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Forums > Contributor Zone > Review of the Week April 19-25: A port, a knockoff, and a faux-retro title walk into a bar...

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Author: JoeTheDestroyer (Mod)
Posted: May 03, 2021 (03:34 AM)
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Joseph Shaffer: famously late generating ROTW topics that consists of a mere three reviews. In my defense, I am now a supervisor where I work, so I sadly don't have the free time I used to (and when I do, I usually spend it sleeping or comforting my teething toddler).

I watched some horror movies. Shocking, right?

Fright Night (1985) is like Rear Window with a vampire, spliced with They Call Me Bruce? Basically, William Ragsdale realizes his neighbor Chris Sarandon is a vampire. He tries to enlist Roddy McDowall to help eliminate him because his character portrayed a vampire hunter in old school horror movies. Long and short, things get messy and fun. Also, Amanda Bearse and Stephen Geoffreys costar in this one.

And speaking of Stephen Geoffreys, I finally caught 976-EVIL (1988). Geoffreys plays a dorky, sheltered teenager who stumbles upon a 976 hotline that reads horoscopes (called "horrorscopes") that actually come true. The only catch is that the hotline is run by Satan, and Geoffreys ends up offering his service to the dark lord. In exchange, the devil grants him enough evil power to murder his bullies. Obviously, it's impossible to take a premise like seriously, so the movie is thoroughly kooky like it wants to be a Troma or Full Moon flick. It doesn't quite find the mark all the time, but it manages to be cheesy enough to pass its runtime decently.

As you can tell, I was in a bit of an '80s mood (when am I not?). I also ended up watching Edge of the Axe (1988), a slasher about a computer programmer who sets up in a small town at the same time as a masked killer. It's a fairly by-the-books sort of film with a decent twist, but the best part is the way the movie pretty much predicted Instant Messenger and Google. The protagonist and his girlfriend communicate to each other through an Internet-ish computer network, which also has a crude search engine that she uses to look up info regarding an nearby asylum, where her psychotic cousin is supposed to be located. Unsurprisingly, she blames him for the recent wave of murders, but anyone who's seen their share of slashers knows not to trust the obvious culprits...

Finally, I watched the more recent film 47 Meters Down (2017), which turned out to be an entertaining, albeit simple, eco-horror movie. I didn't expect much because it sounded like it would be a pretty tame affair, being only PG-13, but it managed to have a few decently tense moments and a solid (and fairly mean) twist.

As for the reviews:

Ah, Arcania... The Gothic series didn't need another game, but got one anyway. I know they've tried divorcing this one from the series, but when familiar characters pop up and the protagonist from the first three is the freakin' king, it's kinda hard to separate them. It also sounds like you went through the expansion, where I opted out of that junk. Getting through the main game while staying awake was difficult enough... Anyway, this review definitely encapsulates that awfully dull experience, offering up the best support possible while leaving things unsaid for anyone who insists upon playing this tragic misfire. It's obvious you now the genre well and you did your homework on the series, and it shows through your strong, authoritative voice.

-Honestgamer- *THIRD*
The strong introduction hooked me into this review, as it should. From there, you outline exactly how tedious this game is, and man, does sound like a yawn storm. I'm glad you also brought up how irritating it can be to get stuck on environments, because I think that quality gets underestimated or sometimes ignored in other games. It's a small misstep a game can make, but one that can really drag the experience down. It sounds like you were telling readers that this title can be decent, but only if they're willing to invest the time--and it might not be worth it for many potential buyers. I'd say you communicated that very well.

-EmP- *ROTW*
Geez, paint a picture with words, why don't you. This one's rife with enough vivid descriptions that it shows your passion for the title, but also makes me want to push this one up on my priority list. I don't know what else to say about this review except that you capture this game's essence with a way that's lively and not overly verbose, but also in a way that depicts how positively batshit the content is. If that isn't ROTW material, I don't now what is.


This is the end, friend.

The only thing my milkshake brings to the yard is a subpoena.

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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: May 04, 2021 (12:03 PM)
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Thanks for the comments and placement. Yeah, if I wanted to, I could have gone on for a long while ranting about the waste-of-time expansion. The enemies are all tougher versions of main game enemies. The final boss fight plays out much the same way as the final boss of the main game (alternates between fighting you and teleporting out of reach in order to fire projectiles and occasionally summon enemies) and so on. I was so bored that I abandoned melee for a long while simply to get an achievement for killing so many enemies with magic. Even though I'd put very few level-up points into any of the potential three spells.

I haven't seen 976-EVIL, but I did watch the sequel. Had two good parts to it. The main girl was really hot and there was one legitimately good scene in it (that basically seemed like it should have been in another movie) where a character gets sucked into a TV world that's a mash-up of It's A Wonderful Life and Night of the Living Dead. No, wait. Three good parts. The actor playing the villain was having a blast hamming it up to be as evil as possible. He was fun.

I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle

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Author: EmP (Mod)
Posted: May 04, 2021 (01:13 PM)
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I played the middle Gothic and then stopped there, because convention can suck it! Maybe someday this will change, but I'm guessing not. The Risen games were pretty great, though!

Appreciate the nod; I ended up enjoying Narita Boy a hell of a lot more than I would have thought and heavily recommend it to all (which is probably why I wrote a review, I suppose...) Thanks of getting on the topic. I don't think anyone's going to be put out if these things are not put out immediately, so no one's going to sweat the delays. But if the topics start feeling like too much of a drain on limited free time, we'll try and reshuffle the rota or something.

For us. For them. For you.

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