Book Review : The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L.Frank Baum

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the first book in a series of stories by L.Frank Baum, later reprints of the book took the name the Wizard of Oz instead which was the title of a highly beloved Broadway musical adaptation of the story.

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In the story a young girl called Dorothy who lives a grey and boring life in Kansas gets transported to the colourful world of Oz when she and her dog Toto are picked up in a cyclone.

The house they were in lands on the Wicked Witch of the East and kills her, an event which attracts the Good Witch of the North, Dorothy explains how she wants to go home and is encouraged to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald city and seek the help of the Wizard of Oz.

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This all sound very similar to those who are familiar with the 1939 film starring Judy Garland, however I was surprised with how different the book was to this film adaptation.

I don’t want to give away too many of differences but I would like to talk about some of them with as few spoilers as possible.

The biggest surprise is the lack of a Wicked Witch of the West, she is in the book but only appears in one chapter half-way through the story so after her demise the groups journey is still not over.

There are various different lands and species in this book that do not appear in the film, one area that stands out is a land that is completely made out of porcelain china.

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A pre-warning that the book carries quite a heavy body count of various creatures that are slain by the four heroes of the story (Scarecrow, Lion, Tin-Man and Dorothy), these are not too graphic but younger readers may find them a little bit disturbing.

I love the 1939 film but I think I prefer this version as I felt that this adventure was so much more interesting and intense. I loved the character developments and the conversations they would have, one of my favourite moments in the book was when the Tin-Man and the Scarecrow were debating whether its better to have a brain or a heart, the characters have back stories in this too explaining how they became the way that they are, the Tin-Man’s backstory is particularly quite tragic.

This is a wonderful book and to be honest I was expecting to read a story I already knew and was pleasantly surprised when I read this and it was almost completely different and that reason alone is a great reason to pick up a copy and check it out for yourself.

I hope you enjoyed this review of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L.Frank Baum

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Mortal Kombat an ever expanding series

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Its one of the goriest fighting game series of all time and its a game series that I grew up with, lets take a look at the evolution of the Mortal Kombat video games.

Before we begin here is a brief explanation of the series, you battle your many opponents in one on one battles and the victor of the fight can perform a finishing move which can be either comical, brutal or fatal, these games are not shy on blood and gore and for a lot of people its the gory finishing moves that make the games as enjoyable as they are.

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Mortal Kombat takes place on the island of Shang Tsung, the Island has hosted the Mortal Kombat tournament for hundred of generations, in the tournament warriors battle for the chance to take on the warrior Goro who has never been defeated. You are one of the latest challengers to take on the tournament.

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Mortal Kombat introduced players to seven characters.

Johnny Cage – A martial artist and famous movie star

Kano –  A mercenary who is devoted to a life of crime

Liu Kang  – A Shaolin Monk who hopes to bring peace to the realm.

Raiden – A god of thunder

Scorpion – A ninja that dresses in yellow colours and uses fire as an element of attack

Sonia Blade – A member of the special forces

and Sub Zero –  A ninja that dresses in blue colours and uses ice as an element of attack

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Apart from fighting, players are able to try their luck at the extremely hard and blister enducing test your might game, in this mini-game you have to raise the might bar and destroy various strong materials.

The Original Mortal Kombat was quite basic but it was good enough for a first entry in the series.

A memorable moment from the game for me is the pit where you can throw an opponent onto a bed of spikes after defeating them in one of the levels. The Pit is also where players are able to trigger a secret fight with the green ninja called Reptile and major points are available if he is defeated.

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The game was released on various home consoles after its debut in the arcades, I owned the game on the Sega Mega-drive which is the superior home console version as blood could be turned on using a special code however in the Super Nintendo release blood was completely removed.

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As a side note I thought it might be fun to talk about the original arcade machines for some of these games starting with Mortal Kombat 1. I think the art is really cool on this machine, it has Johnny on the side and it looks like he is kicking a dragon in the head. Good art but not sure if it really shows that its a fighting game I feel like it would be more appropriate to a beat em up such as double dragon.

There is a lot more information about this cabinet on arcade-museum, I will put a link below.

https://www.arcade-museum.com/game_detail.php?game_id=8753

After being defeated by Liu Kang in the first game , Shang Tsung begs ruler of Outworld Shao Khan to spare his life and also host the next Mortal Kombat Tournament in Outworld, Shao Khan agrees and restores both life and youth to Shang Tsung.

It should be noted that because of the plot of this game Liu Kang winning the tournament in Mortal Kombat 1 was the canon ending.

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Seven new playable characters were introduced in Mortal Kombat 2

Baraka – A mutant that works for Shao Khan

Jax –  A special forces officer

Kitana – A female ninja and assassin

Kung Lao –  A Shaolin monk and friend of Liu Kang

Mileena –  Kitana’s sister and who is an assassin working for Shao Khan.

Reptile –  The mysterious ninja from the first game

and Shang Tsung –  The sorcerer and final boss from the first game although much younger

It should be noted Sonia Blade and Kano did not make a comeback as a playable characters in Mortal Kombat 2.

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The game had three hidden fights that you could access if you hit certain criteria during your play-through.

Jade –  A strange female ninja who fights with a fan

Smoke – A Ninja dressed in grey that uses smoke to help him fight

and Noob Saibot – A very mysterious character that who’s features are completely hidden by its dark colour palette, this fight is the hardest of the secret battles in my personal opinion.

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As well as fatalities there were two more finishing moves you could do in this game, the first was babalities where you could turn your opponent into a baby and the other was friendship which had you do something kind for an opponent after defeating them, hilariously this was made as a mocking response to critics who deemed the first Mortal Kombat too violent.

Mortal Kombat 2 was a massive improvement over the first game, it added loads of new characters, new stages that were better animated, it gave players babalaties and new fatalities along side three brand new stage fatalities, overall a fantastic game.

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I much prefer the arcade machine design here, I love Raiden being on the side of the cabinet, to me he is a much more recognisable character than Johnny Cage is and to be honest in my opinion he is a lot cooler as well.

For more information on this arcade cabinet follow the link below

https://www.arcade-museum.com/game_detail.php?game_id=8756

After being defeated by Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat 2, Shao Khan uses Shang Tsung to revive his long lost love Sindel, he does this as part of a plan to combine both Earthrealm and Outworld causing billions to lose their lives because of this Raiden sends warriors out to fight Shao Khan and put a stop to him once and for all.

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Mortal Kombat 3 is my least favourite out of the original arcade games, as a child I really did not like a lot of the changes they made and I still do not to this day. Biggest change was removing scorpion from the game which makes no sense because he is the most popular character in the series and nothing happened to him in the last game to explain his absence here. Sub Zero has a new character design and it sucks, I prefer the iconic blue mask and he just does not look right.

The game introduced a good number of new playable characters

Cyrax – A cyber assassin that dresses in yellow

Kabal – A former black dragon warrior

Nightwolf – A native american shaman

Sektor – A cyber assassin that dresses in red

Sindel – Shao Khan’s resurrected queen

Sheeva – A female shoken who is also the protector of Sindel

Stryker – A riot control officer

and Smoke – A cyber assassin that uses smoke as a means of attack

Both Kano and Sonia Blade return as playable characters in Mortal Kombat 3 however Baraka, Mileena, Reptile, Scorpion, Raiden and Kitana did not make a return as playable characters.

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The stages here take place in world settings that are more familiar to players such as subways, cities and streets which to be honest I much prefer to the stages in the first two games.

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A new finishing move called an aqnimality was added which allows character to turn into animals before killing their defeated opponent.

Other things that should be noted are the new stage fatalities which take advantage of the new settings, the ability to change stages during a battle if you manage knock your opponent to higher level, secret fights with a robotic version of smoke as well as returning fighter Noob Saibot and a new sub boss Montaro who is a centaur that is ridiculously hard to beat.

Overall Mortal Kombat 3 is a really good game, and the reason I dont like it is because of the character selection which may seem a little unfair for me to judge it on that but with the changes they made to some of the characters it just didnt feel right and took away from the experience for me.

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Really great artwork on this arcade cabinet, the character choices make sense due to the games plot and the amount of detail is fantastic, I still prefer the artwork for the Mortal Kombat 2 cabinet but this one is a close second for me.

For more information on this arcade cabinet please use the link below

https://www.arcade-museum.com/game_detail.php?game_id=8754

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was released the same year as the original game it made a few updates that improved the overall experience the first was returning characters Scorpion, Kitana, Jade and Reptile, it added two new modes and added new hidden fighters Human Smoke, Classic Sub Zero, Mileena, Ermac, Noob Saibot and Rain.

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The art here is a little dissapointing as they copied the Mortal Kombat 2 art work instead of Mortal Kombat 3 which does not make a lot more sense as Raiden is not a playable character in this game.

Mortal Kombat trilogy was compilation of the original Kombat trilogy crammed into one game, every playable character was back along side Goro, Kintaro, Motaro and Shao Khan.

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The game introduced another finishing move called a brutality where players will beat the utter crap out of their defeated opponents before making them explode.

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A new secret fighter called chameleon can be taken on, he uses the combined abilities of all ninja characters and is really tough

Mortal Kombat Trilogy was the first game to not be introduced in arcades.

Mortal Kombat Mythologies –  Sub Zero was the first spin off game in the series

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Taking place before the events of the original Mortal Kombat, Sub-Zero has been tasked by Quan Chi to steal a map of elements from the Shaolin temple.

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The game was very disappointing, not only was it not like the other Mortal Kombat games but it was also really badly designed and extremely un-fair.

It was a 2D platforming action-adventure game where players needed to gain experience points and unlock special moves by defeating enemies.

The problem was that the game had confusing controls and was very cryptic on how you need to survive, a lot of the time you would not be able to see below the character so if you had to jump onto a platform below you would not know how to time or position your jump, a lot of enemy sprites were very similar to each other so the game lacked in variety.

If you play the Play-station 1 version of the game it has full FMV cut scenes and they are actually really cool and worth checking out on Youtube.

Overall a bad game and I am pleased that they never made a sequel

With the help of Quan Chi an elder god named Shinnok has escaped from the Netherealm after being defeated by the thunder god Raiden thousands of years ago. Shinnok seeks revenge on Raiden and the other gods who helped to trap him in the Netherealm, Raiden requests help from Mortal Kombat warriors to help defeat the elder god once again.

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Five new playable characters were introduced to Mortal Kombat 4

Fujjin – A wind god and an ally of Raiden

Jarek – The final member of the black dragon

Kai – A Shaolin monk and a friend of Liu Kang

Meat – A gory skeleton and one of the hidden characters in the game.

Reiko – The general to Shinnok

Tanya – A traitor to Edenia

Noob Saibot – Finally playable as a hidden character in the game.

Scorpion and Raiden have been re-added to the game after being absent in Mortal Kombat 3

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The game came with 3D graphics, full CGI cut-scenes, hilariously bad voice acting and a kick ass soundtrack.

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Silly finishing moves such as babalaties and friendships were removed to make the game focus more on violence and to be taken more seriously however a new move that allows you to break your opponents bones during a fight was added which was really awesome.

Players can now also use weapons and stage hazards to hurt their opponents, adding a lot of new ways to fight which is really great.

Mortal Kombat 4 is a fantastic game and while its not my favourite 3D Mortal Kombat game it was a great first attempt.

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Mortal Kombat 4 was the last game to be released in Arcades and its art does not disappoint, I love Quan Chi being next to a wall of flames, it reminds me of the art from the Mortal Kombat 2 cabinet which had Raiden using a thunder attack.

For more information on this arcade cabinet follow the link below

https://www.arcade-museum.com/game_detail.php?game_id=8755

Mortal Kombat Gold was a dreamcast exclusive release of Mortal Kombat 4, it added Mileena, Cyrax, Kung Lao, Baraka and a secret character called Sektor to the game. It even added a few new cut-scenes for me personally this is the definitive version of Mortal Kombat 4 but a lot of people would disagree as the game was hit with mediocre reviews when it first hit store shelves.

I could not find a commercial for this game so we will make due with the opening sequence.

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Taking place before Mortal Kombat Mythologies Sub-Zero, Special forces follows the character Jax who seeks revenge after his comrades were murdered by the Black Dragon Clan, Jax takes on a mission to obtain a mystical artifact called the Eye of Chitian which can open portals.

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The game is a third person beat-em up and shooter, I found it to be quite simple to get used too and at first it was really fun but it became boring very quickly. The game is repetitive, the levels are all very similar and it lacks challenge in both its combat and its boss fights, overall its not great.

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I couldn’t find any commercials or videos for this one so I am afraid we will have to make due with the box art.

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The game was a bad port of Ulitmate Mortal Kombat 3, the limitations of the gameboy advance button layout made it very difficult to play and took a lot away from the experience. At times the game was also really unfair on its difficulties making it near impossible to finish on any difficulty above normal. This is one port you will want to skip.

In the canon ending of Mortal Kombat 4 (Scorpions Ending) Scorpion gets sent back to the Netherrealm by Quan Chi but Quan Chi is grabbed by Scorpion taking him to the Netherealm with him. Quan Chi escapes the Netherealm using a magical amulet which sent him to a tomb of dead bodies, he learns that the dead can be brought back to life and plans to build an army so he teams up with Shang Tsung who then murder Shao Khan and Liu Kang. This causes Raiden to give up his status as a god after realising that if the alliance is victorious Earthrealm will be doomed leading into the events of the game.

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New characters in this game include

Blaze – A secret character and a fire elemental

Bo Rai Cho – Former trainer for Liu Kang

Drahmin – An Oni who seeks revenge against Quan Chi

Frost –  Sub-Zero’s Trainee

Hsu Hao – A red dragon operative

Kenshi -A blind swordsman who was stranded in Outworld

Li Mei  – An outworld native who wants to win the freedom of her native people.

Mavado – A red dragon mastermind

Mokap –  A Joke character added in by the developers

Nitara – A vampire who wants to separate her home from Outworld

Liu Kang and Shao Khan are absent from the game due to their deaths.

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The game looks great and its visuals are a huge improvement over Mortal Kombat 4, the combat remains practically the same although stage fatalities have been completely removed which really sucks.

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Mini games came back in Deadly alliance in the form of Test your Might and Test your Sight, both of these games are very difficult but both are rewarding.

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The crypt made its first appearance here, it was an area that allowed players to spend coins to purchase unlock-able content in the game.

A new mode was added called konquest, this was essentially a long tutorial mode for the fighters but it gave insight to their back stories.

Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance was an outstanding game and one of my personal favourites.

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Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition was a GBA port of Deadly Alliance

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While controlling a lot better than the previous GBA game in the series nothing about this really stands out enough for me to say its a good game, if anything its a lacking version of Deadly Alliance and overall it can be skipped.

After the events of Deadly Alliance Raiden attempts to fight Shang Tsung and and Quan Chi but is quickly defeated. Not long after this the dragon king Onaga comes to gain the power of the amulet, Raiden sends a powerful blast to try and stop the monster, this blast kills Raiden, Shang Tsung and Quan Chi but hardly touches the dragon king leaving only a few warriors feeling brave enough to try and stop the new threat.

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The game came with a new konquest mode and I recommend playing this off the bat because it helps explain more information on the games antagonist.

The game is a full RPG with side-quests, rewards and really fun combat, this is what I wish the Mortal Kombat spin off games were like.

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Two additional side games were added the first was Puzzle Kombat which was a tetris clone with a mortal Kombat spin to it and the other was Chess Kombat which was a game of chess in the style of Mortal Kombat, I recommend checking both of these modes out.

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New characters this time are

Ashrah – A Netherrealm demon

Dairou – A Seidan guardman

Darrius – A Seidan leader

Havik – Archrival of Hotaru

Kira –  A former weapons dealer

and Kobra – A deadly martial artist

Surprisingly Liu Kang and Raiden are playable but with re-designs, Liu Kang is now a zombie and Raiden seems to have a new colour palette.

The Crypt returns but this time is much smaller and easier to collect everything.

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A new finisher called Hara – Kiri was added, its a controversial move which causes the other player to die by suicide.

Stage hazards and fatalities were brought back in this instalment making the experience even better.

Overall an excellent Mortal Kombat game.

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks was the third attempt at a spin off for the series and this time it was actually good.

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The game takes place during the events between Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat 2, In this game Shang Tsung plans to take over Earthrealm after his defeat by Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat.

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The game is an action packed beat-em up which stars Liu Kang a Lao Kung, players need to slaughter hundreds of enemies and occasional bosses to reach victory, players could perform fatalities in succession as well as a new finishing move called mutuality which kills multiple enemies at once.

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The game is a lot of fun but for the best experience I recommend playing the campaign with another player, I feel not enough games these days allow co-op game-play on story mode so its inclusion here is a blessing.

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The game is packed with secrets including a hidden battle with the ninja Ermac as a well as other characters such as Kano and Mileena. A full working version of Mortal Kombat 2 could be unlocked if you helped the Ninja Smoke on your quest.  A hidden mode called survival could be discovered as well unlocking the ability to play the campaign as Scorpion and Sub-Zero after finishing story mode.

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The game even had a traditional versus mode available with unlock-able characters hidden throughout the campaign.

Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks is a fantastic game and one the best Mortal Kombat games, it shows good spin offs are possible with the correct team behind them and I really hope that one day we either get re-release or a sequel.

Following the events of Mortal Kombat: Deception, fighters from all realms battle to survive in the battle of Armageddon, this battle sets everyone out to survive by doing anything necessary. The deadly warrior Blaze is awoken and must be defeated in order to save the realms from certain death and destruction.

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The character roster in Armageddon is absolutely massive, for the first time ever in a Mortal Kombat game every character was back and playable including previous boss characters and characters who were deceased.

 

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Fatalities were completely changed in this game and not many people liked this, instead of each character having set finishing moves, players had to brutishly destroy their opponents by combining multiple gory attacks together creating their own finishing moves, this was really cool but it took away a lot of character personality and the fun of learning to pull off tricky fatalities

Another disappointment was that the game had no end cut-scenes or art for players, its still had narration explaining each characters ending but the lack of the imagery to go with this made it really boring and not as interesting as it was in previous games.

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On the bright side the game did have an excellent Konquest mode which introduced two new characters Taven and Daegon who have just been released from suspended animation to defeat the warrior Blaze.

The game-mode is really fun and takes a lot of inspiration from Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks making it one of the best parts of Mortal Kombat Armageddon.

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Another new mode allows you create a fighter using a lot of fun tools and designs, more stuff for this mode could be bought in the krypt.

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My favourite mode in the game is Motor Kombat which is a really silly Mario Kart knock off with Mortal Kombat characters, themed tracks and items as well as plenty of blood and guts.

Mortal Kombat Armageddon brought a lot of new ideas and modes to the table making up for the elements that were lost but overall the game for me a was a little disappointing due to its losses however it was still fin and better than some of its predecessors.

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A PSP version of Mortal Kombat Armageddon was released titled Mortal Kombat Unchained, the game was very similar to the console versions however unchained did have an exclusive endurance mode which allowed players to fight constant waves of fighters until they fall in battle.

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A port of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 was brought to the Nintendo DS titled Ultimate Mortal Kombat, the game was an exact copy of the arcade game.

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This version came with a Puzzle Kombat Mode as a bonus that was not available in the original game.

Mortal Kombat vs the DC Universe was an odd choice for the next Mortal Kombat game as it would include regular Mortal Kombat characters battling characters from another universe.

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The story has players choosing which side to fight for but both campaigns show that Shao Khan and DC villain Darkside both get sent into new realms however due to both of these event happening at once both worlds collide and a new villain named Dark Khan is born.

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I always found the character roster for this game very lacking, yes both sides have the obvious choices but I feel that a few fan favourites such as Smoke, Harley Quinn, Reptile, Killer Croc as well as many others could have made the cut or at least came later on as DLC.

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A new ability was added to stages allowing players to throw characters down to lower platforms beating the snot out them while they are doing this, this could also be done in a similar new feature called close kombat.

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Test your might returns here although its now implemented into ground based stages, this means that in some stages you can trigger test your might by ramming your opponents through walls and other obstacles.

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Due to an agreement with DC and its use of characters, violence had to be toned down in this game meaning that a lot of gore was removed from Fatalities and DC Heroes could only perform Brutalities that did not kill the opponent.

Over all not the best Mortal Kombat game but its one of my favourite crossovers, I wish they kept the gore but I understand why DC did not want Super Man brutally murdering someone or having Batman be sliced in half.

2011 brought us Mortal Kombat 9 (AKA Mortal Kombat) a retelling of the plot from the first three games however this one has a twist, it begins at the end of Mortal Kombat Armageddon with Raiden sending a message to his past self “He must Win” referring to Liu Kang needing to win the Mortal Kombat tournament.

While this does technically continue from the end of Armageddon in reality it was the beginning of a reboot of the series while keeping the events of the previous on going story canon. Throughout the campaign Raiden receives visions from the future encouraging him to make drastic changes to past events but with these changes came some serious consequences.

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Playable Characters in the game included

Baraka

Cyrax

Cyber Sub-Zero – a robotic-ally altered version of the popular blue ninja

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Jade

Jax

Johnny Cage

Kabal

Kano

Kitana

Kratos from the God of War Series (PlayStation Version Only)

Kung Lao

Liu Kang

Mileena

Nightwolf

Noob Saibot

Quan Chi

Raiden

Reptile

Scorpion

Sektor

Shang Tsung

Sheeva

Sindel

Smoke

Sonya Blade

Stryker

and Regular Sub Zero

DLC character were added to the game in the form of

Freddy Kruger – From the Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise

Kenshi  – From Mortal Kombat Deadly Allaince

Rain – A Purple Ninja who was first playable in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3

and Skarlet  – A red female ninja

These characters were free in the the Komplete Edition of Mortal Kombat that was released in 2012

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This game is gory and the fatalities were finally fatal again, DC universe left a lot of people disappointed that the series would never go back to being R rated and Mortal Kombat 9 proved us all wrong.

Stage fatalaties such as the pit returned as well, which was very nostalgic for fans of the series.

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A major new addition to the series introduced in Mortal Kombat 9 was the X-ray moves, these are specifically timed grab moves that break the bones of your opponent causing serious damage to the health bar, broken bones or not the damage you take does not affect how you fight in the game after you are hit with an X-Ray.

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Apart from the amazing story mode of the game, new modes included a training mode which allowed you to practice pulling off moves and fatalities

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Challenge tower was a new mode to the series it offered 300 challenges for players to tackle and if they are successful they would earn currency to spend in the games Krypt Mode.

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Other modes included Test your Might, Test your Sight, Test your Strike, Test your Luck, Tag Team and online play.

A great reboot of the series, it held the Nostalgia of the original games while also bringing a new feel and new ideas to the table, Mortal Kombat 9 is one of the best Mortal Kombat Games yet.

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A re-release of Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2 and Ulitmate Mortal Kombat 3 for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

This version added online multiplayer and achievements.

 

Two years after the events of Mortal Kombat 9 Johnny Cage and Sonia Blade are fighting to imprison the Elder God Shinnok and Quan Chi. They are successful and Raiden traps Shinnok in an Amulet but unfortunately Quan Chi escapes, the main meat of the campaign then takes place 20 years later and shows Johnny Cage with a group of warriors that he wants to use to retrieve the amulet from Mileena who wants to release Shinnok. The campaign of this game helps to give a lot of sympathy to the characters we all know, the problems that they deal with in the game help to make them feel more like real people than video game characters, I wont spoil the whole campaign story as it gets really good and you should really check it out for yourselves.

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New comers to the roster included

Cassie Cage –  The daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonia Blade

D’vorah –  A member of a race of insects called the Kytinn

Erron Black –  A gunslinger from Earthrealm

Ferra and Torr – A young girl who rides a giant masked monster

Jacqui Briggs  –  The Daughter of Jax and his wife

Kotal Kahn – An Aztec Warrior from the realm of Osh Tekk

Kung Jin – A master thief and the cousin of Kung Lao

and Takeda Takahashi – The son of Kenshi

Paid DLC characters were

Tremor – A bronze ninja and a member of the Black Dragon Clan

Jason Voorhees – From the Friday the 13th franchise

The Predator – From the Predator franchise

Tanya –  A woman from Edenia and a worshipper of Shinnok

Xenomorph –  From the Alien franchise

BO’Rai Cho – Former trainer of Liu Kang

Goro –  A tough four armed warrior who debuted in the original game

Leather Face – From the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise

and Triborg a ninja that is a combination of Smoke, Cyrax and Sector

All DLC was included with Mortal Kombat XL which was released in 2016

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Apart from characters there really was not much new content in this one but the two main differences really affected the game-play negatively in my opinion. Instead of just choosing a fighter in quick matches now we had to also choose a fighting, style and all of these needed to be learned separately and it just made the whole thing much more confusing than it needed to be, I hated this I  just wanted to play normal Mortal Kombat not this new diverse version of Mortal Kombat.

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Anyone who has been reading this website for a while knows that I hate quick time events in cut-scenes. In my opinion they make the story less enjoyable and are lazy attempts to advance a game, they don’t take much skill and are usually boring, these are no exception in Mortal Kombat X they don’t fit well into this series and it distracts players from what was originally a fantastic story mode plot.

With these complaints aside, I actually really like this entry to the series, it still is a lot of fun to play and minus the quick time events had the best plot in a Mortal Kombat game yet.

After Shinnoks defeat in Mortal Kombat X Raiden is left corrupted and dark, he wants to protect Earthrealm by destroying its enemies immediately. Shinnoks mother Kronika rewrites history to remove Raidens interfere by bringing the past and the present together which causes new Mortal Kombat characters to meet the original versions of themselves.

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New comers here are

Cetrion –  An Elder Goddess and Shinnoks Sister

Geras -Kronikas main underling

and Kollector – A debt collector for Shao Kahn

So far the only DLC characters are

The Joker from Batman

Nightwolf

Shang Tsung

Sindel

Spawn

And the Terminator

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Fatal Blows are a new move that can deal serious damage to your opponent they are very similar to the X-Ray and do not show the bones breaking making them slightly less cool.

X-Ray has been replaced with Krushing Blows a shorter X-Ray move that does less damage but is executed much faster.

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Mercy is a move that allows you to revive an opponent by giving them a small amount of health.

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Character customisation was added to the game, this allows players to add new skins, weapons, abilities and more to the characters in the game.

There really was not many new modes or ideas added to Mortal Kombat 11 but that has not stopped the game from being an excellent entry into the series, I still prefer Mortal Komat 9 overall but this is a close second for me.

That leaves us up to date with the Mortal Kombat video game franchise so far, I grew up playing the original games and I have fallen in love with its reboots, this series has had a lot of good moments and bad moments but all of it is nostalgic and brings back a lot of gaming memories for me.

I learned a lot of history and information about the series from a very well put together YouTube documentary series, this series is much more in-depth than the information I have provided and I recommend checking it out if you want to learn more about Mortal Kombat and the impact it has had on gamers for over 20 years.

Join me when the next game is released as we continue to explore this ever expanding game series.

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Make sure to subscribe to 616Entertaiment on Youtube who made the excellent Mortal Kombat history documentary series.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWyYPkTpefppyrOO8gcjgfw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luigi’s Mansion 3 (2019) Review

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Luigi is back for his latest ghost hunt and this time he is ditching spooky mansions for a haunted hotel.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is the third instalment of the Luigi’s Mansion video game series, It was developed by Next Level Games and was published by Nintendo. The game was released for the Nintendo Switch on October 31st 2019.

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Luigi, Mario, Princess Peach and her Toads have all been invited to a high quality hotel called the High Rise Hotel of the Last Resort. Not long after checking into the hotel and settling down Luigi is woken up by Princess Peaches scream. The hotel has been transformed into a haunted ghost trap and Luigi soon discovers that all of his travelling companions have been turned into paintings by King Boo who is working closely with the Hotel Owner. After a swift escape from the ghoulish king Luigi has to travel to the top of the hotel to capture the spirits and rescue his brother and friends.

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The game is split into 17 areas, each area is a new floor of the hotel and each floor has a unique theme, environment and boss encounter, each floor of the hotel offers a different type of challenge which helps to spice up the game play, I wont go over all of the floors but my three favourites were the garden floor, the movie studio floor and dance floor.

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Boss ghosts with a lot of personality have been brought back for this game, the boss fights are all very challenging and a lot of fun, they reminded me of the portrait ghosts in the first game although they are no where near as creepy.

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Gooigi who was introduced in the Luigi’s Mansion 3DS remake has returned here as a major part of the game, players control both Luigi and Gooigi to solve puzzles and progress through the game, Luigi gets a new Plunger item in this game to pull and throw heavy items.

Also due to Gooigi’s flexibility he can walk through gates and drop through drains allowing him to access areas that regular Luigi can not get too.

One more ability added to the game was blasting your poltergust towards the ground to push Luigi into the air so that he can jump over some obstacles.

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In the game there are two collectables the first are gems which need some puzzle solving to find and the other are Boo’s who must be revealed with a black-light before being sucked up, both of these do bulk out the game-play however the rewards for getting them are not great.

The soundtrack was really forgettable in my opinion, I didn’t hate the music but none of it really stuck for me.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a great game, it is full of charm and has a lot of personality, this game introduced us too a new villain working along side King Boo which was a nice change of pace and now that the level based system from Luigi’s Mansion 2 is gone we are left with a combination of the first two games, this has the comedy and cartoony nature of the second game as well as the free exploration and realistic boss ghosts from the first game. I feel that this entry in the series adds so many new ideas but slightly lacks the creepy and dark atmosphere from the first game that I really love,  I miss the creepiness of the portrait ghosts and I would really love to see a darker game in the series again.

However I have to admit that this game is the best Luigi’s Mansion game yet and if this is how the future games are going to be then I can accept that.

8.4/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Luigi’s Mansion 3 for the Nintendo Switch

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

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Book Review: Dracula by Bram Stoker

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Dracula is one of the most famous novels ever written and the story from the book has been adapted into new stories, television, film and other media more than most other books.

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The famous story was written by Irish Author Bram Stoker and was first released to the public in 1897.

In the story Count Dracula wants to move from his castle in Transylvania to the city of London where he plans to bite unsuspecting victims and spread his vampire curse.

The book is not written as the author telling you a story but it instead written as diary entries of the main characters, letters between those characters and the occasional news paper article.

It took me a while to adapt to this style of writing as I am not used to it however after only a few chapters I was hooked, the writing style kept me engrossed in the events of the book as it was much more realistic than the usual format for a story.

I enjoyed all of the main characters as they each were likeable and as the reader I was rooting for their survival and at times the book had me worried for what may have happened to them as the book went on.

The book has a very creepy and Gothic vibe to it which I really liked, the best parts for me were when vampires were involved in some manner.

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I was surprised to how different the novel was to the excellent 1931 film adaptation starring Bela Lugosi. It almost felt like a completely different story which was fantastic as I never knew what to expect in regards to how the plot would unfold in the novel

Dracula is an excellent book which I would highly recommend horror fans to sink their teeth into for a creepy and memorable story that stands the test of time and with that I say Happy Halloween for 2019, I wish you all a safe and haunted holiday and I will update this website now in November.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Dracula by Bram Stoker

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

Thank You for all of your support.

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Metroid Fusion (2002) Review

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Metroid Fusion is the fourth entry in the Metroid Series and is the second game to be released on a handheld console. The game was developed and produced by Nintendo.

It takes place after the events of Metroid Other M and as of this review it is at the end of the chronological timeline of events.

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While flying over the planet SR388 Samus is attacked by an Alien Organism called X, she crashes her ship but is thankfully rescued by the Galactic Federation, the organism affects her nervous system and almost kills her before she is cured by having Metroid DNA pumped into her body, with her new DNA she is now able to absorb the X parasites and gain energy and ammunition from them however she is now damaged by cold due to cold being a Metroid’s weakness.

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An explosion on the space station that Samus is being recovered on gets damaged by an explosion, Samus is commanded to investigate, its here that she is introduced to a new computer system she names ADAM after her ex-commanding officer, the computer informs her that the X parasite is able to clone its prey and that SA-X (That’s Samus Aran X) have been made and are highly dangerous, and its from here that Samus and ADAM work together to find a way to destroy the parasite and save humanity.

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Metroid Fusion is a unique game in the series because for the first time the game-play changed drastically, the main idea is the same you do explore various locations and find many secrets such as Energy Tanks, Missiles and Power Bombs but this time the parasites make enemies a lot more difficult to kill, the reason for this is because when you destroy an enemy it releases the an X parasite and if you don’t collect it fast enough it will either re-spawn the enemy or will attach itself to another enemy making it more powerful.

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The game is a lot less cryptic than its predecessors this is due to ADAM telling the player where they need to go to reach their objectives, the game actually pin points almost everything on the map making the adventure feel a lot less immersive and much easier than you might expect, the only thing that really bothers me about this is that a lot of free exploration was not available here and it sucks because you could explore freely in all of this games predecessors, security doors no longer require weapons to open either as you can find security rooms that can unlock all of them, I actually prefer this idea as it allows Samus to save on ammunition.

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Even though the game does hold your hand a little bit by guiding the player throughout the majority of the adventure, the locations are just as beautiful and fantastic in art design as they were in Super Metroid.

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Throughout the game Samus can upgrade her suit and with each upgrade she will gain new abilities and sometimes a new colour, however none of these colours are the traditional orange, this is because orange is the colour of the Samus Clone SA-X that at some points in the game will hunt you down and try its best to kill you, this creature is extremely powerful and does major damage to the player if they are hit, its actually quite scary and reminds me of the film invasion of the body snatchers.

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There are many bosses to fight in the game and all of them are creepy and have amazing features and I absolutely love the design of all of them, my favourite is the nightmare a big robot with a goopy face that melts the more damage that you do it, its honestly quite tragic watching its face melt off but in a Nintendo game its also really cool, the issue that I really had with boss fights is that they all get killed the same way and apart from the final boss I remember killing all of them with just missiles and compared to Super Metroid where the bosses were killed in more creative ways this was little disappointing.

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What is new about the boss fights here though is the core that they leave behind after blasting a boss with missiles they will die and release a core, the core will also need to be blasted with missiles in order to release an X parasite that will give Samus one of her past abilities and weapons.

A few changes were made to some weapons here, the high jump and jump ball are now combined, the missile upgrades all act as one weapon instead of separate weapons, the X-ray scope is gone however the Super Bombs can now show secret passages instead and the grappling lazer is not in the game at all.

One other thing to note is that the spin jump is now much easier to pull off, in Super Metroid it is quite difficult to master but here players should get the hang of it after a few uses.

The soundtrack is fantastic due to the Gameboy Advances sound capabilities, just like in Super Metroid the music is creepy and dark, Samus is trying to survive and the new threatening parasite has made enemies more powerful and she is afraid but feeling hopeful, the music really gives this impression through the way its orchestrated and is generally really good, but its not all creepy as a good number of action packed tracks are used to compliment the slower ones, this is best shown when Samus runs into the SA-X and is running away trying to escape from the terrifying clone of herself.

With all of its flaws I actually really like Metroid Fusion, it is linear in its gameplay but the environments are fantastic, it has great boss designs and its plot makes the game a lot scarier than its predecessors. What I think this game did really well was that it showed the player from the beginning that the hero Samus Aran who has survived many missions can die, she is only human like the rest of us and that makes the adventure feel much scarier and more important that players try to survive, the game is full of great details and even has voice acting which is actually really good for what you would expect from a gameboy advance game.

I only wish that you were able to explore more freely and that the game was not as easy as it is, however on the flip side this is a great game for people who want to be introduced to the Metroid series as compared to the previous games this is the least frustrating.

7/10

hope you enjoyed this review of Metroid Fusion for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance.

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

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Castlevania 2: Simons Quest (1987) Review

What a horrible night to have a curse.

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Before reading this review please check out my review of the first Castlevania game

https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2018/07/06/castlevania-nes-review/

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Castlevania 2 Simons Quest is a 1987 NES action plat-former created by Konami, it takes place many years after the first game. During the final boss battle of the first Castlevania Dracula’s body parts are spread across the land and Simon is cursed, this curse does not affect Simon for a very long time and its during the events of Castlevania 2 that Simon Belmont must find the various body parts of Dracula and burn them in an attempt to remove the curse.

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The game is very different to its predecessor, while it is an adventure plat-former it executes this completely differently, this game is much slower due to players having to grind enemies to earn heart currency, a lot of very cryptic puzzle solving and back tracking is also required for players to progress through the game. The puzzles in this game are really unfair and too cryptic for players to figure out without using a guide, a prime example is having to kneel down next to a lake, after a few seconds stairs and a platform appear that allow you to walk into the lake that would normally kill you instantly, another really frustrating part of the game are fake blocks that appear everywhere and most of the time they kill you, you can see through these by throwing holy water but this becomes very boring when you are throwing holy water every step in the castles to avoid a fall to your death.

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There are many objects you can acquire in the game by either killing bosses or buying them from NPC’s, for me the most useful item was the holy water as it helped to destroy fake blocks and made killing enemies that were below me very easy. The sacred flame is another very useful item that makes a wall of fire that can do serious damage to enemies however it costs currency to use it. You can find use in some of Dracula’s body parts for example you can use his rib as a shield to deflect fire balls and his heart can be shown to the ferryman to find a path to one of the castles.

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There are not many bosses in the game and all of them are really easy including the final boss, the two other bosses you encounter can just be ignored unless you want to fight them for new weapons.

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What many people dislike about this game is the day to night cycle and vice versa, it happens on a time loop and really has no point to it other than the illusion of days passing, it really sucks because you cant use towns during night time and you may need to heal or buy a new whip or sub-weapon and a lot of the time you will find your self just waiting around for time to pass.

The soundtrack is great I prefer this to the music in the original game because I feel its a lot more immersive and each track has a great beat to it, my favourite song in the game is bloody tears, this is the song that I associate with the Castlevania series, its a fun and adventurous track that suits the game-play style perfectly.

Castlevania 2: Simons Quest is one of the most hated games in the series for a lot of the reasons I covered in this review, however while it may seem that I have complained a lot about the game, I really do not think that its as bad as its made out to be, yeah its slow and cryptic and the day to night cycle will make you want to tear your hair out but it is a much more immersive game as you will be talking to a lot of town folk and finding religious churches to recover health, the majority of it takes place outside of Dracula’s castle and provides a lot of really memorable areas and enemies, its has a very creepy feeling to it which is perfect for this series and the platforming while at times frustrating for the most part works quite well. I wouldn’t say it a good game but I wouldn’t say its a bad game either.

5/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Castlevania 2: Simons Quest (1987)

Happy Halloween 2019

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

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Will Vinton’s Claymation Comedy of Horrors (1991) Review

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In a forest on Halloween Sheldon Snail and Wiltshire Pig are testing out a new carnival ride on their friend Vince, the caring Sheldon is worried for his friends safety while Wiltshire Pig is more interested in making a large profit from those who ride it.

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After an accident with the ride causes a crater to be made in the ground, the two friends discover Frakenswines Diary which tells the story of the mad scientist and the monster he created, Wiltshire Pig is overly excited about this as directions to the doctors castle and lab are left in the diary encouraging both Sheldon and Wiltshire to seek them out in hopes of finding the monster.

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The entire movie is made using Claymation and is very impressive to look at and admire for how creative the project is, we don’t see much claymation work these days so this was very nostalgic to someone like me that grew up in an age where this style of animation was regularly used in movies and television.

The short is very funny and charming, the funniest parts are when Wiltshire Pig is trying to convince the monsters in the castle that he’s not alive so that they wont harm him or throw him out, the most hilarious encounter is with his dead grandmother, Wiltshire never attended her funeral and begins to panic trying to give an excuse as to why.

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My favourite clay model in the short was a fat green monster that Sheldon and Wiltshire meet when they first enter the castle, the Frankenswine Monster was also a really fun design and its personality was unexpected and hilarious after all of the effort the duo went through to find it.

I had never heard of this special until today and after watching it I think its going to end up being an annual occurrence to me, the whole special was really funny and the animation style was fantastically made and a joy to watch, I would highly recommend checking this short animation out, as of this review the film is available on YouTube and I assure you it is excellent. I only wish it was a little bit longer as I enjoyed it so much.

9.5/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Will Vinton’s Claymation Comedy of Horrors (1991)

Happy Halloween 2019

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

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