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Live Blogs Let's Watch: Select Episodes of Cinematech (The Original Series)
BearyScary2014-10-09 15:34:35

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Cinematech Episode 271: “Infectious Humor”

This ep features clips from a PSP game called Infected, which was an anticipated game for the system, but seems to have wound up forgotten shortly after its release. The game was about a cop who had antibodies for a zombie plague ravaging New York. He used his blood as a weapon for destroying the zombies while trying to reach someone who could cure the plague.

Timecode: 10:25: A speedrun of one of my favorite games, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PS1, 1997), in seven minutes and 16 seconds. As Albert Wesker would say in Resident Evil 5, “Seven minutes. Seven minutes are all I have to play with you.” In this speedrun, the player chose Richter, who is an unlockable character if you name your save file a certain way when starting a new game. The speedrun is relegated to the lower-left corner after about a minute of gameplay so that other games can be shown. The speedrunner exploited Richter's unique moves to expedite the playthrough as much as possible.

11:04: The gorgeous CG intro of Vagrant Story, one of Square's more unique PS1 games in that experimental era.

11:49: Clips from Tobal No. 1, another PS1 game from Square. This was a fighting game with character designs by Akira Toriyama. The game featured unique, flat-textured, gouraud-shaded graphics, which have aged kind of well compared to how grainy and chunky several PS1 games looked. Tobal 2, shown right after TN1, looks even better. I remember game mags at the time clamoring for the sequel, but it was never localized and officially released in English.

Cinematech Episode 272: “Spoiler Warning”

This ep starts off with a spoiler alert for Stubbs the Zombie in: Rebel Without a Pulse, a 2005 Xbox game made with the Halo engine. This clip spoils the ending of the game. Taking place in the 1950s, the story is that Stubbs is a zombie who was a salesman when he was alive, and throughout the game, he is looking for Maggie Monday, a woman in a blue dress with whom he is in love. When a playboy named Andrew Monday builds the town of Punchbowl over Stubbs' burial site, he rises from the dead to seek revenge and to find Maggie.

When Stubbs reunites with Maggie, she tells the story of the first and last time that they met back in the summer of 1933. He stopped at her door, and she was immediately attracted to him. She pulled him inside for an intimate encounter, which was rudely interrupted by her father, Otis. He ran Eddie out of the house and shot him. Nine months later, however, she gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, whom she named Andrew, who is less than pleased to learn of his true parentage.

Andrew: Are you telling me my daddy was... a traveling salesman?! Who eats brains?!

Stubbs pulls a bouquet and a bot of chocolates out of his carcass. Maggie embraces him, and he starts gnawing into her skull, making her a fellow zombie.

The rest of the ending isn't spoiled until later on in the ep, making Book Ends for the episode. The newly zombified Maggie stops Stubbs from killing Andrew, although he dies when a nuclear bomb is dropped on City Hall in an attempt to contain the zombie outbreak. Thanks, Mom? Anyway, Stubbs and his zombie boo escape the bomb's radius by leaving in a boat.

The game was praised for its licensed soundtrack, appropriate for the time period. It has to be the only game besides Lollipop Chainsaw (another game with zombies, albeit one where you kill them instead of playing as one) to use the "Lollipop" song.

A funny piece of trivia about this game is that infamous anti-video game violence senator Joe Lieberman criticized it for glorifying cannibalism.

Cinematech Episode 274: “Silent Craft”

An ep featuring clips from Silent Hill and Warcraft games, and so much more.

1:56: Lost in Blue, Konami's attempt at reviving their Survival Kids franchise on the Nintendo DS. SK was a unique sort of top-down RPG about a kid (you can choose to play as a boy or a girl) stranded on an island, forced to learn how to survive and maybe even escape. LiB was a 3D update of SK, but this time, you played as a boy named Keith who had to not only look out for himself, but also a girl named Skye that got stranded with you. Keith has to lead Skye around because she has bad eyesight. A lot of information was relegated to the bottom screen, which allowed the player to monitor both characters' overall condition, including thirst, hunger, stamina, and overall health levels. All interesting ideas, but LiB vanished into obscurity.

I tried to play SK through emulation once, got stuck and confused, and lost interest.

7:42: Clips from Dragon Quest VIII, the only brand-new Dragon Quest game on the PS2. Co-developed by Level-5 (Dark Cloud, Professor Layton), this game had classic gameplay similar to other DQ games, but with a considerable aesthetic upgrade with cel-shaded graphics and quite a bit of voice acting.

11:25: “Some parts of this game may be considered violent or cruel”, warns the content advisory screen for Silent Hill 3, superimposed over a blood-red image of protagonist Heather Morris crushing one of the game's monsters (a Slurper, maybe?) with a pipe, kicking off a montage of clips from Silent Hill 2, 3, and Silent Hill 4. To be honest, I always thought that this warning was a bit... vague. Or maybe it is simply because it does not do the most disturbing parts of 3 justice. They are impossible to describe without spoiling some of the game's plot twists because they are so unique to the game. There is simply no precedent for “Game may include footage of demon fetuses.” The montage itself is just sort of OK because it imposes generic classical music over the games' own audio and shows random clips from the game's cutscenes without much context.

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