Review: Tomb Raider (2018) *spoilers*

While some of my reviews are a bit multi-part, I’m starting to do smaller “Capsule reviews” of films I’m not quite wanting to do a big essay on.

 

As I’ve written before, I’ve been a fan of the last two Tomb Raider games, although admittingly, I have not played the earlier incarnations of the character. The games mixed the climbing and gunning of the other archaeological adventure game series, “Uncharted” (although of course the older TRs had a bit of this as well), with the skill trees of various other games, and also a sort of gritty and gory nature.

Lara, in particular, is portrayed as more vulnerable than in past versions, starting out kind of bookish but eventually honing her survival skills on an island not only full of cultists and mercenaries, but also the undead spirit of an evil queen.

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On the surface, this was what the basic plot of the Tomb Raider film reboot is about. The movie even re-creates some sequences from the game, such as Lara’s struggle holding onto a rusted World War II plane…

 

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, and like the game, Lara’s uses arrows and pickaxes for a good chunk of time, only getting her dual pistols at the end (although the dual pistols aren’t really used in “Rise of the Tomb Raider”. Her outfit is pretty much the same basic look too. No sunglases or shorts here.

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However, whereas Lara, as I mentioned before that game Lara was more archaeologist than hero at first, the movie kind of reverses it by having Lara be a sort of sporty, slightly rebellious woman who has little interest in her father’s profession until it offers clues to where he might’ve vanished to (The mysterious Yamatai, also the setting of the game, of course). Alicia does okay I suppose, although she seems a bit stiff, but I haven’t really seen her in any other films to really judge her acting.

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Likewise, the Endurance Crew-the nifty supporting cast (and unfortunately, part victims) are cut out/reduced….

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to just one guy, Lu Ren, whose father has also vanished while searching for the mysterious island of Yamatai. Apart from rallying up some fellow prisoners on the island, he really doesn’t get that much to do.

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Like the game, the villain is once again Matthias, although instead of the cult leader, he’s just a mercenary leader for “Trinity” (Introduced in Rise of the Tomb Raider) who’s only stuck on the island because his employer won’t send for extraction until he finds the tomb of Himiko. Although Walter Goggins does his best, the character just comes off a somewhat generic villain.

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Speaking of Himiko, she’s pretty much downgraded here. There’s no super-storms keeping everybody stuck on the island, and apart from the two planes there’s really no sign of the heavy wreckage-or really any other sign of civilization apart from the tomb-on the island itself. Although a supernatural threat is implied, turns out that she’s no ghost creature trying to possess a new body and create storms. Likewise, there’s no real gore or any of the major violence of the 2013 game. Not that it really needed the somewhat excessive gore and violence, but in making this movie PG-13, they sort of ‘sanitized’ the game maybe a bit too much. It’s really a major contrast there.

 

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…..but actually a nice Queen who unfortunately carried some sort of bizarre virus which seems to make those who get it into crazed people with strange skin and nerve blemishes.

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Which, oddly enough, is pretty much exactly what happens in the conclusion the first “Uncharted” game!

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The Tomb itself seemed kind of unspectacular and cheap-looking, with just a bunch of generic booby taps and puzzles. No giant Samurai here!

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Dominic West appears as Lord Kroft, and somewhat diminishes from Lara, as he’s revealed to actually be alive, although a bit nuts-on the island.Image result for Lord croft

 

Nick Frost, Derek Jacobi and Kristin Scott Thomas have supporting roles, with Nick as a sort of comic relief pawn shop owner, but it’s really just a tiny role. Same with the legendary Derek Jacobi who does the money stuff at Croft’s estate. Most interesting is Kristin Scott Thomas as Ana, who, like in “Rise of the Tomb Raider”-is actually the secret head of Trinity. However, unlike in ROTT-where she formed the organization in part to try to gain immortality as a disease (presumably cancer) was killing her, what exactly this version of Ana has to gain from it is unknown, or if she had anything to do with Lord Croft’s expedition to Yamatai in the first place.

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Although I’ll admit some of my criticisms of the movie might be a little biased because I played the games first, and have largely been comparing them, I think the film on it’s own is kind of weak as well, just kind of a generic story and lacking bite despite a fairly strong cast, which unfortunately is a weakness of almost every video game adaptation these days.

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Games in Review: L.A Noire

 

 The city on the verge of greatness. A new type of city, based not on the man, but on the automobile. The car, symbol of freedom and vitality. Where every man can own his own home and have room to breathe and not be overlooked by his neighbors. A city where a man’s home is his castle. A quarter acre of the dream made possible by the victory. A city of opportunists. A city of dreams where Hollywood will shape the thoughts and desires of the entire planet. A city of pioneers. A city of dreamers. A city of undercurrents, where not everything is as it seems. A twentieth century city that will become a model for the world. A city that has no boundaries, that will stretch as far as the eye can see.

 

L.A Noire is a 2011 video game published by Rockstar games, the same company that also created the Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption series. It was recently remastered for current gen systems in 2017, and given a first person VR version as well.

The game follows the career of Cole Phelps, a young LAPD officer fresh out of World War II’s pacific campaign-a plot point that later becomes very important to the game’s overarching story (if giving it a bit of a “small world” feeling by game’s end). Cole is pretty much by the book and very intelligent (something that his partners find a little annoying at times, almost most warm to him eventually), but he’s far from perfect (Which, again, becomes a major plot point). The game has Cole start out in regular patrol, but then he quickly rises through traffic, homicide, and Vice, although he eventually gets knocked down to Arson after a scandal; however, it’s in this department that he’s ultimately able to solve a troubling and complicated case involving illegal morphine, mysterious fires and a real estate swindle.

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The game also features frequent flashbacks to Cole’s World War II experience, which also flesh out not only Cole, but some of the other characters in the ‘present day’ version of the game. Most importantly, Jack Kelso, who frequently butts heads with Cole in the past, but is an important player in the present.

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Cole is ‘played’ by Aaron Staton, whose likeness and expressions were captured using a motion capture technique called “Motion scan”. Staton is mostly known as Ken Cosgrove from the “Mad Men” TV series.

 

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This technology also is key to one of L.A noire’s more unique mechanics-when questioning a witness or interrogating a suspect, the player can try to determine if a character is lying or concealing something by observing their body language, (if their eyes are shifting etc.). Cole has three options-“Good cop”-take it easy on the suspect-“Bad Cop”-where Cole can get a bit more grumpy, and “accuse” where he pretty much states the person is lying or guilty. It generally doesn’t give a ‘game over’ if you choose the wrong option, although it does count against your case rating. (In the original version of the game, this was “Truth, Doubt, Lie”.)

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Another important aspect of the game are the clues scattered around the various crime scenes, or on the crime victim/object itself. They’re not always easy to spot, but are often hinted at by a musical cue and magnifying glass. Although multiple objects can be manipulated, not all are relevant to the case.

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The game also has a series of small puzzles to unlock clues, such as radio tuning, maps, ciphers, and even a calculator at one point.

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The game does have some more conventional modes of gameplay, of course. The driving is somewhat similar to the GTA series (Phelps can even “borrow” other people’s cars), and there’s certain missions which involve of course, car chases. However, the player is encouraged to not wreck too much stuff of city property or pedestrians, as it’ll go against your final score.

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Several cases/missions-and side missions-also have an action component (The only time Phelps can use weapons BTW, once again this isn’t GTA). For dealing with bank robbers and especially dangerous criminal suspects, there’s shooting, which is somewhat similar to Uncharted’s-meaning cover is an extremely good idea.

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…..but if Phelps just wants to knock people out, he can simply just do fisticuffs in a melee mode.

 

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There’s also some stealth, although it’s comparatively small compared to the rest of the game. Cole can track the suspect both from behind while trying to stay out of sight….

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….or tail a suspect.Image result for car tail L.A noire

All of this is set of course, given the title, in an open world 1947 Los Angeles, which includes of course, “Hollywoodland”. The motion picture industry of the time does play into a few cases here and there, but is not a huge thing in the game, and plays only a little bit into the game’s overall arc. There’s also some nice 40’s touches with the Jazz clubs, malt shops, old time, Norman Rockwell style advertisements, and even the radio station which features some old music (Including “Into each life some rain must fall” which might seem familiar to Fallout fans, except here it’s a bit more period appropriate!), news (including, naturally, some early cold war stuff) and radio sketch comedy….including some familiar names such as Jack Benny

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BTW this definitely isn’t a game for kids-it deals with some rather unpleasant subject matter, both visually and storyline-wise. Pretty much a very rated “M” game (although maybe not as violent as some other games, it still deals with some stuff-you do after all, investigate crimes. Bit like a CSI crime drama on the gore level, although with some added stuff which sort of earns it a bit more caution ). Also, it’s important to keep in mind the title, that this a noir story-a genre focusing on a sort of cynicism-and like the classic Hollywood films it’s somewhat inspired by (Maltese Falcon, Big Sleep, Chinatown etc) a happy ending might not be in the cards for everyone.

Like any good crime drama there’s also some interesting supporting cast, mostly involved with forensics.  There’s your Medical Examiner Malcolm Caruthers, who’s a pretty cool guy, as is Ray Pinker in forensics. Even when Phelps has his fall from grace, they have no problems working with the man, who whatever his personal problems is a “good case man” as they both say.

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The game also has a femme fatale of sorts, German lounge singer Elsa Lichtmann-although unlike some Femme fatales, she’s actually quite heroic and one of the keys to the game’s major case.

 

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Phelps various captains are all pretty much cool guys, although like his partners they take a while to warm up to the man.

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The game has quite a few antagonists-not only the various suspects, but those involved in the whole arc. One of the most recognizable is Leland Monroe, played by John Noble, who people might remember from “Lord of the Rings” as Denethor II (Boromir and Faramir’s father, and the steward of Gondor/Minas Tirith) and Walter Bishop from Fringe.

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The game also features many other recognizable character actors in various roles, including a fair amount of Aaron Staton’s Mad Men co-stars (although don’t expect to see John Hamm, Elizabeth Moss or others here, such as Vincent Kartheiser ).

Overall, although some aspects of the game are a bit unconventional and experimental, and the game is heavily scripted and linear (as in the story still continues even if you flop the interrogations), it’s still a very fun game with a compelling story and excellent graphics, especially in the motion capture of the faces, and enough to do to keep the player occupied for quite a bit, and the open world/easter eggs/collectibles as well as using different interrogation techniques can give earn the game a replay too.

 

Video game Overview-Final Fantasy 15

Final Fantasyy is one of the major video game franchises; specifically, in the Japanese role playing game genre. Since 1987, the series has been on multiple platforms-spawning multiple spin-offs in not only gaming, but in comics, anime, and motion pictures; as well as crossovers with Disney (The Kingdom Heart series features some characters from the games). Keep in mind when writing this, I haven’t really played or watched a great deal of FF 15’s spin-off material; DLC, multiplayer, the Kingsglaive movie etc. so I might get a few things a bit wrong 🙂

 

What’s interesting about many of the games is that, although they share some common features-such as the Chochobo, a ostrich/chicken style creature that allows for quick movement around a map…. (There’s also a lesser known, cat/bear like creature called the Mog)

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Usually some form of airship…

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and recurring bad guys such as blobs, fireballs, “Cactuars” and Giant plants…

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The ability to “summon” powerful, otherworldly allies to help in combat…

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and of course the “grunt” soldiers of the bad guys, represented in this game by the Magitek soldiers.

 

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Final Fantasy 15’s setting is far more Earth-like than other games, with a bulk of the game’s ‘world’ appearing a bit like the Southwestern united states, although with quite a few differences here and there. (Another continent, for example, resembles Venice, and the game’s capitols are somewhat similar to European capitols).

For example; the game uses a car, which, while nice-looking isn’t exactly technically advanced to begin with, and needs to often be refueled.

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The Fashions and look of things don’t exactly scream “Magical world”….

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although certain characters do look a bit more otherwordly.

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….but perhaps what ties it mostly to our present world is the product placement. While other games have been guilty of it (Metal Gear, for example)….it’s a bit immersion-breaking to have real products in a fantasy setting-in particular cup of noodles, which is actually involved in at least one quest,

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…and has optional head gear for the main character, Noctis.

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Final Fantasy 15’s storyline centers around Noctis, the prince and somewhat reluctant heir to the Kingdom of Lucis, who is bethroed to Lady Lunafreya, an oracle and ruler of one of the provinces of the militaristic Empire of Niffelhelm, in an attempt to help broker peace. He’s on his way to the wedding, and has brought along three companions and lifelong friends.

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Although the player controls only Noctis, the other three are controlled by AI and each has specific skills in both the battle and non-battle environments. Igni (Guy with the glasses) is proficient in cooking and strategy; Gladious, Noctis’s sworn bodyguard, at finding items and is pretty strong with a large sword; Prompto, the weakest of the group-and more of an outsider-,is quite a shutterbug-taking several photos-but is also a decent shot with the pistol. Noctis also has a fishing hobby in addition to his other combat skills, which include the ability to “warp” towards (or away) from enemies.

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Early on in the game, not only is their voyage to Noctis’s wedding delayed, but the Empire invades by force Lucis’s capital city of Insomnia, killing the king and laying waste too much of the city. Noctis and Luna are declared dead, and Noctis and his gang decide they’re going to have to take on the Empire and reclaim their throne, in part by claiming several ancient weapons which can give Noctis an edge in battle. However, as with most “Final Fantasy” titles-and a lot of other video games-things are not quite as simple as they appear to be-Helping” them on their quest is the mysterious Ardyn, although for reasons of his own….

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….(Who I think kind of looks like a crazier Fourth Doctor….)

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Final Fantasy’s combat and leveling up system is similar to a large number of RPGs these days, and quite different from many of the past Final Fantasy games, which worked with a “Turn based” combat system, with the characters and enemies each taking turns by selecting moves which were then executed without the need for too much control and button-smashing.

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Like a lot of RPGs there’s of course a level-up system, as well as a skill tree. Certain items, such as food bought at cafes or cooked by Ignis at camping grounds,  can also help improve character’s stats.

Image result for Ignis new recipe.Unlike some of the other Final Fantasy games, magic is less important. Noctis, at least at first, can only really use three different kinds-fire, lightning, and Ice, which he can bulk up by ‘drawing’ from certain crystals.

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In addition to the main story quests, there’s also side quests that can be taken. These include simple ‘fetch quests’ where you can just grab some items or minerals for somebody, to more complex ones such as hunting monsters.

Although they play a fairly large role in the story, the “Summons” aren’t a huge part of the gameplay of the game like they were in

 

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Final Fantasy is billed in part as a game both for “Fans and first timers”, a statement that makes sense-although it has many FF tropes, it’s not beholden to them, and incorporates some more modern gameplay mechanics. Overall, worth a look.

Fallout Overview Part one-The World

War. War Never Changes.-Series tagline

So now you’re gonna shoot bullets of fire 
Don’t want to fight but sometimes you’ve got to 
You’re some soul survivor 
There’s just one thing you’ve got to know 
You’ve got ten more thousand miles to go

-Tina Turner “One of the Living” Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

 

Thought I’d share my thoughts on this particular video game franchise; I’ll admit that I haven’t played some of the older games or the “New Vegas” (sort of 3.5) game, or explored every aspect or every faction in the series. So pardon any inaccuracies.

“Fallout” is not only a post-apocalyptic future, but an alternate past; one where certain technologies were developed, or went in different directions after the second World War. By the mid 21st century, human civilization-at least in the united states, sort of resembles the hypothetical future thought up in the 1950’s and 1960s; the franchise as a whole pretty much has a sort of “retrofuture” aspect to it.

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But despite this idealistic society, with Leave It To Beaver family values and handy butler robots, there is ugliness behind the utopian vinear-which culminates in a nuclear war that lasts one day. A large group of humanity is saved in underground vaults created by “Vault-Tec”…although some of these are used for often cruel experiments on the remains of humanity. While select groups survive on the surface, some of the radiation warps them into ‘ghouls’, who despite their appearance, often manage to keep many of their mental facilities-and are able to live long lives centuries after the war.

 

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although some devolve into a feral, almost zombie-lake state.

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The nuclear apocalypse also produced other weird mutations on the surface, such as the Brahmin cows…

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and the crustacean Mirelurk:

 

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…..in addition, human experimentation on ways to resist the radiation  resulted in other mutations as well, most notably the Hulking super mutants.

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Eventually, regular humans emerged from many of the vaults in an attempt to rebuild civilization, sometimes joining with other survivors scattered around the various wastelands-where of course, not a lot of vegation grows, there’s a great deal of radiation still around, and many buildings and infrastructure lie in total ruin.

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living a slightly slipshod, quirky existence in many settlements, such as a city in Fenway park in the ruins of Boston…..

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or an aircraft carrier in Washington D.C….

 

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Or others just figured it was best to remain in the vaults.

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In addition to the various mutants in the wasteland, there were various other threats, of course….various bands of Raiders, looking much like the villains of a “Mad Max” movie….

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and various mercenary groups, not to mention various robots left over….some benign….

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Others, not so much.

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It is into this world that our main character-who often starts in a vault-is eventually thrown into. I’ll cover some more on “Fallout” in a future article (Hopefully with a bit more knowledge of the franchise than this surface stuff).

Metal Gear Profiles-Hal “Otacon” Emmerich

Otacon : Snake, wait up! You forgot these….

Snake : No thanks. I’m quitting.

Otacon : Snake?

Snake : These things will kill ya.

Otacon : Where will you go…? Our fight is finished. There’s nothing left for us to do.

Snake : No. There’s one thing I still have to do. I have to see this age off… See what the future brings.

Otacon : Sounds good to me. I’ll go with you. S

nake : Otacon, I’m gonna be dead soon. You don’t have to come.

Otacon : You said it yourself, Snake. There’s nothing inside you can pass on to the next generation. No genes, no memes… You’re man-made… You’re a beast.

Snake : I know… A blue rose. There won’t be any happy “Beauty and the Beast” ending for me. What little time I have left will be spent living… As a beast. A shadow of the inside… Of the old age.

Otacon : Exactly. That’s why you need me. As a witness.

Snake : A witness?

Otacon : Yeah. Someone on the outside to bear witness to your final days. Someone to pass on your story… Not that I’m the only witness. But I’ll remember everything you were… And stick with you to the end.

Snake : Otacon….

Otacon : Besides, you wouldn’t let me suffer Sunny’s eggs alone, would you?

 

 

 

Hal “Otacon” Emmerich was born-possibly in Afghanistan-to Dr. Strangelove and Huey Emmerich in 1980, as they were working to develop the Metal Gear Sehalanthropus for XOF and the Soviets. He was named after the computer in 2001: A Space Oddyssey (In the same way, his father was named after a robot in “Silent Running”.)

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However, at the age of 3, Huey planned to use his son as a test subject for the robot, which made Strangelove furious. Concerned for the safety of her son, she had him shipped to America, away from his father. Huey reacted badly to this situation, locking her in the Boss AI tube and having her suffocate.

After his exile from Diamond Dogs, Huey and his son were eventually reunited, and Huey remarried a British woman, and Hal gained a new stepsister, Emma. However, Huey eventually drowned himself in the family pool, and Hal and Emma (Or “E.E” as he liked to call her) drifted from each other.

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Eventually, he enrolled in MIT and Princeton, where he gained PHDs and degrees, and also did some work for the FBI. He eventually became a developer for Armstech-and chief designer for Metal Gear REX at Shadow Moses, much like his father before him. It was here he would cross paths with Solid Snake, beginning a long friendship.

The naive Hal believed Rex would only be a defense system, although it possessed a railgun capable of launching nukes. He also stated that in part, he liked designing it because it reminded him of robots in Japanese anime-Hal also adopted the nickname “Otacon” short for Otaku convention.

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After the takeover of Shadow Moses Island by the rogue FOXHOUND, Hal was forced to work for them, but developed a possibly Stockholm syndrome form of affection for Sniper Wolf, and helped to feed her wolves.

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Eventually, Snake came across Otacon hiding in the lockers after one of his confrontations with Grey Fox, saying that the confrontation reminded him of…

 

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Being told the truth about what Metal Gear really was by Snake, Hal decided to aid the soldier, after some uneasy first impressions. He took stealth camouflage and snuck around the base with it, aiding Snake by helping him escape from prison (giving him ketchup to mimic the appearance of blood) helping Snake realize that the were genome soldiers also wearing stealth camo in an elevator, and also gave Snake other forms of intel-especially on REX-and also asked Snake an important question.

 

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Mainly addressed to his relationship with Sniper Wolf. However,  as part of his mission, Snake was forced to kill Wolf, which devastated Hal.

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After Rex was deactivated by Snake, Otacon helped Snake and Meryl escape by unlocking several doors from his computer, and eventually escaped himself.

He, Snake, Natasha Rumenko and Me Ling formed the PHILANTHROPY group, oppossed to the development of Metal Gears (Since Ocelot had leaked the plans for REX to the black market, allowing for many Metal gear knock-offs). Eventually, getting a letter from his sister “E.E”-or so he though-they discovered the Army was building one-an Anti-Metal Gear Metal Gear, Ray. Although it’s purpose was to destroy other Metal Gears, Otacon and Snake still felt they needed to expose it, and Snake infiltrated the tanker Discovery to photograph it and send them to Otacon’s computer (which had an Otacon avatar). However, the mission was largely a trap set by Ocelot. Snake and Otacon managed to escape, and went underground.

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2 years later Otacon reemerged in the Big Shell incident, where on the site of the Tanker’s sinking a “cleaning facility” was built, but in fact it was cover for a new “Arsenal Gear”-a massive submarine Metal Gear. It was then taken over by Solidus Snake and his “Sons of Liberty”/Dead Cell.He discovered his stepsister, Emma, was working on the project. Snake and Otacon-working with Raiden-infiltrated the Big Shell, and he was reunited with Emma. Unfortunately, their reunion was short-lived and tragic, as Emma was stabbed by Vamp.

 

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Upset that he lost yet another woman he cared for, Otacon nevertheless tried to pull himself together with help from Snake, and tried to evacuate the remaining hostages. And hence, some of the coolest Metal Gear moments were born.

 

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Otacon was able to figure out that the “Colonel Campbell” ordering Raiden was in fact an AI construct, especially when he found out it was coming from within the ship and acting very strangely after Emma’s virus was loaded into it Arsenal’s GW AI. After Solid Snake recovered info on the Patriots, both he and Snake were perplexed that the Patriot’s members were not only some of Philantropy’s backers, but also all dead for nearly a century.

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After Raiden rescued Sunny-Olga Krulenko’s daughter Hal took her in as a stepdaughter, and noticed that Snake was aging at an increased rate. Due to being framed for the Patriots, they largely used the NOMAD plane as their lab and base of operations.

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Eventually, Colonel Campbell (the real one) located Liquid Ocelot, and Snake and Otacon went after him. Although largely staying on NOMAD with Sunny, he was able to assist Snake on the field using the Metal Gear Mark II, a small, definitely non-nuclear Metal Gear with video interface and wires capable of manipulating objects and hacking computers. It also served as a useful scout.

 

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After Snake rescued Naomi Hunter, he began a romantic relationship with her, and she served as a sort of mother figure to Sunny.  However, she seemed to rejoin Ocelot’s faction later on, although this was a bit of a ruse.

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Eventually, using footage captured by the Mk II (Which was then replaced with a Mark III) Otacon and Snake realized that Ocelot intended to steal Metal Gear Rex’s railgun for use as a weapon against the Patriot’s satellite AI JD….so Snake returned to Shadow Moses, with Raiden helping him with the Mark III, and the two recalling their past adventure together.

However, it was discovered that Ocelot had already gotten the Railgun, and what’s worse, Naomi died from her cancer, which she had only been holding back using  transfusions of nanomachines. Deciding he had no tears left to shed, Otacon-despite devastated at the loss of yet another woman he cared about, managed to pull himself together again and reactivate Metal Gear REX, although without it’s railgun, and had Snake unlock it’s “Street fighter” mode, allowing for it to battle Ocelot’s RAY.

 

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Later, Otacon briefed everyone on Ocelot’s plan as they planned to infiltrate Outer Haven, Ocelot’s Arsenal gear warship, and once again assisted Snake using the Mk III. When GW was shut down, a pre-recorded message from Naomi played, explaining that, with Sunny’s help, she was able to override the Patriot’s AI, allowing their control to fade but not totally messing up civilization. Otacon was thankful-and yet very sad-at her sacrifice.

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Otacon, along with Sunny, later attended Meryl and Johnny’s wedding, although Snake couldn’t since he was doing his own reunion with Big Boss. He stated that Snake “always keeps people waiting”.

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As Snake went on to his final months, Otacon vowed to be his ‘witness’ and friend until his end. He also became somewhat more confident, earning a slight reputation as a “ladies’s man” although he often kept them at arm’s length due to the fates of Wolf, Emma and Naomi.

 

Metal Gear profiles: Huey Emmerich

 

One day he’ll see through the lies he built up. Realize what kind of man he really is. What goes around comes around. You can’t run from yourself forever.-Ocelot

QUILTY! ALL COUNTS!-Kaz

You knew our family’s dark history, and still got involved!?
What’s wrong with you!? Answer me! Why are you repeating the same mistake?-Hal “Otacon” Emmerich

 

 

 

Huey Emmerich was born in August 6th, 1945, the day the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima. His father was part of the Manhattan Project as well. Born paraplegic, he eventually worked with NASA on rockets, alongside Dr. Strangelove, who gave him the nickname “Huey” (His real name is unknown, but is possibly Henrich). In the 60s, he also became colleagues with Russian scientist Granin, who created the Metal Gear concept in the first place. Although the Metal gear was abandoned by Volgin in favor of the Shagohod tank, the papers were sent to Huey in the states.

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Working again with Strangelove, he became involved in Peace Sentinel’s “Peace Walker” project. In designing the prototypes for the project, he used design inspiration from both the Shagohod and Metal Gear projects, ultimately culminating in the Peace Walker itself, the first “walking tank”

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However, he soon became disillusion with Hot Coldman when he learned he intended to use Peace Walker not as a deterrent, but to fire an actual nuke.

Rejecting this, he eventually joined Big Boss’s MSF, giving him valuable intel on Peace Sentinel’s operations and working with the R and D departments. He also began working on a project for Big Boss-the Metal Gear ZEKE, largely built from AI and weapons components from the destroyed Peace Walker prototypes-and possessing a nuke-a nuke that Huey believed would be used as a deterrent, as opposed to Peace Walker which was intended to be field-tested by Coldman.

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After Strangelove was brought to Mother Base to help work on Metal Gear ZEKE-and the weapon was almost used by Paz-Huey and Strangelove started to take their relationship to another level.

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But things wouldn’t exactly end well. Huey-without Big Boss’s or Kaz’s authority-agreed to sign off on a UN inspection of Mother Base-although the Metal gear with it’s nuke was hidden under the sea. Strangelove left the base during this time, as did the other civlians except for Huey.

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However, the inspection was a smoke screen, and MSF was played like a damn fiddle by XOF, a rogue group split from CIPHER, with Mother Base destroyed, Big Boss and a medic falling into a coma, and the deaths of Paz, Morpho and Chico. Huey-possibly aware of this all along-was taken to XOF. Kaz-who recovered early from the destruction-sought out Huey, finally finding a lead in Afghanistan.

In the nine years at Afghanistan, he worked on Skull Face’s Metal Gear Sehalanthropus, along with Strangelove, who recovered the Peace Walker AI and used it for future research. Eventually, this union produced a son: Hal. In addition to working on Sehalanthropus, he developed new mobile legs and “Walker gears” based on Metal Gear technology/

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As selanthropus neared completion-although with a cockpit that could only really fit a child at this stage, Huey decided he wanted a test subject-his son-to pilot it. Strangelove, appalled by this, arranged to have Hal sent to the states where he would be safe from his father. Once Hal found out about this, he lashed out and sealed Strangelove in the AI pod tube, causing her to suffocate (The body continued to remain in the pod until recovered by Venom Snake).

 

About a year later, Venom Snake-believing himself to be Big Boss-awoke from his coma and tracked down Huey in Afghanistan at a soviet base. As Venom Snake escaped with Huey, he found his weapon Selanthropus being used, even though the AI interface wasn’t completed and it had no pilot. It was in fact, being piloted supernaturally by Treti Rebonek, the future “Psycho mantis”.

 

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Although Snake managed to escape with Huey and the scientist was brought to Diamond Dog’s mother base, he was met with distrust by several members of the staff, especially Kazuhira Miller. Nevertheless, he was admitted into R & D, and developed Diamond Dog’s D-Walker and Battle gear.

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He was also reguarly interrogated by Kaz, Venom Snake, and Miller, where he revealed details about XOF’s other weapon-the vocal cord parasites-as well as info on Selanthropus and Cipher’s Les Infant Terribles project.

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When it finally became time to take on Selanthropus and Skull Face at OKB Zero, it was Huey who finally killed him after he was crushed by the (Eli-controlled) Selanthropus, and further maimed by Snake and Miller. He then gloated of his “revenge”.

 

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When the deactivated Selanthropus was taken to Mother Base, Huey was in awe of his creation-and started to put his own plans into action against Diamond Dogs. He repaired Selanthropus in secret, where it was eventually taken by Eli and his group of child soldiers. He also experimented on Code Talker’s vocal cord parasites, intending to sell them to DARPA (under the control of Donald Anderson, who was putting his own plans into motion), which caused a major outbreak at mother base, forcing Venom Snake to kill several of his own men. Huey, of course, blamed their deaths on Venom Snake instead.

 

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The most damning evidence that Huey was up to no good came from the AI pod-which contained the bones of Strangelove, as well as her last recorded moments clearly implicating Huey. Huey was put on trial, with Kaz and many of the soldiers calling for blood.

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During the trial, Huey once again attempted to deflect blame onto Big Boss and his men, and not himself. Although Kaz wanted him dead, Venom Snake chose to exile him instead, in a life raft, where he continued to rail against Diamond Dogs, and had to be abandon his robotic legs. Big Boss’s later Metal Gears-TX-55 and D-would be developed by a different scientist-Drago Pettrovich Madnar.

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Huey later on made it to the United States, where he reunited with Hal, and eventaully married Julie Danziger, a british woman. He also raised Danziger’s daughter, Emma, along with Hal. However, as Ocelot predicted, his lies-and his family being closer to Hal than to him-eventually led him to drown himself in the family.

In a bit of irony-or perhaps because of his father’s history with the Metal Gear projects-his son, Hal, would develop a Metal Gear with many similar aspects to his father’s prototypes. The Metal Gear REX. Like his father, he would also find himself allied with a Snake-Big Boss’s clone son, Solid Snake…as well as working as a hostage under his father’s ally Eli, now Liquid Snake.

Although sharing many of the same personality traits as his father, Hal turned out to be a far, far better man. But that’s for another profile….

 

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Uncharted Influences Part I-Uncharted 4 and the Goonies

*spoilers for Uncharted 4 follow, as well as the Goonies, if you’ve never seen it).

The Goonies-a 1985 family film classic directed by Richard Donner (“Superman” and the “Lethal Weapon” movies) and produced by Steven Spielberg (Who doesn’t need any introduction)….about a group of kids in Astoria, Washington whose houses are threatened by greedy land developers that their parents can’t afford to outbid. While looking through some old pirate relics stored in the attic of the father of one of them-the main hero-Mikey-they stumble upon an old pirate treasure map, which leads them on a search to find the treasure to bail out their parents and save their homes; but which also unexpectedly puts them in the path of the Fratelli gang, a mother and son group of counterfeiting criminals whose hideout happens to be right on top of the series of caverns leading to the treasure-and if that’s not enough, the whole place is littered with skeletons and booby traps.

 

 

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Uncharted-the adventures of Nathan Drake (well, until recently) adventurer, pseduo-archaeologist, and pretty much a thief (although one a “heart of gold”), who-along with several allies helping him along the way-mentor Sully, love interest and eventual wife, Elena, and others; made important discoveries such as El Dorado, Shambayla and the Atlantis of the Seas…but also learned that some treasures are best left behind a the same time. As of Uncharted 4, he’s settled down to a domestic life as Elena’s husband, and working in a salvage business in New Orleans. However, the call of adventure comes back to him when his presumed dead older brother Sam reemerges-with the possible key to a treasure they’ve been searching for all their life-the lost pirate colony of Libertera, rumored to have been founded by the missing Captain Avery.

 

 

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It’s kind of obvious where the origin point is for both series (although “Goonies” also brings in some influence from Hardy Boys novels). This guy.

 

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Although Uncharted, with it’s death defying action, violence, incredible chases, treasures etc. certainly (Although Indy is set from the 30s-50s) owes a bit more of a similarity to Jones than Goonies does, let’s not forget that Goonies and Indy come from a common origin as well-producer and co-writer on the film, Steven Spielberg.:

 

Getting more on track though, let’s get to the heart of the matter-comparisons between the two.

Uncharted 4’s story has it’s genesis in flashback segments revealed throughout the game, where Nathan and his brother Sam first discover their destiny by breaking into a home which has their late mother’s belongings; leading them to not only change their last names, but also on their lifelong quest to find the lost colony, a subject their mother was interested in and close to cracking. The first similarity is pretty visual off the bat-young Nathan is very similar in appearence to Mikey from the Goonies (although without the asthma problem). The denim jacket in particular is sort of a dead giveaway.

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The old house in the game also bears some slight similarities to the attic museum pieces from the Goonies, which set them on their quest in the first place.

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Although like Mikey and his older brother Brand, Nathan participates in the quest with his older brother Sam, there is an important difference in that while Brand initially isn’t really along for the ride until sort of forced to by the Fratellis showing up (and in an attempt to impress his lady  friend Andrea “Andy”). In the main storyline, it’s Nathan who is the reluctant one, as he’s largely retired from the adventure life and has settled down with Elena (When he goes off on his quest, he doesn’t tell Elena which leads to a brief rift between the two).

 

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Like “Goonies”, one of the keys to the treasure is a map-in Uncharted, located in the cross of St. Dimas, which leads to Scotland and later to more clues. The equivalent in Goonies is a dubloon near the treasure map, which serves as a coastline marker for the cavern’s location.

 

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Of course while the Drakes have to navigate several puzzles, fight off an army of mercenaries, and travel around the world to find their treasure, The goonies deal with relatively fewer obstacles-the Fratellis, some traps, and the piano puzzle.

It’s when we get to the pirate colony itself that the similarities really go off on all cylinders. The place is a graveyard, with pretty much all the colonists dead, or worse, their corpses weaponized to set off booby traps (in a similar fashion, one of the Goonies’s skeletons has become a rather grim piano that’ll kill you via fall if you die “If you hit the wrong note, we’ll all B flat”).

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But there’s also this scene of a “last supper” with Avery’s co-conspirators, who he all poisoned to get away with the treasure.

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One eyed Willy pretty much did the same thing, although in his case, he died with it as well (presumably, one pirate managed to escape with the map and dubloon though).

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Although there’s a difference in location-the dead pirates are located in a lush mansion, while the Goonies’s dead pirates lie aboard Willy’s ship, the Inferno, located in a sealed-off cave.

But don’t worry, Uncharted’s got that covered as well.

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Of course this also leads to a final confrontation with the villains,  involving some salvaged pirate swords, although not really any fighting in Goonies’s case.

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In both cases, the characters have to give up the treasure to save their own lives. But there’s just enough left to bail them out of their current situation. Elena manages to save a gold coin from the colony, which manages to help re-start her journalism career, and give Drake a legitimate treasure-hunting business (as well as begin to raise a family and get a nice beach house, possibly on the pirate colony itself!)

 

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Likewise, the gems that Mikey managed to get in his marble bag are enough to save the Goonies’s homes from the greedy developers, leading to a happy ending (even for Willy, in a sense, whose derelict inferno escapes from the cave for one last voyage).

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