Get ANIMAZED with Jaspre Bark as he takes another dive in to the World of the Japanese anime cartoon series.
Our featured anime series this month is Manga Entertainment's Cyberpunk Collection, a triptych of trilogies with storylines based around cyberpunk themes. Just in case, by some unthinkably bizarre quirk of fate, there's some one out there who's surfing the net, found this article and doesn't know what cyberpunk means, it's a sub genre of new wave science fiction. It began in the early to mid eighties and is found in the work of writers like William Gibson, Bruce Sterling and John Shirley. Commentators have argued that it values style over substance, and the stories more often than not feature some form of information technology (the cyber) and some type of social outsider (the punk). So what does this have to do with Japanese animation ? Not an awful lot some critics would argue, and there is a debate in the otaku (Japanese for manga freak/anorak) community as to how applicable the term is for any of the many anime which have appropriated it. In the case of Manga's collection it is more applicable to some than others.
The first trilogy Cybercity Oedo 808 is probably the most cybcrpunk of the whole collection and has been shown on Channel 4 recently. Three ultra bad ass hi- tech criminals are offered the opportunity to have their trillion year sentences commuted in return for kicking some serious ass amongst the super criminal fraternity in 29th century Tokyo. Zombie hackers, psychic vampires and robotic behemoths this series has it all and more, well worth the price of admission. AD Police the second of the three trilogies isn't quite as cyberpunk as Cybercity Oedo but is probably the best of the three. Imagine a slightly less sophisticated NYPD Blue with a plethora of cybernetic implants and killer androids on the rampage, strongly recommended. The third in the collection Genocyber isn't really at all cyberpunk and is the poorest of the three. Evil scientist crossbreed tantric magic with cybernetic technology to create girls who metamorphose into fearsome beasts which destroy Hong Kong, can't think where I've seen that several hundred times before. The animation makes clever use of inter mixed computer animation though, but be warned this isn't a trilogy, it's two episodes with the second episode split in two to fabricate a trilogy format.
On to this months new releases all of which are part of on going series. Project Ako 3 is merciless in it's parody of the whole manga and anime genre and is my favourite release this month. Ko as a suffix to a word in Japanese makes it girly and babyish, like kins in English, and Project A is Jackie Chan's most famous movie, so the western equivalent might be something like Double Impactkins or Lethal Weaponkins. Super powered school girls Ako and Bko both vie for the friendship of sickeningly cute alien princess Cko. In this episode Ako who hates Bko falls for the hunky biker Kei, Bko who hates Ako also falls for Kei who falls for Cko who hates Kei and loves Ako. Confused ? then get this anime (or a life).
The Heroic Legend of Arslan 3 is the third in a series who's original title was changed to The Heroic Legend of Arislan for the first two installments to avoid bum publicity, but was changed back at Japanese insistence. Don't expect a tale about a land populated by sweaty, obese builders in tight jeans, revealing cleavage that puts Pamela Anderson to shame. Do expect lyrical and sophisticated fantasy that explores the themes of sovereignty, heredity and the right to rule. Your video collection would be sorely lacking without this.
New Dominion Tank Police Act 10, is the last of a highly popular, anime series. I wouldn't advise buying this before checking out the previous nine,, but at only £4.80 a tape it's a cheap and fun way to waste half an hour. What's in store is the usual subtle blend of big guns, hot women, big guns, police brutality, big guns and a threat to the very fabric of society (oh and did I mention it has guns in it too).And finally Angel Cop 5 is the pen-ultimate episode in a 6 part series. In a future Japan, in order to protect economic security (for this read fat corrupt capitalist swine) the SSF (Special Security Force) has been formed, they're similar to Himmler's SS but with an F added. The latest addition to this force is everyone's favourite fascist bullygirl the eponymous Angel cop, with no regard to civil rights or public safety, but a bosom to take your breath away. If you're into Dirty Harryesque antics in a dystopian future setting, you'll cream yourself over this.
comedy from the capital by Jaspre Bark.
If comedy was the new rock and roll back in the early nineties, does this makes it the new progressive rock of today ? If you understand the term prog rock to mean long winded, hopelessly pretentious and understandable only after severely large doses of drugs, then by and large the answer would have to be an emphatic no. So what's currently on offer from the world of comedy here in London.
Well for a start, a column of this size will never do justice to the vast diversity of clubs, venues and events that take place every night all over the city. What, at best, I can hope to do is give you an idea of the types of clubs that exist out there, and perhaps steer you towards a few good nights out. I also hope to spotlight some of the best up and coming acts on the circuit.
When it comes to plain stand up, four people, a microphone and an unfeasible story about parking offences, then you're quite literally spoilt for choice at the moment. No column about comedy in London would be complete without mentioning the Comedy Store in Leicester Sq. Appearing at the Comedy store is a watershed in most comic's careers as it tends only to feature some of the funniest and most successful comics around, so a good night out is fairly well assured. Other prominent clubs you should definitely check out to catch the cream of the comedy crop, are Up the Creek, in Greenwich, the Red Rose Club in Finsbury Park and Comedy's first chain of stores Jongleurs at Camden and Battersea. Patron's of Up the Creek should watch out for regular host Malcolm Hardy's penchant for whipping out his todger unexpectedly, and occasionally relieving himself on hecklers who don't know when to stop, what else would you expect from the man who invented the now legendary balloon dance.
If you want steal a glance at the stars of tomorrow while the price of admission is still under a fiver then check out Downstairs at the King's Head in Crouch Hill on Thursdays and the always excellent Wibbly Wobbly Cabaret in Deptford every Sunday, whose regular MC Charlie Cheese always guarantees a reading of 9.9 on the Hilarity Scale. Do be warned though, most acts at these venues are only just beginning and can a be a bit hit and miss, be prepared to watch some shit as well as some excellent new comics.If you're looking for something equally funny but a little different then maybe you should take in an improv or variety night. Live At the Albany in Deptford every Friday always provides a good variety of stand ups, poets and musicians, well worth dropping in to see. Making it all up as they go along are the regular casts of improvisers at Striptease at the Actor's Centre in Central London each Wednesday and Brickbats Volunteers at The Gate theatre in Notting Hill on Saturday.
And whatever you do don't miss London's longest running satirical stage revue, Newsrevue at the Canal Cafe Theatre, Little Venice running Tuesday to Saturday. Each show features, songs, sketches and skits which encompass the whole broad sweep of current and topical events. Completely up to the minute and intelligently written and performed, every show guarantees a blinding night out.This month's tip for the toppermost is side splitting double act Gonoude and Bromley. The innovative twosome have been making the rounds of the comedy circuit for less than two years now but already have appearances at the Comedy Store and Up the Creek and a play for BBC Radio 4 (written with Tony Casement) under their belts. Their unique brand of humour is marked by a dogged inability to pander to any of the stock, cliched comedy topics, a concerned social conscience and a rampant, innovative streak of pure surreality. If you ever wondered what the phrase 'take an audience by storm' meant then catch this double act, you'll be chuckling for days afterwards.
In future columns I hope to focus more on specific trends and comedy events and provide you with a few reviews. If you're involved with organising or promoting any event or venue and would like some publicity, any information you could E- mail me via Rage would be gratefully received.
Theatre by Karen Trevelyan
The summer seems to have ended, so here's a mixed bag to mourn, cheer or simply to help fight that primeval urge to grab your duvet and hibernate until spring:
At the Royal Court Upstairs, running until 23rd September, is Not a Game for the Boys. Simon Blocks first comedy play which centres around three London cabbies who are facing the most desperate struggle of their careers... to face the unthinkable... relegation to the SECOND DIVISION of the table tennis league. Allow yourself to be plunged into the world of competitive obsessions where men, a piece of wood and a small white ball become tools of destruction in a nightly war in the back streets of London.
At the Royal Court's Theatre Downstairs, for a six week run from 2nd September until 7th October, is the return of Sebastion Barry's acclaimed and successful play - The Steward of Christendom. Presented by Out of Joint and directed by Max Stafford-Clark, this exceptional and tender play deals with a crucial moment in Ireland's history as Thomas Dunne an ex-superintendent of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, played again by Donal McCann, looks back on his life and tries to keep the ghosts at bay. Don't miss it this time round.
Royal Court Box Office for both plays: 0171 730 1745/2554
Revived at the Tabard Theatre, 2 Bath Road, London W4, is David Hare's esteemed play, The Secret Rapture. Two daughters arrive to attend to the death of their father. The ensuing events, involving family, friends and lovers, provide a telling statement of society today.
Runs until September 17th. Box Office: 0181 995 6038
Here's one that's not yet in Trivial Pursuit that will, sadly, impress your friends. Q: Who gave the English language the word "Robot"? A: Karel Capeck. Now to really impress them when they ask "Who the hell was Karel Capeck?". Well actually, he was one of Czechoslovakia's leading literary figures between the 1st and 2nd World Wars. A contemporary of Kafta, his satirical works were often a savage attack on human injustice and oppressive societies. Not a lot of people know that. Anyway despite such heavy stuff, he has some great storylines e.g.. The White Scourge, for one, in which millions of people are dying from a new fatal disease, unfortunately (on maybe fortunately) affecting only those over the age of 40. There is a cure but as usual everyone prefers to concentrate on planning a war. This, together with The Makropulos Secret are being presented at The Chelsea Centre Theatre, Worlds End, London. Both plays run on alternative days from 19th September-21st October.
Box Office: 0171 352 1967
This autumn, The Drill Hall Theatre, Chenies Street, London WC1, offers a B line-up of Opera, Cabaret and Vaudeville Theatre at it's campest. Starting with The Music Theatre London's radical interpretation of Verdi's La Traviata - from 19th September-7th October. Much nose blowing and weeping will ensue over the doomed affair of Alfredo and Violetta. Box Office: 0171 637 8270
Jelly Roll! The award winning US hit musical, fresh from New York, about the life and times of jazz great, Jelly Roll Morton, opens at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 11th September. Review next issue. Box Office: 0181 534 0310
africa95 is the largest ever nation-wide season of the arts of Africa and the Africa Diaspora to be held in the UK. The wide-ranging events, held all over the country, include outstanding contributions in visual and performing arts, music and cinema.
And something else you don't know - Sir Michael Caine is the Chairman of africa95.
For further details telephone: 0171 637 4388
Finally to really get your blood pumping STOMP is returning to the UK with (if it's possible) an even more upscaled version of their unique performance. They use household and industrial objects in a way that you can never look, for example, at a dustbin in the same light. At the Royal Festival Hall for only six days - 12th - 17th September. If you've never seen them, get on the phone now for a rhythmic experience you won't forget.
Box Office: 0171 960 4242
I've got those lonesome cowpoke blues
John Wayne is big leggy has got nothing on our roving poet Gem Rolls, who goes in search of steers, Stetsons and some stonking good beer as he tracks down the cowboy poets............in Hackney
These days seems there ain't nuthin the modern cowboy likes more than to wax his moustache, hitch on his high-top snakeskin boots, saddle up his old hoss, ride long across the range, meet his cowboy pards at a convention, sink some good strong home brew, hear some good 'ol songs like John Major's childhood fave - 'Little Joe the Wrangler' - and settle down for a good long evening of cowboy poetry. Yes, cowboy poetry around the old log fire, is one of America's fastest growing literary movements - lets hear it for the Cowboy Poets.
So what's the reason ? spotted it yet ? ....... Simple ....... Stateside beer is piss weak nope it's deeper than that. Seems there's a whole host of sensitive hearts been burnin away neath those convex chests. Well, they spent the long hours of the long days working ‘em out in their heads. And they spent the long lonely evenings knocking 'em into shape. And they've been spreading the word all over their 'Great Nation'. And now they are riding into a town near you for their first UK tour.
They got ‘Polish Hobo Rodeo Poet' Paul Zarzyski, comic and sensual, jest itchin to give his words that beautiful jumpin kick out into the wide open prairie. They got Sue Wallis, from a long stood ranching, rodeoing Wyoming family giving a passionate zest to her poems of rural daily life out on the range. They got her hubby, one rancher Rod McQueary, a Vietnam vet and cowboy humorist., who's ringing honest poems changed the rules in Cowboy poetry, by opening it out to the modern. And they got Randy Rieman, cold-trainer on the Parker Ranch, Hawaii - seems it ain't only famous for surfin! Rieman is rated one of the meanest reciters of classic Cowboy verse by the likes of Badger Clark, S. Omar Barker and Bruce Kiskaddon.
There's poems about the wide open spaces, about the cold winter, about the love of a man for his horse. Big hearted simple stuff and git-down-n-guaffaw cowyboy; cries of loneliness (‘tonight I feel like a coyote bitch on heat/ do not toy with me / I have been lonely too long') and poems like Rancher Roulette ( ... ten ways for a Cowboy to die). This is poetry from life lived raw, close to death, and these guys n' gels tell it simple.
It is an old tradition breathing life anew. The tradition stems from the cactus-flowerings of Cowboy poetry in the 1860s, 1920s and 1950s. But where the old stuff used more obvious imagery, like the more rootsy Western tip of what became Country and Western, these new word-traders use Cowboy imagery to describe contemporary stories and experiences. This is from wranglers, line-men, ranchers and rodeo-riders - from poets with gorgeous rolling Western twangs, with rich sonorant voices to die for. This is from people who are near nomadic, who's younger life is spent roving wherever cattle go. This is from people who are far closer to the Indians than they are to the yankees and their distant government. From a people who perceive history as against them, but ain't gonna give up the ghost.
Back in 85, first time Hank Cannon set his stall out for the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, he didn't know what would happen ..... but the good folks just rolled on in. And they've kept rolling back ever since, so much so you have to book hotels a whole year in advance! Seems he struck a nerve. Cowboy life is threatened and the biggest, baddest beanfeast, the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada has grown to attract a stampede of 9,000 word thirsty pardners ready to fling their Stetsons in the air at the first drawl of a good rhyme. There's a need for the cowboys to re-assert their identity and the poetry, stretching back into the past and reaching out for the new, has a strong role to play.
Since then its an industry. Record contracts. National tours (Cowboy poet John Kuhn even does the grunge gigs in Seattle). The trad ‘Go-West' to Hollywood. Cowboy poets all over. Audiences of every age. It has that simplicity, that gorgeous intimacy of the human voice. Gives a gal or a guy something something they can feel in their gut. It is free of all movie stereotypes, its raw, not plastic or synthesised. And that's rare in the world these days, especially over the pond!
So why not check ‘em out? They're going to sing some, they're gonna tell it like it is, they're gonna show some mean trick lasso, and they-re gonna be rounding up a herd somewhere near you very soon. Yee-ha - don't miss ‘em.
Thurs 14 sept Ainwick, Northumberland Hall 7.30 pm 01655 602689
Fri 14 sept Boston, Blackfriars Arts Centre 8.00 pm 01205 363108
Sat 16 sept Gainsborough, Trinity Arts Centre 8.00 pm 01427 810710
Mon 18 sept Ipswich, Wolsey Theatre 7.45 pm 01473 253725
Tues 19 sept Grantham, Guildhall Centre 8.00 pm 01476 593966
Weds 20 sept Chelmsford, Cramphorn Theatre 8.00 pm 01245 495028
Thurs 21 sept Cambridge, The Junction 8.00 pm 01223 412600
Fri 22 sept Cardiff, Norwegian Church Centre 7.30 pm 01222 399666
Sat 23 sept Llanridian, Greyhound Inn 7.30 pm 01792 652211
Mon 26 sept Wellingborough, The Castle 7.30 pm 01933 270007
Tues 27 sept London, Purcell Room 7.30 pm 0171 960 4242
Weds 27 sept London, Tabernacle, Wll 7.30 pm 0171 243 4343
Welcome to the cheap seats
This month we're doing a round up of the latest Video-Cd movies to hit the shelves - the good, the bad and the complete waste of time, unless you are a lonely, sad character that is.
One Deadly Summer
A Jean Becker film starring Isabelle Adjani and Alain Souchon - OmniMedia
If this had been made in 1950 it would have starred Fred MacMurray and Kim Novak, and it would have been directed by Alex Hitchcock. But no it's French it's set in the early 80's and it's a bunch of arse. Hitchcock used to know what suspence was, he had you on the edge of the seat, to call this a suspense is like calling Everton a football team. What it does have is the most bizarre plot you're ever likely to come across, the usual bunch of mad cap French people, and a star.
Isabelle Adjani is riveting, but probably for all the wrong reasons (depending on what side of the PC fence you fall on). She walks around with little to nothing on, shaking her very ample behind in a way that could only be described as dangerous. Her character (Elle) is completely and utterly hat stand. Which allows her to go completely over the top, Adjani must have loved playing the part (and shows it), but I doubt if any of her co actors liked it. Their lines, including those of her co-star Alain Souchon (Pin Pon "don't call me that"), are completely mono-syllabic. Still Pin Pon gets to sleep with Elle so he got something out of it. The plot is convoluted and involves a major organ, revenge, mistaken identity, lost youth, murder, and rape. If you can understand the plot at any point other than at the end then you get a medal. However it all becomes very obvious in the end, and very bloody. If you have a spare two hours then watch it, it's good but I would hardly call it a mystery.
Somehow the French directors of the early 80's lost the plot , a bit like some of the English directors of the early 70's, but they got it back in the mid-eighties - discuss in no more than 1000 words.
Four Weddings and a Funeral
A Mike Newell film starring Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell - PolyGram Video
The movie that made Hugh Grant a household name (what Persil - Ed), long before it was synonymous with a blow job off an LA strip that is. The movie took both the UK and the US by storm, making the white ‘meringue' wedding dress part of our everyday vocabulary. If you haven't seen it the title tells you exactly what you are going to get - ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral'. Mush, slush, the odd howl and a few tears thrown in. Apparently it turned modern, hunky men into jibbering jellies, dying to waltz down that isle with an Andie MacDowell look-alike on their arm. We're sure it sent Bride Magazine circulation figures through the roof, made marqueee hire companies into millionaires overnight and ended with a lot of couples knocking on a marriage guidance counsellor's door.
Basically its the tale of Charles (Hugh Grant) who is a bit of a lad, but in true English style can't express his emotions. Suddenly he bumps into a yankee chick called Carrie (Andie MacDowell) whose got the brain of a chick-pea and about as much street-cred to match. He tries to ignore his lust for her and opts for your typical English rosey Sloane. Only when he is stood at the alter does he realise that the women he wants is not the plummy lass by his side, but Carrie. Needless to things start to go right in the end, even if she does come out with an air-head line about how its raining, when we can all see its absolutely pissing it down. Good for a laugh, but as Julie Burchill says "you'll get more fun in reality out of a bottly of Bolly and a girlie on your knee!"
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmithby Fred Schepisi starring Tommy Lewis and Ray Barrett - OmniMedia
Written by ‘Schindler's List'author Thomas Kenneally it's the true tale of Jimmy Blacksmith, an aborigine member of a small Oz community who is pushed into violence by racism. Jimmy falls for a white girl and marries her when he finds out she is having his child. Needless to say such nooky doesn't go down well in the town and when she gives birth to a white child she is forced to leave her husband by the elders. Jimmy's employer decides to come down heavy and stop paying him. This final act of injustice drives our Jimmy off his trolley in no uncertain terms. Driven by hate, he takes an axe to his employer's house. The rest we leave to your imagination. It is a gripping and shocking story and well worth taking time out to watch. Comes very highly recommended, but it's also very depressing.
La Grande Illusion
A film by Jean Renoir starring Jean Gabin and Pierre Fresnay - OmniMedia.
La Grand Illusion is Jean Renoir's classic anti-war classic which has been labelled ‘cinematographic enemy number one' by Goebells and was banned in Germany. It was though to have been completely destroyed until a print was found in Munich in 1945. It has now been preserved in Video CD digital format forever. Its basic message - that in war everyone is a victim - although simple is extremely powerful and makes it one of the most formidable movies of its time. Three French men are in a plane shot down by flying ace Von Rauffenstein. Taken as prisoners of war they are wheeled straight into a maximum security jail run by Von Rauffenstein himself. The French men, as you would suspect, immediately sit down and star plotting their escape. Immediately the movie drops into deep tragedy, but there is always hope on the other side. An absolute masterpiece that no-one should leave this planet without seeing it at least once!
TABLES OF JUSTICE
This month our man in Soho's seedier dives Stephen Jelbert asks the question "Why Hollywood can't make up its mind ?"
One of the great meaningless buzzwords of recent years has been 'synergy', loosely defined as that moment where everything becomes inescapable from everything else, like Danny Baker was a couple of years ago until someone came back from a holiday in America and started telling their friends about this geezer called Letterman who was actually funny, rather than than crap, and so the bottom fell out of the Cockney horrors career along with his hair. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Synergy basically meant that the ancient paternal capitalist dream of eating a steak bred from a cow on a ranch owned by the same firm that owned the railway that owned the dining car that owned the resort you were headed to was about to be revived. Only now you were going to play the video game while listening to the album while waiting to see the film in a complex owned by the same multinational that was multiformatting your entertainment time...and making both the software and hardware that you would use to access your leisure choice. Of course in reality this meant that Michael Jackson picked up even more cash for not interfering with little boys on behalf of Sony, and everything else had Coca Cola or Pepsi printed on it, even the popcorn. And more importantly no stone would be left unturned in the attempt to maximize revenue. Which is why Jurassic Park comes in formats ranging from a lunchbox to a pinball machine. Who cares if it's any good, as long as it's got the product name on it. After all, The Flintstones may not be the greatest pinball ever built, but is it worse than the movie? I don't think so, and at least it's naturally associated with good times, like boozing in the pub or hanging around arcades. After all, a high score will probably mean fonder memories than two hours watching art lose to accountancy in a darkened room. The feel-good factor rules, and that's why these days a movie ain't a movie unless it's got its own Pinball Machine.
Of course this puts British films at a distinct disadvantage. Judge Dread and Dr. Who have both spawned games, but these aren't connected with the movies, just based on the characters themselves. And it's difficult to imagine anything with Hugh Grant in providing a convincing, or cleancut pretext for a pin table. No, Hollywood is the home of the unnecessary film tie-in, and it now seems that the studios are the major patrons for new machines. It all gets written off as part of the promotional budget, and some of them are even quite good. Occasionally a game just demands to be built ( The Simpsons for one, disappointing though it was) but generally the decision is taken long before. Here's an incomplete list of games that'll be gathering dust in your local long afterthe movies have been forgotten. Batman (top, and very influential), Back to the Future (not so bad), Indiana Jones (keeps the trade mark alive), Star Wars (ditto), Last Action Hero (less successful than the film even.), Demolition Man (underrated if stupid), Nightmare on Elm Street (scary for the very young), Maverick (promoted gambling, healthily enough), Dirty Harry (good, but wouldn't you love to see a game based on The Sweeney? ), Terminator 2 (hasta la vista baby), Baywatch (does not promote beach safety), Addams Family ( a classic, undoubtedly better loved than the film), Lethal Weapon 3 (made up from the parts bin, and you need 3 hands to play it. But fun)
There are of course plenty more, but the message is clear. You're not serious until you've got a game out there. What would you like to see? Remember retro is in so any suggestions will be taken in the spirit they're intended. To further demonstrate my point here's this months reviews of new games.
BATMAN RETURNS (Sega)
The original Batman game was virtually the first to use a dot matrix counter, and random features, and had a satisfying ramp, and excellent multiball. In line with the law of diminishing returns this not so eagerly awaited sequel is confusing, indistinct and makes some crappy bleeping noises like something from 1973. Three ramps, a permanent ball trap up on the left, a dodgy right flipper on each one I've played and an unattractive green and black colour scheme does not add up to a classic. Will probably take a lot of money in its first weekend then tail off sharply.
I was just pondering the fact that Kevin 'Wouldn't spot him in a crowd' Costner's over budget aquatic extravaganza couldn't possibly be a Real Blockbuster because it didn't come with an accompanying video game or pin when I encountered this in the West End. And like the movie it really is confused, lacking in focus and hardly capable of sustaining one's interest through a complete game. And it's easy too, very easy. I got onto the high scores at the first attempt, but I hardly felt like playing my replay. There's a long loop to aim around, a plastic Atoll in the middle and a hole to roll down, and that's it. Really. Personally, I think a film which portrays cigarette smokers as the bad guys may be pushing PC a bit far. Perhaps the tobacco companies were involved. Shoddy, frankly.
INDIANAPOLIS 500 (Bally)
A pinball game based on a video game, and a driving game at that, seems like an odd place to begin but Indy 500 is a genuine treat. You start in last place of 28, and by dint of great skill and flipping the ball around the long loops you pass others as you aim for a podium finish. Except you must be a bloody genius to manage it, because I never got past twentieth and that put me in replay territory. There's a couple of excellent ramps, a pair of terrific red drop targets (that don't in fact drop but instead make a great noise when you hit them) and best of all, digitised speech from two American commentators so inane you could actually be there, watching it on ABC. An easy extra ball to boot and you've got a winner. The only downer is the rather flat flippers, much like the otherwise flawless 'Theatre of Magic', which make it hard to trap the ball.
Talking to my rock star mates Pavement recently (sic) , both Mark and Mad Bob Nastanovich bemoaned the state of current pin tables such as the dreaded Guns'n'Roses and hoped for a return to 'old school' values. Seems like some fellas at Williams must have been listening in for the unlikely named Jackbot is in fact a reissue of the Eighties classic Pinbot with added modern day flashiness and dot matrix features, while the basic game has remained intact. Unsurprisingly it works just as well as it did ten years ago, with a two ball lock at the head of the table, a mysterious ramp on the left and plenty more features to excite even the most jaded of pinball palates. Oh, and lots of flashing lights in primary colours and a soundtrack of squeaks and bleeps that seems as apt as ever. Old school rules!
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