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Chainsaw Warrior: The Movie

(Fade in: The New York skyline.  The sun sets and then all the lights in the buildings come on, followed by them going out one at a time, then two, then three, punctuated by screams each time.)

Don LaFontaine: In a world where day turns to night…and then forgets to turn back into day again,only one man stands between us and eternal Darkness.  He is…THE CHAINSAW WARRIOR!

(Dramatic chord and smashcut of game logo.)

DLF: (Cont’d) Meet Not Snake Plisskin.  A troubled loner with a dark past and only one love in his life.

The Girl: I love you, Not Snake Plisskin!

NSP: Sorry, baby.  (Picks up chainsaw.)  Someone else saw me first.

DLF: But now, he’s got to do the impossible: Storm a building full of the living dead and destroy the evil Darkness once and for all.  (Until the sequel.)

(Cut to lab technician taking NSP to a table covered with gadgets.)

Lab Tech: And this is your laser lance.

NSP: I got your laser lance right here.

(Cut to: NSP tossing a grenade into a room full of zombies.)

NSP: Hope you get a bang out of this.

DLF: But when Darkness sends it’s armies after him…

(Lunatic comes charging at NSP.)

Lunatic: (gibbering) All Hail Darkness!

NSP cuts him in half with his chainsaw.

NSP: Funny, the weatherman didn’t say anything about hail.

DLF: He’s gonna take out the trash!

(Cut of NSP kicking one zombie off the balcony while chainsawing another.  He turns and looks at the camera.)

NSP: Drugs are for commies!

DLF: The odds are a million to one…

(Cut to a group of Chaos Agents who appear to have NSP cornered on a balcony before he fires his rope gun to escape, tossing a grenade as he goes.)

NSP: 10th floor: Lingerie, Sporting Goods…Dead Guys!

DLF: …and that’s just the way he likes it!

(Cut to: NSP about to shoot Darkness with his Laser Lance.)

NSP: Hey, Darkness!  Time to pay the light bill!

(He shoots and destroys Darkness.)

(Cut to: A recording studio.  Don LaFontaine covers his mic and looks out of the booth at the control room.)

DLF: Really?  We’re gonna show the ENDING in the TRAILER?

The APPrehensive Gamer: Don’t you remember?  They always gave away the whole movie in these trailers.

DLF: Oh yeah. (Goes back into the microphone.)  Not Snake Plisskin IS…

(Smash cut to game logo.)

DLF: The CHAINSAW WARRIOR!!!

(DLF and TAG do voiceover as the actor, director, soundtrack, etc. credits that progressvely become too small to read flash on the screen.)

DLF: You didn’t tell them what you thought of the game.

TAG: Oh, they saw my first review, they know it’s good.

DLF: Ok, well, I did my part.  NOW will you return me to the afterlife so my soul can know peace at last?

TAG: Sure.

(TAG recites the incantation backwards.  The sounds of angels descending is heard.)

DLF: (Fading.) Thank yoooooooouuuu…

TAG: God speed you to your reward, Trailer Guy.

(Fade to black.)

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Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night. (“Better saw through the jungle.”)

Hello, Darkness, my old friend.

That’s the problem with Evil Darknesses: They always come back.  If you’re actually the guy who’s fighting them, that’s bad, but if you’re playing a sequel to the first game you ever reviewed and still love playing a lot, that’s a good thing.

Auroch Digital has created a sequel to the first game I ever reviewed, Chainsaw Warrior in Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night.  I don’t think the original board game actually had expansions, so that means they had to work…well, not from the GROUND up, Chainsaw Warrior was a pretty good foundation to begin with.  But build, they did, and now we have a new story.

If the fact that you fight Zombie Monkeys hasn't already gotten your interest, you may as well stop reading now.

If the fact that you fight Zombie Monkeys hasn’t already gotten your interest, you may as well stop reading now.

Darkness, like they so often are, is back.  This time, it’s realized that taking over and mutating all of New York on your first try is a bit ambitious, so it’s decided to set up shop in the heart of the jungle, where it’s sure that nobody can stop it now!  Except that Darkness’ arch-foe, Not-Snake-Plisskin, is back and on it’s trail!

As the game progresses, we also get some backstory on Darkness, and NSP is just as eager for the old man to get on with the story so he can get to killing as we are.  I ran through the tutorial again to see if anything had changed, and apart from the OK button in the tutorial being on the opposite side of the screen than the other action buttons causing some initial confusion, we were off.

The original Chainsaw Warrior had two decks of cards that you go through, and Darkness is always somewhere near the bottom of the second one, so you knew you had a lot of skyscraper to cover before getting to it.  This time, there are three decks that you go through in order: The Jungle, The Lost City, and The Pyramid.  Guess which one Darkness is in.

Thank you, Not-Snake-Pilssken, but our Darkness is in another pyramid.

Thank you, Not-Snake-Pilssken, but our Darkness is in another pyramid.

There are some new weapons and equipment in the game, and now the gun actually feels useful.  In the games I’ve played, there seem to be more enemies in groups than there were before, but that’s all right, because you can also equip yourself with a flamethrower and take out multiple enemies at once.  (For some reason, the Wire Cutters aren’t available anymore, which I would have found helpful when encountering the nets and wire traps I’ve encountered.

Implanted Chainsaw?  After all this time, he hasn't already had it surgically attached?  COMMIT, NSP!!!

Implanted Chainsaw? It wasn’t a cyber-attachment to begin with?  COMMIT, NSP!!!

It’s definitely enjoyable, even if you haven’t played the first one.  And whereas I HAVE actually killed Darkness a few times in the first one by now, have yet to do so in this game, but that hasn’t stopped me having fun with it.  I hope Auroch Digital continues building on the premise, as I’d love to see some more adventures.  Not-Snake-Plissken goes to Atlantis!  Not-Snake-Plissken in space!  Not-Snake-Plissken in Talisman-Land (Never DID learn the name of the realm where Talisman takes place.  In any event, would dig having a new Timescape where he returns.)

Also, at some point, I hope they give him a name that’s shorter than my choice.  Again, in the interest of saving typing.

We at The APPrehensive Gamer fully support the ideal of Man/Chainsaw Marriage.

We at The APPrehensive Gamer fully support the ideal of Man/Chainsaw Marriage.

Don’t cry. Don’t raise your eye. It’s only Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land.

Back when I started this blog, I said that I’d occasionally go back and review a gem that’s been out for a while that you might’ve missed.  And review gems, I shall.

"Hi, we're here about the gems."

“Hi, we’re here about the gems.”

Patton Oswalt reminded us that one of the first signs of getting old in men is developing a big interest in World War II.  Certainly vaild, however, I like to look at World War I now and then because it’s younger brother gets all the attention.  I also might’ve mentioned that I play tabletop RPGs (Or if I haven’t, I’m sure it’s been easy to deduce.) and over the years, seem to have developed a talent for the horror RPGs.  I’ve learned now that if I ever ask my players what game they’d like me to run, their answer is already going to be “Call of Cthulhu.”  So when I heard there was a Call of Cthulhu app game that’s set in World War I AND is a turn-based tactics game…Well, o/\  These are a few of my favorite things… o/\  It’s also been an important part of my personal history as this is the game that originally got me started on the path of reviewing games, so I feel indebted to it enough to be my first “classic” review.

I was late to the smartphone/tablet game, but when I got that first iPhone, the first app I went looking for was “Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land.”  (http://redwaspdesign.wordpress.com/call-of-cthulhu/ )  Originally for iOs only, the game is now available for Android and PC, and years later, I still find myself coming back to it over and over.  From the first strains of that really creepy version of “It’s A Long Way To Tipperary” in the intro, the mood is set.  Your small squad of men (Including the developer’s great-grandfather.  Don’t have to be a Time Lord to figure out HE has to survive throughout the game.) is joined by one Professor Brightmeer, who, for those of us who’ve played CoC, has “Investigator” written all over him.  (Wearing a turban into a war zone was my first clue.)  Soon joined by others to bring the squad up to six, you’re off on a mission to thwart a German mad scientist who wants to reanimate dead soldiers to win the war…and THEN it gets weird!

In Flanders Field, unhallowed abominations grow.

In Flanders Field, unhallowed abominations grow.

My highest praise for a turn-based tactics game is “It’s kind of like X-Com,” and it is, in the best possible way.  (Remember naming your soldiers in X-Com and starting to care about them as individuals?  Well, they already have names, but you’ll get some of that here too.)  To make the game truly like Call of Cthulhu, there needed to be a Sanity mechanic in the game for facing down the unspeakable horrors, and they brought that into the game fairly well.  I have a slight difference of opinion on it (Killing monsters is supposed to GIVE you SAN, not take it away!), but not enough to complain or let it otherwise tarnish a great game.

There’s a DLC pack for the iOs version that comes bundled with the PC game.  I’d like to tell you more about it, but to be honest, I’ve had so much fun playing the basic game that after about a year, I still haven’t explored it much.  (Trying to beat the storyline on Hard difficulty currently.)

To sum up, this is a great game that I have on all of my devices and the only thing missing is a sequel.  (Sorry, if that spoils the fact that if you succeed, the world doesn’t end.)  Hadn’t you heard that ALL the best wars get one?

Then the man at the back said “Everyone Attack” and it turned into a Wasteland Bar Fight!!!

I appreciate a good post-apocalypse as much, if not more, than the next guy.  (Anyone who’s done customer service work can tell you what a great idea the breakdown of society would be.)  So, I was glad to see “Wasteland Bar Fight” by Kybernesis (http://wbf.kybernesis.com/) come across my desk. A “Beat ‘Em Up” type game in the best possible sense.

WBF Feature Image

The premise is no more complex than a game called “Wasteland Bar Fight” needs: You are in a bar in a wasteland.  Someone spills your beer, a fight ensues.  Anyone need more details?  If so, get off my page!

You stand with your back to the bar as thugs come at you from all sides.  Tap in the goon’s direction to punch, slide to kick.  Beers randomly get placed on the bar and you can drink them for health if you get a moment free from the mob.  There’s a Jackie Chan feel to it as most of the mooks go down with one or two hits, then come the bosses that you fight while still fending off waves of their underlings.  (Did I just use every synonym for “goon” that I can think of there?  Yes?  Good.)

WBF Gerges Fighting Front Kick

If there was anything that I could think of to take issue with the game, it’d be that there’s no room in the simple yet enjoyable gameplay for classic barroom brawl moments like hoisting a goon onto the bar and sliding him down it.  But hey, I’ll live with it.  This ain’t Fable or Portal or Final Fantasy Whatever, it’s not deluding itself that it’s high art or that it’ll “change the face of gaming forever,” it’s punching and kicking guys in a bar, and that’s ALL it NEEDS TO BE!

The press kit says that this game is planned to be the first of Kybernesis’ “Corp Wars” setting.  It’s definitely an introduction that makes me want to see more.  I still don’t have any kind of Rating System in place, but a game as simple and to-the-point as Wasteland Bar Fight deserves a review as simple and to-the-point as It’s Good.  I also haven’t come up with a clever sign-off yet, so let’s be simple and to-the-point there as well: Bye, go check this game out.

WBF Gallia Fighting Jab KOAnd also, ya know, go beat some thugs.

Warhammer 40,000: Storm of Vengeance (Or “Right Said The Emperor”)

As I mentioned before, I had wanted to get into Warhammer and/or it’s 40,000 variant in my youth, however, was not from a family with a vast fortune, and thus, could not afford to get into the game properly.  Oh sure, I bought my squad of space marines, and then I’d go to the gaming meetups and watch the others set up their tables of enormous landscapes and grand armies and me and my six little unpainted lead figures would go shrink back into the shadows from whence we came.

Years later, through various video games, I’d come to be able to delve into the 40K setting.  With a setting so vast and stories so varied, you’re going to get good games (Kill Team), bad games (Space Marine), and ugly games (The version of Space Hulk they released for the PS1.)  And somewhere in the middle, you get ones like the first iteration of Space Hulk for PC.  (Some of my friends still get a laugh when I tell them “Brother Terminators.” or “One squad will be sufficient.” or “The hivemind has blinded our sensors.”  (Especially if you move your moth like the briefing officer in the game.)

So, when I saw Eutechnyx’s “Warhammer 40,000: Storm of Vengeance,” I can’t say I had high hopes or low hopes, just medium hopes.  The first of them was dashed when, after downloading the game, I had to wait for an additional download for the first map, whereupon the game crashed about 75% through the download.  Ah well, Right Said Fred.  (Not the band who did “I’m Too Sexy,” the song they took their name from about trying to move a piano.)

Try again, and the game loads.  Right away, I see a bunch of DLC being offered.  COULD be a positive sign, however, was busy thinking “If it takes this long to just load the basic game, do I want to throw away money on additional load times…er…I guess they call it “content” nowadays.  So I started up the first level.

You know how sometimes, a game is similar to another game and sometimes, it’s an outright ripoff?  Well, I’m not the first reviewer to say “It’s Plants vs Zombies,” but yeah, it’s Plants vs Zombies, except your plants are orcs and your zombies are space marines.  So, another hope down.

I put the game down for a while and decided to pick it up and try again when, to my surprise, another long download, followed by a freeze-up, then I had a cup of tea and Right Said Fred, loaded it up again and this time it worked.  Played a couple more levels hoping I’d see some difference between this game and the one I already have on my computer and my Xbox and could’ve gotten for phone and/or tablet, but decided that was quite enough, thank you.  And it was quite enough for this game as well.  If I wanted to play Plants vs Zombies, I’d damn well re-install it on one of the aforementioned devices and play it that way.

So, I still haven’t come up with any kind of rating system to give to give the games I review.  Stars seem kinda done, and I don’t want to just pick a number from one to ten because that seems like an easy way out.  Tell ya what: I’ll try to have something in place by the next review, which I hope will come out with less of a gap than the first two.  Meanwhile, in an effort to not seem entirely negative, and still come out of this with at least one hope to get me home, here’s a rather amusing video someone did of the song “Right Said Fred” using Lego characters.  Why don’t we all just set Storm of Vengeance aside, ‘ave a cuppa tea, and watch the video instead?

Yeah, that’s much better.

Review: Chainsaw Warrior (iOs)

"Decisions, decisions...well, the game ain't called KNIFE Warrior!"

“Decisions, decisions…well, the game ain’t called KNIFE Warrior!”

Back when other kids were playing Monopoly or Uno (Or, ya know, meeting girls.), I was into many of Games Workshop’s games.  Played Talisman a lot, had some fun with Dungeonquest, still have my copy of the Judge Dredd RPG around here somewhere.  I remember being taunted by some of the games that would be listed in the catalog that I wouldn’t be able to afford or even find locally if I could.  I didn’t come from Old Money, so getting into Warhammer was out, Space Hulk was great, but I couldn’t afford the expansions, and I wasn’t into horror then, so Fury of Dracula was out.  (I’d find the horror genre later, which would shape my destiny in ways we’ll discuss another time.)

One game that always tempted me was Chainsaw Warrior.  I’d had friends who’d played it, but never got to try it myself.  All that ended today when I got hold of Auroch Digital’s Chainsaw Warrior app for iOs.  The motion comic intro brought me up to speed on the story nicely: Some evil darkness has descended upon future New York and is creating zombies and mutants.  Enter you: the cyborg Snake Plissken  guy they send in to destroy it before it devours the city, and then presumably the world.  (Evil Darknesses are NEVER satisfied consuming just a little bit of the land.)  And you’ve got 60 minutes to do it.  (Each action you take consumes 30 seconds, or more for really complicated or damaging things.)

A variety of futuristic gear is available to you, and you roll in character creation to see how much of it you can carry.  By default, two slots have to go to the Darkness-Killing Gun and your chainsaw, without which, you’re just a Run-of-the-Mill Warrior, and who wants one of those when you’ve got zombies all around?  Nope, zombie apocalypses and chainsaws go together like a burger and fries,

I’ve managed to play two games so far, and lost both times, but therein lies the fun: Replayability.  The first game, time ran out before I could find the Evil Darkness (Look, it’s actual NAME is “Darkness,” ok?  Saves me some typing here.).  In the second game, I managed to find Darkness with scant minutes to spare, but had forgotten to pack another ranged weapon, so the Anti-Darkness gun only had one shot left and I MISSED!!!

Oh yeah, everything is determined by random die rolls modified by your stats and items.  So no matter how badass you are, you could still roll a 2 and the zombie roll a 12 and actually have a problem.  You roll up your character’s stats at the beginning of the game, so the next playthrough, you might turn out to be better at using guns than hand-to-hand, or have fewer hit points, but be better able to avoid traps.  I’m sure if I go far enough as to say “It’s never the same game twice,” someone will find me two identical games just to show me.  So why not?  It’s never the same game twice.  Now go do all that hard work for the satisfaction of proving me wrong.

Overall, thoroughly enjoyed this game and hoping to see more from this publisher.  But for now, you’ll have to forgive me: Future New York needs me!!!