Jurassic Park in Review: Jurassic World Part IV

Zack and Grey manage to get one of the old Jeeps in the Visitor center working (Giving us a look at a part of the center not shown in the ’93 film) and head back to the main park. There’s a nice nod to night-vision goggles in the first one, as well as the Raptor mural in the Park’s cafe/gift shop.Image result for The Irex claire visitor s center

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Claire and Owen on the other hand, arrive a few minutes later and hide from the I-rex, in a scene reminiscent to a degree of the Kitchen scene in the original.

Masarani, after hearing Hoskin’s plan to use the Raptors to get the I-rex-decides to save the day on his own by taking down the I rex with his copter. However the I-rex quickly compromises a nearby Pteranodon aviary, causing the flying reptiles to panic and make the situation several times worst-with Masarani’s helicopter creating an even bigger hole-and killing him.

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Image result for Helicopter aviary Jurassic world

What follows is perhaps the most crowded humans-in-peril scene in the whole franchise (although the San Diego sequence from TLW comes close) as the Pteranodons overrun the Park’s visitor area.

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One of the best parts? A cameo by Jimmy Buffet at his own resturant, Margaritaville-with of course, Margaritas in his hand. I’d leave the shaker of salt behind, Jimmy.

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What follows is one of the more controversial-and I’m pretty sure the only female-death in the series, as Zara is picked up by a Pteranodon, dropped into the Mosasaur aquarium, is picked at by the Pteranodons and then both Pteranodon and Zara are swallowed by the Mosasaur. Although not particularly gory in any way, it is somewhat chaotic and violent.


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Image result for Jurassic world zara death

Although everybody else gets reunited rather quickly, Owen gets attacked by a Dimorphodon-pretty much a Pterosaur which is particularly less “beaky” and more “Ferocious carnivore” in it’s appearance.

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Claire manages to get a pretty badass moment by shooting the beast of Owen, and the two kiss.


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You know, in a series where there are three couples-Alan and Ellie, Ian and Sarah, and the Kirby’s-I’m pretty sure this is the first ever kiss in the series. Then again, this is pretty much a fresh romance, while the others were pretty established already.


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Meanwhile at control, Vic has pretty much taken control of everything and with Masarani gone, nothing’s really stopping him from using Owen’s Raptors to take on the Indominus. He also brings his own armed men to the island, and we get an amusing shot of one of them shooting down a Dimorphodon trying to get off the island (There’s actually a background story-I believe from the website-that stated it was Hoskin’s men who took care of the escaped Pteranodons at the end of “Jurassic Park III” so this is kind of fitting.

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Next: Raptors (literally) unleashed!



The Witcher 3 Overview

Please note: I haven’t read the whole of the Witcher series of novels, or completed the first two games or the Hearts of Stone expansion, so this is a bit ‘newbieish’ and I’ll approach it from the view of a more casual gamer and not a major expert on this game.¬† ūüôā


The Witcher 3 is pretty much one of the most stunning games of this generation, receiving multiple “game of the year” awards from review sites and magazines, as well as many comparisons to “Skyrim”, considered by many to be the king of RPGs.

The game takes place in a fantasy world with many similarities to medieval Europe, as many fantasy worlds-such as Tolkien’s-do. However, this world in particular is filled with various monsters, a result of an event known as the “Conjunction” which merged the world with others. There’s also your typical other fantasy races, dwarfs, elves and various others. The series is actually the work of a polish writer¬†¬†Andrzej Sapkowski, who wrote a series of novels that the games are, in a sense, a continuation of-although they are not part of Andrzej’s “canon”.

The main character of the series is Geralt of Rivia, who is the titular “Witcher”, a monster hunter. Owing to a series of mutations to further his effectiveness, he has pale skin, gray hair, and cat-like eyes. He takes up various contracts on monsters, but also finds himself involved in political-and magical intrigue as he roams the war-torn continent. He’s of course in many ways your typical video game badass male protagonist, but also shows a great deal of experience and intelligence in his dealings, as well as compassion and loyalty to his friends. Although very serious at times, he’s not above a bit of fun as well. He does however quickly get annoyed.


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Central to Geralt are supporting players….Vessimir, his mentor and father figure; Two sorceress’s, Yennifer and Triss (Who although often romantic rivals for Geralt, they are good friends); and Geralt’s ward Ciri-whose disappearance is the main quest in “The Wild Hunt”. Ciri, in particular, has the power to transport herself to other worlds and dimensions, a power the Wild Hunt want.


The WIld Hunt are a group of rogue Elf warriors, who wear some pretty nasty armor, and the major ‘bosses’ of the game.


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Rounding out the main cast is Dandelion, a Shakesphereesque poet, minstrel and playwright who serves as the game’s narrator, writer of the game’s glossary, and in-game participant.

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Witcher 3’s gameplay consists of several main guests as well as several optional side-quests. The side guests are pretty well fleshed out-there are some that could take an hour or two. Some are monster-slaying quests, while others are a bit more comedic, such as helping Dandelion with a play.

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The game also has a lot of crafting for *many* sets of weapons and armor, alchemy in which Geralt gathers various plants and monster parts to create potions (which give advantages in combat and healing, most of the time), a leveling up skill set for improved combat etc. The game also utilizes a “sign” system, with various magic spells (or as the game says, “Signs” which Geralt can use in combat, defense, or even to influence a conversation). Also, like Horizon Zero Dawn’s “Focus” or Batman’s “Detective mode”, there’s “Witcher senses” which helps Geralt track monsters, or conduct an almost CSI-like examination of crime scenes.


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Although Geralt’s armor, weapons, and pretty much everything else can be majorly customized and arranged, Geralt’s face of course can not be altered by a slider like Skyrim’s. You can, however, get a haircut, an option that’s also available in the “Grand Theft Auto” game series.


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The game’s combat system varies, as some monsters/characters have different weaknesses or strengths. Geralt has two different swords-one for regular human opponents, another for monsters; as well as a crossbow, and his offensives signs. Geralt can choose on either speed or force with his attacks. Dodging is also very important, especially when encountering multiple foes at once.

Conversations in the game are also very robust, and like other RPGs, can often lead to different paths in the game, and the outcome of the game’s ending.

There’s also the mini-game of Gwent, which is pretty much a card game featuring characters and monsters from the game.

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Witcher 3 is open world, and it’s one pretty big one, and very picturesque. There’s various cave “dungeons” and different parts of the world have a different look.

The misty, mountainy isles of Skellige, for example….

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….are very different from the Vineyards and fancy castle of Toussaint in the Blood and Wine expansion….

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Which is in turn different from the more cosmopolitan Novigrad. It’s perhaps one of the game’s best strengths-there’s very little ‘draw distance’ (backgrounds coming into view as you approach theme) that some open worlds often suffer from.


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The world can be navigated through Fast Travel by signposts, on foot, by boat, or by Roach, Geralt’s trusted-if glitchy-horse.

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The Witcher’s world knowingly takes from some fantasy tropes-including that in Geralt’s world, many of the fairy tales are either actually *real* or known in some form to the game’s civilization. There’s actually a quest in the expansion, “Blood and Wine” which goes all in with the concept.


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There’s some fun cultural references thrown in, here and there-Madonna, Twilight, there’s even one for the Internet meme “Trollolo” and Fallout.


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Image result for War war never changes

One thing that should be noted-this is a very “M for Mature” rated game-and it’s a pretty hard M. If you’ve seen HBO’s Game of Thrones, a lot of it’s pretty much on the same level as that. It’s really not for those a bit squeamish about that sort of thing.

Overall, although I’m admittingly not as well versed in the franchise as some, I found Witcher 3-and one of the two expansions-extremely well-done and polished games.

Metal Gear similarities: X-men Part II: The Best they are at what they do

*Spoilers* for Logan and the Metal Gear games follow.

X-man. Avenger. Ronin. Hero. But also, the result of a government testing program to weaponize mutants-“Weapon X”, which left him with years of traumatic and confused memories. James “Logan” Howlett, The Wolverine. “The Best he is at what he does, and what he does isn’t very nice”.

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Solid Snake. Fox-Hounder. Hero. Loner. Soldier. “The Man who makes the impossible possible”.


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So what’s the similarities between the two? Well, there’s of course the gruff nature, the permanent scruffiness, the adeptness at hand-to-hand combat (although Wolverine has a slight advantage there with the claws and all) and the fondness for tobacco products. Although like Big Boss (Heck, it’s pretty much the last thing he ever does!), Wolverine smokes cigars, while Solid Snake’s more of a cigarette guy. Although Metal Gear of course comes with it’s own warnings on the risks ūüôā


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(and yes, Wolverine did have a short-lived era where he wore an eyepatch as a cover)

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But apart from the many surface similarities there’s a few other things which make the characters kind of similar.

Both have somewhat plain introductions into pop culture. Wolverine debuted in “Incredible Hulk” as a guest character, with the intent that the claws were in fact just part of his gloves. He also had a much smaller face mask (which eventually was traded for the larger ‘ears’ when he made his X-men debut, although-apart from the “brown” costume in the 80’s, he’s largely stuck with the “yellow spandex” ever since)

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We don’t even see the character’s face (and of course the unusual hair) until a few issues into him joining the X-men.

Solid Snake, likewise, is a bit of a cipher (heh) in the first Metal Gear-he’s given fairly little dialogue, and not a lot of his nature is revealed.

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Although the cigarettes are pretty much there from day one. Their in-game purpose being to slow time down (or accelerate it, as seen in Metal Gear solid V), calm snake’s nerves, or the smoke being used to detect infrared sensors (They also drain health, an extra deterrent in addition to the Surgeon General warning).

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Their actual-and unusual origins were both revealed after their debut. Part of Wolverine’s story was told in the “Marvel comics Presents” arc “Weapon X”, while going further back, his full origin-and his real name, James Howlett-were revealed in 2003’s “Origin” miniseries.


Both are “born” in a lab, the result of experiments. With Wolverine, adamantium is bonded to his skeleton, making his bones and claws unbreakable-a process only made possible by his other major power, his healing factor.


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Solid Snake was created as a clone of Big Boss by Major Zero, an attempt to extend Big Boss’s legacy should he ever leave the Patriot’s organization (Which, ironically, he did upon hearing of this). Two others-Eli (Liquid Snake) and George (Solidus Snake) were also created.

Although the project was pretty much abandoned and the Snakes given to handlers, eventually they all became soldiers in their own right, and face their “father” Big Boss.

It’s worth also noting that the fates of the movie version of Logan and Solid Snake have a few similarities as well. In “Logan” Wolverine’s healing factor is starting to fail, with the adamantium in his bones starting to poison him.



Likewise, Solid Snake’s nature as a clone in Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots has caused him to rapidly age (and the Foxdie viruses in his bloodstream don’t help either).


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Both are old and worn out, but go on one last mission. Ironically, they kind of end in a very similar fashion.

Logan dies next to his clone daughter at the end of LOGAN.

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….Big Boss, likewise, dies next to his clone “Son” in Metal Gear Solid IV.

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There’s one final connection that’s worth noting. The man who wrote the first X-MEN movie? David Hayter.

The same David Hayter who provided the renowned English voice of Solid Snake and Big Boss (Up until Metal Gear Solid V, where he was replaced by Kiefer Sutherland) and made a cameo as himself in Metal Gear Solid IV’s strange talk show segment.

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Metal Gear tech profiles-Cybernetic arm

Ocelot: Here Snake, try this on.

Venom Snake: A prosthetic arm?

Ocelot:¬†Miller was calling it “the arm that wasn’t there.” The physiotherapy is going well. Your arm’s bulked up for it to fit. There. Perfect. A little time with it and it’ll work better than the real thing. What do you think?

Venom Snake: I can still feel my real arm.

Ocelot:¬†Well, you’d better get used to this one quick. You have any pain?

Venom Snake:¬†Every now and then…

Ocelot: Where?

Venom Snake:¬†…My fingertips. My left fingertips.

Ocelot: Sounds like phantom pain. Your brain remembers your old hand.



The first Cybernetic arm in the Metal Gear series is used by Vladimir Zardonov in Peace Walker. It features articulated digits…

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but also a lighter (used by Big Boss after defeating Zadarnov and Paz)

and a detachable rocket function (Which Zadarnov attempts to kill Big Boss with, but he misses) :


When Venom Snake-formerly an MSF medic-was caught in the helicopter blast during the destruction of MSF, his arm was blown off, among other injuries and a nine year coma. Although initially given a hook prosthesis, once he escaped the hospital in Cyprus with the help of “Ishmael” (The real Big Boss) and Ocelot, he was eventually given a cybernetic arm after rebuilding his muscles, which would give him a boost with CQC.



After rescuing Kaz (Who had also suffered similar injuries, but decline a prosthesis because he needed to feel the pain of losing his comrades) ¬†and the Soviet scientist who developed the arm, the cyborg arm was upgraded with many other abilities to help Venom Snake in the field. The “Rocket Punch” where it would temporarily detach via rockets, which could be used to stun or kill enemies (If given the “Blast arm” enhancement)-similar to what Zardarnov attempted….

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The “Stun arm” Capable of shocking opponents:


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and the “Hand of Jehuty” with electronic Wisp functions (and similar to another game of Kojima’s) “Zone of the Enders”.

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It addition, the arm was able to use a sort of ground sonar when Snake punched the ground in order to uncover the locations of nearby enemies.


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The Arm-mainly in his color red-and Venom Snake’s shrapnal ‘horn’ were the most distinct features that distinquished Venom Snake from the real Big Boss (Who kept his body intact-minus of course his distinctive eye injury-up until Zanzibar Land).

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When battling Solid Snake at Outer Heaven-posing as the ‘real’ Big Boss, Venom Snake did not seem to use his arm against Solid Snake-opting instead for a gun. It’s unclear whether this was to further deceive Solid Snake, he had the arm covered or replaced, or it didn’t work anymore (The real reason of course, was that the revelation that Venom Snake was the Big Boss encountered in Outer Heaven wasn’t revealed until the release of Metal Gear Solid V).

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It’s been suggested by some, that due to Hideo Kojima and JJ Abrams being friends., that the reason C-3PO of “Star Wars” has a red arm in “The Force Awakens” is because it’s a bit of a tip of a hat to his fellow creator…..

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Horizon Zero Dawn-An Overview

The planet is Earth, ruled by primitives tribes (well, or at least the Midwest United States is) and a mostly unspoiled wilderness. But something’s a bit different. ¬†While the wilderness is small animals-rabbits, turkeys, pigs etc….the larger forms of wildlife are a bit….different, giant machines that not only resemble current wildlife like Oxen, Crocodiles and Horses, but also ones that resemble the Dinosaurs of old. It’s clear something is not quite right here-it’s the future, around the 30th century, and clearly some event occurred in our past that led to this bizarre state.


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Into this world is born the red-haired, naturally curious Aloy, under mysterious circumstances, in the home of the Nora Tribe. Due to her unusual origins, she is raised by an exile from the tribe-Rost-and the two live outside the main villages of the tribe.

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One day, Aloy stumbles upon a ruin of the old world, and picks up a mysterious ear ornament-a “Focus”-that will shape her ¬†(somewhat pre-ordained) destiny. The “Focus” functions as a sort of tactical display and information-gathering device, similar to the Witcher senses in the Witcher games, or Batman’s detective mode in the Arkham series.

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When she reaches adulthood, Aloy heads to the village to prove herself in a coming-of-age hunting ritual that will help her gain some status in the tribe, as well as hopefully give her access to secrets about who her real mother might be. She gets more than she bargains for when a cult-the Eclipse-attack the Proving-targeting her-leaving her orphaned and with even more questions when she attempts to open a mysterious door inside a mountain, and the image of a woman that appears to be an older version of herself appears-possibly her mother-“Elizabeth Sobeck”.


She then sets out on a quest across the wilderness to figure out why her tribe was attacked-and herself singled out-why some machines are acting more aggressive, with new, more dangerous and less animal-like machines starting to appear-and what exactly happened to Earth in the past.

Horizon’s gameplay utilizes a lot of stuff that’s kind of familiar to open-world RPGs, such as the Witcher 3. There’s a lot of stuff to do-not only the main quests, but a lot of side quests which help Aloy ‘level up’ and acquire new items and armor. There also is a lot of crafting and gathering plants-not only as ammunition for Aloy’s main weapons, but also for healing.

Aloy’s main weapons include a spear for melee combat, a bow and arrow (common in many games these days-there’s one in “Witcher” as well, and the Tomb Raider series in particular has traded Lara’s dual pistols for it as her trademark weapon) as well as traps and explosives Alloy can use. There are guns, and while they pack a punch, they’re heavy and often cumbersome.

Like many other games, a lot of the game’s lore is provided via audio and written “datapoints”, scanned in by Aloy using her focus-serving a similar function to the audiotapes from the last few Metal Gear games, the Bioshock series, and the many, many books in the Witcher 3 games. While some are integral to the games story, most are optional or well-hidden, but if you’re interested in the backstory to the game they’re worth a look.


Aloy’s got a well-defined persona too. Her obscurity for knowledge-and the help of the focus-manages to give her an advantage over the somewhat primitive traditions of her people and others-although sometimes she does come off as a bit haughty and rude at times-and despite her intelligence, respects the traditions of her people.

The other characters are a lot of fun too. There’s the proud Erend, the slightly in-over-his-head and clumsily flirtatious king Avad, but most interesting of all is Sylens, a mysterious man with questionable motivations who helps guide Alloy’s quest-


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Look familiar? That’s the likeness (and voice) of actor Lance Reddick, from The Wire, Fringe, and Lost, as well as the John Wick movies (Where I’ve seen him mainly) and various other video games such as the Destiny series.¬†

The other villains-Helis and Dervahl-are a bit more one-dimensional, as is “Hades” their mysterious leader.


The game’s world-a mix of tundra, desert and tropical locations as well as the “dungeons” of old world facilities-is also one of the best I’ve ever seen in games. There’s even some real-world locations (The game is supposed to take place in Utah, Colorado, and Arizona)

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Many of the sites of the game can also be captured using the “photo mode” where you can also have Aloy do many poses and expressions, along with usual filters and added stuff.

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Heck, I’m wondering if this isn’t somewhere in the game (covered heavily in vegation, probably).

While some of it’s mechanics are a little tried-and-true, Horizon manages to stand above with great graphics (Which come with extra support on the PS4 pro and UHDs) and a compelling story, as well as other goodies such as the Photo mode. Definetly worth a shot if you have a PS4 (it’s an exclusive).

Metal Gear Tech profiles-Sneaking suit

The Sneaking suit was a special outfit that was designed to somewhat mimic human anatomy, giving an extra layer of protection to it’s wearer, but also be fairly lightweight at the same time.

Initially soviet technology, it was first fielded by the Boss during Operation Snake Eater, and later a black version was discovered and used by Snake-the soon to become Big Boss- during their final confrontation.


The Boss’s whitish/silver outfit in particular recalls those of the Mercury astronauts-of whom she was a part of (but officially wasn’t and got airbrushed out of this photo in Metal Gear continuity).

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A version of this suit was also available for the female members of Diamond Dogs (except for Quiet), although with some modifications such as the footstep-dampening effects of later models.

After Big Boss’s return from Operation Snake Eater, the outfit was further developed and modified for use by the FOX unit, including enhancements for close-quarters combat (CQC)

This version of the suit was given further modifications when Big Boss created MSF-adding further noise-canceling abilities and insulation for comfort for it’s wearer, in many ways becoming a true “sneaking” suit.

A further modification-with a little extra padding-was given to Big Boss’s “Phantom” Venom Snake, the leader of Diamond Dogs.

One was also provided for Venom Snake’s dog scout/buddy/”Good boy”, D-Dog.




Although Solid Snake largely went with a different sort of tactical outfit during the Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land missions, he got a sneaking suit for the harsh, cold temperatures of Shadow Moses, similar to Venom’s but with far more padding, especially on the shoulders, and a generally more streamlined design.


Joining Philanthropy-an Anti-Metal Gear organization after the events of Shadow Moses and dissolution of FOXHOUND, Solid Snake wore a similar outfit, but lacking the big vest, as New York Harbor wasn’t quite as cold as Alaska. After donning a Navy seal outfit as “Snake Plisskin”, Snake once again wore the suit when he helped Raiden in infiltrating Arsenal Gear.

Raiden likewise wore a variation called the “Skull suit” based on it’s ribbed chest appearance and somewhat skullish diving helmet. ¬†Designed with more water operations in mind (Since Big Shell was on the ocean), it functioned more like a wetsuit, allowing ease of swimming. It also functioned as a “smart suit”, able to interact with the Nanomachines in Raiden’s blood-able to help regulate his injuries and body temperature, and probably of course provide data and additional control to the Patriot’s AI.


A few years later, during which time Solid Snake experienced rapid aging, he wore the “Octocamo” Sneaking suit, which gave him the ability to automatically adopt a chameleon-like camo with the environment-including objects such as watermelons. It also-like several of the other Sneaking suits-gave padding to his badly weakened muscles, almost functioning like a second body to his now-frail frame.



In addition to Snake, Rat Patrol also used partial sneaking suits for their upper bodies-I assume more for the insulation and strength support than the cancelling footsteps noise part.


Star Wars comics history-A Tale to Tell

Around 1999, Dark Horse debuted an anthology Star Wars series, which would feature multiple Star Wars stories from a variety of creators. While some were serious, others played a bit more with the continuity and visual style-including, most memorably perhaps, Peter David’s “Skippy the Jedi Droid”, which had “Red” (R5-D4) malfunction on purpose, as he was in fact a droid jedi who knew the importance of R2’s mission. For the most part, the series was released quarterly (4 times a year), and given the usual “annual” size of 64 pages. Each issue would feature a few short stories, although they were occasionally serialized stories as well.


Or “A Death Star is Born” by Kevin Rubio …

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Which-with it’s send-up of the Imperial logo-seemed to predict Star Wars’s eventual ownership.

Others took a more serious approach, but were still a bit ‘out there’-one tale implying that Vader did, in fact, recognize C-3PO and practically gave him over to Chewbacca to fix.

Or the Vader/Darth Maul confrontation (Maul being resurrected by a group of Monks) or something like that (Vader impales his own cyborg body to kill Maul again).

One of the more inventive stories has the Millenium Falcon somehow jump from hyperspace to crash-land on ¬†Earth after a deadly space battle, with Han dying-Chewbacca however, lives on from the point of “A Long Time Ago” to the middle of the twentieth century, creating the legends of sasquatch….one that’s eventually investigated by Indiana Jones, of course Harrison Ford’s other most famous role. There’s a nice nod here to the old Indiana Jones “Fate of Atlantis” comic and Adventure PC game, while Indiana saying the skeleton looks familiar somehow is also a nice touch.


Others fit a bit more easily into continuity, with an early issue having Vader confront the “Dark Woman” a mysterious Jedi master who also appeared in various issues of the Prequel-Era Star Wars monthly (Later called “Republic”)

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It also didn’t shy away from using popular EU characters such as Mara Jade, former Imperial agent who eventually becomes Luke’s wife….

Or Kyle Katarn, mercenary turned Jedi knight featured in a series of video games, featured in a “New Jedi Order” era story.


The series wrapped up in 2005, with the serial “Nomad”, a revenge tale about a mercenary who tracks down a dark jedi.