The Sequelcast Network features the Sequelcast, Video Game Sequelcast, Sequelcast Special, SequelCommentary, and Video Game Sequelcast Special podcasts. Visit our website at www.sequelcast.com. The Sequelcast is now part of the Battleship Pretension Podcast Fleet.

Hosted by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi and William Thrasher, the podcasts on the Sequelcast Network look at movies and video games in franchises.

The theme songs to the Sequelcast, Sequelcast Special, and SequelCommentary podcasts are written and performed by Marc With a C . The Sequelcast is a proud member of the Battleship Pretension Podcast Fleet.

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I stayed away from Koei’s Dynasty Warriors for years. All the reviews would dogpile on the games, saying each one was a more derivative piece of shit than the last. Years later when I picked up an Xbox 360, I was looking for a cheap game to play, and Samurai Warriors 2 fit the bill. I had real fun playing the game. It reminded me of the classic Final Fight beat-em-up games wrought large. Instead of fighting some punks in an alleyway, you were battling large armies on a battlefield. The butt-rock soundtrack and loony animations only heightened the experience. 

With some brief experience playing a smattering of games from the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series, I decided to give Warriors Orochi 3 a spin. The Warriors Orochi series is like a fan-fiction come to life. Characters from both ancient China (Dynasty Warriors) and ancient Japan (Samurai Warriors) join together to fight demonic warriors in a strange dimension. Characters from Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive, and other series also show up as playable characters. 

Each character can level up, but you can also customize stats for their weapons. If you buy a sword that’s weaker but has a Fire attribute you want to graft onto your weapon, you can do that with the Forging system. If that sounds complicated, just wait till you get to the Bonding system. Once you get further into the game, you can unlock bonus missions by building Bonds between characters by either playing missions with them or spending in-game money to throw tea parties for them. The process is a bit tedious, but it makes you feel like you really earn those bonus missions. There’s more depth here than meets the eye, and Warriors Orochi 3 does a terrible job of explaining things. 

The main narrative is hilarious in a Back to the Future Part II way. The demons have summoned a giant Hydra that demolishes all but three of the heroes. After escaping the Hydra, you run into the Moon Princess Kaguya who has the ability of time travel. By going into the past at different, you can save your fellow soldiers from dying. Sometimes saving a few soldiers will cause other to die, so then you’ll have to go even further back in time to rescue them. There are over 100 characters you can unlock. Picking your favorite team of three warriors from different games and time periods and learning the best combos for different battle scenarios is quite exciting. 

A mode that could have used some polish is the Musou Battlefield. You can get modify existing stages (change the voice-acting and boss fights, make it more challenging, adjust the music, etc.) and upload them for other players to try out and leave reviews. I would have rather seen an option to make a level from scratch. Perhaps we’ll get that in a sequel. 

If you like this type of gameplay, you’ll be occupied for dozens of hours trying to unlock everything. The lack of a sensical narrative is a plus as the time travel conceit lightens the tone up a bit. The USA release of this game has subtitles only, those looking for a campy dub will be let down. I’ve had great fun with it. If you like loopy time travel tales of Chinese and Japanese heroes of yore with over-the-top animated action, you’ll have a gas. 

Category:general -- posted at: 3:18 PM

Mat, Thrasher, and special guest Kurt Kalata (founder of Hardcore Gaming 101) discuss the early Castlevania video games in this episode of the Video Game Sequelcast podcast. They also chat about his new book Hardcore Gaming 101 Presents: Castlevania

The following Castlevania video games are discussed: Castlevania, Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Castlevania: The Adventure, Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge, Castlevania Legends, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Castlevania Chronicles, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Mat and Kurt nerd out on video game soundtracks like Chrono Trigger Arranged Version: The Brink of Time and SING!! Sega Game Music presented by B.B. Queens. Thrasher talks about how much he enjoyed playing Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U. 

Direct download: vgsequelcast18.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:39 AM

Mat and Thrasher discuss Addams Family Reunion in this episode of the Sequelcast podcast. Raul Julia (Street Fighter) died shortly after the release of Addams Family Values. This direct-to-video flick premiered on the Fox Family cable TV station. Tim Curry (Gingerclown) tries to fill Julia's shoes, but fails by giving a performance that's too restrained (!!). Daryl Hannah (Vice) is more successful as Morticia. The plot involves mistaken identity at a family reunion. The film combines elements of the plot from The Addams Family and Addams Family Values on a tight budget, and it shows. Get past episodes of the podcast at www.sequelcast.com

Mat discusses FarSight Studios' Kickstarter to bring The Addams Family pinball game based on the first film to home consoles, mobile devices, PC, and Mac. Thrasher praises the last few episodes of Season 10 of Red Dwarf. Mat enjoys the first episode of Season 2 of American Horror Story for its period setting and moody lighting. 

Direct download: sequelcast192.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:42 AM

Nerds get into role-playing games (RPGs) in different ways. It might be through a tabletop Dungeons & Dragons session with a group of friends amidst a Mountain Dew and Cheetos haze. It could be from joining a World of Warcraft guild to go on raids with strangers thousands of miles away. For me, it was watching my friend Dallas play the original Dragon Quest (released in the United States as Dragon Warrior) on the NES. 

I would have been six or seven at the time. He was twelve. The fantasy setting was vaguely familiar. My Dad read The Hobbit to me around this same time. It was the gameplay of Dragon Quest that mystified me. Most other games were side-scrollers. You moved from left to right attacking enemies until you ran into a big boss at the end. 

Dragon Quest was different with its leisurely pace. You wandered the hero around a map moving from a town to a castle or a dungeon. Randomly, you would enter a turn-based battle. You could take as long as you like deciding whether to stab a Red Slime or cast a magic spell to heal yourself. The graphics were colorful and vibrant. The music was either calming or stressful, depending on the situation. The English translation was peppered with faux-medieval speak (“Courage and wit have served thee well”). 

The most fascinating aspect to me was how your character grew stronger over time. By battling monster after monster, you gained experience points. Gain enough of these, and the hero’s attributes increase. He might get more health, become stronger, or gain a new spell. He went from wimp to warrior- the video game equivalent of lifting weights for months on end. 

Yes, there was an overall narrative, but it was rather slight. The princess was captured by the evil Dragonlord. You are to rescue the princess and kill the Dragonlord to restore peace to the land. That’s it. As you travel around the different towns, you get hints of what to do next. There are elders that require three items to warp you to the entrance of the Dragonlord’s lair. Much of the game is tedious grinding (as was the fashion in these older RPGs), but the pixelated renditions of Akira Toriyama’s (Dragon Ball) art are wonderful. The music by classically trained Koichi Sugiyama is ahead of its time; this game’s music was even released on vinyl in Japan at the time. Designer Yuji Hori crafts a simple story here, but what’s more important is how he distilled elements of western RPGs like Ultima and Wizardry into something more accessible to play. Instead of lumbering through first-person mazes you had to map yourself, Hori used an overhead perspective and had items to illuminate your way.   

Dragon Quest was recently rereleased for iOS and Android mobile phones in the United States with a new translation, improved graphics and music, and an easier difficulty than the original. 

Category:general -- posted at: 3:00 PM

Mat, Thrasher, and Jersey Jason discuss Addams Family Values in this episode of the Sequelcast. Most of the cast and crew returns from the first film for this sequel. Taking on an even darker comedic bent than the first, part of the plot revolves around Fester falling in love with a serial killer. Wednesday and Pugsley go to summer camp. Gomez and Morticia deal with their new baby, Pubert. Although critically acclaimed (rare for a sequel), the film was a financial dissapointment. Check out past episodes of the Sequelcast podcast at www.sequelcast.com

Mat, Thrasher, and Jersey Jason discuss the look of the new Batmobile from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and how it brings influences from Batman Forever and The Dark Knight into one weird design. Thrasher approves of Bill Murray approving of the rumored concept that the new Ghostbusters squad could be an all female cast. Jersey Jason enjoyed Edge of Tomorrow for its humor. Mat finds Spoils of Babylon a curio in the vein of Casa De Mi Padre. Thrasher approves of the final season of Red Dwarf

Direct download: sequelcast191.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00 AM

It’s hard to state in words how hyped I was for the theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace. I got into Star Wars kind of late, right before I started high school. As a kid, I actually watched Mel Brooks’ parody Spaceballs first! Once I got into the series from the 1995 VHS box set, I was hooked. I played any Star Wars video game or read any book I could get my hand on. I kept myself free from spoilers. 

Sadly, my spoiler-free came to a bad end. I gave a friend of mine money to get me a ticket to the show on opening day right after school. When the movie was released, I was sick and didn’t feel up to it. My friend was angry I had not gone to the movie with him, so he spoiled the entire movie for me the next day in Spanish class. 

That weekend, I saw the film with my family. The opening scroll started, mentioning something about taxation of trade routes. I got nervous. Aliens appeared on a communication screen in a starship. They started to speak, sounding like a stereotypical Japanese accent out of an old Godzilla movie. I muttered “Oh, no!” This was less than five minutes into the movie.  

Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace was the first film George Lucas had directed since the original Star Wars in 1977. It had a story that was larger in scope than anything from the original Star Wars trilogy. There was political betrayal, armies of robots, and a pod race. There was a two-on-one lightsaber battle. What could possibly go wrong?

In spite of all the detailed planets the characters go to, the entire movie is brought down by the main characters being Jedi Knights Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). They are devoid of emotion as is befitting of the Jedi Order, but they also make the story lack much of the fun of the original films. Harrison Ford’s shining performance of Han Solo brought a wink and a rakish grin to the witty dialogue, letting us in on the fun. The closest to humor Episode I gets is the obnoxious alien Jar Jar Binks getting his tongue grabbed at the dinner table. 

Visually, the movie is impressive. The pod race is a fun, if overlong, sequence. The lightsaber battle at the end with Darth Maul is by far the best in the entire Star Wars saga to date. John Williams has the best score out of the prequel trilogy here, with the climactic Duel of the Fates piece being a real standout. Liam Neeson gives such a comforting presence as Qui-Gon Jinn that it makes one wish he would have become a force ghost in the other two prequels.

The story feels too stretched out at 133 minutes. The story of Anakin Skywalker might have been better told if it had started when he was older. Anakin is so young in this film that his major actions are performed alone without help of the rest of the heroes, making him curiously divorced from the story. He wins the pod race by himself, and he takes out a Federation ship. He’s not involved in any notable action scenes with Obi-Wan Kenobi or Qui-Gon Jinn. Part of the fun of the best characters in Star Wars is how they play off each other, and Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace gives Anakin precious little time to do that. 

In retrospect, this flick is not unwatchable. There are a few good moments and many tedious ones. If you’re going to watch the prequel trilogy again, skip straight to Star Wars: Episode II- Attack of the Clones

Category:general -- posted at: 5:08 PM

Mat, Thrasher, and Jersey Jason discuss The Addams Family in this episode of the Sequelcast podcast. Based on a TV show that was based on a popular series of comics by Charles Addams from The New Yorker, The Addams Family details a case of mistaken identity (or is it?) when a con-man pretends to be the long lost Uncle Fester. The directorial debut of Barry Sonnenfeld (Men in Black 3), this flick had a sick sense of humor best demonstrated in the numerous one-liners from Wednesday, played by Christina Ricci (The Smurfs 2). Check out past episodes of the Sequelcast at www.sequelcast.com

Mat wonders if the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man spin-off flick Venom will be any good. Thrasher raves about some recent test footage that popped up online from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? They all applaud Katey Sagal and Mel Brooks getting stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

Jason and Mat quibble about the ending to Guardians of the Galaxy. Mat enjoys I Am Road Comic. Jason recommends its earlier companion film, I Am Comic. Jason also enjoys the recent Doug Benson comedy documentary The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled

Direct download: sequelcast190.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:44 AM

Thrasher and Jersey Jason provide an audio commentary for Street Fighter in this episode of the SequelCommentary podcast. 

Direct download: sequelcommentary18.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:08 AM

Long before Peter Jackson gussied up J.R.R. Tolkien’s text with extended battle sequences and a parade of endings, maverick director Ralph Bakshi had an animated take on The Lord of the Rings in 1978. The film was meant to be released under the title of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: Part 1. United Artists balked at this request, feeling it would result in a lower box office gross. Audiences flocked to the film only to be surprised that it “ends” halfway through the story. The film was a hit, but Bakshi had such a rotten time making it that he passed on directing a sequel.  

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has some wondrous things going for it. Leonard Rosenman’s score colors the settings of the story from the pastoral Hobbiton to the chaotic Helm's Deep. Many of the character designs have a delightful 1970s funkiness to them. The voice cast is strong all around never taking the audience out of the moment with stunt casting. John Hurt makes for a fine Aragorn and Anthony Daniels is near unrecognizable as Legolas. Peter S. Beagle and Chris Conkling’s screenplay does a reasonable compression of nearly two books worth of material into a robust feature-length narrative. 

And yet something is missing here. After the flick dicks around in Hobbiton for way too long setting up the simplistic overall plot (the first novel in the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring, has the same problem), the rest of the film hobbles its way to the finish line. Bakshi brings a lack of urgency to the story. It looks and sound pretty, but it’s not compelling. The legacy of Tolkien’s original text puts Bakshi on a pretty tight leash, resulting in a film that’s light on personality. Best to watch it with the sound turned off and your favorite fantasy film soundtrack blaring instead while enjoying your favorite variety of pipe-weed.  

Category:general -- posted at: 1:39 PM

Mat and Thrasher discuss the Professor Layton video games for the Nintendo DS and 3DS in this episode of the Video Game Sequelcast podcast: Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS); Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box (DS); Professor Layton and the Unwound Future (DS); Professor Layton and the Last Specter (DS); Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (3DS); Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy (3DS); and Layton Brothers: Mystery Room (iOS). Download more episodes of the podcast at www.sequelcast.com

Mat and Thrasher also chat about replaying Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II in preparation for the upcoming release of Dragon Age: Inquisition for the PS3, 360, Xbox One, and PS4. Thrasher heaps brick upon brick of praise onto Lego Marvel Heroes. Mat goes crazy for Warriors Orochi 3 with its beat-em-up gameplay wrought large with a time travel plot. 

Direct download: vgsequelcast17.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:57 PM