Tuesday, October 21, 2008


No posting from me for a while folks, I just got back from the casualty department at the local hospital. I fell from the top of the stairs in my house, right to the bottom, dislocating my right shoulder (for the seventh time). I'm one finger typing this and it's a ball ache. So I'll be out of action for a while, in terms of posting and commenting. I'll still be reading your blogs though, so know that I'm with you in spirit!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oasis: The Shock Of The Lightning

I may have been a tad ambiguous in the past on FKWS, about my feelings for this band. I think my last post that had any reference to Oasis was slagging off band main man Noel , for making inane comments on video games and violence.

To my American audience, this band maybe an unknown quantity. To my UK readers, love 'em or hate 'em , they are perhaps the biggest musical phenomenon to come out of the UK for years...

Opinion on the band is quite divided. Personally I think they are the most excellent UK musical output since the Beatles or The Sex Pistols. Interestingly enough, the band (or more significantly lead singer, Liam) suffuse those two influences quite succinctly.

I'm inches away from knowing these guys... "Inches away..." you say Father K? "Well do you know 'em or don't you?"

Weee....ellll... no... But one of my best friends, Neil, grew up with them in Manchester. He's in one of their videos! This has lead to me having a personal message and autograph from lead singer Noel, and almost getting to know them!

Neil has offered me the chance to meet them TWICE! but I've not been able to... for various SHITE reasons... You have to put into your mind, that the band or artist you would most like to meet in your life were willing to meet you, then imagine that a close friend could make that a possibility for you, but then for whatever reason... *please insert your own shit excuse* you couldn't....


I'm still hoping that one day me and the guys will hang or chill... until then I'll just hit you with you with their latest single... Which I think is fucking great!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dead Set E4

This is a trailer for a new TV show coming onto E4 this Autumn. It looks excellent! Centred around the UK reality show "Big Brother", it depicts the contestants and hosts going all zombie-fied on live TV. Can't wait!!

X To The Z

I don't care that no one likes my music. I'm gonna keep ramming it down your throats anyway.


Imagine my horror as I finally registered my Xbox with Microsoft only to be given the news that my warranty ended in May 2008 (I only bought it in Dec 2007. Imgine my delight when the lady at the end of the Microsoft tech support helpline said that the lovely Bill Gates had personally extended my warranty and that they would fix my Xbox.

Shortly after the call, golden seraphim flew through my letterbox, wrapped my 360 up in angel hair, sprinkled it with pixie dust and transported it through the ether to anothe dimension.

Actually, they said they would send me some shipping labels, arrange for a courier to pick it up and I would have it back in about a month. Hurrah!! happy

Then Angelina Jolie turned up at my door saying she had tired of Brad, and wanted to start a new life with me. She said she felt she didn't have enough children, and that we should start making some RIGHT THERE AND THEN! She roughly pushed me to the floor and then slowly peeled off her Lara Croft cat-suit. Then she started to make passionate lo...

OK, I'm just gtting my Xbox fixed, but you get the picture. I'm really happy...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Unholy Shit!

Here's a snapshot of my life. I've been out for a curry on a Saturday night. I'm sat in my living room with my lifelong friend Eli who is visiting me for the weekend from Liverpool (we're going to see Stephen Stills, veteran of Woodstock, play a gig on Monday). My middle son, Martin (14), has been to see "Mirrors" at the cinema. For the first time ever, (and he's been watching horror films since he was a nipper) he's genuinely shitting himself. He was disturbed by the images he saw in the film. So, me and Eli are giving him loads, taking every opportunity to exploit his fear, having a right laugh at his expense. It ended with me singing the MJ classic, 'Man In The Mirror' and sniggering.

Marty walks into the living room, cool as a cucumber, wafting his hand behind his arse. A micro-second later, we realise he's farted. And then it kicked in... The most unholy stench... Eggy... in the extreme... Moments later, me and Eli are gagging, bawking, coughing and wretching... More moments later I'm puking... Into my mouth... I stagger to the back yard and spray puke onto the floor, just in time to see Eli has staggered to the back yard before me. This one fart has reduced two grown men into shivering, puking, wretches at the back of my house.

At the end of this couple of minutes, Marty walks back into the room, with a wry and triumphant smile on his face. So pleased was he with his one-up-man-ship that he began to call his friends to tell them of his powers.

So there you have it... Now for just one moment, close your eyes and savour your life. It's far greater than mine!

Yakuza PS2

I first heard about this game in a Playstation magazine about three years ago. In the article, the game was declared the 'spiritual successor to Shenmue', which was enough to get me interested, indeed, enough to get me salivating. I bought it close to it's UK release, played it for a little and then rapidly lost interest in the game.

The reason? Despite the Japanese setting, the ability to explore the local environment, interact with a myriad of characters, kick ass in a variety of set battles and gang fights and perform mundane chores like shopping... It fell short of the Shenmue experience. Despite the fact that the PS2 had more lifespan for development and was by all accounts a better piece of hardware, Yakuza didn't look as good as Shenmue. The plot line was not as engaging, the game world not as convincing. In short it just wasn't Shenmue.

At the time, I was in mourning for Shenmue. I'd played the first and second installment of the game at least twice and could not believe the experience was over... with no conclusion to the story, leaving me gagging for more. Yakuza was made by Sega, but there was no way the company were ever going to spend as much on the game's budget as they did for Shenmue, (which was partly responsible for the downfall of the Dreamcast due to lack of sales of the software, to bring a return on their development investment.)

But Yakuza is a very different game to Shenmue... the journalist who first made the comparison cursed my enjoyment of it as a title in it's own right. It set the bar too high... As time has elapsed, my need for Shenmue has diminished (although the Xbox version of Shenmue II was the second game I ever played on my 360 in 2008 - despite having access to Call Of Duty 4, Sega Rally Revo and Pro Evo 6). That means I am now able to play Yakuza on it's own merits, without comparison to Shenmue and as such, I'm enjoying the experience greatly.

The story is very much like films such as Infernal Affairs, one of loyalty, betrayal and intrigue. The murky world of the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) and it's 'families' is faithfully represented. The language is "colourful" to say the least - peppered as it is with 'shit, fuck, mother fucker' , etc.
the brawls are frequent, with weapons being drawn from a variety of objects littered around the place.

Kazuma, the game's hero and protagonist is a very likeable and one whose identity you quickly become comfortable as playing. You even get to see a schmaltzy and sensitive side when he looks after the orphaned Haruka, and even goes out to find dog food for an abandoned puppy.

The game developers did splash out a little for the title, however, on voice acting - by the inclusion of both Mark Hamill and Michael Masden adding vocal content as characters mob lieutenant 'Goro Majima' and gang boss 'Futo Shimano' respectively. I'm about four hours into the game and I'm enjoying it immensely.

Enjoy the Gamespot video review, and again, if you have a few quid, bucks or euros spare, pick it up! They're onto the third installment in Japan, and Yakuza II has just been released on the UK market, so the franchise is very much alive... and at this point showing how viable the PS2 stll is as a piece of hardware in the current gen. Check it out and be sure to check out the links so lovingly installed in this post!

Jill Valentine Dead?

I just watched this video and I think I just shot my load in my pants. It's that good!

Resident Evil Dead Aim (Again)

I've decided to delete my last apalling post on this quite lovely game, because a.) It looked shite and b.) I feel to an extent it may have put my four or five loyal readers off from giving it a proper look in (with the exception of dear Nebacha.)

I completed the game in about four hours using the standard PS2 controller and I would definitely like to revisit it using the G Con light gun. the game was refreshingly short, making it a nice "light snack" between other games. It also satisfied my desire to dip further into the world of Umbrella after playing the most excellent RE4 (Wii edition) last weekend. It's really whetted my appetite for RE5 which finally seems almost close enough to touch.

Apparently out on "Friday 13th" (of what?) sometime in 2009, the game looks more jaw droppingly amazing with every fresh teaser released.

But back to Dead Aim... I was totally intrigued to find a reference to Umbrella "planting a seed in Africa" during the game. Could it be that this is where the first reference to the plotline of RE5 originated? If so it would surely elevate the status of RE Dead Aim form an under-rated spin off of the franchise to something far more significant?

Any way instead of hitting you with big ungamely chunks of Wikipedia, I'm going to present you with a very comprehensive review of the game by Jeremy Dunham of IGN . Please read it and comment if you would. Heck, if you have a PS2 lying around and a couple of quid to spare, go and buy it and play it. I'd definitely reccomend it as an amusing distraction and a fun way to kill a couple of hours (and a couple of hundred zombies ...) If you are like me and are desparate to know every twist and turn in the ongoing saga of the Umbrella Corporation , this title could be essential playing...

"US, June 17, 2003 - The difference in quality between the Resident Evil and Dino Crisis franchises in comparison to the spin-off Gun Survivor games is pretty amazing. While the former are among the best adventure titles of the last twenty years, the Survivor series hasn't been nearly as distinguished. In fact, the unpopular offshoot is generally acknowledged to be the laughing stock of the survival horror world. Not exactly an adventure, not quite a light gun shooter, the amalgamation of these two genres has never been the elite combination that Capcom was hoping for.Despite the series resolute critical panning, however, the franchise has somehow been kept alive for the lifespan of two consoles. But after 2002's botched third attempt known as Dino Stalker, most of us had figured that it would be the final chapter in a trilogy of failed experiments. Apparently we were quite mistaken. As in the span of less than a year Resident Evil: Dead Aim finds itself chiming in as the fourth attempt at a producing a quality genre blend. And while it still possesses a lot of the same mechanical problems that its predecessors had, we're pleased to announce that the series has finally taken a step forward. Hard as it may be to believe: some of it is actually "fun".StoryBorrowing a page from the forgotten Game Boy installment, Resident Evil Gaiden, Dead Aim moves the familiar Raccoon City plotline to that of a cruise liner. Owned by the Umbrella Corporation and headed for destination unknown, the ship has become infected with offshoots of the G and T-viruses while amidst the high seas.

Beginning with a confrontation between government agent Bruce McGovern and a mysterious Umbrella operative known as Morpheus, the tale seems to bring us in about halfway. On the brink of being eliminated by Morpheus, Bruce is saved rather suddenly by the interjection of another government agent and Chinese badass Fongling. Once the trio go their separate ways, the next chapter in the Resident Evil series is officially underway.

Once the game begins, the back-story is fleshed out through the discovery of journals, clippings, and other staples of Resident Evil lore and continues along at a quickened pace via the occasional cut scene. If you're a die-hard fan of the series, there isn't a lot to be discovered here in terms of adding to the franchise's mythology, and the characters themselves are a little cut and dry. Regrettably, the game's most interesting character, Fongling, is barely explored at all; and other than a few moments that allow her to show how much attitude she has, she's pretty underexposed. Of course, there are a few revelations that tie up a couple of loose ends from previous installments, but nothing truly earth shattering.

(...or is there????!!! -FK-)

GameplayIf you're unfamiliar with the Gun Survivor games, the description provided in the introduction pretty much sums it up. Combining the primary shooting elements of light gun shooters such as Time Crisis and Ninja Assault with the adventure components of its Resident Evil source material, the series is a unique mix of otherwise opposite genres. If done right the idea is actually pretty clever, and is a legitimate attempt at improving on a sub-category of game that hasn't seen innovation since "the pedal". How long do developers expect us to stay on simplistic, rail-based pathways anyway?

Happily, Dead Aim takes the adventure aspect of the Survivor series further than any other game before it. And to its credit does an outstanding job of capturing the familiar Resident Evil-style progression. With the exclusion of pre-determined camera angles and the usual blind spots, however, the sudden frights that are associated with the traditional games aren't quite as plentiful. As we previously mentioned, though, the typical Resident Evil goodies and items are at your disposal the moment the game begins: Key cards, green herbs, first aid spray, and all that other stuff we've come to love populate the inventory screen in an identical manner to the adventure games.

Weapons too play a similar role in Dead Aim; with handguns, silenced weapons, grenade launchers, shotguns, automatic rifles, and other familiar equipment available for annihilation. Limited to only a few ammo slots in the inventory menu, ammo has to be conserved in order to have enough of it left for the end. Unlike most light-gun shooters, however, running away and choosing to fight your battles at another turns out to be the best tactic, and one that will actually prove fruitful in the more difficult game settings. This factor alone could prove to be a big turning point for light gun fans: Do they want action, or do they want atmosphere? Dead Aim provides more of the latter.Once the decision has been made, gamers will have to control their character. To maneuver them around (yes, you can control both Bruce and Fongling at different intervals), players are able to select from a myriad of different combinations that best suit their tastes.

Using a GunCon, Dual Shock, or USB Mouse, gamers will have literally every possible control option available. Though we have to admit that the best way to go is to utilize a GunCon/Dual Shock combo. With that mix, a user can implement the analog stick for movement and the gun for shooting monsters when the situation calls for it. It'll take a little getting used to at first, but it's the most rewarding way to go.Unfortunately the movement of your character is hampered by a grid-based control system that makes it close to impossible to make high-speed rotations. While this doesn't mean that players move on a point-by-point basis (ala tactics-based RPGs), it does mean that performing a full circle without stopping is nigh impossible (think Tomb Raider or better yet, Nightmare Creatures). The developers have included an "escape' button for situations that would normally call for a quick turn around, but unless you press the hell out of the shoulder button, it rarely works. Worsening the situation even further is the fact that character movement in general is rather sluggish. And when facing higher-speed monsters in the latter half of the game (like Glimmers, Hunters, the Final Boss, and so on), survival becomes less a matter of skill and more a test of patience.

Dead Aim's pacing doesn't help much either; with some moments that can see your character unscathed for six sometimes seven rooms in a row, there's a sudden feeling of rushed action when you enter a room with ten zombies after doing practically nothing for five minutes.

We figured that this sporadic placement was meant to help build tension between conflicts, but given the large nature of the traveled cruise ship and the equally big disposal facility, it doesn't exactly make for an exciting game. That is unless, you decide to play on the hardest setting at which time the game becomes a frigging nightmare. The undead is everywhere, and unless you've grown a tolerance for Dead Aim's wonky movement, is almost unplayable. Our recommendation is to stay with the normal setting -- it's still unbalanced, but it isn't as frustrating or disturbingly easy as the hard and easy options. But even then, the experience as a whole will only last you under two hours.

Graphics - It wouldn't be a stretch of the truth to say that Dead Aim has some mighty impressive textures. From the humans to the creatures, each character is mapped with a bevy of high quality imagery that easily eclipses the tattered mess that was Dino Stalker. Similarly, the polygonal models (be it f man or thing) are pretty convincing, and when paired with the subtle animations included for each character, produce some kick ass results. Breathing, slight head movements, and even line-of-sight eye contact with targets add that little something extra.Also worth mentioning are the excellent lighting effects. From Bruce's shoulder lamp to the red-streaked eyes of the Glimmer creatures, Capcom's attention to illumination and darkness is an important ingredient for establishing the game's distinctive horror-themed mood. Of particular note are the shadowed hallways in the latter part of the cruise ship; it's here that the more potent zombie creatures literally come out of nowhere and attack you. Don't forget to check your shorts the first time you find the path to the "clean room".Sadly, the visual positives fall victim to an unhealthy amount of slowdown when the screen is overpopulated with models --especially when playing on the busier harder difficulty setting. Another annoying little tidbit is the occasional pop-up and clipping that infest the closed-quarters sections of the game. Take one look at the three zombies inside the gas chamber when picking up the charged particle rifle for a prime example: they pop in and out of the walls like it wasn't even there. Ho hum.

Sound - Resident Evil titles have almost always been the shining example of how to properly mix an ambient soundtrack and Dead Aim isn't any different. Using subtle pipe and horn instruments in a slow, monotonous fashion, the game's musical score is appropriately creepy and foreboding in all the right sections. Occasionally during boss battles or sudden changes of situation, the composition ramps up into an action movie-like fervor -- with more than a couple of tunes that reminded us of another Capcom tale of the dark, Devil May Cry.

As a unit, it all comes together very nicely and goes to prove even further that the team's musical division definitely knows what its doing.Of course, the usual sound bank of audio effects that we've come to recognize as part of the Biohazard mythos has returned as well, and there's an untold number of groans, grunts, growls, and other such noises that fans will always appreciate. Unfortunately the character voices aren't as strong, and for some reason or another, sound as if they were recorded in a gigantic hollow tube. Nearly every spoken word echoes and reverberates the moment it leaves the television and in some of the more extreme cases, can't be understood without several chances to hear it again.Another bizarre tidbit worth mentioning is that the subtitles don't match what the actors are saying. Although the translation is similar to what the characters are referring to at the time, the written text is almost completely different. We can understand a difference when translating another language sure -- but why need two separate translations of the same material if there's only going to be one language option? Truly bizarre, indeed.

Closing CommentsIn the end, Resident Evil: Dead Aim did something we didn't expect -- it made us want to play it until we beat it (a feat that previous Gun Survivor versions made us cringe over). And though our experience with game wasn't as consistent at some of the other titles in the genre, its efforts at being different, its high production values, and legitimately entertaining mini-moments deserve a little recognition in what has otherwise been a history of negativity.
But who knows? Perhaps the series is on the edge of greatness? Perhaps Dead Aim is the catalyst that will propel the next version of Survivor into the upper echelon of shooter-loving bliss? Maybe this will be the one that helps launch a bigger, better, and more enjoyable version sometime in the near future? And maybe, just perhaps will give Capcom the opportunity to tell all of its naysayers "We told you so!" Then again, perhaps maybe not. "

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

eminem - ass like that

Sir Junlee De La Dixie

Yet another classic portrait from my favourite artist, Mr. Deitrix... What a total trip it is for the recipients of these classic portraits, I can't even begin to describe. An honour and a privelige I'll say that! We praise your might dear Deitrix!!!

Monday, October 06, 2008

My Xbox is dead

Bloody shit fuck cock arse and bollocks. My Xbox is dead. The 'red ring of death' appeared on Saturday when I was in Wales. I'm a third of the way through GTA IV and now I can't play it.

I'm pretty philosophical about it though... my first thought was that I could fill it's space with the PS2... I want to play Kingdom Hearts again and maybe give Yakuza a proper play... Then I could always just re-play Enter The Matrix or give Okami another blast.

I might go and check out what's available for the PS2 as a bargain at the local game shop. Or play through Resident Evil Dead Aim... Yes that's the ticket!

The Dreamcast and Saturn have also been neglected... I've just got Death Crimson 2 from Japan (I only just found out though that it's actually just a more buggy and incomprehensible version of Death Crimson OX, which I already have for the Dreamcast, and dang it if my light gun doesn't work properly on it!!!

I'm expecting The Ring from Japan and also Kidou Senshi Gundam: Giren no Yabou
so the Dreamcast may get some action yet... If nothing else, I've just scored Metal Gear Solid for the PS1 and a MGS specific Bleem disc, so I can play it with improved graphics on my Dreamcast. So yeah the possibilities of a bit of 'retro' gaming is quite a good one.

I've also just got House Of The Dead for the Wii, although on the slight amount of time I have played it, I'm not massively impressed...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Fallout 3 Trailer

I've shamelessly nicked this from Junlee, simply because I love it so much, I wanted it on my blog. You'll see me raving about it for the next few months. I only hope it's as good as it looks... This has got me thinking about the retro-future world of Bioshock... I love the combination of cheesey American info-mercials, the fifties music and the post appocalyptic wasteland... Genius!