Robert Wm. Gomez's

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons (9/10)

This is a Stephen Chow kung-fu film through and through. There's the standard wire-fu action and stunts, lots of humor, a couple of song and dance numbers and lots of terrible CGI. Although it's not quite as good as Kung-Fu Hustle or Shaolin Soccer, I'm rating it pretty high for its amazing opening set piece. If you can ignore the fake-looking digital effects, it's an unrivaled heart-stopping twenty minutes of excitement and energy.

Something in the Shadows by Vin Packer (8/10)

I really do like Vin Packer's pulp thrillers. This book continues her knack for creating conflicted and dark characters who never seem to be able to catch a break. A brainy writer seeks revenge after his cat is killed by a motorist. The suspected motorist is the new doctor in town who has a past he wants to forget. These stories always are are a little lacking in terms of plotting and resolution but they do a great job in showing the depths to which people will sink.

Send by Wire (9/10)

Format: 
CD

Send compiles seven of its eleven tracks from the first two Read & Burn EPs. Of the remaining four new songs, only "Mr. Marx's Table" stands out. While I really liked these first few 2000s releases when they came out, I think they have been eclipsed by later recordings as the band began to rediscover themselves.

Primordia on PC (9/10)

Primordia

Primordia is an absolutely beautiful point and click adventure from Wadjet Eye Games. Besides the graphics, it has a lot going for it: a unique sci-fi setting, fun and interesting characters, great ambient music and a some nice voice acting performances.

The story is essentially an object quest that slowly reveals the back story of the world and the main character. This one is a bit more puzzle-centric than other Wadjet games I have played. That's mostly a good thing, but there are a few moments that didn't seem fair.

Read & Burn 02 by Wire (9/10)

The second in Wire's 2000's comeback EPs is slightly better than the first but generally it's really just a continuation of the first EP. Send, their full-length from this period, compiles most of the best tracks from the first two Read & Burns.

The Shivah on PC (8/10)

The Shivah

Having finished the wonderful Blackwell series, I wanted to try some of Wadjet Eye's other offerings. The Shivah was the company's first foray into commercial games, but this isn't the original version. This graphical overhaul was from 2013 and it visually matches the quality of the final Blackwell games.

The Shivah is most noteworthy for its unusual subject matter. How many other games have the player assuming the role of a mystery solving rabbi? Well, besides Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortext Strikes Back.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions on PC (10/10)

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

The original Geometry Wars was one of the purest, most exhilarating gaming experiences of the post-arcade era. It combined the visuals of Tempest with the frantic, twin-stick shooting of Robotron 2084 to form a thoroughly modern point-driven shooter. The Wii exclusive sequel Galaxies added level variety and the great risk/reward mechanic of collecting geoms to increase your point multiplier. It's still the game that I play the most on my Wii.

The third game in the series builds on the Galaxies formula but with the mind-blowing twist of moving the game grid onto curving non-euclidean surfaces. The result is nothing short of spectacular.

Read & Burn 01 by Wire (9/10)

Format: 
CD

In 2002 Wire returned after over a decade of dormancy and once again they have changed their musical focus. They had largely dropped the emphasis on dance-floor beats and synths and returned to a song writing style that is not unlike the punk rock of Pink Flag. It's a less minimal, solid-state version of 1977 Wire with a touch of their 80's synths dribbled in here and there. Some would say it's a return to form, but I never though Wire ever really "lost it."

Tomb Raider: Anniversary on PC (7/10)

Tomb Raider: Anniversary

This was a rare case in which I finished a game that I had started years ago. I really enjoyed the Tomb Raider reboot that Crystal Dynamics did back in 2006 with Legend. I played that game as a freebie back when Game Tap was in its hey day and started Anniversary shortly thereafter but only got about 2/3rds the way through before it was taken off the free list. I only recently got it as a $1.99 game on Steam with the goal of finally finishing it.

The Limping Man (6/10)

Lloyd Bridges stars in this 1950's film noir about an American returning to England after the war who becomes witness to a murder at the airport. Of course his gal pal is soon revealed as the prime suspect—with good reason, as we discover her connection with the dead man. This film was not terribly stylish but has its moments especially the magic show musical number and the plot had me until the very end. However, the ending ruined the movie for me. Major spoiler alert - It's revealed that the entire movie was just a dream Bridges was having on the airplane ride to England.