The Corpse Bride (PG)

Maybe it's just my lack of experience with analyzing and critiquing movies talking, but I don't think it's a good idea to write a story where a character is split between two choices that both screw absolutely everybody while strongly suggesting the character would have to be a total dumbass to choose one over the other. And even when certain events made it suck less, I still felt cheated when somebody made the "bad" choice for him. I mean, yeah, Victor and Victoria got along great, but their marriage was only so Victoria's parents could get Victor's parents' money. And the world of the living is dreary gray and everyone has a whole tree stuck up their bums, while the world of the dead is brightly colored and full of singing and dancing skeletons and spiders.

So yeah, great visuals, flimsy story.


Star Fox (SNES)

For all the hours I had spent on Star Fox 64, I had only ever legitimately finished the first route of this, though I savestate spammed my way through the third ages ago. Hell, I didn't even know what the pre-Andross boss of Venom was on the second route. I took some research I did for a Cracked article as an initiative to amend that.

So I was pretty familiar with the first route, and though it had been so long I still got my butt kicked by the Dancing Insector, I didn't have too hard a time there. The second route didn't take long to get used to, except for the Plasma Hydra and the Metal Masher before I figured out when to brake. But the third route is when the game pulls out all the stops, and you're battling giant insects and fire-breathing dragons one level, and pulling through the nerve wracking field of space junk that's Sector Z by the skin of your teeth the next. Or if it's more your thing, you can take a side trip to play the slot machine in the trippy acid-trip dimension. And as you go through the three routes, you see how the game builds upon the previous challenges. Obviously each progressive Andross is the last one with an extra trick up his sleeve, but Sector Z is Sector X kicked into overdrive, Macbeth is the Battle Base Meteor on steroids, and you could maybe make a case for Fortuna being a jungle version of Sector Y.

But if there was one thing about this game I could change, it's the game automatically putting you in the cockpit view whenever you start or respawn in an outer space level. I have no idea where my ship is in relation to the scenery in that mode, so either give me an option to not do that, or pause the game during the switch. This got especially annoying in Sector Z where the checkpoint is just before a barrage of floating beams, so if I died in the latter half of the level I either had to take my chances with the cockpit view not having any idea where my wings were, or lose most of my health during the switch (finally, I decided to just ignore the checkpoint and go through the whole stage again if I died). I also intentionally went into the cockpit view once during the Great Commander's spaceship form to see if the crosshair would help hitting his weak points and instead triggered a game-ending glitch, so to hell with the cockpit view. If there were two things I could change, the roll isn't as responsive as I'd like, but I can live with it.


Hogan's Heroes: The Complete First Season (DVD)

Before watching this set, my only experiences with this show were the episode of The Simpsons where Colonel Klink shows up as Homer's spirit guide, and a Neglected Mario Characters comic where Fred the Spanyard nukes a television when it comes on (although I can't for the life of me remember which comic that was). After watching this set, I'm left confused about the latter, because I don't understand how this show can elict such rage, unless Jay was just being his random self. Okay, there's certainly better shows out there, and there was one episode that was so bad I couldn't even finish it (it was that one where somebody comes to inspect Klink and Hogan made Klink look so good that the inspector wanted to transfer him, but the attempt to fix it just made things worse), but for the most part it's an inoffensive, amusing little parody of The Great Escape.

Although I'm sure this is just me, but there's something unsettling about watching this knowing in the back of my head that in real life Hogan was (A) a jackass, and (B) brutally murdered just a few years after the show ended for being a jackass.


LEGO Batman (360, E10+)

Since LEGO Star Wars made #2 on my most overrated game list (although if I wrote that list today, that award would go to Rez instead), people are probably wondering why the hell I bothered with LEGO Indiana Jones, and now this. Chalk it up to a combination of wanting to pad out my Gamerscore, and needing something really wretched to remind me how bad games can really get. And going into this one, I actually forgot why I held the LEGO video games with such contempt, as I seemed to recall LEGO Indiana Jones wasn't completely awful.

Ten minutes later, I thought to myself "I remember now!"

The main defense of the LEGO video games is "Of course they're easy! But they're childrens' game, what do you expect?", but it's not just that they're easy. If that were their only problem they'd just be forgettable rather than enraging. No, it's the shallow level design, the mindless combat, the infinitely respawning baddies that serve no purpose other than to make you constantly drop whatever braindead task that you're feeling generous enough to call a puzzle to go button mash them to death, the barely functional controls and physics engine, the godawful camera angle that makes platforming or even just telling where the hell things are in relation to each other needlessly confusing, the vehicle sections with the horrendous steering, and the "humor" that just isn't funny on top of being insultingly easy. I guess what I'm saying is, it's that they're fucking terrible games. And if people are going to justify that with "Of course they're fucking terrible! But they're childrens' game, what do you expect?" then that's just sad.


Superman II (PG)

I'm going to confess right now that I have never liked Superman. His main problem is, like Daniel X, he's so obnoxiously overpowered he flies right past awe-inspiring and circles back to completely boring, but at least Daniel X isn't such a big public icon it's impossible for writers to really do anything with him. So when this movie rolls around and it's stressed again and again that losing his powers is irreversible, you know that's a crock of crap because he's freaking Superman and we wouldn't have much of a movie otherwise.

At least this movie pits him against somebody in his league, or rather three people in his league, so defeating them takes some actual work and planning on his part. Although not much planning went into other aspects of the movie, and suspension of disbelief isn't enough to get Superman back to the North Pole after losing his powers, or to explain his powers back other than the green crystal thingy did something or other while we weren't looking. And the scene where the three villains blow a street of people around went on way too damn long.


Hogan's Heroes: The Complete Second Season (DVD)

Season Two doesn't have any episodes as bad as the one with the POW camp inspector from Season One, so you'd think this would be the better set. But then the show took two steps back by straining what they're doing with Shultz. Seriously, in one episode he actually sees LeBeau going under the doghouse into the tunnels, then sees a woman follow, and Schultz still says he sees nothing, nothing.

Also, I apologize if I'm confusing the first and second seasons, I jumped around a bit and don't entirely know what episodes were in what season, but in the first season whenever Hogan and his crew screwed over a German, they got them before the Gestapo did and sent them through the underground to safety (well, most of the time. There was that that time they blew up a courier with a letter bomb to destroy a bridge, and that other time where they crushed a couple of spies in a collapsed tunnel). Yeah, in the real world that would have been a great way to blow the whole operation if one of the Germans went to his superiors, but at least it showed a compassion for human life. On two seperate occasions in the second season, they trick Klink into shooting the hell out of German.

And what the hell is with that blaring siren that goes off at the start of the discs?