Thursday, February 28, 2013
The Fanholes are joined by Kurobako as they tackle one of the most controversial Transformers cartoons ever- Beast Machines. Learn their opinions on worst characters, episodes, and plot elements...and also what they actually liked about the show!
Fanholes Episode # 65: Cybertronian Wasabi
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Watch Mike (Thunderwing) kick the shit out of Derek (derekwc) as they play a few rounds of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3!
Thursday, February 14, 2013
The final of the "core" books, Invid Invasion covers the third and last Robotech story, the Invid Invasion/New Generation. This series saw Earth taken over by the Invid as they now harvest the protoculture that is growing on the planet (released at the end of Southern Cross) and use humans as slaves. There are no more world governments. The most one can hope for is a large town government. Humans live in fear of the Invid and each other. Bands of resistance fighters continue to fight the Invid, hoping that the Robotech Expendianary Force (with the SDF-3 and heroes like Rick Hunter) come back and free the Earth. Some attempts had been made but both had failed.
Arrangement: Here we are at the last of the first-run sourcebooks (i.e. books based on the actual Robotech properties). The rest of the books will be original material put out by Palladium. Like all their other books, this one starts with a quick introduction and then goes into using pre-existing characters in this time period and then describes the two different time periods (in the Palladium version, the Invid come back). It goes into OCC’s (again, new ones or using existing ones), a bit on mecha combat, skills, combat, and then a blurb on older mecha. Next up is the new mecha, weapons, vehicles, and other equipment. They also add in a section (from their TMNT Supplement “Road Hogs) on vehicle combat and special maneuvers. Next is the Invid section with a good history and information on the different stages of invid (and being able to play the Stage 5, human like ones) followed by Invid mecha, hives and a small size comparison chart. In a bit of change, the NPC stats come next followed by world information (which also puts in some good plot threads – where high concentrations of rebels are, Robotech Masters and Zentradi, and invid hive locations). The final part talks about the genesis pits and has some random encounter tables.
Mecha: Like a lot of the other books, this is where we see a lot of mistakes made (mistakes known even back then, pre-internet days!). The Alpha fighters leave out some of the head mini-missiles and jet lasers (seen in the ending credits, though some will argue that is an animation error). The Beta fighter’s weapons are really messed up. Its chest and shoulder missiles and one GU-XX are good. The rest is bad. It claims to have medium and long range missiles when those are actually sensor pods. In the show we see the Beta fire its arms cannons but they are not mentioned once or as the other leg-mount weapons used in jet mod. The GU-XX pod is listed as a 35mm gun pod but other sources claim it to be an energy weapon (even seen in the series to be more “energy” like). The Cyclones were good except for two things: The Battler was said to have chest missiles but doesn’t (nor is it ever seen in the series to fire any) and the MDC is off (more than an old VF-1 Veritech!) They also improbably list two fighters – the VF-1V Vindicator which is a bigger version of the Shadow Alpha fighter – it never existed, just an animation size error and the Shadow Fighter should have also included a drone version. However, most of that is small potatoes and with the chest missiles on the VR-052 Battler Cyclone, I can see a couple reasons for their inclusion. First, it is titled "Battler", implying it is a front line combat unit so would have more firepower. And secondly, in an RPG setting, having 4 missiles and a hand gun can mean rolling up a new character quickly. Better to increase the odds of survival.
Equipment/Vehicles: Mostly good, though some stuff was reprinted from other sources (tanks) and not actually seen in the show. One of the mess-ups was the “Wolverine” assault rifle and “Wolf” pistol. These are actually the same weapon that, like the Gallant, can have parts added on to make it bigger. It would be a while before this mistake was fixed. The additional rules for vehicle combat were a nice touch (as mentioned, taken from the Road Hogs supplement for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rpg, which that supplement was inspiried by Mad Max style of vehicles). However, there are a some good choices for even non-mecha pilots to chose from here.
OCC’s: Some good stuff, though some is just similar to Book 1 - Veritech pilots, military specialists, tc. What’s nice is it includes more than just military options – there are scouts, freedom fighters, or just plain ole “civilians”. They also do a good job of saying “this is a mix-setting; all previous OCCs would work well too!” and giving some tips to update them to the new setting (increasing skills). One disappointment was the decision not to include the M.O.S. from the Southern Cross book.
Invid: I like the information presented here as it does a lot of background information and stuff not seen in the series (did we ever see an actual invid besides the Regis and the other human-looking ones?). Their mecha is nicely described along with the “kill zone” (eye sensor which is shown in the series a lot). There is information the different types of hives, what to expect from the hives and even the genesis pits and other invid experiments.
World Information: For a smaller section, there is a lot of information crammed here. In the TV series, we just get to see South, Central and North America. The world information gives more on the rest of the world, especially where some larger resistance is taking place (Africa) and where some Robotech Masters and Zentradi are hiding out (Indochina). One thing Palladium did was state that after we see the Invid leave in the TV series, they would come back, with a much smaller force, to harvest more protoculture. This allows different campaigns (and one of Palladium's later books would take place during this period).
Artwork: It is great! Kevin Long is back doing the bulk of the artwork along with Kevin Siembedia and compared to the Southern Cross book, a huge difference! He does great detail pictures of the mecha, showing where the missiles are stored, the missiles firing, mecha in action, etc. There is some reused art, but not a lot. The cover is similar to the Southern Cross cover – an orange background (must have been on sale or something). My only issue is that not everything is given a drawing (like the tanks and trucks).
Overall: Back when I first got this book I would have given it a solid A-. A lot of the information was great but I knew from the beginning some was wrong (Beta fighter since there were two episodes where it was clearly firing the cannons on its arms). It gave a lot of information on the world and even allowed for the Invid to come back later. Nowadays I would give it a B-. Sure, some info is wrong but the art is great and it still has a good feel. While lacking in space ships (which would be presented in Robotech II) it can be forgiven for that.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
This week the Fanholes discuss the DTV adaptations of the Dark Knight Returns Parts I and II.