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Matt Barton's picture

Iron Man: The Movie *****

Iron ManIron ManI have to admit, I wasn't very optimistic about the movie adaptation of one of my favorite comic book superheroes, Iron Man. I read the comic growing up and always loved Iron Man because, unlike most of Marvel's other heroes, his powers were based on science and reasoning rather than random events (bitten by a radioactive spider, mutations, etc.) I also thought Tony Stark's character was interesting, particularly when he was in a wheelchair and suffering from alcoholism. He always seemed more mature and sophisticated than many of the other heroes. I guess there's probably not many of us techie geeks who can't appreciate Iron Man to some level.

Of course I feared the worst when it came to the movie--would they go-over-the-top like they did with Spiderman, turning Peter Parker from a shy and sensitive teen into a parody of nerdiness? Would they rely on cheezy CGI too much for the Iron Man scenes (Incredible Hulk)? Would it become an extended product placement segment (Transformers)? Would it be all action and simplistic moral tales (X-Men)?

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Reviews of Ankh 2 and Runaway 2

Just a quick note to let you know that I've recently published two more GAG reviews on our friend website Adventure Classic Gaming. Check out my reviews for Runaway 2: The Dream of the Turtle and Ankh 2: Heart of Osiris. They're both good games, and I agree with David's earlier assessment of Runaway 2. These types of games don't get nearly enough exposure nowadays, so it's worthwhile checking out sites like ACG every so often to keep up to date with them. Enjoy!

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Review: Kheops Studio's "Voyage: Inspired by Jules Verne" (2005)

Voyage: Lush graphics, awesome story, great puzzles, witty dialog...Bon voyage!Voyage: Lush graphics, awesome story, great puzzles, witty dialog...Bon voyage!Kheops Studio's "Voyage: Insired by Jules Verne," published in the US by the Adventure Company in 2005, is one of the best graphical adventure games I've seen in recent years. It features compelling gameplay, multiple ways to solve puzzles, and a good, solid story based on the works of celebrated French author Jules Verne (one of the true godfathers of science fiction). The puzzles are clever, the script is fun--in short, it's worth checking out, even if you aren't normally a fan of Myst-style games.

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Review: FunCom's "Dreamfall: The Longest Journey" (2006)

There are so many critics nowadays who like to scoff at the venerable old graphical adventure game (GAG) genre. All I can say is that the news of the GAG's demise is highly exaggerated. If you desire proof, then I suggest you give FunCom's Dreamfall a chance. This epic-sized adventure game is an amazing achievement, and certainly ranks as one of the finest GAGs of all time. Although it's certainly not flawless, Dreamfall capitalizes on its key assets: Interesting and well-developed characters, a fascinating storyline, and excellent pacing. Although some GAG fans will dismiss any game that doesn't burden the player down with "puzzles" and other distractions, I'm refreshed by FunCom's focus on story, characters, and dialog. If videogames are ever going to move beyond just simple diversions for young men, we're going to need more games like Dreamfall.

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Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest

Dead Man's Chest: Great film, mateys--go see it!Dead Man's Chest: Great film, mateys--go see it!Yesterday my wife and I hiked to the local multiplex to catch the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Dead Man's Chest. Although I've always been a big fan of pirate movies, I didn't see the first one in the theater. It seemed like such an obvious bit of cheesy franchise exploitation (a movie based on a RIDE?) that I waited for it on DVD. As soon as I saw the film, I realized my mistake--Gore Verbinski came out with a highly entertaining and memorable film along the lines of The Princess Bride. Part two, Dead Man's Chest, follows the successful formula, and thus results in another great summer movie. I want to talk about a bit about the film here, and then relate it to videogames.

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Top 10 NES Games according to GameSpot

NESNESGameSpot has a nice feature up about the Top Ten NES Games according to its many readers. They tallied over 12,000 votes to get the resulting list. It will probably shock no one to see Super Mario Bros 3 at the top of this list, followed by Zelda (follow link for cool timeline). Perhaps more surprising is Final Fantasy at #4. This is the only Final Fantasy game I've played all the way through, and it seems odd that it would occupy such a top spot. I played it through an emulator at about four-x speed (and frequent warping), and even then it took hours of monotony to complete the game. Playing it on the original hardware must have been an exercise in endurance! I'm shocked to see Metroid coming in at a lousy #8. As far as I'm concerned, Metroid would've been at #4. Ahh...I can almost hear the theme music now...

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Dreamcast Bonanza at IGN

DCDCAh, the Dreamcast...Although I'm usually about as PC-centric and anti-console as a guy can be and still be a gamer, I have a special place in my heart for Sega's Dreamcast. It's one of only two consoles I own, and I've been consistently impressed with its game library and its abilities as an emulator. Well, here's some exciting news for all us Dreamcast diehards: IGN is systematically reviewing every US-released Dreamcast title, and they intend to do it with screenshots as well as videos. If the entry for Rush 2049 is any indication, Dreamcast fans are in for quite a treat.

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