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Aliens: Colonial Marines (Video Game)

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Aliens: Colonial Marines (Video Game)Developed by Gearbox Software

Published by Sega

Available for Xbox 360 (reviewed), PS3 and PC

Rated M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language


The Aliens franchise captured our hearts many years ago and has haunted our nightmares ever since. Every time I felt a rumble in my stomach, I could only dream that it was an alien growing inside. James Cameron created something so unique that almost everyone has some knowledge of what Xenomorphs are.

Gearbox Software and 20th Century Fox have presented Aliens: Colonial Marines as a true sequel to the 1986 film franchise, and so they should. The game will have you reliving those horrid nightmares once more and crying for your mom in the dark. In a campaign with over six hours of terror, there is enough nostalgia to go around for even the most die-hard fan. Gamers will enter the events of the films and search for the lost crew of the U.S.S. Sulaco. Fans will quickly notice intrinsic environments from the movies such as the LV 426 and Hadley’s Hope.

Joining the ranks of the Colonial Marines, players will venture through tight corridors with a large arsenal of weapons while fighting off Xenomorphs lurking in the vents below and above them. You will get tons of boom for your buck with weapons ranging from submachine guns to firebombs. The main goal of campaigns is to gain experience and rank up while unlocking valuable items on your quest.

The video game’s graphics are truly terrifying with environments ranging from spaceships to large open landscapes. The realism can be seen in every aspect all the way to the droplets of rain that run down your screen. The intense sound effects and eerie soundtrack heighten the terror to the point that you feel as though you are in the battle. There are some downfalls, however, which include the inconsistencies in difficulty modes. Players will notice that when they venture to harder levels above normal, the gameplay can be frustrating with streams of enemies that seem to never end, characters that becomes less interesting, and a storyline that’s a chore to play through.

Aliens: Colonial Marines can be played alone or with a friend in various multiplayer modes that take the game to a terrifying new level. If you love titles like Left 4 Dead, then you will really enjoy Team Deathmatch. In this multiplayer mode, players will take turns as either Aliens or Humans in a battle to the death. Aliens: Colonial Marines is a true representation of a horror title and has very little to dislike.

Many have complained that Aliens: Colonial Marines was an utter disappointment due to the fact it was in development for so long and has ended up being nothing more than a functional shooter, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and often times there are many great components in a game that are simply overlooked. Such is the case here as this game is dripping with Aliens themed flavor.

Players take on the roles of brand new marines led by Corporal Christopher Winter. The characters O’Neal, Bella and Cruz definitely have their own unique personality, perks and annoyances but are overall refreshing to the game’s storyline. The game starts out with a distress call from the U.S.S. Sulaco and you ready your character with weapons and items. The weapons really add excitement and authentic such as the M41A Pulse Rifle and the M52 Smartgun. The success of missions really depends on how well you prepare and this includes picking the right weapons. Some weapons are faster loading with more rounds but do less damage–while others are slow and unresponsive but will blast a hole through a cement wall. In some of the opening scenes, you will want to pack weapons that are fast loading and have more rounds, because you will have hordes of Xenomorphs coming at you while you try to unlock doors as you trip to get the ship’s mission logs and escape in one piece.

The team will have its problems and at the worst possible moments as bonds of trust are tested. The dialogue between characters is rather bland but all in all serves its purpose. Players will have some awkward moments not only with character scripts but glitchy graphics and animations. These problems are not as horrid as it may sound and can easily be forgiven. The game tends to really excel in overall visual elements in regard to horror. Narrow corridors are often dark and dripping with Alien goo, which is excellent since you can never get enough gross and nasty in a horror game. Missions are carried out as mini-puzzles which involve shooting down hordes of Xenomorphs while you complete them. Players are also granted a motion tracker which can be utilized to find near-by Aliens which makes the game even easier. But remember – you don’t HAVE to use it! It’s just an extra item that is there if you want or need it. At its finest there are some big battles where everything is on the line. In one mission, players must form a sort of rhythm as they disconnect fuel lines and fight off aliens that are quickly closing in. Unfortunately Aliens: Colonial Marines is more about shooting than storyline. That however doesn’t hamper the funhouse thrill ride blast you’ll have.

Even on the hardest difficulty, the game is not incredibly hard and some may see that as not enough of a challenge. I, however, think it makes the game fun for all ages and gamer types, because no matter if you have never picked up a game before – you can sit down and enjoy Aliens: Colonial Marines with its simple and responsive controls.

If you are looking for moments that don’t involve tons of shooting then you will particularly enjoy the level where you start out with NO GUN! It is almost a stealth mission where you must slowly step around Xenomorphs without being detected until you can get to the spot to weld the doors shut. This part of the game is pure defense and offers variety that others claim the game lacks. But aliens is action and horror. You shoot things and you run. Isn’t that what everyone expects from a game of that sort? How much more can you ask from it? Maybe have the marines wear dresses? Would that give it the pizzazz that people crave so much? For this reviewer it comes down to one thing, for me Aliens: Colonial Marines delivered the action, horror and gameplay it promised – so what more is there to say?

Most levels in the game are designed for co-op play and it would be tragic for those who don’t take advantage of that. When players start online matchmaking, you will find you need four players to play. If you don’t have enough then you will have to change your networking option to “friends only.” Players call also play split-screen co-op for two if you get tired of trying to find that perfect team and decide just to play with someone who is already at your house and ready to go! Most online matches will have “real” players take on the characters of the AI that are already in the game but not Aliens: Colonial Marines. The room really starts to get cramped as new players are added to the roster and everyone tries to kill the enemies while avoiding shooting each other. If a player gets too far ahead of the others then you will teleport to him. This can kind of get annoying since you may be in the middle of an intense battle or exploring.

Competitive play is a bit more intriguing with four modes that pit the Marines against the Aliens. Players can play on either side, depending on their mood that day. It is always nice to take on the role of a slime-throwing Alien when the opportunity arises. This mode has four marines trying to survive in an Alien-infested territory as you make it from one mark to the next. Teamwork is critical here since your team must stick together and protect each other’s back in order to survive. If you are in more of slashing mood, then you can take on the role as an alien and use your sharp talons to gut one marine after another.

Survivor mode is another great addition that adds hours of replay to the game. This time around the marines are just trying to survive for a set amount of time and try to stay alive while Xenomorphs attack them endlessly. Team Death Match and Extermination modes are just how they sound with each team battling to the end to wipe out the other. Nothing beats a fresh, bloody kill in the morning to get the day started right!

Aliens: Colonial Marines can be purchased now for the MSRP of $59.99 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 & PC. Aliens: Colonial Marines is rated M by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Strong Language & Intense Violence. To learn more visit the official Aliens: Colonial Marines website.

Game Features:

  • Cooperative Campaign 1-4
  • Online Multiplayer 1-12
  • Online Leaderboards
  • DLC Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Support
  • 3 1/2 out of 5

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    Through the Cracks – Trick or Treat (1986) Review

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    Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne

    Directed by Charles Martin Smith


    I have been a horror fan for more than half of my life at this point. Meaning I have seen most of the quality horror offerings under the sun. But that said, every once in awhile a classic sneaks past so we wanted to create this “Through the Cracks” review section for such films.

    Case in point, I had never seen the Halloween horror flick Trick or Treat until last night. I know, right? How the hell did that happen? But these things do happen and so for everyone that has seen the flick a million times, this will be a review of the movie from a super horror fan that – at the age of 33 – is seeing Trick or Treat for the very first time.

    Now let’s get to it.

    First off you have to love the movie’s plot. Mixing horror and heavy metal seems like a given, yet preciously few films Frankenstein these two great tastes together.

    Like many of you out there, I am a big metal fan as well as a big horror fan. The two seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Or Jason and horny campers.

    I dig bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and even those hair metal bands (Dokken forever!) and I’m well aware of the legends surrounding playing these records backward.

    Off the top of my head, the only other flick that combines the two to this degree is the (relatively) recent horror-comedy Deathgasm. I say more horror-metal flicks! Or should we call it Metal-Horror? Yeah, that’s a much more metal title.

    It only makes sense that someone, somewhere would take the idea of “What if Ozzy Osbourne really was evil and came back from the dead (you know, if he had passed away during his heyday) to torment a loner fan?” Great premise for a movie!

    And Trick or Treat delivers on the promise of this premise in spades. Sammi Curr is an epic hybrid of the best of the best metal frontmen and his resurrection via speaker is one of the great horror birthing scenes I have seen in all my years.

    Add to that the film feels like a lost entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. More specifically the film feels like it would fit snugly in between two of my favorite entries in that series, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

    This movie is 80’s as all f*ck and I loved every minute of it.

    And speaking of how this film brought other minor classics to the forefront of my brain, let’s talk about the film’s central villain, Sammi Curr. This guy looks like he could share an epic horror band with the likes of Mary Lou from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the Drill Killer rocker from Slumber Party Massacre Part II.

    Picture that band for a moment and tell me they aren’t currently playing the most epic set in Hell as we speak. I say let’s see an Avengers-style series of films based on these minor horror icons sharing the stage and touring the country’s high school proms!

    In the end Trick or Treat has more than it’s fair share of issues. Sammi Curr doesn’t enter the film until much too late and is dispatched way too easily. Water? Really? That’s it?

    That said, the film is still a blast as director Charles Martin Smith keeps the movie rocking like an 80’s music video with highlights being Sammi’s rock show massacre at the prom and his final assault on our hero teens in the family bathroom.

    Rockstar lighting for days.

    Even though the film has issues (zero blood, a rushed ending) none of that mattered much to this horror hound as the film was filled to the brim with striking horror/metal imagery and a killer soundtrack via Fastway and composer Christopher Young.

    Plus you’ve got to love the cameos by Gene Simmons (boy, his character just dropped right out of the movie, huh?) and Ozzy Osbourne as a mad-as-hell Preacher that isn’t going to take any more of this devil music. P.S. Watch for the post-credits tag.

    More than a few of my closest horror buddies have this film placed high on their annual Halloween must-watch lists. And after (finally) viewing the film for myself, I think I just may have to add the film to mine as well. Preferably on VHS.

    Trick or Treat is an 80’s horror classic. If you dig films like Popcornand if you put the film off like I did, remedy that tonight and slap a copy in the old VHS/DVD player.

    Just don’t play it backward… God knows what could happen.

    All said and done, I enjoyed the hell out of my first viewing of Trick or Treat. But what do YOU think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know below or on social media!

    Now bring on Trick or Treat 2: The Prom Band from Hell, featuring Sammi Curr, Mary Lou Maloney, and Atanas Ilitch’s Driller Killer from Slumber Party Massacre Part II!

    • Trick or Treat (1986) 3.5
    3.5

    Summary

    Charles Martin Smith’s Trick or Treat is a sure-fire Halloween treat for fans of 80’s horror flicks, as well as fans of heavy metal music.

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    User Rating 3.59 (22 votes)
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    AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters

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    Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

    Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


    ** NO SPOILERS **

    It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

    Spoiler free.

    To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

    That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

    Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

    Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

    Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

    Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

    But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

    But let’s backtrack a bit here.

    Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

    And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

    Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

    With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

    Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

    I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

    Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

    Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

    Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

    On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

    That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

    In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

    While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

    Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

    Bring on season 12.

    • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)
    3.5

    Summary

    The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

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    User Rating 4.13 (23 votes)
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    The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror

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    Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

    Directed by Nicholas Woods


    The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

    The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

    The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

    The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

    The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

    The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.

    ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

    • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
    • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
    • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
    • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
    • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
    • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
    • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
    • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
    • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
    • The Axiom
    4.0

    Summary

    In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

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    User Rating 3.95 (20 votes)
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