Tag Archives: Cartoon

Tony & Paul’s 90’s Kids Show Intro Challenge

My brother-in-law Paul bet me I couldn’t name at least 3 of 5 of the TV shows we watched as kids just from the music in the intro. I set out to prove him wrong. No.2 is a British show so don’t be surprised if you aren’t from the UK and don’t recognise it.

PLEASE EXCUSE the clip that displays alcohol. I assure you we were sober when coming up with the idea and making this video…Honest…

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REVIEW: The Real Ghostbusters 2×03 “Ragnarok and Roll”

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Jeremy is a young man hurt by the woman he loves who can’t return his affections and so decides that there is far too much pain in the world. Aided by his loyal yet reluctant companion DyTillio whom he saved from being run over by a car many years earlier he sets about a chain of events that will bring Ragnarok… the end of the world! The Ghostbusters devise a plan to stop Jeremy summoning Ragnarok but will involve the four of them being killed in a blast that will destroy a quarter of a mile of New York around them. Fortunately however DyTillio manages to convince Jeremy that what he is doing is wrong and Jeremy reverses the spell to summon Ragnarok.

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This was a surprisingly emotional episode being very character driven around the antagonist Jeremy and his companion DyTillio. Honestly, it feels like it’s their story and that the Ghostbusters are just there in the background. Their relationship is an interesting one. I found Jeremy very selfish in his motivation and to me the fact he is doing this because a girl didn’t return his affection made him seem like an angry teenager who hates the world as a result. That was probably Straczynski’s intention while writing this episode perhaps to help it relate to some of the older members of the audience. DyTillio seems to be following Jeremy through blind faith and later it becomes clear that he doesn’t support Jeremy’s actions. DyTillio was very obviously intended to be a Quasimodo type of character being physically unattractive but having a beautiful soul. The last scene of them with DyTillio hanging over the side of the building was especially touching.

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The first scene in this episode with the Ghostbusters in it has them facing these gargoyle-type creatures on the streets of New York. I don’t think it was intentional but Ghostbusters: The Video Game has a similar scene after the Sedgewick Hotel level. On a similar note however I felt the climax of this episode on top of the building was almost a complete rehash of the original movie complete with demonic voice in the cloud and the Ghostbusters ready to use their equipment to sacrifice themselves in order to save the world. They even had the Ghostbusters saying good bye to one another. I didn’t like it to be honest as I felt it was cheap in terms of writing. I also thought that the image of the demon in the sky was very Walt Disney looking like it had been taken from Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. This episode did have its light hearted moments however in particular with Peter and Cindy although again in this instance she was simply taking the role of Dana Barrat from the movie; i.e. she is simply there for the villain to have an interest in and for Peter to flirt with.

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On the whole this was an episode with a great start, an interesting villain with a strong emotion-based motivation for his actions and a sidekick who starts off quite low and then seizes the moral high ground at the end. Unfortunately it doesn’t hold well throughout becoming what feels like a retelling of the movie and therefore losing the worth it had established in the beginning.

GAME REVIEW: Bonkers

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In both my The Simpsons: Bart vs the World and Castle of Illusion starring Mickey Mouse reviews I have made frequent mention of how in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras there was a torrent of uninspired platform games that only sold because it starred a licensed character. With Disney’s Bonkers it could have very easily followed suit but I am one for believing that credit is where credit is due as Disney Software tried something different this time.

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Bonkers was released on the Mega Drive (Genesis for you who hail from North America) in 1994 when the show was still running on TV. The plot of the game follows cartoon cop Bonkers D. Bobcat as he tries to win the “Officer of the Month” award by nabbing four of the biggest crooks in town. Each crook can be found in their own unique area of the city which has its own dangers and the player can choose who they want to go after first.

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This is not one game but is in fact four mini games. In the first game “Harry the Handbag’s” raccoon goons are stealing Toon Treasures (including Mickey Mouse’s wizard hat from Fantasia and Aladdin’s lamp) from a museum. To stop them you must throw donuts at them (I thought cops carried guns?). Then you have to face “The Rat” in the junkyard where a robot is trying to stop you. In order to catch “The Rat” you have to brick up a wall to block the robot. The third villain is “Mr Big” who can be defeated by finding all the pieces of the fall-apart rabbit from the show. The final villain is “Ma Tow Truck” who is blocking the freeway and you have to race around in your police car stopping her by throwing giant bubble gum bombs.

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OK – as I said I have to give them credit for trying something different when they could have easily made just another uninspired platformer with their trademark character but the truth is I would rather one average game than four small terrible games. This game infuriated me but it’s not the variety of the mini games that was the problem. It was the fact that in order to make the game last they designed it so you had to play four rounds of each mini game with the difficulty increasing each time. The frustration comes from the fact you don’t feel like you are achieving anything or progressing at all except that it gets more difficult.

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The junkyard and museum levels suffered from appalling hit detection with the bricks/doughnuts and I ended up throwing large numbers of them at the same spot despite repositioning Bonkers. The control of the car was terrible and it felt more like a pinball at times than a squad car as it would bounce off the sidewalk and other cars.

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On the whole this was a bad game. It feels like one of those titles thrown out there just to make a quick buck. The worst kind of game. It’s a shame because I have fond memories of the show but alas it does seem to be one of those Disney shows that had its one run and then was forgotten about.

GAME REVIEW: The Flintstones

Tony Wilkins reviews the Flintstones game on the Sega Master System


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Realism – it has been the holy grail of the video game world from the very beginning. With each new console release at some point the words “…even more realistic than ever” is often thrown around in the marketing campaign. There are some games where realism is important such as simulation and racing games. But the Flintstones? On the Master System? By now you are probably wondering where this is going so I will tell you.

The first level is painting a wall.

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Yeah I’m letting that sink in a minute. In the first level you have Wilma nagging at Fred (you) to paint a wall but if that wasn’t enough then you have to watch Pebbles as well and she is determined to make the job as difficult as possible. Then to really add to the pain there is a time limit! Your wife wants a perfect job done in just a few minutes! How realistic is that? The version I was playing even had an interactive segment when my wife walked in to the room, saw what I was doing and said;

Tell you what; if you want to paint our bathroom finally I will give you 100 points and an extra life.

True story!

OK – let’s get back to the game review. The Flintstones is actually a series of mini games that make up the whole affair similar to Back to the Future III. There is no set format throughout and it takes some practice to master each level. The first level is the aforementioned wall painting level. After that there is a car segment where Fred and Barney are trying to get to the bowling alley before it closes but there are obstacles in the way that have to be avoided. And how do you avoid these obstacles I hear you ask? Why by jumping the car over them of course. How else? Anyone who has ever seen The Flintstones will know that those cars can’t be steered. If you hit an obstacle then a wheel falls off and you have to repair it by jacking up the car and putting it back on but that takes time and you don’t know until you reach the bowling alley if its closed or not because of how long it has taken to get there.

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Make it to the bowling alley on time and you are treated to the most bizarre bowling game layout ever. Instead of the traditional one screen from the point of view of the bowler you get a split screen with a side image of Fred and Barney on one side and the pins on the other side in the more traditional angle of head on. There are elements of luck and skill in this segment as its often difficult to associate the two screens. After that Pebbles has got herself in to trouble for some reason and its up to Fred and Barney to rescue her in a rather seen-it-before platform level where you have to go up to get her and bring her back.

And that’s it!

Just four levels/mini games but to be honest that’s enough. The difficulty of this game is rage-inducing. In the first level it’s the timer (or rather Wilma’s patience) that’s your enemy. In the car level its the fact that if you misjudge the jump by just a fraction that wheel is coming off. The bowling alley could be solved if there was some consistency in if you are going to hit the pins and the last level suffers from both a timer and clumsy controls.

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This review has been wholly negative but the truth is this did entertain me for quite a bit. Its difficulty was such that I developed a resistance to wanting to give up and instead I charged on trying to beat this thing but it had the last laugh. The ending doesn’t make you feel like you have accomplished anything and that’s lousy. There is an entertainment value to this but I would say it’s an acquired taste. Sonic the Hedgehog fans; this is not for you.

Thanks for reading…

 

ARTICLE: Reflecting on Ghostbusters as a fan

As the Order of Trinity continues its Ghostbusters themed weekend to celebrate the 30th anniversary Mark Berryman looks back at how he came to the franchise and how it has stayed with him all these years.


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As this weekend is the 30th anniversary of the release of Ghostbusters it’s got me thinking about where my love for it started and how it has progressed.

I have never told anyone what I am about to share, simply because it’s rather embarrassing! When I was a young child every now and again in the village hall they used to show movies for kids on a big screen. I remember when it was Ghostbusters I had been looking forward to it. However, this was not where my love for the film started. For the first few minutes it was great, then the immortal line “GET HER!” was shouted, the Library ghost turned, I SCREAMED, started to cry and was promptly taken home.

A couple of years later I managed to convince my mum to let me get it from the video shop, I watched it, this time without crying and I loved it. I was still wary of the Library Ghost, but the rest, I loved every second of it.

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When the cartoon The Real Ghostbusters started I was addicted from the start. I remember going to the village shop and there was one copy of the first issue of the comic that went along with the series. Another kid was eyeing it up, he asked his mother if he could have it, she said no and I pounced, grabbed it and spent some of my pocket money on it. My mum then put in an order for it and every week another issue was always there, just for me. I can remember my favourite part of it was “Egon’s Spirit Guide”. I loved reading about all the different types of ghost. The one thing that always puzzled me about the cartoon was where was Dana? I can remember that she was mentioned once in the comic, when Peter said he was going out to dinner with her, but after, nothing else. I’m still puzzled to this day about why they left her and initially Louis Tulley out (although he did make an appearance later on).

When Christmas rolled around that year I remember my brother and I asked for Ghostbusters toys. I received Peter and Ray, my brother Egon and Winston. As birthdays and other Christmases passed between us we had the fire station, Ecto 1 and 2, proton packs, traps, PKE meters, we both loved it so much.

Now I know lots of people don’t think much of Ghostbusters 2, me I loved and still do love it. I think it still has all the fun and excitement of the first film. I bought the novel of the film before it was released. I can still remember that Ecto 2 was briefly in it, although I’m still kind of disappointed that it didn’t make it into the film. I always loved that bike/helicopter. I have both of the movies on DVD, they were two of the first films I bought and I still love them as much as I ever did. I still chuckle at “GET HER” for reasons until now, no one else remembered!

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I’m glad we’re finally getting a Ghostbusters 3 but I am sad there will be no Egon Spengler. I think it will always have a piece missing. Harold Ramis is an actor I will always miss. He’s always been there since I was a child in one film or another. I think tomorrow will be another day when his loss will be felt by geeks and fans of film all over the world. I look forward with slight trepidation as to who will be cast in the movie. I wonder if gold can be struck twice. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver cast a very long shadow, can any ensemble come close? I know who I’d cast, but will it come close? Regardless I’ll be buying my large sweet popcorn and sitting down in the cinema to watch it.

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Ghostbusters holds a special place in the hearts of all three members of the Order of Trinity. For the last year we’ve wanted to have a synchronized viewing of the film, me in England, Tony in Wales and Wes in America, but something always seems to stop us. Hopefully soon we’ll get to do it.

So this weekend join us in celebrating a movie that is still as good as it has ever been. Join us in celebrating the talent that is Harold Ramis. If you’ve never seen it give it a first viewing, if you’re like us give it the tenth, twentieth or even hundredth viewing it deserves. I still wish Ghostbuster was a viable career choice! I know the three of us would be busting ghosts together and loving every second of it!

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Order of Trinity does Ghostbusters

Order of Trinity does Ghostbusters

As it is 30 years this weekend since Ghostbusters hit the movie theaters we at the Order of Trinity are celebrating by having a Ghostbusters weekend with at least one post a day over the coming days on our favorite paranormal investigators and eliminators.

We have made this little homage using our Bitstrip avatars and drawn in an Ecto-1 around it. It will be 30 years exactly on June 8.

COUNTDOWN: Top 5 Star Trek The Animated Series Episodes

Tony Wilkins looks at his five favorite episodes of the often forgotten Star Trek: The Animated Series


People often forget that strictly speaking there have been six Star Trek series over the years. The Animated Series often polarizes fans in that they either love it or hate it. Me; I take a more objective stance. I will never say it’s better than any of the live action series but hidden among it’s line up are some true gems worthy of mention in the Star Trek realm.

Here are my top 5 episodes that I think all Trek fans should watch…


5. The Terratin Incident

This is one of those classic episodes that everyone remembers when mentioning The Animated Series. While investigating a heavily volcanic planet the crew get splashed by a very bright white light which eventually causes them to start shrinking. It’s a lot of fun just for watching them try to handle their equipment and knowing that they could never have filmed this with the real actors and that was the beauty of The Animated Series.


4. The Counter-Clock Incident

Another of those classic episodes, the Counter-Clock Incident sees our heroes reduced to children after they enter another dimension where everything works in reverse. As well as being fun there are some fascinating points in this story that deserve mention most notably that it is the only on-screen appearance of Robert April; the Captain who commanded the Enterprise during her maiden voyage. His name was mentioned in The Cage where Pike reveals he took over command from April but he was never again mentioned until this episode. In the Star Trek Encyclopedia a picture of Robert April on the bridge is included but is actually Gene Roddenberry himself.


3. The Pirates of Orion

This episode is often labelled as unremarkable, it certainly is on Bernd Schnieder’s Ex-Astris-Scienta website, but I think this is unfair. The plot plays out that Spock is dying and needs some medicine but the ship carrying the medicine was ransacked by “Oreeon” raiders – that’s right in this episode they are “Oreeons” not “Orions”. The reason I love this episode is because it plays out more like one of TNG’s more action packed episodes. The “Oreeons” are bad guys but they have their own angle and instead of just fighting it out there are efforts to negotiate with Kirk willing to let them go if he can just have the medicine. Also we get to see a genuine alien ship in this episode that looks mean as hell.


2. The Time Trap


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has a distinctly simple premise; the Bermuda Triangle in space. It is more than that however in that it’s also a story of putting differences aside to achieve a common goal. OK that does sound a bit cheesy but in this episode it really works. The fact that the Klingon Captain is the legendary Kor himself from the very first episode with the Klingons adds more weight to this point but sadly it is not the great John Colicos reprising his role. If any more proof was needed that this was a great concept then look at Star Trek Voyager which virtually recycled this episode in The Void.


1. Yesteryear

This is a story that needed to be told in the Star Trek universe. Sadly it had to be animated but would have made a beautiful live action episode. After an historical research mission using the Guardian of Forever Spock returns to the Enterprise to find he has been replaced by an Andorian and he has to travel in to his past to fix things. The sci-fi element of this episode we have seen countless times but it’s the exploration of Spock’s past on Vulcan that makes this memorable. Think of it as an expansion on young Spock’s scenes in Star Trek (2009) where we see the troubled life Spock had and how he came through all that to be the great Starfleet officer and diplomat. It also explores his family life more and explains a little of the hostility between himself and his father. It is intelligent, delicate and touching throughout. A must-see for all Trek fans.

Thanks for reading…

 

 

 

REVIEW: Robocop The Animated Series

In the first of a new series Tony Wilkins will be looking at animated series that have been largely forgotten over time.


 

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Robocop was one of those truly iconic movies of the 1980s. Ludicrously violent and over-the-top it had a fascinating subtext about American culture and how for many people the company they work for is more important to them than the government; the company feeds them, clothes them, provides medical cover and so on. Robocop brilliantly embodied this in that the man, in this case the almost deceased Officer Alex Murphy, became an extension of the company Omni Consumer Products known more universally as OCP. Because of his cybernetic body he was effectively owned by the company. While animes such as Ghost in the Shell and Appleseed would look in to this aspect of cybernetics more closely Robocop remained true to its action rather than discussing the moral and ethical implications of Murphy’s predicament.

Given the extent of the violence in the movie it surprising that it was translated in to a cartoon aimed at children. The motivation behind this move was, as with a lot of children’s entertainment in the 1980s, profit from merchandizing. Although the franchise had a very mature audience it had obvious toy appeal and to reinforce this (and also explain why kids wanted toys from a very 18+ rated movie that they shouldn’t be watching yet) the cartoon was created.

In fairness the animated show remained as close to the source material as possible. The opening explains that Alex Murphy was indeed gunned down as in the movie although the scene appears briefly and nowhere near as graphically. Like many animated series of the time the opening more or less sets the entire scene for the show meaning you can effectively start watching it at any time and know what its about without having seen prior episodes. The opening is one of the only times we see Alex Murphy before he is “killed”. Bizarrely he and his partner Anne Lewis from the movies are drawn so similarly they look like brother and sister. The only noticeable change to Murphy as Robocop was the addition of a sliding red dot on his visor similar to those found on Cylons in Battlestar Galactica.

In order to tone down the violence (which in children’s shows is euphemistically called ‘action’) the guns were replaced by lasers. This along with the lack of coarse language were really the only major changes to Robocop’s format. The series remained quite an action filled affair up to the point of actual deaths. Innocent people were caught up in and injured in several episodes. For me this was one of the strong points of this show compared to similar cartoons such as Rambo: The Force of Freedom. Like Robocop, Rambo: Force of Freedom was based on a mature movie franchise but aimed at kids however that show completely reworked its format until it became Rambo in name only.

Robocop: The Animated Series has stood the test of time relatively well. The animation is quite clunky compared to modern cartoons but when put in context it is still pretty good. It’s 12 episode run however has been one of the reasons it hasn’t really made it into the repeat arena in the same way as the 7 season strong The Real Ghostbusters and its a shame. Robocop The Animated Series in many ways reminds me of the feel of the hugely popular animated Batman series of the 90s in that while it was a kid’s show it easily appealed to an adult audience. Sadly in the 80s, before animated movies/series were really acceptable for grown-ups, it meant that Robocop: The Animated Series was just a little misplaced.

REVIEW: The Real Ghostbusters “The Last Train to Oblivion”

The ghost of Casey Jones, an old train engineer who died in one of the worst train crashes in history, comes back to try and commandeer a modern train. Unable to use the modern controls he kidnaps Peter Venkman, who is as it turns out a closet train enthusiast, and forces him to shovel coal on an antique train that looks set to crash into an express train on the mainline. However it is Peter who works out that Casey Jones’ ghost cannot rest until he prevents a train crash like the one that killed him in the first place (even if it means creating the situation himself).

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“The Last Train to Oblivion” was one of the show’s second season episodes first airing in 1987. It would probably have disappeared into obscurity had it not been for the ghost that was the main antagonist. Casey Jones is an example of a spirit with unfinished business which in this case is to nearly cause another train crash like the one that killed him so he can avert it from happening again. This plot point is one of the weakest parts of this episode for me. If Casey Jones really wants to make amends I am sure there have been plenty of opportunities from him to avert the many naturally occurring disasters that have happened over the previous 80 years. What has Casey been doing all this time? One can argue that the modern train Casey tried to board first was going to crash in to the Amtrak train we see later (which was early thus causing a collision) but if that was the case then by scaring the people off it he had effectively prevented the crash and therefore he should have passed on at that point.

More than any one of the other Ghostbusters this is Peter’s episode. We learn a great deal about his love of trains and it was fun to see. The line that really made me laugh was that originally he studied engineering for two years thinking it would be about trains only to find out it wasn’t and so he switched to parapsychology. While it may seem unbelievable at first if we think about it at least one of the Ghostbusters having an engineering background makes sense considering they devised all their own equipment.

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As we saw repeatedly throughout the animated series Ecto-1 is capable of stunts that would put the Dukes of Hazzard’s General Lee to shame and this episode was no exception. We see the car leaping on to the back of the train landing perfectly on to one of the trucks. You can’t help but smile as you try to imagine this happening in real life with the real Ecto-1.

This episode poses several questions about the world of the Ghostbusters mainly are all ghosts evil? Casey Jones is really open to debate on this one. He wanted to prevent a crash but whether it was entirely for his own benefit or for the people he may have saved aboard the train he tried to hijack first we will never know. This was also one of the only times where we see a ghost “pass over” rather than get busted and this additionally poses the question; should every ghost get busted? These are metaphorical questions that can’t really be addressed in a TV show intended for children. Certainly the franchise makes an effort to demonize nearly all the ghosts we see so that we support our heroes but you have to wonder if the jogging ghost in Ghostbusters II was evil or just an innocent soul with some unfinished business of his own.

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Thanks for reading….