Now Reading: Guardians of the Galaxy (of the 90s)

Guardians of the Galaxy by Jim Valentino Omnibus came out recently and I couldn’t help myself. This was one of the last great superhero comics of the early 90’s before the godawful dark age of the mid-90’s erupted in a shower of shit, like a toilet that was overflowing because someone tried to flush too many pouches and shoulder pads down it. The original Valentino run still holds up well enough for what it is, an interesting, but slightly goofy look at a possible future of the Marvel universe.

Unfortunately, Valentino ran away to Image and left just about every plot thread dangling. A new creative team was brought in, who wrapped up all of Valentino’s plots as best they could, but it was never quite the same. The series also got canceled with a number of unresolved newer plots hanging in the air, so ultimately there is no satisfying conclusion to be found whether you stick with just the Valentino run or go all in. Oh well. At least now I have the first appearance of Taserface again (yes, he was a real character)…

Announcement:

I have hereby been accepted as a writer at

I will still post here occasionally about comics or other brief, random things that don’t quite fit there, but I think it’s most likely that most of my attention will be shifting over there to do game reviews and such.

That’s right. I’M SELLIN’ OUT, BABY! GIMME THOSE SWEET, SWEET BIGTIME VIEWS!

I’m sure that this will deeply sadden the handful of followers I have who are not just random bots (except the ones that are already visiting A Most Agreeable Pastime anyway!), but we’ll get through this somehow (LIKE MAYBE IF YOU GO VISIT THAT SITE OR SOMETHING? HINT HINT!)

My first review there is now live. Have at it, chums.

Hitler No Fukkatsu: Top Secret! This is what would come to be known to us English speakers as Bionic Commando. I always wanted to play the original, uncensored version and now thanks to the wonders of random strangers on the internet with too much time on their hands, this game can now be played in English. It wasn’t really much different though. Hitler is now openly referred to as Hitler instead of Master D, not that anyone who played the censored version couldn’t tell who he was, there’s a lot of swastikas and really atrocious dialogue that was supposed to be what a German accent sounded like, and a couple more light swear words popped up. That’s about it. Nothing else was different. Having finally played it, I think I actually prefer the censored version. As bad as the translation to English was in the U.S. version, it was actually better (and more pleasantly familiar) than the dreadful pseudo-German nonsense.

Speaking of Bionic Commando, did you know that there were a bunch of people that were upset about Super Joe being the villain in that “modern” Bionic Commando game from 2008 or so? You know, Super Joe? The guy that had like 2 whole lines of dialogue in the game, who spent almost the entire game in captivity while you did all the work and then basically took credit for it all in the end? I CAN’T BELIEVE IT, HE SEEMED LIKE SUCH A NICE GUY!

What? You’ve never heard of SHADOW BLASTERS? By SAGE’S CREATION?? Yeah, I don’t know. It was just another one of those weird Genesis games that you never heard of outside of the local video store. It has a weird kind of tag-team system kind of like TMNT for NES, but it’s also kind of a shooter and you can raise the power levels of each of your 4 guys as you take them through a bunch of weird levels and bosses. It’s a little clunky, but it’s mostly fun. The soundtrack is one of the best you’ll ever hear on a Genesis game too. Just listen to that shit:

URGHHHHH. THEY GOT ME AGAIN. GOT ME AGAIN WITH THE GHOULIN’ AND THE GHOSTIN’! This fucking game. It pulls the exact same trick as the first one. Get to the end? Fuck you. You didn’t get the magic item back in level 2 (which I’m almost completely certain is not actually there for you to get during your first playthrough), so now you have to start all over from the beginning.

Man this game doesn’t hold up well at all either, also much like its predecessor. It’s a very early Genesis game, one that clearly wasn’t familiar with the technology yet, and it shows. The graphics are really inconsistent. The music is awkward and seems almost unfinished. The sound effects are just embarrassing. I thought the game was glitching out or something, so I went to look up some videos and no, it really actually sounds like that. The hit detection is just unbelievably bad. If a game came out in this state today it would destroy the series it was attached to overnight, but somehow everyone was ok with this back then. Sometimes…sometimes nostalgia is wrong.

It’s a shockingly shoddy game and it takes great joy in crushing you with objectively unfair odds and broken mechanics and acting like it’s your fault for not being good enough. Well, I’m not fallin’ for it this time. I’m not playing you again to get the real boss and I’m not gonna play the damn sequel after this either! Take that, already dead Ghosts n’ Goblins franchise!

Now Playing: Highway Hunter (1994)

I’ve been neglecting my old computer since I got that new tv…so I must rectify that with some old-timey games, starting with Highway Hunter!

There’s not a lot to say about Highway Hunter, really. It’s kind of a Super Spy Hunter clone published by Epic Megagames back in the 90s. It’s simple and fun and has a decent, if a little amateurish, 90s midi soundtrack.

I’m not entirely sure why it didn’t get any of the recognition that other similar games of the time, like Raptor or Tyrian, got.

It had good variety in its levels, enemies, and weapons. It had a lot of interesting level locations and bosses. It even had a level where it turns out that the road you’ve been driving on is actually a giant snake and the boss is the snake’s head, and somehow you blow up the snake’s head and drive off into the sunset on the body of the snake whose head you just blew up, which makes no fucking sense at all but damn is that fucking metal or what?

The only downsides are that the game has some slowdown issues even on modern systems and is pretty short, about 90 minutes to blow through all 3 episodes. Very solid, fun little 90s shooter though.

Now Reading: Crossed +100

Crossed +100 is the story of what the world is like 100 years after the original outbreak of the crossed, who if you’re not familiar with, are basically really rapey 28 Days Later-style-rage-non-zombies. Most Crossed comics since the original series by Garth Ennis have been little more than extreme gore porn, but occasionally some good stuff comes out of it and this is one of them.

Started by Alan Moore and picked up by Simon Spurrier, this story deals with how the remnants of humanity are surviving in a post-apocalyptic world and how the crossed have also been secretly evolving through some complex long-term secret plots. The broken future-English takes some getting used to, though its existence is understandable considering that this is 100 years after the collapse of civilization and modern education systems and such are all long gone.

It’s a pretty interesting look at what humanity could turn into with all their modern conveniences removed and how the crossed manage to work around their complete lack of impulse control in order to avoid extinction. The only downside is that it ends a bit suddenly. There was clearly going to be more to this story, but it was canceled before it could all play out. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of them revisiting it and maybe finishing it up with a mini-series or new ongoing someday, as Avatar has been known to do that every now and then, but for now, these 3 story arcs are all there is. While it isn’t quite as good as Spurrier’s earlier Crossed – Wish You Were Here, it’s still one of the best stories in the Crossed world.

Now Playing: Resident Evil – Outbreak File #2 (2004)

Yeah. Just not feelin’ this one. It’s just too similar to the first one, which is to say it’s a barely tolerable version of Resident Evil with a lot of running around through empty rooms full of sticks and toilet brushes, unpleasant battles with dumbed-down, poorly animated versions of enemies you’ve fought a million times before, and constant fucking inventory management due to your insanely tiny carrying capacity and braindead AI companions. It’s not terrible enough to have stopped me from playing one of them, but when the second one is basically just the exact same thing all over again, nope, can’t do it again. Not going to waste any more time on this unpleasant game. The Outbreak games just don’t hold up well at all compared to the real older Resident Evil games. Resident Evil Outbreak can go back to being the forgotten bastard child of Resident Evil like it deserves.

Now Reading: Phonogram

Kieron Gillen and McKelvie’s interesting tales of a group of music-based magicians and the music-related shenanigans they get into. Very interesting and energetic stuff that feels kind of like a prototype for their currently running title The Wicked & The Divine. I kind of wish there was more of it, as it’s such an interesting concept that could be explored so much more. Despite the fact that the music they all reference (a lot of 90s pop/punk stuff mostly) isn’t really my kind of stuff, half of it I’ve never even heard of, the metaphors are all clear and the social constructs of one music scene are apparently close enough to that of an entirely different one that all the good old cliches of elitist sub-genre cliques and such are all too familiar. Definitely a worthwhile read for anyone who likes Gillen and/or unusual Brit-magic stories.