Cinematech Episode 247: “Feudal Japan Set”
An episode without a central theme but sprinkled with shorter themes explored throughout.
Timecode: 0:15: Clips from Radiata Stories, a cute PS2 RPG created by tri-Ace. This is a fantasy RPG that I've wanted for a while but have yet to get. The hero has the ridiculously Western name of Jack Russel (Terrier?). The game must have been fairly successful to sell over 400,000 copies worldwide. The game had the same composer as Game Arts' classic RPGs such as LUNAR and Grandia. It has 176 different characters to recruit, which is a feature that I like in other RPGs, such as Suikoden... when it was still in 2D, at least.
6:11: Following the trailer for the America's Army game, a montage of games featuring America, American landmarks, flags, and fireworks. Examples include the original Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter (had a Mount Rushmore stage), Freedom Fighters, Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 (featured an American flag bikini), Punch-Out!!, Cruisin' USA, and NBA Jam (featured President Bill Clinton as a joke character). The montage ends with footage of fireworks with the message, “Cinematech [-] Peace is Patriotism”. Did Cinematech just get political? Oh, yes, it did, and it won't be the last time, either.
I find it funny how politicians all over the world (not just in North America) criticize video game violence and the people who play violent video games, yet North America went ahead and made games promoting its army. Video game violence in apparently OK when it is for military promotion purposes. I'm just sayin'.
7:13: A very brief clip from the Sega Dreamcast horror game D2 featuring the hunting aspect of the game. Protagonist Laura Lewis shoots a hare with a rifle and the game declares that she got “2 meats”.
10:00: Clips from a homebrew PC FPS called Pencil Whipped with a very unique, black and white, sketchy art style. The game was made by Lonnie Flickinger in 2000.
11:48: A very brief clip from a first-person FMV game called Critical Path. It shows the main character shooting a mob of enemies with a chaingun, rescuing a tough chick named Kat who is in way over her head, who then stands up and says, “Great. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna run like hell.”
12:08: Through the magic of segues, the intro of RLH: Run Like Hell, a third-person sci-fi horror action game. The main character, Nick (voiced by Lance Henrikson in his first but far from last video game voiceover role), is killed by a large-fanged alien in a nightmare. When he wakes, his wife, Samantha, who is still in her lingerie (he, however, is fully dressed), gets up to comfort him. Suddenly, their space station falls under attack, and Samantha is sucked through some kind of portal. Nick has to rescue her and escape whatever is attacking the station.
RLH looked good for its time, but was generally considered average. Turned out that the game suffered from a five-year Development Hell and an upper-management-mandated Genre Shift late in its development cycle from Survival Horror IN SPACE! to third-person shooter... in space. The series was planned to be a trilogy. Compare and contrast the later Dead Space trilogy from Electronic Arts. Interestingly, the game was published by Capcom in Japan...
13:59: Zombies Ate My Neighbors, an overhead, frantic, two-player action game for the SEGA Genesis and Super NES with a parody/horror theme. The game had over 40 levels of intense action where you could defeat a variety of enemies (zombies were but one of them) with an arsenal of weapons, including wacky stuff such as soda cans, silverware, tomatoes, and weed whackers (in the garden of evil?!). The game had passwords every four levels, but the passwords start you off with no special weapons or items, leaving you to face monstrous freaks with only the default weapon: a squirt gun. Maybe it is full of holy water? Did this choice make the game too hard? Possibly. Somewhat curiously, the game received some censorship for violence in Europe and Australia, where the game was also renamed Zombie. The violence was also toned down for the Super NES version. This Cult Classic was rereleased for the Wii's Virtual Console download service right before Halloween in 2009.
21:46: More clips from Critical Path. My favorite part is when Kat, the main character, and a creepy prisoner are in the torture chamber of the Big Bad, Minh. The creepy prisoner winds up getting burnt to ash by an electric chair, and Kat quips, “Shocking. You really ought to quit smoking.” Dang. With one-liners like that, she should be in a Capcom game. She does not even freaked out by how a guy just got burnt to a crisp before her very eyes. She must have really hated that guy.
There's also a brief part where the writer/s got clever and had Kat claim that, when she was flying to the island, she would be in and out of this mission in “four hours, 20 minutes, tops.” That is a reference to stoner culture.
Critical Path is a very obscure FMV game. I remember hearing Spoony complain briefly about how much trouble he had getting the game to run long enough to get even a tiny scrap of footage for it in one of his videos about FMV games. The requirements for getting the game to run are painfully specific.
Linkies of the Walking Dead
- Hardcore Gaming 101: Zombies Ate My Neighbors
- Happy Video Game Nerd's reviews of ZAMN and its sequel, Ghoul Patrol
- Hardcore Gaming 101: Critical Path (featured in their "Your Weekly Kusoge" column)