Movies similar to Red Dead Redemption: Fistful of Dollars *spoilers*

“Fistful of Dollars” is the first in Sergio Leone’s “Man with No Name” trilogy featuring Clint Eastwood. These “Spaghetti (Italian) Westerns” follow Clint’s Man With No Name (Although it’s a bit unclear if he’s the same character or three separate characters) as he becomes involved in local disputes and often plays both sides for profit (Despite this, he has an altruistic streak for the underdog).

 

He’s an anti-hero (Based, in part of the Japanese Yojimbo film, and the concept of a “Ronin”), and has largely inspired others, such as Marvel comic’s Wolverine and Star Wars’s Boba Fett. Of course probably Solid Snake and Big Boss as well…(Heck, the “Old Snake” in Metal Gear Solid 4 is practically pretty much every Eastwood starring film post-80s).

 

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As “Red Dead” has inspiration from many Western movies, naturally these-among the most famous, even with Clint’s *many* ones-have their DNA in there. But not exactly where you’d think at first.

 

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The original Red Dead Redemption does feature Mexico as the game’s middle act….and John plays both sides (Local Mexican government and a rebel faction), at least at first, until one side-the Mexican army-discovers his duplicity and traps him. This happens in Fistful as well, although not with the army but the Rojos family, who are not affiliated with any army (and in fact steal from them early in the film).  You can also get John a poncho.

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However that’s really as far as “Red Dead 1” goes with the similarities. Red Dead 2, on the other hand, has Fistful’s concept of two warring families, although that’s a tale that’s fairly old, both in real life and in popular fiction (Romeo and Juliet, for example).

In the state of Leymonde (pretty much a stand-in for Louisiana) where Dutch’s gang eventually set up shop, they take advantage of the bad blood between the two families for profit, much like The Man With No Name does in the film.

 

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However, while the Baxters in “Fistful” seem to be the lesser of the two evils, and one feels a bit sad when they’re gunned down by the Rojos (Didn’t seem like they did that much bad to Clint or to the other citizens, and they weren’t the ones keeping Marisol captive at first). The Braithwaites however are pretty nasty, especially when they kidnap Jack Marston and leave him with a gangster in the nearby city of San Denis. (The Gray’s aren’t much better). So Catherine Braitwaite is hardly Counsolo Baxter.

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In a way Counselo Baxter is actually a bit like the Gray family, who aren’t much better and run the local police department, but with the fancier mansion of the Braitwaites.

At the end the mansion burns down in flames, although while in Fistful it’s the Rojo’s doing the job while a wounded Man With No Name escapes in a coffin with his undertaker buddy (Who the Red Dead character Seth, a grave digger, is kind of the polar opposite of)…while in Red Dead 2 it’s Dutch and co. who do the deed, in retaliation for Jack’s kidnapping.

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However, there’s some innocents in both scenarios who just got in the way and who the characters help out.

 

In Fistful it’s Marisol, who is seperated from her family and kept by the Rojos as a captive due to them framing her husband for cheating at gambling. The Man With No Name eventually frees her for good (although he first “rescues” her and gives her to the Baxters before he’s aware of her actual situation during a trade-off) gives them money-The money he’s largely earned by playing the two sides (The titular “Fistful” of course) and tells them to run.

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In Red Dead the Greys and Braithwaites have a star-crossed couple, Penelope Braitwaite and Beau Gray. Arthur, fond of the pair, helps them out in the “Course of True Love” quest line, finally managing to get them away from what’s left of their warring families, and on a stagecoach ride up to Boston.

 

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Well, at least they get a happy ending out of it all, we presume.

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Incredible Hulk-Transformations Part III

The Hulk didn’t stay dead for too long, as he was resurrected during the “No Surrender” arc of Avengers, and it was revealed that he was pretty much immortal anyway, due in part to a mix of supernatural stuff and also his powerful regeneration abilities. However, before that he was briefly resurrected twice.

 

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First time was in Uncanny Avengers, where he was used by the Hand (Although Banner was previously depowered, it appeared that he now was pretty much back to his Hulk form anyway). However, this incarnation was defeated by Brother Voodoo who released Banner’s spirit. Or not.

 

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Hulk-along with Banner-is revived once again by Arnim Zola, who is worked for the Hydra-corrupted version of Captain America. He briefly fights the main characters. This incarnation was pretty much a “rogue” persona that was later “put down” mentally by the latest Hulk….

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The Immortal, or “Devil” Hulk. This latest version once again reverts to the “nighttime” transformations, and even if Banner is “killed” during the day, the Hulk will rise anyway at night, and revert back to Banner by day with all his fatal wounds healed….he can’t really die at all (Also other gamma beings have been shown to have similar powers). This Hulk is intelligent, but not really in the scientific sense…he seems somewhat to be a bit more crafty at times. He also has a sadistic side, often maiming and even killing.

It has been more or less confirmed that this Hulk might be the Devil Hulk, a Hulk buried in Banner’s subconscious that tried to gain control at times during the Paul Jenkins run. However, apparently Bruce’s perceptions of the “Devil Hulk” in his mind were apparently warped by his own fears….so while still somewhat malevolent, the Devil Hulk isn’t exactly the all-out villain  he’s been previously potrayed as, but sees itself as Bruce’s “protector”.

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Fixit Banner-In a similar fashion to “Savage Banner”, there appears to be a new variation on a Hulk persona taking over Banner’s human form-after sun-simulation light is used to depower the Immortal Hulk, Bruce starts to manifest the personality of Joe Fixit-the Gray Hulk as he huddles in a corner. It’s going to be interesting to see what they do with this. The cover for the next issue seems to show Banner also adopting a bit of a grey hue, although this might just be a kind of fun lighting trick. It remains to be seen whether we’ll see the full Joe Hulk form.

 

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Star Wars Episode 9:The Rise of Skywalker trailer thoughts

So the final episode in the Skywalker saga-or so they say-will be here in eight months. It’s a bit unclear what Disney’s plans are beyond this and various TV series they have in development, although future movies are planned, there’s not a lot of details around them.

Like “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” before this, we’re shown somebody breathing heavily once again as our establishing shot. We’re on a desert planet again, which is presumably either Jakku or Tatooine.

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Looks like Rey managed to fix the Skywalker lightsaber.

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….and is facing off against a TIE fighter of some sort.  While it sort of has the regular spherical cockpit, the wings are very similar to Kylo Ren’s TIE Silencer from the last film.

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Despite the resemblance of the wings, the ship’s hull is pretty much your classic TIE, so this isn’t the Silencer.

 

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It might be an updated version of the TIE interceptor, a ship first introduced in Return of the Jedi and with it’s laser-tipped wings is pretty much the Empire’s answer to the Rebellion’s X-wings. They’re also much faster.

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Perhaps the most ?? shot of the trailer is a ship descending onto what looks like a city. Some have noticed the ship seems to resemble the one from Rey’s flashback.

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Here’s somebody holding a medal. Pretty sure that’s intended to be the medals from the victory celebration at the end of A New Hope.

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There’s some action with Poe, Finn and the Threepio on some sort of transport, which seems to be pursued by Stormtroopers on speeder bikes, quite possibly on the same desert planet.

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Here’s another shot of the two, same desert again. It’s worth noting that Finn’s look here has dropped Poe’s jacket.

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In fact, it looks a lot like an old Han jacket concept!

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Speaking of Han, Poe’s look bears some resemblance to Han’s look in a deleted ROTJ scene where the crew return to the Falcon after rescuing Han from Jabba.

 

Speaking of ROTJ, here’s Lando once again in charge of the Falcon.

 

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Lando wears a similar yellow shirt to the one he wore in Solo.

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Here we have BB8 and new droid D-O (Or “Dio”). Who I personally think kind of looks like a desk lamp on wheels.

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I just had to use this meme.

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Kylo decides to put his helmet back together, although it’s unclear why.

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We also get a brief shot of him in a forest attacking something with First Order Stormtroopers.

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Kind of reminds when we first “met” him in 2014’s trailer.

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The trailer’s most bittersweet moment is of course Leia and Rey having a hug. It looks like they weren’t kidding about using TFA footage of Carrie, as the scene seems to be sourced from the end of TFA with some changes to the background and Leia’s outfit. By the way, the music heard during the trailer is Leia’s theme as well.

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The trailer’s only real space/aerial battle shot, with a damaged A-wing passing by what looks like a Star Destroyer.

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And of course, the big one…the group (Minus, strangely, R2-D2…R2-D2 where are you?) looking on….

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…..what looks like a big chunk of the Death Star’s superlaser in the sea(!)

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But most importantly, Palpatine’s laughter is heard(!). Also, could this be Endor? Doesn’t look quite Forest moonish. Pollution from the Death Star somehow? Then again, the old Ewok movies also portrayed Endor as not being entirely forest. Pretty sure there were Oceans from the orbital view of the planet too.

 

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The Underwater Death Star ruins are actually a concept seen in The Force Awaken’s concept art, although it’s unclear what role they’re playing in the story. The concept of an Underwater base in Episode 9 has been rumored for months, although it turned out to be *a* Death Star.

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Could the Sith Lord somehow be alive in some form, perhaps in the ruins of the station, as well? There’s actually a storyline in the old, now non-canon Dark Horse comics-“Dark Empire”-where it’s revealed that the Emperor’s spirit, after getting thrown into the chasm by Darth Vader, managed to possess a waiting clone body in the Imperial world of Byss, slowly rebuilding the Empire in secret for half a decade until finally striking at the Rebels/New Republic with a new weapon, “World Devastators”, and even manages to turn Luke to the dark side, although Luke does so with the intent of being a double agent (Which didn’t really work out well for Anakin, either). Although he initially appears as his aging ROTJ self, Palpatine later gets a new younger clone which is more than a match for Luke. Although this clone eventually is killed too, another Clone shows up and causes more problems for our heroes in the Second Dark Empire series, as well as it’s conclusion, Empire’s End.

 

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With Ian Mcdiarmid apparently confirmed to be onboard, it looks like this is more than just some cameo. But how does it fit into the larger sequel story? Was all this Palpatine’s plan all along somehow?

 

And what does The Rise of Skywalker exactly mean? The Rise of Luke’s legend, something implied by The Last Jedi’s ending, with the stable kids building mock ups of illusion-Luke’s stand-off with the Walkers? The Rise of Rey, who somehow is a Skywalker after all? Luke’s return from the dead? Or maybe even….Ben’s rise back to the light?

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Games in Review: Far Cry new Dawn *spoilers*

Far Cry New Dawn is the latest in the Far Cry series. It’s not really a numerical entry, but more of a direct sequel to the events in Far Cry 5-the nuclear apocalypse which ends the game’s story. So more of a spin-off (It’s unclear whether Far Cry 6 will continue this “timeline”, as the series does have a sort of loose continuity).

However, unlike a lot of nuclear apocalypses, say like the Fallout series-with devestation, radiation, or a desert wasteland, the rural Hope County has gotten off fairly easy….while of course all the former buildings are wrecked, and there are several inhospitable zones, the center of the county experiences a safe ‘bloom’. Even the warring factions of the previous game-The Resistance (Hope County’s main citizens) and Eden’s Gate (The cult) have had an uneasy peace since they emerged from the fallout shelters.

 

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However, a third faction has arisen-The Highwaymen!

No, not these guys.

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Or these (RIP Ozzy)

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Or whoever these guys are (Seriously, the name “Highwaymen” suddenly shows up in a lot of media all at once for some reason).

 

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…but these guys, who are sort of more of your typical apocalyptic raiders of the type seen in Mad Max and various other films. These guys have a flair for neon and weird grafitti.

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They are led by Micky and Lou, your kind of typical over-the-top Far Cry baddies.

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….and what of our previous nemesis, Joseph Seed? Well, the guy’s mellowed a bit in the decade and a half (Perhaps due to less influence from his brothers), although he’s vanished to the north where he seems to have discovered apples which give people superhuman strength, which of course the Highwaymen-and Joseph’s own rebellious son-Ethan-want to get their hands on as well.

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A suprising number of characters from 5 have survived as well. Although Cheeseburger, Boomer (possibly dead to animal lifespans anyway) Jess, and Hurk’s parents are no where to be found, Hurk-a sort of mascot for the series since the third game-is back, along with his cousin Sharkey, and he even has a kid now with former Highwaywoman Gina. Both Hurk and Gina function as “guns for Hire”.

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Sniper Grace is still around, but unfortunately did not survive unscathed, as the nuclear light cost her eyesight. However, she still helps at Prosperity once you recruit her as a specialist.

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As for the Rye family, they’re back as well. Despite Far Cry 5’s ending, all three survived, and are in fact pivotal to the game’s storyline.

 

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Kim is now the leader of the Prosperity community, and Carmina is helping with the battle with the Highwaymen (She also functions as a gun for hire).

It’s Kim who attempts to recruit Thomas Rush, the leader of another survivor group. Although Rush of course is a major visionary and OK leader, he does manage to get captured twice, leading you- “The Captain”- to do pretty much all the leadership and fighting stuff.

 

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…and what of the previous hero, the Deputy (“Rook”) who found himself stuck in a bunker with Joseph Seed? Well, looks like the years alone with Seed messed him up a bit, making him the loyal second-in-command, “The Judge”. In a nod to FC5’s character customization options, the character’s look and gender is totally hidden under a creepy mask and thick coat, so he/she technically is “your” version of Rook underneath. He’s a gun for hire here.

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Far Cry’s gameplay is largely the same as the other’s-capture outposts to build skill points and money, hunt animals for trade etc. however this time there’s more of an emphasis on collecting supplies to continually upgrade your home base and weapons (Thankfully, the grind is not as tedious as some post-apocalyptic games). Since vehichles and base upgrades are mainly supplied from conquering outposts (Which supply ethanol), it’s pretty important to re-do the Outpost missions to keep increasing your stock. However, there’s enough variety as the outpost difficultly is raised three times. (There are about ten outposts in total). Other supplies can be taken from abandoned houses, “treasure hunts” (Similar to the prepper puzzles in the previous games) or looting bodies.

In order to amp up the difficulty the bad guys are at different levels too, especially in these repeated outpost missions. The toughest enemys are the elite enforcers, usually distinquished with their bright pink armor.

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Of course, this being Far Cry there’s one or two weird hallucination/vision missions, although not quite to the extent of the Bliss/”Only You” missions from the previous games.

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There’s also seven expedition missions you can go on which have you take a helicopter into an area outside of Hope County-several interesting destinations such as a ship, an amusement park, even the remains of a space station to collect a large number of supplies from the highwaymen. This part of the game is somewhat similar to Metal Gear Solid V’s missions, which often involved the use of the helicopter (although the helicopter is largely defenseless whereas MGS’s wasn’t).

 

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However, those who want aerial combat might be disappointed, as perhaps due to the small size of the map there’s no real airborne vehicles. There’s not even a gyrocopter line in 4. The seaplane Carmina is still around, but unfortunately after all these years her wings have been clipped and is generally more of an amphibious vehicle now.

 

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Overall, Far Cry new Dawn is a decent new addition to the Far Cry franchise, if on the short side and the emphasis on supplies and grinding might irritate some, as well as some changes to the gameplay. The game’s wilderness still looks great (although the bright neon colors might not be to some fan’s liking).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poltergeist-the manifestations of Kane/The Beast

 

 Now, hold onto your selves. There’s one more thing – a terrible presence is in there with her. So much rage, so much betrayal. I’ve never sensed anything like it. I don’t know what hovers over this house, but it was strong enough to punch a hole into this world and take your daughter away from you. It keeps Carol Anne very close to it and away from the spectral light. It lies to her. It says things only a child can understand. He’s been using her to restrain the others. To her, it simply is another child. To us, it is the Beast. Now let’s go get your daughter.

-Tangina, Poltergeist

 

God is in his holy temple….earthly thoughts, be silent now…

-Kane, Poltergeist II.

The Beast, AKA Reverend Kane, is the main “boss” ghost haunts Carol Anne and the Freelings, using her life force in order to keep the Ghosts-which are either from the cemetery or from Kane’s former cult-away from the light. As mentioned in II, he’s able to assume many different forms, including his old human self.

POLTERGEIST

 

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It’s possible “The TV hand” is the Beast, but it’s never really elaborated on.

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The Giant skull is the first time we see “The Beast” although we hear it’s varied roars and it “bites” the scientist Marty earlier in the film. It scares the crap out of Steve, causing him to drop the rope (Which leads to Carol Anne and Diane escaping anyway).

The next form is a strange, animal-like skeleton creature which tries to keep Diane away from her children. It makes a Lion’s roar similar to the MGM lion

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POLTERGEIST II: THE OTHER SIDE

 

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Kane’s corpse is seen here at the start and end of the film.

However, it’s his human form that a lot of people find unsettling. Actor Julian Beck was actually terminally ill at the time of the film, adding to his somewhat gaunt appearence.

 

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We learn in the film that this is the same “Beast” spirit from the first film, as well as the character’s name….Reverend Henry Kane, and that he led a apocalyptic cult of followers into a cave underneath the Freeling house-presumably to shelter them from the coming apocalypse-where it was sealed and everybody starved to death. Then add a disturbed cemetery and the house on top, and it creates enough bad spiritual mojo to allow Kane and the ghosts to manifest in the Freeling house. It’s implied that perhaps Kane was already evil and not just insane in his original life, and intended this all along.

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It’s possible that only the Freelings can ‘see’ Kane, as he manages to phase through two people when the Freelings are out shopping without them noticing.

Although some thought the creation of Kane and giving the Beast an origin kind of ruined the mystique of the original, it’s worth noting that in Spielberg’s script for the original, that was the intention all along. This was reflected in concept art. There was also a scene deleted from the film where one of the stair ghosts looks directly at the camera and gives an evil smile, although part of the scene is present in the original trailer: “That thing is in there with my baby!”

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We see a form of Kane in a white spirit form later on that just kind of floats and taunts the Freelings: “You can’t keep her, I am not dead!”

 

 

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Kane later becomes the focus of one of the most gross-out scenes in the trilogy; when Steve swallows a Tequila worm that is actually another form of Kane. This causes Kane to possess Steve, adopting many of his mannerisms and of course the “God is in his holy temple….” song. He also tries to attack Diane.

However, Diane’s love for Steve causes him to vomit Kane up.

 

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The Kane creature then goes under the bed and starts to grow in several stages. Then it starts to hobble out of the room, legless, but takes one minute to do a creepy smile.

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This very quickly turns into a Medusa-like monster which later captures Carol Anne and Diane at the cave underneath Costa Verde. In addition to it’s tenticaled head it also has a bony exoskeleton kind of look and ‘tail’ that seems to have the heads of it’s followers. which in an illusion, implies that Carol Anne has been absorbed into it.

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If it looks familiar, there’s a reason for this. It was designed by H.R Giger, the guy who did ALIEN.

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In fact, the concept of the creature’s growth isn’t too far off from the alien life cycle-beginning as a parasite, than quickly exiting it’s host body before quickly growing to full size. Although thankfully for Steve, it left through the mouth and not the Chest.

POLTERGEIST III

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Kane now uses mirrors as his way of haunting. He also doesn’t really look like Julian Beck. His hair in particular seems much longer. He also seems to now want to go into the light, instead of keeping out of it.

 

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He also briefly takes the look of a window washer in the beginning of the film, although Carol Anne doesn’t quite to see Kane as a major threat (He seems to be doing a bit of “pranking” almost, like the initial manifestations in the first film which were mostly harmless-stacking chairs, telepathically moving things in the kitchen etc….such as the scene he shatter’s Seaton’s two way mirror) until he actually begins his major hauntings and attempts to kidnap her again.

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The film also has an “evil” Carol Anne ghost that uses Kane’s voice, so presumably it’s him directly (It’s this version which uses the “We’re back!!!” Quote).

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This especially becomes more apparent later on when it takes some of Kane’s features as well. While we see some of the other ghosts in the film take on the forms of Donna, Scott and Pat.

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Kane also kills in the film successfully-this is the only Poltergeist with a body count apart from the undead. He manages to turn Tangina and Dr. Seaton into desiccated corpses by touch (and what happened to Scott?). Although Tangina manages to go all Obi-Wan Kenobi and “become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”,  and offers to bring Kane into the light.

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…..or did she?

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We’ll never really know, as due to the unfortunate death of Heather O Rourke any plans for a fourth film were shelved, apart from a poorly received remake a few years ago which didn’t have the Beast/Kane as far as I know (I haven’t seen it).

Reportedly there were plans for a fourth film that would serve as a prequel at some point, explaining, perhaps, the backstory between Kane and Taylor, which is never really elaborated on, but rather implied as the two seem aware of each other but do not direct each other directly. Perhaps Taylor is actually a ghost himself and met Kane during his “life”.

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Western films with Red Dead Redemption similarities (and differences)-The Outlaw Josey Wales

John Marston, a former outlaw trying to live straight and narrow, who once ran as part of a gang, is forced by the government to track down core members of his old gang-Bill Williamson, Javier Euscella, and the gang’s leader, Dutch Van Der Linde. His family is held in prison, ensuring his cooperation.

 

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Josey Wales, the hero of the 1977 Clint Eastwood epic, The Outlaw Josey Wales. On the surface, there’s already a few similarities-and I mean literally the surface-both have similar scars. However, while John’s are the result of a wolf attack from back during his gang days, Wales’s are far more traumatic on a personal level-he failed to save his wife and son from union soldiers.

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Josey Wales also once rang with a gang, a pro-confederate group, that is forced to surrender. However, like Marston is eventually at the end of the first game, they are betrayed and gunned down. Wales managed to escape with wounded partner Jaime.

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While Marston is coerced into helping track down his former gang in “Red Dead”, in “Outlaw” this role doesn’t fall to Josey, but to Fletcher, his former leader. Josey, on the other hand, retains his outlaw lifestyle, heading south to evade the troops, bounty hunters, and Fletcher, all on his tail.

 

 

 

Both their adventures feature of course an array of interesting side-characters. Early on there’s the Snake Oil Salesman who later blows his cover…

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Red Dead has a similar character in a few ways, Nigel West Dickens. However, while the “Carpetbagger” as he’s called has a fairly small role in the movie, Nigel’s role is much more important, and vital to the first part of John’s quest, as his stagecoach proves a nice hiding place for a gattling gun.

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There’s more of a visual similarity here than anything; while Clint uses the gattling gun as revenge for his butchered gang and to cover his and Jaime’s escape…

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John’s use is mainly against the armies of his former gang members.

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As Josey tries to avoid the army by going farther south into Texas, he finds an array of interesting people after Jaime’s death-Native Americans Lone Watee & Little Midnight,  Laura Lee and her grandma Sarah, as well as allies in the local (if broke) community of San Rio and the nearby Comanche tribe…who sort of form a family unit that somewhat replaces some of Josey’s loss of his own.

Sondra Locke and Paula Trueman in The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

Marston is somewhat different. A lot of the characters he meets he sort of sees as a means to an end, of sorts, to take down his former gang and save his family.

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The only real bond he forms is with Bonnie Mcfarlane, a rancher who saves him after his first botched attempt to take down Bill. However, while Josey forms a romance with Laura Lee (although he still of course misses his family), John remains faithful to his wife Abigail.

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Towards the end of the movie and the game, we’re given a big shootout to protect the ranch that’s been settled. In both cases, our heroes are protecting their family-Josey, his adopted one, and Marston’s his actual one.

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Let’s just say it works a bit better for Josey. He manages to kill Terrel, who killed his original gang, and to top it off, Fletcher, without Terril’s hold, covers for Josey’s new life by saying he died in the shootout. John however, is not so lucky, and it’s ultiametly up to his son Jack, a few years later-to take care of unfinished business, a somewhat more tragic outcome.

 

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Video games in Review: Red Dead Redemption 2 *Some spoilers*

Red Dead Redemption II is the follow-up to 2010’s “Red Dead Redemption”, a western game based somewhat on the “Grand theft Auto” open-world, “sandbox” game style. Like with those games, your characters are primarily criminals (although ones with at least some redeeming traits), although in “Red Dead”‘s case, the games are set at the end of the Wild West era, as the westward expansion of modern civilization and Industry starts to threaten their roguish, rugged lifestyle…and forces them to make some tough decisions.

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Although it’s “II”, the second game is a prequel to the first game, with RDR’s main hero, John Marston, a member of the Dutch Van Der Linde gang. Once a group of somewhat Robin Hoodish outlaws, the gang has fallen on hard times following a botched Ferry robbery, with it’s leader-Dutch-aiming to make one last big score so the gang can retire on some tropical island somewhere. However, their plans continue to go awry, not only due to a rival gang messing around and the Pinkerton detective agency constantly on their trail after a train robbery; but also due to Dutch starting to lose his grip on reality. Despite their constant movement and Dutch’s promises of escape to paradise, time is running out for the gang-in more ways than one.

 

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For the first three quarters of the game, the player assumes the role of Arthur Morgan, Dutch’s right hand man. Although no angel, Arthur-along with fellow lieutenant Hosea Matthews-tries to serve as Dutch’s consciousness (Like in other games, the player can choose to do good or bad things; this in turn effects their ‘honor’ rating and influences some of the cutscenes and ending). However, soon after realizing Dutch is becoming unstable (and also listening too much to new member, the unprincipled Micah Bell), and faced with his own mortality, Arthur tries to do what good he can and save what’s left of their gang before it’s too late-including John, his girlfriend Abigail, and their son Jack. After he’s gone, John tries to leave his outlaw past behind, start a proper family and live an honest life as a rancher in the game’s final chapters, although there’s still some unfinished business. This all leads up of course to the events of the first game.

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Although the main story missions are fairly linear (and don’t always involve shooting-there are later missions which involve farming and building, for example), the player can do a great deal of activities in this open world, such as fishing, hunting, crafting (Which sort of feed into each other) watching shows and short movies,buying, selling, and upgrading weapons, horses, and items. There’s also various gambling games-Poker, dominoes, even five finger fillet. Arthur’s own appearance is heavily customizable. Like in the Witcher series, Arthur (and later John) has hair and beard growth, which can be cut or fashioned at a barber; likewise, there’s also a great deal out outfits to choose from, from rugged mountain gear to “city folk” looks. Arthur’s weight also can fluctuate based on what he eats (This can affect your stamina and health in game as well). Like in GTA though, there’s a ‘law’ system in place, even if you accidentally run over somebody with a horse unintentionally, and like in GTA, it could take a while to shake off the authorities. This also leads to a bounty being posted on you, which can lead to hunters ambushing you. However, the bounty can be paid off at the post office.

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Along with Arthur, Dutch, Micah and the Marstons, perhaps the most important character is Sadie Adler, who is in both parts of the game’s story. She becomes a widow early in the game and is taken in by the gang, but soon develops a vengeful and violent side when it comes to getting revenge on the O’ Driscolls, which she later hones into a bounty hunting career. However, she’s got a soft side too, remaining loyal to Arthur and later a supportive friend of John’s.

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The game also has some memorable NPCS, many of whom don’t even have a quest line. The most memorable perhaps is Nigel, a lost englishman who is constantly, and frantically, searching for his friend Gavin. He’s already become a meme.

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Like it’s predecessor, GTA, and to an extent L.A Noire, there’s a similar combat system, which often utilizes a wheeled menu, which admitting, can be a little annoying at times if you accidentally choose the wrong item.

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There’s also the “Dead Eye” system, which slows down combat, turns the screen amber, and, as it’s upgraded, also points out weak points of enemies. In addition of course to guns, there’s also dynamite, molotovs, knives and fists to be used, and lassos if you want to take certain characters alive.

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Apart from the Pinkertons, authorities and the O Driscoll rival gang, there are other dangers to our characters-other gangs, including strange savage mountain clans, murderers, mobsters, and even a monster or two. Plus while most of the animals such as deer and rabbits might seem docile,  there’s bears and gators out there too.

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The game’s got a nice soundtrack too, with of course your usual atmospheric music but also some nice new lyrical songs as well…and naturally, multiple saloons feature some classic piano tunes.

it’s also got some of the most stunning landscapes I’ve seen in games as well. The character models are pretty much on par with most modern current gen games, almost as good as Uncharted 4’s IMO.

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The voice acting is also incredible, with some voices returning from the earlier games, but a fine performance from Roger Clark as Arthur (Who won a game award) who exudes not only toughness but compassion, frustration, and often bewilderment with the actions of some strange folk.

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Overall, Red Dead Redemption II, despite some minor gameplay issues, is a fun, long and very immersive game, and one of the best games of 2018.