About Me

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Greetings. I am the Illusive One. For many years now I have been a huge video game player, movie viewer, and book reader. For almost as long, I have been a critic of these things and many people respect my opinions of these things and have often said I belong on G4 doing reviews on X-Play or a similar show. Sadly that is not likely to happen. So instead I shall do reviews for you, uninfluenced by other reviewers, of video games books, movies, and, occasionally, music and political actions. I hope you find this informative and helpful. Thank you for your time.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Superman Renounces American Citizenship

            This month has easily been my most lax month of the year as I only published ten posts including this one and two of which were only short announcements.  Why is this?  Well, I honestly don't think you care so let’s just movie on.  So how am I going to end this slack month?  Well, I think I'll do something different and there are two things I have avoided throughout my blog.  The first is comic books, as I don't read them and the second is politics as I tend to be a bit cynical and indecisive when it comes to them.  And believe it or not, I actually found something that involves both subjects and I feel it's something I have to give my thoughts on.
            On Thursday, April 28th, Action Comics released their record-breaking, 900th issue of Superman.    In it, Superman makes the decision to renounce his American citizenship, citing that he is tired of having his actions interpreted as US policy and that his old motto of truth, justice and the American way just isn't enough anymore.  The writers' decision to do this has instantly sparked controversy among fans and critics.  Some believing that this was a good choice as Superman's choices were always bigger then America while others thinks it shows blunt lack of patriotism and makes him a metaphor for the country's current economic and political status the county holds on the global scale.  That may be looking a little too deeply into it but I can see how someone can interpret that way.
            So what are my thoughts on this?  Well, more power to the writers for one thing.  Anyone who can take such a big step outside of the box has my respect.  As far as the decision itself goes, it's not like they can't undo it in the next issue.  The point of it, however, was to have Superman put a global focus on his never ending battles; to make the world his main focus rather than just America.  My biggest problem with this is that it seems a little redundant.  He's always already defending the Earth against intergalactic invaders like Brainiac and Darkseid, so doesn’t that imply that he is already Earth's guardian rather than just America's?  Maybe this was just meant to cement the fact but I still felt it was redundant for the character to flat out say it. 
            As far as the people who say it makes Superman a metaphor on America's recent decline I say again that they're looking too deeply into it.  The ideas that the writers had the character renounce his citizenship because they think America is a sinking ship is just stupid.  To me, it's about the same as saying a man is socialist for putting the needs of a whole community over the needs of a single neighborhood. 
            Putting the needs of the world as a whole, rather than a single country, is something that I can't help but admire and I support the writers' decision to permanently take Superman in this direction.  Maybe having him renounce his U.S. citizenship was taking it a little too far but it was still a great way to etch his new world wide policy in stone.  And those are my thoughts on Superman renouncing his U.S. Citizenship.             

Friday, April 29, 2011

Disturbed's Singles

          As I stated on my previous post Disturbed's albums as wholes were hit or miss.  The singles, however, are usually great and are a subject of their own and I felt they deserved their own post.  So here are The Illusive One's thoughts on Disturbed's singles.


           Stupify was Disturbed's first single and was one of the few Disturbed songs to contain rapping, (and thank God for that).  Despite this, I really like this song.  The rifts, drums, bass and lyrics all match perfectly to make one hell of a song.  The lyrics also seem to contain a young person’s perspective of reality and racism and this has always been something that has hit hard for me.  This has been supported by lead singer Draiman that the lyrics were inspired by racism he dealt with as a Jew and how people he knew dealt with it as well.  The video for the song features the band performing the song in a rusted cellar-like room, intercut with footage of a young boy sitting in the same room and as the song progresses, the boy is revealed to be haunted by demon-like creatures.  What does this have to do with the song itself?  I don't know but it somehow matches perfectly.  All around, a great song and a great start to Disturbed future singles.


Down with the Sickness

           Now this is a great song.  For me, everything about this song is perfect.  The guitar rifts are perfect, they lyrics are perfect, the bass is perfect, and the drums are perfect.  Then you have that weird noise Draiman makes throughout that song and to this day I still don't know what the hell that was supposed to be but it's still just a great fucking song.  Unlike most of Disturbed's other songs, they don't seem to contain any kind of underlying themes, (or if they do I don't know about them), but it still kicks ass!  Every time I hear this song I want to kick some ass or get my ass kicked!  For such a great song however, it has a really crappy music video, only featuring live performances by the band and I hate music videos that do that.  But that doesn’t change the fact that it's a kickass song.  It's just a good old fashion, head banging, mosh pitting type song and I love every second of it.



           This one is probably my least favorite of The Sickness singles as it just wasn't as intense or as catchy as the others.  It's usually one I tend to skip over on my playlist and just isn't that memorable compared to Down with the Sickness and Stupify.  They lyrics, guitar, bass and drums were all just ok and that's all I really have to say about it.  The song seems to be about the voices that exist in all our heads to do evil things but it just could have been better.  It's not great.  It's not bad.  It's just ok.  And that's all.

The Game

            Another Sickness song that's not great but still good.  The problem with it is that the first thirty seconds of the song have such great lyrics to it that the rest of the song just seems bland in comparison.  I did enjoy it more than Voices but it's still a forgettable compared to Down with The Sickness and Stupify.



           Most of the songs in Believe are spiritual in lyrical nature and Prayer is the best of these.  The instrument work in it is ok but the lyrics are what make the song.  I don't know how to explain why I like them so much other then saying it takes me to another frame of mind.  Essentially the song is about Draiman having a conversation with God, telling Him to bring it on if He is trying to use pain to get a response from Draiman and that's all you can say in that kind of situation.  The music video shows Draiman walking down the street while looking at people in states of desperation while the world seems to crumble around him. In fact, the music video was actually banned by several media outlets, citing the similarities to the images of the September 11th Attacks.  While I personally found this stupid it was still something I had to mention.  All around, Prayer was a great song with a great music video.  It's not their best single, but it is one the best.



           This song always struck me as being a brother song to Prayer; like they were intended to be one song but instead was split into two.  The rifts were good, as was the beat and, like Prayer, puts me in another state of mind, but it just couldn't escape Prayer shadow.  The whole song seems to be about someone remembering a better time and just struck me as being depressing.  It's a good song but just listening to it dampens my mood.



           Now this is a good, fast passed song.  Great rifts, great lyrics, great bass, and great drums.  It manages to capture both the speed and intensity of The Sickness, but at the same time had the spiral lyrics many of Believe’s songs contained.  The lyrics seem to be about liberating yourself from the hatred and darkness that exist within everyone's hearts and not to wait for a modern messiah to do it for you.  For some reason, however, this song is probably the least know of Disturbed's Believe singles and I don't know why.  It's faster passed then Prayer and Remember, yet still has the same type of lyrics.  Does anyone have an answer for me?  Well, anyway it's a great but underrated song and it's tied as my favorite Believe song with Prayer.



           The first single of Ten Thousand Fists, Guarded is a fast passed song with great lyrics and great rifts.  Of all of Disturbed's singles, it's probably the least known but it's just as good as all of the other songs on Ten Thousand Fists.  The lyrics seem to address someone who keeps themselves guarded from others and how doing this leaves them isolated.  The only problem I have with this song is that it tends to repeat itself in its lyrics and rifts in a way no other Disturbed song does.  But still, it's a good song and a great start to the Ten Thousand Fists singles.



           Now, this is probably Disturbed's most overrated song but still is a great one.  It had great rifts, a good guitar solo, great lyrics to tie it all in together and contained the first guitar solo to be featured on a Disturbed song.  As a whole, the song seems to be about someone who can't get over a lost lover.  But what drove this song to its current state of popularity?  Guitar Hero III.    It blew the song way out of proportions and people who hadn't even heard of Disturbed thought of that song when Disturbed was mentioned.  The truth of the matter is that the song, while good, is not any better or worse than the other songs of Ten Thousand Fist.  It's a good song but very overrated.


Just Stop

           Yet another of underrated song from Ten Thousand Fists, Just Stop is the slowest passed of the Ten Thousand Fists singles.  While good, it was slow and just didn't have the same feel as the others.  In fact the lyrics actually seem to be about someone asking for people to stop being so critical and judgmental and I don't entirely know what to make of this.  It is the lesser of the Ten Thousand Fists singles but still a good song all the same.


Land of Confusion

           Disturbed's best known cover, Land of Confusion was a covered from the band Genesis and is the most known cover of this song.  According to Draiman, the idea was to take a song that was nothing like them and make it their own and to their credit, they did this.  The rifts were heavier; the lyrics felt darker, replaced a few and added in the animal like sounds Draiman makes.  As if it wasn't good enough, the song's music video was an animated music video done by Todd McFarlane, famous as creator of the Spider-Man villain Venom and for his work with the Spawn series and this video has to be seen to be believe as my words can't do it justice.  All around, a great cover of a great song and my second favorite of the Ten Thousand Fists singles


Ten Thousand Fists

           Another great, yet underrated, single from the Ten Thousand Fists album, this song had everything.  It had great lyrics, great guitar riffs, great bass, great drums and gets me pumped in a way no other song other the Down with the Sickness can.  The meaning of the song is simple; stand up for what you believe in and signifies strength, unity, conviction and power.  Simple, but still a great was of conveying it.  Unfortunately, it was a song that I always felt got swept under the rug but it's still one of my favorite of Disturbed's singles.


Inside the Fire

           As a whole, Indestructible was Disturbed's worst album, but damn, did it have some great singles and one of the best is Inside the Fire.  Inspired by an incident from Draima's teen years, the song is basically about the devil or some other demonic creature telling someone to kill themselves after a loved one commits suicide so they may join her in hell.  It's a very sensitive subject as most people probably know at least one person who has, or tried, to commit suicide and I think only Disturbed could have pulled off a song dealing with it.  And it's a great song.  A bit of a downer but still a great one with great lyrics, great rifts, great bass and great drums and it's probably my second favorite song by Disturbed.  The music video is likewise very touchy and the first time I saw it I couldn't believe what I was seeing and like the Land of Confusion video, words can't do it justice.  The song and music video were actually edited for mainstream play, editing out all the dark content, (as I said, it's a touchy matter), and the video just had the band performing.  Last to mention is that it was Disturbed's first single to be nominated for a Grammy and, once again, I make no apologies when I say Wax Simulacra was a terrible song and should not have received the award.  A great song and one of Disturbed's best.


Perfect Insanity

           Perfect Insanity was actually a demo song Disturbed had recorded back in the late 90s before recording The Sickness and the band opted to re-recorded it with Indestructible as a way to get back to their state of mind when they were first starting out.  The instrument work is good and work perfectly with the lyrics, but it's the lyrics that make this song worth wile.  Essentially, the song is about a guy who is insane and is warning people around him about his psychotic tendencies and it puts me in a demented mood every time I hear it.  A great song with great lyrics that brings out the inner psycho in me.



           What a title for a song.  Like most of Disturbed's singles it was great all around with its own meanings.  This one, however, actually has two themes, the first being an anthem to solders.  While the band has stated that they are not pro-war by any means, they will still support our troops anyway they can and this song is meant to be something that will make the troops who listen to it to feel indestructible and inspire them in battle.  It's other meaning has to do with the band itself as by this point they had been together for about ten years by this point and symbolizes the fact that Disturbed is still here and won't be going anywhere.  Regardless of how you want to interpret it, it's a great song with great themes.


The Night

           Now this is another song that, for me, was just perfect.  The guitar riffs, lyrics, bass, and drums were all in perfect harmony.  It's a song that is difficult to describe other then saying it takes me to another frame of mind, similar to the singles of Believe, but had perfect guitar riffs to accompany the perfect lyrics.  It's all at once catchy and comforting and I love every second of it.  I will warn anyone who hasn't seen the music video, however, to stay away from it, as it's just a weird video and nearly ruined this song for me.  And that all I have to say on it.


Another Way to Die

           The first of the Asylum singles, it happens to be the first of Disturbed's singles to feature lyrics that dealt with the environment.  Instrumentally, it starts off a bit slow but then picks up with great guitar riffs, great drum beats with great lyrics to complete it.  The main issue discussed within the song is that our constant and irresponsible consumption of the world's resources is going is to destroy us in the end and while everyone may not agree with the global warming issue this is something that is very much a problem and will sooner or later catch up with us.  The music video furthers this by showing the world deprived of resources, of people struggling to survive, and stock footage of huge amounts of garbage and pollution relating to the song.  As a whole, this song isn't the albums best single but is a great song with a great message.  It's more than ok, but is by no means perfect.



           Now this is an interesting song.  My second favorite of the Asylum singles, the lyrics, rifts, bass and drums all matched perfectly to install a sense of rush and panic within the listener as if something is after said listener.  The song seems to be about someone who is insane, has been locked up in an asylum and is trying to survive in his state of insanity.  The music video was one of the best I've ever seen as it depicts a man within an asylum who is constantly being killed by the asylum workers or killing himself to escape them but finds himself constantly coming back to life and having to relive the horror of it the asylum over and over again.  As a whole, it was dark, edgy, catchy and great.


The Animal

           Very much like The Night, the lyrics, bass, rifts and drums of The Animal all match perfectly to make a song that takes me to another frame of mind.  It's also a catchy song that, unlike The Night, makes me think about fighting to the death every time I hear it.  My own personal interpretation of this song is that it's about the animal tendencies people go through when in a fight but I've also heard it's simply about someone who turns into a werewolf under the full moon, (though personally I like my version better).  Regardless of what it's supposed to mean, it's still a great song and probably Asylum's best single.



           So far this is the last of Disturbed's singles and to be fair, this one is probably the worst of the Asylum four.  While it is catchy and fast passed, it just wasn't as good as the other three.  It didn't seem as intense or deep as the other songs and it actually surprised me that it was released as a single.  The song seems to be about an arrogant warrior crushing his enemies without mercy in hopes that it will bring him fame and glory.  A good concept for a song and well executed but it's not their best.  Don't get me wrong.  It was a good song but there were other songs on Asylum that I felt deserved to be singles more than this one.


           And those are my thoughts on Disturbed's singles.  On the whole, their albums are hit or miss but their singles are always, (with only one or two exceptions), great and those are the songs that really got me into this band.  Pop, rap, and country stars come and go, rise and fall in popularity, but Disturbed's has always remained great and, to me, will always be the best.  What I really love about these songs and this band, however, is that unlike other bands, these songs were meant to be empowering; meant to help people set down their burdens for a while and make them feel powerful and invincible; to make them believe in something as opposed to believe in nothing and this is why I look always forward to Disturbed's next album.  Other musicians, on the other hand, seem content with just whining about their own short comings and are intent on dragging us down with them or praising their own success and making their fans feel inadequate.  So to them, I say Fuck You!  Fuck all those other genres!  Fuck all those other whiny, emo bands!  And Fuck anyone who disagrees with me!  Disturbed forever!
            And that is why I don't do too much on music.  I tend to get way to into it and am way to prejudice when it comes to certain bands.  As this is my first real attempt to go in depth with a band's songs as well as their albums, I'm curious to know what others think of these posts so please give me your opinions.   Until next time, this is The Illusive One saying, Spread the Sickness.  Infect the world.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On Disturbed's Studio Albums

           Disturbed.  Yes I am, but that's not what this article is about.  No, this article is going to be on the hard rock/heavy metal/nu-metal band Disturbed, their five studio albums, their singles and my thoughts on them.  I’ve been meaning to do something like this for a while but wasn’t entirely sure how it would work or turn out so I put it off while.  What encouraged me to finally put this together?  I'm not entirely sure but it probably has something to do with their tour this summer.
            This is going to be a two part article, the first dealing with Disturbed's Studio Albums and the second dealing with their singles as I feel that each deserves their own discussions.  Before I start this post, let me just say it took me a while to put this article together, as while I was working on it I was going through a bit of a lazy phase where I just didn’t have the will or motivation to do any of my posts for some reason.  But I'm pleased to say that it's gone and I'm back and I can only hope this article turns out to be satisfying at the most.  So with that said, here are my thoughts on Disturbed's Studio Albums.

The Sickness

           The band Disturbed was formed in the mid-1990's in Chicago under the name Crawl but switched to Brawl as the name was already taken and was finally named Disturbed after lead singer David Draiman joined and took charge of the band.  At the time it was Draiman, lead guitarist Dan Donegan, bass player Steve “Fuzz” Kmak, and drummer Mike Wenger.  Not long after Draiman joined, the band released its first studio album, The Sickness on March 7th, 2000 and it instantly made them famous, reaching 27 on the 200 Billboard Chart and, to this day, is their highest selling album.  On this album, there are a lot of great tracks to choose from.  Stupify, Voices, The Game, Conflict, Shout 2000, and Meaning of Life; all are great.  The greatest of all these songs, however, was Down with the Sickness and it's the song that made the CD so popular and is to this day their most popular song.  There are a few less notable songs like Numb and Want but it doesn’t change the fact that this album is awesome and was what set the stage for their future work.



           Immediately after the success of The Sickness washed over Disturbed, they began work on their second album, Believe.  It was released on September 17th, 2002 and was their first number one album.  I have to say though, I wasn't too impressed by it.  Most of the songs are worth listening to but failed to impress me the same way The Sickness did.  The lyrics were a bit more spiritual involving the bands, (or at least Draiman's), views on religion and were less intense then the songs of The Sickness.  Not to say I hated this album but there were only a few songs that were memorable.  All the other songs were good, but relatively forgettable in the long run and this happens to be my second least favorite of Disturbed's studio albums.  In comparison to The Sickness, the lyrics were tame, the rifts weren't as intense and most people agree that it's their worst album alongside Indestructible.  It did have some great singles however.  Prayer was a great song and remains one of Disturbed's best and I've never got sick of listening to Liberate.  But as a whole, it was Disturbed's second worst.


Ten Thousand Fists

           It took Disturbed three years to release this album as they were having troubles within the band.  It has never been entirely explained what happened within the band but after Disturbed's Believe Tour, bass player Steve “Fuzz” Kmak left the band, citing only disputes between Draiman and himself.  He would then be replaced by John Moyer who has been with the band since.
            Ten Thousand Fists was released on September 30th, 2005 and was their second number one album and is to date their second best selling album of all time.  And for me, this is my all time favorite.  Stricken, Land of Confusion, Guarded and Ten Thousand Fists; all were just fucking awesome.  I just don't know how else to describe them as no adjective can convey how much I loved these songs.  What really made the album great, however, was that every song, (and I mean every song), on this album was great, didn't outshine each other, and I can listen to them again and again without getting sick of them.  Other then that I really don't have much to say about it, other than I think it deserves to be Disturbed's number one album.  Seriously!  If you're reading this go out and buy a copy of Ten Thousand Fists!  Fuck the pirating sites! Fuck iTunes!  Go out and buy this album!  The Illusive One Demands It!



           Once again it took Disturbed three years to put this album together as it was their first self produced effort.  Having been in the business a few years they decided they wanted to try producing for themselves and the result was Indestructible, their third number one album, making them only one of six bands to have three consecutive, number one, studio albums.  But what of the album itself?  Well, it tended to be hit or miss.  Indestructible, Inside the Fire, and The Night were masterpieces and goes to show how great the band is at singles.  Inside the Fire even got a Grammy nomination for best Hard Rock Performance, (yet somehow lost to Wax Simulacra and I make no apologies when I say that was a terrible song).  That said, most of the tracks got old really fast and were good but not memorable.  The singles were great and remained etched in my head but as a whole album this one was their worst.



           Two years after Indestructible, the band released their second self produced album, Asylum.  It was released on August 31th 2010 and, surprise, it was their fourth consecutive number one studio album making them only one of three bands to accomplish this, (the other two being the Dave Mathews Band and Metallica).  And I have to say, this one was great.  As a self produced effort, it was a vast improvement over Indestructible and I can't help but compare it to Ten Thousand Fists.  Like Ten Thousand Fists, each song was great and I can listen to them again and again without getting sick of them.  The singles are good and still get me pumped but they just weren’t as good as those of other albums.  As a whole, however, this album was great.  It still doesn’t surpass The Sickness or Ten Thousand Fists and has kind of a weird place of being in-between Believe and The Sickness but on the whole it was a great album and I encourage anyone to listen to it.


           And that's it for my thoughts on the studio albums.  Next I'll be getting into Disturbed’s singles, as I feel they deserve a post of their own.  The albums can be hit or miss but the individual singles are usually great so my thoughts on them are coming up next on The Illusive One's Reviews.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

            As you all may or may not remember, in my Look at Bioware I mentioned that I had never played the game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.  Well, that has finally changed.  Thanks to a friend of mine who happens to be a Star Wars fanatic I was able to get the first KOTOR for the Xbox and played it on my 360.  Having recently beaten it, I decided to give my thoughts on the game.
            The game takes place over four thousand years before the events of the Original Trilogy in an era where the Sith wage open warfare on the Jedi and the Republic under the command of the Sith Lord, Darth Malak.  In it, you play as a solder, who happens to be sensitive to the Force and the Jedi, being scarce on members these days, decide to let you train in the academy on Dantooine.
(Trivia Fact:  Dantooine was also the planet Leia told the Empire the Rebel base was located but had been deserted for some time).  For some reason, you have a strong connection with another Jedi named Bastila but exactly why is not revealed until the end.  This allows you to share visions and this in turn leads you to these things called Star Maps which in turn makes you aware of a kind of space station called the Star Forge, which is apparently the cause of the Sith's seemingly limitless army.  And so, you gather a band of rag-tag followers who are a mix of mercenaries, fighter pilots, and droids to find the Star Forge and destroy it before the Sith can solidify their victory over the Republic.
            As far as the plot goes, I have to say, this one was pretty damn good.  It had elements from the original Star Wars within it but at the same time took its own direction.  Placing it 4,000 years before A New Hope was a brilliant idea, mainly because it gave the writers free reign to do just about anything within the story and not have to worry about it effecting the cannon of the film series and only now do I realize how much Mass Effect owes to the plot of this game. 
           It had everything; mysterious alien technology with seemingly extinct races behind it, bigotries between races, a good number of twist, and alternate endings depending on your character's decisions.  Some even go so far as to say that the plot of this game was better than the plot of the Prequel Trilogy but that's like trying to compare the characters of Michael Corleone from the Godfather films to Charles Foster Kane from Citizen Kane; they're two completely different things.  But I do have to say that the plot was more enjoyable then the plot of the Prequel Trilogy.  Why you may ask?  Well let me ask you this: do you prefer the bad guys take over through political corruption or through open warfare?  Think about it.
            Then you had the supporting characters.  As far as villains go, Darth Malak was badass.  He was ruthless, efficient, didn't care how many people died for him to win, and could easily stand toe to toe with any of the other Star Wars villains.  Bastila was a good supporting Jedi character who wasn't beyond human emotions and yearnings the way most other Jedi are in the series.  Carth was also a good character who never entirely trust the Jedi and with good reasons.  It was also kind of cool to see and hear aliens speaking in a language other than English and I thought this was a good idea for the games. 
            The rest of the cast was good for what they were but my personal favorite was HK-47.  A droid assassin, HK was just hilarious in the way viewed organic creatures and had line after line that turned his hatred towards organics into comedic gold.  My personal favorite being this: “Query: Can I kill him now master?  I'd like ever so much to crush his neck.  Just a little.  It's a long time fantasy of mine.”  Just hilarious. 
            There were a few things to criticize about this game, however.  The first mission took way to long and I think you spend about ten hours on Taris before finally moving on.  There was one character who looked and acted just a little too much like Yoda for me not be distracted by it.  For as awesom of a villian Darth Malak was, I didn’t care for the way he looked and the creators could have put a little more work into his appearance.  The game was also prone to slow down and glitch when whenever lightsabers were in use and that pissed me off beyond belief.  The general gameplay was a little too much like that of Dragon Age: Origins and Final Fantasy XII and made for some slow and dull fights. 
            I tried hard not to think about it, but I couldn't entirely get past the outdated look of the game and some people may not like this game for that reason and that reason alone.  For as much as I liked the fact that the aliens spoke another language they tended to say the same words over and over again, even if they were clearly meant to say completely different things.  Then there was the big twist towards the end of the game.  I won't spoil it for those who haven't played the game but it isn't a big blind side.  Throughout the game, it's kind of obvious that the Jedi Masters know something you don't so it's obvious that there is a twist coming and that irritated me.
            All around, however, I did enjoy this game.  It had a great plot with great characters and great twists.  If you like Star Wars and you like RPGs and can play an older game then I say check this one out.  Is it the greatest Star Wars game of all time?  Well, that's debatable but it is a great one.  


            Until next time this is The Illusive One saying, may the Force be with you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Thoughts on The Nostalgia Critic

            Ah, The Nostalgia Critic.  Yet another web series that I have come to love alongside The Angry Video Game Nerd, The Dragon Ball Abridged series, and Red V.S. Blue.  Having already given my thoughts on The Angry Video Game Nerd, I thought I would give my thoughts on his biggest rival, The Nostalgia Critic.
            The series is performed and edited by Doug Walker and has been going steadily since 2007.  Originally it started as a YouTube video of Walker flipping out over how awesome the 2007 Transformers movie was, basically revealing all that happens in the movie in less than 3 minutes.  Soon after, he started doing reviews of bad movies, pointing out all the major flaws of each film and making excessive jokes about them.
            He also has a number of other segments that go beyond reviewing bad films such as his Old V.S. New Segment.  I've already explained that this was what partly inspired me to do my Franchise V.S. Franchise segment and they are similar in a lot of ways.  What he does is take a film that has been remade, such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or King Kong, and compares the characters, the special effects, and plot and decides which is superior.  While I think a lot of people disagree with a lot of his choices they're still entertaining and interesting. 
            Another segment he has is his Top 11 Lists where he decides on the top 11s of things.  Why 11?  Well in his own words, “Because I like to go a step beyond.”  Surprisingly, these lists are anything but generic and include his Top 11 Coolest Clich├ęs, Top 11 Saddest Nostalgia Moments, Top 11 Scariest Nostalgia Moments, and his Top 11 Disney Villains list.  There are a ton more but that's all I can think of off the top of my head.  I think everyone know what a Top List is so I don't think I need to explain it.  Yet somehow, he is still able to make them funny.
            The last one worth mentioning is his Raiders of the Story Ark Segment, where he looks back at an old show series like X-Men, Captain Planet, and Full House and gives his thoughts the series and how it would hold up today.
           And somehow his videos are always funny.  Often his humor will revolve around out pointing out plot gaps, bad acting, bad special effects, trivia info, and weird things about the movies and making some kind of excessive, over-the-top joke out of it.  He'll also add in clips from other films to add to the humor and often thinks of things that have next to nothing to do with what he's reviewing and somehow ties it in.  The weird thing about it is that anyone could think up these jokes and yet there still hilarious.  For example, at the end of his Batman V.S. The Dark Knight/Old V.S. New episode, he gets a “call” from Christian Bale who in turn curses him out as the Critic reacts to it as if he is actually talking to Bale.  The “call” was actually a recording of Bale flipping out on a guy on the set of Terminator Salvation when a recorder was on, (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, look it up).  In another, “God” smites the Critic for choosing The Prince of Egypt over The Ten Commandments.  Like I said; jokes that anyone can think up but are still funny as hell. 
            Also, his jokes tend to repeat themselves throughout not only the episode, but the entire series.  Yet there still funny.  For example, whenever he mentions a villain who's ultimate goal is world domination the episode will cut away to a scene  in the Street Fighter movie, (I will not call it a film because I do not consider it one), where Raul Julia as M. Bison will shout Of Corse!  Another reoccurring joke is his treatment of the actor Mako and that one requires a little explanation.  In his TMNT review he gave Mako crap about the way he sounded as Splinter, not knowing who Mako was and people slammed him for it, sending him all kind hate mail.  As a result, he praises everything that has to do with Mako in his reviews and has become a reoccurring joke in his videos.
            Not that the series doesn’t have flaws as it tends to be a bit repetitive.  As I said, he often uses the same jokes but on the whole come in a large variety.  Sometimes all the things he says aren't entirely accurate but that's ignorable.  My biggest problem with the series, however, is that it's usually just him sitting in front of a camera acting the review out.  Only in recent months has he really stared adding in new characters that he doesn’t play as and adding in some cheesy effects that still somehow comes second to the AVGN's effects.
            That aside, I have to say the series as a whole is hilarious.  Is it a bit repetitive? Yes.  But it's also consistently funny and there are a large variety of segments that keep the series fresh.  If you haven't already seen this series just Google The Nostalgia Critic and you'll get his entire library of episodes.  Check it out some time and I grantee that you'll laugh so hard you'll cry.
            Until next time, this is the Illusive One thanking the Nostalgia Critic for remembering it so I don't have to.      

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Thoughts on The Angry Video Game Nerd

           Earlier the month James “The Angry Video Game Nerd” Rolfe announced that his 101st episode of his Angry Video Game Nerd Series would be his last for a while as he's going to be doing more web series and will be putting more work into getting a full length feature film of The Angry Video Game Nerd produced.  With that in mind, I decided to give my thoughts on the series as a whole. 
            The series started back in 2004 as a simple YouTube panning of the NES video games Castlevania 2: Simons Quest and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  He returned two years later in February of 2006 and started to do one every couple of months and started doing two a month regularly in July.  He would continue to do two a month until April of 2010 when he cut it back to one a month. 
            So, what are my thought on the series as a whole?  Well, it tends to be hit or miss.  Some are hilarious to watch.  Some are exhausting to watch.  Some are interesting to watch.  And some are both hilarious and interesting to watch.  Episodes like Game Glitches and his Castlevaniathon were both hilarious and interesting while others like Lestor the Unlikely or The Silver Surfer were just boring. 
            He gets very creative with a lot of his episodes, usually by adding in cheesy effects, having over the top/vulgar humor or adding a temporary character like Bugs Bunny, The Game Graphic Glitch Gremlin, or Super Mecha Death Christ, (Yes he brings in a character with that name), and this always helps with the humor.  Often these characters will be worked in well and usually serve as some kind of antagonist the Nerd has to overcome.  His humor usually revolves around identifying the bullshit old games put their players through, either through bad design or high difficulty, often cursing all kinds of words in frustration and destroying the game at the end of the episode.  Unfortunately when he doesn’t include the over the top/vulgar humor with his cheesy effects or additional characters the episodes tend to get boring. 
            My final rating on the series is this; it's hit or miss with The Angry Video Game Nerd.  The good episodes are hilarious but the bad ones suck as badly as the games he's reviewing.  If you haven't heard of him already the series is based out of cinemassacure.com and it has the full list of episodes listed and here are the episodes I recommend watching:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Back To the Future
Spider Man
Die Hard
Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout
Atari Porn
Chronologically confused about the Legend of Zelda Timeline
The Wizard and Super Mario Brothers 3
Superman 64
Batman Part 1
Batman Part 2
Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle
Castlevania: Part 1
Castlevania: Part 2
Castlevania: Part 3
Castlevania: Part 4
Ninja Gaiden
Sword Quest
Game Glitches
Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link
The Angry Video Game Nerd: Episode 94
Star Wars, (although that one was just ok)
Rob the Robot (and this one is only worth watching for its ending)

           The others I'd recommend avoiding because they're just bad, boring or just not as fleshed out.  Like I said, the series is hit or miss.  Until next time this is The Illusive One saying THIS GAME IS BULLSHIT! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Future plans for The Illusive One's Reviews

            Well, it took me a lot longer to put together my Star Wars V.S. Lord of the Rings post then I had anticipated but I have to say, I loved working on it and loved the way it turned out.  So, I decided to give you guys a hint at what's to come in the Illusive One's Reviews, particularly in the Franchise V.S. Franchise department.  Once again, if these posts are successful, they will get a blog of their own, but that's the future, but for now, here are a few posts I have planned.

Mass Effect V.S. Dragon Age: Origins

Mass Effect 2 V.S. Dragon Age II

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion V.S. Fallout 3

Brave Heart V.S. Gladiator

Street Fighter V.S. Mortal Kombat, (although I think you know who wins that one)

Possibly something on the Batman film series of the 90s, the Animated Series of the 90s, and the films by Christopher Nolan.

The Lord of the Rings V.S. The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy

Grand Theft Auto IV V.S. Red Dead: Redemption

Fallout: New Vegas V.S. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Mass Effect 3 V.S. Dragon Age 3

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic V.S. Mass Effect

Baldur’s Gate V.S. Neverwinter Night

The Nostalgia Critic V.S. The Angry Video Game Nerd

James Rolfe V.S. Doug Walker

            As you can see I have a lot of them planned but most probably won't be out for months, if not years.  Some of these games haven't even been released yet or even announced so those will probably take a while for me to get to.  If any of you have any other suggestions, I encourage you to comment them or email to me at ajax5405@gmail.com.
            I'll still be doing reviews of games, movies and books but you'll probably be seeing less of those for a while.  I plan on doing a few reviews of different albums of my favorite musicians, a post dealing with The Angry Video Game Nerd and another with The Nostalgia Critic.  I wouldn't expect too many more posts of The Illusive One V.S. Game Informer, as I didn't exactly enjoy doing it but I'm still undecided in that department.  And that's what you can expect in over the month.
            So until next time this is the Illusive One sighing off.