A Look Back at X-Men 2099 #14 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, fans of the 2099 universe of Marvel Comics, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men 2099 comic book series by focusing on the 14th issue of the series. As recalled in X-Men 2099 #10, team leader Xi’an reverted back to his more sadistic personality as demons from his past came back to overwhelm him. In the issues that followed, Xi’an went away from the X-Men followed by Tim/Skullfire who himself has gotten more wild and more aligned with their leader. They also encountered Luna, the former member of the Theatre of Pain. As the three went around more, something even more significant happened to Xi’an (note: this was part of the build-up leading to the big events in X-Men 2099 #25).  

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men 2099 #14, published by Marvel Comics in 1994 with a story written by John Francis Moore and drawn by Ron Lim.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on an island where the big-time personality Danielle has a mansion. She is about to start spending quality time with a man named Alexi. It turns out Danielle has wings with feathers that are colored to resemble a rainbow. She floats with Alexi as they enjoy the function of the zero-gravity chamber.

After grabbing her, Alexi surprises Danielle by suddenly flying up several feet high above using a gadget he equipped. In a very cold manner, he lets go of her causing her to land hard on the sea below. Alexi then flies away to an unknown destination.

Meanwhile at the ranch house of Zhao which the X-Men have been staying at since Xi’an left them, Skullfire returns and this time Luna is with him. The sight of Luna enrages Henri/Meanstreak as he encountered her before when she was still a member of the Theatre of Pain. As the tension intensified, Henri tries to go after Luna but Skullfire stands in the way and reveals that Xi’an has joined the Theatre of Pain.

This shocks Henri and Krystalin. For Shakti, however, it was expected…

Quality

Luna’s presence causes a disturbance with the team.

In this comic book, John Francis Moore really kept on focusing on developing the X-Men while keeping the narrative fresh with twists and the occasional moments of shock. While the cover of this comic book expressed the return of the other X-Men member Eddie/Metalhead (who stayed behind and separated from Xi’an’s mutants), the story here surprisingly had much less focus on the X-Men of 2099 and focused more on the Freakshow (which Metalhead is now part of).

Adding more depth to the surprise change of focus, the Freakshow here developed quite a lot as the group visits a new place and meets with a new group of people led by someone Mama Hurricane (head of the Freakshow) knew. As the development of the Freakshow went on, so did the creative team’s continued emphasis of the lore of the 2099 universe in the western region of the United States.

Conclusion

The Freakshow is the major team of focus in this comic book.

X-Men 2099 #14 (1994) is one of the more unusual stories that John Francis Moore and Ron Lim came up with. The X-Men themselves ended up with a minority of the narrative although the revelation of Xi’an taking sides with a super villain literally left some vibrations for readers. This plus the stronger focus on the Freakshow and the addition of Alexi as a powerful newcomer to the saga added to the build-up leading to X-Men 2099 #25. The good news here is that the story was solidly told by Moore and did not have a single boring moment for me.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men 2099 #14 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $90.

Overall, X-Men 2099 #14 (1994) is recommended.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition Coming to Xbox Consoles Digitally on November 11, 2021, GTA San Andreas launching on Xbox Game Pass (XGP) on the Same Day

Calling all Xbox fans, Grand Theft Auto (GTA) fans and gamers who are constantly on the lookout for fun!

It has been announced that the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is coming to Xbox consoles (Xbox One, Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X) in digital format on November 11, 2021. Adding further excitement is the fact that one of the classic GTA games, GTA San Andreas, will be made available on Xbox Game Pass (XGP) on that same day which subscribers can enjoy! Watch the official video announcement below…

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Xbox.com announcement. Some parts in boldface…

Three iconic cities, three epic stories, one definitive collection. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition includes the genre-defining Grand Theft Auto IIIGrand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas together — each one enhanced for a new generation and available together for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition will be available digitally on November 11 through the Microsoft Store on Xbox with a physical release for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S on December 7.

Experience the games that started it all — introducing unprecedented freedom and immersion through three living, breathing worlds filled with hilarious action, rich, cinematic storytelling, classic characters, and unforgettable music.

Bringing the classic worlds of Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas to modern Xbox platforms, Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition debuts new GTAV-inspired modern controls, plus across-the-board visual enhancements such as resolution upgrades and improved visual fidelity across the world, and much more to faithfully tune and improve upon all three games, while also maintaining their distinct original aesthetic.

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Editionintroduces wide-ranging modern control upgrades, including improvements to targeting and lock-on aiming, updated Weapon and Radio Station Wheels, updated mini-maps with enhanced navigation allowing players to set waypoints to destinations, updated achievements, and more.

Additional enhancements across all three titles include a completely rebuilt lighting system; improved shadows, weather, and reflections; upgraded character and vehicle models; along with new higher resolution textures across buildings, weapons, roads, interiors, and more. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition also features a range of environmental upgrades including all new foliage, smoother surfaces, and increased draw distances to provide a new level of depth and clarity throughout the world.

Originally developed by Rockstar Games, Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition has been adapted to modern platforms by Grove Street Games using Unreal Engine to make these classics more vibrant and more immersive than ever, celebrating the legacy of the series that redefined interactive entertainment and helped propel video games to the center of culture. Stay tuned to the Rockstar Newswire for more and check out the brand new site for Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition.

Players will also be able to experience Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – The Definitive Edition with Xbox Game Pass starting November 11.

Impressive load of details above. I’m really surprised by the announcement of GTA: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition, especially with regards to the November 11, 2021 digital release date. That’s just two days after the release of highly anticipated Xbox-exclusive Forza Horizon 5. It will be interesting to see how Xbox Series console owners will react when it comes to prioritizing their purchases for the month of November.

The presentation of the classic GTA games in Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is really interesting. It’s a mix of maintaining the early 2000s artistic look while modernizing them with certain visual effects, anti-aliasing and other graphics tricks that would make them look nice in high-definition. With regards to the modern consoles, I would not be surprised to see GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition look and perform best on Xbox Series X.

What I hope Rockstar Games would show, other than flashy graphical upgrades of their classic GTA games, is actual gameplay and how each of them will play. They should justify the claims in the following excerpt from the official announcement: wide-ranging modern control upgrades, including improvements to targeting and lock-on aiming, updated Weapon and Radio Station Wheels, updated mini-maps with enhanced navigation allowing players to set waypoints to destinations, updated achievements, and more.

When it comes to the competitive video game market, the 4th quarter is already loaded with anticipated hits for Xbox fans with exclusives like Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, and The Gunk plus Flight Simulator coming with a Game of the Year edition. There is also the the compilation The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Anniversary Edition coming out this November and the space shooter Chorus this December. The November 2021 digital release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition surely adds more excitement to the selection of games Xbox gamers can look forward to. That being said, gamers should prepare themselves for potential big spending. Oh, don’t forget about the upcoming storage expansion options for Xbox Series X this November and December.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos as well as videos of upcoming games and the GTA series for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

COVID-19 Crisis: Safety and sanitation at local cinemas emphasized

It has been days since Alert Level 3 was officially implemented all over Metro Manila which allowed for the reopening of several businesses and allowing them to accommodate more customers as the limitations on capacity were modified. Among the businesses authorized by the to reopen were the cinemas or movie theaters although the actual reopening has yet to happen. In fact, I passed by the cinemas at a local mall I visited this past Sunday and I saw they were still closed. Take note that there were attempts to push for reopening Metro Manila cinemas (click here, here and here).

As the reopening is still pending, there is this Manila Bulletin article about local cinemas will strictly implement health protocols. To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt plus a few relevant videos about safety and reopening. Some parts in boldface…

Cinemas and movie houses in the Philippines will strictly implement health protocols when these establishments reopen soon.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) put Metro Manila under Alert Level 3 and allowed the reopening of cinemas with restrictions. Only fully vaccinated people will be admitted and seating capacity will be limited to 30 percent.

The actual date of reopening of cinemas is still subject to confirmation and the public is advised to wait for further announcement, according to the Cinema Exhibitors Association of the Philippines (CEAP).

Cinemas in Metro Manila have been closed for 19 months due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“That is the main goal right now,” said CEAP Charmaine Bauzon. “We have devoted the past 19 months of cinema closure identifying solutions and precautions based on science. We will implement these measures to confidently welcome back movie fans to cinemas and send them home safe.

Cinemas are safe spaces

Bauzon assured “the public that cinema is a safe place. In fact, LGUs [local government units] have converted some theaters into vaccination centers, and no super-spreading were ever reported, even though people waited inside for hours.

CEAP cited a recent study in Germany which concluded that cinemas are safer than almost any other indoor environment as long as safety guidelines are followed like wearing face masks, physical distancing and proper air ventilation.

The German study considered the following factors in its conclusion: People spend an average of only two hours at a cinema; people inside the cinema simply sit down and face the same direction which is known to reduce transmission risks; and people are not talking to each other during a movie, which minimizes possibility of infection.

Cinemas to strictly impose all safety protocols

According to CEAP, besides adhering to the IATF-mandated health standards, it also developed the “Sa Sine Safe Ka” protocols patterned after the “CinemaSafe” measures set by America’s National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and endorsed by epidemiologists.

I personally support the reopening of cinemas not just because I love watching movies in them but also because cinemas and their employees can contribute a lot to the economic recovery from this COVID-19 crisis we are all living with. When it comes to viewing movies in the comfort of home, I prefer Blu-ray over streaming anytime. Still the very best way to enjoy movies in their full glory is still inside the cinema! I can never forget the day I first saw Wonder Woman (2017) in the IMAX cinema at SM Southmall which was really an immersive experience. I even replayed that same movie in another cinema which had lazy boy seats. I also saw Logan, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Avengers: Endgame, Aquaman and X-Men: Dark Phoenix on IMAX screens in different cinemas. When it comes to regular cinemas, I viewed Write About Love, Shazam!, and Joker to name some. Eventually I got to watch these movies in the comfort of home mainly on Blu-ray (which is always better than streaming) but I can confirm to you all that in my experience, the best place to view movies is still the cinema!

This iconic scene was at its grandest only in the cinema and I was fortunate to watch it on IMAX format!
The immersion of Aquaman on the big screen inside the IMAX cinema was indeed top-notch.

The good news here, as revealed in the excerpt above, is that local cinemas will exert efforts to make their venues clean and safe as their inevitable customers will be those who have been fully vaccinated. Cinema viewing will be far from normal but the latest developments related to Alert Level 3 are very welcome as it is the first step to returning to normalcy as the nation deals with community management and vaccinations for COVID-19. Above all, I urge all of you fully vaccinated people of Metro Manila and around the nation reading this – support the local cinemas! Put a stop to streaming and take the opportunities to watch movies in the movie theater because that streaming will NEVER match the grandeur and immersion of the cinema! The cinema is always better than streaming!

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: Are you eager to watch a movie inside the cinema here in Metro Manila as soon as it reopens? Have you been fully vaccinated already? What upcoming movies do you hope to watch in the local movie theater? Have you been following the CEAP on social media lately? Do you think that the top officials of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) really care about the plight of the cinema operators and their employees?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

A Look Back at X-Men 2099 #7 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, fans of the 2099 universe of Marvel Comics, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the X-Men 2099 comic book series by focusing on the seventh issue. If there is anything that makes the series of Marvel’s futuristic mutants distinct from other Marvel 2099 monthly series, it is the fact that it shows more of wasteland of America which easily reminds me of the Mad Max movies.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at X-Men 2099 #7 (1994), published by Marvel Comics in 1993 with a story written by John Francis Moore and drawn by Ron Lim.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the middle of an abandoned town with the X-Men in battle with the Freakshow. Xi’an fights their leader Breakdown while his teammates struggle with the other members of the Freakshow. Already infected by one of the Freakshow members, Eddie is suffering severe pain even in his metallic form.

The fight suddenly ends when an old lady fires a blast with her rifle. It turns out she is Breakdown’s superior and she is precisely whom the X-Men have been searching for…

Quality

In the heat of battle.

As one of the early stories showing the X-Men of 2099 exploring the American wasteland, this is a well-written piece of work by John Francis Moore which is expected. While it has the usual superhero elements of spectacle and special moves, discovery and exposition are easily the most obvious elements of the story. What I like most about this comic book is that it reveals more of the history about the mutants’ struggle to survive not only with the harshness of the wilderness but also with dealing with rejection from the people who are not mutants (which symbolizes prejudice). This also reveals that the mutants are still searching for a fabled place called Avalon which could be a better destination for all mutants to live in.

As the narrative about the past gets emphasized, the creative team added some elements of emotion and concern on the X-Men visually. This makes a lot of sense since the mutants are clearly searching for purpose and trying to make the most out of their current situation in the hope of having a brighter future. This is similar to the original X-Men and yet X-Men 2099 has its distinct style and concept about mutant survival.

Conclusion

At an abandoned old town that has government secret facilities.

X-Men 2099 #7 (1994) is indeed a good comic book to read. As the X-Men of the far future encounter more people in the wasteland, the discoveries they get impacts them and their efforts to survive. As discovery and exposition are strong elements in the story, the comic book is definitely not your typical good-versus-evil superhero story. The strong writing by John Francis Moore and his approach on expanding the world of 2099 America to the readers really made this comic book a solid read.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of X-Men 2099 #7 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $30 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $90.

Overall, X-Men 2099 #7 (1994) is recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Better than Streaming: Mad Max Anthology 4K Blu-ray coming out on November 2, 2021

Welcome back, fellow geeks, film enthusiasts and fellow Blu-ray/4K Blu-ray collectors!

I should state that it has been over forty years since Mad Max was first released in cinemas in Australia and because it achieved a lot of success, it went on to establish its own entertainment franchise with three cinematic sequels and has branched out to other entertainment media forms like video games and comic books.

Warner Bros. just announced that all four Mad Max movies (1979-2015) will be released in a 4K Blu-ray set titled Mad Max Anthology set for release on November 2, 2021 and you can order it online right now!

The cover.

Mad Max Anthology 4K Blu-ray has Mad Max, Mad Max: The Road Warrior (AKA Mad Max 2), Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and Mad Max: Fury Road. These four movies combine for more than 400 minutes screen time. For the newcomers reading this, the Mad Max films follow the stories of Max Rockatansky who encounters several violent people and found himself in the wasteland. The film franchise not only helped Mel Gibson climb the ranks among the many movie stars of Hollywood, it also established Australia’s place in cinema. I should state that director George Miller is the creator, the definitive Mad Max storyteller as well as one of the very best action film directors. The Mad Max film franchise is also very well known for having many great car chases!

Posted below are key details of Mad Max Anthology 4K Blu-ray from its Blu-ray.com page. Take note that as of this writing, it is not yet clear if the visuals will be native 4K or upscaled 4K.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Aspect ratio: 2.40:1, 2.34:1

Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

English: Dolby Atmos

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles

Mad Max 4K

English SDH

Mad Max: The Road Warrior 4K

English SDH, French, Spanish

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome 4K

English SDH, French, Spanish

Mad Max: Fury Road 4K

English SDH, French, German SDH, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Four-disc set (4 BD)

Digital

Digital copy included

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

The rear of the cover.

I’ve seen these movies and in my view the 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road is truly the best action film of the decade of 2010-2019. I own a Blu-ray disc copy of the film that starred Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron and I still replay it as it truly is a great movie. My only disappointment is that the 4K Blu-ray of Mad Max: Fury Road only had upscaled 4K visuals. I really hope that the Mad Max Anthology 4K Blu-ray will have all four movies with native 4K visuals complete with proper color grading.

In ending this piece, posted below are some Mad Max-related videos for your enjoyment. Beware of potential spoilers.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-rayV: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-rayHighlander 4K Blu-rayThe Suicide Squad, Super Dimension Century Orguss Blu-ray, Unbreakable 4K Blu-ray, Injustice 4K Blu-ray, The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray, Terminator 2: Judgment Day 30th Anniversary 4K Blu-ray and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 4K Blu-ray.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

Better than Streaming: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 4K Blu-ray coming out on November 16, 2021

Welcome back, fellow geeks, film enthusiasts and Blu-ray/4K Blu-ray collectors!

All those who love the 2001 computer-generated movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within should be aware, and excited, that it will be released in a 4K Blu-ray combo on November 16, 2021. 4K Blu-ray collectors who have not seen the said movie will have their chances to add it to their collection and the good news is that it can be ordered online right now!

The 4K Blu-ray combo cover.

Posted below are key details of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 4K Blu-ray combo from its Blu-ray.com page. Take note that as of this writing, it is not yet clear if the visuals will be native 4K or upscaled 4K.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Audio

TBA

Subtitles

None

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Two-disc set (2 BD)

Digital

Digital 4K

Digital copy included

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

2K Blu-ray: Region A

Posted below are the special features and technical specs of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 4K Blu-ray

  • HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
  • BRAND NEW DOLBY ATMOS TRACK + original theatrical 5.1 audio
  • Original Special Features:
    • Two Feature-Length Commentaries
    • Interactive Documentary: The Making of Final Fantasy
    • Original Opening
    • Aki’s Dream Reconstruction
    • On the Set with Aki
    • Character Profiles
    • Vehicle Scale Comparisons
    • Compositing Builds
    • Joke Outtakes
    • The Gray Project
    • Theatrical Trailers

I first saw Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within on a Friday night at the local theater in July twenty-o-one. While social media was not yet common back in those days, the movie still was hyped a lot through the Internet and traditional media.

As for the theatrical experience, I found the movie to be not so engaging mainly due to the story’s pacing (note: it was directed by Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and Motonori Sakakibara), the sentimental stuff within the script, the not-so-interesting characters and the lack of true connection between the vocal performances and the motion-captured moves of the digital characters. Being one of the first major movies to be fully made with computer-generated images (CGI) complete with digital human characters and the approach to achieving photo-realism, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was indeed a flashy and fancy looking picture but it really did not have much to appeal to me with regards to my interest in cinema and even with Final Fantasy games. The movie ended up being hollow for me personally.

For the newcomers reading this, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was a tremendous box office failure and it led to the closure of Square Pictures. Still the movie could find new life in 4K Blu-ray format and I know it has its own following of dedicated fans. Perhaps the fans of Ming-Na Wen, Alec Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, James Woods, Ving Rhames, Peri Gilpin and Steve Buscemi would be interested to experience the movie in 4K.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-rayV: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-rayHighlander 4K Blu-rayThe Suicide Squad, Super Dimension Century Orguss Blu-ray, Unbreakable 4K Blu-ray, Injustice 4K Blu-ray, The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray and Terminator 2: Judgment Day 30th Anniversary 4K Blu-ray.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

Better than Streaming: Another 4K Blu-ray of Terminator 2: Judgment Day coming out December 6, 2021 (for the British market)

Welcome back, fellow geeks, film enthusiasts and Blu-ray/4K Blu-ray collectors!

If you are based in England and you love the works of Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron, as well as the bastardized Terminator film franchise, then you might be interested in the just announced new 4K Blu-ray of Terminator 2: Judgment Day coming from StudioCanal which you can order online right now for £60.00. It is set for a December 6, 2021 release as of this writing.

Coming out this December.

To be more specific, this newest 4K Blu-ray of the 1991 blockbuster film is a commemorative edition highlighting its 30th anniversary.

Posted below are key details of Terminator 2: Judgment Day 4K Blu-ray combo from its Blu-ray.com page.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

English: Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles

English SDH

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray 3D

Blu-ray Disc

Five-disc set (1 BD-66, 2 BD-50, 2 LPs)

Packaging

Slipbox

DigiPack, Inner print

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

2K Blu-ray: Region B

And here are details of the special features and technical specs from the Blu-ray.com announcement…

  • PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM
  • T2: Reprogramming The Terminator documentary (including exclusive interviews with James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong and many more) – 55 mins
  • 2 Feature Commentaries; 23 Members of Cast & Crew (1993)/Director James & Co-Author William Wisher
  • The Making of T2 (1993)
  • Seamless Branching Of The Theatrical Version (137 mins approx.)
  • Special Edition Version (154 mins approx.)
  • Extended Special Edition Version (156 mins approx.)
  • 2 Deleted Scenes With Audio Commentary
  • Trailers – T2:3D (2017)
  • T2 Theatrical Trailer ‘This Time There Are Two’/’Same Make New Mission’/’Building The Perfect Arnold
  • Optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature

Extra stuff and fine packaging aside, the above-mentioned “PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM” confirms that the new 4K Blu-ray will not have a brand new remaster which alone concerns me as a collector and fan of the movie. I’ve read Blu-ray.com’s review of the previous 4K Blu-ray of Terminator 2 (the product released by Lionsgate Films) which rated its 4K video quality with a score of 2.5 out of 5 while the 2K video quality was rated 3/5. In that same review, it was mentioned that there was a near absence of film grain and an altered color palette resulting “a kind of greenish-teal tone to several scenes that never had them before.”

Personally I’m not too confident about this upcoming release from StudioCanal. The picture quality for 2K and 4K viewing should be nothing less than excellent. As for you movie fans and Blu-ray collectors reading this, you will have to do your analysis before making the crucial decision to buy this 4K Blu-ray of Terminator 2.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-rayV: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-rayHighlander 4K Blu-rayThe Suicide Squad, Super Dimension Century Orguss Blu-ray, Unbreakable 4K Blu-ray, Injustice 4K Blu-ray and The Suicide Squad 4K Blu-ray.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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A Look Back at Flashback (Super NES)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from playing Flashback: The Quest for Identity and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

We live in an age in which software exclusivity defines not only the relevance of game consoles but also nature of the entire video game industry right down to the many varied communities of very avid fans (and fanboys).

While the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES or Super NES) and Sega Genesis each had their own exclusive games back in the 1990s, there was one particular game that was made for and released on not just one, not two but rather on more than fifteen different platforms – both consoles and computers – starting with Amiga way back in 1992. That game is none other than Flashback: The Quest for Identity which I first played on our Super NES back in 1994.

The cover of the game box.

For the newcomers reading this, Flashback was a 2D side-scrolling adventure game in the form of a cinematic platformer (note: similar to Prince of Persia and Out of This World) with a strong flavor of science fiction. It was cinematic in the sense that all the in-game animation were rotoscoped resulting unique smoothness combined with hand-drawn backgrounds and the computer-generated cutscenes were used in key parts of the game as the story progressed. Flashback on SNES in America even came with a Marvel Comics-published Flashback comic book and on the rear of the SNES game box were the words “The first CD-ROM game in a cartridge!”

A Flashback remake was released in 2013, followed by a port of the original game released on Sega Dreamcast in 2017, and a remastered version got released for varied platforms in 2018.

I got to play that game at a time when I have not even started playing Final Fantasy II (AKA Final Fantasy IV), Final Fantasy III (AKA Final Fantasy VI) and other great role-playing games (RPGs) of the Super NES. I also remember that Flashback was a nice change of pace for me after playing Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Flashback: The Quest for Identity, released on Super NES in 1993 by U.S. Gold and developed by Delphine Software International.

The start and options screen.

Early story

The story begins with Conrad running away from two armed persons chasing him. He flies away riding a solo vehicle but those chasing him (riding a huge vehicle) managed to get close and blast his vehicle causing to crash into the forest.

Sometime later, he wakes up and accidentally pushes a mechanical cube to fall down. He climbs down to reach it and activates it. The cube displays a holographic video of himself telling him that he recorded it without remembering it. As Conrad watches, he learns that he must contact a friend named Ian who can explain important things to him.

After viewing the message, Conrad sets off to find his way out of the jungle and somehow get to Ian in New Washington…

Game design and quality

You have to pay close attention to what’s going on, what items do you have and what the in-game prompts tell you.

This game is not your typical fast-paced, action-oriented 2D side-scrolling adventure in which you move from left to right to progress. As it is a cinematic platform game by design complete with very specific controls, players will have to be patient, adaptive and strategic in order to learn how exactly you can control your character, what moves will be executed (and when to execute). For one thing, the very fluid 24 frames-per-second animation on your character limits you in terms of control as timing is required.

To do things properly, you have to execute specific controls. To ascend on a lift, you press Up and the Y button. To do a small jump, have your character stand still and then press Up and Y button. To go down on level (on foot, no lift), stand by the edge of a level then press Down and Y button. To run and hang on to a higher floor automatically, have your character stand still, press Right and Y button, press Y button (once your character moves) and watch him pull it off. With controls like these, the usual 2D platforming approach is out of the question. In my experience, these controls are indeed challenging but never impossible to learn and eventually I got proficient with the controls as I played more.

The in-game animation for the characters are very good and there is also a sensation of weight with your character. Falling straight down from a very high place is a big no-no.

Apart from character controls, you don’t just move Conrad from one screen to the next…you also should do key objectives along the way apart from engaging in action scenes (read: shooting). That being said, you must watch out for icons that appear on screen when your character steps on a particular spot that requires interaction. For example, if you stop by a terminal, an icon will appear serving as a prompt to start the interaction. Another example is when your character steps on the same spot as an item located at which you can pick up once prompted.

More on the action on the screen, you will encounter armed enemies as well as high-tech machines (including floating drones). To overcome them, doing straightforward shooting is not recommended as you have to be strategic before firing a shot. You have to learn how each enemy or machine moves, how much physical space is available right there and how you can maximize your limited time and space to overcome them. In fact, you will also be compelled to take advantage of whatever seconds you have while the enemies’ animation (between moves) take place. There will also be times when you need to have your character armed with the gun before jumping to a lower level where an armed enemy is located and on the lookout. Coming down armed gives you an advantage to shoot first at the enemy who

Considering the 24 frames-per-second animation, you will have to time your moves carefully, especially during moments when you face an armed enemy.

Apart from shooting, you can also use grenades which requires opening your inventory to select a grenade and then do your timing and calculation of the distance in order to pull of a successful throw and explosion. You can also throw stones to distract enemies or to apply weight on key platforms in order to open mechanical doors.

With regards to the quality of gameplay, Flashback is enjoyable but only if you get over its rather high learning curve with regards to the controls which themselves serve as the game’s advantage and even as a disadvantage. In addition to being patient and strategic, you will really have to pace yourself, think more and get used to the rather slow pace of the game in relation to its cinematic platformer design. I should state that as you keep progressing, there will be places, or new obstacles or new enemies that will compel you to change your tactics in order to overcome them. Anyone who is used to playing 2D side-scrolling games the fast and easy way might find the high learning curve and pacing of Flashback a turnoff but if they are willing to learn, adjust and pace themselves, only then can this game’s gameplay be really enjoyed.

Cut scenes like this move at a sluggish pace which shows the limitations of the SNES and cartridge technology.

As for the visuals, the obvious highlight here is the 24 FPS animation which is the result of rotoscoping and careful visualizing (note: observe those alien humanoids who morph into moving blobs). The rotoscoped animation, however, would not have been that effective had the quality of the art used for the backgrounds been made of lower quality. I can say that the background artworks here look pretty good even by today’s standards. The standout among them were the background artworks of Morph’s home planet which really looked very alien and creepy at the same time. What hurts this particular version of Flashback is the lackluster (read: choppy) frame rate whenever the computer-generated cinematic cutscenes (obviously they were meant for more powerful PCs) play which, in my experience, took me out of the story. There were also bouts of slowdown during the gameplay, especially when you encounter enough enemies that were animated sophistically.

With regards to narrative, Conrad is literally your avatar to learn, discover and interact with the many elements of the universe he is part of. There is obvious influence that the game makers took from the movie Total Recall as they crafted Conrad to be someone who lost his memory, moves on to regain it and do a lot of things as he realizes his true purpose and what is really at stake. Unlike Total Recall’s protagonist, Conrad himself is not too interesting mainly due to the way the in-game story was structured. Just play as Conrad and do what needs to be done to complete the game.

When it comes to understanding the narrative, you will have to do lots of reading. You will spot and read the short description of the prompts that appear. You’ll also have to read the on-screen text whenever your character talks with someone during the levels of the game. And there are the captions shown during the slow animated cutscenes.

Conclusion

The background artworks during the late stage of the game are great and truly creative with science fiction in mind.

I can clearly say that Flashback: The Quest for Identity on Super NESis fun and engaging mainly to those who are willing to adjust themselves to it. If you don’t have patience, if you are not willing to think while playing, if you cannot pace yourself and if you are not willing to learn all the specific controls of the game, then you should not be playing Flashback. It is a cinematic platformer and that should tell you that you will need to adjust to enjoy it.

Overall, Flashback: The Quest for Identity on SNES is recommended.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Dazzler #2 (1981)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Marvel Comics! Way back in 1981, Marvel Comics had a successful comic book series launch with Dazzler #1 (read my retro review by clicking here) which sold over 400,000 copies and further sealed Dazzler as an advantageous addition for the company’s superhero comics franchise. Dazzler, a creation of a deal between Marvel and a certain record company, debuted in Uncanny X-Men #130 and got involved with the X-Men until Uncanny X-Men #131. Dazzler appeared with Marvel’s famous webslinger in Amazing Spider-Man #203.

Dazzler #1 ended with a brewing rivalry between the title character and Enchantress. With those laid down, here is a look back at Dazzler #2, published in 1981 by Marvel Comics with a story written by Tom DeFalco and drawn by John Romita, Jr.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Dazzler preparing for her big show at Numero Uno, a prestigious disco in the city of New York. Just before the show starts, a huge crowd of people are in attendance and among them are Wolverine, Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Captain America, Johnny Storm, Ben Grimm and Tony Stark (Iron Man) to name some.

Just as Dazzler appears on-stage and draws a frenzied applause from the audience, the revenger-hungry Enchantress slowly makes her moves to ruin the lady who outclassed her to be the main attraction of the club. Even with her desire for revenge, the Enchantress decides to use her magic sparingly on Dazzler. In the audience, Peter Parker/Spider-Man begins to sense something is about to happen…

Quality

This shows what this comic book is really about.

The way the story was told is disappointing. This is because the spotlight on Dazzler and her anticipated conflict with the Enchantress got overwhelmed by the amount of superhero filler on the narrative. To be clear, it is fun and interesting to see a mix of the varied superheroes of Marvel together but this comic book ended up being an all-star showcase (X-Men, Avengers and Fantastic Four members included) than a real, standalone Dazzler story. In fairness, Tom DeFalco showed how skilled he is with plot structuring and capturing the personalities and tropes of the different superheroes (note: unsurprisingly, DeFalco accurately captured Spider-Man’s personality and he went on to be a major force behind Spider-Man comic books) but that does not change the fact that this comic book should have been more about Dazzler.

When it comes to the conflict between Dazzler and the Enchantress, it was executed with no depth at all. Literally speaking, there is not enough meat to consume here and it the conflict really ended up looking very rushed. As if that was not bad enough, there is not enough justification to show Dazzler defeating a monster summoned by the Enchantress.  Considering how shallow the Dazzler-Enchantress match-up turned out, it’s no wonder why there is so much Marvel all-star filler in the script.

As for the late-stage attempt to shift the narrative back to Dazzler, it is rather over-the-top and unsatisfying.

Conclusion

You recognize someone in the audience?

Dazzler #2 (1981) is an example about a creative team’s lack of confidence on crafting a decent story to develop a new superhero and ultimately resorting to fill it with a mix of other superheroes involved which itself symbolizes desperation. This comic book is not really a Dazzler story but an all-star showcase with Dazzler becoming a minor character in her own monthly series.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Dazzler #2 (1981), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $28 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $60.

Overall, Dazzler #2 (1981) is unsatisfactory. Anyone who loves Dazzler or who wishes to discover more of her will be disappointed with this comic book.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Tokyo Game Show 2021 (TGS 2021) Xbox livestream set for September 30

With Gamescom 2021 and the Tokyo Olympic Games over, video gaming will be highlighted in Japan with this year’s edition of the annual Tokyo Game Show happening at the end of this month and Team Xbox has a new online event set to be streamed on September 30, 2021 (6PM Tokyo Standard Time).

Tokyo Game Show is set for September 30 to October 3.

Before you Xbox fans and gamers get too excited, there is a need to control your expectations first as Aaron Greenberg of Team Xbox tweeted: Well since you asked, @tokyo_game_show is a show for our players in Japan and across Asia. Expect regionally relevant updates, but no major reveals or announcements as our game teams are focused on continuing to ship big releases across October, November, and December.

With major announcements and special reveals ruled out, there will still be fun stuff to show but with Japan and Asia in mind during the 50-minute Xbox livestream. Microsoft’s approach to this event may not be as high-profile as the Xbox-Bethesda games showcase of June but what is clear is that Team Xbox is focused on achieving growth in Japan’s video games industry and already a record number of Japan’s independent game makers have received Xbox development kits.

TGS 2021 is also an opportunity for Team Xbox to emphasize what they have to offer gamers of Asia this coming holiday season. While nothing clear has been made, they could show the latest about Halo Infinite with footage of the single-player campaign. They could also show Psychonauts 2 with the accolades it gained, plus some more new footage of Forza Horizon 5, and reveal details of the limited edition Halo Infinite-themed Xbox Series X console for the Japanese market. Xbox Game Pass (XGP) promos and Xbox LIVE updates for Japan are expected.

TGS 2021 could also be the ideal time for Team Xbox to finalize and announce a precise release date of CrossfireX which has been scheduled for a 2021 release. There are only a few months left before the year ends and I believe that the Tokyo Game Show is the ideal time to announce a solid release date with a huge online audience present.

More on Japanese-related gaming, I can only wish that Rabbit & Bear Studios head Yoshitaka Murayama will make an appearance during the Xbox TGS 2021 livestream and give updates about the developments about their two games Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. Previously, it has been announced that those two games will be released on Xbox Game Pass. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes will be released in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

There is also Tango Gameworks, a Japan-based game studio owned by Bethesda and Xbox. I wish to see some updates from them for the Xbox livestream, especially when it come to future games.

Watch out for the TGS 2021 Xbox Livestream at the official YouTube channel of Xbox at https://www.youtube.com/c/xbox

In ending this piece, here are some Xbox-related videos for your enjoyment.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com