POF Archive: February 2012

I have been writing this drivel for decades. Browse through my archives by clicking the links below.

King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella on Apple IIgs (8/10)

King's Quest IV - Apple ][gs

This game has been lying dormant in a plastic bin in my basement for more than a decade. Back in the nineties I made many attempts at completing this game but I always would get stuck about a third the way through the game, usually because of the frustratingly unfair (even for a Sierra adventure) whale puzzle. Mind you those were the pre-Internet days, when your only hope for a hint was Compuserve, a BBS or the official 900 number hint line. At some point in around 1996 I made the switch from my Apple ][gs to a Windows 95 machine and the game got packed away with the rest of my Apple stuff…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Tue, 02/28/2012 - 21:28

Wolfenstein on PC (8/10)

Wolfenstein

I have just been plowing through the sequels of nineties FPS's lately. This time it was back to Castle Wolfenstein for me... although, technically, I am not sure if that castle in the distance is actually the Castle Wolfenstein, you know the one I escaped from (with the plans) back in 1981.

This is the best looking game I have played in awhile. When you devote most of your gaming to the Wii and $5 steam games you forget just how awesome computer graphics are these days. They seemed to have captured every little detail of a war torn 1940's German village. That is everything except the…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sat, 02/25/2012 - 13:32

Linger Ficken' Good and Other Barnyard Oddities
Revolting Cocks - CD (5/10)

By the time this record came out, RevCo had lost much of its lustre for me. I guess I like a few of the tracks well enough, but, for the most part, they all are just too repetitive (yeah, I know. "Industrial music" and "repetitive" are pretty interchangeable) and overly long. The record just feels like one long brainstorming session with too many cooks and too much heroin.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Fri, 02/24/2012 - 11:09

All the Colors of the Dark (7/10)

This was a strange, dreamy giallo that reminded me a lot of Bava's Lisa and the Devil. At any moment you don't know what is real or imagined. Eventually the film takes a wild turn into the world of witchcraft and paganism that, like just about every plot point in this film, never seems to make any sense. Even when the truth was finally revealed at the end I was still scratching my head. But I stuck with it all they way through mainly because of the stunning visuals and incredible soundtrack (one of my absolute favorite Bruno Nicolai scores).

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sun, 02/19/2012 - 23:20

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein (2/10)

This sci-fi classic starts off interestingly enough: in an authoritarian society on the Moon, an engineer befriends a self-aware computer who has taken to practical joking. There are hundreds of different speculative fiction pathways this concept could have gone, instead Heinlein devoted the remaining ninety percent of the book detailing the administrative ins-and-outs of planning a revolution. Literally administrative minutia like how many members per sleeper cell and parliamentary rules. This makes for some severely dull reading. What an overrated piece of garbage.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sun, 02/19/2012 - 23:06

Space Quest on MS-DOS (8/10)

Space Quest: Bar It's been quite some time since I tackled a Sierra 3-D adventure game (See my reviews of Kings's Quest I, II & III and Leisure Suit Larry). I've said it before, but I just love the unique pixelated artwork and animation of all these games.

I don't think I ever finished this game as a kid, but I must have gotten pretty far since I was able to progress through most of the game this time without much trouble (if only I had a video game blog when I was 13 years old).

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sat, 02/18/2012 - 22:50

The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (7/10)

This was a beautifully shot Sergio Martino giallo. We soon find out what Mrs. Wardh's (no that's not a typo) vice is and then quickly forget it since it has little or nothing to do with the convoluted plot. There are some nice twists and turns, none of which are even remotely believable. But the film is never boring and, in addition to the early 70s swinger vibe, there is also plenty of George Hilton euro-stud badassery.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 02/15/2012 - 23:33

Quake 4 on PC (8/10)

Quake 4 - Shoot the Spider Thing!!!

This is essentially the same game as Doom 3 except with the lights turned on and fewer monster closets. What both these games do well is provide tons of satisfying gun-play but with only the barest of story lines to keep you motivated to continue. I think the plot of this one was to find the big button that will win this war, but first find these three lesser (but still challenging) buttons. There is some variety in the form of a few turret and driving missions, but for the most part this is nine hours of pure arcade style run-and-gun action.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Mon, 02/13/2012 - 23:15

Duke Nukem Forever on PC (8/10)

Duke Nukem Forever: Lil' Duke in Duke Burger

The original Duke Nukem 3D was perhaps the best of the first wave of FPS games. I also really liked Rise of the Triad and, of course, Doom but Duke was filled with tasteless humor, pop-culture references and a richly interactive world. For some reason Duke Nukem Forever has only a 53 Meta Critic rating and I can't for the life of me see why. Sure its was released about 8 years too late and it doesn't really bring anything new to the genre, but everything that was great about the original game is still here. I felt like there was just about the right amount of variety in game play and I…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Thu, 02/09/2012 - 16:43

Beers, Steers & Queers (Remixes)
Revolting Cocks - CD (5/10)

File this one under the "What were we thinking back then?" column. In 1991, this was the bees knees in and around my campus apartment but it has since lost much of its luster. The titular track is a rap parody, I guess? Or ironic rap? In any event, it's poorly executed and clumsy (perhaps on purpose) with forced lyrics. The song mocks closed-minded rednecks and such, but, in hindsight, I get the feeling that RevCo were the close-minded ones with their myopic view of Southerners. Musically, this stuff hasn't aged well either. In '91 it took a rack of hardware synths and sequencers to pull this…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 02/08/2012 - 10:35

The GO Sound of the Slots!
Revells, The - CD (7/10)

This is the original 1965 record that inspired the Phantom Surfers to create their great slot car themed record. The Go Sound was conceived as a way to cash in on the early 60s popularity of slot car racing. Once you get past the ridiculous thematic hook, this is really just a great, classic surf and drag record by The Hondells. The best line is from "My Baby Dig Slot Car Racing" when they sing (without a hint of irony) about a girl with "a heavy hand on a rheostat."

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 02/08/2012 - 09:47

Far Cry 2 on PC (5/10)

Far Cry 2

This is the game that forced me to update my video card last year. I remember playing the first Far Cry and thinking that that was about as close to reality as games could ever get. The sequel leaps and bounds ahead of the original in the looks department. Unfortunately, the game-play does not match the quality level of the visuals. Unlike the first game, Far Cry 2 is a mission-based open-world game alá Grand Theft Auto. Unlike GTA, the missions are all exactly the same: drive to an indicated point on the map; along the way shoot guys at various checkpoints (which you swear you killed…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Mon, 02/06/2012 - 09:19

Tomb Raider: Underworld on PC (9/10)

Tomb Raider: Underworld

I missed out on the original Tomb Raider game in the 90s. I think I downloaded the demo and thought, "This isn't Doom, or even remotely Doom-like" and then proceeded to erase it from my 450mb hard drive. It wasn't until I played the franchise reboot Tomb Raider: Legend that I understood what all the hoopla was about. I had to set aside my blood-lust and come to grips with the fact that the game is primarily about platforming and puzzle solving.

Underworld continues that gameplay tradition by pitting Lara Croft against various ancient death machines that all seem to run on elaborate systems of…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sun, 02/05/2012 - 13:08

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (8/10)

The story picks up right where The Colour of Magic with our heroes tumbling off the edge of the world. Book two in the Discworld series is more of the same easy, light-hearted reading as book #1. I wouldn't call it a "page turner," but there's enough imaginative characters and situations to keep it interesting.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sat, 02/04/2012 - 23:52

Walk on the Wild Side: The Best of Lou Reed
Lou Reed - CD (3/10)

I think this is pretty much the antithesis of the kind of music I like. I find Lou Reed (at least this solo stuff) mind-numbingly boring. I suppose he turns an interesting phrase lyrically, but, if that's what your interested in, read a book or go to a poetry slam. Ah, the joys of having merged my CD collection with my wife's.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Fri, 02/03/2012 - 09:57

Maniac (7/10)

Movie number four from the excellent Icons of Suspense Collection: Hammer Films DVD package. Despite having a killer with a blow torch in the opening scenes of the movie, this movie is not quite on par with the other Hammer noir films I have seen. That's not to say I didn't like it. By the third act, after a bit of squirmy mother/daughter love-triangulation, there is finally some real suspense. Also, as one might expect, there is a neat little twist at the end that I never would have guessed.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Thu, 02/02/2012 - 13:23

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light on PC (8/10)

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light: Pushing Balls

Pushing balls around has never been more fun! I have really enjoyed the last few Tomb Raider games like Tomb Raider: Legend and Anniversary. This game takes the standard puzzle solving elements of Tomb Raider’pushing blocks and balls on to pressure plates and the like’but, rather than platforming, puts the emphasis on shooting enemies. In fact, the combat is not dissimilar from Robotron 2084 or other, more recent, twin stick shooters. Run with one stick and aim and shoot with the other. The gun-play is never quite as frantic or enemy-rich as Robotron or Geometry Wars, but it can get…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 02/01/2012 - 12:08

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (8/10)

I'm continuously on the lookout for a new fantasy series to fill my Kingkiller Chronicles/Song of Fire and Ice void. I've heard of the Discworld series but have avoided it because I thought that it might have something to do with the boring-ass Ringworld books. Well, it doesn't. It's actually a comedic take on the fantasy genre, somewhat like Hitchhiker's Guide. Don't expect laugh-out-loud funny, but Pratchett does an admirable job injecting in-jokes and turning fantasy clichés on end. I don't know if I can handle 36 more of these books, but, thankfully, they are short, so I think I will give…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 02/01/2012 - 11:53