Thursday, December 24, 2009


I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all my loyal readers, fans, followers and stalkers and their families a very Merry Christmas.

Although engaged in classified command and control operations in Afghanistan, I've always found time for Christmas cheer.

Have a good one,

Colonel "Whopper" Creedon

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

F.E.A.R. 2 unfeared.

As I mentioned a few times on 2IGTV, Monolith’s original F.E.A.R. [First Encounter Assault Recon] was a triumph. An injection of freshness into an otherwise tired and overpopulated genre of First Person Shooters. Not only was it heralded as a remarkable achievement in graphics, but it’s gameplay too, was astounding. F.E.A.R.'s themes drew from popular horror and martial artistry, two elements that had not been given their deserved treatment in the FPS before.

The controversial gore was not simply your application of enemies endless blood and bones on the walls like Soldier Of Fortune; although you can add to it with your combat – in many cases it was pre-existing and set the tone for a most unusual horror story, yes, F.E.A.R. had an actually plotted script to set you on your way and a frightfully effective antagonist in the form of Alma, a dark long-haired 7 year old girl in a red dress that would appear out of nowhere and make you shit yourself before squeezing off a burst of lead into nothingness.

While the idea of Bullet Time was not new to the PC gaming world after the excellence that was Max Payne; F.E.A.R. used it to a wonderful extent as your impressive range of weaponry had a disastrous yet artistic effect on the enemies you encountered. In an unusual move for an FPS, you could actually see your own feet – remarkable - and they became lethal weapons during bullet-time as you could kick the crap out of your enemies better than any Norris or Segal.

One problem with F.E.A.R. was levelled at the fact that practically the entire game was set in very “samey” generic office block sort of levels with little or no environmental diversity. This was in stark contrast to Monolith's previous offerings and players could not perceive why the developers couldn't develop a game with a more diverse environmental selection.

With such a revolutionary game as it's original, it was expected that F.E.A.R. 2 would be as good as Half-Life 2 and Far Cry 2 were to their respective franchises, sadly fans were not treated to anything of the sort. The gameplay itself was pretty faultless for a bog-standard linear shooter but most people noways expect something more, and certainly more from Monolith.

F.E.A.R. 2 is first and foremost a very solid shooter. The weapons are varied and feel meaty. While the basic weapons would be at home in the most superior shooters of the past few years - I was delighted to see the return of "The Penetrator" [although they changed the name to "The Hammerhead" sadly], which can be used to impale your enemies against walls. Oh and all the weapons cut down your enemies in a satisfying slow-mo ballet of death which by all accounts I'd still consider as "art".

While there are at times some genuinely scary moments as a result of the excellent atmosphere through amazing sound an visuals; it doesn't hold a candle to - well every single time little girl Alma appears out of nowhere and makes you shit yourself. It's like someone said "well that was just too scary in the original, lets tone it down a notch". Why?

One problem with the original that was addressed was variety of environments, while still a firmly urban setting - it brought you out of the bland samey office buildings and endless corridors. While this was most welcome, I was somewhat unimpressed with most of the actual design of these levels and sadly even the outdoor environments seemed a bit too claustrophobic and much to obviously linear.

There is a distinctive lack of innovation in the story which does take a more "adult" turn as Alma [the grown-up version] now wants to mate with you as opposed to take over your mind. But for the life of me I could really follow what was happening until the very, and I mean very last scene where I was left saying "My God! This is some pretty sick shit!", but no sooner had that thought crossed my mind - the game simply ended. Right just there with a cutscene, with more questions than answers. WTF?

An impressively polished, graphically beautiful game with most enjoyable gameplay and atmosphere despite woeful lacklustre level design, no cohesive plot, flat ending and devoid of the genuine creativity that we know these people are capable of.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***1/2

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shatner pwned by Palin

For some months now on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien; William Shatner has been reading excerpts from Sarah Palin and Levi Johnston's blogs and Twitter pages to an audience in his own "style." Here's one example.

Well this week after reciting some excerpts from Palin's new autobiography, it was Shatner's turn to be on the receiving end as former Governor Sarah Palin appeared, took over his seat and proceeded to read some even more hilarious lines from Shatner's own autobiography.

As they left the stage arm in arm I realised that if Shatner was an American - they'd make an unstoppable team for the 2012 presidential bid!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Opting for the high-science of neutrinos superheating the core of the earth as opposed to an asteroid-of-the-week scenario; Roland Emmerich pours in his not to inconsiderable special effects direction talent into another disaster movie and we get 2012.

The Mayans apparently predicted this apocalyptical world-ending event thousands of years ago and naturally no one listened to them so we must pay the ultimate price – with our very existence.

Typically for Emmerich just as in Godzilla or The Day After Tomorrow and pretty much any movie he's done; we are first treated to a graphically intense explanation of what is happening through one or more intelligent science-guy characters explaining it to someone less knowledgeable cue Chiwetel Children Of Men Ejiofor as Adrian Helmsley a geology professor who in 2009 has the high priority task to bring news of the impending disaster to President Wilson [Danny Glover]'s Chief Of Staff Carl Anheuser [Oliver Platt]. From there a plan is born to save humanity by 2012, or so we assume…

What works in this movie is a genuine sense of desperation delivered through the always wonderful John Cusack who somehow has never regained the “career high” he had with Con Air which is disappointing considering his wealth of talent in movies like Grosse Point Blank. Cusack’s character is an extraordinary departure for Emmerich in so far as he’s just an ordinary Joe with no scientific or military background to aid the plot, who will do anything to save his family when disaster does strike in the year 2012. Cusack plays Jackson Curtis a down-on-his-luck writer of - coincidentally - a science fiction novel which explores the psychological impact the end of the world has on a group of astronauts now stranded in orbit after witnessing a similar disaster. Sadly his perspective on this as an analogy to what is happening during the movie isn’t explored whatsoever, save a chance encounter with Adrian who mentions he actually read the book – but other than that, Jackson may have just as well written a cookery book. As the novel sold only 500 copies Jackson is now a divorced limo driver who takes his kids to Yosemite National Park, site of a long dormant volcano – that is until today!

On his travels, Jackson encounters one of the more endearing characters Charlie Frost. Woody Harrelson expertly plays Charlie, a seemingly insane recluse who broadcasts “the end is nigh” and “government conspiracy” ramblings over makeshift pirate radio equipment. Despite being an obvious throwback to Randy Quaid's ID4 character Russell Casse, Harellson works here providing considerable comic relief in to what is certainly a most depressing movie at the end of the day.

It's painfully obvious the level of input that Emmerichs' former producer Dean Devlin had in their collaborative movies, StarGate, Independence Day, The Patriot even Godzilla! But since Devlin and he parted ways professionally, the quality of Emmerich's movies have been halved. This is evident from 10,000 B.C. and The Day After Tomorrow. Sadly 2012 is no different and fails to make any semblance of impact considering it’s potential as a new take on the end of the world scenario. While the special effects are top notch [CGI a bit hokey in places though] generally it’s let down by a convoluted implausible scenario, insulting characterisation and an exploration of Emmerich’s spiteful personal vendettas, such as those he has against the Queen Of England [by portraying her as a coward] and The Catholic Church [by showing us what happened The Pope]. I can't really say all the ridiculous plot points that made me laugh in places where it wasn't intentional or just plain annoyed me - but if you thought Dennis Quaid's little trek from Washington D.C. to NYC in the middle of the new ice age in The Day After Tomorrow was nonsense - then you'll bust a gut witching what happens during this!

Final Verdict: I’ll be honest, if he's so obsessed with CGI; Emmerich should make outstanding scientific - based Imax 3D documentaries narrated by Sam Neill rather than these sub-par disaster movies, or at least make more character driven movies like The Patriot. 2012 isn't a load of shit, but neither is it brilliant – do catch it on Sky Movies or TV when the time comes but keep your money otherwise.

Colonel Creedon Rating: **1/2

Official Site / IMDB / Wikipedia

Friday, December 04, 2009

Bishops love Sci-Fi!

At least according to Fr. Dougal in the Fr. Ted series. It'd be easy to dismiss as utter nonsense, but Dougal may not have been too far off the mark. Considering a recent conference in Rome, one may wonder if it may be that a few Bishops even Cardinals somewhere watched too much Star Trek at some point...
The Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences held its first ever conference on astrobiology, the study of life beyond Earth, last month. Thirty scientists, including non-Catholics, from the U.S., France, Britain, Switzerland, Italy and Chile gathered in Rome for the five-day conference, called to explore among other issues "whether sentient life forms exist on other worlds."

"The questions of life's origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very suitable and deserve serious consideration," said the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Pope's chief astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory. Funes said the possibility of alien life raises "many philosophical and theological implications" but added that the gathering was mainly focused on the scientific perspective and how different disciplines can be used to explore the issue.

The Church of Rome's views have shifted radically through the centuries since Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1600 for speculating, among other ideas, that other worlds could be inhabited, and they've come along way since Galileo was tried as a heretic in 1633 and forced to recant his finding that the Earth revolves around the sun. Earlier in the year they embraced Darwin's theory of evolution.

Colonel “Whopper” Creedon, Special Operations Commander for UNETIDA, while not specifically invited, also spoke at the conference warning against blind acceptance of E.T.s should they arrive. “Ya know, for such an outmoded and traditionally close-minded, even backward-thinking group of people - to begin seeking out information concerning E.T.s is quite astonishing” remarked the stalwart Marine after a ceremony declaring him a “Hero of Sweden” in Stockholm earlier this week.

Pope Benedict XVI, listens intently at Colonel Creedon's plan for subduing Extra Terrestrial life. "You remind me of a man I once knew in my youth" remarked the Pontiff.

“I was glad to give the cardinals and theologians some basic information on what we’ve been researching ourselves and preparing for" continued Creedon. "Obviously UNETIDA is more concerned with alien’s weapons and attack strategy to which we must formulate a defence against and just as importantly our ability to subdue them in order to use their special abilities and advanced technology for ourselves. But the Vatican seemed like they wanted to prepare to adapt their teachings to include the possibility of life on other planets. Sure this “Almighty God” dude [not Lucas] created the heavens and the earth etc. in six days and rested on the seventh – is there something that says he didn’t start up somewhere else on Monday morning again? Just because we don’t have a record of it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. You really think the almighty is going to tell us everything? Would you if you were him?"

Somewhere right now: Dan Brown is scribbling furiously….

Sources: The Colbert Report / The Telegraph / BBC News/ AP

Tuesday, December 01, 2009