The Zero Hour

Reviews, rants and oddities on video game and film culture.

Monthly Archives: October 2009

Pop review #1: The Top 10

I’m quite a big music fan and as such, I’m really open to a lot of musical styles, my iPod boasts Rock, Indie, pop, classical, Hip hip and Video game music to name a few genres. However, the other day I thought do you know what would be fun, looking at what’s popular in music and analyzing it. So I started a new feature called Pop Review. Here I look at current musical trends and pit them agaisnt each other in a bloody battle royale for the best song. Today our subject is: The top 10.

The Official Singles Chart has been a staple of the British Music Industry for sometime, of course, in recent years it’s fallen out of favour and the single as a format is all but dead, however after allowing download sales to count, it feels reborn, but odd. Especially when you consider that ANYTHING can be downloaded, Jeff Buckley’s Halleujah is a good example. It was originally released in the early ’90’s, however last christmas it had a surge in popularity leading it to n0 2 behind…Halleujah by Alexandra Burke. Anyway, that’s not the point, let’s get cracking with this.

10. Young Soul Rebels – I Got Soul

This is a charity single by a collaboration of artists. It’s a cover of The Killers All These Things I’ve Done and it’s not bad, but at the same time. There’s nothing wow about it. Bland. Bland. Bland. Bland. I’ll give it some merit because it’s a charity single

7/10

9. Michael Buble – Haven’t Met You Yet

Swing music. Seriously? It’s not 1962 anymore. I thought the last track was bland, but this…wow. All is forgiven Young Soul whatever…This is the kind of music “Your mum likes” and is found in every corner of Tesco’s. The album’ll sell loads by Christmas, so buy a copy for your mum, she’ll like it, but you won’t.

4/10

8. Jay Z – Empire State Of Mind

Now this is pretty good. I love Alicia Key’s chorus line, don’t feel anything from the lyrics, but then I didn’t really like New York that much. But a really strong song here, I’m worried the more it’s listened to the more I’ll detest it but for now…

9/10

7. The Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling

You all know this one, right? It’s that song you heard at a party, where you were all dancing meerily. It sounds better when you’re drunk. It’s just bouncy, there’s not much else I can say about it, other than the line
“Fill up my cups/Mozzeltauf” Is awful…really awful…I think Will.I.Am has really gone downhill over the past few years, I’ve never been a fan of BEP, but tracks like Don’t Phunk With My Heart where at least fun and knew they were stupid. Whereas here, they’re just bad.

4/10

6. Taio Cruz – Break Your Heart

Ahhh, It’s time for average American R&B tune of the week. Oh He’s British? Cool. That bumped this up to a 6.

6/10

5. Whitney Houston – Million Dollar Bill

Ok, now this is the average American R&B tune of the week, althoguh it’s Whitney Houston, drugged up* living legend on a comeback. The song isn’t bad, but again, It’s pretty average and it doesn’t make me feel anything.

5/10

*I’d like to point out, Whitney Houston, at leat to my knowledge, isn’t currently on drugs, so…yeah. Don’t claim this a reliable source.

4. Bodies – Robbie Williams

No. Just no.

0/10

3. Chipmunk – Oopsy Daisy

If we were playing, guess the British Rapper in the chart, You’ve just won a prize, it urks me that British rapper have to use “Englishisms” as a gimmick just to show a wide audience that they’re not American. It sounds like I’m putting down British R&B/Hip hop, which isn’t my intention, I do believe we have some thing to show, but it’s not this. Any song that has a female warbling “I’m a walking disaster is pretty horrible,”

4/10

2. Alexandra Burke – Bad Boys

Didn’t expect this as the comeback for last years X Factor winner. I have a  bit of respect for her for coming back and not following in the footsteps of Leona, the other one, the one before…and actually getting her foot in the door, you can’t move for seeing her on TV at the moment. The song itself is catchy, really catchy. I think it’s Xenomania composed (so that’ll explain it…) which is never a bad thing. It’s not something I would willingly listen to and Flo Rida (whose lyrics I wasn’t to keen on before…) seems to have written his part in about 5 minutes on a lunchbreak, but it’s a pretty solid song. Just try to resist the temptation to sing the theme from Cops at the end.

7/10

1. Cheryl Cole – Fight For This Love

Ah. Cheryl. She can’t do anything wrong. She appeared in a reality show, the nation loved her, she appeared as part of a girl group, the nation loved her more than the other 4. She got married to a footballer, suddenly no-one gave shit about Posh Spice (Hurray!). She became a judge on another reality show, the natio…you get the idea. She was always bound for more success than the rest of Girls Aloud and now, she’s got it. This is the fastest selling single of the year. And for good reason. Again, despite the fact I quite like Girls Aloud, this isn’t something I would listen to willingly, but it is a brilliant pop tune. However it does keep the pretty bad lyrics of Girls Aloud, which stops it becoming a perfect pop song. (“Now everyday’s no picnic/It won’t be no walk in the park”. Ouch…) I can see why people are enjoying this, it does hit some points (“What’s worth having is worth fighting for”) that I can see people really believing in. I think though it doesn’t really show off potential skill that she obviously has, and that’ll be the real test for the future.

8/10

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The Greatest Nintendo Endings 10-1 (Spoilers, still)

10. The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

The legend of Zelda is the bleakest Zelda ever, (want proof?) Link and the gods have stopped Skull Kid and Link has gone into the bizarre afterlife esque dimension and destroyed the Mutated Resident Evil style Majora’s Mask. What follows? The Dawn Of A New Day. Just those words are beautiful to read and the most clear way to see how you succeded. All loose ends are partially tied up (it’s impossible to tie up them ALL mind) But everyone lives, just this once, EVERYBODY LIVES!

Essential Moment: “Dawn Of…A NEW DAY”

9. Eternal Darkness

Eternal Darkness is potentially the bleakest game on the list, Pius, the messenger of the chosen god is destroyed, as is the god. However, another god remains in our dimension, who will destroy the universe.  He is binded by Edwars ghost. After completing the game 3 times, all the gods are destroyed. Except one. Mantarok,  lays in his tomb trapped for all eternity…waiting.

Essential Moment: Edward: “He sits, slowly dying, festering….waiting”

8. Banjo Kazooie

Earlier in the list, we saw Banjo Tooie, the sequel to this game. This game isn’t as silly, but is fairly bonkers. Banjo and Kazooie summon the Jinjonator who continually rams into Grunty, knocking her off her tower, Which, somehow doesn’t kill her, and neither does the rock that lands on top of her. Banjo, Kazooie, Bottles, Tooty and Mumbo then sit on a beach discussing the sequel and Stop ‘n’ Swop (Also, notice the innuendo with the bikini girl). What a shame it won’t actually be in the sequel….And Grunty is doomed to spend the rest of her life under a rock, whilst Klungo tires (admittedly not very hard) to free her.

Essential Moment: Captain Blubber riding past on a Jet-ski, a hint to his profession in the sequel.

7. The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Midna’s not dead! Over a beautiful soundtrack, Ganondorf is once again defeated and Hyrule is safe. However, Link sees something on the horizon. Midna, the Twilight Princess is alive and back in her true form, a green beautiful woman. And as the credits roll, you see the children return to their homes, everyone doing the Malo dance (OoT reference?) Hyrule Castle being restored and Link riding off into the sunset away from everyone else…h and Midna leaves Link…forever. It’s touching.

Essential Moment: Zant’s spirit killing Ganondorf, the apprentice becoming the master.

6. Super Mario Galaxy

WELCOME NEW GALAXY! In order to Stop Bowser’s new Galaxy forming, all the lumas do a suicide leap to overpower it, sending Mario, Peach, Bowser and well, pretty much everyone hurtling through space, before landing on Terra Firma. Suddenly, it’s obvious, Rosalina and the lumas have gone and created a new Galaxy, as told by the library logs. But the scene where the Lumas all jump into the blackhole is really sad and touching, especially when Mario’s waves him good bye, it’s actually quite sad to see a little character who’ve you’ve not really noticed the whole time go, maybe we’ll meet again in the sequel…

Essential Moment: Rosalina: “Yes…all new life…”

5. Super Mario World

Mario and Peach are going on a vacation. With Yoshi. Yay! Nah, what really makes this games ending amazing is giving out the names of all the enemies, the best three being Chargin’ Chuck (the American Football koopas), Amazin’ Flying Hammer Brother and Rip Van Fish. Let’s think about that last one for a second, Rip Van Fish. Possibly the greatest enemy name ever.

Essential Moment: “Mario and the Princess are going on Vacation”

4. Conker’s Bad Fur Day

I love the monologue and RObin Beanland’s haunting score as the credits roll here. For a game that based itself on immature humour and movie references (Alien is the final boss) it’s quite a dark, adult ending, maybe symbolic of the game growing up. Berri is dead and Conker is king, king of all the land. But he doesn’t want it, he just wants to go home with Berri. It’s pretty melancholic and dark and ends with him leaving the pub, walking in the other direction…Chris Seavor (Head Conker Honcho) said that the original ending was to have Conker commit suicide, but it was changed. Although as horrible and ending as that would be, it may have been more fitting.

Essential Moment: Conker’s whole haunting monologue, laden with regret, amazingly voiced by Chris Seavor.

3. Yoshi’s Island

Yoshi’s Island is a great ending, not because it’s an end, it’s actually a beginning. That doesn’t make sense, right? Well, Yoshi reuinites the two babies back together and they are taken to their parents. Now, throughout the game, although it’s obvious, you never really make the link between Baby Mario=Mario. So at the very end, your heart warms when they’re taken to their mushroom house and the words “Our Heroes are born” come up on the screen, you smile your face off. Of course, that’s been ruined for me when I showed my friend the ending and he replied “But Mario was born in Brooklyn,” Dagnabbit…

Essential Moment: “Our Heroes are born”

2. The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker

The Wind Waker is my all time favourite game, I lvoe it, so it’s not surprising it turned up here. Link stabs Ganondorf IN THE HEAD. Turning him to stone forever with the master sword stuck in him. However because of the Kings actions, Hyrule is finally going to drown and be lost forever. The kings final act to is to make sure Link and Zelda escape back to the surface. The King stays with his fallen kingdom, despite Link, as he floats back to the surface trying to save him. It’s utterly tragic. After the credits, Link and Tetra leave Outset Island, never to return. The credits that play are the most beautiful credits sequence imaginable with every character appearing, an amazing score and the games conclusion feels like a dead end to the series. Although they succesfully told another story after this,  it feels like a conclusion.

Essential Moment: Daphnes Hyrule: “But that land will not be Hyule…it will be…YOUR LAND,”

1. Mother 3

Mother 3 has the bleakest ending of all time, Claus, Lucas’ brother has just killed himself after realising all the pain he’s put Lucas and his family through. Now Lucas must pull the needle, awakening the dark dragon and starting the world all over again. Basically, you destroy the world to put it bluntly. But, there is a plus side here, after all the tragedy, the destruction, you’re left with a blank screen. Wander around a bit and you’ll find. Everyone’s alive. It’s the gaming equivalent of a horrible fire destroying your crops and finding a sprout growing. It brings a tear of joy to your face as everyone congratulates you personally. The door knob is then passed down to you and you’re left to imagine, what will happen to the world? As the credits roll. Then you’re left with one image. The game logo, the metal chipped away to reveal a completely wooden logo with the earth spinning around. Proving Nature has won out in a battle  against nuture. Truly breathtaking, tragic, beautiful and uplifting at once.

Essential Moment: The whole thing



I could not think of a better way to end this countdown.

The 20 Greatest Nintendo Endings 20-11 (Spoilers, obviously)

20. The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time

Wait, Ocarina Of Time, only 20th? What is this travesty? Well, you moan, but compared to all the other 3D Zeldas and A Link To The Past, it’s fairly weak. But by no means is it bad. Ganondorf is sent to the Sacred Realm for all eternity and curses Link, Zelda and the sages (he will get revenge on the latter in A Link To The Past) and everyone in Hyrule celebrates along to the infectious Saria’s Song, whilst Zelda sends Link back to his true time, who then tells Zelda of the future, creating a massive time paradox that echoes throughout the series from that point on.

19. Super Mario Sunshine

Ok, so admittedly there’s some horrible voice acting in this game, but I really felt this had to be added for 2 reasons, Toadsworth and Mario landing face first in the sand. However at one fatal consequence. FLUDD dies. Actually, I don’t really care and the Toads fix it anyway. But then you get some nice holiday snaps over the credits. Admittedly I’m begining to wonder why I placed this above OoT. But then, meh.

18. Lylat Wars

Lylat Wars is amazing for many reasons. One. Just a great Sci-fi dogfight simulator. 2. Terrible Dialogue. and so on…Lylat Wars ends in a similar way to both Return Of The Jedi (Fox escaping an exploding base) and A New Hope (a fanfare led awards ceremony) Which is both terrible and brilliant at the same time. I love the line where Fox goes “We do thing sout own way” and that epic score of the main theme as Fox and co run (pretty dodgly) across the land as Great Fox rises behind them. Then sometimes the picture of Andross that appears, hinting a sequel.

17.  Banjo Tooie

Those cheeky chaps at Rare make their first appearence on this chart. For the record, Rare were a 2nd Party Developer for Nintendo back in the day, so this counts as a Nintendo game. Anyway, Banjo Tooie is a very silly game, the game ends with Grunty’s tank blowing up, destroying her skeleton. So Banjo and Kazooie go to Bottles (whose recently been brought back from the dead) to celebrate, however Klungo’s been and eaten everything (Swine) and Mumbo and Humba are bickering. However all problems are solved when they decide to kickabout Grunty’s decapitated skull, who then tells you she’ll be back in Banjo Threeie. It sounds morbid when you say it, but it’s delightful and fairly mental. All that’s missing is Captain Blubber on a UFO, wait…

16. Metroid Prime 3

Metroid Prime 3 is the perfect end to a great trilogy. Overhsadowed by Halo by FPS fans though (ok, granted it’s an FPA (First Person Adventure)) but still ends brilliantly. The fleet are escaping Phaaze as it’s near it’s destruction and with Samus’ corruption on maximum, the outcome is pretty bleak. The wormhole closes with Samus inside…or does it? Anyway, after it’s over, Samus (in all her sexy Zero Suit glory) recalls her adventure and takes off, unaware she’s been followed…

15. Pokemon Red/Blue

Really, I could place any Pokemon game here, but my nostalgia whoreness insists on this. You’ve just beaten Blue, or whatever you called him and he’s not happy about this (although it’s a lot of fun when you replay it with Lvl 100’s and he’s still surprised that he lost) Anyway, Oak shows up and tells him he’s a rubbish trainer and has been doing it wrong. Making you feel better from the abuse he’s been giving you over the course of the game, before taking Red to be registered in the hall of fame.

14. Super Mario Bros.

Just because let’s face it, after seven castles of “The Princess is in another castle” It’s nice to see somthing thats not a Toad. And she challenges you to do it again. Does she not care for what we’ve just been through?

13. The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past

Ganon is destroyed again, this time with Silver Arrows and The Master Sword, Hyrule is safe and the Dark World becomes the Sacred Realm again. Also, Link gets his grubby mitts on the Triforce, can’t say fairer than that. But there’s more, we’re re-united with every character we’ve met and how their story ends. Quiant and beautiful.

12. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn

Ike, our one dimensional hero and Michiah, out favourite light mage and carrier of Yune destroy Ashera, creating Ashunera. the real god. The land of Tellius is unfrozen and the gods apologize for their actions. Then all the heroes go their seperate ways. Depending on who you’ve killed, the ending differs and their story may remain untold.

11. Super Paper Mario

Aaaah. Bleck and Tippi turn out to be the loved ones the whole time, ok, it was obvious, but the ending here really does it justice. It’s a nice twist that the primary antagonist ends up saving the world. And it’s a really sweet note  to finish on.