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Friday Finds – Kung Fu and Carmen Sandiego

Well, it was a busy week for me, though most of the creative juices were used at the Sabres site I run.  They had a rough week, what can I say?  Still, I got OGT out, and it’s one of my all time favorites, River City Ransom.  Check it out if you haven’t yet.  On to the links!

Martin Campbell (who helmed Casino Royale and The Green Lantern) is in early talks to direct The Fall Guy.  The Fall Guy, for those of you who don’t know, centered around Lee Majors as a stuntman who took bounty hunter jobs to try and make ends meet.  It’s pure 80’s cheese, right up there with the A-Team and Knight Rider.  It will be tough to cast the Colt Seavers role, though.  It can’t be somebody that actually looks like they could be down on their luck, but still tough enough to be a stuntman/bounty hunter.  Can Daniel Craig lose the accent?

Another of my favorite old shows might get the movie treatment – Kung Fu.  Bill Paxton may direct (he’s got some movies under his belt already).  It would be interesting to see how they go with it.  When I saw the show originally, I didn’t know about the whole ‘Bruce Lee came up with the idea and it was stolen from him basically’ thing, but Kwai Chang Caine became a favorite character of mine.  I even loved Kung Fu – The Legend Continues.  I’m curious to see if they keep the half Chinese/half American aspect, as I think that could still give an interesting slant to the story – a man who at the time would be rejected both in China and in the Americas for being different.

My friend Anneke as Carmen Sandiego.  May have to scroll down a bit.

Even our favorite, long running TV shows had bad seasons.  IO9 lists some of the worst in sci-fi and fantasy.  TNG Season 2:  Joe Piscopo.  Enough said.  Though as commenters pointed out, that season gave us The Measure of a Man and the first appearance of the Borg, so it’s not all bad.

Finally, Barnes and Noble is indeed firing back at the Kindle Fire, with a new Nook Tablet.  Engadget got a hold of some slides from a presentation that give some details, and it sounds solid.  Dual-core 1.2ghz, twice the RAM and on-board storage as the Fire, thought it is still more than the Fire at $249.  They will drop the original Nook Color to $199 (I think it should go lower, make Amazon sweat).

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Console Games Featured

Vintage Gaming – River City Ransom

River City Ransom is one of those games that, if you’ve played it, you probably love it…but not a lot of people have played it.  I came across it by chance at the video store once, played the heck out of it, but it took me forever to find a working copy.  I finally did, though, and it quickly became one of my all-time favorite games on any platform.

The story is simple, as you might expect from an early NES game.  You play as either Alex or Ryan, and Ryan’s  girlfriend is kidnapped by a gang leader (Slick) from a rival high school.  I’m not sure why Alex would go on the mission solo when it’s not his girlfriend, but those details were not important, or perhaps were lost in the translation.  Anyway, your goal is to punch and kick your way across town, fighting increasingly difficult gangs and bosses along the way.  If you’ve played Double Dragon or other fighting games from the era, you know what’s up.  What set RCR apart from them was a pretty solid RPG aspect.  You gained money from defeated enemies, which could be used to buy items to increase your stats, replenish lost stamina, and learn new fighting techniques.  There are also weapons like rocks or pipes spread throughout the levels, or to be taken from the rival gang members.

The game has a ton of 8-bit charm.  The blocky sprites are large and colorful, with goofy anime-inspired designs.  The music fits well, and changes when something important is happening.  The gangs are color coded by their t-shirts, and have names like The Jocks or The Generic Dudes.  When defeated, the enemies say silly things like BARF.  But make no mistake, the game isn’t a cakewalk.  The tougher gangs and bosses with wipe the floor with you if you don’t fight strategically and improve your character.

As implied above, you can play it as a 2 player game, though in the US they didn’t include the mode that removed friendly fire.  So feel free to beat each other up if you like, it’s fun.  That’s what the game is about, FUN.  You can play it in emulation on the NES, or get it for the Wii Virtual Console.  Well worth the cost if you like old-school beat ’em ups.