Games and Daria and Futurama…OH MY!

Hello boys and girls and welcome to the show.  If you remember last week I mentioned I wanted to dive into Alpha Protocol and Red Dead Redemption. You see, what I meant when I said “next week”, I REALLY meant next week. I understand that may confuse some of you out there and I apologize.  Its just the way my brain works, imagine four cars sitting at a four way stop intersection, and after five minutes of waiting for one of them to make the first move, one driver shuts his eyes, screams at the top of his lungs and just floors it, hoping for the best.  Yes, just like that.  Now that we have that all straightened out lets discuss some stuff.

First up is a game I wanted to talk about last week, but never got around to it.  Vindictus is the latest from everyone’s favorite online MMO company Nexon.  The Korean based company has been around for the last decade or so and has been constantly ramping up its operations over the last few years.  They had a rather large booth at PAX last year, and from what I heard, had an even more impressive space at E3. Being a big fan of RPG’s and the like, I generally tend to enjoy mumorpugers, and I’ve played a few of the free ones online.  The zero dollar price tag usually (and very ironically) comes with the price to be paid of quality, graphics and level/enemy diversity.  Being a free game it’s easy to over look the repetitive and often childish levels and characters.  Maple story at times looked like it was about a band of renegade precious moment dolls out to seek revenge against the man who burned down the boardwalk store that sold them (that idea is totally copyright pending). Vindictus on the other hand looks like it may break the standard fair and be something really impressive.  The rendered movies for the game look great, but they almost always do, however, the gameplay seems to be just as impressive.  I expected a NES boxart switch-a-roo that the online MMO’s usually do, where the art you see is nothing like the game.  All signs point to Nexon continuing its free-to-play with micro transactions for Vindictus, but nothing has been made official yet.  If you’re a MMO fan you defiantly want to keep any eye on this.

The Crackdown 2 demo has been out for a bit now and the full game is due out in little more than a week.  The little bit of time I’ve spent with it seems like its going to be more of the same.  Which is not a bad thing at all; I thoroughly enjoyed the first Crackdown.  Crackdown 2 picks up 10 years after the events of the first game.  You’re back in Pacific City again, working for the Agency, tasked with cleaning up the streets and collecting orbs.  Co-op is back but now offering up to 4 players and a 16 player competitive mode.  You’re also going to have some more customization with the character progression. 5 animated shorts have also been released to bridge the gap between the two games as well.  The targeting and the driving in the demo left much to be desired, but that could be a result of it being a demo or my character being very low level, I’ll hold judgment until I get my hands on the full game.  Also introduced were demo achievements.  If you unlocked an achievement during the demo, it would be applied as soon as you played the full version.  I think this was a great move by Xbox.  I, myself, am a total achievement whore and knowing that I could earn achievements while playing a demo may help to influence my purchase of the game, or at the very least renting it from Gamefly.

I think I have mentioned a few times about the DVD box set of Daria.   Well I finally had sometime to get through the entire set and now feel the need to discuss it.  First off, it is one of the greatest shows of all time, and in my opinion, one of the few animated shows that would have worked really well in live action. The writing on the show was only surpassed by the incredibly deliveries of the voice actors.  The art style was very unique and fit the show and characters perfectly.  Being an MTV show, it had a huge catalog of music at its disposal and always seemed to find the perfect song for the moment.  The DVDs contain all the episodes, uncut and with the original character dress up endings.  Missing from the shows is the aforementioned music, probably due to licensing issues or some other retarded legal thing.  A good job was done filling in the background with filler music and does not take away from the experience at all.  Both of the movies are in the set as well.  While I don’t agree at all with there placement, I think it was a nice touch to add them in.  Both movies are still available separately for about $12 each, so having them in the box set is a huge bonus.  My issue with there placement is that they are tucked in the extras menu on the last disc.  Normally not an issue, but the movies, specifically Is It Fall Yet, are pivotal to the storyline.  I would have preferred them to be placed in the order they were intended to be in, but it is well worth the annoyance to save the money dollars from having to buy them separately.  Some of the other extras include character sketches and bios, the Daria pilot, a Mystik Spiral music video and a pilot script for the Mystik Spiral spin off that was planned (that’s in a PDF on the ROM side of things).  The script is totally worth the read and made me a little sad that it will probably never be made.  While some of the jokes are slightly dated, the show on a whole has aged really well, and could easily work on TV today.  The complete series box set is currently available at Amazon for less then $50 and is well worth the purchase.

While on the topic of animation, Futurama returned to the airwaves finally.  Comedy Central has given life to the greatly under appreciated gem.  The series picks up right where Into the Wild Green Yonder left off.  No worries, no spoilers here. I will say the first episode was far better than the second, but both were enjoyable.  I’m glad the show is back, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder if Groening somehow planned this all along.  He is that crazy, which is why we all love him.

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