Friday, September 24

Alias Anime

Sydney Bristow in cartoon form.

No, we won't be seeing Sydney Bristow's adventures redone by Gonzo Animation (But DAMN that would be cool). An ALIAS animated feature will be included in the DVD set of the 3rd season of the acclaimed spy-action drama series. The feature will reveal the 'lost years' of Sydney's life, when she seemed to vanish off the face of the earth at the end of Season Two. Presumably Jennifer Garner and the rest of the ALIAS cast will pitch in for voicework on this cool dvd extra. I'll be looking out for this.
Ultimate Delay

Bikini fighting on the Xbox postponed for a couple of weeks.


Tecmo of Japan has posted a short press release online that the Japanese version of Dead or Alive Ultimate has been pushed back from October 7 to October 28, 2004. The reason for the delay is for the ironing out of issues with the online component. The release of the US version of the game seems to have been affected as well- online retailers are currently pegging an October 18 release of the Xbox-Live enabled fighting game.
This is quite a downer for fans of the sexy fighting game franchise, one reason for which that with the delay, Mortal Kombat Deception will now be bagging the title for "First 3-D fighter online".

DAMN IT!!! It's just like Tecmo and Team Ninja to do this (as they have with pretty much every DOA game). I am hoping that this new estimated release date sticks... DOAU has been in development for more than a year... that's a loooong time to be waiting for a game. And with the last DOA game (Xbox's DOA3) almost 3 years old now, gamers are SPOILING for a new brawler to get their grimy hands on. GAH...

DOA Ultimate is a 2-disc compilation for the Xbox, containing a pixel-perfect translation of the Saturn version of Dead or Alive, and a graphically-enhanced Dead or Alive 2 featuring all-new stages, moves, costumes and tweaked gameplay. Both games will be playable on Xbox Live, allowing players to challenge and fight gamers across the country, or perhaps even the world.

Well, I guess I just have to keep busy and hope no more delays torture me even more. Crossing fingers...
Pressure Cooker

This weekend I'll be locking myself in The Sanctum and doing a sprint to finish my art chores for Siglo Passion. I've been putting it aside because of other matters for far too long. It's do or die for two days to finish all the remaining pencils, inks, colors and lettering. Well, I work best under pressure, I've always said. Here's a chance to put my money where my mouth is. I finish it all this weekend or I don't finish it at all.

I will, of course. Promise.

Thursday, September 23

Dot's Entertainment

Mmm... many colors...

For the longest time I thought that Dippin' Dots was just your regular ice cream with candy sprinkles or whatever. Well, I was wrong of course. It took an episode of Oprah for me to find out that the 'dots' are actually individual ice cream scoops/spheres that have gone through a super-freezing process. So it's pretty cool to have this cup of dots and see the little things stick to your spoon and feel them roll in your mouth. The flavors are interesting, and apparently you can pick several flavors to put in your cup. It's an interesting take on your usual ice cream.
However, it's a bit pricey, but I guess it's a nice treat every now and then. Or something for someone who loves cute things in their mouths. Heh.

That's what I look like today, since we all have to get dressed up formal for the arrival of a VIP at the workplace. So, break out the barongs and shine those shoes! Well, at least I'm wearing my new DMs, so that's fine. The black pants are kinda iffy, but I'd rather wear them now that have to lug them around until the big hooplah tonight. I gotta put myself in a mingling mood for tonight. Heh.
My Kind of Game

Evil Genius by Vivendi Universal is one of the hottest upcoming games on the PC right now. The premise is simply awesome; you don the white lab coat and monicle of an underworld mastermind, ready to take over this little mudball with your armies of thugs, sleazy femme fatales, crazed hitmen and the weirdest schemes this side of Dr. Drakken. Yep, you get the play the evil genius, via a hilarious RTS/Strategy game. Though this kind of twisted anti-hero theme isn't totally new- Dungeon Keeper had you as the master of a dark stronghold, breeding goblins and demons as you strive to do away with any party of adventurers and goody-goody knights that come wandering in. But the novel theme of being a James Bond-esque baddie is so choice... finally, we can all live out our megalomaniacal fantasies as our own image of Ernst Stavros Blofeld and SPECTRE... and this time, YOU get to torture 00's to your pleasure. Mehehehehehe.... MMmmm... I wonder if this game comes with laser-beam equipped man-eating sharks? HOHO...

Tuesday, September 21

Band of Brothers videogame

Retake German-occupied Carentan in the amazing WWII FPS, Brothers In Arms.

Last night, before turning in I decided to take a look at the free dvd included with the latest Official Xbox Magazine. I looked at the only feature on the disc I haven't seen yet- a demo video on Brothers In Arms. Now, I am the first person to say that I really am not a fan of first-person shooters, but the BIA demo simply blew me away.

If you are one of the many who watched and gaped at the gritty, realistic and gripping action in the World War II era HBO mini-series, Band of Brothers, you may like this game. It's a FPS set in Europe during the Normandy Landing, specifically in the City of Carentan. In the Band of Brothers series, Easy Company participated in the taking of this strategic town... but in Brothers In Arms, you don't have a whole batallion at your disposal. The game is a squad-based shooter, with you at the helm of two fire-teams; crack American GIs who are tasked with taking back Carentan from the Germans, one house at a time if need be.
Aside from controlling your own personal character, Major Baker, you will also be responsible for six other soldiers- the members of your two assault teams. If the prospect of having to control multiple characters in the thick of a firefight with Nazi stormtroopers sounds like a nightmare, take heart; your boys aren't stupid, and have enough A.I. and army tactics training to take care of themselves for the most part, seeking cover wherever it is available, shooting at enemy soldiers and giving each other covering fire. All it takes are simple commands for you to deploy your men into various positions.

I watched the video, often with open-mouthed amazement at the detail, the incredible sound effects, and the realistic action being portrayed onscreen. I watch as the programmers move their men to flank a group of well-dug in Germans, laboring to fight their way to a bombed-out house with a machine gun nest on the second floor. An improperly-covered street crossing results in a stinging death of one fire team member, but the GIs take out Nazis in vengeance. The team leader himself, controlled by the player, is finally able to get to the back of the house after taking out several more nazis in a cool firefight. But again, an ill-advised decision. Instead of taking an easy shot and killing the nazi machinegunner on the second floor from afar, the player sends in his two GI buddies to storm the house. Both team members are killed trying to get up the stairs. The player finally brings down the enemy but the cost is far too high.
Once in control of the machine gun, it seems all done deal as Krauts fall to the withering automatic fire. But suddenly, a German tank rolls in through the wall of a nearby farm, and more GIs begin to fall. The armored Panzer directs it's fire to atop the house and suddenly, abruptly, everything turns red...

DAMN. That was incredible. The graphics, the sound, the gameplay... It was like something out of Band of Brothers. And it was a GAME. But little wonder- the team, Gearbox Software, spent a lot of effort to capture the actual sights and sounds of World War II Carentan, down to the streets and houses and layouts of the many battle arenas. They even have a retired veteran on their staff! This game really seems to look, feel and sound authentic, and I am intrigued.

The last time I felt like this was during my first time playing the classic Medal of Honor for the old PSOne. I'll see about getting myself a copy of Brothers In Arms when the game ships this October. Some good ol' fashioned guy-action to go with the DOA girls on the Xbox. Heh.

Monday, September 20

Mega Phone Lust

My future phone: The Sony Ericsson P910.

Yet again, phonelust rears its ugly head. An officemate of mine got himself a spiffy new P900, and it's the first time I really got to look at the model up close. Of course, there's no way in the world that I am replacing my 7610 with the P900... the memory is much too small- it only supports Memory Stick Duo, which has a max capacity of 128 MB. But I have to say I love the HUGE screen. It makes it a natural wonder to play my fave Symbian app, Smartmovie on. Even just videos recorded with the P900 look a lot better, and can be viewed fullscreen at any time.
Well, while the P900 is not tempting me, its upcoming predecessor IS. The Sony Ericsson P910 is the smartphone's successor; a slight hardware and software-upgraded model which is basically a P900 with a much better screen (262K as opposed to the 65K of the P900), added QWERTY keyboard and best of all, upgraded memory capacity. The P910 has about 96 MB combined onboard memory, and it is compatible with Memory Stick PRO, which has capacities reaching into the 1 Gigabyte or more capacities. A GIG of data space. DAAMNN!!! That's a whole lot of videos, music, pictures and data to carry with you.
Just think. 1000 MB means literally dozens of anime episodes anytime, anywhere. The whole LOTR trilogy could fit with tons of space to spare. Whole seasons worth of entertainment in your pocket. Hours of trailers and game videos. Countless PORN. Heh.

And it's coming. The P910 is slated to come to Philippine phone shops by next month or so from the official source, Sony Ericsson. I am not sure, but rumors have already been spreading of local P910 sightings already (and some bigshots at the Telecom companies probably already have it by now). Well, I haven't seen any yet in the ol' haunts. Not yet.
But really, it's not like I can buy one at the drop of a hat... It's bound to come at an UNHOLY price, and the price of a 1 Gigabyte Memory Stick won't be something easy to swallow, either. Especially when I have projects like K.I.A. and Angel Ace in the works. No, this is something that I have to dream about for the time being, but I'm almost certain that if I change phones again, it'll be for this monster.

If and when I have the means... we'll see. Mmmm....
The Art of Anticipation

What's often a lot better than movies? The trailers, of course.

Sometimes, or more often than not, watching these slickly edited spots entertains us in the several minutes they appear than the hour and a half of the actual movie. It's funny to look at the early movie spots and see that it wasn't always like this... good trailers didn't really start appearing until the nineties (I think), and it really took off with the magnificent trailer to the Stallone movie, Cliffhanger.
The Cliffhanger spot was, and I believe still is, the benchmark for trailer magnificence. It was also the first film, I believe, to start the style of setting the trailer to the tune of classical music or orchestral scores.
Set to such epic music, we were treated to a hodgepodge of cuts showing the story of Walker (Sylvester Stallone at his 90s best), a rugged mountaineering expert as he has to battle what appears to be a gang of hi-tech thieves led by Qualen (John Lithgow, years and years before he shrinks to play Lord Farquaad in Shrek). The images are spectacular and intense- life and death battles, heroes running amidst hails of gunfire, helicopters crashing, thugs approaching menacingly and death-defying leaps into seeming oblivion. DAMN. After watching the CF trailer, how could you NOT want to watch this film?

Well, in the end the trailer WAS a lot better than the actual film... while Cliffhanger wasn't a horrible film in any case, it paled in comparison to the spot that preceded it. Perhaps the trailer was TOO good.

These days, epic movie commercials come one after the other. The last great trailers I've seen were ALL from the Lord of the Ring flicks. Lots of poseurs and wannabee epics in between. Maybe someday someone will revolutionize how trailers are made again. Or maybe not.

If you don't remember the greatness that was the Cliffhanger trailer, you can download the whole thing here. It's pretty big, but worth revisiting to get the ol' blood pumping again. Heh.

Sunday, September 19

Scares Sell

Incredibly enough, the campy "Horror-reality" TV show Nginiig: The Hidden Files is now available on VCD. It seems that this show has proven to be a hit to Pinoys, having apparently found the niche of providing Filipinos with creepy scares every week. Despite the thoroughly irritating interface with teen-star hosts and hokey psychics, Nginiig shows off creepy vignettes of hauntings which are actually quite well done in terms of production values- a step above the classic Magandang Gabi, Bayan Halloween Specials I used to wait for every year.
Which brings me to a bit of an epiphany. Scares sell... I wonder if it would be cool to have a scary manga series? Something like the Ghosts At School anime on Animax. What comes to mind first is my old, old, old unpublished title, Smoke and Mirrors, which was about an eccentric and beautiful psychic and her new assistant as they hunt supernatural cases. Another possibility is to just continue doing Nikki Alfar's K.C. Strange, our already-published street-smart detective and mystic. Or maybe, I should just do something totally new.

Well, whatever. We'll see what we can do after I tidy up my plate.
Wandering with Anime

Quirky animated samurai action.

I posted about this short but cool series before, and have recently rediscovered it for conversion to portable viewing. Tsukikage Ran, or Wandering with the Wind, is a 13-episode samurai action anime starring a duo of mismatched but formidable heroines. Ran is a female samurai- beautiful and inexplicably invincible with the katana, and about as alcoholic as they come. She basically just seems to travel aimlessly throughout ancient Japan, with little more than her sword and unquenchable thirst for sake in her possession. Trailing this mysterious warrior woman is Myao, a young girl and expert in the Cat Style of Kung Fu. Thoroughly talkative, inquisitive and impulsive, Myao strikes up a more or less one-sided friendship with Ran at the start of the series, but eventually the stoic samurai woman livens up to her since she usually has money to spend.
The series is basically an animated version of samurai dramas popular in Japan- one shot episodes that basically has Ran and Myao getting involved in some evil plot or oppression. The show invariably ends with the two femme fatales thoroughly kicking butt and cleaning house.
Despite having anb old-style look to it, Tsukikage Ran is surprisingly well-animated, with the action-packed finales of each episode showcasing the heroines' individual fighting styles excellently- Ran with her lightning-quick killer slashes and samurai stances, and Myao with her super-quick acrobatic Cat-Fu.

The series doesn't seem to have any far-reaching plot, nor does it try to explain much of Ran and Myao's motivations. As the title says, they're pretty much just going with the flow, letting themselves go wherever the wind blows. But when it comes to exterminating some baddies, nobody dispenses justice quite like these two. Tsukikage Ran is a nice, understated but surprisingly cool show to catch every now and then... light and quirky anime action that's fresh as a breeze when the time is right.