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Roberts Space Industries ®






September 20th 2016

Spectrum Spectator: Star Marine 2

Hello and welcome to Spectrum Spectator. Thanks for joining us! That fine gentleman is Lars Gonall, and I, as always, am the indomitable Daisy Wences. If you were looking for a show with all the latest spectrum news, reviews, and a bunch of opinionated arguing, then you’ve found the right place.

Lars: If, however, you were hoping for a show about cooking aboard your starship, then you are in the completely wrong place. What you probably want is Dinner Adrift with Chef Carmilla.

Good point, Lars. We are not Dinner Adrift.

Lars: Now that I think about it, have we ever reviewed Dinner Adrift?

I don’t believe we have. We don’t really talk too often about cooking shows.

Lars: Well, at least ones that aren’t competition cooking shows.

True, we both got a little too invested in Hot Out the Oven last season. Still think Beatrice should have won Best Baker. Her scones were objectively a million times better.

Lars: Did you hear that neither host will be returning for the premiere of Celebrity Hot Out the Oven this season?

Yeah, my guess is that neither one of them were willing to risk trying a cake that Ellroy Cass baked.

Lars: What would that even taste like?

Glitter and sadness.

Lars: For those of you keeping track of the score, that’s Daisy one hundred and fifteen and Ellroy Cass zero.

It’s pretty easy to win an insult contest when the other person doesn’t even know you’re alive.

Lars: Sure, you say that now, but for all we know Cass is out there right now crying in a bathroom.

Safe money is always on Cass being in a bathroom doing something.

Lars: One hundred and sixteen.

All right, playful banter achieved! Shall we move on to today’s actual reviews? I’ll even let you pick where we start.

Lars: Oh boy!

What do you say? Rory or Star Marine?

Lars: Definitely going with the return of one my childhood heroes here. How could I not? I used to devour old Rory Nova episodes when I was a kid. People used to actually call me Rory.

I’m sure they did. For those of you who didn’t catch it, this weekend marked the premiere of a brand new Rory Nova series titled Rory Nova: Ready to Blast Off. This is the first time an original Rory Nova program has been on the spectrum in over 15 years, and it’s changed a fair bit from the wacky cat who flies a ship. Featuring a completely different animation style and a brand new cast of characters, this version has been updated to appeal to the kids of today, which apparently means a ton more missiles and transforming suits.

Lars: Yeah, they upped the action a bit, but that’s to be expected when you see the other shows that RTBO is going up against.


Lars: It’s what people are calling the new show on the message boards. RNOS is the original series.

Right …

Lars: Don’t give me that look. I love Rory Nova, no apologies. So trust me when I say as a fan, even I was in impressed by how deep RTBO dove into the show’s mythology. All these little winks and nods to RNOS have been used to create this incredibly rich setting. For example, in the original, Rory flew out of Spaceport Ringeroo, and you never knew what it was there for or who was in charge. Now in the new series, the writers have gone out of their way to give a full backstory to the owner of the station, Chief Grummels, who was only featured once before as a guy who kept slipping in Rory’s spilled soda. There is real storytelling going on here, and this is just the first episode. Makes me excited to see where they take it.

I wasn’t so sold. It felt like the show didn’t know who they were trying to appeal to: kids who probably don’t remember Rory at all, or the adults who do. I was expecting to see a silly cat get into trouble aboard his good ship Scootaloo, and instead there were all these new characters with complicated backstories. All of whom, I might add, just happened to be deeply scarred by personal tragedies they were trying to avenge.

Lars: I think a lot of the show’s original whimsy is still there, they just added depth to it so that the laughs mean more.

You laughed?

Lars: If you go back and watch some of the older stuff, and then watch the new premiere, there’s a lot of DNA being shared beneath the surface. The showrunners even went so far as having Eli Talloway, the widow of the original voice of Rory, Arthur Vin, come in to give the show her blessing.

I can see you are well gone on this one, which is quite touching in sort of a weird way. So, the verdict is, if you are an adult who remembers the original or a kid who loves missiles, then Rory Nova: Ready to Blast Off may be just right for you. For everyone else … meh.

Lars: Always exciting when we have a split decision.

You mean pretty much every show.

Lars: Yup. Every show we do is exciting.

Speaking of pure unadulterated excitement, Star Marine 2: BloodLock premiered last week. This is the sequel to Star Marine, which itself was of course the financially successfully yet critically panned film version of the popular sim franchise with the same name.

Lars: Unadulterated? If anything I’d say the action was full adulterated. Too adulterated even. They fell into the classic sequel trap of trying to outdo the first film by blowing up more stuff and killing even more people and lost sight of what made the first film such enjoyable camp.

I actually liked the first Star Marine, too. It was a mess structurally, but the action sequences really captured the feeling of playing the game. Like during the big second set piece when Captain Bledsoe races down the corridor, snags the ammo, dives into zero g, pops the clip as he spins upside down, and unloads just as the thug lines up his rocket launcher. I swear I’ve done that exact thing in the game.

Lars: It was a lovely bit of action choreography. Sadly, all the action in the sequel was a confused mess of dark close-ups, frantic cutting, random explosions and wide shots where you have no idea what you’re supposed to be looking at.

And it was just so much harder to get into the characters this time around. The story picks up where the first one left off: Captain Bledsoe has retired from the Star Marines and he’s now trying to forget his blood-soaked past on a transfer station in Nexus, when they get attacked by a gang looking to take it over. Bledsoe has no choice but to form up a squad with some of the ne’er do wells hanging around and take the outlaws down himself. Notice, I’m saying outlaws here. That’s because for the life of me I could not tell you what their name or motivation was in the film. I know from the press release that it was supposed be the Blinders, and that their fearsome leader lost an eye to Bledsoe in the past or something, but I’d be hard pressed to say if any of that was in the movie.

Lars: Yeah, the generic-to-the-point-of-bland bad guys were bad, but nothing compared to the cliché spewing compatriots. Were we actually supposed to root for these people to live? Holy crap, if I heard that mechanic say, “Screw it twice with a wrench!” one more time, I was going to snap my screen in half.

You don’t screw things with a wrench!

Lars: I know!

One thing they did get right was the station itself, which was directly modeled off the OP Station Demien level from the game. Everything from the door placements, to the weapon stash, to the path they take to get the advantage in the final shoot out, all lined up pretty perfectly with what you can experience in-game. It made me wonder though, why didn’t they just use the lore from that station in-game for the movie?

Lars: What do you mean?

If you dive into the Star Marine fiction, they have all this great stuff about how there was this terrible massacre there when these gang members slipped aboard the station and murdered almost everyone. One survivor managed to make it to a comm station and alert the authorities, and that’s when they send in the Star Marines. How cool would that have been? Bledsoe being the lone survivor and having to hold out till the Star Marines arrive?

Lars: Well we can only hope they do better with the inevitable Star Marine 3.

That’s a perfect spot to take a break. When we come back, we go from sequels to another remake; this time of the classic film One Way to Go which itself was a remake of another, even earlier film.

Lars: I actually didn’t know that until Daisy pointed it out to me. Turns out nothing is original ever.

Pretty much. We’ll give you plenty of history tidbits, and let you know how the new one stacks up, when Spectrum Spectator returns.

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