You don’t get the show #26: Christmas in July


With all the sales on games, toys and electronics this summer we decide to celebrate Christmas in July by looking over the top Christmas toys from the 80’s to today. From Transformers to the BeyBlades, we reminisce about our favorite toys, watch some weird toy commercials and try to remember why some of these toys were popular.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

Transformers-Fall-of-Cybertron

High Moon studios returns with a follow-up to their well received take on the Transformers franchise, the 2010 sleeper hit War for Cybertron.  All of the resources on Cybertron are now practically tapped out, and Optimus Prime (fortunately still voiced by Peter Cullen) rallies his Autobots to escape the planet and find a new home in Shia LeBouf’s backyard.  Megatron is of course not very supportive of this decision and attempts to defeat the Autobots by preventing their exodus.  High Moon doesn’t stray very far from the formula that made the first game successful, and aside from one major omission the game delivers everything you would normally expect from a quality sequel.

Transformers-Fall-of-Cybertron

The weapons system has been revamped from the previous game; each gun is now upgradable with multiple attachments that are purchased with credits earned in the campaign.  You can also acquire “perks” that carry over through multiple campaign playthroughs, these make the game much more manageable on the harder difficulties.  This addition is a very pleasant improvement on the first title, adding an RPG element to an already exceedingly polished experience.

Transformers-Fall-of-Cybertron

Fan service is also prevalent here; many more characters are featured this time around, including the Dinobots, the Combaticons, Metroplex, and the Insecticons.  I actually felt like I had been sucked into an eighties toy commercial every time a new character appeared.  Hardcore Transformer fans should really find a lot to enjoy here, before I played the game I couldn’t distinguish Swindle from Onslaught, so fans of the source material will really enjoy all of the love taken with the character choices.

Transformers-Fall-of-Cybertron-gameplay-screenshot-1

The glaring omission is the absence of online co-op play that was so well received in the first game.  In War for Cybertron you had the option of three different Autobots or Decepticons per level to tackle each mission with, and your online friends (preferably) or the extremely competent AI would fill the other two slots.  This gave each mission the sense you were part of a team, something that is integral to the Transformers franchise by nature.  This time the legend takes a grander scope but the co-op element was unfortunately left on the cutting room floor.  This doesn’t necessarily hurt the game overall, but it is something I sorely missed because I had grown accustomed to it.

Transformers-Fall-of-Cybertron

If you decide to try the game based solely on the narrative you won’t be disappointed.  I’m not even a huge Transformers fan and I enjoyed playing through the campaign multiple times, the set pieces are much bigger this time around, the annoying boss battles from the first game are thankfully expunged, and the game maintains a truly epic feeling throughout.   The final level might be one of the best campaign levels I’ve ever played in any game, it switches between both warring factions and individual characters multiple times, putting you right in the center of the final battle of Cybertron.  I know too much of a good thing can sometimes lead to overkill, but I left the experience feeling that if every level would have taken cues from the final one the game could have really been something truly special.  I’m not saying the overall gameplay or story is lackluster in any way; it’s just the final level is really that damn quality.

Transformers-Fall-of-Cybertron

Thankfully the horde mode inspired escalation is still included, as well as an excellent multiplayer component that is actually better (although much easier) than the previous game.  The first time I jumped into an online game one of the other participants hilariously greeted me with a throaty rendition of “You’ve Got The Touch”, the seminal cheese ball anthem featured in the eighties movie and also over the end credits in this game.  Options for customizing your online Transformer are also much more substantial, you can really create some truly unique characters.

If you are a Transformers fan this one is the proverbial no-brainer, comparing the sub-par movie game adaptations you’ve probably slogged through to the overachieving fanboy love that High Moon injects into their adaptations isn’t even fair.  Fans of third person action will also find a highly engaging title that doesn’t skimp on the action and couples a well-crafted yarn with thoroughly enjoyable gameplay.

Dwarves vs Midgets

dwarf wrestlingTo coincide with a new season of Dwarf Wrestling on RTL, here’s a poll that will once and for all answer the vexed question. Who’d win a war between Dwarves and midgets? Ah, ah, ah, don’t answer so quickly my small person loving friend, here are some points that may help your poll making decision.

Midgets as they are less deformed than dwarves and therefore won’t have to wobble into battle. Plus, as they are not “top heavy” they will be able to ride Alsatians into the fray. Dwarves as they always seem to carry dwarven axes and would chop any midget down to size.

Think about:
Oompah loompas
Willow and his mates
Max’s ex from Max and Paddy
Dwarves from the film Santa Claus the movie, where Dudley Moore was one of Santa’s elves
The brick hard LOTR stunt doubles

vs

‘Rain man’ Dustin Hoffman
Tom Cruise
Dudley Moore from the film Santa Claus the movie, where he was one of Santa’s elves
Ronnie Corbet

Logistically speaking, preparing weaponry for a dwarf army is going to take much longer as due to un-proportionate extremities each weapon would have to be built for especially for each soldier. Midgets on the other hand could use scaled down versions of current army weapons, the junior M-60 for example. If the midgets attack first they are sure to catch the dwarves unarmed and will easily become the victor.
You can send the whole Ghurkha regiment against the midgets, but nothing will survive for more than ten minutes if the dwarves are waging guerrilla warfare in the chocolate factory.

Dwarves have huge heads and could possibly nut the midgets into oblivion. Think about 20lb of mush filled, 2″ thick skull, flying at you at around 50mph, that’s gotta hurt. Then there are the huge hands, dwarves could half strangle 2 midgets at a time then clash there heads together.

Okay, okay, okay… Transformers, anyone familiar with the mini-cons will know that they are like normal transformers only in midget form. Not dwarf form; they don’t have mini bodies and big heads, perfectly formed in every way only smaller. However, they maybe midgets but powerful they be. They don’t call them dwarficons do they?! I think what I am trying to say is midgets rock, dwarves don’t! Let battle commence little dudes.

Midget Gems – everyone loves them. Anyone heard of Dwarf Gems?
Remember that great TV show… what was it called
I don’t think it was called Blue Midget was it
nor even star bug
No it was called Red Dwarf wasn’t it.

Now, go forth and choose your army for they will fight together soon and the poll shall be revealed.

GAMES COMING OUT JUNE 2010 FOR CONSOLES

I could have been lazy and copied Honorabili’s post since the list is pretty much the same but my high work ethic wouldn’t allow me to do that. However, I am willing to take this month’s breakdown of new releases in a different direction so bare with me.

Alpha Protocol – June 1st

Alpha Protocol Xbox box cover
Alpha Protocol Xbox box cover

You know this game is going to be good because of the silhouette of the man holding the gun. Not only is showing an image like this the true sign of a winner, but it’s sexy too. Check out the subliminal message of the lady holding the gun near his crotch. The question is who will fire first.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands – June 8th

Prince of Persia box
Prince of Persia box

Jake Gyllenhall is movie gold, no really he is. Alright fine, this is about the game which has 25% more sand and more time travel than a Lost episode. If you’ve played any of the modern POP games you know there will be incredible jumps, cool combat and interesting puzzles and ladies I hear you can unlock shirtless pictures of Jake.

Sniper: Ghost Warrior – June 8th

Sniper box
Sniper box

Everyone hates a sniper, so much so that many end up on Oprah wanting nothing more than a hug. Step into the shoes of this misunderstood soul as you pick people off in South America. See people believe its all “Boom head shot!”, but it’s more than that. You have to spend time (too much time) searching for that perfect spot to make your kill, but once you do it’s on. Again look at that box, this guy is deep.

Naval Assault: The Killing Tide – June 15th

Naval Assault Xbox box cover
Naval Assault Xbox box cover

The killing tide is the type of title that lets you know there will be tides. Hop inside your WWII submarine with a load of seamen and blast away. This game looks like it could be fun if you like old navel sea battles through honestly some of the water effects look kind of strange. With Naval Assault you’ll find yourself in many battles across the North Atlantic so run low and silent commander.

Transformers: War for Cybertron – June 22nd

Transformers box cover
Transformers box cover

Go back to a time when Optimus Prime was just another robot fighting for his homeland, a time before ebonic robots and Shia LaBeouf. Unfortunately it is also a time before Megan Fox, but you have the internet for that. War for Cybertron takes a step away from the movies back to when the war was brewing up and the battle lines were drawn. In the single player campaign you play both an Autobot and Decepticon story where you see each side recruit their forces and engage in skirmishes. You know what happens in the end, but like the movie Valkyrie you’ll still be interested in experiencing it right?

Singularity – June 29th

Singularity box cover
Singularity box cover

So you have a time reversing device that can do things like restore an old box of ammo to the time when it was new and full of bullets and yet when you use it on an enemy it turns to dust? Okay, I get it, if they turned to babies or even before that there would a lawsuits and Tea Party members raising kain. Overall the idea is pretty cool, traveling back to the 50’s and using time as a weapon looks like a winner. I wonder if you can target specific body parts and restore it?

Arma 2 box cover
Arma 2 box cover

It’s not Modern Warfare or Bad Company.