Wednesday Media Review: Resident Evil 2 (2019)

Review by TheChoujinVirus
Note: There will be spoilers to the game (and to the PS1 original version), so if you want to avoid any spoilers, I’d advise not reading it. Also I’m sorry for the article being this late.

Survival Horror and Action are something synonymous with each other. Especially when it comes to the good old fashioned zombie-themed ones. From The Walking Dead to more original items, none fit well in this niche. One such franchise has run with it for extremely well renown is the Resident Evil franchise. A game series that spans well over seven games (including several side games, comics/manga, a few remakes, and even a big, if not so famous, movie series). With the games so vast (and the upcoming Resident Evil 3 remake coming up), I’ve felt that the best way we can start is with the game that was launched nearly a year ago in 2019. It’s not new, but it’s the 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2. For those new to the Resident Evil franchise, Resident Evil 2 was the sequel to the first Resident Evil game released in 1996 (and 2002’s prequel Resident Evil 0). The survival horror game has you fighting zombies and monsters in a confined area while digging deep in what was going on. Some of the games have two different stories determined by the Character you play. For Resident Evil 2, you have two characters: Leon S. Kennedy, the rookie cop of the Raccoon City Police Department, and Claire Redfield, the sister of Resident Evil’s protagonist Chris Redfield.
For this playthrough, I’ve played as Leon Kennedy (I am working on Redfield’s story mode.) So my playthrough is through that game’s experience. As a note, if you’re wondering more about the events of RE2 happened, or curious about the two games before it. I would suggest watching GamerThumbTV’s videos that give an explanation of the story and lore (Note: they’re spoiler alerts for the games as well). With that out of the way, Let’s get explaining about Resident Evil 2.

Plot+Gameplay

The game starts you with a brief tutorial as you play Leon S. Kennedy as he stops by a gas station. Something is off as he notices everything is ransacked. He sees a wounded cop telling him not to go in there. Leon ignores it and finds a man fighting off and getting killed by a zombie. Escaping the place, he opens the door and runs into Claire Redfield, who just stopped by to investigate as well. Both of them escape and introduce themselves as they enter Raccoon City. They notice the place has gone to hell until they hear a broadcast telling survivors to meet at the Raccoon City Police Department. The group gets divided as a wounded trucker crashes into their police car and explodes, separating the two. As Leon, you get to the police department first. Leon notices a surviving office on a security camera fleeing and telling whoever is there that “he found a way out of the Department.” Leon goes out and tries his best to save the guy, only for him to be torn in half by a zombie. He does leave you a clue on getting out of the place. Leon later runs into an officer named Marvin Branagh, a wounded survivor who is surprised to see the rookie cop made it. After getting him his standard uniform, he lends his aid to Leon for a brief moment from the main hall while Leon goes to solve puzzles to acquire three medallions to open a secret passage out of the Police Department. Braving the zombies, he finds the three pieces needed to escape. Marvin sadly refuses to leave with Leon, indicating that the office was infected by the zombies. The rookie cop has no choice but leaves him behind, entering the secret passage.

As he moves through the tunnel, he gets his first encounter with a sizeable hulking monstrosity. Once he dispatches him, he continues through and finds himself in the RCPD garage. He is rescued by an FBI agent named Ada Wong. They both realize that they need to find the garage key card to get out and that a man named Ben Burtolucci, an Investigative Journalist who was locked up in a jail cell. He’s willing to give you the keycard to open the garage, but is slaughtered when a large hand bursts through the wall and crushes his skull. With the circuit breaker to his cell busted, Leon now has to find the missing parts needed to open the cell. While searching, Leon finds a way in extinguishing the burning helicopter, thus allowing him a new path. Though he gets a run-in with Mr. X, a giant hulking monster in a trench coat and fedora. This part of the game has Leon searching for the last part while avoiding this invincible monster. He finds a large gear and makes it to the clock tower, where through solving another puzzle finds the last generator part. Leon backtracks to the basement again and unlocks the cage and acquiring the keycard. Though it opens the cages containing zombies and alerts Mr. X as well. Though as Leon escapes, Mr. X pulls a Kool-Aid man and catches up to Leon. Ada rescues Leon via slamming a SWAT van into X and puts and end of the monster.

The two leave the Police department, having to find a way to get into “Umbrella’s lab.” After witnessing a sad moment between a gun shop owner and his daughter, they both continue until they’re at the sewers. Leon is ambushed by a giant alligator mutated by the outbreak. After an explosive finish, Ada helps Leon out, but are ambushed by a woman named Annette Birkin. She states that Ada won’t get the G Virus and tries to kill the agent, only for Leon to be severely wounded. The game switches you to Ada Wong as you have to reactivate switches and panels to progress through the game while dealing with the undead and Mr.X (yes, he survived that ordeal before.) Once she finds an ID band and surviving being extra crispy by Annette, Ada makes it through but again is ambushed and left severely injured. You’re handed control back of Leon as you now have to make your way out. Going through the sewers and having your first encounter with the ugly G Imago, you soon find the wounded Ada and have to solve a spark plug puzzle to get to her. Going through said puzzles and horrors have you running into the massive beast you met the first time, now looking more grotesque. Once he’s beaten, Leon rescues Ada as the two take a railcar down into NEST, the laboratory of the Umbrella Corporation that’s been under Raccoon City.

Leon travels through several areas overrun with zombies and monstrous plants as he learns what has been going on. The whole outbreak in Raccoon City was due to a special operations group of Umbrella murdering a man named William Birkin and that the stolen G Samples were damaged by the massive creature and was spread by rats in the sewers. He eventually reaches the west part of the facility and acquires the last G Virus sample. Though once he acquired it, he’s met by the beast again. This time, he’s rescued by Annette, and she reveals to Leon that the monster was her husband, William Birkin. William, who was on death’s doorstep, injected himself with the G Virus and was transformed into the hulking monstrosity. William wakes up and attacks Annette, killing her and further mutating. Leon manages to kill the mutated  Birkin. It’s revealed that Annette set a self-destruct countdown while Leon fought the mutated Birkin. He also later learns that Ada Wong isn’t an FBI agent as she claims she is. Ada gets injured by a dying Annette, and the G sample is lost as well as Ada. Leon now has to evacuate the facility before it blows all while dealing with Mr.X. Once he’s on an elevator platform, he now has to deal with a battle-damaged (and still deadly) Mr.X while avoiding being gored by his nails. He’s intervened by a not so dead Ada who drops a rocket launcher. With one rocket blast, Leon defeats Mr.X and survives by escaping on the train out of the area. Reunited with Claire and Sherry Birkin.
With that, the Leon side of the story is complete. (though the game leaves an ending to a secret boss with Birkin with a tentacle trying to open a door)

Grotesque Greatness

The remake does a lot of good things for Resident Evil 2, and one such that I liked was the camera (which is notorious for old RE titles). The Graphical overhaul is impressive as it allows rooms to reflect various atmospheres as if the room’s power is out and the place is dark or when Leon is moving through the sewers, and you can see details of waste and garbage in corners. The graphics also give detail to the characters as well. For example, when I was fighting the G Imago and Licker, you got an excellent detailed look at their bodies. How they look like slabs of flesh and meat, grotesque in all their gory glory detail. Characters are also pretty good looking too, especially with reacting to environments. When they enter something wet or run into the rain, their clothes look dirty. When they get attacked by a monster or bitten, they show wounds (until healed), and as the story progresses, you can see dirt and grime on their clothes. Lastly, the game has an excellent story, which is divided between the two characters. The Claire story (sadly I couldn’t complete as this review) has you running into Sherry Birkin (The daughter of William and Annette) and rescuing her from Chief Irons, a psychotic police chief and later having to cure her of a G Virus infection. Leon’s is what I described, and both feel as though they’re different, they cross paths as slight references.

Zombified Flops

Though the remake did do a lot of things great, some things make the game a bit lackluster. One such that I wasn’t fond was the lack of some enemies in the game. The remake has you fighting zombies (human and canine), the aforementioned Mr.X Tyrant, Lickers, G Imagos, and Birkin himself. The sad part is some old enemies were cut out. Some such as the giant moths, man-eating Plant 42s (they were replaced with just ivy infested zombies), and even zombie crows that would attack you. I don’t know if it’s due to the graphical engine that would make some of the harder to design or if they were insignificant by their standards. Though it would be pleasant dealing with more threats than just those. Another problem is that though the game is good, some of the threats feel weak (even on assisted), as most zombies will either die quickly with some headshots. The only danger is when Mr.X is in the police department as all he will do is just attack you if he sees you. Even then, he comes off as inconvenient than a scary threat. One personal quip is that the game retcons some events of the game, thus changing how some characters are met or how they die. The last criticism is the game requires you to beat both games to beat Birkin in one “secret final boss,” which kinda feels a bit disappointing as it left me with making this reviewed rushed.

Umbrella’s Secret

One surprise I’ve noticed after beating the game is that once you do beat one story, you unlock some new secrets such as “survivor stories” which play characters that may have small events going on. Though one I like is a neat little costume that gives Leon and Claire their original costumes from the PS1 game released.

Gory Conclusion

The remake is a pretty good game for those who are interested in seeing a good remake of the Resident Evil franchise and a right tie over until the third remake is made. It’s a pretty good-looking game with some good stunning graphics and gameplay. I’d recommend buying the game if you like it.

References

Wednesday Media Review: The Pirate’s Fate

Review done by TheChoujinVirus
Note: There may be some spoilers to this game, so if you want a spoiler-free game, may I suggest you buy the game or watch a YouTube video
Additional Note: I have done some non-related work with the developer of the game, I can reassure you that my opinion of this game is of my own and not influenced.

In all of the media, your boy has seen that involves transformations; usually, it rarely has some impacts (though some do have consequences in some media.) Though when it comes to stuff found in the furry fandom, it can ring a few red flags due to what view as a negative that some folks wouldn’t touch with a 30-foot pole. However, your boy used to be one of those people until he overheard and played a VN novel made by writer T.F.Wright and artist Volkenfox. It was their first game they made, a Visual Novel called “The Pirate’s Fate.” The game was first released on Steam on May 27th, 2018, and its first expansion titled “Prisoner of Destiny” was released on Jun 4th, 2019. The game did gather some impressive reviews and first impressions on the platform and later found itself released other bundles like GoG and Humble Bundle. So what is the game about? Well, let your boy explain a bit about the game.

Story Summary

The story of The Pirate’s Fate has you playing Mila, a female anthropomorphic feline and spice merchant who is rescued by a group calling them the Dread Pirates. This motley crew consists of Darius, the captain of the Pirate’s Fate and a man of honor; his first mate Morgana, a woman who can stand her ground but has a heart of gold. Leeko, the corgi cartographer who tags along and shows some bravery. They are also tagged along by a silvery tongued reptilian female named Tam-Tam as the group of treasure hunters seek out the Wizard’s Treasure: magical coins that can either alter a person’s form and time itself. Along the many paths, the Dread Pirates can meet various characters that will cause problems such as the delusional Circe, who turns anyone who is on her island into mindless animals to the Feuding royal siblings Bilba and Nakhta and even going up against a vengeful spirit and rival pirates who seek the coins as well. Though as the nature of visual novels, your paths are determined by the choices made in the story, so no two paths are similar (though some encounters can have different outcomes on some paths).

What makes the Pirate’s Fate enjoyable

There are plenty of positives in the game that some find impressive, one of my personal ones I like are the characters. Both heroes and villains have their own views and goals that feel like they’re not clichés. One such example is the character Circe, the first character on some paths you run into, she gives a justified reason for turning people into animals (She feels that people suffer and that removing their free will and making them into animals would free them of their pain). Another is the undead Lazenby, who, in the story, explains his need is to remove death as he feels “death is a mockery” and thus wants to cheat death forever. Others, like the dragon admiral Anorah intends to be her own master and not take orders from Nakhta. Some stories that have multiple antagonists usually have an issue that makes some villains motives a tad cliché or overused.

The next positive thing, which fits alongside the villains, are the characters themselves. Each character (protagonist, antagonist, supporting cast and such) have their own personalities that some visual novels end up having characters becoming just typical cookie-cutter clichés, but I don’t see that with the characters in the Pirate’s Fate. They also react to changes not only to themselves but to other characters as well. Which does feel organic when in one scene, Leeko is changed into a female. Throughout the story’s path, Leeko has to come to the fact of learning to live as a woman. Some stories have that transformation happen and then just as fast as it happens like they only had a new pair of socks, and that’s it.

The last thing I liked about the game is the ambiguity of the choices of the game. Most games like Mass Effect or Fable have a black and white like morality system that makes a character either a boy/girl scout or a complete monster. The Pirate’s Fate and their choices do have some form of tough decisions that can actually make someone think. A good example is on one path, you meet a pie shop owner named Trento, who is rumored to have one of the wizard’s coins and is using it to boost sales of his product. His worker you encounter, a female cat named Katie, suggests you break in and steal the coin. Though another choice is given, which requires you to report Katie’s plan to Trento and thus allowing you to get the coin but at the cost of sending Katie to jail. You’re left with the choice of either stabbing a friend in the back or resort to thievery. To make things interesting, the endings in the game do have some form of downside whenever you succeed in your mission’s path. For one end, I’ve managed to create a world where rulers are gone and introduced Democracy. However, the world doesn’t seem too happy about it. It actually gives you tough choices when it comes to options and some weight compared to the games I’ve listed. You can be a boy scout, but the choices can come back and bite you in the butt (or at worse, can cause you to get a game over.)Another thing that is interesting is the transformations are exciting and varied. Some are more than changing body mass, but also changing species, gender, and even personality in some parts. They show some unique outcomes and effects the person transformed. Some of them can be really humorous during some paths and outcomes. In short, the transformations are as unique as the personalities of the characters.

What The Pirate’s Fate requires some work

Though the game has some good parts, the game does have some issues that can inhibit the fun of the game from time to time.
One such example is though the game has multiple paths, the first branching path has only three choices (according to the developer, there was suppose to be a few more paths.) Though Prisoner of Destiny does add a fourth path that gives a new story to the three paths, it feels that one of the transformations (The “pragmatic” route) was cut and left with some ambiguity over one of the transformation’s existence.

A second con I feel could be an issue is the sound effects and music that sometimes can repeat themselves at odd moments or how some of the noises do feel like audio stock footage. Not bashing the game as a whole due to this, but some of it does feel a bit odd when a female character is hit, and you hear a default man being hit sound. It’s not something that’s a game-breaker, but it can feel a bit..well..off-putting in some parts. Again, not considered a game-breaker.

I find that the game is a tad short. When I played the game on the first playthrough, I assumed I might have done something wrong to have the game end so early. Though I found out it was due to the nature of visual novels with branching paths, multiple romances, and various transformations. It can be a bit sad when you play the game and find yourself already at the end, but the game allows some replay value so you can find different parts of the story.

One final secret

Before my conclusion, I’m giving you a little mention. The creator, prior to the release of Prisoner of Destiny, introduced epilogues that extended the ending after your choices on some paths. It’s a way of explaining what happens to the crew and people after the world was changed. I’ll explain to you two epilogue paths, one of them being the first one that leads to one of the secret endings.

First Epilogue: To unlock this epilogue, you must be on the Young Darius route (the Independent/Buff Mila path) once you use the coin to go back in time to bring young Darius and reach the library, choose to “destroy sin” after rescuing Morgana. This leads you to the first epilogue of the game.

Second Epilogue+Secret Ending: This was in the game initially, but to unlock this path, you must be on the “soul path” in the game and have access to Pragmatic Mila’s form. Then choose to romance Morgana (and no one else) before you select the “we were deceived” at the end of the series. This nets you a very… exciting epilogue.

There are a total of 26 endings (and four epilogues). To find the last two, I suggest you either figure them out or go here to find them.

Conclusion

The Pirate’s Fate, for a first-time visual novel created by T.F. Wright, is an impressive piece of work that has some interesting characters, genre, and choices. Though the game is short, it does have some intriguing fun that can perk the interest of those who may or may not have been interested in some of the genres of the series. If you are interested in this series, you can purchase the game on Steam (which is on sale at the moment of this review.)

Reference

Wednseday Media Review: Gwent: The Witcher Card Game

Written by TheChoujinVirus
Note: I apologize if this was a problem but tech troubles made it hard to post it on time. However, better late than never. This review may contain spoilers

Card games, some of the most exciting things your boy has played for a very long time. From games like Magic: The Gathering to Yu-Gi-Oh to even odd and obscure card games like Magi-Nation and Cardfight! Vanguard. Online card games aren’t new as you had the same games move to the digital front, while new games like Hearthstone walked into this for the first time. Though out of all games, there’s one that stood out fascinatingly, and that game is called Gwent: The Witcher Card Game.

For those like myself, who are clueless, Gwent is a card game that existed in both the novel and Witcher game series (and was a playable mini-game in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt). Gwent started on October 23, 2018, and had a sister game, a Standalone singleplayer game called Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales. What makes the game unique is not just the universe and its in-game reference, but rather how the game is played and the skill level required.

Gameplay

Gwent: The Witcher Card Game interestingly has a straightforward rule: Build up points and win before your opponent can. This is vastly different compared to most card games that have monsters killing each other and attacking your enemy directly. It’s kind of like a game of Blackjack; only you’re not limited to twenty-one. The gameplay requires strategy as you can either play your high point cards early or save them for later. I could explain the rules, but it seems the Developers have that covered. Though in short, it’s a game that does require you to think on your toes and play smart, then just rushing and beating down your enemies.

Pros: What makes Gwent glimmer with gold

Gwent’s basis and the game does add a hint of strategy, and the races do have such unique playstyles. One such I’ve played in the Monster faction, which is made up of some of the Witcher series such as Vampires, undead, and other nasty beasties. They do dirty tricks like damaging and devouring their own (some of them have abilities that trigger upon death.) Others, such as the Dwarven and Elven faction of Socia’Tael, use tricks and traps to damage your cards while boosting and healing their cards. Others like the Northern Realms provide support to their units and offer some great bonuses when specific cards placed on the board. The Viking-like Skelliege specializes in damaging your enemies with brute force like any good barbarian group. The extremely dastardly Syndicate who can use tricks like poison and control to turn the tide on the map.
Another thing is the game is updating and changing. As of today, Gwent: The Witcher Card Game recently released its second expansion: Merchants of Ofir, which adds some new cards and a unique thing called Scenarios. Sadly, I haven’t gotten these cards from the expansion or have tried the other two factions, but they do sound good in the long run.

Another great thing is the starter decks the game gives you premade, perfect for new players to test out each faction and their playstyle (and maybe get hints on how to build cards of your favorite faction). On the plus side, you do have characters and actual characters related to the lore of the game (heck, Gwent is essentially the game within a game)

Cons: What makes Gwent smell like Nekker crap?

Though the game has its perks like starter decks, the game can be a bit tough to get into if you’re a new player. Individual powerful cards do cost scraps (currency needed to build cards) so that they can feel intimidating when you’re fighting against other players that may have had stronger cards for a longer time than you. The game’s unique skills do require you to think on your feet, so it may not be for everyone who plays card games outside of some of the more familiar ones. Lastly, it could also be confusing if one isn’t familiar with the Witcher series or the lore behind Gwent. Unlike Hearthstone or Yu-Gi-Oh, Gwent is from the Witcher universe itself. So some might not know that Gwent is a game within a game if this is their first entry into the Witcher series.

Witching Conclusion

So if you’re familiar with the Witcher series and want a card game that’s not related to the typical variant, I would recommend Gwent: The Witcher Card Game.

 Oh and if you’re interested in playing this game for PC (or the recently released mobile version

 here’s the link https://www.playgwent.com/invite-a-friend/KOGYP0HQC9 so you can start out playing the game on a bit more of equal grounds (and helps your boy too)

References

Media Review Wednesday: Pokemon Sword and Shield

Written By TheChoujinVIrus

The Pokemon franchise is one of the largest and well known by everyone all over the world since its release on the Gameboy on February 27, 1996. The franchise has been going strong for over twenty years of games, merchandise, and anime episodes released. The latest generation, Generation 8, of the Pokemon franchise just came out a week ago. Pokemon Sword and Shield is the first mainline game to appear on the Nintendo Switch. Despite the controversy and outright anger from some vocal fans, the game has sold over 6 million in one weekend after its release. Do the unstoppable force and unmovable objects that are this Gen’s Pokemon franchise stand up to the past? Here’s my review of Pokemon Sword and Shield.

Story (Warning Spoilers)

Like all Pokemon games (except Generation 7’s Sun and Moon series), you play as a protagonist who must defeat eight gyms to take on the Pokemon League and become the champion. Though the story is vastly different compared to the last seven generations of Pokemon. For example, The game takes place in the Galar region, a region heavily inspired by the United Kingdom. Also, the whole Galar region thrives on the concept of Pokemon battles and the concept of the new power called “Dynamaxing,” which turns Pokemon into literal titans on the battlefield. The story starts with you and Hop (your rival) watching a match starring the current undefeated champion (and Hop’s brother) Leon. Both are excited that Leon is stopping by their home to visit and to give you your starter Pokemon. You have three choices of starter Pokemon: The Grass-type Grookey, The Fire-type Scorbunny, and the Water-type Sobble (For my playthrough, I chose Sobble).

After choosing your starter and fighting your rival, your character has to rescue a sheep pokemon named Wooloo that wandered into the Slumbering Weald. It is there where you run into the box legendary Zacian/Zamazenta, wolf pokemon who managed to beat your starter with ease.  Luckily, Leon rescues you and later told to meet Sonia and her grandmother Professor Magnolia to learn a bit about the mysterious Pokemon you met. Sonia explains who they are and how the two have a connection to the legends of Galar. Leon, with some coaxing from his brother Hop, then decides to endorse both of you to the Gym Leader Challenge (in Galar, to participate in the league, you need an endorsement). After the second battle, both of you are sent off to Motostoke for the opening of the Gym Leader Challenge and introduced to the gym leaders.

. It’s here where we see several major players. First is Chairman Rose, the head of Macro Cosmos and the chairman of the Galar Pokemon League. Next is Marnie, one of your rivals who has her entourage of fans known as Team Yell, who will make noise and attack those who aren’t their idol. Lastly, is the rival many people wanted for a long time, Bede, the arrogant and snobbish rival who was endorsed by Chairman Rose himself. Your first stops have you traveling to the first three gyms of Turffiled, Hulbury, and then back to Motostoke (Grass, Water, and Fire, respectively). All while learning a bit more about the origin of Dynamax and an event in Galar’s history known as The Darkest Day, even learning that Bede is searching for “wishing stars” for the chairman.

Once defeating Kabu of the Motostoke Gym, you’re sent off to the next city of Hammerlocke, the city that houses the Dragon-type Gym leader Raihan to continue you’re training. Once you arrive at Stow-on-Side, you get to see one of the unique features of Sword and Shield: version exclusive gym leaders. In Sword, you fight against the Fighting Gym Leader Bea while Shield gets a chance at the Ghost-type gym leader Alister. After your victory in  Stow-on-Side, you run into Bede using the chairman’s Copperaja as he is destroying one of Galar’s historical artifacts in the search for Wishing Stars. Bede’s actions end up getting him disqualified from the Gym Challenge (thus removed from the competition.) However, just as the artifact is damaged, it reveals old statues of two pokemon, one of them being the wolf pokemon saw at the beginning of your game.

Though Sonia tells you to go onto the next region to fight the remaining gym challenges while she solves the mystery of the Pokemon. After winning against the gym leaders in Ballonlea and Circhester do you eventually reach the town of Spikemuth, the gym leader of the aloof Dark Type gym leader Pieres. Pieres states he’s the “leader” of Team Yell and the brother to Marnie. He reveals that he wanted his sister to take over the gym and wanted her to succeed in putting the town on the map because Spikemuth is built on no Dynamax Hotspot.

Though after defeating the gym, suddenly, there are reports of Dynamax pokemon running wild and causing havoc. Leon and Sonia tell you to go with your challenge while they deal with the situation, all while learning more about the mysterious heroes of Galar and the royalty that saved Galar from the Darkest Day. Though for now, your character defeats Raihan and can now move onto the Semifinals being hosted in Wyndom, a town built by Chairman Rose himself to host the last battle against the champion. Once there, you head to Wyndom Stadium to continue your Semifinals match. During your first battle, you’re suddenly greeted by Bede, who is revealed to have gotten a new endorsement from Opal, the Fairy Gym Leader of Ballonlea. He decides to challenge you to a match to which you beat him. Though he states he’d retire from being a trainer should he lose to you, he later embraces his role as the new Gym Leader for Ballonlea. Once that’s done, you have your rematches with Nessa, Bea/Alister, and Raihan as you ascend to the destined final battle with Leon. However, your match is later interrupted by Chairman Rose, who declares that he must unleash the Darkest Day onto Galar to save it. (This is hinted before your final match as you brave Macro Cosmos and Rose’s secretary Odessa to reach the Rose Tower).

This causes the Pokemon to Dynamax as Rose awakens Eternatus, a skeletal dragon that was responsible for the Dynamax Phenomenon. Sonia then hints that the only ones who can stop this Pokemon are the legendary wolves. You and Hop are sent back to the Slumbering Weald to find the wolves. However, you only find a rusted sword and shield. You take those with you as you return to Hammerlocke, where it’s revealed that Eternatus was sealed there. You have one more rematch with Odessa before dealing with Chairman Rose himself. Once defeated, he surrenders as you race to the top of Hammerlocke, witnessing Leon struggling with Eternatus. You then deal with the legendary Pokemon and manage to defeat it, only for it to Dynamx into a giant snake hand that prevents your Pokemon from attacking or doing anything! Though just as all hope is lost, Zacian and Zamazenta arrive and with the rusted artifacts, are awakened and aid you subduing Eternatus. Once the hero captures the Dynamax Pokemon, the two wolves disappear, and thus the disaster is adverted.

Afterward, you have the final part where you fight and defeat Hop’s brother Leon, thus crowning you the new champion of Galar. The story would end here, but it’s not over yet. After being visited by Magnolia and given the Master Ball, you head back to the Slumbering Weald, where you and Hop have another fight since your Wyndom battle. Once you defeated him and returned the Sword and Shield to their resting place, are greeted by two brothers named Sordward and Shieldbert. They claim to be descendants of the fabled heroes of Galar and those who dismiss Sonia’s research on the two wolf pokemon. Though as you beat one of the brothers, the others managed to beat Hop and thus run off with the other artifact. Just as things couldn’t get any worse, suddenly Dynamax Pokemon are erupting all over Galar and causing trouble at each of the gyms. Once Routed, you learn that Sordwald and Shieldbert were doing these to prove the “Dark nature” of the heroic wolf pokemon. This causes one of them to go berserk and attack one of the brothers, thus forcing you to defeat one of them.

Once that one ran off, the other wolf remains behind in order to fight you (thus capturing your box legendary.) Once done, and the events ended, you return back to Weald and witness Hop capturing the other legendary. It’s here where Hop then realizes his goal of wanting to be a pokemon researcher as he challenges you to one last fight (using the opposite box legendary you have). Once defeated, everyone is happy all issues mended. With that, the main story of Pokemon Sword and Shield is done.

Dynamaxxed Greatness

For the first pokemon mainline game on the switch, the game has its excellent perks that make the game unique. The game’s graphics are stunning, and some pokemon do make sound effects (such as flapping wings or stomping noises), thus making them organic than just static. One of the biggest features I do like is the Wild Area, one of the first times in the series history where you have an open world to explore and capture Pokemon. Some of which include multiplayer battles called Max Raids. These contain strong Pokemon and exclusive Dynamax pokemon known as “Gigantomax,” where the Pokemon takes on a new form when Dynamaxed such as Charizard or Butterfree. These Pokemon’d Gigantomax forms make them popular due to their unique capabilities and powers they bring.

Pokemon camp is another unique feature, something that brings a new twist to Pokemon Amie/Refresh from the prior generations to something cute. You can play with your Pokemon with bouncy balls and a cat toy while cooking food for them that can not only heal them and make them friendly but also makes them gain experience. Cooking is a unique experience that brings me back to the berry-mixing and Poffin cooking of some of the older games. It also makes me feel like I’m cooking food for my companions.  One last feature is a major quality of life change for some competitive people: Easy breeding and changing natures. Sword and shield introduce mints, items that can provide stat growths of personalities. For example, if you have a Gardevoir that has an Adamant nature (a nature favoring physical attack), one can use a Modest Mint that gives her the nature similar to Modest (though it doesn’t fully change her nature, but changes stat growths). Another great feature involves being able to transfer egg moves to similar Pokemon of the same species without needing to hatch a ton of eggs. This feature is extremely useful for passing on egg moves to Gigantomax pokemon (as they sadly cannot pass their Gigantomax status to their offspring.)

A great thing about the games are the exclusives (and not just pokemon version exclusive and story) are the version gym leaders. For example, in Sword you have the Fighting Type gym leader Bea and the Rock Type gym leader Cordie. In Shield, Bea is replaced by Alistar the Ghost Type gym leader and Cordie is replaced by the Ice Type user Melony.

Rusty criticisms

Though the game has such great perks and QoL changes, there are some glaring issues that can get in the way. One of the criticisms is the 600 lb. Elephant (or Copperaja) in the room is the National Dex. For those unaware, the National Dex was a core feature introduced in the Third Generation of Pokemon that recorded ALL pokemon one captured. Pokemon cut over 400 pokemon from the Galar dex, leaving some people with no way of bringing their favorite Pokemon they brought over to Galar. According to what can be found, it’s estimated to being over 400 pokemon in the Galar Dex (with some pokemon found but unavailable at the moment.) Your boy’s favorite Pokemon happens to be Empoleon and how I wish I could have it in my game, but since she’s not in Galar (or in the game in general), I can’t get a chance. However, that’s my opinion.

Though the story is nice, it can be a bit short and shallow at some parts, and most of the endgame involves the wild area, Max Raids, Curry Dex, and the battle tower. Some people would expect something like the Battle Frontier or any events that are a better endgame experience than just running on raids or doing online competitions. Sometimes I do wish I could have the return of Pokemon Contests like in the days of Ruby and Sapphire.

Conclusion

Despite the massive controversies heard on the internet and some of its shortcomings for a mainline game, Sword and Shield is an impressive game that has some fun and action. Though the content can be short, all Pokemon games are like this but come with some impressive feats and ways of keeping you entertained even for a short time. Would I recommend it? I would if you’re a Pokemon fan.

Wednesday Media Review: Killing the Pokemon Wait for Sw/Sh

Note: this is a change of formula, but something different for some people who are a fan of the Pokemon franchise.

With just two days before the release of Pokemon Sword and Shield, some folks are either going around with how a Pokemon game should be. No, your boy’s not going to be talking about the anger in the fanbase (that’ll be a subject for the Thanksgiving week). I’ve played Pokemon since Generation 1 (for those who might not know, that’s the era of games like Red/Blue/Green(JP) and Yellow) and I’ve loved the franchise for years. One thing i’ve noticed is people have done some challenges to make playing older Pokemon games in an interesting twist. So for those who are impatient on Sword and Shield’s release and want to sate the itch or you’re a long time Pokemon fan, here’s some fun that might make your Pokemon games fun.

The Nuzlocke Challenge

Our first challenge is an old challenge going back to 2010 and started by a 4Chan user named Nuzlocke. The Nuzlocke Challenge is something that’s simple that you play the game like any other. However, there’s a catch for the following.

1. The Pokemon you capture must be nicknamed
2. Must capture the first pokemon you see in the region (failing to do that means you don’t capture and must move on)
3. If said pokemon is knocked out, its considered dead and either must be released into the wild or be sent to the PC (aka Graveyard).

The best thing about Nuzlockes as some have played is that it adds some suspense when a Pokemon is knocked out (sometimes leading to a game over should all your Pokemon faint). Some even add some unique challenges to some such as Wedlocke (which requires you to capture 3 males and 3 females and thus pair them up) or even some additional challenges like not allowing the use of items or Pokemon Centers, forbidding some items, and various other things. It’s a classical challenge that some Pokemon fans that enjoy. However, Nuzlockes aren’t the only challenges out there.

Monotype Challenges

Monotype challenges are another simple challenge that involves a simple thing: capturing only one type of pokemon. For example, if you want to be like the flying type gym leaders or elite four, you must capture only flying type pokemon you see (and it can be the dual types like Zubat or Oricorio). It’s an interesting strategy to see how people would play with one type, sometimes types you wouldn’t expect to use. It’s an interesting thing to pull off when you beat the game with Bug-type Pokemon or pulling a Misty with Water-Types! However, there’s more challenges out there, so let’s continue.

The Roleplay/Story Challenge

Now this is something that your boy here loves. Do you ever wanted to play as Ash while playing your games? Want to have your character feel more unique and others? Then why not role-play or even tell a story about your character. You might get a chance to bond with your Pokemon by creating a backstory for your character. You can Roleplay your character as a Pokemon ranger who only acquires gifted Pokemon, or maybe a Dragon tamer who uses “Dragon” based Pokemon. Heck, you can even roleplay as the greatest trainer in the Pokemon World: Youngster Joey. Speaking of Youngster Joey, there’s one more challenge that can be fun as well.

The Single Challenge

Also known as the one Pokemon Challenge, a challenge that can basically let you play with one Pokemon. Wouldn’t it be awesome to select one starter and have it fight all your battles with no assistance from others and challenging Pokemon that might be stronger than your or challenging full teams though with one partner. The challenge only allows one Pokemon and plenty of Youtubers have shown the various Pokemon being used to beat the game as a whole. Some are typical that use their favorite starter Pokemon while others might take it to some interesting (if not silly examples) like beating the game with just a Rattata or even a Magikarp. The best thing about this challenge is that you can use ANY Pokemon for the challenge, so it adds some fun should you want to see you winning the league through the Youngster Joey path or forge your own path with your favorite Pokemon throughout the whole journey.

Doing your own way

There are SO many challenges and ideas out there that I could be there forever explaining about how to play the game, but the best thing you can do when it comes to challenge. The best thing you can do is to create your very own challenges for playing older Pokemon Games. Maybe an Single Pokemon challenge that adds Roleplaying to the game? Maybe a Monotype Wedlocke that can add some unique variations to difficulty. Heck, you could do what your boy is doing: An Ash Challenge. If you’re curious on how it works is this: You choose one Pokemon (wild or starter, no legendary) and that Pokemon is your “Starter” from the journey. It’s best when playing older games like Gen 3 games (R/S/E/FL/LG) or Gen 4 (D/P/Pt/HG/SS) and beat the game. You then migrate that Pokemon to your next game (your starter only) and continue your adventure like in the anime. You can add your own challenge by either not evolving your Pokemon (just like Ash’s Pikachu) and can choose not to capture no more than 6 Pokemon (just like Ash). It’s not a bad challenge to try out if you want, but that’s my own challenge should you want to try it out. Perhaps you might like to create your own challenge yourself?

And those are some examples of challenges you can do while waiting for Pokemon Sword and Shield (or just wanting to have fun with Pokemon games.) What’s your favorite challenge (examples here or your own challenge) and tell me what you like about it.

References

Wednesday Media Review/Thursday Halloween Special: Zeiram 2

Note: This is a movie review, so there will be spoilers to the movie. Just a fair warning should you proceed and read it.

Heya, it’s your boy, Choujin.
 I understand that this review is late, but your boy has gotten back on the saddle for job hunting; thus, your boy may be delayed on today’s media review. However, I realized that tomorrow’s Halloween, so I thought why not a good time to do the review on another movie, a sequel to the film I reviewed a week ago. Made by Keita Amemiya, his sequel Zeiram 2, is an impressive piece of work from Japan that is action-packed with some comedy. So let’s have a look at what this sequel is and what It can provide.

The movie starts in a desert world, in which two aliens are field-testing a new weapon on some androids. The machine shows off their entire mechanical armaments and toys as the testers are impressed by the results. They prepare to send it to none other than Iria, who is on Earth on an assignment. The vault opens, and it’s shown that the new weapon is none other than Zeiram, who survived his last encounter. Eventually, through some intro credits, we get to see the new and improved Zeiram being built up. Better, Stronger, faster.

Then we return to Earth, where Kamiya and Teppei are preparing for Teppei’s wedding, Kamiya giving his apologies about not attending his friend’s wedding. Meanwhile, on a beach not too far from the area, Iria and a new cocky compatriot named Fujikuro managed to snag an item called the Kamarite from an alien shaman and his thugs. It’s been revealed that Iria’s been using Earth as a base for over three years since the film. It’s revealed that Kamarite was an ancient transport device that can fetch a few pennies, according to Fujikuro. Bob informs them of their next mission while arguing with Fujikuro. Teppei gets a glimpse of Iria while he was waiting for some wedding preparations and thus went searching for her. Suddenly, as Iria leaves for a mission, Fujikuro decides to sabotage the whole thing to strand Iria while he’d run off with the Kammarite only to find out that Iria took the device with her. With the device not in its place, Fujikuro decides to kidnap Teppei and use him as a driver to get to Iria.

Kamiya began testing his new camera (as he’s shown to be a bit of a creeper) while he chats with a worker about some typical business stuff. He managed to call Teppei and ask, only to being asked to go to the Kamiyama building (something of a way to hint about his situation.)
Iria, relaxing next to a dog, is waiting for the supposed unit to arrive for her mission while Kamiya arrives to notice Iria’s base damaged from Fujikuro’s attack as his old friend Bob greets him. Once they arrive at their destination, Fujikuro drags Teppei out to continue their hunt for Iria. Iria runs into the shaman from before as he brings in a whole army of goons to kill Iria. Fujikuro and Teppei watch from a distance as the douchebag notices the Kamarite before taking Teppei away. Kamiya is repairing Bob and the teleporter, while back at the fray, Iria pulls a Mary Poppins and is waiting for Bob to teleport her back home (only to find out she can’t). Though just as she’s about to be attacked, the new Zeiram arrives on the scene, which commences in killing all the criminals and thugs with no hesitation. Bob and Kamiya are able to get in contact with Iria, just as they got a feed of the aftermath.

The group got a glimpse of the new and improved Zeiram while Iria punches the face out of anger and frustration. Bob reassures Iria that the machine was there to save and protect her, while Iria explains that some of the criminals killed were people they knew. Bob tells her that they couldn’t teleport the machine out, while Fujikuro arrives to mock her about Teppei (who he left in the car handcuffed and with a ticking grenade) The scumbag threatens Iria to drop all her weapons but his cowardice as he threatens to blow him up unless she hands the Kamarite over toward him. Iria declines and beats the tar out of him Back at the shrine, the shaman barely survived the ordeal as he walks up toward the robotic creature and ends up spitting up blood and waking up the core of Zeiram. Now free of any shackles, the new Zeiram now starts to create its Zone, trapping everyone in the area in a Zone and began to start hunting the group. Fujikuro freaks out and runs into a zone wall, to which Bob explains to Iria about what happened. Kamiya and Bob lose track of them, signaling that this Zone is different than his.

With the battlefield set, Iria and Fujikuro are trying their best to prepare traps and ambushes to deal with the new Zeiram while Teppei is confused. Zeiram ambushes the two investigators, showing off his super-speed as he steals Fujikuro’s gun, showing off its ability to transform the weapon into something it can use. Iria leads Zeiram to one of her landmines and blows it up, only for its armor to be damaged and showing off its second form: a fox/rabbit form. The creature then damages Iria and kills a dog that wandered into the area. Zeiram then attacks, only for Iria to also show off that she’s got some new toys too as they go toe to toe with melee combat, missiles, and explosions galore. Including a scene of her kicking an explosive shell away (something reminiscent of the first movie). During the fight, Iria hits one of Zeiram’s chest section, weakening his shield. Meanwhile, Fujikuro runs off with the Kamarite that dropped only to lose the device again during the fight. Teppei ends up wandering into the battlefield and finds the Kamarite that Fujikuro dropped.

The fight between Zeiram and Iria starts to become a war of attrition as both’s shields are down. Zeiram grabs Iria and using that opportunity to destroy his shield and literally disarm her opposition. In one battle over a building, Iria plunges a blade into Zeiram’s head. The blade pins the beast to the side of the building and defeats him for now. Fujikura loses contact with the radio while Bob informs Iria to search for Teppei so they can get out. Teppei contacts Iria through radio and finds Kamiya on the radio, providing a happy reunion for the three as they discuss where to rally in order to reunite. However, she reminds them that they’re in a Zone. Iria diffuses a mild argument between Teppei and Kamiya, suggesting that Teppei will be okay and that she’d never leave friends down and cheerfully tells them she’ll buy them a drink.

Back at the now fallen Zeiram, a robot wasp missile erupts from the discarded hand and is heading toward Teppei. Iria latches onto the missile as she’s being dragged by the rocket on its way. She saves the day by throwing herself and the rocket into a chamber, though the rocket is trying to chew its way through a wall. Teppei finds Iria trapped in the room, which Kamiya informs him of how to restore power back to the building.
Night arrives as Zeiram’s core wakes up and frees itself from the blade impaling its head. Then the xenomorph rip-off tries to wake up the machine through a few taps to the face then commences to producing an egg that creates a dog/monster hybrid from the slain pooch. Zeiram sends the monster off to search for its targets while it stands by and waits for the robot to finally wake itself up. Back at the building, Teppei finds the breaker box as he follows Kamiya’s advice on how to repair the device. Now with the machine online and Iria’s freedom set up, he forgets one thing. The jerk Fujikuro who holds him hostage. Meanwhile, the box breaks, and Iria’s freedom is stalled out (all while the missile is continuing to eat a hole through the wall in order to get to Teppei on the other side.

As Zeiramis slowly repairing itself, Teppei takes advantage of Fujikuro’s confusion and tries to get free only for Teppei to lose the Kamarite he had on his body. In the fight, Teppei accidentally trips a discarded landmine, to which Fujikuro runs off. The bad news keeps coming as the missile is boring through a wall to reach its target, and the room is a trash compactor, ready to crush Iria. To finally add a cherry on this lousy news sundae, Zeiram is fully repaired and wakes up. Fearful of his friend’s demise, Kamiya decides (in a humorous suit up montage) to go into the Zone and disarm the bomb. He comes in the nick of time and manages to save Teppei from the landmine under his foot and frees him from his bondage. They then return to save Iria in the nick of time by disarming the missile and allowing her to escape being an Investigator Pancake. The group is relieved to know she’s alright and not harmed. Kamiya hands Iria a good luck charm through the hole in the wall. Though as the good feelings were gone quickly when the missile escapes containment and chases them out. Iria destroys the missile, but not before blasting the two out of range of communications. Bob informs them that Iria is looking for them and that once together, they must use the transport unit to escape. However, they realized that Fujikuro had stolen the item.

In a Humorous twist, Bob activates the device, causing him to drop the Karmarite and teleported straight into a digital holding cell. (Do not pass go, do not collect the Kamarite). The bad news is that Fujikuro used the last teleporter unit and that the group needs a way to escape the Zone. Iria suggests using the Karmarite as a key to get out of the Zone, which is found on the top of the great Karnite sat on top of the Daikannon statue.
Teppei and Kamiya have a heart-filled chat, in which Kamiya explained that he couldn’t make it to his friend’s wedding due to his own commitment to his wedding anniversary with his ex-wife. Teppei reassures Kamiya that he’ll make a good husband. Iria contacts them and thus explains that they’ll meet up at the statue. However, they then notice the now reactivated Zeiram, and the two make a very hasty retreat from the monster. They eventually make their way to the statue, evading the monster up several flights of stairs. They make a near escape from the creature just as Iria arrives. Iria stalls out the beast while Iria goes round two with Zeiram. Teppei and Kamiya race up to a room full of smaller statues as they learn from Bob that the Kamarite is stuck outside on a ledge. The two managed to find the item. During the fight, Zeiram and Iria are blasted out of the statue. Zeiram activates his last trump card by destabilizing the Zone (talk about a sore loser). Then he goes full batman by sprouting wings and flies to the top of the temple. Kamiya helps Teppei up onto the ledge while keeping in possession of the Kamarite. Suddenly, they’re greeted by the now winged Zeiram and rescued again by Iria and her Mary Poppins straw umbrella. However, they soon run into the dog monster hybrid. Iria clips Zeiram’s wings with a shower bomb while the Teppei managed to kill the creature by killing the monster. Kamiya’s impressed by Teppei’s bravery to which Teppei humeriously stated that ‘he’ll be a daddy soon.”

Back inside the room, Teppei and Kamiya activate the Karmarite, which was simple enough. However, Zeiram arrives again and commences to knocking all the statues about and creating a big mess. The two managed to stall out Zeiram and try and make their escape. Iria arrives at the nick of time and commences her fight, all while Kamia and Teppei start searching for the Karmarite; they dropped amongst the statues, all while the Zone starts to dissolve around them slowly. Zeiram knocks Iria out of the arena, and the two begin to fight desperately.

Time is not on their side as Iria pulls a last-ditch gambit by blowing herself up along with Zeiram just as Kamia and Teppei find the Karmarite. They suddenly notice an explosion where Iria and Zeiram were. Despite that explosion, Zeiram still is alive as he crawls after the two, wanting to kill them. Iria also survives the blast as she commences to blasting the robotic monstrosity. The field reaching its limit as everything around them starts falling apart. Iria delivers the killing blow on the machine, as the two prepare their escape. Teppei throws a fresh clip of ammo toward Iria, which allows her to kill the core like last time. They activate the device at the last second and are pulled back from the Zone and into the real world. Their happiness is cut short as they suddenly found that Iria was stuck in the teleporter along with Zeiram. Bob explains that he’s not familiar with the tech they used and that they’re lucky they were able to be reformed and that they are stuck on a two switch. Bob is telling them to trust their instincts in rescuing Iria, a method that the two feel is a callous order to make.

Though just as they thought that all hope is lost, a bright light illuminates one of the switches. Taking their gut instinct, they go for this switch. Suddenly, Zeiram pulls one last attempt into reconstructing itself into the real world. Though just as the monster is about to win, the creature’s visage explodes in a massive bright (and somewhat Space Odessy-like montage). Iria once again emerges to save the day and kills the monster once and for all. The sun rises, and birds chirp while everyone is happy that Zeiram has been totally destroyed once and for all. Teppei and Kamiya bought bust up laughing while Iria responds with a smile and a “hi guys, great to see you.” Ending the film with a happy Iria smiling.

What does Zeiram 2 bring to the table? Well, it does have a better budget than the last time, and some of the fights are as catching. However, though the budget is there, the monstrous transformations seen in the first Zeiram aren’t there anymore. The only change you see is between it; it’s robot fox form and the giant skull form. No giant skeleton or monster form, just the forms in only shown in the movie, and that are that. Another issue is the movie does feel like a shot by shot similarity to the first film with maybe a few deviations to the story, but it does feel familiar in some moments. Another thing I’ve noticed and liked to an extent was the voice acting. Some of the new voice actors such as Dave Mallow (who voices Bob in the sequel) and Wendee Lee (the unique voice of Iria who replaces Edie Mirmam) do add some personality and a better sound than some of the group thought it’s a shame that some of the original cast from the first film couldn’t reprise their voice roles. Though on the plus side, the new voice actors do provide some unique personality to characters not known. Especially from some of the new voice actors that have become prominent in the anime voice acting community.

With that done, that’s Zeiram 2, the sequel and final movie in the Zeiram duology. There was an OVA prequel called Iria: Zeiram the Animation, which explains the origin story of Iria and how she became a bounty hunter. However that’s another story for another time, so here’s your boy wishing you all a Happy Halloween 🙂

Sources

Wednesday Media Review: Zeiram

Review by TheChoujinVIrus

Note: This is a movie review, so there will be spoilers to the movie. Just a fair warning should you proceed and read it.

Hey, it’s your boy, Choujin!

It’s nearly Halloween, though it’s only a week away, and the best thing about it that your boy likes to do is watch monster movies. Some monster movies I enjoy like Aliens or The Evil Dead. However, one such film I really enjoyed was an old anime made in 1991 by Keita Amemiya called Zeiram. A Live-Action film that has monsters, some comedy, and terror wrapped into one lovable bundle. So get yourselves comfortable, and we’ll dive into this Japanese masterpiece of mine.

The movie begins on an alien world where a sizable armored alien with a female geisha face mass-murdering an unnamed armed force before escaping into space. A message emerges explaining that Zeiram has escaped, being spoken in an alien language and that he must be captured. The movie then cuts to the early 1990s Japan, and we’re introduced to the first three leads of the film: the young Teppei, the easygoing Kamiya, and a mysterious woman. Kamiya and Teppei began chatting about their job, and a potential woman (much to Teppei’s basis and annoyance over Kamiya’s probing). Our mysterious woman is later revealed to be an alien bounty hunting duo named Iria and her AI companion Bob. The two of them were building a transponder and preparing a particular area called “the Zone” to capture Zeiram, who’s on his way to Earth. Iria questions Bob on whether they can capture Zeiram without needing the Zone.  Bob reminds her that due to Earth’s primitives must require them to use the Zone or else they could lose their license. With that, Iria finishes the Zone prep (even naming it after our movie title’s monster), and the pieces start being placed.

 As Iria prepares the Zone, which creates an exact copy and replica of the town of Mikasa, Teppei, and Kamiya on their usual work shift for the electrical company. Their boss calls them to inspect an “illegal hook up,” the two do not understand is that the line was set up by Iria to draw power. Meanwhile, Iria is just about to head into the Zone to intercept Zeiram only to nearly be spotted by the duo. Both Teppei and Kamiya look around Iria’s headquarters, wondering about the potential hazards her makeshift equipment would cause. However, things go haywire when Zeiram’s arrival to Earth. The impact spooks the two, which causes Kamiya to trip a switch that teleports Teppei into the Zone. Iria, now realizing what just happened, re-calibrates the device and is going into the Zone to get Zeiram. However, Kamiya jumps in to find his friend. Iria then puts him into a stasis device to keep him from interfering with her hunt.

Now that's a monster

Meanwhile, Teppei wanders the ghost town Zone replica as he only finds a non-functional phone, leaving him confused at what’s going on. Iria’s first job involves destroying Zeiram’s pod, ensuring he has no way of escaping. Teppei suddenly encounters Zeiram, nearly obvious of the danger he’s in. Luckily, Teppei evades Zeiram’s shot, to which Zeiram responds by dropping a diamond-shaped pod that spawns a bug-like monster that now is seeking the human out. Eventually, Zeiram runs into Iria, and this is where the fun starts out. Iria starts leading Zeiram into an industrial area where Iria has set up a capture point. In a display of using a specialized flare to turn the Zone’s night into day, Iria nearly captures Zeiram with her device. Though Zeiram’s noh-like face is revealed to be a tentacle as it knocks the device out of her hand and frees himself. While the two are locked in a gunfight with each other (which is revealed that Zeiram has an energy shield like Iria, thus making gunfights pointless), Teppei discovers Kamiya in that stasis device and wonders what has happened to his friend. He also hears the loud explosions from the factory from Iria and Zeiram’s battle.

Iria activates her battle armor, and we have our bounty hunter deflecting Zeiram’s shot as the two now engage in hand to hand combat. Iria lures Zeiram into the trap unit (which pops up like spikes), and the fight seems to turn toward her favor again. However, Zeriam uses another monster capsule, and a blob-like creature emerges to attack Iria. While she does slay the monster with no problem, Zeiram manages his escape from the spike trap (also while stomping on his own minion to get at Iria.) Iria finds the device and manages to seal Zeiram in the stasis device, ending the fight and now with her bounty complete.

 Teppei finds Iria after the fight, to which she explains to him about putting him that device. With Kamiya freed, she explains to the two about what’s been going on, agitated that she could be reprimanded for talking with them. Iria moves to a location where there is more space for everyone out. However, as they were about to teleport, one of Zeiram’s monsters emerges and jumps into the teleporter. Kamiya and Teppei are knocked free while Iria and the beast find themselves back in the real world. Their combat and fighting damaging every component and the transponder, which Iria gets busy fixing.

Meanwhile, back in the Zone, Zeriam’s capsule hatches while the duo began inspecting Iria’s supplies she left behind. Teppei and Kamiya start questioning the Zone’s mechanics while they continue to figure out about the weapons in the supplies. The two humorously find a large cockroach MRE. AS they began to further have fun, the two are caught off guard by Zeiram’s monster, and the two managed to kill the creatures. However, due to Teppei’s lack of gun training, the shots damage the stasis device and thus freeing Zeiram from his prison.

The two of them now find themselves stuck in the Zone, with the alien killing machine now free and about. Back in the real world, Iria heads back into the Zone only for the fuse blown out due to a misaligned transembler. To make things worse, the Zone assembly goes down. Bob laments that the two humans may be already dead, and their bounty hunting days are over because of this. Iria reassures that those two will survive so long as they remain safe.

I think that one's half baked

Back in the Zone, the two humorously hit the “wall” of the Zone as they continue to look about while Iria makes contact with the two via the radio. She gets an idea about teaching them to fight, to which Bob argues with her about it being a bad idea. Teppei and Kamiya find an abandoned car and got it working only to find Zeiram in the area. They managed to run over the monster, only for the monster to survive. They then back the car into him, crushing him in between the vehicle and a wall. Again, the creature survives and uses the noh-faced tentacle to attack Kamiya and Teppei. During the fight, Zeiram tears a good chunk of flesh out of Kamiya’s arm while Teppei stalls Zeiram for a brief moment. The two make their escape just as it pushes the car away.Back in the real world, Iria learns Zeiram’s source of power is the noh-like face on his head. This allows Zeiram to assimilate organic materials to heal wounds and create monsters. This indicates that the alien was a bio-organic weapon. This power is shown when Zeiram fails to create a monster based on Kamiya’s skin sample, to which the furious Zeiram stomps on it like a rotten watermelon.

Teppei and Kamiya begin to wonder if people will miss them as one of them began to eat the cockroach MRE. The good news is that Iria managed to find where the two are through a monitor in the real world. She sends them a spare radio for them to talk to and reassure that they’re alright. Though a major problem is that the transembler being damaged, the Zone will be destabilized and thus vanish with everything and everyone in it. Iria informs them that one way to get out involves killing Zeiram, something Kamiya argues is a bad idea. Iria apologizes and just tells them that they can get started as everyone introduces themselves. Though just as they would plan something, Kamiya and Teppei are spotted by Zeiram. The bounty hunter decides to go back into the Zone to stop Zeiram and rescue the two before the Zone disappears.

The duo continues evading Zeiram, with Kamiya throwing the whole cache of grenades at the monster. Teppei panics and flees once he sees that the monster survived the explosion as well, informing Iria about the situation. Both she and Bob argue about what to do, with Iria suggesting to transport a weapon to Teppei, something Bob warns is illegal. She then tells Teppei to look for a big silvery case in the Zone. With the information given, Teppei hops on a scooter and heads toward the destination, while Iria prepares to repair the transponder to get into the Zone as well. Zeiram spots Teppei and begins firing at the guy, destroying the scooter. Just as Teppei is attacked, Kamiya arrives in a construction vehicle and goes one on one with the beast. The fight ends with him chicken out at the last second upon seeing that it’s not phasing him.

nye-heheh..whoops, wrong franchise

Teppei is surprised to see Kamiya is alive, but now have to deal with Zeiram. Iria arrives in the nick of time and attacks Zeiram with a bazooka, destroying the creature. Though like any good horror monster, it doesn’t keep him down. The monster’s own skeleton breaks free from its body and begins to pursue the trio. Iria tells Teppei to find that weapon while stalls out the creature. Bob tells them that the weapon is on the roof of the building due to his miscalculation. This forces our heroes to reach the said weapon, all while the Spooky Scary Skeleton is right behind them, ready to kill. Iria attempts to stall the beast out while Kamiya and Teppei continue the race without her. She damages Zeiram by pinning a live grenade to his ribcage, though at the cost of her battle armor.

The duo managed to get to the roof where the weapon case is, just as Zeiram arrives to kill them. Iria rescues them again (talk about a reverse Damsel in Distress) from the beast. Iria is tossed the weapon as she fires it, destroying Zeiram’s skeletal body and leaving only its fan-like head. Again, just like before, the head comes to life, but this time Iria locks it in the stasis capsule. With only eight minutes until the Zone disappears and both men alive, Iria declares this a successful mission.

 She teleports the two back into the real world and then sends Zeiram’s head back for collection. Just as they were going to bring Iria back from the Zone, Zeiram’s head wakes up and manages to free itself from the containment unit. The head flies over, damaging more of the components, thus stranding Iria in the Zone. To make matters worse, Zeiram then transforms into a grotesque monster of flesh, tentacles (and feminine features), slowly crawling to probably to kill the two. Meanwhile, back in the Zone, Iria is impatiently waiting for Bob to teleport her back into the real world before she’s lost. Bob requests one of them to try and help him, all while they pin the monster with furniture. With time running out on both ends due to Zeiram and the now vanishing Zone, Kamiya begins to quickly repair the machine while Tepphei gets whipped by the monster. Though in the struggle, one of Zeiram’s tentacles splits the cable, thus resorting to Kamiya to become a comedic living conductor.

A happy moment

As Teppei is about to become a schoolgirl role, Iria is teleported back, and we get a slow-mo of the bounty hunter slowly shooting Zeiram again and again and again and again, to the point that someone would tell her she’s got him. Though, she does deliver the killing shot to the noh-faced tentacle. With that, Zeiram is truly dead (at last) with a shot of the sun rising to a new day as the Zone finally vanishes. Kamiya laments about wanting a nice long bath after what they’ve dealt with, as everyone thanks each other for a job well done. Iria cuts a piece of her hair for the two as a way of expressing her gratitude while Bob tells them in his way that they did well for humans. Bob then takes a picture of the trio, ending the movie with a funny and upbeat tone.

Zeiram has some great moments with some of the action and combats reminiscent of other shows like Kamen Rider and Super Sentai (which isn’t a surprise as the director himself is a stunt coordinator for several Tokusatsu films and other movies as well.) The dub of the film has some pretty good voices that some anime fans might remember. One such is the voice of Iria played by Edie Mirmam of Digimon fame with Kamiya and Tepphei voiced by talents by Robert Axelrod and Steve Bulen (Power Rangers, Transformers). However, some of it has its campiness for an early 90s film that some people might feel doesn’t age well, and the dub does feel a bit dry with Iria’s VA dub feeling like she’s trying to a calm badass, though she does exhibit some basis emotion. Though one funny thing of the series is that there is some cheeky comedy in-between some parts such as the cockroach MRE or Kamiya’s near comedic heroism in some parts that made me laugh. What I also like is how it’s got a female protagonist with comedic male roles that take a humorous jab of the Damsel in Distress trope by having the two guys start out helpless but later showing potential in defeating an alien killing machine.

In short, Zeiram, for an old early 90s film, is packed with action and comedy along with an impressive villain that doesn’t go over the top like some monsters.
I hope you enjoy this review of Zeiram and stay tuned for next Wednesday for another review of of its potential sequel…

References