Archive for March, 2009

Retro Gaming-Spotlight on Golden Axe

March 19, 2009

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I was always the Dwarf in Golden Axe, unless my teammate started sulking, in which case I went for the scantily clad Amazon. I don’t think anybody ever choose the generic Barbarian. I think he was designed to please the fathers that were forced to play alongside their kids. Of course these days the fathers are as into video games as their children are, perhaps more so. But video games were a relatively new concept in 1989, especially on a home console, and Golden Axe was the game that anyone with a Sega Megadrive owned.

 

Scouring through a fantasy world (all very Lord of the Rings-esque) your mission was to literally pummel your way through hordes of goblins, knights and warrior skeletons till you faced the evil Death Adder, who had seized the royal throne and wanted to be ruler himself. Simple premise for a simple game, Golden Axe never tried to be anything other then fun. True, it is impressive to see how far we’ve come with video games, and Golden Axe would barely stand up to one the mini games in the newest Grand Theft Auto. Sometimes however, I long for the days when playing a video game didn’t have to be full-time commitment. Remember when we could just pick up a controller and play a game, without the need for a tutorial on the controls, and without the need for a 20- minute intro filling us in on the convoluted plot?

 

Golden Axe is a simple pleasure that your granny could pick up and play, and no game since has gotten me more excited then as a mesmerized 8 year old, I reached the final boss and used my spell on him. Still as fun today as ever, Golden Axe is the ultimate in retro gaming. Go up to your attic, dust off your Megadrive and remember why we all fell in love with video games in the first place.

 

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Cappuccino Bar-Temple Bar

March 12, 2009

I sometimes feel slightly intimidated when going into cafes on my own. There is always that moment when you wonder; do you go up to the till and pay upfront, or do you sit down first and order from the waiter? Or As I entered Cappuccino Bar I was faced with this possible embarrassing situation, however the upright menus on the tables suggested the latter. My quick thinking turned out to be correct and thus avoided any public humiliation. Then I remembered I was the one reviewing the café, not the other way around, and I put my critical hat on.

Not a Café where you will find cherry tea served in an oak goblet, instead Cappuccino Bar offers a more traditional approach. The simple and sweet menu consists mainly of panini’s and toasties, and since when is that a bad thing? I opted for the all-day breakfast panini (sausage, rasher, and relish all squished together) and of course, a cappuccino. My cappuccino was long consumed by the time my panini arrived, and when it did reach my table my hunger subsided. Big as the portion was, it looked grey, condensed and dry. Imagine my surprise when it tasted none of these adjectives. It seems the saying never judge a book by its cover can be coupled with food. Somehow Cappuccino Bar has discovered the secret of Tardis paninis, and my mood was lifted by the gourmet disguised as cardboard. A sign of any good restaurant is an enquiry regarding your meal, yet this is a rare treat offered in a café. Another brownie point awarded.

Like most solo eaters, I usually have a book at hand and I spent a good 45 minutes reading the Naked Civil Servant in bright surrounding. Never rushed, and never hassled regarding my next order, I enjoyed the comfort of the warm tone and left feeling full, well read and inspired, all for under a tenner.

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel 8/10

March 12, 2009

 

If you go back in time and stop your parents from meeting each other, then you would never have been born. But then again if you had never been born how could you go back in time in the first place? Kind of trippy isn’t it? These are the questions that haunt the minds of the characters in the Sci-Fi comedy FAQ About Time Travel.

 

Taking inspiration from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Dr. Who, FAQ about Time Travel tells the story of two nerds (who prefer the term Imaginators) and one waster’s trip to their local pub. Unfortunately for them however they get caught in a time leak in the gent’s toilets (yes, seriously) and find themselves getting sucked back and forth through time. Never taking itself too seriously, the film exhausts charm and we can’t help falling in love with the characters. It’s great to see Chris O’Dowd in the leading man chair as the time travel enthusiast Ray, and his love interest (played by Scary movie’s Anna Faris) is as charismatic as ever. Each time the trio tries to find their way back to their rightful time they end up in a worse position then before. They encounter evil time bandits, giant ants, and of course the past version of themselves. (As any Sci-Fi fan knows, letting your past self see you causes definite pandemonium).

 

A refreshing comedy that plays between parody and homage, FAQ About Time Travel is as original as it is funny. Although perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea, I found myself making a mental note to buy the DVD as soon as it comes out. (But then again that could just be because I’m an Imaginator)

 

Hush Review 4/10

March 12, 2009

 

Poor Zakes Abbot has nothing going for him. As well as an unfortunate name and a dead end job, his girlfriend is on the brink of ending it with him. You would think karma would give this poor bloke a break. Unfortunately for him however, he is in a horror film and karma doesn’t exist in these realms.

 

Whilst driving along the M1 in the pouring rain one night Zakes sees a naked woman in chains in the back of a white van. His lack of a reaction fuels his girlfriend’s irritation at him and she storms off. Can you guess what happens next? Yes, Zakes’ girl ends up in the back of the van herself and thus begins a game of cat and mouse with the kidnappers…and that’s about it really.

 

The following 60 minutes or so are simply a series of chases and games of hide and seek with the hooded protagonist. I really wanted to like Hush. Director Mark Tonderai captures a very slick world with his lens, and William Ash is perfectly cast as the slightly tragic Zakes. However, neither of these talents can overcome the fact that there is absolutely nothing in the script that we haven’t seen before. Along with a predictable plot, Hush is also littered with unnecessary hurdles that Zakes must face. In one scene he is evading the kidnapper in a motorway truck stop, when he passes two police officers. Now if I were in that situation I would calmly approach the officers, point out the gentleman in the sinister hood, and explain that he has kidnapped my girlfriend with the intention of raping and killing her. Instead Zakes feels the need to tackle this problem solo. Other weak points in the plot include a minute bit of evidence Zakes discovers that leads him to the conclusion his girlfriend has been abducted. Now of course, he was right, but seeing as she stormed off anyway, you wonder what makes Zakes so convinced?

 

If you love your horror films and don’t mind the occasional plot hole, then you will probably like Hush. For anyone else however this is a forgettable thriller that offers nothing new.

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