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Reviews by Toxic34

All reviews - TV Shows (1) - Games (1)

Fail To The King

Posted : 10 months, 1 week ago on 2 February 2017 09:39 (A review of Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour)

I recently got a copy of Duke Nukem 20th Anniversary World Tour, Gearbox Software's way to officially maintain control of Duke after resolving litigation over a fanmade remaster, and test the waters for a potential new game. The tagline is "Frag Like It's 1996!", and they go out of their way to stress it. The game features slightly modified versions of the original Build engine visuals, now with more modern lighting and claiming it to be "true 3D", and like the Halo remasters, one can switch between the slightly newer graphics and the original version. The main selling points are that it includes a bonus 5th episode, called Alien World Order (which has Duke fighting in Paris, London, Amsterdam and so on) made by the original creative team, a new weapon for Duke, a flamethrower (available only in the bonus episode), and re-recorded dialogue by voice actor Jon St. John, to give Duke's one-liners more clarity in the audio, as well as add new ones. (Duke now says "Bazinga!" at times).

Compared to the version of the original game I downloaded on GOG.com, there is almost no difference, and the ones there are mostly inferior. While the dialogue and music has been re-recorded, the original sound effects files are still used, with no cleaning, compression or remastering, especially to work well on modern sound systems. These stand out in very stark contrast to the new effects, to the point that some, like the pistol, are virtually muffled and inaudible. I of course much prefer the crisp effects of the original, even if Duke's voice seems somewhat muddied. In addition, the fact that only lighting effects were changed for the visuals feels quite underwhelming. Despite the press, it is simply the same 2.5D renderings, the same pixelated enemies, and so on. If you're going to do any fiddling with the visuals, it's better to fully consummate it. The fanmade remaster that Gearbox shut down was to have been the game on the Unreal Engine 3. Gearbox could've simply bought up the game, finished and released it themselves, maybe tinker to change it to Unreal 4. Then we could switch between the new, modern photorealistic 3D visuals, and the original Build engine style that is so beloved. The lack of any of the original expansion pack content included in the Megaton edition release on GOG and Steam is also frustrating.

Simply put, as an anniversary salute to Duke Nukem, this release is sorely lacking, a sign of great potential squandered. Maybe, Gearbox can correct these issues in a patch or DLC content, but if things continue, a new Duke game to challenge and compete with the reimaginings of Wolfenstein, Shadow Warrior and Doom is unlikely to surface.


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Idiot Wind-The Blusterings of Current NC

Posted : 1 year, 11 months ago on 19 December 2015 04:22 (A review of The Nostalgia Critic)

Note: The review is FINALLY DONE! Feel free to add your comments now! I'll keep an update notice to reflect edits and additions made.


LAST UPDATE: 1/24/16


Here are a series of additional commentaries that haven't addressed by any other reviewers and some additional details about those that have been made about the declining quality of Doug Walker's Nostalgia Critic series, including his most recent offenses from this past year. As the title suggests, this came to me while listening to the classic Bob Dylan track "Idiot Wind", off his album Blood On The Tracks. Lines from the song will be dividers. It'll also be featured as a link at the end for people to read the lyrics, as every video with the audio has been taken down, sadly. Obviously, not every line applies to Doug, but the ones that do fit perfectly.

Heads Full Of Big Ideas, Images And Distorted Facts

As many have pointed out, Doug tends to nitpick on various plot points or alleged inconsistencies that don't take much to explain if you're paying close enough attention. A prime example comes in his Matrix review, stating that the Matrix is all powerful and all-knowing, and since the Agent Smiths are the enforcers of it, they should have all that knowledge, and thus be able to find Morpheus, Trinity and Neo and kill them with little effort. Except, that literally makes no sense. If the Agent Smiths were like that, they would question their existence and why they were taking orders from the Matrix, and might even join Neo's cause. The Matrix would know that, and thus has to make them more akin to regular people in terms of intelligence and understanding.

He also tends to suffer from the idea that any stupid decisions made by characters are automatically plot holes. A prime example many use is Charlize Theron's character in Prometheus running in such a way as to end up crushed by the Engineer ship rolling over her. But her character has never done any actual field work, content to stay inside ships. She's also panicking and thus not thinking clearly. Plus, HUMANS MAKE STUPID DECISIONS IN REAL LIFE! Are you suggesting that in films, people should always be perfect?


Then there's the fact that Doug doesn't realize that the Tim Burton adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland are far more faithful to the original source material than the versions he prefers. If Doug had ever read Lewis Carroll for himself, he'd see that Underland/Wonderland is much better represented here. This doesn't necessarily change the faults that DO exist in these versions, but this is yet another moment where his lack of research is clearly visible.

Someone's Got It In For Me

Doug has an absolute irrational hatred for Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner and Matthew Broderick, and states that none of them have EVER made a good movie in their lives. So Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Biloxi Blues, The Insider, L.A. Confidential, Field of Dreams and Dances With Wolves are just big huge disappointments in his eyes, or they would be if he'd chosen to actually see them all.

Doug uses the worst films these people have been in (A Good Year, Waterworld/The Postman, Godzilla/Deck The Halls) as signs that they are incapable of doing anything good. In fact in one of his Disneycember years, he stated that Broderick's performance as Simba means he can't enjoy The Lion King and call it a classic. Same with Ferris Bueller (which is a surprise for someone who claims to be an absolute fan of John Hughes' filmography). His hatred for Crowe, in particular, means he can't enjoy any of the collaborations with Ridley Scott, especially Gladiator, and joining the crowd in attacking his performance in Les Miserables, without considering that he was singing in a style he wasn't used to or fully trained in. 


Everyone also knows about Doug's Randy Newman jokes, in which he attacks Newman as having absolutely no original ideas or talent, and is simply a waste of space with nothing to offer. Of course, he completely refuses to take into account "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2, "Our Town" from Cars, and the absolute simplistic beauty of "Feels Like Home." (Check out "Feels Like Home" here: [Link removed - login to see])


He also continually pours vehement scorn on films based on Stephen King books, except his precious Stanley Kubrick adaptation of The Shining, and basically states that King should not have complained about Kubrick's deviations from the book, essentially stating "It's good, it's a masterpiece, don't fucking complain! Just sit down and enjoy it, King, you pussy!" So, clearly, King's opinion about an adaptation of his work doesn't matter whatsoever. He also of course thinks that in the miniseries It, that Pennywise making corny jokes or using balloons to signal his presence isn't remotely scary, saying "How are balloons fucking scary?!" Except, it's not the balloons that are scary, it's that it signifies that Pennywise is near and watching them. Sad that Doug couldn't see what was right in front of him.


And of course, there's Doug's massive vendetta and hate against Christopher Nolan. Need I say more? He also has a massive hatred of Neill Blomkamp, especially District 9, referring to it as a pretentious, absurd and overhyped film. So clearly, he would be dismissive of Blomkamp's planned Alien film, simply because of who's directing it, in spite of it essentially undoing the blights of Alien 3  and Alien Resurrection, and restoring Hicks and Newt into the story, as well as a triumphant return by Sigourney Weaver to the role that made her famous. (Of course, Doug isn't the only Channel Awesome contributor to make gross overgeneralizations to dismiss something or someone worthy. Film Brain despises every single Tim Burton film, (Doug only likes Batman, Beetlejuice, Batman Returns and half-likes The Nightmare Before Christmas, and despises all else) and is so hateful of The Hangover to the point that he despises Bradley Cooper and considers him a talentless hack, because he'll only be Phil. Todd in the Shadows absolutely abhors the music of Chicago, except he refers to the period of their schlocky '80s ballads and believes that's the only incarnation. He absolutely either doesn't know or doesn't care about their late '60s/early '70s beginnings, and what made them so influential and worthy of their recent induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.)


What's Good Is Bad, What's Bad Is Good


I could spend ages talking about Doug's contrarian stances, but I'll just hit the lowlights. After all, we have his most recent grievous offenses to get to.


There's Doug's famous "Seuss Nazi" stance about the feature length film adaptations of Dr. Seuss' work. He's not content to just address the flaws of The Grinch (which is far better than it has been given credit for, as in spite of being dogged by very jarring adult humor, it still perfectly keeps its Seuss-ian identity and stays true to the values of the book) and The Cat In The Hat (which was a colossal misfire that rightfully deserves its rock bottom reputation), but the better works like Horton Hears A Who and The Lorax. He dogmatically and self-righteously attacks every single change and performance, failing to comprehend that certain things are necessary in order to get a 90-minute run time, and were all blessed by Dr. Seuss' widow, Audrey Geisel, who clearly knows and understands what her husband would have wanted in a film. Is the film perfect by any means? No, and there are indeed areas that could have been improved, particularly in terms of morality, but it's still a very wonderful and understanding adaptation to inspire a sense of hope and change. And referring to the Once-ler as the Hipster and a "rejected Michael Cera character?" Take a look in the mirror, Doug.


Disneycember tends to be among some of his worst material where his lack of understanding/research tends to come through the most. He attacks virtually every single post-Lion King Disney Renaissance film as worthless, too dark and violent, too cutesy, or too idiotic (Pocahontas, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan). He joins Nostalgia Chick in attacking deviations from source material/historical record, and character arcs and designs (Quasimodo's too naïve, Herc's a muscular idiot, Mulan has nothing for her, and is just there to give a cliché girl power narrative, doing absolutely nothing heroic). Both also attack the fantasy elements of Pocahontas and Don Bluth's 1997 animated film Anastasia, despite the fact that the filmmakers said in interview junkets that these were NEVER INTENDED TO BE BIOPICS! Doug also hypocritically states that deviations from historical record can work if the narrative and the characters are done well enough. This is indeed true, but to dismiss films that clearly meet that standard simply because they're not as epic in scale and production as Braveheart is too ridiculous for words. And Doug's not even bothering to understand Japanese culture and judging manga/anime by Western standards fully discredit his reviews of the Studio Ghibli films and Sailor Moon.

.

His contrarian streak also reveals itself in his Disneycember skewering of The Princess And The Frog, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph and Big Hero 6. He pulls out his canards of "I don't know," "Why is this happening (clearly missing the explanation)?" and "unoriginal" in attacking these very amazing films that contribute to the recent Disney Revival, just as important and wonderful as Frozen deservedly is. (Doug does like that film, but in describing why he likes it, he goes into full squealing incoherent fanboy lapdog mode, calling Elsa a "badass hero." Elsa is a wonderful, sympathetic and likable character, but Sarah Connor or Ellen Ripley she is not.)


For 2015, his reviews have sunk to new lows, as seen with his reviews of Jurassic World, Pixels and Mad Max: Fury Road. Those reviews are entirely sketch-driven, with him and his entourage doing ludicrous reenactments of the scenes, because rather than wait for an appropriate time to review, he chose to review the first two while still in theaters, and gave the last the same treatment despite the fact that the DVD/Blu-ray release had just come out! After a very forced joke relating his decision as to avoid copyright infringement police and then comparing his freedom of speech being trampled on to the situation Sony faced with The Interview, he goes well off the rails. Of course, there's plenty to gripe about Pixels, like there is with any Happy Madison film these days, (seriously, will you ever change, Adam Sandler?!), but his attacks are some of the most vicious and mean-spirited, including having Malcolm-as-Obama in the Kevin James role. We then have dinosaurs represents by paper plates to attack the CGI and call it subpar (refusing to look into the fact why the dinosaur visuals aren't completely the same are because Stan Winston died in 2008), forced Bane-as-Max jokes during which he keeps repeating "Nolanize it!", refusal to believe that 90% of the vehicle chases were done with practical effects (much like how he ignored the main uses of practical effects and models in the Star Wars prequels along with the much-noted CGI), and referring to Charlize Theron's performance as Furiosa as "a shill to pander to the SJW and radical man-hating feminist crowd." He even goes so far as to call Theron a pretty face with no talent behind it, based on his seeing her in various romcoms. And Doug readily admits that he has never bothered to see Monster, and won't because of Theron being in the film. Seriously, you bitch about how you want to see more strong, independent female characters in current movies, and when you get an example of one, you slag her off simply because of who plays her, regardless of how credible the performance is. Next, you're gonna tell us that Thelma & Louise is an awful film, I'm sure.


You Find Out When You've Reached The Top, You're On The Bottom

2015's Disneycember is one of the worst ones yet. Clearly running out of ideas, he chooses to review every Marvel film from Iron Man on, EVERY Star Wars film (all 20th Century Fox-distributed films and the current film, despite still being in theaters, and of course violating the standard that using only 2008- Marvel films established along with a promise to never touch those films, and THEN after finishing that series, CONTINUING by addressing the Special Editions, and then setting up the current film as his recent NC review proper, which will be yet another sketch and reenactment one, even if he praises it to the heavens-UGH!), and various "personal requests" (meaning things like the recent live-action Cinderella film directed by Kenneth Branagh, which was ciritically praised and a massive box office success, and even Rob admitted he could get behind, but Doug slammed as the most inherently evil thing in the world). He of course continually pulls out various points refuted a thousand times involving the Star Wars films (continuing the Jar-Jar is a racist caricature meme. Seriously, his voice and mannerisms are baby talk, not black/Caribbean, and his ears don't look anything like dreadlocks!), continues his inability to pay attention with Marvel films, and so on. (Now, indulge me, as I go a bit off topic here: For those who say that Doug is the George Lucas of film reviewers, keep in mind, we only get that idea from Gary Kurtz, who wasn't involved in the prequel films or in Disney's current slate, and it appears that everyone actually liked, even loved, Lucas' ideas for the prequels, and apparently even contributed heavily. So when it appears no one challenged him, its because no one on that team thought there was anything to challenge. And the prequels are mostly solid, with the exception of Jar Jar and the clunky dialogue. Granted, having someone like Lawrence Kasdan helping with the scripts would've helped smooth over the flaws and improved them considerably. I understand of course that this is probably the case with Doug and Rob, in which case, the aphorism still applies perfectly, but many use it to refer to Doug and Lucas as bullying people into submission. So think before you say something, next time, if you please. Now back to the review!) When addressing the Robert Zemeckis-directed 2009 version of A Christmas Carol, he admits he likes it and thought Jim Carrey's multiple performance was an ambitious idea, but feels it doesn't pay off well, giving off an insulting remark that "I can't buy it because it's still Jim Carrey, still Ace Ventura. Much like I can't buy anything from Leonardo DiCaprio these days, because at the end of the day, he's still Jack Dawson." Sadly, his dismissal of DiCaprio's obvious talent and choice of roles will continue, even after he sees the brilliance of The Revenant. To be fair, he ended Disneycember with a more positive and laudatory review of Inside Out , which he had been previously dismissive of, saying it was unoriginal, comparing it to Osmosis Jones, and saying that "just because it's relatable doesn't make it good, as Nickelback songs have shown." It's fairly nice that Doug actually took the time to revisit it and realize how great the film was (admitting that "it just gets better and better every time I see it, and I'd love a sequel showing Riley and the emotions growing up,"), but while doing so, he threw more poisoned barbs at Pixar, excoriating it for its plans for Finding Dory, Cars 3, Toy Story 4 and The Incredibles 2, referring to it as a soulless decision. If this isn't a sign of completely losing your touch, I don't know what is.


Your Corrupt Ways Have Finally Made You Blind


And then of course, comes the coup de grace as to why Doug has become so unlikable now: his off-camera behavior with several of his compatriots, most notably Spoony, Obscurus Lupa and Phelous. Doug has lately been in the habit of siphoning crowdfunding monies from their projects for his own gain, monopolizing YouTube's version of airtime and generating the vast majority of Channel Awesome's content while still requesting for more people to join the site, and of course making unfounded and uncalled for insults about them behind their backs, most notably Lupa. Phelous of course stood up for her, which led to him being given a miniscule special-effects budget for To Boldly Flee, and then being accused of half-assing his job!


Of course, Doug isn't solely to blame here. Clearly his relationship with founder Mike Michaud is such that Michaud will bend over backwards to satisfy anything Doug desires, regardless of how it affects the other contributors. And so Michaud and his bureaucracy will only be set up to benefit their star. As a result, Doug had Michaud fire Spoony, and Phelous and Lupa had no choice but to leave Channel Awesome. People like Film Brain, Cinema Snob, Todd In The Shadows and so forth are still with the site, but they don't make videos at the pace that they used to due to Doug's monopolizing time and space, problems dealing with the shuttering of Blip (and they didn't backup most of their videos, UNLIKE DOUG!), and possible problems with their Patreon accounts.


Hounded By Your Memory, And All Your Raging Glory


I say all this because I remember how great Doug used to be, and how easily it came to him. Someone who was great once can be great again, as Bob Dylan's late-career renaissance shows. But sadly, Doug simply isn't up for that, and wishes to pander to the hipster crowd and unleash the venom of his personal problems on his adoring audience. I hope someday, Doug, and by extension Rob and Mike Michaud, will take a look at themselves and see what they've become, so they can change before it's too late. That, or just hang it up, and let all the other Channel Awesome content creators, along with Phelous, Lupa and so on, form their own company, one that won't repeat Doug, and by extension Channel Awesome's mistakes.


("Idiot Wind": [Link removed - login to see])



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