Not so Christmas Review: Chicken Run

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Chicken Run is a very unusual movie to say the least, Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman teamed up with Dreamworks animation to make an animated version of the Great Escape starring chickens and its fantastic.

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In a slightly kinder interpretation of a Nazi Concentration Camp Chickens are forced to produce eggs for their farmers and if they dont produce enough eggs for the week then its off to the chopping block, all of the chickens are miserable and want to escape but with the farmers Mr and Mrs Tweedy only living only a few feet away from the pen and their sadistic dogs killing any chickens that get out of the pen escape looks near impossible, that is until one day a rooster lands into the pen and Ginger (One of the chickens) sees this rooster as their saving Grace possibly giving them a chance to escape their captivity.

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The Voice Acting in Chicken Run is really great but to be honest I don’t recognize much of the cast except for two people, the first is Miranda Richardson who plays Mrs Tweedy and of course Mel Gibson who plays Rocky the Rooster.

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The Animation is done using stop motion, but like many of the past Aardman productions which have used this method the stop motion in Chicken Runs animation is so smooth that it may fool you into thinking it was made using CGI, due to the nature of the the film most of imagery is dark and depressing most likely to match the atmosphere of the film, I did notice that happier characters were decorated with brighter colours but I’m not sure if these colours were to help empathise their good spirits.

Chicken Run is one of greatest British animated films of all time and it needs to be seen by everyone, I’m not sure if it was released outside of Europe but if you haven’t seen it then you can stream it on Netflix or you can purchase the film if you would like to support Aardman to make more great movies.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Chicken Run

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

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Taz Mania (Genesis/Mega Drive) (1992) Review

Cool a game based on Taz Mania, this is gonna be great………right?

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Taz Mania was a popular cartoon series based on the Tazmanian Devil from the Looney Tunes shorts, the show was about Taz and his family and the crazy antics they would get up too, I watched this show as a kid but I wasn’t a huge fan of it and unlike some other shows such as Ducktales and Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers I dont have many fond memories of watching Taz Mania.

Taz Mania was fairly popular and just like many other cartoons of its era, video game developers started to create Taz Mania video games to make a quick buck but unlike Ducktales and Rescue Rangers whose games stayed on one system Taz Mania had a video game on a whole bunch of different systems including the Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear, Super Nintendo and the Nintendo Game Boy, unfortunately I haven’t yet gotten around to playing most of these but as a kid I used to play the Genesis version a lot and I remember really enjoying it, but was it good as I remember?

openingThe games plot is simple and straight to the point, Taz and his siblings are told a story about giant sea birds that used to rule over Taz Mania, the birds were so big that if someone was to steal one of their eggs it would feed that thief and his entire family for one whole year, talk of these giant eggs make Taz hungry and he soon leaves on an adventure across Taz Mania to find one, like I said the plot is very simple and straight to the point I don’t mind this because firstly I was not expecting some epic storyline for a video game based on the Tazmanian Devil and secondly this honestly seems like something that Taz would do because at the end of the day he’s a wild animal who loves to eat so the thought of a giant egg is immediately going to get his attention.

Level 1 waterThe game looks pretty good for a licensed Sega Genesis game, the graphics are not very realistic looking which isn’t a problem because they actually look a bit like the cartoon which is a nice touch from the game developers, it shows that they did research of the original cartoon and as a result both the genesis game and the show have a similar art style which is an aspect that many fans of the show will appreciate.

 

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Graphically the game is very impressive but the level design is awful, the biggest problem is the plat-forming because a lot of the platforms you need to jump to are off screen meaning that you need to takes risky jumps and leaps of faith hoping that you don’t fall to your death, another problem is that sometimes its very difficult to figure out what objects you are able to jump on, this gets very confusing because sometimes you are able to jump on platforms that are either in the background or the foreground while at other times you cant so its not easy to identify what is an actual platform and what is just there for scenery, speaking of scenery there really isn’t a lot of it and because of this all of the levels are very bare with just a few things pasted into the backgrounds, its really not that interesting to look at and its a shame considering all of the effort that went into the games art style.

The game has very tight controls which are easy to remember, you control Taz with the D-Pad while the three other buttons are used to perform the games actions, such as Jumping, Spinning and breathing fire when its available.

The most important ability in the game is spinning, Taz can spin really fast allowing him to knock enemies off of the screen but you must be careful because you are also able to get rid of special items such as lives and health if you accidentally spin into them.

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Taz will eat everything in his path and this can be very useful as he can eat enemies, lives and food but you must not eat any of the bombs, if Taz eats a bomb it will explode inside of him causing a considerable amount of damage, these bombs can be very annoying especially when they have been placed unfairly, for example a lot of the time the bombs are placed at the bottom of small ledges and you cant see them until you jump off the ledge and sometimes the bombs are placed behind foreground objects so they are impossible to see which makes it very unfair on the player.

This entire game relies on the player memorising which platforms are safe and where the bombs are located,  if the game had unlimited continues this wouldn’t be as big of an issue but unfortunately the game does have very few continues (not including the ones you can find) making the entire experience of playing the game very stressful and annoying.

The levels are very difficult due to bad game design but ironically the boss fights are really easy, this is because when Taz is spinning any enemy that hits him is immediately damaged and this is the same for the boss fights, if you keep spinning into the bosses you are going to defeat them very quickly and very easily, there is one boss fight near the end of the game that is so easy too beat that you can defeat him while taking no damage by just spinning in one spot until he dies.

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The music is not memorable at all most of the songs are just loops of very short tunes and the biggest problem is that you can hardly hear the music over the games terrible sound effects, the sound effects literally sound like they came from a cheap collection of Royalty Free sounds and nothing about them or the music is very creative at all, the most unusual sound choice the developers made was that every time Taz takes a step a music note plays as if the entire game is a piano, this sound choice makes very little sense and it gets annoying very fast.

Taz Mania was a very disappointing game, I used to love this game as a child and I remember having a great time playing it, the game has tight controls and sticks to its source material with its very simple plot and and its art style which represents the original show quite nicely but unfortunately bad game design, terrible sound and music choices and for the most part awful game play makes Taz Mania for Sega Genesis a very bad experience and honestly I am relieved that I never have to play it again.

3.4/10

Thank you for reading my review of Taz Mania for the Sega Genesis/ Mega Drive

By Padawan

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

You can find me on Miiverse by searching for draskafer

 

 

 

 

The mysteries of easter cracked wide open (sort of)

Easter the nations excuse to eat loads and loads of junk food and a holiday which celebrates Jesus Christ resurrecting from the dead (if you believe in that stuff). Easter may just be another holiday but a lot of it dosent really make sense as people often wonder why we have the easter bunny and why we celebrate easter by eating chocolate eggs. If you are one of these people then wonder no more as I have looked into these mysteries and I believe I have discovered answers which may put our minds at rest.

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Question 1

Why is easter sometimes celebrated on different dates of the year?

Easter is celebrated on different dates between the 21st of March and the 25th of April depending on when there is a full moon in spring. I didn’t even know that easter was celebrated on different dates each year but if this is true It make me wonder what happens if there isnt a full moon one year do we just not celebrate easter?

Question 2

Why chocolate eggs?

Over the weeks of easter it is considered tradition to eat hollow eggs made of chocolate but back when easter first became a christian holiday (originally a pagan celebration) it was concidered wrong to eat eggs during the week before easter so any eggs laid where saved and decorated for children as gifts for easter. The tradition was carried on by Victorians who gave children carboared eggs which were filled with easter gifts.
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Chocolate eggs originated in the 19th century in Germany and France problem was that the chocolate eggs were hard and had a bitter taste to them, as time passed  chocolate making techniques improved and hollow chocolate eggs were developed they quickly became popular and the tradition of giving chocolate eggs on easter has stuck ever since.
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Question 3

Why do we have the easter bunny?

Originally we didn’t have a mascot for easter but in the 19th century a legend of a character who delivers the eggs was told to children. The character was soon revealed to be a bunny rabbit this is because bunnies have lots of babies at once (kittens) this symbolizes life. So the easter bunny delivers eggs as a symbol of new life which links back to the ressurection of christ on Easter Sunday. Apparently not all countries have an easter bunny because Switzerland has an easter cuckoo and Germany has an easter fox.
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I hope you enjoyed this easter related blog, have a happy easter

On saturday I will be reviewing an easter movie I won’t say what it is but here is a clue
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This blog was written by Dan (Padawan)