Friday, May 13

Super-Deformed MADman

Elbert has been on a roll recently, doing SD portraits of the gang for his blog. Well, it was inevitable that after he finished with the baldies (Dean, Vin and Andrew), he'd go after the rest of us.

What do I look like in SD? Check out El's rendition here!
Doing a 360

Microsoft has just officially revealed their next generation system- The Xbox 360. This super-system look slick, and will feature lots of customizeable options (which are really just waffle to real gamers), wireless controllers and of course, the ability to create damn super graphics. Okay, that's pretty much simplifying it but come on- who can frickin' understand all em billions of pixels mapping gobbledygoo? Anyway, Dead or Alive 4 is pretty much for sure as a launch or first-gen title, so this is SOLD for me. Heh. Expect it to come in late 2005. If we're lucky, we'll be playing 360 games for Christmas.
Dead or Alive 4 Leaked


I posted some supposed pics of Dead or Alive 4 here recently, but apparently, according to Tecmo these images are not official images of DOA4, and were not supposed to be released. Supporter of Tecmo and the DOA series that I am, I've taken the pics down since they are not indicative of the upcoming game.
What does this mean? Perhaps they were just works in progress- perhaps a DOA3.5 or some other stuff. The pics DID have a bit of a 'raw' quality to them- the kimono girl for example didn't seem quite right (her hair didn't jive with her face), and overall the quality didn't seem that different or advanced from DOA Ultimate. Anyway, according to DOA Neotaku, a very reliable Dead or Alive fansite, Tecmo will reveal the real images and information on the next huge installment of this sexy fighting game franchise during the E3 Entertainment Expo next week.

Which remains though the questions left from seeing the 'leaked' pics. Will the new characters seen in the bootleg pics appear in the final game? Was Lisa the luchadore masked girl? Was the blonde kung fu kid related to Helena? Questions, questions. Without a doubt, DOA fans can't wait for next week.

Aaaanyway... If you still want to see the leaked pics of DOA4, check here.

Wednesday, May 11

Happy Ending

I watched the two-hour season finale of The Amazing Race. The three remaining teams were dashing for the finish and... SPOILER WARNING...

The big winners were the husband-wife team of Uchenna and Joyce! It's been a great show to watch and I have to say, I've honestly been hoping that these two would win. When they finally made it to the finish line I stood up and clapped. They're just such decent, kind and friendly people, and the stuff that they went through (Joyce getting her head shaved) just HAD to have some kind of return.

I have to admit that I started off as a Rob and Amber fan, though I kinda lost my favor to them with that incident in Africa with the brothers' car taking a tumble (would it really have hurt to even slow down a bit?). Anyway, the Survivor couple already have a million in the bank, plus a gazillion prizes won over the course of the season.

Great show. I wonder how the next Amazing Race will be?
Advent Children

The long-awaited, much-delayed Final Fantasy VII Advent Children CG movie has been given a date in Japan. The DVD video will be released on September 14, 2005. Apparently, the movie's 95 percent finished. No date yet for the UMD release or when this long-awaited sequel to the beloved PSOne RPG will hit the US.

Final Fantasy VII Advent Children continues where the events in the RPG game left off. Main hero Cloud Stryfe, now working as a courier, must somehow rise from his depression and take up the sword once again when dangerous new enemies appear in the midst of a deadly plague striking the people of Midgard. Darn... I've been waiting for this forever.

Tuesday, May 10

Rain Man

Last night there was a freak rainstorm. Leading up to it was a pretty spectacular light show in the heavens- sheet lightning flashed every minute, as if God was taking pictures of the shrivelled Philippines before he gave it relief. I could smell the rain in the air but thankfully, it waited for me to get home and rest a bit before the drops fell.

A slight drizzle gave way to am heavy torrent, and hearing it as I sat sweltering in The Sanctum, I just couldn't resist. I dashed out into the garden and just stood there in the rain. I stood, then sat, the large droplets feeling like jabs of ice against my back. I've always believed that rainwater has special properties that make it different from regular tap... my hair always seems softer when I rinse after a bath in the rain, and skin seems fresher. I know there's an old Filipino belief that says that rainwater is a great remedy against skin problems. Maybe it's because the water's been charged with electricity from the lightning. Or perhaps it's the minerals from far and wide carried into the rainclouds.

I certainly hope it's not just cat poo carried from the roof gutters, so I kept my distance away from the edge of the house. I remained there as the rain went on for a few minutes. Luckily, the folks were all in bed, and the walls of the compound (probably) kept prying eyes from seeing a half-naked weirdo having an outdoors shower. Well, who knows- maybe one of my pamangkins happened to peek out of the window and saw his odd uncle in the rain. Well, that's something to remember.

I thought how it would be great to have a 'rain bed' in the garden, so I could just lie there during drizzles and soak up. It was pretty soothing and relaxing, occasional lightning flash regardless.

Afterwards, I showered inside and towelled off. Gosh, I hope that last night's shower was a sign that the heat wave of summer is about to end. One can only take the heat for so long. Whew. I need a drink.
Agent Smith has a Vendetta

The upcoming V for Vendetta movie from The Wachowski Brothers and Joel Silver has gotten a new lead actor in the form of Hugo Weaving. He replaces former lead James Purefoy, who left the production for so far unknown reasons.
Wow. He's played a transvestite, an evil computer program and a noble elf, and has been part of two of the most famous film trilogies in movies today. Hugo Weaving should certainly be able to do great stuff in this comic-to-film translation. Can't wait to see it.

V for Vendetta is slated for a November 2005 release.
Let's Get Ready to Rumble... Fish?

There's no fish, er, peace on these streets...

I picked up The Rumble Fish for the PS2 over the weekend. It's a 2-D fighting game from Sammy, the same guys who did the popular Guilty Gear fighting game series. Rumble Fish has a unique look thanks to how the individual body parts of the characters are separately rendered and animated, giving the animation very fluid movements. Aside from the bright, well-animated fighters, the game boasts of a fighting system with quite a few elements such as guard breaks, super combos and desperation moves, air combos and advanced moves.
Which basically translates to lots of stuff you have to figure out if you want to beat this game. Button mashers and newbies may get through several of the CPU opponents, but most probably you'll meet a roadblock in the form of a fighter who will overwhelm you with combos and throws. ARGH! Anyway, I managed to reach the boss and got my ass totally kicked every time. BAH. Cheap supercombo no-lag high priority bastard. Almost as bad as SNK bosses. What's the story behind all the fighting? Who knows.

Anyway, the roster is kinda smalll- about nine regular guys and gals that range from your standard 'Ryu' hero character Zen, two girls dressed in traditional kimonos and hakamas (Kaya is the demure, mysterious one while red-haired Hikari is the more open and tomboyish), a big bruiser named Orville, an old man, a kid, a street punk, a bishonen and finally a busty nurse named Garnet rounds out the cast. The art for the game is very anime-esque and cool, which is one of the reasons why I picked this up. Still, it seems to be a pretty slick game, so I'll try to figure out the system and try to unlock the stuff that this game has to offer. Hope a US version is on the way though... whole lotta kanji...

Monday, May 9

Kingdom of Heaven

Bloom gets bloody in this Crusader epic.

Yesterday, me and my friend Pot made a pilgrimage to the shopping holy land of Greenhills to watch the new Ridley Scott chainmail epic, Kingdom of Heaven, starring Orlando Bloom. Through the sweltering heat we ranged through the tiangge stalls and various shops in preparation for the long watch. Then, as screening time approached we armed ourselves with popcorn tumblers and sodas and were off to medieval Jerusalem.

Kingdom of Heaven tells the tale of young blacksmith-turned crusader Bailen (Orlando Bloom playing yet ANOTHER blacksmith) who is eventually, through fate and machination, thrown into the role of Defender of Jerusalem from the Saracen hordes. The trailers of this movie promised massive battle scenes with literally hundreds of thousands of warriors clashing in deadly, brutal medieval combat. And it does deliver on that end- Ridley Scott certainly knows how to do these big clashes (certainly after his stuff with Gladiator). The many battle scenes, from an initial skirmish between some soldiers after Bailen and the retainers of Baron Godfrey of Ibelim (played by Liam Neeson, in yet another sword-wielding mentor role) to the final mammoth siege of Jerusalem are brought to terrifying life (and death) with powerful imagery that rivals the CG carnage from The Return of the King.

But despite having a capable cast with good showings from Jeremy Irons (as the scarred Tiberius, Marshall of Jerusalem), David Thewlis (as a wise Knight Hospitaler), Brendan Gleeson (playing the gleefully evil Templar Reynald de Chatillon), Martin Csoskas (overzealous baddie Guy de Lusignan), Edward Norton (who spends near the whole movie in a mask as the noble, leper-afflicted King Baldwin) and the lovely Eva Green(Princess Sybilla of Jerusalem), this would-be epic falters a bit. The film is leisurely, almost sluggish, in pace until near halfway the more than two-hour movie, and many people may find it a chore to watch.

But my biggest gripe would have to be with the hero Bailen himself- not necessarily Orlando Bloom, who for his credit gives his all to the role and goes through the film smoothly enough without ever picking up a bow and arrow.
No, I think it’s just how the script has this young blacksmith turning into a warrior of almost superhuman prowess after only just one swordfighting lesson (that was cut short, mind you, by an attack).
Yes, after just being taught by Liam Neeson to only use a high guard with the sword, Bailen afterwards shows great skill in geology and irrigation (turning an arid wasteland into a blooming oasis), horsemanship and tactics, siege warfare and ballistics and lovemaking as well! In just a few short weeks, he goes from being a fugitive and murderer to the savior of Jerusalem, thanks just to his brave heart, unfailing honor and purity and untiring sword arm. And he gets the girl too.

Believable? Well, perhaps along the way unseen and offscreen, Bailen mastered all these skills (in a few weeks). Or maybe he was a natural genius or prodigy. But well, maybe as the title implies, we should just give up trying to rationalize and just have faith.

In any case, the cast is good, the film gorgeous and deserving to be seen on the big, big screen, and the story working hard to convey a stalwart anti-war message of unity between all men, be they Christian or Moslem. All this in the chainmail-clad, blood encrusted guise of a medieval epic. That’s really not something you see every day. And something well worth gathering a party together and sallying forth to the theaters to.

Kingdom of Heaven is now showing in Metro Manila theaters.

Sunday, May 8

10 Things About My Mom

1. Mom's the one who usually drives the car when my parents go to and from work. This is more because she's got more endurance than my Dad. A long time ago, during a horrible traffic jam/flood on the way home from an airport, mom was on the wheel for almost nine hours straight, without ever buckling. Lots of strong women in my family, including my Lola and yes, my Mom.

2. She's never wrong. It's funny often when she gets something off or I have to correct her, Mom always just gets by simply by laughing the matter of.

3. She has no sense of smell... which also impairs her sense of taste. This doesn't affect though how she can cook up THE most delicious spaghetti sauce you'll ever taste.

4. When she orders from McDonald's, she orders a plain hamburger. No catsup, no mayonnaise, no cheese. Just. Plain. Hamburger.

5. She's got a green thumb. During the Bonsai Revolution in the eighties and nineties, she was known as The Kalyos Queen, since she could make bonsai out of the infamously hard-to-take-care-of breed of tree. She once had a Kalyos bonsai tree which I heard some rich guy wanted to trade for a Pajero. We've had to give away family dogs since they persisted in digging up her prize plants.

6. Mom loves her castle. From a small single main house on a large lot, our home has turned into a three-house complex/compound that is continually improving thanks to Mom's expertise in handling workers and construction budgets. Someday I'll build my own house on the lot. With Mom's help, I guess.

7. Mom's the life of the party among her amigas. Maybe because she's such a lively, fun person. I've never seen her with her friends, but I can tell they're as wild as we are in their own way.

8. Mom's the techie one. She appreciates cell phones more. Someday, I'll buy her a really neat Nokia with a cool camera and other bells and whistles. Let's see this Christmas.

9. She's got two names. On her birth certificate, she has her real name. But she was baptized with another name. Eh?

10. Someday, she wants to go tour the Holy Land of Jerusalem.

She's got her quirks no question, but I wouldn't have her any other way. Happy Mother's Day!