30 January, 2015


Having landed their small biplane in the desert, Blazkowicz and Coulson meet with their local guide and make their way to a nearby oasis where they are due to meet up with Agent Waterson. However when they arrive the small settlement is overrun with Nazis.

The agents must defeat the Nazis and break through to the dig site beyond.

The quiet outpost has a small Nazi presence, but beyond a nearby hill is an incoming foot patrol
Neumann and Pfeil amble around near the oasis - they can't see anything untoward at the moment
Blazkowicz and Coulson cross the open ground around the flank, led by the able Haddo
The Germans leap into action as their caught between two fires - Waterson's group inside the cordon take fire from Heinz
With Hisham badly wounded, Waterson and Nazir race around the house to team up with Blazkowicz
Well in advance of Bachmann's patrol, Bauer charges through to the Oasis to take cover there and fire at the infiltrators
Our heroes are beset on all sides and things are looking grim
Waterson leaps forward, firing at Heinz and his cronies as she advances. She takes them all down, before she vanquishes Heinz in fearsome hand-to-hand
Nazir's attempt to get control of the car ends badly, advancing unseen from the house, Pfeil guns him down.
Bauer reaches the car and empties his sub-machine gun at the agents, killing Haddo and Coulson outright but failing to scratch Blazkowicz
Despite being outnumbered, Blazkowicz charges in, chucking a grenade into the car and suppressing (the hell out of) the nearby Nazis
Waterson races over to the stricken Hisham, smacking her rifle stock into the head of the German who was about to execute him. They have to secure Blazkowicz' escape
His Tommy Gun irretrievably jammed (to a freak rifle shot) Blazkowicz considers discretion to be the better part of valour and runs for it, taking cover behind the house.
The Nazis follow
But Waterson, from a significant vantage point, fires, wounding the over-eager Bauer and giving her surviving teammates a chance to escape.

Blazkowicz' infiltration was successful, but at a terrible cost, losing one agent and all their local allies...

22 January, 2015

Top (Film) Duels: #3, #2, #1

Drumroll please!

#3 The Duellists (Pick one!)
I think this is my favourite, but honestly I would not begrudge you a different choice (the fourth duel, from horseback almost pipped this one). Of course this film is more about the culture of duelling than the duels themselves.

#2 The Princess Bride (The Man in Black vs. Inigo Montoya)

I'm sure this scene requires no introduction. The 'techniques' referenced are just nonsense I think, but the names are all genuine.

#1 Rob Roy (McGregor vs. Cunningham)

The film itself is a bit forgettable, but this fight is top of the class. At this stage we have no doubts as to the character and abilities of both combatants.

In all cases I think the drama and story of the situation is paramount, but we still need an element of realism and skill in the fight.

Quite a few didn't quite make the list, including:

Maybe a short list of group brawls and melees and a matching list from TV are required...

14 January, 2015

Top (Film) Duels: #6, #5, #4

So, into mid-table of my list of top hand-to-hand fights

#6 Eastern Promises (Bath House)

This is a pretty brutal fight, a no-holds struggle to the death.

#5 Haywire (Coffee?)

This is just such a surprise as it's the first scene we get with the characters. I like the way some bystanders try to help out too.

#4 Sanjuro (Sanjuro vs. Muroto)

Unfortunately, this clip doesn't include the first 30 seconds of the standoff. It's in stark contrast to the rest of the film, which has a comic slant, it's more tragic as we know that the last act of violence thrills the young onlookers more than it horrifies them.

Top three next week!

09 January, 2015

Shadows over Camelot

As the incarnation of the Knights of the Round Table, you join forces against the game itself in an attempt to protect Camelot.
Your victory hinges on the successful completion of legendary Quests, such as the search for Excalibur, the Holy Grail, or Lancelot's Armor; the tournament against the Black Knight; and numerous wars against the Saxons and Picts.
But beware... all is not as it seems among these noble Knights. One of your number might yet turn out to be a traitor-in-waiting, biding his time while sowing havoc and destruction from the Shadows!

With King Arthur leading Sir Galahad, Sir Tristan and Sir Kay, all of the knights begin by losing life points, discouraged from adding catapults outside Camelot. Sir Galahad and Sir Kay eye up the Saxons and begin to gather resources to prosecute the war against them.

Leaving Camelot on the Quest for Lancelot's armour, Arthur immediately hits trouble as several black cards come out against him. Gaining some help from his fellows, he makes progress, as well as using Merlin to get rid of some opposition.

Sir Tristan advances against the Black Knight. But just as the Saxons are defeated, Guinevere shows up, and all of King Arthur's and Tristan's progress is wasted. Both of these quests are lost in quick succession putting the Round Table in peril.

With the Excalibur Quest close to failure, King Arthur rushes to save it from oblivion.

Returning to the Grail Quest, Galahad and Tristan find that the Dark Forest is blocking their path, and as Desolation pushes back their previous efforts, the Mists of Avalon descend upon the realm.
Seeking to rally themselves against the darkness, and leaving Sir Kay to fight the siege engines arrayed around Camelot, Sir Galahad and Sir Tristan join Arthur to complete his Heroic quest to save Excalibur.

But hope is again snuffed out, as the Grail Quest is lost. Now with six white swords and five black swords on the Round Table, only a mighty quest will bring victory! The knights charge off to fight the Dragon and just when their hope is renewed, Morgan returns to yet again deploy siege engines to bring Camelot's gates crashing down...

Even without a traitor to thwart us, this was a toughie (and obviously we lost!). A great game, that had us looking at the clock to see if we could get a rematch in.

Verdict: 4 stars.

07 January, 2015

Top (Film) Duels: #10, #9, #8, #7

As a sequel to my Top Chases and Top Firefights, I've been mulling over a list of duels, to include one vs. one or one vs. many fights (brawls and melees may be another list).

#10 Aliens (Ripley vs. Queen, aka 'Get away from her you bitch!')

At this stage in the film, we have no doubt in Ripley's kick-ass qualities and the dangerousness of the alien queen. Nevertheless, this duel to the death is a wonderful surprise for the audience.

#9 The Empire Strikes Back (Luke vs Darth Vader)

This duel is full of drama, and for the first time we harbour a solitary doubt about Vader's well-cultivated invincibility. It is not marred by any of the cut-away edits 'designed' to increase tension (say in Duel of the Fates).

#8 Scaramouche (Scaramouche vs. The Marquis)

The best fight in the best of this era's swashbucklers. This far-ranging duel defies all the dangers of the theatre (even beyond Sabatini's original vision)

#7 Kill Bill Vol. 1 (The Bride vs. Gogo & The Crazy 88s)

There are plenty of fights in the double-barrelled rampage of revenge. I almost prefer her last showdown with Copperhead in the kitchen, but for me the impossible melee against the Crazy 88s (and Gogo) takes the biscuit.

#6 through #4 next week...

More like this