Saturday, August 19


Ah. I've been waiting for this. A three-day weekend is always a great time. It's been a particularly exhausting week, not just because of the actual loads of work but the pace. My body clock has been odd lately and it seems that I'm lethargic and sleepy ALL the time... which is dangerous for a commuter since I really shouldn't be snoring my head off in a bus or cab.
In any case, I've been making it SOP to kick back on weekends... I don't really go out on Saturdays anymore, using the time instead to just recharge at home, to just watch TV or play games and maybe order out some sumptuous fast food feast. I'll probably go out with a friend tomorrow and shop around Greenhills for something. That's made all the more attractive by the fact that I won't be waking up early Monday for work. Darn, that feels so nice. Heh.

Work continues on Project Kris, which I have been told has had the first several issues distributed. I'm once again deciding on what actual title to work on for the upcoming Komikon this October. Whatever happens, I want to have SOMETHING ready.
On other projects, Project HERO 2 is hustling along, with a script and designs required for submission by next weekend. Aside from that, nothing is as yet on stone.

Which is good in some ways, bad in others. But whatever. I'm just glad for the weekend right now.

Tuesday, August 15

Femme Fatales

If looks could kill...

Here's the movie poster for the upcoming DOA: Dead or Alive movie. Aside from this group shot, there are about five individual character posters each centering on one of the five heroines- Christie the Master Thief, Helena the Fighter, Kasumi the Ninja Princess, Tina the Pro-Fighter and Ayane the Assassin. The main poster though obviously gives the role of main heroine to Christie (played by Holly Valance) who was, strangely enough, the most villainous of the DOA girls in the actual game (though she was also arguably the sexiest of the sexy videogame vixens). Anyway, the poster actually looks pretty awesome, to be honest.

Up to now, there seems to be nothing but bad will towards this game-to-movie adaptation, most vocally it seems from fans of the game, who are complaining about everything from the casting to irrational stuff like the movie not staying faithful to the source material.

It's pretty ridiculous, if you ask me... the game actually has a pretty run-of-the-mill story... the same tripe that has been used and re-used from Street Fighter to Tekken to Fighting Bujutsu... evil organization holds tournament, attracts fighters of varying backgrounds and fighting styles. Hilarity ensues. Not Oscar material, but in this case, the overabundance of gorgeous babes should make for pleasing spectacles. My only hope is that the fights are well-choreographed, with actual resolutions and victories instead of all build-up for nothing (which happens in a lot of fighting game movies, from the Tekken anime to the Street Fighter live-action film to the Mortal Kombat movies). In any case, the director (Corey Yuen) isn't a newbie to great action and hot babes (he directed So Close) and the girls look dynamite. It's all a matter of them making the best of what really is just a thin plot and lots of excuses for action and fan service.

DOA the Movie starts showing early September. I hope to see this on Bittorrent or on DVD bins by then, since I don't see this coming out in theaters anytime soon. We'll see how this one goes when it finally hits.
Semper Fi

Today I would have wanted nothing more than to just stay at home as the rain drizzled on outside. But go to work I had to, so I trudged out to the MRT to make my 10AM meeting. Unfortunately, as has happened at least once before, the Katipunan MRT branch was closed for some reason, most probably due to the rain. The security guard suggested that I head to the Anonas station, which was operational. This was pretty ridiculous given the thick traffic headed for Cubao, so I decided to just try and get a cab somehow.
It didn't look good- rain reduced my chances of getting a cabbie willing to go all the way to Makati to a very small percentage. Plus, some woman was also hailing cabs in front of me. It didn't look good.

However, things seemed to go my way. The woman eventually went off, giving up on getting a cab in the area (perhaps she also sensed my malevolent glare). Anyway, a few minutes later, a cab approached and seemed to slow before me. A passenger got off, and I asked the driver if he would take me to Makati. The man nodded in affirmative and I was overjoyed. We were off.

As we were headed into C-5 Highway, the cabbie started a conversation, which I was only glad to respond to... anything to keep the guy's mind off traffic and possibly losing interest in the fare. Eventually though, I warmed to the conversation earnestly given the driver's story. It turns out that my cabbie for the day was a MARINE. An honest-to-goodness, straight-and-narrow, death-before-dishonor marine, tested in battle in Mindanao and stationed everywhere from election guard duty in Cotabato, Presidential Security Details and a tour of duty with the UN in the African state of Liberia.

We talked at length about the recent politicizing of the Philippine military, and how the Marines themselves were in a battle to retain their identity and code of honor and principles even as the rest of the Chain of Command seems bought out by dirty politics and bribes. It tore my heart to hear such things, but at the same time I felt pride in knowing that there are a few soldiers... marines, who can't or won't be bought. I only hope that there were more of these upstanding warriors. In any case, the sad part is that the marines are fighting a losing battle, with their officers being systematically removed and the corps in danger of being abolished. We then continued talking about corruption in government, little stories each of us had heard, and about our frustrations and reasons why we, as a people, are both damned or lucky because of our inherent ease to forgive and forget. It would be easy (but definitely bloody) to remove the government by force, if people really wanted it out, but it seems that the Filipinos aren't THAT hungry yet. Who knows? Maybe it's just not the time. Maybe.

I got to Ayala Avenue, it turns out, pretty much on time. And I felt quite good at meeting a modern-day real soldier. I gave the cabbie his fare and a big extra, and I was on my way. Damn, if only there were more men like the Marine Taxi Driver, this country would go places. Literally and figuratively.
Rain, Rain...

It's getting old. Really.

I mean, all this frickin' RAIN that insists on falling early in the morning, drizzling the whole place and making the simple act of getting out of your bed an agonizing chore. The loud pitter-patter, the hypnotic applause of a million million raindrops just screams STAY INDOORS in countless tiny voices.

But when you have to go, you have to go. Even if the darn traffic always seems to multiply by 10 when it rains (as if people, like gremlins, multiplied when soaked), even if the blasted water seeps into your shoes, soddening your feet cold for the whole day.

Rain should only fall in the morning on weekends. When we can afford to stay home and follow it's commands.

There has to be a law. Feh.

Sunday, August 13

Pocket Fighter

I've been playing quite a bit of Tekken: Dark Resurrection on my spiffy new PSP... pretty inevitable since it's as yet my only game on my new toy. Anyway, the beauty of a fighting game is that you they have, basically, some of the best replayability of any game genre. Well, at least the good ones do. There have been crappy fighters that you would hate a minute after playing it the first time, and there have been shallow brawlers that you get tired of in a day or two. Tekken, particularly the latest Tekken (Tekken 5 and PSP's DR included) is thankfully among the best fighters around. The fighting system is rock-solid and challenging, with awesome attacks and fighting styles, a ton of characters to choose from and gobs and gobs of extras.
Tekken: Dark Resurrection is a port of the arcade-only (so far) upgrade to the PS2 Tekken 5; all the available characters from T5 are available off the bat with no unlocking needed. As I've mentioned before, there are two brand new fighters, each of which fits into the general theme of things quite well: mash-friendly dancing lolita Lili and touchy-feely commando Dragunov. Then there's Armor King, who was supposed to be dead but somehow back and piledriving everyone in sight... perhaps that's why this game was given the 'Dark Resurrection' subtitle.

The many videos available online don't really do the game justice in terms of eye candy. Tekken DR looks positively smashing on the PSP screen. The crisp, detailed character models emulate their arcade and PS2 counterparts almost exactly, save for slight simplifications. Overall, the detail can't be faulted- hands have individual fingers and up close, faces are perfectly rendered. Animation-wise, the fighting action moves at a perfect 60 frames per second- translation, smooth as silk fighting that's as fast as lightning.

More eye candy is to be had with a brand new intro CG movie and tons more cinematics to unlock and enjoy (though you've probably seen most of them if you've played the PS2 game to death), and there are tons of modes to play with. As with the PS2 and arcade games, you can purchase items and colors to modify and customize your characters' looks using money earned by playing the game. It's no Character Creation Mode, but it'll do for now (at least until Tekken 6 or Soul Calibur III gets ported to the PSP...).
Aside from the obvious, I've noticed the occasional new animation and little tweaks that are pretty cool. Thankfully, the end boss Jinpachi has been toned down, so now he's not as cheap as before (playing this at Hard difficulty)... which is probably to keep casual gamers from throwing their PSPs into orbit. Noticing these little details every now and then just makes this title all the sweeter.

As a fighting game, Tekken DR ranks right up there among the best of the best in the genre, which makes it's portability even more awesome. Now you can actually have streetfights ON THE STREET (well, make sure you're in a nice neighborhood first) or on the beach or on the road. The challenging gameplay, tons of characters to learn and master ensure that I'll be playing this for a long time to come. This is a MUST-HAVE title for any PSP owner and fighting game fan... get it while it's HOT.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to work unlocking that nurse outfit for Nina...