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Ben Gray "pharmacist10"

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Zombie Virus (PS2)
Zombie Virus (PS2)
Offered by sicodaddy
Price: £24.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs More Braaaaiiinnns!, 5 Oct 2010
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Zombie Virus (PS2) (Video Game)
Sometimes all it takes is a single sentence or concept to sum something up and thus lure in potential customers - Freddie Vs. Jason, Alien Vs. Predator, Godzilla Vs. Mothra and to that list you can add the infamous Zombie Vs. Ambulance. When doing research on this game, I noticed that whenever the name was mentioned, interest was raised which makes the decision to change the name for the UK market to Zombie Virus as mystifying as renaming Alien Vs. Predator as Pyramid Battle.
To take the Vs. analogy still further, the game itself could be described as the unholy spawn of Resident Evil Vs. Crazy Taxi. It is set in the ironically named Sunlight City, a utopian environment transformed by a sudden earthquake and uncanny darkness (which goes some way to explaining the pop-up) into a realm of the walking dead. The hero, a doctor, manages to escape the initial upheaval due to being in the hospital's main basement with his girlfriend "doing some paperwork", a euphemism if ever I heard one. Upon realising the situation instead of using the hospital's only remaining ambulance to escape he sets out to rescue as many survivors as he can, and there the game begins.
The hub is Sunlight City itself to which is attached four outlying areas - another city, a forested lake area, a desert with rolling boulders and quicksand and the ice covered North Field. I suppose that I should be grateful that they ran out of space before they could include a lava world! Each area has a certain number of civilians to rescue which includes three politicians who only appear after you have collected enough "ordinary" people. Once all three are safely inside the hospital they then tell you that everyone else there has now succumbed and then open the gate to the next level.
To add a bit of tactical thinking to proceedings, the civilians are divided up into categories - police officer, mechanic, army officer, female civilian, male civilian all of whom can add something to the hospital whether it be increased defense, raised morale or in the case of the mechanics a pimp my ride style power up system. The more mechanics rescued the more parts they can research for you which are then able to be bolted to the outside of your ambulance turning its appearance from your standard emergency rescue vehicle into something that Mad Max would sell his grandmother to be able to drive - the more parts fitted the deadlier you become. And these parts can only be financed by running over the ranks of the shambling undead which infest the city streets - a win win situation basically.
Running over zombies also boosts hospital morale, which is constantly under attack. If they hear over the radio that you have hit a certain number in a row morale will rise. On the other hand, go too long without killing something then morale will rapidly erode and the hospital will be overrun. Another point to consider is that everyone rescued is already infected with the virus and need to be quickly taken to the hospital before they go off - and some go bad quicker than others. For example a female civilian will zombify quicker than a police officer so decisions will have to be made on the fly as to which order to collect them in, if at all. Each level ends in a boss battle which range from the extremely to fairly easy all of which can be defeated by ramming their weak spot for massive damage.
However, the award for the most powerful enemy in the game must be given to the load times. The loading screen consists of a zombie face and two grasping hands juddering about the screen and you will become as familiar with it as you are with your own features. It isn't so intrusive on the first level, but when you leave the hub for the outlying areas you will encounter it four times every trip, each time you enter and exit the level and the hospital, each time with the same short cinematic. And with the rapidity that you must move from one place to the other, you will have to sit through it every few minutes or so. The graphics are simple and mostly effective if a bit dull, although the zombies do explode upon impact in a satisfyingly messy manner and the soundtrack is moody and does its job well without becoming too intrusive. It is also badly translated in places, but that is part of its charm!
But for me the biggest problem is the extreme repetitiveness of the gameplay. You are still doing the same thing seven hours into it as you were at the beginning. It is as if someone has taken the ambulance missions from the Grand Theft Auto series, stretched them to breaking point, packaged them separately and tried to make a game out of them. In addition the game has a major problem with pacing. Even with the most expensive ambulance late in the game you are still only able to pick up a few passengers each trip so you end up making one brief journey after another which, punctuated with those frequent loading times, conspire to break what fun there is to be had into very small chunks, dissipate the tension and just make playing the whole thing a chore.
So sadly the whole thing should be counted as a missed opportunity. With better pacing, brighter and more varied graphics and a bit more time spent on the design this game could have lived up to the promise its title suggests. As it is a good concept can only take something so far as all Zombie Virus does is prove that even a game where you can mow down zombies using an ambulance can indeed be dull.

Dragon Wars [DVD] [2008]
Dragon Wars [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Jason Behr
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £1.40

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Lukewarm Than Actually Hot., 11 Aug 2010
This review is from: Dragon Wars [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
This film is one that both my sister and I watched the other night and ended up sniggering through most of it.
Here is the UK it is called DRAGON WARS, although confusingly it is called D-WAR in North America and WAR OF THE DRAGONS in the Far East.
The plot, as you may have guessed by now concerns Dragons, although you don't actually see a "proper" one until the final few minutes of the film.
The DVD casing boasts that it cost over $75 million to make, although a few minutes watching confirmed my suspicions that a very large proportion of this went on the large quantities of CGI used with whatever pocket change was left over going on the actors.
Basically the plot is as follows. In order for a wyrm to become a dragon, it first has to be chosen by heaven then wait for a chosen girl to become 20 so her lifeforce can merge with it. This is great for the dragon, but not so great for the girl who then as far as I can see dies.
As is revealed in a flashback WITHIN a flashback the last time this could occur was 500 years ago, but followers of a bad wyrm attack the village where she lives to try and grab her first. Oddly they only check for the woman AFTER nearly wiping the village from the surface of the earth, obviously not thinking that the chosen one is just as likely to get flattened by a giant fireball from the skies as anyone else.
Although she is captured, she and her lover take their own lives before she can give her life force to anyone, and so the stage is set for a rematch 500 years later in what is presumably Los Angeles.
Things start ominously with a giant snake munching down elephants at the local zoo, then it appears elsewhere in the city (how does it get around without being seen?) Then a man dressed a bit like Shredder in TMNT attacks Sarah after she is rescued by the hero from the hospital where she has been incarcerated but fails in his attempt when he is hit by not one but two automobiles in what is one of the films funniest moments.
Undeterred by this failure, he raises an army of Power Rangers lookalikes, a platoon of obese lizard things with missile launchers strapped to their backs and of course many smaller dragons, which appear to be Raptors with wings and finally the bit that the entire audience has been waiting for begins - the US Army Vs The Dragon Ninjas.
The computer-generated birds breathe fire on people. The computer generated helicopters empty round after round on the relentless computer generated snake. The snake lunges at computer generated cars and slings them hundreds of feet. The cameras whoosh between skyscrapers and plummet with burning helicopters and dying flying raptor-thingies, and the audience can relax and realise that they are finally getting their money's worth.
If only the quality of the CGI was matched by the real life extras which are surely the worst that I have come across in a modern film. They scream, run waving their hands above their heads and in general look very pleased to be on the big screen. Equally poor is the script and continuity, neither of which make any sense as the plot leaps from one scene to the other and plotholes big enough to swallow several dragons whole - the FBI manage to find the girl within a few minutes of entering the city and its crowds of fleeing citizens and the evil snake which may look impressive but passes up several easy opportunities to eat the heroine and achieve immortality.
Observant viewers may notice that the same helicopter pilot appears to die several times...
The ending is pretty bizarre, the means by which the main bad guy being defeated being down to his stabbing the hero in the relatively small mystic pendant hanging round his neck as opposed to anywhere else in his body and ends pretty suddenly leaving the audience both baffled and slightly unsatisfied.
Still, it manages to be entertaining if only for the wrong reasons - my summing up of it being "Power Rangers with an unlimited budget"!

Bloodrayne [DVD]
Bloodrayne [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ben Kingsley
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £5.45

26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lacks Bite., 11 Aug 2010
This review is from: Bloodrayne [DVD] (DVD)
As the trailer so proudly boasts it is "A Uwe Boll Production", a sentence that might make most moviegoers reach for their collective crucifixes and stakes, but to bad movie connoisseurs it means that they have hit gold.
Where to begin...
The story concerns Rayne, a half human half vampire who swears revenge on master vampire Kagan and with the help of covert anti-vamp organisation Brimstone seeks 3 artifacts that could end his reign.
As ever, Herr Boll has assembled a cast that way outclasses the shabby material that they star in.
Oscar winning actor (Sir) Ben Kingsley plays Kagan, reciting his lines with the passion of someone reading the phonebook and treats the whole experience with a kind of bored contempt.
Lost and Fast & Furious actress Michelle Rodriguez spends the whole film looking angry, although to be fair I suspect that is her default setting.
Michael Madsen allegedly spent a lot of the film drunk and looks bored to tears with it all, as well as slightly embarrassed at sporting a medieval style mullet.
International singing star Meat Loaf has an extended cameo as some sort of vampire pimp surrounded by a harem of topless babes, some of whom are clearly time travellers, as I suspect that breast implants were not readily available in the Middle Ages.
Billy Zane has a couple of scenes and is a breath of fresh air, as his breezy insouciance contrasts nicely with the eye popping overacting of the henchman threatening him.
The cast bounces from one end of Romania to the other while their accents wander even further than they do, and the film boasts possibly the least erotic sex scene in the history of cinema.
What the film lacks in other ways though, it makes up in blood.
Gallons of the stuff.
So much so that I did wonder if they got given a hefty discount. Every swipe of the sword is accompanied by a bathful of the red stuff, squirting everywhere with gay abandon. In the world of Bloodrayne, a simple papercut would drain you in seconds, as the sheer force of arterial spray would propel you vigourously backwards through the air.
In summary, this is a Bad Film, but also an enjoyable one. To the director I can only offer this pearl of wisdom, taken from this very masterpiece - "I suggest you grow in wisdom".

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