November 24th, 2011

Pssst!

Monsters on Holiday



Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Since I have nothing particular to say about Thanksgiving this year, how's about another Halloween post?

As you can see, I've already become a werewolf in Skyrim. It's a lot easier to attain than in Morrowind--all you have to do is join the Companions faction, which is kind of like the Fighter's Guild from the previous games, and you're given the option to become a werewolf four or five quests in when another member of the guild offers her blood.

At first I was a little disappointed in the changes from Morrowind, particularly in terms of duration. In Morrowind, you took on the beast form every night in the game between 9pm and 6am, during which time you had to find a humanoid to kill and eat, lest you suffer weakness during the day. In Skyrim, you're able to transform any time you want but only once every twenty four hours and it only lasts two and a half minutes unless you feed, in which case you gain an extra 30 seconds for every corpse you eat.

So I actually kind of wrote off my newly acquired lycanthropy until I came across two farmers travelling alone in a remote mountain pass, on their way to join the Imperial faction, I think. Since my character considers herself a loyal daughter of Skyrim who wants the Imperial bastards out, I decided on a whim to switch to beast form and tear apart the hapless travellers. I knew no-one would miss them, but as in Morrowind, no-one connects the beast attacks with you unless someone actually sees you change form and now, in Skyrim, no-one will ever know what you are if you manage to kill all the witnesses before they can tell anyone, as I discovered first hand.

You're faster and stronger as a werewolf and it is intensely satisfying knocking people down, making a mess of them, and devouring them. Your standard attacks are claw swipes, but I've discovered two power attacks from clicking both mouse buttons at once--one attack knocks someone across a room, in another one you hold your target's head with both hands, lift him off the ground, and decapitate him. Yeah, these aren't your friendly furry WoW werewolves.

Unlike Oblivion, which got an M rating only after someone discovered that the game had in its resources, that could only be unlocked with a user made mod, a topless female humanoid model. But Skyrim was made with an M rating in mind, which makes werewolves like me very happy indeed. Unfortunately Bethesda, like many game companies, is still shy of any sexual material. When your character wakes up "naked" after rampaging in beast form, you're wearing some rather anachronistic yellow undies. But the NPCs talk to you like you're naked, which'll be convenient when a decent nudity mod is released.

On another note, I think the Ice Wraiths are my favourite new monsters in the game;



The wind picks up the snow sometimes in undulating strips and the wraiths look very similar to them, giving the impression that you're being attacked by a mirage come to life.

Also last night, I watched Jesus Franco's 1970 adaptation of Dracula which, despite having no relation to the Hammer Dracula films, stars Christopher Lee. And this is a better Dracula movie entirely for the performance Lee gives at the beginning of the film. You can tell he was eager to create a better characterisation than he was given opportunity to in Horror of Dracula. This is the best part of the whole movie;



The rest, I'm afraid, isn't much worth watching. Klaus Kinski is in it as Renfield, but he has absolutely no lines, perhaps because of concerns about his command of English, and he gives kind of an interesting silent performance, but mostly he just seems out of place. The rest of the cast are utterly forgettable and astonishingly boring, though the women playing Mina and Lucy are really gorgeous. It's as though, after the beginning, Franco suddenly decided he didn't feel like making a Dracula movie anymore and decided to rush through it. A lot of compulsory dialogue is thrown in sounding as though the characters have no idea what they're saying. Quincy Morris, who's Lucy's fiancé and an English barrister in this one for some reason, while Arthur Holmwood's totally absent from the film, asks Van Helsing if Dracula could be responsible for the recent death of a child. This is just after Lucy's death, and Van Helsing, Harker, and Morris are heading to Lucy's tomb. Van Helsing replies, "Worse than that. Far worse. The nice and innocent girl you loved."

Morris says, "You're mad! Lucy? A killer of children?"

He just skips over the whole thing about Lucy rising from the grave. I guess it goes without saying the dead do this from time to time.