Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Please be true...

ReBoot Rumour

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War on Scales 13

After a week in Overlook, we are asked to meet one of the high up dwarfs (that we had encountered before) for a potential mission. After the recent raiding of the weapon stashes around the city, he has found some paperwork indicating where an old mine related to his clan was (and evidence suggests where the Warforged ally of ours came from). He puts to the proposition of going looking for this mine... and we accept!

The assassin gets us a guide, and after some quick shopping (I pick up some useful rituals), we set out for the desert where the mine is thought to be. After trekking across the increasingly arduous territory (although as a cleric of the nature goddess, I don't complain), we find a city on the edge of the desert. However, they have their own problems.

A gnoll and his creature (not entirely sure what it was, it breaths lightning!) was terrorizing the village for tribute. We can't be having with that, so we set about killing him. Which we do. However, satyrs turn up. And his creature isn't best pleased with me (as he saw me doing the apparent killing blow). They set about beating us up.

We barely manage to hurt the creature, although it gets us good. And we have spent a fair bit of time on the satyrs, but they're still around too. It's not going well for us... will this be TPK???


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Monday, 28 June 2010

DW 513: The Big Bang

Superficially, yay! However, don't think about it to hard.

Cheating with time travel. Had to happen, never impressed by it when it is. Because, as the word goes, it is a 'cheat'. Confid refers to it being a farce (ha! It's funny music! Laugh, damn you all, laugh! IT'S FUNNY!) then slams in with the dying Doctor (who regenerates into River Song? Or not). But... there's a lot of just running around in this episode, and this is just a part of that.

Because not a lot actually happens. Think about it. They get out of the Pandorica, run around the museum for a while, then the Pandorica goes into the TARDIS, and we have a wedding... and that's it. Remove the running around, and it's a very short episode.

And what about the answers? As the Doctor says, what brought the TARDIS there? What is the Silence? (Or Psilence?) Just as well there's another series.

As for not thinking to hard about this: where does the star cult (led by Richard Dawkins!) work when there are no stars? Once the Doctor is erased from history, whence River Song jogging Amy's memory? And why would Rory remember being plastic, when that was just a Nestene creation in the first place? And without the Doctor, just how does the Earth survive the universe then??? Argh! Suspicion is: Moffat thought it was cool when he wrote it.

As ever, this is trying to be a character led finale with lots of big spectacle. Nearly there, would have liked some answers, and it doesn't stand up to scrutiny. It's nice, but... could have been nicer.

Next time: Aliens on a train in space? Huh.


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Sunday, 27 June 2010

DW Running - Series 5

So, updating the statistics for Series 5.

Average over all episodes: 46'32". Sans just Eleventh Hour: 45'02". Sans just Big Bang: 45'56. Sans Eleventh and Big: 45'56". Not much in in.

Shortest: The Time of Angels (41'37"). Longest (ignoring Eleventh, Big): The Pandorica Opens (48'41").

Moffat stats: Average 46'10". So, just shorter than the average for series 5.


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Saturday, 26 June 2010


Huzzah! Futurama has once again returned to the screens! With a double episode to kick off with!

First episode back was Rebirth, which was one of their more serious episodes (as serious as it gets), featuring Fry and Leela's romance. In some ways, they had to back pedal in order to get their series back, as, as they say, nothing kills interest more than tension being filled, and the Fry/Leela tension was one of the main driving forces of the show. (That said, this was the second time they had to back out of the relationship, which they tend to go for when the series looks like it's being canceled again.) So, while funny, I find the relationship episodes more of a strain to get through as they are basically belabouring the point they can't get to over and over again.

Then we have In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela, in which they get back to the more usual silliness of the series. Which is the only way to go when the episode is a heavy Zapp Brannigan one. Unfortunately the "revelations" are rather over done, and the ending is just bizarre given the character set ups, but still, this is more the classic style.

But, best of all... it's back! Here's to many more episodes to come!


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Friday, 25 June 2010

(Toy Story)^3

It's a story about toys... damn that's some good story telling there!

Andy's come of age, so now his toys aren't really needed any more. So what happens to them? A hilarious series of events in which they face their own death! What else? Let's not be coy here, there are some extremely emotional moments, but also some great moments that make you remember why you love this series of films.

(And it also really shows that some animators have a clue, unlike others.)

We have the core set of character, and it's great to see them back. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen sound like they've barely stepped away from the mike for several years (ah, the joy of being audio only), not to mention Joan, Don, Wallace, John and Estelle. And we get some great new toys as well, voiced by Otis, Beetlejuice, James Bond and Mel.

This is definite must-see movie. And must get DVD as well. Pixar will always be the King of Animated Movies. (That said, still haven't seen Cars.)


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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Zombiegeddon: 6th Bite!

Down the mine, we have Duergar trying to open up a path for more Duergar. We can't have that, can we? Attack! Two guards come over to us, and seem to rather effectively manage to block our progress. And a stray shot from an arrow puts down the monk. We're doing well!

Dox fires off a rather powerful bolt that knocks down the cleric in the room. Finally getting a clear shot, I manage to use my mind to blow the cleric's up. Heh.

Meanwhile, the others take out those trying to raise the cog, the monk spinning around the room laying the smack down on everyone there. We continue the fight. One Duergar escapes, but is cut down. The monk manages to close the cog, and I get poisoned. Ow! And nearly collapse. So close...

Sitting for a while, others find a few interesting items, and the dwarf with us finds his cousin. And we find a large obsidian shard coming out the floor. What the...?

The shard hits our minds, and I see an image of Seaian. I'm not having that, and lash back with my mind, smacking it hard. We chase it about the room, with it dominating some of us, and us attacking it. Eventually the monk shatters it. That was annoying.

With that out of the way, we stock up on armour and weapons, and head back first to the brewery (to get some beer), and then back to the inn. We investigate the staves some more, find one is good for terrifying prisoners, and the other staff attracts zombies. And opens a portal to some tomb. Hmm... we could store stuff there...

So, with the sun setting on other day, we take stock of our position, and contemplate the future...


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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Close The Gates

Another series kicked off: The Gates. The basic concept of "supernatural crime drama" sounds like something I wanted to see. But then I looked at the character description. Let me give one as an example "Brett Crezski, the typical popular high school athlete, who is Andie's boyfriend and a werewolf."

Um... oh dear... alarm bells are ringing... and they are saying "soap opera!"

And so I watched the pilot. Unfortunately, I was right. There was a little sense of "crime mystery", but a whole heap helping of "supernatural soap opera". Especially with the teens of course. Thank you so much Stephenie Meyer.

Oh, and we also know lots of details about who is what, so when I said "mystery", not so much.

Pilot episode... and I'm done with it... still, plenty more series to check out...


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Monday, 21 June 2010

DW 512: The Pandorica Opens

Now that's how you reference past episodes of the series! RTD, please take notes.

The biggest problem with this episode is that it is, by necessity, a set-up episode for the next big episode. We spend a lot of time waiting for the Pandorica to open, and then spend more time waiting... and more time... yeah, we can see this isn't opening until the end.

And no, I didn't see that ending coming. I did guess who was in there, from the description the Doctor gave (that was an obvious description of himself), but I thought it was a future Doctor or some such. [I am wondering if, now that Moffat destroyed the universe, the Doctor's now going to discover his own corpse? Although Lawrence Miles might have a few things to say about that.] But then it turns out the Doctor is being put in it... so that whole episode of "fending off the baddies and getting them fighting each other" was a complete waste of time. We could have skipped to the end quite easily, especially when they all just teleport in without any problem.

But, ooh, Rory! Although certain difficulties have already been spotted. Not sure how they are going to resolve Amy getting shot (short of some timey-whimey-ness of her never having been shot at all), but then there's clearly going to be some time-whimey-ness going on to explain the whole universe destruction thing.

[Amusing note: Right after the Doctor is fired at by the arm, and he ducks out, Amy runs into the side of the Pandorica... and it wobbles!]

Big set up... but pointlessly time-consuming set up. A whole week to wait now...

Next week: So finally they'll get to 26/06/2010... hey, wait a minute!


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Sunday, 20 June 2010

Of Steam, Steel and Murder

Once more unto the breach, although the breach in this case is the death of a complete pain in the neck. Who did it? Who knows? But I'd like to buy them a drink.

Although, thanks to a certain royalty, I get involved in events more than a want to, as well as a certain acquitence of mine. Backstory? We don't need no backstory?

Check out Game 16. Note that I couldn't find a good starting point, so you'll hear 15-30 minutes of waffle before we get down to the game. Enjoy!


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Saturday, 19 June 2010

The Eh-Team!

A movie in which a military team is wrongly accused, which then goes on to seek vengeance on those that wronged them? Never seen that before! [Although that could be many, many movies, especially if you include singular military people who are wrongly accused....]

I would discuss the plot, but it really is that generic. They do something, get accused, then regroup, do some set pieces, then have a big battle against the ones that set them up! Aside from the characters being "The A-Team", this could be any other movie. There's nothing particularly A-Team-ish that sets them apart aside from one-liners and one moment where they build something stupid while in an enclosed space... but then swap those one-liners out and realise that any team are capable of building something stupid, and it could be any other movie! [I would look up TV Tropes to see if this is there, but that's too distracting a site.]

However, as I said, they are the characters. And fortunately, unlike other remake movies, the people behind this did cast for the characters as opposed to casting for the actors (I'm looking at you, Star Trek!). Generally speaking, the new guys do well enough, although Sharlto Copley doesn't quite capture Murdock's insanities. And Liam and Quinton 'Rampage' speak so low that I had trouble making out what they were saying that deep in the bass range. And aside from the obligatory "sexy girl" with the overly badly tacked on "romance plot", I'm not sure what the point of Jessica Biel's presence.

If you like the A-Team, this is a decent enough movie, but is otherwise a generic action movie.


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Friday, 18 June 2010

"To Be Watched"

Spawned off a comment on yesterday's post, there are a number of shows I would like to get around to watching. The Wire is one such show, I've heard a lot of good comments about it. The Sopranos is another one.

However, I have no interest in buying the DVDs for them. Nor do I have any interest of following it on TV, presuming it was screening. I could pick them up from the library, and might well do so at some point so I can watch them. (Numb3rs is a show I watch that way.)

However (2)... I have too many DVDs that I have brought still to be watched! I have lots of other media to consume as well (keeping up with the various shows, for example). The likelihood of me going out and getting more to watch is incredibly slim... and yet those shows are definitely on my "To Be Watched" list...

What shows are on yours? Any chance you'll actually get to see them?


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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Primo Suspect

It's a bit odd that I've been watching Prime Suspect recently. I usually don't watch straight police procedurals (got bored with The Professionals, for example). Usually, I need some other element in the mix, like it's in space or involves time travel.

And yet, here I am, watching a straight police show. And, it's a damn good one. Shows that gripping drama grips no matter what the genre. Only watched the first two series so far, but Helen Mirran is a fantastic actress and is amazingly believably written. (I won't comment, aside from this aside, on whether or not it being a British show helps.)

And yet (again), there is one odd thing I've noticed. Each series (of four episodes) is its own storyline, developing the case, and it really is three plus hours split up. But it's how it's split up that's odd. Each episode is around 55 minutes, and it's like the editors play out the story line and at the end of 50 odd minutes end the show and go to the credits. There isn't any sense of a cliff-hanger for most of the episodes, and if there is one it's more of a dramatic nature. But typically, it's more like a scene cut than an episode break. Can't say I've encountered that before in other shows.

Odd. Still, I've got another five series to enjoy, so here's to good television yet to come!

EDIT: Watching series 3 I found the answer... and I definitely have seen this phenomena before! They aren't 50 minutes episodes... they are one hour 40 minute episodes cut in half. Visions of Season 22 anyone?


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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Zombiegeddon: 5th Bite!

First up, the fetch quest. We quite easily manage to walk 100m to the leather store where the Goliath's armour is, and walk back. I get myself some nice gloves, but otherwise not the most exciting time.

Then we head out on the escort quest, heading to the brewery. On the way we encounter some more zombies that had been gathered and fed, by two Shadowfell creatures. Hmm... and other staff or two for us to examine (one was red, I already have blue... collect the set!). Although the monk gets munched on a bit, we otherwise get through unscathed. (None of us notice Dox do soem munching himself on the fresh half-elf corpse...)

Getting to the brewery, we meet another adventuring party. We trade talk, then, with Boers... Boris... B-dwarf, we head to the Forge, also known as the Dwell. It has a heavy door entrance that slams shut behind us. No worries there then.

In the entrance to the mine, we don't encounter dwarfs so much as Duergar. Everyone decided that they must die... so I guess they're evil or something? No mention to talking with them. There are a fair few archers, and for a while it looks like we're the next porcupine impression. However, we manage to deal with those nearby then turn our attention to the archers, and they are quickly dealt with.

Looking around, we find a cloak that fits me nicely, and a mace that fits well in my hand! Nice! [Don't know why I asked for a magic weapon. As an implement range controller, I don't use weapons outside of melee opportunity attacks...]

Some of us walk down into the pit, while others jump into a cart. We get down far enough to hear others up ahead and find another cart. We send the cart on its way, and it blows up when it gets to the area where the voices are. Huh. Then the others pass by on their own cart, and race ahead (Dox stays in until the end where he encounters more Duergar, and already shapeshifted into one. That won't cause problems, I'm sure). When we get to where the cart exploded, we find dazed Duergar we put out of our misery, and I find a nice orb! [Yep, lots of magic tat for me this session!]

Making our way further, we do find that main Duergar force, and the fight is on...


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Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The Eli of Book

Yay! Post-apocalypse! My favourite genre ever! Oh wait... I don't enjoy that at all... still, at least Denzel Washington is here with me.

So there's this book, and Denzel is trying to get it to the west, and Gary Oldman wants it... and that's pretty much the plot. Oh, and the book is the bible, because when the apocalypse happens, you're going to want religion to still be around... oh wait, no you don't.

But then, the movie doesn't make that point. In fact, Gary wants it to use it for himself, in one of the classic uses of religion (ie to justify the power base). However, everyone who is used to the post-apocalyptic world do not have anything like religion, they are too busy trying to survive to worry about what-ifs. And, not to give the ending away, but the ultimate place the bible is put is relevant for that society.

(That said, the moment of saying grace seems to infect Solara pretty quickly, despite that it means nothing to her. And I completely fail to buy the basic premise of all bibles being destroyed.)

Denzel Washington is good in this role (and I did have a few suspicions about his character, so was pleasantly surprised, rather than whiplashed surprised). Gary Oldman is just as good, but I'm surprised none of his underlings decided to take matters into their own hand.

The main fault with this movie (aside from some plot ideas) is that it is slow. Really, really slow. There are some panning shots which just pan... and pan... and pan... then pan some more... and then go slowly. The house shooting scene was interestingly done, but then it goes slow again...

Decent performances help this movie, the slowness kills it.


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Monday, 14 June 2010

DW 511: The Lodger

So last week's trailer was basically this week's precredit sequence. Cool! We nicely set up the sit-rom-com and the mystery! If only all trailers could be that brief and not-give-away-y!

So let's get this out of the way. It so easily could have been Sapphire and Steel, but clearly Gareth was going more for the funny. Thus we get big fatso Gareth Craig is pining for his girlfriend and gets caught up in the Doctor's life (yeah, that is in no way any kind of Gary Stu situation there).

But clearly the love interest had to culminate in the same moment the sci-fi is dealt with, that's just obvious, yet good, story-telling! (And yet, in the Confidential, it took a dozen drafts to get there?) In fact, good story telling all around! (Now, I do have the comic, but can't be bothered looking it up. I'm not sure what is says that previous stories were televised novels, but now they're televising comic strips?)

Matt Smith gets a lot of play in this story too, and gets to show off his football skills. I was trying to imagine Eccleston doing this, couldn't (but then, he doesn't do 'domestic'. And we would have had to have Rose). Although this is the same character I couldn't see the Pertwee spitting out wine, Baker (either) probably would have gone upstairs straight away, and McCoy would have been the one upstairs. Lawrence Miles does have another good point (damn him) about the stories being appropriate for the Doctor.

Anyway, decent story, nice light touch to 'cleanse the palette' before the final headlong crash into continuity...

Next week: It begins! Or rather, ends! What is in the Pandorica? I have a suspicion...


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Sunday, 13 June 2010

Personages Unknown

There's a slew of new series starting up over in Americaland, with the first out of the block (that's I'm at least glancing at) being Persons Unknown. So far, I've only seen the first episode, but I'm willing to make some predictions for the series.

The basic premise is that a group of "persons" who are "unknown" (to each other) wake up to find themselves in a hotel in a town. They don't know where they are, or if they can trust each other. There are cameras watching them, and people who are in the town who are just doing their jobs and know less than they do. They will have challenges to face and the aim will be to get the hell out of there. Or survive.

In the first episode, the structure was to follow one of the people, see her getting grabbed and then show her meeting people, and also what happens back in her real life. I'm predicting... each episode will show someone's before-life and other details as we concentrate on them. (At least, for a bunch of episodes, there are only eight of them after all.)

The problem is... this smacks of "Lost"ness. And I can easily see this series being branded as "the New Lost!". Which it isn't. That's just a short hand marketing technique to get people to watch (obviously), but this also puts a shape on the series it doesn't have. Which means it won't be what people expect. And thus it's going to be cancelled.

Okay, it's just me (as far as I know) that is saying Lost-like, I haven't been watching the marketing, and it's only thirteen episodes, so it's unlikely to be pulled before it gets fully aired. But... it is made by Fox (although shown on NBC), so I don't think I'm that far off the mark in the 'getting canceled' call.

Anyways, it's intriguing enough to make me want to watch more, and that's what the basic aim of any series should be. Just need to ignore any hint of Lost or Survivor or... and judge it on itself.


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Saturday, 12 June 2010

DW: The Forgotten Army

[Hmm.. Justin Richards and two unknown authors. Given new bar pals a chance or saving money?] This one is The Forgotten Army by Brian Minchin.

A mammoth invades New York! Kind of. A mammoth containing an army. And New York is helpless before it... quite a fun story in many ways. However, there is a completely ridiculous plot point to make the army a credible threat (on the other hand, this is Doctor Who after all). But Brian Minchin has a simple story to tell and goes about telling it with a large helping of lightheartedness. (Not that any of the books have been dark pieces, but this one is more playful than the other two.)

The Doctor and Amy are still not incredibly developed, but there are enough mannerisms there you can hear them in parts. (Too much is made of the "I won't say that again" beat, but that has been a complaint I haven't mentioned of all three books.) Amy gets a better role here than in the other two, but the Doctor is a little weak.

The other character aren't developed much either, the closest to a character is Sam, but that is heavily handled and comes across as clunky. The rest aren't more than one-dimensional, and I had a hard time believing they were even credibly American.

I'd rate this is as the best of the current set of Doctor/Amy books, and it looks like Doctor/Amy/Rory books are due out soon (again with a recognised author and two others). Hopefully they'll be up to this standard.


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Friday, 11 June 2010

Do You Believe?


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That about sums it up

Thank you.


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Thursday, 10 June 2010

Zombiegeddon: 4th Bite!

[We certainly can't be accused of steaming through whatever the plot is!]

With Fig falling into the zombies, we're off with another zombie fight! A range of zombie were below, some simple to kill, some harder, and one Big Bad(tm). The monk got down and dirty with the zombies, while the rest of us snipe from the roof. Or, at least us trying to snipe. Some attacks were more successful that others. Still, this was hardly the hardest fight, and we deal with them. Looking around, the street is clear of zombies, and no others seem to be near, so we have some easy moving for a while. (We also have some loot from the bodies, but nothing exciting.)

We cross the street to the theatre and find the woman barricaded upstairs. And she can't open the door. So we have to go into the theatre proper and find a way upstairs. We also find, on the stage, a curtain writhing around with something underneath it. I dared Dox to try curtain-surfing, and he does. And, it has to be admitted, he does it very well! Although slightly less enthused when he rides the zombie abomination out from under the curtain.

While we have the big brute to deal, some zombies rain down from the flies. Huh. The beast does take plenty of pounding and, of course, we finally put him down. However, as I move onto the stage to look around, he rears up against and knocks me off the stage. Owie! [Note: this was the only damage in the entire day that I take! Go being a range controller!] He is stomped down again. Permanently this time.

We got some more loot, including some magic items (for others) and the curtain itself was magical, which we might be able to adapt for self-cleaning clothes later (I definitely want a set of that!). We also rescue the woman, and escort her back to the inn.

Then we are onto our main reason for coming out, going to the butchers shop. We get some meat, fish and a realisation that sewers run under the city and we might be able to use those. Interesting...

During the night, we (ie those on guard) hear some screams from the brewery. And in the morning, we see a prismatic sphere floating about observing the city. We attempt to get its attention, but don't get it to come over. Weird.

With three things to go to (the library, the records office, the brewery), we are asked to go to the dwarfs in the brewery, who will also be able to get us weapons from the forge area, and the bouncer wants us to get his armor. Damn fetch quests. Still, can't say we don't have options...


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Wednesday, 9 June 2010

DW: Night of the Humans

More adventures with the Doctor and Amy, it's the Night of the Humans by David Llewellyn.

The TARDIS is drawn to a junk planet, on which several ships have crashed. One, long ago, was a human ship. More recently, a Sittuun ship. And incoming is a comet to ruin everyone's day. The Doctor is trying to save everyone, but the humans aren't interested. And then Dirk Slipstream shows up...

Actually, I'll talk about that last point first. Dirk Slipstream is presented as if the audience is already familiar with him, to some degree. There's references to a previous adventure, in particular to being in prison with the Doctor, that made me think this was somehow following up on a minor plot point from Monsters Inside. But nope, just David Llewellyn inserting himself, I mean, writing a care he was interested in. And yet, he merely comes across as a jerk. Aside from padding some of the book out, he could easily have been cut without any real issue.

The Sittuun could be an interesting race, and much is made of them being alien and not liking the humans... except that they all have human names and are written as humans, so that was a bit of a miss. The humans themselves are supposed to be somewhat non-human, become primitive, but they are written as merely backwards, and not that savage either. The dichotomy fails to impress.

Again there's the problem with the books being written without too much knowledge of the characters. Some Eleventh Doctor moments, but largely generic. And Amy isn't well defined past 'feisty companion'. The only other fully developed character is Charlie... who is an alien... with a completely human name... so that worked well.

Yet another book to put on the 'myeh' pile.


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Tuesday, 8 June 2010

DW: City of the Daleks

[This review cannot be mine, for clearly, as a non-UK person, there's no way I can play it...]

First tip: enter the game, change the settings to a nice quality, then restart the game. It starts blocky. Yuck. Also, when you start the game, expect to wait a minute or two on the front BBC screen. Either they are taking a while to load the game, or, like their DVDs, don't actually want to get to the actual meat of the content if they can help it.

This is a rather linear game, more a story with some interactive moments than a sprawling open sand-pit. Fine, we are here to hear Uncle Phil tell us a story. I guess. And it's one that we have encountered before. While I won't give away all the details (*cough* the Daleks have changed the past and the Doctor and Amy need to go back further and stop them *cough*), I'm not sure it would make a Quick Read, let alone an actual story. (Hmm... not sure why I'm comparing this to a book as opposed to the actual series, or even an audio. Probably because that's the more common non-tv media I deal with.) As for canonicity... that goes out the window as soon as we get to the actual City of the Daleks.

Second tip: Just because it's linear doesn't mean you can't explore. Although you're not supposed to. At various points, if you try to explore, you get a "nope, can't explore now, need to follow the plot". That said, I did get past one blocked route without it triggering, did a later bit of the plot, and screwed up the episode. Had to restart there (hint: if you enter the visualiser before fixing Amy, you may as well start from Act Two again...).

It's neat to hear actual dialog spoken by Matt Smith and Karen Gillan (and Nicholas Briggs), with their names flashed up over the highly visual rectum view. The graphics (once you up the quality) aren't bad, although there are a few rendering issues, and in one case I was on some boxes and saw my shadow... which wasn't on the shadow of any boxes. Oops.

But onto the gameplay itself. The main controls take a little getting used to, being mouse based. They do offer an arrow alternative, but it's not better, and indeed making interacting with the environment harder. This gets really annoying during the (many) stealth parts, where a bit of debris on the floor can block your movement, or you can't turn enough and start sliding across the wall.

The other main component are the minigames you need to do to bypass security, or make things, etc. Most of them are very twitch sensitive (in that if you twitch, you fail and need to start again). There is a mouse sensitivity control for the game, but I didn't play with that. I've done those sorts of things and while I did crash into the walls, etc., I got through them easily enough.

Indeed, getting through the whole game wasn't the most challenging experience. Not that this game is aimed at the hardcore gamer, and not that there weren't momemts when I went "what exactly am I supposed to do here?". This isn't going to take up hours of your time, but don't expect to be done in a few minutes either. (Actually, it did take me 2-3 hours.)

Ultimately, a diversionary experience, rather than an overwhelmingly satisfying one.


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Monday, 7 June 2010

DW 510: Vincent and the Doctor

I got the sense that the monster wasn't something Richard Curtis really wanted in there, and would rather have done a proper historical with Van Gogh. (Certainly, this wasn't the first draft of the story. It was made "better".)

At the thirty minute mark, this episode seemed to be largely done. Reminded me of Victory of the Daleks. However, unlike that previous episode, this one actually continued on and continued to be worth watching, although, as I indicate above, does highlight the pointlessness of the monster.

While I did like the emotional closure of the show, it was rather... sacharrine. And does raise the question of why the Doctor doens't do this for other artists. And of that point, this is the first time we've had a non-literate historical figure (in the sense of he's an artist, not a writer). As such, I had less connection to him, as I'm more a reader than a paint-looker-ater, so while there was a lot of gushing "he's the greatest artist EVAH!", I am more neutral on the topic. (And it's amazing how empty Trogir Provence is in the morning, with tables of food already out.)

Tony Curran embodied the role well (someone in the museam should have said "you could play Van Gogh!"). And, of course, yay Bill Nighy! While Matt Smith got a lot of screen time, Karen Gillan was less featured, outside of a few moments (and yes, I noted the 'Rory' moment, that and the 'why are you crying?' won't get overlaboured, I'm sure...).

I'm not rating this story as highly as others, as the mashed nature of it meant it wasn't a good monster story, nor a good character based story. Would like to see what Richard Curtis wanted to write.

Next week: Oooh! Now that looks intriguing!


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Sunday, 6 June 2010

Of Steam, Steel and Murder

We had a new player join us (new to this game, he's played in other campaigns I've been in). And we also get a major plot point dumped on us. Really hard. So much so that the likely next event will have to wait until next time.

But for this, we encounter popular culture in the form of Project Rainbow. Due to certain connections, I made the connection earlier than other people, but it all came up. There's a lot I know that I haven't said to anyone. Many, many secrets of Gavin. They'll come out eventually...

Listen to Game 15.


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DW: Apollo 23

The first of the Eleventh Doctor books: Apollo 23 by Justin Richards.

The basic idea: the Americans have a base on the moon, and walk to and from there to Texas, 'cos they can. Except something's gone wrong. [Note: far more is given away in the blurb.] What this really is is a base under siege style story, and it doesn't arise to any level of innovation at any point. [There are several continuity references through-out, although they are kept subtle and not overly highlighted.]

Amy suffers from 'new companion' syndrome, and is written to not impact the story in several ways (aka is taken out of the story, cf Benny in Future Transit). I could visualise the Doctor as played by Matt Smith at several points, although the hair motif was overplayed.

The rest of the characters... are fairly straightforward. It was rather easy to guess who was 'bad' and who was 'good', as the standard 'bait and switch' was tried but also easily spotted. Jackson's fate was the one remarkable point.

A rather average book, not the best, not the worst. Meh.


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Saturday, 5 June 2010

The Prisoner's Dilemma

I picked this up a year ago but just had it sitting there. It wasn't until I saw the awful American remake that I got inspired to read The Prisoner's Dilemma by Jonathan Blum and Rupert Booth.

And it's a damn fine read! Number 6 finds Number 18 in a rather unfortunate situation, and ends up pairing up with her in an effort to help her, and then help himself. But he's not the only one using her, and of course there's the continual problem of: is he himself being used?

The best part of this book is Number 6 himself, and he is very well written. The authors capture McGoohan's mannerisms perfectly, with clipped speech and flicking fingers. The Village is also captured properly, coming across confining and all consuming. (They try a few tricks to make Rover credible, but the memory of the floppy balloon doesn't quite lend itself to a real threat.)

Interestingly, the entire book is written in the present tense. That takes a little getting used to, but keeps it fresh. And, of course, given that this is print, the Village is more capable than it ever was on screen. And there are decades of changes to draw on, so we get a more advanced Village as well. Creates an interesting atmosphere.

Definitely a recommended read, although I now want to read more, but can't get them!


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Friday, 4 June 2010



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The Prints of Persia

I played the original game, and the follow up game, way back when. Never played the Sands of Time series, have some of the basics, so was as ready as I was going to be to see the movie version.

The plot is: everybody dies. Certainly, there is a lot of death as the nominal Prince is portrayed as a the bad guy, although he isn't thrown in a dungeon, and the princess isn't waiting in the bedroom with a sand timer and a mouse. There are a fair few action sequences, some minimal attempt at characterisation development, and a LOT of rooftop jumping. Hours of it, it seems. And I think I saw a panning shot that looked to be straight from the game as well. Oh and sand. And time.

Jake Gyllenhaal is decent enough as the prince, and Ben "I'm not evil. Seriously. I'm not. Please believe this lie for a while at least" Kingsley unsurprisingly upstages everyone else around him. Gemma Arterton is presented as the Sexy Woman, rather than being the Sexy Woman, so is alright. And aside from Richard Coyle channeling Sean Bean, and Alfred Molina also scene stealing, the rest of the cast is also there.

It does feel a little long, with one or two action sequences too many, is otherwise a watchable movie that doesn't reach brilliant heights of wonderfulness, but also doesn't suck terribly.


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Thursday, 3 June 2010

Zombiegeddon: 3rd Bite!

Before we could lay down the smack on the succubus, she wanded a hole in the floor and disappeared downwards. The rest of the party followed, although by the time I could make my way down, I saw that she had opened the front door, so decided to work on damage control. Heading out to the balcony looking over the bar, I set about knocking back the undead and yelling for the door to get closed.

(Downstairs, they were fighting her and the invading undead. She charmed the fighter into being on her side, but the rest of the group managed to put paid to every creature that deserved getting hit. They took some damage, but... eh, I was fine, so that's all right.)

We tied up the succubus and left her to wake up, while the Changelings went up to try out the iTablets. When they called her one, her own Dark Sun mark went off... hopefully that won't happen to me. When they came back down, we talked to her, and found out that (I think, I wasn't paying complete attention) she worshipped some old gold and her master was named Tarran. Although when she told us the last item of information, she suddenly bled out. Nasty.

We need to get to the library at some point, but too late to head out this afternoon (don't want to be out and about after dark), but we do think that we can get to the nearby butchers for more food. We go up to the balcony and look over the mass of zombies, and also spot a woman trapped in the theatre across the road. Need to rescue her.

However, Dox was zapping zombies, when he fumbled and knocked us off the balcony. Well, some of us. Well, the fighter. We did consider clearing a path, but weren't expecting to get underway just yet. Oops...

[BTW, we have tried the "act like a zombie" trick a while ago. Didn't work. They aim by heat sense, and a Changeling that looks like a zombie is still a heat source. Oh well.]


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Wednesday, 2 June 2010


It's STILL a BUG on the LENS!!!

"The story also ran last year on the Stuff website and attracted about 80 comments in the Oddstuff section which offered a different opinion. Many have suggested it's a bug or a dust mite on the lens. But the Sowerbys were not satisfied with these theories."

Tough. Doesn't matter if you like it. It is what it is.

But why has this come back up?

"That was until Monday when the Good Morning show on TV One hosted television psychic Sue Nicholson who offered the pair an explanation."

Sue MEDIA SEEKING Nicholson mentioned it. Because she's credible! In no way WHAT-SO-FREAKING-EVER! According to her, it's a cat ghost and some other ghosts and... just random crap pulled from her ass!

"Mrs Sowerby was happy with the explanation but was not thrilled at the prospect of the house turning into a train station of the spiritual kind."

Perhaps you would have been more thrilled by the actual reality of a BUG WALKING ON THE LENS!!! You forgo reality, you don't get to complain.


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Corner of Nightmare and Elm

Have you ever seen a Nightmare film? Then you've seen this one then! They are "rebooting the franchise", but aside from one motivational point, this is exactly the same Nightmare style film as we've already seen. Only without Robert Englund.

Following the bouncing ball with me: the story is that kids are dying, and it turns out that a "Freddy" is involved, and that the parents are to blame. Quelle surprise. And although scares are tried, you expect Freddy to pop up when they are dreaming (and I always assumed they were dreaming), so he didn't get many working 'boo' moment.

But wait, you say, who cares? This is a slasher pic, right? Surely we are only seeing it for the slashing and the knifing and the big dream sequences? Well, that just shows you aren't in tune with the out-of-tune Hollywood scene. We must care about the kids that are there to be sliced up, so we are treated to dramatic emotional moments of characters sharing their lives that take me back to Dawson's Creek (at least, what I imagine Dawson's Creek is like, I never actually watched it). Kid soap opera either way.

And as for the big dream sequences, ha! That would cost money, and why would anyone want to spend that. Instead, just pick one or two unrelated sets and use those instead, over and over.

Jackie Earle Haley is doesn't quite capture the menace of Robert (they get the eyes wrong, so he seems alien instead of creepy human). And the rest of the cast hang around and get killed without making any impressions at all.

This feels more like a conglomeration of Freddy movies than anything new, but at least they got away from the over-evolved plot line. Until the sequel that is...


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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Robin without the Hood

I've never really know much historical truth there was to the Robin story, but this movie doesn't even slightly stick to the mythological history. Oh, there are characters in common, and it's even set in Nottingham (for the most part), but aside from that...

But this is supposed to be a re-imaginaring, so we start with Robin Longstride in King Richard's army, before he heads back to England to be Robin Loxley, and become embroiled in politics (bringing in the Magna Carta? Really?). Politics with a sword, that is! And then everything changes in the last five minutes.

And there are many action sequences in this movie, but the movie takes its time about. The story is slow to unfold, and even the action sequences are paced out. (That said, they are shot in "action mode!" so you have no idea who is involved in the fight and if they are winning or losing.) To be honest, it didn't need to be over two hours, but Ridley Scott was obviously enamored of showing everything, never mind the audience.

Russell Crowe shows that he is still capable of acting, holding up against the likes of Cate Blanchett and Max Von Sydow. Oscar Isaac could use a few tips, with William Hurt and Mark Strong dominating their scenes.

Decent enough take, but be prepared to be staring at the screen for a long time.


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