Agon The Atomic Dragon AKA Giant Phantom Monster Agon (1968-1990s) [REVIEW] Uranium Chorogon

Digging deeper into the kaiju crevices, we find a lot of minor monster flicks from the “monster factory of Nippon”, Toho, in this case being a mini-series made of 4 episodes and with a confusing release history, as it was completed in 1964, but wasn’t broadcasted on Fuji TV until 1968, after Toho realized the project involved two of their own talents, with Fuminori Ohashi (Tsuburaya’s special effects apprentice) and writer Shinichi Sekizawa, already proven for penning other kaiju classics such as Mothra, Mothra Vs Godzilla and Godzilla VS Mechagodzilla (the 1974 one), and the company was convinced that Agon didn’t directly step on the nuclear toes of their monster star.

I said a confusing release history because in mid 90s the episodes were recompiled into a feature lenght film and distributed internationally onn VHS as Agon: Atomic Dragon… and i can’t find any source that actually pinpoints when exactly it was released in the 90s, Letterboxd instead says it was in the 80s, and there’s also a japanese DVD release in 2005 by King Records.

Thankfully is not hard to find in any form, as the english subbed episodes can be found on Youtube, and you might stumble upon fansubbed releases of the feature lenght compilation version.

Continua a leggere “Agon The Atomic Dragon AKA Giant Phantom Monster Agon (1968-1990s) [REVIEW] Uranium Chorogon”

Orochi The Eight-Headed Dragon (1994) [REVIEW] | Tsukuyomi Endless (Endless)

Ah yes, the classic go-to monster of japanese folklore for when a regular hydra just won’t cut it, and a name that will be immediatly recognized by anyone with some dedication to videogames, manga and cinema, especially if they involve the classic mediaval fantasy japanese settings, as he’s often the big bad monster like in Okami, or has an entire subseries of Warriors crossover titles with him as the catalyst of chaos. Or more close to the bone, being the ispiration for the classic Godzilla monster, King Ghidorah, since we’re going into the Toho territory of giant monsters once again.

But it’s not quite that, as this one isn’t a science fiction film as many giant monsters from the Godzilla series were, but instead is a straigh-foward old fashioned magical fantasy film that picks various mythological characters and story pieces from the ones about the formation of the Shinto religion, in this case being the tale of Yamato Takeru, his encounter with the Yamato-hime priestess, receiving the holy sword Kusanagi no Tsurugi, the Tree Treasures, Susano’o, the fight with the god Tsukuyomi….

…and a lot more names that most likely don’t mean jack if you’re not familiar with japanese mythology, like at all, so it makes a bit more sense that they didn’t release it overseas under its original title of “Yamato Takeru”, despite it being more apt.

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The Spooktacular Eight #3: Evil Of Dracula (1974)

We gotta have a vampire film in here, but i’m not feeling like talking of Vampyros Lesbos, the old Hammer Dracula films have been done to death, and Yakuza Apocalypse is pretty well known, so let’s compromise and by that i mean feature something not quite from left field, but close enough.

So let’s take a look at a 70s japanese vampire movies clearly going after the western depiction and aesthetic, with Evil Of Dracula, which is actually the last piece of the so called “Bloodthirsty Trilogy” (later rereleased worlwide by Arrow Video) of vampire movies, beginning with Bloodsucking Doll/Vampire Doll, continuing with Lake Of Dracula, then Evil Of Dracula.

I should have done the entire trilogy, i guess that’s what happens when you pick a movie for a random Halloween selection without doing any proper research on it beforehand.

That’ll learn me.

Continua a leggere “The Spooktacular Eight #3: Evil Of Dracula (1974)”

Don’t expect a review of Godzilla Battle Line

I planned to play and review this one like i did for the other mobile Godzilla titles Toho unleashed on us this year, as in via the EXPRESSO format, but the game just refuses to work on my iPhone, regardless if i reset the device, uninstall and reinstall it, remove other apps to make space in the phone’s memory storage, i have tried for 2 weeks by now to make this damn thing working on my device, but it ALWAYS, without fail, immediatly crashes after being launched.

Despite the app being constantly up to date and my device being compatible with it.

I have no clue why, the updates didn’t change a fuckin thing, and unless the next one magically fixes the issues (which seems to affect other uses with more advanced iPhones), i’m never gonna be able to play the damn thing, and hence i will never be able to review it. And i kinda wanted to do that, for completition’s sake if nothing else.

The review might happen, and they might just update the game to make it work immediatly after i post this, and tomorrow i will be able to play with no issues at all.

But until that happens, the review isn’t either.

Sorry, but that’s the situation, so expect other EXPRESSO reviews coming from tomorrow onwards, today is a forced review-less day.

[EXPRESSO] Godzilla VS Kong (2021) | MONSTERS, FIGHT!

This review is out only now because we didn’t fuckin get the movie (officially, anyway) here in Italy until now. Streaming only, due to cinemas just now preparing to re-open in some capacity.

So, after some delays and a wait that consumed me, the monster RE-match of the millennium has finally happened, as part of Legendary’s Monsterverse.

And it delivers, it does, even though there are caveats, ones that most people already know and are willing to ignore, especially because Godzilla II: King of The Monsters already had these issues.

Plot sees Godzilla rampage in New York for unknown reasons, and the Monarch company is basically engaged to use Kong as a guide to reach his ancestral home located inside the “Hollow Earth”, supposedly common origin to all the giant monsters. This because they sensed a huge energy source there and plan to use it in order to power up a weapon capable of stopping Godzilla.

The effects are top notch, the monster fights incredibly satisfying, there’s actually a bit of personality to the monsters (even if Godzilla – by Toho’s strict decree – doesn’t talk in any way) the Hollow Earth scenario is actually quite a spectacle and interesting, even if the plot is a bit there to justify the monster fighting and not the other way around, combined with the human characters really being… just kinda there to be there, mostly coming off as annoying, stupid or a bit douchy.

And i’m “sorry”, but we spend a lot of time with them as well, they’re played by good actors, we can have better scripts and better human characters for monster movies, even by just looking at MonsterVerse’s own Kong: Skull Island.

Could have been better, but overall it’s still a blast to see, especially on the big screen.

[EXPRESSO] Godzilla Destruction iOS | Now BACK to Early Access!

Had to take this from the site because this fucking shit game doesn’t even have a splash screen. I’m NOT kidding.

The third and final mobile Godzilla game promised by Toho for this year, and the only one of the bunch that lets you actually control the Big G itself.

And because of some cosmic monkey paw’s doing, it’s also the worst of the bunch… actually, it’s shockingly bad, even without comparing to other two smarthphone titles in the same batch, it’s an impressive specimen of videogame dookie, so much i would rather play the shit Godzilla PS3/PS4 game Namco dared publishing some years back.

AGAIN.

Gameplay is pretty simple… scratch that, gameplay is just insanely primitive: you use a virtual stick to control Godzilla’s movement, and touch an enemy to either use your beam or a close range melee attack to defeat the enemy waves. Problem is, the virtual stick isn’t fixed, and it gets in the way when you attack, and you can’t do both at the same time, so you’ll inevitably get hit and will have to keep choosing the health recovery when given the option, as the levels are just insanely repetitive waves after waves of the same handful of enemies, able to do any kind of damage because of the shit controls and the lousy range of your beam attacks.

Eventually you’ll fight bosses that are also cheap as well, but i honestly got already bored sick in the first 10 minutes, it doesn’t help this one also sports no story or setting, it looks embarassingly cheap, on top of its abysmal presentation and glaring errors like english text clearly – and badly – overlaid over the japanese one, typos, obvious & bad machine translation, leading to odd word choices.

I almost expected the intro be an actual joke… but nope, it’s just THAT bad.

Waste of data, let alone time, even for free…..just don’t bother.

[EXPRESSO] Godzilla Defense Force iOS | ♫ To protect Mother Earth… ♫

The second of the three mobile Godzilla games promised by Toho for 2021, advertised a month ago as Godzilla Battle Line, published by Nexon and co-developed by Neople and Studio 42.

After the odd but cute stats raising-pet simulator of Run Godzilla, now we have a more traditional offering for a mobile licensed spin-off game. It’s not exactly a proper tower defense, but more of a tapper with RTS elements: units despatch and attack automatically the enemy waves from building you can upgrade, but you can also tap on them for extra damage (especially when their weak points show up), or use the various Kaiju Cards left by fallen monsters and/or obtained via card packs, of course available to purchase for real money.

It’s a decent little timewaster, a little more engaging than the usual tapper, but it’s aggressively monetized, even if it’s oddly pushy in making you watch ads to boost stats like production speed or to get resources, instead of just saying “cough up the cash to save time”, and i feel it’s the lesser evil of the options they could have gone with. BUT it still feeds into the same objective: to get you spending real money on the card packs and batches of premium currency, especially since the game remembers you revenge can be had easier by wiewing ads, etc.

Presentation is good, the story is what you’d expect, as an EDF commander you organize a defense line to repel kaijus attacking Earth, often sent and/or resurrected by the evil aliens called Xilliens. By progressing you get new locations to build bases, the ability to summon new allies with passive abilities, new monsters (some obscure references to Toho’s non-Godzilla material), making for a decent and entertaining loop, even if you’d wish for a bit more depth to it.

[EXPRESSO] Run Godzilla iOS | Tamakaiju

Toho plans to release not one, not two, but THREE Godzilla mobile games this year worlwide, and the first one is the already available Run Godzilla, which isn’t an endless runner (despite the title kinda implying it), but more a simulator-raising game where you take care of your very own kaiju in order to… make it run like a horse.

I’ve seen people describe it as basically Uma Musume but with kaijus instead of horse girls… and it’s not that far off. And by that i mean it’s basically a stat building game where you increase the stats of the monster before taking on races, where you can just tap a button to encourage the monster to go faster, but that’s about it, you don’t control the kaiju directly.

Strenghtening the monster is done via a typical idle game setup, as you juggle resources to have enough people praying for the monster to grow, extend the time they will stay in the group, pick up apples and gems to recruit more people, and change weather to influence the growth of a some stats over others. The kaiju itself has an “expiration date” which can’t be extended, but the following generation/monster will inherit some experience points, and the loop repeats.

It’s more complex to look at than to actually play, just a thing you’re supposed to tinker with on a somewhat regular base, as timers keep running regardless, so you might come back to find the your digital “pet kaiju” (one you don’t have to feed or “poopscoop”) already dead/expired.

It’s a thing to thinker with more than play, and while it’s very honest about it, outside of the initial novelty it’s hard to care for long if you have at least another free-to-play game/app you keep coming back to regularly.

Varan The Giant Monster/ Varan The Unbelievable (1958) [REVIEW] | Kaiju In The Middle

Sorry, i wasn’t able to find a copy that didn’t have the hardsubbed american title.

Godzilla is, has been and probably will be in secula secularum the greatest legacy of Toho and its empire of weird monsters. But of course, if the Big G sits at the top of “kaiju mountain”, and other monsters from their own movies have become inscindible part of the Godzilla series, some of them don’t dine at the court at all, and just get called back as jesters for the big monster mashes.

Varan is sadly one of them, and it’s a bit sad when they decide a frigging giant shrimph like Ebirah was worth doing new effects when Godzilla Final Wars came around, instead of just re-using old footage from Destroy All Monsters, like they did for Varan’s (among others) cameo, just happy to be there and cheer from the sidelines, even when Minilla is frigging more useful. Poor Varan.

But of course he did debut in its own movie, Varan The Giant Monster, and yes i’m talking about the original version, not the americanized one that does go under the title of Varan The Unbelievable, and alters the plot to include the american army… because America, that’s the reason. Sighs

Continua a leggere “Varan The Giant Monster/ Varan The Unbelievable (1958) [REVIEW] | Kaiju In The Middle”

Frankenstein VS Baragon / Frankenstein Conquers The World (1965) [REVIEW] | Atom Heart Monster

Strange as it may sound, you really can’t talk about King Kong and Godzilla beating each other up without talking about the Frankenstein’s monster, but we already talked about the backstory of the original “Monkey VS Nuclear Dinosaur” kaiju flick in its review, so let’s just say that this movie is actually Toho bringing back the partially scrapped idea of having Kong fight a monster created by Frankenstein for King Kong VS Godzilla, which would itself spawn a follow up a year later, with War Of The Gargantuas. And of course, tasking yet again Ishiro Honda to direct it.

Also, this one introduces a monster that would eventually cross into the Godzilla franchise, Baragon, not be confused with another, completely different but – for pure coincidence – very similar looking (at a glance) monster from the Gamera franchise, Barugon, with a “u”. A minor monster, brought back just for the giant monster brawls installments of the Godzilla series (where pretty much every frigging Toho kaiju was invited for a quick cameo), but here the main antagonist to the “Frankenstein” monster, as the original japanese title makes it abudantly clear.

Continua a leggere “Frankenstein VS Baragon / Frankenstein Conquers The World (1965) [REVIEW] | Atom Heart Monster”