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GamelogoBy Australian Ninja

Remnants & Relics. Buttonhole *Special* Feature

Welcome dear reader to Remnants & Relics, the first in an ongoing series of features looking back at various aspects of yesterday's video games. This series is one that I'd hoped to kick off many months ago, but I just haven't had the time to do it justice, until now. So consider this your opportunity to put on your best pair or rose-tinted glasses, open up a luke-warm can of clichés and prepare to hop aboard the way-back-machine.... It came from beyond two dimensions! -A Look Back at Isometric Gaming-

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

ACMI Day Tripper

Welcome Buttonhole readers to another feature that is so choc-full of goodness that I've divided it into several sections. The top half is about the Indy video games showcased at ACMI. The bottom half is about the Pixar exhibit. It's ridiculously long and all terribly interesting to read, so you may as well read it in two halves, or just the parts that interest you. After reading about the ACMI exhibits on their website and getting more than a little excited, I decided to make the perilous trek to inner Melbourne. With time on my side and money stuffed in my pocket I ventured forth to the train station. Once on board I passed the time by staring out the window, reading a volume of Dark Horse's Concrete and snacking on tasty fruit. Arriving at Flinders St, I wandered around until inevitably finding my way out of the rat-maze like station.

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Classic Comic-book Review. Kraven's Last Hunt

"Here lies Spider-Man - Slain by the Hunter" So reads the grave of one of histories greatest superheros. "But he's not dead, is he? What happened to everyone's favourite web-slinger? Spidey seems to be alive and well now, what with his three movie deal and a string of monthly Marvel comic-book titles to his name, so why was he buried six feet under? The year is 1987. The company is Marvel. The character is Sergei Kravinov also known as 'Kraven the Hunter.' Back in the 60's Stan and Steve (Lee and Ditko, respectively) churned out a heap of cool villains for the title "Amazing Spider-Man." Doctor Octopus, The Cham

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Lemony Snickets Game Cover Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events

PlayStation 2 Review

Publisher: Activision

Mon, 17 January 2005

Sammy by: Hillelman

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Isn’t it great when something exceeds your expectations? That is exactly what happened to me with this Lemony Snicket’s game based on the new movie starring Jim Carey (which is in turn based on the popular books). It is well known that the majority of games based on movies tend to suck, but this one ended up being pretty good. Lemony Snicket’s was a short experience, but it was one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Here’s an outline of the plot taken from Activision’s website: “…this is the tale of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, whose parents perish in a fire. Soon after, they are sent to live with their sinister uncle, Count Olaf, in a most cavernous mansion. Great tragedy becomes greater misfortune as Olaf’s despicable plans are revealed and the siblings must combine forces to prevent the Count and his henchmen from seizing their immense family fortune.”

Using the triangle button, the player can switch between all three children at various stages. This aspect of the game reminds me a bit of Mario and Luigi’s Superstar Saga on the Gameboy Advance, which is a compliment as I loved that game. Each character has different skills, so the style of the game changes slightly depending on which of them you are controlling at the time. You have to alternate between each of them, using their unique strengths to work through the levels. This gives the game a bit of a tactical feel and helps keep it different to the other billion movie based run and jump games that have come before.

Obviously this is targeted more towards kids than old buggers like me. The game holds your hand throughout and it is all pretty easy, but that doesn’t mean there’s no fun to be had for us old timers. The variety of the gameplay is quite impressive, there are certain tasks you have to do that are actually quite similar, but they are presented in such a way that it usually still feels fresh. Mostly you are exploring and trying to collect items, but the way you do it is more fun than it may sound. You get the standard 3D platforming action, which is well designed and enjoyable. But there are also the 2D levels (though still presented with 3D graphics) when you are controlling the baby Sunny; these sections were a nice diversion and somewhat reminiscent of the classic SNES game Yoshi’s Island. There are also parts of the game that take a first person view and play like Virtual Cop or Time Crisis where you have to move the cursor around and shoot all the targets/enemies that pop up. These bits are unlikely to have you selling your old copy of House of the Dead, but once again, they help to keep things varied. The controls are responsive and well set out too.

The presentation is a big part of what makes Lemony Snicket’s so appealing. The graphics are crisp and detailed and do a good job of resembling the movie (at least from what I have seen of it in the previews). The game/film has a slightly Tim Burton look to it (as Special K mentioned to me), which is great for me as I’m a big fan of his. All the characters are well animated and full of personality.

The sound and music is equally good, if not even better. All the character’s voices are done by the actors from the film; Jim Carey, Australia’s own Emily Browning and so on, are all here. The soundtrack by Thomas Newman is straight from the movie too and it works extremely well.

One of the biggest problems with Lemony Snicket’s is that the enemies and boss fights are all fairly similar and none of them offer much challenge. In fact, many of them aren’t very interesting at all; squashing spiders and rats gets old pretty fast and you soon long for some more substantial enemies. The bosses are slightly more fun, but they all follow the same couple of set patterns, often leaving you thinking “was that it?” when you defeat them. But we must remember, as I said earlier, this game is geared to a young audience, not veteran gamers. So the lack of challenge is quite forgivable here. To add a little bit of length to the game for those who want it, the programmers have included several unlockable extras which can be attained by finding all the hidden puzzle pieces in each level. None of the extras are going to set your world on fire, but hey, bonus stuff is always welcome in my book.

I found the game’s dark and twisted sense of humour very amusing. It has actually made me keen to go and see the movie. If you have kids that you play video games with, this is one I highly recommend as you won’t be bored out of your mind helping them through it. Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events is a good game for a weekend rental for those who like platform/exploration games, or fans of the books/movie. For kids (or their parents), who will probably take a while longer to play through it, I can recommend it as worthy purchase. Keep in mind that the score I’ve given this game applies to its target audience of youngsters. Older folks should knock one or two buttons off that total. Versions of this game are also available on PC, Xbox, Gamecube and Gameboy Advance.

by: Hillelman

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More articles by Hillelman

A charming and well designed game that does justice to its source material.

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Which of the following game genres do you like the most?
Role Playing
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Adventure/Action (includes platformers)

ToonlogoBy Borgieman

Manifest '07 Report

Ninja's note: Once again, it's time for another Buttonhole report on the Melbourne Anime Festival, otherwise known as Manifest 2007. If you missed Ichibod's feature on a previous Manifest, check it out here. This Manifest coverage comes to you courtesy of forum regular and newest Buttonhole contributor Borgieman, a cool guy who knows his Anime and has been known to play a video game or two. So read on true believers! A Day at Manifest 2007

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ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Only Yesterday. Anime Review

The problem with having favourite films is that every time I watch another Studio Ghibli film it becomes my new favourite. It kind of renders the word 'favourite' meaningless when every Studio Ghibli film takes my breath away. Still, I can't complain about being thoroughly entertained by this whimsical and insightful film, "Only Yesterday". This gem was directed by Isao Takahata, well known for his anime film Grave of the Fireflies. Although Only Yesterday is a light hearted film that ambles along at a leisurely pace, it still manages to explore themes such as love, work, family relationship struggles, following your dreams and country versus city living. In the film, the main character Taeko decides to take a working vacation in the country, getting away from her office bound job and unexpectedly starts t

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ToonlogoBy Jason

Speed Grapher V1. Anime Review

Well, "I don't like it" was my initial feeling when viewing this Anime for the first time. Subsequent viewings haven't changed my views a great deal. Nothing really stands out as being absolute shit but it seems that this series tries too hard. It's almost like they were more interested in creating something 'edgy' and confronting but sadly forgot to include an even remotely palatable story. The hero of this particular piece is a bloke called Tatsumi Saiga. Tatsumi is a photographer and a veteran war journalist for whom taking photos has become somewhat of a fetish. Although he seems to have become jaded - nothing is worth wasting his film on - that is, at least until he stumbles across an exclusive club for the mega rich

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