Count_Zero

Member
  • Content count

    400
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

2 Neutral

About Count_Zero

  • Rank
    Forum Dweller
  • Birthday 02/03/1985

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://countzeroor.wordpress.com
  • ICQ
    0
  • Twitter
    Count_ZeroOr

Profile Information

  • Location
    Oregon
  • PSN ID
    CountZeroOr

Previous Fields

  • Playing Right Now
    Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 and Madden 10.
  • Video Games Favorites
    The Final Fantasy and Phantasy Star series, as well as Shumps in general.
  • Favorite Current Generation Console?
    Playstation 3
  • Favorite Retro Console?
    Nintendo Entertainment System

Recent Profile Visitors

4,820 profile views
  1. We board the Citadel, make our final choice, and I give my final thoughts on the game. Filed under: Let's Play Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect 3, Video games
  2. Having reviewed the Duck Tales games on episodes of the Nintendo Power Retrospectives, I’ve come to really dig (no pun intended) the pogo mechanic from that game. When Shovel Knight was released back in 2014, that game caught my interest, and seeing it at various Games Done Quick events just heightened my interest. However, my finances were never quite enough for me to pick up the game, even when it was available on sale – and then the game got a physical release for the Nintendo 3DS, which was carried by GameFly, so now I had no excuse. The game has a fairly simple premise – Shovel Knight used to adventure throughout the land with Shield Knight. However, Shield Knight was lost within the Tower of Fate, which was then sealed. When the evil Enchantress forms a group of knights within which to terrorize the land, called the Order of No Quarter, and then un-seals the Tower of Fate, Shovel Knight sets out to defeat the Enchantress and find Shield Knight. The game, at least with the Shovel Knight campaign, is primarily built around the pogo mechanic as a means of attack and traversal, with new abilities being made available in each level through “relics” which the player can equip, and which allow new methods of attack and traversal. These are obtained not when you beat particular bosses (like with Mega Man), but by vendors in hidden rooms in each level. Obtaining these items will cost a certain amount of gold. If you don’t have enough gold, a vendor in the first town can sell the item to the player – assuming you can beat the level. The abilities are incidentally useful – though rather than having their own power pool, like with Mega Man power-ups, they draw from a combined magic pool. Rather than letting you take on the levels in any order, as with Mega Man or Duck Tales, the levels are presented in blocks of three, with optional bonus stages that will allow you to earn additional cash and take on additional bosses. After beating each block of three, the way is open to the next block, and so on until you reach the Tower of Fate, which is made up of two distinct chunks, like with Dr. Wily’s Castle. The game doesn’t use a life system, instead giving you a near unlimited number of lives to get through the level. When you die, you are bumped back to the last checkpoint, marked by an orb with a gemstone inside, and you lose some of your cash – but you can get that money back as you make your way back through the level. However, if you die again, you will lose additional money, and the last batch of cash you dropped will no longer be available to pick up. Additionally, if a player wants some additional cash and an additional challenge,they can destroy the checkpoints for a quick buck, but the checkpoints (naturally) do not respawn if you die, and you’re bumped back to the last checkpoint that you didn’t destroy. Shovel Knight controls incredibly well. The controls feel even more precise than the controls on Duck Tales, while the jumps are spaced well enough that they provide a little margin of error. That said, movement with the analog pad on the 3DS was very loose – on multiple occasions, I attempted to pogo jump using the analog pad, and the game completely failed to recognize the down-input, and instead of pogoing, I instead hit the enemy and took damage. I can’t say if this is an issue for the versions of the game released on other consoles, but I’d recommend taking that under advisement anyway. My main issue with the game is with how the game’s final boss rush is handled. Generally, my views on boss rushes are that they should really be their own level, ideally with some sort of checkpoint in between each re-fought boss. The game does something similar to this by giving you a full health and magic refill in-between each fight. However, it also puts the bosses in a semi-random order, which makes planning your tactics rather frustrating. Additionally, I have an issue with how Tinker Knight is implemented in the boss rush. As a character, he basically has two life bars. He first takes you on one-on-one. In this form, he’s mostly a cake-walk, but his attack patterns are set up so you will end up taking some cheap-hits, particularly through a couple RNG (Random Number Generation) based attacks. After you’ve taken down his first life bar, he runs off screen and returns in a suit of power armor, with only one weak spot at the very top of the armor, and with a whole new life bar, and no way to recharge your health mid-fight. By comparison, Mega Man and Zelda II both gave the player abilities that let them heal their health mid-fight, E-Tanks in Mega-Man, and healing spells in Zelda II. Now, this is certainly a challenge, and if the game took the tack of, say, the way the Mega Man games handle their boss-rushes, by letting the player select the order of the bosses, I wouldn’t have as much room to complain – it would create a situation where the player could rip the band-aid off early, and take on the bosses that they felt they were weak at first, before moving on to the bosses that they felt were their strong suit, or vise versa. By putting the bosses in random order, that’s not an option, so you have to just hope that you get the bosses in the order that you want. Aside from those frustrating bits, I really enjoyed the game – it’s an excellent 2D platformer, and I really wish I’d taken the time to pick up this game sooner rather than later. If you have an opportunity to play this game, I’d recommend picking it up. Shovel Knight for the 3DS (and several other platforms) is available through Amazon.com. Filed under: Video games Tagged: indy games, Reviews, Video games
  3. Having gone through the melodramatic gravitas of Fate/Stay Night (both regular route and Unlimited Blade Works), it’s prequel Fate/Zero, and the adaptation of the visual novel that came out sooner – Tsukihime, if I was to describe the next Type-Moon anime to come out in a short phrase, it would be “And now for something completely different!” Carnival Phantasm is an adaptation of a comedic manga series that put the characters from Fate/Stay Night and Tsukihime (and with it spinoff works like Melty Blood) in a variety of comedic scenarios. The scenarios generally don’t have any sort of coherent narrative to them, at least across works, and instead take the form of a variety of comedy sketches. The sketches range to everything from a bit where three of the characters from Tsukihime and Melty Blood perform as a manzai group, to the Holy Grail war being re-done both as a Japanese game show and as a Wacky-Races style car-race in two different episodes. The jokes tend toward the absurdist with a side of the slapstick. Generally, this works, through there are a few bits where the show does jokes based around how absurdly melodramatic and dark some of the bits in the shows can be, and the jokes come across less as funny due to the absurdity, and more hateful and mean-spirited. What helps the show the most is the fact that the because both visual novels have elements of harem series to them, when the show brings in more harem comedy elements as the basis for some of the sketches (like one where Saber takes a job at a cafe to buy Shirou a birthday present), it fits in perfectly. The one issue I have with the show is a lot of jokes in the show are based on elements of the game that aren’t particularly accessible if you haven’t played all the games – major characters from the show include characters from Melty Blood (which only recently got a US release on Steam – and only with the final installment of the series) or from the expansion story from Fate/Stay Night – Fate/Hollow Ataraxia. Unfortunately, as of yet Carnival Phantasm has yet to receive a US license. This is a bummer because it’s an absolutely hilarious show, which I think would really hit it off with fans, though the inclusion of characters from those two other games could be something of a barrier. Filed under: Anime Tagged: Anime, anime review, Fate franchise, Type-Moon
  4. We make our final push to the beam, to head to the Citadel. Filed under: Let's Play Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect 3, Video games
  5. This time I’m taking a look at the first of the film adaptations of Cornelius Ryan’s books, with The Longest Day. Special Guest Appearance by The Historic Nerd: https://www.youtube.com/user/HistoricNerd Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor Member of The Console Xplosion Network: http://www.theconsolexplosion.com/ Watch my Live-Streams on http://twitch.tv/countzeroor/ Filed under: film Tagged: collaboration, Cornelius Ryan, Film Review, World War II
  6. We take the fight to the Reapers, in the streets of London Filed under: Let's Play Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect 3, Video games
  7. A while back I reviewed the Log Horizon anime. Since then, I’ve also decided to start reading the Log Horizon novels as well. First off is the first volume in the series. Log Horizon, at first glance, appears to be like the standard “Trapped in the MMO” game, but as covered in my review of the show – the dynamic of removing death’s sting does a lot to change the dynamics of the genre in a lot of respects. The first book is a more conventional adventure story set immediately after The Calamity trapped everyone in the world of the game. The book almost exclusively follows Shirou as a point of view character, as the population of The World tries to adapt to the situation they’ve found themselves in, and Shirou starts collecting the first members of his group of allies – Akatsuki (aka Tiny Ninja), and Naotsugu. The perspective shifts slightly on occasion to Serara, as she sees how society in Susukino is collapsing and meets Nyanta. The novel and the anime have some very pronounced shifts aside from adjustments to the point-of-view characters. In the anime, there is a clearly accessible HUD in the game world. By comparison, characters in the anime cannot access the HUD. Further, in the show, while in some flashbacks we see the game played in a Mouse & Keyboard format, the implication from the character’s experiences with the HUD is that the game had, at least for a little bit, been playable in VR. In the books, on the game has always been played Mouse & Keyboard style. This leads to another societal wrinkle – monsters are scary. Death may have not metaphorical sting, but fighting monsters hurts, and facing down a dragon is psychologically easier when you’re looking through a computer screen, instead of when it’s big as life. Other than that, the book is fairly strong. The big Three – Shirou, Naotsugu and Tiny Ninja – are fleshed out fairly early, and with it is their character dynamic. This is the case both with their character relationships, and the idea that Naotsugu and Shirou have worked together in the past and know each other IRL, while Akatsuki has played with the two before, but isn’t friends in the same way, and thus she feels a little awed at how well they work together. The book also starts laying the groundwork for some of the concepts that will be important in the next plot – the malaise filling Akiba, the state of the food, and so on, though it doesn’t quite set up what the real narrative thrust of the series will be in subsequent works. Log Horizon volume 1 is available from Amazon.com and RightStuf. Filed under: Books Tagged: fantasy, Fantasy Literature, light novels, Log Horizon
  8. The Cloud Roads created a very interesting and narratively distinct fantasy world – one that was very different than most of the other works of fantasy that I’d read, and which had a fairly clear sequel hook. So, I was ready almost right away to move on to the next work in the series. The book starts fairly soon after the conclusion of The Cloud Roads, with the remainder of the Indigo Cloud court heading for their new home. They reach their home – the old lair of Indigo Cloud, a giant tree. However, on their arrival, they discover that the tree’s seed has been stolen, and they have to get it back before the tree dies. The first book had an interesting exploration of Raksuran culture as Moon came into Indigo Cloud for the first time. In this book, we get our first look at inter-court interactions, as Indigo Cloud is not the only Raksuran court in the area, and they have to deal with another court in the area. We also go into some additional world building in hunting down the seed, as members of Indigo Cloud end up heading for another groundling settlement in search of the seed. The settlement in question being on a leviathan – a swimming creature. Now, this already caught the interest of my inner DM in terms of interesting adventure ideas – one set on the inside of a giant tree, and the other set around (and possibly inside) a city on the back of a monstrous creature. While the setting stays unique, the narrative is a little more conventional – in this case something that begins as a heist – stealing back the seed – and ends up turning into something dramatically more involved. If I have a complaint, it’s that the power structure of the City on the Leviathan is very important to the story, and while the narrative gets into it in parts, it’s only where the politics falls into contact with the magical and ecological side of things – that the Leviathan can be controlled and how it can be controlled. The story doesn’t get into the groups of people who disagree over what should be done with that control and why they feel that way. Now, as far as the Raksura are concerned, that part doesn’t matter, as some of them aren’t really that concerned about the City and what happens to it. However, considering one of Moon’s defining traits is that he has learned how to blend into groundling society and feel out the local politics so he can pass among the people without making waves or getting into trouble – I would have thought this would have come up more often. Though, on the other hand, with the more focused exploration of Raksuran society with Indigo Cloud’s interactions with the other court, I supposed that from a time standpoint it couldn’t be helped. Filed under: Books Tagged: Books, Books of the Raksura, fantasy, Martha Wells
  9. Before the final battle, we tour our ship. Filed under: Let's Play Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect 3, Video games
  10. I saw the latest installment of the Legendary Films Godzilla Cinematic Universe! Here are my thoughts (mostly spoiler free) on Kong: Skull Island. Please refrain from spoilers until 4/15/2016, to give people at least a month to see the film. Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor Member of The Console Xplosion Network: http://www.theconsolexplosion.com/ Watch my Live-Streams on http://twitch.tv/countzeroor/ Filed under: film, videos Tagged: film, Godzilla, Legendary Pictures Monsterverse, vlog
  11. Let’s Play Mass Effect 3: Part 63 – “…serene in their assurance of empire over matter.” At long last, we take down Kai Leng. Filed under: Let's Play, Video games Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect 3, Video games
  12. Thus far, the three shows in the Type-Moon universe that I’ve covered: Fate/Stay Night (F/SN), Fate/Zero, and Unlimited Blade Works (UBW) have been two-cour shows – spending 24 episodes to tell their story. In the case of F/SN and UBW, they have each adapted one route from the first Fate game – with the former title dropping a few elements of UBW in to give Rider a little screen time. However, Fate was not Type-Moon’s first game. Before this came Tsukihime, which set up elements that came up later in F/SN and Fate/Zero, and it too received an anime adaptation, one that came out prior to the release of F/SN – and with only a single cour (12 episodes). The question then becomes, how well can it tell its story in half the length? The answer is… not as well. The show follows Shiki Tohno, a young man who was nearly killed in a traumatic car accident 8 years prior to the start of the series. That accident damaged his memory, and left him with the ability to see lines at which things will break when they die or are destroyed, and with it nexuses that can be struck to break things. To avoid being driven mad by these lines, he’s received special magic glasses from a mage that will repress this ability. Also following this accident, Shiki moved in with his aunt and uncle instead of living at the main house. Immediately prior to the start of the series, Shiki’s father dies, and his younger sister and the current head of the family, Akiha, has him move back into the main house. While settling in to pace of life at the main house, he ends up discovering that families as old as his have some deep, dark secrets. Further, while all of this is going on, a vampire (or someone like a vampire, called a Dead Apostle) is attacking people through the town, and Shiki ends up joining forces with an attractive female semi-vampire named Arcueid (Arc for short), to find this vampire. So, if that sounds super-cluttered, that’s because it is. The game this show is adapting has not 3 routes, like Fate, but five. There are three for the Tohno household – Akiha, and the family’s two maids Hisui and Kohaku – and two for Arc and Shiki’s classmate Ciel. The household and external routes interact some, but not entirely, with Arc not showing up in some routes entirely. The show takes the decision to basically mash most of these routes together, so the important story mysteries get covered – Arc’s hunt for the vampire, and Shiki’s investigation of the history of his family. On the one hand, this leads to most of the loose ends getting tied up. However, because the show only has 12 episodes to tell its story in, nothing is tied up satisfactorily. This also hurts characterization, which is curtailed, meaning that a lot of characters don’t get the development they need to be fleshed out for the audience. Further, while I can’t speak for the game, the need to focus so strongly on the story means that there barely any humor in this show. Even the most dark and dour of the Fate series, Fate/Zero, had some very funny moments. Here, moments of levity are few and far between. To the show’s credit, the other Fate series covered over any sense of sex or sexuality related to the characters. Here, while we don’t get any sort of involved sex scene, the romantic relationship we see in this show doesn’t feel like it has to keep it chaste, something that even fanservice-heavy romantic comedy series like To-Love-RU feel like they have to do. I really appreciate that, and it gives the story a sense that it handles sexuality in an actually mature fashion. There are rumors that the visual novel that the show is based on is due for a remake with some updated graphics and an added route. Watching the show, I get the feeling that this anime would almost merit from a re-make more. Type-Moon’s universe has established itself considerably more as a successful franchise, so hopefully a new series would get the runtime it needs to tell its story well. Tsukhime is available on DVD from Amazon.com and RightStuf. Filed under: Anime, Reviews Tagged: Anime, anime review, Type-Moon
  13. Mushibugyo is a series that has a real issue with tonal whiplash. There are anime series that have mixed creepy elements and comedy with tremendous effect – Ghost Hunt is an anime series adapted from a light novel with some strong comedy elements, which doesn’t overlook the creepier and more horrific elements of the narrative, with a well done escalation into further horror. Mushibugyo doesn’t do that. Mushibugyo starts off with super-colorful characters, an over-enthusiastic and incredibly dense shonen protagonist, and numerous fanservice jokes, but which also contains some surprisingly horrific elements created to the show’s primary menace. The show is set in an alternate Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate, where the country is terrorized by Mushi, giant insect monsters which kill anyone in their path. To fight against them, the Shogun institutes a patrol to fight against these creatures, underneath the Insect Magistrate (the titular Mushibugyo). This leads to our protagonist, Jinbei Tsukishima, the main character, who basically shonen protagonist #3. He’s hot-blooded, he’s got a long spiky hairstyle, complete with idiot hair that sticks so far in front of his face that he could be an anglerfish. He’s more enthusiastic and energetic than Naruto, denser than Tatewaki Kuno, and more desperate to prove himself than Deku. Consequently, this makes him as annoying as hell. The rest of the team is a little better. There’s Shungiku Koikawa, a hard drinking, hard fighting, brawler of a swordsman who killed 99 people to find out who killed his mother, before joining the Office of the Insect Magistrate. There’s Tenma Ichinotani, an onmyoji with paper familiars, who is young enough to be in Middle School (at least in contemporary Japan), and who is deathly afraid of insects. There’s Mugai, the cool, calm collected samurai with stoic demeanor and a dark and mysterious past. Finally, there’s Hibachi, the only woman of the team, a ninja who specializes in explosives and bombs, who seeks to prove herself because her clan doesn’t pass these techniques on to women (due to the fact that the Japanese name for this technique is a slang term for the testes), and who is hyper-sensitive about the fact that she has a flat chest. In short, the show’s cast is a collection of very stock, rote archetypes that could have been rolled on a “Random Shonen Anime/Manga Character” table. What kept me watching through the whole show was, frankly, the bugs. The show made the bugs look and feel legitimately creepy, and that they were a real menace that the public needed the forces of the Office of the Insect Magistrate to defend against. They rip through civilians in a gruesome fashion, and while the protagonists never have a really significant failure – losing a city or a district to the monsters, the animation gets across the menace of these threats without throwing a ton of redshirt characters in their way to get massacred. This also leads to why you’ve never heard of this show, and why it hasn’t gotten a second season in spite of the ongoing manga still being in publication – or rather, the adaptation of the original manga which came out in 2009, and which got a new adaptation in 2011 which is still going. In short, the reason you haven’t heard of it is because the first episoe of this show came out literally the day before: Seriously, when dealing with giant monster rampaging monster versus overmatched human shows, most people would likely go with Attack on Titan – and most people did go with Attack on Titan. The premise was novel, the setting was inventive, the stakes were higher, and the characters got fleshed out more before being brutally murdered. In short, it hit it off better in Japan and in the us than Mushibugyo did, which also probably explains why, at present, Mushibuyo was only licensed for streaming on Crunchyroll, and has yet to receive a US home DVD release. The show got DVD and Blu-Ray releases in Japan, and the single-volume Blu-Ray releases are incredibly cheap, but I’m not sure if they have English subtitles. Keep that under consideration if you decide to pick up a copy. Filed under: Anime, Television Tagged: Anime, anime review, shonen, TV
  14. We launch our attack on The Illusive Man and Cerebus. Filed under: Let's Play, Video games Tagged: Let's Play, Mass Effect 3, Video games
  15. This time we cover the conclusion of Marvel’s original comic run. Opening Credits: Star Wars Theme from Super Star Wars on the SNES. Closing Credits: Chiptune Cantina Band from Chiptune Inc. – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvJtiGFudFlvYMfjiU1NKJg Please support my Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/countzeroor Member of The Console Xplosion Network: http://www.theconsolexplosion.com/ Watch my Live-Streams on http://twitch.tv/countzeroor/ Filed under: comics, Star Wars, videos Tagged: comics, Marvel Comics, Star Wars, Star Wars Expanded Universe