Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Postumus the Batavian
Neo Zeed is threatening the world once more. The evil crime syndicate – thought to have been vanquished two years earlier – has returned, headed by a man known only as the Shadow Master. The ninja master of old has felt their presence, and descends from the lonely mountaintops of Japan to face his nemesis once more.
As the Shinobi, stronger than steel and faster than a whirlwind, the last keeper of the Oboro Ninjitsu techniques, only he can stop Neo Zeed.
He’s faster than a hurricane, and sometimes… he hides in mud. (🤷🏻♂️?)
Round 1: Zeed’s Resurrection: Joe Musashi descends from his training grounds in the mountains after he learns that the syndicate Neo-Zeed has emerged with a vengeance from the criminal underworld; he battles waves of assassins and faces Guard Lobster; a huge mutated samurai through the forests and caves of Japan.
Round 2: Secret Entry: Musashi races on horseback through the meadows as a storm gathers and Neo-Zeed’s assassins descend from kites to attempt their kills, including a ferociously agile ninja in orange with a large supply of spears — Kage the Jonin. The conspiracy is revealed to be much larger and dangerous than expected as Musashi reaches a huge high-tech facility, neutralizing Neo-Zeed’s machine gun-armed soldiers and encountering a levitating robot armed with bullets, bombs, lasers, and reality-warping trickery — the first brain-powered jet-piloting supercomputer’s successor.
‘Shinobi 3: Return of the Ninja Master’ is a Sega Genesis game from 1993. A hack-and-slash platform game Sega developed for the Mega Drive/Genesis. It is the direct sequel to the previous ‘Revenge of the Shinobi.’ The game was intended to be released in 1992 and to be very different from the final version of the game in terms of levels and storyline.
Game implementation: I want about 1/5th of the left hand of the screen at the start of a new scenario to be a little layer onto of the background, revealing a little more of the side of the background, which comes out in a panel and animates across the screen at the level start to disappear from the player’s view (the stage).
Gameplay: Compared to its predecessor, the action is considerably smoother, with less emphasis on difficulty and more on speed. In addition to the ability to run from place to place, the player character comes equipped with a new array of moves and techniques, including a mid-air dashkick, the ability to jump-scale walls and a powerful running slash that renders him temporarily invincible to projectiles.
Besides his regular assortment of moves and attacks, the player has the ability to perform four special ‘ninjitsu’ techniques. Only one can be used in each level, unless the Shinobi finds additional ninjitsu bonuses throughout hidden spots in most levels. The four ninjitsu techniques involve engulfing lightning as a temporary shield, summon fire-dragons, boosting his vertical leap and self-sacrificing, the latter costing one life to destroy common enemies or damage bosses.
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master received critical acclaim.
‘MegaTech’ magazine praised the game’s new attacks and moves, but criticised that it was “not as hard…” An IGN review by Levi Buchanan called it “a legit Genesis great, one of the better action games for the 16-bit console of yesteryear.” ‘Complex’ rated it the third best game on the Sega Genesis, stating: “The only drawback? The last level was freaking impossible!”
Round 3: Body Weapon: The facility houses a morbid biological weapons laboratory, where Musashi must fight off mutated brains and muscular ooze, descending into the sewers where he faces off against one of Neo-Zeed’s most horrible weapons: the hulking and hideous Hydra.
Round 4: Destruction: Musashi discover a great river near his home, where Neo-Zeed has constructed a huge factory between this river specializing in robotic weaponry. He surfs across the river fighting off hordes of Neo-Zeed’s Ninjas, who are riding on huge, hovering futuristic vehicles. On the river, he confronts humanoid robots armed to the teeth with lasers and machine guns.
Round 5: Electric Demon: Upon crossing the river, Musashi arrives at another heavily guarded weapons facility in the forest. It is as if he has descended into hell, as he fights the military guerrillas amidst a burning inferno that has engulfed the forest. Seeking justice and shelter in the facility, Musashi ascends into the top floors and confronts Mechasaurus; a hulking, fire-breathing, robotic dinosaur who resembles Mechagodzilla (perhaps as an allusion to the Godzilla battle in The Revenge of Shinobi), one working prototype of a planned army of these beasts.
From Fandom, ‘Shinobi Wiki’
Egyptian Cosmology: du’at
The physical body itself played a big role in the afterlife, though it wasn’t an active role. It would be sent on a solar bark (boat) across the Duat, and throughout the journey, the ba — that’s the manifestation of the ka, or the soul — would have to return to the body periodically, where it would rest and recover for the next stage of the journey.
Each day, the ba would go on its journey throughout the Duat, facing the tests and challenges required of it. Often that meant fighting monsters, appeasing the gods, solving puzzles, and passing various trials. And there were two parts to this journey, one for the body and one for the soul. For the body, it had to be mummified so well that it wouldn’t deteriorate while the ba was away, and for the ba, it needed to pass through its trials successfully so it could return to the body. After all, according to ‘Journey to the Resurrection” by Jiri Janak, the ba is the life-giving force that the body requires.
If either portion of the journey derails, the whole thing falls apart — the soul fades into eternal nothingness, and the body decays as all bodies do.
According to Zago, the Duat may originally have referred to only one specific location within the journey of the afterlife, but it was later conflated to refer to the entire journey. The link to the cosmos brings about the other connectivity with the Duat — that the afterlife itself, for Egyptians, takes place in the stars, given the deep connection the gods had with astrology.
In a sense, all the gates that the ba passed through in the afterlife could be seen in the various constellations.
Whatever the case, the Duat itself characterizes the trials of the soul — the portion that requires something of a quest, and without it, the soul is lost to eternal nothingness.
Unlike the Greek gods, who really couldn’t care less about any given mortal’s journey through life and into death, the Egyptian gods took a very active role in what happened along the way. While it was mostly an effort to ensure that everyone ended up where they belonged, it still allowed for the free will of any given individual while providing some guidance along the way.
Then there were Anubis, Thoth, and Osiris waiting to judge souls among the host of other gods. While there were “trickster” gods like Seth in Egyptian mythology, most of the gods were pretty straight-laced and dedicated to their roles in life and death.
When the ba was passing through the various stages of the afterlife, one of the key components was facing monsters and “bosses” that had to be overcome in order to pass on to the next “level.” Each gate was protected by a deity, and they had to be beaten in a very specific way
That’s where the various books of the dead came in handy. They contained instructions on how to beat each deity and what spells to cast to move on. But according to spell 144, you could also approach the gate by claiming, “Mine is a name greater than yours, mightier than yours upon the road of righteousness.” Since no two books of the dead were the same, they each provided different instructions.
After passing through the gates and defeating the deities, Anubis would guide the ba into the Hall of Truth, where it would wait in line to be judged once and for all (via ‘World History Encyclopedia’).
Names like Crusher of Bones, Stinking Face, Eater of Shade, and other deities [are there to judge you] you probably would never want to meet [otherwise]. They were meant to be this way in order to intimidate the soul and evoke the true essence of what made it worthy or unworthy.
Presiding over the whole ordeal was Osiris, who would deliver the verdict when it was reached.
Quoted from ‘Grunge,’ article by Josh Sippie
Constantine: ‘A Whole World Out There’
Four of Ritchie Simpson’s students cast a spell which sends their souls to a dimension created by Jacob Shaw, who attacks them before they escape. John notices a sign on the scrying map and visits Ritchie. Three of them die at the hands of Jacob after being dragged back to his dimension. John and Ritchie bring the last student to John’s safe house, where her cell phone’s reflection drags her to Jacob’s world. John and Ritchie enter the dimension, where John realizes that Ritchie has the skill to reshape reality. John encourages Ritchie to use his skills to defeat Jacob, who is erased from reality after Ritchie summons a beautiful sunrise. The house begins to collapse, which releases the spirits of the three students.
Finally, he chooses reality as well, and later lectures to his students that all life contains suffering, but you can learn to be at peace anyway.
John Constantine, a demon hunter and dabbling master of the occult, must struggle with his past sins while protecting the innocent from the converging supernatural threats that constantly break through to our world due to the “Rising Darkness”. Balancing his actions upon the line of good and evil, Constantine uses his skills and a supernatural scry map to journey across the nation to send these terrors back to their own world, all for the hope of redeeming his soul from eternal torment.
From IMDb: Harry’s forced to go get a license to continue working for the police department, but when his teacher turns up dead of black magic he teams with man’s assistant in a case that takes fertile twist.
Paul Blackthorne as Harry Dresden, a reluctant hero, a professional wizard who often helps the police with cases involving “unusual” circumstances and others who seek his help. Harry’s mother Burdine Dresden, a powerful witch, died when he was young. He was raised by his father, a stage magician. When he was about 11, his powers began to emerge, and his uncle Justin Morningway wanted to take him and teach him about his abilities, so he murdered Harry’s father with black magic when his father did not relinquish Harry to him. Bob makes reference to Harry “self-defensing” his uncle to death.
Valerie Cruz as Lt. Connie Murphy, the Chicago police officer who often seeks out Harry’s help with cases that are hard to solve and may be supernaturally related, although she refuses to outright believe in magic, because such things do not fit with her “rules”. She is dedicated and takes her job seriously, even going as far as seeking out the only wizard in the phonebook to help with cases. Lt. Murphy is a tough, no-nonsense woman who is divorced and has a daughter (Anna) who she says spends a lot of time with her father because of the long hours she has to work. Connie apparently has some romantic feelings toward Harry. She pointed out at the end of season one that if he kissed her again, she would not slap him.
Hrothbert “Bob” of Bainbridge, the old spirit owned by Dresden. He was once owned by Dresden’s uncle, Justin Morningway, before Dresden “self-defensed” him to death. He advises Dresden on both personal and magical matters. Bob is an invaluable source of knowledge which Dresden taps to solve supernatural crimes. In the first episode, Bob is seen redesigning a “Doom Box”, which he describes as “a supernatural jack-in-the-box” containing and amplifying magical energy. The original Doom Box formula was included in a ‘grimoire’ Bob wrote while he was alive; the book had been in Justin’s possession until Harry burned it. Bob’s current state is a punishment; he was executed, his soul sealed into his own skull for all eternity, for using black magic to bring a sorceress he had loved (Winnifred) back from the dead several hundred years ago. Bob died from an axe blow to the back of the head in 900 AD.
‘Charmed’ is an American fantasy drama series produced by ‘Spelling ‘Television,’ and ‘The WB’ broadcast the original series from October 7, 1998, until May 26, 2006.
The series narrative follows a trio of sisters, known as The Charmed Ones, the most powerful good witches of all time, who use their combined “Power of Three” to protect innocent lives from evil beings such as demons and warlocks. Each sister possesses unique magical powers that grow and evolve, while they attempt to maintain normal lives in modern-day San Francisco.
Keeping their supernatural identities separate and secret from their ordinary lives often becomes a challenge for them, with the exposure of magic having far-reaching consequences on their various relationships and resulting in a number of police and FBI investigations throughout the series.
“Before Melinda was burned at the stake, she vowed that each generation of Warren witches would become stronger and stronger, culminating in the arrival of three sisters … the most powerful witches the world has ever known … the Charmed Ones.”
When Phoebe discovers the family’s ‘Book of Shadows’ in the attic, she learns that she and her sisters are the most powerful witches ever known.
Phoebe, reasonably suspecting the book to be a novelty, reads its initial inscription—unaware that it also happens to be an incantation activating the sisters’ supernatural powers once all three are reunited in their ancestral home. By the end of the first episode, each sister learns that she has a unique magical power that allows them to cast spells and brew potions. Prue, the eldest, has the power of ‘telekinesis’ (the ability to move objects with her mind), and in season 2 she develops the power of astral projection (the ability to be in two places at once). Piper, the middle sister, has the power of molecular immobilization. As she grows more proficient, she learns how to freeze only certain people or objects or body parts, as she wishes. In season 3, her powers evolve further, as she is able to cause evil beings or objects to explode using her hands as a development of her powers surrounding molecular movement. Phoebe, the youngest of the three, initially possesses the power of premonition allowing her to receive visions of the future and later of the past.
During the first two seasons, the sisters face various evil beings from week to week. However, in the third season, they discover that their ultimate enemy is The Underworld’s demonic ruler.
While grieving for their older sister, Piper and Phoebe discover that they also have a younger half-sister, Paige, who had been the secret love child of their witch mother, and her “whitelighter” (guardian angel) Sam Wilder Paige’s magical abilities represent her dual heritage as both a witch and whitelighter; like Prue, she possesses a form of telekinesis, but she has to verbally call for objects to “orb” (teleport) them to their intended destination. As she attempts to control the two sides of her ancestry, Paige also learns how to orb herself and others, and to heal others with the touch of her hand; she eventually receives her own whitelighter charges to train and protect as they learn witchcraft. Paige can also “glamour”, shapeshifting into a different human appearance.
In addition to the supernatural themes explored in Charmed, the characters contend with serious issues in their day-to-day lives such as relationships, careers, marriage, childbirth, illness and the deaths of loved ones. The sisters also fight to prevent the exposure of the existence of magic to the human community at large, contending with several police and FBI investigations.
Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent maintained their positions as executive producers of the series until it ended. Constance M. Burge became an executive producer when she was hired to create the series and write the pilot script. After the 28-minute “unaired pilot” was shown to The WB and the series was picked up by the network, Brad Kern was recruited as the fourth executive producer and as the show runner in order to decipher how the series would develop over the course of its run. Scripting was done by a large number of writers. Kern did the most writing, with a total of 26 episodes, as well as directing one of them.
Burge wrote seven episodes for the first and second seasons before leaving her position as executive producer. Scripting was carried out after group brainstorms took place, discussing the events of the episodes, the emotions of the characters, and the mythology involved. Robert Masello, an executive story editor for the series, credits himself as the only ‘demonologist’ hired for a series, in order to add his experience to the storyline.
Ahead of the third season, Burge left her former position as executive producer to Kern, after she reportedly became frustrated that storylines for the third season were going to become more focused on the sisters’ relationships with their love interests than each other. She had disagreements with Kern over bringing the character Cole Turner (Julian McMahon) into the show as a love interest for Alyssa Milano’s character Phoebe, as there was already enough focus on the show’s established couple Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Leo Wyatt (Brian Krause).
Her [Burge’s] departure resulted in changes in the story structure of the show, from a “demon of the week” system to using third or half-season-long story arcs. In addition, more importance was given to the protagonists’ personal lives. The serial connection of episodes culminated in the second half of season four. Despite the ratings increasing during season four’s final story arc from 4.19 to 4.21, The WB asked Kern to abandon the serial system.
After Ray-Arts Studio was sold in 2003, production for Charmed moved to the ‘Paramount Studios’ lot for seasons seven and eight. During the seventh season and for the first time in its history, the show had been in limbo as there was no guaranteed renewal for an eighth season. Charmed was ultimately renewed for a final season, but the budget was cut considerably compared to previous seasons due to expensive special effects and props and highly-paid actresses. Executive producer Brad Kern revealed that they had to cut back on special effects and guest stars, and that the entire season was shot only on the Paramount Studios lot as they could not go out on location anymore.
Kern revealed that the show could not afford to have Krause in all 22 episodes of the final season, but he was brought back for the final two episodes to help bring closure to the storylines.
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