Tuesday 8 December 2009

Gaming Reviews

Cartoon Action Hour: Going Japanese
Spectrum Games

Available Now - PDF - $10.99 (Approximately £6.75)*
Review by Brad Harmer

Going Japanese is a supplement for taking Cartoon Action Hour (Spectrum Games' RPG system for playing in the Saturday Morning Cartoon genre) games into the realms of anime. It starts with an examination of the various sub-genres of anime, all the while explaining how they can be replicated within context of the game.

Going Japanese fills a niche that has needed to be filled for a very long time. It covers the 1980s Americanised anime (along the lines of Robotech and Voltron) all the way up to the more recent anime (such as Pokemon ).

When Spectrum Games set out to do something, they really do it properly. With the release of Going Japanese, they’ve excelled themselves – this is their best sourcebook release so far.

Starting with the history of anime, and its various conversions and adaptations for Western audiences, as well as a rather amusing satire on the tropes of the genre, Going Japanese gets off to a running start. I’m not exactly green when it comes to Saturday Morning Cartoons, but I certainly found myself learning stuff here. If nothing else, there is certainly lots of inspiration for your campaign to be found here.

As with all the other universes for Cartoon Action Hour, the campaign settings are mind-bogglingly detailed, even going as far as describing the fictional animation studios that created the series, and what happened to them. Most of time, if I didn’t already know otherwise, I would have assumed that many of them were real television shows – that’s how detailed it is.

The three campaign settings provided with this book (obviously paying homage to Voltron, Macross and Pokemon – to name some of the more well-known influences) are excellent. The enthusiasm of the writer really comes across, and makes you want to sit down and start planning a campaign straight away.

Summary: An excellent RPG supplement, and a “must have” for those wanting to run an anime-influenced campaign in Cartoon Action Hour or, indeed, any other system. 9/10

This week on DVD, Revolver Entertainment delves into a world of superheroes, spies and Machiavellian villains as they release the first ever UK box sets for Aqua Teen Hunger Force & Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

That’s an obscene number of ninety episodes, and over seven hours of extras with music videos, never-before-seen footage and deleted scenes, as well as show commentaries by the cast & crew.

As if this wasn’t enough, also on December 7th Adult Swim make available to fans the DVDs of the second seasons of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

The Aqua Teen Hunger Force consists of Master Shake (a sadistic, lazy milkshake who loves to torture Meatwad), Frylock (a floating packet of fries, who is the brains and rationality of the group) and Meatwad (a gentle mutant meatball, who is bullied by Shake). Other characters include their wife-beater-wearing next door neighbour Carl, who spends most of his time indulging in sport, rock music, booze and women. Ignigknot and Err, who appear in some episodes, are creatures from the moon, ‘Mooninites’, who take advantage of Meatwads’ vulnerable and easily-lead nature.

Once a second-rate superhero, Harvey Birdman is now a third-rate lawyer, with bad knees and a bad-attitude, working at an upscale law firm. It’s not clear whether Harvey ever went to law school, but he definitely knows the lingo and has a nice suit – even if he still insists on wearing his superhero get-up underneath.
As defender of ‘toons in trouble’, it’s his job to keep Shaggy and Scooby-Doo out of jail for possession, represent Fred Flintstone over alleged Mafia connections and lead the trial of Yogi Bear’s sidekick Boo-Boo, suspected of being notorious eco-terrorist: ‘The Unabooboo’.

Thanks to our friends at Revolver, we've got three sets of Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law; Aqua Teen Hunger Force and an awesome t-shirt to give away! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to revolverbundle@rocketmail.com with your name and postal address before midday on Tuesday 15th December (UK time). The first three names drawn out of the electronic hat will win an awesome set!

Slasher Flick: Bloodbath Hotel
Spectrum Games

Available Now - $10.99 (£6.75)
Review by Brad Harmer

Bloodbath Hotel is a deluxe adventure released for Spectrum Games’ Slasher Flick. This adventure puts the players in the role of ghost hunters investigating a long-since abandoned hotel that was once very opulent. But when they start getting picked off one by one, the remaining characters have to figure out who - or what - is responsible. Will they escape with their lives intact or will they become the latest victims of the hotel?

We’re big fans of Slasher Flick here at E14. If you’re after a good cheesy chuckle, then it really captures the mood of the slasher movie genre. This adventure, though, provides something a little different.

Designed so that it can be played multiple times with the same group, Bloodbath Hotel has options up to the eyeballs. You can ramp up the supernatural elements to The Shining or even Thirteen Ghosts levels, or you can kick it right down, so that there’s nothing supernatural occurring at all.

As with their previous published scenario, , this Slasher Flick adventure provides a highly detailed playground for carnage, and goes relatively light on the events, allowing the players to create events on the fly very easily. When you’ve got an RPG that actively encourages the party splitting up, this can only be a good thing.

The GM and player resources are of the highest quality, and certainly worth the asking price!

Summary: Highly recommended. Absolutely chock-full of gaming goodness and the possibilities for sequels and tweaks are endless. 9/10

* Conversions are approximate at time of publication. Exchange rates can and do change, so check before purchasing.


  1. Ooh... Can't wait to play Bloodbath Hotel. That looks great.

  2. I second Mr Selmans desire to play Bloodbath hotel...