Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Satan's 3-Ring Circus of Hell - Horror Graphic Novel Anthology News


I love anthologies and this one looks and sounds really cool.  Satan's 3-ring Circus of Hell brings together 43 different short horror tales by some great strip writers. The blurb says that any fan of Creepshow or Tales from the Crypt will love these twisted, humorous tales. I have to admit, until I got the press release I had no idea this comic book even existed. Anyway Satan's 3-Ring Circus of Hell comes out (again) this Halloween and clocks in at 280 pages.

You want more? Well I have no more, Hell, I couldn't even afford Episode 3 of the brilliant The Walking Dead game, and that costs under a fiver so this is most certainly out of my price range for the moment.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Killing Games - Horror Film not Banned!


A while ago I reported that Barry J.Gillis's horror film The Killing Games had been banned from the Edmonton International Film Festival (here), and it is still banned there. Luckily not everyone is full of censorship as them as the Calgary International Film Fest has confirmed it will be a part of their line up on Saturday September 22nd joining other horrors such as Oscar nominated Canadian director Deepa Mehta's Midnight's Children and Brandon Cronenburg's Antiviral.

The Killing Games is about a man who decides to take the law into his own hands after his daughter witnesses a double murder and only narrowly escapes.

Gillis commented saying "Calgary gets upwards of 50,000 fans attending their festival. Tourists, fans, great films, and the best parties...I mean, this is huge for us". Regardless of whether The Killing Games is any good or not I am pleased that Gillis has found a way for his film to be seen.

The Calgary International Film Festival is in it's 13th year (spooky!) and runs from the 20th September to the 30th 2012.

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Zombie Last Supper - Zombie Artwork

A very special person sent me the below image that really speaks (or should that be eats?) for itself...


Bluebones' Curse (2011) - Horror Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)


It has been a bit indie-centric around The Rotting Zombie HQ at the moment, really blasting through the demos.  One game I had gotten, and actually brought the full version of was Bluebones' Curse.

Bluebones' Curse is an old school 2D platformer. While treasure hunting Bluebeard came across three evil witches who transformed him into a skeleton. Hearing a rumour that a piece of Davy Jones treasure has the ability to grant wishes if found at midnight Bluebones sets out to find it in order to get back his humanity.


The best indie games seem to be the shortest, coming in at just under 17 minutes long this is some great retro platforming. Each level has you avoiding bats and spiders with doll faces while traversing black platforms and leaping over spikes.  It is quite an easy game but brought to mind some of the classic Super Mario platforming. Every few levels you got some voiced narration from Bluebones musing on if he will find the treasure in time. A very catchy pirate themed tune plays over each level. The gripes I had with it were that firstly it is a bit lacking in variety, only the one background, the two enemy types, and levels were quite short. Also be warned that occasionally a bug will cause your character to fall through solid platforms but infinite lives cure what could have been an irritating flaw.

For 80 Microsoft points I have definitely played worse. On a side note the indie game DLC Quest features zombies (just so you know!)

SCORE:

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Zombie Indie Videogame Round-up - Zombie Horror Videogame Reviews (X-Box Indie)

Here are another batch of mini reviews of the X-Box Indie channels dodgy zombie games.

Spring Break in Zombie USA


You know, I kinda liked this game, it is at least different from the usual zombie games. Your Sister has headed off to Spring Break just before a zombie outbreak, so getting in your camper van you drive off to rescue her.

The game takes place on a single long straight road. You drive and drive and drive, occasionally you come across a survivor in the middle of the road where you are forced to vacate your car and help him survive a wave of non animated zombies (who it must be said completely ignore the survivor you are supposed to be protecting), After beating them you get back in your van and drive periless for another couple of hundred metres. During my travel on the long never ending road I did happen across hostile bandits as well.

The action movie style dramatic music is at odds with the colourful look of the game, the overhead view reminds me of old 8-bit games


The Xmas Christmas Massacre


First impressions were good for this game, it has shopping centre style remixed Christmas tunes playing, while everything looks like they are made out of wooden blocks.  You play as Santa armed with a chainsaw who must defeat waves of infected enemies in an arena. For the main part you are being assaulted by elves, but exploding Turkey's, and giant robot snowmen also appear.

My problem with this is that first your chainsaw only makes noise if you are killing something so there is not much feedback there. Secondly the collision detection is patchy at best. You have to walk into enemies to kill them but sometimes, randomly you instead take damage for doing so which is quite annoying. So all style over substance, not very good.


Zombie Attack!


In Zombie Attack! you play as a Police sniper who has been charged with protecting a (very) small area of a City from zombie attack. Humans run around while identical grey shirted zombies walk back and forth occasionally biting the panicked humans.

The game takes place through the dirty gun sight of your rifle. Was ok I guess, the zombies look awful, and I swear one time when a female human got turned into a zombie she immediately changed into a grey shirted male zombie which is a bit poor. Really not much to the game, a tad boring.


Zombie Concentration


Yet another overhead twin stick shooting zombie arena game. You play as a soldier who must survive against waves of identical looking zombies. They spawn into the area, and when they are killed they just vanish. Your gun does not need reloading so it is not like there is even any tension there. Bland and boring. Gone are the days when I will dedicate a full review to these type of things.


Zombie Football Carnage


This game looks fantastic, like Castle Crashers it is really bright and colourful. You play as a creature wearing an American Football outfit, and armed with an American football for a weapon. Each 'Quarter' sees you fighting off waves of enemies. Despite the title I didn't actually see any zombies, instead I fought eyeballs, robots, fish, golems, and demons. As you have just the one football you have to wait for it to return giving it some strategy. Not bad at all.


Another chunk of Indie games reviewed, but don't worry there are many more indie zombie games to review!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Indie Horror Videogame Review Round-up 2: The Return (X-Box Indie)

There are many bad Indie games as I am often want to say, and yet I feel the need to review them regardless of how little anyone cares, so here are a chunk of horror Indie games for your perusal...

Walketh


In Walketh you play as an adventurer stuck deep below ground in a dark dungeon. Much like In the Pit the screen is pitch black, you can guess your surroundings by the noise the adventurer makes when there is a wall in front of him. The game has a nice style to it, with some mournful title music. All in all it is a bit frustrating not really being able to tell where you are going or what you are doing.


Of Steel and Sorcery


Another fantasy style game, this time a old school turn based RPG. The problems first arise when you see the art style, it is all made up of hand drawn static images that while better than I could draw still look terrible. The game starts with a never ending fight against an awfully drawn giant eagle, then after a bit of story you have to fight a bad looking ghost. As I fought a slime in a swamp, and then a spider in a dungeon I realised this is a stripped back RPG. There is no exploration, shops, or other things to do, just a series of boring over long fights punctuated by brief story segments. Not too keen to be honest.


Silent Call


With a name so similar to Silent Hill I admit I did kinda hope it would be a survival horror. Instead Silent Call is an updated version of the old aski games. You are a tiny character on screen who must traverse mazes, fighting enemies and collecting items. You kill enemies (bugs, dogs and bats mainly) by walking into them, and your hunger meter is constantly depleting so you must regularly eat food to stop yourself starving to death. There is no music, and looks very basic but I was sad when the trial for the demo was over, kinda fun.


Night

First off; my house is infested with damn fruit flies. Anyway, Night is an artsy platformer in which you play as a man (who appears to have a sack over his head) running through cornfields and over bridges at night. There are snippets of story, it seems you are being pursued by monsters for some reason. There are platforms to jump over (aided by your ability to summon rocks out the ground), monsters to fight (you are able to summon a monster from your nightmares to defeat them) and lots of piano music. The whole thing has the feeling of a dream, the visuals look almost hand crafted, and the use of light and shadow is good. Intriguing.


WereWolf Hallow


This is a first person arena survival game. It takes place in quite a large dark wood, for an indie game it doesn't look bad, at least far better than most FPS games on the channel. The problem is how boring it all is. You occasionally get attacked by werewolves but your machine gun easily dispatches them, it was a bit tense at times but for the most part I was stood in one spot checking Facebook.


And now for the last in my Indie Horror games round-up for today...

True Exorcism


This starts with a warning screen saying it is not suitable for children (it is), then you get into the game. A floating possessed woman hovers around in front of you while button prompts flash on screen. Get them wrong or take too long and the woman floats closer. It looks nice with some comic book style visuals but there is just not enough to it, kinda boring. A nice touch is that when you die you get a message saying 'the power of Christ compels you to...' then gives you an option to quit or try again, made me smile.


So a lot of average games reviewed, but don't worry there is plenty more still waiting! Next time I may do an Indie Zombie Horror Videogame Review round-up. What an extravaganza that will be!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Trapped - Horror Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)


Been mopping up my old demos on the old 360, this one was right at the end so decided after many years to give it a try. I have said it before, and I will say it again: nearly all X-Box Indie games really suck. And after half an hour looking online I have been unable to find a cover for the game.

In trapped you play as your X-Box avatar. The pre-game sequence sees you enter a giant cave only to be trapped in after a boulder rolls down over the entrance. As you explore the cave you come under attack from the creatures of the cave (mainly giant bats and trolls it seems).

The good things first, it has a nice title that sums up the game. Now onto the bad. Your avatar looks completely removed from the dark surroundings you are in, the collision detection is awful, it looks awful, you make a very deep pained sound when you get hit, the controls are dodgy and it is not fun.

I don't know why I suffer the slings and arrows of outrageously bad Indie games, it's not like anyone cares about them anyway, it's just there are so many horror games on there that occasionally (very occasionally) a good one does come around (Dead Pixels, Decay, and The Pit spring to mind).

SCORE:

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Zombie Tarot Cards - Review


I don't put much stock in the mystical arts, I wish they were real! I have dabbled with Tarot cards before, they are very good for getting your brain to really think about a situation in your own life and analyse it. What about after a zombie apocalypse though? Normal Tarot cards will not cut it, thankfully there are zombie tarot cards that exist. These beautiful cards give you advice tailored to a post apocalyptic world.

First of all the presentation of the thing. The cards come in a large cardboard box designed to look like a case of ammunition rounds. There is a fantastic 1950's art style vibe to the whole deal, reminded me a lot of the Fallout videogame aesthetic. Inside the box you have a faux velvet compartment in which the large cards rest. A 96 page instruction manual is contained which tells you how to use the cards. What is so delightful is how the normal tarot cards have been altered to relate to post apocalyptic Earth. The instructions start off: 'In the event of a zombie attack! Get to a secure location, open this box, and consult the Zombie Tarot'. The instructions are real tarot instructions with cards relating to the normal meanings but with a zombie twist.


There are 78 high quality cards that are thick, large and in full colour, comprising the decks of Cups (represented by a skull with the top cut off showing the brain), Wands (represented by crossed bones), Swords (two crossed machetes) and Hazards (a bio-hazard symbol). Each card has a wonderful zombie twist. For instance the card The Fool depicts a smiling man walking to a grave where a hand has burst out the earth while The Sun is depicted as a helicopter fleeing a zombie infested City. Most the cards are humorous but when it comes down to it this is still a legitimate Tarot deck.

I have found this to be a wonderful discussion piece, I have shown it to every single person who has came into my home in the last month or so I have owned it. It looks good as a display item as well happily resting next to my videogame figures.


Zombie Tarot is by Quirk books and can be purchased for £10.99. If you want something different then I would heartedly recommend this. I know I have come across as very enthusiastic but I really was not expecting such a high quality product when I got this truth be told.

SCORE:

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Zombie Attack Infograph

My god Microsoft Paint is a god awful tool to use if you want to split an info-graph up into segments. Ok it is quite terrible for anything, that's what I get for being cheap, After much swearing I have split up this awesome info-graph into viewable chunks.

The Zombie Attack info-graph appears to have a sinister motive of advertising buyagift but having checked out the site it has some ultra cool things on there, in particular the array of zombie events you can purchase (here!). I had heard of zombie training packages but only knew about the one set in a shopping centre.

The chart below is useful for all you people unprepared for the threat of zombies, and is nice and colourful to boot. If after reading it you still feel you need training (and have a chunk of cash) then head to buyagift and book your self in for some real life training. We all know the zombie apocalypse is just round the corner...




Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Zombie Horror TV Show Review


A friend of mine was always badgering me and bullying me to see The Walking Dead season 2, and I'm glad she did. It wasn't that I did not want to watch it, more that I wanted to finish watching all 39 hours of Dad's Army first! Is it just me or are all the cool kids calling The Walking Dead 'WalkDead'?

Taking place soon after the events of The Walking Dead the group of survivors led by Sheriff Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) are on their way to what they hope is safety at Fort Brenning. Stopped by a river of abandoned cars they are then swamped by a herd of zombies. In the panic young girl Sophia runs off into the woods. Rick gives chase and catches up to her but while fighting some walkers (what the group call zombies) Sophia panicking runs off deeper into the woods. Unable to go on with the little girl lost in the woods the group decides to settle down and search for her. While looking Rick's son Carl is accidentally shot by a kind hunter called Otis. He leads them back to his home; a farm owned by a religious man named Hershel. They decide to stay on his farm while they search for the missing girl. As always things are never simple in the land of the walking dead...


Wow, what a season, I was first off surprised to see it was now 13 episodes, season one had been just 6. I had heard from a lot of people that there was a big lull in season 2, quite a few episodes in the middle were supposed to be boring and have nothing happen in them. I was expecting this lull, and was watching out for it, yet totally missed it! Episodes started getting amazing, each more exciting and awesome than the last and I realised I had sped past the hump. This is just such an amazing season, everything is done right and is so different from what happens in the comics that it always feels fresh.

Shane (Jon Bernthal) is still my favourite character. In the comics he was killed off quite early and so I was interested to see where he would go. He is such a fantastic deep character. He is a bad person, there is no doubt of that, yet you really have to feel sorry for the poor guy. Shane has gone through 2 apocalypses. The first was the destruction of the world he knew, the second is a far more personal one. Believing Rick was dead he vowed to protect Rick's son and wife and in doing so fell in love with her (Lori). Rick returning from believed death has ruined Shane's life as he can no longer be with the woman he loves, so it is easy to see why he acts the way he does. Daryl is another fantastic character, torn between wanting to be part of the group, and wanting to keep himself separated his character ark, and his relationship with Carol is so interesting to see. Of course being The Walking Dead, the characters, even the main ones are not safe from death and by the end there has been some shocking exits.


A lot of dark things happen, there is a lot of ultra violence against the zombies as expected, but also some big busts up between members of the fracturing group, as well as bloody fighting with rival groups, and a big moral question of whether it is right to loose your humanity if it means being able to survive and protect the ones you love.

Minor spoilers ahead. The finale this time is utterly brilliant, it seems a bit strange how it all happens but makes for a very, very exciting episode that had me shouting at the TV! An unforgettable episode (by far my favourite scene was usually mild mannered Hershel calmly taking out 100's of swarming zombies with an infinite ammo rifle) The chaos and how the group breaks up under attack was a delight to see.


Some characters are not so likable though. Dale has been turned into the walking embodiment of good, while Lori is just hard to like being so miserable all the time, some of the minor characters were so minor that one in particular I swear popped into existence just to be killed. The Walking Dead is out on DVD and Blu-ray soon, I am definitely going to be getting the Blu-ray.

SCORE:

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Todd's Adventures in Slime World - Sci-fi Horror Videogame Review (Megadrive)


It has been a disgustingly long time since I last did a blog post, I blame starting a new job for sapping me off my time and energy. I was recently playing through a bunch of old Megadrive games I had not gotten around to playing when I come across this gem. An early example of a survival horror (well 1991) with one of the best soundtracks ever!

You play as Todd (a 2nd player as Rooney if they so wish) who has been sent to a newly discovered planet (nick named slime world) to explore it. There are 6 different game modes, each set in an alternate time line. In some your ship was destroyed in orbit and you have crash landed and must get to the evac point, another one has your ship getting damaged meaning your weapons have been destroyed. Yet another version has the whole of slime world facing imminent meltdown, you must harvest mushrooms which can postpone the planets destruction. Slime world is a vicious place where corrosive slime drips from the ceilings, and all the strange creatures have evolved from the slime. Pools of water dotted around the labyrinthine levels give you opportunity to wash off the stuff before it kills you.


First off, as mentioned this is a survival horror game, the odds are stacked heavily against you. You constantly have to try and avoid the slime which is everywhere, even the slime gems explode in a deadly shower of slime if accidentally shot. The game is set in narrow, claustrophobic  tunnels beneath the surface of the planet. You have an electronic map, it all looks quite metroidvania like except there is no back tracking needed.

I thought the Playstation 2 game The Getaway was the first game to show real time damage but this game is my new earliest example. You physically become covered in green slime as you advance, and an abrasive electronic noise gives you an indicator of how near to death you are. Luckily for you, you are not powerless, you have access to a deadly...water pistol. The water pistol can take out a lot of the alien creatures with one hit though even if they do explode in goblets of slime. You also can pick up a variety of tools such as a jet pack, slime repellent, cleanser, and more. I never actually worked out how to use these items.


The music is excellent, each of the 6 different game types has its own theme, all alien sounding noises, drums and droning repetitions that really get stuck in the head. The basic sound effects add to the atmosphere also with electronic noises given when falling from a distance, taking damage, shooting, very basic at times but works.

I really do not know another game like this. It is not perfect, it is very hard on some modes (though frequent check points and infinite lives help) the control of Todd is quite jerky making precise jumps a bit trickier than they should be (most shown in the mode known as Logic in which instant death lurks around every corner). Still there is a lot of game here, and while it is a bit green it does give plenty of atmosphere and a sense of being out of your depth.

SCORE: