Album Review: Melissa (1983) by Mercyful Fate

Album Cover by Thomas Holm/Studio Dzyan

Band/Artist: Mercyful Fate (Vocals: King Diamond, Lead Guitar: Hank Shermann, Drums: Kim Ruzz, Bass: Timi “Grabber” Hansen, Guitar for ‘Evil’ – Michael Denner)

Album: Melissa (1983)

Genre: Heavy Metal, Black Metal

Label: Roadrunner (Europe), Music for Nations (UK), Megaforce (US)

Hello metal lovers and welcome to another album review. Today we will be talking about the 1983 Heavy/Black metal album Melissa from the band Mercyful Fate. This is the debut album for the Danish heavy metal band who is fronted by legendary singer, King Diamond. Melissa was released the day before Halloween in 1983 and in my opinion that was perfect timing for it to be put out as the album is all about curses, Satan and witches and a persons journey through this mystical evil. One of the songs, ‘Into the Coven’ even made it to the filthy fifteen objectionable songs that parents used to try and set up a Parental Advisory Label in 1985. This is due to the occult lyrics and overall theme to the song. So let us once again ladies and gentlemen dive into another album and see what I think of it.

Evil – This songs bursts through the gates and attacks the senses straight away. The riff is absolutely badass and coupled with King Diamonds incredible Falsetto voice and the awesome drumming from Kim Ruzz, the the song is wholly badass throughout. I know I keep saying badass, but there is no other way to describe how truly kick ass this song is. The lyrics are so gothic and dark and they completely show the genius that is King Diamond. Lastly, the solo guitar work that goes throughout the song is nothing short of incredible. A fantastic song.

Curse of the Pharaohs – A nice, slow opening, it is like the guitar is inviting you in to its domain and then the entire band kicks in and you can’t help but smile. The lyrics are interesting, they are basically about all the bad things that could happen if you steal from a pyramid and get cursed, pretty cool lyrics in my opinion. The song really picks up about half way through (2:08) and sends you on another journey in the land of 80’s bad ass heavy metal and nothing but.

Into the Coven – A beautiful opening to the song from Hank Shermanns amazing guitar work. By the third song on the album you will be able to note Mercyful Fates distinct sound and it just gets better with each track. King Diamond hits notes that pierce your soul and with the reverb on his voice you could imagine him singing in a church, an evil church of course but a church none the less. The lyrics are basically an invite to join a cult or a coven and become a part of Lucifer’s family. I love how dark and mystical Diamond’s lyrics are.

At the Sound of the Demon Bell – Pretty good opening to the song, I feel a bit of influence from US heavy metal groups at the beginning of this song, but once King Diamond screeches out “Halloweeeeeeen” it brings you right back to Mercyful Fate. I would describe this as one of their more innovative and experimental songs on the track. There are a lot of breaks where the guitar switches up and it feels like a mix of songs sometimes. The lyrics of the song are about the night of Halloween and basically how the barrier between our world and the spirit world are broken and how Satan can now get to earth. Fantastic work by the band and an intriguing journey that left me wanting more.

Black Funeral – The shortest song on the album, and lyrically it is basically a Satanist black funeral for a woman who was killed by King Diamonds…or Satan’s coven. Musically its pretty good, but nothing really sticks out for me too much, I think it just sets the scene of a black funeral and how truly evil these people are. It has to be said thought that Shermann’s solo work near the end is incredible.

Satan’s Fall – Now from the shortest song on the album to the longest at eleven and a half minutes. The song starts off like a very typical but very good Mercyful Fate track. The song has sixteen different riffs on it, so to say that this is a journey is an understatement. It feels like a journey through a mind that has been corrupted by evil and all the strange and dark emotions that a mind like that would go through. Later on in the song, it is like the person has accepted that Satan is their true master and that they reject god in all its entirety.

Melissa – For all intents and purposes, I would describe this song as a ballad and even go so far as to say a love song…but it’s still dark as hell. The match up of Diamond’s voice and Shermann’s guitar work is fantastic and it is divine, I literally can’t think of another word other than divine. As far as I can make out, the lyrics are about the characters love, Melissa, who was a witch and I think she was executed for being so and the main character swears revenge for her death.

Final Thoughts:

While the lyrics may seem tame now with all the talk of Satan and hell and evil and they might even be called “edgy” nowadays, this was it. This was the metal album that told you of a persons journey through evil so profound. I truly believe the whole album is one person’s journey, from just being evil, to finding a group of like minded individuals and eventually giving their whole life over to the price of darkness and whether you like it, you are going on that journey and whatever your outcome, well that is up to you.

Musically, the entire album is mind blowing from start to finish. For me this album is way ahead of its time and I can see even nowadays the influence would have on other heavy/black metal bands. This is what talent looks like. The lyrics are genius, the guitar work is unmatched, the drums are rocking…the bass is a bit lost, but from what I can hear of the bass, it is pretty damn good.

This whole album put a smile on my face. It works in so many ways and on so many different levels. Would it be an album that I put on and head bang to? No. This is an album that I would put on, lay on my bed, close my eyes and go on an intense and very real journey through someone’s evil soul and thought process as they give the entirety of their soul to Satan. Melissa is an amazing album and one of the best metal albums of the 1980’s and I would suggest that if you have forty odd minutes and you appreciate not only metal, but encapsulating story telling, then you won’t be disappointed.

Favourite song: Evil

10/10

“Kill ‘Em All” (1983) By Metallica

Awesome cover art. Simple but effective. By Gary L. Heard

Band/Artist: Metallica (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar: James Hetfield, Lead Guitar: Kirk Hammett, Drums: Lars Ulrich, Bass: Cliff Burton)

Album: Kill ’em All (1983)

Genre: Thrash Metal

Label: Megaforce

Hello metal heads! Welcome to another album review. Today we will be talking about one of the most iconic thrash albums ever from one of the most iconic metal bands ever, Kill ’em All by Metallica. Kill ’em All came out in 1983 and it was around that time that thrash metal started to become popular. Dave Mustaine of the band, Megadeth was a member of Metallica during the recording of this album and it was during this period that he was booted from the band to be replaced by Kirk Hammett. Though he was fired, Mustaine still has some writing credits on the album, on songs such as ‘The Four Horsemen’, ‘Jump in the Fire’, ‘Phantom Lord’ and ‘Metal Militia’, The original title of this album was meant to be ‘Metal up your ass’, the record company wanted to change it as they deemed it too offensive. So let us get into this album and see what I think of the songs.

Hit the lights – If I had to pick one word to describe this song it would be “explosive”. From the insane chaotic build up to erupting into this amazing thrash riff, this is pure thrash as it is. The song is all about being at a metal concert and rocking your little heart out. Right from the beginning and the incredible fading in intro, you just know this song is going to rock your socks off. The drums burst onto the scene and if you’re not head banging, there is something wrong with you. I remember hearing this song first when I was in my early teens, I went to my local CD shop and bought this album, I ran home, put this album on and ‘Hit the Lights’ hit me full on. I think I played that song on repeat for the rest of the night before I played the rest of the album. The solo’s are fantastic and you can feel the intensity and excitement from each of the band members through your speakers. A fantastic song and one of my personal favourite thrash songs.

The Four Horsemen – I love how scratchy and dirty the guitar sounds in this song. The melodic riff really adds a lot to this song. This is more your standard heavy metal and what Metallica would be known for in their later years. Hammett’s guitar playing is so on point, the talent just oozes out of this song. I love the drum beat, especially from the kick pedals. About halfway through, it’s like the song transforms into this completely different song, but in no way any less great. The guitar work is beautiful and my word the solo work on the guitar is so god damn good, also the bass is a lot more prominent. A fantastic song throughout.

Motorbreath – The beat of the song is very standard thrash, nothing really stands out to me too much in this song. I am not saying it is not good, far from it, it is a fantastic thrash song, but it wouldn’t be one that I listen to a lot. The things I can compliment are the guitar work is again absolutely fantastic, James Hetfield’s vocals are superb, the guitar solo is once again absolutely on point. Just as a whole, the song doesn’t really stand out, but if it did come on I would still be rocking out to it. A good song.

Jump in the Fire – A stunning main riff to this song that while it may sound simplistic enough, adds so many layers to this song. The reason this song really appeals to me is because it sounds so ahead of its time. The guitar work sticks out so much on this song and it is one of those songs that to me helped mold Metallica’s distinct style and sound. This could have easily been on Master or Justice and I would have been happy with either. The song sounds so raw and energetic, it is a journey from start to finish. One of the best songs on the album for me.

[Anesthesia] Pulling Teeth – This is an instrumental song which I believe would have been very risky for a thrash metal band, not only that, a thrash metal bands debut album. The song is a bass instrumental for the most part, played by one of the greatest metal bass players ever, Cliff Burton. The melodies created from the distorted bass can bring you on a journey in your mind if you just close your eyes and listen to the melody. A beautiful piece of music, though a strange choice for the band to put this on the album. It also shows how very talented Mr. Burton was with his bass guitar. Excellent piece of music.

Whiplash – I like how in Whiplash, the song allows the drums to be the centre stage in this song. It really shows the talent of Lars Ulrich as I feel he is the star of this song. The scratchy guitar makes me want clench my teeth and air guitar to the high heavens and back. A pure unadulterated thrash song. ‘Nuff said really.

Phantom Lord – This song immediately sets the scene with this strange almost sci-fi opening, before it breaks into an absolutely, devil-horn hand waving, pounding, metal song. The guitar work is again the shining star of this song. Kirk Hammett played his heart out on this record and it enjoyable from beginning to end. Also from 2:30-3:21, that is Metallica, that is Metallica’s sound that will bring them the fame and riches that they so rightly deserve in their later years. Phantom Lord is one of the best, creative and melodic songs on the album and is one of my favourite.

No Remorse – Any Doom fans in the house? You might recognise this song (1:34). Kirk Hammett absolutely shreds his guitar in this song, I have no idea how any of his guitars survived the recording of this album. The song changes up so much that it is almost like three songs merged into one and I for one am not complaining. Ulrich’s drumming is excellent in this song. A great song, but sounds more like a compilation of ideas and songs more than one complete song.

Seek and Destroy – Probably the most well known song off this album. It is very different to the rest of the album in the way that it slows the whole album down in my opinion. But this song fucking rocks, absolutely no doubt. Every single element works in this song and it is impossible not to sing the chorus. The lyrics are crisp, clean and badass. The riff is one of Metallica’s most well known and this is one of Metallica’s most popular songs and one that they play constantly at concerts, but it is not hard to see why. It is six minutes and fifty four seconds of pure heavy metal. One of the best Metallica songs period.

Metal Militia – Now if you want to hear a badass thrash metal song from start to finish then please go no further. Metal Militia is one of the most raw thrash songs I have ever heard in my life. When I heard this first I almost gave myself…whiplash…see what I done there because they have a song called Whiplash on the album and also I head banged so hard I almost gave myself whiplash…d-do…do you see?….nevermind. One of the best thrash songs I have ever had the pleasure to listen to. I would definitely rank it as one of the top ten metal songs I have ever heard. Please, if you are in any way into Metal, give it a listen, I don’t think you would be disappointed. Also as a final note, I do love the song fading out in the outro and sound of an army marching fading in, a nice touch and I very much valued that.

Final Thoughts:

For a debut album for one of the biggest heavy metal bands that has ever existed, you could see why Metallica got to the heights they did from this album alone. From the excellent lyrics and singing of James Hetfield, the exciting drums of Lars Ulrich, the rhythmic and imaginative bass lines from Cliff Burton and finally and probably the most stand out member on this album, the beautiful, melodic and creative guitar riffs and solo work by Kirk Hammett, there was just so much talent on this album for it to not become a hit. You can’t talk about Kill ’em All without mentioning Dave Mustaine and I for one can definitely see his influences on the songs that he helped write. Even though Kill ’em All is primarily a thrash album it is so much more technical, diverse and creative then I think it gets credit for. If someone hears that it is a thrash album the first idea that would come to your head and even mine is shredding guitars and fast drums, and while this album does have that, I never in my life would have expected to hear a song devoted to just a bass solo. A risky album, in some ways, but nevertheless, one of the most important and influential metal albums ever recorded.

Favourite Song: Metal Militia

9/10

Album Review: “The Last Temptation of Reid” (1990) by Lard

Album Cover

Band/Artist: Lard (Vocals: Jello Biafra, Guitar/Programming: Alien Jourgensen, Drums: Jeff Ward, Bass/Programming: Paul Barker)

Album: The Last Temptation of Reid (1990)

Genre: Industrial Rock/Hardcore Punk

Label: Alternative Tentacles

Hello fellow music lovers and welcome to my review of the 1990 rock album “The Last Temptation of Reid” from industrial punk rockers Lard. This album is the debut studio album from Lard. Lard were a San Francisco hardcore/industrial punk band made up of members from Ministry and the Dead Kennedys, most notably the lead singers of both bands, Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) and Al Jourgensen (Ministry). The album definitely has a lot of elements of punk rock but there is a small element of industrial too which isn’t surprising given the talent that is in the band. I would also like to note that I think the album cover is awesome, I like the imagery of innocence being eaten by steel and metal. So let’s go through the songs and I’ll tell you what I think of each of them:

Forkboy – What an amazing start to this album. This song immediately hit me like a ton of bricks. The bass opening just before the rest of the instruments kick in really builds up the anticipation that this will be a special song. Biafra’s singing in this song is some of his best that I have ever heard from him. I would pick out one instrument that sticks out, but they are all equally as good and they each play their part to make this song absolutely rock! The lyrics are really cool and paint a grim picture. This song was used in the 1994 Oliver Stone movie “Natural Born Killers” and it really adds to the scene it is played in. A fantastic song, one that I play a lot in my personal play lists.

Pineapple Face – Drums! Drums! Drums! Once that drum kicks in at beginning, it is hard to not already be head banging. The riff is pretty awesome and then it breaks down to a slow moment which has some strange singing and and a cool piece from a keyboard before kicking in again. Like Forkboy, a straight up, cool rock song and one that I thoroughly enjoy. I believe that Pineapple Face is in reference to the Panamanian Dictator, Manuel Noriega as he was derogatorily known as Cara de Pina, or Pineapple Face.

Mate, Spawn & Die – This is the first song of the album that I can clearly hear influence of the Industrial genre through the drums. The riff of the song to me sounds strangely like the Dead Kennedys song “Holiday in Cambodia”. That’s not to say its bad, it just sounds a little too similar. The lyrics are pretty good, to me it seems to be people giving everything they have to find the easy answers in life. Look good and you’ll get what you want, find love and you’ll get what you want but in this strive to get what you want in life, what do you sacrifice along the way? And then the easiest answer of all, you mate, have children and die, probably the basest function of any and every living thing on the planet. A very good song and different, which I like.

Drug Raid At 4AM – You can certainly hear the Ministry influence in this song, using sound bites from news reports, police shows on TV and the like. The background police sirens are a really cool addition to this song. This song is mostly punk and the drums and guitar work really well together to make it a really awesome punk song. What I get from the lyrics is that it is an anti-war on drugs song and that the government waste too much time and resources on it. Also they bring up the fact that the government wastes resources treating addicts like criminals instead of someone who needs help to kick the habit. A pretty good song and a nice mix of Ministry and Dead Kennedys.

Can God Fill Teeth? – The song is really crazy, but in a good way, it starts off like a story with a little bit of guitar work in the background. This goes on for almost half of the song before the actual song kicks in and when it does it is fast, heavy and hard like all good punk songs should be. Basically the lyrics of the song, from what I can make out, is the ravings of a conspiracy nut and how far he is willing to go so the government don’t control any aspect of his life, he even drills out his own teeth because he thinks the government can listen to him through a bug in his teeth from a filling. Pretty crazy stuff, but to be fair, if you ever listened to this guys for longer than five minutes…you could see one or two of them doing the same. A decent song, not great. Pretty humourous lyrics though I have to say.

Sylvestre Matuschka – This song gets straight into it, rocking pretty hard from the get go. The song is about a Hungarian mass murderer named Sylvestre Matuschka. Matuschka used to blow up train tracks so he could derail the trains in Austria and Hungary in the 1930’s. He was twice successful causing death and injuries and twice he failed. He was captured and extradited to Hungary where he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Matuschka escaped and was never heard from again. Why did he do it? Some say god told him, others say for sexual gratification. Back to the song, its pretty rocking. The bass line is excellent and I love the drumming throughout. Biafra’s wailing way of singing really adds to the song. The song had me head banging, but not the most technical song I have ever heard. A good song.

They’re Coming To Take Me Away – The song starts off with a nice harp and an excellent marching drum beat. The song was originally recorded by American singer and song writer Napoleon XIV back in 1966. Biafra’s vocals are very similar to the original. The song is basically about someone losing their mind after losing their…dog…and being committed to a mental asylum, but the way Biafra sings has this insane quality to it which is both cool and disturbing. The distortion of the instruments really play into the distorted and warped nature of the song. A pretty good song.

I Am Your Clock – This is less of a song and more of a speech. Biafra does very little singing in this fifteen minute song, more talking/shouting than anything. In saying that, the drums and the guitar work really hit hard in this song as the background to Biafra’s speech. The lyrics are basically, in the simplest form, do what you’re told, don’t dream or imagine a better life, don’t hope for anything, don’t try because you’ll fail, but it is all spoken from a sort of authoritarian angle and it is like the listener is being shouted at and scolded. Lyrically it is a brilliant song and I’d say if you have fifteen minutes to spare, just sit down and listen to this song and do nothing else. Lastly, there are moments in it that have a weirdly played piano and very subtle singing, but the lyrics are equally relevant. An excellent song to finish on.

Final Thoughts:

This is an excellent album in a lot of ways, but my one gripe with it and it is a small gripe, who is this album marketed to? I like punk rock, I like industrial. I like Ministry and I like the Dead Kennedys. But if you’re into industrial only and not punk, you’re going to have a bad time. I failed to see where the industrial influences came into the album. Oh sure there were small bits here and there, but not enough. I would say this is an excellent punk album and leave it at that. The lyrics were well written and thought invoking. The music was pretty good, but I feel that Jello Biafra stole the show with the singing. As I said an excellent album in a lot of ways and one I very much enjoyed listening to.

Favourite song: Forkboy

8/10

Album Review: “The Art of Partying” (2007) by Municipal Waste

Band/Artist: Municipal Waste (Vocals: Tony “Guardrail” Foresta, Guitar/Vocals: Ryan Waste, Drums: Dave Witte, Bass/Vocals: Philip “Landphil” Hall)

Album: The Art of Partying (2007)

Genre: Crossover Thrash

Label: Earache Records

Hello rockers and metal heads, today I will be reviewing the 2007 album “The Art of Partying” by the thrash metal band, Municipal Waste. This is the third studio album from the Virginian band. The album is quite aggressive and short but it really goes for it and uses the time it has wisely. So let us get into this extravaganza!

Pre-Game – An instrumental start to the album, but one that slaps you in the face…hard. The song only lasts around 40 seconds but it really sets up what is to come.

The Art of Partying – Raw and very powerful, I really like the guitar work and the drums are pretty awesome. This song had me hand banging all the way through. I like the little “breaks” it takes throughout that lets the bass has it’s time. A very good song.

Headbanger Face Rip – Another fast, hard hitting song. A little too messy for my liking, it just feels there is a bit too much going on at once to really appreciate it as a whole. But I will say it does have a very cool slow part near the end. It is an okay song.

Mental Shock – Good guitar riff, the drums really compliment the singing, they both seem to work off the same beat. The guitar work later on is excellent and it allows the song to have a breather. A very good song.

A.D.D (Attention Deficit Destroyer) – Great intro with just the bass and drums, I really liked that. The bass is very prevalent in this track and I am enjoying it immensely. The singing is pretty on point and gritty. One of the most enjoyable songs on the track.

The Inebriator – Asskicking intro in the beginning and then it really starts to rock hard. The guitar is dirty and gritty in this and I love it.

Lunch Hall Food Brawl – Just a straight up thrashy song, nothing special or exciting about it, though the chorus is pretty cool and I enjoyed the mini solo throughout. An okay song.

Beer Pressure – Cool intro, the singing is strange in it but I like it. Again quite typical, though an awesome intro and the solo is pretty cool. I loved the outro. Another okay song.

Chemically Altered – Excellent intro that again gives the drums and bass time to do their work which I really appreciate. I love the rhythm in this song. A very good song.

Sadistic Magician – I love the intro to this song. I think the rhythm throughout is awesome and it isn’t over the top. It gives itself a chance to be able to appreciate all aspects of the song from the singing to the excellent bass, drums and fantastic guitar work. An excellent song!

Open Your Mind – Another cool opening and a slower start which I appreciate before it becomes sort of typical again. Though the guitar work really stands out to me in this song.

Radioactive Force – Again very typical, nothing really stands out to me in this song. An okay song

Septic Detonation – The drums are really hard hitting in this song. I love the partnership of the bass and drums yet again. It really shows the importance of that background rhythm. A good song.

Rigorous Vengeance – Nothing really stands out to me in this song, it is okay but nothing really stands out. The guitar work is pretty good I suppose, but otherwise there is nothing really that grips me.

Born to Party – A cool intro. I think the lyrics are pretty humourous and that it is a bit different. I liked it.

Final Thoughts:

A pretty good album, but not one I would listen to all the time. I would have to be really in the mood to head bang to put on this album. In saying that, I think musically the band is very talented and I love how it allowed all instruments to have their say at certain parts of their songs. The singing was okay but sometimes it just turns into a bit of a verbal mess and it just comes out at a million words a minute and while sometimes I enjoy that, other times I just want the singer to slow down a bit. I’ll put it to you this way, apart from certain areas, I have no idea what the singer was going on about. A pretty good album as I said, but one I would definitely have to be in the mood for, I wouldn’t be able to listen to this casually.

Favourite Song: Sadistic Magician

7/10

Pokémon White (2010, Nintendo DS)

Cover Art

Pokemon White for the DS review, I choose you! Pokemon White, like most Pokemon games is an RPG game set in the wonderful world of Pokemon. Your goal? To become the Pokemon Master by capturing and training your Pokemon companions to become the best they can be through Pokemon battles. If you lived under a rock for the last twenty five years and you do not know what a Pokemon is then I will explain. A Pokemon is a creature that is powered by some type of element whether it’d be fire, water, psychic, dark powers etc. People who catch these Pokemon are called trainers and they usually capture Pokemon to be their companions for life, like pets, except some of these “pets” have the power to level towns. Pokemon White was developed by Game Freak and published by the Pokemon Company and Nintendo.

Prepare for trouble…

Plot:

In Pokemon White, as in all Pokemon games, you play a generic teenager who is about to set out on their own journey throughout the region of Unova, one of the many regions in the Pokemon world. During their journey they will capture, train and form friendships with their new Pokemon. Luckily for them, they aren’t starting out alone as their friends Bianca and Cheren will go on the journey with them, though they go their own way and show up at various points in the story. The main antagonist is a man simply named N, who leads a group called Team Plasma. Team Plasma’s goal apart from world domination are to separate the Pokemon from their trainers as they believe that humanity enslaves Pokemon. N, believes he is the hero that will lead humanity into a new golden age.

During the game while collecting Pokemon and battling Pokemon gym leaders, basically boss battles, the player will come across N and other variants of Team Plasma. The player eventually beats all the gym leaders and takes out the Elite four, basically stronger boss battles. The player encounters N who has captured a legendary Pokemon. N and the player have an epic battle after which N is defeated. N starts to question if he was right about everything until another man named Ghetsis who has been lurking around the whole time, rears his ugly head and tells N that he was using him to separate people from their Pokemon so he can eventually take control of Team Plasma and then the world. The player beats Ghetsis and in turn Ghetsis is arrested. N and the player leave on good terms and all is right with the world again. THE END.

So lets get into what I thought about it:

The nice thing about the Pokemon main series games is that once you’ve played one, you have played them all. Well it is nice and not so nice, I mean in one hand I can pick up any Pokemon main series game and I know exactly how it is going to play out and I know what to do in the game which has a sense of comfort to it, you know what to expect. On the other hand, the formula hasn’t changed since the release of Pokemon Red/Blue back in 1996 on the Gameboy. The gameplay is your pretty traditional Japanese turned based RPG similar to the likes of Final Fantasy, except you have a roster of over 150 different Pokemon of varying elements and powers. The Pokemon battles themselves can be quite tactical as you have to know what element is weak/strong against another, when to use certain attacks and should you spend your turn to attack and try and take out the other Pokemon or heal your Pokemon so it can live another round.

Going into a new area was always very exciting to me because I wanted to see what wondrous Pokemon were on offer in each area. This is the closest I ever got to having Pokemon in real life! The battles themselves are pretty good and as I said they keep you interested because you never know what the other trainers will have at their disposal. An extremely fun and varied game, though at this point the Pokemon games are basically paint by numbers.

In terms of the graphics on the DS? Superb, honestly I never thought a game could look so good on a DS. The graphics and images are vibrant, colourful and engaging and it really makes the region of Unova pop as you are walking around it. I love when the game tried to go into a sort of 3-D setting, it really stood out for me just how pretty everything was. The character models were on point and the Pokemon went from looking cute to ferocious. The battle animations were absolutely amazing and it made the battles very exciting to participate in, especially when you got to the higher level attacks that could really pack a punch.

In terms of the sounds and music of the game. The sounds of the world were fine, doors opening and closing, rocks falling that type of stuff, everything was good. In terms of the Pokemon sounds, they were amazing! Every Pokemon has their own distinct sound and you could tell that throughout the game. Along with the battle animations, the sounds really added to the overall epic effect the battles were having on me. The soundtrack was phenomenal, definitely one of my favourite Pokemon soundtracks. The game had its nice ambient soundtracks to epic battle music. Two of my favourite tracks were the Elite four theme and N theme, I really felt the heavy pounding and influences from Electronic Dance Music really helped with how epic the battle music was.

The story of the game was decent. I do have to say it was fresh seeing an “evil” Pokemon trainer having goals other than taking over the world. It was interesting that it brought up the points of: Should Pokemon be free to do their own thing and live their own lives? I thought it was an interesting discussion to be had within the game as it brought up both points of the argument. Other than that it was your standard Pokemon story, get Pokemon, win badges, be the best.

So now onto my scoring:

Graphics: Amazing, especially on a DS. Beautiful, vibrant, colourful and engaging. 10/10

Sound/Soundtrack: The Pokemon were on point and the overall soundtrack was fantastic, I can’t fault it. 10/10

Gameplay: The gameplay was fairly paint by numbers in terms of J-RPGs, though very fun. Like most RPG games, prepare to put in a lot of time to level up your Pokemon. 8/10

Worth: Yes! For Pokemon fans or for J-RPG fans, a very fun game. 8/10

Story: The story was different, but only for one aspect, Team Plasma and N. Other than that, typical Pokemon story as in there isn’t really one. 6/10

Total: 84/100 B-

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Winter Assault (2005, PC)

Cover Art

Hello everybody, this is my review of the 2005 expansion to the hit RTS game, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. This was the first expansion to Dawn of War and it was published by THQ and developed by Relic Entertainment, the same companies that worked on the main game. The game introduces a new faction, the Imperial Guard.

It’s your choice!

Plot:

The plot of the game is divided into two and it takes place on the Ice planet Lorn V. When I say it is divided into two it means you can play the same story from two different perspectives, Order and Disorder.

ORDER

In the order campaign the Imperial Guard are sent to Lorn V to find and fix an Imperial Titan. A titan is a machine of immense power that can change the tide of entire campaigns forget about battles. On the way, the Imperial Guard meet fierce resistance from the Orks and Chaos and when all seems doomed and hopeless for the Imperial Guard, suddenly they win or break through. The Imperial Guard become suspicious that someone or something is helping them, and they are right. A small force of Eldar, led by Farseer Taldeer are assisting the Imperial Guard as they need assistance against a new threat, the Necron. The Necron are an ancient race that gave their souls for immortality and are now trapped forever in machines fighting across the galaxy. The Imperial Guard make it to the titan and power it just before the Necron show up. With the might of the titan the Imperial Guard destroy the Necron forces and win back Lorn V.

DISORDER

In the Disorder campaign you are leading a WAAAGH!, an ork war led by the Ork Warboss Gorgutz. The Ork and Chaos forces clash and slaughter each other until the Imperial Guard arrive and force an allegiance between Ork and Chaos. The allegiance is fragile at best and both forces still kill each other. The Chaos Lord Crull, wants the titan for himself so he can corrupt the machine spirit inside it and use it to devastating effect. Crull and Gorgutz defeat the Imperial, Eldar and Necron forces. Gorgutz turns on Crull and slaughters him. After beating all the enemies on Lorn V, Gorgutz and his WAAAGH! look to the next planet to take under his command.

So what did I think?

To be very honest there isn’t a lot of differences from the expansion to the main game, mainly a lot of gameplay changes. The graphics are the same, though that isn’t to say that they aren’t vivid, pretty and great to look at, though a little dated now.

They took on a different composer for the expansion from Jeremy Soule to Inon Zur. Inon Zur is a huge name in the gaming soundtrack industry. The games I would know his compositions from would be: Fallout (3,NV,4). Crysis and Dragon Age: Origins. The soundtrack is fantastic and it is quite militaristic. There is a sense of honour, pride and duty to the Imperial Guard soundtrack which perfectly fits in to their ethos, while the Eldar soundtracks are much more subtle and quiet. With the Ork and Chaos soundtracks comes dread, fear and anticipation of something bad. The songs fit the mood and they add to the character of each army.

The Imperial Guard as an army themselves are quite effective. Their infantry are cheap, but bad at fighting unless you upgrade them, then they become dangerous and in some cases a little overpowered. The magnum opus of the Imperial Guard forces are their armour. The tanks and artillery of the Imperial Guard are absolutely devastatingly powerful and very few armies can match the strength and ferocity of Imperial Guard armour. A fun army to play if you want a bit of danger, because until you get to the armour and building your vehicles, they are quite vulnerable.

The story was good. It was interesting seeing the Eldar and Imperial Guard working together as allies of convenience and I enjoyed the Order campaign. What I did not enjoy was the Disorder campaign. I found the missions to be tedious, boring and just pointless. I felt like there was way too much dragging out of things and increasing the play time for the sake of it instead of giving it a good reason. Overall a good story, but if I was to play it again I would just stick to the Order campaign myself.

Graphics: No difference to the Dawn of War graphics, so I must give it the same score. 7/10

Sound: Another amazing soundtrack from an extremely talented and well known composer. The sounds of battle are as fierce and exciting as Dawn of War: 10/10

Game play: The gameplay is the same, but with an extra faction? Yes please. The campaign let it down a bit though and I thought the Disorder missions were tedious and boring. 8/10

Worth: It is, but only for the extra faction. The story isn’t all that great for me. It has 10 missions split over 2 campaigns and 5 of those missions I didn’t really enjoy. 7/10

Story: It was okay, as I said I didn’t enjoy the Disorder campaign, but that was more about the playability. It was interesting seeing the factions team up and seeing the danger of the Necron forces. So overall it was an okay story. 6/10

Total: 76/100 C+

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (2004, PC)

Cover Art

Name: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (2004)

Developed/Published By: Relic Entertainment/THQ

Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Platforms: Microsoft Windows

Players: Single player, Multi player

Age Rating: PEGI 16

Hello everybody, this is my review of the video game, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. Dawn of War is a Real-Time Strategy game set in the grim dark world of Warhammer 40,000. The game was developed by Relic Entertainment and published by THQ.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, COMMANDER!

Plot:

The plot itself is centered around a planet called, Tartarus. A horde of Orks have invaded the Imperial planet and are slaughtering the Imperial forces on the world. To answer this, the Imperium sent the Blood Ravens chapter of the Space Marines, super soldiers that fight for the Emperor of Mankind. The commanding officers of the Space Marine forces is a man named Captain Gabriel Angelos and his Librarian (Magic-Wielder) Isador. Initially the Space Marines must make planet fall to aid the Imperial Guard forces on Tartarus. A small force lands and destroys the Orks that are at the landing site. The Space Marines have many ferocious battles with the Orks until their scouts tell them that there are also Chaos forces operating on the planet.

The Orks are eventually driven back and defeated but Eldar (Space Elves) are found to be operating on the planet too which makes the plot even more confusing for Captain Angelos. Hidden in the darkness is a Chaos Sorcerer named Sindri who is feeding Isador with information, as he wants him to help the Chaos forces. Of course, Sindri doesn’t tell Isador this as he has him believe that what he is doing is for the good of the Imperium. The Eldar and Imperium fight in some battles until it is found out that the Eldar are here to stop Chaos from getting a key and releasing something…something bad. The Eldar tell you that because of all the battles between them and yourselves, they don’t have the strength to fight Chaos and that you must do it alone.

The Blood Ravens give a hammering to the Chaos forces on Tartarus and the Chaos leader, Lord Bale is eventually killed. Just as everything is going right, betrayal, as Isador turns his back on the Imperium and betrays Captain Angelos. Angelos delivers swift justice to the traitorous librarian, but Sindri gets away with the key. Sindri uses the key to ascend into a daemon prince. Angelos, the Blood Ravens and the final remaining forces of Eldar all come together for a final battle with Sindri and his horde of demons. Angelos defeats Sindri and the key is free, the Eldar tell Angelos not to destroy it as it will bring something much worse but Angelos does not listen and smashes the key. Because of this an even more powerful demon is set free and tells Angelos that the planet is actually an altar to the Chaos god of blood and murder, Khorne, and that every being killed on the planet fueled the demon’s release. The demon tells Angelos that he will allow him to live for setting him free and Angelos walks away telling the demon he will be waiting for him. THE END.

So what did I think?

The game is played like a good ol’ classic RTS. Base building, resource gathering and army building are the order of the day with this game. The base game starts you off with four races and I would say three of those are vastly different with Chaos and the Imperium being basically the same army with some variation. There are a number of game modes within skirmish such as annihilate, which is destroy all enemy buildings, control area, which is controlling the most resource points on the map and assassinate which involves killing the enemy commander.

The game play is fun and it keeps you interested as every army would have their own ways of dealing with situations. The Orks for example would be a horde army and would try and overwhelm you with numbers while the Eldar would be a lot more conservative and use hit and run tactics. The Imperium and Chaos forces would be an all rounder army and have an answer for all situations and while it is good for them to be like that, it creates two problems:

  1. They are overpowered – Having an answer to every situation means you don’t have to really think or use tactics, just send the force that would be required to deal with whatever is happening. I’ll put it to you this way, if the Space Marines lose, that is your fault.
  2. They are boring – Basically the same point. You don’t really have to worry about tactics so it becomes kind of monotonous playing them.

The graphics of the game are nice and still hold up to this day, but they have aged and not too well. I mean don’t get me wrong, in 2004 this game was beautiful and it was everything I was looking for in a Warhammer 40k game, even graphics wise, but 17 years is a long time in the video game world. That being said, if you are buying this game you would know what year it came out so you would have an idea of how it would look, so as I said, the graphics are still pretty nice. Between the different units, cool settings and fierce battle scenes, it really makes the Warhammer 40,000 world come to life in a way we had never seen it before, and I love that.

Next we will talk about sounds and music and the first thing I will have to say is the voice acting is absolutely on point as to what I would think everyone will sound like. You have to remember, bar some audio books and some older games, most of the Warhammer 40k races wouldn’t have been heard, so this would almost be the first time hearing them and all I can say is that it is exactly the way I would imagine it to be. The Orks are humourous yet fierce. The Eldar are refined and emotive. The Chaos voices are full of rage and fear and the Space Marines are noble and determined. The sounds of battle are absolutely perfect also, from the roar of the chainsword to the exploding fire of a Bolter, this scenes of battle are created with these amazing sound effects.

The soundtrack for the game is one of my favourite video game soundtracks ever. Every song is an absolute masterpiece and you can tell that they put a lot of effort and love into it to give you these spine chilling experiences at home. The composer for the game is Jeremy Soule who was worked on over 60 video game soundtracks. He composed the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Supreme Commander to name but a few. As a veteran of the industry, it is no wonder why the soundtrack sounds as good as it does.

So, what are my final thoughts? Dawn of War has stood the test of time in the RTS genre and is regarded as one of the best RTS games ever created. It is certainly one of my favourite RTS games and with the three expansions that came out after that only added to how epic the game is, the game never gets boring. Of course there are two sequels to the game, Dawn of War II and III respectively but they are a lot different to the original and I would say personally to just stick to the first one. Fun, fierce and fast, a great game all around and one that I will continue playing as long as computers can run them.

Graphics: Nice, but quite aged. For the time the graphics were stunning but they don’t hold up too well anymore. That being said I still enjoy the graphics. 7/10

Sound: From the amazing soundtrack by Jeremy Soule to the some of the fiercest battle noises in an RTS, the sounds are incredible. Another nice touch is the background noise is mostly sounds of other battles going on across the planet and I for one think that is a nice touch: 10/10

Game play: Excellent RTS, very tactical for the most part and extremely enjoyable. It has definitely earned its place in RTS history. 10/10

Worth: Yes! For many reasons. If you’re a fan of RTS games you will enjoy it. If you’re a fan of Warhammer 40,000 you will enjoy it. If you’re a fan of both…well enough said really. 10/10

Story: The story is okay but it’s a typical Warhammer 40,000 short story. Space Marines fighting Chaos and the same old shenanigans going on. It’s an okay story but one I have dealt with MANY times. 6/10

Total: 86/100 B+

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019, Xbox One)

The cover art

Name: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019)

Developed/Published By: Respawn Entertainment/EA

Genre: Third-Person Action/Adventure

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia

Players: Single player

Age Rating: PEGI 16

Hello everybody, today we will be talking about the video game: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, or Fallen Order for short. The game was released in 2019 and it was developed by Respawn Entertainment, known for the Titanfall series and Apex Legends and published by EA games. The game deals with a lost Jedi Padawan in a world after the infamous Order 66, in which the clone troopers of the armies of the Republic turned on their former Jedi allies and slaughtered almost all of them. The empire is in full control and the Padawan, Cal Kestis must stay hidden.

You have been warned, young Skywalker.

Plot:

Cal Kestis is a mechanic who works on the planet Bracca. It has been five years since Order 66 and all he is trying to do it survive. Cal and his friend Prauf are working on a salvage when a failsafe cable snaps and Prauf almost falls to his death. Cal uses the force, the mystical powers of a Jedi to save him, but he is seen by an Imperial droid doing so. Because of this, two Sith inquisitors, members of an order that hunt down Jedi for the empire, come to Bracca to find this Jedi. In the chaos, Prauf is killed and Cal is rescued by a former Jedi named Cere Junda and Greez Dritus, the captain of the ship known as Stinger Mantis. Cal finds a droid called BD-1 who has a message in its memory banks from Jedi Master Eno Cordova. In it, Cordova explains that there is a Jedi Holocron that contains the locations of all force sensitive children in the galaxy and it could be used rebuild the Jedi order. Cordova explains that the Holocron is safely hidden within a vault.

While travelling for clues to open the vault on Bogano, Cal meets some famous Star Wars faces including Saw Guerrera who is currently battling the empire on the Wookiee world of Kashyyyk. While on the planet, Zeffo, searching for more clues, Cal is ambushed by one of the Sith Inquisitors by the name of the Second Sister. It is revealed that the Second Sister’s real name is Trilla Suduri and she was once a Jedi Padawan under Cere Junda. Trilla was captured by the empire after Cere gave up her location while being tortured by the empire. Cal is captured and forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena before being rescued by Cere and Greez. Cal returns to Kashyyyk and climbs the Origin Tree to find more clues to the Holocron which he does but he also gets ambushed by the other Sith Inquisitor called the Ninth Sister, which Cal beats. Cal must now travel to Dathomir.

Cal makes it to Dathomir but there is a problem, the Nightsisters, a witch cult on Dathomir that does not want him on their planet. The last remaining Nightsister, Sister Merrin, uses her powers to raise the dead to attack Cal. The reason Merrin is so angry is because her people were slaughtered during the clone wars and she blames the Jedi. Cal has a flashback to how he survived Order 66 and how his master saved him. His lightsaber crystal is destroyed. On Dathomir, Cal meets another Jedi, Taron Malicos. Malicos crashed onto Dathomir after Order 66 and has been stranded there since. He wanted to use the time to learn the Nightsisters magical powers but ended up losing his mind and turning to the dark side. Cal escapes from Malicos and makes his way to Ilum to forge a new lightsaber. He makes his way back to Dathomir and defeats Malicos with some help from Merrin. Merrin joins with the crew of the Stinger Mantis.

Cal finally has what he needs to open the vault and travels to Bogano where Cal finds the Holocron. Trilla steals it from him and escapes. Cere becomes a Jedi again and helps Cal get to Nur to settle this once and for all. On the planet Nur, Cal battles Trilla, defeats her and takes the Holocron back. That’s when things go from oh so bad to oh so worse. Darth Vader…Big V…comes and kills Trilla and he then turns to take on Cal, but Cal runs, barely escaping with his life. They escape off the planet and end up destroying the Holocron because they decide that the children should be able to make their own choices in life. THE END.

So what did I think of it?

We’ll start off with gameplay. I loved it, no that’s not strong enough, I adored it. The lightsaber combat was unbelievably satisfying. The game made you feel like a Jedi and all I was doing was pressing buttons on a controller. I loved every lightsaber swing, every force push and every blaster deflection. The game was fast and action packed and ever so smooth. The level up system in it was taken straight from Dark Souls and the like, except instead of sitting at a campfire you sit at Jedi meditation circles and pick some skills from a skill tree.

The amount of different enemies makes for some nice tactical battles. It is not just about swinging your lightsaber and hoping for the best, you must also use your athleticism and force powers to win the day. The enemies go from regular empire storm troopers to purge troopers, which are trained to battle Jedi all the way up to AT-ST walkers and dark Jedi. Every battle will change up how you play and it makes the game even more satisfying. You need to know when to swing, when to block, when to dodge and when to use those force powers, because even one mess up could hurt you…a lot.

I will talk about the graphics and sounds next. The graphics are beautiful but I expect nothing less from a Star Wars game and a AAA game at that. That’s not to say the graphics aren’t amazing, they are astounding and the team put a lot of work into them. The different settings are incredible and they are so Star Wars. It makes you feel like you’re stepping into the Star Wars universe and discovering it for yourself, in your own way, with your own paths to discover, in your own time. There were a lot of times I just stopped and took in the breathtaking sights that were on offer.

The soundtrack is incredible and very heartfelt at times. In saying that it loses none of the epic feeling that Star Wars music usually gives me. It is powerful and hits you like a speeding train at times and at other times it is tender and emotional and it caresses over you, but draws you into the emotional well it creates. The game was composed by Stephen Barton (COD 4 MW, Titanfall) and Gordy Haab (SW:TOR, SW: Battlefront II). The motion capture technology is totally there to start turning games into almost lifelike graphics. The fact that the characters are the spitting images of the actors is absolutely astounding and ushers in a new era for video game actors where they really have to act now and not just move around the place and do the movements.

The story had some excellent moments. The story about Cere almost turning to the dark side and cutting herself off from the force is what I am looking for in a Star Wars story. The game takes itself serious and don’t get me wrong, it has it’s light hearted moments, but it allows itself to be taken seriously. The story of Cal Kestis and how he survived Order 66 was very enjoyable. The crew need each other and it felt almost like Joss Whedon’s Firefly (RIP) to me at times. It seems that Star Wars is leaning more and more on the stories of ragtag crew members, forced together who through shared experiences and tragedies, become a family. The Mandalorian had that feel, same as Star Wars Rebels and I for one am not complaining. The game feels more grounded and the characters feel relatable, they feel more human.

So my final thoughts. I think it was a wonderful Star Wars game and a fantastic action/adventure game with a lot of blood, sweat and tears poured into it. I could feel the love from the people who created the game and how invested they were in making this game an experience for the player. So I thank them for allowing me to feel what it is like to be a Jedi, even with a few taps of a button. A good story, great music, beautiful settings and epic action. This is a Star Wars game that will stand the test of time.

Graphics: Beautiful and unquestionably Star Wars locations. The character models were something to be applauded and the action looked intense and fierce. 10/10

Sound: Amazing Star Wars soundtrack that really tied the game together, a soundtrack that is in my playlist now: 9/10

Game play: Varied gameplay, decent exploration. I would have liked a little more to do. The game was quite short, but what you did get was very good. 8/10

Worth: Yes! Great for Star Wars fans. If you’re not a Star Wars fan you will still like the Action/Adventure element. 9/10

Story: Good Star Wars story, it had some issues and I felt that the ending just made the whole story a waste of time, but everything in the middle was fantastic. 8/10

Total: 88/100 B+

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!

Graphic Novel Review: Aquaman Vol. 1: The Drowning

The cover the Aquaman Vol.1: The Drowning

Hello everybody, this is my first review of a graphic novel and the one I am reviewing today is DC’s Aquaman Volume 1: The Drowning. The Drowning was released in 2017 and it is from DC’s Rebirth series which was a 2016 re-launch of a lot of DC Superhero stories. The story was written by Dan Abnett. Mr. Abnett is primarily known to me from various Warhammer 40,000 novels that he wrote throughout the years, so my ears and eyes perked up when I seen that he wrote this. So let us get into this review.

YAAAARRRRGGGHHH! THAR BE SPOILERS AHEAD! TRAVEL AT YER OWN PERIL!

Plot:

Aquaman (Arthur Curry) has been a Superhero for quite a while now. He is a member of the Justice League along with the likes of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, so he should be revered by the people of Earth, but there is a problem. Aquaman is the king of the underwater kingdom known as Atlantis, the ancient mythical kingdom from eons ago that apparently sunk to the bottom of the ocean. The Atlanteans and the surface dwellers of Earth do not get on at all and it has even come to fights between the two people.

Aquaman wants to change this so he proposes to build an Atlantean embassy on the surface to try and ease relations between the two people. Black Manta, one of Aquaman’s oldest super villains and rivals has a different plan though and destroys the embassy by blowing it up. Aquaman beats Black Manta and he gets arrested. Meanwhile an Atlantean terrorist cell called the Deluge attack a US military naval vessel and kill all onboard. Aquaman is under arrest for charges of attacking the US. Aquaman comes quietly because he wants to settle it.

Meanwhile, an organisation called N.E.M.O (Nautical Enforcement of Macrocosmic Order) lead by a man named The Fisher King, breaks Black Manta out of custody. Their mission? To control the world by controlling the oceans and seas. Aquaman is told by the Americans that the Deluge, who were thought to be destroyed, were behind the Naval attack. Upon hearing this, Aquaman aided by his wife and queen of Atlantis, Mera, escapes from prison to deal with this problem. While trying to escape the military attempt to stop them, when that doesn’t work, Superman is called in to stop him. Aquaman and Superman get into a fight, until they both calm down. Superman gives Aquaman one chance and one chance only to go back to Atlantis and fix this problem. Black Manta ends up killing the Fisher King and takes over N.E.M.O himself. THE END.

What did I think of it?

So let’s talk about the story first of all. I thought overall the story was okay, but it feels very same old to me. Anytime I hear of Aquaman its only about him trying to build relations with the surface dwellers. The story is about as played out as Batman’s origin story, I would have liked to see more of the politics of Atlantis and how everyday life is under the sea. Maybe give us something that we can relate to with the Atlanteans. Another small note I would like to make is that during the story there were a few occasions where Aquaman was ridiculed for not being the most important or popular Justice League member. I liked this because it broke the fourth wall a little bit and showed how at the time, in pop culture Aquaman is treated a little bit like a joke and that no one really takes him seriously as a superhero. I thought it was a humourous reference. Black Manta was okay as a villain, I took him seriously up to the point where he had an opportunity to kill Aquaman with his trident him and he didn’t take it because then he would “have nothing left”. I don’t like villains where their only purpose in life is to beat the hero, it’s very one dimensional and boring.

In saying that the story is quite mature as it deals with the racial issues between the two people Atlanteans and surface dwellers. It shows how they want to segregate so much that they are willing to commit acts of terrorism to stay away from each other. Also they fact that even though Aquaman is a member of the Justice League and has probably fought to save the earth more times than I have had dinners (that is a lot of times believe me, the weighing scale doesn’t lie) that the surface dwellers still have a deep seated mistrust and weariness to Aquaman and were willing to turn their back on him at the drop of a hat. It even gets so heated that one of Aquaman’s most trusted friend and ally, Superman, shows up to deal with him.

The art mostly done by Brad Walker whose other works have included Batman and the Green Lantern is beautifully vibrant and full of colour. The art seems to come to life, especially during the action scenes and the emotions are easily conveyed through the artwork. It was a joy to turn the graphic novel page by page to see more of the amazing art, colours and illustrations on hand.

I feel that the graphic novel had a lot of talent behind it and that Dan Abnett penned a pretty good tale. While I have some issues with the story, most of it is pretty engaging and well thought out. As I have previously said, the artwork is also something to compliment as it was clearly done by some very skilled artists. So, does it capture me? Yes it does and I would like to continue reading and see where this story eventually goes.

I hope you enjoyed my review, and as always, thanks for reading.

TV Show Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 1 (Episodes 13-22)

Hello everybody, this is the final review for the last ten episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season One. So, let us begin.

COMMANDER, I WOULD JUST LIKE TO TELL YOU THAT THERE ARE MANY SPOILERS AHEAD. ENTER AT YOUR OWN PERIL.

Jedi Crash: Anakin is gravely injured

Episode 13: Jedi Crash: Anakin and Ahsoka go to help a Jedi named Sakura who is currently in a fleet battle with Separatists. As Anakin is fighting droids on Sakura’s ship, the Separatists fire all weapons to destroy the cruiser. Anakin, using the force tries to stop the destruction but ends up being severally injured. After crashing on the planet, Maridun, Ahsoka and the clones meet the Lurmen, a neutral race that want to stay as far away from the war as possible, even so far as to not help the Jedi as it might risk their neutrality. Their elder, Tee Watt Kaa, sees no difference between the Republic and the Separatists.

This episode was okay, it was interesting seeing a race so willing to stand up for its beliefs even against two major super powers. It took a lot of courage for the Lurmen to say no. The battle at the start of the episode was pretty cool and exciting. The episode was okay but there wasn’t a lot to say about it other then it was a political episode about the aspects of neutrality against such impossible odds and at such drastic times and could neutrality survive in that type of environment. Overall an okay episode. 5/10.

Defenders of Peace: Anakin and crew defend the Lurmen

Episode 14: Defenders of Peace: Anakin wants the Lurmen to join the Republic but Tee Watt Kaa wants to keep the peace. The Separatists land and tell the Lurmen that they are in command now. Due to the Lurmen being pacifists there is no resistance. The Separatist commander wants to use the Lurmen as test subjects for his new weapon the Defoliator, a weapon that can destroy all organic life in it’s target. Anakin and his crew attempt to defend the Lurmen, even with the protest of the elder. A small group of Lurmen eventually help the Republic to push back the droids and eventually beat them.

There was one awesome aspect about this episode and that was the fact the George Takei was playing the Separatist leader, Lok Durd. It was great hearing him being involved in the Star Wars universe in some way and he has such a distinct voice. Apparently he was meant to be a recurring villain but alas, it never came to pass. I thought the Separatist Defoliator weapon was ingenious! A tank that fires shells that ONLY damage organic material? Perfect for the droid armies. On the flip side I thought the Lurmen elder was an idiot. I get it he wants to be neutral and a pacifist but his whole race was going to be destroyed. No ifs, maybes or buts, they were going to be wiped out! And what was his response when confronted?

“If it’s out destiny to be destroyed in your war so be it!”

WHAT?! Great idea just sit there and die, perfect! Who the hell elected him to be tribal leader. I understand the neutrality and the pacifism, but if your culture, race and everyone you ever knew and loved were going to be slaughtered, then I believe you should fight, but that is only my two cents on the issue. Lastly, here we go again with the plot armour! Three Separatist tanks and an entire army of droids went up against three Jedi and two clone troopers…and lost. This annoys me, it’s not that I want the heroes to die, I just want it to be believable, some element of danger or excitement. To be honest it was a very weak episode. 3/10.

Trespass: Clone snowtroopers

Episode 15: Trespass: Kenobi and Anakin are sent to Orto Plutonia to find missing clone troopers. They are with some clones, Pantorans and the Senator from Pantora, Riyo Chuchi and Chairman of Pantora Chi Cho, which due to his position of chairman has command over the mission. They find the missing clones, dead. Later they find an indigenous species on the planet, but Chi Cho wants them wiped out. Chi Cho is killed and Riyo steps up to be the leader that is needed and brokers a peace between the Pantorans and the indigenous species.

This episode was pretty good. It has a lot of action and some tense scenes. It was pretty dark seeing all the clone heads on pikes at the start of the episode, even though they were helmeted. I like when Star Wars rubs up against more adult/darker themes and realises they are doing a show about a war and war is hell. I liked seeing another issue that had nothing really to do with the Clone Wars and more about an indigenous species fighting for it’s right to remain on the planet that it is indigenous too. Brian George and Jennifer Hale were the guest stars in this episode as Chi Cho and Riyo Chuchi respectively and they done a great job, especially Chi Cho. I have to say that whoever wrote for Chi Cho was having a bad day because he was a dick. It was interesting seeing that Jedi and clones had to take orders from Chi Cho even though they completely disagreed with him. Overall a pretty good episode. 7/10.

The Hidden Enemy: Clone Interrogations

Episode 16: The Hidden Enemy: Kenobi and Anakin attempt to ambush a Separatist force in a city but they themselves get ambushed. Everyone believes that there is a traitor amongst the clone ranks. They find some information that leads them to a particular barracks commanded by a clone trooper named Slick. After interrogating Slick’s men, Slick is found to be the traitor. After trying to escape and destroying a lot of the Republic’s vehicles and gunships he eventually gets captured. Slick explains that the clones are no more than slaves to the Republic and that he wants more for himself and his brothers.

This was an excellent episode and for me one of the best in the season. I loved the battle at the start and how it showed an even battle between the Republic and Separatists. It gets boring watching the clones win every single battle with the Jedi. In saying that there is a really great lightsaber battle between Anakin, Kenobi and Ventress. The writing of the episode was top class. I loved the interrogation of the clones and even though it was an animation you could tell how much it hurt the clones to know that there was a traitor amongst their ranks. This was something that was utterly unthinkable, a free thinking clone? It was definitely a foreshadowing for events that would come later and having clones questioning the morality and ethical implications of creating “people” for one purpose and that purpose is to fight a war and die. 9/10.

Blue Shadow Virus: A terrible fate to those who are infected

Episode 17: Blue Shadow Virus: Padme finds out that there is secret Separatist laboratory on Naboo and the Separatists are using it to create a biological weapon to attack Naboo. Sharks are dying in the water which leads Padme and Jar Jar to the laboratory. They get captured by Doctor Nuvo Vindi and he tells them about the Blue Shadow Virus and how it was a virus that was wiped from the galaxy years ago. He hopes to make it airbourne. Meanwhile, Anakin sends Ahsoka to find Padme and Jar Jar. Anakin, Kenobi and Captain Rex with some clones go to the bunker to stop and apprehend Vindi. Vindi has bombs set up all over the compound and if they go off the Blue Shadow Virus will be spread across Naboo. Kenobi and a bomb squad deactivate all the bombs and they apprehend Vindi.

This was another Jar Jar episode and his ridiculous dumb luck! I still refuse to say that Jar Jar is force sensitive, not in my Star Wars he’s not. Really the character should not even exist and to add him into an episode shows absolutely lazy writing because no matter what happens to Jar Jar, he will win out because nothing can happen to poor Jar Jar. Apart from Binks, the idea was good with the blue shadow virus and the doctor was interesting. I thought the concept of a biological weapon was quite a dark theme. Overall an okay episode. 6/10.

Mystery of a thousand moons: Good guy droid army

Episode 18: Mystery of a Thousand Moons: In the Blue Shadow Virus bunker it is discovered that all the bombs weren’t actually found and there is still one left. A droid sets off the bomb and releases the Virus into the compound. Ahsoka, Jar Jar, Padme and some clones make it to a safe room as the compound is sealed to prevent it’s release into Naboo. A bit of the virus made it into the safe room and affected some clones and Ahsoka as Jar Jar and Padme were wearing protective gear. Anakin tries to get the cure from Vindi but he says there is no cure. Captain Typho of the Naboo Theed guard tells Anakin that there may be one cure, but its on a planet called Lego (I know) in Separatist controlled space. Anakin and Kenobi make it there and they see a graveyard of ships above the planet. They make it to the planet surface and see a lot of repurposed B-1 battle droids that are friendly. They find a child who reprogrammed all the droids and tells them that no one can leave Lego as a warlord named Drol wont let any ship leave. Anakin and Kenobi find the antidote and find out that it is actually a Separatist energy field that prevents anyone leaving Lego. They destory the field, leave the planet and make it back to cure everyone just in time.

I thought the idea of reprogrammed droids was extremely interesting, Realistically if the republic just captured the droids or even collected them after battle they could just reprogram them to fight for the Republic, or at least it’s a possibility. I mean surely if a child could do it the Republic could. I didn’t like the child, Jaybo. I don’t get get this trope of having a child genius who can fix anything or make anything, I don’t get why writers go down this route. I’ve seen it in various other media and to me it just doesn’t gel. Another example is Tiny Tina from the Borderlands video game series, a thirteen year old girl who is a demolitions expert…what? I know some people like this, I don’t, it’s just a personal preference. Jar Jar with all his bumbling around ends up getting Padme infected with the blue shadow virus and do they get rid of him? No. They still keep him around to see what else he can mess up in the future. Lastly it shows Anakin’s first taste of the dark side, in the show at least. When Anakin and Kenobi first land on Lego they are greeted by the droids but Anakin goes straight to slaughtering them out of anger which Kenobi had to snap him out of. Anakin losing control is showing how he is starting to slip down on his dark side path. Subtle but effective. Overall an okay episode. 6/10.

Storm over Ryloth: Disaster for the Republic

Episode 19: Storm Over Ryloth: In a disastrous fleet battle, the Republic lose a lot of ships and admiral Yularen is injured, partially caused by Ahsoka’s refusal to follow orders and return to the fleet with her fighters like she should have. Kenobi and Mace Windu give Anakin some time to get his forces together and attempt another attack, but they only give him very little time or they will postpone the invasion of Ryloth. Anakin realises this can’t happen as the people of Ryloth are suffering under the Separatists. Anakin comes up with an idea to crash one of the badly damaged Republic cruisers into the Separatist capital ship and Ahsoka would turn the last remaining cruiser sideways and use it as a shield while sending out fighters to attack the Separatist fleet. This idea works and the Republic win the space battle for Ryloth.

Okay, so fair enough Ahsoka disobeys orders and gets in trouble with Anakin. Does she take her lashing? Nope, instead she’s cheeky and argumentative and keeps using the fact that “WeLl YoU aLwAyS dIsObEy OrDeRs MaStEr” to justify herself to Anakin. Was does Anakin do? Apologise. I’m sorry her little antics got five clone pilots killed and Admiral Yularen injured and she doesn’t get reprimanded? Ridiculous. Oh and here is probably the worst plot armour in this season. So in the beginning space battle and a few space battles in other episodes, Republic cruisers get destroyed pretty easily. Remember that, it is important. So Anakin has two cruisers left, one badly damaged and the other still okay. So he begins his plan to ram the Separatist capital ship and the Separatists catch onto this. They begin firing at the badly damaged cruiser but even though two Separatist frigates and the capital ship are firing at Anakin’s BADLY DAMAGED cruiser do you think they could destroy it? No way, how could they, that cruiser has the strongest armour in the universe, plot armour. Then the capital ship blows up and all six Separatist frigates fire on Ahsoka’s one cruiser and again they can’t destroy it. If it was a normal cruiser with no main characters that cruiser would have ripped like paper and it was proven in various episodes. Rubbish plot armour. The episode was mediocre at best. 5/10.

Innocents of Ryloth: Prisoners on their own world

Episode 20: Innocents of Ryloth: The Republic realise that they can’t use a mass attack to assault the Separatists as the Separatists are use the Twi’lek (Twil-ek) as “human” shields. Kenobi realises they can only use standard blasters and droid poppers, grenades that only work on droids. The clones engage the droids and take out some. Kenobi sends some clones ahead to scout out a town. Two clones, Boil and Waxer find a Twi’lek orphan named Numa. The two clones are attacked by starved Gutkurrs which are giant creatures with big teeth. Numa leads the clones to safety in an underground tunnel. The droids send the Gutkurrs after the main clone force but the clones win. Boil, Waxer and Numa meet with the rest of the force and Numa explains that she will show the clones an underground way to the prisoners. Commander Cody creates a diversion while Kenobi goes to get the prisoners out, which he does. The Twi’leks help the clones and they defeat the droid forces.

This was an interesting episode. The fighting and action was good in it but I want to focus more on what was happening in the background of the episode and the fact that it showed how the Separatists act as an occupying force and how cruel they can be to the people in invaded. I liked seeing the relationship between the two clone troopers Waxer and Boil and how in some ways it felt like watching two American soldiers going around a village in Iraq during the Iraq war more than it felt like Star Wars. They also came up with derogatory names for the Twi’leks, Tailheads which showed the lack of sympathy or respect they had for the Twi’lek’s in their plight. It showed how the war was affecting people and how innocent lives were being destroyed and that this was one planet of many being attacked by the Separatists. It gave a more human outlook on the clones and in some ways how they were separate from droids, even though they were both made in a factory. A good episode. 7/10.

Liberty on Ryloth: The attack on Lessu

Episode 21: Liberty on Ryloth: The Republic must attack the Ryloth capital Lessu and remove the Separatists once and for all. The leader of the Separatist defence is a Skakoan called Wat Tambor. Tambor refuses to leave Ryloth saying that the Republic doesn’t have the forces to take Lessu. Tambor orders the main bulk of his force to defend the only bridge into Lessu. Windu knows he needs the help of the Twi’lek resistance force under the leadership of Cham Syndulla. Syndulla has been classed as a radical by the Republic and that he only wants power. Windu finds Syndulla and other Twi’leks attacking Separatist forces but Syndulla does not want to help Windu or the Republic. After some Twi’lek villages get bombed by the Separatists, Cham then agrees to help the Republic. Tambor is loading his ship with Twi’lek treasures but he was waiting for two more vehicles with some treasure. Windu and Syndulla see the vehicles and ambush them and use the cover of the vehicles to get across the bridge to the city. After a tense battle in the city, Windu and his clone troopers arrest Tambor and take back Lessu.

Again this episode stayed on the same course as the last showing the brutality in the clone war more than just how cool the action is. The Separatist forces called for a complete and utter bombing of civilian Twi’lek targets and they followed through destroying the homes of all the Twi’leks. I thought this was quite shocking especially in a children’s orientated show but I commend them on showing the horror that war is and it’s not all kick ass clone troopers with big guns. The droids arse around way too much, I know some of them are meant to be comic relief and I understand that, but when they clearly see a Jedi or someone that shouldn’t be there, their first thought isn’t shoot its saying stupid phrases like:

“You’re under arrest”

“You’re not authorised to be here”

I mean come on, the Jedi won’t let you arrest them and of course they’re not authorised to be there, you don’t have to tell the world that, THEY ARE THE ENEMY. Stop messing around and get shooting. Also Wat Tambor is an idiot. He had plenty of chances to leave Lessu, but he wanted to stay and take their treasures instead. Who hires these commanders? A good episode. 7/10.

Hostage Crisis: Cad Bane and his retinue

Episode 22: Hostage Crisis: A bounty hunter named Cad Bane and his entourage break into the Republic senate and take the senators hostage. Anakin wants to take Padme, his wife, on a holiday to a place where no one would know them and they could be themselves, as it is forbidden for a Jedi to marry. Padme refuses but Anakin gives her his lightsaber in an attempt to show how much he loves her. C-3P0 and R2 come into the room so Anakin has to hide. Cad Bane is demanding that Chancellor Palpatine releases Ziro the Hutt from Republic custody. After some time and a few attempts at helping the hostages by Anakin, which failed, Palpatine plays ball and allows Ziro to be taken by Cad Bane. Bane releases Ziro and they both escape.

A fantastic episode. Cad Bane is a wonderful addition to the show and you can believe that he is a bounty hunter. There is no messing around with him, hell he even executes a senator because the senator tries to walk away from him. Everything is precise with Bane and he is absolutely on the ball in terms of knowing what to do. I love how ruthless he is and he committed he is to getting the job done. A very well written and believable episode and one of the best in the series. 9/10.

Overall opinion on the season:

A good start with some bumps and most of them being Jar Jar Binks. It has a lot of good action, good storytelling and the lightsaber battles are just cool. It is interesting getting to know the clone troopers a lot more and seeing some actual battles that gave some of the clones their stripes. The exploration of the galaxy and the lore around some of the other races and factions are a nice treat to Star Wars fans that like the universe to be expanded. There are a lot less silly moments then I would have thought looking at the show and the show seems to take itself quite serious which is good. If you are a Star Wars fan and you are on the ropes about watching this show I would say give the first season a try. It will give you a taste of what the rest of the show will be like. Overall, I enjoyed it.

The Doomslayer rating system:

10 – Masterpiece

9 – Close to Perfection

8 – Excellent

7 – Very Good Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season One (2008)

6 – Good, worth a watch!

5 – Okay, but I’m glad it’s over!

4 – Bearable

3 – Baaaaaaad!

2 – Who spent time making this?

1 – Travesty, they should never go near a film set again!

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!