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Live Blogs Let's Watch: Select Episodes of Cinematech (The Original Series)
BearyScary2013-11-28 20:37:45

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Mother, May I Enthusiastically Rise to Haunt the Gate of Eternity?

Cinematech Episode 213: “Games of May”

The biggest game releases of May, 2005.

Timecode: 0:04: The highly unusual intro to Enthusia Professional Racing (Konami, PS2). Most racing game intros are just montages of vehicular carnage, but Enthusia has an intro with a storyline. It opens with the illuminating quote, “If you believe you can, therefore you can”, attributed to Thomas the Tank Engine “Anonymous”.

The storyline for the intro features a young lady who grew up around racing and became a photographer of high-speed racing events. The woman looks enough like Olivia Munn that it could cause serious double-takes, especially since she was hired on Attack of the Show! like a year after this ep aired. It is implied that the woman got caught up in a car wreck, but then it shows her being okay, standing in a tunnel.

Enthusia was not very well received. It was praised for its innovative features, but criticized for their implementation. Such features included a slot machine mechanic for winning your own copy of one of the cars you raced against in the last race you ran. Sometimes, the player would not get a car at all!

5:11: The video game based on Revenge of the Sith. It shows a scene where Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice, Anakin Skywalker, are surrounded by droids. It's kind of funny to hear their lightsabers make wub-wub noises when they run around. The Jedi have weaponized dubstep!

James Arnold Taylor sounds fine as The Other Darrin to Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan, but whoever is playing Anakin has the dullest of Dull Surprise. The actors' likenesses are quite good, however.

6:04: Clips from Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity, an Atlus turn-based RPG for the PS2, and eventually wound up on the PlayStation Network in September, 2013. This game had character designs from the guy who would later do designs for Persona3 and 4. However, the voice acting is... wow. It's pretty terrible. In their subsequent games, Atlus remedied that problem by hiring some of the top anime English dub actors around today.

8:49: A trailer for Advent Rising, which was supposed to be a big, multiplatform hit for publisher Majesco and the first of a trilogy of games. It was a third-person action-adventure game with a script written by Ender's Game creator and unrepentant homophobe Orson Scott Card with a musical score by Tommy Tallarico. So how did Rising fall? Could it have been the buggy gameplay and "flick targeting" that failed to pique reviewers' admiration? There was also the issue of a contest set up to promote the game where the first person to prove they had found a series of hidden symbols in the game could win a million dollars, which didn't quite work out due to problems with Xbox Live's global syncing making it an unfair playing field for competitors. If the game had been successful, the trilogy would probably have finished on seventh-gen consoles.

The series' homepage is still up. Huh.

11:14: Pariah, a fairly unpopular sci-fi Xbox FPS from a publisher called Groove Games and developed by Digital Extremes, who co-developed the Unreal series. Here is the intro and some gameplay. The game used the Unreal Engine tech of the era and had some smooth graphics and nice character models. But the game itself just wasn't very fun. I played it on an Official Xbox Magazine demo disc, got bored, and played Psychonauts instead, having a much better time. I ultimately wound up buying Psychonauts.

The story had some guys trying to transport some chick named Karina who was put into a cryogenic capsule to slow down the development of some terrible, transgenic virus inside of her. When their transport ship gets shot down, Karina somehow gets out of her capsule and threatens the main character (a doctor named Jack Mason), completely unaware of what had happened to her and why she was put into stasis. As soon as he explains to her that she's infected and that the virus may transmit through the blood, the ship's pilot sees her threatening Jack and gets the bright idea to shoot her in the shoulder, spilling some of her blood on his face, infecting him with the same virus and inextricably linking them. Adventure ensues!

I can't recall why exactly I disliked this game so much. It must have been one of those games that was just kind of "there". But rewatching this ep made me realize that the intro was kind of unique and sprinkled with black humor. Maybe they put more effort into the story than the gameplay. The characters look quite nice for their time, detailed and realistic but not so much as to trip into the creepy Uncanny Valley.

13:39: WarioWare WarioWare: Twisted!, the second WW game. The gimmick of this Game Boy Advance game's cartridge was the gyro sensor inside of it, which was the main method of controlling the game and winning the microgames. There was also a rumble feature.

19:08: Clips from Haunting Ground, a Survival Horror game from Capcom for the PS2. It was the story of Fiona Belli, a beautiful maiden who was inexplicably kidnapped and held hostage inside of Belli Castle. With the help of a loyal dog named Hewie, Fiona must escape the castle and the creeps that populate it, and pursue her for reasons unknown to her at the game's outset. HG is considered a spiritual successor to the Clock Tower series initially created by Human Entertainment.

A dog resembling Hewey had a cameo in Resident Evil 4. He was the dog that Leon could free from a bear trap. If freed, Hewie would come to Leon's assistance during the boss fight against El Gigante! Good puppy~

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