Friday, May 30, 2014

Happy Birthday(s)!!!

Well, over here in Ukraine, it's May, 31st. On this day, even if in different years, two baddest motherf%ckers in the world happened to be born. The main differences between them are:
  • One is famous, and the other is not;
  • One is 84, and the other is 26.

Mr Eastwood... You're my all-time favorite actor, and I can't imagine my life without your movies. Each time I see you onscreen, I regret being a man. 'Nuff said! :D

And as for me... YOU decide what kind of significance do me and my blog have for you ;)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Favorite Video Game Composers

Chris Hulsbeck
Famous for: Turrican 1-3, Apidya, R-Type, The Great Giana Sisters

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Andrwe 'Necros' Sega
Famous for: Crusader: No Remorse, Crusader: No Regret, Unreal, Unreal Tournament, In Pursuit Of Greed

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Kevin Schilder
Famous for: Heretic 1-2, Hexen 1-2, Necrodome, Mageslayer

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Alexander 'Siren' Brandon
Famous for: Unreal, Unreal Tournament, Deus Ex, Tyrian

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Frank Klepacki
Famous for: Command & Conquer franchise, The Legend Of Kyrandia, Dune 2

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Michiru Yamane
Famous for: Castlevania Bloodlines, Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night, Contra: Hard Corps

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Yuzo Koshiro
Famous for: Streets Of Rage franchise, Ys franchise

Best Action Movie Theme Songs Of All Time

Patrick Swayze & Jeff Healey Band - Raising Heaven (In Hell Tonight)
From: Road House (1989)

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Robert Tepper - Angel Of The City
From: Cobra (1986)

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Fire, Inc. - Nowhere Fast
From: Streets Of Fire (1984)

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Joe Delia & David Johansen - New York Doll
From: Fear City (1984)

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Dan Hill - It's A Long Road
From: First Blood (1982)

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Frank Stallone - Peace In Our Life
From: Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

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Bill Medley - It Is Our Destiny
From: Rambo III (1988)

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Sheena Easton - For your Eyes Only
From: For Your Eyes Only (1981)

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John Parr - Restless Heart
From: The Running Man (1987)

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Donna Summer & Bruce Roberts - Whenever There's Love
From: Daylight (1996)

Best Horror Movie Theme Songs Of All Time

Ramones - Pet Sematary
From: Pet Sematary (1989)

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Alien - Brave New Love
From: The Blob (1988)

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Dokken - Dream Warriors
From: A NIghtmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

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Alice Cooper - He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask)
From: Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

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Motorhead - Hellraiser
From: Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth (1992)

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John Harrison - If Tomorrow Comes
From: Day Of The Dead (1985)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Killer Obscure Bands Promotion!

Let's talk music for once. I'd like to bring up some killer but unfortunately, relatively unknown 80-90-2000s bands in order to, well, introduce and/or promote them to you! We're mostly talking Thrash, Progressive and Power Metal here. Jag Panzer
Probably, one of my favorite power metal bands ever. They had a long and troubled history, with lots of changing members and crappy albums, but when they got strong lineups, man they gave out a show. Their early style is raw and angry brand of speed/power metal, bordering thrash at times, while the later efforts are more restrained and progressive. Also, they have one hard rock album and one groovy one, both with non-canon singers.
Best album IMO: Ample Destruction

Fifth Angel
Sadly disbanded now, these guys from Seattle have managed to record two excellent albums in the 80s, led by a talented guitarist James Byrd. Their style is traditional heavy metal at its finest, with the best parts of the first album ('Fifth Angel') being about the fast-paced songs. On 'Time Will Tell', the speed metal element is almost gone, but it lives up to predecessor's quality anyway.
Best album IMO: Fifth Angel

One of my all-time favorite bands, if not the one. These nuclear physicists from Canada had it all: conceptual lyrics that flowed like sci-fi stories, incredibly stylish cover arts, 8 minute long songs, lots of technical, progressive and even psychedelic influences. They started off as a garage thrash band, then switched to progressive metal, then to psychedelic hard rock, then to industrial, and the metamorphosis goes on, sadly darkened by the passing of their guitarist and main composer Denis 'Piggy' D'Amor. Still, their 6 early albums are a must listen.
Best album IMO: Dimension Hatross

Dark Angel
This band made me forget about Slayer's 'Reign In Blood'. They played a more traditional metal alloy back in the day, but some of the characteristics I gave to Voivod can be applied to them as well: ultra-long songs (246 riffs on their 4th and last album!), lengthy and complex lyrics written by then-unknown Gene Hoglan who also provided annihilating drumwork and a few years ago even received an email of gratitude from yours truly, read it and even replied! Overall, it's easily the most brutal and destructive band of the 80s - there's a reason fans call them Dark Fucking Angel.
Best album IMO: Darkness Descends

Twisted Tower Dire
I've found out about these guys only recently, and it was one album only, but it blew me away! Seriously, one of the best new heavy metal bands out there, and unlike some of the referenced above, they need your love and promotion RIGHT NOW!
Best album IMO: Crest Of The Martyrs

This band nowadays is mostly remembered for providing 3/5 of Machine Head, including Robb Flynn. As any well respected thrash band of the 80s, they tried their best to be the loudest, the heaviest, the angriest, and their effort didn't go unnoticed, as their first albums and EP are considered the genre's gold, with their lengthy songs and punk rock vocal approach from Sean Killian.
Best album IMO: Eternal Nightmare

Again, this band is kept from obscurity by the memebers' future careers, particularly Paul Bostaph, who of course is one of the most demanded thrash metal drummers, providing his artillery for Slayer and Testament among others. And similar to Vio-Lence, Forbidden's best albums happen to be the first two, combining speed, aggression and high technical abilities. Surprisingly, they have managed to reunite and even put up a new album quite recently!
Best album IMO: Forbidden Evil

Sacred Reich
Alright, I will be thick-skinned and biased about them. I don't like any of their albums except 'Ignorance' and the 'Surf Nicaragua' EP, and I'm convinced that a string of weird stylistic decisions was what led the band to demise. Oh well, at least 'Ignorance' and 'Surf Nicaragua' are still there, regarded among the tharsh/speed metal's finest hours. I'd also like to note the interesting political lyrics on both.
Best album IMO: Ignorance

Nuclear Assault
This is an offspring of Anthrax's Danny Lilker and his friends, who inherited the punk approach of Anthrax and sped it up to unbelievable cycles for the time. Another sign of punk heritage were the straightforward politically correct lyrics, aimed at everything that was bad in the world and, surprisingly, still is. The music may be more 'lightweight' than other bands of the era, but the energy and speed compensate that by a mile. Their last album was released in 2005, after which they sadly disbanded. Hopefully, we'll hear from them again sometime soon!
Best album IMO: Game Over

Agent Steel
From politics to sci-fi! These LA thrashers are still doing well and kick as much (if not more) ass as they were in the 80s. Rumor had it, they were one of the first metal bands to sing about UFOs visiting the Ancient Egypt and yadda yadda, but what I know for sure is that their 80s albums are quintessential speed/thrash in its most raw and unpussified fashion. When they reunited in 1998, they updated the style, making it heavier and groovier, yet retaining the speed and battering power. That's what I especially like about them - all their albums are different yet awesome for their own reasons!
Best album IMO: Omega Conspiracy

This band is an offspring of German 80s power metal craze ignited by Helloween. Led by the guitarist Axel Julius, they took an interesting approach with making all their odd-numbered albums conceptual and actually sounding not really like Gamma Ray or, say, Blind Guardian, with all the samples and technical elements. Haven't heard their last album, 'Scantropolis', but they say it is unlike anything they've put up before, combining progressive rock and female vocals (?). Oh well, at least their early stuff is some of the best in German power metal.
Best album IMO: Hypertrace

Iron Angel
Another kick-ass speed/power band from Germany, only a little more evil and blunt this time. Their style is a perfect mixture of Kreator and Running Wild, so I can't even imagine what can be unlikeable about it! Their album covers are pretty funny, too, especially 'Winds Of War'. A few years ago Iron Angel actually tried a reunion and even released a couple of archived live records, but sadly, after the 'Back To Hell' demo the project fell apart again. Still, would be awesome if they solve all the lineup troubles and put up a third record no weaker than 'Hellish Crossfire'!
Best album IMO: Hellish Crossfire

Angel Dust
The last band for now, it may be one of my all-time favorites from the whole German power metal scene. Somewhat similar to Agent Steel, they've recorded a couple of cool albums in the 80s and fell apart to reunite in the 90s and completely change their style, bringing more groove and doom metal elements with slower songs, large amount of keyboards and sad gloomy atmosphere, which owes a lot to Dirk Thurisch and his awesome vocals. I think this band, especially their 90s stuff, would be a good listen to the Gothic rock/metal fans out there for their heartbreaking sadness mixed with all the metal brutality.
Best album IMO: Enlighten The Darkness

My Top 10 Zombie Movies

With OCEAN revolving around three most important things in entertainment (killing motherfuckers, zombies and boobs), I've decided it's time to compile a list of my all-time favorite zombie movies. Because hey, why not?

Also, please note that for the first time in forever, this is actually a rating chart, not just a list of 10 entries (unlike most of my other Top 10s). Just so you know.

10. World War Z (2013)
Why: Likeable characters, mega-fast zombies, heavy on atmosphere, dripping with suspense, great effects, fast-paced story and action.

9. Re-Animator (1985)
Why: The duo of Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott, some of the darkest jokes ever, awesome practical effects, memorable characters, a whole mix of other horror subgenres.

8. The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)
Why: It's sort of like Shaun Of The Dead for the 80s, with lots of references to classics, extremely funny characters and the perfect 'time capsule' armosphere; again, great practical effects and varied zombie types, and of course, the famous 'Braaaaaains!' line.

7. Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Why: Bruce Campbell, Bruce Campbell, Bruce Campbell amd Bruce Campbell.

6. Dawn Of The Dead (1978)
Why: Social satire, fast-paced action, Tom Savini, great atmosphere, clever characters compared to most (but not all, surely) other horror movies of the time, also very gory and violent by 70s standards.

5. Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
Why: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, jam-packed with quotes, references and parodies of the classics, lots of hilarious scenes and dialogue.

4. Dellamorte Dellamore (1994) aka Cemetery Man
Why: Surreal and arthouse elements, dark humor, incredible acting by Rupert Everett and anna Falchi (who is the hot as hell), interesting twisted emotional storyline.

3. Dead Alive (1992) aka Brain Dead
Why: TONS of gore, guts and violence, CISTERNS of fake blood, unbelievable action scene involving a lawnmower, and the whole thing is soaked with excellent dark humor.

2. 28 Days Later (2002)
Why: Pitch perfect atmosphere, realistic and believable setting, effects and soundtrack, great action scenes, and of course, Cillian Murphy.

1. Day Of The Dead (1985)
Why: Effects, score, completely crazy protagonists, a great female lead (for the first time in G. Romero's movies), but most importantly, the one and only Captain Motherfucking Rhodes.

3 Days To Kill (2014) [Action, Drama, Thriller]

So I've seen 3 Days To Kill in the theater, and I have to announce that my darlings, it kicked considerable amount of ass!

Kevin Costner is one of the few actors that all members of my familiy are huge fans of. For how long haven't you seen him in a big-budget blockbuster? I'd say around 15 yrs since The Postman; but according to 3 Days To Kill, this is the comeback of the year, following Tom Cruise's battery of decent-to-great projects in 2012-2013. I'm sorry, but judging from their latest movies, Costner, Cruise (Mission Impossible 4, Oblivion, Jack Reacher, Knight & Day) and Mark Wahlberg (2 Guns, The Other Guys, Pain & Gain) have more rock solid action careers right now than 90% of The Expendables.

But how was the movie itself? Well, it's not quite a 'pure' action film, rather than a mix of several genres, perfectly flowing into one another. Costner plays a badass, kickass CIA agent, who is just as good at killing motherfuckers as he is awkward at family relations. So essentially, it's like Homefront, only, you know, not shitty. It also has some elements from The Bourne Identity, Mission Impossible, James Bond movies, Crank, Jack Reacher, The Bodyguard (pff, but obviously! It's his most iconic movie, after all), some really good melodramatic scenes, great supporting cast with Amber Heard (who is one hell of a sexy beast), Hailee Steinfeld (who, unlike in Ender's Game, is very likeable, cute and convincing here), and Tomas Lemarquis and Richard Sammel as badass villains... it just has everything. Action! Drama! Suspense! Thrills! Cleavages!

I'm sorry guys, but I want to encourage you to vote with your dollar for this movie (well, if it's not playing anymore, then DVDs, BluRays and Netflix are the way!), because I so hope that it will be a financial success, and Costner would be back in the spotlight again, especially if he would be picking projects of similar quality - because admit it, we all missed him. I missed him.

The Bodyguard has returned! Welcome back Kevin!

Micro-Reviews For A Few Underrated Games

Most of the games listed here were/are at least cult classics or financial successes at some point in time (especially thanks to the modern wave of retro games being re-released/remade for services like Steam, and even Battle.Net), but a couple, like Disruptor and Cyber Org,.. Nobody plays them, nobody discusses them, nobody puts them in all those articles like 'Top 10 Unknown PSX Games'! Cyber Org doesn't even have a MobyGames page - how insulting is that?

Marathon Trilogy (PC) - my favorite gaming franchise of all time; a series of beautifully magnificent first person shooters from Bungie (the guys that eventually made Halo), notable for their ridiculously complicated storyline and teeth-crushing difficulty. Also, all 3 games are OFFICIALLY FREE now!

Chaos Break (PSX) - a fun little third-person shooter from Taito, inspired by the first Resident Evil. Very fast-paced and graphically sweet game!

Disruptor (PSX) - my favorite first-person shooter for the PlayStation. Incredibly beautiful game with perfect difficulty, great level designs and live-action cutscenes; I'm SHOCKED nobody ever talks about it!

Ys I & II Chronicles (a lot of platforms, but best versions are on PC and PSP) - excellent action RPGs in the vein of Legeod Of Zelda and Diablo, with beautiful pixel graphics and very emotional and sweet storyline; my favorite JRPG series hands down.

Resident Evil: Gun Survivor (PSX) - very much hated by the fans and critics, but I still kinda like it. Totally not the worst FPS ever, and I have to admit it's actually pretty damn scary.

Silent Bomber (PSX) - a crossover between Contra, Robotron and Bomberman, of all games! Basically, it's a top-down run-n-gun game, but instead of a projectile weapon, you have bombs and landmines of different types that you plant on the ground and even on the enemies; this adds a whole new gameplay mechanic to the genre, to say the least! Nice music, solid story and pretty graphics don't hurt, too.

Cyber Org (PSX) - imagine a cross between Devil May Cry, Fighting Force and your favorite roguelike or hack-n-slash RPG, complete with heavy metal soundtrack and (supposedly, since it was never fully translated to English) nice storyline, and you'll understand my frustration over Square not releasing it anywhere except of Japan! The intro cinematic alone is mindblowing.

Pursuit Force & Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice (PSP) - my favorite PSP games ever; sort of like GTA meets Chase HQ. The definitive police-themed gaming franchise for me!

Apocalypse (PSX) - a top-down twinstick Contra-esque game with amazing graphics, music by System Of A Down, and the main character based on and voiced by Bruce Willis! Again, how come nobody talks about it?!

One (PSX) - another excellent Contra-styled game with great graphics, nasty difficulty and adrenaline-injected gameplay. Thank God it was released on PS Network, at least!

Crusader: No Remorse & Crusader: No Regret (PC) - popular back in the day, but sort of obscure now series of isometric action-adventure games from the creators of Ultima and Wing Commander, featuring lots of gore, destructible environments, and a PHENOMENAL soundtrack by Andrew 'Necros' Sega. The only downfall of these games is the control scheme, and that's why I prefer the PSX version of No Remorse, even though it has less cutscenes and maps. (detailed review here)

True Crime: Streets Of LA (PC) - another definitive police-themed game for me; yeah it's a GTA clone, but it has enough quirks and twists to stand on its own IMHO. Big hit back in the day, but again, pretty much forgotten now... oh, and the soundtrack just kicks GTA's a$$ and eats what's left.


You heard it right. It's the list you ALL've been waiting for!

The final, ultimate, balls-to-the-wall, down-to-business, no-bullcrap-about it. I'm a gamer since 4 yrs old, and therefore during the last 21 years I've played a TON of games. Some good, some bad, but these... these are the cream of the butter. Legends. Epic Wins, if you will.

Best Videogames I Have Ever Played.

Instead of doing a simple Top N and/or splitting them between genres, I've decided to be original and split them between themes. And then, I've sorted the themes in a descending order. Also, there are some duplicates among the lists, but that's understandable since many of them encompass more than one stylistic genre. Also, I haven't included casual games, but I'd like to honor them beforehand - Tetris, Kyodai Mahjong and Minesweeper are my favorite timekillers for as long as I know myself.

As for the rest...

Science Fiction: Marathon 2: Durandal
Unsorted runners-up: Marathon, Marathon Infinity, Cyber Org, DOOM, Turrican 3, Einhander, Star Control 1-2, Phantasy Star Universe series, Dune 1-2, X-COM 1-3, Elite 1-2, Quake 2, Quazatron, Academy, Unreal, Flashback: Quest For Identity

Cyberpunk: Deus Ex
Unsorted runners-up: Crusader: No Remorse, Marathon, Metal Gear Solid, Cyberlords: Arcology, Contra: Hard Corps

Sci-Fi Action: Gunstar Heroes
Unsorted runners-up: Contra, Gunstar Super Heroes, GunForce 2, Commander Keen 6, Tyrian, Oni, Soldier Blade, Exolon, Trantor: The Last Stormtrooper, Rogue Trooper (1986), Disruptor

Post-Apocalypse: Fallout 2
Unsorted runners-up: Fallout, Necrodome, Quarantine

'Die Hard On An X': Half-Life
Unsorted runners-up: System Shock 2, Metal Gear Solid, Saboteur 2, The Great Escape (1986)

Dystopia: Crusader: No Remorse
Unsorted runners-up: Deus Ex, Freedom Fighters, Unreal Tournament

War: Call Of Duty
Unsorted runners-up: Gears Of War 2, Operation Flashpoint, Command & Conquer, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, Command & Conquer: Generals, Harrier Attack, Shock Troopers

Political Thriller: Metal Gear Solid
Unsorted runners-up: Crusader: No Remorse

Comedy: Duke Nukem 3D
Unsorted runners-up: MDK 1-2, Earthworm Jim 1-2, Battletoads, Battletoads And Double Dragon, Scorched Earth, Commander Keen 6, Kyatto Ninden Teyandee, Metal Slug 3, Off-World Interceptor Extreme

Body Horror: System Shock 2
Unsorted runners-up: Dead Space, Super C, Parasite Eve, Resident Evil 4, Venom

Zombie Horror: Resident Evil 2
Unsorted runners-up: Resident Evil 1/3/5, Left 4 Dead, System Shock 2, Half-Life

Supernatural Horror: DOOM
Unsorted runners-up: Silent Hill, Maken Shao: Demon Sword

Vampire Horror: Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night
Unsorted runners-up: Castlevania: Rondo Of Blood, Castlevania Bloodlines, BloodRayne

Romance: Ys I&II Chronicles
Unsorted runners-up: Metal Gear Solid 3

Police Action: Pursuit Force
Unsorted runners-up: True Crime: Streets Of L.A., Max Payne, Turbo Esprit

Crime: Max Payne
Unsorted runners-up: GTA, GTA 3, Streets Of Rage 2

Martial Arts: Mortal Kombat 3
Unsorted runners-up: Ninja Gaiden 1-3, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2, Double Dragon 2, Street Fighter 2, Saboteur 2

Fantasy: Hexen 2
Unsorted runners-up: Hexen, Ys I&II Chronicles, The Dark Heart Of Uukrul, Quake, The Legend Of Kyrandia 1-2, Super Mario Bros., Fairlight, Rapscallion, Savage (1988)

Pseudo-Historical Fantasy/Peplum: God Of War
Unsorted runners-up: Praetorians, Knights Of The Cross

Mecha: Zone Of The Enders: The 2nd Runner
Unsorted runners-up: Metal Warriors

‘Girls With Guns’: Super Metroid
Unsorted runners-up: Metroid: Zero Mission, Metroid Fusion, Parasite Eve, BloodRayne, Oni

Religious: Requiem: Avenging Angel
Unsorted runners-up: Apocalypse

Driving: Carmageddon 2
Unsorted runners-up: Carmageddon, Twisted Metal 2, Off-World Interceptor Extreme, Quarantine

Adventure: I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream
Unsorted runners-up: ZZT, The Legend Of Kyrandia 1-2, Flashback: Quest For Identity, Another World

Adult: Cobra Mission
Unsorted runners-up: Amy's Fantasies, Wet: The Sexy Empire, True Love

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PC/DOS: Duke Nukem 3D

PC/Windows: Unreal Tournament

PC/Linux: DOOM 3

MacOS: Marathon 2: Durandal

ZX Spectrum: Saboteur 2

Commodore 64: Enforcer

MSX: Metal Gear

Atari 2600: River Raid

NES: Kyatto Ninden Teyandee

Game Boy/Color: Operation C

PC Engine: Soldier Blade

Sega Mega Drive: Contra: Hard Corps

Sega Game Gear: GG Aleste

SNES: Super Metroid

Neo Geo: Metal Slug 3

3DO: Crime Patrol

PlayStation: Metal Gear Solid

Neo Geo Pocket Color: SNK Gals Fighters
(blow me)

Nintendo 64: DOOM 64

Game Boy Advance: Metroid: Zero Mission

Dreamcast: Resident Evil: Code Veronica X

PlayStation 2: Metal Gear Solid 3

PSP: Pursuit Force

Xbox 360: Gears Of War 2

PlayStation 3: Dead Space

Android: Cyberlords: Arcology