Monday, October 31, 2022

Obscusion B-Side: Spider: The Video Game: Night of the Cybernetic Crawler

Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders, and while only so many people actually have a downright phobia of those eight-legged arachnids (it's apparently only somewhere between 3.5% to 6.1% of the global population), it wouldn't be unfair to say that most people would still react unpleasantly to the sight of one, in general, especially from out of nowhere. Even the word "spider" itself has a bit of an allure to it, which is why there are numerous characters, films, songs, groups, & even a French video game developer named after it. In fact, a commonly held belief in conquering a fear like arachnophobia would be to engage with it directly in a controlled fashion (i.e. exposure therapy)... like maybe through a video game? While some might then think of 2009's Deadly Creatures for the Wii, where you play as both a tarantula & a scorpion, considering that it's Halloween I'm thinking of something a little more "science gone wrong", with a dash of "subtext is for cowards".

Boss Film Studios was a visual effects company founded in 1983 by Industrial Light & Magic alumnus (& VFX legend) Richard Edlund. Boss would go on to become a legendary rival to ILM, having done the VFX for the likes of Ghostbusters, Die Hard, Big Trouble in Little China, Ghost, The Hunt for Red October, Batman Returns, Last Action Hero, & Starship Troopers, to list only a few; to call Boss Film's output "impressive" would be putting it very lightly. In 1994 the company founded an offshoot, Boss Game Studios, that would develop video games, though it wouldn't actually make its public debut until February of 1997 with the focus of this review: Spider: The Video Game. Released exclusively for the PS1 by BMG Interactive, the video game division of the now-defunct Bertelsmann Music Group, Spider would actually wind up being the only title from Boss Game Studios to ever see release while Boss Film Studios was still around, as Boss Film would close up shop on August 26, 1997, citing difficulties in being an independently run studio in such a competitive market. Boss Game would then switch over to exclusively developing Nintendo 64 games (plus one Windows PC port), mostly of the racing variety (even renaming to Boss Racing), before disbanding on June 14, 2002, outliving its parent company by close to five years; Boss' final game, 2000's Stunt Racer 64, is now highly coveted & uber-expensive, due to rarity. Meanwhile, BMG Interactive would eventually be sold to Take-Two Interactive in 1998, just months after publishing a little game called Grand Theft Auto in Europe for the PC & PS1... Ouch; BMG itself would also eventually get purchased by Sony in 2008.

So, for a title originally handled by a bunch of companies that no longer exist in any form, is Spider: The Video Game more like 1990's Arachnophobia, or it is more akin to 2002's Eight Legged Freaks?

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Kinnikuman II-Sei Part 2: Go! (Go!) Go! (Go!)... FIGHT!

Previously on the Kinnikuman II-Sei Review:
"The first half of the TV anime adaptation of Kinnikuman II-Sei does admittedly have a bit of a slow start to it, but recovers well with the last 10 episodes covered here, at least in terms of pacing...While the animation isn't anything amazing, which I'll bring up in more detail next time, the voice work & music definitely more than make up for things so far, but there's still another 25 episodes left to watch for this original 2002 run..."

As mentioned at the start of the prior review, the 2002 TV anime adaptation of the next-gen sequel to Shonen Jump classic Kinnikuman would only run for 51 episodes on TV Tokyo, before being replaced the following year. I've generally heard that it was likely due to slumping ratings in the latter half of the year, and to be fair it does have some realistic logic behind it, as it really wouldn't have been due to catching up to the manga; that said, there could have been other factors. Regardless, by the time the anime debuted on TV, the Kinnikuman II-Sei manga was about to start entering the final match of one of its longest story arcs, which would end right around where we are in this two-part review. Therefore, the anime could have easily continued on for a bit longer beyond what was done in 2002, and luckily that would indeed happen once the anime saw success abroad. However, we aren't quite at the point just yet, so let's return to the original TV anime & see how things play out in the second half. This time around I'll be relying on Japanese DVD rips, as this half never received any English subtitle translation, even via bootlegs (so far, at least).

Also, just a few days before this review, Discotek Media announced that it would be releasing Ultimate Muscle on SD-BD sometime in 2023. However, this is only for the 4Kids dub at the moment, a release for Kinnikuman II-Sei will depend on how well UM performs, so this news affects nothing for me here, as I'm covering the original Japanese version.

It was either Terry the Kid or Seiuchin for the eyecatch,
and though Seiuchin is cool I can't disrespect the Terry Family.

Mantaro Kinniku has just defeated Clioneman in his semi-final match of the New Generation Replacement Tournament between his "Team AHO" & the "Generation Ex" team made up of the Hercules Factory's second year graduating class. Now all Mantaro can do is wait & see who from Generation Ex he'll face in the final match: The noble Jade or the ruthless & still somewhat mysterious Scarface, a.k.a. Mars. Even after all of that, though, Mantaro's battles are nowhere near over, as he'll have to take on a trio of vile convicts known as "No Respect" in order to fully attain an inner strength he's only tapped into subconsciously in the past, before seeing if he can qualify for the Chojin World Grand Prix (Chojin Crown), the revival of the legendary tournaments that the Legends had competed in decades prior... and that's only if a sextet of Evil Chojin don't ruin things by a sudden intrusion.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Obscusion B-List: Wait... Capcom Published WHAT!?!

Originally established back on May 30, 1979 as I.R.M. Corporation, the Capcom that we know today (named after a clipped compound of subsidiary Capsule Computers Co., Ltd.) came about in 1983 & ever since then has become one of the biggest names in third-party video game development & publishing, with many iconic franchises in its catalog. That being said, though, Capcom has had its name attached to some games that would make you react like Drew Scanlon did that one time on Giant Bomb & think "Wait... WHAT!?!", and while this can apply to numerous other video game companies (hmmm, maybe a potential recurring concept?) I think Capcom is probably the most interesting/amusing to actually think about, in this regard.

Admittedly, though, this primarily applies to Capcom USA, though Capcom Japan certainly has its own share of "Wait... WHAT!?!" releases (maybe for another time), so let's take a look at some games that Capcom's logo was attached to that you'd normally never expect to see happen.

The idea of Capcom making a game based on Star Wars sounds like a slam dunk idea, yet it never actually came to be. Instead, the closest is supposedly the Star Gladiator duology during the second half of the 90s, with the first game allegedly being pitched originally as a Star Wars fighting game, only for Lucasfilm to steal the idea & poorly attempt making a fighting game of their own politely decline the proposition. However, that doesn't mean that Capcom has never had its name appear on any games based on the iconic space opera franchise, because Capcom USA did manage to get a hold of Star Wars for two games released on the venerable Game Boy... at least for a time, that is.