This week, I look at a recent video game and start a new section where I compare two similar pop culture items and pick a winner.
Max Payne 3
We start with a new video game Max Payne 3. This is a shooter game and is available on both Playstation 3 and XBox 360. I had high hopes for the third installment of the Max Payne series, but was very disappointed.
The game is produced by Rockstar games, which is well known for great games such as Red Dead Redemption and the Grand Theft Auto games.
The original Max Payne came out several years ago was was known for its use of bullet time shooting and story about a washed up, drunk anti-hero.
The new game is similar except our anti-hero has moved to Brazil after the death of his wife and child. The major flaw I found was the difficulty in shooting, which is tough when it’s a shooter game. The reticle is a small, white dot which, when placed over anything white becomes impossible. So basically you hide and try to shoot down wave after wave of very similar bad guys that come at you. They all seem to take four or five shots to take down. They also like to surround you and the player has no idea where they are coming from.
Okay, moving on to our brand new versus section where I compare two similar pop culture events such as bands, movies, or television shows. We start with movies: The Avengers vs. The Dark Knight.
The two biggest comic book movies were both critically acclaimed and huge box office hits but which is better?
Acting: Not really close. In Batman’s corner you get Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and academy award recipient Heath Ledger in his amazing performance as Joker. In the Avengers you get Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, and Chris Hemsworth. Av: 2/5, DK 5/5.
Action: Comic movies are ultimately about the action and both of these have action aplenty. Av: 5/5, DK 4/5.
Story: Despite not many people going to comic movies for the gripping story, Dark Knight has somewhat of a character arc for Bruce Wayne as he watches his city nearly go up in flames. Avengers was really about getting a bunch of super-heroes together to duke it out with aliens and gods. AV: 3/5, DK 4/5.
Overall: Avengers went for a more kinda hokey story but some fun character interaction. The Hulk was probably the best part. Although, funny how in his first scene in the floating battleship he wanted to basically crush everyone including Scarlet Johannsen’s Black Widow. And then a little later, Ruffalo seems to have complete control over the Hulk and he fights alongside the other Avengers with no problem. The Dark Knight is definitely a darker, more serious study in the psyche of both Batman and arch-villain The Joker, played brilliantly by Ledger in his final role.
Total: Avengers: 10/15, Dark Knight: 13/15. Winner: Dark Knight Returns.
Music: The Rolling Stones vs. U2. Okay, it would seem most people would agree that the Beatles are the top rock/pop band in the last 50 years, while Nickelback is the worst. In between, there are hundreds if not thousands of bands that could be ranked in different orders depending on your taste. While some good argue for the Who or Led Zeppelin or Nirvana, the battle for second is really about two bands: the Stones and U2.
Longevity: Without a doubt, both bands have been together forever. The Stones started in the 60’s and have put out top hits right up to the 2000’s. U2 started two decades later, but have had more recent success. RS: 5/5, U2 4.5/5.
Singer: Bono is the face of U2, as is Mick Jagger for the Stones. While, Bono is not known as a sex symbol, he is charismatic and has the pipes. But he ain’t Mick, who still has huge influence with his name coming up in several recent popular tunes such as “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5. RS: 5/5, U2 4/5.
influence/spin-off: Mick has had several solo records, while Keith Richards has had a second mini-career with a spin-off band, the Expensive Winos. As far as I know, none of the guys from U2 have ever strayed far. RS 4/5, U2 5/5.
Body of work: So many great albums and songs to choose from. Both have tried different genres, some a little questionable (Stones-disco, U2-techno) but have mostly retained their signature sound. Top songs for the Stones would be their older tunes such as (I can’t get no) Satisfaction; Paint it, Black; and, of course, from every movie where the main character descends into darkness – Gimme Shelter.
For U2, another great roster of hits of which I choose: Where the Streets Have No Name; I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For; and Stuck in a Moment. RS 4.5/5, U2 4.5/5.
Overall: Wow, this is a close one. Let’s go to the numbers: Rolling Stones win by a hair with 18.5/20 versus U2’s 18/20.