jueves, 18 de diciembre de 2014

Top Cartoons | TextCast 2

(Part 1).

After having experienced some «technical difficulties» (I got one of those little Chinese MP4 Players that also happens to emulate Gameboy games...) we’re finally back to this awesome list of awesomeness! -Keep saying it, dude, I think they are buying it! -.

(By Zorra de Plata & Domingo H):

Fanning The Flames - Danny Phantom

"Fanning The Flames" is another great cartoon, and a highlight of the Danny Phantom universe. In this one, an apparently unknown pop-singer named Ember McLain takes over the rankings with her song. Everybody seems to adore her but Danny and Sam are suspicious (despite Tucker having become her biggest fan). They finally discover that she is, indeed, a ghost and that she is using her evil spell to build her strength (her power comes from the adoration she receives from the crowd). Things go out of hand when she is planning to have a worldwide concert.

For various reasons, this cartoon is often considered to be the first genuinely good Danny Phantom cartoon, in large part thanks to her main antagonist. Ember is just a more engaging villain than the rest of the opponents Danny had fought so far on the show, and the cartoon was wise enough to keep using her throughout the rest of the series. Very good episode.

Patty Ann - Pinky, Elmyra and The Brain

I'm well aware that this series has always received hate for the most part. It is also true that the show was plagued with fights between the staff and the Warner Brothers Network, but it still managed to pull some great stuff off. Patty Ann is actually not only one of the best episodes of this cartoon, but arguably the BEST Pinky and The Brain episode ever (yes, counting their own cartoon and their Animaniacs! episodes). Why's that? Well... first of all, the episode is full of great humor and even has a song (sung by Pinky and much to the disgust of Brain). In the premise for this cartoon, Brain has invented a robot-suit named "Patty Ann" which he plans to use to explore around, but things roll out of control when Elmyra's crush, Rudy, falls in love with the "lady". Brain does whatever he can to scare the dumb boy off, but Rudy is just too stupid to realize any of this. In the end, it's only thanks to Elmyra's jealousy that Patty Ann can be put away from Rudy (ruining Brain's plan in the process).

If you never watched P,E & TB do yourself a favor and watch this one before developing any opinions about it. You might end up loving it!

Witches of East Arlen - King of the Hill

If I was going to make a list of the weirdest episodes I have ever seen, this one would have ranked top-ten for sure. In this episode, Bobby buys some Tarot Cards at a flea market and becomes increasingly fascinated with the idea of seeing the future and stuff. Then he meets a guy named Ward Rackley, who is incredibly obsessed with the idea of magic, even claiming to be a high level wizard. Despite being a grown man, he is the leader of a gang of teenagers who wear robes and act like cult members as well. Meanwhile, Hank starts to feel more and more uncomfortable about the idea of his son befriending this kind of people and will ultimately do whatever it takes to snap Bobby out of it.

I don't even know why this episode has stuck with me for so long, but it definitely has some appeal. If you want a good laugh, then you should see it right away.

Rosie the Robot - The Jetsons

After having proven totally inefficient at doing any chores whatsoever, the Jetsons finally decide to hire a robot maid for taking care of such matters. Jane goes to the store and rejects almost the entire catalogue of available robots that are for sale there, except for the rustiest of them all, an ancient -and apparently- barely functional old machine named Rosie. Despite her antiquated state and looking, Rosie does a fantastic job cleaning the Jetson's house, but George doesn't really want her there, as he is just about to have an important dinner with his boss and fears that the old robot might screw things up for him. To make matters worse, things go incredibly wrong when Mr. Spacely begins to hurt Rosie's feelings, causing the old machine to be fed up with his antics.

Personally, I think this is one of the greatest episodes of the Jetsons, and no fan should overlook it.

The Babysitter - Cow & Chicken

After Mom and Dad have to leave the house for the night, they decided to leave one of the unlikely siblings in charge, and they choose Cow because they came to the conclusion that she is "bigger" than Chicken. The rest of the night is -of course- spent by Cow abusing her power in a silly way and poor Chicken becoming more and more upset with the whole thing as time goes by.

This is one of those episodes that would make ya laugh all the way from the title card. I don't really need to say anything else about it, if that hasn't convinced you, you probably shouldn't watch it.

Double Trouble Talk - Orson's Farm

Everybody at the Farm is a little mad at Roy since he doesn't really do his job (because instead of waking everybody up, he just plays a recording of a rooster singing). So, after being loaded with lots of other chores in punishment for his lazyness, he buys a CD from a peddler, which makes him speak in nonsense, which leaves everybody around him too confused to argue with him, so he can now go back to doing nothing. Things go bad, however, as he mashes ups the CDs and plays the new one to the whole farm, resulting in everybody speaking their own personal language.

This cartoon is amazingly funny and surprisingly underrated. If you can find it, then do yourself a favor and watch it. You won't regret it.

Damp Sheets - Generation O!

Generation O! is such an underrated cartoon, and episodes like this one make mewonder why people overlooked this so hard. I think it deserved it better.

The band gets to play on a presidential campaign and they are really excited by the idea of doing something of this scale, but problem is... the senator they are helping to become president is a two-faced jerk who speaks nicely in public and acts rudely in private, so Molly and the band are not really that sure that they want to do this anymore. To top it off, Molly has a embarrassing problem which can mean the end of her reputation and band.

The plot of this cartoon is fantastic, and I really like the take they do here, as not many cartoons would dare to show how empty a presidential candidate can be. I won't recommend it as strongly as I did with previous entries, but I'm still firm on my decision of showing it here. If you feel like trying something new, then this is for you.

A Clue for Scooby Doo - Scooby Doo

I have never been a big fan of Scooby Doo, but this episode is a total different story for me. As I always watch it when it's on.

In this one, the gang comes across a mystery involving the disappearance of several boats in a bay named "The Graveyard of Ships" while trying to solve yet another mystery related to a haunted green-glowing deep sea-diver suit.

Although most of the episodes on the Scooby-Doo's franchise are schematic and predictable, this one still manages to pull off an interesting story that might even surprise you the first time you see it. It’s not even that original or great, but has some charm that really makes it stand out among the broader elements of the series. Personally, I’m fascinated with this episode.

Le Secret de La Licorne - Les Aventures de Tintin

This one really takes me baaaaack.

In this two-part wonder, our friend Tintin buys a scale model of an old pirate ship called "The Unicorn", but this might had been a bad idea, as some people start to harass him about the little ornament, offering him ridiculously high amounts of money and other goodies in order to get their hands on the thing (just to be turned down every time). Things go a little out of hand when, coming back home after a little walk, our hero finds his apartment all messed up, and that the model missing. This should not be a big surprise for him, as he soon finds out that there's a treasure map hidden inside one of the model's masts.

I honestly don't know what to say about this episode, I just love the hell out of it (and its second part). I was really obsessed with it at some point, and it made me HAPPY every time it was on... there was no better way to end a day than seeing this on the air.

Hopefully, a third part is on its way (but we can't promise anything).

domingo, 14 de diciembre de 2014

Top Cartoons | TextCast 1

Hiya Toonsters! Today on IDN we are kinda redefining the word «impractical». Because, you see... this was going to be an actual podcast, but everything went down to hell as soon as we started planning it: First of all, my microphone said «hell, no» when we did the first testing... I swear it only recorded like three words and then got mute. That’s not such a big problem, really, as that kind of equipment is quite cheap if you know where to buy it; but THEN my Keyboard became addicted to caffeine and I had every layer of misery that you could imagine between the five minutes it was wet (AND PLUGGED TO THE WALL SOCKET). I was incredibly pissed off at that point, but I went to sleep knowing that I wouldn’t have anything done that day (and the next one, really, as I just said "the hell with it" and went to play some FIFA15 with my buddy in his house -I lost every match-).

Still, I had written a decent amount of content that I didn't want to see wasted, so now I’m posting what I wrote here, with original images captured just for this article and a little review to go with the selected episodes in order to make it clear why they had been chosen to the list. Beware to -some- spoilers.

The list is not arranged in any special order, it's just the order in which I saw them.

(By Zorra de Plata & Domingo H):

Bye Bye Butterfree - Pokémon

In this episode Ash has to say goodbye to his poke-friend, probably never to see him again, so he can settle with a female of the species for the seasonal breeding.

Although several entries of the show’s -extremely long- run were far more exciting and/or epic, this was the very first one that was actually, undeniably, touching. In fact, when you talk about the first season of this ongoing Animé, this is one of the first items that gets mentioned among fans. I think it does such a great impact on the viewer because, up to that point, everything was a laugh, and this comes with no warning that it’s going to happen... there’s no building up to the moment, this is not a long-prepared fact, it literally happens within its only episode (and it’s rarely mentioned from that point onwards).

To make it even more spectacular in its tear jerking nature, this was the episode to introduce us to the overused gimmick of playing a montage of clips from the show accompanied by the theme song. The show would do something like this in the future, but the results could never be matched.

A really memorable episode of the series, welcome on the list.

Key to my Ed - Ed, Edd n Eddy

This episode is a lot of fun, and the ultimate proof that you can tell a great story from a small premise. In this episode, the Eds find a key and they try to figure out what it opens. After several failed attempts at unlocking random things with it, they finally decide to send ransom notes for it to all the kids on the block, hoping that one of them is actually desperately trying to locate it. The way this story unfolds is just brilliant and a really ironic laugh. I love it.

Angelica breaks a leg - Rugrats

In this one, our favorite blonde brat gets herself hurt while playing over at Tommy's house, and her uncle and aunt take her to the hospital only to find out that she broke a limb. So, they try everything they can to make her feel comfortable (even carrying the incredibly heavy TV upstairs for her). Stu eventually gives her a buzzer she can use to call them when she needs something (which she, of course, abuses to death). The twist? The hospital misfiled the medical records and in fact she had no wounds.

This episode works on so many levels despite having gotten rid of a majority of the main cast, and that makes it a top-candidate for the list.

The Virtual Employee - Dilbert

In this little masterpiece, Dilbert and his friends have a really bad problem with obsolete computer equipment, their cubicles are full of the stuff but they just can’t throw it away because it's against the company's policies (or more likely, because of their boss being the way he is and forgetting the cleaning service's number). They soon find out that there's an empty cubicle to which they can move all their garbage, but they still can’t do that right away, they need to demonstrate that the cubicle is actually being used by someone, so they make up a "virtual" employee that supposedly "works" there, so they can get rid of their old stuff. But it doesn't stop there, now does it? To keep their little fake-out going on, they have to make up more and more lies about this new employee, up to the point in which he becomes the most popular worker on the whole company. This causes Wally to be fired because he has suddenly become the place's less-effective worker.

This episode is Dilbert in a nutshell. If you like the show, then you will love this one.

Eat, Puke & Be Wary - Total Drama: Revenge of the Island

Another gruesome challenge is presented to the remaining contestants at the toxic island, when Zoey finally loses it and starts to chase Chef (and the others). It all begins when Chris gets injured by one of Scott's shark traps and Chef has to replace it (much to his rejoicing). He does everything he can to torture the campers and largely succeeds at it, but when he pushes Zoey too far, she gets into a "wild state" (completed with war paint and a bandana) in which she starts to harass him almost to the point of destroying him (a la Izzy... great callback now that I think about it).

This episode doesn't really have any outstanding qualities, but it's been a long time since we saw Chef being punished so... to the list!

Badger Pride - The Penguins of Madagascar

On this episode, Marlene has Private -unwillingly- face his irrational fear of the badgers Stacy and Becky... just to find that they are actually really nice. Problem is, they got a little too attached to the otter, as they start (let's face it) badgering her, and when she finally has it she tells them exactly that. They don't take that too well, and begin to chase her around with their menacing fangs and claws. She temporarily gets away from them and seeks the Penguins for help, but they are no match for the two. When all seems hopeless, Private shoots them with a "tennis-ball-gun" he was using earlier, but hits Marlene as well and when they all fall outside the zoo, Marlene's instincts take over and transform her into a feral beast that the Badgers cannot match.

Exceptionally funny at times, this was the episode that made me a fan of this show. It deserves its place on this list.

Doug's New Teacher - Doug

When Mrs. Wingo is temporarily away, a substitute teacher named Mrs. Newberry comes to takes her place. Everybody seems to like this new teacher as she is not only beautiful, but also really great at what she does. Problem is, Doug keeps making himself look bad to her (in large part due to Roger's tricking him). Mrs Newberry acknowledges him as a rebel, but he is able to change her mind after a while. Also, Roger gets what he deserves towards the end of the episode (though, it's kind of a weak punishment).

A really good episode for this series, let it make the list.

A Perfect World - Aaahh!!! Real Monsters

[I]Ickis[I] and Oblina's constant arguing leads Krumm to leave the place because he feels strongly unnoticed. Things quickly get out of hand when his new roommates act exactly the opposite and pay him too much attention, driving him insane. To make matters worse, every time Ickis and Oblina try to apologize to Krumm, they start another fight!

This was one of the earliest episodes of the show (the second one in fact) and also one of the greatest.

April's Fools - As told by Ginger

Ginger plays a joke on her friend Dodie by faking a love note from the weirdest kid in school, but it turns out that they really like each other. Also, this episode continues to show some of the incredible continuity this program has when Carl tricks Blake Gripling into believe that he sold his tonsils (which he stole on an earlier episode) but the joke's on him (I hate puns) when he finds out that his mom threw them away.

This episode really keeps you watching it as the quality never drops. It's not all that funny, but I would be lying if I tell you that I don't love it.

The Big Question - Rocko's Modern Life

In this episode Filbert is finally asking Doctor Hutchison to marry him, but things go wrong when a High-School reunion gets in the way, and with that, a handsome old friend of hers spends too much time at her side.

What makes this two-part episode so hilarious is how over the top they go in order to "sabotage" the reunion (even by the show's standards, just look at the picture above).

Beware of Cliff - CatDog

In this one, Cliff finally gets what he deserves. After bullying everyone on his way to the Gym, he get himself trapped under a bunch of junk he was trying to lift in order to show off his strength. Too bad for him, no one notices/cares about him being trapped and the Gym closes for a whole month (in which he has a lot of time to reflect on his life). He finally frees himself because of how scrawny he has become. This leaves a huge impression on him, as he now is determinated to demonstrate that he can be a good pal!

Pretty good episode on the series with an interesting twist and lots of character interaction. Enough credit to be listed here.

The New Soccer Star - Captain Tsubasa

Tsubasa Ozora is a new kid at the Nankatsu High and joins the soccer team right before an important match against their rivals, the Syutetsu High. Syutetsu's goalie, Genzo, completely underestimates Nankatsu, going as far as to agree to forfeit the game if they can score a single goal against him. The match is going horribly wrong for the Nankatsu, but Tsubasa keeps playing on a superb level as he finally manages to defeat the show-off goalie.

A great kick-off for the series (I still hate puns) and also one of the most memorable entries.

Cousin BJ - Beetlejuice (TV Series)

Lydia's obnoxious and boring family comes to visit and she tries to sneak Beetlejuice into the reunion (disguised as her "cousin that doesn't really visit them that much"). This leads to some truly imaginative scenes and even some sincere laughs. Even more fantastic, BJ is not all that weird compared to her true family.

"Cousin BJ" is one of those rare episodes that dares to be different, letting the characters be themselves without that much of a plot going on. I wish they did something like this more often.

Traffic Signal Chaos! - Megaman NT Warrior

The rich Yai Ayano comes to Lan's school as a new student. Meanwhile, Maddy of WWW uses her NetNavi WackoMan to cause traffic jams all over DenTech City. When Yai finds herself trapped in traffic and in a desperate situation, she jacks in her own NetNavi, Glide, to solve the problem (Source: Wikipedia).

This episode is really awkward, but it's also tons of fun seeing how most of the characters screw things up at some point (in fact, some of them screw it in an unbelievable dumb way). But what REALLY made it qualify for the list was the fact that the evil scheme that girl Maddy used on the city was to STOP the traffic all over it, instead of, ya know, make all the lights on the city go green and cause massive amounts of accidents. Sure, the red lights are a nuisance, but if you are gonna go thru all that trouble, make it count lady! In fact, this is almost an oversized school prank. I guess that there is a reason why her NetNavi IS a clown after all.

Apocalypse Not! - Duckman

This one is pure gold. Duckman leaves his inflatable doll plugged in too long which causes it to grow the size of Godzilla and torment the city. When the menace is finally over, the Mayor calls a simulacrum to prevent future mass hysteria (that consists of everyone hiding on an underground shelter for a specific amount of time), but Duckman misses it and believes that he is the only living thing on the city, which he then process to roam. At first, he is having the time of his life; performing small revenges on people's property, stealing and getting drunk, but then he starts to feel lonely as he goes through all the states of sadness (as Comfred describes them on the shelter -even when nobody is listening to him-). Meanwhile, at the underground shelter, everybody succumbs to mass-hysteria after all due to them being annoyed and bored.

I won't even try to beat around the bush here: this is a true masterpiece and one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Even if you hate Duckman, you still have to give this episode a go. It's THAT good.

Stay Tuned for part 2!

miércoles, 10 de diciembre de 2014

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1989, DOS)

(Texto de Domingo H).

Plataforma: MS-DOS
Género: Acción-aventura, suspenso, terror
Año: 1989
Desarrolladora(s): Westwood Associates
Textos: Inglés

Leí una vez, con gran acierto, que la mejor forma de saber si un concepto ha dejado de dar miedo es cuando empiezan a vendérselo a los niños. A fines de la década de 1980, Freddy Krueger era el asesino de moda y ya estaba clara la cantidad de chiquillos que se escabullían para verle aniquilar víctimas con estilo, de forma que comenzó a explotarse la imagen del deforme villano en diverso merchandising destinado al gran público. En el asunto que nos concierne, el de los juegos electrónicos, se conoció un juego de Nintendo en 1990 (editado por LJN) y éste.

Cuando comienza el juego, te pedirán elegir a un personaje de entre seis... pero Freddy se adelantará y capturará a uno de ellos antes de que puedas pensar siquiera en cuál elegir (están avisados; no es la última vez que hace algo así). Su desafío consistirá en que elijas a uno de los cinco que quedan para que él pueda capturar a los otros cuatro y obligarte a salvarlos. Al principio, en cuanto hayas elegido a tu personaje, sólo podrás manejarlo como una silueta blanca (parecida a la forma que tomaba el puntero cuando tenía que cargar un Living Book), corriendo en busca de la casa de Freddy, cuidando de que su dueño no te atrape y te elimine ahí mismo. Al encontrarla, serás felicitado por el espíritu de Amanda Krueger, la madre de la criatura, que ansía el día en que su hijo deje de existir para poder descansar en paz. Y comenzará el juego de verdad.

El juego pasa por un "explora-mazmorras" que recuerda al Gauntlet. Después de haber entrado en la casa aparecerás en el "piso 1" y debes descender e ir en busca de tus amigos. El interior de la casa se ve desde arriba, si bien no en ángulo isométrico. Aquí has de eliminar enemigos, recolectar armas e ítems y resolver puzzles diabólicos (no dicho en sentido figurado). Al principio el juego mismo te proporciona consejos como decirte qué armas funcionan mejor contra qué enemigos (en efecto; "Boo! Haunted House" a millón, con esqueletos, fantasmas, baba viviente y... sillas de ruedas asesinas, entre quién sabe qué más). Además de que los enemigos regresan, Freddy "hace trampa" (según la parte posterior de la caja), lo que significan algunos eventos escritos como teletransportarte, hacerte pisar explosivos, colocar cosas distintas en la misma caja cada vez que juegas; o bien, hacerte soltar objetos cuando no quieres, quitarte energía (alma) de vez en cuando o provocar que tu poder especial cueste más o menos de la barra de "POWR" (cada personaje tiene el suyo propio, como en la película "Los Guerreros de los Sueños"). Además de tu poder especial, dispones de un inventario de hasta siete objetos (no pudiendo acumular varios del mismo tipo) en el cual almacenar armas contundentes, de fuego o arrojadizas, llaves para abrir puertas, y otras cosas que quién sabe para qué son... Puedes recuperar vida tomando café o píldoras para dormir (que también sirven para rellenar tu POWR). Ocasionalmente puedes toparte con máquinas expendedoras de ítems, que compras con las monedas que hayas recogido por el camino, pero ojo... Freddy será quien ponga los precios. ¿Te pensabas que un mapa iba a salir barato? Sigue soñando (¡ja!). En un lado de la pantalla se puede ver tu salud, inventario, reservas de monedas, baterías y municiones y la localización/estado del alma de tus colegas secuestrados.

En Conclusión: Lo que tenemos es básicamente una aventura a lo Sierra, con posibilidad de morir y de no poder hacer nada más, mezclada con el Gauntlet. Una vez que aprendí a pasar los primeros tres pisos (los únicos a los que he llegado y pasado) todo atisbo de suspenso y de temor a que algo saliera y me comiera la cara desapareció. Supongo que volverá tan pronto como alcance alguno de los pisos inferiores (y ni hablar del señor de la casa), pero hasta entonces, mantengo que le hacen mucha falta más efectos aleatorios e imprevistos (que en un juego de terror irían de maravilla). Eso sí, el concepto es mejor que el de la versión de NES, al menos sobre el papel.

Recuerda: si te llamas Mainque, ni lo voltees a ver.