Category Archives: LBoG: Characters

Farewell To The King Baby!

Well, by the time I have finished writing and publish this article, one of the great icons of the big and small screen will be no more. The man with the chin, Bruce Campbell has decided to retire Ash Williams and tonight the final episode of Ash vs Evil Dead will air.

I guess all good things have to come to an end eventually and to say a personal goodbye to one of my all time favorite characters. I’m going to to take a look at the Ash Williams character from the very start to the end by covering all his big and small screen appearances from the movies, TV show and even video games. Here is my farewell to the King, Ashley Joanna Williams.

There will be possible SPOILERS for those that have not seen the films or all of the TV show.

The Evil Dead

Ash The Evil Dead

This is where it all started back in 1981 with the release of The Evil Dead…though the film was shot through the late 70s. People who are more used to the modern Ash will be quite surprised at the original version. The quips, the one liners, the chainsaw-hand, the balls to the wall hero – none of that existed in the original film. The Ash Williams here is much more subdued and even cowardly…a complete wuss really by comparison to his modern counterpart from the Ash vs Evil Dead TV show. That’s not to say he still doesn’t kick any Deadite balls as he spills plenty of demonic blood through the flick. Its just that most of it boils down to the fact he’s scared and has his back against the wall over him being a wisecracking bad-ass.

Seeing Ash snivel and shake with fear adds a lot of depth to the character and its a trait you don’t really see in horror male leads as that’s something the females usually get associated with.

This film is still one of my all time favorite horror films and one I find much more appreciation for knowing the hell they went through to make it. I personally like my Ash Williams more in this than what he becomes later in the franchise. I prefer the underdog that fights back to the obvious, bombastic hero with the over-inflated ego.

Evil Dead II

Ash The Evil Dead II

So after the unexpected success (and it was) of the first film, the sequel was released just a mere 6 years later. Its quite obvious by the end of the previous film that there was no intention to bring Ash back. In fact the film’s director Sam Raimi said that “everything dies at the end” of the film and that includes the music too…it really does. But as The Evil Dead became such a much loved cult classic, a sequel was made and Ash Williams was brought back too.

This is where you first start to see the more ego-fueled Ash begin to creep in. Don’t get me wrong there is still a touch of the cowardly about him especially during the first 40-odd minutes, but as the film progresses, Ash gets more confident and cocky. Deadites get shotgunned and chainsawed as plenty of claret flies around – something Ash begins to take great relish in, just watch the scene where he cuts off his own hand for proof.

This is a more balanced Ash. He still retains some of that cowardice and reluctance but Ash will go toe to toe against some Deadites and begin to enjoy it too. There are also a couple of his wisecracks including his most famous catchphrase of “groovy”.

Army of Darkness

Ash Army of Darkness

Three films in and Ash is nothing like his original anymore, there is no balance between coward and hero – Ash is now a full-tilt, verbose, overblown leading man. This is the dawn of the Ash Williams most people know of. Pretty much all of his dialogue is some kind of wisecrack and Army of Darkness is easily one of the most quotable films ever made.

Ash is at his Deadite killing best here and where the iconic status of the character really stems from. All the trademarks are here from the chainsaw-hand, his ‘boomstick’ to his quips and comedic lines. There was a delicate balance between horror and comedy in Evil Dead II, Army of Darkness is a very different story as there is very, very little horror and bucket loads of comedy in its place.

I have a love/hate relationship with this flick because I can not deny that its awesome. It really is such a fun and entertaining picture. But its just not the Ash I like and the film is really an action/comedy that has lost sight of its horror roots.

Ash vs Evil Dead

Ash vs Evil Dead

This is where it all lead up to. For years, from 1992’s Army of Darkness the fans had been wanting to see Ash Williams back on the big screen and several times Sam Raimi hinted at making an Evil Dead IV. The film never did happen but in 2015 Ash was brought back in TV show form for 30 episodes over 3 seasons.

This is the same Ash from Army of Darkness only turned up to 11. Ash from this TV show makes Ash from the previous film look like Ash from the first film. He is so overblown and explosive that you just can’t ignore him. The one-liners and insults come thick and fast. Ash now much older (its been almost 40 years), but still trying to play young is fun and provides plenty of comedy. Plus the show had more than enough gore to appease even the most hardcore Evil Dead fan.

It was a good show and great to see Ash back where he belongs…even if I thought the finale was very weak. Yeah I’m writing this just after watching the final episode of the show and I was disappointed by the send off to be honest. Its left open while also passing the torch at the same time. But I feel for a swansong for one of my all time favorite characters, it ultimately was a let down.

Well that covers Ash’s life in terms of movies and TV. Time to take a look at what he got up to in a few games.

Evil Dead: Hail to the King

Ash Hail to the King

This game from 2000 is set 8 years after the events of Army of Darkness and Ash is back still being played by Bruce Campbell. Yeah this is wisecracking Ash too as he has to battle Evil Ash, also played by Campbell. Its a game so obviously heavy on the action more so than anything else – including character so Ash takes a bit of a backseat to the onscreen chaos.

There’s still plenty of Ash to enjoy along the way but just not enough to please Ash fans like myself. Still, this was the first time Bruce had played the role since the release of Army of Darkness in 92.

Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick

Fistful of Boomstick

The second game is set 3 years after the previous one with Ash spending most of his time in a bar getting drunk. Of course the evil is released…again and Ash has to spring into action in an adventure that takes Ash through time kicking Deadite ass long the way.

Its always great to have more Ash Williams even if these games were very average at best. Bruce is still playing the character too so expect many more of those one liners delivered in that distinct Bruce Campbell manner.

Evil Dead: Regeneration

Evil Dead Regeneration

The last Evil Dead game and this one tells an alternate timeline set after Evil Dead II where Ash has been locked up in an asylum after the events of the first two flicks. This time, Ash teams up with a half human, half Deadite called Sam (named after franchise co-creator Sam Raimi).

Pretty much more of the same as Ash battles Deadites while cracking-wise. Of course Ash is still being played by Bruce Campbell so you can expect plenty of that Ash Williams crass humor.

Other notable game appearances include The Evil Dead released for the Commodore 64 in 1984. Based on the original film, the game is probably one of the first survival horror games and of course you play as Ash Williams. Broforce was a side scroller released in 2005 and features a Ash parody called Ash Brolliams. Finally there was Poker Night 2 from 2013 where Ash plays poker against other notable characters. Its also worth pointing out that Bruce Campbell does not play Ash in this game.


So there you have it. Ash Williams’ life on the big and small screen. Its been a hell of a ride and he’s a character I’m going to miss. Still, the phrase ‘never say never’ comes to mind here. I mean, it looked like Ash would never return to the screen at all after Army of Darkness and yet he did. There are still rumors of a big screen outing for Ash in an Evil Dead IV, the TV show could continue in one way or another with a different network picking it up, they could do a spin-off continuing the adventures of the Ghost Beaters lead by Kelly, Pablo and Brandy with Ash appearing – its possible given the whole ‘passing the torch’ of the last episode.

But whatever happens to the character from this point on, its been a damn fun, blood soaked journey. Thanks for the memories Bruce, its been a great ride. Hail to the King indeed!

Ash Chainsaw

Ash J. Williams:Life is hard and dangerous, and sometimes you just gotta chop off somebody’s head to survive.

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Happy Birthday Pac-Man

Created by Tōru Iwatani, who got the idea for Pac-Man from looking at a pizza with a slice removed. On 22nd May 1980, Namco released Pac-Man into arcades in Japan. Making today (22/5/2015) Pac-Man’s 35th Birthday.

Birthday

So to mark such a milestone, I thought I’d do this ere’ character history and bio, as well as a gaming overview of the original Pac-Man along with a retrospective look back at Pac-Man’s entire gaming life to celebrate the Birthday of one of gaming’s most iconic and famous characters…

While the idea to create Pac-Man did come from a pizza with a slice missing, creator Tōru Iwatani has also said the idea came from simplifying and rounding out the Japanese character for a mouth, kuchi.
Pac-Man was originally going to be called Puck-Man, which comes from the Japanese folklore character Paku who was known for his appetite. But when Namco licensed the game to be released in the United States, they changed the character’s name to “Pac-Man” after worrying that vandals could easily change the P in Puck to an F on the arcade cabinets.

Pac-Man has had an illustrious career over the last 35 years with a total of 34 games and spin-offs in the Pac-Man franchise from 1980-2015, as well as Pac-Man himself making cameos in various other games like; Kick (1981), Mario Kart Arcade series (2005-2013), Everybody’s Golf 6 (2011), Street Fighter X Tekken (2012) and even Super Smash Bros. (2014).

Often shown as being a family man with his wife Ms. Pac-Man who is also known as Pepper (why is she Ms. if she’s married?) and their two children one boy and one girl, plus Pac-Man can sometimes be found with the family dog; Chomp-Chomp or even the cat named Sourpuss.
While very much a family man, Pac-Man still enjoys his adventures and is often depicted with a voracious appetite for pellets and power pills.

Pac-Man was the very first and original gaming mascot. With Pac-Man being plastered on posters, lunchboxes, mugs, keyrings, clothing and many, many, many other merchandise…including packs of stickers that would come with a scratchcard Pac-Man game and a piece of bubble gum that tasted like cough medicine. Anyone remember those?

According to the Davie-Brown Index, Pac-Man has the highest brand awareness of any video game character ever among American consumers. With Pac-Man being recognized by 94 percent.

Pac-Man may be 35 years old, but he’s showing no signs of stopping and still appearing in games today, whether they be Pac-Man centric or him just showing up as a cameo.

Pac single

But not content with just sticking to the games, Pac-Man also featured in a hit single with; Pac-Man Fever (Buckner & Garcia) released in December 1981 and it went on to reach number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in March 1982. While at the same time, it was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for having over 1,000,000 units shipped to retailers. The single sold 1.2 million copies by the end of 1982 and a total of 2.5 million copies. VH1 even ranked it at number 98 on their list of 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.

Pac-Man’s music career aside, he has also appeared on the small and big screen.

TV show

Pac-Man the animated series was produced by the legendary animation production company; Hanna-Barbera and originally aired 1982 to 1983 for 2 seasons. It holds the distinction of being the very first cartoon based on a video game.

TV show 2

Pac-Man would return to the small screen in; Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures this time computer animated. It is produced by 41 Entertainment, Arad Productions Inc and first aired June 15, 2013 on the Disney Channel in the US. There was even a video game made based on this show…yes a show that was originally based on a game, turned into a TV show and then turned into a game.

Pac-Man has also been shown and referenced in other TV shows like; The Simpsons, Futurama, Tiny Toon Adventures, South Park, Family Guy, Robot Chicken and Drawn Together.
But Pac-Man has also appeared on the big screen making cameos in films such as; Tron, Wreck-It Ralph and will also appear in the upcoming film; Pixels.

Pac-Man also had his own children’s play area in the Six Flags Over Texas theme park from 1983–1985 a board game and even his own official restuarant.

Pac-Man has had a big and varied life for sure and he’s is still going today.
Happy 35th Birthday Pac-Man.

evolution

There’s even more Pac-Man in my Pac-Man overview of the original arcade game as well as a multi-part retrospective look back at the entire Pac-Man gaming franchise.

Thanks for reading Pac-Fans.

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Duke Nukem used to be awesome.

Duke

Duke Nukem Forever took…well forever to be released. It was to be called “Forever” as it was (at the time) the 4th game in the series (get it, FOURever?) to be made after Duke Nukem 3D (get it THREE-D? Sorry I’ll stop now) from 1996. But delays meant Duke Nukem Forever would not see the light of day until over 15 years after it was first announced as the sequel to Duke Nukem 3D.
Due to the delays there were other games released in the series in between the 15 year gap.

Duke Nukem Forever when finally released in 2011 was one of the biggest disappointments in gaming history and seemingly buried the Duke Nukem character. But I’m not here to talk about the Duke Nukem series of games and the bitter disappointment that was Duke Nukem Forever…yet (it’s coming though).

I wanted to cover one of my all time favorite game characters from his early low budget start to his meteoric rise in the mid 90’s and his fall from grace in 2011.

Duke Nukem was created by Todd Replogle, Jim Norwood, George Broussard, and Scott Miller of Apogee Software. Being a parody of 80’s action heroes by meddling elements of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell as well as throwing in a bit of Roddy Piper from They Live and smidge of Bruce Campbell’s Ash from Army Of Darkness.
Duke was essentially the best of the best (or worst) of action heros mixed together to make one bad-ass mofo.

Voiced by Jon St. John (from Duke Nukem 3D onwards) giving Duke a rather unique, iconic and instantly recognisable voice. Seriously try saying “What are you waiting for, Christmas?” without thinking of or hearing Duke Nukem’s voice in your head. Duke Nukem became one of gamings all time greats.
Duke was sexist, misogynistic, confident, aggressive, and beautifully politically incorrect with a soft spot for “the babes”.
His was skilled with a variety of weapons from explosives, automatic and even energy weapons…oh and his “mighty foot” for kicking alien pig-police in the face. He would also use vehicles such as his monster truck or even a jet pack. He is never seen without his trademark Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, even at night and often seen with a nice fat stogie hanging out of his mouth.
His ego was so huge he even wrote an autobiography called: “Why I’m So Great”.

Duke’s first appearance was in Duke Nukem from 1991 and has been in a total of 18 official Duke Nukem games, sequels and spin offs as well as making cameos in other games like: Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure (1992), Blood (1997) and more recently Choplifter HD (2012) along with several other games.

There was a time when the name Duke Nukem really meant something in the gaming world. From early 16-bit visuals to full on 3D and textured polygons, Duke Nukem was a hugely popular character despite really being a huge, egotistical (insert slang term for a lady’s front bits here). The humor of the character was often really childish…but still funny. Mr. Nukem was certainly controversial as a character.
Often found on top lists of all time great gaming characters along with the likes of Mario, Sonic, Lara Croft, Pac-Man and many others and he is even listed in The Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition. Duke Nukem still remains a fan favourite and a character that has earned his rightful place in gaming history.

Alas, the dismal Duke Nukem Forever may have buried the character for good. Aside from the game itself, may a reviewer just did not “get” the character. Calling him out on his sexism, mysongism, childish humor, stating he was outdated and so on…yes, that is the point of the character. He’s supposed to be a parody, a pastiche of 80’s cheesy action heros.
Yes, Duke Nukem Forever the game was bad, but Duke himself as a character was just as great as he ever was and his puerile humor was much needed in the sterile world of straightlaced characters and very “brown” personalities we have today.

Since the release of Duke Nukem Forever in 2011, Duke has been laying low and not really heard of since and it does look like Duke Nukem may finally be dead. But I really do hope not, while Duke Nukem Forever was a horrible game and definitely not worth the 15 year wait. The character is just too important and impactful to sweep under the carpet.
We need Duke Nukem back to inject his humor and style back into gaming, he just needs better games to be in.
I’d most definitely like to see Duke return, but let’s just ignore Duke Nukem Forever and pretend it never happened.

Duke 2

“Hail to the King Baby.”

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