Thursday 21 June 2012

Prometheus - a little disappointing?

Spoiler alert for those who haven't seen it yet!

Went to see Prometheus yesterday evening and left the cinema feeling more than a little disappointed.

An impressive film, yes, but I found it rather disjointed, with various subplots that seemed to lead nowhere or follow no logical course.  Not what I've come to expect from Ridley Scott.

Special effect were excellent, well acted, good production standards and I liked the ship and vehicles.  These explorers have taken the sensible approach and brought their own transport with them, unlike some we could mention (yes Outcasts, we're looking at you - what sort of colonists fail to bring any sort of mechanised transport or riding beasts with them?).  I'd say that the Old Crow Claymore APC would be a good match for the exploration rover.

It was also good to see some of the ideas that didn't quite make it into original Alien film finally appear; the breast-like alien mound, the hieroglyphics inside the central chamber.

What I didn't get was the crew mix.  As one character pointed out, they've spent trillions of credits getting them there so wouldn't they select a crew who had at least a remote interest in completing the mission?  Some were very keen but others displayed complete disinterest, the entire mission was unfocused and pretty aimless with no real leadership from anyone.  ("Oh, we've found an alien race?  Well, I'll just go back to the ship because I'm a geologist and if it's not a rock then I don't care!")  At least in Alien there was a reason for the disinterest, they were a commercial ship on a different mission, not an exploration vessel like Prometheus whose sole purpose was to investigate the possibility of alien life.

The whole pregnancy thing felt a bit shoehorned in - didn't she recover quickly after being stapled back together!  Why did the rest of the crew seem so unconcerned about her reappearance when she'd just knocked 2 unconscious, broken quarantine and turned up bloodstained and gooey after fighting off a mutant monster foetus?

Why did David infect the scientist if he wasn't going to watch to see how he developed/mutated?  There seemed to be no logic or purpose behind it.  I can accept that in this sort of film people are always going to venture into a dark room on their own or will peer closely at what is clearly a dangerous creature or object with no apparent concern for their safety, but there was too much that didn't make sense.

Why were the engineers/space jockeys so much smaller than the one from the original film?  Why did they leave the clues on Earth leading humans to somewhere that was only a small outpost?  What was with the carbon-dating of the alien corpses - don't you need a knowledge of the carbon cycle on a planet in order to carbon-date an item?  If these aliens came from elsewhere, then it doesn't even make a difference if you know the C14 levels in the atmosphere as they won't have been breathing it most of their lives!  DNA match to humans - what's that all about?  I don't think that they seeded earth and humans leapt fully formed out of the water, they had one of the scientists comment on decades of Darwinism being thrown out of the window but never bothered to address his question!  Suspension of disbelief is one thing but very bad science is quiet different!

In The Thing (John Carpenter version), they tried to do all the ideas they could think of and it worked.  Here they try to use all their ideas and they just don't seem to fit together.  Some scenes seem to have come from a different film.  Perhaps there is a "Director's Cut" waiting to appear with extra scenes that explain some of these things, who knows?

Overall grade for this film: C-  Some good ideas but too incoherent, directionless and inconclusive.

What does everyone else think?  Am I being too harsh or does anyone else think the same?

Saturday 9 June 2012

Broadside 2012

Just a quick advert for Broadside 2012, happening this Sunday (10th June) at the Swallows Leisure Centre, Central Avenue, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 4NT.

Sadly it's not one I can make but if you're in the area I'm sure it'll be well worth a look!

Wednesday 6 June 2012


 I got the USE-ME Zombie Dawn rules set from a few weeks ago but haven't had a chance to play it until now.  A very quick game featuring some GZG security & armed colonists trying to escape from a  horde of Rebel Minis zombies with additional unarmed GZG civilians standing in for extra zombies.

A 3-person mining crew from IMEC (Interstellar Mining & Extraction Consortium) have returned to the town to find it unusually quiet and apparently deserted.  They make their way to the company offices only to find them empty and apparently abandoned.  Suddenly a couple of security officers appear along with a civilian lugging a missile launcher - quick, some sort of plague epidemic, they must escape now!  As they turn to run back to their trucks on the far side of the town, the groaning hordes shamble into view...

(Zombies marked with a red zed!  Double-zombie bases are "zombie brutes", big extra-tough creatures.)

The group start their run back across the town...
 Thanks to some extremely poor shooting it took at least three turns before they hit any zombies!

Half way there - but more zombies in sight!

One of the IMEC crew is attacked by 2 zombies even as he gets within sight of the trucks!  Although he manages to kill one, he is severely wounded by the other.

Look out!
 The zombie hordes close in.  Surely the end is near?  Using the missile launcher at too short a range means that one of the IMEC crew is injured by the blast!  She has three zombies closing on her but only a pistol to defend herself.  After her string of misses and friendly-fire incidents, the civilian with the missile launcher succumbs to the zombies on the right - and immediately rises again as one of the undead!
A target rich environment - shame no-one can shoot straight!
The humans are getting overwhelmed, only 3 survivors left... and then the female IMEC employee falls to her three attackers.

More zombies follow the blood trails round the corner.
The female cop decides to split, abandoning the last wounded IMEC employee to his fate.

Surrounded, he is torn apart by zombies!
Within metres of the trucks, the security officer is also overwhelmed and devoured!

Too late!  The last survivor goes to her grisly fate!
All 6 survivors have been killed (though 3 have re-animated to join the zombie horde).

With no-one to carry warning of the outbreak, what will happen next?

A fun little game, easy rules to use though a couple of bits don't seem to make sense but I'm sure it'll become easier with the next game.

Friday 1 June 2012

Power Armour

The latest powered armour suits are currently being issued to units.  These new suits retain the features which have made power armour so effective but add new abilities to enhance their effectiveness.  It is envisaged that the 2 types of armour will function alongside each other for many years to come.  Though similar in appearance, there is little commonality of parts between the 2 designs, so they will not tend to be mixed within units.

Left to right: missile trooper, standard trooper, tribarrel SAW gunner
The older suits have a characteristically chunky appearance with the head sunk between the shoulders for added protection.

Rear view of old style power armour
Different back mounted pods provide attachment points for missile pods, SAW ammo packs or other useful items.

New style power armour equipped with grenade launchers (left) and LSWs (right)
The new suits have lowered the shoulders, resulting in an increase in situational awareness from the better view.  With newer technologies, the armour can be slimmer and more flexible without sacrificing any protection.  Units tend to be equipped with an even split of light support weapons and grenade launchers.

Rear view of new style armour showing manoeuvre packs
An enhanced firepower and manoeuverability pack adds to the effectiveness of the new armour.  In addition to making it jump capable, the pack includes 2 triple barrelled grenade launchers, one firing over each shoulder.  The grenades will usually be either smoke or high explosive depending upon mission requirements.

Comparison shot of old and new style power armour suits
These are the old & new versions of Ground Zero Games' NAC Power Armour.  They're painted in the same standard brown/grey/green camo as my other NAC troops.

My Tomorrow's War stats:

Old style armour:
Confidence: High
Supply Level: Normal
Tech Level: 2
Grid: Yes
Armour: Powered 3D
TQ/Morale: D10/D10
Weapons: Basic troops have assault rifle
Special troopers have either:
Tribarrel SAW (Med AP:2)
Missile pods (AP:2 AT:1(L))
Advanced Sensors
Active Trauma Treatment

New style armour:
Confidence: High
Supply Level: Normal
Tech Level:3
Grid: Yes
Armour: Powered 3D
TQ/Morale: D10/D10
Troops have either LSW (AP:1)
or Grenade Launcher (AP:2 ATL:1(L)
Advanced Sensors
Active Trauma Treatment

Manoeuvre pack adds:
Shoulder Grenade Launchers (AP:1 AT:1(L))
Makes armour jump capable (Move 8" standard / 16" rapid)