Video Game Review: Castlevania: The Adventure (Gameboy)

Fuck me, I forgot how goddamned awful this piece of shit game was until I decided to replay it. I mean, it’s Castle-fucking-vania! How do you screw that up?

Even Simon’s Quest, which a bunch of simpleton’s want to claim is a terrible game (it isn’t) blows this mindnumbing mindfuck out of the water.

The awfulness of this game mainly falls on its mechanics. The controls are horrendous but then, so is the motion and movement of the character on the screen. You thought jumping in some of the NES Castlevania games was infuriating and tedious? Well, wait till you get a load of this shit game.

Granted, you should never actually play this unless you have free access to it and you hate yourself, your sanity and are deliberately trying to be self-destructive with a God Mode code.

Apart from the mechanics, the game is boring, looks boring, has stupid bosses that are generic, uninspiring and don’t channel the same sort of classic horror feel that the NES games did.

Fuck this game. If you own it, burn it.

Rating: 1.5/10
Pairs well with: The original and far superior Castlevania trilogy for NES, as well as the Gameboy sequel.

Comic Review: Plan 9 From Outer Space Strikes Again!

Published: May 6th, 2009
Written by: Darren Davis, Chad Helder
Art by: Giovanni Timpano
Based on: Plan 9 From Outer Space by Ed Wood

TidalWave Productions, BlueWater Comics, 29 Pages

Review:

Since I’m doing a Thanksgiving weekend full of Mystery Science Theater 3000 posts, I figured I’d also review a comic book based on prime cinematic schlock. Granted, Plan 9 From Outer Space was never featured on MST3K, which is baffling, but many of Ed Wood’s movies were. So I feel like this certainly fits the tone.

The story here serves as a sequel to the Plan 9 movie. It takes place in modern times and sees the alien invaders return after fifty years.

This was schlock-y but pretty enjoyable. It doesn’t feel like it exactly taps into the essence of the Ed Wood picture but it does give some solid fan service.

My biggest gripe about it though, is that it is a really short story and this probably needed to be stretched out over four-to-six issues.

Everything just pops off almost immediately and then it is also over, almost immediately. There is no character development and nothing to really grasp onto.

Still, this wasn’t a terrible read, it was fairly fun and definitely energetic. It just completely lacked the real estate it needed to tell any sort of story.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: the movie it is based on, as well as Ed Wood’s other works.

Comic Review: Joe Golem: Occult Detective, Vol. 1: The Rat Catcher and The Sunken Dead

Published: 2015-2016
Written by: Christopher Golden, Mike Mignola
Art by: Patric Reynolds

Dark Horse, 138 Pages

Review:

I’ve been wanting to read the Joe Golem comics for quite awhile. I figured, what better time to start than the month of Noirvember?

What really attracted me to these comics is that they have a really old school pulpy vibe to them that taps into two major pulp magazine genres: horror and crime.

Add in the fact that Mike Mignola was involved in the creative process and I was already sold.

Overall, this was pretty enjoyable and a good introduction to the character and the world he inhabits, which is a version of New York City that is halfway underwater. It’s also full of all types of occult threats, which see our title character, a private investigator, go toe-to-toe with some weird stuff.

I love that this has some Lovecraftian flavor to it in subject matter, visual style and narrative tone.

This chapter in the series sets everything up but it is still two tales that are both entertaining and engaging as standalone stories.

This didn’t set my tits on fire, if I’m being honest, but it did make me want to read beyond this first installment. So I’m hoping that as the Joe Golem series movie forward, it finds its footing a bit more and gives me a series I can happily return to every time a new story is published.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other Joe Golem comics, as well as Mike Mignola’s Hellboy and B.P.R.D. series.

Comic Review: The Walking Dead – Compendium Four

Published on: October 8th, 2019
Written by: Robert Kirkman
Art by: Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, Cliff Rathburn, Dave Stewart

Image Comics, 1159 Pages

Review:

I hated having to wait so long to read this, as it’s been a few years since the last compendium. However, I’ve found that I prefer reading The Walking Dead this way, as it works great for the binge reading model. Plus, it helps me to retain all the smaller details, as I get older and that gets harder. Especially, when I’m reading a dozen or more comics per week.

This is the final compendium, as the comic book series surprisingly came to an end a few months back. The end was unexpected and it was kind of sad. Frankly, I had hoped that this series would’ve gone on to surpass 300 issues ala Dave Sims’ Cerebus and Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. But alas, The Walking Dead, at least in this form, es finito.

This picks up in the middle of the Whisperers storyline, so it actually starts at the same point that the AMC TV show is at. Granted, the comic is very different but the show still takes its major cues from it. And frankly, I’m not a big fan of the Whisperers, so I’m looking forward to what happens after, as once this book gets beyond that storyline, it gets really damn good. In fact, the New World Order story is probably the best this series has ever been.

It actually amazes me that this somehow got better, this far into the series’ run. Robert Kirkman is a special talent and I think that this collection is his magnum opus, thus far into his already impressive career.

Unlike most things that run on for this long, The Walking Dead provides longtime readers with a damn good conclusion. The ending here was spectacular and it made this long journey worth it. It ends in a way that is satisfying while truly bringing the epic story some proper closure.

Now I’d assume that there will be some spinoffs or other miniseries after Kirkman takes a good break. He did write an afterword in the final issue that made sure to point out that Negan was still alive. While that might not mean anything, I hope it does, as the character was left in a way that makes you want to see him fully redeem himself in some way. Plus, he’s a complex and dynamic character that probably deserves a swan song.

I hope that this isn’t dead in the comic book medium but even if Kirkman never dusts this series off to give us some other side stories, it still ended in a way that feels complete and gratifying.

Rating: 10/10
Pairs well with: The other Walking Dead collections.

Video Game Review: Castlevania: Bloodlines (Sega Genesis)

Who doesn’t love Castlevania games?

I’ve played almost all of them up until the late ’00s. Yet, I never got around to playing Bloodlines, which is actually kind of strange, as I owned a Sega Genesis and rented games for it all the damn time.

This was cool to check out now, though.

This plays just like all the other Castlevania games before it, well… excluding Simon’s Quest, as that one was a breed all its own.

Anyway, this plays a lot like the first and third games for the original Nintendo. You work your way through levels, you fight all sorts of monstrosities and you usually get the shit kicked out of you because Castlevania games tend to be hard as shit, even for those of us who have played them pretty steadily over the course of our lives.

For the most part, this Castlevania game is a lot of fun. I like that you have two characters to choose from but if I’m being honest, just pick the dude with the whip because playing a Castlevania game without a whip is like playing a different game entirely. Unless, you’re Alucard and you can transform into cool shit and have a lightning fast rapier. But this game doesn’t have Alucard as a playable character, so just take the whip dude.

This game is also set further into the future and the characters have a lineage to characters of the past. Hence, the name Bloodlines.

Still, the world looks about the same and it doesn’t really matter which century this take place in.

Now I didn’t beat this game. I think I got pretty far but man, this game will crush your ass. I especially had a lot of frustration on the level with the rising water and then having to kill that level’s boss without drowning. That’s the one spot where I really got hung up, lost a lot of lives and blew through too many continues.

Despite my difficulty, this is still a solid game and it was more fun than frustrating.

It has fluid gameplay, looks superb and boasts a great soundtrack.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: The original Castlevania trilogy for NES, Super Castlevania IV for SNES, the Gameboy Castlevania games, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (also known as Dracula X) and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the original PlayStation.

Comic Review: Transformers: Infestation

Published: February 2nd, 2011 – February 16th, 2011
Written by: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning
Art by: Nick Roche
Based on: Transformers by Hasbro

IDW Publishing, 51 Pages

Review:

I like Dan Abnett but I didn’t like this.

Dude seriously just dialed it in and wrote a pretty basic, unexciting Transformers meets zombies storyline.

I mean, it’s probably not his fault as the zombie thing has really run its course and this actually came out in 2011 when The Walking Dead TV show had just started.

However, it really doesn’t add much of anything worthwhile to the zombie genre or Transformers lore. I guess the zombies can effect robots too but that’s probably just done for convenience because how else would they be a threat to giant robots?

Anyway, this was a really quick read and it almost felt pointless. It has no real bearing over anything. I guess it is tied to the larger Infestation crossover event but I’m not sure how it all comes together and the only other one I’ve read was the G.I. Joe one. But I don’t really want to read anymore of these.

Just adding zombies to shit doesn’t make shit better. Give me a story, a decent story. But Abnett probably also needed more than 51 pages to do that.

Honestly, Dan Abnett is a solid writer but this is not an example of his best work. For better stuff, check out his recent and lengthy run on Aquaman, as well as the cancelled-too-soon comic The Silencer.

Rating: 4.5/10
Pairs well with: the other IDW Infestation comics.