SSPA – The Shadow

There is a growing crowd of super heroes in comics, video games, and movies. Between the classic DC and Marvel heroes and the heroes of independent press comics like Dark Horse and Image comics, there’s a hero, anti-hero, or villain for everyone. Personally, I’ve never had any one favorite hero, but I’d always been partial to Spider-Man and Batman. However, a new hero fell into my sights after a trip to the library and the discovery of a video game that never really existed.

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SSPA – Metroid

Every time Nintendo releases a new system I await the time when they bring out their old guard for new games. So far, the Switch has delivered on the much-anticipated new Zelda, and announced the new Mario. However, the franchise I am the most anxious to hear from every time is Metroid; a series of superb quality, which has often gone underutilized by Nintendo.

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Light Gun Round Up: NES Zapper

Game consoles have had accessories in the past to enhance the experience of playing. Racing games have had special controllers designed like a car’s dashboard, such as the Arcade Racer Joystick for the Sega Saturn and the Hurricane Steering Wheel for PlayStation 3, space shooters and aerial dogfight games had joysticks made to feel more authentic, like the NES Quick Shot and the Saturn Mission Stick. To me, probably the most effective accessory is the light gun. It’s one of the oldest little toys, going back to the first game systems and even earlier.

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SSPA – Batman Returns

Tim Burton’s Batman is one of my favorite superhero movies. True, it is Burton’s least stylized film, but it had a great atmosphere, fantastic score from Danny Elfman, and great acting from Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. It really kicked off modern superhero movies (for better or worse) in the 90s, and is a much-loved movie. The sequel on the other hand was a little more controversial.

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SSPA – Mission: Impossible

There was a strange period in the 90s where Hollywood was making film adaptations of TV shows from the 60s and 70s. It may just be that the 90s was a peak time of nostalgia for people who grew up watching them, but it was an unusual trend. There was The Fugitive and The Beverly Hillbillies in 1993 and Lost In Space and The Avengers in 1998. This trend continued into the early 2000s as well with movies like The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle in 2000 and I Spy in 2002. Not many of these saw wide-spread success even with name recognition and a degree of nostalgia. But one film managed to become a franchise almost forty years after its original television run, 1996’s Mission: Impossible.

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SSPA – Prince of Persia 3D

At the turn of the century, the French based gaming company Ubisoft revitalized the Prince of Persia franchise with The Sands of Time. This action puzzle platformer is, to my mind, a shining example of bringing a 2D game to life in 3D. It changed a lot of the conventions from the previous games. The emphasis was put on more intricate parkour based platforming and there was no countdown timer. However it maintained the brutal sudden death gameplay, but balanced it out with the inclusion of the ability to turn back small amounts of time to undo your mistakes. That addition was so simple, but so perfect for this series that is helped make the game a classic.

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SSPA – The Lawnmower Man

Notice: Apologies for the delay in reviews this last month. Things should be moving at a steady pace once again with weekly Saturday reviews.

A book cover, movie poster, or game box art can say a lot about what you can expect from a product. It can also say absolutely nothing at all. While the old adage is true, you can’t judge a book by its cover, that won’t stop some covers from having an impact. A book cover can affect how you imagine the world described within, a movie poster can set your expectations for what you’re about to see, and sometimes a game’s box art can leave you utterly dumbfounded. Enter 1992’s The Lawnmower Man.

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