Tag Archive: spike tv

Back from the Grave

Fans of the hit Spike TV show Deadliest Warrior are more than familiar with its concept. A pair of history’s greatest factions or individual warriors are pitted against each other in a computer simulated battle after using real-life statistical input by modern experts on their techniques and practices. Using this data, not only does Spike TV put on an entertaining hour long show with three seasons (and hopefully more soon) under its belt, but they’ve put out a pair of games based on some of their most epic match-ups that are meant to relive the highest highs of the show.  And conveniently now, they have compiled both of those downloadable games into one disc, including all the DLC, a bonus arena, and six episodes from Season Three of the show for the price of $29.99.

So, on paper, this is worth it because if you didn’t get these games the first time around, you’re basically getting everything you could’ve bought online via XBLA or PSN, plus half a season of Season Three of the show. But compared to a lot of the other fighting games out there, unfortunately, these games really have trouble stacking up. Although definitely different, fighting fans that aren’t familiar with the show will have a lot of trouble getting into these games, especially with the lack of a life-bar in Legends and the one-hit kills in both games. And since technically Legends is better as a lot of the collision issues from the first game were fixed, the fighting game veterans whose curiosity get the better of them might even pass over the first game altogether.

What really holds these games back though is the depth and replay value because there just aren’t a lot of fighting fans that have stuck with these games so there is little online community to be found to fight against. And the CPU, even with varying difficulty levels, can only offer so much resistance. And if you really were a fan of the series and bought these games the first time around, there is no reason to buy these games again as the only real difference is the TV episodes and a single arena.

So, when all is said and done, Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat is a great bang for your buck if you’re a fan of the franchise, can look past the technical shortcomings, and didn’t get these games online already, but if you’re just a diehard fighting fan or already have these on XBLA or PSN, there is no need to bother with buying this all over again.

SUMMARY: Fans of the SpikeTV show will enjoy having a chance to relive some of the battles they’ve seen on TV and the bonus DVD is nice, but when compared to other entries in the fighting genre, the Deadliest Warrior franchise comes up a little short and won’t satisfy people looking for a deeper fighting experience.

  • THE GOOD: Strong bang for your buck
  • THE BAD: Lacks the polish of other fighters
  • THE UGLY: Post-death twitching corpses

SCORE: 5.0

Deadliest Warrior: Ancient Combat is available on Xbox 360 (XBLA) and PS3 (PSN). Primary version reviewed was on Xbox 360.

EGM Associate Editor Ray Carsillo had a chance to talk to skateboarding pioneer Tony Hawk shortly before the Birdman let the world know on the 2011 SpikeTV VGAs about the upcoming releases of Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD in the summer of 2011.

THE BUZZ: Hollywood director/screenwriter James Gunn walked the red carpet at the 2011 Spike TV VGAs and talked to EGM Associate Editor and Resident Supernerd Ray Carsillo about his experience co-directing/writing Lollipop Chainsaw with Suda51. He also let slip a little new information about the highly anticipated game in regards to Nick, Juliet’s decapitated head of a boyfriend, and his part in the game.

Gunn says in the interview (which you can watch the video of below) that an ability that Nick possesses is that if Juliet beheads certain zombies, she can place Nick’s head in place of the zombie’s head and have Nick pilot the zombie’s body and fight along side her for when the odds really get tough.

EGM’S TAKE: Well, we figured Juliet wasn’t just carrying Nick’s head around for sentimental reasons and this new ability reveal definitely should add an interesting new dynamic to the game play along with the rainbows, hearts, and, of course, Juliet’s chainsaw and pole dancing related abilities. The big question we will have to wait to find the answer to now though is how good is the friendly A.I. and how much of an effect will it really have in combat?

Unfortunately, due to the rapid nature of the red carpet, we couldn’t talk more in depth with James Gunn about the game at that moment, but it was also nice to see his enthusiasm for the project come off rather clearly and has me looking forward to this game even more.

What do you folks think? Are you pumped for Lollipop Chainsaw? What do you think about this new ability? How about the rest of Juliet’s zombie bashing repertoire? Let us know your thoughts with comments below!

Video Games’ Biggest Night

Originally Published: December 30, 2008, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

Ray Carsillo Reporting for 1050 ESPN at the 2008 Spike TV Video Game Awards
Video by Jared Bodden

It was a beautiful night at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California, this year’s site for the 2008 Spike TV Video Game Awards. The 6th annual awards show proved to be the biggest and best one yet with such stars as Neil Patrick Harris, Eliza Dushku, and Kiefer Sutherland on hand, Weezer, 50 Cent, LL Cool J, and the All-American Rejects performing, and hosted by the larger-than-life Jack Black (some of whom you can see in the video of my exploits on the red carpet before the actual show).

The show kicked off with a bang with Jack Black coming out and doing what seemed like an endless tribute skit to all of us video game geeks, while at the same time poking fun at us as he sang about reading and healthy relationships being our mortal enemies as we progress onto video game heaven. Healthy relationships maybe, but reading the subtitles in cut-scenes is integral to the plot of any video game.

Aside from all the celebrities, and awesome musical performances, the thing a lot of us geeks were most anticipating were the reveals of new game trailers, giving many of us hope that 2009 would be even bigger and better than 2008. Trailers for God of War III, Mafia 2, Watchmen: The End is Nigh, Dante’s Inferno, Fight Night Round 4, Uncharted 2, and the highly anticipated Brutal Legend were just a few of the many reveals that had fans salivating over the new year. Only time will tell whether these games end up walking away with some awards next year since trailers are always supposed to look good. It doesn’t mean the game actually will be good (except God of War III; I have total faith in that dominating).

We are still in 2008, though, even if for only a short while longer, and the night revolved around the best of what this year had to offer. Some games were clearly head and shoulders above their competition, while others were tougher to call, and then there were some that I flat-out disagreed with. Just like other awards shows, whether it is music, movies, or whatever, some of the nominees get a huge gust of positive hype in their sails and it propels them to the trophy when they are not worthy of the title. In my opinion, this was the case on several occasions for this awards show, as well.

“So just who walked away with what?” you may ask. Well, the video game community gathered, as many developers waited nervously to see how their years of hard work would be received by the expert panel, and here are how some of the biggest awards panned out:

Best Team Sports Game is pretty dull when it comes to nominees. You’re always going to have nominees from the five biggest sports (yes, soccer is included due to its worldwide appeal). This year was no different. Madden 09, NBA 2K9, NHL 09, and FIFA 09 were the nominees. Madden is always a favorite due to its mass appeal, but there were rumors that it would fall short this year because most hardcore Madden gamers had a lot of complaints about it compared to previous years. NBA 2K9 was almost a pity nominee just so that EA Sports did not sweep the nominees. This left FIFA and the NHL, two of the least popular sports in the U.S.A. and more popular sports worldwide with a chance at the trophy. To my pleasant surprise, NHL 09 arose victorious and I agreed on every level. It was easily the most accurate sports simulation of the year, with new features like “Be a Pro” mode to compliment the thorough “Dynasty” mode, this was the right choice for Best Sports Game.

Best Shooter was another category that I thought the panel nailed right on the head. The nominees were Gears of War 2, Left 4 Dead, Resistance 2, and Far Cry 2. I knew this was going to Gears of War 2 the instance I beat that game because I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, there is no more satisfying feeling than sneaking up behind someone and slicing them to ribbons with the Lancer Chainsaw Rifle. Plain and simple. The others games did not even come close in my mind. Resistance 2 seemed like they had tried to copy as many things from Gears as possible and had taken away the heart that Resistance 1 had. Left 4 Dead was nice, but it was just another carbon copy of all zombie shooters that have come out since Resident Evil 4. Far Cry 2 did not even register on my radar it paled so much in comparison to Gears of War 2. In what seemed like the year of sequel, Gears of War 2 was a sequel that went above and beyond the first in ways you could only hope for and was very deserving of the Best Shooter trophy. Gears of War 2 also walked away with Best XBOX360 Game, giving it two awards in the five categories it was nominated in.

One of the categories that made me grind my teeth in frustration was Best Wii Game. I thought the system was very well represented with the nominees. Boom Blox, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, No More Heroes, and Wii Fit were great selections because it showed the range of the Nintendo Wii. The fact that the award went to Boom Blox though shows that most people do not give the Wii the respect it deserves. Yes, you do not think of the Wii for hardcore gamers, but when you have Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which was also robbed of Best Fighter by another overrated game in Soul Caliber 4, that is another in the long list of dominate franchises Nintendo has and had an amazing story mode to go with the combat, you just have to shake your head when the trophy falls to something like Boom Blox. Even if No More Heroes had won, you could agree with it. No More Heroes comes from the insane mind of Suda 51 and the anime graphics style that it was created with, the over the top combat, and the fact that the hero had the greatest weapon ever created as his main tool, a lightsaber, made this guilty pleasure more than worthy. Instead, the award went to Jenga on steroids. Have we not learned that everything Steven Spielberg has made in the past 10 years or so is absolute garbage? Yes, Boom Blox is a fun multi-player game, especially for kids 10 and under, but in terms of showing what the system could do, or being revolutionary, this game was ridiculously overrated. The people who voted for this probably also loved Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Curse you Steven Spielberg, why do people still love you for things you did 20 years ago and fail to look at the crap you have been force-feeding us for the past 10? I also just realized that Steven Speilberg and Brett Favre must be related somehow.

Another category that made me just shake my head with frustration was Best Studio. This award goes to the game studio that went above and beyond its competition for 2008. The nominees were Media Molecule for Little Big Planet (on the PS3), Rockstar North for Grand Theft Auto 4 (on the PS3 and XBOX360), Harmonix for Rock Band 2 (on the Wii, XBOX360, and PS3), and Bethesda Game Studios for Fallout 3 (on the PS3 and XBOX360). Media Molecule walked away with this, and no offense to Media Molecule, but Little Big Planet is another game that Sony sank so much money into its advertising that, I guess, people were hypnotized by the simplest game I’ve ever played. Little Big Planet is a cute game, but again, this is a game better suited for gamers under the age of 10 that just had a revved up Create a Level mode. For the work and time that went into GTA 4 and considering the high level of product that was produced, there was no way Rockstar should not have come away with this. Especially since GTA 4 was named OVERALL GAME OF THE YEAR. GTA 4 is one of those rare occurrences when a game with so much hype and press actually lives up to it when it comes out. It is a travesty that Little Big Planet and Media Molecule got as much as it did for such an overhyped game. Little Big Planet also won Best PS3 Game over Metal Gear Solid 4 and GTA 4. I just have trouble understanding how a game that wins Overall Game of the Year, like GTA 4, does not come away with more awards. Were they trying to just “share the love”? At least GTA 4‘s getting Overall Game of the Year I agreed with.

So that was a taste of the 2008 Spike TV Video Game Awards. Check out the VGA page here http://www.spike.com/event/vga to see some of those amazing trailers I mentioned and to get the list of winners from all 25 categories. I want to give a special thanks to Geoff Keighley, Aileen Budow, David Schwarz, and the rest of the great people at Spike TV for extending me the invite and for accommodating me on the red carpet. It was easily the highlight of my year as a gamer and a journalist and it meant a lot to me to be there. Also, special congratulations to Will Wright for winning the Video Game Lifetime Achievement Award for creating Spore and The Sims series.

This was a great way to honor everything that happened this year in gaming and here is to a great 2009. See you in the New Year, folks.

-Ray Carsillo

Originally Published: December 11, 2008, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

A while back, I had a chance to sit down with one of the founding fathers of video game journalism, Geoff Keighley. Geoff and I talked about how he got his start in the business and what direction he feels the video game industry is heading in on many different fronts.

Geoff is currently the host of GameTrailers TV on Spike, a weekly look at the best games coming out for all the systems, and was recently promoted to Spike’s Executive in Charge of Video Game Publisher Relations. As well as these responsibilities, Geoff is also the Executive Producer of Spike’s Video Game Awards.

The 2008 Video Game Awards air LIVE on Spike TV, this coming Sunday, December 14th, at 9PM EST. The awards show is being hosted this year by Jack Black with such musical acts as the All-American Rejects and 50 Cent. I will be there on-site for the awards and will be sure to report back to all you fine folks on this year’s results.

– to listen to my interview with Geoff Keighley, host of SpikeTV’s GameTrailers TV.