by Bret

Shining Force Retro/iPhone review!

Time for a little cheeky re-post of an old retro game review; Shining Force, of Mega Drive fame. Now that this game is available on the iPhone, it seems worth retelling the world how much I love it. Hence:


There have been worse names for an army, but one does wonder what’s so great about the ‘Shining Force’. The Killy Force would be better, surely? However, in an archetypal fantasy world torn apart by the battle between good and evil, it’s either Shining or Dark, me laddo, none of this middle-ground, determine your own morality shit. Oh, except you can’t join the Dark, because it’s 16 bit and frankly there was barely enough space for the good guys to have a story. So, grab your sword and shield, young adventurer, and face a torrent of violence that would drive any man insane, if it wasn’t filtered into lovely squares.


That’s right- in the topsy turvy world of Shining Force (subtitle: The Legacy of Great Intention), everything fits on a neat square board. Your doods are square, your houses are square and your prowess in battle is measured by how many squares you can subjugate. Don’t let this put you off though- we’re talking about some high-end square graphics here, and ‘in battle’ as it were, we see some nifty animations done all proper like.

Samurai vs cerberus = win

You play as Max, or whatever you choose to name him (we opted for Daddy), who lives in Guardiana; a shitty backwater kingdom in the land of Rune. Guardiana is attacked by the armies of Runefaust, led by the evil Dark Sol. Apart from having better names, these guys are solid evil muthas and want to resurrect the ancient Dark Dragon, which would be bad for everyone smaller than a dragon. It’s up to Max, who is sent on a suicide mission with the other village youths (seriously, sending a handful of kids to do this?!), to stop the invaders. Along the way, they get pally with a variety of cool folks, from the standard fantasy fare (mages, centaurs, dwarves, elves), to the more outlandish (wolfmen, dragons, and a squid thingy).

But so much fun...

So what makes this retro game worth downloading for free shelling out £1.50 for? It’s a classic RPG for starters, and for fans of the genre it will expose the missing link between figety DOS fantasy and the 3D wonderland we have today. It has a funky soundtrack, as all old games do, and has a bundle of sequels to play with. The second game is in fact, in my eyes, better than the first. If you like your combat to be arranged into squares, you’ll like Shining Force.

Slipknot headlining Sonisphere 2011!


SLIPKNOT are proud to announce they will return in 2011 to headline the UK’s Sonisphere Festival.  The weekend event at the world famous Knebworth site is set to happen from Friday 8th – Sunday 10th July.   

The band’s 2011 summer shows will mark their first without founding member, Paul Gray who tragically passed away earlier this year, so will be an emotional and bittersweet experience for both the band and their fiercely loyal fanbase.   

SLIPKNOT have always considered the UK their ‘home from home’, with Brit crowds embracing their cathartic and ferociously heavy sound from day one.  1999’s debut album, ‘Slipknot’ is today considered a true classic and what followed was a meteoric rise to superstardom, the likes of which the metal scene had never seen; Top 40 singles, sold-out arena tours and a media frenzy that left no one in any doubt that SLIPKNOT’s impact on the musical landscape would be a permanent one.  Since then, the UK fans have ensured every subsequent album racked up a Top 5 chart position – with ‘Iowa’ reaching the No.1 slot – and there is always a rabid response when they occupy our arenas and festival fields.

SLIPKNOT’s album cycle for their fourth studio album, ‘All Hope Is Gone,’ was their most successful to date, seeing the band notch up their first US No.1 album, numerous sold-out arena shows around the globe and a top-selling DVD, ‘(sic)nesses’ which documented their landmark headline slot at the Download festival in 2009; a performance that is now the stuff of legend. 

Expect their Sonisphere show to be equally incendiary, as the iconic Iowan band prepare to honour Paul Gray’s memory and musical career with their Knebworth appearance.    Their statement reads; “We’re looking forward to spending our summer in Europe.  This tour is about us and our fans.  It’s about celebrating the life of our brother, Paul and his legacy.  The door is neither open nor closed.  This tour is about burning down that door.  See you this summer.”

Who knows what the distant future holds for SLIPKNOT, but one thing is for sure; these shows are going to go down in history.  The band hope you will come join them at Sonisphere in 2011 to celebrate and remember their brother, Paul Gray.

Full ticketing and festival info can be found at on Monday 6th December.

Corey Taylor Christmas Single! Gotta be better than X Factor… right?

The inimitable COREY TAYLOR, frontman of not one, but two multi-million-selling bands in STONE SOUR and SLIPKNOT, and sometime solo artist, is to release his first solo single, titled ‘X-M@$’ through Roadrunner Records on 12th December.
So what’s the story with one of the rock genre’s most revered frontmen and a Christmas single?   Corey explains as follows: “I wrote this song in my kitchen one winter, listening to people bitch about the holidays.  Personally, I love the holidays, but they seem to bring on severe stress in most people.  So, I wrote this in honour of crotchety, drunken bastards who don’t know the difference between a yuletide and a toolshed.  Plus, I think it’s funny.  I bet the UK will too.  They’re some of my favourite people in the world.” 
Last month, when a gap arose during the recent Stone Sour UK tour, Corey hot-footed it over to Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, West London, and tracked the tune in a single afternoon.  The lyrics showcase Corey’s sense of humour and irreverence in full force, dispensing a fat dose of jocular stick-poking at those who loathe the holiday season.  However, Taylor’s joviality doesn’t stop with the song words, as he even drops a sneaky ‘Hi Simon!!’ in the single’s fade-out, as a nod to Mr Cowell and his Xmas-hijacking X-Factor squad.

Check out a stream of the track here:

You’ll be able to pick up ‘X-M@$’ from all leading digital retailers, including i-Tunes, and   Corey has decided to donate proceeds from the Christmas sales to Teenage Cancer Trust.

Meanwhile, Corey’s been steering the good ship STONE SOUR around Europe, following a 10-date sold-out UK run that took in Glasgow’s SECC arena, Birmingham’s NIA and culminated in two nights at London’s famous Hammersmith Apollo.  Whilst in town, Roadrunner Records presented the band with gold discs for last album, ‘Come What(ever) May’, whilst new album, ‘Audio Secrecy’, which debuted on the UK album chart at No.6 on its release in September, continues to motor off the shelves.  The video for current single, ‘Digital (Did You Tell)’ can be seen on all decent music TV channels now.