Tag Archive | "Reviews"

Billzilla

The Invictus (Vampire: the Requiem) Review

Posted on October 6, 2010 by

The vampires of White Wolf’s World of Darkness are consummate predators. Predators – generally speaking – don’t often suffer the company of other predators, particularly those that compete for the same food source, and rarely willingly when it does happen. One of the few things that encourages vampires to interact with each other is affiliation within a covenant. Such affiliations tend – by the very nature of their members – to be relatively loose ties, but they are not fleeting; vampires in the World of Darkness take a very dim view of those who willingly sever their connection to their covenant-mates. In The Invictus, White Wolf takes a look at the feudalistic covenant envied by many and hated by most – even by some of those within.

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Flames

Kell’s Legend Review

Posted on October 4, 2010 by

Hang on to your hats boys and girls; Kell’s Legend is the sort of book that grabs hold of you and does not let go. If it weren’t for the two infant children in my home, I would have read it in one sitting. If dark fantasy and balls-out action is your thing, this is the novel you have been waiting to find.

I will only describe the book in the briefest of terms to avoid any spoilers. The kingdom of Falanor is invaded by a race of clockwork vampires. Kell, an old veteran with a legendary past, is forced back into action to protect his granddaughter. The story also follows a second protagonist from the vampire side of things. I do not want to say anything that will spoil her for you, but she is an excellent character.

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Megan

Rêve: the Dream Ouroboros RPG Review

Posted on September 29, 2010 by


The book opens with a rambling foreword by the author, touching on how this is a complete rewrite – as the translation of the original I’m reading is of the 2nd edition of Rêve de Dragon – of the rules, suggesting the order and way in which it should be read and the like, before getting to the underlying philosophy of the game: that a dream exists only whilst the dreamer is dreaming… and that in similar vein, the alternate reality of a role-playing game only comes to life when someone is playing that game. The aim in creating the game is to provide a ruleset that facilitates the shared dream of the in-game reality.

The whole is divided into three books, the first of which is called Journeyers. For this game is about journeys: be they quests, searches for enlightenment or indeed actual travels. It begins with the rules for creating a character, or Journeyer. Each is described by a comprehensive list of 18 characteristics, assigned in the main by point-buy, as well as skills and other attributes. Interestingly, the details of actually acquiring skills and the like are left until later despite a fairly comprehensive outline of how a character is described mechanically, the discussion then moves on to the crux of this ruleset, the resolution table, which is brought into use whenever it is not clear whither an action will succeed or not.

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Flames

Enforcer (Warhammer) Novel Review

Posted on September 27, 2010 by

Enforcer is not a typical 40k book. There are no space marines, aliens, battlefields — the standard fare for the darkness of the 41st millennium. Enforcer is also not a stand-alone novel, but an omnibus edition capturing all three novels of the Shira Calpurnia trilogy into one volume. The three novels are Crossfire, Legacy, and Blind. I somehow missed these when they were initially printed. I had heard quite a bit of positive discussion concerning them, so when I picked up my copy I dug right in.

The focus of these books is on Shira Calpurnia a senior member of the Adeptus Arbites. The Arbites are responsible for enforcing the laws of the Imperium across the galaxy. The best comparison to the arbites outside of 40k would be Judge Dredd. Depending on the situation, an arbite could be judge, jury, and executioner. Intimidation and brute force are the means by which they get the job done.

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Flames

Redemption Corps Review

Posted on September 17, 2010 by


The Redemption Corps is a regiment of ultra tough storm-troopers. Led by the legendary Captain Mortensen, the Redemption Corps and its Navy support divisions drift across the Kaligari Cradle from one warzone to another on brutal missions. When the revered major comes to the attention of the deadly sorority of the Battle Sisters, he not only has to contend with an ork invasion, but these fearsome warrioress-fanatics too. Now, the regiment must fight for its survival whilst being trapped between the xenos and the dark fury of the Imperium.

I read through this one rather quickly. It sucked me in and I couldn’t put it down. It also helped that I was trapped in the passenger seat on a family road trip as my wife drove us out to the middle of nowhere. Anyway, Storm Troopers are the focus of this book and bear some explanation. The Storm Troops of Warhammer 40k are nothing like those white armored buffoons from the original Star Wars Trilogy.

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Jason Thorson

Eyes Beyond Movie Review

Posted on September 15, 2010 by

Eyes Beyond is an independent short film starring, written and directed by Canadian filmmaker, Daniel Reininghaus. Many movies that share its level of independence have glaring problems; however, Eyes Beyond emerges as a surprisingly superior romp through depravity.

The film’s premise, without giving too much away, is as follows: Brothers, Adam (Evan Eisnstadt) and Gabriel Morales (Daniel Reininghaus) invite their neighbors over for dinner. As members of the Rogers family, Henry (Robert Nolan), Abigaile (Danielle Barker), and Vivian (Kelly-Marie Murtha), make themselves comfortable and conversation ensues, things quickly spin out of control – way out of control. But things are rarely as they seem.

Eyes Beyond does a lot of things very well. First and foremost, it looks and sounds fantastic. The film’s technical attributes are very polished. Cinematographer, Michael Jari Davidson capably captures dynamic shots – warm and primary colors against white backgrounds, lush green-lined yards with depth, dim natural light, bright artificial light, etc – with the same consistency and quality one expects in projects boasting much higher budgets.

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Johannes Cabal the Detective Review

Posted on September 6, 2010 by

Ah yes, here we go. So when I was at Wizard World Chicago, see previous blog article on said adventure, prior to going into the actual convention I met up with Matt, our very fair minded and –not to be a kiss up, but really, in to in fact be a kiss up-wonderful editor handed me a box, which he so apply and verbally labeled as a “Christmas Present.” I asked as we stood in the lobby of the hotel, whether or not “Johannes Cabal the Detective,” was in the box or not? To which, of course there was the obvious reply, yes. But the man wears sunglasses to obfuscate his eyes, which I believe hide his own supernatural abilities. Point being, I am scared of him, so I didn’t press the subject.

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Flames

Cthulhu Week: Your Top 20 Cthulhu Mythos Reviews

Posted on August 16, 2010 by

Cthulhu Scribe by Drew PoczaWhat do you and Cthulhu have in common? A love of the mythos, of course! In this post, we take a look at your favorite reviews of Cthulhu and other Mythos-related music, games, comics, books and films that you’ve enjoyed over the years. While we have an extensive selection of Lovecraft-related reviews and articles on the site, we chose these twenty not only because you really enjoyed reading these, but also because we felt that they were definitely worth a second look during Cthulhu Week. After all, who better to recommend something Cthulhu-related than your fellow cultists readers here on FlamesRising.com?

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Billzilla

Curse of the Full Moon Review

Posted on July 30, 2010 by

While the full moon rarely has a dramatic an effect on most people, there are some who will admit that they can feel the pull of the moon, at least in subtle ways — and crime statistics bear this out year after year. For those rare few for whom the moon activates a profound curse, the world becomes a different place entirely – a world filled with soft, slow creatures to be hunted, attacked and devoured. Give thanks that those with such a curse are still a rarity…

In Curse of the Full Moon, James Lowder has collected 19 tales from an impressive collection of horror luminaries: George R.R. Martin, Ursula LeGuin, Ramsey Campbell, Charles DeLint, Michael Moorcock and Neil Gaiman are just a few of the names any fan of contemporary fiction will recognize, but the list doesn’t end there. Joe R. Lansdale, Nancy A. Collins, Peter S. Beagle, Gene Wolfe and Harlan Ellison also contribute tales to this collection.

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Flames

Brunner The Bounty Hunter: Omnibus edition Review

Posted on July 28, 2010 by

His name is Brunner. Goblins, vampires, fugitives, and even dragons – they’re all fair game for this lethal killer’s blade. Across the length and breadth of the grim Warhammer Old World, Brunner plies his trade, applying his skills and intelligence to track down and slaughter sinister fiends. But he also faces challenges from within his own dubious profession as a rival bounty hunter stakes a claim to his bounty. Enter the dark and dangerous world of a ruthless bounty hunter.

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teampreston

Nemesis Fiction Review

Posted on July 20, 2010 by

After the horrors of Istvaan V, Horus declares outright war against the Imperium. In the shadows of the Emperor’s Palace, powerful figures convene. Their plan is to send a team of assassins to execute the arch-traitor Horus and end the war for the galaxy of mankind before it has even begun. But what they cannot know is that another assassin is abroad already, with his sights firmly set on killing the Emperor.

The Officio Assassinorum: we’ve been waiting on something like this for decades, and James Swallow delivers it. As expected it involves scheming at the top levels of the Imperium in order to end this civil war as quickly and painlessly as possible – anything to save The Emperor and his Imperium.

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Age of Cthulhu: Shadows of Leningrad Review

Posted on July 13, 2010 by

Shadows of Leningrad is the third in Goodman Games’ Age of Cthulhu series. These adventures, set in the 1920s, allow for pulpish globetrotting (Luxor and London set the scenes for the first two adventures). While these adventures can possibly become rather violent, their design strongly favors a traditional investigative format. With an unforgiving setting (early Communist Russia), a generous sampling of supernatural entities, and mundane threats, the adventure proves to be a daunting one.

The book’s smart layout ran a printer-friendly gambit of basic two-column text, minimal artwork, and good looking bordering along the headers and footers. When sidebars popped up, they were positioned at the bottoms of the pages.

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teampreston

Path of the Warrior Review

Posted on July 9, 2010 by

The ancient eldar are a mysterious race, each devoting their life to a chosen path which will guide their actions and decide their fate. Korlandril abandons peace for the Path of the Warrior. He becomes a Striking Scorpion, a deadly fighter skilled in the art of close-quarter combat. But the further Korlandril travels down this path, the closer he gets to losing his identity and becoming an avatar of war.

Path of the Warrior is the first of a new trilogy focusing on the race of Eldar. This is interesting in one respect as the Black Library for ages chose to avoid such novels, wanting to keep the alien races…alien. We’re all human, and the xenos races of the 40k universe should remain so.

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Flames

The Age of Ra Review

Posted on July 8, 2010 by

The Ancient Egyptian gods have defeated all the other pantheons and claimed dominion over the earth, dividing it into warring factions. Lt. David Westwynter, a British soldier, stumbles into Freegypt, the only place to have remained independent of the gods’ influence. There, he encounters the followers of a humanist leader known as the Lightbringer, who has vowed to rid mankind of the shackles of divine oppression. As the world heads towards an apocalyptic battle, there is far more to this freedom fighter than it seems…

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Billzilla

Flash Fire Mini-Reviews: Luck of the Draw

Posted on July 2, 2010 by

This week we take a look at some horror-themed card games that deserve more attention. All are card or card/board hybrid games and all can be played in a relatively short (one hour or less) period of time.

The Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow by Asmodee Editions

WoMH is a party game, and follows the lead of popular convention games like Mafia. In Werewolves, players are dealt a character card – either villager or werewolf – which is kept secret. During the day turn, the players discuss who might be a werewolf and designate someone, suspected of being a werewolf, to be “executed.”

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Billzilla

Vampire Week: Daeva: Kiss of the Succubus Review

Posted on June 25, 2010 by

From their beginnings in ancient Sumeria, the Daeva have specialized at blending in with human society. In game terms, Gangrel may be the most overtly kick-ass clan due to their mastery of the Protean powers of shape-changing — able to sink into any patch of earth at sunrise, or to instantly grow claws and throw down. Daeva, on the other hand, have mastery over social skills, and the most efficient character builds tend to reflect this and play to that strength. Daeva may not be quite the combat powerhouse that a Gangrel can be, but they excel at manipulating others, inspiring desire, devotion and need.

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Vampire Week: Forever Knight Series Review

Posted on June 21, 2010 by

Nick Knight doesn’t sparkle, he doesn’t exude sexuality (though many of his fans seem to think so), and he doesn’t fight other unabashedly good looking werewolves. No, Nick Knight fights for his soul the old fashioned way, through solving bizarre and often Vampire centric homicides. And if you don’t know who Nick Knight is, well then you probably have had a life outside of Canadian, cult status, vampire television since before the dawn of the internet.

Forever Knight was a Canadian television series about an 800 year old vampire working as a homicide detective in the then ultra sleek and hip city of mid 90’s Toronto. His whole existence was one of self hatred and loathing, and his main goal in life seemed to be atoning for the sins he had committed throughout the centuries as he preyed on humans.

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teampreston

Malekith (The Sundering) Review

Posted on June 18, 2010 by

Usually I review advance copies from BL, but this one I went and bought because I missed it previously and enjoyed The Shadow King, part 2 of The Sundering.
The subject of this novel poses an interesting problem – a challenge for the author as well as the reader, I found. For those unfamiliar with Warhammer lore, Malekith is a very dark character. Son of the Uber High Elf king Aenarion – who was at once great and terrible due to his drawing of the Sword of Khaine – Malekith is destined to become THE ultimate villain for the race of elves for millennia to come (along with his twisted mother Morathi). Knowing this the author has to tell a tale we will read. To do that, we have to somewhat sympathize with the main character; this is a tall order.

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Steven Dawes

Bigfoot War Review

Posted on June 3, 2010 by

I’ve been put through the literary meat grinder recently with good books like Darkness on the Edge of Town and On the Third Day. So I figured it was time to read something a little lighter of subject; something not quite so epic this time around. You know, something frightening… but fun! To that end, my reviewer’s copy of Bigfoot War couldn’t have come in the mail at a better time!

I’ve never read a Bigfoot horror story before; to be honest, most of my experience with Bigfoot comes from either watching Harry & the Henderson’s or watching the car crushing eponymous monster truck. I knew nothing about author Eric S. Brown either, but fortunately he spilled his own can of beans in the book’s introduction.

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teampreston

The Chapter’s Due Review

Posted on June 2, 2010 by


War is unending in the life of a Space Marine. After defeating Tau forces, Captain Uriel Ventris of the Ultramarines has returned to the Chapter’s homeworld of Macragge, but there is little respite. The Ultramarines are thrust back into battle, and this time the enemy is the Chapter’s greatest nemesis. The traitorous Iron Warriors, led by renegade Warsmith Honsou, have gathered together a massive and brutal warband. Their target is the realm of Ultramar. Their objective is total annihilation. It is a final showdown between legendary Space Marines, and Uriel Ventris must take on the might of Honsou if he is to save his Chapter’s homeworld.

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