Ultrasonic’s thoughts: Independence Day video game (Sega Saturn, Playstation 1)

When Independence Day came out in theaters, it was definitely a movie that helped bring back the summer blockbuster, which had been in a bit of slump for a while until the mid/late 90s. Given the science-fiction/action nature of the film – particularly with regards to the dogfight scenes between Earth’s fighter planes and the Alien Attackers – it felt like there was a video game that could be made out of this. Or at least that was the mindset the developers at Radical Entertainment had when they got the call to create a video game tie-in to the film.

Much like the flight simulator games that came out during this time, ID4 puts you in the cockpit of a fighter plane – with Steve Hiller as your wingmate – and you have to complete an objective for the place you are at (destroy Shield generators, protect an AWAC, shoot down X amount of Alien craft) and then once you complete that objective you then have to take out the City Destroyer’s primary weapon to complete the whole mission.

Sounds simple enough, right? Well, there’s the fact that you have to contend with Alien Attackers that will try to shoot you down, to say nothing of everything else the enemy will try to throw at you – gun turrets, smaller transport ships, and other types of attackers besides the one audiences know from the film.

In just about every location you will find yourself confined to flying underneath the Destroyer so you can only go so far. However, the space is large enough to where you can take it all in, while trying not to get shot down, of course. Plus the fact that you can shoot down the Alien Attackers is definitely a plus.

While the fighters you fly can take punishment – unlike the movie – that’s not to say they are invincible, for the life gauge – or shield gauge if you want to call it that – does decrease as as you get hit by enemies weapons or even if you accidentally run into buildings or even get up close and personal with either the City Destroyer or the perimeter shield. Plus the missiles you have will also decrease as you use them, and if you run out you’ll be in quite a pickle because while the cannon you have shoots unlimited tracers, it’s not going to inflict as much damage as missiles will.

But of course, what kind of shooter is complete without power-ups? And this game has plenty. From to missile power-ups to Health power-ups to repair your fighter jet, even one that not only repairs your fighter’s life gauge to the max, but gives you an energy shield of your very own, you’re pretty much set. But’s only the tip of the iceberg, because there’s plenty of other power-ups to discover, from finding other fighter planes to unlock, along with other types of power ups that can range from freezing aliens for a short time, as well as weapons that can either blind alien craft from seeing where they’re going to sending them out of control, and even unlocking portals that can take you to different places, this game definitely wasn’t lacking in material.

(The Alien attackers definitely got my attention more, given their design aesthetic. I wonder if some of these were done by concept artists from the movie but never made it into the final cut)

In all, this game was a decent one to me. While it was no StarFox 64 epic by any means it isn’t as awful as some say it is, and if nothing else it was a game that tried to be more than just a cash-in.

So if nothing else it is a game that will at least keep you entertained for a while.


References: https://independenceday.fandom.com/wiki/Independence_Day_(video_game)

Pokemon The Movie 2000 20th Anniversary

In keeping with the 20th birthday of certain films, it seems there is yet another film that has hit that milestone, and it is none other than the second film in the Pokemon anime, and that is Pokemon The Movie 2000!

But first, let’s see what was at the end of the first film post-credits:

Now up to this point there had only been the first film Pokemon: The First Movie, but to my 15-year old self, it slipped my mind that that film was only the start of several movies to come, and with this film boy was I blown away, because this one was definitely different from the first. This one had a larger scope, where the secondary characters were more interesting than before, the stakes were a lot higher, and even our usual bumbling antagonists found themselves stepping up and helping our heroes out.

But perhaps one of the best surprises about this movie is the music. The themes used in the film are very reminiscent of what many films both animated and live-action did during the 80s and 90s (a trend that sadly seemed to end shortly after this). The fact that even Donna Summer got involved in the making of the soundtrack along with songwriter/producer David Foster (whose own track record consists of the soundtrack for the movie St. Elmo’s Fire as well as countless other songs for Celine Dion, Michael Buble, etc.) should tell you the quality of talent involved, and a soundtrack that holds up remarkably well.

(But I really have to ask, why didn’t they do a music video for “The Power of One”? They did one for M2M’s “Don’t Say You Love Me” for the previous Pokemon film.)

In a nutshell, put all those elements together and you have yourself a grand adventure that is truly worthy of a cinematic experience.

So if you have not seen the film, fear not, for there’s many ways to do so, whether it be from iTunes or the 3 disc Blu-Ray set that has the first three films.

And when you watch the film, you will definitely believe in the tag line that one person can indeed make all the difference, even one who seems the least likely of all.

X-Men 20th Anniversary

20 Years ago…a movie was released in theaters that would help kickstart a set of movies that would ultimately set the stage for Marvel Studios to arrive years later.

So for all X-Men fans out there, what memories of this film were your favorites?

Star Wars The Bad Batch Animated Series Coming Soon!

Attention Star Wars Fans! Today the new Star Wars animated series has been announced for Disney+. Titled Star Wars the Bad Batch, it will follow the titular characters as they deal with the aftermath of The Clone Wars. The Bad Batch will be executive produced by Dave Filoni and other veterans of the previous Star Wars animated series.

The Bad Batch aka Clone Force 99 is a squad of super-enhanced clones introduced in the final season of The Clone Wars. The squad includes Hunter, Wrecker, Tech, Crosshair, and their latest member Echo. Each member of the Bad Batch has desirable mutations that allow them to excel at different jobs and working together they make a formidable squad.

My Thoughts

I think this show has a lot of promise and deals with a side of The Clone Wars that I don’t think we’ve ever really explored before: What happened to the Clones after Order 66? Since the start of The Clone Wars series, this has been a question that I keep thinking about. While we got an answer for Rex, Wolf, and Gregger when they appeared in Star Wars Rebels but it didn’t answer what happened to all of them. With this series though we get to make a laser focus on the clones and maybe we get to see how they were affected by the changing galaxy and Order 66. I can’t wait till it premieres next year on Disney+. Stay tuned to this site for more updates on this upcoming series!

But what do you think? Leave your comments below.

Click here to read my review of the Bad Batch Arc from Star Wars The Clone Wars’ final season.

StarWars.com article on The Bad Batch Announcement.

Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja Review – Now-stalgia on Disney+

Series' title card

Premise 


For 800 years The Ninja has protected Norrisville. Unbeknownst to the citizens every four years the mantle of The Ninja is passed to a new person, which is ninth-grader, Randy Cunningham. Now he must learn how to use his ninja powers to protect his city from an ancient evil. 

 

The Positives


Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja has several things going for it; a unique look, a great voice cast, and some truly funny jokes. The unique look of the cartoon is mostly credited to Jhonen Vasquez, the creator of Invader Zim. Jhonen’s design style is very unique which makes Randy Cunningham stand out from most cartoons out there. Another point in its favor is the voice cast, which is stellar. The cast includes Randy himself voiced by Ben Schwartz of Parks and Rec fame, John DiMaggio from Adventure Time and Futurama, Kevin Michael Richardson from Teen Titans and Green Lantern the animated series, and of course, Tim Curry of Home Alone 2 and Clue fame plays the main villain (even though he only does it for the first season). Because of the pedigree of voice actors, the cartoon never feels dull or that comes from the actors are phoning it in. In fact, it seemed that the voice cast had fun with their characters especially Ben Schwartz. Finally in a world where cartoons and animated films seem only to rely on fart jokes Randy Cunningham also does. Though every once in a while the show can have some really funny jokes which made me laugh that wasn’t fart related. These would usually come from Randy and his pal Howard which is important cause it made you like the characters. I also want to make an honorable mention to another weird but fun part of the cartoon which is the unique sayings they have throughout. These include everything being Bruce or calling people a shoob. I like that they added their own kind of popular language to the characters. It gives the world a special feel even if it’s a bit confusing at times what they actually mean. 

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The Negatives


While Randy Cunningham is an interesting take on the high schooler hero genre unfortunately it isn’t the best example of it. Many shows have come before it and done a similar story better like Kim Possible and Danny Phantom. This doesn’t make it a bad show by any means just a show that had a lot of potential but never used it correctly. Most of my problems with the show stem from there not being any real character growth. Every episode of the series sees Randy learning a lesson but you never see him grow as a character. Likewise the show puts forth a lot of great questions that if answered would elevate the show quality wise while building the world but they never really answer those questions they just kind of leave it hanging. Some of these questions include: why was Randy chosen as The Ninja? Why is McFist, one of the villains of the story after The Ninja when he already owns the town for the most part? Where are Randy’s parents? I believe if they would have answered some of these questions and given the characters some growth through the series it might have made this a classic. Unfortunately, it just falls short of that and with some other classic shows doing it better it can come off as forgettable. 

Final Thoughts 


Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja has a lot of things going for it; a great voice cast, interesting ideas, and a unique animation style. Despite these great things the show falls short due to its lack of character development and world-building. By no means is it a bad show and I say check it out on Disney+ if you get the chance. Just know that it’s not as good as it could be compared to other shows that have come before it and use the teenage superhero trope better.

Series Review Score: B

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie (25th Anniversary)

25 years ago today, a motion picture based on a phenomenal TV Show – or should I say morphinomenal – was released in theaters, to the joy of young fans the world over, including yours truly (I was nine at the time).

So for those who were able to see this movie when it came out, what memories do you have about the movie, or just anything Power Rangers-related?

Teaser Poster

The Electric Circus! Episode 17- PlayStation Memories!

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Hey Arcaders!

with Sony announcing the PS5, we thought we would go over all of our PlayStation memories! What was your favorite PlayStation system? or your favorite game on any of Sony’s platforms?  Let us know in the comments!

Pac-Man On Square Pegs!

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Hey Arcaders!

I want to thank each and every one of you for making Pac-Man month better than I could ever imagine. It’s been a blast! Don’t worry- I’ll be keeping up on the Pac-Man articles even though it’s over!

But to end everything on a high note (pun intended) I want to have the last article of Pac-Man month be a great one!

So here’s an episode of a show I grew up with- I think most of the older Arcaders (like me) will remember.

in 1982, a show aired called Square Pegs. It’s a fun romp, showing the different cliques in a high school. one episode in particular had our little yellow friend- and it’s called Pac-Man Fever! Check it out!

Don’t fret- the month may be over- but The Pac-Fun isn’t!

Keep Playin Like It’s 1981!

Avatar: The Last Airbender Review

We have all heard the phrases, “Once upon a time…”  as well as “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…” but in February 2005, a new opening phrase was created.

“Water, earth, fire, air…”

If one hadn’t seen the intro one would think that it was yet another generic adventure series, nothing too serious.  But if one took a closer look, they would find that this is no regular animated show on Nickelodeon.  In fact, much like certain animated series from the 90s – like Batman The Animated Series and Disney’s Gargoyles – this would be yet another great show that challenged the conventions of animation on TV, and would become a true classic.

Created by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, Avatar takes place in a world that is made up of four different nations: The Air Nomads, The Earth Kingdom, The Water Tribe, and The Fire Nation.  For many generations the four nations “lived together in harmony”, but then the Fire Nation became power-hungry and began attacking the other nations in an attempt to seize more power.  Fortunately there was one force that could stop them: The Avatar, a being who has the ability to utilize all of the four known elements – water, earth, fire, and air – to keep balance in the world.  Unfortunately this individual had disappeared at a critical moment in the conflict and as such the Fire Nation was able to continue extending their grasp over the world.  Despite this a Water Tribe native named Katara still held out hope that the Avatar would return, given that the being had the ability to reincarnate itself within different people over the centuries, with Roku being the most recent.  In keeping with the life cycle this would mean that the next one to have the Avatar’s power would be an Air Nomad, though no one had seen said nomads in a long time.

The story begins with Katara and her brother Sokka out to catch fish to bring back to their tribe, and Katara is practicing her ability to waterbend, something that her brother dismisses.

After no success in their hunt, which in turn leads to an all out argument between the two siblings, Katara and Sokka discover an iceberg that surfaces in front of them, only the iceberg isn’t empty.

Once Katara breaks the ice enough a figure emerges, revealing itself to be a young airbender a few years younger than the two siblings with arrow tattoos on his head and arms named Aang.  Once Katara introduces herself and her brother Aang introduces his flying bison Appa and the group then make their way back to the Northern Water Tribe.

Unfortunately this didn’t go unnoticed to some extents, for a short distance away a Fire nation ship containing an exiled Prince Zuko and his Uncle Iroh was within range of seeing the energy emitted by the new Avatar, which Zuko happened to see.  While not much is known about why Zuko is so obsessed with finding the Avatar, it is something that becomes much more clearer as time goes by.

So Aang gets acquainted with the rest of Katara and Sokka’s tribe – small as it is – and brings a sense of fun to the children there, which is something they haven’t had in a while.

As Aang and Katara are going penguin sliding the duo stumble upon an old Fire Nation ship and Aang accidentally triggers one of the traps which in turn causes a flare to shoot out from the ship, thus catching the attention of Zuko.

Although Aang and Katara manage to get out of the ship the tribe reveals that a Fire Navy ship has been spotted and is on its way here.  Admitting his culpability and also at the insistence of Katara’s grandmother Aang leaves the village, but no sooner does he leave that the Fire Nation finds the village and attacks, with Zuko demanding the Avatar show himself. Fortunately Aang wasn’t too far away and eventually with the help of Katara and Sokka managed to fight Zuko and the rest of the Fire Navy off, but not without having the Airbender’s true identity as the Avatar revealed.

Despite not wanting anything to do with being the Avatar at first, Aang steps up and accepts his destiny and begins his journey with Katara, Sokka and Appa to master the other elements and bring balance to the world, as other Avatars before him had done.

While this is only the first two episodes of the series, it is one heck of an introduction.  Right away you meet most of the main characters who will play a massive part in the story that takes place over the course of three seasons, and not one moment is wasted.  And the writing on the show is treated the same way as some other animated shows from the 90s were-on multiple levels and even then, said writing was taken to a whole other degree not seen in a Nickelodeon show, which in turn led to winning an Emmy, Kid’s Choice and Peabody Awards as well as catching the attention of audiences beyond the kids.  Adults found themselves enthralled by the adventures of these characters as well, and thanks to the writing, all the characters grew and matured in very realistic ways that everyone could connect with.  And much like the best serialized storytelling, it all built to an incredible climactic finale that only a few sagas can match.

As such, this is a series that has endured, and transcended in many ways, and still holds up to this very day, and now that it has arrived on Netflix fans can once again enjoy the adventure from the beginning and for new fans to discover for the very first time.

So if whether you have Netflix, or if you have the Blu-Ray collection, watch this series.  There is a reason why it is hailed as one of the best animated series out there, and once you start watching Avatar, you will find yourself pulled in, and just like Aang’s friends when he goes into the Avatar state, you will find it a series to behold.

Team Avatar Assembled