Video Game Review: Super Mario Land (Gameboy)

Super Mario Land was released in 1989 as one of the launch titles for Nintendo’s first hand held console, the original Gameboy. I think it was the first game I actually played on the platform.

It’s pretty much a standard side scrolling Super Mario Bros. game. It’s similar to the original Nintendo trilogy of games, being closest to the first one in the series.

What I like about it is that it’s really unique in that you don’t fight Bowser but instead, fight a alien dude in a spaceship. You also fight giant flame breathing sphinxes and a lot of other new types of enemies. Plus, everything either has an ancient Egypt or a UFO theme.

While this also has some of the old baddies in it, the koopas in this game are more like a cross between koopas and bob-ombs. Instead of their shells bouncing around as weapons, they now fall and explode.

Ultimately, this was a pretty imaginative Mario game with a lot of cool things that set it apart from the others before it without diverting away from the gameplay style that made the games popular.

It’s a smooth running, energetic game with cool levels, neat monsters and a final boss that was unlike anything else in a Mario game before this.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: the other Super Mario games for Gameboy and the original Nintendo.

Comic Review: The New Mutants: War Children – One-Shot

Published: September 25th, 2019
Written by: Chris Claremont
Art by: Bill Sienkiewicz

Marvel Comics, 32 Pages

Review:

Being an old school fan of The New Mutants, this was a pretty cool one-shot that took my brain right down memory lane in the best way possible.

This re-teams the creative duo of Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, who were the guys that gave us so many New Mutants stories from their original run.

The story here fits well with their work from thirty years ago. I’m not sure where this would fit, as I don’t remember the details from issue to issue but this is in that great period between the debut of Magik and her eventual (but not permanent) death in the Inferno mega crossover event. This certainly takes place well before Rob Liefeld came in and changed the direction of the title, evolving it into X-Force.

I’m assuming that this was made because The New Mutants are being relaunched in a few weeks on the heels of Jonathan Hickman’s pretty beloved House of X and Powers of X miniseries.

And while I look forward to the new New Mutants comic series, I’d rather just have more of this. I wish that this wasn’t a one-shot and could have been expanded into a miniseries. But the quality of this would have been difficult to pull off in multiple issues on a schedule.

Sienkiewicz’s art has never really fallen off. He’s not a guy that’s been phoning it in later in his career like some of the other greats have done. This is a stunning and beautiful book to look at. Additionally, I thought that Claremont penned a good story that was a throwback to his glory days writing multiple X-comics.

I don’t want to say too much regarding the plot, as I’d rather people pick this up but it mostly revolves around Warlock and Cypher and the fear that Warlock has about losing himself to his nature and hurting his friends.

Old school New Mutants fans will probably dig the shit out of this. I did. And as I said, I just wish there was more.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: the original New Mutants comic book run.

Vids I Dig 118: The Attic Dwellers: ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ – Book Collection

From The Attic Dwellers’ YouTube description: Choose Your Own Adventure, the original and best selling interactive book series where YOU decide the outcome of the story. Choose Your Own Adventure, as published by Bantam Books, was one of the most popular children’s series during the 1980s and 1990s, selling more than 250 million copies between 1979 and 1998.

Film Review: Alice, Sweet Alice (1976)

Also known as: Communion (original title), Holy Terror (edited version), The Mask Murders (reissue title), Sweet Alice (Sweden)
Release Date: November 12th, 1976 (Chicago International Film Festival)
Directed by: Alfred Sole
Written by: Rosemary Ritvo, Alfred Sole
Music by: Stephen J. Lawrence
Cast: Linda Miller, Mildred Clinton, Paula Sheppard, Niles McMaster, Brooke Shields

Harristown Funding, Allied Artists, 98 Minutes, 108 Minutes (unrated version)

Review:

“She is a weird little girl. Did you notice her tits? When I put the tube around her she looked at me, like she wanted me to feel her up.” – Detective Cranston

Many people try to debate over which movie was the first slasher film. While this one isn’t it, it does predate Halloween by a few years. Although, it did come out after Black Christmas. But to me, none of those are the first and I feel like slasher films were born out of Italian giallo. The reason I even bring that up is that this is considered a slasher movie, and it is, but it has a strong resemblance to the giallo style.

This isn’t an Italian picture though. In fact, it was made in New Jersey. But it very strongly takes its cues from the films of Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci and others.

It’s lacking the visual allure of giallo, as it has a more natural and muted color palate but the story structure, the violence and the general tone just fits well with those cool flicks.

The story is about a little girl who is believed to have horribly murdered her younger sister in the church during her first communion. While things aren’t quite what they seem in this movie, the little girl is a real shit and she’s certainly pretty fucked in the head.

However, this seems to be more about tapping into the fear of the nuclear family breaking down in American society. It also might be a critique on the Catholic church. Many people seem to think so. Personally, I think it’s just a story that happens to take place in and around the Catholic church, which has a big presence in New Jersey and the Northeast in general, especially in the ’70s.

All things considered, this is a film that probably shocked some of its audience in its day but it’s hardly as shocking as a lot of the exploitation movies that were at their peak in the same decade. All the things that would’ve caught people off guard all stem from the fact that the title character is a young child.

This isn’t really gory. There’s some blood but the worst stuff is more implied and happens once the camera cuts away. That could also be due to the budget of the production.

Overall, this was a cool movie to check out. It has some cult status among ’70s horror aficionados but it doesn’t really hit the mark for me. At least, it doesn’t reach the heights of the best giallo pictures and I certainly wouldn’t put this above Black Christmas or Halloween.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: other ’70s slasher pictures and Italian giallo.

Film Review: Fatal Fury: Legend of the Hungry Wolf (1992)

Release Date: December 23rd, 1992 (Japan)
Directed by: Hiroshi Fukutomi
Based on: Fatal Fury: King of Fighters by SNK
Music by: Toshihiko Sahashi, Toshio Masuda

Fuji Television Network, Nihon Ad Systems (NAS), Star Child Recording, 46 Minutes

Review:

There were Street Fighter kids, there were Mortal Kombat kids and then their were Fatal Fury kids.

I was a Fatal Fury kid and actually loved all the fighting games put out by SNK on the Neo Geo. And that’s not to say that I also didn’t play the shit out of the other two games but the style of those SNK fighters lured me in.

So when Fatal Fury animes started coming out, I bought them all and watched them almost weekly. I just dug the hell out of these films.

This one, the first of three, is the shortest and probably the worst but it’s still worth a watch for fans of the franchise that would evolve into the uber popular King of Fighters game series.

The story isn’t super exciting and it’s standard fighting game story fare. A bad guy, in this case Geese Howard, killed the two protagonists’ father. The two brothers decide to get revenge when they’re adults ten years later. They meet a Muay Thai ally and all three go to war with the scumbags ruling the city. They also kick ass in a big fighting tournament and draw the attention of the big bad guy.

The main issue I have with this film is that it’s too short. The story could have been better and richer but this just cuts to the chase, sets everything up quickly and then lets the characters duke it out.

If you aren’t familiar with these games, then this probably isn’t something you’ll give a shit about. If you are an old school Fatal Fury fan, this is worth checking out if only to build up towards the third film, which was pretty fantastic from my memory.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: the two Fatal Fury movies that follow.

Retro Relapse: Dude, You’re Not My Girlfriend

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

I think we’ve all known this guy at some point. He’s the guy that is one of your buddies but kind of always acts like the girl in those “overly attached girlfriend” memes. He’s easily upset, always wants to be the center of attention, a total drama queen, a jealous diva and a snooty bitch. What I’m talking about here is a weird enigma that is becoming an epidemic, as many more men seem to be adopting these behavioral traits. If you’ve got a male friend who has a tendency to act more like an annoying girlfriend than a guy you want to go to the game with, this post’s for you.

Guys today, as I have talked about in previous articles, aren’t the buffalo hunting badasses of previous eras. Sure, some of us are, but hunting buffalo is now illegal because our swashbuckling badassery almost wiped them out. This isn’t about murdering tasty buffalo though, it is about getting these bitch men we all know, back on track – if that’s even possible.

A few guys I know, don’t act like men in the realm of building relationships with other men. They don’t seem to understand the unwritten codes and laws of manhood. Those who know these codes, know what I am talking about. If you don’t, it isn’t my fault that your DNA isn’t working properly. These bitch men who don’t seem to know and respect the code and the way things are, tend to act more like sensitive girlfriends who embody a level of neediness more fitting of a spoiled female child at her sweet sixteen party.

I think the easiest example is to paraphrase a texting conversation that I had recently:

Him: Are you coming over for dinner or not?
Me: No, dude. I told you like a week ago when you asked that I had shit to do.
Him: WTF? We never see each other anymore? You never come to my house.
Me: I told you a week ago that we could do something on Wednesday.
Him: Yeah, well I don’t know. I’ve got shit going on too.
Me: Cool. Whatever. Let me know.
Him: So what’s your plans tonight.
Me: I’m going out with (insert random name here) for his birthday.
Him: Oh, him again? Don’t you guys see each other enough.
Me: Well, alright then.
Him: So, that’s it?
(no response)
(5 mins. later) Him: So we’re on for Wednesday?
Me: You’re supposed to let me know.
Him: Well, I really wanted to do something TONIGHT. That was the plan.
(no response)

I think that sums up the kind of dude I am talking about and that’s just one scenario but you get the picture.

I’m not sure why many men act like this but I find it bizarre. There is a whole slew of reasons someone could point a finger at but between the bitch men I know and the bitch men my other male friends know and have told me about, all these guys come from vastly different scenarios and upbringings.

Maybe this is just one of the negative effects that has developed due to modern society pushing for a more androgynous face. Men in America have been becoming more and more emasculated due to a myriad of reasons. I’m not bitching about that per se but when men are demonized for being themselves and young boys are raised in a less manly world, shit like this is what you’re going to get. Also, with a lot of young males being raised as “mama’s boys” due to absentee fathers, one would have to consider that a possible factor. But again, when analyzing the sea of bitch men out there, each one comes from completely different and contrasting circumstances.

I don’t push most of these guys away or blow them off because despite them acting like an approval-seeking needy girlfriend all the time, most of them are actually good and decent people at their core. It’s just that something isn’t working upstairs for them. I don’t know what that is, I wish I did so I could help them in a more effective and direct way than just putting all this out there.

Additionally, you can’t even really point this stuff out to them because, like an annoying girlfriend, they have an insane level of sensitivity. Sorry, but I have never been the type of motherfucker to coddle people, especially a goddamned man. And if I just told them to “man up” they’d misinterpret that as “hey go buy a paintball gun” or worse yet, they’d cry. Hell, I’m wondering how many of these guys will read this and possibly give me the silent treatment. Well, at least for ten minutes or so, until they need me to tell them their pretty.

At the end of the day, I have enough drama and bullshit dealing with women. Granted, I seek out less dramatic women but they always have some level of dramatic bullshit that they will bring to the table. Truthfully, I don’t mind it that much in women overall, if they’ve got their shit generally in check. However, when I hang with my fellow men, it is an escape from dealing with the ladies because it is a totally different dynamic. I get different things from my relationships with women and my friendships with men. I don’t need a bunch of dude’s ruining my female downtime by acting like fucking females. I don’t care and I don’t have the attention span for it. I’d rather just sit home alone drinking bourbon, eating ribeye and watching Steve McQueen movies.

Comic Review: 1985

Published: July 22nd, 2009
Written by: Mark Millar
Art by: Tommy Lee Edwards

Marvel Comics, 146 Pages

Review:

This comic book was cool as hell!

It sort of reads like it’s a season of Stranger Things but where the small town is haunted by Marvel villains instead of weird shit from the Upsidedown. This also came out in the decade before Stranger Things, so it was kind of ahead of the curve but like Stranger Things, knew how to tap into ’80s nostalgia in a brilliant way.

But this was also written by Mark Millar, a true master of his craft.

What’s unique and cool about this comic is that it doesn’t take place in the Marvel Universe, it takes place in our universe.

The story follows a young boy in 1985. He is having issues like any normal ’80s kid dealing with divorced parents. He bonds with his father pretty strongly though, as they both have a deep love of comic books and are experts on Marvel lore. At the same time, Marvel villains start showing up in the real world because there are no heroes here to stop them.

Overall, this was a really neat idea and for the most part, I thought it was superbly executed.

1985 is incredibly imaginative but it really worked so well because the art fit the concept and the tone. While Millar deserves credit for a great story, Tommy Lee Edwards gave it so much more life than just words on paper. And his style works better for the setting than having that sort of standard Marvel art style.

This is one of those comics that I’m happy to have discovered as an adult but wish would have been around when I was a kid. If you know a kid that loves Marvel but they’ve never read this, I think that they’ll probably love the hell out of it.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: the Stranger Things comics, as well as other Mark Millar stories.