Innovation in stick animation
When I saw what this was I took the the rating with a massive pile of salt. After all stick killing animations on Newgrounds are about as common as the pixels they're made of. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this one actually took a turn to innovation (though be it a very slight turn), with fast pace slap stick style humor. And for once it's a stick animation the doesn't just use the generic sound effects I've gotten so sick of.
While I am sick and fed up with stick animation at this point, everything here is just done right.I still give it a 9/10 because to me doing everything right is not necessarily worthy of a perfect score, but while I'll continue to hold it to my unreasonably high standard it's definitely worth a watch.
Back in the old days of television there existed things called shorts, little 2 minute cartoons with exaggerated characters and quick punch lines that would serve as comic released in between the actual programing. Cat Face is almost identical to those obnoxious flicks with the sole exception being that you view on your web browser instead of on your TV. And of course it has all the same flaws including an obnoxious intro that's almost as long as the actual flick with a corny and annoying theme song.
That said I have to admit actually liking Cat Face. So it's only 2 minutes long but that works for a simple little in browser video and it's a hell of alot better than alot of other movies on this site that helplessly outstay their welcome by dragging out jokes that were never that funny to begin with. It's hard to to criticize something that's so short but for the same reason I can't justify giving a particularly high score either so lets judge it for it merits. The voice acting is superb, the illustration is adaquit, and worth a laugh or two, so you might as well check it out.
Of course in the time it takes to read this review you could have already watch the whole thing which makes wonder if there was any point reviewing it in the first place. Then I remember that everything on this site is pointless in one way or another so quit complaining and watch the damn movie already.
An amasing specticle with only a few flaws
When I saw Fallen Angel on the fount page I had to double check to make sure it was by the same author that released the fallen angle teaser more than years 4 years back. Generally when somethings in the works for that long it's safe to say it's not going to come out at all or at least not meet the expectations set by the trailer and considering the amount of time the developers had, such was the case with fallout 3. Rob however seems to have disproved my theory with the release of the first chapter of Fallen Angel.
So a big nuclear war that results in the downfall of civilization and deaths of hundreds of millions of people, it's a concept that's been used over and over by the film and video game industry in hundreds of productions, but Fallen Angel still distinguishes itself in my mind by having the most realistic apocalypse I've ever seen. You can truly feel the shock wave of a nuclear explosion as it turns New York to dust, and the accurate depiction of modern weaponry and warfare made this first chapter all we could have hoped for. Fallen Angel brings us sunning environments and illustrations to rival Adam Phillips, and an opening plot which appears to pave the way for an epic story line, although only future episode will really prove that because many a stories have had fantastic intros with story lines that royally shat themselves by the end. But lets not criticize on what may be wrong in future chapters and focus on whats wrong with this chapter.
Now while the visuals were stunning the audio was overall very poor, some of the sound effects, while fitting, sounded staticy, and the voice are so muffled it's impossible to keep track of the dialog. It's almost as if Rob's goal was to make as much of the three movies silent as possible. OK so maybe that's going a bit far, but honestly a little music wouldn't have killed it, as opposed that annoy droning sound in the background, or at least give us something to make it feel more like the pulse pounding action movie the teaser promised us. Actually this is something I've been meaning to bring up. For a movie that's been classified as an action movie there really isn't much action in this first episode, but maybe this is just supposed to be a build up, something to set the scene and get us engaged in the plot. Unfortunately this is let down as well by the before mentioned muffled dialog and the complete lack of explanations of the events that take place in this first episode, which ultimately left me confused, and I refuse to believe it's just because I'm thick (even I am). How exactly did a conflict in Iran become a world war, and who deployed those "first nuclear weapons"? Those disjointed bits of text in the first part of the chapter don't really give much incite into whats going on, and it only get worse as chapter goes on. The first chapter is supposed to set scene and give us viewers some incite into the plot rather than keeping everything behind a closed door. Over all I'd say this first episode of Fallen Angel seems to lack a hook to draw the viewer in, and it certainly didn't have me on the edge of my seat with the whole action element.
But really, I'm just nitpicking because the gripping setting and incredible visuals will ultimately overshadow any criticism I can throw at it. The settings incredibly atmospheric, the graphics are stunning, and all the characters are incredibly well drawn and detailed. That said however the camera does seem to be more interested in Sarah's ass than anything else.
There seems to be a problem with the ads
It's understandable to put ads in a flash game, but this just makes the game unplayable. First before I can even touch the menu a movie preview for the new saw movie blocks the entire screen and makes you sit though it. Then once it's done, that same preview plays again on a small window in the left side of the menu. Than once you actually start the game you get hear that same movie preview playing again. You don't see it mind just the grayed box where it should be obscure the game and making it overall unplayable.
Maybe it just this particular add or something about the configuration of my browser, but if anyone else is having this problem please mark this review as helpful so I know it's not just me. 7/10 for appearances alone since I can't really get to the actual game part.
Something to admired more than enjoyed
Flash games are simple things in comparison to mainstream video games. Your average flash only provides about 5 minutes of innovative game play before you either beat the game or just find yourself doing the same stuff over and over. Because of this most flash games don't even bother including things like plots or story lines. Neverending Light is among the few that do.
The game takes place in cave, when the lights go out and a bunch of creatures start killing people. It's then set upon you the player to navigate and escape the cave while picking up fairy droppings that serve no purpose what-so-ever in the game itself. The game essentially just consists of navigating the cave with you flashlight, and to it's credit the flash light mechanics are really well done. The light bounces off objects the way you would expect it to in real life and creates really realistic looking shadows.
Other than that the game pretty much just consists of go here get that type objectives, with the really focus being on the plot and storytelling. The problem is, that with the exception to the first and last, scene the plot of this already short game doesn't really advance. It also doesn't help that the creator tried to mix corny humor with an otherwise serious survival plot which is sort of like mixing vinegar and chihuahuas. Combine that with overall poor and annoying voice acting, and the plot has been officially flushed down the toilet along with the games integrity.
On the other hand the graphics are pretty well polished, and the environments are well done, but as far the actually game part of this game goes it's mediocre at best. It's also occurs to me that with all the time I spent radding on the plot that not everyone 'gives a shit' and as far as game play goes it's still pretty cool. But me being the arrogant douche bag that I am still give it a 6 out of 10 for the above issues but it's still worth playing if only to admire the spectacle and detail in the artwork.
A story to put Stephen King to shame
Horror games have a huge advantage over horror movies when it comes to trying to scare someone because a game can actually give the player the illusion that it's actually their life that is at stake, as opposed to a movie where the viewer is completely isolated from the main character. It's just a shame that most horror games don't uses this their advantage. Considering some of the best horror game titles (Condemned, Silent Hill 2, and Resident Evil Outbreak to name a few), your always playing as some one else who is often complete unrelatable to you the player. That said here's Exmortis, a point and click adventure game of all things, that puts most main stream horror games to shame.
I like to think I'm the type of the person who doesn't scare easy, and so it comes as something of an embarrassment to admit that the night after I played this game I was unable to sleep and found myself jumping out of my bed frantically searching for the nearest weapon when my radiators started acting up. Not only does Exmortis make you the player the main character, but photo quality images and incredibly atmospheric sound effects make you truly feel like you are in the game. Exmortis never relies on cheap jump out scares, instead building this claustrophobic feeling of being trapped in a house with something that hates you.
The plot itself is surrounded in mystery and this is probably the part I like most about the game. All you know is that your stuck in house filled with weird things that seem to be toying with you and there this other things that's been killing people and your probably going to be it's next victim. The unpredictability of the plot make the story balls tighteningly fantastic, despite and possibly because of the unreasonable amount of text your called on to read. I often criticized games for having to much emphasis on reading (and yes I'm aware this is an ironic bit of criticism considering how lengthy my reviews are), but in Exmortis it actually contributes to the atmosphere. Because the game has left us so much in the dark (both literally and figuratively), we are eager for any bit of information we can get our hands on, and it raises tension having to read all these different books and journals when there's a murderer on the loose.
This is the part of the review where make I make a few nit picks to make myself feel more like a critic but for once I can't find anything wrong this game. I was expecting the plot to fall apart near the end, but that ended up being the scariest part of the game, with the most ingenious plot twist I've ever seen. The game keeps up it suburb level of quality and horror throughout and is so immersive that you'll forget your really just at your computer. The puzzles are genuinely challenging, the visuals spectacular, and it has some the most horrifically realistic looking murder scenes I've ever seen. Despite having been most likely permanently scared from this game I'd still hold it as the best flash game I've ever played. It truly sets a new standard for horror that does not wear off after you've finished playing.
This song is very Chicago style Jazz song, the type you might hear at bar or club. The smooth sax and piano create a very relaxing feel to the music, and lineup of instruments compliment each other well. The brass instruments in the background covering the off beats really give this a Chicago style feel as previously mentioned. I was kinda disappointed with how much this piece repeats itself. Variation is one of the key elements of Jazz, yet most of the riffs seem to just repeat themselves.
Chicago jazz is typically improvised, done by musicians who make up there parts on the spot so that no two measures are ever the same. Here though the only variation seems to be in which instruments are playing rather than what they're plying. I feel that kinda wears away at the whole Jazz aspect, but maybe I'm being overcritical, maybe this song is intended as simple background music for something, certainly the smooth mellowness of the instruments is there, but alot of the parts are played staccato, and I feel the sax in particular could have benefited alot from something smoother. Either way it's a pretty good song, very mellow easy listening, but it could be better.
Yeah, you're right.
At this stage of my music production i didn't really spend much effort on a song, so it's kinda repetitive.
Thanks for the review!
Dude you remastered it
It sounds sick, I remember putting this together, was good times. I like the editing you did, it sounds alot better now. Rock On!
Yeah man, those were the days. Ahhh, nostalgia.
I still want to redo this song, because I KNOW I could sing it better now.
But alas, I have far too many other things to do, like work. =[
Thanks again for being a drummer, lawl. Glad to see you back in town.
Looking at the current number of listens and downloads this song has really makes me disappointed in Newgrounds. I want to know just how you think the audio portal is going to improve if when some one goes out of their way to write a unique original and cleaver song, and ignorant fuck bags like you just ignore it. This anger is obviously misdirected, cause if your reading this review your probably listening to it right now. Regardless, this is one of the most well written songs that has ever come onto the audio portal.
The first thing this song has going for it, is that their are actually legitimate lyrics. Now that's one thing I think Newgrounds fails to respect in many ways, sure theirs nothing wrong with making a electronic song that's all synthesised as long as it's unique and interesting, and I'll accept the fact that for a flash game music without lyrics is desirable, but this seems to have caused Newgrounds to loose respect for lyrics, which is often the most difficult part of a song to write. But enough about Newgrounds lets talk about the song. Now love is by no means a new topic in music, but that doesn't stop a love song from being original. In this case we hear alot of unique metaphors built around the "Dream" theme, it's actually very cleaver the way it was written. I wouldn't be praising it so much though if the vocals weren't FUCKING PERFECT. All on key, perfectly recorded and mastered, and Raegan Quinn really expresses emotion in her voice, which could easily compete with most pop artists.
But if the lyrics are good than the instrumentals are phenomenal. The composure of the music is incredible, and harmonising with vocals the way this song does is something I think alot of mainstream artists could learn from. Using a wide variety of instrument will always adds adds alot to a song when they complement the melody they do here. And unlike most music on Newgrounds this isn't software produced. Imaging that, actually recording music with real instruments! OK, I said I wouldn't make a big deal of this, but I'd really just like to use this opportunity to say how good a guitarist and pianist George Powell is.
The the guitar solo and the breakdown at 3:40 are like the icing the cake. It's hard for me to criticise a song that does all these things so well. The point I'll make is that I think a little more volume on the guitar would help, but maybe that's just my hard side speaking because their is nothing wrong with this song, it's been perfected and fine tuned to a point of perfection. Absolutely sublime from start to finish, and if you two aren't signed yet than their are alot of labels I need to yell at for being ignorant dolts.
I appreciate the lengthy and thorough review. There is something I should point out though...
...this song actually is 100% software-based (except for the vocals, obviously). Like many of my other works, both rock and orchestral, I listen to other artists' music and learn how instruments are and aren't played (in order to put together a believable and playable piece) and then when I put the piece together, I try to set the FX and EQs to make the MIDI-based instruments sound as real as I can. I am a pianist, primarily, and much of what I've learned in my years of piano music theory training is what helps me understand the musical mechanics and how to use them in composing, but I'm honestly not a guitarist. I just try to do a good job at mimicking what guitars do.
I will say, though, that I highly agree with you that Raegan is a phenomenal vocalist, and she's even doing vocal parts in the film I'm scoring.
Thanks for the review, although I'm not at all offended that less people download this song than listen to it; the only thing I care about is that people appreciate my work.
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