How I would do a Moon Knight video game

I've been giving a Moon Knight video game a lot of thought, which I know is a waste of time seeing as I'll never get to make it, but none-the-less, I have. Anyway, I thought I'd just run through some of my ideas and see what people think in general... 
 

Style 

At first I thought an open-world game in the style of GTA would work best, but then the more I thought about it, the less I liked the idea. First of all, a lot of time would be wasted on car and civilian AI that would really have no impact on the gameplay. In GTA it's justified because you get to drive the cars and shoot the people, but MK wouldn't be doing either of those, so it really would be a waste of budget. Instead, I think it would work better in the style of Mass Effect. You would have Grant Mansion as your base of operations, where you could walk around freely, talking to Marlene, Frenchie, Samuels, and whoever else is there at the time, either just to get to know them (for those who don't already), or to discuss story-related info. Some of your missions would be discovered through a police scanner, while other, more important ones, would be learned of through talking to Crawley at Gena's Diner. You would then choose your missions via a map of New York, which would not only include story-related missions, but general criminal activity that would be used simply to increase XP.  Choosing a mission would take you straight to the scene of the crime.

Missions 

Batman: Arkham Asylum is one of the best games out there, not just for a comic character, but overall, so obviously it would make a good template. The thing that would make MK unique, would be how Khonshu is incorporated. My thoughts are that he could appear beside you during battles, taunting you to "finish him off" or whatever, and then perhaps a good/evil system could be incorporated whereby doing Khonshu's bidding would make you physically stronger, Fist of Khonshu style, but would lose you the respect of the other heroes. If you chose to ignore Khonshu, perhaps Spider-Man, Daredevil, or Cap could come in for assistance later on in the game. Frenchie could also give you relevant information from up in the Mooncopter.

Bosses 

At the end of some of the story missions, you would get to fight Morpheus, Randall, Black Spectre, Scarlet, and Werewolf, but through the whole game, the ultimate goal would obviously be to get to Bushman, who no doubt set up everything else that had transpired.
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Why is it so hard to make a decent superhero video game?

I've been playing video games since I was a kid, and I've also loved superheroes since I was a kid, so I was always excited when a new game came out that combined both... and was subsequently disappointed. The only really good superhero game I think I've ever played, has been the recent Batman: Arkham Asylum, and I'm not even that big a Batman fan! So why is it that superhero games are rarely any good? Here's a few reasons I can think of: 

Flight 

For heroes such as Superman, Iron Man, and to a lesser extent, Spider-Man, the ability to fly adds a lot of time/money to a game's production. One of the regular complaints I've read on games based on those three characters, is that their environment is lacking detail. Play GTA 4 for a bit, and then put on Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (which came out 6 months after), and you will see what they mean. Unless you're willing to add the detail necessary to keep on par with other current games, your's will automatically look dated. 

Cannon-fodder 

Every superhero is going to have their own rogues gallery, but who do you fight leading up to them. Sure, a battle between Hulk and Abomination would make for an epic boss battle, but who could possibly pose a challenge on your way to meet him? The regular army, even with tanks and artillery are no match for Hulk, so then you have to make up some reasoning why every single soldier has a Hulkbuster suit, or why there are massive killer robots running around the city. What about Superman? Does every street-thug pack kryptonite bullets? Generally the story is written to explain why these unusual enemies are running around city, which could be the problem, as there is yet to be any superhero game that matches the storytelling of a game such as Mass Effect

Powers 

Pretty much every superhero has a superpower, but how can those powers be conveyed in a game? Some are easy, like Spider-Man's web-slinging, or Superman's heat-vision, but how would you use Silver Surfer's "cosmic awareness" for instance? Many team-games, such as Ultimate Alliance, limit the powers of the stronger characters so that they are on-par with the street-level ones. Having someone like Ms Marvel fight the same people as Daredevil, and take the same amount of damage from their attacks, is just ridiculous.

Conclusion 

I think video game developers need to start focusing more on the street-level heroes, such as Daredevil and Moon Knight, because they don't suffer from these problems. They can't fly, they can be hurt by just regular enemies, and their powers aren't over-the-top. This would make for much more intimate environments and stories, which would make for a much better product. Batman: Arkham Asylum is a perfect example!
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Old School Review: Resurrection War

Old School Review 

 

Moon Knight: Resurrection War 

 
Moon Knight: Resurrection War is a four-part mini-series that was released in early 1998. Moon Knight, having died at the end of Marc Spector: Moon Knight, is resurrected by Khonshu once again. Khonshu's nemesis, the Egyptian god, Set, is using Morpheus to do his bidding and bring darkness upon the world. To do so, Morpheus enlists the help of Moon Knight's enemies, Bushman and Black Spectre, to blow up the United Nations Building during an important conference. Moon Knight, with the help of his regular allies, and that of Khonshu, has to stop them before it is too late. 
 
Doug Moench, Moon Knight's creator, takes the reins on this one again, and writes an interesting story using several of Moon Knight's past enemies and allies. At its heart, Resurrection War is a battle of the gods, each using their respective human pawns, but thankfully limits the spiritual aspect to the realm of dreams, keeping the story grounded. Tommy Edwards art is a little scratchy for my tastes, but it does seem to fit the story rather well, and most of the time I didn't even notice. 
 
Overall, I think this series is worth the read, and would recommend it to any Moon Knight fans that have yet to do so. However, I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone who is not already familiar with Moon Knight's allies and enemies. 
 
Writing: 4/5
Art: 3/5
OVERALL: 3/5
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Old School Review: High Strangeness

Old School Review 


Moon Knight: High Strangeness

 
Moon Knight: High Strangeness, also known as High Strangers, is a 4-part mini-series that was released in early 1999. Marc Spector, aka Moon Knight, is being targeted for assassination by a group with red dragon tattoos upon their chests. He learns that his former employer, The Company, is behind it, so he contacts an old friend, Candace Calder, who is still working for them. She informs him of The Company's work in mind-control via brain implants. Unknown to Marc, he himself was implanted with one such device during an earlier encounter, and begins see things that may or may not be entirely real.
 
This series feels like Doug Moench, Moon Knight's creator, had been watching far too much X-Files when writing it, as conspiracy theories and alien lore abound. Said show was still running strong in its 6th season at the time, so it's entirely possible. Besides the now-clichéd concepts, it's actually put together in an interesting way, explaining aliens and other strange phenomena as mere projections caused by the government's mind-control. The writing, for the most part, is quite good, though it features a pet hate of mine--explanatory thoughtballoons! They were very common in older comics, and my reason for hating them is explained by a saying in screenwriting circles: Don't write what you can't show! If the reader can't tell what's happening from the pictures, then write it so they can. Explaining things via thoughtballoons is simply the cheap way out, especially considering that Mark Texeira's art is so damn good. 
 
Even though I'm personally tired of conspiracy-type stories, I understand that there are those out there who might not be, so if you are one of those people, I feel you would like this mini a lot more than I did. I did like the art, but unfortunately that wasn't enough to save it in my opinion.
 
Writing: 3/5
Art: 4/5 
OVERALL: 3/5
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Create-a-Team: Australia

Reading about the return of Alpha Flight in Chaos War got me thinking about non-US comic characters, and in particular, teams. Alpha Flight are Canadian, and then you have Excalibur from the UK, and many from space, but the rest of the world seems largely forgotten. Of course there are some international teams, but their appearances are few, and far between. So anyway, rather than simply ranting about the lack of international coverage, I thought I'd just go ahead and create my own local team :)
 
Even though I was using Marvel teams as examples, the following could fit into any comics universe... 

Origins 

A group of scientists (at this point, three) are driving through the Australian outback to retrieve a satellite that has crashed out there. The cause of the satellite's fall is unknown at this point. They arrive at the crash-site and examine the debris. One finds a panel with a small meteor embedded in it and proclaim it to be the cause. They pick up all the debris and pack it in their vehicle. On the way back, one mentions feeling woozy (the meteor is seen glowing) and then they veer off the road... 
 
They all wake up in a hospital, being told that a passer-by saw their car in a ditch and called emergency. They all complain of feeling off, which the doctors simply put down to heat-stroke as all tests show them to be medically fit. When each returns home, they become aware of their new-found abilities... 

Tracker 

(I know there's already a character called Tracker, but I couldn't think of another name
Being part Aboriginal, his ancestors have always had an affinity for tracking, but his powers come through much more extreme. He is able to see every footprint and hand print, on every surface that has ever been touched. The more recent ones are the brightest and most noticeable, but older ones are visible with concentration. Not only this, but he is able to "know" who's print it is. 

Bunyip

Kind of a mix between a werewolf and the Hulk, he transforms into a beast resembling a Bunyip whenever the moon is above the horizon. The phase of the moon also effects the extent of the transformation. Fully transformed, he is the size of the Hulk, and has a dog-like face, dark fur, a horse-like tail, webbed fingers/toes, and walrus-like tusks. He only reverts back to human when the moon sets. 

Min Min 

She is able to create floating balls of soft light (Min Min Lights) that she can then control, and are able to relay information on their surroundings back to her, essentially giving her remote viewing abilities. She can create as many as she likes, and they can be "switched off" at any time. 

More? 

There are many other Australian myths that could be potentially used to create more characters, but for now, I think three will suffice. I mean, it's not like I'll ever be able to do anything with these creations :)
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Which comics are people really reading?

Being fairly new to comics, I didn't know which comics were the current popular ones that people were reading, so as a way to find out--rather than just asking--I turned to the sales figures of the last quarter, and this is what I found the Top 10 were: 
 

1) Wolverine 

Wolverine #1 out-sold all of the other books in the quarter other than X-Men #1. I'm not sure if it's just that it's Wolverine, or because it's a #1, but I think I'll wait and see where the series goes. 
 

2) X-Men

As I said above, X-Men #1 actually out-sold Wolverine #1, but the problem is that the sales dropped by half for #2. If it wasn't for this spike, the series wouldn't have even made the list, so again, not really a good judge of "popularity". 
 

3) Brightest Day

Brightest Day had 6 issues during the quarter, all with fairly steady sales, placing it third on the list, though in reality, it should probably be at the top. I've never been a DC fan, but perhaps this would be a good series to change that. 
 

4) Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne 

Return of Bruce Wayne only had the one issue during the quarter, so again, it's not the best judge of popularity. However, being that it was #4, I imagine sales would have steadied off by then, so perhaps it is. It is only a mini-series though... 
 

5) Avengers 

With the Avengers film coming soon, it's hard to tell if this is actually a good title, or if people are just reading it out of hype. 
 

6) Green Lantern

Green Lantern suffers the same problem as Avengers: Is it quality or film-hype? 
 

7) Batman and Robin 

Batman and Robin can't be film hype, so I might have to look into it. However, as much as I love Batman, but I've never really cared for the whole Robin thing. 
 

8) New Avengers 

I used to like the 2005 series, so I'd probably like this one too. Are these New Avengers the same as from back then though? I'm often confused by Avengers' line-ups. 
 

9) Batman 

A staple of the DC line-up, I'm sure I'd love Batman if I gave it a go. It's the only long-running series on the list, so I guess that has to carry some weight. 
 

10) Secret Avengers 

Secret Avengers is one I certainly want to have a look at, purely for the fact that Moon Knight is on the team :)
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Moon Knight: Friends & Enemies

I've only known of Moon Knight for a few months, and already he's shot to #1 on my favourites list. Having recently finished reading the amazing Moon Knight (2006), I found myself wondering how this instantaneous fandom came to be. The more I thought about it, the more I came to realise that it wasn't so much Moon Knight himself that I find enticing, it's his whole "world"--his alter-egos, friends, and enemies. So as a kind of appreciation blog, I thought I'd do a quick run-though of them. Who knows, it might even serve as a kind of quick-start guide to anyone who is new to this guy we know as...
 

Moon Knight 

So who is Moon Knight? SImply: Marc Spector. An ex-Military guy... who died. Luckily, he was brought back to life by the Egyptian moon god, Khonshu. Unfortunately for Marc, however, there was a price for this reincarnation: Marc must kill badguys in Khonshu's name, and so became Moon Knight
 
Now to help him find out where all the city's crooks were hiding, Marc created two alter-egos to gather the intel. First of all, there's Jake Lockley: a lowly taxi driver who could find out all the city's goings-on from people who let slip from the back seat of his cab. Then there's Steven Grant: a high-class gentleman, who could find out the upper-class's dirty little secrets while at various functions and parties. Together, they had the whole class scale covered. 
 
But Marc doesn't work alone. Unlike most of the other heroes out there, Marc replies heavily on his friends, not only for intel and back-up, but also for much-needed emotional support... 
 

Friends and Allies 

Marlene 

Marlene Alraune 

Marc's on-again-off-again girlfriend has always been there for him... even during the off-again moments. 
 

Jean-Paul "Frenchie" Duchamp 

Once working together as mercenaries, the two became friends. Frenchie then went on to became Moon Knight's pilot, dropping him off where ever he was needed. 
 

Crawley

Crawley 
A homeless bum. But one who supplies Moon Knight with street intel and unending loyalty. 
 

Gena, Ray, and Ricky Landers

Gena and her two sons Ray and Ricky own a diner that Jake frequented. 
 

Rogues Gallery 

Werewolf by Night 

Werewolf by Night 

A man that turns into a werewolf every night, though the extent depends on the phase of the moon. 
 

Midnight Man 

An art thief who rather predictably struck at the hour of midnight. 
 

Midnight 

Midnight Man's son. Once a "wannabe" sidekick of Moon Knights, he was killed, only to be brought back... to become his enemy. 
 

Morpheus 

Randall Spector
Unable to sleep, his dreams build up until he is forced to unleash them upon other's minds. 
 

Randall Spector 

Marc's own brother. Once known as Hatchet Man, a nurse-killing serial killer, but is now another vessel of Khonshu, known as Shadow Knight. 
 

Black Spectre

Trying to imitate Moon Knight, Carson Knowles takes on the guise of Black Spectre, but quickly turns to evil. 
 

The Profile 

My personal favourite, The Profile is able to see other's traits and behaviours, literally reading them like a book. 
Bushman 
 

Bushman

Marc's old squad-mate, turned evil. 
 

Taskmaster 

Able to see any "task" and "master" it perfectly. 
 

Stained Glass Scarlet 

A foxy Nun with a crossbow. Despite her less-than-impressive name, she's actually pretty badass. 

Conclusion

So there you have Moon Knight's "world" in a nutshell. It's nothing you can't find yourself on his CV page, but I've simplified it for quick and easy reference... mostly for myself obviously :)
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Marvel Characters In Video Games - Part 3

For whatever reasons, comic characters have always had a tough time translating over to video games. Due to my love of both, this has always bothered me. A recent exception has been Batman: Arkham Asylum, which has shown that it is possible. I recently ran through some of the more high-profile characters, but now, in my third and final entry, I thought I'd take a look at what I call third-tier characters... 
 

Teams

As I've mentioned in the previous two parts, most of the characters fit prominently into one team or another. Avengers and X-Men have been the primary examples. This tier is no different, featuring: Asgardian Gods, Avengers (again), Excalibur, Inhumans, New Warriors, and X-Force. As I've also said before, team games (such as Marvel Ultimate Alliance) don't generally add much to the genre as a whole, and are primarily there for arcade-style fun. If that's what you're after, then there are already many of them out there, but for me, a quality game means character development, plot, and atmosphere, which team games are sorely lacking. And so, I move on to the singles... 
 

Black Cat

I think that Black Cat is more of an auxiliary character to Spider-Man's world, so I'm not sure she would feature in her own game. I could be wrong, but her similarity to DC's Catwoman could also cause problems. I think she's probably better off sticking to the cameos she makes in Spider-Man's games.

Dazzler

Dazzler is one of those characters that I'd never even heard of until looking around Comic Vine, so if someone like me who has always been familiar with comics has never heard of her, I doubt she'd make for a successful solo venture.

Deadpool

Ahh, Deadpool. Due to his wisecracking and teleporting ways, he was a favourite of mine in MUA2. Having said that, could he hold his own game? I think so. His combination of melee and firearms would provide some nice variation, and his trademark breaking of the 4th wall is something I can't remember seeing in a video game any time recently, so I'm sure it would be a hit. Violence mixed with comedy--who wouldn't like it? 

Doc Samson

Samson is more of a Hulk auxillary character, I feel. Sure he has strength, but I don't think he could add anything to a game that hasn't already been done before in the various Hulk ones.

Moon Knight

Moon Knight is a personal favourite of mine, and part of the reason I started this blog set. I think he needs a game myself, though his similarities to Batman might curb enthusiasm. My thoughts are, if they made it more like a GTA-style game, it would separate him from Arkham Asylum enough to stand on his own.

Moonstone

I wasn't even sure if I would add Moonstone to this list as she makes most of her appearances as part of the Thunderbolts, so falls back into the team game category. She can also fly, which as I've mentioned in previous entries, doesn't usually make for good games, unless that flight is limited, but then you have to explain why it is...

Nova

Nova is another character with flight, so would suffer from Moonstone's fate, but he's also primarily a character of the whole sci-fi aspect of Marvel that I don't think many non-fans are even aware of.

Spider-Woman

I think Spider-Woman could hold her own in a game. Despite being associated with Spider-Man in most people's eyes, I think her differing powers are enough to make a game of her's much different to his. 
 

Conclusion 

Really, I think Deadpool, Moon Knight, and possibly Spider-Woman are the only ones off this list that I think would suit their own game. If you believe otherwise, feel free to comment and state your reasons. I'd love to hear them as always!
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Marvel Characters In Video Games - Part 2

For whatever reasons, comic characters have always had a tough time translating over to video games. Due to my love of both, this has always bothered me. A recent exception has been Batman: Arkham Asylum, which has shown that it is possible. I recently ran through some of the "heavy hitters" in my "Marvel Characters In Video Games - Part 1" blog to see how I think they could or couldn't work, but now I thought I'd take a look at the second-tier characters... 
 

Avengers, Fantastic Four, and X-Men 

These three teams feature prominently on the list, but because I've already covered them in Part 1, I won't repeat myself here. 
 

Black Panther

Black Panther might be able to hold his own in a game, but with his powers being "enhanced senses", he's not much different to Daredevil, who being the more popular character, would make the better choice for a game.
 

Bucky Barnes

I see Bucky as more or a side-kick, so would be more likely to make an appearance in a Captain America game than have his own.
 

Cable 

I think Cable would absolutely suit his own game.  His speed could allow for some cool F.E.A.R.-like bullet-time battles, and his cybernetic arm would make for some nice "special moves". He's also known for his usage of various futuristic weaponry, and the fact that he's from the future could come into it with some time-travel plot pieces.
 

Falcon 

Falcon is more of an auxiliary character to Captain America, but his list of abilities could actually make him an interesting character to play. He can naturally understand and speak telepathically with birds, which I'm sure could have many uses in a game. Also, his costume allows him to fly and has a mask that gives him sight in different ranges from night vision, infrared, magnification, and 360 degree. I know he's not very well known, but why should that stop anyone buying it if they actually made it well?
 

Ghost Rider     

Ghost Rider has actually had his own game, but as with all movie adaptations, it sucked... bad. It gathered a massive 54% on Metacritic, which is a shame really, as he has some pretty awesome abilities that I think could be cool in a game: He has the Penance Stare, which would obviously only be used on your final target, and could make for a cool cinematic ending to the fight; his cool chain that  can grow in length, transform into other weapons such as a spear, and spin fast to be used as a drill; he  has complete control over fire, he can generate and project Hellfire in massive amounts and manipulate it in anyway he likes; t hen there's his bike, which is super-fast and can even travel vertically or across water; and the one that I took most notice of, is that he can travel between Earth and Hell at will, which I'm sure could be used to some very cool effect. Now I'm not even a Ghost Rider fan, but I think there is a ton of potential right there! 
 

Iron Fist and Luke Cage 

 I've added Iron Fist and Luke Cage together because they both featured in their own series together, and also, I just think they would make an awesome game duo. Obviously it would be some sort of beat-em-up, but if you were able to switch between either at will, or have a second player co-op, I think it would be great fun, hailing back to the days of classics such as Double Dragon.
 

Jim Hammond 

Although Hammond is a robot, I think his like appearance to Johnny Storm would simply confuse people, and Johnny is more known anyway, so any developer would just simply go with him.
 

Patsy Walker/Hellcat 

Despite currently having 650 appearances, I don't think that many non-comic-readers would have heard of Patsy, or even her alter-ego, Hellcat. I know I hadn't before researching this blog. With her abilities being mystical-based, she would probably serve better within a Doctor Strange or Defenders game perhaps.
 

Silver Surfer 

The Surfer has featured in many games, but only one of his own, back in the NES days. I think the problem with him having his own game is that, 1) He can fly, even to space, which means he would have to be limited somehow, which would then take away from the feeling that you're playing as him, and 2) His powers are almost limitless, so again, you'd have to constrain them somehow. Being able to go anywhere and do anything would not make for a very interesting game, and as I mentioned, if you limit his scope somehow, then players/fans will not feel they are getting the complete "Silver Surfer Experience".
 

Ms. Marvel 

I think a Ms. Marvel game would suffer the same draw-backs as a Superman game. Being super-strong and being able to fly have not fared well for old Supes in the gaming world, so I doubt Ms. Marvel would be much different. 
 

War Machine 

War Machine is more of an auxiliary character to Iron Man than a stand-alone, and has even featured in several Iron Man games, so I don't really think he would warrant his own game. 
 

Conclusion 

I think the stand-outs of this list for me were clearly Cable, Falcon, and Ghost Rider, but do I think they will ever star in their own game any time soon (discounting the appalling Ghost Rider game), I would have to say... no :(
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Who would you want in Marvel vs Capcom 3?

I've seen several MvC3 "wish lists" around, but I thought I'd ask something a little different. Not only do I want to know who you would most like to see that hasn't already had a turn, but what moves you would give them? 
 
Just as a reminder, here are the characters that have already been in one of the previous games: 

  • Apocalypse
  • Blackheart
  • Cable
  • Captain America
  • Colossus
  • Cyclops
  • Deadpool
  • Doctor  Doom
  • Dormammu
  • Gambit
  • Hulk
  • Iceman
  • Iron Man
  • Juggernaut
  • Magneto
  • Marrow
  • Omega Red
  • Psylocke
  • Rogue
  • Sabretooth
  • Sentinel
  • Shuma-Gorath
  • Silver Samurai
  • Spider-Man
  • Spiral
  • Storm
  • Super-Skrull
  • Thanos
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Thor
  • Venom
  • War Machine
  • Wolverine
  • X-23
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