Archive for the ‘Comics’ Category

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Giant monster inspiration

March 16, 2014

godzilla

When I’m doing a project, I tend to go crazy over inspirational media related to it. In that spirit, I present to you two film trailers linked to my current Pacific Rim project:

Enormous

From GeekTyrant:

The film picks up years after E Day, the worldwide attack of massive insect like beasts, as the remaining humans from all walks of life must band together to survive and fight back against the monstrous invaders. Viewers are introduced to Ellen (Ceren Lee), a mother who has lost her child, and watch as she prepares to play a major role in the human resistance. The cast also includes Steve Braun (Wrong Turn 2), and Erica Gimpel (Veronica Mars).

The hit graphic novella series Enormous, tells of how humanity is plunged down the food chain when an ecological event creates gargantuan beasts that decimate civilization. The series explores how humans react and cope with survival from multiple points of views and from multiple settings around the planet. In the tone of Cloverfield and The Walking Dead, Enormous focuses on strong characters and complicated relationships with the monsters as the background.

Sounds pretty groovy to me. It’s a web series, and premieres on March 20th.

Godzilla

Oh, you ‘ve probably never heard of Godzilla. Apparently it’s some kind of a monster movie.

From IMDb:

An ancient colossal creature is accidentally awakened by mankind, and seemingly leaves nothing but destruction in its wake, as its presence becomes known to the world.

Official site can be found here. The movie premieres in the US on May 16th.

Really looking forward to both of these!

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The Walking Dead by Telltale Games – a review

July 17, 2012

The Walking Dead. I loved the comic up to a certain point. I somewhat like the tv series too, although to be honest I haven’t watched the second season completely. There’s plenty of potential in the franchise, but it seems some of it is being squandered. To my delight the new adventure game shows none of this.

The TWD adventure game by Telltale Games tells the story of Lee Everett, who’s on his way to prison when everything goes to hell. Lee’s story runs parallel to the comic book’s, and there are some cameos – at least Glenn makes an appearance in the first episode of the game.

Yes, episodes. Something of a trademark of Telltale Games, they tend to release their games in tv-series like episodes. Each episode provides 2-3 hours of gaming, and five or so episodes compose a season. I found the format enjoyable when playing the new Sam & Max, and it works equally well with  TWD. Why? I don’t always have a lot of time for gaming. Sure, I can stay up until the small hours, but that means shambling zombie-like into the office in the morning. The ability to play through an entire adventure game in pretty much the same time it takes to watch a film is simply excellent. The short length of individual episodes means a coherent story and zero filler material. Everything in the game furthers the story, enhances the characters or otherwise contributes to the whole.

The story? It’s naturally filled with the typical zombie genre tropes. Loyalties, conflicting interests, tough decisions, jump scares…it’s all there. Thankfully it’s executed with class. Telltale obviously has some talented writers, as the game just works. Having seen a fair few zombie movies and read a lot of zombie literature, I’ve definitely seen my share of bad writing, hollow characters and other similar annoyances. None of that here. The game is very much like the first graphic novels in that regard. There are some scary moments, some actually touching ones as well as humour thrown in. None of it breaks the atmosphere of the game. All in all it’s an immersive story, helped along by the game mechanics. Furthering this immersion is the fact that the game changes depending on your choices. A bit of dialogue just might be referenced two hours later and affect how a character treats you.

TWD works well and sounds and looks nice. The game runs smoothly on my several years old PC, and the cel shaded graphics really make for a great comic book look. See below for yourself, this is an actual in-game graphic.

Click for a larger version

The voice acting and dialogue is top notch. There is a lot of talking in this game, but it isn’t wearisome. In most dialogues you don’t have the option to go back, and there’s a time limit to pick your answer. Miss the limit, and your character just stands there silent. None of that traditional god-awfully boring tediousness of going through every single dialogue option to find the relevant info. Bioware, I’m looking at you. The dialogue mechanic actually sometimes leads to you blurting out the first thing that comes to mind and regretting it later, or staying silent since you don’t know what to say. I love it!

As a game, TWD is standard adventure fare. There are puzzles, picking up objects, clicking the right hotspots and the like. As it is a zombie game, there are some action sequences too. These are usually pretty simple stuff, and mechanics-wise tie in well with the rest of the game. These offer some really tense moments at times, and are used sparingly to keep them effective. The puzzles aren’t very difficult, and the game plays more like an interactive film than a hardcore adventure game. Some people might not like this, but I really enjoyed not having the story stop for hours because I couldn’t figure out some inconsistent problem.

Honestly, I can’t think of a lot of bad things to say about this game. To a genre fan, some of the tropes might seem too familiar or some of the plot turns too predictable. Then again, I’m a genre fan and didn’t mind at all. At the moment my biggest gripe is having to wait for the next episode to come out.

Overall verdictThe Walking Dead is a great adventure game, that plays pretty much like an interactive zombie movie. The story is compelling and the execution brilliant, so if you’re looking for a great zombie game experience, look no further!

The first two episodes of TWD are currently out, and the third one is coming in August. The game’s RRP is $24.99 which includes all five episodes. You can get the game from Telltale’s own site or Steam, where it’s currently (July 17th, 2012) on offer at -25%.

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Dead Winter

November 27, 2011

Man, this blog has really been quiet lately due to personal life events. I’ve been struggling to motivate myself to write, paint and do other hobby-related stuff, and things are finally starting to look up. Sorry for the long hiatus and let’s get this ball rolling once more by showcasing one of the best zombie finds of late: the webcomic Dead Winter.

Dead Winter by Dave Shabet is yet another depiction of the zombie apocalypse. It focuses mostly on Lizzie Cooper (above, image © Dave Shabet), an underpaid diner worker who gets caught up in the chaos of a zombie plague. Trying to survive, she meets up with a variety of characters from different walks of life. Very different.

The comic is a wonderful blend of different elements. There’s a lot of comedy there, plenty of action and character development hasn’t been forgotten either. A smooth combination of dialogue, plot and drawing style just makes the whole come together mighty fine.

Shabet’s art style is cartoony and works surprisingly well despite the grim setting. While the comic is mostly black and white, the muted red (Lizzie above is a fine example) patches of color bring a lot of life to it. The exaggerated expressions and movement work well and give personality to the characters.

The plot and dialogue deserve a special mention here as well. Shabet drops in a lot of pop culture references, but isn’t annoyingly “wink wink, nudge nudge” about them. There’s an interesting blend of characters from cats to mall workers to professional assassins, and somehow Shabet manages to keep it all together with no groan-inducing moments. At best Dead Winter is simultaneously touching and hilarious, no mean feat to pull off!

In short, go read Dead Winter. It’s great and it’s free. You can find it at http://www.deadwinter.cc

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