The Zero Hour

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

Monthly Archives: February 2011

Aladdin


Anyone here remember Disney? You know that company that made Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, The Jonas Brothers, Goofy and other fictional characters that were never as good as Warner Bros cartoons. Observe these two cartoons. Now Disney being the rich moneybags that they are obviously had their hands in loads of pockets to sell their movies, like most films, there’s a large amount of tie-in merchandise that you can pick up. McDonalds happy meals of Eyeore, Disney Princess outfits, Toy Story pencil cases, Hannah Montana wigs, Mickey Mouse condoms, the list goes on. Naturally, as the industry grew and Mario was deemed more famous than Mickey Mouse, Disney decided to lend character rights to video game companies.

For some reason when everyone thinks of Disney video games now, they immediately point straight towards the crossover Kingdom hearts series, which no matter how many titles are made, Mickey Mouse still looks out of place next to a spikey haired tit with an oversized key. More recently, Mickey Mouse made a comeback in Epic Mickey, a game that its creator was so proud of, when it was reviewed, he said the critics “Weren’t playing it right” But I’ve waffled on long enough about Disney to pad out this wafer thin review, so we can start talking about this weeks classic game. There’s no mice, there’s not Goofy and thankfully, no fucking High School Musical, just Aladdin. Yeah, I can hardly contain my joy as well.

Aladdin was released in 1993 on the SNES to critical acclaim, despite it taking out various aspects of the original Mega Drive version. In case you’ve been living under a well the past 450 words, it’s clearly based on the Disney movie, which if you haven’t seen, I recommened you stop reading and pop down the shops and buy a copy, it’s been recently rereleased for DVD and Blu-ray and is a fairly good movie (Can I have my money now, Disney?)…done? Welcome back.
The game loosely follows the film in a hazy platforming game that’s not dis-similar to a certain plumber. In fact, there’s an enemy that throws barrels at you in level 2. It’s only missing the 8 bit sound effects and it’s exactly the same as Donkey Kong. The platformings not really anything special either, Aladdin doesn’t do anything special other than grab things, which isn’t that big on the unique platformer skill and probably why he’s not in the line-up of Super Meat Boy.

Throughout the levels, Aladdin has to collect jewels that after a whole levels worth, you have to wonder why he’s still poor and he also throws apples at enemies, because that’s the sort of thing poor people do, obviously, they don’t need to eat them. To be honest, just about everything in this game is neither original or indeed fun. It’s the video game equivalent of watching paint dry, despite cartoony characters trying to make things interesting and it’s incredibly difficult to have any enthusiasm for a game that’s just repetitive and boring. It is just jump, jump, bounce off someones head, jump, collect item. (Boss fight on Stage 3) Level finished and Aladdin looks at you smug like the stupid cocky idiot he is. HOW IS STARVING GOING FOR YOU?

And that’s just the problem, it’s not awful, no…well it is, but that’s not the point…actually it is, but it just constantly reminds me of what I could be playing instead. I don’t care for jumping on cartoony arab palace guards when I could be jumping on Goombas, I don’t want throw apples when I could throw barrels at crocodiles, I don’t want to be patronized by a stupid monkey when I could be patronized by a stupid mon…ok, nevermind that one. Another gripe is that whilst Disney movies themselves are good entertainment (and only about £10 or less from your local store, go and treat yourself!) the tie-in games just aren’t. I never look at a top quality Disney movie and think “I’d love to play as this character in a video game”…Apart from the guy from The Straight Story, now there’s a concept that should have been explored more in video game form. I actually contacted a well known video game company about the possibility of such a game. They responded with the following.

“Dear Mr Zero. Please stop sending us these letters. We have said on numerous occasions that neither The Straight Story, nor Suicide: The Musical On Ice: The Game were not suitable for development for several reasons that cannot be disclosed. Secondly, we do not make video games here and we never have. If you ever send a letter like this to Mr Clooney again, we will have no choice but to pursue legal action.”

Well that was rude. So whilst I’m waiting for the game tie-in for The Straight Story, I best get back to Disney and how they are super awesome and you should all go buy their films, tie in merchandise and visit their fantastic theme parks AND stay in their 5 star hotels whilst your there. Tangled is out in all good cinemas now. Go see it, it’s fantastic!

I think I’ll buy a yacht with the money…

The Surprisingly Deep Nature Of Character Naming In Mother 3

BIG BIG SPOILERS AHEAD

I love Mother 3, I’ve said I love it so many times that it’s boring now, but I digress. RPG’s and some adventure games have this neat option, that I’ve always liked. Basically, whilst most games have protagonists with fully fleshed out personalities, some games like Zelda and Pokemon allow you to name your playable character. Now this obviously makes the game that little bit more personal. You ARE that character, on Pokemon, I’m never “Red with a psuedonym” I’m Alex, a rookie trainer kicking all kinds of ass with a Blastoise. However, Pokemon’s the exception and usually I choose the default name, like Link in Zelda.

Mother 3 however is an interesting spin on this, the game not only allows you to name the main character Lucas whatever you want, but his twin brother Claus, his mother and father, Hinawa and Flint, their dog Boney and his friends Duster and Kumatora. All these characters can be renamed and you’re encouraged to name them after your own family (the creator, Shigesato Itoi, said this in an interview shortly after release)

Of course, as we know, this doesn’t end well. Hinawa and Claus both die in Chapter 1. Lucas becomes wracked with guilt and sadness and Flint spends the rest of the game hunting for Claus, who he doesn’t know is dead. Or if you name them after your family…Your mother and brother die, you spend the game wracked with sadness and guilt, your dad becomes distant searching for someone he can never truly find and eventually, your undead brother has to be killed by you.

So anyway, I started a new playthrough on Mother 3 a while back, naming all my characters after those in a Sci-fi book I wrote a draft of, which Mother 3 was an influence on. Then I realised that you can’t name Porky Minch, the main antagonist who pulls all the strings and I was a bit disappointed. Now, I was playing the game earlier and thought about that again, then came to the conclusion that in actual fact. This was a relief.

Think about it. Judging by the way you’re encouraged to name the protagonists after people you love, wouldn’t you be encouraged to name Porky after someone you hate? Imagine if you were encouraged to name him after, say your school bully or someone who made your life unbearable. Now, look at it this way;

The Bully sets up the machines and twists nature that kill your mother and your brother. He then brings an army into your home town and subsequently changes and warps it, turning the townspeople against you. Your father’s distant, you barely see him and your only friend is your dog and eventually 2 others who you meet on the way. Eventually you get the courage to stand up to the bully, who’s built himself a utopia in his image. You fight him, but you can never win. He will live forever, he’s trapped, but he can never die. And he leaves you. Against your own brother, who’s been rebuilt from machines, who doesn’t know you and tries to kill you AND then nearly kills your father, eventually realising who he is, your brother will kill himself. In front of you. All whilst you have to end the world…

And that’s just adding one more piece of yourself into the game. It’s potentially one of the saddest and most terrifying things I think you can put in a game and I do believe you’ll probably get a more meaningful and deep experience than if you call the dog Boney and the dad Flint. It’s just funny how just naming a character in a game can change the way you think about it.

Paul

Yes. This is a gaming site. Yes. I am reviewing a movie, is there a particular reason for it? Not really, I just felt like it and because let’s face it, one update a week isn’t amazing for hits.

Paul is the latest movie starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and before we carry on any further, I have to mention this, because everyone appears to be fooled by its misleading marketing. It is not the spiritual sequel to Shaun Of The Dead/Hot Fuzz, it’s connected to them by its lead actors and producer only. Edgar Wright has no involvement, as opposed to the writing and directing of the aforementioned movies and whilst I did enjoy Paul tremendously, Edgar Wright’s presence is missed.

There’s definitely something missing from Pegg/Frosts script, but I’m not sure quite what it is, it’s still tightly written, the jokes are funny and there’s a billion sci-fi references that manage to go over almost everyone’s heads to the point where I swear I was the only person in the cinema laughing at some parts, but it just doesn’t feel as good as it should do. Without spoiling it, there’s big reveal at the end of the movie that just feels as though it came from nowhere, no warning. Oh and whilst it’s not the movie’s fault, the OTHER reveal would have really felt incredible had it been kept a secret and the actor hadn’t been placed in the trailers and done publicity for it, so it was a bit of a let down in the first scene where they’re alluded to, to go “Oh that’s _________ character then” and then the final moment doesn’t feel it has an ending feel to it (although, that’s made up for in the credits)

The film is about Graeme and Clive, 2 Sci-fi loving Brits who’ve travelled to the US to attend Comic-Con and tour the UFO spots of America, but get more than they bargained for, when they come across a weed smoking alien, voiced by Seth Rogen. Obviously, I can’t review the movie without talking about Paul himself, he’s an entirely CGI creation, which for a 15 rated movie, is quite a gamble (remember for the most part, the CG/live action is reserved for family movies) and could be awful, but it really pays off. I’m aware, there’s such a thing as a “Seth Rogen character” and whilst Paul does sort of fit into it, the voice acting and the animation (and everyone elses around him) is so fantastic, he really does feel like part of the film and on the set, not something that was added into frame in post production and in the end what the film lacks in sentimentality, it really makes up for in characterisation.

I’m not keen on bringing up the Edgar Wright connection again, but he had this quote and ideal and I think it’s stuck with Simon and Nick here as well, which was “When we were making Hot Fuzz, we had great actors in every little part” and I think they’ve definitely done that in Paul. The film definitely feels more focused towards an American audience, which by all rights, it should and with that in mind, the casting has pulled out all the stops. Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) plays the FBI agent bent on catching Paul, assisted by Bill Hader (Rogens fellow cop in Superbad) and Joe La Truglio (who was also in Superbad…briefly) and then there’s Graeme’s love interest, a very religious Christian played Kristen Wiig (Whip It, Forgetting Sarah Marshall). I’d have liked to see more clever humour based around the whole science/faith debate, but then when you’re aiming for an American audience, I suppose you have to pick your battles…

Now as you’ve probably worked out, there is a Judd Apatow feel to some parts of the movie, there is an overuse of swearwords and a lot of humour is derived from it, which is a shame because we know that Pegg and Frost are capable of a lot more.

It’s by no means a perfect movie, what could have been a clever send up of road trips and the 80’s/90’s Spielberg blockbusters ultimately becomes a straight example of both, and there’s so much potential and ideas for it to be this clever, unique comedy, but it’s ultimately the most mainstream Simon Pegg written film yet, but it’s still a very funny and enjoyable film. The chemistry is spot on, the little details and throwaway lines are brilliant, the cast is fantastic and quite frankly, for a mainstream 15 rated comedy, it’s nice to see something that’s both an original concept and a pretty daring one to boot, in this age of unfunny rom-coms and sequels.

Oh, you want a rating? Fine… I give a 8/10.

The Legend Of Zelda 25th Anniversary Spectacular

I love Zelda. The Legend Of Zelda is what truly pushed me over the edge from “I quite like video games” to “I must have this in my life every day” which I still maintain to this day. I’d go so far to say that it’s my favourite Nintendo franchise, even in recent years when I’ve become aware of other brilliant series such as Mother and Fire Emblem and have fallen in love with the Super Mario Galaxy series. There’s always been something that pulls me back to Links great adventures, the settings, the characters, the beauty, the darkness, all of these things just ooze out of every cartridge or disc and take us away to a believable, yet impossible other world with all the strange, strange creatures, from Anuki to Zora, that inhabit it.  Nintendo have created a universe so dense and packed with mythology on par with Tolkien or Lucas with a fandom that may not be as obvious as the two figures mentioned, but just as dedicated. There are millions of fan forums filled with discussions of fan fiction, fan reworkings of the games scores*, and the possibility of a connection between all the games, hell, one of my most popular posts here was a de-construction of the brooding themes of Majora’s Mask.

Now, as today is the 25th anniversary of the original games Japanese release, I wondered how best I could show people just how incredible The Legend Of Zelda is and how much this series means to me, but besides playing it for yourself, it’s almost impossible to put into words. So I’m going to post my Top 25 of Zelda, from music, to missions, story plots to side quests. If you’re new to the series, have a read and go out and buy a copy of one of the 15 or so games available in all sorts of formats, but be warned, there’s a good chance of spoilers. If you’ve played any of them years ago, then prepare for a wave of nostalgia. If you play them regularly, I’m sure your favourite moments will appear here somewhere.

*Zelda Re-orchestrated have fantastic re-workings of most of  the series music, it’s absolutely amazing and it’s free.

Also, fandom rejoice, this is a CD-I FREE ZONE!!!

25. Hop on board (The Kangaroo) – Oracle Of Ages/Seasons

In the dual Zelda: Oracle Of Ages/Seasons, Link befriends Ricky, who’s not only a Kanagroo, allowing extra jump techniques. He also has boxing gloves. Now you tell me that’s not awesome.

24. Breaking into Arbiters Grounds – Twilight Princess

Twilight Princess, despite probably being the most hyped Zelda to date, failed to deliver for many people. The reveal trailer implied epic all against one battles, similar to those in Lord Of The Rings but most of the game kept a standard 2 or 3 enemies vs you. Except here. Link has to get into Arbiters Grounds, an ancient Hyrule prison (theorised by many to be the Spirit Temple from OoT) which is guarded by…a lot of Bublins, whilst they are fairly easy to defeat, the sheer amount on the ground and firing arrows at you, just keeps you on your toes.

23. E3 2004.

Watch this video, people went hysterical at the reveal of a new Zelda, no other series gets this amount of love when revealed.

22. I AM ERROR – Zelda II

‘nuff said

21. Dark Link – Ocarina Of Time

The Water temple is a lot of peoples least favourite Zelda moment, mostly due to the constant rise and fall of the water and the boot switching (which has been promised to be fixed in the upcoming re-make) and this guy. He’s not even the main boss and he infuriates so many. He’s about as skilled as you, knows and uses all your attacks and will even jump on your sword to taunt you. Hammer him to death.

20. The Moon – Majora’s Mask

The moon is probably the second greatest Zelda villain. He’s not even technically a villain, but a very humanized plot device. Big eyes, angry face and HE WILL CONSUME. CONSUME EVERYTHING!!!

19. Hylian Shield

The Hylian Shield that features in many Zelda games is nearly as iconic as the Master Sword to the point where it’s even part of the logo. It’s fire-proof, so it saves Link a few times and reasonably cheap…if you know the right people. A must have for all adventurers…plus there’s also a conspiracy regarding the golden triangle at the bottom in some variants. Is there a 4th piece of the Triforce…?

18.  Sea-faring – The Wind Waker/Phantom Hourglass

You may groan at how vast and empty the ocean is, but sailing is a big part of The Wind Waker and it’s sequel. The epic music drives you along and there’s still plenty of treasure hunting and colourful characters on each square. Phantom Hourglass made sailing easier and full control of your cannons, but it still doesn’t beat The King Of Red Lions…

17. Midna’s Lament – Twilight Princess

16.  Storming up Hyrule Castle – A Link To The Past/Twilight Princess

There’s something quite epic about running up a tall tower towards the end of games and A Link To The Past does a fantastic job of it (granted it actually occurs halfway through the game) storming past wave after wave of guards to THAT castle theme, determined to reach the top. Twilight Princess does a similar thing at the end, complete with ghosts of dead guards and the bleakest atmosphere you ever saw in a Zelda game.

15. Hero’s Bow

Think about it, The Hero’s Bow is probably one of the most important items you’ll find in a Zelda game. You’ll use it more than most other items and have it permanently assigned to C. That’s not to mention how, especially including upgrades, essential it is to beat Ganon in both A Link To The Past, Ocarina Of Time and The Wind Waker.

14. Song Of Storms


13. 7 Years Later… – Ocarina Of Time

The first half of Ocarina Of Time is quite relaxed, Hyrule is in an age of peace, everyones happy. After you open the door of time however…everything goes a little wrong. Hyrule Castle Town has been taken over by the undead, Ganondorf has taken control and rebuilt Hyrule Castle to his own twisted design, Ingo runs Lon Lon Ranch and Zora’s Domain has frozen over. Suddenly the game adds a sense of urgency as you have to right these wrongs for the good of Hyule.

12. Wild Horses – Various

Whilst I enjoyed sailing, there is nothing quite like owning your own horse and riding it everywhere. Ocarina Of Time was the first, done by winning a race against Ingo and earning her trust and Majora’s Mask also contained horse riding, but because of the smaller layout and the faster goron rolling, it’s not utilized as much. Twilight Princess, thankfully brought it back in force, allowing you to hack and slash, which made for an excellent mini-boss fight and stand-off with Lord Bulbo on many occasions.

11.  THIEF! – Links Awakening

Steal an item from a shop in Link’s Awakening. You won’t get arrested and put in jail, you’ll just be referred to as Thief by everyone for the rest of the game, it’s a small little detail, but one that I’m quite fond of…

“Guess what? You got it for free. Are you proud of yourself?”

“I wasn’t kidding when I said pay! Now, you’ll pay the ultimate price!!”

10. Hijacked by Ganon

Whilst this is named from a TV tropes article, which is the term used for when the games villain is swiftly usurped by someone more well known, I’m referring principally to the main antagonist of most of the series. Ganon is a fantastic villain, a power hungry magic wielding King Of Evil, using everyone as pawns in a diabolical game of chess. Obviously, his personality depends on the game in question, but as the series develops, you can see a madness emerging as he is constantly blinded by his power lust.

9. Fairy fountain/main menu

That music that plays on the file select menu, it’s the beautiful melody that’s almost otherworldly and is pretty much as iconic to the series as the main theme. It even cropped up to fantastic effect in my favourite movie, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World.

8. Reunited – Majora’s Mask

Majora’s Mask is chock full of side quests, and the most memorable of these is the Anju/Kafei mission. The story is that Anju and Kafei are too be married, but the Skull Kid has transformed Kafei back to a child and to make things worse, Sakon has stolen the ceremonial mask for their wedding. Through back and forth letters, pendants and a dangerous mission going deep into a thief’s hideout  you must help the two of them re-unite. At when they do, they no longer care that they’re about to die from the moon crashing into clock town, as long as their together.

7. The Dark World – A Link To The Past


6. The Master Sword

The Master Sword is one of the items that tie the series together. Also known as the blade of evil’s bane and only wieldable by a true hero, it holds incredible power to vanquish evil, travel in time and to regain one’s true form. Without it, Link would not be able to defeat Ganon. It’s location varies between games, from The Temple Of Time to The Lost Woods and underneath Hyrule Castle itself, but it’s the single most important item in the series that you will receive and it’s origins are to be explained in the upcoming prequel Skyward Sword.

5.  The Split Timeline Theory

Ok, so technically this isn’t in the game, but it’s been said by Miyamoto and Anouma to exist. The chronology of the games is a heavily debated subject that often divides many fans. The idea is that at the end of Ocarina Of Time, the story splits in two. One half follows on from the defeat of Ganondorf following the imprisoning war, as evidenced through The Wind Waker and another follows Young Link telling Zelda about the Imprisoning War before it happens, leading to Ganondorfs arrest, which is shown in Twilight Princess. Of course, where the other games fit in is a mystery, as at least from a personal point of view, Wind Waker and Twilight Princess finish off their respective timelines (excluding WW’s sequels)  More information can be found here;

http://zelda.wikia.com/wiki/Split_Timeline_Theory

4. The Triforce

The triforce is important. It’s the central religious belief that’s a constant throughout the entire series, left by the goddesses, it’s said whoever touches it gets their desire, which ultimately is Ganondorfs aim and what people have fought great wars over, as shown through A Link To The Past and Ocarina Of Time. It’s symbol of three triangles appears everywhere in every game (even Majora’s Mask) and is associatated pre-dominantely by Power, Wisdom, and Courage, all of which are personified by our main characters, Ganon, Zelda and Link, respectively. Whilst ultimately, it gives most games a sense of familiarity, the way it’s reacted to in every game, from a Holy Grail style conquest in ALTTP, to an item to be feared in Twilight Princess, makes every appearance, unique and even more powerful.

3. Inside Of The Moon – Majora’s Mask

It’s funny how the most emptiest of rooms can be the most frightening. It’s just a field. A field with mask wearing children. There’s something really creepy and worrying about how calm and collected it is, like an afterlife…It can’t be said enough, but Majora’s Mask is really a messed up game…

2. The Main Theme/Overworld

It’s just fantastic. I dare you to disagree. This is it through the ages.




1. The End – The Wind Waker

I’ve said several times that The Wind Waker is not just my favourite Zelda game, but my all time favourite game and the ending is just as epic and beautiful as the rest of the game. Link, Zelda and Ganondorf, the holders of the mythical Tri-force do battle on the tallest tower underneath the deepest ocean, which is poetic in itself. The bubble keeping the mythical land of Hyrule, the land that YOU, the player have fought for through so many games for so many years, has burst. It will be swept underneath the sea and forgotten forever. Ganondorf gives a speech that reminds me of Roy’s speech in Blade Runner,

My country lay within a vast desert, when the sun rose into the sky a burning wind punished my lands, searing the world. And when the moon climbed into the dark of night, a frigid gale pierced our homes. No matter when it came the wind carried the same thing… Death. But the winds that blew across the green fields of Hyrule brought something other than suffering and ruin. I… Coveted that wind, I suppose.

It can only be called fate… That here, I would again gather the three with the crests… That I should lay my hand on that which grants the wishes of the beholder… That when power, wisdom, and courage come together, the gods would have no choice but to come down… The power of the gods… The Triforce! He who touches it will have whatever he desires granted! Already the crest of wisdom is mine…(looking at Tetra/Zelda) All that remains…(looks at Link, and attacks him until Link is lying on the ground) Do not fear. I will not kill you… I merely have need of the power that dwells within you (picks up Link by wrist). Now! Let us put an end to that which binds us together! (Triforce pieces leave them, merging together)

After the battle, leaving behind the king of Hyrule in a moment that can only be described as heartbreaking, Link and Zelda float back to the surface and are re-united with all their loved ones and the credits roll. The most beautiful credit roll ever, to the point where I have gone on record to say I would like it played at my funeral in the case of my death because it’s both a celebration of life and death. A track that’s so beautiful and sad, but upbeat. We’re celebrating of vanquishing evil. But we’re mourning the end, not just the end of the game, but the end of Hyrule and maybe the end of the series. It sounds absurd, but if you follow the split time line theory, as discussed earlier, you know that Wind Waker is the end of that timeline. Sure, Phantom Hourglass followed directly after, but it feels like a spin-off than a follow-up and this is the finale for the series and the perfect way to end this.

Moonwalker


We all know who Michael Jackson is, right? That singer guy who decided to change his face for whatever reason, made the most successful album ever and was absolutely bat shit crazy to the point where he declared himself Peter Pan and looked after children in his mansion full of pictures of him as a king for 10 years…and then he died and everyone forgot about all that and just went “Yeah, that Billie Jean is a good song”

Now, I’ve never been a Michael Jackson fan. Ever. Sure, a couple of tracks slip through the haze to be considered “It’s not too bad, I suppose” but most of them come across as annoying and the later stages of his career, pretentious or whiny. If Michael Jackson has a problem with people picking on him, as Leave Me Alone suggests, why did he decide to get a diamond encrusted glove and a fairground in his back garden?

As most of these things do, Michael Jacksons soaring popularity during the 80’s led to him being featured in other media. Unfortunately, one of those were video games.  What have I done to deserve this…? Oh right, that thing in Ikea which I’m not allowed to mention legally.

Loosely based on the film of the same name, Moonwalker is a 2D platformer on the Sega Mega Drive, or Genesis if you’re in America, that surprise surprise, has you playing as Michael Jackson in levels and levels of platformy goodness…can you feel the hate boiling up?

The game kicks off with Wacko Jacko firing a coin into a jukebox, kicking off a painful 16 bit interpretation of Smooth Criminal that will be out background music for the next 3 levels. This is a problem. A lot of modern pop songs aren’t played with the design of “LET’S PLAY THE SAME SONG AGAIN RIGHT NOW!!!” and Smooth Criminal is boringly repetitive after a while. The same can be said for the later tracks in the levels, such as Beat It, Another Part Of Me, Billie Jean and Bad. Which is a shame because I’d have liked to hear a instrumental Michael Jackson track without that annoying vocalist they keep hiring. Sadly, we also get irritating high pitched voices as he does anything. It’s all been midi-fied and just sounds horrid and I’m pretty sure the fact that my ear was bleeding was a good indication of this. Or I just haven’t been taking my medication, which I don’t need.

So what’s the plot of this? Well, mobster Mr Big (who was probably named by a child) has kidnapped god knows how many identical little girls and instead of, you know, the police being on it, Michael Jackson shows up and dances his way to rescuing them. I personally would like to see someone attempt that in a hostage rescue, mostly to see how quickly they get shot. So, Taco Jacko has to save a certain amount of children in one level to move onto the next one. They don’t even sound glad to be rescued, they just say his name in a casual sense and zoom off with the speed of light, whilst it begs the question why didn’t they just do that in the first place instead of waiting for the most famous man on the planet. I mean, when I was kidnapped and tortured by a russian mob, where was Gary Barlow to help me? WHERE WAS GARY BARLOW???  WAS PAITENCE JUST SOME SICK JOKE TO YOU GARY????

The first thing that’s a major concern before you start playing is, how does Michael Jackson attack through dancing? Well, magic. No seriously, that’s the explanation. Whenever he attacks, pixie dust or something flies out of him, hurting enemies. For a man who thought he was Peter Pan, it’s reasonably appropriate, I guess. He also has a boomerang fedora attack that sometimes makes enemies self combust and if you hold one of the buttons long enough, EVERYONE on screen, including dogs and spiders join in. It’s stupid and I hope it never appears in a game again. Oh yeah, then they all…die. Imagine that happening on Strictly Come Dancing. Of course, because some designer somewhere in Sega’s dark cavernous labyrinth thought it would be simpler to just have ONE bar, doing costs you lots of health. Yay.

Anyway, so you rescue all the children of The Flash and Michael Jacksons beloved pet chimp…yeah, he had a monkey…Bubbles, who handily also has taken the genetic shot as the kids and has super speed, jumps on your face and points where you need to go to fight “the boss” then just fucks off. I want my faeces throwing monkey assistant! Anyway, at the end of every level, Mr Big shows up and proclaims that you’ll never catch him and gets some more cronies to fight you, whilst he disappears…somewhere. It’s the Moonwalker equivalent of “Thank you, but the princess is in another castle,” if I gave a rats-ass…

I could mention the mecha robot that Lacko Jacko turns into at some point in the game, and I could talk about the fact the last level has nothing to do with the rest of the game and is just “ON RAILS SHOOTER!!!” (Where Michael, who is secretly an Autobot obviously) transforms into a spaceship and shoots Mr Big…in space, but thinking about this game more is making me devalue all human existence even more so than I usually do, so I won’t and will sum it up with the same logic as the Star Wars prequels.

This game is awful, the voice clips are annoying, the music’s painful, the whole premise is dumb and Michael Jackson is an awful video game character. The only reason there’s still interest in the game is because of nostalgia and since his death, suddenly everything surrounding Michael Jackson is sacred. Obviously Michael Jackson fans will love it because…well because it’s Michael fucking Jackson and they act like he was the second coming of Jesus. It’s just an awful film license that proves that pop stars and celebrities should never make video games based on their egos.  Unfortunately thanks to the fact that dead people are better than living people, his record company are effectively whoring out his image meaning shitty “comeback” albums and you guessed it, more Michael Jackson video games. And people complain when I tell them I’ve lost all faith in humanity…