Friday, 27 February 2009

Dreams Can Come True

Oops, I'm a bit late in posting this as I'm sure you've all heard the news by now, but here goes:

Demons has suffered a blow to its chance of being renewed for a second series because according to The Sun (and just about everywhere else now), Phil Glennister has quit. I guess they weren’t paying him enough to mangle a US accent after all.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

It's A Meme, I'm So Sorry

So I was tagged by a meme and now I have to post an image. I changed the rules somewhat by using my comics image folder where I chose the sixth folder, the sixth comic within, the sixth page of said comic and finally the sixth panel. All of that led to this bit of helpful advice:

Casanova #6 by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba.

If you'd like to join the image posting fun then please leave a link in the comments.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War 2 And It's Evil Installation Obstacle Course

PC gaming over the last year has taken a step too far in its attempts to halt piracy. The last few months has seen new games that require activation on Valve’s Steam service before one can install or play the game. Personally I have no problem with Steam, I think it’s a fine service and I like to support Valve as they are purveyors of excellent games. However, what was once a process that involved logging into Steam has now added a layer of extra security in the form of Games For Windows Live. Urgh.

This is the process you will have to go through to install Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II (you can tell it’s a PC game, it has a subtitle):

1. Insert disc.
2. See pretty installation screen with sound effects and big glowing buttons (as shown above).
3. Click the install button and wait for a progress bar to appear.
4. Be amazed when, instead of a progress bar or a destination folder option, a list of instructions appears.
5. Realise that you now need to either fire up Steam or visit Steam and create an account. If you don’t have a Steam account already you’ll have to go through Steam registration and installation.
6. Now once Steam is up and running, enter the licence code from the back of the manual and then wait for Steam to approve the installation.
7. At this point you realize it’s Thursday evening and the game hasn’t officially been released yet so Steam blocks the installation.
8. Grump a bit because it’s not your fault that sent it to you early and ask yourself why you should wait until Friday to install a game that you physically hold in your hands. Indulge in nostalgia as you remember the good old days of early 2008 when you could get a game from a day before release and start playing it before your friends, who rely on high street stores for their game purchases (the suckers).
9. Try again the next day where you repeat steps 1-7 again but skipping 8 this time because you’ve slept since then and forgotten what you were so angry about.
10. Steam verifies your code and allows you to install the game onto your PC. You can at this point feel very privileged that you are allowed to access the game you have paid for and can feel safe in the knowledge that you’re not a terrorist-funding games pirate.
11. Watch the installation progress bar or make a cup of tea. Mine’s milk and two sugars.
12. Now you have to install Games for Windows Live (or fire it up and login if you’ve already installed it).
13. If you don’t have Games for Windows Live then it’s time to visit the site, register and then install the crappy client.
14. Phew, this is taking a while isn’t it? Maybe you should have another cup of tea?
15. Now you’ve installed Games for Windows Live and picked an appropriate user icon and gamertag you can finally confirm that you’re not a terrorist/pirate and you can finally access the game.

But wait; what’s this, you have some unlockable content because you preordered? Well, it’s time to follow these simple steps (copied from’s own email guide):

"Please find below instructions for how to claim your pre-order bonus content:
1: Install the Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II Game. The Games for Windows Live Marketplace Client will also be installed. Once Live is installed you can login with an existing account (XBOX Live accounts will carry over) or register a new account for free.
2: Run the Games for Windows Marketplace Client and click the Marketplace Tab (this requires your LIVE ID)
3: Click on Redeem Code
4: Enter your unique pre-order bonus code as above (The content should now download)
5: Run the game - Your unlocked Wargear set is now available

Please Note: Unlocked Wargear set will only be available in “New” campaigns. If you have already started a campaign and then enter the code, that campaign will not be updated with your new Wargear."

Oh yeah, if you were desperate to play the game after spending half a day installing it and didn’t bother to redeem your preorder bonus straight away then guess what? You’ll have to start your campaign all over again chump!

I love PC gaming, I really do, but this new era of extreme copy protection is ridiculous and has made an internet connection essential to play games that really don’t need one.

For a more eloquent and reasoned argument about the evils of over zealous copy protection and DRM, I strongly advise visiting Rock Paper Shotgun's and Kiasa's harrowing accounts of GTA IV's traumatic installation process.

How is Dawn of War 2 you ask? I don't know, I haven't had time to play it after installing it!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Peter Parker Sure Sounds Different Today

That's because Deadpool is standing in for the original emo kid. Panels from one of my favourite issues of a comic book ever, Deadpool #11 by Joe Kelly and Pete Woods.

Monday, 9 February 2009

TV Snark - Demons: Nothing Like Nebraska OR Mrs. Doyle – Escape From Craggy Island!

It’s the end of Demons! Ah sweet release! The final episode features the return of the Sensational Character Find of 2009 – Gladiolus Thrip! Yup, Mackenzie Crook reprises his role as the cockney demon and Mighty Boosh reject.

The episode begins with the very public execution of a demon clown (sorry, half-life clown - where’s Gordon Freeman and his crowbar when you need him?) by Galvin and Luke. So, the public are allowed to witness Slayers running around waving magic guns and killing half-lives now? During the fight Luke gets hit by some slow motion (got to fill that screen time) green gunge from one of the clown’s magic balls (snigger). Despite the fact that the clown is a ‘pyromancer’ Luke doesn’t get burned or lightly singed by the gunge but instead gains psychic powers. Galvin shoots the clown in full view of the public but there’s no attempt at a cover up or even a funny line for the crowd that are watching. Obviously a cover up is too hard to write or mention as it might get in the way of the numerous ‘Luke has a sulk’ scenes or the slow motion action.

It looks like Luke is going to die! "Woop, woop, woop!" goes the theme tune, destroying any sense of tension the show may have accidentally created.

Luke's explains the origin of his new found powers to Ruby and uses the line, “I got hit by one of his balls.” This is delivered straight faced with no humour whatsoever. Come on people! If you’re going to write a line that bad, you may as well get some comedy out of it.

Luke has dreams about the car crash that killed his father and sees Father Simeon/Zombie Gaius (Richard Wilson) appear and warn him about “something nasty pretending to be something nice.” This is repeated approximately 8,325 times during the episode just in case we didn’t hear it the first time or couldn’t figure out what the visions were hinting at. Luke soon leaps to the conclusion that he can’t trust Galvin or Mina after watching a video of his dead dad. He then finds Zombie Gaius has been murdered or stopped being animate, whatever zombies do when they stop being undead. Zombie Gaius’s death seemed to be caused by a bad case of CGI flies. Suitably enlightened (ie not at all) Luke decides that he can’t trust the usual team of incompetents and decides to trust the word of Mrs. Doyle from Father Ted.

Mrs. Doyle has given up on the tea maid career on Craggy Island and has become a medium in London. She convinces Luke to see her medium act and promises messages from beyond, Luke accepts this because he is a moron and the script needs him to have an IQ of a dead moose in order to progress the story. Despite the fact that Ruby is the voice of sanity for once, Luke ditches her to meet Mrs. Doyle in private where he is promptly duped by Thrip who impersonates Luke’s father’s voice. An elaborate plan featuring ventriloquism is enough to convince Luke that he needs to kill Galvin.

You may be asking yourself, “Wait a minute, wasn’t Thrip killed in the first episode of the series?” Well, the answer isn’t explicitly spelled out; it seems that Thrip is Mrs. Doyle’s spirit guide that she summons via rhyme. I guess that’s enough to give Thrip a whole new body. Galvin visits Mrs. Doyle and, after treating us to the worst Deep South accent since Ray Winstone in Fool’s Gold, he discovers Thrip’s plan. At this point Gavlin just leaves. He doesn’t try to destroy Thrip, he just leaves Thrip to it. What?! Galvin suddenly acts out of character because Thrip needs to survive until the final scene. This…is…terrible.

Luke doesn’t kill Galvin at first, he decides to tell him he quits instead. Thrip, understandably frustrated at Luke’s inability to follow basic instructions, gives Luke a proper gun (rather than the magic bullet guns that don’t kill humans) and tells him to kill off Galvin. Eventually the tedious story reaches its conclusion as Thrip, Galvin and Luke face off. Galvin tries to kill Thrip but he’s now magically immune to the magic bullet because he's become a vampire for no adequately explained reason. Luke is on the verge of shooting Galvin when Mina and Ruby turn up and tell Luke that his dad was a no good demon lover. Galvin confesses that he let Luke’s dad die in the car crash because Daddy Van Helsing was going to hand Luke over to the half-lives to be raised as one of them. Then Mina turns into a vampire and bites Thrip, which turns him into soup. The end.

At the end of the episode we see Mina sitting on a rooftop looking all vampiric as if she were looking to the horizon for another series or a spin off show. I do not care about this, even though it’s Zoe Tapper looking quite hot. Please ITV do not make any more episodes of this show, stick to what you’re good at – talent shows and erm… uhhh… messing up FA Cup coverage. On seconds thoughts, could someone cancel ITV please?

Thursday, 5 February 2009

TV Snark - Demons: Smitten OR Since When Did Harpies Look Like Dragons?

Sorry this is late but it was my birthday yesterday and no-one should have to watch and write about Demons on their birthday.

The pre credits teaser has Galvin and Mina visit the morgue and examine a corpse. Mina uses her psychic powers on the corpse and has a vision of a dead Luke. This would be slightly chilling if the theme tune didn't immediately kick in, "Woop, woop, woop!" Very dramatic.

This week Luke falls in love with a girl named Alice. This episode does that terrible thing that some shows do which is have the main character fall madly in love with someone in about five minutes. Luke spends the episode ignoring his friends in favour of his new girl, even when said friends are trying to tell him that the girl is a dragon-like harpy creature. The audience then has to endure Luke behaving like an idiot for half an hour until he figures out that his new girlfriend is a monster.

The harpy is the last surviving member of her family who were killed by Luke's father years ago. Presumably the harpy had better things to do than immediately take revenge on the Van Helsings and waited until Luke was almost grown up and trained in monster slaying instead.

Clyde from the Sarah Jane Adventures makes an appearance as a mobile phone stealing yoof. Maybe this is what Clyde gets up to when he's not under the supervision of Sarah Jane? Unfortunately for Clyde he gets beaten up by Luke in an unconvincing fight.

I have to say that Christian Cooke (Luke) is pretty poor in this episode. He just doesn't seem to be capable of the emotional range required (the dialogue doesn't help him though). It's never convincing that Luke loves Alice and he doesn't really emote all that well even when given the cliched 'stare out into the distance after losing a loved one' scene.

During the obligatory scene in the Stacks Galvin uses a flick book to find out that harpies take human form. This was awesomely bad, it could've been played for laughs but alas it was taken seriously. Still, I'm hoping they'll use a pop-up book next.

Luke eventually cottons on to his girlfriend's evil ways when he visits her flat and sees a dead body inside. This leads to another obligatory Demons scene - the club. Luke lures Alice to a club where he eventually has a poorly choreographed rooftop duel with some CGI. The fights may as well take place off screen, that way the show would save money and we'd be spared some very unconvincing action. It worked for Bonekickers and its chase sequences.

All in all this was pretty pedestrian stuff. The episode didn't attempt to do anything particularly interesting and lacked a compelling story or interesting villain.

Next Episode - Zombie Gaius returns! And it's the last episode! Hurray!