Wednesday, 31 December 2008

MASK - The Secret Origin

Everyone has heard of MASK, who fought the fiendish forces of VENOM with only plastic headgear to help them... but how did it really begin? After Matt Trakker's amazing inventions were stolen by his crooked boss, Miles Mayhem? No, of course not - who would be stupid enough to work for someone with the surname "Mayhem"? The real, unedited, sordid tale, is told in it's entirety below. You have been warned.

Early one morning, Matt comes across his son, Scott, on his way to school.

MATT: Oh, my boy, my boy, my darlin' son... how are you this fine morning. Would you like a lift to school?

SCOTT: Yeah, cool daddy, cheers. Where shall I put my scooter?

MATT: Scooter? That's a robot. Ahahahaha

SCOTT: Erm... I've changed my mind. Can I walk?

SCOTT: Daddy... why are you leaning drunkenly against the car?

MATT: I'm not drunk... I'm full of power! Now I shall put on my magical mask!

SCOTT: [Giggling] Oh daddy, you know that's just a papier mache mask you got in the divorce... urk

MATT: [Kicking the ungrateful wretch to the ground] Stupid child! Now you're gonna pay, son.
BIKERS: Ahaha.. look at the poncy fool in his "magical mask" Haw haw

MATT: Right... I've had enough of this. We're off to school, son. I'll show the world that I can be a good dad!
SCOTT: Thanks dad... at least now the momentary moments of insanity are over. Did you take all those pills the doc-

MATT: Shut it and buckle in. You're gonna need to.. cos we're FLYING! WOO!

SCOTT: But daddy... just because your car has cool flip-up doors doesn't mean it can fly... I mean, the aerodynamics.. what about the Bernoulli effect...

MATT: Foolish kid. To prove it to you, I'm going to drive at full speed off this handy cliff. Near your school. Come on!

ACE: That ain't no plane...

As the wreckage cools on the insanely realistic landscape, Matt finds his way to the burnt, charred body of his son, the only person he ever loved. And I mean loved. Yes, in that way. [Calm.. this site is PG.... forget I said that]

MATT: Oh, my boy, my lovely baby boy. I'll revenge you! Damn the world! Damn my car! Damn Russia!
Falling into a well of self-pity, Matt began to degenerate. At first the descent was slow - he would rent out disgusting videos such as "XXX Dinosaurs And Their Cavewoman Slaves"; "The Erotic Adventures Of Gladstone"; and "Gobots - The Movie" But soon, after losing his job in the snowman factory, Matt found himself on the streets, and starving. Then someone gave him a McDonalds burger. Matt found himself on the streets and starving.

In desperation, he turned to whoring himself out to as many businessmen as was possible. But since this is a family site, there weren't that many. So he got very desperate...
Falling in with two sinister men, "Buddie" and "Alex," Matt was forced to do... things for money. Filthy things. But he didn't care anymore, all he wanted was to forget his troubles in a sea of deprivation, and...

...oh hell, did I just take photos of this? I'm so, so sorry. Look.. can't we just pretend that I didn't write this? People who I know could be reading. Yeah.. scrub the last couple of paragraphs, and I'll start again. But this time nicely, and kiddie-friendly, okay?
Matt became depressed after the death of his son, visiting drinking joints and backstreet abortion clinics, and all kind of other evil places, such as the Community Centre. One morning he woke up in a puddle of his own vomit to find himself lying on top of a pile of masks... his luck was about to change.

Matt put an advert in the local paper, and within seconds was met by a Max Headroom clone, who bought all Matt's masks in return for his services.
Matt made Max take out bloody, gory revenge on all those who had wronged him, chainsawing their stomachs into pulp, watching their bleeding guts spurt out, and Matt then got on his knees, licking up the life-essence...

...hell, I'm doing it again, aren't I? Look, as before, forget that. It's lack of sleep - I have no self control anymore. Calm...
Matt also made sure to buy a load of weaponry. But - and this is the important part - they weren't real guns, and killed people by turning them into blue jelly. See - I can restrain myself from real violence. The pills help greatly in this respect.
Max, as his farewell gift, gave Matt a clone-maker machine. Which made clones, surprisingly enough. Stealing a hi-tech lorry, Matt was set... for world domination! Only Miles Mayhem and his force of goodness could stop him now!

Monstrous Assaulting pSychopathic Killers

Note: Only one mask was accidently broken during the making of this story. Goddamn

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

[Turtlewind] Tarte a la Boue

The Turtle is a bit of a whizz in the kitchen, you know. I've always found food preparation and presentation child's play. And yet, although I spend many jolly hours putting the finishing touches to Barry's evening banquets of poached salmon and quail eggs, my own diet remains the kind that reflects my contemplative and mysterious lifestyle.

But there is one small indulgence in my austere regime, and that is a well-prepared mud pie, or 'Tarte à la boue' as our continental cousins like to call this peculiarly rural delicacy.

To make Tarte à la boue for two people, you will require the following:
1 large metal bowl
1 large wooden spoon
1 greased cake tin
1 large garden (nb, this doesn't have to be your garden, and indeed I prefer to prepare my earthy snacks next door under a little old lady's apple tree)


1. Take a large handful of mud and sling it into the bowl (You will need quite squelchy mud, so if you are reading this later in the year, you may need to moisten the ground with a hose. Ensure that you observe local regulations on hosepipe use during the summer months). Lashings of the stuff should go slopping all over your clothes, but we're all adults here, aren't we?

2. Bash the mud with your spoon. It is important to shout 'Dah!' a lot as you do this, as this helps beat some air into the stodgy mud. Again, large quantities 'de la boue' should be airborne. If you are allergic to mud, you MUST use protective eyewear.

3. When the mud has turned into something that looks truly appetising, according to your tastes, or as soon as you get bored, empty it into the cake tin. From here you can either bake it in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees for twenty minutes, or you can eat it raw. I prefer mine fairly lightly baked. After all, there's not much point in having a mud pie made out of dried earth, now is there?!

4. Er...

5. That's it.

Once you have mastered this simple recipe, the agile chef will quickly devise variations. I've used common garden mud here, but any variety of damp soil can be employed. I personally shun the area that local cats wee on, but some of my more refined friends tell me that a certain tartness to the pie can turn it into a meal fit for a God.

Alternatively, serve slightly chilled with a sprinkling of icing sugar and lashings of cream. You can even use dried coconut if you find that 'Tarte à la boue' flavour a little bland!

Happy pie-making!
The Mysterious Mr Turtlewind.

Turtlewind Index

Sunday, 28 December 2008

10 Cool Things About Zelda: Link's Awakening

Mention the Gameboy version of Zelda to a random person in the street, and they'd probably think you were some complete nutter and stare at you, walking away in disgust. However, mention it to some geeky-looking people, and their eyes will glaze over, and weird electronic noises will burble forth from their mouths. This is your cue to run, since they're probably possessed by satan or something.

Nevertheless, the Gameboy Zelda (Link's Awakening, not the new ones) is a damn fine game. Damn fine, with infinite swearwords tacked onto the end. While most Gameboy games had boring covers, this one was gold, thus indicating it's coolness. Despite having owned (well, my sister did) the game for years on end, I never completed it, actually getting as far as level 8 before throwing it into a corner and letting the batteries decay and rot. Since my move to University though, I have found myself with a suspiciously large amount of free time - there was only one thing for it - to download a Gameboy emulator... and ZELDA!

Unfortunately the only emulator I could find was French, luckily however I am fluent in that language, so after three hours of fruitless struggling with it, finally got it working. And what a glorious, yet sad and pathetic experience it was, as I sat in the corner of my room, being simply stared at by all sane people. But I proved them wrong - I completed it! Aha! Unfortunately I wasn't able to find the extra dungeon (this being the colour DX version) which I would be annoyed about had I actually paid any money for it.

Instead of writing some kind of dull and lifeless review, below are the top 10 reasons why this game is so cool, including screenshots of the finale, which I can't find anywhere else on the net. Could I be, therefore, the saddest person ever?

1 - Cool-Ass Weapons

In most head-down games, you have pathetic things such as guns to shoot the enemy with. Or something, since this is one of the only Gameboy games I've actually played. However, by waffling on, I hope to trick you all into believing in my expert nature. Anyway, when you start the game, having been washed up after a shipwreck, you only have your shield, helpfully nicked by a jolly fat man, although I have my suspicions that he actually smashed Link round the head with a mallet to steal all his money. Note in the picture above there is a feather. Now, the sheer offensive capabilities of a feather may at first seem extremely small, but in fact this is Roc's Feather - it can make you jump! Link, obviously being unable to jump before, you see. The only thing is, I can't imagine why a feather would make you only jump. Wouldn't it make you fly? Or was Roc, the giant bird of legend in truth only a hopper, hiding this embarrassing secret by being all big and scary?

In the picture on the right, you can see Link mercilessly attacking a chicken, one of the many perks of this game. In face, if you use the fire rod, you can set the chicken alight! Ha ha! The Level 2 sword can also be used to attack chickens, albeit to a less successful degree. It will, though, fire swords at your enemies. A sword that fires swords.... cor.

2 - Level Entrances
Okay, not all level entrances, just this one. It's a giant cross-eyed fish. With an open mouth. And you go into this fish to find an entire dungeon, complete with doors and stone walls inside. From the look of surprise on the fish's face, I'd say that he accidentally swallowed the dungeon, and is simply waiting, biding his time until it... travels through his system. It's great inventiveness though - why go through a boring door when you can leap into the mouth of a fish and exit through... well we're not told how Link gets out, and I don't think we want to know.

3 - Blobby Things
There are many terrible threats that face Link on his epic journey. There are also many lame threats. One such are the little red or green blobs, that pop up every so often with signs saying "please kill me". You'd think a blob with no arms or legs would pose no threat whatsoever, and you'd be right. This is probably because that with no mouths, they're always on the verge of starvation. When they are cunningly cut in half, they create 2 more mini blobs... which stop you from running for a bit. Oh NO! Better get those insurance documents up to date.

4 - Sad Loners
In games like this, you need to go to special places to buy or trade for new weapons. Now, usually these places are in the main village, so the shopkeepers can take a stroll and chat to their friends, or get a bite to eat by attacking the chickens. Not the guy above, however. For some reason, he believes that the best, most busiest place for prospective trade is a small cave on a beach teeming with monsters. And all he does is stand in a puddle of mouldy water, clutching desperately at his boomerang (No, a real boomerang... minds like sewers) hoping some idiot would appear to get it. I appeared.

On a side note, if you pick up an item from the shop in the village, hold it above your head and run around the shopkeeper three times then out the door, you get it for free (although he murders you next time you enter). This does not work in real life.

5 - Weird Monster-Druggies
At different points in the game, Link will meet some weird jelly-bean like monsters. Fair enough, you'd think, just eat them, or failing that, attack them. However, doing that makes the screen shake violently, and it's you who loses life, boyo. But if you sprinkle some 'magic' powder onto them, they get all drugged up (strange that, eh?) and start to say things like "Hey mon" or talk about game design. Yes - the designers wrote themselves into the game! Now, if I were one of these people, I'd choose a more flattering form than a sentient bean, but they were Japanese...

6 - Little Marin
Link has a girlfriend! Woohoo! And since you play Link, that means you have a girlfriend too! Well, for the majority of people who would play this game to it's conclusion, a collection of 20 pixels is about as close to a real girl as they're ever likely to get, present company excepted. Poor little Marin - all she wants to do is sing her song, but is forever harassed by monsters and giant rabbits. And does Link care? No siree.

7 - Seashells!
Around the island there are many seashells to collect. It's unclear whether these naturally grow under bushes or inside trees; or if someone meanly hid them all in such weird and wacky locations. The fact is that they're there and Link has to collect 20 so that he can go to the Seashell Mansion to get his level 2 sword. Strange really, since I would have preferred a seashell-based weapon - perhaps a dangerous mollusk or even a cunning cuttlefish. Ah well, there's an idea for next time.

8 - The Mad Batter
There are also many villains in this game. But only one, the Mad Batter, is so incredibly lame as to actually help you. If you sprinkle powder on his amazing Temple Of Evil (tm) you wake him up. What's he going to do to you... oh no, make you carry more bombs / arrows / powder! Gasp! Poor Link, having to suffer by carrying more weaponry in this cunning assault. If only all the villains in the game were this generous. Instead of fighting the dungeon bosses, they'd just give Link the instruments he's after, because "they're a bit heavy and unwieldy to carry". Unfortunately the joke would be on them, since Link can carry swords, rods, boomerangs and eight giant instruments with the greatest of ease.

9 - Animal Village
Animal Village rocks, basically. If the normal village bores you, then go to Animal Village, where the inhabitants are... animals. And dream about being turned into carrots and stuff. Really, there's not that much you can say - the fact that it's a village full of animals really speaks for itself. Oh, and there's a female goat who writes to this man near the other village pretending to be a beautiful woman. Probably a commentary on the internet or something - full of goats...

10 - The End
So Link has defeated all the monsters and got the instruments - all that's left is to play them in front of the giant egg to open it (internal game logic, don't worry about it, it'll only hurt). But this is not the end - Link must face 6 whole monsters inside the egg, whose weaknesses range from being shot once to being shot twice. After this thrilling fight set to comedy music, Link emerges victorious.. but what awaits him?
Fair enough, you must climb a magical staircase - for a game this long, a magical staircase is de rigour. Then the owl, who has guided you throughout comes down to have a nice little chat - he wasn't an evil owl, but in fact a good one. Now who would have seen that coming? And then we get to meet the mystical magical Windfish, whom you have sought to awaken for the whole game. It is, in fact -

Even the caption editors expressed surprise. The Windfish is, in fact, a giant novelty flying whale. It turns out that the whole island is a dream the Windfish had when asleep, and when it wakes, all will vanish. By defeating the monsters, or Nightmares, Link helped the Windfish to wake. But hang on Link - because of this, Marin will no longer exist - you murdered her and her world for the sake of an insane-looking whale? If I were Link, I'd just smash an iron bar over the Windfish's head so he falls 'asleep' again. Sorted.

The island disappears, and Link is left drifting in the wreckage of his ship. In the wreckage in the middle of the sea with no hope of rescue. Well done Link!

Friday, 26 December 2008

The Ten Worst He-Man Toys

Whilst idly surfing on the internet one day, I discovered that Mattel were going to remake their He-Man line again! This time in a 'we promise it won't fail miserably way'. So they're stocking them online ONLY  hidden behind a secret link on their website accessable only between 2-3am.

One of the first people I told, good old Keith, was instantly suspicious of this change, hoping that it would be exactly the same as his cherished childhood memories:

"Is he still gay?"

Not knowing the full details, I was not qualified to reply to this, although the figure of He-Man doesn't look as... geeky as the "New Adventures" He-Man (and to my shame, I had that figure) and so I can safely conclude that yes, the new He-Man is gay. Rejoice!

In celebration of this fact I finally produced a "10 Worst He-Man figures" article. Why celebrate He-Man's greatness when I can criticise it, eh? I'm ignoring the "New Adventures" line, since if I didn't, this whole article would be about it. And then I'd go insane.

1 - Whiplash
Oooh, first up is that famous villain, Whiplash. His amazing power? Being fat and having funny teeth. I think Whiplash was the only fat guy in Eternia. Whilst everyone else had extending heads or bee costumes, this guy was left with a ticket to Weight Watchers. At least he wasn't called "Fat-Man."

But Whiplash was annoyed at his awful powers... so he invented an ability, and strapped a fake rubber tail to his back. The function of this wasn't blatantly obvious. The packaging claimed that twisting his waist caused the tail to FLICK FORWARD IN AN AMAZING POWER SMASH!!!!!! Or something to that effect. Probably more exclamation marks, come to think of it. But guess what - yeah, it didn't work. The tail was too stiff, and so did... nothing. Added to this was the dilemma that twisting his waist snapped the poor guy in half, so that's that out the window. The only play option to keep Whiplash as a danger to your heroic toys was to get him to walk backwards to the good guys, and poke them with his tail.

Sadly, Whiplash is no Perseus, so, basically, he sucked. But he was my sister's so I wasn't too concerned.

2 - Tung Lashor
Woo.. it's Tung Lashor! Now, don't get me wrong - some of my favourite He-Man figures were the Snake-Men, with guys such as "King Hiss" and "Rattlor." But Tung Lashor...? Now, for starters, he's obviously not a snake. It casts the elite recruitment policies of the Snake Men into great doubt. He's a frog. With a dragonfly gun.

Also, his special power is.. sticking out his tongue! Oh no, I'm going to be licked! That's it, Tung Lashor, back you go. And don't come back until you've learnt to spell.

3 - Prince Adam
Well, who wouldn't want a Prince Adam, eh? A gay He-Man for all the family to play with - healthy fun for kids! But really, who wanted Prince Adam? He-Man was the boss in that regards, Adam was just... the guy He-Man was at meal times. And who has a hideously massive torso and a pink sword. And just what are the play opportunities?  He.... turns into He-Man! YEAH!

Don't get me wrong, I love awful repaints. But Prince Adam was never that buff and if they did have to make an Adam figure, there's so many interesting gimmicks he could have had (such as... change into he-Man!)

What skills did Adam have? Well, according to the card, he can

a) Hold his accessory. Wow, no other figure does that

b) Twist his waist, which is a weak elastic band. Something that cannot be done with any other He-Man figure ever.

4 - Orko
Orko! If He-Man figures were made to scale, Orko would KICK Skeletor into hell, or would if he had any feet. The problem with Orko was his ripcord motion - you could only play with him on a table. Or the kitchen, but lets not get into THAT. You could also see what he looked like under his hat... ie a black head. How dull.

Also coming with Orko was a MAGIC TRICK. You had a fake, hollow pile of villain 'coins' and smaller hero ones that fitted inside, so it looked like the coins had changed! The only mysterious thing about it though was how anyone ever thought people would be fooled. Anyway, below is a copy of the pieces so you can make your own. No, don't thank me, I just nicked the picture from somewhere.

5 - Hordak
Gasp - Hordak! Hey mate, what are you if not a cheap Skeletor rip off? And you can't get the head right, looking just stupid. Don't get me wrong, the rest of the Horde figures were cool.. but Hordak? His special power was... a red plastic bat. Oh, and a cloak. COWER. As a kid I was a huge fan of gimmicks, I admit it. Vanilla figures just didn't do it for me. So I was really looking for more from Hordak.

Later in life, Hordak decided to get in on the "freak" market by inserting a buzzsaw into his chest. Obviously. Too little too late, mate! Ha, at least Battle Armour Skeletor got it right... you could beat him up!

6 - Tri-Klops
 Right.. what's Tri-Klop's special power? Uh... a hat. Yes, he has the Power Of Hats, and can make his eye cross or not!  I wish I could do that. Oh, and look at the packaging illustration - he can use his eye to see objects! Wow, a great addition to Skeletor's forces of darkness. Well actually considering the other lackeys that Skeletor has, he probably is useful.

7 - Stinkor
 Oh look, Stinkor. I never had this guy as a kid, because my mum said he smelt. I kept telling her that he didn't, it was just his name. However years later, I discovered he DID actually smell so I guess it turns out parents ARE always right. Despite wanting him, I'm going to say that he's rubbish. Because I didn't have him, yet had all the others, and anything I didn't have as a kid wasn't worth getting, right?

Oh Stinkor, I'm sorry. I... love you.

8 - Beast Man
 Beast Man! Who in their right minds would want the lame, stupid, moron from the cartoon who looks like he's been smacked over the head with an Ugly Stick? Well, apart from me? Look, he has a whip. GOD, NO! Perhaps I'm being unfair, him being one of the original figures, but I expect miracles! Gimme gold. Gimme a show accurate Arcee. Gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight.

Hang on, that's wrong. That's just wrong.

9 - King Randor
 Bow before the king, SCUM. Now with Adam and Randor, you can play Happy Families. Really though, having a king is about 100 times more useless than Adam.. I mean the packaging even is forced to play up his STAFF. Anyway, obviously it's a spear. Eternia is a kingdom on a budget, folks.

But wait... is Randor really so useless? In the cartoon, whenever a villain was said to have escaped, he was always imprisoned in the past by He-Man AND Randor! Yeah, Randor kicks ass! Also if I were a king, I would totally walk about in battle armour on my top and a tiny pair of furry pants, just to see what people would do.

10 - Man-At-Arms
Finally we get Man-At-Arms. A decent enough figure, apart from the fact that he looks constipated, and hasn't got a moustache! This isn't the Man-At-Arms we have come to know and love - it must be a lame clone made by Skeletor. Well his previous attempt was "Faker" a clone of He-Man that happened to be bright blue and orange. Oh yeah! Really, this figure is an example enough of the established fiction made to sell the toys making the toy undesirable due to looking completely different. But really, would it have been so hard to just add a little nose hair to him?