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B. E Jackson RSS Feed (Pennsylvania)

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The Lion King
The Lion King
76 used & new from $5.95

5.0 out of 5 stars really cool game, August 20, 2014
This review is from: The Lion King (Video Game)
Funnily enough, I never actually watched the Lion King movie so I don't really understand the many references we see in this video game. However I know enough about it due to seeing it so many times in commercials, magazines and posters that I have a very good idea what it's like. I also clearly remember my classmates loved this movie and it was VERY popular for at least a few months, and was actually the talk of the town in my school. I also remember Elton John had a resurgence in popularity with classics such as "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" and "Circle of Life" which dominated the radio airwaves.

Seeing as how I love Elton John's music and think very highly of Disney movies, it's unfortunate I had some kind of bitter resentment towards the Lion King's popularity which is the reason I never sat down and watched it. I will make an effort to actually watch the movie whenever I can. I mean it! I shouldn't hold resentment over a *movie* for crying out loud, especially one that's supposed to bring joy and adventure into our lives. Perhaps I was jealous that all the kids were into the same things and I wanted to separate myself from the bunch. I used to be rebellious as a kid. Rebellious against not only teachers and my parents, but other classmates. That's true rebellion!

Anyway let's get into the review. Something about basing video games off Disney movies in the early to mid 90's really brought out the graphical power of the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. The Lion King is no exception. Just LOOK at how beautiful and crisp the animations, graphics and sound are. I think the Super NES version is slightly superior over the Genesis version simply because the graphics are slightly more colorful, the backgrounds richer, the sprites of the two lions Mufasa and Simba are livelier (and by the way, they're both playable in the game but you can't select which one you want to play as which is the only flaw I can find), the music is MUCH better due to resembling actual African rhythms and beats, and the Super NES version is more polished overall. The Super NES even features more sound effects.

Through lush jungles and waterfalls, mountain terrains and fire-drenched underground areas, you have to guide Mufasa and Simba to the top of the mountain in 6 or 7 different stages while mainly climbing rocky platforms the entire way. Mufasa and Simba have several moves to defend themselves against the enemy danger such as the ability to claw-punch, jumping on top of enemies and a certain flip move to toss enemies over your head which is necessary to complete the game. On a side note I love the realistic looking animation we see of the lions holding onto the side and climbing platforms. Really neat. Their facial expressions are believable too which is why I recommend standing them still for a moment so you can admire them. The animation is seriously magnificent throughout this game.

The challenge is fairly high overall because even regular enemies are no pushovers and require a fair bit of clever thinking to take care of them, but nothing you can't handle with patience. The 3rd person view where you're running towards the TV screen swerving left to right and avoiding wild animals charging from behind while having to jump over rocks ahead is a VERY hard but brief segment, as is a certain log climbing part involving a waterfall. Seriously, why can't the logs be positioned the LONG (lengthy) way instead of the narrow opposite way? Would make the jumps so much more bearable. The final level is a mountainous cave puzzle level which can be quite difficult and confusing with animal danger everywhere.

But yeah, the animations are really wonderful. The enemies themselves breathe amazing life into the game due to their movements. Everything about this game looks way ahead of its time. It's comparable to the Genesis version of Aladdin in that the graphics and animations are top-notch and just gorgeous. Whereas Genesis gets the better version of Aladdin, the Super NES gets the better version of the Lion King. Highly recommended platforming fun.

Giant Microbes Maggot (Lucilia sericata) Plush Toy
Giant Microbes Maggot (Lucilia sericata) Plush Toy
Offered by Wigglish
Price: $9.95
11 used & new from $8.95

2.0 out of 5 stars not so cute anymore, August 20, 2014
Think a giant plush maggot is adorable? Guess again. Imagine your trash stinking horribly one day and you can't explain what's causing it. Then imagine you go to take the trash out and to your surprise a bunch of maggots spill out onto the kitchen carpet. The unforgettable smell of rotting meat, the grossness associated with maggots, watching them slither around so you have to specially clean your carpet to make sure all traces of maggots are gone completely... then imagine your children playing with a plush maggot toy the next day. Bye bye cuteness!

Dread (After Dark Horrorfest 4)
Dread (After Dark Horrorfest 4)
DVD ~ Jackson Rathbone
Price: $10.96
54 used & new from $1.95

3.0 out of 5 stars dreadful... for a while, August 19, 2014
Dread is a really bad movie until the final 30 minutes and then it gets MUCH better. The reviewer below says it perfectly- Dread is a "pity me" teen drama. I couldn't have said it better myself. That's a problem when it comes to horror because focusing the attention on teenage drama takes any horror elements and pretty much abandons them, or inadvertently spits on them if you will.

One teen has a secret- his parents were murdered in front of him as a child, so he gathers a group of classmates and they discuss the meaning behind fear and what makes people feel fear (in particular what elevates their fears). Little do the friends realize that he's doing more than testing people's fears for some school project. No he has a personal mission in mind to make their fears a reality. Unfortunately discussing fear is ALL they do for over an hour. A couple cute girls come into the picture, one of them with a black scar all down the side of her body (including her face). It's obvious it's just black paint however. She tries to scrub it away in the bathtub which results in a decent scene later on.

The teen boy with the murdered parents obviously has a psychotic, torture-desiring side and eventually it's revealed when he takes out his frustrations in such a vicious way on a friend who betrays him, but it takes SUCH a long time for this portion of the story to finally play out. Even then he comes across as more of a typical teenager whiner than anything else until the final 30 minutes. He does eventually trap one of the girls in a room in an attempt to test her level of fear with a plate of meat sitting in the middle of the floor covered in maggots. Will she eat it? Can she take it? It's quite astonishing how much this film improves by the final 30 minutes. It begs the question "Why was I forced to sit through so much mediocrity for over an hour?"

Castlevania Bloodlines
Castlevania Bloodlines
Offered by the_gamevault
Price: $189.99
19 used & new from $39.90

5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best Genesis games!, August 19, 2014
Wow! Who would have guessed Castlevania Bloodlines is actually in my opinion at least, one of the finest Genesis games ever and easily one of the best Castlevania games ever? I'm totally not kidding with you guys! Talk about getting the surprise of my life tonight. This game does a LOT of things right. In fact it does just about *every* thing right. It's better than all the NES Castlevania games which isn't easy for me to say considering how much I love Castlevania III in particular, and it's leagues better than the Super NES game Bloodlines is constantly compared to for unfair reasons (Dracula X). Dare I go to the extreme and say it's possibly even a notch better than Super Castlevania IV? Oh yeah, it just might be! I'll tell you exactly why Bloodlines is a masterpiece below.

Well you're given a choice between two characters to take you through the journey- the whip swinging John Morris or the axe swinging Eric Lecarde. At first I thought the axe was clunky and awkward but I warmed up to it after a few minutes. Still, I prefer the traditional whip so John Morris is my choice for favorite character of the two. So what makes Bloodlines so good? The atmosphere and the appropriately dark graphics/setting make this game skyrocket to new levels of awesomeness. Maybe it's unintentional that the gritty graphics enhance the experience much like it does for the original Silent Hill on the Playstation to name an example, but WOW am I really impressed with the level of creepiness and fear while playing this game! And it's all because the setting, graphics and atmosphere is spot-on. ALL Castlevania games are supposed to present this kind of creepy tone! Why don't they? Why is it that Bloodlines is honestly the only Castlevania that truly gives me the creeps? Well whether Konami intended Bloodlines to be so creepy or not doesn't change the fact it's effectively well done.

The most memorable stage is, if memory serves, the end of stage 3 where first you have to climb a blue building that uniquely shakes back and forth avoiding medusa heads, and a couple screens after this the atmosphere kicks in even stronger where you have to travel up a really big staircase outside avoiding demon bird creatures. This is the best moment in the history of Castlevania! I felt scared to continue forward! Even the music kept me excited here. Did I forget to mention how detailed and animated the bosses are? They're also HUGE! How could I forget! Lots of variety, and guess what? This game seems to specialize in boss fights above everything else not just in fantastic detail but the amount of them you'll face throughout the game. The levels themselves are almost an afterthought in comparison. Besides Dracula, Death and the really tall Frankenstein, there's also several other cool looking bosses. The one made of gears is the most creative. Expect several boss fights along the way.

Absolutely awesome! I can't even think of another word to say right now. Wait, one more thing. The clarity of the animations and a commendable attempt at a more sophisticated musical score makes me think Bloodlines was an influence for the legendary Symphony of the Night that would be released a few years later. The credits theme is absolutely *brilliant* in both emotion and effectiveness too especially since you're able to see the bosses scrolling along the screen. While Dracula X may have the most spectacular backgrounds and music, the problem with that game is that it's too safe and doesn't take chances like this game does. Is Bloodlines better than Super Castlevania IV? I honestly think it's a notch better but it's *really* close. Bloodlines is simply the best Castlevania game of the 8-bit and 16-bit generation of gaming but I KNOW a lot of people think Super Castlevania IV takes the cake, and I certainly won't argue with anyone who prefers SCIV since that game is amazing too. HIGHLY recommended even with the big price tag so please, buy it now!

Fiskars 2 Gallon Watering Can, Thyme Green (20-45222)
Fiskars 2 Gallon Watering Can, Thyme Green (20-45222)
Price: $13.99
8 used & new from $5.94

4.0 out of 5 stars waterin' is jolly, August 18, 2014
It's hard to remember these are actually called water CANS. It's such a weird name for such an elaborate water sprinkling system (well not elaborate, I mean, it's just water pouring from a hole when you tilt the water can- not a life changing event or anything). Seriously though, a watering CAN? Why would they call it such a thing? How about sprinkle container? Isn't that a more interesting name? Anyway let's not jump away from the point here. This Fiskars Watering Can is a really nifty way to water the spider plants. It's convenient since there's numerous holes where the water pours, so it doesn't pour out in such an excessive way as to damage or puncture holes in the black dirt. It can be quite startling when that happens. I really think you should buy this watering can for your gardens and plants. You'll be very happy that you did and if yours leaks like some people who've purchased this watering can, just take it back to amazon and get a refund.

Price: $3.99

2.0 out of 5 stars wow, it's no good, August 18, 2014
This review is from: Sinister (Amazon Instant Video)
Some movies are either boring or bad. This one's both.

While Sinister tries to mix mystery, drama and horror all into one pot, the results are less than satisfactory. Ethan Hawke is a really good actor and while I wouldn't say his acting is necessarily bad here, it's severely underutilized. He's boring for the most part. He plays a very boring laidback character. He plays the role of a book writer who sits around trying to figure out the mystery of a family who all hanged themselves from a tree branch in the backyard. Over and over for *over* for an hour he looks over the clues, secluding himself away from his family in the backroom and only talking to them occasionally for trivial family matters. The local police department of this small town are either really clueless or they give the impression they'd rather not bring up the death of the family because they present no motivation whatsoever and feel like they shouldn't have even been written into the script.

Now here comes the bad- everything else. There's absolutely nothing even remotely frightening about this movie. The horror relies entirely on Ethan Hawke freaking himself out whenever he hears a mysterious sound in the house late at nihgt so he goes around in search of the reason behind it. The snake in the attic resulting in poor Ethan falling through the floor is a pleasant moment. Another good moment comes when his son is hiding in a cardboard box and crawls out of it backwards like an Exorcist creature. I liked that moment because it tricked the viewers for a moment into thinking it was a monster instead of Ethan's son. Otherwise it seems every time a suspenseful moment is about to come, it quickly dissolves and shifts in another direction where Ethan argues with his wife concerning their children reading his grisly murder stories. The movie avoids delivering scares at every angle oddly enough and relies on a weak atmosphere to carry it through. There's a really big unexpected twist at the end that's admirable, but so far-fetched that it's almost laughable and lacks suspense due to the lackluster, uninteresting story we've had to persevere up to this point.

So yeah. A movie that's at least 30 minutes overlong, Ethan Hawke scaring himself into believing the house his family is staying in is haunted, and oh, when we finally do see the demonic kids guess what they look like? Children in Halloween costumes. No creativity whatsoever in making them look authentically scary. Hilarious how every time Ethan turns around while roaming the hallways one night he's supposed to barely miss a glimpse of the ghost kids in his field of vision except... it's hilarious the movie pretends he didn't turn around in time when it's clear to us he DID turn around in time to spot them. Applying the finishing touches on a very mediocre movie right there.

I can't recommend such an average attempt at horror. I really can't. Is Hollywood even trying anymore when it comes to horror?

Kid Icarus
Kid Icarus
38 used & new from $17.99

4.0 out of 5 stars go kid go, August 18, 2014
This review is from: Kid Icarus (Video Game)
What Kid Icarus does very well is take the classic style of the original arcade Donkey Kong with planet exploration-style Metroid and delivers a pretty good and revolutionary game for its time. The only problem is that near the end around stage 3-4 the game gets somewhat monotonous due to that level itself focusing on one square-shaped puzzle room after another which isn't very exciting.

Anyway the character is a little angel that goes around shooting all kinds of wild outer space enemies, many of which resemble ones from Mario and Metroid. The little blue turtle-shaped enemies look like the koopas from the original Mario Bros. game, and there's another foe that reminds me of the legendary goomba. With Metroid the similarities come by way of the gameplay and level design- for the most part you can travel up, down, left and right in side scroller fashion while your surroundings are dark and creepy. Sound familiar? Yup, just like Metroid but smaller and shorter in all areas.

While Kid Icarus moves at a slow pace I don't really mind having grown up in the late 80's with an NES. The music is fairly catchy and enjoyable, though nothing compared to Metroid's soundtrack. You'll occasionally stumble upon certain rooms where you have to test your training skills which involves all kinds of objects flying around the screen and having to dodge them. You have a tiny life meter that slowly grows bigger as you progress. Challenge-wise it's pretty intense due to the constant surrounding danger, but actually more manageable than most games of the mid 80's generation of gaming. You have 3 or 4 boss battles which are average at best to be honest, but the ones in Metroid are nothing to write home about either and that game's awesome regardless.

Pick up Kid Icarus today. I probably would say that Metroid fans would like this game more than any other type of gamer since the emphasis is on dark planet exploration even though the game is broken up into stages. The stages are so long that the entire game flows together and doesn't feel like it's broken up at all which is amazing. Great game. It's just too bad I couldn't appreciate this game as a kid back in the 80's. I know I would've liked it more then.

Share The Land
Share The Land
Offered by SONY Music Entertainment Downloads LLC.
Price: $9.90

5.0 out of 5 stars sharing, August 18, 2014
This review is from: Share The Land (MP3 Music)
Share the Land is a minor masterpiece. It seems to be forgotten nowadays due to the songs here not getting anywhere the attention of say, the tunes from Canned Wheat or American Woman and that my friends is just absolutely crazy! Oh sure songs like the title song and "Hand Me Down World" USED to be played all the time! But not now. Not when the Jonas Brothers are tearing up the charts! Oh wait they're not around anymore are they. Well you know what I mean. :)

The title song's positive vibes are awesome. Definitely one of those "share with your neighbors and respect our planet" type of uplifting songs. The guitar playing hits all the perfect notes, but the sudden change at the end is the most inspiring part. I swear Burton could sing forever right here with the background vocals and I'd never get tired of it. The song also happens to remind me of the Young Blood's "Get Together" a little bit in the atmosphere. "Hand Me Down World" was never one of my favorites truth be told, but since I don't hear it that much nowadays, well I've changed my mind and now I think highly of it. The line "Anybody here see the fuzzy wuzzy loving cup explosion" made me laugh so hard as a kid! Someone with a beautiful voice like Burton actually saying the words "fuzzy wuzzy! is really hilarious" Of course he's probably not using them in the same context as I would. I think a puppy is fuzzy wuzzy for example. :)

"Three More Days" is the longest song here just shy of 9 minutes. This is where Burton screams out his emotions while the other band members contribute in their own way, such as with a TREMENDOUS flute solo near the end. It sounds weird hearing the Guess Who jam like this for a couple minutes, but every note of this jam triggers amazingly well. The most memorable part is probably the way Burton sings "Freedom! Paint me a picture!" where he sings differently from his usual vocal range. He screams for his life! For whatever reason Burton's vocals remind me of the ones from Terry Kath on Chicago's "It Better End Soon" piece from their second album. Not sure why.

I remember thinking "Three More Days reminds me of the Moody Blues but I'm not sure why now, and I also detect subtle gospel influences in the background. The atmosphere is my personal favorite aspect since it's similar to so many other Guess Who songs- you know that feeling of being confused during a bad/inescapable/contemplating situation such as war, so you need to reach closer to God for a better understanding/perspective on life. I LOVE the Guess Who since this type of atmosphere is very strong in many of their songs. I'm really hoping someone out there can explain/understand how I feel with the Guess Who's atmosphere because it's really hard to put into words. :)

"Come Down Off the Moneybag" captures that feeling of taking a train ride to somewhere faraway and exploring/viewing the great outdoors in all their natural glory. A great song this is! The vocals come in and sound a bit unusual at first since I'm not used to hearing the Guess Who sing upbeat country songs such as this, but the guitar solo soon after reminds us that everything is alright! The second part of this song is called "Song of the Dog" and it actually reminds me of early Jethro Tull such as their "New Day Yesterday" classic. Then the song picks up before closing. A nice experiment for the Guess Who.

"Do You Miss Me Darlin" is a beautiful moment. Burton does a fantastic job singing it and the harmonies are splendid. "What good is it if I can't even bring it to ya right now? Talkin' won't do it and walkin' won't rush it along". These lyrics could be referring to literally a bunch of subjects, but treated as a simple love song works the best. WHOA! Listen to that delicate classical-like piano line in the middle! That part is really gorgeous! Great song overall.

"Hang On To Your Life" is apparently a popular song but I've never heard it on the radio or TV. It's noticeably funky and upbeat which makes it stand out from the rest of the material here. The chorus and how boisterous it sounds is the best part about it. I love the way Burton sings "Haaaang on to your life, life, life, life". The word "life" repeats in a way that makes it sound like it's fading away but actually it's not. Strange vocal trick that works well. The poem at the end and the mention of death gives it a VERY sudden and dramatic moment of spookiness.

I remember "Moan for You Joe!" How could I forget the guitar playing in the intro and the jazzy nature of the song. I don't know what it is but nowadays whenever I hear the Guess Who or Bachman Turner Overdrive perform jazz or blues I get really excited. I like the lyrics "You're mock educated" which makes me wonder if it's a stab towards the American educational system but I could be totally wrong about that one! Don't throw tomatoes at me just yet all you Americans! Remember I'm American too *dodges tossed tomatoes anyway* "Bus Rider" is intended strictly as fun (strictly as fun? lol) and the best way to open the album. Makes me wonder why I'm reviewing it last! To prove how fun this tune is just listen to the lyrics "Grab yourself a tupee 'cuz you're losing your hair", LOL! Though I'm not the biggest fan of the way Burton sings "Bus riiiiiiider" it's still a pretty good tune.

"Palmyra" and "The Answer" are bonus tracks. "Palmyra" in particular is an AWESOME song! The rhythm is really upbeat and tight and the vocal melody is pure gold. "There were mystic eyes shinin' through the lies about her" is so good you HAVE to hear it! Reminds me of the early to mid periods of the Beatles and something John Lennon would have wrote during that time, such as "You're Gonna Lose That Girl". "The Answer" is a laidback type of dreamy tune. It's sort of depressing but captures that mysterious atmosphere I describe above with "Three More Days". There's something about the Guess Who's atmosphere that just strikes a strong feeling deep inside. The piano comes in during the second verse melody and just gets even better! The guitar solo is pretty good. Burton makes another comment about losers and uneducated people. I think while recording Share the Land he was dealing with people he didn't care for. Maybe bums throwing things at the recording room window. I'd be curious what these lyrics are about. Burton trying to help someone who's too far gone. Maybe the uneducated people are too far gone. :)

Overall I love this album. It's more Guess Who and that's a great thing my friends.

Sunset Riders
Sunset Riders
20 used & new from $59.99

3.0 out of 5 stars tough as nails, August 18, 2014
This review is from: Sunset Riders (Video Game)
Trying to convince Sunset Rider fans that the Genesis version is superior is very difficult since the Super NES version is able to replicate the actual arcade version, but the thing is the Genesis version has smoother animations, bigger sprites, better graphics overall and is more fun to play despite being a little bit shorter. This is a short game overall however. Less than 30-40 minutes regardless which version you play. I really think the Genesis pulled off the impossible and actually made a game that surpasses not just the Super NES version, but the arcade one as well.

As for the game itself, well it's a Contra-style shoot 'em up type of game where you scroll forward shooting enemies on screen. The difference is that Sunset Riders takes place in the Wild West so expect to see all the familiar places you're accustomed to seeing in a western setting such as the towns, horses, cowboys, wild ladies, etc. I think the Super NES has one REALLY strong aspect going for it however- the music is absolutely *incredible*. I love singing along to the music. It takes western/Spanish themes and combines them with upbeat rhythms you can dance to, and the notes themselves are REALLY catchy! You can play as different characters but I'm unable to see a major difference between them, or if there even are any differences.

The challenge is OUT OF THIS WORLD hard! You die in one hit! You can come back again in the same place you died a few more times, but it's not like it matters since you're still always being surrounded by danger around every corner. It seems like the Genesis version tones down the craziness of bullets flying everywhere and makes the game more manageable, but either way whichever version you pick up you're going to be in for a rough -but fun- time due to the high challenge level that never gets any easier.

In fact by the end of the game it just gets too crazy to even tolerate! I don't even know if someone can improve their skills with a game like this- it's more like if you're focused enough to dodge several bullets you'll succeed (but even that's questionable given the high challenge) but if say, you happen to have a rough night of sleeping and wake up feeling tired and you're NOT on top of your game? Forget about it! Don't even play this game under these conditions, haha! Just expect a tough game overall.

Disney's Aladdin
Disney's Aladdin
48 used & new from $11.47

4.0 out of 5 stars a whole new world... on the super nes, August 18, 2014
This review is from: Disney's Aladdin (Video Game)
Well you probably are well aware since it's been mentioned in extensive detail for 20 years now, the Genesis version of Aladdin is much better than the Super NES edition in several -but not all- categories. The Genesis version allows your character to swing a sword around and contains some of the most beautiful, breathtaking and fluid animations and graphics the Genesis ever had. Unfortunately for Super NES owners the graphics have been toned down not a *lot* necessarily but enough to be noticeable, and there's no sword swinging either I'm afraid which REALLY changes the way the game functions. Also noticeable is that all the characters and enemies look smaller. In fact *everything* looks smaller with less animations as well.

This version is all about platforming and more platforming in almost every single level, however given that Capcom were the ones behind making this game -a company I used to trust 20-some years ago for knowing how to create one quality game after another- you can bet your bottom dollar that this game is very fun to play. You just have to not compare it to the graphically superior Genesis version. It's VERY important you don't compare the two (even though I'm hypocritically doing it now while writing this review, haha!)

So basically remember this- the Genesis version focuses on sword swinging and apple chucking to stun enemies, whereas the Super NES version is all about jumping from one platform to another and stomping on the heads of enemies. I actually think the Super NES has a few memorable things going for it despite being the inferior version. One is that the game is slightly longer. It takes an extra 10 minutes to go through this game. The levels take longer to complete, and there's more of them. There's also elaborate boss fights in this game and a couple of them near the end surprisingly require a fair bit of strategy in order to take down.

Even the music is disappointing this time around when is absolutely crazy since the Super NES is supposed to prevail in that department, though I do really like the many different version of "A Whole New World" they use. One thing that's incredibly important to mention is that I feel the Super NES version is more appropriate for kids. By "appropriate" I mean, the learning curve of the platforming is really generous and the challenge builds gradually with each level. It's the perfect platformer for kids honestly since the game provides a perfect learning curve. However experienced platform gamers won't think this version of Aladdin provides any sort of challenge until the boss fights at the end of the game.

So yeah, the Super NES game is really fun since you can't go wrong focusing the gameplay on platforming, but it's clear the Genesis version wins due to the stronger gameplay, using sword swinging combat, and the MUCH bigger and more animated game overall.

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