model.


    Microsoft, initially slow out of the starting blocks, now has something called Windows Mixed Reality, which is set to be the company's version of virtual reality. It means that multiple tech giants are now in the race for VR.


    But what are the possibilities of VR? What does one do with a VR headset? The biggest thing right now, of course, is gaming. There are dozens of VR games out there that can keep you hooked to your headset for hours, and below are some of the best ones.


      


    Half-Life: Alyx


    Half-Life: Alyx has been hailed by many as the best VR game to-date. It comes 13 years after the last Half-Life release, which was a smash hit and cult classic, and had fans clamouring after a new one for over a decade. Half-Life: Alyx sees not Gordon Freeman but his ally Alyx as the protagonist, with the player controlling her movements, right down to each individual finger. Just as in previous Half-Life games you can also throw objects at enemies, but this time using your own hands! Alyx is known to have sold out all of Valve's Index headsets within a span of two months and received rave reviews like this one.


     


    Beat Saber


    Beat Saber is one of the most popular VR games to be released so far and can be played by all ages, making it a great source of family entertainment. This rhythm game basically involves the player cutting blocks of music notes with a virtual saber, which is of course controlled by the VR controller, making you feel like a sort of musical samurai. Being an acclaimed rhythm title, the score is also incredible, and the developers have even released an album containing the game's music.


       


    Superhot VR


    Superhot - and now Superhot VR - is an extremely addictive time-bending FPS that began life as a browser-based game up until just a few years ago. The VR version is particularly immersive, with all of the first-person slow-motion dodging of projectiles and killing of enemies from the original release being heightened by VR. 


     


    Astro Bot Rescue Mission


    Astro Bot Rescue Mission is often credited with being PSVR's first must-have system seller. And you can see why. The cutesy platformer is the best rated PSVR game on OpenCritic, garnering universal critical acclaim for its innovative take on the platformer genre and polished execution throughout.


     


    Resident Evil VII: Biohazard


    Watch any scepticism as to whether a game released for multiple platforms without VR can really be anything special in VR wither away by playing Resident Evil VII using PSVR. Not only is the experience amplified in VR, it's arguably the best way to play the game. The gore and grime, the grotesque atmosphere of the mansion, and the jump scares and terror are all elevated to a whole other level in VR, making this a must-try for PSVR owners... providing you have the stomach for it.


     


    Some other very interesting VR games that didn't quite make the list if you're looking for additional suggestions: Asgard's Wrath, Rez Infinite, Polybius, Moss, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, and the really funny Trover Saves the Universe. Which games would make your own personal top 5 list? Let us know below.


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    How Minigames Get You Hooked on a Video Game


    A Game Within the Game: The Instant Appeal of Minigames








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 16 July 2020 / 2,498 Views

    The following article was produced in cooperation with MB Peco Medija.



    If there's one thing that the video game industry is constantly on the lookout for, it's more ways to engage players. With an amazing array of gaming titles released every year, competition is getting harder and developers are constantly improving their games. More detailed graphics, engaging gameplay, and added features like bonus playable characters or weapons are all part of the race – along with fun minigames hidden within the main game.


     
    The Purpose of Minigames


    When done right, minigames are one of the best ways to generate extra hype for a title. They're considered the perfect blend between an Easter egg and an extra game, which is usually received with excitement by players. It's also a chance for a studio to showcase the talent and skills of its developing team, as well as test run some elements they might be considering for separate release or heavier incorporation, especially within a multi-title gaming franchise.


    Most importantly, minigames offer an opportunity for gamers to unwind for a bit outside of the intensive struggle to meet the main game objectives. That's why they're usually a stark departure from the main gameplay and as a rule rely on widely established rules – more often based on puzzle logic, a popular sport like Super Mario Party’s mini baseball, or well-known card games. This approach is certainly not new; popular RPG minigames like Triple Triad, the 3x3 grid card game featured in Final Fantasy VIII that saw many fan-made variations, dates back to the 2000s.



    The Minigames That Made Us


    Perhaps the most well-known example of this kind of spin-off franchise that largely relies on minigames is the Mario Party series, which dates back to 1998, with the latest instalment Super Mario Party releasing in 2018 for Nintendo Switch. Able to be played by up to four players and including a 2 vs 2 and a 3 vs 1 mode, the Switch title is loaded with no less than 80 different minigames, including battle tanks and mini baseball. Banana Blitz is another beloved minigame compilation title, with the new revamped edition featuring 10 of the series' most popular ones, including Monkey Target and Whack-a-Mole.


    [embedded content]


    Pazaak, the card game featured in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, is another classic. A perfect blend between blackjack and deck building, it added an extra RPG spin to the gambling genre. In regular blackjack, you're allowed to hit for another card or stand when you're happy with your hand, in order not to bust by reaching more than 21 points. As explained by Betway, some variations allow the player to split when they're dealt two of the same card, to double their bets or place a sidebet on the dealer’s potential blackjack as insurance. Meanwhile, Pazaak, true to its deck-building origins, also added a side deck of special cards like Plus or Minus Cards and Flip Cards to make things more interesting.


     


    The Future of Minigames is Seamless


    Yet minigames are at their best when they can be seamlessly incorporated within the wider game narrative. It's no coincidence that some of the most popular representatives of the mini-genre are found in Red Dead Redemption 2. First released in 2018, the popularity of RDR2 shows no signs of decline. As Rockstar Games has announced, RDR2 sold a whopping 29 million units across the globe by the end of 2019, which rose from 26.5 million units sold in the previous quarter. By contrast, Rockstar Games’ most popular title, Grand Theft Auto V, sold 20 million units in 2019, to reach a total of 120 million since it was released in 2013.


    [embedded content]


    Among the many things that make RDR2 so popular is the fact that the four minigames it has incorporated stay true to its western theme. Any outlaw worth their salt will spend some time gambling at a saloon, and Arthur Morgan is no exception. Poker and blackjack – in their regular mode, unlike Pazaak – are a staple of the game, while you can also take your chances with Five Finger Fillet or go for something more relaxed and play dominoes with your buddies. The minigames in RDR2 signal the best way forward for the genre; they're based on well-known real games, tie in well to the main story, and offer some necessary respite from the violent Wild West open world of the game.


    These are necessary qualities for any minigame aimed at entertaining players without disrupting gameplay too much – so any developers out there, take note!


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    Best Casino Slots Inspired by Video Games


    Best Video Game Inspired Slots








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted 4 days ago / 3,245 Views

    Note that the following is a guest editorial.



    Video games have evolved tremendously over the last five decades. Today, some virtual reality games are so sophisticated that the experience is hard to distinguish from reality. In fact, the rate of development that video games have undergone can even make people like Elon Musk consider and debate whether life is a reality or simply a simulation.


    The popularity of video games in all their forms is so immense that these games have crossed over to a multitude of other entertainment industries. This includes the film industry, pop culture, and even the gambling industry. Plenty of video slots in both online casinos and land based casinos are based on video games and video game characters. In this article we'll take a look at a couple of the top online casino slots that are inspired by video games.



    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Slot


    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was in a league of its own in terms of popularity when it debuted on consoles and PC in 2007. So it was only a matter of time before an online casino game developer capitalized on the popularity of the game and developed a video slot themed around it. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Slot is brought to you by CryptoLogic (WagerLogic previously) and it certainly does justice to the video game.


    It's a 5 reel slot with 25 paylines and features a pretty impressive cash jackpot of $50,000. In terms of special features, you get all the standards like free spins, wilds, bonus rounds, scatter, and so on. Whether you like betting huge or playing with small stakes, this slot is well worth a spin since it offers a huge betting range between 0.05 and 10.00 coins.


    Want to give Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Slot a try? Check out GamblingMetropolis to find out which casinos you can play this game at and the best offers that you can take advantage of.



    Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Slot


    The origins of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider date back to the 1996 original by the game development company Core Design (which was owned by Eidos Interactive at that point). Lara Croft, the infamous British archeologist who travels around the world and wanders where no other human has set foot before to unearth lost ancient artifacts, was an instant hit and the game went on to become a major franchise with movies, novels, and more all being based around the character. More recently Lara returned to the video game spotlight thanks to Crystal Dynamics' acclaimed reboot.


    When it comes to the online casino industry, it was the online casino pioneers Microgaming that were the first to make a Lara Croft-themed video slot. This is a simple video slot with a couple of in-game bonuses like free spins rounds and the Tomb bonus round, which really keeps the experience exciting and adventurous.


    This video slot has 5 reels and 15 paylines. An RTP of 96.56% makes it pretty well-paying too. The max jackpot is 7,500 times your stake. The slot's features include wilds, scatter, auto play feature, and free spins. The important symbols to note are the Tomb Raider symbol (which is the wild) and the Lara Croft symbol (which is the scatter). The main bonus round is triggered when you land 3 or more of the Idol symbols.


    If you're looking to try the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Slot, we recommend you do so at an eCOGRA certified online casino.


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    15 Horrible Levels That Nearly Ruined Great Games

    For as fun as every game could be, there’s always one specific level or section that spoils your enjoyment. So while certain classics can be joyfully reminisced about, there’s always that one level (or two) that tilts you to this day. Let’s take a look at 15 such games that had these kinds levels.


    GoldenEye 007 – Protect Natalya


    goldeneye 007


    Escort missions are always a highway to misery but GoldenEye 007 made escorting Natalya resemble Bond’s legendary car roll in Casino Royale. First, if you get too far ahead – like in the Jungle – some random enemies might pick her off. She’s constantly in the line of your fire, which makes for accidental kills more often than you’d think. The least Rare could have done was make Natalya somewhat durable but alas, it didn’t.





     

    Why 'Super Mario Sunshine' Is Seriously Underrated

    Super Mario 3D All-Stars has been out for a few days, and reception has been warmly received all told. The compilation of Mario's most iconic 3D outings did come with its fair share of minor controversies, but on the whole it is a diehard Nintendo fan's dream of having the best platformers ever on a modern machine. Ever since its release, critics and Mario purists have been tauting the same line: If you ignore Super Mario Sunshine, you'll have a fun time with some of the plump plumber's greatest adventures. It's a stance I noticed a lot of fans have been drawn to, and honestly it makes me disappointed.

    Super Mario Sunshine might be the black sheep of the series, but there's a lot of underrated, even amazing elements that have improved the entire Mario franchise for the better, and I will help you see the bright summer sunlight as I break down why.



    Mario surrounded by ghostly manta rays leaving trails of electric slime
    Electric slime slathering ghost manta rays. I have no joke, that is bonkers.

    Wait, Super Mario Sunshine is Bad?

    First, it is odd that the community has come around to finding such contention with Super Mario Sunshine. It was critically acclaimed when it launched in 2002, sitting on an impressive 92 Metacritic score at the time. Reviews celebrated how the game built on the foundation of 3D-platforming goodness the groundbreaking Super Mario 64 established, some even declaring it a natural evolution of the red plumber's energetic jumping formula.


    One of the harshest reviews came from Game Critics, which balked at how it was just the same game from 1996 but prettier and with a gimmick. It is telling where the industry was at the time since the same review cited that critical acclaim from other outlets seemed to come more from nostalgia than objective quality, which can be healthily argued. The review also mentioned that the industry was at a turning point after the release of more mature titles like Grand Theft Auto III, which in 2020 feels delightfully quaint compared to where the industry and the medium is now.


    This isn't to discredit the critical voices of 2002 at all, it's just an observation that the zeitgeist at the time was pushing demands for innovation and prestige; the kind of climate that makes something like Super Mario Sunshine a testament to Nintendo both dancing to the beat of its own drum and confident in its own inherent quality. At the time, the greatest crime this game committed was just being more of the same with a few extra bells and whistles, destined to be a mere imitation of something better.


    And yet Super Mario Sunshine has returned on the Nintendo Switch with a visual touch-up, alongside the 1996 classic that introduced the world to the joy of moving in a 3D environment and the 2006 space adventure that propelled the series to dizzying new heights. What exactly is it about Super Mario Sunshine that has made it endure?



    Mario encountering a giant turtle using a yoshi egg for a shell
    Not exactly what I think of when someone says ninja turtle but here we are.

    Super Island Vacation

    The first thing that sticks out with Super Mario Sunshine is that it's the very first main title in the series to feature cutscenes; the very first honest attempt to tell a more in-depth story. The story in question: a simple vacation going horribly wrong. Mario, Princess Peach, and a few her loyal Toad servants arrive at the tropical paradise of Isle Delfino only to discover it covered in sticky tar-like slime. What's worse is the island's source of light and joy, the Shine Sprites, have vanished, and it appears whoever responsible has framed Mario as the culprit.


    After a surreal opening where our hero is put in jail—a ballsy move in retrospect for a company so defensive about their flagship mascot—he is charged with one of the stiffest sentences of community service ever. Mario must scour the island of this sludgy goop, retrieve the Shine Sprites, and catch the real perpetrator. Until he does, Mario is not allowed to leave Isle Delfino.


    Almost 20 years since the character came on the scene, this was the first major entry that didn't start out with the bog standard rescue mission to save the princess from Bowser. The key location isn't the fantastical Mushroom Kingdom but an island resort with its own local inhabitants and quirks. The different levels you explore aren't self-contained worlds of artistic whimsy but notable landmarks and tourist attractions that have real tangible presence and geography on the island. The central conflict is a bit of a mystery: who is the mysterious Shadow Mario that is committing slanderous vandalism against our beloved hero? Just on paper alone, this was a lot of experimental and bold moves Nintendo was making.



    Mario standing on a sandy beach with sunglasses on
    Insert "Deal With It" caption here.

    Send A FLUDD, Gonna Drown 'Em Out

    It's only when we get into the level design, structure, and pacing that some elephants in the room get addressed. In the case of Super Mario Sunshine, that elephant is a talking water pump. Within the first five minutes of the game, Mario gets FLUDD, a superpowered power hose that shoots water and can also convert into a jetpack. This is used to help fight back against the slime infesting the island and give Mario a bit more maneuverability with his distinct jumps.


    When it comes to why Super Mario Sunshine is so derided, FLUDD is the major target of scorn. Most critics claim that giving Mario a jetpack harms his platforming ability, this is the guy who is known for jumping after all. FLUDD was seen as a gimmick to make the game easier as well as pad things out with some light resource management: needing to refill the water tank every now and then.


    There were other elements that alienated fans of Mario 64 as well. The levels do a lot more handholding with more direct instructions like cutscenes and signposts. And for all of the game's cinematic trappings, the actual game starts to feel padded halfway through, with the actual finale being introduced then stretched out to cram in a few more levels and courses.



    Mario in a hotel surrounded by ghosts
    Wait, you wanted the other plumber with a gadget on his back? Well, work with what you have.

    What's So Great About Super Mario Sunshine?

    Now to actually qualify my statement about this game actually being great. Keeping the entire adventure to a tropical island resort meant that a lot of the challenges and boss battles Mario faced had to fit this specific framework, leading to some true outside-the-box level design. Highlights include a boss fight in a haunted casino where the key to winning involves using hot peppers and fruit, a sequence where you perform high-pressure water jet dentistry on a giant eel, and a showdown with a giant robot using a rollercoaster ride to your advantage. That kind of imaginative chaos just wouldn't have been possible without this aesthetic restriction.


    Better still is that very imagination is still grounded in Nintendo's iconic polish and movement fundamentals. Detractors of the game love to bring up the "secret" sequences, levels where Mario has to get to a goal without using FLUDD, as "the only good parts," but it shows just how firm a foundation the game has. For all of the pearl-clutching of FLUDD dumbing things down, it never takes anything away and adds greater appreciation for those areas where you need that extra boost.


    In its own coy way, the very trappings of the game suggests the appeal isn't necessarily challenge but the setting itself. Why would a place meant for relaxation have death traps to begin with? This becomes doubly apparent when you remember that Isle Delfino is a vacation resort, and the antagonist of the game is a little kid whose big plan amounts to getting Mario arrested and thrown in jail for large-scale vandalism. in terms of tone and pacing, this isn't the end of the world but a simple farcical odyssey.



    Mario facing a giant ghost on top of a large roulette wheel
    I got 500 coins on purple!

    Even the game's cinematic storytelling aspirations helped widen what a Mario story could be. If Super Mario Sunshine hadn't proved it was actually possible to thread a story between its levels, we may have been denied the moving children's storybook structure of the Star Festival and the introduction of Rosalina, a character with arguably the most tragic and beautiful origin story in the entire franchise, in the series' next installment, Super Mario Galaxy.


    In fact, this is not the first time Nintendo made a big change in this series. There was another time they had a Super Mario game that was a drastic change to their formula. It added in easier elements, unique worlds, locations, and characters never seen before. It was even derided for being too easy and straying too far from its core. That game was the international release of Super Mario Bros. 2. That game gave us playable Princess Peach, Shy Guys, and many more elements that have gone on to become staples.


    This gets to the heart of why Super Mario Sunshine is so divisive. When people demanded something more challenging and thoughtful, the game was content with just being lighthearted fun. When more critical voices demanded evolution and refinement, the developers experimented with jetpacks and a tropical island setting. It was one of those rare times where Nintendo decided to loosen their collective ties and get a little weird with their franchise, which has only made its odd design decisions stand out more among its peers.



    Mario on the back of a large bird made out of sand
    Trust me, without FLUDD this would have been absolutely impossible.

    But now with 14 years of perspective, a lot of those odd design decisions hold up. The more serene atmosphere and low-stakes scenario works in Super Mario Sunshine's favor, giving it its own identity when compared to its other entries. I am glad more players are able to experience it with fresh eyes outside of the tumult of its original release.


    Plus, it's the only game in the collection where Mario can wear a pair of sunglasses and ride a Yoshi, making it the best game in the collection bar none.


     

    Things Only True Fans Noticed In The Death Stranding Trailer

    Death Stranding has a real star-studded cast, with two actors in particular being notable for their involvement in one of the biggest and longest-running film franchises ever. We're speaking, of course, of Mads Mikkelsen and Léa Seydoux, both of whom have played characters in James Bond films



    Mikkelsen was the lead antagonist of 2006's Casino Royale, playing the sadistic mastermind known as Le Chiffre. With his eye that wept blood and his taste for torture, Le Chiffre as played by Mikkelsen is easily one of the most memorable villains in the franchise's history. Seydoux, on the other hand, notably played Madeleine Swann, daughter of international terrorist Mr. White, in 2015's Spectre. Madeleine was Bond's love interest in that film, eventually riding off into the sunset with him. Seydoux is currently attached to return to the role in the next movie, making her one of the few Bond girls to get a second appearance.


    Beyond this neat connection, it will be interesting to see if Mikkelsen and Seydoux take on similar roles in Death Stranding. Could Mikkelsen's Cliff pose a threat to Sam's mission (it seems so)? And where does Lea Seydoux's character, named Fragile, fit into all of this? It's no secret that Kojima is a huge fan of the 007 movies, so it would certainly make sense for him to take some inspiration from them — heck, we even see Lindsey Wagner's Amelie bleeding from the eyes, just like Le Chiffre.



















     

    Bad News Just Dropped For Fans Craving More Cuphead

    In September of 2017, Cuphead was initially released to PC and Xbox. The 1930s animation style, fast-paced gameplay, and extreme difficulty left fans captivated. The game left its mark on the community, taking home Best Art Direction, Best Independent Game, and Best Debut Indie at The Game Awards 2017. It has picked up many more awards throughout the past three years and eventually became playable on MacOs, Switch, and Playstation 4 as recently as July of this year.



    In 2018, developer Studio MDHR announced that DLC titled The Delicious Last Course was set to release in 2019. The studio decided they needed to push back that date, and in a new announcement trailer in 2019, said the game would be coming in 2020. Now it appears this was not the final delay.



    NEWS

    The official Studio MDHR Twitter account has announced that Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course will be delayed until next year. Here's their full statement:




    While the Delicious Last Course is a continuation of Cuphead and Mugman's grand adventure, it's also a conclusion to the story that began on that fateful day at The Devil's casino.



    In true Studio MDHR fashion, we aren't content for this final chapter to be anything less than our best work. Throughout development, we;ve challenged ourselves to put everything we learned from making Cuphead into the quality of The Delicious Last Course's animation, design, and music.



    Meeting this standard has been extremely challenging for us amid the global pandemic that has affected so many of our fellow developers. Rather than compromise on our vision in response to COVID, we've made the difficult decision to push back the release of The Delicious Last Course until we are confident it will delight the Cuphead community the way we feel it should.



    We know many of you have been waiting to return to the Inkwell Isles, and our goal is to make the trip back there next year a truly magical one.



    With warmest regards,



    Chad and Jared Moldenhauer




    The original tweet can be seen below:











    WHAT THIS MEANS

    This shouldn't come as a huge surprise to players, as we've seen multiple games now delayed due to the global pandemic. However, this is a huge letdown for so many people that fell in love with Cuphead and can't wait for more to be released. Unfortunately, a small, independent developer like MDHR doesn't have the backup funding to push out a game as easily as a Triple-A studio like Activision or EA. Even a larger developer like CD Projekt Red was forced to delay their release of Cyberpunk 2077 to December 13, 2020, because of the pandemic.



    Based on the announcement, it seems like they would rather take more time to ensure that the game is at the level that they want it to be, rather than release a subpar addition to what is already an award-winning title. If you're one of many who are highly anticipating this new addition, it would be best to stay patient. The studio seemed to avoid giving any details of when exactly it could come out, vaguely stating "next year." 



    So don't hold your breath, but take relief in the fact that MDHR are going to make sure this DLC meet the high standard of the original, whenever it is released. 


     

    The Most Stunning Japanese Games Coming To The PlayStation 5

    Whether you are a PlayStation or an Xbox fan, you need to see these fabulous Japanese games for the new console—PlayStation 5!

    Japan is not known only for its sophistication, technological superiority, and its robots. Since 1973, Japan entered the video game market; its impact was spotless over the industry. It introduced a large array of games, arcade games, racing games, and even online casino games Japan Conquered almost all genres in the early stages of video gaming.

    PlayStation 5 is available since November,12th (in some regions you might need to wait until November,17th) it’s released with a variety of games and PS5 exclusives! Among the myriad of games, 5 stunning Japanese games deserved their spots and attracted spotlights to them—stick to the end to see the future of the legendary series Resident Evil!

    Top 5 Upcoming Japanese Games for PS5

    Here are 5 flabbergasting Japanese games you should play on PS5 starting with:

    Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition

    The sixth installment in the Devil May Cry franchise, this is a PS5 expansion for the original game developed by Capcom.

    Its gameplay is similar to the other series, with an eminent concentration on fast paste duals. The fighting mechanics are dynamic and smooth, supported with a multitude of moves and finishers to make slaying demons much enjoyable!

    Ghostwire: Tokyo

    Do you like paranormal superpowers? Or you may like killing ghosts and hunting spirits? If you’re interested in both, lucky you! Ghostwire: Tokyo is a first-person perspective action-adventure game developed by Tango Gameworks.

    The game will be available worldwide in 2021; they did not give a defined date. However, it might be closer than we think.

    The plot of the game is interesting, abnormal entities known as Visitors (which are spirits) wreaked havoc in Tokyo, and your sole aim is to unveil this mystery—and kill them all of course!

    Demon’s Souls

    With its first edition published in 2009, Demon’s Souls is not new; however, the PS5 edition is stunning with buttery-smooth gameplay, which deserves a try.

    Demon’s Souls in an open-world action RPG game, and similarly to other RPG games it offers a multitude of character customization, a gigantic list of various craftables, quests, and way more things to discuss in one post! It is, by far, one of the best RPG games of all time. Pair this with an overpowered console such as the PlayStation 5, and you’ll witness a tremendous gaming experience.

    Final Fantasy XVI

    Final Fantasy XVI (or Final Fantasy 16) the sixteenth installment in the Final Fantasy series! It’s an upcoming RPG game, blended with never-ending action, for PlayStation 5.

    It is developed by Square Enix—a Japanese video game company— and produced by Naoki Yoshida, the director of Final Fantasy XIV.

    Until now, there is no predefined release date for Final Fantasy 16. However, many people and gaming communities are expecting to see it dropping into the market by the end of 2021, or at some point in 2022.

    Resident Evil 8: Village

    Resident Evil Village is the brand new installment in the Resident Evil series and the sequel of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. The game is developed by Capcom, which announced it at the PS5 reveal event in June 2020. The game should see the light in April 2021 if Capcom didn’t face any delays.

    This is the future of Resident Evil following the RS7 path it is also played in first-person perspective! After the major remakes for RS2 and RS3, which are still in third-person, apparently Capcom is changing its strategy and focusing more on first-person horror style.

    The game story is set a few years after Resident Evil 7 incidents, in a village in Europe.

     

    The Real Impact Next Gen Consoles May Have On Esports

    In November 2020, both Microsoft and Sony released their next-generation consoles. The PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X are striving to drive the gaming industry into a new, high-powered era. Regarding their specifications, both developments have taken significant strides forward, with each surpassing the potentials of an average PC. Although their respective hardware varies, there’s a widespread sense of anticipation that the PS5 and Series X will have a positive knock-on effect on the eSports market. So, let’s take a look at how vastly both consoles will alter competitive gaming.

    The Potential to Elevate the Industry

    Fundamentally, one of the most significant improvements that have come to fruition following the release of the PS5 and Series X relates to frame rate. By definition, the term refers to the speed at which images are consecutively displayed on a screen. Generally, the rate that delivers the highest-quality gaming visuals is 60 FPS. The PS4, however, didn’t have a defined frame rate, but many of the titles offered a stable performance at 30 FPS. In comparison, the PS5 is capable of delivering both 60 FPS and 120 FPS, which is a drastic improvement. The step up to 60 FPS will enhance smoothness and in-game inputs, meaning that controller actions will be more rapidly translated.

    [embedded content][embedded content]

    Crucially, this means that console-specific eSports are now better placed to battle the dominance of PCs in the competitive gaming sector. In recent years, some of the market’s most-played titles, such as Fortnite, have been playable at 60 FPS on desktops. As such, consoles no longer offer a less-developed aesthetic. Furthermore, this may also impact eSports-related sectors, such as competitive gaming betting. With gamers now able to enjoy modern-day titles to an equal standard, there’s scope for console eSports to reach new heights, and that includes attracting enhanced numbers of eSports bettors. As described by online casino and sports betting aggregator Legal Betting, prospective bettors can bet on an array of eSports markets, including first kill, map, match, and tournament winner, as well as handicap betting.

    Will Consoles Overtake PCs from an eSports Popularity Standpoint?

    As touched on above, PCs are currently the leading platform in relation to eSports participation. One of the primary factors behind the popularity of desktops relates to in-game accuracy. On consoles, gamers are limited to device-specific controllers. However, on PCs, variation is at the heart of desktop playability.

    Source: Unsplash

    As an article by Gamer Assault Weekly states that a mouse and keyboard setup is exponentially more accurate than alternative systems. For open-world shooters, this enhanced accuracy is a must-have for gamers. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has awarded the highest prize fund of any title in 2020 at around £6 million, and it’s predominantly played on PC. Fundamentally, this is because of the accuracy that competitive gamers can enjoy through mouse and keyboard controls.

    Furthermore, it’s also worth taking into consideration that sector’s most popular titles and their platform compatibility. Along with CS:GO, Dota 2 and League of Legends are also industry-leading games that are exclusive to PC. If next-gen consoles are to upset the market’s existing balance, then it’s essential that both the PS5 and Series X place eSports-friendly titles at the heart of future developments. However, it’s believed that gamers will have to wait until 2022 before they see next-gen-defining games on Sony’s latest release.

    Bringing Balance, but Can They Compete?

    Ultimately, there can be no doubt that the next-gen consoles add much-needed balance to the eSports industry. Concerning performance, particularly in relation to frame rates, video game devices are no longer lagging behind PCs. That said, it’s still unclear if that will be enough to rival the dominance of desktops.

     

    The Five Best Japanese Villains In PlayStation Games


    The Five Best Japanese Villains in PlayStation Games








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 11 November 2020 / 3,724 Views

    This article was written in collaboration with Anna Nilsen.


     


    Without Japan’s contribution to the world of gaming, today’s video games simply wouldn't be the same. Over the years, many memorable games and characters have come from the Land of the Rising Sun, and with the imminent release of PS5, now is an excellent time to look back at some of the best characters from the country's PlayStation games. There are, of course, numerous Japanese heroes and heroines in PlayStation games, but it's often the baddies that are the most memorable characters.


    So, here is our selection of the five best Japanese villains who feature in PlayStation games.


     


    5th - Alma


    One of the most formidable bosses in the action titles Ninja Gaiden Black and Ninja Gaiden Sigma is the terrifying Alma. She's a tough cookie to beat, as she has six primary attack methods. She can unleash energy balls, rip up and throw pillars, charge at you with full speed, grab your legs, use a combo flip kick, and use her almost-inescapable bubble grab to stop you defeating her.


     


    4th - Ash Crimson


    Japan has a varied love of gaming, whether it's on home consoles, in arcades, or even online live casinos like Casumo. This applies to genres too, from puzzlers to RPGs, and one that's particularly popular is the fighting genre, with the King of Fighters series traditionally being one of its stalwarts. Unlike other main characters in the King of Fighters series, Ash Crimson is an evil character. His personal fighting style uses green-flamed pyrokinesis to attack enemies, and he's well-known for attempting to steal powers from other characters, leaving them helpless. Strangely, the western market’s response to the character was largely negative due to his appearance and fighting technique. But in Japan he's regarded as one of the best fighter villains of all time. Crimson has so far appeared in a staggering 14 different games.


      


    3rd - Elysion


    Elysion is one of the baddest of bad-asses from the action RPG game Dragon’s Dogma. Leader of the nihilistic cult Salvation, he creates death wherever he goes. Blinded in one eye (by his own hand), the powerful magician is skilled in Dark Magic. You're sure to shiver as you watch him raising skeletons from freshly-deceased humans, but it is perhaps his resemblance to Darth Sidious from Star Wars that makes his very appearance enough to make you want to hide behind the couch.


     


    2nd - Berthold Gregor


    Although other Japanese video game villains are more well-known than Berthold Gregor, he is unquestionably one of the most heartless and evil baddies ever depicted in a PlayStation game. Gregor hails from the cult classic Valkyria Chronicles series of strategy RPGs. He features in both the first game and Valkyria Chronicles III, as well as the Valkyria Chronicles anime series. The radical imperialist supports both the emperor and the Empire, and he will go to any lengths to protect it. According to Gregor, any country that does not bend to the will of the Empire deserves to be obliterated, and his fanatical beliefs enable him to carry out particularly cruel acts on his enemies.


      


    1st - Albert Wesker


    Originally included as a supporting character in the first Resident Evil game, Albert Wesker soon became one of the series’ leading antagonists. He loves to manipulate story events from the shadows and is well-known for being sadistic, cunning, intelligent, and power-hungry. The fact that Wesker wants to make the human race as we know it become extinct is enough to demonstrate his evilness. A traitor and enemy to most of Resident Evil’s heroes, this super-villain has appeared in an incredible 27 different games, including Umbrella Corps, Capcom Super League Online, Resident Evils 4 and 5, and many more.


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    Everything You Need To Know About Online Keno

    Keno is a game of luck that’s been around for many centuries. Although it originated in China, its name has French (Latin) roots and bears the meaning of five winning numbers. The game itself is similar to the lottery, as it allows you to win big even if you place a small bet.


    Even though online casinos typically feature one or two online keno variants, it still attracts millions of passionate players worldwide, making it one of the most popular casino games.


    Keno casino game

    Keno casino game

    If you’re just getting started with online casinos and wish to play keno, our short guide will introduce you to the game’s basics.


    Keno Rules

    As mentioned, keno is a luck-based game, meaning you can’t influence or predict the outcome. In online keno, all numbers are drawn using an RNG (random number generator), so any strategy is futile.


    Here’s how the game works:



    How to Play Keno in an Online Casino

    Before we show you how to play the game in an online casino, we’d like to point out that there are online slot games dedicated to keno. If you wish to learn more about them, read the Keno Slots 101 guide.


    Below are step-by-step instructions to playing online keno:



  • Find a reputable online casino and create an account.

  • Select your preferred payment method and fund the account.

  • While you’re there, claim a welcome bonus if there’s one you can use on keno.

  • Go to the game lobby and start the game.

  • Place a bet, select the numbers, and enjoy!


  • That’s it! As you can see, keno is a pleasant and straightforward game to play. So, if you feel like today is your lucky day, go ahead and visit an online casino!


    Types of Keno Bets

    Even though there is no clear winning strategy in keno that would ensure a win, you can choose different bets, boosting the potential payouts. Here are your options:



    Helpful Keno Tips and Tricks

    While the most important aspect of playing keno is choosing a safe and reliable online casino, some tips might come in handy. Take a look:




     

    Are These The All-Time Best Superhero Games?


    DC and Marvel’s superhero characters have a stretch that reaches far beyond the pages of the comic books that spawned them. One of the most popular uses of characters like Batman, Superman or the Hulk is the many online PlayStation and Xbox games that build on the narratives created in the comics. Here is our list of all-time best superhero games.


    Spider-Man: The Movie

    Spider-Man The Movie GameSpider-Man The Movie Game


    Activision‘s Spider-Man: The Movie from 2002 remains a classic, even after all these years.


    Building on the success of the previous version of the game, this one is notable for its better 3-D environments, particularly the outdoor ones where swinging between buildings and over rooftops is pretty exhilarating. Just bear in mind that nearly 20 years on the graphics do look somewhat dated.


    If you choose to play, you’ll notice that the characters are voiced by the stars of the movie, William Dafoe and Toby Maguire.


    The gameplay essentially revolves around completing levels by overcoming groups of baddies in hand to hand combat, outfoxing them by special Spider moves. It’s not that easy to complete any of the missions and its enduring legacy is built on the fact that there is a lot to learn before you can finish the entire game.


    The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction

    superhero games The-Incredible-Hulk-Ultimate-Destructionsuperhero games The-Incredible-Hulk-Ultimate-Destruction


    Also from the 2000s, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, the PS2 game, is a bit lighter on plot features than Spider-Man. Instead, it focuses on sheer destructive power and fighting fun – as you might expect from a game centred around an incredibly strong and angry green monster.


    Not only can Hulk cause mayhem with his fists and feet but he can also weaponise pretty much anything in his vicinity – picking up cars, trucks, buses and streetlamps to hurl at perceived enemies. Expect lots of carnage as you make you way through all the missions and level-ups to completion. This is splendid, cathartic fun and a great way to kill time if you have nothing better to do than cause damage!


    Captain America: Super Soldier

    superhero games Captain America: Super Soldiersuperhero games Captain America: Super Soldier


    Another classic third-person action game featuring a Marvel hero is the excellent Captain America: Super Soldier from SEGA released in 2011.


    Broadly speaking, the plot of this game is for the patriotic character of Captain America to defeat an arch-villain named Armin Zola. There are plenty of weapons and moves at your disposal, as well as an excellent Vibranium Shield, used to fend off bullets and other attacks from enemies. There’s plenty of levelling-ups and upgrades to your armoury as you go too.


    This is one of the quirkier games on our list but worth checking out if you haven’t already.


    The Dark Knight Rises Video Slot

    The Dark Knight Rises CasinoThe Dark Knight Rises Casino


    The use of comic book characters in video slots is commonplace, with gambling behemoth Playtech striking a licensing deal to use them across many traditional and progressive prize slot games.


    One of our favourites is The Dark Knight Rises, which is a few years old but still available at most new slot sites with Playtech games.


    Built on the narrative of the third film in the Christopher Nolan trilogy, this game is as much about winning money as it is about entertainment. However, its use of free spins and a Fusion Reactor Bonus game that awards special multipliers to be applied to all wins in the bonus round is compelling stuff.


    Just remember to play within your budget and responsibly at all times.


    batman-arkham-knight-screenshot-2batman-arkham-knight-screenshot-2


    Batman: Arkham Knight

    The follow up to Arkham Asylum, 2015’s Arkham Knight from Rocksteady Studios, is a supernatural-infused Batman game with plenty of fighting action and a storyline that can take well over 12 hours to complete.


    Batman here is voiced by Kevin Conroy, whilst Mark Hammil features at the Joker. A very dark version of Gotham City is brilliantly drawn out and there is plenty of investigating to do, exploring every nook and cranny of Gotham, whilst searching and destroying baddies.


    The best part is finally getting access to the Batmobile! Arkham Knight is one of the best superhero games ever created. It’s a real treat worth investing time and money in if you like the darker side of the Batman stories.


    These are just five of the hundreds of games available for superhero fans right now. Of course, the Marvel and DC characters are the gifts that just keep on giving. So, expect plenty more in the coming years.



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    Intacto Review and Opinion

    Intacto (2002)
    Director: Roberto Fresnedillo

    review by Paul Higson

    My supernatural fascinations lie with the borderline, scientifically plausible and irrefutable, dreams, telepathy and coincidence. Some regard 'coincidence' as the little sister of luck, but the latter has always been seen as the more fantastical of the two despite the overly common yearning for it in the common individual. Both can have a positive and a negative value and when someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time it can be either a terrible coincidence or appalling luck but when the millions are won it is only luck that takes the credit. Coincidence has been the more fruitfully explored of the two in the moving image, particularly in Julio Medem's 1999 film, Lovers Of The Arctic Circle, and to successfully comedic value in the early 1980s' Channel 4 comedy series Chance In A Million, where high coincidence transformed it into the ultimate 'situation' comedy. Luck has been crying out for exploration but no one has had an idea as to how to play it. Roberto Fresnedillo's take, in his directorial debut, is to make a transferable commodity of that which is normally intangible and abstract, make of luck an item that can be bought, stolen or won.
       Like the impermeable Mr Willis of Unbreakable (2000), most of the participants in the ensuing gambling games become aware of their priceless or broken supernatural gifts following survival in extreme circumstances. They are unaware of, or unable to take, their luck seriously until the enormity of the situation makes one's fatefulness so obviously determinable from that of another person, the sole survivor of a plane crash, the only one escaping a genocidal spree alive or a nasty car crash with all their limbs intact. But 'intact' is a relative term. Fresnedillo conducts experiments with the kerygma. Let's assume it has a balance, proposes the director, can be turned inside out, how about that which was informative and presentable become ugly and confused. What happens to a person when they barter it, do they condemn themselves? Everyone is different, yet is unable to alter or be guarded against making certain decisions that will decide their fate ultimately. The director cleverly secludes details for later, cranks up the mystery that is not necessarily there, gently rocked is one in the casual pacing, hoodwinked by the obscurity of the played out details. And yet there is something missing overall.
       Federico (Eusebio Poncela), an earthquake miracle 30 years on, finds that his life as a luck thief for hire in a casino run by a holocaust survivor is becoming dull and unrewarding, even though he is the potential heir to the enterprise. He means to cut and run but Sam (Max Von Sydow), the casino owner and his mentor, a man with an octopus of a reach who has amassed a fortune away from the usual casino definition learns of the coming desertion and instead divests Federico of his own inner parcel of luck, leaving him a helpless, vengeful, selfish and cold creature, shopping for someone with a good quantity of luck to exploit as a stepping ladder back into a position wherein he can bring about the fall of the mighty Sam. The sole survivor of a plane crash, Tomas (Leonardo Sbaraglia) is obviously blessed with an above average quota of luck, even his girlfriend was allowed to miss the plane. Though the young man will be heavily compensated, there is evidence about his person that he is connected with a robbery, obviously there are different branches of luck, his had no interest in money and had refused to serve him up a winning lottery ticket. This is useful to Federico who helps him escape the hospital and leads him through a hidden world, a noir maze of weird gambling stages and black markets for fortune procurers, in backrooms, courtyards and deep forests that bring encounters with other dangerously charmed and often glum individuals, each port of call taking them a step closer to a final confrontation with Sam. With Tomas under his charge, Federico stumbles upon the precise circumstance that might totter the empire, as Tomas must 'gamble' his life in order to save his loved one, her lesser cache of positivism having fallen into Sam's hands following the deceitfulness of Federico who had employed it as a bargaining chip unbeknownst to the younger man.
       Also along for the ride is Alejandro, a retired bullfighter, played by Antonio Denchent, and Sara, a guilt-ridden, emotionally and physically scarred police detective. Both have substantial experience of the dark side of chance. The fact is that luck is never without a gloomy aspect, nobody can be untouched by it, those manufacturing and steering the course of their own luck must become cruel and monstrous in the process, though the film suggests that it is rarely done so by intention. Luck has become for them an essential element to their survival in the underworld that they have found themselves in. Those selling their luck are pathetic creatures committing a lazy suicide and those homing in on the magnetic dark core are just as self-destructive, unflinching in the face of the horrors around them.
       Where the film falls down is in the avoidance of any cinematic showiness, the sets are bare and unimaginatively dressed, little in the way of wished for Spanish colour, though there are those who would say neither is important if plot is fulfilling enough. The camerawork too is unobtrusive, again some might argue preferably so. Certainly, it all quickly lulls one into a relaxed mode paving the way for several effective shocks, but one can also become too relaxed during those spells. As well judged as the scripting is, it is too gently unexplained at times. The casino has no flourishes of its own, Sam's underground lair an inner sanctum of cold walls, the back rooms and cellars equally featureless and although an expensive painting is highlighted at one stage, the homes of the participants and the family are relatively bare of any realistically lived in quality (though admittedly they are a morbid bunch with no interest in anything but the ultimate gamble). As I say, much of it is deliberate in order to set the viewer up for the sudden and painful horrors, flesh snagged on barbwire, brains on a motorway and, the films centrepiece, a daring run though a forest, the participants blindfolded, their hands behind their back. During the forest challenge the camera cruises supremely, the editing importantly spot on, the audience gets nervous, gasps, jumps as the contestants collide with or become snagged on the trees, you have to leave your seat if you want to escape the tension, otherwise it will have you. That sequence alone makes the film worth every penny of catching it in a cinema, I can't vouchsafe it will have the same ability to jolt on the small screen where cowardly renters may well button pause and catch their breath after each nasty collision.
       Poncela boasts a disarming resemblance to Will Self that is awkward to overcome particularly when the character is so sullen of expression. Other trickery includes the desert location of the casino that would appear to actually have been filmed on the island of Lanzarote. To the critic who sang discrepancy and asked who was luckier, the youth who survived the crash or the girlfriend who missed the plane... wake up, fellow, anyone can miss a plane but how many can solo survive a crash with only scratches? It is a film that's stocked with sterling performances, a genuinely original fantasy take, a well-composed and delivered plot with rare, prized jolts. It is a work of great promise and it will be interesting to see were Fresnedillo goes from here and with what.

    Intacto Review and Opinion

    Comprar Intacto Review and Opinion

     

    Jack and the beanstalk Review and Opinion

    Jack And The Beanstalk: The Real Story (2001)
    Director: Brian Henson

    review by Donald Morefield

    The highlight of Britain's terrestrial TV viewing for Christmas 2003 was this wonderful updating of the fairy tale, offering an agreeably postmodernist and contemporised adaptation of the traditional story, while retaining all its best-loved elements. It opens in present day England, with the discovery of a gigantic humanoid skeleton (thought to be a dinosaur, at first) buried at the construction-digging site of a planned casino. The builders' boss unwillingly alerts the American corporate CEO Jack Robinson (Matthew Modine), a billionaire bachelor plagued by nightmares about a family curse suggesting he will die at age 40. What the troubled Jack doesn't know yet is that his right-hand man, company manager Siggy (Jon Voight, with a smirk and a funny pantomime accent), is privy to the Robinsons' darkest secrets - including a cruel betrayal, the theft of a unique fowl, and a cold-bloodied axe murder...
       Yes, it's the one about a desperate farmer's cow traded for a handful of beans, the magic goose that lays golden eggs, and the (supposedly) greedy giant who can "smell the blood of an Englishman." Here, though, the theft of the talking goose (and an animated harp) brings drought, poverty, and depression to the world above the clouds. While visiting the location of his stalled casino project, Jack finds himself being stalked by the mysterious Ondine (elfin yet intense Mia Sara, veteran of Ridley Scott's Legend, 1985) who turns out to be a messenger and guide from the fantastic realm in the sky. She knows more about Jack's ancestral lineage and relatives than he does, and she tricks him into accompanying her up the lofty tower of a newly grown, giant beanstalk, to face trial in the magic land where time passes more slowly than it does on Earth.
       As you'd expect, this glossy miniseries is a determinedly commercial project with the trappings of big star names in supporting roles - including Vanessa Redgrave playing Jack's aunt (actually a 400-year-old countess!), Daryl Hannah as the blue-skinned giantess Thespee, Richard Attenborough as Magog, ruler of the giant deities, plus some excellent CG visual effects realising the beanstalk and digital compositing for the creatures, landscapes and giants. It all moves along briskly enough, without surplus footage or story padding, and cleverly replays the essentials from different perspectives, showing both the giant and the original Jack in a differing light, both good and bad. The truth behind the fairy tale is revealed as morally complex, even as it advocates simplified answers to both the rural blight affecting the giants' fantasy world, and the problems of Jack's impending mortality and distinct lack of romance in his life.
       The happy ending is not quite as contrived or generically obvious as you may immediately suspect. And so, despite a few concessions to younger viewers (the storyline never dwells on its monsters, and the violent scenes are only implied), this is a charming and wholly affectionate recounting of the popular classic. Those who missed the TV airing might like to know it's now available on DVD.

    Jack and the beanstalk Review and Opinion

    Comprar Jack and the beanstalk Review and Opinion

     

    Casino royale 2006 Review and Opinion

    Casino Royale (2006)
    Director: Martin Campbell

    review by Joshua Rainbird

    Casino Royale is Daniel Craig's first outing as 007 and, whilst it retains Dame Judi Dench as the formidable M, it should be considered as a back-to-basics reboot of the whole series. Many of the trademark features are here: stylish locations, beautiful women, ugly villains and fast cars. However, when I was told that Craig was not a 'gadget Bond' I hoped that he would be cast as a spy who thinks on his feet and fights with his fists. I was not disappointed. Craig has managed to shrug off the need for gimmicks in favour of brute strength, but I might hasten to add, not ignorance. He's an ambitious, and sometimes clumsy assassin, quite unlike previous portrayals, with maybe the exception of From Russia With Love. Therefore a quick note of caution: the death and torture scenes in this movie are bloody and realistic, a welcome departure from the tired-looking fantasy-fests of Moonraker and Die Another Day. This is not a movie for younger audiences, it was wrong to certificate this as a 12A, it should be a 15!

    At the beginning we find a naïve spy struggling to earn his 007 status: two kills are needed. The first is messy and brutal, the second is a neater dispatch of the almost ubiquitous talkative villain, shot in an atmospheric monochrome that not only enables the viewer to assume it's a flashback but also seamlessly launches into a startling opening credit sequence. Like a brilliantly coloured Matisse-collage Bond stalks his victims through a kaleidoscope of animated assassinations which bears the typical excellence of previous Bond-movie opening titles, it perfectly unites with Chris Cornell's rock theme adding to this Bond's polished, not suave, hard talent.

    And Craig plays it with a lean and hungry look: a Bond whose shirts get bloodied and whose face gets cut. His solid physique is such that it can soak up the blows, you can believe this man's explosive strength could play the All Blacks' at their own game, and win, but even this is insufficient when faced by the dextrous free-running feats of Molakka, played by parkour founder Sebastien Foucan. This is by far the best part of the movie and even for hardened parkour fans the stunts are spectacular, even improving on the great HMS Belfast leap featured in Jump London. Furthermore, the scenes are aptly edited to create an action-packed story sequence, only mildly let-down by the ridiculous stunt extras who for some reason always want to intercept men with guns leaping around in dangerous places. Just get out of the way! So, with bulldog spirit we see Bond in hot pursuit, just falling short of the tic-tacs and cat-leaps needed to catch his quarry, until eventually he succumbs to hitching a lift instead because James Bond has always had more brains than brawn.

    But even here there are changes. This new Bond has a razor-sharp mind that can outwit an accountant, not with the predictable puns that dogged Roger Moore or Connery's salvos of regurgitated trivia, Craig has a better ace up his sleeve - he uses logical deduction, with detailed observations that would shame Sherlock Holmes. He can read the 'tells' whilst maintaining his poker face. However, this does not mean he is cold and cerebral, rather that the humour is more subtly placed: during a difficult dinner he is counter-analysed by the cerebrally waspish Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) and asked, "how was your lamb?" he replies quietly, "skewered, one sympathises." Transcending cheap gags doesn't mean you cannot flirt because the jokes are now his defence mechanism, weapons he uses to needle his torturers, and Craig delivers them with an almost pitiable audacity.

    So what is Bond's flaw? It was said that Pierce Brosnan gave the character an edge of vulnerability. Craig has refined this. Whereas Brosnan's Bond was an old warhorse not quite ready to be put out to pasture, Craig is a young stallion who favours seasoned mares. He professes to sleep only with married women presumably to avoid messy commitments, a choice no doubt the emotionally detached M will encourage. Yet that's not his flaw. For the man has insight and knows his limitations. He just chooses to stretch them in pursuit of his goals. So he is prepared to gamble if he's been dealt a good hand and has tallied the odds, and when he meets the frigid Vesper, and melts her ice, he's prepared to fold, sacrificing everything, even the 007 status he has struggled to secure. Craig is a Bond who tries to keep his head when all about are losing theirs and like his Vodka Martinis - often he's shaken and occasionally stirred! He's a spy who's prepared to risk all on the turn of a card and lose. After all, like all gamblers, he believes he can always win it back later.

    And so it is with the Bond franchise. They've shuffled the deck with Casino Royale and whilst the first two rounds were won, they tried to bluff their way through the latter half. On screen, trots a horse down a sun-kissed beach and the film takes a disappointing hiatus from which it never really recovers. The cinematography is as pretty as the girl with the all-too-familiar sweeping vistas of wealthy playgrounds in the sun but the formula shines through recreating already established routines. Craig emerges from the ocean in Ursula Andress' style and we are led through some clever, perhaps too clever, dialogue, ponderous love scenes, and introduced to arguably the dullest crime-boss, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), since Aris Kristatos (Julian Glover) in For Your Eyes Only. Le Chiffre will only be remembered for his cliché villain's eye. Even Bond's heroic attempt to intercept a terrorist intent on destroying a plane seems pedestrian. I'm not saying that it isn't well thought out or cleverly executed but, except for the well-scripted torture scene, the latter half of the film was just a sum of all its standard parts, and it lacks gestalt - that unique Bond magic.

    The casino scenes are torturously long involving seemingly meaningless close-ups of poker faces that felt like the director was using them to kill time. Thankfully someone had the wisdom to call for a few action breaks in between. And now that the bit of flirting with the now vulnerable Vesper has ended, a laboured slush of implausible romance sets in like an unshakeable loser's streak. Cue noble virtues and ignoble passions and one too many twists in the plot. "You don't trust anyone, do you Bond," says M hoping he has learnt his lesson, wouldn't it be better if he hasn't? And then it strolls towards a disappointing grand finale during which only the incongruously dramatic music carries any sense of tension as a small building collapses.

    Overall, Casino Royale is a film of two halves, where the former far outshines the latter. The character of the new Bond, which is fresh and original, is firmly established in this movie, however, one couldn't help feeling they didn't go all in. So they've pensioned off Q, bravo, not even John Cleese's feet were big enough to fill Desmond Llewellyn's shoes. And those dreadful puns after a person is killed always seemed crass, but there were more cards in that deal that needed burning. Maybe there are more aces up the Bond franchise's sleeve but I'd like to see them revealing their hand rather than calling my bluff.

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    District 13 Review and Opinion

    District 13 (2004)
    Director: Pierre Morel

    review by Joshua Rainbird

    District 13 (aka: Banlieue 13, District B13) is a welcome addition to the new breed of action films that uses real stunt-work rather than relying on computer generated graphics. Like in Ong-Bak, the actors perform the stunts, work out the action sequences and risk everything without the use of safety harnesses or wirework. Whilst these films have simple storylines, the camera work is snappy, with frame-changes quick enough to satisfy even the shortest attention spans of the MTV generations.

    Set in a walled-in suburban ghetto of a near-future Paris, District 13 has become a hell where the hospitals and schools have already closed down, and the police would love to withdraw from. Rival gangs in pimped-up motors speed through the empty streets. Guns are commonplace. Even the supermarché has sentries posted. Within this concrete jungle one apartment block stands clear of graffiti, the home of the ghetto's own Mr Clean - Leïto (David Belle), an urban gymnast who vaults across rooftops at breathtaking speed.

    However, Leïto has created a problem: in his eagerness to clean up the neighbourhood he has stolen a million euros worth of cocaine, and that's a lot of drugs to flush down the drain when a dozen hoods come asking for it back. Headed by man-mountain K2 (Tony D'Amario) the thugs quickly shoot a path to Leíto's door and then the action begins. Bullets spray as he flies through the door, leaping over banisters and tic-tacking off walls with economic precision, hotly pursued by the quickened hoods. The villains, after a desperate chase and a few broken ankles, soon find they are unable to catch him on foot. And no wonder, parkour is Belle's sport, he invented it and he has perfected it, but don't expect the fancy flips or somersaults that you'll find in YouTube videos as he leaps from tower-block to tower-block. His skill is clean and efficient, using seemingly effortless moves to achieve his near-superhuman feats, he's like Spider-Man without the webs, secret identity and safety features, it's death defying and real!

    But District 13 is a cruel world where honest people are twisted by state abandonment into games of survival. The police appease the gangs with uneasy truces that gnaw at their souls, justice needs resources as well as courage and both are scant within the ghetto. So, when the cocaine-driven crime-boss Taha (Larbi Naceri) acquires a neutron bomb, as easily as he kidnapped Leïto's sister Lola (Dany Verissimo), a special kind of detective is called in to retrieve it. Enter Captain Damien Tomaso (Cyril Raffaelli), a latter-day Fantômas, a doppelganger who assumes the identity of his recent victims with chameleon-ease. Once in, he can single-handedly clear out a casino full of gun-toting heavies with his bare fists, and a few well-placed slugs, when his sneaky tricks are outwitted. Yet this super-cop also has a trait that his superiors will exploit for their own ends - a middle-class education that has instilled in him an idealism alien to District 13. Damien values the republican tenets that built modern France, he is incorruptible. Therefore teaming him up with the passionate Leïto will bring its challenges as Mr Clean hates dirty tricks and is not afraid to kill cops in his passion. Can the two heroes forge a fraternity in a world where equality and liberty have been denied? It's an uneasy partnership.

    And this uncomfortable dichotomy permeates the filmmaking too. It struggles to create realism by portraying a world that is similar to our own. We have seen similar walls erected to control people - the Gaza Strip, and the townships of Soweto in apartheid South Africa. The characters are playing in-mate roles within a binary system, like subjects trapped in one of Irving Goffman's Asylums: Leïto and Lola don't want to give up their home they just want a better standard of living. This creates a plausible world that then nests a surreality of oversights. Within these walls, where are the women? There are hints of prostitutes, but apart from Lola and one of Leïto's briefly seen elderly neighbours, District 13 is a vacuum populated only by testosterone-pumped patriarchs. They were none in the gangs, none in the police, not even a gangster's moll.

    And the closer you look you see other dichotomies. The acting is patchy - Belle and Raffaelli were more wooden than the props they landed on, they would have been better suited as stunt-doubles rather than given starring roles, however, D'Amario just about convinced me as the formidable K2. Consider the action-choreography: ignoring the conveniently placed pipes, parkour is used with naturalistic effect, but the combat sequences seem over-rehearsed and delivered with rigid control. Then there is the borrowed plot: standard and linear, with no real surprises, except for the shock of Leïto's actions when locked in a cell. The characters, too: apart from Leïto whom some would label an antihero (I prefer anti-thug), were of singular dimension and seemed to be hired in from gangsters-'r'-us, and yet the script is slick and polished. Even the music has two qualities: on a portable TV it sounded like a tinny remix of Jean-Michel Jarre but with a surround-sound woofer it injects drum-and-bass action. Lastly, don't trust the dubbing unless you want a Hollywood B-movie, the subtitled police scenes have a subtle darkness!

    So overall District 13 is a bit like graffiti: over-designed, urban and edgy, colourful in places, and exciting when fresh. Whilst it's more than a tag saying, 'parkour was here!' the mural never quite covers the wall.

    Disc extras are where this Momentum DVD excels. In additional to the standard fare of outtakes, extended scene and trailers of new releases, there are some enjoyable extras that will complement a library of any free-running fan. Parkour vision - an interesting but unfortunately brief documentary about parkour and lapining narrated by notable Urban Freeflow regulars including Blue, EZ, Sticky and Bam. Nice displays of precision jumps and tic-tacs in both rural and urban settings. Best of all there is a documentary featuring Stephane Vigroux (Higher Ground), the injured free-runner who missed out on Jump London. In this, he talks about the early training with David Belle and Sebastien Foucan and the struggles he had not only with overcoming his ligament injury but the conflicts amongst the pioneering traceurs as parkour diversified. His main focus is on the tenacity and humility needed to maintain optimal physical condition. It shows him training Forrest in équilibre (balancing) and sâut de précision (precision jumps).

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    Star trek, 2009 Review and Opinion

    Star Trek (2009)
    Director: J.J. Abrams

    review by J.C. Hartley

    Re-launch, re-branding, franchise reboot, re-imagining, whatever, once they were called remakes but such are the negative connotations it would always have been necessary to coin a new term. And, creatively speaking, these are not remakes. Re-imaginings, I love the clumsiness of a term which I'm sure nobody uses, are nothing new. The Avengers (1998), the refashioning of the British TV series, was re-imagined with none of the wit of the original, only the chilly pairing of Fiennes and Thurman. Lost In Space (1998) was re-imagined with disturbingly pointy bosoms. Superman Returns had a nauseating messianic subtext. And, I'm sorry, but Casino Royale had some flabby writing, none of the wit of Peter Sellers' section of the 1967 version, and I actually preferred Quantum Of Solace.

    With a new generation, a charmingly retro Enterprise, and a host of other TV spin-offs, it was hard to see where a new Star Trek movie could go to reinvigorate a flagging series. The answer turned out to be back, back in time, only with a twist.

    Attending at a huge spatial disturbance the USS Kelvin is attacked by a Romulan vessel the Narada. The Romulan Captain Nero (Eric Bana, Hulk) kills the Kelvin's captain who has left his First Officer George Kirk in charge. Kirk successfully evacuates 800 personnel including his wife who is in labour with their child. Remaining on board the Kelvin to fight a rearguard action, Kirk hears the birth of his son who they name James Tiberius after his grandfathers.

    James Kirk (Chris Pine) develops into a self-destructive young man. Rescued from a bar brawl by an old friend of his father, Captain Pike, he is urged to join the Star Fleet Academy which he subsequently does. Facing a hearing in front of the entire Academy, accused of cheating in the geeky Kobayashi Maru test, Kirk first clashes with Spock (Zachary Quinto, Heroes) the half-human half-Vulcan programmer of the test. A resolution to the hearing is forestalled by a general mobilisation due to a distress call from the Vulcan home-world. Kirk is grounded but smuggled on board the Enterprise, a new flagship under the command of Captain Pike, by his friend Dr McCoy (Karl Urban, Chronicles Of Riddick). Also assigned to the Enterprise are Spock, and Uhura (Zoe Saldana, to be in James Cameron's Avatar and the adaptation of Andy Diggle's The Losers), a high-achieving communications officer whom Spock has mentored and Kirk fancies. An intervention by Kirk saves the Enterprise from destruction by the Romulans but they witness the destruction of Vulcan by the Narada. Pike is taken prisoner by Nero to obtain security codes to allow him to attack Earth, and, in a confrontation with Spock, Kirk is marooned on an ice planet where he meets two characters who are no strangers to fans of the series.

    In an interview in Empire, J.J. Abrams seemed to suggest he was not overly aware of the original series and not out to make a tribute, a suggestion that was either a piece of distraction, or open to misinterpretation, in that this new Star Trek is a remarkable tribute, a translation that is a work of some creativity in its own right. The references are subtle and telling. Captain Pike is of course the same Pike, as originally played by Jeffrey Hunter (Martin in John Ford's The Searchers), who starred in the original Star Trek pilot The Cage, later cannibalised for The Menagerie episode. Volunteering to attack the Romulans, having been trained in hand-to-hand combat, Sulu reveals to Kirk that his area of expertise is in fencing, surely a reference to his exploits in the TV episode The Naked Time. The planet where Kirk is marooned is Delta Vega which featured in Where No Man Has Gone Before. There are also references to The Wrath Of Khan, generally seen as the best early Star Trek movie, the Kobayashi Maru test originates there, and its unpleasant brain-nibbling parasitic cockroach crops up here.

    There are some admittedly dodgy bits. As soon as someone suggests a time-travel scenario to explain the Narada's presence everyone immediately accepts that as the correct explanation. Uhura boasts about her 'oral skills'. And the monsters of Delta Vega come across as a bit of CGI flimflam to open out the action.

    The cast are excellent, Quinto's Spock has received plaudits but Karl Urban's Dr McCoy is an uncanny impression of DeForrest Kelley from the original series. With all this ability on show it is easy to overlook Chris Pine who discovers likeable depths under Kirk's swagger, without ever needing to get his shirt ripped off. Simon Pegg is an admirable Scotty. The aliens in the Academy are introduced naturally without any of the look-what-we've-done-with-our-makeup-box gawping, apart from one of Kirk's girlfriends whose green flesh-tones go nicely with her underwear (She-Hulk adaptation anyone?).

    The film is pretty much non-stop action, which is essential, and a sequel is already planned. The Star Wars: A New Hope style well-done-everybody style ending is a bit corny, as is Spock talking to himself, but that doesn't go on too long. Thing is, like the Chinese meal of popular comedy, 20 minutes after you've seen this movie you're wondering where it went. There is, in retrospect, very little which is original and very little substance. The great Viv Stanshall deplored comedy impressionists, complaining that they only offered 'recognition' and much of the joy of this film comes with that. I am sure a new generation who know nothing about the old Star Trek will love this film, and rightly so, but having seen it and loved it I don't think they'll find much more to say about it. But, be assured, it's great and exciting and a splendid way of spending a couple of hours.

    Of course Nero's time-travelling has altered the fabric of time itself, and whatever the crew of the Enterprise, and everyone else, might have been, has also changed. So Spock gets the girl, and who knows where the sequel might boldly go in mangling the grammar of future reviews?

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    Birds of prey, danger girl Review and Opinion

    Birds Of Prey: Sensei & Student
    Gail Simone and Ed Benes
    DC Comics / Titan graphic novel £10.99

    Danger Girl: Odd Jobs
    J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell
    Wildstorm / Titan graphic collection £9.99

    reviews by Jeff Young

    The comicbook realm of female superheroes is, perhaps almost by definition, a world full of guilty pleasures. Here, tough but sexy girls with supremely implausible bodies in spayed-on or revealing costumes offer a mix of athleticism and sensuality that's clearly designed for maximum appeal to the hormone-charged fantasies of teenage boys, and both the scripts and artwork might walk the tightrope between ultra-feminism (as the super-powered ladies match up to the macho antics of their male counterparts) and unacceptable sleaze. After 1990s' variants such as the spiky Tank Girl and (in a different but parallel medium) the phenomenally successful Lara Croft, it seems as if a new trend for retro super-heroines has surfaced in recent years. However, the coverings may well prove to be deceptive as the packaged content delivers little that's prurient yet much that's satirical or ironic.

    Gail Simone's Birds Of Prey concerns itself with a group of female supporting characters from the milieu of Batman, but unlike the caped crusader, they are more concerned with international and global crises, rather than simple making the streets of Gotham safe from villainy. Barbara Gordon (the police commissioner's adopted daughter) was the original Batgirl until the Joker crippled her. Now, as Oracle, she's an online info-guru and adviser to a whole cadre of heroes. Black Canary was a member of the Justice League of America, and the 'sidekick' of bowman Green Arrow, until their broken relationship ended a long-term partnership. Helena Bertinelli is a mobster's daughter that survived a mafia massacre and became the vigilante Huntress, while both kung fu warrior-woman Lady Shiva and expert poisoner Cheshire are mercenary assassins, and only very reluctant allies of Orcale's crime fighting associates.

    As the book's title suggests, this story-arc begins in Hong Kong, where both Black Canary and Lady Shiva are visiting their aged martial arts' instructor on his deathbed. They discover their old sensei has been poisoned, and they suspect Cheshire was responsible. While they investigate further, and confront their teacher's killer, Oracle finds herself in trouble when her computer system is infected with a dissembling virus (which gives out disinformation, and results in embarrassing mistakes for Batman and - the new - Batgirl, who both unwittingly follow Oracle's tips), and the henchmen of a corrupt US senator kidnap her...

    With stylish art by Ed Benes, Michael Golden, Joe Bennett, and Cliff Richards (no, another one, of course!), Birds Of Prey serial looks fabulous. Strong colouring add to the impact of dynamic fights and the rapid pace of development in the main storyline ensures that flashbacks and quirky comic asides never let out interest in the characters' moral and ethical conflicts falter. A grim nightmare of a prophetic dream sequence for Black Canary, and the climactic showdown between a scheming Cheshire and the vengeful Shiva, play out with abundant sensational thrills and are resolved most satisfactorily. It's also worth mentioning the epilogue, which features a guest appearance for Wonder Woman in a fitting, but nonetheless amusing, matriarchal role.

    In marked contrast to the, occasionally lurid, verisimilitude of Birds Of Prey, we have the droll babes of Danger Girl: Odd Jobs, which serves up campy fun and glamorous action with a couple of spy girls. Owing much to the kitsch appeal of Modesty Blaise (and not forgetting The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.), some of this the material resembles a PG-certificate, comicstrip version (sans nudity) of an Andy Sidaris adventure movie. The blonde and brunette heroines, Sydney Savage and Abbey Chase, are joined by feisty but often inept teenage office-assistant, Valerie, a cute redhead who dreams of becoming a 'Danger Girl' - with numerous guises (an obvious Lara Croft mode, in particular) in Delusions Of Grandeur.

    There is also a rather silly TV-episode style intro, Mod Bods, which showcases quaintly retro girlie variations of everything from Adam West-era Batman clichés to The Monkees' farcical sketches, for the quintessential action-girls getting a bimbo-makeover flavour, where bikinis and high heels are de rigueur for apprehending baddies. "Not the onslaught of cheesy one-liners!" exclaims the villain as he's kicked in the head by one of the sassy, yet overly talkative, heroine. Hawaiian Punch (which, uncannily, reads just like an un-filmed Sidaris script!) sees the Abbey and Syd averting a holocaust when nuclear submarines are hijacked, while Viva Las Danger concerns a magical Egyptian jewel and a sinister plot to attain immortality, and features distinctive painterly art by Phil Noto.

    Yes, of course, there are visits to casinos and Abbey and Syd get into disguise to join a scantily-clad chorus line, but there's also some wry amusement to be derived from the clowning of hapless 'danger man' Johnny Barracuda, the guy who thinks he's god-gift (singer, dancer, womaniser), when he's really a harmless jerk, and the heroines' dialogue is always entertaining despite all the archly-stereotypical main characters and frequently hackneyed plotting.

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    The Biggest Falls From Grace That Are Now Gaming History


    Top 10 Falls From Grace in Video Game History








    by
    Taneli Palola
    , posted on 12 July 2016 / 35,809 Views

    While I've been doing research for my History of Video Games series I've also had the chance to see the rise and fall of countless video game publishers, developers, franchises, and creators who at one point or another were at the top of the video game industry. They had the eyes of the industry on them looking to see what great things they would do next, only to fall flat on their faces trying to replicate former glory. It's often a fascinating journey to watch unfold, and today we're going to count down ten of the most memorable ones.


    Some of the entries below are certainly still around - some even have managed to find success after falling flat - but they are far from the heights that they once reached by creating some of the greatest games and platforms in video game history. Looking at critical reception, commercial success, and general perception by the public, the following ten entries are some of the most spectacular falls from grace in our industry.



    10. LucasArts



    Between 1987 and 1998 LucasArts created some of the greatest adventure games of all time, from Maniac Mansion in 1987 all the way to 1998's Grim Fandango. Following the release of these and other games (like Secret of Monkey Island, Sam & Max Hit the Road, and Full Throttle), LucasArts was arguably the best developer in the world when it came to adventure titles. However, after 1998 things began to change.


    Between 1998 and 2014 LucasArts developed 75 games for various platforms. Of those 75, 59 were based on Star Wars, and of the remaining 16 five were based on Indiana Jones. That's 64 out of 75 games. Not exactly a very good track record for a company that once developed some of the most imaginative original games of all time. Things got even worse when the company was acquired by Disney in 2012.



    In 2013 it was announced that LucasArts would cease all internal development of games, and became just a licensor for its existing properties. This meant that all of the games that were in development at the time were cancelled and around 150 employees were let go as a result. Today, less than 10 people remain within the company that was once among the best developers in the world.



    9. John Romero



    John Romero was at one point in the 90s quite possibly the most famous video game creator in the world. He was one of the main driving forces behind the popularization of first person shooters in the early 90s, thanks to his work on games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. He was the rock star of video game world at the time, and rode a wave of momentum generated by his role in producing some of the most influential games of all time into huge levels of hype and goodwill for his first game after leaving iD Software and founding Ion Storm.



    That game was Daikatana, one of the biggest commercial failures in video game history, and a product of an endless string of poor decisions that ultimately made Romero something of an unwanted developer in the industry. Since then he hasn't done much of note, although he is currently in the process of trying to get funding for a new FPS called Blacklight through Kickstarter.



    8. Silent Hill



    One of the greatest and most influential horror video game series ever created, Silent Hill has certainly seen better days. Starting in 1999 on the PS1 Silent Hill quickly earned both critical acclaim and commercial success which continued with both Silent Hill 2 and 3, with Silent Hill 4: The Room being in many ways the point at which the series lost its way. After this 4th game the series went on hiatus, and it was during this period that the series' original development team, known as Team Silent, was disbanded.


    By the time Silent Hill returned in 2007 the games were no longer being developed internally by Konami. Instead, they were contracted out to a number of different western studios. The results have been just as varied as you'd expect, with most new Silent Hill games being forgettable attempts at capturing the greatness of the earlier titles without really understanding what made them great in the first place.



    However, it seemed like the series might finally make a triumphant return when Konami released an interactive teaser titled P.T. This turned out to be for a new game called Silent Hills which was being developed by Kojima Productions as a collaboration between Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro. However, due to various issues between Konami and Kojima which eventually lead to the latter leaving the developer, the game was cancelled in 2015, leaving fans of the series to wonder what could have been.


    Since then the series has practically disappeared; Konami apparently has little-to-no interest in actually making video games anymore, let alone great ones. It's difficult to say if Silent Hill will ever return but, considering the current state of Konami, it's not going to happen anytime soon.



    7. Sega



    In the early 90s Sega was on, or near to being, top of the world. It was the only console manufacturer that was able to challenge Nintendo's home console dominance until Sony came along, it was responsible for one of the biggest video game series in the world at the time (its flagship Sonic series; more on that later), and its Sega Genesis/Mega Drive platform had just become (and still is, of course) the company's best-selling console of all time. Unfortunately for Sega it was all downhill from then on.


    The first warning signs actually emerged quite early on - in 1991 - when Sega released the Sega CD peripheral for the Genesis. Admittedly, it wasn't a complete disaster, as it did have its share of great games and the CD was quickly growing in popularity at the time, so there was a clear justification for its release. The 32X on the other hand had no such excuses when it came out in late 1994 with the intention of bridging the gap between the Genesis and Sega's next console, the Saturn.



    The problem here was that Saturn was already very close to release at the time (Saturn actually released before the 32X in Japan), so nobody cared about the 32X, making it a huge failure in just about every way. It had a very small software library and it cost more than the Genesis itself at that point in time. It was soon discontinued as focus turned to the Saturn. Unfortunately, the Saturn proved to be yet another misstep from Sega.


    Everything about the Saturn was marked by panic and fear on Sega's part. Sony had recently announced its entry into the console market with the PlayStation, and Sega was clearly worried about the impact it would have on its upcoming new console. As a result, at E3 1995, Sega announced that instead of releasing on the originally planned date in September that year, the console would be available immediately at select retailers. Sega wanted to capitalize on an early US release, but ended up upsetting a number of developers and retailers who were caught badly off-guard by the sudden announcement.


    As the Saturn's fortunes went from bad to worse over the next few years, Sega placed its hopes on the next home console - the Dreamcast. However, the company once again stumbled in how it handled the transition between the two consoles, basically abandoning the Saturn long before the Dreamcast had even been officially announced and leaking rumours concerning the Dreamcast to the public, effectively discouraging gamers from purchasing the Saturn.



    With the Dreamcast at least Sega finally did some things right, but it was seemingly far too late in the day. Despite a successful US launch and a great early (and legacy) reception, interest in the console quickly began to wane as Sony's PS2 neared release. Ultimately, Sega couldn't recover from a string of bad decisions between 1994 and 1998, and in 2001 it exited the console market and shifted exclusively to game development. Sega is still a successful company and has a number of great franchises under its wing, but it's hard to not see that as a major demotion from being the second biggest console manufacturer in the world.



    6. Konami



    Up until a few years ago Konami was a respected developer and publisher that was generally praised for the classic series it had been responsible for in years past and present, including Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania, Contra, and many others. In addition Konami was synonymous with one of the most well-known and beloved video game creators in the world - Hideo Kojima. And then the rumours of the company's internal implosion began to surface.


    The problems within Konami first came to light during the development of Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain. Reports stated that Hideo Kojima had been involved in a falling out with Konami, and soon all mention of Kojima was removed from the game's marketing. Eventually Kojima ended up leaving Konami for good - the rift between the famed developer and Konami management being irreconcilable - and since then the company has been repeatedly criticized for its treatment of employees.


     [embedded content]


    After the release of MGSV Konami hasn't exactly treated its franchises with respect either, instead leveraging their name value as a means to sell pachinko machines. Konami has since more or less abandoned its traditional video game business, deciding instead to focus on mobile gaming. Meanwhile, most of the company's IPs are left to rot in a corner somewhere, brought out only when it requires an easily recognisable name to sell something with. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most well-known falls from grace in the industry in recent years.



    5. Sonic The Hedgehog



    Sonic has gone through more than a few rough periods over the last 20 years or so. From 1991 to 1994 the series was one of the biggest and most beloved video game franchises in the world, with numerous hugely popular and well received releases coming under its banners in a very short time span. Then Sega started to experiment with the series with games like Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic R, and in doing so discovered 3D, which has been employed with some extremely varied results in Sonic games.


    At first it seemed like the series would have a decently painless transition from 2D to 3D, with the two Sonic Adventure games being quite well received and providing a good foundation from which to improve upon. Unfortunately, everybody involved with the series seemed to have forgotten about the 'improve' part when games like Shadow The Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog (2006), and Sonic Unleashed began to come out. 


    The series had apparently finally found its footing when Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations received mostly positive reviews, giving people hope that maybe Sega did know what it was doing. Even after so many poor entries into the series Sonic games were still selling very well, with Generations moving over 4 million copies across all platforms. Of course, Sega then followed this up with Sonic: Lost World and then finally hit rock bottom with Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric.



    These last two releases seem to have finally been enough for even the most devoted fans of the series to give up hope, as neither game managed to reach 1 million copies sold. Sega itself has confirmed that Sonic Boom is the lowest selling game in franchise history. Basically, Sonic The Hedgehog has now reached its lowest point both commercially and critically in its 25 year history. Quite a sorry state of affairs for a game series that was once among the biggest in the world.



    4. Spyro The Dragon



    It's sad that I have to include Spyro the Dragon on this list, but there's no denying the fact that the series has fallen far since the PS1 era when it was one of the highest profile platforming franchises around. The first three games sold over 12 million copies combined, but then Insomniac Games left the series behind as it moved from the PS1 to the PS2. Of course, that wasn't the end for Spyro, although it probably should have been.


    Since then the series has bounced from publisher to publisher, until it eventually ended up in Activision's hands, where Spyro has become pretty much just a side character in the Skylanders series. The first Skylanders game at least still carried his name, but since then Spyro's been relegated to the supporting cast in a spin-off series to his own games. 


    As a side note, originally I also intended to include Crash Bandicoot on this list, but then Sony announced the remakes of the original trilogy at E3 this year, which at least makes it possible for the series to make a comeback at some point. Spyro, on the other hand, shows no signs of receiving such treatment.



    3. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater



    Remember when Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was still one of the biggest and most critically acclaimed series around? You know, about ten years ago or so. Funny how things change. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 on the PS1 is still one of the highest rated games of all time, while 2015's Pro Skater 5 is one of the lowest rated titles on every single platform it was available for.



    There really isn't much more to say about this one. The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series hasn't really been viewed as anything other than the butt of jokes for years now, not because it couldn't still be great, but simply due to a string of poor releases over the last ten years. Maybe one day someone will figure out how to make the series successful again, but I wouldn't hold my breath.



    2. Duke Nukem



    The more I think about it, the more I realize that in many ways the reputation Duke Nukem had as a great series was based almost entirely on a single game – Duke Nukem 3D. The first two games were 2D action platformers which helped popularize the genre on PC in the early 90s, but they were never going to be huge games. Duke Nukem 3D blew up and the series quickly gained incredible levels of popularity, but outside of a handful of spin-offs 3D Realms was never able to capitalize on its success.



    The development hell that took place during the creation of Duke Nukem Forever have been well documented, with a number of game engine changes pushing the release date back further and further until it became a meme before the term meme even took off. Until, against all odds, it was actually released in 2011, only to prove to be a dated relic of the late 90s without a clear identity of its own. It was trying to be too many things at once, taking inspiration from both the fast-paced shooters of the past while also striving for realism in some of its mechanics.


    It's now been five years since the last new release in the series, and while it's always possible for Duke to make a comeback it just feels like time has passed this series by. 



    1. Atari



    Once the biggest video game developers and console manufacturers in the world from the late 70s to the early 80s, Atari had the entire industry in the palm of its hand and controlled the vast majority of video game sales in North America with the Atari 2600. And then the mistakes began to pile up. The company's follow-up consoles - the 5200 in 1982 and the 7800 in 1986 - were failures both commercially and critically, especially in comparison to the 2600.


    The market itself was becoming oversaturated with horrible games, a situation Atari was in many ways responsible for. The firm tried to make a few comebacks over the next decade, most notably with the misguided Jaguar console, but it was never really able to get off the ground with any of them. Atari was then split into two soon after the 1983 video game market crash - into Atari Games, which lasted until 2003 under various owners until being dissolved by Midway Games, and Atari Corporation, which went defunct in 1996.



    The Atari that exists today is barely a shadow of its former self. The video game giant of years past is now just a name brand adopted by Infogrames in 2009 after it acquired the rights to all of Atari's assets. Since then Infogrames has published a handful of poorly received games based on old Atari properties and entered the social casino gaming industry.


    To make matters even more confusing, Atari SA is the parent company formerly known as infogrames, while Atari Inc is the video game developer owned by Atari SA. Furthermore, Atari Interactive is another subsidiary that acts as a publisher for the company's PC games. At least I think that's how it goes. Basically, the Atari(s) that is/are still around has/have very little to do with the Atari that was once at the top of the video game world. It's a disappointing end for a company as important to the development of the whole video game industry as Atari.



    Those are, in my opinion, the biggest and most notable falls from grace in the history of video games thus far. Naturally there are many more that have taken place over the last several decades, so if you think I missed any let me know in the comments. As always, thanks for reading.


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    5 Big Rumors About 'Grand Theft Auto 6'


    5 Rumours about Grand Theft Auto 6








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 23 April 2020 / 4,131 Views

    Come September it will have been seven long years since Grand Theft Auto V was released and for the game’s millions of fans worldwide the big question has been when will the next instalment be with us.

    Unfortunately, the answer is perhaps one that not even Rockstar Games can tell us just yet, but the best guess seems to be that it won’t be until 2021 at the earliest. The company is notoriously secretive about every aspect of its operations, but that hasn’t prevented the rumour mill from really getting into gear about various aspects of the game. So here, in no particular order (and with absolutely no guarantee that any will turn out to be true!), are five of the most often repeated ones which we picked up from gamesradar.com amongst other sources.



    One of the Main Protagonists will be Female

    In the past, the principal characters have been male, with women hardly getting a look-in. The shift to a female protagonist is a move that has been hinted at in the past by Rockstar. One thing’s for sure, though, they’ll hope it will avoid the controversy that the makers of Doctor Who stirred up when Jodie Whittaker was cast as the thirteenth Doctor, as reported on cheatsheet.com.


    The Casino Will be Bigger & Better Than Ever

    The opening of the Diamond Resort & Casino in July 2019 was acknowledged as a great addition, so it’s sure to be built upon. Perhaps the developers will even look at real online sites like www.bonus.ca where potential players can discover the best joining bonuses on offer and include these kinds of incentives at the Diamond. There may even be the possibility of more than one casino operating in GTA 6, to reflect the choice that players receive in the online world.



    We’re Headed South of the Border

    It’s thought that the hit Netflix show Narcos is proving to be a big influence on the storylines and that’s going to mean some of the action, at least, may be heading for Mexico. As a side-issue, this could also mean extensive use of subtitles.


    The Story is Going to be in Chapters

    From the narrative style of most Tarantino movies to a technique used in Red Dead Redemption 2, splitting the story into defined chapters is certainly a thing these days. So it’s a fair guess that this might also be under serious consideration.




    There Will be Separate Criminal & Law Enforcement Storylines

    Finally, word has got round that players will have the choice of following a life of crime in a sandbox-style empire building game or fighting on the side of law and order in a noirish thriller scenario. That may just tread on the toes of many who see it as forsaking GTA's traditional plotlines though.


     


     


    So these are the key five rumours identified to date, along with others like the possibility of VR or AR also playing a part. But we’ll just have to wait and see exactly what Rockstar have up their sleeves when it’s eventually revealed to us.


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    The Real Reason Endless Games Are So Popular

    The dominance of video games in popular culture has been clearly established in the modern world. Now surpassing even the profit of the film box office, video games have solidified as one of the forms of entertainment perhaps most indicative of our technological age. Of these, there are some experiences which quickly burn out, only to fade from our memories.

    There are others, though, that stick with us, which offer seemingly endless entertainment, even when the systems themselves are apparently simple.

    Why are these neverending games so popular, and which examples best reflect the society of today?

    Many endless games find their inspiration in traditional forms of gaming. Cards, for example, can be used in a wide variety of games. Despite the relatively simple set of 52 classic playing cards from which we work, there are many players who derive near endless enjoyment from just one or two card game variants.
     

    The appeal is here is not an endlessly expansive world of opportunities, but rather a base system which engages us in a way we continually find enjoyable. Today, even in the age of complex online MMORPGs, these systems ultimately reign supreme. On certain sites, we can play live casino games online which offer similar systems in their variants of blackjack, baccarat and poker. We can also play games like gin rummy and hearts with friends or family, or even enjoy a game of solitaire by ourselves endlessly; such is that personal level of appeal.

    While this means that a high level of complexity is not at all a necessity for continued engagement, more complicated systems can be used to help bridge the gap between appealing base systems and fresh content. MMORPGs like World of Warcraft are a strong example of this, as a bridge between the appeal of old and the capabilities of new.

    The basic systems of Warcraft are one much like cards with added twists.

    Some people enjoy playing cards, whereas others prefer the cycle of hunting, leveling up, and tackling increasingly difficult challenges. In this way, the enjoyment from the base levels of these systems might not hold up on the same level as cards, but ever-developing additional content alleviates this issue. This means the limitations can be overcome, and the overall experience is that much more enjoyable for it.

    The other side of this is that there are components of both of these modern and traditional types of games which benefit from experience. For traditional games like cards, there is the skill part of the equation. A newer player and an experienced veteran might be playing on the same table, but a difference in experience means that they aren’t necessarily playing the same game.

    For the MMO example, this still exists, though it also offers the benefit of character building. With each hour spent within a virtual world, a player character can become more powerful, reflecting both the growth of the player and the total experience of a time spent adventuring.

    Endless experiences appeal to us because they represent our capacity as humans for infinite growth. Whether on a strictly skill-based level or holding a digital representation of this growth, endless games add another element to gaming which we value so much – that of progress.

     

    These Are the 5 Greatest VR Games We've Seen So Far


    The 5 Greatest VR Games So Far








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 03 August 2020 / 2,999 Views

    The following article was produced in cooperation with Peco Medija.


    Virtual reality is now a household name when it comes to entertainment technology. Tens of millions of households now own a VR headset. Sony alone had sold over 5 million of its PSVR headsets by the end of last year. The Oculus Rift and Valve Index are also frequently sold out, with news buyers being put on waiting lists.


    All of this might explain why Facebook bought over Oculus in 2014 and is also heavily investing in VR content studios. It means that virtual reality will soon become a truly mass market product. While much of the world is also trying to figure out tech trends like security and privacy as described here, VR is emerging as the forerunner in trends when it comes to entertainment. Oculus has even announced a second version of its highly popular Quest model.


    Microsoft, initially slow out of the starting blocks, now has something called Windows Mixed Reality, which is set to be the company's version of virtual reality. It means that multiple tech giants are now in the race for VR.


    But what are the possibilities of VR? What does one do with a VR headset? The biggest thing right now, of course, is gaming. There are dozens of VR games out there that can keep you hooked to your headset for hours, and below are some of the best ones.


      


    Half-Life: Alyx


    Half-Life: Alyx has been hailed by many as the best VR game to-date. It comes 13 years after the last Half-Life release, which was a smash hit and cult classic, and had fans clamouring after a new one for over a decade. Half-Life: Alyx sees not Gordon Freeman but his ally Alyx as the protagonist, with the player controlling her movements, right down to each individual finger. Just as in previous Half-Life games you can also throw objects at enemies, but this time using your own hands! Alyx is known to have sold out all of Valve's Index headsets within a span of two months and received rave reviews like this one.


     


    Beat Saber


    Beat Saber is one of the most popular VR games to be released so far and can be played by all ages, making it a great source of family entertainment. This rhythm game basically involves the player cutting blocks of music notes with a virtual saber, which is of course controlled by the VR controller, making you feel like a sort of musical samurai. Being an acclaimed rhythm title, the score is also incredible, and the developers have even released an album containing the game's music.


       


    Superhot VR


    Superhot - and now Superhot VR - is an extremely addictive time-bending FPS that began life as a browser-based game up until just a few years ago. The VR version is particularly immersive, with all of the first-person slow-motion dodging of projectiles and killing of enemies from the original release being heightened by VR. 


     


    Astro Bot Rescue Mission


    Astro Bot Rescue Mission is often credited with being PSVR's first must-have system seller. And you can see why. The cutesy platformer is the best rated PSVR game on OpenCritic, garnering universal critical acclaim for its innovative take on the platformer genre and polished execution throughout.


     


    Resident Evil VII: Biohazard


    Watch any scepticism as to whether a game released for multiple platforms without VR can really be anything special in VR wither away by playing Resident Evil VII using PSVR. Not only is the experience amplified in VR, it's arguably the best way to play the game. The gore and grime, the grotesque atmosphere of the mansion, and the jump scares and terror are all elevated to a whole other level in VR, making this a must-try for PSVR owners... providing you have the stomach for it.


     


    Some other very interesting VR games that didn't quite make the list if you're looking for additional suggestions: Asgard's Wrath, Rez Infinite, Polybius, Moss, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, and the really funny Trover Saves the Universe. Which games would make your own personal top 5 list? Let us know below.


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    How Minigames Get You Hooked on a Video Game


    A Game Within the Game: The Instant Appeal of Minigames








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 16 July 2020 / 2,498 Views

    The following article was produced in cooperation with MB Peco Medija.



    If there's one thing that the video game industry is constantly on the lookout for, it's more ways to engage players. With an amazing array of gaming titles released every year, competition is getting harder and developers are constantly improving their games. More detailed graphics, engaging gameplay, and added features like bonus playable characters or weapons are all part of the race – along with fun minigames hidden within the main game.


     
    The Purpose of Minigames


    When done right, minigames are one of the best ways to generate extra hype for a title. They're considered the perfect blend between an Easter egg and an extra game, which is usually received with excitement by players. It's also a chance for a studio to showcase the talent and skills of its developing team, as well as test run some elements they might be considering for separate release or heavier incorporation, especially within a multi-title gaming franchise.


    Most importantly, minigames offer an opportunity for gamers to unwind for a bit outside of the intensive struggle to meet the main game objectives. That's why they're usually a stark departure from the main gameplay and as a rule rely on widely established rules – more often based on puzzle logic, a popular sport like Super Mario Party’s mini baseball, or well-known card games. This approach is certainly not new; popular RPG minigames like Triple Triad, the 3x3 grid card game featured in Final Fantasy VIII that saw many fan-made variations, dates back to the 2000s.



    The Minigames That Made Us


    Perhaps the most well-known example of this kind of spin-off franchise that largely relies on minigames is the Mario Party series, which dates back to 1998, with the latest instalment Super Mario Party releasing in 2018 for Nintendo Switch. Able to be played by up to four players and including a 2 vs 2 and a 3 vs 1 mode, the Switch title is loaded with no less than 80 different minigames, including battle tanks and mini baseball. Banana Blitz is another beloved minigame compilation title, with the new revamped edition featuring 10 of the series' most popular ones, including Monkey Target and Whack-a-Mole.


    [embedded content]


    Pazaak, the card game featured in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, is another classic. A perfect blend between blackjack and deck building, it added an extra RPG spin to the gambling genre. In regular blackjack, you're allowed to hit for another card or stand when you're happy with your hand, in order not to bust by reaching more than 21 points. As explained by Betway, some variations allow the player to split when they're dealt two of the same card, to double their bets or place a sidebet on the dealer’s potential blackjack as insurance. Meanwhile, Pazaak, true to its deck-building origins, also added a side deck of special cards like Plus or Minus Cards and Flip Cards to make things more interesting.


     


    The Future of Minigames is Seamless


    Yet minigames are at their best when they can be seamlessly incorporated within the wider game narrative. It's no coincidence that some of the most popular representatives of the mini-genre are found in Red Dead Redemption 2. First released in 2018, the popularity of RDR2 shows no signs of decline. As Rockstar Games has announced, RDR2 sold a whopping 29 million units across the globe by the end of 2019, which rose from 26.5 million units sold in the previous quarter. By contrast, Rockstar Games’ most popular title, Grand Theft Auto V, sold 20 million units in 2019, to reach a total of 120 million since it was released in 2013.


    [embedded content]


    Among the many things that make RDR2 so popular is the fact that the four minigames it has incorporated stay true to its western theme. Any outlaw worth their salt will spend some time gambling at a saloon, and Arthur Morgan is no exception. Poker and blackjack – in their regular mode, unlike Pazaak – are a staple of the game, while you can also take your chances with Five Finger Fillet or go for something more relaxed and play dominoes with your buddies. The minigames in RDR2 signal the best way forward for the genre; they're based on well-known real games, tie in well to the main story, and offer some necessary respite from the violent Wild West open world of the game.


    These are necessary qualities for any minigame aimed at entertaining players without disrupting gameplay too much – so any developers out there, take note!


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    Best Casino Slots Inspired by Video Games


    Best Video Game Inspired Slots








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted 4 days ago / 3,245 Views

    Note that the following is a guest editorial.



    Video games have evolved tremendously over the last five decades. Today, some virtual reality games are so sophisticated that the experience is hard to distinguish from reality. In fact, the rate of development that video games have undergone can even make people like Elon Musk consider and debate whether life is a reality or simply a simulation.


    The popularity of video games in all their forms is so immense that these games have crossed over to a multitude of other entertainment industries. This includes the film industry, pop culture, and even the gambling industry. Plenty of video slots in both online casinos and land based casinos are based on video games and video game characters. In this article we'll take a look at a couple of the top online casino slots that are inspired by video games.



    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Slot


    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was in a league of its own in terms of popularity when it debuted on consoles and PC in 2007. So it was only a matter of time before an online casino game developer capitalized on the popularity of the game and developed a video slot themed around it. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Slot is brought to you by CryptoLogic (WagerLogic previously) and it certainly does justice to the video game.


    It's a 5 reel slot with 25 paylines and features a pretty impressive cash jackpot of $50,000. In terms of special features, you get all the standards like free spins, wilds, bonus rounds, scatter, and so on. Whether you like betting huge or playing with small stakes, this slot is well worth a spin since it offers a huge betting range between 0.05 and 10.00 coins.


    Want to give Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Slot a try? Check out GamblingMetropolis to find out which casinos you can play this game at and the best offers that you can take advantage of.



    Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Slot


    The origins of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider date back to the 1996 original by the game development company Core Design (which was owned by Eidos Interactive at that point). Lara Croft, the infamous British archeologist who travels around the world and wanders where no other human has set foot before to unearth lost ancient artifacts, was an instant hit and the game went on to become a major franchise with movies, novels, and more all being based around the character. More recently Lara returned to the video game spotlight thanks to Crystal Dynamics' acclaimed reboot.


    When it comes to the online casino industry, it was the online casino pioneers Microgaming that were the first to make a Lara Croft-themed video slot. This is a simple video slot with a couple of in-game bonuses like free spins rounds and the Tomb bonus round, which really keeps the experience exciting and adventurous.


    This video slot has 5 reels and 15 paylines. An RTP of 96.56% makes it pretty well-paying too. The max jackpot is 7,500 times your stake. The slot's features include wilds, scatter, auto play feature, and free spins. The important symbols to note are the Tomb Raider symbol (which is the wild) and the Lara Croft symbol (which is the scatter). The main bonus round is triggered when you land 3 or more of the Idol symbols.


    If you're looking to try the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Slot, we recommend you do so at an eCOGRA certified online casino.


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    15 Horrible Levels That Nearly Ruined Great Games

    For as fun as every game could be, there’s always one specific level or section that spoils your enjoyment. So while certain classics can be joyfully reminisced about, there’s always that one level (or two) that tilts you to this day. Let’s take a look at 15 such games that had these kinds levels.


    GoldenEye 007 – Protect Natalya


    goldeneye 007


    Escort missions are always a highway to misery but GoldenEye 007 made escorting Natalya resemble Bond’s legendary car roll in Casino Royale. First, if you get too far ahead – like in the Jungle – some random enemies might pick her off. She’s constantly in the line of your fire, which makes for accidental kills more often than you’d think. The least Rare could have done was make Natalya somewhat durable but alas, it didn’t.





     

    Why 'Super Mario Sunshine' Is Seriously Underrated

    Super Mario 3D All-Stars has been out for a few days, and reception has been warmly received all told. The compilation of Mario's most iconic 3D outings did come with its fair share of minor controversies, but on the whole it is a diehard Nintendo fan's dream of having the best platformers ever on a modern machine. Ever since its release, critics and Mario purists have been tauting the same line: If you ignore Super Mario Sunshine, you'll have a fun time with some of the plump plumber's greatest adventures. It's a stance I noticed a lot of fans have been drawn to, and honestly it makes me disappointed.

    Super Mario Sunshine might be the black sheep of the series, but there's a lot of underrated, even amazing elements that have improved the entire Mario franchise for the better, and I will help you see the bright summer sunlight as I break down why.



    Mario surrounded by ghostly manta rays leaving trails of electric slime
    Electric slime slathering ghost manta rays. I have no joke, that is bonkers.

    Wait, Super Mario Sunshine is Bad?

    First, it is odd that the community has come around to finding such contention with Super Mario Sunshine. It was critically acclaimed when it launched in 2002, sitting on an impressive 92 Metacritic score at the time. Reviews celebrated how the game built on the foundation of 3D-platforming goodness the groundbreaking Super Mario 64 established, some even declaring it a natural evolution of the red plumber's energetic jumping formula.


    One of the harshest reviews came from Game Critics, which balked at how it was just the same game from 1996 but prettier and with a gimmick. It is telling where the industry was at the time since the same review cited that critical acclaim from other outlets seemed to come more from nostalgia than objective quality, which can be healthily argued. The review also mentioned that the industry was at a turning point after the release of more mature titles like Grand Theft Auto III, which in 2020 feels delightfully quaint compared to where the industry and the medium is now.


    This isn't to discredit the critical voices of 2002 at all, it's just an observation that the zeitgeist at the time was pushing demands for innovation and prestige; the kind of climate that makes something like Super Mario Sunshine a testament to Nintendo both dancing to the beat of its own drum and confident in its own inherent quality. At the time, the greatest crime this game committed was just being more of the same with a few extra bells and whistles, destined to be a mere imitation of something better.


    And yet Super Mario Sunshine has returned on the Nintendo Switch with a visual touch-up, alongside the 1996 classic that introduced the world to the joy of moving in a 3D environment and the 2006 space adventure that propelled the series to dizzying new heights. What exactly is it about Super Mario Sunshine that has made it endure?



    Mario encountering a giant turtle using a yoshi egg for a shell
    Not exactly what I think of when someone says ninja turtle but here we are.

    Super Island Vacation

    The first thing that sticks out with Super Mario Sunshine is that it's the very first main title in the series to feature cutscenes; the very first honest attempt to tell a more in-depth story. The story in question: a simple vacation going horribly wrong. Mario, Princess Peach, and a few her loyal Toad servants arrive at the tropical paradise of Isle Delfino only to discover it covered in sticky tar-like slime. What's worse is the island's source of light and joy, the Shine Sprites, have vanished, and it appears whoever responsible has framed Mario as the culprit.


    After a surreal opening where our hero is put in jail—a ballsy move in retrospect for a company so defensive about their flagship mascot—he is charged with one of the stiffest sentences of community service ever. Mario must scour the island of this sludgy goop, retrieve the Shine Sprites, and catch the real perpetrator. Until he does, Mario is not allowed to leave Isle Delfino.


    Almost 20 years since the character came on the scene, this was the first major entry that didn't start out with the bog standard rescue mission to save the princess from Bowser. The key location isn't the fantastical Mushroom Kingdom but an island resort with its own local inhabitants and quirks. The different levels you explore aren't self-contained worlds of artistic whimsy but notable landmarks and tourist attractions that have real tangible presence and geography on the island. The central conflict is a bit of a mystery: who is the mysterious Shadow Mario that is committing slanderous vandalism against our beloved hero? Just on paper alone, this was a lot of experimental and bold moves Nintendo was making.



    Mario standing on a sandy beach with sunglasses on
    Insert "Deal With It" caption here.

    Send A FLUDD, Gonna Drown 'Em Out

    It's only when we get into the level design, structure, and pacing that some elephants in the room get addressed. In the case of Super Mario Sunshine, that elephant is a talking water pump. Within the first five minutes of the game, Mario gets FLUDD, a superpowered power hose that shoots water and can also convert into a jetpack. This is used to help fight back against the slime infesting the island and give Mario a bit more maneuverability with his distinct jumps.


    When it comes to why Super Mario Sunshine is so derided, FLUDD is the major target of scorn. Most critics claim that giving Mario a jetpack harms his platforming ability, this is the guy who is known for jumping after all. FLUDD was seen as a gimmick to make the game easier as well as pad things out with some light resource management: needing to refill the water tank every now and then.


    There were other elements that alienated fans of Mario 64 as well. The levels do a lot more handholding with more direct instructions like cutscenes and signposts. And for all of the game's cinematic trappings, the actual game starts to feel padded halfway through, with the actual finale being introduced then stretched out to cram in a few more levels and courses.



    Mario in a hotel surrounded by ghosts
    Wait, you wanted the other plumber with a gadget on his back? Well, work with what you have.

    What's So Great About Super Mario Sunshine?

    Now to actually qualify my statement about this game actually being great. Keeping the entire adventure to a tropical island resort meant that a lot of the challenges and boss battles Mario faced had to fit this specific framework, leading to some true outside-the-box level design. Highlights include a boss fight in a haunted casino where the key to winning involves using hot peppers and fruit, a sequence where you perform high-pressure water jet dentistry on a giant eel, and a showdown with a giant robot using a rollercoaster ride to your advantage. That kind of imaginative chaos just wouldn't have been possible without this aesthetic restriction.


    Better still is that very imagination is still grounded in Nintendo's iconic polish and movement fundamentals. Detractors of the game love to bring up the "secret" sequences, levels where Mario has to get to a goal without using FLUDD, as "the only good parts," but it shows just how firm a foundation the game has. For all of the pearl-clutching of FLUDD dumbing things down, it never takes anything away and adds greater appreciation for those areas where you need that extra boost.


    In its own coy way, the very trappings of the game suggests the appeal isn't necessarily challenge but the setting itself. Why would a place meant for relaxation have death traps to begin with? This becomes doubly apparent when you remember that Isle Delfino is a vacation resort, and the antagonist of the game is a little kid whose big plan amounts to getting Mario arrested and thrown in jail for large-scale vandalism. in terms of tone and pacing, this isn't the end of the world but a simple farcical odyssey.



    Mario facing a giant ghost on top of a large roulette wheel
    I got 500 coins on purple!

    Even the game's cinematic storytelling aspirations helped widen what a Mario story could be. If Super Mario Sunshine hadn't proved it was actually possible to thread a story between its levels, we may have been denied the moving children's storybook structure of the Star Festival and the introduction of Rosalina, a character with arguably the most tragic and beautiful origin story in the entire franchise, in the series' next installment, Super Mario Galaxy.


    In fact, this is not the first time Nintendo made a big change in this series. There was another time they had a Super Mario game that was a drastic change to their formula. It added in easier elements, unique worlds, locations, and characters never seen before. It was even derided for being too easy and straying too far from its core. That game was the international release of Super Mario Bros. 2. That game gave us playable Princess Peach, Shy Guys, and many more elements that have gone on to become staples.


    This gets to the heart of why Super Mario Sunshine is so divisive. When people demanded something more challenging and thoughtful, the game was content with just being lighthearted fun. When more critical voices demanded evolution and refinement, the developers experimented with jetpacks and a tropical island setting. It was one of those rare times where Nintendo decided to loosen their collective ties and get a little weird with their franchise, which has only made its odd design decisions stand out more among its peers.



    Mario on the back of a large bird made out of sand
    Trust me, without FLUDD this would have been absolutely impossible.

    But now with 14 years of perspective, a lot of those odd design decisions hold up. The more serene atmosphere and low-stakes scenario works in Super Mario Sunshine's favor, giving it its own identity when compared to its other entries. I am glad more players are able to experience it with fresh eyes outside of the tumult of its original release.


    Plus, it's the only game in the collection where Mario can wear a pair of sunglasses and ride a Yoshi, making it the best game in the collection bar none.


     

    Things Only True Fans Noticed In The Death Stranding Trailer

    Death Stranding has a real star-studded cast, with two actors in particular being notable for their involvement in one of the biggest and longest-running film franchises ever. We're speaking, of course, of Mads Mikkelsen and Léa Seydoux, both of whom have played characters in James Bond films



    Mikkelsen was the lead antagonist of 2006's Casino Royale, playing the sadistic mastermind known as Le Chiffre. With his eye that wept blood and his taste for torture, Le Chiffre as played by Mikkelsen is easily one of the most memorable villains in the franchise's history. Seydoux, on the other hand, notably played Madeleine Swann, daughter of international terrorist Mr. White, in 2015's Spectre. Madeleine was Bond's love interest in that film, eventually riding off into the sunset with him. Seydoux is currently attached to return to the role in the next movie, making her one of the few Bond girls to get a second appearance.


    Beyond this neat connection, it will be interesting to see if Mikkelsen and Seydoux take on similar roles in Death Stranding. Could Mikkelsen's Cliff pose a threat to Sam's mission (it seems so)? And where does Lea Seydoux's character, named Fragile, fit into all of this? It's no secret that Kojima is a huge fan of the 007 movies, so it would certainly make sense for him to take some inspiration from them — heck, we even see Lindsey Wagner's Amelie bleeding from the eyes, just like Le Chiffre.



















     

    Bad News Just Dropped For Fans Craving More Cuphead

    In September of 2017, Cuphead was initially released to PC and Xbox. The 1930s animation style, fast-paced gameplay, and extreme difficulty left fans captivated. The game left its mark on the community, taking home Best Art Direction, Best Independent Game, and Best Debut Indie at The Game Awards 2017. It has picked up many more awards throughout the past three years and eventually became playable on MacOs, Switch, and Playstation 4 as recently as July of this year.



    In 2018, developer Studio MDHR announced that DLC titled The Delicious Last Course was set to release in 2019. The studio decided they needed to push back that date, and in a new announcement trailer in 2019, said the game would be coming in 2020. Now it appears this was not the final delay.



    NEWS

    The official Studio MDHR Twitter account has announced that Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course will be delayed until next year. Here's their full statement:




    While the Delicious Last Course is a continuation of Cuphead and Mugman's grand adventure, it's also a conclusion to the story that began on that fateful day at The Devil's casino.



    In true Studio MDHR fashion, we aren't content for this final chapter to be anything less than our best work. Throughout development, we;ve challenged ourselves to put everything we learned from making Cuphead into the quality of The Delicious Last Course's animation, design, and music.



    Meeting this standard has been extremely challenging for us amid the global pandemic that has affected so many of our fellow developers. Rather than compromise on our vision in response to COVID, we've made the difficult decision to push back the release of The Delicious Last Course until we are confident it will delight the Cuphead community the way we feel it should.



    We know many of you have been waiting to return to the Inkwell Isles, and our goal is to make the trip back there next year a truly magical one.



    With warmest regards,



    Chad and Jared Moldenhauer




    The original tweet can be seen below:











    WHAT THIS MEANS

    This shouldn't come as a huge surprise to players, as we've seen multiple games now delayed due to the global pandemic. However, this is a huge letdown for so many people that fell in love with Cuphead and can't wait for more to be released. Unfortunately, a small, independent developer like MDHR doesn't have the backup funding to push out a game as easily as a Triple-A studio like Activision or EA. Even a larger developer like CD Projekt Red was forced to delay their release of Cyberpunk 2077 to December 13, 2020, because of the pandemic.



    Based on the announcement, it seems like they would rather take more time to ensure that the game is at the level that they want it to be, rather than release a subpar addition to what is already an award-winning title. If you're one of many who are highly anticipating this new addition, it would be best to stay patient. The studio seemed to avoid giving any details of when exactly it could come out, vaguely stating "next year." 



    So don't hold your breath, but take relief in the fact that MDHR are going to make sure this DLC meet the high standard of the original, whenever it is released. 


     

    The Most Stunning Japanese Games Coming To The PlayStation 5

    Whether you are a PlayStation or an Xbox fan, you need to see these fabulous Japanese games for the new console—PlayStation 5!

    Japan is not known only for its sophistication, technological superiority, and its robots. Since 1973, Japan entered the video game market; its impact was spotless over the industry. It introduced a large array of games, arcade games, racing games, and even online casino games Japan Conquered almost all genres in the early stages of video gaming.

    PlayStation 5 is available since November,12th (in some regions you might need to wait until November,17th) it’s released with a variety of games and PS5 exclusives! Among the myriad of games, 5 stunning Japanese games deserved their spots and attracted spotlights to them—stick to the end to see the future of the legendary series Resident Evil!

    Top 5 Upcoming Japanese Games for PS5

    Here are 5 flabbergasting Japanese games you should play on PS5 starting with:

    Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition

    The sixth installment in the Devil May Cry franchise, this is a PS5 expansion for the original game developed by Capcom.

    Its gameplay is similar to the other series, with an eminent concentration on fast paste duals. The fighting mechanics are dynamic and smooth, supported with a multitude of moves and finishers to make slaying demons much enjoyable!

    Ghostwire: Tokyo

    Do you like paranormal superpowers? Or you may like killing ghosts and hunting spirits? If you’re interested in both, lucky you! Ghostwire: Tokyo is a first-person perspective action-adventure game developed by Tango Gameworks.

    The game will be available worldwide in 2021; they did not give a defined date. However, it might be closer than we think.

    The plot of the game is interesting, abnormal entities known as Visitors (which are spirits) wreaked havoc in Tokyo, and your sole aim is to unveil this mystery—and kill them all of course!

    Demon’s Souls

    With its first edition published in 2009, Demon’s Souls is not new; however, the PS5 edition is stunning with buttery-smooth gameplay, which deserves a try.

    Demon’s Souls in an open-world action RPG game, and similarly to other RPG games it offers a multitude of character customization, a gigantic list of various craftables, quests, and way more things to discuss in one post! It is, by far, one of the best RPG games of all time. Pair this with an overpowered console such as the PlayStation 5, and you’ll witness a tremendous gaming experience.

    Final Fantasy XVI

    Final Fantasy XVI (or Final Fantasy 16) the sixteenth installment in the Final Fantasy series! It’s an upcoming RPG game, blended with never-ending action, for PlayStation 5.

    It is developed by Square Enix—a Japanese video game company— and produced by Naoki Yoshida, the director of Final Fantasy XIV.

    Until now, there is no predefined release date for Final Fantasy 16. However, many people and gaming communities are expecting to see it dropping into the market by the end of 2021, or at some point in 2022.

    Resident Evil 8: Village

    Resident Evil Village is the brand new installment in the Resident Evil series and the sequel of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. The game is developed by Capcom, which announced it at the PS5 reveal event in June 2020. The game should see the light in April 2021 if Capcom didn’t face any delays.

    This is the future of Resident Evil following the RS7 path it is also played in first-person perspective! After the major remakes for RS2 and RS3, which are still in third-person, apparently Capcom is changing its strategy and focusing more on first-person horror style.

    The game story is set a few years after Resident Evil 7 incidents, in a village in Europe.

     

    The Real Impact Next Gen Consoles May Have On Esports

    In November 2020, both Microsoft and Sony released their next-generation consoles. The PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X are striving to drive the gaming industry into a new, high-powered era. Regarding their specifications, both developments have taken significant strides forward, with each surpassing the potentials of an average PC. Although their respective hardware varies, there’s a widespread sense of anticipation that the PS5 and Series X will have a positive knock-on effect on the eSports market. So, let’s take a look at how vastly both consoles will alter competitive gaming.

    The Potential to Elevate the Industry

    Fundamentally, one of the most significant improvements that have come to fruition following the release of the PS5 and Series X relates to frame rate. By definition, the term refers to the speed at which images are consecutively displayed on a screen. Generally, the rate that delivers the highest-quality gaming visuals is 60 FPS. The PS4, however, didn’t have a defined frame rate, but many of the titles offered a stable performance at 30 FPS. In comparison, the PS5 is capable of delivering both 60 FPS and 120 FPS, which is a drastic improvement. The step up to 60 FPS will enhance smoothness and in-game inputs, meaning that controller actions will be more rapidly translated.

    [embedded content][embedded content]

    Crucially, this means that console-specific eSports are now better placed to battle the dominance of PCs in the competitive gaming sector. In recent years, some of the market’s most-played titles, such as Fortnite, have been playable at 60 FPS on desktops. As such, consoles no longer offer a less-developed aesthetic. Furthermore, this may also impact eSports-related sectors, such as competitive gaming betting. With gamers now able to enjoy modern-day titles to an equal standard, there’s scope for console eSports to reach new heights, and that includes attracting enhanced numbers of eSports bettors. As described by online casino and sports betting aggregator Legal Betting, prospective bettors can bet on an array of eSports markets, including first kill, map, match, and tournament winner, as well as handicap betting.

    Will Consoles Overtake PCs from an eSports Popularity Standpoint?

    As touched on above, PCs are currently the leading platform in relation to eSports participation. One of the primary factors behind the popularity of desktops relates to in-game accuracy. On consoles, gamers are limited to device-specific controllers. However, on PCs, variation is at the heart of desktop playability.

    Source: Unsplash

    As an article by Gamer Assault Weekly states that a mouse and keyboard setup is exponentially more accurate than alternative systems. For open-world shooters, this enhanced accuracy is a must-have for gamers. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has awarded the highest prize fund of any title in 2020 at around £6 million, and it’s predominantly played on PC. Fundamentally, this is because of the accuracy that competitive gamers can enjoy through mouse and keyboard controls.

    Furthermore, it’s also worth taking into consideration that sector’s most popular titles and their platform compatibility. Along with CS:GO, Dota 2 and League of Legends are also industry-leading games that are exclusive to PC. If next-gen consoles are to upset the market’s existing balance, then it’s essential that both the PS5 and Series X place eSports-friendly titles at the heart of future developments. However, it’s believed that gamers will have to wait until 2022 before they see next-gen-defining games on Sony’s latest release.

    Bringing Balance, but Can They Compete?

    Ultimately, there can be no doubt that the next-gen consoles add much-needed balance to the eSports industry. Concerning performance, particularly in relation to frame rates, video game devices are no longer lagging behind PCs. That said, it’s still unclear if that will be enough to rival the dominance of desktops.

     

    The Five Best Japanese Villains In PlayStation Games


    The Five Best Japanese Villains in PlayStation Games








    by
    Craig Snow
    , posted on 11 November 2020 / 3,724 Views

    This article was written in collaboration with Anna Nilsen.


     


    Without Japan’s contribution to the world of gaming, today’s video games simply wouldn't be the same. Over the years, many memorable games and characters have come from the Land of the Rising Sun, and with the imminent release of PS5, now is an excellent time to look back at some of the best characters from the country's PlayStation games. There are, of course, numerous Japanese heroes and heroines in PlayStation games, but it's often the baddies that are the most memorable characters.


    So, here is our selection of the five best Japanese villains who feature in PlayStation games.


     


    5th - Alma


    One of the most formidable bosses in the action titles Ninja Gaiden Black and Ninja Gaiden Sigma is the terrifying Alma. She's a tough cookie to beat, as she has six primary attack methods. She can unleash energy balls, rip up and throw pillars, charge at you with full speed, grab your legs, use a combo flip kick, and use her almost-inescapable bubble grab to stop you defeating her.


     


    4th - Ash Crimson


    Japan has a varied love of gaming, whether it's on home consoles, in arcades, or even online live casinos like Casumo. This applies to genres too, from puzzlers to RPGs, and one that's particularly popular is the fighting genre, with the King of Fighters series traditionally being one of its stalwarts. Unlike other main characters in the King of Fighters series, Ash Crimson is an evil character. His personal fighting style uses green-flamed pyrokinesis to attack enemies, and he's well-known for attempting to steal powers from other characters, leaving them helpless. Strangely, the western market’s response to the character was largely negative due to his appearance and fighting technique. But in Japan he's regarded as one of the best fighter villains of all time. Crimson has so far appeared in a staggering 14 different games.


      


    3rd - Elysion


    Elysion is one of the baddest of bad-asses from the action RPG game Dragon’s Dogma. Leader of the nihilistic cult Salvation, he creates death wherever he goes. Blinded in one eye (by his own hand), the powerful magician is skilled in Dark Magic. You're sure to shiver as you watch him raising skeletons from freshly-deceased humans, but it is perhaps his resemblance to Darth Sidious from Star Wars that makes his very appearance enough to make you want to hide behind the couch.


     


    2nd - Berthold Gregor


    Although other Japanese video game villains are more well-known than Berthold Gregor, he is unquestionably one of the most heartless and evil baddies ever depicted in a PlayStation game. Gregor hails from the cult classic Valkyria Chronicles series of strategy RPGs. He features in both the first game and Valkyria Chronicles III, as well as the Valkyria Chronicles anime series. The radical imperialist supports both the emperor and the Empire, and he will go to any lengths to protect it. According to Gregor, any country that does not bend to the will of the Empire deserves to be obliterated, and his fanatical beliefs enable him to carry out particularly cruel acts on his enemies.


      


    1st - Albert Wesker


    Originally included as a supporting character in the first Resident Evil game, Albert Wesker soon became one of the series’ leading antagonists. He loves to manipulate story events from the shadows and is well-known for being sadistic, cunning, intelligent, and power-hungry. The fact that Wesker wants to make the human race as we know it become extinct is enough to demonstrate his evilness. A traitor and enemy to most of Resident Evil’s heroes, this super-villain has appeared in an incredible 27 different games, including Umbrella Corps, Capcom Super League Online, Resident Evils 4 and 5, and many more.


    More Articles






     

    Everything You Need To Know About Online Keno

    Keno is a game of luck that’s been around for many centuries. Although it originated in China, its name has French (Latin) roots and bears the meaning of five winning numbers. The game itself is similar to the lottery, as it allows you to win big even if you place a small bet.


    Even though online casinos typically feature one or two online keno variants, it still attracts millions of passionate players worldwide, making it one of the most popular casino games.


    Keno casino game

    Keno casino game

    If you’re just getting started with online casinos and wish to play keno, our short guide will introduce you to the game’s basics.


    Keno Rules

    As mentioned, keno is a luck-based game, meaning you can’t influence or predict the outcome. In online keno, all numbers are drawn using an RNG (random number generator), so any strategy is futile.


    Here’s how the game works:



    How to Play Keno in an Online Casino

    Before we show you how to play the game in an online casino, we’d like to point out that there are online slot games dedicated to keno. If you wish to learn more about them, read the Keno Slots 101 guide.


    Below are step-by-step instructions to playing online keno:



  • Find a reputable online casino and create an account.

  • Select your preferred payment method and fund the account.

  • While you’re there, claim a welcome bonus if there’s one you can use on keno.

  • Go to the game lobby and start the game.

  • Place a bet, select the numbers, and enjoy!


  • That’s it! As you can see, keno is a pleasant and straightforward game to play. So, if you feel like today is your lucky day, go ahead and visit an online casino!


    Types of Keno Bets

    Even though there is no clear winning strategy in keno that would ensure a win, you can choose different bets, boosting the potential payouts. Here are your options:



    Helpful Keno Tips and Tricks

    While the most important aspect of playing keno is choosing a safe and reliable online casino, some tips might come in handy. Take a look:




     

    Are These The All-Time Best Superhero Games?


    DC and Marvel’s superhero characters have a stretch that reaches far beyond the pages of the comic books that spawned them. One of the most popular uses of characters like Batman, Superman or the Hulk is the many online PlayStation and Xbox games that build on the narratives created in the comics. Here is our list of all-time best superhero games.


    Spider-Man: The Movie

    Spider-Man The Movie GameSpider-Man The Movie Game


    Activision‘s Spider-Man: The Movie from 2002 remains a classic, even after all these years.


    Building on the success of the previous version of the game, this one is notable for its better 3-D environments, particularly the outdoor ones where swinging between buildings and over rooftops is pretty exhilarating. Just bear in mind that nearly 20 years on the graphics do look somewhat dated.


    If you choose to play, you’ll notice that the characters are voiced by the stars of the movie, William Dafoe and Toby Maguire.


    The gameplay essentially revolves around completing levels by overcoming groups of baddies in hand to hand combat, outfoxing them by special Spider moves. It’s not that easy to complete any of the missions and its enduring legacy is built on the fact that there is a lot to learn before you can finish the entire game.


    The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction

    superhero games The-Incredible-Hulk-Ultimate-Destructionsuperhero games The-Incredible-Hulk-Ultimate-Destruction


    Also from the 2000s, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, the PS2 game, is a bit lighter on plot features than Spider-Man. Instead, it focuses on sheer destructive power and fighting fun – as you might expect from a game centred around an incredibly strong and angry green monster.


    Not only can Hulk cause mayhem with his fists and feet but he can also weaponise pretty much anything in his vicinity – picking up cars, trucks, buses and streetlamps to hurl at perceived enemies. Expect lots of carnage as you make you way through all the missions and level-ups to completion. This is splendid, cathartic fun and a great way to kill time if you have nothing better to do than cause damage!


    Captain America: Super Soldier

    superhero games Captain America: Super Soldiersuperhero games Captain America: Super Soldier


    Another classic third-person action game featuring a Marvel hero is the excellent Captain America: Super Soldier from SEGA released in 2011.


    Broadly speaking, the plot of this game is for the patriotic character of Captain America to defeat an arch-villain named Armin Zola. There are plenty of weapons and moves at your disposal, as well as an excellent Vibranium Shield, used to fend off bullets and other attacks from enemies. There’s plenty of levelling-ups and upgrades to your armoury as you go too.


    This is one of the quirkier games on our list but worth checking out if you haven’t already.


    The Dark Knight Rises Video Slot

    The Dark Knight Rises CasinoThe Dark Knight Rises Casino


    The use of comic book characters in video slots is commonplace, with gambling behemoth Playtech striking a licensing deal to use them across many traditional and progressive prize slot games.


    One of our favourites is The Dark Knight Rises, which is a few years old but still available at most new slot sites with Playtech games.


    Built on the narrative of the third film in the Christopher Nolan trilogy, this game is as much about winning money as it is about entertainment. However, its use of free spins and a Fusion Reactor Bonus game that awards special multipliers to be applied to all wins in the bonus round is compelling stuff.


    Just remember to play within your budget and responsibly at all times.


    batman-arkham-knight-screenshot-2batman-arkham-knight-screenshot-2


    Batman: Arkham Knight

    The follow up to Arkham Asylum, 2015’s Arkham Knight from Rocksteady Studios, is a supernatural-infused Batman game with plenty of fighting action and a storyline that can take well over 12 hours to complete.


    Batman here is voiced by Kevin Conroy, whilst Mark Hammil features at the Joker. A very dark version of Gotham City is brilliantly drawn out and there is plenty of investigating to do, exploring every nook and cranny of Gotham, whilst searching and destroying baddies.


    The best part is finally getting access to the Batmobile! Arkham Knight is one of the best superhero games ever created. It’s a real treat worth investing time and money in if you like the darker side of the Batman stories.


    These are just five of the hundreds of games available for superhero fans right now. Of course, the Marvel and DC characters are the gifts that just keep on giving. So, expect plenty more in the coming years.



    Source link


     

    Are These The All-Time Best Superhero Games?


    DC and Marvel’s superhero characters have a stretch that reaches far beyond the pages of the comic books that spawned them. One of the most popular uses of characters like Batman, Superman or the Hulk is the many online PlayStation and Xbox games that build on the narratives created in the comics. Here is our list of all-time best superhero games.


    Spider-Man: The Movie

    Spider-Man The Movie GameSpider-Man The Movie Game


    Activision‘s Spider-Man: The Movie from 2002 remains a classic, even after all these years.


    Building on the success of the previous version of the game, this one is notable for its better 3-D environments, particularly the outdoor ones where swinging between buildings and over rooftops is pretty exhilarating. Just bear in mind that nearly 20 years on the graphics do look somewhat dated.


    If you choose to play, you’ll notice that the characters are voiced by the stars of the movie, William Dafoe and Toby Maguire.


    The gameplay essentially revolves around completing levels by overcoming groups of baddies in hand to hand combat, outfoxing them by special Spider moves. It’s not that easy to complete any of the missions and its enduring legacy is built on the fact that there is a lot to learn before you can finish the entire game.


    The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction

    superhero games The-Incredible-Hulk-Ultimate-Destructionsuperhero games The-Incredible-Hulk-Ultimate-Destruction


    Also from the 2000s, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, the PS2 game, is a bit lighter on plot features than Spider-Man. Instead, it focuses on sheer destructive power and fighting fun – as you might expect from a game centred around an incredibly strong and angry green monster.


    Not only can Hulk cause mayhem with his fists and feet but he can also weaponise pretty much anything in his vicinity – picking up cars, trucks, buses and streetlamps to hurl at perceived enemies. Expect lots of carnage as you make you way through all the missions and level-ups to completion. This is splendid, cathartic fun and a great way to kill time if you have nothing better to do than cause damage!


    Captain America: Super Soldier

    superhero games Captain America: Super Soldiersuperhero games Captain America: Super Soldier


    Another classic third-person action game featuring a Marvel hero is the excellent Captain America: Super Soldier from SEGA released in 2011.


    Broadly speaking, the plot of this game is for the patriotic character of Captain America to defeat an arch-villain named Armin Zola. There are plenty of weapons and moves at your disposal, as well as an excellent Vibranium Shield, used to fend off bullets and other attacks from enemies. There’s plenty of levelling-ups and upgrades to your armoury as you go too.


    This is one of the quirkier games on our list but worth checking out if you haven’t already.


    The Dark Knight Rises Video Slot

    The Dark Knight Rises CasinoThe Dark Knight Rises Casino


    The use of comic book characters in video slots is commonplace, with gambling behemoth Playtech striking a licensing deal to use them across many traditional and progressive prize slot games.


    One of our favourites is The Dark Knight Rises, which is a few years old but still available at most new slot sites with Playtech games.


    Built on the narrative of the third film in the Christopher Nolan trilogy, this game is as much about winning money as it is about entertainment. However, its use of free spins and a Fusion Reactor Bonus game that awards special multipliers to be applied to all wins in the bonus round is compelling stuff.


    Just remember to play within your budget and responsibly at all times.


    batman-arkham-knight-screenshot-2batman-arkham-knight-screenshot-2


    Batman: Arkham Knight

    The follow up to Arkham Asylum, 2015’s Arkham Knight from Rocksteady Studios, is a supernatural-infused Batman game with plenty of fighting action and a storyline that can take well over 12 hours to complete.


    Batman here is voiced by Kevin Conroy, whilst Mark Hammil features at the Joker. A very dark version of Gotham City is brilliantly drawn out and there is plenty of investigating to do, exploring every nook and cranny of Gotham, whilst searching and destroying baddies.


    The best part is finally getting access to the Batmobile! Arkham Knight is one of the best superhero games ever created. It’s a real treat worth investing time and money in if you like the darker side of the Batman stories.


    These are just five of the hundreds of games available for superhero fans right now. Of course, the Marvel and DC characters are the gifts that just keep on giving. So, expect plenty more in the coming years.



    Source link


     

    Best Gambling Options for the PlayStation Systems


    vegas party


    vegas party


    With the release of the PS5 it meant that there are currently 3 different systems available that offer gambling options to players. While the Vita doesn’t have the range of actual software when compared to the PS4 and PS5, it still offers players some great ways to start playing various gambling games.


    We have taken a closer look at some of the best ways to enjoy gambling online with the PlayStation range of systems. Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about the gambling options that are available to you.


    Browser Based Casinos: PS5, PS4, PSVita


    One of the best aspects of modern game development is that cross platform availability has become a lot easier. The advent of HTML5 in browser based game development means that players on a number of different platforms can easily enjoy games without the need for additional software. All it needs is a modern browser.


    All 3 of the PlayStation systems have the ability to play browser based casino games. This means that you can easily create an account with an online casino and start playing at these sites. If you want to play for real money then you will have to fund your account, however most online casinos offer players the ability to enjoy demo versions of games that can be played without using real money.


    This means that you can just play an online casino game without spending any money if you like. However, if you do want to play for real money then that option is also available to you.


    Browser Based Sports Betting: PS5, PS4, PSVita


    This one doesn’t really offer any games to play. All that’s required is access to a browser. From here you will be able to access different online sportsbooks and place your bets. All features that are available at the regular site can be enjoyed here. One small downside when compared to playing online casino games is that playing demo versions aren’t available here. However, if you wanted to do that you could just keep a running tally in a notebook based on the odds that the site offers.


    Vegas Party: PS5, PS4, PSVita


    This is a variety of casino games that’s available for all 3 systems. You can enjoy pretty much everything that you would expect to be able to play in a casino when playing Vegas Party. Although the PS5 is the most advanced system, the PS4 version is actually the best of the 3. This is because the PS5 version is just a conversion of the PS4 version and doesn’t have the full functionality that the source material offered.


    However, all 3 games do offer some great choices and are plenty of fun. You don’t get quite as much choice as if you chose to play at a real online casino, but it does have the advantage of being able to be played without an online connection. All the games here are designed very well, it’s obvious that the developers had plenty of knowledge of casinos to be able to provide some authenticity to the title.


    Prominence Poker: PS5, PS4


    This title isn’t available on the Vita, however what makes it really stand out for the other 2 systems is that it’s a free to play title. It can connect online to make it simple for players to compete against each other and really enjoy an online contest. While it’s limited in terms of game variation, it’s Poker or nothing here, it is extremely well made.


    The graphics are great and the gameplay is superb. The AI really knows what it is doing so if you’re not at the top of your game then you will be taken to the cleaners. The true value in this title is playing against other people though. If you want to play a variety of different casino games then an online casino is probably your best bet, but if you love Poker this is a great title to play.


    GTA V Online: PS4, PS5


    GTA V Online has been a fantastic way to keep GTA V alive. The game was originally released in 2013, so it has quite a few years under the hood at this point. The casino aspect of this game wasn’t shipped with the original title and it’s an online only aspect. So you won’t be able to play this unless you’re playing online. This isn’t too big a deal though because at this point anyone who plays GTA V tends to be playing it online.


    The resort here is absolutely superb. You have access to everything you would in a real life casino. In fact the only thing you can’t do here is win real money. All of the games are designed very well and players even have the ability to purchase a penthouse suite if they are successful enough in the game. This is a great way to gamble online on your PS4 or PS5 and offers the next best experience to playing at a real online casino.