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Profile for Michael J. Wilbur > Reviews


Michael J. Wilbur's Profile

Customer Reviews: 11
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Helpful Votes: 27

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Michael J. Wilbur "Crash Gineros" RSS Feed (Texas)

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Elysian Fields
Elysian Fields
by Drew Dale Daniel Bryenton
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Dark Fantasy at it's finest., February 1, 2013
This review is from: Elysian Fields (Paperback)
It's a shame the paperback run of this book is limited. Elysian Fields is a wonderfully dark and grimy science fiction novel that draws you into its world. Dark imagery and a disturbing hierarchy of society bring to mind the dark futures of Blade Runner, the Matrix, and even a little Dark City. If you can find a copy of this, and you're into dark sci-fi (or even better, a fan of Shadowrun), you owe it to yourself to pick this up.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Price: $19.96
146 used & new from $9.64

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take me back to Paradise, November 15, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Much about Need For Speed: Most Wanted reminds me very much of Burnout Paradise City; the open world, smashing certain cars to unlock them, crazy jumps and wild drifting. That's a good thing; Paradise city was awesome, and so is this by association. That said, if you want a more traditional racing experience, you probably won't like this, as some of my fellow reviewers can attest to. The introduction of real cars is nice, and the process of unlocking mods and upgrading them to pro by meeting certian criteria (distance driven in car, jump distance, boost time) makes for a nice change of pace. The city is well rendered, the crashes just as visceral and wince-inducing as ever (though toned down a bit from Paradise City.)

To be honest, this whole game seems like a toned-down version of paradise, though not severely so. The addition of cops and cop chases make up for the difference, though I find the cops a little more tenacious than in Saints Row; they can set up a roadblock right ahead of you only seconds after spotting you, which seems a little impossible. I also miss some of the unique cars, though this may be addressed in future DLC.

I find Multiplayer a blast. While everyone might not agree, I enjoy the odd objectives that pop up, and it does a lot to help break up the mundanity of straight-up racing all the time. Besides, broadsiding your friend at 200 mph never gets old. There are no cops in multiplayer, but I find this a refreshing change from the single player, especially when the cops have been particularly tenacious. An option to play the police in multiplayer would be awesome (future DLC please!).

I can see while some people may not like it; it's not a traditional racing game. Put simply, if you liked Paradise City, you'll like this. Put another way, if you like the idea of driving around in fast cars, but don't want to be bound to an endless series of races, this is your game (also, pick up Burnout Paradise City, which is the Saints Row 2 to this game's Grand Theft Auto 4.

Smile: A Tale of Horror and Suspense
Smile: A Tale of Horror and Suspense
Price: $0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Author's Opinion, July 25, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Fantasy and Science Fiction are my usual playgrounds, both in terms of reading and writing. Still, every now and then when the sun sets and I'm sitting alone in the dark, I get a taste for a good scary story, and I'm pleased to say that Smile was exactly what I was looking for.

Starting with a missing child, a frightening situation all too common in this day and age, Smile focuses on the brother who was supposed to be watching him. Clever use of the first person perspective really brings the anxiety and mounting fear of Alex to life here in a way that a third-person perspective just wouldn't have brought across. His disjointed thoughts and scattered memories as he scrambles to find his brother really help set the mood and add to the growing tension.

I do enjoy a good scary story, and this one fits the bill. The ending had that great little twist of terror that I read scary books to get, and doesn't linger on past its welcome.

I do have to take a star off for editing, though I must admit I'm far from innocent of making grammar mistakes in my own work. No matter how many times an author scours his or her work, there's always something that slips through the proofing process, eh? Still, unless you are one of THOSE people who obsesses over the use of ellipsis or the occasional misplaced comma, this shouldn't bother you. What's important is that the story maintains a good flow until the end, which it does.

Overall, this is a great horror story that will give you a few good shivers and won't take up too much of your day/night to read. For the price, it's really a win/win situation. Elsewhere Approved!

Elysium Burning (The Alter Inferno Complex Book 1)
Elysium Burning (The Alter Inferno Complex Book 1)
Price: $3.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully dark beginning to a trilogy of 'crunchy' Science Fiction., February 21, 2011
While I'm considered a Sci-fi/Fantasy author, I'm more known for sticking to the Fantasy than the Sci-fi, in both my own work and in what I read in my free time. I blame this mostly on a few of the 'classics' (I'm not going to name names, but a psychic robot? Really?). I am happy to say that this novel (and the other two novels of the Alter Inferno Complex) were a pleasant surprise; dark and gritty, characters that stand out as being complex individuals (Kaito Kayzi's my favorite, but I've always been partial to hackers), and a storyline that is surprisingly deep and satisfyingly complicated. If you claim to like sci-fi, then you should definitely give this a read. Elsewhere approved!

Demons and Other Inconveniences
Demons and Other Inconveniences
by Dan Dillard
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.99
15 used & new from $10.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Monsters done Right (i.e. no sparkling vampires), June 9, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is based on my commentary review style on [...], where I record my thoughts while reading. Some comments may seem a bit strange, but then again, I'm a bit strange myself. In any case, on with the review!

Unlucky in Death - Hee hee ... I love the way he views his predicament as an immense inconvenience. Some people become vampires and want to end reality. He just wants bacon.
A hippie vegan vampire. You know what? I think I like him too. I'm imagining Cheech with fangs for some reason. HA! Dracula Bob!
And wrapped up nicely with the inattentive therapist. You know, Dave may have killed someone, but I find him strangely relatable. I'd share a drink with him at the Bar; I don't know how Sam does it, but he keeps blood fresh after removal (though I'll stick with a nice Xemptarian wine, thank you very much). On to the next story!

Infestation of the 3rd Kind - Shattered Earth scenario. Y'know, when they're camping outside the Wal-Mart in Texas, I keep imagining Mikaen out there keeping an eye on them; he camped out in a Wal-mart in Texas after the Devastation.
Nice way to end, leave it up to the reader to decide. Lady or the Tiger kinda thing. I choose to believe that they fought a pitch battle and won, with our hero `I am a MAN' punching through the chest of the last metal cat thing. Next story!

Confessions - Icky. Next story.

The Wrong Place - Ah, Lesbian vampire. Short, simple, and sweet. Next!

Never Judge a Book - A bit ironic of a title, considering I'm commenting and all. Onward!
BAM! Railing kill!
Bwahaha! I didn't see that ending coming. Most awesome. Next story!

Anticipation - Eh. Well done, but I kinda saw it coming. Next!

You are what you Eat - Okay, early prediction; the butchery is stealing the babies.
Oh, I got faced. They ended up at the meat factory though, so I'm claiming a partial win!

Rotten Luck - Nice little story. Er, nice creepy little story.

My Final Opinion - The stories are short, yet extremely well written and proofread; I didn't see a single grammar error. Each story sets up the background quickly, establishes characters, and resolve themselves without overstaying their welcome. I also liked the nice twists, although I found the twist in Anticipation a little predictable. Overall, the stories were great enough for me to pick up a copy. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking for some spooky reading material ... or as I prefer to put it, ELSEWHERE APPROVED.

The Immortal
The Immortal
22 used & new from $3.30

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I could do without this kind of nostalgia..., April 12, 2009
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: The Immortal (Video Game)
It's strange; you'd think today with all the information at our fingertips that bad games would never even be purchased. With online game reviewers such as the Angry Video Game Nerd, Yahtzee over at the Escapist, and The Spoony One, you'd think that the more seasoned gamers would never have to experience the frustration that comes with buying a crappy game...but as I recently found out, all it takes is a little impatience, a somewhat interesting cover, and a few extra bucks to bring back all that frustration and leave me feeling like an angry eight-year old again.

This bad. Terrible. Awful. Horrible. I know what you're probably saying; I didn't give enough of a chance...well, you're wrong. I just spent eight hours trying my hardest to get into this festering pile of vomit, and all I've got for my time is a mild caffiene hangover and sore thumbs...and I'm not some current-gen gamer who can't appreciate a retro-game; I've made my way through games like Shadowgate, Dragon Warrior, Ghost Lion, Crystalis, Nightshade, and more...I know a good 8-bit title when I see one, and this isn't even close.

To be perfectly fair, this game houses some of the nicest animations on the NES...and I really mean that. The character death animations are surprisingly fluid, inventive, and nice to look at...and they'd better be, because you'll be seeing them way more than you'd care to.

Sadly, that is the only good point. While this game may seem like a predecessor to games such as Baldur's Gate and Diablo, 'The Immortal' has nowhere near the amount of polish and refinement as those titles. Movement is incredibly jerky, though fortunately not stuck to the isometric view. The screen is often cluttered with flying projectiles and traps...traps that kill you with ONE (all-caps expletive) HIT! You can shoot an unlimited amount of fireballs, which is handy for killing the barely visible shades (or as I like to call them, gnats), but when you actually enter combat, your wizard has to fight using a sword...

Here's how it works; an enemy character runs into your character. You instantly go into an isometric screen showing you and your opponent, and your respective life bars. Immediately the enemy starts swinging at you; by pushing the attack or dodge button, your wizard will either take a swing at the enemy or dodge. While this real-time combat is kind of interesting considering the time, and isn't particularly flawed, the enemy model's 8-bit rendering can make it hard to determine which way to attack or dodge.

Honestly, though, the combat isn't the's the actual dungeon crawling. Like I mentioned earlier, there are traps everywhere. If you're lucky, you can see traps let out a burst of flame, sandworm pits (I'm not kidding) look like a big dimple on the floor...but pit traps have no visible indication that they're there, and in the rare instance you can spot a floor switch, the jerky movement of your character makes it impossible to avoid triggering the trap. After you die three times, you have to start over from the items, no keys...nothing.

I think the problem is that this game was simply too much ahead of its time. If it had been on the super nintendo, the movement would probably be less jerky, and some of the traps more visible and easier to avoid. As it stands, this is a horrid little game that tries too hard and epic fails itself into oblivion. I paid five bucks for this game, and you know what? I STILL feel ripped off. I don't know if the genesis version is any better, and quite frankly I don't far as I'm concerned, 'The Immortal' is going to spend the rest of eternity in the bottom of my closet. Ugh...

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Dealing with Dragons / Searching for Dragons / Calling on Dragons / Talking to Dragons
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Dealing with Dragons / Searching for Dragons / Calling on Dragons / Talking to Dragons
by Patricia C. Wrede
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.35
84 used & new from $12.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All hail the King (or is it the Queen?), January 22, 2009
This was one of the first fantasy novels I ever read, and easily my favorite of the three unknowns (see 'Dragon of the Lost Sea', and 'Colors in the Dreamweaver's Loom). It took me a few years to discover that there were sequels, but boy was I excited when I found them.

This series stands out in my mind, even today among the Harry Potters and Twilights. The story, beginning with a princess who hates the princess norm (being a airheaded twit) and ending with a full-on assault on a magic castle in the middle of an enchanted forest, is expertly crafted, yet not overloaded with descriptions and unneccesary poetry (I'm looking at you, Tolkien). The characters are unique and well characterized, and the story always seems to be making fun of conventional fantasy norms.

If you're looking for brave kings, beautiful princesses, and hungry dragons, you'll find them here; just make sure you leave the 'proper' cliches at the first page.

Colors in the Dreamweaver's Loom
Colors in the Dreamweaver's Loom
by Beth Hilgartner
Edition: Hardcover
43 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Dreamweavers and Storymakers, January 22, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is another of the three fantasy books I loved while growing up. All three were fantasy, all three were well-written, and all three deserved more attention than they've recieved.

Just as the others, it's hard to pin down exactly what I find so charming about his book. It's well-written, and avoids a lot of fantasy cliches (okay, being taken to another world is kind of a cliche idea, but I can't say too much, seeing as I've used the same idea myself). In particular, I felt that this book did a great job in not only showing us the characters, but the countries and societies that they lived in.

I have yet to read the sequel...back in school, I didn't even know there was a sequel, which made the ending seem unusually harsh. I eagerly await the day my book arrives, when I can slip back into this wonderfully crafted narrative and see how things turned out.

Dragon of the Lost Sea (Dragon Series)
Dragon of the Lost Sea (Dragon Series)
by Laurence Yep
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.99
129 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing beats a Classic, January 20, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I remember reading this book around the same time I read 'Dealing with Dragons', and 'Colors in the Dreamweaver's Loom'. All three are fine books with their own unique style and setting, all three are as good now as they were back then, and all three had sequels that I didn't know about until nearly a decade had passed.

I was always into Dragons as a boy (not uncommon, I suppose), but this book stuck out in my mind because the main character was a Dragon. Rather than being depicted as ruthless beasts, the dragons of this book are a graceful and intelligent race who were displaced from their ancestral home. Shimmer's quest to restore her lost home hit a strange note, especially once the truth behind the antagonist is revealed. The young boy, Thorn, served as an excellent companion and a great conduit for all the young boys such as myself.

I honestly didn't know enough about chinese mythology to catch many of the references, namely the character of Monkey. Even so, I enjoyed this book immensely, and would recommend it to any fantasy lover (perhaps after a read of 'The Journey to the West').

Turning Point: Fall of Liberty
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty
67 used & new from $1.10

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's not Bioshock or Mass Effect, but it's not bad., March 5, 2008
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I enjoyed this game. True, it's not as amazing as Bioshock, but when I saw the planes flying across the bay into New York, it felt more personal than anything in Bioshock, Half-Life 2, or Halo (1, 2, or 3, take your pick).

Still, there were some problems. Using ladders is a pain, but ladders in FPS games are always annoying; at least in this game you don't have to worry about reaching the top and missing the landing. While I didn't have a problem with the weapons, it was a bit annoying that the Nazis can shoot their weapons with pinpoint accuracy while I have to struggle to shoot a guy across the corridor. The iron sight mode can obscure vision too...but both of these things just made the game more challenging. I can't shoot from my hip with 100% accuracy myself...why should I expect different from my avatar?

Multiplayer's kind of blah, but I don't think a game should be condemned because of multiplayer...I don't think it should be praised if multiplayer takes precedence over single player mode either (*cough* Halo *cough*).

Problems aside, the soundtrack is absolutely awesome, and the premise is an interesting one; the Nazi invasion of the United States. Maybe it's just me, but as long as the controls are okay and the graphics aren't just obscenely bad, I'll enjoy the game as long as the story's interesting.

In short, if you buy this game thinking it's gonna be like Call of Duty, you're going to be dissappointed...personally, I'm glad it's not. I've run up the beaches of Normandy more than I've flown a snowspeeder on the ice planet Hoth, and that's saying something.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 22, 2009 8:42 PM PST

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