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Any time you start to wonder if something can actually be reviewed, remember: people have written reviews for The Olive Garden, despite the fact that restaurant chain routinely serves unlimited (and delicious) bread sticks. Surely we can all agree that means NOTHING is above review!

Would have loved to see Venter's clock review at the top spot, just for the shear absurdity of it. It wouldn't have even occurred to me that was a thing that could be reviewed!

I'm not surprised DWM didn't place. As I was writing it, I realized I was spending most of the review going over history/context and not the game. It might not even be a review! Oh well. I still feel like DWM gets an unfair shaft.

Congratulations to EmP on his excellent review.

Metal Slug XX


Thanks for the comments, and no, I didn't expect to place during this week of very excellent reviews when I reviewed a clock application... though I do appreciate hearing that you felt I did a serviceable job. I really like seeing the site cover a wide variety of stuff, so reviewing the occasional clock game or whatever is my way of contributing to that effort. Congrats to everyone else who participated, whether you got a podium finish or not, and congratulations especially to EmP for the win!

We have another RotW with six people and seven reviews (and EmP put the odds of me forgetting his holdover at the sort where I could have cleaned up in Vegas simply by betting on me -- and I ALWAYS bet on me!).

I also watched more horror stuff via YouTube!

Home Sweet Home -- 1981 slasher where the killer is played by fitness informercial goof Body By Jake. As an actor, he sucks, but it is really amusing to see a totally jacked dude playing a meth'd up killer by making goofy faces and laughing constantly. Had an entertaining collection of cannon fodder, but a lot of scenes were overly dark, leading to anticlimactic kills. But if you've never seen a guy getting killed because he was under the hood of a car and a roided-up lunatic leaps out of nowhere onto the hood to crush him under it, well, this movie has that!

Frogs -- Early 70s eco-horror film staring a young, buff, pre-'stache Sam Elliott as an environmental photographer who winds up on the property of a rich industrialist right when all the animals go crazy and decide to kill every damn human they can find. Ray Milland is a hilarious asshole of an old man, who gives me hope for my golden years. A true role model for me! The movie is about 90 minutes, but it'd be 65 or so if they cut out all the padding via quick camera cuts to toads and tiny lizards supposedly looking "scary" or something. It was annoying for a while, but eventually turned around to be hilarious around the 1000th time I saw a close up of a toad staring into the camera.

Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror -- I've decided that sleazy Italian horror might be the best kind of horror ever because they aren't all that down with things like coherent story-telling or logic, but are ALL ABOUT the nudity and kills. Exhibit A: This film, which has a "plot" of: People go to a villa to visit a professor, but he somehow just caused the dead to rise; everyone dies. But also has one kill and two sets of tits in the first 10 minutes. And a mid-20s guy with a touch of dwarfism playing the role of a pre-teen boy. Who has incestuous feelings towards his mom. And, after he gets zombie'd, he kills her by biting off a boob. Because, after thinking he was dead, she was so relieved her creepy-ass 12-year-old was back that she pulled those things out to breast-feed him even if he technically should have outgrown that phase about 11 years ago (or 25 years ago in the case of actor Peter Bark). Right in front of the other two (at the time) survivors, who are just staring at her while giving half-hearted "he's a zombie!" warnings. Nothing could be finer!!!

Nightmare City aka City of the Walking Dead -- Exhibit B. These "zombies" pre-date the rage plague ones made famous by 28 Days Later by a lot of years. You have these large-scale attacks where tons of people are just getting butchered by people turned cannibal due to nuclear fallout or something, with the "zombies" using knives, guns and even driving cars in one scene. This movie is really dumb, but it's a fun dumb because it winds up feeling like a weird mash-up of a zombie film and, I don't know, Rambo or something. Besides, as a guy in journalism, I approved of the main guy being a "fuck your rules, I'm doing what's right!" journalist. Who is better at fighting "zombies" than police or military personnel and is married to a hot doctor. CAREER GOALS!!! Also, if you didn't know this was a sleazy Italian production, you'd likely be shocked at just how easy women's shirts fall off when they're struggling with those 'zombies". I mean, the fanservice takes a hit when they're also getting stabbed and whatnot, but whatever, I can roll with it!

As for the reviews, if EmP had done his under two different names, who knows, maybe he'd have placed twice. I really liked the writing for Utawarerumono. I wasn't exactly looking forward to reading another review for one of these games, but you converted me to at least really like your review. Starting with "how this version is different" was a good touch and then making the focus its really strong narrative also worked nicely. I could complain a bit about how you only really have one paragraph talking about the game itself, and it focuses on additions to the original version's formula, since this review doesn't hit on things like what the battle system is or anything like that, but I still enjoyed the read.

Dagoss' Dragon Warrior Monsters also could have placed many weeks. I've played every Dragon Warrior/Quest main game (except for Japanese-only X), but never touched this one, so I found this review to be a pretty informative piece that did a good job of using the natural comparison to Pokemon as a foundation to explore their similarities and differences. I especially liked how you noted the time frame of things, so that American DW fans could have been introduced to a lot of monsters and aspects from this game, due to how the games those things were derived from either weren't released here initially or weren't that popular (looks like I was one of the 80K who bought IV!).

Jason reviewed a clock game with an Animal Crossing tie-in. Or perhaps "game" is the wrong word. A clock application might be more precise. I give kudos to you for taking on this project and somehow finding a way to devote no small amount of words to describing this thing. No placement, but kudos because you took "I suffered so you don't have to" to a whole new level. Even if the main thing I was thinking was that it would have been super-funny if you had found a way to stick EmP with this assignment. One week, he'd be doing a reading-heavy virtual novel; the next, he'd be covering an interactive clock. And I'd hate reading about both because you and I both know he'd find a way to stick both of them on my weeks just to make me wonder why you people can't play normal games! AND GET OFF MY LAWN!!!

Josh, who might be making his introduction to the site, hit up a Wheel of Fortune game. FunFact: My freshman-year roommate in college was on Wheel a few years back and was a champion during his appearance. Like, winning both the competition and the final round big prize. In what might be a totally sad personal disclosure, that might be the closest thing I have to a claim to fame. Well, now that I've totally made my talk about your review depressing, let me say that you did a good job describing the flaws of what, in theory, should be a simple game show to replicate in video game form. The lack of the actual hosts is probably pretty telling, considering the issues seem to revolve around technical issues that all but scream "going through the motions". This is a short review, but it says all that I think needs to be said.


Joe's Reknum (Switch)

Now that I typed the game's name properly in the header to this paragraph, I now shall call it Rectum from now on. Anyway, this was a really good week for reviews (because I didn't submit any, amirite?) and it was tough to both narrow it down to three and to order those three. I loved the introduction to this one about you using movies to find that it always can be worse (I remember renting The Suckling, so I know, man do I knowÖ). You did a good job tying that intro into a similar case with one lackluster game leading in to this poor one. And you did a good job of making it sound unappealing with its lack of checkpoint and how power-ups make the experience tougher. I mean, I'm used to that in shooters, where in some of them, getting speed icons can hurt you due to them taking away from precise movements, but in a platformer? That is not ideal!


Mariner's Immortals: Fenyx Rising (Switch)

I really wanted to bash this review due to the "myth-take" pun combined with an entire paragraph revolving around it, but this was a really good bit of writing that did a great job of explaining this game. You really make it sound appealing, at least for much of its duration, with its dense world loaded with puzzles to solve and things to do, while also pointing out that things will get repetitive eventually. Also, props on your conclusion. Let's be real, while originality is nice and all, I have no issues with derivativeness if the formula is a good one. And you did enough to convince a person this is a good formula that I'd hope no one would play the "but it's like Breath of the Wild" card like that is reason to demerit it.

REVIEW OF THE WEEK (aka: Overdrive Place)

EmP's Voyage (PC)

EmP with a double shot of reviews for games I likely would have little to no interest in playing, reading about or anything else! But, and this is key, if the writing is good enough, I can at least manufacture some degree of interest. And this review is a winner in that regard. Your "holding steadfast to the video game norm that salvation is somewhere to the extreme right" part of a sentence is an early front-runner for 2021 Site Line of the Year. But it's not just witty lines; you also do a good job simultaneously criticizing and complementing the game's version of cooperative play and explaining that for a short game, it offers its share of cool stuff to see. I dug the writing here and award it the highest honor. For this week.

And that's it for my RotWing in February. Now, it's time to see if I can sneak in a review before the month is over.

Hello. At long last I've completed my review for Control and I'd like to submit it for Xbox Series X. could you please add Control to the Series X game list?

Proof it's available for Seris X:


Well, I've completely lost track of time, because I keep thinking you submitted this thread a day ago... That was three days ago.

But thanks for the placement! Crossed Swords was something I was interested in for some time, so it was a bummer when I finally played it. The final few stages bordered on torture with the way gameplay was.

Good on OD and congrats to Jason!

Thanks for the comments and, yeah, I know what you mean about the whole "gotta start from the first game" vibe with series. I think the only ways I can avoid that trap are if the first game is really rare/obscure or if it's more a "series" than a series and the games aren't all that related (ie: Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Super Mario, Zelda kinds of series where the games are essentially stand-alone). But if there's some sort of consistent narrative, I pretty much feel compelled to start at the beginning and work from there.

Makes some of the stuff on PS Now really good due to having most/all the games in a series and makes some of it hurt my brain. Like, I can play Saints Row 2-3-4, but 1 isn't there. And so I'll have the decision of whether I just start with 2 or wind up caving in and hunting down the first game. On one hand, it was a series I'd likely never would have gotten to if not for getting Now. On the other, compulsive behavior is a real hassle at times.

Thanks for the topic, and I'm excited to add another win to my record to boot. Honestly, I didn't like my chances of winning with a review of a math game, so I'm glad I managed to pull the right rabbits out of my hat when it counted. Congrats to pickhut and overdrive, as well, for putting together solid reviews and keeping things competitive. I continue to love the wide variety of content we cover on the site, and may even have another clock game review in me to keep the good times flowing!

CARRYOVER - Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen [PC] EmP

3/1 odds on Rob forgetting.

THIRD - ACA NeoGeo: Crossed Swords [PS4] PIckhut

Pick continues to find relevant ways to talk about old games, and does an excellent job ordering his thoughts on this one. He starts by talking about the hook; an atypical design choice in a very common genre. I thought the Punch Out comparison seemed very apt. He then talks about how this approach is interesting and how it mostly succeeds, but is downtrodden by the lack of variety and easily abused specials. Itís a descriptive enough piece that I find myself informed enough about an interesting sounding game, and persuasive enough that Iíll never feel the need to seek it out for myself. A service has been done.

SECOND - Darksiders [360] Overdrive

The intro was this reviewís strongest part, briefly running down the games that Darksiders draws inspiration from before saying that it doesnít match up to the subject material, but isnít an awful base copy job. Itís a clever way to start, because it means you can close things out with the worst example of mechanic borrowing with the awful sounding last dungeon. You lose a bit of momentum in the middle, including a pretty tepid combat paragraph and a few overlong, overloaded sentences. But itís good stuff! Iíve been meaning to play this game for a while now, and got an hour or so in on the 360, but have since misplaced the disk. I could just jump straight to the second game, but it feels all kinds of wrong. Thereís countless games Iíve never started because of this...

FIRST - S.U.M. Slay Uncool Monsters [SWH] Jason

I donít think many will blame me if I admit I had written off what is essentially maths homework as a challenger for this weekís crown. I figured Iíd make another glib comment like that time Jason reviewed a clock and be on my way, but this is an excellently produced review that absolutely understands its niche subject. SUM is a game about doing math. As such, Jason has to establish himself as being interested in math because if he can establish that heís not the cause of the complaints heís about to make, then it only leaves the game itself to blame. But even then, heís self deprecating enough to ensure the topic isnít all about him. Then the complaints come and the groundwork is already complete; this is bad game design, not the mental folly of the reviewer.

This review wins this week because itís taken an extremely difficult game to talk about engagingly and made it look very, very easy.

Title: ACA NeoGeo: Crossed Swords
Platform: PS4
Release date: (05/29/18 - US)(08/23/18 - JP)



Gal*Gun Returns


Thanks for the comments. Too bad for me that I didn't get into the top 3, but you'll have that sometimes with the kind of competition we get during some weeks. And there were some really good reviews this week, so I figured it wouldn't be an auto-place sort of week.

Congrats to Jason, who does not win enough of these, and to Mariner and Etherealgamer for getting points on the board early. Tough week with a lot of content to get through, so good job getting through it while feeling wonky. At least you're immune to things we've never heard of, now.

Thanks for the topic, despite what you were going through, and thanks for the comments on my review and also the win. I haven't had one of those in a while. Congrats to all who participated this week!

It's been a helluva week. I received my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at work, and it knocked me on my ass. Predictable, really, since most of my coworkers also fell ill after getting it. The first day was horrendous, but the side effects paled in comparison to what my wife, daughter and in-laws went through a few months ago. On the bright side I've received a couple of days off with pay (and free, too, as they don't count against any of my sick leave or vacation time). I probably would've had this topic hammered out a lot sooner if it hadn't been for those side effects...

Horror movies? Of course!

Color Out of Space (2020) is an adaptation of HP Lovecraft's short story of the same name. No, it isn't technically related to the late '80s Wil Wheaton-starring, Lucio Fulci-produced film The Curse (or the Boris Karloff flick Die, Monster, Die!) aside from sharing source material. Color uses the same premise, where a meteorite lands on a farm and turns everything... You know, I don't know how to put it. It mutates everything? Totally fucks with reality and rewrites physics and... It's just a weird, wonderfully mad film, and much better than The Curse. I'll admit I have a soft spot for the Wheaton/Fulci one, though, mostly because it's so awful and ludicrous that it's actually kinda fun. Connect the dots....

Hereditary (2018) was yet another messed up movie that made me long for a scalding shower. I loved it, really. It's a bit long and slow in some parts, but the payoff was worth it, especially if you know anything about the Ars Goetia and the Key of Solomon. Anyway, the movie revolves around a family whose youngest offspring dies in a gruesome accident, only to apparently haunt their home. I say "apparently" because there's much more at work here than a simple haunting, especially when characters begin digging into their family's history and finding signs of occult rituals...

Finally, The Invisible Man (2020) is a loose adaptation of the novel of the same name. Like Color Out of Space, I don't feel it would be correct to call it a remake of the 1933 adaptation, as that one was more of a horror-comedy blend. Hell, it was one of the movies to kick off the wise-cracking psychopath trope seen in Nightmare on Elm Street, Leprechaun and Child's Play. The 2020 iteration deals with a woman escaping an abusive relationship with an optics scientist/inventor. Eventually, strange phenomena begins to happen around her, and she eventually works out that he's somehow made himself invisible *dramatic music*. I liked this one because it wasn't just a rehash of the 1933 flick, and reimagined the concept with a little more bite. One scene dropped my jaw for a solid minute.

What is this? I've been watching modern horror? What happened to all the '70s-'90s junk I usually put on? Well, I plan to watch Fascination next, so I'll be back on that retro kick in no time.

I've also been playing Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodline, and it really could use a remake. I'm not saying it's bad or anything, but it's definitely dated. Its mechanics are wonky, and it doesn't offer the level of customization that it should. I wanted to play a male Gangrel, but the only character model they had for that one looked like an off-brand Jonathan Davis. No thanks... I restarted since then and went with Brujah instead. I always thought they were cooler than Gangrel anyway...

I've also made one hard decision regarding AlphaMurderthon: I'm not reviewing Pathologic. It seems like a pretty in-depth game, and one that I probably won't be able complete in time. I have decided instead to do either Phantasmagoria or Party Hard.

As for the reviews:

Honestgamer has sold me on Immortals: Fenyx Rising, and also won Review of the Week. I was on the fence with this title before, but I think this review had convinced me to at least wishlist it (if I haven't already). It's a very good review that gives all the details it should while leaving surprises for its readers to discover on their own. This is impressive, because it sounds like the game is pretty sizable, so it's great to read a review of a game like this one that doesn't come across as a wall of text. The best part, though, is your observation near the end, where you point out that the game feels more like an answer to Breath of the Wild rather than a statement in its own right.

EmP's review of Sarrawak is short, but also dishes the proper details without giving too much away. Then again, I'm also assuming there isn't much to discuss about the game, mechanically speaking, so the only options left are to gab too much about the plot and ruin everything or keep this one short and sweet. EmP chose the latter, thankfully.

Overdrive had two reviews this week: a holdover for Megadimension Neptunia VII and a fresh one for Gods Will Fall. The Neptunia review basically outlines how I feel about some JRPGs, where the characters are a bunch of scantily-clad preteens, and the Chris Hanson bit is great. Also, I've been burnt by some generic ones in the past, like White Knight Chronicles. The segments about the combat system read a bit dry at times, but that's RPG combat for you. The best bits of this review discuss the game's comedic elements, which make it sound like one of the better comedy games. I've played my share of them, and they tend to be too loaded with needless pop culture references. What I'm getting from this review is this game is essentially Doom & Destiny meets the PSP PoPoLoCrois game (which is also divided into multiple campaigns), except way better than both.

With Gods Will Fall, the early part of the review started off pretty standard, but picked up greatly when you began discussing this game's RNG problems. It kinda reminds me of Road Not Taken, where the lengths of levels fluctuate. During one run, a dungeon might require you to rescue ten kids, and you end up failing because the stage overwhelms you. When you respawn and begin the dungeon anew, you find it only requires four kids to be saved. Ugh. Anyway, you do a good job of describing this game and talking about the reasons its random number nonsense is a turn-off. I'm glad I didn't accept this assignment, because I can tell I would've hated it.

Mariner opens Gato Roboto with a relatable story for third place. I've played far too many faux-retro platformers with minimalist presentation that feature hazards that appear to be part of the environment. And I, too, died before my brain transitioned into "that's deadly, don't touch it" mode. Although that was a strong hook, your foreshadowing and follow up took the cake here. Yeah, that's a food-based figure of speech, Gary. Deal with it. Anyway, you basically outlined how I more or less feel about "mini-Metroid" games, where the exploration and such are the selling points, and cutting back on them diminishes some of the game's value.

Etherealgamer debuts with Atelier Ryza 2, and also takes second place. The introduction was great, especially the bit about the funnel cake that tied into the conclusion. What follows is a wealth of detail, enough so that a guy who's never played an Atelier game like me knows what to expect from this title. Yeah, I have Atelier Iris and Mana Khemia. I'll get to them at some point... Maybe... Anyway, I don't have much else to add. It's a pretty long review, but certainly not long-winded.


See you space cowboy

The Slayer is a video nasty? Huh...I guess there was a good kill or so, but I've seen FAR worse before. I'll have to see if I can figure out how it got on that list.

My understanding was that Without Warning did inspire Predator, and that Predator was a quasi-remake in the same way Q was a fake remake of The Flying Serpent.

I've heard of The Slayer, but not seen it. The description reminds me of numerous horror movies that revolve around dreams aside from NOES, like Dreamaniac and Bad Dreams (I saw the latter of those once on Cinemax or some channel like that back in the day, but I don't remember any of it). I'll probably watch it at some point since it is a video nasty and I just have to see what all the hoopla was about.

I've yet to see the original-original Ju-On movies, but I'm probably going to skip them. I'm so tired of that franchise after the The Grudge 2, and I haven't even bothered with any of the more recent Japanese installments.

Thanks for the props - super solid showing this week. Congrats to Nightfire (MORE THAN ONE A YEAR!) and Pick.

I'd have caught up by now had Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen not become a thing...

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