Cinematech Episode 282: “More Legends”
Timecode: 0:11: A CG cutscene from the game based on the flick loosely based on the Ćon Flux. The cutscene shows a decent-looking render of the beautiful Charlize Theron as Aeon Flux herself. I have no idea how the game compares to the flick or the original animated series, but Theron won an award from the Spike Video Game Awards for reprising her role for the game. The game was actually released before the flick. Do we have a trope for that?
The Aeon Flux flick is weird but stylish. If you have at least vague memories of the animated series created by Peter Chung as a release from doing character designs for the family-friendly Rugrats cartoon, then it probably won't surprise you to learn that Chung was basically cut out of the filmmaking process like so many other animation/comic book creators whose works are (theoretically) adapted into live action. The Aeon Flux series was weird and stylish also, but it had a truly otherworldly sci-fi feel to it, and a very unique and interesting animation style. I did like how the flick recreated one of the original series' bumpers where Aeon catches a fly with her eye. In the original series, they made her eye look like a Venus fly trap, which they couldn't quite do in live action, but it was at least an attempt.
5:52: A clip from an arcade game from Taito Legends. It appears to be a first-person light gun game where you save human colonists aboard a space station from aliens. Probably influenced by Alien, like many other games, even those not of the sci-fi genre. The aliens in this game are more colorful and less Fruedian than the Alien series' incredibly disturbing Xenomorphs.
13:35: Clips from Total Overdose, a Max Payne-ish third-person run and gun action game with cheap graphics and a Mexploitation influence. Xplay made fun of how stereotypical it was, which I don't dispute, but the game was kinda fun from a demo that I played of it. However, Cinematech put stereotypical mariachi music behind its montage of clips from the game. Laziness, or deep satire? The world may never know.
The ep ends with a brief clip from a Japanese trailer for Kingdom Hearts II. This show was all over KHII like fans are clamoring for details about Kingdom Hearts III, so there will be a lot of gushing about it before this liveblog is over.
Cinematech Episode 283: “The Classics”
1:44: A brief clip from the intro to The Ring: Terror's Realm, a Dreamcast survival horror game from 2000 that came out way ahead of the American remake released in 2002 and the ensuing J-horror craze in North America. This intro mixes some prerendered graphics with live-action footage. The story of the game involves the Ring Virus, and a woman named Meg Rainman's attempt to investigate it after her boyfriend falls prey to it. Kind of a bizarre spinoff of the Ringu franchise, but could it be much worse than The Ring Two?
2:00: The anime intro to SkyGunner, a cute PS2 game by Atlus that was a 3D shooter with three different characters and planes to choose from. The generally cute humanoid characters all have tails, for some reason. Considering that this is an older game by Atlus, it's probably rare as all heck now.
12:51: The climatic final battle of Super Metroid, where bounty hunter Samus Aran attempts to kill the Mother Brain. When Samus seems to be nearly defeated by Mother Brain, a baby Metroid that imprinted upon her as its mother bursts onto the scene, having grown considerably. It takes on the Mother Brain, latching onto her head and absorbing some of her energy. It then gives the energy back to Samus before being killed by Mother Brain. A revitalized Samus slays Mother Brain and escapes the planet before it self-destructs.
I only played a little bit of Metroid: Other M, but I did kind of like Samus' line in the prologue, which recreates the battle in CG:
- Samus: Mother... Time to go!
15:45: The intro to State of Emergency, Rockstar Games' followup to Grand Theft Auto III, that seems to have faded into obscurity. But OMG, is the opening narration ever Harsher in Hindsight as it sets up the plot and justification for the rioting going on in the game:
- Since the collapse of the Federal Government, and the global economic crisis, The Corporation has been building a brighter future for its citizens. Based on principals of order, loyalty, and civic obedience, The Corporation has created a nation that all citizens can feel proud of.
Apparently, people got tired of The Corporation's nation, as the intro fades in to show people running around and looting TVs. A heavily armored cop catches one of the looters and begins to beat him.
20:09: Clips from Condemned, an intriguing game from SEGA and Monolith released early on in the Xbox 360's life cycle. In this first-person game that blends forensic investigation, melee and firearm combat, you play as Ethan Thomas (voiced by Greg Grunberg), a forensic investigator who becomes wrapped up in a conspiracy involving a disturbed serial killer and the strange effect his murders are having on the city's homeless population, who act aggressive towards Thomas and serve as the most common antagonists of the game. The plot is complex and strange, and the ending is notoriously bizarre. The game was released as Condemned: Psycho Crime in Japan.
I enjoyed Condemned. It was a unique and genuinely creepy game. The forensics element was fun, as you had to use a number of different tools over the course of the story.
Greg Grunberg did not reprise his role for the game's Contested Sequel, Condemned 2: Bloodshot, which was criticized for making questionable changes to the original character designs, being an Actionized Sequel, and the way in which it attempted to continue and expand the story of the original game. Sadly, one of the series' developers feels similarly nonplussed about the sequel. In a NeoGAF interview in regards to the possibility of there ever being a Condemned 3, they said:
- "Sadly it will never happen. Condemned 2 just didn't sell enough copies. It is sad that Condemned 2 got caught up in the 'everything needs multiplayer'. We could have really used the staff on multiplayer to make the single player campaign amazing. There was some good ideas of where to take the game. I've always wanted to do a reboot and just play Condemned 2 off as a bad hangover and have Thomas closer to what he was in C1."
One last piece of trivia before we go. Grunberg has not had many roles in video games, but besides Condemned, he also appeared in L.A. Noire, a game masterminded by the guy behind The Getaway. Noire was another game about cops investigating crimes, this time in Los Angeles in the late 1940s. In Noire, Grunberg ironically plays a defensive man who is a suspect in his wife's murder. Ethan Thomas would not approve! Grunberg's likeness was also ported into the game and his face mo-capped for his performance, like all of the other characters in the game.
Are Hollywood actors enjoying a Renaissance in video games, not just providing their voices, but also their likenesses and motion capture? Norman Reedus in Silent Hills here, Kevin Spacey in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare there...
- Hardcore Gaming 101's review of SG