Kabuki Quantum Fighter: HAL America 1991
In the year 2050, the Earth is protected by a defense computer. And naturally, this computer has become infected with a virus. Therefore, the only possible solution to this problem is to send Colonel Scott O’Connor inside the computer via the ITS (image transfer system) to combat the virus and save humanity. As a Kabuki actor. Because the computer recognized his great grandfather as a Kabuki actor. Because in this world, the world of Kabuki: Quantum Fighter, that is something a computer can do. As crazy as all of this sounds, it somehow works mostly because the underlying game is so fun. It may not be the most original action platformer on the system but what it does, it does very well. The animation is fantastic with the main character and the enemies moving about as fluidly as the system could handle. The platforming sections are tough but fair. The boss fights are interesting, different enough from each other, and give you a special weapon to add to your arsenal. The game looks great with a decent amount of variety in locations and enemies. Plus, you get to beat the shit out of everything by whipping your hair at it in a manner that would make the most jaded headbanger proud. Overall this game is not to be missed. It is a ridiculous concept, executed well, that is more than worth your time. And it is in that ridiculousness that we find our pairing this time around in a Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons.
Journey to the West – Conquering the Demons: Stephen Chow and Derek Kwok 2013
If you’ve never seen a Stephen Chow film, there is really nothing that can adequately prepare you for the absurd spectacle he does so well. His films are at once incredibly silly, charming, violent, sweet, breathtaking, and laugh out loud insane. There is simply nothing else like Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer, or any of the other films he’s put his name to. So too is it with this version of Journey to the West. For those of you who don’t know, JTTW is the story of how Buddhism came to China. It is where we get the legend of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King. It is one of the most famous Chinese legends and deservedly so; it’s a great story. The version here though is a bit of a departure from the norm serving as more of a prequel than a retelling. The story here is that of Xuanzang, demon hunter (not very effectively) and lover of higher purpose, and Duan, demon hunter (very effectively) and lover of Xuan Zang. The interplay between Xuan Zang and Duan, especially around Duan’s attempts to seduce Xuanzang, is hilarious. The acting is wonderfully done in this film. The action set pieces are about as over the top as they could possibly be and always stop just short of too far. Everything here works, even when it shouldn’t. It’s a testament to the talent of the director and the cast. If you’ve never seen this film I urge you to check it out and then play through Kabuki: Quantum Fighter. It’ll make for a damn fine double feature and a great way to spend a Friday night in summer.