One of the most mysterious characters in comic history is undoubtedly the mutant Wolverine from the X-Men universe. He's a tough dude, literally, can heal back from wounds the size of volcanoes and he doesn't really give a damn about what you think about him anyway.
Since the conception of X-Men and its long running series, Wolverine's background has been shrouded in several layers of shadows on top of several more layers of mind-wipes. No one really knew where he came from, how he got where he is, except bits and pieces that Logan has been able to unearth in his relentless pursuit of finding about his past- a government experiment known as Weapon X, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, a farmer in Japan, a man who did not flinch from the sight of blood, and many things else. A Canadian, too.
Logan's origins had never been revealed or told, to allow for certain flexibility to the meanest X-Men out there, but the bottom most layer of darkness has been swept away, and renowned writer Paul Jenkins tells the story never told.
Origin witnesses the first manifestation of child James Howlett's mutant powers in a fit of rage- retractable claws on his hand. James is traumatized by events at home, namely several deaths, and is forced to flee his rich heritage, branded a spawn of the devil, with the help of his friend Rose. Rose takes the both of them to a mining town where they begin the rest of their lives anew. Not wanting to give his real name, Rose introduces her friend 'Logan' to Smitty, a sheriff-like figure of the place. Years fly by and things seem to settle smoothly. But if only things were so simple. The past catches up to our hero and delivers yet another fatal stroke.
Paul Jenkins is an amazing writer, and even though this is not his best work yet, Wolverine: Origins is still pretty darn good. Origins has some pretty decent artwork, now and then capturing some nifty 'Kodak' moments.
There's something vaguely unsatisfactory about the 6 part miniseries, though. After so many years of trudging through dark water, it just doesn't seem to give that certain punch that one expects after being there for so long. The fact that his Origins were a mystery presented an infinite potential for it. But the story is told, and whatever potential had been there is used up, which always leaves something to be desired. Nonetheless, Wolverine Origins is a must read for any X-Men fan. Even if you aren't one, this is a good graphic novel by itself, of wolf and man.
Videos game are berated for spreading violence, teaching kids all the wrong ideals, or for being so addictive that kids actually die because they just can' t stop. Playing world of Goo is a game that has none of the three vices mentioned just before… except maybe the third… it is kinda addictive. Well, two of three ain't bad.
2D Boy consists of two former EA employees, and World of Goo is the first game to come from the company. Seeing as how the game has already won a few awards, EA isn't too happy methinks.
The game is a basically a puzzle game akin to the flash games one might play, except this so much more. The premise is that there are these 'Goo' balls and you have to help them escape their current situation by getting them to this handy pipe. How do you do it? Well the Goo balls have the uncanny ability to join and merge with one another and you have to build structures using them to get to the pipe. The main of the objective of the game thus is, to get the Goo from point A to point B.
Now we move on to gameplay. The game for the novice gamer will prove to be delightfully easy to master, for the veteran gamer, its delightfully easy to make it endearing, most of us have played enough back-breaking-bone-crunchingly-hard games that for us World of Goo almost acts a holiday respite. That does not mean however that the game is easy.
It's a puzzle game which focuses a lot on physics, that subject that gave you so much grief back in school. The Goo buildings that you have to construct aren't just towers resembling a skewered Eiffel, get one move wrong or one angle wrong when putting it all together and the whole thing comes crashing down. And that's the beauty of the game; it's not just mindless fun.
The Goo balls come in many different forms and colours, and each type has a certain special ability. For example, you get these pink balloon type Goo balls that can attach to the bridge you're making to traverse this pit of lava. Because most of us didn't pay attention back in physics 101, the bridge will tend to sway downwards. That's when you can connect the balloon Goo to the bridge to hold the thing up and not fall into the lava.
In terms of graphics, the game manages to look gaudy but in that cartoonish way that clicks with the ocular senses. It's not anything that'll make one go 'whoah!' but it does the job nicely. The game isn't a resource whore so it won't make your computer gasp.
The sound score is another side that's been brilliantly done. The game is divided into chapters and there are five of them. Each one boasts its own theme of music to go with the different environment. The fact that the story of the game is vague and sometimes non-existent doesn't matter; the epic-ness of the music adds enough depth to pass. The squeaky, squishy sounds made by the Goo balls themselves are funny enough to keep a grin on your face.
If sometimes the MGSs and GTAs get a little too much to handle, its game like World of Goo offering simple fun that make the day. You don't always need complex storylines, jaw dropping scenery to make a game click. Simplicity is brilliance after all.
By Shehtaz Huq
Now that Oscar season is over, it's back to adrenaline-pumping brainless movies that usher in big-budget summer blockbuster hopefuls. One shining example is 'Taken', starring Liam Neeson as a retired government official-cum-sometimes-assassin.
Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a retired government official, recently divorced, and a protective dad to boot. The movie takes off with Mills bidding his teenage daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) goodbye at the airport. Kim and her friend Amanda go on a sightseeing trip to France, a trip that goes horribly wrong when hours (which translates into minutes in movie speak) after landing the two girls are kidnapped by deceptively handsome Russian-accented men. Mills happens to be on the phone with his daughter when the kidnappers come to take her, and armed with his super-advanced tech toys manages to decode everything that passes between the kidnappers before they drag his daughter off.
What ensues is a simplified version of a chase. Mills takes off to France, realizing that he has only 96 hours before he never hears from his daughter again. He tracks down the gang of traffickers, impersonates a French government official, and kills and shoots like it's nobody's business. He manages to pick up and follow clues with a single-mindedness Sherlock Holmes would envy. He knows torture methods Nazi officials would be willing to pay good money for. And he happens to know everything there is to know about rewiring just about anything that might need rewiring. A modern-day McGyver, anyone?
Neeson does the good-cop impression very well. His voice is always the same monotone but that's okay, seeing how he's on the hunt for a gang of human traffickers. He delivers some good one-liners. Nothing memorable, but nothing too horribly cheesy either. (Except when he says 'I told you I'd find you' before bashing in the bad guy's head, which I thought was just overkill). The chase scenes are far too many to count. Locations shift within five minutes of each other. Bad guys take only a bullet to kill, no matter how poorly aimed the shot is. The nefarious traffickers also have thick Eastern European accents, just so that the audience doesn't stop believing in stereotypes.
Some claim that 'Taken' have convinced them never to embark on a Euro trip. On the surface, 'Taken' seems to have a message. It does expose, to a small degree, the dark underbelly of human trafficking. But the explosions, mysterious witnesses who disappear after their purpose has been served, and bad-guys-dropping-like-flies angle choke director Pierre Morel's good intentions. It's a good movie to watch if you have nothing to do on a Friday night, and want to let your brain go in an intellectual free fall. Or if you're a guy, and you like action flicks with big guns and fast cars.