All posts by Kazi_Smith

Game Review: Street Fighter X Tekken

Capcom has released its interpretation of its own fighting game series Street Fighter against Namco’s Tekken series with Street Fighter X Tekken for the Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita, and Microsoft Windows.  Namco is said to be making their own version of the game but will not start development on it until it has completed the console version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2, however Capcom’s game has many new and interesting features in their game to keep us occupied in the meantime.

The game plays on a 2D plain like most Street Fighter games but with each player switching between two of the 38 available characters similar to Tekken Tag Tournament.  Being effective at playing this game depends on not only switching effectively between characters for max combos and health regeneration, but having team chemistry with your characters as apposed to just playing two different characters.  Capcom did a good job of giving the Tekken characters there more important moves and techniques with a somewhat similar input style of their 3D counterpart.  Several characters such as Steve and Raven were additional tools such as projectiles to keep the balance of the game.  The Capcom characters play more or less the same as they have in previous games, but with slight tweaks here and there to fully mesh with the game engine.  It all seems to unite well making the core game play rather enjoyable.

Other features in this game include Pair Play in which two people can team up to control one character each on a team and tag each other in and out.  There is also Scramble Mode in which all 4 fighters are on the field and going at it simultaneously without switching.  Both modes support up to 4 players and are quite fun in their own right (with the Pair Play being the more serious mode out of the two), however you can only play cooperatively online in the 360 version.  This is rather disappointing  seeing that Mortal Kombat 9 has already done a similar thing on the system.   Another feature in this game is the Gem System in which before the match, the player pics gems to boost your attributes as you fight.  The game tries to push the importance of gems, however I found myself barely paying attention to them within the week I have played the game.  You can give characters a custom color scheme which is great except there is a very limited number of colors available at launch which seems just down right lazy on Capcom’s end.  Another let down is that the PS3 and PS Vita got exclusive characters while the 360 and PC versions didn’t.  The exclusive characters are simple novelty characters however, such as PacMan and the Mega Man from the misleading box art for the American version of the original game.

Not the MegaMan that many of us grew up with

The online play okay all around.  The netcode is decent by today’s standards but nothing special.  There are a few bugs with the actual game play online such as the audio going in and out, but nothing game breaking.  The ranking system is easy to understand and Pair Play can be switched on at anytime during lobby matches.  The presentation of the game is also well done with interesting art, memorable music, and some of the most distracting backgrounds in fighting game history.

Overall, the game is enjoyable and I recommend it for anyone looking for a new fight game.  For beginners of fighting games or Street Fighter like games, there is a full system tutorial and trial combo’s for each of the characters to help you on your way, however there is still a learning curve and if you have found yourself having trouble with these kind of games before, chances are this game won’t be much easier for you.  However if your a fan of the either series or want to get into them, this game is worth looking at, even if your a 360 owner.

Kazi Smith

Commercials for Super Bowl 2012

Sports fans love the Superbowl game, and everyone watching loves the new wave of clever and entertaining commercials.  With all the hype that the Superbowl commercials get in the media nowadays, it is virtually impossible for the advertisements to live up to all the excitement.  This did not stop me or the other 111.3 million viewers of Superbowl XLVI from scrutinizing the showcase of advertisements, however.  Company’s put their best foot forward to have their product or brand remembered for years to come.

Automotive commercials had a very strong showing this year at the Superbowl.  Some of the more notable ones was the vampire-themed Audi promotion, a sexually charged commercial for the Fiat 500 Abarth, and a humorous take on life and death with the Hyundai Genesis Coupe.  Cars.com gave us a catchy tune with their ad featuring Christopher B. Duncan, and Chrysler gave America it’s own halftime speech with the help of Clint Eastwood.  A personal favorite mine was the ad for the Chevy Silverado, with their portrayal of the truck’s toughness surviving the 2012 Mayan apocalypse, and their genius use of the Barry Manilow song “Looks like we Made It.”

Promos for television programs for NBC were also out in force, including a reveal of the new drama “Awake,” promises of double crossing in the name of charity on the new season of “Celebrity Apprentice,” the announcement of Howard Stern as a host for “America’s Got Talent,” and a flashy, kung-fu style commercial featuring the judges of “The Voice,” which premiered directly after the game ended.  The Superbowl also featured its fair share of motion picture promotion, premiering spots for blockbuster films like “The Avengers,” “John Carter,” and  “G.I. Joe: Retaliation.”

Of course the Superbowl commercial veterans came out to play and continue their legacy.  The E*Trade baby returned with more smart advice, and the M&M’s introduced a new color to their gang.  Coke gave us new ads featuring their famous polar bears, which I enjoyed seeing again.  I feel GoDaddy.com could have tried something new as they aired more of the same risque commercials featuring Danica Patrick.  Budweiser found a way to keep their signature Clydesdales in their ads and have a fresh idea by doing a flashback to show an exaggerated end to prohibition.

The fight for the Vince Lombardi trophy featured some great football, half time show controversy, and entertaining commercials.

-Kazi Smith

A Serious Case of the Mondays

On Monday, October 3, 2011,  ESPN decided to pull the Monday Night Football Intro, as performed by country singer Hank Williams, Jr. (HuffingtonPost).  This decision was made after Williams made comments on a Fox News morning show, where he compared President Barack Obama with Adolf Hitler, and called Obama and Vice President Biden “the enemy.”  Williams performance was replaced by the national anthem.  On Thursday October 6, ESPN announced that Williams will no longer be make openers for Monday Night Football (ESPN).  Williams had been creating Intros for Monday Night Football since 1991, and was famous for the line “Are you ready for some Football!”

Hank Williams Jr.

Some people (including Williams) would argue that the First Amendment has been violated.  Williams has political views and simply felt like he needed express them. While it is true that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and everyone else “should” respect this freedom,  is also true that nobody is free from the consequences of their opinions.  It’s not uncommon for celebrities or entertainers to voice their political ideas, but it is always suggested that they wait until they are in a good position to do so.  Former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura became the Governor Minnesota, but he wasn’t making huge public political statements while he and “Macho Man” Randy Savage were fighting for the Tag Team Championship.  Some may also say that Williams was making comments in line with the views of Fox News and its audience and he got too comfortable.  This could be true, but being on ESPN for 20 years and being in the music industry for even longer, he must of known where the line was.

I don’t believe Williams being fired was a bad thing however.  This was a good reminder that Williams has been doing Monday Night Football intro’s for a while and it was time for some fresh ideas. The songs he was doing every week were starting to get gimmicky and people will probably miss them as much as they miss “Steve” for the Dell computer commercials. There is a decent chance he felt this way too. Also it’s worth noting that he went out with a bang. Plenty of people (including myself) has been fired from jobs without getting the chance to tell the man how we really feel. But he had a good run, and football fans, musicians, and television producers everywhere respect him for that.  As Monday Nights roll along, and the greetings to our football games change, his legacy will always be remembered.

Williams stated in the Fox News interview that he is considering running for Senator for the state of Tennessee.  This is a great time for him to focus on that and move on to the next stage of his life, but he probably won’t be getting my vote anytime soon. Nobody ever loves the government all the time, but comparing respected government officials to mass murdering dictators is never a good idea. If he wants his political career to be as successful as his music/television career he better get ready to read some books and articles instead of blurting out ignorant analogy.

-Kazi Smith

Say Hello to Another Little Friend

Universal Studios is starting pre-production for another Scarface movie.  Marc Shmuger and Martin Bregman will produce the new version of Scarface (Deadline). Bregman was a producer for the 1983 version of the film.  The movie Scarface has two previous incarnations.  The first Scarface film was released in 1932 and was about an Italian immigrant moving to Chicago and taking over the criminal underworld in the pursuit of the “American Dream”.  The starred Paul Mini, was produced by Howard Hughes, and directed by Howard Hawks and Richard Rosson.  The version of Scarface that better known was the version that was released in 1983 and had more or less the same plot but featured a Cuban immigrant and took place in Miami.  The 1983 Scarface starred Al Pacino and was directed by Brian De Palma.  The new Scarface is said to be neither a sequel nor a remake of either adaptation of the film, but yet another story altogether with the same general plot idea (Hollywood Reporter).

There are of course mixed feelings about another Scarface being in production.  Although the 1983 version gained mixed reviews by critics, the film has become a major cult classic thanks to the extreme violence, and Pacino’s superb acting.  The film has remained surprising popular over the years and is considered by many one of the greatest gangster films of all time.   However, there were also outcries when the 1983 blockbuster was made.  The 1932 Scarface was also considered a classic.  The 1932 film was known to be one of Howard Hughes works.  The movie  has since been selected to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress and has been voted the 6th best gangster film by the American Film Institute (AIF).

Image from the 1983 version of Scarface

The major argument that could be made in why not to remake the movie is that many people are still in love with Tony Montana.  There was a 51-year gap in-between the release of the previous Scarface movies.  It has not quite been 30 years since the release of the 1983.  In-between these 30 years then the movie has been an active piece of pop culture.  There have been many spoofs of the film as well as video game remakes and even a popular rap artist who calls himself “Scarface” based off of the movie.  I even remember the film still being heavily quoted around the time I first watched the film in the early 2000’s.

Remakes however, are something that happen with all great stories.  There will always be new generations that come with time and there will always be a need to recreate classics.  Even though remakes will always be compared to their previous rendition, they can often times turn out to be well made and thought out.  The new series of Batman movies is a great example of this.  The previous two Scarface films are legends and this one may be too, but I don’t think anybody would be too upset if it they waited another 20 years to make it.